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Stillborn Targaryen dragon babies (comparative analysis)


Azdaema
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I know this topic has been discussed a lot, but I haven't been able to find a real comparison of the various cases. So here's my shot at that:

My list of dragon babies consists of 5:

  • Maegor's three:
    • Alys Harroway's stillborn son: "the boy a monster, with twisted limbs, a huge head, and no eyes."
    • Jeyne Westerling's stillborn: "a legless and armless creature possessed of both male and female genitalia."
    • Elinor Costayne's stillborn son: "a malformed and stillborn child, an eyeless boy born with rudimentary wings."
  • Rhaenyra and Daemon's stillborn daughter Visenya II: "twisted and malformed, with a hole in her chest where her heart should have been and a stubby, scaled tail."
  • Dany and Drogo's stillborn son Rhaego: "Monstrous. Twisted. [...] He was scaled like a lizard. Blind, with leather wings, like the wings of a bat."

I'm not counting Daemon and Laena's stillborn ("the babe was twisted and malformed, and died within the hour") or Viserys and Rhaella's stillborns. It's certainly interesting that Laena's baby is described with the same very limited vocabulary as the dragon babies ("twisted" and "malformed") but I'm just not seeing any real evidence of anything dragon-y.

A tally of the dragon-y traits:
  • No eyes/blind: 3
  • Wings: 2
  • Scales: 2
  • Tail: 1
  • Hermaphroditism: 1
  • Lack of limbs: 1

Blindness and lack of limbs are not traits of dragons, but are traits of dragon ancestors firewyms. On the topic of firewyrm atavism, also consider Laena II's dragon egg, which hatched into "a monstrosity, a wingless wyrm, maggot-white and blind."

I'm counting Jeyne's baby as having dragon-trait hermaphroditism because there is no human intersex condition that results in "both male and female genitalia." At most there is one set of indeterminate genitalia. Dual genitalia is not a thing in humans. (Or I guess sometimes it is, but that's a conjoined twin thing, not an intersex thing.) But there's a lot of misinformation about intersex conditions circulating, so GRRM may not know this (a la Sweets).

Inbred/Outbred

This intuitively seems like a inbred, recessive trait. The other forms I've seen discussing it often mention it as such.

But that's not what the examples suggest. Visenya II is the only inbred one. The other 4 are all outbred, half-Targaryen babies.

Stressful pregnancy

All the examples have some sort of stress during pregnancy involved.

  • Rhaenyra and Dany both had a crushing death in the family near the end of their pregnancies.
  • Alys, Jeyne, and Elinor may or may not have been poisoned by Tyanna. At the very least, they were under a lot of stress at Maegor's court to produce an heir.
  • Dany was influenced by sorcery at the end of her pregnancy. There's some possibility there was some magic fuckery going on at Maegor's court messing with Alys, Jeyne, and Elinor as well?
Repeat offenders

Clearly there was something up with Maegor, since he sired 3 dragon-y kids in a row.

I also want to bring up Laena's last pregnancy again. I know I said I discount it, and I mostly do — but if that baby was dragon!malformed and not just normal!malformed, that would mean Daemon sired 2 dragon-y kids as well — plus as some normal ones. So I dunno, maybe there's something there.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 10/15/2023 at 10:16 PM, Azdaema said:

I'm counting Jeyne's baby as having dragon-trait hermaphroditism because there is no human intersex condition that results in "both male and female genitalia.

I know in the real world some intersex babies are incorrectly assigned male or female due to genital deformities, such as a large clitoris being mistaken for a penis. This is a plausible real-world explanation for Jeyne’s baby being mistaken as having both male and female genitalia. 
 

I would also question the truth of these claims. Had Tyrion died in infancy, he no doubt would’ve been remembered as a malformed and twisted baby with a tail. It’s not unreasonable that Tyanna’s poison caused deformities in Maegor’s children, which were exaggerated both for dramatic effect and because of Maegor’s own dark reputation. The description of Rhaenyra “Maegor with Teats” Targaryen’s daughter could even be propaganda to further link her to Maegor. 
 

So I do think it’s possible that all these historical babies were just normal, or deformed in a non-magic/non-dragon way. 
 

But that said, magic does exist in this world, and I do think at least some of them must have been dragon-like. It fits with the themes of blood magic, hints at the blood of the dragon, and Daenerys and Maegor both have links to sorcery around birthing her child (in Dany’s case) and being conceived (in Maegor’s). 
 

I’d maybe be inclined to still believe Rhaenyra’s Visenya to have been propaganda, but if Daemon and Laena’s child was also deformed it may have been an issue with Daemon. There does seem to be something special about him.

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  • 4 weeks later...

On a bit of a limb here, but I think the kids were sacrificed like Rhaego by their parents in blood magic rituals, either unknowingly or with the sort of indirect knowledge that would allow them to lie to themselves about what they were doing (Stannis and his shadowbaby come to mind). Would Daemon's White Worm have been a potential blood mage?  

The other thought I've had about this is that these are the children of wights. We have reason enough to suspect that Maegor was some sort of unnatural creation, but it doesn't really stretch out to the other parents unless they had previous incidents that appeared 'near death' but in fact were fatal that maybe slipped beneath the notice of history.

 

SO one way or another, I think they're the cost of bloodmagic and evidence that some sort of bloodmagic was attempted down the Targaryan line (didn't Aerys 2 have a couple of these malformed kids?) either by someone who preserved the parents of the unborn or by those parents themselves.

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20 hours ago, Aejohn the Conqueroo said:

On a bit of a limb here, but I think the kids were sacrificed like Rhaego by their parents in blood magic rituals, either unknowingly or with the sort of indirect knowledge that would allow them to lie to themselves about what they were doing (Stannis and his shadowbaby come to mind). Would Daemon's White Worm have been a potential blood mage?  

The other thought I've had about this is that these are the children of wights. We have reason enough to suspect that Maegor was some sort of unnatural creation, but it doesn't really stretch out to the other parents unless they had previous incidents that appeared 'near death' but in fact were fatal that maybe slipped beneath the notice of history.

SO one way or another, I think they're the cost of bloodmagic and evidence that some sort of bloodmagic was attempted down the Targaryan line (didn't Aerys 2 have a couple of these malformed kids?) either by someone who preserved the parents of the unborn or by those parents themselves.

In this vein —

After Rhaenyra and Daemon lose Visenya, the last (healthy) Targaryen dragon is born — Morning, to Rhaena. After Dany loses Rhaego, she gets her three dragon's. It's less clear here for the actual timeline, but one could assume quite a few hatched after Maegor lost his heir's (the wild dragons + the dragon's Jae and Alysanne's kids & even grandkids claimed). It seems to me that not all dragon's need sacrifice and not all losses lead to dragon's, but there is a connection that can be tapped into, intentionally or otherwise, it times of crisis.

Obviously it's not a direct, 1:1 science, but it seems worth noting. Especially Visenya/Morning and Rhaego/Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion.

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  • 2 months later...
On 12/6/2023 at 6:24 PM, daeronthedaring said:

Obviously it's not a direct, 1:1 science, but it seems worth noting. Especially Visenya/Morning and Rhaego/Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion

I usually go with this interpretation, that the dragon stillborns are a result of whatever blood magics the Targaryens did onto themselves. That a Targaryen sacrifice is required for a dragon egg to hatch.

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