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.

Continue reading “House Targaryen, dragonriding and genetics”

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House Lannister + Privilege

There’s so much being written at the moment about privilege in the real world. I’m going to try to steer clear of that for this blog, and focus instead on the representation of privilege that GRRM gives us in ASOIAF.

This blog is inspired by BryndenBFish’s latest blog on the factors that have led to the perfect political storm that Varys intends to exploit with the arrival of Aegon. What caught my eye was this observation about Jaime:

What Jaime could not understand was that the growing power of the sparrows was due entirely to his family’s actions specifically in the Riverlands. The army of sparrows that were massing in King’s Landing and the Riverlands were the expression of a popular outrage against the abuses committed during the War of the Five Kings. This is one of the flashing warning signs that Cersei should have heeded in her conversation with the High Sparrow. The sparrows’ grievances were built on a foundation of war atrocities that had been committed by her father and brother’s armies. So, while Cersei Lannister had allowed the Faith to rearm with the expectation that the High Sparrow and his army to be loyal to her and her son, these men and women were already hostile to the Lannister regime.

The Lannister children (Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion) are the epitome of privilege in Westeros. They are used to having everything that gold can acquire at their disposal, and complete political and legal immunity because of Tywin’s ruthlessness. This has led to the current climax of cock ups that constitute Cersei’s attempts to rule Westeros through her sons. In Westeros at least, the privileged are about to fall, and fall hard.

It’s not just that Cersei is so politically incompetent that she re-armed the Faith Militant, it’s also that Tyrion is lashing out because he wasn’t allowed to be The Lannister of Casterly Rock, and Jaime is continuing to enforce Tywin’s corrupt and cruel policies in the Riverlands.

Continue reading “House Lannister + Privilege”

Who are the main players in the Game of Thrones after AFFC/ADWD? (Part 2)

Alrighty. Let’s do this!

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Part 1 is here for those playing along at home…

Who else remains as a core, important character or plot as at the end of AFFC/ADWD?

SPOILER ALERT: I do refer to S6E1 in this post, so if you’re planning to remain completely unsullied…. don’t read.

Continue reading “Who are the main players in the Game of Thrones after AFFC/ADWD? (Part 2)”

Tywin Lannister: War Criminal (Part 2)

Previously we looked at my accusations that Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Lord Paramount of the Westerlands, Warden of the West, father of the Queen and (after Joffrey’s accession to the Throne) Hand of the King (again) is a war criminal.

The TL;DR for that one is…

  1. While I think that the elimination of Houses Reyne and Tarbeck in the infamous “Rains of Castamere” assault is a truly revolting mass murder, I am not convinced that it is a war crime as I do not believe the rebellion of the Reynes and Tarbecks, and Tywin’s forces riding out to quash it, adequately meets the criteria for a non-internaitonal armed conflict. If it’s not a war, it’s not a war crime – it’s just a CRIME.
  2. However the murders of Elia Martell and her children, Rhaenys and Aegon Targaryen, are most definitely a war crime, because Tywin ordered his men to eliminate the children – who were not a military target.

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What I didn’t go into much in the second example was the issue of command responsibility, which I will raise more in this blog, because it comes up again. What makes Tywin Lannister a war criminal is not that he actually literally dirties his hands with the blood of his victims: he simply orders men under his command to do it. But he is responsible for it as their commander.

The raiding and pillaging of the Bloody Mummers is another grey area: is it a non-international armed conflict, or is it an act of aggression in peacetime?

What I propose to question in this blog is raiding of the Riverlands by Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane and the band of distasteful mercenaries called properly the Brave Companions, but known more by their sobriquet “The Bloody Mummers” – Vargo Hoat, Biter, Shagwell the Fool, Septon Utt, Qyburn the disgraced and ‘defrocked’ maester, and Urswyck the Faithful. They pillage, reave and rape their way across the Riverlands, ending up squatting in Harrenhal, holding that ancient castle for the Lannister armies. We encounter them in Arya and Jaime’s misadventures in the Riverlands through the first act of ASOAIF (AGOT-ASOS).

  1. Tywin ordering the Bloody Mummers to pillage the Riverlands was an act of aggression – but was it the start of the War of the Five Kings, or did Catelyn Tully Stark do that when she seized Tyrion Lannister?
  2. Tywin ordered his men to ravage the Riverlands, to provoke a response from the then Hand of the King – Ned Stark. Why was this not dealt with within the Westeros justice system as an act of treason or breach of the peace?
  3. Is Tywin responsible for all of the acts of the Bloody Mummers?

Continue reading “Tywin Lannister: War Criminal (Part 2)”