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Varys and Illyrio under the Red Keep

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14 hours ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

But for how long?

Until he betrays her for blood. 

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1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Until he betrays her for blood. 

Methinks it has already happened.

Because Aegon is his blood. Aegon's mother, Illyrio's wife, is a Blackfyre (I think)

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45 minutes ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

Methinks it has already happened.

Because Aegon is his blood. Aegon's mother, Illyrio's wife, is a Blackfyre (I think)

Me too, and when Daenerys finds out, she is likely to whisper a certain word into Drogon's ear. 

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8 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Me too, and when Daenerys finds out, she is likely to whisper a certain word into Drogon's ear. 

I'm not quite sure it's going to be dracarys though.

She might just whisper the Valyrian word for feast.

In any case, that'll probably happen in her final Winds chapter. Pentos is most likely going to be her last stop...

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19 hours ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

Because they didn't account for the sloppy, random cruelty of the Lannisters towards Bran.

I'm sorry but having adulterous sex and scheming in the home of your husband's best friend who already doesn't like or trust you is beyond risky. And to do so in an insecure location. At a time when your absence would be questioned?

It's both rank stupidity and arrogance.

Surely, Varys understood that Bran had a special place in Catelyn's heart. He should have worked to prevent the second assassination attempt because that's what set Catelyn off. He also should have made it an effort to be the first one to approach Catelyn in King's Landing not Littlefinger.

But Littlefinger will Littlefinger. And Varys is not a wizard.

They had to know that Jon Arryn was the only person maintaining any semblance of order in the realm and that his death would set off a power struggle. Sure, they might not have expected all-out war so soon, but why even take the risk of destabilizing the realm when you're not ready for it? 

I'm not sure what "second assassination attempt" you are referring to. The catspaw? I can't see how Varys could have prevented that, being all the way in king's landing and not even aware that an attempt was in the works. Catelyn announced her arrival at the docks loud and clear, and the docks is where LF maintains the information pipeline, not Varys, so it would have been pretty much impossible for him to know about Cat's arrival before LF. As you said, he is not a wizard.

 

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17 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

They had to know that Jon Arryn was the only person maintaining any semblance of order in the realm and that his death would set off a power struggle. Sure, they might not have expected all-out war so soon, but why even take the risk of destabilizing the realm when you're not ready for it? 

I'm not sure what "second assassination attempt" you are referring to. The catspaw? I can't see how Varys could have prevented that, being all the way in king's landing and not even aware that an attempt was in the works. Catelyn announced her arrival at the docks loud and clear, and the docks is where LF maintains the information pipeline, not Varys, so it would have been pretty much impossible for him to know about Cat's arrival before LF. As you said, he is not a wizard.

 

Why would Varys, the Master of Whisperers, not have his spies in and/or around Winterfell...one of the top 10 most important castles in the entire realm.

It's weird that his spy network can stretch all the way to Vaes Dothrak but not to Winterfell.

Jon Arryn was very, very old man, his only son is sickly and under the age of 10, his wife is a reclusive shrew with a screw loose and he has no other immediate family. His power base is in the Vale and the Vale alone. No power struggle for Varys anticipate there. But it does put things in motion to the point where things can progress slowly. Where things can teeter on the edge for a little bit.

They couldn't just kill Eddard Stark like they could kill Jon Arryn...especially not so soon after Jon Arryn died.

You ever notice how dismissive Cersei was towards Jon Arryn when she took Ned Stark so seriously.

Eddard Stark is not just the North. He has strong connects and a stronger reputation in the Riverlands, the Vale, the Stormlands, on Dragonstone and, it's becoming abundantly clear, that he has strong connects in Dorne as well.**

The lords of the Reach also seemed to have a deep respect for him. More than they did for Robert, dare I say.

Eddard Stark had five trueborn children and one bastard. The eldest of the trueborns and his bastard are both on the cusp of manhood. His second eldest trueborn, a daughter, is on the cusp of womanhood. He has a brilliant, good wife and both of them were young and healthy enough to have more children. And, unlike many lords of Westeros, they are very good parents so they are likely to raise good, strong children. At that point, he also has the Greyjoys in his back pocket.**

Killing Eddard would have definitely and immediately started a war. Varys was likely clueless about the secret one-sided rivalry between the Tully sisters so there's no reason to not think that Lysa Arryn wouldn't send the Knights of the Vale scuttling out of the Bloody Gate.

 

**On second thought, Cersei may have been right. With all these connects, it would have been easy for Eddard to just claim the Throne. And all he would need to do to take the Targaryen crosshairs off his back is to announce Jon and to call Viserys and Daenerys back to Westeros.

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Posted (edited)

While much of this theorizing would potentially be of great interest if borne out, I think we are stuck on a lot of these things that don't appear to make sense because. . . they don't make sense (yet). I think, and I mean this generously, Martin is attempting to shoehorn a lot of plots in place after the fact, and this will not always result in clean corners.

Regarding Illyrio and Varys' scheming in aGoT; were they prolonging the chaos in Westeros to pave the way for a timely invasion from Essos? Certainly. Was that invasion a disguised Blackfyre rebellion? Almost certainly not. I always understood that Arya III aGoT was simply a way for Martin to link, from a narrative perspective, the plots in Westeros and Essos. I don't think he had the foggiest idea of a Jon Connington or fAegon when he wrote that chapter.

I feel this is supported by the fact that much of this plot arose around the same time in different books; I don't think it's a coincidence that Blackfyre-ish plots suddenly emerge in "The Sworn Sword" and also in "Feast/Dance," all of which were likely being written concurrently. Our beloved "gardener" Martin was chewing on this material and it found its way into his stories.

This is what is so hard about reading this story (and also so great): it's hard to tell which unknown elements are hidden by design and which simply haven't been fleshed out yet.

Edited by Chris is my name

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3 hours ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

I'm not quite sure it's going to be dracarys though.

She might just whisper the Valyrian word for feast.

In any case, that'll probably happen in her final Winds chapter. Pentos is most likely going to be her last stop...

Maybe. I think she'll do what Tyrion told Aegon she would do, so I think she'll find out until after she has already allied with the noblest young lad, giving the author the opportunity to have Tyrion betray her for gold and Aegon to betray her for love, all about the same time. 

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16 minutes ago, Chris is my name said:

Regarding Illyrio and Varys' scheming in aGoT; were they prolonging the chaos in Westeros to pave the way for a timely invasion from Essos? Certainly. Was that invasion a disguised Blackfyre rebellion? Almost certainly not. I always understood that Arya III aGoT was simply a way for Martin to link, from a narrative perspective, the plots in Westeros and Essos. I don't think he had the foggiest idea of a Jon Connington or fAegon when he wrote that chapter.

Agreed. We don't even hear Connington's name until Storm. He's mentioned tangentially by Tyrion in Clash as one of two Hands who died in exile, but it's not until the third book that GRRM starts dropping Jon Connington's name via Barristan Selmy. It's possible he didn't conceive of Connington's part in the plot until then.

Certainly, when we are reading the first book, we have no way of knowing about Jon Connington. We are much like Littlefinger being schooled by Tyrion in that we don't know about past Hands of the King other than Jon Arryn. We don't know about his two predecessors or the two before that which include Connington. In fact, I don't think we even know that Tywin was once Hand to Aerys until Tyrion mentions it in the second book.

 

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1 minute ago, Syl of Syl said:

Agreed. We don't even hear Connington's name until Storm. He's mentioned tangentially by Tyrion in Clash as one of two Hands who died in exile, but it's not until the third book that GRRM starts dropping Jon Connington's name via Barristan Selmy. It's possible he didn't conceive of Connington's part in the plot until then.

Certainly, when we are reading the first book, we have no way of knowing about Jon Connington. We are much like Littlefinger being schooled by Tyrion in that we don't know about past Hands of the King other than Jon Arryn. We don't know about his two predecessors or the two before that which include Connington. In fact, I don't think we even know that Tywin was once Hand to Aerys until Tyrion mentions it in the second book.

 

My analysis is pretty much the same.

Usually he is very successful in giving these once seemingly minor events meaning, but I think this practice is one of the major sources of delay for Winds. While the Dornish conspiracies and fAegon plots are very interesting, they have bloated the central narrative to a degree that it will be very difficult to unite all the themes without making actions by certain characters seem retroactively absurd.

I suspect that writing Fire & Blood I served two purposes for him: it can serve as a source manual for potential successor TV shows, but it also allowed him to get a lot of writing about intra-Targaryen scheming out of his system and away from the main ASOIAF narrative.

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41 minutes ago, Syl of Syl said:

Agreed. We don't even hear Connington's name until Storm. He's mentioned tangentially by Tyrion in Clash as one of two Hands who died in exile, but it's not until the third book that GRRM starts dropping Jon Connington's name via Barristan Selmy. It's possible he didn't conceive of Connington's part in the plot until then.

Certainly, when we are reading the first book, we have no way of knowing about Jon Connington. We are much like Littlefinger being schooled by Tyrion in that we don't know about past Hands of the King other than Jon Arryn. We don't know about his two predecessors or the two before that which include Connington. In fact, I don't think we even know that Tywin was once Hand to Aerys until Tyrion mentions it in the second book.

Although @Ran has presented evidence to dispel the notion that the Blackfyre subplot was conceived before Clash was begun, I think it's obvious that the George always planned on Aegon, most likely an imposter, resurfacing, and that Illyrio and Varys were supporting his cause. House Connington was introduced in Clash. It was a knightly house, with Red Ronnet named the Knight of Griffin's Roost. So it is conceivable that the George had planned on a Griffin playing a role in shepherding Aegon through his early years, and since he must have already had most of the details of Robert's Rebellion worked out, it's possible that he already had Jon Connington in mind when he wrote Game. 

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35 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Maybe. I think she'll do what Tyrion told Aegon she would do, so I think she'll find out until after she has already allied with the noblest young lad, giving the author the opportunity to have Tyrion betray her for gold and Aegon to betray her for love, all about the same time. 

I don't think so.

Tyrion and Aegon are operating under false impressions of Dany. While she is a rescuer, it would have been very hard for Dany to just abandon all the unfinished good work she has been doing in Meereen (i.e. all the people she just rescued and still need rescuing) to just sail thousands of miles to come to aid of Aegon.

Besides, Dany is more clever than people (both readers and characters alike) give her credit for. She is alarmingly street smart, too much to just take a hard left turn and race against time across thousands of miles based on information that is sketchily incomplete at best.

There is no real confirmation that Aegon is really Aegon. From where Dany would be in Meereen, it would be something of a rumor.

Varys can confirm it? Okay but Varys also tried to have her and her unborn baby killed on Robert Baratheon's orders. She will not trust a single word that will come out of Varys' mouth. And the question she would ask is "why would Varys be okay with killing Aegon's Targaryen blood relatives?! The more Targaryens, the better right?" Besides, she found the marriage contract between House Martell and the Sealord of Braavos in regards to Viserys and Arianne strange; something about that bothered her but she couldn't put her finger on it. If she found that to be strange (it's strange that she found it strange) and turned down all of Quentyn's proposals (I believe she suggested that he leave at some point), there's no way she's going to be moved to belief by Varys' grand baby switch.

She can receive confirmation from Illyrio...but that's only going to raise questions on Dany's part. Why would Illyrio keep Aegon secret if he truly was her kin? If Illyrio supports Aegon so much why did she get the petrified dragon eggs? Why would Tyrion be sent to Aegon while she got stuck with Ser Barristan? Dany has nursed suspicions, curiosities and even shades of distrust towards Illyrio for a while. Such suspicions would only intensify.

That's all based upon where Dany is at in A Dance of Dragons. In The Winds of Winter, we're going to see a whole new Dany. In her last chapter in Dance, she was done playing the game of thrones in Meereen (at best, it got her nowhere and, at worst, it almost killed her) and had finally begun to embrace the words of House Targaryen.

Tyrion had the wrong impression of her in Dance so he's going to be absolutely shocked when he meets her in Winds.

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1 minute ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Although @Ran has presented evidence to dispel the notion that the Blackfyre subplot was conceived before Clash was begun, I think it's obvious that the George always planned on Aegon, most likely an imposter, resurfacing, and that Illyrio and Varys were supporting his cause. House Connington was introduced in Clash. It was a knightly house, with Red Ronnet named the Knight of Griffin's Roost. So it is conceivable that the George had planned on a Griffin playing a role in shepherding Aegon through his early years, and since he must have already had most of the details of Robert's Rebellion worked out, it's possible that he already had Jon Connington in mind when he wrote Game. 

My contention is that George conceived it when he stopped work on ACoK and loosely mapped out a six book series after realizing again that he wasn't going to get it done in 4. Which means things like House Connington appearing in ACoK may be nothing more than his inserting details into the novel to line up with his new, expanded story plans. Much as with the mummer's dragon.

I think Varys and Illyrio were much more sinister figures in the original trilogy plan, and in the scene beneath the Red Keep in AGoT.

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39 minutes ago, Chris is my name said:

My analysis is pretty much the same.

Usually he is very successful in giving these once seemingly minor events meaning, but I think this practice is one of the major sources of delay for Winds. While the Dornish conspiracies and fAegon plots are very interesting, they have bloated the central narrative to a degree that it will be very difficult to unite all the themes without making actions by certain characters seem retroactively absurd.

I suspect that writing Fire & Blood I served two purposes for him: it can serve as a source manual for potential successor TV shows, but it also allowed him to get a lot of writing about intra-Targaryen scheming out of his system and away from the main ASOIAF narrative.

Which characters?

If you leave out the Dornish conspiracies and the fAegon plot, you have a giant plot hole and several characters who look beyond redundant.

 

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2 minutes ago, Ran said:

My contention is that George conceived it when he stopped work on ACoK and loosely mapped out a six book series after realizing again that he wasn't going to get it done in 4. Which means things like House Connington appearing in ACoK may be nothing more than his inserting details into the novel to line up with his new, expanded story plans. Much as with the mummer's dragon.

I think Varys and Illyrio were much more sinister figures in the original trilogy plan, and in the scene beneath the Red Keep in AGoT.

From where I am standing, Varys still is a sinister figure.

Illyrio? Sinister? Meh, not so much anymore and definitely not like Varys but he did, in fact, toy with the lives and emotions of Viserys and Daenerys both. When Daenerys (who always found Illyrio suspicious and, thus, never liked him that much) finds out, she's going to be furious.

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Just now, Jabar of House Titan said:

From where I am standing, Varys still is a sinister figure.

Illyrio? Sinister? Meh, not so much anymore and definitely not like Varys but he did, in fact, toy with the lives and emotions of Viserys and Daenerys both. When Daenerys (who always found Illyrio suspicious and, thus, never liked him that much) finds out, she's going to be furious.

"Much more sinister", I said. I agree, Varys is a sinister figure even after GRRM modified (as I believe) his plans for the character.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

Which characters?

If you leave out the Dornish conspiracies and the fAegon plot, you have a giant plot hole and several characters who look beyond redundant.

 

It's tough to say which characters exactly at the moment because I don't know what he's doing with all of it yet.

And how would the lack of those events create a "giant" plot hole? The plots that they brush up against were humming along just fine without them.

Edited by Chris is my name

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Just now, Ran said:

"Much more sinister", I said. I agree, Varys is a sinister figure even after GRRM modified (as I believe) his plans for the character.

No, what I meant to say was that, Varys is just as sinister as he originally was. Meaning he's still "much more sinister." In Eastern (aka non-European, non-exotic for the sake of being exotic) literature, eunuchs who were involved in politics were dangerous and sinister. More untrustworthy than bastards. There were even several cases in real life history where they were just that...

But I'm interested in hearing how you think GRRM modified Varys.

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Just now, Chris is my name said:

It's tough to say which characters exactly at the moment because I don't know what he's doing with all of it yet.

And how would the lack of those events create a "giant" plot hole? The plots that they brush up against were humming along just fine without them.

Humming along just fine? How so?

Look at the TV show which has nerfed all Dornish conspiracies and excluded fAegon.

Cersei is on the throne ruling in her own right after all her children die...why? What happened to the Stormlands, the power-base of the Baratheon family? The Sand Snakes kill their own Martell blood relatives and all of Dorne just let's them do that because...? The lords of the Reach abandon the Tyrells for Cersei after the other Tyrells die in an accident that Cersei just miraculously survived? The Riverlands (located right in the center of the country) is quietly written off and the Targaryen loyalists from seasons 2 and 3 therein forgotten?

Those are all plotlines that Aegon has touched or will touch.

Now look back at the books.

Stannis is very unpopular and is fighting a losing war in an environment he is wholly unfamiliar with. Tywin Lannister is dead and Tyrion Lannister has fled the country leaving Cersei and Jaime (both becoming increasingly unpopular) to run the nation. The Martells have been dealt another blow by the Mountain, a Lannister bannerman. The Stormlands are being ignored. The Reach is under attack and the Lannister Queen Regent isn't really doing anything about it. The Riverlands looks like Afghanistan at the height of George Bush's war on terror.

Daenerys is busy on the other side of the world.

What are they supposed to do in Westeros? Mark time until Daenerys gets her currently fragile power base together? Sit around and enjoy the autumn breezes while the Stark kids become powerful players?

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

Look at the TV show which has nerfed all Dornish conspiracies and excluded fAegon.

Cersei is on the throne ruling in her own right after all her children die...why? What happened to the Stormlands, the power-base of the Baratheon family? The Sand Snakes kill their own Martell blood relatives and all of Dorne just let's them do that because...? The lords of the Reach abandon the Tyrells for Cersei after the other Tyrells die in an accident that Cersei just miraculously survived? The Riverlands (located right in the center of the country) is quietly written off and the Targaryen loyalists from seasons 2 and 3 therein forgotten?

Those are all plotlines that Aegon has touched or will touch.

I don't think the problems on the show were a result of simply removing the complexities of the Dornish plots; that was an entirely different set of problems.

 

9 minutes ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

Daenerys is busy on the other side of the world.

What are they supposed to do in Westeros? Mark time until Daenerys gets her currently fragile power base together? Sit around and enjoy the autumn breezes while the Stark kids become powerful players?

This is a great argument for why these plots are filler (as is being done in another thread) but does not demonstrate their critical importance to the overall plot, the exclusion of which creates gaps in the narrative logic.

Edited by Chris is my name

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