Ser Kinslayer

Why did Varys kill Grand Maester Pycelle?

43 posts in this topic

Now that I think about it... is there a plausible reason for Varys to kill Grand Maester Pycelle? Obviously, he killed Kevan for being a competent individual, but Pycelle's capacity to rule is limited without Kevan. Is it possible that Pycelle knows something that happened during the sack of King's Landing?

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He killed Pycelle because Pycelle is the only person living and still in the politically influential circles of the realm. IE other than a handful of maids who cersei is highly unlikely to have kept around after she took up residence. That would have been familiar with the naked body of Aegon targaryen, and would know that it really was him who was presented to robert. Because Pycelle would have been the boys physician.  

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Because Pycelle wasnt  that much stupid Varys planed to left only stupid people in KL

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Pycelle would've been able to challenge the identity of Aegon, he's the only person from the Sack of King's Landing who saw the babe's body before the Mountain killed it. With Pycelle out of the way, it would further strengthen Connington's claims and Aegon's as well if no one could dispute his identity.

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1 hour ago, Ser Kinslayer said:

Now that I think about it... is there a plausible reason for Varys to kill Grand Maester Pycelle? Obviously, he killed Kevan for being a competent individual, but Pycelle's capacity to rule is limited without Kevan. Is it possible that Pycelle knows something that happened during the sack of King's Landing?

Pycelle would be able to identify (f)Aegon being real or not. He is also the keeper of the ravens but most importantly, he is a Lannister man first, as shown in the sack of king's landing. It is important to remove all Lannister support from the capital, alienating Cersei and nurturing her insanity 

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1 hour ago, The Weirwoods Eyes said:

He killed Pycelle because Pycelle is the only person living and still in the politically influential circles of the realm. IE other than a handful of maids who cersei is highly unlikely to have kept around after she took up residence. That would have been familiar with the naked body of Aegon targaryen, and would know that it really was him who was presented to robert. Because Pycelle would have been the boys physician.  

As I've said in the other thread, this is a highly unlikely theory. Aegon was born on Dragonstone, and there is no hint whatsoever that Pycelle ever was the boy's physician or even had a chance to see the child naked. Not to mention that there is no reason to believe that Aegon had any birthmarks, etc. Not to mention that the chances are about zero that Aegon would ever allow this dotering old fool to examine his naked body.

And we do know (from Kevan) that Pycelle never confirmed that the dead infant was Rhaegar's son. Tywin told everybody at KL that the dead children were the dead royal children and the people bought it without questioning. There was no proper examining of the corpses.

The girl was recognizably the Princess Rhaenys - people seeing her dead body recognized her - but nobody could recognize Aegon, and apparently nobody at the time thought that it would be better to double-check whether Aegon was Aegon. If the boy had had a birthmark people who had known him (not necessary Pycelle) would have known that back then as well as Pycelle is supposed to do now.

It is much more likely that

1. Varys just chose Pycelle's apartments as the place to quietly kill Kevan, meaning that the Grand Maester had to go, too (the least likeliest scenario).

2. Varys decided to kill Pycelle because the man was the most competent/rational man on Tommen's council, a man who would honestly try to do his best to act in Tommen's best interest (nobody else is going to do that now). He was not as much a danger to Aegon's rise as Kevan could have become, but he was a competent enemy.

3. Varys killed Pycelle because there is something personal going on between them - an unpaid debt from decades ago, perhaps.

4. Varys killed Pycelle because he knew that Pycelle knew something about his past (say, his origins or some of his actions during the reign of Aerys II or Robert) that Varys doesn't want to be brought up again during the coming glorious reign of King Aegon VI.

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Posted (edited)

Oh, I see that Lord Varys (ironically...) has said it better, and has more detail. Here's my 2 cents, however:

Re: Pycelle having identified the body of baby Aegon Targaryon: Is this actually reasonable, given that Gregor Clegane repeatly bashed the baby's head against the wall?

Re: Pycelle being able to tell whether Young Griff / Aegon Targaryon(?) is the real deal, based on having seen baby Aegon - babies are really pretty interchangeable, unlike their older forms.

Unless there were some pretty significant birthmarks, like a portwine stain in the shape of an arrakh or something, it seems as if Pycelle's eyewitness testimony wouldn't be that useful.

Edited by zandru
saw subsequent, superior post

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7 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

It is much more likely that

1. Varys just chose Pycelle's apartments as the place to quietly kill Kevan, meaning that the Grand Maester had to go, too (the least likeliest scenario).

2. Varys decided to kill Pycelle because the man was the most competent/rational man on Tommen's council, a man who would honestly try to do his best to act in Tommen's best interest (nobody else is going to do that now). He was not as much a danger to Aegon's rise as Kevan could have become, but he was a competent enemy.

3. Varys killed Pycelle because there is something personal going on between them - an unpaid debt from decades ago, perhaps.

4. Varys killed Pycelle because he knew that Pycelle knew something about his past (say, his origins or some of his actions during the reign of Aerys II or Robert) that Varys doesn't want to be brought up again during the coming glorious reign of King Aegon VI.

2 and 3

Pycelle was capable of giving sound advice to Cersei and she may choose to listen some of the time.  I also think this is Varys paying Pycelle back for the sack of king's landing.  It was Pycelle who talked King Aerys to open the gates to the Lannisters.  I now suspect Pycelle knew full well what would happen.  The Lannisters were in communication with Pycelle and used him to set up Aerys.  Varys was paying him back for his treachery.  

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Pycelle hated Varys, and Varys probably felt the same towards Pycelle.  So when you need to destabilize the kingdom even further, you kill 2 members of the small counsel, settle a score, and use Pycelle as a lure to get Kevin alone.

It is a win win

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Occam's razor.

Pycelle is smart, competent, and influential now that Cersei was out of the way.

Varys thinks a competent administration would be a hurdle for Aegon.

Varys rids said competent administration of the competent men.

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In addition to what everyone's said upthread, killing Pycelle creates extra chaos since he testified publicly about Margaery's moon tea and pissed off Mace, and he himself was paranoid about it. 

It adds even more mistrust and doubts. 

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19 minutes ago, Good Guy Garlan said:

In addition to what everyone's said upthread, killing Pycelle creates extra chaos since he testified publicly about Margaery's moon tea and pissed off Mace, and he himself was paranoid about it. 

It adds even more mistrust and doubts. 

That could possibly help Cersei with her paranoia but only if she was aware that Pycelle was afraid of the Tyrells (which is actually doubtful).

However, the point of the general mistrust at court immediately before the double murder is important to note. Swyft and Pycelle are both very wary of the Tyrells, and while we have no idea how the Tyrells feel about them, the chilly atmosphere in the throne room during the last audience and council session in the Epilogue makes it pretty clear that Mace and Randyll know what Cersei tried to do to both Loras and Margaery (trying to get both of them killed). Kevan isn't afraid of them, and they seem to be willing to work with him, but neither of them is going to work with Cersei, nor is there any chance that she would be working with any of them.

Another aspect one should consider is that Varys might have wanted to save Aegon the trouble of executing Pycelle. The man essentially was a Lannister toady and would have to go once Aegon sat the Iron Throne, if only for his role in the Sack.

If that's the case there might also be a chance that Varys knows who Pycelle's most likely replacement is going to be, possibly a man in Aegon's camp or a man likely to join Aegon's camp.

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

1. Varys just chose Pycelle's apartments as the place to quietly kill Kevan, meaning that the Grand Maester had to go, too (the least likeliest scenario).

2. Varys decided to kill Pycelle because the man was the most competent/rational man on Tommen's council, a man who would honestly try to do his best to act in Tommen's best interest (nobody else is going to do that now). He was not as much a danger to Aegon's rise as Kevan could have become, but he was a competent enemy.

3. Varys killed Pycelle because there is something personal going on between them - an unpaid debt from decades ago, perhaps.

4. Varys killed Pycelle because he knew that Pycelle knew something about his past (say, his origins or some of his actions during the reign of Aerys II or Robert) that Varys doesn't want to be brought up again during the coming glorious reign of King Aegon VI.

Pretty much a combination of all four. Pycelle even stated that there are "things about the eunuch that will chill the blood". 

There is also what people would make of Kevan assassination. Killing him together with Kevan would make Cersei to suspect on both Tyrion and the Tyrells who have personal animosity towards Pycelle.

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3 minutes ago, rotting sea cow said:

Pretty much a combination of all four. Pycelle even stated that there are "things about the eunuch that will chill the blood".

Well, we have no idea what that was or whether it was even true. While Pycelle might know stuff about Varys we also have to keep in mind that Varys is a eunuch and a foreigner doing the most thankless job on the council. He is everybody's first candidate if you need a scapegoat to cover your own tracks. Pycelle does this with Eddard in AGoT and he tries to repeat it (unsuccessfully) with Tyrion in ACoK.

3 minutes ago, rotting sea cow said:

There is also what people would make of Kevan assassination. Killing him together with Kevan would make Cersei to suspect on both Tyrion and the Tyrells who have personal animosity towards Pycelle.

But as I've just said, we don't know whether Cersei actually knows that the Tyrells have a personal animosity towards Pycelle. She would remember that she forced Pycelle to accuse Margaery but does she also know that the Mace and Tarly hate him for that? Maybe, but we don't know that.

We are likely to find out Cersei's thoughts on the murders in the next chapter. I'm reasonably confident she will take this as confirmation that Tyrion is still in the castle, hiding behind the walls, and working with Mace and Tarly to kill her and Tommen next. She will also conclude that the Tyrells were working with Tyrion to kill Tywin and possibly even Joffrey. And she would not completely wrong there. It isn't Tyrion but Varys who hides in the walls, and the Tyrells only killed Joffrey, not Tywin, but aside from that she is pretty much correct that there are people inside and outside the castle that want to kill her and Tommen.

And as Aegon approaches Varys is most likely going to continue his work, likely to target Cersei, Mace, and Tarly next, if they should turn out to become dangerous to Aegon rather than inadvertent allies (in their incompetence), and perhaps even Tommen and Myrcella (if she ever gets to KL), to keep Aegon's own hands clean.

If Cersei's brats are dead before Aegon arrives in the city his own succession will look a lot better than Robert Baratheon's.

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25 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If that's the case there might also be a chance that Varys knows who Pycelle's most likely replacement is going to be, possibly a man in Aegon's camp or a man likely to join Aegon's camp.

Ah yes - Pycelle's replacement. The death of the Grand Maester would provoke a reaction from the Citadel, no doubt - even if there were Archmaesters there who were glad to be rid of Pycelle and his political maneuverings. Let's put on our tinfoil hats for a change (heh, heh) and note that there is currently a Faceless Man at large in the Citadel. And we don't yet know his target(s).

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3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

But as I've just said, we don't know whether Cersei actually knows that the Tyrells have a personal animosity towards Pycelle.

She will know from Harys Swyft and his last exchange with Pycelle.

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Just now, rotting sea cow said:

She will know from Harys Swyft and his last exchange with Pycelle.

What makes you think the Master of Coin is going to be permitted to see the Queen Dowager? Cersei is effectively a prisoner in Maegor's Holdfast, being constantly overseen by the Faith and now effectively completely at the mercy of the Tyrells. With the Lord Regent dead all authority lies with the Hand who speaks with the King's Voice. Mace will become Cersei's gaoler just as Kevan was before him. If she wanted to do something about that she would have to kill him. And even then the Tyrell men in the capital would simply put her and her men down. She would have to kill them all, an impossible task considering the size of the Tyrell army in comparison to the Lannister guardsmen.

Swyft doesn't have the balls to try to oppose the Tyrells in any way, shape, or form. Perhaps there is a chance for them to talk if Cersei or Swyft were the first to find out about the murders but that's not very likely. I mean, Cersei was the Queen Regent when Lord Tywin was murdered on his own privy, yet the guardsmen who found him first ran to Jaime, Kevan, and pretty much the entire castle before going to her, the one technically in charge of the government of the Realm.

How likely is it then that even a Lannister guardsmen or servant finding the corpse is going to rush to the Queen Dowager now that she has been publicly revealed to be an adulterous bitch instead of the people who are truly powerful people at court?

It is just not all that likely.

The people sending Swyft to Braavos will be Mace and Tarly, not Cersei. If Cersei had a say in the things to come Swyft wouldn't leave KL. He is the last Lannister man on the council and Kevan's father-in-law. If he could gather some courage he would have want to see his son-in-law avenged, not go to Braavos on a stupid mission to get some loans. Cersei is the Lady of Casterly Rock. If she ever had any say in the government of the Realm again the Crown's debts could easily enough be paid with Lannister gold. Or Casterly Rock could offer the Crown additional loans (for free).

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3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

What makes you think the Master of Coin is going to be permitted to see the Queen Dowager? Cersei is effectively a prisoner in Maegor's Holdfast, being constantly overseen by the Faith and now effectively completely at the mercy of the Tyrells. With the Lord Regent dead all authority lies with the Hand who speaks with the King's Voice. Mace will become Cersei's gaoler just as Kevan was before him. If she wanted to do something about that she would have to kill him. And even then the Tyrell men in the capital would simply put her and her men down. She would have to kill them all, an impossible task considering the size of the Tyrell army in comparison to the Lannister guardsmen.

Swyft doesn't have the balls to try to oppose the Tyrells in any way, shape, or form. Perhaps there is a chance for them to talk if Cersei or Swyft were the first to find out about the murders but that's not very likely. I mean, Cersei was the Queen Regent when Lord Tywin was murdered on his own privy, yet the guardsmen who found him first ran to Jaime, Kevan, and pretty much the entire castle before going to her, the one technically in charge of the government of the Realm.

How likely is it then that even a Lannister guardsmen or servant finding the corpse is going to rush to the Queen Dowager now that she has been publicly revealed to be an adulterous bitch instead of the people who are truly powerful people at court?

It is just not all that likely.

The people sending Swyft to Braavos will be Mace and Tarly, not Cersei. If Cersei had a say in the things to come Swyft wouldn't leave KL. He is the last Lannister man on the council and Kevan's father-in-law. If he could gather some courage he would have want to see his son-in-law avenged, not go to Braavos on a stupid mission to get some loans. Cersei is the Lady of Casterly Rock. If she ever had any say in the government of the Realm again the Crown's debts could easily enough be paid with Lannister gold. Or Casterly Rock could offer the Crown additional loans (for free).

What makes you think that Harys will retain his position as Master of Coin? The Tyrells have several candidates and Mace is the hand.

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I'm sure this has been speculated at already (I haven't read the entire thread,) but maybe Pycelle's apartment's were the easiest place to infiltrate. That, and (I know this has been suggested already,) Pycelle gives good counsel. Not to mention, Varys might also have some inclination about just who will be replacing Pycelle. 

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Removing a rival information service? Maesters communicate, taking out Pycelle takes out their eyes and ears at a high level until a replacement takes over.

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