Reyne, on 19 February 2012 - 11:02 PM, said:
Before I read this thread, I was half-convinced that Doran's reputation was all hype, but you have mostly convinced me.
What I'm curious now is to what sort of game he's playing. It's unlikely that he doesn't have any allies; Dorne alone can't possibly hope to take on any sizeable alliance. What springs to mind immediately is the Varys-Illyrio alliance, if we assume that they want to put Aegon aka Young Griff rather than Dany on the Iron throne for whatever reason (whether suitability, because he's a Blackfyre or Illyrio's son or whatever.) They're the main group of plotters active in Westeros both aware of Dany and working against her under false pretenses to some extent (since it appears they've always supported YG for king, over her)
The practical effects of Quentyn's death will also work in their favor. For the second (or third, counting Lewyn) time, Dorne will send out one of its 'finest' princes, only to have him return as a bag of bones. The outcry will be immense... and would likely unite the Dornish people in an alliance (possibly marital) with YG, and enrage them against Dany when she returns.
Now, the question is how much of this is coincidence and how much of this is planned to some extent.
There is an obvious flaw in this idea: If Dany had indeed went west to Volantis (as everyone expected), then both YG and Quentyn would have met her there... with poor results for the erstwhile triumvirate, so my theory is probably beyond rescuring.
Still, I find it curious that the main practical effect of sending Quentyn east is to sour Dorne against Danaerys... which will probably drive it to join 'Aegon'.
Reyne, on 20 February 2012 - 09:05 AM, said:
A savvy negotiator should have been able to come to some agreement with the Volantenes (and others) at the start. The whole point of the Dornish mission (at face value) was to get Danaerys to come west... which fits in perfectly well with the anti-Dany coalition's design (who just don't want her in Slavers Bay emancipating slaves anymore), as Xaro tells her himself.
But of course, the group didn't have any political experts, and they didn't consider that an above-the-road approach were even possible.
About Doran's allies. There seems to be none in Westeros, but many in the Free Cities (Doran is married to a Norvoshi, has conspired with the Sealord of Braavos for the pact, is good friend with the Archon of Tyrosh etc. There is an extensive list upthread). It's clear that something has to be explained about Doran Martell's policy in Essos.
I can't know for sure, but it seems that Doran and Varys are not on the same side, otherwise they would have cooperated when Viserys and Dany were abandoned in Essos. I think Varys could have done something for Elia Martell.
I don't think Doran is working for a Targaryen restoration, despite the mission, despite the Braavos pact. When Viserys was reduced to begging in Essos, Doran didn't send any help (and the reach of his arm extended far in Essos). I suspect the opposite is true. The book about dragons in the tower at Sunspear kept from Dany is testimony that there is something fishy about the supposed Targaryen loyalty of House Martell.
The fact that Quentyn was clueless in Volantis is disturbing since Doran has visited Volantis in his youth, and Nymeria's mother is a highborn Volantene. The only knowledge Quentyn comes equipped with about Volantis comes from maester Kedry (generalities about the political system, the history, but nothing on which people he could contact there, no letter of recommendation from his father).
It's very hard at this point to determine what is Doran's real policy. No other land than Dorne in the Seven Kingdoms has resisted successfully the Targaryens. I don't know what made Dorne finally join the Seven Kingdoms. But I suspect the anti-dragon tradition has its roots in the destruction of the Rhoynar civilization by the Valyrians is still alive. But that's speculative.
Finally an answer to a looming question. Quentyn in Volantis:
“The demon road is dangerous, and too slow,” Quentyn said. “Tywin Lannister will send his own men after the queen once word of her reaches King’s Landing.” His father had been certain of that. “His will come with knives. If they reach her first—”
So we know Quentyn left early, when Tywin was still alive. Doran knew about Dany's presence in Meereen before everybody else, and is convinced to be the first to be informed (not even mention of the Spider). The news of dragons in Essos reached Cersei much later and, even then, there were no news of Dany.
How was Doran informed? My guess is that he has a contact in Meereen (other options are through the glass candle of Marwyn and by Jorah Mormont, but I am not sure it is reasonable). I repeat my remark about the seneschal Reznak mo Reznak being familiar with Dorne.
Edited by Bran Vras, 20 February 2012 - 11:47 AM.