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Plot question, ASOS (Tyrion/Tywin)

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Greets,

OK here's what I'm trying to figure out...

++spoiler alert for ending of ASOS+++

Why does Varys tell Tyrion exactly how to get into Tywin's room? Especially since: he knows Tyrion hates him, they are in a hurry to exit Kings Landing, Varys stands to get into big trouble himself, and the secret passages are Varys' most powerful weapon for himself (the less others know about the passages the better).

It seems like a hole in the believability of the plot. The only thing I can think of is that Varys knew Tyrion would kill Tywin and wanted him to do so. But what is Varys' motivation?? I do recall him (or maybe it was Littlefinger) saying something like "...acting chaotic, even when it seems against one's own benefit keeps the opponant off balance and vulnerable"

Anyone know the answer to this or have a theory as to why Varys would do that?

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The only thing I can think of is that Varys knew Tyrion would kill Tywin and wanted him to do so. But what is Varys' motivation??

There is a very elaborate crackpot theory which explains this.

Tywin is Varys’s main enemy at court, and a major obstacle against a Targaryen restoration. So from Varys’s POV, Tywin has to die. (Tywin likewise wants to remove Varys, the sooner the better. Varys’s days are counted.)

Varys also needs Tyrion. He needs Tyrion on Dany’s side, and in a way that is believable and irrevocable, despite Tyrion’s traditional loyalty to his family. So why not make Tyrion kill Tywin?

Varys plans this from the moment Tyrion sets foot in King’s Landing. His plan is to infuriate Tyrion against Tywin using Tyrion’s main weakness: women. So Varys quickly finds Shae, and then does everything in his power to keep the Shae–Tyrion relationship alive. His plan is then to plant Shae in Tywin’s bed, hoping for a crazy crime of passion. From Varys’s point of view, that’s a good plan.

(Varys is not a mind-reader, nor is he psychic. He doesn’t yet know about the Tysha story, or that Tywin will disinherit Tyrion, or that Tyrion is actually rather cynical about his own relationship with Shae.)

Varys goes so far as to tell Tyrion (in a concealed way) that there is a secret passage into the Hand’s bedroom. (This happens just before the battle of the Blackwater; note that there is *no* reason for the Shae-rendevous in that bedroom, we learn later that there are plenty of other places Varys can arrange for Tyrion to meet Shae. In particular, it seems a huge tip of Varys’s hand to tell Tyrion that he can enter that room whenever he wants.) Varys sets up the whole assassination that night, including the extra effort of lighting the brazier in the dragon mosaic room for Shae’s benefit. (Why light a brazier in a dungeon that he can otherwise negotiate in pitch darkness?)

From that point on, events somewhat overtake Varys’s control, including disinheritance, a regicide, a confused Jaime, and Tysha. But it’s all consistent with his plan.

In the final scene, he has let himself be overpowered by Jaime (this is after he’s found a bloody ship to get Tyrion out!!!), poisons Tywin, probably with Widow’s Blood to glue him to the privy seat (just like Cersei was previously kept on the shitter), drugged Shae with Sweetsleep, placed her in the room, festooned her with the Hand’s Chain (huge blunder! Tywin would never do that!), put a dagger next to the bed, and moved the chest under the crossbow so that Tyrion has an easier time reaching it.

Any questions?

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Varys knew that he would have to flee the red keep. He will be unable to further manipulate the game of thrones, so he decides to weaken the biggest enemy to the Targ restoration i.e. Tywin. By using Tyrion he causes Lannister infighting, and via the use of the highgarden coin, causes a rift to open between lannister and tyrell, further destabilising the balance of power.

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The alternative explanation would be that Varys knew how stubborn Tyrion was, and that he was going to go up with or without Varys's instructions, and that Varys gave him instructions in order to speed him up rather than allowing him to get lost in the passages somewhere and probably killed. In this scenario, Shae would have put the Hand's chain on herself, not realizing how it would infuriate Tywin (any more than she realized how saying "my giant of Lannister" would infuriate Tyrion).

Although the way Cчастливый Энт puts it, the theory doesn't seem crackpot at all.

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Although the way Cчастливый Энт puts it, the theory doesn't seem crackpot at all.

If Nightflyer were explaining it, it would sound way more awesome. He could make the suggestion that Sansa is actually Eddard's daughter sound so far-fetched that it seems as if he never read any of the books. Man, I miss that guy! :laugh:

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Wait, why does Varys need Tyrion?

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Wait, why does Varys need Tyrion?

He's got a very solid claim to Casterly Rock, useful for a planned regime change.

He's a very shrewd and cunning political player who knows how to get things done and has direct experience with governing in King's Landing and knows the various other players there.

He is quite intelligent, having read books about dragons and has experience designing unusual saddles.

He's also hideously ugly and a natural blame magnet for any unpopular government policies; basically has "evil counsellor" tattooed on his beetled brow.

In short he's exactly everything that idealistic but somewhat naive Dany needs most right now, both for figuring out how to rule discontented Meereen, and for launching a dragonborn invasion and subduing Westeros.

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He's got a very solid claim to Casterly Rock, useful for a planned regime change.

He's a very shrewd and cunning political player who knows how to get things done and has direct experience with governing in King's Landing and knows the various other players there.

He is quite intelligent, having read books about dragons and has experience designing unusual saddles.

He's also hideously ugly and a natural blame magnet for any unpopular government policies; basically has "evil counsellor" tattooed on his beetled brow.

In short he's exactly everything that idealistic but somewhat naive Dany needs most right now, both for figuring out how to rule discontented Meereen, and for launching a dragonborn invasion and subduing Westeros.

And if all else fails, hed rather have someone other than himself pull the actual trigger on Tywin - theres not a lot of people that will be persuaded to do that.

Damn, I love this theory. I also love secret whoring bizzaro!Tywin, but i'll find someway to reconcile them yet!

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In short, Varys knows that Tywin can stabilize KL and thus the Seven Kingdoms in general, which is bad for any invasion at Dany's hands. Offing Tywin leaves Cersei in charge and all but guarantees an extended period of chaos. The more disastrous Cersei's rule is, the more Dany will be seen as savior rather than conqueror. Moreover, Tyrion's final act cements his need to find greener pastures, and makes his swearing loyalty to Dany more solid. Whether or not Varys Planned It All Along, Tywin's death is EXTREMELY beneficial to him, presuming his status as a Targ-loyalist is genuine (I don't have any direct reason to question that, though if his hatred of magic is also genuine I do have some trouble reconciling those two points).

I do like the semi-fractured-pottery theory that Varys poisoned Tywin to make sure that he'd spend the evening on the shitter, though I dislike most theories that lean toward Varys-Omnipotence and this leans on that doorstep pretty forcefully.

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Varys's manipulation and plan would work, too, if Shae was not planted in Tywin's bed, nor Tywin was poisoned. Varys simply needed to know that Shae was in Tywin's bed. And the fact that Tywin's guards did not care about may indicate that whores in the bed of the Hand of the King were not at all uncommon.

I'm sure Tyrion would have taken the opportunity to visit his father one last time even if he had not heard the truth about Tysha. The opportunity was there, Varys had seen to it, and Shae in his bed would have prepared him for the murder.

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Varys's manipulation and plan would work, too, if Shae was not planted in Tywin's bed, nor Tywin was poisoned.

I disagree about the last part.

If Varys just sent Tyrion to Tywin’s quarters,

1) Tyrion would be dead,

2) Tywin would know about Varys’s secret entrance to the Hand’s bedroom.

How is that in Varys’s interest? The theory only works if Tywin is incapacitated, otherwise Varys has no reason to play along, and would be better off not leading Tyrion to Tywin.

Note how easy Varys could have avoided all of this. I’m particularly fond of what happened in the evening leading up to those events, from Jaime’s POV in Feast:

He had waited in the eunuch's chambers that night, when at last he had decided not to let his little brother die. As he waited, he had sharpened his dagger with one hand, taking a queer comfort from the scrape-scrape-scrape of steel on stone. At the sound of footsteps he stood beside the door. Varys entered in a wash of powder and lavender. Jaime stepped out behind him, kicked him in the back of the knee, knelt on his chest, and shoved the knife up under his soft white chin, forcing his head up. "Why. Lord Varys," he'd said pleasantly, "fancy meeting you here.'

Jaime actually ambushes Varys! This is completely absurd, Varys being a master of spies, negotiating the seediest districts of Kings Landing for decades and having a secret entrance to his own quarters, which this time he chooses to not use. What’s more, Jaime actually makes noise while he lies in ambush, and we’re told so. Scrape-scrape-scrape. There’s no way he could have caught Varys if he hadn’t wanted to.

(But more damningly, Varys has already a ship ready in the otherwise deserted and ruined harbour with instructions to leave with Tyrion that very night. So Jaime isn’t forcing Varys to do anything.)

Later, Varys leads Tyrion through pitch-black tunnels. (Jaime isn’t around anymore.) Why not just kill Tyrion, or run away, or not light the fricking brazier? Or not give Tyrion directions, of course.

--

On the other hand, Shae turns out to be just needless decoration, but Varys could not have known that. Shae’s presence actually established the fallibility of Varys, not his omniscience.

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On the other hand, Shae turns out to be just needless decoration, but Varys could not have known that. Shae’s presence actually established the fallibility of Varys, not his omniscience.

If indeed Varys planned the whole thing, he's damned lucky Shae didn't get a scream in. Seems likely under the circumstances, and Tywin and at least two guards could have been there within a minute.

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If Nightflyer were explaining it, it would sound way more awesome. He could make the suggestion that Sansa is actually Eddard's daughter sound so far-fetched that it seems as if he never read any of the books. Man, I miss that guy! :laugh:

I love your theory, Cчастливый Энт. It's elaborate, but it makes sense of textual details ranging from slightly to very suspicious, which otherwise can be explained only as "coincidental plot fillers". Your presentation is quite compelling.

My own efforts to sell much less elaborate theories (e.g., that Robb was lured to attack the Crag to set in motion the RW plot, that Joffrey was the tool not the author of Ned's beheading and the attack on Bran) attract the sort of response Nightflyer would have received if he made the outrageous claim that Sansa was actually Eddard Stark's daughter.

I'm frequently frustrated by people who dismiss numerous plot details as mere coincidence, or unimportant. Instead of dismissing the details, you've woven together actors' motivations and actions into a theory that coherently explains many of them.

I think your theory is probably mostly correct. What I really appreciate, though, is your respect for the possible complexity of intrigues that underlie discordant facts in ASOIAF.

ASOIAF Conspiracy Theorists Unite!

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If indeed Varys planned the whole thing, he's damned lucky Shae didn't get a scream in. Seems likely under the circumstances, and Tywin and at least two guards could have been there within a minute.

I think Varys drugged her with Sweetsleep, and he had no plans about her waking up in the first place. By this time, they are very late because Varys had no idea the Jaime–Tyrion confrontation would take so long. (Varys didn’t know about Tysha.)

That being said, with regards with the guards, it’s easily fixed. For example like this: When Varys led Tysha into the Hand’s quarters, he instructed the guards to stay out of the room. “Lord Tywin likes to play it rough. So whatever you hear tonight, you are to not enter the chambers under any circumstances.” Note, indeed, that we have a quite similar scene where Jaime guards King Aerys’s bedroom and also doesn’t enter the room.

Lord Tywin himself is of course glued to the toilet, so (if we buy that the drug works as I say it does) he couldn’t do much. Of course, you may start a debate about the effects of a fictional poison, and we’ve had exactly that discussion many times over the years. (I find it futile. The thing does what GRRM needs it to do.)

Anyway, Shae waking up is a problem either way, and I don’t think Varys was very happy about it. She might even have told Tyrion that she isn’t actually Tywin’s lover, which would have destroyed the whole (original) plan; screaming isn’t even necessary. Varys misjudged the amount of Sweetsleep, and the time it would take to get from the cell to the room.

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Varys's manipulation and plan would work, too, if Shae was not planted in Tywin's bed, nor Tywin was poisoned. Varys simply needed to know that Shae was in Tywin's bed. And the fact that Tywin's guards did not care about may indicate that whores in the bed of the Hand of the King were not at all uncommon.

I'm sure Tyrion would have taken the opportunity to visit his father one last time even if he had not heard the truth about Tysha. The opportunity was there, Varys had seen to it, and Shae in his bed would have prepared him for the murder.

The difficulty with that is that there's no guarantee that Tyrion would actually be able to kill Tywin. He is a dwarf, after all, and needed some time and privacy to get to the crossbow.

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I suppose drugging Shae would account for this partially, but Varys warning off the guards only applies if Shae just emits some sort of noncommittal noise. If she'd jumped off the bed and run around the room trying to avoid him, while screaming, "What are you doing here?!" or "Help! It's the evil monkey demon!" or anything involving Tyrion's name, that would have spelled major trouble for Tyrion. Plus, Tywin didn't know about said instructions, and if he heard any female yells within his room, he'd come running, constipated or not, and not be taken off guard like he was. Could be explained by Varys giving her too little of the poison, if you subscribe to the theory.

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By this time, they are very late because Varys had no idea the Jaime–Tyrion confrontation would take so long.

"So long"? How long does that conversation take?

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Yeah, given that they were close and hadn't seen each other in ages, the amount of time they spent conversing wasn't at all unreasonable.

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When Varys sends Tyrion up that ladder (or, assists him dutifully by showing him the right way) he does not know the outcome. But as he decided to let Tyrion climb that later, I don't think he cared if Tyrion, Tywin or both would die or survive. Tywin being forced to kill his own son might have been a success, too, in his eyes. Even a man like Lord Tywin can only take a number of blows (that is why needed the comfort of a rather good whore after he sentenced his son to death). Maybe Tywin would have been destroyed by that. If they had killed each other, things would have been fine, too. Or if Tyrion had wounded Tywin enough to make his removal much easier.

Before Tyrion climbed the ladder he was still a Lannister, and Lord Tywin's son. Varys did not really know that he would go along with any Targaryen related plans. At least, he could not be certain that Tyrion would not waver if he got the opportunity to return to his family.

Tywin could not have been glued to the privy because he is about to shit when Tyrion kills him. If Tywin had already been shitting for the last couple of hours, there should have come nothing out of him when he sat back and died.

Oh, and the chances for Tyrion to be surprised and overwhelmed by Tywin are slim. He could hear everything happening in the rooms from behind the walls, so Tyrion would have waited until Tywin had been done fucking Shae and gone to sleep before confronting him. No one would force him out of the wall. And the chances for Tywin to be awake and prepared for an ambush were pretty thin in the middle of the night. Tyrion got into the room without waking Shae. He would have gotten into the room without waking his father, too, had he been asleep.

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Tywin could not have been glued to the privy because he is about to shit when Tyrion kills him. If Tywin had already been shitting for the last couple of hours, there should have come nothing out of him when he sat back and died.

Widow’s Blood manifestly does not make you shit “for the last couple of hours.” It has the opposite effect: to clog up your bowels until you drown in your own feces. This is exactly consistent with Tywin’s behaviour. At the point of death, the (possibly psychological) inability caused by the poison ends.

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