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FictionIsntReal

Why would the alchemists be as suicidal as Aerys?

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This may have been answered earlier, but some searches turned up nothing. Mad King Aerys was willing to burn down King's Landing, with him in it, because he thought (like Aerion Brightflame) he would turn into a dragon rather than simply dying (also he would surely be killed eventually by the rebels now seizing his capital). However, he required the assistance of a number of alchemists, led by Wisdom Rossart. We get no indication that they're suicidal, and they seem functional enough to handle wildfire without it going off and killing them. So why would they also be willing be commit suicide with the king? And wouldn't an ancient guild have taken more care to preserve its knowledge & perpetuate itself? I've tried asking this of a tumblr meta writer (to no response, which perhaps shouldn't be surprising since they could get a lot of questions), but I think this might be the better place for it.

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Did Aerys truly believe that? That came from Jaime in the bathhouse, right? Was he just supposing aerys might have been whacko enough to believe it? Or was he suggesting that Aerys truly believed it? 

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1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

This may have been answered earlier, but some searches turned up nothing. Mad King Aerys was willing to burn down King's Landing, with him in it, because he thought (like Aerion Brightflame) he would turn into a dragon rather than simply dying (also he would surely be killed eventually by the rebels now seizing his capital). However, he required the assistance of a number of alchemists, led by Wisdom Rossart. We get no indication that they're suicidal, and they seem functional enough to handle wildfire without it going off and killing them. So why would they also be willing be commit suicide with the king? And wouldn't an ancient guild have taken more care to preserve its knowledge & perpetuate itself? I've tried asking this of a tumblr meta writer (to no response, which perhaps shouldn't be surprising since they could get a lot of questions), but I think this might be the better place for it.

 

3 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Did Aerys truly believe that? That came from Jaime in the bathhouse, right? Was he just supposing aerys might have been whacko enough to believe it? Or was he suggesting that Aerys truly believed it? 

We can never know but it seems like suicide to me.  The rebels are sacking the city and he knew he was going to die.  He wants to take the sackers with him along with the innocents.  It's extreme but I don't think Aerys actually believed he would turn into a dragon.  The pyros were Fire Geeks.  Maybe setting off this much wildfire is their life's ambition.  It's the culmination of their work and now to see it finally come into fruition was worth the loss of their lives.  They are a guild but it is almost cult like in their devotion to the substance.  The pyros are not any weirder than the Faceless Men.  They're both unhinged in their own way.  

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I kind of agree with you on this.  Being a guild and one that seems to like payment for their services too, why would they burn down King's Landing?  Also a few of the wisdoms were given a lot of gold for their services and when Jaimie caught one wisdom he tried to bribe him and got killed anyways, but it showed that they wanted money.  Also being an ancient guild and all of that, King's Landing is fairly new city and I feel like the Pyromancers moved in when the city got bigger.  Where were they before this fairly new city.  Where are their other ancient guildhalls or factories for that matter?    Supposedly they were in Oldtown, but nothing of them are left down there either.  I have found them interesting, but there is very little information on them.

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I also wouldn't call that sort of behavior a suicidal tendency. The Alchemists' Guild emerged in the reign of the Targaryen and their future was uncertain if the rebels won. As Hand of the King, Rossard certainly knew that he would be killed if Rebels took the capital, so he should be filling the head of the other alchemists with ideas about a mass execution of guild members if Aerys were dethroned. So, i guess this made them willing to do as much damage as possible to the invaders and put everything down.

As for Aerys' alleged suicidal tendency, I think all he did want was not to be tried or tortured. Similarly, during the Battle of the Blackwater Cersei had made arrangements for her and other noblewomen to be executed by Illyn Payne so that they would not be made hostage or raped, and I don't think that makes her suicidal either.

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Was the Redkeep also rigged to explode? Maegor's holdfast? They can just start the fires and get to a safe place. Seeing battle of BW, they didn't have enough firepower to blow up the whole city anyway.

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9 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

So why would they also be willing be commit suicide with the king? And wouldn't an ancient guild have taken more care to preserve its knowledge & perpetuate itself? I've tried asking this of a tumblr meta writer (to no response, which perhaps shouldn't be surprising since they could get a lot of questions), but I think this might be the better place for it.

Do they really have a choice? I mean I don’t think they could tell Aerys that what he is doing is suicidal and that they don’t want to die next him.

 

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Dragons.

The alchemists told Tyrion that a revival in dragons will mean a revival in magic, hence a revival in alchemy.

Aerion was drunk and wrong. Dany was greiving and right.

Targaryens have dragon magic, Aerys may have only wanted to leave Robert a city of ashes but the alchemists wanted a dragon.

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7 hours ago, FreeParking said:

I don't think you are supposed to think about it that hard.

That's good advice, but only before you see your friend follow the white rabbit down the hole. 

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3 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

Dragons.

The alchemists told Tyrion that a revival in dragons will mean a revival in magic, hence a revival in alchemy.

Aerion was drunk and wrong. Dany was greiving and right.

Targaryens have dragon magic, Aerys may have only wanted to leave Robert a city of ashes but the alchemists wanted a dragon.

To wake a dragon from stone with Aerys's king's blood in a massive sacrificial pyre? 

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I don't think the alchemists were fully aware of what Aerys intended to do with wildfire. Probably they assumed that Aerys was only preparing a contingency plan in the case Robert took the city. If that happened, Aerys and pyromancers would abandon King's Landing and then blow it up when Robert and the other rebels gathered there.

Perhaps this is even what Aerys intended to do in the first place. The problem is that due to Tywin's betrayal the city fell much more quickly than expected and he found that he could not flee. Since his life was forfeit anyway, he decided to make a great exit.

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The alchemists were pretty savvy when it came to their own self-interest--and safety, and I doubt their loyalty to Aerys was to Aerys so much as to his love of Wildfire. I would imagine they had a looong fuse ready to go and a nice sandbagged bunker or a quick route out of town in the event that Aerys called for Operation KL-Go-Splodey. They don't strike me as the sort to sacrifice themselves for their art if the boss won't be around to criticize their commitment.

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1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

To wake a dragon from stone with Aerys's king's blood in a massive sacrificial pyre? 

Something like that. There are no stone dragons in KL though, only Dragonstone. But maybe they thought Aerys would rise again or a hidden dragon egg in the sewer hatches. These reasons sound insane but if the guild under Aerys is anything like Tyrions, they were insane

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18 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

This may have been answered earlier, but some searches turned up nothing. Mad King Aerys was willing to burn down King's Landing, with him in it, because he thought (like Aerion Brightflame) he would turn into a dragon rather than simply dying (also he would surely be killed eventually by the rebels now seizing his capital). However, he required the assistance of a number of alchemists, led by Wisdom Rossart. We get no indication that they're suicidal, and they seem functional enough to handle wildfire without it going off and killing them. So why would they also be willing be commit suicide with the king? And wouldn't an ancient guild have taken more care to preserve its knowledge & perpetuate itself? I've tried asking this of a tumblr meta writer (to no response, which perhaps shouldn't be surprising since they could get a lot of questions), but I think this might be the better place for it.

I raised this topic a little while ago and it was an interesting discussion.

Aerys apparently believes he will be reborn as a dragon, but would Rossart really have done it? He might have just been crazy enough to want death-by-wildfire, or maybe he thought he would be immune too, judging by Hallayne's comment that "the substance flows through my veins, and lives in the heart of every pyromancer." Other top guildmasters like Belis and Garigus were probably similarly deluded.

But that leads to the question of exactly how the caches around the city were to be ignited. It would undoubtedly require many junior alchemists and acolytes to set them up in the first place, and some of them would undoubtedly figure out why this was being done. So was the idea to set off a large cache at the Red Keep that would ignite all the other caches? They would need a fair number of caches all placed relatively close together to effectively burn the entire city, and that would take quite a bit of time and some pretty careful planning. Or were they planning to ignite them individually all at once? I wonder how many acolytes would carry out that task?

Or maybe they had a fuse or timed delay of some sort, giving the guild leaders a chance to escape. But that runs the risk of Aerys being taken and possibly killed. And where would they go? The city gates are all closed, so the only remaining possibility is underground. But since this kind of thing had never been done before, how safe would they be? And that would be the most delicious irony of all: them all hiding in some underground bunker and the wildfire above devouring the earth to the point where flaming rocks start crashing down on their heads.

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On 5/3/2018 at 8:34 PM, Lost Melnibonean said:

Did Aerys truly believe that? That came from Jaime in the bathhouse, right? Was he just supposing aerys might have been whacko enough to believe it? Or was he suggesting that Aerys truly believed it? 

You're right that we only have Jaime's word and can't be sure what was in Aerys' head, but I think we're supposed to take away that the predicted result was death for the entire city, so anyone who willingly remained there would have to be willing to die.

 

On 5/3/2018 at 8:43 PM, Bullrout said:

 

The pyros were Fire Geeks.  Maybe setting off this much wildfire is their life's ambition.  It's the culmination of their work and now to see it finally come into fruition was worth the loss of their lives.  They are a guild but it is almost cult like in their devotion to the substance.  The pyros are not any weirder than the Faceless Men.  They're both unhinged in their own way.  

That seems to be the conventional wisdom, but I just don't buy it. There's no other indication of them being willing to die, they regard themselves as a learned order rather than servants of some higher calling, and sarte#1 cites evidence that even one of those part of the plot valued his own life & tried to preserve it.

 

19 hours ago, Ckram said:

I also wouldn't call that sort of behavior a suicidal tendency. The Alchemists' Guild emerged in the reign of the Targaryen and their future was uncertain if the rebels won. As Hand of the King, Rossard certainly knew that he would be killed if Rebels took the capital, so he should be filling the head of the other alchemists with ideas about a mass execution of guild members if Aerys were dethroned. So, i guess this made them willing to do as much damage as possible to the invaders and put everything down.

As for Aerys' alleged suicidal tendency, I think all he did want was not to be tried or tortured. Similarly, during the Battle of the Blackwater Cersei had made arrangements for her and other noblewomen to be executed by Illyn Payne so that they would not be made hostage or raped, and I don't think that makes her suicidal either.

The guild appears to be much older than that (perhaps even preceding the maesters), and while their role in kicking off the war by killing Rickard Stark would put them in a tough spot, Robert had already demonstrated he was willing to forgive those who fought against him in the war. Rossart might be at particular risk due to his high ranking position within the guild and as Hand (though Orton Merryweather's position as hand didn't stop him from unwavering opposition to the plan), but it really seems a stretch to think that he'll react with a mass suicide that he'd have to mislead his underlings in advance to prepare for & take part in.

 

16 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Was the Redkeep also rigged to explode? Maegor's holdfast? They can just start the fires and get to a safe place. Seeing battle of BW, they didn't have enough firepower to blow up the whole city anyway.

That's one possibility that could make it less suicidal (not for Aerys, since the Red Keep itself was included). Perhaps Jaime is incorrect to think it would actually be all of King's Landing and if it is ever detonated, it might be something more like what Cersei did on the show. Still, after blowing up much of the city while it's being sacked, I don't things would go particularly well for them. If they managed to flee the city, you'd expect for Robert to insist they absolutely pay for they did and there'd be no Jon Arryn (or anyone else) to take the other side.

 

15 hours ago, FreeParking said:

I don't think you are supposed to think about it that hard.

This seems the most likely Doyleist explanation to me, but it's completely unsatisfying since we are supposed to think about Jaime's dilemma.

 

15 hours ago, Lady Jowana said:

Do they really have a choice? I mean I don’t think they could tell Aerys that what he is doing is suicidal and that they don’t want to die next him.

 

Maybe they could pretend to indulge his wishes while actually setting things up in a way so such a plan couldn't be carried out. There would be the risk that Varys would find out, but they seemed to have been able to keep their actual plans from him (or he would have fled King's Landing, or probably tried to sabotage it like he tried to prevent Tywin's sack).

 

11 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

Targaryens have dragon magic, Aerys may have only wanted to leave Robert a city of ashes but the alchemists wanted a dragon.

Enough to blow themselves up?

 

8 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

I don't think the alchemists were fully aware of what Aerys intended to do with wildfire. Probably they assumed that Aerys was only preparing a contingency plan in the case Robert took the city. If that happened, Aerys and pyromancers would abandon King's Landing and then blow it up when Robert and the other rebels gathered there.

Perhaps this is even what Aerys intended to do in the first place. The problem is that due to Tywin's betrayal the city fell much more quickly than expected and he found that he could not flee. Since his life was forfeit anyway, he decided to make a great exit.

That sounds somewhat plausible. You'd think then that some of them would make clear to Jaime they had no plans to actually carry out the plan at that point. Which it seems they didn't after the sack, since it took Jaime days to hunt down Belis (who tried bribery) and Garigus (who pled for mercy). Jaime takes Rossart as acting like he was carrying out the plan, but hurrying to a gate disguised as a commoner is what one might do if attempting to flee (the problem is that he was dressed like a man-at-arms, unless that would be expected to give him greater freedom of movement). This would make Jaime's act somewhat less meaningful, but then he's also into "existential triumphs" which adhere to virtue ethics but don't affect outcomes like Ser Waymar Royce dueling the Other, and people pursuing the right goals under mistaken beliefs like Brienne pursuing the wrong Stark girl or Jon trying to help two different young women under the mistaken belief it's Arya.

6 hours ago, Therae said:

The alchemists were pretty savvy when it came to their own self-interest--and safety, and I doubt their loyalty to Aerys was to Aerys so much as to his love of Wildfire. I would imagine they had a looong fuse ready to go and a nice sandbagged bunker or a quick route out of town in the event that Aerys called for Operation KL-Go-Splodey. They don't strike me as the sort to sacrifice themselves for their art if the boss won't be around to criticize their commitment.


That makes sense. Although at the point of the sack, you might not bother to light the fuse anyway.

6 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

I raised this topic a little while ago and it was an interesting discussion.

Aerys apparently believes he will be reborn as a dragon, but would Rossart really have done it? He might have just been crazy enough to want death-by-wildfire, or maybe he thought he would be immune too, judging by Hallayne's comment that "the substance flows through my veins, and lives in the heart of every pyromancer." Other top guildmasters like Belis and Garigus were probably similarly deluded.

But that leads to the question of exactly how the caches around the city were to be ignited. It would undoubtedly require many junior alchemists and acolytes to set them up in the first place, and some of them would undoubtedly figure out why this was being done. So was the idea to set off a large cache at the Red Keep that would ignite all the other caches? They would need a fair number of caches all placed relatively close together to effectively burn the entire city, and that would take quite a bit of time and some pretty careful planning. Or were they planning to ignite them individually all at once? I wonder how many acolytes would carry out that task?

Or maybe they had a fuse or timed delay of some sort, giving the guild leaders a chance to escape. But that runs the risk of Aerys being taken and possibly killed. And where would they go? The city gates are all closed, so the only remaining possibility is underground. But since this kind of thing had never been done before, how safe would they be? And that would be the most delicious irony of all: them all hiding in some underground bunker and the wildfire above devouring the earth to the point where flaming rocks start crashing down on their heads.


Is this the thread you're referring to?

According to Jaime "Everything was done in the utmost secrecy by a handful of master pyromancers. They did not even trust their own acolytes to help."

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1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

 

According to Jaime "Everything was done in the utmost secrecy by a handful of master pyromancers. They did not even trust their own acolytes to help."

Yes, I just assumed from descriptions of the guild that it is full of hard core pyromaniacs with similar urges to Aerys's (or at least there are enough nutters at the top to help him). And on further thought they may have a bomb shelter for themselves. Their apprentices live in cells that will automatically cave in, kill them and smother the fire if they make a mistake in their experiments. I assume it happens quite often. Not a normal life to sign up to.

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On 5/3/2018 at 5:33 PM, FictionIsntReal said:

So why would they also be willing be commit suicide with the king? 

They wouldn't. They would be lighting the fire, which they could do a a very long distance with say, a small trail of wildfire. 

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On 5/4/2018 at 2:25 AM, Ckram said:

I also wouldn't call that sort of behavior a suicidal tendency. The Alchemists' Guild emerged in the reign of the Targaryen and their future was uncertain if the rebels won. As Hand of the King, Rossard certainly knew that he would be killed if Rebels took the capital, so he should be filling the head of the other alchemists with ideas about a mass execution of guild members if Aerys were dethroned. So, i guess this made them willing to do as much damage as possible to the invaders and put everything down.

As for Aerys' alleged suicidal tendency, I think all he did want was not to be tried or tortured. Similarly, during the Battle of the Blackwater Cersei had made arrangements for her and other noblewomen to be executed by Illyn Payne so that they would not be made hostage or raped, and I don't think that makes her suicidal either.

Yeah.  They were going down anyway.  Their ship was sinking with their patron.  Many captains and crew go down with their ship.  And there is just good, old fashioned loyalty for good or bad.  Manderly expects to die in Winterfell to get back at the Boltons.  He's sacrificing honor and family to restore Rickon.  The thinking is not too different.

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10 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Enough to blow themselves up? 

 

Sure. They were crazier then their king. Just look at how the ones Tyrion talks to act. 

Most guilds, groups and restrictive organizations down play death. Valar morgulis. Ser Jaime isn't afraid of death, nor are other Kingsguards, Danys warlocks, Aryas assassins, etc.

With dragons come an influx in pyromaniac magic, for ones who've given their life work to this call, it's a no brainier to die for it. 

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