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Black Crow

Heresy 222 vindication

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On the subject of Jorah spying for Varys:

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"I made one report from Qarth, but—"

"From Qarth?" Dany had been hoping it had ended much earlier. "What did you write from Quarth? That you were my man now, that you wanted no more of their schemes?" Ser Jorah could not meet her eyes. "When Khal Drogo died, you asked me to go with you to Yi Ti and the Jade Sea. Was that your wish or Robert's?"

"That was to protect you," he insisted. "To keep you away from them. I knew what snakes they were . . ."

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2 hours ago, LynnS said:
7 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Faceless Man? Very likely. but not necessarily...

Or a Sorrowful Man?

The Sorrowful Men are an ancient guild of assassins operating on the city of Qarth. Each one whispers "I am so sorry" to their victims before they kill them.[1]

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A Dance with Dragons - Epilogue

Kevan Lannister tried to cry out … to his guards, his wife, his brother … but the words would not come. Blood dribbled from his mouth. He shuddered violently.

"I am sorry." Varys wrung his hands. "You are suffering, I know, yet here I stand going on like some silly old woman. Time to make an end to it." The eunuch pursed his lips and gave a little whistle.

 

The Feast prologue hint's at this, although not with direct words:

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He was halfway down the alley when the cobblestones began to move beneath his feet. The stones are slick and wet, he thought, but that was not it. He could feel his heart hammering in his chest. "What's happening?" he said. His legs had turned to water. "I don't understand."

"And never will," a voice said sadly.
 
The cobblestones rushed up to kiss him. Pate tried to cry for help, but his voice was failing too.
 
His last thought was of Rosey. AFFC-Prologue
 
This sadness, from our assassin who takes Pate's life, whether true or contrived, reminds me of Varys' killing of Kevan. 
 
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"But none in this room, thankfully. This pains me, my lord. You do not deserve to die alone on such a cold dark night. There are many like you, good men in service to bad causes … but you were threatening to undo all the queen's good work, to reconcile Highgarden and Casterly Rock, bind the Faith to your little king, unite the Seven Kingdoms under Tommen's rule. So …" ADWD-Epilogue

The phrase "I am sorry" actually comes up quite often in the story, over sixty times, so it's hard for me to connect it to just the Sorrowful Men. Perhaps, looking at the phrase in regard to death or murder would make it seem clearer.

Certainly there is something going on with Varys, but the idea of the Faceless Men makes a bit more sense to me. Perhaps just because we are seeing that training in Arya's arc, and it seems like we are being told the past for certain characters in the present story of other characters. So many crafty disguises for Varys which really reminds me of Arya, and not just in Braavos. However, it's possible these assassin's, the Faceless Men and the Sorrowful Men are tied together in some way.

 

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1 hour ago, Lady Rhodes said:

See I am less inclined to think that of Varys.  To me, Varys and Littlefinger are two sides of a coin.  Varys is looking out for the people of the realm (now, will his choices always work out the way he thinks? That is another story.  But I think his intention is the good of the people of the realm.)  Littlefinger, on the other hand, is out for himself. Two advisors with very different motives for their actions.

Now, something to consider. The show portrayed the horror of Daenerys being willing to sacrifice thousands of innocents for the sake of the throne, and Varys' willing to commit treason against her to stop her.  But, in truth, how different is it from Varys acting at least in part to orchestrate the entire fall of the Baratheon/Lannister crown?  We know he was working towards it in some regard from Arya's chapter in Game and wanting to put Griff on the throne in Dance.

I like the idea of Varys and Littlefinger being two sides of a manipulation coin. :hat:

I agree Littlefinger wants power for himself, and it would appear that he believes he can manipulate Sansa. I wonder if his plans are to see Sansa securely on a throne with a king, but then have the king die mysteriously so that he can marry Sansa and become king himself?

Varys and Illyrio seem to be working in tandem, but I wonder if they were just hedging their bets by supporting Viserys, Daenerys, and Young Griff? While it does appear that Varys seems to favor Young Griff, it's Dany that Illyrio gave the eggs to. I wonder why? There were three eggs. Couldn't they have given each one of them their own egg to bond with?

Varys claims to value order, stability, and peace above all, and professes loyalty to those who work for those goals as well, but it's hard to take him at his word when he informs Kevan that the reason why he's killing him is because he's interfering with Cersei's "good work".

Would you say Cersei is holding the realm together or tearing it apart? She's trying to emulate her father's strength by having her enemies fear her, but she doesn't adhere to his surprising justness. The realm benefited while Tywin was Hand, because there was less war. As long as Tywin had what he wanted, the people had nothing to fear. Cersei is motivated by fear. Her modus operandi is to kill any threat to her power, while Joffrey killed and tortured for his own debased and cruel pleasure. After Joff's death the season was changing to autumn, but the War of the Five Kings left the countryside unable to harvest enough to set aside. People are going hungry and therefore more receptive to the message of the Faith Militant and their High Sparrow. The realm is deteriorating from bad to worse so I don't know how Varys could claim that this is "good work".

Varys seems to welcome the chaos in order to make it easier for Young Griff to gather support, but if he's been on his side all along, what are his hopes for Daenerys? Does he want the two to marry? Too late for that unless she kills Hizdar and the Harpy. There's too much going on yet in Meereen for Dany to be thinking about invading Westeros anytime soon. This is why I'm doubtful that she will even come at all. The only thing I can see motivating her to suddenly leave and focus on invading Westeros is if Victarion is successful in binding a dragon or two and fly them to Westeros. Those are her children and mothers will do just about anything when they're threatened.

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17 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

I agree Littlefinger wants power for himself, and it would appear that he believes he can manipulate Sansa. I wonder if his plans are to see Sansa securely on a throne with a king, but then have the king die mysteriously so that he can marry Sansa and become king himself?

While it is hard to speculate on Littlefinger's motives beyond that he is out for himself, my hunch is that Sansa is a Catelyn stand-in (I know this isn't a new thought), and I think you are right on the money.  I think he wants Sansa to marry Harry for Harry to mysteriously (or not so mysteriously) die.  My hunch, though, is he will find that Sansa has some of Ned in her, too, enough to make her wiser to his manipulations.

20 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

Varys and Illyrio seem to be working in tandem, but I wonder if they were just hedging their bets by supporting Viserys, Daenerys, and Young Griff? While it does appear that Varys seems to favor Young Griff, it's Dany that Illyrio gave the eggs to. I wonder why? There were three eggs. Couldn't they have given each one of them their own egg to bond with?

Here are my thoughts: They knew that Viserys would be a terrible king.  However, by keeping Aegon secret, Robert's machinations are focused on Viserys and Daenerys, whereas Jon Con and Aegon could live fairly invisibly.  Varys could provide intel on V+D's movements, making him appear loyal to Robert's side and if Viserys died in an assassination plot, they wouldn't really care.  However, they knew that Daenerys, being a woman, could be useful to gaining an army, and they set up the marriage through the Dothraki.  The Golden Company lends to this interpretation during Dance.  I don't think they ever thought the dragon eggs were going to hatch - it was a happy accident, if you will.  Once it happened, though, their plans changed rapidly. My guess is that Jorah's memo to Varys in Qarth was to say about the dragons, which is why Illyrio sent the ships.  As the old adage goes "The best laid plans of mice and men..." 

26 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

why he's killing him is because he's interfering with Cersei's "good work".

Forgive me if I misunderstand you, but I don't think he thinks Cersei is doing good work in the sense that it is good.  She is causing more chaos, which is going to make a Targaryen restoration a welcome sight.  In this sense, Cersei is making his job easier, thus "good work".  He was more upset about Kevan and the Tyrell's cleaning up the mess before the pieces were in place.

Now, if you are saying that by him causing this chaos, he is really not looking out for the people of the realm, I am inclined to agree with you.

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1 hour ago, St Daga said:

The Feast prologue hint's at this, although not with direct words:

 
 
This sadness, from our assassin who takes Pate's life, whether true or contrived, reminds me of Varys' killing of Kevan. 
 

The phrase "I am sorry" actually comes up quite often in the story, over sixty times, so it's hard for me to connect it to just the Sorrowful Men. Perhaps, looking at the phrase in regard to death or murder would make it seem clearer.

Certainly there is something going on with Varys, but the idea of the Faceless Men makes a bit more sense to me. Perhaps just because we are seeing that training in Arya's arc, and it seems like we are being told the past for certain characters in the present story of other characters. So many crafty disguises for Varys which really reminds me of Arya, and not just in Braavos. However, it's possible these assassin's, the Faceless Men and the Sorrowful Men are tied together in some way.

 

It certainly seems so.  The Sorrowful Men are much older than the FM having their origins in Qaarth.  They also whisper: I am so sorry to their victims.  Varys is also known as the whisperer.  And he is light on his feet for an obese man; and can creep up on people unheard.

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Posted (edited)

Varys is never openly opposed to anyone, at least unless he is in the process of killing them.  And he has gone out of his way to appear to help everyone on the iron throne and most people with a claim to it since Aerys.

He might be helping young Griff, Visyres and/or Dany, hedging his bets in to support his second choice if one fails, or only getting close to ensure their failure. 

I don't think he had any idea the dragon eggs might hatch, and would have handled the eggs differently if he knew. 

Edited by Brad Stark

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2 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

I don't think he had any idea the dragon eggs might hatch, and would have handled the eggs differently if he knew.

100% agree.  I think it was a complete fluke.  Interestingly, I think Daenerys' may have actually completed a ritual (perhaps the same one Aegon V did at Summerhall?) that resulted in the dragons being born.  Drogo was on the pyre, as was Mirri Maz Durr.  Now, Mirri was alive, Drogo was already smothered by that point, so I am not sure if that would count as a sacrifice.  Was Rhaego in the pyre as well? That bit I have always been unsure about.

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31 minutes ago, Lady Rhodes said:

Forgive me if I misunderstand you, but I don't think he thinks Cersei is doing good work in the sense that it is good.  She is causing more chaos, which is going to make a Targaryen restoration a welcome sight.  In this sense, Cersei is making his job easier, thus "good work".  He was more upset about Kevan and the Tyrell's cleaning up the mess before the pieces were in place.

Now, if you are saying that by him causing this chaos, he is really not looking out for the people of the realm, I am inclined to agree with you.

He calls it "good work", because whatever he has planned is benefiting from the chaos. Chaos harms the common folk of Westeros. He says it's for "the children". Which children? The Children of the Forest? Rhaegar's children? The children of the realm?

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7 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

He calls it "good work", because whatever he has planned is benefiting from the chaos. Chaos harms the common folk of Westeros. He says it's for "the children". Which children? The Children of the Forest? Rhaegar's children? The children of the realm?

Okay, I think we mean the same thing but are explaining it two different ways haha! So if I understand you correctly, you are agreeing that Varys is referring to Cersei’s work as good only in the sense that the chaos it is generating is benefiting his goal, correct?

i took children to mean the children of the realm (similar to how he discusses matters with Ned Stark in Game)

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Lady Rhodes said:

100% agree.  I think it was a complete fluke.  Interestingly, I think Daenerys' may have actually completed a ritual (perhaps the same one Aegon V did at Summerhall?) that resulted in the dragons being born.  Drogo was on the pyre, as was Mirri Maz Durr.  Now, Mirri was alive, Drogo was already smothered by that point, so I am not sure if that would count as a sacrifice.  Was Rhaego in the pyre as well? That bit I have always been unsure about.

I suspect the Targaryens knew how to hatch dragon eggs all along, but what they didn't realize was that magic had faded, so the ritual stopped working. Aegon and his sisters may have arrived 300 years ago, but soon after magic began tapering off. As magic dwindled, so did the dragons. They got smaller and smaller until finally the last dragon died roughly 150 years ago. The only reason why Daenerys was able to make the ritual work again is, because magic had returned sometime during the False Spring.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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1 minute ago, Lady Rhodes said:

Okay, I think we mean the same thing but are explaining it two different ways haha! So if I understand you correctly, you are agreeing that Varys is referring to Cersei’s work as good only in the sense that the chaos it is generating is benefiting his goal, correct?

i took children to mean the children of the realm (similar to how he discusses matters with Ned Stark in Game)

If Varys truly had the children of the realm in mind he would do whatever prevented war.

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I used to think blood sacrifice was required in order to hatch eggs, but maybe when the realm was full of magic, blood sacrifice was actually unnecessary? Dragon eggs have hatched in the wild, so maybe all it takes is for magic to exist? When the magic began tapering and the eggs weren't always hatching or they hatched, but the dragons began looking sickly, maybe that is when the Targaryens began adding blood sacrifice to strengthen the magic?

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As I hinted above it may be helpful in looking at this question to reverse viewpoints and look at Rugen rather than Varys as the principal.

There's nothing exceptional about his voice. Its not high pitched or girlish and although we didn't see much of him in the flesh I don't recall a titter. He smells of jails and cheap wine, and he close up he has stubble.

Varys on the other hand drenches himself in perfumes and powders and affects an effeminate high-pitched voice - only to cast it aside when alone with the dying Ser Kevan - and as I said earlier, notwithstanding an apocryphal scene in the Mummers' version there is no direct evidence that he is a eunuch. Who troubles to doubt it, given his public persona.

And that I think is the key point. Varys does not disguise himself as Rugen. Why does he need to anyway? Rather Rugen is disguising himself as Varys in order to infiltrate and manipulate the Small Council. 

Rugen is a professional.

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16 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

If Varys truly had the children of the realm in mind he would do whatever prevented war.

Oh, I don't disagree with you.  If you look at my last post on page 13 of this thread, you will see that I said the same thing.  He would be no different that the show version of Daenerys' deciding that it was okay to massacre King's Landing in justification of a better society down the road.

12 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

I used to think blood sacrifice was required in order to hatch eggs, but maybe when the realm was full of magic, blood sacrifice was actually unnecessary? Dragon eggs have hatched in the wild, so maybe all it takes is for magic to exist? When the magic began tapering and the eggs weren't always hatching or they hatched, but the dragons began looking sickly, maybe that is when the Targaryens began adding blood sacrifice to strengthen the magic?

I am interested in your thoughts regarding the False Spring and an event causing magic to reappear.  I posited months ago that I thought Bloodraven crossing the Wall may have done something to the warding - something of the old magic and Valyrian magic intermingling. 

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10 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

As I hinted above it may be helpful in looking at this question to reverse viewpoints and look at Rugen rather than Varys as the principal.

There's nothing exceptional about his voice. Its not high pitched or girlish and although we didn't see much of him in the flesh I don't recall a titter. He smells of jails and cheap wine, and he close up he has stubble.

Varys on the other hand drenches himself in perfumes and powders and affects an effeminate high-pitched voice - only to cast it aside when alone with the dying Ser Kevan - and as I said earlier, notwithstanding an apocryphal scene in the Mummers' version there is no direct evidence that he is a eunuch. Who troubles to doubt it, given his public persona.

And that I think is the key point. Varys does not disguise himself as Rugen. Why does he need to anyway? Rather Rugen is disguising himself as Varys in order to infiltrate and manipulate the Small Council. 

Rugen is a professional.

I'm quite on board with Rugen impersonating Varys. That would be an interesting twist, but isn't Aerys credited with bringing him in from overseas because of his reputation over in Pentos? I guess Illyrio could have chosen to send someone other than Varys, but if he's placed himself in Westeros as an undercover professional, he's playing quite a long game.

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31 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

I'm quite on board with Rugen impersonating Varys. That would be an interesting twist, but isn't Aerys credited with bringing him in from overseas because of his reputation over in Pentos? I guess Illyrio could have chosen to send someone other than Varys, but if he's placed himself in Westeros as an undercover professional, he's playing quite a long game.

Its certainly a long game, but if he is, as a suggest a professional, then the question would become who has placed him.

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12 minutes ago, Lady Rhodes said:

Oh, I don't disagree with you.  If you look at my last post on page 13 of this thread, you will see that I said the same thing.  He would be no different that the show version of Daenerys' deciding that it was okay to massacre King's Landing in justification of a better society down the road.

I am interested in your thoughts regarding the False Spring and an event causing magic to reappear.  I posited months ago that I thought Bloodraven crossing the Wall may have done something to the warding - something of the old magic and Valyrian magic intermingling. 

Bloodraven went to the Wall roughly 67 years ago in 233. I can see how you might think his presence might have an effect on the Wall, but he's basically a skin changer like Jon and the other Stark kids. He himself isn't a magical creature like a dragon or a white walker so he should be able to pass over and back without issue. Even the timing of his departure 13 years later (roughly 246) to live with the Children isn't close enough to when real changes were occurring.

While I think the repeated histories have been going on for as long as the Wall has been in place, the events weren't as close together as they were during the Harrenhal Tourney. The sudden return to winter after only two months of spring indicates a very sudden adjustment, as quickly as a lightning strike, but events didn't begin unraveling and reversing outcomes until Dany's dragon eggs hatched.

The cracking of the eggs describe the breaking world - I prefer wheel of time - however, I am not saying her dragons caused the breaking, but rather the timing just coincided with the reversal. The major damaged had already occurred back in 281. Here's the description of the breaking world:

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She heard a crack, the sound of shattering stone. The platform of wood and brush and grass began to shift and collapse in upon itself. Bits of burning wood slid down at her, and Dany was showered with ash and cinders. And something else came crashing down, bouncing and rolling, to land at her feet; a chunk of curved rock, pale and veined with gold, broken and smoking. The roaring filled the world, yet dimly through the firefall Dany heard women shriek and children cry out in wonder.

Only death can pay for life.

And there came a second crack, loud and sharp as thunder, and the smoke stirred and whirled around her and the pyre shifted, the logs exploding as the fire touched their secret hearts. She heard the screams of frightened horses, and the voices of the Dothraki raised in shouts of fear and terror, and Ser Jorah calling her name and cursing. No, she wanted to shout to him, no, my good knight, do not fear for me. The fire is mine. I am Daenerys Stormborn, daughter of dragons, bride of dragons, mother of dragons, don't you see? Don't you SEE? With a belch of flame and smoke that reached thirty feet into the sky, the pyre collapsed and came down around her. Unafraid, Dany stepped forward into the firestorm, calling to her children.

The third crack was as loud and sharp as the breaking of the world.

 

Someone up thread questioned Euron's age. We can only use approximations, because his name day or age is never mentioned. The wiki calculates his birth year anytime between 256-268, making him 30-42 when A Game of Thrones begins, and 13-25 years old during the tourney at Harrenhal. That's a huge range, but since his eye patch seems to be old news - no one comments on its recent appearance, so I think we can safely assume he's had it a very long time. Long enough for Theon to remember it when he was young before being taken as Ned's ward. We also need to consider his night time visits to Urri and Aeron would have logically occurred while he was young enough to be living at home and not out sailing and plundering - I suppose puberty to young teen. I'd be tempted to say he was 13 during the tourney when lightning struck hard enough to reset winter, damage his eye, awaken his gifts, and for Euron to begin experimenting on his younger brothers...

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35 minutes ago, Lady Rhodes said:

I posited months ago that I thought Bloodraven crossing the Wall may have done something to the warding - something of the old magic and Valyrian magic intermingling. 

What you need to remember here is that just as Jon Snow is Lyanna's son and so more important as a son of Winterfell than as a Targaryen by-blow, so Brynden Rivers is really Bran Blackwood of Raventree Hall.

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2 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

Its certainly a long game, but if he is, as a suggest a professional, then the question would become who has placed him.

It certainly could be Illyrio, there would be nothing to suggest that they aren't working together. But to what aim?

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1 minute ago, Feather Crystal said:

Bloodraven went to the Wall roughly 67 years ago in 233. I can see how you might think his presence might have an effect on the Wall, but he's basically a skin changer like Jon and the other Stark kids. He himself isn't a magical creature like a dragon or a white walker so he should be able to pass over and back without issue. Even the timing of his departure 13 years later (roughly 246) to live with the Children isn't close enough to when real changes were occurring.

Okay, I get what you are saying.  What if something then happened during the disappearance that caused the issue then? Not just the general ranging.  My thoughts were if he has been with the Children, at least some form of magic has been building.

3 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

While I think the repeated histories have been going on for as long as the Wall has been in place, the events weren't as close together as they were during the Harrenhal Tourney. The sudden return to winter after only two months of spring indicates a very sudden adjustment, as quickly as a lightning strike, but events didn't begin unraveling and reversing outcomes until Dany's dragon eggs hatched.

I like your thoughts on repeated histories.  Based on GRRM's interviews and writings regarding his feelings of war, I get the sense that he sees a pointlessness to it, yet notices its cyclical nature.  For instance, WWI was the war to end all wars, which obviously didn't come to pass.   I am curious, though, as to what you mean by "the events weren't as close together as they were during the Harrenhal Tourney"  What events, specifically, are you referring to and how do you connect them?    Are you referring to the False Spring as one event and the hatching of the dragons eggs as the second event, acting like bookends, and they are relatively close together (~15 years)?  Or are you referring to the False Spring as the start of one cycle and the Hatching of the dragons as the start of another cycle and the two cycles are, relatively, close together?   Does that make sense?

8 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

I'd be tempted to say he was 13 during the tourney when lightning struck hard enough to reset winter, damage his eye, awaken his gifts, and for Euron to begin experimenting on his younger brothers...

My only issue with this is that I believe he was with Quellon, Balon and Victarion during the plundering of the Reach at the end of Robert's Rebellion, which leads me to think that he is older than 13.

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