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The Crow's Third Eye

Another Thought on Loras

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I do not think Loras is grievously wounded on Dragonstone as stated in the text, or perhaps was wounded, but not such that he is on death's door, and the story about his injuries was put about by the Tyrells to hide the fact Loras had essentially decimated a sizeable chunk of the Lannister forces. In one of Jamie's feast chapters, we hear of 2,000 Lannister soldiers waiting for Lord Redwyne's fleet to ferry them to Dragonstone.




As for the Lannister host, two thousand seasoned veterans remained encamped outside the city walls, awaiting the arrival of Paxter Redwyne's fleet to carry them across Blackwater Bay to Dragonstone. Lord Stannis appeared to have left only a small garrison behind him when he sailed North, so two thousand men would be more than sufficient, Cersei had judged.



So not only has a large chunk of the Lannister army been destroyed, but a large veteran host, which often forms the solid backbone of an army made of farmers etc. Aurane Waters will later reiterate this point, and also inform us that these veterans are some of their best soldiers, and include knights and lordlings:




And not just common men, Your Grace, but knights and young lords, the best and the bravest.”



The lines before this also give some insight into the Tyrell's actions; namely that they are removing their forces from King's Landing, Cersei believes this is beneficial because it weakens the Tyrells. However, this is where they have gone:




The streets of King’s Landing seemed almost deserted as Jamie Lannister made his way back to the Red Keep atop Aegon’s High Hill. The soldiers who had crowded the city’s gambling dens and pot ships were largely gone now. Garlan the Gallant had taken half the Tyrell strength back to Highgarden, and his lady mother and grandmother had gone with him. The other half had marched south with Mace Tyrell and Mathis Rowan to invest Storm’s End.



The force which has gone to Highgarden is obviously in no danger (this is before anyone knows about the Ironborn). And the force with Mace and Mathis is in no real danger either, as they simply need to create siege lines. The Tyrell's essentially removed their forces from Cersei's reach before she could order them off on some suicidal mission.



Back to the original point. I believe Loras ordered a charge against the castle at Dragonstone that destroyed a huge chunk of this force, reducing Lannister power and giving the Tyrells a stronger hold over King Tommen and King's Landing. The story about how he was wounded in the process makes Cersei overlook the loss of Lannister men that accompanied this assault, as this quote shows:




“I never saw a braver knight,” Waters said, “but he turned what could have been a bloodless victory into slaughter. A thousand men are dead, or near enough to make no matter. Most of them our own. And not just common men, Your Grace, but knights and young lords, the best and the bravest.”


“And Ser Loras himself?”


“He will make a thousand and one. The carried him inside the castle after the battle, but his wounds are grievous. He has lost so much blood that the maesters will not even leech him.”


“Oh how sad. Tommen will be heartbroken. He did so admire our gallant Knight of Flowers.”


….


The king had given Ser Loras a hug as well, which had not been part of Cersei’s plans but it made no matter now. She could afford to be generous. Loras Tyrell was dying.



This shows clearly that there was a huge loss of men in taking Dragonstone, some of them the Lannister's finest men. We can confidently assume they are Lannister's men from first Jamie's mention discussed above, and the fact that Waters, who Cersei considers her creature, says the loss of our men, which I took to mean Lannisters. But why then need for Loras to feign injury? Because otherwise Cersei would have raged at the loss of all her men. Look at the last sentence. Cersei is forgiving of what has happened because she believes Loras to be dying. Now consider if this wasnt the case, and Loras Tyrell had returned to KL and told Cersei that Dragonstone was hers at the cost of 1000 of the finest Lannister men. Not quite the ideal situation to preserve the Lannister-Tyrell alliance, which is necessary if Margery is to remain Queen. Yet now the Lannister's are even more heavily dependent on the Tyrells.



Some points to address:


What happened/is happening with the remaining 1000 Lannister men?


One possible answer to this is that they are left to garrison Dragonstone. Leaving 1000 Lannister men on a bleak rock in the middle of the sea is surely better than having them lurking around King's Landing, and conveniently removes them from Cersei's reach. I admit, I am not really sure about this, as that would


Why would the Tyrells do this? They have what they wanted. Maces hot daughter married to a weak boy king. As Lady Olenna puts it, Mace has jumped into bed with the Lions. The Tyrells only ally left are the Lannisters. Losing 2,000 of allies is just the same as losing 2,000 yourself in a war against everyone not an ally.


At this point its important to note that the War is winding down. Bar the attacks by the Ironmen, who Cersei has quite clearly shown she wont take notice of, there are very few foes left. By removing Lannister forces from the game, the Tyrells increase their own power by making Cersei reliant on them and thier armies, and decrease the power of Casterly Rock. The Game of Thrones is a constant power struggle, even between groups who are allied with each other.


But 1000 men isn't a very large number of soldiers to lose. How does this give the Tyrells the edge?


1000 men is not a lot... but it is a lot of seasoned veterans, young knights and young lords. Its not a big blow to Lannister numbers perhaps (although they have spent themselves in the Wot5Ks), but it does remove some of their most seasoned soldiers, lords and knights. These men are especially important when armies are largely made up of half-trained farmers and butchers etc.



ETA: Additions made due to various posters in the thread. My thanks to all for contributing :)



HelenAndTheMachine: There is a clear power struggle between the Lannisters and Tyrells in King's Landing, and we know from a Clash of Kings that removing soldiers from a key player's grasp is a common move, as we have this from Tyrion:


Quote




Littlefinger stroked his beard. “Do you truly mean to send away all your guards, Lannister?”


“No, I mean to send away all my sister’s guards.”


“The queen will never allow that.”


...


“And for the sake of her beloved brother, she will consent, despite her misgivings.” They made their way down a deserted colonnade.


“Still, the loss of her red cloaks will surely make her uneasy.”


“I like her uneasy,” said Tyrion.



Something else to point out that there may have been some news from Ser Loras since Cersei was imprisoned




I am the queen! She swallowed, smiled, and said, “That is good to know. Tommen loves her so. I never believed those terrible things that were being said of her.”


Had Margaery Tyrell somehow wriggled free of the accusations of fornication, adultery, and high treason?


“Was there a trial?”


“Soon,” said Septa Scolera, “but her brother—”


“Hush.” Septa Unella turned to glare back over her shoulder at Scolera. “You chatter too much, you foolish old woman. It is not for us to speak of such things.”



Her brother what? Returned? Has sailed to the Reach? Died?



Ambi76: I actually still think the Septa is not even talking about Loras here, but Willas (described as boring and pious by Littlefinger) who maybe asked to attend Marg's trail as attestor (for her virginity) or something.


This is an interesting avenue to explore. I certainly believe that we will see Willas at some point in the novels, as he has been mentioned fairly frequently. One particular problem with this however, is that by this time the Ironborn are attacking the Reach. I believe Willas may have remained in the Reach with Lady Olenna.


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I agree that Loras is not dying on Dragonstone. The Tyrells were smart enough to know Cersei sent Loras there wanting him to be killed in battle so I've always thought they told her that while they are biding their time to do whatever it is they plan to do next.



I think you've come up with a good explanation, and we've learned since that Aurane was definitely not Cersei's creature so I can see him lying for the Tyrells if they paid him well.


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I agree, I also think Loras is not really heavily wounded.



Your explenation seems plousible, well done.


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It's not even clear to me that Loras took Dragonstone. I'm not saying that he didn't, just that I think it may still be an open question.

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It's not even clear to me that Loras took Dragonstone. I'm not saying that he didn't, just that I think it may still be an open question.

Loras is one of those character arcs that I find difficult to make any predictions about for tWoW. He's one of the wildcards imo. Because I think the tall they tell Cersei is total BS (if any important Tyrell survives this war my bet is still on Loras).

However, I have trouble placing him anywhere else than his sickbed. He might take the Redwyne Fleet to the Reach, but I don't see what good that we'll do since Euron will just completely massacre him then. On the other hand I don't see him (or any Tyrell for that mather) defecting to Faegon or Daenerys.

And the 2000 Lannister soldiers are a huge problem at any rate. Even if a 1000 of them died (and I don't think they were all Lannisters) than what happened to the rest? I believe it's therefore very likely that Loras and his commanders humbugged the Lannister soldiers and never even went for Dragonstone (which was never much pf a threat anyway).

So, they are probably on their way to the Reach. Not that it'll do them much good. Euron's going to make short work of them.

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Good job. Loras being at death's door is one of the biggest pieces of obvious BS at about that time in the books. It makes sense that Loras would be more reckless with Lannister soldiers, bleeding them at this point to make them less powerful later (Roose does the same sort of thing at Duskendale, I think). I also like the idea that the "news" of Loras is in part meant to blunt the blow of losing so many men. Assuming they left with the 2,000 men Jaime mentions, a 50% fatality rate is pretty bad, not counting the ones who might have survived but been wounded.



I just have to wonder what he's doing there, or if he's there at all, and what's going on with the ~1,000 soldiers who would have survived.


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It was hinted with Dagon Greyjoy and the Lannisters and the Starks: to face IB you need to face them in water. So whatever Garlan is rising it will serve no porpouse.

I'll just use this comment to throw a nice crackpot out there:

Garlan has been notified of Loras betrayal. He and his men gather at a meeting place close to the shore. Out of the mist they see Redwyne galleys. Garlan orders his men into an array of pleasure barges and rafts to transport them as quickly as possible to the Redwyne Galley's. The Tyrell men head out to sea, only to find the Redwyne galley's to be further away then they appeared to be from the shore. So, they venture even further on the open waters.

When they reach the point of no return, Euron orders the captured Qartheen warlocks to drop the illusion they have created. The Tyrell men see the Redwyne galleys disappear and in there place they see the Ironborn longships appear out of nowhere; A mighty roar rises of the Longships and the Tyrell men try to flee in terror only to be hunted down and massacred by Euron's roaring Ironborn.

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There's also the fact that Aurane Waters told Cersei the news - why wouldn't a raven bring the news and Cersei hear them from Pycelle? I don't know, but there may be something here.

And we know from Arianne's WoW preview chapter that Aurane has absconded with the Lannister fleet and turned pirate. So he has his own agenda here.

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The fact that Waters betrayed Cersei and stole off with her newly built Dromonds makes it easy to accept that Loras is in fact not at deaths door. But if Waters is in fact a Tyrell man then shouldn't he be helping protect the Reach from the Ironborn?

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I have always thought that Aurane Waters told Cersei what she wanted to hear, Loras fatally wounded, men lost, ...now she has to tell poor Margery of her brothers end.



Loras is smart. He originally wanted to marry Margery to Robert and get rid of Cersei, so I think he has a plan here. He did or did not take Storm's End, but no matter. He sent the message back to KL that he wanted Cersei to receive. The Tyrell's have a long term planand I do not think it includes Lannisters.


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I can buy Loras not being at death's door, but there is something about this theory that I don't quite understand. Why do you think that Cersei would care about the loss of 1000, or even 2000 Lannister men?


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I really like this. They made it sure that the Lannisters will lose the war when they leave the Tyrells or vice versa.


It would be cool if he finds something in Dragonstone.


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I can buy Loras not being at death's door, but there is something about this theory that I don't quite understand. Why do you think that Cersei would care about the loss of 1000, or even 2000 Lannister men?

She may not, but other Lannisters would, like Kevan or Daven. Or perhaps Loras overestimated Cersei's consideration.

Either are possible.

Crackpot: Loras met and parlayed with Ser Rolland Storm, and they came up with this whole fabrication together...

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And on the other side - I get why Loras would be marginally more reckless when commanding someone else's troops, but why such a fuzz over 2000 Lannister soldiers? No matter how good they are, the Tyrells have 40-50 times more in the field.


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