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Illyrio Mo'Parties

[TWOW spoilers] Arianne's companions

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Apologies for the vague title, I don't know how fussy some people can be about spoilers.

I had a thought elsewhere which I thought merited its own thread. When Arianne goes to meet Aegon, has Doran hidden some secret agents in her party?

I've offered an explanation for "why" in the above link, and feel free to push back or debate that notion. But it's not the "why" that interests me so much as the "who". If Doran does have some secret agent/s travelling with Arianne, who might they be? Let's get puzzlin'!

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She has six travelling companions:

Three knights:

Ser Daemon Sand, a.k.a. the Bastard of Godsgrace

Ser Joss Hood

Ser Garibald Shells

Two ladies-in-waiting, I guess:

Elia Sand

Jayne Ladybright

And then there's Nate, a.k.a. Feathers, who tends to the ravens.

(Interesting to note that there's seven of them - an auspicious number, and perhaps a further hint towards Doran's religious bent.)

I think we can dismiss Elia Sand right away. Doran's already had her thrown in jail once, and from what we've seen she's impetuous and reckless. I doubt Doran trusts her. It seems more likely that he's using her to teach Arianne a lesson. (I can't remember if Arianne thinks so herself or not.)

We know the most about Daemon Sand, who along with Elia is the only one Arianne appears to have met before (IIRC). He's the bastard son of Ryon Allyrion. He and Arianne used to plough, which Doran is aware of, and had once asked Doran for Arianne's hand in marriage. Doran refused. Daemon then went on to become Oberyn's squire, and rumour has it, his lover, a.k.a. "bum boy". After Oberyn's death, he fired off a raven to Nymeria Sand breaking the news. We don't know if he sent ravens to anyone else. On his return to Dorne, he was jailed, along with the rest of the Sand Snakes. After his release, he's present at the feast for Balon Swann, but refuses to toast King Tommen. In the TWOW chapters we see that he doesn't seem to happy about being around Arianne again.

Now, I'm indebted to Preston Jacobs and this video for the next bit. His analysis on which houses Doran Martell would trust, and how much, is pretty solid, and I recommend watching. But if you can't be arsed, this screenshot has the important stuff. The houses in red are Doran's inner circle; those in pink can be trusted and seem to have the political skill necessary to be involved in important plans; those in blue he can trust, but "not to water his plants"; and those in white can't be trusted at all.

Frustratingly, none of the houses mentioned are a part of Arianne's party (although Feathers could be an Orphan of the Greenblood for all we know), although the party does pass thru Ghost Hill, which is one of the pink houses in Preston's diagram. (Alright, so it's also the shortest distance.)

(Actually, is it the shortest distance? They could have sailed from Sunspear, but of course there are a lot more eyes down there.)

House Allyrion is one of the pink houses above, but the reason they're pink is because they have the tact to toast King Tommen in front of Balon Swann. This test, if test it is, is one that Daemon Sand fails. I also think the fact that he sent a raven to Nymeria Sand about Oberyn's death, rather than (I presume) Doran, speaks against his judgment, Doran certainly thought so, as he had him thrown in jail for being an instigator. On the other hand, he accompanied Oberyn to King's Landing, and Oberyn was almost definitely in Doran's inner circle; if Oberyn was up to some sneaky shit while in the capital, it's possible his squire was privy to some of it, and if Oberyn trusted Daemon with that sort of thing, then maybe Doran would too. It's possible that Daemon's lack of tact at the banquet, then, was an act.

The rest, Arianne doesn't seem to know.

Joss Hood and Garibald Shells are knights apparently sworn directly to house Martell. I don't know if there's a house Hood or Shells mentioned elsewhere. We really know very little about them, although, per the wiki, Garibald Shells is a "serious and proper young man". He also beats Arianne at cyvasse. If Shells is intelligent and serious, that might mean he's got the right stuff to spy for Doran. On the other hand, neither knight seems quite on board with Dornish proto-feminism, which might mean that they're too politically unsound to be trusted.

Jayne Ladybright is a lady of house Ladybright. We don't know if she's intelligent, although perhaps she's "bright" - yuck. We don't know much about her or her house: we don't know where it is, or whether the house is likely to be part of Doran's network of trust. But her mother, Lady Alyse Ladybright, is Doran's treasurer, so he at least trusts Jayne's family enough to let them manage his finances. It's also interesting that Jayne gets seasick. Now, it seems like her function is merely to serve as a lady-in-waiting to Arianne and to be a pretty face making up the numbers when they arrive at Griffin's Roost. But if Doran just needed some more meat in the room, then why pick room-meat that gets seasick for a journey that requires sailing? It's only a small thing I know, but it does raise the possibility that there's more to her than meets the eye.

And last but not least, there's old mate Feathers. There is some small evidence to suggest that Doran doesn't trust the maesters, but Feathers has been the raven boy at the Water Gardens for years, so Doran clearly already trusts him with his messages. Beyond that, we really don't know anything about him. I suppose you could argue that he's a little bit reckless, because Arianne catches him kissing Elia.

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So that's it. Please chime in if you have any thoughts. I should point out something important, though: it's not enough for Doran to trust these supposed secret agents. This is a secret mission - hell, in a sense they're all Doran's secret agents. But I mean, this is a very important, top-secret diplomatic mission that involves his own daughter, so he absolutely has to trust every single person there. I think the test for whether somebody is there as an even-more trusted agent of Doran's is whether they seem up to the job, or whether there's something fishy about them. For me, the best candidates are Ser Garibald Shells, Lady Jayne Ladybright, and Feathers. Let me know what you think.

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It would make sense that Doran would have someone keeping an eye on things and making reports to him independently of Arianne. None of her companions though has any presence in the story to help us point a finger. If this guy Feathers is from the Water Gardens he sounds like a good candidate. Ladybright would be from his own household, her mother holding a sensitive position, so it's plausible that Doran might trust her.

Damon and Elia frankly seem there to make trouble. I think Arianne is still under probation and Doran wants to see how she can handle unruly relatives like Doran has done all his life. At least in part I think they are there to allow Doran to disavow the entire expedition with a certain amount of plausibility. After all he did imprison both of them along with Arianne.

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15 hours ago, The Sleeper said:

It would make sense that Doran would have someone keeping an eye on things and making reports to him independently of Arianne. None of her companions though has any presence in the story to help us point a finger. If this guy Feathers is from the Water Gardens he sounds like a good candidate. Ladybright would be from his own household, her mother holding a sensitive position, so it's plausible that Doran might trust her.

Damon and Elia frankly seem there to make trouble. I think Arianne is still under probation and Doran wants to see how she can handle unruly relatives like Doran has done all his life. At least in part I think they are there to allow Doran to disavow the entire expedition with a certain amount of plausibility. After all he did imprison both of them along with Arianne.

I agree that we really don't have enough information at this point to say anything definitive, but isn't rampant speculation half the fun anyway?

I certainly agree that Elia is there to annoy Arianne. I think Doran's trying to drive home the point about Arianne needing to behave responsibly, and it's quite a clever way to do it. Ceebs reading the chapters again right now, but I'm sure Elia's misbehaviour is prompting Arianne to reflect on her own.

I agree also that it's a way of testing her, to see how she handles, as you say, "unruly relatives". It seems like very few of the pieces available to Doran aren't unruly and impetuous, so I guess learning how to manage that kind of person is a key skill needed for the upper-level management in the Martell enterprise.

Daemon, I just figured he was a good enough sword to protect Arianne, and his past mistakes have only give Doran more leverage over him, and thus more reason to trust him.

I never considered that Doran might be giving himself an "out", so to speak, but that's a very clever notion and one that would certainly occur to the cautious Prince of Dorne... at least, if he's as clever as we think he is. So far, the text hasn't been clear on that point.

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On 7/3/2016 at 7:48 AM, Illyrio Mo'Parties said:

Frustratingly, none of the houses mentioned are a part of Arianne's party

Is it possible that Doran did not send any members of the Houses outwardly loyal to him so that in case Arianne mess things up and angers the Iron Throne, Doran can wash his hands clean saying Arianne acted without Doran's knowledge or consent?

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1 hour ago, Hos the Hostage said:

Is it possible that Doran did not send any members of the Houses outwardly loyal to him so that in case Arianne mess things up and angers the Iron Throne, Doran can wash his hands clean saying Arianne acted without Doran's knowledge or consent?

Yes, The Sleeper said much the same thing upthread. I think it's entirely possible, certainly in keeping with the Doran we know.

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