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The Onion and the Duck


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#1 James Arryn

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:06 AM

Much has been rightly made of Stannis Baratheon's prioritizing character and proven loyalty over status and political experience when he promoted Davos Seaworth, former smuggler from Flea Bottom, to knight and then Hand.

In this Stannis showed himself to be able to isolate his priorities in the position, and award it to Davos as a result. In doing so he noted the men of status and experience who had nevertheless proved unable or disloyal in the position. It was a shrewd and meritocratic decision by Stannis, the result of years of leadership.

Much less if anything has been said about Aegon's decision to promote Rolly Duckfield, a blacksmith's son from Bitterneidge to his Kingsguard. In this decision he follows exactly the same reasoning as Stannis with Davos, prioritizing character and proven loyalty over status and experience. And, like Stannis, he uses historical examples to illustrate his reasoning. When JonCon says that though Duck is a good man and true, he is not from a great family or proven as much more than a decent fighter, Aegon responds that Jaime Lannister was a great fighter from a very noble family.

Isn't that an even more remarkable decision for an 18 year old boy?

We may or may not believe every detail of Varys' speech to Kevan, but I think we all agree Aegon was raised as Varys was raised as Varys says he was, and for the reasons Varys gives. He wanted a King who understands that you earn a crown, who understands that his people are more important than his status, and that the world can be a very hard place.

I think this choice has been talked about in terms of how skilled Duck is with a blade, etc. but I have seen little discussion of what this choice says about Aegon. In my mind, this is very alike with what is praised in Stannis, and is very supportive of the kind of man Varys describes to Kevan. It has risks, but there are 6 more positions open and his first makes a statement: proven loyalty and character are more important than status or repute.

#2 Leonardo

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:30 AM

Aegon is going to have more cunning than Varys and crew ever imagined, or at least he won't be as easily controlled as the crew might think. Then again, knowing Varys he may have anticipated this.

 

It also is a huge parallel with Dunk and Egg, and arguably moreso than any parallel with Stannis. What's important about a Kingsguard in the end isn't his skill with a blade or his ties to great houses, it's his ability to lay his life down for the king he serves.

 

I agree it rings of Stannis though, especially the Stannis we have seen recently in the North, who is far more compromising than the one that attacked KL at the battle of the blackwater.

 

However, I think Aegon being very capable reminds me all too much of Robb, and it is hard not to expect the same fate for him, or something similar to his fate. If Aegon's actions ring of Stannis, I count that as a point in Stannis' favor rather than Aegon's, who still seems far too idealistic to sit the throne. I like Aegon as a character and feel it is irrelevant what his parentage is when dragons aren't a factor in Westeros currently and may not be for years, but he is a king for summer and for plenty rather than one for winter and for scarcity, much like Renly, who also would have been a great summer king. Renly raised Brienne to what is effectively Kingsguard, setting a precedent for the future as to what being a kingsguard/rainbow guard entailed. By doing so he also pretty much knighted her, as no Kingsguard who wasn't a knight has ever served to my knowledge.


Edited by Leonardo, 25 June 2014 - 03:30 AM.


#3 The Sleeper

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:48 AM

I think you are attributing rationale which is not necessarily there, particularly since the character in question took all of five minutes to adopt entitled princeling behavior five minutes after he was outed. I think he made him his kingsguard because Duck was familiar doted on him and would be unlikely to give him a hard time. If he wanted Duck as a bodyguard (of which there is no proof he is any good at), he could have simply made him his sworn shield, or something, there was no need to give him a cloak. JC is right, the kingsguard are not just bodyguards. They are meant to add prestige to the person they are supposed to guard and we have seen quite a few examples in the series where they act as councilors and representatives of the king in military and in diplomatic situations. So, really bad call.

 

As for loyalty, Aegon will have to work with people whose agenda goes beyond worshiping the ground he walks on. It's a sad fact of life.



#4 Leonardo

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:52 AM

I think you are attributing rationale which is not necessarily there, particularly since the character in question took all of five minutes to adopt entitled princeling behavior five minutes after he was outed. I think he made him his kingsguard because Duck was familiar doted on him and would be unlikely to give him a hard time. If he wanted Duck as a bodyguard (of which there is no proof he is any good at), he could have simply made him his sworn shield, or something, there was no need to give him a cloak. JC is right, the kingsguard are not just bodyguards. They are meant to add prestige to the person they are supposed to guard and we have seen quite a few examples in the series where they act as councilors and representatives of the king in military and in diplomatic situations. So, really bad call.

 

As for loyalty, Aegon will have to work with people whose agenda goes beyond worshiping the ground he walks on. It's a sad fact of life.

 

Which is why it's so important for one of the men tasked with guarding his life to be one he trusts, so how is that a bad call with six more vacancies left on the list?

 

There aren't any better candidates at this point in the story anyways. Jaime and Loras are easily two of the best candidates in terms of his ability and whacky prestige, but are almost certainly going to be some of the deaths occurred when Aegon takes power/the throne.

 

Almost all of the most prestigious members of the kingsguard were chosen on strengths of arms, martial/command ability or character anyways, so your argument that JC was totally in the right is flawed right there. 



#5 The Sleeper

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:03 AM

 

Which is why it's so important for one of the men tasked with guarding his life to be one he trusts, so how is that a bad call with six more vacancies left on the list?

 

There aren't any better candidates at this point in the story anyways. Jaime and Loras are easily two of the best candidates in terms of his ability and whacky prestige, but are almost certainly going to be some of the deaths occurred when Aegon takes power/the throne.

 

Almost all of the most prestigious members of the kingsguard were chosen on strengths of arms, martial/command ability or character anyways, so your argument that JC was totally in the right is flawed right there. 

I believe I have covered your first objection by mentioning that he could have kept him as a sworn shield. Making him kingsguard could dissuade others form serving with him.

 

He also does not need a kingsguard right away. As for bodyguards he has the whole GC to chose from and as a mere bodyguard Duck would probably do.

 

You did mention the important word, prestige. Duck has none. It also doesn't mean that every kingsguard line up is a good one. Aerys' was basically ideal and Renly's was excellent too. Duck wouldn't go anywhere near them.



#6 Leonardo

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:08 AM

I believe I have covered your first objection by mentioning that he could have kept him as a sworn shield. Making him kingsguard could dissuade others form serving with him.

 

He also does not need a kingsguard right away. As for bodyguards he has the whole GC to chose from and as a mere bodyguard Duck would probably do.

 

You did mention the important word, prestige. Duck has none. It also doesn't mean that every kingsguard line up is a good one. Aerys' was basically ideal and Renly's was excellent too. Duck wouldn't go anywhere near them.

 

All that's needed to end that:

 

Ser Duncan the Tall

 

Egg was one of the most beloved and widely acknowledged competent rulers of Westeros', and his pick for KG was Dunk, because of loyalty and trust, the exact reasons Aegon picked Duck.

 

I agree he didn't need the Kingsguard right away, but having a Kingsguard also helps legitimize him as a possible ruler for Westeros and there weren't a lot of choices at the time.

 

Prestige is pretty far from being the most important quality in a kingsguard, as Barristan himself proves. Most of his greater deeds weren't accomplished until he was given the white cloak, and the same can be said of other members of the Kingsguard like Arthur Dayne. I think prestige is also more important to Aegon's KG than many of  the previous kings as, like I said, just having one helps legitimize his claim a bit, but it certainly wasn't a factor in the choosing of most of Aerys' KG from what we see, which was one of your major citations.



#7 The Sleeper

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:28 AM

 

All that's needed to end that:

 

Ser Duncan the Tall

 

Egg was one of the most beloved and widely acknowledged competent rulers of Westeros', and his pick for KG was Dunk, because of loyalty and trust, the exact reasons Aegon picked Duck.

 

I agree he didn't need the Kingsguard right away, but having a Kingsguard also helps legitimize him as a possible ruler for Westeros and there weren't a lot of choices at the time.

 

Prestige is pretty far from being the most important quality in a kingsguard, as Barristan himself proves. Most of his greater deeds weren't accomplished until he was given the white cloak, and the same can be said of other members of the Kingsguard like Arthur Dayne. I think prestige is also more important to Aegon's KG than many of  the previous kings as, like I said, just having one helps legitimize his claim a bit, but it certainly wasn't a factor in the choosing of most of Aerys' KG from what we see, which was one of your major citations.

Duck is not Dunk. Not by a longshot

 

  1. Who says that naming Dunk to the kingsguard was a politically astute thing to do?
  2. In the tales we have stopped to the point where Egg was eleven and Dunk about twenty when we left them in the story. By the time Egg was crowned, Dunk could have built a formidable reputation.
  3. While Dunk's skill left a lot to be desired, he more than overcompensated for that physically. Duck is not much better than Aegon himself. There is not much evidence that Duck is any better than decent.

Barristan had already distinguished himself in tourneys and earned his cloak by slaying Maelys the Monstrous in single combat, who apparently was the size of the Hound. Arthur Dayne himself wielded the most famous sword in Westeros getting Dawn is not hereditary. Again, not every kingsguard choice ever made is a good one or made for the right reasons, but still the ones the two full line ups we have that serve its functions best are Aerys' and Renly's.

 

A prestigious kingsguard later would serve him better than a poor one now. Duck when it comes down to it is a sellsword. He is not going to win him any points.



#8 Leonardo

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:37 AM

Agreed, though picking Brienne wasn't winning Renly any points(and in fact lost him a decent bit because it reduces the prestige of the rest), and neither was picking Jaime Lannister, they were both just able and loyal swords at the time, and in Jaime's case a powerful bargaining chip and spite to Tywin.

 

He has 6 more positions, and having at least one man among them who is totally trustworthy is a good idea, and like I said echoes Egg's pick of Dunk the lunk.

 

Also, Jaeherys picked Barristan for the kingsguard, so he's not even really Aerys' kingsguard pick in truth. Aegon doesn't have the fortune of inheriting any previous KG, and certainly not of any real standard.



#9 Hodor the Articulate

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 05:13 AM

There is a downside to inducting baseborns into the KG, in that you risk political relationships. Both Davos and Dunk had trouble when treating with lords, either because they weren't eloquent enough or simply because the lords don't respect them enough to listen (though being in the KG probably elevates your status considerably). You also lose the potential of the position to make and maintain alliances. This is more of a problem for someone like Aegon, than Stannis or Egg, because he's doesn't have any existing alliances.


Edited by Hodor the Articulate, 25 June 2014 - 05:15 AM.


#10 Jaak

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 05:25 AM

If Aegon is holding out for Daenerys to marry him, does he recognize the Queensguard spots? Daenerys has never bothered to fill all 7 - she is at 5. Were late Commander Jorah and the now commander Arstan/Barristan members simultaneously? If yes, it would have made 6, leaving 1 vacancy for ser Kingslayer, but I´m not sure she would have taken the mere squire as Queensguard.

 

Her bloodriders Aggo, Jhogo and Rakharo, and the eunuch Strong Belwas, have never been knighted even though ser Barristan is available for that. If Aegon were to count Daenerys´ 5 towards his 7, then he has only 1 other vacancy to fill besides Duck.


Edited by Jaak, 25 June 2014 - 05:25 AM.


#11 The Bittersteel

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 05:29 AM

I think it's ultimately a good decision but at the moment he's not really passing anyone over is he? Stannis has loads of options to choose over Davos, as far as I'm aware Aegon's pool is really rather limited and what Jon Con is saying is to save the positions for later.  



#12 Rhaenys_Targaryen

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 05:30 AM

Aegon seems to have chosen Duck because he trusts him. That's important, that you trust the person who is supposed to protect your life in battle. We don't know if Aegon choose Dunk or whether Maekar did that. But chosing Duck was a sound decision of Aegon.

 

Now that Aegon is outed as a Prince, and future King, I imagine he'll make more decisions for himself. All his life, decisions were made for him, but now he get's to make decisions for himself.. He might surprise everyone with his reasoning, though I suppose some if his decisions might be reckless due to his youth. 

 

It is silly that the KG should only be filled with highborns, of course. But the reason that JonCon seems to want to keep as many spots open as is possible, is to lure the highborns to Aegon's cause, by promising their sons a spot on the KG. You can hardly do that when there is no spot to promise. 

 

Rolly could be to Aegon VI what Dunk was to Aegon V: a companion who has trained the Prince/King, who is trusted by the Prince/King, and who is intend on keeping said Prince/King alive against all costs.



#13 Hodor the Articulate

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 05:39 AM

If Aegon is holding out for Daenerys to marry him, does he recognize the Queensguard spots? Daenerys has never bothered to fill all 7 - she is at 5. Were late Commander Jorah and the now commander Arstan/Barristan members simultaneously? If yes, it would have made 6, leaving 1 vacancy for ser Kingslayer, but I´m not sure she would have taken the mere squire as Queensguard.

 

Her bloodriders Aggo, Jhogo and Rakharo, and the eunuch Strong Belwas, have never been knighted even though ser Barristan is available for that. If Aegon were to count Daenerys´ 5 towards his 7, then he has only 1 other vacancy to fill besides Duck.

She has much less than 5. Her Bloodriders don't count as QG, and Jorah was sent away, though I don't remember if he was ever in her QG either (I don't think he was).



#14 rodrik Cassel

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 05:54 AM

I think it is a better move to shift pieces of land around then to name someones son a kg (espacially while their is more then one KG around)

for me it is better to put some men in the KG who realy will stand your ground for you no matter what (like dunk,duck or whose else name starts with a d in the story)



#15 The Sleeper

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 05:56 AM

Dany has three spots left. Barry has knighted three of his former slave charges. I'd be scared of them. They are utterly loyal to Dany, they are arguably the cream of the crop of what Meereen has to offer in terms of potential and are being trained Barry himself, who compares one's natural talent to Jaime's, considers the other an already deadly fighter and deems the Red Lamb's ferocity enough to knight him.



#16 Rhaenys_Targaryen

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 06:08 AM

Dany has three spots left. Barry has knighted three of his former slave charges. I'd be scared of them. They are utterly loyal to Dany, they are arguably the cream of the crop of what Meereen has to offer in terms of potential and are being trained Barry himself, who compares one's natural talent to Jaime's, considers the other an already deadly fighter and deems the Red Lamb's ferocity enough to knight him.

He knighted them, but only Dany can name them to the KG, and she hasn't done so yet. They might be on the list of candidates, though. But they would indeed be fiercely loyal to Dany.



#17 Paper Waver

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 07:01 AM

I think that decision of fAegon was too soon, as Tywin had commented about the appointment of JonCon as the Hand of Aerys. This is in accordance with old JonCon's idea that fAegon risks too much rather recklessly for a quick victory.

 

First of all, fAegon trusts Duck and Duck loves the boy. I think he does not need a KG vow to protect him with his life. With so many men to fight his wars and expect their prizes, fAegon should not have hurried in making Duck a KG.

 

He could have waited for some noble sons of Lords who declared for fAegon and Duck could have earned the White Cloak on a battlefield. This way, no noble member of the KG could object to his appointment.


Edited by Paper Waver, 25 June 2014 - 07:01 AM.


#18 Rhaenys_Targaryen

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 07:26 AM

Though there is something to be said for Duck caring about Aegon enough not to be needing any KG vows, isn't it logical that you appoint someone you'd trust blindly as your LC, when the other spots will most likely be filled with men you'll barely know, and whose families you are convincing to fight for you partly by giving a spot in your KG to their sons?



#19 Paper Waver

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 07:42 AM

But Duck will always be with him like a sworn sword. One of the thins Eustace remembered fondly of Daemon was that he had a great company of knights, all nobleborn. fAegon should have a noble company instead of merely sellswords.



#20 The Poster Who Was Promisd

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 07:45 AM

Renly raised Brienne to what is effectively Kingsguard, setting a precedent for the future as to what being a kingsguard/rainbow guard entailed. By doing so he also pretty much knighted her, as no Kingsguard who wasn't a knight has ever served to my knowledge.

There's the Hound.