A plague o’er both their Houses…

The Dance of the Dragons is the first major civil war for a post-Targaryen Conquest united Westeros. And… it was pretty damn ugly.

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In one corner, you had the Greens, so named for Alicent Hightower, second wife of King Viserys I and mother of future claimant Aegon II, wearing a green gown to a tourney in 111 AC. Alicent and her father, who was Viserys’ on and off again Hand of the King, were not bashful about pushing for Aegon’s claim to the Iron Throne, a claim based on the laws of Westeros as confirmed in the Great Council 101 AC, that held that neither a woman nor a man who’s claim descended through a female line could inherit the Iron Throne before an eldest male heir.

In the other corner, you had the Blacks. Rhaenyra Targaryen, first born daughter of Viserys and for much of his reign his only child, elevated to Crown Princess of Dragonstone and heir in order to push back the claims of Viserys’ brother and Rhaenyra’s later lover and husband (and uncle!) Daemon, the Rogue Prince. Her claim was based on the proclamation of the King, and the fact that she was trained for the role since she was a young girl.

Prior to the Dance, both Rhaenyra and Aegon were fairly reasonable people. Rhaenyra demonstrated a questionable level of selfishness by prioritising her personal pleasure and love affair with Ser Harwin Strong over her thoroughly unsuitable marriage to cousin and former claimant for the Iron Throne, Laenor Velaryon, but had undoubtably received years of training in how to rule and had the connections with the nobility to be a decent Queen Regnant. Aegon II seems to have been a fine young man, albeit a little bit under the influence of his grandfather and mother, as you’d expect for a young man in his late teens.

But by the end of the war, both Rhaenyra and Aegon were bitter, twisted, cruel, capricious and vicious people, who you wouldn’t want to rule over a piss up in a brewery, let alone a civil war devastated kingdom.

So who was the rightful claimant?

Who was the better candidate for the Iron Throne?

What could or should have Viserys done to avoid this inevitable conflict?

What was the legacy of the Dance, and does it have any relevance to our current situation in ASOIAF? (Yes. It does.)

And… how many Romeo + Juliet gifs can I put into a blog about historical Westeros? 

Continue reading “A plague o’er both their Houses…”

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What are the vows of a knight?

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Knights are an essential part of Southron culture in Westeros. Associated with Andal culture and the Faith, these warriors take vows not just of martial strength and skill, but of chivalry and honour.

But many of the knights that we meet in Westeros tend to place more weight on their skills with a lance or sword, than on their code of honour or chivalry. All too often, the honour that they’re concerned with is social status and prestige, rather than remembering to do all those things they vowed to do, like defend the innocent and vulnerable.

But what makes a knight a knight?

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Annulments, plot holes and water cooler moments…. all the ways the show has gone off the rails in S6-7 and beyond.

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YES, I’m a Book Snob who thinks the Books Are Better Than The Show. But I also genuinely really do like Game of Thrones. The first 3-4 seasons are fantastic, even with the changes they made from text to screen. But then… things started to get a bit wonky. Jaime inexplicably went to Dorne, where Ellaria Sand was merged with Arianne Martell to produce a vengeance driven woman who seized power by killing her paramour’s brother, and the Sand Sneks went from interesting but over the top characters to caricatures of the Erotic Exotic, with cringe-inducing lines about liking the “bad pussy.”

The show is still doing epic, amazing MOMENTS that make us go WOAH NO WAY SO COOL. The Field of Fire? Holy crap. That was awesome.

But then… there’s the lack of logical consequences. No Dany, you don’t guarantee that the nobles of Westeros will follow you if you burn every Randyl Tarly that says no. You imprison them and take their heir as a hostage/ward to be your page until they say yes. No Cersei, you don’t just crown yourself Queen because your son died without an heir and because you want to… and you blew up all the nobles that would have been able to tell you to piss off in the Sept of Baelor. Not every major lord in Westeros was at Loras’ trial and confession. Only the ones who had speaking parts on the show thus far. There should have been an opposition to Cersei’s coronation – hell, even if it was just two lines of Random Unnamed Nobles hurrying to the Throne room saying “I don’t like this, but what can we do against the Mad Queen who blew up our most sacred institution?” GIVE US SOME LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES FOR THESE MAJOR ACTION SET PIECES DAMMIT.

The worst offender this season is a doozy. Gilly, who has mastered reading (good on you girl!) while Sam’s been cleaning poopy chamber pots, found a reference in a Septon’s diary (not just some average run of the mill septon who was hanging around Rhaegar’s entourage… but the ACTUAL HIGH SEPTON. The Westerosi Pope. And no one thought to read his memoirs before???) to a rather convenient annulment. This is a major problem, and actually doesn’t solve anything – it just introduces more pointless and unnecessary drama. The concerning thing is that the show runners seem to think that the audience loves it and it answers questions about Jon and his role in the future Westeros. This blog is all the reasons why, in my considered legal opinion, that this totally ridiculous, complete and utter bullshit actually creates more problems than it “fixes.”

Continue reading “Annulments, plot holes and water cooler moments…. all the ways the show has gone off the rails in S6-7 and beyond.”

The Brothers Baratheon

If ever there was a family that needs some SERIOUS therapy, it’s the three sons of Steffon and Cassandra Baratheon: Robert, Stannis and Renly.

“Robert was the true steel. Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He’ll break before he bends. And Renly, that one, he’s copper, bright and shiny, pretty to look at but not worth all that much at the end of the day.”

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We cannot discount the destructive influence on the elder two of witnessing their parents die at sea in a storm. They literally stood on the ramparts of Storm’s End, hoping to see Mum and Dad come home…. only to see Mum and Dad’s ship be broken apart, knowing everyone on board would drown in the raging seas. (Except Patchface. Why Stannis kept him around is perplexing – the ultimate masochistic reminder of his parents’ fate?!)

Renly escapes this trauma, only to have his own trauma of growing up raised by his brothers (one literally distant and the other emotionally distant) and his castellan.

Nearly all the problems engulfing Westeros right now following the War of the Five Kings, not to mention that actual war itself, could have been avoided had these three brothers been able to actually talk to each other…. y’know, with words and stuff.

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Daenerys and her fertility

“When will he be as he was?” Dany demanded.

“When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” said Mirri Maz Duur. “When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.”

For some reason, every one takes this poetic “fuck you” from Mirri Maz Duur to be accurate. Daenerys Targaryen is infertile.

Certainly, Dany thinks so. She frequently reflects upon how her dragons will be her only children after this moment. She believes that Mirri cursed her to be infertile and to never again bear a living child.

But… Dany is young, impressionable, not great at critical thinking, and prone to putting stock in mystical pronouncements as though they were proven fact. In other words, she’s a Targaryen. This is kind of what they do.

Why do readers also lack critical thinking when it comes to the matter of Dany’s fertility?

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How the Roses intertwined with the Stags

Growing Strong

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TV’s House Tyrell, sans the equally excellent Garlan and Willas

House words in Westeros aren’t just a catchy buzzword. They’re a mantra, an ethos to the way that this family works. Even after she’s Lady Stark, Catelyn Tully Stark makes decisions based on the Tully creed family, duty, honour. Daenerys spends her arc from Pentos to Meereen to the Dothraki Sea again figuring out what it means to bring fire and blood.

So if the Tyrells want to grow strong, work their way up the social chain, into positions of power, and have a Tyrell child one day be King on the Iron Throne… why marry the gay Baratheon brother? 

This post could also be titled: the Tyrells knew all about the Lannister twins incest, because Mace’s enthusiasm for a Tyrell King only makes sense if he knew that a child born to Renly Baratheon had the best chance of ending up on the Iron Throne.

Continue reading “How the Roses intertwined with the Stags”

Sansa is important. Get with the program.

This article popped up on my Twitter feed today: Strong As Sansa

I LOVE THIS. So glad that Sansa is getting some love. I have talked about Sansa before, and how her naivety is as much a result of Ned’s parenting choices as it is about her personality.

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But what I love the most about Sansa is what she represents: the feminine, the girl who is pushed around by society, trying to do what she is expected to do rather than pushing back against those expectations like Arya. I love the dynamics of the two Stark girls – both are challenging the shitty expectations of a misogynistic society, but are doing it in very different ways.

Fans love to shit on Sansa because she dobbed on Ned to Cersei and apparently “caused” the whole War of the Five Kings…. yo, people, that shit was happening anyway.

Sansa cops a lot of unwarranted criticism, and I am totally riding the Queen Sansa (INDANORF) train. Let me tell you why…

Continue reading “Sansa is important. Get with the program.”