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[Spoilers] The Princess and the Queen, complete spoilers discussion


chrisdaw

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I read this last night. I loved it so much I couldn't put the book down and ended up reading it in one go. My head is still a little bit mushed as there's such a lot to take in - such a large amount of information in a relatively small space. I think a re-read is definitely needed. I did really love it though! It was such an interesting read! Brilliant and exciting and hugely devastating at the same time. I ended up feeling a bit depressed afterwards. All of that destruction and death because of delusional self-righteous people. :uhoh:


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The Targs took really crappy care of their dragons. No wonder they got increasingly stunted.

I think the dragons probably died out because they started raising them in the Dragonpit instead of on Dragonstone, perhaps because the Cannibal was eating all the hatchlings on DS. Everything I know about dragons in GRRMworld indicates that volcanoes are the most appropriate habitat for them, which is probably why Aenar the Exile chose to settle on Dragonstone.

The Dragonpit was an OK place to stable dragons when they needed to be in KL, but anytime they didn't need to be someplace specific they should have been kept on Dragonstone for their health. If the Cannibal was a problem they should've offered a lordship to get him taken out. Surely someone could've gotten that job done...

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I think the dragons probably died out because they started raising them in the Dragonpit instead of on Dragonstone, perhaps because the Cannibal was eating all the hatchlings on DS. Everything I know about dragons in GRRMworld indicates that volcanoes are the most appropriate habitat for them, which is probably why Aenar the Exile chose to settle on Dragonstone.

The Dragonpit was an OK place to stable dragons when they needed to be in KL, but anytime they didn't need to be someplace specific they should have been kept on Dragonstone for their health. If the Cannibal was a problem they should've offered a lordship to get him taken out. Surely someone could've gotten that job done...

Daemon and Caraxes B)

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Daemon and Caraxes B)

That's what I was thinking! Or at least 2-3 of the older dragons. It's a public service and saves the hatchlings. Plus, the dragons never get any dragonfighting experience otherwise, which leads to them being really crappy at fighting each other. Eagles don't have the Thunderdome mentality.

The ones that seemed constantly chained in the Dragonpit though :frown5:

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That's what I was thinking! Or at least 2-3 of the older dragons. It's a public service and saves the hatchlings. Plus, the dragons never get any dragonfighting experience otherwise, which leads to them being really crappy at fighting each other.

The ones that seemed constantly chained in the Dragonpit though :frown5:

I feel like I've learned so much about eagles. :D But yeah, it's almost like how knights have squires, the older dragons could've taken the younger ones under their wing (so to speak). At least make sure they didn't die while they were getting experience.

I felt really bad for Dreamfyre after Helaena went all crazy. It used to have a life and a rider. Instead, it just got forgotten in the Dragonpit. :(

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Is it possible that Daemon knew Alys Rivers (or was involved with her) from his time at Harrenhal?

The first time Alys is mentioned is when she stops Aemond from throttling the messenger re: the Fall of King's Landing. He hadn't been there that long (a week or two?) when the news come through so she must have been on hand when he arrived. Additionally, is she a Strong bastard?

From a few of the early comments in this thread, a few people assumed that after the Tor sample review that Alys would be involved with the Blacks but in the full copy, that doesn't seem to be the case at all.

Is this a minor side story that was left on the cutting room floor? Or is my sapphire eye playing up?

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My guess is that Aemond met and fell in love with Alys Rivers during his campaign in the Riverlands. I doubt that she already was his paramour back in KL since that may have complicated his enterprise of marrying a Baratheon daughter. Aegon II had mistresses, apparently, but Aemond's relationship with Alys may be a thing that started and developed while he was in the Riverlands. Her being a Strong bastard that was originally taken hostage by Daemon and then freed when Aemond and Cole took the castle does make some sense since she only makes an appearance after Aemond has reached Harrenhal. But that does not have to be the case. She could come from any Riverland house, and Aemond may have met her on the way to Harrenhal.


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I jjust read it and I thought people would be already speaking about this, but I don't seem to find any posts concerning what I believe is crucial with this story: the maesters.



Can this book give us a glimpse of the motivations of those who are believed to be the most recilient opponents of the reappearance of dragons? Ran tells us that Gyldayn is writing this history book some 100 after the events he describes, but what are his motivations? Is he just a historian? What is his opinion on this matters? And how does he have so much detail on what happened everywhere? We have to assume that part of his writing is imaginative at least (what people thought, and their exact words), but he must have had a written source for most of these descriptions. We know Septon Eustace wrote much about what happened at King's Landing, but I suspect others may have been involved in recording it aswell (the Grand Maester? Lord Larys Strong?)



We can also see two maesters being in the middle of crucial decision throughout the story: The maester at Storm's End, that reads the letter and whispers it to Boros (effectively convinging his liege lord to join the Blacks), and the maester at Maidenpool, which saves the day for everyone, but ultimately pushing Lord Motoon to swith sides to the Blacks as well. Are these fortuitious instances of the maesters helping their lords, or is there something else?


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Octavio,



well, we don't yet know what kind of man Gyldayn was besides the fact that he apparently was the Archmaester of History at the Citadel of Oldtown (else he would not have written about the Dance at all, I think), and the published text of TPatQ does not give any indication that he had a secret agenda of sorts, but it's very evident that he actively tries to let the maesters featuring in the story look good. And I guess we can expect something like that any account written by a maester will mirror this tendency (for example, an account on the War of the Five Kings from the POV of an Archmaester most certainly will make Grand Maester Pycelle an innocent victim of Tyrion's machinations).



The maester at Storm's End most certainly was a Green loyalist, or at least a maester leaning towards 'Andal law', who was installed there by Ser Otto/Alicent via the influence their Hightower kin back in Oldtown most certainly wielded over the Archmaester at the Citadel. In Gyldayn's account we never learn what he whispered into Lord Borros's ear, but my guess is that Rhaenyra's plea for help reached Borros as a brusque, cold command. It's telling that Borros only grows really cold after Lucerys had delivered his message to him.



As to Maester Norren and the Maidenpool incident: There is way too much in the dark here. We don't really know if Rhaenyra really wrote a letter demanding Netty's head to Lord Mooton (could be that there were Green agents active in KL faking the letter, or at least distorting it's contents - from arrest to execution, for instance). Rhaenyra does nowhere in the story seem to be as far over the edge as to believe that Daemon would continue to serve as Lord Protector and strong right arm should she really call for the head of a woman he loved. But even if there was no foul play involved in this whole thing on Rhaenyra's side, it's kind of obvious that Maester Norren is portrayed as the real hero in that story. And I'm not sure that he is. Actually, I'm convinced that he never asked Lord Manfryd to send him as traitor to KL but rather suggested to declare for Aegon II instead.



As to any tendency in this whole thing, I guess we can assume that a lot of younger maesters schemed in favor of the Greens during the Dance, whereas some of the older maesters actually favored and supported Rhaenyra. Among the latter most certainly was Grand Maester Orwyle, who most likely was Daemon's secret ally on the Green council. He is also most likely Gyldayn's main historical source on the events following the death of Viserys I. The fact that he recorded the conversations of the council session in Alicent's chambers in detail, and did not destroy them afterwards, strongly suggests that he was a Black at heart. Else he would not have been inclined to let history learn how the leaders of the Green party plotted to steal Rhaenyra's crown.



There are only hints of an anti-dragon conspiracy in this whole thing, and my guess is that if the Citadel put such a plan in motion during the Dance it would have been way too secret and well-protected for Gyldayn to discover during his historical research (if we assume that he would have want to write about that particular dark chapter, which I doubt!).



One can suspect that maesters on both sides may have worked to fuel anti-dragon sentiments on all levels of society. For instance, Rhaenyra apparently declared that she would display the heads of the dragons of her traitorous siblings in her throne room. That would have made a powerful symbol (and I think it was Aegon III who actually started this custom, but he displayed all the dead dragons of House Targaryen, to show the cost of the war(s)), but would have been actually kind of silly, since all the Green dragons could have eventually been given to new Black Targaryen riders (Rhaenyra's grandchildren). Another thing is Lord Mooton's suicidal attempt to kill Sunfyre. Yes, Sunfyre was the dragon of Aegon II, but it could have been claimed by another Targaryen. Killing Sunfyre would not gain the Blacks anything.



Finally, I think there was a lot more going on during/shortly before the riots of KL. Whoever drove the people of KL into such a mad frenzy, it most certainly was not just one begging brother with great rhetoric skills. If really as many people as Gyldayn claims attacked the Dragonpit then my guess is that the madness of these people may have been artificially created. We know that there is a poison in Westeros that makes its victim enraged and more or less ignorant of/immune to pain. I think it's the same one Jaqen H'ghar used to 'convince' Weese's dog to kill him. I really doubt that people that were afraid for their lives would throw away those lives in a mad attempt to kill 4-5 dragons. Especially not after they saw first hand what happened to the first who tried this very thing.


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Varys,



Another great post. A couple things I disagree with you on though.



First, the poison that induces madness you're referring to is basilisk blood. Technically it is neither poison nor available in Westeros. The notion that thousands of people could've been given this is, logistically, a bit on the absurd side.



Not only that but we don't need an explanation. Angry mobs have done all manner of suicidal things throughout human history. A bunch of peasants attacking a royal army because they're fed up isn't much less different than attacking a group of chained up dragons. People who are afraid for their lives, especially with religion in the mix (there is a heaven for Seven worshippers, don't forget), will absolutely do dangerous things if they are pushed to the point where they believe they have nothing to lose. Besides, I'm sure quite a few people were cowering in their homes, it's just that there's not much to say about them.



Second, the killing of Sunfyre. Could the Blacks have ridden Sunfyre? I am not so sure this was even possible as long as Aegon lived. 2nd, there were lots of dragons, what's one more? 3rd and probably most important: symbolism. If Rhaenyra could show the head of her rival claimants dragon, that would be a huge psychological boost for her and her side. Aegon II's faction used Sunfyre on a banner as their sigil. Nor do I see why killing the other dragons is problematic. They had plenty already, with lots of eggs (i.e. the means to create more). I don't see the value in keeping a bunch of extra dragons around. In fact, the Dance went a long way towards proving that extra dragons are a bad thing.



The notion that Borros' maester was planted well in advance is a good catch, I think that's likely. It makes me want to consider where other key maesters may have been planted in advance. This civil war was many many years in the making, giving plenty of time for such things to have been set up. Perhaps the Winterfell maester argued for Cregan to stay put.


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Well, my guess would be that whoever wanted to stir up anti-dragon sentiments with the backing of the Citadel could have done so by delivering speeches and basilisk blood food for free in the pot shops of Flea Bottom and the other poorer quarters of the city. They would not have needed that much of it, and only a few leader figures directing the rage and the violence at the right target.



It could be a stretch, I admit, but it would add some flavor to it. And I still think that some most of the people would regain their sense when facing Dreamfyre, Tyraxes, and especially Syrax later on. Many people fleeing should be as inspirational to mimic than the same people on their way to kill the dragons.



On Sunfyre:



Well, it could be that the Mootons were aiming at the symbolism. Sunfyre apparently truly was Aegon II's personal sigil. The curious thing is that this is a solo mission by the Mootons. Could be that the Lord wanted to distinguish himself in Rhaenyra's eyes. Could be that he was nudged in that direction. It was not necessarily an important thing to kill Sunfyre. The dragon was no threat to anyone as long as the dragon was still injured and Aegon II was unaccounted for. Sure, he could not have been ridden by anyone as long as Aegon II was still alive, but the Blacks were working on that, and afterwards he could have been given to another Targaryen in the not-so-near future. Vermithor was riderless since Jaehaerys I died, it could have been the same with Sunfyre. Had Rhaenyra's five sons lived she would have had plenty of grandchildren, I assume (Aegon III and Viserys II alone produced eight).



On the maesters:



I guess Borros was the most prominent Lord targeted in this fashion since he was a known illiterate. I doubt that fervent Blacks got Green loyalists as maesters to swing their opinion (but it could be that they were sent there to spy on them). Overall, I think, Ser Otto could have used the Hightower influence on the Citadel to create a Green basis in the first place. We don't know how it came to be that the Lannisters became Greens, for instance. Putting maesters as tutors in the houses of the lords could bear fruit in the years to come. To get the Dance going Otto needed a strong basis of popular support, especially if the original goal was to convince Viserys to alter his will.


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I'm with you guys on Hightower influence placing Maesters in key positions, of which Storm's End is perhaps the likeliest example. However, if we're saying the Hightowers really had that much influence on the Citadel and were shaping the environment into a more pro-Green one, it is a bit odd that the Grand Maester himself seems to be out of the loop (and indeed possibly more Black and than Green, though personally I see him as a more impartial person).


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Oh, a few more thoughts were raised.



A key area where Otto Hightower no doubt used his political influence to establish Green dominion is the Small Council. In 129 AC, five out of seven members were entirely Green. I doubt this was the case in 111 AC, when the conflict between Alicent and Rhaenyra began (which actually raises the question when was the conspiracy itself concocted).



We don't know who was the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, but it was almost certainly not Criston Cole who was likely having an affair with Rhaenyra. This might last up to 114 AC, when Rhaenyra's first kid (rumored by some to be a Strong, indicating a possible affair with someone from that family) was born. Something makes me believe Criston Cole joined the Kingsguard as a response to his failed romance with Rhaenyra. Anyway, we have no record about the previous Lord Commander, but we certainly know that at the later date Criston Cole was as Green as they come.



The Master of Coin Lyman Beesbury was - if not a Black - at least very sympathetic to Rhaenyra and still served in the Council at the end. Of course, we know what happened to him. Tyland Lannister could have been someone brought in by Otto to bolster the Green ranks. I could see him coming to replace a Velaryon or a Bar Emmon at the role and this could very well be part of binding the Lannisters to the plot. Jasper 'Ironrod' Wylde was known for his strict views on Andal succession, so he might easily be an addition as well.



Larys 'Clubfoot' Strong is an interesting case, because I believe the Strongs were Blacks in the early period right after the tournament in 111 AC - if not at the very beginning, then at least when Rhaenyra was having an affair with one of them. Then again, this is speculation and there is no reason why Rhaenyra's paramour has to be representative of his house's regular views. However, the idea of the Master of Whispers flipping his loyalty from Black to Green while Otto Hightower is working to consolidate Green power in the Small Council is interesting.



Then there is Grand Maester Orwyle, who may or may not have served the Small Council already in 111 AC. He certainly did not seem quite as Green as the rest of them and there is reason to suspect that he was either a more impartial man or even pro-Black. This is interesting considering all the influence we are supposing Otto Hightower to have had on the Citadel.



As for the conspiracy taking a long time to brew, I think there is one factor that has bearing on it. In 105 AC, King Viserys had made the lords recognize Rhaenyra as his rightful heir. While some may not consider their words binding, others certainly would. However, by 129 AC, many of those lords would already have been dead. Perhaps the conspirators were actually waiting for a key lord (or two) to die off before kicking off their coup. To offer a speculative scenario, perhaps old Lord Lannister had sworn the oath, but his sons Jason and Tyland had not. They just needed to wait for their father to die to secure the armies (and navy) of the Westerlands, because the sons' loyalty had already been bought (and we know Lannisters pay their debts). Then again, maybe there was no poison involved in the King's death and they were simply waiting for him to die of natural causes.


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Well, the great mystery in all that is Viserys I, of course. Was he ignorant of this whole, did he not care, or were Ser Otto and Alicent able to play him? His personality would be the deciding factor when we ask the question if Otto openly put his cronies on the Small Council, or if he was forced to slowly recruit them to the Green cause.



My best guess is that very few indeed put on the Small Council as Otto's cronies. I'd not be surprised if Ironrod was not necessarily a big fan of Otto/Alicent, but honestly a man who thought that a prince should come before a princess. That would have made him an open Green only upon Viserys's death.



Cole eventually switched camps, and we don't really know when that happened. I very much doubt that this had anything to do with Rhaenyra's arranged marriage to Laenor Velaryon, it's more likely, in my opinion, that it came when Rhaenyra decided to marry Daemon after Laenor's death. Whether Cole was already a Kingsguard in 111 is as of yet unknown - he could have been, since Ran once indicated that Cole was the best knight of his generation, and I think he most definitely somewhat older than Rhaenyra -, and if he only switched later to the Greens he may have been a Black council man before that.



Larys Strong is total enigma to me. It could be that the Harwin Strong incident had something to do with him joining the Greens, but that's by no means certain.



Tyland and Jason Lannister may have been slowly recruited to the Green cause by Otto/Alicent. It may be that they granted favors to Tyland, convinced Viserys to put him on the council, and so forth, and he was grateful for that.



As to Hightower influence on the Citadel:



Well, I don't imagine them to have a say in any decision. My guess is that they can get what they want if they push for it, but I'm not so convinced that they can force the Conclave to make their candidate Grand Maester. And since it's not sure since when Orwyle serves as Grand Maester it could be that Otto was not yet making plans for the times after Viserys I. In fact, my guess is that Otto never wanted to plunge the Realm into war. He would have waited for Viserys to change the succession after his sons were born. Then he would have tried to convince Viserys to change his will. When that didn't work he would start make plans for the future. When Viserys got sick and it became apparent that he would not live much longer they may have jumped on the chance a pregnant Rhaenyra gave to hasten his demise and install Aegon II.


The older Rhaenyra got the better the chance that pretty much no one would remember his oath or fight for her. And there more the Greens tarnished the reputation of her three elder sons the better the chance no one would fight for Jacaerys. That's my guess on Otto's thinking.


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