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John Suburbs

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  1. My take is that each of Dany's dragons inherited the aspect of the life used to hatch the egg. So Drogon is clearly Drogo -- spirited, willful, aggressive. Rhaegal is MMD -- she seems rather leery of Dany, almost suspicious. Viseryon is Rhaego, whose remains I suspect were in the pyre too. Notice how Vis is always clinging to Dany, like a child wanting its mother. So with that in mind, I can't say who will ride which dragon, but I can take a guess as to who should ride which dragon. Dany should take Viseryon, since his primary goal would be her safety. Jon should take Drogo, because he will make best of use of his aggression, and Tyrion should take Rhaegal, since he will be the least trustworthy of Dany's disciples, more intent on serving his own agenda, not her's. But in the end it's all just guesswork.
  2. I guess it would depend on when Syrio became First Sword. According to the official history, Dany fled Dragonstone sometime between one and two years old, and then fled Braavos at five. So that would be roughly between 284 and 286. I don't recall Arya describing Syrio as a particularly young man or a particularly old man, so he may have already served as FS before she arrived, or he may not have begun his service until after she left. And when he was not FS, he was just an ordinary bravo, which I doubt is enough cachet for him to encounter an exiled prince and princess living in cognito.
  3. Family ties, like others have said. They're not perfect, but they do help keep the lords in sync. But there is another dynamic going on in the Reach. For thousands of years, Highgarden has been the hegemon of Westeros. Have you ever wondered why it was the Riverlands that saw all the fighting and invasions and rising and falling petty kings over the centuries and not the Reach? The Riverlands at least has rivers to afford it some protection, while the Reach has only one main river and the rest is league upon league of open farmland and gently rolling hills. The answer is the Reach's large population, easily double or triple that of any other kingdom. This allowed the Reach to field the largest army and navy in any conflict. Everyone knew that you could invade the Reach, but eventually you would get beaten. But this advantage can only be leveraged if there is political stability among the Reach houses, and the best way to provide that stability is through marriage. This is why first the Gardeners, then the Tyrells, made it a point to marry their principal banners so that they all became one big extended family. Note that the only time Highgarden ever fell was when the Gardener king at the time made a series of unwise marriages that led to conflict among the banners and the Reach was invaded simultaneously by the westerlands, stormlands and Dorne. Of course, the other kings married their banners for the same reason, but as long as the Reach had the population advantage, the status quo was ensured. But all this started to change in the lead-up to Robert's Rebellion. Suddenly, you had Tullys marrying Starks, Starks marrying Baratheons, Lannisters talking marriage with Tullys and (gasp) Martells. This changes everything because now you have the prospect of two or three great houses becoming as intertwined as the Tullys, Hightowers and Redwynes -- potentially creating a military threat that could overcome the Reach's one and only tactical advantage. The rise of such a power bloc is what drove the Mad King to interfere with all these machinations, and it's the same reason the Tyrells backed him -- not out of any loyalty but because they had just as much to fear from a Stark-Tully-Baratheon-whoever integration as he did.
  4. Eh, I don't think so. There doesn't seem to be much civilization outside of the city states in Essos. Braavos supports itself through trade, not local farming. Even wood is a rare and valuable commodity. With their gold coin and their currency devalued, they have nothing to trade except clams and cockles. I think the bank is going down, and the city with it. Once that happens, Pentos has no reason to abide by the treaty anymore and rich men like Illyrio will benefit. But let's see how it all unfolds. There is no guarantee the plan will actually work.
  5. Everyone hated Ramsay when he was still a bastard. So by this logic, why would Roose legitimize him at all and make him lord of Winterfell? He needs Ramsay in that position for some reason. But he doesn't need the other lords to like him or even respect him, just fear him and acknowledge him as the rightful LoW, which they won't do if Roose is telling him how to treat his wife. A less effective commander in the sense that lords won't listen to their liege if they don't think he's the one making decisions, just like Cat would not argue with Robb in front of the banners, only in private, nor would she send him back to Winterfell. He would lose all authority in the north, forever. It's the mistake Cersei made with Joffrey on the Blackwater -- as soon as the men saw him leave they threw down their swords and fled. Yes, Roose would prefer Rams tamp things down with Arya, but he is not going to command him to do this in front of the men. He has private conversations with him.
  6. Ramsay was despised long before he became lord of Winterfell, so by that logic why would Roose legitimize him in the first place and then hand Winterfell over to him when he could just as easily have taken it himself? And he is perfectly OK with Ramsay killing his heirs from Walda. He needs Ramsay as LoW for some reason, which will undoubtedly become clear before long.
  7. Roose may be Lord Paramount but Ramsay is lord of Winterfell, which means he runs his house as he sees fit. Simply ordering Rams to treat his wife better diminishes his standing in the eyes of the other lords, making Rams a less effective commander. And what is Roose expected to do, exactly? Accompany Rams into the bedding chamber?
  8. No, cities that undergo financial meltdown do not invade other cities. Anyone who had any money invested in the IB is walking away with coppers on the gold coin. And the commoners are destitute because the iron coin is worthless. If anything, the wealthy will flee to Pentos with what money they have, not to sack it but to hide there. Braavos will be in no position to attack anyone. No "private businessman" in Braavos will have the means to hire sellswords and sails to attack Pentos. In fact, it would be the exact opposite: the Pentoshi will get the sellswords because they have the money to pay. Taking Pentos is an iffy prospect at best, and soldiers need to eat now, not maybe in the future only if they are successful. The ruling elite will save their own asses, and whatever meager wealth they can carry, by fleeing Braavos before the mob catches them and tears them apart. The city's economy has collapsed. They are not going to throw even more money into that pit by funding a highly speculative adventure like this -- even if they had the means to do so. The real wildcard in all of this Dany. With three dragons, Dany could doublecross Illyrio, or make common cause with Braavos before the hammer falls. At the time this scheme was hatched, she was never expected to even survive the Dothraki, let alone come away with three dragons. Now, however, she can make this whole plan or break it.
  9. Realize, though, that Volantis has just undergone a political seachange and could very well be in the midst of a slave revolt. First, you have Benerro preaching that Dany is the savior and that Volantis will burn if it goes to war with the dragon queen. Then, Victarian sees dancing in the streets and exuberant talk of the new triarchs and how they will defeat the dragon queen, which can only mean that the tigers have won the election. Combine that with the fact that the slaves outnumber freemen five to one, and I think it is very possible that the Volantene galleys heading to Meereen will be run by slaves by the time they arrive and will support Dany, not fight her.
  10. Not if their economy is in the toilet. The sealord will have all he can handle with in the social disturbance at home, and very little cash to pay soldiers, sailors, or feed them, house them, arm them . . . Waging war cost money. And there are no slaves in Pentos, so what pretext would he use to suddenly invade?
  11. Rosey's maidenhead at the Quill and Tankard was for sale at 1 golden dragon. Brienne gives the innkeep a silver stag and gets three huge horse steaks, fried onions in bacon grease, stale oatcakes, ale and cider. Then she paid three gold dragons and a skiff for a lumbering plowhorse, a half-blind old white gelding and a dappled grey palding, but these are the only horses around and its wartime. In King's Landing before the Tyrells opened the Rose Road, a melon cost six coppers, a bushel of corn went for a silver stag, and a side of beef or six piglets sold for a dragon, but these are all inflated prices. Saladhor Saan charges Stannis 30,000 dragons per month, although he still hasn't gotten a dime. Chett charged a penny for 12 leeches. About a hundred years earlier, a full set of plate armor cost about four dragons. Dunk sold his palfrey for 750 stags. So like always, the value of money rises and falls over time and according to circumstances. Only kings and lords had the means to build castles and ships and outfit armies, so it wasn't cheap.
  12. Who knows what the exchange rate is. It doesn't really matter. If the bank goes under, thousands upon thousands of people lose their life savings and the currency that underpins the Braavosi economy is no longer valid. That means the only wealth that people have is whatever coinage they happen to possess when the hammer falls, which isn't much for the vast portion of the population. The result is chaos as prices swing from hyper-inflation to hyper deflation, with all the attendant social disruption that afflicts a population suddenly deprived of their buying power. At the same time, the government has no way to pay its soldiers, sailors, merchant mariners, let alone feed them, clothe them, arm them . . .. It will be helpless when Pentos says "Hey, remember that treaty? We're not going to abide by it anymore." The collapse of the IB will be just as severe, if not more so, than the collapse of the Rogare Bank, which sent two ecnomies that we know of, Lys and Westeros, into tailspins. The means of repayment are right there in front of Tycho. All he has to do is look at all the trees. And still his initial answer was no. The deal was not struck until Jon offered up the collateral, which the bank desperately needs or else it probably wouldn't have bothered with this piddly little loan. He didn't need Jon to tell him where Stannis went. Everybody at CB knows where he went. If Jon had Tycho over such a barrel, then the deal would have been struck without the collateral, and then Tycho would have cancelled it the moment Jon revealed where Stannis had gone. Lysa got him Petyr job, but there is no way she can fund this little scheme. It would take someone with very deep pockets to pull this off, and sorry, but simply putting more money in the Arryn pockets is not a good enough reason to put up tens if not hundreds of thousands in gold. Martin doesn't know, Martin didn't think it through, Martin is a lazy writer: the death rattle of many a theory. Martin knows full well what he's doing. Of course, there are always alternate explanations for everything. This one, though, provides the most plausible explanation as to what a number of people are doing in the story, and why. I agree, LF has no interest in Braavos (that we know of, anyway). He wants Westeros, and Sansa. Which is why he is doing this. Illyrio wants Braavos but has no interest in Westeros. This is why it's a perfect partnership: each can rely on the other to achieve their own objectives, and there is no reason why they would need to double-cross each other.
  13. Of course the iron coin is a proxy currency. Iron is about the most worthless metal on the planet, worth even less than copper. It's everywhere. If it had any value then the ironmen would be wealthy. The only way people would use it for commerce is if someone with valuable metals promised to exchange it, aka fiat money. Paper, which comes from wood, which is very expensive in Braavos, is more valuable than iron in this society. The crown's resources, revenue and income will only be diminished when the fallout from the loan recalls happens. This can only depress economic activity, which can only dampen revenues to the crown even further. If they think they are going to get their money back by doing this they are greatly mistaken. The treasury is empty now, as per the new MoC. Pulling money out of the Westerosi economy will only make things worse. But it does bring cash back to the bank's coffers now, which would not be a good business move unless the bank needs money now. This is a telltale sign that a bank is in trouble. A few hundred gold will buy enough grain and barley and neeps and onions, plus the dried fish and mussels and clams that Braavos has in abundance, to fill several ship holds -- enough to keep them alive for a year or more. And the length of the loan is irrelevant. In fact, the longer it goes the better for the bank because they can refill those ships with wood, which the Watch has in virtually limitless supply, that sells for a thousand times the wheat and other foodstuffs. So they can only profit from this arrangement the longer it lasts. But the key is the wealth they get right now from the wildling treasures. It's not a lot, but this is how desperate the bank is. Getting help to Stannis had nothing to do with the NW deal. Tycho does not even reach Stannis until long after this agreement is reached. At the time of the NW deal, for all Tycho knows Stannis could have been dead. Right. Varys does not know what LF is up to. Why? He knows everything about everybody else in the kingdom. That's his job. But the key takeaway here is not that Varys does not know, but that Illyrio does not care that Varys does not know, even though both of them know he is the one responsible for their plans going awry. You'd think a smart man like Ilyrio would know a serious blind spot when he sees one, but no, no response, and LF continues to keep Varys completely in the dark right up to the present day, and Illyrio could care less. Littlefinger advised Ned to support Joffrey for now and then out him and depose him at a more convenient time: Imagine the blowback to Petyr if word of this conversation were to reach Cersei, or Joffrey? And you don't think he cares about keeping his head on his shoulders? Plus, if you'll note, here is Petyr trying to finagle the delay that Illyrio needs. Here is what I look at when I see Illyrio behind Littlefinger: Petyr shows up in Gulltown a skinny, scrawny minor lordling with little money, even less status, no soldiers, no men-at arms, no nothing, to begin his minor sinecure as the junior-most customs official at the port. And he immediately starts out-collecting the more experienced senior officers, by a lot. The thing is, that money had to come from somewhere. So either Petyr is taking more than is rightfully owed, or he is taking the right amount and all the other collectors are incompetent, crooked, or both. Either way, this should have gotten him a one-way ticket to the bottom of the Narrow Sea. Ports are very dangerous places, full of thugs and press gangs and mobsters who don't take kindly to outsiders who take their money. The only way Petyr could have pulled this off is if he had a benefactor who could provide the gold to increase his haul and then bribe or remove anyone who dared asked questions about it. Then rinse and repeat in Kings Landing until Petyr, with Lysa's help, is elevated to a position where he can use the Iron Bank's greed and gold against it. The rest of the evidence is as I explained: the conversation in the Dragon Room, the bank's proxy currency, the loans being called in, the NW loan . . . There is more than enough here to conclude that something is up.
  14. Well, we'll see how it goes. I think the bank will fall and Illyrio and Petyr are in on it. One thing I haven't mentioned yet is the very odd backstory that supposedly explains Petyr's rise to power. He shows up at Gulltown a skinny, scrawny kid with no money, no protection, no men-at-arms, no nothing, to begin his minor sinecure as a junior customers inspector, and he immediately starts out-collecting all the other experienced collectors by a significant amount. Well, that money has to come from somewhere. So either Petyr is collecting more than is rightfully owed, or he is collecting the proper amount and all the other collectors are either crooked, incompetent or both. Either way, he is upsetting the highly lucrative environment at the port -- and ports are dangerous places run by shady people who don't like outsiders who come in and take their money from them. So this should have gotten him a one-way ticket to the bottom of the Narrow Sea . . . unless, he is being bankrolled by someone to make it seem he is a financial genius. But as I said, the truth will out and all of Petyr's motives will become clear in time.
  15. There is copper (and gold and silver) in Braavos too. The iron coin is a way for the bank to accumulate the more precious metals while allowing commoners to use their proxy. This is the purpose of today's paper currency; it allows central banks to keep what is really valuable while supporting the economy with credit. It works as long as people have trust that the money is sound. Once that trust is gone, however . . . Stannis is taking that line of credit to buy all the sellswords he can find. The bank will pay hard gold, not credit, to the companies he hires, depleting their stores even more. At the same time, incomes are about to drop due to the disruption of the slave trade. We can already see that the bank is getting nervous in several ways: First, they have called in loans all across Westeros. While some may see this as a power tactic against the crown, if it is it is doomed to fail. That crown already can't (not won't, can't) pay back the loan because the treasury is empty. So how is disrupting the kingdom's economy even further supposed to replenish that treasury? Any time a bank starts calling in functional loans it is a sign of trouble. It means it is sacrificing future profits because it needs cash now. Second, there is the loan to the NW. When Jon first broaches this to Tycho, the answer is a hard no -- no way, now how, not possible. The wealthiest, most powerful bank in the world and it can't even offer up a few thousand for oats and barley to keep a bunch of wildlings fed over the winter? After negotiating, no became yes, and later we learn how this was done: Jon offered up the wildling trinkets, meager as they are, as collateral. This is how desperate the bank is for any cash infusion. I suspect the balance will be paid in wood, which the watch has in abundance but is rare and valuable in Braavos. And third, we must consider the fact that the Iron Throne's financial requirements are far greater than any of the Essosian city states, save maybe Volantis. So this loan is probably quite substantial. But unlike the free cities, not just anyone can become king. You need someone with a legitimate claim, or else you have to conquer at least six of the seven kingdoms, something it took Aegon the Conqueror four years to do, and he had dragons. So if Stannis dies without spending all the gold, fine, but now they are without a champion to take the throne. Meanwhile, Illyrio's boy, Aegon, is knocking at the door. Yes, other events are happening all over the world. Most of the POVs we see are focused on the Iron Throne. But that doesn't mean everyone is. Illyrio has his own fish to fry, in Braavos. He most certainly does not want to become Aegon's servant.
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