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LittleDragon8

[TWoW spoilers] Elia Sand will be the one to commit Dorne to Aegon’s cause {long read}

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A lot of posters on this board have argued that Dorne will be part of Aegon VI’s conquering of Westeros. It is indeed heavily foreshadowed from A Feast for Crows onward. In one of Arianne’s chapters in AFFC, her father, Prince Doran, presses an onyx dragon into her hand. As some here are convinced Aegon is a Blackfyre descendant, they take this as the pivotal evidence Dorne will be with Aegon in the upcoming war. The opinion on how this will be play out is mostly homogenous. Arianne, jealous of her brother’s potential role as King Consort, or angry about his sudden and violent death at the hands of one of Daenerys’ dragons, will opt to join forces with Aegon and seal the alliance with a marriage. This is actually the part where I disagree and I think I can make a case for a different interpretation how the Aegon-Dorne alliance will pan out. I think Elia Sand will play an important role in the story yet to come. So let’s take a closer look at the text to see where I am getting at.

The onyx elephant and the Black Dragon

The scene where Doran and Arianne meet after her long imprisonment in the tower is a turnabout in their father-daughter relationship. Doran seems to finally take trust in Arianne, revealing to her his revenge master plan. It relies heavily on the Targaryan restoration and a possible marriage pact. The most powerful symbol in the scene is the cyvasse board. When Arianne enters the room, prince Doran is playing with an onyx cyvasse elephant. At the conclusion of their talk, he presses an onyx cyvasse dragon into his daughter’s hand.

Later, Doran sends Arianne on a mission to gather information on Aegon VI and Jon Connington. Arianne is accompanied by several knights and a few ladies. Her former lover Daemon Sand, Joss Hood, Garibald Shells, Feathers, Jayne Ladybright and Elia Sand. They arrive at the castle of House Toland, where the reigning lady briefs the party of recent news. One of the things she mentions is the sighting of elephants in the Rainwood.

From ADWD, we know the Golden Company employs elephants in their battles, and they’ve landed in the Stormlands. The elephants in the Rainwood equal the presence of the Golden Company there. A cyvasse game also includes an elephant piece. In the scene between Doran and Arianne, we have Doran playing with this particular piece. One can conclude that this might foreshadow Dorne contemplating joining the cause of the Golden Company. The fact that Doran presses the onyx dragon into Arianne’s hand, seems to seal the deal. Dorne will join Aegon after a moment of contemplation. I think, however, that the verb ‘press’ signals a nuance to it. The onyx dragon is more or less forced on Arianne’s hand. So how does this influence her mission to the Stormlands?

Breaking a lance

Doran’s newfound trust in Arianne comes with great responsibility. She gains the power to bring Dorne into the war, through the ravens she has at her disposition during her travels. A man named Feathers is the caretaker of the birds. Arianne is quite skeptical about Aegon’s heritage. She seems to prefer to leave the choice of joining Aegon to her father. She lacks the confidence to make a decision for herself. This makes it all the more likely a choice for Aegon’s cause will be forced on Arianne.

Arianne’s party also includes her younger cousin, Elia Sand. Arianne is closer to her cousins than to her brothers. This seems to be coupled with a certain jealousy towards their paternity. Oberyn has taken a wildly different approach to raising his daughters, given them access to weapon’s training and leaving them to take care of themselves from an early age. Arianne seems to miss these kinds of skills, using her charms to convince others to aide her. Even though the Sand Snakes are apparently lethal, Areo Hotah remarks they would never hurt their cousin, because they love her so well. This statement is the kind of thing Martin will surely use for strategic purpose in constructing a tragedy, as experience with Theon Greyjoy & Robb Stark learns. The both of them were as close as siblings. Robb fully trusted Theon and never thought Theon would betray it, and yet it happened. The interesting parallel with that story is that Theon is persuaded by his father to turn on Robb and attack the North. Arianne is the Theon parallel. In her case, Areo’s thoughts hint that she will get hurt by the actions of one of her cousins.
To add to that, we know the Sand Snakes are fed up with Doran’s slow strategic planning and are looking to force a war. Obara, Nymeria and Tyene all come up with the most fantastic ways to throw a wrench in the Lannister-Martell relations, in AFFC. Yet I believe the real danger comes from 14 year old Elia Sand.

We know she looks up to her older sisters. Her mother states in ADWD that if her elder sisters were to die in their search for revenge, Elia would feel obligated to revenge their deaths. It’s also important to note that she was named for her late aunt, one of the victims of the Lannister ambition for the Iron Throne. Elia was possibly instructed from an early age about her aunt’s fate. Arianne notes Elia has a mind of her own, just like her sisters. She doesn’t lack ambition, as she models herself after a knight, gaining the nickname of Lady Lance. It would seem natural to such a girl to aim for the Lannister downfall. So what if she is doing exactly that? What if Elia is trying to break a lance for the Martell cause?

The hints are there, if subtle. When Arianne’s party is approaching Ghost Hill, Arianne is challenged by the heiress of House Toland to a race on horseback. Neither of the two win. It’s Elia who comes in, beating both of them to the courtyard. Arianne is taken over by surprise.

Later during their travels, Elia is found making out with Feathers, who is stated to be twice as old as she is. Arianne thinks of it as innocent sexual experimenting, as Elia is of an age to do so. But why would Elia come on to Feathers? Arianne is travelling with three knights. All three of them are described as attractive men. Why would Elia turn her attention to the man taking care of their birds? And that’s what actually signaled to me something about the situation was off. Arianne used her charms on Ser Arys Oakhart to gain access to Princess Myrcella. Could it be that Elia would use hers on Feathers to gain access to the ravens? The ravens that are actually key to the possible involvement of Dorne in the war, and a chance to finally have their revenge? Arianne would never see this coming, just like Elia took over the race up Ghost Hill.

Dragon means war

The only detail missing is that Elia does not know about the agreement between Arianne and Doran on their signal word. If Doran receives a letter with the word ‘war’ in it, he will stay his hand. However, if Arianne’s letter contains the word ‘dragon’, Dorne’s forces will march. This once again confirms how Targaryan centered Doran’s plans for revenge is. And it reinforces how important it is to know Aegon is the real deal. Would it be too much to ask for a clever girl like Elia Sand to guess that is probably what Doran wants to hear? That Aegon truly is his nephew? If she does have access to the ravens through Feathers, it would be a piece of cake for Elia to manipulate her uncle into send his forces to Aegon simply by mentioning Arianne has found a dragon. And because of the above, I think this is actually what will transpire. Through Elia’s surprise actions, Dorne will come over to Aegon, leaving Arianne powerless.

Fall out

At some point during their travels, Elia runs to a cave where Arianne finds her, worried about her cousin’s wellbeing. Arianne then states: “You could have died” because of Elia’s wild behavior and actions. The phrase echoes in the cave. Some have taken this as a sign of Arianne’s downfall. I actually take it as a sign Elia, and some family members, will die because of her actions. Arianne is in fact talking about the consequences of Elia’s behavior and not her own.

It will mean that Elia will have her heart’s desire of an all-out war with the Lannisters. Her rash actions will have dire consequences, though, as it will mean her death, and the deaths of some of her relatives.

Curiously, I don’t think Arianne will be among the casualties. I believe her fate will parallel that of Theon: being in an exalted position (the Prince of Winterfell), being heir to the Iron Islands, to becoming a prisoner, losing his identity and power, and subsequently walking a path of redemption. Arianne is currently in an exalted position as the Princess of Sunspear and heir to Dorne and from here on out will become a hostage, lose her standing as an heiress, and on a quest to redeem her previous wrongdoings. As Theon’s redemption arc seems centered on the restoration of the Starks, it might be even be that Arianne will play a crucial role in the fate of the Lannisters. It remains to be seen.

Thank you if you bothered to read the whole piece. Have a nice day.

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Well you've got me sold, nice theory! It would be pure GRRM to have one of the young Sand Snakes who no one pays mind to prove so pivotal to the Dorne plot. I can definitely at least see the Elia-sends-the-raven part happen, beyond that who knows.


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It's quite likely that Arianne has already been betrayed by one of her friends on a previous occassion - the failed plot to crown Myrcella.



I don't quite see the Theon parallels - Arianne has certainly collected a few regrets by now (not appreciating her brother while he was still alive, seducing Aerys and getting him killed, endangering Myrcella) but she hasn't ordered the murder of innocent children yet.



But I've been also thinking for a while that Arianne's hand might be forced by Elia Sand, because of all the forshadowing elements you quoted. I also think Elia's quite well positioned in the narrative to become Aegon's paramour (shades of Rhaegar and Lyanna, at least optically. Elia seems to remind people of her). And I don't exactly see a happy future for her either. Another thing she's well positioned for in the narrative is being impersonated by a certain Faceless Person in training, who also tends to remind people of Lyanna after all...



As to Arianna's fate - yes, I also think she will suffer, and yes, I also think she will survive. The Ariadne of Greek myth gives up her own loyalities for a foreign prince, only for him to be completely disloyal to her. Theseus promises her marriage, uses her to complete his quest and then dumps her for someone else as soon as the mission is accomplished. Aegon might promise our Arianne marriage too and he too might not keep the promise.



But since I suspect Aegon will fall victim to one of Dany's dragons anyway, that actually raises Arianne's odds of survival. And the mythical Ariadne's second suitor and eventual husband was quite the upgrade, for what it's worth....


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I like your theory, well thought out. When I first read/ got the description of the 1st and 2nd Arriane chapters I came up with the theory that Elia Sand would actually be the one to date/ have sex with/ marry Aegon. I thought that it would be a nice way to keep the Blackfyre line alive, obviously assuming he dies. I saw Elia's actions in the chapters to show that she would actually be very attractive to Aegon, the parallels to his mother(the woman he thinks is his mother but obviously isn't), the fact that she is a warrior like Lyanna, the fact that they are a closer age than him and Arriane are, and her sexual adventure with leathers. But your catch about the ravens and possible foreshadowing are hard to ignore.


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Interesting Theory, I considered it all speculation until you mentioned that Elia was fooling around with Feathers, as opposed to the other knights.

It's certainly plausible that Elia could hijack the ravens, but as you say, Doran and Arianne agreed on a very secret code for communication. Knowing Doran's nature, he'll only react if he gets a letter from Arianne containing only one of the key words ("Dragon" or "War"). If Elia is the one who sends a message about Arianne finding a dragon, I think he's too cautious to act. He'll wait for Arianne's signal. So I'm skeptical that Elia will dupe Doran in this manner.

What interested me was the parallels between Elia and Lyanna, given their skills with a horse.

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I am happy to see you seem to agree with me! I thought I was the only one with these ideas.





I don't quite see the Theon parallels - Arianne has certainly collected a few regrets by now (not appreciating her brother while he was still alive, seducing Aerys and getting him killed, endangering Myrcella) but she hasn't ordered the murder of innocent children yet.





They are both the heirs of their respective fathers officially, but feel that their parent lack any pride or love for them (Balon's scorn/Doran's apparent disinterest). They are styled with comparable titles (Prince/Princess).They see a rivalry with a sibling for their father's approval (Asha/Quentyn). To prove themselves worthy of their parent's love, they make rash decisions (take Winterfell/crown Myrcella). Their ambition hurt innocent children (the miller's boys/Myrcella). While Theon's crime had lethal consequences, Arianne's involvement in Myrcella's injuries is still comparable. Hence, my ideas on Arianne's ultimate fate.


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A superb theory. While it is questionable whether Doran would fall for such a cheap trick, the part with her resembling Lyanna and the possibility of Arya posing as her in order to carry out a hit on someone of import (Aegon?) is a very nice catch.


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I am happy to see you seem to agree with me! I thought I was the only one with these ideas.

They are both the heirs of their respective fathers officially, but feel that their parent lack any pride or love for them (Balon's scorn/Doran's apparent disinterest).

Balon essentialy hasn't been a part of Theon's life and is extremly cruel upon their reunion. Doran is described as a fond and sentimental father, which is why Arianne was so shocked when she found the letter promising Sunspear to Quentin. Makes me assume that she and Doran were rather close before. Theon and Balon never really bonded to begin with. Arianne and Doran's temporary falling out was based on a misunderstanding, and is resolved by now, as Doran has entrusted Arianne with a crucial mission - she'll hardly have reason to doubt his love and pride at this point.

I actually think that just like Balon preferred Asha to Theon, Doran pretty obviously prefers Arianne to Quentin. They certainly have a closer bond (seriously, I've seen theories that Doran set up Quentin for failure on purpose, based on the impression that he's more concerned and affectionate with Arianne.) So there's an interesting parallel there, I agree. Ironborn culture expected Balon to favour his son, and he just didn't, in a bit of defiance of cultural norms. Dornish culture would have allowed Doran to openly favour his daughter, and yet he didn't, for reasons long mysterious to Arianne. But both Theon and Arianne are the rightful heir according to the customs of their land and apparently set aside by their father for a sibling. So you definitely have a point there. I just think the emotional context is quite different.

They are styled with comparable titles (Prince/Princess).

So are Myrcella, Tommen, Shireen, Trystane, Arya, Sansa, Rickon, Bran. It's a feudal setting. There are going to be some princes and princesses around.

They see a rivalry with a sibling for their father's approval (Asha/Quentyn). To prove themselves worthy of their parent's love, they make rash decisions (take Winterfell/crown Myrcella).

Two ill-conceived plots in defiance of direct paternal orders to impress Daddy after all, I'll give you that. Cersei could join that club.

Their ambition hurt innocent children (the miller's boys/Myrcella). While Theon's crime had lethal consequences, Arianne's involvement in Myrcella's injuries is still comparable. Hence, my ideas on Arianne's ultimate fate.

Yes, Myrcella's injury was an unintended consequence of Arianne's plot; Theon actively and explicitely ordered the Miller boys killed. That's the difference between causing a car accident and taking out a hit on someone. Certainly both causes for a regret, but there are degrees of moral culpability (at least the law makes a distinction). Arianne was reckless, Theon was ruthless. Not quite the same thing.

That said, there are definitely more parallells than I was initially aware of - especially "rightful heir deprived of his birthright" angle and the half-cooked scheme to impress Dad.

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^Well, at the time of the Myrcella-plot, Arianne was utterly convinced her father wanted her brother to usurp her and rob her of her birthright. Her emotions on that little matter kind of mirror Theon to me. In hindsight, she was wrong, of course.



As for Doran falling for Elia's deceit: it's about what he wants to hear. He has been planning his revenge for all these years, and at this point in the story his health is seriously failing him. I think he'll want to believe. And it really doesn't take a mastermind to guess that he'll want to hear the word dragon.

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Interesting theory. Personally I don't think Elia was trying to get the letters - she's an adventurous girl, and kissing the mail man over the knights seems like just the rebellious thing a Sand Snake would do.

However when I first read the chapter I immediately began thinking Elia would marry Aegon. Technically he doesn't have to marry any of them - Doran is his uncle, allegedly, and would be bound by blood to support him (whereas Doran has no blood connection with Dany). I'd imagine Doran wants Arianne to be a queen, but at the same time it's not a condition for alliance. Speaking of which I wonder what Doran thinks about the possibility of conflict between Aegon and Dany, and the fact that he could have his children on both sides of the conflict.

Aegon is brash and arrogant. Marrying a 14 year old bastard seems like a brash decision so I could see it happening.

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Good theory. I really like Arianne and hope she survives.

I doubt Elia will pass Doran's test, though. I see her writing "war" rather than "dragon". We'll see.

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Later during their travels, Elia is found making out with Feathers, who is stated to be twice as old as she is. Arianne thinks of it as innocent sexual experimenting, as Elia is of an age to do so. But why would Elia come on to Feathers? Arianne is travelling with three knights. All three of them are described as attractive men. Why would Elia turn her attention to the man taking care of their birds? And that’s what actually signaled to me something about the situation was off. Arianne used her charms on Ser Arys Oakhart to gain access to Princess Myrcella. Could it be that Elia would use hers on Feathers to gain access to the ravens? The ravens that are actually key to the possible involvement of Dorne in the war, and a chance to finally have their revenge? Arianne would never see this coming, just like Elia took over the race up Ghost Hill.

:eek:

This just blew my mind.

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I don't think Elia will intentionally betray Arianne or Doran, but I have theorized that she is the one who Aegon will fall for, not Arianne.  It would be a Lyanna repeat, Elia even jousts.

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Hmmmmm Aegon is what 18-19?

In my experience a young male, closely guarded and shielded, quite likely a virgin from what Duck said about JonCon keeping him away from Whores in Volantis would find a 14-15 year old bastard girl who smells like horse more attractive than the voluptuous busty but even more lusty true born Arianne heir to SunSpear?? Sorry but im not convinced..

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As for Doran falling for Elia's deceit: it's about what he wants to hear. He has been planning his revenge for all these years, and at this point in the story his health is seriously failing him. I think he'll want to believe. And it really doesn't take a mastermind to guess that he'll want to hear the word dragon.

I don't think Elia would need to know the Dragon code word. I think she has more than enough inside knowledge to coin her own Pink Letter. Use enough forceful language, paint a gory enough picture of the demise of Arianne, sprinkle in enough in-the-know language to make Doran certain it is Elia and not someone else.... Like you said, it's what he wants to hear... There are ways around knowing the password, besides clarvoyance or Arianne being overly trusting/sloppy.

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I don't think Elia will intentionally betray Arianne or Doran, but I have theorized that she is the one who Aegon will fall for, not Arianne.  It would be a Lyanna repeat, Elia even jousts.

I don't know about Aegon (his interests could go either way), but Elia might fall for him.  If she thinks that Arianne will not support Aegon and the OP's theory is correct that she's trying to get access to the letter and/or ravens, it possible that she might sneak a letter in to Dorne (forging Arianne's signature I assume) stating that Dorne should go to war.  However, Elia doesn't know that war means wait, so basically her letter would screw Aegon out of a chance of Dornish support.

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I don't know about Aegon (his interests could go either way), but Elia might fall for him.  If she thinks that Arianne will not support Aegon and the OP's theory is correct that she's trying to get access to the letter and/or ravens, it possible that she might sneak a letter in to Dorne (forging Arianne's signature I assume) stating that Dorne should go to war.  However, Elia doesn't know that war means wait, so basically her letter would screw Aegon out of a chance of Dornish support.

That's very interesting.  I just can't help but see the Lyanna parallel, which is what makes me think Aegon will fall for her in return.  There was also a clever post about her winning the race she had with Arianne and a red head representing Sansa Arianne and Elia all fighting for Aegon.

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Elia could seduce Aegon, send a forged war letter, or discover/out JonCon as an infected plague carrier on the eve of the campaign starting.  Or all three, plus cutting out Arianne, and/or getting the entire Dorne deligation held in 'protective custody' when Dorne doesn't move to aid/join the Golden Company.  Lots of ways a passionate teen girl could mess up the entire dream conquest and doom it to failure.  Which is far more interesting, watching the characters fail, and dealing with the aftermath, than succeed.   SO many more plots open up if Aegon and Dorne fall flat.  Elia could cause that just by being willful and herself.  I like it.

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As for Doran falling for Elia's deceit: it's about what he wants to hear. He has been planning his revenge for all these years, and at this point in the story his health is seriously failing him. I think he'll want to believe. And it really doesn't take a mastermind to guess that he'll want to hear the word dragon.

Found this theory in general to be very interesting. :thumbsup:  Oberyn and Doran worked together for years, more closely than even Arianne herself realized, and so it makes sense that Doran would send one of Oberyn's daughters on the mission.  Picking up on your point about Doran's health.....I do believe this mirror's JonCon's situation.  Both are known for being restrained and cautious, yet given the state of their health they may be pushed into making more impulsive decisions than normal. JonCon is desperate to install Aegon on the throne before he dies, and this - coupled, to a certain extent, with his regrets over the Battle of the Bells during Robert's Rebellion - means that he is more inclined to move quickly than he had been previously.  I think that Doran is in a similar situation.  His gout may not be as terminal as JonCon's greyscale, but he is still seriously ill and arguably lacking mobility. JonCon is desperate to right the wrongs of the last war by installing Rhaegar's son on the throne, and I think that similarly Doran will want to install Elia's son on the throne. 

JonCon realizes at Griffin's Roost that Rhaegar's eyes and Aegon's are a slightly different color. I don't want to turn this into a fAegon/Aegon debate, but I think that both JonCon and Doran (traumatized by the events of the past and the loss of a loved one) are desperate for Aegon to be who he is claimed to be. And that may, I believe, override their judgment, and any doubts they may have, in both cases. What will be interesting is the consequences of that.  Aegon may still have the intention of marrying Dany for her dragons, but that would not preclude him marrying into his mother's family rather than his father's to secure an alliance. 

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I just came upon this.  Good job OP!  I like it! 

On ‎11‎/‎12‎/‎2015 at 4:45 PM, Isobel Harper said:

If she thinks that Arianne will not support Aegon and the OP's theory is correct that she's trying to get access to the letter and/or ravens, it possible that she might sneak a letter in to Dorne (forging Arianne's signature I assume) stating that Dorne should go to war.  However, Elia doesn't know that war means wait, so basically her letter would screw Aegon out of a chance of Dornish support.

That would be a great twist!

 

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