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The Old Tongue

Illyrio's motives in GoT

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As noted upthread, in Cersei IV, Feast 17, we get a hint about a plot Cersei is cooking up with Balon Swann for Dorne, and we note that the passage suggests that the plot is known only to Cersei and Balon. In The Watcher, Dance 38, we learn what that plot is...


Prince Doran took a jagged breath. "Dorne still has friends at court. Friends who tell us things we were not meant to know. This invitation Cersei sent us is a ruse. Trystane is never meant to reach King's Landing. On the road back, somewhere in the kingswood, Ser Balon's party will be attacked by outlaws, and my son will die. I am asked to court only so that I may witness this attack with my own eyes and thereby absolve the queen of any blame. Oh, and these outlaws? They will be shouting, ‘Halfman, Halfman,' as they attack. Ser Balon may even catch a quick glimpse of the Imp, though no one else will."

That the plot is known only to Cersei and Balon strongly suggests that Varys is the source of Doran's information. 

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While Varys might be feeding Doran Martell choice intelligence, it appears to be a one-way street. In Daenerys VI, Dance 43, we learn of the secret pact between Oberyn for House Martell and Ser Willem Darry for House Targaryen to wed Viserys to Arianne in exchange for Dorne's support to reclaim the Iron Throne. In an SSM, the storyteller advised that Varys and Illyrio were not aware of the pact. We should also note that the Sealord of Braavos witnessed the pact. 

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On 3/29/2017 at 5:19 PM, Lost Melnibonean said:

While Varys might be feeding Doran Martell choice intelligence, it appears to be a one-way street. In Daenerys VI, Dance 43, we learn of the secret pact between Oberyn for House Martell and Ser Willem Darry for House Targaryen to wed Viserys to Arianne in exchange for Dorne's support to reclaim the Iron Throne. In an SSM, the storyteller advised that Varys and Illyrio were not aware of the pact. We should also note that the Sealord of Braavos witnessed the pact. 

Its possible to work together and still keep secrets from each other.

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1 hour ago, Lord Wraith said:

Its possible to work together and still keep secrets from each other.


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The Red Keep had its secrets too. Even Rhaegar. The Prince of Dragonstone had never trusted him as he had trusted Arthur Dayne. Harrenhal was proof of that. The year of the false spring.

The memory was still bitter. Old Lord Whent had announced the tourney shortly after a visit from his brother, Ser Oswell Whent of the Kingsguard. With Varys whispering in his ear, King Aerys became convinced that his son was conspiring to depose him, that Whent’s tourney was but a ploy to give Rhaegar a pretext for meeting with as many great lords as could be brought together. Aerys had not set foot outside the Red Keep since Duskendale, yet suddenly he announced that he would accompany Prince Rhaegar to Harrenhal, and everything had gone awry from there.

The Kingbreaker, Dance 67

If Illyrio sent Varys to destabilize Aerys's rule, perhaps Varys recognized Rhaegar's coup-plotting and warned Aerys, fearing that Rhaegar would be harder to undermine? 

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As discussed way up thread, Eddard promised Robert that he would take care of the king's children, so surely, Eddard made Gendry a part of his agreement with Cersei. As discussed here and here, in Arya II, Clash 5, Cersei sends gold cloaks after Gendry, apparently reneging her agreement with Eddard after her son had the Ned's head chopped off. In Tyrion II, Clash 8, Janos confirms that Varys did not expect Joffrey’s command to behead the Ned. On Tyrion's order, Varys sends Janos to the Wall, and Tyrion learns that Janos's man did for the babe Barra, Varys, of course, knows that Cersei sent the gold cloaks for Barra and Gendry, and Varys confirms that he did send Gendry to the Wall. Presumably, neither Eddard nor Varys saw any need to protect an infant bastard girl born to a whore. Varys laments the untimely deaths of Jon Arryn and Eddard Stark, which reminds us of Illyrio's order to delay the war. In Tyrion III, Clash 15, Varys admits that he has known of the “twincest” for quite some time...


"... Besides, the bastards were there for all to see."

"Robert's bastards? What of them?"

"He fathered eight, to the best of my knowing," Varys said as he wrestled with the saddle. "Their mothers were copper and honey, chestnut and butter, yet the babes were all black as ravens ... and as ill-omened, it would seem. So when Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen slid out between your sister's thighs, each as golden as the sun, the truth was not hard to glimpse."

After finishing Storm, it seems clear that Petyr set in motion Jon Arryn's discovery of the twincest, and that Varys was holding back the information about the bastards. It seems likely that Varys kept tabs on Robert's bastards to parade them, or at least point them out to the lords around the realm, when he was ready to initiate a crisis of succession that would benefit Aegon's arrival in Westeros. 


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Varys's evil monologue in the Epilogue to Dance is one of the most intriguing passages in all of ASOIAF. So, what was the George telling us? This is where it begins (I only omitted a short, non-relevant exchange with Cersei)...


He might have said more, but the dark-haired novice with the round cheeks returned to say, "My lord, my lady, I am sorry to intrude, but there is a boy below. Grand Maester Pycelle begs the favor of the Lord Regent's presence at once.

If we suspect that the boy below was one of Varys's little birds, and that he could not speak, then how did he pass the information to the dark-haired novice? Did he give a written note to Ser Meryn, who kept him waiting below, with Meryn then relaying the summons to the dark-haired novice? Or was the dark-haired novice working for Varys? 


Dark wings, dark words, Ser Kevan thought. Could Storm' s End have fallen? Or might this be word from Bolton in the north? . . .

The summons said nothing about a raven, yet The George, through Kevan's thoughts, has us thinking about ravens right off the bat. 


The messenger was a boy of eight or nine, so bundled up in fur he seemed a bear cub. Trant had kept him waiting out on the drawbridge rather than admit him into Maegor's. "Go find a fire, lad," Ser Kevan told him, pressing a penny into his hand. "I know the way to the rookery well enough."

Since we know the boy was sent by Varys, and since the boy did not speak when he was met by Kevan, we can assume that he is one of Varys's little birds, whom we assume have their tongues removed and learn their letters before arriving in King's Landing.


The snow had finally stopped falling. Behind a veil of ragged clouds, a full moon floated fat and white as a snowball. The stars shone cold and distant. As Ser Kevan made his way across the inner ward, the castle seemed an alien place, where every keep and tower had grown icy teeth, and all familiar paths had vanished beneath a white blanket. Once an icicle long as a spear fell to shatter by his feet. Autumn in King' s Landing, he brooded. What must it be like up on the Wall? 

The author is clearly setting a creepy mood here, with a full moon, stars shining cold and distant, an alien landscape with icy teeth, no familiar paths, and a spear of ice falling near him.


The door was opened by a serving girl, a skinny thing in a fur-lined robe much too big for her. Ser Kevan stamped the snow off his boots, removed his cloak, tossed it to her. "The Grand Maester is expecting me," he announced. The girl nodded, solemn and silent, and pointed to the steps.

We know this girl is working for Varys, and her silence is pointed out by the George. Notice that she does not depart from the room.


Pycelle's chambers were beneath the rookery, a spacious suite of rooms cluttered with racks of herbs and salves and potions and shelves jammed full of books and scrolls. Ser Kevan had always found them uncomfortably hot. Not tonight. Once past the chamber door, the chill was palpable. Black ash and dying embers were all that remained of the hearthfire. A few flickering candles cast pools of dim light here and there. The rest was shrouded in shadow except beneath the open window, where a spray of ice crystals glittered in the moonlight, swirling in the wind.

Now, we know that something is very wrong since the window has been left open and the fire has been allowed to die on a cold night. And consider that imagery... dying embers in black ash--not gray ash, but black ash. Burning embers are red, but as they die, the red turns to black.  


On the window seat a raven loitered, pale, huge, its feathers ruffled. It was the largest raven that Kevan Lannister had ever seen. Larger than any hunting hawk at Casterly Rock, larger than the largest owl. Blowing snow danced around it, and the moon painted it silver.

Not silver. White. The bird is white.

The white ravens of the Citadel did not carry messages, as their dark cousins did. When they went forth from Oldtown, it was for one purpose only: to herald a change of seasons.

"Winter," said Ser Kevan. The word made a white mist in the air. He turned away from the window.

This is our first confirmation that winter has finally come. And notice that Kevan's breath upon speaking made a white mist in the air. So now the reader has been told to think about ravens and mists and ... Bloodraven? Recall what we learned from Dunk...


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.

The Mystery Knight

Turning back to the passage at hand...


Then something slammed him in the chest between the ribs, hard as a giant's fist. It drove the breath from him and sent him lurching backwards. The white raven took to the air, its pale wings slapping him about the head.

First note abrupt change from creepy to the quarrel slamming into Kevan's chest, like modulation in a musical composition. But why would the raven, chilling on the window seat, fly across the room to slap Ser Kevan Lannister--formerly the right hand man of the late Tywin of House Lannister, Lord of Caterly Rock, Warden of the West, and Hand of the King--about the head with its pale wings? Earlier in the Epilogue...


sweet Tommen burbled about the exploits of his kittens, whilst feeding them morsels of pike off his own royal plate. "The bad cat was outside my window last night," he informed Kevan at one point, "but Ser Pounce hissed at him and he ran off across the roofs."

"The bad cat?" Ser Kevan said, amused. He is a sweet boy. "An old black tomcat with a torn ear," Cersei told him. "A filthy thing, and foul-tempered. He clawed Joff's hand once." She made a face. "The cats keep the rats down, I know, but that one … he's been known to attack ravens in the rookery."

And that, of course recalls the one-eared tom that Arya chased...


"That's the real king of this castle right there," one of the gold cloaks had told her. "Older than sin and twice as mean. One time, the king was feasting the queen's father, and that black bastard hopped up on the table and snatched a roast quail right out of Lord Tywin's fingers. Robert laughed so hard he like to burst. You stay away from that one, child."

Arya III, Game 32

And this, from another evil monologue by Varys...


"Rhaenys was a child too. Prince Rhaegar's daughter. A precious little thing, younger than your girls. She had a small black kitten she called Balerion, did you know? I always wondered what happened to him. Rhaenys liked to pretend he was the true Balerion, the Black Dread of old, but I imagine the Lannisters taught her the difference between a kitten and a dragon quick enough, the day they broke down her door."

There is a theory of course that Rhaenys's kitten grew into the one-eared tom, and that Bloodraven skinchanges the one-eared Tom. Perhaps he was also skinchanging the white raven here? 


Ser Kevan half-sat and half-fell onto the window seat. What ... who ... A quarrel was sunk almost to the fletching in his chest. No. No, that was how my brother died. Blood was seeping out around the shaft. "Pycelle," he muttered, confused. "Help me ... I ... "

Then he saw. Grand Maester Pycelle was seated at his table, his head pillowed on the great leather-bound tome before him. Sleeping, Kevan thought until he blinked and saw the deep red gash in the old man's spotted skull and the blood pooled beneath his head, staining the pages of his book. All around his candle were bits of bone and brain, islands in a lake of melted wax.

He wanted guards, Ser Kevan thought. I should have sent him guards. Could Cersei have been right all along? Was this his nephew's work?

"Tyrion?" he called. "Where ... ?"

"Far away," a half-familiar voice replied.

He stood in a pool of shadow by a bookcase, plump, pale-faced, round-shouldered, clutching a crossbow in soft powdered hands. Silk slippers swaddled his feet.

"Varys?" The eunuch set the crossbow down.

"Ser Kevan. Forgive me if you can. I bear you no ill will. This was not done from malice. It was for the realm. For the children."

I cannot take that last sentence at face value. The first statement, the plea for forgiveness, and the testament that Varys is not murdering Kevan out of malice appears believable. Kevan's good works are an obstacle to Varys's effort to pave the way for the Blackfyre. And that ties into the penultimate sentence, that he murdered Kevan for the realm, not for the good of the realm, mind you, but for the realm. The king and the land are one, after all. But for the children? Which children would those be? The ones Varys has mutilated and disabled to serve his purpose? The little ones that were slaughtered or traumatized and left for dead, especially in the Riverlands, during the War of the Five Kings, like poor Weasel? Meribald works for the children, not Varys. 


"I have children. I have a wife. Oh, Dorna. Pain washed over him. He closed his eyes, opened them again. "There are there are hundreds of Lannister guardsmen in this castle."

"But none in this room, thankfully. This pains me, my lord. You do not deserve to die alone on such a cold dark night. There are many like you, good men in service to bad causes but you were threatening to undo all the queen's good work, to reconcile Highgarden and Casterly Rock, bind the Faith to your little king, unite the Seven Kingdoms under Tommen's rule. So ... 

Again, I ask, if Kevan is laying the foundation for a lasting peace, and if Varys wants a lasting peace, why did Varys murder Kevan?


A gust of wind blew up. Ser Kevan shivered violently. "Are you cold, my lord?" asked Varys. "Do forgive me. The Grand Maester befouled himself in dying, and the stink was so abominable that I thought I might choke."

Ser Kevan tried to rise, but the strength had left him. He could not feel his legs.

"I thought the crossbow fitting. You shared so much with Lord Tywin, why not that? Your niece will think the Tyrells had you murdered, mayhaps with the connivance of the Imp. The Tyrells will suspect her. Someone somewhere will find a way to blame the Dornishmen."

Is more war, on the heels of a horribly destructive conflict, and at the onset of what will most likely be a brutal winter, truly in the best interest of the children?


"Doubt, division, and mistrust will eat the very ground beneath your boy king, whilst Aegon raises his banner above Storm's End and the lords of the realm gather round him."

"Aegon?" For a moment he did not understand. Then he remembered. A babe swaddled in a crimson cloak, the cloth stained with his blood and brains. "Dead. He's dead."

"No." The eunuch's voice seemed deeper. "He is here."

Now, we learn, without doubt, that Varys, along with Illyrio, supports Aegon. And there is no denying that the George is leading us to believe that Kevan and Varys are referring to the same Aegon. But is the George actually telling us that these Aegons are one and the same, or is he only leading us to this conclusion? The ambiguity suggests the latter. 


"Aegon has been shaped for rule since before he could walk. He has been trained in arms, as befits a knight to be, but that was not the end of his education. He reads and writes, he speaks several tongues, he has studied history and law and poetry. A septa has instructed him in the mysteries of the Faith since he was old enough to understand them. He has lived with fisherfolk, worked with his hands, swum in rivers and mended nets and learned to wash his own clothes at need. He can fish and cook and bind up a wound, he knows what it is like to be hungry, to be hunted, to be afraid. Tommen has been taught that kingship is his right. Aegon knows that kingship is his duty, that a king must put his people first, and live and rule for them."

Based on this passage, and Vary's rise from a challenging childhood, many readers believe that Varys wants to install a benevolent sovereign. But I interpret this as Varys saying something like, "Oho, our claimant is better than your claimant." It reminds me of Eustace's monologue to Dunk about the virtues of Daemon Blackfyre over Daeron Targaryen, albeit for different justifications. But do the ends justify the means? Did Varys spend the last couple of decades putting the children first? 


Kevan Lannister tried to cry out ... to his guards, his wife, his brother ... but the words would not come. Blood dribbled from his mouth. He shuddered violently.

"I am sorry." Varys wrung his hands. "You are suffering, I know, yet here I stand going on like some silly old woman. Time to make an end to it."

Notice how the George acknowledges the evil monologue to the reader. 


The eunuch pursed his lips and gave a little whistle.

Like Jiminy Cricket. Does Varys have a conscience? 


Ser Kevan was cold as ice, and every labored breath sent a fresh stab of pain through him. He glimpsed movement, heard the soft scuffling sound of slippered feet on stone. A child emerged from a pool of darkness, a pale boy in a ragged robe, no more than nine or ten. Another rose up behind the Grand Maester's chair. The girl who had opened the door for him was there as well.

She never left. 


They were all around him, half a dozen of them, white-faced children with dark eyes, boys and girls together.

I would assume they are white-faced because Varys keeps his mutilated and disabled little children toiling in the tunnels of the Red Keep so that one day, a king will come to put his people first, and live and rule for the children. (How can I set the font for sarcastic?) 


And in their hands, the daggers.

Bye-bye Ser Kevan Lannister. 

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On 4/1/2016 at 3:26 PM, Lost Melnibonean said:

Illyrio moves with surprising delicacy for such a massive man. Beneath loose garments of flame-colored silk, rolls of fat jiggle as he walks. Gemstones glitter on every finger, and he wears a forked yellow beard, well-oiled, that shines like gold.

Perhaps Illyrio’s physical description was inspired by Chaucer's Merchant in Canterbury Tales. Some have suggested that the Merchant's forked beard symbolized the Merchant's duplicity. Although he appears to be very wealthy, he is actually a debtor. Unlike the Merchant, of course, we have no reason to suspect that Illyrio is in debt. That suggests that Illyrio is hiding something else. 

A man with a beard was always a little suspect anyway. You couldn't say you wore a beard because you liked a beard. People didn't like you for telling the truth. You had to say you had a scar so you couldn't shave. --John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

Readers should always be wary of characters with little beards, like Petyr Baelish, especially forked beards, which often allude to the devil. 

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On 23.8.2017 at 7:04 PM, Lost Melnibonean said:

I cannot take that last sentence at face value. The first statement, the plea for forgiveness, and the testament that Varys is not murdering Kevan out of malice appears believable. Kevan's good works are an obstacle to Varys's effort to pave the way for the Blackfyre. And that ties into the penultimate sentence, that he murdered Kevan for the realm, not for the good of the realm, mind you, but for the realm. The king and the land are one, after all. But for the children? Which children would those be? The ones Varys has mutilated and disabled to serve his purpose? The little ones that were slaughtered or traumatized and left for dead, especially in the Riverlands, during the War of the Five Kings, like poor Weasel? Meribald works for the children, not Varys. 

I used to take Varys' claim that he did it for the children at face value, more or less. I always thought he really meant the good of the realm. You raise a very interesting point here. If he meant the good of the realm, he could have helped Robert become a good king all those years or after Robert's death, remove Cersei and Tywin, kill Joffrey and install Tyrion as Regent for Tommen. Tommen is still young enough that he could have received an education like they gave Aegon to make sure he became a good king. And Tyrion would have been a good ruler. 

Another thing that occurred to me just now: Illyrio's and Varys' motives don't need to be the same. Varys could very well pretend to do Illyrio's bidding while he pursued his own goals. While Illyrio probably does care about fAegon his son, Varys might not. 

Varys hates magic. According to Melisandre, there is (magical) power in a king's blood. At least in certain bloodlines, like the Targaryens and the Starks. Melisandre is probably wrong to assume that Mance Rayder's bloodline is magical, or maybe she knows that it isn't and that's why she let Mance's son escape and helped to save Mance from Stannis' justice. So it would be more accurate to say that there is magical power in certain bloodlines, whether they are kings or not is irrelevant. Some of them probably became kings in the first place because of magic. 

Varys himself might be of a magical/royal bloodline, as you pointed out. Or maybe he was targeted by the sorcerer because someone thought he was. It seems clear however, that the spell that was performed by sacrificing Varys' manhood did work. It's the event that drives Varys' character, his choices and his goals. The sorcerer sacrificed the children Varys will never have. To what end? Were these 'children' used to bring forth a malignant power that has been dormant for thousands of years, the Others? Does Varys know why he was sacrificed, does he suspect? Is he on a quest to make sure that all magical / royal bloodlines get purged in order to make magic disappear from the world? For good this time?

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@Lost Melnibonean My answer to your post from thread Least favorite theory.


22 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Illyrio wanted Viserys to stay with him in Pentos. 


22 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:
23 hours ago, Megorova said:

Jorah was spying after Dany and Viserys and reporting to Varys, and Doreah was spying after Dany, Viserys and Jorah and reporting everything to Illyrio. So when Doreah reported to Illyrio about the prophecy, they decided to use it, to get support of Dothraki for fAegon. 

What? How did you reach this conclusion? 


22 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:
23 hours ago, Megorova said:

He knew that Viserys will die in Dothraki Sea (because he himself planned his future death), 

How do you know this?

Answer to all three (it's looooong):


Illyrio used on Viserys reversed psychology. He manipulated him into thinking that if he himself won't go with Dany to Vaes Dothrak, then he may never see her again. Not her, not dragon eggs, not Khal Drogo, not (supposedly) promised by him Dothraki warriors.


“Are you sure that Khal Drogo likes his women this young?”

“She has had her blood. She is old enough for the khal,” Illyrio told him, not for the first time. “Look at her. That silver-gold hair, those purple eyes…she is the blood of old Valyria, no doubt, no doubt…and highborn, daughter of the old king, sister to the new, she cannot fail to entrance our Drogo.” When he released her hand, Daenerys found herself trembling.

“I suppose,” her brother said doubtfully. “The savages have queer tastes. Boys, horses, sheep…”

“Best not suggest this to Khal Drogo,” Illyrio said.

Anger flashed in her brother’s lilac eyes. “Do you take me for a fool?”

The magister bowed slightly. “I take you for a king. Kings lack the caution of common men. My apologies if I have given offense.”

<- Here he suggested that Dany may fail. Out loud he said the opposite, but nevertheless the way he said it, made Viserys to worry about Dany's possible failure. And he also started to have doubts whether he is cautious enough, whether he should trust Khal Drogo, and just like that to let him go with his greatest asset (Dany).


“We won’t need his whole khalasar,” Viserys said. His fingers toyed with the hilt of his borrowed blade, though Dany knew he had never used a sword in earnest. “Ten thousand, that would be enough, I could sweep the Seven Kingdoms with ten thousand Dothraki screamers. The realm will rise for its rightful king. Tyrell, Redwyne, Darry, Greyjoy, they have no more love for the Usurper than I do. The Dornishmen burn to avenge Elia and her children. And the smallfolk will be with us. They cry out for their king.” He looked at Illyrio anxiously. “They do, don’t they?”

They are your people, and they love you well,” Magister Illyrio said amiably. “In holdfasts all across the realm, men lift secret toasts to your health while women sew dragon banners and hide them against the day of your return from across the water.” He gave a massive shrug.Or so my agents tell me.

First Illyrio assured him, and then dismissed his own words.

All of this was a longlasting manipulation, and its goal was to make Viserys anxious to let Dany go alone, and made him thinking that he also needs to go.


“By the pillar is Khal Moro, with his son Rhogoro. The man with the green beard is brother to the Archon of Tyrosh, and the man behind him is Ser Jorah Mormont.”

The last name caught Daenerys. “A knight?”

“No less.” Illyrio smiled through his beard. “Anointed with the seven oils by the High Septon himself.

“What is he doing here?” she blurted.

The Usurper wanted his head,” Illyrio told them. “Some trifling affront. He sold some poachers to a Tyroshi slaver instead of giving them to the Night’s Watch. Absurd law. A man should be able to do as he likes with his own chattel.

“I shall wish to speak with Ser Jorah before the night is done,” her brother said.

Then he manipulated Dany and Viserys into being interested in Jorah.

He said his name the last. Human psychology works in a way that they remember the most what was said in the beginning and what was said in the end. So in the beginning Illyrio introduced some insignificant barbarian Khal with his even more insignificant son, and blah blah blah, and then - Ser Jorah Mormont. So of course Dany became interested, and asked, and Illyrio while answering also praised Jorah, making her interested even more. And then he said about the Usurper. And made Viserys think along lines of - enemy of my enemy is my friend. And then he also added probably statement with which Viserys was in agreament. Hook, line and sinker. And the fish (Viserys) is caught.


“He can have her tomorrow, if he likes,” her brother said. He glanced over at Dany, and she lowered her eyes. “So long as he pays the price.”

Illyrio waved a languid hand in the air, rings glittering on his fat fingers. “I have told you, all is settled. Trust me. The khal has promised you a crown, and you shall have it.

“Yes, but when?”

When the khal chooses,” Illyrio said. “He will have the girl first, and after they are wed he must make his procession across the plains and present her to the dosh khaleen at Vaes Dothrak. After that, perhaps. If the omens favor war.

Viserys seethed with impatience. “I piss on Dothraki omens. The Usurper sits on my father’s throne. How long must I wait?”

Illyrio gave a massive shrug. “You have waited most of your life, great king. What is another few months, another few years?

Ser Jorah, who had traveled as far east as Vaes Dothrak, nodded in agreement. “I counsel you to be patient, Your Grace. The Dothraki are true to their word, but they do things in their own time. A lesser man may beg a favor from the khal, but must never presume to berate him.

Viserys bristled. “Guard your tongue, Mormont, or I’ll have it out. I am no lesser man, I am the rightful Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. The dragon does not beg.”

Ser Jorah lowered his eyes respectfully.

What Illyrio actually said there was:

Khal promised you a crown, trust to this untrustworthy barbarian. After he will go half of continent away from here, with your last greatest treasure, your sister, as his prize, and if omens will be favorable, in a few years he will return here, with promised to you warriors. Maybe.

And look how Jorah is behaving. He became Viserys' follower only yesterday, but he is already giving him councelling. And he adds there words like "a lesser man", "beg", "favor", "must". And then he's respectfully lowering his eyes.

All of this are manipulations. Illyrio and Jorah, both of them were in conspiracy to make Viserys go to Vaes Dothrak. And to make sure that he will die there, Illyrio sent with him Jorah and Doreah. And the two of them together manipulated Viserys to die.


Her brother Viserys gifted her with three handmaids. Dany knew they had cost him nothing; Illyrio no doubt had provided the girls. Irri and Jhiqui were copper-skinned Dothraki with black hair and almond-shaped eyes, Doreah a fair-haired, blue-eyed Lysene girl. “These are no common servants, sweet sister,” her brother told her as they were brought forward one by one. “Illyrio and I selected them personally for you. Irri will teach you riding, Jhiqui the Dothraki tongue, and Doreah will instruct you in the womanly arts of love.” He smiled thinly. “She’s very good, Illyrio and I can both swear to that.


“Wait here,” Dany told Ser Jorah. “Tell them all to stay. Tell them I command it.


Viserys came upon her as sudden as a summer storm, his horse rearing beneath him as he reined up too hard. “You dare!” he screamed at her. “You give commands to me? To me?


He was still screaming. “You do not command the dragon. Do you understand? I am the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, I will not hear orders from some horselord’s slut, do you hear me?”


I warned him what would happen, my lady,” Ser Jorah Mormont said. “I told him to stay on the ridge, as you commanded.


As each rider swung down from his saddle, he unbelted his arakh and handed it to a waiting slave, and any other weapons he carried as well. Even Khal Drogo himself was not exempt. Ser Jorah had explained that it was forbidden to carry a blade in Vaes Dothrak, or to shed a free man’s blood.

But somehow Viserys still had his sword on the day he died. He wasn't smart enough to hide it from being taken away. Which means that he along with all others gave his sword away. But on that day someone has took his sword from wherever it was stored outside of the sacred city, and put it in Viserys' tent, where stupid Viserys saw it, and took it.


“I will give my brother his gifts tonight,” she decided as Jhiqui was washing her hair. “He should look a king in the sacred city. Doreah, run and find him and invite him to sup with me.Viserys was nicer to the Lysene girl than to her Dothraki handmaids, perhaps because Magister Illyrio had let him bed her back in Pentos.


She was arranging the last of his gifts—a sandsilk cloak, green as grass, with a pale grey border that would bring out the silver in his hair—when Viserys arrived, dragging Doreah by the arm. Her eye was red where he’d hit her. “How dare you send this whore to give me commands,” he said. He shoved the handmaid roughly to the carpet.

The anger took Dany utterly by surprise. “I only wanted…Doreah, what did you say?

“Khaleesi, pardons, forgive me. I went to him, as you bid, and told him you commanded him to join you for supper.

“No one commands the dragon,” Viserys snarled. “I am your king! I should have sent you back her head!”

The Lysene girl quailed, but Dany calmed her with a touch. “Don’t be afraid, he won’t hurt you. Sweet brother, please, forgive her, the girl misspoke herself, I told her to ask you to sup with me, if it pleases Your Grace.”

No she didn't mispoke, she intentionally said what she said. And who knows what kind of words exactly did she used, when she went after him. Most likely she intentionally used words that will enrage him the most.


“Where is my brother?” Dany asked. “He ought to have come by now, for the feast.”

I saw His Grace this morning,” he told her. “He told me he was going to the Western Market, in search of wine.

“Wine?” Dany said doubtfully. Viserys could not abide the taste of the fermented mare’s milk the Dothraki drank, she knew that, and he was oft at the bazaars these days, drinking with the traders who came in the great caravans from east and west. He seemed to find their company more congenial than hers.

“Wine,” Ser Jorah confirmed, “and he has some thought to recruit men for his army from the sellswords who guard the caravans.” A serving girl laid a blood pie in front of him, and he attacked it with both hands.

“Is that wise?” she asked. “He has no gold to pay soldiers. What if he’s betrayed?” Caravan guards were seldom troubled much by thoughts of honor, and the Usurper in King’s Landing would pay well for her brother’s head. “You ought to have gone with him, to keep him safe. You are his sworn sword.”

We are in Vaes Dothrak,” he reminded her. “No one may carry a blade here or shed a man’s blood.”

“Yet men die,” she said. “Jhogo told me. Some of the traders have eunuchs with them, huge men who strangle thieves with wisps of silk. That way no blood is shed and the gods are not angered.”

Then let us hope your brother will be wise enough not to steal anything.” Ser Jorah wiped the grease off his mouth with the back of his hand and leaned close over the table. “He had planned to take your dragon’s eggs, until I warned him that I’d cut off his hand if he so much as touched them.”

For a moment Dany was so shocked she had no words. “My eggs…but they’re mine, Magister Illyrio gave them to me, a bride gift, why would Viserys want…they’re only stones…”

“The same could be said of rubies and diamonds and fire opals, Princess…and dragon’s eggs are rarer by far. Those traders he’s been drinking with would sell their own manhoods for even one of those stones, and with all three Viserys could buy as many sellswords as he might need.”

Dany had not known, had not even suspected. “Then…he should have them. He does not need to steal them. He had only to ask. He is my brother…and my true king.”

“He is your brother,” Ser Jorah acknowledged.

You do not understand, ser,” she said. “My mother died giving me birth, and my father and my brother Rhaegar even before that. I would never have known so much as their names if Viserys had not been there to tell me. He was the only one left. The only one. He is all I have.

Once,” said Ser Jorah. “No longer, Khaleesi. You belong to the Dothraki now. In your womb rides the stallion who mounts the world.”


Suddenly Doreah was tugging at her elbow. “My lady,” the handmaid whispered urgently, “your brother…”

Dany looked down the length of the long, roofless hall and there he was, striding toward her. From the lurch in his step, she could tell at once that Viserys had found his wine…and something that passed for courage.

He was wearing his scarlet silks, soiled and travel-stained. His cloak and gloves were black velvet, faded from the sun. His boots were dry and cracked, his silver-blond hair matted and tangled. A longsword swung from his belt in a leather scabbard. The Dothraki eyed the sword as he passed; Dany heard curses and threats and angry muttering rising all around her, like a tide. The music died away in a nervous stammering of drums.

A sense of dread closed around her heart. “Go to him,” she commanded Ser Jorah. “Stop him. Bring him here. Tell him he can have the dragon’s eggs if that is what he wants.” The knight rose swiftly to his feet.

“Where is my sister?” Viserys shouted, his voice thick with wine. “I’ve come for her feast. How dare you presume to eat without me? No one eats before the king. Where is she? The whore can’t hide from the dragon.”

He stopped beside the largest of the three firepits, peering around at the faces of the Dothraki. There were five thousand men in the hall, but only a handful who knew the Common Tongue. Yet even if his words were incomprehensible, you had only to look at him to know that he was drunk.

Ser Jorah went to him swiftly, whispered something in his ear, and took him by the arm, but Viserys wrenched free. “Keep your hands off me! No one touches the dragon without leave.”

Dany glanced anxiously up at the high bench. Khal Drogo was saying something to the other khals beside him. Khal Jommo grinned, and Khal Ogo began to guffaw loudly.

The sound of laughter made Viserys lift his eyes. “Khal Drogo,” he said thickly, his voice almost polite. “I’m here for the feast.” He staggered away from Ser Jorah, making to join the three khals on the high bench.

Khal Drogo rose, spat out a dozen words in Dothraki, faster than Dany could understand, and pointed. “Khal Drogo says your place is not on the high bench,” Ser Jorah translated for her brother. “Khal Drogo says your place is there.”

Viserys glanced where the khal was pointing. At the back of the long hall, in a corner by the wall, deep in shadow so better men would not need to look on them, sat the lowest of the low; raw unblooded boys, old men with clouded eyes and stiff joints, the dim-witted and the maimed. Far from the meat, and farther from honor. “That is no place for a king,” her brother declared.

“Is place,” Khal Drogo answered, in the Common Tongue that Dany had taught him, “for Sorefoot King.” He clapped his hands together. “A cart! Bring cart for Khal Rhaggat!”

Five thousand Dothraki began to laugh and shout. Ser Jorah was standing beside Viserys, screaming in his ear, but the roar in the hall was so thunderous that Dany could not hear what he was saying. Her brother shouted back and the two men grappled, until Mormont knocked Viserys bodily to the floor.

Her brother drew his sword.

The bared steel shone a fearful red in the glare from the firepits. “Keep away from me!” Viserys hissed. Ser Jorah backed off a step, and her brother climbed unsteadily to his feet. He waved the sword over his head, the borrowed blade that Magister Illyrio had given him to make him seem more kingly. Dothraki were shrieking at him from all sides, screaming vile curses.

Dany gave a wordless cry of terror. She knew what a drawn sword meant here, even if her brother did not.

Her voice made Viserys turn his head, and he saw her for the first time. “There she is,” he said, smiling. He stalked toward her, slashing at the air as if to cut a path through a wall of enemies, though no one tried to bar his way.

“The blade…you must not,” she begged him. “Please, Viserys. It is forbidden. Put down the sword and come share my cushions. There’s drink, food…is it the dragon’s eggs you want? You can have them, only throw away the sword.”

Do as she tells you, fool,” Ser Jorah shouted, “before you get us all killed.”

Viserys laughed. “They can’t kill us. They can’t shed blood here in the sacred city…but I can.

Who made him think that Dothraki can't kill in Vaes Dothrak? Who was it that said to him that the rule applyes only to Dothraki, and not to their "guests"? Who has led Viserys to the market and introduced him to traders, and said to them to give free wine to Viserys whenever he will come? Who put Viserys' sword in his room? -> Jorah.

And probably Viserys never said anything about stealing dragon eggs. This part was made up by Jorah. Same as part about Viserys planning to hire someone thru that market. Because Viserys wasn't smart enough, to think about something like that. So this was also a lie made by Jorah. The point of this lies was to make Dany turn away from her brother. 

Also who knows what did Jorah whispered to Viserys. And what he shouted to him. Whatever it was, it caused Viserys to draw his sword. Could be that Jorah either insulted Viserys, or treatend him, that he will kill him, or something like that.


22 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Why throw away a potential asset as valuable as Viserys? 

Because Viserys was too stupid and uncontrollable. Thus he was not an asset, he was a liability/hindrance. But as long as he was alive, it was problematic for Illyrio to put a new potential King on stage.

Probably in the very beginning (after Robert's Rebellion) Varys has sent Willem Darry to Dragonstone, to "save" Dany and Viserys, and bring them on territory controlled by Varys and Illyrio - Braavos. They planned to support Viserys' claim, and thru him get to Iron Throne, and make him King of 7K. But for execution of that plan Viserys was supposed to have certain qualities, and among them to be obedient to his secret masters (Varys and Illyrio). Though when a few years passed, they saw what kind of King Viserys will be, what kind of adult he will be, and they decided against his candidacy, and switched to plan B - fAegon. It was approximately 5 years after rebellion. At that time Viserys was 13 or 14 years old, about the same age as Jon Snow in the beginning of AGOT. So it was already obvious what kind of person he is - he will be a really bad King. 


22 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:
23 hours ago, Megorova said:

But original plan didn't included Drogo giving his support to fAegon. Thus Dany wasn't married with Drogo to gain that support. Thru that marriage Illyrion was just getting rid of excess peaces on his board of Game of Thrones. Dany and Viserys both were those excess figures. Though he still gave them dragon eggs, just in case.

Why not? If all he wanted to do was have Viserys and Daenerys removed, he could have them sewn into sacks with stones and tossed into the Bay of Pentos. 

Probably other Blackfyres were against killing in that way someone with dragonblood. Even though Viserys was an idiot and psychopath, and Dany was a timid meek weakling, there was still a possibility that one of them is able to hatch a dragon egg. Thus they were given three of them, and were both sent to Vaes Dothrak. Even though Illyrio and Varys thought that it will be (most likely) a one way ticket for both of them.


22 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:
23 hours ago, Megorova said:

and he didn't thought that either of Targaryens will hatch those dragon eggs.

I thought you said he hoped the Targlings would hatch the eggs?  

He didn't thought that someone like Viserys or Dany, have what is needed, to hatch a dragon egg, because even much better people tried, but failed. But there's not that many of pureblooded dragonlords left in their world, so they wanted to try all options.

Even if Viserys and Dany would have failed to hatch those dragon eggs, there was still Jorah and Doreah, they were supposed to steal them, in case if both Targaryens will die.


22 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:
23 hours ago, Megorova said:

and he didn't seriously expected that Khal Drogo will give his warriors to Viserys or Dany,

That's not what Tristan Rivers tells. Tristan tells us that the fat man planned to have Viserys join them with 50 thousand Dothraki screamers. 

Which was an obvious lie. Drogo wasn't going to give anyone 50 thousands of his warriors. Did he (Drogo), or Viserys, or Dany, or Jorah, or one of Drogo's people ever said anything like that? - No, they didn't.


22 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:
23 hours ago, Megorova said:

So when he sent Targaryen to Vaes Dothrak, he thought that he will never see them again.

Death of Viserys was part of the original plan.

Then why did Illyrio weep for the plans he had made after Viserys was killed? 

He was weeping not because of Viserys' death. He was weeping because of his own stupidity, when he found out that Daenerys Targaryen managed to hatch all three dragon eggs, but now she and them are half of the world away from Illyrio, and he was the one who has sent them there :crying:


22 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:
23 hours ago, Megorova said:

Though a man with poisoned wine, that became the reason why Khal Drogo agreed to support Dany in her conquest of Westeros, was added into Illyrio's plan only after Viserys' death,

The assassination attempt was set in motion before Viserys was killed. And wasn't the reason for the assassination attempt to goad Drogo into attacking earlier than expected? 

and this

22 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:
23 hours ago, Megorova said:

and after Dany became pregnant, and after there appeared a prophecy, that her son will be the Stallion that will mount the world. Only then Blackfyres decided to use Dothraki.

Doesn't Illyrio or Jorah or both of them explain that the Dothraki will only fight for Viserys if their omens favor war? And only after Drogo presents his bride and potential heir to the dosh khaleen? 

First of all, there was a high possibility that Dany will die long before Drogo's khalasar will get to Vaes Dothrak. And it wasn't something unknown to Illyrio. Dany was frail weak girl, and even for strong men, that are warriors, to get all the way from Pentos to Vaes Dothrak (that's 3,000 miles and over 12 months of travel time on horseback) is a hard task. And Dany was on a verge of either dying, or committing suicide to end her suffering, mere weeks after their departure from Pentos.


At first it had not come easy. The khalasar had broken camp the morning after her wedding, moving east toward Vaes Dothrak, and by the third day Dany thought she was going to die. Saddle sores opened on her bottom, hideous and bloody. Her thighs were chafed raw, her hands blistered from the reins, the muscles of her legs and back so wracked with pain that she could scarcely sit. By the time dusk fell, her handmaids would need to help her down from her mount.

Even the nights brought no relief. Khal Drogo ignored her when they rode, even as he had ignored her during their wedding, and spent his evenings drinking with his warriors and bloodriders, racing his prize horses, watching women dance and men die. Dany had no place in these parts of his life. She was left to sup alone, or with Ser Jorah and her brother, and afterward to cry herself to sleep. Yet every night, some time before the dawn, Drogo would come to her tent and wake her in the dark, to ride her as relentlessly as he rode his stallion. He always took her from behind, Dothraki fashion, for which Dany was grateful; that way her lord husband could not see the tears that wet her face, and she could use her pillow to muffle her cries of pain. When he was done, he would close his eyes and begin to snore softly and Dany would lie beside him, her body bruised and sore, hurting too much for sleep.

Day followed day, and night followed night, until Dany knew she could not endure a moment longer. She would kill herself rather than go on, she decided one night…

Yet when she slept that night, she dreamt the dragon dream again.

She would have died. But she connected with Drogon, and from him gained strength.

Even if Illyrio thought that maybe one of Targaryens will hatch dragon eggs, he still didn't knew that the forming of bond is changing prospective dragonrider. None of Blackfyres ever had a dragon, so they had no idea how this bond works.

Dany's survival was pure luck. And Illyrio has manipulated Viserys to go with her, and Jorah and Doreah to accompany them, to make sure that Viserys will die (but not too soon, just in case if he will be able to hatch a dragon).

So it doesn't matter what kind of omens were Dothraki going to get from dosh khaleen. Illyrio expected that both Targaryens will die, and then he was going to put fAegon on stage.

Even though received omens were more than favorable, Drogo wasn't going anywhere (next quote from the book).

So until Illyrio found out about Dany's pregnancy, and that Dothraki believe, that her child is going to be the Stallion that will mount the world, he wasn't expecting to get any aid from Khal Drogo. Even after he found out about this, he still wasn't expecting Khal Drogo to do anything. And thus he used Dany's pregnancy, or rather threat to her and her baby's life, to make Drogo finally do something.

Doesn't matter when exactly was set in motion assassination attempt, what matters is that they were going to get rid of Viserys, prior Khal Drogo will give his Dothraki to Targaryens. Because Illyrio wanted those Targaryens to be Dany and fAegon, not Dany and Viserys.

First Jorah reported to Illyrio about Dany's pregnancy, and prophecy of dosh khaleen. Then this information was passed to Varys, and Varys informed about it Robert. And also manipulated Robert into ordering to kill Dany and her baby. But his order was just a formality. Because Illyrio and his poisoner were already ready to act. Caravan with poisoner arrived from Pentos. If they departed from Pentos only after getting letter with Robert's order, then by the time they would have arrived to Vaes Dothraki, it would have been already way past time when Dany gave birth to her child. Which proves that most likely that caravan was sent by Illyrio as soon as he found out about Dany's baby and the prophecy.


22 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:
23 hours ago, Megorova said:

First Doreah suggested to Dany, that she should use her female charms to convince her husband to conquer 7K for her,

Hey, I like that... I never thought of that, and I have never seen that suggested. 

At that time Dany was still too innocent in inter-sex relationships, to get that kind of idea on her own. So most likely it was suggested to her by Doreah. Of course Illyrio wasn't expecting this tactic to work, probably he wasn't even aware of it, and it was just Doreah's way to have some fun, before the main plan will begin.

Cuts from chapter 6:


When he had taken his pleasure, Khal Drogo rose from their sleeping mats to tower above her.

The stallion who mounts the world has no need of iron chairs.

“It was prophesied that the stallion will ride to the ends of the earth,” she said.

“The earth ends at the black salt sea,” Drogo answered at once.

“In the Free Cities, there are ships by the thousand,” Dany told him, as she had told him before. “Wooden horses with a hundred legs, that fly across the sea on wings full of wind.”

Khal Drogo did not want to hear it. “We will speak no more of wooden horses and iron chairs.”

“Yes, my sun-and-stars,” Dany said. Drogo would take his bloodriders and ride in search of hrakkar, the great white lion of the plains. If they returned triumphant, her lord husband’s joy would be fierce, and he might be willing to hear her out.


“You must talk to my lord husband,” Dany said. “Drogo says the stallion who mounts the world will have all the lands of the earth to rule, and no need to cross the poison water. He talks of leading his khalasar east after Rhaego is born, to plunder the lands around the Jade Sea.”

The knight looked thoughtful. “The khal has never seen the Seven Kingdoms,” he said. “They are nothing to him. If he thinks of them at all, no doubt he thinks of islands, a few small cities clinging to rocks in the manner of Lorath or Lys, surrounded by stormy seas. The riches of the east must seem a more tempting prospect.”

“But he must ride west,” Dany said, despairing. “Please, help me make him understand.” She had never seen the Seven Kingdoms either, no more than Drogo, yet she felt as though she knew them from all the tales her brother had told her. Viserys had promised her a thousand times that he would take her back one day, but he was dead now and his promises had died with him.

The Dothraki do things in their own time, for their own reasons,” the knight answered. “Have patience, Princess. Do not make your brother’s mistake. We will go home, I promise you.

Home? The word made her feel sad. Ser Jorah had his Bear Island, but what was home to her? A few tales, names recited as solemnly as the words of a prayer, the fading memory of a red door…was Vaes Dothrak to be her home forever? When she looked at the crones of the dosh khaleen, was she looking at her future?

Ser Jorah must have seen the sadness on her face. “A great caravan arrived during the night, Khaleesi. Four hundred horses, from Pentos by way of Norvos and Qohor, under the command of Merchant Captain Byan Votyris. Illyrio may have sent a letter. Would you care to visit the Western Market?

Dany was still unaware about Jorah's feelings, until he started smooching her. So is it likely, that it was her own idea, to sex Khal Drogo into doing what she wants? Seems that prior beginning of that chapter, Doreah suggested Dany to try and use her sex appeal, to influence her husband into agreeing to what she asks - to go to Westeros.

But what finally made him act was that poisoner (and Jorah again added his 5 cents):


When Dany told him what had happened at the market, all laughter stopped, and Khal Drogo grew very quiet.

“This poisoner was the first,” Ser Jorah Mormont warned him, “but he will not be the last. Men will risk much for a lordship.”

Drogo was silent for a time. Finally he said, “This seller of poisons ran from the moon of my life. Better he should run after her. So he will. Jhogo, Jorah the Andal, to each of you I say, choose any horse you wish from my herds, and it is yours. Any horse save my red and the silver that was my bride gift to the moon of my life. I make this gift to you for what you did.

“And to Rhaego son of Drogo, the stallion who will mount the World, to him I also pledge a gift. To him I will give this iron chair his mother’s father sat in. I will give him Seven Kingdoms. I, Drogo, khal, will do this thing.” His voice rose, and he lifted his fist to the sky. “I will take my khalasar west to where the world ends, and ride the wooden horses across the black salt water as no khal has done before. I will kill the men in the iron suits and tear down their stone houses. I will rape their women, take their children as slaves, and bring their broken gods back to Vaes Dothrak to bow down beneath the Mother of Mountains. This I vow, I, Drogo son of Bharbo. This I swear before the Mother of Mountains, as the stars look down in witness.”

His khalasar left Vaes Dothrak two days later

More than a year passed since their wedding, but prior this assassination attempt, Drogo wasn't going to go anywhere. Illyrio was smart, he knew that Dothraki are unreliable. So even though Drogo married with Dany, it meant nothing. He wasn't going to give his warriors or his support not to Viserys, not to Dany, not to Illyrio, and not to fAegon. But after Dany became pregnant, and furthermore according to prophecy it became known that the baby will be a boy, then Illyrio and Varys decided to send a poisoner to Vaes Dothrak, to change Drogo's mind, and manipulate him to give that pledge. To his son, the stallion who will mount the World, not to Dany. He wouldn't have done this for a woman, even though she was his wife, and he loved her.


22 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:
23 hours ago, Megorova said:

From Doreah's reports he knew that Jorah fell in love with Dany,

But where does the author suggest that Doreah is reporting back to Illyrio? 

Jorah is a scum. He sold people into slavery, because his wife wanted to have more jewellery. So there was no guarantee that, instead of doing what he was sent there to do (to spy after Targaryens, push Viserys to his death, reporting back to Illyrio), he won't try to simply steal dragon eggs and escape with them. Dragon eggs are priceless, and Jorah is unreliable. So it's likely that Illyrio has sent with them someone to watch over Jorah and his actions. And I made conclusion that it was Doreah. Because Illyrio chose her. She was manipulating Viserys into losing control, so she wasn't a mere maid. And also in the book, both she and Jorah used the same manipulation. Dany said to Jorah to order everyone to stay in place and wait, but he went and said those words separately to Viserys. And later Dany said to Doreah, to go to her brother and ask him to join her for dinner, but Doreah went to him, and intentionally said that Khaleese commands him. So combination of this hints point out to possibility that both of them are spies of Illyrio.

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