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Which Lord Butterwell was Pylos referring to?

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Posted (edited)

Pylos tells Davos "Lord Butterwell was renowned for wit, Myles Smallwood for courage, Ser Otto Hightower for learning, yet they failed as Hands, every one." The ASOIAF wiki attributes this description to the Lord Butterwell who served as Hand (his position as Hand is how he's distinguished from other Lord Butterwells) for an indeterminate amount of time under Aegon IV, and was grandfather to Ambrose Butterwell. But Ambrose Butterwell was also Lord of Whitewalls, and also served as a Hand (though under Daeron II instead of Aegon IV). We actually do know why he was removed as Hand during the Blackfyre rebellion, whereas we don't know the same about his grandfather (and considering Aegon IV was king, competence was not the criteria used to determine when favors and positions were given or taken), so my suspicion is Ambrose. In Ambrose Butterwell's wiki article, the same account from Pylos is cited as referring to him, and in Pylos' wiki article that quote is linked to Ambrose. I'm guessing that when GRRM was writing that passage he didn't expect there would be more than one Lord Butterwell serving as Hand, so he was the one Hand mentioned without a first name.

Edited by FictionIsntReal
Added link to Pylos' wiki article

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That is an interesting observation, I would not rule out Ambrose's grandfather, though. It might be helpful to know when Lord Butterwell was Hand for Aegon IV to determine what could have caused his failure. Lord Bracken was made Hand in 172 AC and seems to have been in that office at the time of his death in 178 AC, as well. Lucas Lothston served from 178 to 179 AC and the next Hand mentioned was Lord Jon Hightower. So Lord Butterwell could have served in the mid 70ies (if Lord Bracken was both his predecessor and successor) and might have been blamed by Aegon for the failed invasions in Dorne. Or Butterwell served in the 80ies after Lord Hightower. No idea about possible failures in that case. One has to note though that Pylos's definition of failures seems to be rather long ranged, it extends from 'did not really fit in' to 'fucked up the relations to the Faith by taking a second wife' or 'betrayed the king's chosen heir'.

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4 minutes ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

That is an interesting observation, I would not rule out Ambrose's grandfather, though. It might be helpful to know when Lord Butterwell was Hand for Aegon IV to determine what could have caused his failure. Lord Bracken was made Hand in 172 AC and seems to have been in that office at the time of his death in 178 AC, as well. Lucas Lothston served from 178 to 179 AC and the next Hand mentioned was Lord Jon Hightower. So Lord Butterwell could have served in the mid 70ies (if Lord Bracken was both his predecessor and successor) and might have been blamed by Aegon for the failed invasions in Dorne. Or Butterwell served in the 80ies after Lord Hightower. No idea about possible failures in that case. One has to note though that Pylos's definition of failures seems to be rather long ranged, it extends from 'did not really fit in' to 'fucked up the relations to the Faith by taking a second wife' or 'betrayed the king's chosen heir'.

Tbf his point is still valid. Even if Smallwood and Ryam Redwyne's failures are lesser than that of Otto and Maegor they are still failures.

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Ambrose Butterwell doesn't strike one as a guy famed for his wit considering how he talks and behaves in TMK (he is a pious coward, basically). It could be both, but my money would be on the grandfather, especially since Aegon IV seems to be a guy who would surround himself and advance witty people, having allegedly been a wit himself.

1 minute ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

That is an interesting observation, I would not rule out Ambrose's grandfather, though. It might be helpful to know when Lord Butterwell was Hand for Aegon IV to determine what could have caused his failure. Lord Bracken was made Hand in 172 AC and seems to have been in that office at the time of his death in 178 AC, as well. Lucas Lothston served from 178 to 179 AC and the next Hand mentioned was Lord Jon Hightower. So Lord Butterwell could have served in the mid 70ies (if Lord Bracken was both his predecessor and successor) and might have been blamed by Aegon for the failed invasions in Dorne. Or Butterwell served in the 80ies after Lord Hightower. No idea about possible failures in that case. One has to note though that Pylos's definition of failures seems to be rather long ranged, it extends from 'did not really fit in' to 'fucked up the relations to the Faith by taking a second wife' or 'betrayed the king's chosen heir'.

Not sure we have to look for a reason why Aegon IV dismissed a Hand.

The witty Butterwell being a failure could have been a general thing - like, say, people expecting great things from him because he was so witty. Like people also thought Myles Smallwood would be a good Hand because he was a great warrior - he didn't fail spectacularly, either, he just didn't offer any good advice, it seems.

I'm not sure Lord Bracken remained Hand after Barba was sent away - or that he was reinstated when Bethany became the king's mistress. All we know for sure is that he lost his head with Bethany, and that could just have been collective punishments. Aegon IV could have dragged him from Stonehedge to KL to execute him there or he could have been with his daughter at court. I assume the latter is more likely, but we don't have any confirmation so far.

Also keep in mind Bethany caught Aegon's eye at Stonehedge and was groomed by Barba and her father to seduce the king ... which, one assumes, would have taken place at court not at Stonehedge if Lord Bracken had still resided at court. And Aegon IV was explicitly visiting Aegor at Stonehedge, nobody else in the Bracken family.

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7 minutes ago, Adam Yozza said:

Tbf his point is still valid. Even if Smallwood and Ryam Redwyne's failures are lesser than that of Otto and Maegor they are still failures.

Sure, and I did not deny that. My point is that it is not clear at all how big Butterwell's failure was or who considered him a failure for which reasons.

7 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I'm not sure Lord Bracken remained Hand after Barba was sent away - or that he was reinstated when Bethany became the king's mistress. All we know for sure is that he lost his head with Bethany, and that could just have been collective punishments. Aegon IV could have dragged him from Stonehedge to KL to execute him there or he could have been with his daughter at court. I assume the latter is more likely, but we don't have any confirmation so far.

The reason why I guess Bracken was still (or again) Hand in 178 AC is that it aligns with Lucas Lothston being made the new Hand the same year. When you read through the entries of the mistreses, it goes like 'Bracken was the first Hand and was executed, the new Hand was Lothston who was sent away a year later, after him Hightower was named'. Could be coincidental though. On the other hand, the story of three girls in one night seems to fit better with a younger and healthier king and not the one he became in the end.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Ambrose Butterwell doesn't strike one as a guy famed for his wit considering how he talks and behaves in TMK (he is a pious coward, basically). It could be both, but my money would be on the grandfather, especially since Aegon IV seems to be a guy who would surround himself and advance witty people, having allegedly been a wit himself.

 

This was my 1st thought as well. And a good point about the unworthy and his noted wit at court

Edited by One-eyed Misbehavin

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1 hour ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

Sure, and I did not deny that. My point is that it is not clear at all how big Butterwell's failure was or who considered him a failure for which reasons.

I'd expect this to be the judgment of historians dealing with the 'what makes a good ruler/Hand' question, not so much something where there has to be a consensus outside of learned circles. Why Murmison sucked is also completely unclear - wanting to heal women with your hands is at best odd, and being murdered on the street also doesn't make you a bad politician.

1 hour ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

The reason why I guess Bracken was still (or again) Hand in 178 AC is that it aligns with Lucas Lothston being made the new Hand the same year. When you read through the entries of the mistreses, it goes like 'Bracken was the first Hand and was executed, the new Hand was Lothston who was sent away a year later, after him Hightower was named'. Could be coincidental though. On the other hand, the story of three girls in one night seems to fit better with a younger and healthier king and not the one he became in the end.

Well, we only learn Lothston also was made Hand. But I'm certainly open to the possibility that Bracken would have been recalled as Hand when Bethany became the king's mistress - we just don't know whether it is the case or not.

The idea Bracken remained as Hand throughout Missy's reign strikes me as very unlikely, though. She was pretty influential, so one imagines Aegon IV would have fired Bracken for her, even if he did not fire him when he sent Barba and Aegor away.

And I'd imagine Aegon's entire reign as a succession of ups and down in the council and court, with him favoring this or that guy this week, and destroying them in the next. He could easily enough have had a dozen or twenty Hands throughout his brief reign, especially in the early years. It would have entertained him playing his favorites and sycophants against each other.

In that sense there could have been multiple Hands during the Blackwood years at court, and I'd indeed expect that the grandfather Butterwell was one of the immediate successors of Bracken.

1 hour ago, One-eyed Misbehavin said:

This was my 1st thought as well. And a good point about the unworthy and his noted wit at court

If one goes back to the witty thing, one should also keep in mind that grandfather Butterwell was the one who built Whitewalls - indicating that the reign of Aegon IV saw the rise of House Butterwell to true prominence and greatness, something a witty man having the king's ear certainly could have accomplished.

One imagines that grandfather Butterwell received certain honors and favors and lands from Aegon IV to be able to build such a fine castle as Whitewalls. So far we only have Alton Butterwell getting some Harroways lands back from Maegor, which certainly helped the advancement of the house, but it the heights they claimed during the reigns of Aegon IV and Daeron II are quite different.

And thinking about that - one really wonders what the hell Daeron II thought when he made Ambrose Butterwell his Hand. He already sat on the Small Council during the reign of Aegon IV, meaning he would have been one of the Unworthy's cronies to a point, and I really don't see this guy helping Daeron II much with the Dornish union and the cleansing of the court after he took over and all that.

Hopefully this turns out to be some sort of strange short term, with Daeron II losing his previous Hand during the Blackfyre Rebellion or shortly before that and him feeling for some reason that the Butterwell fellow could do the job.

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4 hours ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

'did not really fit in'

Which one is that? Davos doesn't really fit in, but Pylos is specifically arguing that Davos has less to worry about than he thinks.

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'betrayed the king's chosen heir'

Stannis himself thinks of Rhaenyra as the traitor who earned her death. Otto Hightower was removed as Hand by two separate kings, and his removal near the beginning of the Dance forms a sort of parallel to Ambrose Butterwell's removal (this would admittedly be less relevant if one thought Aegon II was just being foolish to remove Otto for focusing on diplomacy). He was also responsible for suggesting that Rhaenyra replace Daemon as heir in the first place.

4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Aegon IV seems to be a guy who would surround himself and advance witty people, having allegedly been a wit himself.

That could be, but the one criteria we know of for him is corruption (and specifically providing him with women). Aerys II is known for surrounding himself with people based on verbal matters (specifically, flattery and laughing at his jokes).

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The witty Butterwell being a failure could have been a general thing - like, say, people expecting great things from him because he was so witty.

Yeah, that's one of the reasons I lean against it being Aegon's Hand. Competence would be unlikely to be his criteria, and others would worry about the future of the realm even if he didn't.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Why Murmison sucked is also completely unclear - wanting to heal women with your hands is at best odd, and being murdered on the street also doesn't make you a bad politician.

Yeah, it might be true that many wanted him dead and acted to make that so, but it's less obvious that's because of his failings as a Hand. Instead it seems to have been because he was a Septon lending legitimacy to Maegor.

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And thinking about that - one really wonders what the hell Daeron II thought when he made Ambrose Butterwell his Hand. He already sat on the Small Council during the reign of Aegon IV, meaning he would have been one of the Unworthy's cronies to a point

A possible explanation is that Daeron thought he was clever and had done a good job as Master of Coin. His surprisingly poor performance at the beginning of the Blackfyre Rebellion is said to be explainable more by disloyalty (since he was hedging his bets by sending one son to each side and not committing himself) rather than incompetence. Maekar retaining Bloodraven as Hand is weirder since the two of them specifically were known to have been at odds under Aerys.

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I really don't see this guy helping Daeron II much with the Dornish union and the cleansing of the court after he took over and all that.

His tendency of wanting to be on every possible winning side could have meant he was more favorable to Daeron's plans for union with Dorne, but cleansing of the court seems less like him. On the other hand, Daeron raising him from Master of Coin to Hand is itself a deviation from cleansing Aegon's court.

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Hopefully this turns out to be some sort of strange short term, with Daeron II losing his previous Hand during the Blackfyre Rebellion

Ambrose claims to have known Maekar "well" from his time as Hand, and he could just be exaggerating, but that would better seem to fit a longer time as Hand. On the other hand, a short term would serve as more of a parallel to most of the failed Hands that Pylos mentioned (with Otto Hightower being the main exception).

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him feeling for some reason that the Butterwell fellow could do the job

That would seem to be the reason for any king to choose a member of the council, but if he felt that way it would also apply to appointing him earlier.

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3 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Stannis himself thinks of Rhaenyra as the traitor who earned her death. Otto Hightower was removed as Hand by two separate kings, and his removal near the beginning of the Dance forms a sort of parallel to Ambrose Butterwell's removal (this would admittedly be less relevant if one thought Aegon II was just being foolish to remove Otto for focusing on diplomacy). He was also responsible for suggesting that Rhaenyra replace Daemon as heir in the first place.

Pylos doesn't discuss his take on the quality of Hands with Stannis - at least not to our knowledge. Otto Hightower would be a bad Hand because of the Dance he orchestrated. Especially since his methodical approach to issues should actually have made him a great asset as an administrator in peace times. If people have reason to complain about his term in office, it would be the succession stuff, not his take on taxes. I actually asked George about this once on his NAB - back when we still assumed Otto served throughout the reign of Viserys I.

3 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

That could be, but the one criteria we know of for him is corruption (and specifically providing him with women). Aerys II is known for surrounding himself with people based on verbal matters (specifically, flattery and laughing at his jokes).

Aegon IV is also known for being a jolly fellow - again, he was witty himself. But that isn't the main criterion here - the issue is that we do know Ambrose Butterwell wasn't famed for his wit because he is clearly not witty in TMK where he actually features as a character.

3 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Yeah, it might be true that many wanted him dead and acted to make that so, but it's less obvious that's because of his failings as a Hand. Instead it seems to have been because he was a Septon lending legitimacy to Maegor.

Murmison married King Aenys' children, he had nothing to do with Maegor. But the point being is that we don't know how exactly he sucked - but one can guess that his short term in combination with how things were deteriorating and how he was unable to stop that caused people to see him as a failure later on. Sort of like Owen Merryweather is also seen as a bad Hand, failing to stop Robert's Rebellion in the beginning.

3 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

A possible explanation is that Daeron thought he was clever and had done a good job as Master of Coin. His surprisingly poor performance at the beginning of the Blackfyre Rebellion is said to be explainable more by disloyalty (since he was hedging his bets by sending one son to each side and not committing himself) rather than incompetence. Maekar retaining Bloodraven as Hand is weirder since the two of them specifically were known to have been at odds under Aerys.

It is odd that Daeron II would have thought any man under the corrupt regime of his father would have done a good job. But perhaps Ambrose didn't serve long and had a previous connection with Daeron or something like that. The whole grandfather thing means that Ambrose would have been pretty close in age to Daeron II himself, meaning they could have known each other from their childhood and youth at KL or something like that. Still, the guy doesn't strike one as somebody who could help Daeron II rule efficiently from 184-196 AC, which is why I hope it isn't going to turn out that he was the Hand the entire time.

Bloodraven is easily explained - they were never really at odds or they reconciled at one point during the reign of Aerys I. The person Maekar actually was at odds with was his royal brother King Aerys, not so much Bloodraven. He wanted to be Hand, and the king chose another man ... so the people he had a quarrel with was the king first and the other Hand second, considering Bloodraven couldn't force the king to choose him as Hand.

Obviously Maekar kept Bloodraven because he wanted him as Hand when he became king. Else he would have not kept him.

But to be sure - we don't know whether Bloodraven served as Hand throughout all the reign of Aerys I and Maekar. Like Otto, he could have been dismissed and reinstated for various reasons.

3 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

His tendency of wanting to be on every possible winning side could have meant he was more favorable to Daeron's plans for union with Dorne, but cleansing of the court seems less like him. On the other hand, Daeron raising him from Master of Coin to Hand is itself a deviation from cleansing Aegon's court.

Without actual confirmation one should not conclude that Ambrose Butterwell was made Hand while Master of Coin. All we know is that he was Master of Coin under Aegon IV and later one of the Hands of Daeron II. He doesn't even have to be Master of Coin at the time of Aegon's death, nor does he have to be the first Hand of Daeron II.

3 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Ambrose claims to have known Maekar "well" from his time as Hand, and he could just be exaggerating, but that would better seem to fit a longer time as Hand. On the other hand, a short term would serve as more of a parallel to most of the failed Hands that Pylos mentioned (with Otto Hightower being the main exception).

He is clearly playing up this connection there, but one doesn't have to be at court that long to make a connection with a young prince, and Maekar played a role during the Blackfyre Rebellion, so he would have interacted with him there while he was still Hand.

3 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

That would seem to be the reason for any king to choose a member of the council, but if he felt that way it would also apply to appointing him earlier.

I meant that there could be a scenario where an earlier Hand died - of sickness, an accident, etc. - and Daeron II thinking for some reason Butterwell would be a good choice when he didn't have much time to think as things with Daemon escalated more and more, perhaps because that son of his who fought with the Blackfyres had some connection to Daemon directly, and he still thought they could stop fighting there before things went out of control.

I'm just willdly speculating there, of course, but it feels wrong that a king as learned and competent as Daeron II would allow a man like Ambrose Butterwell to keep the Handship for long.

But, of course, the crucial point to the question at hand is that I just cannot see Ambrose as a guy who is famed for his wit. He is everything but not witty in TMK, nor does it strike us as likely that he sort of lost that wit on the road, or something along those lines. He seems a pious, cowardly, opportunist - and a man who effectively ended up under the thumb of his own son-in-law.

Unless that whole thing was some kind of elaborate deception and Lord Ambrose makes himself smaller and more pitiful than he actually is ... but that's not very likely. Such a man would have never been cowed by Egg, nor would he have believed the story the boy told him without actually seeing Maekar's army.

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4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Which one is that? Davos doesn't really fit in, but Pylos is specifically arguing that Davos has less to worry about than he thinks.

I was referring to the actual failures of the Hands Pylos mentions. Smallwood and Redwyne did not cause any catastrophies, they just did not fit in. So I think it is difficult to figure out Butterwell's failure. Could have been as simple as Smallwood or could have been as bad as Maegor.

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@The Wondering Wolf

That was one of my disappointments with F & B. I was hoping for something juicy regarding Smallwood, Redwyne, and the monkey prince. Also, from what little we know Maegor wasn't really that bad during his Handship.

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14 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

@The Wondering Wolf

That was one of my disappointments with F & B. I was hoping for something juicy regarding Smallwood, Redwyne, and the monkey prince. Also, from what little we know Maegor wasn't really that bad during his Handship.

The monkey prince was in there! He was Visenya's fool.

Maegor's term as Hand is not really covered at all, so his failure as Hand seems to have to do everything with his private life - the second marriage - and nothing with the advice he offered or the things he did in his capacity as Hand.

However, I'm not sad that those bad Hands didn't do a lot of shit - they are not kings, after all, and should not be able to ruin things on a grand scale unless the king himself is incapacitated or a child or senile, etc.

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Posted (edited)

@Lord Varys

I prefer the old idea that Aegon (son of Baelon) or Maegor (son of Aerion) was the monkey prince over a queen's fool.

As for Maegor, that was my point. His problems were not political when it came to Handship. 

Also, I have to disagree. Those "bad Hands" didn't have to do something dramatic like cause wars but we deserve to know why exactly Ryam is known both as a perfect Kingsguard knight and as an equally bad Hand for example. 

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I actually asked George about this once on his NAB - back when we still assumed Otto served throughout the reign of Viserys I.

Could you link to that?

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But that isn't the main criterion here - the issue is that we do know Ambrose Butterwell wasn't famed for his wit because he is clearly not witty in TMK where he actually features as a character.

We mostly hear from him when everything is going down the tubes and witty remarks wouldn't be as appropriate to the situation. But absence of evidence is indeed a sort of evidence of absence, and this counts.

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Murmison married King Aenys' children, he had nothing to do with Maegor.

His prayers were for Maegor to conceive a son, but you're right this was before Maegor was king. My bad.

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Sort of like Owen Merryweather is also seen as a bad Hand, failing to stop Robert's Rebellion in the beginning.

Which would make for another parallel with Ambrose Butterwell rather than his grandfather. However, Pylos didn't include Owen Merryweather in his list of bad Hands, so we can't be sure that's the criteria he's using.

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But perhaps Ambrose didn't serve long

Looking at those failed Hands Pylos listed, it seems they usually served for at least a year. The Blackfyre Rebellion all took place within a single year, which is less time for another Hand to get killed, get replaced by Ambrose and then for Ambrose to have much of a connection to Maekar (and while he could have known Maekar when he was Master of Coin, it's specifically his time as Hand that he cites).

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He doesn't even have to be Master of Coin at the time of Aegon's death

I suppose if he had objected to one of Aegon's ideas and gotten fired as a result, that might endear him to Daeron. I don't know if it's in him to do that though.

10 hours ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

Smallwood and Redwyne did not cause any catastrophies, they just did not fit in.

Sorry, I thought you were referring to "fitting in" socially rather than merely being ill-suited to the position.

4 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Also, from what little we know Maegor wasn't really that bad during his Handship.

He had multiple marriages, which pissed off the Faith, but that was separate from being Hand (except in that it caused the end of has Handship).

2 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

we deserve to know why exactly Ryam is known both as a perfect Kingsguard knight and as an equally bad Hand for example

I know some have complained that GRRM likes to ask "what was Aragorn's tax policy" but then didn't explore such issues, but his approach is still slightly more complex than Tolkiens in that a person can be a good heroic guy but still not good at the responsibilties that come from ruling (even if those details aren't really explained).

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2 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

@Lord Varys

I prefer the old idea that Aegon (son of Baelon) or Maegor (son of Aerion) was the monkey prince over a queen's fool.

Sure, I'd have liked that, too, but I also like the fact that Axell Florent now looks again like the fool that he is, not remembering his historical anecdote correctly.

2 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Also, I have to disagree. Those "bad Hands" didn't have to do something dramatic like cause wars but we deserve to know why exactly Ryam is known both as a perfect Kingsguard knight and as an equally bad Hand for example. 

With Redwyne you have a point. The man sat on the Small Council as Lord Commander for years, so if he sucked at giving advice and taking initiative and stuff Jaehaerys I should have realized that a long time ago, making it odd that he would be chosen as Hand. For him we should have gotten some anecdote explaining why he sucked.

44 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Could you link to that?

Not of the top of my head. Might be somewhere in the SSM, the NAB post must have been before the publication of 'Rogues' since the issue I asked about - Otto serving thirty years as Hand - was revealed to be a mistake on my part when we got TRP.

44 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

We mostly hear from him when everything is going down the tubes and witty remarks wouldn't be as appropriate to the situation. But absence of evidence is indeed a sort of evidence of absence, and this counts.

Ambrose Butterwell also isn't witty during his own wedding feast or at the tourney, etc., before everything goes to hell.

Overall, he simply isn't a character historians would refer to as 'he was famed for his wit'. Those are people with charisma and intelligence and esprit, and Ambrose lacks all of that in TMK.

44 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

His prayers were for Maegor to conceive a son, but you're right this was before Maegor was king. My bad.

Those were actually King Aenys' wishes - he is the guy who made Ceryse and Murmison do that, hoping that Maegor would see the error of his ways if his lawful wife could be made fertile. What Murmison thought of the entire thing is never mentioned.

44 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Which would make for another parallel with Ambrose Butterwell rather than his grandfather. However, Pylos didn't include Owen Merryweather in his list of bad Hands, so we can't be sure that's the criteria he's using.

Sure, I only used Owen Merryweather as example for another Hand who is widely considered to have been bad. Pylos seems to be using more historical examples.

44 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Looking at those failed Hands Pylos listed, it seems they usually served for at least a year. The Blackfyre Rebellion all took place within a single year, which is less time for another Hand to get killed, get replaced by Ambrose and then for Ambrose to have much of a connection to Maekar (and while he could have known Maekar when he was Master of Coin, it's specifically his time as Hand that he cites).

Oh, well, Ambrose could (and likely would) have been at court even before he was made Hand. At times people are called to court specifically to take the Handship, but that seems to happen not all that often.

But, again, I was just wildly speculating how Ambrose couldn't have been Hand all that long and/or not been the ideal choice of Daeron II but rather a guy he appointed because he needed a Hand soon and hadn't time to ponder the issue for a longer time.

44 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I suppose if he had objected to one of Aegon's ideas and gotten fired as a result, that might endear him to Daeron. I don't know if it's in him to do that though.

It seems that Aegon IV definitely did hire and fire his Hands, so this certainly could work. And to be sure, Ambrose being a more pious fellow could have also gotten him closer to Daeron II since the man is known for having surrounded himself with septons. But it is still difficult to imagine this kind could have been a pillar of Daeron's reign for over a decade.

Hence the idea that he served for a shorter period of time. I mean, Daeron II could have had multiple Hands, some may have even resigned over the Dornish union issue, others for other reasons. We just don't know any details about the reigns of those kings there.

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As Ambrose was born in 161 or 162, what are the chances that his grandfather was the Lord Butterwell who was a Black at court at the beginning of the Dance & chose to bend the knee to Aegon II? Also, can it be assumed that the Butterwells (greatly) increased their wealth & power by exploiting the local power vacuum/s of the Strongs (Harrenhal & perhaps the original Strong holdings, which given their sigil, is likely on or near the Trident) & in the aftermath of Alys Rivers, her son, & their outlaws eventually being rooted out of Harrenhal?

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17 minutes ago, Lord Corlys Velaryon said:

As Ambrose was born in 161 or 162, what are the chances that his grandfather was the Lord Butterwell who was a Black at court at the beginning of the Dance & chose to bend the knee to Aegon II?

Could be, although I would rather calculate with twenty years per generation, making father or grandfather of Aegon's IV Butterwell more likely. And Lord Butterwell had three maiden daughters in the 170ies, indicating they were born in the 150ies. While it is always possible for a lord to have a second marriage and/or father children at a rather advanced age, I would choose the simple approach. On the other hand Butterwell is not mentioned to have died, so might have survived the Dance. And if he had been a young lord of twenty years back then, the timeline would work well. Your thoughts on the Butterwell's power increase the make sense indeed.

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I expect another (pretty) big war to resolve the Rivers situation at Harrenhal, with her son actually becoming a pretender to the Iron Throne and gathering considerable support, involving even a final clash of dragonriders to settle the scores (which would take place shortly before Lucas Lothston was made Lord of Harrenhal).

I don't think anyone close to Harrenhal could increase their power in the meantime ... instead Alys Rivers and her son would have increased their power while Aegon III refused or feared to face them battle considering they apparently control a dragon. Even if that wasn't true, I definitely expect Alys' son to become a dragonrider, claiming either the Cannibal or Silverwing if he doesn't have a hatchling from an egg of Vhagar, so he can clash with both Rhaena/Morning and perhaps even Baela and/or Viserys on another dragon (either the Cannibal or Silverwing or both are still around to be claimed, in addition to dragons that might hatch throughout Aegon III's reign).

I'd expect his reluctance to be both fear of the dragon as well as a general reluctance to treat his cousin by Aemond the way he was treated during the course of the Dance.

But both the Darrys and the Butterwells might end up siding with the winning faction around 150 AC, resulting in them getting more lands and honors yet again.

I'd also expect that Damon Darry ends in the KG becoming known as the Demon of Darry.

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On 6/27/2020 at 4:06 PM, Lord Varys said:

Sure, I only used Owen Merryweather as example for another Hand who is widely considered to have been bad. Pylos seems to be using more historical examples.

Merryweather wasn't really expected to be a particularly good Hand (especially compared to Tywin), so it's not that odd for Pylos not to list him as an example of someone with a virtue Davos lacks who wound up being a surprising failure.

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Oh, well, Ambrose could (and likely would) have been at court even before he was made Hand. At times people are called to court specifically to take the Handship, but that seems to happen not all that often.

That sounds reasonable. We know he was already Master of Coin earlier.

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It seems that Aegon IV definitely did hire and fire his Hands, so this certainly could work

Yeah, but the question would be whether Pylos would regard a firing as evidence of the Hand's failure or of Aegon just being Unworthy again.

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But it is still difficult to imagine this kind could have been a pillar of Daeron's reign for over a decade.

That long time does mean there's a wide range over which his Handship could have begun.

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I mean, Daeron II could have had multiple Hands

We know that in fact he did: at least Ambrose Butterwell, Lord Hayford, Baelor Breakspear and whoever succeeded after Baelor's death. But yes, the 12 years leading up to the Blackfyre Rebellion does mean time for multiple Hands before then. Jaehaerys went through three Hands in his first decade as king before settling on Barth.

7 hours ago, Lord Corlys Velaryon said:

As Ambrose was born in 161 or 162, what are the chances that his grandfather was the Lord Butterwell who was a Black at court at the beginning of the Dance & chose to bend the knee to Aegon II?

That grandfather was Hand sometime after 172 (when Aegon IV ascended), whereas the Dance began in 129. If he was already Lord in 129 (and no mention is made of him being unusually young then), I think he would have been a rather old man by the time he was named Hand. I guess he could still have been reknowned for his wit as an old man.

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in the aftermath of Alys Rivers, her son, & their outlaws eventually being rooted out of Harrenhal

What happened with Alys Rivers seems to be a big mystery GRRM is leaving for later. The one attempt we know of failed due to an outbreak.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

Could be, although I would rather calculate with twenty years per generation, making father or grandfather of Aegon's IV Butterwell more likely.

Yeah, fair call. Whilst he was (very) like born by the time of the Dance, one imagines he'd be at least a man grown (if not, a deal older) to be a notable Black at court.

12 hours ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

Lord Butterwell had three maiden daughters in the 170ies, indicating they were born in the 150ies.

Perhaps even the 160s, depending on how old they were & when exactly Aegon IV impregnated them, which makes it not unlikely - whatever the age of their father - that their mother was a second/later wife. The first may have been past her childbearing years in the 150s beyond & so died in the meantime for Lord Butterwell to be able to wed & have more children with another woman.

12 hours ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

On the other hand Butterwell is not mentioned to have died, so might have survived the Dance.

Yeah, the Butterwells are conspicuously absent from the rest of the Dance. I wonder who they fought for/with & when, there's so many possibilities. Did they somehow manage to otherwise stay neutral or turn cloak for the Blacks, & so targeted by Aemond?

12 hours ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

Your thoughts on the Butterwell's power increase the make sense indeed.

Thanks & I appreciate the reply.

@Lord Varys Agreed on your thoughts on how the whole Alys Rivers & her son saga will develop.

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I don't think anyone close to Harrenhal could increase their power in the meantime

Not in the immediate vicinity of Harrenhal, but the late Strong holdings should've been pretty extensive, especially if they retained their original lands (maybe taken over by Ser Simon's branch). Given their sigil, chances are those were along the Trident, thus (rather) close to Lord Harroway's Town, which may have still been ruled by the Butterwells since Maegor's time or at least, they perhaps could've maneuvered during the Regency to reclaim it. Then there's the implication that the wider Butterwell lands extended well beyond Harrenhal (at least, of later decades), possibly even as far south as the "bottom" of the Gods Eye.

Anyway, I'd be surprised if the outlaws push out further than they needed to, before they had greater numbers/Alys' son & the dragon were old enough to leave the castle, that was their strength & sanctuary. Aegon might be too hesitant to involve himself, but Viserys may not be & then there's the Lads. Kermit was apparently a great Tully lord & Oscar will be a battle-hardened warrior if/when he returns from Essos, both eager to end the threat at Harrenhal. Then there's Bloody Ben, Sabitha Vypren, the Darrys, etc. I could see Alys' men getting themselves defeated in open battle against some foe, but able to hold Harrenhal where they slowly rebuild their strength & everything culminates when Aemond's son finally flies out of Harrenhal at their head.

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I'd also expect that Damon Darry ends in the KG becoming known as the Demon of Darry.

Interesting thought & there could be up to a few decades for the Demon of Darry as Lord Commander before the Dragonknight if Raynard Ruskin dies rather early during his tenure leading the Kingsguard. Although Damon could just as likely end up becoming Lord Darry, especially as the Darry lordship was such a revolving door during the Dance. Presumably Derrick & Roland were among the surviving children of the Lord Darry who died on the castle battlements with his heir against Vhagar, which would make Roland a lesser Lad, but who knows. It could be that there was some situation like say a lordly cadet branch of the Darrys existed at this time, helping to explain there being so many Lord Darrys during the Dance. Btw, what do you think the Darry family tree throughout this period of history?

5 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I think he would have been a rather old man by the time he was named Hand. I guess he could still have been reknowned for his wit as an old man.

That's true, though he certainly would've been at least middle-aged by the time he became the Unworthy's Hand, having a grandson near to or in his teens. As for the wit, I also lean towards your question applying to this grandfather Butterwell given the man Ambrose is in TMK, however he was a Master of Coin & later Hand of the King. Whatever the reasons Ambrose came to both positions, he certainly could've been a witty man in his youth, but losing (much of) it when he's disgraced as Hand, loses his sons, & simply ages. Not to mention, Black Tom Heddle killing his way to the hand of Ambrose's eldest daughter & command of the castle garrison, arguably becoming Lord of Whitewalls in all but name, cowing Butterwell. 

Edited by Lord Corlys Velaryon

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