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Just how many people knew about the incest?

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22 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

That is not the implication at all. Cersei is worried about being put aside, if Robert knew the truth she'd have no head, she'd not be put aside she be executed. The language is very deliberate. Unless you are arguing that GRRM does not know the meaning of the word, which I don't think you are, then you have to accept that GRRM knew what he was writing.

She'd also not be concerned with who her replacement was because she'd be dead, her children would be dead. Who replaces a dead Queen is inconsequential.

She is concerned about being set aside, but only if Robert listens to Stark and Stark does not get wind of the accusations that Lady Arryn is harboring. I also think Cersei would be executed as a traitor if this came to light, but clearly she is not thinking along these lines, or at the very least not willing to admit it to Jaime, because it is too frightening to consider.

I doubt very much that Ned would countenance another murder of innocent children, and we already know that Robert doesn't have the stomach for it, which would probably be double for those he thought were his own all these years. But this is beside the point. The conversation in the tower is clear: Cersei is concerned that Ned will convince Robert of the truth of the incest and then she will be removed, not that Robert will simply ditch her for a younger, prettier queen.

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Listen to Stark about what? That Cersei is a biotch? Robert already knows that. What other thing could Robert listen to that would jeopardize Cersei at court other than the incest?

Sure, we can talk about that quote too. In that one, it actually shows that Cersei and Jaime don't see Renly and Stannis as direct threats, because they aren't capable of turning Robert against Cersei. Having them as Hand would be annoying, but they didn't think either of them could get Robert to break from Cersei.

But Cersei is seeing Eddard Stark as a rival to power in the realm, that he's ambitious and means to spur Robert to cut his ties to the Lannisters, and actually has the influence that Renly and Stannis lack. And she's concerned even of the situation where Joffrey inherits, guessing (correctly) that Eddard would become Lord Protector and would again strike against Cersei to have control of her son all by himself. (She's wildly misreading him, but she's paranoid and she projects her own ambitions onto anyone else she feels threatend by).

Yes, Jon Arryn and Lysa are _also_ part of a multi-threaded conversation, but while she fears Lysa might decide to share information with Eddard, their chief concern is Eddard's influence over Robert. Hell, Cersei notes that she doesn't even believe Robert would need proof of some sort for him to get rid of her -- he just needs to be convinced to do so by someone who wants rid of her and who has influence over the king.

Thus, when she talks about a "new Lyanna", she's talking about the fact that Robert's getting "restless" about their situation and that she thinks he's lustful enough that this interest of his could be used by some conniving, ambitious person (in her mind, Eddard!) to throw her over.

And here, too, is yet _another_ thing that speaks against Renly knowing:

Stannis and in time Catelyn and Ned and even Tyrion believe Jon Arryn died because he learned of the incest (in a way, that is indeed why he died, as Littlefinger preferred to cause chaos with his death rather than by having the information get out at that time), and that Cersei moved to get a hold of Robert Arryn to try and silence Lysa on this. Stannis fled King's Landing because his life was in danger for the same knowledge.

Why, then, is Renly out and about for months at court with nary a sign of danger if Cersei thinks he knows? No attempts to murder him in a joust, no hunting accident for him, no poison, nothing, even though Cersei is aware that he's scheming with Loras Tyrell to replace her with Margaery. 

He simply did not know. That's all there is to it.

So we're supposed to believe that Renly knew, but he was so good at hiding it that no one -- not even people who knew he was scheming -- was aware he knew, and he hid the fact even as he went out of his way to bring the topic up on a couple of occasions without anyone going , "Hey, wait a minute, surely you knew!"

 

 

Edited by Ran

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3 hours ago, Ran said:

He wants Tommen away not because of the rumors -- he's no less an alleged bastard born of incest at Casterly Rock than he is at King's Landing, so this idea that this is a response to the claims feels nonsensical to me -- but because Cersei will ruin the boy. She's a toxic mother and Tommen needed to be raised in a different environment (especially given that her attitude towards him -- and Joffrey's behavior towards him -- seems to have left Tommen very soft and timid).

Tywin wilfully blinded himself to it, just as Kevan says. He saw the same signs as others close to the two did but construed them as something other than they were to preserve his vision of what he and his family and his house were.

Do you really think Tywin Lannister had an issue with incest? I don't think so. He was a Targaryen fan boy since childhood, possibly a ward of King Aegon V for a couple of years, and sister-banging Aerys was his best friend. He desired his own first cousin, a woman who may have been as close to him as a sister from childhood. And, most importantly, Tywin Lannister looks down on Robert Baratheon as a drunken fool, a man who is a worse excuse for a king than Aerys the Mad (who had at least the sense to make Tywin his Hand, and who actually attended his own council sessions).

On a subconscious level it must be a relief for him that Cersei's children did not inherit any of those self-destructive Baratheon traits, that they are in fact full-blooded Lannisters and that Joff and Tommen both are pure-blooded Lannister kings.

Cersei is later smart enough to not move the royal court from KL to Casterly Rock because that would make look Tommen even more a Lannister than he already does. Raising a Baratheon prince as a ward at Casterly Rock would also make him look more like a Lannister. Tywin must have known that, too, but he didn't care. In fact, I think Tommen was his choice as a presumptive heir for Casterly Rock after he had made it clear that Tyrion would never get the Rock (which was always clear, anyway), and while Jaime was not yet back from the Riverlands. We can all agree that Tywin wanted his castle and title to pass to one of his own descendants rather than his brother or nephews. But that would have effectively turned Tommen into a Lannister, possibly even leading to him eventually taking the name of his mother.

Whether he ever admitted that to himself we will never know. But that Tywin actually ignored things after the letters is actually not true. His commands to Jaime and Cersei make that clear. Stannis did not send Patches away.

Prior to Stannis' claims I think we can safely say that Tywin did not know, especially not while his twins were still young. Part of the reason here would be that Jaime and Cersei were rarely together - we don't know when Jaime was sent to Crakehall, but one imagines around ten. He would have visited and all, but we don't know when exactly he and Cersei first slept together properly (i.e. after Cersei's first flowering) - could have been as late as the Kingsguard sex when they were 14-15.

Had Tywin known before Cersei married Robert he would have ensured they are not together after the marriage. He would have insisted that Jaime leave the KG. He would have also made it crystal clear to them that he doesn't permit this kind of nonsense since he has dynastic plans for both of them. But he did neither. So, yeah, prior to Stannis' letters he may have not suspected - or he may have ignored whatever hints he may have gotten over the years. But afterwards I don't think he did ignore it. He never spoke about it with anyone, apparently, but that doesn't mean he did not believe it. Tywin is very good at not addressing reality, but this doesn't mean he doesn't know what's going on.

It is the same with Kevan - he also just had the letters but he only speaks about the whole thing aloud after Tywin's death. Perhaps because he knew his brother wouldn't have tolerated talk like that.

2 hours ago, Megorova said:

Shortly after that happened, Johanna died in childbirth. Which means, that at the time, when Jaime and Cersei were caught playing Doctor, Tywin was at Casterly Rock.

This is not a given. Tywin could have only arrived from KL shortly before the birth of the child. If he had been at CR at the time he would have realized that something was amiss, and he would have reacted to it, most likely. Or perhaps not - if Joanna was truly ruling Lord Tywin as the rumors claim, then Tywin may have not interfered with the way she managed the Lannister household. And somehow I don't see Tywin visiting his children before they went to sleep or any such nonsense. He was not exactly the kind of a father who had a close relationship with any of his children.

After Joanna's death in childbirth he would have been occupied with different things.

56 minutes ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

Renly didn't know, which makes him a usurper. 

But I think the main thing, or at least my main take away from this, is that Stannis sent his letters about the incest and the children being Jaime's, but none of these great lords, excluding Doran Martell, seem to care that the throne has been usurped by the Lannisters. 

Him knowing would make him a usurper, too. But he didn't know, of course.

The throne hasn't been usurped by Lannisters, because there is no proof that Cersei's children are not Robert's. Officially they are still Baratheons. Sure, Lannisters run the government, but part of the reason for that is that the two Baratheon uncles rebel against King Joffrey, no ;-).

59 minutes ago, The Sleeper said:

I disagree. It is relevant in terms of characterization, as his invasion of the Riverlands is a lot more sensible than otherwise. And even if he couldn't do anything publicly about the incest, he had dozens of ways of making Cersei's life a living hell. Starting with depriving her of coin. If Jaime was exempt from his sharp lessons Cersei wasn't. 

Not sure what you mean. Tywin's attack on the Riverlands was prompted by Cat's abduction of Tyrion, and his strategy revolved around luring Ned into a trap to exchange him for Tyrion. After that didn't work - thanks to Jaime - the war escalated, but it really only took up steam after Robert was dead - because then Tywin could basically do whatever the hell he wanted.

1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

Sorry, but you're not posting the entire conversation. Before that, she says:

Listen to Stark about what? That Cersei is a biotch? Robert already knows that. What other thing could Robert listen to that would jeopardize Cersei at court other than the incest?

That he listens to Ned in general. Ned is so dangerous to Cersei and all schemers around Robert because he actually loves the man. He trusts him. Varys later hammers home that fact that Robert would never kill Ned no matter how Cersei tried to convince him that he was evil or a traitor.

Cersei fears that Robert is going to be influenced by Ned, that he is going to follow his advice rather than hers - Renly and Stannis are in a different league because Robert is not particularly close to them. Their advice is not going to dominate or even influence Robert's policies much - especially not Stannis' input. But Ned could actually become the real king behind the scenes. If Ned had played his cards well with the goal of becoming the true ruler he could have accomplished that rather easily considering his very strong bond with Robert. Ned still is tremendously influential despite the fact that constantly quarrels with Robert.

1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

There's more:

Those accusations, of course, are that C&J killed her husband because he had found the truth of their incest.

No, just accusations that Cersei/the Lannisters killed Jon Arryn. Or rather: That Cersei wanted to take Robert from Lysa. That would have been her accusation, considering that's the only thing she truly cares about.

1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

So when we get to the quote you posted, sure, Cersei is worried that Robert will set her aside for a new Lyanna, but not just because he wants to shag a younger, more beautiful queen but because the truth of her incest will come out and she will be removed, if not executed as a traitor, and her children disinherited.

Cersei fears that this might come out one day - that's the reason why she wants to see Robert dead sooner rather than later (but not before she has dealt with Stannis and Renly) - but it doesn't seem to be a very strong fear. She seems to be more concerned that Robert might grow tired of her.

1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

My point here is not that Robert cannot set Cersei aside, but that he needs plausible grounds to do that, and simply having a young hot maid waiting in the wings is not enough.

And again - there is no evidence for that. If Cersei committed treason - which fucking Jaime and pretending his bastards are the king's children - then she would not just be set aside. She would be executed as a traitor, and he children would be put down as abominations. The widowed king would then marry a new wife.

Cersei explicitly fears that Robert would set her aside and take a new wife in a scenario where the incest does not come out. And for the hundredth time - the fact that she fears that entails that this is a realistic scenario. Which means King Robert Baratheon can set aside Queen Cersei without having a good reason. Perhaps even without a reason.

The whole annulment process thing Sansa might have to go through to get rid of Tyrion is for lesser people (noble ladies, lords, even princes). But king do what they want. They can effectively get a divorce - and they don't have to care about the wishes of their consorts.

How this goes we don't know - not even whether a king has to go through the Faith to do that. Perhaps he can just draw up a decree and then it is done - sort of like monarchs can legitimize bastards. Considering that marriage seems to be a religious institution it is odd that the king rather than the Faith/High Septon can legitimize bastards. But if he can do that, I see no reason why a king couldn't also end his own marriage.

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20 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

He could have thought Bran might have overheard them scheming, planning a murder, a coup, whatever. Tyrion knows what his siblings are capable of.

And, quite frankly, Bran also overheard them plotting and scheming. He got information that was damaging to Cersei/Jaime as them having sex.

Oh, I'd say convincing Selmy to rediscover his Targaryen allegiance, convincing Drogo to invade the Seven Kingdoms via the wine seller attempt (which I see as a huge setup with there not being poison in the wine at all), and him goading Tyrion into murdering his father.

I'm pretty sure Littlefinger never planned to murder Jon Arryn - even if he did at one point it would have been because he was investigating Cersei/Jaime, because that was essentially endangering his own position at court (Stannis getting more influence at court could have led to his dismissal) - I think Littlefinger suggested to Lysa to murder Jon because she tried to prevent Robert from becoming Stannis' ward. Lysa in her fear and paranoia would only have done that because Littlefinger could ensure her that nobody would ever suspect them - because the Lannisters had the much better motive, which is also the reason why Littlefinger convinced her to sent the letter to Cat.

Stannis does see Jon's death as further evidence that his suspicions are correct. He thinks Cersei had him murdered. That certainly puts both Stannis and Robert in more danger, but it also gives Stannis a much better case to present to Robert. He can say: 'Jon and I investigated your wife and children and then Jon suddenly died.' I mean, in what world would Robert just shrug off such an accusation? He doesn't love Cersei, and he himself wonders how Joffrey can be his son.

Littlefinger's own plans revolve around being everybody's friends - he only fuels the already existing enmity between Ned and the Lannisters, he does not create it. And he does that to remain/become a potential crucial ally for both sides. That's his entire modus operandi. But Stannis sees through him like Tyrion. He cannot work with him and thus he would, in my opinion, never give Stannis any knowledge he could use to strengthen his position at court.

Littlefinger himself may have told Robert about Cersei/Jaime long ago - assuming he could make a good case for that and believed Robert would favor him even more after that - but the fact that Stannis would have also profited from that would have stopped him.

Just as Varys never spilled the beans to anyone important - he likely planned to use this information as a means to discredit/ruin Robert (or Joffrey) and their allies when the time for the Targaryen restoration project had come. And poor Tyrek might still have to play a role in that department. We still don't know how George is going to end the plot of Cersei's children. Will they just die, or will they be disgraced and be publicly denounced as bastards born of incest before they die? We have to wait and see.

I think it is enough for him to know that Cersei wanted Jon Arryn dead. He doesn't need to know that what he believes about the parentage of Cersei's children is actually true. It could be enough for him to believe that Robert would believe Jon if he made such accusations.

But, again, my issue is about the difference between belief and knowledge. Knowledge means that somebody who knew actually told Pycelle (which I don't buy) or that Pycelle actually has evidence/proof making his conviction knowledge rather than a strong belief. And I can't even imagine what such evidence/proof could be.

I think Varys helped Cersei to arrange her meeting with Jaime back when she fucked him into joining the KG - and to convince Aerys II to actually accept Jaime as a KG. I think that's why Cersei told Tyrion once that when she first came to court she thought for a long time that Varys was her best friend there. That would be a reference to her time at court under Aerys II, and it allows her to actually confess her love for Jaime to Varys. Back then she was not yet married to Robert and the risk would have been considerably lower.

Just think of Varys helping Cersei to meet Jaime in a similar way he helped Tyrion to meet Shae again and again.

No king actually grew tired of his queen the way Robert did, did they? At least none of the Targaryen kings. They either loved their queens or wanted to keep them against their will because they liked the power they had over them (Aegon IV). But there were kings who set aside their wives - Baelor set aside Queen Daena, and Aerys I was urged to set aside Queen Aelinor. Nobody saw a problem there.

This wouldn't have been bigamy or polygamy - like Maegor's many marriages (and he only took a second wife, one imagines, because it was out of the question that the High Septon would annul the marriage between his own niece and Maegor!) - it would be the end of one marriage and the start of a new one.

There seem to be different rules for kings in that department than for other people, even princes. Daemon could not set aside Rhea Royce, he had to petition his royal brother who refused him. But a king doesn't have to ask anybody, apparently, when he wants to rid himself of a wife.

How much sense this makes in the context of what we know about annulments, etc. is unclear at this point.

One should George ask what exactly he thinks Renly wanted to accomplish with Margaery and Robert there. But it is clear that he intended to make Margaery Robert's new and only queen, and that Cersei feared Robert could simply replace her with a new Lyanna. She does say this to Jaime early on in AGoT. It is an established fact in those novels, we cannot go behind that.

Just as it is a fact that Renly didn't know about the incest, didn't even suspect it. Because as @Ran has pointed out repeatedly - Renly would have talked and acted much differently if he had known. And that starts in AGoT and ends in ACoK.

Like I said, possible on Tyrion, but even when we get to the point when he does know for sure, it's not like it comes as a big surprise to him. So he clearly knew before, the question is when, and I don't believe there is any text in his PoVs between these two events in which the truth suddenly dawned on him. So I'll stick with my working assumption that he knew at Winterfell, and probably long before that, but maybe never had it confirmed.

Meh, we don't know if Varys planted that idea in Selmy's head or simply told him that there is a Targaryen out there and I can bring you to her. Selmy went through Illyrio, after all, which would seem unlikely if he thought the whole idea was his own. The wineseller plot could very well have killed both Dany and Drogo, so I think it's a stretch to say that he was putting ideas in anyone's head with this one. Tyrion had already made up his mind to kill his father. All Varys did was show him the way. This is all very different from how Littlefinger operates.

I'm sure I'm misunderstanding you because Littlefinger definitely planned to murder Jon Arryn. He told Lysa to put the poison in his food, which he had to know would kill a 75 year old man. Sorry, I don't buy this idea that Stannis could get LF dismissed, even if he became Hand, which was never a likely possibility. LF serves at Robert's discretion, and as long as LF keeps the dragons coming, he is safe no matter what Stannis thinks of him. Yes, the Lannisters seemingly have a better motive to kill Jon, all because Jon is investigating the incest. Once again, LF is the beneficiary of incredibly good fortune that someone else put this particular bug in Jon's ear.

If Jon's murder bolstered Stannis' case and he could have easily gone to Robert, then why did he flee?

Why would LF bring such a thing to Robert? This is a serious charge to lay before the queen, and he has absolutely no proof other than blonde hair and green eyes. And even if he is successful and doesn't find himself on the block for spreading false calumnies about the queen, what would be the upside for him? A castle and new title? Not much a reward for risking your life.

Pycelle knows more than just that Cersei wanted him dead. He knows that Jon knew about . . . about . . . But yes, what Pycelle knows vs. what he's been told may be a distinction. It's fair to say that he is certain about enough to understand what must be done without being told.

Interesting notion about Varys and Cersei, and it seems that Cersei was rather naïve back then, so she may have trusted Varys with this information. On the other hand, incest is a very shameful thing -- something few people would blurt out, even to their best friend. And it seems to me that Cersei would have all the tools necessary to convince Aerys to take Jaime without Varys' involvement.

Baelor set aside Daena with the approval of the High Septon. The marriage had never been consummated. Aerys I marriage was likewise never consummated, and in the end he did not set her aside. Other Targ kings who persisted in less than loving marriages:

  • Aegon I could not abide Visenya. 
  • Viserys I kept Alicent despite rumors of promiscuity and plotting to replace Rhaenyra as heir, the same thing for which her father was removed as Hand.
  • Aegon II kept Helaena as his queen long after she lost her marbles following the murder of her son. (Although, to be fair, Aegon had quite a lot on his plate)
  • And then, of course, Aerys and Rhaella

So there were plenty of Targ kings who could have set aside their wives for women more to their liking, but none of them did. So how you can say that this is such an easy thing to do for whatever reason the king wants is beyond me. This can only mean that kings, even dragon kings, cannot do this by fiat. They need the approval of the High Septon and they have to have good cause.

Renly is not the one behind the Margaery plot. Nobody gives Margaery's hand away without Lady Olenna's approval, and she is certainly smart enough to realize that without removing Cersei and all three children from the line of succession, then Queen Margaery is of little use.

 

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38 minutes ago, Ran said:

Why, then, is Renly out and about for months at court with nary a sign of danger if Cersei thinks he knows?

Because Renly was not like Stannis. Renly had friends and was loved/liked by many people, including people at court. If Stannis one day got killed in some shady alley of KL, no one would have missed him, not even Robert. When Ned Stark was ambushed by Jaime and his people, eight of Ned's people died. Stannis, prior meeting Melisandre, had only Davos. And Renly had thirty men in his personal guard at the capital. So it wasn't as easy to ambush him. Furthermore, he was more cautious than Ned. Unlike Ned, Renly was smart enough to get away from KL in just the right time. He was more daring than Stannis, and was staying at KL, trying to accomplish his goal, for as long as it was not too treatening for his life. Most likely Renly had a food taster, which prevented anyone from trying to poison him. And Cersei couldn't try to stage his death during tournament, that would have been seen as an attempted murder, not an accident. Probably he never went alone anywhere, without his guards, so it would have been hard to ambush him, like what happened to Ned. And as long as Robert was alive, Cersei couldn't do anything to Renly. So, just because Cersei wasn't doing anything, it doesn't mean that Renly didn't knew about incest. Otherwise, why was Renly intending to introduce Robert to his new prospective wife, Margaery? Why did he thought, that Robert will cast Cersei aside? Also, Cersei probably didn't tried to kill Renly, because same as Ned, she thought that in case of Robert's death, the one who will take his place, if it will be revealed, that his children are not his, will be Stannis. Thus for Cersei Stannis was a bigger threat than Renly. Renly would have became a threat only after Stannis' death. I always thought that Renly did knew, that he found out about incest approximately at the same time as Stannis. Because by the time of Starks' arrival to KL, Renly already had with him Margaery's portrait, and I don't think that it was his (\or Loras') habit to carry with him miniature portraits of some woman, just because she is sister of his lover (\his sister).

42 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

And somehow I don't see Tywin visiting his children before they went to sleep or any such nonsense.

I think that the guard was stationed at Cersei's door 24/7. Otherwise - what would be the point? It's not like Cersei and Jaime could have had sex only near bedtime. Thus the guard/guards had to keep vigil all the time. And when Cersei was not in her room, she was accompanied everywhere by her lady-in-waiting. If Johanna was aware of what was going on between her kids (and she did knew), and she wanted to stop those things from continuing (and she did tried), then she would have been more thorough with it, preventing their encounters in Cersei's bedroom and away from it too. Otherwise, what's the point?

And it seems more likely, that even after Johanna's death, Cersei and Jaime were still watched. This ->

"After being separated from Jaime following their mother's discovery of their sexual experimenting, Cersei had numerous bedmaids and companions, daughters of Tywin's bannermen and household knights who were of an age with her. While Cersei occasionally appreciated their company, she had not liked any of them, believing them weak and convinced they were trying to come between her and Jaime.[23] "

Otherwise he would have impregnated her long ago. And because that didn't happened, I think, that even after Johanna's death anti-incest patrol continued their duty, and that would have been unlikely, unless they were ordered to do so by Tywin.

50 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

He was not exactly the kind of a father who had a close relationship with any of his children.

After Joanna's death in childbirth he would have been occupied with different things.

Then why did he took Cersei with him to KL, if not to prevent Jaime visiting her at Casterly Rock, while Tywin was on Hand duty at the capital, and Cersei was home alone?

Jaime went to Crackehall in 277. Cersei joined royal court at KL in 278. Tyrion was left alone at Casterly Rock.

Tywin offered to Aerys a marriage between Cersei and Rhaegar, that was in 276, and Aerys refused. So the reason why Tywin took Cersei with him to KL, was not to make her and Rhaegar acquaintances, prior they would have married. Because that possibility had already been dismissed.

If Tywin wasn't close to his children, then why did he took Cersei with him to KL? Not Jaime, not Tyrion, only Cersei. Why, if not to keep her away from Jaime?

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On 6/18/2019 at 9:39 PM, UnFit Finlay said:

To use Ned.

Robert wasn't going to live forever, after all, and Littlefinger's position as Master of Coin wasn't exactly iron clad - He was the most minor and least influential of Lords with a hugely important position. Littlefinger "helping" Ned with his investigation and gaining his trust meant that he could manipulate him in the future.

I honestly believe that Baelish was sincere when he encouraged Ned to rule through Joffrey, and things would've turned out differently had Ned agreed. As it was, it really didn't matter, because Littlefinger  had kept his hands clean and was able to use Ned to gain the trust of House Lannister instead. Either way, Stannis was out of the picture.

Plus the cat was already out of the bag at that point. Stannis already knew about Joffrey's real parents. Jon Arryn's death had scared him off but it was only a matter of time before the truth came out. He couldn't hide on Dragonstone forever, after all. Robert would command him to come back and explain himself at some point.

And how exactly is that contrary to my point? 

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

1. Had Tywin known before Cersei married Robert he would have ensured they are not together after the marriage.

2. He would have insisted that Jaime leave the KG.

3. He would have also made it crystal clear to them that he doesn't permit this kind of nonsense since he has dynastic plans for both of them.

1. And how he could have done that? Robert was the King. Cersei was his wife. And Jaime was a Kingsguard. Tywin was away at Casterly Rock, and Jaime was near Cersei all the time.

2. That's impossible. KG serve for life. And Jaime got away with what he did during the Sack of KL, just because he had remained as part of royal court, so he was under the King's protection. Otherwise Martells would have killed him long ago.

3. Cersei became the Queen. And who was Tywin to order her around?

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

 

And again - there is no evidence for that. If Cersei committed treason - which fucking Jaime and pretending his bastards are the king's children - then she would not just be set aside. She would be executed as a traitor, and he children would be put down as abominations. The widowed king would then marry a new wife.

Cersei explicitly fears that Robert would set her aside and take a new wife in a scenario where the incest does not come out. And for the hundredth time - the fact that she fears that entails that this is a realistic scenario. Which means King Robert Baratheon can set aside Queen Cersei without having a good reason. Perhaps even without a reason.

The whole annulment process thing Sansa might have to go through to get rid of Tyrion is for lesser people (noble ladies, lords, even princes). But king do what they want. They can effectively get a divorce - and they don't have to care about the wishes of their consorts.

How this goes we don't know - not even whether a king has to go through the Faith to do that. Perhaps he can just draw up a decree and then it is done - sort of like monarchs can legitimize bastards. Considering that marriage seems to be a religious institution it is odd that the king rather than the Faith/High Septon can legitimize bastards. But if he can do that, I see no reason why a king couldn't also end his own marriage.

Sorry Varys, but there is no case in the history of Westeros in which a king was able to ditch his wife just because he grew tired of her. Saying this is so without offering a single example should be the first clue that your interpretation is wrong.

Cersei fears that Robert will set her aside if he listens to Ned and if Ned starts believing Lysa's accusations. It's right there in the text. Only after those fears are expressed does she talk about being replaced by Margaery.

Only the High Septon can grant a divorce, and even then only from an unconsummated marriage. This is stated multiple times in the text, as I've posted. I would imagine there are certain cases in which a consummated marriage could be set aside, as in father children from your brother rather than your husband, but no simply because you want to trade an old queen for a new one. Robert just may be mad enough to try this, but he would certainly have a fight on his hands.

If this is such an easy thing to do, then why has it never happened, ever, despite numerous kings who grew to despise their wives?

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20 minutes ago, Megorova said:

Because Renly was not like Stannis. Renly had friends and was loved/liked by many people, including people at court. If Stannis one day got killed in some shady alley of KL, no one would have missed him, not even Robert.

So Renly is the only person with a personal guard? The only person with a household? Absurd.

Quote

When Ned Stark was ambushed by Jaime and his people, eight of Ned's people died. Stannis, prior meeting Melisandre, had only Davos. And Renly had thirty men in his personal guard at the capital. So it wasn't as easy to ambush him.

You can kill him by "accident" at the tourney, you can poison him, you can make it look like he picked up the wrong boy whore and got stabbed, etc., etc.

Renly is not concerned for his safety at court while Robert is alive because he doesn't have, nor is he suspected of having, knowledge of the incest.

Look, if you want to stick with the head-canon that Renly knew, go for it. But you do it by willfully ignoring all the evidence, implicit and explicit, that he did not know, that his scheming was predicated on an ambition to increase his influence and that of the Tyrells and to diminish that of the Lannisters, and that's it. People are way too wound up about not knowing exactly what his plan was and convincing themselves that they know what the plan must have been.

As to the question of what Robert could or could not do, Renly believed that a king could do what he could get away with. Robert had proved it when overthrew Aerys and set himself up as king. He doesn't care about any past precedent beyond that, and hoped to convince Robert of the same. And, very clearly, Cersei believed the same thing, that Robert could try to get rid of her without any proof simply out of a desire to get rid of her.

Edited by Ran

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A general issue:

We have to differentiate between the romantic/sexual affair of Jaime/Cersei and the parentage of the children. The former is a thing people could figure out or deduce easier - interpreting looks and interactions between/of the twins - but the latter is something nobody could have possibly truly suspected or believed while Robert was still alive - because Robert himself had acknowledged and treated Cersei's children as his own.

Which by and far means that Robert had - or believed he had had - sex with Cersei around the time of the conception of each of the children. Whatever contraception exist in Westeros doesn't enable a woman to decide which of her multiple sex partners is going to impregnate her. There are no condoms in this world.

Even those people who may have been open to the idea that Cersei may have an affair with Robert would have been in a very bad position trying to prove their claims that the king's children weren't his.

Which is the reason why I think Jon Arryn never told Robert while he lay dying - despite the fact that Robert sat at his bedside for hours, meaning the man had more than enough time to spill the beans. His mind only wandered when he finally died. The book and the looks of the Baratheon bastards are not evidence, and they are most definitely not evidence against the belief of the king that he fucked his wife at the right time.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Like I said, possible on Tyrion, but even when we get to the point when he does know for sure, it's not like it comes as a big surprise to him. So he clearly knew before, the question is when, and I don't believe there is any text in his PoVs between these two events in which the truth suddenly dawned on him. So I'll stick with my working assumption that he knew at Winterfell, and probably long before that, but maybe never had it confirmed.

Compare this to Tyrion's knowledge about Aegon. We can surmise Haldon told him everything but what did he know or suspect before he talked to Haldon? We will never know because the narrator didn't tell us. He didn't even tell us whether anything Haldon told Tyrion did surprise him. Just as we still don't know whether Tyrion caught Illyrio's talk about 'the noblest lad' and concluded that, if Aegon is fake, he might be Illyrio's son by this Serra woman.

It is basically the same with Tyrion's 'knowledge' about his siblings. We don't know what he knew or suspected.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Meh, we don't know if Varys planted that idea in Selmy's head or simply told him that there is a Targaryen out there and I can bring you to her. Selmy went through Illyrio, after all, which would seem unlikely if he thought the whole idea was his own.

I meant the fact of Selmy's dismissal. That was Varys' doing, and Varys knew Selmy well enough to know that he only needed to be nudged a little to return to the Targaryens.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

The wineseller plot could very well have killed both Dany and Drogo, so I think it's a stretch to say that he was putting ideas in anyone's head with this one.

I don't think it could, because I don't buy for a moment that there was poison in the wine. The wine seller just believed it was poisoned. He was given that closed special cask by Varys' agents. And it is quite clear that the attempt on Dany/Drogo's life convinced Drogo to actually invade Westeros. Varys manipulated him without ever talking to him directly.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Tyrion had already made up his mind to kill his father. All Varys did was show him the way. This is all very different from how Littlefinger operates.

Varys does everything he can to alienate Tyrion from his family. And he must have helped Tywin to get Shae up there - or know that she is there. Varys may not have foreseen the Tysha revealed but he clearly counted on Shae being there causing Tyrion to kill his father. In fact, it is also quite clear that Varys always intended to use Shae as a pawn to finally separate Tyrion from his family - that's the only reason why he helped Tyrion to continue to see her in ASoS and why he kept their relationship a secret ... until he no longer did.

Littlefinger is less subtle. He directly puts ideas in the heads of people. But he can also manipulate the scenario and the surroundings so that people behave like they are supposed to behave even if they don't know the script (e.g. the jousting dwarfs).

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

I'm sure I'm misunderstanding you because Littlefinger definitely planned to murder Jon Arryn. He told Lysa to put the poison in his food, which he had to know would kill a 75 year old man.

Sure, but I don't buy the idea that he came up with the idea of murdering Jon. I think it went like that:

1. Stannis and Jon investigate things.

2. Lysa learns from the Walder-Jon conversation at the tourney that Robert is going to become Stannis' ward. She is desperate.

3. She asks Littlefinger for help who tells her to poison Jon with the Tears of Lys.

This is not some master plan, it is a means to solve Lysa's problem. It is also not unlikely that Lysa told Littlefinger about Jon's investigation and he came up with the letter idea because he realized that Cersei would have the much better motive. It is also not unlikely that Lysa only dared murder her husband because she was confident that nobody would suspect her.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Sorry, I don't buy this idea that Stannis could get LF dismissed, even if he became Hand, which was never a likely possibility. LF serves at Robert's discretion, and as long as LF keeps the dragons coming, he is safe no matter what Stannis thinks of him.

I don't buy that - because if Jon were to tell Robert, and Robert would believe the story, then both Jon and Stannis would reap the rewards from uncovering this treason. Stannis had been at odds with Littlefinger for quite some time, he and Jon had been investigating Slynt's corruption. And Robert certainly would have to really count on Jon, Stannis, (and Renly) during the subsequent campaign against Tywin.

Not to mention that Jon/Stannis could jump on the chance to cleanse the entire court of 'Lannister influence' in the wake of the downfall of Cersei/Jaime. Many men might be accused of being co-conspirators or confidants of the incest couple.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Yes, the Lannisters seemingly have a better motive to kill Jon, all because Jon is investigating the incest. Once again, LF is the beneficiary of incredibly good fortune that someone else put this particular bug in Jon's ear.

If Littlefinger needed someone to put the bug in Jon's ear he would have used Lysa. That would have been much easier.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

If Jon's murder bolstered Stannis' case and he could have easily gone to Robert, then why did he flee?

As I and others have said a couple of times - because he was pissed that Robert chose Ned as Hand instead of him. Stannis is not afraid, he is hurt. He abandons both Robert and Ned to their fates, allowing Cersei to target and eventually kill them.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Why would LF bring such a thing to Robert? This is a serious charge to lay before the queen, and he has absolutely no proof other than blonde hair and green eyes. And even if he is successful and doesn't find himself on the block for spreading false calumnies about the queen, what would be the upside for him? A castle and new title? Not much a reward for risking your life.

He wouldn't - because he couldn't make a good case. My point was that even if he - or anyone - could make a good case he would not make it because it would profit Stannis. And Stannis is not a man Littlefinger wants to see climb higher at court.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Pycelle knows more than just that Cersei wanted him dead. He knows that Jon knew about . . . about . . . But yes, what Pycelle knows vs. what he's been told may be a distinction. It's fair to say that he is certain about enough to understand what must be done without being told.

That's what I meant by post hoc - Pycelle said 'he knew' after everybody 'sort of knew' from Stannis' letter. How can we be sure that he was as sure about 'the thing' as he was back before the letters were sent? I don't think we can.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Interesting notion about Varys and Cersei, and it seems that Cersei was rather naïve back then, so she may have trusted Varys with this information. On the other hand, incest is a very shameful thing -- something few people would blurt out, even to their best friend. And it seems to me that Cersei would have all the tools necessary to convince Aerys to take Jaime without Varys' involvement.

I don't buy the latter, since I don't buy for a moment Cersei came up with the ridiculous notion that Jaime should join the KG all by herself. I also don't buy for a moment that Cersei could meet and fuck Jaime in the middle of KL without Varys knowing. He found Shae immediately. And we are talking about 14-15-years-old who cannot smart out Varys as adults...

My guess is that Varys fed the idea that Jaime would be a great KG to both Aerys II and Cersei - to Aerys II to steal Tywin's heir (with the ultimate goal of forcing him to resign - something Varys may have done for his own gain as well as his king's), to Cersei so Jaime would be at court and they could be together/fuck. I don't think Cersei would have told Varys her feelings for Jaime out of the blue - it is more likely he would have figured it out himself and then got her to confess them by gaining her trust. Aerys II was very afraid of Tywin, so Varys first and most important job would have been to investigate Tywin and the other Lannisters. It shouldn't have been that hard to figure out what was going on between Tywin's twins, especially if we assume Varys put also spies among the Lannister servants both in the Red Keep and at Casterly Rock.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Baelor set aside Daena with the approval of the High Septon. The marriage had never been consummated.

King Baelor claims it was never consummated. We don't know whether the man is sincere there. Baelor and Daena married while Daeron I was still alive, and before Baelor got bitten by the vipers. And the whole Maidenvault thing sort of implies the king was very aware of the feminine charms of his (potential) sister-wife/wives.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Aerys I marriage was likewise never consummated, and in the end he did not set her aside.

True, but it is obvious that he could have set her aside whether it was consummated or not.

We don't have Targaryen king precedents for the setting aside of wives who had born their royal husbands children, but there are numerous such examples for the pre-Conquest kings.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Other Targ kings who persisted in less than loving marriages:

  • Aegon I could not abide Visenya.

Yeah, okay, they could no longer stand each other in old age, but they were both brother and sister and husband and wife. One assumes this is generally a stronger bond than one between husband and wife alone. In our world people divorce all the time, but fewer people 'divorce' their siblings/birth family.

Besides, Visenya rode a pretty large dragon. Aegon would have risk destroying everything he accomplished by pushing Visenya away. It could have led to her and Maegor contesting Aenys' succession.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:
  • Viserys I kept Alicent despite rumors of promiscuity and plotting to replace Rhaenyra as heir, the same thing for which her father was removed as Hand.

There are no such rumors for Alicent. Viserys I loved his second wife and showered her with gifts and favors throughout their entire marriage. There is only one thing he never gave her - the succession change. Everything else she got.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:
  • Aegon II kept Helaena as his queen long after she lost her marbles following the murder of her son. (Although, to be fair, Aegon had quite a lot on his plate)

Well, that's a bad example, considering Aegon II was basically only king for a couple of weeks after Helaena went mad. And he was in no position to set her aside, one would assume, while their mother was still around, because she certainly wouldn't have approved. Not to mention it would have been utter nonsense to push the rider of Dreamfyre away.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:
  • And then, of course, Aerys and Rhaella

They did their duty to the Realm and their family and 'prophecy'.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

So there were plenty of Targ kings who could have set aside their wives for women more to their liking, but none of them did. So how you can say that this is such an easy thing to do for whatever reason the king wants is beyond me. This can only mean that kings, even dragon kings, cannot do this by fiat. They need the approval of the High Septon and they have to have good cause.

We actually don't yet know whether non-consummation is the only way to get an annulment. Could be - or, if George follows the Catholic example here, that a forced marriage, a marriage under false pretenses, etc. are also grounds for an annulment.

But the talk - 'setting aside a wife' - doesn't sound like annulment - which is a tedious process where evidence is examined, etc. - it sounds as if a king can just get rid of an unwanted wife. And we know that the king is the master of the Church in this world since Jaehaerys I. He added a new doctrine to the Faith, and Baelor the Blessed was most likely the true High Septon during his reign, too.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Renly is not the one behind the Margaery plot. Nobody gives Margaery's hand away without Lady Olenna's approval, and she is certainly smart enough to realize that without removing Cersei and all three children from the line of succession, then Queen Margaery is of little use.

Where do you get that? Olenna is cleaning up Mace's mess in ASoS. He agreed to make Loras a KG which she realized was the recipe for a tragedy. So Joff had to go. Had she made the call she may not have agreed to the Joffrey match in the first place - just as she was opposed to the Renly nonsense.

Olenna doesn't rule House Tyrell. Mace got his ambition from her, but he doesn't always listen to her. The only evidence we have where he actually is hectored by Olenna is the Willas-Cersei idea, but chances are not that low that she merely pointed out that Cersei was rather old already, and otherwise unsuited for Willas. This doesn't mean Mace always asks his mother for advice - or gives a damn what she says. The man is ambitious and rather full of himself. Such people usually don't ask mommy for help on a regular basis.

If Robert had asked Mace for Margaery's hand he would have given it to him - not matter what his dear mother had to say on the matter.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Sorry Varys, but there is no case in the history of Westeros in which a king was able to ditch his wife just because he grew tired of her. Saying this is so without offering a single example should be the first clue that your interpretation is wrong.

Check TWoIaF - there are precedents - rather old ones but they are there. Also note that the validity of the marriage of Viserys II and Larra Rogare was not exactly certain. Part of the deal to return Viserys was that the marriage must not be set aside for any reason - implying that there could be more than one reason (non-consummation).

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Cersei fears that Robert will set her aside if he listens to Ned and if Ned starts believing Lysa's accusations. It's right there in the text. Only after those fears are expressed does she talk about being replaced by Margaery.

The text that does imply that this is all one case. Cersei jumps around, she doesn't make a case based on a couple of interdependent arguments.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Only the High Septon can grant a divorce, and even then only from an unconsummated marriage. This is stated multiple times in the text, as I've posted. I would imagine there are certain cases in which a consummated marriage could be set aside, as in father children from your brother rather than your husband, but no simply because you want to trade an old queen for a new one. Robert just may be mad enough to try this, but he would certainly have a fight on his hands.

No, both the High Septon and a council of the Faith (whatever that is) can grant an annulment. What's needed to set a side a wife/marriage if you are the king is by no means clear at this point. It is also clear that princes do petitions kings rather than High Septons or Faith officials if they want to set aside their wives (e.g. Prince Daemon). Rogar Baratheon also implies that he doesn't need anyone's permission to unmake Jaehaerys I's marriage.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

If this is such an easy thing to do, then why has it never happened, ever, despite numerous kings who grew to despise their wives?

Because none of them apparently wanted to replace them. Just as Aegon I never took a third, fourth, fifth, etc. wife despite the fact that he had two wives already.

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3 hours ago, Ran said:

Look, if you want to stick with the head-canon that Renly knew, go for it. But you do it by willfully ignoring all the evidence, implicit and explicit, that he did not know, that his scheming was predicated on an ambition to increase his influence and that of the Tyrells and to diminish that of the Lannisters, and that's it.

I just kind of doubt, that Renly expected that Robert will just cast Cersei aside, without valid reason, and will marry with Margaery, just because he got bored of Cersei. They were married for 15 years, so why now? Also, even if Rob did married with Marge, his heir would have still been Joffrey. So, what's the point of that marriage between Rob and Marge, if after his death, she will become no one, and even if there will be children, born in that marriage, they all will be just sent away from court, together with their mother, when Robert would have died? And what about Tywin? Was Renly expecting that Tywin will let it slide, if Robert will "divorce" with Cersei without any valid reason? Would have the Faith accepted that sort of actions from Robert? Would they have annulled, or whatever, Robert's first marriage, just because he's the King, and that's what he wants? What's the point of removing Cersei, without removing her children too? Or Renly expected that Robert will also cast aside his three children, same as their mother? Without a reason? Why would Robert do that?

There's no point in that marriage, and it won't make Tyrells stronger and Lannisters weaker, if Cersei's children will remain at court. They will be an obstacle between Iron Throne and Marge's children, between Renly and power (if that was what he wanted to get out of this situation). So, unless Renly did knew about incest, and he planned to use this, as justification for Robert to get rid of Cersei and her children, then what were Renly's expectations? Obviously, I could be totally wrong about this, but logically thinking, an assumption, that Renly did knew, is fairly valid.

And I think that Renly, unlike Stannis, wasn't informing general public of 7K of what he knew about Lancest, and that Cersei's children are bastards, and thus has no right to rule, because of two reasons: 1. Renly couldn't use this approach, because he also had no right to rule. He was Robert's younger brother. He was the Lord of Stormlands, but Stannis was the Prince of Dragonstone, and the older brother, thus he was the King's heir, not Renly. So, if Renly would have used for his "political campaign" a reasoning, that Joffrey has no right to rule, that could have brought people's attention to Renly's own illegitimacy as a claimant for Iron Throne. 2. If Renly admitted that he did knew about incest, then he would have admitted that he's guilty in high treason, and that he was Cersei's accomplice in Robert's murder (he was aware that she may kill Robert, to protect herself and her children, but Renly did nothing to warn Robert). Unlike Stannis, he couldn't have claimed, that he had no idea, that Robert's life was in any danger from Lannisters and Cersei. Stannis was able to say, that when he left KL, he was worried for safety of his wife and daughter, that were away at Dragonstone, and that when he was leaving KL, King Robert was well, and under protection of his Kingsguards (only one of whom was a Lannister). Also Renly couldn't have let the Starks to find out, that he did knew everything, though he escaped from KL, saving his own hide, and left Ned to take the fall. And he didn't wanted his own people, supporters and allies to know that he is a kinslayer. That would have stained his public image. And because he was intending (sort of) to take Iron Throne with his charisma (ignoring the fact that he had less rights than Stannis, and wagering his win on him being more liked by people of 7K), that reveal was unacceptable.

Or I could be totally wrong about this. But we don't have Renly's POV, thus, whether he knew or whether he didn't knew, is speculative. I see in the books more evidences of Renly knowing, than him not knowing.

P.S. In my opinion the biggest (though circumstantial) clue of Renly knowing, is his misbelief, that Margaery looked similar to Lyanna. Someone, who saw Lyanna, and knew how she looked like, intentionally misinformed Renly, that Margaery is recembling Lyanna, Robert's lost love. And that someone (in my opinion - Littlefinger) informed Renly about Lancest, and suggested that Renly should offer a new wife to Robert, and that that new wife should be Margaery Tyrell, because she is supposedly looks like Lyanna Stark. Margaery, looking like Lyanna is irrelevant, unless Renly was intending to introduce her to Robert, to facilitate their marriage, and that would have been possible, only if Robert casted Cersei aside, and that would have happened, if Robert found out about Lancest, and for Renly to scheme all that, he had to be aware of Lancest.

Edited by Megorova

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34 minutes ago, Megorova said:

I just kind of doubt, that Renly expected that Robert will just cast Cersei aside, without valid reason, and will marry with Margaery, just because he got bored of Cersei. They were married for 15 years, so why now?

Yet she herself says he's getting "more restless every day" about their situation when they were in Winterfell. But it's not Stannis or Renly who concern her most in relation to this, it's "[h]aving Stark beside him" that will "make him worse", the Eddard Stark she believes does not know anything about the incest.

So "why now?" Well, we don't exactly know why or how Robert was getting "restless" But for that matter, we have independent acknowledgment that something had been changing about Robert, because Varys tells Ned in the black cells that "Robert was becoming unruly" in relation to Cersei and the Lannisters.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Ran said:

Yes, Jon Arryn and Lysa are _also_ part of a multi-threaded conversation, but while she fears Lysa might decide to share information with Eddard, their chief concern is Eddard's influence over Robert. Hell, Cersei notes that she doesn't even believe Robert would need proof of some sort for him to get rid of her -- he just needs to be convinced to do so by someone who wants rid of her and who has influence over the king.

Thus, when she talks about a "new Lyanna", she's talking about the fact that Robert's getting "restless" about their situation and that she thinks he's lustful enough that this interest of his could be used by some conniving, ambitious person (in her mind, Eddard!) to throw her over.

That's pretty much it. I'm not sure Cersei really sees as a player/rival, but she definitely sees him as somebody who could break whatever influence she has over Robert - something Robert's brothers could never do - and that's, of course, a problem for her and her ambitions. Ned is Robert's only true friend, a man who would actually put Robert's interests first when push came to shove, not his own, unlike Robert's brothers.

I'm not sure why people rarely considering how rotten and dysfunctional a family those Baratheon brothers are, but they are much worse than the Lannister siblings and their dad. Tyrion is very loyal to his family until the end of ACoK despite the fact that father, sister, and royal nephew don't exactly favor him. There is a deep love between Jaime and Cersei, and a brotherly love between Jaime and Tyrion.

Perhaps it is because Robert-Stannis-Renly are rarely discussed by George as a family? Because they never show up together in the entire series and don't really interact in the story in the entire first book?

If we judge Renly, Stannis, Joffrey, and Cersei (as a Baratheon by marriage) as a family, then this is actually much, much worse than the Dance or the civil war after Aenys' death. Here we have a family where one brother abandons the other to his enemies, preparing for a succession war without having actual proof that his nephew is not his biological nephew (and even if that were true what Stannis plans to do to Cersei's children is still wrong), another brother who jumps on the chance the death of his brothers gives him to steal the throne from both his nephew(s) and older brother, resulting in these brothers being willing to kill each other (and one doing by using sorcery). The sister-in-law also prepared to ruin or destroy those brothers while the king was still alive, but that actually is nothing compared to what those brothers did to each other. Without Catelyn's help, Renly and Stannis would have likely never even met to negotiate with each other.

I mean, if we take Stannis' deed as an example - what he did is basically akin to Prince Maekar sulking at Summerhall in a scenario where he believed Bloodraven and/or Queen Aelinor had conspired to murder Daeron II/Valarr/Matarys and were now preparing kill King Aerys I, too. But because Aerys I refused to make Maekar Hand, Maekar now doesn't feel the need to inform his brother about his beliefs.

And Renly is basically akin to Aemond or Daeron the Daring deciding midway during the Dance that neither Rhaenyra nor Aegon II are the rightful kings but they should be. And them being prepared to go through with that till the end.

1 hour ago, Ran said:

Yet she herself says he's getting "more restless every day" about their situation when they were in Winterfell. But it's not Stannis or Renly who concern her most in relation to this, it's "[h]aving Stark beside him" that will "make him worse", the Eddard Stark she believes does not know anything about the incest.

So "why now?" Well, we don't exactly know why or how Robert was getting "restless" But for that matter, we have independent acknowledgment that something had been changing about Robert, because Varys tells Ned in the black cells that "Robert was becoming unruly" in relation to Cersei and the Lannisters.

I think we can say that Robert's musings about giving up the crown might be a symptom of that. Under different circumstances - no Targaryen/Dothraki threat, say - and with Ned's help Robert could actually have taken serious steps in that direction. And if he had done that, he certainly wouldn't have abdicated in favor of Joffrey. Certainly also not in favor Stannis (whom he likely thought would be about as worse as Joffrey), but as we see on his deathbed he really tried to do the right thing in his last legal act. He wanted to give his Seven Kingdoms a government that would work.

He is really unhappy with how his life has turned out to be. Chances are that whatever family life he and Cersei had may have become gradually worse over the years. I mean, Robert basically shows no interest in any of his children - but was this always the case? Was he never proud of his firstborn son, of his beautiful daughter, etc.? AGoT gives us an incomplete picture of court life in the last year of Robert's reign, we have no idea how things were in the years before.

His drinking - which likely grew steadily worse over the years - would have also have had an effect on his character. Making impulsive, spur-of-the-moment decisions, becoming set in his ways, refusing to see or address existing problems, etc. And Cersei's hold over Robert was never that strong, anyway. She knew she could get from him what she wanted, but she didn't really have a hand in the government of the Realm or even on the appointments of the lords of the Small Council. She turned two KG into her creatures, but it doesn't seem as if she was the one behind those appointments, either.

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3 hours ago, Ran said:

Yet she herself says he's getting "more restless every day" about their situation when they were in Winterfell. But it's not Stannis or Renly who concern her most in relation to this, it's "[h]aving Stark beside him" that will "make him worse", the Eddard Stark she believes does not know anything about the incest.

So "why now?" Well, we don't exactly know why or how Robert was getting "restless" But for that matter, we have independent acknowledgment that something had been changing about Robert, because Varys tells Ned in the black cells that "Robert was becoming unruly" in relation to Cersei and the Lannisters.

 

 

the incident with the Cat  mutilated dead kittens, and Cersei threatening to murder his eldest bastard daughter would do that.

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28 minutes ago, lysmonger said:

the incident with the Cat  mutilated dead kittens, and Cersei threatening to murder his eldest bastard daughter would do that.

That was not a recent event, that happened 5/6 years ago before the series began.

I'm not sure how much Robert really cared for his oldest daughter, he'd not seen her since she was an infant, did not acknowledge her as his child and allowed her to grow up herding mules.  As the Lord of the Stormlands and then King of Westeros it was in his power to do better for her, he did nothing. Guy, even by Westeros standards, was a deadbeat dad.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Megorova said:

 

I just kind of doubt, that Renly expected that Robert will just cast Cersei aside, without valid reason, and will marry with Margaery, just because he got bored of Cersei. They were married for 15 years, so why now?

 

No one said it was a fool proof plan. Renly is 21, he's only been Master of Law a few years so his time at court is a fairly recent thing, Margaery is only 14. There are obvious reasons why Renly did not try to implement this plan earlier, he was not in a positon to do so.

Also Renly does not really care about the rules. He establishes this when he is blasé about usurping Joffrey, Tommen, Myrcella and Stannis' place for the Throne. He cites Robert as his inspiration, Robert did what he wanted to become King, Renly is in the same boat.

Renly shrugged. "Tell me, what right did my brother Robert ever have to the Iron Throne?" He did not wait for an answer. "Oh, there was talk of the blood ties between Baratheon and Targaryen, of weddings a hundred years past, of second sons and elder daughters. No one but the maesters care about any of it. Robert won the throne with his warhammer."

That is Renly's line of thinking. That Robert did what he wanted. In Renly's mind if Robert wants to put aside his wife he will put aside his wife. That is established in the text.

Do most of you not realize that Robert is dead, Renly is dead. This minor plot is very unlikely to be further explained in the last two books as it does not need to be. It is not important. What is currently canon is that Renly did not know. While it is true he may have lied until such a claim in the books is made (NO CHARACTER HAS SAID OR EVEN IMPLIED THAT RENLY LIED ABOUT THIS) then Renly being in the dark remains the cannon answer.

6 hours ago, Megorova said:

So, what's the point of that marriage between Rob and Marge, if after his death, she will become no one, and even if there will be children, born in that marriage, they all will be just sent away from court, together with their mother, when Robert would have died?

First of all that entire paragraph is a huge assumption. Robert is not an old man. He, like Viserys I before him, could have potentially lived for 30, 40 more years.  The Hightowers and Tyrells would see great advantage to their Houses with a Hightower/Tyrell queen in those decades.

A Queen is an immensely powerful positon, it is powerful regardless whether her child inherits. Younger royal siblings are powerful regardless if they are not first in line. Ned notes that Cersei's influence at court is too much, that is what the Tyrells want. GRRM can't exactly tell the reader the sheer amount of titles and positions the royal court hands out, he can only do so much world building, but we should assume they exist.

Look at how much influence Littlefinger gained in a few years as Master of Coin and the amount of positons he was able to give away

And in the process, he moved his own men into place. The Keepers of the Keys were his, all four. The King's Counter and the King's Scales were men he'd named. The officers in charge of all three mints. Harbormasters, tax farmers, customs sergeants, wool factors, toll collectors, pursers, wine factors; nine of every ten belonged to Littlefinger. They were men of middling birth, by and large; merchants' sons, lesser lordlings, sometimes even foreigners, but judging from their results, far more able than their highborn predecessors.    

The Queen would have even more influence, if she was beloved by the King she can exceed Cersei's influence.

Edited by Bernie Mac

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11 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

 

My point here is not that Robert cannot set Cersei aside, but that he needs plausible grounds to do that, and simply having a young hot maid waiting in the wings is not enough.

 

If Robert finds out the truth Cersei would not be put aside, she'd be executed. GRRM knows what the term 'set aside' means, as he has used it multiple times in the works on the series.

I agree with you that Robert would likely need plausible reasons to set aside his wife. Renly does not think that. Renly thinks the Warhammer is all you need as king.

 

11 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

Renly didn't know, which makes him a usurper. 

But I think the main thing, or at least my main take away from this, is that Stannis sent his letters about the incest and the children being Jaime's, but none of these great lords, excluding Doran Martell, seem to care that the throne has been usurped by the Lannisters. 

Well the timing is awfully convenient.

  • Stannis said nothing while Robert was alive
  • Stannis said nothing after Robert died
  • Stannis said nothing after Ned was executed
  • Stannis said nothing until after both Robb Stark and Renly crowned themselves

On top of that he offers zero evidence, expects his word is good enough.  They'd probably care more if he offered some substantial evidence, but Robert lived his entire life with his acknowledged heirs, waiting till Robert has died seems suspicious, self serving.

Everyone talks about Renly upsetting the wold of Westeros by usurping his nephews/brothers throne. but a relative declaring a dead mans children as bastards after the father is dead without evidence is a far greater worry for the Lords and Ladies of Westeros. Every seat in the realm becomes vulnerable. Renly at least had to get more support than any other king to usurp his throne.

 

14 hours ago, R2D said:

When Renly said he was planning on making her queen Stannis might have thought that could mean as a second wife, polygamy has happened before.

Is there any part of the text that suggest that? This sounds an awful lot like clutching at straws.

 

14 hours ago, R2D said:

In my opinion Renly was testing Catelyn's opinion, he first asks her what she thinks of the story, and when she says it makes Stannis the legal heir, he shifts to making it about his own suitability for the throne. 

No, he points out that they are fighting and tomorrow Stannis will be dead.

Renly sounds happy about the news Stannis brings. Usurping a dead brother's children is not something that will make him popular. Usurping bastards will.

Why would Renly need to lie? His entire army are supporting him usurping the throne already. Him usurping one person instead of four should be zero difference.

Renly's worry is the Lannisters, it is not Stannis. He can far easily beat Stannis than he could the Lannisters.

14 hours ago, R2D said:

And, Renly had already received the letter about the incest and "King Stannis" when he told Catelyn Stannis would join him so we already know he's capable of lying. I mean Renly should know his brother and that he's obsessed about the law.

No, not exactly. Stannis sent out that letter to the kingdom and not a single Lord was influenced by that letter.

Stannis tried to get support and got none. Renly expecting Stannis to have some common sense on the matter, support his brother who can win and be given Storm's End as a compromise is much better than certain defeat with 5,000 men.

Renly is not lying, Stannis himself points out in the prologue that he can not possibly win the Throne with the few men he has. Unfortunately for Renly, Stannis is being told by someone with magical powers that he can beat Renly and gain his army.

It is not exactly a lie expecting Stannis to join him. It is the whole reason Renly offers to parlay with Stannis and his 5,000 Onion knights rather than simply attack and massacre an invading army.

Renly believes in compromise, he offers both Stannis and Robb rewards in offer for their support.

14 hours ago, R2D said:

 

 

And why exactly couldn't Renly marry a Lannister?

I never claimed it was impossible. I pointed out that as far as we know in the series it was never an option brought up.

Renly was only 21, he was the younger brother of the King, like Stannis, it should be presumed that Robert would arrange a marriage for him rather than Renly just randomly pick. At the very least he'd need to consult with the King.

If Renly wants less Cersei Lannister influence at court then him marrying a Lannister is not going to do that, if anything it is going to increase it.  If Cersei Lannister see's Renly as a threat, which she did, him being married to one of her cousins is not going to change that. The only thing that would change that is Renly acting as her catspaw, something Renly was not prepared to do while his brother lived.

We don't know why Cerse wanted both Baratheon brothers dead, but it is likely to do with Robert giving them his lands, lands that by right should have gone to Robert and Cersei's children. With Stannis and Renly out the way those lands go to her kids.

 

14 hours ago, R2D said:

 

Now, why didn't Renly tell Robert if he knew? It could be that that Renly didn't want Robert knowing until he'd shifted the balance of power away from the Lannisters, for fear of – well, exactly what ended up happening. RIP Robert.

See this is another problem you are making for yourself. We the reader know that Robert was killed by the Lannisters, Renly does not. He assumes the boar killed Robert, just like he assumes Jon Arryn died of a fever.

Had he suspected the Lannisters of being responsible for either he'd be telling Ned, that would be his reason for Ned to arrest the Queen. He does not.

 

14 hours ago, R2D said:

 

If Margaery was Robert's mistress first, that would decrease Cersei's power and influence, and a contingent from Highgarden could have come to combat the red cloaks and other Lannister appointees.

They could do. How does any of the above prove he knew about the incest?

And you know what ends Cersei influence, telling Robert his suspicions. A far quicker way to remove Cersei is tell Robert what he suspects.

 

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10 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

If Robert finds out the truth Cersei would not be put aside, she'd be executed. GRRM knows what the term 'set aside' means, as he has used it multiple times in the works on the series.

I agree with you that Robert would likely need plausible reasons to set aside his wife. Renly does not think that. Renly thinks the Warhammer is all you need as king.

Cersei also thinks Robert doesn't need a good reason or excuse. She actually fears he could set her aside for new Lyanna. That seems to imply that basically any pretext - possibly even the pretext 'I love this woman more' - could be enough.

10 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Well the timing is awfully convenient.

  • Stannis said nothing while Robert was alive
  • Stannis said nothing after Robert died
  • Stannis said nothing after Ned was executed
  • Stannis said nothing until after both Robb Stark and Renly crowned themselves

On top of that he offers zero evidence, expects his word is good enough.  They'd probably care more if he offered some substantial evidence, but Robert lived his entire life with his acknowledged heirs, waiting till Robert has died seems suspicious, self serving.

It actually is suspicious and most definitely self-serving. Stannis didn't even sent out his ravens to demand a Great Council to address and discuss his suspicions/accusations. Instead, he crowned himself as soon as he heard Robert was dead, waited a long time before he sent out his ravens, and then demanded that the people he sent his letters to bent the knee to him and swear him fealty as their true king.

That is actually a ridiculous approach. It shows Stannis wanted to take the throne by violence and war, he had no interest to get it with proper diplomacy. As late as the Prologue of ACoK there was a chance to win the Vale by promising Shireen's hand to Robert Arryn - as Cressen suggested - but he did not even try that approach. And he, of course, completely failed to try to make common cause with the Riverlords and the North. Nobody would have crowned Robb king had Stannis the Fool sent his letters a couple of weeks earlier.

And the only explanation I can come up with his internal motivation there is that he loathed the bond Robert and Ned had so much, that he couldn't bring himself to do something that profited Ned's family. He did not want to work with them, did not want to be dependent on them. It is utterly shabby behavior to abandon Robert and Ned to the Cersei, but it is even worse to not inform the Realm of his suspicions/intentions.

He may have been able to prevent both Robb and Renly from crowning themselves had he acted sooner (Renly is not so likely, but Robb definitely - had he known what Stannis believed he knew during his war council he would have pushed the Northmen and Riverlords assembled to declare for Stannis).

10 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Everyone talks about Renly upsetting the wold of Westeros by usurping his nephews/brothers throne. but a relative declaring a dead mans children as bastards after the father is dead without evidence is a far greater worry for the Lords and Ladies of Westeros. Every seat in the realm becomes vulnerable. Renly at least had to get more support than any other king to usurp his throne.

Both acts are shabby. I'd say Renly is worse because he does what he does without pretext and evidence. But Stannis acting as late as he did - and without ever presenting 'his evidence' to the late King Robert or his Hand - makes him look always as worse. Because if you take the view of Cersei's children - Stannis and Renly's legal nephews and niece - these two are nothing but grasping, traitorous, evil uncles. 

This is why I laid out above that Robert and his brothers are, in fact, the most dysfunctional and fucked-up family in Westeros. Even the Lannister siblings get along better than these three. They destroy each other completely, making the War of the Five Kings the most destructive succession war in Westeros on the dynastic level. Here were have basically all branches of House Baratheon attack each other, whereas all the succession wars of the past we knew about had only two main pretenders fighting each other (in addition to weirdo outsiders also making a claim) while the younger siblings of the main pretenders actually supported their elders.

10 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Is there any part of the text that suggest that? This sounds an awful lot like clutching at straws.

Cersei believed Robert intended to replace her as queen. Nobody ever entertained any form of notion that Robert could have two queens at the same time.

10 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

I never claimed it was impossible. I pointed out that as far as we know in the series it was never an option brought up.

Renly was only 21, he was the younger brother of the King, like Stannis, it should be presumed that Robert would arrange a marriage for him rather than Renly just randomly pick. At the very least he'd need to consult with the King.

In light of Robert's general disinterest at ruling, chances are very high that he never thought or cared about finding a bride for Renly - and Renly, considering his sexual preferences, likely was as motivated to find a bride as Jon Connington was throughout his life. Not all noblemen in this world marry young.

10 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

We don't know why Cerse wanted both Baratheon brothers dead, but it is likely to do with Robert giving them his lands, lands that by right should have gone to Robert and Cersei's children. With Stannis and Renly out the way those lands go to her kids.

We should not pretend to know that Cersei wanted them all dead. It is very likely she did want dead, but she just said she wanted 'to deal' with them before she removed Robert. That could also entail merely ruining them. She could have, for instance, planned to get Robert to take Dragonstone from him and sent him to exile - that shouldn't have taken all that much convincing considering how different Robert and Stannis were and how difficult it must have been for a man like Robert to spend so much as a day or evening with Stannis.

And Renly could have been even easier - here it could have been enough that Robert take Storm's End from him and grant it to Tommen instead. Renly was just a third son, without a lordship of his own he would have been nothing. And it is quite clear that no Stormlander would have risen in rebellion against King Robert because the man took Storm's End from Renly. The Stormlands essentially worshiped Robert Baratheon, did they not?

As for the reason why - on Cersei's part, it could be a confluence of a lot of reasons. The knowledge that they had better claims than Robert's children should the truth ever come out, Robert's careless generosity which had turned both into great lords in their own right (Cersei may have wanted to make Joffrey Prince of Dragonstone and Storm's End as a seat for Tommen later in life), and, of course, the fact that these two were powerful players in their own right at court. She likely couldn't stand that, either.

But why exactly Renly had issues with Cersei and 'the Lannisters' is unclear. He was this very amicable and charismatic fellow. Why did he never try to befriend Cersei or her children? As the youngest brother of Robert he could have become a powerful ally to Cersei and her interests if he had offered her his help and support against, say, Stannis. 

10 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

See this is another problem you are making for yourself. We the reader know that Robert was killed by the Lannisters, Renly does not. He assumes the boar killed Robert, just like he assumes Jon Arryn died of a fever.

Had he suspected the Lannisters of being responsible for either he'd be telling Ned, that would be his reason for Ned to arrest the Queen. He does not.

Yeah, it is rather obvious that Renly thinks his brother got himself killed. What little grief he expresses there when he discusses the boar incident with Ned reveals this. 

10 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

And you know what ends Cersei influence, telling Robert his suspicions. A far quicker way to remove Cersei is tell Robert what he suspects.

Yeah, and we do know that Renly and Robert actually spent time with each other. Renly showed Robert his Margaery picture, and he also offered him his help during the tourney feast. Renly and Robert are not exactly close, but Robert interacts and spends time with Renly. And the way for Renly to feed Robert the incest thing (had he known) wouldn't have been 'Robert, Robert, your wife is fucking the Kingslayer and all your children are his bastards.' but much more subtle. He would have loudly wondered about the nature of the relationship of the twins in conversation with Robert, he would have revealed that he saw them in an embrace that implied more than normal sibling love, he would have, perhaps, talked about how all known Baratheon descendants (through the main branch, at least) had the black hair and how odd it was that Robert's children showed none of those traits, etc.

He would have allowed Robert to reach the conclusion himself, nudging him in the right direction. And if Robert had refused to believe it without any evidence, they would have brought in Varys. And Varys would not have lied to Robert or not helped him to 'discover the truth' with the help of his little birds if the king had directly asked him.

And if we are thinking about the nature of the Robert-Cersei marriage in AGoT it is quite clear that Robert would have needed on the slightest suspicion to turn against Cersei. 

It is (mainly) Littlefinger who paints the picture of ambivalent Robert in his conversation with Ned when he tries to dissuade him from going to Robert with the dagger. And Ned himself has his own reasons to be wary of Robert - the incident with Mycah and Lady made that clear, just as the dragonspawn incident did after the Sack.

Cersei and her children are actually saved by the fact that Eddard Stark is still abhorred by the fact how Tywin and Jaime dealt with Elia, the children, and Aerys II. He does not want that they suffer a similar fate, and he fears that since Robert did not punish Tywin and Jaime for their atrocities that he would give them something of their own medicine after he learned of the incest. And Ned doesn't want Cersei's children to die.

In light of the fact how Robert reacts on his deathbed I doubt Ned's fear there were all that accurate. But we'll never know.

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Hey, now I'm undecided. You bring up very good points.

But, Lord Varys, I have a counter point. If Renly tried this method, there's every chance Robert would rather brush it off because no one wants to be a cuckold and he has a habit of being blind to things that are uncomfortable to him. Consider:

Quote

Most likely the king did not know,” Littlefinger said. “It would not be the first time. Our good Robert is practiced at closing his eyes to things he would rather not see.” AGOT, Eddard IV 

Robert may hate the Lannisters, but he was also rather weak willed and spineless and let them control everything, shown when he let Jaime be named Warden of The West, took on two Lannister squires, and let Cersei kill Lady. So he wouldn't want to go against them. But if Robert fell in love with Margaery, first, he'd want Margaery to be his queen, and that would give him greater cause to oust Cersei. I think this makes more sense than Renly hoping Robert would get rid of his wife because he disliked her.

(Actually what makes most sense imo is that Renly had suspicions that Cersei was cheating, but not with whom.)

But re: self preservation again. Renly knew Cersei would kill him because....INTUITION, DUH isn't a good argument. Cersei lived with Stannis in court for 15 years and didn't make any moves against him in all that time. Nor did Stannis suspect she would harm him in any way. (Though we know from Cersei's POV and from Varys that she was actually trying to do that.)

If Renly ingratiated himself into the Lannister family I doubt they would do anything against him. 

It would be destabilising for the Lannister regime for Renly to be ousted for Tommen after he married a Lannister. Like "Why marry into the Lannisters if they're going to steal your lands?" It would negatively affect any future Lannister marriages and Tywin wouldn't want that.

Renly could even bring up how Dragonstone is the seat of the heir, and wouldn't Cersei want that for Tommen instead? Then he could go on living in Storms End.

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18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

A general issue:

We have to differentiate between the romantic/sexual affair of Jaime/Cersei and the parentage of the children. The former is a thing people could figure out or deduce easier - interpreting looks and interactions between/of the twins - but the latter is something nobody could have possibly truly suspected or believed while Robert was still alive - because Robert himself had acknowledged and treated Cersei's children as his own.

Which by and far means that Robert had - or believed he had had - sex with Cersei around the time of the conception of each of the children. Whatever contraception exist in Westeros doesn't enable a woman to decide which of her multiple sex partners is going to impregnate her. There are no condoms in this world.

Even those people who may have been open to the idea that Cersei may have an affair with Robert would have been in a very bad position trying to prove their claims that the king's children weren't his.

Which is the reason why I think Jon Arryn never told Robert while he lay dying - despite the fact that Robert sat at his bedside for hours, meaning the man had more than enough time to spill the beans. His mind only wandered when he finally died. The book and the looks of the Baratheon bastards are not evidence, and they are most definitely not evidence against the belief of the king that he fucked his wife at the right time.

Compare this to Tyrion's knowledge about Aegon. We can surmise Haldon told him everything but what did he know or suspect before he talked to Haldon? We will never know because the narrator didn't tell us. He didn't even tell us whether anything Haldon told Tyrion did surprise him. Just as we still don't know whether Tyrion caught Illyrio's talk about 'the noblest lad' and concluded that, if Aegon is fake, he might be Illyrio's son by this Serra woman.

It is basically the same with Tyrion's 'knowledge' about his siblings. We don't know what he knew or suspected.

I meant the fact of Selmy's dismissal. That was Varys' doing, and Varys knew Selmy well enough to know that he only needed to be nudged a little to return to the Targaryens.

I don't think it could, because I don't buy for a moment that there was poison in the wine. The wine seller just believed it was poisoned. He was given that closed special cask by Varys' agents. And it is quite clear that the attempt on Dany/Drogo's life convinced Drogo to actually invade Westeros. Varys manipulated him without ever talking to him directly.

Varys does everything he can to alienate Tyrion from his family. And he must have helped Tywin to get Shae up there - or know that she is there. Varys may not have foreseen the Tysha revealed but he clearly counted on Shae being there causing Tyrion to kill his father. In fact, it is also quite clear that Varys always intended to use Shae as a pawn to finally separate Tyrion from his family - that's the only reason why he helped Tyrion to continue to see her in ASoS and why he kept their relationship a secret ... until he no longer did.

Littlefinger is less subtle. He directly puts ideas in the heads of people. But he can also manipulate the scenario and the surroundings so that people behave like they are supposed to behave even if they don't know the script (e.g. the jousting dwarfs).

Sure, but I don't buy the idea that he came up with the idea of murdering Jon. I think it went like that:

1. Stannis and Jon investigate things.

2. Lysa learns from the Walder-Jon conversation at the tourney that Robert is going to become Stannis' ward. She is desperate.

3. She asks Littlefinger for help who tells her to poison Jon with the Tears of Lys.

This is not some master plan, it is a means to solve Lysa's problem. It is also not unlikely that Lysa told Littlefinger about Jon's investigation and he came up with the letter idea because he realized that Cersei would have the much better motive. It is also not unlikely that Lysa only dared murder her husband because she was confident that nobody would suspect her.

I don't buy that - because if Jon were to tell Robert, and Robert would believe the story, then both Jon and Stannis would reap the rewards from uncovering this treason. Stannis had been at odds with Littlefinger for quite some time, he and Jon had been investigating Slynt's corruption. And Robert certainly would have to really count on Jon, Stannis, (and Renly) during the subsequent campaign against Tywin.

Not to mention that Jon/Stannis could jump on the chance to cleanse the entire court of 'Lannister influence' in the wake of the downfall of Cersei/Jaime. Many men might be accused of being co-conspirators or confidants of the incest couple.

If Littlefinger needed someone to put the bug in Jon's ear he would have used Lysa. That would have been much easier.

As I and others have said a couple of times - because he was pissed that Robert chose Ned as Hand instead of him. Stannis is not afraid, he is hurt. He abandons both Robert and Ned to their fates, allowing Cersei to target and eventually kill them.

He wouldn't - because he couldn't make a good case. My point was that even if he - or anyone - could make a good case he would not make it because it would profit Stannis. And Stannis is not a man Littlefinger wants to see climb higher at court.

That's what I meant by post hoc - Pycelle said 'he knew' after everybody 'sort of knew' from Stannis' letter. How can we be sure that he was as sure about 'the thing' as he was back before the letters were sent? I don't think we can.

I don't buy the latter, since I don't buy for a moment Cersei came up with the ridiculous notion that Jaime should join the KG all by herself. I also don't buy for a moment that Cersei could meet and fuck Jaime in the middle of KL without Varys knowing. He found Shae immediately. And we are talking about 14-15-years-old who cannot smart out Varys as adults...

My guess is that Varys fed the idea that Jaime would be a great KG to both Aerys II and Cersei - to Aerys II to steal Tywin's heir (with the ultimate goal of forcing him to resign - something Varys may have done for his own gain as well as his king's), to Cersei so Jaime would be at court and they could be together/fuck. I don't think Cersei would have told Varys her feelings for Jaime out of the blue - it is more likely he would have figured it out himself and then got her to confess them by gaining her trust. Aerys II was very afraid of Tywin, so Varys first and most important job would have been to investigate Tywin and the other Lannisters. It shouldn't have been that hard to figure out what was going on between Tywin's twins, especially if we assume Varys put also spies among the Lannister servants both in the Red Keep and at Casterly Rock.

King Baelor claims it was never consummated. We don't know whether the man is sincere there. Baelor and Daena married while Daeron I was still alive, and before Baelor got bitten by the vipers. And the whole Maidenvault thing sort of implies the king was very aware of the feminine charms of his (potential) sister-wife/wives.

True, but it is obvious that he could have set her aside whether it was consummated or not.

We don't have Targaryen king precedents for the setting aside of wives who had born their royal husbands children, but there are numerous such examples for the pre-Conquest kings.

Yeah, okay, they could no longer stand each other in old age, but they were both brother and sister and husband and wife. One assumes this is generally a stronger bond than one between husband and wife alone. In our world people divorce all the time, but fewer people 'divorce' their siblings/birth family.

Besides, Visenya rode a pretty large dragon. Aegon would have risk destroying everything he accomplished by pushing Visenya away. It could have led to her and Maegor contesting Aenys' succession.

There are no such rumors for Alicent. Viserys I loved his second wife and showered her with gifts and favors throughout their entire marriage. There is only one thing he never gave her - the succession change. Everything else she got.

Well, that's a bad example, considering Aegon II was basically only king for a couple of weeks after Helaena went mad. And he was in no position to set her aside, one would assume, while their mother was still around, because she certainly wouldn't have approved. Not to mention it would have been utter nonsense to push the rider of Dreamfyre away.

They did their duty to the Realm and their family and 'prophecy'.

We actually don't yet know whether non-consummation is the only way to get an annulment. Could be - or, if George follows the Catholic example here, that a forced marriage, a marriage under false pretenses, etc. are also grounds for an annulment.

But the talk - 'setting aside a wife' - doesn't sound like annulment - which is a tedious process where evidence is examined, etc. - it sounds as if a king can just get rid of an unwanted wife. And we know that the king is the master of the Church in this world since Jaehaerys I. He added a new doctrine to the Faith, and Baelor the Blessed was most likely the true High Septon during his reign, too.

Where do you get that? Olenna is cleaning up Mace's mess in ASoS. He agreed to make Loras a KG which she realized was the recipe for a tragedy. So Joff had to go. Had she made the call she may not have agreed to the Joffrey match in the first place - just as she was opposed to the Renly nonsense.

Olenna doesn't rule House Tyrell. Mace got his ambition from her, but he doesn't always listen to her. The only evidence we have where he actually is hectored by Olenna is the Willas-Cersei idea, but chances are not that low that she merely pointed out that Cersei was rather old already, and otherwise unsuited for Willas. This doesn't mean Mace always asks his mother for advice - or gives a damn what she says. The man is ambitious and rather full of himself. Such people usually don't ask mommy for help on a regular basis.

If Robert had asked Mace for Margaery's hand he would have given it to him - not matter what his dear mother had to say on the matter.

Check TWoIaF - there are precedents - rather old ones but they are there. Also note that the validity of the marriage of Viserys II and Larra Rogare was not exactly certain. Part of the deal to return Viserys was that the marriage must not be set aside for any reason - implying that there could be more than one reason (non-consummation).

The text that does imply that this is all one case. Cersei jumps around, she doesn't make a case based on a couple of interdependent arguments.

No, both the High Septon and a council of the Faith (whatever that is) can grant an annulment. What's needed to set a side a wife/marriage if you are the king is by no means clear at this point. It is also clear that princes do petitions kings rather than High Septons or Faith officials if they want to set aside their wives (e.g. Prince Daemon). Rogar Baratheon also implies that he doesn't need anyone's permission to unmake Jaehaerys I's marriage.

Because none of them apparently wanted to replace them. Just as Aegon I never took a third, fourth, fifth, etc. wife despite the fact that he had two wives already.

I honestly don't see how you could think that people could easily deduce a sexual relationship between Cersei and Jaime but remain utterly oblivious to the possibility that Cersei's blonde, green-eyed children are Jaime's. Robert clearly does not suspect the former, so it stands to reason that he would not suspect the latter, and most people follow this same track because Cersei would have to be absolutely mad to think she could get away with such a thing. 

Nobody, not even Jon Arryn, has proof of anything. It is the mere accusation that Cersei is worried about, and the possibility that Robert would believe those accusations. Whether Robert was with Cersei or not is irrelevant (and the text shows that, pretty early in the marriage, even when he was with her, drunk and stinking of wine, Cersei never let him inside); what's important is whether Jaime was with her.

Yes, as I said, Tyrion could go either way here. What we do know is that between him suspiciously eyeing his brother and sister when discussing Bran and then revealing to Cersei that he knows she is fucking Jaime, there is no "Ah Ha" moment in the text when he comes upon this revelation, nor is their a subsequent moment when he recalls when all of this became clear to him. So based on what we actually know, the evidence strongly suggests that Tyrion has known for some time.

Hmm, no poison in the wine . . . I wonder if that same thought could be applied in another situation. :D It is certainly possible that Varys could have set all this up, but it's an iffy plan at best. Did he supply all wine sellers, cheese merchants, fish mongers, spice dealers etc. with fake poisoned goods? Even those coming from Asshai'i, Quarth, Yi Ti? How could he count on Dany stopping at this particular merchant among the hundreds that are there? A more likely scenario, IMO, is that Jorah received word that Robert was offering a lordship to whomever kills her, and he put two-and-two together on the spot because by this time he is in love with Dany and doesn't want to see her killed. In the end, though, this is not what I'm talking about. Lots of people can manipulate situations to their advantage, even seeming dolts like Ned and Theon. Littlefinger uses words to trick people into thinking they are doing things of their own volition (ie, the dwarf joust, the Loras appointment), when in fact they are doing his bidding. Schemer he may be, but I see no evidence that Varys is this skilled.

Why would Tywin need Varys' help to get Shae to his chambers? Who is he hiding from? Who is going to tell Tywin that he is not allowed to have a bed-warmer? Varys probably knew Shae was there the same way he knows about everything else, little birds. Sure, Varys knows that Tyrion has gone to great lengths to keep Shae a secret, mostly from Cersei and Tywin, but to say his sole objective is to alienate Tyrion from his family is understating it. His objective is to use people's secrets to advance his own agenda, whatever it is.

I believe it went like this:

  • LF alerted Stannis to the incest, something that Stannis had probably already considered. He also subtly hinted (aka, put the idea into his head) that simply going to Robert would not be enough, but if a trusted friend were to conduct an actual investigation into Robert's bastards . . .
  • Stannis brings JA into it, exactly as LF wanted.
  • LF waits until the investigation is underway and the book is in hand and then tells Lysa to drop the poison. Ta-da, a murder of a man who is directly investigating a dark secret held by very powerful political interests rather than a man who is about to deprive his screwball wife of the sickly son she obsesses over. And nobody but nobody could connect this to a Machiavellian scheme to unleash war on the 7K.

Now we have LF as the architect -- manipulator, if you will -- of these events, rather than, once again, just the beneficiary of dumb luck.

If all of this was simply to solve Lysa's problem, then there would be no need to send the letter to Winterfell, no need to get involved with the dagger, no need to finger Tyrion . . . As per his MO, however, LF is manipulating everyone here: JA, Stannis, Lysa, Ned, Catelyn, Tyrion, Cersei . . . It's all part of his massive power grab.

What rewards would Jon and Stannis reap? Robert is now going to give them carte blanche to dismiss the man who has enriched the realm to the nth degree? And then they would rat out this same man who was responsible for bringing them these great honors in the first place? Robert would also rely on Littlefinger to war against Tywin, since you can't field an army without coin. And whatever enmity exists between Stannis and Littlefinger pales in comparison to that between Stannis and Robert. So, no, Littlefinger is perfectly safe if this tale reaches Robert's ears, but LF is aware of exactly where the investigation stands, so he is able to strike JA down long before it gets to this point.

In what way is Littlefinger under "Lannister influence"? He has borrowed from Tywin, OK, but he has also borrowed from Mace Tyrell, the Iron Bank and any number of trading cartels. He has been Robert's loyal man all along, doing more to bring wealth and stability to the realm than any man alive, save perhaps Jon Arryn.

I believe LF started with Stannis, but sure, there is no reason why Lysa could not have dropped the hint to Jon. Stannis has a greater interest in making a stink of it, though.

All right, so then before he fled, why didn't Stannis just go to Robert and tell him everything, if Jon's death makes Lannister guilt so eminently clear? Remember, at this time, no one is even sure if Jon was poisoned, so Stannis now has two unproven suspicions to deal with.

I guess I don't understand your original point then. You said LF may have told Robert long ago, but now he never would have because it would benefit Stannis. Call me confused.

Yes, we can be sure about Pycelle because at the time he knew Cersei wanted him dead because he (Arryn) knew about . . . about . . . He wouldn't simply assume that Cersei wanted him dead unless he knew the reason why.

According to Jaime, both he and Cersei cooked up the scheme to be together on their own:

Quote

. . .Cersei took him aside and whispered that Lord Tywin meant to marry him to Lysa Tully, had gone so far as to invite Lord Hoster to the city to discuss dower. But if Jaime took the white, he could be near her always.

So we can speculate that this idea originally came from Varys, but it's just that, speculation.

Whether Baelor actually consummated or not is irrelevant. The church ruled that he had not and was granted an annulment so he could go off and pray and become a hermit king, not to climb all over a younger queen. WIthout the incest charge, Robert can make no such claims about Cersei's fidelity nor his intentions.

No, it is not obvious that any king could set his queen aside for any reason at all. As I've point out, if this were the case that we would have seen at least one example of it. Tywin and Tyrion provide the clearest explanation of the rules, and they are perfectly in keeping with our own history:

Quote

"Do I need to remind you that a marriage that has not be consummated can be set aside?

"By the High Septon or a Council of the Faith."

Why would Tywin need to make a point of saying "a marriage that has not been consummated" when the same thing applies to all marriages? Why is Cersei so concerned about Margaery marrying Tommen when it could be set aside at any time for any reason? Over and over and over again, we get examples of why even kings cannot simply dispose of their wives just because they are old and hoary. Even Aegon the Unworthy had to go through the whole mummer's farce of accusing his wife of adultery and then throwing it to an uncertain fate in the TbC. Why would he do that rather than exercise is right as king to just send her packing?

Ancient customs and pre-Conquest traditions are irrelevant. Since the creation of this kingdom, no king on the Iron Throne has ever treated his queen this way, even those who despised their queens.

Marriage is a holy sacrament -- a gift from the gods administered by the church. Man and woman pledge themselves to one another, making a solemn promise to the gods to forsake all others and promise to bring new souls into the world, with the septon declaring them "one flesh, one heart, one soul, now and forever." The king may be the maker of laws on earth, but this is a law of heaven, so for Robert to up and declare that he is no longer married through no fault of Cersei's, simply because he wants to shag a younger, prettier women, is the same as him saying that he is exalted above the gods and is no longer bound by their laws. This is simply not something that the Church, nor the people, will abide. If he were to try such a thing, his kingdom would be torn asunder and his ability to rule would be crippled. This is why he must prove that Cersei violated the marriage in a profound way, even going so far as to execute her as a traitor (a violation of his law, not the god's), and then disinheriting the children -- but only if the realm, and the church in particular, can be convinced of her guilt as well.

Whatever reasons there may be for why this or that king simply didn't rid himself of his unloved queen, the fact remains that this has never happened, even when kings openly loathed their queens. So the only logical conclusion is that kings need a better reason to undo their marriages; namely, some unseemly moral turpitude by their queens.

It is clear that "to set aside" means to undo a betrothal, so by the same token it means to undo a marriage. Otherwise they would not use the same term.

Lady Olenna is the brains in Highgardern. This much is eminently clear from the text. She makes all the important decisions -- outwardly deflecting to Mace but privately hectoring him mercilessly to do as he is told. Margaery is not going to marry anyone without Olenna's leave, and she is certainly not going to become a second wife whose children will be fourth or fifth in line to the throne. Sorry, no way, no how.

Olenna agreed to the Joffrey match because it was the quickest, easiest way to put a Tyrell on the Iron Throne. If Joffrey hadn't eaten the poison pie, she would have had her goal within a year or two. Like all highborn maidens, Margaery's happiness, even her safety, comes second to the interests of her house. They are all, Olenna included, pieces in the Game of Thrones.

Cersei lays out the whole reason why she is concerned. Indeed, if we accept your premise that Robert could just dump her at will, then the entire conversation is pointless. Cersei should have no reason to fear Ned becoming Hand, or what he might say to Robert or what Lysa knows or does not know. None of this matters because Robert doesn't need any of it to get rid of her. As the conversation makes clear, though, all of this does matter because if Robert, or anyone else, can make these charges stick, then he could dump her, dispossess the children and take a new wife. What you see as the sum total of what frightens Cersei is merely an afterthought to what is really keeping her up at night.

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