Traditional Andal-First Men thinking stresses prejudice against bastards, especially those born of nobles. Pragmatically, the practice ensures that inheritance is based solely on “pure” blood descent. A bastard presents a dangerous alternative line for the succession to a seat and undermines the dowries and alliances that play strong roles in the formation of marriage pacts. Accordingly, bastards as a class are assigned evil traits: bastards are “born of lust and weakness”, “thieves or worse”, and “treacherous by nature”, with treason coming as easily to bastards as loyalty does to trueborn men.
Nevertheless, Westerosi history has seen several instances where bastard lines have risen to lordly and even royal status. Benedict Rivers was born the bastard son of a Bracken and a Blackwood, but through his martial prowess rose to become the first of the Justman river kings. Alyn Velaryon, born the bastard son of (legally) Laenor Velaryon, was adopted by Lord Corlys and legitimized during the Dance of the Dragons; the great admiral became the ancestor of the modern House Velaryon.
With this competing historical precedent – bastards as a reviled class in Andal-First Men tradition, yet able to take when close heirs are lacking – one Westerosi seat may see a bastard-line claimant take it in The Winds of Winter. It is currently held by Lannister-Baratheon loyalists, yet the current holders might find that the pretender to that seat, a champion of a rival king, has a firm interest in taking back what “by rights” might belong to him. Alternately, it may be that the Lannister queen herself finds a bastard guardian of her city has turned cloak, relying on old family loyalties to support an invading conqueror.
Welcome to the next installment of Heirs in the Shadows. In this series, BryndenBFish and I will examine a number of individuals who may press blood claims to different Westerosi seats, and the arguments and tactics various plotters will use to install their chosen pawns in these places. Part 1 of this series looked at the Young Lion, Tyrek Lannister, as a probable puppet Lord of Casterly Rock under Aegon VI. Part 2 focused on the Stark loyalist Olyvar Frey as a potential Lord or regent of Rosby. Part 3 will examine an ancient Westerosi seat, and candidates for the bastard claimant who might make it his own. Continue reading