I'm sorry this is late. The Easter weekend had me very busy.
I took nine pages of notes and the overall theme that I got is that Jaehaerys I and Alysanne were very capable of keeping cool heads and handling any crisis that threatened to disrupt the peace in Westeros.
For example, after the Dowager Queen Alyssa died Rhaena violently threatened Ser Rogar. She blamed him for Alyssa's death but it wasn't anyone's fault. Rhaena thought she should have been the queen of Westeros but she was hot headed and prone to cruelty. She led all of Dragonstone in the example of mocking her husband Androw which eventually pushed him to a massive murder suicide event.
"You have everything and I have nothing. Now you would take my daughter too. Well, you shall not have her. You have my throne, content yourself with that."--Rhaena Targaryen to Queen Alysanne Targaryen.
When Jaehaerys was first annointed king he annoyed me because I figured he was some know it all kid who wanted things his way (like marrying his sister when most of the realm and all the faithful were against it.) However, he is very sensible and he definitely knows much about history. Plus he sees the larger picture and is practical. As a middle-class American I relate to the smallest of the small lords (well, technically ladies) and the smallfolk, so it was rewarding to read about how Jaehaerys traveled with only 1/10 as many people as Aegon I Targaryen had and never stayed anywhere long enough to create hardship for his lords. Plus with fewer people he could visit smaller lords, like the modern day politician who stops by small towns.
Queen Alysanne Targaryen was also very capable as a ruler. She listened to her subjects, even the lowborn, she came up with reasonable solutions, and she brought their concerns to the small council. She didn't give up easily either, if Jaehaerys disagreed she knew how to push an issue without getting hateful.
Quotes I liked: "On the fourth ballot, the Most Devout broke tradition, choosing a man who was not of their own number." That blurring of tradition is the sort of thing that leads to a child being elected High Septon many years later.
"It was her Valyrian blood that saved her." No, it's because she (Rhaena) wasn't poisoned. But I wonder if that readiness to conclude that she must have stayed alive because she was Valyrian is something that passed down as folklore to Daenerys of the current (300 AC) time line.
"... these victories had turned to ashes in his mouth with the death of his mother." When I first read the series I couldn't figure out why Cersei panicked so hard when Tyrion threatened to turn her joy to ashes but now I think that "ashes turning to joy" is a Westerosi euphemism for "someone you love is going to die."
There is so much incredible information in this chapter but I'm only going to focus this post on one thing. Dragons.
Princess Aerea came back on Balerion after an unscheduled trip to Valyria. I think her "I never" would have been "I never meant to (actually steal the dragon)." She was a 13 year old kid, after all. Her skin was as hot as boiling oil and she was filled with worms with faces and snakes with hands. They had to be firewyrms. Dragons are fire made flesh, and Valyrians are The Blood of The Dragon. Was this how the first Targaryens were made?
From the World of Ice and Fire:
In Septon Barth's Dragons, Wyrms, and Wyverns, he speculated that the bloodmages of Valyria used wyvern stock to create dragons. This claim is considered far-fetched by most maesters (because) there is proof that dragons existed in Westeros before Valyria rose to power.
Dragons are strongly associated with magic. The Children of the Forest are strongly associated with magic. Did the Children create dragons? Dragons seem to be literally repealed by The Wall, almost like magnets with the same polarity. Queen Alysanne tried to fly Silverwing past The Wall three times and those were the only three times the dragon ever refused to go where the queen directed her.
I think Septon Barth was on the right track but the Valyrians didn't create dragons, they created dragonriders. The Targaryens (and the few other dragonrider families) were basically science experiments. Princess Aerea was an example of the early, long forgotten, process of creating dragon people.
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Wasn't there a dead dwarf with an exceptionally large head mentioned in A Storm of Swords? I tried searching some obvious terms in the ASOIAF search website but haven't had any luck finding the passage I remember.
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😢 I won't get to start the new season until week 4, I think. My husband's parents are coming to visit and I promised I'd watch it for the first time with them. Watching GOT together is kinda our thing. But it's gonna suck hard when I'm not watching Tyrion win the throne with the rest of you. I'll be there rooting for The Halfman in spirit. 👍🏻
Halfman, Halfman, Halfman!