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John Suburbs

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  1. John Suburbs

    Illyrio's Game

    I recently posted this on reddit, so this is not a rip-off but a repost. TL:DR: Illyrio is trying to bring down the Iron Bank and, by extension, Braavos. The question here is what is Illyrio's motivation in all of his machinations? In Dance, he tells Tyrion that his aim is to be Master of Coin. Really? A man as rich and powerful as Illyrio, already a magister in Pentos, wants to spend the rest of his days counting some else's coppers in Westeros? I think not. I see a much more lucrative benefit here for the pox-ridden cheesemonger, and he is using Westeros as the bait. The history between Braavos and Pentos is not friendly. The two have fought six wars in the last 200 years, four of them won by Braavos and two by Pentos. The cities of Essos are constantly warring against one another, but wars with Braavos are different because it is not a slave city. After the last war, Braavos commanded Pentos to give up slavery, which it has done in theory but not in practice. And that last war must have really stung for Pentos because they had just won a major battle when the Prince of Pentos suddenly negotiated a peace that forbade slavery, as well as the hiring of sellswords, and placed limits on the Pentoshi army. Rumors of bribery swirled about this whole affair. All of this happened in 209, several decades before Illyrio was born. So now, Pentos finds itself unable to resist Braavosi dominion openly, and yet it cannot count on support from the other slave cities who are constantly warring against one another. What to do? How about destroy them financially? Like any bank, the IB is in a constant balancing act between debits and credits. It takes deposits from some people and then loans the money to others with interest. As long as a critical mass of depositors doesn't suddenly withdraw their accounts, it can easily pay the interest to its depositors from the usury it charges on the loans, all the while making the bank wealthy and powerful. The worst thing that can happen is a default on their loans, which is why it is so ruthless when it comes to "getting its due." But I think we are seeing signs that the IB has over-leveraged itself and is about to get hit with a coordinated run on the bank to drive it into insolvency. First, there are the loans to the Iron Throne, which has now stopped paying even the service on that debt, let alone the debt itself. This is obviously a serious matter for the bank considering it has spent more than a year in King's Landing trying to work out a deal, to no avail. It latest move, after the last rebuff by Cersei, was to call in its loans to merchants in the Seven Kingdoms, creating an economic crisis in the realm. In general, it is a bad sign when a bank starts calling in loans, since it means it is more concerned about shoring up its reserves than making a profit. So my guess is that even if the IT's loans themselves aren't driving the IB's reserves to dangerously low levels, it is one of many losses that has the bank managers worried -- perhaps others related to Astapor and Meereen. Of course, the IB could merely be calling in other loans to weaken the crown's ability to fight Stannis. In Winds, we learn that All this is well and good as far as weakening the bank, but since it has such a fearsome reputation, how is Illyrio going to convince anyone that their deposits are in jeopardy? All it takes to create a panic is for one person step forward saying the bank denied his request for a withdrawal. If Illyrio is smart (and he is), he will have a substantial amount on deposit, which he would likely withdraw before he drops the hammer, thus lowering the banks reserves even further. He may very well have convinced leaders in other slave cities to do the same. Then he would need a patsy with a significant amount from another source to do the same, running the bank dry. Who might this be? My guess is Littlefinger. I suspect that LF has been Illyrio's agent all along. Illyrio was bankrolling LF's initial success at Gulltown and King's Landing, essentially buying the position of Master of Coin who then built up the substantial debts that the crown owes to the IB (and the Lannisters, who would also be hurt by a default -- not that Illyrio would care), all the while embezzling money from the crown to deposit in the very same Iron Bank. LF might even own shares in the bank by now, giving him visibility into the balance sheet to know the perfect time to close his account. If all goes according to plan, of course, the IB is left penniless, which means Braavos' main source of wealth backing its iron coin is gone, which leads to default and bankruptcies throughout the city, runaway inflation, and a complete inability to trade on the world stage for perhaps a generation. Even if Pentos does not decide to crush Braavos militarily, it no longer has to abide by the peace treaty of 209, and everything, including slavery and the slave trade, goes back to the way they were in the good old days. This strikes me as a much more sensible goal for Illyrio than becoming fAegon's Master of Coin.
  2. John Suburbs

    Illyrio's Game

    As you say, gold is eternal, but its possession is not. The Iron Bank takes in gold from depositors and loans it out to borrowers. So once the gold leaves it's hands it is gone, with the understanding that the borrower will pay it back over time with interest. If the borrower refuses to pay, then the IB sends an FM after him and the bank regains its loan from the borrower's wealth. However, if the borrower simply does not have the wealth to cover that loan, then the bank is out the money no matter how many members of the borrower's family are killed. Put this in context to the soaif world as it is today. The income of hundreds, maybe thousands, of merchants, traders, ship captains and tradesmen have been hampered by the disruption of the slave trade. Slavers are no longer making any money in Slaver's bay, which means they do not have the money to buy silk, linen, wood, iron or anything else, and the ripple is felt throughout the entire world economy. Since much of this trade activity was financed with credit from the Iron Bank, and others, then they will take a hit on their balance sheets when the loan payments stop coming, and if these borrowers cannot make the money to repay their loans, then the IB takes the hit no matter how many assassins it sends out. Couple this with the very good chance that fAegon will take the Iron Throne, and since he owes nothing to the Iron Bank for getting him there, he can declare the loans of the previous dynasty to be not his responsibility. Sure, the bank could try to assassinate him, but if Illyrio has any wits to him, he will get fAegon married right quick and the new king will be adopt the same policy under the regency run by Illyrio. Meanwhile, Stannis has been defeated, so all of his loans are gone, never to be repaid, and the bank is even calling in loans to merchants and traders in Westeros, which are also unlikely to be repaid. So all in all, it would seem that the IB is quite leveraged at this point, so depending on what its book-to-loan ratio is, it might only take a few key withdrawals to run the bank die so that it collapses, forever. No bank means no threat from the FM, a diminished Braavos that can no longer enforce the treaty, and Illyrio with his handpicked king, perhaps his own son, sitting the Iron Throne. The only wild card at this point is Dany. As I mentioned, the evidence is the history between Braavos and Pentos. The last peace treaty acted as if Pentos was utterly defeated when in fact it had just won a major victory. Few in Pentos would be happy with this, just as few in Germany were happy with the Treaty of Versailles when the fighting had not even touched German soil by the end of the war. So unless your idea of "evidence" is Illyrio standing up in a crowd and shouting "I hate Braavos" then you'll just have to wait, I guess. We don't know where Illyrio got the eggs, and there is no "evidence" for what you are claiming here. He may very well have bought them for a fraction of their worth from the IB because their finances are in such bad shape.
  3. John Suburbs

    Will be Littlefinger get busted by Illyrio?

    Is it? It would seem to me that Illyrio would have a larger bone to pick with Braavos than the Lannisters.
  4. John Suburbs

    Will be Littlefinger get busted by Illyrio?

    I think there is a better than average chance that Littlefinger is working for Illyrio. The convo in the dragon room shows us that Varys does not know "what game Littlefinger is playing" despite the fact that he knows why Cat snatched Tyrion off the kings road (the dagger, which Varys may or may not know is a lie), and both he and Illyrio know that he is mucking with the finances of the realm they hope to seize one day. While it is bad enough that the Master of Whisperers, who knows the secrets of virtually everyone else in the capital, does not know what LF is up to, neither of them seem particularly distressed by the fact that they have this huge blind spot when it comes to LF -- who, after all, is the very man who is rushing the kingdom into war far sooner than either of them would like. At the very least, Illyrio should be telling Varys that he better find out what game Littlefinger is playing . . . unless, of course, he already knows. And then we have an entirely new possibility to play with: Illyrio knows what LF is doing, in fact he has been bankrolling him ever since Gulltown, making it seem like LF is a financial wizard when all he's really been doing is putting the crown deeper and deeper into debt. When the crown defaults, Illyrio steps in with his own king and declares those debts are not the responsibility of the new dynasty. At the same time, have LF pull is account at the Iron Bank, which the bank probably will not be able to cover do to the money they've lost on the crown, Stannis, plus the hit it takes from the disruption of the global slave trade -- which affects all trade, not just slaves. Then Illyrio gets to sit back and watch the IB collapse when all of its depositors scramble to withdraw their money. Ultimately, this throws the Braavosi economy into the toilet, and Pentos will be able to shred the peace treaty it signed with Braavos 90 years ago (despite winning the war) that basically disarmed Pentos and barred it from the slave trade.
  5. John Suburbs

    Illyrio's Game

    OK, so there is no reason to think that just because one Pentoshi became MoC that another wants to do the same, especially given the first Pentoshi's example. Illyrio just doesn't look like the type to want to be a servant. He is not just a cheese-monger, he is a magistrate -- highly respected, even feared, in Pentosh, something Draz never achieved.. The Iron Bank is the largest, most powerful bank in the world, and it conducts most of the trade with other cities directly. How could it not be essential to the stability of Braavosi politics? It is literally the Federal Reserve Bank and Merchant Marine of Braavos rolled into one. Without it, and the enormous incomes it brings to the Braavosi treasury, Braavos has no way to pay its tax collectors, port officials, scribes, servants, and most importantly, its soldiers. And with the bank's reputation shot, the iron coin is worth the iron it is made of, nothing more. Nobody is running on the bank yet because the time is not right. First, get rid of Stannis, then take the Iron Throne, then withdraw your own deposits and then send in your patsy to make the final withdraw that puts them over the edge. They are not counting on Stannis to fail. They think this is the way to get their loans to the IB working again, but it could just be throwing good money after bad. If it wasn't that big of a deal then the IB would not be backing rebel lords and calling in the debts to merchants in Westeros. The mere fact that they have taken these steps is proof that this is a big deal. The IB will not go defunct just because the crown stopped paying service on its loans. But it will go defunct if the money loaned to Stannis is gone, the money loaned to the crown is gone (because there is a new king who has no reason to honor those debts), the money loaned to traders all over the world is gone because the loss of the slave trade has stopped the international flow of goods and currency . . . Vito Corleone was shot and almost killed. Even after he wasted the heads of the other families, Michael Corleone moved his entire organization out of NYC because the new drug lords were getting too powerful. He relocated to Las Vegas to run casinos. People messed with them, and they fled. Jaeharys owed money to the Iron Bank and he paid it back. He did not have a proxy depositor and a scheme to run the bank dry. David defeated Goliath, and Illyrio is hardly David in this contest. Yeah, the FM are a wild card in all of this. One wonders how dependent they are on the IB for financial support, however. If the bank fails, does the HoBaw fail with it? Interesting question, but I can't imagine a smart cookie like Illyrio would not have a plan to deal with the FM, even if it is not abundantly clear to the readers yet. In any event, if the IB can simply hire an FM to off an uncooperative regent, then why do they bother with the uncertainties of rebels and revolution? Merchants and traders don't borrow from the Iron Bank just to put gold under their mattresses. They spend it loading their ships up with goods to be sold at profit at another port. The loaned money is gone, and if incomes at the other ports, most of whom deal in slaves, is down, or if the slaves have taken them over, then that is money that cannot be recovered not matter how many merchants are killed for non-payment. Maybe they can seize the cargos, but if there is a money squeeze going on, it will be too many goods chasing too little money, and they would have to sell it at a fraction of what it was worth when they were bought with the loaned money. No matter what, the IB loses. That's the way economics works. The Braavosi stance on slavery is exactly this: Sounds like they would oppose dealing with slavers then, eh? Not so: The only archons and triarchs in the story are in Tyrosh and Volantis, respectively. Before that, they were Valyrians. All of them dealt in slaves and the Tyroshi are considered particularly ruthless at it. Now, of course, seeking a loan is not the same as getting one, but if the IB had a blanket rule against loaning to slavers, then they wouldn't even bother to travel all the way to hostile Braavos to seek one. And as I said, they can try all they want to insulate themselves from the slave trade, but at the end of the day, the loss of the money made from slaves means less money to buy other goods, which ends up hitting the IB on the bottom line no matter how adamantly anti-slavery they are. How on earth do you imagine that Asshai, half a world away from Westeros, knows the facts behind Lannister gold? People believe what they've been told, and the Lannisters have always been wealthy. But gold is a finite resource. Once it's gone, it's gone. Nobody knows the true state of Lannister finances other than Tywin, and even he might not be fully aware. The Iron Throne was said to be as wealthy as Midas when Littlefinger was running things and the crown's incomes were sky high. Turns out, it was a lie. And now they are in deep. I wouldn't count on the certainty of Lannister wealth until it is confirmed. LF says Robert was six million in debt. Do you trust him? If so, there is a lovely townhome in Valyria I would love to sell you. The loans to the crown are a significant matter for the Iron Bank, otherwise they wouldn't be taking such extreme measures to collect them. And as I said, the IT is only one facet of the exposure they face by leveraging their wealth. It sure would be funny if House Lannister had borrowed its three million from the IB only to loan it to the crown.
  6. John Suburbs

    Illyrio's Game

    But why would he want to be? And why do it by setting fire to the realm rather than just cultivating relationships the way Rego did? And once Rego became MoC and basically restored the crown's finances, what thanks did he get? He was shunned by the nobility, hated by the commoners, both poor and wealthy alike, and finally got his head bashed in by a starving mob who blamed him for bringing the Shivers to the city. Why on earth would any man want to follow in those footsteps? There doesn't need to be a connection in policies. The bank is the backer of Braavosi wealth. Destroy it and you throw Braavos into turmoil. This is not about revenge against the bank. It is about destroying Braavos' ability to further dominate Pentos. Even if they don't formally write off their losses, the moment someone tries to cash out their deposits and the bank refuses, there is a run on the bank as everybody tries to get their money out. Regardless of whether the loan to the IB is still considered active or not, there is no more money in the IB vaults and the bank goes into default. That's the way it is with banks, large and small. Yes, they are willing to extend even more loans to Stannis. And if Stannis succeeds, all is well. They start getting payments for both loans. If Stannis fails, however, then they are out both loans, the IB's and now Stannis' "massive additional loans." Cersei is not paying anything on the loans, neither principal nor interest: There is no gold going to the Iron Bank, otherwise they would be happy to just collect the interest and let the principal sit for a while. The situation is so serious that they are now strong-arming the merchants to put pressure on the crown, which, as I said, could very easily backfire on them. But we are not talking about one debtor, are we. The Iron Throne and Stannis are two, plus all the merchants in Westeros, plus whomever goes into default because the cash flowing from the slave trade has been disrupted. This could literally be the very kind of perfect storm that has brought down powerful banks in our own history. How are the Braavosi supposed to enforce a no-slavery ban on all the traders they loan to? Even if that trader does not touch slavery himself, he may bring cheese from Pentos to King's Landing, luxury goods to Saltpans or White harbor, ore or wood to Volantis and oops, guess what, there is no money to buy wood because the city's chief commodity, slaves, are no longer being bought in Meereen -- or even worse, a slave uprising in Volantis (and Myr, and Lys and Tyrosh) has closed down all the ports. It is simply not possible to isolate the slave trade from all the other kinds of trade. Money travels in circles, and slavery is probably the chief driver of wealth for the entire asioaf economy. The money that slave traders are no longer making in Slaver's Bay is money that is no longer buying other goods that non-slavers have purchased using credit from the Iron Bank. There are no single, particular webs. It is all one big web. Lol, "as rich as he has described them in his books so far." And when their hold on the Iron Throne is gone and the new dynasty has no reason at all to honor the debts of the old, the Lannisters will be quite a bit poorer then they've been described in the books so far. And again, let's see if we get any POVs from Casterly Rock before we conclude that they have 10 million dragons just lying around doing nothing in the basement. Money for a few companies of sellswords is peanuts compared to the millions it has given the IT. They probably could have covered that with the miniscule infusion they got from the wildlings. And if they are showering Stannis with massive additional loans as you say, that just further extends their leverage to a man and a cause that could very well be gone in a few months.
  7. John Suburbs

    Illyrio's Game

    Yep, I get all that, but just because Griff my be his son does not mean Illyrio is not using this opportunity to weaken the state that has been keeping his city, and his own economic interests, down for all these years.
  8. John Suburbs

    Illyrio's Game

    Based on what happened to Draz, I would think Illyrio would be very cautious about become MoC in Westeros. Pentos was winning the last war with Braavos, but its leader agreed to a negotiated peace with terms that only a conquered state would agree to. That has to stick in the craw of many a Pentoshi, and it is not much different from Weimar Germany. The Game of Thrones is like a game of cyvasse. Everything is coordinated. Movement of one piece affects the power and influence of the other pieces, and a good player knows how to leverage his power to victory.
  9. John Suburbs

    Illyrio's Game

    It would seem to me that the example of Rego Draz would cause Illyrio to think twice about becoming MoC, not covet the job. And in any event, it shows that it is much easier for a rich Pentoshi to become MoC through charm and influence than setting the realm to war with itself. I never said the IB was responsible for the wars, just that with the IB defunct it makes it easier for Pentos to resume its traditional way of life. The IB is clearly hurt by the loans to the Iron Throne, otherwise they wouldn't send an envoy on a two-year mission to resume payments and then call in its productive loans among Westerosi merchants in retaliation. It is not invested in the slave trade directly, but as Illyrio says, it is all one big global web. Slaves are traded for goods and coin, which means merchants who make their livings selling regular wares are not being paid by their slave-trading customers who are now without income, which means their ability to repay their loans to the IB is diminished. It's all a big circle, and since the IB can in no way ensure that its borrowers' income is not in some way connected to the slave trade -- which exists everywhere south and east of Pentos -- disruption of the that trade will impact the IB to a significant degree. "equal to the Lannisters." That may not be as solid a statement as you might think. Let's see if we get a PoV from whomever becomes the next Lord or Lady of the Rock before we make any definitive statements about the soundness of Lannister finances. Remember, the Lannisters have loaned even more to the throne than the IB. Don't be fooled by the PR. Even the biggest financial institutions in the world fall when they overextend themselves. Remember Lehman Brothers? Washington Mutual? Bear Sterns? (almost bankrupt, but bought out at the last minute by JPM), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? (bailed out by the US fedgov, otherwise would have failed, literally dragging the entire world economy down with them). All of them were titans of the industry and were considered invincible less than a year earlier. Right now, the IB's only hope for getting its money back from the IT is Stannis. If he goes, they have no one -- unless it turns out that they are backing Euron as well, but he is clearly a madman, so they would have to be very desperate indeed to turn to him as their last hope.
  10. John Suburbs

    Illyrio's Game

    They are concerned enough that they've sent envoys to work out a deal. I can't imagine that the loans to an entire kingdom are not far more significant than those to a merchant or trader. Yes, like I said, it probably is a pressure tactic, but this could very well backfire. If merchants and tradesmen in KL cannot repay these loans immediately, then income to the crown suffers even more and the odds of repayment go down even further. Meanwhile, the IB is no longer earning money on those loans, but merely receiving the loan it made originally. And if recalling a loan drives a merchant to bankruptcy, then it is gone for good. At the end of the day, should the IB be then unable to return a depositor's money, then other depositors might not see this as a pressure tactic but proof that the bank has run dry. At the same time, if Stannis were to lose, the IB has no one else (except maybe Euron?), while Illyrio has fAegon already in Westeros ready to march on the capital. Should Cersei prevail, she now has no reason to honor the debt to the IB because they were plotting to overthrow her. They wouldn't have direct interest in Slavers Bay, but as Illyrio says, "the world is one great web, and a man dare not touch a single thread lest all the others tremble." Legitimate goods are routinely traded for slaves, which means the money lost on slaves is money that cannot go to other forms of trade, so traders, merchants and other economic interests are suddenly without the means to pay back loans to the Iron Bank.
  11. John Suburbs

    Illyrio's Game

    I think he not only has an historical beef with Braavos, but a personal one as well. Remember the ship that carried the plague to Pentos that ended up killing his beloved Serra? It came from Braavos. Was this just an unfortunate accident? Perhaps, but we have no information that Braavos was suffering from an outbreak of plague at the time . . .
  12. John Suburbs

    Illyrio's Game

    I'm not sure what you're referring to. What group? Where do you get the idea that he has an emotional tie to fAegon? But even if he does, the end game for Illyrio still would be to destroy the Iron Bank. That is the entity that has been hold Pentos, and Illyrio, down for the past century. If fAegon does turn out to be his son, then it's a double win for Illyrio, even though he could never capitalize on the relationship, since fAegon has to be Rhaegar's son in order to have a legitimate claim to the throne.
  13. John Suburbs

    Illyrio's Game

    He's going long with the wheat in the Vale because he knows winter is coming and food will be scarce. His rise from customs agent to chief of customs to Master of Coin took place in summer. So let's take it from the beginning: LF is awarded a minor customs sinecure in Gulltown. This is where he first distinguishes himself by bringing in more revenue than any other official, and it would have to be significantly more in order to get noticed. The problem with this is that, unless we think that LF can somehow increase the amount of trade that is coming to him and him alone, the only way he can be generating more revenue is by taking more from the ships that he inspects. So he is either taking more than the customary amount, say 10 percent, or he is making a more accurate assessment of the goods being brought in; either way, he is interfering with the comfortable relationship that traders and revenue collectors have established over the years, which would make him a key target at the docks, which are not known to be places of fair play and honest bartering. It would be very easy to make a trouble-maker like young Petyr disappear. His next step is chief of customs, where he can now implement these "enhanced revenue" practices across the entire port. This would only make Gulltown a less desirable place to do business than, say, Saltpans or King's Landing, which would only reduce the inflow of goods, creating shortages and driving up prices. Ultimately, this is likely to reduce revenue to House Arryn because they are taking a larger slice of a smaller pie, and discontent will have spread among the merchant classes, and their noble patrons, as the increased cost of raw materials drives up the cost of finished goods like dresses, armor and food. Next, we get to King's Landing, where, as Master of Coin, he now has broad ability to buy, swap, trade and do all kinds of things with the crown's wealth. By this time, he is probably less dependent on Illyrio for support, but even here the idea that he can store up certain goods, wait until the price rises, and then sell is only likely to breed discontent among the merchants and their patrons. If, say, LF wants to make a killing in silk, then he sends his agents to the docks to buy up all the silk there is. That means no silk for dresses, capes, doublets, or even bandages, despite the fact that load after load of silk is being unloaded every day, only to be hauled away by LF's customs inspectors. That is only going to breed resentment against LF and the crown, particularly after LF starts trickling the silk back into the market and demanding sky-high prices for it. So none of this makes any sense. If this is what has been happening to all manner of goods -- everything from silk to cotton to wool to iron to wheat -- then the last 10 years of Robert's reign would not be known as a time of peace and plenty, but of want and penury, especially if other traders start trying to game this system by hoarding their own goods in hopes of a price spike. And nobody would be talking about LF as an amiable fellow who gets along with everybody. He would be the king's thief who is making life miserable for everyone else. The only way to have it both ways is that LF is getting bankrolled and then cooking the books to make it seem like he is a financial genius. And it is telling that the financial shite started to hit the fan for the crown soon after he stepped down as MoC. Well, he would have to wait until fAegon was old enough to make a viable king. He is playing a long game here, and it will take some time to weaken the crown's financial state anyway. He needs to have the war, though, in order to hide his tracks. If he just let things slide until the crown could not pay its debts, then the weight of blame falls on Littlefinger, not the wars. And even a bankrupt kingdom would still be beholden to that debt, and thus still be counted as an asset by the bank. But an entirely new dynasty that owes nothing to the Iron Bank would not. This would make the loans unrecoverable, which, combined with the bank's suddenly inability to honor its own debts, would throw it into a death spiral. Remember, the goal here is not just to weaken the bank, but to destroy it. No, Illyrio could not have anticipated Astapor or Meereen. But since they did happen, it likely impacted the IB in some way, probably not directly but in the ability of some borrowers to repay their loans as well.
  14. John Suburbs

    Renly's Plan and what he knew.

    Martin says he is gay: https://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/To_Be_Continued_Chicago_IL_May_6_8/ But yes, plenty of gay men have fathered children through the ages, but I dare say that few of them openly bragged about knocking up their wives as if it was no big deal to them. The way Renly states it, it is the most natural thing in the world for him to shag Margaery, when in reality it is not. Renly is not above lying when it suits him. He could very well be lying about how Stannis' letter "took his breath away." But it is also quite probable that he is not lying, that the letter and the whole idea of incest did take him by surprise, in which case this "plan" of his to marry Margaery to Robert was a non-starter. Lady Olenna would never give up her Margaery to become a second queen with little or no chance of birthing the next king. This is the goal in her Game of Thrones.
  15. John Suburbs

    Renly's Plan and what he knew.

    Renly is not above lying. As I said, he has no stake anymore in whether the children are legitimate or not, but Stannis does. Renly also says he'll get a son on Margaery within the year. Does he not know he is gay?
  16. John Suburbs

    Renly's Plan and what he knew.

    If Renly's plan was to simply have Cersei set aside and then bring in Margaery is Queen #2 with all her children following Cersei's in the line of succession, then no, this was not a very well-thought out plan. I can see Renly, Loras and even Mace concocting this, but as soon as Lady Olenna found out about it she would have quashed the whole thing. While Mace might be content with just having royal children, etc., Lady O would not. She wants nothing less than a Tyrell butt on the Iron Throne, so unless Cersei and all three of her children could be removed from the line, this is an utter waste of Margaery's true benefit to House Tyrell. Also, all of this talk about how the houses would support Robert and go to war against the Lannisters is overlooking one thing: the faith would certainly not support a king setting aside his queen just because he wants to be a younger, prettier maiden. Yes, this particular High Septon might be a wuss in most matters, but this goes to the core of one of the church's most holy sacraments, The entire church hierarchy would be fully aware of what acquiescence on this matter would do to their moral authority: let kings plays fast and loose with their marriage vows and you've just given license to all of society to do the same thing, and then the church loses its ability to be a guiding moral force in the realm. So with the church not on board with this, any house that backs Robert is essentially warring against the church, and that is not something that any lord south of the Neck will do lightly. Why did Renly not react with surprise at Stannis' letter? Simple, because he's known it all along and his claim to the crown has nothing to do with lines of succession but with military might. It's Stannis who needs to expose the incest now, not Renly, so Renly is free to mock it and pretend like it's all just a made-up story. So in the end, I think we can conclude that Renly did know of the incest and revealing it was part of the plan to make Margaery queen. And as usual with all things Tyrell, this plot originated at the very top with the lady who is really running the show in Highgarden.
  17. John Suburbs

    Jaime's brutal dream about Cersei

    Dreams are weird, though. People dream of themselves doing all kinds of strange, even violent, things that only seem strange when they wake up. So in this case, while it may be reflective of Jaime's anger and sense of betrayal toward Cersei, I don't think it means he intends, or even wants, to smash her teeth in. As for him being the valonqar, I think he is just as likely a candidate as any other little brother, but I don't think it will come as a fit of rage from being cheated. Like with Aerys, I imagine Jaime would kill Cersei only if he felt it was for the good of the realm.
  18. John Suburbs

    The Red Wedding Was Justified.

    Justification is in the eye of the beholder. To the north, it was wholly unjustified, vile, treacherous murder. In Lannisport, it was a fully justifiable master-stroke of tactics and strategy. Most Americans (although not as many as in past generations) think Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified because, like the RW, it prevented even more bloodshed by bringing an early end to the war. Most Japanese tend to think otherwise.
  19. John Suburbs

    Robb/margaery pairing?

    If you are talking about still-maiden Margaery Tyrell, then as others have said, not very realistic because House Tyrell wanted her to be a queen and Robb is just a lord at this point. After she became Queen Margaery to King Renly, then we would need a different scenario for Renly's death. As it happened, the Tyrells had every reason to believe that this was a conspiracy between Stannis, Robb Stark and Selwyn Tarth. How else to explain that only Catelyn Stark and Brienne of Tarth were with Renly when he died, and they fled immediately after? So either way, the probability for Robb-Margaery was near zero right up to the moment Robb died.
  20. John Suburbs

    Baelish's plan to the Throne

    I don't think he wants to be king. He's too smart for that. Running a kingdom is dull, tedious work, and then usually end up getting killed. He wants to be the power behind the throne, moving all the pieces, including the king, acquiring all the wealth, wielding all the power. Like Tywin, only better.
  21. Bronn is not the sweet, lovable rogue we saw in the mummer's farce. If the boy becomes a liability, he'll get rid of him. At the very least, he will cast him out. If it somehow emerges that he becomes a rival for Stokeworth, he'll kill him. That's the way Bronn rolls.
  22. John Suburbs

    Dany and child murder

    It was. It just would have been more difficult. She could just as easily have ordered the slaves freed and the slavers rounded up and not harmed. After that, I'm not sure how she would go about replacing a 10,000-year-old culture with one in which everyone is "free," because there certainly is no other society like that in asioaf that I'm aware of. Maybe the Summer Isles? Can the highborn maidens there refuse to be honored by their love gods?
  23. John Suburbs

    Dany and child murder

    If Dany was enslaved by being married to Drogo in order to advance Viserys' political ambitions, then every Westerosi lord who ever married their daughter for political reasons is a slaver and deserves to die. This includes Ned Stark, Tyrion, Mace Tyrell, Doran Martell, and lords Hightower, Redwyne, Lannister, Tully, and, well, virtually every lord who ever lived, and more than likely much of the mercantile class and the peasantry.
  24. John Suburbs

    Dany and child murder

    Not doing nothing, but not bringing more evil into the world to undo the evil that already exists. Free enterprise has lifted millions out of poverty, mostly in Asia, but if you've ever seen a Chinese sweat shop, you might reconsider the true impact of all this lifting. https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-sweatshops This is subsistence living at best and slavery-in-all-but-name at worst. But the solution is to not raze entire cities to the ground and kill off the wealthy populations that are exploiting these people but to work systemically to bring about peaceful social change.
  25. John Suburbs

    Dany and child murder

    It still points up the fallacy that slavery is not a choice. These people chose slavery. It was their choice. As slaves they also have a choice, even if it is choosing the lesser of two evils. Being a peasant in Westeros is not a choice either. Do you think a swineheard would choose swinehearding if he could be a noble instead? Would a noble choose to be a swineheard? Very few people in this world have actual choices. Do you remember the tale of the three weaverwomen? Their master came to Dany asking for a cut of their business because he trained them and they were using his loom. Dany told him to take a hike because they had already paid their debts. Then they were killed by the SoH. So here were three women who were living a fairly comfortable lives making tapestries in exchange for food, clothing, a nice place to live and protection -- pretty much the same deal that a free weaver in Westeros would get. Along comes Dany and frees them, essentially giving them their "freedom" but taking away their comfortable lives (since I can't believe their is huge demand for tapestries in Meereen at the moment; Dany has one, and that was "given" to her) and, more importantly, their protection. They paid with their lives, and they had no choice in any of this: no choice to be a slave, no choice to be free, and no choice but to be raped and killed. If they were unsatisfied with their situation they had all the means at their disposal to change it, just like Craster's wives. They were the only armed men in Astapor. But you are forgetting one salient fact about the Unsullied: they drink daily doses of the wine of courage. Ostensibly this is to deaden their pain, but I suspect it has a mind-deadening, hypnotic affect as well to make them docile and obedient. So they are a special case when considering whether they are satisfied or not, since they are basically drugged. I suspect that Varys' little birds are given the same thing. But their situation is no better or worse now that they follow Dany. They are soldiers. They fight, they die. Nothing has changed for them. Even their "choice" to follow her as free men is the same as the "choice" between slavery and death. Those that do not follow her will die, as sure as shootin'. And in following her they devote themselves totally to her cause and must follow her orders to the death, all with no pay, just like slaves. But I get what you are saying as well. Freedom is always preferable to bondage. But I submit that you look at this situation through the eyes of the characters, not those of a 21st Century member of a free, liberal, democratic society. Most Westerosi commoners abhor the idea of slavery because their religion and their culture has taught them that bondage is bad. Many slaves in Essos, if not most, are terrified at the thought of freedom because of all the uncertainty it brings to life. Send some glib-talking, power figure into either society, however, who tells people how much better life will be under their leadership, and see how many will fight and die to upend the old order. And one more point before I leave this thread: you and I are not responsible for poverty, and you absolve Dany of any blame for all the misery that has happened since she crushed Astapor and Meereen, and yet you do place responsibility for 10,000 years of slavery on some tokar-wearing boy who has done nothing to cause it either and has never harmed anyone, slave or free, in his life. Sorry, but to that I have to call major league hypocrisy.
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