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Lord Varys

[spoiler] Larys Strong

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Does anybody understand this guy?

I just hope the other Lord Varys gets a motivation that's more transparent than - 'well, we have no real idea why he did what he did.'

Not even the idea that Aemond's eradication of House Strong may have affected his overall allegiance makes much sense considering he clearly played a crucial role in Rhaenyra's downfall.

But one has to say, the murder of Aegon II and the charade thereafter was well played. 

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It is good to know that not only I don't understand that guy ;-).

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Varys  will likely appear just as inscrutable to historians in Westeros,  two hundred years on. Assuming there are any.

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Yeah, I think I tossed the idea around immediately after ADwD that he might end up putting down Aegon as quickly as he sat him on the throne if the boy proves to be an obstacle rather than an asset to his plans.

But there is no hint that Strong had any ulterior motive like 'serving the Realm' or doing stuff 'for the children'.

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Isn't he an analogue to Tyrion, someone who's main ambition and enjoyment is to be at the top table and play the 'Game of Thrones'. Like Tyrion he seems to hate one sibling, played a major part in the downfall of his bastard nephews, killed his own father and seems to have no real interest in making heirs of his own. 

 

Tyrion is that era's Larys. Without Tyrion's inner thoughts he'd be as much an enigma to readers and future Westeros historians as Larys is. 

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I don't think we have anything to go on to judge Larys' relationship with Harwin and Lyonel. I buy it that he killed them, but without actual information on his relationship with his family he may have just been motivated by the goal to get Harrenhal.

And how Larys felt about Rhaenyra's sons is also completely unclear. We don't yet know who Daemon's source at the green council was - chances now are very high that this guy was indeed Larys Strong, not Orwyle.

He was playing all sides without actually having a good reason to do so. At least none we can guess at.

And he cannot have had a goal like Varys (peace/stability later on) because even a lackwit would have known that Aegon II would never make a great king, so the reason why he helped him escape when he later plotted his downfall long before that was even necessary from a political perspective (before the Kingsroad) is completely beyond me.

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On 11/28/2018 at 9:41 PM, Lord Varys said:

Does anybody understand this guy?

I just hope the other Lord Varys gets a motivation that's more transparent than - 'well, we have no real idea why he did what he did.'

IMHO, his motivations are pretty clear - he is a staunch Green until the very end - either because he was in favor of male primogeniture/male-only kingship or because he had reasons to dislike and oppose Rhaenyra and/or Daemon. He plotted and manipulated to help his side win - Rhaenyra's fall was more or less his doing, lack of money or no, but then once victory was in sight, Aegon II and Alicent insisted on snatching defeat and destruction through their intransigence and Larys decided that Aegon III was the better bet.

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17 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I don't think we have anything to go on to judge Larys' relationship with Harwin and Lyonel. I buy it that he killed them, but without actual information on his relationship with his family he may have just been motivated by the goal to get Harrenhal.

And how Larys felt about Rhaenyra's sons is also completely unclear. We don't yet know who Daemon's source at the green council was - chances now are very high that this guy was indeed Larys Strong, not Orwyle.

He was playing all sides without actually having a good reason to do so. At least none we can guess at.

And he cannot have had a goal like Varys (peace/stability later on) because even a lackwit would have known that Aegon II would never make a great king, so the reason why he helped him escape when he later plotted his downfall long before that was even necessary from a political perspective (before the Kingsroad) is completely beyond me.

Sorry but did you type that first paragraphs with a straight face? You buy that he killed them but hey that says nothing about his relationship with them? I mean very very best case scenario it shows he thought they were expendable and not worth his time or attention. You don’t kill someone you have a good relationship with just for power/ambition.

in terms of the last paragraph, recall that Varys has deliberately installed a disaster on the throne in the present series so perhaps they aren’t more alike than you think.

 

Note; hmmm that makes it sound like I think Larys put Aegon on the throne to pave the way for someone else. I don’t, necessarily, but his motivation may have been similar to Varys at least, chaos confusion and disaster give him lots of maneuvering ground

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23 minutes ago, Maia said:

IMHO, his motivations are pretty clear - he is a staunch Green until the very end - either because he was in favor of male primogeniture/male-only kingship or because he had reasons to dislike and oppose Rhaenyra and/or Daemon. He plotted and manipulated to help his side win - Rhaenyra's fall was more or less his doing, lack of money or no, but then once victory was in sight, Aegon II and Alicent insisted on snatching defeat and destruction through their intransigence and Larys decided that Aegon III was the better bet.

Really not sure about that. He never makes any mentioning that he cares about primogeniture and stuff like that. And he already worked at Aegon II's downfall before the Kingsroad, when victory was still possible for the Greens. At least in the sense that Aegon II could keep his crown.

12 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Sorry but did you type that first paragraphs with a straight face? You buy that he killed them but hey that says nothing about his relationship with them? I mean very very best case scenario it shows he thought they were expendable and not worth his time or attention. You don’t kill someone you have a good relationship with just for power/ambition.

The man was twisted, no doubt about that, he even joined the confessors, I just meant that's it not clear his decision to kill his father and (half-)brother were 'personal'. Tyrion had a good reason to kill Tywin. Larys may have about a good reason to kill his father and brother as Littlefinger had a good reason to arrange the murder of Joffrey.

12 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

in terms of the last paragraph, recall that Varys has deliberately installed a disaster on the throne in the present series so perhaps they aren’t more alike than you think.

True, but Varys has an endgame. For Larys we don't see one such. And chances are pretty good that Varys endgame is going to become public knowledge, at least the whole Aegon part of it.

12 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Note; hmmm that makes it sound like I think Larys put Aegon on the throne to pave the way for someone else. I don’t, necessarily, but his motivation may have been similar to Varys at least, chaos confusion and disaster give him lots of maneuvering ground

If there was any chance that Larys could have claimed the throne himself that would give him an interesting motivation. But unfortunately there is no chance that he could have ever hoped to do that.

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31 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Larys may have about a good reason to kill his father and brother as Littlefinger had a good reason to arrange the murder of Joffrey.

I don't know about that - Harrenhal is a pretty big, and clear, reason - but I was about to say Larys' inscrutable..ness (inscrutability?) strikes me as more akin to Littlefinger than Varys.

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6 hours ago, DMC said:

I don't know about that - Harrenhal is a pretty big, and clear, reason - but I was about to say Larys' inscrutable..ness (inscrutability?) strikes me as more akin to Littlefinger than Varys.

Yeah, that's why I compared the possible murder of Harwin/Lyonel by Larys to Littlefinger arranging the murder of Joff. Littlefinger got along with Joffrey splendidly, just as Larys may have with his father and brother.

Could also be they did not get along, and Larys was the butt of their jokes his entire life because of his clubfoot. If that were so we doesn't know anything about it.

In the end, though, Larys is more in Varys territory than Littlefinger because Littlefinger's overall motivation is rather easily to figure out - unlike Varys'. Historians may not know what Littlefinger (and Varys) all did, but it should not be that hard for them to figure out what Littlefinger was motivated by once they realize part or all what he did.

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18 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

In the end, though, Larys is more in Varys territory than Littlefinger because Littlefinger's overall motivation is rather easily to figure out - unlike Varys'. Historians may not know what Littlefinger (and Varys) all did, but it should not be that hard for them to figure out what Littlefinger was motivated by once they realize part or all what he did.

Well, I guess my thinking is Larys' motivations seem to be more basic self-interest, just like Littlefinger's.  I don't know what history will discern or not about Littlefinger, but I'm more looking at it from what we know.

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7 minutes ago, DMC said:

Well, I guess my thinking is Larys' motivations seem to be more basic self-interest, just like Littlefinger's.  I don't know what history will discern or not about Littlefinger, but I'm more looking at it from what we know.

Littlefinger has a complicated back story at Riverrun and with the Tully girls and Brandon Stark that explain a lot of his ambitions - a back story that's part of public knowledge. Larys has none of that, nor does Varys. They are blank slates - at least at this point. Varys' castration story doesn't really explain why he wanted to be the Mad King's Master of Whisperers.

Rego Draz, on the other hand, may give us some insight into Varys and Illyrio's motivation if they were indeed only in the game for power and wealth.

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The easiest explanation would be that he was a basic weather vane playing the odds. Even him sticking with the greens after the fall of King's Landing could be him assessing that Rhaenyra would have chopped off his head as she did with all the original green council members and didn't accept the turncloaks into her ranks. Then Aegon II was simply a bad bet that was heading for the chopping block and poisoning him was simply getting ahead of these developments. 

I can't think of anything else that works quite as well. There doesn't appear to be a single underlying motive that would put all his actions in perspective. It could be that is the case. People do things for many number reasons. He might have gone through several motivations during the course of the war. 

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18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Really not sure about that. He never makes any mentioning that he cares about primogeniture and stuff like that.

He could have just been against Rhaenyra and Daemon. Or had some bizarre hatred against her elder sons who might have been his bastard nephews. Also, in the beginning Aegon II prevailing seemed like a slum dunk, so maybe he just chose the side most likely to win in his opinion at the time. And he was working for the Greens the whole time, until Aegon II returned to KL dragonless,  as a complete physical ruin  and began to make idiotic decisions.

 

18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And he already worked at Aegon II's downfall before the Kingsroad, when victory was still possible for the Greens. At least in the sense that Aegon II could keep his crown.

Because it became clear that Aegon II and Alicent were going to ruin their victory by intransigent vengefulness and kick off the next round of fighting, possibly leading to the complete eradication of the ruling dynasty and collapse of the Seven Kingddoms. If they had done the reasonable thing and accepted advice of the Sea Snake, Larys would have remained loyal. But Aegon II was in such a state that him siring new children would have required a miracle, nor was he likely to live very long. Constant pain also did nothing to improve his already problematic decision-making. And it is just possible that Larys had less patience for the antics of the Greens after Aemond eradicated his relatives in Harrenhal. Or not. In any case, with both Aegon II and Alicent going off the deep end, they needed to be removed before they brought even more ruin on their followers.

It is also quite possible that Larys was not confident in generalship of Boros, who did, after all, sit out most of the war and was going against  blooded and experienced troops and generally behaved as a blow-hard.

 

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11 hours ago, Maia said:

He could have just been against Rhaenyra and Daemon. Or had some bizarre hatred against her elder sons who might have been his bastard nephews. Also, in the beginning Aegon II prevailing seemed like a slum dunk, so maybe he just chose the side most likely to win in his opinion at the time. And he was working for the Greens the whole time, until Aegon II returned to KL dragonless,  as a complete physical ruin  and began to make idiotic decisions.

With Daemon supposedly having an informer on the Green Council it doesn't seem to be unlikely that this guy was Larys Strong, playing both sides.

The same may have been the reason to try to ensure Aegon II's survival and escape, considering that also helped to continue the war. Had Aegon II been captured and executed by Rhaenyra the war may have likely ended then and there, or may have not continued much longer.

And the way he uses Trystane Truefyre later on - Ser Perkin the Flea being Strong's man - strongly implies the plan may have been to actually take a firmer control of the Iron Throne then he could hope to have as Master of Whisperers. He should not have known that Aegon II actually did survive and eventually took Dragonstone before this was announced. If Aegon II had been dead then the Trystane fellow may have been the way to continue the game. Since we know Robert entrusted Varys with his 'bastard business', chances are not that bad that Viserys I may have done a similar thing with Larys (and prior to that, Lord Lyonel), making it not that unlikely that Trystane may have actually been a son of Viserys I. If he had had discrete affairs and the like he would have likely wanted to keep any fruits of such unions from Alicent.

Chances that the man really bet on Aegon III in the end seems unlikely to me. The boy must have known what a key role Larys played in the war. He may have been able to dominate the minority of the boy king under other circumstances, but I'm not sure how he could have hoped that he would continue in a position of power after the king had reached adulthood.

Perhaps he would have then used Jaehaera as his puppet, or a son/daughter of Baela or Rhaena.

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We are told that Lyonel Strong's decisions to accompany his son to Harrenhal had been a last minute decision, so I don't think it's likely that Larys was behind the deaths. If it was arson, then it should be someone targeting specifically Harwin.

I tend to believe it was accidental.

On 11/28/2018 at 9:41 PM, Lord Varys said:

Does anybody understand this guy?

I certainly don't. I've been trying imagine as weird theories as possible to see if his actions can be understood under any of the premises: he was a green, he was a black, he loved his brother, he hated his brother, he was the actual father of Rhaenyra's sons, he was Aegon II's lover, he was was an agent of the Citadel sent to exterminate the dragons, he was Alyn Rivers in glamour,...

Nothing makes sense.

I don't think a single explanation can work for him. But if I had to say something, I'd say that he was someone who had a lot of doubts (he was the last to speak during the first 'green council') but once he made the decision, he decided to commit fully (he demanded to the rest of the council to swear a blood oath for the cause). He continued to serve to the best of his abilities (saving the king and his heirs when the KL fell).

It's only at the end of the war that his loyalties seem to falter. Perhaps he grew disenchanted with the greens, he was angry that his own side had exterminated his remaining family, he may had been promised that the lives of his three 'nephews' would be respected,... The fact that he preferred to die than to serve at the Watch (and he could have also tried to escape, as Orwyle did), suggests to me that he was profoundly depressed and tired of living by the end of his live.

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

With Daemon supposedly having an informer on the Green Council it doesn't seem to be unlikely that this guy was Larys Strong, playing both sides.

I am no longer convinced that Daemon actually had any informer in the Green Small Council.

The problem is that the famous quote "Unbeknownest to King Aegon, the Hand, or the Queen Dowager, he had allies at court as well, even on the green council… " is Glyndayn's. It would make no sense for an historian to have this sort of information and not reveal it. Not even explaining how does he know that there was an informer, and what kind of information was given. Particularly during the Dance section, Glyndayn always reveal whether the unlikely rumors come from Munkun, Eustace or Mushroom.

Perhaps, in this instance, when Glyndayn talks of the "Green Council", he is not talking about Aegon's small council, but uses the term more loosely. If so, he could be talking of Luthor Largent, who we are told lately that had been a friend of Daemon. We have seen that, at least with previous monarchs, the commanders of the City Watch participated in the king's councils.

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All of his actions seem to have been designed to prolong the war and do as much damage to the Targaryens and their dragons as possible.  This is especially true if he was Daemon's source on the small council, and was playing both sides.  The only motive that would make sense of these actions is the destruction of the dragons.  Whether he was secretly working for the Citadel or not, who knows.  What we do know is that by the end of a war the he greatly helped to orchestrate and prolong, Targaryen power is much diminished and almost all of their dragons are dead.

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2 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

We are told that Lyonel Strong's decisions to accompany his son to Harrenhal had been a last minute decision, so I don't think it's likely that Larys was behind the deaths. If it was arson, then it should be someone targeting specifically Harwin.

I tend to believe it was accidental.

It certainly could have been accidental, but all the other suspects - Corlys, Daemon, Viserys I - would have had more difficulty to arrange such a thing at Harrenhal. You have to have men there to do that, and especially Viserys would have sent his men to murder Harwin likely with Harwin/Lyonel's own party - he wouldn't have had arson agents at Harrenhal, just in case he'd need them in the future.

Larys, on the other hand, grew up at Harrenhal and certainly could have had men there who he trusted - or he could have sent such men with Lyonel and Harwin to Harrenhal.

2 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

I don't think a single explanation can work for him. But if I had to say something, I'd say that he was someone who had a lot of doubts (he was the last to speak during the first 'green council') but once he made the decision, he decided to commit fully (he demanded to the rest of the council to swear a blood oath for the cause). He continued to serve to the best of his abilities (saving the king and his heirs when the KL fell).

I think the entire blood oath thing was a way to convince Alicent and Otto that he was firmly in their camp - whereas this wasn't exactly the truth. He could have very well exploited the symbolism this would have there on the minds who care about vows and the like.

2 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

It's only at the end of the war that his loyalties seem to falter. Perhaps he grew disenchanted with the greens, he was angry that his own side had exterminated his remaining family, he may had been promised that the lives of his three 'nephews' would be respected,... The fact that he preferred to die than to serve at the Watch (and he could have also tried to escape, as Orwyle did), suggests to me that he was profoundly depressed and tired of living by the end of his live.

He may have just thought that a clean death was preferable to serve as a cripple at the Wall. Life up there would be shitty under any circumstances. But, yeah, there is also a chance he was no longer all that happy with his life, anyway.

2 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

I am no longer convinced that Daemon actually had any informer in the Green Small Council.

The problem is that the famous quote "Unbeknownest to King Aegon, the Hand, or the Queen Dowager, he had allies at court as well, even on the green council… " is Glyndayn's. It would make no sense for an historian to have this sort of information and not reveal it. Not even explaining how does he know that there was an informer, and what kind of information was given. Particularly during the Dance section, Glyndayn always reveal whether the unlikely rumors come from Munkun, Eustace or Mushroom.

Perhaps, in this instance, when Glyndayn talks of the "Green Council", he is not talking about Aegon's small council, but uses the term more loosely. If so, he could be talking of Luthor Largent, who we are told lately that had been a friend of Daemon. We have seen that, at least with previous monarchs, the commanders of the City Watch participated in the king's councils.

Could all be. I don't see any reason why Gyldayn should invent such an idea if he had not reason to assume it was the case.

The commander of the City Watch was Ser Gwayne Hightower, not Ser Luthor Largent.

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