Lord Varys

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About Lord Varys

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    Most Devious 'Man' In The Seven Kingdoms
  • Birthday 11/25/1982

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  • Gender Male
  • Location Definitely somewhere in King's Landing

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  1. It really sucks to be Stannis

    Generosity has nothing to do with rewarding people. I can invite you to dinner just because I want to or because I like you, you don't have to do anything to deserve that, right? And we actually do not know whether Stannis and Renly got their castles and lordships at the same time. My guess is that Robert gave Stannis Dragonstone as soon as the man had taken it while he only parted with Storm's End some time later. There is no reason for us to assume that these grants were connected in any way. In fact, I think Robert's decision to give Storm's End to Renly was some sort sudden impulse not really thought through. I don't think he discussed this with anyone else, especially not Cersei but most likely also not Jon Arryn or Stannis (who all would have counseled against such an idea). The best way to make sense of this is to assume it was an idea that suddenly came to Robert when he visited Renly and Storm's End shortly after the war, perhaps remembering his parents and his childhood at the castle, and realizing how much young Renly was like him. He might have been sad that his children wouldn't grow up at Storm's End but rather at court and thus might have decided: 'Hell, this is a Baratheon place, my brother shall have it. The boy deserves some peace and happiness after the death of our parents and the problems the war caused.'
  2. It really sucks to be Stannis

    @John Doe Renly wasn't rewarded, and neither was Stannis. Renly just got Storm's End while Stannis did not. Stannis only got Dragonstone because Robert felt he needed a strong guy in charge of the ancient Targaryen stronghold in case Viserys would come back. It was never meant as a reward for Stannis' service, it was simply part of his agenda to consolidate his rule. For some strange reason Stannis thought he deserved Storm's End. But that was entirely based on presumption and arrogance on his part. The man deserved nothing. Renly neither, of course, yet it is perfectly fine for a king to hand out titles and lordships as he sees fit. @Sullen Renly is perfectly fine with killing Stannis during the war (just as Stannis is with killing Renly) and this extends to Cersei and her children, too. If Renly is okay with murdering Daenerys Targaryen (who is neither an immediate threat to Robert's crown nor guilty of any crime aside from her very existence) then I see no basis for you speculation about Joff or any of Cersei's children (or Cersei herself) being spared. Why would Renly want to do that? Had he taken KL and captured Cersei and her children he would have been able to kill them all. Tywin would have continued the war in the name of Cersei's eldest surviving child if Renly had just taken (some of) them hostage, and Joff was clearly to young (and certainly not willing) to go to the Wall. Any oath Renly would have forced him to swear would have been worth nothing if there had still been armies in the field fighting in his name. Only the permanent removal of Robert's line (and Stannis, if he insisted on being king) would have secured Renly's throne. The man jokes makes fun of a lot things but he would have to be a butcher of children and kinslayer to take the Iron Throne - and I really don't think he had a problem with that. I also think you greatly misjudge Joffrey's character and the potential danger a king like he would be to anyone he thinks has once wronged him. Any pretext Renly or Ned cite for arresting the royal family wouldn't convince Joffrey, and the idea that this could even be done without bloodshed is ridiculous. Sandor Clegane and the Lannister-inclined KG would not relent - perhaps even Barristan Selmy would fight to the death because, you know, neither the Hand nor the king's brother have any right to arrest the queen and her children. Joff would remember all that and be hellbent to destroy those people as soon as he was in charge. Not to mention that Tywin wouldn't suffer Ned Stark as regent of his grandson regardless what Robert had decreed. He would continue his war in Joff's name and eventually knock at the gates of KL. Ned and Renly certainly could not use Cersei and her children as hostages if they proclaim to rule in the name of King Joffrey, right? Renly was not stupid enough to believe that he could rise high at Joffrey's court. He would have tried to solve the Lannister problem permanently by getting rid of Cersei and her children, and then he would have crowned himself just as he did. There is no hint that his own coronation was some sort of self-preservation. He did it, because he could. And he wanted to be king because he wanted to be king. And he certainly did not only want to be king after Ned Stark rejected his offer.
  3. Aerys I-gay or just weird?

    Yeah, it seems to me that glamors are more something like a craft, not actual 'deep magic' (like the changing of faces the Faceless Men way), blood magic, fire magic, or whatever else is 'real' rather than an illusion. In that sense, even Bloodraven himself might still have been somewhat of an amateur if it is correct that he wasn't yet aware of the skinchanger stuff. But it is really difficult to say until we finally meet Aerys I himself and the members of his court in a more intimate way. I really want Egg to hang out with his royal uncle in at least one story. The boy is into books as well, so Egg clearly has a chance to become Aerys' favorite nephew. Aemon is not likely to spend much time at court in his youth.
  4. It really sucks to be Stannis

    Stannis would only have been a decent Hand under a king who thought like him. Under a king like Aerys I or Aenys I he would have stepped in for the king completely (or at least tried to do so) and that would have caused the lords and people to rebel against the king because they, most likely, would have rightfully pointed out that Stannis' rigid/insane ideas weren't what the king himself would do.
  5. Aerys I-gay or just weird?

    I'm actually not sure there is any irony to that at all. Yandel suggests to us that Aerys I deliberately chose Bloodraven as his Hand because he was aware of his uncle's interests in the higher mysteries, and we also know that the new as of yet unnamed Grand Maester Septon Sefton mentioned in TSS was also very much interested in sorcery. With Shiera Seastar we have thus four powerful people at the king's court interested in magic. Aerys interest in books, scrolls, magic also seemed to predate his rise to the Iron Throne (if we keep in mind Raymun Fossoway's comments in THK). And the really interesting thing there is that Yandel apparently downplays Aerys' education when mentioning his obsession with ancient prophecy stuff, suggesting that there might be aspects to all that a maester would be unwilling to repeat or cover in detail. Perhaps it is more likely that Aerys I and Bloodraven had very learned and interesting conversation about actual magic in their conversations, and Aerys I might also have involved his Grand Maester and Shiera in all that. I'd also be inclined to interpret Aerys I as an actual 'sorcerer king'. Perhaps with a little to great a focus on the theoretical aspects of the craft but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the man himself occasionally used a glamor like his Hand did. And who knows? Perhaps Bloodraven even learned stuff about magic and his own innate talents from his royal nephew? Nothing in TSS and TMK suggested that Brynden is yet aware of his skinchanger/greenseer abilities, not to mention that Bloodraven as a man who was doing the actual ruling during the reign of Aerys I and Maekar I should actually have had little time to hone his own magical talents and abilities. Granted, he clearly already could use glamors in TMK and possibly also during the First Blackfyre Rebellion, but that clearly does not cover the whole skinchanger aspect of the whole thing. And we should also keep in mind that in Bloodraven's time it should have been pretty difficult to actually learn stuff about magic. Aerys I might not just have uncovered and translated ancient prophecies (some of which might actually turn out to be of great influence in the series, namely the prophecy about the promised prince Jaehaerys II and Rhaegar once read) but also certain treatises about other magical topics like skinchanging, greenseeing, and the Children of the Forest.
  6. Aerys I-gay or just weird?

    I'm not sure whether we can be sure Aerys was asexual but it is clear that he was very obsessed with arcane matter like magic, prophecies, and ancient scrolls. These matters took over his entire life. The man didn't just not sleep with his wife he also didn't care all that much about the fact that he was king, presumably letting Bloodraven and other members of the royal family stepping in for him in every duty the kingship technically brought for him. He would have stood up in the morning (or more likely around midday) and gone to his study/in the library to continue his scholarly works, reading, writing, translating, interpreting, etc. until he fell asleep again. The only people he would have spoken to were some servants bringing him something to eat and drink, and Bloodraven for some short audiences where Brynden tried to keep him apprised on what was going while Aerys I would constantly interrupting him apprising him on his current arcane studies.
  7. It really sucks to be Stannis

    Stannis would have been a terrible Hand because the man simply didn't get along with his royal brother nor did he agree with his politics (if you call it that). But most importantly, Robert wouldn't have been able to trust Stannis. He could trust Ned, though, and that made Ned a infinitely better Hand than Stannis could ever have been. And Ned had the potential to be a great Hand. What got in his way was the strong feeling that his place wasn't in KL/that he wanted to go back home as well as him being distracted with this whole Jon Arryn murder mystery. Had Ned's only mission been to rule the Realm in his king's name he would have done fine. Stannis would never have enjoyed Robert's support on anything he proposed as Hand. He would not have outlawed brothels, he would not have dismissed Littlefinger and found a new Master of Coin, he would not even have replaced Janos Slynt as Lord Commander of the City Watch. Stannis and Robert were like fire and water, they wouldn't have been able to rule together. And in the end Stannis let his brother. In his heart he may even have smiled that his drunkard brother was killed by that boar. After all, that made the way free for him and now he would show Westeros how a 'truly just king' looks like. It is pretty evident that this is Stannis' ultimate desire. That is a common misunderstanding. We know that relations between Cersei and Renly were bad but there is no reason to believe that this was so because of Cersei/Joffrey. Or at least not only because of them. Renly mocked and laughed at the Crown Prince of Westeros at Castle Darry. If you do this kind of thing you cannot complain that the queen and the Crown Prince don't like you. Renly's so-called self-preservation included the eventual murder of Cersei, her children, and Stannis, and he was fine enough with all of that to make jokes about it. Just as he had no problems murdering Daenerys Targaryen. The idea that Renly only came up with the idea to crown himself after Ned rejected his offer makes little sense, either, because actually arresting the queen and the royal children was already treason. Renly had no right to suggest anything like to Ned regardless whether Robert was still alive or dead. Joff and Cersei would eventually have to go in such a scenario because King Joffrey and Cersei would have remembered how Ned and Renly treated them, and look for revenge. Renly could kiss Storm's End and his head goodbye on Joff's sixteenth nameday. Renly would have been aware of that and either planned to murder Cersei and her children early on in 'King Joffrey's reign' or at a later date, but most certainly long before Joffrey had the chance to take a more active role in his own government.
  8. It really sucks to be Stannis

    @Crippledtank Stannis wouldn't have been a good Hand in any case. The man wasn't exactly popular and he didn't get along well with his royal brother. Back when Robert named his first Hand Stannis would have been too young and inexperienced in any case. Robert wanted a man he trusted and liked, not his little brother with whom he didn't get along. When Jon Arryn died Stannis and Robert's relationship most likely had reached an all-time low. Stannis felt for years that his contribution to his brother's glorious reign was under-appreciated, and Robert had neither patience nor any understanding for Stannis less than practical suggesting like banning prostitution in King's Landing. Vice versa, Stannis had apparently also grown tired of the corruption at Robert's court and disillusioned about any positive impact he might have had there. He was pretty much at odds with most of the other counselors (Renly, Varys, Littlefinger, Pycelle). Robert isn't completely blind how things stand at his court, though. He knows that he has no friends there, and that his brothers don't give a damn about him - they, too, are only interested in themselves. Robert literally tells Ned that he is the only friend he has left. He can now only trust Ned, and that's why he names him Hand. Robert knew he could trust neither Stannis nor Renly, and had no inclination of doing so. And he was right in that. Imagine what Stannis or Renly would have done had either of them been Hand when Robert died? They would have killed Cersei and her children - Stannis because of his belief in the incest story, and Renly because of his own ambition - and taken the throne for themselves just as they tried to do in the actual story.
  9. The monkeys growing?

    Some people will survive in any case, and we'll have no clue how they lives will continue. A lot of characters (POV or not) are very young. And even those in their twenties and thirties might still have more than half their lives ahead of them. If the freak seasons end after the grand finale then things would actually be pretty well there because we'd not have to expect some people to die in the next winter or so.
  10. It really sucks to be Stannis

    @Red Helm 1. Stannis has no birthrights. He is a second son, he has no right to anything. At best he was Robert's heir presumptive until the man had a son of his own, but he cannot deduce any special right from that. 2. It was Robert's decision to keep or give the lands and titles he held as Lord of Storm's End and King of Westeros. Stannis had no right to complain. Robert could have made his master of horse the new Lord of Storm's End and Stannis would still have had no right to complain because the granting of lands and titles is the prerogative of the king, and nobody else. 3. Stannis doing his duty (like Kevan did to Tywin, for instance) and fighting battles in Robert's name doesn't entitle him to special privileges to complain or demand anything. Stannis was nothing but a landless nobleman (we don't know whether Stannis is a knight) until Robert in his careless generosity granted him Dragonstone and its lands and incomes, making him a lord in his own right. 4. Stannis failed to inform his royal brother about his suspicions about the queen, nor did he share his suspicions with anybody else after Jon Arryn's death. That's not a noble thing to do. It would have been Stannis' duty to inform the king of the possibility that the son(s) he had acknowledged as his heir(s) may not have been his seed. By not doing so Stannis actually may have forfeited any legal right to challenge the succession because, you know, Stannis didn't have any proof that Cersei's children weren't Robert's seed nor did he have some decree by Robert declaring Cersei's children bastards. Stannis all by himself doesn't have the legal right to unmake royal princes. 5. Stannis also failed to answer the letters sent to him by Eddard Stark, the Hand of the King, or return to court to take up his duties as Master of Ships. He is not only guilty of not telling Robert what he thought was going on, but also refused to try the Jon Arryn approach with Ned Stark. And the reason for this is clearly the fact that the resented Ned's appointment as Hand of the King and him being pissed that his royal brother didn't grant the office to him. The fact remains that Stannis Baratheon abandoned Robert Baratheon to his enemies and waited on his island until his brother was dead. And then he tried to steal the Iron Throne Robert Baratheon had left to his legal son, Joffrey Baratheon, on his deathbed and in his spoken will.
  11. The monkeys growing?

    Nope, that wouldn't have come to pass because, you know, all those ADwD chapters weren't yet finished back in 2005 when AFfC was published. The decision to split things up was made long before George would have entered into the whole battle territory at the very end of ADwD. ADwD involved a lot of rewriting and changing not just with the Meereenese knot but also with the Aegon plot (Tyrion first being present when the Golden Company made their decision to go west instead of east). I'd also have liked to read about the battles - but honestly, they wouldn't have given the book and end. It would just have been other cliffhangers. None of those books have proper endings. In a sense, AGoT and ASoS have - the former because it sets up new stories (Dany the Dragon Queen, Robb the King in the North) and the latter because it wraps up a lot of dangling plots, but neither have true endings. ACoK actually has the worst ending especially in regards to the KL plot. A battle has been fought, the Lannisters have won, but this didn't resolve anything nor did it end the war. AFfC is actually nicely framed by the beginning and the end of Cersei's short reign and the Prologue in Oldtown and Sam's last chapter but there are other plots in that books (Brienne, Jaime, Arya, Sansa) that just stop at one point. But, honestly, this whole thing is one grand book. There is only one beginning and only a true end at the very end - presumably, at least. The POV structure will actually necessitate that the story eventually ends with a lot of cliffhangers because not every POV character will die and all the surviving children will have their entire lives ahead of them about which we'll know nothing at all unless George decides to tell us something about that in some fashion. After all, we know that Robert and Ned fought and won Robert's Rebellion and later crushed Balon Greyjoy. But their story did not end there. It ended with their deaths years later, and the story of the survivors of this series will also, in effect, end with their deaths, not with some victory over an enemy - even if those enemies happen to be the Others this time.
  12. The monkeys growing?

    Well, I guess you could say something similar for Arya's pointless quest to reach her mother and brother(s). We also always knew where the hell all of them were (aside from Rickon at a certain point) yet nobody ever complains that her chapters were 'pointless' because she never saw Catelyn and Robb again before they were killed. The situation with the Ironborn and Dorne is different. Those chapters grew out of George's original attempt to create a Prologue for AFfC/ADwD covering what had happened during ASoS on the Iron Islands and in Dorne. Perhaps the stories there could have been more focused with only Areo/Arianne and Victarion/Asha as POVs but the one Arys chapter doesn't exactly cause all that much problems. Honestly, I've more issues with the focus of the story on the Myrcella plot - I'd have much more liked more Hotah chapter covering the spirit of court life at the Water Gardens and in Sunspear (The Watcher was really great in that regard). The original plan for those stories was serve as a Prologue and one really wonders whether it was such a great idea to spread them throughout AFfC. I'm not sure what would have been won had the chapters in AFfC been trimmed down. Back then that would have meant even fewer chapters in AFfC. The irritating thing about that book comes, I think, mainly with the AFfC/ADwD split. I've not yet had the time to read those two books in one of the ways the chapters could be rearranged to create a single book but I think the reading experience would be much more interesting if you do it that way during a reread. And perhaps things could even be made better still if one moved the first Aeron and Areo chapter back into ASoS to get Doran and Aeron's reactions to Oberyn and Balon's deaths in the books in which those characters actually died. As to Brienne: She meets a lot of interesting characters on the road. Beginning with Ser Shadrich of the Shady Glen (later in Littlefinger's service and possibly one of Varys' grown-up 'little mice' - presumably one of the few lucky people who could keep their tongues) and the High Sparrow. Her meeting with Randyll Tarly sets that guy up as a real character (who is going to be important in TWoW, presumably). The quest to Crackclaw Point ties up some loose ends and establishes the people there as a potentially important faction. They are all die-hard Targaryen loyalists and pretty close to KL. You know who will soon be approaching the city from the South so you'll realize why this might have been important. Then we have Septon Meribald and the view into the common man and the story about the effects war has on people (the Broken Man speech). This story is continued with the story of the Elder Brother of the Quiet Isle (who is a former broken man himself) culminating in the reintroduction of Sandor Clegane as the gravedigger. Finally things continue with Brienne meeting the Brotherhood, Gendry, Rorge, Biter, Thoros, and Catelyn. Brienne's own story didn't continue all that much, but there was a lot of reintroduction and setup done in those chapters, not to mention Brienne's own character development. She killed for the first time at the Whispers, and this continued when she met again with Rorge and Biter. Now, the reunion with Catelyn and Jaime certainly is destined to set up whatever new stories lie ahead of her. We don't know yet what that is but my guess is that it has to do with stuff George deliberately pushed back/saved for TWoW. There is a number of directions the story could take. Here are a few: - Brienne becomes a leader of the Brotherhood and ends up being heavily involved in Catelyn's revenge plans in the Riverlands (the retaking of Riverrun and the eventual destruction of the Twins). - Jaime and Brienne team up after they have done what Catelyn is going to demand of them (possibly being connected to the plan to retake Riverrun - Jaime has to do something to save his neck) and continue their journey together. Something like that was hinted at with the weirwood dream Jaime had back in ASoS (which was also the first hint that Brienne herself is of major importance for the overall story, a fact many people ignored - Bloodraven wouldn't have sent such a dream if he hadn't had a good reason to want Brienne to survive). - With Jaime already being determined 'to tell the truth' about his children by Cersei one could see Jaime and Brienne both joining camp Aegon, and subsequently becoming important people in Aegon's rise to the Iron Throne as well as in the subsequent struggle with Daenerys (Jaime has only murdered Aegon's grandfather, after all). Brienne most likely will become a champion in the new War of the Dawn considering that she both has a Valyrian steel sword as well as Targaryen blood. Considering the Kingslayer/Kingmaker stories we got (Criston Cole, Arys Oakheart, Jaime Lannister himself) the worst possible ending for these two would be if Jaime became some sort of Aegon's version of the three knights at the tower and Brienne Dany's version of Jaime Lannister the Kingslayer, resulting in Brienne killing Jaime to enable Dany to take the throne. In any case, if Brienne/Jaime's stories are going to hook them up with the Aegon plot then nothing of this sort could have been in AFfC. But then, quite a lot of Jaime's 'Rhaegar regret' is in AFfC, so there is certainly a lot of subtle foreshadowing in that direction. And Brienne certainly should join at least one other Kingsguard. She is far too like Dunk to not do something like that.
  13. The monkeys growing?

    @Calibandar @Cas Stark @sifth All I can say is that I honestly don't think the gap would have worked and that by thinking about what it would have entailed - the complete introduction of the new political situation and a lot of new characters years after the POV characters would have met them would have taken a lot of time and would always have felt to the reader as George cheating out of witnessing important events by jumping ahead in time. I mean, I know that I'd have wanted to read a detailed account of Dany's, Cersei's, Jon's, etc. five year reign. Not to mention the changes to the story the gap would have brought with it. I mean, Cersei's relationship with Tommen the eight-year-old boy is one thing. Cersei's relationship with Tommen the thirteen/fourteen-year-old king is another matter entirely. Especially considering that he would already have been old enough to consummate his marriage with Margaery by the time the story would have begun. Cersei's entire arc would have been different, most likely, with Tommen being a more active player, actually being torn between the love for his mother and his wife. That would have made the entire KL plot a completely different story. I think you can see remnants of the problems I cite in both the new Alayne chapter and the Mercy chapter. Apparently both those chapters were originally designed as the first Arya and Sansa chapters after the five year gap (which is, I think, both visible in Arya's apparent sexual maturity/use of sexual attraction in her dealings with Raff as well as in Robert Arryn's apparent maturity - he actually seems to be too aware about the threat Harry the Heir poses to him than the version of Robert Arryn we know is). Both chapters serve is good introductions in the new situation but they would all have to be followed by a bunch of chapters explaining what has happened in-between. I mean, thanks to AFfC and ADwD we know what Sansa and Arya did in Braavos and what happened in the Vale, but this would have to be explained after the five year gap, too. Or think about Daenerys in Meereen. Dany's husband Hizdahr zo Loraq (if she would have been married in that scenario) and all her courtiers, enemies, allies, and so forth would have to be introduced and set up. The idea that nothing important happened in Slaver's Bay or that Queen Daenerys didn't do a lot of queenly stuff in the last five years leading many people to visit and hang out at her court (or her having to wage a few wars to put her neighbors into place) wouldn't make any sense. And my personal taste is actually that AGoT is the worst book in the series because it lets the story begin on a too small a scale for the size into which it eventually grows (in that sense it is comparable to 'The Lord of the Rings' which in its first chapter still is very much the originally planned 'Hobbit sequel') and that I as a reader had much more issues with those dreadful and boring Arya, Bran, and Samwell chapters in the first three books than I had with the chapters in AFfC/ADwD. What can I say? I actually liked reading about Tyrion hanging out with Connington and Aegon and their gang. Penny, Moqorro and Jorah later are less interesting, I admit that, but they are still more interesting than most of the stuff Arya or Bran do in the first three books because Tyrion has a goal. Arya and Bran never did. AFfC contains much of the best prose George has written for this series. The problem with that book is that it is only half of the story and that Cersei's entire arc is very irritating for any reader who doesn't know that Aegon is preparing an invasion at the same time. I don't have any issues with the Samwell story, either. ACoK and ASoS had Arya going nowhere for two books, after all, not to mention that Sam already took most of his chapters in ASoS to getting back from the Fist to Castle Black. He didn't make much progress in that book, either. And there are no real side stories in AFfC/ADwD. The Ironborn, Dorne, and Brienne are central to the second part of the story. It may be that this is not yet apparent to everyone, but there are clear hints in that direction. Dorne's importance is obvious, and Euron's importance is obvious to anyone who doesn't ignore how he has been set up. And Brienne would never have become a POV at that stage in the story when she would not be destined to play a crucial and important role in the later parts of the story. In AFfC her purpose was to show us the aftermath of war just as Arya showed us the effects of war back in ACoK and ASoS. But just as Arya eventually got to Braavos (where her story as an active protagonist truly begun) Brienne most certainly will eventually end up where the hell the plot needs her to be for whatever her purpose is. I mean, TWoIaF most likely didn't introduce the fact that Brienne and her father are most likely the closest Targaryen cousins yet alive (aside from Stannis and Shireen) simply by accident. This connects Brienne intricately to many of the core plots as well as the mystical/magical aspects of the story. There is a reason why she ended up with burning-swords-producing Thoros of Myr that goes beyond the need for a POV to cover the future revenge plans of Catelyn Stark.
  14. Aerys I-gay or just weird?

    Rumors have it that Aelinor Penrose really was desperate in the beginning of her husband's reign. I mean she went to the sept and prayed for a child instead of approaching her husband about the whole thing. Common sense dictates that Prince Aerys was married to his cousin Aelinor Penrose about the same time as Baelor and Maekar married their wives - which means that he and Aelinor married early on in Daeron II's reign and were married for nearly two decades in 209 AC. Daeron II and Mariah most likely wouldn't have forced Aerys into a marriage nor would they have married him to a woman later in life because Daeron II pretty quickly got a string of grandsons and even reached the decision that there were too many Targaryen princes a few years before THK because he sent Prince Aemon to the Citadel. Therefore Daeron II would most likely not have wanted his second son to also give him grandchildren, too, and had he known his son's sexual preferences when he made the betrothals for his sons he most likely wouldn't have chosen a bride for Aerys. He most likely wouldn't have done so late in his life because Aerys was never supposed to inherit the throne. It would go to Baelor and then to Valarr and his children or to Matarys.
  15. The monkeys growing?

    @Cas Stark @sifth After the gap the story also would have to be restarted, new characters be introduced, and the new political situation be set up, most likely needing more pages and chapters than were spent in AFfC and ADwD on that. Five years would have been five years, and the story would not have started in medias res but in the beginning, which means we would have gotten a slow buildup like we got in AFfC/ADwD in addition to a ton of flashback and memories that would have slowed things down even further and would have introduced a ton of new mysteries. The problem is the whole apprenticeship idea for most of the characters. There was no good reason for Dany to settle in Meereen, for Arya to go to Braavos, for Sansa to play Littlefinger's bastard daughters, and so on. The story could easily continued in a more direct way after ASoS - had George not set up things in the wrong way back then. Or had he in the very beginning decided to slow the story down in itself and cover 1-2 years in each book. Those books all contain a lot of boring chapters. Bran and Arya are jokes as characters in the first three books. They do nothing important, and they do not contribute to the overall political narrative of the story. Sam, Tyrion, Davos, and even Brienne have a goal in AFfC/ADwD. Arya and Bran do not - or if they do, then their goals are uninteresting and do not warrant that we should read about what they do all the time. Yet still the first books are crammed full with chapters like that despite that this could all just be skipped. But the point is that this isn't just all filler. The point is that those books are not just about 'plot', they are also about the world and the characters therein, how they suffer and cope with war and its aftermath. And they have also always, at least in part, been about personal journeys through unknown territory, may you like that or not. Things will speed up when things finally escalate again, but I guess even during the War for the Dawn and the coming wars people will have to travel a lot during which nothing important happens. Perhaps we'll see more people journeying with a navy or an army in the future but it won't be all battles.