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Everything posted by velo-knight

  1. I actually am very skeptical that tax payments are at all regular enough for anyone to know who is paying who unless a war is very long or the vassal very near. As you say, people can play the uncertainty off whoever wins - and they can even play the uncertainty off of everyone, by sending small payments to each faction and claiming "I divided all of your tax payments into multiple shipments, your Grace, so that if robbers seized them, you would not lose everything". That way, you can stay neutral and yet have each faction thinking you're amenable to them: and if anyone traces coin to you, you can claim it was simply meant for them all along and must have been stolen by bandits or an unreliable defector who you've dismissed from your service / executed. I wonder if they were paying taxes before Baelish went to the Vale - IIRC, one of the reasons for the marriage and promotion was that Lysa's swords and taxes were needed to prop up the flailing Lannister regime.
  2. It may be picking nits, but AFAIK only Philippa Gregory, the author of The White Queen (and the Red Queen, and the White Princess, etc.,) calls it the Cousin's War While I definitely agree that the brother Baratheon are inspired by the York brothers, and I admire Edward IV, I would not characterize his reign as so tranquil - he was deposed by the Kingmaker in favor of Henry VI in 1470-71, and one assumes the attendant fighting before and after means his reign had a least one significant disturbance. I don't really see the situation as a direct parallel, though: real Edward married Elizabeth Woodville, a beautfiul woman (like Cersei) but one of scandalously low breeding - while the Lannisters are as noble as it gets and even the name is Lancaster-inspired. Yet, if the Baratheons are Yorks, surely the Targaryens are Lancasters - the dynasty they overthrew. I think GRRM is taking themes and characters and remixing them, not copying outright. I do agree, though, that glimpses of destiny can be seen in this. No, I don't believe that, and since the preponderance of evidence strongly implicates Richard in the murder of the Princes in the Tower, I would be horrified if she did. I don't think the comparison holds. I do like the idea of a gender-swapped Henry & Elizabeth, but I think the big argument against Dany as Tudor is that the Tudor claim was from a bastard lineage. Tudor's mother was a Beaufort, a name given to the bastard children of John of Gaunt (Henry VI's great-grandfather and the Duke of Lancaster) after John married his mistress. The Beauforts were legitimized but variously barred from the succession and demoted in it; Tudor's claim was raised because all the legitimate Lancasters were dead. Interestingly, Henry's paternal grandfather, Owen Tudor, had become the second husband to Queen Catherine of France, wife of Henry V and mother of Henry VI (yes, the same woman from the play), so Edmund and Jasper Tudor were half-brothers to Henry VI on that side as well. This didn't carry any particular rights to the English throne, but the marriage of Tudor and Beaufort is always a fascinating example of the way that nobles would try to consolidate their extended family claims. Anyways, we have one character in the story who is extremely associated with bastardy and a connection to a dead/dying dynasty - Jon Snow. Dany is legitimate (in fact, she's the most widely acknowledged Targaryen in the series). Plus, Jon is from the North, a region that is similar to Scotland, but in being under-developed and different in culture relative to the rest of the kingdom might have something in common with Wales - famously the origin of the Tudor name and lineage. I suspect the story will likely combine elements of the Wars of the Roses, but not copy them verbatim, any more than Robert, Stannis and Renly are copies of Edward, Richard and George.
  3. So what you're saying is that you, a 21st century reader of these books, prefer the moral system of a world where Tywin Lannister goes unpunished to our own? Next you'll be saying that Jeyne Poole should stop whimpering so much at what her lord husband is doing to her.
  4. It makes the world feel more real that there are stories claiming various items are ancient heirlooms with a magic and mysterious past, since in real life people did and continue to do that. Fantasy is exciting because sometimes the ancient myths turn out to be true, but I disagree that they all have to be so. In fact, it makes the mysteriousness all the more tantalizing. I'll believe the story is true either if GRRM shows us more, or if Bran looks fondly on that time Old Nan told him about the throne that came from the sea.
  5. Or they'll conclude it's a baseless myth that makes the world more exciting, because people make up stories like that all the time?
  6. As for Tywin, so he doesn't take his ball and go home - and so he doesn't try and maneuver some third outcome, which is not impossible for a player of the Game with his skill and resources. As for Lyanna, I do not believe he did.
  7. Lyanna would not work to ally with Rickard, Cersei would be far better. Less scandal - broken marriage, but not betrothal Brings in another power bloc, specifically bound to Rhaegar if Lyanna goes, the Stormlands leave Rhaegar's bloc. Lyanna doesn't work as a political choice, because if Rhaegar was thinking politically, he might have observed that the lords were already allying, presumably in fear of his father, so he doesn't need to marry in. Instead he can promise for Cersei, spread the rumor that Jaime will be released from the KG, and ask Hoster to keep Lysa free "because he has an excellent prospect who will be ready to marry soon". That way, Rhaegar and Tywin buy into a bigger marriage alliance web, which contains cousin Robert and Tywin. Rhaegar was not taking Lyanna to make her his new queen.
  8. Disagree. The information we're presented with about Rhaegar is admittedly very contradictory, but I struggle to believe the brilliant, well-read, thoughtful young man almost all of his peers agree on was motivated by prophecy alone - and if he was that convinced, why didn't he fight his original engagement and marriage? I don't think love was his motive, but I do think love happened. It is widely believed that Harrenhal was his first attempt at a coup that would appoint him regent, a king in all but name.
  9. I still think the best explanation is neither Rhaegar or Lyanna had any intention to elope, to have a relationship, or anything: Rhaegar came because Aerys found out she was tKotLT, and events spiraled beyond either of their control.
  10. What kind of intelligent? Tywin and Doran are quite cunning, but have clearly limited emotional intelligence and are totally unable to realize the emotional states and inner worlds of their children, and that contributes to their plans unravelling. Compare Tywin to Roose Bolton, who like Tywin is quite abusive to his family - but Roose is able to use that to his advantage, where Tywin eventually pushes his son to patricide. Based on a general intelligence encompassing strategy, emotional stability, self-discipline, and intellectual attainment, my list is: Varys Maester Aemon Galazza Galare Roose Bolton Brynden Rivers / Bloodraven Mance Rayder Rhaegar Targaryen Petyr Baelish / Littlefinger Tyrion Lannister Tywin Lannister Barbrey Dustin Melisandre Stannis Baratheon Lothar Frey Walder Frey Catelyn Stark Eddard Stark Bobby B Theon Greyjoy Hizdahr zo Loraq Brandon Stark
  11. No.
  12. I agree with your basic premise, but I'm not sure this argument is very convincing. My first look at that list was to go, "hmmm, what's the common denominator here?". Furthermore, the most famous madman in the series, Aerys, is the product of a Targaryen-Targaryen sibling union. I think you touched on a better point: as you say, the Targaryens are one of, if not the most high profile family in ASOIAF. We should expect to see more mad Targaryens than anyone else, because we see more Targaryens than anyone else, and in any given group of people, some will have mental health issues. I also agree, many of the "Mad" Targaryens have other mental health issues. The simple dichotomy of "mad or not" is not a very useful framework for thinking about mental illness, IMO, though it makes sense in-universe, I think George had done a decent job of showing a wide diversity of people with different psychological, emotional, and learning issues of varying severity in and without House Targaryen.
  13. I really hope Varys doesn't, and I hope LF doesn't as well - I know some people consider it cliche, but how amusing would it be for the series to end and it's revealed that Ned Stark pulled one over Littlefinger and Varys?
  14. your 1/2 Dayne quote only makes sense because we don't know who Dyanna Dayne's ancestors were. Since House Dayne has no known culture of incest, it doesn't make sense to believe that she is "pure Dayne". Purity of blood really ins't a thing, and the more closely you look at family and inheritance, the more obvious that is. The only things you really can look at are unbroken lines, and your respective place in them; and general composition of your family and community, which says something about the environment your ancestors and eventually you grow up in. The fractional concept is interesting here, because it really shows how the idea of being a pure member of any single group (other than the great human family) is total nonsense.
  15. Hi! Welcome to the forum! I'm not sure Lyanna's personality supports the "convinced to prophecy" argument - she's strong, willful, and probably doesn't like being reduced to a vessel for Rhaegar to create the destiny child. This is one of the biggest problems with the "Prophecy, then love" argument for me: it just doesn't seem likely that she'd be sympathetic to that sort of argument, and even as the reader, seeing characters have for-real prophetic visions and magic powers, still aren't sure who's the destined prince/princess. Rhaegar might be likable, intelligent, and convincing, but it seems pretty out-of-character for Lyanna to go along with. Now, this could support the more sinister "Robert-was-right, but-Rhaegar-was-trying-to-fulfill-the-prophecy" narrative, where Lyanna really was abducted. I agree that, whatever feelings they may have had (I suspect there may have been a bit of a mutual crush there, but we can't know unless we see more about the tourney at Harrenhal, which seems unlikely) weren't the only reason they acted, though. It's just too rash, and inconsistent with a man like Rhaegar, who's been slowly trying to put a plot together against his father only to have it fail at the last minute. I think the more likely answer is some set of unknown, external circumstances (such as Aerys discovering she was the Knight of the Laughing Tree and sending men to arrest her) forced Lyanna and Rhaegar together, and by the time that situation was resolved, the conflict was beyond defusing. Close proximity during a period of extended excitement, stress, hardship and adventure make for a pretty plausible way for them to have fallen truly in love, as well.
  16. Most seemingly illogical ideological ventures have had a healthy component of self-interest in them by their leaders, who are typically the ones deciding to make said ruthless choices. Well, in Syria you have a nightmare because some people are struggling for their freedom, some to impose a theocracy, and some to reimpose dictatorship. I wouldn't say that it's actually that idealistic: if I had to guess, most people who protested the MENA dictatorships over the last few years probably just want to have people stop being disappeared and brutalized. I don't know how much that's a pie-in-the-sky dream and how much it's a "I want to not have a government that uses chemical weapons on my family / neighbors / the next town over". Ok, but doesn't Occam's Razor suggest a simpler explanation, that the perfect prince story isn't the whole story? After all, Varys may think that makes Aegon worthy of kingship, but he may also think it's good PR and makes for an effective ruler - which, if he's got some other interest in Aegon, might just be protecting his investment.
  17. What do I think Dany should do? Well, many societies in Dany's part of the world are fundamentally slave societies. Even changing them into societies in which slavery exists, but is not the primary economic engine and does not have complete capture of the state would be a very good start to abolishing chattel slavery for good. So, I do think that if she can create a caretaker government for her current conquests that is stable and promotes other industries. That way, even if slavery is re-instituted on her death / secretly while she is away, the domination of these societies by slavery as the only major product will end, and her eventual goal of the death of the slave trade is much more attainable. To that end, I think she should: Conquer Yunkai and retake Astapor. Create some sort of aristocratic democratic government led by a Lord Mayor or something - with three cities, she's actually got very interesting chance to experiment with different systems of rule. Offer some of the noble families of Meereen to be a part of the new ruling bodies if they, their soldier, and all their wealth depart Meereen - this spreads the Meereenese aristocracy so hostile towards you among a much larger territory. The Yunkai and Astapor masters will have to be mostly destroyed, but I suspect that'll happen anyways. Once you've created a good-sized kingdom in the newly-renamed Ghiscari Bay, appoint some sort of non-feudal Lord Paramount / Warden / Justicar to hold an itinerant court, reaffirm your alliance with the Lamb Men. Trade with the Lamb Men by land is vital to building an economy where other industries can thrive. An unfortunate reality of Slaver's Bay is that the population will likely be reduced dramatically due to disease, devastation, and war - but there's a silver lining, in that the surviving workers are in a much better position to negotiate with employers. Take the rest of her khalasar, and her dragon, and force the Dothraki to bend to her, destroying any who do not. Using religion and prophecy, try to convert the Dothraki into an anti-slavery culture. This will greatly weaken the overland slave trade, and place slave societies like Qarth and Volantis in a precarious geopolitical situation. Settle some of the Dothraki in her new Kingdom of Slaver's Bay (really should work on renaming that, also) as a standing auxiliary for support your itinerant Lord Paramount / Governor. Leave an Unsullied garrison in each city of at least a thousand. Take the remaining Unsullied, Dothraki, anyone afraid of being re-enslaved, and as many Ghiscari warriors as you can manage to get to sign on for a chance of plunder, and begin your glorious liberation war / migration sweeping westwards, by sea and land. Volantis seems a pretty key target, and Pentos might make a good dropping-off point. Plus, if you go to Pentos, you can potentially arrange for a diplomatic meeting with the Braavosi to arrange another trading partner for Slaver's Bay. Once that's accomplished, Westeros is a pretty logical next target.
  18. I was referring to the Varys modus operandi and whether his methods say something about his goals. I'm not convinced he's a Dr. Manhattan style figure, but I'm certainly open to it and look forward to finding out more. I'm not sure I'm convinced by the Blackfyre theory, but I think the basic idea that he has some additional kinship to Aegon makes his behavior much more believable. I absolutely agree that there are tons of Targ sympathizers in Westeros, and that the Targaryens possess a legitimacy the Baratheons simply don't, and I even think we're under-shown the amount of Targaryen sympathy in Westeros ca. 298 AC because so many primary POVs either have little memory of the Rebellion, fought on the side of the Rebels, or both. Aegon's extremely well-positioned to scoop them up, too.
  19. Quite a few, I'd think. Even midway through the story, with no plausible Targaryen candidate in sight, you have your Mathis Rowans and plenty others who bend the knee while barely concealing their disgust at the Baratheon rule. Amen. I can't say I agree with his analysis, but I certainly can't disprove the argument. It will be fun to see how the plot develops.
  20. My pet theory: because he knew it didn't matter. Varys is skilled enough to know how to advise a thing and then lose the argument, no? Pycelle can openly advocate for Tywin, since he's Tywin's creature, but if Varys wants to stay on he needs to be seen as truly loyal to the Iron Throne, and by advocating keeping the doors closed and allowing himself to be out-argued, he can remove any suspicion that he's disloyal to his office.
  21. I seem to have started a fight with my sarcastic reply. I wasn't sure if your original comment was either condescending or jovial, and thought a sarcastic-but-jovial response was best. Obviously, it was not, and I apologize. On the actual merits of the argument: the point is, Varys isn't just acting ruthlessly in advance of a goal, his methods are themselves inconsistent with that goal. We can argue by analogy and aphorism all day long, but the truth remains that Varys doesn't seem to care about "the children" or the realm or good governance unless it's to the benefit of his Aegon - which suggests Aegon has some other meaning to Varys. Good point. In that case, I tend again to think that he has some familial tie to Aegon, Illyrio, Serra, or some other member of the plot, and those children are the ones he's most concerned with. I think Littlefinger is instructive here as an example: the tensions that erupted into the Wot5K already existed under the surface, he just needed to use a little push now and again, a bit of manipulation, a bit of poison, some well-placed lies and it was accomplished. I think Varys realized there was a paranoid, aloof monarch in Westeros who could be easily driven off the cliff - and the quote from Ser Barristan, an eyewitness, certainly supports that. There are a number of confusing or unknown points in the (pre) Rebellion where Varys could've been involved: he could have helped further rift between Aerys and any number of people, including Tywin and Rhaegar; he almost certainly informed Aerys of the Tourney at Harrenhal and may have convinced Aerys to attend; he may have discovered the true identity of the Knight of the Laughing Tree and informed Aerys; and since we still have no idea what or how exactly Rhaegar and Lyanna wound up together, or why they never communicated with the outside world, he could've played a significant part in it at really any point. Doing any or all of these would've helped set in motion the events without leaving a trace - so we have no way of knowing how much of the Rebellion was really inevitable at all. I don't know why the "Varys was loyal at that point" argument is so common. For one thing, he has no clear motive for loyalty at all, and has obviously no problems with committing treason for his own purposes. It's clear from the events of the novels that Varys is a terrifyingly patient and capable person, who can appear to give loyal advice while knowing that it will backfire - it's not like he actually thought assassinating Daenerys in AGoT would be good for Robert! His Kevan monologue shows a great deal of sensitivity to appearances, yet if he was the spymaster who unveiled Harrenhal, shouldn't he have known what the PR effect of the disgusting, prematurely aged Aerys would have on the lords who had rarely if ever seen him? Finally, why would George go to such effort to tell us about how Varys and Illyrio made their living as youngsters - stealing things, then selling them back - if that wasn't somehow pertinent to the plot? On top of all this, we have a direct POV quote that suggests that Aerys paranoia got worse, not better, thanks to Varys: if Varys was really so loyal, shouldn't have have realized that he should try and avoid unnecessarily stoking that fear? There's really no reason to think Varys is a Targaryen loyalist at all. Obviously, I don't believe that Aegon is the real Aegon.
  22. Having been born yesterday, I'm totally unfamiliar with it. I don't see anything here that addresses my point, which, to put it in similarly glib terms, is that if you're breaking eggs while claiming to be a vegan, you're lying about being a vegan. Fair enough, he only mutilates his child spies; the other dead children are killed in his wars. You're missing the part where he helped (possibly greatly helped) instigate Robert's Rebellion by inflaming tensions between Aerys and Rhaegar and Aerys and his lords. Given that it's unlikely they wanted to place their perfect prince on the throne so young, he helped set up a less stable dynasty in Robert (stealing the purse), destabilized that dynasty even further, and then in comes Aegon, to sell the purse back.
  23. Well, the quote is right, but the brothers are wrong. Robert was (cast) iron, hard and strong and that won him the throne, but he basically refused to change a thing about himself and took no interest in governing. He might have seemed "true steel", but that was only as a military commander. In reality, Stannis is more resolute - I guess that's why he seems brittle - but he's shown a truly remarkable degree of adaptability and open-mindedness for someone constantly belittled as an inflexible extremist.
  24. "The rot in his reign began with Varys" - Barristan Selmy.
  25. See, this is where the theory dies for me. Varys stated motives are totally at odds with his tactics. Even a hardcore, utilitarian, ends-always-justify-means type has to recognize the inconsistency in wanting to put a perfect prince on the throne "for the children" by systematically mutilating and murdering child spies, instigating war(s) which will cause the deaths of thousands of children and the homelessness of more, and undermining the stability of the very prince he wants to crown. Something has to be worth it for Varys, and I don't think it's just a vague ideology about the pauper prince. Agreed. Also, from an "experiment design" perspective, it's impossible to know if you (Varys and Illyrio) are accidentally putting your thumb on the scales by creating experiences that will be tailored for him to overcome.