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Kevan and Pycelle’s death

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The epilogue chapter of ADWD has the death of Kevan and Pycelle. During this chapter, I believe we find out how Varys truly feels about the Aegon and Rhaenys deaths. @Alexis-something-Rosemay be interested in this topic, feel free to chime in. :)

 

Let’s go over their manner of death. Varys deliberately picks the crossbow because he thinks it's fitting for Kevan's death:

"I thought the crossbow fitting. You shared so much with Lord Tywin, why not that?"

Varys had known that Pycelle was unguarded while Kevan visited Cersei, snuck in and killed Pycelle.

"There are … there are hundreds of Lannister guardsmen in this castle."

"But none in this room, thankfully." 

He wanted guards, Ser Kevan thought. I should have sent him guards

 

 Instead of using the quarrel, he used the blunt side of the crossbow and bludgeoned Pycelle to death. 

 

Then he saw. Grand Maester Pycelle was seated at his table, his head pillowed on the great leather-bound tome before him. Sleeping, Kevan thought … until he blinked and saw the deep red gash in the old man's spotted skull and the blood pooled beneath his head, staining the pages of his book. All around his candle were bits of bone and brain, islands in a lake of melted wax.

 

This is a violent and riskier way of killing Pycelle rather than the easier method of just shooting the crossbow. However, the visual of Pycelle's death almost matches Aegon's death:

 

"Aegon?" For a moment he did not understand. Then he remembered. A babe swaddled in a crimson cloak, the cloth stained with his blood and brains. "Dead. He's dead."

 

We also learn here, Kevan was present during the sack and had seen the children's bodies. Pycelle had told Aerys to open the gates for Tywin against Varys wishes which caused the children's deaths too. 

 

Varys first shoots Kevan with a quarrel, and Kevan thinks of Tywin's death.

 

No. No, that was how my brother died. Blood was seeping out around the shaft

 

Varys tells Kevan that he is doing this for the children:

 

"Ser Kevan. Forgive me if you can. I bear you no ill will. This was not done from malice. It was for the realm. For the children."

 

I have always wondered who the children were, but what if he meant Rhaenys and Aegon as "the children?"

 

Tells Kevan that he is in service to a bad cause

 

There are many like you, good men in service to bad causes …

 

Kevan was present during the sack and part of the regime for his brother which caused the children's deaths.

 

Varys goal is to remove Kevan from power:

 

but you were threatening to undo all the queen's good work, to reconcile Highgarden and Casterly Rock, bind the Faith to your little king, unite the Seven Kingdoms under Tommen's rule. So …"

 

Here's the last puzzling part of the chapter. Instead of shooting another quarrel into Kevan which would be similar to Tywin's death. Varys chooses to whistle and have children stab Kevan multiple times:

A child emerged from a pool of darkness, a pale boy in a ragged robe, no more than nine or ten. Another rose up behind the Grand Maester's chair. The girl who had opened the door for him was there as well. They were all around him, half a dozen of them, white-faced children with dark eyes, boys and girls together.

And in their hands, the daggers.

 

What is the purpose of this? Why not shoot another quarrel? Well I think it mirrors Rhaenys death:

 

Ser Amory was almost as bestial with Rhaenys. I asked him afterward why it had required half a hundred thrusts to kill a girl of . . . two? Three? 

 

This is why I believe Varys had killed Kevan and Pycelle in this manner. To remove Kevan from power and reflect his goal of avenging the children's deaths.  

 

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I so very much love this. I had personally never made this connection, but I think you're right and I think it's there, the link between the way Rhaenys and "Aegon" died vs the way Kevan and Pycelle died. Re-reading that chapter with this in mind gave me chills.

The chapter opens with the news about Jon Connington and Aegon. And even Rhaenys has a presence in the chapter if we consider that the black tomcat Tommen talks about to Kevan is her cat, Balerion. So it's sort of interesting that the chapter opens with Aegon and would close with Kevan being killed in the same way Rhaenys was. Even Rhaegar looms large over that chapter.

For me, this has just been one more thing that points to Varys telling the truth about Aegon. 

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5 minutes ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

I so very much love this. I had personally never made this connection, but I think you're right and I think it's there, the link between the way Rhaenys and "Aegon" died vs the way Kevan and Pycelle died. Re-reading that chapter with this in mind gave me chills.

The chapter opens with the news about Jon Connington and Aegon. And even Rhaenys has a presence in the chapter if we consider that the black tomcat Tommen talks about to Kevan is her cat, Balerion. So it's sort of interesting that the chapter opens with Aegon and would close with Kevan being killed in the same way Rhaenys was. Even Rhaegar looms large over that chapter.

For me, this has just been one more thing that points to Varys telling the truth about Aegon. 

Thank you for commenting! Yes I do feel the chapter has a huge eerie presence of Aerys court during the time of Robert’s rebellion. Pycelle even mentions how similar Red Ronnet and Jon Con had acted during the rebellion.

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Good catch! I never realized, either, but you nailed it; their deaths reflect Rhaenys and Aegon. I imagine Pycelle earned his head-bashing on his own merits, but poor Kevan is really a proxy for Tywin (hence the token crossbow quarrel).

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1 hour ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

For me, this has just been one more thing that points to Varys telling the truth about Aegon. 

Does it? Because mimicking the deaths of Aegon and Rhaenys might just as well be pointing towards them both being dead and thus fAegon.

 

A good catch, OP!

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11 minutes ago, Ygrain said:

Does it? Because mimicking the deaths of Aegon and Rhaenys might just as well be pointing towards them both being dead and thus fAegon.

 

A good catch, OP!

What would be the point of mimicking their deaths? Everyone already thinks they are dead

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10 minutes ago, Crona said:

What would be the point of mimicking their deaths? Everyone already thinks they are dead

It signals that Kevan and Pycelle are vengeance for their deaths, which, as @Ygrain said, does suggest that Aegon really is dead.

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31 minutes ago, Ygrain said:

Does it? Because mimicking the deaths of Aegon and Rhaenys might just as well be pointing towards them both being dead and thus fAegon.

This doesn't change that Varys would be avenging the deaths of two innocent children.

We're being told there was another baby being passed out as Aegon and that he's the one who got his brains bashed in by Gregor Clegane. It doesn't change that or what Varys does to Pycelle. Pycelle counseling Aerys to open the gates led very directly to that baby suffering a horrible end. That baby paid a heavy price for who they thought he was. 

Here's a hypothetical. If Melisandre decided to burn Monster because he is supposed to be Mance's son, and then Jon decides to burn Mel to avenge the child's death (whom people at the Wall except for a select handful believe is Mance's son), it wouldn't change that it's Gilly's baby who would have died rather than Mance's since that one is off in Oldtown, safe.

I've put up some stuff in the I Never Noticed thread about Aegon and passages I found that could point to him being who they say he is.

Edited by Alexis-something-Rose

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Aegon, the real one, died during the sack. Pycelle’s death mirrored his.  Varys loved the Targaryen children. 
 

Even so, it almost makes him as equally guilty of killing for political reasons as the Lannisters.  

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1 minute ago, Therae said:

It signals that Kevan and Pycelle are vengeance for their deaths, which, as @Ygrain said, does suggest that Aegon really is dead.

I think Rhaenys and the pisswater prince are dead. Varys wanting vengeance for their deaths would suggest Aegon is alive as he wouldn’t raise a fake Aegon if he felt a need to avenge them.

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1 hour ago, Crona said:

Here's the last puzzling part of the chapter. Instead of shooting another quarrel into Kevan which would be similar to Tywin's death. Varys chooses to whistle and have children stab Kevan multiple times:

A child emerged from a pool of darkness, a pale boy in a ragged robe, no more than nine or ten. Another rose up behind the Grand Maester's chair. The girl who had opened the door for him was there as well. They were all around him, half a dozen of them, white-faced children with dark eyes, boys and girls together.

And in their hands, the daggers.

 

What is the purpose of this? Why not shoot another quarrel? Well I think it mirrors Rhaenys death:

 

Ser Amory was almost as bestial with Rhaenys. I asked him afterward why it had required half a hundred thrusts to kill a girl of . . . two? Three? 

 

This is why I believe Varys had killed Kevan and Pycelle in this manner. To remove Kevan from power and reflect his goal of avenging the children's deaths.  

 

Maybe you are right, maybe Varys feels guilty of not being able to prevent their deaths. Anyway, rough forensic analysis will tell that Kevan's killer was likely of short stature, maybe about the size of a famous dwarf known to have killed another Lannister with a crossbow.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Crona said:

I have always wondered who the children were, but what if he meant Rhaenys and Aegon as "the children?"

Those of Daemon's supporters, that survived The Redgrass Field, took their families and escaped with them to Essos, where they were remaining for several gemerations as the Golden Company. If Varys is a Blackfyre and Golden Company is still serving to Blackfyres, then could be that by "the children" Varys meant Golden Company, i.e. - all of them (including Varys) are children of those people that fought for Daemon. So Varys killed Kevan to make it possible for Golden Company to return home to Westeros. Obviously that if all they wanted is to get back to living in 7K, then they could have done it after Robert's Rebellion. Though if they will return thru invasion, and will seize Westeros, and will put their own King (fAegon, who is a Blackfyre, who claims that he is a Targaryen) on Iron Throne, then they will not only be able to live in 7K, they also will be able to get back their lands, titles, castles, etc., all that that Targaryens took away from Daemon's supporters and their families. So, could be that Varys meant "the children" in general sense (like Golden Company), not in specific (like Aegon and Rhaenys).

1 hour ago, Crona said:

This is why I believe Varys had killed Kevan and Pycelle in this manner. To remove Kevan from power and reflect his goal of avenging the children's deaths.  

The only problem with this theory is that nor Kevan nor Pycelle killed Aegon and Rhaenys, so killing them in similar manner doesn't avenge death of those children.

My guess is that besides removing Kevan from power, additional reason why Varys killed him and Pycelle, is because they both were present during the Sack of KL, and they both knew for sure that the body of that killed baby was Aegon. Thus they both were able to expose fAegon as a fraud.

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3 minutes ago, Megorova said:

My guess is that besides removing Kevan from power, additional reason why Varys killed him and Pycelle, is because they both were present during the Sack of KL, and they both knew for sure that the body of that killed baby was Aegon. Thus they both were able to expose fAegon as a fraud.

But Kevan recalls that he wasn't sure the body of the dead baby was Aegon:

Quote

A faceless horror of bone and brain and gore. None of us looked long. Tywin said that it was Prince Aegon and we took him at his word.

 

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33 minutes ago, rotting sea cow said:

Maybe you are right, maybe Varys feels guilty of not being able to prevent their deaths. Anyway, rough forensic analysis will tell that Kevan's killer was likely of short stature, maybe about the size of a famous dwarf known to have killed another Lannister with a crossbow.

Since Kevan had fallen to the floor already, this is unlikely to be apparent from his wounds. Also, above and beyond that, even this basic of forensic analysis seems beyond the skills of Westeros.

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1 hour ago, lehutin said:

But Kevan recalls that he wasn't sure the body of the dead baby was Aegon:

None of us looked long. Tywin said that it was Prince Aegon and we took him at his word.

At the time of his death Aegon was approximately 18 months old, so it's likely that Kevan have met him at least once prior the Sack of KL. It was Tywin who left Aerys' court shortly prior Tournament at Harrenhal, while Kevan, even if he lived somewhere in Westerlands, most likely did went to Targaryen court from time to time, or at least once in a span of those 18 months (if not in any official capacity, then to visit Jaime). When he saw that baby's body he wasn't sure whether it was Aegon or not Aegon, though my guess is that if he would have had an opportunity to see fAegon, he would have been able to identify that fAegon either has some specific feature that the real Aegon didn't had, or the opposite - fAegon doesn't have some "mark" that the real Aegon had. 

For example, what if Aegon had a distinctive birthmark on his face, but because that baby's face was smashed, it was impossible to identify whether the dead baby had or hadn't that birthmark. If fAegon doesn't have birthmark like that, then if Kevan saw him, he possibly would have remembered that Aegon had a distinctive birthmark.

It is known that:

1. Rhaegar's eye color was dark indigo/deep purple.

"Viserys, was her first thought the next time she paused, but a second glance told her otherwise. The man had her brother's hair, but he was taller, and his eyes were a dark indigo rather than lilac";

2. GRRM said that Rhaenys looked more like a Martell, Aegon more a Targaryen;

3. according to JonCon "his (Rhaegar's) eyes were a deep purple, darker than this boy's", and in Tyrion's chapter "Like his sire, Young Griff had blue eyes, but where the father’s eyes were pale, the son’s were dark. By lamplight they turned black, and in the light of dusk they seemed purple."

Though who ever said that real Aegon had purple eyes? Just because Aegon was Rhaegar's son, doesn't mean that they both had purple eyes. Just because fAegon has dark blue eyes, that in dusk seemed purple, doesn't mean that he is Rhaegar's son. Maybe real Aegon's eyes were lilac, like his uncle's - Viserys', that would also fit with what GRRM said that Aegon had Targaryen looks. Lilac eyes are also "Targaryen look". If real Aegon had lilac eyes, then fAegon is not him, and Kevan or Pycelle would have been able to identify fAegon as definitely NOT Aegon. That baby's eyes were smashed.

And Pycelle, as a family doctor of Targaryens, most likely, was keeping records of their medical history, including things such as newborn baby's weight, height, eye color, hair color, birthmarks or other distinctive features.

Thus, there's a significant difference between Kevan not being able to identify that dead baby's body, and Kevan's ability to identify fAegon as not Aegon. The first doesn't negate the second.

Edited by Megorova

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2 hours ago, Megorova said:

The only problem with this theory is that nor Kevan nor Pycelle killed Aegon and Rhaenys, so killing them in similar manner doesn't avenge death of those children.

Pcyelle was the one who convinced Aerys to let the lions through the gate, so one can make a decent argument that he is at least partly responsible for the fate of the children, especially if he knew that the Lannisters were planning on betraying the Targaryens.

At the very least Kevan gets blamed by association, for being Tywin’s brother and close confidant.  But I would assume that Kevan was also probably present during the Sack, although I’m not certain of that.

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6 minutes ago, Frey family reunion said:

At the very least Kevan gets blamed by association, for being Tywin’s brother and close confidant.  But I would assume that Kevan was also probably present during the Sack, although I’m not certain of that.

Sounds like he was there;

Kevan Lannister had been here, in this very hall when Tywin had laid the bodies of Prince Rhaegar's children at the foot of the Iron Throne, wrapped up in crimson cloaks. The girl had been recognizably the Princess Rhaenys, but the boy . . . a faceless horror of bone and brain and gore, a few hanks of fair hair. None of us looked long. Tywin said it was Prince Aegon, and we took him at his word. (Epilogue, ADwD 72)

And Varys called Kevan a good man in service to bad causes. 

 

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Varys brings up Princess Rhaenys specifically during a conversation with Ned in AGoT:

Quote

“Pity.” The eunuch stood. “And your daughter’s life, my lord? How precious is that?”

A chill pierced Ned’s heart. “My daughter …”

“Surely, you did not think I’d forgotten about your sweet innocent, my lord? The queen most certainly has not.”

“No,” Ned pleaded, his voice cracking. “Varys, gods have mercy, do as you like with me, but leave my daughter out of your schemes. Sansa’s no more than a child.”

Rhaenys was a child too. Prince Rhaegar’s daughter. A precious little thing, younger than your girls. She had a small black kitten she called Balerion, did you know? I always wondered what happened to him. Rhaenys liked to pretend he was the true Balerion, the Black Dread of old, but I imagine the Lannisters taught her the difference between a kitten and a dragon quick enough, the day they broke down her door.” Varys gave a long weary sigh, the sigh of a man who carried all the sadness of the world in a sack upon his shoulders. “The High Septon once told me that as we sin, so do we suffer. If that’s true, Lord Eddard, tell me … why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones? Ponder it, if you would, while you wait upon the queen. And spare a thought for this as well: The next visitor who calls on you could bring you bread and cheese and the milk of the poppy for your pain … or he could bring you Sansa’s head.

“The choice, my dear lord Hand, is entirely yours.”

He does care. This is one of the few points where Varys talks about the fate of other people - and while he spends less time with Ned than he does with Tyrion, Ned clearly is the man Varys is more honest with about his ultimate designs and goals. Ned is the kind of man Varys would want to recruit for his Aegon-led future government whereas Tyrion is more like a weapon to be used in the common wars to outmaneuver and defeat the enemy ... but not one you would want to give too prominent a role in a future government considering his character flaws.

It is no accident that he mentions Princess Rhaenys here, just as it is no accident that he omits Prince Aegon who might be still alive.

And all the Targaryen allusions and hints we see Varys dropping throughout the books all are more likely to reference Aegon rather than Dany. Just as 'the savior' and 'the dragon with three heads' Illyrio references in the first Tyrion chapter of ADwD also does not (only) refer to Dany but, of course, to Aegon.

5 hours ago, Crona said:

Instead of using the quarrel, he used the blunt side of the crossbow and bludgeoned Pycelle to death.

I don't think he used the crossbow for that. Possibly not even a blunt instrument but some kind of weapon. Pycelle was dead for quite some time at this point as the coldness of the room indicates.

5 hours ago, Crona said:

This is a violent and riskier way of killing Pycelle rather than the easier method of just shooting the crossbow. However, the visual of Pycelle's death almost matches Aegon's death:

There is a parallel there, but also a considerable difference. The babe's head was crushed against a wall, Pycelle head was just cracked open, possibly by a single powerful blow. I also don't think this was particularly 'risky' considering Pycelle's age, the absence of guards, and Varys' ability to move without making a sound.

5 hours ago, Crona said:

We also learn here, Kevan was present during the sack and had seen the children's bodies. Pycelle had told Aerys to open the gates for Tywin against Varys wishes which caused the children's deaths too. 

Sure, part of the reason why Pycelle is killed is that he is responsible for the Sack and all the dead caused by it, including that of Aerys II, Elia, and the royal grandchildren.

5 hours ago, Crona said:

I have always wondered who the children were, but what if he meant Rhaenys and Aegon as "the children?"

It is the children in general as can be drawn from Varys' quote about the game of thrones I gave above. Aegon is a tool to create a lasting peace, to prevent the continuation of the game of thrones the high lords always play. One can imagine that Varys' plan for Aegon is not that he is going to be a figurehead king who is surrounded by the same kind of grasping and bickering nobility Aerys II and Robert had to deal with, but rather a king who continues and pushes through the same kind of reforns Aegon V tried to implement.

5 hours ago, Crona said:

What is the purpose of this? Why not shoot another quarrel? Well I think it mirrors Rhaenys death:

 

Ser Amory was almost as bestial with Rhaenys. I asked him afterward why it had required half a hundred thrusts to kill a girl of . . . two? Three? 

 

This is why I believe Varys had killed Kevan and Pycelle in this manner. To remove Kevan from power and reflect his goal of avenging the children's deaths.

Considering that he actually seemed to care about Rhaenys this is pretty likely accurate. We have to wait and see how Kevan's body is described when they find it in TWoW, though.

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5 hours ago, Megorova said:

Thus, there's a significant difference between Kevan not being able to identify that dead baby's body, and Kevan's ability to identify fAegon as not Aegon. The first doesn't negate the second.

Sure, and I don't mean to nitpick, but you didn't make the second argument originally. You said

Quote

they both knew for sure that the body of that killed baby was Aegon.

Regardless, I'm certainly on board with the idea that one reason Varys targeted Kevan and Pycelle (besides the reason Varys gives to Kevan) is that the two of them could have identified Young Griff as an impostor.

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