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Lord Varys

FIRE AND BLOOD Volume 1

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8 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

@Lord Varys

Is it possible Aenys tried to bring Dorne into the kingdom by marriage? I could see him trying to do that, though Maegor strikes me as more likely to try to conquer them.

It seems that Aegon-Rhaena is the first and only marriage of his children Aenys I arranged. As of yet it is unclear whether Jaehaerys-Alysanne was already a thing or in the works in 41 AC - one really wonders who arranged that in the end - Alyssa? Or did the children just decide to do that all by themselves?

Prince Viserys would have been available to be married to Princess Deria's daughter or granddaughter but we don't know whether Aenys' plan was to add a Viserys-Alysanne match to the Aegon-Rhaena match, cutting Jaehaerys out of all his plans.

TSotD does essentially skip the two years Aenys and Maegor ruled together as brothers. It would provide more opportunity for an aborted campaign against Dorne than Maegor's own war-torn reign. He had always to deal with the Faith Militant, his own family, and other rebels while he was completing the Red Keep and building the Dragonpit. It doesn't sound very likely he had the leisure time to raise an army and invade Dorne. Although there is a chance that he had some Marcher Lords and Reach lords do that in his name.

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4 hours ago, White Ravens said:

But it is unreasonable for you or any other poster to speak with authority about what GRRM's motivations and priorities are or what the outcome of this series will be. 

LOL, of course I'm not speaking with authority. I just have an opinion. One that is supported by at least some evidence.

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Either we are never getting twow or, after many hurdles, it is going well and he is on the downhill with twow and is not letting fab distract, but rather stimulate, him.

Thing is, he created the golem and is rich because of it .... yet is using his golem as the excuse for getting distracted from distraction by distraction.

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If twow isn't near, he must be terminally stuck.  The only way is to do a Bran: go back in time and start again from the end of AGOT.  

So all we need to do to see twow and ados is to invent time travel.  And ppl think the hype train is wishful thinking.  This guy.

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On ‎7‎/‎23‎/‎2017 at 2:37 AM, Lord Varys said:

Since we now know that we are going to get that book after all - or rather the first half of the material that was mostly written years ago, stretching from the reign of the Conqueror to the Regency of the Dragonbane - and much sooner than we thought, the question is what you are looking forward the most in that book.

For me it would be the newly written account of the reign of the Old King that has to be in there for the book to actually qualify as a history book. And then there is the complete history of the Dance, of course, and the Regency of Aegon III, a period about which no pretty much nothing but which is supposed to be very interesting and very detailed.

Perhaps the reference to Valyria in the enigmatic blog post indicates that we'll learn more about the Freehold of Valyria and the Targaryens back then, either through some brief prelude or opaque references to more ancient Targaryens in the text. Nobody would complain about that.

The most interesting new aspects of the book should be the detailed stories of the children of the Old King, the whereabouts of the twin daughters of Aegon and Rhaena, and the ultimate fate of their mother. And then there are, of course, the dragons, and details about the reign of Jaehaerys and Alysanne - the First Quarrel, Alyssa Velaryon and the Baratheons, and the Great Council.

This should be a great read indeed. 

What really happened to Rhaenys.  More details of how she and Visenya governed.  What were relations like between them. More about the relationship between Visenya and Aenys and Visenya and Maegor.

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I'm not terribly interested in the "history" of an uncompleted series; however, if it is made clear whether Aegon chose the three-headed dragon sigil because it represented him and his two sisters or if he invaded Westeros because he believed he and his sisters were the three-headed dragon from one of Daenys' prophecies then I would consider the book worth it.

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On 7/23/2017 at 9:47 PM, Cas Stark said:

My impression is that the author has a tough time facing hard truths, and the hard truth that I see is that he either is so lost in the many plot threads he created he can't write his way out or he has completely lost interest in the story, the result is the same, though, no ending in sight.

I wasn't that impressed with the World Book or the Queen novella....so, I have not much reason to be excited about Fire and Blood, and probably by the time it comes out the show will be over and my questions on who lives/who dies in the series will be answered.  And that will be a wrap.

I think it's clear that we're now entirely reliant on the TV show to give us ending and final storyline arcs for the characters we have come to be invested in. On the one hand that is bad, because they rush through it and in spectacular fashion, and it doesn't get the time and longer attention it deserves. On the other hand it's good, because we're finallly geting resolution, and we're getting it fast.

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[mo]d Let's stick to the topic of this particular book, OK? Not other books, or the author's mental life, or whatever. [/mod]

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I'm pretty obsessed with Alys Rivers, as she provides a lot of information pertaining to Magic use in the series. She see's much and more in her Cook Fire's, Storm Clouds, puddles. etc.  

Which of course instantly had my nose twitching. And I'll admit my first instinct was that she is a Blackwood bastard. @Lord Varys It never occurred to me that she may have been from House Strong.  But I can see why you would make that connection, given that we meet her in the vicinity of Harenhall. 

But over the last few years I've thought about her a lot and I have become more convinced than ever that she is a Blackwood.   The first we see of her is this. 

Quote

He had not come alone. Alys Rivers flew with him, her long hair streaming black behind her, her belly swollen with child.

One thing which makes me think she is of Blackwood blood is her long black hair.  Ser Harwin Strong gave Rhaenyra three sons with brown hair. Not Black.  And no one from House Strong is rumoured or reported as a magic user.  But Alys has long Black hair and is most definitely a magic user. 

That image we have of her flying through the air with her long black hair streaming out behind her, her belly swollen with Aemond's child is very much the image of a Witch. She may be riding a dragon, but the mind's eye creates an image so familiar to us that Witch is the only descriptor to summarise it.  

House Blackwood have several female members associated with the colour black. And at least one famous magic user. Bloodraven. They have strong First man blood and are worshipers of the Old Gods.  

Black Betha Blackwood was Aegon V's wife and she is known as Black Betha due to her dark eyes and dark hair

Black Ally Blackwood was wife to Cregan Stark and seems likely to have earned the moniker for the same reason as Aegon's Black Betha. 

And in the world Book, Missy Blackwood is depicted as having Long Dark hair, and dark eyes. 

Lord Tytos has a salt and pepper beard and long hair, his hair colour is not told to us but salt and pepper usually refers to a black beard or hair which is turning grey. 

Long Black hair, therefore, seems likely to be a trait of the family. And magic use seems likely to be common amongst them. Bloodraven himself is, of course, an Albino but he is a magic user. Which brings us to the second part of our mystery about Alys. 

Quote
“Who told you where to find me?”
“My lady,” Aemond answered. “She saw you in a storm cloud, in a mountain pool at dusk, in the fire we lit to cook our suppers. She sees much and more, my Alys. You were a fool to come alone.”
2

Here it is made clear Alys is a magic user, she's been introduced to us with imagery which strongly evokes Witch status. So I'd go out on a limb and say she is a woods witch.  I did a lot of research on Woods Witches recently and I think that we should be paying a lot more attention to them that we have thus far! 

Alongside the witch imagery for Alys we also have Odin imagery in Aemond. He's got one eye for a start! And he's a war chief.  In Nordic/Germanic paganism Vala were wandering witches who used various herbs, psychedelics etc to perform magic and acted as seer's They wandered around and were welcomed into tribes some teamed up with the war chiefs of the tribes and formed a symbolic Odin & Frigg relationship.  I think this is what we are seeing here with Aemond & Alys and if we look at the various historical accounts in the world book of woods witches they too frequently have a war chief partner.  

One final thing which I think lends weight to her being a Blackwood bastard is her name. Alys is a previously used variant of a Blackwood name and Allysanne Blackwood named a daughter Alys. And Aemond calls her his Lady which implies she had noble ancestry, so not some random Riverlands lass. Besides I don't think the bastard names are used for smallfolk? iirc? 

So, yes I can't wait to hopefully find out a bit more about Alys and her child! 

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@The Weirwoods Eyes

I honestly doubt that Alys Rivers had genuine magical abilities. Aemond Targaryen wasn't exactly the sharpest knife in the box, and there is a pretty good chance that the man was led around by the nose by a smart woman who liked the thought of seducing some Targaryen prince - even more so the one with the largest dragon alive.

Alys claims to see things pretty much everywhere, not just in flames (where it works if you are a red priest), and there are no hints she actually had any magical abilities nor did she foresee anything she could not have found out differently. Daemon did announce and told the Mootons to spread the story that Daemon was waiting for him at Harrenhal. If we assume Alys had genuine prophetic abilities - why on earth didn't she foresee Aemond's pitiful death at the hands of his uncle? Why not at least the suicidal tactic Daemon was going to use?

The Strong connection is much, well, stronger than a possible Blackwood connection. The Blackwoods stood with Rhaenyra and Aegon the Younger, following Daemon during the Dance after he came to Harrenhal early on during the war. When Aemond and Cole marched against Harrenhal, the Black Riverlords - Blackwoods included - abandoned the castle and seemingly dispersed only to come back later and help crush the Lannister army and then eventually Criston Cole's army, too.

From TPatQ we know that Daemon captured one Simon Strong, the castellan of Harrenhal, and his grandsons when he took Harrenhal. That makes it not unlikely that there might have been Strong bastards at Harrenhal, too. They are usually not important, and Alys Rivers would only enter the history books when she became the mistress of Prince Aemond (and disappear into obscurity after his death). The chances that Aemond had a chance to hook up with a Blackwood bastard are very low. Even more so, we have no idea whether the Strongs actually had brown hair. Neither Lyonel nor Harwin, Larys, Simon, or his grandsons are described. And even if all of them were brown-haired, brown-eyed, and pug-nosed as Rhaenyra's sons were, Alys Rivers would also have another parent that wasn't a Strong, and she could have inherited her black hair from that parent. Black hair could only hint in the Blackwood direction if the Blackwoods actually were likely to interact with Aemond in the given time. And how likely is it that Daemon left some Blackwood bastard at Harrenhal when he and his men left? How likely is it that some Blackwood bastard went or was brought to Harrenhal early on during the Dance? Not very likely.

In addition, if Alys Rivers was a genuine seer after all - not a sorceress, a seer - then this doesn't point towards the Blackwoods, either. There is one Blackwood sorcerer - Brynden Rivers - but we honestly don't know whether his special abilities have anything to do with either his Blackwood or Targaryen legacy. What little we know about skinchangers and greenseers does not indicate that they appear all that often in a particular bloodline, and there is no hint whatsoever that there were any other Blackwood sorcerers besides Bloodraven.

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Hmmmm, I don't think seeing things in fires is an exclusive Red Priest ability, namely because I don't think that there is a god called R'hllor who grants his followers visions. There is another clue to the non existence of R'hllor and that is that Bericis not a Red Priest and he does not say any words when he transfers his fire into Catelyn. Which indicates this is not a miracle granted by a god but rather magic and it is the flame itself doing the magic. 

Alys being able to see visions in fires, as well as other elemental media, is a huge hint that this is not god granted. But is a magical ability which some people can access. Your dismissal of Alys as a magic user is not something I will grant and credence to, it is based on nothing but your conviction that she is a strong. Which despite how strong you think the likelihood is is only based on your personal preference. There is nothing in her appearance which indicates she is a Strong. Whereas the Black hair is associated with the Blackwoods. If she were a strong I'd expect her to have a Pug nose or Brown hair. 

I won't lay out my references again as I believe they stand for themselves. But I will add that other woods witches are also associated with the magics thought by most readers to be attributable to R'hllor. The Woods Witch Nible Dick tells Brienne of had a husband who would bring back the decapitated heads of his foes and she would kiss them and they would talk. If this doesn't sound like the Fire Kiss......well. 

Who her family stood with is irrelevant because we all know bastards might not be loyal to their families due to bitterness and resentments at their bastardy.  What is more important is the interesting connotations regarding magic use in world. 

I do hope though that we do get some answers in Fire and Blood. Especially as to where her child who would be another first man Targaryen cross. just like Bloodraven and just like Jon Snow went to.   

Which let's face it is infinitely more fascinating than them being a boring old no mark Strong. Who seem as a House to be there only to service the Rhaenyra having bastards storyline in TP&TQ. Boring. 

 

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@The Weirwoods Eyes

I'm not saying Alys may not be a real seer because she may be a Strong bastard. Strong bastards could be seers, too, for all we know. I'm saying she may not be a genuine seer because all we have to prove that is Aemond's words who were most likely relayed by her to the historian who wrote them down.

And I've laid out why she is most likely a Strong bastard. But I'm not insisting on that. She could be pretty much from any Riverlands house supporting the Greens. The Brackens, for instance. The chances she is a Blackwood are simply pretty bad in light of the hook up problem. You have to come up with various explanations as to why she isn't at Raventree Hall or simply by her non-Blackwood parents. And if she were a Strong-Blackwood bastard then the question is why Daemon and the others didn't take her with them when they left Harrenhal. But a Strong bastard would remain there.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

@The Weirwoods Eyes

I'm not saying Alys may not be a real seer because she may be a Strong bastard. Strong bastards could be seers, too, for all we know. I'm saying she may not be a genuine seer because all we have to prove that is Aemond's words who were most likely relayed by her to the historian who wrote them down.

And I've laid out why she is most likely a Strong bastard. But I'm not insisting on that. She could be pretty much from any Riverlands house supporting the Greens. The Brackens, for instance. The chances she is a Blackwood are simply pretty bad in light of the hook up problem. You have to come up with various explanations as to why she isn't at Raventree Hall or simply by her non-Blackwood parents. And if she were a Strong-Blackwood bastard then the question is why Daemon and the others didn't take her with them when they left Harrenhal. But a Strong bastard would remain there.

I think you are looking for too much explanation where the text does not require it. 

The reader can ascertain from the text given what the author is implying. We don't need to worry about the minutiae of who should be where at what time when we are essentially discussing a mysterious character. She can be wherever she wants to be for whatever reason. It isn't important. maybe she hates her Blackwood family due to being a bastard. Maybe she sought Aemond out because of a vision she had about the child he would give her. Maybe, maybe, maybe. 

Stop. We don't need to get caught up in maybe's we need to examine what GRRM has given us. He has given us a woman who seems to evoke the Blackwood family due to her long flowing Black hair and her name being Alys. In The same historical war as Alys Rivers appears he gives us Black Aly Blackwood.  This is deliberate placement. It evokes in the readers mind a connection between the two women. He then gives us Black Betha Blackwood wife to Aegon V whose called that due to her long flowing black hair and dark eyes. This is like Dot to dot for beginners... 

Next, he's placed this woman flying through the air with her long black hair streaming out behind her. Which is an image which will evoke a Witch in the reader's mind's eye. I mean it's very very strong imagery I could google search now and find you a dozen images of Witches flying with long dark hair streaming out behind them. Writers intent is what matters when it comes to piecing together clues such as this. And the intent here is to see a Witch. 

He reinforces that by then telling us she is a seer' Aemond's words may indeed have been reported by her but she has no reason to lie, as she plays no further part in the story. She's delivering the information the author wants us to have; that seeing visions in fires is not an exclusive Red Priest activity. And this is reinforced by the fact he gives us three different elements by which she has visions. Now you can come back for a third time with the cry of "Oh but we have no proof that she saw anything at all." To what ends? what narrative purpose does this have? it does not serve the narrative to have this be a false claim. 

GRRM backs up the clues that Red Priests are doing nothing god given by having Woods Witches once more achieve feats seemingly akin to the Red Priests in the world history, both through the main series as in the tale Nimble Dick tells Brienne and in the world book we get Woods Witches who've stayed "alive" for hundreds of years (like Mell is supposed to be), kept men alive for unnatural periods too, Woods Witches who claimed to be able to raise armies of the dead.  Which are all things which could suspiciously be attributed to the fire kiss. 

So for me, the interesting factor in this woman is what those connotations mean in terms of the story and the Houses which are indicated. House Strong is not indicated for Alys in any way. The only connection is Harrenhall itself and this is no hint she is a strong. It is simply the setting for the dramatic Gods Eye battle.  She has no features associated with that House.  And her being a member does not impact the story as the House is extinct.  Where as her being a Blackwood does impact the story because we have living blackwoods, her being a woods witch does impact the story because we have living woods witches, Fire magic being accessible to non-Red Priests does impact the story because it means non-red Priests can perform it, it implicates also that there is no god called R'hllor. The idea of there being something special about first men and Targaryen blood mixed does impact the story because we have characters with that combination. Dany & Jon, and Bloodraven too. Aemond being an Odin war chief symbol and Alys a Woods Witch Vala symbol does impact the story because of Jon & Val. And that motif IS repeated through various myths in world of Woods Witches and their War Chief lovers.  Her Child being significant could impact the story as her or his descendants may be important in world. In either the D&E tales or in the main series. Maybe TGoHH is descended from this child? for instance. just as a throwaway suggestion. Her being from this union's descendants would tie together she and Bloodraven both being Albino too. As Blackwood blood would be mixed with Targaryen blood in them both to some degree. Inherited traits and all that.  

But her being a Strong adds nothing of interest or significance to the story either in world lore, the current narrative or ongoing novellas. It's just dull, like them, they're dull they have boring brown hair and unremarkable pug noses and came from nowt and disappeared to nowt. They served one purpose Rhaenyra having a lover whose boring features would cast serious doubts on her sons paternity. By the end of TP&TQ those sons are all dead. House Strong disappears and there is no mystery served by her being from their line. As everything about them is unremarkable.   

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Also, you said earlier that we only have Brynden Rivers as a member of House Blackwood who has seer abilities. But well that isn't true we also have Brandon Stark, neither are actually Blackwoods by name but both carry the blood of Blackwood women. Brynden from Melissa, and Brandon from Melantha.  So whilst Brandon's and indeed his siblings and cousins skinchanger/warg ability seems obviously from the Stark line, the seer ability which he alone inherited could easily come from the Blackwoods.  

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This really made my day when I read it.

Anyway, what I'm most interested in getting out of Fire & Blood: Volume 1 is the following:

1. The reign of Jaehaerys I

2. The regency of Aegon III

3. More on the Dornish Wars! (A man can hope right?)

4. Grand Maester Hareth (Maybe?)

5. The complete account of the Dance 

6. Pre-Doom Valyria (We might not get this but who knows?)

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@The Weirwoods Eyes

You seem to want to see the black hair as proof that Alys Rivers must be a Blackwood. But it isn't as you well know. The fact that you may have the same hair and eyes as I do doesn't mean we have to be related. And there are quite a few other prominent black-haired people and families in this world, most notably the Baratheons.

The name Alys is used over and over again in that series. We have Alys Harroway, Alys Arryn (the wife of Rhaegel Targaryen), Alys Arryn (the sister of Jon Arryn), Alys Karstark, Alys Beesbury, Alys Frey, and Alys Rivers.

The name Alys doesn't refer to Alysanne Blackwood. It may be shortened version of Alysanne or Alyssa.

The Strongs are actually a rather interesting and prominent house up until the line dies out. They are an ancient First Men line from the Riverlands, and we have Ser Osmund Strong as Hand under the Conqueror, Lord Lyonel Strong as Master of Laws and Hand under Viserys I, and the Harwin and Larys (and Lucamore the Lusty during the reign of Jaehaerys I).

I never said R'hllor exists and sends visions. I said that we only know that red priests can see or teach people to see visions in the flames. That's some sort of magical craft you have to learn, and nothing indicates that the average person can do that. Bloodraven and Melisandre both seem to have an innate talent for magic but they had to learn this whole thing, just as Mirri Maz Duur and Qyburn had, and Bran still does. In that sense it would be very odd to assume Alys Rivers was some sort of professional sorceress or seer. I'm not denying the possibility that she could have prophetic dreams but that's not what Aemond says. He says Alys saw Daemon pretty much everywhere when it was hardly a secret where he was going.

As to the Blackwood-Stark-Targaryen connection: There are hints that there are additional marriages between the Blackwoods and the Starks in the past. Who knows? Perhaps Bloodraven had magical abilities because of his Stark (or Targaryen) ancestry? We don't know.

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Another thing that came to my mind:

If Fire & Blood is already being split into two volumes for material covering only five out of the seventeen Targaryen kings does anyone else think there is a good chance it will be split again later?

Judging by how much GRRM has already written for Volume 1 I don't think it is possible to fit the rest of the Iron Throne's history before ASOIAF into just one book.

If you ask me it would make more sense for Volume 2 to start with the reign of Aegon III post-regency and end with the ascension of Daeron II, with Volume 3 chronicling the Blackfyre Rebellions as well as the rise to power of the Baratheons.   

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46 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

If Fire & Blood is already being split into two volumes for material covering only five out of the seventeen Targaryen kings

The first volume is going to cover the full reigns of at least six kings (Aegon I, Aenys I, Maegor I, Jaehaerys I, Viserys I, Aegon II), Rhaenyra, and at least the regency of Aegon III.

Even if it only covers the regency of Aegon III, that would cover about 136 out of 283 years, leaving 147 years for the rest of the Targaryen kings.

If it covers the whole reign of Aegon III it will cover 157 out of 283 years, leaving 126 years for the rest of the Targaryen kings.

Remember that of the 10 Targaryen kings after Aegon III, three of them combined for less than 10 years (Daeron I, Viserys II, Jaehaerys II), so the fact that there will be more kings covered in the second volume does not mean that it covers a significantly longer span of time than the first.

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