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Eustace vs Mushroom


James Steller
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1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

This isn't ancient history from Eustace's perspective, he was a contemporary of the figures involved. And it's not merely the exact wording which is doubtful, it's that anything like that conversation at all took place. But Eustace claims it did, which I say makes him seem less reliable (particularly on an issue as political as this).

That kind of invention is very common in that genre, though.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Does Tyrion bringing up the squire's letter serve as "corroboration" of Mushroom's claim about Byron Swann? Does Mellos' claim that King Viserys killed Harwin to hush up his parentage of the "Velaryon" boys serve as "corroboration" for Mushroom's claim about said parentage? Is Eustace's claim about Aegon discussed above not itself "outlandish" and doesn't it lack corroboration from any other source?

That seems to be all speculation, no?

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I'm not sure what you mean by "independently". Independent of Gyldayn? Independent of each other rather than as foils to each other?

LOL, guy, considering Aemond Targaryen a sucker with a 'black heart' isn't pro-Black bias. That's common sense, really. Arguably, most sane Greens likely considered Aemond Targaryen Rhaenyra's greatest ally in the Dance, just as it should have been consensus that allowing both Aegon II and Aemond to run the government of the Realm was most likely the most crucial mistakes the Greens ever made. Aegon II should have remained the puppet king Otto and Alicent wanted to make, and after the guy was incapacitated Alicent or Otto should have taken the regency, not Aemond the Moron.

Independent of Gyldayn.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Even though none of the other sources refer to her as "Pretender"?

Yes.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Not "refused", he was far off in Oldtown and "too old and frail"

LOL, those were the reasons and pretexts he gave why he didn't travel to KL, i.e. why he refused to anoint Aegon II.

Maegor dragged another old and frail High Septon to KL to marry him to his black brides.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

There is no evidence he did, and she was already proclaimed Queen on Dragonstone with a crown smuggled out of KL.

That's irrelevant insofar as an anointing is concerned, since that has nothing to do with a coronation as, for instance, the High Sparrow refusing to anoint King Tommen shows (he was already anointed by the previous High Septon at his coronation).

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Not all of those are from Mushroom, but one of Eustace's traits is to bring up & dismiss rumors.

So what? He confirms and spreads rumors as often as he dismisses them.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Mushroom is not nobody, and I just said he accused Alicent of poisoning her husband, the king.

Who cares? Perhaps he was right there? One rumor more or less doesn't turn the Hightowers in persons our sources bothered much with - else we would know more basic things about Otto and his family than we do. We actually know more about fucking Unwin Peake and his family than that of Otto and Alicent Hightower. Never mind that the latter two were very important and powerful figures in the Realm for decades ... not dayfly Hands like Unwin Peake.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

It's BOTH an in-universe work AND George's own history. He'd given fragments of history before, and starting with TWOIAF he came up with a more fleshed out account which grew into F&B.

It is not George's history. It is in-universe history which is supposed to entertain the reader. It is not a definitive history and it is most definitely a source we should use to make judgments about the private lives, thoughts, and feelings of most of the characters that show up there.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The Shepherd got a huge mob of people to kill dragons that had flown from Dragonstone to KL, regardless of where those dragons had been before. Syrax was killed by that mob. What's so implausible about Byron trying to do it before they did? Particularly since the dragon had been used to seize the city even if you don't consider that "in the field".

I already dealt with that question.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Your stance on this is a bit like my take on the person behind the catspaw. I think it doesn't make a lick of sense for it to have been Joffrey, but since GRRM independently had both Tyrion & Jaime come to same conclusion (and made sure to include that in his script for "The Lion and the Rose" regardless of how little that POV stuff could translate on screen, in addition to saying Storm of Swords would resolve that mystery) he obviously disagrees with me. I chalk it up to him retconning Jaime's character after the first book, and I just have to deal with it. These are works of fiction rather than real life, and our own conceptions of realism can be irrelevant.

Apples and oranges. Jaime and Joffrey and Tyrion we actually do know as characters ... Byron Swann we never met and Tyrion's - or anyone's - interpretations about his allegiances and actions are just not worth all that much. We can flat-out ignore all that.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

A father doesn't need to live with his daughter in the same apartment to tell her such things, particularly if they're discussing her son, the king.

Who cares? I don't care one bit whether Eustace invented this little episode, whether he personally witnessed it, or whether he heard about somehow from a credible source. My point just was that you do not necessarily need insider knowledge to hear about something like that when you live at court. It would have happened publicly or semi-publicly, since both the king and the Hand could have had a retinue at that point.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Another instance of you not finding Eustace to be a reliable historian, even if you claim otherwise.

The quality of Eustace's work doesn't rely on every private scene he depicts being accurate or not. For the hundredth time - Eustace wrote a big book about the reign of Viserys I and the Dance. And it is pretty good, according to Gyldayn.

Whereas Mushroom's entire oevre is just a shit show. An anonymous scribe claims he recorded the words of the dwarf - that might be accurate, or the entire thing might just be a fabrication. We have no way of knowing this. Considering that Baelor burned most of the copies the ones who survived till Gyldayn's time might be as reliable as the worst version of the memoir of Coryanne Wylde.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

A king could summon his Hand and yell at him for what is perceived to be an ineffective strategy, which may or may not result in any change. But actually invading his office and disrupting the efforts you're disparaging sends a stronger signal that you're not going to put up with more of the same.

It is still not something a king would do, actually. Perhaps as stupid a king as Aegon II might do it, but I'm not sure I buy that episode.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Calling them "pricks" does not change whether it's a "peace" deal or not (remember again that word is used for Aegon's offer, not Rhaenyra's proclamation).

Rhaenyra gave terms first, Aegon II second, that's just a fact. And peace doesn't have to show up there as a word if it has yet to be broken.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The point is that Aegon's peace deal (which was actually described as a "peace" deal, unlike her proclamation) offered pardons for EVERYONE, without being limited to kin. And it IS her fault that she didn't offer pardons for everyone, thus ensuring they would fight against her.

LOL, who cares? The Greens don't even have the right to offer 'terms' to anyone, since they were the one who unlawfully seized the throne and imprisoned many innocent people.

The Green Council and their lackeys actually committed crimes. Rhaenyra and her followers on distant Dragonstone didn't do harm to anyone.

For the murder of Beesbury alone Rhaenyra had every right to punish all members of the Green Council either for committing, condoning, commanding, or not preventing this murder. But it didn't stop there, they imprisoned a lot of people, etc.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Children are the responsibility of their fathers (this is called "patriarchy") in Westeros regardless of what they are to inherit. If man's firstborn son dies and his useless second-born must replace him as heir, can he shrug off responsibility by saying "I hadn't planned for THIS son to inherit!"? A mother and maternal grandfather can have influence insofar as the father himself permits it.

LOL, and now you are going to pull the claim out of your ass that Viserys I did not allow Otto and Alicent to properly educate Aegon II, right?

In context, it makes considerable sense not prepare a younger child to rule since that might put ideas in the head of that child that it should rule even if it isn't supposed to inherit. That is why in our world younger princes like, say, Henry VIII, originally, were supposed to take holy orders.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The point is not to be "clever", the point is whether a king's disagreement with his Hand reflects poorly on the king or the Hand. Within F&B it's said that "Otto was losing the trust of his king, who mistook his efforts for inaction, and
his caution for cowardice". Clearly "mistook" means Aegon was making a mistake.

It reflects badly on Aegon II and Otto here - on Aegon II because he is the moron that he is, and on Otto because he made that moron king and because he failed to turn the boy into less of a moron before he made him king.

If you have to stage a coup it is not too much to ask to actually pick a competent king.

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On 1/3/2022 at 5:42 PM, Lord Varys said:

That kind of invention is very common in that genre, though.

It's common for an historian to invent stories about people he knew personally?

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That seems to be all speculation, no?

It's not "speculation" that the squire's letter cited by Tyrion says it was Syrax, the same dragon Mushroom pointed to. Independent evidence supporting the same conclusion is "corroboration".

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LOL, guy, considering Aemond Targaryen a sucker with a 'black heart' isn't pro-Black bias

Which other source says that then?

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Independent of Gyldayn.

Correct, that's the form we get them in. And when you say Mushroom's Testimony is worthless, you are basing that conclusion on what Gyldayn gives us and says about it. But Gyldayn (and GRRM) repeatedly references Mushroom for a reason, and not just because it was fun to write. Outlandish things DO happen in this fictional world. Gyldayn writes "Yet their tales do explain much and more that might otherwise seem puzzling, and later accounts confirm enough of their stories to suggest that they contain at least some portion of truth. The question of what to believe and what to doubt remains for each student to decide." That tells you right there how to approach both Mushroom & Eustace.

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LOL, those were the reasons and pretexts he gave

We don't know that he was even asked. Preparations for the coronation were described as "hurried" once news got out that Viserys was dead.

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Maegor dragged another old and frail High Septon to KL to marry him to his black brides.

You can't expect every king to be like Maegor.

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That's irrelevant insofar as an anointing is concerned, since that has nothing to do with a coronation

Aegon II all had it done as one ceremony, and as you note Tommen was also anointed during his coronation. That's not "nothing to do with".

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the High Sparrow refusing to anoint King Tommen shows (he was already anointed by the previous High Septon at his coronation).

Cersei requested he do it as well because it's traditional for it to happen again whenever there's a new High Septon.

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He confirms and spreads rumors as often as he dismisses them.

He introduces entirely new claims, but I'm not sure what existing rumors you're referring to him confirming.

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Who cares? Perhaps he was right there?

I can't force you to care, and Gyldayn specifically responds to that claim by noting Mushroom was on Dragonstone near the end of Viserys' life. Anyone who cares about the plausibility of Mushroom's story would take note of that, and anyone who cared about whether Mushroom was actually biased would as well.

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One rumor more or less doesn't turn the Hightowers in persons our sources bothered much with

I have brought up Eustace repeatedly adding more info on Alicent & Otto that casts them in a better light than Aegon II.

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else we would know more basic things about Otto and his family than we do

Alicent was the member of Otto's family in KL. We do not have sources based in Oldtown to tell us about what he was up to prior to coming to KL with Alicent. I'm not sure what "basic things" about them you think we ought to know what don't.

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It is not George's history.

Sure it is, he wrote it. And the only other history he's writing is part 2 of the same, still as Gyldayn.

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It is in-universe history which is supposed to entertain the reader.

All of ASoIaF is fiction intended to entertain the reader.

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It is not a definitive history

What other history is there?

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it is most definitely a source we should use to make judgments about the private lives, thoughts, and feelings of most of the characters that show up there.

Did you forget to include a negation there? If so, why would GRRM include all that if we weren't to use it as a source for that?

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I already dealt with that question.

How did you "deal" with the fact that the mob disregarded your criteria for what makes a dragon a valid target?

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Apples and oranges. Jaime and Joffrey and Tyrion we actually do know as characters

Which is what makes it hard to take seriously the idea that Joffrey would ever do anything regarded as a "mercy", or would think his father might praise him for it despite his reaction to the cat.

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Byron Swann we never met and Tyrion's - or anyone's - interpretations about his allegiances and actions are just not worth all that much. We can flat-out ignore all that.

On the contrary, Byron Swann was only invented for this anecdote so things like his publicly known liege lord's faction in the Dance is a key fact with nothing given to weigh against it! If GRRM wanted you to know anything about his personality, he would have given that to you. Instead he took the effort to repeatedly shore up the claim that it was Syrax without having to know more about Byron.

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Who cares? I don't care one bit whether Eustace invented this little episode, whether he personally witnessed it, or whether he heard about somehow from a credible source. My point just was that you do not necessarily need insider knowledge to hear about something like that when you live at court. It would have happened publicly or semi-publicly, since both the king and the Hand could have had a retinue at that point.

Again, I can't force you (nor an ideal philosophy student of perfect emptiness) to care. But the Hand's office is not part of the public square. And we don't get any account of this from any source other than Eustace, even though Orwyle was also in the Red Keep.

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And it is pretty good, according to Gyldayn.

He calls it the "most detailed" account of the period (which would seem to refer to Viserys' reign that Orwyle came late to, hence him & Munkun not being held out for comparison). As I quoted, Gyldayn holds out both Eustace & Mushroom as sources whom we must pick & choose from when to believe or doubt any particular claim.

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Considering that Baelor burned most of the copies the ones who survived till Gyldayn's time might be as reliable as the worst version of the memoir of Coryanne Wylde.

What makes you say that? Gyldayn certainly doesn't indicate there's any variation in the copies made of the Testimony.

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Rhaenyra gave terms first, Aegon II second, that's just a fact

Rhaenyra issued a proclamation, Aegon actually sent an envoy with terms. Sending an ambassador is commonly done when someone actually wants to come to an agreement.

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And peace doesn't have to show up there as a word if it has yet to be broken.

But it DOES show up as a word applied to Aegon's envoy. And, as you note, Rhaenyra had already issued her threatening ultimatum.

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LOL, who cares? The Greens don't even have the right to offer 'terms' to anyone, since they were the one who unlawfully seized the throne and imprisoned many innocent people.

I can't force you to care about anything GRRM ever wrote. And I'm not talking about having "the right" or what's "unlawful", a matter for maesters and presumably the Master of Laws. I'm talking about how Eustace added the note about Alicent & Helaena persuading Aegon to send the peace envoy (which was a peace envoy, hence being described as such) over his initial opposition. This is a note which paints Alicent, a known confidant of Eustace, in a better light. Just as he is also our source for Alicent proposing another peace deal with Rhaenyra after she took KL.

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Rhaenyra and her followers on distant Dragonstone didn't do harm to anyone.

Helaena would beg to disagree about her murdered child.

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LOL, and now you are going to pull the claim out of your ass that Viserys I did not allow Otto and Alicent to properly educate Aegon II, right?

I don't make any claims of that sort because I just don't know Viserys' stance on what sort of influence Otto could have on Aegon II. I just know that a father is always responsible for his children under patriarchy, regardless of what they are in line to inherit.

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In context, it makes considerable sense not prepare a younger child to rule since that might put ideas in the head of that child that it should rule even if it isn't supposed to inherit

That doesn't resemble the way Ned raised Bran at all. Instead he's raised with an ethic of responsibility, which he takes up when he's the Stark in Winterfell.

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That is why in our world younger princes like, say, Henry VIII, originally, were supposed to take holy orders.

How many Targaryens did? Among the males, there was Baelor, but that didn't prevent him from being king as well, and he seems to have done that on his own initiative regardless of what anyone else wanted.

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If you have to stage a coup it is not too much to ask to actually pick a competent king.

In a republic you can choose whoever you think is most competent for the top job. But this is a monarchy, so when Otto wanted to ensure Daemon stayed off the throne he was limited to suggesting Rhaenyra as heir instead.

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15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

It's common for an historian to invent stories about people he knew personally?

Quite obviously, else we wouldn't have 'the histories' we have.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

It's not "speculation" that the squire's letter cited by Tyrion says it was Syrax, the same dragon Mushroom pointed to. Independent evidence supporting the same conclusion is "corroboration".

Tyrion doesn't cite a letter, he just claims that one exists.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Which other source says that then?

The point is that Aemond Targaryen was such a mad monster that even some Green partisan living through those times wouldn't praise him.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Correct, that's the form we get them in. And when you say Mushroom's Testimony is worthless, you are basing that conclusion on what Gyldayn gives us and says about it. But Gyldayn (and GRRM) repeatedly references Mushroom for a reason, and not just because it was fun to write. Outlandish things DO happen in this fictional world. Gyldayn writes "Yet their tales do explain much and more that might otherwise seem puzzling, and later accounts confirm enough of their stories to suggest that they contain at least some portion of truth. The question of what to believe and what to doubt remains for each student to decide." That tells you right there how to approach both Mushroom & Eustace.

It means that some stuff might be true ... or not. It could just all be nonsense.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

We don't know that he was even asked. Preparations for the coronation were described as "hurried" once news got out that Viserys was dead.

The High Septon was interested enough in events at court to question Otto about the whereabouts of certain people. That pretty much implies he had no interest in being involved in a coup ... meaning if he was asked he would have refused, pretending that he was too old and too frail for the journey.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

You can't expect every king to be like Maegor.

I'm pretty sure that Aegon II could need any shred of legitimacy he could get considering he wasn't the Heir Apparent, so they would be interested in the High Septon declaring him the rightful king ... which he never did.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Aegon II all had it done as one ceremony, and as you note Tommen was also anointed during his coronation. That's not "nothing to do with".

Cersei requested he do it as well because it's traditional for it to happen again whenever there's a new High Septon.

In the absence of a High Septon and if Aegon got anointed by Eustace then it stands to reason that Rhaenyra might also want Eustace - who bent the knee and served her like he had served Aegon before - to anoint her. If this was the case he wouldn't have refused something like that.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I can't force you to care, and Gyldayn specifically responds to that claim by noting Mushroom was on Dragonstone near the end of Viserys' life. Anyone who cares about the plausibility of Mushroom's story would take note of that, and anyone who cared about whether Mushroom was actually biased would as well.

Mushroom is full of lies and nonsense, so the question where he was when something happened can be interesting ... but it is not exactly an important criteria to figure out whether he was telling the truth or not considering the outlandish tales he claims he witnessed firsthand and/or participated in.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I have brought up Eustace repeatedly adding more info on Alicent & Otto that casts them in a better light than Aegon II.

And I don't think that matters since I actually do think that Alicent and Otto were better (or rather: less stupid) people than Aegon II.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Alicent was the member of Otto's family in KL. We do not have sources based in Oldtown to tell us about what he was up to prior to coming to KL with Alicent. I'm not sure what "basic things" about them you think we ought to know what don't.

I already told you what we don't know about them. And frankly, Eustace's history should have covered all that, being a very detailed history of the reign of Viserys I. It seems Gyldayn didn't care at all about the Hightowers.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Did you forget to include a negation there? If so, why would GRRM include all that if we weren't to use it as a source for that?

Because it is a medieval-style history book ... meaning it isn't worth much and is full of inventions, lies, errors, etc.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Which is what makes it hard to take seriously the idea that Joffrey would ever do anything regarded as a "mercy", or would think his father might praise him for it despite his reaction to the cat.

Obviously that's your two-dimensional view of Joff's complex character speaking.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Again, I can't force you (nor an ideal philosophy student of perfect emptiness) to care. But the Hand's office is not part of the public square. And we don't get any account of this from any source other than Eustace, even though Orwyle was also in the Red Keep.

We don't know who else mentioned that. Just because Gyldayn says at one point 'Eustace writes this or that' we cannot conclude that the other sources were silent on the matter. Gyldayn might make a mistake, he might have forgotten/not know who else corroborates this, he might not care, might not bother, etc. He is not writing an academic paper and doesn't have to reference any source he might use.

In cases he is interested in he compares and/or quotes multiple sources. But those are very rare instances and most of the time we have no clue who Gyldayn's (main) source actually is.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

He calls it the "most detailed" account of the period (which would seem to refer to Viserys' reign that Orwyle came late to, hence him & Munkun not being held out for comparison). As I quoted, Gyldayn holds out both Eustace & Mushroom as sources whom we must pick & choose from when to believe or doubt any particular claim.

But we just as well can throw both out of the window.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

What makes you say that? Gyldayn certainly doesn't indicate there's any variation in the copies made of the Testimony.

He doesn't have to. If most of the copies of the Testimony were burned by Baelor - and that seems to be the case - then there would only be very few original copies left. Whatever copies were made after Baelor's death might go back to very few copies which survived the flames - meaning that what Gyldayn thinks is Mushroom's 'original Testimony' might have nothing to do with whatever Mushroom dictated originally - assuming the original manuscript even contains the words of the dwarf as such. If Mushroom was illiterate, as seem to be the case, the anonymous scribe could have written whatever the hell he wanted.

Not to mention that depending when exactly the Testimony was written, said scribe could also have had access to Munkun's or Eustace's work, deciding to entertain his readers by contradicting both of them as often as possible.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Rhaenyra issued a proclamation, Aegon actually sent an envoy with terms. Sending an ambassador is commonly done when someone actually wants to come to an agreement.

In reaction to Rhaenyra's first proclamation. She had the grace to actually address the traitors, while Aegon's buddies didn't even inform Rhaenyra's about the king's death or invite her and her family to Aegon's coronation.

You can turn it round all day long - Rhaenyra issued the first terms and she didn't threaten war nor the lives of her family.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I can't force you to care about anything GRRM ever wrote. And I'm not talking about having "the right" or what's "unlawful", a matter for maesters and presumably the Master of Laws. I'm talking about how Eustace added the note about Alicent & Helaena persuading Aegon to send the peace envoy (which was a peace envoy, hence being described as such) over his initial opposition. This is a note which paints Alicent, a known confidant of Eustace, in a better light. Just as he is also our source for Alicent proposing another peace deal with Rhaenyra after she took KL.

In a better light compared to WHAT? Nobody paints a particularly bad picture of Alicent - nobody has her as a warmonger or a person enjoying violence (at least not prior to her plan to have her granddaughter murder her husband and king), so this is not even remotely suspect or anything.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Helaena would beg to disagree about her murdered child.

LOL, not when Orwyle went to Dragonstone. Back then only the Greens had committed crimes.

In fact, if you look at things the Greens are always the first who start the crimes. They first murder people, they first imprison people, they first torture people, and they first execute people. The Blacks just react to cruelties and savageries committed by the Greens.

The tendency is so strong that it is almost boring. The Blacks are literally the Northmen and the Riverlanders dealing with the Freys and Boltons and Lannisters of their era. It is so blatantly obvious who the good guys are ... at least insofar as motives are concerned.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I don't make any claims of that sort because I just don't know Viserys' stance on what sort of influence Otto could have on Aegon II. I just know that a father is always responsible for his children under patriarchy, regardless of what they are in line to inherit.

LOL, so there are no grandfatherly or motherly duties in a patriarchal society?

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

That doesn't resemble the way Ned raised Bran at all. Instead he's raised with an ethic of responsibility, which he takes up when he's the Stark in Winterfell.

Bran - like Ned - was never groomed to rule. He was brought up to serve his future lord, Robb Stark. Bran was never part of Ned's councils or his audiences, wasn't expected to step in for his father, etc.

In fact, it is quite clear that Bran is in no way prepared to be 'the Stark at Winterfell' when he is. It was also hard for Robb but only because it came so suddenly and early, not because he hadn't been groomed for the job.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

How many Targaryens did? Among the males, there was Baelor, but that didn't prevent him from being king as well, and he seems to have done that on his own initiative regardless of what anyone else wanted.

Most younger children in the Targaryen dynasty were not groomed to be king. And those who shouldered responsibilities as second sons - like Maegor or Baelon - were a potential danger to the Heir Apparent. In the wake of the Maegor debacle the Grand Maester closely watched Aemon and Baelon, for instance. If they hadn't been as close as they were Baelon could have used the prestige he eventually had to actually try to steal the throne after his father's death.

15 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

In a republic you can choose whoever you think is most competent for the top job. But this is a monarchy, so when Otto wanted to ensure Daemon stayed off the throne he was limited to suggesting Rhaenyra as heir instead.

We talk about the Green coup. Smart people hating Rhaenyra would have either chosen a more pliable puppet king - Daeron the Daring springs immediately to mind (just claim the dying king had changed the succession in favor of his beloved youngest son for some reason), but they could have also gone with a royal bastard, real or invented, or perhaps even better: one of Aegon's sons, Jaehaerys or Maelor.

How bad the Greens were as kingmakers one can really see from how quickly Otto and Alicent lose the reins of power. Aegon II and Criston Cole must have schemed to sack the old man, indicating how little Alicent and Otto could actually trust Cole (if the guy had been loyal to Otto/Alicent he could have refused to take the Handship).

And when Aegon gets injured one cannot even imagined how the hell Aemond could get the regency. Whose idea was that, really? Most likely some hidden Black in the council who thought this guy would fuck up things in record time.

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On 1/4/2022 at 7:24 PM, Lord Varys said:

Quite obviously, else we wouldn't have 'the histories' we have.

Which of those "histories" were written by people who personally knew the people they were writing about?

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Tyrion doesn't cite a letter, he just claims that one exists.

He makes claims about the actual contents of the account the squire wrote for his daughter.

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The point is that Aemond Targaryen was such a mad monster that even some Green partisan living through those times wouldn't praise him.

Eustace doesn't "praise" Aemond, but he doesn't talk about him having a "black heart" either.

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It means that some stuff might be true ... or not. It could just all be nonsense.

Why would GRRM write Tyrion correcting Haldon on the dragon Byron attacked if Tyrion's conclusion was supposed to be "nonsense"? Wouldn't he have Haldon correct Tyrion if that were the case?

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pretending that he was too old and too frail for the journey

Our account doesn't say anything about him "pretending", it simply states as a fact that he was too old & frail. And if he was going to "pretend" to be older than he really was, he'd have to start that ruse far enough back for people not to know how young he was!

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I'm pretty sure that Aegon II could need any shred of legitimacy he could get considering he wasn't the Heir Apparent, so they would be interested in the High Septon declaring him the rightful king ... which he never did.

Aegon II is the one who was impatient to be crowned, which does not suggest he would be inclined to wait for the High Septon to make such a journey.

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In the absence of a High Septon and if Aegon got anointed by Eustace then it stands to reason that Rhaenyra might also want Eustace - who bent the knee and served her like he had served Aegon before - to anoint her. If this was the case he wouldn't have refused something like that.

Rhaenyra had already been crowned on Dragonstone. What "stands to reason" is just in your own head, because there's nothing in the text to indicate any such anointing took place in KL. There's not even a reference to the High Septon there, which could have logically trumped Aegon's anointing if he was truly pretending to be too old & frail.

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Mushroom is full of lies and nonsense, so the question where he was when something happened can be interesting ...

He was in the Red Keep beside Rhaenyra when Byron Swann died, whereas Gyldayn notes Orwyle was in the dungeons at the time.

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Because it is a medieval-style history book ... meaning it isn't worth much and is full of inventions, lies, errors, etc.

Which medieval history books so often express doubt about their sources, or note how their sources conflict?

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Obviously that's your two-dimensional view of Joff's complex character speaking.

It's possible you're being sarcastic, but Joffrey specifically expresses disinterest when Sandor is talking about how it would better for Bran to die more quickly. He only cares about Summer the direwolf making noise.

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We don't know who else mentioned that.

The other sources don't actually exist in any form other than what GRRM gave us here, so the only mention is the one we got. And GRRM chose to have Eustace be the source for that incident.

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Gyldayn might make a mistake

How is GRRM going to write Gyldayn making a "mistake" of omission when GRRM never writes anything to indicate that it was in fact a "mistake"!?

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But we just as well can throw both out of the window.

Why would GRRM have Gyldayn repeatedly cite both accounts and describe them as containing some truths even as they conflict with each other if it were sensible to "throw both out of the window"?

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He doesn't have to.

He does for readers who aren't going to replace the text with their head-canon. Gyldayn repeatedly gives reasons to doubt various accounts, and could have used your reasoning about Mushroom's testimony. But GRRM did not decide to do that, and the simplest explanation is that he didn't want readers to think of that as a reason to distrust it. After all, Barth also had his writings suppressed & burned by Baelor, but his musings on magic are more consistent with main series than the doubts of maesters rather than appearing to be hopelessly inaccurate from a dearth of copies.

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Not to mention that depending when exactly the Testimony was written, said scribe could also have had access to Munkun's or Eustace's work, deciding to entertain his readers by contradicting both of them as often as possible.

There's no indication in the text that was actually the case, so "could" is again just in your head.

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You can turn it round all day long - Rhaenyra issued the first terms and she didn't threaten war nor the lives of her family.

Saying "I will have my throne or I will have his head" is a threat, and directed at her half-brother. My "turn[ing] it round" is referring to the actual text, which refers to only one of them as making a "peace" offering. And the point of it is that Eustace is the source for Alicent (whom he was known as a confidant & confessor to) having convinced Aegon against his initial stance opposed to it.

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In a better light compared to WHAT?

In a better light compared to a counterfactual where the text is the same except it's missing that bit.

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Nobody paints a particularly bad picture of Alicent

Mushroom alleged she was performing sexual favors for Old King Jaehaerys, slept with Viserys before his wife died (and with Daemon, per The Rogue Prince), mocked Laenor to his face about his alleged children not looking like him, poisoned King Viserys, said "Mayhaps the whore will die of childbirth" when Rhaenyra was late in her pregnancy...

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(at least not prior to her plan to have her granddaughter murder her husband and king)

Does that not make her look worse than she does in the bits attributed to Eustace?

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The Blacks are literally the Northmen and the Riverlanders dealing with the Freys and Boltons and Lannisters of their era

The literal Freys supported the Blacks in the Dance, while the Boltons aren't mentioned during it (one would assume they behaved like other Northmen). The Lannisters are indeed one of the more important houses to support the Greens, but then so are the Baratheons & Hightowers. I think it's actually to GRRM's credit that the lineups of his civil wars aren't just reruns.

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It is so blatantly obvious who the good guys are ... at least insofar as motives are concerned.

They can't remain "good guys" after Blood & Cheese (not that Daemon was ever "good", nor was Rhaenyra when she had him kill Vaemond Velaryon), nor after Rhaenyra orders a vassal to violate guest-right (which Aerys II would later do). The Dance was a conflict between mostly awful people which resolves with them dying. It's not as well-written a conflict as the War of Five Kings, but it's also not as morally simplistic.

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LOL, so there are no grandfatherly or motherly duties in a patriarchal society?

A grandfather has duties toward his own children, who in turn have duties toward their children. But once his daughter marries a man, she removes her father's cloak and puts on her husband's, as he becomes the patriarch she is sworn to obey.

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Bran - like Ned - was never groomed to rule

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One day, Bran, you will be Robb's bannerman, holding a keep of your own for your brother and your king, and justice will fall to you

Bran is able to act as the Stark in Winterfell during Robb's absence, and despite his very young age (in contrast to the older Joffrey) he's able to act rather responsibly because he was raised well by Ned.

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Smart people hating Rhaenyra would have either chosen a more pliable puppet king - Daeron the Daring springs immediately to mind (just claim the dying king had changed the succession in favor of his beloved youngest son for some reason)

A younger brother can't inherit prior to his older brother (unless that brother has joined an order prohibiting inheritance or something like that). Recall what Robb said about Renly.

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but they could have also gone with a royal bastard, real or invented

Perhaps if they wanted to positively guarantee that every house opposed their choice. Bastards had not gotten support at the Great Council of 101, and avoiding putting any bastards in line for the throne was Cole's first argument against Rhaenyra.

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or perhaps even better: one of Aegon's sons, Jaehaerys or Maelor

A son can't inherit prior to his living father, it's incompatible with patriarchy (barring the same caveat as above). It has never happened in Westeros, and when Emmon Frey tries to claim he is his own father's overlord Jaime needs to correct him.

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Aegon II and Criston Cole must have schemed to sack the old man, indicating how little Alicent and Otto could actually trust Cole (if the guy had been loyal to Otto/Alicent he could have refused to take the Handship).

I don't think a whole lot of "scheming" is necessary. As king, Aegon can replace his Hand whenever he gets fed up enough to do so. Cole, of course, had started out as a Black whom Alicent had warned Viserys about. Rather than being loyal to either of the Hightowers, he was anti-Rhaenyra.

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And when Aegon gets injured one cannot even imagined how the hell Aemond could get the regency.

It's trivial to imagine. He's Aegon's younger brother, and he's not a minor, so there's nothing legally in the way of him taking power. Aegon II's eldest son had already died at the age of 6 by that point.

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Whose idea was that, really? Most likely some hidden Black in the council who thought this guy would fuck up things in record time.

The text itself says it was Cole who told Aemond he had to take up the crown. And as incompetent as Aemond was, he was also legally the next person capable of ruling in his own right.

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43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Eustace doesn't "praise" Aemond, but he doesn't talk about him having a "black heart" either.

Is the claim that Aemond had a black heart a bad judgment in light of what we know about the man?

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Why would GRRM write Tyrion correcting Haldon on the dragon Byron attacked if Tyrion's conclusion was supposed to be "nonsense"? Wouldn't he have Haldon correct Tyrion if that were the case?

LOL, you don't really get it, do you? Those tidbits are not not necessarily there to establish historical facts. Haldon wanted to know whether Tyrion actually knew something about dragonlore ... and he passed the test.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Our account doesn't say anything about him "pretending", it simply states as a fact that he was too old & frail. And if he was going to "pretend" to be older than he really was, he'd have to start that ruse far enough back for people not to know how young he was!

LOL, to know that the High Septon was unable to travel you have to ask him whether he wants to travel. It is quite clear that they originally wanted the High Septon to do the coronation since Eustace is clearly only their second choice.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Which medieval history books so often express doubt about their sources, or note how their sources conflict?

All who actually cite conflicting sources do.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

It's possible you're being sarcastic, but Joffrey specifically expresses disinterest when Sandor is talking about how it would better for Bran to die more quickly. He only cares about Summer the direwolf making noise.

Summer howls because Bran is still alive ... Joffrey is still a human being and the view that it would be a mercy to put Bran out of his misery is a view shared not only by King Robert but many other people, including certain Northmen.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The other sources don't actually exist in any form other than what GRRM gave us here, so the only mention is the one we got. And GRRM chose to have Eustace be the source for that incident.

You really don't get it. Insofar as fictional history books exist in-universe a lot of unquoted sentences also exist there. We cannot have the view that only the only parts of the books mentioned in FaB *exist* are the ones that are actually quoted.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

How is GRRM going to write Gyldayn making a "mistake" of omission when GRRM never writes anything to indicate that it was in fact a "mistake"!?

Because it is made clear that we are not to take anything given to us via Eustace/Mushroom is to be taken as gospels. And we are all 'students of history' so it falls to us to decide whether what we believe or dismiss.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Why would GRRM have Gyldayn repeatedly cite both accounts and describe them as containing some truths even as they conflict with each other if it were sensible to "throw both out of the window"?

Because sometimes what he gives is clearly horseshit, no matter how well-attested it is.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

He does for readers who aren't going to replace the text with their head-canon. Gyldayn repeatedly gives reasons to doubt various accounts, and could have used your reasoning about Mushroom's testimony. But GRRM did not decide to do that, and the simplest explanation is that he didn't want readers to think of that as a reason to distrust it. After all, Barth also had his writings suppressed & burned by Baelor, but his musings on magic are more consistent with main series than the doubts of maesters rather than appearing to be hopelessly inaccurate from a dearth of copies.

Barth was one of the greatest minds and scholars and statesmen in Westerosi history ... whereas Mushroom was an illiterate, lying, reputedly mentally challenged court jester.

And we can transfer what we learned about manuscripts in the episode about Coryanne's book to basically all the manuscripts mentioned in FaB ... and especially those who were not written and copied by maesters (or septons). If you have read FaB you know that Mushroom went to White Harbor when the Regency ended, and moved on from there to Braavos, Ib, and a mummer ship.

Chances are pretty good that the anonymous scribe who allegedly recorded his words wasn't even Westerosi by birth.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Saying "I will have my throne or I will have his head" is a threat, and directed at her half-brother. My "turn[ing] it round" is referring to the actual text, which refers to only one of them as making a "peace" offering. And the point of it is that Eustace is the source for Alicent (whom he was known as a confidant & confessor to) having convinced Aegon against his initial stance opposed to it.

LOL again. Aegon's so-called 'peace offer' was also dependent on Aegon being allowed to keep his throne, no?

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Mushroom alleged she was performing sexual favors for Old King Jaehaerys, slept with Viserys before his wife died (and with Daemon, per The Rogue Prince), mocked Laenor to his face about his alleged children not looking like him, poisoned King Viserys, said "Mayhaps the whore will die of childbirth" when Rhaenyra was late in her pregnancy...

Does that not make her look worse than she does in the bits attributed to Eustace?

It makes her look like the average important woman in Mushroom's Testimony. You cannot compare a source like Mushroom to somebody like Eustace who actually wrote a proper history.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The literal Freys supported the Blacks in the Dance, while the Boltons aren't mentioned during it (one would assume they behaved like other Northmen). The Lannisters are indeed one of the more important houses to support the Greens, but then so are the Baratheons & Hightowers. I think it's actually to GRRM's credit that the lineups of his civil wars aren't just reruns.

They are not reruns, but like the Boltons, Freys, and Lannisters are clearly 'the villains' of ASoIaF, the Greens are obviously the villains in the Dance. There are some good guys in service to bad causes among the Greens, of course, just like there are some good Lannisters and Freys.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

They can't remain "good guys" after Blood & Cheese (not that Daemon was ever "good", nor was Rhaenyra when she had him kill Vaemond Velaryon), nor after Rhaenyra orders a vassal to violate guest-right (which Aerys II would later do). The Dance was a conflict between mostly awful people which resolves with them dying. It's not as well-written a conflict as the War of Five Kings, but it's also not as morally simplistic.

The Blacks are still the good guys. Their cause is the just one, most of the people fighting on their side are morally superior to the Greens.

Rhaenyra is tragic figure who is driven to extreme measures by the circumstances, not a character who is evil or cruel from the start.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

A grandfather has duties toward his own children, who in turn have duties toward their children. But once his daughter marries a man, she removes her father's cloak and puts on her husband's, as he becomes the patriarch she is sworn to obey.

LOL, no, just no. That's way too rigid a view to be taken seriously.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Bran is able to act as the Stark in Winterfell during Robb's absence, and despite his very young age (in contrast to the older Joffrey) he's able to act rather responsibly because he was raised well by Ned.

Bran doesn't make a single political decision. He just acts as a figurehead and is only taken seriously by the Reeds.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

A younger brother can't inherit prior to his older brother (unless that brother has joined an order prohibiting inheritance or something like that). Recall what Robb said about Renly.

Who cares? These people staged a coup. They could crown a dog if they wanted to.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Perhaps if they wanted to positively guarantee that every house opposed their choice. Bastards had not gotten support at the Great Council of 101, and avoiding putting any bastards in line for the throne was Cole's first argument against Rhaenyra.

Again - who cares? If you stage a coup to remain in power you should choose a puppet king you can control. For Otto Hightower, crowning Aegon II was clearly not exactly a smart decision if we assume Otto wanted to continue to serve as Hand - which seems to be the case.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

A son can't inherit prior to his living father, it's incompatible with patriarchy (barring the same caveat as above). It has never happened in Westeros, and when Emmon Frey tries to claim he is his own father's overlord Jaime needs to correct him.

LOL, that's because Littlefinger is the new Lord Paramount of the Trident. If the Lord of Riverrun were still the Lord Paramount Emmon Frey would indeed be his father's overlord - and there is nothing wrong with that.

And again - if you stage a coup you can make king whoever you want. They could have easily said that Aegon was unworthy of the Iron Throne due to his character and his clear inability to rule properly.

I mean, it is painstakingly obvious how much of a pawn little Aegon is when he complains to his mommy that he wants to be crowned. The decision that he is going to be king is not his own, so if the kingmaking Green faction had decided they wanted to crown somebody else then that person would have been crowned ... never mind what Aegon had to say about that.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I don't think a whole lot of "scheming" is necessary. As king, Aegon can replace his Hand whenever he gets fed up enough to do so. Cole, of course, had started out as a Black whom Alicent had warned Viserys about. Rather than being loyal to either of the Hightowers, he was anti-Rhaenyra.

He certainly was loyal to Alicent and Otto during the coup.

And while Aegon can certainly sack his Hand ... Aegon was a moron and a pawn for essentially his entire reign, always being controlled and moved around by others, so one certainly can wonder who fed him the idea that his grandfather was an ineffective Hand - when Otto was actually doing very good work! - and who suggested to him that Criston Cole might be a better Hand.

Going with a lowborn KG as Hand is pretty ususual. The Lannister on his council would have been a more obvious choice.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

It's trivial to imagine. He's Aegon's younger brother, and he's not a minor, so there's nothing legally in the way of him taking power. Aegon II's eldest son had already died at the age of 6 by that point.

Aemond was even younger than Aegon II, and had no role in the government whatsoever until he was made Prince Regent. Running a government is a very daunting task, especially in wartime, so you would want an experienced person doing that, not a young and inexperienced hothead.

43 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The text itself says it was Cole who told Aemond he had to take up the crown. And as incompetent as Aemond was, he was also legally the next person capable of ruling in his own right.

Cole pushed Aemond to take the Regency, but he wouldn't have decided that. One can understand why they would want to give the appearance that they had a royal guy in charge while Aegon II was incapacitated - to project strength and all. But to have Aemond do that - and to allow him to be more than just a figurehead was clearly a mistake.

The Regency should have gone to Alicent or Otto or even to Criston Cole ... but never to Aemond.

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On 1/7/2022 at 7:50 PM, Lord Varys said:

Is the claim that Aemond had a black heart a bad judgment in light of what we know about the man?

It's not really a factual statement, but instead a colorful way of rendering judgment. And while I don't think Eustace had a high opinion of Aemond, he would not have written that.

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Those tidbits are not not necessarily there to establish historical facts. Haldon wanted to know whether Tyrion actually knew something about dragonlore ... and he passed the test.

Why would he "pass the test" by proclaiming something you deem "nonsense"? Haldon doesn't seem pleased with Tyrion either, he's snippy for being upstaged but doesn't have an actual response to Tyrion's argument.

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LOL, to know that the High Septon was unable to travel you have to ask him whether he wants to travel.

Not if it was already known beforehand, and of course he wouldn't get any younger or less frail over time.

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All who actually cite conflicting sources do.

Which ones specifically?

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Joffrey is still a human being and the view that it would be a mercy to put Bran out of his misery is a view shared not only by King Robert but many other people, including certain Northmen.

Indeed it is shared by many people (Val claims wildlings always kill their disabled children), but Joffrey is unusual for openly talking about how Bran is nothing to him.

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You really don't get it. Insofar as fictional history books exist in-universe a lot of unquoted sentences also exist there. We cannot have the view that only the only parts of the books mentioned in FaB *exist* are the ones that are actually quoted.

They only exist in the sense that GRRM made them up, and for his own purposes. When GRRM (as Gyldayn) cites source A for event B, that means A contained B. If he wanted source C to cover it, he could have said so, but if he didn't there's no sense in talking about it as if it did. We're not discussing one of the many unsourced sections here, but instead one where a specific source was given.

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Because it is made clear that we are not to take anything given to us via Eustace/Mushroom is to be taken as gospels. And we are all 'students of history' so it falls to us to decide whether what we believe or dismiss.

That doesn't suffice to make Gyldayn "mistaken" about anything, and specifically it cannot do so for an error of "omission" of something we have no reason to believe exists! We know the sources are fallible because Gyldayn himself says as much about multiple claims that he expresses doubt over. But here you're not expressing doubt over a claim sourced to just Eustace, instead you're imagining that the same event was also covered by some other source even though there's no evidence for that.

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Because sometimes what he gives is clearly horseshit, no matter how well-attested it is.

Are you saying Gyldayn is clearly horseshit? And if something is horseshit, wouldn't that suffice to make it not actually well attested?

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Barth was one of the greatest minds and scholars and statesmen in Westerosi history ... whereas Mushroom was an illiterate, lying, reputedly mentally challenged court jester.

That's relevant to what it started out, not how the destruction of copies would imply we can't trust what remains.

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And we can transfer what we learned about manuscripts in the episode about Coryanne's book to basically all the manuscripts mentioned in FaB

But Gyldayn doesn't say anything about Mushroom's Testimony having multiple titles, or the style of prose varying greatly throughout the book, or about certain versions being much longer than others due to alterations accumulating over time. He just says it's fortunate for us that Baelor wasn't able to destroy all the copies. When he says those things about Coryanne's alleged book specifically they apply to that book. He doesn't say those things about Mushroom's even though he gives other reasons to doubt particular claims from Mushroom.

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Aegon's so-called 'peace offer'

Called that by the actual text.

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was also dependent on Aegon being allowed to keep his throne, no?

Correct, it was lacking in the "have your head" part. Not that Aegon II never said such things, just that the more mature people around him acted as filters to maintain a more diplomatic official stance (at least at first).

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It makes her look like the average important woman in Mushroom's Testimony.

Who did he accuse Rhaenyra of personally killing?

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You cannot compare a source like Mushroom to somebody like Eustace who actually wrote a proper history.

The title of this very forum topic is "Eustace vs Mushroom". And Gyldayn compares/contrasts Eustace to Mushroom repeatedly. The two are supposed to be foils in a number of ways, and one of those ways I will acknowledge is their approach to sex. Eustace will sometimes raise rumors about sexual scandals in order to dismiss them, although he doesn't even do that for Alicent (one could perhaps imagine his personal relationship to her made him treat her differently from Jeyne Arryn). This reluctance does not appear to extend to chalking up a death to murder. He says Lyman Beesbury had his throat cut by Criston Cole whereas Orwyle/Munkun said he died naturally in a dungeon. He says the fire at Harrenhal which killed the Strongs was caused by Daemon hoping to clear a path to marry Rhaenyra (a story I know you doubt). He even chalks up Helaena's suicide to being maliciously induced by Mysaria. So when he doesn't claim Alicent poisoned Viserys, I don't chalk that up to him being as reticent to talk about murder as he is about sex. Instead it fits a pattern of him never being a source for any negative accounts of Alicent.

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They are not reruns, but like the Boltons, Freys, and Lannisters are clearly 'the villains' of ASoIaF, the Greens are obviously the villains in the Dance.

Both sides are villainous in the Dance, and from relatively early on. The Lannisters were clearly the villains from the very first book of ASoIaF, but the Boltons & Freys fought under Robb and betrayed him after events at Winterfell & KL appeared to doom his cause. They're not likable early on, but not clearly the villains like the Lannisters (except for Ramsay, whom Roose disavows and approves when he hears of his death). When Robb's bannerman Rickard Karstark murders hostages, Robb ensures justice by personally executing Rickard (and hanging everyone else who participated) even though that will further alienate the Karstarks against him. The Blacks don't punish anyone for Blood & Cheese (probably the most depraved incident in the Dance), rather Mysaria acts as a Mistress of Whispers once Rhaenyra takes KL. The Blacks have Manfryd Mooton switch sides after Rhaenyra orders him to violate guest-right by killing Nettles. This is not at all a villainous action like the Freys & Boltons turning cloak. Rather, it's clearly the morally correct act like Jon Arryn protecting Ned & Robert. Rhaenyra is portrayed as such an awful ruler that when KL rises up against her it's like the mob rioting against Joffrey rather than a Frey/Bolton-esque betrayal. All this being said, I would agree if you instead phrased it as the Blacks being the "protagonists" of the Dance. They're just villainous protagonists who cause their own downfall.

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The Blacks are still the good guys. Their cause is the just one, most of the people fighting on their side are morally superior to the Greens.

How can they be good guys when Rhaenyra & Daemon are so obviously villainous? Barristan Selmy is as honorable as they come, and he fought for Aerys II, but Aerys was the primary villain of that conflict and his side was wrong.

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Rhaenyra is tragic figure who is driven to extreme measures by the circumstances, not a character who is evil or cruel from the start.

She is cruel from the start. She ordered Vaemond Velaryon killed for insisting "Laenor's" sons were bastards, clearly a parallel to Cersei. She wanted others tortured & maimed for speaking similarly. And she wasn't "driven" by anything but her own selfish desires to throw a wasteful party for her "Velaryon" son while the people of KL were straining under her taxes, thus helping to incite her overthrow. The real "tragedy" is that Viserys had such awful kids (plus a brother) and left his realm ready to explode on his death (even if he didn't instigate a succession crisis quite as deliberately as Aegon IV did).

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LOL, no, just no. That's way too rigid a view to be taken seriously.

The Westerosi take it seriously. Why do you think they have that cloak ceremony? And can you point to instances of a maternal grandfather in Westeros being a strong influence on his grandchildren? Is the father alive in such cases?

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Bran doesn't make a single political decision. He just acts as a figurehead and is only taken seriously by the Reeds.

Bran learns about the Hornwood succession crisis, and after initially suggesting Ser Rodrik marry Lady Hornwood, he then suggests Larence Snow be named heir. Luwin finds merit in the idea and then says Bran will make a good Lord of Winterfell. Luwin also says a good lord protects the weak & helpless, which is what Bran was doing by sticking up for Hodor against the Walders. Bran tends to do what he's told by older people like Luwin, but this is a contrast to Joffrey disregarding the good advice of people older & wiser than him.

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Who cares? These people staged a coup. They could crown a dog if they wanted to.

I don't think the word "coup" is in the Westerosi vocabulary, and plainly people like Ironrod & Grover Tully did care about the laws of succession. They went over the records of the Great Council of 101 to see which houses supported which candidates, and I already noted how the bastards got no support then. But if I've overlooked any incident where Westerosi supported a dog's claim to the throne, be sure to let me know.

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Again - who cares?

Westerosi care, even if you don't.

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If you stage a coup to remain in power you should choose a puppet king you can control. For Otto Hightower, crowning Aegon II was clearly not exactly a smart decision if we assume Otto wanted to continue to serve as Hand - which seems to be the case.

The notion of choosing anyone else doesn't come up, because Aegon is favored by the laws of succession. In the main series when Robert complains that Ned or Jon Arryn should have been king instead of him, Ned has to correct him by noting that he has the better claim. Robert is being foolish (and selfish) there while Ned is sensible: in the Westerosi context you can't just disregard aristocratic succession in picking a king.

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LOL, that's because Littlefinger is the new Lord Paramount of the Trident. If the Lord of Riverrun were still the Lord Paramount Emmon Frey would indeed be his father's overlord - and there is nothing wrong with that.

When has that ever happened in Westerosi history? If the Lord of Riverrun were still Lord Paramount, the title would be granted to LF instead of Emmon Frey.

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And again - if you stage a coup you can make king whoever you want. They could have easily said that Aegon was unworthy of the Iron Throne due to his character and his clear inability to rule properly.

Aegon IV "the Unworthy" was not excluded from succession despite behaving worse than Aegon II had prior to becoming king. That's just not how succession works. Keeping the worst person off the throne is what Otto was trying to do vs Daemon, but it didn't work out as he planned. If there had been a Great Council then perhaps the various lords could have taken such personal qualities into consideration, but it devolved into war too quickly and Rhaenyra rejected the idea of one when Alicent is said to have suggested it.

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I mean, it is painstakingly obvious how much of a pawn little Aegon is when he complains to his mommy that he wants to be crowned.

If he had actually been a pawn he would have kept Otto as Hand rather than replacing him with Criston. He would sometimes listen to his mother, but not enough for his own good.

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The decision that he is going to be king is not his own, so if the kingmaking Green faction had decided they wanted to crown somebody else then that person would have been crowned ... never mind what Aegon had to say about that.

Aegon rode one of the more dangerous dragons of the time, so setting up anyone else for a conflict with him would have been a worse choice even aside from the matter of succession laws.

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He certainly was loyal to Alicent and Otto during the coup.

To the extent we take Eustace's account of it seriously, he was reluctant and had to be convinced based on Rhaenyra's threat to his family.

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And while Aegon can certainly sack his Hand ... Aegon was a moron

A moron is capable of making his own bad decisions, as Joffrey & Cersei show.

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so one certainly can wonder who fed him the idea

The text gives no indication anyone "fed him" any such idea. Nobody "feeds" Joffrey the idea that he should dismiss Tywin's good advice.

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when Otto was actually doing very good work!

I'm glad you've come around after I had to insist the Aegon's stance on Otto's performance was explicitly referred to as mistaken.

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Going with a lowborn KG as Hand is pretty ususual. The Lannister on his council would have been a more obvious choice.

It is unusual, but he wouldn't be the first KG to serve as Hand either (he replaced a guy who had done it before). Criston was noted for very openly shifting his support from the Blacks to the Greens years prior, whereas Tyland isn't notable prior to that first Green council.

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Aemond was even younger than Aegon II, and had no role in the government whatsoever until he was made Prince Regent.

Yes, Aemond being younger than Aegon II is why the latter was king instead of the former. But Aemond himself was an adult, he'd already been fighting in the Dance, and Aegon II had been supporting him. Aegon was not actually dead, so he could object to a regent not to his preference.

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The Regency should have gone to Alicent or Otto or even to Criston Cole ... but never to Aemond.

Otto would have done a better job, but Aegon had already rejected his approach and replaced him. Aemond had one additional thing in his favor: Aegon was very badly wounded and could have potentially died, which would then make Aemond king. If he's already acting as regent then there's no change in effective authority, and he's already started exercising responsibility.

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2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

It's not really a factual statement, but instead a colorful way of rendering judgment. And while I don't think Eustace had a high opinion of Aemond, he would not have written that.

I'm not sure why anyone should care about your view on Eustace when you neither know the guy nor wrote anything he has ever written aside from a few quotes given by Gyldayn.

Mushroom isn't Eustace - and his 'work' isn't worth all that much - but him saying a guy who basically extinguished an entire noble bloodline for pretty much no reason has 'a black heart' isn't a bad description of that person. It isn't actually a judgment, I think, since having a black heart can be as much insult as explanation for Aemond's behavior.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Why would he "pass the test" by proclaiming something you deem "nonsense"? Haldon doesn't seem pleased with Tyrion either, he's snippy for being upstaged but doesn't have an actual response to Tyrion's argument.

Haldon asked test questions about dragonlore. He wanted Tyrion to answer his question so he knows whether he actually knows dragonlore. He did not want Tyrion to give the impression that he knew more about dragonlore than Haldon did - that's what he did.

But whether Tyrion is actually right about who Byron Swann tried to kill is unclear.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Indeed it is shared by many people (Val claims wildlings always kill their disabled children), but Joffrey is unusual for openly talking about how Bran is nothing to him.

He is nothing to him. The whole thing is not about Bran, but about Joffrey showing that he is strong enough to give a comatose child a mercy killing ... something that his father, King Robert, thought was the right and proper thing to do.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

They only exist in the sense that GRRM made them up, and for his own purposes. When GRRM (as Gyldayn) cites source A for event B, that means A contained B. If he wanted source C to cover it, he could have said so, but if he didn't there's no sense in talking about it as if it did. We're not discussing one of the many unsourced sections here, but instead one where a specific source was given.

Nope. Whenever anyone writes a ficitonal history book then by the mere fact of doing so you create a universe of fictional texts. Like a real history book is full of errors and misquotes and inaccuracies so is a fictional history book - even more so one written by a fictional medieval historians with no modern academic standards.

Like you cannot assume that something that has only been reported by the source given in a real history book, you cannot assume only the source(s) given in a fictional history book did know about and/or report the given event.

That's not so hard to understand - it is the obvious consequence of the fact that there is a fictional history book.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

That doesn't suffice to make Gyldayn "mistaken" about anything, and specifically it cannot do so for an error of "omission" of something we have no reason to believe exists! We know the sources are fallible because Gyldayn himself says as much about multiple claims that he expresses doubt over. But here you're not expressing doubt over a claim sourced to just Eustace, instead you're imagining that the same event was also covered by some other source even though there's no evidence for that.

I'm not claiming anything - I'm just pointing out that Gyldayn giving us a source - or quoting a source - doesn't mean it is only sourced by them. It makes sense to assume he is correct when he specifically says that only one of his sources says something he tells us (but even then he could be mistaken) but if he just says 'Septon Eustace tells us' or 'according to source X' then this doesn't allow us to conclude that only that source reported this. It only allows us that conclude what's there in the text - namely that Gyldayn is of the opinion that source X said that.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Are you saying Gyldayn is clearly horseshit? And if something is horseshit, wouldn't that suffice to make it not actually well attested?

At times, certainly. Gyldayn's entire account on the motives of Princess Viserra seem to be utter horseshit, for instance.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

That's relevant to what it started out, not how the destruction of copies would imply we can't trust what remains.

Not only for that - Gyldayn's words about Coryanne's little bit also tells us that certain subjects (filthy literature, like that of Coryanne and Mushroom, for instance) are not treated with the same reverence as texts written by septons and maesters ... which means they end up being part of the entertainment industry run by unscrupulous scribes and mummers and their ilk.

We can reasonably assume that Mushroom's testimony was originally written by one such scribe, meaning you certainly could make a case that it is a complete fabrication. But even if that's not the case then chances are pretty good that either the original scribe or whoever copied the book later on added his own funny little anecdotes.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

But Gyldayn doesn't say anything about Mushroom's Testimony having multiple titles, or the style of prose varying greatly throughout the book, or about certain versions being much longer than others due to alterations accumulating over time. He just says it's fortunate for us that Baelor wasn't able to destroy all the copies. When he says those things about Coryanne's alleged book specifically they apply to that book. He doesn't say those things about Mushroom's even though he gives other reasons to doubt particular claims from Mushroom.

Gyldayn doesn't tell us anything about the textual history of Mushroom's Testimony, Eustace's big history, or Munkun's True Telling. We don't know how many copies survive, whether they are all identical, etc.

But pretty much no medieval manuscript contains the same text as another, so we can be safely sure that even the maesterly copied manuscripts do contain at least some errors/alterations.

We have no idea how many copies of Mushroom's Testimony Gyldayn has seen. If the Citadel just had one manuscript left - which doesn't seem unlikely considering they have only an incomplete copy of Barth's big work - then Gyldayn could not possibly know if and how much it might differ from other surviving copies.

Also - Gyldayn never bothers with the other episodes in Mushroom's life the Testimony covers. It is not a history of the reign of Viserys I, the Dance, or the Regency but the story of Mushroom's own life - very much like Coryanne's little book is (allegedly) the story of her life.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Called that by the actual text.

Yes, a peace offer if Aegon II kingship was accepted. Just like Aegon would be allowed to keep his head if he were to accept Rhaenyra's queenship.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Correct, it was lacking in the "have your head" part. Not that Aegon II never said such things, just that the more mature people around him acted as filters to maintain a more diplomatic official stance (at least at first).

The peace offer entailed that Rhaenyra and the Velaryons were to keep their holdings and lives if they accepted Aegon's kingship. If they refused it made no such guarantees.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The title of this very forum topic is "Eustace vs Mushroom". And Gyldayn compares/contrasts Eustace to Mushroom repeatedly. The two are supposed to be foils in a number of ways, and one of those ways I will acknowledge is their approach to sex. Eustace will sometimes raise rumors about sexual scandals in order to dismiss them, although he doesn't even do that for Alicent (one could perhaps imagine his personal relationship to her made him treat her differently from Jeyne Arryn). This reluctance does not appear to extend to chalking up a death to murder. He says Lyman Beesbury had his throat cut by Criston Cole whereas Orwyle/Munkun said he died naturally in a dungeon. He says the fire at Harrenhal which killed the Strongs was caused by Daemon hoping to clear a path to marry Rhaenyra (a story I know you doubt). He even chalks up Helaena's suicide to being maliciously induced by Mysaria. So when he doesn't claim Alicent poisoned Viserys, I don't chalk that up to him being as reticent to talk about murder as he is about sex. Instead it fits a pattern of him never being a source for any negative accounts of Alicent.

That isn't convincing to me. For instance, Gyldayn states it as fact that Alicent wanted to learn Blood's true name, so she could bathe in their blood. All is sources don't tell him whether this actually happened, but he seems to have no doubt that Queen Alicent wanted to do that - which would imply that Eustace corroborates that story.

You also seem to have a rather short and limited view of how those books work. Mushroom is clearly making up a lot of shit, including rumors no contemporary ever spread of a believed in ... instead they are exclusively a part of his Testimony and, one imagines, repeated a lot in literature written by people who knew the Testimony (including the works of Gyldayn and Yandel). Eustace seems to raise - and at times dismiss - contemporary rumors he heard at court and from other people.

Those are completely different ways of writing. Mushroom is a sensationalist, Eustace a septon with a layman's interest in history-book writing whose guilty pleasure is to be also interested in salacious rumors - but he doesn't invent such rumors, he merely records and discusses them.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Both sides are villainous in the Dance, and from relatively early on. The Lannisters were clearly the villains from the very first book of ASoIaF, but the Boltons & Freys fought under Robb and betrayed him after events at Winterfell & KL appeared to doom his cause. They're not likable early on, but not clearly the villains like the Lannisters (except for Ramsay, whom Roose disavows and approves when he hears of his death). When Robb's bannerman Rickard Karstark murders hostages, Robb ensures justice by personally executing Rickard (and hanging everyone else who participated) even though that will further alienate the Karstarks against him. The Blacks don't punish anyone for Blood & Cheese (probably the most depraved incident in the Dance), rather Mysaria acts as a Mistress of Whispers once Rhaenyra takes KL. The Blacks have Manfryd Mooton switch sides after Rhaenyra orders him to violate guest-right by killing Nettles. This is not at all a villainous action like the Freys & Boltons turning cloak. Rather, it's clearly the morally correct act like Jon Arryn protecting Ned & Robert. Rhaenyra is portrayed as such an awful ruler that when KL rises up against her it's like the mob rioting against Joffrey rather than a Frey/Bolton-esque betrayal. All this being said, I would agree if you instead phrased it as the Blacks being the "protagonists" of the Dance. They're just villainous protagonists who cause their own downfall.

Blood and Cheese isn't a big thing in the Dance, especially not compared to the tens of thousands of innocent people the Green sacks of Bitterbridge and Tumbleton got killed.

Also, we cannot pretend we know under whose authority Blood and Cheese acted. Daemon reached out to Mysaria who hired those the two men ... but did she give them the order to target Helaena and her children? It is implied that she did not, since we are informed that the original target of the two seems to have been Aegon II himself. If they decided on their own to target Helaena and the children - like they also decided on their own which child they killed - neither Mysaria nor Daemon are actually directly responsible for the murder.

More importantly, Blood was captured and punished quite harshly for his role in the murder. Should Rhaenyra have punished his corpse? Cheese seems to have disappeared.

If we knew for a fact that Rhaenyra/Daemon/Mysaria had commanded to target Helaena and the children I'd agree that they were to be blamed for what happened. But as it is stands, we don't know that and have reasons to believe they were given explicitly that order.

The Blacks do also not fall down. They win the war, and Rhaenyra and Daemon's sons continue House Targaryen. Dynastically and as a succession war, the Dance is a total victory for the Blacks. With Rhaenyra dead, the question whether women should or shouldn't rule becomes irrelevant. The important point is that Rhaenyra's sons take the Iron Throne.

Nobody said that the Blacks as a group were shining or morally inspiring heroes - but they are the heroes nonetheless. Most people fighting on the Black side are very good and inspiring people, especially the rank-and-file of the Black Riverlanders.

Things like Blood and Cheese or the Maidenpool incident you can put in the same category as Arya's murders, Sansa helping to poison her first cousin, Wyman Manderly feeding Freys to their relatives, or Bran possessing Hodor against his will.

All of that isn't nice, either, but it doesn't change the fact that these people all still qualify as 'good guys'.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

How can they be good guys when Rhaenyra & Daemon are so obviously villainous? Barristan Selmy is as honorable as they come, and he fought for Aerys II, but Aerys was the primary villain of that conflict and his side was wrong.

Aerys II is a tragic figure as well. He is a man suffering from a mental illness to the point that he was no longer responsible for his actions - the way he's described at Harrenhal shows this.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

She is cruel from the start. She ordered Vaemond Velaryon killed for insisting "Laenor's" sons were bastards, clearly a parallel to Cersei. She wanted others tortured & maimed for speaking similarly. And she wasn't "driven" by anything but her own selfish desires to throw a wasteful party for her "Velaryon" son while the people of KL were straining under her taxes, thus helping to incite her overthrow. The real "tragedy" is that Viserys had such awful kids (plus a brother) and left his realm ready to explode on his death (even if he didn't instigate a succession crisis quite as deliberately as Aegon IV did).

LOL, even if this were a parallel to Cersei - acting similarly to Cersei doesn't turn you into Cersei or 'a villain'. Vaemond Velaryon tried steal Driftmark from Corlys' rightful heirs and got punished accordingly.

The idea that a lavish celebration for which there were made plans were the reasons why Rhaenyra raised the taxes is laughable. We do know that the treasury was empty when she took the city. She had to raise the taxes to simply continue her war and maintain the government of the Realm. It even shows her modesty that she planned only a celebration for Joff's investiture as Heir Apparent and Prince of Dragonstone than throwing a more expensive party to celebrate her own coronation - which she could and should have had now that she finally sat on the Iron Throne.

The lack of coin was so devastating for her cause that Gyldayn goes as far as to tell us that Tyland Lannister's decision to split up the treasury and never reveal where the money was was the deciding decision that caused Rhaenyra's downfall.

Which, in the end, means that Rhaenyra's alleged 'misrule' in KL - what made her so unpopular - was more inherent necessity on her part - the circumstances that constrained her - than incompetence. If she had had plenty of money to throw at her subjects, if she had had the means to reduce the taxes instead of being forced to raise them, the Kingslanders wouldn't have had any severe problems with her rule.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The Westerosi take it seriously. Why do you think they have that cloak ceremony? And can you point to instances of a maternal grandfather in Westeros being a strong influence on his grandchildren? Is the father alive in such cases?

LOL, just let it go. Brynden Tully - while not Robb's grandfather but his maternal granduncle - plays a very crucial role in his life. Tywin plays a considerable role in the life of Cersei's and Genna's children, Walder Frey in the lives of many children of his daughters and granddaughters, etc.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Bran learns about the Hornwood succession crisis, and after initially suggesting Ser Rodrik marry Lady Hornwood, he then suggests Larence Snow be named heir. Luwin finds merit in the idea and then says Bran will make a good Lord of Winterfell. Luwin also says a good lord protects the weak & helpless, which is what Bran was doing by sticking up for Hodor against the Walders. Bran tends to do what he's told by older people like Luwin, but this is a contrast to Joffrey disregarding the good advice of people older & wiser than him.

Since all that leads nowhere, Bran was not able to enact a (lasting) political decision. Bran was never groomed to rule until he was forced to - then folks start to help him with his new role.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I don't think the word "coup" is in the Westerosi vocabulary, and plainly people like Ironrod & Grover Tully did care about the laws of succession. They went over the records of the Great Council of 101 to see which houses supported which candidates, and I already noted how the bastards got no support then. But if I've overlooked any incident where Westerosi supported a dog's claim to the throne, be sure to let me know.

That's all irrelevant because the lawful Heir Apparent of the Iron Throne in 129 AC was Rhaenyra - since the royal decree of 105 AC.

There being a bunch of people with different opinions doesn't erase a royal decree. Nobody ever says that King Viserys I had no right to make Rhaenyra his heir ... or that it was illegal to do so.

Thus the whole thing was a coup. They crowned a king who wasn't the anointed heir of the successor and they did that in secret without informing the actual heir that her father the king was dead.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Westerosi care, even if you don't.

Traitorous Westerosi, you mean.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The notion of choosing anyone else doesn't come up, because Aegon is favored by the laws of succession. In the main series when Robert complains that Ned or Jon Arryn should have been king instead of him, Ned has to correct him by noting that he has the better claim. Robert is being foolish (and selfish) there while Ned is sensible: in the Westerosi context you can't just disregard aristocratic succession in picking a king.

You certainly can do that - it might not be wise to do so ... but we are talking whether making Aegon a king was a wise decision, remember? And I said - and say - that if they wanted to make a king of their own choosing - which Aegon was since the rightful heir chosen by the actual king, Viserys I, was Rhaenyra - then they should have made an actual competent king.

That they could have done that is painstakingly obvious. The Greens controlled the court, they imprisoned anyone who might even think about opposing them. If they had wanted to make Aemond or Daeron or Jaehaerys or Maelor or some royal bastard, etc. king then they could have just as well imprisoned or murdered all the people who insisted that Aegon should be the king, right?

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

When has that ever happened in Westerosi history? If the Lord of Riverrun were still Lord Paramount, the title would be granted to LF instead of Emmon Frey.

LOL, no. Littlefinger was named Lord Paramount and Lord of Harrenhal long before anyone offered Riverrun to Emmon Frey. If Littlefinger had never been made Lord Paramount and then Emmon could and would have become his father's overlord.

And this can happen all the time. A king can grant the son of some lord a lordship of his own and then make that lord the overlord of the entire region, his father included.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Aegon IV "the Unworthy" was not excluded from succession despite behaving worse than Aegon II had prior to becoming king. That's just not how succession works. Keeping the worst person off the throne is what Otto was trying to do vs Daemon, but it didn't work out as he planned. If there had been a Great Council then perhaps the various lords could have taken such personal qualities into consideration, but it devolved into war too quickly and Rhaenyra rejected the idea of one when Alicent is said to have suggested it.

LOL, they were staging a coup. They could have crowned whoever they wanted. They controlled everything.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

If he had actually been a pawn he would have kept Otto as Hand rather than replacing him with Criston. He would sometimes listen to his mother, but not enough for his own good.

Aegon II started out as a pawn and figurehead king ... and I'd say he remained that until the end. He just passed from Alicent's and Otto's hands to Criston's, then to Larys' and Marston's and the hands of the Toms and Alfred Broome, and then back to those Alicent and Borros and Larys again.

The only independent political decisions the guy seems to have made was commissioning the silly statues for his brothers and burning hundreds of people.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Aegon rode one of the more dangerous dragons of the time, so setting up anyone else for a conflict with him would have been a worse choice even aside from the matter of succession laws.

Sunfyre was a pretty small dragon ... but who cares about dragons when you control the persons of the dragonriders? If Otto and Alicent had wanted to crown Daeron they could have imprisoned Aegon and Aemond to ensure their compliance.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

To the extent we take Eustace's account of it seriously, he was reluctant and had to be convinced based on Rhaenyra's threat to his family.

I meant Criston Cole there, not Aegon. Aegon is so insignificant as a player that his opinion doesn't really matter. They could have crowned him against his will easily enough.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The text gives no indication anyone "fed him" any such idea. Nobody "feeds" Joffrey the idea that he should dismiss Tywin's good advice.

Aegon strikes me as a guy even more stupid than Joffrey. Joffrey would have been smart enough that his people are about to kill him in the end. He also understood that he was in real danger during the Blackwater.

Joffrey also never sacked his maternal grandfather. Otto was the real kingmaker here. Aegon turning against him is a clear betrayal, and even I think he was stupid enough to come up with the idea to sack his grandfather and greatest ally all by himself. He must have known that this could cause problems in his own family.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I'm glad you've come around after I had to insist the Aegon's stance on Otto's performance was explicitly referred to as mistaken.

I've not come around here, I have always thought that Otto Hightower was pretty effective and could have won the war for Aegon II, possibly even by keeping the actual fighting out of the Crownlands.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

It is unusual, but he wouldn't be the first KG to serve as Hand either (he replaced a guy who had done it before). Criston was noted for very openly shifting his support from the Blacks to the Greens years prior, whereas Tyland isn't notable prior to that first Green council.

Crison is a known turncloak as his switching allegiances show. He is also of very low birth. The Handship is something that rarely goes to lowborn, possibly untrustworthy fellows. Not to mention that the last KG Hand was a complete disaster.

The conclusion that Criston wanted Aegon II to make him Hand is thus not exactly unlikely.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Yes, Aemond being younger than Aegon II is why the latter was king instead of the former. But Aemond himself was an adult, he'd already been fighting in the Dance, and Aegon II had been supporting him. Aegon was not actually dead, so he could object to a regent not to his preference.

We don't know if Aegon was asked whether there should be a regency or whether anybody cared for his opinion who should rule the Realm in his stead.

Aemond had no experience with the government of the Realm ... which is something a regent should have.

2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Otto would have done a better job, but Aegon had already rejected his approach and replaced him. Aemond had one additional thing in his favor: Aegon was very badly wounded and could have potentially died, which would then make Aemond king. If he's already acting as regent then there's no change in effective authority, and he's already started exercising responsibility.

LOL, aren't you the guy insisting on the line of succession and stuff? Maelor Targaryen was Aegon's suriviving son and thus 'the rightful heir' until Aegon II named a different heir - which he never did as far as we know.

It is quite clear that Aemond may have seized the throne if Aegon II had died - regardless whether he was regent or not - but that would then have been the same kind of coup/usurpation that had made Aegon II king earlier.

Or perhaps not as drastic an usurpation if Aegon II had never formally acknowledged his children as his immediate heirs - but that must strike us as very unlikely since folks from both factions later still view Jaehaera as having a better claim than Aegon III.

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First of all, thank you for laying this all out the way you have. It's much easier to go through the contrasting accounts of the whole story when they're presented this way.

I have decided to completely ignore all the other comments and go in blind with my response, since I'm sure there's a lot of debating going on about this.

On 12/13/2021 at 9:15 PM, James Steller said:

1) The reason for why Daemon was forced to leave King's Landing (Eustace says he seduced Rhaenyra, Mushroom says that he taught her how to seduce Criston Cole)

I'm going to go with Eustace. Viserys probably wouldn't have let Criston Cole remain Rhaenyra's sworn shield if she had tried to seduce him.

On 12/13/2021 at 9:15 PM, James Steller said:

2) The last night before Rhaenyra's departure from King's Landing to be married (Eustace says that Rhaenyra turned down Criston Cole's elopement idea, Mushroom says Criston Cole spurned Rhaenyra's advances until she found comfort in Harwin Strong's arms)

Definitely Eustace. I'll be surprised to see if any women pick Mushroom for this one. Unfortunately, there are men out there who will try to destroy a woman's life for spurning them, and that's what Criston did. Him hating Rhaenyra because she tried to seduce him makes no sense; if anything, he'd probably feel guilty for hurting her feelings.

On 12/13/2021 at 9:15 PM, James Steller said:

3) The parentage of Rhaenyra's first three sons (Eustace says it was Laenor Velaryon, Mushroom says it was Ser Harwin Strong)

Mushroom. If three of your kids resemble the mailman, you should be suspicious.

On 12/13/2021 at 9:15 PM, James Steller said:

4) The reason for Laenor Velaryon's murder (Eustace says it was due to sexual bickering and jealousy, Mushroom says it was a plot by Prince Daemon to get Laenor out of the way)

Neither. It was Alicent and the Hightowers, who were making one last attempt at a marriage between Aegon and Rhaenyra. There's no mention of Aegon ever being betrothed to anyone, and he did not marry Helaena until after Rhaenyra and Daemon were wed.

On 12/13/2021 at 9:15 PM, James Steller said:

5) The perpetrator of the fire at Harrenhal which killed Lyonel and Harwin Strong (Eustace blames Daemon Targaryen, Mushroom blames Corlys Velaryon)

If the Hightowers killed Laenor, then they were probably behind this too. I tend to think that Rhaenyra was in love with Harwin, since if it was just about sex/having children, she could have found a paramour who looked Valyrian. Plus she wasn't getting any emotional fulfillment out of her marriage to Laenor; by all accounts, they only saw each other a few times per year. So killing Harwin would remove any possibility of him fathering any more children with her during a second marriage or, if Rhaenyra was crazy enough, her seizing the opportunity to marry Harwin now that Laenor was out of the picture (he was the heir to Harrenhall after all).

On 12/13/2021 at 9:15 PM, James Steller said:

6) Aegon the Elder when told of his father's death (Eustace says he was at bed with a trader's daughter and refused the crown at first, Mushroom says he was in Flea Bottom being serviced by a child prostitute) 

Mostly Eustace. Aegon probably was in the Red Keep, but his future actions make it very unlikely that he ever had any reservations about usurping his sister, as Eustace claims he did.

On 12/13/2021 at 9:15 PM, James Steller said:

7) The death of Maelor Targaryen (Eustace blames the town butcher, Mushroom blames Willow Pound-Stone) and Rhaenyra's reaction (Eustace says she smiled, Mushroom says she wept)

Neither. Maelor was killed by an angry mob, the same way Preston Greenfield and Aron Santagar were in ACOK. Rhaenyra's a noblewoman and has been hardened by her own losses. She knows better than to smile at the death of a child in court. In all likelihood, she probably took the news stone-faced.

On 12/13/2021 at 9:15 PM, James Steller said:

8) Rhaenyra's reaction to Alicent's proposal to split the realm and her accusation of bastardy (Eustace says she threatened to take Alicent's tongue, Mushroom claims Rhaenyra chained Alicent and Helaena in a brothel for any man's use)

Eustace. For all her faults, Rhaenyra doesn't seem to have relied on torture (with Tyland being the notable exception), and I would consider selling Alicent and Helaena into sex slavery to be a form of torture. She usually went straight for execution.

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23 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

First of all, thank you for laying this all out the way you have. It's much easier to go through the contrasting accounts of the whole story when they're presented this way.

Just adding a few comments since I like some of your takes.

23 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

I'm going to go with Eustace. Viserys probably wouldn't have let Criston Cole remain Rhaenyra's sworn shield if she had tried to seduce him.

That - and Rhaenyra would have to be an utter fool to try the same routine a few years later shortly before her wedding. If you try to seduce a guy in a weird way once you don't try it again in the same manner. This is pretty much a textbook case of Mushroom being inconsistent as hell and recycling the same plot device again, possibly because he has a bad moment and cannot come up with another way to entertain the scribe milking him for information.

Also, Mushroom's entire take on the apparently well-known attraction/romance between Criston and Rhaenyra (to the point that they still talk about that in Dorne over 150 years later) smells like Mushroom trying to give Criston Cole and the entire story a new spin. Sort of like: 'You have heard Criston Cole had the hots for the princess? Guess again! I, Mushroom of the Largest Member, tell you THE ACTUAL STORY!'

But - of course - with the king and others finding out the story as given by Mushroom should have had severe repercussions at court. Criston Cole losing his sworn shield job would just be a minor result. Mushroom may have been executed or at least banished for getting his member to close to Rhaenyra instead of being allowed to entertain her on Dragonstone in later years, and we could also expect this to result in Viserys I to change the succession since it is a pretty big thing to assume he would have wanted to have an heir who behaved in such a way.

23 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Definitely Eustace. I'll be surprised to see if any women pick Mushroom for this one. Unfortunately, there are men out there who will try to destroy a woman's life for spurning them, and that's what Criston did. Him hating Rhaenyra because she tried to seduce him makes no sense; if anything, he'd probably feel guilty for hurting her feelings.

Yes, and in context he would have asked the king to separate them back in 111 AC when Rhaenyra made her first attempt to seduce him if Viserys I hadn't done that himself.

We have to keep in mind that the KG are supposed to be celibate, so the merest rumor that they might have an affair with a woman - especially a royal princess! - could have resulted in Criston to be disgraced. And the biggest precedent here is old Ser Lucamore the Lusty, so Criston would have considerable reason to fear that Rhaenyra might ruin him (or get him killed) by claiming he had sex with her.

23 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Neither. It was Alicent and the Hightowers, who were making one last attempt at a marriage between Aegon and Rhaenyra. There's no mention of Aegon ever being betrothed to anyone, and he did not marry Helaena until after Rhaenyra and Daemon were wed.

That is an interesting idea, one I like as well ... but as I said above this is also one of the cases where we could just have a genuine murder committed by a jealous lover/friend. Correy disappearing is odd, but his wagering and whatnot could indicate he connected with organized crime and they did away with him when he asked them for help to get off Driftmark rather than risk the wrath of the Sea Snake (or, possibly worse, that of Princess Rhaenys).

Another take could be that the Velaryons did kill Correy quietly because he knew too much about the parentage of Laenor's children and they did not want a public trial to cast further doubt on that. That might make sense, for instance, if Correy was found by Corlys immediately after the Vhagar incident.

In fact, in such a scenario, Rhaenyra and Viserys I may have commanded/insisted that this be dealt with quietly. Corlys' bounty would then be just for show.

23 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

If the Hightowers killed Laenor, then they were probably behind this too. I tend to think that Rhaenyra was in love with Harwin, since if it was just about sex/having children, she could have found a paramour who looked Valyrian. Plus she wasn't getting any emotional fulfillment out of her marriage to Laenor; by all accounts, they only saw each other a few times per year. So killing Harwin would remove any possibility of him fathering any more children with her during a second marriage or, if Rhaenyra was crazy enough, her seizing the opportunity to marry Harwin now that Laenor was out of the picture (he was the heir to Harrenhall after all).

Here just an accident also makes a lot of sense. If not, then I prefer the Larys Strong version, although even that is lacking sufficient motivation in light of the fact we have no clue whether Larys got along with Harwin and Lyonel ... nor whether he actually wanted to be Lord of Harrenhal. He isn't even married during the Dance, indicating he felt no rush to father heirs who could succeed him as Lord of Harrenhal.

My gut feeling is that neither Daemon nor Viserys I nor the Hightowers nor Rhaenyra had sufficient agents in place at Harrenhal to cause a fire there. Those Strongs seem to be rather sly people, especially Lyonel and Larys, and Harwin also knew how to get what he wanted, so I doubt you could easily buy your way into their castle and get the people there to act as your arsonists.

If it was no accident then the person arranging it must have already had people in place, so a spur of the moment thing like Viserys I wanting to kill Harwin and accidentally killing his Hand in the process of that, or Daemon jumping on a chance to kill Rhaenyra's lover seem to be very far-fetched.

The idea that Rhaenyra could have married Harwin after the Vhagar affair is not very likely. The king had separated them, so if they had dared to marry afterwards there would have been severe repercussions, possibly resulting in Rhaenyra being disinherited and/or Harwin being executed.

23 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Mostly Eustace. Aegon probably was in the Red Keep, but his future actions make it very unlikely that he ever had any reservations about usurping his sister, as Eustace claims he did.

I think all sources are in agreement that Aegon was with a mistress. Munkun is vague claiming he was 'at his revels', Eustace talks about well-cared for daughter of a wealthy trader ... but that would imply he was with her, i.e. outside the castle since trader's daughters usually don't live in the Red Keep.

23 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Neither. Maelor was killed by an angry mob, the same way Preston Greenfield and Aron Santagar were in ACOK. Rhaenyra's a noblewoman and has been hardened by her own losses. She knows better than to smile at the death of a child in court. In all likelihood, she probably took the news stone-faced.

That is the gist of it ... although either detailed version could be based on reports that eventually reached KL. Gyldayn's broad retelling of that story can imply that various people took great effort to collect all the information about the events at Bitterbridge.

23 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Eustace. For all her faults, Rhaenyra doesn't seem to have relied on torture (with Tyland being the notable exception), and I would consider selling Alicent and Helaena into sex slavery to be a form of torture. She usually went straight for execution.

The Brothel Queens seem to be one of the stories Gyldayn himself considers to be one of the least likely stories he mentions, so that's very unlikely indeed.

Rhaenyra had time and opportunity to do whatever she wanted with Alicent and Helaena ... and she seems to have done literally nothing to the former, possibly keeping her in the same chambers the Greens kept her in after her mental breakdown. Making it extremely unlikely she would ever do something like that to her.

In context, Helaena isn't even a relevant rival of Rhaenyra since she is just a queen consort, going along with the plans her mother and grandfather and brothers made. As long as her person is secure and she cannot prop up any of her sons as rival pretenders she poses no threat at all.

And Alicent should have been executed. That Rhaenyra basically spared the life of her greatest enemy shows how reluctant she was to command the death of women, how unlike she was like actual tyrants like Maegor. And how soft compared to a woman like Visenya who burned multiple castles in a single night.

Nettles is the only woman she ever targets, and that only after her entire council and the scheming Mysaria push her into a mad rage.

This whole episode is very much a kind of blank space where people don't know why something that should have happened didn't happen - and then they come up with various 'explanations' for this - one of which is the weird Brothel Queens storyline.

Another such blank space is why the hell Rhaenyra didn't kill Alicent - or at least take her with her - when she fled KL. Not to mention what the hell Mysaria thought when she stayed behind.

Edited by Lord Varys
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The more I think about it, the less sense it makes that the Greens trusted Larys Strong so much. He was Harwin’s younger brother and therefore uncle to the princes. He’s also the only real contender for Daemon’s spy on the Green Council. The only question is why he helped Aegon II escape King’s Landing.

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1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

The more I think about it, the less sense it makes that the Greens trusted Larys Strong so much. He was Harwin’s younger brother and therefore uncle to the princes. He’s also the only real contender for Daemon’s spy on the Green Council. The only question is why he helped Aegon II escape King’s Landing.

I guess to have leverage over Rhaenyra and Daemon if he were ever captured. We have to keep in mind that Aegon is basically completely at Larys' mercy until Sunfyre returns to Dragonstone (which nobody could have foreseen). The people caring for Aegon aren't his people - they are Larys' people.

In the end it looks as if Larys was more or less after the Iron Throne. He is the guy behind Ser Perkin the Flea and 'King' Trystane Truefyre (who may actually have been Viserys' bastard in light of the fact that Robert also had his Master of Whisperer take care of his bastards, so Larys may have known where the one secret bastard of Viserys I was) and he only pretends to switch back to the Greens when Lord Borros shows up and Aegon II has killed Rhaenyra and taken possession of Dragonstone.

The restored Aegon II is even more of a pawn of his advisers than the boy who took the throne in 129 AC, so if they had actually restored order he may have controlled the cripple for the remainder of his reign - which wouldn't have been *that long* considering his injuries - to then run the government in the name of Aegon II's successor.

When that didn't work out his plan was to use Aegon III as a puppet king - who was even better suited for that role considering his personality. And Aegon III did trust Corlys and Larys since they actually got rid of his evil uncle and put him on the throne. If Cregan Stark hadn't interfered, Larys Strong could have been the Bloodraven of his era, ruling the Realm as Hand for the next thirty or forty years.

Larys being a crucial player behind the riots against Rhaenyra is odd only at first glance. After the Two Betrayers switched sides KL was about to be burned by Green dragons. The only way to save the city was to get rid of Rhaenyra before the dragons arrived.

One can see him handing the city back to her like he later did hand it to Aegon II if Rhaenyra had returned from Dragonstone with a dragon instead of Aegon II.

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I guess to have leverage over Rhaenyra and Daemon if he were ever captured. We have to keep in mind that Aegon is basically completely at Larys' mercy until Sunfyre returns to Dragonstone (which nobody could have foreseen). The people caring for Aegon aren't his people - they are Larys' people.

In the end it looks as if Larys was more or less after the Iron Throne. He is the guy behind Ser Perkin the Flea and 'King' Trystane Truefyre (who may actually have been Viserys' bastard in light of the fact that Robert also had his Master of Whisperer take care of his bastards, so Larys may have known where the one secret bastard of Viserys I was) and he only pretends to switch back to the Greens when Lord Borros shows up and Aegon II has killed Rhaenyra and taken possession of Dragonstone.

The restored Aegon II is even more of a pawn of his advisers than the boy who took the throne in 129 AC, so if they had actually restored order he may have controlled the cripple for the remainder of his reign - which wouldn't have been *that long* considering his injuries - to then run the government in the name of Aegon II's successor.

When that didn't work out his plan was to use Aegon III as a puppet king - who was even better suited for that role considering his personality. And Aegon III did trust Corlys and Larys since they actually got rid of his evil uncle and put him on the throne. If Cregan Stark hadn't interfered, Larys Strong could have been the Bloodraven of his era, ruling the Realm as Hand for the next thirty or forty years.

Larys being a crucial player behind the riots against Rhaenyra is odd only at first glance. After the Two Betrayers switched sides KL was about to be burned by Green dragons. The only way to save the city was to get rid of Rhaenyra before the dragons arrived.

One can see him handing the city back to her like he later did hand it to Aegon II if Rhaenyra had returned from Dragonstone with a dragon instead of Aegon II.

Yeah, it’s unclear how much his family meant to him. He didn’t move against Rhaenyra when Jace and Luke were alive, but Joffrey was still alive by the time of the riot. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle it in the show.

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20 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Yeah, it’s unclear how much his family meant to him. He didn’t move against Rhaenyra when Jace and Luke were alive, but Joffrey was still alive by the time of the riot. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle it in the show.

Well, if family meant anything to him then Larys should have turned against the Greens the moment he learned what Aemond did at Harrenhal. But it seems that Rhaenyra took KL before that happened, since Aemond butchered the Strongs after he learned what had happened in KL.

Larys could have saved Aegon II and his children to go then underground because he knew when Daemon and Rhaenyra came to KL that Aemond would take Harrenhal ... and then things would go very well for his family and friends there if they were to learn that Larys Strong was sitting on the Black Council at Rhaenyra's side.

We can also kind of assume that Larys couldn't remove Aegon II and the children without Alicent's knowledge and involvement (she acted as surrogate mother for them, after all, and they all lived in Maegor's Holdfast where nobody can just march in), so we could speculate that Larys may have hoped or wanted that the Greens remaining at court would inform Aemond what he did for their cause.

That Larys Strong later seems to have had *never* any intention to continue to work with Aegon II and Alicent might be a direct consequence of Aemond's actions at Harrenhal. While Aegon II's fate is sealed when Borros Baratheon loses on the Kingsroad, Larys were already actively working against him even before his situation was hopeless. Larys' entire take to insist on the betrothal of Aegon and Jaehaera is obviously a preparation to install Aegon III as the next king even while Aegon II had still a very small chance to win the war.

And it is a very subtle and successful move since convincing the king to have Aegon the Younger as his presumptive heir made it very hard for any remaining Greens to continue to the war after Aegon II was finally out of the way.

In that sense, what we can say about Larys' final actions is that he wanted to get rid of Aegon II and Alicent, that he wanted an end of the war that didn't destroy KL even further (he and Perkin were only behind Perkin's riots, not the Shepherd's madness), and a government effectively run by him (he got everything but the latter).

Sacking and executing Larys may have been one of Cregan's biggest blunders. Larys as one of the regents - or even Aegon III's Hand - would have made the Regency a peaceful and quiet era, not the shitshow that started when Corlys and Tyland died.

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On 1/9/2022 at 4:05 PM, Lord Varys said:

I'm not sure why anyone should care about your view on Eustace when you neither know the guy nor wrote anything he has ever written aside from a few quotes given by Gyldayn.

No one can make you care about anything, and yes my knowledge all comes from what Gyldayn has given us. Gyldayn describes his text as "dry", refers to him as disliking Rhaenyra, and both of us doubt his account of the supposedly "grasping" Aegon II turning down the crown. So he's both not colorful enough to write such a thing, and it wouldn't fit his known slant.

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Mushroom isn't Eustace - and his 'work' isn't worth all that much - but him saying a guy who basically extinguished an entire noble bloodline for pretty much no reason has 'a black heart'

Aemond hadn't killed anybody up until that point, and Mushroom's quote is comparing the specific day he killed Lucerys to Aemond's heart. If the quote had been about him killing the Strongs, that would be another story (but I don't think Mushroom would have cared as much about them since it's not like he spent much time with Lyonel).

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It isn't actually a judgment, I think, since having a black heart can be as much insult as explanation for Aemond's behavior.

What is the distinction?

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He did not want Tyrion to give the impression that he knew more about dragonlore than Haldon did - that's what he did.

Why would Tyrion spouting "nonsense" give the impression that he knows more rather than less? Shouldn't that be failing the test?

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But whether Tyrion is actually right about who Byron Swann tried to kill is unclear.

Does GRRM do anything to cast doubt on Tyrion's claim?

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He is nothing to him. The whole thing is not about Bran, but about Joffrey showing that he is strong enough to give a comatose child a mercy killing ... something that his father, King Robert, thought was the right and proper thing to do.

How is he "showing" anything to anyone if he can't claim credit for it?

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Whenever anyone writes a ficitonal history book then by the mere fact of doing so you create a universe of fictional texts.

There are no texts created other than the ones GRRM invented.

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Like a real history book is full of errors and misquotes and inaccuracies so is a fictional history book - even more so one written by a fictional medieval historians with no modern academic standards.

GRRM's works of fiction are not like real works of non-fiction. Reality in his "universe" is what he declares it to be. In the real world, I have to take into account the possibility of an author being mistaken or else I'll perpetually be surprised when someone else publishes something showing the prior publication to be inaccurate. That's not the case here. No one but GRRM gets to write in this universe (the TV show is a separate universe) and there will never be any post-Gyldayn revisionist revealing Gyldayn to have misled his readers.

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That's not so hard to understand - it is the obvious consequence of the fact that there is a fictional history book.

You're not putting enough weight on the fact that it's fictional. There is no true reality in that "universe" other than what GRRM has written. And something true at one time can be retconned later by his say-so, completely unlike reality. If GRRM was actually constrained so that everything he wrote had to be consistent & follow consistent laws of fictional science (like a computer simulation), then you could model it more like "reality". But that's not the case. He makes things up as he goes along, and the "reality" of his fictional world warps itself to fit.

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It makes sense to assume he is correct when he specifically says that only one of his sources says something he tells us (but even then he could be mistaken)

How could he be "mistaken"? Is GRRM going to publish the full texts of his sources to show such a mistake exists?

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namely that Gyldayn is of the opinion that source X said that

That's not an "opinion". Whether someone said something or not is a factual matter (although here all "facts" are fiction).

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Gyldayn's entire account on the motives of Princess Viserra seem to be utter horseshit, for instance.

Why do you say that? It's not like we have accounts of her outside of Gyldayn to contradict him.

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Coryanne's little bit also tells us that certain subjects (filthy literature, like that of Coryanne and Mushroom, for instance)

Coryanne's entire supposed account is about her sexual experiences in a variety of places. It's an episodic erotic novel in form, which is why it's found in brothels. Gyldayn says it's "unfortunate" that he must discuss the "distasteful" book, in contrast to him talking about how fortunate it is that Mushroom's text is available. And if a maester like Gyldayn regards it as very fortunate that Mushroom's record of his time with notable historical figures is available, it should not be odd at all for maesters to make copies without all those "improvements" found in various editions of A Caution. Dragonstone's maester Gerardys was killed, so Mushroom's account of events there would be quite valuable to fill in the gaps his writings would have provided had he lived. Gyldayn even finds his post-KL writings to be "valuable", and says it is "sadly" that he must leave those aside due to Mushroom telling "truths" others wouldn't.

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But even if that's not the case then chances are pretty good that either the original scribe or whoever copied the book later on added his own funny little anecdotes.

Gyldayn strongly disapproves of that in his commentary on A Caution. Don't you think it's odd he makes no reference to even the possibility of additions when he discusses Mushroom's Testimony, instead chalking up certain doubtful portions to "Mushroom being Mushroom"?

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But pretty much no medieval manuscript contains the same text as another, so we can be safely sure that even the maesterly copied manuscripts do contain at least some errors/alterations.

Then why does Gyldayn single out A Caution for having such alterations? Isn't the simplest explanation that GRRM does not have an actual background as a medieval historian and is instead a writer of fiction inspired by historical fiction?

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We have no idea how many copies of Mushroom's Testimony Gyldayn has seen.

As many as GRRM wants him to have. He can have a copy in which Mushroom himself personally marked an 'X' as a signature or a handprint or anything (like a documented chain of custody) no matter how implausible because GRRM faces no constraints from an actual reality. But if GRRM only wanted him to only have one copy of uncertain authenticity, he could have had that and said so.

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If the Citadel just had one manuscript left - which doesn't seem unlikely considering they have only an incomplete copy of Barth's big work

GRRM decided Barth's work would only survive in complete form (because it alludes to magic he wants to keep mysterious). He could have done the same for Mushroom (which was written many decades later in-universe anyway), but he didn't. If you want a Watsonian explanation for this discrepancy, Barth was a Septon so his writings were more likely to be kept by the Faith and thus vulnerable to Baelor's influence over it.

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Also - Gyldayn never bothers with the other episodes in Mushroom's life the Testimony covers. It is not a history of the reign of Viserys I, the Dance, or the Regency but the story of Mushroom's own life

The reason he "sadly" doesn't cover later episodes is because Mushroom went to serve in White Harbor, and Gyldayn's history is about the Targaryens.

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Yes, a peace offer if Aegon II kingship was accepted. Just like Aegon would be allowed to keep his head if he were to accept Rhaenyra's queenship.

Aegon made a "generous" offer to grant Dragonstone as a heritable fiefdom with her sons recognized as heirs, despite his previous aspersions toward them. This was an attempt to give her something valuable enough to seem preferable over fighting. Rhaenyra's ultimatum was all stick with no carrot, and (unlike Aegon's offer) no guarantees to any non-kin not to kill them, thus guaranteeing that those people would fight her to the death. And however unjust you may regard it, granting members of a dictatorial regime immunity for their acts while in power is a common approach to make them willing to give up power in the first place.

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The peace offer entailed that Rhaenyra and the Velaryons were to keep their holdings and lives if they accepted Aegon's kingship. If they refused it made no such guarantees.

What kind of offer contains guarantees for what will happen if it's rejected? A threat.

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For instance, Gyldayn states it as fact that Alicent wanted to learn Blood's true name, so she could bathe in their blood. All is sources don't tell him whether this actually happened, but he seems to have no doubt that Queen Alicent wanted to do that - which would imply that Eustace corroborates that story.

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Queen Alicent had commanded Larys Clubfoot to learn his true name, so that she might bathe in the blood of his wife and children, but our sources do not say if this occurred.

I read that differently. The sources confirm Alicent's order, but don't say if his true name was learned or what happened to Blood's family (if anything).

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he doesn't invent such rumors, he merely records and discusses them

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Septon Eustace suggests that Lady Mysaria, the White Worm, chose this night to tell Helaena of the death of her son Maelor, and the grisly manner of his passing, though what motive she would have had for doing so, beyond simple malice, is hard to fathom.

It doesn't say he referenced an existing rumor, instead he just came up with that himself. "Suggest" is also the term used when Eustace provides a dragon for Byron to target in letter post-dating his history, and again Gyldayn doubts Eustace. Nor, I would add, is there any indication that Eustace was picking up on an existing rumor in his account of Aegon turning down the crown that both of us doubt (though in this case it's plausible a confidant like Alicent could relay such an account to him).

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Blood and Cheese isn't a big thing in the Dance

What makes it "not a big thing"? Gyldayn attributes Rhaenyra's overthrow to popular revulsion at her actions, writing "Rhaenyra was hated; Helaena had been loved. Nor had the common folk of the city forgotten the cruel murder of Prince Jaehaerys by Blood and Cheese". On a narrative level, that's premeditated murder of a completely innocent child at a time before open warfare has yet broken out, and it sends the two sides into spirals of atrocities with neither being willing to make peace after such blood has been shed. Helaena herself is depicted as practically a non-entity afterward due to the psychological sadism inflicted on her. Recall that the main series of ASoIaF hinged on Ned Stark abhorring the murder of innocent children, and that theme continues with Davos disobeying his king to save the life of a bastard boy even if his sacrifice is to save the whole world.

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Also, we cannot pretend we know under whose authority Blood and Cheese acted. Daemon reached out to Mysaria who hired those the two men ... but did she give them the order to target Helaena and her children? It is implied that she did not, since we are informed that the original target of the two seems to have been Aegon II himself.

No we are not "informed", rather Gyldayn doesn't seem to believe that rumor: "Some say their quarry was the king himself, but Aegon was accompanied by the Kingsguard wherever he went, and even Cheese knew of no way in and out of Maegor’s Holdfast save over the drawbridge that spanned the dry moat and its formidable iron spikes." He tells us that Daemon wrote “An eye for an eye, a son for a son [...] Lucerys shall be avenged.” And in case you think Aegon II as a male is technically somebody's son (even if he's an adult with a dead father), Blood is quoted as saying “A wife’s not a son [...] It has to be a boy.” A grown man with multiple children is not himself "a boy".

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If they decided on their own to target Helaena and the children - like they also decided on their own which child they killed

They didn't just choose a target themselves to kill and leave under the shortest time, rather they gave an explanation over how their actions were constrained by a requirement (one consistent with Daemon's writing), forced Helaena to choose, and then did the opposite while taunting her surviving son over how his mother had chosen him to be murderered. Finally, they took the head with them to receive payment from Daemon at Harrenhal.

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More importantly, Blood was captured and punished quite harshly for his role in the murder. Should Rhaenyra have punished his corpse?

She would need to punish Daemon & Mysaria. Instead the latter rose up in position once Rhaenyra took KL.

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If we knew for a fact that Rhaenyra/Daemon/Mysaria had commanded to target Helaena and the children

That is what Gyldayn tells us (not so much Rhaenyra as Daemon/Mysaria).

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we don't know that and have reasons to believe they were given explicitly that order.

I think you forgot a negation in the second clause there, because as written I agree we have reasons to believe!

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The Blacks do also not fall down.

What are you talking about? Rhaenyra is overthrown, she's eaten by Aegon's dragon, he retakes KL and has her children as hostages. Daemon & Mysaria, the people behind Blood & Cheese, die as well. The whole divide between the Blacks & Greens began with Rhaenyra vs Alicent, and that's about as far down as the former can fall. It's subsequently regarded as an "iron precedent" that women can never inherit the throne, you yourself seem to think Eustace was only echoing the popular perception by calling her "Pretender" and Stannis Baratheon talks about how she died a traitor's death for trying to usurp her brother.

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They win the war, and Rhaenyra and Daemon's sons continue House Targaryen. Dynastically and as a succession war, the Dance is a total victory for the Blacks.

Aegon II had named Aegon III as his heir at the time he was poisoned. And indeed Aegon III was heir according to the Green legal argument on succession. Go back and look at the first Green Council meeting. Otto objects to Daemon being a power behind the throne (he was wary of Daemon before Aegon II was even born). Daemon dies fighting Aemond. Criston objects to her "Velaryon" sons ever inheriting, and they all die. Ironrod insists that Andal succession laws prioritize males, and the precedent winds up being an even more extreme account by which succession ONLY flows through the male-line (until Robert Baratheon overthrows the Targaryens). Even the continuing of the ruling House Targaryen, at the end of the Dance, is supposed to flow through Aegon II's daughter, whose betrothal to Aegon III was part of the agreement making him heir.

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Nobody said that the Blacks as a group were shining or morally inspiring heroes - but they are the heroes nonetheless.

How are you a hero (shining or not) if you immorally kill a completely innocent child in front of his mother out of sadism? I know there's a concept of an "anti-hero", but the proper word for someone who does that is "villain". Nor is "heroic" in Westeros to order someone to violate guest-right and kill an innocent person because a completely different person betrayed you. Publicly putting a price on Maelor wasn't exactly the same as explicitly ordering his murder, but nothing good could come from a mob of people pursuing him.

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Arya's murders

Does she murder innocent children in front of their mother?

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Sansa helping to poison her first cousin

He's not dead yet, and she doesn't even know she's poisoning him.

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Wyman Manderly feeding Freys to their relatives

That is a violation of guest-right (even if he tries to evade the strict letter of the law), paralleled to the notorious rat cook, so I can see some resemblance.

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or Bran possessing Hodor against his will

Hodor's still alive, and unlike Varamyr Sixskins Bran hasn't even been told it's a taboo to skinchange a human. I will note also that you don't list Eddard Stark or Robb in that list, the actual heads of House Stark with responsibility for the conflict with the Lannisters. You don't even list Jon Snow, who I've been criticizing in the Janos Slynt thread. Jon is a tragic hero, unlike the villainous Rhaenyra & Daemon.

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All of that isn't nice

Blood & Cheese went way beyond "not nice". Insulting people isn't nice. This is perhaps the paradigmatic moral dividing line of the whole series: murdering an innocent child.

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Aerys II is a tragic figure as well. He is a man suffering from a mental illness to the point that he was no longer responsible for his actions - the way he's described at Harrenhal shows this.

He's referred to as "mad", but he's not said to lack responsibility for his actions. He's not pitiful figure like Rhaegel, he's more in the tradition of Aerion Brightflame, and Joffrey is explicitly compared to him as king.

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Vaemond Velaryon tried steal Driftmark from Corlys' rightful heirs and got punished accordingly.

Did Eddard Stark try to steal the Iron Throne from the rightful heirs and get punished accordingly? What Vaemond did was to pubicly proclaim that Rhaenyra's sons were bastards. Tyrion says of Cersei's proposal to punish such actions "A folly [...] When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say." When Tywin hears Joffrey demand a tongue torn out, he notes that was a characteristic of Aerys II.

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We do know that the treasury was empty when she took the city. She had to raise the taxes to simply continue her war and maintain the government of the Realm.

All the more reason not to waste money on a "lavish" celebration.

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It even shows her modesty

That's certainly not how Gyldayn characterizes it.

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Which, in the end, means that Rhaenyra's alleged 'misrule' in KL - what made her so unpopular - was more inherent necessity on her part - the circumstances that constrained her - than incompetence.

The "lavish" celebration she planned was not an "inherent necessity". She was seizing ships from people who'd already paid taxes, disregarding the position they were in to satisfy herself. We don't hear anything about her trying to tighten her own budget, which would be the case if she were a competent ruler genuinely forced into austerity.

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Brynden Tully - while not Robb's grandfather but his maternal granduncle - plays a very crucial role in his life.

His military service is valuable, but did he raise Robb while he was off in the Vale? When Robb breaks his betrothal to marry Jeyne, does anyone say this reflects Brynden's influence? I wouldn't deny that Otto played a "crucial" role in Aegon II's life either, seeing as how he served as Hand in the transition from Viserys to him. That's just not the same as a father's role.

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Tywin plays a considerable role in the life of Cersei's and Genna's children

Tywin is astounded that Cersei did such a terrible job raising Joffrey, although even there he's upset that Joffrey is talking as if he's "Robert the Second" (while also thinking Cersei preventing Robert from disciplining Joffrey didn't do any good). He certainly doesn't think he himself is to blame for Joffrey prattling on about a strong king acting boldly rather than hiding under Casterly Rock. Nobody is so anachronistic as to tell Tywin "You should pick a better king than Joffrey to support".

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Walder Frey in the lives of many children of his daughters and granddaughters, etc.

How much of an influence is he on grandchildren with a noble name other than "Frey"?

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Since all that leads nowhere, Bran was not able to enact a (lasting) political decision. Bran was never groomed to rule until he was forced to - then folks start to help him with his new role.

I'm talking about how Ned shaped his character, with the expectation that Bran would hold a keep. Once he's "forced" to people don't throw up their hands because Bran was a second-born son and can't be expected to have any responsibility. In a society with a high mortality rate, that would be a foolish approach to the spare for your heir.

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That's all irrelevant because the lawful Heir Apparent of the Iron Throne in 129 AC was Rhaenyra - since the royal decree of 105 AC.

You can call it "irrelevant", but the Master of Laws obviously disagreed and the law since then has agreed with him no matter how stupid you find that.

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Thus the whole thing was a coup. They crowned a king who wasn't the anointed heir of the successor

Ned Stark falsified Robert's will so that it referred to his "heir" rather than Joffrey (as Robert actually said), and proclaimed Stannis to be the new king even though he had not been heir apparent since Joffrey's birth. Ned Stark is obviously not the villain of the series... because he refuses to kill children and raised his own children with a sense of morality.

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Traitorous Westerosi, you mean.

Closely related to No True Scotsmen.

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You certainly can do that - it might not be wise to do so ... but we are talking whether making Aegon a king was a wise decision, remember?

Westerosi know what is wise in their context better than you do, and Otto was a famously learned man. Nobody made the suggestions you raise as alternatives because they were all Westerosi, and Viserys had at least not placed the feebleminded on his Small Council.

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That they could have done that is painstakingly obvious.

Not to Gyldayn, not to anyone in the text. Only you.

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Littlefinger was named Lord Paramount and Lord of Harrenhal long before anyone offered Riverrun to Emmon Frey.

Precisely, Emmon Frey would not have been offered Riverrun if that still came with the title of Lord Paramount. Doing so would result in a cycle in the hierarchy, utterly contrary to the nested hierarchies of patriarchy that mesh with feudalism.

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And this can happen all the time. A king can grant the son of some lord a lordship of his own and then make that lord the overlord of the entire region, his father included.

When in the history of Westeros has that ever happened?

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Sunfyre was a pretty small dragon

Sunfyre teamed up with Vhagar to kill Meleys and is said to be the decisive factor that guaranteed the latter's defeat in comparison to a 1-on-1 fight (and of course Meleys was not available to the Greens to fight Sunfyre should that be necessary). After being severely wounded it was too "huge" to move, but was still too dangerous for the men who attempted to kill it on the ground. After flying to Dragonstone it managed to fight and kill another dragon despite already being wounded from before. It was also larger than Tessarion, whereas the larger dragon Vhagar was ridden by the even less competent Aemond.

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but who cares about dragons when you control the persons of the dragonriders? If Otto and Alicent had wanted to crown Daeron they could have imprisoned Aegon and Aemond to ensure their compliance.

Rhaenyra tried to seize some of her own dragonriders. It was a horrible own-goal that worked out terribly for her.

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Aegon is so insignificant as a player that his opinion doesn't really matter.

It's Aegon we get objecting to Orwyle's peace offer that the queens have to persuade him on. It's Aegon knocking over Otto's ink and insisting thrones are only won with swords. We don't get anything in the text about Criston being responsible for that.

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Aegon strikes me as a guy even more stupid than Joffrey.

What in the text makes you say that, considering that we get Aegon persuaded to back off multiple bad ideas whereas Joffrey keeps insisting even after grown-ups correct him?

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Joffrey would have been smart enough that his people are about to kill him in the end.

Joffrey WAS poisoned by "his people" and had no idea how he'd caused his own death even as he was dying.

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Joffrey also never sacked his maternal grandfather.

Joffrey was young enough to have a regent, and was killed shortly after Tywin arrived in KL. Aegon III was denied any authority to make appointments until his regency ended.

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Aegon turning against him is a clear betrayal

It doesn't seem like they had any pre-existing agreement for Otto to be Hand for Aegon's reign. And a king replacing his Hand is not "betrayal", even if it might be foolish (as when Aerys II alienated Tywin into leaving).

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and even I think he was stupid enough

This looks like another place where you forgot a negation. And I think his foolishness should suffice to explain his foolish decisions, such as sacking Otto. It's not like we have other texts in which Aegon requires trickery in order to make a mistake. The main instance of him being tricked is when Larys & Corlys dissuade him from killing Aegon III so they can Purple Wedding him. And there we see that his first instinct is to inflict violence rather than negotiate a peaceful compromise.

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Crison is a known turncloak as his switching allegiances show.

Criston wasn't sneaky about it, which is part of why I don't think he did any scheming we haven't heard about. He openly wore black colors, then switched to openly wearing green rather than using his trusted position among the blacks to betray them. And indeed he remained Green for the rest of his life, going down fighting.

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He is also of very low birth.

So was Septon Barth, and he hadn't risen in status to the extent Criston had.

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Not to mention that the last KG Hand was a complete disaster.

Fair enough.

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The conclusion that Criston wanted Aegon II to make him Hand is thus not exactly unlikely.

The problem is that we have no evidence of Criston doing anything to achieve that, and evidence that Aegon could make bad decisions even without Criston around.

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LOL, aren't you the guy insisting on the line of succession and stuff? Maelor Targaryen was Aegon's suriviving son and thus 'the rightful heir' until Aegon II named a different heir - which he never did as far as we know.

You're right, Aemond would not yet have been king. Maelor was just too young to rule himself, and Aemond was after him.

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On 1/9/2022 at 6:25 PM, The Bard of Banefort said:

I have decided to completely ignore all the other comments and go in blind with my response, since I'm sure there's a lot of debating going on about this.

 

When you have time, you might want to go back and read some of it since a number of the things you bring up have been discussed earlier. You could use the forum's search function for some things.

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I'll be surprised to see if any women pick Mushroom for this one.

"Goodqueenaly" did. Earlier in this thread I linked to a more comprehensive take from her on Mushroom, but that appears to be deleted now and not in the Internet Archive (the closest thing to a cached version I can find is here). Your speculation that the Hightowers/Greens were responsible for certain deaths in the runup to the Dance was suggested in an earlier post from her, though in the deleted one she said she had shifted toward holding Daemon responsible for at least one: "Undecided at this point. I talked in this essay about the suspects for Laenor’s murder, and while I think now I lean more toward Daemon over the Hightowers, I'm still undecided on the matter." I've said earlier that the lack of any suspicion cast toward the Greens in the source material (along with their lack of means away in Black territory) makes me discount them there.

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Neither. Maelor was killed by an angry mob

That's Munkun's version.

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For all her faults, Rhaenyra doesn't seem to have relied on torture (with Tyland being the notable exception)

That's a notable exception, and Rhaenyra also wanted Aemond questioned "sharply" to hear where he had heard her sons called "Strongs", and the same thing for Addam Verlaryon (by twenty goldcloaks) to determine "if he is true or false". I suppose you could classify interrogation for information differently from torture just for the sake of sadism, but then Mysaria's plan for Blood & Cheese was quite sadistic.

On 1/9/2022 at 10:23 PM, Lord Varys said:

The idea that Rhaenyra could have married Harwin after the Vhagar affair is not very likely.

 

He doesn't need to marry her to be a problem. And of course what Rhaenyrs did shortly after her husband was murdered (and Harwin died) was to embark on a marriage her father didn't approve of.

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The king had separated them, so if they had dared to marry afterwards there would have been severe repercussions, possibly resulting in Rhaenyra being disinherited and/or Harwin being executed.

You believe Eustace's account that Daemon deflowered Rhaenyra, who when caught said she wanted to marry him, and Viserys sent Daemon away from her (and himself, for that matter) and confined her to her room. Eustace also said the reason she married Daemon quickly was precisely because she knew Viserys would prevent it if he were aware of it. It's stated as fact that Viserys declared it an insult to the memory of both their spouses that they married so quickly. Harwin would not have any of the familial favoritism of Daemon, but he was also only the subject of rumors rather than someone who'd actually been caught doing anything untoward (unless you believe Mushroom). His father was also still Hand of the King, who would certainly not take the execution of his son for a lawful marriage lying down (even if he might agree with the king that they should find a way to Tysha the marriage away somehow).

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That Rhaenyra basically spared the life of her greatest enemy shows how reluctant she was to command the death of women [...] Nettles is the only woman she ever targets

Ordering the death of a completely innocent woman who has done nothing but support you does not seem especially "reluctant", even if she did have people like Mysaria (blamed for the Brothel Queens story) whispering in her ear.

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and that only after her entire council and the scheming Mysaria push her into a mad rage.

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The Hand’s impassioned protests and the Grand Maester’s cool caution both proved to be in vain.

That's not "her entire council", rather some of the most important & long-standing members were opposed.

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Another such blank space is why the hell Rhaenyra didn't kill Alicent - or at least take her with her - when she fled KL.

Rhaenyra didn't even manage to get all of her children out alive. Unchaining Alicent and bringing her along would be more difficult (since Alicent will be the opposite of cooperative) and less important.

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Not to mention what the hell Mysaria thought when she stayed behind.

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Taken whilst attempting to flee, the White Worm

She tried to not "stay behind", but she wasn't deemed important enough to be escorted out with Rhaenyra.

On 1/10/2022 at 11:07 AM, The Bard of Banefort said:

The more I think about it, the less sense it makes that the Greens trusted Larys Strong so much. He was Harwin’s younger brother and therefore uncle to the princes.

Aemond thought similarly: "These denials only inflamed Aemond’s suspicions. The Clubfoot was a traitor as well, he decided. How else would Daemon and Rhaenyra have known when King’s Landing was most vulnerable? Someone on the small council had sent word to them… and Larys Clubfoot was Breakbones’s brother, and thus an uncle to Rhaenyra’s bastards." Of course, if Larys was behind the fire at Harrenhal then he would have no loyalty to Breakbones, and might also have a lot more reason to keep Rhaenyra off the throne than to keep Aegon on it.

On 1/10/2022 at 12:53 PM, Lord Varys said:

In the end it looks as if Larys was more or less after the Iron Throne.

Could he really foresee something like Aegon being severely injured and under his care around the time he threw in with the Greens?

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If Cregan Stark hadn't interfered, Larys Strong could have been the Bloodraven of his era, ruling the Realm as Hand for the next thirty or forty years.

That seems doubtful. He was too hated by nearly everyone for betraying everyone, and Aegon III's sympathies would mean little while he still needed a regent. But then I can't see a real long-game for Larys either, which I suppose is part of the intended mystery.

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After the Two Betrayers switched sides KL was about to be burned by Green dragons.

Larys had already helped Aegon escape and was hiding in the city prior to Tumbleton. If he ever wanted to be rewarded by Aegon for his service (and stop hiding), overthrowing Rhaenyra would be necessary.

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One can see him handing the city back to her like he later did hand it to Aegon II if Rhaenyra had returned from Dragonstone with a dragon instead of Aegon II.

Larys was known to have supported Perkin, who had overthrown her, as well as Aegon II beforehand. Supporting Trystane only conflicted with Aegon when the latter returned to KL, and at that time Perkin himself also switched sides to Aegon. Rhaenyra would have killed both of them, considering she imprisoned Corlys and ordered the arrest of his heir for much less.

On 1/11/2022 at 3:18 PM, Lord Varys said:

Well, if family meant anything to him then Larys should have turned against the Greens the moment he learned what Aemond did at Harrenhal.

All the more reason to think he was behind the fire.

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Larys were already actively working against him even before his situation was hopeless. Larys' entire take to insist on the betrothal of Aegon and Jaehaera is obviously a preparation to install Aegon III as the next king even while Aegon II had still a very small chance to win the war.

While that deal turned out to be a setup for Aegon II's assassination, it was also one of the best hopes for reconciling the sides. Alicent initially opposed it, and at that point in time she was also giving Aegon rather bad advice for solidifying his position & reconciling his vassals. Tyland's logic for killing Aegon III later to deprive the Blacks of a candidate was sound, but "before his situation was hopeless" Aegon II still needed the support of the Velaryon ships to even get back to KL from Dragonstone.

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he and Perkin were only behind Perkin's riots, not the Shepherd's madness

Mushroom alleges he's the source of the rumor voiced by the Shepherd that Luthor Largent defenestrated Helaena, as well as a rumor of Rhaenyra presenting Maelor's head to Helaena in a chamberpot. Causing chaos generally sufficed for that period of time, and he did nothing about Gaemon or the Shepherd until the Greens retook KL.

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Larys as one of the regents - or even Aegon III's Hand - would have made the Regency a peaceful and quiet era, not the shitshow that started when Corlys and Tyland died.

It wasn't exactly peaceful & quiet with him as Master of Whisperers!

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30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

No one can make you care about anything, and yes my knowledge all comes from what Gyldayn has given us. Gyldayn describes his text as "dry", refers to him as disliking Rhaenyra, and both of us doubt his account of the supposedly "grasping" Aegon II turning down the crown. So he's both not colorful enough to write such a thing, and it wouldn't fit his known slant.

I just trust Eustace more than Mushroom. Deal with it.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Aemond hadn't killed anybody up until that point, and Mushroom's quote is comparing the specific day he killed Lucerys to Aemond's heart. If the quote had been about him killing the Strongs, that would be another story (but I don't think Mushroom would have cared as much about them since it's not like he spent much time with Lyonel).

LOL, don't you understand? Those sources wrote or dictated all their texts in hindsight. It is completely irrelevant what they did or didn't yet do at any particular point in the narrative because nearly all the source texts are written years or decades after the fact.

Any judgment of Mushroom, Eustace, Orwyle, or Munkun about the Dance guys is made long after most of them are dead.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

What is the distinction?

Why would Tyrion spouting "nonsense" give the impression that he knows more rather than less? Shouldn't that be failing the test?

Does GRRM do anything to cast doubt on Tyrion's claim?

How is he "showing" anything to anyone if he can't claim credit for it?

I already made that crystal clear.

I can add that Tyrion is just a pretty well-read layman. He is no maester, he never attended the Citadel, and he never wrote a book or tried to a scholar.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

There are no texts created other than the ones GRRM invented.

GRRM's works of fiction are not like real works of non-fiction. Reality in his "universe" is what he declares it to be. In the real world, I have to take into account the possibility of an author being mistaken or else I'll perpetually be surprised when someone else publishes something showing the prior publication to be inaccurate. That's not the case here. No one but GRRM gets to write in this universe (the TV show is a separate universe) and there will never be any post-Gyldayn revisionist revealing Gyldayn to have misled his readers.

But I just don't care. The scenario of the fake history book is that by virtue of its existence there are source material - else the entire fiction of the history book breaks down. Gyldayn used much more sources than he named specifically (or else he just told us fairy-tales) and we have no clue how accurate the quotes he gives are.

If you have a problem with that, it is yours, not mine.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

How could he be "mistaken"? Is GRRM going to publish the full texts of his sources to show such a mistake exists?

Who cares? He won't tell us but the very nature in which he presented this 'information' means it could be erroneous.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

That's not an "opinion". Whether someone said something or not is a factual matter (although here all "facts" are fiction).

Of course it is an opinion if he doesn't give us an actual quote. We have no confirmation that Eustace didn't like Rhaenyra or that Mushroom supposedly liked her.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Why do you say that? It's not like we have accounts of her outside of Gyldayn to contradict him.

Because the story as such makes no sense in context.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Coryanne's entire supposed account is about her sexual experiences in a variety of places. It's an episodic erotic novel in form, which is why it's found in brothels. Gyldayn says it's "unfortunate" that he must discuss the "distasteful" book, in contrast to him talking about how fortunate it is that Mushroom's text is available. And if a maester like Gyldayn regards it as very fortunate that Mushroom's record of his time with notable historical figures is available, it should not be odd at all for maesters to make copies without all those "improvements" found in various editions of A Caution. Dragonstone's maester Gerardys was killed, so Mushroom's account of events there would be quite valuable to fill in the gaps his writings would have provided had he lived. Gyldayn even finds his post-KL writings to be "valuable", and says it is "sadly" that he must leave those aside due to Mushroom telling "truths" others wouldn't.

Gyldayn strongly disapproves of that in his commentary on A Caution. Don't you think it's odd he makes no reference to even the possibility of additions when he discusses Mushroom's Testimony, instead chalking up certain doubtful portions to "Mushroom being Mushroom"?

Obviously I don't think that.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

As many as GRRM wants him to have. He can have a copy in which Mushroom himself personally marked an 'X' as a signature or a handprint or anything (like a documented chain of custody) no matter how implausible because GRRM faces no constraints from an actual reality. But if GRRM only wanted him to only have one copy of uncertain authenticity, he could have had that and said so.

I don't care what George could have done and didn't. I care about what's in the text, and nothing in the text gives us the impression that the Testimony is a reliable text. That Gyldayn quotes it at all shows how bad of a historian he is, since no diligent historian would quote an anonymous work like that.

But then - most of what Mushroom gives us are trivial details no proper historian would care about. Who had sex with whom in what manner isn't all that important.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The reason he "sadly" doesn't cover later episodes is because Mushroom went to serve in White Harbor, and Gyldayn's history is about the Targaryens.

He bothered with Coryanne's later travails earlier, did he not?

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Aegon made a "generous" offer to grant Dragonstone as a heritable fiefdom with her sons recognized as heirs, despite his previous aspersions toward them. This was an attempt to give her something valuable enough to seem preferable over fighting. Rhaenyra's ultimatum was all stick with no carrot, and (unlike Aegon's offer) no guarantees to any non-kin not to kill them, thus guaranteeing that those people would fight her to the death. And however unjust you may regard it, granting members of a dictatorial regime immunity for their acts while in power is a common approach to make them willing to give up power in the first place.

That's just nonsense. The Velaryons and Rhaenyra already had Dragonstone and Driftmark. Aegon II would have to take those holdings with force if he wanted them himself. He wasn't granting them anything.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I read that differently. The sources confirm Alicent's order, but don't say if his true name was learned or what happened to Blood's family (if anything).

I never said it happened either. I just buried your weird claim that Eustace creates a shining picture of Alicent. If he is one source for this episode - and he could be - then he certainly painted her in a very bad light there.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

It doesn't say he referenced an existing rumor, instead he just came up with that himself. "Suggest" is also the term used when Eustace provides a dragon for Byron to target in letter post-dating his history, and again Gyldayn doubts Eustace. Nor, I would add, is there any indication that Eustace was picking up on an existing rumor in his account of Aegon turning down the crown that both of us doubt (though in this case it's plausible a confidant like Alicent could relay such an account to him).

You don't understand what a rumor is, apparently. A rumor is something other people spread and believe and a historian mentions and discusses. It is not something he himself comes up with. What he himself comes up with is a theory to explain something. That Eustace does occasionally, like all the other sources. But Gyldayn doesn't invent rumors - unlike Mushroom.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

What makes it "not a big thing"? Gyldayn attributes Rhaenyra's overthrow to popular revulsion at her actions, writing "Rhaenyra was hated; Helaena had been loved. Nor had the common folk of the city forgotten the cruel murder of Prince Jaehaerys by Blood and Cheese". On a narrative level, that's premeditated murder of a completely innocent child at a time before open warfare has yet broken out, and it sends the two sides into spirals of atrocities with neither being willing to make peace after such blood has been shed. Helaena herself is depicted as practically a non-entity afterward due to the psychological sadism inflicted on her. Recall that the main series of ASoIaF hinged on Ned Stark abhorring the murder of innocent children, and that theme continues with Davos disobeying his king to save the life of a bastard boy even if his sacrifice is to save the whole world.

It is a minor affair since it actually had pretty much no influence on the continuation of the war.

Rhaenyra is hated for a lot of reasons when she is overthrown. The butchering of royal children had little to do with that.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

No we are not "informed", rather Gyldayn doesn't seem to believe that rumor: "Some say their quarry was the king himself, but Aegon was accompanied by the Kingsguard wherever he went, and even Cheese knew of no way in and out of Maegor’s Holdfast save over the drawbridge that spanned the dry moat and its formidable iron spikes." He tells us that Daemon wrote “An eye for an eye, a son for a son [...] Lucerys shall be avenged.” And in case you think Aegon II as a male is technically somebody's son (even if he's an adult with a dead father), Blood is quoted as saying “A wife’s not a son [...] It has to be a boy.” A grown man with multiple children is not himself "a boy".

LOL, sorry, I don't care about your interpretation here, since I do not for a moment think that Gyldayn's narrative contains so much as a single accurate word of Helaena or Blood or Cheese.

I also don't think Daemon's writing there is necessarily accurate, since there is no indication that Gyldayn actually saw this private letter sent from Harrenhal to Dragonstone. Assuming it actually existed.

In context, though, it makes little sense for Daemon to target Aegon's children. Aegon II is a non-entity. A pawn of his mommy and grandfather, and these two are Daemon's and Rhaenyra's real enemies. Their other pawn, Aemond, just murdered Rhaenyra's son and Daemon's stepson, so Daemon wants revenge for that.

Alicent made Aegon king, so it would make sense if Rhaenyra lost a son that Alicent should lose a son in turn. I assume Daemon wanted Mysaria to kill either Aegon or Aemond or Daeron ... but she and/or her instruments chose a safer road and targeted Aegon's children instead because that was more convenient.

The decision to target Helaena came when they had already invaded the Red Keep and had learned Helaena's daily routines and her visits with her mother in the Tower of the Hand.

Daemon - although Mysaria perhaps not - also strikes us as too smart for something as ugly as this. Murdering such a child would give them very bad press, not to mention the stupidity involved - killing all of Aegon's children along with Helaena and Alicent (and Otto, a floor above) would have been much better for the Black cause.

I context, though, I view Blood and Cheese basically as the murder of Little Walder or feeding Freys to Freys ... something that's ugly business and shouldn't have been done. But something that's part of a revenge that is entirely justified after what had been done by the other side before.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

What are you talking about? Rhaenyra is overthrown, she's eaten by Aegon's dragon, he retakes KL and has her children as hostages. Daemon & Mysaria, the people behind Blood & Cheese, die as well. The whole divide between the Blacks & Greens began with Rhaenyra vs Alicent, and that's about as far down as the former can fall. It's subsequently regarded as an "iron precedent" that women can never inherit the throne, you yourself seem to think Eustace was only echoing the popular perception by calling her "Pretender" and Stannis Baratheon talks about how she died a traitor's death for trying to usurp her brother.

The Black cause isn't Rhaenyra or whether a woman should rule. It is a dynastic struggle, it is about whose bloodline should sit on the throne in the future. And there the Greens lost and the Blacks won. Nobody on the Black side fought for equal primogeniture, after all. They fought for Rhaenyra because she was the king's chosen and legal heir and after her death they continued to fight - and eventually won - fighting in the name of her heir.

That nobody really cared much about 'the female question' there can be seen by the fact that none of Rhaenyra's descendants (aside from Aerys I) ever named a woman his Heir Apparent thereafter.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

How are you a hero (shining or not) if you immorally kill a completely innocent child in front of his mother out of sadism? I know there's a concept of an "anti-hero", but the proper word for someone who does that is "villain". Nor is "heroic" in Westeros to order someone to violate guest-right and kill an innocent person because a completely different person betrayed you. Publicly putting a price on Maelor wasn't exactly the same as explicitly ordering his murder, but nothing good could come from a mob of people pursuing him.

I didn't say all the Blacks were heroes to the same degree, I said they are the heroes in general. Their cause is just. It might be ugly to murder a child in an eye for an eye scenario but that's what can happen in war.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

He's not dead yet, and she doesn't even know she's poisoning him.

Oh, she does. Littlefinger tells her what they are doing.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

That is a violation of guest-right (even if he tries to evade the strict letter of the law), paralleled to the notorious rat cook, so I can see some resemblance.

It is not breaking of guest right as such, but still very insidiuous.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Blood & Cheese went way beyond "not nice". Insulting people isn't nice. This is perhaps the paradigmatic moral dividing line of the whole series: murdering an innocent child.

The Greens killed thousands or tens of thousands of innocent children at Tumbleton.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

He's referred to as "mad", but he's not said to lack responsibility for his actions. He's not pitiful figure like Rhaegel, he's more in the tradition of Aerion Brightflame, and Joffrey is explicitly compared to him as king.

You don't have the author tell you that Aerys II isn't responsible for his actions. You see it in the text when you realize from what symptoms he suffers. He might have some clear moments, but he is clearly suffering from a severe mental illness.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Did Eddard Stark try to steal the Iron Throne from the rightful heirs and get punished accordingly? What Vaemond did was to pubicly proclaim that Rhaenyra's sons were bastards. Tyrion says of Cersei's proposal to punish such actions "A folly [...] When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say." When Tywin hears Joffrey demand a tongue torn out, he notes that was a characteristic of Aerys II.

Of course. Robert had named Joff his heir and successor in his last will and Ned chose forge that will and decided to crown somebody else.

It isn't Ned's call to decide who the heir should be or to assume or presume he knew who Robert would have named his heir had he known what Ned knew about Robert's children.

If Ned had decided that Joffrey should succeed him knowing what Ned knew, then Ned would have had to accept that.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

All the more reason not to waste money on a "lavish" celebration.

In the book we read no such money was wasted since Rhaenyra only made plan for that.

And don't pretend you know how lavish that ceremony would have been or how much it would have cost. Considering that a war was going on it might have been as 'lavish' as Joff's thriteenth nameday party.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

His military service is valuable, but did he raise Robb while he was off in the Vale? When Robb breaks his betrothal to marry Jeyne, does anyone say this reflects Brynden's influence? I wouldn't deny that Otto played a "crucial" role in Aegon II's life either, seeing as how he served as Hand in the transition from Viserys to him. That's just not the same as a father's role.

Nobody said Otto was a father to Aegon II.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

How much of an influence is he on grandchildren with a noble name other than "Frey"?

Just reread the books.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I'm talking about how Ned shaped his character, with the expectation that Bran would hold a keep. Once he's "forced" to people don't throw up their hands because Bran was a second-born son and can't be expected to have any responsibility. In a society with a high mortality rate, that would be a foolish approach to the spare for your heir.

It is still the approach most lords actually take. Bran isn't a part of his father's council, Shireen - merely Stannis' presumptive heir, not his chosen heir (that's the son he'll never have) - isn't, either.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

You can call it "irrelevant", but the Master of Laws obviously disagreed and the law since then has agreed with him no matter how stupid you find that.

That guy disagreed with his king only while said king was a rotting corpse in his chambers ... not while said king was still ruling the Realm.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Ned Stark falsified Robert's will so that it referred to his "heir" rather than Joffrey (as Robert actually said), and proclaimed Stannis to be the new king even though he had not been heir apparent since Joffrey's birth. Ned Stark is obviously not the villain of the series... because he refuses to kill children and raised his own children with a sense of morality.

But Ned is still a traitor to Robert here. It is treason by omission. He presumes he can decide who the king should be without actually talking to the king about it despite the fact that he could have told him.

It is the same with Stannis. He is a traitor to Robert as well since he never told him what he believed about his children and then presumed to usurp the throne without any actual evidence that his fancy theory about Robert's children was correct.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Westerosi know what is wise in their context better than you do, and Otto was a famously learned man. Nobody made the suggestions you raise as alternatives because they were all Westerosi, and Viserys had at least not placed the feebleminded on his Small Council.

Last time I looked, Otto Hightower shat on the Great Council in 105 AC.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Sunfyre teamed up with Vhagar to kill Meleys and is said to be the decisive factor that guaranteed the latter's defeat in comparison to a 1-on-1 fight (and of course Meleys was not available to the Greens to fight Sunfyre should that be necessary). After being severely wounded it was too "huge" to move, but was still too dangerous for the men who attempted to kill it on the ground. After flying to Dragonstone it managed to fight and kill another dragon despite already being wounded from before. It was also larger than Tessarion, whereas the larger dragon Vhagar was ridden by the even less competent Aemond.

Sunfyre is a small dragon. Else Moondancer would have never been able to kill him ... which she did.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Joffrey WAS poisoned by "his people" and had no idea how he'd caused his own death even as he was dying.

LOL, just LOL! Joff was surrounded by most loyal folk. A small cabal murdered him ... and they are lucky they got away with it so far (I'm honestly looking forward to this thing biting both Littlefinger and the Tyrells in their asses!).

But Aegon II was apparently murdered by effectively his entire court. The only people still 'loyal' to this failure were his mommy and the corrupt and savages morons who helped him take Dragonstone.

And he didn't see that coming. He had no clue what was going on. I don't think Joff would have been that stupid in a similar situation.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

It doesn't seem like they had any pre-existing agreement for Otto to be Hand for Aegon's reign. And a king replacing his Hand is not "betrayal", even if it might be foolish (as when Aerys II alienated Tywin into leaving).

It is obviously a betrayal of trust and friendship and family if you sack the very grandfather who made you king.

30 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

You're right, Aemond would not yet have been king. Maelor was just too young to rule himself, and Aemond was after him.

Oh, I'm sure the implication in FaB is that Aemond would have seized the crown if Aegon II had died. He was already wearing his crown, after all - which is already a presumption and something a regent normally doesn't do (a queen regent might wear her own crown, of course, but a prince or lord regent would not wear the monarch's regalia). What that would mean for Maelor and Jaehaera we can speculate.

 

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

That's a notable exception, and Rhaenyra also wanted Aemond questioned "sharply" to hear where he had heard her sons called "Strongs", and the same thing for Addam Verlaryon (by twenty goldcloaks) to determine "if he is true or false". I suppose you could classify interrogation for information differently from torture just for the sake of sadism, but then Mysaria's plan for Blood & Cheese was quite sadistic.

Stop giving this thing about Rhaenyra without context. She wanted Aemond questioned sharply about the lies the boy heard after Alicent had demanded that Lucerys Velaryon - at that time a boy of five! - lose an eye because of something that was clearly an accident.

The one woman fond of torture here is clearly Alicent - she is the one confirmed to want to put out the eyes of children and the one who wants to bathe in the blood of innocent women and children.

She is also the one who wants her granddaughter to murder her own husband and king ... who happens to be her own step-grandson.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

You believe Eustace's account that Daemon deflowered Rhaenyra, who when caught said she wanted to marry him, and Viserys sent Daemon away from her (and himself, for that matter) and confined her to her room. Eustace also said the reason she married Daemon quickly was precisely because she knew Viserys would prevent it if he were aware of it. It's stated as fact that Viserys declared it an insult to the memory of both their spouses that they married so quickly. Harwin would not have any of the familial favoritism of Daemon, but he was also only the subject of rumors rather than someone who'd actually been caught doing anything untoward (unless you believe Mushroom). His father was also still Hand of the King, who would certainly not take the execution of his son for a lawful marriage lying down (even if he might agree with the king that they should find a way to Tysha the marriage away somehow).

I'm not sure why you are writing this.

It has nothing to do with what I wrote before.

I think Viserys I may have executed Harwin if he married Rhaenyra without his permission because Harwin was just a Strong. Not Daemon Targaryen, the king's own brother, a man Viserys I loved despite his many flaws. He did allowed Daemon and Rhaenyra to get away with things others might not get away with.

And if Harwin was the father of Rhaenyra's sons - or the king believed that - then such a marriage may have been too much for him.

Lyonel was the Hand. But the Hand can be dismissed. And Harrenhal can go to another house.

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@FictionIsntReal If Criston turned against Rhaenyra because he thought she was a trollop, then it should have happened the first time she tried to seduce him (in Mushroom’s account, she tried seducing him when she was younger, and he still remained devoted to her afterwards). Plus this is a guy who slit an old man’s throat at a council meeting without warning. He clearly didn’t have an ironclad sense of honor, at least not to the point where he’d be horrified by the prospect of premarital sex. 

Edited by The Bard of Banefort
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15 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

@FictionIsntReal If Harwin turned against Rhaenyra because he thought she was a trollop, then it should have happened the first time she tried to seduce him (in Mushroom’s account, she tried seducing him when she was younger, and he still remained devoted to her afterwards). Plus this is a guy who slit an old man’s throat at a council meeting without warning. He clearly didn’t have an ironclad sense of honor, at least not to the point where he’d be horrified by the prospect of premarital sex. 

You mean Criston there, of course ;-).

In addition, what really gives it away is that Eustace's version of the events in 111 AC has Viserys I being able to keep the entire affair a secret, whereas in Mushroom's it is basically all over the place since quite a few people were involved in the lessons Daemon gave to Rhaenyra and Mushroom himself claims he helped that it came out. Which would have had severe consequences for Mushroom, lackwit fool or not, if it were true.

That Daemon would actually confess to a story as silly and damning as this is also not really believable. That could very well get him killed. Not to mention that Rhaenyra being a slut of that caliber - a woman so depraved that she would learn all about sex from scum in brothels and a lackwit fool only to get into the pants of an anointed knight and Kingsguard she could never hope to marry ... then she wouldn't be the kind of woman Viserys I would want as his heir. He threatened to disinherit her when she refused to marry but would allow her to get away with that episode? To the point that she was allowed to go on a progress to the Riverlands and the West in the next year? With Criston Cole at her side, presumably?

And Daemon's entire motivation was to marry Rhaenyra because she was the Heir Apparent. If his entire plot there were to risk that she might be disinherited in favor of Aegon he would gain nothing. Because he clearly had no interest to marry a niece who would not succeed to the Iron Throne.

This really isn't even something one should take seriously as an account. Especially since Mushroom basically tells the same story twice.

Also, we have Lyonel Strong knowing the truth in that scenario, and him pushing Viserys I to execute Daemon ... which would also imply that quite a few people knew the truth of what transpired.

The Eustace version has the benefit that basically only Daemon, Rhaenyra, Arryk Cargyll, and the king knew what transpired. And Viserys commanded everybody to keep their tongues ... which seems is what happened. Else more historians than just Eustace and Mushroom would claim to tell the full story.

Eustace could have learned the truth - or what he considers the truth - when speaking to the king, Cargyll, Rhaenyra, or Daemon in confidence.

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On 1/12/2022 at 9:53 PM, Lord Varys said:

I just trust Eustace more than Mushroom. Deal with it.

You were responding to a discussion of Mushroom referring to the day being "black as Aemond's heart". If you think Aemond wasn't blackhearted at all, that would be a reason not to trust Mushroom. I argued that Eustace wouldn't have written that, partly because he is "dry" and just doesn't go on about people having black hearts.

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Those sources wrote or dictated all their texts in hindsight. It is completely irrelevant what they did or didn't yet do at any particular point in the narrative because nearly all the source texts are written years or decades after the fact.

But the quote doesn't come when the Strongs are killed. It comes when Aemond kills the child of someone whose tears Mushroom repeatedly informs us of. Mushroom is colorfully calling that (specifying that one day) a blackhearted action.

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He is no maester, he never attended the Citadel, and he never wrote a book or tried to a scholar.

Haldon attended the citadel, he acts like a maester to Young Griff, but he has no rebuttal to Tyrion after the latter tells him he's wrong. Gyldayn is a maester who wrote a history book, and he casts doubt on Haldon/Orwyle's dragon being the target, while not doing so for the one Tyrion identified.

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But I just don't care. [...] Gyldayn used much more sources than he named specifically (or else he just told us fairy-tales) and we have no clue how accurate the quotes he gives are.

I can't force you to care about anything. GRRM will write in narrative-mode rather than historian-mode because he feels like it, and there's not going to be any in-universe historian doubting those sections. He's interested in big dramatic moments, regardless of their broader historical/political import. In his main novels, GRRM typically follows a POV structure. But in "The Iron Suitor" he breaks from Victarion's POV and has the following: "The iron captain was not seen again that day, but as the hours passed the crew of his Iron Victory reported hearing the sound of wild laughter coming from the captain's cabin, laughter deep and dark and mad, and when Longwater Pyke and Wulfe One-Eye tried the cabin door they found it barred. Later singing was heard, a strange high wailing song in a tongue the maester said was High Valyrian. That was when the monkeys left the ship, screeching as they leapt into the water." Who is doing the seeing of the captain, which of the crew are giving these reports and who are they giving them to, who did the maester tell about the High Valyrian? How is this info available in this POV chapter? Doesn't matter. GRRM felt like writing that, so we just have to "deal with it", as you say.

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Who cares? He won't tell us but the very nature in which he presented this 'information' means it could be erroneous.

You plainly care that he could be mistaken or you wouldn't have written that. Beliefs pay rent in anticipated experiences when it comes to reality, but there's no experiences you'll anticipate as a result of your belief that Gyldayn might be wrong about a source he didn't even mention.

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Of course it is an opinion if he doesn't give us an actual quote.

No, whether someone said something is not an opinion. Whether the thing they said was stupid is an opinion. Whether it needed to be said at all is an opinion.

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We have no confirmation that Eustace didn't like Rhaenyra or that Mushroom supposedly liked her.

That is an opinion (whether someone "likes" another person is not really testable), not of the form "source X said that". And of course we don't have "confirmation" that the things Gyldayn tells us are correct, because that would require us to have evidence in addition to Gyldayn to confirm him but Eustace & Mushroom didn't even exist until they were invented for Gyldayn's history and thus nothing prior in ASoIAF can say anything about them as individuals. And once you remember that they are not real people but just characters invented for Gyldayn's history you should see how pointless it would be for GRRM to have Gyldayn tell us that about them when it was somehow not supposed to be "true". We don't get a sense of Gyldayn's character that would permit us to discount things from his POV (excepting something like him being a Westerosi maester and thus having some biases like skepticism toward magic). We don't get POV chapters from Eustace or Mushroom showing their positive & negative attitudes toward various characters, so instead GRRM can just sum up how we can think of them via Gyldayn.

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Because the story as such makes no sense in context.

Is GRRM limited to making sense? Should we not believe that Catelyn ran into Tyrion at the Inn of the Crossroads despite that making no geographic sense?

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Obviously I don't think that.

If you don't think it's odd that Gyldayn portrays the Testimony so differently, saying nothing about its history of production (rather than Mushroom being Mushroom) making it unreliable, then what is his reason for treating the texts so differently?

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I don't care what George could have done and didn't. I care about what's in the text, and nothing in the text gives us the impression that the Testimony is a reliable text.

Gyldayn is writing the text, and he explicitly says the text is valuable and contains truths. He does NOT say we should ascribe any of it to some mummer making latter "improvements".

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That Gyldayn quotes it at all shows how bad of a historian he is, since no diligent historian would quote an anonymous work like that.

It's not really "anonymous" since it explicitly refers to Mushroom himself being the one who said all that. And diligent historians will make use of any sources available to them regardless of whether the scribe signed his own name.

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But then - most of what Mushroom gives us are trivial details no proper historian would care about. Who had sex with whom in what manner isn't all that important.

Gyldayn writes about sex all the time, even when Mushroom isn't part of the conversation. This is the "tits and dragons" story, after all. And Mushroom serves as the only source by Rhaenyra's side.

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He bothered with Coryanne's later travails earlier, did he not?

No, we don't know what "corsair queen" or "Qartheen warlock" she served or who she was a slave for in Volantis. Similarly, we don't get Mushroom's details about the Sealord of Braavos or the crew of the Lisping Lady.

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That's just nonsense. [...] Aegon II would have to take those holdings with force if he wanted them himself. He wasn't granting them anything.

No one in the text calls it "nonsense". And the Greens had accused her children of being bastards who couldn't inherit, so this was a real shift in their position. Later in the Dance, Alicent proposes dividing the kingdoms so that each sides would keep the regions they then controlled. Nobody calls that "nonsense" either.

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If he is one source for this episode - and he could be - then he certainly painted her in a very bad light there.

He's not cited for that. Rather, Gyldayn just vaguely refers to "sources". Isn't it interesting that sections painting her in that kind of light don't explicitly cite Eustace?

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A rumor is something other people spread and believe and a historian mentions and discusses. It is not something he himself comes up with. What he himself comes up with is a theory to explain something. That Eustace does occasionally, like all the other sources. But Gyldayn doesn't invent rumors - unlike Mushroom.

So the difference is that people believe Mushroom and spread his words as the truth, but don't do that for Eustace? Even as Gyldayn says we should doubt Mushroom's "brothel queens" story precisely because he thinks it dated to Aegon II seeking justification rather than Mushroom himself!

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The butchering of royal children had little to do with that.

Then why does Gyldayn explicitly point to that when explaining the riots!?

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I also don't think Daemon's writing there is necessarily accurate, since there is no indication that Gyldayn actually saw this private letter sent from Harrenhal to Dragonstone. Assuming it actually existed.

Isn't that somewhat inconsistent with you talking about how other sources must exist even if Gyldayn only cites a few named ones? Would the papers at Dragonstone have been destroyed for some reason before any histories could rely on them? Why did GRRM have Gyldayn quote that letter if we're supposed to ignore it?

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Aegon II is a non-entity. A pawn of his mommy and grandfather, and these two are Daemon's and Rhaenyra's real enemies.

That's your view, but not something they ever said. Instead Rhaenyra explicitly said she would have Aegon's head. Additionally, Aegon sidelines his mother & grandfather shortly after that, so he was plainly not a pawn of them at that time!

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Their other pawn, Aemond

Aemond is definitely not a pawn of the Hightowers. He screws things up from their perspective while Aegon congratulates him.

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Alicent made Aegon king

She's not called "the Kingmaker". Men with power made Aegon king.

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I assume Daemon wanted Mysaria to kill either Aegon or Aemond or Daeron

The possibility of killing the latter two isn't even brought up. Aemond was in Harrenhal, away from KL where Mysaria was hiding and Blood & Cheese lived (and where Daemon himself had friends in low places).

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but she and/or her instruments chose a safer road and targeted Aegon's children instead because that was more convenient

If Mysaria ignored her actual assignment to kill the wrong person, resulting in the Blacks being held publicly responsible for the murder of an innocent child... why did she get promoted to unofficial Mistress of Whisperers!?

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Daemon - although Mysaria perhaps not - also strikes us as too smart for something as ugly as this. Murdering such a child would give them very bad press

Was Daemon a prudent guy worried about "bad press", or was he a "rogue prince" notorious for his bad boy behavior?

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I context, though, I view Blood and Cheese basically as the murder of Little Walder

So you don't think that was done by Big Walder, found with actual blood on his hands after talking about how he'd be Lord of the Crossing despite being behind Little Walder in the succession? People tend to treat that as the default explanation even if they don't believe it (and the person here I just linked disbelieving that doesn't thing it was "revenge" either!).

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But something that's part of a revenge that is entirely justified after what had been done by the other side before.

How can killing an innocent child be justified!? I can understand treating the cannibalized Freys as guilty men who deserved punishment. Even Little Walder was a terrible kid who was emulating Ramsay before he died. But we don't get anything like that for Jaehaerys. As I said, the more obvious comparison is Rickard Stark killing hostages because Jaime was freed despite killing Rickard's sons. Those hostages aren't combatants anymore, just as Jaehaerys was never a combatant.

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The Black cause isn't Rhaenyra

The division between the blacks & greens began when Rhaenyra was a girl, before she had any children to form a dynasty. That's why the original story was titled "The Princess and the Queen, or, the Blacks and the Greens", culminating in Rhaenyra's death.

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it is about whose bloodline should sit on the throne in the future

At the end of the Dance, Aegon was betrothed to Jaehara. Thus it would be both of their bloodlines.

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That nobody really cared much about 'the female question' there can be seen by the fact that none of Rhaenyra's descendants (aside from Aerys I) ever named a woman his Heir Apparent thereafter.

When the idea came up Munkun insisted the precedent excluded that as a possibility, so Aegon III went without an heir until his brother showed up. With Aerys I, The World of Ice and Fire doesn't even explicitly refer to her as heir, instead noting that she went mad with grief after accidentally killing the heir, then noting in a parenthetical that she killed herself later.

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I didn't say all the Blacks were heroes to the same degree, I said they are the heroes in general.

They're fighting for Rhaenyra. She's at the top of the Black hierarchy alongside Daemon. Barristan Selmy behaving as the ideal KG at Duskendale and the Trident doesn't help because the person he fought for was Aerys, and that troubles him as he reflects on it (he does at least support Ned in opposing assassination). Ned Stark is the leader of his house and a hero because he opposes the murder of children (even if he didn't do anything about Mycah). Robb Stark takes up that cause and again opposes the murder of even enemy squires, punishing his own vassal for killing them. This makes him a hero. Davos Seaworth prevents Stannis from killing Edric Storm, because the onion knight/Hand is also a hero, and he then influences Stannis to act more like a hero by prioritizing his realm rather than his position on top of it. Stannis is Robert's rightful heir, but he's mostly an antagonist in A Clash of Kings, and only really gets to be a hero and "righteous" in GRRM's words when he goes to the Wall. Stannis' enemy Tywin explains his own decision (one he could not openly admit to) to kill Rhaegar's children by saying Robert "saw himself as a hero, and heroes do not kill children". However much more competent Tywin is than Cersei & Joffrey, he's definitely a villain, and his villainy poisons the Lannister cause (even tainting Robert's regime, though he had no place in Robert's government). Theon is the opposite of a hero when he has the miller's boys killed, rather by following the advice of "Reek" (one of the worst characters in ASoIAF) he's acting villainous. Within the Dance, are there any people who meet GRRM's standards of heroism? Lord Mooton does when he refuses Rhaenyra's order to kill Nettles and instead lets her flee on Sheepstealer, then openly changing his banner to Aegon II to mark his rejection of Rhaenyra. To a lesser extent we could point to Marston Waters wrenching away Broome's sword before he could kill Baela, on Marston's own initiative and after Baela had nearly killed the king Marston served (since Aegon himself wound up approving of keeping her as a hostage, it doesn't fit the mold of defying a superior's orders).

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Their cause is just

The two causes were one child of Viserys sitting on the Iron Throne vs another. The lesson of the story is "everywhere the dragons dance the people died", just as "the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones". A ruler is only any good if they act to protect their people, and Team Smallfolk overthrew Rhaenyra (that Aegon II later put them down shows he's not a hero either).

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It might be ugly to murder a child in an eye for an eye scenario but that's what can happen in war.

There hadn't even been any battles yet! The phrase "eye for an eye" is telling, because the murder is a response to Aemond killing someone who had literally taken his eye. Aemond's act was not a pre-meditated decision, much less an order from up high, but Aegon II's approval (in contrast to the Hightowers) marks him as bad even if his courage in battle (like Rhaenys but unlike Rhaenyra) and willingness to endure severe pain would meet amoral standards of "heroism". We could also note that Lucerys was riding a dragon, a potent weapon of war of the sort that Daemon had just used to take power in the Riverlands over Lord Grover Tully's objections, and had only his own word that he would just use it for transportation rather than as a weapon. Aemond would ignore Lucerys' words, using logic similar to yours there.

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Oh, she does. Littlefinger tells her what they are doing.

Sansa doesn't know how medicine works and accumulates in the body. She doesn't want him to shake when they go down the mountain, so she thinks of sweetsleep as actually protecting him.

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The Greens killed thousands or tens of thousands of innocent children at Tumbleton.

Did I ever call them "heroes"? If you believe Eustace/Munkun, then at least Daeron gets some credit for trying to stop that.

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You don't have the author tell you that Aerys II isn't responsible for his actions. You see it in the text when you realize from what symptoms he suffers. He might have some clear moments, but he is clearly suffering from a severe mental illness.

The quotes we have from Aerys aren't mere delusional nonsense. "Let Robert rule over charred bones and cooked meat" is like Hitler's "Nero Decree". The bit about rising again as a dragon (like Aerion Brightflame believed) is just Jaime's speculation. Aerion Brightflame bears responsibility for his own actions, and Dunk is a hero for interfering with such actions via violence against him. It's not that Aerys isn't aware he's killing people or that killing people is normally considered a bad thing, rather he & Aerion have just elevated themselves above such norms and have no respect for people below them (with even his Hand Tywin Lannister being referred to as a "servant" whose daughter was thus ineligible to marry Rhaegar.

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If Ned had decided that Joffrey should succeed him knowing what Ned knew, then Ned would have had to accept that.

I don't understand what you're saying: Ned would have to accept his own decision?

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In the book we read no such money was wasted since Rhaenyra only made plan for that.

She was taxing people for those planned expenditures.

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And don't pretend you know how lavish that ceremony would have been or how much it would have cost. Considering that a war was going on it might have been as 'lavish' as Joff's thriteenth nameday party.

I quote the text in calling it "lavish". And the Lannisters are villains of the story who waste money on Joffrey's celebrations while the smallfolk are hungry!

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Nobody said Otto was a father to Aegon II.

You blamed Otto for how Aegon II turned out, on the logic that Otto was his grandfather. You then brought in the Blackfish's relationship to Robb as an example of how someone can be "crucial" even if they aren't the direct father and thus that the exchange of robes in a marriage ceremony doesn't matter... despite Brynden's lack of influence on how Robb grew up & turned out.

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Just reread the books.

Plainly, reading a text is not going to give me your POV on it.

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It is still the approach most lords actually take. Bran isn't a part of his father's council

So what if he wasn't part of his father's council? Ned gave him lessons on responsibility as appropriate for his age.

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That guy disagreed with his king only while said king was a rotting corpse in his chambers ... not while said king was still ruling the Realm.

Jasper Wylde was not Master of Laws when that decision was made, he was preceded by Lyonel Strong.

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But Ned is still a traitor to Robert here. It is treason by omission. He presumes he can decide who the king should be without actually talking to the king about it despite the fact that he could have told him.

I will grant this much: Robert would have wanted to be told, even if it would have made him very angry in his last moments alive. Ned knew Robert would order the deaths of Cersei & her children, which is why he warned Cersei and gave her the opportunity to flee (and practically canonically hid Jon Snow's parentage from Robert). Ned is thus like Davos, a Hand torn between his loyalty to his king and the imperative to spare children from the king.

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It is the same with Stannis. He is a traitor to Robert as well since he never told him what he believed about his children

He told Jon Arryn under the belief that Robert wouldn't believe Stannis. It's not "treason" for him to have done that.

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Last time I looked, Otto Hightower shat on the Great Council in 105 AC.

Otto recommended going against the Great Council at a time when Viserys had no sons, and thus traditional succession laws would at least favor Rhaenyra over her uncle Daemon (which was why Cat was Hoster's heir before Edmure even while Brynden lived). He did NOT say they should choose the best possible ruler regardless of where they fit in the succession.

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Sunfyre is a small dragon. Else Moondancer would have never been able to kill him ... which she did.

Sunfyre was explicitly said to have a significant size & strength advantage over Moondancer, which is why it dominated when they were both on the ground and its damaged wing was less of a disadvantage vs Moondancer's speed & agility. Sunfyre had already been severely wounded in the fight with Meleys (hence the damaged wing), took "many grievous wounds" from Mooton's men (threescore of which it killed before the survivors fled) while on the ground near Rook's Rest, then got fresh wounds off Dragonstone when it attacked & killed the Grey Ghost (without Aegon riding it, perhaps just because it was hungry), then finally fought & killed Moondancer and still lived long enough after that for Rhaenyra to arrive and get eaten. That's a longer track record of surviving punishment and coming out on top than most dragons. The one time Tessarion fought other dragons, all three died (even if Tessarion died last at Tumbleton). For what it's worth, here's someone else's ranking/categorization of the dragons.

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Joff was surrounded by most loyal folk.

He was surrounded by the Tyrells at his wedding, and they're the ones who killed him. Tyrion & Sansa got blamed even though they weren't even aware there was an assassination plot, in part because they were both known to hate Joffrey (for good reason).

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I'm honestly looking forward to this thing biting both Littlefinger and the Tyrells in their asses!

You can look forward to what you want. LF is at risk from Sansa exposing him, but I don't see a simple path to the Tyrells getting busted (instead it's their association with the Lannister regime while the Sparrows & Young Griff are around that's their problem).

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But Aegon II was apparently murdered by effectively his entire court.

Larys & Corlys are his entire court?

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the corrupt and savages morons who helped him take Dragonstone

More True Scotsmen.

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I don't think Joff would have been that stupid in a similar situation.

When has GRRM not written Joffrey as stupid? There's the scene in the TV show where he complains to Tywin about rumored dragons in Essos & being excluded from SC meetings, but that's not in the books (and is for an older version of Joffrey).

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It is obviously a betrayal of trust and friendship and family if you sack the very grandfather who made you king.

They were family via him being his grandfather, but I don't know that any "trust and friendship" was established between them beforehand. And if Aegon hadn't even planned on being king, it's not really a "betrayal" for him to replace a man behind that.

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She wanted Aemond questioned sharply about the lies the boy heard

Not "lies", GRRM set it up as a clear parallel to Cersei's bastards and has folks without any dog in the fight like Mellos appearing to believe that.

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something that was clearly an accident.

If you run with scissors and trip, the subsequent stabbing is an accident. If you attack someone with wooden swords, then pull a knife on them when that doesn't work and slash at their face, it's not. And you were the one talking about "an eye for an eye"!

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I think Viserys I may have executed Harwin if he married Rhaenyra without his permission because Harwin was just a Strong.

What would be the legal basis for that? Couldn't he demand a right to a trial? There are some other instances where royal offspring married without permission, and nothing like that happened (even though Jenny of Oldstones wasn't even a noble).

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On 1/12/2022 at 10:38 PM, The Bard of Banefort said:

If Criston turned against Rhaenyra because he thought she was a trollop, then it should have happened the first time she tried to seduce him (in Mushroom’s account, she tried seducing him when she was younger, and he still remained devoted to her afterwards).

We don't get the precise details of what she said or did at that time, but in that account Daemon tells her that Criston still thought of her as a girl rather than a woman. And the moment that Criston actually turns is after Laenor & Rhaenyra have both given their favors to their lovers at their wedding tourney. Criston beat Joffrey even worse than Harwin, and in the Green Council meeting he's the only one to reference Laenor and harp on how his alleged children can't reach the throne.

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Plus this is a guy who slit an old man’s throat at a council meeting without warning. He clearly didn’t have an ironclad sense of honor, at least not to the point where he’d be horrified by the prospect of premarital sex.

He's certainly a brutally violent man. But he's also said by Jaime to embody both the best & the worst of the KG. "[C]ommitting terrible acts and justifying them with an oath? That’s so Kingsguard." I don't think it's mere "premarital sex" that offends him. Rather, it's that Rhaenyra wanted to use him to get Laenor to reject her, and then when that didn't work she & Laenor embarked on a sham marriage in which each actually was with someone else (someone decidedly against Westerosi norms, in Laenor's case). That's not just a naive young girl with a crush on an older guy who had long supported her, that's some adult cynicism. Criston's vocal revulsion for Laenor's sexuality is consistent with a prudish characterization (in which he might be righteous in his own eyes even while he's not to a modern reader), whereas him having any sexual interest in anybody doesn't match the rest of the text that well.

On 1/12/2022 at 11:37 PM, Lord Varys said:

With Criston Cole at her side, presumably?

Criston refusing her would only enhance his reliability!

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Eustace could have learned the truth - or what he considers the truth - when speaking to the king, Cargyll, Rhaenyra, or Daemon in confidence.

We never hear of him speaking to those last two in confidence. He does admittedly refer to Cargyll going to the sept to pray before his mission to Dragonstone.

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