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How much of what's happened was part of Varys' plans?


James Steller
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16 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

It does seem odd on the surface that Varys, who was well entrenched in his position in the court once Littlefinger came into the scene, would allow the rise of an opposing player. Though the thing about Varys is, we just don't know what his motivations really are. Sure we know what he says, but we never get inside his head. For all we know Varys may have thought Littlefinger a useful tool to shake up the status quo and discredit the Baratheon rule in favor of a Targaryen restoration.

I reckon that when Baelish first arrived, Varys underestimated him. Varys most likely saw Baelish as what he looks like, a smart and loyal accountant.

I think that by now Varys is wary of Baelish and even maybe thinks Baelish is a superior schemer. For someone as smart as a Varys, it wouldn’t be hard for him to see that Baelish is vastly better than him.

Varys had an opportunity to catch Baelish with his breeches down when he attempted to start a war between the starks and lannisters. But he was more than happy to let it happen. Either because he wanted a war or because he feared Baelish might out-smart him.

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4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Agreed. Although there might have been some non-fatal substance (or highly diluted poison) in it which might make people feel like they'd been poisoned if they actually drank any.

That could be the case, but the core of the plot just seemed to be to get Robert official command that Daenerys Targaryen be assassinated with poison, create a scenario in which it appeared one of Robert's people were trying to poison Daenerys, and inform the Targaryens/Drogo via a trusted source (Illyrio/Jorah) that Robert Baratheon was definitely behind that at attempt.

There was no need for actual poison.

Even if we assumed the Dothraki had found out that the wine in the cask wasn't poisoned at all - the attempted weirdo poisoning plot in combination with the news from KL that King Robert wanted Daenerys dead should have been more than enough to convince Drogo to do what he did.

You have to keep in mind what happened there - a foreign power (or a guy apparently acting on behalf of a foreign power) invaded the holy city of the Dothraki to try to murder one of their queens (and, by extension, the unborn child of a major khal along with the khal himself).

That is very much a declaration of war. It cannot be interpreted in a different way.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

This is where Watsonian explanations run short and a Doyleist one is more fitting. The Aegon plot hadn't been conceived yet, as Dany herself was supposed to invade with her dragons much earlier.

It seems the Aegon plan was already invented during the writing process of AGoT. And, to be sure, George created the real oddities with the plot in the later books. Illyrio didn't have to be as dismissive of Daenerys as he is in ADwD. There he says that she was a cold fish he expected to die in the Dothraki Sea. He could have implied there that he intentionally gave her the dragon eggs because he expected them to hatch. Even if this were a retcon it could have worked pretty well.

And, to be sure, he may have lied there. He also didn't tell Tyrion about the Aegon plan, after all.

But if he is lying George really has to explain why (assuming this is the case) Aegon never got any dragon eggs. Or how the hell Illyrio and Varys hoped to gain control of the dragons if they actually had reason to believe she might hatch them at Vaes Dothrak or in the middle of nowhere. Although, technically, if they had access to some prophetic knowledge they may only have known that she would hatch the eggs, but not necessarily when and where. Although then it would be odd that they would marry such a valuable asset to Drogo. On the other hand, the knowledge they have could have implied the Targaryen princess becoming the Mother of Dragons would be the one married to a Dothraki khal.

We just have no clue. But it is quite clear the question why Dany got the dragon eggs will be answered. There is answer to this. Daenerys herself wants to know that, too, as does vision Viserys in her last chapter. And I have a feeling that the answer will be connected to another question very few people seem to ask - why the hell did Khal Drogo want to marry a Targaryen princess? And why and how exactly was that deal made?

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On 9/25/2021 at 10:11 PM, Nathan Stark said:

Varys is undoubtedly extremely intelligent and manipulative. But I think Littlefinger is the better master plotter.

Littlefinger has massive amounts of luck, to be fair this can also be said about most characters but the difference is that they are not heralded as master plotters, and the events of game of thrones can only happen in Littlefinger's favour because Varys allowed it to happen.

To Op¡s question, i don't think many of what happened can be attributed to Varys, his plans seem to be in constant change because things go very in planetos, he could not have predicted Renly's rise and fall, Stannis and the Blackwater, Ned's fate, Robb's rise and fall or Tywin's death (even if i do believe that he would have ended him the same way he did Kevan) or Cersei's incredibly ineptitude.

More than anything he could not have predicted Dany birthing  dragons yet choosing east instead of West. Nor he could have predicted that Cersei would cuckold Robert and thus give him a massive opening.

 

On 9/27/2021 at 2:24 AM, Lady Fevre Dream said:

How much of an accident is it that Dany, a Targaryen, was given dragon eggs that had turned to stone by Illyrio, someone we know to be a partner in crime and time.....with Varys?

Well... the incident was entirely magical, a miracle. Did Varys and Illiryo thought a miracle would happen??

 

On 9/28/2021 at 4:15 PM, BlackLightning said:

I feel like Varys sabotaged and undermined the plans and investigations of Jon Arryn, Stannis and Ned.

How he did it tho?? He didn't help them that is true but he did not stop them either and the only reason they couldn't tell Robert was because Littlefinger and a boar, not him.

 

On 9/28/2021 at 4:15 PM, BlackLightning said:

Aegon's reconquest and ascension only requires an attack on and the removal of:

  • the Baratheons (which he can replace with one of Robert's legitimized bastards if he so chooses)
  • the main branch of Lannisters (i.e. Tywin, his children and grandchildren)
  • Gregor Clegane
  • Jon Arryn (who probably was going to die naturally before long)
  • Littlefinger

At the start of the series, the Baratheons have a massive coalition that makes it virtually impossible to challenge them, not it seems that Arryn was going away any time soon, in fact the opposite is said in the books, the man was healthier than ever,

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19 minutes ago, frenin said:

How he did it tho?? He didn't help them that is true but he did not stop them either and the only reason they couldn't tell Robert was because Littlefinger and a boar, not him.

As far as the twincest/false Baratheon conspiracy is concerned, if Varys not helping them, he's hurting them.

 

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22 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

We don't hear of him participating in the first two at all, which were admittedly off page. With Ned, he indicates that Cersei is trying to kill Robert, which is actually true. It later turns out she didn't have Jon Arryn poisoned, but there's no indication Varys knew who was really behind that.

I'm almost certain that Varys knew that Jon Arryn was in terrible danger: if not from Littlefinger and/or Lysa (he had to have known that they were a couple and that Lysa hated Jon), then from Cersei, Jaime and Pycelle.

And Varys intentionally not helping Stannis has already been well-established. The whole beef Varys has with Stannis is just another eason why I don't believe Varys has the realm's best interest at heart. Stannis would actually be a very good king. Not very nice; but a good king nonetheless.

 

44 minutes ago, frenin said:

At the start of the series, the Baratheons have a massive coalition that makes it virtually impossible to challenge them, not it seems that Arryn was going away any time soon, in fact the opposite is said in the books, the man was healthier than ever,

That massive coalition shrinks and shrivels when it faces a Targaryen seeking to reclaim their birthright.

Jon Arryn is still an old man. While he is the healthiest he has ever been, I don't necessarily see him living long enough to see Sweetrobin come of age.

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18 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

And Varys intentionally not helping Stannis has already been well-established. The whole beef Varys has with Stannis is just another eason why I don't believe Varys has the realm's best interest at heart. Stannis would actually be a very good king. Not very nice; but a good king nonetheless.

Stannis would be a horrible king. He has no charisma, no ability to make friends, and he knows no mercy. Stannis as king is recipe for civil war and disaster.

 

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2 hours ago, BlackLightning said:

As far as the twincest/false Baratheon conspiracy is concerned, if Varys not helping them, he's hurting them.

Well, fair enough.

 

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

I'm almost certain that Varys knew that Jon Arryn was in terrible danger: if not from Littlefinger and/or Lysa (he had to have known that they were a couple and that Lysa hated Jon), then from Cersei, Jaime and Pycelle.

I don't know how should he?? The Lannisters and their proxy seemed unable to touch Arryn before he could've told Robert and Petyr knows who avoid being spied on.

 

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

That massive coalition shrinks and shrivels when it faces a Targaryen seeking to reclaim their birthright.

That coalition endured enough to actually depose the Targaryens and i do not see how their enemy coming backk for revenge is ever going to help the Targaryens. 

In fact we know that JonCon did not dare set a foot on the Stormlands while Robert was alive and that the Golden Company would have never faced Tywin.

I don't really know where do you get that confidence. The reason why Aegon stands a chance now is because the coalition that put Robert on the throne self imploded.

 

 

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

And Varys intentionally not helping Stannis has already been well-established. The whole beef Varys has with Stannis is just another eason why I don't believe Varys has the realm's best interest at heart.

Well, Stannis is pretty clear on his intention of seeing Varys a head shorter. So, it matters little whether Stannis is going to be a good king or not.

I assume Varys does not want to die.

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On 9/28/2021 at 4:04 PM, Floki of the Ironborn said:

I'm pretty sure fAegon would want Gregor Clegane punished for killing his 'mom'.

He'd like that, but if Gregor flees to the west it wouldn't actually make the new regime any less viable.

On 9/28/2021 at 5:55 PM, Lord Varys said:

It seems the Aegon plan was already invented during the writing process of AGoT.

Is there another thread where that was discussed?

Quote

But if he is lying George really has to explain why (assuming this is the case) Aegon never got any dragon eggs. Or how the hell Illyrio and Varys hoped to gain control of the dragons if they actually had reason to believe she might hatch them at Vaes Dothrak or in the middle of nowhere.

The simplest explanation is that Illyrio didn't expect them to hatch, and that they were just very rare & valuable rocks to him.

Quote

why the hell did Khal Drogo want to marry a Targaryen princess?

It's prestigious, and Illyrio was paying a hefty dowry.

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8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Is there another thread where that was discussed?

Not sure about that, but I guess it may be possible, since a lot of things were planned and written down already when AGOT came out. And ACOK includes foreshadowing about Aegon. 

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Varys' plan isn't really all that complicated IMO. What we know about his life makes his behavior actually look pretty logical and straigthforward:

- Varys was already serving under Aerys. As far as we know he was loyal enough to him.

- after he had been left in place by Robert and later by Cersei we find Varys working with Illyrio to get Viserys an invasion army to retake the Iron Throne for the Targaryens and with Aegon to join forces with Viserys (then Daenerys) for the same cause.

So: Varys was a Targaryen loyalist early on and he still is a Targaryen loyalist. Nothing more to it.

***

As to why Dany got the stone dragon eggs:

That one is straightforward too IMO: Varys and Illyrio wanted to impress Khal Drogo with Dany's supposed importance and her (and by extension Viserys') 'dragon-inheritance'. Illyrio is beyond rich so he could well afford the expense if it made it more likely that Drogo would take Viserys' right to the throne of Westeros more seriously and go along with an invasion plan.

Varys and Illyrio never dreamed in their wildest dreams that the eggs would hatch though. They thought the eggs were turned to stone and not viable anymore, not to mention that no Targ had managed to hatch dragon eggs in hundreds of year (not even viable, not-stoned ones). In their eyes the eggs were nice and costly reminders of former Targ power but nothing more. Good as symbolic gifts.

***

Variants:

1) Now we can form variant theories on this theme by introducing Blackfyres to this. But even in the Blackfyre variation Varys is still working for the Targaryens - only now it's a side arm of the extended Targ family, not the old main arm. And he still is using the main Targ arm too, trying to get both sides of the family together in the common cause. So not all that much different from being a baseline Targ loyalist.

2) We can vary the theory further by theorizing that at some point he may want to get rid of Viserys and/or Daenerys in order to have Aegon on the throne in the end - but even this does not really change the base pattern: He was pro Targaryen and still is pro-Targaryen. Only in this case he uses the main Targ arm only for a limited time and then furthers a specific person of the side-arm Targaryens in the end-game.

3) The variant theme that changes the baseline the most would be the idea that Aegon is not even a Blackfyre and no Targ-relation at all. In that case Varys and Illyrio would actually be trying to get a totally different family on the throne in the end (possibly Illyrio's).

I don't know how likely that is though. First because I wonder why the author introduces us to the whole Blackfyre background if it then plays no role. Mostly though because in this case Varys' and Illyrio's game would indeed be so long that it's hard to believe that they would even have gotten the idea, let alone thought it possible. I mean: procure a baby from somewhere, raise him, hoping he'd have the right looks and abilities later on, make him believe he is someone he is not even related to, manage to have Viserys/Daenerys conquer Westeros for him and then accept him as the 'real' heir (or have them vanish). All over like 20 years time. With no guarantee that Varys is still in place all those years later or even alive. And what for really? I mean why would they even get the idea to put some other family's'child (or Illyrio's) on the Westerosi throne of all things? Where is the sense in that? The motive?

For a Blackfyre descendent or other Targaryen descendent it makes sense to 'want our throne back'. For a totally different person though? Doesn't make much sense to me.

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11 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Is there another thread where that was discussed?

There is no need to discuss that, really. We do have Daenerys distrusting Illyrio's motives and realizing that he barely hides the contempt he feels for her brother Viserys. That alone means that Illyrio isn't in the game to help Viserys Targaryen.

But the later conversation between Varys and Illyrio proves that Illyrio and Varys are genuinely interested in and working towards a Dothraki invasion of Westeros. Hence, it is quite clear that Varys and Illyrio have an ulterior motive and are more or less just pretending they are doing what they do for Viserys Targaryen. And ADwD basically confirms that the Dothraki were to join the Golden Company, confirming that the original Dothraki plan was to benefit Aegon.

11 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The simplest explanation is that Illyrio didn't expect them to hatch, and that they were just very rare & valuable rocks to him.

Then it is still odd that he would throw those valuable rocks at Daenerys Targaryen, a girl who would either die in the Dothraki Sea or disappear forever with the dosh khaleen at Vaes Dothrak. Even more so, if those were his only dragon eggs and his lad could have profited from those eggs, too.

I mean, Daenerys Targaryen doesn't need dragon eggs who never hatch. Her identity as a Targaryen is beyond any doubt, Khal Drogo agreed to marry her long before she got those dragon eggs and Drogo never glanced at those eggs twice. But Aegon is supposed to be dead. He could use anything, any trinket lending credence to the claim that he is Rhaegar's son.

11 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

It's prestigious, and Illyrio was paying a hefty dowry.

The Targaryens no longer had any prestige. Viserys was an impoverished guy mocked as 'the Beggar King'. And his sister basically grew up on the streets. She had not even the pretense of royalty. Also, we learn that Illyrio himself made a lot of money arranging that marriage. He didn't bribe Drogo to take on Daenerys.

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I mean, Daenerys Targaryen doesn't need dragon eggs who never hatch. Her identity as a Targaryen is beyond any doubt, Khal Drogo agreed to marry her long before she got those dragon eggs and Drogo never glanced at those eggs twice. But Aegon is supposed to be dead. He could use anything, any trinket lending credence to the claim that he is Rhaegar's son.

The Targaryens no longer had any prestige. Viserys was an impoverished guy mocked as 'the Beggar King'. And his sister basically grew up on the streets. She had not even the pretense of royalty. Also, we learn that Illyrio himself made a lot of money arranging that marriage. He didn't bribe Drogo to take on Daenerys.

Having three valuable rocks wouldn't have proved anything about fAegon's heritage. The dragons died out long before Rhaegar was even born, nobody associated him with dragon eggs. Not even Aerys bothered to try hatching dragon eggs, even at the height of his madness. And besides, those same eggs were stolen a long time ago anyway. If anything, fAegon's possession of those three eggs connects him more to Elissa Farman than Rhaegar Targaryen.

Edited by Floki of the Ironborn
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11 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

Not sure about that, but I guess it may be possible, since a lot of things were planned and written down already when AGOT came out. And ACOK includes foreshadowing about Aegon. 

Yeah, I've heard ACOK being pointed to for that.

9 hours ago, Amris said:

For a Blackfyre descendent or other Targaryen descendent it makes sense to 'want our throne back'. For a totally different person though? Doesn't make much sense to me.

If we're talking whether Varys himself is descended from them, I don't believe it. He was a slave since childhood, with no notable family to keep him out of such a situation.

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

We do have Daenerys distrusting Illyrio's motives and realizing that he barely hides the contempt he feels for her brother Viserys. That alone means that Illyrio isn't in the game to help Viserys Targaryen.

There are people who help Joffrey remain in power despite having contempt for him.

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Then it is still odd that he would throw those valuable rocks at Daenerys Targaryen, a girl who would either die in the Dothraki Sea or disappear forever with the dosh khaleen at Vaes Dothrak.

They were part of the price he was paying for Khal Drogo's khalasar.

Quote

But Aegon is supposed to be dead. He could use anything, any trinket lending credence to the claim that he is Rhaegar's son.

Aegon supposedly being dead is why they're not doing anything publicly with him early on. And the eggs don't lend any credence, because everyone knows the legitimate Targaryens ran out of eggs and that if Daenerys has any it's just because Illyrio bought them in Essos.

Quote

The Targaryens no longer had any prestige.

I think that's an exaggeration. There was already a secret marriage contract between Viserys & Arianne, Oberyn had tried to raise a rebellion for the former. There are still Westerosi who talk of being "good dragon men" and recall Aerys rather than Robert as the good old king.

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On 9/28/2021 at 5:55 PM, Lord Varys said:

And, to be sure, he may have lied there. He also didn't tell Tyrion about the Aegon plan, after all.

But if he is lying George really has to explain why (assuming this is the case) Aegon never got any dragon eggs. Or how the hell Illyrio and Varys hoped to gain control of the dragons if they actually had reason to believe she might hatch them at Vaes Dothrak or in the middle of nowhere. Although, technically, if they had access to some prophetic knowledge they may only have known that she would hatch the eggs, but not necessarily when and where. Although then it would be odd that they would marry such a valuable asset to Drogo. On the other hand, the knowledge they have could have implied the Targaryen princess becoming the Mother of Dragons would be the one married to a Dothraki khal.

We just have no clue. But it is quite clear the question why Dany got the dragon eggs will be answered. There is answer to this. Daenerys herself wants to know that, too, as does vision Viserys in her last chapter. And I have a feeling that the answer will be connected to another question very few people seem to ask - why the hell did Khal Drogo want to marry a Targaryen princess? And why and how exactly was that deal made?

Given Varys' hostility towards magic, Varys' questionable history with King Aerys and his Small Council and Illyrio's close and still-very-mysterious relationships with Aegon and Varys both, I think it's safe to come to the conclusion that Varys (and Illyrio) had no plans or aspirations involving dragons.

I think that their endgame is to return to the days of Aerys. Daenerys (and Jon and, by extension, the rest of the Starks) presents a massive problem to Varys and Illyrio because they are taking things back to the days of Jaehaerys I, Daeron II and Aegon V...but with dragons and magic.

There's no way they knew or even would care about the AA and the PTWP prophecies. Even the ones who did couldn't predict that Daenerys Stormborn would become the Mother of Dragons in the middle of nowhere just outside Lhazar.

 

The question of why Khal Drogo wanted to marry a Targaryen princess-in-exile is probably connected to the question of why did someone like Khal Drogo own such an expensive, massive manse in downtown Pentos. The Dothraki don't believe in homes, much less having homes in permanent dwelling places like cities.

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9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But the later conversation between Varys and Illyrio proves that Illyrio and Varys are genuinely interested in and working towards a Dothraki invasion of Westeros. Hence, it is quite clear that Varys and Illyrio have an ulterior motive and are more or less just pretending they are doing what they do for Viserys Targaryen. And ADwD basically confirms that the Dothraki were to join the Golden Company, confirming that the original Dothraki plan was to benefit Aegon.

The original Dothraki plan is convoluted as hell.

I'm not sure that the original Dothraki plan is the truth because not only is it overly-complicated (leaving a lot of room for a lot of error) but it's also implausible and sloppy. If Daenerys is already married and with child, why would Khal Drogo -- much less any other khal -- make common cause with Aegon and the Golden Company.

Given how dismissive Illyrio is of Daenerys (and how Varys never ever makes mention of her outside of conversations in passing with Ned Stark in book #1), they obviously didn't believe in Daenerys' ability to act as a negotiator and broker between Drogo and Aegon.

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The Targaryens no longer had any prestige.

I don't think this is entirely true.

1 hour ago, FictionIsntReal said:

There are people who help Joffrey remain in power despite having contempt for him.

 

I'm with @Lord Varys on this one. There is a big difference between Daenerys' intuition telling her that Illyrio Mopatis is up to something and the Small Council not liking Joffrey but supporting him anyway.

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5 hours ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

Having three valuable rocks wouldn't have proved anything about fAegon's heritage. The dragons died out long before Rhaegar was even born, nobody associated him with dragon eggs. Not even Aerys bothered to try hatching dragon eggs, even at the height of his madness. And besides, those same eggs were stolen a long time ago anyway. If anything, fAegon's possession of those three eggs connects him more to Elissa Farman than Rhaegar Targaryen.

Who cares what certain pedantic people actually know? Some people also know that Aegon Targaryen is dead. Aegon wants to be seen as a Targaryen. And the Targaryens are the guys with the purple eyes and silver-gold hair who are associated with dragons. Having Valyrian looks helps you appear like a Targaryen. Having dragon eggs helps you with that, too. Just as having Blackfyre - which Aegon likely has - will help with that.

The idea that anyone in Westeros actually knows how many dragon eggs the Targaryens might still have is pretty far-fetched, by the way. In ADwD Mace Tyrell talks about Loras having searched for dragon eggs on Dragonstone. Would he have done that if it had been *known* what happened to all the dragon eggs? Most likely not.

And if 'the good guys' can spirit away baby Aegon and hide him they could just as well take a couple of dragon eggs, no? Just as Willem Darry could have taken some dragon eggs when he spirited away Viserys and Dany.

3 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

There are people who help Joffrey remain in power despite having contempt for him.

That isn't an argument.

3 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

They were part of the price he was paying for Khal Drogo's khalasar.

Based on what textual evidence? Drogo never shows any interest in Dany's dragon eggs at all. He never looks at them, never touches them, never wants to do anything with them. We have no reason to think he ever cared for them at all.

The dragon eggs are bridal gifts to Daenerys Targaryen. They are her personal property, not Drogo's.

3 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Aegon supposedly being dead is why they're not doing anything publicly with him early on. And the eggs don't lend any credence, because everyone knows the legitimate Targaryens ran out of eggs and that if Daenerys has any it's just because Illyrio bought them in Essos.

No, that's not public knowledge. And folks in Westeros might not even know that Dany's dragons came from dragon eggs giving to her by Illyrio.

3 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I think that's an exaggeration. There was already a secret marriage contract between Viserys & Arianne, Oberyn had tried to raise a rebellion for the former. There are still Westerosi who talk of being "good dragon men" and recall Aerys rather than Robert as the good old king.

In Westeros the Targaryen name certainly carries some weight with certain people. But Viserys and Daenerys have no prestige in Essos. To Drogo, Viserys is a ridiculous fool and Daenerys just a little girl (until she learns how to fuck him properly). And according to Jorah, Westeros itself means little and less to the Dothraki, who never saw the continent and imagine it is little different from the Free Cities. Meaning they wouldn't have had much respect for the Targaryens even while they still sat the Iron Throne.

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

Given Varys' hostility towards magic, Varys' questionable history with King Aerys and his Small Council and Illyrio's close and still-very-mysterious relationships with Aegon and Varys both, I think it's safe to come to the conclusion that Varys (and Illyrio) had no plans or aspirations involving dragons.

That may be the case ... or not. They were working with the blood of the dragon, after all. And if they themselves - or some of them - have Targaryen ancestors, too, then they themselves share this 'magical blood'.

If dragons don't mean anything to them it is quite odd that Illyrio would bother giving such eggs to Daenerys. They are pretty expensive, after all. Why not keep them? Or give them to Aegon?

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

There's no way they knew or even would care about the AA and the PTWP prophecies. Even the ones who did couldn't predict that Daenerys Stormborn would become the Mother of Dragons in the middle of nowhere just outside Lhazar.

Varys could have complete knowledge of the prophecy and stuff from his days at the court of the Mad King. He could even have known everything Rhaegar believed about the prophecy considering he was monitoring Rhaegar.

I certainly agree that, to this point, nothing indicates Illyrio and Varys expected Daenerys to hatch the dragon eggs. But that's not evidence. As long as Illyrio doesn't tell us why he gave the eggs to Daenerys we don't know what he and Varys expected would happen.

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

The question of why Khal Drogo wanted to marry a Targaryen princess-in-exile is probably connected to the question of why did someone like Khal Drogo own such an expensive, massive manse in downtown Pentos. The Dothraki don't believe in homes, much less having homes in permanent dwelling places like cities.

Drogo was given that manse as a gift to stay there whenever he comes to Pentos to collect tribute gifts.

I mean, it might be that it is standard procedure for a khal to present his khaleesi to the dosh khaleen after a marriage. And perhaps it is even standard procedure that the dosh khaleen make prophecies about the unborn child of a khal.

But it might be more likely that Daenerys Targaryen was a rather special khaleesi from the start and that Khal Drogo didn't choose such an unusual bride by accident. The Dothraki were looking for their own savior figure and it is not impossible nor unlikely that Drogo's decision to marry Daenerys was as much guided by prophecy as Jaehaerys II's decision to marry Aerys to Rhaella.

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:
I'm not sure that the original Dothraki plan is the truth because not only is it overly-complicated (leaving a lot of room for a lot of error) but it's also implausible and sloppy. If Daenerys is already married and with child, why would Khal Drogo -- much less any other khal -- make common cause with Aegon and the Golden Company.

Well, Aegon and the Golden Company would have to team up with Viserys, not Drogo. Drogo would just give Viserys the Dothraki he promised.

Daenerys plays no role in that entire plan at all.

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

I don't think this is entirely true.

See above.

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

I'm with @Lord Varys on this one. There is a big difference between Daenerys' intuition telling her that Illyrio Mopatis is up to something and the Small Council not liking Joffrey but supporting him anyway.

Yes, those two things have nothing to do with each other.

You can also go back to the discussions prior to the release of AFfC and ADwD - folks always had doubts that Varys and Illyrio truly supported Viserys - not just because the clues in Dany's chapters but also simply because these two guys are far too smart to truly back as ineffective a horse dragon as Viserys Targaryen.

And quite a few people figured out the Aegon plan very early, just on the basis of the clues in AGoT and the visions in the House of the Undying.

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On 9/30/2021 at 3:32 PM, BlackLightning said:
There is a big difference between Daenerys' intuition telling her that Illyrio Mopatis is up to something and the Small Council not liking Joffrey but supporting him anyway.

What would you say the relevant difference is?

On 9/30/2021 at 5:32 PM, Lord Varys said:

And if 'the good guys' can spirit away baby Aegon and hide him they could just as well take a couple of dragon eggs, no?

The more things taken (especially valuable things) the more complicated it gets. Aegon being smuggled out is supposed to be a big secret, and smuggling out very rare items alongside him would not fit with that. Stealing the eggs separately and sending them over when available could be possible I suppose, although for the sake of secrecy they'd be kept away from Aegon until the time was right to reveal him. So I guess the question would be whether Illyrio would still consider the dragon eggs safely within his "possession" with Dany, since Aegon was just going to join up with her & Viserys anyway.

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That may be the case ... or not. They were working with the blood of the dragon, after all

"The blood of the dragon" that failed to hatch any since Aegon III. Their attempts to bring back the dragons have become emblematic of their folly and the problems of the later Targaryen kings.

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He could even have known everything Rhaegar believed about the prophecy considering he was monitoring Rhaegar.

Evidently not well enough to know where Rhaegar had gone off to when Lyanna disappeared, since Aerys didn't know. And while we know he's done some monitoring of Robert's bastards, he never gives any indication that he thinks there's anything significant about Jon Snow (admittedly this is an absence of evidence and we aren't in his head).

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we don't know what he and Varys expected would happen

A good Bayesian relies on the base rate for what usually happens. And what usually happens since Aegon III when a Targaryen has a dragon egg? It doesn't hatch.

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4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The more things taken (especially valuable things) the more complicated it gets. Aegon being smuggled out is supposed to be a big secret, and smuggling out very rare items alongside him would not fit with that. Stealing the eggs separately and sending them over when available could be possible I suppose, although for the sake of secrecy they'd be kept away from Aegon until the time was right to reveal him. So I guess the question would be whether Illyrio would still consider the dragon eggs safely within his "possession" with Dany, since Aegon was just going to join up with her & Viserys anyway.

That is baseless speculation. We have no idea whether Varys had easy access to dragon eggs or not. We also don't know that many folks besides Varys knew anything about the dragon eggs the Mad King may have had.

There is also no indication at all that Daenerys and her dragon eggs were to ever join Viserys and Aegon later on. Viserys and Aegon were to invade Westeros with Dothraki warriors ... but nothing indicates that Varys/Illyrio or Viserys intended to take Daenerys with them. She was Drogo's wife and would go where Drogo went and Drogo had, originally, no intention of going to Westeros himself.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

"The blood of the dragon" that failed to hatch any since Aegon III. Their attempts to bring back the dragons have become emblematic of their folly and the problems of the later Targaryen kings.

Who cares? If they are Targaryen descendants themselves they might have similar mental issues.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Evidently not well enough to know where Rhaegar had gone off to when Lyanna disappeared, since Aerys didn't know. And while we know he's done some monitoring of Robert's bastards, he never gives any indication that he thinks there's anything significant about Jon Snow (admittedly this is an absence of evidence and we aren't in his head).

We are not talking about Rhaegar's whereabouts, we talk about Rhaegar's beliefs in prophecy.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

A good Bayesian relies on the base rate for what usually happens. And what usually happens since Aegon III when a Targaryen has a dragon egg? It doesn't hatch.

Varys had firsthand experience with magic and knows that magic does work. Any Bayesian reasoning he does would and does include the priors for working magic. That is why he quickly figures out that Stannis is employing a sorceress who uses spells to murder people. Varys wouldn't think it was impossible that magic could hatch dragon eggs.

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On 10/2/2021 at 3:31 PM, Lord Varys said:

Who cares?

Anyone trying to make accurate predictions would care.

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If they are Targaryen descendants themselves

What is the basis for that? I know some people have speculated about Varys, because he has no surname and known family (and his head is shaved so we don't know his hair color), but Illyrio does.

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they might have similar mental issues

If they were fixated on dragon eggs as something they could hatch, it would seem less likely for them to let them out of their sight.

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We are not talking about Rhaegar's whereabouts, we talk about Rhaegar's beliefs in prophecy.

Monitoring someone's whereabouts is possible just via observation, whereas monitoring beliefs would require mindreading.

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Varys wouldn't think it was impossible that magic could hatch dragon eggs.

Did he dispatch a red priest/priestess or some other magician to hatch them? Is he not aware of how nine mages failed to hatch Aegon III's eggs? Or that none of the prior hatched dragons appeared to require magic to hatch them? GRRM has said "The birth of Dany’s dragons was unique, magical, wonderous, a miracle" and that she probably wouldn't be able to do it again. It seems a stretch to think Varys & Illyrio could predict that. Particularly since the Golden Company treated that as an unexpected development that came after the Dothraki invasion was scrapped.

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