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Facts, lies and shades of grey

History written by the winning side

Art by Donato Giancola

The history of Westeros is divided by conquest. Before Aegon the Conqueror transformed the Seven Kingdoms into one, the Westerosi used a growing calendar, evidently, but what it was is neither defined nor explained, so it's possible that the years were counted differently from one kingdom to the next depending on the event they considered to mark year one or that they all used the same calendar, similarly based on a random year one. Also, the continent of Essos was not conquered by Aegon and therefore is likely to use yet another calendar, as do the summer islanders and the unknown world at large.

The conquest started a dynasty that was supposed to end the strife between kingdoms and unite the Seven Kingdoms for the good of the realm. Based on the writing, it doesn't seem that Aegon, Visenya or Rhaenys were power-hungry, but rather moved by a common objective that is kept from the readers. The lords who bent their knees kept their power, lands and incomes with a slight change of title. The Targaryen seemed more than just powerful and capable, they arrived in Westeros with a sympathetic tale they told the locals and the appearance that they were willing to compromise and negotiate. They had two families that were loyal to them from Valyria in Westeros, the Velaryon and the Celtigar, and both families arrived in the west with plenty of money. Their financial capacity was greater than that of some of the Westerosi kings, but they happily settled as vassals to the Targaryen and their loyalty was unwavering, which leads to the consideration that they maintained a relationship of respect rather than fear.

History as we know it, has always been written by the winning side and subject to what they wanted to let out. The correction of those stories would have to be done by the losing side, but the expression "silent as the grave" is especially meaningful when the losers are indeed in one. The Targaryen joined the Faith of the Seven to gain sympathy. Likewise, they had the Velaryon and Celtigar on their side sporting their banners and standing by them. They created house Baratheon which stood as another ally and by the time Aegon, Visenya and Rhaenys flew from Dragonstone to their campaign, the Targaryen had already spread a story that put them under an agreeable light. When things got complicated with the faith, Visenya practiced blood sacrifice and married her son according to her Valyrian faith, which means their conversion wasn't full-hearted. They showed the facade people wanted to see and they were great at it, but right from the beginning, their story had significant gaps. Even though the Velaryon and Celtigar were from Valyria, they could not ride dragons and even though the dragons went to Westeros with the Targaryens, no Westerosi family was ever able to ride them. The dragons died in Valyria with the doom and it is possible that the unknown world has them, but it seems unlikely considering that despite the many centuries that passed, not a single dragon has flown from any distant land either into Essos or Westeros. The Targaryen brought to the Westerosi the knowledge that power came from advantage. They had dragons and the other kings did not. Dragons gave Aegon and his sisters their advantage. When dragons were gone, Robert had strength and support. That was his advantage. To seem more tangible, pleasing and even humble, the Targaryen spread the story that in Valyria they were powerful, but not too powerful. It makes no sense to believe that the Targaryen in Valyria were not the most powerful family of all. If they could fly dragons as well as other families, but only the Targaryen had prophetic dreams, then evidently they had something the other families did not. They knew they had to go to Westeros. They knew they had to take all the support possible and all the dragons they could. How many times had they seen things before they happened? It is only logical to assume that they used the advantage they had in order to attain the results they desired. Proof of how they knew to bend the truth is evident with Jaehaerys and Alysanne. When Jaehaerys and Alysanne got married, they assigned people to go through the Seven Kingdoms spreading tales to manipulate the masses into the belief that they were different from other regular humans, and that was why they could practice incest while the descendants of the Andals and First Men could not. What they first said about "keeping their blood pure" was nothing but another lie. They created the Baratheon family, but the first Baratheon, Orys, was nothing but a Targaryen bastard without the traditional Westerosi bastard name. Orys had Targaryen blood and he was so close to the Targaryen that he was the first Hand of the King. The purity of the Baratheon blood was irrelevant to the Targaryen and that was shown by the simple fact that Aegon did not have daughters, but both his sons got married and had children, which gave continuity to their line, even though it was with "impurity" in their blood. Over the centuries, some Targaryens married their siblings and some did not. The children were seen in the same regard either by an incestuous match or not, which leads to the conclusion that, in realty, the Targaryen incest was outside their control. They were attracted to one another as infants and longed for one another as children, which brings credence to the argument that Ser Jaime and his twin sister have Targaryen blood in their veins.

Back when Aegon became king, his sisters ruled as well as he did. Visenya and Rhaenys both sat on the Iron Throne and received court. They were respected and obeyed. When Jaehaerys became king, Alysanne also had power and she created laws. The change that occurred was set after Jaehaerys, but until then, even Maegor the Cruel had one of his many wives on the Iron Throne.

In regards to the laws of queen Alysanne, the first law she created is of paramount importance to our story. It guaranteed that should any man in the kingdom have a second wife after the death of the first, the children of the first marriage would have the rights of ascension before the children of the second wife, regardless of gender, but that those children of the first marriage could not, under any circumstances, get rid of the second wife once the father died, which means that the Dance of the Dragons was not right. Princess Rhaenyra was the only child from her father's first marriage. The fact that he married again and that his second wife had sons is entirely irrelevant to the law. A king must abide by the law of the land as much as any other person and the law made Rhaenyra queen. Once she was queen, her father's second wife should have the right to live safely in the Red Keep, but under no circumstances should the second wife's sons rule instead of the first wife's daughter. Equally, the Great Council of 101 did not state that the next king would be chosen because he was a man, but rather who the next in line should be. It is evident the lords from the council wanted the male ruler rather than the female, but no law came from their choice, simply the next monarch. Saying Rhaenyra couldn't be queen because she was female is a clear violation of the rules. It did, however, set a precedence that must be considered and respected.

What the Dance of the Dragons did to the Targaryens is of insurmountable consequence. So great, in fact, that George R.R. Martin has written several books beyond the regular series, most of them about that specific event and all books mention the Dance of the Dragons. As a writer who so clearly expresses that history repeats itself, we can only assume that the series will bring Daenerys's dragons to fight among themselves. The countless stories about the Dance of the Dragons are told to prepare the reader to what lies ahead. Not only will Daenerys's dragons fight to the death, it is equally evident that no dragon is likely to survive until the end, because although the dragons are the advantage the Targaryen need to have in order to remain most powerful, they are also a threat to the kingdom and to the world at large. As George R. R. Martin is a conscientious objector of war and an evident stickler for consistency, it seems that the peace the realm needs cannot come from the advantage gained by weapons of mass destruction, but rather by a clear belief in a common goal, as Aegon, Visenya and Rhaenys united the kingdom for reasons beyond our knowledge, but so obviously with that objective in mind, the person who comes next into our story must equally be one with an objective that is greater than simply wearing a crown. Daenerys is a great conqueror and she definitely has the drive to arrive in King's Landing on her dragons and fight for her crown, but her drive is for a purposeless victory. Whoever sits the Iron Throne must be after more than just a title.

The only person in our story who seems capable to see the objective, who is able to understand the enemy and who is willing to open his mind to change, is none other than a Targeryen himself. The boy who could stand guard as a sword in the darkness and open the doors to the Wildlings at the same time. The one who never fled the land and the only one who is continuously able to recognize that his viewpoint isn't the only one that matters or the only one that is right. In the end, it doesn't matter if it's Targaryen, Lannister or Baratheon. The only way the Iron Throne remains at all relevant is if it is under a ruler who cares about the common objective, and that person is none other than the Song of Ice and Fire. #ASOIAF #GOT #Targaryenlies #JonSnow #thedanceofthedragons

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