The Old Tongue

Illyrio's motives in GoT

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In Cersei V, Feast 24, Qyburn informs the queen of a traitorous puppet show...

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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's 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 of the lions."

I see two possibilities. The first is that some creative, artistic and rebellious small folk came up with the clever story all on their own. The other is that Varys, directly or working through agents, outlined the plot and comissioned the show as advanced psyop to prepare King's Landing for Aegon. 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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On 12/13/2016 at 9:32 AM, Lost Melnibonean said:

In Cersei V, Feast 24, Qyburn informs the queen of a traitorous puppet show...

I see two possibilities. The first is that some creative, artistic and rebellious small folk came up with the clever story all on their own. The other is that Varys, directly or working through agents, outlined the plot and comissioned the show as advanced psyop to prepare King's Landing for Aegon. 

^^ LOL, so funny.  GRRM works in mysterious ways.  I'm sure sometimes he hates us for delving too deep.

You said earlier in the thread that asoiaf is broken into 3 parts, Wo5K, DwD 2.0 and War for the Dawn.  Well we are 5 books in and so far only 1 of those things has happened, with the 2nd not even in sight at all. Like not even close, Dany has 1 dragon in Meereen and it took her, Mother of Dragons, Last known Targaryen family of dragonlords, 4 books to be able to bond and ride with him, how in the blue fuck will someone else be able to do it so quickly?  I agree with you that Illyrio will be the puppeteer for the DwD 2.0 much as Littlefinger was for TWo5K.......how is this going to happen? how can he possibly fit all this into 2 books and still abide by the laws of physics and publishing?

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20 minutes ago, Suzanna Stormborn said:

^^ LOL, so funny.  GRRM works in mysterious ways.  I'm sure sometimes he hates us for delving too deep.

You said earlier in the thread that asoiaf is broken into 3 parts, Wo5K, DwD 2.0 and War for the Dawn.  Well we are 5 books in and so far only 1 of those things has happened, with the 2nd not even in sight at all. Like not even close, Dany has 1 dragon in Meereen and it took her, Mother of Dragons, Last known Targaryen family of dragonlords, 4 books to be able to bond and ride with him, how in the blue fuck will someone else be able to do it so quickly?  I agree with you that Illyrio will be the puppeteer for the DwD 2.0 much as Littlefinger was for TWo5K.......how is this going to happen? how can he possibly fit all this into 2 books and still abide by the laws of physics and publishing?

Time in story slowed significantly after Storm. The George covered about three and a half years in the first three books. I don't think he's covered a year in the last two. Not only does he have to pick up the pace of his writing if he wants to survive the published saga, but he probably needs to cover more in-story time in the remaining two books. 

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by now it seems really unlikely that the DoD2 will happen in TWOW. If we are lucky Dany will arrive westeros by the end of the next book. She needs to become the Stmtw, close the SB plots, take Volantis, take Pentos, and cross the narrow sea... seems too much..

That means either the DOD and the War for Dawn happen simultaneously or we will need more books.

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As noted here, it seems possible that Shadrich might be working for Varys. He turns up again, at the Gates of the Moon in Alayne II, Feast 41. Does Varys know that Sansa is in the Vale with Petyr?

In The Princess in the Tower, Feast 40, we begin to learn of Doran's long game, and that he has sent Quentyn after Daenerys. Somewhat surprisingly, Varys and Illyrio appear to be oblivious to Doran's plot. (SSM

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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After Feast, we get the third installment of the tales of Dunk and Egg, which tells the story of the Second Blackfyre Rebellion. That's a lot of backstory now on the Blackfyre history, but since Barristan extinguished the Blackfyres when he slew Maelys, we still have no compelling reason to suspect that Illyrio is plotting to install a Blackfyre. 

We do know that Varys and Illyrio are working to install a claimant other than one of the Targlings on the Iron Throne, but we can still only guess at who that other claimant might be.

Based on what we know so far, that claimant will likely be Rhaegar's son Aegon, or perhaps an imposter posing as Rhaegar's son. The next most likely possibility at this point is a descendant of Aerion's son, who, we learned, was passed over for Aegon the Unlikely. A descendant of Rhaenrya Targaryen was another possibility, but she was only mentioned once. 

That will change when we read Tyrion II, Dance 5. 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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In Tyrion I, Dance 1, we see that Varys has sent Tyrion off to his master Illyrio. This appears to have been spur of the moment since Jaime compelled him to do it. 

Tyrion describes a statue in Illyrio's manse of a boy of 16, blonde, lithe, and handsome, holding a sword that shimmers like "true steel." We will learn in Tyrion II that this was crafted when Illyrio was 16. So, Tyrion can guess ages after all.;)

Tyrion finds a chest of clothes for a young boy that Illyrio has had stored with some care. And he finds a cask of strongwine marked as the private stock of Lord Runceford Redwyne, the grandfather of the present Lord of the Arbor, suggesting a past or long time relationship between Illyrio's house and Redwyne. The color of the wine was "a purple so dark that it looked almost black in the dim-lit cellar." 

And we see that Illyrio is sending the clever dwarf off to aid Daenerys, just as he sent Barristan. But if he's backing some other claimant, why is he giving so much support to Daenerys? 

And then we read Tyrion II, Dance 5, and everything changes. 

Illyrio expects that Daenerys is on her way west with Barristan, and that she merely stopped in Slaver's Bay to aquire an army and take some spoils. He believes that she will have to pass Volantis, whether by land or sea, so that's where he is sending Tyrion to meet her. But they are going northeast to the Flatlands, and Tyrion notes that they should travel to Volantis by sea. We will find out why momentarily. 

Illyrio first tells Tyrion that he is merely helping Daenerys to gain her birthright, but Tyrion notes that he gave her to Drogo. Although Illyrio admitted that he did not think the fearful, furtive girl would survive, he "grew pensive" when he said that, suggesting that he was genuinely concerned about her, but then we see he was concerned about his investment, rather than the girl, when he tells Tyrion that "Viserys might have undone years of planning," if Viserys had taken his sister's maidenhead. 

Next Illyrio tells Tyrion that he helped Viserys because Viserys offered him Casterly Rock and the office of Master of Coin. Illyrio suggests that he was was doing it for coin, but the reason rings hollow when he admits that he has no interest in leaving Pentos for Casterly Rock. And would replacing Petyr, Tyrion, and Gyles Rosby to become Master of Coin truly enhance Illyrio's wealth? Moreover, he waives it off completely in any case, expressing no concern as to whether Daenerys will make good on her brother's promises. 

But then he hints at the real reason, that he has "debts of affection to repay." Even Tyrion notes that Illyrio has something more in this venture than coin or castles. 

Here, we get the backstory on Illyrio and Varys...

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"How is it that the Spider became so dear to you?"

"We were young together, two green boys in Pentos."

"Varys came from Myr."

"So he did. I met him not long after he arrived, one step ahead of the slavers. By day he slept in the sewers, by night he prowled the rooftops like a cat. I was near as poor, a bravo in soiled silks, living by my blade. Perhaps you chanced to glimpse the statue by my pool? Pytho Malanon carved that when I was six-and-ten. A lovely thing, though now I weep to see it."

"Age makes ruins of us all. I am still in mourning for my nose. But Varys …"

"In Myr he was a prince of thieves, until a rival thief informed on him. In Pentos his accent marked him, and once he was known for a eunuch he was despised and beaten. Why he chose me to protect him I may never know, but we came to an arrangement. Varys spied on lesser thieves and took their takings. I offered my help to their victims, promising to recover their valuables for a fee. Soon every man who had suffered a loss knew to come to me, whilst city's footpads and cutpurses sought out Varys … half to slit his throat, the other half to sell him what they'd stolen. We both grew rich, and richer still when Varys trained his mice."

"In King's Landing he kept little birds."

"Mice, we called them then. The older thieves were fools who thought no further than turning a night's plunder into wine. Varys preferred orphan boys and young girls. He chose the smallest, the ones who were quick and quiet, and taught them to climb walls and slip down chimneys. He taught them to read as well. We left the gold and gems for common thieves. Instead our mice stole letters, ledgers, charts … later, they would read them and leave them where they lay. Secrets are worth more than silver or sapphires, Varys claimed. Just so. I grew so respectable that a cousin of the Prince of Pentos let me wed his maiden daughter, whilst whispers of a certain eunuch's talents crossed the narrow sea and reached the ears of a certain king. A very anxious king, who did not wholly trust his son, nor his wife, nor his Hand, a friend of his youth who had grown arrogant and overproud. I do believe that you know the rest of this tale, is that not so?"

"Much of it," Tyrion admitted.

Surely, Illyrio is holding back critical details, but the storyteller is telling the reader what he wants us to know. 

And then we learn why they are headed for the Flatlands... We learn that Illyrio is taking Tyrion to Griff, a sellsword whom Illyrio says they can trust. We will learn the reason why soon enough. 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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And then Illyrio tells us...

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"The Golden Company marches toward Volantis as we speak, there to await the coming of our queen out of the east."

Beneath the gold, the bitter steel.

Immediately, we should recall what we read in the the Tales of Dunk and Egg, and most importantly this from The Soiled Knight, Feast 13...

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"Are you aware that the Golden Company has broken its contract with Myr?"

"Sellswords break their contracts all the time."

"Not the Golden Company. Our word is good as gold has been their boast since the days of Bittersteel. Myr is on the point of war with Lys and Tyrosh. Why break a contract that offered them the prospect of good wages and good plunder?"

"Perhaps Lys offered them better wages. Or Tyrosh."

"No," she said. "I would believe it of any of the other free companies, yes. Most of them would change sides for half a groat. The Golden Company is different. A brotherhood of exiles and the sons of exiles, united by the dream of Bittersteel. It's home they want, as much as gold. Lord Yronwood knows that as well as I do. His forebears rode with Bittersteel during three of the Blackfyre Rebellions." She took Ser Arys by the hand, and wove her fingers through his own. "Have you ever seen the arms of House Toland of Ghost Hill?"

He had to think a moment. "A dragon eating its own tail?"

"The dragon is time. It has no beginning and no ending, so all things come round again."

(Emphasis added) Apparently, Dance 1 occurs before Feast 13...

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"I had heard the Golden Company was under contract with one of the Free Cities."

"Myr." Illyrio smirked. "Contracts can be broken."

"There is more coin in cheese than I knew," said Tyrion. "How did you accomplish that?"

The magister waggled his fat fingers. "Some contracts are writ in ink, and some in blood. I say no more."

This is getting really interseting... What does he mean by a contract writ in blood? Is it related to the debts of affection he must repay? What is Illyrio's relationship with the Golden Company?

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The dwarf pondered that. The Golden Company was reputedly the finest of the free companies, founded a century ago by Bittersteel, a bastard son of Aegon the Unworthy. When another of Aegon's Great Bastards tried to seize the Iron Throne from his trueborn half-brother, Bittersteel joined the revolt. Daemon Blackfyre had perished on the Redgrass Field, however, and his rebellion with him. Those followers of the Black Dragon who survived the battle yet refused to bend the knee fled across the narrow sea, among them Daemon's younger sons, Bittersteel, and hundreds of landless lords and knights who soon found themselves forced to sell their swords to eat. Some joined the Ragged Standard, some the Second Sons or Maiden's Men. Bittersteel saw the strength of House Blackfyre scattering to the four winds, so he formed the Golden Company to bind the exiles together.

From that day to this, the men of the Golden Company had lived and died in the Disputed Lands, fighting for Myr or Lys or Tyrosh in their pointless little wars, and dreaming of the land their fathers had lost. They were exiles and sons of exiles, dispossessed and unforgiven … yet formidable fighters still.

"I admire your powers of persuasion," Tyrion told Illyrio. "How did you convince the Golden Company to take up the cause of our sweet queen when they have spent so much of their history fighting against the Targaryens?"

Illyrio brushed away the objection as if it were a fly.

A fly in the ointment, perhaps...

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"Black or red, a dragon is still a dragon. When Maelys the Monstrous died upon the Stepstones, it was the end of the male line of House Blackfyre." The cheesemonger smiled through his forked beard. "And Daenerys will give the exiles what Bittersteel and the Blackfyres never could. She will take them home."

And there it is. House Blackfyre ended through the male line, but the implication is that House Blackfyre has survived through the female line. 

We should not believe home is all they want since we learn in Daenerys III, Dance 16 that Viserys "had once feasted the captains of the Golden Company, in hopes they might take up his cause. They ate his food and heard his pleas and laughed at him." 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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But the chapter is not done. We get a little more of Illyrio's backstory...

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"A maiden? I know the way of that." Illyrio thrust his right hand up his left sleeve and drew out a silver locket. Inside was a painted likeness of a woman with big blue eyes and pale golden hair streaked by silver. "Serra. I found her in a Lysene pillow house and brought her home to warm my bed, but in the end I wed her. Me, whose first wife had been a cousin of the Prince of Pentos. The palace gates were closed to me thereafter, but I did not care. The price was small enough, for Serra."

"How did she die?" Tyrion knew that she was dead; no man spoke so fondly of a woman who had abandoned him.

"A Braavosi trading galley called at Pentos on her way back from the Jade Sea. The Treasure carried cloves and saffron, jet and jade, scarlet samite, green silk … and the grey death. We slew her oarsmen as they came ashore and burned the ship at anchor, but the rats crept down the oars and paddled to the quay on cold stone feet. The plague took two thousand before it ran its course." Magister Illyrio closed the locket. "I keep her hands in my bedchamber. Her hands that were so soft …"

Why is Serra important to the plot of ASOIAF and, more specifically, to the Second Dance of the Dragons? 

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"Sellswords will not stand against Dothraki screamers. That was proved at Qohor."

"Not even your brave Griff?" mocked Tyrion. "Griff is different. He has a son he dotes on. Young Griff, the boy is called. There never was a nobler lad."

Oh really? Why would Illyrio believe a sellsword's son is the most noble lad that ever lived? 

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The next evening they came upon a huge Valyrian sphinx crouched beside the road. It had a dragon's body and a woman's face.

"A dragon queen," said Tyrion. "A pleasant omen."

"Her king is missing." Illyrio pointed out the smooth stone plinth on which the second sphinx once stood, now grown over with moss and flowering vines.

Oho! That's why. Now, we know Illyrio's motive in GOT, to put this most noble lad upon the Iron Throne. 

We can reasonably conclude that Aegon is descended from Daemon Blackfyre along the female line. But we still have to piece together the relationships among Illyrio, Varys, Jon Connington, Young Griff, and the Golden Company. 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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In Tyrion III, Dance 8, Tyrion wakes to find Illyrio speaking with Haldon and Rolly "in a tongue he did not know." (There was no mention of a sword. ;)) Illyrio gave them six oaken chests with iron hasps. Presumably, such chests by themselves would be at least somewhat heavy. 

Illyrio's first concern appears to be for Griff's noble lad. He has brought a gift of candied ginger for him, noting that he was always fond of it, suggesting more than a passing familiarity with the boy and explaining the chest of rich boy's clothes Illyrio had stored in his manse. 

Illyrio wants to continue on with them to feast the rest of the band of the Shy Maid, but Haldon explains that Griff wants to be away before Dothraki khalasars arise ahead of a larger khalasar of 30,000 commanded by Pono (who had been one of Drogo’s kos). 

We see that Illyrio has already told Haldon that Tyrion's value, in addition to his cleverness, which would be unlikely to sway Griff, is his knowledge of dragonlore. 

As Haldon, Rolly, and Tyrion depart, Illyrio wishes them, "Good fortune," and bids them, "Tell the boy I am sorry that I will not be with him for his wedding." What wedding? In the previous Tyrion chapter, Illyrio noted that Daenerys was missing her king--a sphinx (which can be interpreted as fraud) with a dragon's body and a male head. Shouldn't we assume that Illyrio intends to wed the noble lad to Daenerys? 

Then Tyrion notices that Illyrio watches them with shoulders slumped and looking small, clearly suggesting that Illyrio is sad, presumably, about missing the boy. 

At this point, we can reasonably infer that the noble lad might be Illyrio's son, or that the noble lad spent his earliest years in Illyrio's home. 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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As they travel to the Shy Maid, Tyrion notes that the chests do not contain gold for the Golden Company, further suggesting that the Golden Company are motivated by something other than gold. 

We're told that the Golden Company was formed to effect Bittersteel's dream, and that they desire to return home to Westeros, so the reader can choose what he or she likes--either that the Golden Company is going to ride Daenerys's coattails home, or that Illyrio's claimant is a Blackfyre (or both). But we have to add to our consideration the line about the contract that the Golden Company is honoring being writ in blood, so we should assume the latter reason. 

Rolly tells Tyrion that the chests contain armor, armor which we will see soon. But note how Haldon jumps in and talks about court clothes and gifts for Daenerys. What is Haldon worried about Rolly disclosing? (We will find out later that one of those six chests was packed with the old child's clothing Tyrion found in Illyrio's manse. 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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And finally, after thousands of pages, we meet the noblest lad that ever graced the grearth. 

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...a boy standing on the roof of a low wooden building, waiving a wide-brimmed straw hat. He was a lithe and well-made youth, with a lanky build and a shock of blue hair. The dwarf put his age at fifteen, sixteen, or near enough to make no matter. 

The wide-brimmed straw hat recalls Egg, who wears such a hat to shade his head, which he has to keep shaven to disguise his distinctive Targaryen hair, and we note that Illyrio's noble lad dies his hair. The description of him as "lithe" recalls the statue of young Illyrio, which was crafted at a similar age--16, as correctly guessed by Tyrion. Shouldn't we assume that Illyrio’s noble young lad is 16? If so, he's a couple years too young to be Rhaegar's son, but he is old enough to have been conceived in the immediate aftermath of Robert's Rebellion, which would explain why Serra is important to the plot. 

And it becomes quite clear that Griff is Jon Connington. From Storm, we know that Jon Connington was dear to Rhaegar, and that he was hand until his failure during the Battle of the Bells. 

In Feast, we learn that Jon's predecessor failed dismally to contain Robert's Rebellion and that Rhaegar could not be found, so Aerys raised Connington to hand. After Jon's failure, though, he was stripped of honors, lands, and wealth, and packed off across the sea to die in exile, where he soon drank himself to death. Obviously, Jon Connington did not die, so the last part, the bit about drinking himself to death, is fabricated. 

But the reader has to ask why Jon Connington would support a Blackfyre? If the boy really is 16, the reader should consider whether Jon is being hoodwinked. 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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The storyteller gives us additional reason to believe that the noble young lad was born a year after Robert’s Rebellion in Tyrion IV, Dance 14...

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"The lad was shorter than Duck, but his lanky build suggested that he had not yet come into his full growth. This beardless boy could have any maiden in the Seven Kingdoms, blue hair or no."

(Italics in the original)

The storyteller also tells us that Illyrio is playing the game of thrones with certain cyvasse pieces of his own...

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“I am trying to lull you into a false sense of confidence,” said Tyrion, as they arranged their tiles on either side of a carved wooden screen. “You think you taught me how to play, but things are not always as they seem. Perhaps I learned the game from the cheesemonger, have you considered that?” “Illyrio does not play cyvasse.” No, thought the dwarf, he plays the game of thrones, and you and Griff and Duck are only pieces, to be moved where he will and sacrificed at need, just as he sacrificed Viserys.

(Italics in the original)

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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On 12/13/2016 at 9:32 AM, Lost Melnibonean said:

In Cersei V, Feast 24, Qyburn informs the queen of a traitorous puppet show...

I see two possibilities. The first is that some creative, artistic and rebellious small folk came up with the clever story all on their own. The other is that Varys, directly or working through agents, outlined the plot and comissioned the show as advanced psyop to prepare King's Landing for Aegon. 

This has always struck me a Varys move, after all he was a Mummer. Could be also a sly way to see how the smallfolk react.

On 2/10/2017 at 3:39 PM, Lost Melnibonean said:

As noted here, it seems possible that Shadrich might be working for Varys. He turns up again, at the Gates of the Moon in Alayne II, Feast 41. Does Varys know that Sansa is in the Vale with Petyr?

In The Princess in the Tower, Feast 40, we begin to learn of Doran's long game, and that he has sent Quentyn after Daenerys. Somewhat surprisingly, Varys and Illyrio appear to be oblivious to Doran's plot. (SSM

Shadrich might be working for Varys but is it public knowledge that Varys has gone underground yet?  Do you have any ideas on who in the Vale would be on team Varys?

Also some people think he is Howland Reed, I don't think so much it makes a lot more sense than the High Sparrow.

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When Tyrion and Illyrio departed Pentos, Illyrio expected Daenerys to sack Mantarys after Meereen and continue on to the Free Cities. Later, as Jon Connington approaches Volantis, he learns that Daenerys has not left Meereen, and that Yunkai has recruited Volantis to retake Meereen, and to end Daenerys's anti-slavery regime. Presumably, Illyrio would have learned this upon his return to Pentos. 

In Tyrion V, Dance 18 we get this exchange...

Quote

"What word from old Volantis?" Yandry called.

"War," the word came back.

"Where?" Griff shouted. "When?"

"When the year turns," came the answer, "Nyessos and Malaquo go hand in hand, and the elephants show stripes."

Malaquo is a tiger, so we would expect him to vote for war. Nyessos is one of two elephants, so we should expect him to vote against joining Yunkai. 

Then we learn this...

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"Elephants with stripes?" Griff muttered. "What is that about? Nyessos and Malaquo? Illyrio has paid Triarch Nyessos enough to own him eight times over."

Tyrion V, Dance 18

This suggests that Illyrio has given Nyessos the green light to force Daenerys out of Meereen. 

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Posted (edited)

Later in the Bridge of Dream chapter, we see that Young Griff has been raised to believe that he is the son of Rhaegar...

Quote

Tyrion had no sooner exhaled than Young Griff grabbed hold of his arm. "What do you mean? I am everything? What did you mean by that? Why am I everything?"

"Why," said Tyrion, "if the stone men had taken Yandry or Griff or our lovely Lemore, we would have grieved for them and gone on. Lose you, and this whole enterprise is undone, and all those years of feverish plotting by the cheesemonger and the eunuch will have been for naught … isn't that so?"

The boy looked to Griff. "He knows who I am."

...

"The blue hair makes your eyes seem blue, that's good. And the tale of how you color it in honor of your dead Tyroshi mother was so touching it almost made me cry. Still, a curious man might wonder why some sellsword's whelp would need a soiled septa to instruct him in the Faith, or a chainless maester to tutor him in history and tongues. And a clever man might question why your father would engage a hedge knight to train you in arms instead of simply sending you off to apprentice with one of the free companies. It is almost as if someone wanted to keep you hidden whilst still preparing you for … what? Now, there's a puzzlement, but I'm sure that in time it will come to me. I must admit, you have noble features for a dead boy."

The boy flushed. "I am not dead. "

"How not? My lord father wrapped your corpse in a crimson cloak and laid you down beside your sister at the foot of the Iron Throne, his gift to the new king. Those who had the stomach to lift the cloak said that half your head was gone."

...

The dwarf sniggered. "You should thank the gods that Varys the Spider is a part of this plot of yours. Griff would not have fooled the cockless wonder for an instant, no more than it did me. No lord, my lordship says, no knight. And I'm no dwarf. Just saying a thing does not make it true. Who better to raise Prince Rhaegar's infant son than Prince Rhaegar's dear friend Jon Connington, once Lord of Griffin's Roost and Hand of the King?"

In Tyrion VI, Dance 22, we learn about the pisswater prince switcheroo, and we can begin to reconcile the true identity Aegon with the presumed identity of Aegon. And we can start piecing together the relationships between Illyrio, Varys, Jon Connington, Aegon, and the Golden Company. 

We already know that Varys has a drop of dragonblood, and that he serves Illyrio, with those two having developed a patron-client relationship in their teenage years. 

Aegon tells Tyrion that Jon Connington and Rhaegar were squires together at King's Landing, and we already know from Jaime that Aerys elevated Jon Connington to be his Hand in part because of Jon Connington's relationship with Rhaegar. 

And Aegon confirms that their intention is to have Aegon wed Daenerys and harness the power of her dragons, presumably, an even greater asset than a Dothraki khalasar. 

Does Tyrion guess that Aegon is a Blackfyre, or a pisswater prince? When Aegon proves to be a sore loser at cyvasse, Tyrion muses, "He may well be a Targaryen after all." 

Tyrion then gets captured by Jorah, and Griff learns that Daenerys has not departed Slaver's Bay, and that Yunkai has marshaled all the ports on the north coast of the Summer Sea to war against her. He also learns that Benerro believes that Daenerys is the savior promised in an ancient prophecy.  

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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Posted (edited)

Although Arianne suggests that the Golden Company is different from other sellsword companies, and Tyrion notes their motto is "Beneath the gold the bitter steel," Jon Connington believes they are common sellswords. Lemore fears to reveal Aegon to them, believing they are his only because they are bought and paid for, presumably with Illyrio’s gold, and Jon Connington does not challenge that assumption, but we know that Illyrio does not buy them with gold but with blood--beneath the gold the bitter steel

In The Lost Lord, Dance 24, we learn that Jon Connington believes that Myles Toyne had been his friend. Myles Toyne had been Captain General of the Golden Company until his death four years earlier. Myles Toyne, a charismatic leader, had taken Jon Connington under his wing. But at what point? Jon Connington served with the Golden Company for five years, presumably beginning shortly after he was exiled, "rising from the ranks to a place of honor at Toyne's right hand." Jon Connington believes he was being groomed to succeed Myles Toyne, but it seems to me that he was being groomed to raise Aegon. 

Jon Connington left the Golden Company 12 years earlier. So, Aegon would have been 4 according to Tyrion's guess, while Rhaegar’s son would have been 6. 

Jon Connington assumes that most of the men of the Golden Company will not know him. We learn that he resents Varys, who persuaded him to sacrifice what was left of his honor to raise Aegon. Presumably, Varys’s plan was orchestrated with Myles Toyne and Illyrio. 

From Franklyn Flowers we learn that Homeless Harry Strickland, the Captain-General of the Golden Company, told his officers that they would meet Jon Connington near Volantis. Should we assume that Homeless Harry told his officers anything else? 

When Franklyn Flowers begins to introduce Aegon, Jon Connington cuts him off, introducing the noble lad as his squire. Upon their reintroduction, Homeless Harry, a proud, third generation descendant of a Blackfyre rebel, identifies Aegon as Jon Connington's son. When Jon Connington reveals the noble lad to be Rhaegar's son, he is greeted by silence, a very pregnant pause, and he realizes that the officers of the Golden Company are not surprised. He asks Homeless Harry, "When did you tell them?" But he does not ask what he told them. Homeless Harry told them when they reached the river, but did he tell them who Aegon really was? 

Homeless Harry says they were losing money and refusing contracts, including the opportunity to go to war against Daenerys Targaryen, which the officers would have been glad to do. If they would have been glad to go to war against Daenerys Targaryen, why would they be willing to lose money to go to war for Aegon Targaryen? The contract was writ in blood. Homeless Harry adds that Myles Toyne sealed the secret pact, apparently between Illyrio and the Golden Company, and Homeless Harry at least states that he would honor it, and apparently the officers would too. 

Jon Connington senses unease from some of the officers of the Golden Company, and he attributes it to the cloud under which he departed twelve years ago, but the reader should wonder about this, since we really don't know what the men have been told about his return with the noble lad. And the reader should note Jon Connington's near contempt for the Golden Company's failure to seize the Iron Throne for a Blackfyre. 

The familiarity Franklyn Flowers shares with Haldon Halfmaester shows that Haldon served with the Golden Company as well. 

We also learn that in addition to being squires together, Jon Connington thinks of Rhaegar as "his silver prince." 

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No amount of prayer would put him on the Iron Throne, however. That was Griff’s task. He had failed Prince Rhaegar once. He would not fail his son, not whilst life remained in his body.

So, Jon Connington apparently believes that Aegon is Rhaegar’s son, and he is willing to die to put the son of his silver prince on the throne. 

Quote

He had waited so long, surely the gods would grant him a few more years, enough time to see the boy he'd called a son seated on the Iron Throne. To reclaim his lands, his name, his honor. To still the bells that rang so loudly in his dreams whenever he closed his eyes to sleep.

 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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Posted (edited)

Lysono Maar indicates that the officers of the Golden Company know that they are waiting for Daenerys, but like Jon Connington, and surely by now Illyrio as well, they know that Daenerys has remained in Slaver's Bay. Lysono Maar cannot imagine why she has lingered. He thinks it must be fear, madness, or sloth. 

Homeless Harry confirms that they intended to "raise up a king and queen that would lead them home to Westeros," and they are very frustrated by Daenerys. 

Tristan Rivers suggests going to Daenerys. Indicating that they have been debating their course of action, Lysono Maar assures them that they cannot reach Meereen by sea, without using the dishonorable ploy that Quentyn used. 

Franklyn Flowers suggests the demon road, but Homeless Harry points out the folly of that option. 

Indeed, the Golden Company are very, very frustrated with the Targaryen queen...

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"It grieves me to say it, but Magister Illyrio and his friends may have been unwise to put so much hope on this child queen."

But they are not frustrated at all with the noblest lad that ever lived...

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"Then put your hopes on me."

Franklin Flowers likes the idea of leaving the Targaryen queen in Slaver's Bay and says the noble lad has stones. 

Homeless Harry balks hard, not because of the dragons, but because of the legitimacy Daenerys would give his claim as Rhaegar's son. 

Jon Connington supports the noble lad, and so does Lysono Maar, followed by one of the Coles, and then by Tristan Rivers, who recounts Illyrio's changing plans...

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"The fat man's plan? The one that changes every time the moon turns? First Viserys Targaryen was to join us with fifty thousand Dothraki screamers at his back. Then the Beggar King was dead, and it was to be the sister, a pliable young child queen who was on her way to Pentos with three new-hatched dragons. Instead the girl turns up on Slaver's Bay and leaves a string of burning cities in her wake, and the fat man decides we should meet her by Volantis. Now that plan is in ruins as well."

That Tristan Rivers knew the different iterations of Illyrio's plan at least suggests that he, and perhaps some others, were privy to the plans as they were developed. 

Laswell Peake joins in support, as does Marq Mandrake. Then, Tristan Rivers pledges, "Prince Aegon, we are your men," and...

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One by one, the men of the Golden Company rose, knelt, and laid their swords at the feet of his young prince. The last to do so was Homeless Harry Strickland, blistered feet and all.

The officers of the Golden Company did not sell their swords, they swore their swords to honor a contract writ in blood--beneath the gold, the bitter steel. 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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On 12/13/2016 at 9:32 AM, Lost Melnibonean said:

In Cersei V, Feast 24, Qyburn informs the queen of a traitorous puppet show...

I see two possibilities. The first is that some creative, artistic and rebellious small folk came up with the clever story all on their own. The other is that Varys, directly or working through agents, outlined the plot and comissioned the show as advanced psyop to prepare King's Landing for Aegon. 

One more thing about the puppeteers, the only other ones I can remember are the Dornish ones from Dunk and Egg. So mayhaps Dornish agents. Still Varys is the most likely one.

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Rolly joined the Golden Company at 16. He smiths for a few years. (3-4, so he's about 20?) And then Harry Strickland, one of the highest officers, takes him on as squire.

"When Griff sent word downriver that he needed someone to help train his son to arms, Harry sent him me."

Myles Toyne has only been dead four years. (The Lost Lord, Dance 24) and we can assume that Aegon began training to arms before he was 12, which strongly suggests that Harry knew about Griff and Young Griff before he became Captain General. 

This at least suggests that the highest officers of the Golden Company have known about Aegon for some time. 

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