The marriage of the fourth Targaryen monarch Jaehaerys I and his sister-wife Queen Alysanne is considered to be full of love and mutual respect.

In The World of Ice and Fire, it is mentioned that:

Two estrangements are recorded but they did not last more than a year or two before the pair resumed their customary friendship. The Second quarrel is of note, as it was due to Jaehaerys' decision of 92 A.C. to pass over his granddaughter Rhaenys - the daughter of his deceased eldest son and heir, Prince Aemon - in favor of bestowing Dragonstone and place of heir apparent to his second eldest son, Baelon the Brave.

Alysanne saw no reason why a man should be preferred over a woman. And if Jaehaerys thought women of less use, then he would have no need of her.

The second quarrel continued for two years and was ended in 94 AC with intervention of their daughter Septa Maegelle (Formerly styled as Princess Maegelle Targaryen).

However, I could find no mention of the first quarrel.

Question

My Question(s) are:

  1. What was it about and how long did it last?
  2. What made them reconcile after the first quarrel?

Possible leads

The following may help you in finding the answer.

  1. It was before 92 AC (duh!).
  2. It must have been mentioned somewhere in The World of Ice and Fire but apparently I can't find it. After searching a lot now, it appears that it may have never been mentioned (yet) but I am not sure.
  3. The first quarrel must have spanned over a period of no more than two years1
  4. It may have been about the decision to give away Prince Vaegon to the citadel for training as a maester at a young age. This is my speculation.
  5. It may have been about the decision to give away Princess Maegelle to the Faith. This is also my speculation.
  6. It may have been about death of their daughter Princess Viserra in a drunken horse race. Again, my speculation.
  7. It may have been about the decision to give Princess Saera to the faith against her will. The Princess escaped from Westeros and went to Essos, never to return. This is my speculation.
  8. Also, As suggested by S.Fruggiero, It is also plausible that first quarrel may have erupted when Wildlings attacked the Wall. Jaehaerys flew to aid of Night's Watch on his dragon along with Alysanne where they defeated the wildling host. It is possible that Jaehaerys may have wanted Alysanne to stay behind in safety of Red Keep while the Queen wanted to take a part in defense of the realm.

Reasoning for speculations

You may ignore the following if you don't wish to consider the possible leads I provided.

It is unclear how much role did Alysanne play in sending away her children to institutes like the Citadel or the Faith so it is plausible she may have resented such decisions, especially as they were made when the children were very young and in Saera's case, against her will.

Alysanne held great sway in court and often influenced decisions of the state but it is unclear if these decisions were made with her consent. Jaehaerys is known to be a wise King and he must have known what one of his descendants, King Daeron II said centuries later:

Too many dragons are just as dangerous as too few.

So for the good of the realm, Jaehaerys would be expected to dispatch his spare children (As line of succession was safe in lives of his eldest sons; Princes Aemon and Baelon) to orders like Citadel or the Faith, putting an end to their claims and minimizing the possibility of a war of succession. In such decisions, Jaehaerys did not even listen to Alysanne, such as his decision to passover their grand-daughter Rhaenys as he might have suspected that Westeros was not ready for a female monarch (Which proved to be true decades later when Dance of the Dragons started between two factions of House Targaryen).

So it is very much possible that Jaehaerys may have made those decisions unilaterally, without taking Alysanne on board, therefore causing the first Quarrel.


1. Alysanne and Jaehaerys are said to have married in 50 AC and they remained married for 46 years. Which makes one think that Alysanne died in 96 AC, ending their marriage. That is however incorrect as Alysanne died in either 100 AC or 99 AC as it is stated that Alysanne died within a year of suicide of Princess Gael, which happened in 99 AC. The 46-years marriage only stands true if we minus the years of their estrangement. As we know for sure, second quarrel last for two years, that brings us to 98 AC. If She died in 99 AC, the first quarrel must have lasted a year or less. Otherwise If She died in 100 AC, it must have lasted for two. See the Citadel thread on this topic. Also see the AWOIAF page.

  • I always thought the first quarrel was about Jaehaerys refusal to let Alysanne go to the wall because he feared for her safety, but she went anyway. I cannot remember why I have this thought, so I may have inferred it instead of directly reading it. Add this to "speculations" for now. – Firebat Sep 9 '16 at 0:54
  • @S.Fruggiero That is plausible but seeing as Jaehaerys could be very stern if the circumstances required, I don't see how could even Alysanne defy him if he had made up his mind that Alysanne was not going with him to stop the wildlings. But it is still plausible. – Aegon Sep 9 '16 at 6:23
  • i remeber reading about this "argument" in one of the books. Dont know witch one but it is when the stark kids (or bran and co) are running north and stop at a keep. the keep is describes as a place where aly spent the night before going on to the wall. "the gift" is explained and the second gift too. I'm pretty sure it is there that a mention of this is given. maybe by bran reteling one of nans stories or some such. – Cherubel Sep 9 '16 at 10:32
  • @Cherubel No Bran was right about that but There was no argument there IIRC. Alysanne did sway Jaehaerys to double the gift and convince Lord Stark to give up the New Gift. She gave the NW her own jewels as well from which they built one (or two?) new castles. The keep was a Tower, called Queenscrown. – Aegon Sep 9 '16 at 10:36
  • 1
    Oh gosh. You're making me dig deep here mate. The most I can find is basically the parts which you've already found. The only clue though would be something to do with her wanting "First Night" to be abolished (which Jaehaerys agreed to). I'd say if they estranged, they would have been reconciled by Barth. – Möoz Sep 12 '16 at 3:49
up vote 5 down vote accepted
+50

What was it about?

After the death of Princess Viserra (and Daella and Alyssa a few years before) Alysanne decided to approach Jaehaerys about Saera asking him to let her come home. The kings words to her were so harsh they fell out and so the king went off on business to the westerlands and the queen went to Dragonstone to mourn for her daughters.

It was the hour of the wolf, the darkest time of the night, when it fell to Ser Ryam Redwyne of the Kingsguard to rouse the king and queen from their sleep to tell them that their daughter had been found dead in an alley at the foot of Aegon’s High Hill.

[...]

Though Jaehaerys had forbidden it, Alysanne had defied his edict and secretly engaged agents to keep watch over her wayward child across the narrow sea. Saera was still in Lys, she knew from their reports, still at the pleasure garden. Now twenty years of age, she oft entertained her admirers still garbed as a novice of the Faith; there were evidently a good many Lyseni who took pleasure in ravishing innocent young women who had taken vows of chastity, even when the innocence was feigned.

It was her grief over the loss of Princess Viserra that finally drove the queen to approach Jaehaerys about Saera once again. She brought Septon Barth along with her, to speak on the virtues of forgiveness and the healing properties of time. Only when Barth had finished did Her Grace mention Saera’s name. “Please,” she begged the king, “it is time to bring her home. She has been punished enough, surely. She is our daughter.”

Jaehaerys would not be moved. “She is a Lyseni whore,” His Grace replied. “She opened her legs for half my court, threw anold woman down the steps, and tried to steal a dragon. What more do you require? Have you given any thought as to how she got to Lys? She had no coin. How do think she paid for her passage?”

The queen cringed at the harshness of his words, but still she would not yield. “If you will not bring Saera home for love of her, bring her home for love of me. I need her.”

“You need her as a Dornishman needs a pit viper,” Jaehaerys said. “I am sorry. King’s Landing has sufficient whores. I do not wish to hear her name again.” With those words, he rose to leave, but at the door he halted and turned back. “We have been together since we were children. I know you as well as you know me. Right now you are thinking that you do not need my leave to bring her home, that you can take Silverwing and fly to Lys yourself. What would you do then, visit her in her pleasure garden? Do you imagine she will fly into your arms and beg forgiveness? She is more like to slap your face. And what will the Lyseni do, if you try and make off with one of their whores? She has value to them. How much do you think it costs to lay with a Targaryen princess? At best they will demand a ransom for her. At worst they may decide to keep you too. What will you do then, shout for Silverwing to burn their city down? Would you have me send Aemon and Baelon with an army, to see if they can prise her free? You want her, yes, I hear you, you need her…but she does not need you, or me, or Westeros. She is dead. Bury her.”

Queen Alysanne did not fly to Lys, but neither did she ever quite forgive the king for the words he spoke that day. Plans had been under way for some time for the two of them to make another progress the following year, returning to the westerlands for the first time in twenty years. Shortly after their falling out, the queen informed Jaehaerys that he should go alone. She was going back to Dragonstone, alone, to grieve for their dead daughters.

Fire & Blood, "The Long Reign, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Policy, Progeny, and Pain"

What made them reconcile after the first quarrel?

Jaehaerys finally ended up in Oldtown after travelling around for a long while. There he visited his daughter Septa Maegelle who persuaded him to make up with the queen because of Rhaenys marriage the following year.

His journeys finally ended in Oldtown, where he visited with his daughter Septa Maegelle, was blessed by the High Septon and feasted by the Conclave, and enjoyed a tourney staged in his honor by Lord Hightower. Ser Ryam Redwyne again emerged as champion.

The maesters of that time referred to the estrangement betwixt the king and queen as the Great Rift. The passage of time, and a subsequent quarrel that was near as bitter, gave it a new name: the First Quarrel. That is how it is known to this day. We shall speak of the Second Quarrel in good time.

It was Septa Maegelle who bridged the Rift. “This is foolish, Father,” she said to him. “Rhaenys is to be married next year, and it should be a great occasion. She will want all of us there, including both you and Mother. The archmaesters call you the Conciliator, I have heard. It is time that you conciliated.”

The scolding had the desired effect. A fortnight later, King Jaehaerys returned at last to King’s Landing, and Queen Alysanne returned from her own self-imposed exile on Dragonstone. What words passed between them we can never know, but for a good while afterward they were once again as close as they had been before.

Fire & Blood, "The Long Reign, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Policy, Progeny, and Pain"

How long did it last?

It appears to have lasted for 2 years maximum, from sometime early on in 88 AC to sometime 89 AC.

Viserra died in 87 AC and the queen mourned with Maegelle for the rest of the year.

Despite their differences, the loss of Princess Viserra was devastating to the queen. In the space of five years, the gods had taken three of her daughters: Daella in 82 AC, Alyssa in 84 AC, Viserra in 87 AC. Prince Baelon was greatly distraught as well, wondering if he should have spoken to his sister less brusquely the night he found her naked in his bed. Though he and Aemon were a comfort to the king and queen in their time of grief, along with Aemon’s wife, the Lady Jocelyn, and their daughter, Rhaenys, it was to her own remaining daughters that Alysanne turned for solace.

Maegelle, twenty-five years of age and a septa, took leave from her sept to stay with her mother for the rest of that year, and Princess Gael, a sweet, shy child of seven, became the queen’s constant shadow and support, even sharing her bed at night. The queen took strength from their presence…but even so, more and more she found her thoughts turning to the daughter who was not with her.

Fire & Blood, "The Long Reign, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Policy, Progeny, and Pain"

The argument then happens in 88 AC just before Jaehaerys sets off for Casterly Rock.

And so it was that Jaehaerys Targaryen flew to Casterly Rock and the other great seats of the west alone in 88 AC.

Fire & Blood, "The Long Reign, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Policy, Progeny, and Pain"

We know that Rhaenys was married in 90 AC and so the king and queen must have made up in 89 AC as they made up when she was to be married the following year.

It was Septa Maegelle who bridged the Rift. “This is foolish, Father,” she said to him. “Rhaenys is to be married next year, and it should be a great occasion. She will want all of us there, including both you and Mother. The archmaesters call you the Conciliator, I have heard. It is time that you conciliated.”

The scolding had the desired effect. A fortnight later, King Jaehaerys returned at last to King’s Landing, and Queen Alysanne returned from her own self-imposed exile on Dragonstone. What words passed between them we can never know, but for a good while afterward they were once again as close as they had been before.

In the 90th year after Aegon’s Conquest, the king and queen shared one of their last good times together, as they celebrated the wedding of their eldest grandchild, Princess Rhaenys, to Corlys Velaryon of Driftmark, Lord of the Tides.

Fire & Blood, "The Long Reign, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Policy, Progeny, and Pain"

  • 2
    Excellent answer! – Möoz Nov 20 at 20:39

Unknown.

There's literally no evidence provided as to what the first tiff was or wasn't about. Elio Garcia even confirmed to me on Twitter that the author George R. R. Martin hasn't mentioned anything about this first quarrel (or how/when it was resolved).

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It probably doesn't really matter, however, it could be the fact that Queen Alysanne pushed King Jaehaerys to abolish the ritual of "First Night".


I've trawled the following books:

  • A Song of Ice and Fire series
    • A Game of Thrones
    • A Clash of Kings
    • A Storm of Swords
    • A Feast for Crows
    • A Dance of Dragons
  • Dunk and Egg Novellas
    • The Hedge Knight
    • The Sworn Sword
    • The Mystery Knight
  • The World of Ice and Fire

I've also searched the following areas:

But to no avail.


The only clue which we get is the fact that Queen Alysanne wanted King Jaehaerys to abolish the ritual known as First Night.

This would have been a pain-point and contentious for Jaehaerys due to the fact that many of the lords - as you could imagine - were opposed to the abolition of their "right" to First Night (and still are).

If this was the reason for their quarrel, and they were subsequently reconciled, it may have been with the help of Septon Barth or their daughter Septa Maegelle.

Septon Barth
was King Jaehaerys' most trusted adviser, dearest friend and Hand. It was said about Barth:

Yet if Alysanne was Jaehaerys’s great love, his greatest friend was Septon Barth.
-The World of Ice and Fire, Jaehaerys I.

Barth was also extremely tactful and diplomatic, he was after all the one who settled the millennia-long feud between the Brackens and Blackwoods.

Septon Maegella
was the daughter of King Jaehaerys and Queen Alysanne. She was the one who reconciled the "Second Quarrel"; it's entirely possible she was the one who settled the first one as well.

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