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Ckram

Secrets of Braavos by Jonathan Roberts

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When talking about the map of Braavos for TLOIAF, illustrator Jonathan Roberts stated the following on his website:

"yes, look at this one carefully – there are locations on here that haven’t appeared in the books … yet"

In an interview for Quartz, however, Roberts was more specific in saying that he was sent unpublished TWOW material with instructions:

"I was sent a set of chapters from The Winds of Winter [the forthcoming sixth book in the series] in 2012, with geographic details about the city of Braavos which were specifically required to be in the maps to support the plot of the upcoming novel. I do not know what those plot points are, just that they are important."

Since maybe Roberts is not a qualified ASOIAF reader (ie compulsive re-reader / conspiracy theorist), I imagined that he might be refering to something already raised here or on other forum and still have no idea about the role in the plot of what he had draw.

I did my best to identify some of those "geographic details", but I came to the conclusion that I am not such a qualified reader, either. All I could come up with were ten unnamed buildings that stood out from the general landscape (due to the similarity of their features and those of the buildings with names). I reread all the chapters that take place in Braavos, but I could not find a reference to them aswell.

However, since we know of the imminence of an election of braavos and that every year they celebrate the unmasking, it may be that these details have been added to give cartographic support to these events. There is also the possibility that the details are strictly geographical, designed to substantiate the continuity of trade in Braavos even in the midst of the icy winter. I don't really know.

What do you think?

Edited by Ckram

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The image you produced with the ten buildings is very nice but, without names on the buildings, it's hard to speculate about their role in the upcoming books. Your guess about the election is a good one.

The administrators might move this thread to the Winds of Winter section of the forum. That would allow people to open up the discussion by linking the map to content in the Mercy chapter and speculation about TWOW content.

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@Seams It took me a while to decide if this thread should be posted here or in the twow forum. It occurs that the subject has no direct and exclusive connection with the book to come, but with general speculation about the role of Braavos, since it is not a map on the back cover of a book, but one in a reference book for all the them. On the other hand, a piece of that same map appears in TWOIAF, pointing again to the fact that it is not solely related to the present and future of the series. Finally, I can't see why people would not be able to refer to TWOW content here by simply using the spoiler text box.

But that's just my opinion, of course.

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3 minutes ago, Ckram said:

@Seams It took me a while to decide if this thread should be posted here or in the twow forum. It occurs that the subject has no direct and exclusive connection with the book to come, but with general speculation about the role of Braavos, since it is not a map on the back cover of a book, but one in a reference book for all the them. On the other hand, a piece of that same map appears in TWOIAF, pointing again to the fact that it is not solely related to the present and future of the series. Finally, I can't see why people would not be able to refer to TWOW content here by simply using the spoiler text box.

But that's just my opinion, of course.

All good points.

The maps are beautiful, by the way. I hadn't sought out the cartographer's website until I read your post this morning. Great visual detail.

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I have re-uploaded the map, numbering the unnamed buildings from 1 to 10: Click here.

In a second analysis, I noticed that the 7 northermost of the unnamed buildings must have a deeper connection with Braavos's economy and history, since they are located in the wealthiest district of the city (the one above Canal of Heroes and Green Canal, which I'll call "north district" from now on).

Indeed, there lies one of the biggest banks of the Known World (Iron Bank); the richiest harbor, which serves only ships of local merchants and Iron Bank (Purple Harbor), the best alehouses, inns, and brothels of the city (nearby Moon Pool), the seat of the city ruler (Sealord's Palace), and also:

Spoiler

Two of the four known playhouses of Braavos (Dome and Blue Lantern), both of which are known for having subtler and more poetic offerings than the other two (Gate and Mummer's Ship).

Another thing that denotes wealth in Braavos is to pipe the waters of the sweetwater river to your own home, and almost all the unnamed buildings in the north district are located near the aqueduct, which would facilitate the piping.

On the other hand, taking into account the similarity between the layout of the Prestayn and Antaryon buildings (ie buildings with one or more towers), for now I believe it is safe to assume that the other braavosi noble houses should have similar features. And, guess what, three out of four of the unnamed buildings with towers are found in the north District.

So my first guess is that buildings 3, 4, 5 and 9 belong to noble families of Braavos, which comes in handy with what we know, given that

Spoiler

besides the Houses Prestayn and Antaryon, in TWOW we learn of the existence of four other houses in Braavos, namely: Reyaan, Otharys, Torone and Pranelis.

Ok, we don't really know if the last two (Torone and Pranelis) are really house names and not given names, but I'm inclined to believe that they are.

My second guess is that, due to their proximity with the Iron Bank site, buildings 3, 4 and 5 would belong to historical keyholders (which does not rule out that family on 9 might also be a keyholder, you see), and we know that

Spoiler

at least the Reyaans are.

Regarding buildings 6 and 10, although having one tower, they seem small in comparison to the above mentioned, which is why I discard for the moment that they are noble residences.

Building 7 has some resemblance to the front building of Sealord's Palace, so my best guess is that it is some governmental building.

Building 2 looks very massive for a residence and also does not resemble the front building of Sealord's Palace. It is probably the largest single building in Braavos, which qualifies it to be the House of Red Hands (the one building that makes Braavos "renowned for its architecture").

I don't know about buildings 1 and 8. Maybe one of them have a red door.

Edited by Ckram

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I was re-reading TWOAIF and found this:

Braavos is a city renowned for its architecture: the sprawling Sealord's Palace, with its magnificent menagerie of queer beasts and birds from all around the world; the imposing Palace of Justice; the huge Temple of the Moonsingers; the aqueduct that the Braavosi named the sweetwater river, carrying muchneeded freshwater from the mainland of Essos (for the water in the canals is brackish, muddy, and too foul to drink because of the refuse thrown into it by the city's inhabitants); the towers of the keyholders and noble families; and the House of Red Hands, a great hospice and center of healing. In and amongst these noble structures are countless shops, brothels, inns, alehouses, guildhalls, and merchants' exchanges. Along the streets and bridges stand statues of past Sealords, lawgivers, sailors, warriors, even poets, singers, and courtesans. (TWOIAF, The Free Cities: Braavos)

First of all, now I have textual evidence to my suspicion that the buildings with towers we see ont the map are probably residences of wealthy noble families. Only one or two those must be  keyholders since Yandel also told us that "certain of the founding families of Braavos have declined over the centuries, and a few have lost their wealth entirely, yet even the meanest still cling to their keys and the honors that go with them".

This made me think that buildings #6 and #10 must be residences of middle class keyholder families whereas the poor keyholder families may "dwell in the towers and upper floors " of the Drowned Town ("the oldest part of the city", where "there are still some Braavosi, of the poorest sort").

Considering that "knives" usually "come out" during the selection of the new Sealord, maybe Arya or another FM will be payed to visit some of the candidates' homes in the near future (ominous image).

On the other hand, another big building, the Palace of Justice, is mentioned on text but not shown on the map, meaning it must be one of the unnamed.

When Yandel calls it "imposing", while House of Red Hands is called "great", it looks like he's saying the Palace is Building #2 while the House is Building #7. However, I feel I must be a little stubborn and insist that Building #7's architecture ressembles the one of Sealord's Palace so that it must be the Palace of Justice.

Since Braavos went on a war to ban slave trade as south as Pentos, I imagine that the First Law of Braavos must have some horrible punishment, maybe even capital, and long I've been imagining what will happen to Goodheart's crew, especially to it's captain. Therefore, it's possible we see a trial take place at Palace of Justice any time soon.

Buldings #1 and #8 are still a mistery. However, as we haven't seen any guildhalls or merchant's exchanges, they would fit the "locations that haven’t appeared in the books yet" category, and maybe that's what these buildings are.

Edited by Ckram

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I don't think you can discount some or one of those houses being a courtesans too. They hold very high status in Braavosi society, so high there are even statues too them and we know Arya will probably be doing a stint with one at some point. 

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@The Weirwoods Eyes Sorry. You're absloutely right. I can't. I got so distracted with Arya saying "every courtesan had her own barge" (AFFC, Cat of the Canals) that I never considered the possibility that the barges are only their vehicles, not their homes. In spite of Arya also noting that there are huge barges in Braavos, and even floating houses (AFFC, Arya I), there's nothing suggesting courtesans effectivelly dwell in such vessels.

Yes, their status is very high. As seen above, Yandel says that courtesans are as celebrated as sealords, lawgivers and sailors in Braavos. And if you take in consideration the generations of Black Pearls that originated from Bellegere Otherys, they might well be a traditional noble family by now. In fact:

Spoiler

Maybe "House Otharys" is really "House Otherys" mispelled, and those three "scions of Otharys" present at the Gate in Mercy's chapter are Black Pearl's kin.

Taking a new look at the map, I felt a imediate urge to proclaim that Building #8 was the one that would fit better to a courtesan -- it has a vast shore to harbor patron vessels and is more distant and private, ideal for exclusive events (as the ones allegedly held in Cora Pearl's Chateau de Beauséjour).

However, we are looking for a place fit with an influential family that holds a courtesan tradition, not a single courtsan. In that case, my eyes moved to Bulding #6 which also looks private (with a small canal just for itself) and have a light black dome (which look like a black pearl -- If you find hard to agree, please compare it to the white dome of Moonsinger's temple and the copper green dome of "the Dome" and maybe you will).

I've called this building unfit for a (major and wealthy) noble family and speculated that it belonged to some middle class keyholder family, but it suits with a ~150 years old thriving courtesan family.

Edited by Ckram

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Yes, It is easy to assume they live on the barges but when you think about it that is unlikely. I mean if they are so high status surely they can afford a fine house? Right. And who wants to live on a barge 24/7. They are a means of transport, not luxury accomodation and if courtesans are multi generational you'd think they'd have built a  mansion at some point. That is what high status famillies do. It is part of how wealth and status are maintained.

I agree that house 6 could be the black pearls residence and that Otherys and Otharys could easily be a spelling mistake. I think it quite likley in fact that she is of a noble family. The first Black Pearl; the one Aegon IV had an affair with, was born to a Summer Islander Princess with the Sealords son for a father. So A Braavosi Noble. I looked at the curent Sealord and the man who is rumoured to replace him when he dies and they are both Nobles so I doubt Sealords are ever picked from non noble famillies.  So If her father was a Sealords son we can assume that the sealord was an Otherys. And that Otherys is a noble family. Whilst the line of the Blackpearl may not be House Otherys's main line they do go by that name, regardless of who fathers them. And there is a House Otharys, who may well be the main line with this simple spelling alternative marking the split in the bloodlines. Or yeah just a spelling mistake. 

Either way I think it likely that we will travel to her home in TWOW, we do finally get a glimpse of her in the sample chapter after all. 

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19 hours ago, The Weirwoods Eyes said:

The first Black Pearl; the one Aegon IV had an affair with, was born to a Summer Islander Princess with the Sealords son for a father. So A Braavosi Noble.

Another misconception of mine. In Braavos, a highborn girl might well become a courtesan.

19 hours ago, The Weirwoods Eyes said:

I doubt Sealords are ever picked from non noble famillies

I'm not so sure about this one. This sound more like Pentos than Braavos. I'm not saying that the overwhelming majority was not of nobles, but that when Yandel says "chosen by the city's magisters and keyholders from amongst the citizenry" I understand he meant that maybe one or more Sealords weren't.

I'm aware that throughout real-world history the concept of citizenship was often used to refer to a select group of (noble) people. But I have a strong feeling that this is not Braavos' case.

19 hours ago, The Weirwoods Eyes said:

Whilst the line of the Blackpearl may not be House Otherys's main line they do go by that name, regardless of who fathers them. And there is a House Otharys, who may well be the main line with this simple spelling alternative marking the split in the bloodlines. Or yeah just a spelling mistake. 

Perfect.

19 hours ago, The Weirwoods Eyes said:

Either way I think it likely that we will travel to her home in TWOW

I can not argue against indications that Arya will interact in any way with the courtesans of Braavos. They continue to be mentioned in the books, especially the Black Pearl, which even must have blood ties with Westeros and Targaryen.

The first proposal of the Kindly Man was precisely to send Arya to be a courtesan and talks how he could easily get her a position next to the Black Pearl or the Daughter of the Dusk, denoting that this two possibly maintain relations deeper than we think with the House of Black and White and the FM.

However, after so much talking about the Black Pearl, I feel that the contact between her and Arya will not be this close and direct. In my opinion, It looks too Chekhovy to be Martin's goal.
 

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2 hours ago, Ckram said:

Another misconception of mine. In Braavos, a highborn girl might well become a courtesan.

I'm not so sure about this one. This sound more like Pentos than Braavos. I'm not saying that the overwhelming majority was not of nobles, but that when Yandel says "chosen by the city's magisters and keyholders from amongst the citizenry" I understand he meant that maybe one or more Sealords weren't.

I'm aware that throughout real-world history the concept of citizenship was often used to refer to a select group of (noble) people. But I have a strong feeling that this is not Braavos' case.

Perfect.

I can not argue against indications that Arya will interact in any way with the courtesans of Braavos. They continue to be mentioned in the books, especially the Black Pearl, which even must have blood ties with Westeros and Targaryen.

The first proposal of the Kindly Man was precisely to send Arya to be a courtesan and talks how he could easily get her a position next to the Black Pearl or the Daughter of the Dusk, denoting that this two possibly maintain relations deeper than we think with the House of Black and White and the FM.

However, after so much talking about the Black Pearl, I feel that the contact between her and Arya will not be this close and direct. In my opinion, It looks too Chekhovy to be Martin's goal.
 

Yes, courtesans hold such high status that I don't think there is any shame attatched like prostitution in general has. And the way they are described also seems more like how western people used to percieve Geisha. I think this could be what GRRM is going with this idea of highly skilled highly prestgious courtesans whose skills involve many arts as well as sexual pleasures. 

Maybe I'm just jaded by the fact that societies always tend towards a narrow pool of power which is maintained through a class structure that prevents socio economic movement upwards. Even when they start out with idealistic socialist movements we see that same pooling of power and wealth over time resulting in a reversion to two tier society.  

Yes it feels inevitible that Arya will interact with her. 

Spoiler

She finally see's her in  TWOW Mercy I. There is a pretty lengthy description of her and discussion around her between various characters. So now that she is on page it seems unlikely Arya won't interact with her. 

Given that GRRM has used Checov's gun to explain that everything he includes is there for a reason. I think he'll be utilising the Black Pearl as a character in TWOW he's spent a lot of time writing about her famillies blood ties to the Targaryens and thus Westeros and he's name dropped her all over the Braavos chapters. I think she has a role to play in TWOW. 

Edited by The Weirwoods Eyes

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On 5/18/2018 at 6:27 AM, The Weirwoods Eyes said:

I think he'll be utilising the Black Pearl as a character in TWOW he's spent a lot of time writing about her famillies blood ties to the Targaryens and thus Westeros and he's name dropped her all over the Braavos chapters. I think she has a role to play in TWOW. 

It is precisely because of GRRM set this much of background that I suspect that she will play a role far from the obvious (that is, to be part of Arya's training). I dislike analyzing plots through tropes, but in that case it would be very frustrating if Black Pearl became a sort of Renowned Selective Mentor of Arya.

I have no doubt that Black Pearl has a role to play in the books, but I think it would be more consistent with FM training that Arya learn a new set of skills from someone less important in Braavos (given that Kindly Man only gives Arya faces of ordinary people... so far).

By the way, happy birthday!

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8 hours ago, Ckram said:

It is precisely because of GRRM set this much of background that I suspect that she will play a role far from the obvious (that is, to be part of Arya's training). I dislike analyzing plots through tropes, but in that case it would be very frustrating if Black Pearl became a sort of Renowned Selective Mentor of Arya.

I have no doubt that Black Pearl has a role to play in the books, but I think it would be more consistent with FM training that Arya learn a new set of skills from someone less important in Braavos (given that Kindly Man only gives Arya faces of ordinary people... so far).

By the way, happy birthday!

Thank you. :) 

I think that Arya's training might take a different route soon. Given what happens in TWOW Mercy I. 

Spoiler

Arya breaks out of her trainee FM role and kills Raff the Sweetling because he is on her list.  

 Given this I'm not so sure she can stay with the FM much longer. That is twice now she has broken the rules because she is Arya Stark and not No One.  Can she realistically stay with them? 

The KM did suggest The Black Pearl as someone whom he had the abillity to place her with stating that her own face was pretty enough to get her a position. So perhaps instead of being placed with her by the KM she could end up with her in a bid to escape the FM? Who might not be so happy with her after she's shown such disregard for their rules and that she is holding onto her own identity even through the powerful magic of skinwearing? 

Which would also be in line with the trope you mention where the mentor selects the trainee themselves. GRRM actually does use all the tropes he just subverts  the way he goes about it.  When you look at the story as a whole he has all the classic elements of a coming of age heroic saga. He just manages to disguise it all in ways which make it seem fresh and less tropey. 

So taking that into account.

Arya has just broken the rules of the FM 

GRRM needs to somehow get Arya back to Westeros

We've been told Arya does not need a fake face to be placed with the Black Pearl.

Spoiler

The Black Pearl has been introduced on page at last, and is in the same local as Arya

The renowned selective mentor trope favours selection of the trainee by the mentor

The Black Pearl has connections with Westeros 

There are Westerosi men on their way to Braavos who may visit TBP  and who will be returning to westeros.  

Throughout Arya's story she has had a series of mentor/protectors. Each of whom have bestowed skills and learning on our young Lady, Syrio, Yoren, Jaqen, Sandor,the KM. So for that to continue fits, if TBP takes on that role for a few chapters it rounds out Arya's education nicely. 

 

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I had the following almost ready to post two nights ago when life intervened, so this comes a bit late ...

On 5/17/2018 at 3:10 AM, The Weirwoods Eyes said:

Either way I think it likely that we will travel to her home in TWOW, we do finally get a glimpse of her in the sample chapter after all. 

I think Arya will definitely encounter her.

Quotes from "Cat of the Canals" :

You would find softer service in the household of some merchant. Or would you sooner be a courtesan, and have songs sung of your beauty? Speak the word, and we will send you to the Black Pearl or the Daughter of the Dusk. 

<snip>

“I sold three cockles to a courtesan,” Cat told the sailors. “She called to me as she was stepping off her barge.” Brusco had made it plain to her that she was never to speak to a courtesan unless she was spoken to first, but the woman had smiled at her and paid her in silver, ten times what the cockles had been worth. “Which one was this, now? The Queen o’ Cockles, was it?”

"The Black Pearl," she told them. Merry claimed the Black Pearl was the most famous courtesan of all. "She's descended from the dragons, that one," the woman had told Cat. "The first Black Pearl was a pirate queen. A Westerosi prince took her for a lover and got a daughter on her, who grew up to be a courtesan. Her own daughter followed her, and her daughter after her, until you get to this one.

What did she say to you, Cat?"

"She said 'I'll take three cockles,' and 'Do you have some hot sauce, little one?'" the girl had answered.

"And what did you say?"

"I said, 'No, my lady,' and, 'Don't call me little one. My name is Cat.

<snip>

Cat told the kindly man about the Black Pearl too. "Her true name is Bellegere Otherys," she informed him. It was one of the three things that she had learned.

"It is," the priest said softly. "Her mother was Bellonara, but the first Black Pearl was a Bellegere as well."

Bringing this up to date, I have a slightly different take on the events of the Mercy chapter...

Spoiler

I don't think Arya broke out of her role at all. I think the IB and FM wanted to cause trouble for Swyft's party and the Sealord ... perhaps always to make it appear that one of Swyft's guards had killed a young actress, though not necessarily in the way Arya carried it out. (As with the insurance broker, it would have been her decision as to what methods to use. ) She has broken a FM rule... but only she has any way of knowing. Raff would not have been on any Braavosi wavelenghth.

There are signs that Izembaro altered his repertoire to suit the IB/FM ... and previously, he accepted the FM's apprentice, as Brusco did before him.

I think there are signs that Bellegere is also cooperating with the IB/FM plans, taking Swyft to that particular playhouse, when we know there are at least two others with a more upper crust reputation.

It's my bet that the Sealord who signed the marriage pact was the current Sealord's predecessor. This one took a compliant stance toward Robert (supported by members of the wealthy merchant class) and was responsible for the expulsion of Dany and Viserys.

Now, with Dany rising in power, Braavosi factions who sympathized with the Targaryens in the past will be trying to come to the fore again. Bellegere's bloodlines may evoke a personal sympathy with their cause, beyond obedience to "Valar Dohaeris".

After thinking about the implications of the Mercy chapter, I have to wonder if Bellegere had some inkling of who "Cat" was when she called to her, and overpaid so generously for her cockles.

The KM, a priest, speaks "softly" of Bellegere ... out of what, respect, friendship? I doubt it's purely physical admiration.

And in ADWD, when Plague Face says to Arya... You were a cat, they tell me. Prowling through the alleys smelling of fish, selling cockles and mussels for coin. ... who are "they"?

So yes, I think the Black Pearl could be quite prominent in TWoW.

To come back to the OP, I quite like #6 as her residence. And if  (big if) Otharys/Otherys is not a mistake, could it mark descent from a founding family on the female side?

 

Edited by bemused

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On 5/22/2018 at 2:03 AM, bemused said:

I had the following almost ready to post two nights ago when life intervened, so this comes a bit late ...

I think Arya will definitely encounter her.

Quotes from "Cat of the Canals" :

You would find softer service in the household of some merchant. Or would you sooner be a courtesan, and have songs sung of your beauty? Speak the word, and we will send you to the Black Pearl or the Daughter of the Dusk. 

<snip>

“I sold three cockles to a courtesan,” Cat told the sailors. “She called to me as she was stepping off her barge.” Brusco had made it plain to her that she was never to speak to a courtesan unless she was spoken to first, but the woman had smiled at her and paid her in silver, ten times what the cockles had been worth. “Which one was this, now? The Queen o’ Cockles, was it?”

"The Black Pearl," she told them. Merry claimed the Black Pearl was the most famous courtesan of all. "She's descended from the dragons, that one," the woman had told Cat. "The first Black Pearl was a pirate queen. A Westerosi prince took her for a lover and got a daughter on her, who grew up to be a courtesan. Her own daughter followed her, and her daughter after her, until you get to this one.

What did she say to you, Cat?"

"She said 'I'll take three cockles,' and 'Do you have some hot sauce, little one?'" the girl had answered.

"And what did you say?"

"I said, 'No, my lady,' and, 'Don't call me little one. My name is Cat.

<snip>

Cat told the kindly man about the Black Pearl too. "Her true name is Bellegere Otherys," she informed him. It was one of the three things that she had learned.

"It is," the priest said softly. "Her mother was Bellonara, but the first Black Pearl was a Bellegere as well."

Bringing this up to date, I have a slightly different take on the events of the Mercy chapter...

  Hide contents

I don't think Arya broke out of her role at all. I think the IB and FM wanted to cause trouble for Swyft's party and the Sealord ... perhaps always to make it appear that one of Swyft's guards had killed a young actress, though not necessarily in the way Arya carried it out. (As with the insurance broker, it would have been her decision as to what methods to use. ) She has broken a FM rule... but only she has any way of knowing. Raff would not have been on any Braavosi wavelenghth.

There are signs that Izembaro altered his repertoire to suit the IB/FM ... and previously, he accepted the FM's apprentice, as Brusco did before him.

I think there are signs that Bellegere is also cooperating with the IB/FM plans, taking Swyft to that particular playhouse, when we know there are at least two others with a more upper crust reputation.

It's my bet that the Sealord who signed the marriage pact was the current Sealord's predecessor. This one took a compliant stance toward Robert (supported by members of the wealthy merchant class) and was responsible for the expulsion of Dany and Viserys.

Now, with Dany rising in power, Braavosi factions who sympathized with the Targaryens in the past will be trying to come to the fore again. Bellegere's bloodlines may evoke a personal sympathy with their cause, beyond obedience to "Valar Dohaeris".

After thinking about the implications of the Mercy chapter, I have to wonder if Bellegere had some inkling of who "Cat" was when she called to her, and overpaid so generously for her cockles.

The KM, a priest, speaks "softly" of Bellegere ... out of what, respect, friendship? I doubt it's purely physical admiration.

And in ADWD, when Plague Face says to Arya... You were a cat, they tell me. Prowling through the alleys smelling of fish, selling cockles and mussels for coin. ... who are "they"?

So yes, I think the Black Pearl could be quite prominent in TWoW.

To come back to the OP, I quite like #6 as her residence. And if  (big if) Otharys/Otherys is not a mistake, could it mark descent from a founding family on the female side?

 

Interesting, would you mind expanding on

Spoiler

the things which you see as Izembaro altering his repertoire ?  And how we can tell the Black Pearl chose the play house, as opposed to the Westerosi wanting to see the play about Westeros?  

 

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@The Weirwoods Eyes ... Hi, there. Sure... The sign that got me thinking in that direction (pardon the upcoming pun), is that ...
 

Spoiler

 

Big Brusco is still painting the sign/billboard when Arya / Mercy arrives at the playhouse. We don't know how much notice the company would have had... would they have had time to learn a new play? We don't know how long Swyft has been in Braavos, or if there was advance notice of his arrival.. but if the play had already been running, there would have already been a sign.

Then too, there seems to be an inordinate amount of backstage costume malfunctions, such as might be expected on an opening night..the company might have performed the play before, and had to dig the costumes out of storage, or (more likely, IMO) they may not have performed it and are cobbling together costumes from other productions to suit the play. ... We're told that Bobono the dwarf has a rape scene in another play that he seems to have performed often “I always give Wendeyne’s titties a nice squeeze when I rape her in The Anguish of the Archon,” ...Izembaro always leaves his crown in the privy ,  but then, he will only play kings.. Lady Stork steps on the hem of her gown again, but she always has a nip of wine before a performance, and may be notorious for stepping on her hem in many productions. ... We're told that "The Bloody Hand" is Phario Forel's new play. How new? Has it been performed anywhere before? Mercy notices..  'The sad-eyed little man called Quill stood in the back, come to see what he could steal for one of his own plays' ... It seems to me Quill would have been quicker off the mark, if the play had been performed regularly. This could even be it's premiere performance.

Yes, the crowd hisses and curses when Bobono appears onstage, but are they reacting to a well known character, or to Cersei's accusations against Tyrion, which have reached Essos along with her offer of a reward for his head?

 

It feels silly having  to hide all this when the Mercy chapter was put up on GRRM's site in 2014, but I guess I'll continue. As to the Black Pearl...

Spoiler

 

Daena says to Mercy about Swyft "...look, he's brought the Black Pearl." but I think Daena has it wrong.

Swyft is there begging for money from the IB. We don't know if a loan has been agreed to yet, or if one ever will be. The IB has been of a mind to play hardball with KL since Cersei began defaulting on loan payments. I doubt Swyft would be focusing much on what the current entertainments were in Braavos. I think the play would have to have been suggested to him, or passes bestowed on him as an (ahem) honoured guest. He is seated in the "Sealord's box" (actually not reserved by the Sealord, but designated as such by Izembaro). How could Swyft possibly afford the company of the Black Pearl, the most famous courtesan of all, when Arya has been told that if she opted to be placed with the Black Pearl, songs would be sung of her beauty and "great lords will beggar themselves for your maiden's blood." (That would be for her apprentice, not even the BP, herself.)

If Cersei is in charge in KL, she would not be pleased with Swyft throwing the crown's money around in that way and it's nowhere suggested that he had that kind of money himself.

I don't say that this is all the BP's idea, but she's at least acting as his guide, at the behest of ...?_?

If she's not involved in the planning she's helping in the enactment. Either  ?_? is paying her lavishly, or she's acting pro bono for ?_? - The state, the IB, the FM or some combination of those.  Sick as he is, I only doubt the Sealord as benefactor, though I suppose we can't absolutely exclude him.

 

I could rattle on but life is calling...

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On 5/20/2018 at 7:13 AM, The Weirwoods Eyes said:

GRRM needs to somehow get Arya back to Westeros

The route you've laid out for the story fits the timeline, but I personally just think it would be a bummer.

On 5/21/2018 at 10:03 PM, bemused said:

I have a slightly different take on the events of the Mercy chapter...

 

Spoiler

Maybe. But supposing that this isn't the case, it seems to me that the facts are still consistent.

See, since Ragman's Harbor is where foreign ships dock, and that the Dome and Blue Lantern are very close to Purple Harbor (which serves only braavosi vessels), Izembaro saw the opportunity to outwit the competition by performing a play in honor of the westerosi envoy, so that some people of importance in Braavos would also appear.

As for the cost of a sexual encounter with TBP or her apprentices being apparently too high for Swyft, you should note that we do not know if Swyft hired her for this purpose. So far it seems she's just an escort. Raff having called her a whore says nothing about the nature of the service she is rendering to Swyft, it merely demonstrates the misguided view that the common westerosi has about the work of these courtesans.

 

On 5/29/2018 at 8:18 AM, norwaywolf123 said:

How do Courtesans make sure they have daughters to follow them? Or don't they?

Maybe by the same means Lords of Westeros ensure that one of their sons succeeds them: telling little children that the House depends on them and that not assuming that position would only give chance to their enemies and oportunists to put everything their ancestors build to the ground. It works in most cases in Westeros.

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15 hours ago, bemused said:

@The Weirwoods Eyes ... Hi, there. Sure... The sign that got me thinking in that direction (pardon the upcoming pun), is that ...
 

  Hide contents

 

Big Brusco is still painting the sign/billboard when Arya / Mercy arrives at the playhouse. We don't know how much notice the company would have had... would they have had time to learn a new play? We don't know how long Swyft has been in Braavos, or if there was advance notice of his arrival.. but if the play had already been running, there would have already been a sign.

Then too, there seems to be an inordinate amount of backstage costume malfunctions, such as might be expected on an opening night..the company might have performed the play before, and had to dig the costumes out of storage, or (more likely, IMO) they may not have performed it and are cobbling together costumes from other productions to suit the play. ... We're told that Bobono the dwarf has a rape scene in another play that he seems to have performed often “I always give Wendeyne’s titties a nice squeeze when I rape her in The Anguish of the Archon,” ...Izembaro always leaves his crown in the privy ,  but then, he will only play kings.. Lady Stork steps on the hem of her gown again, but she always has a nip of wine before a performance, and may be notorious for stepping on her hem in many productions. ... We're told that "The Bloody Hand" is Phario Forel's new play. How new? Has it been performed anywhere before? Mercy notices..  'The sad-eyed little man called Quill stood in the back, come to see what he could steal for one of his own plays' ... It seems to me Quill would have been quicker off the mark, if the play had been performed regularly. This could even be it's premiere performance.

Yes, the crowd hisses and curses when Bobono appears onstage, but are they reacting to a well known character, or to Cersei's accusations against Tyrion, which have reached Essos along with her offer of a reward for his head?

 

It feels silly having  to hide all this when the Mercy chapter was put up on GRRM's site in 2014, but I guess I'll continue. As to the Black Pearl...

  Hide contents

 

Daena says to Mercy about Swyft "...look, he's brought the Black Pearl." but I think Daena has it wrong.

Swyft is there begging for money from the IB. We don't know if a loan has been agreed to yet, or if one ever will be. The IB has been of a mind to play hardball with KL since Cersei began defaulting on loan payments. I doubt Swyft would be focusing much on what the current entertainments were in Braavos. I think the play would have to have been suggested to him, or passes bestowed on him as an (ahem) honoured guest. He is seated in the "Sealord's box" (actually not reserved by the Sealord, but designated as such by Izembaro). How could Swyft possibly afford the company of the Black Pearl, the most famous courtesan of all, when Arya has been told that if she opted to be placed with the Black Pearl, songs would be sung of her beauty and "great lords will beggar themselves for your maiden's blood." (That would be for her apprentice, not even the BP, herself.)

If Cersei is in charge in KL, she would not be pleased with Swyft throwing the crown's money around in that way and it's nowhere suggested that he had that kind of money himself.

I don't say that this is all the BP's idea, but she's at least acting as his guide, at the behest of ...?_?

If she's not involved in the planning she's helping in the enactment. Either  ?_? is paying her lavishly, or she's acting pro bono for ?_? - The state, the IB, the FM or some combination of those.  Sick as he is, I only doubt the Sealord as benefactor, though I suppose we can't absolutely exclude him.

 

I could rattle on but life is calling...

Spoiler

Oh I absolutely think this is the opening night. And that the play has been hastily put together. But I saw it more as Izembaro trying to profit from current events which is in keeping with how play houses worked historically, where being the first to capitalise on current topics and scandals meant bums on seats.  But yes I suppose it could be that the play has been put together specifically to entice Swyft in. For what reason? The IB's concern with the IT's debts? The Sealord elections? some FM plot? I think there is too little information to ascertain which if any. 

Yes TBP is expensive, maybe Swyft is taking advantage of the crowns money and will put the cost down as expenses involved in sweet talking the IB?  Maybe someone else is paying her? Maybe but again too little to call it yet I think.  Interesting ideas though thank you very much for sharing them. 

 

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