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Southron Ambitions - what were they?

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22 hours ago, Seaserpent said:

So barbrey has no role in asoiaf anymore and stays disloyal to any Stark? We have to wait for Winds than, but i think she is plotting against the Boltons. Ramsey after all murdered her nephew. Going to the crypt was not to see any Stark only to see if the swords are really missing and if there is hope for a new Stark rule, but we will find out soon in the next book. 

It is entirely possible that Lady Barbrey Dustin, her father Lord Rodrik Ryswell, and her brothers Roger, Rickard, and Roose, are merely giving the appearance of being "staunch for Bolton," as they plot against him.

When Aenys Frey accuses Lord Wyman Manderly of the recent killings late in ADWD, Barbrey reminds him that Lord Wyman isn't the only man who lost kin at their Red Wedding, and lists a number of the northern families that had men with King Robb Stark. To which her brother Roger adds "House Ryswell too," and she adds, "Even Dustins out of Barrowtown" with a thin, feral smile, and says, "The north remembers, Frey.

And she certainly has good reason to believe that Lord Bolton and/or his bastard Ramsay is responsible for the death of her sister's beloved son Domeric.

But that doesn't mean that the bitterness she displays towards Lord Rickard Stark, Maester Walys, and Lord Eddard Stark do not reflect her genuine feelings. She just may hate Roose and his bastard more, and understand how much worse things are and will be for her and anyone she cares about under the Boltons.

Whether she holds the things she has against Rickard and Ned against Ned's children in particular, or House Stark as a whole, she may nevertheless be on board with restoring a Stark to Winterfell.

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22 hours ago, Seaserpent said:

There is also no evidence for that only that he said might Aerys die we have the new king here. If he wanted Aerys dead there was enough oppurtunity for years. I think Tywin plotted and paid for the tournament in Harrenhall, but there is also a lack of evidence for this, its just guessing what a smart Tywinn would do.

I never suggested that Lord Tywin or Prince Rhaegar wanted King Aerys dead. I even noted how Tywin continued to keep Cersei at court as late as 281 AC, which Jaime tells us was in hopes of still wedding her to a Targaryen prince.

Rhaegar was the heir, and Tywin was the Hand, and wanted to wed his daughter to a Targaryen prince. If they had any desire to restrict or remove Aerys from power, it was to neutralize the threat Aerys's deterioration posed to House Targaryen's stability.

And there is considerable evidence that Rhaegar was plotting to make a move to restrict his father's power and assume rule of the realm, an endeavor for which Tywin would have been his most natural ally.

We are told that with Varys whispering in his ear, Aerys became convinced that the tourney of Lord Whent, Ser Oswell's brother, was arranged as a ploy to give Rhaegar cover to meet with great lords, with the aim of deposing the king.

Maester Yandel tells us that the prizes Lord Whent was offering in his tourney were three times as large as those given at the tourney Tywin arranged in King's Landing in 272 AC to celebrate the 10th year of the reign of Aerys. 

Amusingly, Yandel names Rhaegar as the only truly compelling candidate for a "shadow host" of the tourney, and neglects to even name Tywin as a possibility, despite all of the reasons he would make sense.

In my opinion, it is most likely that Rhaegar and Tywin were collaborators in putting on the Harrenhal Tourney, with Tywin being the likeliest candidate to have supplied the funding.

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3 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

I never suggested that Lord Tywin or Prince Rhaegar wanted King Aerys dead. I even noted how Tywin continued to keep Cersei at court as late as 281 AC, which Jaime tells us was in hopes of still wedding her to a Targaryen prince.

Rhaegar was the heir, and Tywin was the Hand, and wanted to wed his daughter to a Targaryen prince. If they had any desire to restrict or remove Aerys from power, it was to neutralize the threat Aerys's deterioration posed to House Targaryen's stability.

And there is considerable evidence that Rhaegar was plotting to make a move to restrict his father's power and assume rule of the realm, an endeavor for which Tywin would have been his most natural ally.

We are told that with Varys whispering in his ear, Aerys became convinced that the tourney of Lord Whent, Ser Oswell's brother, was arranged as a ploy to give Rhaegar cover to meet with great lords, with the aim of deposing the king.

Maester Yandel tells us that the prizes Lord Whent was offering in his tourney were three times as large as those given at the tourney Tywin arranged in King's Landing in 272 AC to celebrate the 10th year of the reign of Aerys. 

Amusingly, Yandel names Rhaegar as the only truly compelling candidate for a "shadow host" of the tourney, and neglects to even name Tywin as a possibility, despite all of the reasons he would make sense.

In my opinion, it is most likely that Rhaegar and Tywin were collaborators in putting on the Harrenhal Tourney, with Tywin being the likeliest candidate to have supplied the funding.

I agree with most, but tywinn being the sponsor for harrenhall we really dont know is a theory nothing more. You can also say that hoster and tywin stayed away because of Aerys putting jaimie into the kingsguard. But Rhaegar seems pretty clear the conspirator. 

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2 hours ago, Seaserpent said:

I agree with most, but tywinn being the sponsor for harrenhall we really dont know is a theory nothing more. You can also say that hoster and tywin stayed away because of Aerys putting jaimie into the kingsguard. But Rhaegar seems pretty clear the conspirator. 

Yes, Tywin being a/the sponsor is a theory, just as Rhaegar being a/the sponsor is a theory. But there are good reason to think that Tywin could have been a/the sponsor, just as there are good reasons to think Rhaegar could have been a/the sponsor.

Tywin had the independent wealth to supply such amounts of money, and had nobody to answer to when such a large amount went missing. We don't really have any idea how much wealth Rhaegar had independent of Aerys and the royal treasury.

But we do know that Lord Qarlton Chelsted, who was among Aerys's chief supporters, was also his master of coin, in charge of the royal treasury, and that he urged Aerys to forbid Lord Whent's tournament after it was announced.

And when Rhaegar was victorious, to the deafening cheers of the crowd, which Aerys saw as a threat, Lord Chelsted and Lord Staunon inflamed his suspicions further, "declaring that Prince Rhaegar had entered the lists to curry favor with the commons and remind the assembled lords that he was a puissant warrior, a true heir to Aegon the Conqueror."

Thus we can be quite certain that if Lord Chelsted, or Lord Varys for that matter, had actually been able to supply proof that Rhaegar had any part in sponsoring or funding this tourney as a cover for a plot against him, they would have offered it.

If Rhaegar did not have the independent wealth on his own, or couldn't access such wealth without arousing suspicion, Tywin would be one of the most obvious potential sources. The question is, would Tywin do it?

Tywin and Rhaegar's father had known each other since Tywin had served as a royal page in King's Landing as a boy. They had fought together during the War of the Ninepenny Kings in 260 AC, the year after Rhaegar's birth, and Tywin had knighted Aerys.

Tywin had spent nearly twenty years in King's Landing watching Rhaegar grow up after Aerys became king and named him Hand in 262 AC. Tywin had dreamed of wedding Cersei to Rhaegar as far back as 272-274 AC, and refused the Princess of Dorne's offer to wed her to Oberyn, telling her that Cersei was meant for Rhaegar. 

Tywin displayed the wealth and power of House Lannister for all to see in 276 AC, when he arranged the tourney in Lannisport celebrating Viserys's birth as a pretext for proposing a Cersei-Rhaegar match to Aerys.

In 277 AC, when some of Aerys's Small Council, assembled outside Duskendale, objected to Tywin's plan of attack on the grounds that Lord Darklyn would almost certainly kill Aerys, Tywin is reported to have said, "He may or he may not, but if he does, we have a better king right here," raising his hand to indicate Rhaegar.

In the years after that, Aerys didn't leave the Red Keep, and became increasingly suspicious of Tywin, as well as Rhaegar, who he believed had plotted with Tywin to get him killed at Duskendale, opening the way for Rhaegar to mount the Iron Throne and wed Cersei.

Tywin brought Cersei to King's Landing when she was twelve, in 278-279 AC, and kept her there even after Rhaegar was betrothed to Elia in 279 AC, and wed and gave birth to Rhaenys in 280 AC.

According to Jaime, Tywin continued to hope to wed Cersei either to Viserys, once he came of age, or to wait for Elia to die and finally wed her to Rhaegar, up until he resigned in 281 and brought Cersei back to Casterly Rock with him, after Aerys named Jaime to the Kingsguard.

Tywin had consistently wanted to wed Cersei to Rhaegar for at least nearly a decade, and had demonstrated his positive view of Rhaegar becoming ruler, while Aerys was the main obstacle to Tywin being granted a royal marriage for Cersei, and his main obstacle to running the realm as smoothly as possible as Hand.

I do not suggest that Tywin wanted Aerys dead, or was part of any plot to harm Aerys, but it was clearly in Tywin's best interest to see Aerys's power restricted or taken away, and to see Rhaegar assume control. There is very good reason to think he could or would have been part of whatever plans Rhaegar had leading up to the Harrenhal Tourney. 

Edited by Bael's Bastard

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On 9/20/2018 at 8:53 PM, Bael's Bastard said:

Yes, Tywin being a/the sponsor is a theory, just as Rhaegar being a/the sponsor is a theory. But there are good reason to think that Tywin could have been a/the sponsor, just as there are good reasons to think Rhaegar could have been a/the sponsor.

Actually, the fact that we have the Rhaegar hypothesis in a canonical work, and the Tywin hypothesis only in fan theories, one would assume the former has a higher probability.

But the money thing is actually not all that relevant in all that. Yandel just assumes Lord Walter didn't have enough money to throw the tourney himself - if that were true, then he would have needed a sponsor. If not, then the entire question is moot. The ties to Rhaegar are well-established whereas there are no hints that Tywin had connections to the Whents, or was working closely with Rhaegar. If Rhaegar and Tywin had been (considerably) close then one might have thought he would have been more receptive of the Cersei match idea, and may have perhaps even revisited the whole issue while his royal daddy was Lord Darklyn's 'reluctant guest'. Or he may have defied the later Elia betrothal/marriage and decided to insist on Cersei on his bride. Rhaegar was a man grown for quite some time by then, and could have afforded to defy his royal father like his grandfather and granduncles had done before him.

In that sense, it is pretty likely that Rhaegar may have been the sponsor - and the sole sponsor at that - rather than Tywin.

Rhaegar was the Prince of Dragonstone, a lord in his own right. He didn't just live off whatever allowance his royal father may have granted him (although he may also have received money from the king). Whatever taxes the rich-as-hell Velaryons and Celtigars paid the Iron Throne would have gone to Dragonstone, not King's Landing. And in the end, this was just a tourney. A very lavish and grand tourney, but a tourney nonetheless. The costs should have been in the hundred(s) of thousands of dragons, not millions.

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9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Actually, the fact that we have the Rhaegar hypothesis in a canonical work, and the Tywin hypothesis only in fan theories, one would assume the former has a higher probability.

But the money thing is actually not all that relevant in all that. Yandel just assumes Lord Walter didn't have enough money to throw the tourney himself - if that were true, then he would have needed a sponsor. If not, then the entire question is moot. The ties to Rhaegar are well-established whereas there are no hints that Tywin had connections to the Whents, or was working closely with Rhaegar. If Rhaegar and Tywin had been (considerably) close then one might have thought he would have been more receptive of the Cersei match idea, and may have perhaps even revisited the whole issue while his royal daddy was Lord Darklyn's 'reluctant guest'. Or he may have defied the later Elia betrothal/marriage and decided to insist on Cersei on his bride. Rhaegar was a man grown for quite some time by then, and could have afforded to defy his royal father like his grandfather and granduncles had done before him.

In that sense, it is pretty likely that Rhaegar may have been the sponsor - and the sole sponsor at that - rather than Tywin.

Rhaegar was the Prince of Dragonstone, a lord in his own right. He didn't just live off whatever allowance his royal father may have granted him (although he may also have received money from the king). Whatever taxes the rich-as-hell Velaryons and Celtigars paid the Iron Throne would have gone to Dragonstone, not King's Landing. And in the end, this was just a tourney. A very lavish and grand tourney, but a tourney nonetheless. The costs should have been in the hundred(s) of thousands of dragons, not millions.

I tottaly agree with you, Rheagar could get the money from the taxes from those rich lords or even rent some money. The whole household of Rhaegar would be expansive. But if he was plotting against his own father, what would have been next step, because this has never happened before. Aerys had some friends who he put into the council, most crownlands but close to KL. He had the dornish princess as hostage. The Tyrells were just loyal to him. And he has in the other regions also some support. The tragedy with Rickard and Brandon also did not happen yet. So Rhaegar wanted to create a big war against his father and didnt have any advantage even if the Starks, Lannisters and Baretheons were helping him taking KL would be very difficult. So what would have been Rhaegars plan after, any thoughts?

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On 9/21/2018 at 7:11 PM, Lord Varys said:

Actually, the fact that we have the Rhaegar hypothesis in a canonical work, and the Tywin hypothesis only in fan theories, one would assume the former has a higher probability.

You might assume that, but I think that would be an extremely faulty assumption.

Maester Yandel is an in-world character who was born in the 10th year of the reign of King Aerys II, and who has no personal knowledge of whether or not there was a shadow host, or their identity/identities if there was. He is giving us the personal opinion of a foundling who was not even 10 years old at the time of the Harrenhal Tourney. So while he may personally believe that Rhaegar is the only name put forward over the years that seems truly compelling, he tells us that Rhaegar is one of a dozen names that have been put forward, without naming any of those others. It seems unlikely that Tywin isn't among those names. And aside from Yandel's reliance on Grand Maester Pycelle's account of the reign of Aerys II, which he says "gives us our best portrait of these times," we know that the current form of Yandel's work has been edited for the eyes of the grandson of Tywin sitting the Iron Throne, and the children and family of Tywin surrounding him.

We really know nothing about Rhaegar's independent incomes, or the sort of money he would be capable of raising and spending without his royal father and his stooges noticing. It is as simple as that. We have good reason to believe he was at the heart of the plot to put on the Harrenhal Tourney, and we can't dismiss the possibility that he had the funds to pay for the tourney on his own, but we also have good reason to believe that one of the wealthiest lords in the realm, who had served as Hand of the King for nearly two decades, would have been a willing participant in such a plot, including supplying funding.

And we know the Whents had only held Harrenhall for 60 years or less at the time of the Harrenhal Tourney, and that some lords argued that Lord Whent lacked the funds to pay for such prizes. So we are given good reason to suspect his ability to have funded the tourney on his own, even without being able to dismiss the possibility that he could, or was willing to overextend himself in order to put it on anyways.

Unlike the other candidates, we know about Tywin's independent incomes, and the sort of money he was capable of raising and spending without the king and his stooges noticing. And we know that Yandel chooses to compare the prizes given at the Harrenhal Tourney to the prizes given at the great tourney Tywin put on for Aerys's 10th year anniversary. To the extent that he says that most took it as an attempt by Lord Whent to outdo Tywin and demonstrate the wealth and splendor of his house. Which we know Tywin demonstrated not only when he put on the tourney in 272 AC, but also the tourney he put on celebrating the birth of Prince Viserys in 276 AC. In describing the Harrenhal Tourney, Yandel goes on to name Rhaegar, Lord Whent, and Tywin in the same short paragraph among those Aerys was suspicious of during the Harrenhal Tourney. Even while failing to name Tywin among the obvious candidates, whether guilty or not, he gives us every reason to consider the possibility that Tywin was involved. We can't say for sure he was involved in a plot, or involved in funding. But the theory that he was didn't just appear out of thing air. People have good reason to see him as being very likely to have been involved.

Edited by Bael's Bastard

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24 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Maester Yandel is an in-world character who was born in the 10th year of the reign of King Aerys II, and who has no personal knowledge of whether or not there was a shadow host, or their identity/identities if there was. He is giving us the personal opinion of a foundling who was not even 10 years old at the time of the Harrenhal Tourney. So while he may personally believe that Rhaegar is the only name put forward over the years that seems truly compelling, he tells us that Rhaegar is one of a dozen names that have been put forward, without naming any of those others.

You seem to be contradicting yourself here. Yandel's age doesn't matter if he actually only cites sources. Nobody ever claimed Yandel was personally involved in any of that (although he would have been around ten by the time of the tourney, and may have actually talked many maesters and knights (of House Hightower) who actually attended the tourney, so he should have a ton of secondary sources on the tourney as such - both the events there and how it came to be).

A life at the Citadel isn't exactly a life in a vacuum.

But aside from that - we don't know whether Yandel the person or Yandel the scholar dismisses those other candidates for the shadow host. I'd say that it is actually very likely that a historian actually talks as a professional there, and not as a private citizen with an agenda. Tywin plotting against Aerys would be a great thing and post hoc something Yandel could use to praise the fact that Tywin's grandson eventually took the Iron Throne.

What we do know is that the author, George R. R. Martin, does not want us to believe that Tywin Lannister is that shadow host, else, one assumes, he would have given us a real clue in that direction (and one could give a Lannister clue without actually name-dropping Tywin), he wants us to believe that Rhaegar may have been such a shadow host. That's why he had Yandel mention Prince Rhaegar there.

24 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

It seems unlikely that Tywin isn't among those names.

While we don't know the names, we don't know. Clues are that up until his dismissal Tywin remained an Aerys man, not a Rhaegar man. And the tourney seems to have been planned before Jaime's decision caused Tywin to resign.

It could be that the other shadow host candidates are confirmed friends of Rhaegar's - Connington, the Martells, the Mootons, etc.

I'd say that Tywin would have attended a tourney he had actually paid for, never mind what Aerys did to him. In fact, if he had been part of Rhaegar's party and had been willing to back the son against the father to depose of limit the powers of the king, one would assume the Jaime thing would have motivated him to continue that road, not to stay at home and sulk.

Actually, it might have caused him to not pay for this tourney and thus even cause it not to happen.

24 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

And aside from Yandel's reliance on Grand Maester Pycelle's account of the reign of Aerys II, which he says "gives us our best portrait of these times," we know that the current form of Yandel's work has been edited for the eyes of the grandson of Tywin sitting the Iron Throne, and the children and family of Tywin surrounding him.

I'm actually not sure that the fact that Yandel calls Pycelle the best source is an indication that he is wrong. We don't know how many reliable and thorough accounts there are of Aerys' reign.

A history by Pycelle of Aerys' reign would likely be a heavily biased work - but Pycelle's contemporary letters, chronicles, and journal entries are another. They also reflect his enthusiasm for Tywin, of course, but not necessarily a contempt for Aerys - or at least not before a certain point later in the reign.

24 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

We really know nothing about Rhaegar's independent incomes, or the sort of money he would be capable of raising and spending without his royal father and his stooges noticing. It is as simple as that.

We do know he was a lord in his own right, like Rhaenyra or Daeron before him. What makes you believe Aerys and his stooges wouldn't keep a close eye on Tywin's dealings? Aerys was apparently terrified by Tywin since after Duskendale. Wouldn't that imply that he would be as interested - or perhaps even more interested - in finding out what Tywin was doing than what Rhaegar was doing (who he apparently did not believe was trying to kill him)?

24 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

We have good reason to believe he was at the heart of the plot to put on the Harrenhal Tourney, and we can't dismiss the possibility that he had the funds to pay for the tourney on his own, but we also have good reason to believe that one of the wealthiest lords in the realm, who had served as Hand of the King for nearly two decades, would have been a willing participant in such a plot, including supplying funding.

That's the thing - while it is conceivable that Tywin may have participated in such a thing if asked, we have no reason to believe he was asked. Nor that it was necessary to ask him.

After all, Yandel believes the Prince of Dragonstone did have both the funds and the motives and opportunity to finance the tourney. It makes little sense to assume that Rhaegar did have the funds - which Yandel believes - and not the opportunity. Apparently Oswell Whent also had the opportunity to visit his lordly brother without Aerys ever finding out what they talked about - or at least not getting any proof.

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12 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

You seem to be contradicting yourself here. Yandel's age doesn't matter if he actually only cites sources. Nobody ever claimed Yandel was personally involved in any of that (although he would have been around ten by the time of the tourney, and may have actually talked many maesters and knights (of House Hightower) who actually attended the tourney, so he should have a ton of secondary sources on the tourney as such - both the events there and how it came to be).

Yandel doesn't only write sources. He is using existing sources to make a work of his own. When he says: "A dozen names have been put forward over the years, but only one seems truly compelling: Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone," this is his opinion. he may be uncritically parroting Pycelle, or he may be worried about offending the Lannisters while not being worried about offending the Targaryens, whatever the case, this isn't being stated from a position of personal knowledge. That this is claimed in a canon source doesn't change the fact that it is being stated by an in-world maester who doesn't know one way or another, who was himself just a child when the event occurred, and who has no inside knowledge of the truth. Neither he nor any of the sources he uses know the truth, as is obvious by the fact he is speculating.

23 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

What we do know is that the author, George R. R. Martin, does not want us to believe that Tywin Lannister is that shadow host, else, one assumes, he would have given us a real clue in that direction (and one could give a Lannister clue without actually name-dropping Tywin), he wants us to believe that Rhaegar may have been such a shadow host. That's why he had Yandel mention Prince Rhaegar there.

:rolleyes:

Sorry, that's absolutely ridiculous. Since when does GRRM have his characters outright state the truth behind something presented as a mystery? If Rhaegar was involved, then the fact that Yandel names him as the only compelling candidate, while acknowledging almost a dozen other candidates he doesn't tell us, pretty much tells us that it almost certainly is not the case, or at least the whole story. I noted a number of clues that could point to Tywin. Maybe it will turn out not to be Tywin. But as it is, not knowing for sure, there are certainly things that can be read as pointing to Tywin.

28 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

While we don't know the names, we don't know. Clues are that up until his dismissal Tywin remained an Aerys man, not a Rhaegar man. And the tourney seems to have been planned before Jaime's decision caused Tywin to resign.

It could be that the other shadow host candidates are confirmed friends of Rhaegar's - Connington, the Martells, the Mootons, etc.

I'd say that Tywin would have attended a tourney he had actually paid for, never mind what Aerys did to him. In fact, if he had been part of Rhaegar's party and had been willing to back the son against the father to depose of limit the powers of the king, one would assume the Jaime thing would have motivated him to continue that road, not to stay at home and sulk.

Actually, it might have caused him to not pay for this tourney and thus even cause it not to happen.

Even in a work that is reluctant to show Tywin in the worst light, as TWOIAF is, he is presented as looking favorably toward Rhaegar becoming king when he was just 17-18 years old, well before Harrenhal. And we are given example after example of why he would want to see Aerys stripped or restricted of his powers as king for Rhaegar. Tywin had good reason to believe Aerys would be more and more of an obstacle to him serving effectively as Hand, not to mention that Aerys would never consent to the royal marriage Tywin was supposedly still hoping for, whether with Viserys, or a hoped-for-widowed Rhaegar. Tywin has good reason not to attend, even if he had paid for it, especially when it was announced that Aerys would accompany Rhaegar. If the point was for Rhaegar to use it as a cover, it hardly required his own attendance. And, especially when it was announced Aerys would attend, he would have a good idea that the king would embarrass himself, whether Tywin attended or not. His good reasons for supporting the tourney wouldn't have changed with Jaime being added to the KG, or Aerys being announced to attend.

39 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

We do know he was a lord in his own right, like Rhaenyra or Daeron before him. What makes you believe Aerys and his stooges wouldn't keep a close eye on Tywin's dealings? Aerys was apparently terrified by Tywin since after Duskendale. Wouldn't that imply that he would be as interested - or perhaps even more interested - in finding out what Tywin was doing than what Rhaegar was doing (who he apparently did not believe was trying to kill him)?

We don't know anything at all about what Rhaegar had access to in his own right. Nothing. And regardless of the interest Aerys or his stooges had, that doesn't mean they would have had access or knowledge of Tywin's dealings. They had much better chance of having access to Rhaegar's.

40 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

That's the thing - while it is conceivable that Tywin may have participated in such a thing if asked, we have no reason to believe he was asked. Nor that it was necessary to ask him.

After all, Yandel believes the Prince of Dragonstone did have both the funds and the motives and opportunity to finance the tourney. It makes little sense to assume that Rhaegar did have the funds - which Yandel believes - and not the opportunity. Apparently Oswell Whent also had the opportunity to visit his lordly brother without Aerys ever finding out what they talked about - or at least not getting any proof.

We have good reason to believe Rhaegar would have wanted to involve Tywin. Tywin had been loyal to his house, even after all the personal insults he had endured. He had shown himself to care about the stability and well being of his house and the realm. He had apparently spoken openly about how good a king he thought Rhaegar would be. He may not have been a close childhood friend of Rhaegar's, but there is good reason to think Rhaegar would have seen a potential ally in him, one of the few people in the realm who actually knew what Aerys had become, and trustworthy enough to help him deal with it. And as the person who would assume power as a result, he would be in a position to help Tywin benefit personally and professionally from it.

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31 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

We have good reason to believe Rhaegar would have wanted to involve Tywin. Tywin had been loyal to his house, even after all the personal insults he had endured. He had shown himself to care about the stability and well being of his house and the realm. He had apparently spoken openly about how good a king he thought Rhaegar would be. He may not have been a close childhood friend of Rhaegar's, but there is good reason to think Rhaegar would have seen a potential ally in him, one of the few people in the realm who actually knew what Aerys had become, and trustworthy enough to help him deal with it. And as the person who would assume power as a result, he would be in a position to help Tywin benefit personally and professionally from it.

This is no reason for believing. The only thing we know for sure is that they were alot around each other in KL and that he think Rhaegar would be a good new king if Aerys dies in Duskendale. We also know that he is married to Elia Martell and would not likely marry Cersei too, so the gain of Tywinn personally is not that big, maybe only that he can be the hand again and rule himself a bit more. This theory is totaly led by assumptions. Varys thought that it was only Rhaegar as the sponsor and didnt think of Tywinn. Varys was not a lannister crony like percelle and could have found out that Tywinn was involved and could get the Whents imprisoned by Aerys and unmasked Tywinn. But he didnt because there is no reason to assume that Tywinn was involved, other than he would like a married Rhaegar as a king.

Edited by Seaserpent

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42 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Yandel doesn't only write sources. He is using existing sources to make a work of his own. When he says: "A dozen names have been put forward over the years, but only one seems truly compelling: Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone," this is his opinion. he may be uncritically parroting Pycelle, or he may be worried about offending the Lannisters while not being worried about offending the Targaryens, whatever the case, this isn't being stated from a position of personal knowledge. That this is claimed in a canon source doesn't change the fact that it is being stated by an in-world maester who doesn't know one way or another, who was himself just a child when the event occurred, and who has no inside knowledge of the truth. Neither he nor any of the sources he uses know the truth, as is obvious by the fact he is speculating.

The point here is that Yandel says there are other names - that he dismisses doesn't (necessarily) reflect his personal (fringe) opinion. It may be the consensus of historians and experts on the matter. Men who know the theories attached to the other names. We do not. Even if Yandel only gave his personal opinion there, it is worth much more in that context than your personal opinion (or mine). This is not a topic where Yandel is likely to be biased to the degree that he would twist the facts.

42 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Sorry, that's absolutely ridiculous. Since when does GRRM have his characters outright state the truth behind something presented as a mystery? If Rhaegar was involved, then the fact that Yandel names him as the only compelling candidate, while acknowledging almost a dozen other candidates he doesn't tell us, pretty much tells us that it almost certainly is not the case, or at least the whole story. I noted a number of clues that could point to Tywin. Maybe it will turn out not to be Tywin. But as it is, not knowing for sure, there are certainly things that can be read as pointing to Tywin.

The point is that George actually likes to give us real hints when he gives us hint. This is not a dead-end mystery like the question who spurned who in the Rhaenyra-Criston case (or whether Tyanna's love potion was thrown into her face or not). The shadow financier theory is background information for the shadow host theory.

It is not a mystery who paid for Lord Whent's tourney. It is a mystery whether Rhaegar did or not. Any of the other unknown candidates may also have had other motives for sponsoring the tourney. Even if Tywin were on that list, we have no reason to believe he would have been working for/with Rhaegar if had financed the tourney. Perhaps people mentioning his name were ascribing other motivations to him?

42 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Even in a work that is reluctant to show Tywin in the worst light, as TWOIAF is, he is presented as looking favorably toward Rhaegar becoming king when he was just 17-18 years old, well before Harrenhal. And we are given example after example of why he would want to see Aerys stripped or restricted of his powers as king for Rhaegar. Tywin had good reason to believe Aerys would be more and more of an obstacle to him serving effectively as Hand, not to mention that Aerys would never consent to the royal marriage Tywin was supposedly still hoping for, whether with Viserys, or a hoped-for-widowed Rhaegar. Tywin has good reason not to attend, even if he had paid for it, especially when it was announced that Aerys would accompany Rhaegar. If the point was for Rhaegar to use it as a cover, it hardly required his own attendance. And, especially when it was announced Aerys would attend, he would have a good idea that the king would embarrass himself, whether Tywin attended or not. His good reasons for supporting the tourney wouldn't have changed with Jaime being added to the KG, or Aerys being announced to attend.

The sole 'positive thing' Tywin says about Rhaegar is that he would be a better king than Aerys in the Duskendale situation. And that's just a simple fact. Aerys was a bad king, and Rhaegar most definitely would have been an improvement. This doesn't mean King Rhaegar would have continued to allow Tywin to serve as his Hand - Rhaegar had other friends and people he was close with. Why do we assume Rhaegar would want to work with a man who was clearly trying to overreach himself, never mind how competent a Hand he was? Why should a young man want to keep a man as Hand who had been his father's man for two decades?

It is also noteworthy that Rhaegar did actually not marry Cersei - they could have done that during the Duskendale affair while Tywin was effectively king in all but name, as the Hand of an incapacitated king. Or Tywin could have urged Rhaegar to defy his father when the man finally out Elia of Dorne before Rhaegar. His grandfather and granduncles did defy their royal father, too. Rhaegar was not forced to go through with the Elia match.

42 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

We don't know anything at all about what Rhaegar had access to in his own right. Nothing. And regardless of the interest Aerys or his stooges had, that doesn't mean they would have had access or knowledge of Tywin's dealings. They had much better chance of having access to Rhaegar's.

Says who? You? How do you know that? Apparently Rhaegar's men in the KG could very effectively keep things from Aerys' men in the KG (Selmy). That implies they knew how to keep their secrets.

Yandel's belief that Rhaegar could finance Harrenhal in secret is all we need to know that this could have worked - Rhaegar would have had both the finances and the ability to pull this off.

Even if we believed Tywin was with Rhaegar in all that - the fact that he did not go to Harrenhal is a strong indication that this is not the case. The tourney would have been a covert Great Council - to influence its outcomes and play a role in the decisions and the future that is shaped there Tywin would have to be there. Paying for the food and the prices doesn't mean people ask you for your opinion if you aren't there - or care about you when the spoils of war are shared. Once Aerys II is safely deposed or in his tower cell, Prince Regent/King Rhaegar is going to name a new Hand, and a new council, and fill the court with new men. How on earth could Tywin hope to gain a high position if he wasn't there?

And it is not that the covert Great Council necessarily died with Aerys being at Harrenhal. The lords were still there, and things wouldn't have been discussed in the open, but Rhaegar may very well have discussed his father's mental issues - especially now, that the Realm had seen his madness out in the open - with a few key figures.

We do know from George that he could write an entire novel about the things that happened at Harrenhal, and Yandel also tells us that many things happened there, and politics was a significant part of that.

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IF there was a shadow host or hosts behind the Harrenhal Tourney in 281 AC, Lord Tywin Lannister had the means, the motive, and the opportunity. None of the objections offered are strong enough to dismiss the possibility that he was. At best one can argue that "we don't know," which is no less true of Rhaegar. As it stands, if there was a shadow host or hosts, Rhaegar and Tywin are the best candidates, whether one of them acting on their own, or both of them acting together.

That Yandel doesn't name Tywin as a candidate, let alone a likely one, may give us insight into Yandel's opinion, or the sources he uses, but it gives us no actual insight into the reality of whether there was a shadow host or hosts, or who they were if there was. If anything, it is suspicious that Yandel gives so many details which gives us reason to consider Tywin as a candidate, only to never mention him, even just to dismiss him as a candidate.

It is reminiscent of Yandel noting that a handpicked cadre of Tywin's men raced to the Red Keep to storm its walls and seek Aerys, before saying that it is not known who murdered Rhaenys and Elia, then inexplicably launching into alleged whispers and suggestions that Aerys or Elia were responsible, but making no suggestion about the aforementioned Lannister cadre that had the means, the motive, and the opportunity.

Even before Aerys deprived Tywin of his heir, and turned Jaime into his hostage, Tywin would have had good reasons to be involved with Rhaegar in a plot like we are given reason to believe Harrenhal was intended to be. Aerys stood in the way of him effectively doing his job as Hand, and Aerys would always stand in the way of his designs to wed Cersei to a Targaryen prince, whether he was willing to settle for Viserys, or was indeed counting on Elia to die.

Aerys had allegedly intended to remove Tywin as Hand in 278 AC, arrest him, and try him for high treason, and by 280 AC, he had tried and failed to bring forth dragons from eggs, and had turned to burning perceived traitors with wildfire . Aerys had also become estranged from his son and heir Rhaegar, just as he had become estranged from his old friend and Hand Tywin.

It is frankly absurd that anyone would think that Rhaegar would have had the balls to bring a bunch of lords he didn't know from all over the realm together at Harrenhal, to broach the subject of restricting or deposing an Aerys whose madness most had no personal experience with or knowledge of, but wouldn't have gone to the most trusted and reliable lord the Targaryens had known for the past twenty years, who had kept the realm running while the king grew more and more mad, and who was also one of the few with personal experience with and knowledge of what Aerys had become.

Tywin would have been Rhaegar's most natural ally outside of his small circle of friends, and would have had access to all of the money, influence, and power that most of his other friends (who were either sworn to the KG, or lords or heirs of houses sworn to other great houses).

The fact that Aerys did not openly accuse Tywin or try him for perceived crimes does not mean that he wasn't actually involved in any plots, or that Aerys didn't suspect him. We know that he suspected Rhaegar and Lord Whent, and yet for whatever reason, whether lack of demonstrable proof or otherwise, he did not openly accuse them, or try them.

And we know that when Rhaegar rode off to the Trident, Aerys had Tywin's son Jaime next to him as a hostage, and Rhaegar's son, daughter, and wife as hostages, while Rhaegar had left Lord Whent's brother and his best friend Arthur Dayne down south.

Say "we don't know" all you want, cite all the objections you personally have with the theory you'd like, but nothing offered so far comes close to undermining the case for Tywin as a shadow host of Harrenhal, and confidant of Rhaegar on the matter of Aerys, in the event that there actually was a shadow host of Harrenhal, or plot by Rhaegar on the matter of Aerys.

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2 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

IF there was a shadow host or hosts behind the Harrenhal Tourney in 281 AC, Lord Tywin Lannister had the means, the motive, and the opportunity. None of the objections offered are strong enough to dismiss the possibility that he was. At best one can argue that "we don't know," which is no less true of Rhaegar. As it stands, if there was a shadow host or hosts, Rhaegar and Tywin are the best candidates, whether one of them acting on their own, or both of them acting together.

That Yandel doesn't name Tywin as a candidate, let alone a likely one, may give us insight into Yandel's opinion, or the sources he uses, but it gives us no actual insight into the reality of whether there was a shadow host or hosts, or who they were if there was. If anything, it is suspicious that Yandel gives so many details which gives us reason to consider Tywin as a candidate, only to never mention him, even just to dismiss him as a candidate.

It is reminiscent of Yandel noting that a handpicked cadre of Tywin's men raced to the Red Keep to storm its walls and seek Aerys, before saying that it is not known who murdered Rhaenys and Elia, then inexplicably launching into alleged whispers and suggestions that Aerys or Elia were responsible, but making no suggestion about the aforementioned Lannister cadre that had the means, the motive, and the opportunity.

Even before Aerys deprived Tywin of his heir, and turned Jaime into his hostage, Tywin would have had good reasons to be involved with Rhaegar in a plot like we are given reason to believe Harrenhal was intended to be. Aerys stood in the way of him effectively doing his job as Hand, and Aerys would always stand in the way of his designs to wed Cersei to a Targaryen prince, whether he was willing to settle for Viserys, or was indeed counting on Elia to die.

Aerys had allegedly intended to remove Tywin as Hand in 278 AC, arrest him, and try him for high treason, and by 280 AC, he had tried and failed to bring forth dragons from eggs, and had turned to burning perceived traitors with wildfire . Aerys had also become estranged from his son and heir Rhaegar, just as he had become estranged from his old friend and Hand Tywin.

It is frankly absurd that anyone would think that Rhaegar would have had the balls to bring a bunch of lords he didn't know from all over the realm together at Harrenhal, to broach the subject of restricting or deposing an Aerys whose madness most had no personal experience with or knowledge of, but wouldn't have gone to the most trusted and reliable lord the Targaryens had known for the past twenty years, who had kept the realm running while the king grew more and more mad, and who was also one of the few with personal experience with and knowledge of what Aerys had become.

Tywin would have been Rhaegar's most natural ally outside of his small circle of friends, and would have had access to all of the money, influence, and power that most of his other friends (who were either sworn to the KG, or lords or heirs of houses sworn to other great houses).

The fact that Aerys did not openly accuse Tywin or try him for perceived crimes does not mean that he wasn't actually involved in any plots, or that Aerys didn't suspect him. We know that he suspected Rhaegar and Lord Whent, and yet for whatever reason, whether lack of demonstrable proof or otherwise, he did not openly accuse them, or try them.

And we know that when Rhaegar rode off to the Trident, Aerys had Tywin's son Jaime next to him as a hostage, and Rhaegar's son, daughter, and wife as hostages, while Rhaegar had left Lord Whent's brother and his best friend Arthur Dayne down south.

Say "we don't know" all you want, cite all the objections you personally have with the theory you'd like, but nothing offered so far comes close to undermining the case for Tywin as a shadow host of Harrenhal, and confidant of Rhaegar on the matter of Aerys, in the event that there actually was a shadow host of Harrenhal, or plot by Rhaegar on the matter of Aerys.

The most of your evidence are assumptions, but you make a strong cas for Tywinn. War or overthrow a king could have Jamie killed in a lot of ways, by protecting the king or as colleteral damage.That also is the case with the family of Rhaegar. If Rhaegar really was a good friend of Tywinn, why the people around Rhaegar dont mention him like that. Jon Con, Barristen and Jaimie. 

You are right by claiming Yandel doesnt know everything only from second hand or hearing is true, but makes almost every therory just a guess. Letting the Kingsguard all the time out of side and letting them attend the tournament or let them go visit family as a holliday is very strange for somebody paranoid. 

You are right that how angry people can be at him, i dont see any reason that the lords want to back up Rhaegar by overthrown his father, even more strange Rhaegar let this oppertunity come and gone by kidnapping Lyanna short after. Thats crazy and absurd, because he had his wish that they all could see a crazy king. If the lords who were there helped Rhaegar out there was probably a war in the future, because Aerys had many friends too. For what goal does the lords want to risk that.

The more we talk about it the stranger the story seems, but its maybe because we have a real lack of evidence. Lord Whent going to his brother and his brother hosting the tournament is the only thing that seems correct everything after that is a guess, also from Yandel.

Edited by Seaserpent

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@Bael's Bastard

You really don't have that much of case. We have a source suggesting Rhaegar was the likely shadow host - if there was such a host - and your theory creates the very problem it proposes to solve - the text doesn't give us any reason to believe Rhaegar neither had the funds nor the opportunity to pay for the tourney. Even the idea that Rhaegar needed to keep his personal investment there a secret isn't all that well founded - helping out poor, impoverished Lord Walter with a tourney is neither treason nor forbidden - what the tourney could have become might have been treason, but Aerys 'dealt' with that by attending the tourney.

I don't think Tywin and Rhaegar were particularly close but I never said I don't think Rhaegar would have wanted Tywin at his covert Great Council - or that he wouldn't have liked his input on the mental state of his royal father - I just believe Tywin and Rhaegar were not that close or working together on this thing.

And there is really no need to believe they did. If the Jaime thing hadn't happened Tywin would have been at Harrenhal, and then they would have talked - with Aerys there, or without him being there.

I don't think Tywin liked this man very much who was throwing his daughter at him again and again, waiting for his own wife, the Princess Elia, to die. Even if they had been close at Duskendale, this kind of thing isn't something a smart and insightful man like Rhaegar would just overlook. Nor is it the kind of thing that would make Tywin particularly sympathetic - in addition to him not being all that much of sympathetic guy.

Tywin and Kevan speak/think rather contemptuously of Rhaegar's friends and companions - that doesn't indicate that they/Tywin were close to them.

In my opinion, Tywin had has much chance to continue as Hand under a King Rhaegar as Otto Hightower had under Aegon II - or Bismarck under Wilhelm II.

As to the Yandel thing:

You do know that this 'Elia lie' was intended to be later editorial alteration, not (necessarily) done by Yandel himself, right? @Ran has mentioned that ages ago. We should not use this thing - which apparently couldn't be properly portrayed for production reasons - as 'evidence' that the man deliberately lied or misconstrued the facts whenever it suits our personal preferences/theories.

And even as it stands - there is actual no evidence that the Elia and the Aerys theories there are theories that . Especially the Aerys theory makes sense - many kings give commands that their families be killed so they don't follow in enemy hands. And the same goes for mothers as well - Elia killing her children knowing what might come is about in the same league as the First Men suffocating the babes to save them from starvation/the Others.

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On 9/14/2018 at 6:03 PM, Legitimate_Bastard said:

So I've seen a thread recently that proposed making Lyanna the Queen was the Southron Ambition of Rickard Stark. What are the other theories? Why was Maester Walys encouraging Rickard to marry Brandon to Catelyn? What did Walys know? Or was it just the general discontent with Aerys and he saw an opportunity for his Lord to take advantage of? What are other ideas do people have?

1. The deflationary view; there really were no southron ambitions, the marriages just happened because people had spare sons/daughters, they had to marry someone and 'southron ambitions' is just a cynical way of looking at this. 

2. Pretty deflationary view; they were to garner more influence in the south. usually adherents of this view are unable to actually give details of what Rickard might have intended to do with this influence, but one suggestion is to secure food supplies.

3. The reactive view: the houses were allying because of fear of the king's madness, the idea was they would stand together to protect themselves if worse came to worst

4. The kingmaker view; taking advantage of the king's weakness the houses were allying to effectively dictate to the throne but had nothing specific in mind, other than perhaps stop being mad, or appoint your son as regent, or something like that. Close to the reactive view above.

5. The split the kingdoms view; stated by SF Danny.

6. The exterminate the Targaryens and create a new non-magical dynasty with Lyanna as Queen view; as defended by Chaircat Meow.

Both 5 and 6 weave the maester conspiracy into southron ambitions.

 

Regarding view 5 I think SF Danny is putting undue weight on Robert's words at the start of GoT and also fails to explain why, if the rebellion was partly about returning to the original kingdoms, this did not happen when victory was achieved. In support of the first point we have to remember that Robert is speaking wistfully and regrets (so he says) being king; he dreams of being the sellsword king for instance. It is quite Robert-like to put the blame on Jon and Ned for this, especially given he wanted them to share in the burden of ruling. Ned's 'you had the better claim your grace' is a very serious matter, as blood ties are of extreme importance.

Furthermore, there are statements from people around at the time of the rebellion, such as Lord Borell and Jon Connington, who clearly think the rebellion was Robert's and that killing Robert would put an end to it (i.e. reflections on Stony Sept). Hard to see why that would be unless there was knowledge that Robert was the candidate for the kingship if the rebellion succeeded; why was he so important when he was just one lord among three/four and without the biggest army? 

In the same way, Rhaegar's abduction of Lyanna makes more sense if he knew she was to be the Queen; his action removed Rickard's most important 'piece' from play.

Edited by Chaircat Meow

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3 minutes ago, Chaircat Meow said:

1. The deflationary view; there really were no southron ambitions, the marriages just happened because people had spare sons/daughters, they had to marry someone and 'southron ambitions' is just a cynical way of looking at this. 

One of the major issues with any anti-Targaryen "southron ambitions" theory is that all of the Arryn, Baratheon, Lannister, Stark, and Tully lords and their children were and remained unwed, and out of all those long-unwed people, only Brandon Stark/Catelyn Tully and Lyanna Stark/Robert Baratheon were betrothed, and they remained betrothed for years without any urgency to wed. And when the proposed Jaime Lannister/Lysa Tully betrothal was thwarted by Aerys naming Jaime to the Kingsguard, neither Hoster nor Tywin were so committed to this proposed conspiracy as to agree to Tyrion/Lysa or Cersei/Edmure in its place.

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Just now, Bael's Bastard said:

1. One of the major issues with any anti-Targaryen "southron ambitions" theory is that all of the Arryn, Baratheon, Lannister, Stark, and Tully lords and their children were and remained unwed, and out of all those long-unwed people, only Brandon Stark/Catelyn Tully and Lyanna Stark/Robert Baratheon were betrothed, and they remained betrothed for years without any urgency to wed. 2. And when the proposed Jaime Lannister/Lysa Tully betrothal was thwarted by Aerys naming Jaime to the Kingsguard, neither Hoster nor Tywin were so committed to this proposed conspiracy as to agree to Tyrion/Lysa or Cersei/Edmure in its place.

Ok, so you are going to have to spell 1. out for me a bit, as I'm not exactly sure why this is a problem? Is the general idea, if the marriages sealed the alliance why didn't they just get on with it ... And as they didn't get on with it no plan?

2. I don't know how committed Tywin was. In any case Lysa/Tyrion ruled out because dwarf, Cersei/Edmure ruled out because Tywin wants Cersei to be Queen. 

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1 hour ago, Chaircat Meow said:

2. Pretty deflationary view; they were to garner more influence in the south. usually adherents of this view are unable to actually give details of what Rickard might have intended to do with this influence, but one suggestion is to secure food supplies.

Furthermore, there are statements from people around at the time of the rebellion, such as Lord Borell and Jon Connington, who clearly think the rebellion was Robert's and that killing Robert would put an end to it (i.e. reflections on Stony Sept). Hard to see why that would be unless there was knowledge that Robert was the candidate for the kingship if the rebellion succeeded; why was he so important when he was just one lord among three/four and without the biggest army? 

 

I think 2 is the best option, because its totaly clear that marriage pacts are not for fun but is a political deal in every part of the real world too in mid evil times till even now. So Rickard going more and more south with this shows  southron ambition. If he didnt have them he would stay North with his bannerman to keep them loyal. Frey was not so loyal to the Tullies because he had no ties with them and is even angry at them that they overlook him all the time. 

Robert was not just a lord, he had a good claim, because he had Durrandon blood,but even more better he had Targaryan blood and was one of the three Ned Jon Robert who started the Rebellion. I think a lot of minor lords, smallfolk and the seven were more in favor of Robert over Ned (first men/old gods). Jon was old and was not a great warrior like Robert, but was a good second. Still i agree with you that what Jon Con was saying is a bit strange, because if Robert didnt kill Rhaegar Ned could have done it and puted Stannis on the throne as heir of Robert. So the war would continue in the same direction i think. Maybe it would have take longer and in that case also Tywinn could have take the throne for his family  by conquer it and claim it first, but also he saw a Targaryan blooded person as the best option.

Edited by Seaserpent

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'Southron ambitions' is a term coined and used by Barbrey Dustin. In context, it solely refers to Rickard's choice of Catelyn Tully, 'a southerner', as bride for Brandon Stark. And she blames Maester Walys for this because he, too, was a maester from the south. 

If, for instance, Domeric Bolton being fostered in the Vale or Walder Frey trying to foster his sons with Jon Arryn isn't an oddity, then the fostering of both Ned and Robert at the Eyrie isn't strange or suspicious, either, especially if its lord there knew some people and felt very lonely after the death of his last wife as well as the fact that he had no sons of his own. The Lyanna thing grew out of that, and may not have actually been the plan or the original desire of Rickard Stark - although it makes sense that he would not reject such a prestigious match.

Whether this also implies Rickard was *more interested* in southern politics as such is difficult to tell at this point. TWoIaF implies he spent more time at court than, presumably, many other Lords of Winterfell (although we don't really know much about that - we have no clue how often, say, Cregan Stark or Willam and Edwyle Stark hung around at the courts of Aegon III and Aegon V, respectively, nor how much influence they had there) but whether this is really evidence that he wanted more power in the south or not is, at this point, unclear.

I think a very tell-tale sign that there is pretty much nothing to this grand conspiracy theory idea there is simply the fact that it seems that Rickard Stark did not actually attend Harrenhal. It would be very odd that the great puppet master of the conspiracy is absent at a gathering of nearly all the lords of the Realm, especially since his children could not actually be counted upon to represent him there as plotters - they were far too young and inexperienced for that kind of thing, and at least Ned had no clue about this alleged conspiracy.

And no great plotter would entrust Brandon with working the subtle game of thrones.

But then - I'm not sure we actually do know for a fact that Rickard wasn't at Harrenhal. Or do we?

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On 9/15/2018 at 12:56 PM, Lord Varys said:

But in this world a secret meeting of the great lords everybody would lie to their teeth to get the others to kill the Targaryens - and then they would kill each other to gain the Iron Throne themselves. Nobody would be content with just those ridiculously small and weak kingdoms from before the Conquest if they could have all - or at least a much larger chunk.

I always found it interesting that aside from the Targaryen's, the Iron Born were the only people on the verge of uniting Westeros under one rule. Under House Hoare twice in the histories. Once in their apex under the driftwood kings, and again under the dynastic house leading up to Harren the Black. Who interestingly was only stopped by Aegon. What would have happened if Aegon hadn't showed up? Could the Iron born of this time, who had learned trade, farming and other such things better during Andal times and had Maesters, hold a united Westeros? Would the Maesters oppose this? The Faith of the Seven might, but depends on House Hoare and which way they swung on the matter. Harrenhal has a God's Wood but no known Sept. The Maesters however, have a god's wood on the premise. Guess Westeros is lucky the Iron born never had dragons. 

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