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the Last Teague

Marston Waters, most decisive Lord Commander EVER

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I think the Regency of Aegon III and the secret siege are two or the most fascinating secions of B&F. Many tales spoke of the highest moments of Targaryen dynasty (the Conquest, Jaehaerys long reign, etc.), but little talk about the time when the Iron Throne's power was at it lowest. When a Broken King sat on an empty palace being probably (as many people there believed) the last of his lineage.

That's when a common man had the destiny of Westeros at his hands: Ser Marston Waters. A bastard born who, somehow, was raised to lord commander of the Kingsguard by a combine of sheer chance and being a useful tool for smarter (but not wisier) politicians.

During the Dance of Dragons, Ser Marston was a simple knight, nothing spectacular. But he was chosen by Larys Strong to keep save the wounded Aegon II and take him to Dragonstone, where nobody suspected he could be. Marston was chosen only for being from the island and having family. That's when Aegon first knew he existed, and started to use him. With Marston's parents help, Aegon took Dragonstone by surprise, and later ambushed Rhaenyra and fed his dragon with her. During these events, Marston was there, but it's unknown how much he directed the assault (Alfred Broome looks more involved). His only act of note was saving princess Balea from being killed by Ser Alfred. Anyway, he was raised to the Kingsguard after that (but curiously, not ser Alfred).

King Aegon III later criticized Marston for not trying to defend his mother Rhaenyra before she became dragon's bait. But really... Could had he done anything? From the Green's side POV, Rhaenyra was a traitor and an usurper, so she deserved it. Also puting yourself between a big, hungry dragon and its prey demands the courage of Ser Serwyn Mirror-Shield. And he didn't had it.

Marston spent the rest of the war being an errand boy. Aegon sent him to the Free Cities to recruit mercenaries. But the War of the 3 sisters had raised the praises so much he couldn't find enough men. When he came back, the Blacks had won, Aegon was dead and the Hour of the wolf had ended. Having been at Braavos during all that ruckus probably saved him from being judged by Cregan Stark. Anyway, coming back to face the judgement of the winner side shows some moral, in my opinion. He had money enough to simply fly away. Maybe his journey partner Tyland Lannister convinced him to do it.

When the evil Unwin Peake became Hand of the King, Marston was still there, and became his tool. Probably Marston lacked the political insight to see Lord Peake intentions. Probably Unwin convinced him about an anti-Aegon conspiracy. Marston was an uneducated, something naive man. 

Only moment when Marston took a direct part was when Baela lashed his face during Maiden's Day cattle show. That's how she thanked him for saving her life back at Dragonstone.

When the Logarre House sunked into bankruptucy, and the finantial backlash hit Westeros, Unwin Peake launched his plot, trying to arrest all the lysene "conspirators" and their lackeys. Marston became hand of the King (but: who appointed him?). Was he a traitor, bought by Unwin? Perhaps, but I don't think so. When Aegon and Viserys locked themselves at the Red Keep and sustained a siege, he did nothing to attack  the fortress. Despite having enough men to do it easily. I think it was his conscience what stoped him. An assault could put the royal lives in danger, and he was the king's servant. Without his condonation, the rest of conspirators coudl do nothing, or risking to lost the legal coverage it gave them having the Hand at their side. Also they lacked a clear leader, at that moment. With Unwin Peake being at Starpeake, and trying to keep some distance from the events.

 

Marston's moral, or indecision (which of what?) saved the princelings. His doubts growed when Lord Rowan, a suspected pro-lysene conspiration, made a confession so unbelievable it evidenced the real conspirators were Peake's lackeys. Maester Gildayn's chronicles says that's the moment the conspiration started to fall apart. I'm not so sure. The traitors had men enough to take the Red Keep, and enough resources to create a coherent tale justifying themselves. Lord Marston change of sides was providential, and it was Aegon III directly ordering him to take care what finaly convinced him. Marston Waters knew at last what was being a Kingsguard.

 

Considering the situation. Marston was Lord Commander and Hand of the King, but the rest of the KG dead, unreliable or in jail. The Goldcloaks were directed by a traitor, Lucas Leygood, and 500 hundred of them (former Peake men) controled all the Red Keep, excepting Maegor's tower. 1.500 GC under Leygood 's command had King's Landing under their thumb. Six of the seven gates captains supported him. Other Peake pawns controled the Court, even the queen's maid.  How could Marston get enough men or allies to change the situation? 

 

In my opinion, by moving fast and attack precisely, like he did back at Dragonstone. All the traitors were put out of the picture before they could react. First he caught Lord confessor Graceford (he seemed especialy aware of the plan). The chronicle says he was the first man arrested by the Kingsguard (but at that point, one was dead, another a traitor, and another at jail inside Maegor's tower: only Marston could do it). From him he knew where everybody was. Then his men neutralized Leygood quickly and brutaly. Without him, his men lacked a reason to fight. Other traitors were captured in the same swift, decisive way.

Marston Waters, for first time in his life, was having a ball.

And "easy comes, easy goes". Poor Marston made his worst mistake when he suposed Mervyn Flowers had a spark a nobility. That being a Kingsguard mean a s*it to him. His faith only get Marston a knife in the guts and a slow death. 

Marston wasn't a great man or a great knight, the chronicles said. His legacy wasn't lasting, and he isn't remember as a great lord commander or a daring warrior. But when the moment needed a loyal man, he was there, and he acted when everybody else was afraid, traped or resigned to a coup who could have ended the Targaryen's dynasty.

So, after a due inner discusion, I decide Marston Waters is my favourite Lord Commander. 

 

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Posted (edited)

Greatly written essay and that character deserves it.He really seems interesting and well written, he isn't great fighter or from powerful house but he has some sort of backbone and stands for what he believes is right, and that is quite rare in these histories.

He slightly reminded me of  fictional characterization of Lafayette in 1989 movie, played by Sam Niell and his involvement in the Dumpster Fire that is known as "French Revolution".

Edited by Eltharion21

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I don't quite think that Waters struck with any particular speed or cunning, per se. I think what blindsided the conspirators was that he so absolutely turned against them, and they simply thought he was too weak or dull to do such a thing. So they were caught flat-footed.

That said, yeah, I find Waters a very interesting figure, even a tragic one, as I've written before.

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57 minutes ago, Ran said:

I don't quite think that Waters struck with any particular speed or cunning, per se. I think what blindsided the conspirators was that he so absolutely turned against them, and they simply thought he was too weak or dull to do such a thing. So they were caught flat-footed.

That said, yeah, I find Waters a very interesting figure, even a tragic one, as I've written before.

One thing that the fall of King's Landing (during the Dance) demonstrated is that you can take the capital if you have the right man at the middle schelons of the city's watch. When prince Daemon left the Goldcloacks, the men he apointed as captain of the gates remained, and the same happened when Unwin Peake resigned as Hand. Peake didn't control the small COuncil or the Regency, but the Watch, the servants, the jails and even the training ground was controled by his cronies. 

Probably these people understimated Ser Marston. He clearly wasn't the sharpest blade of the rack. He was a follower who wanted the serve a good leader, but he never found the right man. And when he knew of bad was the side he had chosen, he had to take decisions for first time.

Being Hand of the King and Lord Commander gave him lots of formal authority, right, but he lacked any real power. Probably the conspirators trusted him as stooge and apparent leader. As you said, he surprised them by his quick tempo, but probably had to rely in a rag tag force. Remember the men who stoped Merwyn Peake were three servants (on of them, drunk). That's why I think his achievement deserves some credit.

In fact, I think Marston was a better Hand that Cregan Stark. The Fool Wolf almost managed to restart the Dance, and the Unlikely Lord Commander arranged Aegon's survival.

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1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:

Greatly written essay and that character deserves it.He really seems interesting and well written, he isn't great fighter or from powerful house but he has some sort of backbone and stands for what he believes is right, and that is quite rare in these histories.

He slightly reminded me of  fictional characterization of Lafayette in 1989 movie, played by Sam Niell and his involvement in the Dumpster Fire that is known as "French Revolution".

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Probably the only good thing Aegon II did was making Marston a Kingsguard (I'm exagerating a little bit).

I haven't seen that movie, but looks interesting. 

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On 3/22/2019 at 9:58 PM, the Last Teague said:

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Probably the only good thing Aegon II did was making Marston a Kingsguard (I'm exagerating a little bit).

I haven't seen that movie, but looks interesting. 

To be honest you're not.

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The Peake clique controlled certain crucial offices but they didn't really run the show. If they had run the show there would have been little to no need for a conspiracy nor for the inclusion of Marston Waters into it - assuming he was actually used more as a front and not a willing participant who just didn't know or grasp everything.

Keep in mind that the Peake cronies use the rise of the Rogares - and the failure of the campaign in the Vale (which also took many men loyal to Thaddeus Rowan out of the city) - as a pretext to topple Rowan and cleanse the court of the Rogares.

There should have been a broad consensus in KL that the Lyseni upstarts had to go - Torrhen Manderly's 'justice' later very much shows what the average Westerosi nobleman thought about Lyseni wielding power or influence in KL - and that was the pretext the Peake gang used to get their coup going. And that shouldn't have been that hard. Perhaps they originally tried to get Lord Thaddeus on board and only arrested him when he made it clear he did not believe a word of their 'accusations' against the Rogare brothers and, especially, Lady Larra.

Only a tiny fraction among the people involved in overthrow of Rowan must have known or suspected that the Peake gang (or at least some of them) also were behind the attempt on the lives of King Aegon III and Queen Daenaera now blamed on the Rogares. But the collapse of the Rogare bank and the failure in the Vale allowed them to finally move and brand the failed assassination attempt on the Rogares - as the successful assassination would also have been, considering Lord Unwin's plan apparently was replace Aegon III with Viserys II, blame the Rogares for the regicide and thus 'free' the new King Viserys II to marry his daughter in place of a Larra who went where whores go...

What exactly Ser Marston knew or suspected is not even remotely clear. If he actually didn't know or understand that Lord Thaddeus Rowan was innocent and essentially tortured into confessing crimes he didn't commit on his, Ser Marston's, orders, then he must have been very stupid indeed. It is certainly imaginable that Waters was approached and drawn into a conspiracy the way Selmy was approached by Skahaz in ADwD, but Selmy had the brains to actually talk to Hizdahr and investigate whether the man was actually involved in something fishy. Waters apparently left that kind of thing to the Lord Confessor after Rowan refused to confess to 'treason' when charged with it.

And it is quite clear that there is a chance that Ser Marston would have been not unhappy if Aegon III were to die to be replaced by Viserys II. After all, Aegon III personally witnessed the death of his mother and Ser Marston's role in that thing. Chances are very low that Aegon III would keep Ser Marston as his Lord Commander of the Kingsguard (King Jaehaerys I demonstrates how you get rid of KG you do not want in your Kingsguard!), but even if he did - Marston would likely never win the king's trust or favor.

Viserys is Rhaenyra's son, too, but he was far away in Lys when Rhaenyra was murdered and he was never imprisoned or guarded by Marston Waters and any other of Aegon II's cronies - nor does Viserys remember personally how the machinations of Aegon II and his people led to the death and downfall of his mother and two of his half-brothers - Aegon III was there when Jacaerys was lost, when Joffrey fell to his death, and when Rhaenyra died.

Those things are very difficult to overcome, and a king doesn't really have to. Once he rules, he can (more or less) do as he pleases. If I had been Ser Marston Waters at the court of Aegon III I'd have dreaded the prospect of this guy ever being able to personally exert any real power.

The other thing is that Aegon III was also manifestly unsuited to rule anything. People who rarely speak and who don't interact with other people unless they have to shouldn't presume to rule kingdoms. For that reason alone Viserys would have been a much better king. But he could also have been a much more forgiving king than Aegon III.

In that sense Waters may have actually known or at least guessed what Lord Unwin's cronies had done before, deciding to turn a blind eye to it until Viserys had brought it out in the open in front of the entire court. Because it was always quite clear that they could not possibly kill both Aegon III and Viserys. But with both of them believing that their 'loyal courtiers' were actually trying to kill Viserys' wife and his brothers-in-law to blame them for a crime that they themselves actually committed would actually demand that they kill them as to preserve their own lives. But if they killed them they could not possibly get away with that.

In that sense, the idea that Waters just jumped on the chance to (re)gain the trust of his king and save his life and office by actually becoming the foremost Aegon III loyalist in the last possible moment is not something we can discard easily. After all, Waters owes his rise to the office of Lord Commander to Unwin Peake. And there must be a reason why the Peake gang drew him into their plan and decided that he should succeed Lord Rowan as Hand of the King. But if Waters 'unravels' this plot and is in charge of the investigation he can, presumably, also suppress all the evidence against him. As Hand it would have fallen to him to conduct the investigation and to oversee the torture of the men arrested, ensuring that those men (and the women) who knew his role in the plot would not say (or live to say) anything he did not want them to say.

I certainly don't think Waters was a leader in all that - that would have been Clarisse Osgrey, if Gyldayn's account is worth anything - but I don't discard the possibility that he knew or suspected more than is evident at this point. The man has humble enough roots, but he lived at both Aegon II's and Aegon III's court for years. He would have learned how power worked, especially since he was obviously part of the Peake system of power, even after Lord Unwin had left.

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On 3/26/2019 at 1:11 PM, Lord Varys said:

The Peake clique controlled certain crucial offices but they didn't really run the show. If they had run the show there would have been little to no need for a conspiracy nor for the inclusion of Marston Waters into it - assuming he was actually used more as a front and not a willing participant who just didn't know or grasp everything.

Peake's gang controled the court, the goldcloaks and the city. But none of them was a Regent or a Small Council member, so they needed the Lord Commander to gave their coup some legitimacy. One thing is having orders from the LC, who is also Hand. The other is acting on your own.

Everybody hated the Logarre, so they had a good pretext. 

I think they always knew Lord Thaddeus was a loyalist. In fact, Peake was angry with him for taking "his" place as Hand of the King.

Waters showed surprise when Lord Rowan 

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10 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

Peake's gang controled the court, the goldcloaks and the city. But none of them was a Regent or a Small Council member, so they needed the Lord Commander to gave their coup some legitimacy. One thing is having orders from the LC, who is also Hand. The other is acting on your own.

But Rowan was the Hand and the last (proper) regent left, and they toppled and imprisoned him. Waters only became the Hand after Rowan was imprisoned, meaning one should believe they could have done what they did with or without Waters' help, no?

They had other Kingsguard in their cabal which could have just as well served as Hands... It is not that a lowborn bastard like Waters had any standing at court or with the nobility in his own right.

10 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

Everybody hated the Logarre, so they had a good pretext. 

Most definitely. And that is why this coup worked the way it did. More people than just the people actively participating in the coup hated the Rogares. Those who hated them would have stood aside during the coup, silently or openly cheering the men who were cleansing the court of those foreigners.

10 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

I think they always knew Lord Thaddeus was a loyalist. In fact, Peake was angry with him for taking "his" place as Hand of the King.

That goes without saying, however the crucial events allowing them to stage the coup was the entire Vale debacle. The Rogares and Lord Rowan both looked bad after that one. But their ultimate motivation was to deal with the yet unresolved attempts on the king and queen they themselves were behind. They needed blame somebody for this or else Lord Rowan (or somebody else) might eventually figure out what was truly going on.

And here I really have trouble buying that Marston Waters didn't know/suspect what was going on there. If he was their figurehead then he would have been brought into the plot at the beginning, which means they must have convinced him that Lord Rowan had been conspiring with the Rogares to kill the king and queen, and he must have either authorized or permitted the torture of Lord Rowan.

How naive can you be?

I mean, yes, Selmy also arrest Hizdahr in ADwD after some courtier incites him against his queen's consort, but Selmy does not torture Hizdahr and he does question him himself. Are we to believe Ser Marston essentially controls the Red Keep but doesn't get around to talk to Lord Rowan himself?

I don't know what to make of that...

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Personally, I think Marston was definitely in on the conspiracy, and only turned to save his own skin when he saw the writing on the wall.

He had a lot to lose with Aegon III coming of age. Aegon hates him for his role in the death of his mother and after seeing how quick Aegon jumped to promote other men over Marston (before Peake put an end to that) he must have known that Aegon would be his enemy.

Secondly, Marston owed everything to the greens. While their family line might have died out, old loyalties don’t die as easily. He was never liked by the blacks and was even smacked across the face by Baela Targaryen in front of the entire nobility of Westeros. Why would he ever think he’d have a good time of it when the blacks took the throne properly with Aegon’s coming into maturity?

Thirdly, Marston was named by everyone else involved in the conspiracy. Marston was already dead by that point, so what good would it do them to blame a dead man? The jig was up, and they were all going to be punished regardless. They wouldn’t be able to bring Marston down with them so why bother lying about his involvement?

 

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On 5/25/2019 at 12:43 AM, Lord Varys said:

They had other Kingsguard in their cabal which could have just as well served as Hands... It is not that a lowborn bastard like Waters had any standing at court or with the nobility in his own right.

Most definitely. And that is why this coup worked the way it did. More people than just the people actively participating in the coup hated the Rogares. Those who hated them would have stood aside during the coup, silently or openly cheering the men who were cleansing the court of those foreigners.

 

In my opinion Marston was as naive as Selmy, or more. 

The Peake clique could and did make many things, but they couldn't get any Kingsguard and make him Hand of the King. They lacked legitimace. On the other way, the Kingsguard Commander can take power in times of crisis. Even being a bastard, Waters had been Commander for years and a member of the Private council. Peake's gang were only middle level officers.

While Aegon disliked Waters, he probably didn't say anything of it. 

I think Waters was innocent. Maybe deliberately ignorant. Probably poor Rowan was brutaly tortured before Waters spoke to him, and what he said convinced Ser Marston of the existance of a Rogare conspiration. Later when Vyserys keen questions showed the truth, Ser Marston was shocked.

It's interesting that the first move Waters made was attacking the black cells. There he freed Rowan's men. The only he can trust. He probably lacked any other possible help, with the Peakes controlling the rest of the Red Fortress. 

Waters last mistake (believing Mervyn Flowes had any honor) shows Ser Marston had some degree of ideals. That's why Peake lied to him, instead of simply buying him.

 

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5 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

The Peake clique could and did make many things, but they couldn't get any Kingsguard and make him Hand of the King. They lacked legitimace. On the other way, the Kingsguard Commander can take power in times of crisis. Even being a bastard, Waters had been Commander for years and a member of the Private council. Peake's gang were only middle level officers.

The thing that makes me dubious here is that the Peake gang actually successfully deposed and arrested Lord Rowan. Considering the Peake-lings in the Kingsguard - Amaury Peake, Mervyn Flowers, and others - as well as the other courtiers that were Peake's it is inconceivable that they actually needed Ser Marston for this. And if they effectively could have done that without Ser Marston it is rather odd that they thought he should be Hand of the King rather than somebody who knew the complete plot.

I mean, if we compare things to Selmy/Skahaz Waters would essentially be a Selmy who had Hizdahr arrested to deliver him to Skahaz, not attend any torture/interrogation sessions that followed, only to buy everything a tortured Hizdahr told him later.

As Hand - even if he was effectively only a figurehead - Waters could have attended Rowan's torture sessions. Not to mention that a Waters not in on the plot would have to be swayed to move against Rowan on the basis of evidence against him - implicating that he was the pet of the Rogares, that he had had a hand in the attempts on the king and queen, etc.

If this was (part of) the reason why Waters worked with the cabal then it is rather odd that he apparently did nothing to investigate or establish Rowan's guilt as such. 

Not to mention that an innocent person being dragged in this conspiracy would have likely decided to inform the Realm at large about the situation and establish a new regency government rather than conducting this Secret Siege business.

5 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

While Aegon disliked Waters, he probably didn't say anything of it. 

I don't think Waters needed Aegon III to make it explicit to him that he didn't like the man. I mean, do you expect Robb to suffer Ilyn Payne in his service?

5 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

I think Waters was innocent. Maybe deliberately ignorant. Probably poor Rowan was brutaly tortured before Waters spoke to him, and what he said convinced Ser Marston of the existance of a Rogare conspiration. Later when Vyserys keen questions showed the truth, Ser Marston was shocked.

While Marston Waters was apparently not part of the group of men who arrested Lord Rowan, he must have been aware of that. He himself led the men arresting Roggerio Rogare a few hours before Rowan was arrested, so he may have even been back in the Red Keep by the time they were arresting Rowan.

It doesn't seem as if they had any convincing to do to establish that the Rogares were guilty or that Rowan was their pet (which was widely believed, apparently) - the signal to move against them all was when the Rogare Bank in Lys fell because that meant that many men had lost fortunes, meaning nobody needed to direct their anger against them. Since we have no reason to believe Waters was wealthy or that he lost money due to the Rogares, I have difficulty actually believing he had no idea what was going on there.

5 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

It's interesting that the first move Waters made was attacking the black cells. There he freed Rowan's men. The only he can trust. He probably lacked any other possible help, with the Peakes controlling the rest of the Red Fortress.

There is actually no sign of that, actually. There was no sign of fighting. Waters controlled the show. Some people fought back, to be sure, but there is no mentioning of the men he freed helping him arresting the men Graceford had accused.

5 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

Waters last mistake (believing Mervyn Flowes had any honor) shows Ser Marston had some degree of ideals. That's why Peake lied to him, instead of simply buying him.

Well, it is odd that it is Grand Maester Munkun who pronounced Waters' wound to be mortal, right? A man who had closely worked with Unwin Peake earlier, helping him with his various schemes to acquire more and more power, and a man who stood with the conspirators during the Secret Siege, disobeying his king who had commanded him to inform the lords of the Realm about what was happening in the Red Keep.

There is a chance that Flowers actually was more honest than Waters, wanting to punish the turncloak for his attempt to save his skin rather than him being the dick there. After all, there could be a more nefarious reason as to why Waters wanted to confront and arrest Flowers alone, no? Perhaps Waters wanted to silence the man before he could provide evidence that would definitely implicate Waters...?

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8 hours ago, the Last Teague said:


In my opinion Marston was as naive as Selmy, or more. 

Pretty much right. He was lower born, had spent less time at court, was clearly a pretty simple guy. He was deeply, deeply in over his head, which is what suited Peake -- he wanted someone who would follow his lead and believe whatever he was told. And he did, until he couldn't deny anymore that he had been mislead, and then tried to do what was right

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The thing is that Marston was part of the Greens. Hence he is a reprhensible person in any way you measure or count it, and that's the end of relevant discussion on the subject. End of story.

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13 hours ago, Lion of the West said:

The thing is that Marston was part of the Greens. Hence he is a reprhensible person in any way you measure or count it, and that's the end of relevant discussion on the subject. End of story.

Being a Green, per se, doesn't make you automaticaly evil. Period. 

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18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The thing that makes me dubious here is that the Peake gang actually successfully deposed and arrested Lord Rowan. Considering the Peake-lings in the Kingsguard - Amaury Peake, Mervyn Flowers, and others - as well as the other courtiers that were Peake's it is inconceivable that they actually needed Ser Marston for this. And if they effectively could have done that without Ser Marston it is rather odd that they thought he should be Hand of the King rather than somebody who knew the complete plot.

In face of evident evil and treason, I suppose the commander of the Goldcloaks could arrest even the Hand of the King. Especialy if the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard supports you. But to take control of the Iron Throne you need a man close enough to power. That's him: Marston Waters, only member of the Private Council still alive.

Waters spent most of the time trying to convince Aegon to leave Maegor's tower. And probably stopping idiots like Gareth Long from simply assaulting the place. He never showed any tendence to cruelty, so sitting in the cells to watch Lord Rowan being tortured wasn't his style. He was exposed only to the "results" on interrogation: an all-out confession. And he believed it. 

In my opinion Ser Marston didn't control the show. The Peake gang controled the Golden cloaks, the torturers, even the training yard and the maids! All were Unwin's people. If he had simply ordered them to obbey, they would had killed him. That's why he first used Rowan's men (knights and soldiers). Next some servants joined him (like the ones Mervyn Flowers killed).

Good point about Maester Munkun.

If Marston wanted Flowers dead (or arrested), he would have simply ordered it. At the end of the day mostly everybody obeyed him. The fact he tried to convince ser Mervyn of surrender says 1) he wanted someone to support his version (probably) or 2) believed Flowers was like himself, someone lied/bullied to join Peake gang. 

Mervyn Flowers wasn't the worst person in all this ruckus, but was clearly Unwin's man.

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About Marston fearing Aegon, I think everybody knows the Broken King wasn't the vengative type. For example after becoming king AFAIK, he never acted against Unwin Peake. He was aware of the fact the kingdom needed reconciliation, not reprisals. Healing the war wounds was his primary objective.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

In face of evident evil and treason, I suppose the commander of the Goldcloaks could arrest even the Hand of the King. Especialy if the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard supports you. But to take control of the Iron Throne you need a man close enough to power. That's him: Marston Waters, only member of the Private Council still alive.

Well, since there was no Rogare-Rowan conspiracy there could also have been no good evidence for that. Keep in mind that Waters would have authorized both the deposition and arrest of Rowan and his people, the subsequent torture of Rowan, the arrest of Larra Rogare (which led to the Secret Siege) as well as accepting/taking the office of Hand.

It is difficult to imagine that you do all that while having no idea what's going on.

To depose/arrest the Hand who happens also to be a regent of the king (effectively the only one left) you actually should have signed confessions of treason - good, hard evidence, not mere suspicions, imaginings, lies, etc. But that was all that Waters had.

We can agree that the court/city moving against the Rogares is a different thing - they were loathed and hated as foreigners who cost many people a lot of money. But arresting them and toppling/arresting/torturing Lord Rowan and setting yourself up as new Hand is not the same.

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Waters spent most of the time trying to convince Aegon to leave Maegor's tower. And probably stopping idiots like Gareth Long from simply assaulting the place. He never showed any tendence to cruelty, so sitting in the cells to watch Lord Rowan being tortured wasn't his style. He was exposed only to the "results" on interrogation: an all-out confession. And he believed it. 

One should assume he would have talked to Rowan before delivering him to the torturers, no? And there he would have been confronted with Rowan's testimony contradicting the stories he was told about the man's alleged treason. I mean, if Viserys' questions and Aegon III's later command can change Waters' opinion then why the hell wasn't Lord Rowan able to do that?

Here is the point where I think the 'Waters was in on the plot but was not willing to go through with it in the end' narrative makes sense. He was not okay with openly being seen as acting/attacking the king - even a king he didn't like. This makes sense considering that he was a Kingsguard. I mean, we can be very sure that the man attacking Maegor's Holdfast - which could have easily led to the death of Aegon III himself or his brother - would have ruined himself in the eyes of the Realm later on. This kind of thing would not go away.

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In my opinion Ser Marston didn't control the show. The Peake gang controled the Golden cloaks, the torturers, even the training yard and the maids! All were Unwin's people. If he had simply ordered them to obbey, they would had killed him. That's why he first used Rowan's men (knights and soldiers). Next some servants joined him (like the ones Mervyn Flowers killed).

He runs the show in the sense that the men he commands to arrest those named by Graceford and others actually are arrested. This implies he is not merely a figurehead Hand but actually the guy running the show. Not necessary the secret plotting behind the scenes, but the men-at-arms in the Red Keep follow his lead, not that of the rest of the Peake gang.

I mean, if there was a secret puppet master controlling everything - like, say, Larys Strong earlier - then Waters commanding 'his men' arresting Strong would have likely resulted in those men arresting him. But that didn't happen.

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If Marston wanted Flowers dead (or arrested), he would have simply ordered it. At the end of the day mostly everybody obeyed him. The fact he tried to convince ser Mervyn of surrender says 1) he wanted someone to support his version (probably) or 2) believed Flowers was like himself, someone lied/bullied to join Peake gang.

That is also a possibility, but if Flowers had been the one Waters used to communicate with Lord Unwin he may have known everything about Waters' involvement and Waters may not have wanted him to spread such tales.

6 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

About Marston fearing Aegon, I think everybody knows the Broken King wasn't the vengative type. For example after becoming king AFAIK, he never acted against Unwin Peake. He was aware of the fact the kingdom needed reconciliation, not reprisals. Healing the war wounds was his primary objective.

Oh, but we are in agreement that Aegon III was as likely to keep Waters as his Lord Commander of the Kingsguard as Jaehaerys I was to keep Maegor's thugs. He did not trust him, and he did not like him, and the Kingsguard is not an institution where surface loyalty is enough. The KG surround you day and night, they overhear your secrets and most private conversations, they protect not only you yourself but also your wife and children.

Who on earth would want a person in such a role who played a crucial role in the murder of your own mother and your own subsequent captivity?

Aegon III would have to be a moron to leave him in that position. And since you don't leave the KG Waters likely expected Aegon III would sent him to the Wall.

We don't know what happened to Unwin Peake after the end of the Regency yet, but my guess is that Aegon III and Prince Viserys destroyed that man later on. They are, in the end, Targaryens, and Peake deserved to die thrice over (at least). And I'm sure Peake knew what is going to happen which is why I think he is going to be the man behind one of those fake Daerons Aegon III later had to deal with.

I also expect Aegon III to immediately dismiss Grand Maester Munkun from his service, replacing him with some other maester. We know from TWoIaF that Munkun is not Grand Maester in 153 AC when Daeron II is born, but was apparently restored to the office by the time Baelor the Blessed died since he is named as the Grand Maester trying to save him. This implies that Aegon III fired Munkun and that Munkun was restored to the office much later, possibly after both Aegon III and the previous Grand Maester, a guy named Alford, were dead.

If this guess is correct then I'm also inclined to believe that Clarice Osgrey was immediately dismissed as head of the queen's household after Aegon III took the government into his own hands, followed by any other Peake-lings that were still left - Gedmund Peake, for instance. Most of the other new appointments made by Torrhen Manderly and the new regents likely stood, but the court was not properly cleansed of all questionable or unwanted influence by them.

Edited by Lord Varys

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6 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

Being a Green, per se, doesn't make you automaticaly evil. Period. 

I'd like that to be the case, but that's not the story that is provided for us.

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