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bemused

TYCHO NESTORIS - The Man and His Mission

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I'm a bit late to the game but I love this.  Well done, as usual, @bemused

The only thing that nags me is the difficulty of Tycho's mission to treat with Stannis.  If that was a ruse just to get to Jon he went WAY above to sell it.  From East-Watch to Jon at CB to Deepwood to then towards WF and then the Crofter's Village.  He even paid ransom at Deepwood.  Seems like a bit much.  He could have just met with Jon and then lied and said he never found Stannis, instead of putting himself in even greater danger by traveling where and when he did. 

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13 hours ago, DarkSister1001 said:

I'm a bit late to the game but I love this.  Well done, as usual, @bemused

The only thing that nags me is the difficulty of Tycho's mission to treat with Stannis.  If that was a ruse just to get to Jon he went WAY above to sell it.  From East-Watch to Jon at CB to Deepwood to then towards WF and then the Crofter's Village.  He even paid ransom at Deepwood.  Seems like a bit much.  He could have just met with Jon and then lied and said he never found Stannis, instead of putting himself in even greater danger by traveling where and when he did. 

I agree.

I am certain he really actually did come to see Stannis. And he did so because Stannis was the only contender for the throne taking the threat from the North seriously. People are right to point out that the wildlings arriving in Braavos affected the IB, but wrong to assume that meant they were interested in Jon.

However, as a result of the chance to negotiate with the IB to feed his new arrivals at the Wall, the Iron Bank now knows who Jon is, and what his values are. And that is going to matter in future a great deal.

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Opportunisticly using this topic to clarify some doubts on Braavos and the Iron Bank:

One thing doesn't stick to my mind: even if Stannis seize the Iron Throne, do anyone in the Iron Bank believe he can sustain it long enough to pay his debts? "To queen her is to kill her", says Illyrio Mopatis, about Myrcella. This probably applies to Stannis. They obviously know about the dragons given Essosi context and "Pate". Even if Braavos radically antagonize Targaryens, unless they have a plan to kill the dragons before Dany arrives in Westeros, they have no shot at getting return of investment with this loan, which just sound weird.

Also, on the political and economic organization of Braavos, I have a small theory based on the Kindly Old Man teachings on the origins of the Faceless Men: given the fact that the Faceless Men and the cult of Him of Many Faces traces their origin in Old Valyria's mines, they probably were founders of Braavos and such institutions like the Sealordship, Iron Bank and the Merchant's Guild (I think you have a point in the tripartite aspect of power in Braavos, and here they are), are subservient to Braavos origins and purpose (meaning: the cult of Him of Many Faces, the Faceless Men, and everything related to the House of Black and White). Conclusion of the theory: Braavos is a city founded with a purpose (to be yet revealed), purpose intimally related to the House of Black and White, and the biggest Braavosi institutions (financial IB, political Sealordship, and commercial Merchant's Guild) are expressions of HoBaW's will.

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On 1/31/2016 at 0:17 PM, dornishdame said:

 We know from Arya's The Blind Girl chapter in Dance that Jon is talked about in Braavos - the black bastard of the wall - and it is intriguing to consider that Jon is considered worthy of attention by the Iron Bank. Arya says that he is spoken of in taverns and brothels - but does not specify what is said. Some talk has possibly made its way into the Iron Bank, but again - what?

I agree that it is unlikely Tycho is a faceless man, but I do think that the House of Black and White and the Iron Bank have worked in tandem in the past.

 

On 2/1/2016 at 2:26 AM, Hippocras said:

A very thorough OP and follow-up thanks for this.

There are several things I think you are right about, but I have some disagreements as well.

1. I fully agree that the Sealord and associates, HoBaW, and the Iron Bank are a sort of institutional triumvirate, and that all serve Braavos, while only the FM specifically serve Death. Serving Braavos though does not necessarily mean serving only the city state, but also the ideas behind the city state of Braavos.

2. I agree that Tycho would be put off by Stannis's behaviour, and that in some ways Stannis failed his test. Yes, Stannis agreed to the Iron Bank's terms, but he failed to uphold the principles Braavos values and he signed the agreement in blood which will doom the agreement no doubt. Nice catch on that one.

3. I disagree that Tycho came to negotiate with Jon. If that were true he would not have gone to Winterfell in deep winter simply as a ruse. I am sure he came because he is aware of the threat to the Kingdoms, yes. But at the time Stannis had proved he was also aware of the threat, and had saved the Wall from the wildling assault. So the Iron Bank would have thought Stannis was a good bet because of this fact that he was taking the Northern threat seriously.

...

So IMO what really went down is that just as Jon went subtly against Stannis by killing "Mance" and preventing him from being burned alive, he also basically usurped Stannis again in his dealings with Tycho. Before Tycho arrived Jon was just the LC of the Watch, hopefully doing his job there, but Stannis was the contender for the throne. Tycho went away from negotiations impressed by Jon (still just the LC, bastard of dead Ned) but perturbed by Stannis enough to allow him to fail by signing the agreement in ink that will flake off.

Finally I'm here to respond to this (got sidetracked in a Syrio thread in the General section. Any discussion remotely Braavosi-related will get me going ;) )... and nice to see you both here. (you too, DarkSister and Ironborn Hero)

Hippocras ..To your point 1)..Yes, of course the ideas, ideals and ethics behind the state are included. I fully agree.

And in case I was misleading, I'm giving some ground on your point 3) ... It perhaps implied too strongly, when I "wondered" if Stannis was "just the cover story", that I was sure he'd never been anything else. I didn't intend my wondering to be an unassailable conclusion (yet) .... For me, although there's not much question that Tycho considers the loan to Jon/NW the most imperative of the two by the time he's completed both negotiations, a whole range of possibilities exists regarding what Braavos' thinking and intentions might have been beforehand... from 'Jon is a complete unknown' at one end, to 'Stannis is not a serious prospect" at the other. "Ruse" is not my word, but anyway, I don't really think it's as simple as either / or (Jon or Stannis).

As dornishdame points out , Jon has been spoken of in establishments catering to sailors and traders. I'm sure Arya's eyes and ears are not the only ones open for news and gossip circulating the docks.. and I'd be surprised if the Stark name hadn't been mentioned in connection with the black bastard of the wall. ...For as long as Braavos has had any dealings with Westeros (stretching back to before the conquest, if I'm not mistaken), Starks have been keeping order in the north. How much of a sense does Braavos have, of - "Starks must rally the north"? ..I wonder...

At the same time, Braavos must have had considerable prior information on Stannis (including his character) from his years on the small council. I do agree that they would have given him brownie points for responding to the threat at the wall, but they'd also know that was only a step toward his true goal. They'd know his army is small and that he'd have to rely on bolstering it with sellswords to some degree (depending on how much support he can gain in the north). This would not bode well for Stannis continuing to support the wall in a very meaningful way.

Here's an informative quote from Symon Stripeback, in ADWD..
“As a slave in Yunkai I helped my master bargain with the free companies and saw to the payment of their wages.
I know sellswords, and I know that the Yunkai’i cannot pay them near enough to face dragonflame ..."

...Could anyone pay sellswords enough to face the Others and their army of wights? Braavos would certainly have doubts.

So I think that Braavos saw the benefit in helping the LC of the NW before Tycho set out, quite apart from whatever involvement they were going to have with Stannis, and it may have seemed encouraging to them that Jon was a Stark in all but name... And again, for all the reasons I've mentioned, secrecy at the outset would give any agreement between them the best chance of success.

But a question for Braavos might have been - Between Jon and Stannis, was there any sign of the Stark / Baratheon alliance that began with Ned and Robert, but did not continue with Robb and Stannis (or Robb and Renly)? ..Since it seems to be  a fairly common opinion that Ned and Robert's relationship broke down over the killing of Rhaegar's children, I'm sure Braavos must be aware of that. 
Tycho himself slips subtle mention of dragons into his conversation with Jon (and that 'simple' exchange holds so much possible meaning, it probably deserves discussion).. Does he mention dragons to Stannis in the part of their conversation we don't witness? Is Tycho guaging their reactions? ...We don't know.

Whatever the case, it was pure serendipity for Braavos, that Jon and Stannis were in the same place, and could be assessed by the same agent, without signaling to the world that they were having anything to do with Jon and the NW.

The real either /or proposition for Braavos is Stannis or Dany - Baratheon or Targaryen (not Stannis or Jon). This question gets very complicated and by necessity, very speculative. Braavos has been through this dance before, and it seems to have involved considerable upheaval in their own politics.
 

GRRM has been keeping under wraps just how much Braavos knows about Dany's progress, but I bet it's much more detailed than Tycho's vague, "One hears queer talk of dragons." And in Braavos' probable incoming new policies (with the immanent change of Sealord), I bet there will be traces going back to the marriage pact made for Viserys and Arianne, and likely another reversal in attitude.

I think there are many hints to this in the Mercy chapter. ...Because it all takes place during Arya's mission to cause a diplomatic scandal for KL's envoy and the Sealord, it's easy to link this to Cersei defaulting on the IB's loan, and the IB's negotiations with Stannis, and see it as a straight-up shift in support to Stannis over Cersei / Young King Tommen. I think the chapter actually hints at much more, in subtle ways.. (Yes, I'm taking my thread on a side trip ;) , but not unrelated.) 

First, I want to point out the five plays by Phario Forel that are mentioned in the chapter, setting aside the Shakespeare references and homages, and keeping eyes open for anything that might illuminate Braavos.

1) The Wroth of the Dragonlords -- Because it features a speech by Prince Garin, we know it's about Volantis and the Freehold defeating Garin , which by extension, evokes Nymeria leading  the exodus of the Rhoynar - eventually to Dorne and the Martells. Doran is the initiator of the marriage pact.

2) The Merchant's Melancholy Daughter -- Set in Braavos, the Sealord himself is a character of enough importance to give a speech favoured by Izembaro, '..here the last Titan yet stands', etc.... but, " Mercy preferred the scene where the fat merchant shat on the Sealord’s head as he passed underneath in his gold-and-purple barge. Only in Braavos could something like that happen, it was said, and only in Braavos would Sealord and sailor alike howl with laughter to see it."
The play seems to be a comedy, but I think, one with political commentary. Why would a Sealord "howl with laughter" at such an insult to the dignity of his office? ... Unless it was a particular Sealord being humiliated, one with whom this laughing Sealord had disagreed (perhaps his predecessor). That a merchant shat on him, suggests that merchants were opposed to him. The most likely reason for that is that somehow, his policies or actions put their profits at risk. And though sailors might have a reputation for enjoying low humour, sailors crew merchants' ships and are affected by trading difficulties. It seems like three factions, this Sealord, sailors and merchants have a sense of having the last laugh

3) The Anguish of the Archon -- We don't know what the Archon's anguish might be, but we know some girl gets raped by a dwarf (not Tyrion), or some kind of being that could be played by a dwarf. Although little is said about it, the play is mentioned twice .. I think GRRM wants The Anguish of the Archon to stick in our minds.

4) The Bloody Hand -- "offered two kings, the fat one and the boy. Izembaro would play the fat one. It was not a large part, but he had a fine speech as he lay dying, and a splendid fight with a demonic boar before that.".. Since the "Robert" part is a small one, and Tyrion (accused of Joffrey's death) is played as a villain, Joffrey's death must feature as well. Therefore, the events of the play must echo what ocurred between those deaths .. and just because Tyrion is cast in a villainous light, doesn't mean that the other Lannisters are portrayed as good guys. One wonders if the Stark characters were written more sympathetically..

5) The Merchant's Lusty Lady.. with it's magical, wish-granting grumpkin.. may really just be a romp. We'll see if it's ever mentioned again..

The first three of these plays, directly or by implication, represent the state actors that were involved in Doran's marriage pact, and "The Merchant's Melancholy Daughter" may well reflect changing Braavosi politics regarding - first sheltering the Targaryen children, then ousting them as a result of demands or threats of trade restrictions coming from Robert. The "fat merchant" may be an anonymous stand-in for merchants in general, or a "real" character, a particularly powerful leader of the merchants' faction.  

In the audience in"Mercy", there is a fully named , very fat keyholder, Bessaro Reyaan.

“They’re all fat, them Reyaans,” Daena said. “Bellies as big as their ships. You should have seen the father. He made this one look small. One time he was summoned to the Hall of Truth to vote, but when he stepped onto his barge it sank.” .. So the Reyaans are keyholders and also wealthy merchants with big ships. Bessaro's father was "bigger" (greater? more powerful?) than he is, but is now dead, to judge from Daena's "You should have seen him" rather than "you should see him". (There's no chance of seeing him in the present.) ...The story of his barge sinking when he was on his way to vote is given as literal. Is that how he died ? Keyholders vote on the policies of the IB.. Hmm.. Because GRRM loves to give things more than one meaning, does the sinking of Reyaan's barge signify that the ideas he was floating (or that kept him afloat) sank with it? ..His son seems "small" by comparison and may not have his influence.(Or he may have a mind of his own).. Did Bessaro's father humiliate, or smear the (then) Sealord, resulting in an enforced change of policy, or even an early replacement?

The Robert character in The Bloody Hand must die early in the play, because the part is small. OK, but.. Why is the boar "demonic"? Does that tell us that the Braavosi playwright (at least) feels that Robert deserves to be sent off to some hell, for some reason? The character has a "fine speech" on his deathbed .. Would that include admissions of guilt, regrets, and so on, for drama's sake .. exposing the reasons for his damnation?.. Maybe..

As for the Archon.. Arianne was to go to Tyrosh and serve as the Archon's cup bearer, there to be introduced to Viserys in secret. The Archon's daughter was sent to Doran in exchange..When Doran changed that plan at Mellario's insistence, did it end up causing the Archon anguish? Did something happen to his daughter on the journey home ? These are all speculations, but I feel sure that these plays all connect to the events following Robert's Rebellion, the marriage pact and their ongoing fallout in Braavos, Westeros and probably Tyrosh... They're hints to us that there are more basic, more important motivations at work in Braavos than mere punitive reaction to a bad loan.

There are other points to consider in that chapter, but I'll hold it there.

Coming (at long last) back to Tycho.. If the real question is, as I think - does Braavos want to back Stannis or Dany, I think they see Dany as their ultimate bet ...but she's not present yet, and they certainly don't want to waste any more money shoring up Cersei and "Robert's" heirs in the meantime, or to be seen to be supporting them when Dany arrives. If backing Stannis can destabilize the regime in KL further, and this can be demonstrated to Dany when she and Braavos re-connect, there's no loss in backing Stannis (except in shekels). .. I'm sure Braavos would like to have a new Sealord, with new attitudes and no embarrassing history, installed by the time contact is made (and steps are probably being taken to make it so). .. Perhaps, under a new Sealord's orders, we might finally see some sign of the largest, most powerful navy in the world?

So I think Tycho always had to make that dangerous journey, no matter what developed with Jon. It's really part of their Dany strategy, and I still think that they'd feel better with a FM on the mission than a regular envoy. (Observing much as he goes, and better able to cope in dangerous situations.)

Along the way he learns that Jon is not really bound to Stannis, but acting on his own ideas and motivations... and Jon's reply to "one hears queer talk of dragons "... “Would that we had one here...." might have actually seemed somewhat reassuring, even if spoken in jest. (Among other implications.)
Following in Stannis' footsteps, he would no doubt have come to know that the northern fighters flocking to Stannis are not there for Stannis, but for "Ned's little girl"..and guess who really does have her? (I'm sure he must know) Yes, they've been training her, but they've also kept her safe.

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On 13/2/2016 at 9:14 PM, Ironborn Hero said:

Opportunisticly using this topic to clarify some doubts on Braavos and the Iron Bank:

One thing doesn't stick to my mind: even if Stannis seize the Iron Throne, do anyone in the Iron Bank believe he can sustain it long enough to pay his debts? "To queen her is to kill her", says Illyrio Mopatis, about Myrcella. This probably applies to Stannis. They obviously know about the dragons given Essosi context and "Pate". Even if Braavos radically antagonize Targaryens, unless they have a plan to kill the dragons before Dany arrives in Westeros, they have no shot at getting return of investment with this loan, which just sound weird.

Also, on the political and economic organization of Braavos, I have a small theory based on the Kindly Old Man teachings on the origins of the Faceless Men: given the fact that the Faceless Men and the cult of Him of Many Faces traces their origin in Old Valyria's mines, they probably were founders of Braavos and such institutions like the Sealordship, Iron Bank and the Merchant's Guild (I think you have a point in the tripartite aspect of power in Braavos, and here they are), are subservient to Braavos origins and purpose (meaning: the cult of Him of Many Faces, the Faceless Men, and everything related to the House of Black and White). Conclusion of the theory: Braavos is a city founded with a purpose (to be yet revealed), purpose intimally related to the House of Black and White, and the biggest Braavosi institutions (financial IB, political Sealordship, and commercial Merchant's Guild) are expressions of HoBaW's will.

Interesting points. Why would the IB choose Stannis when even the Westerosi(Oldtown, spy networks of Varys and LF) are expecting a Targaryen invasion soon was a question that troubled me as well. The best solution I came up was thay Stannis was their back-up plan of sorts, and the IB is supporting more than one claimant, so that it is a win-win situation for the bank. We have no idea about the dealings the bank will make with they Tyrells or the Golden Company. If they do, the bank will control the course of battle in Westeros similar to the way LF has had everything going his way (in the Vale at least, it was well-planned by LF).

I do not really like the triumvirate idea, because there was nothing of the sorts mentioned in the World book, and the current form of democracy in Braavos is something I like about the city. Making a triumvirate of HoBaW and IB will make it a theocracy + plutocracy.

I believe in the theory that FM had a hand in the Doom of Valyria (he did kill the masters - but it's a tale of another day - Kindly Man). Because of this theory, it is generally assumed that Braavos is anti-Targ and anti-dragons. Braavos is definitely against slavery, but there are more instances in the text where the Targaryens sided with Braavos (Aegon I fighting alongside Braavos, Viserys-Arianne marriage pact) than against them, This is where we should remember that anti-Valyrian does not necessarily equal anti-Targ. The Targaryens was but one of the forty noble Valyrian families, and according to wiki, they weren't even that important. If the Doom was man-made and intended to destroy the whole of dragonlords, why was House Targaryen spared? (They were the only ones spared, as we know from the history that only the Targaryens had dragons after that.) If a powerful group like HoBaW could bring about the Doom and protect Braavos for centuries, and if it was in their agenda to eradicate the dragonlords, it would not have been hard to kill the remaining Targaryens. They were only running from Valyria, not hiding from anyone (unlike Dany and Viserys). This is no evidence to suggest the Targs had/have a working treaty with the Braavosi, but it does suggest the IB is not exclusively anti-dragon.

 

ETA: Only now did I get time to read @bemused's latest comment. I never thought to pay attention to the plays in Mercy, but there seem to be some really great observations to be had there. Although I suspect you are reading too much into the comedy of 'Merchant's Melancholy Daughter' and the 'demonic boar'. The sealord could simply be having a clandestine affair with the merchant's daughter and these circumstances led him to pass beneath the barge and be shat upon. This scene may have been added for the comedy element, and in real life there could be just rumours about the Sealord being in love with the Merchant's daughter. Phario Forel is the bloodiest quill in braavos and thus the inclusion of a demonic boar that will brutally maul the fat king is nothing unusual. It could even be an 'enhanced graphics effect', like the foot-long cock of the dwarf. I am just giving simpler alternate explanations here. Of course GRRM may be giving hints, who knows.

The Anguish of the Archon now, I have become curious about it. We don't know much about Archons of Tyrosh, but the expansion of Dorne and Aegon storylines may mean will deal with them soon. The small girl getting raped by a dwarf-like person is very interesting. The only notable dwarf from Planetos history that we know of is Mushroom. I haven't read the Princess and the Queen, so I don't know if there is a chance some Archon's daughter comes anywhere near Mushroom. If he raped her, it will cause the Anguish of the Archon. I assumed the little girl was the Archon's daughter, but it need not be so.

Regarding the keyholders, it is my opinion that you are speculating  too much with too less information. If the keyholder died of sinking barge, Daena would surely have said 'that's how he died'. But she did not. So all we know of the keyholder's father is that he was abnormally fat, and was once called to the Hall of Truth to vote. The barge sinking may not even be true. 'Sinking of the ideas floating' and all are too much, too much of extrapolation and reading into 'symbols' that aren't really there. I would rather accept it if you speculate that the barge most likely sank from someone's foul play against the Reyaans.

Another thing I remembered that may be relevant to the thread : When Jon speaks of Sam, Aemon and Gilly, Tycho offers to make inquiries. This is Tycho being uncharacteristically and unnecessarily (for a banker) helpful. Or humble, you might say. Tycho could say 'outsiders use ragman's harbour while Braavosi use purple harbor' and end the conversation. Instead he offers Jon help to locate his friend if he was still in Braavos. It does not amount to anything if Tycho meant the words as a formality, but if he remembered what Jon said, or if he already knew that Sam and co were in Braavos, would that affect the IB plans? Not really.  What with Arya under the protection of HoBaW, and Sam sharing a room with 'Pate', I can't help but feel that  Braavos is in a better position than Ramsay is, to blackmail Jon into doing something rash, if they wished it. But why would anyone want Jon to take rash measures? I'm hoping GoT S6 will give some answers.

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Hos..

The thing with the plays is... The only play we really need to hear about is The Bloody Hand. It's the only one that has anything to do with the action in the chapter. We're told it's Phario's new play, which leads some people to assume it was commissioned specifically for Swyft's visit, and some (like me) to tend to think he'd just written it recently and it was seen , by the IB, as the perfect vehicle to make Swyft squirm. I'm not sure there would have been time, from being alerted to Swyft's visit, to have it written, rehearsed and ready to perform by the time he got there. Maybe, maybe not - it would depend on how much time was taken up by the confusion following the deaths of Pycelle and Kevan. (That could be considerable, but at the same time, the crown was urgently in need of money.)

And I think the "demonic" boar is telling. Phario's is the bloodiest pen in Braavos, but the boar still wouldn't need to be demonic.. It could simply be monstrous, or huge (Robert's boar actually was) and still inflict very bloody damage (Robert's boar actually did) -"demonic" adds nothing to the blood and gore quotient. Everyone knows that demons come from hell, so it stands to reason that either Phario himself, or the IB and some political faction in Braavos (if the play was commissioned), or all of the above, thought that Robert had something to answer for; that there should be a place in some hell reserved for him.

We can imagine whatever we like about the Merchant's Melancholy Daughter.... but why? We may never hear anything about the play again (Arya is leaving Izembaro). The one thing we are told  doesn't involve the daughter. We're told that the fat merchant shat upon the Sealord, and the Sealord and sailors in the audience howled with laughter. So that has to be important. That's what GRRM wants to tell us, so we have to ask ourselves what that implies.

Then, we have the Reyaans: There are five keyholders in the audience, but Bessaro Reyaan is the only one named, so obviously, GRRM wants us to take note of him. Apparently, all his family have big bellies, like their ships.. We can safely assume his father is dead ("You should have seen the father").. and besides, Bessaro is the keyholder ... seems likely the key would be passed from one head of family to the next. .. And I am suggesting that the sinking of the barge was a move against the father - literally, figuratively, or both. I don't really think it matters if that's how he died or not, I just raised the possibility, by phrasing it as a question.

The Archon...  If the girl who gets raped is the Archon's daughter, and if she's the one who was in the watergardens, Arianne recalls.."When I rode Garin no one could defeat us, not even Nym and that green-haired Tyroshi girl.".. Arianne and Nym are only a year or 1 1/2 yrs apart. Arianne was eleven at the end of RR. She was riding Garin and, supposedly Nym would be riding the green-haired girl. We don't know how long it would have taken Doran to work out all his plans, but it's conceivable the green-haired girl could have been 13 or so. Young, but not such a little girl by ASoIaF standards... and I don't think we need to look for another dwarf.. Bobono could be playing..a snark, a gargoyle.. something like that.. we don't know if the rape actually happened in real life, or if it's symbolic.

Looking back to The Bloody Hand.. Why was Robert even there? Tyrion was never his hand. It can't refer to Ned.. it's possible it could refer to Tywin.. but he wasn't Robert's hand either.

I really think the sub-text of the Mercy chapter is all about politics and the political hierarchy in Braavos. The plays highlight the states participating in the marriage pact and the opposition to it (Robert and factions of the Braavosi merchant class).. while in the present political situation, we know the IB has decided to cut Tommen/Cersei adrift. The IB are the ones most likely to be able to afford having the play mounted and hire the Black Pearl to escort Swyft, and we see our little FM trainee acting as an accessory to their plan.

I think this confirms that the IB and FM do work together at times and so, it wouldn't be at all far fetched to see Tycho as a FM.

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1 hour ago, bemused said:

IB and FM do work together at times

I think WOIAF confirms this by the line "It is rumoured that the Iron Bank goes as far as sending assassins after their debtors, but these are yet unproven" (paraphrasing).

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7 hours ago, Hos the Hostage said:

I think WOIAF confirms this by the line "It is rumoured that the Iron Bank goes as far as sending assassins after their debtors, but these are yet unproven" (paraphrasing).

I'd forgotten that, but I totally agree. (I don't have that massive book in e-book form, so it's hard for me to quote, what with my woeful typing skills.)

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On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2016 at 11:08 AM, bemused said:

 

Following in Stannis' footsteps, he would no doubt have come to know that the northern fighters flocking to Stannis are not there for Stannis, but for "Ned's little girl"..and guess who really does have her? (I'm sure he must know) Yes, they've been training her, but they've also kept her safe.

I agree.  They knew exactly who she was.  She would be a valuable ally and/or hostage to them as the sister of the KitN. 

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On 1/15/2016 at 1:06 AM, bemused said:

I have a feeling that though they're backing Stannis at the moment, they may see it as only an interim arrangement.

 

I have thought this to be true for along time. Perhaps they are only backing Stannis to prolong the war and extend the debt. At least until the party they truly want to support appears.

 

On 1/28/2016 at 2:25 PM, Angus Thermopyle said:

Do you think Peter Baelish could be in league with the Iron Bank? It may be a bit of a stretch but his family is from there and what better place to put all the money he's supposed to have siphoned while being in charge of the books in Kingslanding than the IB. If he has enough money in there does he get to be a keyholder? There has to be more going on than PB just trying to help Sansa. Perhaps he thinks the IB could install him as king eventually. How this could tie into Tycho's mission is that Peter can get info of the goings on in the North through the Braavosi.

Lord Baelish's incredible knowledge of finances has always made me wonder if he had any connection to the bank. His knowledge of poisons points perhaps to the Faceless Men.

On 2/22/2016 at 9:18 PM, Hos the Hostage said:

I think WOIAF confirms this by the line "It is rumoured that the Iron Bank goes as far as sending assassins after their debtors, but these are yet unproven" (paraphrasing).

True but considering the probable connection between the Iron Bank and the Faceless Men its a safe guess. Just depends if its more costly to have them assassinated or fund the rivals of the people you want out of power. Gives the Braavosi a lot of options when dealing with external threats.

I wonder if this is the new modus operandi of Braavos. Their last war with Pentos was supposed to end slavery but we know that slaves are held in Pentos in all but name. War won't always solve the issues. Bribery, assassination, and economic strength seems to be the tools that the Braavosi seem to be using now.

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^I doubt, personally, that it costs anything to the Iron Bank to use an FM. I think the institutions are connected, and the FM are the Ice and Fire version of loan shark enforcers. This is consistent with the "serving Braavos" ethos, because both the Bank and the FM are central to the city's ethos, so one serves the other and vice versa.

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On 2/27/2016 at 2:48 AM, Hippocras said:

^I doubt, personally, that it costs anything to the Iron Bank to use an FM. I think the institutions are connected, and the FM are the Ice and Fire version of loan shark enforcers. This is consistent with the "serving Braavos" ethos, because both the Bank and the FM are central to the city's ethos, so one serves the other and vice versa.

I think much the same. 

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On 2/27/2016 at 11:48 PM, Hippocras said:

^I doubt, personally, that it costs anything to the Iron Bank to use an FM. I think the institutions are connected, and the FM are the Ice and Fire version of loan shark enforcers. This is consistent with the "serving Braavos" ethos, because both the Bank and the FM are central to the city's ethos, so one serves the other and vice versa.

Yes, and although I pointed out that the IB is the only entity in the Mercy chapter who could afford to hire the Black pearl... even she may be serving Braavos and foregoing her fee.

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On 2/27/2016 at 11:48 PM, Hippocras said:

^I doubt, personally, that it costs anything to the Iron Bank to use an FM. I think the institutions are connected, and the FM are the Ice and Fire version of loan shark enforcers. This is consistent with the "serving Braavos" ethos, because both the Bank and the FM are central to the city's ethos, so one serves the other and vice versa.

The FM may have a store front, but I don't know if they are central to the ethos in that they modify the actions of the common man, otherwise it would be a city of near saints, like the fraudulent insurer never would have done that to a poor family if the FM were on the constant radar of the citizenry, but then maybe GRRM didn't think about that.

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On 3/2/2016 at 3:22 PM, Whitering said:

The FM may have a store front, but I don't know if they are central to the ethos in that they modify the actions of the common man, otherwise it would be a city of near saints, like the fraudulent insurer never would have done that to a poor family if the FM were on the constant radar of the citizenry, but then maybe GRRM didn't think about that.

Well.. except that the personal cost of hiring a FM is enough to make anyone think twice (or 3 or 4 times) ...Look at the waif's stepmother, who opted to act on her own, e.g.

The FM have free passage on Braavosi ships, not because they're assassins, but because they could be on a mission in service to the state.

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3 hours ago, bemused said:

Well.. except that the personal cost of hiring a FM is enough to make anyone think twice (or 3 or 4 times) ...Look at the waif's stepmother, who opted to act on her own, e.g.

The FM have free passage on Braavosi ships, not because they're assassins, but because they could be on a mission in service to the state.

Valar Doheris, all men must serve. Serve Braavos?

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5 minutes ago, Lord Wraith said:

Valar Doheris, all men must serve. Serve Braavos?

Yes, I think so.

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On 3/5/2016 at 1:51 PM, bemused said:

Well.. except that the personal cost of hiring a FM is enough to make anyone think twice (or 3 or 4 times) ...Look at the waif's stepmother, who opted to act on her own, e.g.

The FM have free passage on Braavosi ships, not because they're assassins, but because they could be on a mission in service to the state.

Except what would a family do who no longer had the means to support themselves? Because the insurance agent would not have screwed somebody who had the wealth to damage him in anyway. Thus, you give a your service to the FM. They don't always cost money.

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On 3/6/2016 at 1:23 PM, Whitering said:

Except what would a family do who no longer had the means to support themselves? Because the insurance agent would not have screwed somebody who had the wealth to damage him in anyway. Thus, you give a your service to the FM. They don't always cost money.

I'm not sure I understand your point. I think you're coming back to..

 

On 3/1/2016 at 3:22 PM, Whitering said:

The FM may have a store front, but I don't know if they are central to the ethos in that they modify the actions of the common man, otherwise it would be a city of near saints, like the fraudulent insurer never would have done that to a poor family if the FM were on the constant radar of the citizenry, but then maybe GRRM didn't think about that.

As far as I can tell, the citizenry aren't all going about in fear that they may be a target of the FM (If they do chance to meet one, they make sure he knows their name, but that's only a wise precaution)

As to the insurer, he's unlikely to be dealing with poor families. He deals with ships' captains (and owners), not the members of the crew. And although the cost of hiring an FM may not always be reckoned in money (almost certainly never only money), it's always something that would be a great hardship to pay. As assassins, they have a sort of sliding scale but they're not a charitable institution. ... They point out to Arya all that she would have to give up in her life to become a FM...marriage, children, etc. ... A poor person would consider very carefully if those were  costs they'd be willing to pay.

I don't think this has a lot to do with whether the FM are used for espionage or as special envoys for the state. Braavos would be denying itself a very useful advantage if it were not so.

 

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I really enjoyed reading your OP bemused.    Just so happens I am nearing the end of my reread of ADWD and only this morning listened to the chapters where Tycho meets Jon and Asha as well as Arya's meeting with Plague Face.    It's funny because hearing about Plague Face I immediately thought of Morqorro, with the flames tattooed on his face.   But I digress.   Tycho really does come of as a characature throughout Dance.   It occurred to me that The IB only comes to Stannis after Tywin dies.   This all brings to mind our assumptions that Euron is already known to the FM and by extension, the IB.    I believe we've had previous conversation regarding this.   The point here is that Stannis was not the only option available to the IB.   He was, however, the only one (we know of) to seek out their assistance.   Tycho curiously shows up in the North.   Could this have had any bearing on the IB's decision to offer terms to Stannis?   Could they be more aware of the situation beyond the Wall than much of Westeros seems to be?    Certainly Tycho is well informed.    Add Plague Face naming Arya as Arya of House Stark to her face immediately following the secret meeting then suddenly, contrary to all the training we know she fails, Arya is offered her 1st death assignment.  Taken at the face value of what Arya is told throughout her time at the HOB&W, the FM don't come off as an evil kill crazy death cult.   They sound much like a religious order of knights IMHO.  I'm sorry to sound as though I'm rambling.   It's all fresh in my mind and I wanted to illustrate how the chapters come together, at least in my reckoning.  Arya has already given TKM information regarding the Wildlings taken by the slavers.  Miraculously, Tycho shows up at Eastwatch with 3 ships.    Whatever could be on those 3 ships I wonder?   Seems to me they were EMPTY--curious thing that.   I submit that The IB did interview the Wildlings and learned of the happenings in the far North of Westeros.   Those ships were brought for the express purpose of taking the remaining people at Hardome back to Braavos.    Or as many as they could, as I believe there are 2 or 3 thousand people with Mother Mole.   Sounded like several hundred were taken to Braavos.  As the 1st of Jon's "price" Tycho sure agreed to allowing the NW use of his ships with a quickness.  Because the people of Braavos are decent human beings not willing to bring women and children back to such dire danger.   Tycho may have come to enlist Jon's help in rescuing the group he was already trying to rescue.  

With Tywin, Jon Arryn, Robert Baratheon, Ned and Hoster Tully all dead and the Crown refusing to pay their bills I would certainly look for the children of the rebels who took the throne.   Supporting Stannis may have been no more than that OR Tycho was there to seek Jon's help and was impressed that Stannis had already been in the North to help.   Supporting a doomed rebel as a cover would be a convincing cover and a very clever way to connect with Jon. Not to mention sending a very clear message to the current occupants of the IT.  I would have relished an opportunity to hear how Tycho reacted to Alys' arrival at the Wall.  

I think you're on the right track with this.   Even if you're not, it was really a good read.   Thanks for this, bemused.

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