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A specific plot point compromises the potential of the Dance (spoilers)


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14 hours ago, BlackLightning said:

I understand that. Given the maternal mortality rates at the time and the necessity of physical strength, to have a tradition of female rulers (particularly in times where war was always a possibility and succession is fragile) is very risky.

However, the rules are different in this world as the Targaryens (male or female) command dragons who can fly at about hundred miles per hour, can crush wooden edifices with their bodies and breathe fire hot enough to melt steel and pulverize stone.

I would agree that a male ruler is more preferable given the prejudices and the needs of the times (especially if they are to prepare for an apocalyptic war with ice demons and men are biologically more capable of dangerous activities such as warfare with said ice demons) but a female ruler is not a sign of weakness. Not inherently and especially not if said female ruler is an experienced dragonrider with battle experience in Planetos.

Viserys is a weak ruler and he is male. His lack of physical strength and vigor is one thing but what truly makes him weak is his bad habit of people-pleasing, his inability to communicate effectively, his procrastination, his tolerance of sketchy counselors and courtiers and his distaste for conflict. Rhaenyra, as bratty as she is, would be a much better ruler than Viserys already and she's not even eighteen.

They are not different, Westeros is misogynistic. It does not matter if women are good rulers, in Dorne most ofd the famous rulers were women. They still don't want a woman to hold the throne.

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6 hours ago, Dreadscythe95 said:

They are not different, Westeros is misogynistic. It does not matter if women are good rulers, in Dorne most ofd the famous rulers were women. They still don't want a woman to hold the throne.

Yeah, this keeps coming up in a lot of discussions of this show.

Westeros is a shithole.

The people are terrible.

The laws are awful.

The system is broken.

People keep acting like it is the kind of place any sane person would want to live. It's not Gondor, it's Mordor.

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3 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

Yeah, this keeps coming up in a lot of discussions of this show.

Westeros is a shithole.

The people are terrible.

The laws are awful.

The system is broken.

People keep acting like it is the kind of place any sane person would want to live. It's not Gondor, it's Mordor.

Slavers Bay and Volantis are George Martin’s Mordor.

Westeros is one of orc-kingdoms.  Rule by the Others might be an improvement. 

 

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23 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

Yeah, this keeps coming up in a lot of discussions of this show.

Westeros is a shithole.

The people are terrible.

The laws are awful.

The system is broken.

People keep acting like it is the kind of place any sane person would want to live. It's not Gondor, it's Mordor.

It's not terrible tbh, it's terrible for 2022 human society in earth. Life has always been sweet, even is Middle Ages or in the Bronze Age period. The beauty of living usually is bigger than the dread of nature/society.

Edited by Dreadscythe95
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Back to the original question, I generally dislike it.  The Night Fort- the original and largest fortress of the Watch- was still populated thousands of years after being built during the time of Queen Alysanne.  A couple hundred years of Targaryen rule and "realm unification", the Night Fort is abandoned and the Watch is barely functioning.  If the Targaryen "purpose" for leading a genocidal invasion into Westeros was to save the future, why did they let the Night's Watch fall apart, being in worse condition after they arrived than before?  Why would they keep the Long Night a secret?  Shouldn't humanity know about this looming threat so they can prepare for it?

If this is supposed to make Aegon I look like a secret hero for killing thousands of people in Harrenhal, the Field of Fire, and burning every city in Dorne in retaliation after they killed Rhaenys in self-defense, it didn't change my mind.  I still consider Aegon I to be a mass-murdering tyrant.

But prophetic dreams and their false interpretations are a major part of the story.  Did a voice in Aegon's dream tell him that a "Targaryen must sit the Iron Throne to unite the realm and save the world"?  Or did he merely see a vision of the Long Night, and his narcissistic sense of false heroism come up with the rest?  That question is the only interesting part of this to me.

In the show version, Aegon's prophecy about the Long Night is true but a Targaryen sitting on the throne was not.  Cersei sat the throne during the Long Night, and the realm wasn't united; it was only the North, the Free Folk, the Unsullied, the Dothraki who immediately went extinct (until they became un-extinct), and a few random others who fought.  Neither Targaryen nor dragon saved the day; it was Arya and her magic knife.  So, I like the fact that the prophecy was misinterpreted or incorrect (as prophecies often are in this story).

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Yeah the conflict always seemed to be kinda lopsided. On the whole the Greens seem populated with loons, nutjubs and villains to a degree the Blacks aren't. Even the more evil members of the Blacks have their virtues, which is something the likes of Aemond or Peake don't have at all.

Though the show does seem to take steps to avert that. In the books Alicent came off as a shrew without any redeeming qualities while the show version of her is significantly softer. And Cole doesn't quite seem as the most reprehensible person in Westeros like he did in the book, though its a bit too soon to say it will last.

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On 8/22/2022 at 11:30 AM, Dreadscythe95 said:

I loved the pilot of the show but I am a bit sad that Hollywood can't really escape from it's pretentious mediocrity nowdays and doesn't want to truly divide the audience. The Dance of The Dragons is a civil War with no clear good and bad guys, it's people personalities and agendas with immense power clashing and burning the world along with them.

Yeah Rhaenyra is slightly more favorably written than the Greens but bt giving her the whole plot of carrying the information of The Long Night it instantly gives her a justification, removing her personal ambitions and egotism and it makes her a mainly tragic hero that did everything for the good of humanity and it annoys me because it's not the story Martin told.

What do you guys think?

The 'good of humanity angle' is bit of a Hollywood copout but I do like the scene later where Vicerys tells Rhaenyra about 'the Prince that was promised' The scene is ott but funny for 2 reasons, the first obviously is that GoT royally messed up that story and the second, if it is true, then it is Daemon's blood as well as Rhaenyra's and Vicerys is telling her this while trying to keep Daemon far away. The angle that worries me is the idea of setting up Rhaenyra as too much of a hero, I wonder if they will blacken Daemen even more so as to lessen her major failings as a leader and perhaps make the Greens even more monstrous with the anti woman angle. They keep having reference to Vicerys cutting himself on the throne, when in fact its Rhaenyra who it 'rejects'  ( I think in the book it is just that one time that Vicerys cuts his finger when he exiles Daemon ??could be wrong) The whole 'women should rule cause men suck' messaging in some media is not the message of the book, which is, as you say, far more complicated and full of gloriously grey characters who often do unspeakable things due to the situation they are placed in. Of course misogyny plays a part in the story but the women in the story are just as grey as the men. 

Regarding the Greens and the civil war. It is quite hard to make them sympathetic ( they hide a body, defy the Kings wishes, slaughter those who keep their vows and take advantage of a woman having a terrible birthing ordeal to steal her crown, and that is before the war starts)  I think the show IS trying. They make Alicent younger, make no suggestion of any possible relationship with Vicerys before Aemma's death, concentrate on how trapped she is etc, They also make Daemon even more irrational and remove anything that makes him more human in the early years ( no miscarriage for Misaria and him claiming he will marry her rather than just taking the egg, making the egg Baelon's etc) I suspect that the series knows Daemon will be a fan favourite and think they can take a few liberties with his character without diminishing that. Criston Cole has also been given the perfect excuse to despise Rhaenyra- his vow obviously means something to him and I suspect if he ever found out that Rhaenyra seduced him about an hour after her uncle, who he hates, seduced and then left her hangin, he will feel rather used. Even Otto has been written with restraint, as his main motive is that only a boy heir can keep the Kingdom from civil war, which is valid and reasonable (ironic considering it was him who had Rhaenyra named heir in the first place)

Sorry for writing an essay. I guess my point is that the Black's will also be more sympathetic on a modern TV show because they are fighting for a woman's right to be seen as equal to men. They also are just cooler! More of the epic moments belong to them- Rhaenys not trying to flee and fighting 2 on 1, the dragonseeds, Nettles, Daemon v Aemond at the godseye, Aegon's flight as a 9 year old, taking Kings landing etc etc. They are the underdogs with no money, far less men and many other disadvantages.. Don't get me wrong, awful things are done by the Blacks, some of the worst,  but the kinslaying is begun by the Greens and the treachery begins with them too. Sorry again for the essay. I just hope all the awesome characters in the story are depicted right as the show looks and feels great and the actors have all been flawless so far 

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19 hours ago, StarkTullies said:

Back to the original question, I generally dislike it.  The Night Fort- the original and largest fortress of the Watch- was still populated thousands of years after being built during the time of Queen Alysanne.  A couple hundred years of Targaryen rule and "realm unification", the Night Fort is abandoned and the Watch is barely functioning.  If the Targaryen "purpose" for leading a genocidal invasion into Westeros was to save the future, why did they let the Night's Watch fall apart, being in worse condition after they arrived than before?  Why would they keep the Long Night a secret?  Shouldn't humanity know about this looming threat so they can prepare for it?

If this is supposed to make Aegon I look like a secret hero for killing thousands of people in Harrenhal, the Field of Fire, and burning every city in Dorne in retaliation after they killed Rhaenys in self-defense, it didn't change my mind.  I still consider Aegon I to be a mass-murdering tyrant.

But prophetic dreams and their false interpretations are a major part of the story.  Did a voice in Aegon's dream tell him that a "Targaryen must sit the Iron Throne to unite the realm and save the world"?  Or did he merely see a vision of the Long Night, and his narcissistic sense of false heroism come up with the rest?  That question is the only interesting part of this to me.

In the show version, Aegon's prophecy about the Long Night is true but a Targaryen sitting on the throne was not.  Cersei sat the throne during the Long Night, and the realm wasn't united; it was only the North, the Free Folk, the Unsullied, the Dothraki who immediately went extinct (until they became un-extinct), and a few random others who fought.  Neither Targaryen nor dragon saved the day; it was Arya and her magic knife.  So, I like the fact that the prophecy was misinterpreted or incorrect (as prophecies often are in this story).

I think you make a great point - why didn’t Aegon’s descendants look after the Wall and the Night’s Watch?

I haven’t been watching House because I generally find the recital of Targaryen history boring but peeked in today here and this thread has made me take notice!  Will have to watch.

My theory (and I know others have thought this too) - since the Worldbook - has been that the CotF created the Others to fight humans, and then, when the Others got out of control, and partially at the request of the humans (The Last Hero), they created the Valyrians out of the same original stock (something adaptable in the genes, that leads to greenseers, wargs, etc) to combat the Others.    Perhaps a princely stock of the First Men variety - but in the North because that’s where the Children were and where The Last Hero found them. Dunstans or Starks, etc., because these guys kept intermarrying with ruling houses, strong in these abilities. The Last Hero, or Prince, became the first dragon-rider or “Valyrian”. So to me the designation Prince is likely not Dornish but from old, First Men, Westeros.

A pact was possibly involved.  In exchange for this power, the Valyrian’s prime directive is to slaughter Others, protecting Westeros, but at the same time they were banished when their numbers became too great from Westeros until the land needed them again - likely at the onset of another Long Night. The CotF had learned from their first mistake - they did not want to replace icy armies with a fiery dragon-riding airforce.

Up North, the hot springs of Winterfell provided a good breeding place for dragons, so it possibly was a dragon from there that was first bound by a newly-minted “Valyrian”. Hence the legend of a dragon under Winterfell.  The Valyrians stuck around for a bit - Brandon the Builder perhaps one dragon-rider if not The Last Hero himself- to build dragon-forged magical defences.  But we can trace their exile finally to Dragonstone and from there they set off to find the best habitat for their dragons, Valyria, and coined their new name as Valyrians.

The Valyrians as a people are first heard of shortly AFTER the Long Night.  Probably less than a hundred years after.

And I’ve always wondered if it were they, still bound to the Pact?, who destroyed still-smoking Hardhome the first time in response to reports of gathering Other armies.  600 years before present, 200 years before Valyria is destroyed. That curious incident has always seemed to me to possibly testify that the ruling powers of Valyria still remembered and abided by that prime directive instilled at their creation, the reason for their creation - to protect Westeros from the Others.
 

But Valyria is destroyed, and I think the remnant Targaryens are left with only partial histories, partial prophecies, partial lore, and lots of dreams.  That they do retain something of the history, though, is evidenced by Aegon’s actions, and also possibly by Jaehaerys and Alysanne’s curious visit to the Winterfell crypts. If this theory holds true, then their ancestors too, the Last Hero, Brandon the Builder (maybe the same person, or a descendant)  and others, might be buried here, and it is under Winterfell that the first dragon - the one that ‘changed’ them as a race - was possibly born.

Lots and lots of evidence for this theorizing, so Aegon’s dreams, his map table, etc., and other comments here on the thread on the show possibly offer some confirmation.  I do think though the history - that by this time they think of as family legend?-about their ‘making’ might have been lost some time after J and A visited the crypts and the Queen’s Gift was bestowed. And it was the loss of this history that led to lack of interest in the Wall?  
 

Leading back to your comment, of course, and not obviating your reaction to Aegon’s actions.  The Targaryen’s are a mad, bad, power-hungry lot with only some exceptions - only to be expected from people sharing affinities and - for lack of a better word, souls - with dragons. We see Dany fighting off this penchant for blood and fire from the outset, not realizing because of her sense of entitlement and ancestry that it really is something she should be fighting off, until in the end she fully embraces it. 

The Last Hero received a gift of very mixed blessings. 

Which brings me to the knife. I am so glad it’s being brought back in, under whatever circumstances, because that plot-line has always been the worst disappointment to me. Maybe we’ll get better answers than ‘Joffrey did it because he’s an idiot, trying to impress a dad he can never tell he did it?’  
 

It’s always intrigued me the murder attempt on Bran takes place immediately after he has his first greenseeing experience. As if something else saw him then and knew he needed to be obliterated. The attempt leads directly to the War of the Five Kings, etc.  

The dagger of dissension, like the apple of discord from Greek myth.

In GoT the show, the CotF create the Others using an obsidian blade to channel their magic. 

If my theory is correct, at least in part, then what did they use to create Valyrians? Obsidian as well?  Or is this where the Azor Ahai, Lightbringer myth comes in?  Is the Valyrian ancestral blade not a shining sword, but an innocuous, plain-looking dagger that was once a focus for their creation? Kind of like when Indiana Jones finds the Holy Grail and there’s no gleaming golden cup but a clunky wooden goblet?  
 

Everything everyone here has said about it intrigues me, so I will now try to find out how to get an HBO subscription in Canada, and watch the show!
 

 

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

Aegon I and his sisters were simply more successful imperialists than the the rival imperialists they defeated in battle.  In peace, they were capable rulers.

I agree that Aegon and his sisters weren't worse than Harren Hoare, which doesn't mean I approve of Aegon burning alive thousands of other people in Harrenhal to take Harren out.  If Harren or Tywin Lannister or countless other tyrannical rulers had dragons, they would be far worse than any of the Targaryens ever were.  That might make Aegon I a lesser villain than them, but still a villain.

Even if I accept that Aegon genuinely believed killing tens of thousands of people in the short-term was justified to save hundreds of thousands of people 300 years later, surely there were better ways he could have prepared for the future than genocide.  And again, why did he keep his supposed knowledge of the Long Night a secret?  Why didn't he make strengthening the Night's Watch his top priority?  Why didn't he or any later Targaryens post dragons closer to the Wall or ever move the capital farther north, if their "purpose" was to save the world?  Because it wasn't.

I agree that Aegon did seem like a good "peace time" ruler, but half his reign was not peaceful due to his unnecessary continued war against the southern-most and least populated kingdom in Westeros.  Scorching Dorne was revenge for Rhaenys's death, not "unifying the realm".

The Targaryen family words are "Fire and Blood", not "Unification and Protection".  George Martin doesn't intend to write any family as all good or all bad, and the Targaryens are no exception.  I don't dislike "the family"; I like some Targaryens and dislike others.  If Aegon I had been born and raised in peacetime after Westeros was already under Targaryen rule, he might have been one of the best Targaryen kings.  But since he is the one who initiated the genocide, I will always consider him a villain.  A lesser villain than Harren and some of the other imperialists, but still a villain.

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1 hour ago, StarkTullies said:

I agree that Aegon and his sisters weren't worse than Harren Hoare, which doesn't mean I approve of Aegon burning alive thousands of other people in Harrenhal to take Harren out.  If Harren or Tywin Lannister or countless other tyrannical rulers had dragons, they would be far worse than any of the Targaryens ever were.  That might make Aegon I a lesser villain than them, but still a villain.

Even if I accept that Aegon genuinely believed killing tens of thousands of people in the short-term was justified to save hundreds of thousands of people 300 years later, surely there were better ways he could have prepared for the future than genocide.  And again, why did he keep his supposed knowledge of the Long Night a secret?  Why didn't he make strengthening the Night's Watch his top priority?  Why didn't he or any later Targaryens post dragons closer to the Wall or ever move the capital farther north, if their "purpose" was to save the world?  Because it wasn't.

I agree that Aegon did seem like a good "peace time" ruler, but half his reign was not peaceful due to his unnecessary continued war against the southern-most and least populated kingdom in Westeros.  Scorching Dorne was revenge for Rhaenys's death, not "unifying the realm".

The Targaryen family words are "Fire and Blood", not "Unification and Protection".  George Martin doesn't intend to write any family as all good or all bad, and the Targaryens are no exception.  I don't dislike "the family"; I like some Targaryens and dislike others.  If Aegon I had been born and raised in peacetime after Westeros was already under Targaryen rule, he might have been one of the best Targaryen kings.  But since he is the one who initiated the genocide, I will always consider him a villain.  A lesser villain than Harren and some of the other imperialists, but still a villain.

I don't consider Aegon to be genocidal.  He waged wars in order to rule people, and mostly kept the status quo in place.  He didn't wage wars to exterminate people, and to replace them with other ethnic or religious groups.

Harren, Argilac, the Kings of the Reach, North, Vale, and  West, and the Princes of Dorne, all waged wars against their neighbours to expand their boundaries. And their ancestors waged wars to put down their rival kings, in order to create each of the Seven Kingdoms.  Nymeria sent six rival kings to the Wall;  the Stark kings were headhunters etc.  Even the Yellow Toad offered to help Aegon in his conquests, in return for being given land at the expense of the Stormlands and Reach.

I'd view Aegon and his sisters as being like Alfred the Great, Edward, Aethelflaed, and Athelstan, only with dragons.  One could say that Alfred fought a defensive war against the Danes, but neither he nor his children or grandson, had any intention of restoring the old dynasties of the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.  They were fighting to make the House of Wessex supreme.

 

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5 hours ago, StarkTullies said:

I agree that Aegon and his sisters weren't worse than Harren Hoare, which doesn't mean I approve of Aegon burning alive thousands of other people in Harrenhal to take Harren out.  If Harren or Tywin Lannister or countless other tyrannical rulers had dragons, they would be far worse than any of the Targaryens ever were.  That might make Aegon I a lesser villain than them, but still a villain.

Aegon and the Targaryens were especially popular in the Riverlands. Aegon is seen as a liberator from the Ironborn yoke there, that's why they switch sides and that's why they stick with Aegon. Harrenhal is a powerful symbol but hardly worse than the conventional storming and subsequent sacking of the place would have been. It is not that uncommon in this world to kill the entire garrison of a defiant castle.

Over all, the best sign that the Targaryens hugely bettered the lives of the common people is the fact that KL grew as fast as it did and that the commoners stood with the Targaryens from the very beginning throughout. Although the Faith Militant Uprising was backed by a significant portion of the smallfolk, the Targaryens still retained the loyalty of lots of them as well, as poor Bean shows, who ended up dying for Maegor.

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13 hours ago, SeanF said:

I don't consider Aegon to be genocidal.  He waged wars in order to rule people, and mostly kept the status quo in place.  He didn't wage wars to exterminate people, and to replace them with other ethnic or religious groups.

I don't consider Aegon's acts of war in the Riverlands or the Reach to be genocidal, but ruthless war tactics that are common throughout history (except with dragons).  Whether his acts in Dorne can be defined as actual genocide or not... maybe I used that word too freely.  However, his "kill all Dornish" campaign in retaliation for his sister's death is certainly a heinous act that can't be defended.

13 hours ago, SeanF said:

Harren, Argilac, the Kings of the Reach, North, Vale, and  West, and the Princes of Dorne, all waged wars against their neighbours to expand their boundaries. And their ancestors waged wars to put down their rival kings, in order to create each of the Seven Kingdoms.

They did, and I don't care for them either.  However, I don't hold it against Ned Stark for what his ancestors did, just like I don't hold it against Queen Alysanne (my favorite Targaryen ruler) for what her great-grandfather did.  My dislike is for Aegon I, not all Targaryens.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Aegon and the Targaryens were especially popular in the Riverlands. Aegon is seen as a liberator from the Ironborn yoke there, that's why they switch sides and that's why they stick with Aegon.

Yep, of all the regions where battles took place, I would expect the Riverlands to be by far the happiest with Aegon's conquest.  The Ironborn brought far more misery to the Riverlands than the Targaryens.  Still, the Riverlanders who would be the most unhappy with Aegon's actions were the thousands of people burned alive in Harrenhal when Aegon took them out with their leader, but they weren't alive to complain about it.

I expect most Stormlanders found the Targaryens to be an improvement over Argilac too.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Over all, the best sign that the Targaryens hugely bettered the lives of the common people is the fact that KL grew as fast as it did and that the commoners stood with the Targaryens from the very beginning throughout.

My complaint against Aegon isn't his peacetime rule, but his attacks on Harrenhal, Field of FIre, and most particularly Dorne.  No one in Dorne had improved lives due to Aegon.  Many real-life tyrants are very popular among their people, however.  Some people flocked to Kings Landing because they loved the Targaryens, but there are plenty of other reasons to flood to the capital city other than loving their rulers.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It is not that uncommon in this world to kill the entire garrison of a defiant castle.

It isn't that uncommon.  If people (fans, and fictional Westerosi) put Aegon in the same category as the other leaders who did similar things, I wouldn't be commenting in this thread.  My issue is the claim that Aegon is better than all the other tyrants burning down entire castles and cities.  He isn't.

The original question in this thread is about the new information that Aegon supposedly invaded Westeros to save the world.  Story-wise I can accept that Aegon had this vision and that he told himself that was his motive, but his motives were not pure.  If saving the world was his real reason for invasion, he would have committed fewer mass-killings, and he would have actually prepared for the Long Night other than simply "putting a Targaryen on the throne".

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23 minutes ago, StarkTullies said:

Yep, of all the regions where battles took place, I would expect the Riverlands to be by far the happiest with Aegon's conquest.  The Ironborn brought far more misery to the Riverlands than the Targaryens.  Still, the Riverlanders who would be the most unhappy with Aegon's actions were the thousands of people burned alive in Harrenhal when Aegon took them out with their leader, but they weren't alive to complain about it.

The impression we get is that most, if not all the people in Harrenhal were Ironborn retainers of House Hoare. Sure enough, there may have been some servants and other smallfolk from the Riverlands, but Harren had to retreat to Harrenhal and prepare for a siege there because the Riverlords and their levies abandoned him.

23 minutes ago, StarkTullies said:

My complaint against Aegon isn't his peacetime rule, but his attacks on Harrenhal, Field of FIre, and most particularly Dorne.  No one in Dorne had improved lives due to Aegon.  Many real-life tyrants are very popular among their people, however.  Some people flocked to Kings Landing because they loved the Targaryens, but there are plenty of other reasons to flood to the capital city other than loving their rulers.

The Field of Fire was actually a surprisingly harmless battle insofar as actual casualties are concerned. It actually seems like a stratagem which could have been used without the dragons and merely by crucially placed people igniting the lands across the battlefield. It is not so much the dragons that ensured the Targaryen victory there but the dry field and sunny weather, and the wind spreading the flames.

That said - there were tens of thousands of men in that battle, and only about 5,000 of them died. Like Harrenhal, this was more a propaganda victory than a truly decisive victory if you actually count the dead (that all the Gardeners died was a huge advantage though, of course). About 10,000 men seem to have suffered burns but survived - and they would have told stories about the terrible dragons throughout the remainder of their lives.

Dorne is another matter, of course, but even that wasn't *that* terrible a war on the side of the Targaryens. The Dornish destroyed the entire Tyrell army, killed all but the noble Stormlanders (and mutilated them before sending them back). After that, there was no attempt to invade Dorne again. The Targaryens unleashed their dragons again and again ... but they seem to have burned mostly empty castles. In the end Dorne's economy is pretty much destroyed, etc. but it is not that the Targaryen dragons burned tens of thousands of Dornishmen (perhaps not even as many as ten thousand).

Regarding KL - if you hated the Targaryens and their dragons you would likely not settle there. Ditto if you loved your previous lords more. The idea there is that the new Targaryen city promised the smallfolk protection, prosperity, and freedom they didn't get anywhere else in Westeros. Otherwise they wouldn't have gone there. I mean, there is no indication that Aegon forced people to live there - like Louis XIV forced the nobility to come to Versailles. Instead we have the rather spantenous massive growth of a place which never actually planned or intended to be a large city. That is truly remarkable and only makes sense if the people doing that - and it were tens and eventually hundreds of thousands - really felt like this was a great idea.

23 minutes ago, StarkTullies said:

It isn't that uncommon.  If people (fans, and fictional Westerosi) put Aegon in the same category as the other leaders who did similar things, I wouldn't be commenting in this thread.  My issue is the claim that Aegon is better than all the other tyrants burning down entire castles and cities. He isn't.

Well, he is in the sense that he united most of the Realm and put an end to the constant warfare as well as the constant bloody private feuds of powerful lords within the independent kingdoms.

And, compared to other conquest in Westeros and the real world, his was a very short and bloodless conquest. The fighting didn't drag on, it didn't devolve to a total war of attrition, etc. Dorne excluded, of course.

23 minutes ago, StarkTullies said:

The original question in this thread is about the new information that Aegon supposedly invaded Westeros to save the world.  Story-wise I can accept that Aegon had this vision and that he told himself that was his motive, but his motives were not pure.  If saving the world was his real reason for invasion, he would have committed fewer mass-killings, and he would have actually prepared for the Long Night other than simply "putting a Targaryen on the throne".

You can make a case that he thought uniting the Realm under the rule of the family who would bring forth the savior of mankind was doing exactly that.

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3 hours ago, StarkTullies said:

I don't consider Aegon's acts of war in the Riverlands or the Reach to be genocidal, but ruthless war tactics that are common throughout history (except with dragons).  Whether his acts in Dorne can be defined as actual genocide or not... maybe I used that word too freely.  However, his "kill all Dornish" campaign in retaliation for his sister's death is certainly a heinous act that can't be defended.

They did, and I don't care for them either.  However, I don't hold it against Ned Stark for what his ancestors did, just like I don't hold it against Queen Alysanne (my favorite Targaryen ruler) for what her great-grandfather did.  My dislike is for Aegon I, not all Targaryens.

Yep, of all the regions where battles took place, I would expect the Riverlands to be by far the happiest with Aegon's conquest.  The Ironborn brought far more misery to the Riverlands than the Targaryens.  Still, the Riverlanders who would be the most unhappy with Aegon's actions were the thousands of people burned alive in Harrenhal when Aegon took them out with their leader, but they weren't alive to complain about it.

I expect most Stormlanders found the Targaryens to be an improvement over Argilac too.

My complaint against Aegon isn't his peacetime rule, but his attacks on Harrenhal, Field of FIre, and most particularly Dorne.  No one in Dorne had improved lives due to Aegon.  Many real-life tyrants are very popular among their people, however.  Some people flocked to Kings Landing because they loved the Targaryens, but there are plenty of other reasons to flood to the capital city other than loving their rulers.

It isn't that uncommon.  If people (fans, and fictional Westerosi) put Aegon in the same category as the other leaders who did similar things, I wouldn't be commenting in this thread.  My issue is the claim that Aegon is better than all the other tyrants burning down entire castles and cities.  He isn't.

The original question in this thread is about the new information that Aegon supposedly invaded Westeros to save the world.  Story-wise I can accept that Aegon had this vision and that he told himself that was his motive, but his motives were not pure.  If saving the world was his real reason for invasion, he would have committed fewer mass-killings, and he would have actually prepared for the Long Night other than simply "putting a Targaryen on the throne".

Sure, values dissonance is an issue.  In modern, liberal democracies, right of conquest is not considered legitimate (although I think there’s a lot of doublethink about that).

In this world, however, right of conquest is considered entirely legitimate, and a ruler would not be thought a tyrant, simply because he’s a conqueror.

Likewise in the WOT5K, even the good guys are thought entirely within their rights to fight for the throne, to establish a separate kingdom,  or to avenge wrongs that have been done to their families and their retainers.

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8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The impression we get is that most, if not all the people in Harrenhal were Ironborn retainers of House Hoare.

Possibly.  I'm far more familiar with ASOIAF than with F&B.  I'm sure all the prestigious towers were for the Ironborn, but I always assumed that the countless Riverland slaves (even though "Westeros doesn't have slaves", the Ironborn certainly did whether they used that name or not) were also packed into Harrenhal.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The Field of Fire was actually a surprisingly harmless battle insofar as actual casualties are concerned.

Yes, and it was still entirely unjustified.  I have fewer issues with Harrenhal because Hoare himself was a tyrannical invader (not only his ancestors, but he himself) and Aegon did free the Riverlands from him (those outside of Harrenhal).  But Field of Fire was Aegon attacking them just because he could.  And I know about history, etc., and if Aegon was considered "just another invader", then I wouldn't be commenting here.  But he is proclaimed a hero, and he isn't.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Dorne is another matter, of course, but even that wasn't *that* terrible a war on the side of the Targaryens. The Dornish destroyed the entire Tyrell army, killed all but the noble Stormlanders (and mutilated them before sending them back).

It seems one of Martin's themes is that rarely is one side "the good guy" in any war.  Yet Dorne retaliating against armies invading their homeland is a lot different than the Targaryens sending armies (and dragons) into their land just because they can.  This thread is about "Aegon's conquest was to prepare to save the future from the Long Night", but that is not what Dorne's invasion was about.  Even if it started that way (supposedly), it escalated because Aegon wanted vengeance for his favorite sister-wife.

My opinion of Aegon might improve a little if I knew what has in the secret letter than ended his war against Dorne, but we don't know what was in it.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And, compared to other conquest in Westeros and the real world, his was a very short and bloodless conquest.

I agree.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, he is in the sense that he united most of the Realm and put an end to the constant warfare as well as the constant bloody private feuds of powerful lords within the independent kingdoms.

That's what people often say to defend the Targaryen invasion.  I'm not certain.  Maybe there were fewer wars after the conquest than before, but the Dance was probably bloodier than any war since the first Long Night (since almost every realm was involved, not just two or three).

Soviet occupation in Eastern Europe ended the internal wars in Yugoslavia (which started again as soon as Soviet occupation ended), but I don't think the Soviet Union occupied them for the purpose of maintaining peace, and I don't consider them heroes for the indirect result of their occupation.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

You can make a case that he thought uniting the Realm under the rule of the family who would bring forth the savior of mankind was doing exactly that.

Yep, that is the case that Viserys I (in the show) made.  I don't believe those were Aegon's true motives for reasons stated earlier.  And since "Game of Thrones" appears to be canon to "The House of the Dragon" (same opening theme music, constant references to the Night King-killing dagger), the prophecy was wrong.  Unless Arya is descended from the alleged Targaryen bastard child of the alleged Sara Snow, "the prince who was promised" was not descended from the Targaryens.  (For record, I don't think "the Long Night" in the books will resemble what happened in the show at all.)

5 hours ago, SeanF said:

Likewise in the WOT5K, even the good guys are thought entirely within their rights to fight for the throne, to establish a separate kingdom,  or to avenge wrongs that have been done to their families and their retainers.

I think Stannis fighting for the throne is completely different from Robb declaring the North and the Riverlands a separate kingdom (or more specifically, the lords declaring an independent kingdom on Robb's behalf).  The North was forced by dragons to join a realm they don't belong in, and I fully support their declaration of independence.  Does that justify war?  No... but their independence didn't start the war.  Tywin invading the Riverlands to "defend his family honor" did, and that's why the North and Riverlands established a separate kingdom.

I don't like Stannis, but I consider him "the rightful heir" to the Iron Throne.  But power lies where people believe it lies... and most people believe Joffrey to be the rightful heir because most people believe he is Robert's son.  As much as I despise Joffrey, Tywin, and Cersei, I don't think Stannis's war was justified either.  I support his "I am the rightful heir by law" stance more than Aegon's "I should rule because I have dragons and I want to" stance , so I still dislike Aegon far more than Stannis.

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3 hours ago, StarkTullies said:

Possibly.  I'm far more familiar with ASOIAF than with F&B.  I'm sure all the prestigious towers were for the Ironborn, but I always assumed that the countless Riverland slaves (even though "Westeros doesn't have slaves", the Ironborn certainly did whether they used that name or not) were also packed into Harrenhal.

Yes, and it was still entirely unjustified.  I have fewer issues with Harrenhal because Hoare himself was a tyrannical invader (not only his ancestors, but he himself) and Aegon did free the Riverlands from him (those outside of Harrenhal).  But Field of Fire was Aegon attacking them just because he could.  And I know about history, etc., and if Aegon was considered "just another invader", then I wouldn't be commenting here.  But he is proclaimed a hero, and he isn't.

It seems one of Martin's themes is that rarely is one side "the good guy" in any war.  Yet Dorne retaliating against armies invading their homeland is a lot different than the Targaryens sending armies (and dragons) into their land just because they can.  This thread is about "Aegon's conquest was to prepare to save the future from the Long Night", but that is not what Dorne's invasion was about.  Even if it started that way (supposedly), it escalated because Aegon wanted vengeance for his favorite sister-wife.

My opinion of Aegon might improve a little if I knew what has in the secret letter than ended his war against Dorne, but we don't know what was in it.

I agree.

That's what people often say to defend the Targaryen invasion.  I'm not certain.  Maybe there were fewer wars after the conquest than before, but the Dance was probably bloodier than any war since the first Long Night (since almost every realm was involved, not just two or three).

Soviet occupation in Eastern Europe ended the internal wars in Yugoslavia (which started again as soon as Soviet occupation ended), but I don't think the Soviet Union occupied them for the purpose of maintaining peace, and I don't consider them heroes for the indirect result of their occupation.

Yep, that is the case that Viserys I (in the show) made.  I don't believe those were Aegon's true motives for reasons stated earlier.  And since "Game of Thrones" appears to be canon to "The House of the Dragon" (same opening theme music, constant references to the Night King-killing dagger), the prophecy was wrong.  Unless Arya is descended from the alleged Targaryen bastard child of the alleged Sara Snow, "the prince who was promised" was not descended from the Targaryens.  (For record, I don't think "the Long Night" in the books will resemble what happened in the show at all.)

I think Stannis fighting for the throne is completely different from Robb declaring the North and the Riverlands a separate kingdom (or more specifically, the lords declaring an independent kingdom on Robb's behalf).  The North was forced by dragons to join a realm they don't belong in, and I fully support their declaration of independence.  Does that justify war?  No... but their independence didn't start the war.  Tywin invading the Riverlands to "defend his family honor" did, and that's why the North and Riverlands established a separate kingdom.

I don't like Stannis, but I consider him "the rightful heir" to the Iron Throne.  But power lies where people believe it lies... and most people believe Joffrey to be the rightful heir because most people believe he is Robert's son.  As much as I despise Joffrey, Tywin, and Cersei, I don't think Stannis's war was justified either.  I support his "I am the rightful heir by law" stance more than Aegon's "I should rule because I have dragons and I want to" stance , so I still dislike Aegon far more than Stannis.

I don’t think Robb had any realistic option but to call his banners, and driving the Lannisters out of the Riverlands was entirely legitimate.

I do find it harder to justify the fight for Northern/Riverlands independence, since I see no benefit from it to anyone, apart from the upper ranks of the nobility. Of course, that’s a modern, rather than in-universe outlook.  In-universe, the views of the smallfolk and minor nobility don’t count.

The North and Riverlands are not treated as colonies, so I don’t find arguments about self-determination convincing.

That said, Robb was a significantly more attractive figure than any of his enemies were.

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8 hours ago, StarkTullies said:

Possibly.  I'm far more familiar with ASOIAF than with F&B.  I'm sure all the prestigious towers were for the Ironborn, but I always assumed that the countless Riverland slaves (even though "Westeros doesn't have slaves", the Ironborn certainly did whether they used that name or not) were also packed into Harrenhal.

Sure, there could have been some Riverlanders inside Harrenhal. Although in light of the fact that Harren was abandoned by effectively all his bannermen in the Riverlands and the fact that he prepared for a siege one imagines he took care to surround himself only with such people he thought he could trust. Meaning the chances that he had many Riverlanders thralls about him are not that high. But there certainly could have been some.

8 hours ago, StarkTullies said:

Yes, and it was still entirely unjustified.  I have fewer issues with Harrenhal because Hoare himself was a tyrannical invader (not only his ancestors, but he himself) and Aegon did free the Riverlands from him (those outside of Harrenhal).  But Field of Fire was Aegon attacking them just because he could.  And I know about history, etc., and if Aegon was considered "just another invader", then I wouldn't be commenting here.  But he is proclaimed a hero, and he isn't.

Of course, without Aegon having this ulterior dream motivation his conquest of Westeros looks petty and half-mad. There is not the slightest reason why he should believe all those independent kingdoms would bend the knee to him nor a good reason why he would want to be the feudal king of a savage backwater continent.

Nobody is saying, I think, that Aegon had a right to demand that anybody bend the knee to him or give up their crowns. He had some small pretext to start a war with Argilac ... but even his invasion of the Riverlands is uncalled for since the Riverlords there didn't even ask his help to drive the Ironborn out of their lands. Although, of course, they jumped on the chance once Aegon made his intentions clear. Edmyn Tully declared for Aegon before Aegon had actually invaded the Riverlands.

As a conqueror, Aegon is clearly better than most of the other Westerosi kings since he was successful very quickly and his King's Peace later was actually enforced. And if the whole thing was motivated by a desire to save mankind then it puts everything into a different light and actually makes more sense.

Especially the fact that Torrhen Stark bent the knee. I mean, there are hints that Brandon Snow made weirwood spears to slay the dragons ... yet it didn't even come to blows between the North and the Targaryens. Why is that? There were negotiations going on we know nothing about. Folks do believe that the size of the dragons and the power of the Targaryens - which was shaky at best at this point - convinced Torrhen to bend the knee. But a much better explanation could be that Aegon and his sisters explained to the Starks why they came to Westeros ... and Brandon and Torrhen realized that gigantic dragons could prove to be very handy should the Others ever come back.

Considering the size of the North, and the relative ineffectiveness of the dragons in winter it strikes one as pretty much ridiculous to assume that a King Torrhen wanted to bend the knee without even pushing the issue if this whole thing was strictly about conventional politics. Dornish guerilla tactics would have been much more effective in the North, and Aegon could *never* convince (m)any of his southern followers to sacrifice their lives again and again in a pointless war to conquer a relatively poor and empty country. Lord Theo Tyrell already told Aegon that he would not raise another army to assist Aegon's conquest of Dorne after his father and his entire army were lost there. The Riverlords, the Westermen, and the Lord of the Vale would have reacted similarly if Aegon had demanded they raise army after army to conquer the North.

8 hours ago, StarkTullies said:

It seems one of Martin's themes is that rarely is one side "the good guy" in any war.  Yet Dorne retaliating against armies invading their homeland is a lot different than the Targaryens sending armies (and dragons) into their land just because they can.  This thread is about "Aegon's conquest was to prepare to save the future from the Long Night", but that is not what Dorne's invasion was about.  Even if it started that way (supposedly), it escalated because Aegon wanted vengeance for his favorite sister-wife.

One imagines that it started that way, yes. Aegon didn't really push the issue much at first, just marching to Sunspear, demanding fealty, and then effectively leaving the land without occupying it. He left Rosby there because no Dornishman of note was there he could name ruler.

Up until Rhaenys' death it was all pretty civil still on the Targaryen side - then it escalated because it got personal. But Aegon saw reason again in the end. If Aegon had been driven by a desire for conquest and glory he would have likely pressed on. After all, his resources were nowhere nearly spent. He could have raised other armies still, calling on the Westermen or the Riverlords, or he could have hired sellswords.

In context, one imagines, he just decided that he didn't need Dorne so much since they were at the southern end of Westeros and wouldn't really interfere with or be of much use in a fight that would likely take place in the north of Westeros.

8 hours ago, StarkTullies said:

That's what people often say to defend the Targaryen invasion.  I'm not certain.  Maybe there were fewer wars after the conquest than before, but the Dance was probably bloodier than any war since the first Long Night (since almost every realm was involved, not just two or three).

The Dance was bloody but a pretty limited conflict. Only the Crownlands, the Riverlands, the Reach, and the Westerlands were affected, with there being no fighting that we know of in the Stormlands, the Vale, and the North.

Huge parts of the Reach and the West were not affected by the war at all, and the Westerlands only in the coastal regions. The Riverlands suffered in many places, and the Crownlands, too. But armies were not all that large.

It may be that the War of the Five Kings destroyed more of the Riverlands already than the Dance of the Dragons.

8 hours ago, StarkTullies said:

Soviet occupation in Eastern Europe ended the internal wars in Yugoslavia (which started again as soon as Soviet occupation ended), but I don't think the Soviet Union occupied them for the purpose of maintaining peace, and I don't consider them heroes for the indirect result of their occupation.

Ah, that was more about Tito's regime than the Soviet Union. Yugoslavia was allied with the Soviet Union, but not a client state the way the others were. When Tito died, long simmering conflicts broke out again (which is not all that surprising considering what happened there during World War II).

8 hours ago, StarkTullies said:

I think Stannis fighting for the throne is completely different from Robb declaring the North and the Riverlands a separate kingdom (or more specifically, the lords declaring an independent kingdom on Robb's behalf).  The North was forced by dragons to join a realm they don't belong in, and I fully support their declaration of independence.  Does that justify war?  No... but their independence didn't start the war.  Tywin invading the Riverlands to "defend his family honor" did, and that's why the North and Riverlands established a separate kingdom.

Robb's Kingdom of the North and the Trident is just the stillborn brainchild of a war council which didn't know what to do. At best it expresses the opinion of the nobility, but hardly the people. They want peace and quiet and prosperity, not a disruption of trade or higher/different taxes and tariffs (a very good example for this is that the whores of White Harbor in ADwD are apparently still Targaryen fangirls). At the worst it is only representative of the small fraction of the nobility actually at the council. Have you actually bother to count which Northern lords were actually there at Riverrun when Robb was proclaimed king? Not that many - there were more Riverlords there, in fact. In that sense, Roose Bolton never actually betrayed his king, merely his liege lord, since he never actually did Robb homage as his king.

Neither the Riverlanders nor the Northmen feel like a colony needing their independence. It is just their lords who see this as a way to get even with the Lannisters. And it was a very stupid idea.

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26 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Ah, that was more about Tito's regime than the Soviet Union. Yugoslavia was allied with the Soviet Union, but not a client state the way the others were. When Tito died, long simmering conflicts broke out again (which is not all that surprising considering what happened there during World War II).

Yeah, actually Tito broke ties with the USSR, which angered Stalin, who also tried to assasinate him quite a few times. Yugoslavia brole because after Tito, there was no vision for a united Yugoslavia by politicans but for a Serbian domination which created a deteriorating situation.

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