Playin’ with Ice and Fire – A Game of Thoughts: Daenerys Targaryen Chapter 11

Finally back and we are heading to the Free Cities, as both Elena and I have wedding invites to cash in. She’s new, I’m the re-reader.  We are rereading George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and getting our POV on.

game of thrones

If you forgot about us last week, go get that hit of Jon Snow you need first and come back!

On to Dany’s wedding!

A Game of Thrones Chapter by Chapter Read and React

Elena –

Even though this is another Dany chapter, I feel like I got more out of it about her brother than I did about her.  Perhaps this is symptomatic of his place in her life and her psyche:  by virtue of their relationship (older brother to younger sister, prince and princess alone in the world) and his precarious personality (what will set him off or offend him next?!), she has had no choice except to pay more attention to what Viserys thinks and wants than what she does.  So Dany “thought” as much about Viserys’s reactions to the wedding festivities as she did her own, and there were also some rather scathing indictments from a reader’s perspective about him, as well.

The latter first.  Basically, all possible derangement aside, Viserys is a dick.  Straight up sadistic little asshole.  The reason I say this is his attitude toward his sister as she faces marriage to someone with whom she can’t communicate via language and who comes from a culture that seems barbaric and animalistic to her.  Her brother’s response is basically “let him do anything he wants to you” without much regard to her fear or her pain (I’m ignoring her desires because they would not be consulted in any average household in this world, so this isn’t about what she wants or doesn’t want but rather more fundamental issues).

I saw nothing implied either by word or compliment or reassurance that Viserys gave a damn what happened to her, so long as she didn’t displease Drogo and lose him his army.  This means he is either the kind of man who would treat his wife own brutally and expects every other man does, too, thus every woman must cope, or so entirely self-interested that he does not care if that is how this “barbarian” deals with his sister—barbarically.

As for his reactions to the seating arrangements, I wonder what happens when Viserys continues to be held second in consequence to his sister now that she has married the Dothraki’s leader?  How long will his pride accept honor but not respect?

I found myself wondering what, exactly, Drogo is after with this alliance.  Did he agree to it because he perhaps wants to claim an empire for himself?  He’s now married into the “rightful” family, and it’s his army that will be doing the war-winning…seems unlikely that he leads the army to victory and then lets someone else sit on the throne, all the gold he can eat or not.  I mean, if it’s his empire then he has the spoils anyway.  So did Viserys miscalculate?

It am also curious to see how he does with waiting.  Illyrio’s point that he’s waited his whole life, therefore a few more months or years make no difference doesn’t seem likely to placate him for long.  I look forward to watching him seethe and chafe at the “in their own time” pace of the Dothraki.

So speaking of the Dothraki:  I’m assuming they’re like Ghenghis Khan and his Mongols.  Not North American horsemen, certainly, not with that indifference to life.  And the Mongols did have a grand empire, so perhaps Viserys really had better watch out, if Martin draws analogs in events as well as cultures.

I was quite happy to discover that even barbarian kings aren’t lacking in basic human decency.  I think Dany’s better off with Khal Drogo than with her brother.  One thing I couldn’t tell, even from re-reading the early parts of the chapter, is if Drogo treated her differently because of how she handled the horse?  She did make him smile by taking a daring ride and making a poetic assessment of the animal—“you have given me the wind”—but did that matter in how he dealt with her later, or would he have been as considerate and perhaps tender even if she had been more timid on her first ride?

One last thing that stood out to me in this chapter was Dany’s dream at the beginning.  Was it prophetic or symbolic?  Clearly in the dream she’s pregnant (felt thick and ungainly, blood covering her thighs after her brother beats her).  Is that something that will come to pass, or is the image of her fecundity with that line being uttered connected to her being given dragon eggs?

Does “you woke the dragon” take on a literal significance at some point?  I’m not sure I’m willing to take at face value the judgment that the eggs have “turned to stone”—just a guess, of course, but I’m guessing neither paleontology nor zoology are particular strong suits of the scholars in this time?  Yeah…

– Readers, if leaving a comment for Elena please direct (@Elena) them at her – and lead your comments with your messages for her. Thanks!

–Do not read on if you have not read the series through A Feast for Crows and some A Dance with Dragons chapters and want to avoid spoilers–

Jay –

Martin loves ceremony and pageantry—events–and this is perhaps our most obvious one thus far, though we’ve already had smaller examples in the royal family’s arrival to Winterfell and Ned’s opening chapter execution of Night’s Watchmen. Weddings are prominent in this series and we have been exposed to an arrangement of one previously – two marriages, two sides, neither couple will be a couple for long and the interesting yet unlikely comparison for me has always been Joff and Drogo. Both “Kings”, one had the look and supposed pedigree of an ideal King and was everything but. Drogo is described as a barbarian, a savage, but shows more care and tenderness here than Joff ever has and one just feels that if any man had reason to roar due to his life’s feats and accomplishments, it would be Khal Drogo.

So complete is Drogo’s actual quality that (and I may be mistaken) one never feels that he cares about what Elena proposes above as a possibility: Dany’s claim. Sure, we are talking relative to the setting (he’s a slaver), but all-in-all Khal Drogo is probably as swell a guy a gal can ask for in the warlord type – the whole physical specimen, rich, alpha-male, who gives massages and bears gifts that are our world’s version of a Mclaren Mercedes slr thing seems to translate to all ages and fictional worlds.

It’s even more apparent when you consider how many husbands in this series are apparently inadequate (Stannis has to be difficult, Robert’s a whore, Doran’s wife is out of the damn country, Ned keeps secrets about bastards, Tarly threatens to skin his son, Frey is Hef-ing it out, Mace is a probable high-end, rich man’s doofus). Robb, of course, is a good guy who ends up losing everything because he’s a Stark.

Illyrio waved a languid hand in the air, rings glittering on his fat fingers. “I have told you, all is settled. Trust me. The khal has promised you a crown, and you shall have it.”

We re-readers just love that, don’t we?

Viserys is, of a course, a first class idiot. Even in the face of potential allies he’s simply an ass. The first major step to what he actually wants–his only lifelong dream– and he begins his masterful plan of getting himself rubbed out. To some it may seem plainly obvious and without stake, the death of Viserys is actually a great set-up because it puts readers in a safe place where people like Viserys die and people like Bran do not. People like Ned do not.

We kind of like Mormont, right? Martin will make us question that next chapter, fueled by some good old fashioned reader’s love of Ned. It may be my own aforementioned focus on books, but here we have Jorah giving Dany a book:

Ser Jorah Mormont apologized for his gift. “It is a small thing, my princess, but all a poor exile could afford,” he said as he laid a small stack of old books before her. They were histories and songs of the Seven Kingdoms, she saw, written in the Common Tongue. She thanked him with all her heart.

The gift is nestled in with the gift of servants,  the aforementioned car, and Dragon Eggs and her reaction allows the act to not seem out of place and in a way itself establishes the difference between her and her brother, of her and Joff. We will later see a book given to Joffrey by Tyrion and there is this whole idea and theme throughout the series that if people would read just a little more there might be more than a handful of people trying to move worlds to stop the supernatural apocalypse (who among other things, apparently make it very cold).

I know I’m going to draw some psychologists—armchair or otherwise– but what’s easily lost because of the weight of Viserys’ presence and words is that Dany is hot. In general, Targaryens are hot and Viserys is even noted as such (by Dany).

I’ve heard of the mythical hot girl that doesn’t know she’s hot but I’ve never actually met (an honest) one and it always struck me as odd that nobody made a move on Dany throughout their travels and offer her legitimate place or station–hell, anything above an entry level job. Sure, I can see Viserys being in the way, but he’s easily enough to remove and even more so when he was younger. At the end of the day she IS the girl that’s wedding a powerful man.

This leads to the question of why Drogo, a man who could have almost anyone he set his eyes on, would want to marry Dany and pay extravagantly to have done so. Sure, there is a novelty to Dany, but would such a  reason play a major role at such an expense to Drogo? Well, readers are use to “such people” being extravagantly superstitious (even when the people calling them as such are equally are or more so) and it seems likely that Illyrio had some knowledge of The Stallion Who Mounts the World and was able to manipulate events.

I don’t have a hard time believing the unassisted plight of the Targaryen siblings, but it seems odd one of the extravagantly wealthy wouldn’t have just taken them into their household, though I understand they are not quite as unique in the Free Cities as they are in Westeros. After all, it’s what Illyrio eventually did do but maybe Viserys is just that unlikable.

Illyrio.

Illyrio has been busting my balls on this segment because at some point we have to tackle him, though even the chance of a whole picture doesn’t offer itself until A Feast for Crows or the released A Dance with Dragons chapter(s) when we get something (anything!) from Doran, though I did already point out the presence of the brother of Archon of Tyrosh at Dany’s wedding (something I want to see in the background of the HBO show).

This is going to be real loose, but I’m sending out general thoughts for everyone to haggle over  (this is also going to seem tedious, but bear with me). We are going to knock out the basics here so we don’t have to deal with them again minus reacting to direct scenes, or if Elena sniffs something out.

It is interesting, however, that Illyrio is essentially a non-participant for the new reader though not too shocking because for those used to marginal fantasy he’d be a bit player who exists to move the plot for the main characters. He does do that here, but in reality he’s also probably one of 3-4 people we’d most like to beat over the head and question (or vice versa).

If we are to assume a Targaryen restoration is relevant to Illyrio (let’s forget Varys for the moment), the question becomes why, as the easy money is simply killing or capturing Viserys and Dany and carting them or their bodies off to King’s Landing for what I’m sure he could negotiate beyond a simple reward, namely favorable trading scenarios.

For sure, that is not equal to being the person who the crown of a nation is indebted to for installing (think about that for a moment even from the perspective of our world—that’s HUGE even for the largest of corporations) a regime.

Some will bring up Illyrio’s  thoughts regarding Westeros but that doesn’t stop him from making a fortune off the Dorathki, and our own history is full of opportune men and women who made ungodly sums of money off those they themselves consider barbarians or slaves. Many of these same people never needed to make another dime in their lives, it’s just their nature, measuring stick, lifestyle or indeed their own “game”. Illyrio’s motivations can be as clear as anybody’s in this series: greed. Everything we hear and indeed know of his physical description and apparel would describe somebody who frequently indulges in substantially more than he or anyone else “needs”.

I don’t think that at this point why is that important, as he has thus far (at least outwardly) profited from his exposure to the Targaryen pair. One could note the Dragon Eggs as an expense, but we don’t even know of what or if he even payed for them, though their presence themselves possibly  reveal an ulterior motive or an extreme and creative assurance for the facilitation of the expansion of his aforementioned greed.

The Dorne/Viserys connection revealed in A Feast For Crows is always interesting to view in this re-read simply because none of the possible theories are without what seem to be at least slightly  illogical leaps and generally anything latent and Targaryen tends to stir emotions. If we can assume that Doran was not lying to his daughter, she was – years ago – promised to Viserys, but it is the language he used that is of most interest to me,”the pact was sealed in secret”.

It sounds so official, in a manner that could only be done by Viserys himself or somebody who had the authority to negotiate such a pact with Dorne– Doran is not a bit player.  Doran wrote to his son – Quentyn – and told him it was his plan for him to rule Dorne after him, expressing other plans for his daughter even then, namely the throne.

In Feast she was 23 years old and Doran expresses he meant to tell her when she came of age (which Arianne noted was 7 years ago), so this is something Doran worked out before any relations that Viserys or Dany had with Illyrio (that we and possibly they even know of), though the plan was still in play up to Viserys’ death. What’s odd is that Doran’s words seem up to that point still reflect that it was a good plan. Viserys’ knowledge of this pact is up for debate, those claiming he was kept in the dark clearly having a lot of easily understandable truths going for them  that even a new reader can see. Viserys is clearly not anyone’s optimal choice to be anything.

Those around him recognize his shortcomings and he doesn’t come off as anybody anyone could trust, much less put any faith in at all. If Robert Baratheon embodied all the qualities needed to take a throne by force, Viserys is clearly lacking in them or any other visible alternate route. It’s pretty clear it would be wise for Viserys to know nothing, but if that is the case it would also seem redundant that he is not the one you’d want to risk your entire house, family and hopes on either. So what we are left with is that Doran either does not care that Viserys is a chump and possibly crazy (and old enough to where it’s not simple youthful idiocracy) or that he does not know.

Neither sits well with me unless Doran is being purposefully misinformed, which also does not seem to fit. We know that Dorne has unique ties with the Free Cities not shared by the other houses of Westeros, from Doran’s own wife, Oberyn’s own days there and that he has sent Quentyn there. When he learns of the fate of Viserys, we presume he sends Quentyn to Dany. I wonder if Drogo himself did not pass, what would Doran than do? Would he put his people behind a coup that doesn’t stand to give him a piece of the throne? Is “Aegon” in play?

Quentyn’s a direction  itself may remove the idea of his (Doran’s) knowledge of a possible true Aegon being alive (one that isn’t Jon Snow) and using Viserys and Dany as in-plain-site red herrings, though I think more than any idea thrown out there, Doran’s knowledge of such (and Ned’s) fits better than any other theory I’ve read or reasoned on my own (though I’m sure people will correct me!)

I’ve talked about Ned’s children sensitivity which stems or is made a major issue by what he see’s happen during the Lannister sack. The gravity of Lyanna’s words to Ned indicate to me that Aegon was there, simply because I don’t believe she would have to make Ned promise to protect or care for HER child, no matter who the father was (and we know by some of Ned’s own thoughts, he either doesn’t seem excessively bothered by Rhaegar or he’s one forgiving dude).

I’m not sure why he’d feel guilty of protecting his sister’s child under any circumstance and indeed it would seem more like a classic point of Ned righteousness, not a point of guilt. There is also a clear statement made by the Kingsguard at the Tower of Joy, namely that they don’t give a shit if Ned is a good guy and won’t kill our King, you will not usurp him –they don’t run, which clearly Ned wanted and would probably have allowed them to do (he offered the same to Cerseii  because I think, again, he didn’t want the Lannister children’s blood on his hands).

Remember, Ned was there with all of his boys which also presents the opportunity that there wasn’t a consensus between Ned’s own faction and what had to be done. Did Howland Reed help Ned protect his  and Lyanna’s secret from his own men as well?

Rather than allow the capture of Aegon, the Kingsguard fought for who was their King. Viserys was not the King, Rhaegar’s heir is and instead of giving Ned some “special circumstance” speech in the pre-throwdown chat they reaffirmed that they are the Kingsguard. What do they do with among  their last words?

They mock both Jaime and Robert – the false brother and usurper. I hope I’m not being soft in the head about this but I kind of buy Ned’s view of this scene, and he honors them and their memory afterwards. Martin continually offers us gray, but I like this idea that the white cloaks – for a moment – were just that. There were good men in Aerys’ reign, and Selmy served with them – in a way Barristan follows his brother’s footsteps when he himself is dismissed. Ned questions the The Kingsguard and they don’t blink, they are where they are supposed to be. Maybe.

Probably not.

Back to Doran. If he had this knowledge, I always wonder why he wouldn’t plot to wed Arianne to an Aegon or Dany (later) to him, maintaining the bloodline. Also, why would Oberyn plot to put Viserys on the throne (though clearly an Aegon was too young to rally behind—perhaps that very fact stopped him).

Dany obviously becomes extremely significant later due to her own accomplishments and the dragons, so what we have is a possible Doran/Illyrio/Varys understanding, but it seems likely that the latter two are withholding information from Doran. Plus, one wonders who brokered the deal that took place several years ago. Darry is the first guess, but is he truly in a position to do so? If it was Illyrio, then that confirms that his relationship with Viserys and Dany goes back much further (again, whether they know it or not) and probably also confirms that he chooses not to tell Doran everything (like Viserys being a twit).

That Doran presumably then sends Quentyn to Dany seems to indicate he knows nothing of a similar tact to be used by a “Young Griff”. Which brings me to the likelihood of Jon Connington being “Old Griff”, a thought I happen to believe (and most seem too). I’m not so sure that (one of) Rhaegar’s best friends would raise a farce claiming his dead friend’s heritage.

True, we know nothing of the man, but my thought on the Mummer’s Dragon prophecy has always been that simply meant the it would be the one Varys would present, which is just as likely to be the real deal as not. Varys and Illyrio having this ultimate card explains a certain carelessness with Viserys and gives them ultimate options and flexibility as it pertains to Dorne. What’s also possible regarding Doran’s knowledge of an Aegon is that he knows he’s a fake, which is why he wouldn’t seek a marriage out for his daughter, but would use him in a coming invasion.

Speaking of Viserys, I think I’m in the camp that he was never told, but from the reading (this one thus far) a part of me can see the pathetic character who held back the one secret that was the source of his ego, pride, and ambition. If you view Viserys as a man who thinks he has the allegiance of Dorne already, his actions and mannerisms here actually become slightly more understandable and his questions to Illyrio are like him seeking confirmation of his “secret”.

It also explains some of the nonchalance of Illyrio’s responses, a fake wink to Viserys, but not so much to draw attention, making Viserys think it’s something only they should share. Like I said, I don’t believe Viserys knew but it doesn’t feel completely unnatural if you try it on. It also explains why he doesn’t envision marrying Dany himself, as Dany herself suggests she thought would be the natural course of action.

I’m not sure I’ve heard or seen any evidence to suggest Viserys didn’t know, excluding that no reader would want to trust him with any information, much less one of this gravity. Admittedly that single bit of observation is so compelling it’s difficult to argue against with true conviction.

Illyrio’s motivations in general should be something we think on, though for Elena, Martin has offered a perfectly reasonable “He had collected a fortune in horses and slaves for his part in selling her to Khal Drogo.” The possible split in the Vary/Illyrio and Doran union and information may be one of motivation.

I don’t pick up any motivation from Doran excluding an understandable desire for vengeance. He doesn’t to me seem like he’s on board with the prophecy and greater picture of the Others, a subject we know that Illyrio and Varys seem to be well aware of. It also doesn’t feel like Doran is holding Dorne back for an impending defense of a Northern alien invasion. One possible angle dismisses my thought (or will), being the presence of Alleras (Sarella, the Sand Snake) in Oldtown. While Dorne, by Doran’s own admission is perhaps the weakest of the great houses, they are still a coup for Varys and Illyrio to pocket on their side for almost next to nothing.

Why deal with all of this now? We have to at some point and I just wanted to lay out some groundwork of my thought process when reintroducing myself to the book/series so we can have this to reference when we talk about it again later.

These Dany chapters take on a much more significant stature to a re-reader because more than anyone, Dany is our link to the previous status-quo and the remnant of an element regarding the Targaryens themselves that I think will be a separate article here at G-Mash. When I read this chapter it’s everything about our A Feast for Crows revelations, which is kind of like seeing play out this concept that Kelly Link once mentioned when I interviewed her some years ago: the idea of a story existing and morphing on subsequent reads.

As a fresh chapter – for Elena – this is not a stilted chapter, and still exists as a great introduction, which later morphs into something to be examined because of occurrences 3 books later. I think Link was talking about something slightly different, but I liken this to being a time traveler, and like any time travel story, just because we come from the future it doesn’t mean we know everything (or anything). It doesn’t all quite fit—it rarely ever does – but the transformation of these initial Dany chapters are a terrific compliment to others that are glories I just want to re-read re-live.

The end of the chapter is perhaps the longest scene leading up to a fingering in the history of speculative fiction. I recall some talk about unnecessary sexual moments, and I hope this wasn’t considered one of them. It’s the definition of not very fantastic, because I’d like to think eight out of every ten guys in history were at some point rubbing or massaging a girl in some cocoa butter plot to see how far they could test the leg and lower back.

As an aside, Martin is an avid fan of history and many of his names reflect that and he’s also peppered his share of nods to works of fantasy—neither I think has anything to do with my own, personal experience in this case. When I  read this before I was already an avid reader and reasonably well read in Middle-Earth lore, so to me the name Drogo always meant Frodo Baggins’ father and I remember initially thinking, shit, Dany’s going to give birth to the damn ringbearer! That didn’t happen and the kid wouldn’t mount the world or travel to Mount Doom.

I’m sure  there are multiples holes,  inaccuracies and contradictions in the above, let’s have fun with it! Even better, somebody just give me all of the answers.

Next up: Ned and Robert try to outdumb each other!

Author: Elena Nola and Jay Tomio

Elena Nola is the imperial editrix for the Boomtron empire. She likes genre books, weird movies, and obscure references. She lives in New Orleans, where almost every day is good enough for good times. You can follow her reviews and commentaries at Boomtron. Jay is a silent partner in Extensive Enterprises, a bastard child of Amber, an Eleint Soletaken, a probable Targaryen, and was the second-to-last Starfighter.

36 thoughts on “Playin’ with Ice and Fire – A Game of Thoughts: Daenerys Targaryen Chapter 11”

  1. DP – thanks for mentioning martin’s admitted cultural jumping-off points. although i think i prefer to keep picturing the dothraki as men with indian (india indian) women’s hair…long thick and amazing. i hesitated to discuss my own obsession with hair care practices by pointing out that i loved the men sitting around oiling their hair…using coconut oil to help prevent breakage (ie to increase length) has been something indian women have apparently been doing for, like, ever. and when the dothraki were first described it crossed my mind to wonder if martin would mention anything about how they achieved those long flowing manes. lol.

    obviously the only maester i’ve thus far met is luwin, so i don’t have a good grasp yet of what they know/don’t know. but i’m going to point out that by “we” you must mean “western” culture, as not everywhere on earth was as mired in myth and ignorance during that period….

    @ Elfy – well, he is. what can i say? i call it like i see it. 🙂

  2. Choosing her own love? Er, I get the feeling that would have been out of her hands regardless. Consider the setting and how it emulates our own mid-eeeevil time period (I’m sorry, I forgot how to spell it!). Arranged marriages to form alliances were perfectly acceptable, and Lyanna wanting to choose, and maybe fighting against her father’s arrangements, would bring shame upon her and her family.

    This doesn’t mean she didn’t, obviously, I’m just saying she probably would have been trapped regardless.

  3. SPOILERS!!!!!!!!

    @Jay Ok, so you think Lyanna had Aegon at the Tower of Joy, and that’s who she made Ned promise about? I dunno, dude. Ned had this an annoying habit of thinking Robert would NEVER harm a child/innocent person, only to be rudely proven wrong when Robert orders Dany’s assassination. I agree that Lyanna would never have to make Ned promise to protect her child, but she might have to make him promise not to reveal his identity. The presence of the Kingsguard always said “Heir to the Throne” to me, so if you’re right and I’m wrong (R+L=J!!) they would be there no matter what, especially since they couldn’t get back to defend Elia and her children.

    Which actually doesn’t help my argument.

    Ok, I like the rest of your theories involving Doran and Viserys (what a prick!), but I’ll need to stew on this a bit to really properly word what I mean.

    Love this, as usual!!

  4. I want to add something real quick: if i ever read the So Spake Martin (is that what they are called?) it was a long time ago and if it has since been updated I haven’t read any in some years, so if their is information that directly refutes anything I’ve said please do mention them (that goes for any information source, not just that feature). I have to admit that my direct up-to-date ASOIAF info gathering stopped some years ago, and I’m sure either official word or reader/fan speculation has gained new ground since. Thanks!

    *SPOILERS*

    -”I dunno, dude. Ned had this an annoying habit of thinking Robert would NEVER harm a child/innocent person, only to be rudely proven wrong when Robert orders Dany’s assassination”–

    Remember that he just saw the Targaryen children slaughtered in King’s Landing, and Robert cared not one bit. It has to be fresh in his memory and one wonders what Ned already knows when pursing Lyanna or has heard rumor of–perhaps it is why he there with only his own trusted retainers

    –”The presence of the Kingsguard always said “Heir to the Throne” to me, so if you’re right and I’m wrong (R+L=J!!) they would be there no matter what, especially since they couldn’t get back to defend Elia and her children”–

    I don’t think we both have to be wrong. First, Jon is not a legitimate heir to the throne unless Rhaegar married Lyanna. It’ a technicality, but if the King’s Guard were protecting the heir to the throne it would be an Aegon or Viserys (who they could have easily sent one of them to). Without a marriage to Lyanna, the heir Viserys unless Aegon is present.Second, even with Aegon there, R+L can still equal J. I fully believe she had a child and Ned took him. I’m not 100% behind him, but it’s what I believe now. The presence of a child of Rhaegar and Lyanna do not IMHO mean there is no Aegon. The duty of the King’s Guard is to be with the heir, who at that point was Visery, and it seems clear to me that these are not men talking who had forsaken their duty–in fact it strike me as the opposite. Also note that they could represent the exact opposite of what trouble Ned — men who did fight for children. All of this, however, is cleaned up if Rhaegar married Lyanna.

    I think Ned promising to keep the father secret is redundant to promising to protect him and take him in. A child of Rhaegar would never be allowed to live and Robert’s last moments IMHO kind of served as a dual relief to Ned when he admitted he should have never went after Viserys and Dany.

    END SPOILERS

    1. SPOILERS!!!! @Jay

      I have to agree! I have never understood why Rhaegar seemed to screw this whole thing up so much. It’s like EVERYONE was cursed to make a wrong decision, and then we get Robert on the throne; the BEST of the Baratheons. I’m sorry, but that’s not a compliment.

      As you say, Jay, The Crown Prince could have settled this, although there might have still been some ugliness if Robert chose to duel Rhaegar over Lyanna. And I’m sure he would have! In fact, acting sooner to take down his nutty father would have been even better. He says he meant to before, but things got in the way…

      So, how long has this thing with Lyanna been going on, anyway? Is it possible she was knocked up BEFORE the Tower of Joy?

      In any case, I guess we wouldn’t have a story otherwise. or it would be so wildly different. Still, I can’t help but second guess all the characters in my favorite books! 😛

      1. SPOILERS!! JAY!! (U know I love ya, right? 😛 )

        LOL! Of course he’s an ass, it’s his honor. How DARE this upstart boy sit in the throne! The Iron Throne of Kings!! THE NERVE!!! This is the same honor that makes him argue bluntly with Robert when Elia and her children were killed, and even more so when Robert set assassins on Dany. Ned’s honor was rigid, and a double edged sword that eventually sliced him in half, but it made him the man he was.

        You could say it made him AND broke him!

        1. DP – thanks for mentioning martin’s admitted cultural jumping-off points. although i think i prefer to keep picturing the dothraki as men with indian (india indian) women’s hair…long thick and amazing. i hesitated to discuss my own obsession with hair care practices by pointing out that i loved the men sitting around oiling their hair…using coconut oil to help prevent breakage (ie to increase length) has been something indian women have apparently been doing for, like, ever. and when the dothraki were first described it crossed my mind to wonder if martin would mention anything about how they achieved those long flowing manes. lol.

          obviously the only maester i’ve thus far met is luwin, so i don’t have a good grasp yet of what they know/don’t know. but i’m going to point out that by “we” you must mean “western” culture, as not everywhere on earth was as mired in myth and ignorance during that period….

          @ Elfy – well, he is. what can i say? i call it like i see it.

      2. SPOILERS

        I get the honor issue (though the doublestandard is odd–just about whoever killed Aerys would be betraying their King) due to the cloak, but one thing I always felt about that scene and Jaime in general is that Jaime is the ULTIMATE follower of Ned’s “Kill who you judge” stance. Plus, Jaime was what? 17? Ned should have had some idea of what a young man must have been thinking, as Jaime was in a unique situation and not one I find myself disagreeing with his decision.

        END SPOILERS

  5. I know Martin tries very hard to get us to sympathise with Dany, but I find it hard at times.Sometimes she blames Robert and Ned when she should blame her insane tyrant father, and since I think they were right to remove him from the throne, it makes her right to rule a bit messy for me.

    *SPOILERS*

    Although, I guess after Robb’s death, she is probably the best of a bad bunch to rule.

    @Jay I”ve also been thinking something similar, it would also explain how Ned and Howland Reed were able to survive a battle with a beast like Arthur Dayne (probably the most badass mo’fo in Westeros) if the Kingsguard gave their lives to make Ned’s story seem more legit. It also opens up the possibility that Jon could be “the prince that was promised” and Westeros’ saviour from the others. I suppose the problem is that it makes Rhaegar look like a bit of a flake, for want of a better word, but unlike Ned, he is the kind of guy who would put love ahead of duty.

    1. SPOILER

      At the end of the day I have some sympathy for Dany because no matter how you look it at it, she was a tool. Her first marriage was a means as I think she noted she’d be fine back to their rather ordinary life at the house she grew up in with Darry. No matter the crimes of the father, her entire family (including Viserys) was essentially murdered, so I can feel her personal sadness. At this point she really has nothing but what she thinks was her family’s heritage, including the wishes of Viserys, and I think even beyond that, A Feast for Crows shows how she’s still THE thing to use, as several parties are seeking her out. Sure, she could just drop and pick up a retail job, but I don’t she was ever afforded that chance pre-dragons and army.

      I know they were outnumbered but it seems odd that knowing what we hear of Dayne especially and the others that they were defeated. I know it’s often fantastic to no respect the ability to defeat even two opponents by yourself, but Jaime (who knows a thing or two about fighting and thee men in particular) seems to think Dayne can handle himself, at the very least. In saying that, I now wonder if Jaime felt anything toward Ned for allegedly killing his “hero”. That said, we are probably talking about battle hardened vets all around.

      In what way would that circumstance make Rhaegar look like a flake?

      Further, upon returning Dawn to Ashara, it’s just an opportune situation to cook up a story in case Jon is born with physical characteristic that aren’t Stark heavy, as she herself is said to be a rather exotic looking specimen herself.

      *END SPOILERS*

      1. SPOILERS!

        Robert and Ned killed her father and all her family, and would have killed her too if they had managed. They exiled her to a life in relative poverty and are the ultimate cause of her being sold to a barbarian warlord…

        I hardly feel her blame to be misdirected. It does not really matter that her father was mad to her, and I agree with her sentiment. I do not agree that the rebellion was all that “right” either. Rhaegar was, by all measures, a great man and would be a great king. He was on the verge of dealing with his father (as he tells Jamie before he rides for the Trident). If the Starks and Baratheons had not been so pridefull and honorbound, they could have made the transition easy.
        If anyone is to blame, it is Robert for his inability to let Lyanna choose her own love, and Brandon Stark for being a complete idiot and hothead (as we also see in the duel with Littlefinger…that has some huge rameficaitons later on, to be sure.)

        1. No disagreeing with a lot of the above!

          SPOILERS

          Brandon is just another example of a Stark fucking something up! A part of me wonders why Rhaegar did not reach out to Jon Arryn (who to me seems like he would have the pull in this Big 3 Rebellion). Robert’s rage is certainly known, but no way Arryn allows it to continue a war IMHO. If Rhaegar secretly would have lifted the death orders on Ned and Robert (and I think he had that power) and moved to remove/retire his father, this is a done deal. It seems so easy to speak to Arryn and present Lyanna. Robert’s anger is one of the completely baffling mysteries to me. I just don’t get it.

          END SPOILERS

          1. POILERS!!!! @Jay

            I have to agree! I have never understood why Rhaegar seemed to screw this whole thing up so much. It’s like EVERYONE was cursed to make a wrong decision, and then we get Robert on the throne; the BEST of the Baratheons. I’m sorry, but that’s not a compliment.

            As you say, Jay, The Crown Prince could have settled this, although there might have still been some ugliness if Robert chose to duel Rhaegar over Lyanna. And I’m sure he would have! In fact, acting sooner to take down his nutty father would have been even better. He says he meant to before, but things got in the way…

            So, how long has this thing with Lyanna been going on, anyway? Is it possible she was knocked up BEFORE the Tower of Joy?

            In any case, I guess we wouldn’t have a story otherwise. or it would be so wildly different. Still, I can’t help but second guess all the characters in my favorite books! 😛

  6. Choosing her own love? Er, I get the feeling that would have been out of her hands regardless. Consider the setting and how it emulates our own mid-eeeevil time period (I’m sorry, I forgot how to spell it!). Arranged marriages to form alliances were perfectly acceptable, and Lyanna wanting to choose, and maybe fighting against her father’s arrangements, would bring shame upon her and her family.

    This doesn’t mean she didn’t, obviously, I’m just saying she probably would have been trapped regardless.

  7. SPOILERS

    I have sympathy for her situation, just not for her goals I guess. Especially with some of the stuff she does later in the name of “the end justifies the means”, so she feels bad about it, but that doesn’t make it any less crappy. The theme throughout all of the books is that power corrupts everything, so it is to be expected, it only makes Ned’s death more tragic as he is one of the few characters in the series that wants nothing to do with it.

    The Kingsguard present an interesting problem, to what point dos loyalty override ethical duty? Should King’s Landing burn because they swore an oath? It creates an interesting dynamic, especially after we learn why Jaime killed Aerys, as to who was right.

    I dunno, he abandoned his wife and kids, his duty, triggered a war, seems a bit flakish to me. I suppose I’m not sentimental enough to view it as romantic. 😉

    Great article anyway, looking forward to the next chapter.

    1. I have to admit that right now I don’t have enough assurance in my grasp of Dany’s demeanor later on in the series to comment right now.

      SPOILERS

      I don’t know, it seems to be that Rhaegar became aware of a situation and went to handle it, and was going to handle his father afterwards (from his words to Jaime). It’s hard to say how much of the rebellion is Rhaegar’s fault, as it seems that Aerys and his numerous Hands really botched it up when they could have taken it more seriously earlier. I don’t even think this was completely decided at the Trident if Aerys would have heeded the advice to not let the Lannisters in. While the Lyanna situation for sure seems to have motivated Robert, it was Jon Aryn who essentially started the war (not wanting to give up his two wards). Frankly, I don’t think the others powers have two shits about Lyanna–at theend of the day he is the Crown Prince and one that seems to be universally respected.

      I’m also not convinced that Elia wasn’t on board with Rhaegar. If he abandoned his kids he would have stayed in the South.The role of Rhaegar at court seems to be a bit of a mystery as well, as he could have been a non-factor or somebody who actually wielded true power (the latter seems likely due to his words with Jaime). It seems clear, however, that the day-to-day governance of the realm wasn’t his though he did have powerful and noteworthy friends. I do think he clearly intended to win at the Trident.

      Oddly, I think Jaime did the “right” thing and (from what I guess) so did his brothers. I also kind of find Ned to be an ass to judge Jaime when he clearly knew the stakes.

      END SPOILERS

      1. SPOILERS!! JAY!! (U know I love ya, right? 😛 )

        LOL! Of course he’s an ass, it’s his honor. How DARE this upstart boy sit in the throne! The Iron Throne of Kings!! THE NERVE!!! This is the same honor that makes him argue bluntly with Robert when Elia and her children were killed, and even more so when Robert set assassins on Dany. Ned’s honor was rigid, and a double edged sword that eventually sliced him in half, but it made him the man he was.

        You could say it made him AND broke him!

        1. SPOILERS

          I get the honor issue (though the doublestandard is odd–just about whoever killed Aerys would be betraying their King) due to the cloak, but one thing I always felt about that scene and Jaime in general is that Jaime is the ULTIMATE follower of Ned’s “Kill who you judge” stance. Plus, Jaime was what? 17? Ned should have had some idea of what a young man must have been thinking, as Jaime was in a unique situation and not one I find myself disagreeing with his decision.

          END SPOILERS

  8. SPOILERS
    Am I the only one who thinks the Kingsguard duties are to protect the King!? King Aerys was still alive when Ned went to the Tower of Joy. That’s why I have such a problem with their presence at the ToJ.

    I guess the only thing I can assume is that Rhaegar’s heir (who would come before Viserys in the succession, by the way) is there, whether that be Jon (and R married L) or little Aegon (and the one that dies in the sack is a false child?). I have major problems with both possibilities, since no one knew Jon would be a boy. If it was baby Aegon, then where is he now, and who died in his place with his mother?

    You could make a case saying they abandoned Aerys for a more sane royal family member, but they have no real way of knowing that Jon or Aegon won’t be just as mad as Aerys! Also, even as crown prince, Rhaegar wouldn’t have the authority to order so many Kingsguard to protect his own unborn/baby son. The entire situation baffles me.

    1. SPOILERS

      Unless I’m reading you wrong, I’m pretty sure you’re timeline is inaccurate. Aerys was dead when Ned arrived at the Tower of Joy. Remember the Sack of King’s Landing occurred THEN Ned lifted the siege at Storm’s End THEN he went to the Tower of Joy. Remember that Stannis was saved by Ned’s forces at Storm’s End and was given the fleet to break Dragonstone (at this time Aerys was well dead and all of this occurred prior to Ned going to TOJ

      Also, I stated above (which you repeated) that Rhaegar’s children supercedes his younger siblings in the line of succession (barring a bastard).

      Second, we don’t know that Aerys himself didn’t send the KG south with his blessing though it seems clear that Rhaegar was either summoned back or returned on his accord and I think he almost certainly has the authority to order the Kingsguard, excluding it goes against the direct orders of the King (who was very aware where Lewyn and Jaime were). We also know that Rhaeger planned to “clarify” some issues upon returning from the Trident. What that means we don’t know, but it didn’t sound like someone who lacked in authority. We are constantly made aware of the Crown Prince’s popularity and competence–he just ran into a pissed off damn demon on the wrong day (and got his shots in)!

      *END SPOILERS*

  9. It’s funny that Elena mentioned both the Mongols and North American Plains Indians in her attempt to determine what the Dothraki culture were based on, because GRRM has stated that he had a sort of combination of both in mind, mixed with elements of a few others, and then a liberal sprinkling of invented fantasy culture, as well. Physically, the description of the Dothraki is meant to evoke Native Americans, but in terms of their culture they are far closer to the Mongols. I don’t think he said what other cultures were mixed in there – maybe Curgen (what little we know of them).

    As to the level of paleontology and zoology in Westeros, well, the Maesters are surprisingly advanced in terms of their studies of the sciences. I don’t think they’ve quite invented the scientific method, yet, but they may be on their way. They certainly hew towards logic, reason and careful observation in their studies, and the direction they are taking things I think might be towards a time of science over magic and myth, which they seem to disdain. They know enough to know that dragon bone is black because of its high iron content, and Maester Luwin is very impressed with the lens Catelyn receives from Lyanna and remarks how useful it will be for his observatory! So, I think science-wise, they are farther along than we were on Earth during the Medieval period.

  10. True…perhaps self righteousness is also a Stark trait? It’s certainly a Caitlyn trait, and he backs her up on it (to his own demise).

  11. I’m still unsure about what you’re trying to say about the KG. How are Arthur and Asahra connected to my tirade? I’m saying hte KG are too white for me – too much the Guards, too little the Knights. That they failed in their duty as knights (and moreover, as people!) in order to succeed in their duty as the KG. You’re not ‘sold on all of them doing what we think they did’? I’m trying to point out that they DIDN’T do what they should have done – namely, stop Aerys.
    I think it was pretty obvious to those who had the info (and Doran probably did) that Robert was unfit as a king and would be horrible at it from the beginning. I think Lyanna’s judgement regarding his suitability as a husband applies to his ability (rather, lack of it) as king. And even if Joffrey wasn’t a turd, the people would still blame him for his father’s failure, since he most likely wouldn’t manage to fix the situation fast enough (a debt of 4 milion dragons?!). And since Robert would probably fail as a father, it makes sense to assume Joffrey would be a turd. But you’re right on this relying on the arguement of how good a player Doran is. I’m just pointing out that he’s obviously been building on the Targaryens for long before the start of the books, and so I’m trying to explain how and why?

  12. SPOILERS

    While it seems impossible that he wasn’t afforded the time if he wanted to talk, perhaps Rhaegar was never given the chance and crazy ass Robert just attacked him when he saw the standard. Otherwise it’s very hard for me to envision two such important people of their causes going toe to toe in a reasonable large scale battle.

    *END SPOILERS*

  13. As for his reactions to the seating arrangements, I wonder what happens when Viserys continues to be held second in consequence to his sister now that she has married the Dothraki’s leader? How long will his pride accept honor but not respect?”

    Woot! You said a mouthful here!! 😀 I can honestly say that, from this chapter on, I had not an inkling of care for the hole the idiot was digging for himself!

    “found myself wondering what, exactly, Drogo is after with this alliance.”

    Now there’s an interesting question! I think up until now I’d assumed he bought Dany so he could show off an exotic bride. She’s young and extremely beautiful, but other than that you’re now making me wonder why he married her. Visarys could have sold her as his slave and gotten an army, Drogo didn’t have to marry her. I doubt the Targaryen name carried any weight with the Dorthraki, so what gives? And because he married her, she became a queen. Those wedding gifts! Makes me want to find the nearest warlord…

    In any case, now I’m very curious!! Great post, as usual! 😀

    1. hi Duckchick1! glad you enjoyed it, as always! Well, I had a negative reaction to Viserys in the first chapter but, absolutely, this one sealed the deal.

      I am curious to know what the actual discussions were between Viserys/Illyrio and Drogo. as in, would viserys actually have let his ambition overcome his pride by selling his sister for an army when she would be relegated to concubine/whore vs treated with the respect (of position in the tribe) due someone who’s blood of the dragon? or was the marriage (ie, acknowledgment of the family’s importance) a necessary component?

      i think the gift I’m most intrigued by (morbidly enough) is the dress made of a thousand mouse skins. that’s…i don’t know why, but that’s kind of awesome. i bet it’s hella soft. and it’s a mouseskin dress. WTF. please let them put that in the hbo series, lol

  14. @Elena (and Duckchick1)

    Regarding “found myself wondering what, exactly, Drogo is after with this alliance.”

    I won’t spoil anything by saying this. I’ll let the future chapters tell/show what Drogo will get out of this alliance, but I truly believe that (in addition to any other dream) one of his prime motivators was: “A Worthy Queen”.

    Drogo sees himself as a king. Perhaps the greatest Dothraki Horse Lord in many a generation. And every great King deserves a Queen to match. I’m sure that he considered all the eligible Dothraki women and found none suitable to his greatness. Likewise, he disregarded any women taken as prize of conquest, as they are merely chattel to his people.

    But Dany is from a royal house. She’s gorgeous, young, fit and fertile, which are all requirements for a trophy wife. But more importantly, she’s the daughter of Kings. Her line is of that of the Dragon Kings and Queens extending back for centuries to Old Valyria.

    Bloodlines are a powerful thing when breeding a great horse, but also when starting a dynasty. She’s of the right stock. And therefore likely to produce a powerful heir. A mate like no other Dothraki can boast.

    Drogo paid a Queen’s ransom for her, and guaranteed himself a Queen like no other Dothraki chieftain. The fact that Dany displayed spirit when riding silver, just validated his decision.

    Like Tony Montana said in Scarface: “With the right woman, there is no stopping me. I could go right to the top.” 😀

    1. Ah…that makes a lot of sense. although, even if he wants a Worthy Queen (i feel like that always needs to be said with capitals, lol), surely his ambitions as the greatest dothraki lord in generations have some form to them? but that reasoning definitely makes sense to me, and thanks for sharing! gives me something to think about AND makes me feel like i’m not totally left out of all the discusions. 🙂

  15. Aaahh, now that makes sense! I’ve read all the way through AFFC, but I admit I hadn’t picked up on this aspect. I don’t know, maybe I was just looking at things too much from a woman’s PoV. Thanks for some intriguing insight!

  16. Likely to contain SPOILERS

    @Jay: Dany blaming Robert and Eddard rather than her father? Perhaps. But they certainly are guilty. And while the ultimate balme lies with Aerys, you have to tkae into consideration she’s been fed propaganda and lied to her whole life. Even the oh-so-honorable Barristan the Bold (more on him below) doesn’t tell her the truth. “Your father was a difficult man, with issues… anecdote about wise great-grandfather of Dany’s saying Targaryens are a toss-up between madness and greatness. ” No. Her father was completely insane and corrupt. Rob and Ned did a public service by calling that to attention (though their way of dealing with the problem was hardly any better), and Jaime did the greatest deed ever when he did what no other had the guts to do – execute (yes, execute, even if he himself calls it a slaughter!) a madman who was king.

    Dorne is the weakest kingdom? Maybe on offense, although even then I’m unsure. But as a rallying, a fortress,a place to gather your supporters and for defense – The best in the Seven Kingdoms. This is the unconquerable. The one the Targaryens with their dragons couldn’t conquer. The one that caused the loss of 10,000 men in taking it, and 50,000 trying to hold it, when I doubt all of the warriors in Dorne from 14-55 were more than 30,000 (conjencture – if Daeron exaggerated the number of enemies he fought, wouldn’t that mean he outnumbered them at least by a full number [2-to-1 at the least]?). The one conquered only when attacked both from land and sea (and how many ships did Robert have?). I see Dorne as Wales to the 7 Kingdom’s England (which GRRM himself said), with Doran as Owain Gwynedd, Llewellyn Fawr, or any other powerful ruler defeating the English in guerrila warfare and terrain/climate advantages.
    Because of this, I tend to think Doran knew what he was doing. He probably knew about Viserys and his problems, which was another reason not to let Arianne go, even after her mother left him (Doran told Arianne that her mother threatened to take her life if he took another child of hers from her, but how long has she been away? Certainly long enough for Arianne to go to the Free Cities, perhaps on a ‘tour’ with her uncle and cousins, to see his old stomping grounds). As I see it, he probably meant to get an heir, dispose of Viserys, and raise a normal Targaryen. In fact, I can see this plan getting much more support from other noble families. He’s another generation away from madness, raised by the Lords of the 7 Kingdoms, controlled by them, probably a regency council. Jon Arryn might agree for honor. So would Eddard. The Lannisters would still have powers as regents, especially if they have two votes on the council (Tywin as Lord of the West, and Joffrey as the Baratheon heir). Viserys probably didn’t know, because Doran wouldn’t want him to. Doran may have worked with Darry and Illyrio at the same time (which assumes that Darry could see Aerys’s traits in young Viserys, but explains how Illyrio knows to take in the Targaryens).
    Or he could know of Aegon. But I see no reason to debate a theory if you don’t have any proof of its’ possibility, and since both proofs for and against Aegon surviving are circumstantial, rely on omittance and are generally weak, I refuse to do so.

    Moving on, I was kind of annoyed by the comment about the Kingsguard. It may seem a minor matter, but it really annoys me. They may have been the best Kingsguard ever, but for some reason I think I liked Criston Cole (the Kingmaker from the Dance of the Dragons) better as a person, assuming he wasn’t a jilted loved but truly believed what he was doing was good. The fact that you became a Kingsguard doesn’t absolve you of your knightly oaths or your duties as a person. Jaime put it perfectly – on one hand, his oath tells him to protect the king at all costs,aon the other hand, he has to defend the innocent, weak etc. What kind of idiot closes his eyes to this dilemma? I remeber a conversation between Jaime and one of the Kingsguard about Aerys basically raping and assaulting his wife one night, while they heard: “Aren’t we sworn to protect her?” “Yes, but not from him.”
    WTF???!!! From who, then? Spilled wine? Vermin? Would be-assassins who think killing the queen is so helpful?
    It seems to be that the Kingsguard likes to think that the moment they don their white cloaks, they become those white cloaks. All of them except Jaime forgot they were first human-beings, second knights, and only thirdly Kingsguards. While the KG at the Tower of Joy didn’t know the truth, from their amount of carign until now, I don’t think they’d have doen what Jaime did. Maybe argued, maybe even *gasp of horror* disobeyed the king and killed Rossart! But they wouldn’t have done enough to prevent all of it – killing Aerys, and later all the other Pyromancers. And this just tells me how hypocritical, spineless, lily-livered, weak, worthless and pathetic – or rather apathetic – they are.
    I thend to hink my rant about those idiots called ‘the greatest kinghts in the Seven Kingdoms’ (insert many deragtory and sarcastic remarks here) is over. Any thoughts, both on Dorne and the KG?

    1. SPOILERS

      I don’t think you directed your first comment to the right person because I don’ think I ever said anything about who Dany should blame, that was Paul.

      About Dorne, in the context of going to war and actively taking part in a battle to assume the Throne, Doran’s argument sure made it out that way.I didn’t say they sucked or weren’t potent or a threat to anyone, merely expressed Doran’s own thoughts that they have to be especially careful. I think the natural defense geography lends them also hinders (even if they wanted such) their ability to strike, as they are also able to be pretty much be contained if needed (if one supposed that historical house beefs exist). Politically, sure Dorne is often placated (in a way that say the Iron Islands are not) but I think barring a major High Garden and Dorne union, they are definitely not a house that anyone is overly concerned with, and maybe it is because Doran is that clever, but even he admits he’s falsely bloated the number of his forces to maintain a how of (more strength).

      Don’t get me wrong, I view Dorne as completely competent and somebody you absolutely fear committing (seriously) to a larger house, but not one you are worried about alone in matters of the Throne. I think it’s why you constantly see everyone acknowledging them (even since Aegon) and give them their respect, but I think if you’re fighting the war, you’re probably more concerned if the Vale commits to the field than the likelihood that Dorne would. I suggest that this is perhaps laudably practical of Doran and one’s more extreme view (in either direction) depends on what you think of Doran (some years ago I know it was a semi-heated debate on whether or not if he was calculating, patient genius or a do-nothing old man who plots vengeance and only outlasted his enemies because other men killed them while he sat out). I think he’s probably somewhere in the middle, but make no mistake, he sat out for decades because Dorne couldn’t do anything–and yes, a degree of your “power” is who you can call on as your allies or at least who wouldn’t smite you as soon as you tried to ever deploy offensively. That said, I’ve loved some of the info that may lead us to believe that Dorne may in fact not be on quite as bad terms with the Reach as some may think. You mention guerilla warfare, and while one can easily point to numerous examples of its effectiveness in our own history it’s often used by the side that’s deemed militarily “weaker”. For example, at the end of the day several countries can use such tactics to great success, but I’d rather be the U.S. if it’s all or nothing.

      The acquisition on an heir is interesting because it would restore what would have happened in nicely symmetrical way, but depending on our timeline I have serious doubts that the Lannisters would ever give up the throne or power just about as much as I don’t think in any of Dorne’s plans would they be allowed to maintain power of any kind. In this hypothetical event, has the Baratheon/Lannister to Stark arrangement taken place? No way Ned Stark abandons the cause of his friend, his children and how own children and a lot of houses would have stakes (Tullys, the other Stormlords etc). Obviously such a plan was thought of well before that union, but you’re still talking about asking Robert (who hates Targaryens and is the King when all of this was planned) to withdraw from a throne that is backed by House Lannister. Not seeing that no matter what Jon Arryn or Ned want and I don’t think either would side with Dorne against Robert (being the honor bound people you mention). Please clarify the scenario so I can better grasp this, as it’s kind of interesting.

      Regarding the KG, and completely not talking about the martial abilities, I think they were exactly what they thought they were and I’m not altogether sure that it wasn’t idiotic (as being completely anything “white or “black”) would be. I think whatever they do would be reacted upon as an extreme (either like or dislike), but I also see the possibility that at least one of them may have done something slightly different I expressed my opinion on Jaime and his choice above.

    2. First of all, sorry for taking so long – college, you know.
      Regarding Dany’s blame – you’re right, it was directed to Paul. The next two paragraphs were directed to you, and I got mixed up.
      Regarding Dorne – I think we basically agree about its’ole, and as you said, you simply need some stuff clarified.
      I’m looking at this plan from a historical (real-world England, as GRRM is greatly influenced by that) and long-term perspective. We already know Doran is a long-term player – his Targaryen plan started at least some 10-15 years ago, with Arianne’s betrothal. And he managed to wait that long, seemingly doing nothing. I think his original plan would take another 10-20 years, and here’s how it would go:
      Jon Arryn doesn’t die, and keeps the kingdom barely together. Robert keeps with his spending and partying, eventually dying in 5-15 years from too much of it, remaining all the while an abysmal king, with only John as Hand keeping the kingdom from complete ruin. Joffrey ascends the throne. By now, Jon is either dead or old, and retires to the Vale, either forced or from choice. Joffrey and Cersei, starved for power, bungle up everything the way they did in the books, increasing resentment and anger towards the Throne and Lannisters. Even if Tywin reins them in, nobody’s happy with the complete control the Lannisters have of the Kingdoms – not Stark (who never liked Lannister), Baratheon (Renly/Stannis) (who didn’t get their power), Tyrell and possibly Arryn (if Jon/Sweetrobin are even a player). After 5-10 years at most of Joffrey’s excess, bungling and verge of collapse, the nobles tire of 20 years or more of shit, especially if the Long Summer is over and once they realize that Baratheon/Lannister were basically their equals, so why should they rule? So a group of high-ranking nobles with a Magna-Carta mindset come to John (Joffrey), and demand he sign it. He refuses, or does it and then declares it invalid. The nobles rebel, and Wales (Dorne) takes the chance to reassert its’ independence. At this point, the nobles need to find someone to rule them if they win, plus possible outside support to defeat the Throne’s supporters. Since they obviously can’t agree on who should do it, they invite (or are handed) Louis of France (Targaryen) who is related to the Throne in some way, and above them all in rank, so is readily agreed upon. At least, that’s how I see it.
      I have a question for you, though: You wrote “I’ve loved some of the info that may lead us to believe that Dorne may in fact not be on quite as bad terms with the Reach as some may think.” Where did you see that? We know Oberyn claimed to be on good terms with Willas, but anything else?
      Lastly, I completely didn’t understand your last paragraph regarding the KG. “I think they were exactly what they thought they were and I’m not altogether sure that it wasn’t idiotic (as being completely anything “white or “black”) would be” – Honorable? In some sense, sure, but what about my questions? Are you saying they weren’t Black and White? Because that’s how they always seemed to me. “I think whatever they do would be reacted upon as an extreme (either like or dislike), but I also see the possibility that at least one of them may have done something slightly different” – Are you saying that they would only have reacted to an extreme situation, or that their reaction would be considered extreme? And what would they have done differently that would have solved the problem? Killed Rossart, knocked Aerys out, and then gone to kill the Pyromancers, so Aerys would be killed by the Lannisters? Killed Rossart, knocked Aerys out and defended him until death or (possibly more likely) capture or loss of conscious? Only the first would have solved the problem for the others (not Jaime, that is) ,and they still wouldn’t have done their duty in defending the king. The second might work, but only for Jaime, because his father’s banner-men would make a point of not killing him. But then he’d still be at fault, because he allowed his king to be killed and didn’t fight until near-death or death. In fact, it would seem he colluded with his father’s men to defeat Aerys, so he’d be more at fault. Explanations?

  17. SPOILERS

    Regarding the KG, I was only saying that I’m not entirely sold on all of them doing what we think they did (an extreme), as I’m not quite sure how the Arthur Dayne/Ashara/Ned possible connection could have allowed. I’m vague because there’s little evidence that there even was much of a previous Ashara Dayne connection (that I know of).

    I think the plan is sound but it’s too complicated and I think that’s what makes Doran a character that splits fandom regarding just how good of a player he is. Too much could happen (not the least of which, Joff turning out to be a a GREAT king –we just didn’t know at that time, indeed we didn’t know that Robert wouldn’t be). If Joff wasn’t a complete failure, a Lannister/Stark/Baratheon union would be almost insurmountable.when considering such a union most likely brings with them the River Lords through marriage.

    I’ve been looking for the very small Tyrell/Dorne passage, let me continue to do so.

  18. Jay–*spoilers*
    Dany is 13! Jesus, when did grown men start showing an interest in people younger than that?

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