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Iron Shell part 2/4. Chicks, eggs and chickens


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Chick - young chicken or other bird; a child; a young pretty woman - definition from The Free Dictionary.com


“I do not have these eggs, of course,” the Sealord said. “You cannot prove elsewise. If I did have them, however…well, until they hatch, they are but stones. Would your king begrudge me three pretty stones? Now, if I had three…chickens…” - F&B, Jaehaerys and Alysanne, their triumphs and tragedies.

Why the Sealord had bought the dragon eggs

Elissa Farman went to Braavos and offered stolen by her from the Targaryens dragon eggs to the Sealord, and he bought them. Why? What was the Sealord intending to do with those eggs - to make a giant omelet, or maybe a hundred dragon-flavored pancakes? Though, considering how rare and valuable dragon eggs are, to use them for culinary purposes would have been a huge waste. The most productive and reasonable purpose for which dragon eggs could be used is to make from them more dragons. So that’s what the Sealord was intending to do - he wanted Braavosi to have their own dragons.

Preventive measures

When the Sealord bought those stolen eggs, he was well aware of what the Targaryens can do in retaliation for him making that deal with Elissa (“Your king could burn my city down to ash, I do not doubt. Tens of thousands would die in dragonflame. Men, women, and children.”). Also he knew that there was absolutely nothing that he could have done to stop the dragons from destroying his city, if the dragonlords would have brought fire and blood upon Braavos. Waiting to take measures until King Jaehaerys’ arrival would have been already too late to do anything. Thus the only way for the Sealord to save his city, was to take preventive measures against the Targaryens. Though the thing is - the dragons/dragonlords ALWAYS were a potential threat to the rest of the world. Thus it makes sense that not only that Sealord, but also his predecessors, took certain steps to counter that potential threat. So what exactly have they done to lessen the level of danger that was posed by the Targaryens and their dragons?

In my opinion, they have infiltrated Targaryen court, became constant part of it, and thus always were in a place from which they could have killed any Targaryen at any given time, whenever his/her death became necessary. That way they took over the control of the dragonseed-population, and were regulating the number of active and potential dragonriders. Targaryens may have escaped from the Doom of Valyria, though they haven’t escaped from the Faceless Men.

Veiled threats

In ASOIAF some of the most important mysteries are hidden in plain sight. For example:



The crow opened its beak and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil, and he saw that the crow was really a woman… - AGOT, Bran III.



“His Grace can show you proof of dragons.”

That made the Sealord smile. “The veiled threat. Your king is most adroit at that. Stronger than his father, more subtle than his uncle. Yes, I know what Jaehaerys could do to us, if he chose. Braavosi have a long memory, and we remember the dragonlords of old. There are certain things that we might do to your king as well, however. Shall I enumerate? Or do you prefer the threat veiled?”

“However it please your lordship.”

“As you will. Your king could burn my city down to ash, I do not doubt. Tens of thousands would die in dragonflame. Men, women, and children. I do not have the power to wreak that sort of destruction upon Westeros. Such sellswords as I might hire would flee before your knights. My fleets could sweep yours from the sea for a time, but my ships are made of wood, and wood burns. However, there is in this city a certain…guild, let us say…whose members are very skilled at their chosen profession. They could not destroy King’s Landing, nor fill its streets with corpses. But they could kill…a few. A well-chosen few.”

His Grace is protected day and night by the Kingsguard.

“Knights, yes. Such as the man who waits for you outside. If indeed he is still waiting. What would you say if I were to tell you that Ser Gyles is already dead?” When Septon Barth began to rise, the Sealord waved him back to his seat. “No, please, no need to rush away. I said what if. I did consider it. They are most skilled, as I said.

Rumors and Chickens


“…the birth of three young dragons is not a thing that can easily be kept secret. Whoever has them will want to crow. We must have eyes and ears in Pentos, Tyrosh, Myr, all the Free Cities. Offer rewards for any word of dragons.”

“The Sealord had best hope that they remain stones,” Jaehaerys said. “If I should hear so much as a whisper of…chickens…his palace will be the first to burn.”  - F&B.

For the first 111 years after Braavos’ founding, its citizens were successfully hiding from the rest of the world not only the city’s location, but also the very fact of its existence. If they were able to hide from all the Valyrian dragonlords an entire city, then to hide from the Targaryens three growing dragons, wouldn’t have been a challenge.

How to hatch a dragon egg

The Sealord bought three dragon eggs, tricked Targaryens into allowing him to keep them, and then he was intending to hatch them. How was he going to do that?


“They may not hatch,” Benifer said. “Not away from Dragonstone. The heat…it is known, some dragon eggs simply turn to stone.” - F&B.

By now we (the readers) know that the hatching of dragon eggs has nothing to do with volcanoes, Dragonstone, or the heat. Numerous dragon eggs had hatched away from Dragonstone. Jaehaerys I and his wife Alysanne, Aegon II’s children - Jaehaerys and Jaehaera, and Rhaenyra’s three boys were all born at King’s Landing. After their birth in their cradles were placed dragon eggs, which then hatched. So their seven dragons - Silverwing, Vermithor, Morghul and Shrykos (mentioned in “The Princess and the Queen”), Vermax, Arrax, and Tyraxes (mentioned in “The Rogue Prince)” - all hatched not at Dragonstone. And there were no bonfires or burning braziers in the cradles of those babies, so the heat is also not the main factor that determine whether an egg will hatch or won’t. The decisive factor in all those cases was the blood of the dragons, or in other words what was required to hatch a dragon egg, was a child with the blood of the dragonlords.

Targaryen-dragons could be hatched/bonded/ridden only by the Targaryens, or by the people with their blood. So that’s what the Sealord needed - three children with the blood of the Targaryens. That Sealord, and after him his successors, thought that it will be as easy as that: 3 Targaryen eggs + 3 Targaryen chicks = 3 Targaryen chickens… ;) ... or rather three dragons.

Though after numerous tries, it turned out that they were wrong. 

Numerous attempts and as numerous failures



From Essos came three rival competitors, grandsons of King Jaehaerys through his daughter Saera, each sired by a different father. One was said to be the very image of his grandsire in his youth. - F&B.

And when that hadn’t worked - the hatching of dragon eggs by Saera’s children - the next Sealord tried again, with a different egg and a different child:



Sly found no coin within, but what he did find was far more precious…a heavy cloak of fine white wool bordered in snowy satin, wrapped about a dragon’s egg, pale green with sworls of silver. For the traveler’s “son” was Maelor Targaryen, the younger son of King Aegon II, and the traveler was Ser Rickard Thorne of the Kingsguard, his sworn shield and protector. ...

With so many present on the bridge, it is not surprising that we have many differing accounts of what befell Maelor Targaryen. ...

Though no announcement of the boy’s death was made, word of his demise nonetheless spread throughout the city. ...

Though the story had no truth in it, soon it was on every pair of lips in King’s Landing. Mushroom puts this down as the Clubfoot’s work. “A man who gathers whispers can spread them just as well."

Could be that the accounts about Maelor’s death and its aftermath were so inconsistent, because they were all fake. Even though in TWOIAF and F&B it was mentioned that Ser Rickard Thorne was charged by Larys Clubfoot to deliver Maelor to Oldtown, it wasn’t explained why Rickard also took Maelor’s dragon egg with them. In my opinion Rickard Thorne was intending to bring both the child and the egg to Oldtown and from there to sail to Braavos, because actually he was a Faceless Man. If my suspicion is correct, then it’s likely that Maelor hadn’t died on that day; instead he was successfully delivered to the Sealord. And all that disinformation, that was made public about his supposed death, was spread by the Sealord’s people, not by the Clubfoot’s agents.

Then this same Sealord, or maybe his successor, tried again with the first three eggs. And to have at hand three dragonseed-children, that would have hatched for him those eggs, he sent his own granddaughter to seduce a Targaryen Prince.



“The first Black Pearl was black as a pot of ink,” said Daena. “She was a pirate queen, fathered by a Sealord’s son on a princess from the Summer Isles. A dragon king from Westeros took her for his lover.” - TWOW, Mercy.

The nine mistresses of Aegon IV, the Unworthy. Bellegere Otherys (The Black Pearl of Braavos). Children by the Black Pearl: Bellenora, Narha, Balerion. - TWOIAF, Aegon IV.

And then again -



“I have sent Aerion to Lys,” he announced abruptly. “A few years in the Free Cities may change him for the better.” - The Hedge Knight.

"Aerion Brightfire did not stay in Lys all his life, only a few years. He may have fathered a few bastards there…” - The Citadel, SSM.

and again -



The garrison had been prepared to sell them to the Usurper, but one night Ser Willem Darry and four loyal men had broken into the nursery and stolen them both, along with her wet nurse, and set sail under cover of darkness for the safety of the Braavosian coast.

She remembered Ser Willem dimly, a great grey bear of a man, half-blind, roaring and bellowing orders from his sickbed. The servants had lived in terror of him, but he had always been kind to Dany. He called her “Little Princess” and sometimes “My Lady,” and his hands were soft as old leather. He never left his bed, though, and the smell of sickness clung to him day and night, a hot, moist, sickly sweet odor. That was when they lived in Braavos, in the big house with the red door. Dany had her own room there, with a lemon tree outside her window. - AGOT, Dany I.

In my opinion that Willem Darry, that had lived with Dany and Viserys in the house with the red door, was a Faceless Man. The same Faceless Man as Arya’s Kindly Man. So he is also the current Sealord.


Someone had entered the room behind her, moving on soft padded slippers quiet as a mouse. Her nostrils flared. The kindly man. Men had a different smell than women, and there was a hint of orange in the air as well. The priest was fond of chewing orange rinds to sweeten his breath, whenever he could get them. ...

The Sealord is still sick.” - ADWD, The Blind Girl.

Also it seems that he has some sort of chronic decease or condition, and chewing citrus rinds (lemons, oranges) helps to lessen the symptoms, though he is still sick and getting worse. And when he was living in that house with the red door, he was only pretending that he was seriously ill. So he wasn’t bedridden all the time, actually most of the time, he wasn’t even in the house.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch

In the time span between 284 and 289 AC, in the house with the red door, where lived Dany and Viserys, were hidden dragon eggs. And those eggs still hadn’t hatched, even though they constantly were in the proximity of the pureblooded Targaryen-dragonseeds. Then for some reason the Sealord decided to give those eggs away. The Braavosi had them in their possession for 235 years, so there was some sort of serious reason why he decided to part with them. Could be that he did so because either him or his cousin - Bellegere Otherys - saw in a dragondream that the only way for those eggs to hatch is to let them go, and so he did.


“It was Father’s idea to do the tilts. He even trained the first pig, but by then he was too sick to ride her, so Oppo took his place. I always rode the dog. We performed for the Sealord of Braavos once, and he laughed so hard that afterward he gave each of us a … a grand gift.” - ADWD, Tyrion VIII.

Penny was born in 281-283, so in 289 when her family performed for the Sealord, she was 6-8 years old.

It seems that before Varys went to the 7K, while he was still in the Free Cities, he had met Hop-Bean (Penny’s father). Both of them were mummers. So Hop-Bean and Illyrio knew each other thru Varys. Also in my opinion Illyrio, same as Varys, originally was not from Pentos. He was a bravo, so could be that he came from Braavos.


Beneath his window six cherry trees stood sentinel around a marble pool, their slender branches bare and brown. A naked boy stood on the water, poised to duel with a bravo’s blade in hand. He was lithe and handsome, no older than sixteen, with straight blond hair that brushed his shoulders. - ADWD, Tyrion I.

The greatest bravos call themselves water dancers, given the custom of dueling upon the Moon Pool near the Sealord’s Palace; it is claimed that true water dancers can fight and kill upon the pool’s surface without disturbing the water itself. - TWOIAF, Braavos.

“How is it that the Spider became so dear to you?”

“We were young together, two green boys in Pentos.”

“Varys came from Myr.”

“So he did. I met him not long after he arrived, one step ahead of the slavers. By day he slept in the sewers, by night he prowled the rooftops like a cat. I was near as poor, a bravo in soiled silks, living by my blade. Perhaps you chanced to glimpse the statue by my pool? Pytho Malanon carved that when I was six-and-ten.” - ADWD, Tyrion II.

My guess is that when Aerion Brightflame in 209 AC was sent into a temporary exile to Lys and fathered there several bastards, those children were taken by the Sealord and brought to Braavos. The Sealord was intending to use Aerion’s bastards to hatch dragon eggs, so he sort of adopted them. And one of Aerion’s bastards was Illyrio’s parent. So that sculptor had carved the statue of sixteen years old Illyrio, when the boy was still a part of the Sealord’s household. Then Illyrio went to Pentos and met Varys. Years later he either bought out his statue from the Sealord, or got it as a present from his ex-patron. That’s why the statue is standing in the middle of a pool - because Illyrio was not merely a bravo, he was the Sealord’s water dancer. And because Illyrio was part of the Sealord’s household, he was aware that the Sealords of Braavos had three dragon eggs in their possession.

So that’s why Illyrio had sent Hop-Bean to steal the eggs from the Sealord, in a parallel to how Bloodraven had sent a troupe of mummer-dwarfs to steal Ambrose Butterwell’s dragon egg from Whitewalls. Though, before Hop-Bean managed to steal those eggs, the Sealord had willingly given them away, because he had his own reasons to do so. And then -


Magister Illyrio murmured a command, and four burly slaves hurried forward, bearing between them a great cedar chest bound in bronze. When she opened it, she found piles of the finest velvets and damasks the Free Cities could produce…and resting on top, nestled in the soft cloth, three huge eggs. - AGOT, Dany II.

When the fire died at last and the ground became cool enough to walk upon, Ser Jorah Mormont found her amidst the ashes, surrounded by blackened logs and bits of glowing ember and the burnt bones of man and woman and stallion. She was naked, covered with soot, her clothes turned to ash, her beautiful hair all crisped away…yet she was unhurt. ...

The cream-and-gold dragon was suckling at her left breast, the green-and-bronze at the right. Her arms cradled them close. The black-and-scarlet beast was draped across her shoulders, its long sinuous neck coiled under her chin. When it saw Jorah, it raised its head and looked at him with eyes as red as coals. …

As Daenerys Targaryen rose to her feet, her black hissed, pale smoke venting from its mouth and nostrils. The other two pulled away from her breasts and added their voices to the call, translucent wings unfolding and stirring the air, and for the first time in hundreds of years, the night came alive with the music of dragons. - AGOT, Dany X.

And finally the longwinded plan of the Braavosi hatchers (:) those crafty conspirators :rolleyes:) had succeeded, because the current Sealord decided not to be “a dog in the manger”, like were all his predecessors before him.

Iron Shell Part 2/4. The End.

Iron Shell part 3/4. How to get away with murder (Braavosi style)

Iron Shell part 4/4. The tolls of the House of Black and White

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I think that maybe Harwin Strong was a Faceless Man, so Princess Rhaenyra's three "Strong" sons possibly were another attempt of the Sealord of Braavos to create half-Targaryen children, that he could have recruited to serve for Braavos as its dragonriders.

So the fire at Harrenhal in 120 AC, in which Harwin supposedly died, was actually a cover up for this Faceless Man to end his Harwin-persona, and to take a new identity, which would have allowed him to get back to Targaryen court. Because when King Viserys dismissed Harwin from the post of Princess Rhaenyra's sworn shield, and sent him to Harrenhal, Harwin/FM got separated from Rhaenyra and their children, so him continuing to be "Harwin Strong" became useless for the Sealord. Thus "Harwin" started that fire at Harrenhal, in which he also killed Lyonel Strong - the father of the real Harwin Strong.

Could be that after the fire this Faceless Man took a new identity - it was Harwin's younger brother - Larys Strong. So both Harwin Strong and Larys Strong were killed and impersonated by the same Faceless Man.

Also could be that Prince Jacaerys - one of Rhaenyra's "strong" boys, was killed by a Faceless Man. Officially this is how he died:


Several differing tales were told afterward of how and why the dragon fell. Some claimed a crossbowman put an iron bolt through his eye, but this version seems suspiciously similar to the way Meraxes met her end, long ago in Dorne. Another account tells us that a sailor in the crow’s nest of a Myrish galley cast a grapnel as Vermax was swooping through the fleet. One of its prongs found purchase between two scales, and was driven deep by the dragon’s own considerable speed. The sailor had coiled his end of the chain about the mast, and the weight of the ship and the power of Vermax’s wings tore a long jagged gash in the dragon’s belly. The dragon’s shriek of rage was heard as far off as Spicetown, even through the clangor of battle. His flight jerked to a violent end, Vermax went down smoking and screaming, clawing at the water. Survivors said he struggled to rise, only to crash headlong into a burning galley. Wood splintered, the mast came tumbling down, and the dragon, thrashing, became entangled in the rigging. When the ship heeled over and sank, Vermax sank with her.

It is said that Jacaerys Velaryon leapt free and clung to a piece of smoking wreckage for a few heartbeats, until some crossbowmen on the nearest Myrish ship began loosing quarrels at him. The prince was struck once, and then again. More and more Myrmen brought crossbows to bear. Finally one quarrel took him through the neck, and Jace was swallowed by the sea.

Though it was also said about one of King Jaehaerys' children - Prince Aemon, that he also was killed supposedly with a Myrish crossbow, this:


Prince Aemon met him there, and the two made plans together, whilst Caraxes devoured half a dozen goats.

But the Evenstar’s camp was not as hidden as he hoped, and the smoke from the dragon’s fires drew the eyes of a pair of Myrish scouts who were creeping through the heights unawares. One of them recognized the Evenstar as he strode through the camp at dusk, talking with Prince Aemon. The men of Myr are indifferent sailors and feeble soldiers; their weapons of choice are dirk, dagger, and crossbow, preferably poisoned. One of the Myrish scouts wound his crossbow now, behind the rocks where he was hidden. Rising, he took aim on the Evenstar a hundred yards below, and loosed his bolt. Dusk and distance made his aim less certain, and the bolt missed Lord Cameron…and struck Prince Aemon, standing at his side.

The iron bolt punched through the prince’s throat and out the back of his neck. The Prince of Dragonstone fell to his knees and grasped the crossbow bolt, as if to pull it from his throat, but his strength was gone. Aemon Targaryen died struggling to speak, drowned on his own blood. He was thirty-seven years old.

In both cases those supposedly Myrish crossbowmen, that killed Jacaerys and Aemon, actually were Faceless Men.

Also, considering how detailed is the account of Aemon's death, that supposedly "the smoke from the dragon’s fires drew the eyes of a pair of Myrish scouts who were creeping through the heights unawares. One of them recognized the Evenstar... One of the Myrish scouts wound his crossbow now, behind the rocks where he was hidden. Rising, he took aim on the Evenstar a hundred yards below, and loosed his bolt. Dusk and distance made his aim less certain, and the bolt missed Lord Cameron" - it's obvious that this account is fake. Because how did the maester that wrote that book knew that those two Myrish scouts were creeping through the heights, that one of them recognized Evenstar, that the guy who killed Aemon was wounding his crossbow while he was hiding behind the rocks, etc., etc., etc. I mean - did that maester afterwards interviewed Prince Aemon's killers? :rolleyes: Obviously - not. So could be that GRRM intentionally wrote this account as absurd, absurdly too detailed, because he wanted the readers to figure out that what was written in that account and what actually happened were not the same things. Their target was not the Evenstar, instead they came there because they were specifically aiming to kill Aemon. Because they were Faceless Men. And also because both Jacaerys and Aemon were killed not merely with a Myrish crossbow, but with a bolt thru the neck, it's a clue that they both were killed by the Faceless Men. Also because GRRM mentioned in the account of Jacaerys' death this - "Some claimed a crossbowman put an iron bolt through his eye, but this version seems suspiciously similar to the way Meraxes met her end, long ago in Dorne.", it appears that he wanted the readers to know that Meraxes also was killed by the Faceless Men. He inserted into the texts these little giveaways like "suspiciously similar", and "But if indeed the Faceless Men had done these deeds, at whose bidding had they acted?" (F&B, Lyseni Spring), and "Don’t you SEE?" (AGOT, Dany X), etc. You'll get what those things mean, when they will be revealed in the next books.


So the conclusion is that Jacaerys, Lucerys and Joffrey Velaryons are also in the list of "chicks", in addition to the three children of Saera Targaryen, three Lyseni bastards of Aerion Brightflame, three children of Bellegere Otherys, little Maelor, Viserys and Dany.

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