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Everything posted by Aebram

  1. Yes, it's possible that Young Griff is an impostor whose first name actually is Aegon. But I think you're referring specifically to the conversation between Kevan and Varys in the ADWD epilogue, right? Throughout that dialogue, Varys's tone is polite, sympathetic, even apologetic. He wants Kevan to understand why he has been killed, and he goes on about it at some length. In that context, it doesn't make sense to me that he would ignore an obvious misunderstanding by Kevan of such an important fact. He would have taken a moment to explain that this is some other Aegon.
  2. Good morrow all, Is Young Griff really Aegon Targaryen? Does "YG = A?" Perhaps not; the "fAegon" theory is popular on this forum. The subject came up some months ago in another thread, and that got me musing and re-reading. Here are some thoughts on the subject. My apologies to veteran members if any of my ideas were discussed and settled years ago; I'm somewhat new here. Hopefully I have a couple of original thoughts to contribute. (TLDR: just scroll down to the Conclusions.) Interested readers may want to view my earlier post, which gathered some ideas from other members on this subject: Introduction No character ever claims or even suggests that Young Griff is an impostor. There are three main reasons for suspecting that YG <> A. (For those of you who don't write software, I should mention that "<>" means "does not equal" in many programming languages.) One piece of pro-fAegon evidence is Daenerys's vision of a cloth dragon on poles (ACOK 48). Another is in the opening chapters of ADWD, where Magister illyrio is telling Tyrion about his life, and where we see that Illyrio seems extremely fond of Young Griff. Some readers interpret this to mean that YG is Illyrio's own son, or someone else with whom he has some kind of special bond. The third argument for fAegon involves the Golden Company's connection to House Blackfyre. And in the course of my research, I came across a fourth one: a possible discrepancy in Young Griff's age, which doesn't match the time line for the real Aegon. I have some counter-arguments for all of these. Let's look at them first; then I'll present some other evidence for YG = A. The Mummer's Dragon The vision of a dragon on poles is thought by some readers to mean a false dragon, an impostor. But there's another possible explanation. The dragon is on poles; it's being carried by a team of people. So this vision could represent a dragon that is being "supported" by a group of people. This could well symbolize Young Griff and the team that has "supported" him in various ways. It may also be noteworthy that the dragon is being cheered by a crowd. This might be a prophecy of Aegon triumphantly returning to Westeros and being cheered by the people. And let's remember that the story is far from over. There are two more books to go, with a total page count that will probably equal five ordinary novels. A major new subplot was introduced in book five; there could be more yet to come. So it's possible that we haven't yet read about the fulfillment of some of Daenerys's visions. The Other Five-Year Gap Tyrion asks Illyrio more than once why he is involved in the conspiracy to put Daenerys on the Iron Throne. Illyrio says that he has "debts of affection to repay," and that, "Some contracts are writ in ink, and some in blood. I say no more." He's clearly hiding some secret. Later, Tyrion uncovers a big secret. But is it the same secret? Illyrio seems to have a special fondness for the boy he calls "our lad." Illyrio brought a box of candied ginger, because he knows it is YG's favorite. He hopes the group can have a farewell feast before the Shy Maid heads downriver, and is disappointed when he learns that there isn't time. He looks dejected and "small" as he watches Tyrion, Haldon, and Duck ride away. Why would Illyrio have such an attachment to this Targaryen boy? To answer that question, I had a look at the timeline in the wiki, and also reread the chapters featuring Jon Connington. Note the references to twelve and five years. According to the timeline in the wiki, the events in ASOIAF take place in 297-300 AC; so Connington's chapters in ADWD must occur late in that time span, 299 or 300. Subtracting 12 from that means that Connington left the Golden Company around 287-288. His memory of having spent 5 years with the Company matches up nicely with this, since he was exiled from Westeros during Robert's Rebellion (282-283 AC). The wiki states that Aegon VI was born in late 281 or early 282. This means that Young Griff -- assuming he is Aegon -- must have been 5-7 years old before Connington took custody of him. So we have, if you'll pardon the expression, a five-year gap where Aegon's whereabouts are unknown. Who had him during those years? Illyrio seems like the most likely answer. He and Varys had been conspiring together for many years before that. Their conversation in the dungeon of The Red Keep, as overheard by Arya (AGOT 32), implies that Illyrio helps recruit Varys's "little birds;" so he has some experience in caring for and/or training children. Illyrio's use of the word "always" caught my eye. He must have known YG well, over some long period of time. I think this establishes a plausible reason for Illyrio's behavior. YG probably lived in the manse for about 5 years, while he was quite small. Illyrio could have bonded with the boy during those years. But "plausible" is a long way from "proven." Is there another factor contributing to Illyrio's debts of affection? There is another possibility, a fact that stands out mostly because it doesn't have any other apparent link to the plot. Serra and Saera Illyrio's late wife Serra is described as having "big blue eyes and pale golden hair streaked by silver," which suggests Valyrian ancestry. So Illyrio loved Serra so much, he didn't care that his marriage to her caused him to be shunned by Pentoshi nobility. He kept her hands after she died of greyscale, and he swears by those hands to show sincerity. Her name is mentioned exactly three times in ADWD, enough to suggest that she is a clue. GRRM didn't write her into the story just to add some rich detail to Illyrio's character. We don't know when Serra came to live with Illyrio, or for how long. But if she was there at the same time as Young Griff, perhaps it was she, not Illyrio, who bonded with the boy. Perhaps as she was dying, she and Illyrio had a "promise-me-Ned moment," and her last request of him was to protect the boy and see that he is returned to the Iron Throne. That would account for those "debts of affection." The name "Serra" caught my eye; I remembered that there was a Targaryen named Saera. She lived long before the start of ASOIAF, so she can't be the same person as Illyrio's Serra. But Targaryens do like to name children after their ancestors. The pronunciation could have shifted slightly in the Free Cities. I looked up Saera Targaryen in AWOIAF and FAB to refresh my memory, and what I found was quite interesting. A daughter of Jaehaerys and Alysanne, born in 67 A.C., she was one of those disobedient, free-spirited children who didn't follow their parents' plans for their lives. She was sexually adventurous, and after fleeing Westeros to escape punishment, she spent some time working in a house of pleasure ... in Lys. So it's possible that Illyrio's Serra is a descendant of Saera Targeryen. If so, and if Illyrio knew about it, it would give him another reason to help restore House Targeryen to power. But regardless of Serra's ancestry, I think she is the key to Illyrio's motivation. Dragons black and red Some readers think that the Golden Company's participation in the conspiracy means that YG must be a descendant of House Blackfyre, because the company was founded by a Blackfyre, and fought on that side in the later Blackfyre Rebellions. But that was a long time ago. Suppose that, after Robert's Rebellion, Varys or Illyrio had reached out to the GC and said, "Hey, I've got Rhaegar's son, and if you will support him, you can come back to Westeros and reclaim your lost honor (and maybe some lands and titles)." Do you think they would have turned down the offer, just because Aegon is from the red-dragon side of the family? Apparently not: The Blackfyres have been mentioned more than once times in the books, so it does seem possible that they are going to appear on the pages at some point. Indeed, perhaps they have; the Golden Company is back on Westerosi soil by the end of ADWD. But in the past, they've generally tried to take the throne by force, not by deception. Why would the GC turn down Viserys, but rise up for Young Griff? It's been suggested that this happened because YG is actually a Blackfyre, and Viserys was not. But there are other explanations. If Daenerys was only a little girl at the time, Viserys must also have been quite young. He may have been poorly educated, without the help of a maester, a septa, and a master-at-arms. He probably had a disturbed, disturbing personality that didn't inspire much confidence; and if Willem Darry was already dead at the time, Viserys had no one comparable to Connington to support him. Also, Viserys's feast must have happened while Robert Baratheon still sat the Iron Throne, when Westeros was united and prosperous in the midst of a long summer. So it would have been a more difficult place to conquer than it was later, when YG met the Company. Near enough to make no matter? Here's something that I noticed about Tyrion's first impression of Young Griff: According to the wiki, Aegon VI was born in late 281 or early 282 AC. So he must be more like 17-19 years old by this time. Is that "near enough to make no matter?" Tyrion's a smart fellow; could he be wrong by two years? Or is this evidence that YG is an impostor? Or is this another case of GRRM's known lack of precision when dealing with numbers? My guess is #3. But at any rate, that's three possible explanations, only one of which supports YG <> A. More Evidence for YG = A I think that the strongest argument in favor of YG = A is Varys's conversation with Kevan Lannister at the end of ADWD. Varys has no reason to lie, since Kevan is dying; and he says that Aegon is alive and in Westeros. Some readers have suggested that Varys's language is vague enough to allow for YG being an impostor; but I don't think so. When Kevan protested that Aegon is dead, if YG is not Rhaegar's son, Varys would naturally have said, "No, that was a different Aegon." But he just said, "No. He is here." At first, I thought that this conversation effectively proves that YG = A. But then I realized that actually, it only proves that Varys believes that YG = A. Could he be wrong? Might there be a double-cross, a conspiracy within a conspiracy? It seems unlikely that Varys, the master of spying and deception, could himself be deceived. He may have agents in Pentos, perhaps even inside Illyrio's manse, that keep him informed of the cheesemonger's activities. And considering what we know of his early life, particularly how he became a eunuch, he has reason to be suspicious of everyone, even someone he's worked with for years. Still, it's possible that Varys is wrong; I'll have more to say about that shortly. But at a minimum, I think this conversation eliminates any theory that Varys is knowingly involved in a conspiracy to put a false Aegon on the Iron Throne. If YG is an impostor, Varys is unaware of it. There are a few other points in favor of YG = A, which I don't think I've seen mentioned on the forum. Tyrion comments: And we have this moment later in ADWD, where Jon Connington is looking at Young Griff while reminiscing about Rhaegar: So Young Griff's eyes are a medium or light purple in color: evidence of Valyrian ancestry. What about his hair? The fact that he's dying it certainly suggests that its natural color must be Targaryen silver and gold. And we have this: So if YG is an impostor, he's an impostor with purple eyes and silver-gold hair. Then there's this important moment: These are JC's private thoughts, not words said aloud. This is another case where there's no reason to think he's lying. So if YG is an impostor, the hoax is so perfect that even Connington doesn't know about it. ... Or does he? Here, again, I realized that these words don't actually say what they seem to mean. JC thinks of "Rhaegar's son," but not by name. It's just barely possible that there's a triple cross going on here, a conspiracy-within-a-conspiracy-within-a-conspiracy. There are some reasonable theories that Rhaegar had another son; Jon Snow is the most popular candidate, but there are some others. If one of these theories is true, and if Connington knows it, then he may be secretly planning to put this other son, not Young Griff, on the Iron Throne. He may have played along with Varys and Illyrio's conspiracy for 12 years, just so that he can return to Westeros with an army under his command. Then he plans to abandon YG's cause and support the other son. There are a few bits of text that can be read as hints at this; nothing that constitutes proof, but again, I can't rule it out completely. But there are some other obstacles. For JC to execute such a plan, he can't just know that Rhaegar had another son. He must also know how to find that boy when he returns to Westeros after 17 years' absence. For example, if Jon Snow is indeed Rhaegar's son, then JC needs to know that the boy was raised by Ned Stark as his bastard son. This requires that Rhaegar -- or someone -- informed JC after the son was born. Is that possible? I don't know if the time line is precise enough to answer this. Was Connington already in exile when the son was born? Was Rhaegar already dead? Was there anyone who knew the boy's real identity, and could have communicated it to Connington? If this theory is true, we have three levels of conspiracy going on. Varys thinks they are plotting to put Aegon on the throne (level 1); but Illyrio has substituted fAegon (level 2); but Connington has figured out the deception, and plans to someone else on the throne (level 3). it reminds me of that quote about "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma" (Winston Churchill speaking about Russia, 1939). The sheer complexity of such a scheme makes it highly unlikely. Conclusions I think there are alternate explanations for Dany's vision, lllyrio's behavior, and the other pro-fAegon evidence. In addition, there are a number of plot points in favor of Young Griff being the real Aegon. To summarize: if YG is an impostor, he's an impostor who has Targeryen hair and eyes, and is about the same age as the real Aegon; and his existence has been hidden from Varys and (probably) Connington, two of the most important people in the whole conspiracy. Is that even possible? Well, actually, yes, just barely. It's because of that five-year gap. During that time, Illyrio probably had sole custody of Aegon. Varys was on the other side of the Narrow Sea; perhaps he didn't have good information on what was happening in Illyrio's manse. Connington and the rest of the Shy Maid crew hadn't been assembled yet. There are a number of scenarios that could have happened. For instance, Illyrio might have married Serra, and had a child by her, which happened to be a boy with Targeryen hair and eyes, whose age was within a year or so of Aegon's. Then it would easy for Illyrio to have Aegon killed, or otherwise disposed of, and substitute his own son. But there are many possible variations on this theme. Perhaps Aegon died of a disease or injury, and Illyrio merely took advantage of the situation. Perhaps Serra already had a son when Illyrio married her. Etc. etc. It may be helpful to look at the big picture. Regardless of who YG is, this conspiracy is an extremely ambitious, expensive project, taking more than a decade to complete, with dangers around every bend of the Rhoyne. A sudden storm, an encounter with river pirates or Dothraki, a bit of bad luck while passing under the Bridge of Dream, a team member who turns his cloak or accidentally reveals the truth ... What are the odds of 12 or more years passing without any of these things happening? To take on and sustain such a risky endeavour, the conspirators must really, really, REALLY want to put that boy on the Iron Throne. I can see how Targeryen loyalists, with custody of Rhaegar's true son, would be motivated to take on these risks. But for an impostor? Illyrio is already wealthy and powerful. Would he send away a son that he loves on such a mission, just to gain somewhat more wealth and power? The third level, the possible plot by Connington to put someone else on the Iron Throne, is even more fragile. It requires that YG is an impostor, and that the attempt to put him on the throne is successful, all the way up to the point where JC abandons it. Then it piles additional risks and difficulties on top of a conspiracy that's already two levels deep. So, does YG = A? My answer must be "definitely probably" or "almost certainly." The risks and difficulties associated with fAegon make it wildly impractical. But, unlikely though it may be, I can't completely rule it out. Respectfully, from your humble scribe, -- Aebram of Underhedge
  3. Maggy's actual words were, "Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds.” (AFFC 36) "Crowns," plural. So she apparently predicted that all of them will rule at some point.
  4. Thanks for the information, but I will respectfully disagree with your conclusion. It looks to me like you asked an either/or question, and GRRM's answer straddled both possibilities, or if anything, leaned towards the first one: Roose burned book to keep others from reading it. That, of course, has nothing to do with the question of what the book was actually about. I wish the fan had asked whether Bolton is a vampire, or an Other, or a magic user of some sort. That would have been more interesting ... if he answered it.
  5. Nice research! Here's another piece for the puzzle. When Arya was serving Bolton at Harrenhal, she saw him turning the pages of a very old book, then putting it in the fireplace to burn. I've always wondered what was in that book. We know that one of the previous residents of Harrenhal -- I forget which one, possibly Lady Whent or Lothston? -- dabbled in blood magic, and bathed in blood to preserve her youth and beauty. I'll guess that the book was about blood magic. Bolton read through it to see if it contained any information he didn't already know, and then burned it to keep its secrets away from everyone else.
  6. Oldtown is 1800 km from King's Landing? Where did that number come from, please?
  7. Very nice research, thanks for publishing that. Some sigils are described in the books, but the wiki seems to contain many that are not. Where did these images come from? Did GRRM provide sketches or descriptions?
  8. So, getting back to the original topic ... Here are a few that I think we can all agree have been solved. Technically, they might not be considered "mysteries," since the questions were never raised by any character. They're just interesting subplots that were unknown until some reader discovered them. But I think they belong on this list. 1. Alleras, the maester-in-training, is actually Oberyn Martell's daughter Sarella Sand in disguise. 2. The old black tomcat that prowls the Red Keep is actually Balerion, which as a kitten belonged to Rhaegar's daughter Rhaenys before she was killed during the sack of King's Landing. 3. Wyman Manderly secretly set up several members of House Frey to be killed, butchered, and cooked into the wedding pies that he served to their relatives at Ramsay Bolton's wedding feast. I'm proud that I figured out #2 and #3 for myself before I read them here. But my hat is off to whoever noticed #1; that is one careful reader! I came rather late to this party; sometimes it seems like all the good theories are taken. But I keep trying ...
  9. Do we? He and Rhaegar were close; and he never married. Does that really constitute proof that he's gay?
  10. I knew this thread was headed for trouble as soon as I saw the title.
  11. I reread the conversation that Arya overheard in the dungeon. There's really nothing in there that suggests a Blackfyre, or any other type of impostor. It's mostly about Ned and Cersei and the goings-on in King's Landing. Aegon was smuggled out of the Red Keep in 283 AC, during the final days of Robert's Rebellion. But Daenerys and Viserys were already on Dragonstone, where they remained for about another year. So their escapes from Westeros were widely separated in both time and geography. And the fact that Aegon survived was kept secret, while Daenerys and Viserys's existence was well-known. So there was some merit in keeping them in different locations: an attack on one would have no effect on the other. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The purpose of this post was just to gather information to help me further my research. Don't consider the above as a spoiler for my conclusion! I'll be publishing it in a separate post soon. For now, keep those comments coming; and my thanks to everyone who's contributing their thoughts.
  12. Looking for an in-universe explanation, I will note that the Vale is somewhat isolated, cut off by its geography from the rest of Westeros. Once the Andals took control of the place, they may have been ruthless in exterminating all worship of the old gods. It would have been difficult for House Royce to request or receive help from other Houses. Also, it's possible that some Royces do still keep the old gods, but in secret. What is the "point" that you think GRRM was making? Or was that just a figure of speech?
  13. Good morrow to all, I'm doing some research on the question of Young Griff's real identity. As I understand it, the "fAegon" theory rests on two pieces of evidence. One is Daenerys's vision of a cloth dragon on poles. The other is Illyrio's words and behavior in the early chapters of ADWD. Are there any others that I've missed? Thanks in advance --
  14. I care; I just don't have any answers for you. :^) It's a weekday; maybe everyone is busy. The forum does seem to be more active on weekends. And you asked some pretty tough questions.
  15. Lannisters are like that: hungry for honor. Having an escort of red cloaks reminds everyone who Cersei is.
  16. A little foreshadowing for Rhaegar and Lyanna? Maybe Ice and Fire -- Stark and Targeryen -- have an instinctive attraction to each other, strong enough to make them break their vows. FAB tells of a couple of otner cases where Targ women charmed, more or less, Stark men.
  17. Hold a moment. From Lysa's confession, we know that she killed her husband, and that Littlefinger put her up to it; but we don't know why. My impression was that it must have been Cersei who asked Littlefinger to arrange it. I don't think Littlefinger or Lysa had any other reason to want Jon dead. Am I mistaken?
  18. From hints such as Brienne's reaction when she first met Gendry, it seems likely that Robert's children look a lot like him. I can imagine them being brought to King's Landing for a trial to determine the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of Cersei's children. If you bring both of them, plus Edric, together before a group of people who remember Robert and Renly, it will probably make a strong case. -- and oh, yeah, Stannis too, if he lives that long.
  19. I seem to recall an earlier thread on this subject. At that time, someone wrote that GRRM had answered this question, saying No, Tywin was't poisoned. The stinking corpse was in the story for some other reason, not as a clue to the cause of his death..
  20. Yes, the end of season 5 was the point where I gave up on the TV show, at least emotionally. "You idiots, Barristan's not dead yet!" I must admit that I watched it to the end, but I couldn't tell you anything that happened in seasons 6-8. I was just putting my brain in "three-year-old mode," and enjoying the acting, scenery, special effects, etc. without paying any attention to the story line. I'd love to see some images of Tyrion's journey on the Shy Maid, and of Jon Connington and his little band of conspirators. Maybe then we could find out what color Lemore's eyes are.
  21. Good morrow, y'all, When the Targeryens conquered the Seven Kingdoms, Dorne was the last one to submit. They held out for many years and through several wars. One of their most successful tactics was not to fight at all, but simply to flee their cities and disappear. But how is that possible? Dorne is mostly a desert. There are no places to hide, little water, and few animals or plants to forage. The Dornish would have had to bring their own food and water. That would require horses,which in turn would require even more food and water. And of course, the Targaryens could fly. From the backs of their dragons, they could see great distances, and travel even farther, at speeds greater then men or horses could achieve. How could a town-size group of people hide, in the open desert, from a pursuer capable of aerial surveillance? The Dornish wars are described in a number of places in several books; I won't include a lot of quotes. But here's one that illustrates my point: if a few hundred raiders couldn't hide from an airborne pursuer, how could a whole town-ful of people do it, with their women, children, and animals? I think this excerpt is a valuable clue: I don't think there's any other mention of the Dornish using caves. But I think this must be how they did it. All the Dornish castle towns must be located near caves, perhaps directly over them. If the caves contain underground rivers, they would provide an endless supply of water for drinking, cooking, and sanitation. They could even be pre-stocked with grain and other storable foods, as well as firewood and other supplies.
  22. I have mixed feelings about it. It reads like a history book, not a novel. There are no points of view, except for that of the old maester who wrote it. So it doesn't engage the reader emotionally the way a novel would. However, I'm currently re-reading it, and I'm finding it more enjoyable this time. It may be a history book, but Westeros has one heck of a history, full of colorful characters and bizarre incidents, both for House Targaryen and people of other houses as well. The Martin is an awesome world builder.
  23. And who can forget: I have a hunch that this book is the real reason why Jaqen H'ghar is at the Citadel. The Braavosi are descendants of slaves that escaped from Valyria. The Faceless Men want the book so they can learn how to kill Daenerys's dragons.
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