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Varys or Littlefinger

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I would like to hear your opinion about those 2.

Which one is better mastermind ?

Which one is bigger threat for realm ?

What are their true motives ?

Which one you like more ?

 

 

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Littlefinger is running circles around Varys, and Varys does not seem to know how badly he is being played.

"The gods know what game Littlefinger is playing . . ." This is after Varys knows LF is the cause of events moving too quickly in Westeros to suit Illyrio's plans, and after he knows LF is mucking with the finances of the realm they hope to usurp. But even though Varys knows the secrets of virtually everybody of importance in Westeros, he is utterly blind when it comes to Littlefinger. And he doesn't even seem to recognize this blindness or the threat it poses to his plans.

LF was also able to pull off the Purple Wedding right under Varys' nose, and he has been deftly moving up the ladder to the positions of Lord Protector of the Vale and Lord Paramount of the Riverlands, and Varys is powerless to stop him.

As for their motives, I think both are working for Illyrio. Varys' involvement is self-evident, but Petyr's is still obscure. First, I question how LF could have suddenly started bringing in all this extra revenue to the Arryns and then the crown without making serious enemies among the merchant class or disruption the local economies of Gulltown and then King's Landing. Starting in Gulltown, it is extremely unlikely that LF, as a junior customs officer, could single-handedly increase trade to make an appreciable impact on his own collections and no one else's. So he is either acquiring the proper taxes from the goods he is inspecting, or he is charging more -- either way, this means traders and merchants are now paying more to do business in GT than they were before, which would make a whole lot of people unhappy and probably give LF a one-way ticket to the bottom of the Narrow Sea. The only way around this conundrum that I can think of is that LF is being bankrolled by somebody, namely a certain pox-ridden cheesemonger with designs on the Iron Throne. This would also explain the fact that even though Varys is bewildered by what game LF is playing, Illyrio is not.

Why would Illyrio do this? Why put the crown in debt to the Iron Bank only to have to pay it back when he takes the throne? He has no intention of paying it back. In fact, Illyrio's true motive here is not to take the throne but the destroy the Iron Bank (and houses Tyrell and Lannister in the bargain). By ramping up the crown's debt, he knows the IB will then loan even more money to any number of usurpers in order to get their money back. The more the bank loans, the shallower its reserves become. Now, if Stannis' bid fails and fAegon succeeds, not only will the bank have lost its loans to the crown, but to Stannis as well, and with the slave trade disrupted, we can expect a whole lot of other loans to fail as well. Then, all it takes is for one major depositor to attempt to withdraw his account, which the bank can no longer cover, and that sparks a run on the bank that not only brings it down but the entire Braavosi economy with it. And that will allow Pentos to finally tear up the peace deal it made with Braavos 90 years ago, allowing it to once again build its own army and navy and pursue trade and international relations on its own terms.

And who can we expect this one major depositor to be? Why, Littlefinger of course, who has built his account with the very same money that the bank loaned to the Iron Throne in the first place. Genius.

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59 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

Littlefinger is running circles around Varys, and Varys does not seem to know how badly he is being played.

"The gods know what game Littlefinger is playing . . ." This is after Varys knows LF is the cause of events moving too quickly in Westeros to suit Illyrio's plans, and after he knows LF is mucking with the finances of the realm they hope to usurp. But even though Varys knows the secrets of virtually everybody of importance in Westeros, he is utterly blind when it comes to Littlefinger. And he doesn't even seem to recognize this blindness or the threat it poses to his plans.

LF was also able to pull off the Purple Wedding right under Varys' nose, and he has been deftly moving up the ladder to the positions of Lord Protector of the Vale and Lord Paramount of the Riverlands, and Varys is powerless to stop him.

As for their motives, I think both are working for Illyrio. Varys' involvement is self-evident, but Petyr's is still obscure. First, I question how LF could have suddenly started bringing in all this extra revenue to the Arryns and then the crown without making serious enemies among the merchant class or disruption the local economies of Gulltown and then King's Landing. Starting in Gulltown, it is extremely unlikely that LF, as a junior customs officer, could single-handedly increase trade to make an appreciable impact on his own collections and no one else's. So he is either acquiring the proper taxes from the goods he is inspecting, or he is charging more -- either way, this means traders and merchants are now paying more to do business in GT than they were before, which would make a whole lot of people unhappy and probably give LF a one-way ticket to the bottom of the Narrow Sea. The only way around this conundrum that I can think of is that LF is being bankrolled by somebody, namely a certain pox-ridden cheesemonger with designs on the Iron Throne. This would also explain the fact that even though Varys is bewildered by what game LF is playing, Illyrio is not.

Why would Illyrio do this? Why put the crown in debt to the Iron Bank only to have to pay it back when he takes the throne? He has no intention of paying it back. In fact, Illyrio's true motive here is not to take the throne but the destroy the Iron Bank (and houses Tyrell and Lannister in the bargain). By ramping up the crown's debt, he knows the IB will then loan even more money to any number of usurpers in order to get their money back. The more the bank loans, the shallower its reserves become. Now, if Stannis' bid fails and fAegon succeeds, not only will the bank have lost its loans to the crown, but to Stannis as well, and with the slave trade disrupted, we can expect a whole lot of other loans to fail as well. Then, all it takes is for one major depositor to attempt to withdraw his account, which the bank can no longer cover, and that sparks a run on the bank that not only brings it down but the entire Braavosi economy with it. And that will allow Pentos to finally tear up the peace deal it made with Braavos 90 years ago, allowing it to once again build its own army and navy and pursue trade and international relations on its own terms.

And who can we expect this one major depositor to be? Why, Littlefinger of course, who has built his account with the very same money that the bank loaned to the Iron Throne in the first place. Genius.

Interesting post thanks for sharing

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18 hours ago, Putin said:

I would like to hear your opinion about those 2.

Which one is better mastermind ?

Both are at the same level

Which one is bigger threat for realm ?

Varys, as he has a clear plan to install a King of his liking.

Petyr Baelish tries to increase his own power.

What are their true motives ?

see above

Which one you like more ?

Baelish

 

 

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18 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Littlefinger is running circles around Varys, and Varys does not seem to know how badly he is being played.

"The gods know what game Littlefinger is playing . . ." This is after Varys knows LF is the cause of events moving too quickly in Westeros to suit Illyrio's plans, and after he knows LF is mucking with the finances of the realm they hope to usurp. But even though Varys knows the secrets of virtually everybody of importance in Westeros, he is utterly blind when it comes to Littlefinger. And he doesn't even seem to recognize this blindness or the threat it poses to his plans.

I'd disagree.

Varys is much more cautious, while Littlefinger is willing to take much greater risks. In many cases, absurdly unjustified risks. So far he has succeeded because it suited the plot, but many of them (lying about the winner of the knife, taking Sansa with her, murdering Lysa,...) could have easily meant his downfall.

If Varys wanted, he could put an end to Littlefinger at any time. He is present when Littlefinger blatantly lies to Eddard and Catelyn about Tyrion being the owner of the Valyrian steel knife. Varys could have put an end to Lord Baelysh's career right there.

Varys lets Littlefinger act because his actions benefit his goals. He creates chaos and debilitates the Baratheon rule, which is exactly what Varys wants. He only complains that the timing is not ideal for his purposes, but it helps him anyway.

18 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

LF was also able to pull off the Purple Wedding right under Varys' nose, and he has been deftly moving up the ladder to the positions of Lord Protector of the Vale and Lord Paramount of the Riverlands, and Varys is powerless to stop him.

Why would Varys have any interest in preventing the Purple Wedding? The Targaryen conquest will be much easier against a weak boy king than a warlike teenager. It also has the benefit of creating a rift between Tyrells and Lannisters as they fight to control Tommen, and alienates the capable Tyrion from his family.

Varys also has no interest in preventing Littlefinger to become Lord Protector of the Vale and Lord Paramount of the Riverlands. He doesn't want solid rulers in Westeros. The fact that the Vale and the Riverlands will be divided and under contested leadership when the Targaryen come is good news for him.

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On 12/3/2019 at 3:34 PM, Putin said:

I would like to hear your opinion about those 2.

Which one is better mastermind ?

Which one is bigger threat for realm ?

What are their true motives ?

Which one you like more ?

 

 

 

They seem on the same level, but Varys is just letting Littlefinger do what he wants because Varys doesn't mind.

Varys is a bigger threat because we know Baelish's motives, while Varys's are more intricate. Littlefinger acts for himself.
By quoting books, vices can kill you, and we know Baelish's vices (it was once Catelyn and now it's probably Sansa).
Instead, Varys seems more untouchable, he acts for a purpose that is not his own power, we do not know him, we do not know what he wants for sure. He is even more cautious.

Which one do I like more? Both.

 

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Both came from nothing. Neither are really manipulated by power and both understand how the political sausage is made. I really like these two. Littlefinger is a fascinating character. I love how he finds a way to power by learning finances--something no noble person bothered with. But he also makes my skin crawl because he grooms and molests young girls. He has understandable class angst but at the same time he's not going to succeed in screwing them all over like he wants to. 

If I had to go with someone I trusted to tell the truth about things, it's Varys. I trust nothing LF says. I think Varys is playing the long game, so he has to serve shitty people to survive so he can engineer a situation where a good king can rise to power. It won't go as he plans (what plans ever work out?) but I think he will drop some knowledge bombs on the heads of characters in future books about what makes a good ruler. 

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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On 12/3/2019 at 4:55 PM, John Suburbs said:

Littlefinger is running circles around Varys, and Varys does not seem to know how badly he is being played.

"The gods know what game Littlefinger is playing . . ." This is after Varys knows LF is the cause of events moving too quickly in Westeros to suit Illyrio's plans, and after he knows LF is mucking with the finances of the realm they hope to usurp. But even though Varys knows the secrets of virtually everybody of importance in Westeros, he is utterly blind when it comes to Littlefinger. And he doesn't even seem to recognize this blindness or the threat it poses to his plans.

LF was also able to pull off the Purple Wedding right under Varys' nose, and he has been deftly moving up the ladder to the positions of Lord Protector of the Vale and Lord Paramount of the Riverlands, and Varys is powerless to stop him.

As for their motives, I think both are working for Illyrio. Varys' involvement is self-evident, but Petyr's is still obscure. First, I question how LF could have suddenly started bringing in all this extra revenue to the Arryns and then the crown without making serious enemies among the merchant class or disruption the local economies of Gulltown and then King's Landing. Starting in Gulltown, it is extremely unlikely that LF, as a junior customs officer, could single-handedly increase trade to make an appreciable impact on his own collections and no one else's. So he is either acquiring the proper taxes from the goods he is inspecting, or he is charging more -- either way, this means traders and merchants are now paying more to do business in GT than they were before, which would make a whole lot of people unhappy and probably give LF a one-way ticket to the bottom of the Narrow Sea. The only way around this conundrum that I can think of is that LF is being bankrolled by somebody, namely a certain pox-ridden cheesemonger with designs on the Iron Throne. This would also explain the fact that even though Varys is bewildered by what game LF is playing, Illyrio is not.

Why would Illyrio do this? Why put the crown in debt to the Iron Bank only to have to pay it back when he takes the throne? He has no intention of paying it back. In fact, Illyrio's true motive here is not to take the throne but the destroy the Iron Bank (and houses Tyrell and Lannister in the bargain). By ramping up the crown's debt, he knows the IB will then loan even more money to any number of usurpers in order to get their money back. The more the bank loans, the shallower its reserves become. Now, if Stannis' bid fails and fAegon succeeds, not only will the bank have lost its loans to the crown, but to Stannis as well, and with the slave trade disrupted, we can expect a whole lot of other loans to fail as well. Then, all it takes is for one major depositor to attempt to withdraw his account, which the bank can no longer cover, and that sparks a run on the bank that not only brings it down but the entire Braavosi economy with it. And that will allow Pentos to finally tear up the peace deal it made with Braavos 90 years ago, allowing it to once again build its own army and navy and pursue trade and international relations on its own terms.

And who can we expect this one major depositor to be? Why, Littlefinger of course, who has built his account with the very same money that the bank loaned to the Iron Throne in the first place. Genius.

An interesting motivation you put together that would solve some of the ties of LF to Braavos, and why GRRM puts Arya repeatedly in the periphery about financial plots in Braavos: the insurance man,

Spoiler

Swyft coming to negotiate a deal with the IB over the loans to the IT.

Now, I'm not entirely sure that your specific team proposition is correct. For all we know, the IB itself was the initial backer of LF in Gulltown back in the day, or at least a certain keyholder family of Braavos is, who wish to be a finacial kingmaker faction, just as much Illyrio and Varys are. And I seriously doubt that Illyrio will ever get to tear up the peace deal with Braavos, since Illyrio's death is telegraphed several times to occur in tWoW. Nor do I see LF survive tWoW. I also have a hard time believing the IB (and FM) vaults of the keyholders are so empty they cannot cover the IT's debt or LF's account.

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On 12/3/2019 at 2:34 PM, Putin said:

I would like to hear your opinion about those 2.

Which one is better mastermind ?

Which one is bigger threat for realm ?

What are their true motives ?

Which one you like more ?

 

 

I think Littlefinger is the most dangerous and unpredictable of the two, and the one with the most nefarious purposes. I personally enjoy Varys more as a character. I genuinely loathe Littlefinger.

Forgot to say that, despite the above, Varys is much more ''efficient'' than Littlefinger. The latter seems more dependent on luck and whatever comes up while Varys is more of a chessmaster, in control of the game and mindful of his ultimate goal.

Edited by Lady Anna

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On 1/11/2020 at 6:53 AM, sweetsunray said:

An interesting motivation you put together that would solve some of the ties of LF to Braavos, and why GRRM puts Arya repeatedly in the periphery about financial plots in Braavos: the insurance man,

  Hide contents

Swyft coming to negotiate a deal with the IB over the loans to the IT.

Now, I'm not entirely sure that your specific team proposition is correct. For all we know, the IB itself was the initial backer of LF in Gulltown back in the day, or at least a certain keyholder family of Braavos is, who wish to be a finacial kingmaker faction, just as much Illyrio and Varys are. And I seriously doubt that Illyrio will ever get to tear up the peace deal with Braavos, since Illyrio's death is telegraphed several times to occur in tWoW. Nor do I see LF survive tWoW. I also have a hard time believing the IB (and FM) vaults of the keyholders are so empty they cannot cover the IT's debt or LF's account.

Well, I never said the plan was guaranteed to work, just that this is what it appears that Illyrio is doing. I'd be interested to see where Illyrio's and LF's deaths have been telegraphed to occur in tWoW.

Sure, LF's backer could be some nameless, faceless person with a grudge against the crown, but there is no indication that such a person exists, and Martin doesn't pull major plot twists out of thin air. There is some evidence that it is Illyrio, however. The conversation in the dragon room where Varys confesses "the gods only know what game Littlefinger is playing." It's bad enough that Varys does not recognize this major blind spot, but for Illyrio to miss it too when he is the one trying to win back the crown? More than likely, Illyrio knows exactly what game LF is playing even if Varys does not, and he is perfectly OK with it. I know this is not much, but it's something.

As for the IB's financial picture, I think there is plenty to indicate that its reserves are running low. First, we have the fact that it is calling in loans all over Westeros. While some see this as a pressure tactic to get the crown to see reason, if it is it will only make the bank's situation worse. How is the crown supposed to pay back loans if tax collections suffer because the Westerosi economy is now in turmoil? Calling in performing loans is traditionally a sign that a bank is in trouble; it means it is willing to sacrifice future profitability to shore up its balance sheet now.

Secondly, as I mentioned, we have the disruption of the slave trade to consider. The IB does not loan to slavers, but it does loan to countless merchants and traders of other goods that rely on the slave trade for their income. With no money being made in slaves, no money is available to purchase wool, silk, wood, foodstuffs and all the other things that make up the world economy, and the IB sees slowdowns in repayment, if not outright defaults. As Illyrio says to Tyrion: ". . . the world is one great web, and a man dare not touch a single strand lest all the others tremble."

Thirdly, we have Jon's request for a loan. What was Tycho's initial response, without even looking into the facts? No way, no how, can't be done. The wealthiest, most powerful bank in the world, and it can't even come up with a few thousand gold to keep a few crows and wildlings fed through the winter? It was only after Jon was able to come up with collateral (the wildlings' collateral) that the deal was struck. Conclusion: the IB needs cash now.

All of this fits perfectly with Martin's MO: a bunch of seemingly unrelated factoids, barely worth mentioning, that in hindsight provided the clues for us to see what has happening all along. And boy, wouldn't the Iron Bank going under provide just the kind of major plot twist to shake up the entire story all over again?

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15 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

Well, I never said the plan was guaranteed to work, just that this is what it appears that Illyrio is doing. I'd be interested to see where Illyrio's and LF's deaths have been telegraphed to occur in tWoW.

The telegraphed death of Illyrio is repeated several times in aDwD:

- Tyrion thinking about cleavers to Illyrio's ringed fingers and how he could live of those rings, and comparing him to a fat ocean mammal.

- Quentyn's memory of what befell his fat captain on the way to Volantis: yup, hacked off fingers for the rings and then dumped from the ship.

I think there's even another reference to a fat, rich guy who's fingers are hacked off for the rings.

And then enters the Tattered Prince into Meereen's plot via Quentyn. In exchange for his aid, he wants the sacking of Pentos. Dany refuses, but Selmy eventually agrees to it in her absence. And while initially, Dany may balk at such an agreement, she won't for long once Tyrion mentions a certain Young Griff who's actually Aegon Targaryen, who grew up on a boat with a sort-of-septa, a sort-of-maester, a foster father and his own knight to teach him how to use a sword, and he did so all of his life as far as he remembered while sponsored by Illyrio. Dany laments the lack of any such stable home, and education. On top of that, Illyrio also got the Golden Company to fight for Aegon, without requiring to involve Dothraki and a bride. To Dany it would seem that if her benefactor had truly been her beenfactor, he would have at the very least introduced her and Viserys to Aegon and let them be a family, and mentioned the Golden Company (Viserys begged with them and was rejected) was on their side, etc... Instead he wed her to Khal Drogo, gave Viserys a sword and her dragon eggs that he couldn't expect her to hatch. So, she will agree to the Tattered Prince's wish. 

Illyrio will die in the sacking of Pentos at the end of tWoW, a floating seacow body with fingerless hands by the culprit who wanted his rings.

LF's doom has been telegraphed since aGoT: Ned damns him in the black cells. Half of the people Ned damned have died by the end of aDwD. A disaster in the Vale has been heavily hinted at when the "Mountain" kills Ser Hugh in the tourney, and the suns and the moon darken with blood, along with Tyrion's hatred against the Vale. aSoS picks this up again with GoHH's words and then later Sansa's scene of building of a snow castle with LF.

Quote

Sure, LF's backer could be some nameless, faceless person with a grudge against the crown, but there is no indication that such a person exists, and Martin doesn't pull major plot twists out of thin air. There is some evidence that it is Illyrio, however. The conversation in the dragon room where Varys confesses "the gods only know what game Littlefinger is playing."

No need for a faceless person with a grudge against the crown. Just interest in having a Braavosi kingmaker - LF.

39 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

Thirdly, we have Jon's request for a loan. What was Tycho's initial response, without even looking into the facts? No way, no how, can't be done. The wealthiest, most powerful bank in the world, and it can't even come up with a few thousand gold to keep a few crows and wildlings fed through the winter? It was only after Jon was able to come up with collateral (the wildlings' collateral) that the deal was struck. Conclusion: the IB needs cash now.

Tycho sounds like any merchant you want to make a deal with and just wants to drive up the price. "Impossible! No way! Can't be done," yadiyada... Never had any haggle experience, did you? Jon's thoughts make it clear that's how we ought to read Tycho's initial cry of "foul". It's actually an invitation to try and hanggle and come to a deal.

You know, like the Qartheen brass merchant takes Dany's refusal and put down of the brass plate he hopes to sell her is an invitation to haggle with him over the price of the thing. And in fact, he goes down so much in price, hoping to sell it, that she eventually does buy it, even if Jorah never picked it up for her to buy, but to use it as a mirror to spy on Selmy and Belwas following them around.

Afterwards, Jon even thinks that Tycho agreed to Jon's deal easier than he had expected.

And for a bank you believe to be so desparate for goods, gold and collateral, Tycho's willingness to seek out a king stuck in a blizzard at a crofter's village, with a starving army, about to face a large army of heavy horse and accept a contract signed with blood does not fit your assumption.

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On 1/13/2020 at 11:35 AM, sweetsunray said:

Tycho sounds like any merchant you want to make a deal with and just wants to drive up the price. "Impossible! No way! Can't be done," yadiyada... Never had any haggle experience, did you? Jon's thoughts make it clear that's how we ought to read Tycho's initial cry of "foul". It's actually an invitation to try and hanggle and come to a deal.

You know, like the Qartheen brass merchant takes Dany's refusal and put down of the brass plate he hopes to sell her is an invitation to haggle with him over the price of the thing. And in fact, he goes down so much in price, hoping to sell it, that she eventually does buy it, even if Jorah never picked it up for her to buy, but to use it as a mirror to spy on Selmy and Belwas following them around.

Afterwards, Jon even thinks that Tycho agreed to Jon's deal easier than he had expected.

 

Sure, could be just business as usual. Could be that Tycho just couldn't imagine that the Night's Watch could ever pay back any loan. Or it could be that they had no money to loan until Jon mentioned the collateral.

Quote

And for a bank you believe to be so desparate for goods, gold and collateral, Tycho's willingness to seek out a king stuck in a blizzard at a crofter's village, with a starving army, about to face a large army of heavy horse and accept a contract signed with blood does not fit your assumption.

Actually, this should be a sign as to how desperate they are. Stannis is literally their last hope of regaining their loans to the crown. They are taking a huge risk here, but they have no other choice.

Anyway, there is no way to prove or disprove what I'm saying right now. Just look out for it in the next book(s).

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18 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

Sure, could be just business as usual. Could be that Tycho just couldn't imagine that the Night's Watch could ever pay back any loan. Or it could be that they had no money to loan until Jon mentioned the collateral.

Actually, this should be a sign as to how desperate they are. Stannis is literally their last hope of regaining their loans to the crown. They are taking a huge risk here, but they have no other choice.

Anyway, there is no way to prove or disprove what I'm saying right now. Just look out for it in the next book(s).

I may disagree with some particulars and the outcome you predicted, but I do thank you and think you're on to something about the Iron Bank. It's not for nothing that Arya ends up embroiled in economical-political plots in Braavos:

  • the insurance man she has to assassinate
  • the Tyroshi slavers with the women and children of Hardhome she alerts the kindly man of, and the ship being seized
  • Playwrite Forel who is anti current-Sealord
  • the current Sealord entertaining Swyft who wants to renogiate with the IB

And I can accept that LF fits into an economical plot related to Braavos somehow, not just for some of the hints we get about ships in the Vale region, but also some of the Sansa references and LF references in Arya's chapter in aFfC when she arrives in Braavos and sails beneath the Titan. And there's something up with LF wearing plum purple and gold several times in aGoT and aCoK. Tyrion remarks those aren't his sigil colors, and LF answers that not every attire is always picked to reflect a sigil.... or somethign along those lines. 

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On 12/4/2019 at 12:22 PM, The hairy bear said:

If Varys wanted, he could put an end to Littlefinger at any time. He is present when Littlefinger blatantly lies to Eddard and Catelyn about Tyrion being the owner of the Valyrian steel knife. Varys could have put an end to Lord Baelysh's career right there.

Well, to be sure, we have to consider that Littlefinger has Varys by the balls, so to speak. I doubt he actually has a real hold over him, but Varys not taking advantage of Littlefinger's lie back in AGoT - and him actually informing Littlefinger about Cat's presence in the city and later keeping quiet about that, too (he never tells Cersei or the Lannisters anything about that as far as we know) - implies he had as much interest in working with Littlefinger there, not so much against him.

Possibly because they were both involved in the murder of Jon Arryn, wanting to prevent that Robert finds out about the twincest at this time. That could at least explain why Varys would involve Littlefinger in the Catelyn affair.

On 12/4/2019 at 12:22 PM, The hairy bear said:

Why would Varys have any interest in preventing the Purple Wedding? The Targaryen conquest will be much easier against a weak boy king than a warlike teenager. It also has the benefit of creating a rift between Tyrells and Lannisters as they fight to control Tommen, and alienates the capable Tyrion from his family.

Yeah, and we really don't know what exactly Varys knew about affairs in ASoS because no POV is particularly close to him in that book. He may have been aware of the Red Wedding, the poisoning plot, and Petyr taking Sansa with him to the Vale - and he could have decided to not intervene in either of those because they were either helping or not messing with his own plans.

Tommen definitely is preferrable to Joffrey, especially since the plan when Selmy was sent to Dany still was to postpone the invasion until the dragons have grown, meaning by the time they were ready King Joffrey may have been already a man grown, approaching twenty, whereas with Tommen Varys could be sure that the Targaryen restoration would take place while there was still a regency government in KL.

On 12/4/2019 at 12:22 PM, The hairy bear said:

Varys also has no interest in preventing Littlefinger to become Lord Protector of the Vale and Lord Paramount of the Riverlands. He doesn't want solid rulers in Westeros. The fact that the Vale and the Riverlands will be divided and under contested leadership when the Targaryen come is good news for him.

Yeah, not to mention that Varys actually knows Littlefinger pretty well, and could use him to get the Vale in the war on Aegon's side. Varys and Littlefinger are not *enemies* as far as we know, but even if they were - Littlefinger has no idea that Varys is behind the Aegon plan, so he could be lured to support Aegon without even realizing that he is playing into Varys' hands.

On 1/11/2020 at 12:53 PM, sweetsunray said:

An interesting motivation you put together that would solve some of the ties of LF to Braavos, and why GRRM puts Arya repeatedly in the periphery about financial plots in Braavos: the insurance man,

  Reveal hidden contents

Swyft coming to negotiate a deal with the IB over the loans to the IT.

The crucial Braavosi factor right now is that the Sealord is dying. They will choose another, and Arya is likely going to figure in that whole plot so we get (finally) some Braavosi people who matter. Depending who that is and what policies he is going to push we might see Braavos starting to take a more active hand in Westerosi and Essosi affairs (meaning the succession struggle due the Iron Bank's deal with Stannis and the slavery issues caused by Daenerys).

Whether the Faceless Men are going to support official Braavosi policy or whether they are doing their own thing we cannot even begin to predict.

On 1/11/2020 at 12:53 PM, sweetsunray said:

Now, I'm not entirely sure that your specific team proposition is correct. For all we know, the IB itself was the initial backer of LF in Gulltown back in the day, or at least a certain keyholder family of Braavos is, who wish to be a finacial kingmaker faction, just as much Illyrio and Varys are. And I seriously doubt that Illyrio will ever get to tear up the peace deal with Braavos, since Illyrio's death is telegraphed several times to occur in tWoW. Nor do I see LF survive tWoW. I also have a hard time believing the IB (and FM) vaults of the keyholders are so empty they cannot cover the IT's debt or LF's account.

Nothing telegraphs Illyrio's death in TWoW - even if we were to follow your cleaver arguments, you have nothing to support the idea that Illyrio has to die in the next book. Even if your plot predictions there were accurate - it is not realistic to assume Dany or her people are going to sack Pentos in TWoW. I'd be surprised if they even come to the conclusion they should go to Westeros in that book. And it is a long way to Pentos from Slaver's Bay and Vaes Dothrak. A really long way.

While it is a rather short way from Storm's End to King's Landing - where Aegon definitely will arrive in the next book. And Illyrio Mopatis has promised to join him there. What's Illyrio supposed to be doing when Aegon is king on page 500 of TWoW or so? Continue to sit on his fat ass until some Dothraki show up? Or pay the lad and the eunuch a visit?

The very idea that George could consider writing a scenario where the smart and subtle Illyrio Mopatis is still there, at Pentos, when a horde of savage Dothraki is sacking his city is ludicrous. That's the kind of thing D&D might have written but George? Never.

He might still gotten his fingers cut off if or when he dies - but in TWoW and at a sack of Pentos? Not chance. There is far too much narrative potential in Illyrio's story with Aegon, the Golden Company, and Varys to kill him before he interacts with the gang at least once.

But he certainly could die like Rego Draz did - in KL, not in Pentos. In fact, Draz is the obvious ham-fisted Illyrio/Varys parallel there. Another rich lowlife Pentoshi rising high in KL only to die a horrible death at the hands of scum. The parallels are so obvious that I'm inclined to ignore them as a red herring.

The same goes for Littlefinger's death - he most likely will die eventually, but there is no good reason to believe he will die in TWoW. He is far too personal a character for George (and to good a villain) to not have him around for the grand finale. George's Littlefinger might even survive the Others.

As for talk about keyholders and stuff - Braavos is much broader than that. It is a city of commerce, trade, and gold, not so much iron. The Iron Bank isn't controlled by the keyholders alone (and some of them are impoverished nobodies anyway).

The idea that Littlefinger needed the Iron Bank for his financial rise also seems to ignore the man's obvious talents. He was made a custom official, i.e. he had contact and access to the wealthy merchant elite of Gulltown. It shouldn't have been hard for him to get sufficient loans from wealthy friends to start his own businesses, especially after they realized how talented an investor he was.

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On ‎12‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 12:22 PM, The hairy bear said:

Why would Varys have any interest in preventing the Purple Wedding? The Targaryen conquest will be much easier against a weak boy king than a warlike teenager. It also has the benefit of creating a rift between Tyrells and Lannisters as they fight to control Tommen, and alienates the capable Tyrion from his family.

Varys also has no interest in preventing Littlefinger to become Lord Protector of the Vale and Lord Paramount of the Riverlands. He doesn't want solid rulers in Westeros. The fact that the Vale and the Riverlands will be divided and under contested leadership when the Targaryen come is good news for him.

I feel it is very probable that Littlefinger was clever enough to organize the Purple Wedding and Sansa's escape without Varys having any knowledge of it. Varys is not omnipotent. He admitted in the discussion not to know what Littlefinger was up to.

Littlefinger took precautions that Sansa met Dontos only in the goodswoods. And Lady Olenna was clever enough too to avoid spies when needed.

And how should Varys have been able to prevent Littlefinger's move to becom Protector of the Vale?

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Ah.... I love this discussion no matter how many times this topic comes up. 

For me, they are both the best at what they do but I think Varys is the more dangerous. As mentioned above, LF takes extraordinary risks while Varys is much more cautious. 

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I think that Varys is a long term planner in a way Littlefinger is not. I think Varys is better at what he does. Varys doesn't seem to have weaknesses in the way Littlefinger does. Catelyn, Sansa. He seems to have more skeletons in his closet than Varys, with the murders of Jon Arryn, the lies about Tyrion and the dagger, Ned's execution, Joffrey's murder, Sansa's spiriting away from KL, the sexual relationship with Lysa and her murder, the slow poisoning of Sweetrobin. 

Varys's hands seem rather clean in comparison. Varys just doesn't seem to be messing with the nobility to the same degree that Littlefinger does. 

Lately I've been wondering the arrest of the Kettleblacks will not be the first chink in Littlefinger's armor. He is the one who brought the brothers to King's Landing. They can most certainly confess that he is the one who brought them to be his spies. Osney has already confessed to killing the High Septon and to sleeping with Cersei. Who knows what other information will come out.

He could always have them murdered to fuck up the place even more and have Cersei take the blame, I guess. But I think the link between Littlefinger and the Kettleblacks could turn out to be important.

Edited by Alexis-something-Rose

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On 1/15/2020 at 7:11 AM, Greywater-Watch said:

I feel it is very probable that Littlefinger was clever enough to organize the Purple Wedding and Sansa's escape without Varys having any knowledge of it. Varys is not omnipotent. He admitted in the discussion not to know what Littlefinger was up to.

Littlefinger took precautions that Sansa met Dontos only in the goodswoods. And Lady Olenna was clever enough too to avoid spies when needed.

And how should Varys have been able to prevent Littlefinger's move to becom Protector of the Vale?

Not quite. When Varys said he didn't know what game LF was playing, I took that to mean he can't figure out his end game. Since LF has no long-term co-conspirators like Varys does with Illyrio, no confidents, no one he'd write to, no need to write it down etc. his motive and goal are in his head only, and can't be learned which leaves Varys to guess. And none of his guesses make sense to him.

However that doesn't mean he doesn't know when and what LF is doing when he puts one of his schemes into motion. Example; he may not be able to figure out why Joffrey's death benefits LF, but there is no reason to believe he didn't know about it (or, even if he didn't discover it beforehand, nothing to say he didn't find out the truth afterwards and choose not to disclose it)

Edited by Adam Yozza

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On 1/23/2020 at 12:20 PM, Adam Yozza said:

Not quite. When Varys said he didn't know what game LF was playing, I took that to mean he can't figure out his end game. Since LF has no long-term co-conspirators like Varys does with Illyrio, no confidents, no one he'd write to, no need to write it down etc. his motive and goal are in his head only, and can't be learned which leaves Varys to guess. And none of his guesses make sense to him.

However that doesn't mean he doesn't know when and what LF is doing when he puts one of his schemes into motion. Example; he may not be able to figure out why Joffrey's death benefits LF, but there is no reason to believe he didn't know about it (or, even if he didn't discover it beforehand, nothing to say he didn't find out the truth afterwards and choose not to disclose it)

I 100% agree with this interpretation of the “gods know what games LF is playing” line.

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On 1/23/2020 at 7:20 PM, Adam Yozza said:

Not quite. When Varys said he didn't know what game LF was playing, I took that to mean he can't figure out his end game. Since LF has no long-term co-conspirators like Varys does with Illyrio, no confidents, no one he'd write to, no need to write it down etc. his motive and goal are in his head only, and can't be learned which leaves Varys to guess. And none of his guesses make sense to him.

I'd actually assume the opposite - Varys doesn't know what Littlefinger is up to right now with his meddling - does he want to side with the Starks, the Lannisters, or what? Does he want to trigger a civil war or not? If so, when? And so on. Figuring out his endgame is rather easy - acquiring as much power as he possibly can and never let go of it until his death. The ultimate price would, of course, be to sit or at least completely control the Iron Throne through a puppet king.

 

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