Jump to content

Aegon or fAegon? A closer look at Young Griff


Aebram
 Share

Recommended Posts

Good morrow all,

Is Young Griff really Aegon Targaryen?  Does "YG = A?"  Perhaps not; the "fAegon" theory is popular on this forum. The subject came up some months ago in another thread, and that got me musing and re-reading.  Here are some thoughts on the subject.  My apologies to veteran members if any of my ideas were discussed and settled years ago; I'm somewhat new here.  Hopefully I have a couple of original thoughts to contribute.

(TLDR: just scroll down to the Conclusions.)

Interested readers may want to view my earlier post, which gathered some ideas from other members on this subject:
   

Introduction

No character ever claims or even suggests that Young Griff is an impostor.  There are three main reasons for suspecting that YG  <> A.  (For those of you who don't write software, I should mention that "<>" means "does not equal" in many programming languages.)  

One piece of pro-fAegon evidence is Daenerys's vision of a cloth dragon on poles (ACOK 48).  Another is in the opening chapters of ADWD, where Magister illyrio is telling Tyrion about his life, and where we see that Illyrio seems extremely fond of Young Griff.  Some readers interpret this to mean that YG is Illyrio's own son, or someone else with whom he has some kind of special bond.

The third argument for fAegon involves the Golden Company's connection to House Blackfyre.  And in the course of my research, I came across a fourth one:  a possible discrepancy in Young Griff's age, which doesn't match the time line for the real Aegon.

I have some counter-arguments for all of these.  Let's look at them first; then I'll present some other evidence for YG = A.


The Mummer's Dragon

Quote

A cloth dragon swayed on poles amidst a cheering crowd (ACOK 48)

The vision of a dragon on poles is thought by some readers to mean a false dragon, an impostor.  But there's another possible explanation.  The dragon is on poles; it's being carried by a team of people.  So this vision could represent a dragon that is being "supported" by a group of people.  This could well symbolize Young Griff and the team that has "supported" him in various ways.

It may also be noteworthy that the dragon is being cheered by a crowd.  This might be a prophecy of Aegon triumphantly returning to Westeros and being cheered by the people.

And let's remember that the story is far from over.  There are two more books to go, with a total page count that will probably equal five ordinary novels.  A major new subplot was introduced in book five; there could be more yet to come.  So it's possible that we haven't yet read about the fulfillment of some of Daenerys's visions.


The Other Five-Year Gap

Tyrion asks Illyrio more than once why he is involved in the conspiracy to put Daenerys on the Iron Throne.  Illyrio says that he has "debts of affection to repay," and that, "Some contracts are writ in ink, and some in blood. I say no more."  He's clearly hiding some secret.  Later, Tyrion uncovers a big secret.  But is it the same secret?

Illyrio seems to have a special fondness for the boy he calls "our lad."

Quote

"Griff is different.  He has a son he dotes on.  Young Griff, the boy is called.  There never was a nobler lad."  (ADWD 5)

Illyrio brought a box of candied ginger, because he knows it is YG's favorite.  He hopes the group can have a farewell feast before the Shy Maid heads downriver, and is disappointed when he learns that there isn't time.  He looks dejected and "small" as he watches Tyrion, Haldon, and Duck ride away.

Why would Illyrio have such an attachment to this Targaryen boy?  To answer that question, I had a look at the timeline in the wiki, and also reread the chapters featuring Jon Connington.
 

Quote

The men of the Golden Company were outside their tents, dicing, drinking, and swatting away flies.  Griff wondered how many of them knew who he was.  Few enough.  Twelve years is a long time.   (ADWD 24)

Quote

Jon Connington ... had spent five years with the company, rising from the ranks to a place of honor at Toyne's right hand.  Had he stayed, it might well have been him the men turned to after Myles died, instead of Harry Strickland.  (ADWD 24)

Note the references to twelve and five years.  According to the timeline in the wiki, the events in ASOIAF take place in 297-300 AC; so Connington's chapters in ADWD must occur late in that time span, 299 or 300.  Subtracting 12 from that means that Connington left the Golden Company around 287-288.  His memory of having spent 5 years with the Company matches up nicely with this, since he was exiled from Westeros during Robert's Rebellion (282-283 AC).

The wiki states that Aegon VI was born in late 281 or early 282.  This means that Young Griff -- assuming he is Aegon -- must have been 5-7 years old before Connington took custody of him.  So we have, if you'll pardon the expression, a five-year gap where Aegon's whereabouts are unknown.  Who had him during those years?  Illyrio seems like the most likely answer.  He and Varys had been conspiring together for many years before that.  Their conversation in the dungeon of The Red Keep, as overheard by Arya (AGOT 32), implies that Illyrio helps recruit Varys's "little birds;" so he has some experience in caring for and/or training children.

Quote

"There is a gift for the boy in one of the chests.  Some candied ginger.  He was always fond of it."  Illyrio sounded oddly sad.  (ADWD 8)

Illyrio's use of the word "always" caught my eye.  He must have known YG well, over some long period of time.

I think this establishes a plausible reason for Illyrio's behavior.  YG probably lived in the manse for about 5 years, while he was quite small.  Illyrio could have bonded with the boy during those years.

But "plausible" is a long way from "proven."   Is there another factor contributing to Illyrio's debts of affection?  There is another possibility, a fact that stands out mostly because it doesn't have any other apparent link to the plot.


Serra and Saera

Illyrio's late wife Serra is described as having "big blue eyes and pale golden hair streaked by silver," which suggests Valyrian ancestry.  
 

Quote

 

"Serra.  I found her in a Lysene pillow house and brought her home to warm my bed, but in the end I wed her.  Me, whose first wife had been a cousin of the Prince of Pentos.  The palace gates were closed to me thereafter, but I did not care.  The price was small enough, for Serra." (ADWD 5)

"Tell the boy I am sorry that I will not be with him for his wedding.  I will rejoin you in Westeros.  That I swear, by my sweet Serra's hands."(ADWD 8)

 

So Illyrio loved Serra so much, he didn't care that his marriage to her caused him to be shunned by Pentoshi nobility.  He kept her hands after she died of greyscale, and he swears by those hands to show sincerity.  Her name is mentioned exactly three times in ADWD, enough to suggest that she is a clue.  GRRM didn't write her into the story just to add some rich detail to Illyrio's character.

We don't know when Serra came to live with Illyrio, or for how long.  But if she was there at the same time as Young Griff, perhaps it was she, not Illyrio, who bonded with the boy.  Perhaps as she was dying, she and Illyrio had a "promise-me-Ned moment," and her last request of him was to protect the boy and see that he is returned to the Iron Throne.  That would account for those "debts of affection."

The name "Serra" caught my eye; I remembered that there was a Targaryen named Saera.  She lived long before the start of ASOIAF, so she can't be the same person as Illyrio's Serra.  But Targaryens do like to name children after their ancestors.  The pronunciation could have shifted slightly in the Free Cities.

I looked up Saera Targaryen in AWOIAF and FAB to refresh my memory, and what I found was quite interesting.  A daughter of Jaehaerys and Alysanne, born in 67 A.C., she was one of those disobedient, free-spirited children who didn't follow their parents' plans for their lives.  She was sexually adventurous, and after fleeing Westeros to escape punishment, she spent some time working in a house of pleasure ... in Lys.  

Quote

 

Though given to the Faith as Maegelle was, Saera did not have Maegelle's temperament.  She ran away from the motherhouse where she was a novice and crossed the narrow sea.  She was at Lys for a time, then Old Volantis, where she ended her days as the proprietor of a famous pleasure house.  (AWOIAF Viserys I)

Though Jaehaerys had forbidden it, Alysanne had defied his edict and secretly engaged agents to keep watch over her wayward child across the narrow sea.  Saera was still in Lys, she knew from their reports, still at the pleasure garden.  Now twenty years of age, she oft entertained her admirers still garbed as a novice of the Faith; there were evidently a good many Lyseni who took pleasure in ravishing innocent young women who had taken vows of chastity, even when the innocence was feigned.  (FAB The Long Reign)

 

So it's possible that Illyrio's Serra is a descendant of Saera Targeryen.  If so, and if Illyrio knew about it, it would give him another reason to help restore House Targeryen to power.

But regardless of Serra's ancestry, I think she is the key to Illyrio's motivation.


Dragons black and red

Some readers think that the Golden Company's participation in the conspiracy means that YG must be a descendant of House Blackfyre, because the company was founded by a Blackfyre, and fought on that side in the later Blackfyre Rebellions.  But that was a long time ago.  Suppose that, after Robert's Rebellion, Varys or Illyrio had reached out to the GC and said, "Hey, I've got Rhaegar's son, and if you will support him, you can come back to Westeros and reclaim your lost honor (and maybe some lands and titles)."   Do you think they would have turned down the offer, just because Aegon is from the red-dragon side of the family?  Apparently not:

Quote

Varys had been adamant about the need for secrecy. The plans that he and Illyrio had made with Blackheart had been known to them alone. The rest of the company had been left ignorant.  (ADWD 24)

The Blackfyres have been mentioned more than once times in the books, so it does seem possible that they are going to appear on the pages at some point.  Indeed, perhaps they have; the Golden Company is back on Westerosi soil by the end of ADWD.  But in the past, they've generally tried to take the throne by force, not by deception.

Quote

Her brother Viserys had once feasted the captains of the Golden Company, in hopes they might take up his cause.  They ate his food and heard his pleas and laughed at him.  Dany had only been a little girl, but she remembered. (ADWD 16)

Why would the GC turn down Viserys, but rise up for Young Griff?  It's been suggested that this happened because YG is actually a Blackfyre, and Viserys was not.  But there are other explanations.  If Daenerys was only a little girl at the time, Viserys must also have been quite young.  He may have been poorly educated, without the help of a maester, a septa, and a master-at-arms.  He  probably had a disturbed, disturbing personality that didn't inspire much confidence; and if Willem Darry was already dead at the time, Viserys had no one comparable to Connington to support him.  Also, Viserys's feast must have happened while Robert Baratheon still sat the Iron Throne, when Westeros was united and prosperous in the midst of a long summer.  So it would have been a more difficult place to conquer than it was later, when YG met the Company.


Near enough to make no matter?

Here's something that I noticed about Tyrion's first impression of Young Griff:

Quote

He was a lithe and well-made youth, with a lanky build and a shock of dark blue hair.  The dwarf put his age at fifteen, sixteen, or near enough to make no matter.  (ADWD 8)

According to the wiki, Aegon VI was born in late 281 or early 282 AC.  So he must be more like 17-19 years old by this time.  Is that "near enough to make no matter?"  Tyrion's a smart fellow; could he be wrong by two years?  Or is this evidence that YG is an impostor?  Or is this another case of GRRM's known lack of precision when dealing with numbers?  My guess is #3.  But at any rate, that's three possible explanations, only one of which supports YG <> A.


More Evidence for YG = A

I think that the strongest argument in favor of YG = A is Varys's conversation with Kevan Lannister at the end of ADWD.

Quote

 "... Aegon raises his banner above Storm's End and the lords of the realm gather round him."
"Aegon?" For a moment he did not understand.  Then he remembered.  A babe swaddled in a crimson cloak, the cloth stained with his blood and brains.  "Dead.  He's dead."
"No."  The eunuchâ's voice seemed deeper.  "He is here."  (ADWD Epilogue)

Varys has no reason to lie, since Kevan is dying; and he says that Aegon is alive and in Westeros.  Some readers have suggested that Varys's language is vague enough to allow for YG being an impostor; but I don't think so.  When Kevan protested that Aegon is dead, if YG is not Rhaegar's son, Varys would naturally have said, "No, that was a different Aegon."  But he just said, "No.  He is here."  

At first, I thought that this conversation effectively proves that YG = A.  But then I realized that actually, it only proves that Varys believes that YG = A.  Could he be wrong?  Might there be a double-cross, a conspiracy within a conspiracy?

It seems unlikely that Varys, the master of spying and deception, could himself be deceived.  He may have agents in Pentos, perhaps even inside Illyrio's manse, that keep him informed of the cheesemonger's activities.  And considering what we know of his early life, particularly how he became a eunuch, he has reason to be suspicious of everyone, even someone he's worked with for years.

Still, it's possible that Varys is wrong; I'll have more to say about that shortly.  But at a minimum, I think this conversation eliminates any theory that Varys is knowingly involved in a conspiracy to put a false Aegon on the Iron Throne.  If YG is an impostor, Varys is unaware of it.

There are a few other points in favor of YG = A, which I don't think I've seen mentioned on the forum.

Tyrion comments:

Quote

"The blue hair makes your eyes seem blue, that's good ..."  (ADWD 18)

And we have this moment later in ADWD, where Jon Connington is looking at Young Griff while reminiscing about Rhaegar:

Quote

His [Rhaegar's] silvery hair was blowing in the wind, and his eyes were a deep purple, darker than this boy's.  (ADWD 61)

So Young Griff's eyes are a medium or light purple in color:  evidence of Valyrian ancestry.  

What about his hair?  The fact that he's dying it certainly suggests that its natural color must be Targaryen silver and gold.  And we have this:

Quote

"We have gone to great lengths to keep Prince Aegon hidden all these years" Lemore reminded him [Connington].  "The time will come for him to wash his hair and declare himself, I know, but that time is not now.  Not to a camp of sellswords."  (ADWD 24)

So if YG is an impostor, he's an impostor with purple eyes and silver-gold hair.  

Then there's this important moment:

Quote

I still have time. A year.  Two years.  Five.  Some stone men live for ten.  Time enough to cross the sea, to see Griffin's Roost again.  To end the Usurper's line for good and all, and put Rhaegar's son upon the Iron Throne.  Then Lord Jon Connington could die content.  (ADWD 24)

These are JC's private thoughts, not words said aloud.  This is another case where there's no reason to think he's lying.

So if YG is an impostor, the hoax is so perfect that even Connington doesn't know about it.

... Or does he?  Here, again, I realized that these words don't actually say what they seem to mean.  JC thinks of "Rhaegar's son," but not by name.  It's just barely possible that there's a triple cross going on here, a conspiracy-within-a-conspiracy-within-a-conspiracy.  

There are some reasonable theories that Rhaegar had another son; Jon Snow is the most popular candidate, but there are some others.  If one of these theories is true, and if Connington knows it, then he may be secretly planning to put this other son, not Young Griff, on the Iron Throne.  He may have played along with Varys and Illyrio's conspiracy for 12 years, just so that he can return to Westeros with an army under his command.  Then he plans to abandon YG's cause and support the other son.  

There are a few bits of text that can be read as hints at this; nothing that constitutes proof, but again, I can't rule it out completely.  But there are some other obstacles.  For JC to execute such a plan, he can't just know that Rhaegar had another son.  He must also know how to find that boy when he returns to Westeros after 17 years' absence.  For example, if Jon Snow is indeed Rhaegar's son, then JC needs to know that the boy was raised by Ned Stark as his bastard son.  

This requires that Rhaegar -- or someone -- informed JC after the son was born.  Is that possible?  I don't know if the time line is precise enough to answer this.  Was Connington already in exile when the son was born?  Was Rhaegar already dead?   Was there anyone who knew the boy's real identity, and could have communicated it to Connington?

If this theory is true, we have three levels of conspiracy going on. Varys thinks they are plotting to put Aegon on the throne (level 1); but Illyrio has substituted fAegon (level 2); but Connington has figured out the deception, and plans to someone else on the throne (level 3). it reminds me of that quote about "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma"  (Winston Churchill speaking about Russia, 1939).  The sheer complexity of such a scheme makes it highly unlikely.


Conclusions

I think there are alternate explanations for Dany's vision, lllyrio's behavior, and the other pro-fAegon evidence.  In addition, there are a number of plot points in favor of Young Griff being the real Aegon.  To summarize:  if YG is an impostor, he's an impostor who has Targeryen hair and eyes, and is about the same age as the real Aegon; and his existence has been hidden from Varys and (probably) Connington, two of the most important people in the whole conspiracy.  Is that even possible?

Well, actually, yes, just barely.

It's because of that five-year gap.  During that time, Illyrio probably had sole custody of Aegon.  Varys was on the other side of the Narrow Sea; perhaps he didn't have good information on what was happening in Illyrio's manse.  Connington and the rest of the Shy Maid crew hadn't been assembled yet.  

There are a number of scenarios that could have happened.  For instance, Illyrio might have married Serra, and had a child by her, which happened to be a boy with Targeryen hair and eyes, whose age was within a year or so of Aegon's.  Then it would easy for Illyrio to have Aegon killed, or otherwise disposed of, and substitute his own son.  But there are many possible variations on this theme.  Perhaps Aegon died of a disease or injury, and Illyrio merely took advantage of the situation.  Perhaps Serra already had a son when Illyrio married her.  Etc. etc.  

It may be helpful to look at the big picture.  Regardless of who YG is, this conspiracy is an extremely ambitious, expensive  project, taking more than a decade to complete, with dangers around every bend of the Rhoyne.  A sudden storm, an encounter with river pirates or Dothraki, a bit of bad luck while passing under the Bridge of Dream, a team member who turns his cloak or accidentally reveals the truth ... What are the odds of 12 or more years passing without any of these things happening?

To take on and sustain such a risky endeavour, the conspirators must really, really, REALLY want to put that boy on the Iron Throne.  I can see how Targeryen loyalists, with custody of Rhaegar's true son, would be motivated to take on these risks.  But for an impostor?  Illyrio is already wealthy and powerful.  Would he send away a son that he loves on such a mission, just to gain somewhat more wealth and power?

The third level, the possible plot by Connington to put someone else on the Iron Throne, is even more fragile.  It requires that YG is an impostor, and that the attempt to put him on the throne is successful, all the way up to the point where JC abandons it.  Then it piles additional risks and difficulties on top of a conspiracy that's already two levels deep.

So, does YG = A?  My answer must be "definitely probably" or "almost certainly."  The risks and difficulties associated with fAegon make it wildly impractical.  But, unlikely though it may be, I can't completely rule it out.

Respectfully, from your humble scribe,

 -- Aebram of Underhedge

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aegon is a popular name among the Targaryens and Targaryen wanabes. And those who wish to do a little social climbing. Aegon can be an Aegon without being the Aegon. Aegon Targaryen. Aegon Blackfyre. Even rhe Freys have their Aegon. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, it's possible that Young Griff is an impostor whose first name actually is Aegon.  But I think you're referring specifically to the conversation between Kevan and Varys in the ADWD epilogue, right? 

Throughout that dialogue, Varys's tone is polite, sympathetic, even apologetic.  He wants Kevan to understand why he has been killed, and he goes on about it at some length.  In that context, it doesn't make sense to me that he would ignore an obvious misunderstanding by Kevan of such an important fact.  He would have taken a moment to explain that this is some other Aegon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Aebram said:

Good morrow all,

Is Young Griff really Aegon Targaryen?  Does "YG = A?"  Perhaps not; the "fAegon" theory is popular on this forum. The subject came up some months ago in another thread, and that got me musing and re-reading.  Here are some thoughts on the subject.  My apologies to veteran members if any of my ideas were discussed and settled years ago; I'm somewhat new here.  Hopefully I have a couple of original thoughts to contribute.

Very few things that remain 'open' in the books have been settled. Frankly, even things that have been 'settled' in the books, remain unsettled amongst fan, most of whom will do any amount of mental gymnastics to twist their preferred narrative to fit GRRM's written word. And then then often accuse him of being a bad author to boot.
Sorry, semi sardonic rant over, nearly. Most of the competent veterans don't hang around much here any more I'm afraid. No new material, and you have to wade through so much garbage nowadays to find any gems, its just not worth the time.

I think you've done pretty well, but a few pointers for you to think about. They may or may not be right, we won't know until GRRM finishes, if he does.
Also, this is in the nature of a flying visit, so I don't have time to check/research everything the way I'd prefer, so I'm relying on memory alone for this, sorry But you seem ore than capable of checking up the relevant facts and figuring out anythi I get factually wrong. 

9 hours ago, Aebram said:

Note the references to twelve and five years.  According to the timeline in the wiki, the events in ASOIAF take place in 297-300 AC; so Connington's chapters in ADWD must occur late in that time span, 299 or 300.  Subtracting 12 from that means that Connington left the Golden Company around 287-288.  His memory of having spent 5 years with the Company matches up nicely with this, since he was exiled from Westeros during Robert's Rebellion (282-283 AC).

The wiki states that Aegon VI was born in late 281 or early 282.  This means that Young Griff -- assuming he is Aegon -- must have been 5-7 years old before Connington took custody of him.  So we have, if you'll pardon the expression, a five-year gap where Aegon's whereabouts are unknown. Who had him during those years?  Illyrio seems like the most likely answer. 

And how did Varys get him to Illyrio, and how did llyrio handle a one year old child and raise him til 6-7+?

I suspect another party is connected. A Targaryen loyalist, closely connected to Rhaegar and Elia, who 'committed suicide' (but no body found) at just about the right time to secretly (by Varys' design probably) take young Aegon from Westeros to Essos. Who was about the right age and the right look to pass as his mother, and the right upbringing and background to later act as a tutor and prepare him to be a competent ruler of a 'foreign' (even if it is home) land. 
Also, remarkably attractive to men, rumoured to have had a child, dark haired and raised literally beside the sea (more likely than is common to be a swimmer.

Oh, and fAegon's 'tutor' is referred to by Jon Connington as a "Lady" and senior enough in the conspiracy to argue with Jon Con about their plans and actions - more than once, with no comeback. She also explicitly has her own secrets (and may be recognisable without some sort of disguise) which Tyrion deliberately ignores once, then gets lost from the party almost immediately after deciding that there was more to her than he thought.

9 hours ago, Aebram said:

Illyrio's use of the word "always" caught my eye.  He must have known YG well, over some long period of time.

I think this establishes a plausible reason for Illyrio's behavior.  YG probably lived in the manse for about 5 years, while he was quite small.  Illyrio could have bonded with the boy during those years.

 

More than that, probably. The clothes Tyrion acquired at Illyrio's seemed to be made for a 'small boy' but they'd still need to be large enough for Tyrion to physically fit his torso into. Which suggests maybe 10-12, rather than 5-6.
And there is no reason Griff needed to be 'on the road' with YG immediately after leaving the GC (actually, he had to spend some time at least establishing a drinking-to-death likelihood, but that needn't be that long to be fair). 
 

9 hours ago, Aebram said:


Near enough to make no matter?

Here's something that I noticed about Tyrion's first impression of Young Griff:

According to the wiki, Aegon VI was born in late 281 or early 282 AC.  So he must be more like 17-19 years old by this time.  Is that "near enough to make no matter?"  Tyrion's a smart fellow; could he be wrong by two years? 

Check out when Tyrion meets Jon for the first time (way back in AGoT Tyrion II - yes, I did some of the research to check, couldn't help myself. If you don't already know asearchoficeandfire.com is your very very good friend.

Yes, GRRM is that good.

9 hours ago, Aebram said:

So if YG is an impostor, the hoax is so perfect that even Connington doesn't know about it.

Literally the only person who need know, is Varys. At the Pisswater Prince (theoretical swap) time, Varys is the only person involved and can choose as he likes. Literally everyone else involved assumes thereafter from his word.

Which leaves the final conclusion that none of us can tell unless GRRM decides to make it clear and explicit (and even then you can be sure there will be arguers!)
I lean fairly strongly towards the Varys -> Kevan = truth side though. I just acknowledge that I could be wrong here - its a judgement call, rather than an area of fact.

9 hours ago, Aebram said:

 If one of these theories is true, and if Connington knows it, then he may be secretly planning to put this other son, not Young Griff, on the Iron Throne.  He may have played along with Varys and Illyrio's conspiracy for 12 years, just so that he can return to Westeros with an army under his command.  Then he plans to abandon YG's cause and support the other son.  

No. Thats just stupidly convoluted, a product of incompetent idiots so welded to their pet theories they twist anything and everything to make shit up. 

GRRM is a much much better writer than that. And its clear from JonCon's POVs that he's a believer. Period.

9 hours ago, Aebram said:

It may be helpful to look at the big picture.  Regardless of who YG is, this conspiracy is an extremely ambitious, expensive  project, taking more than a decade to complete, with dangers around every bend of the Rhoyne.  A sudden storm, an encounter with river pirates or Dothraki, a bit of bad luck while passing under the Bridge of Dream, a team member who turns his cloak or accidentally reveals the truth ... What are the odds of 12 or more years passing without any of these things happening?

There is no reason to believe they've been on the Rhoyne the whole time - or even large sections of time. Tthey may have, but no necessity.
I would guess there have been periods on the Rhoyne - part of YG's wider education and periods in other safe places - also part of YG's education.

Overall, I agree largely with your conclusion, but one has to allow room for alternates. One of GRRM's skills is that he can have balls in the air and there are multiple places they could plausibly land until they actually do. IMO its one of his weaknesses too - a possible/partial cause for his need for many rewrites and adjustments in the writing process - he keeps not just his actual narrative alive and coherent, but also many many alternative narratives also still alive and coherent, or at least close enough to be almost coherent enough to give every theorist an opening...

Edited by corbon
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Aebram said:

No character ever claims or even suggests that Young Griff is an impostor.

It depends on how you interpret the word "suggests", but we got this from Illyrio: 

Quote

 When Maelys the Monstrous died upon the Stepstones, it was the end of the male line of House Blackfyre.

This implies that the Blackfyres live on through the female line. 

@Ran Wasn't there some additional info about Maelys the Monstrous in the draft version that got edited out of the finished chapter?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Aebram said:

So, does YG = A?  My answer must be "definitely probably" or "almost certainly."  The risks and difficulties associated with fAegon make it wildly impractical.  But, unlikely though it may be, I can't completely rule it out.

Respectfully, from your humble scribe,

 -- Aebram of Underhedge

If Aegon isn't Rhaegar's son, he's definitely a Blackfyre. For various reasons, actually. Some of them you yourself mentioned, but there's also Varys' and Illyrio's plan of meeting Aegon up with Danerys, which would've meant meeting up with dragons as well. If he was a nobody, they would've risked this 2 decade long plan, unnecesarily. The other reason people think Aegon is a total fake is because he looks 16-ish at the age of 18. Well, in my humble opinion, that is usual. I looked like 16 when I was 18, and I had classmates who looked like they're 20 at 16. Common thing. And if Aegon was a total fake, Illyrio and Varys would've chosen someone with the right age, not even for the reconquest, but to actually fool JonCon, who received him at a young age, when 2 years are huge for appearance and growth. The first man they had to convice was Jon, and he has no objections ever since.

The reason I personally believe he is not Illyrio's son is because Illyrio gave up on him having the boy for his childhood. It's not something a father would do, not even if it is required (and it's not really required). The other thing is, he talks about doing some things for blood, and not the money. Would he be so dumb to expose himself like that?  I don't think so.

I think the key to things is Varys' motivation. That's what we don't know. And it could be, literally, anything.

Im 50/50 between him being a Targaryen or a Blackfyre. There's of course talk of the male line of house Blackfyre being extinct, but I never really understood why should we take that for granted, when we literally question almost everything that's occasionally happening in front of our eyes, not half a continent away. What I'm saying is. 

Your post was a good read, it got to the point I think it logically had to. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tyrion also made a two year mistake when he thought that Jon Snow was 12 in AGoT.

I think one of the things that gets overlooked with this whole Aegon v. (f)Aegon (and I hate this nickname so much!) is the ground work that GRRM laid by using Jon Snow and his baby switcheroo at the Wall in order to save Mance's son. 

He wanted to scream. He wanted to howl and sob and shake and curl up in a little ball and whimper. He switched the babes, he told himself. He switched the babes to protect the little prince, to keep him away from Lady Melisandre's fires, away from her red god. If she burns Gilly's boy, who will care? No one but Gilly. He was only Craster's whelp, an abomination born of incest, not the son if the King-Beyond-the-Wall. He's no good for a hostage, no good for a sacrifice, no good for anything, he doesn't even have a name. (Sam II, AFfC)

What Jon did at the Wall aligns exactly with what Varys may have done in King's Landing, with the role of Monster being played by the Pisswater Baby (who doesn't even have a name) and the role of Aegon being played by Aemon Steelsong. Varys even sent the baby out with a fat man, a maester and a wetnurse who has been his mother in all but name. 

When Aegon says that he was switched with another baby, I totally believe it. Nobody looked long at the body because it was in a horrible state. 

Even Davos, a grown adult, was switched out with another.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Aebram said:

Good morrow all,

Is Young Griff really Aegon Targaryen?  Does "YG = A?"  Perhaps not; the "fAegon" theory is popular on this forum. The subject came up some months ago in another thread, and that got me musing and re-reading.  Here are some thoughts on the subject.  My apologies to veteran members if any of my ideas were discussed and settled years ago; I'm somewhat new here.  Hopefully I have a couple of original thoughts to contribute.

 

Lol, nothing is ever settled in this forum.

In the end, it doesn't really matter if he is real or not. If he wins the crown and is able to hold it, he is Aegon VI, sone of Rhaegar and Elia of Dorne. If not, he was just another pretender.

And I suspect it's doesn't matter to Illyrio who he is. He's just a patsy to get at the real fish the pox-ridden cheesemonger wants to fry: the Iron Bank.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

What I wrote in this post is just a theory, based on my personal opinion.

 

On 6/27/2022 at 2:30 AM, Aebram said:

Note the references to twelve and five years.  According to the timeline in the wiki, the events in ASOIAF take place in 297-300 AC; so Connington's chapters in ADWD must occur late in that time span, 299 or 300.  Subtracting 12 from that means that Connington left the Golden Company around 287-288.  His memory of having spent 5 years with the Company matches up nicely with this, since he was exiled from Westeros during Robert's Rebellion (282-283 AC).

JonCon was exiled from Westeros in early 283, like in January or February (or their analogue at Planetos), after the Battle of the Bells, which took place in the beginning of 283 AC. So he joined Golden Company in very early 283 (it takes only 10 days or so to cross the Narrow Sea and to get from Westeros to Essos). He had spent there the next five years, until early 288. Then the next 12 years he had spent pretending that he is YG's daddy, until early 300.

Joffrey died on the first day of 300 AC, it took some time to hold the trial. After Tyrion's escape, in Cersei's chapter there was mentioned either the Harvest Moon or the Hunter's Moon (I don't remember which one exactly). It appears that King's Landing is located in Southern Hemisphere, while Winterfell is in the Northern. In Southern Hemisphere the Harvest Moon appears in March or early April, and Hunter's Moon in April. So while Cersei is at KL under that moon, Tyrion across the Narrow Sea is yet not with JonCon and YG. Which means that by the time when Tyrion joined them, it was already past January-February-March <- the likely time-frame in which JonCon 17 years ago had joined Golden Company, so by the time when that chapter (JonCon's arrival to the camp of GC) takes place, it has been already past 12 years since his departure from GC.

So there is no inconsistencies concerning YG's age -> both him and the real Aegon were conceived on the same day (April 1st of 281 AC) and born on the same day (somewhere in January). So by the time when Tyrion met YG, past April of 300 AC, the boy was already 18 years old.

On 6/27/2022 at 2:30 AM, Aebram said:

The wiki states that Aegon VI was born in late 281 or early 282.  This means that Young Griff -- assuming he is Aegon -- must have been 5-7 years old before Connington took custody of him.

And he was -> at that time he just recently turned 6 years old. That's when Illyrio and Varys decided to use plan B, which was to give the boy to JonCon to be raised as supposedly Rhaegar's son.

Aegon and fAegon in 283 AC, when JonCon was exiled from Westeros, were already 1 year old -> they were born in January, and he was exiled either in January or in February. 5 years later, when fAegon turned 6 years old (in January of 288), some time later, after his birthday, he was given to JonCon. It happened in time-frame somewhere between the month of JonCon's enlistmen with GC (in 282 AC) and the month in which he arrived at their camp (in 300 AC) in ADWD. For example - he joined GC in February or March of 282 AC and were reunited with GC in April or May of 300 AC. No inconsistencies, everything fits.

On 6/27/2022 at 2:30 AM, Aebram said:

Illyrio's use of the word "always" caught my eye.  He must have known YG well, over some long period of time.

I think this establishes a plausible reason for Illyrio's behavior.  YG probably lived in the manse for about 5 years, while he was quite small.  Illyrio could have bonded with the boy during those years.

But "plausible" is a long way from "proven."   Is there another factor contributing to Illyrio's debts of affection?  There is another possibility, a fact that stands out mostly because it doesn't have any other apparent link to the plot.

Illyrio's wife Serra, in my opinion, was Varys's older twin-sister (or she was just his older sister and not a twin, in which case Varys was born already after his father's death, maybe even in 261 AC, while Serra was born in late 259 or in early 260 <- or maybe they were twins, born on the same day as result of the same pregnancy) and their father was Maelys the Monstrous, the last Blackfyre from a male line.

Their mother, in my opinion, Lady Jenny of Oldstones (wife of Prince Duncan Targaryen) was kidnapped by the Blackfyres (or by the Blackfyres and the Faceless Men, who on that project probably worked together) during the Burning of Summerhall in (probably) early 259. 

In 258 the Band of Nine had gathered under the Tree of Crowns, where they had vowed to aid one another in carving out kingdoms for each individual member.

From ASOIAF-Wikia: "When told of these events, Prince Duncan Targaryen famously quipped that "crowns were being sold nine a penny", and afterwards the Band of Nine became known in the Seven Kingdoms as the Ninepenny Kings.[5] Most men, including King Aegon V and later King Jaehaerys II Targaryen, thought that the threat posed by these pretenders would be countered by the might of the Free Cities, or otherwise founder in Essos",

+

"The Band of Nine met their goals with initial success, conquering the Disputed Lands and securing the Free City of Tyrosh, setting up Alequo Adarys, the Silvertongue, as its ruler. Second, they conquered the Stepstones. From there, they stood ready to threaten the Seven Kingdoms."

<- this was all happening in 258.

Then in early 259 had happened the Tragedy at Summerhall. Maelys kidnapped Jenny, got her pregnant with his child (or children) and then in early 260 the Targaryen forces landed at the Stepstones and joined the fight. The war lasted for most of that year. Then near the end of 260 Maelys was killed by Barristan Selmy.

In my opinion, Barristan's mother was a daughter of Aenys Blackfyre, so Barristan was a Blackfyre from a female line. So him killing the last Blackfyre from a male line was sort of symbolic.

Also I think that Barristan is fAegon's father, so fAegon is also a Blackfyre from a female line - thru Aenys' daughter (fAegon's paternal grandmother).

fAegon's mother, in my opinion, is septa Lemore, whose real name is Lady Jeyne Swann. In my opinion, the Swanns are bloodrelated to the Blackfyres, I'm sure that they had a common ancestor - the Black Swan of Lys - Lady Johanna Swann (in my opinion, she was the mother of Larra Rogare, and thus she is an ancestor (a great-grandmother thru Larra and her son Aegon IV Targaryen) of Daemon I Blackfyre, Aegor Bittersteel Rivers, Daeron II Targaryen (thru Queen Naerys and Aemon the Dragonknight, who was Daeron's real father), and many of Aegon IV's other children).

In my opinion, when Aenys Blackfyre in 233 AC came to the 7K to attend the Great Council, before going to King's Landing, he brought his family to the Stonehelm castle - the seat of House Swann. He brought them there to put them under protection of their Swann-relatives. So when Aenys was executed on the order of Bloodraven, his family continued to remain at the 7K, with the Swanns.

Then Aenys' daughter met Lyonel Selmy, who probably was a knight in service of House Swann.

The Selmys were landed knights from eastern Dornish Marches - part of Stormlands where the Swanns were marcher lords. The Swanns were the second most powerful House of Stormlands, after the Baratheons. So, considering who they (the Swanns) were, and that their castle was not far from the Harvest Hall (the seat of House Selmy), it seems logical that Lyonel Selmy, who was a landed knight, served as a House knight for the Swanns. And that's how he met Aenys Blackfyre's daughter. They fell in love, got married or just hooked up, either way as result they became parents. In my opinion, they had twin-boys - the older one (Barristan), when the mother went back to Tyrosh, remained with his father at Stonehelm, and the younger one (Barristan's twin-brother - Daemon the Unnumbered Blackfyre), went to Essos together with his mother. They were evacuated away from the 7K, in span of the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion, by the Blackfyres and Bittersteel (who was Daemon's and Barristan's maternal great-great-uncle. Bittersteel and Daemon I Blackfyre were half-brothers, so Aenys was Bittersteel's nephew, and his daughter was Bittersteel's grand-niece, and her children were Bittersteel's great grand-nephews).

That's how Barristan Selmy is a Blackfyre by blood thru his mother and maternal grandfather - Aenys Blackfyre. Also he is (in my opinion) partially Swann -> Johanna Swann + Lysandro Rogare = Larra Rogare + Viserys II Targaryen = Aegon IV + Daena the Defiant = Daemon I Blackfyre + Rohanne of Tyrosh = Aenys Blackfyre + wife = daughter + Lyonel Selmy = Barristan Selmy (he is 1/64 Swann and 1/4 or 1/2 (if Aenys' wife was his sister or cousin) Blackfyre by blood).

And then Barristan served as a squire to Ser Manfred Swann, and then at Blackhaven he met Duncan Targaryen. Then some years later Maelys killed Barristan's twin-brother - Daemon, and then in 260 Barristan killed Maelys.

Then in early 281 at the Kingswood Barristan met Lady Jeyne Swann. She tricked him into having sex with her, by using on him love potion, provided to her by her fake septa, who actually was Shiera Seastar in shadow-glamour. Those two women and the Kingswood Brotherhood and Symon Toyne (brother of Myles Toyne - captain general of the Golden Company) and the Smiling Knight (who actually was a Blackfyre from a female line, same as Barristan) and Arthur Dayne and Jaime Lannister and Barristan Selmy all met at the Kingswood, and all that was orchestarted by Varys ( who is a Blackfyre) and Shiera Seastar, to manipulate the course of history and to produce the Promised Prince. On that night when the real Aegon was conceived by his parents at King's Landing, the same comet that was seen over the castle, was also seen from the Kingswood, where on the same night had occured fAegon's conception. Thus the real Aegon and fAegon were conceived on the same night (April 1st, the Fool's Day), under the same comet (it was the wrong comet, not the star from the prophecy), and were probably born on the same day, in January or so.

Lady Jeyne Swann, after conceiving her child, went to Essos to Illyrio Mopatis (Serra Blackfyre's widower and Varys Blackfyre's brother-in-law). Varys and Jeyne are also bloodrelated, because Varys is partially Swann (Johanna Swann + Lysandro Rogare = Larra Rogare + Viserys II Targaryen = Aegon IV + Daena the Defiant = Daemon I Blackfyre + Rohanne of Tyrosh = ......... Maelys Blackfyre + Jenny of Oldstones = Serra and Varys; ....... Daemon I Blackfyre + princess Daenerys Targaryen = Duncan the Tall + Rohanne Webber-Lannister (Jenny's woodswitch, the Ghost of High Heart) = Jenny of Oldstones + Maelys Blackfyre = Serra and Varys <- that's not a fact, that's my opinion. So in my opinion Serra and Varys by blood were 1/2 Blackfyres thru their father and 1/8 Blackfyres thru their mother (who was a granddaughter of Daemon I Blackfyre). They both were 5/8 Blackfyres, so more than 50% Blackfyres by blood. And thus Varys as a Blackfyre was invested in the Golden Company and wanted to put a Blackfyre on the Iron Throne. That's why he created this fAegon-project -> both of fAegon's parents, Barristan and Jeyne, are Varys' relatives, thru Swann-lines and Blackfyre-lines. That's why they were chosen by Varys as the parents of the Blackfyre Messiah. 

And Illyrio got in the first place involved with Varys and got married with Serra, because he is also connected to their blood. In my opinion, his mother was a bastard-daughter of Aerion Brightflame Targaryen (or rather Aerion's Lyseni-child probably was Illyrio's grandmother or maybe a grandfather, based on the timing -> Aerion got sent to Lys in 209 and he had spent there a few years, so his Lyseni-bastards were born in 210+, their own children were born in 225+, so Illyrio, who was born approximately in middle-to late 250s, is, most likely, a great-grandson of Aerion). She (Aerion's hypothetical daughter, or maybe it was a son) was born at Lys, and then by the Faceless Men was brought to Braavos and joined the Sealord's court. Illyrio's father, in my opinion, was a descendant of that son of princess Saera Targaryen whose father was a Triarch of Volantis.

Thus Illyrio is at the same time is a descendant of Saera Targaryen and of Aerion Brightflame Targaryen. He is a dragonseed, same as Varys and Serra, that's why he joined forces with them and later also became a part of the plan "let's put a Blackfyre on the Iron Throne". Though, originally that Blackfyre, who was supposed to rule over the 7K, was supposed to be Serra and Illyrio's son. Though the Sealord of Braavos sent the Faceless Men to Pentos, and they caused there an epidemy and under the guise of it infected Serra with greyscale and she died. Thus Illyrio and Varys switched to plan B - let's find someone else with the Blackfyre blood and let's make that someone to produce for us a Blackfyre-baby, whom we will raise and put on the Throne.

So Illyrio's debts of affection and the fact that he always knew fAegon is a prove that fAegon was born at Illyrio's mansion and had spent there the first 6 years of his life - from January of 282 to past-January of 288, when he was given to JonCon. And his mother - Jeyne Swann/septa Lemore went with him.

On 6/27/2022 at 2:30 AM, Aebram said:

We don't know when Serra came to live with Illyrio, or for how long.  But if she was there at the same time as Young Griff

No, she wasn't. Varys and Illyrio had to switch to plan B, exactly because Serra, whose future child was supposed to bring Golden Company "home" (plan A), died.

On 6/27/2022 at 2:30 AM, Aebram said:

The name "Serra" caught my eye; I remembered that there was a Targaryen named Saera.  She lived long before the start of ASOIAF, so she can't be the same person as Illyrio's Serra.  But Targaryens do like to name children after their ancestors.  The pronunciation could have shifted slightly in the Free Cities.

Or the similarity in the names is a clue that Illyrio's wife Serra was bloodrelated to him, because he was a descendant of Saera Targaryen.

Illyrio, having at his mansion a statue of him in his youth, a statue created by famous sculptor, and Illyrio being a water-dancer, before he arrived to Lys (his mother's place of origin) and met there Varys, is a hint that he was born at Braavos and that he was part of the Sealord's entorage and a bravo who served at court. That's why he was significant enough that the famous sculptor created his statue -> that was a farewell present for the Sealord, who was fond of Illyrio (because Illyrio was born and raised at his court). And then, a few years later, the Sealord had sent assassins to kill Illyrio's wife. Because Illyrio was using for personal gain the information that he found out at the Sealord's court (the info about the Promised Prince prophecy, about the three dragon eggs that were owned by the Sealord, etc.). Illyrio was intending for his and Serra's future son to become the Promised Prince the Awakener of the dragons and the King of the 7K. That's why the Sealord killed Serra. Though, not Illyrio, of whom he was still fond. Serra's death was a punishment for the betrayal of trust.

On 6/27/2022 at 2:30 AM, Aebram said:

So, does YG = A?  My answer must be "definitely probably" or "almost certainly."  The risks and difficulties associated with fAegon make it wildly impractical. 

Though they all (Varys, Illyrio, Golden Company, Shiera Seastar, septa Lemore/Jeyne Swann) believed that fAegon is the Promised Prince, because he was conceived at the night of that comet. Thus, practical or impractical, and what hardships they would have met on the path of puting fAegon on the Iron Throne, didn't mattered to them, because -> they are FANATICS and they believe that what they are doing is FATE and THE WILL OF GODS.

Edited by Megorova
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, for what it's worth:

Quote

"I told you, my little friend, not all that a man does is done for gain. Believe as you wish, but even fat old fools like me have friends, and debts of affection to repay." Liar, thought Tyrion. There is something in this venture worth more to you than coin or castles.

Putting his own son on the throne would be a logical motivation for Illyrio.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

Also, for what it's worth:

Putting his own son on the throne would be a logical motivation for Illyrio.

Letting his son grow up with a stranger who could turn the boy against him just for having an identity he could fake as well isn't that logical tho. As far as I can tell, Jon Con isn't that much of a provider to Aegon's legitimacy, and even if he was, he could be asked at any point to support a supposed Aegon, and he simply would.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

GRRM may never provide a definitive answer because it is probably the point that it doesn't matter. He'll be a decent enough king, well liked and unite or be on the way to uniting the realm in peace. What then does it matter who were his parents? It doesn't if the good of the realm is your priority, but there's enough grey that you can make it matter and use it as a pretext to war if your priority isn't the good of the realm but your birthright to rule.

Enter Dany.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great write up and I agree that YG=Aegon. The chapter of Kevan’s death imo, is the biggest evidence for it. I wrote up a thread regarding that chapter and Aegon being real. (I linked it below) It’s nice to see other members re-examining the text ^_^ Also, check out how Pycelle and Kevan die, it matches Pisswater Prince’s and Rhaenys’ deaths. Pycelle’s head was smashed and Kevan was stabbed to death.

 

https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/160168-the-children-theory/ 

Edited by Crona
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Crona said:

Also, check out how Pycelle and Kevan die, it matches Pisswater Prince’s and Rhaenys’ deaths. Pycelle’s head was smashed and Kevan was stabbed to death.

Wow. These are the reasons I like following this forum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice topic and talk. 

Personally I think that the truth about Aegon's identity and parentage will remain ambigious and mysterious. 

Some will believe that he's Aegon, some will believe that he's an impostor and Daenerys will most likely fight him based on this, but both Illyrio and Varys may take the secret with them to the grave without ever revealing the truth, and the consequences and damage may remain the same for Daenerys and westerosi's perception of her.

Edited by Terrorthatflapsinthenight9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

Letting his son grow up with a stranger who could turn the boy against him just for having an identity he could fake as well isn't that logical tho. As far as I can tell, Jon Con isn't that much of a provider to Aegon's legitimacy, and even if he was, he could be asked at any point to support a supposed Aegon, and he simply would.

I think that the question we never really ask is why Jon Connington believes that this is Aegon.

Varys left King's Landing and traveled all the way to the Disputed Lands to find Jon Connington and recruit him. Connington doesn't even like Varys and he says that everything that he's done, he's done for Aegon's sake. 

So what did Varys tell him that convinced him of Aegon's legitimacy?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/27/2022 at 1:37 AM, corbon said:

 

And how did Varys get him to Illyrio, and how did llyrio handle a one year old child and raise him til 6-7+?

I suspect another party is connected. A Targaryen loyalist, closely connected to Rhaegar and Elia, who 'committed suicide' (but no body found) at just about the right time to secretly (by Varys' design probably) take young Aegon from Westeros to Essos. Who was about the right age and the right look to pass as his mother, and the right upbringing and background to later act as a tutor and prepare him to be a competent ruler of a 'foreign' (even if it is home) land. 
Also, remarkably attractive to men, rumoured to have had a child, dark haired and raised literally beside the sea (more likely than is common to be a swimmer.

Oh, and fAegon's 'tutor' is referred to by Jon Connington as a "Lady" and senior enough in the conspiracy to argue with Jon Con about their plans and actions - more than once, with no comeback. She also explicitly has her own secrets (and may be recognisable without some sort of disguise) which Tyrion deliberately ignores once, then gets lost from the party almost immediately after deciding that there was more to her than he thought.
 

 

I do believe Ashara = Lemore too, and I think it was her baby that was swapped with Aegon. She got pregnant around the same time Elia was pregnant with Aegon. She committed “suicide” (like Jon Con) after the sack of KL. There is also an emphasis on Lemore’s pregnancy marks and there is mention of Ashara’s stillborn daughter in the later books. This would also serve as a good motivation to put Aegon on the throne, besides being a loyalist, if Aegon is not on the throne then her child’s death would be meaningless. I also think she would be able to convince Jon Con of Aegon’s legitimacy. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a great topic and I would argue that the text begs us to ask the question, who is Young Griff really? Hell, who is Varys? Who is Illyrio?

I think we have strong reason to suspect all three have a drop of dragon blood, but in my mind there is little doubt that Young Griff is not the child of Rhaegar and Elia Martell.

On 6/26/2022 at 7:30 PM, Aebram said:

No character ever claims or even suggests that Young Griff is an impostor.

Tyrion kind of does though...

"A true friend, our Lord Connington. He must be, to remain so fiercely loyal to the grandson of the king who took his lands and titles and sent him into exile. A pity about that. Elsewise Prince Rhaegar's friend might have been on hand when my father sacked King's Landing, to save Prince Rhaegar's precious little son from getting his royal brains dashed out against a wall."
The lad flushed. "That was not me. I told you. That was some tanner's son from Pisswater Bend whose mother died birthing him. His father sold him to Lord Varys for a jug of Arbor gold. He had other sons but had never tasted Arbor gold. Varys gave the Pisswater boy to my lady mother and carried me away."
"Aye." Tyrion moved his elephants. "And when the pisswater prince was safely dead, the eunuch smuggled you across the narrow sea to his fat friend the cheesemonger, who hid you on a poleboat and found an exile lord willing to call himself your father. It does make for a splendid story, and the singers will make much of your escape once you take the Iron Throne … assuming that our fair Daenerys takes you for her consort."

And I think the underlined section is a gapping hole in the story.

We are to believe that the pisswater boy was sold by a drunk father (and the mother being dead is even part of the story). 

I find it hard to believe that Elia gave up her son for an imposter and died with it in the nursery while her daughter was on the floor above hiding alone under a bed. Look how hard it was for Jon to convince Gilley to swap her child, and he was the one in power. Not proof, but highly suspect.

Why would Elia even trust Varys with her child? They didn't know the Lannisters would betray Aerys and sack King's Landing in advance, Varys was there advising Aerys not to open the gates, but I'm to believe he strolled down to the Pisswater Bend for a tanner's son mid siege?

You quoted Varys calling him Aegon, but this means little and less. Daemon Blackfyre's own firstborn son and heir was named Aegon. Aegon, Daemon, and Aegon's twin Aemon all died upon the Redgrass Field. Varys is explaining to Kevan that it isn't about being born with a right to the throne but growing up knowing it's a duty. Nothing about this indicates to me that Aegon is legitimate, or that Varys thinks that is even important.

We again see below from the way Tyrion talks/thinks, that while he may believe Young Griff has Targaryen blood, I think he clearly doubts he is Aegon.

"Perhaps I overstated. She may take pity on you when you come begging for her hand." The dwarf shrugged. "Do you want to wager your throne upon a woman's whim? Go to Westeros, though … ah, then you are a rebel, not a beggar. Bold, reckless, a true scion of House Targaryen, walking in the footsteps of Aegon the Conqueror. A dragon.
"I told you, I know our little queen. Let her hear that her brother Rhaegar's murdered son is still alive, that this brave boy has raised the dragon standard of her forebears in Westeros once more, that he is fighting a desperate war to avenge his father and reclaim the Iron Throne for House Targaryen, hard-pressed on every side … and she will fly to your side as fast as wind and water can carry her. You are the last of her line, and this Mother of Dragons, this Breaker of Chains, is above all a rescuer. The girl who drowned the slaver cities in blood rather than leave strangers to their chains can scarcely abandon her own brother's son in his hour of peril. And when she reaches Westeros, and meets you for the first time, you will meet as equals, man and woman, not queen and supplicant. How can she help but love you then, I ask you?" Smiling, he seized his dragon, flew it across the board. "I hope Your Grace will pardon me. Your king is trapped. Death in four."
The prince stared at the playing board. "My dragon—"
"—is too far away to save you. You should have moved her to the center of the battle."
"But you said—"
"I lied. Trust no one. And keep your dragon close."
Young Griff jerked to his feet and kicked over the board. Cyvasse pieces flew in all directions, bouncing and rolling across the deck of the Shy Maid. "Pick those up," the boy commanded.
He may well be a Targaryen after all. "If it please Your Grace." Tyrion got down on his hands and knees and began to crawl about the deck, gathering up pieces.

I think this whole sequence is great.

And I think it's likely that Young Griff is a true scion of House Targaryen, but it seems clear to me that Tyrion is telling the reader he does not believe Young Griff is Aegon son of Rhaegar.

I would also suggest that this scene is likely prophetic, and would ask how meeting as man and woman would be equals, or how one claimant with a dragon meeting another claimant without a dragon is equal, but I think it's pretty clear from the subtext that Tyrion is leading Young Griff astray here and it doesn't take a lot of foresight to see Young Griff's death in the not to distant future.

For fun, I would point out the fun theme of royal dressup that runs through Dance, Prince Q being the Frog makes me smile, and then there is this:

The floppy ears she chose today were made of sheer white linen, with a fringe of golden tassels. With Jhiqui's help, she wound the tokar about herself correctly on her third attempt. Irri fetched her crown, wrought in the shape of the three-headed dragon of her House. Its coils were gold, its wings silver, its three heads ivory, onyx, and jade. Dany's neck and shoulders would be stiff and sore from the weight of it before the day was done. A crown should not sit easy on the head. One of her royal forebears had said that, once. Some Aegon, but which one? Five Aegons had ruled the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. There would have been a sixth, but the Usurper's dogs had murdered her brother's son when he was still a babe at the breast. If he had lived, I might have married him. Aegon would have been closer to my age than Viserys. Dany had only been conceived when Aegon and his sister were murdered. Their father, her brother Rhaegar, perished even earlier, slain by the Usurper on the Trident. Her brother Viserys had died screaming in Vaes Dothrak with a crown of molten gold upon his head. They will kill me too if I allow it. The knives that slew my Stalwart Shield were meant for me.

We could go on at length analyzing Dany's floppy ears, but I want to contrast it to a different tale:

Queen Selyse had feasted Salla and his captains, the night before the fleet had set sail. Cotter Pyke had joined them, and four other high officers of the Night's Watch. Princess Shireen had been allowed to attend as well. As the salmon was being served, Ser Axell Florent had entertained the table with the tale of a Targaryen princeling who kept an ape as a pet. This prince liked to dress the creature in his dead son's clothes and pretend he was a child, Ser Axell claimed, and from time to time he would propose marriages for him. The lords so honored always declined politely, but of course they did decline. "Even dressed in silk and velvet, an ape remains an ape," Ser Axell said. "A wiser prince would have known that you cannot send an ape to do a man's work." The queen's men laughed, and several grinned at Davos. I am no ape, he'd thought. I am as much a lord as you, and a better man. But the memory still stung.

I'm not sure I have a brilliant conclusion here except to say that if royalty is playing dress up, we can expect someone to dress up as royalty, and in this case Young Griff is the prime suspect.

If we are going to try and figure out what is going on with these Essos plots, I think it all comes back to the cheesmonger.

"Regal," Magister Illyrio said, stepping through an archway. He moved with surprising delicacy for such a massive man. Beneath loose garments of flame-colored silk, rolls of fat jiggled as he walked. Gemstones glittered on every finger, and his man had oiled his forked yellow beard until it shone like real gold.

But I think the connection between him and "false gold", or lies, is a nice thematic one, especially as we see it presented next to the "mummer's dragon", Illyrio and Varys being the mummers!

"There was a fat one with rings and a forked yellow beard, and another in mail and a steel cap, and the fat one said they had to delay but the other one told him he couldn't keep juggling and the wolf and the lion were going to eat each other and it was a mummer's farce."

You mentioned the vision but never the connection to Illyrio and Varys, which I think is worth pointing out (Varys also tells his childhood tale of time spent with mummers).

"A cloth dragon on poles," Dany explained. "Mummers use them in their follies, to give the heroes something to fight."

Tyrion finds himself drunk in Illyrio's Mance and get's dressed in old clothes:

"You mentioned a bath? We must not keep the great cheesemonger waiting."
As he bathed, the girl washed his feet, scrubbed his back, and brushed his hair. Afterward she rubbed sweet-smelling ointment into his calves to ease the aches, and dressed him once again in boy's clothing, a musty pair of burgundy breeches and a blue velvet doublet lined with cloth-of-gold. "Will my lord want me after he has eaten?" she asked as she was lacing up his boots.

I would point out that these are the colors of House Redwyn, of the Arbor.

With the false gold of Illyrio, and the connection to the Arbor in mind, I would come back to Young Griff and the pisswater prince who was traded for "Arbor Gold". Because there seems a strong connection between Arbor Gold and lies.

"We shall serve him lies and Arbor gold, and he'll drink them down and ask for more, I promise you."
...
"You see the wonders that can be worked with lies and Arbor gold?"

The theme of Arbor Gold being connected to lies and deception is repeated.

"Do not discount this man Luceon," Qyburn said. "Last night he feted thirty of the Most Devout on suckling pig and Arbor gold, and by day he hands out hardbread to the poor to prove his piety."

Good enough for The Princess and the Queen:

The next morning, Ser Hobert Hightower called upon him, to thrash out the details of their assault upon King’s Landing. He brought with him two casks of wine as a gift, one of Dornish red and one of Arbor gold. Though Ulf the Sot had never tasted a wine he did not like, he was known to be partial to the sweeter vintages. No doubt Ser Hobert hoped to sip the sour red whilst Lord Ulf quaffed down the Arbor gold. Yet something about Hightower’s manner—he was sweating and stammering and too hearty by half, the squire who served them testified later—pricked White’s suspicions. Wary, he commanded that the Dornish red be set aside for later, and insisted Ser Hobert share the Arbor gold with him.
History has little good to say about Ser Hobert Hightower, but no man can question the manner of his death. Rather than betray his fellow Caltrops, he let the squire fill his cup, drank deep, and asked for more.

And, it goes nicely with Frey Pie:

Ramsay hacked off slices with his falchion and Wyman Manderly himself served, presenting the first steaming portions to Roose Bolton and his fat Frey wife, the next to Ser Hosteen and Ser Aenys, the sons of Walder Frey. "The best pie you have ever tasted, my lords," the fat lord declared. "Wash it down with Arbor gold and savor every bite. I know I shall."

And maybe my favorite:

"Compliments of our captain. Closer to piss than Arbor gold, if truth be told, but even piss tastes better than the black tar rum the sailors drink.

I could continue to ramble about this almost forever, go on about a cup of ice and a cup of fire, the bitter truth or sweet lies. About how I suspect Illyrio is the heir to Bittersteel, his Serra to be Serra Saan, the connection between mummers and the Faceless Men, or about lemon trees and how Dany herself is not the daughter of Aerys and Rhaella, but enough for one post!

"You are blood of the dragon," he had screamed at her. "A dragon, not some smelly fish."

Edited by Mourning Star
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

I think that the question we never really ask is why Jon Connington believes that this is Aegon.

Varys left King's Landing and traveled all the way to the Disputed Lands to find Jon Connington and recruit him. Connington doesn't even like Varys and he says that everything that he's done, he's done for Aegon's sake. 

So what did Varys tell him that convinced him of Aegon's legitimacy?

Because he wants to, because it gives him a shot at redemption, a purpose in life - to see Rhaegar's son on the throne. Varys gave JC what he craved and so earned himself an ally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

I think that the question we never really ask is why Jon Connington believes that this is Aegon.

Varys left King's Landing and traveled all the way to the Disputed Lands to find Jon Connington and recruit him. Connington doesn't even like Varys and he says that everything that he's done, he's done for Aegon's sake. 

So what did Varys tell him that convinced him of Aegon's legitimacy?

I'm not sure Varys would be able to convinceJonCon of much. JonCon wasn't, in his youth, the type to put a lot of stock in the words of a grovelling, lowborn, foreign, eunuch, spy.
Ashara Dayne though, Companion of Elia, sister to Arthur Dayne...

42 minutes ago, chrisdaw said:

Because he wants to, because it gives him a shot at redemption, a purpose in life - to see Rhaegar's son on the throne. Varys gave JC what he craved and so earned himself an ally.

If not Ashara Dayne, this is the only reasonable answer I've seen as to why JonCon might believe Varys.

4 hours ago, Crona said:

I do believe Ashara = Lemore too, and I think it was her baby that was swapped with Aegon.

I don't see any necessity for that. I think its more likely, though not certain, that her baby, if not actually stillborn, is Allyria Dayne, falsely claimed by the family as the daughter of Ashara's mother, rather than an illegitimate child born of disgrace. Better for the family, better for the child.

4 hours ago, Crona said:

She got pregnant around the same time Elia was pregnant with Aegon. She committed “suicide” (like Jon Con) after the sack of KL. There is also an emphasis on Lemore’s pregnancy marks and there is mention of Ashara’s stillborn daughter in the later books.

Indeed. 

4 hours ago, Crona said:

This would also serve as a good motivation to put Aegon on the throne, besides being a loyalist, if Aegon is not on the throne then her child’s death would be meaningless. I also think she would be able to convince Jon Con of Aegon’s legitimacy. 

It only serves as a motivation for Ashara, and even then, counter's her family's emphasis on honour, relationships with Elia and Rhaegar and loyalty to the Targaryens.

Oh wait... do you mean her baby was killed in KL and fAegon is Aegon? I thought you meant her baby was fAegon.

If fAegon is Aegon, then IMO Ashara has plenty of motivation to put him on the throne already from family connection, honour, loyalty and personal ties to both his mother and father. Her child's part is completely unnecessary.

2 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

I find it hard to believe that Elia gave up her son for an imposter and died with it in the nursery while her daughter was on the floor above hiding alone under a bed. Look how hard it was for Jon to convince Gilley to swap her child, and he was the one in power. Not proof, but highly suspect.

I find this an extremely poor argument. 
Elia didn't 'give up' her son, she protected him. If all went well, then its only a temporary swap, if all goes badly she potentially saves her son's life.

Gilly's situation is utterly different. Not only is the threat not even apparent to her, but its also less certain, and the swap is guaranteed to be long term. Plus its her child that is being put into danger not taken away from danger. It is in fact a reverse situation!

2 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

Why would Elia even trust Varys with her child?

Why would she not? He's right there in KL with her, has nothing outside KL, if all goes well its only a temporary situation, and if the worst happens she saves her son's life.

2 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

They didn't know the Lannisters would betray Aerys and sack King's Landing in advance, Varys was there advising Aerys not to open the gates, but I'm to believe he strolled down to the Pisswater Bend for a tanner's son mid siege?

No, you are to believe that a smart counselor prepares for many eventualities, and that, like we saw with Myrcella, 'doubles' are sometimes used for royal children.
Varys almost certainly prepared the Pisswater Prince long before any siege, as a convenient double for all sorts of possibilities.
At worst, Varys uses the secret passages to move from Aerys' side, once the order is given to open the gates to the Tywin, to grab the pisswater double and swap with Aegon. Maybe there was also a double for Rhaenys (or maybe she wasn't as important as not-the-heir) but she'd disappeared (to hide in her father's chambers) and Elia didn't have her. We don't know virtually any detail. Varys does appear noticeably not apparent in the throne room accounts of Jaime and Ned though.

Its not stretching anything to make entirely plausible and entirely reasonable scenarios that fit all available data and have Varys doing a late switch.  

2 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

We again see below from the way Tyrion talks/thinks, that while he may believe Young Griff has Targaryen blood, I think he clearly doubts he is Aegon.

Yes, Tyrion has doubts. Tyrion is not omniscient and is feeling his way through things with far less data than we have. He also makes mistakes and changes his mind at different times. 

2 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

Tyrion finds himself drunk in Illyrio's Mance and get's dressed in old clothes:

"You mentioned a bath? We must not keep the great cheesemonger waiting."
As he bathed, the girl washed his feet, scrubbed his back, and brushed his hair. Afterward she rubbed sweet-smelling ointment into his calves to ease the aches, and dressed him once again in boy's clothing, a musty pair of burgundy breeches and a blue velvet doublet lined with cloth-of-gold. "Will my lord want me after he has eaten?" she asked as she was lacing up his boots.

I would point out that these are the colors of House Redwyn, of the Arbor.

Nice.

There are certainly arguments both ways. 

Edited by corbon
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

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

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

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

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

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

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...