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Mitbert Strangejoy

The Gods Eye Conspiracy - Part I

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Linda: Will we see or hear anything of the green men on the Isle of Faces? If not, what are they like? Just a secluded order that's never bothered, and has no role in the events of the Seven Kingdoms?

GRRM: The green men and the Isle of Faces will come to the fore in later books. (Boy, it's tough to sneak anything by you guys.)

March 18, 1999

This is going to be a long post, so bear with me. The conspiracy I’m proposing ties together several otherwise difficult to explain phenomena, including, but not limited to: Otto Hightower’s seemingly self-defeating endorsement of Rhaenyra followed by his attempts to install Alicent’s children; House Strong’s actions in support of the Greens and their apparent lack of regard for their own kinfolk (Harwyn Strong’s Bastards); Gerald Hightower and Oswell Whent’s behavior during and before Robert’s Rebellion; House Whent’s actions prior to Robert’s Rebellion; the Harrenhal “curse”; Walys Flower’s role in Southron Ambitions; Maester Mellos’ advocacy for the marriage between Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon; Addam of Driftwood’s decision to seek counsel from the green men; Pycelle’s apparent “loyalty” to House Lannister; Marwyn’s comments about the role of the Citadel vis-à-vis dragons; and Bloodraven’s actions and motives. Before I get into the evidence, allow me to summarize my argument:

  • Gods Eye is the location of the Isle of Faces, which contains the largest collection of weirwoods in the south and perhaps in the entirety of Westeros.
  • The Isle of Faces is the nexus of a massive conspiracy that (1) led to the near extinction of dragons; (2) weakened and diluted Targaryen blood; and (3) facilitated the births of Jon Snow, Danaerys Targaryen, and Bran Stark. This post focuses on Part 1 of the conspiracy. If you like Part I, I’ll get cracking on Parts 2 and 3 (I have the general ideas, but committing those ideas to writing takes a lot of effort).
  • The goals of the Gods Eye Conspiracy are somewhat difficult to discern, but their primary goal appears to be to balance the forces of ice and fire rather than allowing one force to dominate the other. In recent times, fire has dominated Westeros after the Targaryen conquest and their introduction of dragons to the continent. As such, one of the initial goals of the conspiracy appears to be the elimination of dragons and the weakening of Targaryen rule.
  • The residents of adjacent Harrenhal -- particularly the Strongs and Whents -- are key historical figures and closely tied to Gods Eye Conspiracy. Indeed, the “curse” of Harrenhal may reflect the power of the Children. The Children’s gradual wane and apparent limited fertility closely parallels the fate of Harrenhal’s lords.
  • Every known location of weirwoods in the south has major historical significance. Lords in control of or in close proximity to true Godswoods (i.e., Godswoods with real weirwoods) tend to become powerbrokers or sometimes pawns in the most important historical events in Westeros.
  • Ravens are closely connected to weirwood trees and the Gods Eye Conspiracy most likely relies on ravens. The ravens are quite literally the original “little birds;” their small size, proficiency in the old tongue (spoken by the children), ubiquity among the great houses, and use as couriers for the realm’s most important messages makes then ideal spies.
  • The weirwoods themselves are essential to the conspiracy. They hear and see everything in their presence (through the greenseers), and even speak to certain people. The weirwoods’ mouthpieces -- such as Ghost of High Heart, who I presume to be the “wood witch” -- have shaped Westeros’ history and furthered the conspiracy’s goals.
  • A faction at the Citadel plays a central role in the Gods Eye Conspiracy, which is unsurprising given that the Citadel holds one of the few southern weirwood trees and plays a central role in raven communications. At the same time, it’s likely that the entire Citadel is probably not aware of or supportive of this conspiracy.
  • The Hightowers, who are closely tied to the citadel, historically have been part of this conspiracy -- whether that continues to be true remains to be seen.

Did you think that the children and the greenseers were doing nothing during the last several hundred years? No way. No one wastes a perfectly good spy network, and please don’t tell me that the name “Gods Eye” isn’t a wee bit suggestive! Let’s proceed…

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I. The Southron Weirwoods

With the signing of the Pact, the order of the order of the Green Men was formed, to tend the last remaining weirwoods in the south.

The known weirwoods in the south are located in:

  • The Isle of Faces -- the nexus of the conspiracy, which is in close proximity to Harrenhal. We’ve read about the Isle of Faces in several seemingly random places. First, we’re told that the Isle of Faces was the site of a pact between the First Men and the Children. Then we’re told that a Crannogman sought counsel with the green men on the Isle of Faces before travelling to the Tourney at Harrenhal. Finally, we’re told that Addam Velaryon sought counsel with the green men during the Dance of the Dragons. Addam’s actions were quite unusual for a “Velaryon” with absolutely no connection to the First Men or the Old Gods.
  • The Citadel’s Ravenry -- The Ravenry is the site of an ancient weirwood and the home of countless black and white ravens. We know that bloodraven is quite fond of ravens. He uses them both as his eyes and perhaps as his mouthpieces (Mormont’s raven, for instance, seems to speak in ways that suggests a connection to bloodraven); bloodraven’s predecessors likely also used ravens. Is it a coincidence that the Citadel is harboring a massive population of ravens and ensuring that they’re present in all of the major houses? House Hightower is also associated with the citadel and dates back to the time of the First Men. As far as we know, they do not pray to the old gods. Allegiance to the old gods does not appear to be essential to the Gods Eye conspiracy.
  • House Blackwood -- the massive weirwood is dead but still used heavily by ravens. Even dead weirwood’s seem to retain some of their powers. House Blackwood follows the old gods and dates back to the Age of Heroes, when they were kings of the Riverlands. Bloodraven traces his lineage to House Blackwood through Melissa Blackwood. Her statue now graces House Blackwood’s godswood.
  • House Lannister -- kind of surprising, right? The Lannisters don’t pray to the old gods, although they trace their roots to Lann, who was presumably a First Man. The Lannisters’ weirwood is a possible witness to incest by Jaime and Cersei. Ravens also may have witnessed this behavior. If I were going to start a succession crisis and/or eliminate Targaryen blood from the throne, I might start by installing a queen who is likely to bear her brother’s non-Targaryen/non-Baratheon child. More on this later.
  • House Riverrun -- another surprise. The Tullys also don’t pray to the old gods. Nonetheless, they date their origins to the Age of Heroes. Edmyn Tully apparently helped Aegon the Conqueror, so it’s fair to say that the conspiracy hasn’t always targeted the Targaryens and/or the Tully’s aren’t witting participants. In more recent times, the Tully’s intermarried with Harrenhal’s House Whent.
  • Storm’s End -- recently chopped down due to Melisandre’s meddling. R’hllor’s crew are not part of the conspiracy! Traditionally, the Baratheons were allied to the Targaryens and make highly unlikely conspirators. Indeed, I doubt that they were ever willing participants in the conspiracy. On the other hand, they trace their lineage to the Storm Kings through their female line. Storm King blood appears to dominate their features despite admixture with the Targaryens. In recent times, events in Storm’s End prior to Melisandre’s arrival likely were influenced by Maester Cressen. Maester Cressen apparently worked with Archmaester Walgrave, who was the foremost expert on ravencraft. Walgrave and Cressen are potential conspirators, although details on both characters are sparse.
  • Numerous stumps are in High Heart. These trees are dead, but they appear to communicate with the locals nonetheless. In all likelihood, the woods witch who caused the pairing of Aerys and Rhaella has a connection with the trees and the broader Gods Eye Conspiracy. She may or may not be a willing participant.

II. Whispers of a Conspiracy

Who do you think killed all the dragons last time around? Gallant dragonslayers armed with swords? The world the citadel is building has no place in it for sorcery or prophecy or glass candles, much less for dragons. Ask yourself why Aemon Targaryen was allowed to waste his life upon the wall, when by rights he should have been raised to archmaester. His blood was why. He could not be trusted. No more than I can. -- Archmaester Marwyn

So who killed the dragons? The job was mostly done by… dragons! And the dragon slaughter occurred mostly in the Dance of the Dragons. Was Marwyn wrong about the Citadel’s central role in dragons’ extinction? No, he wasn’t. The Dance of the Dragons was precipitated by actions taken by Maester Mellos, various members of House Hightower, and various members of House Strong. These three players are connected via the Citadel, and as I will argue later, the Citadel is part of a greater Gods Eye Conspiracy.

  • House Hightower’s connection to the Citadel is well known, so I won’t dwell on that. Grand Meister Mellos is also obviously connected to the Citadel. Lyonel Strong’s connection to the citadel is less obvious and somewhat unexpected if you have no inkling that the Strongs might be working with the Hightowers and a faction of the Citadel. The text of The Rogue Prince tells us that “ Lyonel Strong had studied at the Citadel as a youth, earning six links of his chain before deciding that a maester’s life was not for him.” As I’ll argue, Lyonel, Otto, and Mellos acted in unison and their actions clearly precipitated the Dance of the Dragons. Moreover, they often acted in ways that were counter to their personal goals an”d largely inexplicable absent a conspiracy.
  • Otto joined the court as Hand during Jaehaerys’s reign. Mellos replaced Runciter at some point in Otto’s tenure as Hand, and Lyonel Strong became Master of Laws in 103 AC. As far as we know, House Strong was not connected to the Targaryens; we don’t know whether Otto caused the appointment of Strong, but Otto would have been in a position to do so. Otto would have also been in a position to promote Mellos.
  • When Lyonel was brought to King’s Landing, he brought his sons, Larys and Harwin. Harwin became “a captain of the gold cloaks.” Larys became Viserys’ confessor and later the Master of Whisperers.
  • Viserys’ male child by Aemma died during Otto’s tenure as Hand of the King and Larys’ tenure as Master of Laws (I’ll concede that this is likely a coincidence, although Otto and the Strongs certainly took advantage of the opportunity in the following years).
  • After the death of the child, “a captain of the gold cloaks” informed Viserys that Daemon was making jokes about the child’s death in a pub. Thus, the feud between Daemon and Viserys began. So who was this “captain of the gold cloaks”? In all likelihood, the unnamed captain was Harwin Strong. The child died in 105 AC, and Lyonel became Master of Laws in 103 AC. Harwin “was made a captain in the gold cloaks” when Lyonel brought him to King’s Landing. As the son of Lyonel and brother of Viserys’ confessor, Harwin would have had the King’s ear, unlike most other gold cloaks.
  • Otto and the small council, which would have included one or multiple Strongs, encouraged Viserys to make Rhaenrya his heir even though female succession was unusual at the time, and even though Otto, Mellos, and the Strongs must have known that Viserys had plenty of time to have a male child (he was only 30). Viserys was convinced. In choosing Rhaenyra, he passed over Daemon (a viable male heir), who had just earned his ire for making jokes about Viserys’ dead son. Daemon was furious and took Caraxes to Dragonstone. Daemon ultimately become obsessed with succession and consumed with hatred for Viserys. The not-so-mysterious “captain of the gold cloaks” set quite a storm in motion, or at least ensured that the existing storm continued to rage on.
  • Otto’s apparent support of Rhaenrya’s claim was particularly unusual because he clearly intended to marry Alicent to Viserys at the time, and indeed had been planning her marriage for years. He brought Alicent to court when Jaehaerys was sick, and she became “his constant companion, fetching His Grace his meals, reading to him, helping him to bathe and dress himself. The Old King sometimes mistook her for one of his daughers, caulling her by their names.” She made quite an impression on Viserys at this time, and over the years, she also allegedly slept with Daemon and Viserys, further sowing the seeds of conflict between Daemon and the ruling line (Daemon was said to have been angered and disappointed by the news of her marriage to Viserys).
  • The small council, including Viserys, Mellos, and Strong, then decided that Rhaenyra -- the apparent heir to the throne -- should marry Laenor Velaryon even though Laenor was known to be uninterested in women, and even though Rhaenyra was known to be smitten by Criston Cole. What better way to start a succession crisis?
  • These marriage arrangements were specifically promoted by Grand Maester Mellos (“What of it? I am not fond of fish, but when fish is served, I eat it”).
  • Meanwhile, Harwin Strong was forming a relationship with Rhaenrya. He ultimately accompanied her to Dragonstone. The succession crisis deepened when Rhaenyra had children with Harwin’s features.
  • After promoting Rhaenyra’s succession, the small council encouraged Viserys to take another wife; he chose Alicent of his own volition, but clearly this had been Otto’s plan from day one.
  • When the small council encouraged Viserys to take another wife, they knew that he would choose Alicent. Not only had Otto done his best to promote the match, but Larys was Viserys’ confessor, and he would have known that Viserys slept with Alicent even while Aemma was still alive. He also likely knew of Viserys’ continuing affection for her. In other words, the small council already knew Viserys’ answer when they brought up the topic of marriage. Any other candidates floated for marriage were misdirections aimed to deflect any concern about Otto’s growing power. Notably, the marriage between Viserys and Alicent deepened the rift between the ruling Targaryan’s and House Velaryon.
  • Otto promoted the ascension of his own grandchildren after spending years promoting Rhaenyra. To many readers this must have appeared to be bumbling foolishness. However, Otto’s careful political maneuvering, clever promotion of Alicent, and reputation as a learned man are at odds with this characterization. Either Otto had no idea what he was doing and his reputation was a farce, or he clearly understood that his actions likely would set up a succession crisis that would involve both houses with dragons.
  • Otto’s continued promotion of Alicent apparently annoyed Viserys who made Lyonel (of all people!) Hand of the King. Lyonel didn’t undo any of Otto’s planning; he only furthered those plans.
  • Lyonel and Larys would have known that Harwin had formed a relationship with Rhaenyra, and Rhaenyra’s children had Harwin’s dark features. Nonetheless, they supported the ascension of Alicent’s children. There are a couple possible explanations for this. First, they could have been unsupportive of Harwin’s actions. But this explanation ultimately fails, because Lyonel likely helped put in motion Harwin’s relationship with Rhaenyra by supporting the marriage of Rhaenyra and Laenor. Alternatively, they could have been playing both sides of the succession crisis in a conspiracy with Otto.
  • When the succession crisis broke out into war, Larys and Otto both served on the Green Council (Harwin and Lionel died in a suspicious fire -- I’ll spare you speculation about this, because I’m already using a lot of space here). After Rhaenyra took King’s Landing, Larys kept the fires of the rebellion alive by hiding Aegon II.

III. The Dragon Extinction

The succession crisis and ensuing war was exceedingly unkind to dragons. All of the large, adult dragons died during this period, including Vermithor, Vhagar, Caraxes, Syrax, Dreamfyre, Tessarion, Seasmoke, Siverwing, Sunfyre, Morghul, Shrykos, Meleys, Arrax, Tyraxes, Moondancer, and Stormcloud.

  • Quite a few of the above deaths were caused Targaryen-vs-Targayen conflict that had been fanned by the Hightowers, the Strongs, and Mellos. Other deaths are directly or indirectly linked to Addam of Driftwood.
  • Addam was a “bastard Velaryon” with questionable origins. After taming Seasmoke, he managed to get legitimized and even become the custodian of the dragon pit in King’s Landing.
  • For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, Rhaenyra suspected that Addam was a turncout. This caused a schism between the Targaryens and the Velaryons and forced Addam to flee King’s Landing with Seasmoke.
  • Addam fled to the Isle of Faces, across the lake from House Strong’s Harrenhal. After seeking counsel with the green men, he marshalled forces on Rhaenyra’s behalf (allegedly) and initiated the Second Battle of Tumbleton, where three healthy, mature dragons ultimately died. One of those dragons -- Tessarion -- was killed by order of Benjicot Blackwood, an ancestor of Bloodraven and Lord of a house closely associated with ravens and weirwood. The deathblow allegedly was a mercy kill, but the apparent coincidence deserves note.
  • Was Addam undermining the Hightowers in the Second Battle of Tumbleton? Did he redeem himself as a Black loyalist? I’d argue that he didn’t. By the time Addam arrived in Tumbleton, it had been taken by Ulf and Hugh Hammer. Ulf and Hugh were allegedly defectors to the greens, but Hugh had plans to be king and Ulf wanted the reach. The two betrayers had essentially become an independent third force opposed to both the greens and the blacks. The greens -- led by Hobert Hightower -- had formed the “caltrops” and were conspiring to kill Ulf and Hugh. After Addam’s attack, Ulf, Hugh, and their dragons were dead, and the greens regained control over Tumbleton. The greens suffered horrible casualties, but they might have suffered even worse casualties had Addam not killed Vermithor.
  • The text of the Princess and the Queen also includes a subtle hint that Addam’s loyalties were not quite a clear cut as they seem. When Addam’s Seasmoke descended upon Vermithor, observers of the battle noted that Vermithor would have easily torn Seasmoke to shreds were it not for the fact that Tessarion had unexpectedly joined the battle. Why did Tessarion join? The narrator speculates that “Some will claim that the bond between a dragon and dragonrider runs so deep that the best shares his master’s loves and hates.” We can’t take the narrator’s word at face value, but it’s certainly odd that the narrator would imply that Tessarion’s master (Daeron Targaryen, son of Alicent) was aligned with Addam and Seasmoke. We also can’t rule out the possibility that one or more of the dragons in this fight were warged or interefered with by nearby green men or more distant greenseers.
  • The most brutal dragon murder in the Dance of the Dragons was also indirectly connected with Addam. The “storming of the dragonpit” was allegedly a spontaneous peasant reaction against dragons orchestrated by the mysterious “shepherd.” I’m skeptical that peasants -- even drunk peasants -- are willing and able to kill dragons without a little help. I’m also skeptical about their arms and armor, as well as their knowledge of both the front and the back door to the dragon pit. It’s worth noting that they broke into the pit some point after Addam left the pit. Maybe Rhaenyra was wrong to accuse Addam of treason, and maybe he would have kept the pit safe. Then again, maybe she was right and he passed inside information about the pit to the right people. I’ll take this moment to note that our narrator is a maester, so it’s quite possible that critical details have been omitted from the story that would explain the seemingly inexplicable actions of Rhaenyra vis-à-vis Addam and his odd decision to seek counsel with the green men.
  • The lake to which Addam retreated -- God’s Eye -- was also the site of a lethal battle between Daemon and Aemond Targaryen, which occurred after Daemon took Harrenhal. The battle claimed both of their lives, and the lives of their two massive dragons, Caraxes and Vhagar. This is yet another odd coincidence. The death of both of these Targaryens and their massive, healthy dragons was a major win for the God’s Eye conspiracy.
  • The complete extinction of dragons occurred during the reign of Aegon III. It’s worth noting that the events of the Dance of Dragons had left Aegon III unable to bond properly with dragons. If the citadel wanted to finish the dragons off by undermining their breeding through poisons or other means, this was the perfect time to act. The Dance of the Dragons was a wild success for the God’s Eye Conspiracy.
  • The role of the Hightowers and the Strongs in the Dance of the Dragons ultimately weakened both houses. The Strongs became largely extinct (the only remaining alleged Strongs are mercenaries in the Golden Company, which is interesting in and of itself). The Hightowers lost control over the court and receded from view over the coming years. Hopefully I’ve convinced you that these two Houses didn’t bumble into the Dance of the Dragons. While they appeared to be vying for power, their actions often ran against their self interests. I would view their roles as self-sacrificing -- Hobert is perhaps the clearest example of this; he clearly sacrificed himself to kill Silverwing’s rider. Otto, Hobert, Ormund, Alicent, Lionel, Larys, and Harwin are each more deserving of the moniker “Dragonbane” than Aegon III.

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This is well laid out. I think you, at the very least, make a convincing case that the Dance was orchestrated by a handful of people who may have had reasons for wanting to weaken the Targaryens. I'm still not sold on the Green Men/Weirnet overall conspiracy, but it's not implausible.


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That's a lot of information to process. I'm not fully convinced but you make good points.


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Definitely onto something here but like others said we need more to tie the Green Men/Old Gods portion into the rest of it. Btw I think there's a connection between Larys Strong Master of Whispers and Qyburn's time at Harrenhall. I posted it recently looking for input but nothing came of it. I'm hopeful the rest of your theory will give me the clue i need. Qyburn gave Roose that weird book that he burnt in front of Arya. Larys becomes Lord of Harrenhall while he's the Master of Whispers then Qyburn becomes Master of Whispers himself. I think the dots are clearly connected but I'm not sure what those dots are exactly lol Maybe your theory will bring it all together. Can't wait to read it!

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Sorry for the long absence. I figured the length, formatting, etc., was a bit much given the initial silence. Yes, I absolutely need to connect it with the green men.



I'll get cracking on the second part.


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Silverwing didn't die in the Dance, though...

Yeah, Silverwing shouldn't be up there. To be honest, I can't remember Silverwing's ultimate fate (or perhaps that unclear in the text).

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Indeed continue because I don't fully understand what you are saying about "God's Eye Conspiracy" You have laid out a lot of facts and interpretations but you haven't submitted condensed statement of your theory. I assume your theory is that the CotF at the God's Eye are controlling the events of Westeros, additionally you haven't really touched on the Curse of Harrenhal which I want to hear more about.



Please continue and also lay out your theory in a single sentence the present the rest of your argument.


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The theory, as I understand it right now, is that the Green Men worked with/through various operatives to eliminate the Dragons.


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Lannisters and Tullys have weir woods in their godswoods? Where was that stated? I know they have godswoods, but I don't recall them mentioning a weir wood in either.

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I think it is pretty clear that there is some Maester/Science led-conspiracy to eliminate dragons and magic, and that the Citadel lies at the heart (and so the Hightowers are obviously major suspects as well as any Maesters).



That said, I fail to see the connection points between the Maester conspiracy as previously detailed and the Green Men/God's Eye. In fact, given that several of the hints pointing towards a Maester conspiracy seem to be "anti-magic" I wonder if the Green Men are as much targets as the Targaryens and the Dragons.


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I'd love to put a spoiler tag on this, and I'm sorry for failing to do so in the first instance, but how do I edit my title? In addition to adding a spoiler tag, I'd love to change the title to remove "Part 1." I Intend to put all three parts in this thread so as not to open too many threads on the same subject.






I think it is pretty clear that there is some Maester/Science led-conspiracy to eliminate dragons and magic, and that the Citadel lies at the heart (and so the Hightowers are obviously major suspects as well as any Maesters).



That said, I fail to see the connection points between the Maester conspiracy as previously detailed and the Green Men/God's Eye. In fact, given that several of the hints pointing towards a Maester conspiracy seem to be "anti-magic" I wonder if the Green Men are as much targets as the Targaryens and the Dragons.





I'm not sure that I'd put all of the Citadel into the same camp. Some are anti-magic, and some appear to have other goals.



As to my failure to link this conspiracy to the Green Men/God's Eye, I agree! The original post is intended to be part 1 of 3. The links will be made mosly in Parts 2 and 3, and I confess that my evidence is circumstantial and based on inferences (how could it not be at this point?).






Lannisters and Tullys have weir woods in their godswoods? Where was that stated? I know they have godswoods, but I don't recall them mentioning a weir wood in either.






For Riverrun, see GoT, Chapter 71, Catelyn. Riverrun's Weirwood allegedly has a "sad face." Clearly the Tully's are not followers of the Old Gods, but they still have a Southron Weirwood, which is unusual.



For Casterly Rock, see ADwD, Chapter 48, Jaime.



Without further ado, I'm posting Part 2 below.


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Part 2



The purpose of Part 1 was to convince you that the Dance of the Dragons was an orchestrated attempt to eliminate dragons, and it was wildly successful. The masterminds for the DoD dragonicide were House Hightower, House Strong, and certain members of the Citadel, including Maester Mellos. As I’ll suggest below, the Hightowers, certain factions at the Citadel (particularly those close to ravenry), and several Lords of Harrenhal (including the Strongs, Whents, and Lothstons) continued to be part of a grand conspiracy.



Part 2 will argue that Robert’s Rebellion was also an orchestrated affair, as were the pairings that led to the births of Danny (fire), Jon (ice and fire), Arya (ice), and Bran (greenseer). The key players in this affair were, once again, House Hightower, certain members of the Citadel, and House Strong’s successor, House Whent. The continuity between this conspiracy and the DoD conspiracy suggests something broader than simply Dragonicide. As I will argue, that broader conspiracy appears to be related to the green men and in recent times, Bloodraven.



I. Background on Harrenhal and the Whents



Before getting to Robert’s Rebellion, we should explore Harrenhal for a moment to understand if and how House Whent is connected to the former Lords of Harrenhal. Ultimately, I hope to convince you that House Strong and House Whent played parallel roles in the civil wars of their time. Moreover, I want you to think about forces that might be tying the lords of Harrenhal together if not blood relations. Bear in mind that Harrenhal is adjacent to God’s Eye and it’s one of the few Southron keeps that has its own Weirwood (Arya reported that the Weirwood in Harrenhal if rather terrifying looking).



The first clue is House Whent’s coat of arms: 9 bats over a yellow field. GRRM didn’t just casually throw this coat of arms into secondary material; it’s specifically mentioned in a Catelyn chapter in GoT. Oswell Whent also prominently displays a bat on helmet, which is odd for a Kingsguard whose loyalties should lie first with the King rather than his house. We learned about this helmet in a Ned chapter in GoT. The coat of arms tells us two things: (1) The bats are a reference to bats in Harrenhal, so it’s unlikely that the Whents were landed nobles prior to Harrenhal (i.e., they do not appear to have had a coat of arms prior to becoming the Lords of Harrenhal); and (2) the coat of arms closely parallels the coat of arms for the prior Lords of Harrenhal, House Lothston, which is also mentioned repeatedly in the primary books (SoS, Chapter 44, and FfC, Chapter 4).



Why on earth (planetos?) would any House knowingly adopt a coat of arms closely paralleling House Lothston, which had an awful reputation and went extinct? The few things we know about House Lothston are that they betrayed Daemon Blackfire, offered their support to Bloodraven, and were reputed to be deeply involved in dark magic and blood rituals. Linking your House to the Lothstons despite their reputation and despite rumors of Harrenhal’s curse is fatalistic, to say the least. The Whents may very well have expected their own extinction and knowingly played their role on behalf of something greater. Like the Strongs, they came from nowhere and somehow became deeply entwined in the key events of their time (I’ll explain the Whent’s role in Robert’s Rebellion below).



In addition to the continuity with respect to the coat of arms, there was an apparent continuity in staffing between the houses that has certain almost supernatural elements. I’m talking specifically about Ben Blackthumb, a man who entered the service of House Lannister at Harrenhal after serving for both the Whents and the Lothstons. According to A Clash of Kings, Chapter 14, Ben served three generations of Whents and Lord Lothston prior to working for the Lannisters at Harrenhal. So how old is Ben Blackthumb? A Feast of Crows, Chapter 4, tells us that a sixty-year old man is the great, great grandson of the person who killed the last Lothston. Ben served the last Lothston. If a generation is roughly 25 years, then the person who killed the last Lothston would be about 165 years old (if they were still alive, which presumably they aren’t). I know that GRRM doesn’t want us to do the math on ages by connecting these dots, but let’s at least stipulate that Ben Blackthumb seems to be unnaturally old no matter how you do the math.



Finally, I think we all agree that there is something going on in Harrenhal that isn’t quite normal. In addition to the alleged curse, we know that Roose Bolton found a mysterious book in Harrenhal that he tossed into the flames, where it burned as if being turned by ghosts (paraphrasing Arya). We also know that women born in Harrenhal tend to have fertility problems (various Whents and Pia). Finally, it’s unusual that random houses that occupy Harrenhal tend to have disproportionate representation in the court of Kings Landing (Larys Strong, Lyonell Strong, Oswell Whent) and in various Royals’ bedrooms (House Harroway, Strong, and Lothston each boasted royal paramours and mistresses), particularly because Harrenhal has always been held by a young house.



Perhaps the distinction between the individual houses that control Harrenhal is not particularly important. Perhaps something in or around Harrenhal is putting its representatives into places of power and maintaining some sort of continuity between the various houses that rule Harrenhal. One more thing to note here: The Golden Company currently includes one alleged Lothston serjeant, and two alleged Strong serjeants. The houses may not be entirely extinct (the Golden Company members can choose their own names, so these may not be real Lothsons and Strongs). As for the Whents, their bloodline lives on through the Starks, as noted below.


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II. House Whent Takes Center Stage



By the time of Robert’s Rebellion, this random house that emerged from nowhere suddenly became extremely important. First, we know that Oswell Whent was a KG and one of the three KG who protected Lyanna at the Tower of Joy. Second, we know that House Whent orchestrated one of the grandest tourneys of its time, which culminated in a love affair or kidnapping (depending on who you ask) between Lyanna and Rhaegar and resulted in Robert’s Rebellion. Third, we know that Minissa Whent was married to Hoster Tully, resulting in the birth of Catelynn Tully and her descendants. Let’s examine each of these topics.



Oswell likely was appointed to the King’s Guard by Lord Commander Gerald Hightower, paralleling the relationship between Lyonel Strong and Otto Hightower on the eve of the Dance of the Dragons. The books give very few details about Oswell, but we know that (1) he encourages his brother, Lord of Harrenhal, to arrange the Tourney of Harrenhal; (2) he conspicuously wore the symbol of House Whent and House Lothston -- the bat (as noted); (3) he had a “dark sense of humor” (as noted); and (4) he was present at the Tower of Joy.



Ned also remembers that Oswell said a few things before the fight at the Tower of Joy. In response to Ned’s comment that he “looked for you on the Trident,” Ser Gerold said “We were not there,” and Ser Oswell said “Woe to the Usurper if we had been.” I hate to read too much into this, but don’t you think it’s odd that they weren’t at the trident, particularly if Ser Oswell seriously believes that they could have turned the tide against Robert? Yes, Rhaegar likely ordered them to stay at the ToJ, but these three KG’s aren’t Rhaegar’s to command. Their job is to protect Arys, and it’s hard to imagine Aerys sending his finest warrior out into a random tower in the Dornish Marches. The conversation between Ned and these three continues, as they explain that they also weren’t protecting Aerys at King’s Landing (what?!?), or the Queen and her children (again, what?!?). I realize that some people on these forums have concluded that Jon was legitimatized somehow and is the rightful heir, but even if all of that were true, he could not possibly have been the first in line when these three KG decided to head south instead of protecting the royal family. At best, they were protecting the third in line when their King was hundreds of miles away. Oswell Whent, Arthur Dayne, and Hightower were up to something suspicious. But what?



The second interesting thing about House Whent is the Tourney at Harrenhal. The Tourney is loaded with significance that I can’t even begin to cover in any reasonably brief post. Look here for a complete factual analysis: http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/91804-everything-we-know-about-tourney-of-harrenhal/. The facts that are most important to this thread are (1) Rhaegar saw Lyanna and became smitten with her; (2) Rhaegar won the tourney, which is unusual, particularly because he defeated Dayne and Selmy; and (3) the Knight of the Laughing tree knocked out several day 2 champions and avenged Howland Reed.


I would argue that someone behind the scenes foresaw the events at Harrenhal and may have facilitated them. First, we know through Meera that the Crannogmen are directly connected with the Green Men and sought counsel with them prior to Harrenhal. They were up to something, and that something almost certainly relates in one way or another to the Knight of the Laughing tree, who conspicuously carries a shield displaying a weirwood tree. Second, there was no clear reason for GRRM to specifically mention that Oswell and his brother conferred about the Tourney if the Tourney was really just about the Lord Whent throwing a party to honor his daughter and show off his wealth (why would Oswell care about such things as a KG?). No, someone gave Lyanna an opportunity to make an impression on Rhaeggar and may have even armed her (like many people, I think the case for Lyanna as Knight of the Laughing Tree is strong). And this opportunity came shortly after Maesters had convinced Rhaeggar that Elia could not bear anymore children, and after Elia had been bedridden for half a year (i.e., Rhaeggar would have been primed to look for another mate at this point). Furthermore, the path to victory for Rhaeggar was a bit fortuitous. He defeated opponents that ordinarily would have bested him (Dayne, Selmy), some of the combatants were defeated by a mystery knight who left the tourney, and all of the home team (the numerous Whents) were defeated quite early.



The third interesting thing about House Whent is a certain character named Catelyn Tully. House Whent died out, but the blood of the Whents still runs through many of the central characters in ASOIF. Catelyn was the daughter of Minissa Whent, who was the daughter of Lord Whent (first name unknown). A descendent of House Whent -- the Lords of Harrenhal and closest house to the largest collection of weirwood trees in Westeros -- just happens to become the successor to Brynden Rivers. And that same Brynden Rivers was supported by House Lothston of Harrenhal (Whent’s predecessors), who notoriously betrayed Daemon Blackfyre in the first Blackfyre rebellion and conspicuously supported Brynden Rivers in the second Blackfyre rebellion. So whose idea was it to pair up the descendant of House Whent with House Stark?

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