Natural Children

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Re: Natural Children

Postby coldwind » Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:46 pm

BeardedDork wrote:In your example you are going to be saying that a member of Lord Starl's household did this, if that is the household of the local lord. If a person is not highborn themselves they'll probably want to be careful before accusing a member of a lords household of impropriety. The lord is responsible for the actions of his underlings good and bad.


No, in my example the mother was simply saying some noble was the father, and she herself lives in the North. The bastard's last name has nothing to do with where the noble parent (mother or father) is from, only where the bastard was born (note that a few of Aegon the Unworthy's Great Bastards, such as Aegon Rivers, dispite being bastards of a the King, took the bastard name of the Riverlands).

* Jon Snow being one obvious exception.

BeardedDork wrote:People talk, and before long the mother will have to name someone, then rumors would spread and reputations would be tarnished, in the end it's easier to just kill mother and babe. Clearly that's not generally speaking what happens, though I'm sure it does now and again.


Reputations would not really be that tarnished. Generally speaking, for male nobles, having bastards is a sign of virility. Typically, the disdain is more from having broken an oath of marriage (ie, sleeping with someone not your spouse) rather than the birth of a bastard itself. For women, like all sexist cultures, it is a little worse, but generally for them, the shame is more on their husband (if married, because it's like something being 'stolen' from the husband') or their father (because he's seen as too weak to get a good match for his daughter now).

Heck, remember that Westeros used to have the Lord's right of "first night" - clearly, getting it on outside of marriage isn't that frowned upon.

In no way would it rise to the level of needing to kill parent or babe, except in extreme circumstances. Remember, without the say of the King himself, the noble has absolutely no responsibilities towards the bastard (although some do offer aid), and the bastard has absolutely no rights of inheritance.

The only time we seeing bastards being killed is Cersei's hunt for Robert's brood. In her case though, while she didn't love Robert, she wasn't killing them because they shamed her, she was having them killed because they looked like Robert while Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen didn't, and that led credibility to Stannis' claims of Cersei and Jaime's incest.

In fact, it's quite useful to keep bastards around; Roose Bolton cares not a whit for Ramsay Snow, until his last trueborn son dies. With Dominic's death, the Bolton line looks at its end, until Roose arranges to have his bastard legitimized, and thus, House Bolton can continue (even if he doesn't particularly like his (ex-)bastard sons actions). And being remembered as the guy who let his house die out because he couldn't have one more child is a far worse reputation than having a kid on the wrong side of the sheets.

BeardedDork wrote:But you did hit on the point of the bastard name, you aren't saying anything about the father, could be anybody, lord or baker.


No, not anybody. It has to be a noble, and unless the baker, porter, of stableboy is also a noble, the babe may be a bastard, but doesn't get the name.

Note too, it doesn't have to be the father that's a noble. A bastard born of a noblewoman to a commoner father would also get the regional bastard name.

BeardedDork wrote:Edit: reviewing the Bastards on A wiki of Ice and Fire we can see that if a Bastard's father can be narrowed down to belonging t a single house which is usually going to be the case if only highborn sire bastards with Bastard's names, they are often but not always styled as "The Bastard of _____"


I don't know if we can read a whole lot from those. Sure, it might be useful as a way to clarify who Ser Daemon Sand or Ser Rollard Storm are affiliated with, but I don't know if just having that sort of stylization means anything, except convenience. That said, those bastards probably are more accepted, given that they have some position of importance in their houses, but they are ones they earned by knighthood, rather than blood.

Note too, that those aren't titles to be earned, just nicknames, akin to "The Mountain That Rides" or "The Bold".

BeardedDork wrote:We also see at least one example of a bastard with a Bastard's name not sired by a highborn, Walys Flowers .


Walys' mother was a Hightower. Again, only one parent need be noble, not just the father.
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Re: Natural Children

Postby Zorbeltuss » Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:46 pm

Of "known" bastards of Robert:
Mya Stone, more or less openly known at the Eyrie who the father was, he even played with the little kid.
Gendry, Bella and Berra does not have the bastard name, though the last two had whores for mothers, so that may not count.
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Re: Natural Children

Postby DaimosofRedstone » Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:32 pm

We actually will not be able to decide this, since information seems to be insufficient.
We have a lot of Bastards were we do not know if they had highbron parents, but who still carry a bastard name:
Tristan Rivers
Plenty of people in the Nightwatch who seem to be bastards (Cotter Pyke, Jafer Flowers, Donnel Hill, who claims Lannister ancestry but this is never confirmed, Tim Stone)
Some knights of the Kingsguard and numerous mercenaries.

In a lot of these cases we know either nothing about ancestry or only something about one (not noble) parent.
This proves nothing unfortunately.


Though i must say i still do not see why one would divide bastards in noble and not-noble. The very essence of bastardy means that parenting is uncertain at best and genetics will not always be as telling as with Robert.
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Re: Natural Children

Postby Kajani » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:41 pm

I think it is perhaps a question which has a lot to do with personal or family-opinions. People or houses which are more bound to the faith or have a special code of honour surely take such things much more serious, even before marriage.


Spoiler Dance with Dragons

Quentyn Martell for example seem to have "reserved" making his first intimate experiences with a woman to his bride-to-be Daenerys… and he was a man from Drone, were things – as far as I could seen – are handled a little bit more relaxed. I ask myself if this covers also the behaviour of dornish noble women, some hints seem to suggest they are more likely to “allowed” to have not legitimised relationships.
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Re: Natural Children

Postby DaimosofRedstone » Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:57 am

Another logical hiccup i stumbled over:
If i understand it correct the reasoning of coldwind among others is that only noble bastards get the 'vegetation'-bastard surnames.
Thats easy enough with female nobles, i understand how that works.

But with suppossed male noble parents i do not see how that works. In an age of no paternity tests there is no way to ever be sure.
So this bastard names are either, under the 'only-for-half-nobles'-clause, results of the persuasion skills of the mother ("No, it was not the swineherd, it was LORD Stark!") and a do not care attitude of the noble OR it is practically an informal acknowledgement of paternity which would give those names a legal dimension i did not see before.
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Re: Natural Children

Postby Kajani » Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:16 am

I think, there many depends of the circumstances. In several cases it may be more or less clear, if a noble man has a lowborn consort or how you call that for a significant time and the child is known as sired or born during this time. The family-ties in the rural areas are strong, the communities are small, and surely in many cases everyone knows which woman is bedded (with her will or against) by a local noble, may it be the lord or one of his relatives.
I think also that many nobles make now secret out of their activities… Similar if the child has much in common with the father (like the lovely Bolton-bastard, which has earned the wonderful eyes and also the charming character from his father). In other cases you are absolutely right, for example if father and mother meet only once or if the mother has (or is called to be) sleeping with different men.
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Re: Natural Children

Postby DaimosofRedstone » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:03 am

So the bastard-surname would maybe a matter of appearances, of assumed fatherhood rather than bastardy as such?
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Re: Natural Children

Postby Zorbeltuss » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:08 am

Might be that if you have that bastard name, you have rights such as demanding trial (by combat if need be). Provided you can reasonably prove your parentage.
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Re: Natural Children

Postby DaimosofRedstone » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:26 am

Which a bastard has no way to, unless his sire were to acknowledge him, which then again would attach legal meaning to fact that you claim that name alone.
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Re: Natural Children

Postby Flagg » Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:22 pm

Sorry for the thread necromancy, but this corpse is still fairly fresh.

This article, while not necessarily definitive, has a detailed take on the issue:

http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Bastard
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Re: Natural Children

Postby Paedrig » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:55 am

Hm...
There is still the question where they get their information concerning the question smallfolk/noble bastards... :-?

The rpg rule books are a little bit uncertain concerning this matter... :evil: (there are examples and sayings which can interpreted in several ways)
And for the moment i do not know if Martin had stated something explicit...
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Re: Natural Children

Postby BeardedDork » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:26 am

That article has shamefully little sourcing. The only source given for the entire article is the episode "You Win or You Die" which definitely never said anything definitive on the subject.
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Re: Natural Children

Postby Flagg » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:24 pm

Sure, but it seems to fit the evidence at hand nicely, doesn't it?

That is to say, it's the best explanation I've come across.
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Re: Natural Children

Postby Tao Jones » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:40 pm

Call me biased, but it makes sense to me!
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Re: Natural Children

Postby DaimosofRedstone » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:15 am

It makes sense.
It is not the only possible way out of the dilemma and it leaves open the question how the bastard names are 'policed' (if the father is noble it would either require some sort of informal recognition or on the other extreme, there would be a lot of bastard named children from single mothers, since being the lord's by-blow is better than the cobbler's).
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Re: Natural Children

Postby Tao Jones » Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:58 pm

I'm confused as to what is confusing you? If the noble father recognizes the child, it gets a bastard surname based on its mother's heritage. The noble father is only really likely to do so if the mother has some kind of noble blood as well, since otherwise he can just deny it up and down and nobody will care or believe the accuser. The nobles police themselves when they have to in order to avoid making enemies of another house.
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Re: Natural Children

Postby devilsgrin » Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:10 pm

Tao Jones wrote:I'm confused as to what is confusing you? If the noble father recognizes the child, it gets a bastard surname based on its mother's heritage. The noble father is only really likely to do so if the mother has some kind of noble blood as well, since otherwise he can just deny it up and down and nobody will care or believe the accuser. The nobles police themselves when they have to in order to avoid making enemies of another house.


and yet the claim that the mother also has to be noble too is completely overwhelmed by the almost endless parade of very low-born women who've had acknowledged bastards with nobles. Those of Robert Baratheon in particular. Only one of his bastards is of noble blood on his mother's side, Edric Storm. Mya Stone however is the daughter of a smallfolk peasant. Not to mention all the Frey bastards. It may be a choice to acknowledge, but the nobles seem unlikely to deny it too much - i imagine only in cases where they have issues with succession would such claims be denied.
Yes the nobles police themselves. But aside from noble women, there is no significant stigma in westeros for a noble to father a bastard. Women may suffer, but Delana Florent married well enough after Edric's birth.
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Re: Natural Children

Postby Zorbeltuss » Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:18 am

Robert only ever acknowledged Edric Storm, Mya Stone being a stone mostly because everyone knew.

Put it this way:
A man is expected to acknowledge bastards, and provide for the child (and possibly mother, since she now is soiled), if the mother is high born. But he may acknowledge any others should he feel like it, and provide for them should he feel like it.

Ramsay Snow, for instance, was only acknowledged because the mother blackmailed Roose (Because he raped her and he didn't want any trouble with Ned).
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