Lord Varys

Plot developments / expectations for The Winds of Winter

62 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, rotting sea cow said:

Illyrio is certainly more easy to guess. He is very likely Aegon's father, whose mother was a Blackfyre (hence the 'debts of affection to repay' and the statements like 'Blackfyre extinct by the male line', 'contracts written in blood', etc). He may even be a Blackfyre descendant. Maybe not. His objective is to install Aegon Blackfyre in the Iron Throne.

Aegon actually wouldn't be a Blackfyre. He would be a Mopatis if House Blackfyre is truly extinct in the male line, just as Harrold Hardyng is a Hardyng and not an Arryn.

Illyrio makes it appear as if his debts of affection are owed to Varys which makes sense. Varys is the man who singlehandedly raised Illyrio out his miserable life as a bravo and made him one of the most powerful men of Pentos and one of the richest men in his quarter of the world. The idea that Illyrio is on board with the plan because of some promise he made to his dead wife is much less supported, especially in the context of the story.

The fact that Illyrio is the one who controls the Golden Company is also a pretty important fact. It is not very likely that the memory of a dead whore (or the claim of some whore son) is what got Myles Toyne on board of this whole plot. But if Illyrio himself is a Blackfyre descendant things are different. And they would be even more different if Illyrio is also a descendant of Bittersteel, the legendary founder of the Golden Company. It is much more believable that the captains of the Golden Company would listen to such a man.

1 hour ago, rotting sea cow said:

Varys is more mysterious, I'd say. He is strongly cooperating with Illyrio which would argue of also being part of the Blackfyre conspiration. But at the same time he seems to be aiming for higher ideals in relation to the realm. Not simply a Blackfyre takeover.

Varys must have a personal connection to Westeros, too, possibly due to a Targaryen-Blackfyre ancestry, but his ultimate motivation is (or became over the years) more idealogical and philosophical than merely dynastic or personal.

The most interesting tidbit on their backstory Illyrio does not elaborate upon is the reason why Varys teamed up with Illyrio of all people. He claims he doesn't know. But it is more likely that he does very much know, at least by now, and that the reason is that Varys learned who Illyrio actually was and told him that they were (distant) cousins and both descended from (a cadet branch of) the royal dynasty of Westeros. That would have been the foundation of their lasting partnership.

I'm also inclined to believe that Illyrio had no clue who his ancestors were until Varys found out and told him. I imagine he is Pentoshi by birth, with his mother dying early in his life, and his stepfather and step siblings throwing him out of his house, causing him to live a miserable life in a Cinderella-like fashion until he met Varys.

1 hour ago, rotting sea cow said:

Regarding the OP. It is also interesting that Illyrio is aware that winter is coming and there is no food for the realm. Of course he doesn't know how hard this winter will be, but he seems to have a plan regarding the lack of food.

Yes, Aegon could actually get very popular if Illyrio ships a lot of food for free over to KL. They might have a lot of spare food over there in the Flatlands, at least in the first two years of winter or so.

59 minutes ago, rotting sea cow said:

Dreadfort. I think we shouldn't forget Dreadfort.

Allegedly, it is protected by a small garrison. I guess it's not that small as A. Karstark claimed, but smallish nevertheless. But it seems to be the best provisioned castle in the North, bar White Harbor (which is now being overflowed by refugees).  These provisions may be important for skipping the winter.

The Dreadfort certainly is one of the strongest castles in the North and Roose left it well manned when he rode to war with Robb. How many of his men survived the battle at Winterfell and the fighting for the Hornwood lands isn't clear, but one assumes quite a few of them did, and one also expects that Roose commanded Ramsay to leave sufficiently strong garrison at the Dreadfort when he brought his men down to Moat Cailin. Or not, come to think of it, considering that they originally planned to lure Stannis into a trap at the Dreadfort. Once that didn't work Roose might have taken all his strength to Winterfell rather than sending some men back to his castle.

59 minutes ago, rotting sea cow said:

What can happen there one can only guess.

1) After dispatching the Freys and Manderlys against Stannis, Roose may decide to leave WF to Ramsay and go back to Dreadfort with much of his forces. In that case, nobody except the Others or dragons will be able to take him out there. He may even leave if he learned that Stannis is 'dead'.

Honestly, I'm still very irritated by this notion that Roose would ever actually send Ramsay as a commander of his troops against Stannis. Why wouldn't he do that himself or give command to a trusted and experienced commander? He isn't that stupid. It is only Theon who assumes that Ramsay will come. And Ramsay might come, to be sure, but not necessarily as commander but alongside Roose who would command the troops.

But in any case - if Roose did give Ramsay the command he would most likely remain himself behind at Winterfell with a strong garrison of loyal and capable men and the larger portion of the remaining provision, putting himself in a very comfortable position.

He would only flee Winterfell if he thought he could no longer win. And considering his cautious nature he might actually reach that conclusion sooner rather than later.

59 minutes ago, rotting sea cow said:

2) If Roose or Ramsay flee after the battle, they will be weakened and unable to protect Dreadfort properly. The Northern coalition may decide to strike at them. There are a couple of options. White Harbor can send its ships and land at the coast, comfortably bringing its forces close to Dreadfort, provisions and even siege engines. Stannis or Jon, can make use of the giants and mammoths.

3) If both die, it will be of course easier to take the castle and its valuable provisions.

If Roose and/or Ramsay retreat to the Dreadfort I expect nobody to pursue them immediately. At least not unless the weather changes suddenly and the snow melts away again. But if Stannis wins the battle and lives he is not going to allow the Boltons to prevail. He will come for them and take down their castle, one way or another. Whether that will be a top priority is difficult to say. I hope not because such a thing should be very costly.

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20 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I just don't buy that. I could buy Varys failing to predict the abduction and the subsequent Rebellion, but I would expect him to do anything in his power to prevent the Rebellion, and succeeding there if he really had Aerys' ear in pretty much all things.

It is possible that Varys had a lot of influence on Aerys but we also knew the man was mad and paranoid before he hired Varys. And we also don't know whether the idea of Rhaegar's Great Council at Harrenhal would have plunged the Realm into a civil war or not. I can see only half or even fewer of the lords supporting Rhaegar against Aerys. Turning against your father wouldn't be a very popular thing in patriarchal Westeros.

And we actually don't know whether it was Varys who made Aerys suspicious about Harrenhal.

Somewhere in the books it is mentioned that Aerys found out about Rhaegar sponsoring the tournament at Harrenhal and made him suspicious about his plans there. I don't see anyone else ferreting this supposedly close held plan between Rhaegar and his friends but Varys. In fact, Varys might be mentioned so in the text.

But Varys could only do so much, many times he had to change plans because real people do unexpected things. He couldn't predict actions of Rhaegar in kidnapping Lyanna, he couldn't predict brash Brandon riding to KL and inciting Aerys to homicidal insanity, just as he couldn't stop Joffrey from executing Ned Stark and throwing Westeros into chaos YEARS before his plans were ready. Once Aerys executed Starks, nothing Varys did could have stopped rebellious lords and in his tenure before, he managed to alienate Aerys from all of his good councilors/generals who could have defeated it.



No, such a sister is never mentioned.

Well, if that woman gave birth to the son he needed for his plans he might have been forced to marry her to be able to make the boy his legitimate son and heir. We have no idea about inheritance laws in Pentos, and Illyrio is a very wealthy man but neither a king nor a lord. There might be legal procedures and laws in Pentos that make it difficult to bestow your wealth on some lowborn whore son.

And I'm pretty sure that Aegon is Illyrio's heir, supposed to get everything should the plan be canceled or Illyrio die a sudden death.

While Illyrio and Varys pretend and lie a lot, I do believe his story about Serra was genuine. After all, all in Pentos knew that he basically got into blacklist with nobles there over his actions with Serra. Other than genuine feelings why divorse/refuse to marry a noble wife of one of leaders of Pentos for a whore? 

Plus, being Rhaegar's "son" doesn't stop Illyrio adopting the boy and gifting him all his wealth. Many nobles don't need to have acknowledge heir of their blood to give the inheritance to someone else or to a cause.

I am also sincerely doubt that Illyrio or Varys will EVER tell anyone that Aegon might be Illyrio's son. Including him (unless he already knows). That a stupendous risk to take. To acknowledge that Aegon is absolute nobody... especially if Bloodfyre/Brightflame conspiracy is not involved...What makes you think that Arianne and any of the nobles in Westeros would accept that, especially if Danaerys is breathing down their necks with her dragons in row? And what would stop JonCon going into absolute fury by realizing that he threw his life away and in fact betrayed Rhaegar and all he stood for, for a fake?


Well, I'm pretty sure Varys, the man who tells us that 'power is a shadow on the wall which resides where people believe it resides' doesn't give a damn about that assertion. He has no reason to prove or disprove it and is not the kind of guy who believes some historical rumors just because they would profit him or some of his family members.

And you should keep in mind that Daeron II was a crowned and anointed king regardless who his father was. And Aegon IV never disinherited him.

Well, then Varys really sucked during the Rebellion. And the idea that a Blackfyre pretender through the female line would have had any shot at the Iron Throne is pretty far-fetched. Why don't they go with Aegon Blackfyre right now if they would have done so against Aerys/Viserys? The Targaryens are gone, the Baratheons are essentially finished (Stannis) or fake Baratheons (Tommen/Myrcella). If a Blackfyre still had a shot he would be likely to succeed against those people than against a Targaryen.

Oh, I'd be surprised if the elephants lived so long.

About elephants - why not? Cold? I like elephants vs dragons parties! LOL

Varys did suck during Rebellion, and he couldn't manipulate enough Cersei/Joffrey and failed on Dany/Viserys/Drogo plan, He is not omniscient.

My theory, is that Varys wanted to come in with "beloved" and "Good king" rule popularity.

During Targaeryen reign he could have pointed to disastrous and crazy Aerys and Viserys and blamed their blood (as Blackfyres do). After all in first Blackfyre rebellion, half of nobles sides with them. Now, after getting EVERYONE upset at Targaryens, Blackfyres would have far more supporters including High Lords 

Now, during Lannister reign, everyone is talking about "good old times" during Targaeryens and everyone (other than Robert) remembers with misty eye - "silver prince" Rhaegar. Hence that song that Cersei listed to from the streets - about Lions eating Stags and defeating wolves, getting above themselves and then Dragons finishing them off. Now Targaeryens are popular and nobody even cares about Blackfyres.



No, that's my theory. Jon has yet to mention Lyanna. But the fact that he hasn't mentioned her at all as of yet strongly suggests he doesn't like her all that much. Elia gave Rhaegar two healthy children. That should have been enough, don't you think?

Jon mentions Elia because Aegon is always on his mind. Lyanna is not, perhaps he will talk about her in the next book. But his Elia's opinion not so good either. In his first POV, he talks about her nicely (but then he is speaking aloud to Golden Company and his companions)

In second POV, he thinks about her being sickly and doctor telling Rhaegar that he won't have any more children by her. It kind feels so in the text that he knows that Rhaegar wanted - needed- more children and he blamed Elia for being too weak or at least looked down on her for failing Rhaegar

Edited by Masha

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