Rhaenyra & Sunfyre

Sunfyre, it is said, did not seem at first to take any interest in the offering, until Broome pricked the queen’s breast with his dagger. The smell of blood roused the dragon, who sniffed at Her Grace, then bathed her in a blast of flame…

The Princess and The Queen

This is the first thing I’ve done in ages so I’ve gone back to one of my favourite TPATQ scenes.

ahh, okay, so I’m just kind of continually in a state of thoughts and emotions about Rhaenyra Targaryen

she’s so striking and she just grabs me really hard in a way I can’t quite articulate, and part of it is her personality but oddly enough for me since this isn’t something that usually resonates with me, that’s not the only part of it?

a lot of why she grabs me is how she’s presented in TPATQ - it’s such a huge example I feel like of the body as a site of rhetorical violence

she’s not dainty and beautiful. she’s not a “maiden”, not that sort of ideal that all the songs are written about, that is shorthand in Westeros and outside the text for virtue, for the type of person we’re supposed to think yes, she deserves something good. it’s really apparent if you scroll through all the descriptions that Martin gives of the historical Targ women in one go - she’s not thin, she’s not nonthreatening or “properly” feminine at all. the first scene we get with her in it in TPATQ is when she’s giving birth, and it’s violent and she’s violent and from the outset, we see bad omens and her personality and her… “embodied-ness” being all twisted up together. she shouts and screams and rants about the injustice done to her, and her child is stillborn. described as monstrous.

and we see this sort of thing again, when she takes King’s Landing and we hear about (the rumours, because I refuse to believe them true, or at least not true in the rhetorical purpose they are used for) how she sits on the Iron Throne and it cuts her. repeatedly. the Iron Throne is described as cutting the “unworthy” multiple times in other places, as well; this is an established thing, such as with King Aerys. but Aerys exists in a much different context; he is a single individual with a single individual’s failings and flaws and cruelties; he is a man. with Rhaenyra, she comes from an entirely different context and she’s already had her body used as this rhetorical tool, and it comes across very differently, that oh, once again we see her supposed bleeding as she walks from the throne, this is a sign of her unsuitedness to rule, some flaw in her character, being writ on her physical form. she is hardly alone in committing atrocious deeds at some degree of removal or another, among the characters in the story, but she is the only one where this sign is recounted.

her death, too, is visceral and physical in a way that many of the other deaths aren’t, to me - an intimate destruction and consuming that I feel like, again, ties person and body together where a lot of other deaths, almost work to separate those two entities… her destruction by family, by a symbol of her birthright and something that feels tied into her personality and her physical form as well… it’s a very deep-seated horror, to me, especially as the conclusion to the rest of her arc.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m saying any more; I don’t really have the language for what I’m trying to convey. but I have a lot of feelings. Rhaenyra just feels like such a unique part of the ASOIAF world, even as she’s kind of… where you see a lot of how the world operates being revealed in who she is, the symbolic visuals of her character design, the way she’s framed (and this I think is a strength of TPATQ in terms of it being an in-universe text, even as that framing frustrates me for other reasons)… yeah. ok. I’m done for now.

anonymous asked:

Hey! I'm thinking of writing a short-ish TPATQ-style AU piece, and wondered if I could grab your thoughts, as such a great ASOIAF thinker! My rough POD is, following the Tourney at Harrenhal, an hour before Rhaegar "fell upon Lyanna Stark", Rhaegar's horse takes a tumble and the Prince of Dragonstone breaks his neck. Do you have any ideas as to how politics of the 7K might play out? I'm assuming the SA bloc won't all be plain sailing, for one thing...


Well, in the absence of Rhaegar, Lyanna never runs away with him, presumably thinking that he had forgotten about whatever pact they had made to meet or had decided against it. She’s still engaged to a man she very decidedly does not want to marry, but now she has no crown prince to marry instead and escape her arranged marriage. (And while Lyanna might have tried to find someone else to marry, a marriage to the crown prince would have been so much obviously higher than a marriage to Lord Robert that - at least, perhaps, in Lyanna’s hopes - RIckard could not successfully protest it.)

With no “abduction” to protest, Brandon never has to ride for King’s Landing, which means he marries Catelyn in a timely fashion (Littlefinger, unfortunately, is probably still left alive, though this may not be as great a problem as IOTL). If I’m right and Lyanna’s marriage was set for both cultural and political reasons for later in 282 AC, after Brandon’s, then she might have then proceeded to Storm’s End, to be married to Robert - possibly accompanied by Brandon and his new wife, more remotely perhaps by Rickard, almost certainly with Robert and Ned coming together from the Eyrie to meet her at his ancestral castle. Lyanna is unhappily married and becomes Lady of Storm’s End. (It’s possible that Hoster - having by this point discovered Lysa’s pregnancy and forced an abortion, hastily works to secure a marriage with either Lord Arryn or his nephew Elbert - still alive in this timeline - both to cover up the indiscretion and to secure her as great a posting as he had her sister Catelyn. Jon Arryn may or may not have been interested in taking a new wife (he had already named Elbert his heir, and after two childless marriages may have accepted he would never have children), but a Tully of Riverrun was both a great prize for nearly any House and a means of emphasizing the Stark-Tully-Arryn-Baratheon alliance - and if Elbert suspected his bride was not a maiden, well, Hoster might have cited Cersei’s comment IOTL.)

In King’s Landing, Aerys has to deal with the death of his son and heir. Rhaegar’s only son, Prince Aegon, is maybe weeks old, no more than a few months; Aerys’ second son, Viserys, is around six years old. By strict reading of the law, Aegon should come before Viserys, but the by-now deeply paranoid and insane king is not going to sit quietly and let his despised Dornish daughter-in-law and his half-Martell grandson take power at his death. Instead, I’d think he’d declare - as he seemed to do IOTL - that Prince Viserys was the new Prince of Dragonstone and heir to the Iron Throne. Aerys might have been pleased to do so, but his legal right to do so may not have been as clear as he believed: after all, the last time a legitimate, dynastically superior male-line grandson had been displaced in the succession, it had taken a Great Council to name the new king, and the right of a king to name an heir outside traditional succession rules had, in part, led to the bloody Dance of the Dragons.

The members of the southron ambitions bloc might have seen this as an ideal opportunity - the chance to challenge the king’s (arguably) illegal change in the succession, and by that argument present their grievances against the historical caprices of the crown.  Certainly, they’d have on their sides those who had backed Rhaegar in life, most notably the Prince of Dorne - after all, he’s already lost the opportunity to see his sister made queen, he’s not going to accept his nephew being disinherited. The combined heads of the North, Stormlands, Riverlands, Vale, and Dorne might then pen a declaration to the king, essentially stating that they formally protested the king’s actions and that would look to depose him if he did not restore baby Aegon to his blood rights. Predictably, Aerys would name them all traitors and call for their heads, but then the question would become who would play their headsman; the Westerlands under Tywin are absolutely not going to fight for the king who continually publicly humiliated the lion of Lannister, and while the Reach has no obvious ties to either side, its position sandwiched between the pro-regency Riverlands, Stormlands, and Dorne would make Mace Tyrell very uncomfortable drawing his levies for the king. If there were any sort of war, it would not last long before the protesting lords managed to depose Aerys II and install the infant Aegon VI. (Because Aerys had lost the right to rule, I’d guess the victorious coalition would say that extended to young Viserys - but to be safe, they’d probably want to pack him off to the Wall post haste.)

Now the victors would have some political negotiating to do, and this is where real tensions might start. I would guess that, in Prince Doran’s mind, there should be only one regent - his sister Elia, mother of the new king - with maybe himself as the baby’s Hand. But Rickard, Hoster, and Jon (and Tywin Lannister, presumably) would likely have thought they had come too far to simply hand all power to the Martells. There’s precedent to a regency council of lords from different regions, but that only secures the bloc power for as long as Aegon VI is a baby; once he grows up, there’s nothing to stop him being another Aegon V or Aerys I. What I might guess would happen is an evolution of this, something like Henry VI: a council of regents as with Aegon III, but giving itself so much power, and leaving the baby king so politically weak and uneducated that by the time he did come of age, the kingdom would have grown used to rule by a set of nobles and allowed them to retain power. 

ladytaena-ofmyr-deactivated2017  asked:

Why do you think Baela and Rhaena were titled as Ladies instead of princesses? Thank you!

It’s not certain why Prince Daemon Targaryen’s twin daughters Baela and Rhaena are titled Lady in Archmaester Gyldayn’s The Princess and the Queen, the history of the Dance of the Dragons. It could be that because of their low level in the line of succession, they were considered too far away from the throne to be princesses. (The succession prior to the Dance, per Viserys I’s rule: Viserys I > Rhaenyra > Rhaenyra’s sons > Aegon II > Aegon’s children > Aegon’s brothers > Helaena > Daemon > Daemon’s daughters.)

However, they are called princesses in parts of TWOIAF:

Baela had escaped the men who tried to seize her and had made her way to her dragon. And as Aegon II sought to land in the courtyard of the castle on Sunfyre, thinking himself triumphant, the dragon and the princess rose to meet him.   Moondancer was much smaller than Sunfyre, but also much swifter and far more nimble, and neither the dragon nor the princess on her back lacked courage.

A surpassingly beautiful child, Daenaera was but six when the princesses Rhaena and Baela presented her to the king—the last of a thousand maids who had been presented him at the great ball of 133 AC.

Which could mean that after the deaths of so many Targaryens in the Dance, after Rhaena and Baela’s half-brother Aegon III succeeded to the throne, he made them princesses because their proximity was now much closer. In fact, since Aegon’s brother Viserys wasn’t discovered to be alive until 134AC, at the time of the great ball Aegon III’s only heirs were his half-sisters Baela and Rhaena. (As his cousin/wife Jaehaera had just died, and they had no children because they were children themselves.) So of course they’d be called princesses at that point.

Why does TPATQ differs from TWOIAF? It could be a question of historiography – Gyldayn was working with sources written during the Dance, whereas Yandel was working with many sources including Gyldayn’s. Septon Eustace’s and Grand Maester Orwyle’s and Mushroom’s testimonies would call them Lady Baela and Lady Rhaena, as that was their titles at the time of the Dance, but the Citadel’s records would call them Princess Baela and Princess Rhaena, as that was their titles by the time of their death. (As well as being Lady Velaryon and Lady Corbray and Lady Hightower.) I think that works out. :)

whysogrimm  asked:

I was pretty sure you hadn't answered this one yet, but do you ever think GRRM has too many women die in childbirth based on medieval statistics? Alison Weir, one of the great women's historians, reports the number of women who die in childbirth as 1 in 40. Obviously that's still way too many, but I bet the ratio in ASOIAF is too high given that. I'm also not sure if that means only 1:40 women would die, or you had a 1:40 chance each childbirth, but still.

I’m assuming the 1:40 ratio means “1 maternal death per 40 births” so for every 40 childbirths in the middle ages, one mother died. With each childbirth, the woman had a 2.5% chance of dying (1/40=0.025). (Today in the United States, the chance that a woman dies while giving birth is 0.015%.) Women tended to have multiple children, so the probability of a medieval woman dying in childbirth over the course of her lifetime was higher than 2.5%. The Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History suggests that a woman’s lifetime risk of maternal mortality was about 10%. 

maternal mortality rates between 1400 and 1800 were between 1 and 3 percent. Most often, women died in childbirth due to protracted labor caused by a narrow or deformed pelvis, fetal malpresentation, postpartum hemorrhage, or puerperal fevers. The health risk was renewed at each pregnancy. Since a woman averaged five pregnancies, 10 percent of these women died during or soon after childbirth.

However, GRRM claims that fewer women die in childbirth in Westeros than in the real medieval period, so GRRM’s statistics should be lower than 10%.

Childbirth isn’t quite the killer in Westeros that it was in medieval Europe in the real world, since Westeros has the maesters, who are a considerable improvement over medieval barber/surgeons… but the levels of mortality for both infant and mother would still be frighteningly high by modern standards. [SSM]

(Interestingly, in the same SSM entry, the woman writing to GRRM in 2003 complains about GRRM’s depiction of childbirth as “passive” and how GRRM responds with “point taken”. I wonder if there’s any connection to the depiction of Rhaenyra giving birth in TPATQ.)

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processing more tpatq ideas bc i am slo. doodles. one cannot doodle targs. the hair! i still have no idea what i’m doing.

so Vhagar has 2 nu historical dragonriders and in the same swoop gurm adds 1 more person to the Tragic Ladies of Surpassing Loveliness, Kindness and Courage team and 1 more honorary guest to the Terribl Awful Princes Symposium


→ For my bae Lina

whose fav pre Asoiaf character is Cassana Baratheon, mine being Rhaenyra, and since we’re sis.
 Fancast: Sarah Greene (young Cassana), Maria Doyle Kennedy (older Cassana). // Alison pill (young Rhaenyra), Megan Follows (older Rhaenyra)


The Dance of the Dragons meme: 5 relationships: (5/5): Rhaenyra and Alicent. (x)       

 Brooke Dean (Child), Alison Pill (younger) and Megan Follows (older) as Rhaenyra Targaryen.
 Ruta Gedmintas (young), Andrea Sawatzki (older), Caroline Goodall (older) as Alicent Hightower