**This is an OP I made over a year ago but wanted to bump, however it was archived> I have added some pieces onto it at the end,
First, I want to classify the three types of "knights" that we encounter within the series, and their uses in symbolism, metaphor, and "theme" within the series.
Night's Watch: The BLACK brothers of the NIght's Watch have been a pretty central theme in many ways since the beginning of the book. From the very first chapter, actually the very first sentences within the books, the Night's Watch make their appearance. Now even though they dress in black, GRRM has stated that he did this purposely to turn the Tolkien logic on it's head, so he "put the heroes of the story in black." Now I use the term "knights" because truly thats what the NW are......a warrior sect of peoples, that swear life binding oaths to their cause. I also find it interesting that we have seen the most courageous acts done in the books from the members of the NW, who are made up of rapists, poachers, murderers and the like. It's these lowborn scoundrels that are terrible men, but good knights, unlike their counterparts...which brings me to.......
The Kingsguard: These are the knights dressed in white, in the eyes of the commons they are supposed to be the most true and chivalrous of ALL knights. And we know that to be complete and utter BS. While I'm sure GRRM does things to purposely show the contrast of the NW and Kingsguard, I will point out how that has been used in the story. Once the Kingsguard was (seemingly) a true and proud order...now that is not the case. We have seen many Kingsguard flout and abuse their honor like it was nothing. Whether it was killing Aerys, giving up Tommen without a fight, beating women, or allowing themselves to be bought, the Kingsguard have been the WORST example of knights within the series. Not saying they are bad people, like Jaime basically saving all of Kings Landing-- that made him a good PERSON but a terrible knight in many ways. Same with the devotion Oakheart showed to Arianne and Myrcella...Even Selmy is the epitome of a hero, but still is iffy when it comes to his vows as a knight.....but this brings me to the middle ground.
Maesters: Now I know there are other grey characters, like Brienne and The Hound, who are not knights but still do things both good and evil, but we at the moment we are talking about Orders of "knights". And what are Maesters if not (As Cressen calls it) "knights of the mind". While they aren't exactly a martial order, they still swear oaths and are an asset in times of war and peace. They can defend or kill a king as easy, if not easier, than those knights who carry swords. (and some of them HAVE killed kings I believe, but more to that later.) And in this order we definitely see some who are sefless, and others who are corrupt and downright dangerous. And as well see more and more of the "bigger" picture in the series, we come to realize that all three orders will have a part to play....and while the Kingsguard and Night's Watch purposes are pretty clear cut, I now direct our attention to the maesters...as their intentions seem to get more and more mysterious with each book. A sample of maesters:
Cressen: A maester with a HUGE heart for Stannis Baratheon, and a solemn duty to the realm. It seems that his only agenda was to help Stannis stay on the true path, and not lose himself to dark magics. His belief was so strong that he was even willing to sacrifice his life in order to ave the one he served. Thus proving that IF there is a secret maester agenda, it does not seem that they wish to usurp or "use" their lords for power....at least not all of them.
Luwin: The kind, wise maester of Winterfell. He has an obvious love for the Starks, however that did not stop him from also serving Theon faithfully when he took over Winterfell. He was distraught yes, but he was also still adamant about his service to the castle. Luwin I feel is a great template for how maesters seem at large, I think that the majority of maesters have the same views and temperament like he did. However, when Robert Baratheon came to Winterfell to offer Ned the Handship, Luwin seemed pretty adamant about Ned accepting the position. Not that there was any malice or trap behind him wanting his Lord to accept a great honor, but this is also not the first time a maester has told the Lord of Winterfell he should go South. As Lady Dustin tells Reek, the whole Baratheon-Stark marriage was the notion of a maester....which brings me to the next maester...
Theomore: The maester to Lord Manderly in White Harbor. Now here we see a maester with an obvious agenda.....however he could also be part of a bigger conspiracy. While he does not do anything outwardly to betray the trust of his Lord, he doesn't come to the aid of Wylla with the facts of the "Promise", and is also reassuring those in Mermans court that the marriage of House Manderly and House Frey is a benefit to all, and the Starks will still survive through the female line. Now Lord Manderly excuses his actions due to a remark Theomore made apparently, where he talks about his relations to the Lannisters. Whether it's due to his blood, or for a "bigger" picture, Theomore is obviously interested in joining the Northern House with a Southern House.
Qyburn: Now Qyburn is on the other end of the spectrum from Cressen. A rogue maester, SEEMINGLY banished from the Citadel due to his gruesome practices (though I don't think it was because of magic, as Marwyn seems to be dabbling in that as well), and personal agendas. I think he knows more of the Citadel than what he is saying, but since he has a new patron in Cersei to conduct his experiments, he doesn't want to cast any real waves with the Citadel or anyone else. But in him, we show that Maesters too can be corrupted and "evil". Now for these last two maesters, I want people to think about all of their actions without the entire series, because I believe it can tell us A LOT.
Pycelle: Now I know many readers dislike Pycelle because he is pretty much in love with Tywin, and then we find that he is also in line with Cersei when Tyrion plays his little game with Pycelle, Littlefinger, and Varys. However, it must be said that he is at times the lone voice of reason in the Small Council of lickspittles that Cersei makes. after Tywins death. However, we also know that Pycelle is one of the maesters that had an agenda and betrayed the trust of the person he was supposed to be serving. He did this when Tywin was at the gates, and he instructed Aerys to open the gates to him. Now, whether this was because he respected and was in league with Tywin......or he was instructed by the Citadel to rid the realm of the magic based Targaryens, I don't know if we will ever know.
Aemon: Possibly the most selfless and wise person that is a maester, if not the wisest/selfless person in the series period. He could have been a King, however he decided to keep his vows instead, even exiling himself to the Wall. This is where he would stay for years beyond count, having to hear about the ruin of his House, and also being a rock in which many Lord Commanders leaned upon. Yet we also know that Aemon had correspondence with Rhaegar, and who knows how much he knew (or didn't know) about Bloodraven, and the Others. And in stark contrast to Pycelle, Aemon was probably free of any and all conspiracies the Citadel are involved in, and I have this statement as evidence: "The world the Citadel is building has no place in it for sorcery or prophecy or glass candles, much less for dragons. Ask yourself why Aemon Targaryen was allowed to waste his life upon the Wall, when by rights he should have been raised to archmaester. His blood was why."- Archmaester Marwyn.
Other Maesters of note:
Marwyn- the only thing we know of him is that he is the archmaester of the higher mysteries, his mask and scepter being made of valyrian steel. However, he is the one that implicates the maesters in the death of the dragons, and being anti magic.
Oberyn/Alleras- now he wasn't a maester, but he had spent a lot of time at the citadel, forging six of his links before leaving to the Free Cities. How much did he know of the Citadels plans, and is Sarella there under HIS request, to work against the maesters? The reason i insinuate that Alleras is there under a different agenda is because she is obviously working with Marwyn, and even Doran states that she is "playing a game." The Conspiracy of the North:
It has been widely speculated that the maesters are behind a huge northern conspiracy that would help give the North a lot more influence and power within the 7 Kingdoms...usually through marriage pacts. Lady Dustin first hints at this when she tells Reek about Maester Walys (who himself was a bastard of the Hightower family), and stated that he was the one that enflamed Lord Rickards Southron ambitions, and even set up the marriage between Brandon Stark and Catelyn Tully.
Now many people believe that the Northern conspiracy was done to take down the Targaryens, who had used the magic of dragons (and maybe other magics?) to establish and rule their dynasty. Now this completely fits into the common theme we see in many stories, about even learned men fearing what they can't understand, or control, and therefore wanting to eliminate it from the equation. However, I also believe that the Northern conspiracy also benefited the South.
The North had stayed heavily independent throughout the ages, even staying pretty isolated even when the Targaryens had assume their rule. The Starks didn't try to marry into the royal family (Only once through the Pact of Ice and Fire, but that never went through), and the Starks didn't really get involved with the wars of the South that much, as they had enough to worry about from their own people. Also, it kept the bloodlines somewhat pure by reinforcing genetics from families that have shared it for many, many generations. It's recorded that the Starks brought the Barrow Kings to heel by defeating the last one and marrying his daughter...they defeated the Warg King by slaying the last one and marrying his daughter....and then did the same with the Marsh Kings, defeating the last one and taking his daughter to marry. So you now have a family that has not only ruled the North for thousands of years, but has ALL OF THE ROYAL BLOOD THAT EVER EXISTED IN THE NORTH within their genetics....including all the magics that go with it.
Now how would one bring to heel a wild vast country, that displays many magical traits, and has been independent for most of its existence? Well, you infiltrate the leadership of this land, and you rid yourself of these genetics by diluting it with other (non magical) bloodlines, aka the Southron Lords. This not only knits the Great Houses together to rid themselves of the Targaryens, it also 'civilizes" the wild North without having to send one invading force into them. No doubt if the next LEADER of the North would be married and involved in Southron issues and motivations, their lesser vassals would follow suit. And as more and more Southron blood and society is mixed within the North, so eventually would come their lifestyle. Weirdwoods may be forgotten, wargs rooted out as heretics, etc. I think the Northern Conspiracy was a double edge sword aimed at taking out the two most magical threats within the realm: The Starks and The Targaryens.
Now, no one could say if this would ACTUALLY happen....i mean Northern lifestyles could bleed into the South just as easily as the Southern lifestyle could bleed into the North.....however one thing is for sure: the blood lines would be diluted.
Now after the Northern Conspiracy, the next big thing is the Anti Magic Conspiracy. In this we have infinitely more possibilities, with alas infinitely less proof. Here is the famous quote from Maester Marwyn: "Who do you think killed all the dragons the last time around? Gallant dragonslayers armed with swords? The world the Citadel is building has no place in it for sorcery or prophecy or glass candles, much less for dragons. Ask yourself why Aemon Targaryen was allowed to waste his life upon the Wall, when by rights he should have been raised to archmaester. His blood was why. He could not be trusted. No more than I can."
Now from this and other things he said, we can infer that the Citadel is NOT going to allow the resurgence of Dragons within the realm. And in fact, they probably have already fired their first shot at the person who brought them back: Daenerys.
Now the wanna be assassin that tried to sell Dany the poison wine, many people assume came from the edict of Robert Baratheon within the small council. However, we also know that Jorah had correspondence with Varys, and only RIGHT BEFORE Dany meets the wineseller, had found out about the assassination attempt. Now also keep in mind, Varys has (supposedly) been on Dany's side all along, which means that you can be sure he got that message to Jorah ASAP. At this time, Varys should have also known that Mormont was NOT going to do it himself, even making an excuse for him in the Small Council meeting.
So if we look at the timeline, the message about giving the green light for Dany's assassination has BARELY even got out to Varys' informants (which we can reasonably infer is far faster than that of ravens or an "official" edict.......so how did the wineseller know to assassinate Dany?
Also, it was kind of obvious he was trying to poison her with the wine. Dany was about to take a sip, and Jorah sniffed it but couldn't be for sure. the reason I bring this up is: what kind of poison have we seen in wine throughout the series? The Strangler. It has almost exclusively been prepared with wine, as that's how it killed Joffrey, and how Cressen attempted to kill Melisandre (Cressen also being so fervently against Melisandre could also be part of the war on magic).
And the Strangler only comes from one of three places: The Faceless Men, the alchemists of Lys...or Maesters of the Citadel. Now, we have already heard time and time again how expensive it would be for the Faceless Men to kill a Queen.....not to mention I don't think the FM would botch an assassination like that. The wineseller was not from Lys, and why would he travel there just to procure this poison which I'm sure is costly......so that leaves only one group. The Maesters. This can also be the case even if they were "seemingly" acting on Roberts orders...it was still the first shot in which I'm almost certain will become a shadowy war. The Wildcards:
To end this OP, I just want to identify that I think there are infiltrators to this conspiracy, and that would be Marwyn, Alleras, Sam, and I think Pate. The reason I include Pate is because I believe Marwyn may KNOW that Pate is really a FM, and that was the only way he could get an agent inside the Citadel....an agent that would be constantly looked over. Not to mention Marwyn has access to a Glass Candle, which I'm almost positive can show the "true" nature of people, when used for scrying. I also feel that through Sam's POV, GRRM will use Sarella and Marwyn to explain the intricacies of the Citadel, and possibly take down the society from within.
Thank you for reading, and please feel free to add any conspiracies you think I missed or any facts that help this out! Would love for this to be a thread that includes all the thoughts about the Grey Men Conspiracy.
-From looking into magic I also feel that there are certain *colors* that pertain to certain type of magic uses.
-Within the Faceless Men we see MUCH use of the colors Black and White- yet when you combine them it of course makes GREY. Also with the Faceless Men you have the acolytes with the white on one part of the robe, and black on the other- while the priests wear it reversed.
-The Butterflies of Naath are BLACK an WHITE
-The BLACK STONE is usually hand in hand with things that emit evil or have been possibly used for wicked things, while you have things like the "Black Gate" which is actually white weirwood