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James Steller

How much of Mushroom’s testimony do you trust?

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There’s no way to confirm how much of what Mushroom says is true or false; it’s a great way by George to tell the history of the Targaryens. My question then, is since it’s entirely subjective and to our individual discretion to believe or disbelieve Mushroom’s claims, what’s your personal barometer? Any specific stories that you believe or disbelieve?

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I buy only the stuff when it makes more sense than the other versions, and when Gyldayn finds it credible and gives reason why he finds it credible. Which means I find his stuff mostly to be nonsense, especially the things he claims to have been personally involved in.

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I think is more or less as trustworthy as the testimony that comes from septons, and/or maesters... All this people were at service of some specific lord or house, this is what Gyldayn tries to put on perspective...

"Maester Gyldayn" even tends to point out before take Mushroom and other sources... that "he was present during the event" or "he was miles away when that happened" and so... Personally when Mushroom says, I was hidden in a barrel o behind a curtain is like :rolleyes: son please!

I have to say that Mushroom's testimony is one of things readers gonna love about F&B1... 

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Honestly, I buy most of what he says. GRRM has long established that just because he writes things doesn’t make them true, since his world’s history is being retold by biased and subjective characters. Yandel is kissing the butt of the Baratheons and even Gyldayn is a biased character, given how he offers his own opinions on the conflicting sources. So sure, Mushroom is probably a salacious liar, but he is also playing a role similar to Tyrion in the main story. He’s present for all these big events and isn’t fettered by courtly manners or a private agenda. He was regarded as a harmless fool, and therefore he heard and saw a lot that others wouldn’t have access to.

That said, I don’t buy all that he says. I don’t believe that Princess Rhaenyra and Daemon used him as a guinea pig to teach Rhaenyra how to be good at sex. But I do believe that Aegon II was a sexual deviant who became a voyeur after he couldn’t get it up anymore. I also buy his view that Cregan Stark was half mad when planning a new stage of the war and was thwarted by the widows and Black Aly. The idea that Rhaenyra pimped our Alicent and Helaena is less likely, meanwhile.

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I don't believe all, far from it, but I clearly believe more than Gyldayn does.

Considering all that's said about Mushroom - dwarfism, sexual shenanigans (at least self-alleged), wisecracking, fool-playing -, I also am now strongly suspecting that he is an ancestor of Tyrion - no idea about a more detailed genealogy, though.

Last but not least, were GRRM 30 years younger, I'd like to see him actually writing Mushroom's Testimony, once he's done with ASOIAF and Dunk and Egg.

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Mushroom is an insignificant man who found a listener.  Now if that listener was also buying him drinks.  Mushroom had good reasons to embellish his story.  It was in his interest to keep the listeners captivated.  It makes him important.  I expect he took great liberties.  He's mostly smoke with a little flame.  He spun enough yarn to clothe Balerion from nose to tail.  

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9 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

Honestly, I buy most of what he says. GRRM has long established that just because he writes things doesn’t make them true, since his world’s history is being retold by biased and subjective characters. Yandel is kissing the butt of the Baratheons and even Gyldayn is a biased character, given how he offers his own opinions on the conflicting sources.

The latter isn't bias. Any historian referencing conflicting sources is going to give you his assessment of them. If you raise such an issue you are obligated to give the reader your own opinion on the matter. And at times Gyldayn just gives the conflicting sources and gives no opinion at all when he (correctly) thinks that he cannot decide who is in the right - assuming any of the sources is.

9 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

So sure, Mushroom is probably a salacious liar, but he is also playing a role similar to Tyrion in the main story. He’s present for all these big events and isn’t fettered by courtly manners or a private agenda. He was regarded as a harmless fool, and therefore he heard and saw a lot that others wouldn’t have access to.

Mushroom has an enormous private agenda, much larger, in fact, than Eustace and Munkun. Eustace retired during the Regency and eventually became one of the Most Devout. Eustace had a place in the sun and no need gain through interviews by a scribe, unlike Mushroom. And Munkun was a Grand Maester and proper historian, apparently making it his life's work to write the definite history of the Dance of the Dragons.

Mushroom left court and started his personal journey which led him at least to White Harbor, the court of the Sealord, the Port of Ibben, and to years aboard the mummer ship Lisping Lady - all of which feature in the Testimony of Mushroom, which means that Mushroom would have dictated/been interviewed for that book by a scribe only after at least those events of his life had taken place.

Mushroom's agenda is to entertain. That is his agenda as a fool and former court jester, and that's clearly the agenda of the scribe who put his story into writing. It may even be that said scribe is one of the mummers on the Lisping Lady. Then this whole thing would have 

This means that at least Eustace's book, The Reign of King Viserys, First of His Name, and the Dance of the Dragons That Came After, was likely out at this point already, which may be an explanation why Mushroom chose to add salacious detail whenever Eustace - who also liked to tell rumors and gossip and court intrigue - was silent, or made up more hilarious stories whenever he felt something juicy would fit in the book.

This very evident, for example, in Mushroom's version of the affair between Daemon and Rhaenyra before her marriage. Eustace likely tells the actual, correct story here, but if that version had been already out at that point, either Mushroom or his scribe may have decided that they would have to top this.

In a sense, Mushroom is basically behaving like one of those hypothetical scribes who polished or embellished or enlarged the original story of Coryanne Wylde. One expect that the size of his enormous member and the role it plays is not limited to his exploits at court but continues to be important in White Harbor, Braavos, Ib, the mummer ship, and wherever else the dwarf goes thereafter.

Mushroom is important when he is able to offer information or speculation nobody else has to offer, but even there this has to be taken with a grain of salt. A thing that has a very large likelihood to be true is his speculation about the true parentage of Addam and Alyn of Hull.

9 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

That said, I don’t buy all that he says. I don’t believe that Princess Rhaenyra and Daemon used him as a guinea pig to teach Rhaenyra how to be good at sex. But I do believe that Aegon II was a sexual deviant who became a voyeur after he couldn’t get it up anymore. I also buy his view that Cregan Stark was half mad when planning a new stage of the war and was thwarted by the widows and Black Aly. The idea that Rhaenyra pimped our Alicent and Helaena is less likely, meanwhile.

I'm inclined to believe that Aegon II may have been impotent after his many injuries, but I'm not sure about the voyeurism thing. He was in a lot of pain, and such a thing - if it was a new thing, which it seems to be, considering that he very much liked to involve himself in debauchery earlier in life - would have slowly developed. And he simply didn't have much time. He could barely walk when he died.

The brothel queens are completely outlandish precisely because Eustace - who is there, too - doesn't mention them. Since he was apparently not Rhaenyra's greatest fan chances are very low that he wouldn't have mentioned that particular detail if it had happened.

What happened there is most likely that both Mushroom and the scribe asked themselves the question why the hell Queen Rhaenyra actually did not kill Alicent Hightower and Helaena Targaryen when they were in her power? That's a question we, the readers, ask ourselves, too. With hindsight, in light of what comes after, this is just stupidity. Even more so that Rhaenyra did not put Alicent down or take her with her when she left the city. And so the truth likely is that Alicent and Rhaenyra insulted each other, and Rhaenyra told Alicent that she would lose her tongue if she said another word - and then Alicent just shut up and nothing happened.

But that doesn't make for as compelling a story as the brothel queens, especially not for Mushroom's target audience. It kills two birds with one stone - it gives Rhaenyra the revenge one would assume she would/should have taken, and it entertains.

Overall, one should get off the track that Eustace was a Green and Mushroom a Black. Mushroom throws dirt at everyone, especially Rhaenyra who he supposedly loved well, and while Eustace may have leaned more towards Aegon II than Rhaenyra he clearly does not exonerate the Greens in any way. He writes in great detail about the coup and all the other atrocities either side commits. What he did do in the beginning was to personally exonerate Aegon the Elder when the crown was offered to him, and he did use Rhaenyra's ascension of the Iron Throne as a scene to foreshadow her eventual downfall by inventing at least the cuts on her thighs - but this doesn't have to be an expression of partisanship on his part. When he was writing all that Rhaenyra was long in her grave and he knew that she would soon be there when he was writing the scene of her taking possession of the Red Keep and the Iron Throne.

Many people writing history do that kind of thing.

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He sure did live an interesting life. Lots of important people kept him around, so he must have been a good entertainer. That's what his testimony was in the end I think, a form of entertainment. He might have been right or truthful about somethings though.

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