Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Lala

Robert's Rebellion as Just War

Recommended Posts

So I was supposed to be finishing my J/B essay for the ReRom thread, but my mind kept drifting back to the RR discussion from one of the Dany threads and this came into existence instead (fml).

I will most likely never write parts 2/3 (jus in bellum and jus post bellum) so use your imaginations =D

Robert's Rebellion as Just War

There are three traditional principles associated with the concept of "just war" (justum bellum): (1) the rules wrt to the justice of war (jus ad bellum); (2) the rules wrt to just and fair conduct in war (jus in bello); and (3) the responsibility and accountability of warring parties after the war (jus post bellum).

(1) Jus Ad Bellum

Jus Ad Bellum is described as existing when: there is just cause, being a last resort, being declared by a proper authority, possessing right intention, having a reasonable chance of success, and the end being proportional to the means used.

Possessing just cause is, arguably, the crux of jus ad bellum. Generally, just cause is described as the pre-existence of an act of aggression. While the definition of acts of aggression in just war theory is tenuous - violations of borders, restrictive trade policies, aggressive monetary policy, acts of aggression upon a neighboring state (aggression against social justice) are all alternately accepted and dismissed as viable acts of aggression by just war theorists - the definition is quite clearly applicable in the case of Robert's Rebellion. The implied injustice of Aerys' reign aside (as implied by the hints of unrest and Rhaegar's potential wish to depose his own father in the events leading up to RR), the actual acts of aggression leading up to RR are both high-profile and undeniable. The torture and executions of Brandon Stark and Ned's father, a Lord Paramount and his heir, are clear acts of aggression against traditional notions of justice - neither of the men were allowed their right to trial - and against the security and lives of two members of the nobility. These acts of aggression continued in Aerys' demand that Jon Arryn send him the heads of his two young wards - Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon (now both Lords Paramount in their own rights). By directly infringing upon the security and persons of four members of the nobility, Aerys clearly provided the acts of aggression necessary for jus ad bellum. Note: Since both the king and the nobility are arguably members of one state, it becomes necessary to distinguish between them using a strictly feudal perception of the relationship between king and lords. In this context, it is important to remember that there is a strong tradition for just war between the nobility and their king, indeed, it is one such war that led to the addition of the Magna Carta into the body of English law. More on this later~

War as a last resort. This criteria is also amply fulfilled by RR, as evidenced by a critical examination of Aerys' reign as well as his attitude towards dissent. Aerys was notably paranoid - he publicly humiliated and shamed Tywin Lannister, who was, arguably, faultlessly fulfilling his office as Hand of the King, because he was irrationally afraid of Tywin's excellent administration of the 7K. It is implied that Aerys both suspected his own son of rebellious intent, and was willing to execute Rhaegar if those suspicions were given any form of "validation." When Brandon Stark and Ned's father rode to KL to demand the release of Lyanna and an explanation from Rhaegar for her disappearance, Aerys accused them of treason and executed them without due process of law, after which he preemptively demanded the executions of Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon. Later, after Jon Connington's failure at the Battle of the Bells, Aerys had turned his suspicions onto the loyal Hand and forced him into exile. This was not a king with whom any form of peaceful discourse was possible - Aerys saw enemies and treason where there were none to be found, and would certainly have refused to treat peacefully with those who had just cause to be "treasonous." Consequently, the participants in RR had no other recourse but to declare war against Aerys.

In the case of RR, the definition of "proper authority" is the controversial step in establishing jus ad bellum. There are two dominant interpretations of "proper authority": (1) a Hobbesian view that people owe allegiance to the state and have no right to resist regardless of the nature of the regime; and (2) a Lockesian view that a "poorly accountable, inept, or corrupt regime" possess no sovereignty and that consequently, the subjects possess the right to declare war/defend themselves against the government or foreign power. While the Lockesian view clearly upholds the "proper authority" of Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, and Robert Baratheon in declaring war against Aerys, I will argue that the Hobbesian view does not necessarily invalidate this "proper authority." In a feudal society it is important to remember that members of the nobility, especially Lords Paramount, are not subjects in the traditional sense. While commonfolk are arguably born into service/obedience to their lords, this is not the true nature of the relationship between knights, lords, Lords Paramount, and the King. A better understanding of these relationships can be gained by examining two specific instances in ASoIaF. The first is the exchange of oaths between Catelyn and Brienne in ACoK:

Brienne: "Then I am yours, my lady. Your liege man, or... whatever you would have me be. I will shield your back and keep your counsel and give my life for yours, if need be. I swear it by the old gods and the new. "

Catelyn: "And I vow that you shall always have a place by my hearth and meat and mead at my table, and pledge to ask no service of you that might bring you into dishonor. I swear it by the old gods and the new. Arise. "

I know that I tend to harp on the importance of oaths as social contract in Westeros, and my song will be little different in this case. Note that it is an exchange of oaths. The text of the oaths between the two women sets out the rights and responsibilities of both which form the conditions of their new relationship with each other. Brienne promises to protect Cat, to keep her secrets, and to give her life for Cat's should it be necessary. In turn, Cat swears to provide Brienne with protection (note: Brienne swears to provide Cat with physical protection whereas Cat's oath implies the provision of symbolic protection "a place by my hearth") and sustenance and to never ask Brienne to perform any dishonorable act.

The second is also in ACoK - when Meera and Jojen Reed arrive at Winterfell in order to retake the oaths of fealty of their people to the King in the North.

"“My lords of Stark,” the girl said. “The years have passed in their hundreds and their thousands since my folk first swore their fealty to the King in the North. My lord father has sent us here to say the words again, for all our people.”

She is looking at me, Bran realized. He had to make some answer. “My brother Robb is fighting in the south,” he said, “but you can say your words to me, if you like.”

“To Winterfell we pledge the faith of Greywater,” they said together. “Hearth and heart and harvest we yield up to you, my lord. Our swords and spears and arrows are yours to command. Grant mercy to our weak, help to our helpless, and justice to all, and we shall never fail you.”

“I swear it by earth and water,” said the boy in green.

“I swear it by bronze and iron,” his sister said.

“We swear it by ice and fire,” they finished together. "

Again there is the two-sided nature of the oath - the Reeds pledge their faith to Winterfell, to send tribute from their harvests and to provide soldiers for WF's wars. In exchange, they require WF to grant mercy to their weak, help to their helpless, and justice to all. This second phrase is significant in that it is phrased as a conditional - if WF carries out its side (the Stark side) of the oath, then the people of Greywater will never fail them. Again, the conditional nature of fealty and loyalty is thrown into clear emphasis.

This scene is also notable in that the Reed siblings mention the importance of the renewal of oaths. Although it does not appear as if oaths are regularly renewed (hundreds of years have passed), it does imply that lords do have some agency over whether or not they choose to continue to remain party to oaths of fealty to Lords Paramount (and by extension, the king).

If we view the "loyalty/fealty" between knights, lords, Lords Paramount, and the king as a sequence of social contracts formed through the making of oaths, then we are free to examine if Aerys is still the legal king to the three main parties of RR: Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon, and Jon Arryn. While the actual text of the oaths appear to vary, they do consistently require the administration of justice (explicitly in the Reed oath, implicitly "symbolic protection" in the Catelyn oath) on the part of the overlord. If Aerys had not already violated his promise of provision of justice already, he most certainly did so in the torture/execution of Brandon Stark and Ned's father as well as the groundless demand for the deaths of Ned and Robert. By demanding that Jon Arryn execute the two boys, Aerys also demanded "dishonorable service" of him. Consequently, we can say that Aerys has already broken the social contract between himself and Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, and Robert Baratheon - Aerys is no longer their king. Since all three of the characters named were Lords Paramount by the start of RR, they are then the highest authority in their individual "realms" and possessing of the "proper authority" necessary to declare war in both the Hobbesian and Lockesian sense.

The "right intent" clause of jus ad bellum requires that the war be "ostensibly conducted" for the right reason - namely, the perpetuation of justice. It is important to note the key word "ostensibly" in this clause. The motivations for war are often complex and difficult to simplify into one or two causes. By qualifying that the war must be "ostensibly conducted" for the perpetuation of justice, this clause allows for the existence of other motivations and justifications for the war - it simply requires that justice be the acknowledged motivating factor. To examine whether justice is the intent given for RR requires a definition of the nature of justice. As I have already set out many of the reasons above, I will not reiterate them except to say that it is made amply clear in ASoIaF that Aerys did not reign as a just king and was known to willfully violate justice and pervert the system of justice for his own ends. Consequently, war against Aerys would always have been ostensibly conducted for the sake of perpetuating justice (removing an king who was counterproductive to the establishment of justice).

The requirement that a reasonable chance of success be established for the sake of jus ad bellum is a consequentialist clause rooted in the belief that a war, no matter how just its motivations are, is fundamentally unjustified if it fails to reach its ends (the ostensible perpetuation of justice/end to injustice). This is easily checked off the jus ad bellum list for RR, since with the power of the Stormlands, the Vale, Winterfell, and the Riverlands, RR had a very reasonable chance for success.

Finally, jus ad bellum requires that the ends be proportional to the means used. This point ties in with the second aspect of just war, jus in bellum, and is the only point of jus ad bellum for which RR has a significant risk of falling short. There is very little known about the actual battles of RR aside from the Battle of the Bells and the Battle of the Trident. However, the brutal deaths of Elia and her children immediately weigh upon the scale of the means used in RR. Not only were the deaths insensate and unnecessary, they were also unbelievably cruel and inhumane. While the description of Jon Connington's actions during the Battle of the Bells and a knowledge of Aerys' persona and the extent to which he was willing to go (burning all of KL with wildfire) indicate the war atrocities were not limited to one side of the war, and that the volume of unjustified action was almost certainly "in favor" of the Targaryens, I think it is important to note that since Elia's death did not advance the war effort in any way (in fact, Elia and her children were Targaryen hostages), it is impossible for the ends of RR to ever justify their deaths. This point against RR can only be mitigated by noting that the deaths were never ordered by Robert, Ned, or Jon Arryn, and that Elia's death was possibly never explicitly ordered by Tywin Lannister. Consequently, it is possible to theoretically separate the leaders of the rebellion from Tywin/the Lannisters using the assumption that neither Robert, Ned, nor Jon Arryn knew of the deaths until they had already been committed, and thus, the burden of the deaths as "means" falls solely on the shoulders of the Lannisters. Although this absolves Robert, Ned, and Jon Arryn from a jus ad bellum perspective, it still maintains their culpability (specifically those who remained to reign over the 7K, Robert and Jon Arryn) for the deaths using a jus post bellum framework (they failed to impose justice upon those culpable for the crime).

A careful examination of RR using the framework of jus ad bellum to determine the justice of the war shows that because of Aerys' actions leading up to the war, the participants were provided with both the requisite just cause as well as the requisite authority necessary for a declaration of just war. However, a preliminary analysis of the unnecessary deaths of Elia and her children immediately throw doubt on the validity of jus in bellum and jus post bellum wrt to RR. Therefore, while it is valid to assert that RR was justified from a jus ad bellum perspective, it is important to note that the actual conduct of the war as well as the "perpetuation" of justice after the war potentially undermine its justice.

ETA: Like I don't even like Robert Baratheon. I filled out this meme about ASoIaF on tumblr and he's the character I would slap. But it really bothers me when people say that RR wasn't just war and that Robert was a traitor/what not because it's really not true.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could say that Bob and Ned never actually rebelled,But acted in Self Defence.

The people who broke the oaths were Hoster and Jon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If we view the "loyalty/fealty" between knights, lords, Lords Paramount, and the king as a sequence of social contracts formed through the making of oaths, then we are free to examine if Aerys is still the legal king to the three main parties of RR: Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon, and Jon Arryn. While the actual text of the oaths appear to vary, they do consistently require the administration of justice (explicitly in the Reed oath, implicitly "symbolic protection" in the Catelyn oath) on the part of the overlord. If Aerys had not already violated his promise of provision of justice already, he most certainly did so in the torture/execution of Brandon Stark and Ned's father as well as the groundless demand for the deaths of Ned and Robert. By demanding that Jon Arryn execute the two boys, Aerys also demanded "dishonorable service" of him. Consequently, we can say that Aerys has already broken the social contract between himself and Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, and Robert Baratheon - Aerys is no longer their king.

But the alternative view - Aerys' view - is that he was reacting to treachery offered by the Starks and Baratheons. Brandon, after all, had publicly threatened the life of his heir. And Aerys was paranoid: he may genuinely have believed that the Starks and Baratheons were planning to betray him. His argument would surely be that the oaths offered by these men were broken by them first.

Not that I support this argument. The point I'm trying to make is that law, in Westeros in particular, isn't an objective matter. It's very much dependent on your point of view. I'm certain that Ned and Robert and Jon felt justified in their actions, and I'd agree that they were justified: but that's not the same as suggesting that their actions were objectively legal. The point about oaths, after all (and I completely agree that they are the basis of law in Westeros), is that they are personal. A man's word is what matters. I'd suggest that's why Jaime is so reviled, why kinslaying and breaking of guest right are such huge crimes - because law in Westeros is ultimately personal, not objective.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could say that Bob and Ned never actually rebelled,But acted in Self Defence.

The people who broke the oaths were Hoster and Jon.

Actually under the Lockesian interpretation of "rightful authority" both Hoster and Jon possessed all of the requirements for conducting just war as well since Aerys' behavior had caused him to "give" all of his subjects the "rightful authority" to rebel/declare war (corrupt, inept, or abusive government). Basically my argument is that Robert's Rebellion is not necessarily an actual rebellion, but rather a justified war against an aggressor. This is purely for the theoretical sake of establishing their Hobbesian "rightful authority" (since Hobbes does not believe that subjects can ever rightfully rebel against a ruler). If we adhere to the more commonly accepted and flexible Lockesian interpretation, then all of the participants in RR have "rightful authority" and we can go ahead and call RR "rightful rebellion."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But the alternative view - Aerys' view - is that he was reacting to treachery offered by the Starks and Baratheons. Brandon, after all, had publicly threatened the life of his heir. And Aerys was paranoid: he may genuinely have believed that the Starks and Baratheons were planning to betray him. His argument would surely be that the oaths offered by these men were broken by them first.

Even then putting a bounty on Ned and Bob's heads makes no sense.

He could ask them to come and pledge fealty to him and yield up a few hostages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the end thousands of people died so Ned and Bob could stay in Westeros, retain or increase their power and have their vengeance. I don't see this as justified at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But the alternative view - Aerys' view - is that he was reacting to treachery offered by the Starks and Baratheons. Brandon, after all, had publicly threatened the life of his heir. And Aerys was paranoid: he may genuinely have believed that the Starks and Baratheons were planning to betray him. His argument would surely be that the oaths offered by these men were broken by them first.

Not that I support this argument. The point I'm trying to make is that law, in Westeros in particular, isn't an objective matter. It's very much dependent on your point of view. I'm certain that Ned and Robert and Jon felt justified in their actions, and I'd agree that they were justified: but that's not the same as suggesting that their actions were objectively legal. The point about oaths, after all (and I completely agree that they are the basis of law in Westeros), is that they are personal. A man's word is what matters. I'd suggest that's why Jaime is so reviled, why kinslaying and breaking of guest right are such huge crimes - because law in Westeros is ultimately personal, not objective.

The problem with Aerys' point of view, in my opinion, is that he perverted justice. Because Brandon publicly threatened Rhaegar's life, Aerys did have the right to place Brandon on trial, but instead of adhering to the accepted system of justice, Aerys instead chose an obscene farce of trial by combat which was, in truth, a form of brutal torture. Essentially, Aerys not only violated his oaths to uphold justice, breaking the social contracts, he went ahead and acted unjustly. The entire theory of just war is formed around the concept that if a state acts in an unjust manner, other states may go to war to bring an end to the injustice. So it isn't even Aerys' paranoia that is the crux of the issue - it is how his paranoia caused him to behave in a manner that was decidedly unjust (i.e. he could have been paranoid and put all of KL on trial, but as long as he adhered to the conventions of trial, then he would arguably have provided less sufficient just cause for war against his reign).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the end thousands of people died so Ned and Bob could stay in Westeros, retain or increase their power and have their vengeance. I don't see this as justified at all.

People rose or them and followed them,Yes the thousands of commoners death isn't justified,But that is just the way war works at least in feudal societies a rich guy spits in the general direction of another rich guy and thousands die for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the end thousands of people died so Ned and Bob could stay in Westeros, retain or increase their power and have their vengeance. I don't see this as justified at all.

This is why there are three aspects to just war: jus ad bellum, jus in bellio, and jus post bellum. There is the justice of the war, the just and fair conduct of the war, and the perpetuation of justice after the war. Simply because a war was not conducted in a just and fair manner, it does not mean that the justice of the war itself does not exist. More importantly, because RR does fulfill the clauses of jus ad bellum, as long as the deaths involved in the war were primarily the deaths of combatants (this is why Elia and her children's deaths are so problematic), then jus in bellio is broadly upheld as well. Honestly, this is the reason for this whole post: RR wasn't about Ned and Robert, it was about justice and war as a final resort by which they could end a reign of injustice. If we deny the justice of RR, then similarly, we must deny the justice of Robb Stark's war against the Lannisters, Dany's future war upon the 7K, and Stannis' war against the Lannisters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First things first. Congratulations, Lala, this was quite interesting analysis. Beautifully written piece... I really enjoyed reading this...

As a pacifist, I have trouble to comprehend the concept of "just war". Especially given the past history of my nation, I sincerely doubt that any war can be called "just". But, I also understand the need of self-defense, as Morienthar noted that this war can be seen that way.

The biggest issues I have with assessment that RR was "just war" are these:

1. War as a last resort. Although we have the impact that RR was inevitable due to Aerys' paranoia, and his executions of not just Starks, but so many highlords, we actually haven't heard about effort to evade war. Aerys sent demands, and Jon Arryn responded by summoning the bannermen. There were no official negotiations, or at least, we know none of. Simply, this war perhaps could have been evaded if there were some effort from both sides to talk about consequences of the actions that happened.

2. Proper authority. As far as we know, there was someone who could have replaced Aerys, and who was beloved by everyone - Rhaegar. With exception of Robert and Ned, at that moment, Rhaegar was regarded highly by everyone in Westeros. Not to mention that we have indications he wanted the change, and possible Harrenhall plot. So, there was a route to take Aerys down without war.

3. Contractual nature of loyalty. The best example, and I wonder why you didn't mention it, is Wylla Manderly's speech about promise made to Starks. In her speech, we see all the nuances of the contractual loyalty through oaths. Also, the interpretation that Aerys betrayed his subjects is completely valid, but not House Targaryen. Arys had an heir, capable of ruling who didn't betray his subjects. So, if the war was about deposing Aerys, the assessment about "just war" would be valid, but here we have something far different. It was about deposing House Targaryen, which by some laws was the ruling House of Westeros.

4. Reasonable chance of success. I have to disagree with this. United armies of North/Vale/Riverlands and Stormlands, with half of their bannermen fighting against them had no reasonable chance of success. Especially, if at the beginning, they believed will face the power of Reach, Dorne, Westerlands and Crownlands.

Robert;s rebellion can be seen as "just war", but in many ways, it wasn't as nearly as just as some would think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is why there are three aspects to just war: jus ad bellum, jus in bellio, and jus post bellum. There is the justice of the war, the just and fair conduct of the war, and the perpetuation of justice after the war. Simply because a war was not conducted in a just and fair manner, it does not mean that the justice of the war itself does not exist. More importantly, because RR does fulfill the clauses of jus ad bellum, as long as the deaths involved in the war were primarily the deaths of combatants (this is why Elia and her children's deaths are so problematic), then jus in bellio is broadly upheld as well. Honestly, this is the reason for this whole post: RR wasn't about Ned and Robert, it was about justice and war as a final resort by which they could end a reign of injustice. If we deny the justice of RR, then similarly, we must deny the justice of Robb Stark's war against the Lannisters, Dany's future war upon the 7K, and Stannis' war against the Lannisters.

But obviously not everyone agrees with just war theory, or the way you've applied it here ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's put a spin on it.

What if Varys told Aerys about Southron Ambitions (not very far-fetched I believe)?

It could be that Aerys just seized the chance to remove the treasonous lords (in a bad way though).

And Jon Arryn and Hoster Tully were partly happy to seize the moment and get the war they wanted. But sad Rickard and his son had to die for it.

I will not go as far as to say Aerys put the Lyanna idea in Rhaegar's mind but I had that thought too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the end thousands of people died so Ned and Bob could stay in Westeros, retain or increase their power and have their vengeance. I don't see this as justified at all.

I agree with Lala's opinion that Ned, Robert, and Jon represented "rightful authority" in this situation. As such, their behaviour amounted to legitimate self-defence. In our world, we would grant to any Head of State, or Head of Government, or similar authority, the right to defend themselves against attack, even if innocent people died as a result.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RR wasn't about justice. It was a power struggle between a handful of nobles which got many thousands, who had no desire to participate in a rebellion, killed.

Jon Arryn didn't rebel because Aerys conducted unlawful trials and he thought that was against the principle of justice. He only rebelled because his beloved wards were about to be executed by Aerys, his heir was killed by Aerys and it had become a personal issue for him. Hoster and Tywin joined for political gain. Robert because he wanted to save his life and was angry about Lyanna.

None of those guys or their families rebelled for example when Aerys exterminated entire Houses after the Defiance of Duskendale.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RR wasn't about justice. It was a power struggle between a handful of nobles which got many thousands, who had no desire to participate in a rebellion, killed.

Jon Arryn didn't rebel because Aerys conducted unlawful trials and he thought that was against the principle of justice. He only rebelled because his beloved wards were about to be executed by Aerys, his heir was killed by Aerys and it had become a personal issue for him. Hoster and Tywin joined for political gain. Robert because he wanted to save his life and was angry about Lyanna.

None of those guys or their families rebelled for example when Aerys exterminated entire Houses after the Defiance of Duskendale.

Isn't self-defence a legitimate reason to rebel? And, why do you assume that the followers of the rebel lords were reluctant to participate?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent analysis. I agree with you, but we lack more information about the oath to the king, a vital piece for the discussion about the justice in RR.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Lala's opinion that Ned, Robert, and Jon represented "rightful authority" in this situation. As such, their behaviour amounted to legitimate self-defence. In our world, we would grant to any Head of State, or Head of Government, or similar authority, the right to defend themselves against attack, even if innocent people died as a result.

Yes, to defend, but not to lead offensive war. There's difference. ned could have gone to Winterfell, declared independent North, sealed the Neck, and Taragryen army couldn't reach him. Jon Arryn could have done the same. But, no, they started a war to depose Aerys and claim the trone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Lala's opinion that Ned, Robert, and Jon represented "rightful authority" in this situation. As such, their behaviour amounted to legitimate self-defence. In our world, we would grant to any Head of State, or Head of Government, or similar authority, the right to defend themselves against attack, even if innocent people died as a result.

But the rebel leaders weren't Heads of State, or Heads of Government.

In our world we wouldn't necessarily grant citizens of a nation the right to rebel and depose their government because they thought its actions unjust (we have tended to be of this opinion recently though, of course, in many parts of the middle east).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First things first. Congratulations, Lala, this was quite interesting analysis. Beautifully written piece... I really enjoyed reading this...

As a pacifist, I have trouble to comprehend the concept of "just war". Especially given the past history of my nation, I sincerely doubt that any war can be called "just". But, I also understand the need of self-defense, as Morienthar noted that this war can be seen that way.

The biggest issues I have with assessment that RR was "just war" are these:

1. War as a last resort. Although we have the impact that RR was inevitable due to Aerys' paranoia, and his executions of not just Starks, but so many highlords, we actually haven't heard about effort to evade war. Aerys sent demands, and Jon Arryn responded by summoning the bannermen. There were no official negotiations, or at least, we know none of. Simply, this war perhaps could have been evaded if there were some effort from both sides to talk about consequences of the actions that happened.

2. Proper authority. As far as we know, there was someone who could have replaced Aerys, and who was beloved by everyone - Rhaegar. With exception of Robert and Ned, at that moment, Rhaegar was regarded highly by everyone in Westeros. Not to mention that we have indications he wanted the change, and possible Harrenhall plot. So, there was a route to take Aerys down without war.

3. Contractual nature of loyalty. The best example, and I wonder why you didn't mention it, is Wylla Manderly's speech about promise made to Starks. In her speech, we see all the nuances of the contractual loyalty through oaths. Also, the interpretation that Aerys betrayed his subjects is completely valid, but not House Targaryen. Arys had an heir, capable of ruling who didn't betray his subjects. So, if the war was about deposing Aerys, the assessment about "just war" would be valid, but here we have something far different. It was about deposing House Targaryen, which by some laws was the ruling House of Westeros.

4. Reasonable chance of success. I have to disagree with this. United armies of North/Vale/Riverlands and Stormlands, with half of their bannermen fighting against them had no reasonable chance of success. Especially, if at the beginning, they believed will face the power of Reach, Dorne, Westerlands and Crownlands.

Robert;s rebellion can be seen as "just war", but in many ways, it wasn't as nearly as just as some would think.

Do we have any reason to believe that Rhaegar was prepared to offer them a pardon, or negotiate a peace deal? Unless that were the case, Ned, Robert, and Jon were entitled to fight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But the rebel leaders weren't Heads of State, or Heads of Government.

In our world we wouldn't necessarily grant citizens of a nation the right to rebel and depose their government because they thought its actions unjust (we have tended to be of this opinion recently though, of course, in many parts of the middle east).

They are Lords Paramount, which is close enough to being a Head of State/Head of Government, in my view. They rebelled against their overlord, because he wanted to kill them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×