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anonymous asked:

What are your thoughts on Maekar's killing of Baelor? My impression has always been that it was an accident but I've seen it argued that Maekar was aiming at Baelor's head to land a fatal blow because he was angry that Baelor took Dunk's side and because he was jealous of his brother and the glory heaped upon him and his sons.

…. that’s a thing? Because it’s pretty obvious that it was an accident. I don’t think GRRM could have made it any plainer if he tried. Unlike some plots where GRRM drops hints that something nefarious is going on or that he leaves completely ambiguous, he has given us all we need to determine that it was a mishap. Dunk, our POV of that period, believes that Maekar did not mean to kill Baelor, and the incident was marked repeatedly as a mishap by Maester Yandel in the World book.

From Maekar’s immediate reaction to slaying his brother to the reported effect this incident had on him, it’s quite obvious that Baelor’s death deeply affected Maekar. Yandel tells us that “it is written that Prince Maekar always bitterly regretted Baelor’s passing and marked its anniversary every year”, and reports that Maekar had grown stern after his brother’s death at his hand - growing stern being the same wording used to describe Viserys II’s response to Larra Rogare’s abandonment, denoting a trauma response. This is further supported by what Maester Aemon tells Sam of his father.

[Maester Aemon] tightened his grip on Sam’s arm. “I will be with my brothers soon. Some were bound to me by vows and some by blood, but they were all my brothers. And my father … he never thought the throne would pass to him, and yet it did. He used to say that was his punishment for the blow that slew his brother. I pray he found the peace in death that he never knew in life. [..]”

This is a man who is haunted by his brother’s death and who has never stopped blaming and punishing himself for it; depressed to the point of having no peace and hating his throne because of how guilty he feels sitting in his brother’s place. Think of Jon Snow and his pained guilt at the idea of having Robb’s place and multiply it by a thousand in Maekar’s case. Actually let’s talk about Jon Snow’s dynamic with Robb and how it parallels Maekar’s with Baelor. Jon grew up in Robb’s shadow and was jealous of him but he also loved Robb deeply. This is Maekar’s dynamic with Baelor, I believe. It’s true that he was jealous of Baelor and resented that Baelor got all the recognition and credit while Maekar’s own accomplishments went unrecognized but his reaction to Baelor’s death speak of how he felt about his brother. Egg vouches for his father’s feelings towards his uncle and while his opinion isn’t the most objective, the kid isn’t a bad judge of character.

Jealousy and anger could be good incentives for murder but they are not in this case. Maekar punishes his sons in the wake of the trial and continues to beat himself up over it till the day he dies. Sending Aerion into exile in particular is huge for Maekar considering that he had pinned all his hopes on his second son after his heir Daeron disappointed him. Maekar trusts a lowly hedge knight with his son’s life and training in a way that parallels Baelor’s own trust and esteem for Ser Duncan. We’ve seen Maekar’s reaction to Baelor’s death at Ashford Meadow. A subdued man who struck me as someone who is trying to find any sense in what has happened. He was resigned to the fact that he’d be accused of purposely killing his brother and needed to tell someone, anyone, he did not. The man we saw at the end of the Hedge Knight is weighed down by guilt and trying, in his own way, to make amends.

As for the part about Maekar aiming at Baelor’s head, note that this was in the midst of a huge fight where Maekar noticed that Dunk had his son pinned down… and was preparing to kill him for all Maekar knew. Dunk noted that Maekar was trying to reach Aerion but Baelor was holding him off. Considering the circumstances, I sincerely doubt Maekar had any time to register anything beyond needing to get past Baelor to save Aerion. He was outnumbered at one point when Lyonel Baratheon joined Baelor against him resulting in a mad trade of blows in which Maekar took three for every one he landed. It’s not at all surprising that Maekar had no memory of the blow that broke his brother’s skull in that mayhem.

Via PintrestArtist unknown. Please help to source this artwork so the artist may have proper credit!