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Olenna's Targaryen Prince: Duncan the Small?

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It's certainly possible that they were of comparable age, but I think the timeline clues we're given point to a high chance that Duncan was at least a few years older than Olenna Redwyne and past the point where he would've been available for marriage by the time she came of age. The information points to the fact that she was at least 21 at the time of Mace's birth in 256.. That age is probably about right, since Mace was her first child and highborn women are usually married between age 16 and age 20.

Barristan's story about his joust against Prince Duncan at Blackhaven in 247 makes Duncan sound like a grown man, confident in his abilities, status, and knighthood. He accorded Selmy a lot of honor by treating the 10-year-old Barristan as a serious opponent in the match, which makes me think 20 is a fair estimate for his age at the time. That would make him substantially older than Olenna Tyrell and it wouldn't make sense for him to have been betrothed to her if she was only coming of age in the early 250s.

But having Mace in 256 at the age of 21 doesn't make her older than Hoster Tully, rather of an age with him. Also, we don't know exactly when Mace was born. What we do know is that Mace has 4 children: Willas, Garlan, Loras and Marg (in order from eldest to youngest) We know Marg was born in 283 and Garlan is 5 years older than Loras. That means Willas is probably 10 years older than Marg (give or take), born sometime c273. I think that would push your estimate of Mace's birth year back somewhat.

If the scenario proposed is true, it's reasonable to think that Olenna's ultimate marriage to Luthor may have occurred somewhat later than the norm, and there are no guarantees Mace was born in the first year of the marriage. Given all of that, I think placing Olenna's birth in the 220s (definitely older than Hoster Tully) is reasonable.

Since Aegon V was born around 199, I don't think his son Duncan could have been born much before the early 220s. So yes, a few years older than Olenna perhaps, but nothing extraordinary or prohibitive, IMO.

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But having Mace in 256 at the age of 21 doesn't make her older than Hoster Tully, rather of an age with him.

It represents the youngest she could be at the time of Mace's birth, which is why I said, "points to the fact that she was at least 21" I don't think it's likely that she's a great deal older than that, as she would not have been very good marriage bait if she married well into her 20s. Making her older than that requires an explanation as to why it took so long for her to marry or why it took her so long to have children. The pattern for Westerosi noblewomen is to marry young and to begin having children almost immediately after their marriage. That's why I suggest that a birth date at the upper bound of the pre-235 era is most plausible for Olenna Tyrell.

Also, we don't know exactly when Mace was born.

We know from Cersei that Mace "no more" than 10 years older than she is, yielding a birth year of around 256 for him, possibly later.

If the scenario proposed is true, it's reasonable to think that Olenna's ultimate marriage to Luthor may have occurred somewhat later than the norm, and there are no guarantees Mace was born in the first year of the marriage. Given all of that, I think placing Olenna's birth in the 220s (definitely older than Hoster Tully) is reasonable.

Any marriage after the age of about 20 is going to be later than the norm, as Westerosi most highborn women are wed by that age. It is extraordinarily unusual that Arianne Martell remains unmarried at age 23. Even if we could push Olenna Tyrell's birth year back to 230 or 231, that would only put her in line only with the absolute latest possible dates for Duncan's birth. This is why I think it is most likely that if Olenna was a possible match for any of Aegon V's sons, the youngest is the most likely.

In short it is just barely mathematically possible that Duncan could have been a match, but it is much more probable that he was simply too old by the time Olenna was coming of age for marriage negotiations.

Since Aegon V was born around 199, I don't think his son Duncan could have been born much before the early 220s. So yes, a few years older than Olenna perhaps, but nothing extraordinary or prohibitive, IMO.

Members of the Targaryen family have a pattern of marrying young and experiencing high fertility in their first few years of marriage, making it likely that Aegon would've followed this pattern. A birthdate between 220 and 224 seems most likely for Duncan based on this pattern and on other information we have.

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It represents the youngest she could be at the time of Mace's birth, which is why I said, "points to the fact that she was at least 21" I don't think it's likely that she's a great deal older than that, as she would not have been very good marriage bait if she married well into her 20s. Making her older than that requires an explanation as to why it took so long for her to marry or why it took her so long to have children. The pattern for Westerosi noblewomen is to marry young and to begin having children almost immediately after their marriage. That's why I suggest that a birth date at the upper bound of the pre-235 era is most plausible for Olenna Tyrell.

We know from Cersei that Mace "no more" than 10 years older than she is, yielding a birth year of around 256 for him, possibly later.

Any marriage after the age of about 20 is going to be later than the norm, as Westerosi most highborn women are wed by that age. It is extraordinarily unusual that Arianne Martell remains unmarried at age 23. Even if we could push Olenna Tyrell's birth year back to 230 or 231, that would only put her in line only with the absolute latest possible dates for Duncan's birth. This is why I think it is most likely that if Olenna was a possible match for any of Aegon V's sons, the youngest is the most likely.

In short it is just barely mathematically possible that Duncan could have been a match, but it is much more probable that he was simply too old by the time Olenna was coming of age for marriage negotiations.

Members of the Targaryen family have a pattern of marrying young and experiencing high fertility in their first few years of marriage, making it likely that Aegon would've followed this pattern. A birthdate between 220 and 224 seems most likely for Duncan based on this pattern and on other information we have.

The Cersei comment and the Hoster Tully information seem to be at odds with each other. Mace's oldest child was born most likely in 273, possibly earlier. I wouldn't think assigning Mace's birth to c250 is unreasonable. As I said, there's no reason to assume Olenna and Luthor had their first child immediately, although even by your own 21 yo estimate it seems to be in the realm of reason that she was born in the 220s. I really don't see why an age gap of 4-5 years would be prohibitive.

The reason it matters that it be Duncan of course, is the "Queen of Thorns" moniker and the insult posed by being passed over for a common girl.

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Hmm, I can see this. I typically subscribed to the theory that she was meant for Aerion, but that relied on me believing everything the Queen of Thorns said.

I've always thought it was Aerion as well. I'm hoping this will be resolved when the encyclopedia is released. I am even more interested to know the identity of Aegon V's third son and who he married.

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It represents the youngest she could be at the time of Mace's birth,

Why would Mace Tyrell's birth be the baseline here? I don't remember anybody ever stating that Mace is Olenna's oldest child. He has two sisters who might actually be older than him, (he's the only son), and for all we know, Olenna suffered some stillbirths prior to her oldest child's birth in the first place.

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The Cersei comment and the Hoster Tully information seem to be at odds with each other. Mace's oldest child was born most likely in 273, possibly earlier. I wouldn't think assigning Mace's birth to c250 is unreasonable. As I said, there's no reason to assume Olenna and Luthor had their first child immediately, although even by your own 21 yo estimate it seems to be in the realm of reason that she was born in the 220s. I really don't see why an age gap of 4-5 years would be prohibitive.

The date we have for Garlan's birth is 277, which means that Willas could be born as late as 276. I'm not sure how reliable your 273 date is, but even that isn't out of the realm of possibility. It would mean Mace married at age 16 or 17, which is completely plausible for an eligible highborn male based on what we've seen in the series.

The reason it matters that it be Duncan of course, is the "Queen if Thorns" moniker and the insult posed by being passed over for a common girl.

I think being "passed over" is credible. It doesn't have to be a common girl for the name to have significance. On top of that, we have no information about who Aegon's other sons married. Those matches could have been insulting for one reason or another as well.

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Why would Mace Tyrell's birth be the baseline here? I don't remember anybody ever stating that Mace is Olenna's oldest child. He has two sisters who might actually be older than him, (he's the only son), and for all we know, Olenna suffered some stillbirths prior to her oldest child's birth in the first place.

The family trees and appendix entries we have for the Tyrell family list Mace's sisters beneath him in the birth order. They are not stated to be older than he is and we have no information on any stillbirths, so it doesn't make any sense to assume either of these things until we're told they are actually true.

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I've always thought it was Aerion as well. I'm hoping this will be resolved when the encyclopedia is released. I am even more interested to know the identity of Aegon V's third son and who he married.

But Aerion is Aegon older brother and would have been quite a bit older than Olenna. Also he died before Aegon took the throne in 233, when Olenna was either a small child or not even born. That timeline doesn't fit as well as Duncan the Small.

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The more the timeline gets sorted out, the more this makes sense. Duncan the Small is obviously closer in age with Olenna than Aerion would be. It also answers a lot of questions about how the realm paid the price with corpses when Duncan married his Jenny and why Duncan was removed from the line of succession. We've already seen a royal marry someone he wasn't supposed to marry, and he paid the price in corpses - Robb. It didn't make much sense that Egg would disinherit Duncan for marrying for love when his other children married for love, but if Duncan broke a betrothal agreement, for sure the King would want to make a show of it to appease the Redwynes.

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Apparently from Sansa's POV in ASOS it appears she was against the whole thing. First with Renly and then with the Lannisters. She could always be lying I guess... Mace doesn't need to get the idea from anyone, it's simple ambition.

Like I said, a lot of Olenna's skill is in maneuvering when other people can't implicate her in it. Remember too that the Renly thing looks especially bad now because it failed and Renly died. If it had worked out, in hindsight it wouldn't have been that bad of an idea.

That's an interesting theory, and very well thought out. But why would Olenna try to pretend that she jilted the Prince and not the other way around? Doesn't everyone in Westeros know that the Prince fell in love with Jenny? Would anyone really believe Olenna if she said otherwise?

I think it's a case where all of the other major players involved are dead and few people remember the actual circumstances. Olenna tells Sansa that she was the one who was against the marriage, but that doesn't mean anyone or everyone else remembers it that way. For all we know, grandma going on about how she refused a Targaryen marriage is a funny in-joke for the Tyrells, to the point where they just humor her now.

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The more the timeline gets sorted out, the more this makes sense. Duncan the Small is obviously closer in age with Olenna than Aerion would be.

Duncan is a better candidate than Aerion, but Aerion was never really a possibility. Based on the information we have about the relative ages of the people involved, there's a high chance that Duncan would've been in the market for a spouse before Olenna Redwyne came of age. It is more likely that she could've been a match for one of Aegon's younger children.

It also answers a lot of questions about how the realm paid the price with corpses when Duncan married his Jenny and why Duncan was removed from the line of succession.

The way that Barristan relates the story of the end of Duncan's status as Crown Prince suggests that it was Duncan's, agency, not Aegon's, at work in removing the Prince of Dragonflies from the line of succession, "The Prince of Dragonflies loved Jenny of Oldstones so much he cast aside a crown." It seems clear that although Duncan was no longer the Crown Prince, his marriage was not the cause of a long-standing schism between him and his father, as he always seemed to remain close to the family and he was present at Summerhall.

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Duncan is a better candidate than Aerion, but Aerion was never really a possibility. Based on the information we have about the relative ages of the people involved, there's a high chance that Duncan would've been in the market for a spouse before Olenna Redwyne came of age. It is more likely that she could've been a match for one of Aegon's younger children.

We know of another man who is older than normal who was waiting for his betrothed to come of age - Beric. Just this one example is enough to set a precedent for an older person having to wait before marrying.

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The family trees and appendix entries we have for the Tyrell family list Mace's sisters beneath him in the birth order.

No, they don't. Mace Tyrell is listed first because he's the reigning Lord of his House, and all of the various heads of the Houses are automatically listed first in the Appendices----that's clearly not evidence that Mace is automatically meant to be older than his sisters. Notice how Gwynesse Harlaw is listed beneath her brother Rodrik the Reader in the AFFC Appendix, even though we know Gwynesse is definitely older than Rodrik. Notice how, when Edmure succeeds Hoster as Lord Tully (and starts being listed first among all the members of his House (in the Appendix of ADWD)), older sister Catelyn suddenly starts being listed beneath him in the Tully family list, where previously she'd been placed above him. Jaime is repeatedly listed above Cersei in the Lannister family list (in the Appendices of ACOK and ASOS), even though Cersei has always been older than Jaime.

Mace Tyrell's own children's birth order is explicitly given in the Appendices, but his sisters' birth orders are not. Given that he's the reigning Lord of his House, there's no way they'd have been placed above him in the family list if either (or both) had been born first, so the Appendix can't be taken as evidence that Mace is meant to be the oldest.

They are not stated to be older than he is and we have no information on any stillbirths, so it doesn't make any sense to assume either of these things until we're told they are actually true.

They are not stated to be younger than he is, and we know stillbirths aren't exactly uncommon in Westeros's medieval-type setting, so it doesn't make any sense to assume Mace had to be the oldest and/or that all of the children Olenna gave birth to must automatically have survived.

Obviously I'm not saying Mace must be the youngest, nor that Olenna must have had stillbirths. I'm saying that dismissing the validity of this (very, very interesting) theory based on a timeline that is itself based on several far-from-confirmed assumptions (that Mace is Olenna's oldest child and that Olenna never suffered a stillbirth or miscarriage) makes no sense.

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We know of another man who is older than normal who was waiting for his betrothed to come of age - Beric. Just this one example is enough to set a precedent for an older person having to wait before marrying.

It means it is a possibility, but I think we need a reason to believe that there was a significant deviation form the norm, especially when the princes of House Targaryen have a habit of marrying young and being fertile early in their marriages. I think before we can say it was likely that Duncan was waiting on this specific spouse (remember, he would've been the most eligible bachelor in the Seven Kingdoms) we must have a compelling reason.

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It means it is a possibility, but I think we need a reason to believe that there was a significant deviation form the norm, especially when the princes of House Targaryen have a habit of marrying young and being fertile early in their marriages. I think before we can say it was likely that Duncan was waiting on this specific spouse (remember, he would've been the most eligible bachelor in the Seven Kingdoms) we must have a compelling reason.

I think it's true that Targaryens marry younger when they marry within their own house and they have a sister at the right age. It's not true as much when the available brides are younger or when there are no available brides within the house.

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No, they don't. Mace Tyrell is listed first because he's the reigning Lord of his House, and all of the various heads of the Houses are automatically listed first in the Appendices----that's clearly not evidence that Mace is automatically meant to be older than his sisters.

It's possible that they're older, but in the absence of any information pointing to it, I don't think we can assume that they are.

They are not stated to be younger than he is, and we know stillbirths aren't exactly uncommon in Westeros's medieval-type setting, so it doesn't make any sense to assume Mace had to be the oldest and/or that all of the children Olenna gave birth to must automatically have survived.

These things are possible, but not relevant until we know that they happened for sure. Going on the information that we have, we can say that the idea presented in the OP is possible, but I don't see any reason why it should be considered likely. There are issues with the timeline and much of the information we have points to it being more likely that Olenna would've been too young.

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I think it's true that Targaryens marry younger when they marry within their own house and they have a sister at the right age. It's not true as much when the available brides are younger or when there are no available brides within the house.

We have a good model of just that happening in Rhaegar's marriage to Elia. Maekar's fourth child was born by the time he was 25, suggesting a fairly young marriage although the identity of the spouse is unknown. It appears that both Baelor Breakspear and his eldest son, Valarr, had children fairly young, although we have little exact information on dates.

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I think it's true that Targaryens marry younger when they marry within their own house and they have a sister at the right age. It's not true as much when the available brides are younger or when there are no available brides within the house.

And doesn't Rhaegar sort of fit in line with this? He was 24 when he died and hadn't been married to Elia that long.

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Duncan is a better candidate than Aerion, but Aerion was never really a possibility. Based on the information we have about the relative ages of the people involved, there's a high chance that Duncan would've been in the market for a spouse before Olenna Redwyne came of age. It is more likely that she could've been a match for one of Aegon's younger children.

Not Aerion, but Aerion's unnamed son has always been my prime candidate. However, with an addition of a third son of Aegon into the equation I have to say it is more possible that the youngest son especially could have been the Targaryen in question. I think Prince of Dragonflies unlikely still, but admit the idea of Olenna lying about her being able to put an end to the marriage opens up a different and possible take on the subject. Not a chance she actually refused to marry one of Aegon's sons.

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It's possible that they're older, but in the absence of any information pointing to it, I don't think we can assume that they are.

These things are possible, but not relevant until we know that they happened for sure. Going on the information that we have, we can say that the idea presented in the OP is possible, but I don't see any reason why it should be considered likely. There are issues with the timeline and much of the information we have points to it being more likely that Olenna would've been too young.

There is compelling reason to disagree with your final assertion and I'm sure you will admit that your first assertion is a knife that cuts both ways- you are also making assumptions in your Olenna-is-too-young-for-Duncan timeline.

All we can do with the evidence before us is make hypotheses and I don't think it's fair to rule one out based on tenuous information while asserting another is more likely using the same pool of facts.

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