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3 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

As I suggested three posts up, I don't  believe that Varys is is pursuing utopia. I think he agreed with Illyrio on how best to train Aegon for kingship. 

In which case, that means his ends are corrupt, and therefore his means are just plain wrong.

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19 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

I suspect that Daenerys's three treasons will be wrapped up in the Blackfyre plot, which will form the central issue of the second main conflict of ASOIAF. And thus, we will learn the truth of The Blackfyre. But, like you, I recognize that my ideas could be wrong. 

What would the treason be? Just (f)Aegon not being who he thinks he is or is it something to do her with her dealings with Fatty McFatterton?

22 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

He was very loyal to Aerys. And Aerys was quite possibly the worst king in Westerosi history. Then Aerys was replaced by a drunken sot, who had the good sense to appoint one of the best hands of the king in Westerosi history, and Varys seeks to undermine him. Is that consistent with the speech he gave to Kevan in the Epilogue to Dance? 

I think it is, especially if you account for his penchant for being vague. Like when he was telling Ned that the man who killed Jon Arryn owed everything he was to the man. Ned immediately looks to the now deceased Ser Hugh, when he really meant Littlefinger.  His Loyalty is to the Realm. The Realm is the Crown. The Crown was Aerys, therefore Aerys' line was the continuation of the Crown. When Aerys was alive, Varys was exceptionally loyal, up to and including warning against a scheme by the heir to usurp the throne. Varys did his job, despite the potential of Rhaegar being a better ruler. As soon as Aerys was doomed, Varys set out to protect his heir, Aegon. At least that is how I read it. I know that most folks would read it differently. 

35 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

I think the hints from the author about Varys poisoning Aerys's already unstable mind are telling.

That to me reads more like some awfully ignorant people who do not understand mental illness and therefor blame the erratic behavior on the  creepy foreigner with no junk. I would be willing to bet that lots of people were working against Aerys for a variety of reasons, but felt empowered to do so due to his madness. Varys, as good as he is, would be in a unique position to discover them and report them to the King. 

38 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

I think the hints from the author about Varys poisoning Aerys's already unstable mind are telling. I think he was sent to destabilize Aerys's reign and to prevent the more competent Rhaegar from becoming king. 

Didn't Aerys reach out to him? 

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1 hour ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

In which case, that means his ends are corrupt, and therefore his means are just plain wrong.

Only a sith deals in absolutes.

:leaving:

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1 hour ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

What would the treason be? Just (f)Aegon not being who he thinks he is or is it something to do her with her dealings with Fatty McFatterton?

I am guessing that the treason for blood Daenerys will know will be committed by Illyrio, who will betray her for the blood of the Blackfyre. The treason for gold Daenerys will know will be committed by Tyrion, who will betray her for all the gold of Casterly Rock. The treason for love Daenerys will know will be committed by Aegon, who will betray her for love of Arianne. 

1 hour ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

I think it is, especially if you account for his penchant for being vague. Like when he was telling Ned that the man who killed Jon Arryn owed everything he was to the man. Ned immediately looks to the now deceased Ser Hugh, when he really meant Littlefinger.  His Loyalty is to the Realm. The Realm is the Crown. The Crown was Aerys, therefore Aerys' line was the continuation of the Crown. When Aerys was alive, Varys was exceptionally loyal, up to and including warning against a scheme by the heir to usurp the throne. Varys did his job, despite the potential of Rhaegar being a better ruler. As soon as Aerys was doomed, Varys set out to protect his heir, Aegon. At least that is how I read it. I know that most folks would read it differently. 

I take it then that you assume that Aegon is who they say he is. I don't. 

1 hour ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

That to me reads more like some awfully ignorant people who do not understand mental illness and therefor blame the erratic behavior on the  creepy foreigner with no junk. I would be willing to bet that lots of people were working against Aerys for a variety of reasons, but felt empowered to do so due to his madness. Varys, as good as he is, would be in a unique position to discover them and report them to the King. 

Is that what the storyteller was telling us? Perhaps... like Serala and "red ralloo." I don't think that's why the storyteller had Jaime and Barristan give us the suggestion that Varys fed Aerys's paranoia. 

1 hour ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

Didn't Aerys reach out to him? 

I don't think so...

Quote

Pentos let me wed his maiden daughter, whilst whispers of a certain eunuch's talents crossed the narrow sea and reached the ears of a certain king. A very anxious king, who did not wholly trust his son, nor his wife, nor his Hand, a friend of his youth who had grown arrogant and overproud. 

Tyrion II, Dance 5

Who do you suppose was doing the whispering? 

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2 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Only a sith deals in absolutes.

:leaving:

Darth Varys rolls off the tongue nicely. And I could definitely see him sporting an Emperor's robe. :P

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2 hours ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

Who knows what Rhaegar was up to, or what kind of man he really was?

Exactly. The degree of certainty people exhibit about what Rhaegar was doing or thinking really amazes me. Not only that, I think the evidence given to support certain beliefs about Rhaegar actually indicate the opposite of what is often proposed. Here are some examples:
 

Quote

 

AFFC - Chapter 8:

The day had been windy when he said farewell to Rhaegar, in the yard of the Red Keep. The prince had donned his night-black armor, with the three-headed dragon picked out in rubies on his breastplate. "Your Grace," Jaime had pleaded, "let Darry stay to guard the king this once, or Ser Barristan. Their cloaks are as white as mine."

Prince Rhaegar shook his head. "My royal sire fears your father more than he does our cousin Robert. He wants you close, so Lord Tywin cannot harm him. I dare not take that crutch away from him at such an hour."

Jaime's anger had risen up in his throat. "I am not a crutch. I am a knight of the Kingsguard."

"Then guard the king," Ser Jon Darry snapped at him. "When you donned that cloak, you promised to obey."

Rhaegar had put his hand on Jaime's shoulder. "When this battle's done I mean to call a council. Changes will be made. I meant to do it long ago, but ... well, it does no good to speak of roads not taken. We shall talk when I return."

 

This section of text is often quoted as evidence that Rhaegar was the wealthy individual behind Harrenhal and that Rhaegar was already working to depose his father. I think it shows exactly the opposite. I think it shows Rhaegar hadn't done anything yet. I take this as evidence that someone else was behind Harrenhall. Furthermore, I see this as evidence that it was Tywin who was behind Harrenhall. Why? Because the only thing that was really accomplished at Harrenhal was that Jaime was taken as a hostage against Tywin. Furthermore, this section argues against the rumor that Rhaegar and Aerys were in two opposing camps since Rhaegar seems very concerned with Aerys feelings. If Rhaegar were at odds during this time, it would make a paranoid Aerys' selection of Jon Connington as a hand inexplicable.One last piece of evidence that there was no split between Rhaegar and Aerys during this time is what Barristan has to say about the rumors of the split (ADWD-Chapter 67):
 

Quote

 

Perhaps he should have grown used to such things. The Red Keep had its secrets too. Even Rhaegar. The Prince of Dragonstone had never trusted him as he had 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.

 

What this section of text reveals is that Barristan was not part of the inner circle so he didn't have any special knowledge of what Rhaegar was up to at Harrenhal. Therefore, the only thing Barristan can reveal to us is what the rumor was at the time. It is possible that this rumor was correct. However, there are two alternative explanations for what was behind Harrenhal.

Alternative explanation number one is that it was an attempt to flush out potential traitors. In other words, draw in many lords and then have Aerys show up at the last minute to see people's reactions.

Alternative explanation number two is that Harrenhal was a trap to destroy Rhaegar. In this scenario, Tywin pays for the tourney in order to make it appear that Rhaegar was trying to depose his father. If Tywin could have Rhaegar executed as a traitor, he would have a second chance at making Cersei a queen by having her married to the new heir-apparent, Viserys. I actually favor this scenario since I think it is significant that Tywin, Rickard, Hoster and Jon Arryn didn't attend. These are all individuals whose loyalty was later questioned. The reason they wouldn't go was so they couldn't be associated with Rhaegar's downfall.

So, there are at least three scenarios to explain Harrenhal. The fact that most readers jump on the rumor offered as an explanation is problematic.

So, what does this all have to do with Varys? The answer is, if Aerys and Rhaegar had not ever actually had a falling out, then when Varys is helping Aerys he is helping Rhaegar. There is no reason, other than a rumor, to believe that Varys was working against Rhaegar at any point.

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8 hours ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

Like when he was telling Ned that the man who killed Jon Arryn owed everything he was to the man. Ned immediately looks to the now deceased Ser Hugh, when he really meant Littlefinger.

You know, I've been reading these bloody books for eighteen years, and never noticed that before. 

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11 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Can you please develop that thesis? 

I wasn't serious.

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8 hours ago, bent branch said:

Exactly. The degree of certainty people exhibit about what Rhaegar was doing or thinking really amazes me. Not only that, I think the evidence given to support certain beliefs about Rhaegar actually indicate the opposite of what is often proposed. Here are some examples:
 

This section of text is often quoted as evidence that Rhaegar was the wealthy individual behind Harrenhal and that Rhaegar was already working to depose his father. I think it shows exactly the opposite. I think it shows Rhaegar hadn't done anything yet. I take this as evidence that someone else was behind Harrenhall. Furthermore, I see this as evidence that it was Tywin who was behind Harrenhall. Why? Because the only thing that was really accomplished at Harrenhal was that Jaime was taken as a hostage against Tywin. Furthermore, this section argues against the rumor that Rhaegar and Aerys were in two opposing camps since Rhaegar seems very concerned with Aerys feelings. If Rhaegar were at odds during this time, it would make a paranoid Aerys' selection of Jon Connington as a hand inexplicable.One last piece of evidence that there was no split between Rhaegar and Aerys during this time is what Barristan has to say about the rumors of the split (ADWD-Chapter 67):
 

What this section of text reveals is that Barristan was not part of the inner circle so he didn't have any special knowledge of what Rhaegar was up to at Harrenhal. Therefore, the only thing Barristan can reveal to us is what the rumor was at the time. It is possible that this rumor was correct. However, there are two alternative explanations for what was behind Harrenhal.

Alternative explanation number one is that it was an attempt to flush out potential traitors. In other words, draw in many lords and then have Aerys show up at the last minute to see people's reactions.

Alternative explanation number two is that Harrenhal was a trap to destroy Rhaegar. In this scenario, Tywin pays for the tourney in order to make it appear that Rhaegar was trying to depose his father. If Tywin could have Rhaegar executed as a traitor, he would have a second chance at making Cersei a queen by having her married to the new heir-apparent, Viserys. I actually favor this scenario since I think it is significant that Tywin, Rickard, Hoster and Jon Arryn didn't attend. These are all individuals whose loyalty was later questioned. The reason they wouldn't go was so they couldn't be associated with Rhaegar's downfall.

So, there are at least three scenarios to explain Harrenhal. The fact that most readers jump on the rumor offered as an explanation is problematic.

So, what does this all have to do with Varys? The answer is, if Aerys and Rhaegar had not ever actually had a falling out, then when Varys is helping Aerys he is helping Rhaegar. There is no reason, other than a rumor, to believe that Varys was working against Rhaegar at any point.

I, for one, appreciate the possible alternatives you laid out, but I am going to pursue the trail the storyteller is laying for us, but I will keep in mind that we could be following a red herring. 

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17 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

I am guessing that the treason for blood Daenerys will know will be committed by Illyrio, who will betray her for the blood of the Blackfyre. The treason for gold Daenerys will know will be committed by Tyrion, who will betray her for all the gold of Casterly Rock. The treason for love Daenerys will know will be committed by Aegon, who will betray her for love of Arianne. 

I thought the treason for love was Jorah. The others seem very plausible

17 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

I take it then that you assume that Aegon is who they say he is. I don't. 

I am not sure he is who they say he is, but since Varys has never lied, he could be Rhaegar's son.  We do not know enough at this point to say one way or another. 

17 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Is that what the storyteller was telling us? Perhaps... like Serala and "red ralloo." I don't think that's why the storyteller had Jaime and Barristan give us the suggestion that Varys fed Aerys's paranoia. 

Jaime and Barristan are not men of towering intellect. They are practical fighters, trained to protect the king, so I would not expect them to have insight into the mental condition of Aerys.  

18 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

I don't think so...

Tyrion II, Dance 5

Who do you suppose was doing the whispering? 

 By the time Varys was hired by the King, their exploits were so well known as to be legendary. NOw, I am not saying it it is impossible, but for your way to work, who was the blackfyre supporter in court to whisper to aerys?  

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12 hours ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

You know, I've been reading these bloody books for eighteen years, and never noticed that before. 

One of the reasons they are so good is that you can pick up on things after many reads. 

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59 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

thought the treason for love was Jorah. The others seem very plausible

Or maybe Tyrion's love for his brother.

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1 hour ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

I thought the treason for love was Jorah. The others seem very plausible

I am not sure he is who they say he is, but since Varys has never lied, he could be Rhaegar's son.  We do not know enough at this point to say one way or another. 

Jaime and Barristan are not men of towering intellect. They are practical fighters, trained to protect the king, so I would not expect them to have insight into the mental condition of Aerys.  

 By the time Varys was hired by the King, their exploits were so well known as to be legendary. NOw, I am not saying it it is impossible, but for your way to work, who was the blackfyre supporter in court to whisper to aerys?  

Steffon Baratheon? 

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1 hour ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

One of the reasons they are so good is that you can pick up on things after many reads. 

Absolutely!

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1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Steffon Baratheon? 

No way. Stefan fought with Aerys against the band of 9. I suppose he could still be a supporter of the BF heirs killed by Maelys, but that is a little too tinfoil  to be realistic. 

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30 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

No way. Stefan fought with Aerys against the band of 9. I suppose he could still be a supporter of the BF heirs killed by Maelys, but that is a little too tinfoil  to be realistic. 

No, I mean to say that he might have learned of Varys when he was looking for a wife for Rhaegar and sent word back to Aerys. 

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