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Alyn Oakenfist

Littlefinger's Plans

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15 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

I'd daresay that the fact that he challenged to a duel the lord's son-in-law and that fucked one of his daughters may have something to do with that, too.

Sure, but if he was Jaime Lannister he could get away with that.

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25 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

I don't. But it's a pretty transparent lie. As Tyrion claims afterwards, he never bets against his family. And Varys, of all people, would know that. Perhaps he wouldn't remember exactly, but it would be easy to check what happened if any suspicion had been arised.

I think Varys was fully aware of the blade's history, because... he's Varys, and because of his reluctance to answer to Ned's question (it seems as if he waits for Littlefinger to reply). But at the end of the day, it's not a matter of whether Varys knew it or not. It's that there was a significant chance that Varys had known, and therfore, Littlefinger's decision to lie was very risky.

If the Starks had been the winners, there would have been a trial for the losers. Admittedly, Tyrion could have died in battle, but it's not that a likely outcome. Once the case of the dagger is publicly made, Littlefinger's story completely crumbles. Anyone who was at the royal bench that day can explain what happened. And anyone at court would know about Tyrion's betting pattern.

And from the time that Littlefinger betrays Eddard, it's clear cut. Even if Ned is killed, all people at court and the senior soldiers of the City Watch would know that Littlefinger was instrumental on Lord Starks downfall.

There are some signs that he did. For instance, the night of Robert's death he fled King's Landing instead of trusting that the City Watch (controlled by Baelish) will side with Eddard. In the same night, when he tries to convince Eddard to strike immediately, he doesn't include Littlefinger as his potential allies.

We can't know whether Renly realized Littlefinger was a creature of the Lannisters or a neutral agent. But in any case, wouldn't a brand new young king who comes to the throne want to include in his council people who completely trusts or that he wants to reward? The Tyrells seem to have a clear mind to appoint Garth the Gross as master of coin, and Renly would oblige.

Ok, you convinced me again.

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@The hairy bear I believe that Littlefinger told his tale about the dagger mostly to come into Ned's confidence and influence where his investigation would take him.

Specifically, he could not keep quiet as it was his dagger and Santagar would have said so. He also wanted to maintain the narrative he established with Lysa's letter to Catelyn. Lastly, he pointed to Tyrion because he was at this point by far the least dangerous Lannister to accuse, not least because he was not there to deny it. Cersei and Jaime are after all more than capable of killing Littlefinger on a whim and consequences be damned.

At this point in time I believe his game was to forestall potential developments while being the primary influencer of the players involved. I don't think he thought ahead; I don't think he generally does. He is confident in himself that he can manage situations after the fact. It is not entirely unjustified. He is clever, if not always smart. It is though catching up with him. 

As for Varys. I believe that in this scene they have come together to contest fro the new meat, whose pawns they would become. I doubt that even Varys, knew off the top of his head, the providence of the dagger. Regardless, he could have undermined LF. The question is what he would have gained by it. If he did it right there odds are that neither would be believed. Varys does not strike me as someone who would something like that without considering the implications. 

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On 1/7/2020 at 4:43 AM, Loge said:

Littlefinger's wealth might be a bit overrated. He certainly doesn't hold vast lands. As for stealing money from the crown, he may have filled his pockets but there is no way that is the reason for the debt. Robert just spent a lot. Made him popular as a king but left a big problem for his successors. Governments do that all the time in the real world. If Littlefinger really had stolen all that money he would have to keep it somewhere. He couldn't put it into some bank account in Braavos, he'd have to store all the gold somewhere, physically. Where would that be? 

Littlefinger's wealth is in real assets, including brothels and ships. As Tyrion notes, Littlefinger didn't believe in letting gold dragons sleep, instead he invested them to make more money.

On 1/8/2020 at 9:44 AM, The hairy bear said:

If Renly wins, he surely loses his position too. Littlefinger is nothing to him, and he'll want to fill his small council with the Southerner lords that had supported his claim.

Renly and Littlefinger seemed to have gotten along, and Littlefinger actually suggests to Ned that they put Renly on the throne after edging Stannis out. Varys, Pycelle and Barristan all remained on the Small Council after Robert became king. The Grand Maester is admittedly chosen by the Citadel rather than the King, but Robert named most of the Kingsguard which served under him and he could have elevated one of them over Barristan if he wanted to. And the main reason he was able to appoint so many people to the Small Council was mostly due to them dying during the war rather than getting fired.

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We can understand all we need of Petyr Baelish after reading about his humiliating defeat.  Imagine the humiliation.  Proud young man honestly loved Catelyn.  He fought a superior fighter and lost.  His love had to beg for his life.  Hoster Tully rejected his offer.  Can you see why he would want to remove those families from power?  It's obvious. 

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On 1/6/2020 at 3:13 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

As a result of all this we can surmise that Littlefinger's goal was to spite the high nobility by reaching as far as he could, becoming a great lord or even the king (or if he could not do that, the power behind the throne).

That certainly seems to be one side of his motivation - but at this point we cannot dismiss the possibility that (originally at least) he wanted to make a name for himself to be eventually worthy of Catelyn. If that was so it certainly seems he started to love the game much more than he ever loved her along the way, but we can be reasonably certain that part of the point to nudge Ned to become the Hand after they had killed Jon Arryn was to get Cat into the city and try to rekindle the old affair they once had. But that whole thing ended as soon as he interacted with Cat during her visit in KL and when he laid eyes on Sansa.

On 1/6/2020 at 3:13 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

The Debt

 

Judging form the Throne's huge debt in spite of the never ending summer, we can suspect that Littlefinger immensely defrauded the Throne. This can be seen through the fact that while still only being the lord of a couple of rocks he became one of the wealthiest people in all of Westeros. As we will see this will have massive consequences later on. Another thing to note is that Little finger took most of the debt from the Iron Bank. This was most probably a calculated act on his behalf. One of his plans seems to be constantly trying to bankrupt Westeros is order to make himself the only person able to bail out the nobles and as such buy their loyalty.

The king's debts would have little to nothing to do with Littlefinger's actions. He only rose to the position of Master of Coin rather late in Robert's reign - a couple of years before AGoT - and Robert inherited a full treasury which he first had to empty before there was any reason to start loaning money. And for all the loans from House Lannister King Robert definitely didn't need his Master of Coin, be it Littlefinger or any of his predecessors. He would have gone directly to his father-in-law or he would have approached him via Cersei.

The Master of Coin manages the Crown's finances, but he does not spend it. The king decides how much to spend and what for.

Littlefinger certainly seems to have stolen money from the Crown, but it is much more likely that he simply took huge shares of the incomes he was making for the Crown (and was obscuring the details of those deals, so that outsiders could not really understand how much income the deals created, meaning nobody looking at the numbers could accuse him of embezzlement or fraud).

There are also hints that Littlefinger sold offices in the royal treasury, indicating him being guilty of simony and general corruption. His rise to wealth might not be founded in him stealing money but rather a consequence of his actually ability as an investor. Back at Gulltown his access to various merchants and traders (and his ability to make friends) should have allowed him to multiply whatever small loans he may have made to become a wealthy man himself. Chances are not that bad that the Lord Baelish Jon Arryn called to court to serve in the treasury (before he became Master of Coin) was already a very wealthy man simply because of the many enterprises he conducted in Gulltown with the Graftons and Shetts and the merchants there.

On 1/6/2020 at 3:13 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

However, no matter how wealthy or how indebted Westeros became, he would still find it impossible to advance any higher without one crucial factor. War. Not just war however, but a long destructive war, in which he could play both sides to gain as much as he could. However that proved incredibly problematic as he saw with the Greyjoy rebellion. An intricate web of friendships and marriages created a massive super-block made of the North, the Riverlands, the Vale, the Stormlands and the Westerlands. Only the Iron Islands, Dorne and the Reach were left out, and even in the unlikely even of those 3 kingdoms allying the war would still be incredibly one sided. So he would need to split up this alliance.

I don't think war was necessary for that. Talk more about a crisis where his, Littlefinger's, help was vital to the victorious party. Look at the offer Littlefinger is making Ned when Robert is dying. He makes him an offer to restore the peace by installing Eddard as the Lord Regent and Protector of the Realm with Littlefinger ruling at his side until they have dealt with Stannis (which would be a minor affair) to eventually make Renly the proper Baratheon king.

Littlefinger's game was to fuel existing conflicts so that a resolution of those conflicts would only be possible (or much easier) due to his own assistance, intervention, and help. And the crucial part here is that Littlefinger fuels existing animosities and dislikes while he himself remains the friend of all. That way he can serve as a mediator/negotiator and bring everybody back to the table or arrange an alliance that could easily win a war if it ever came to war.

This is the way to rise higher and finally become a great lord in his own right.

This also works with there being a war, but he doesn't necessarily a war for this kind of plan to succeed. And there are strong hints that his ideal plan was to work with Ned rather than the Lannisters.

The only guy Littlefinger cannot work with of the core court people is Stannis. Thus a huge part of his politicking in AGoT and later is to ensure that he is not getting closer to the throne is not victorious in the war (Littlefinger is actually the one dealing Stannis the most severe blows with his counter measure to the twincest story as well as arranging the Tyrell alliance and, most importantly, coming up with the idea of 'Renly's Ghost').

On 1/6/2020 at 3:13 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

The only thing he had was the silver bullet of the twincest. However simply revealing it wouldn't have been enough. Would it have been revealed, it would have led to a Lannister rebellion, with them against the Crownlands, the Riverlands, the Vale, the North, the Stormlands and Dorne (wanting vengeance). The same problem arose. If he were to however kill Robert and the reveal the twincest in some way, it would have been even worse. Now maybe th Crownlands would have changed alliegence, however the result would still have been the same, only now Stannis would be on the Throne, a situation that would probably leave Littlefinger short a head. This probably could have been alleviated if Jon Arryn was to suffer some terrible accident meanwhile, as he would gain effective control over the Vale, through Lysa, pulling the Vale out of any possible war. That would still put the Westerlands, the Crownlands against every other kingdom, especially given Renly's bond with the Tyrells, and even more so, his bond with Loras Tyrell. Basically is whichever scenarios he chose The Lannisters would be crushed, with Robert or Stannis as king, one case only returning to Status Quo, now with an even stornger realm and the other resulting in Littlefinger's death. As such he realized that he needed to think outside the box and create a third faction, Renly.

I don't think this holds much water. In fact, we don't know when and how Littlefinger learned about the Cersei-Jaime thing. Chances are not that bad that he only heard about that from Lysa or some other way while Stannis and Jon were already conducting their investigations. Jon Arryn wasn't killed because Littlefinger wanted him gone now, but because Lysa wanted him dead because he wanted to make their son a ward on Dragonstone. This was not some sort of long-term plan, but rather a spur of the moment idea, something Littlefinger likely could only convince fearful Lysa to do because he told her that everybody would suspect the queen and/or other Lannisters because of their strong motive due to the twincest investigation Jon and Stannis were conducting.

If Littlefinger had long ago known or figured out about the twincest then his rise to higher offices and titles could have been rather easy - just figure out a way to convince Robert that this is true and become the man who would give the king and the Seven Kingdoms a new queen of his own making. Littlefinger also had a very good working relationship with Robert.

On 1/6/2020 at 3:13 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

If, in the event of Robert's untimely death, Renly could be convinced to stake his claim to the Throne, then it would be Westerlands and Crownlands on one side, the North, the Riverlands and Dragonstone on the second and the Reach and Stormlands the third, with Dorne and the Iron isles going either way. Whatever the war would be very long and allow him a lot of opportunities to ingratiate himself to various factions and accumulate more and more power. As an added perk Stannis is this case would be the least probable to win.

Renly doesn't need convincing there. Sure, Littlefinger also gets along splendidly with Renly, and it seems that Renly was his ideal candidate for the throne in a scenario where Robert dies early, but we have no reason to believe Renly ambitions have anything to do with Littlefinger.

On 1/6/2020 at 3:13 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

The Plan 1.0.

At the beginning of AGOT, Littlefinger's plan is ready. Having set the proper ground work by letting enough people know of the twincest and working to increase Renly's ambition and greed the pieces were set. His first move would be to arrange the murder of Jon Arryn, thereby securing a powerbase of his own in the Vale. Afterwards when Robert inevitably appoints Ned Stark as Hand, he would slowly reveals to him the twincest, becoming Ned's ally and confidant, however at the last moment he would inform the Lannisters of Ned's plan, thereby forceing their hand to kill Robert and proclaim Joffrey as king. Afterwards the 3 way civil war would begin allowing him to become incredibly influencial, on one side by maybe being granted some land and on the other by exploiting the deep financial turmoil that would be inevitably caused by the war.

That, too, is far too complicated for a sponatenous plotter like Littlefinger. He doesn't have this kind of master plan, he has a general goal and keeps open as many roads leading to that goal as possible. Aside from Stannis he could work with any of the courtly factions. But we can say that working with the Starks/Tullys would have been the easiest for him, for a time at least, considering the existing bond between them.

On 1/6/2020 at 3:13 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

At first the plan works incredibly well. Jon Arryn's death goes exactly as planned, and using Lysa and the attempt on Bran's life to destroy any good faith between Starks and Lannisters. Ned also perfectly falls into Littlefingers trap and discovering the twincest and reacting almost as Littlefinger would expect. Almost. The first deviation from the plan is when Ned tells Cersei about his discovery. This does mean that Littlefinger can no longer get the prize form informing the Lannisters about Ned's intent, however this doesn't affect Littlefinger's plan. However then disaster strikes. When Robert is killed, rather then fleeing the city Ned tries to execute a palace coup. This had two possible outcomes. If Ned succeds then Stannis ascends to the throne with no bloodshed, with Joffrey and Tommen as hostages. So his only choice is to help the Lannisters stop Ned, who is then captured and imprisoned.

As the offer Littlefinger makes to Ned shows he did not necessarily want to put Cersei in power. He wanted to work with a Ned if he would not insist on making Stannis king. One could even assume that Littlefinger was so reluctant in telling/pointing Ned at the twincest because he feared he would insist on doing that. Littlefinger also could scarcely count on Cersei succeeding in killing Robert - if Ned ever found out about the twincest Littlefinger would have to fear/expect Ned would first go to Robert rather than him, making it impossible for Littlefinger to control the flow of information there.

And if Robert had ever learned anything about the twincest and believed it to be genuine (which unlike Stannis' excuses imply would have been rather easy considering how bad his relations with Cersei were) the Lannisters would have been doomed. They wouldn't have been a faction Littlefinger could use to ride to high offices and titles. Cersei children would either be killed or declared bastards, and Cersei and Jaime would be executed.

On 1/6/2020 at 3:13 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

At this point Littleifnger's plan is still somewhat intact. In order to make sure the Starks join the fight his plan is to have Ned executed rather then being sent to the Wall or kept as a hostage, as the latter would mean the Starks and Tully's support of Joffrey which would translate to Renly's and Stannis's quick defeats. There would also be the problem of Joffrey, who while relatively easy to influence could just as well have his head. So his plan is to have Joffrey execute Ned, which would put the Starks in a collision course in the Riverlands, one he hopes Tywin Lannister would win, and after that what would follow is a long drawn out war between Renly and Joffrey in which he would win either way.

ADwD strongly implies Littlefinger's involvement in the execution of Ned (if he was involved at all which is very likely) was actually a stab at Cersei and had nothing to do with the Starks or Tullys. Littlefinger did ask Cersei for Sansa's hand in marriage, likely seeing it as his only reward for his support in the succession crisis (keep in mind that Slynt got Harrenhal) and was rejected out of hand. To ensure Cersei/the Lannisters would continue to need him to secure their power he decided to escalate the war so he could later offer Cersei or Tywin to use his connections with Catelyn to make a peace with them, to use his connections with Lysa to bring in the Vale of their side in the war, or (as he did) to use his (something less intimate) connections with the Tyrells to form an alliance with them (the latter wouldn't have been on his mind back then, of course, since that was dependent on Renly suddenly dying, which was a completely unforeseen event).

Littlefinger's intention should Renly's huge host ever make it to the city likely was to use his influence with the City Watch to ensure a relatively bloodless installation of Renly as king, sort of like the City Watch welcomed Rhaenyra in the capital.

On 1/6/2020 at 3:13 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

While the first part of his new plan when well, i.e. the execution of Ned, everything else goes horribly wrong. While Littlefinger expected Tywin to quickly deal with Robb before turning and facing Renly with a massive host of around 60k (his 20, Jaime's 20 and Daven's soon to be 20), what happens is the complete opposite. Robb quickly destroyed Jaime at Riverrun therefore pinning the entire Westerland force in the Riverlands. However another even worse disaster happen afterwards. Renly is shadow-babied to death, leaving Stannis with a massive host, set to attack KL, At this point, especially given Littlefinger's past, he knows that is Stannis wins, he will face the axe. So with his very survival on the line, he is forced to act for the Lannisters and not himself. At the orders of Tyrion he successfully arranges a Tyrell-Lannister marriage pact, who at the last second is able to defeat Stannis. However some good does come of all this for Littlfinger as he is named Lord of Harrenhal (though an empty title is does finally allow him to marry Lysa and get dirrect control over the Vale) and he does begin to silently work with the Tyrells for another future endevour.

I don't think anything went wrong there. Littlefinger is far too smart to actually predict the outcomes of wars. His game is to keep close ties with as many people as possible, making it nearly irrelevant who wins.

He also doesn't go to Bitterbridge at Tyrion's command - he volunteers for that mission, meaning this entire thing was done for his own benefit to get the great seat he coveted for himself - Harrenhal, at least since Tyrion had offered it to him earlier.

One should also keep in mind that his plan in ACoK likely also involved the use of Mandon Moore to kill Tyrion who had fooled him earlier and who was starting to become a real nuisance (in part because Littlefinger himself antagonized him with his dagger lie).

On 1/6/2020 at 3:13 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

By the time A Strom of Sword begins the situation had gone out of his control. By now the war seemed over, with Northern and Ironborn submission being just a matter of time. However a new dynamic seemed to be emerging. With only the Reach and the Westerlands remaining as strong realms, his plan now was geared for total domination. He would try and force a Tyrell-Lannister rift, first by severing the marriage, and after a devastating war between them we would fianlly sweep in using the untaped power of the Vale. He would also be aided by his attempt to gain the trust of Sansa both directly as well as through Dontos. His hope was to use her in order to gain the North and Riverlands to his side once Robb and Edmure were killed. Therefore his plan was simple at this point. Marry Lysa, wait for the war to end and the Starks and Tullys to be defeated, orchestrate a Lannister Tyrell split while gaining control of the Vale and finally after the Lannisters and Tyrells cancelled each other out then walk in with the support of the Vale and whatever remained of the North and Riverlands (rallied by Sansa) and gain total power. As usual the first parts went very well. He fianlly managed to marry Lysa, and as expected the war with the North finally turned. However one thing he didn't expect was the Tyrell marriage plot with Sansa. He was however able to salvage the situation by informing the Lannisters who, rather predictably married Sansa to Tyrion. This, due to all that transpired, meant that Sansa would be perfectly available for when he framed Tyrion for the upcoming murder of Joffrey. Things got even better after the Red Wedding. Which for one made Littfinger LP of the Riverlands and insured a deep hatred from both the Riverlands and North towards the Lannisters, one which he would be able to exploit in his favor.

Here you seem to confuse the series of events. Littlefinger sent Sansa his little note to have her meet Dontos immediately after he got Tyrion's fake offer to bring the Vale back into the fold and marry Robert to Myrcella. He intended to take Sansa with him when he left KL for the Vale on Tyrion's orders - and he was very pissed when this turned out to be a fake offer and he had to postpone Sansa's flight for a later date. The original plan likely was to have Dontos pick her up in the godswood and get her out of the city the very night Littlefinger himself left.

Sansa was a potential scapegoat for the Joffrey murder as early as the end of ACoK - Dontos gives her the hair net in her last chapter of ACoK. The original plan didn't involve the undermining of the Willas plan (that was a betrayal on Olenna's part) nor did it entail the Sansa-Tyrion marriage because Tyrion was not supposed to survive Moore's attempt to kill him.

But, as usual, Littlefinger works with the pieces he is given.

Taking over the Vale would have been plan B in my opinion. Original plan A was to take ultimate power in KL with Ned or Renly or any of the other factions who would properly reward him for his service. It would have also involved him marrying a widowed Catelyn (who, he believed, did love him once) rather than a widowed Lysa.

Control of the Vale gives him a lot of relative military power, especially in comparison to the other war-torn regions, but it also puts him at the vicinity of things, meaning he has to forge new alliances to regain power the capital which, one assumes, is his ultimate goal.

And there I think he is just as pragmatic as before. He will try to work with any ally he thinks he can work with and eventually discard, when necessary.

Littlefinger's interest in Sansa is only a third political - another third as per George himself is seeing her as the daughter he and Cat never had, and the third is his own romantic/sexual interest in her. She is not just a pawn to him.

On 1/6/2020 at 3:13 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

The the Purple Wedding happened which was an even bigger success. He managed to create the first rift in the Tyrell Lannister alliance, while also gaining Sansa. It's aftermath however was weirder, as on one side it eliminated Tywin, therefore further tearing the Lannisters and Tyrells apart, however one side-effect was that Tyrion got away, meaning that Sansa was still technically married to him. Another problem came when she brought Sansa to the Vale. Lysa immediately started to make plans about Sansa marring SweetRobin and then turned envious of her. So Littlefinger out of necessity to keep Sansa alive and under his control killed Lysa. However this weakened his grip on the Vale. For the rest of the currently published books Littlefinger only seems to try to regain control of the Vale, while also making moves to increase his power. However one good thing to happen in AFFC is the Iron Bank's request of all loans to be repaid. This puts Littlefinger in the ideal situation to finally gain control of The Vale and many other nobles by using his vast wealth to pay their loans.

Littlefinger had no interest to drive a wedge between Lannisters-Tyrells at this point - in fact, he admits that he is rather irritated that Cersei fucked up things so quickly. Killing Lysa definitely wasn't his plan, but it was clearly not a setback considering that his control of the Vale is nearly absolute after just a couple of months as Lord Protector.

The North plan Littlefinger lays out to Sansa at the end of AFfC is clearly a plan for next spring, when it makes sense for the Vale to send troops into the North. Doing that in winter would mean war under conditions the men of the Vale are not accumstomed to.

On 1/6/2020 at 3:13 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

The next Failure

However while his plan remains about the same a myriad of factors start to undermine it. The first is Stannis. Littlefinger like everyone else thought Stannis was a goner until his brilliant campaign in the North. Now at the end of ADWD Littlefinger's Northern part of the plan seems dead given Jon Snow's soon to be resurrection as well as Rickon's reemergence. Also his plan of a Lannister-Tyrell split is gone now with the introduction of the Faith, Faegon and soon Dany.

Stannis, the Boltons, whoever else remains in the North next spring would be quickly crushed by a Vale army fighting for Lady or Queen Sansa. The return of Rickon certainly could spoil things - but that would happen years before this North campaign would even start.

For Littlefinger the way to ultimate power cannot go via the North because the North is both pretty much destroyed and, even when at full strength, definitely not the deciding factor when you want to take over the Iron Throne. In that sense chances are pretty high that Littlefinger either lied with his North plan for Sansa there, or only told her a little part of a project he plans for her which has little or nothing to do with his real goals for himself.

And chances are pretty high that the news about Aegon are going to have a massive impact on the situation in the Vale - it might be that the knights who came to the tourney at the Gates of the Moon will end up declaring for Aegon, with Sansa choosing this moment to publicly reveal her true identity (which she could do if she was part of a movement that tried to topple Tommen and the Lannisters).

On 1/6/2020 at 3:13 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

The Plan 3.0. in TWOW

I suspect that in TWOW, after securing the Vale Littlefinger will travel North hoping to gain control of whoever wins there (probably Jon Snow). What will happen there is hard to say though I suspect his pawn, Sansa will finally turn on him, along side the lord of the Vale and kill him.

That is basically the shitty show plot, something that makes no sense for the book Littlefinger. That man is way too smart for stuff like that.

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Robert and Jon Arryn are the ones responsible for putting Westeros in debt.  Petyr Baelish could not have done something like that and gotten away with it.  Robert was in a coma and might miss it but Jon Arryn would have sniffed it out quickly.  Stannis and Renly surely would have.  It is more the case of Petyr Baelish being an enabler for Robert's excessive spending. 

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On 1/7/2020 at 7:54 PM, The hairy bear said:

Provoking a war it's a very risky path to walk, specially if you want it to be "long" and "destructive". To achieve that, the forces have to be roughly equal, and that also means that the winner is uncertain. A member of the small council will have to take sides eventually, and choosing the wrong horse will end your career.

Which is why I think he never had any intention of causing a war. All he did was fueling existing animosities between crucial people.

His advantage, though, is that he actually never chose a side. He helped the Lannisters but that didn't prevent him from keeping ties with essentially every other faction but the Greyjoys (who are irrelevant) and Stannis (whom he cannot work with). Unless Stannis won, Littlefinger would land on his feet in every possible outcome.

On 1/7/2020 at 7:54 PM, The hairy bear said:

Meanwhile, Littlefinger had easier, more realistic ways to rise. Robert was known to be prodigal, and to reward generously those who helped him. He also couldn't stomach any of his brothers, and given Barristan and Pycelle's age, he would be a clear candidate to become Hand of the King once (not if) Eddard got tired of Robert, his debauchery and his orders to kill children. Perhaps the only one, if just after Eddard departed he revealed to Robert that he had been cuckholded and that his brothers knew it but had kept silence.

This is a pretty good point and is, in my opinion, a good argument that Littlefinger didn't find out/believe in the twincest before Jon and Stannis started their investigation. Else he would have likely used that information to ingratiate himself with Robert somehow.

But we cannot really dismiss the possibility that he also flirted with the idea of becoming Ned's successor as Robert's Hand. Keep in mind that Cersei's decision to arrange Robert's accident was a sudden decision forced on Cersei by the godswood talk. Littlefinger did neither know about Cersei's (alleged) plans to murder Robert before nor did he know about the godswood talk.

On 1/7/2020 at 7:54 PM, The hairy bear said:

This is one of the things that turned out well for Renly only because of sheer luck, or in this case, because of "magic". With Renly claiming the crown with the support of the Tyrells, the Lannisters had no chance against him. King's Landing was only saved because Renly choose to delay the advance of his army, because Stannis took the wild chance of attacking Storm's End, and because Melidandre's sorcery killed Renly. None of this could have been foreseen by Littlefinger, and therefore, it wasn't part of an infallible masterplan.

In the normal course of events, Renly's army arrives to King's Landing, crushes Tywin's force if he dares to appear, and kills Cersei and her children. What reward could Littlefinger hope for in this situation? Probably, he could count himself lucky if he was allowed to return home alive.

See above. We do know Littlefinger and Renly got along very well, and we do know that Littlefinger has considerable sway over the City Watch (especially while Slynt was still in charge). Thus we could expect Littlefinger to pull Daemon Targaryen and ensure that the City Watch arrest Cersei and her family and hand over the capital and the Iron Throne to King Renly without much bloodshed once his army showed up before the walls.

Littlefinger would get an epic reward if he pulled that off, and he would be the favorite of the new king and queen.

On 1/7/2020 at 7:54 PM, The hairy bear said:

After the suspicious death of Jon Arryn, Stannis inexplicably flees to Dragonstone and decides not to inform Robert what he and Jon were investigating at the time of his death. Instead, he prefers to brood in Dragonstone while Robert travels surrounded by Lannisters in the empty roads of the North. In the normal course of events, Stannis would have told Robert.

If Stannis had been a different person, yes. I daresay it may have no come to a suprise to as perceptive a person as Littlefinger that Stannis would abandon his brother to the mercy of his loving wife.

On 1/7/2020 at 7:54 PM, The hairy bear said:

When Catelyn appears with the dagger, Littlefinger flat out tells a thin lie to Eddard accusing Tyrion of being the dagger's owner. He tells the lie in front of Varys, who could have easily denied it thus putting an end to Littlefinger's "plans". Eddard could have also checked the story with anyone else. But most importantly, it could not be foreseen that Cat and Tyrion would randomly meet in the Kingsroad. In the normal course of events, Eddard arrests Tyrion once he arrives at King's Landing, he denies being the owner of the dagger, and Littlefinger has managed to antagonize both the Starks and the Lannisters in just one stupid stroke.

The fact that Varys does not contradict the story of the dagger could indicate that he and Littlefinger were working together in the entire Jon Arryn enterprise. And telling the truth at that point - that the dagger was actually King Robert's property - certainly would have been much more dangerous than telling the Tyrion lie - which in the worst case scenario leads to the execution of ugly dwarf very few people are going to miss.

If, as you suggest, Ned had arrested Tyrion upon his return to KL (that he did not plan to do something like that is, in my opinion, rather evident considering Ned did not send word back to Winterfell or other Northern castle to arrest Tyrion Lannister on his way down south) and there had been a trial then Robert and Cersei (and even Jaime) would have been rather eager to blame Tyrion for the attempt on Bran's life as per Littlefinger's story than allow anyone to use the truth that the dagger was Robert's to enable anyone to lay the blame for this crime at their feet (especially not Cersei and Jaime since them becoming suspects would have meant that the twincest may have come out).

If King Robert ever had had the grace to admit that said dagger was his dagger then Littlefinger could have easily washed his hands of responsibility for the entire thing by testifying that he did what he did to protect the king and the royal family. Tyrion would have been the first name that crossed his mind, and he could say he blamed him because he knew he would be away from court for some time, allowing him to quietly investigate the affair and calm the waters so Lord Eddard would never insist to taking this entire issue to the king (which he actually did in the book - he successfully prevented Ned from telling Robert about the dagger).

The real danger for peace in the Realm at this point would have been a war between Eddard and Robert - the direwolf and the stag - over the Bran issue. And without the twincest coming out honor and family bonds would have demanded of Robert that he protect his wife and brother-in-law and, especially, his own son and heir should it have dawned on any of them that Joffrey was the one behind the attempt.

On 1/7/2020 at 7:54 PM, The hairy bear said:

Eddard happens to discover the twincest in a moment where a huge rift has been created between him and Robert, and while the king is away at hunting. He meets with Cersei and gives her until Robert returns (three days) to depart King's Landing. In the normal course of events, Robert would have been at court and Cersei wouldn't have had the luxury of three days to plan anything.

Yeah, that is perhaps the most crucial point where Littlefinger had no power, and means that we should assume that Littlefinger's entire AGoT project to win Ned's trust was actually done with the genuine intent on his part that they would work and act together against the Lannisters when the time came. That they did not goes back to unfortunate circumstances when Ned finds out, that he tells Cersei before he talks to Littlefinger, that Robert actually quickly gets himself killed (the strong wine plan could very easily have not worked), and that Ned is as insistent as he is to put Stannis on the throne.

On 1/7/2020 at 7:54 PM, The hairy bear said:

It's a pattern. Littlefinger's "plan", if it can be called so, only works because all the dices have been cast in his favour. Not because of his cleverness, but in spite of his mindless bets.

Which is why he likely didn't have a detailed plan in the first place. Just a lot of ambition and an ultimate goal.

On 1/7/2020 at 9:29 PM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

You forget that at that point the news of Whispering Woods didn't reach KL. A thing I just realized is that if Ned lived everyone would have found out that he betrayed Ned, and this would forever force him to side with the Lannisters.

He could wiggle out of that one. We don't really know whether it was a forced betrayal or one he actually wanted to do. We don't know what happened after Littlefinger left Ned's solar. Could be he went straight to Cersei, could be Cersei's people grabbled him and he was strong-armed to help her. The fact that Littlefinger is the guy reaping essentially zero rewards for his role in the succession struggle while Slynt got Harrenhal certainly indicates that even Cersei herself (who credits Sansa for her success) does not really feel Littlefinger played a huge role there.

On 1/9/2020 at 2:03 PM, The hairy bear said:

I don't. But it's a pretty transparent lie. As Tyrion claims afterwards, he never bets against his family. And Varys, of all people, would know that. Perhaps he wouldn't remember exactly, but it would be easy to check what happened if any suspicion had been arised.

Varys most likely knows the truth - both because of what you say and because Varys is actually the one who learns about Cat and Rodrik being in the city, and because his little bird overheard the conversation Rodrik and Aron Santagar had in the Red Keep.

The reason why the thing doesn't come out likely is because Santagar never learned that the blade was won by King Robert at the nameday tourney - one expect Robert put it into his pocket then and as a part of his household items it accompanied them up to Winterfell. Somewhere on the way - or perhaps only at Winterfell - Robert gave it to Joffrey as a gift. Or Joff took it from Robert's belongings without asking (although I find that less likely).

On 1/9/2020 at 2:03 PM, The hairy bear said:

I think Varys was fully aware of the blade's history, because... he's Varys, and because of his reluctance to answer to Ned's question (it seems as if he waits for Littlefinger to reply). But at the end of the day, it's not a matter of whether Varys knew it or not. It's that there was a significant chance that Varys had known, and therfore, Littlefinger's decision to lie was very risky.

You mean Cat here, not Ned. She questions them about the dagger.

The risk that Varys would give away the lie must have been very low because he, Varys, brought Littlefinger into this whole business in the first place. And, one assumes, that Varys concluded it was in his best interest to not reveal the truth that the blade had belonged to the king. Because that would imply that Robert himself or a person very close to him tried to murder both Brandon Stark and Catelyn Stark - something that could really cause a conflict that would plunge the Realm into the war he doesn't want to start just yet.

On 1/9/2020 at 2:03 PM, The hairy bear said:

And from the time that Littlefinger betrays Eddard, it's clear cut. Even if Ned is killed, all people at court and the senior soldiers of the City Watch would know that Littlefinger was instrumental on Lord Starks downfall.

See above - there are ways out of all that.

On 1/9/2020 at 2:03 PM, The hairy bear said:

There are some signs that he did. For instance, the night of Robert's death he fled King's Landing instead of trusting that the City Watch (controlled by Baelish) will side with Eddard. In the same night, when he tries to convince Eddard to strike immediately, he doesn't include Littlefinger as his potential allies.

Those signs would stand against Littlefinger and Renly getting along very well in the scenes they have together as well as Littlefinger's apparently accurate claim that he befriended Loras enough during his stay at court to be sure he could convince him to listen to the proposal he later made in the name of Joffrey and Cersei.

Renly's coup plan hinges on a coup in the castle. He wants to strike swiftly, while Robert still lives, and only plans to take Cersei and the children into their power so they can take over the government. It does not involve the general KL population.

On 1/9/2020 at 2:03 PM, The hairy bear said:

We can't know whether Renly realized Littlefinger was a creature of the Lannisters or a neutral agent. But in any case, wouldn't a brand new young king who comes to the throne want to include in his council people who completely trusts or that he wants to reward? The Tyrells seem to have a clear mind to appoint Garth the Gross as master of coin, and Renly would oblige.

That's something that only comes up after Littlefinger no longer is the Master of Coin.

On 1/9/2020 at 2:03 PM, The hairy bear said:

I'd daresay that the fact that he challenged to a duel the lord's son-in-law and that fucked one of his daughters may have something to do with that, too.

To be sure, it was because Hoster Tully refused to permit Littlefinger to marry either Catelyn or Lysa.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Keep in mind that Cersei's decision to arrange Robert's accident was a sudden decision forced on Cersei by the godswood talk.

Actually timeline references and Cersei's mode of dress when she appears in the godswood conflict highly with the assumption that Cersei had Robert killed in response to her conversation with Ned in the godswood.

Ned sends her a note in the afternoon. Cersei only appears at sunset. She is dressed in "for once simple" attire, leather boots, hunting green and a brown cloak. In other words, Cersei was dressed in riding and hunting gear, which is odd. Her son arrived back from the hunt in the morning with the Hound, and she did not ride out that morning to meet him, since LF mentions how Joffrey and the Hound went to the queen upon arrival. Through Joffrey and the Hound she would have known the location where she could find the hunting party, or rather Lancel in particular.

Cersei only tends to dress simple when she meets a lover incognito, such as young Jaime when she wants to convince him to join the kingsguard to be with her, but also other occasions. She dresses befitting the location where she will meet her lover: a serving wench in a tavern, in white the color of the kingsguard in the KG tower, and here in hunting green to meet a lover who's part of a hunting party in the forest.

So, Cersei went out riding to meet with Lancel, likely handing him the strongwine herself, likely seduced him to get him to agree and give him "courage". Hence, she didn't get Ned's note until after she already put the plan in motion to have Robert killed. Which isn't surprising: Varys already suggested Cersei aimed for Robert to die in the melee of the tourney. After him hitting her in front of Ned, for making Ned the Hand again after the brawl with Jaime, after Cat arrested Tyrion, and Ned sending knights to arrest the Mountain in the king's name and Ned refusing to oblige Tywin, Cersei had ample motivation to be rid of her husband and arrange it so that her son would be king, Tywin the Hand and she regent.

Furhter evidence to refute the impression that Cersei had Robert killed in response to the godswood conversation is the timeline:

- the godswood conversation takes place on the day when Ned informs the reader and Tomard that his daughters will sail on the Winds Witch three days later.

- three days later, they do not sail, but instead Robert dies and Ned is arrested.

- Robert was brought in fatally wounded the night before, and thus two days later than the godswood conversation.

- We learn from Pycelle that it took Renly and Selmy two days to get the wounded Robert back to KL, after the accident.

In other words, two days after the godswood conversation Pycelle informs us that Robert's accident occurred two days earlier, aka, the very same moment that Ned and Cersei talked in the godswood (sunset) or at the latest early dawn the next morning.

It was foolish of Ned to confront Cersei, but it had no impact on her plans or actions regarding Robert. Those were already set in motion. The third set of evidence isn't so much evidence as behaviour befitting someone who isn't threatened whatsoever by meeting Ned Stark: Cersei volunteers all the crucial information, before Ned actually tells her his conclusion. Upon meeting the sole thing Ned initially says is, "I know what Jon Arryn died for." Ned believed Cersei had Jon Arryn poisoned, because he figured out that Cersei's children weren't Robert's. But to Cersei this would have sound weird. She didn't have Jon Arryn killed. LF had Lysa kill Jon Arryn. Her response to this is befitting her innocense in it: she's defensive, challenging him about whether he plans to arrest her like his wife arrested Tyrion. She then praises Jaime and volunteers to Ned that he is her lover since they were children. Before he can fully phrase the question about his son Bran, again she volunteers that Bran saw her and Jaime together.

Read that conversation. It does not fit with the idea that it prompted her to urge Lancel to kill Robert, because of it. It does fit with a woman who already resigned herself to a path she already took, who already expected Robert to never return alive from the hunting party, and who offered Ned a chance to be her ally and save himself. She looks at him with pity, because she has certainty.

 

Edited by sweetsunray

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22 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

Actually timeline references and Cersei's mode of dress when she appears in the godswood conflict highly with the assumption that Cersei had Robert killed in response to her conversation with Ned in the godswood.

That is all just baseless speculation drawn from Cersei's wardrobe - which I'd say was chosen between Cersei Lannister did not want to be recognized by (m)any people when she went to meet Ned in the godswood.

We have it from Varys that Ned's mercy was the thing that killed Robert - and at this point there is little reason to doubt that.

The idea that Cersei would personally trouble herself with handing the strong wine to Lancel also is based on ... what exactly? She is the queen, and Lancel is a squire who has sworn to Lord Tywin that he would obey Queen Cersei in all things. Also - what's that about Cersei having to seduce Lancel to do what he did. As if she needed to do that. He was sworn to obey her in all things, and still half a boy besides. Men may need be seduced, boys can be commanded. Cersei later made Lancel her lover, in part to reward him for his service, in part because he was a stand-in for Jaime who very well might die. In fact, there is no evidence whatsoever that Cersei ever had sex with other people aside from Jaime and Robert until ACoK when she took Lancel as a lover (and that likely also only after she believed Jaime might be killed in retaliation for Ned's execution).

All she needed to do was to send some messenger into the forest with the wine and a note to Lancel that he was to hand the king that particular wineskin - or if the strong wine had already been prepared and in the king's possession (which is actually more likely considering you don't just produce something like that very quickly) then it would have sufficed to give him the command to act now.

And what you rise yourself - that people had to search for Robert's party in the forest before - also makes it increasingly unlikely Cersei rode out there and searched for/met with Lancel - who would have been with the party the entire time as the king's squire. There is no indication that he ever left Robert.

A speculative messenger looking for the party after the conversation between Cersei and Ned could have had more luck and reached the party in just a day - which would give Lancel ample time and opportunity to do his dirty work.

If there was an earlier attempt on Robert planned at the tourney it might be that Cersei already intended to use the wine there rather than a murderer, because a drunken Robert could have easily gotten himself injured ... and then Pycelle could have seen to it that he doesn't recover (quickly).

If Cersei had already commanded Lancel to use the strong wine (if an opportunity provided itself where it would make sense) then she likely did do that when the king's party left (which is possible), not during some clandestine meeting we have no indication ever happened. After all, the overall point of this kind of way to get something into killing himself is to get him drunk when the chances are high that they

But in the end - this whole thing has no bearing on the topic at hand - Littlefinger's plans. He couldn't know this whole convoluted strong wine plot would take place and would actually succeed. In fact, I'd even doubt that this whole thing qualifies as a murder. If I get you drunk and do not stop you from driving your car I'm not a murderer, am I? All Lancel did was getting Robert drunk - he did not force him to try to take on the boar all by himself.

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11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

We have it from Varys that Ned's mercy was the thing that killed Robert - and at this point there is little reason to doubt that.

Varys's words are but a claim, that is very convenient to make Ned feel guilty to manipulate him into doing what Varys wants him to do.

You can pussyfoot around the wardrobe (even though hunting green doesn't match the setting with Ned... if she had worn grey though). The timeline was always the most obvious obstacle to the claim that Ned's convo prompted Cersei to kill Robert. And I notice you completely ignored it.

And yes, at this stage, Cersei would have seen to it personally. Cersei does not yet have the confidence on who are her allies in this stage, especially not after Jaime left her by herself in KL. It's more unbelievable that she would entrust a request for regicide to a messenger as well as the strongwine, and then could just hope that Lancel would do so, because the queen asked him to via a messenger. Later, yes, after Ned's beheading and she feels secure in her regency. Even in aFfC she does not entrust her darkest plans with regards to other royal members to just anybody, and it involves seduction with most of those (except Qyburn).

Edited by sweetsunray

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Did Cersei have a plan B? I mean, it was by far not sure that the strongwine would lead to Robert's death. In fact, that he would be deadly wounded was highly improbable. He had guards, he missed his thrust only for a small moment. What if Robert had returned alive or at least not died within three or four days?

What then was Cersei's plan? Did she alter anything after the conversation with Ned or Sansa?

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51 minutes ago, Greywater-Watch said:

Did Cersei have a plan B? I mean, it was by far not sure that the strongwine would lead to Robert's death. In fact, that he would be deadly wounded was highly improbable. He had guards, he missed his thrust only for a small moment. What if Robert had returned alive or at least not died within three or four days?

What then was Cersei's plan? Did she alter anything after the conversation with Ned or Sansa?

If she didn’t she would come up w/ one if necessary. After all, she’d been talking about getting rid of Robert since AGoT, Bran II:

"He betrayed one already, or have you forgotten?" the woman said. "Oh, I don't deny he's loyal to Robert, that's obvious. What happens when Robert dies and Joff takes the throne? And the sooner that comes to pass, the safer we'll all be. My husband grows more restless every day. Having Stark beside him will only make him worse. He's still in love with the sister, the insipid little dead sixteen-year-old. How long till he decides to put me aside for some new Lyanna?"

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25 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

If she didn’t she would come up w/ one if necessary.

So you think she would have improvised? She had only some days or even few hours to do so. Imagine, Robert had come back unharmed or only slightly wounded? The King was well guarded.

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5 minutes ago, Greywater-Watch said:

So you think she would have improvised? She had only some days or even few hours to do so. Imagine, Robert had come back unharmed or only slightly wounded? The King was well guarded.

I think she either had a plan B or would try to come up w/ one. But I don’t think we’ll ever learn more about it. 

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4 minutes ago, Greywater-Watch said:

So you think she would have improvised? She had only some days or even few hours to do so. Imagine, Robert had come back unharmed or only slightly wounded? The King was well guarded.

Yeah, she would have. First, she would suggested several possible accidental deaths for Robert in the forest. The moment he was drunk on strongwine, he would be more accident prone anyhow. And neither Selmy nor Renly, let alone other guards, were strong minded enough to stand up against whatever Robert ordered them. Only Ned dared to talk Robert out of the melee for example and had the wit to come up with arguments that worked on Robert: they'd let him win, and Robert would hate to win a melee, believing people let him win because he was king.

Cersei is far more aware of her husband's habits than Ned was. Ned sent a messenger to Robert over the Mountain's crimes in the Riverlands. Robert did not return, despite getting the message. Instead he decided to go boar hunting. He could have stayed away for days more, hell even weeks for all we know. I don't think Robert intended to return before a) Cersei's bruises were fully gone b) the Mountain was actually arrested and brought to court, or actual war had developed between Tywin and the Riverlands. The longer he'd stay away, the more he could blame it on Ned, if Ned's efforts failed. And so, Cersei had ample time to wait out an accident.

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7 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

Varys's words are but a claim, that is very convenient to make Ned feel guilty to manipulate him into doing what Varys wants him to do.

Sure, but a claim of an informed person within the story is better as your claim based on nothing but speculation (rather far-fetched, believing you can draw crucial unmentioned plot content from the wardrobe of person - even more so since a woman as vain as Cersei definitely would have changed after returning from the forest; even Ned changed after he arrived at KL and went to his first Small Council meeting).

7 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

You can pussyfoot around the wardrobe (even though hunting green doesn't match the setting with Ned... if she had worn grey though). The timeline was always the most obvious obstacle to the claim that Ned's convo prompted Cersei to kill Robert. And I notice you completely ignored it.

No, I just said Cersei's messenger could easily enough have found the hunting party quicker than the last messenger who may have simply searched at the wrong place.

Also, basing stuff essentially only on numbers and the timeline - especially with AGoT - is pretty risky, too. George tends to make mistakes with both those things. Two days doesn't have two complete days, the day when the children were to leave could have been changed without the reader being told, etc. Those books are not written with the intention to give us always an accurate picture how much time has passed between events (although it is done sometimes). In fact, George prefers to keeps such things obscure.

Also, you do realize how unrealistic a scenario is where Cersei rides into the forest alone, unseen and just happens to meet with Lancel Lannister without her being seen and recognized by any other person in the king's party before she can make contact with Lancel, right? Lancel and Cersei do not know where the hell the party would be, making it impossible for them to agree to meet at a certain place at a certain time - and Lancel doesn't have the luxury to part with the king's company on a whim even if they could have organized something of that (which is far too convoluted a thing for Cersei to do). The idea that Sandor would inform the queen where to find Lancel specifically when there is no indication that Sandor was privy to any of this regicide plotting is also rather far-fetched - Sandor certainly is a Lannister tool and thug and would likely side with Cersei against Robert if there was a quarrel. But he is not the kind of guy you would trust with regicide.

Either she sent a messenger after the conversation with Ned - or she had given instruction and the strongwine to Lancel when the party first set out.

7 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

And yes, at this stage, Cersei would have seen to it personally. Cersei does not yet have the confidence on who are her allies in this stage, especially not after Jaime left her by herself in KL. It's more unbelievable that she would entrust a request for regicide to a messenger as well as the strongwine, and then could just hope that Lancel would do so, because the queen asked him to via a messenger. Later, yes, after Ned's beheading and she feels secure in her regency. Even in aFfC she does not entrust her darkest plans with regards to other royal members to just anybody, and it involves seduction with most of those (except Qyburn).

That is also just speculation. Cersei is a queen. She doesn't do things herself. And delivering more wine to the king's party for the king to enjoy isn't exactly something dangerous to do. Passing a command to Lancel could be done in a convenient manner not raising suspicion to anyone, using some phrase they agreed before. The idea that she would actually entrust a command indicating regicide in a recognizable manner to either a messenger or paper is silly, of course.

Later in AFfC she has severe issues with Jaime and is suffering from strong paranoia and grief - which she doesn't have in AGoT. And we do know that Lancel was at Cersei's mercy from the start. He had sworn to obey the queen rather than the king in all things, despite being the king's squire. He may have been rewarded with sex for his deed, but a boy like him you do not seduce. If you want him, you just take him - which is what Cersei eventually did. Lancel didn't need seducing, just as no man Cersei ever had sex with needed seducing. She is far too attractive for that. And it seems clear that Cersei only longed for a companion after she had established herself as Queen Regent and very much feared that she would lose/had already lost Jaime.

2 hours ago, Greywater-Watch said:

Did Cersei have a plan B? I mean, it was by far not sure that the strongwine would lead to Robert's death. In fact, that he would be deadly wounded was highly improbable. He had guards, he missed his thrust only for a small moment. What if Robert had returned alive or at least not died within three or four days?

What then was Cersei's plan? Did she alter anything after the conversation with Ned or Sansa?

She seems to have relied on Pycelle to ensure that Robert would die of his wounds.

Cersei other 'grand plan' was to do everything she could to prevent Ned and Robert from talking together alone before the man died - which she actually tried after the dying Robert had been returned from the hunt.

If she had had people in place for a plan B or C one should assume the ravaged Robert wouldn't have made it back alive. Because if she had such would-be kingslayers in place everywhere they should also have been briefed that it was of considerable importance that the king actually die and not merely took days dying.

1 hour ago, sweetsunray said:

Yeah, she would have. First, she would suggested several possible accidental deaths for Robert in the forest. The moment he was drunk on strongwine, he would be more accident prone anyhow. And neither Selmy nor Renly, let alone other guards, were strong minded enough to stand up against whatever Robert ordered them. Only Ned dared to talk Robert out of the melee for example and had the wit to come up with arguments that worked on Robert: they'd let him win, and Robert would hate to win a melee, believing people let him win because he was king.

The problem with that is that there weren't any cronies of Cersei with the king's party in the forest that we know of. And Lancel would have never actually attacked the king - and neither would have the Kingsguard. That's completely out of the question. Even Sandor Clegane (who was with the king's party until he returned with Prince Joffrey) wouldn't have taken up arms against the king, one assumes.

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Sure, but a claim of an informed person within the story is better as your claim based on nothing but speculation (rather far-fetched, believing you can draw crucial unmentioned plot content from the wardrobe of person - even more so since a woman as vain as Cersei definitely would have changed after returning from the forest; even Ned changed after he arrived at KL and went to his first Small Council meeting).

When it doesn't contradict other information, Varys' claim can stand. We don't know what Varys bases this claim on though, none, and it does contradict timeline info.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Also, basing stuff essentially only on numbers and the timeline - especially with AGoT - is pretty risky, too. George tends to make mistakes with both those things. Two days doesn't have two complete days, the day when the children were to leave could have been changed without the reader being told, etc. Those books are not written with the intention to give us always an accurate picture how much time has passed between events (although it is done sometimes). In fact, George prefers to keeps such things obscure.

If this was across a longer timeline, such as the meeting between Tyrion and Catelyn, I'd agree, especially because he admitted to have effed it up there.

However, in this case we get several explicit timeline references that match up, just not with what Varys claims (long after the fact to a very reluctant and uncooperative Ned in the black cells) and readers assume. George very much took care of giving repeated time references in two of Ned's consecutive chapters here though, with several pointers to what is happening in the periphery as well, except he gives them in a manner to function like a timeline puzzle. That was on purpose.

I know the "it took them two days to return" does not have to be 2x 48 hours. It could also mean two full daylight days, and since Pycelle says it in the middle of the night, the dawn after Ned's convo falls within the possible event-day. It is however important to realize it happened either at dusk or dawn, because that's the time to hunt boar.

Complete BS that "the day when the children were to leave could have been changed without the reader being told", not when we have a reference to it shortly before, and then an equal backtrack time reference a Ned chapter later.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Also, you do realize how unrealistic a scenario is where Cersei rides into the forest alone, unseen and just happens to meet with Lancel Lannister without her being seen and recognized by any other person in the king's party before she can make contact with Lancel, right? Lancel and Cersei do not know where the hell the party would be, making it impossible for them to agree to meet at a certain place at a certain time - and Lancel doesn't have the luxury to part with the king's company on a whim even if they could have organized something of that (which is far too convoluted a thing for Cersei to do). The idea that Sandor would inform the queen where to find Lancel specifically when there is no indication that Sandor was privy to any of this regicide plotting is also rather far-fetched - Sandor certainly is a Lannister tool and thug and would likely side with Cersei against Robert if there was a quarrel. But he is not the kind of guy you would trust with regicide.

It's not unrealistic, given the fact that George has Cersei have the habit of dressing up as a bar wench and meet Jaime in a tavern, or dress in white and meet him in the KG tower in his LC's room, or again dress as a kitchen wench to seduce Jaime into agreeing to her political plots in aFfC. And let's not forget her pretending to be Jaime at Casterly Rock and play at swords. It's not new behaviour and she hasn't altered that behavior, not even after she was regent and her father was dead and she believes herself to be the smartest player in all of the 7k. She may act the helpless woman who's scared to go outside of the safe walls of the castle, but she isn't that woman really. She has been dressing up to go to places incognito all of her life, both to locations within the castle, as the city. It may not be how you assumed Cersei managed it, but that doesn't make it unrealistic. George has been telling us for a while now since that conversation how Cersei manages to go to places unrecognized and unseen as well as Varys does it, and with much less disguise, and he has consistently had her match the "disguise" to the location where she's going and meet her lover.

On, Sandor: strawman argument. I never claimed Sandor was in on the regicide. You argue as if Robert's whereabout are this big, huge secret to be kept from his wife. All Cersei has to do upon welcoming Joffrey back is to ask how the hunt for the white heart went, and why didn't his father return as well. And once the boar is mentioned (which was info that LF was privy to), all she needs to ask is where this boar is supposed to be, and how the IT requires the king back, for Ned Stark sent men to bring the Mountain to justice. See how quickly Sandor would freely give up information of the whereabouts of Cersei's husband.

The messenger idea is more absurd than Cersei riding off into the forest alone to seek out Lancel. It creates a 3rd person who is privy to the regicide plans. It forces Cersei to trust this messenger to aid Cersei into getting the king killed. That messenger also needs to meet with Lancel either unseen by the king's party or declaring he has to see Lancel, a squire, but not the king. And while Cersei worries about what Lancel may tell long after, she never worries about the existence of the third corroborating witness, which a messenger would be. Not once does she even think in relief, "ah thank god that I had x or y killed. At least he cannot corroborate Lancel's claims." No, instead she does believe it's Lancel's claim against hers. And it makes way more sense for Cersei to have met with Lancel personally on this. It's the sole way she has plausible deniability: the cousin with a crush on her is delusional and misunderstood, or volunteered to do it after he saw her bruises while she begged him not to or something along those lines.

You may think that Robert was camping in the wild, but that is very doubtful. Just as in the RL you have small keeps of small lords and knights, you have those in the Crownlands, especially in a forest where a king tends to hunt. They're basically the game managers. keeping out poachers. So, Robert would have set up a base in a keep, and then yes, it would have been far easier for Cersei to meet with Lancel deliberately and unseen.

4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And we do know that Lancel was at Cersei's mercy from the start. He had sworn to obey the queen rather than the king in all things, despite being the king's squire. He may have been rewarded with sex for his deed, but a boy like him you do not seduce. If you want him, you just take him - which is what Cersei eventually did. Lancel didn't need seducing, just as no man Cersei ever had sex with needed seducing. She is far too attractive for that. And it seems clear that Cersei only longed for a companion after she had established herself as Queen Regent and very much feared that she would lose/had already lost Jaime.

Lancel's confession to Jaime makes clear that it wasn't as clear cut "do what the queen commands". And you mistake my use of "seduction". It's not about "Cersei needs to seduce a man to make him want her". It's more in the sense of making clear that she knows the young man or man is interested in her and that she welcomes it and may be available. I would call her interactions with Kettleback and Taena seduction just as well, despite the fact both make clear they are sexually interested in her voluntarily.

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40 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

When it doesn't contradict other information, Varys' claim can stand. We don't know what Varys bases this claim on though, none, and it does contradict timeline info.

We don't know what many informed people base their claims on, yet one usually doesn't just doubt such claim with a theory spun from possible time line discrepancies.

40 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

However, in this case we get several explicit timeline references that match up, just not with what Varys claims (long after the fact to a very reluctant and uncooperative Ned in the black cells) and readers assume. George very much took care of giving repeated time references in two of Ned's consecutive chapters here though, with several pointers to what is happening in the periphery as well, except he gives them in a manner to function like a timeline puzzle. That was on purpose.

Or not.

40 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

I know the "it took them two days to return" does not have to be 2x 48 hours. It could also mean two full daylight days, and since Pycelle says it in the middle of the night, the dawn after Ned's convo falls within the possible event-day. It is however important to realize it happened either at dusk or dawn, because that's the time to hunt boar.

The time to hunt boar is when you corner it. If you use hounds and other means to force your prey into the open it doesn't matter what time it is. Boars are pretty big creatures, and hunters don't give them the time to hide and rest when they want to kill them.

40 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

Complete BS that "the day when the children were to leave could have been changed without the reader being told", not when we have a reference to it shortly before, and then an equal backtrack time reference a Ned chapter later.

Or it is a mistake.

40 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

It's not unrealistic, given the fact that George has Cersei have the habit of dressing up as a bar wench and meet Jaime in a tavern, or dress in white and meet him in the KG tower in his LC's room, or again dress as a kitchen wench to seduce Jaime into agreeing to her political plots in aFfC.

There is no such habit - there is one instance where Cersei meets with Jaime in a tavern in the city of King's Landing. One such incident doesn't make a pattern. Other instances have her meet with him in clandestine and private within the very castle they live in. She dresses up for those events, sure, but she doesn't disguises herself. That she did only for the meeting in the tavern decades ago when she wasn't yet queen and he wasn't yet a knight of the Kingsguard.

Even if there were such a habit - said habit would have nothing to do with Lancel or the strongwine or passing on stuff to the king's party.

To make this idea convincing you would have to give us evidence for Cersei disguising herself and doing stuff personally in a number of other cases - which she never does. Cersei Lannister is very much a noblewoman and queen. She only does things herself if she has to and if she enjoys them.

But most importantly - there is no precedent for Cersei ever leaving the city without a retinue of guardsmen and servants. If it were Catelyn you might have a case, and Margaery also like going for a ride very often - but Cersei? No indication whatsoever.

40 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

And let's not forget her pretending to be Jaime at Casterly Rock and play at swords. It's not new behaviour and she hasn't altered that behavior, not even after she was regent and her father was dead and she believes herself to be the smartest player in all of the 7k. She may act the helpless woman who's scared to go outside of the safe walls of the castle, but she isn't that woman really. She has been dressing up to go to places incognito all of her life, both to locations within the castle, as the city. It may not be how you assumed Cersei managed it, but that doesn't make it unrealistic. George has been telling us for a while now since that conversation how Cersei manages to go to places unrecognized and unseen as well as Varys does it, and with much less disguise, and he has consistently had her match the "disguise" to the location where she's going and meet her lover.

There is no indication anywhere that Cersei ever succeeded at going anywhere unseen and unrecognized. Not to Jaime in the tavern all those years ago (which likely was known not only to Varys) and also not to all those visits. I mean, seriously, we see how easy it was for Princess Saera and her gang to do as they pleased in plain sight. If Cersei leaves Maegor's in the middle of the night to go fuck Jaime in White Sword Tower many a guardsman will inevitably see the Queen Regent. But knowing their place they will not address her, not ask her what she is doing, and not repeat what they saw.

Cersei is a position where she has to keep her having sex with other men a secret - not her doing stuff or meeting with people in the middle of the night or at other times at the day.

40 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

On, Sandor: strawman argument. I never claimed Sandor was in on the regicide. You argue as if Robert's whereabout are this big, huge secret to be kept from his wife. All Cersei has to do upon welcoming Joffrey back is to ask how the hunt for the white heart went, and why didn't his father return as well. And once the boar is mentioned (which was info that LF was privy to), all she needs to ask is where this boar is supposed to be, and how the IT requires the king back, for Ned Stark sent men to bring the Mountain to justice. See how quickly Sandor would freely give up information of the whereabouts of Cersei's husband.

A hunting party moves. And, yeah, let's imagine how Sandor describes to Cersei where exactly in the Kingswood (which she possibly visisted the last time before Joffrey's birth) the king's party is.

40 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

The messenger idea is more absurd than Cersei riding off into the forest alone to seek out Lancel. It creates a 3rd person who is privy to the regicide plans.

No, it does not as I already made clear. It just involves a messenger who brings some wine and a note or a message to Lancel Lannister. Words, Lancel understands but which are completely harmless to the messenger himself. He would have no idea at all.

40 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

It forces Cersei to trust this messenger to aid Cersei into getting the king killed. That messenger also needs to meet with Lancel either unseen by the king's party or declaring he has to see Lancel, a squire, but not the king.

LOL, no. He could also have words for His Grace the king, too, just as he could have words and news for every man in the king's party. There is also no need for him to meet Lancel unseen.

40 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

And while Cersei worries about what Lancel may tell long after, she never worries about the existence of the third corroborating witness, which a messenger would be. Not once does she even think in relief, "ah thank god that I had x or y killed. At least he cannot corroborate Lancel's claims." No, instead she does believe it's Lancel's claim against hers. And it makes way more sense for Cersei to have met with Lancel personally on this. It's the sole way she has plausible deniability: the cousin with a crush on her is delusional and misunderstood, or volunteered to do it after he saw her bruises while she begged him not to or something along those lines.

No, here you are confusing the time line. Lancel techncially can have given the wine to Robert without even realizing what he did. We don't know how things went, of course, but the poor boy might only have started to fancy himself a kingslayer (which he isn't) after the fact, once Cersei told him what actually was in the wine.

The way to do this is to just give him the wine and have him pour it for Robert.

Afterwards, once they have their affair, Cersei may have told him what they did. And that's the kind of conversation that could become a problem. Because truly, just handing the king some strongwine is not crime at all.

Cersei doesn't need any plausible deniability here - we are not talking about a poisoning or a murder here. Robert got himself killed.

40 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

You may think that Robert was camping in the wild, but that is very doubtful. Just as in the RL you have small keeps of small lords and knights, you have those in the Crownlands, especially in a forest where a king tends to hunt. They're basically the game managers. keeping out poachers. So, Robert would have set up a base in a keep, and then yes, it would have been far easier for Cersei to meet with Lancel deliberately and unseen.

The impression we get is that Robert and his party were rather elusive - Robert himself talks about the fact that Robar Royce 'found' him, indicating a search.

Even if he were at some keep - how does Cersei get to Lancel there? She would be known on sight to any of the king's party, and Lancel would be around the king the entire time. There would be guardsmen about the place, preventing her unseen approach to the hypothetical keep (or the camp they may have had).

40 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

Lancel's confession to Jaime makes clear that it wasn't as clear cut "do what the queen commands". And you mistake my use of "seduction". It's not about "Cersei needs to seduce a man to make him want her". It's more in the sense of making clear that she knows the young man or man is interested in her and that she welcomes it and may be available. I would call her interactions with Kettleback and Taena seduction just as well, despite the fact both make clear they are sexually interested in her voluntarily.

Well, then you are using the word 'seduction' contrary to its normal usage. I'd not say that either Taena or any Kettleblack was 'seduced'.

Lancel has gone through a life-changing trauma. He feels guilt over his role in Robert's death and other things, but there is no evidence he ever had sex with Cersei before Robert's death, gave him the strongwine in exchange for the promise of sex, etc. In fact, we don't even know whether he knew what he was doing there. If I had been Cersei I'd have told Lancel to give Robert this special wine for a special occasion - when he was about to kill some great animal - not that it contained strongwine which would increase the likelihood he would get himself killed. Because that would be a pretty high risk, trusting such a young boy with that kind of thing.

And while we have no evidence about the inner mechanics of this all it makes no sense to pretend we know how it went.

But in the end - the easiest explanation likely is that Varys was indeed wrong and Cersei had decided to use the hunt as another way to get rid of Robert after the tourney. Then she would have given the strongwine to Lancel (or rather: put it among the king's provisions) and instructed him what to do when/if the opportunity came.

However, considering the scenario it is also very likely that Cersei took additional steps to make it clearer to Lancel to please, please act after she had had her conversation with Ned. Doing nothing in that situation isn't very plausible.

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Well we know you and I never see eye to eye on anything. But you don't make a good case of it, when you argue that "the sending Arya and Sansa away appointment" was delayed off-page without the reader knowing of it.

While he made an error in timeline references for Tyion meeting Catelyn, and we have to make Tyrion fly like the wind to get there in time, and insert Catelyn staying in KL undercover for at least a week, instead of a day, to make it work, in the end I accept that Catelyn left KL the day after meeting Ned, and that Tyrion simply teleported to the Crossroads after Wintertown.

The timing references to Robert's accident, the next day being the departure day, and the references telling us beforehand when that departure was were put in and kept in deliberately, as was the noticeable dress by Cersei, which surprised Ned enough to notice it (and he's not the man to pay that much attention to it). To dismiss them as "it was changed off-page" is just negating objective textual evidence in favour of the assumption of a character who is not a direct witness, who has a motive to make Ned believe his assumption. George didn't write those in to confuse us, because most people actually forgot to pay attention to these, just like readers' eyes glaze over at dress descriptions. Your arguments against the timeline references in these instances are no better than readers dismissing timeline and baby-development issues when they claim Jon's older than Robb, Aegon could be swapped with Jon or Dany: they're an inconvenience to the assumption.

BTW you ignored Cersei's habit of disguising herself as Jaime. And while you can argue that Cersei only dresses up for the occasion in the KG tower, her kitchen wench outfit was more than just dress up. There was a disguise purpose to it, because she does not want to be found out consorting with her brother, whereas her brother wants to declare it openly and inform Tommen. So, yes, there is indeed a pattern.

But the attire was never what tipped me off. It was always the timeline references that conflict with Varys' claim to Ned. Varys' claim is conveniently inserted by George to leave the reader with the impression that it's Ned's fault, while the objective facts and what you can deduce from them say otherwise.

That said, it was still stupid of Ned to tip off Cersei that he was her enemy, and having done so, was partially the trigger for his own downfall, just not Robert's.

Edited by sweetsunray

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