Septon Barth was always right!

The history of Westeros is written, in-universe, by the maesters of the Citadel. Like all historians, they’re not infallible. In particular, the maesters are focused on rational thought, evidence and reason, even in the face of evidence of magic in the world (such as dragons.)

Some of Westeros’ historians though are more open to the possibility of the arcane and inexplicable. In particular, the works of Septon Barth are referenced by others, especially in TWOIAF, usually so that the ‘author’ Maester Yandal can then scorn the theory. Which has led to the popular idiom amongst fans: “Septon Barth was always right.”

It’s GRRM’s way of telling us the truth, while showing us that the people of Westeros don’t believe it.

So what has Septon Barth actually said?

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House Targaryen, dragonriding and genetics

A popular belief amongst fans, perpetuated by commentary from characters in the books to show that it is widely believed in-universe, is that House Targaryen only ever practised incestuous marriage.

They certainly were fond of incest, and this was because of their Valyrian heritage. More particularly, their dragonriding heritage. This recently came up on /r/asoiaf where a new fan believed they had cracked a theory, but it’s actually just stated directly in the text: the dragonlords practised incest to maintain their ability to control their dragons.

What is not stated is why this was necessary, but from what we do know about taming dragons, there is more than a component of blood magic. But it’s not always necessary.

That’s the why. This blog is about the who.

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Chapter focus: Dany IV, ACOK – the House of the Undying

Hey ho! Long time no blog. Bad me. Sorry, full time study is more arduous than I remember it being as an undergraduate, and staying afloat on a sea of commerce subjects didn’t leave me much time to blog about fun things, or do the well over due re-read of ASOAIF.

Maybe I should start that anyway, as I dive into my second trimester. Use a chapter or two of ASOIAF a night as a reward for a day of study?

As I do re-read, I’d like to do more chapter-focused blogs, looking at particular chapters or character arcs in depth. I’ve been thinking a lot about prophecy and Dany, and she has one chapter in particular which resonates throughout the series: her trippy experience in the House of the Undying.

So let’s dive in! Down your cup of shade of the evening, and open the doors of wisdom…

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