Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Canon Claude

Predictions: The Iron Bank

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Personally, I’m not sure how the Iron Bank will fare during the story, and whether they’ll still be around by the end of the story. I know GRRM won’t necessarily be one to give a radical ending where something is resolved once and for all, so I’d imagine it will endure.

But at the same time, I wonder how far the bank could realistically stretch. We’ve seen a prominent bank collapse during FAB, and the Iron Bank has been spending a LOT of money. They are owed millions by the Iron Throne, and now they’ll be giving money to the Nights Watch and Stannis’ campaign, neither of which look like they’ll be in any shape to pay the loans back. Surely the bank isn’t invincible?

Edited by Canon Claude

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given how much GRRM bases the books off of the Wars of the Roses, I suggest that the Iron Bank may go out of business due to too much money going out and many of its creditors being killed, similar to how the Medici Bank wound up defunct by 1500 (specifically its London branch while the rest followed not long after) due to the Wars of the Roses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

Given how much GRRM bases the books off of the Wars of the Roses, I suggest that the Iron Bank may go out of business due to too much money going out and many of its creditors being killed, similar to how the Medici Bank wound up defunct by 1500 (specifically its London branch while the rest followed not long after) due to the Wars of the Roses.

But wasn’t the Rogare bank already a reference to the Medicis? One of the Rogare brothers was even called “The Magnificent”, as far as I recall.

Edited by Canon Claude

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stannis will die and they'll back Jon as he'll agree to take on the crown's debts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Personally, I think the bank will endure. It wasn't until FAB that we really got any in-depth look into a bank which wasn't the Iron Bank. Excluding those, the Iron Bank is the definitive symbol of capital and banking in GRRM's universe, and I highly doubt he'll eliminate those from his fictional societies. He's aiming for realism*, and given that the abomination didn't even deign to give the Iron Bank a definitive ending, I think that speaks to the fact that they'll simply carry on as always.

I don't know what's going to happen with all that debt; my wishful thinking is that the gold of Casterly Rock will be used to pay the debt, as well as cancel out the debts owed by the crown to House Lannister, in a fitting demolition of that house's power, a final insulting humiliation to Tywin's legacy. I don't imagine House Lannister will die out completely, but they will certainly be humbled, and will have to wait a long time to replenish their wealth.



I know that the term is a broad one, especially where GRRM is concerned, but he does want to mirror our own history and pay homage to it, so I think it was a fair term to use.

Edited by James Steller

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume that Iron Bank is similar than East India Company. Or IB is not "only" bank but it has massive investments of other assets/trades. After all it should be powerful enough that it could have made some offers that weaker entities could not had refused. So there is even a possibility that IB had turned some political entities of Planetos as "banana states". Or those countries might look independent but in practice nominal leaders of those do not even take a leak without permission of IB.

Or Iron Bank could be powerful and rich enough to survive even if Westerosi do not pay back their debts. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

Personally, I’m not sure how the Iron Bank will fare during the story, and whether they’ll still be around by the end of the story. I know GRRM won’t necessarily be one to give a radical ending where something is resolved once and for all, so I’d imagine it will endure.

But at the same time, I wonder how far the bank could realistically stretch. We’ve seen a prominent bank collapse during FAB, and the Iron Bank has been spending a LOT of money. They are owed millions by the Iron Throne, and now they’ll be giving money to the Nights Watch and Stannis’ campaign, neither of which look like they’ll be in any shape to pay the loans back. Surely the bank isn’t invincible?

I think this is what Illyrio is actually up to, and Littlefinger is his agent. With the bank gone, the Braavosi economy collapses, since the iron coin is just a proxy currency backed by the bank's gold. So Illyrio began by bankrolling Petyr's rise to power, then having Petyr borrow the gold from the IB, the faith, the Lannisters, Tyrells etc. Now, he has to do two things:

1) Defeat Stannis. The bank did what it always does when faced with non-payment: if funds another backer. But while this may work in Essos, where anyone can be a triarch or an archon, the Iron Throne is a hereditary post. So you either have to have a legitimate claim to it, or you have to conquer all of the great houses, something it took Aegon the Conqueror three years to do, and he had dragons. So with Stannis gone, it will suddenly become clear to everyone that the bank has no other champion to back. Meanwhile,

2) He puts his own Aegon on the throne. One of his first edicts will be that the debts incurred by murderers and usurpers are their own and not the crown's. 

Now, the stage is set to spring the trap. Much of the gold borrowed by the crown will have been embezzled by Petyr and deposited, guess where, right back into the IB, most likely under hundreds if not thousands of proxy names. All Illyrio has to do is send these people into the bank to withdraw their accounts, spreading the word of the bank's insolvency to any other depositor who will listen, and as soon as the bank closes its windows it spurs a panic that can bring the whole thing down in a day, just like the Rogare Bank..

With the bank out of the way and Braavos in economic and social chaos, Pentos can tear up the peace treaty it signed all those years ago, recovering its lost autonomy and allowing rich men like Illyrio to get even richer selling slaves. After that, Petyr can do what he likes with Westeros.

The only wildcard in all of this is Dany.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

He puts his own Aegon on the throne. One of his first edicts will be that the debts incurred by murderers and usurpers are their own and not the crown's. 

I assume that would be very bad idea. Or angry Iron Bank would hire assassins and mercenary companies just to get rid of (F?)Aegon if he really tries to do that. So his lifetime and reign would be very short.

 

1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

Now, the stage is set to spring the trap. Much of the gold borrowed by the crown will have been embezzled by Petyr and deposited, guess where, right back into the IB, most likely under hundreds if not thousands of proxy names. All Illyrio has to do is send these people into the bank to withdraw their accounts, spreading the word of the bank's insolvency to any other depositor who will listen, and as soon as the bank closes its windows it spurs a panic that can bring the whole thing down in a day, just like the Rogare Bank..

There is a chance that Faceless Men are already hunting those agents behind fake accounts. Or I assume that Iron Bank will want to keep all gold of those fake accounts. So it is possible that original Littlefinger is already sleeping with fishes and person wearing his face is really a FM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

I think this is what Illyrio is actually up to, and Littlefinger is his agent. With the bank gone, the Braavosi economy collapses, since the iron coin is just a proxy currency backed by the bank's gold. So Illyrio began by bankrolling Petyr's rise to power, then having Petyr borrow the gold from the IB, the faith, the Lannisters, Tyrells etc. Now, he has to do two things:

1) Defeat Stannis. The bank did what it always does when faced with non-payment: if funds another backer. But while this may work in Essos, where anyone can be a triarch or an archon, the Iron Throne is a hereditary post. So you either have to have a legitimate claim to it, or you have to conquer all of the great houses, something it took Aegon the Conqueror three years to do, and he had dragons. So with Stannis gone, it will suddenly become clear to everyone that the bank has no other champion to back. Meanwhile,

2) He puts his own Aegon on the throne. One of his first edicts will be that the debts incurred by murderers and usurpers are their own and not the crown's. 

Now, the stage is set to spring the trap. Much of the gold borrowed by the crown will have been embezzled by Petyr and deposited, guess where, right back into the IB, most likely under hundreds if not thousands of proxy names. All Illyrio has to do is send these people into the bank to withdraw their accounts, spreading the word of the bank's insolvency to any other depositor who will listen, and as soon as the bank closes its windows it spurs a panic that can bring the whole thing down in a day, just like the Rogare Bank..

With the bank out of the way and Braavos in economic and social chaos, Pentos can tear up the peace treaty it signed all those years ago, recovering its lost autonomy and allowing rich men like Illyrio to get even richer selling slaves. After that, Petyr can do what he likes with Westeros.

The only wildcard in all of this is Dany.

1. I thought Illyrio is scheming with Varys, not Littlefinger. I don’t doubt that Littlefinger has been embezzling money for his own gains, but I don’t believe Illyrio is conspiring with him. And on that note,

2. I can certainly buy that Littlefinger is greedy for money and power, but I highly doubt he’s on some quest to bring down the Iron Bank. He’s Bravoosi-descended himself, why would he be so invested in bringing Braavos down?

3. Why the hell would Illyrio go through all this effort just to get a bit richer? He’s already richer than most Westerosi lords, he’s old, he’s fat, what else does he want to do with his life that requires more wealth and more power? How much better can he eat? What can he buy that he can’t already afford?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Quote

When princes defaulted on their debts to lesser banks, ruined bankers sold their wives and children into slavery and opened their own veins. When princes failed to repay the Iron Bank, new princes sprang up from nowhere and took their thrones.  -- ADWD 44 (Jon IX)

Everything we've learned so far about the Iron Bank makes them seem powerful and professional.  They used three ships to transport Tycho Nestoris to Westeros, which suggests that they're either fabulously wealthy or very cautious, both of which are good qualities for a bank. 

Nestoris has the authority to negotiate huge deals with foreign leaders during a war. He's strong and brave enough to make a long journey on horseback, in the North, during a blizzard.  This is no mere counter of coins.

Given all of that, plus the above quote, it seems certain to me that the IB will play a pivotal role at some point in the story.  I hope so! I find that amusing, maybe even a deliberate bit of comic relief by The Martin? An epic battle is waged by knights, lords, kings, sorcerers, demons, zombies, and dragons ... and the tide is turned by the stroke of a banker's pen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

6 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

With the bank out of the way and Braavos in economic and social chaos, Pentos can tear up the peace treaty it signed all those years ago, recovering its lost autonomy and allowing rich men like Illyrio to get even richer selling slaves. After that, Petyr can do what he likes with Westeros.

 

I'm not sure all of the details are going to line up exactly, but I think you're right. Illyrio's motivation ultimately has to do with freeing Pentos from the Braavosi  prohibition on slavery.

6 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

The only wildcard in all of this is Dany

Wild Card # 2 may be the Tattered Prince.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

Why the hell would Illyrio go through all this effort just to get a bit richer? He’s already richer than most Westerosi lords, he’s old, he’s fat, what else does he want to do with his life that requires more wealth and more power? How much better can he eat? What can he buy that he can’t already afford?

The future, Mr. Claude! The future!

 

Joking aside, since when has a fat old rich man ever decided that he's had enough? In all of human history?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/23/2021 at 1:24 PM, Canon Claude said:

Personally, I’m not sure how the Iron Bank will fare during the story, and whether they’ll still be around by the end of the story. I know GRRM won’t necessarily be one to give a radical ending where something is resolved once and for all, so I’d imagine it will endure.

But at the same time, I wonder how far the bank could realistically stretch. We’ve seen a prominent bank collapse during FAB, and the Iron Bank has been spending a LOT of money. They are owed millions by the Iron Throne, and now they’ll be giving money to the Nights Watch and Stannis’ campaign, neither of which look like they’ll be in any shape to pay the loans back. Surely the bank isn’t invincible?

The Ironbank will crash.  Westeros will fall to the white walkers and all the debtors will be wighted.   Things like the economy, banking, and government will fall during the duration of winter.  Daenerys Targaryen will rebuild after the end of winter.  But don't expect to see a working banking system.  It takes time for complicated systems like that to start again. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

I assume that would be very bad idea. Or angry Iron Bank would hire assassins and mercenary companies just to get rid of (F?)Aegon if he really tries to do that. So his lifetime and reign would be very short.

 

There is a chance that Faceless Men are already hunting those agents behind fake accounts. Or I assume that Iron Bank will want to keep all gold of those fake accounts. So it is possible that original Littlefinger is already sleeping with fishes and person wearing his face is really a FM.

OK, so the IB sends an FM to kill Aegon. First off, this is even more money draining from the bank's coffers, since it isn't cheap to kill a sitting king. But sure, Aegon dies. And then what happens? If he has an heir, then the crown is under a regency selected by, guess who, Illyrio, who will continue the same policy. Then the bank can spend even more killing the heir, killing the regent, killing the next regent, and still nothing changes. At some point, of course, all this manages to accomplish is to throw the continent back into civil war that will most likely end with the re-establishment of seven independent kingdoms, none of which owes a dime to the Iron Bank. And all of this will take years to play out while a run on the bank could collapse it in a single day.

Why would the bank send FM to kill depositors? Why would they keep the gold to cover these specific accounts? It's over a million pieces by now. The bank only makes a profit by loaning gold, not hoarding it. So like any bank, it probably only has about 3 percent cash on hand at any given time. 

Why would the bank want to kill Petyr? He's been playing them fair and square the whole time, borrowing gold and making good on the debt service. The payments only stopped when he left. And they are not his loans; they're the crown's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

1. I thought Illyrio is scheming with Varys, not Littlefinger. I don’t doubt that Littlefinger has been embezzling money for his own gains, but I don’t believe Illyrio is conspiring with him. And on that note,

2. I can certainly buy that Littlefinger is greedy for money and power, but I highly doubt he’s on some quest to bring down the Iron Bank. He’s Bravoosi-descended himself, why would he be so invested in bringing Braavos down?

3. Why the hell would Illyrio go through all this effort just to get a bit richer? He’s already richer than most Westerosi lords, he’s old, he’s fat, what else does he want to do with his life that requires more wealth and more power? How much better can he eat? What can he buy that he can’t already afford?

1) He can't be scheming with both? Varys wants to restore Targs/Blackfyres to power. Fine, Illyrio can make that happen. Illyrio also wants Pentos to regain its autonomy, which he can accomplish through Littlefinger.

2) LF doesn't really care about the Iron Bank. His reward in all of this is Westeros, which will be his to rule (or maybe just a part of it) when the dust settles. But Petyr is also from a lowly Braavosi family, so maybe he got screwed out of an inheritance or something and he's carrying a grudge.

3) He's not doing it to get a little bit richer. He is removing the yoke that Braavos placed on his city nearly 100 years ago. It's about freedom, which is all any man wants.

 

But let's also look at the text and see if we can't see some actual evidence that Petyr is working for/with Illyrio.

First, Petry's backstory is very odd. He leaves Riverrun in disgrace, then winds up some years later in Gulltown with a minor sinecure as a junior customs agent. So here is short, scrawny 20-something Petyr, all alone with no skill at arms, no guards, no people, and he starts out-collecting all the other experienced senior collectors right away -- and not just by a little but by enough to get him noticed. The thing is, that money had to come from somewhere, so Petyr is either overcharging traders and merchants on their cargos, or he is charging the right amount and all the other collectors, including the chief, are either crooked, incompetent or both. Either way, Petyr is taking money out of the pockets of very powerful people. Ports are dangerous places, full of press gangs, cutthroats and crime syndicates. This should have gotten him a one-way ticket to the bottom of the Narrow Sea. The only way he could have done this successfully is if he is being bankrolled by someone -- someone with enough money to bribe the local bosses, and the chief of customs, and still provide enough to make it seem like Petyr is some kind of genius.

How can we be certain this is Illyrio? I turn your attention to the conversation in the dragon room, where Varys just gets through telling Illyrio all the secrets about the dagger and the book and the Margaery plot . . . but when it comes to Petyr, "the gods know what game Littlefinger is playing." Really, Varys? You are Master of Whispers and you know all the intimate details of literally everyone of importance in the realm, except for Petyr? And then Illyrio does not give a hoot that they have this massive blind spot even though both of them know he is solely responsible for the realm's shaky finances and that events are moving too quickly in Westeros for Illyrio's liking? Maybe Illyrio already knows exactly what game Littlefinger is playing?

And later, of course, Petyr is the one who talked the small council out of sending an FM after Dany, correctly predicting that whomever they do send will muck it up and put the Dothraki on their guard. And in fact this actually propelled Drogo to invade Westeros now rather than wait until his son is born, exactly like Illyrio wants.

Is this conclusive? Not by a long shot. But I think it's enough to keep an eye on as the story unfolds from here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Aejohn the Conqueroo said:

 

I'm not sure all of the details are going to line up exactly, but I think you're right. Illyrio's motivation ultimately has to do with freeing Pentos from the Braavosi  prohibition on slavery.

Wild Card # 2 may be the Tattered Prince.

Not just the slavery prohibition but the fact that Pentos cannot raise it's own army and a bunch of other things. They may even be paying tribute to Braavos. And this treaty was signed under unusual circumstances (quite possibly due to a bribe from the Iron Bank) at a time when Pentos had lost a few battles but was not even close to falling. So the real motive in all of this is freedom and autonomy, which ironically means the freedom to enslave others.

Maybe the Tattered Prince, but Dany and her dragons are more likely to throw a wrench into the plan. If she becomes queen, she may very well pay back the IB -- maybe if there's still gold in the westerlands. She may very well light up Illyrio and his whole compound if she thinks he did her wrong. She is the most powerful factor that he does not completely control.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

Why would the bank want to kill Petyr? He's been playing them fair and square the whole time, borrowing gold and making good on the debt service. The payments only stopped when he left. And they are not his loans; they're the crown's.

Just now Vale is potential king/queen maker. Or her armies could outgun any army of kingdoms except Reach and bc their granaries are full they could feed their troops and people. Besides if they would ally with Braavos and her navy invading Vale would be very bad idea for anyone without dragons.

So if I were Iron Bank and I would suspect that Iron Throne cannot or would not want to pay back it's debts I would take over Vale by killing previous regent of Vale (Lysa) and replace her with my puppet "Littlefinger" actually a FM.

1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

OK, so the IB sends an FM to kill Aegon. First off, this is even more money draining from the bank's coffers, since it isn't cheap to kill a sitting king. But sure, Aegon dies. And then what happens? If he has an heir, then the crown is under a regency selected by, guess who, Illyrio, who will continue the same policy.

Sooner or later king or IlIyrio would either pay back national debt or he will be killed and replaced by FM wearing his face and whose first action as new king/regent  would be to pay that debt naturally including necessary service fees like wages of "consultants". Or team Blackfyre basically would finance their own assassinations :)

 

1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

Why would the bank send FM to kill depositors? Why would they keep the gold to cover these specific accounts? It's over a million pieces by now. The bank only makes a profit by loaning gold, not hoarding it. So like any bank, it probably only has about 3 percent cash on hand at any given time.

One reason why Switzerland is nowadays very rich country is that many warlords and criminals had deposit spoils of their crimes to banks of that country but all of them never came back for their money. So Swiss had became very rich by keeping all that loot. So I assume that Iron Bank will keep all gold whose previous owners are dead. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Whatever fate is in store for the Iron Bank will be tied to the fate of the Faceless Men, I suspect. 

Aside from the vaults under Braavos, the thing that ties them together is faces. Coins have heads (featuring faces) and tails; the Faceless Men have a vault full of faces. 

More analysis of coins might help us to work out details. We have key characters named after coins (Penny, Groat, Illifer the Penniless), places with coin affiliations (Pennytree), Vargo Hoat who wears a chain (an allusion to Maesters?) made with coins of many places. Dany's brother Viserys is killed with melted gold and, because gold coins are called dragons, Joffrey jokes to Sansa that he was killed by his own sigil:

Quote

"Viserys. The last son of Mad King Aerys. He's been going about the Free Cities since before I was born, calling himself a king. Well, Mother says the Dothraki finally crowned him. With molten gold." He laughed. "That's funny, don't you think? The dragon was their sigil. It's almost as good as if some wolf killed your traitor brother. Maybe I'll feed him to wolves after I've caught him. Did I tell you, I intend to challenge him to single combat?" (ACoK, Sansa I)

Coins are found in key locations such as the stable where the catspaw hid 

Quote

"We found where he'd been sleeping," Robb put in. "He had ninety silver stags in a leather bag buried beneath the straw." (AGoT, Catelyn III)

and where the mysterious jailer, Rugen, lurked in the hidden depths of the Red Keep

Quote

"Aye, Your Grace," said Qyburn, "but did you know that under that stinking chamber pot was a loose stone, which opened on a small hollow? The sort of place where a man might hide valuables that he did not wish to be discovered?"

"Valuables?" This was new. "Coin, you mean?" She had suspected all along that Tyrion had somehow bought this gaoler.

"Beyond a doubt. To be sure, the hole was empty when I found it. No doubt Rugen took his ill-gotten treasure with him when he fled. But as I crouched over the hole with my torch, I saw something glitter, so I scratched in the dirt until I dug it out." Qyburn opened his palm. "A gold coin."

Gold, yes, but the moment Cersei took it she could tell that it was wrong. Too small, she thought, too thin. The coin was old and worn. On one side was a king's face in profile, on the other side the imprint of a hand. "This is no dragon," she said.

(AFfC, Cersei II)

Interesting to note here that Jaime's gold hand replaced his kingslayer hand and (if some interpretations of the valonqar prophecy are fulfilled) his gold hand may end up killing Cersei. Of course we know that "hands of gold are always cold," and that Tyrion used the gold hands of the Hand of the King chain to kill Shea. 

We also see Lord Manderly offering to set up a mint for Robb Stark when he is declared King in the North and Petyr Baelish is know to be a frequent chewer of mint (the herb). House Manderly arrived in the North many years ago with vast amounts of wealth. The Stark lord at the time gave them control of the Wolf's Den and White Harbor because they had the wealth to build up and defend the area and make it productive. 

The two main characters who serve as Master of Coin are Littlefinger and Tyrion. When Tyrion leaves town and Cersei and the Tyrells are in tension over reordering the small council, Lord Mace Tyrell puts forward his uncle Garth as the choice for Master of Coin (saying Tywin approved of him) but Cersei lies and tells him that Gyles Rosby has already been offered the job. I think there is wordplay around "coffer" and "cougher" with Gyles Rosby having a chronic cough but overseeing empty coffers. No one is able to save Lord Rosby, who soon dies from his cough. Lord Mace's uncle Garth is likely an allusion to Garth Greenhands and the ominous old coin featuring the imprint of a hand. 

Some symbolism I haven't yet sorted out about Baelish and Tyrion's common Master of Coin responsibilities involves Pretty Pig. The jousting pig is owned by Penny and Groat, who were hired by Petyr Baelish to perform at Joffrey's wedding feast. I think he odd spelling of "Petyr" Baelish is wordplay on "Pretty" Pig. Early in AGoT, as the Lannisters discuss Bran Stark's injury and likelihood of survival, Tyrion eats a piece of bacon which he "crunches" in his teeth. But I don't think GRRM is telling us that Tyrion wants to bite Petyr Baelish (although I may be wrong): I suspect there is also wordplay around "coin" and "oink" (as well as "icon") that tells us the bacon crunched by Tyrion is a substitute for a coin. The bacon-eating also foreshadows the mummer jousting involving Pretty Pig and the dog named Crunch and also alludes to the people who bite coins to see if they are real: the owner of the inn in Eel Alley where Catelyn hides in King's Landing and the doomed insurance broker killed by Arya in the Purple Harbor. 

At that Eel Alley inn, Petyr Baelish throws the catspaw's dragonbone dagger across the room, admitting that it belonged to him. Interestingly, I find a similar scene for Tyrion at an inn with Catelyn:

Quote

Masha Heddle was beside herself. "M'lord, there's nothing, it's the tourney, there's no help for it, oh …"

Tyrion Lannister pulled a coin from his purse and flicked it up over his head, caught it, tossed it again. Even across the room, where Catelyn sat, the wink of gold was unmistakable.

A freerider in a faded blue cloak lurched to his feet. "You're welcome to my room, m'lord."

"Now there's a clever man," Lannister said as he sent the coin spinning across the room. The freerider snatched it from the air. "And a nimble one to boot." The dwarf turned back to Masha Heddle. "You will be able to manage food, I trust?"

"Anything you like, m'lord, anything at all," the innkeep promised. And may he choke on it, Catelyn thought, but it was Bran she saw choking, drowning on his own blood. (AGoT, Catelyn V)

The Catelyn connection brings us back to the Faceless Men (and therefore the Iron Bank of Braavos) in a roundabout way: in the series, Catelyn is the most devout follower of the Seven Gods and she worships them by praying at icons, which is the word for a facial portrait of a saint or god. Arya is given a coin that allows her to join the Faceless Men, which may be a misnomer as the group actually keeps and reuses hundreds of faces of people who come to their temple to die. The icon/coin connection is handed down from mother to daughter. 

Petyr Baelish as Lord of Harrenhal is linked to Vargo Hoat (who wears the chain with many coins), who plotted to become the Lord of Harrenhal by betraying the Lannisters. 

Fwiw, "Bank" is also the word for "bench" in German. So the Iron Bank may be a synonym for the Iron Throne: iron bench. 

And then there are the river banks where valuable things wash up after battles . . . . The course of the river can shift (as at the inn at the crossroads) but there will always be riverbanks as long as there are rivers. 

I realize this is convoluted, but attention to detail is the best basis for predicting future plot developments. 

tl;dr: If I had to make a prediction today, I would guess that the Iron Bank will survive under new management at the end of the series. Gold and debt survive but bankers and debtors can be replaced. Just as a Master of Coin can be replaced, bankers can come and go and one Faceless Man (or a borrowed death mask) can be replaced by another. It would not surprise me if GRRM's point in all of this is that murder (as dispensed by the Faceless Men) is inextricably linked to greed (as nurtured and stoked by the Iron Bank) and that both of these forces are eternal.

Edited by Seams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Seams said:

Aside from the vaults under Braavos, the thing that ties them together is faces. Coins have heads (featuring faces) and tails; the Faceless Men have a vault full of faces.

It's observations like this that keep bringing me back here.  Good eye, man.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Y'all are forgetting that Braavos is deeply entrenched with both the faceless men and the Iron Bank. Their power is the city's as well, and having already kicked Pentos' ass once I can see Braavos stepping in in various ways as a political entity to ensure the survival of the bank.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...