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Skinchanging Sweetrobin

Oberyn's Sellsword Company was the Brave Companions

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In A Storm of Swords, we learn that Oberyn Martell founded a sellsword company. Who were they? Are they important? Well, I theorize that Oberyn’s sellsword company was the Brave Companions and they are used by Oberyn to destroy House Lannister. Yes, this is bold proposition, but I theorize that the Brave Companions were essential to Doran and Oberyn’s plan to destroy Tywin Lannister, Tywin’s cronies (the Mountain and Amory Lorch) and Tywin’s legacy (Jamie, Cercei and Tommen).

The evidence of Oberyn and the Brave Companion’s collusion comes in two forms. First, Oberyn and the Brave Companions are of a similar background (both foreign and Dornish), have similar interest in Oldtown and dark magic, and have a fascination with the Faith of Seven. Second, the work of the Brave Companions complements Oberyn’s trip to King’s Landing to destroy the Lannisters.

Video of theory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TBfdd_xNVo

Part 1 of 2: A Comparison of the Backgrounds of Oberyn and the Brave Companions

1. Oberyn’s background: Dornish Ties, Foreign Ties, Oldtown and Dark Magic Ties, Lannister-Hater and Fascinated by the Faith of the Seven

A. Dornish Ties

He’s a Prince of Dorne.

B. Foreign Ties

So, we know Oberyn lived an interesting life filled with Citadel study, blood magic study and poison study. But, he also founded a sellsword company during his foreign travels:

He had traveled in the Free Cities, learning the poisoner’s trade and perhaps arts darker still, if rumors could be believed. He had studied at the Citadel, going so far as to forge six links of a maester’s chain before he grew bored. He had soldiered in the Disputed Lands across the narrow sea, riding with the Second Sons for a time before forming his own company. (Tyrion V, ASoS)

In addition to Oberyn’s travels abroad, we know he had children with a Summer Islander (Sarella’s mother) and a Volantian (Nymeria’s mother). And from the Braavos Pact, we know he knows the Sealord of Braavos. His brother, Doran, married a woman from Norvos and warded the daughter of the Archeon of Tyrosh. We know Oberyn went to Lys as well, which is likely where he studied poisons.

C. Oldtown and Dark Magic Ties

As stated above, Oberyn’s studied at the Citadel in Oldtown. And Oberyn also has a child with an Oldtown whore (Obara’s mother). Now, many people study at the Citadel, but few also study the dark arts. In fact, there are only three characters who we know have done both: Oberyn, Marwyn and Qyburn (a Brave Companion). And we know that Oberyn successfully mastered some dark magic as he used a magical poison on the Mountain.

"It may be as Your Grace suggests, though in most cases adulterating a poison only lessens its potency. It may be that the cause is... less natural, let us say. A spell, I think." (Cercei III, AFfC)

Oberyn’s daughter Sarella is also studying at the Citadel under the disguise Alleras. Most significantly, Sarella spent time with Marwyn, who also spent time abroad and studied dark magic.

When Marwyn had returned to Oldtown, after spending eight years in the east mapping distant lands, searching for lost books, and studying with warlocks and shadowbinders, Vinegar Vaellyn had dubbed him “Marwyn the Mage.” (Prolouge, AFfC)

D.. Lannister-Hater

It is no secret that Oberyn wanted vengeance for the death of his sister Elia and her children.

“I did not come for some mummer’s show of an inquiry. I came for justice for Elia and her children, and I will have it. Starting with this lummox Gregor Clegane... but not, I think, ending there. Before he dies, the Enormity That Rides will tell me whence came his orders, please assure your lord father of that.” (Tyrion V, ASoS)

The three men responsible for Elia’s death were Tywin, Amory Lorch and the Mountain. And it’s clear that Oberyn knew this.

“I am not lying. Ser Amory dragged Princess Rhaenys out from under her father’s bed and stabbed her to death. He had some men-at-arms with him, but I do not know their names.” He leaned forward. “It was Ser Gregor Clegane who smashed Prince Aegon’s head against a wall and raped your sister Elia with his blood and brains still on his hands.”

“What is this, now? Truth, from a Lannister?” Oberyn smiled coldly. “Your father gave the commands, yes?” (Tyrion IX)

So, it’s clear that Oberyn wanted to take down Tywin and his cronies. But, it’s not just that. The Martells want to strip Tywin of “all he held most dear.” Here are Doran’s words:

“I have worked at the downfall of Tywin Lannister since the day they told me of Elia and her children. It was my hope to strip him of all that he held most dear before I killed him, but it would seem his dwarf son has robbed me of that pleasure.” (The Princess in the Tower, AFfC)

What is it that Tywin holds dear? Well, Tywin simply wants the prosperity of House Lannister. But, to an outsider, the Lannister family’s greatest honors are Jamie’s position in the King’s Guard, Cercei’s position as Queen Reagent and Tommen’s position as King.

Here’s the problem. Jamie, Cercei and Tommen have never done anything against House Martell. Killing them would not be justice. However, stripping them of their positions could be seen as justice.

So, the Martell’s goals related to the Lannisters should be: kill Tywin, kill the Mountain, kill Amory Lorch, remove Jamie from the Kingsguard, strip Cercei of Queen Regency and strip Tommen of Kingship.

Let’s put these in chronological order:

1) Kill Amory Lorch

2) Remove Jamie from the Kingsguard

3) Kill the Mountain

4) Kill Tywin

5) Strip Cercei of Queen Regency

6) Strip Tommen of Kingship

E. Fascinated by the Faith of Seven

Oberyn appears to be very religious or at least heavily fascinated by religion. For example, Oberyn not only wanted the Mountain to die, but he wanted him to confess:

“Before he dies, the Enormity That Rides will tell me whence came his orders, please assure your lord father of that.” He smiled. “An old septon once claimed I was living proof of the goodness of the gods.”(Tyrion V, ASoS)

And Oberyn has a child with a septa:

Lady Tyene's voice was gentle, and she looked as sweet as summer strawberries. Her mother had been a septa, and Tyene had an air of almost otherworldy innocence about her. (The Soiled Knight, AFfC)

And that child, Tyene, was raised with heavy religious knowledge:

“Your mother was a septa. Oberyn once told me that she read to you in the cradle from the Seven-Pointed Star.” (The Watcher, ADwD)

And whatever Doran’s master plan is, the religion of the Faith of the Seven is part of it. Doran provides books on four subjects to Arianne while she was imprisoned. The four subjects were: history, Dornish law, septons and dragons.

During the daylight hours she would try to read, but the books that they had given her were deadly dull: ponderous old histories and geographies, annotated maps, a dry-as-dust study of the laws of Dome, The Seven-Pointed Star and Lives of the High Septons, a huge tome about dragons that somehow made them about as interesting as newts. (Princess in the Tower, AFfC)

And sure enough, Doran sends Tyene to the sept in King’s Landing.

“I want you in King’s Landing too, but on the other hill. The Swords and the Stars have been reformed, and this new High Septon is not the puppet that the others were. Try and get close to him.”“Why not? White suits my coloring. I look so … pure.” (The Watcher, ADwD)

2. The Brave Companion’s Background: Dornish Ties, Foreign Ties, Oldtown and Black Magic Ties, Lannister-Haters, and Fascinated with the Faith of the Seven

A. Dornish Ties

The Brave Companions group is unsurprisingly from abroad, but they strangely also have a Dornish element:

The scum of the earth surrounded them: swarthy Dornishmen and blond Lyseni, Dothraki with bells in their braids, hairy Ibbenese, coal-black Summer Islanders in feathered cloaks. (Jamie III, ASoS)

Arya has a similar description. The company is either foreign or Dornish.

Arya did not know who Bloody Mummers were until a fortnight later, when the queerest company of men she'd ever seen arrived at Harrenhal. Beneath the standard of a black goat with bloody horns rode copper men with bells in their braids; lancers astride striped black-and-white horses; bowmen with powdered cheeks; squat hairy men with shaggy shields; brown-skinned men in feathered cloaks; a wispy fool in green-and-pink motley; swordsmen with fantastic forked beards dyed green and purple and silver; spearmen with colored scars that covered their cheeks; a slender man in septon's robes, a fatherly one in maester's grey, and a sickly one whose leather cloak was fringed with long blond hair. (Arya VII, ACoK)

I’m surmising the copper men are Dothraki (bells), the lancers are Ghiscari (lances), the bowmen are Myrish or Lysene (powdered cheeks), the hairy men are Ibbenese, the swordsmen are Tyroshi (forked beards) the brown-skinned men are Summer Islanders (feathered cloaks) and the spearmen are Dornish (spears).

On top of these two descriptions of Dornish in the ranks, we also know that Timeon is Dornish.

Arya points out a few non-Dornish Westerosi in the company, but they are each mentioned on an individual basis. They are a wispy fool (Shagwell), a septon (Utt), a maester (Qyburn) and a sickly one (Urswyck). And Pyg and Three Toes are also members who are Westerosi. There is no mention of non-Dormish Westerosi men in mass. Qyburn also has connections in Dorne.

"Oldtown, Gulltown, Dorne, even the Free Cities. Wheresoever he might run, my whisperers will find him." (Cercei IV, AFfC)

Qyburn is able to report on Dornish happenings with great competence and intense detail. He lacks this ability with the other six kingdoms. In fact, in A Feast For Crows, Qyburn only reports to Cercei on three subjects: Dorne, the Sparrow movement and Essos.

There is some news from Dome that Your Grace may find of more interest. Prince Doran has imprisoned Ser Daemon Sand, a bastard who once squired for the Red Viper."

"I recall him." Ser Daemon had been amongst the Dornish knights who had accompanied Prince Oberyn to King's Landing.

"What did he do?"

"He demanded that Prince Oberyn' s daughters be set free."

"More fool him."

"Also," Lord Qyburn said, "the daughter of the Knight of Spottswood was betrothed quite unexpectedly to Lord Estermont, our friends in Dorne inform us. She was sent to Greenstone that very night, and it is said she and Estermont have already wed."

"A bastard in the belly would explain that." Cersei toyed with a lock of her hair. "How old is the blushing bride?"

"Three-and-twenty, Your Grace. Whereas Lord Estermont — " (Cercei V, AFfC)

B. Foreign Ties

This is covered above in detail, but it’s also worth noting again that Qyburn also has connections in the Free Cities:

"Oldtown, Gulltown, Dorne, even the Free Cities. Wheresoever he might run, my whisperers will find him." (Cercei IV, AFfC)

C. Oldtown and Dark Magic Ties

After the break-up of the Brave Companions, many of the lot inexplicably ventured towards Oldtown.

“"We all went our own ways, after we left Harrenhal. Urswyck and his lot rode south for Oldtown. Rorge thought he might slip out at Saltpans. Me and my lads made for Maidenpool, but we couldn't get near a ship." (Brienne IV, AFfC)

Looking at a map, Saltpans and Maidenpool are very logical places to head if one wants to escape from the Riverlands to, say, Essos. Oldtown is certainly not. It’s an odd choice unless something or someone important is in Oldtown.

The biggest connection to Oldtown and dark magic, though, is Qyburn. Like Oberyn, he studied at the Citadel and still maintains connections there.

"Oldtown, Gulltown, Dorne, even the Free Cities. Wheresoever he might run, my whisperers will find him." (Cercei IV, AFfC)

And like Oberyn, we know he studied dark magic. Rumors are that’s why he lost his chain:

Though he wore maester’s robes, there was no chain about his neck; it was whispered that he had lost it for dabbling in necromancy. (Arya X, ACoK)

And we know that Qyburn and Marwyn knew each other and had mutual respect for each other.

“The archmaesters did not like my thinking, though. Well, Marwyn did, but he was the only one.” (Jaime VII, ASoS)

“The archmaesters are all craven at heart. The grey sheep, Marwyn calls them.” (Cersei II, AFfC)

Marwyn, as we said above, the very same man that Oberyn’s daughter Sarella was studying with.

D. Lannister-Haters

So, the Brave Companions were supposedly foreign sellswords brought by Tywin to put fear in the heart of Riverlanders. They are a bit of a puzzle as they are hired by Tywin astonishingly early in the war. Tywin mentions their leader, Vargo Hoat, in A Game of Thrones. And Jamie and the Brave Companion have somehow already met despite Jamie spending nearly all of the war captured.

He knew them. The Brave Companions…

“You know who I am?”The sellsword inclined his head. “it takes more than a beard and a shaved head to deceive the Brave Companions.” The Bloody Mummers, you mean. Jaime had no more use for these than he did for Gregor Clegane or Amory Lorch. Dogs, his father called them all, and he used them like dogs, to hound his prey and put fear in their hearts. (Jamie III, ASoS)

It is a mystery why Tywin chose the Brave Companions of all companies, but it may be that they were already in Westeros and inexpensive. Both of these traits could have been controlled by Oberyn allowing them to be purchased over other sellsword companies.

But, do the Brave Companions hate the Lannisters? Well, the Brave Companions are a sellsword company. This means they should belong to whoever has the most money. Yet, in a confusing switch, they turn on the rich Lannisters to join Roose Bolton who is allied with the North and the Riverlands. Now, that’s quite a switch. They go from the richer party to the poorer. Additionally, they choose to join the side they just spent time raping and pillaging.

Now, they say the switch is supposedly because they are offered Harrenhal.

“Harrenhal. It has been promised.”

Harrenhal? Has my father taken leave of his senses?....

“What Timeon means to say is that the Brave Companions are no longer in the hire of House Lannister. We now serve Lord Bolton, and the King in the North.” (Jamie III, ASoS)

Harrenhall is an odd offer. And realistically, would a sellsword company be interested in settling down and becoming feudal lords? How would that even work?

It’s also unclear who is offering Harrenhal – Tywin or Roose. Harrenhal is part of the Riverlands, so Tywin would only own the lands if he wins the war. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be Tywin’s to give. Additionally, if had Tywin offered Harrenhal for services, the Brave Companions just reneged on that deal, so Harrenhal wouldn’t be theirs to receive. So, they can’t be referring to Tywin as the gifter.

So, Roose offered it? Well, that’s not really possible either. It’s not Roose’s to give either since he’s not King of the North or Lord of the Riverlands. Plus, Urswyck makes the following statement:

“Lord Tywin may resent us for selling Harrenhal to Lord Bolton” (Jamie III, ASoS)

So, Roose is buying it? This is odd as the Brave Companions are selling something that isn’t theirs to begin with. And in the end, Vargo weirdly seems to still think he owns it. The rest of the Brave Companions, though, simply abandon him and Harrenhal.

“Lady Catelyn held a sword to my throat and made me swear to return her daughters. This was your goat’s work. Vargo Hoat, the Lord of Harrenhal!”

Lord Tywin looked away, disgusted. “No longer. Ser Gregor’s taken the castle. The sellswords deserted their erstwhile captain almost to a man, and some of Lady Whent’s old people opened a postern gate. Clegane found Hoat sitting alone in the Hall of a Hundred Hearths, half-mad with pain and fever from a wound that festered. His ear, I’m told.” (Jamie ASoS)

So, if turning on the Lannisters was not for Harrenhal, why did they do it? Money? Well, Brienne doesn’t find any stack of wealth on Timeon, Pyg or Shagwell. One would think they would have some money for their troubles. They warred for over a year with nothing to show for it? That’s not what sellswords do. From a monetary point of view, the whole deal with the Brave Companions and their switch from Lannister to Bolton doesn’t seem to make sense. Neither Tywin or Roose seems to have actually paid them anything and the Brave Companions do not seem any richer for their plundering.

The Brave Companions must have had another reason for turning on the Lannisters. And whatever the reason, it brought them absolute delight when running into Jamie:

“He will be pleased to see you, I have no doubt”…

“Thith ith a thweet day,” Vargo Hoat said. (Jamie III, ASoS)

E. Fascinated by the Faith of Seven

The Brave Companions have a remarkable religious angle for a foreign sellsword company. We will talk about this more later, but it’s worth noting their activities are largely of a sacrilegious nature:

The day was almost done by the time they found Vargo Hoat, sacking a small sept with another dozen of his Brave Companions. (Jamie III, ASoS)

"These are the bones of holy men, murdered for their faith. They served the Seven even unto death. Some starved, some were tortured. Septs have been despoiled, maidens and mothers raped by godless men and demon worshipers. Even silent sisters have been molested.” (Brienne I, AFfC)

Its members also are religious. There is obviously Septon Utt. And Urswyck the Faithful’s name evokes religion. But, we also, Timeon, the Dornishman, who evokes the Seven before dying:

"Mother have mercy," the Dornishman gasped, the blood bubbling from his mouth and spurting from his wrist. "Finish it. Send me back to Dorne, you bloody bitch." (Brienne IV, AFfC)

And we have Qyburn:

“Does the High Septon ever pray?”

“Of that I am not certain.” (Jamie IV, ASoS)

Qyburn, in particular, is obsessed with religion and throughout A Feast for Crows, reports on the rise of the High Sparrow. His interest in other issues is rather minimal. Qyburn’s interests are best illustrated when he sits on Cercei’s small council (Cercei IV, AFfC). Ten issues are brought up. In order, they are 1) Dorne, 2) the High Septon, 3) the Vale, 4) the fleet and budget, 5) the Freys, 6) the Golden Company, 7) Stannis, 8) Sansa, 9) the Night’s Watch and 10) dragons.

Qyburn participates in six discussions: 1) Dorne, 2) the High Septon, 4) the fleet and budget, 5) the Freys, 7) Stannis and 9) the Night’s Watch. However, his contribution to talk of the fleet, Stannis and the Night’s Watch is similar: he is against any alliances and diplomacy – he says that Ironborn should not be allied with, Davos should be killed and Jon Snow should be killed.

His big issues are the other three: 1) Dorne, 2) the High Septon and 5) the Freys. He seems to have inside knowledge on Dorne (discussed above and shown in Cercei V, AFfC), inside knowledge on who the next septon will be, and strikingly wants Freys executed to please the Sparrow movement.

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Part 2 of 2: The Complementary Work of the Brave Companions and Oberyn



As discussed earlier, there are six actions that should achieve justice for the death of Elia and her children. Each of them involve the Brave Companions and Oberyn.



1. Killing Amory Lorch…While Making Sure He’s Not a Pasty



The killing of Amory Lorch is surreal to say the least. He is quite suddenly executed by the Brave Companions when they switch allegiances to Roose Bolton via a bear.



And that evening, a page named Nan poured wine for Roose Bolton and Vargo Hoat as they stood on the gallery, watching the Brave Companions parade Ser Amory Lorch naked through the middle ward. Ser Amory pleaded and sobbed and clung to the legs of his captors, until Rorge pulled him loose, and Shagwell kicked him down into the bear pit. (Arya IX, ACoK)



While Roose watches and Shagwell kicks Amory in, this execution is Vargo’s order. The A Storm of Swords appendix tells us so:



- (SER AMORY LORCH), fed to a bear by Vargo Hoat after the fall of Harrenhal. (Appendix, ASoS)



But why execute Lorch? This is not common procedure. For example, when Lorch has captives, he sends them to the dungeon:



“Ser Cadwyn, take these men to the dungeons” (Arya IX, ACoK)



Executing Lorch makes little sense. After all, captives can be traded for money. They claim to want to ransom Jamie:



“He will pay well for me, you know it.”


“Oh yeth,” said Vargo Hoat. “Half the gold in Cathterly Rock, I thall have.” (Jamie III, ASoS)



And they claim to want to ransom Brienne:



“See that you don’t break any bones,” Urswyck called out to him. “The horse-faced bitch is worth her weight in sapphires.” (Jamie III, ASoS)



Isn’t Amory Lorch worth any money? House Lorch is an old house. And they even have gold coins on their house shield.



But even if we accept that this is merely an execution, there is usually a purpose to an execution. Executions scare opponents and deter them from attacking you. Whether it’s flaying, heads on a spike or simply leaving up a hanged man, people see the punishment and think twice about attacking.



A bear is one of the weirdest and worst ways to execute someone. A bear would leave no evidence, thus there is no deterrent body for an opponent to see. Additionally, the bones can’t even be traded or given back to the family.



And this weird and evidence-destroying method of execution returns to haunt the Lannisters. Tywin, quite predictably tries to pin the killing of Elia and her children all on dead Amory Lorch:



“And when Oberyn demands the justice he’s come for?”


“I will tell him that Ser Amory Lorch killed Elia and her children,” Lord Tywin said calmly. (Tyrion VI, ASoS)



Now, think about how ridiculous this should sound to Oberyn. You want justice? Amory Lorch did it, but he was torn apart by a bear and we have no body. It’s a “my dog ate my homework” excuse. And Oberyn later highlights how pathetic the excuse is:



“Perhaps Joffrey’s real killer was eaten by a bear. That seems to happen quite often in King’s Landing. Oh, wait, the bear was at Harrenhal, now I remember.”


“Is that the game we are playing?” Tyrion rubbed at his scarred nose. He had nothing to lose by telling Oberyn the truth. “There was a bear at Harrenhal, and it did kill Ser Amory Lorch.”


“How sad for him,” said the Red Viper. “And for you. Do all noseless men lie so badly, I wonder?” (Tyrion IX, ASoS)



Now, this is the part that implicates Oberyn. Oberyn suddenly starts to believe Tyrion:



“I am not lying. Ser Amory dragged Princess Rhaenys out from under her father’s bed and stabbed her to death. He had some men-at-arms with him, but I do not know their names.” He leaned forward. “It was Ser Gregor Clegane who smashed Prince Aegon’s head against a wall and raped your sister Elia with his blood and brains still on his hands.”


“What is this, now? Truth, from a Lannister?” Oberyn smiled coldly. (Tyrion IX, ASoS)



Wait, a minute. Oberyn is told a ridiculous story about Amory Lorch being eaten by a bear and has seen no body. Yet, he now believes the story. Why? The Martells demanded the Mountain’s head and did not trust the Lannisters to deliver it. Why not the same critical nature with Amory Lorch’s head? Because Oberyn trusts Tyrion’s word? No, he doesn’t trust Tyrion’s word:



“Your father gave the commands, yes?”


“No.” He spoke the lie without hesitation, and never stopped to ask himself why he should.


The Dornishman raised one thin black eyebrow. “Such a dutiful son. And such a very feeble lie.” (Tyrion IX, ASoS)



It seems Oberyn already knew the truth and he didn’t need Lorch’s body. He knew that Lorch was killed at Harrenhal by a bear because he had men there who saw it. But who was there? Well, it was either Northmen or the Brave Companions.



So, it seems Amory Lorch’s death was done is such a manner as to complete the mission (kill Lorch), without allowing the Lannisters any ability to publicly placate Oberyn (no body, insane story). Essentially, he was killed in a manner where he couldn’t be a patsy.



2. Removing Jamie from the Kingsguard…While Causing a Religious Uprising.



The Brave Companions famously cut off Jamie’s hand. But why exactly did they do that? Let’s revisit the incident.



The Brave companions are supposed to be rooting out Lannisters. And they are supposed to be doing this as quickly as possible:



The Brave Companions did most of the foraging for Harrenhal, and Roose Bolton had given them the task of rooting out Lannisters. Vargo Hoat had divided them into four bands, to visit as many villages as possible. (Arya X, ACoK)



But, when Jamie is first brought to the Brave Companions, they are wasting the day sacking a sept:



The day was almost done by the time they found Vargo Hoat, sacking a small sept with another dozen of his Brave Companions. The leaded windows had been smashed, the carved wooden gods dragged out into the sunlight. The fattest Dothraki Jaime had ever seen was sitting on the Mother’s chest when they rode up, prying out her chalcedony eyes with the point of his knife. Nearby, a skinny balding septon hung upside down from the limb of a spreading chestnut tree. Three of the Brave Companions were using his corpse for an archery butt. One of them must have been good; the dead man had arrows through both of his eyes. (Jamie III, ASoS)



It’s a weird project to say the least and completely unrelated to rooting out Lannister. Also, it’s not what one would expect raping and pillaging sellswords to do. Was this an isolated incident? No, this was typical behavior for the Brave Companions. In fact, we know it was the Brave Companion’s assault on the Faith of the Seven that directly caused the Sparrow movement:



"We are marching to the city," said a tall woman in the traces of the wayn, "to bring these holy bones to Blessed Baelor, and seek succor and protection from the king."


"Join us, friends," urged a spare small man in a threadbare septon's robe, who wore a crystal on a thong about his neck. "Westeros has need of every sword."


….


Ser Creighton lifted one cheek off the saddle to scratch his arse. "What sort of man would slay a holy septon?"


Brienne knew what sort. Near Maidenpool, she recalled, the Brave Companions had strung a septon up by his heels from the limb of a tree and used his corpse for archery practice. She wondered if his bones were piled in that wayn with all the rest. (Brienne I, AFfC)



That’s right, the Brave Companions created the Sparrow movement and ushered in the rise of High Sparrow, the man who put Cercei on trial. But, of course, putting Cercei on trial for anything would normally be a useless affair. She would always have a defender at any trial and that defender is the greatest fighter in the world, Jamie.


And so the Brave Companions removed that fighter by cutting off Jamie’s hand. Now, let’s examine how weird and unprovoked Jamie’s hand cutting is:


“Lord Vargo, you were foolish to leave my father’s service, but it is not too late to make amends. He will pay well for me, you know it.”


“Oh yeth,” said Vargo Hoat. “Half the gold in Cathterly Rock, I thall have. But firth I mutht thend him a methage.” (Jamie III, ASoS)



These are sellswords and they cut off a hand. Why? Roose didn’t want it. In fact, Roose Bolton was angry about it later.


Roose Bolton reached down, snapped the cord, and flung the hand at Hoat. “Take this away. The sight of it offends me.” (Jamie IV, ASoS)



Isn’t it the Brave Companion’s MO to remove limbs? Yes, when provoked, but Jamie didn’t do anything. In fact, he played ball. Arya learns she can avoid losing a limb if she addresses Vargo as “Lord” and Jamie does just that.



“Aye,” said Weese, “but she better call him lord if she wants to keep all her parts.” (Arya VII)



Maybe the Brave Companions were in a bad mood? Except they wanted Brienne unharmed so she would collect more ransom:



“See that you don’t break any bones,” Urswyck called out to him. “The horse-faced bitch is worth her weight in sapphires.” (Jamie III, ASoS)



So, why would a sellsword company that is supposedly in it for the money harm Jamie when they know they would lose money and get in trouble with their boss? And why would they treat Brienne differently? Jamie did little, if anything, to provoke the attack. Vargo went for his hand right away as if it was his mission.



And why is a sellsword company sacking septs when they were specifically told to root out Lannisters?



It should be noted that Qyburn is conveniently at Harenhall to heal a dying Jamie (Jamie IV, ASoS). And its Qyburn that later on reports to Cersei on the High Septon (Cercei IV, AFfC).



3. Killing the Mountain…while getting a public confession



Oberyn went to King’s Landing knowing full well he would be fighting the Mountain. It was his plan.



“I oft saw him topple boys much bigger than himself. He reminded me of that the day he left for King's Landing. He swore that he would do it one more time, else I would never have let him go.” (The Captain of the Guard, AFfC)



Oberyn almost won too. But, there are two reasons he died: magical poison and a confession.



Oberyn used magic in his poison. Had he not, the Mountain would have dropped dead then and there from the quick acting manticore venom.



"Ser Gregor." Qyburn shrugged. "I have examined him, as you commanded. The poison on the Viper's spear was manticore venom from the east, I would stake my life on that."


"Pycelle says no. He told my lord father that manticore venom kills the instant it reaches the heart."


"And so it does. But this venom has been thickened somehow, so as to draw out the Mountain's dying."


"Thickened? Thickened how? With some other substance?"


"It may be as Your Grace suggests, though in most cases adulterating a poison only lessens its potency. It may be that the cause is... less natural, let us say. A spell, I think." (Cercei III, AFfC)



Also, Oberyn demanded a confession from the Mountain. Had he not, he could have killed him.



Prince Oberyn moved closer. “Say the name!” He put a foot on the Mountain’s chest and raised the greatsword with both hands. Whether he intended to hack off Gregor’s head or shove the point through his eyeslit was something Tyrion would never know.


Clegane’s hand shot up and grabbed the Dornishman behind the knee. (Tyrion X, ASoS)



Why would Oberyn trade his life just for a confession and to cause the Mountain some extra pain?


Well, the Dornish actually tell us why. Because of the confession, Tywin promises the Mountain’s head.



“Is it true that Gregor Clegane admitted slaying Elia and her children?"


"He roared out his guilt for all the court to hear," the prince admitted. "Lord Tywin has promised us his head." (The Captain of the Guard, AFfC)



That’s right, the Lannisters promised the head of a confessed killer. And the poison? Well, this will all return later.



4. Killing Tywin…A Hiccup in the Plan



Now, how did Oberyn know he was going to face the Mountain? How could he have foreseen that Joffrey would be killed? Well, it’s possible that Oberyn spied on the Tyrells and learned of their plan (Sarella and Lazy Leo were both around glass candles), but Tyrion being fingered as the murderer seemed pretty spontaneous.


It makes more sense that Oberyn didn’t know about the Joffrey’s murder. What is more likely is that Oberyn poisoned Tywin and was planning to go on trial for his murder.


Yes, Oberyn poisoned Tywin. Tyrion killed a dying man:



“Widow’s blood, this one is called, for the color. A cruel potion. It shuts down a man’s bladder and bowels, until he drowns in his own poisons.” (Tyrion IX, ASoS)



Lord Tywin’s face was so dark that for half a heartbeat Tyrion wondered if he’d drunk some poisoned wine as well. (Tyrion IX, ASoS)



He found his father where he knew he’d find him, seated in the dimness of the privy tower, bedrobe hiked up around his hips. For once, his father did what Tyrion asked him. The proof was the sudden stench, as his bowels loosened in the moment of death. Well, he was in the right place for it, Tyrion thought. But the stink that filled the privy gave ample evidence that the oft-repeated jape about his father was just another lie.


Lord Tywin Lannister did not, in the end, shit gold. (Tyrion XI, ASoS)



Why did Oberyn step in as Tyrion’s champion? He needed to. After all, with Tyrion accused of poisoning Joffrey, he would likely be accused on poisoning Tywin as well. Oberyn would never likely not be accused of poisoning Tywin. The plan was off track. Oberyn improvised to repair the plan.



Now, Oberyn’s revenge against Tywin didn’t end with Tywin’s death. Tywin’s body stinks up his own wake despite his bowels being removed. It might have been the poison. It might have been Qyburn’s sabotage. Either way, Oberyn ruined Tywin’s funeral.



"You may suffice," she decided. "If you fail me you will lose more than a chain, I promise you. Remove the quarrel from my father's belly and make him ready for the silent sisters." (Cercei I, AFfC)



"Mother." Tommen tugged her sleeve. "What smells so bad?" (Cercei II, AFfC)



5. Strip Cercei of Queen Regency: The Plans Come Together



So, in part 1, we discussed how Amory Lorch was killed in a manner to prevent him from being a patsy. This forces Tywin to put Elia’s murder solely on the Mountain.



And, in part 3, we discussed how Oberyn forced the Mountain to confess to be the focus of Elia’s justice. However, Oberyn’s magic poison leaves the Mountain’s death ambiguous. The Dornish are expecting a head, which Tywin promises.



However,



Our Brave Companion, Qyburn, went and cleaned a skull and gave it to the Dornish!



I have, Your Grace. I am sorry that it took so long. Such a large head. It took the beetles many hours to clean the flesh. By way of pardon, I have lined a box of ebony and silver with felt, to make a fitting presentation for the skull." (Cercei IV, AFfC)



Whether this is actually the Mountain’s skull is largely irrelevant. It is setting Cercei up. If the Mountain is found alive, Cercei will be seen as a liar. After all, that would be proof she failed to execute a confessed killer.



“If Gregor Clegane is alive, soon or late the truth will come out. The man was eight feet tall, there is not another like him in all of Westeros. If any such appears again, Cercei Lannister will be exposed as a liar before all the Seven Kingdoms. She would be an utter fool to risk that. What could she hope to gain?” (The Watcher, ADwD)



Meanwhile….



In part 2, we discussed how now the Sparrow movement has placed religious extremists in power thanks to the Brave Companions. These extremists are the types to care about Cercei’s crimes.



Also, in part 2, we discussed how Cercei no longer has her champion, Jamie, thanks to the Brave Companions.



And in part 4, we discussed the removal of Tywin, a person with enough brains to stop the plan.



Now, A Feast for Crows is a long story of Cercei’s descent into madness, but few would argue that Qyburn is manipulating Cercei throughout this story. Cercei also seems to have quite a few dreams that contribute to her insanity – let’s remember that Marwyn and Sarella have access to a glass candle which can be used to enter dreams.



While Qyburn may have helped Cercei commit more crimes, additional crimes are largely unnecessary to Oberyn’s plan. Cercei is already generally suspected of incest by the population. The rise of High Sparrow, as facilitated by the Brave Companions, was all that was needed to put Cercei on trial.



Without Jamie as a champion, Cercei is forced to choose a new champion, Qyburn’s creation:



She did not have a ready answer. My champion will need a new name as well as a new face. "Qyburn will know. Trust him in this. You and I have had our differences, Uncle, but for the blood we share and the love you bore my father, for Tommen's sake and the sake of his poor maimed sister, do as I ask you. Go to Lord Qyburn on my behalf, bring him a white cloak, and tell him that the time has come." (Cercei I, ADwD)



No. Her savior was real. Eight feet tall or maybe taller, with legs as thick around as trees, he had a chest worthy of a plow horse and shoulders that would not disgrace an ox. His armor was plate steel, enameled white and bright as a maiden's hopes, and worn over gilded mail. A greathelm hid his face. From its crest streamed seven silken plumes in the rainbow colors of the Faith. A pair of golden seven-pointed stars clasped his billowing cloak at the shoulders.


A white cloak.


Ser Kevan had kept his part of the bargain. Tommen, her precious little boy, had named her champion to the Kingsguard.


Cersei never saw where Qyburn came from, but suddenly he was there beside them, scrambling to keep up with her champion's long strides.


"Your Grace," he said, "it is so good to have you back. May I have the honor of presenting our newest member of the Kingsguard? This is Ser Robert Strong." (Cercei II, ADwD)



Of course, win or lose, Robert Strong exposes Cercei as a liar in front of the Seven Kingdoms. She was supposed to execute the Mountain, but here stands the Mountain.



6. Strip Tommen of Kingship



With Cercei exposed a liar, Tommen’s Kingship is in jeopardy. The Seven Kingdoms will likely see him as a bastard. And yet the Undead Mountain (a creation of Oberyn and Qyburn) stands there to defend him. We shall see how the last part of Oberyn plan to destroy the Lannisters will unfold.


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Interesting read.



The end conclusion would make Oberyn's revenge quite the complete route.



The biggest issue I have is that you say that the brave company of Vargo is responsible for The Sparrows and that they work in tandem.


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First, I buy it. Great idea

The biggest issue I have is that you say that the brave company of Vargo is responsible for The Sparrows and that they work in tandem.

Second, they are responsible for them. They don't work in tandem. Oberyn's brother(forgot the name, duh) sent one of the sand snakes to spy on the new high sparrow. I imagine it like a ISRAEL PLO Hisbollah situation. (Or USA USSR Mujahideen if you want) You raise a counter party and lose control over it. Happens all the time.

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Quite an elaborate theory!



I do have a few questions.



You point out that the Brave Companions had worked for the Lannisters for quite a while, since long before Jaime was captured. How then would they have orders to capture Jaime and remove his hand?



After having succeeded in this task, why do the Brave Companions remain in Harrenhal if they are loyal to Dorne?



Are you suggesting that Qyburn came upp with the plan to reanimate Gregor's body (an unknown possibility) just to reveal that Cersai is a liar while, as her MoW, being privy to all her shady dealings including the killing of a noble lady without revealing this in any way while she was at the mercy of the High Septon?


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Quite an elaborate theory!

I do have a few questions.

You point out that the Brave Companions had worked for the Lannisters for quite a while, since long before Jaime was captured. How then would they have orders to capture Jaime and remove his hand?

After having succeeded in this task, why do the Brave Companions remain in Harrenhal if they are loyal to Dorne?

Are you suggesting that Qyburn came upp with the plan to reanimate Gregor's body (an unknown possibility) just to reveal that Cersai is a liar while, as her MoW, being privy to all her shady dealings including the killing of a noble lady without revealing this in any way while she was at the mercy of the High Septon?

I think they had the orders from Oberyn from the very beginning. They always wanted to betray the Lannisters, kill Amory Lorch and cut off Jamie's hand. That was their mission since their founding in Essos.

So, they first imbedded with the Lannisters to get close with Jamie and Amory Lorch and then defected to the Boltons so they could kill Amory Lorch. Jamie got captured. So, that was a hiccup in the plan.

What I can't explain is how they found Jamie again. I imagine they never expected Jamie to be captured. But, alas, he was and I can't explain how the plan got back on track. Finding him again was very fortuitous. So, fortuitous that Vargo Hoat is ecstatic about it. It could be that a glass candle's eye was on Jamie all this time, which would help the BC to find him. But that still doesn't explain his release by Cat. Cat's decission to free Jamie versus killing him was pretty spontanious.

Why do the Brave Companions stay at Harrenhal? Well, only Vargo does. And I think that's because Harrenhal actually made him crazy (as did the infected ear). The Brave Companions take off and split into three groups when the Mountain's forces close in on Harrenhall. Timeon the Dornishman's group heads to the port at Maidenpool. Rorge's group (not really Brave Companions) heads to the port at Saltpans and Urswyck the Faithful's group heads to Oldtown. And, of course, Qyburn follows Jamie to King's Landing.

On UnGregor. Was UnGregor an unknown possibility? Oberyn knew about magical poison and Qyburn knew about making monsters. What is unknown? But I don't think Qyburn came up with the plan. I think Oberyn came up with it (with some Qyburn input).

Now, I don't think its just to reveal Cercei is a liar, but I think that's a big reason. I think Gregor's soul may still be in agony, which would be another reason. UnGregor is probably also meant to kill off some Tyrells. We shall see.

Keep in mind, I do think there are things Qyburn is doing for himself and things he is doing for the Martell plan. I think the Martells may have been tricked into accepting services from a mad man and may regret it later.

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Interesting read.

The end conclusion would make Oberyn's revenge quite the complete route.

The biggest issue I have is that you say that the brave company of Vargo is responsible for The Sparrows and that they work in tandem.

I think the Brave Companions caused the Sparrow movement, which would predictably act as they did.

I don't think the Sparrows are knowingly working for Oberyn and Doran. But, I think after the Brave Companions destroyed their septs, raped their septas and killed their septons, the Faith of the Seven would be looking for some revenge against the Lannisters who, at best, are incompetent in protecting them and, at worst, ordered the BC to do those actions.

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This is incredibly well researched, and makes a whole lot of sense for such a far fetched, long-term, and far ranging plan.



That being said, I have always been skeptical of the idea that Doran had contracted Qyburn, or was controlling him somehow. But through Oberyn, that makes way more sense.



Qyburn is a strange person, and him coming to ride with the BC, and then staying at Harranhall to tend to Jaime, and then just leaving the service of the BC (on Bolton's orders?), seemed like too big of a coincidence. Oberyn's plan makes much more sense in this context.



The biggest plus, I think, is Oberyns background, and his life of travel and daughters before he returns to Westeros. He burns for revenge as much or more than Doran, and we know from Doran that their #1 goal in life was the downfall of Tywin Lannister since their sister was raped and killed. So instead of Oberyn just taking that time to go abroad and fuck his way through the Eastern world, him going abroad to gather unlikely and unsavory allies for a particularly gruesome revenge plot makes MUCH more sense. And in the context of the fact that Doran's only potential alliances lay across the Narrow Sea, this all fits.


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Oberyn has founded a company full of raper and (child)murderer?



Oberyn confirmed for the worst form of hypocrite



"You raped us. You murdered us. You killed our children...We will hear you say it." - Oberyn's countless victims to him in the afterlife



The guy was really a false snake ... if it's true


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Oberyn has founded a company full of raper and (child)murderer)?

Oberyn confirmed for the worst form hypocrite

"You raped us. You murdered us. You killed our children...We will hear you say it." - Oberyn's countless victims to Oberyn in the afterlife

The guy was really a false snake ...

Like his daughters.

"LET'S KILL TOMMEN!"

"Yay!"

"Are they going to kill Trystane?!"

"Monsters!!"

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I can see that the OP did his homework, and makes some good points, but I doubt it. "Brave Companions" just doesn't sound like a name Oberyn would choose for his own sellsword company.

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I can see that the OP did his homework, and makes some good points, but I doubt it. "Brave Companions" just doesn't sound like a name Oberyn would choose for his own sellsword company.

"Oberyn's Poisonous Vipers for Glorious Dornish Vengeance Against House Lannister" might have been too obvious. :)

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Excellent theory - it serves to finally lend some credence to Doran's reputation (even if it is done via a proxy - Oberyn). The question here is what would be Roose Bolton's part in all this - if we examine his close association with Qyburn, we may conclude that he was privy to at least some of those plots. And we have to give Roose the credit he deserves and discount the possibility that Qyburn simply manipulated him, so Roose has another ace up his sleeve, if his connections reach as far as Dorne.


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:bowdown:



Very nice theory; it all makes sense. We know Doran was in it for the long haul and Oberyn was in on his plot(s).



The sparrow movement being instigated by the BC's is such brilliant writing, this stuff happens in real life aswel; the commonfolk get shat on and ignored by the established order(s) and they form their own militia, usually religious and extremist in nature and drafting from the poor.



I thought Qyburn's main motivation was being able to dable in dark magic with funds and test subjects (Lannister gold & the dark cells), but this connection with Marwyn to Oberyn through Sarella... I totally missed that.



It all fits in with Doran and Dorne's MO; They don't have the militairy or capital to go against the Lannisters/Tywin head-on.



I'm convinced; sadly I don't think we'll have this intricate scheme in the TV-shows, much too complicated.


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Qyburn also has connections in Dorne.

"Oldtown, Gulltown, Dorne, even the Free Cities. Wheresoever he might run, my whisperers will find him." (Cercei IV, AFfC)

A list of places he might flee to (which is basically everywhere Cersei doesn't have much power bar the North) is hardly indicative of connections. What are his connections in Gulltown then?

Qyburn is able to report on Dornish happenings with great competence and intense detail. He lacks this ability with the other six kingdoms.

Is Qyburn ever questioned about the other kingdoms?

But, do the Brave Companions hate the Lannisters? Well, the Brave Companions are a sellsword company. This means they should belong to whoever has the most money.

If the sellswords in Essos have taught us anything it's not about who has the most money but who is best able to pay them. Dany has very little money but gets sellswords to defect by convincing them that she's going to win the coming battle. They can't get paid if they're dead. Tywin may have more gold (though as you suggest latter he doesn't appear to be paying them yet) but Tywin is loosing. If Bolton can convince them that the Young Wolf will win then they have reason enough to desert.

Plus, Urswyck makes the following statement:

“Lord Tywin may resent us for selling Harrenhal to Lord Bolton” (Jamie III, ASoS)

So, Roose is buying it? This is odd as the Brave Companions are selling something that isn’t theirs to begin with.

They hold it, that means it's theirs to sell alongside their loyalty.

But why execute Lorch? This is not common procedure.

Just about everything the Bloody Mummers do isn't common procedure.

But even if we accept that this is merely an execution, there is usually a purpose to an execution. Executions scare opponents and deter them from attacking you. Whether it’s flaying, heads on a spike or simply leaving up a hanged man, people see the punishment and think twice about attacking.

A bear is one of the weirdest and worst ways to execute someone. A bear would leave no evidence, thus there is no deterrent body for an opponent to see.

You don't need a body to scare people. Being fed to a bear sounds like a terrifying and unpleasant way to die to me, I would certainly do everything in my power to avoid it. It certainly seems worse than simply having my head chopped off or hanging, especially because it's so weird. Anybody can hang people by the dozen but what kind of monster feeds people to bears? Additionally the bear probably wouldn't eat all, or even most, of any prisoners it killed. The bear isn't attacking because it's hungry it's attacking because it's abused. It'll maul the victim very badly and maybe take a few chunks out of it but could be driven off before it got to the bone breaking stage.

Now, this is the part that implicates Oberyn. Oberyn suddenly starts to believe Tyrion:

He 'suddenly' starts to believe Tyrion, because Tyrion is talking about something else. At no point does Oberyn believe that Lorch got fed to a bear but he does believe that Lorch was responsible for part of the crime. The two are not related and believing one does not demand believing the other.

So, it seems Amory Lorch’s death was done is such a manner as to complete the mission (kill Lorch), without allowing the Lannisters any ability to publicly placate Oberyn (no body, insane story).

Without a confession there is no need to placate Oberyn. Tyrion's word is useless in this regard and that is all Oberyn has. If a public confession had been extracted from Lorch before his death then a body would be useful for the Lannisters but without it they don't need one. Besides which Oberyn hardly needs evidence or excuse to go after these men if he's been planning their murder for decades so his being publicly placated is irrelevant.

It’s a weird project to say the least and completely unrelated to rooting out Lannister. Also, it’s not what one would expect raping and pillaging sellswords to do. Was this an isolated incident? No, this was typical behavior for the Brave Companions.

Sacking Septs is certainly in line with raping and pillaging. Churches in the medieval period (and evidence suggests Septs in Westeros) were often the richest targets in the surrounding area, and were often poorly defended. This made them prime targets for any pagan raiders, and they were commonly targeted by such. A Sept is a wonderful target for the murder and plunder happy Mummers, or do you think lots of peasants have jewels in their house?

That’s right, the Brave Companions created the Sparrow movement and ushered in the rise of High Sparrow, the man who put Cercei on trial.

The Bloody Mummers were not the only group raping the Riverlands. At best they contributed to the rise of the Sparrow movement in the Riverlands which struck a cord in Kinglanding (something neither the Mummers nor Oberyn had any control of) and resulted in a shocking new High Septon. To think that the election of this man is an inevitable outcome from murdering a few Septons is the definition of a post-hoc fallacy. And so is thinking that the appointment of a new High Septon automatically results in Cersei being put on trial and forced to rely on a Trial by Combat.

3. Killing the Mountain…while getting a public confession

So what happens if the Mountain doesn't confess? He does so just to spite Oberyn as he's killing him, he shows no desire to do so while loosing. So Oberyn, a Prince of Dorne and one of the best fighters in the Seven Kingdoms, effectively commits suicide so that Gregor will admit guilt to something every single person in Westeros already believes he did. Just so that Doran could get a pretty skull?

What is more likely is that Oberyn poisoned Tywin and was planning to go on trial for his murder.

Why would the crown choose the Mountain as it's champion in this case? The Mountain isn't the best fighter in the capitol and his odds against Oberyn are fairly low. They choose him to stand against Tyrion's as-yet-unnamed champion because they believe it will deter anyone from standing against him, because he's scary. But that wouldn't work in a trial against Oberyn since Oberyn would be certain to call for Trial by Combat and stand champion for himself. Even if they did think the Mountain was the best fighter why would the crown give Oberyn the opportunity to take vengeance against the Mountain, while already on trial for taking vengeance?

“Widow’s blood, this one is called, for the color. A cruel potion. It shuts down a man’s bladder and bowels, until he drowns in his own poisons.” (Tyrion IX, ASoS)

Lord Tywin’s face was so dark that for half a heartbeat Tyrion wondered if he’d drunk some poisoned wine as well. (Tyrion IX, ASoS)

He found his father where he knew he’d find him, seated in the dimness of the privy tower, bedrobe hiked up around his hips. For once, his father did what Tyrion asked him. The proof was the sudden stench, as his bowels loosened in the moment of death. Well, he was in the right place for it, Tyrion thought. But the stink that filled the privy gave ample evidence that the oft-repeated jape about his father was just another lie.

Lord Tywin Lannister did not, in the end, shit gold. (Tyrion XI, ASoS)

I suppose these quotes are supposed to indicate that Oberyn used Widow's blood to kill Tywin, but they don't. The simple fact that Tywin is taking a shit in the middle of the night (predictably) indicates that he wasn't near-fatally constipated.

5. Strip Cercei of Queen Regency: The Plans Come Together
6. Strip Tommen of Kingship

Weren't these supposed to happen before Tywin died so that he could watch his family fall apart?

I think they had the orders from Oberyn from the very beginning. They always wanted to betray the Lannisters, kill Amory Lorch and cut off Jamie's hand. That was their mission since their founding in Essos.

So what if there was no war? Oberyn didn't start it, Littlefinger did. Or what if there was a war but Tywin didn't hire any sellswords? He doesn't really need to and that's in basically the worst possible situation he could've been in. Or what if the Brave Companions have gone defunct since he left? Or thousands of other possibilities which are completely out of Oberyn's hands. For a plan seemingly decades in the planning it relies an astounding amount on good luck.

All in all, this theory, though well researched, just seems to rely to heavily on the post-hoc fallacy to be credible to me.

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Fascinating, well researched theory!

Though, if Qyburn is a "Martell man" to any degree, wouldn't Doran know that Gregor is "alive," that the skull sent to Sunspear wasn't his, and that Qyburn was tied to the whole thing?

Secondly, if Qyburn is still Oberyn's man in any way, isn't SRS as Cersei's champion an odd play, unless the intent is for him to "backfire" during the upcoming TBC? I mean, you say the Mummers wanted Gregor dead, so why reanimate him to defend their enemy?

Also, if Qyburn is one of Doran's "friends at court," why not simply have him spy on the HS, being the MoW and all, instead of sending the SS to KL for that purpose (two SS, btw, who are clearly not going to "ally" with SRS or his "creator")?

This theory certainly was a gripping read, but it's not much to do with Occam's razor, by which I mean it's not readily understood by the casual reader. And although I am enamored with aspects of it, other aspects would seemingly undermine the commonly accepted understanding of the goings on in KL.

Anyway, just playing devil's advocate, as so many others have done for me.

Thanks again for the outstanding read.

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Well, it really shows competence and would by all means be a brilliant move if Doran managed to successfully wage such assymetric war on his archenemy - and getting the archenemy to pay for it all with his own gold. And Doran could have known whose the head was - but it would have been in his best interests to keep such information under wraps until UnGregor turns on Cersei and Tommen and executes them. He has used disinformation when lying to Arianne about his plans, so it certainly fits his modus operandi. Think about it: valonqar supposedly means 'little brother': isn't Oberyn Doran's 'little brother'? UnGregor is ultimately his creation, even if he has, in fact, been brought about by Qyburn. So the metaphor fits. What is more, Qyburn could've actually included some parts of dead Oberyn into UnGregor as well - making Oberyn able to have his vengeance from beyond the grave - wouldn't that be a twist...


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Skinchanging Sweetrobin ,


Impressive amount of work , and very intricately laid out. I wish I could say I didn't think you may have gone too far here and there...but i think you have. I must say I find this uncannily reminiscent of some of Bran Vras' posts - in the layout , organisation ,etc. Even some of the language used is typical of Bran Vras ... "let us examine", "let us revisit", "we shall see ( in some future part)" , "we have discussed this; we have discussed that (or the other) " ... but in fact, "we" haven't discussed , you have stipulated . I feel you must at least have followed the same style guidelines in school. ;)


I can see there are some possibilities in your theory , but in order for it all to fit so neatly, there are things that have to stretch beyond believability... for me, anyway.


Firstly ,I'm a trifle uneasy with the thought that Oberyn would form a company comprised of not just hard men in it for the money, but men displaying an unusually high overall level of depravity. We can see they're unpredictable , indulgent of their depravities, and therefore hard to control.Tywin knows this about them and it suits his purposes.. I don't know if it would have suited Oberyn.


I happen to think that Roose and Tywin well might have had at least a tentative agreement before Roose took Harrenhall... and that Tywin knew the Brave Companions would surely flip sides if Roose put it to them, promising Harrenhall as their reward when Roose left.... Neither Tywin nor Roose would think the BCs needed to be in on the full scheme. If they thought they were genuinely switching sides, considering Hoat's proclivity for chopping off hands and feet , Jaime was pretty well doomed when they captured him. No wonder Roose was angry. His relationship with Tywin was no doubt very new and Jaime's hand being chopped off wasn't helping it to get off to a good start. Roose was lucky Tywin did know what scum the Mummers were.


Also.. Urswyck is religious ? Remembering the Brave Companions' behaviour , I don't know how you can claim that. (???) To me, the implication is that "Urswyck the Faithful" is faithful to Hoat . He is Hoat's lieutenant. ... Or perhaps it's a sarcastic nickname , and he's faithful to no-one... faithless in the extreme. IMO , it's nothing to do with religion.


Lorch ?.. let me backtrack a bit. Lorch is the weakest member of the unholy triumverate behind the massacre of Elia and her children - Tywin , the Mountain and Lorch. Tyrion was the one who offered Doran a seat on the small council ( in an attempt to actually mend fences and cancel out another potential enemy in the field, while imposing some limits on Cersei) . Tywin would have been informed of this quickly. Knowing justice would be demanded , after what had already been years of stalling tactics, he thought he could stall further by trying to put it all off on Lorch ... but he couldn't risk letting anyone actually talk to Lorch. Probably, he let Roose know that it wouldn't be taken amiss if he let Hoat deal with Lorch..


The Bloody Mummers will be left as well, to do the foraging. That goat Vargo Hoat is like to spit, him and Lorch have always hated each other.” ..ACoK


Ser Amory Lorch stared down at the roped captives with his little pig eyes. Arya did not think he was pleased. Everyone in the castle knew that he and Vargo Hoat hated each other. ...ACoK


Given the history between Lorch and Hoat , some sort of messy end was inevitable for Lorch , and that would happen to suit Tywin well.


We don't know when Oberyn was with the Second Sons , or for what duration he fought in the disputed lands,or when ( pre or post RR ) but the Arianne / Viserys marriage pact has always seemed to me a likely motivation for starting his own company - to perhaps provide some kind of initial force for Viserys , when the time was ripe.. but there could be other companies , other motivations ...


I've wondered about the Storm Crows , myself..( I won't go into that here ) . .. And I suspect, with events hinted at for TWoW , that we'll see some other sellsword companies we haven't met yet. There doesn't seem to be enough evidence to definitively identify one as Oberyn's company yet.


Without going on point by point ( TheWanderer has covered a lot to do with the sparrows and the Mountain , above ), I think that for this theory to work as laid out would have required far too exact powers of prediction ,too far ahead for Oberyn to have planned it.

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