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(crackpot) Qyburn, Tywin's corpse and Cersei's trust


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#1 Lord Freypie

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 10:46 AM

While I agree the fast decomposition of Tywin's body look too strange to be natural, I was surprised most people decided to imagine he was poisoned (by Oberyn usually) rather than supecting something happened to his body after is death.

In Cersei 1, Pycelle being absent, the queen speaks to Qyburn for the first time and asks him to prepare the corpse of her father for the silent sisters.
So you have that strange necromancer being in charge of the body for an unknown period of time, before the silent sisters and perhaps Pycelle (I say "perhaps Pycelle" because it's said nowhere that he has access to the body at any point after Qyburn is in charge, but still will be blamed for the corpse state later during a council, so we can imagine at some point he was involved)....

Later, when during the ceremony Cersei realises her father stinks she suspects about anybody but Qyburn (the silent sisters or Pycelle, obeing to orders from Highgarden or the High Septon) to have willingly sabotaged the embalming.
And not only she never speaks about the corpse again to Qyburn, not even to ask him why in his opinion it may stinks, but despite having so epicly failed in the very first task she gave to him, it seems she trusted him enough to charge him to investigate Tyrion's evasion. Knowing Cersei a more logical reaction would have been to immediatly suspect Qyburn, the very guy who was in charge of preparing the body, also happening to be a complete stranger to her and an ex mercenary who may be suspected to have been payed for this sabotage, and order him to be beheaded after some torture. How did she ended making him her agent, trusted enough to work on such an extremely sensible affair, and even to be questioned about the even more sensible subject of her prophecy and dreams ?

Even stranger, Qyburn has no fear to tell her he practices black magic and experiments on living bodies. And Cersei who has never showed the smallest interest or belief in magic (out of her prophecy) immediatly offers him to continue his experiments in the red keep, before he even asked.

Later when Jaime question the presence of Qyburn in Cercei's future council, reminding her he has lost his maester position, Cersei answer with the exact words of Qyburn, speaking of grey sheeps like if she ever had an interest in internal politics of the Citadel (and in this dialogue it even looks like Cersei considered Qyburn for a possible hand of the king before deciding for Swyft).

So here is my (ok very crackpot) theory :
- Qyburn magical powers are not limited to assembling creatures like UnGregor
- He used Tywin's corpse as a focus to cast a spell on Cersei, who is then influenced by some kind of charm making her blindly trust him (and forgot he was in charge of the corpse in the first place) ; we know the power of blood, the power of a father blood may very well allow this kind of influence spell ; and it's known black magic is likely to corrupt a corpse used in a ritual
- Eventually some of the insane decisions Cersei took later were done under the influence of Qyburn, and as well the suspicion she develops for Pycelle (despite him having been the most loyal Lannister servant in council for decades), someone Qyburn hates, may not be completely natural ;
- It's also possible he influenced Cersei in the whole faith/trials debacle, to end saving her with UnGregor and become the real power behind the throne when she'll take revenge (one thing is sure, if Cersei come back to power, Qyburn the only who continued to support her in her hardest times, will be her most influent councellor, and may very likely end her Hand) , probably to use the power of the iron throne to take revenge against the Citadel

Edited by Lord Freypie, 18 April 2013 - 08:24 PM.


#2 nara

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 07:19 PM

I thought you were going to suggest that Tywin's brain or other body parts were part of Robert Strong!

Very interesting theory. You've convinced me that Qyburn is up to something. He has definitely earned her trust very quickly and it would blow my mind if he were controlling her. However, I'd prefer for Cersei to be responsible for her own stupid behavior...

#3 Lord Freypie

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 08:12 AM

Hum not many opinions. Perhaps I shouldn't have included "(crackpot)" in the title ? /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

Anyway, while I found this theory more satisfying than Cersei just trusting Qyburn for no reason, I also see a lot of things going against like :
- no serious hint in Cersei thoughts that she may have been charmed / feel something unnatural for Qyburn (out of perhaps the second time she meets him and see him as a "sympathetic grandfather" or something like that -only have the fourth book in french so can't quote exactly)
- Cersei threatening Qyburn if he fails to hide his experiments
- Qyburn had no private appartments or own lab when he is asked to prepare tywin's corpse, and it's hard to believe he performed a dark magic ritual in the middle of guards and servants cleaning the room, nor in Pycelle's facilities where the maester could witness that (also make unlikely that Qyburn could have used Tywin's parts for UnGregor, has he had no room where he could keep them at this point)
- Pycelle defends himself when accused of having sabotaged the embalming, so it looks like he was really involved at some point (possibly there is a missing scene between Qyburn and Pycelle no PoV witness and it's finally Pycelle who prepare the corpse)

Edited by Lord Freypie, 19 April 2013 - 08:14 AM.


#4 Stannis ftw

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 09:38 AM

You have done good job at "close reading" and it is hard to refute that Cersei's and Qyburn's interactions are strange in points you point out.

Personally I tend to explain many of these moments as "poor writing": GRRM simply has huge amount of stuff in his hands and some things get overlooked. Like, in reality Qyburn would have probably been more cautious when telling about his jolly hobby, black magic. Either Qyburn is controlling his puppet Cersei and not afraid to say anything, or GRRM just didnt realize that this is an odd scene and should have been drafted little differently.

If you are fundamentalist Christian, you really have to ask and analyze all these aspects of Bible, because God means something in everything he says and everything has deeper meaning, and everyhing that is supposed to be there is there too. But as GRRM is not God, all facets of the story will not hold water all of the time. This is, ALL IN ALL, big problem in very close reading or over-meticulous textual analysis, which incidentally is practiced a lot in this forum.

Still on the theory, "devil made me do it" would be pretty big let down in Cersei's story.

#5 stu1987

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 09:50 AM

I always felt that Cersei trusted Qyburn as he sort of represents her really twisted, 'will do whatever it takes' side.

Pre-Qyburn, I'm sure Cersei would have loved to torture certain people, but obviously she wouldn't do it herself, and asking someone else to do it is risky. But Qyburn not only volunteered, he even validated her belief that she has the right to commit these acts.

#6 Aquan

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 10:05 AM

Qyburn is literally filling the same role for Cersei as Varys did for Aegon, and it seems to me that the effect on the monarch is pretty similar. Qyburn validates Cersei's paranoia by slandering the Citadel et al, just as Varys pointed out all the "rebels" to Aegon.

I do agree though that Qyburn's fate is now tied inexorably to Cersei's.

#7 Ser Greg of House House

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 10:12 AM

I'm not sure I agree with your conclusions, but it is indeed weird that shed didn't blame Qyburn for the stink, but Pycelle. Either Martin wrote that sloppily or there's something to it.

#8 LynnS

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 06:16 AM

It's difficult to put a finger on Qyburn. He's the kindly old grandfather working in the background where insanity, corruption and sadism abound. It seems to follow him around or emanate from him.

I found two passages that are oddly coincident. In the Hedge Knight; Aerion Blackfyre is confonted by Ser Duncan.

Quote from the Hedge Knight:

The puppeteer's stall had been knocked on its side. The fat Dornish woman was on the ground weeping. One man-at-arms was dangling the puppets of Florian and Jonquil from his hands as another set them afire with a torch. Three more men were opening chests, spilling more puppets on the ground and stamping on them. The dragon puppet was scattered all about them, a broken wing here, its head there,its tail in three pieces. And in the midst of it all stood Prince Aerion, resplendent in a red velvet doublet with long dagged sleeves, twisting Tanselle's arm in both hands. She was on her knees, pleading withhim. Aerion ignored her. He forced open her hand and seized one of her fingers.

Dunk stood there stupidly, not quite believing what he saw. Then he heard a crack, and Tanselle screamed. One of Aerion's men tried to grab him, and went flying. Three long strides, then Dunk grabbed the prince's shoulder and wrenched him around hard. His sword and dagger were forgotten, along with everything the old man had ever taught him. His fist knocked Aerion off his feet, and the toe of his boot slammed into the prince's belly. When Aerion went for his knife, Dunk stepped on his wrist and then kicked him again, right in the mouth. He might have kicked him to death right then and there, but the princeling's men swarmed over him. He had a man on each arm and another pounding him across the back. No sooner had he wrestled free of one than two more were on him.

In Feast for Crows (page 502 paperback); Qyburn informs Cersei of events around Westeros:

"Eldon Estermont has taken a wife fifty years his junior," she said to Qyburn. "Why should that concern me?".

He shrugged. "I do not say it should ... but Daemon Sand and this Santagar girl were both close to Prince Doran's own daughter, Arianne, or so the Dornishmen would have us believe. Perhaps it means little or less, but I thought Your Grace should know."

"Now, I do." She was losing patience. "do you have more?"

"One more thing. A trifling matter." He gave her an apologetic smile and told her of a puppet show that had recently become popular amongst the city smallfolk; a puppet show wherein the kingdom of the beasts was ruled by a pride of haughty lions. "The puppet lions grow greedy and arrogant as this treasonous tale proceeds, until they begin to devour their own subjects. When the noble stag, makes objection, the lions devour him as well, and roar that it is their right as the mightiest of beasts."

"And is that the end of it?" Cersei asked, amused. Looked at in the right light, it could be seen as a salutary lesson.

"No, Your Grace. At the end a dragon hatches from an egg and devours all the lions."

The ending took the puppet show from simple insolence to treason. "Witless fools. Only cretins would hazard their heads upon a wooden dragon." She considered a moment. "Send some of your whisperers to these shows and make note of who attends. If any of them should be men of note, I would know their names."

"What will be done with them, If I may be so bold?"

"Any men of substance shall be fined. Half their worth should be sufficient to teach them a sharp lesson and refill our coffers, without quite ruining them. Those to poor to pay can lose an eye, for watching treason. For the puppeteers, the axe."

"There are four. Perhaps Your Grace might allow two of them for mine own purposes. A woman would be especially ..."

"I gave you Senelle," the queen said sharply."

"Alas. The poor girl is quite ... exhausted."

Cersei did not like to think about that. The girl had come with her unsuspecting, thinking she was along to serve and pour. Even when Qyburn clapped the chain around her wrist, she had not seemed to understand. The memory still made the queen queasy. The cells were bitter cold. Even the torches shivered. And that foul thing screaming in the darkness ... "Yes, you may take a woman. Two, if it please you.


Aerion was 17 years old at the Ashford Tourney and exhiled to Lys immediately afterwards, serving some time as a sellsword with the Second Sons. He had one unknown son. He died from drinking wildfire at the age of 40. If he were alive at the end of current events; he would be 108. So I wonder about the coincidence of these two passages and if Qyburn is Aerion having staged his own death; or if Qyburn is Aerion's son.

Edit: typos

Edited by LynnS, 21 September 2013 - 06:59 AM.


#9 LynnS

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 09:01 AM

If Aerion is Qyburn; there is another passage from the Hedge Knight that may connect Qyburn to Varys given that Varys is also originally from Lys. Varys tells the tale of being selected and sold to the sorcerer who castrated him and used him in some dark magic. This seems to fit Qyburn's mode of operating and Aerion's hatred of mummers.


From the Hedge Knight:

"Egg" said Dunk, "I will be fighting your own brothers."

"You won't hurt Daeron, though," the boy said. "He told you he'd fall down. And Aerion . . . I remember, when I was little, he used to come into my bedchamber at night and put his knife between my legs. He had too many brothers, he'd say, maybe one night he'd make me his sister, then he could marry me. He threw my cat in the well too. He says he didn't, but he always lies."

Prince Daeron gave a weary shrug. "Egg has the truth of it. Aerion's quite the monster. He thinks he's a dragon in human form, you know. That's why he was so wroth at that puppet show."

Edited by LynnS, 21 September 2013 - 09:05 AM.


#10 Martell Spy

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 09:12 AM

Something else in regards to Qyburn. He created the plan to strike at the Wall and the Night's Watch.

Edited by Martell Spy, 21 September 2013 - 09:12 AM.


#11 LynnS

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 09:27 AM

I'm also suspicious of Qyburn's spiders. How does he take over Vary's spynet when not even Baelish knows the identity of Vary's little birds. And why does he have such an interest in Dorne? He tells Cersei that his friends in Dorne advise him of such and such. Could they be the sand snakes who are so keen for war and so dangerous to the Doran Martell's plans. It seems to me that Qyburn would be Dorne's enemy.

And then Varys shows up in DwD Epilogue and kills Kevin Lannister and Pycelle, saying that they will never find Tyrion. He tells Kevin that it's not personal but is done for the realm, for the little children (the children of the forest?) and that Kevin is "threatening to undo all the queen's good work reconciling Highgarden and Casterly Rock, binding the Faith with King Tommen." He seems to be mocking him and Cersei. Now I wonder if Varys is working with Qyburn to "devour the lions".







#12 Little Balerion

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 09:34 AM

Your conclusions are interesting. But Qyburn is one person no one should trust. I think Cersei is making a huge mistake trusting Qyburn. I wouldn't believe anything he says. Qyburn also seemed like her only point of contact when she was imprisoned - until Kevan arrived. I find him fishy. And now that you talk about the embalming of Tywin part, I find him more fishy. He is up to no good at KL.

#13 LynnS

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 09:57 AM

Your conclusions are interesting. But Qyburn is one person no one should trust. I think Cersei is making a huge mistake trusting Qyburn. I wouldn't believe anything he says. Qyburn also seemed like her only point of contact when she was imprisoned - until Kevan arrived. I find him fishy. And now that you talk about the embalming of Tywin part, I find him more fishy. He is up to no good at KL.

And yet Cersei trusts Qyburn. He is now her chief adviser, master of whisperers,adviseron the small council, master of coin, chief dungeon master. He has effectively isolated her and is now using her. And everything he does is known really only to Cersei and Qyburn. Nobody should trust him, but some do. He's obsequious and nondescript with Roose Bolton but working his way up the chain of command at King's Landing.

#14 LynnS

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 10:28 AM

Oh and here's another possible connection between Qyburn and Aerion...
Aerion is said to have owned a silver and gold dragon's egg. At Kingslanding, he swaps his tattered robes for a white robe with gold embroidery.

Edited by LynnS, 21 September 2013 - 10:29 AM.


#15 Martell Spy

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 10:31 AM

Qyburn takes over as Master of Whisperers, but he is shown not to have Varys' network of Little Birds. In fact there is a part of Feast where Cersei is gloating about how easy Varys was to replace, but then soon after realizes there is a piece of information she wanted at the council, but Qyburn doesn't have it, and she realizes that Varys would have known. Qyburn is shown to be quite sharp, but he seems new to the spy game and doesn't have Varys' network. It's not really clear how competent he is yet, but clearly not up to Varys' level.

#16 Mayura

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 10:32 AM

I just think Qyburn understood quickly how Cersei works: she is basically very bad with identifying the individuals who are worthy of trusts and the ones she shouldn't trust. As long as an individual flatters her ego and makes her believe she is an awesome ruler and they are her men, Cersei will fall in the trap.

She does like Qyburn because she thinks he is in her pocket and he his the Master of Whispers she installed. She gave him powe, so she thinks he is going to be faithful to her. Which is certainly a mistake, trusting anyone who "opened the bodies of the living to understand death" is never a good idea in my opinion.

But Qyburn is not the only openly weird individual Cersei falls for, she also immediately thinks Lady Merryweather is an ally because she immediately talks about having powerful friends who'd be able to help Cersei.

#17 LynnS

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 10:39 AM

I just think Qyburn understood quickly how Cersei works: she is basically very bad with identifying the individuals who are worthy of trusts and the ones she shouldn't trust. As long as an individual flatters her ego and makes her believe she is an awesome ruler and they are her men, Cersei will fall in the trap.

She does like Qyburn because she thinks he is in her pocket and he his the Master of Whispers she installed. She gave him powe, so she thinks he is going to be faithful to her. Which is certainly a mistake, trusting anyone who "opened the bodies of the living to understand death" is never a good idea in my opinion.

But Qyburn is not the only openly weird individual Cersei falls for, she also immediately thinks Lady Merryweather is an ally because she immediately talks about having powerful friends who'd be able to help Cersei.

She picks the people who will tell her what she wants to hear; who support her insanity rather than question her motives. Jaime does that and he isn't around any longer. Cersei is easy pickings for Qyburn. She attracts the kind of people who reflect her own ambitions. Yes. I wonder what Merryweather is up to and who she knows.

#18 LynnS

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 10:41 AM

Qyburn takes over as Master of Whisperers, but he is shown not to have Varys' network of Little Birds. In fact there is a part of Feast where Cersei is gloating about how easy Varys was to replace, but then soon after realizes there is a piece of information she wanted at the council, but Qyburn doesn't have it, and she realizes that Varys would have known. Qyburn is shown to be quite sharp, but he seems new to the spy game and doesn't have Varys' network. It's not really clear how competent he is yet, but clearly not up to Varys' level.

I'm not so sure about Varys' allegience anymore. When he says he's working for the realm and for the little children; I wonder if he is referring to the children of the forest. I don't know if the CotF are the friends of men or grendel's children.

#19 LynnS

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 10:46 AM

I think this thread is posted on the wrong forum. Shouldn't it be under AdwD forums?

#20 redriver

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 10:58 AM

Something else in regards to Qyburn. He created the plan to strike at the Wall and the Night's Watch.


Yes,he did.But then Cersei took complete ownership of the plan and it's execution,(sic).But there is nothing in her subsequent POV's that show that she followed through with it.

Edited by redriver, 21 September 2013 - 10:59 AM.