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Cutting tongues.

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6 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

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. 

That I could totally see 

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6 hours ago, must needs the rushes said:

Is it even confirmed that he's taken anyone's tongue? I always read the line "if they kept their tongues" in the same metaphorical way that we use it, meaning "If they kept quiet"

The children never speak in the POVs we see and there is the washer woman who does not say a word to Tyrion in fatty's palace 

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On March 30, 2018 at 4:16 PM, 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. 

Speaking of training Aegon, it doesn't seem as though the boy has been infused in any really progressive political ideology that stands to benifit the common people or realm as a whole. 

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Posted (edited)
On March 30, 2018 at 3:27 PM, Dorian Martell's son said:

I have never been on the bastardfyre train. He seemed very loyal to Aerys. He was never a lickspittle and spoke plainly about plots against the crown. Hios advice to bar the gates to Tywin was spot on. So was naming a plot by Rhaegar to displace him.  After Aerys was killed, it would seem he instantly went to developing a plan to get his Heir on the throne. I could be wrong of course, but I also have the feeling that George will never say one way or another about (f)Aegon  

If he was so loyal to Aerys or the monarch in general, he would not have scemed to place Aegon on the throne while Viserys was still alive. Aerys disinherited Rheagar and named Viserys his direct heir not Rheagar and certianly not his children.  we know Varys whispered conspiracies in Aerys's ear knowing what he'd do.

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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3 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Speaking of training Aegon, it doesn't seem as though the boy has been infused in any really progressive political ideology that stands to benifit the common people or realm as a whole. 

!

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11 hours ago, must needs the rushes said:

Is it even confirmed that he's taken anyone's tongue? I always read the line "if they kept their tongues" in the same metaphorical way that we use it, meaning "If they kept quiet"

 

I also read it this way...

 

4 hours ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

The children never speak in the POVs we see and there is the washer woman who does not say a word to Tyrion in fatty's palace 

... but this is also true. However suggestive this fact may be though, it is not conclusive. Who better than Varys' Little Birds to understand the phrase 'the walls have ears' and that 'careless talk costs lives'? I could as easily see Varys impressing on them that 'You only speak to me'. And they are also known as 'whisperers' not 'scribblers' - that to me suggests they whisper rather than write out their intelligence reports.

From a purely practical point of view, spies who cannot speak to their spymaster seem a poor thing - it makes communication slower than it need be, and I can easily foresee situations where news is so hot and immediate that it needs to be whispered straight away, rather than written down, passed over, and read - even if it's only "Look out! Behind you!"

There's also the security angle, and this does cut both ways. IF the Little Birds have their tongues cut out they cannot confess to anything if caught and put to the question. But on the other hand, if they are caught with a written message, they don't need to be put to the question, what they know is there in black and white. Varys would also need to be sure that he can always dispose of the written messages lest anyone discover what his Little Birds are reporting, but whispers - well, words are wind, they blow away, never to be recalled.

Yes, we know the LBs are taught their letters, and this might support the idea they cannot speak, but we also have from Illyrio another reason at least as compelling - that they can now read the documents belonging to to their targets without having to steal them and give the game away.

Overall, the evidence is not sufficient to prove the LBs have their tongues ripped out, and there are good reasons for this to be not true. It's still a matter of choice whether we believe it or not. I choose not to...

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15 hours 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. 

Isn't it just? It's also one of the reasons I love this forum. It saves me the trouble of trying to be clever, when others will be clever for me.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Rufus Snow said:

I also read it this way...

 

... but this is also true. However suggestive this fact may be though, it is not conclusive. Who better than Varys' Little Birds to understand the phrase 'the walls have ears' and that 'careless talk costs lives'? I could as easily see Varys impressing on them that 'You only speak to me'. And they are also known as 'whisperers' not 'scribblers' - that to me suggests they whisper rather than write out their intelligence reports.

From a purely practical point of view, spies who cannot speak to their spymaster seem a poor thing - it makes communication slower than it need be, and I can easily foresee situations where news is so hot and immediate that it needs to be whispered straight away, rather than written down, passed over, and read - even if it's only "Look out! Behind you!"

There's also the security angle, and this does cut both ways. IF the Little Birds have their tongues cut out they cannot confess to anything if caught and put to the question. But on the other hand, if they are caught with a written message, they don't need to be put to the question, what they know is there in black and white. Varys would also need to be sure that he can always dispose of the written messages lest anyone discover what his Little Birds are reporting, but whispers - well, words are wind, they blow away, never to be recalled.

Yes, we know the LBs are taught their letters, and this might support the idea they cannot speak, but we also have from Illyrio another reason at least as compelling - that they can now read the documents belonging to to their targets without having to steal them and give the game away.

Overall, the evidence is not sufficient to prove the LBs have their tongues ripped out, and there are good reasons for this to be not true. It's still a matter of choice whether we believe it or not. I choose not to...

This is my personal impression too.  Okay, I admit that even after several re-reads certain details still escape me lol but when I saw this post I was wondering how I could have missed Varys having the LB's tongues cut off.  :rolleyes: although Martin seems to use this a bit, like with Euron...  If this reference is vague is obviously done on purpose, yet I cannot see why George could not just had it spelt out.  I mean is not as if he is presenting Varys as a goody-goody.  So why is it vague?  With Euron for instance there is no room for interpretation, is plainly on the page, so why not with Varys if this is the case?  Also, even in the little birds can read and write it is still risky for them to have to rely on the written word alone, even weighing out (as has been mentioned) the risk of them being interrogated or switching sides for coin or something.  I guess as Tyrion would put it "death - say in this case mutilation - is too extreme, yet fear of... (death/mutilation)" could do the trick just as nicely.  A threat is certainly necessary as gold alone would not suffice as there are many players out there who would happily offer double, say...

As for the debate on does the end justify the means?  Well, it is a tricky philosophical one and I agree it depends on both the end and the means.  Another thing that gets mixed up in this equation (end -v- means) is that we get attached to certain characters and is a bit like would we sacrifice our loved ones in real life for world peace???  I would say most people would not, now strangers in a remote country we are not likely to meet is another matter... or would be another matter for some for sure.  Tywin's explanation to Tyrion when he confronts him about the Red Wedding is a typical example.  Okay, Tywin is far from a morally sound character, still he does have a point.  More lives are lost in wars...  One of the things I love about this series is that the moral answers don't come easy unless a more black/white perspective is used.

With Varys of course we are all theorising about what his end-game may be.  He is a lot harder that LF to read, in my opinion.  Now as for "the children" again I never took it to mean children in general from any particular social group or otherwise.  I thought that to mean "Aegon and Dany."  It has been discussed (in other threads) at great lengths, especially since he makes clear reference to (f)Aegon why would he lie to Kevan since he is not like to speak of it from his grave lol  My theory there is that the birds also report to Illyrio or that they both have birds who report to one of them only.  I personally think that Varys is likely to be playing Illyrio or pretending to support Aegon (but okay, I am convinced that he is Illyrio's son) for the gold and resources he supplies but also possibly in case an Aegon/Dany marriage can be put in place or some such alliance.  Like with everything else in ASOIAF this presents difficulties too and Viserys would have been one.  We know that Aegon has been trained for kingship from the onset, yet they provide Dany through her marriage (or Viserys) with the means to gain an army.  Still, this is a little far fetched in real terms as the Dothraki have their own ways and hate the "poisoned water," so it could have been a means to placate Viserys.  It also would have been relatively easy to gamble, given Viserys' temperament, that he was going to screw up at some point and well end up pretty much as he did.

The trouble when discussing Varys in any way and (F)Aegon is that in order to formulate a theory a lot of us have to favour whether Aegon is legit or not, for instance, whether Varys is a Targ etc.  Now, his very name sounds very Targaryen to me and, even more so than the fact that he shaves his head, to me is the fact that he was cut for a magical ritual, after Mel dronning on and on abouot "royal blood."  But of course, all of this is conjecture at this moment in time.

Going back to whether Varys' end game may or not have some altruistic aims in view, my wager is that there is a lot of grey there.  Most characters (I will exclude Euron, Joffrey for now and Ramsay) want some modicum of well-being and stability for the realm although more often than not are misguided in some big way.    Here I would include Tywin, Stannis, Tyrion, Renly.  All these people are severely flawed but barring an outright psychopath I would say most people, even selfish ones (and hey we all can be selfish lol) don't go out of their way to bring about misery to others lol.  Now there are things such as greed, self-righteousness, revenge etc that do indeed get in the way of decent ruling.  Where am I going with this?  Well basically my bet is that Varys is in this category.  He would like a well ruled realm but he does have ulterior motive we are yet to be certain about.  I am not justifying this grey characters' deeds, however I think it is very much in line with human nature to say, okay once my needs are satisfied I will very much enjoy if yours are met too... if this makes any sense.

I think what George is going for is the kind of realism where this aspect of human nature (not so nice) is acknowledged as something extremely hard not to fall into rather than presenting us with clear villains and clear heroes.  I have often wondered why he created characters like Ramsay and Joffrey who appear to have no redeeming qualities whereas all the others are so 3 dimensional but perhaps this was the point.  To show the difference, our heroes (whoever we root for in this series) are all flawed to some degree, some with more malice than others but still... yet very few of them are all dark, maybe he wanted to show the difference between "grey" with some reasoning behind them and pure depotism...

All in all, Varys, to me, is a fascinating character and I can't wait to see how his story unravels.

 

Edited by Morgana Lannister

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5 hours ago, Morgana Lannister said:

  I have often wondered why he created characters like Ramsay and Joffrey

Honestly, it would be hard for every minor villain to have redeeming qualities, although Ben bones, Shitmouth, and even Janos Slynt aren't completely morally black, despite beign less important characters than these two.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Kandrax said:

Honestly, it would be hard for every minor villain to have redeeming qualities, although Ben bones, Shitmouth, and even Janos Slynt aren't completely morally black, despite beign less important characters than these two.

Exactly, even Littlefinger can be relatable if we go back to when he fell for Cath lol  I believe George is too smart to have people in major roles so uni-dimensional lol.  The worse of them so far, in my humble opinion is Euron, and more fools the ones who try to attach themselves to him (fear Cersei) but I think Euron is in a different category altogether, i.e. not entirely human.

Digressing here but the more I think about it, the more scared I am.  I am sure that he is not going to win the day lol but I am half convinced that he is going to become some kind of god or something.  He is the wild card.  So far we have ice and fire (Winter Court and Summer Court in Celtic mythology).  They are at war in a sense but neither can live without the other and then Euron appears lol!  I left him out of my villains and greys because he is neither! Certainly the darkest character we are yet to encounter.  Ramsay and Joff were doing damage to people in their immediate vicinity but not really much beyond... now this guy...Unlike the other two, he doesn't just pose a threat to courtiers and servants, he poses a threat to humanity!  He will burn himself for sure but I think he is the one that is meant to put a challenge up to both Winter and Summer.

Anyhow, slightly off topic lol ;) fair enough but George usually fleshes out his "greys" very well and I just wondered the purpose of the non-very bright blacks lol

Funnily enough, a lot of the greys are pretty clever; say Tyrion, Littlefinger, Varys, Tywin (not saying there aren't different shades of grey between them lol), both Ramsay and Joffrey don't appear very shrewd or intellectual lol.  Now, Euron, the evil king of evil (unless we get to find out what motivates him I guess...) is shrewd but also "seemingly" reckless.  Something that the guys on my clever list would not do lol (okay Tyrion if in love or something... but as a general rule).  This guy is going to burn himself as Icarus did in the myth.  He will fly close to the Sun and will burn (metaphorically speaking).  In other words, he is overconfident as fuck lol.

Whatever the weather, Varys is not a nice guy, 99% of people in this series aren't, he may be worse than most, say he would top say Sansa or Margaery or Tyrion even but his characterisation is grey I think and he will not reach levels reserved for Euron for instance...  There is no grey with Euron, hence he is the only character likely to become some sort of god through sorcery...

I could be wrong on my Euron predictions though... I bloody hope I am!

 

Edited by Morgana Lannister

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10 hours ago, Rufus Snow said:

IF the Little Birds have their tongues cut out they cannot confess to anything if caught and put to the question. But on the other hand, if they are caught with a written message, they don't need to be put to the question, what they know is there in black and white.

"I am no man's creature. I took the eunuch's gold, yes. I learned some ciphers and wrote some letters, but that was all—" ASOS - Daenerys IV (Thank you A Search of Ice and Fire.com for the quote)

This small bit of text goes by so quickly that many miss Varys is having his operatives use a secret code to communicate.

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7 hours ago, Morgana Lannister said:

-Snip-

 

Your post reminds me that GRRM has said that Varys is the most misunderstood character and that he can't have a POV because he knows too much about what is happening.

I can't wait to learn what it is he knows.

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22 minutes ago, bent branch said:

"I am no man's creature. I took the eunuch's gold, yes. I learned some ciphers and wrote some letters, but that was all—" ASOS - Daenerys IV (Thank you A Search of Ice and Fire.com for the quote)

This small bit of text goes by so quickly that many miss Varys is having his operatives use a secret code to communicate.

Still no proof for or against re tongues but thanks so much for the reminder, it had totally escaped me.  Still the secret code is either written or spoken, unless we are to believe they do extremely advance telepathy.  Sorry, not trying to be sarcastic here, although sure I sounded that way.  In any event, I think it is safe to say that whatever Varys' motivations, noble or not, his little birds' welfare is not his primary concern...

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30 minutes ago, bent branch said:

"I am no man's creature. I took the eunuch's gold, yes. I learned some ciphers and wrote some letters, but that was all—" ASOS - Daenerys IV (Thank you A Search of Ice and Fire.com for the quote)

This small bit of text goes by so quickly that many miss Varys is having his operatives use a secret code to communicate.

That's a good catch, but it strengthens my case - using cyphers makes written communications even slower, both in the writing and the reading. It's perfectly appropriate for long range communications such as between Jorah and Varys, across continents, where interception is more likely. But I doubt if a LB running down a couple of levels in the walls of the Red Keep is going to write a cyphered note when the other option is to whisper in the spider's ear.

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, bent branch said:

Your post reminds me that GRRM has said that Varys is the most misunderstood character and that he can't have a POV because he knows too much about what is happening.

I can't wait to learn what it is he knows.

Extremely intrigued, and hell flattered! that my post reminded you of that!!! lol my consciousness, if not my sub-consciousness had forgotten lol!

Indeed he is not a viable POV for that reason.

I am convinced he orchestrated Tyrion's sentence so he could "head-hunt" him.  Tyrion was a mess in ADWD but may become a more reliable POV re Varys in the future.

Tyrion is not as much an informant as a player for Varys but, for now at least, I think Varys rules the show.  It is interesting that he told him to go fetch Dany and then put him on his way to (F)Aegon.  I know this opinion is not widely acknowledged but to me he is using Ty as a "product tester."   If Aegon convinces Ty he is the real deal, Varys may be more inclined to think Westeros will too past the first euphoric moments lol  Alas I think Tyrion dislikes the boy and mistrusts his credentials.  Tyrion is not sworn to inform back but Varys will know and I don't think Varys is putting all his eggs in one basket, and Jon Con and Aegon are not the likely basket anyway.  I could well be wrong but I see a "treason" a la Dany prophecy there, "treason for truth, or for sense???"  I had to admit I disliked Jon Con and his protegee the moment I met them, but hey, like all readers, I do have likes and dislikes. "Too perfect, too entitled; bad looser at a simple game"   okay, mayhaps not my type lol.  He will sit the Throne though and I think Varys knows this too or has to aid that.  I would be flabbergasted if Varys supports him through and through yet most readers think it is gospel that he will.

We shall see...

Now, the "misunderstood" quote possibly means that he is not as bad as we thought in the big scheme of things...

Now, something that has come up to me like literally "jumped up me" is that Varys is the "narrator" George would have if speaking in 3rd person and not with the POVs lol  A narrator knows everything, so he creates a character (spy master) who does lol but the narrator would say too much lol (I understand...)  If that is his role, he will be grey but not per se evil.

Edited by Morgana Lannister

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1 hour ago, Morgana Lannister said:

I could be wrong on my Euron predictions though... I bloody hope I am!

oh, yeaaaah.... 'Balon was mad, Aeron is madder, but Euron is maddest....' I have to say in a detached literary way, Euron is my favourite 'villain' in the whole series.... as a reader who likes to get immersed in the world before me, he scares the pants off me :D

He just does the most evilly evil evildoer in spades, with a side-serving of extra-evil evil sauce. As of the end of ADwD he is the biggest wildcard in the pack (and the main reason I'm avoiding all TWoW sample chapters til it comes out....) I like your reference to the Winter/Summer courts, the Seely and Unseely. I think the Euron is a big bad Fomorian back for another bite ....

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Varys is one of those characters which confuses me. I don't know if the author has said he's misunderstood, but I guess it's for a reason. 

By the way, did Kevan have any important role in the Sack of King's Landing? I don't know why this question suddenly seems important, perhaps because Varys had him and Pycelle killed and at least we know the latter's role in the sack. We know Tywin's role in it and also Varys' role in Tywin's murder, coincidental or not.

Varys killing someone personally makes it, well, very personal. 

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2 minutes ago, Rufus Snow said:

oh, yeaaaah.... 'Balon was mad, Aeron is madder, but Euron is maddest....' I have to say in a detached literary way, Euron is my favourite 'villain' in the whole series.... as a reader who likes to get immersed in the world before me, he scares the pants off me :D

He just does the most evilly evil evildoer in spades, with a side-serving of extra-evil evil sauce. As of the end of ADwD he is the biggest wildcard in the pack (and the main reason I'm avoiding all TWoW sample chapters til it comes out....) I like your reference to the Winter/Summer courts, the Seely and Unseely. I think the Euron is a big bad Fomorian back for another bite ....

I am going for that :D but he cannot possibly prevail if the end is to be sweet and sour lol ;)

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, The Sunland Lord said:

Varys is one of those characters which confuses me. I don't know if the author has said he's misunderstood, but I guess it's for a reason. 

By the way, did Kevan have any important role in the Sack of King's Landing? I don't know why this question suddenly seems important, perhaps because Varys had him and Pycelle killed and at least we know the latter's role in the sack. We know Tywin's role in it and also Varys' role in Tywin's murder, coincidental or not.

Varys killing someone personally makes it, well, very personal. 

I think Kevan just helped out like any other Lannister; in fact cannot remember if he was in Kings Landing at the time or Casterley or fighting Robb or where to be honest.

I think the reason Kevan was killed was much as why Varys, who "saved Tyrion" in a way directed him to his father's chambers lol. Tywin and Kevan were both competent rulers and not good for his plans.  Pycelle may have been collateral damage, not sure... still he was very faithfull to the Lannisters and I guess Varys wants Cersei to make a fool of herself...

I personally feel that the only person Varys will kill "personally" is either the one who cut him or someone of his cult.  I would watch out if I were Mel lol

Edited by Morgana Lannister

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16 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

If he was so loyal to Aerys or the monarch in general, he would not have scemed to place Aegon on the throne while Viserys was still alive. Aerys disinherited Rheagar and named Viserys his direct heir not Rheagar and certianly not his children.  we know Varys whispered conspiracies in Aerys's ear knowing what he'd do.

I am not near a copy of my books. Can you quote the passage where it was said that he was disinherited? 

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