A World of Ice and Fire: Chapter III (The Targaryen Kings)

Ok…this is going to be a long ‘un, but a good ‘un. Let’s tuck in, shall we, and see what’s left of the Hollow Crowns Parts Two and Three?

reading

Aegon I:

  • Well, I got the vision of the united Westeros right…
  • There were once two Septs in King’s Landing. Aegon definitely did like playing to the Faith.
  • King’s Landinrg grew really fast, but it’s surprising that the city didn’t have walls for 26 years.
  • Ser Osmund Strong was the Hand in AC 19 – so now we know the second Hand of the King, and Orys’ tenure.
  • Rhaenys the politician vs. Visenya the warrior. All the more ironic that Rhaenys fell in battle.
  • The First Dornish War (4-13 AC) sounds godsawful – especially when it comes down to duelling assassination contracts.
  • So Visenya formed the Kingsguard! That’s impressive. And now we know the first Kingsguard:
    • Ser Corlys Velaryon, the first Lord Commander. Man, the Velayrons used to be such a big deal.
    • Ser Richard Roote (A Riverlander, from Harroway)
    • Ser Addison Hill, Bastard of Cornfield (a Westerlander, whose daddy was probably a Swyft)
    • Ser Gregor Goode and Ser Griffith Goode. There’s also a Glendon Goode who served Rhaenrya, so it clearly ran in the family.
    • Ser Humfrey the Mummer, a hedge knight! So there was precedent for Dunk after all.
    • Ser Robin Darklyn, known as Darkrobin. Apparently a lot of Darklyns joined, so no wonder there weren’t many of them left.
  • The Rule of Six – something for the gender scholars to debate.
  • Aegon seems very much a travelling king, in the mode of early medieval monarchs.
  • AHAH! Finally some info on the fracking judicial system. The king is a court of final appeal, but: “rather than attempting to unify the realm under one set of laws, he respected the differing customs of each region and sought to judge them as their past kings might have.” Short term, good idea, long term bad idea.
  • 27 years of peace, 9 years of war. Not bad.

Aenys I:

  • “Beneath the surface of this largely peaceful rule was a roiling cauldron of dissent. In their hearts, many of his subjects still cherished the old days.” Well, that’s realistic.
  • So Aenys was the first-born. And right off the bat we have rumors of bastardy.
  • You don’t want a ditherer as king, especially when you get rebellions, especially when they happen at the same time:
    • Harren the Red – took Harrenhal and then left, right under the king’s nose. So which house was Garon the Guest from? Qoherys? Towers? Lord Alyn Stokeworth – third Hand?
    • the Vulture King – I’m going to guess and say this guy was a Blackmont, given what we hear about them later in the book. Also seems like he probably had Martell support on the long finger. Came pretty close, and choked in the end. And now we see why people don’t fuck around with the Tarlys. Savage Sam indeed.
    • Jonos Arryn – man, poor Ronnel has just awful luck. Interesting to see that House Royce were such loyalists, but maybe they just relished getting to besiege the Eyrie. And then Prince Maegor shows up and kills everyone, as you do.
    • King Lodos – hilarious! And fascinating long-term consequences.
  • Gyldayn informs us that incest is not ok by the Faith. Note for anyone thinking about what Stannis might have done – the fruit is an abomination. Not just the act.
  • Maegor was clearly a monster, but I kind of feel for him, with his warrior mother on one side and his meddling brother on the other side, then exiled to Pentos.
  • Definitely a waffler – first he’s anti-incest, then he’s pro-incest and trying to win back the High Septon. Note Septon Murmison, one of the worst Hands ever of one of the worst Kings. Not a good combo.
  • So it was Aenys who caused the rebellion. Interesting, I had thought Maegor might have been responsible. My god, Aenys was weak, if he allowed the Faith Militant to fortify within his own capitol city and then abandoned it.
  • King Aenys had loose bowels in time of crisis. Ok, George, we get it. You like poop jokes.
  • Visenya might have poisoned her own double-nephew. Tough woman.

Maegor I:

  • Well, Maegor definitely just snatched the crown outright – although apparently from Aegon the Nth and not Jaehaerys as I had thought.
  • Maegor does not fuck around, goes straight in and fights the Warrior’s Sons mano-a-mano. Might have been smarter to burn them first.
  • So the head wound did it! Very Henry VIII.
  • By the way, if you’re looking for agency among the smallfolk, look to the Revolt of the Faithful. To quote from the original text, sadly cut:
    • “The King’s first act upon resuming the Iron Throne was to command the Poor Fellows swarming towards the city to lay down their weapons, under penalty of proscription and death. When his decree had no effect, His Grace commanded “all leal subjects” to take to the field and disperse the Faith’s ragged hordes by force. In response, the High Septon in Oldtown called upon “true and pious children of the gods” to take up arms in defense of the Faith, and put an end to the reign of “dragons and monsters and abominations”
  • So there you have it folks, the peasants of Westeros going right up against the biggest bastard Targaryen there ever was. And we can see the way in which religious ideology supports radical social change, just as it did when John Ball preached that “when Adam delve and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?” No wonder the Sparrows are so well organized, they’re following in their forefathers’ footsteps.
  • The Battle of Bitterbridge: this is one cut from the original text I really miss – the leader of the nine thousand Poor Fellows who died at the Stonebridge was Wat the Hewer, aka Wat Tyler. A quote from the original:
    • “Battle was joined first in the Reach at the town of Stonebridge. The nine thousand Poor Fellows under Wat the Hewer found themselves caught between six lordly hosts as they attempted to cross the Mander. With half his man north of the river and half on the south, Wat’s army was cut to pieces. His untrained and undisciplined followers, clad in boiled leather, roughspun, and scraps of rusted steel, and armed largely with woodmen’s axes, sharpened sticks, and farm implements, proved utterly unable to stand against the charge of armored knights on heavy horses. So grievous was the slaughter that the Mander ran red for twenty leagues, and thereafter the town and castle where the battle had fought became known as Bitterbridge. Wat himself was taken alive, though not before slaying half a dozen knights, amongst them Lord Meadows of Grany (?) Vale, commander of the king’s host. The giant was delivered to King’s Landing in chains.” 
  • Pour one out from Wat the Hewer, as badass a member of Team Smallfolk as there ever was.
  • Maegor’s issues with childbirth are really creepy – make you wonder how much eugenics was going on behind the scenes in House Targaryen, if that was the normal outcome. And it also makes you wonder whether Mirri Maz Duur’s spell was what killed Dany’s baby after all.
  • Maegor built the Dragonpit on top of the Sept of Remembrance. Not a subtle statement, is it?
  • The Battle Beneath the Gods Eye – ironically, had the Faith been able to rally around Prince Aegon, they probably would have won. But they never could have.
  • Queen Alyssa seems like a smart one, although god, poor Prince Viserys. What a way to go.
  • Septon Moon (John Ball) and Ser Joffrey Doggett the Red Dog of the Hill – more champions of Team Smallfolk. And they got the Tullys to rise with them!
  • Prince Jaehaerys was smart  and got the Velayrons and the Baratheons on board before he claimed the Iron Throne.
  • So…which of Maegor’s lords murdered him on/with the Iron Throne? I like the idea that the mason did it.
  • The Brides:
    • Ceryse Hightower – aha, so the High Septon’s denunciation of incest wasn’t entirely innocent! And unfortunately, the first to die.
    • Alys Harroway – so the Qoherys and the Towers together didn’t make it 50 years before the Harroways took over. Yeesh. No wonder they say Harrenhal is cursed. And what a damn awful way to die, bringing down the whole family with her.
    • Tyanna of the Tower – I hesitate to say that anyone deserves what she got, but between poisoning innocent women and torturing teenagers to death, she’s not a nice person.
    • Elinor Costayne – survived. So it’s murdered, murdered, murdered, survived, survived, died. That’s not as easy to memorize.
    • Rhaena Targaryen – the woman mom wanted him to marry. Poor woman.
    • Jeyne Westerling – man, Jeyne Westerlings do not have luck as queens. Interesting she married into the Tarbecks and almost married a Lannister.

Jaehaerys I:

  • a smart man, with a smart mother. And a sensible Baratheon Hand, for once!
  • Funny that someone who ascended to the Throne so young was known as the Old King.
  • Well, he and Alysanne seem like good people, although not without their issues. Good to see Alysanne standing up for gender equality, although I wonder what the First Quarrel was about?
  • Aha! Ryam Redwyne is explained at last. 30 lances seems excessive to me.
  • Septon Barth! My man! Started as the King’s librarian, created the first unified legal code (YES! Ok, one legal code across the country. So where are the judges to enforce it?) Public works and germ theory, and built the Great Roads (my apologies for saying Aegon did that, although I could have sworn I read that somewhere), no wonder they call him the best.
  • Clever finessing of the Faith Militant, although it seems like, to give him credit, Maegor really did put the kibosh on them.
  • And now we know what caused the Great Council of 101 to be called. And they had it at Harrenhal – not a good idea. So it came to Laenor Velayron vs. Viserys. I wonder who the other seven were?
  • Corlys Velayron seems like a fascinating person. All the way to Yi Ti and Leng, and to good result.
  • HAH! The Merling King theory lives on. Goddamnit.
  • Aha, Balerion died in 94 AC, under Viserys.
  • And here we start heading into The Rogue Prince territory.
  • The children of Jaehaerys and Alysanne:
    • I feel terrible for these two, they had awful luck with their kids.
    • Prince Aemon – whoah! The Myrish invaded Tarth!
    • Prince Baelon the Brave – poisoned or unlucky? And Ryam Redwyne was clearly not set out for politics.
    • Archmaester Vaegon – so Aemon wasn’t the first Targ maester. Interesting.
    • Princess Daella – so, the Arryns have Targ blood in them too!
    • Princess Alyssa – huh. Never heard of her before.
    • Princess Viserra – well, every royal family needs a black sheep to embarrass them and keep the tabloids busy.
    • Septa Maegelle – seems like a wonderful woman.
    • Princess Saera – seems like the Targs got two black sheep. Sounds like a fun person to know
    • Princess Gael – ouch, right in the feels.

Viserys I:

  • My god, Viserys really was dealt a full house and managed to throw it away.
  • Daemon was not a nice man, but you got to admit he looks good in a gold cloak.
  • Man, the name Baelon is just unlucky.
  • BTW, the art of Daemon doffing the crown is pretty badass.
  • I love Mushroom so much.
  • More Rogue Prince stuff.
  • The Year of the Red Spring of 120 AC and 236 AC. Very imaginative naming.
  • Definitely seems like Viserys screwed up by over-emphasizing the Velaryons and not spreading the dynastic wealth around, as it were.

Aegon II:

  • Most of this is covered in The Princess and the Queen.
  • You know, when you think that Lucerys was an eye-gouging little freak, I kind of don’t feel bad that Aemond murdered him.
  • So, the Tyrells and the Dornish stayed out of the war. Smart.
  • So Mysaria arranged for Blood and Cheese. What a revolting woman.
  • The death of Prince Maelor is even worse.
  • Aha! So that’s how Arryk and Erryk died. Gnarly.
  • So how did Addam and Adam of Hull not get bastard names?
  • The Shepherd – another example of smallfolk agency against the most powerful force the world has ever known.
  • Battles:
    • Burning Mill – ah, the Blackwoods and the Brackens are a-feudin’ and a-fussin’ again.
    • Butcher’s Ball – could have sworn the Princess and the Queen gave this one a different name.
    • Battle of the Kingsroad – does it seem to anyone else that GRRM has it out for the Greens? They never win a battle without some sort of treachery involved, and they seem to lose every regular battle they fight. Bunch of chumps. This one especially feels like GRRM just makes them lose out of fiat.
  • The Moon of the Three Kings! More crazy smallfolk agency at work!
    • Trystane Truefyre, poor guy just wanted to be a knight.
    • Gaemon Palehair, well at least he got a job out of it. Aegon III had a weird sense of humor, tho.
  • Man, what a nasty end for Aegon II.
  • I don’t care about the dragons. Although I wonder what happened to Morning.

Aegon III:

  • the False Dawn does not sound like a good time to be alive.
  •  I love the Hour of the Wolf! Cregan Stark is such a fascinating figure, I love his Ned-plus-Brandon attitude, his weakness for the ladies (another Blackwood in the family), and how quickly he dealt with the job at hand. Interesting detail about the Northmen who went south intending to die so that their families wouldn’t starve in the winter. They really are some hard men.
  • The council of Seven – did not live long at all, but at least a woman served on the Small Council! And hey, you get some powerful Westerlings and Manderlys.
  • So the Great Council of 136 chose three regents, actually running the government day-to-day. Such a pity it didn’t take.
  • Unwin Peake – yikes, is anyone from that family not an asshole? Murdered the queen?!
  • Oakenfist got his name taking the Stepstones! And I love the pirate king Racallio Ryndoon, what a name!
  • Oakenfist taking out the Red Kraken. Badass.
  • No wonder Aegon III was so emo. All his wives kept getting murdered.
  • The Rogare Bank was once bigger than the Iron Bank!
  • God, the Lyseni Spring sounds like a bloody mess. The monarchy was worse off than I had thought.
  • Viserys and Aegon III seem like a good team, and it’s bizarre to think Viserys was charming. Maybe by comparison?
  • Aegon III reminds me a lot of Stannis, and he seemed to care for the smallfolk a lot for a cold fish.
  • So four dragons survived and all four died. Yeah, that’s definitely poison.
  • Wow, dead at 36. Poor guy.

Daeron I:

  • Daeron I was an arrogant little shit, wasn’t he? “You have a dragon. He stands before you.” 
  • the Dragonknight is kind of over the top. Taking a poisoned arrow for the king already?
  • more Smallfolk agency – in the second phase of the Conquest, Smallfolk lead the way against the invader.
  • Wow, Daeron was murdered under a banner of peace…I’m going to guess at Kingsgrave.

Baelor I:

  • From his opening act of sparing the hostages after the murder of his brother, you can kind of see how Baelor would inspire both adoration and anger. Impressive move, but probably would have come better from a High Septon than the King.
  • I kind of get the sense that Baelor’s religious intensity kind of freaked out the Dornish.
  • Got to be impressed by the pit of vipers. On the other hand, he seems to have gone extra-crazy after.
  • Well, we already knew about Rhaena and Daena, but Elaena (wow, really imaginative naming there, Aegon III) seems an amazing woman as well.
  • Aha! The Targaryens working with the Iron Bank in the reign of King Daeron.
  • “He emptied the treasury regularly to fund his charitable acts, including the year when he donated a loaf of bread daily to every man and woman in the city.” Yikes. Even if bread isn’t that expensive, for 500,000 people every day is going to add up in a hurry.
  • Aha! The Faith didn’t totally lose influence after Jaehaerys after all, they just worked through Baelor.
  • The doves again, tax exemptions for chastity belts, burning books (I wonder why he turned against Barth so personally?), fasting, and contemplating a holy war with the North, no wonder people thought he was crazy.
  • So Lady Maia of House Stokeworth started the rumor about Viserys and Baelor…I wonder why?

Viserys-II-by-Amoka

 

Viserys II:

  • Aww, he doesn’t get a picture.
  • Interesting that the smallfolk wanted a queen and the lords insisted on a king.
  • For a smart man, the marriage of Naerys to Aegon IV was a dumb move.
  • “Reforms of the royal household and its functions; the establishment of a new royal mint; his efforts to increase trade across the narrow sea; and his revisions of the code of laws that Jaehaerys the Conciliator had established” – man, Viserys gets no respect.
  • Whoah, Aegon IV might have killed his own dad.

Aegon IV:

  • Aegon IV, the best argument for moderation.
  • You don’t screw with people’s lands, I’m shocked he didn’t start a rebellion against himself.
  • 900 women and nine he loved – the Wilt Chamberlain approach, I see.
  • So Quentyn Ball and Daemon went back to childhood.
  • Daeron didn’t get along with his dad, who hated his mom and their brother. Happy families.
  • Aegon instigated Ser Morgil, eh? Why not just divorce her?
  • So the rumors about Daeron started with Aegon IV? Why not just outright name Daemon?
  • Kind of liking Daeron more than I had previously. Especially in comparison to his dad’s insanity.
  • Yeesh, what an awful way to go.
  • The Nine Mistresses!
    • aha, so that’s how the Lothstons got Harrenhal. Suckers!
    • Merry Meg seems cool. I wonder what happened to her kids?
    • So that’s Lady Vaith! Poor woman.
    • The Black Pearl is simply awesome! And poly to boot.
    • Barba Bracken – aha, she was in the Maidenvault! Wow, Naerys delivered her kids, that’s awkward. What happened to Daenerys Rivers? And did Barba die with her father?
    • Missy Blackwood – kind of reminds me of Eva Green from her picture. Kind and generous – so where’d Bloodraven get the spooky magic from? And what happened to Bloodraven’s brother and sister?
    • Bethany Bracken – Man, you really feel for her. Pimped out by her father and her sister, and a terrible way to go.
    • Jeyne Lothston – urg, really starting to hate Aegon IV even more.
    • Serenei of Lys – a sorceress! So that’s where Shiera got it from.

Daeron II:

  • Daeron seems like a genuine good-government type.
  • However, the marriage to Rohanne of Tyrosh seems like a mistake (although now the Tyrosh connection makes way more sense). Interesting that Daemon wanted to take two wives a la Aegon I, or that his father might have promised him.
  • AHA! So Daeron had Summerhall built in the marches. Clever.
  • On the other hand, it does sound like Maron got the better of the deal. “The autonomy to maintain their own laws, the right to assess and gather the taxes due to the Iron Throne with only irregular oversight from the Red Keep.” By inference, the other lords of the Seven Kingdoms must have much stronger oversight, which suggests a larger royal bureaucracy than I had thought.
  • Definitely see the influence of both race and the impact of history on the Dornish Marches as Daemon’s constituency.
  • So eight years pass between the marriage and the rebellion. Interesting.
  • Daemon had seven sons and seven daughters – no wonder the Blackfyres lasted so long.
  • So, Bittersteel was the prime mover of the Rebellion and married one of Daemon’s daughters. So much for Shiera.
  • The First Blackfyre Rebellion:
    • war in the Vale, the Westerlands, the Riverlands, and elsewhere. Well, we knew about the Westerlands and the Riverlands, but the Vale is news.
    • On the other hand, the details here of the First Rebellion are really scanty.
    • 10,000 deaths doesn’t seem like much in comparison to the War of Five Kings or the Dance. Although that might just be the one battle.

Aerys I:

  • Both Aerys and Bloodraven were sorcery buddies. Interesting.
  • Asexual?
  • Interesting link between the Drought and the return of the King across the sea.
  • The Second Blackfyre Rebellion:
    • I thought I read somewhere that they’d changed this to be a real fighting war, although I guess they just added more Rebellions.
  • Aegor Rivers not the most tolerant of men, it seems
  • The Third Blackfyre Rebellion:
    • where did it land?
    • where was the fighting?
    • What exactly did Aerion do?
    • The murder of Haegon I definitely points out that the Reds weren’t as nice as Egg thought they were.
  • man, sparing Bittersteel – now there’s a great what if.
  • So Daemon III was Haegon’s son, and had Tyroshi backing. So what happened to Daemon I’s other three sons?
  • Rhaegel, Aelor, Aelora – yikes, that’s some nasty shit.

Maekar I:

  • ironic that he never had a proper war to deal with.
  • Daeron was Prince of Summerhall. Huh.
  • Aerion was into magic. Oh, because that’s safe.
  • What happened to Maegor Brightflame?
  • Interesting how the Hedge Knight thing backfired against Egg.
  • The Third Great Council is held. So close to making this a regular thing!
  • Aenys Blackfyre, the fifth son, tries the diplomatic route. Ironic. So what happened to the fourth son, or Daemon III by this point?
  • Wow, no wonder Bloodraven was exiled. What a bastard. But I’m a bit confused why he’s Hand at this point. Didn’t Maekar jail him?

AEGON V.jpg

Egg Aegon V:

  • Well now we know how Bloodraven got sent to the Night’s Watch. I wonder what the Raven’s Teeth got up to. And he seems to have stuck around for only nineteen years.
  • Starvation in the North in the Winter of 233-236. And there was another five year Winter 130-135. Which explains Cregan.
  • The Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion:
    • ok, so now Daemon III. So what was up with Aenys? Or son number four?
    • a full invasion this time, landing on Massey’s Hook.
    • Battle of Wendwater Bridge – huge loss for the Blackfyres, and Ser Duncan the Tall puts paid to Daemon III.
    • Bittersteel gets away – what made that skirmish meaningful?
  • Aegon the “bloody-handed tyrant intent on depriving us of our gods-given rights and liberties” to oppress other people. I wonder what Aegon’s reforms consisted of?
  • So Aegon marries Betha Blackwood – another Blackwood in the Targ line, and more links between Targs and Starks.
  • No wonder they said marrying for love ruined everything.
  • Duncan the Small married Jenny of Oldstones rather than Lord Lyonel’s daughter. Well, at least this one wasn’t a Nazi.
  • Can’t wait to see that duel between Lyonel and Dunk.
  • Jaehaerys wanted to marry Shaera and eloped! Impressive. But there’s another breach with the Tullys and the Tyrells.
  • AHA! So Jaehaerys was the one behind the disastrous marriage of Aerys and Rhaella.
  • Ah, Daeron was the gay prince.
  • That’s the second time we’ve heard of the Rat, the Hawk, and the Pig. Kingswood Brotherhood precursors?
  • Odd that Aegon V didn’t do anything about the Ninepenny Kings – really reverses what I thought the lessons he learned were.
  • Summerhall:
    • …so tantalizing.
    • I’m definitely thinking there’s some human sacrifice involved.
    • Pyromancers ruin everything.
    • Did Dunk save Rhaegar? Or more depressingly, Aerys?
    • So how did Aerys and Rhaella make it out of Summerhall?

JAEHAERYS II.jpg

Jaehaerys II:

  • The Bad Apple! HAH! I love it.
  • So Maelys killed Daemon. But what happened to the rest of the Blackfyres?
  • Ormund Baratheon – smart man, but unlucky. And at least Maelys wasn’t a total scrub.
  • So Gerold Hightower and Barristan Selmy make their reps on the Stepstones.
  • So the War of the Ninepenny Kings lasted a year and a half.

AERYS II.jpg

Aerys II:

  • This section was hard to read. Aerys makes my skin crawl.
  • Aerys saying he wants to be the greatest at his coronation – not a good sign.
  • So a whole generation of men got replaced – I wonder what they would have done?
  • Tywin and Steffon and Aerys as best buds. So sad. On the other hand, the Southron Ambitions conspiracy is a bit sidetracked here – we’ve got close friendships between these three, but we haven’t heard anything yet about Jon Arryn or Hoster Tully or Rickard Stark.
  • Wow, he really was over ambitious – conquering the Stepstones? Building a new Wall? (Hello, Antoninius Pius!) Building a marble city? Trying to take Braavos by sea? Building a canal across Dorne? Actually, that last one isn’t bad.
  • Wow, Pycelle really loved Tywin.
  • So Tywin paid off the King’s debt to Braavos. That makes sense.
  • Tywin’s a free trade man, into public works, and passed the Westerosi Pure Food Act.
  • Ok, on to the main question: no, Jaime and Cersei are not Aerys‘. See here for why. For crying out loud, “It has been too long since I gazed upon that fair face” does not suggest that they’d seen each other recently.
  • God, poor Rhaella. And I thought Lysa had it bad.
  • So Aerys and Tywin ruled from Casterly Rock in 267, and then the court returned in 268.
  • Interesting disputes between Aerys and Tywin – Aerys wanted to back the Volantines, and backed the Brackens. And then there’s the port fee bullshit.
  • Wow…if Tygett had been master-of-arms, Dany and Viserys might not have escaped.
  • On to the second question: no, Tyrion is not Aerys’. See here for why. You’d have to ignore everything we know about Joanna Lannister to think that she’d sleep with a man who publicly humiliated her – and even for Aerys, saying “are your tits sagging?” doesn’t seem as much a come-on as a put-down. Likewise, it’s kind of inconsistent for people to say that Aerys gave presents to Jaime and Cersei ergo they’re his, and then Aerys called Tyrion a monster and ergo he’s his.
  • And now Aerys starts murdering people.
  • Rhaella wasn’t even able to be alone with her own son.
  • Jaime could have squired with Rhaegar. Interesting…
  • The Defiance of Duskendale:
    • I wonder how many cities in Westeros have charters? So clearly that comes with autonomy over taxes, good to know.
    • Tywin’s definitely anti-charter. Interesting.
    • You know, I kind of think Tywin wanted to make the Darklyns kill Aerys.
    • And the quote about “a better king right here” sort of seals the deal.
    • My god, Ser Barristan is an unbelievable badass.
    • Good god, Lady Serala died badly.
  • Wow, Tywin was suspected of killing Steffon?!
  • You know, Varys gets accused of making things worse, but it seems like Aerys was already paranoid and spy-crazy to begin with.
  • Hmmm…what happened to the Dragonstone eggs?
  • Oh, and Aerys is a racist to boot.
  • I’m glad he’s dead.

PHEW! Done. On to the Rebellion!

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117 thoughts on “A World of Ice and Fire: Chapter III (The Targaryen Kings)

  1. Addam and Alyn of Hull were adopted by Corlys Velaryon, legitimized and made heirs, that’s why they don’t have bastard names.

    I think you misread Barba Bracken’s section. She gave birth to Aegor two weeks before Naerys delivered her [own] twins, of whom Daenerys lived and eventualy married Maron Martell.

    That’s a 19-year age difference between Daeron II and Daenerys, btw.

    Also a misreading on Daemon Blackfyre, “seven sons and daughters besides”. That’s seven sons and also some (unnumbered) daughters.

    “The Rat, the Hawk, and the Pig” totally feel like a planned D&E story. Actually most of Aerys I and Maegor and Egg’s reigns feel like they’ll be expanded on in D&E eventually. (And if not there, then in Fire and Blood.)

    I think Dunk saved Rhaella. Possible Aerys too, possibly some others… I bet the line is something like “[these people would have] died, if not for the valor of the Lord Comman[der Duncan the Tall, who went back into the fire to save more but never came back out.]” The illustration of Summerhall shows Rhaella and a maester holding just-born Rhaegar, btw.

    • I probably did make some mistakes; this was way too big a section to do at once.

      – Ah, I see what’s going on. So that’s Naerys’ Daenerys.

      – That’s true. I think the point remains: someone with seven sons is going to be looked at as having the favor of the gods.

      – I’m pulling for Rhaella and Rhaegar, because that’s hopeful. But Aerys would be bitterly ironic.

      • Brett says:

        Poor Egg. That doesn’t bode well for New Egg/Aegon VI, if all that time spent with Dunk among the commons did nothing to turn him into a competent King (although it sounds like his children’s behavior was the biggest problem).

        I don’t think it mentioned it in this section, but Corlys Velaryon just generally explored the crap out of Essos’ coastline – in addition to Leng and Yi Ti, I think it mentions later on that he sailed as far east on the Shivering Sea coast as Mossovy and the Thousand Isles. Maybe I’m getting him confused with someone else, though.

        I got the strongest impression from “Princess and the Queen” and this that the Shepherd may have been a Faceless Man. Granted, Westeros does have a history of charismatic religious leaders (see the Sparrow, various high septons and wandering religious folks, the Drowned God priests), but it’s so strange that he simply Came From Nowhere and then disappeared.

        • Brett says:

          Ah, crap. For some reason this ended up here instead of farther down. It’s not meant to be inline with this discussion thread.

        • I think you’re misreading it – the problem is that Egg’s time among the commons made the nobility hostile to him, and he pursued reforms that were good for the commons but that the nobles resisted.

          And yeah, I don’t buy the Shepherd as a Faceless Man. I think it’s much more likely that he’s what he appears to be.

  2. kylelitke says:

    Excellent job as always.

    I do want to defend the Tyrion/Targaryen theory. Let me preface this by saying I have no dog in this fight; I don’t believe or disbelieve the theory, as I don’t think we have enough information, at all, to say whether it’s true or not. I also don’t really care…I do in the context of the story, but I have no strong feelings for or against the theory, so this isn’t a defense saying “It’s definitely true” or “I want this to be true”.

    I think the article you linked has some serious flaws in terms of disproving the theory. First, the author came into this with very strong opinions on whether the theory is true or not. Nothing at all wrong with that of course, but it can color how certain information is perceived (not a criticism of the author, I think most people can say the same when they have strong opinions). For example: We absolutely do not have the information necessary to say whether Joanna would have gotten an abortion. It’s 100% fair and accurate to say “Joanna would have had access to moon tea and could have had an abortion”. It is not to say, based on the information we have, “Joanna WOULD have gotten an abortion”. We do not know if Joanna is against abortion for some reason (I do understand that’s a more modern argument at that stage of the pregnancy, I’m just tossing out that we don’t know if there was some reason she wouldn’t want to do it). We do not know if Joanna believed the baby to be Tywin’s. We do not know if others found out she was pregnant before she could have gotten to the moon tea, which could have prevented her from doing anything (if they were led to believe the baby was Tywin’s, aborting the child would have raised some huge questions; whether because it didn’t happen or because it was hidden, it’s clearly not common knowledge that Aerys and Joanna slept together). We simply do not have the information to say what her mindset was to say she would have had an abortion.

    In terms of the time frame, while the author is correct that we don’t know the exact timeline, I think it’s very much implied that Tyrion was conceived at Kings Landing. Joanna and the twins came to Kings Landing, where Tywin already was, so Tywin wasn’t at Casterly Rock before the KL trip. When Tywin tries to resign as Hand, Aerys refuses, and the text specifically says he is going to keep Tywin close. The next time Tywin is mentioned as being at Casterly Rock is after Joanna’s death. Definitive? No, but I think it’s strongly implied Tywin was not at Casterly Rock at any point where Tyrion could have been conceived. This is obviously not evidence, at all, that Tywin is not the father; it’s merely strong evidence that Tyrion was conceived at Kings Landing, and so the timeline doesn’t confirm nor deny the Aerys theory.

    Tywin’s reaction to the whole thing is, to me, much stronger evidence against the Aerys theory than the rest. But again, assumptions are being made. We have absolutely no idea at all how Joanna viewed Aerys. We have some evidence of something between them prior to Joanna returning to Casterly Rock, but whether it was essentially rape or something consensual, we don’t know. At least one person suggested she was a willing paramour of Aerys, and while that is shot down by the Maester writing this, it means the nature of their relationship was not clear. By the time Tyrion was conceived, I doubt Joanna would have been a willing participant, but one thing we don’t know is, if Aerys raped her, would she have definitely told Tywin? You would think, but again, we do not know enough about her. Is it that impossible to see a scenario where the awful Aerys rapes Joanna, but Joanna decides not to tell anyone, knowing that telling Tywin would likely mean Tywin directly confronts Aerys about it, which could get him executed? Is that really that out there? I could absolutely see Joanna hiding it. I do grant you under those circumstances, she’d be more likely to drink moon tea, but again, we just don’t have enough information to be sure.

    And I don’t think the “how Aerys acted toward Jaime/Cersei and how he acted toward Tyrion” thing says anything at all. All that says is people make bad arguments. If Tyrion actually is Aerys’ son, I doubt Aerys knew, so how he acted means nothing. Those who used “Aerys sent gifts to Cersei/Jaime” as evidence that he was their father were using a terrible argument, nothing more. It doesn’t say anything about the theory for Tyrion.

    My guess is that Tyrion is not Aerys’ son and these are just red herrings. I just don’t think we have the evidence to say one way or the other for sure, and I think the arguments against it make a lot of assumptions about both Joanna Lannister as a character (someone we have never seen, who we only know about due to second hand information, mostly from her close relatives) and about what exactly would have happened (assuming it has to be a rape, which I do think is a fairly safe assumption, and that Joanna definitely would have run to Tywin, which I don’t considering it might have forced a confrontation that would have surely gotten Tywin killed). The arguments for it don’t have a ton of evidence either, since “opportunity” by itself does not equal proof. I just don’t think the World Book changes anything beyond giving a potential opportunity.

    • jreinatl says:

      I think the article you linked has some serious flaws in terms of disproving the theory.

      I think that assessment is extremely charitable. Lauren’s argument at the link boils down to “(1) I don’t want this to be true; (2) here are some reasons why it might not be true; (3) therefore, it isn’t!” I think we can see there are some steps missing.

      (I also don’t have a dog in the “Tyrion Targaryen” hunt, although the idea would strike me as kind of lame, since Tyrion is Tywin’s cosmic punishment for all of his malevolence.)

  3. kylelitke says:

    Sorry, additional question for you. What did you think about Viserys apparently being the heir after Rhaegar’s death (but before Aerys and Aegon were killed)? Aerys deliberately going past Aegon due to his racism against the Dornish and the fact that he was blaming them for Rhaegar’s death, or an ironclad precedent set by the GC of 233? I think the former, but some have been arguing that Viserys was always next in line after Rhaegar because the GC of 233 set an ironclad precedent saying, essentially, that younger sons of the king would come before the children of older sons.

    • I don’t think the GC of 233 set such a precedent – certainly no one talks about it as if it did in ASOIAF – rather, I think it was a more specific decision to go with a grown man in keeping with previous precedent, rather than an infant or a woman.

  4. I don’t know about you, but I found the whole Tywin/Aerys section quite interesting. Like its saying one thing but implying a great deal that can be read another way. The main thing to consider is that the source for that regime is Pycelle who is a two-faced lying little shit, who at the end even fabricates the death of Elia Martell and her children, by making it the fault of Aerys or pinning it on a murder-suicide pact.

    What I found interesting is that Tywin won a part of his popularity by reversing Aegon V’s pro-peasant reforms, and I have a feeling that the town charter of Duskendale is related to that. He’s obviously a good administrator but considering what we see of Tywin in the book, that there’s a great deal of exaggeration at play there and Pycelle is clearly not objective about Tywin.

    Regarding Aerys’ erratic actions, what I find interesting is that during the long period of cold relations between the two, Aerys never fired Tywin outright, and that he was so paranoid after the death of Steffon at sea that he didn’t consider it all. Then there’s the part where Tywin blatantly indulges in nepotism, trying to get his brothers be Master-At-Arms, making his Son Rhaegar’s squire and wanting to marry his daughter to Cersei. I mean that strikes me as ill-fitting in a Hand. And in any case, Willem Darry was clearly meritorious. He trained Rhaegar himself and he turned out okay. I wonder how much Aerys’ madness is exaggerated in his early sections.

    As for Joanna and the baby theories, I think at the very least there was something between them. Rhaella firing Joanna and Pycelle insisting that Tywin would never marry her if it was otherwise(we know that there’s a lot of things that Tywin does which people say he doesn’t do). There’s definitely something shady going on there, and i wonder if Tywin was Iago to Aerys’ Othello, in manipulating him into madness. Because Aerys was always afraid of Tywin, even madness didn’t change that.

    • Blatant nepotism is kind of the name of the game, though. Aerys was also using government positions for political patronage, so it’s not like there are civil service rules being violated.

      I don’t think Tywin was manipulating Aerys in that way – yes Pycelle spins for the Lannisters, but you can also gauge the truth based on our own impressions of people’s characters from POVs. And my interpretation of Tywin is that he really would not have put up anything more than the liberties at the bedding – that’s allowed by custom, you have to grit your teeth and bear with it – but anything more would be to make yourself a laughingstock.

    • Jim B says:

      Yeah, it seems to me that this section was basically GRRM squashing those fan theories.

  5. MightyIsobel says:

    I’m not a twoiaf reader, but, fine:

    The Rule of Six – Off the top of my head, I can’t think of another state-sanctioned legal principle that might be considered applicable to everyone in the Realm. I.e., every legal process we see concerning murder, assault, and rape seems to incorporate the class status of the perpetrator and the victim.* If I’m right, then that’s some problematic world-building, if the only universally applicable rule of law appearing in something near the canon is the regulation/legalization of domestic violence. But I haven’t read it, idek.

    * Please note that I think it’s realistic for the legal system to incorporate class status, both historically and right now. But the principle that a law should apply to everyone equally is important, and the rules to which that principle applies (and which ones it doesn’t) speaks to the values of the state enforcing them (or the fiction writer composing them).

    Judicial System – I agree with you. It’s hard to see how a federalized/states-rights legal regime can function in a world without lawyers. It is barely functional in the U.S., with hundreds of thousands of people who have trained to resolve conflicts with pieces of paper instead of with rocks. In Might-Makes-Right Westeros, “respecting different customs” is a guarantee of border skirmishes and bloody succession fights.

    The Agency of the Smallfolk – I don’t think you can point to the very small number of recorded incidents where Team Smallfolk took up arms against the IT to assert that their interests are represented in the text in a way that reflects European Medieval class politics, if that’s your argument. Maybe it’s not? I mean, agency is not just about capacity for violence. In this particular example, the maester’s account resembles historical religious rhetoric, but are we to assume on that basis that the Faith has a role in the Westerosi economy similar to the Catholic Church’s in Medieval Europe? We hear nothing about tithing, or about the misdirection of church funds away from communities into the purses of corrupt Septons. Maybe the question is, do you take Maester Yandel’s account here of Team Smallfolk’s agenda at face value?

    Septon Barth’s Legal Code – Great point about the judges – who would these guys be, and where have they all gone in the AGOT era? Also, does Barth’s Law codify trial by combat?

    Rhaego Died of a Birth Defect – some of my fave tinfoil, please have a piece and enjoy

    Duskendale’s Charter – more of this pls thx

    Tyrion, Jaime, and Cersei are Tywin’s biological children – don’t do the thing grrm

    • – Well, you can still have universal laws and inequality within them, as long as you have unequal treatment. For example, historically murder was a crime no matter what your status, but a clergyman in the UK would be tried in a clerical court rather than a standard court.

      – we don’t know that there were judges, per se, or whether the lords were supposed to be enforcing the code by themselves. And I imagine it did include trial by combat, given that that’s a consistent part of both First Men and Andal tradition, so there’s lots of precedent behind it.

      • MightyIsobel says:

        One test is: If a lord refuses to comply with or enforce the unified legal code, will the IT make war upon him? The events around the outbreak of Robert’s Rebellion seem to suggest that the answer is Yes, but Mad King, so who knows?

        For trial by combat: With the ambiguities in the AGOT era about who can claim trial by combat, and who can serve as champion, and whether trial by combat is a fact-finding process at all, it feels like something that wasn’t codified to me. But a lack of justice process nerds in the Red Keep could explain all of that too.

        • That is a good test – I think the bigger question is whether the IT can *arrest* him rather than go to war with him, tho.

          No, I think trial by combat is something pretty codified.

          • MightyIsobel says:

            How does the IT arrest the Lords of Winterfell and Storm’s End without making war, though? The IT couldn’t even arrest Gregor Clegane under the banner of a popular king.

          • What I was getting at was that would be the test of a functioning royal judicial system – would an arrest warrant be honored by the bannerman against their lord? Would a lord submit to trial, if they had faith in due process? Etc.

          • MightyIsobel says:

            Ah, gotcha. Yes, an example of that happening would be helpful.

  6. Kuruharan says:

    “And it also makes you wonder whether Mirri Maz Duur’s spell was what killed Dany’s baby after all.”

    I thought that myself initially, but on further reflection I think it indicates that for whatever reason (sorcerous tinkering with dragon blood in the genetics or what-have-you) the Targaryens have left themselves susceptible to having their babies killed in the womb in this manner, especially since Mirri and Tyanna both claimed credit for the killings in the end.

    It is one of the things that makes me think that the Valyrians did do something to themselves to give themselves “the blood of the dragon.”

    For some reason I found this section of the book a particular slog to get through. Several times I skipped ahead to read other sections because I found the Kings chapter so difficult to read.

  7. rw970 says:

    I found it interesting that the Grand Council was held in Harrenhal because that’s the only place big enough to host the lords of Westeros. I bet that’s part of the reason why Aerys was suspicious of the Harrenhal Tourney, and if his suspicions were correct, why Harrenhal was chosen as the site.

  8. Sean C. says:

    On your noting the Handship of Ser Osmund Strong, he wasn’t the second Hand. Orys was actually not Hand for very long, per subsequent chapters, due to his captivity in the Dornish War. Edmyn Tully was Hand from 7-9 AC, for instance.

    Concerning the marriage of Jaehaerys I’s daughter Daella to Lord Rodrik Arryn, I don’t think the present-day Arryn line has Targaryen blood, since the text says she married Rodrik in 80 AC, and we know from “The Rogue Prince” that she died in 82 AC, which the text now specifies was in the act of giving birth to Aemma Arryn. It’s theoretically possible to fit another child into that timespan, only just, but it seems less likely. Given that Aemma didn’t become Lady of the Eyrie when Rodrik died, it would seem that he either already had a son or daughter from a previous marriage, or subsequently remarried and had a son (though the timeline is getting kind of tight for the latter option, since Jeyne Arryn, who would have had to be the daughter of that child, was already Lady of the Eyrie in 101 AC).

    • Ok, so Osmund Strong was the third?

      Aemma could have bred back into the line. But it’s a good catch.

      • Sean C. says:

        Based on the Targaryen family tree, I made a list of the various starting points for houses with Targaryen blood:

        – House Baratheon (via both Daella Targaryen and, way way back, Aerion Targaryen)
        – House Hightower (via Rhaena Targaryen)
        – House Penrose (via Elaena Targaryen)
        – House Plumm (via Elaena again; indeed, the more pertinent question would be how much Plumm blood there is in House Plumm)
        – House Velaryon (via Baela Targaryen)

        Those six Hightower daughters of Rhaena’s are the really fascinating possibilities. I’m guessing Garmund Hightower was one or Lord Ormund’s sons (given the timespan and the name similarity), and if he was Ormund’s heir then the main Hightower line is Targaryen-descended, which would mean there’s Targaryen blood in, among others, the present-day House Tyrell. Even if he wasn’t, there should be a passel of Targaryen descendants in the present Reach.

  9. rw970 says:

    Interesting that Dunk fought Lyonel Baratheon, given Lyonel’s being part of Dunk’s seven in the trial by combat in re Aerion Brightflame.

    I also thought it was interesting that at the time that Aerys ordered Jon Arryn to kill Robert and Ned, they were no longer his wards. I guess they were just hanging out in the Vale as guests? Would have been a violation of guest right too, then.

    Seeing the history of united Westeros laid out like this drives home that the whole concept of an honorable lord is kind of bogus. There are rebellions and civil wars basically every decade. Who is the honor-bound lord supposed to back? His liege lord, or the King?

    Related to this, the Defiance at Duskendale seems even crazier. How did Darklyn think this would play out in a way that didn’t end up with him and his family dead? And what the hell were the Hollards thinking in going along with them? I can kind of understand the obligation that honor requires you to support your liege lord, but this is an exceedingly stupid hill to die on. Also the artwork that accompanied Aerys sentencing them to death is too creepy.

  10. Abbey Battle says:

    Delightful as THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE is and doubtless shall remain, I suspect that it’s a book which will cost me far more than a purchase-price in the long run – having familiarised myself with the outline of Westerosi History I’ll find it even more difficult to resist purchasing the likes of DANGEROUS WOMEN and ROGUES, all the better to enjoy the extra details that add so much to our appreciation for and understanding of the long saga of House Targaryen and the Seven Kingdoms!

  11. Sean C. says:

    We originally thought that Maekar jailed Bloodraven, but that seems to have been retconned.

    Also in the Retcon Department, Queen Aelinor, the wife of Aerys I, was said in previous explanatory materials (though not in the text itself) to be a Targaryen princess and sister-wife. According this official source she is now not a daughter of Maekar I, but a member of House Penrose and a cousin of Aerys, which I assume means she’s a granddaughter of Princess Elaena and her husband Ronnel Penrose, via their only son, Robin Penrose.

    That’s also cutting it pretty close in timeline, as Elaena’s Penrose marriage (marriage #2) occurred in the reign of Daeron II, so the earliest it could have happened is 184 AC. Assuming Robin was the firstborn, he’d have reached marriageable age circa 197 AC, and his daughter, assuming he had one immediately on marriage, would have done so in turn circa 210 AC, when Aerys was king from 209 AC on. I think the implication from this must be that after the sudden deaths, in quick succession, of Baelor, Daeron II, and Baelor’s sons, the new king was suddenly rushed to the altar. That’s really not what the description of Aelinor in “The Sworn Sword” suggested to me, but then, retcon.

    In one of the threads on Westeros.org some months ago, when people were ranking the Targaryen kings, I had put Daeron II in the #2 spot (below Jaehaerys I), and the information in this book backs up my earlier opinion of him. If he’d had the fortune to succeed a king who wasn’t Aegon IV, he might have inaugurated a second golden age for the Seven Kingdoms, and even then he seems to have managed pretty well.

    Regarding the assessment that Baelor’s sparing the hostages would have been better from a High Septon than a King, I disagree. The results kind of speak for themselves; Baelor made peace, and such a successful peace that it not only ended the war but set the stage for the peaceful annexation of Dorne under Daeron II.

    • Yeah, the retcons are really throwing me off.

      Baelor did make peace, but arguably also helped to exacerbate the tensions that led to the Blackfyre Rebellion. Peace is nice, but when you’ve had people murdered under a flag of truce and you don’t do anything about it, that creates long-term resentments.

  12. Abbey Battle says:

    Maester Steven, please allow me to congratulate you on a very solid analysis – although I do agree that you may have bitten off more than you can comfortably chew in posting all this as a ‘Oner’ I doubt that very many other scholars could do half so well!

    My Thoughts concerning your thoughts:-

    AEGON THE FIRST
    -The First Dornish War is even worse than you think; if nothing else reading it’s description will give you a still higher opinion of The King who Knelt and what his submission achieved … and prevented from coming to pass.

    -I suspect that a major reason King’s Landing lacked walls for so many years is due to the fact that it was not a planned city, but grew more organically; it’s not impossible that Aegon intended to limit King’s Landing to a stronghold, but was obliged to think again when the population at the foot of his High Hill continued to grow and grow.

    -The Rule of Six = ‘Fair for it’s Day’, as TV Tropes would put it (one might argue that it’s also the thin end of a very broad wedge).

    AENYS THE UNREADY
    -I believe that ‘The Guest’ was a son of House Qoherys and a right Bastard, no matter his paternity.

    – Considering Queen Visenya’s customary approach to solving problems one might argue that Lord Ronnel was lucky to survive her visit to the Aerie at all, much less with fond memories and nothing worse than the loss of a crown he was too young to worry very much about (especially considering what had happened to his fleet not so very much earlier).

    -The tragedy of King Aenys and Maegor the Cruel was that working together they might have made a great king (with Prince Maegor the Strong Hand needed to buttress his charismatic, yet vacillating elder brother); the irony is that Maegor seems to have been nothing but loyal to his King, even after his unfortunate second marriage and the final breach in their relationship (witness that he fled, rather than take up arms).

    MAEGOR THE CRUEL
    -Might I suggest we think of Prince Aegon, son of Aenys as ‘Aegon the Uncrowned’ for the sake of clarity?

    -I personally incline to the idea that Maegor experienced an actual accident while seated on the Iron Throne and bled to death because no-one wanted to risk checking in on him without his leave (also known as the ‘Stalin-style’ demise).

    JAEHAERYS THE FIRST
    -It’s easy to see that The Old King learned from the best and it’s also fairly evident that he was lucky enough to work with a generation of talented individuals (in fact it’s hard to ignore the fact that while Skill accounts for his success, Good Luck plays its part too).

    -I wonder if any of the claimants to the Iron Throne at Harrenhal were descendants of those twin girls fathered by Aegon the Uncrowned?

    -Is it possible that the Myrish attack on Tarth was the action of a Pirate, rather than sanctioned by the Three Daughters?

    VISERYS THE FIRST
    – To be fair to the Young King, he managed to preserve the Peace, albeit not the quiet of his realm (and from the perspective of the Smallfolk his reign must simply have been the continuation of a Golden Age); it was his children who threw away all the Old King had built and that the Young King had maintained after his demise triggered a succession crisis.

    -I prefer Septon Eustace myself, not least because he seems to avoid writing with his hand upon his cods!

    AEGON THE SECOND
    -In all fairness to Prince Lucerys, Uncle Aemond had just beaten the snot out of his nephews; it’s probable that the younger boy panicked after seeing his brothers laid to waste and found himself moved from panic to fury by Aemond’s slurs against his mother.

    Still, Aemond had his reasons – the more I read about him the more convinced I am that he and his Nuncle Daemon are mirror images of one another.

    – It seems that while the Tyrells stayed out of the War, they were unable to keep The Reach clear of the carnage; House Nymerios-Martell on the other hand furnish ample proof that Prince Doran knows what he’s doing.

    -It’s possible that the mother of Ser Addam and young Alyn took a husband to avoid having them grow up as bastards. It’s also possible that the Hull brothers refused to USE the Bastard Names they were obliged to grow up with.

    -It doesn’t seem that any of the commanders in The Dance of Dragons really distinguished themselves; it seems to have been more of a soldier’s war.

    -I remain convinced that The Shepherd was a victim of Sheepstealer who got religion … and Revenge.

    -Aegon IIIs sense of humour is no stranger than that of Henry VII, as the tale of Lambert Simnel bears witness to! (it’s also not impossible that Aegon the Younger missed his brother so badly he looked for a stand-in where he could find one … consider how LONELY this young man must have been).

    -I suspect that Morning must have been the Last Dragon (which ties in with the False Dawn that followed the coronation of Aegon III).

    AEGON THE UNFORTUNATE
    – Lord Cregan may be fascinating, but he remains unloveable; he wrought havoc in King’s Landing then sauntered off back North, mind fixed on the Marriage Bed – a surgeon should have the courtesy to ensure the patient survives, once he has finished cutting in my opinion.

    – A major reason the Three Regents didn’t take was because Unwin Peake abused the powers of the office and seems to have tainted it by association.

    -The Red Kraken’s final fate is one of the most satisfying comeuppances in the entire book; just read on and see!

    -Given that the Rogare bank could ground itself in a Three-City alliance AND worked it’s way into Westeros it’s not surprising that it was able to challenge the Iron Bank.

    -For my money Aegon IIIs speech upon assumption of his office has to be the best speech and the best aside in the entire book; it amuses me to imagine him serious as Stannis as he spoke his piece (and just as sarcastic), for obvious reasons!

    THE YOUNG DRAGON
    – When your brother is destined to become Aegon the Unworthy YOU have a lot to overcompensate for, if only to make sure that the two of you are never, ever confused.

    BAELOR THE BLESSED
    – It’s hard not to think of Baelor as one of the greatest men to sit the Iron Throne and one of the least functional of Kings; his brilliance and his madness were just a little to intricately intertwined.

    On the other hand unlike his brother Baelor sacrificed HIMSELF rather than others to his monomania.

    -I’d guess Maia Stokeworth started the rumours … for ***** and giggles; let’s face it, a court is a cat-fight between courtiers as much as it is a snake-pit.

    VISERYS THE SECOND
    -Viserys does get a picture, albeit not in the text of his own article; it’s on the opposite page, showing him with his wife and firstborn son.

    -It’s hard not to see Viserys as one of the best Hands and amongst the least fortune Kings in the history of the second Kingdoms.

    – One wonders if his readiness to countenance a endogamous marriage between his heir and his daughter derived from his own unfortunate experience with a bride from outside the Royal Line?

    -Aegon the Fourth MAY have killed his father, but he CERTAINLY killed his sister, albeit with a pregnancy rather than a poison.

    AEGON THE FOURTH
    -It’s strange to see that the Great Bastards of Aegon the Unworthy and the children of his son Daeron were raised together; Baelor Breakspear and Ser Daemon are coevals and it’s likely that King Aerys and Lord Brynden were only a year or so apart (hence the trust shown him – he would be more of a brother than an uncle).

    -It’s possible Aegon the Unworthy genuinely wanted to be seen as the wronged party in the matter of Queen Naerys; it’s also not impossible that he simply couldn’t make the case stick, given that The Faith is likely to have been involved in any divorce AND likely to have hated his guts.

    -I’ve done the maths and by my count Lady Jeyne Lothstone is almost certainly not the daughter of this king; his relationship with her mother seems to have tapered off almost a decade before her birth (going by the dates), which is something of a relief.

    -In all honesty I can’t really call Aegon the Fourth MAD; I have the horrible feeling he was just utterly irresponsible.

    DAERON THE GOOD
    -My favourite Targaryen King, although The Conciliator was undoubtedly a greater success; it’s not hard to see him as the true heir of Viserys the Second …

    – It seems not unlikely that Ser Daemon believed that, having been granted Blackfyre, he had been handed a license to assume the other trappings of The Conqueror (at least subconsciously). He was also a teenage boy – and died before he reached the age of thirty, which explains a great deal (by my maths Daeron the Good was about thirty when he assumed the Iron Throne, which explains even more).

    MAEKAR THE MISERABLE
    -I will bet a star to a stag that Maegor Brightflame was neck-deep in the Tragedy at Summerhall; I will continue to believe that it was a conspiracy from within House Targaryen that brought about this tragedy until GRR Martin tells us different.

    -It seems likely that at least a few of Ser Daemon’s heirs would part ways with Uncle Bittersteel, not least because he keeps thinking up new ways to get them killed.

    EGG
    -It is terribly amusing to realise that The Queen of Thorns was very nearly obliged to endure much the same sort of marriage her most prominent granddaughter was obliged to endure …

    -Smart money says that the Rat, The Hawk and the Pig are aristocrats, rather than bandits; from the context their misdeeds are courtly as well as criminal.

    -My guess is that Aerys the Second fled Summerhall, whereas Princess Rhaella had to be carried out by our favourite White Knight of Westeros.

    THE MAD KING
    – I’m surprised that it took a reading of THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE before you would admit that Ser Barristan the Bold came by his sobriquet AND his reputation honestly!

    Stay Well Maester Steven!

    • Sean C. says:

      Regarding Addam and Alyn, they weren’t acknowledged bastards until they were brought to court during the Dance, at which point they were almost immediately legitimized as Velaryons, so there was no major point in their lives where they were surnamed “Waters”.

    • somethinglikealawyer says:

      Regarding Cregan Stark, was it really unrest that he brought? Stark had come to fight for his chosen candidate. Was he to tuck tail and run away when she had an heir? Heck, it’s not like he said: “Corlys might have sent envoys, but I don’t care.” He waited to see if the Throne could resolve itself, and punished those who committed regicide.

    • Thanks!

      Aegon:
      – yeah, what I remember of the Dorne section was not pretty.
      – that’s weird, because if you think about it, it should be the perfect designed city. It’s not a several thousand year agglomeration, but a new settlement, a statement of Targaryen rule. Or maybe Aegon just wasn’t a good urban planner.
      – the main thing with the rule of six is that it’s clearly borrowing from the urban legend about the “rule of thumb” thing.

      Aenys:
      – the Guest was indeed a Qoherys.
      – Aenys not denying Maegor his first pick might have helped.
      – the funny thing is that the original drafts of this story had Maegor as a much clearer usurper.

      Maegor:
      – Aegon the Uncrowned it is. Funny, he’s not on the wiki yet.
      – I prefer the mason story.

      Jaehaerys:
      – I also think Jaehaerys also got lucky in who he came after. After dealing with a damn psychopath who kept making mountains of skulls, I think people were ready to give Jaehaerys his way just because he could be reasoned with.
      – It’s a good question.
      – It probably was, but I’m always looking for Essosi/Westerosi interaction.

      Aegon II:
      – I dunno about that; Roddy the Ruin, Daemon Targaryen, the Riverlords did some damn fine work.
      – Either that, or a survivor of Tumbleton.

      Aegon III:
      – I disagree. Cregan’s bloodletting was necessary to forestall reprisals, which a lot of Greens would have felt were necessary had the murder of a king gone unpunished.
      – I was more referring to the Great Council choosing the day-to-day ruler.
      – the Rogare bank is fascinating.
      – It’s a good speech.

      Aegon IV:
      – I’m convinced that a lot of the Blackfyre Rebellion got started in the playground.
      – You’d think a king could make a divorce happen, tho. By this point, the Faith is under political control.

      Maekar:
      – we’ll see.
      – except someone had to give birth to the Daemon that Maelys killed.

      Aerys II:
      – I knew he was a badass, and I knew about his dramatic rescue. But reading the narrative of how vs. the fact is quite a different thing.

      • Sean C. says:

        They’ve asked people not to update the Wiki for a month.

      • Abbey Battle says:

        – Kings Landing wouldn’t be the first time someone built a fort and found a city building up around it as a side-effect, rather than part of the plan – if I remember my history correctly one might say the same about Edinburgh!

        -If I remember correctly Maegor the Cruel’s first pick was his own niece (whom I believe was rather younger than he); it’s perhaps not surprising that King Aenys declined to have his rather disturbing younger brother as a son-in-law (especially given the opposition of the High Septon to the whole business).

        I must admit that I’m rather sorry we didn’t learn more about the Faith and about The Knights of the Mind in THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE; I’d be interested in hearing about famous Septas, Septons and Scholars of the Seven Kingdoms.

        -If I recall correctly Roddy the Ruin’s contribution was more a Slayer than a strategist, although you make a good point about Prince Daemon and a fair point about the River-men who made life Hell for their Enemies.

        -It’s equally possible the shepherd was a survivor of Tumbleton; I must admit that I like the narrative of the Shepherd being a victim of Sheepstealer – not least because it stresses just how much the depredations of that beast must have HURT the small folk who were its victims.

        -I can’t help but think that if Mushroom lived to hear Aegon III talk like that, that elderly Fool could wipe away a glittering tear of joy, doff his motley for the final time a thankless task well done … and immediately turn his attention to dictating those rather poisonous memoirs of his for the fun of turning the joke on his old masters and mistresses.

        -I can’t disagree with you concerning your suspicions about the Blackfyre Rebellion getting it’s start in youthful misadventures and rivalries (although it’s interesting to note that Bittersteel had no place in that particular playing field); I hope that FIRE AND BLOOD will someday flesh out the interpersonal dynamics of this particular generation of their dysfunctional dynasty.

        Not least because I still have vague ambitions of working out at least the basics of a Shakepearean History of the ‘Four Kings’ of Maester Kaeth.

        -The Faith is certainly under the PROTECTION of the Crown, but I suspect that the precise degree of control a King wields over it depends on the King in question … not to mention the incumbent High Septon and Most Devout.

        Not even a generation removed from Blessed Baelor, I suspect King Aegon the Unworthy had a pretty uphill struggle in that department!

        -I admit that part of the reason my conviction that Summerhall burned thanks to a coup from INSIDE the Dynasty is the fact that GRR Martin named Aerion Brightflame’s son MAEGOR; it’s not quite as obvious as calling the poor mite ‘Chekov’ but it does seem to be a pretty fair indication that he’s setting up a nice juicy subversion of our expectations at the very least!

        -I stand by my theory that the only Blackfyres likely to live long enough to breed are those smart enough to stick with their lives in Essos, ignoring both Uncle Aegor AND Evil Uncle Brynden – although unfortunately it’s not impossible that later generations may have been seduced by the lure of a Crown in their turn.

        -I must admit that I too rather loved seeing Ser Barristan show his quality in fine chivalric style; he remains one of my favourite characters in the entire series because quite frankly he seems to have noticed that he’s living in A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, but doesn’t intend to let a little thing like that get him down by God, Saint Michael and Saint George!

        I hope you continue to enjoy the book Maester Steven and await your future posts with interest – I’ll be interested in seeing where you go with your analyses of the Seven Kingdoms, since this takes you out into uncharted territory.

  13. Grant says:

    Maegor I

    Well, we see how religion can lead lower class resistance. But I have to wonder if there really weren’t instances of the Faith also providing king’s with support to crack down on rebellions.

    Jahaerys I

    If the Arryn’s have any Targaryen blood in them, does that theoretically mean that a marriage between Sansa and that Harry guy would give them some kind of claim not just to the North and Vale but also to the Seven Kingdoms?

    Baelor I

    Could be that he and Barth quarreled over some minor area of theology or that Barth really did know something that Baelor wanted erased.

    Maekor I

    Maybe Martin messed up or maybe Bloodraven proved too indispensable in uneasy times for Maekor to not bring him back, especially if Bloodraven had crucial allies in the state.

    • Sean C. says:

      Even if there was Targaryen blood in the Arryn line (which, as I posted above, I don’t think is the case), it would a connection better than 200 years old at this point, junior to several other female-line claims, so I don’t think it would be meaningful.

      • Grant says:

        True. Still we’ve seen far more ridiculous claims to legitimacy in real life. There were multiple attempts to link the English royal family to King Arthur (as in the semi-mythological figure of very uncertain history) for centuries. Considering what we’ve seen of Petyr it wouldn’t be at all odd for him to consider this a possible end goal.

    • – The Faith cracking down on rebellions: maybe, but I don’t see
      – a rather weak claim tho.
      – I go with the last, re Barth.
      – yeah, that’s weird. Too much retconning causing problems, I think.

  14. somethinglikealawyer says:

    So glad someone else was as stoked as I was to see the legal reforms actually made mention. Regarding Aegon’s use of local legal codes, perhaps he thought that making a single legal system would invite too much unrest, especially given all the fighting he was doing in Dorne. The Iron Islands chapter has some stuff on how Greyjoys became Lords Paramount, and I think that plus this makes me think that Aegon is bright but less interested in the nitty-gritty of running a kingdom (though not to the wasteful extent that Robert did). He knew his strengths: his swordsmanship, his charisma, and his dragon, and he used those to keep his kingdom.

    Aenys seems to me like a man scared of conflict almost to the point of utter phobia.

    Part of me is really hoping that Septon Barth is wrong on some things. Not for any personal distaste, he’s just being set up as the man who knew everything, and I’d like it if he was wrong about stuff, just for giggles.

    Jaehaerys I is truly the greatest king of the Targaryen lineage. I’m glad to know I wasn’t too far off the mark with what I wrote back when. As for the judges, I didn’t really see a royal bureaucracy, but is it possible that the local magistrates were answerable to the Master of Laws as part of Jaehaerys’s legal consolidation plan?

    Cregan Stark is my new hero, but I’ve also got mad respect for Tyland Lannister. Sure, he may have had a big part in starting the war, but anyone who was blinded and castrated and still managed to serve the son of the woman responsible for doing it, and effectively, gets some props.

    Poor Viserys II. He loses his brother, his wife, and then has the thankless task of managing Daeron and Baelor.

    Aegon the Unworthy deserved that title. You might have been right when you said that Aegon IV took the cake as the most destructive Targaryen monarch ever.

    Aegon I’s crown was lost in Dorne…could this possibly mean that Doran Martell has it?

    As far as Southron Ambitions being sidetracked, was it Steffon that arranged for Robert to be fostered with Jon Arryn, or was that arranged after his death? Of course, the simplest solution might have been that Steffon noticed Aerys was a little loopy as the years progressed. We don’t hear much from him in the royal court, especially when compared to Tywin. Maybe Steffon was a little jealous that Tywin got to be Hand?

    • MightyIsobel says:

      On the judges question, we know so little about the Master of Laws at all. Is he a bit like the Chief Justice of SCOTUS, or something more like Attorney General? A possible medieval analogue is Lord Chancellor, but the Hand of the King seems to be the Westerosi equivalent of that office, especially when we look at the competent ones.

      And Tyrion’s trial in KL is conducted without the participation of the Master of Laws (Kevan Lannister, apparently?) in any official capacity (but he consoles the defendant ex parte??). If a huge trial in KL on a charge of regicide doesn’t require the attention of the Master of Laws, then what would?

    • – the thing is, we don’t have any examples of local judges either.
      – Tyland Lannister is impressive.
      – I think it must have happened before.

  15. Andrew says:

    I don’t think Aegon IV divorced his wife since like in the Middle Ages before the Reformation, divorce likely didn’t exist, only annulments. He was also likely selfish, and didn’t like to share anyone, or just wanted to keep some kind of image.

    Bittersteel likely sent Daemon II to Westeros expecting him to die in a failed rebellion so he could crown Haegon who was more to his liking.

    I guess now we know how Olenna got her title “Queen of Thorns,” it mocked her broken betrothal to a Targaryen prince and subsequent marriage to Luthor Tyrell (roses have thorns).

    I am starting to suspect that Pycelle was wrong, and Aerys and Joanna did have a fling.

    • Grant says:

      This post has two links arguing against that, and while I have to wonder about the description of it as misogynistic*, the timing for Cersei and Jaime doesn’t add up and with Tyrion while it might technically be possible you’d think that Tywin would be considerably worse with Aerys afterward, not simply waiting until Rhaegar’s defeat to sack Kingslanding.

      *Or at least they seem to be suggesting that it would misogynist to write it having happened, assuming that I’m not misreading it.

      • Grant says:

        Rather, not my post but the article by Attewell has two links arguing against it.

      • The misogyny comes in the way it devalues Joanna Lannister, otherwise depicted as a powerful matriarch who managed to rule the great Tywin, as either a hapless victim or an unfaithful wife.

      • Andrew says:

        I never said anywhere that any of Joanna’s kids were Aerys’s. I think all three are Tywin’s.

        I am saying that the fling would have had to have happened before she married Tywin. I am not saying her sleeping with Aerys makes her a bad person or a slut.

  16. Hawka says:

    I was under the impression that Viserys I got a lot grimmer after his wife left him with the kids, and considering his eldest was AegonIV…. Not to mention trying to keep things together between his gloomy brother, and and trying to recover from the debacle of his nephews I’d lose a lot of humor going through all that.

  17. *In character* Aren’t I awesome? And you have to admit my baby was great too. *

    Ok now, back to normal: How cool is it that Visenya came up with the Kingsguard idea? Aegon IV, man he’s just the worst, isn’t it?
    Glad we can rule out the Lannisters as secret Targs, seriously it was getting on my nerves. Poor Rhaella, poor woman.
    Also, on the first council, the lesser claimants might have been descendants from Rhaena and Aegon 1.5.

    Wouldn’t be surprised that Tywin did hoped that Aerys would be killed, maybe he hoped that in that way he’d have a better chance to marry Cersei to Rhaegar. Nor am I surprised about the suspicion of Tywin offing Steffon, everybody knew why Steffon had been sent to the Free Cities and while Tywin’s wish to see his daughter Queen might not have been public knowledge, his ambition/growing pride might (or at least some might thought it that way).

    • Abbey Battle says:

      Your Grace, this humbler scribbler can only agree that your history does indeed inspire Awe, although one fears that the great feats of arms performed by your son must remain buried under the eventual outcome and inevitable results of War across a continent, as well as throughout a court … by which I mean several huge heaps of corpses.

      On a more serious note I do agree with you that at least one or two of the alternatives to Prince Viserys or Young Laenor Velaryon are likely to have been descendants of your Nephew King Aenys through the twin daughters born to Aegon the Uncrowned (although one fears that this may account for no more than a handful).

      • Of course I inspire awe, how else should it be? Oh I am aware, my child erred on things. Poor boy.

        Yes, there’s a chance that the daughters of Rhaena or her descendants made a claim, after all they descended from the first born and the first born male. If each twin had, lets say, 2 children each, there’s four claimants and we only need to wonder about the remaining 3.

    • Good point about the lesser claimants.

      Does leave you wondering what Steffon was doing between the War of the Ninepenny Kings and his death.

      • Abbey Battle says:

        Making Robert, Stannis and Renly? (not to mention keeping a respectable distance from King Aerys II as the fuse burned down towards doomsday!).

      • Thanks, like I said to Abbey; if each twin had 2 children, we have four more claimants and these claimants would come from the first born’s first born male and daughter. So there’s that, if it were true we only have to wonder about the other 3.

        A good question, probably in Storm’s End, maybe? It does leave you wondering.

  18. Black_Goat says:

    I am very interested in Aenys’s wife Alyssa, who, as Steven pointed out, seems a very smart woman. If you look at the Targaryen lineage in the back of the book, you’ll see that she had a second marriage – to Robar Baratheon, the man who became young Jaehaerys I’s first Hand. I suspect that her own hand was something she had to offer in order to obtain Robar’s support against Maegor, on behalf of her son, and I’m surprised Yandel didn’t comment on this. (Incidentally, it was their marriage that produced Jocelyn Baratheon, who would go on to become the mother of the queen-who-never-was.)

    I’m with you guys on the retcons; the one about Maekar not imprisoning Bloodraven was especially jarring. Any other major ones that have been noticed?

    • The big retcons to me:
      1. Aenys not marrying his sister. Kind of a big deal.
      2. Aegon not fighting the War of Ninepenny Kings. Really a big deal.
      3. The Blackfyre Rebellions. How many there were, which were fighting wars. who was king, how many Blackfyre pretenders there were. A huge deal.

      • Sean C. says:

        Do you mean Aerys I? I don’t believe Aenys was ever thought to have married a sister. Though that bring up another retcon, that Aenys was an only child; I believe the previous semi-canon was that Aegon I and Rhaenys had several daughters, one of whom was Maegor I’s first wife (now replaced by Ceryse Hightower, and, kind of, by Rhaena).

      • Mr Fixit says:

        I was always under impression that there were 3 Blackfyre rebellions with the War of the Ninepenny Kings being the third. I’m a little rusty though. Is there any previously established lore that outright contradicts this new info of 5 or 6 or however many rebellions?

        • That was my impression as well, although the comments in the various Arianne chapters about the Yronwoods riding with the Blackfyres in multiple rebellions sort of cut against that.

          Nothing contradictory, it’s just that it really changes our interpretation of characters – Bloodraven’s sacrificing the west coast to prevent another invasion looks a lot less impressive if another 4 wars happened anyway; the lessons Egg learned look very different if it wasn’t him who decided to take the fight to the Stepstones. Etc.

  19. I actually thought Tywin outright stating that it wouldn’t be bad if Aerys died at Duskendale as proof that it wasn’t his plan. If that’s what he wanted he would have stormed the place earlier and been smart enough to keep his mouth shut about it. I also think it’s a major point against Tyrion being a bastard as Tywin had an easy opportunity for revenge here but dithered and allowed Barristan an attempt at rescue.

  20. Sean C. says:

    I only now realized that Egg’s wife, Betha Blackwood, i.e., Black Betha, is the namesake of Davos’ command in Stannis’ navy in ACOK, the galley Black Betha. Foreshadowing!

  21. Jake Drake says:

    With Aegon the Unworthy, did the book mention how he felt about Daena, the mother of Daemon Blackfyre? I get the sense that he favoured Daemon the most out of his children, and we never hear about Daena again after she had her child, so was there more than just a mixture of lust and daring?

    • Sean C. says:

      Seeing as she’s not included amongst the list of the nine women he supposed loved, it doesn’t seem like there was a deep relationship there (to the extent he was even capable of that).

      • Technically, the page is the Nine Mistresses, and Daena was more of a one-off thing. And Daena already had her own page on pg. 91.

        • Jake Drake says:

          So just a mutual pick-me-up, only it was Westeros that got buggered in the long run. Say, would you agree with Joanna Lannister that certain things about medieval times weren’t as large as Martin portrays it, considering the bit about rule of thumb? e.g. treatment of women and rape as a weapon?

          • Well, the rule of thumb is a well-known urban myth. I think GRRM just wanted some way to demonstrate Rhaenys’ progressive tendencies and this was an ex. that most people would grok.

  22. Crystal says:

    I thought there were some interesting tidbits on the first Daenerys Targaryen: Maron Martell seems to have been quite a bit older than she was. And it’s debatable if she really loved Daemon Blackfyre – in any event, she seems to have lived quite happily in Dorne. The fact that Maron Martell built the Water Gardens for her indicates that he wanted her to be happy.

    That Daenerys, from the little we know of her, seems to have shared some qualities with her brother Daeron: we know she invited children of smallfolk to play at the Water Gardens, and she told her son and heir to remember those children in everything he did. So even if she did love Daemon Blackfyre, she probably agreed with Daeron that “The good of the Realm came first” and wasn’t going to pine for what she couldn’t have.

    In her illustration, Larra Rogarre looks like Amanda Seyfried. (The illustrations are hit and miss: some of them are gorgeous, but a few are cheesy: the one of Viserys I in particular. And it looks like Aenys is picking his nose while sitting on the IT! Was that deliberate, I wonder?)

    • New info on this! According to a So Spake Martin entry, she really did love Daemon! Now, people fall out of love, fall in love with other people, etc. But at one point it was genuine.

      • Crystal says:

        That’s interesting new info – thanks! Based on this, I’ll surmise that Daenerys I decided that while she did love Daemon, the Good of the Realm came first, unless we get new info that she really was pining and miserable in Dorne. After all, she was a royal princess, and probably did understand that she couldn’t expect to marry for love.

  23. Andrew says:

    1) The Tragedy at Summerhall sounds like an assassination attempt. All the members of House Targaryen were there, and had Jaehaerys and his children not escaped (likely thanks to Dunk), the entire house would have been wiped out.

    We know Maelys isn’t above kinslaying to get a crown when he killed his cousin Daemon, and from there it’s not too far a leap to go to murdering his distant Targaryen cousins for the crown. It is no coincidence Maelys’s invasion was launched the same year as the Tragedy of Summerhall. had the entire family been killed, then Maelys could have taken advantage of the chaos and power vacuum to launch his invasion. Of course, Ormund Baratheon would likely fight him to place his son and Aegon V’s grandson, Steffon, on the throne.

    2) The fact that Chelsted, a lickspittle of Aerys, threw down his chain in protest over Aerys’s wildfire plan actually kind of redeems the guy.

    3) Okay, I can guess Lewyn Martell, Arthur Dayne and Oswell Whent were Rhaegar’s confidants in the KG.

    4) Mad Lady Vaith was mentioned in Dunk and Egg, The Sworn Sword.

    • 1. I highly doubt it. I’m much more in the tragic Egg vein.

      2. Well, you can be an obstructive lickspittle and not a moral monster.

      3. Yes to the last two, not sure about the first one.

      4. Yes, you’re right. I’d forgotten that.

      • Andrew says:

        1) If it was just a failed attempt at hatching dragons, then why is GRRM being so keen on releasing few details? Plus, the pyromancers seem to know how wildfire works, and are capable of containing it as demonstrated by burning down just the Tower of the Hand, and preventing it from spreading throughout the rest of the RK.

        3)Lewyn was mentioned as in Rhaegar’s confidence, and part of his party.

        • 1. Because I think it involves Egg’s turn to the dark side, and he wants to hide the whammy until he’s ready. Pyromancers also burned down a quarter of the kingswood and a lot of people with it. Their containment skills aren’t that good.

          3. I don’t see any mention of Lewyn as one of the half-dozen.

          • Andrew says:

            1. The kingswood is filled with wood, leaves, weeds, and easily combustible material while Summerhall was more likely made of stone, and thus easier to contain a fire. The pyromancers would have taken precautions.

            Egg is supposed to be Anakin Skywalker? A man with arguably purer motives , reforms to help the smallfolk, going to terrible lengths? What gave you that idea? Do you think Egg tried to sacrifice someone?

            I think assassination attempt since Maelys killed his cousin Daemon to become the Blackfyre heir, and that is not too far a leap to go from to killing his distant Targaryen cousins.

            Although, I admit your idea does sound intriguing. It would be a departure from the Egg we knew in loved in the novellas.

            3. I meant speaking political terms as one of Rhaegar’s supporters at court.

          • 1. Well, the interior is going to have rushes, wooden furniture, wall hangings, etc. My theory is this: http://racefortheironthrone.tumblr.com/post/101555220781/whoa-i-gotta-hear-your-thoughts-on-egg-and

            3. Gotcha.

  24. SerBronnsMullet says:

    It looks like Dunk tried to be the first Targ absolutist monarch. Maybe he was trying to finally make those damn legal reforms! Can Dany/Jon/whoever wins in the end succeed where Dunk failed?

    • Andrew says:

      Yes, Aegon said if he had dragons he could enforce his reforms effectively. GRRM said Aegon I, Aenys, Jaehaerys I and Maegor were the closest to absolute monarchs, and all of them had dragons. Besides, by the time Jon, I think, sits the IT, he will have dragons and the backing of the realm, and everyone will have had enough war. Plus with the situation in Westeros, times when things are at their lowest are the times most suited to creating change.

      • I don’t think Jon’s going anywhere near the Iron Throne.

        • Andrew says:

          Then what’s the point of giving him a secret royal heritage if it isn’t going to impact the story? He shares a number of similarities to Simon Snowlock of MST, Aragorn of LOTR and the inspiration for both, King Arthur.

          Then there are things like this:

          “They burned brightly.” Davos did not trust this man, for all his courtesy. House Florent had declared for Renly.
          The Lady Melisandre tells us that sometimes R’hllor permits his faithful servants to glimpse the future in flames. It seemed to me as I watched the fire this morning that I was looking at a dozen beautiful dancers, maidens garbed in yellow silk spinning and swirling before a great king. I think it was a true vision, ser. A glimpse of the glory that awaits His Grace after we take King’s Landing and the throne that it is his by rights.”

          Later in ACoK:

          Qhorin came and stood over him as the first flame rose up flickering from the shavings of bark and dead dry, pine needles. “As shy as a maid on her wedding night,” the big ranger said in a soft voice, “and near as fair. Sometimes a man forgets how pretty a fire can be.”

          Jon went to cut more branches, snapping each one in two before tossing it into the fire. The tree had been dead a long time, but it seemed to live again in the fire, as fiery dancers woke within each stick of wood to whirl and spin in their glowing gowns of yellow, red and orange.

          • I think it will impact the story. I just don’t think that means him becoming king.

          • Andrew says:

            1)Well, someone has to clean up the mess in Westeros after the War of Five Kings, the second Dance of Dragons and the second Long Night. I doubt it’s going to be any of the current contenders for the IT, including Dany.

            Who do you think would sit the IT at the end?

            2) There are a lot of subtle clues pointing to him as king. GRRM said a Great Council could absolve Jon of his vows and name him king, like they could have done with Aemon. Jon was made LC of the NW by a similar measure, so I think it would fit in Jon’s arc where responsibility is thrust upon him.

            3) I think Jon would press his claim to do Dany if the Wall fell, and he thought it was the only way to bring her dragons and army to deal with the Others. It would separate him from other contenders in that he would see the crown as a means to an end, the safety of the realm, rather than an end in and of itself.

          • 1. I don’t think either Jon or Dany will sit the Iron Throne. I’m not sure there will be an Iron Throne come the end.

            2. I’m a bit skeptical of “subtle clues” because they can often be cases of cherrypicking word choices.

            3. I think Dany will come to the Wall of her own accord.

          • Andrew says:

            1) I think if Cersei does burn down KL with wildfire it would be destroyed. A new throne could be made, possibly symbolizing a new era. Someone has to lead, and take care of things.

            Who would rebuild the realm?

            2) GRRM did say the devil is in the details, and there are a lot of details. The ACoK quotes is an example I think. During the Battle of CB, Jon is stationed at the King’s Tower. Jon is going to spend time in Ghost, whom Varamyr described as “a second worthy of a king.”

            Add to that GRRM’s own words:
            “They say: “Oh God, the butler did it!”, to use an example of a mystery novel. Then, you think: “I have to change the ending! The maiden would be the criminal!” To my mind that way is a disaster because if you are doing well you work, the books are full of clues that point to the butler doing it and help you to figure up the butler did it, but if you change the ending to point the maiden, the clues make no sense anymore; they are wrong or are lies, and I am not a liar.”

            Having hints pointing to Jon as king, and Jon not becoming king would make him a “liar” in his own terminology I think.

            That also includes the King Arthur imagery if you want any specifics, just ask.

            3) I doubt that given she will be more focused on her family’s throne, her life’s goal. Besides, as long as the Wall stands keeping out the Others, she can put the Others on the back burner. She can say she can unite the realm first, then take the united realm to deal with the Others.

    • I think he was going much further than Viserys II, more of an enlightened despot a la Frederick the Great/Joseph of Austria, etc.

  25. Jim B says:

    Anyone else think it’s interesting that there’s no Blackfyre family tree provided? Sure, we’re told that all the pretenders have died out, but….

    How did Varys get himself chosen by Aerys? The book is frustratingly vague on that.

    • True, and there’s 2 Blackfyre sons and a couple daughters we don’t know about.

      I think Varys had built up a sufficient rep in Pentos that when Aerys was looking for spymasters, word got around.

  26. […] event, a kind of random backlash inspired more by hunger than any kind of ideology. However, the new information we have suggests rather than the smallfolk of King’s Landing are tapping into a rich tradition of […]

  27. Andrew says:

    1. Egg had a Blackwood queen. The Brackens must have been really pissed by that.

    2. Something tells me Aegor never forgot that Daeron II forced Aegon IV to send him and his mother away. That is likely where Aegor’s resentment of Daeron began. As for BR, Daeron was friends with his mother, and likely would have been a friend to her children as well.

    3. Very symbolic of how Maegor attacked the Sept of Remembrance which was a memorial to Rhaenys just as he was warring against Rhaenys’s line.

  28. KrimzonStriker says:

    Quick note, but the fighting in the Vale during the Blackfyre Rebellion wasn’t that new, we know based off the Davos chapter in ADWD that House Sunderland aka the Three Sisters declared for House Blackfyre in two of the Rebellions.

  29. Andrew says:

    1. Something tells me that part of what influenced the rumors about Daeron II’s parentage is from the looks of it, he was pretty close with his uncle, the Dragonknight, closer than with his father, Aegon. It seems the Dragonknight had more of an influence on Daeron than his father, and Daeron got from Aemon his sense of honor and ideals.

    2. The Dornish were extremely lucky that Baelor was Daeron I’s heir. They had killed Daeron under a peace banner; even in Westeros that is considered a war crime. If it hadn’t been Baelor, the Dornish hostages including the Prince of Dorne’s heir, would have been killed and there would have been swift retribution for Daeron’s death. I wonder the lords’ reactions to Baelor’s actions? The small council and likely most of the realm wanted retribution.

    3. I wonder how Quicksilver managed to reach Prince Aegon? Dragons are only bonded to one rider at a time, and Quicksilver was likely on Dragonstone with his rider Aenys when Aegon was at Crakehall. Aegon would have had to go to Dragonstone, and risk capture by Maegor, or Quicksilver flew to him even though Aegon never mounted him.

    • 1. Quite possibly.

      2. Agreed. Baelor likely angered a lot of people. Only his huge following among the smallfolk and the Faith, and Viserys’ political skills, staved off a revolt.

      3. Dunno.

      • Andrew says:

        5. Do you think Jaehaerys got the idea for the Grand Council from the kingsmoots on the Iron Isles?

        6. If Aegon had dragons he would have been better able to enact his reforms, but there is one downside: that means Aerys would get a dragon too, and the guy is scary enough without one.

        7. A little trifle, but I don’t like the illustration of Aemond vs Luke at Storm’s End. Arrax and Vhagar are pretty much the same size in that illustration when the sources say Vhagar was five times the size of Arrax.

  30. Crystal says:

    Better late than never: I think Bethany Bracken is an expy of Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife. Catherine was pimped out to Henry while still a teenager, by her family, hoping she would replace Anne of Cleves. And replace Anne she did, but by this time Henry was obese, ill-tempered, and had a running sore on his leg. Catherine eventually cheated with one Thomas Culpepper (who was a distant cousin). Catherine was beheaded, but at least she wasn’t forced to watch Thomas being tortured (an old paramour of Catherine’s was arrested and tortured to death as well). The Howards were pretty much disgraced at this point.

    Poor Bethany – that was a real tear-jerker. Cassella Vaith narrowly escaped a bad fate because Aegon got tired of her and decided that she would be executed with the rest of the Dornish hostages. And Jeyne Lothston – now we know why Lucas Lothston was called “The Pander.” Falena Stokeworth wasn’t winning any Mother of the Year prizes there, either.

    The mistresses who seem to have come out unscathed were Missy Blackwood, for being a nice person, and Bellegere Otherys, who was lucky enough to be a foreigner with her own livelihood and a strong personality, so Aegon couldn’t do anything to her. (He visited her in Braavos and would be subject to Braavosi law, where he is NOT absolute monarch.)

    I like to think that the Unworthy had his ghostly butt kicked all around the seven hells in the afterlife by the women he wronged, with Bethany getting in the hardest kicks.

  31. […] of Robert, Ned, and Jon Arryn, as well as the lesser traitors around him, is somewhat limited. Like Cregan Stark, it leads you to a cleansing purge but doesn’t tell you what to do next. And it’s […]

  32. Tywin of the Hill says:

    I think Jaeharys’ legal code only applies in cities with charters. Everywhere else, the lords have “power of pit and gallows”.

  33. LadyKnitsALot says:

    Was linked to this blog by someone else while chatting about law in Westeros, so apologies for the necropost…

    I’m starting to wonder if Egg’s reforms that put the nobles so far offside were some kind of Magna Carta/bill of rights set up, to establish a baseline on top of the Jaehaerys Code of Laws (which I’m seeing as a very, very basic Code Napoleon)

    Westerosi law doesn’t seem to have got much beyond “maintaining the king’s peace” which is frustrating. I know GRRM has said Westeros is a world without lawyers, but it also seems to be a world without much law, which makes the whole thing Hobbesian turned up to 11. It’s not feasible, and certainly explains why civil war erupts so often in Westeros (Aenys/Maegor v the Faith, Dance of the Dragons, Blackfyre Rebellions, War of the Five Kings – while the nobles might be fighting for specific dynastic matters, how many smallfolk are just tagging along hoping that they get something out of it for once? And where will the newly rearmed Faith Militant take that frustration?)

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