Kandrax

Cutting tongues.

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Posted (edited)

Am i only one here, who get annoyed when people use this as proof that Varys doesn't care about good of realm?

Edited by Kandrax

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Well the thing about the realm is that the individuals don't matter. At all. Replace all of the individual people with completely different people, and it could be run in exactly the same way, good or bad. So if someone is interested in "the good of the realm", that only means that they want stability, for the realm to be run well, not that they want only good things for every individual person in the realm.

That said, Varys claimed to Ser Kevan that he is doing what he's doing "for the children". Which is patently false, considering he mutilates children. At least, if by "the children" he means all the children of the realm.

Anyway, I'm not really sure what you're getting at. Are you saying that it's annoying that people see this as proof that Varys doesn't care about the realm when there's other, more convincing arguments that he doesn't care about the realm? Or that this doesn't prove that Varys cares not about the realm?

Because as to the first question, I agree. The best argument against Varys's assertion that it's for the realm is that he could have had stability many years ago. Should he just have been loyal, and been forthright about the secrets he learns, instead of plotting his plots and scheming his schemes, instead of stoking the fire that was King Aerys's madness, things could well have been much better. He evidently wants things to be the way he wants it to be, regardless of the cost to get there, even if things don't end better for the realm.

As to the second question, I agree with that also. One can have the realms best interests at heart, and still cut out the tongues of perfectly innocent people. They aren't mutually exclusive. The greater good requires sacrifice. That said, it's much more of a sign that he doesn't care about the realm than it is a sign that he does care about the realm.

But no, I wouldn't say that it annoys me. It's a perfectly reasonable - albeit entirely circumstantial - argument that he's not such a nice guy.

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There are several things which point to Varys not caring about the realm in the benevolent way he likes to imply.  Cutting children's tongues out is just one of them. 

His for the children line is interesting. Because what children is he referencing? 

The children of Westeros as a whole?

The children whose tongues he has cut out?

The children of the Forest?

The Children of the upper class only?

The children abandoned by the nobility when they get what they want and then walk away? 

 

My own guess is the last. Because I think Varys is one of these children. Descended from the child of a Targaryen prince.  Varys is not so much interested in the realm as a philanthropic charity case. More as someone who believes he is owed the realm and would do a better job that the privileged Targaryens who did inherit, or the selfish Baratheon king who followed. 

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This is a disturbing question. Are you implying that cutting the tongues out of the mouths of children is ok?

“Care for the good of the realm” is so vague as to be meaningless. No doubt LF could claim that what he’s doing is good for the realm. In fact, lots of awful people in both real life and fiction thought they were the good guys putting up the good fight. We'd have to know a lot more about Varys to have any idea as to what his brand of "caring for the realm" consists of. 

Varys does claim to care for the common folk. and children. Then he cuts the tongues out of the mouths of innocent children, he who claims to have been forcibly cut himself. Hypocrisy much?

 

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17 minutes ago, Lollygag said:

This is a disturbing question. Are you implying that cutting the tongues out of the mouths of children is ok?

 

“Care for the good of the realm” is so vague as to be meaningless. No doubt LF could claim that what he’s doing is good for the realm. In fact, lots of awful people in both real life and fiction thought they were the good guys putting up the good fight. We'd have to know a lot more about Varys to have any idea as to what his brand of "caring for the realm" consists of. 

Varys does claim to care for the common folk. and children. Then he cuts the tongues out of the mouths of innocent children, he who claims to have been forcibly cut himself. Hypocrisy much?

 

 

 

I'm not claiming it's ok.

I am just saying that this shouldn't be used as main argument that he didn't care about the realm.

This is on par with "Dany is evil, because she crucified 163 slavers" or "Arya is a psychopath" or "Cat tormented Jon".

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8 hours ago, Kandrax said:

Am i only one here, who get annoyed when people use this as proof that Varys doesn't care about good of realm?

He does care about the good of the realm. The land and the king are one, so that the realm is the king, and only the rightful king has the right to rule the land. Since Aegon is the rightful king according to Varys, whatever he does to bring about Aegon's rule is for the good of the realm. 

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Just now, Kandrax said:

I'm not claiming it's ok.

I am just saying that this shouldn't be used as main argument that he didn't care about the realm.

This is on par with "Dany is evil, because she crucified 163 slavers" or "Arya is a psychopath" or "Cat tormented Jon".

For a lot of people I suspect and certainly myself, someone who directly victimizes innocent members of their realm just because it's convenient for them means that one cares about power, not people. I agree with those claiming that cutting the tongues from children means he's not guided by caring for realm, whatever the hell that means for Varys. Contrast Varys with Stannis who has hung his claim on the Iron Throne on being Protector of the Realm, the realm meaning people.

And given that Varys repeatedly claims to care for commoners and children yet uses them so horrifically, we know he's lying. 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Lollygag said:

For a lot of people I suspect and certainly myself, someone who directly victimizes innocent members of their realm just because it's convenient for them means that one cares about power, not people. I agree with those claiming that cutting the tongues from children means he's not guided by caring for realm, whatever the hell that means for Varys. Contrast Varys with Stannis who has hung his claim on the Iron Throne on being Protector of the Realm, the realm meaning people.

And given that Varys repeatedly claims to care for commoners and children yet uses them so horrifically, we know he's lying. 

 

 

Varys is maybe a well-intenioned extremist, i.e. someone who have a noble goal, but he's methods aren't good.

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30 minutes ago, Kandrax said:

Varys is maybe a well-intenioned extremist, i.e. someone who have a noble goal, but he's methods aren't good.

His actions look anything but well-intentioned at least from what we've seen so far. 

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_road_to_hell_is_paved_with_good_intentions

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9 hours ago, Kandrax said:

Am i only one here, who get annoyed when people use this as proof that Varys doesn't care about good of realm?

There's pretty much enough "proof" floating around in the books to support anyone being a terrible person. What annoys me is when people pick and choose what characters to apply that standard of proof to and who gets a pass.

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On 3/27/2018 at 5:33 AM, The Weirwoods Eyes said:

There are several things which point to Varys not caring about the realm in the benevolent way he likes to imply.  Cutting children's tongues out is just one of them. 

His for the children line is interesting. Because what children is he referencing? 

The children of Westeros as a whole?

The children whose tongues he has cut out?

The children of the Forest?

The Children of the upper class only?

The children abandoned by the nobility when they get what they want and then walk away? 

 

My own guess is the last. Because I think Varys is one of these children. Descended from the child of a Targaryen prince.  Varys is not so much interested in the realm as a philanthropic charity case. More as someone who believes he is owed the realm and would do a better job that the privileged Targaryens who did inherit, or the selfish Baratheon king who followed. 

If he is of Targaryen blood maybe he chooses to shave his head to hide his silver/gold hair much like Egg did. 

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What Varys does goes beyond cutting tongues. We see Varys ask Illyrio for 50 more birds in Arya's POV. Then in Dany’s chapter, we see where Illyrio has sent the Dothraki on a raid for children. In the rest of Dany’s chapter, we see the horror which goes along with the Dothraki slave raids.

 

(Interestingly, it’s Varys’ request in Arya’s chapter which starts the chain of events where the dragons are hatched. She had just been in the room with the dragon skulls. Stuff like this makes me think Arya will end up in Dany’s arc. Arya becomes a little bird of sorts herself as she learns to hold her tongue and be a mouse in future books.)

 

AGOT Arya III

"You are more than a juggler, old friend. You are a true sorcerer. All I ask is that you work your magic awhile longer." They started down the hall in the direction Arya had come, past the room with the monsters.

"What I can do, I will," the one with the torch said softly. "I must have gold, and another fifty birds."

She let them get a long way ahead, then went creeping after them. Quiet as a shadow.

"So many?" The voices were fainter as the light dwindled ahead of her. "The ones you need are hard to find … so young, to know their letters … perhaps older … not die so easy …"

"No. The younger are safer … treat them gently …"

"… if they kept their tongues …"

"… the risk …"

 

 

AGOT Daenerys VII

Slaves, Dany thought. Khal Drogo would drive them downriver to one of the towns on Slaver's Bay. She wanted to cry, but she told herself that she must be strong. This is war, this is what it looks like, this is the price of the Iron Throne.

"I've told the khal he ought to make for Meereen," Ser Jorah said. "They'll pay a better price than he'd get from a slaving caravan. Illyrio writes that they had a plague last year, so the brothels are paying double for healthy young girls, and triple for boys under ten. If enough children survive the journey, the gold will buy us all the ships we need, and hire men to sail them."

Behind them, the girl being raped made a heartrending sound, a long sobbing wail that went on and on and on. Dany's hand clenched hard around the reins, and she turned the silver's head. "Make them stop," she commanded Ser Jorah.

 

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Posted (edited)

On 27/03/2018 at 5:24 PM, Lord Lannister said:

There's pretty much enough "proof" floating around in the books to support anyone being a terrible person. What annoys me is when people pick and choose what characters to apply that standard of proof to and who gets a pass.

A thousand times this ^!

There are plenty of people, in Planetos and in our own world, who believe in the idea of performing lesser acts of evil for the greater good. It's actually quite an interesting philosophical debate, though in order to have it you have to wade through a lot of people who just decry certain "evil" acts in order justify in their own minds their own perspective and prejudices.

Varys (and I'm speculating here, as we don't have his POV) may actually think that he needs a bunch of kids with their tongues cut out in order to be an effective player, and he uses the power he gleans from them in order to carry out his plans for the good of the realm. It's the age old "ends justify the means" debate.

Now, you could argue that the means - cutting out the tongues of children - is so horrific, and the ends Varys is aiming for is not good enough to justify it. That's perfectly reasonable, but as yet we are not entirely sure what Varys's ends are, so we can't really be certain of that.

You could argue that he doesn't need to cut out the children's tongues, and there are other methods he could use to reach his ends. That would be valid, but alternatives would need to be suggested and debated. You are then probably going to get into a debate about whether the reduced efficacy of Varys as a result of using alternatives can be justified in exchange for the moral gain made by not mutilating children. Also, again, a clear idea of what Varys is trying to achieve would probably be needed. 

You could argue that what he is doing is so horrific it can't possibly justify what he is aiming for, whatever it may be. That's a valid opinion, and probably a majority one. However, you are essentially abandoning any attempt at pragmatism and simply making a statement of blanket principle. However horrific Varys's actions might be, there are definitely worse evils, and if it is necessary to perform these actions in order to avert these evils, it's hard to justify from a purely pragmatic standpoint that he still shouldn't do it. 

Also, part of the question isn't necessarily whether Varys needs to cut out their tongues, but whether he thinks he needs to. If the latter, then he can, from his own perspective, still have the realm's good in mind, but just be severely misguided. 

Edited by Shouldve Taken The Black

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9 hours ago, White Ravens said:

If he is of Targaryen blood maybe he chooses to shave his head to hide his silver/gold hair much like Egg did. 

well yes, that is one of the first and biggest clues. In THK Dunk thinks that Aegon's head does look like an Egg. 

Quote

Dunk did not laugh. His head does look like an egg. Small boys can be cruel, and grown men as well.

And he assumes this is why the boy gives Egg as his name. Egg is currently shaving his head to hide the fact he is a Targaryen, and travel incognito.

And in AGOT Catelyn likens Varys's head to an Egg too. 

Quote

The man who stepped through the door was plump, perfumed, powdered, and as hairless as an egg. He wore a vest of woven gold thread over a loose gown of purple silk, and on his feet were pointed slippers of soft velvet. "Lady Stark," he said, taking her hand in both of his, "to see you again after so many years is such a joy." His flesh was soft and moist, and his breath smelled of lilacs.

In fact this introduction to Varys is dripping with the colour purple. A colour associated specifically with Targaryens because of their purple eyes. But also the colour purple is associated with royalty in real life too. The dye used to create purple was so expensive that the cloth became subject to sumptuary laws and was restricted to the upper nobility in both Roman society and northern European royalty. The Imperial State Crown has purple velvet at its centre for instance. And the name of that dye? Tyrian Purple. Which is an interesting clue that Tyrion may also be of Targaryen descent. 

We are never told the colour of Varys's eyes. But the graphic novels show them as a colour which in many scenes and lights can look almost purple. And of course Varys is from Lys so purple eyes would not cause suspicion in themselves. But of course Aerion Brightflame Targaryen was exiled to Lys in THK

Quote

 The prince studied him a long moment, then turned and paced away from him to stand beside the pool, gazing down at his reflection in the water. "I have sent Aerion to Lys," he announced abruptly. "A few years in the Free Cities may change him for the better."

 So the idea he may have left a bastard or two there is tempting. Or even legitimate children, if say he married a Lyseni woman and abandoned her. That would not negate his later marriage to Daenora as a untalked about unpublicised marriage prior to their union is not exactly hard to hide/ignore. Polygamy for Targaryens is hardly unheard of.

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Posted (edited)

Egg is not the sole person with a shaved or bald head. Last summer I published an essay that delves into such comparisons, and not just Targaryen ones. The biggest link for Varys points to Qarth or the people  Qartheen originate from. He sounds and speaks like a sorrowful man when he kills Kevan. He laments children like the Qartheen captain who saw Astapor. Xaro can be seen as who Varys would have been if he hadn’t been cut. There’s a lost city in the red waste that was nicknamed “city of spiders” of the Qaathi (ancestors of qarth)... like vaes tolorro.

https://sweeticeandfiresunray.com/2017/11/03/the-spiders-origin-part-i/

 

Edited by sweetsunray

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3 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

Egg is not the sole person with a shaved or bald head. Last summer I published an essay that delves into such comparisons, and not just Targaryen ones. The biggest link for Varys points to Qarth or the people  Qartheen originate from. He sounds and speaks like a sorrowful man when he kills Kevan. He laments children like the Qartheen captain who saw Astapor. Xaro can be seen as who Varys would have been if he hadn’t been cut. There’s a lost city in the red waste that was nicknamed “city of spiders” of the Qaathi (ancestors of qarth)... like vaes tolorro.

https://sweeticeandfiresunray.com/2017/11/03/the-spiders-origin-part-i/

 

Nice essay

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What annoys me is how people say that Varys lies and, therefore, they can say anything they want about Varys. GRRM would never make everything about Varys a lie. It wouldn't be proper foreshadowing for one thing.

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On 3/27/2018 at 8:04 AM, Lost Melnibonean said:

He does care about the good of the realm. The land and the king are one, so that the realm is the king, and only the rightful king has the right to rule the land. Since Aegon is the rightful king according to Varys, whatever he does to bring about Aegon's rule is for the good of the realm. 

Bingo. His goal is the targ restoration.

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10 hours ago, bent branch said:

What annoys me is how people say that Varys lies and, therefore, they can say anything they want about Varys. GRRM would never make everything about Varys a lie. It wouldn't be proper foreshadowing for one thing.

I agree. I don’t think what he says are lies so much as they are tricksy spider-speak. 

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If Varys is truly intent on a Targ Restoration, his active hand in undoing the Targ regime is odd to say the least. Instead of guiding Aerys to allow Rhaegar a stronger and more stable hand, he seemed to work against this. Folks seem to think Rhaegar would have made a pretty decent king. Either Varys motive is not a Targ Restroration, or it is but it’s a lot more complex than that.    

 

ASOS Jaime V

He saw traitors everywhere, and Varys was always there to point out any he might have missed. So His Grace commanded his alchemists to place caches of wildfire all over King's Landing. Beneath Baelor's Sept and the hovels of Flea Bottom, under stables and storehouses, at all seven gates, even in the cellars of the Red Keep itself.

 

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