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Eustace vs Mushroom


James Steller
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Throughout FAB, these two men give us very different accounts of how the history of House Targaryen played out. Gyldayn seems to dismiss a lot of what Mushroom says, but that doesn't really prove anything either way. So which source are you more likely to believe? Do you believe both sources at different times? Are there times when you believe neither?

It would be a bit wearisome to try and go over every single thing that either men claims in FAB, so I've narrowed it down to the following moments which put both men at odds with each other:

1) The reason for why Daemon was forced to leave King's Landing (Eustace says he seduced Rhaenyra, Mushroom says that he taught her how to seduce Criston Cole)

2) The last night before Rhaenyra's departure from King's Landing to be married (Eustace says that Rhaenyra turned down Criston Cole's elopement idea, Mushroom says Criston Cole spurned Rhaenyra's advances until she found comfort in Harwin Strong's arms)

3) The parentage of Rhaenyra's first three sons (Eustace says it was Laenor Velaryon, Mushroom says it was Ser Harwin Strong)

4) The reason for Laenor Velaryon's murder (Eustace says it was due to sexual bickering and jealousy, Mushroom says it was a plot by Prince Daemon to get Laenor out of the way)

5) The perpetrator of the fire at Harrenhal which killed Lyonel and Harwin Strong (Eustace blames Daemon Targaryen, Mushroom blames Corlys Velaryon)

6) Aegon the Elder when told of his father's death (Eustace says he was at bed with a trader's daughter and refused the crown at first, Mushroom says he was in Flea Bottom being serviced by a child prostitute) 

7) The death of Maelor Targaryen (Eustace blames the town butcher, Mushroom blames Willow Pound-Stone) and Rhaenyra's reaction (Eustace says she smiled, Mushroom says she wept)

8) Rhaenyra's reaction to Alicent's proposal to split the realm and her accusation of bastardy (Eustace says she threatened to take Alicent's tongue, Mushroom claims Rhaenyra chained Alicent and Helaena in a brothel for any man's use)

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1) Eustace. Given that Mushroom was involving himself in Rhaenyra’s lessons on how to please a man, I think this might have just been him bragging. 

2) One thing that comes to mind is the big tourney held when Rhaenyra wed Laenor. Cole battered Harwin Strong, but he outright killed Laenor’s favourite. Makes me think Laenor got the brunt of Cole’s wrath, so I think Eustace was telling the truth about Cole being rejected by Rhaenyra.

3) Mushroom. Because duh.

4) and 5) are interesting to me, given that Eustace and Mushroom both blame Daemon, but not for the same thing. The obvious assumption would be to say that if Daemon is sinister enough to do one, he’s probably sinister enough to have done both. And a man who laughed at his grieving brother’s bereavement of both his wife and son? Yeah, he’s enough of a monster to have Laenor and the Strongs killed. So point each to Mushroom and Eustace.

6) I believe Eustace in this case. Mushroom apparently hated Aegon, so he’d love to slander the guy. Not saying he was a great person or anything, but I have to take Mushroom with a grain of salt just as much as with Eustace.

7) I think neither were correct about how Maelor died. Makes more sense that he was torn to pieces by the angry mob. As for Rhaenyra’s reaction? I’d say that she would have been too far gone at that point in the war. She definitely smiled.

8) It’s really weird to me how Mushroom credits Rhaenyra with doing something monstrous despite being on her side. The only way that makes sense to me is if it was the truth. 

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great topic (it's gonna be a long post..sorry) I believe each with a bit of skepticism and try to find the middle ground.

something about Mushroom that's been interesting to me is that although he is on Rhaenaera's side , he makes her sound like a cheap whore who's been spurned when it comes to Cole. then , he portrays the start of her relationship with Strong not based on love or affection but based on "just being there when she was rejected" . and finally , he seems to demonize Daemon - the man Rhaenaera chose- at every turn! ... so I built up a theory: Mushroom fancied Rhaenaera , big time :) why else would he be on her side , clearly have a certain admiration /affection for her but makes her look bad in history when it came to men? sound like a jealousy revenge to me...

 

58 minutes ago, James Steller said:

1) The reason for why Daemon was forced to leave King's Landing (Eustace says he seduced Rhaenyra, Mushroom says that he taught her how to seduce Criston Cole)

Eustace

58 minutes ago, James Steller said:

2) The last night before Rhaenyra's departure from King's Landing to be married (Eustace says that Rhaenyra turned down Criston Cole's elopement idea, Mushroom says Criston Cole spurned Rhaenyra's advances until she found comfort in Harwin Strong's arms)

Eustace

58 minutes ago, James Steller said:

3) The parentage of Rhaenyra's first three sons (Eustace says it was Laenor Velaryon, Mushroom says it was Ser Harwin Strong)

Mushroom

58 minutes ago, James Steller said:

4) The reason for Laenor Velaryon's murder (Eustace says it was due to sexual bickering and jealousy, Mushroom says it was a plot by Prince Daemon to get Laenor out of the way)

Eustace. Daemon is not an honorable guy by any means. but he seems to be a man with a code.. he does his own dirty work and he never denies it if he has conspired. 

58 minutes ago, James Steller said:

5) The perpetrator of the fire at Harrenhal which killed Lyonel and Harwin Strong (Eustace blames Daemon Targaryen, Mushroom blames Corlys Velaryon)

neither! I believe the one that said it was Viserys. but Corlys sounds more likely than Daemon for the reasons said above.

58 minutes ago, James Steller said:

6) Aegon the Elder when told of his father's death (Eustace says he was at bed with a trader's daughter and refused the crown at first, Mushroom says he was in Flea Bottom being serviced by a child prostitute) 

something at the middle. he definitely didn't deny it at first. it took what? one hour to convince him? . 

58 minutes ago, James Steller said:

7) The death of Maelor Targaryen (Eustace blames the town butcher, Mushroom blames Willow Pound-Stone) and Rhaenyra's reaction (Eustace says she smiled, Mushroom says she wept)

none of them can know who really did the deed. as for Rhaenaera's reaction , I'd say she neither wept nor smiled. she was probably shocked and speechless . not unlike her reaction towards blood and cheese incident. 

58 minutes ago, James Steller said:

8) Rhaenyra's reaction to Alicent's proposal to split the realm and her accusation of bastardy (Eustace says she threatened to take Alicent's tongue, Mushroom claims Rhaenyra chained Alicent and Helaena in a brothel for any man's use)

 this is a tough one! at first look , you'd think Mushroom must be telling the truth because it's a horrible thing for his queen to do . but the point is that in the medieval westerosi mindset, whoring Alicent and Helaena brings their character down as much as the one who had forced them, if not more. in a world where women need to be virtuous to resemble the Mother above , being raped is more of an insult to the victim than a criminal act of the rapist.  on the other hand, Rhaenaera doesn't come off as a person who send her innocent half sister who is mad with grief to be constantly raped. not when for the longest time, she refused to execute the woman who plotted to usurp her throne while her father's corpse was decaying.... with those in mind , I'd say she either threatened Alicent to send them to a brothel so they feel having a bastard or she only sent Alicent. 

 

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If you want to revisit some old arguments over them, I started a thread here (and revisited some of the arguments in a number of threads later like this one). My short take is that Mushroom's account is more often supported by other people/evidence (such as when Tyrion corrects Haldon on which dragon was attacked with an attempted mirror-shield), but he also has a tendency to be overly salacious and exaggerate to make a more entertaining story (and with him playing a larger role in it). My view that is the reader should not take any ONE source as reliable, but instead look at every disputed claim (which is not just Eustace vs Mushroom, since there are also accounts from maesters) and ask how plausible it is and how supported by other evidence it is.

Edited by FictionIsntReal
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GRRM said - "whenever there's like a Prince of Wales who has an odd name like Arthur or Eustace, you know they're not going to make it".

In GRRM's sci-fi series "Tuf's Voyaging", the main character - Haviland Tuf, had a cat named Mushroom. When that cat died, Tuf used his space-ship's lab to clone his cat. So that way the cat sort of lived a second life.

So I think that Eustace was saying lies, and that Mushroom was saying the truth. I'm basing this on their names. That's kind of reasoning is illogical, but - whatever. In my opinion, Mushroom's account is closer to the truth than Eustace's.

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17 hours ago, James Steller said:

Throughout FAB, these two men give us very different accounts of how the history of House Targaryen played out. Gyldayn seems to dismiss a lot of what Mushroom says, but that doesn't really prove anything either way. So which source are you more likely to believe? Do you believe both sources at different times? Are there times when you believe neither?

It would be a bit wearisome to try and go over every single thing that either men claims in FAB, so I've narrowed it down to the following moments which put both men at odds with each other:

1) The reason for why Daemon was forced to leave King's Landing (Eustace says he seduced Rhaenyra, Mushroom says that he taught her how to seduce Criston Cole)

Eustace

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

2) The last night before Rhaenyra's departure from King's Landing to be married (Eustace says that Rhaenyra turned down Criston Cole's elopement idea, Mushroom says Criston Cole spurned Rhaenyra's advances until she found comfort in Harwin Strong's arms)

Eustace

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

3) The parentage of Rhaenyra's first three sons (Eustace says it was Laenor Velaryon, Mushroom says it was Ser Harwin Strong)

Mushroom

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

4) The reason for Laenor Velaryon's murder (Eustace says it was due to sexual bickering and jealousy, Mushroom says it was a plot by Prince Daemon to get Laenor out of the way)

Eustace

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

5) The perpetrator of the fire at Harrenhal which killed Lyonel and Harwin Strong (Eustace blames Daemon Targaryen, Mushroom blames Corlys Velaryon)

Mushroom

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

7) The death of Maelor Targaryen (Eustace blames the town butcher, Mushroom blames Willow Pound-Stone) and Rhaenyra's reaction (Eustace says she smiled, Mushroom says she wept)

Mushroom and Mushroom

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

8) Rhaenyra's reaction to Alicent's proposal to split the realm and her accusation of bastardy (Eustace says she threatened to take Alicent's tongue, Mushroom claims Rhaenyra chained Alicent and Helaena in a brothel for any man's use)

Eustace

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17 hours ago, James Steller said:

1) The reason for why Daemon was forced to leave King's Landing (Eustace says he seduced Rhaenyra, Mushroom says that he taught her how to seduce Criston Cole)

Eustace

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

2) The last night before Rhaenyra's departure from King's Landing to be married (Eustace says that Rhaenyra turned down Criston Cole's elopement idea, Mushroom says Criston Cole spurned Rhaenyra's advances until she found comfort in Harwin Strong's arms)

Eustace

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

3) The parentage of Rhaenyra's first three sons (Eustace says it was Laenor Velaryon, Mushroom says it was Ser Harwin Strong)

Mushroom

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

4) The reason for Laenor Velaryon's murder (Eustace says it was due to sexual bickering and jealousy, Mushroom says it was a plot by Prince Daemon to get Laenor out of the way)

Eustace

18 hours ago, James Steller said:

5) The perpetrator of the fire at Harrenhal which killed Lyonel and Harwin Strong (Eustace blames Daemon Targaryen, Mushroom blames Corlys Velaryon)

Mushroom

18 hours ago, James Steller said:

6) Aegon the Elder when told of his father's death (Eustace says he was at bed with a trader's daughter and refused the crown at first, Mushroom says he was in Flea Bottom being serviced by a child prostitute) 

Eustace

18 hours ago, James Steller said:

7) The death of Maelor Targaryen (Eustace blames the town butcher, Mushroom blames Willow Pound-Stone) and Rhaenyra's reaction (Eustace says she smiled, Mushroom says she wept)

Mushroom for both

18 hours ago, James Steller said:

8) Rhaenyra's reaction to Alicent's proposal to split the realm and her accusation of bastardy (Eustace says she threatened to take Alicent's tongue, Mushroom claims Rhaenyra chained Alicent and Helaena in a brothel for any man's use)

Eustace

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It is mostly Eustace. Mushroom is mostly telling complete horseshit. He has one or two good stories which he might have actually overheard/figured out - like the true parentage of the Hull boys - but that's it.

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

1) The reason for why Daemon was forced to leave King's Landing (Eustace says he seduced Rhaenyra, Mushroom says that he taught her how to seduce Criston Cole)

2) The last night before Rhaenyra's departure from King's Landing to be married (Eustace says that Rhaenyra turned down Criston Cole's elopement idea, Mushroom says Criston Cole spurned Rhaenyra's advances until she found comfort in Harwin Strong's arms)

Clearly Eustace in both cases. Mushroom's account here is even internally contradictory and turns the people involved into characters written by Robert Jordan.

Mushroom might not lie about the tidbit of seeing Rhaenyra in Harwin's arms, though. That he could actually have witnessed.

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

3) The parentage of Rhaenyra's first three sons (Eustace says it was Laenor Velaryon, Mushroom says it was Ser Harwin Strong)

No idea ;-).

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

4) The reason for Laenor Velaryon's murder (Eustace says it was due to sexual bickering and jealousy, Mushroom says it was a plot by Prince Daemon to get Laenor out of the way)

There Eustace is most likely right insofar as Correy's motivation is concerned ... and Mushroom's talk about Daemon in connection to this is just speculation.

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

5) The perpetrator of the fire at Harrenhal which killed Lyonel and Harwin Strong (Eustace blames Daemon Targaryen, Mushroom blames Corlys Velaryon)

No idea. I actually think the Larys Strong idea is the most likely.

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

6) Aegon the Elder when told of his father's death (Eustace says he was at bed with a trader's daughter and refused the crown at first, Mushroom says he was in Flea Bottom being serviced by a child prostitute) 

There I clearly prefer Mushroom - mostly in context since it seems Eustace wrote his account to make Aegon look better than everybody knew he was. Mushroom wasn't there but stories about Aegon's lechery would have been all over the place at the time.

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

7) The death of Maelor Targaryen (Eustace blames the town butcher, Mushroom blames Willow Pound-Stone) and Rhaenyra's reaction (Eustace says she smiled, Mushroom says she wept)

1. No idea since neither was there. 2. The Mushroom scenario is a tidbit more likely here since Rhaenyra has no reason to publicly gloat over the cruel murder of a child she could have used as a hostage if it had been captured as she commanded. But probably neither actually remembered her facial expressions and actual words years/decades later.

17 hours ago, James Steller said:

8) Rhaenyra's reaction to Alicent's proposal to split the realm and her accusation of bastardy (Eustace says she threatened to take Alicent's tongue, Mushroom claims Rhaenyra chained Alicent and Helaena in a brothel for any man's use)

Clearly Eustace here. The Brothel Queens are a complete joke.

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Since everyone else is going over specific claims, I'll note that I mostly agree with goodqueenaly, although whereas she merely "leaned toward" Daemon over the Hightowers for Laenor's assassination I think he's the much more likely culprit.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Mushroom's talk about Daemon in connection to this is just speculation.

It's speculation based on facts that Gyldayn indicates have a solid basis. Plus, it seems like he was trying to escape, which it would be hard to do unless he had someone to help him.

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No idea. I actually think the Larys Strong idea is the most likely.

This is a point where I agree with you, even though we've disagreed on Eustace vs Mushroom. And this helps to show that it's not just Eustace vs Mushroom, because neither of them pointed to Larys. Gyldayn doesn't even specify the source for that allegation. And while I don't believe Mellos' guess that it was king Viserys himself, to me that proves it wasn't just the Greens who thought Harwin Strong was the father of Rhaenyra's children.

Quote

The Mushroom scenario is a tidbit more likely here since Rhaenyra has no reason to publicly gloat over the cruel murder of a child

Does it have to be "publicly"?

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18 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Since everyone else is going over specific claims, I'll note that I mostly agree with goodqueenaly, although whereas she merely "leaned toward" Daemon over the Hightowers for Laenor's assassination I think he's the much more likely culprit.

It's speculation based on facts that Gyldayn indicates have a solid basis. Plus, it seems like he was trying to escape, which it would be hard to do unless he had someone to help him.

It is all idle speculation, since all Mushroom offers is a 'cui bono' rationale - which, without further evidence, is just nothing, basically. Just think how shitty a history about court intrigue covering the main series would look if we were asking who profited from this or that sudden death/downfall. We would have Cersei murdering Jon Arryn, Tyrion killing Joffrey, Brienne murdering Renly, etc. as facts. Nobody would even suspect Lysa, a Littlefinger-Tyrell conspiracy, or Stannis and his magical shadow.

This is supposed to be an unresolved mystery, just as the Harrenhal situation is.

We just don't know if somebody paid or told Correy to kill Laenor. That the guy disappeared without a trace afterwards can mean anything. He could have gotten away. He could have been quietly captured by Corlys' people to be tortured and murdered clandestinely in the dungeons of High Tide (to pretend him to reveal information he shouldn't reveal about Laenor's marriage in a public trial, say), his ship/boat could have had an accident ... or somebody else had him murdered for some reason. The Greens could also be involved in this whole thing somehow. That they are not mentioned just means nobody suspected them.

Me, personally, does strike it as very unlikely that either Daemon or Rhaenyra (who we definitely should also consider a suspect since she seems to have been more into Daemon than the other way around, never mind that nobody mentions her) would have been able to arrange Laenor without repercussions since the Velaryons would have been completely dumb if they hadn't realized that their children-in-law had fucked them hard.

These two marry shortly thereafter under Rhaenys and Corlys' noses ... and they never even suspect that they might have had a hand in Laenor's death? They commit themselves to their cause in the succession war ten years later, trying to put a potentially murderous couple on the Iron Throne, but they never even suspected that they may have had a hand in this? That just doesn't really add up.

18 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

This is a point where I agree with you, even though we've disagreed on Eustace vs Mushroom. And this helps to show that it's not just Eustace vs Mushroom, because neither of them pointed to Larys. Gyldayn doesn't even specify the source for that allegation. And while I don't believe Mellos' guess that it was king Viserys himself, to me that proves it wasn't just the Greens who thought Harwin Strong was the father of Rhaenyra's children.

It could also just have been an accident. It doesn't always have to be some evil conspiracy. In fact, the cui bono rationale here also doesn't lead far. Pretty much nobody had a really good motive - much less the means - to murder Harwin at Harrenhal. To cause a fire at that place you do have to have more than one person in place. Insofar as means are concerned, we can say that only Larys would have had them. Those Strongs don't seem to be stupid, so we cannot expect their castle to be crawling with Black or Green or royal agents being willing and able to serve as competent arsonists.

And while we have no clue about Larys' ultimate motivation and driving force - and we don't have a clue about any of that - we cannot even pretend to know he wanted to be Lord of Harrenhal - if he didn't, he wouldn't have murdered either his father or his brother.

18 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Does it have to be "publicly"?

Of course, Rhaenyra sits on the Iron Throne in that scene - in both versions. It is about as public as the different accounts on her death at Dragonstone - which would have been less public, but public enough for the folks who lived in the citadel of Dragonstone at that time - or the various court session of Rhaenyra and Aegon II we are getting. They are all based on various eye witness accounts - with the chroniclers either being among the eye witnesses or having access to contemporary eye witness accounts, we imagine. For instance, Eustace's account of the first Green Council seems to fit pretty nicely with Munkun's version (sans the Orwyle alterations) because Eustace talked a lot to the people involved (perhaps even in his official capacity as the castle septon, listening to confessions and the like) and/or had access to summaries and letters and official court documents covering the events.

But this kind of thing is pretty trivial, actually. The idea that either Mushroom or Eustace would remember years and decades (!!!) after the events exactly what somebody had said is ridiculous.

We basically disrespect the genre of FaB if we pretend the dialogues we are given aren't completely invented. At best we can say that some very important exchanges are relayed accurately insofar as the broad contents of the conversation - for instance, I'd say that the confrontation with Borros at Storm's End should be portrayed pretty accurately by Gyldayn since he goes out of his way telling us that there were many eye witnesses who later talked and wrote about what they witnessed.

But that any historical person ever said exactly what Glydayn puts in their mouths is very unlikely. The guys aren't exactly Shakespeare's Richard III ... but they aren't more accurate than Thomas More's account of Richard's reign, I'd say.

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13 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It is all idle speculation, since all Mushroom offers is a 'cui bono' rationale

Gyldayn found more merit to it:

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Correy was known to have a lord’s tastes and a peasant’s purse, and was given to extravagant wagering besides, which lends a certain credence to the fool’s version of events

He complains that there's no "proof" and that the reward money was never claimed, but if Daemon had Qarl killed that would explain the lack of any such reward.

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We would have Cersei murdering Jon Arryn

Something that would actually make so much sense that Tyrion accused Pycelle of doing so on her behalf, only for him to reveal that he merely prevented the poison from being purged on her behalf!

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a Littlefinger-Tyrell conspiracy

The Tyrells plainly did benefit, and its their blase attitude about marrying Joffrey beforehand that Sansa found puzzling.

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This is supposed to be an unresolved mystery, just as the Harrenhal situation is.

I don't think there will be a canonical resolution, but that doesn't mean I can't find some explanations a lot more likely than others.

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That the guy disappeared without a trace afterwards can mean anything. He could have gotten away.

That seems unlikely given his modest means vs the giant reward on offer.

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He could have been quietly captured by Corlys' people to be tortured and murdered clandestinely in the dungeons of High Tide (to pretend him to reveal information he shouldn't reveal about Laenor's marriage in a public trial, say)

Corlys publicly offered up a lot of money for him, which is a sensible thing to do if you don't people people to think they can kill your kin with impunity. Publicly getting vengeance on the person responsible helps drive that message home even more, with no "trial" necessary (and I doubt anyone would cast blame for killing him without trial given what he did in public view).

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his ship/boat could have had an accident

I'll admit that would explain the lack of a reward.

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The Greens could also be involved in this whole thing somehow. That they are not mentioned just means nobody suspected them.

That's an alternate theory goodqueenaly proposed as the next most likely after Daemon. I don't think they had as much access there, and they don't have the M.O. like Daemon does (not only using cutouts for assassination, but also killing off a rival so he can marry someone). But the lack of mention for them also makes them seem less likely to me. Larys Strong was at least mentioned by Gyldayn as a suspect for Harrenhal, even if he doesn't source it.

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who we definitely should also consider a suspect since she seems to have been more into Daemon than the other way around, never mind that nobody mentions her

Daemon was already a killer at that point and it was his connections that brought in Blood & Cheese later. Laenor wasn't really an impediment to Rhaenyra shacking up with her actual favorite, and marrying Rhaenyra boosted Daemon more than her.

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would have been able to arrange Laenor without repercussions since the Velaryons would have been completely dumb if they hadn't realized that their children-in-law had fucked them hard

I think it's a matter of how much of a risk-taker you think Daemon was. "The Rogue Prince" sounds like the sort of person who would do such a thing gambling that they'd never find out (not all who are ignorant of something are "dumb"). Plus, the wronged survivors not suspecting the actual culprit is in line with your examples at the beginning of your post!

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These two marry shortly thereafter under Rhaenys and Corlys' noses ... and they never even suspect that they might have had a hand in Laenor's death? They commit themselves to their cause in the succession war ten years later, trying to put a potentially murderous couple on the Iron Throne, but they never even suspected that they may have had a hand in this?

Their only living (acknowledged, at that point) descendants were Daemon's children with Laena and (officially) Rhaenyra's with Laenor. Marriage ties families together politically.

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It could also just have been an accident

That is explicitly brought up by Gyldayn as a possibility. He also brings up the curse of Harrenhal, which I don't believe in (particularly in the "thin place" account popular among fans which is hard to reconcile it normality during the tourney). The fact that the series as a whole is a fictional account of high-placed intrigue makes accidents a less common explanation than they would be in real life. And I don't recall many other accidental burnings of castles in the series.

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We basically disrespect the genre of FaB if we pretend the dialogues we are given aren't completely invented

I'm not willing to go that far. I think GRRM is much more into writing narrative fiction than pseudo-history and keeping up with the conceit of it being all pieced together from sources. There's just way too much of that dialogue and not enough questioning of its accuracy by Gyldayn.

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4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Gyldayn found more merit to it:

That just gives Correy more motivation to get desperate when his rich decided to dump him. It doesn't mean somebody hired him to murder Laenor. It is actually kind of difficult to imagine that he could have been hired for that since Laenor Velaryon was clearly the richest guy around you could milk for money. Correy would only switch to Daemon - or somebody else - if he had had time and opportunity to find another benefactor before he realized Laenor was dumping him. Daemon was basically a landless prince, without funds provided by his royal brother or his rich-as-hell father-in-law he couldn't even feed his own dragon, so I don't think he would have necessarily had sufficient coin to buy Correy.

And we don't know that this is the case. Although, of course, Laenor and Daemon living both at High Tide at the time certainly would have given him the opportunity to get to know Correy.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Something that would actually make so much sense that Tyrion accused Pycelle of doing so on her behalf, only for him to reveal that he merely prevented the poison from being purged on her behalf!

The Tyrells plainly did benefit, and its their blase attitude about marrying Joffrey beforehand that Sansa found puzzling.

But you do realize that such histories would be blatantly false, right? Even if the people writing them provide good arguments supporting their cases.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I don't think there will be a canonical resolution, but that doesn't mean I can't find some explanations a lot more likely than others.

Sure, but we are kind of at a loss there since we just have information on the scenarios Gyldayn and his sources mention ... they can be close to the fact or completely false. We have just no independent sources - unlike in the books proper where we get official versions, speculations, and then also hints and actual revelation about what *actually happened*.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

That seems unlikely given his modest means vs the giant reward on offer.

It is still a possibility, especially if he had known where he was going. But also - the large sum of money offered makes it also somewhat unlikely that Daemon's involvement could remain a secret since somebody may have known about his involvement.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Corlys publicly offered up a lot of money for him, which is a sensible thing to do if you don't people people to think they can kill your kin with impunity. Publicly getting vengeance on the person responsible helps drive that message home even more, with no "trial" necessary (and I doubt anyone would cast blame for killing him without trial given what he did in public view).

The fact that you still have a price on somebody's head doesn't have to mean you didn't kill them a long time ago. Lysa also pretends she wants the murderers of her husband punished. And I don't think we should forget Princess Rhaenys in all this, who apparently had a temper and may have dealt with her son's murderer on her own terms.

Keep in mind that Corlys may have felt the need to hide his own bastards ... seemingly fearing his royal wife might do them harm - or even kill them.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I'll admit that would explain the lack of a reward.

Also, one could see Correy running to the criminals and other folks he had been gambling with after the murder ... and they could have panicked, and deposed of him very quickly to stop Corlys coming down on them with a vengeance. That could have happened before Corlys offered the huge price.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

That's an alternate theory goodqueenaly proposed as the next most likely after Daemon. I don't think they had as much access there, and they don't have the M.O. like Daemon does (not only using cutouts for assassination, but also killing off a rival so he can marry someone). But the lack of mention for them also makes them seem less likely to me. Larys Strong was at least mentioned by Gyldayn as a suspect for Harrenhal, even if he doesn't source it.

We just have no idea.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Daemon was already a killer at that point and it was his connections that brought in Blood & Cheese later. Laenor wasn't really an impediment to Rhaenyra shacking up with her actual favorite, and marrying Rhaenyra boosted Daemon more than her.

That is all irrelevant while we don't really have confirmation that Daemon Targaryen still wanted to marry fatty Rhaenyra at that time. What we hear is that Rhaenyra may have gotten herself pregnant for having grief sex with Daemon after Laena's death - Laena's, not Laenor's (whose death may have been a non-issue for her). Rhaenyra comforted Daemon, not the other way aroundd. She may have seduced him, this time, so the decision that they marry have been hers to a much larger degree than his.

And if that is the case then she may have had a much better reason to get rid of Laenor than Daemon. Even more so if she already knew she was pregnant by Daemon at the time ... and wanted the child to be his trueborn child, not Laenor's or Harwin's.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I think it's a matter of how much of a risk-taker you think Daemon was. "The Rogue Prince" sounds like the sort of person who would do such a thing gambling that they'd never find out (not all who are ignorant of something are "dumb"). Plus, the wronged survivors not suspecting the actual culprit is in line with your examples at the beginning of your post!

Sure, but Corlys and Rhaenys have known Daemon Targaryen all his life, have suffered through quite a few of his exploits. They know this man much better than any historian or reader of histories would. It is just not a very convincing scenario that this guy could (1) fool them insofar as his attitude towards their son is concerned, and (2) remain with them and their families for another decade without ever betraying himself.

The guy isn't exactly a smart or subtle plotter.

For it to remain a secret he would have had to use go-between and agents to approach and depose of Correy. There couldn't possibly be any rumors or reports of him hanging out with the guy in a possibly incriminating manner ... or else Daemon risks that he finds himself the Velaryon torture chamber one morning.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Their only living (acknowledged, at that point) descendants were Daemon's children with Laena and (officially) Rhaenyra's with Laenor. Marriage ties families together politically.

Tell that to Lysa and Catelyn/Hoster Tully ;-). Or Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister.

If Daemon was guilty of Laenor's murder the Velaryons could have still had his head while supporting Rhaenyra's claims - and thus also the claims of their grandchildren. Those things are not mutually exclusive.

But if they had suspected something they might have been less eager to bleed and die for Rhaenyra's cause later on. If they had turned Green in 129 AC they could have gotten both their revenge on Daemon while securing the succession of Driftmark as they saw fit.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

That is explicitly brought up by Gyldayn as a possibility. He also brings up the curse of Harrenhal, which I don't believe in (particularly in the "thin place" account popular among fans which is hard to reconcile it normality during the tourney). The fact that the series as a whole is a fictional account of high-placed intrigue makes accidents a less common explanation than they would be in real life. And I don't recall many other accidental burnings of castles in the series.

Well, the curse of Harrenhal definitely is a real thing in the sense that everything which is connected to Harrenhal in a meaningful manner ends up getting fucked. We got the Great Council at Harrenhal for that reason - as the ultimate cause of the Dance - as well as the royal family being so connected to the Strongs.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I'm not willing to go that far. I think GRRM is much more into writing narrative fiction than pseudo-history and keeping up with the conceit of it being all pieced together from sources. There's just way too much of that dialogue and not enough questioning of its accuracy by Gyldayn.

The very setting makes it impossible that accurate quotes are available. They don't have the ability to record exchanges in a modern way. Aside from very big formal scenes were we have reasons to believe that maesters/other people were there who actually wrote down the words as spoken when/shortly after they were said (which we only have for Aegon's talk with Harren), we have to expect that our historians invented entire conversations. Which is actually rather common in ancient histories, e.g. the works of Thucydides

Basically, over 90% of the dialogues of Jaehaerys and Alysanne and the folks at their court would be complete invention. He rarely cites concrete sources for the events he depicts, so we have no idea how accurate his history is.

Gyldayn seems to base his narrative mainly on the records of Benifer - which is why there are so detailed accounts of their early reign - but even if the guy was a diligent record keeper - he wouldn't have remembered entire conversations accurately when he wrote something down hours or days after it had taken place.

And with Eustace and Mushroom we know they wrote/dictated their particular histories years and decades after the fact, working mostly (only, in Mushroom's case) from memory. I'd expect Eustace may have had access to other contemporary records and decades and perhaps to notes he himself wrote down during the war and the reign of Viserys I ... but that doesn't help you with the accuracy of dialogues.

Basically, you have to treat this whole thing as historical fiction within a fictional universe. The rough outline is more or less accurate, but the details should basically all made up - or at best accurately present the general outline of a conversation - not its contents in detail.

What you can take away from, say, the Green Council session is what they ended up deciding - but to assume that any of the dialogue was said the way it is presented - or even by the people it is attributed to - is a stretch.

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19 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Laenor Velaryon was clearly the richest guy around you could milk for money.

And the story is that he was out of favor with Laenor and thus no longer able to afford his expensive tastes.

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Daemon was basically a landless prince

He was the brother of the king, plus son-in-law to one of the richest men in Westeros in a society where dowries exist. Compared to a household knight, he would certainly be rich.

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without funds provided by his royal brother or his rich-as-hell father-in-law he couldn't even feed his own dragon

He was able to feed his dragon before marrying Laena, so I'm not sure what you're talking about.

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But you do realize that such histories would be blatantly false, right?

A history in which the Tyrells were behind Joffrey's poisoning would NOT be blatantly false. Did you not intend to quote that bit?

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Sure, but we are kind of at a loss there since we just have information on the scenarios Gyldayn and his sources mention

And we can reason based on what information we have.

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It is still a possibility, especially if he had known where he was going. But also - the large sum of money offered makes it also somewhat unlikely that Daemon's involvement could remain a secret since somebody may have known about his involvement.

If that someone can't produce Qarl Correy, how are they going to collect?

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The fact that you still have a price on somebody's head doesn't have to mean you didn't kill them a long time ago. Lysa also pretends she wants the murderers of her husband punished

How much money has she put up for that?

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And I don't think we should forget Princess Rhaenys in all this, who apparently had a temper and may have dealt with her son's murderer on her own terms.

Why secretly?

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Also, one could see Correy running to the criminals and other folks he had been gambling with after the murder ... and they could have panicked, and deposed of him very quickly to stop Corlys coming down on them with a vengeance. That could have happened before Corlys offered the huge price.

How likely would it be at that point they would do so in a way his body could not be recovered? Admittedly, this was on an island so it's not implausible. But is Correy going to murder Laenor and wound multiple other people on the scene in the hope that his gambling buddies will save him? It's suggested that a ship was already waiting for him.

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We just have no idea.

This is not a situation of maximum entropy "literally no idea, everything is equally likely". We have information, like where the murder took place and how close Daemon & Rhanyra's households were.

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That is all irrelevant while we don't really have confirmation that Daemon Targaryen still wanted to marry fatty Rhaenyra at that time.

That's an odd objection to me. Both Eustace & Mushroom agree Daemon tried to marry Rhaenyra when he was already married, and we know he actually DID marry Rhaenyra this time. So it seems like he consistently tried to marry up to higher political power. And marrying "fat" Rhaenyra didn't stop him from sleeping with other women.

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What we hear is that Rhaenyra may have gotten herself pregnant for having grief sex with Daemon after Laena's death - Laena's, not Laenor's (whose death may have been a non-issue for her).

The ordering clearly placed it after Harwin was sent away (leading to the Harrenhal fire and Otto Hightower's return), which was after Laenor's death & Aemond's blinding (Laena died before all of that).
 

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These rulings [replacing Rhaenyra's sworn shield] pleased no one, Septon Eustace writes. Mushroom demurs: one man at least was thrilled by the decrees, for Dragonstone and Driftmark lay quite close to one another, and this proximity would allow Daemon Targaryen ample opportunity to comfort his niece, Princess Rhaenyra, unbeknownst to the king.

 

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And if that is the case then she may have had a much better reason to get rid of Laenor than Daemon. Even more so if she already knew she was pregnant by Daemon at the time ... and wanted the child to be his trueborn child, not Laenor's or Harwin's.

Why should this child be different than the ones fathered by Harwin but still attributed to Laenor? At least this one might look Valyrian like Laenor! My guess for why she wouldn't attribute a pregnancy to Laenor is that the timing of her pregnancy didn't line up with his death.

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The guy isn't exactly a smart or subtle plotter.

He's gotten away with a lot. He was effectively an organized crime boss.

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There couldn't possibly be any rumors or reports of him hanging out with the guy in a possibly incriminating manner

He and his wife (Laenor's sister) were on good terms with Rhaenyra & Laenor. There would be nothing odd with him "hanging out" with Laenor & his sworn shield. And if Qarl was fond of gambling, Daemon would have been the best person for him to befriend.

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Tell that to Lysa and Catelyn/Hoster Tully ;-). Or Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister.

I'm not sure what you're getting at with those examples. Robert's marriage to Cersei did bring the Lannisters into a political alliance with his regime. Tywin lent him money repeatedly, and supported the claims of the children officially produced by that marriage (which Tywin seems to regard as really Robert's, however much he dislikes Robert). Tywin & Robert fought on the same side during the Greyjoy rebellion.

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If Daemon was guilty of Laenor's murder the Velaryons could have still had his head while supporting Rhaenyra's claims - and thus also the claims of their grandchildren.

Daemon can leave with his children by Laena. What would the Velaryons do about that?

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If they had turned Green in 129 AC they could have gotten both their revenge on Daemon while securing the succession of Driftmark as they saw fit.

Corlys did turn Green and secured the succession to Driftmark via his legitimized "Hull" descendants. Admittedly, this was after Daemon was already dead (and his daughter Baela was Aegon II's hostage).

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Well, the curse of Harrenhal definitely is a real thing in the sense that everything which is connected to Harrenhal in a meaningful manner ends up getting fucked. We got the Great Council at Harrenhal for that reason

You think the Great Council of Harrenhal is evidence of a curse? There were a lot of people there, and we don't hear of their lives being especially shortened. The Great Council resulted in the pick of Viserys over Laenor, and Viserys's reign was fairly peaceful even if he allowed problems to fester. If you think picking Laenor would be better for avoiding a succession crisis I suggest you think again.

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The very setting makes it impossible that accurate quotes are available.

I don't think GRRM really cares whether accurate quotes turning up in his pseudo-histories is feasible. He chooses to alert the reader that certain bits are disputed, while we're just supposed to accept others. His "historian" Gyldayn doesn't act like a real historian at all, and even when he explicitly gives a source for a dramatic scene the historical provenance doesn't make sense. It's not like GRRM had a long career as an historian prior to writing narrative fiction so that we should compare Gyldayn to some actual history he's written and conclude that Gyldayn was deliberately written to seem unreliable when he inserts dramatic scenes. Those dramatic scenes are GRRM in his normal mode.

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Basically, you have to treat this whole thing as historical fiction within a fictional universe

Historical fiction like The Accursed Kings is what inspired him to write ASoIaF in the first place. Historical fiction is what he knows, not academic history. Westeros is a fictional world, and the fictional, fantastical, and implausibly dramatic is real. When maesters like Yandel deny the fantastical, they're wrong!

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What you can take away from, say, the Green Council session is what they ended up deciding - but to assume that any of the dialogue was said the way it is presented - or even by the people it is attributed to - is a stretch.

Certain parts of that meeting are explicitly presented as disputed, and my takeaway is that the reader is supposed to regard those parts as uncertain. Otherwise the material is considered to be canon (at least until it's contradicted by the main novels).

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4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

How likely would it be at that point they would do so in a way his body could not be recovered? Admittedly, this was on an island so it's not implausible. But is Correy going to murder Laenor and wound multiple other people on the scene in the hope that his gambling buddies will save him? It's suggested that a ship was already waiting for him.

That is just part of the scenario where the person speculating assumes there was more than a public quarrel to Laenor's murder. Correy would have been a complete moron as an paid assassin if he chose to murder his victim at a public fair as he did - this looks more like a spur of the moment idea, a situation that got so heated that the guy snapped, not a premeditated thing. After all - how good where Correy's chances to get away from the crime scene even if a ship was waiting for him at the docks? He could have been captured and killed then and there, no?

A premeditated murder is more likely to happen at a place with fewer/no witnesses.

In that sense - the idea that the guy snapped, barely got away, and then fell in with the wrong people who quietly did away with him actually doesn't sound *that* unlikely.

Even more so, perhaps, if Correy was selling secrets from the Velaryon court to the highest bidder (possibly the Greens). Alicent would have a good motive to silence Correy for good rather than allow Corlys to question him if he might confess that he had dealings with her - because that could then mean the Velaryons might believe Alicent paid Correy to murder Laenor.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

This is not a situation of maximum entropy "literally no idea, everything is equally likely". We have information, like where the murder took place and how close Daemon & Rhanyra's households were.

But we just have biased sources who consider the scenarios they can think of. Not to mention we have very little context at all due to the brevity of the material.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

That's an odd objection to me. Both Eustace & Mushroom agree Daemon tried to marry Rhaenyra when he was already married, and we know he actually DID marry Rhaenyra this time. So it seems like he consistently tried to marry up to higher political power. And marrying "fat" Rhaenyra didn't stop him from sleeping with other women.

The ordering clearly placed it after Harwin was sent away (leading to the Harrenhal fire and Otto Hightower's return), which was after Laenor's death & Aemond's blinding (Laena died before all of that).
 

We have no idea when Aegon the Younger was conceived. But Daemon was a widower first, and Rhaenyra comforted him, not the other way around. So, yes, she could have first decided that she wanted Daemon as her husband now that he was finally available.

Rhaenyra loved her uncle ... Daemon just viewed her as a tool, so hers is the stronger motivation.

And Daemon is a changeable, inconsistent character who seems to have been no longer as obsessed with the throne as he was back in the 100s.

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Why should this child be different than the ones fathered by Harwin but still attributed to Laenor? At least this one might look Valyrian like Laenor! My guess for why she wouldn't attribute a pregnancy to Laenor is that the timing of her pregnancy didn't line up with his death.

Why should she pass a child of Daemon's for a child of Laenor's if this wasn't true?

4 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I don't think GRRM really cares whether accurate quotes turning up in his pseudo-histories is feasible. He chooses to alert the reader that certain bits are disputed, while we're just supposed to accept others. His "historian" Gyldayn doesn't act like a real historian at all, and even when he explicitly gives a source for a dramatic scene the historical provenance doesn't make sense. It's not like GRRM had a long career as an historian prior to writing narrative fiction so that we should compare Gyldayn to some actual history he's written and conclude that Gyldayn was deliberately written to seem unreliable when he inserts dramatic scenes. Those dramatic scenes are GRRM in his normal mode.

Historical fiction like The Accursed Kings is what inspired him to write ASoIaF in the first place. Historical fiction is what he knows, not academic history. Westeros is a fictional world, and the fictional, fantastical, and implausibly dramatic is real. When maesters like Yandel deny the fantastical, they're wrong!

Certain parts of that meeting are explicitly presented as disputed, and my takeaway is that the reader is supposed to regard those parts as uncertain. Otherwise the material is considered to be canon (at least until it's contradicted by the main novels).

Inventing entire conversations is a crucial part of ancient historiography, so entirely within the framework of what George would have Gyldayn and his sources do.

The only 'canon' about this is that it is a history book in canon. And we can say that the characters and main (i.e. witnessed by multiple people) events as well as the dates of birth, marriage, death, the number of children folks had, etc. are accurate.

All the behind the scenes stuff is subject to considerable and obvious doubt. FaB isn't 'a path to truth'. Some juicy stuff might accidentally be *true* but we will never find out, anyway. We are just supposed to be entertained by that.

How far removed our 'insiders' with 'secret knowledge' are from the actual events can be easily gleaned from the fact that they are a septon and a fool (who was reputedly an illiterate lackwit).

How accurate a 'secret history' would Moon Boy and the present Red Keep septon we don't even know by name be able to write about the War of the Five Kings? It would likely be a preposterous inaccurate and ridiculous tale.

Eustace's and Mushroom's accounts - and all those inspired by them - could be equally inadequate. That they are the only ones me have doesn't mean they are good histories. And we should not pretend they are.

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GRRM has never stated that F&B is a canonical history of the Targaryens, near as I can recall. It's a in-world history.

In writing that material originally for The World of Ice and Fire one of the main reasons all the material is written through the lens of maesters is that he need not be bound by what a maester wrote about events that happened before their time and based only on what other people wrote. George genuinely loved the idea that by writing through maesters he can basically present what he likes, how he likes, but not necessarily be forced to say, "Yes, this is in fact objectively true and this is in fact objectively what was said."  If he secretly knows a detail the maester doesn't that he's deciding to withhold from readers because he finds that more fun, well, that's how it goes; the maester doesn't know it, or knows the wrong thing.

So, yes, the stuff that is explicitly said to be in dispute is there, but that basically signals you to think about that fact that everything is coming from an in-universe source, who in turn was not a witness to any of events he describes and is in turn using and interpreting other sources of various quality and quantity. Like... there is no reason to think that Gyldayn is above inventing speeches. Thucydides did it, Suetonius did it, Froissart did it, etc., so why exactly wouldn't he? Just because he's a maester? 

This isn't to say that we should treat the whole thing as a fabrication within the bounds of the setting, but I do think that one should always consider questionable any lengthy monologues and dialogues presented in F&B and TWoIaF unless it's something we're explicitly told is sourced to multiple persons (and even then it's going to be a synthesis, at best, of a multitude of recollections). We should believe if we're told someone died in a battle or what have you, matters of basic fact unless there's some reason to think otherwise. But speeches, especially private speeches, are just great big question marks.

 

Edited by Ran
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6 minutes ago, Ran said:

So, yes, the stuff that is explicitly said to be in dispute is there, but that basically signals you to think about that fact that everything is coming from an in-universe source, who in turn was not a witness to any of events he describes and is in turnn using and interpreting other sources of various quality and quantity. Like... there is no reason to think that Gyldayn isn't above inventing speeches. Thucydides did it, Suetonius did it, Froissart did it, etc., so why exactly wouldn't he? Just because he's a maester? 

It would have been great if George had taken it as far as some of the ancient historians with invented speeches, using them as means to illustrate or establish political or philosophical differences. That could worked very well, for instance, with lengthy speeches given at the Great Council.

Then it could have been tidbit more clear that the point of the history wasn't to use various sources, etc. to provide the reader with sufficient clues to actually get to the bottom of 'the truth'.

6 minutes ago, Ran said:

This isn't to say that we should treat the whole thing as a fabrication within the bounds of the setting, but I do think that one should always consider questionable any lengthy monologues and dialogues presented in F&B and TWoIaF. We should believe if we're told someone died in a battle or what have you, matters of basic fact unless there's some reason to think otherwise. But speeches, especially private speeches, are just great big question marks.

As we both said - the biggest question marks here are the many private talks we get from Jaehaerys and Alysanne. I think pretty much none of them can be accurate, although the gist of their feelings for each other, the differences they had, etc. might very well be accurate ... if based on trustworthy accounts. Anything Gyldayn attributes to Barth, for instance, should be not intentionally misleading or wrong, but still does likely not actually provide us with accurate quotes.

But if we think about something as heart-warming as Jaehaerys/Alysanne's last conversations on Dragonstone ... well, then I guess chances are *pretty good* that those are more representative of how Gyldayn might want to view their marriage and lives ended than how it actually did end.

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57 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

How far removed our 'insiders' with 'secret knowledge' are from the actual events can be easily gleaned from the fact that they are a septon and a fool (who was reputedly an illiterate lackwit).

I'd like to see the HBO show represent Mushroom this way basically proving that his account was in fact someone elses'. Take it further and make Eustace seem a little more partisan than he already is and they have so much leeway to write their own story without contradicting cannon. Not that respecting cannon seems to be a priority....

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29 minutes ago, Aejohn the Conqueroo said:

I'd like to see the HBO show represent Mushroom this way basically proving that his account was in fact someone elses'. Take it further and make Eustace seem a little more partisan than he already is and they have so much leeway to write their own story without contradicting cannon. Not that respecting cannon seems to be a priority....

To paraphrase Balin from the Hobbit movies: it’s not a show! It’s an ABOMINATION!

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34 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

To paraphrase Balin from the Hobbit movies: it’s not a show! It’s an ABOMINATION!

Well in fairness it's not an abomination yet, but given that the ads suggest that the story is nothing to them but a vehicle for their politically correct agenda you're probably going to be proven right. I'm going to try and stay positive though and at least give it a chance.

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I'd be very surprised if Eustace and Mushroom showed up in the show. That would only make sense if they kept 'the history book' framework of FaB, i.e. if they actually wanted to depict different versions of the same event ... but so far nothing indicates that they want to do that.

To cut to the chase insofar as how 'reliable' Eustace and Mushroom can be:

For most 'intimate scenes' they would not be firsthand witnesses - at best second hand or even third. Nobody plotting stuff would do so in front of a fool or a septon, and while chances are good that Mushroom overheard or witnessed some minor stuff he wasn't supposed to see, not even the most stupid courtiers and princes would plot or commit adultery in front of lackwit dwarf.

In that sense - both most of the correct 'insider knowledge' would be Mushroom/Eustace connecting the right dots - sort of like a reader picks up on certain clues George puts in the novels before the big revelation - but it wouldn't really be based on them having 'exclusive firsthand knowledge'.

Like with the War of the Five Kings - a history written by Varys or Littlefinger could really be very accurate. With the Dance our sources would have to be Larys Strong, Mysaria, or Corlys Velaryon to be pretty accurate.

Eustace/Mushroom are shitty sources by comparison.

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