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The Blackfyre

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One of the most frequent retorts to the Aegon Blackfyre theory is that there is not enough development for it early in the novels, and by early in the novels, I mean the first three, which were all published within four years of each other, Game (08/06/1996), Clash (11/16/1998), and Storm (08/08/2000).

Part of the problem is that we don't even see the word Blackfyre until well into Storm. But we have to keep in mind that, as the George's recently disclosed 1993 letter makes clear, he intended ASOIAF to be a trilogy divided into: 1) the game of thrones, when houses Stark and Lannister would struggle for supremacy, 2) a dance of dragons, when Daenerys Targaryen would return to reclaim her father's throne, and 3) winds of winter, when a new battle for the dawn would be fought against the Others. And the George has told us that his tale grew in the telling, so that the first part, or act, of the trilogy became Game, Clash, and Storm, and the first half of the second part became Feast and Dance. So, we can at least say that Blackfyre appeared in the first act.

The first time we read the word Blackfyre was in Catelyn IV, Storm 35...

"Precedent," she said bitterly. "Yes, Aegon the Fourth legitimized all his bastards on his deathbed. And how much pain, grief, war, and murder grew from that? I know you trust Jon. But can you trust his sons? Or their sons? The Blackfyre pretenders troubled the Targaryens for five generations, until Barristan the Bold slew the last of them on the Stepstones. If you make Jon legitimate, there is no way to turn him bastard again. Should he wed and breed, any sons you may have by Jeyne will never be safe."

We read Blackfyre again in the following chapter, Davos IV, Storm 36...

"It has always been so. I am not . . . I am not a cruel man, Ser Davos. You know me. Have known me long. This is not my decree. It has always been so, since Aegon's day and before. Daemon Blackfyre, the brothers Toyne, the Vulture King, Grand Maester Hareth . . . traitors have always paid with their lives . . . even Rhaenyra Targaryen. She was daughter to one king and mother to two more, yet she died a traitor's death for trying to usurp her brother's crown. It is law. Law, Davos. Not cruelty."

The reader noticed here that this Daemon Blackfyre was mentioned with, among others, the brothers Toyne and Rhaenyra Targaryen.

And we read Blackfyre again in the chapter after that, Jaime V, Storm 37...

He floated in heat, in memory. "After dancing griffins lost the Battle of the Bells, Aerys exiled him." Why am I telling this absurd ugly child? "He had finally realized that Robert was no mere outlaw lord to be crushed at whim, but the greatest threat House Targaryen had faced since Daemon Blackfyre. The king reminded Lewyn Martell gracelessly that he held Elia and sent him to take command of the ten thousand Dornishmen coming up the kingsroad. Jon Darry and Barristan Selmy rode to Stoney Sept to rally what they could of griffin's men, and Prince Rhaegar returned from the south and persuaded his father to swallow his pride and summon my father. But no raven returned from Casterly Rock, and that made the king even more afraid. He saw traitors everywhere, and Varys was always there to point out any he might have missed. So His Grace commanded his alchemists to place caches of wildfire all over King's Landing. Beneath Baelor's Sept and the hovels of Flea Bottom, under stables and storehouses, at all seven gates, even in the cellars of the Red Keep itself."

Very interestingly here, we read Daemon Blackfyre mentioned in passing when Jaime told us about the griffin's part in Robert's Rebellion. From Arya V, Storm 29, we knew that dancing griffin was Jon Connington. And we knew from Daenerys I, Storm 8, that young Lord Connington was dear to Prince Rhaegar.

So, in three successive chapters, the George presented us with this Blackfyre, and associated this Blackfyre with House Toyne, Rhaenyra Targaryen, and Jon Connington. Before the first act of the original trilogy ended, though, we read Blackfyre one more time in Jaime VIII, Storm 67

Ser Barristan of House Selmy. . . . . Slew Maelys the Monstrous, last of the Blackfyre Pretenders, in single combat during the War of the Ninepenny Kings. . . .

And that's all we knew about Blackfyre from the early novels: The traitor Daemon Blackfyre was a bastard legitimized by Aegon the IV, and his line continued to trouble the crown for five generations until Barristan the Bold slew Maelys the Monstrous, who was the last of the Blackfyre Pretenders, during the War of the Ninepenny Kings. In fact it was only in correspondence with fans released 06/13/2001, nearly a year after Storm had been published that the George first revealed the name of the primary Valyrian steel blade of House Targaryen. There were more bits and pieces of Blackfyre backstory in the early novels, but we did not have enough information to realize it.

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The First Blackfyre Rebellion

Before Clash was even published, we got the first story of the Tales of Dunk and Egg, when The Hedge Knight was included in Legends (08/01/1998). However, there was no reference to the Blackfyre in that short story. It was not until three years after Storm, but two years before Feast, that we got The Sworn Sword in Legends II (12/30/2003), and the first Blackfyre Rebellion was described in detail. We also learned about Daemon's half-brothers called the Great Bastards, Aegor Rivers called Bittersteel, born to House Bracken, and Brynden Rivers called Bloodraven, born to House Blackwood, for the first time.

Daemon, a true warrior, had reversed the Targaryen colors from red on black to black on red, and he had taken the name Blackfyre after his father had given him the primary Valyrian steel blade of House Targaryen. Daeron II, the presumably legitimate son of Aegon IV, had given the hand of his trueborn sister Daenerys to the Prince of Dorne, although it was widely believed that Daemon and Daenerys were in love. Daemon acted chivalrously on the field during the battle that ended his rebellion, and Bloodraven, who fought for Daeron against Daemon and Bittersteel, took advantage, killing Daemon and his twin sons Aegon and Aemon. Bittersteel put out one of Bloodraven's eyes before the battle ended. Bittersteel escaped to Tyrosh with more of Daemon's sons, and he continued to plot rebellion. Some Blackfyre loyalists followed Bittersteel across the Narrow Sea, and some were pardoned and remained in the Seven Kingdoms, pining for Bittersteel's return. Such Blackfyre loyalists hoped to achieve material, political, and social gains, but they also believed in the Blackfyre cause. And they hated Bloodraven who had become the Hand of King Aerys I, son of Daeron II.

That Bittersteel retreated to Tyrosh was interesting since the reader recalled that the brother of the Archon of Tyrosh was a guest in Drogo's manse when Daenerys was betrothed to the Dothraki Khal in Game.

We also read great detail about Bloodraven, an albino with a wine-stain birthmark across one of his cheeks, who was said to have had a thousand eyes and one. He maintained a company of archers called the Raven's Teeth, he wore smoke and scarlet, and he wielded Dark Sister, the other ancestral Valyrian steel blade of House Targaryen. He was rumored to have been a sorcerer, and his paramour, Lady Shiera was said to have practiced black arts, including bathing in the blood of virgins to maintain her youth.

That was a lot of build up for the Blackfyre, all of which was published before the second act of ASOIAF opened. None of the other little histories and backstories mentioned in passing in the main novels got their own short stories--not until the Dance of the Dragons much later. Yes, The Sworn Sword followed the first part of the trilogy, but it preceded the second part of the trilogy. And The Sworn Sword could not be dismissed as just an entertaining read or an example of extraneous world-building. The Tales of Dunk and Egg, and apparently The Princess and the Queen and The Rouge Prince, and perhaps even TWOIAF, were all ancillary to the main novels, i.e., necessary to fully understand and appreciate the plot of ASOIAF.

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The Second Dance of the Dragons

Five years after Storm, but just two years after The Sworn Sword, the second part of ASOIAF opened with Feast (10/17/2005). Unfortunately, it did not continue until nearly six years later with Dance (07/12/2011). But the George decided to spilt what should have been one novel, Feast and the first half of Dance, into two novels, and it took him a long time to solve his Meereenese knot before he finally gave us Dance. It will be very interesting to see whether the George can resolve the Second Dance of the Dragons and begin the War for the Dawn in Winds.

In Samwell I, Feast 5, we learned that Daeron II was rumored to have been fathered by Aemon Targaryen of the Kingsguard called the Dragonknight, and not by Aegon IV the Unworthy. And we recalled that even Maester Aemon leant credibility to the rumor when he told Jon Snow of his own heritage way back in Game. Sansa had told us back in Storm that Naerys was Aegon's sister and queen, and that he never harmed her, perhaps out of fear for their brother the Dragonknight. And the very attentive reader would have recalled way back in Game, when Sansa was about to go riding with Joffrey near the Trident, she told us that Prince Aemon the Dragonknight championed Queen Naerys's honor against evil Ser Morgil's slanders. A little later, when the Ned told Sansa that her engagement with Joffrey would soon be over, she suggested that Queen Naerys loved Prince Aemon the Dragonknight. In Clash, she suggested that Prince Aemon the Dragonknight cried the day Princess Naerys wed his brother Aegon. A song was sung about the romance during the Battle of the Blackwater. As Meera was telling Bran about the Tourney at Harrenhal, Bran was telling us that the Dragonknight once won a tourney as the Knight of Tears, so he could name his sister the queen of love and beauty in place of the king's mistress. A few chapters later in Feast, Arys Oakheart suggested that the tale of Prince Aemon's treason with Queen Naerys was only that, a tale, a lie his brother told when he wished to set his trueborn son aside in favor of his bastard. However, it was clear that Arys was fighting his lust for Arianne, and losing miserably, so his denial lacked at least some credibility. Arianne told us that Terrence Toyne of the Kingsguard had an affair with the king's mistress. Later Jaime told us that Aegon the Unworthy put Terrence to death for the act. Cersei added that Aegon had him dismembered. Jaime told us that the brothers Toyne, the same brothers that Stannis referred to when he mentioned Daemon Blackfyre's treason, tried to kill Aegon IV, but that the Dragonknight saved his brother.

Arys and Arianne also told us about Rhaenyra Targaryen in Feast, another of the traitors Stannis mentioned along with Daemon Blackfyre back in Storm. She was intended by her father Viserys I, to follow him, but the Lord Commander of his Kingsguard, Ser Criston Cole, called the Kingmaker, set her brother Aegon II against her, bringing on the Dance of the Dragons, possibly out of revenge for having been spurned by Rhaenyra. Of course the truly attentive reader of Feast would then recall Bran II, Game 8, wherein Bran told us that the twins Ser Erryk and Ser Arryk, had died on one another's swords hundreds of years ago, when brother fought sister in the war the singers called the Dance of the Dragons. The complex round of interwoven ballads called the Dance of the Dragons was mentioned in passing in Eddard VII, Game 30. During the purple wedding, Tyrion told us that the ballads were more properly a song for two singers, male and female. And we knew from Jaime after he had returned to King's Landing in Storm that the Kingsguard had been divided during the Dance of the Dragons. Criston Cole, who had been Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, had served both Viserys I and Aegon II. He was called Kingmaker. A little more was added in Dance when Tyrion told us that Aegon's brother Aemond rode Vhagar and that Rhaenyra rode Syrax. The Dance of the Dragons was mentioned a few more times in Dance, but no more detail was added until we read The Princess and the Queen after Dance.

And we learned in Feast the rest of Jon Connington's backstory when Jaime returned to Harrenhal on his way back to Riverrun...

Jon Connington had been Prince Rhaegar's friend. When Merryweather failed so dismally to contain Robert's Rebellion and Prince Rhaegar could not be found, Aerys had turned to the next best thing, and raised Connington to the Handship. But the Mad King was always chopping off his Hands. He had chopped Lord Jon after the Battle of the Bells, stripping him of honors, lands, and wealth, and packing him off across the sea to die in exile, where he soon drank himself to death. The cousin, though--Red Ronnets father--had joined the rebellion and been rewarded with Griffin's Roost after the Trident. He only got the castle, though; Robert kept the gold, and bestowed the greater part of the Connington lands on more fervent supporters.

Jaime III, Feast 27

The very attentive reader would then recall this earlier passage...

"Shall I tell the steward to prepare chambers in Maegor's Holdfast?"

"My thanks, Lord Petyr, but I will be taking Lord Stark's former quarters in the Tower of the Hand."

Littlefinger laughed. "You're a braver man than me, Lannister. You do know the fate of our last two Hands?"

"Two? If you mean to frighten me, why not say four?"

"Four?" Littlefinger raised an eyebrow. "Did the Hands before Lord Arryn meet some dire end in the Tower? I'm afraid I was too young to pay them much mind."

"Aerys Targaryen's last Hand was killed during the Sack of King's Landing, though I doubt he'd had time to settle into the Tower. He was only Hand for a fortnight. The one before him was burned to death. And before them came two others who died landless and penniless in exile, and counted themselves lucky. I believe my lord father was the last Hand to depart King's Landing with his name, properties, and parts all intact."

Tyrion I, Clash 3

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The Wheel of Time

Of course, we also saw the Blackfyre revisited in The Soiled Knight, Feast 13...

Quote

". . . Are you aware that the Golden Company has broken its contract with Myr?"

"Sellswords break their contracts all the time."

"Not the Golden Company. Our word is good as gold has been their boast since the days of Bittersteel. Myr is on the point of war with Lys and Tyrosh. Why break a contract that offered them the prospect of good wages and good plunder?"

"Perhaps Lys offered them better wages. Or Tyrosh."

"No, she said. I would believe it of any of the other free companies, yes. Most of them would change sides for half a groat. The Golden Company is different. A brotherhood of exiles and the sons of exiles, united by the dream of Bittersteel. It's home they want, as much as gold. Lord Yronwood knows that as well as I do. His forebears rode with Bittersteel during three of the Blackfyre Rebellions." She took Ser Arys by the hand, and wove her fingers through his own. "Have you ever seen the arms of House Toland of Ghost Hill?"

He had to think a moment. "A dragon eating its own tail?"

"The dragon is time. It has no beginning and no ending, so all things come round again." Anders Yronwood is Criston Cole reborn. He whispers in my brother's ear that he should rule after my father, that it is not right for men to kneel to women . . . that Arianne especially is unfit to rule, being the willful wanton that she is." She tossed her hair defiantly. "So your two princesses share a common cause, ser . . . and they share as well a knight who claims to love them both, but will not fight for them."

This was the first we learned of the most formidable of the sellsword companies, which was founded by Bittersteel with those Blackfyre loyalists that had followed him across the Narrow Sea. They continued to fight for gold, but we were told that they want home, i.e., the Seven Kingdoms. We also read that Bittersteel returned two more times to lead the Third Blackfyre Rebellion and the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion. And then, perhaps most importantly, we read the arms of House Toland, a dragon eating its own tail, and we were told that the dragon was time, and all things come round again. This was not just homage to Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time. The George was clearly telling us early in the second act of ASOIAF, when Daenerys Targaryen would return to reclaim her fathers throne, that the Blackfyre, or at least something like it, would return.

And the passage recalled another homage to Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time. Note that Jordan's true name was James Rigney...

Quote

"Archmaester Rigney once wrote that history is a wheel, for the nature of man is fundamentally unchanging. What has happened before will perforce happen again, he said."

The Kraken's Daughter, Feast 11

As the saga developed we learned of a trade war between Lys and Tyrosh. Myr was about to join Tyrosh, but curiously, the Archon of Tyrosh, the brother of the man who had been noted at the betrothal of Daenerys to Drogo, which had been brokered by Illyrio, offered terms to Lys to end the war. This appeared to be because the Golden Company, shockingly, had just broken its contract to fight for Myr. But the Archon of Tyrosh was involved in Doran Martell's plot to wed Arianne to Viserys. And while the George told us in an SSM that neither Illyrio nor Varys knew of that plot, we discovered that Doran had been waiting for Viserys to find an army in Essos, and we recalled that Illyrio had promised Viserys command of ten thousand Dothraki warriors in exchange for his sisters hand for Drogo.

We also learned just a bit more about the War of the Ninepenny Kings, during which Barristan slew Maelys Blackfyre. Brynden Tully called the Blackfish fought in the war as did Septon Meribald. And Meribald, referring to the First Blackfyre Rebellion told us the tale of the Clanking Dragon...

Quote

When Podrick asked the name of the inn where they hoped to spend the night, Septon Meribald seized upon the question eagerly, perhaps to take their minds off the grisly sentinels along the roadside. "The Old Inn, some call it. There has been an inn there for many hundreds of years, though this inn was only raised during the reign of the first Jaehaerys, the king who built the kingsroad. Jaehaerys and his queen slept there during their journeys, it is said. For a time the inn was known as the Two Crowns in their honor, until one innkeep built a bell tower, and changed it to the Bellringer Inn. Later it passed to a crippled knight named Long Jon Heddle, who took up ironworking when he grew too old to fight. He forged a new sign for the yard, a three-headed dragon of black iron that he hung from a wooden post. The beast was so big it had to be made in a dozen pieces, joined with rope and wire. When the wind blew it would clank and clatter, so the inn became known far and wide as the Clanking Dragon."

"Is the dragon sign still there?" asked Podrick.

"No," said Septon Meribald. "When the smith's son was an old man, a bastard son of the fourth Aegon rose up in rebellion against his trueborn brother and took for his sigil a black dragon. These lands belonged to Lord Darry then, and his lordship was fiercely loyal to the king. The sight of the black iron dragon made him wroth, so he cut down the post, hacked the sign into pieces, and cast them into the river. One of the dragons heads washed up on the Quiet Isle many years later, though by that time it was red with rust."

Brienne VII, Feast 37

We would hear more about House Heddle after Feast. But for now, the George was clearly foreshadowing the return of the black dragon disguised as a red dragon. And note that what washed up red with rust was one of the dragon's heads.

Maester Aemon gave us a bit more of Bloodraven's backstory (another thing that would come round again) in Feast, as well...

Quote

The old man heard him. Though Aemon's eyes had dimmed and gone dark, there was nothing wrong with his ears. "I was not born blind," he reminded them. "When last I passed this way, I saw every rock and tree and whitecap, and watched the grey gulls flying in our wake. I was five-and-thirty and had been a maester of the chain for sixteen years. Egg wanted me to help him rule, but I knew my place was here. He sent me north aboard the Golden Dragon, and insisted that his friend Ser Duncan see me safe to Eastwatch. No recruit had arrived at the Wall with so much pomp since Nymeria sent the Watch six kings in golden fetters. Egg emptied out the dungeons too, so I would not need to say my vows alone. My honor guard, he called them. One was no less a man than Brynden Rivers. Later he was chosen lord commander."

"Bloodraven?" said Dareon. "I know a song about him. 'A Thousand Eyes, and One,' it's called. But I thought he lived a hundred years ago."

"We all did. Once I was as young as you."

Samwell II, Feast 15

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The Second Blackfyre Rebellion

Then, a little more than one year before Dance, the George gave us The Mystery Knight in Warriors (03/16/2010), of which the Second Blackfyre Rebellion, a failed attempt to rally support by Daemon II, was the subject.

We learned that Bloodraven kept the royal fleet on the east coast, anticipating that Bittersteel would return from Tyrosh, with Daemon's five remaining sons. However, this action left the west coast vulnerable to reavers from the Iron Islands. The tale opened with Dunk recalling a septon preaching against Bloodraven and calling for the return of the Blackfyre, one of Daemon's seven sons. We learned that bastards, such as Glendon Ball, saw Daemon as a hero, who deserved to be king. Along with Bittersteel, Glendon's natural father Ser Quentyn Ball, the master-at-arms at the Red Keep, had encouraged Daemon to rebel after he was passed over for the Kingsguard, having gone so far as to set his wife aside in order to take his vows. We learned that many houses were internally divided between the black and the red, some on principle, some for strategic advantage. The Blackfyres minted their own coin, and it was treason to hold or pass it. Before revealing himself at the traitors' tourney at Whitewalls, a clandestine gathering of Blackfyre loyalists and men nursing grievances against the Iron Throne, Daemon II assumed the name John the Fiddler and dyed his hair black. The traitors' tourney failed to rally support in part because Daemon II did not wield Blackfyre. Many guessed that he could not be his father's son since Bittersteel had not joined himI or given him Blackfyre. Bloodraven arrived with a host at his back and took Daemon II into custody, holding him hostage against Bittersteel and Daemon's brother Haegon.

And we learned more about Bloodraven's sorcerous ways...

How many eyes does Lord Bloodraven have? the riddle ran. A thousand eyes, and one. Some claimed the King's Hand was a student of the dark arts who could change his face, put on the likeness of a one-eyed dog, even turn into a mist. Packs of gaunt gray wolves hunted down his foes, men said, and carrion crows spied for him and whispered secrets in his ear. Most of the tales were only tales, Dunk did not doubt, but no one could doubt that Bloodraven had informers everywhere.

...

A single white dragon announced the presence of the King's Hand, Lord Brynden Rivers.

And it was evident that the character Maynard Plumm was Bloodraven wearing a glamor.

Interestingly, following Meribald's tale of the Clanking Dragon in Feast, we learned a great deal more about Black Tom Heddle in The Mystery Knight. Ser Tommard Heddle was a fighter of some renown. Dunk managed to kill Tom when Tom tried to take Egg into custody, but apparently Tom, who was wed to one of Lord Butterwell's daughters left heirs. We recalled way back in Game that Masha Heddle was the innkeeper at the Inn of the Crossroads, and that the Inn had a bell tower with a very loud bell, but Masha was hung by Lannister forces, apparently in retribution for Tyrion's abduction. And we learned in Feast that the Inn at the Crossroads was the same as the Clanking Dragon. After the war quieted down in the Riverlands, two of Masha's nieces, Willow and Jeyne, returned to keep the inn in the Heddle family. They were affiliated with the Brotherhood without Banners.

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A Dance with Dragons

A year later, the second act continued with A Dance with Dragons, and, as expected, the return of the dragon was brought to the forefront immediately following the prologue...

Magister Illyrio wiped sweet cream from his mouth with the back of a fat hand. "The road to Casterly Rock does not go through Dorne, my little friend. Nor does it run beneath the Wall. Yet there is such a road, I tell you."

...

"Are your Seven Kingdoms so different? There is no peace in Westeros, no justice, no faith . . . and soon enough, no food. When men are starving and sick of fear, they look for a savior."

"They may look, but if all they find is Stannis--"

"Not Stannis. Nor Myrcella." The yellow smile widened. "Another. Stronger than Tommen, gentler than Stannis, with a better claim than the girl Myrcella. A savior come from across the sea to bind up the wounds of bleeding Westeros."

"Fine words." Tyrion was unimpressed. "Words are wind. Who is this bloody savior?"

"A dragon. The cheesemonger saw the look on his face at that, and laughed. A dragon with three heads."

Tyrion I, Dance 1

With that, Illyrio apparently told Tyrion that he intended to bring Daenerys west and help her secure her presumed birthright, the Iron Throne, but the Blackfyre was interjected when we heard from Tyrion next. Illyrio advised him that Daenerys had conquered in Slaver's Bay, and he believed that Daenerys had already begun her return to the west. Assuming that she would have to stop at Volantis, he explained to Tyrion that Griff, a purported sellsword acting as his agent, would take Tyrion down the Rhoyne to Volantis, where they would join Daenerys and advise her along with Barristan the Bold. But quite surprisingly, in addition to the forces that Daenerys had acquired in the east, Illyrio advised Tyrion that he had contracted the Golden Company to support her claim to the Seven Kingdoms.

At this point, the attentive reader would have recalled The Soiled Knight in Feast when we first learned about the Golden Company, which was founded by Bittersteel and his Blackfyre loyalists across the Narrow Sea, and that, as suggested by the arms of House Toland, a dragon eating its own tail, all things come round again.

In Jaime's one chapter in Dance, we learned that Aegon the Unworthy had loved a Bracken before taking up with a Blackwood, which further explained the animosity between Bittersteel and Bloodraven. And we learned that Bittersteel coveted Bloodraven's paramour, Shiera Seastar. We also learned from Brown Ben Plumm that Bittersteel had served with the Second Sons before founding the Golden Company.

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Peeling another Egg

As they traveled to meet Griff, Tyrion apparently assumed that Illyrio had secured the Golden Company with coin, but Illyrio never claimed that. In fact, he hinted at the truth when he said, "Some contracts are writ in ink, and some in blood. I say no more." The George also, quite slyly, had Illyrio point out that only the male line of House Blackfyre ended when Barristan slew Maelys. Then, rather out of the blue, the George had Illyrio tell us about Serra, a woman with big blue eyes and pale golden hair streaked by silver, whom he found in a Lysene pillow house. He fell in love and married her, at great cost to his social standing in Pentos. Very interestingly, as Illyrio told Tyrion how she died from the grey death, he discussed the cargo of the ship that carried the plague to Pentos, black cloves and red saffron, black jet and green jade, scarlet samite and green silk. While the red and black contrast as a metaphor for the Targaryen and Blackfyre rivalry had become clear, at this point the green was still a mystery.

Then Illyrio told Tyrion about Young Griff, "There never was a nobler lad," Illyrio declared. As they continued on their journey, they came upon a huge Valyrian sphinx with a dragons body and a woman's face, which Tyrion noted resembled a dragon queen. But Illyrio pointed out that she was missing her king.

When they finally came upon Haldon and Duck (that's Duck, not Dunk), the first thing we heard from Illyrio was his asking Haldon, "How fares our lad?" He told Haldon that there was gift for the lad, a sweet treat, of which the boy had always been fond, in one of the six chests Illyrio had brought with Tyrion. Illyrio wanted to feast the boy before they left, but Haldon warned that they had no time for feasts. And as Haldon and Duck departed with Tyrion, we read this curious passage...

"Good fortune," Illyrio called after them. "Tell the boy I am sorry that I will not be with him for his wedding. I will rejoin you in Westeros. That I swear, by my sweet Serra's hands."

The last that Tyrion Lannister saw of Illyrio Mopatis, the magister was standing by his litter in his brocade robes, his massive shoulders slumped. As his figure dwindled in their dust, the lord of cheese looked almost small.

Now this should have caused the reader to ask questions. Why was Illyrio so concerned about the son of some sellsword? The George had just advised us that Illyrio was very familiar with the boy, and that he cared about him. Also, at this point, we had no inkling that Young Griff was to wed in Westeros, or why that might be important. Illyrio said he would rejoin them then, and he swore it by his sweet Serra's hands. Then we recalled that Tyrion had found a chest of clothes for a small boy in Illyrio's manse, but the clothes had been stored for some time since they were musty and moths had been at them. The noble young lad obviously lived at Illyrio's manse for some time. Why?

Tyrion had assumed that the chests brought by Illyrio were filled with gold to secure the Golden Company, but they were filled with armor and clothing, and gifts for Daenerys. There was no gold for the Golden Company, but we had learned their words, Beneath the gold, the bitter steel.

Then we met the noble lad...

Tyrion craned his head to one side, and saw a boy standing on the roof of a low wooden building, waving a wide-brimmed straw hat. He was a lithe and well-made youth, with a lanky build and a shock of dark blue hair. The dwarf put his age at fifteen, sixteen, or near enough to make no matter.

A boy wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat recalled Egg. The lithe and well-made youth with the lanky build recalled the statue of Illyrio in his garden. Like Young Griff, Tyrion observed that Griff had blue hair as well, having dyed his red hair. Tyrion immediately addressed the boy, noting his blue hair, which the boy claimed to dye in honor of his Tyroshi mother, and we recalled that Egg shaved his head to hide his Targaryen platinum blond hair to maintain anonymity. In Tyrion IV, Dance 14, Young Griff's eyes were described as dark blue, black by lamplight, and purple by dusk. Tyrion almost immediately surmised that Griff was Jon Connington, who had been so dear to Rhaegar, and in Tyrion IV, after wondering at the religious and academic training Young Griff was receiving, Tyrion learned some secret from Haldon involving the birth of kings. That was followed by the very trippy scene under the Bridge of Dreams, where Tyrion exposed Young Griff as Aegon son of Rhaegar Targaryen.

We were then told that Aegon son of Rhaegar had not been killed after all. Gregor had dashed the head of some Tanner's son from Pisswater Bend whose mother died birthing him against the walls of the Red Keep. His father had sold the pisswater prince to Varys for a jug of Arbor gold. After the sack of King's Landing, Varys purportedly smuggled Aegon across the Narrow Sea to Illyrio, who put the boy's care into the hands of Jon Connington.

During a game of Cyvasse, Tyrion then planted in Aegon's head the idea of invading Westeros without Daenerys, convincing him that the Seven Kingdoms were ripe for the taking, and that Daenerys would come to his aid. But when Aegon knocked the game pieces onto the floor and commanded Tyrion to retrieve them, we read this incredibly curious line, "He may well be a Targaryen after all," which suggested that Tyrion surmised that Aegon was not actually the son of Rhaegar, or perhaps, that Haldon had told him that Aegon was not actually the son of Rhaegar. We read a similar hint from Jon Connington, when Aegon and he met at Griffins Roost. Recalling Rhaegar's deep purple eyes and comparing them to the noble young lad's, Jon thought they were darker than this boy's. After being captured by Jorah, Tyrion learned that an exiled lord had hired the Golden Company to win back his lands, and Tyrion wondered whether Aegon had swallowed the bait, but Tyrion was soon on his way to Meereen. Once in Meereen, Tyrion knew that Aegon had gone to Westeros, and he lamented not having gone with him.

We learned from Jon Connington that Myles Toyne called Blackheart had assumed command of the Golden Company sometime after the death of Maelys. We learned that Jon served under Toyne for five years after he was exiled, before sacrificing his honor to raise Aegon in disguise. We learned that Blackheart had entered into a secret agreement with Illyrio to back Aegon, which we knew was a contract written in blood. When Jon introduced the captains of the Golden Company to Aegon as the son of Rhaegar, they greeted his introduction with silence, but the war council that followed suggested that the captains were all familiar with Illyrio and his evolving plans. And when Aegon suggested that they should leave Daenerys and her dragons behind and strike for Westeros on their own, the captains of the Golden Company swore their swords to Aegon. They did not sell them. Beneath the gold, the bitter steel.

In Dance, we learned what we had guessed in Feast, that Doran Martell had sent his son Quentyn to seek Daenerys's hand, and to bring her and her dragons back to Westeros for fire and blood. He failed of course, but when Doran learned that a Volantene fleet was crossing the Narrow Sea with an army, he assumed it would be Daenerys and Quentyn. Of course Daenerys would soon be stumbling along on a walkabout in the Dothraki Sea as Aegon began his conquest.

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Nice thread.

I'm always changing my mind if he is or if he isn't. I do believe the blackfyre link will play a part in Aegons story, his enemies will definitely use the links against him.

Blackfyre or Targ I still think he is one of the three heads.

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Nice thread.

I'm always changing my mind if he is or if he isn't. I do believe the blackfyre link will play a part in Aegons story, his enemies will definitely use the links against him.

Blackfyre or Targ I still think he is one of the three heads.

No way, GRRM loves to play the shell game. Where's the Third Head of the Dragon? It's Aegon?

Sorry, it's over here with Tyrion.

He loves giving the distraction and pulling the rug out from under the readers. He did it with Ned, Robb avenging Ned. Oberon beating the Mountain. Quentin in Mereen.

Aegon is the perfect destraction, he doesnt even know that he not the real deal.

There has to be a reason that he is writing the "side" stories filled with histories and suggestions of what will happen. They are obviosly born from the main series that GRRM then grows into a full story to explain the reasons and precidents for these things.

The same way I think he is doing with Rickon.

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First of all, way to go OP ☺ you've done a great job!

No way, GRRM loves to play the shell game. Where's the Third Head of the Dragon? It's Aegon?

Sorry, it's over here with Tyrion.

He loves giving the distraction and pulling the rug out from under the readers.

This is actually the reason that leads me to believe that Aegon is real and Tyrion is the real soon of Twyin Lannister and heir to the Rock.

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Very cool thread Lost Melnibonean, it's very enjoyable to read all the Blackfyre stuff as it was laid out in the books. A great example of how George sneaks things in without our notice... I can't even begin to say how much wacky TWOAIF stuff turns out to have been laid in book 2 or something. When people complain that Aegon / fAegon came out of nowhere, I hit them on the head with a stick.

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Excellent thread, LM! :cheers:



When YG claims that he dies his hair blue in honor of his Tyroshi mother that also gives us another Blackfyre clue, since Daemon I's wife was Tyroshi. Daemon's remaining sons also fled to Tyrosh after the Redgrass Field. So, there is a strong Blackfyre-Tyrosh connection.


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Excellent thread, LM! :cheers:

When YG claims that he dies his hair blue in honor of his Tyroshi mother that also gives us another Blackfyre clue, since Daemon I's wife was Tyroshi. Daemon's remaining sons also fled to Tyrosh after the Redgrass Field. So, there is a strong Blackfyre-Tyrosh connection.

From the OPs...

That Bittersteel retreated to Tyrosh was interesting since the reader recalled that the brother of the Archon of Tyrosh was a guest in Drogo's manse when Daenerys was betrothed to the Dothraki Khal in Game.

As the saga developed we learned of a trade war between Lys and Tyrosh. Myr was about to join Tyrosh, but curiously, the Archon of Tyrosh, the brother of the man who had been noted at the betrothal of Daenerys to Drogo, which had been brokered by Illyrio, offered terms to Lys to end the war. This appeared to be because the Golden Company, shockingly, had just broken its contract to fight for Myr. But the Archon of Tyrosh was involved in Doran Martell's plot to wed Arianne to Viserys. And while the George told us in an SSM that neither Illyrio nor Varys knew of that plot, we discovered that Doran had been waiting for Viserys to find an army in Essos, and we recalled that Illyrio had promised Viserys command of ten thousand Dothraki warriors in exchange for his sisters hand for Drogo.

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LM, first off, bloody marvellous thread.



But in your objectivity, you do not draw any solid conclusions. Are you suggesting Illyrio and the Tyroshi sold off Dany to remove Viserys? I like it because it kinda proves that fAegon is Blackyre descended, even if they plan to marry him to Dany eventually. Something tells me that they are doomed to ultimately fail, while drawing some support from Dorne and the Reach that will convert to Dany when she eventually reaches Westeros in 2022.


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LM, first off, bloody marvellous thread.

But in your objectivity, you do not draw any solid conclusions. Are you suggesting Illyrio and the Tyroshi sold off Dany to remove Viserys? I like it because it kinda proves that fAegon is Blackyre descended, even if they plan to marry him to Dany eventually. Something tells me that they are doomed to ultimately fail, while drawing some support from Dorne and the Reach that will convert to Dany when she eventually reaches Westeros in 2022.

Since about my fourth read, I've thought that Illyrio, realizing that the Golden Company and Blackfyre fellow travelers alone have never been able to take the Seven Kingdoms. So he concocted a plan to get Dothraki and Dornish support. Illyrio brokered the marriage of Daenerys to Drogo in exchange for Drogo's support. And by claiming Aegon was the son of Rhaegar and Elia, he could count on raising Dorne and Targaryen loyalists as well. Viserys was expected to remain in Pentos banging Lysene bedslaves, and when the time was right, he would have been given an offer he couldn't refuse, endorse your nephew and take nominal command of these Dothraki or go swimming with the fishes in the Bay of Pentos.

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Even without all these excellent citations, I don't buy the logic that an author can't introduce new plot elements in book 5 of a 7 volume, multi-thousand page epic. Or that GRRM is forbidden from including elements that weren't foreshadowed in a book he published 20 years ago.

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I agree with the above.

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Even without all these excellent citations, I don't buy the logic that an author can't introduce new plot elements in book 5 of a 7 volume, multi-thousand page epic. Or that GRRM is forbidden from including elements that weren't for shadowed in a book he published 20 years ago.

I agree with 100%.

GRRM is creator of that world and author of the book, he can do whatever he wants with them.

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Even without all these excellent citations, I don't buy the logic that an author can't introduce new plot elements in book 5 of a 7 volume, multi-thousand page epic. Or that GRRM is forbidden from including elements that weren't for shadowed in a book he published 20 years ago.

He isn't actually claiming that. It should be very apparent that GRRM can and has included new elements down the line. He himself said he changes the story as he writes, as he doesn't like writing if he feels he already fully knows where it is going. This organic writing is also part of what makes his writing so interesting, as some authors can unfold their creativity better. With most authors can can almost feel in every paragraph if it is just another paragraph to get to the next plot point or if it is written organic like that.

What he wanted to apparently show with this thread was that Aegon and the Blackfyres were, however, NOT an afterthought. This wonderfull analysis collects the hints that this was planned from the beginning and that Aegon is NOT just an afterthought tacked onto the story to resolve plotpoints from an earlier plan that does not work anymore. As you can see above, the hints are there, they are just more subbtle and spread thinner than most of the other foreshadowing. Some other foreshadowing and other hints might just not be apparent to us as of yet, because the story part that would make us realise they were hints or foreshadowing is in a novel yet to come. Kind of how you just realise most of that stuff on a re-read, after you already know what will happen. Since we don't, we might just miss more information as of yet.

Wonderfull thread by the way. More of this, so much more that it pushes all those troll threads and pointless "Who would win..." threads from the first two pages. One can still dream.

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