Fire & Blood, Volume I: The Year of the Three Brides

You know things are about to slow down and get a good deal more complex when you have an entire chapter devoted to one out of the three hundred years of the Targaryen dynasty…

  •  The Year of the Three Brides really emphasizes GRRM’s attempt to make Targaryen/Westerosi history less of a sausage fest, emphasizing the key political roles played by Rhaena, Alyssa, and Alysanne, and letting us know a lot more about who they were as people than was the case in WOIAF. While far from perfect, I do feel GRRM should be encouraged to do more on this front.

 

  • Starting with the first bride, we get Rhaena Targaryen marrying Androw Farman. Having now finished F&B Volume I, I find it hard not to look for warning signs from the beginning. Sam Stokeworth and Alayne Royce attending the wedding and the mention of Elissa Farman as “high-spirited” are early warning signs of the tragedy that is to come.
  • However, I find myself equally interested in the politics of the wedding. Lyman Lannister attends the wedding both out of loyalty to the Princess he once sheltered, but also as part of a long-term strategy. Being the cautious cat that he is, it is interesting that he’s the one who informs King’s Landing of the marriage having happened, which keeps him from any royal ire. Not surprisingly, the Queen Regent is pissed that she wasn’t consulted, and Rogar is pissed that his borthers and nephews weren’t considered, since he clearly had ambitions of making the Baratheons the new Velaryons.

 

  • The formation of the first Small Council is quite interesting.
    • We get Edwell Celtigar (ex-Maegorite) as Master of Coin and Lord Treasurer – the combined use of Essosi and Westerosi styles suggesting that these roles are still very much in flux.
    • Daemon Velaryon (ex-Jaehaerian) as Master of Ships and Lord Admiral, the second of his name to hold the job.
    • Prentys Tully as Master of Laws, showing that the Tullys’ royal favor was not limited to Edmyn, and the “redoubtable” Lady Lucinda (so now GRRM has two adjectives to describe influential women).
    • Qarl Corbray (ex-Aegorian) as Commander of the City Watch, which shows that Slynt is not the first Commander to have a position on the Small Council.
    • Rogar Baratheon as Hand of the King. Natch.
  • Rogar comes off as a somewhat smarter version of Robert Baratheon, preferring the axe to the warhammer, although definitely someone much more interested in the acquisition and maintenance of political power than his descendant. Hence his marriage to…

 

  • Queen Alyssa. As I said last time, there’s definitely a slight Freudian nature to Jaehaerys’ resentment of the union between his mother and his Hand, although I quite liked the way that Jaehaerys’ cautious nature comes through in Barth’s description of the way he guards his responses to the wedding.
  • The wedding itself is a perfect example of the use of soft power; you get the High Septon to buy into the new power structure, you invite tens of thousands to watch, and you really push the boat out – literally, given the “mock sea battle to be fought in the waters of Blackwater Bay” in addition to the tourney and the week of feasting – to get the whole of the political class to buy in as well.
  • Incidentally, the “Golden Wedding” (I see what you did there, GRRM) is a nice opportunity to see who’s who in 49 AC: Donnel Hightower and Lyman Lannister are two of the more significant southern power players; Brandon Stark is on the way out and about to be replaced by his sons Walton and Alaric; the Marcher Lords are surprisingly more prominent than the Lords of the Reach; and it’s a very international event, what with the Archon of Tyrosh, a Princess of Dorne, and twenty-two Pentoshi magisters.
  • Jaehaerys’ granting audience to the sixscore lords is where I got the biggest FDR vibes, because FDR was also a master of the one-on-one meeting, appearing to be whatever he needed to be to appeal to the person he was dealing with at the time, and a lifelong master of the art of appearing to agree with someone without having actually committed to anything. And of course, Alysanne starting her tradition of women’s courts  makes a lot of sense as well.
  • Speaking of Freudian overtones, I’m not surprised that Jaehaerys didn’t get along with his stepdad given the “bachelor party” his brothers threw. It’s also an interesting sign of cultural change – in the wake of the Faith Militant uprising, the nobility feel more leeway to indulge themselves.
  • I found it amusing that Dany’s arrival in the Dragonpit was the most recent in a long line of Targaryen symbolic politics, where Jaehaerys and Alysanne are making a not-so-subtle statement to 40,000 people about why there will be no more civil wars against the Targaryens.
  • I found myself liking the War for the White Cloaks more than I expected to. It’s a very OTT topper to what is already the period of Targaryen history with the most pageantry, we get some really fun characters. The rejects – the Keg o’Ale, Tom the Strummer, and the Serpent in Scarlet – are arguably more interesting than the winners, although Pate the Woodcock and Samgood of Sour Hill are some good proto-Dunks.

 

  • So let’s talk about Alysanne. I got Eleanor Roosevelt vibes both from the fact that “her childhood had been spent in the shadow of her brothers” and that she was described as “pretty but seldom as beautiful.”
  • I also found the relationship between Alysanne and Barth quite interesting – reminded me a little of how some presidential advisors came to be closer to the First Lady than the President like Edward House and Eleanor Roosevelt or some of JFK’s advisers and Jackie Kennedy.
  • The politics of Jaehaerys’ marriage are quite interesting – boxing out Rhaena means that Jaehaerys needs to get someone pregnant now, but there’s a division about who. Rogar wants an alliance with Tyrosh (and to safely marry Alysanne to his youngest brother), but Alysanne wants a loyalist marriage to a lesser house and points to religious differences between Westeros and Essos (didn’t know R’hllorism was so big in Tyrosh, but the slavery angle probably explains that; also, would love to know if the Patternmaker is associated with the mazes), and Benifer argues for a Tyrell, Hightower, or Arryn to expand the coalition.
  • Some of the less likely ones are quite interesting: Elinor Costayne is really out there, as are Celtigar’s daughters, but I’m surprised we didn’t get more houses pressing their suits while in town for the marriage.
  • Naturally, in the wake of the Faith Militant uprising, religion plays a big role here. Septon Mattheus reminds me of a mix between my characters Most Devout Volkmar and Lewys Flowers, an unctuous asshole who wants to be the next HIgh Septon.
  • Speaking of which, I still find it surprising that the Velaryons are described as “the second house in the realm,” given how small their lands are in relation to…pretty much everyone else.
  • Alysanne and Jaehaerys’ marriage-cum-armed standoff I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, it’s a very well-executed romantic drama, perhaps not as well written as the Tower of Joy but very much in the same vein, with Dragonstone standing in as the place of perfect contentment. On the other hand, it’s a bit too dramatic, where people are speaking a bit too well-written, where Rogar comes across as a stage villain and the Kingsguard as impossibly noble. That being said, the footnote which describes this as Grand Maester Benifer’s version of the story, which makes me think that Gyldayn represents GRRM’s cynical side and Benifer his capital R-Romantic side.

And now that the weddings (but not the beddings) are complete, we’re back into the thick of political intrigue!

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51 thoughts on “Fire & Blood, Volume I: The Year of the Three Brides

  1. MrThorfan64 says:

    Did you mean Daemon Velaryon for the Small Council?

    I suppose the Velaryons are second house because they are directly sworn to the Targs, close to the centre of power. They can easily access the King’s ear. And have quite a bit of Targ blood.

    Some Freudian stuff possibly (although Freud really doesn’t seem to get the Oedipus story). But it could easily come across as Rogar overreaching himself (rather like the way the Lannisters overreach in Robert’s court and the Tyrells try to dominate the Lannister court, trying to grab all the positions and marriages).

    As I discussed with others, the second son of Lord Farman seems an odd choice for a Princess, I wondered if the hope was her husband wouldn’t be powerful enough to push for his stepdaughters’ rights. Of course after her horrible experiences marrying for love seemed good for Rhaena… but it turns out love can cool.

    As for dialogue… well, I think it’s a bit more understandable in official histories that dialogue doesn’t feel entirely real, it’s realistic to this genre of history. It’s not like someone was taking exact minutes. I’m reminded of a quote from Yes Prime Minister on taking minutes: “You choose from a jumble of ill-digested ideas a version which represents the PM’s views as he would, on reflection, have liked them to emerge… You try to improve on what has been said, put it in a better order. You are tactful.” Or Thucydides saying with speeches he records a sense of what was said or what they should have said. And GRRM can do this effectively elsewhere, Ned’s dream does not have realistic dialogue and it probably didn’t happen exactly like this.

    Anyway, look forward to your next piece.

    • Chris Walker says:

      Rogar’s turn as Hand is also a nice foreshadowing of Otto Hightower and the power struggle that precedes the Dance of the Dragons. I’m loving all of the Hand information that we’re getting in Fire & Blood. It really shows how difficult it is to find the perfect balance between King and Hand. It’s such a double-edged sword having a Hand from a prominent House. You want someone who has enough clout to be an effective administrator, but there’s also so much danger of them overreaching. And when they start trying to have their children marry into the royal family, watch out…

    • Steven Xue says:

      Yep the Valaryons are the second family of Westeros by virtue of being so closely tied to the Targaryens in relations by blood and history. They have become by this time virtually a cadet branch of the Targaryen line. And since they have so much Targaryen blood in them (plus being scions of Old Valyria might have also helped) means members of this family can also bond with dragons. So if the Targaryens were to all die out, the Valaryons can fill the void of becoming the new dragon riding monarchs of Westeros.

      • I guess, but it leaves open questions, like why don’t we see the same thing happening with other ex-Valyrian houses?

        • Abbey Battle says:

          Obviously the Velaryons are taking pains to freeze them out!

          On a slightly more serious note, the Celtigars appear to be doing pretty darned well for themselves – given their consistent inclusion as part of the Small Council – but to my mind the most obvious reason for the Velaryon Ascendancy is their grip on the Royal Fleet, which gives them a heavily-armed constituency to go with their insider access to the Iron Throne (lending further weight to their requests & arguments).

          • Steven Xue says:

            Also the Celtigars never had a very tight knit relationship with the Targs compared to the Velaryons. The Velaryons didn’t start out as vassals of the Targaryens, they were already well established in Westeros when the Targaryens first landed on Dragonstone. Since their family islands are so close together and controlled much of the trade that went through the Narrow Sea, they started out working together as partners to further their mutual interests in profiting from the trade. And this budding relationship also meant plenty of marriages between them.

            Also unlike the other two Valyrian houses, the Celtigars also lack the distinctive Valyrian features of having silver hair and purple eyes. This might have made them seem inferior to fellow Valyrian houses. This plus the fact that the Celtigars really didn’t have much to offer might have made the Targaryens unwilling to marry into them.

    • Yeah, fixed the Daemon thing. As for why the Velaryons…so what does that make the Celtigars? Sunglasses? Etc. Seems inconsistent.

      We get into the Freudian stuff a lot more next chapter.

      I think the second son thing had more to do with the daughter than the son.

      • MrThorfan64 says:

        Well… the Velaryons are certainly the most powerful of the direct vassals. I suppose the other Houses, while having Valyrian descent, don’t have as much dragon blood.

        I indeed think Rhaena was more into Andow’s sister then Androw.

      • Hedrigal says:

        The velaryons are in a much better geographic position to build up their influence and power. Driftmark and Dragonstone itself are basically the main naval defensive positions for Kings Landing, and the Velaryons control a large amount of naval power. Combine that with the fact they can probably enforce tolls on naval traffic to the capital, and they’re in a position to have a lot of hard and soft power at the same time. Combine that with the fact that in the early years of the targaryens they had the advantage of Aegon the Conqueror and Jaehaerys both being half Velaryon, meaning that they also had a very direct connection with the royal family in a very strong way.

      • Hedrigal says:

        I also think its very evident that as the threat of naval invasion from Essos failed to manifest outside of quick and easy victories on land, it was innevitable that they’d fade in political relevance compared to the Baratheons and other more impressive houses from a purely land warfare standpoint, as the vast majority of Westerosi conflicts proved themselves to be.

      • So here’s the thing. I can see the Velaryons being quite influential, court favorites, etc. I could see them being considered on the same level as the Hightowers or the rulers of Harrenhal – lesser Houses with practically as much power as the Great Houses.

        But even with the Valyrian blood and the significant fleet, I just don’t see them being the “second House in the kingdom” when there are other Houses that have more hard power (both on sea in the case of the Redwynes, and definitely on land) and more soft power (the Reach’s food and the Citadel, Lannister gold, etc.).

        • Hedrigal says:

          Yeah, the only thing thats true in is royal proximity.

        • Kammon says:

          It could simply be that they’re the only other house that had been granted regular access to that ultimate weapon of the age, the Dragon. Velaryon power and notability is high throughout the first Targaryen century, but it goes quite notably off a cliff after Alyn Oakenfist, the last ‘known’ Velaryon after the dragons and just before the house sinks into far greater obscurity. They might continue to master they royal fleet, but I don’t recall they ever become powerful or serious players in their own right again.

  2. Sean C. says:

    Not directly related to this chapter, but since it includes the formation of the new Kingsguard: the strangest omission from the account of Jaehaerys’ reign, to me, is any meaningful role for Ser Ryam Redwyne. In the main series he regularly gets mentioned in the same breath as the Dragonknight, but he’s barely present here, and assigned no great deeds or role in any of the military conflicts that do occur. In part I think GRRM may have inadvertently boxed himself in when he wrote the TWOIAF material that established that Redwyne was still around some years into the reign of Viserys I (and still a great jouster in the fiftieth anniversary of the Old King’s reign), because otherwise I would say it would have been a lot easier to write him into the narrative in these early chapters when there’s more military action. As it is, you’d come away thinking that people like Doggett would be the Kingsguard that were remembered.

    • Andrew says:

      Yes, Ryam was remarked upon as the greatest knight of his time. I thought there would be more lines about him and his exploits.

    • Haven’t gotten to him yet, but the Redwyne stuff is lacking.

      • MrThorfan64 says:

        It might just be he was a really great fighter… and that was it. He was good at jousting… but not much else to him. There isn’t really much else to say then that.

        • I mean, he became Hand of the King as well as Lord Commander, and was a spectacular enough failure to be remembered two hundred years later.

          There’s got to be something there.

          • Sean C. says:

            and was a spectacular enough failure to be remembered two hundred years later.

            On that point, this book would seem to indicate that Maester Pylos was seriously overstating the case in order to make his point to Davos. More likely he just wasn’t particularly well-suited to administrative work and was shuffled out, since nothing bad seems to have happened. Same with Lord Smallwood.

  3. Andrew says:

    1.
    a. Yeah, Jaehaerys may have not have been comfortable with the idea of his mom being with anyone else besides his father.
    b. Jaehaerys’s reasons to oppose Rogar wedding his mom are also that Rogar didn’t ask for his leave as Rogar clearly knew was protocol. Rogar was overreaching himself in a way that subverted Jaehaerys’s authority.

    2. It was a bachelor party Robert would have loved (and likely have made him wished he knew his history better to get the idea).

    3. To give credit to Jaehaerys, while Rogar later calls him weak, he was anything but. Jaehaerys stood his ground, asserted himself and didn’t give an inch.

    4. I loved the response from the KG to Rogar: we’re the Kingsguard not the Hand’s guard.

    5. Agreed on Septon Mattheus, he kind of reminds me of the first High Septon, the one Moon Boy said loved the Seven so much he ate a plate for each of them at every meal. Chaucer would have made him a character in his magnum opus in the group of pilgrims alongside the Abbott and the Friar.

    • 1. Agreed.
      2. Yeah, I’m surprised that this is the only bachelor party that ever gets mentioned. Elsewhere, all the bawdiness is in the bedding ceremony.
      3. True.
      4. Yep.
      5. Hah!

      • Abbey Battle says:

        Concerning point (2) I am less than impressed with the whole business, given the flagrant indecency of importing young girls – very possibly slaves, given the nature of Lyseni pillow houses – all the way across the narrow sea to be deflowered for his Lordship’s amusement and then all too probably discarded.

        As a rule I tend to be quite fond of House Baratheon’s joi de vivre, but find the whole business just loutish in this particular case.

        • Oh it was massively gross. I’m surprised the lack of discretion wasn’t brought up by Alyssa or Alysanne or a High Septon/Most Devout.

          • Abbey Battle says:

            Well in all fairness to the Baratheons this “stag party” was apparently a rumour, rather than a confirmed fact, so it might not even have happened or at the least might not have happened exactly as described.

            On the other hand it’s interesting to wonder if this lack of evidence that the Faith continued to throw its weight around after the reign of King Maegor stems from a historic reality or whether it represents a bias in our source instead (Grand Maester Gyldayn strikes me as the sort of Historian who wouldn’t be above minimising the continuing influence of the Faith on History, assuming the exercise of that influence was more subtle than blatant).

      • Matilda says:

        Would you call it a…stag party?

  4. Chris Walker says:

    A general Doylist F&B question for you:

    Do you think GRRM successfully walks the line between creating/fleshing out new dramatic stories for this book and not creating stories that are so noteworthy that it’s really surprising that ASOIAF characters never bring them up? I have a feeling that my next series reread will be a mix of moments where I feel like F&B deepen my appreciation for the story and moments where I think, “Hey, why is no one bringing up the fact that this same exact situation has already happened??” Not that I expect the majority of characters to be history buffs, but for characters like Tyrion it will be a little more concerning (How much would Tyrion love the story of Septon Moon?)

    Also, do you expect any of the F&B info to be referenced in TWOW or ADOS? Not that I think there are super secret spoilers, but I wonder if GRRM is consciously laying groundwork for some of the storylines.

  5. Tywin of the Hill says:

    I’m enjoying this book a lot, although I feel it’s a little bit redundant if you’ve already read World of Ice & Fire, the Princess and the Queen and The Rogue Prince.

    – The Kingsguard’s obedience to Jaehaerys in this chapter makes Waters, Flowers and Peake’s actions WRT Aegon III particularly egregious.

    • Some parts are more redundant than others, imo.

      True, although I have mixed feelings about Peake.

      • Abbey Battle says:

        In all fairness The Conciliator and Aegon the Unfortunate were separated by almost a century, not to mention very different in personality – it’s no surprise that the Broken King was far less able to win the love & esteem of his Kingsguard than the not-yet-Old King was.

  6. KrimzonStriker says:

    True the Velaryions don’t have the land, but as others have pointed out they have the influence and blood ties to the monarchy in their favor. But I think you’re also underestimating their hard power as well, especially in comparison to the other Valyran descended Houses sworn to Dragonstone. That being their control/near monopoly on naval power in the East and thus also over trade as well even before the rise of the Sea Snake. My money’s always been that they made up the bulk of the Royal Navy since its inception. What they lack in land they control via the trade routes of the Narrow Sea, something I easily see them sharing power with the Master of Coin over as the chief enforcement agents (ie Stannis and rooting out smugglers). Neither the Stormlands, Riverlands, North, or Dorne can contest that which just leaves the isolationist Vale.

    • I get their significant naval power, but balance that against the Redwyne Fleet.

      • KrimzonStriker says:

        The Redwyne and Hightowers and Lannisters are over in the west though, they’re not gonna extend their fleet and logistics to maintain influence into the east/Narrow Sea for a significant timeframe. Where could they even base out of to begin with that far from their home ports, compared to the Royal Fleet that could dock anywhere with no complaints? And with the Iron Islands subjugated naval concerns will focus on the east, expanding Velaryion influence and opportunity even more.

  7. Sam says:

    My assessment of the Velaryions they control only a small amount land but there closeness with the Targs plus their naval strength, (which seems to be on par with the Redwynes) grants them hug influence.

    Makes me wonder why Robert didn’t attaint them after the Rebellion. I mean if I was in his position I would have at least reduced them to a knightly house like what he did to the Conningtons.

    • Abbey Battle says:

      Probably because at that point House Velaryon had long ceased to be especially influential or close to the Iron Throne – note that after the time of the Oakenfist we hear very little about the family in any position of prominence & power.

      • Hedrigal says:

        Yeah, the Velaryons had a clear golden age from the time of the conquest through to the Oakenfist, after which they had a major decline.

        • Murc says:

          And Oakenfist was kind of a last gasp.

          House Velaryon, starting with the Dance, kept getting punched in the gut. First its economic base was destroyed and then not really rebuilt; Spicetown would never come back.

          Then the dragons all died, meaning their Valyrian blood didn’t mean much.

          They held on for awhile because of proximity to the throne, but Aegon III Targaryen was the last time they made a royal match.

          And so they just kind of… petered out. Although what’s interesting is… looking it up in all available sources, there’s a HUGE House Velaryon gap. We go from Alyn Oakenfist, storied mariner, close confidant of the Young Dragon, the House having Targaryen connections all over the place… and then jack shit until Robert’s Rebellion.

          And I mean, the Velaryons would have been hip deep in the Blackfyre Rebellions on one side or the other, if nothing else. What’s going on here?

          • Kate says:

            Perhaps the Velaryons picked the wrong side in at least one Blackfyre Rebellion?

          • JG says:

            I really hate how the Velaryons get sacked in the Dance. That battle just doesn’t make any sense. That could have been done in a way that makes a lot more sense.

    • David Hunt says:

      Sam,

      The Conningtons were in the bad position of being a rebelling House that were Robert’s direct vassals. The Velaryions were direct vassals of the Targs, being a Crownlands house. It was a lot more personal with the Conningtons.

  8. Crystal says:

    Regarding something that other commenters have brought up, about this book in the series being filled with absurdly young mothers: In real medieval life, most young marriages were not consummated until the younger party reached 16 or so. Medieval folks weren’t stupid, despite their superstitions, and they *knew* that very young mothers were not only less likely to survive childbirth, they were less likely to have healthy children. (In fact, 16th Century English people thought that children of young mothers were sickly.)

    In England – I don’t know about other countries – it was *the law* that 16 was the consummation age. I got this from a bio of Margaret Beaufort, the unfortunate young girl whose husband raped her at 13 and got her pregnant. Everyone knew it was lucky that she lived AND her son as well. (Becoming King of England – Henry VII – was a nice bonus.) She was, however, left unable to bear more children, and leaving a dynasty hanging on the thread of one surviving son was a bad idea. Margaret also became really hardline about childbirthing arrangements for the royal family, and adamant that her granddaughters would not suffer as she had.

    Edmund Tudor totally broke the law with regard to Margaret, and probably the only reasons he wasn’t punished was 1) he was the King’s half-brother and the rather dim-witted Henry VI thought his stepfather and half-brothers hung the moon; 2) he died even before his son was born – ironically, in jail, but a Yorkist one.

    It was not unknown for royal princesses to remain unmarried until their late 20’s – Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, married the King of Portugal at 29, and went on to have a large, healthy family. If you want a big healthy family dynasty, the 29-year old is REALLY a better bet than the young teenager. Bonus: she will make a much better helpmeet.

    • Murc says:

      This is going to get super gross especially in a couple of the upcoming Jaehaerys chapters, where Jaehaerys is in a ridiculously unseemly haste to ride himself of daughters the very instant they turn sixteen, and where he treats one of his daughters like absolute and total shit because she dares to exercise sexual agency that, in a boy, would be regarded as amusing japes.

      Honestly, Jaehaerys’ gender politics are overall immensely shitty. He has to be badgered and browbeaten into ending the first night, and both his famous quarrels with Alyssane are rooted in him basically regarding women as needing to keep to their place and irking him when they get out of it.

      • Crystal says:

        Oh great. :/ Sure, show that the Wise King had feet of clay, because almost everyone does…but at the expense of his wife and daughters? I wonder where all this came from, given that Aegon the Conqueror relied so much on his sister-wives and they were all adults? And while it seemed that Aegon didn’t really want to sleep with Visenya that much, even the favorite Rhaenys was so much more than a broodmare; given that she had only one son, and that one born after the Conquest, I think they were using some sort of moon tea or birth control.

        A couple other late-marrying medieval princesses: Philippa’s daughter Isabel married the Duke of Burgundy when she was in her early 30’s. Another Isabella, daughter of Edward III, didn’t marry until she was 33 or so – in her case, she was the eldest and favorite daughter, and it seems her parents wanted her around as a companion and spoilt her rotten. She married the Lord of Coucy and spent more time at the English court than her husband’s. Both these ladies had surviving children, and Isabel of Portugal ruled in her husband’s stead in the Low Countries while he was away at war and after his death. I think a lot of times, great lords wanted adult brides because of this – if he was away on business, or at war, then she’d be holding down the fort at home. I’m sure kings and lords and etc. would rather leave adults in charge! Catelyn seems accustomed to ruling Winterfell in Ned’s absence – I’m sure it was her and Maester Luwin ruling Winterfell when Ned was away at Bear Island or wherever. Catelyn was 18 or so when she married Ned.

        It seems that medieval women were “marriageable” right up until menopause (and if they had money, past that). And I bet even for princesses, a “normal” marriage age was closer to 18 or 20 than 12 or 13.

        • Abbey Battle says:

          One can only suspect that Grand Master Martin tends to deliberately over-emphasise the most dystopian elements of Medieval thinking to really put the “Dark” in the “Dark Ages” when it comes to his Seven Kingdoms!

          • Kate says:

            That, or when he began writing, that understanding of the medieval era was the most widely believed and he feels he can’t change it now. A lot of the critique on this subject is based on info he might not have had reasonable access to twenty-plus years ago (closer to thirty I think but not sure) when he was planning.

            Now, whether he’s right to think he can’t change things now – maybe suggest that the era of the main series is a backslide for Westeros – is a matter of debate.

      • Anne says:

        >> haste to ride himself of daughters the very instant they turn sixteen
        Well… Aenys/Alyssa were 15, Rhaena/Aegon – 18 and 15, Jaehaerys/Alysanne – 15 and 13 (16 and 14 at the time of consummation), Aemon/Jocelyn – 15 and 16, Baelon/Alyssa – 18 and 15. It’s a family thing. A stupid one, yes, but not exclusively reserved for Jaehaerys’ daughters.

        >> she dares to exercise sexual agency that, in a boy, would be regarded as amusing japes.
        Jaehaerys killed the guy who exercised sexual agency in Saera’s manner.
        The fornicators that were found less guilty were ordered to marry. When Roy refused to marry Alys, he got a choice between 10 years of exile and joining the Night’s Watch, while Alys simply got another marriage arrangement.
        I do agree that Jaehaerys mishandled the problem with Saera, but it makes little sense to assume that he’d be amused by his sons sleeping around.

  9. Winter Warden says:

    I actually have mixed feelings about the Kingsguard’s obedience here. After all, another boy king we know had his Kingsguard strip and beat his betrothed in front of the iron throne. The queen regent had a very good point when she said that Jaehaerys’ marriage might reignite the war with the Faith in Westeros. In fact, I’m kind of surprised that it didn’t reignite, seeing as this was exactly what they were fighting against. So, I’m not sure the case for the Kingsguard obeying the boy king over the king’s regent is so cut and dried. I also recall how everyone applauded Tywin’s “The king is tired,” and having Joffrey sent to his room. But, again, that’s a case of the Hand (in that instance) overruling a foolish boy king.

  10. […] desiring “above all to be loved, admired, and praised” really does not track with the previous chapter where she’s calling for wholesale […]

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