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Canon Claude

If Ned had Sent Loras instead of Beric Dondarrion...

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This is one of those hypotheticals I think about more than most. Ned Stark had an opportunity to send Loras Tyrell at the head of the expedition into the Riverlands to arrest Ser Gregor Clegane for his crimes. Ned refuses due to Loras' rashness, pride, and eagerness to fight. Instead, he sends Beric Dondarrion, who goes on to have the storyline that we're familiar with. 

 

But even then, Varys was trying to warn Ned that he would have been better off sending Loras. Loras is not only very popular and well-known throughout the Seven Kingdoms, but he is also the beloved son of a Lord Paramount; his father happens to be in charge of the breadbasket of the kingdoms, as well as its largest armies. That's nothing to shake a stick at, and I've wondered if Tywin Lannister would have backed away from antagonizing three different kingdoms rather than just two. True, the North and the Riverlands prove that they can hold Tywin off and even defeat him in battle, but if the Reach entered the equation, House Lannister would be in huge trouble. So maybe Tywin orders Gregor not to attack Loras's party? Or at least take Loras prisoner? Would Tywin have been able to communicate with Ser Gregor at all?

Plus it's interesting to think of whether or not Loras would have become what the lightning lord was in the main storyline. I'm sure there's going to be lots of different opinions, but that's part of what makes it so interesting to me.

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Posted (edited)

There's two things with this for me, personally.

The first is whether Renly would have committed his own swords to the cause. Something like that might have prevented the complete routing at the mummer's ford.

The second thing also concerns Renly. Would he have been crowned without Loras? 

Edited by Alexis-something-Rose

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51 minutes ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

There's two things with this for me, personally.

The first is whether Renly would have committed his own swords to the cause. Something like that might have prevented the complete routing at the mummer's ford.

The second thing also concerns Renly. Would he have been crowned without Loras? 

If Loras was going to go apprehend the Mountain, there’s a good chance that Renly might have gone with him, though Ned might have put his foot down there. And assuming Loras was killed at the Mummer’s Ford, then yes, Renly’s ties to Highgarden are badly severed. Maybe he would have stayed alongside Ned? He certainly wouldn’t have rallied the Stormlands for Stannis, not even then.

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1 hour ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

Would he have been crowned without Loras? 

I think there's still a strong shot at this, it still aligns with Mace's political goals and if anything may even be strengthened by a desire for revenge against the Lannisters, beyond that Renly has a lot of support in the Reach and some may support his claim with or without Mace which would no doubt put pressure on him to support Renly or regret it later. 

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Interesting what-if with a seeming great number of valiables as outcome, but is this true?

  • Gregor kills Loras => this could hamper the Tyrells against the Lannisters enormously, and yes one can question whether Renly would have been crowned king. While Mace wants Margaery for a queen, I get the impression that Loras and Renly together were the brain and motivation behind the idea of getting Renly crowned. But the Tyrells and Renly could also blame Ned Stark for sending such a young knight against a beast like Gregor. Renly and Tyrells would still join together in one cause (to avenge Loras), against Lannisters and Ned's candidate Stannis anyway, and eventually after Renly's death, Tywin offers queenship for Margaery as a recompense for his mad dog's butchery of Loras, claiming he never ordered such a thing and Gregor acted on his own. The course change here would be that the Tyrells would demand Gregor's head over it on top of Margaery for queen. With the Mountain dead, Oberyn won't combat for Tyrion. Bronn still chooses Stokeworth over championing for Tyrion against a lesser champion for Cersei. Tyrion still needs to escape and ends up killing his father, but Oberyn is alive still. 
  • Gregor captures Loras => now Tywin has a hostage, and can keep the Reach out of the coming wars, and keep Renly at bay too. The story would be similar in outcome, except for Renly remaining at Storm's End and no blockade against King's Landing. But how likely is it that Gregor would capture Loras at that time, instead of killing Loras. He wanted to kill Loras at the tourney already

As for Renly joining Loras => that's not an immediate possibility, as Renly was with Robert hunting's party at the time, and wouldn't learn of it until after Loras has already left. Robert's accident and dying would impede Renly from racing after Loras too.

Overall, I don't see many changes except for no food blockade against KL, and thus no riots OR Tywin has Gregor killed and Oberyn lives.

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Lord Beric may be a symbolic King Robert and Storm King: the original storm king was Durran Godsgrief. House Baratheon took the title when Orys Baratheon killed Argilac the Arrogant. Holding a title is significant, but GRRM may also give us clues that a House has other heirs who may have fallen from power but who carry some of the original magic or "blood" of an historical or legendary figure. I suspect that the resemblance between Dondarrion and Durrandon, as well as Lord Beric's lightning bolt sigil, are clues that he is also an heir (and symbolic representative) of the Storm King.

So Ned chooses to send a Storm King to battle the outlaws in the Riverlands and the Storm King is linked to Robert Baratheon as Lord Paramount of the Stormlands.

But I suspect that Lord Beric is also a symbolic Eddard: his betrothal to a Dayne and the fact that his kiss brings Catelyn back to life (as Lady Stoneheart) may be our best clues.

So Lord Beric is a chimera, comprised of parts of two men. (His name also includes the letters for both "Eddard" and "Rob," for what that's worth. ;) ) The other character suspected of being a chimera is Tyrion, whose mismatched eyes may signal that both Tywin and King Aerys are his fathers. 

I have written elsewhere that I think House Tyrell is the heir of Garth Greenhands (but Houses Florent and Gardner are also out-of-power heirs and also carry some of the Greenhands magic). The real heir of House Tyrell was wounded in a tourney (by Oberyn Martell) and he doesn't leave Highgarden. Ser Loras is the youngest son of Lord Tyrell and I think he is part of a phenomenon of the "green boy". Benjen tells Jon Snow that he is a green boy; Aeron Damphair asks Theon whether he has become a "lordling of the green lands" after his time as a ward at Winterfell. By passing over Ser Loras to lead the effort against Ser Gregor's raids, I think Ned is putting him in that same category of green boys.

But we know that Ser Loras and Ser Gregor have a conflict and a destiny, as @sweetsunray noted:

6 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

But how likely is it that Gregor would capture Loras at that time, instead of killing Loras. He wanted to kill Loras at the tourney already

The Hand's Tourney offers important clues about the Brotherhood Without Banners and the conflict in the Riverlands.

  • Ser Beric defeats an unidentified hedge knight who disgraces himself by killing his horse. We don't know the name of that hedge knight, but we do know that Ser Gregor will also kill his horse in the same tourney. Thoros of Myr then defeats Ser Beric.
  • Ser Loras defeats three members of the Kingsguard and then Ser Robar Royce. We know that Loras will later kill Ser Robar (for his failure to prevent the death of Renly) and two other members of the Rainbow Guard will be killed by Ser Loras and Ser Garlan Tyrell.
  • Ser Gregor's potential tourney victory is undermined by Ser Loras, who distracts Ser Gregor's horse by riding into the jousting ground on a mare in heat. Ser Gregor beheads his horse, in a way that perhaps foreshadows his own beheading in the dungeon laboratory of Qyburn. Ser Gregor nearly kills Ser Loras but he is attacked by his brother, Sandor Clegane, and then ordered to stand down by King Robert.
  • Anguy wins the archery and Thoros wins the melee. Both later join the Brotherhood without Banners. King Robert had wanted to be in the melee, but his armor (specifically his breast plate) didn't fit so he gave up.

There are other details in the matches and outcomes at the Hand's Tourney that the reader can untangle and - I suspect - that Ned could read like a book. (Yeah, Ned Stark and I have long discussions about literary analysis. ;) ) Many of the men who join the BwB participated in the Hand's Tourney and had symbolic victories or defeats. And, of course, the BwB takes the prize money that Sandor Clegane secured when he "defeated" Gregor Clegane in the tournament.

For what it's worth, I think it is not a coincidence that Brienne wins the melee at Renly's Bitterbridge Tourney and eventually is revived (after her hanging but also her cheek wound) by Thoros of Myr, the melee winner at the Hand's Tourney.

Back to the original point: I suspect there is a conflict yet to come that will involve Ser Loras and Ser Gregor (now, we suspect, Ser Robert Strong). It seems possibly or even likely that Ser Loras will no longer be a green boy after his combat and near-death experience at Dragonstone. Ser Gregor / Robert Strong has become one of the Kingsguard, a number of whom were defeated by Ser Loras in the Hand's Tourney. Will Ser Robert be more like those Kingsguard losers, or will he retain the near-champion status of Ser Gregor in that tourney's outcome? Will someone like The Hound have to intervene again to save Ser Loras and defeat Ser Robert?

Additional symbolism about The Mountain and the Riverlands can be found in Tyrion's description of the Battle on the Green Fork.

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14 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

That's nothing to shake a stick at, and I've wondered if Tywin Lannister would have backed away from antagonizing three different kingdoms rather than just two.

That's a good point, that I've never really thought about.  I think it goes without saying that Ned really sucked at the political game.  Making Loras the figurehead of the effort to arrest (or kill) Gregor may very well have caused Tywin to back down.  I guess Ned was hoping to deescalate events, and thought perhaps that Loras' youth and temperament would further escalate events, and bringing the Reach into it would also further escalate the bloodshed.  :dunno:

But doesn't all of this beg the following question, what was Tywin hoping to accomplish by having Gregor and his band pose as bandits and loot and pillage the Riverlands?  Was it purely an attempt to intimidate Ned into releasing Tyrion?  Was Tywin hoping to start a larger war with the North and the Riverlands?

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11 minutes ago, Frey family reunion said:

That's a good point, that I've never really thought about.  I think it goes without saying that Ned really sucked at the political game.  Making Loras the figurehead of the effort to arrest (or kill) Gregor may very well have caused Tywin to back down.  I guess Ned was hoping to deescalate events, and thought perhaps that Loras' youth and temperament would further escalate events, and bringing the Reach into it would also further escalate the bloodshed.  :dunno:

But doesn't all of this beg the following question, what was Tywin hoping to accomplish by having Gregor and his band pose as bandits and loot and pillage the Riverlands?  Was it purely an attempt to intimidate Ned into releasing Tyrion?  Was Tywin hoping to start a larger war with the North and the Riverlands?

I think he will have known Ned would not be intimidated. But he also must have known how honourable Ned tends to be. So the effect which looting had was:

1) It drew away Ned's men

2) It opened Riverlands to Lannister invasion

Either way, it was a preparation for war without trying to start the war. I believe he was trying to capture Ned himself: IIRC, the only reason why Ned did not lead men into Riverlands himself was that he was wounded. Not sure about that, though.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

I think he will have known Ned would not be intimidated. But he also must have known how honourable Ned tends to be. So the effect which looting had was:

1) It drew away Ned's men

2) It opened Riverlands to Lannister invasion

Either way, it was a preparation for war without trying to start the war. I believe he was trying to capture Ned himself: IIRC, the only reason why Ned did not lead men into Riverlands himself was that he was wounded. Not sure about that, though.

It was always a very dumb plan, one that i don't buy for a second Tywin was involved or gave the order, there is literally no reason Robert is going to let Ned fight Gregor Clegane, a whole week passes between Ned resigning his office and him being hurt by Jaime and Ned's wake up and reappointment. Tywin simply had no way to know that Ned was going to be reappointed, hell he didn't know if the man was going to live. How Tywin knew that Ned would sent his own household??  There are a lot of leaps of logic in the plan, many that indeed seems more of a lottery ballot than a real plan with defined goals.

I believe that Gregor's ambush, as many other of Tywin's actions during late AGOT, is a direct consequence of Ned's and especially Robert's early downfalls, which allowed him to unleash his savagery without the fear of having to face the wrath of KL. Harwin who didn't hear about the King's and the Hand's fate until much later just assumes that it was Tywin's plan from the get go, but given that the plan is simply absurd and that Tywin never mentions it, it seems more of Harwin's conclusion that anything Tywin came up with. More likely than not with Ned and Robert alive and in power, Loras/Beric/whomever leads the party just arrests Gregor, resistance from Tywin's part was futile, Ned had already sealed his fate and Robert was not about to oblige the Lannisters on that.

To OP's question, either Loras is killed, in such case Gregor would seal his fate or Loras is captured and the Lannisters use him as hostage.

Edited by frenin

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

@frenin was Tywin really reacting on that short of a timescale? It would take time for the witnesses to travel to KL to testify before Ned Stark, time for Gregor to travel to the Riverlands, there were three different villages that got attacked, and it would have taken some time for Tywin to hear about Eddard resigning in the first place.

As soon as Ned resigned, both Pycelle and Cersei would've sent a raven telling him that there was a vacant and Ned hae argued with Robert (likely losing his favor at the eyes of everyone) and his aim was Winterfell.  I don't think that Gregor's raids had anything to do with Ned, It doesn't make any sense. Gregor's raids wanted to iure the Riverlands into breaking the King's Peace and thus giving him an alibi for an invasion. By the time the Riverlords came to KL however, Pycelle would've already briefed Tywin about Ned's injury. 

All in all, I don't think Gregor's actions had anything to do with Ned, it's just the best idea Harwin came up with but Tywin never even hints that idea was ever ordered. 

There are several periods imo.

 

1. Tywin hears about Tyrion and raids the Riverlands in the hope that the Riverlands break the King's Peace. This is before Ned resigns.

 

2. Tywin receives the news that Ned quarreled with Robert and resigned and, depending of how fast Pycelle briefed him, that he was badly injured. By this time the Riverlords would start heading to King's Landing.

 

3. Tywin would've received the info that Ned had been reappointed.

4. The Riverlords would arrive to King's Landing and Gregor is sentenced to death, again Tywin is inmediately informed.

 

5. Tywin sends furious letters to Cersei, trying to undo Ned's judgment. But it's pointless given that Robert is still hunting.

 

6. Robert is going to die, Tywin is again informed.

 

7. Ned's and Robert's downfalls happen. King's Landing is in Lannister's hands and when informed Tywin prepares for an invasion and orders Gregor to do away Ned's party.

 

 

Since Harwin isn't aware of the King's Landing events until much later, he believes that was Tywin's plan all along and that's what he tells us. I don't really think it was Tywin's plan. Kidnapping or killing the Hand of the King and the King's best friend seems like a great way of making sure you're going to die. 

Edited by frenin

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55 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

@frenin was Tywin really reacting on that short of a timescale? It would take time for the witnesses to travel to KL to testify before Ned Stark, time for Gregor to travel to the Riverlands, there were three different villages that got attacked, and it would have taken some time for Tywin to hear about Eddard resigning in the first place.

Presume that any change of situation with Ned Stark, any decision of his would be instantly reported to Tywin by maester Pycelle sending a raven.

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24 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

Presume that any change of situation with Ned Stark, any decision of his would be instantly reported to Tywin by maester Pycelle sending a raven.

You got me.

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

Presume that any change of situation with Ned Stark, any decision of his would be instantly reported to Tywin by maester Pycelle sending a raven.

True, but Tywin was on the move, and ravens aren’t an instantaneous messaging system. Ravens can also be killed along the way. There could have been a miscommunication and he just assumed Ned Stark was still Hand of the King. Plus he might not have cared either way. He can always apologize for Gregor’s uncontrollable behaviour and delay in handing Gregor over until things die down. That was one of his most frequent strategies, after all.

Edited by James Steller

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Posted (edited)
53 minutes ago, James Steller said:

True, but Tywin was on the move, and ravens aren’t an instantaneous messaging system. Ravens can also be killed along the way. There could have been a miscommunication and he just assumed Ned Stark was still Hand of the King. Plus he might not have cared either way. He can always apologize for Gregor’s uncontrollable behaviour and delay in handing Gregor over until things die down. That was one of his most frequent strategies, after all.

He wasn't on the move until the invasion, until that, he had only called the banners and placed his army at the Golden Tooth and it's not like Tywin can't tell Pycelle where he should send the ravens if he knew he would be moving. We have zero reasons to believe Tywin was anywhere but Casterly Rock or that Cersei and Tywin could not communicate properly. Ravens aren't a quick way of communicating but a week passed since Ned's renounce and injury and Ned's reappointment. Enough imo for Tywin to receive the info. And Tywin simply can't make a plan to iure Ned out if he knows that's impossible.

If Gregor killed Ned, Robert would demand his head no doubt, if Gregor captured alive Ned, Tywin and Gregor would be signing their sentences. All in all, the only info we have about Tywin's plan is Harwin's unreliable conclusion.

Edited by frenin

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On 6/4/2020 at 5:38 PM, Canon Claude said:

snip

Loras would have been injured or distracted or something else and then ned would have sent Lord Beric anyway so the story could continue as written 

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If Loras is killed I don't think the Lannisters would ever get the chance of making the lion and rose alliance.

Mace still holds a grudge against Oberyn for crippling Wylas. Loras was his favorite and being killed is much more serious, Mace may blame Ned for sending Loras in such expeditions, but he would hate Tywin much more,, he already was moving against the lannisters trying to replace Cersei with Marg and then by siding with Renly, if the Lannisters throw more gas into the fire it would not end well for them.

I also can't see Loras surrending and becoming a hostage without being cripple, the way he is describing foughting in the siege of dragon stone, resisting two blows and boiled oil, and losing half of his men in the siege, makes him look like someone to go fight until the bitter end.

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, James Steller said:

True, but Tywin was on the move, and ravens aren’t an instantaneous messaging system. Ravens can also be killed along the way. There could have been a miscommunication and he just assumed Ned Stark was still Hand of the King. Plus he might not have cared either way. He can always apologize for Gregor’s uncontrollable behaviour and delay in handing Gregor over until things die down. That was one of his most frequent strategies, after all.

Only much later he was out in the field. But before Ned's arrest, Tywin was not on the move himself. He even managed to communicate to Pycelle and Cersei, the day Ned confronted Cersei.

Quote

 

Pycelle smiled wanly. "It is good to see you in such a fierce humor, my lord." He leaned close and lowered his voice. "There was a raven this morning, a letter for the queen from her lord father. I thought you had best know."
"Dark wings, dark words," Ned said grimly. "What of it?"
"Lord Tywin is greatly wroth about the men you sent after Ser Gregor Clegane," the maester confided. "I feared he would be. You will recall, I said as much in council."
"Let him be wroth," Ned said. Every time his leg throbbed, he remembered Jaime Lannister's smile, and Jory dead in his arms. "Let him write all the letters to the queen he likes. Lord Beric rides beneath the king's own banner. If Lord Tywin attempts to interfere with the king's justice, he will have Robert to answer to. The only thing His Grace enjoys more than hunting is making war on lords who defy him." (aGoT, Eddard XII)

 

 
While you could assume Pycelle lied, there was ample time for raven communication. Raven messaging might not be instantaneous, it also takes way less time for a raven to reach CR or even the Golden Tooth than it does to reach Winterfell: probably like 2-3 days. 
 
And there is more reason to accept Harwin assumed wrongly, than that Pycelle lied here. Pycelle's dead. Tywin's dead. Ned's dead. Beric's dead. The Mountain's undead. It won't ever come up again.
Edited by sweetsunray

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2 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

Only much later he was out in the field. But before Ned's arrest, Tywin was not on the move himself. He even managed to communicate to Pycelle and Cersei, the day Ned confronted Cersei.

 
While you could assume Pycelle lied, there was ample time for raven communication. Raven messaging might not be instantaneous, it also takes way less time for a raven to reach CR or even the Golden Tooth than it does to reach Winterfell: probably like 2-3 days. 
 
And there is more reason to accept Harwin assumed wrongly, than that Pycelle lied here. Pycelle's dead. Tywin's dead. Ned's dead. Beric's dead. The Mountain's undead. It won't ever come up again.

But Gregor was on the move.

I don't see how Tywin could relay info to the Mountain then, like Beric was out of Neds hands as well

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13 minutes ago, Hugorfonics said:

But Gregor was on the move.

I don't see how Tywin could relay info to the Mountain then, like Beric was out of Neds hands as well

No reason for him to be either, after the raids there was no reason for Gregor to not come home again, especially having in mind that "he was never at the Riverlands in the first place". Like Tywin Gregor would only move again much later.

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17 minutes ago, frenin said:

No reason for him to be either, after the raids there was no reason for Gregor to not come home again, especially having in mind that "he was never at the Riverlands in the first place". Like Tywin Gregor would only move again much later.

No reason for what? Raiding? It was to entice Ned to attack so he could have leverage in regards to Tyrions arrest 

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