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What was Varys' plan if Eddard had been spared?


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As we learned in ADWD, Varys has spent a long time paving the road for (f)Aegon VI to reclaim the Iron Throne for House Targaryen. This includes murdering Grand Maester Pycelle and Kevan Lannister so that the various factions in King's Landing turn on each other even more, which will presumably benefit (f)Aegon.

But if that's what his endgame was, why would he work so hard to prevent the War of the Five Kings from happening?

"Peace. If there was one soul in King's Landing who was truly desperate to keep Robert Baratheon alive, it was me. For fifteen years I protected him from his enemies, but I could not protect him from his friends."


You could argue that he's lying, but even if he is, that doesn't change his reason for speaking in the first place. Eddard Stark is imprisoned, he's awaiting judgment from King Joffrey, whom he tried to prevent from taking the throne. The Riverlands have erupted into war, Robb is leading a Northern army to victory against Jaime Lannister, the realm is going to come apart. Varys is down with Eddard to persuade him to confess his treason, take the black, and do what he can to call off the North's forces before things go further. Regardless of what Varys claims is his motivation, this is what he's doing.

But why? A chaotic realm is exactly what he's apparently been hoping to prepare for (f)Aegon. Why did Varys fight so hard to prevent that from happening? It's not like he's fearful of Daenerys and her dragons, the eggs hadn't hatched yet (though it does explain why he was so ready to poison Daenerys at Robert's order. He had a secret Blackfyre/Targaryen/lookalike in the wings all along).

I suppose you can argue that he's waiting for (f)Aegon to come of age, but Jon Connington could have assumed command as the Hand and Protector of the Realm. And if you're arguing that (f)Aegon's allies didn't have enough troops, that also makes me tilt my head. The Golden Company's ready to break any contract for this mission, and they spend their lives fighting. They could have swept in any time and rallied any Targaryen loyalists (of which there were still many during Robert's early reign). This is a plan which Varys claims he and Illyrio have been slowly forming for years. They surely didn't have to wait so long as they did. 

Edited by Floki of the Ironborn
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I don't think he had any idea how Ned would even factor into it.  NOBODY knows the truth about Jon besides Ned and the Reeds.

I think he was being honest with Ned every time he talked with him.  He simply wanted Ned to stay out of it.  The North is nearly as isolated from the goings-on of Westeros as Dorne.  The smallfolk of the North don't give a hoot who's in Kings Landing so long as the North is well looked after by the Starks, who've proven extremely reliable. Look how fast they elected a King....the people of the North DGAF.  But they also like to be left alone.

Let's not forget just how hard the Warden of the North has it.  Largest territory, fewest men. In the North, older men willingly walk into blizzards to kill themselves so they don't take food that's needed for the young, due to long winters.  Managing the realities of just how hard things are up North is one hell of a hard job and the Starks seem to have risen to the challenge and it seems like the most unified group of people.  That's due to the Starks, and it's no small feat.  In the real world, things ALWAYS go sideways once a populace starts going hungry.  The Starks have the worst of that, but everyone other than the Boltons love them.

Varys correctly assumes that if things don't get too crazy, the North can handle itself, for the time-being. 

There's just this small matter of the pending Other-Winter apocalypse.  Oops!

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Judging by the conversation between Varys and Illyrio that Arya overheard, it appears they weren't ready.  I think their initial plan was to have Aegon save Westeros from Viserys and Daenerys's barbarian horde.  That, of course, fell apart quite spectacularly with the deaths of Viserys and Drogo.

Essentially, Varys needed peace until the pieces were in place.  Now that the war is over and Daenerys doesn't appear headed for Westeros, horde or no, he needs to drum up some conflict to pave the way for Aegon to either arrive with distracted opponents or to save the day.  At least, I think that's what is going on.  With Varys, it's hard to tell.

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Illyrio pretty much says they weren't ready. They were counting on the Dothraki to do some damage.

My guess is that Varys wanted the twincest to blow up at the time of his choosing, probably when they were ready to invade, while building some bridges to the North. But it also depends who they preferred to face, Tywin or Stannis. 

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I don't believe him. If he really had wanted Ned at the Wall then he would have ensured that either Joff wouldn't interfere or if that couldn't be done he would have had a plan to mollify the king with something other than Ned's head. Varys is a master manipulator (see Jamie Lannister and the escape of Tyrion) and a reasonable judge of character and the events at Baelor's were hardly unforeseeable. If Varys really wanted Ned at the Wall, then that's where he would have ended up. Because he ended up dead after a sequence of reasonably foreseeable events I believe that this was Varys' plan all along regardless of what he said and who he said it to. 

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12 hours ago, Aejohn the Conqueroo said:

I don't believe him. If he really had wanted Ned at the Wall then he would have ensured that either Joff wouldn't interfere or if that couldn't be done he would have had a plan to mollify the king with something other than Ned's head. Varys is a master manipulator (see Jamie Lannister and the escape of Tyrion) and a reasonable judge of character and the events at Baelor's were hardly unforeseeable. If Varys really wanted Ned at the Wall, then that's where he would have ended up. Because he ended up dead after a sequence of reasonably foreseeable events I believe that this was Varys' plan all along regardless of what he said and who he said it to. 

Ned was going to be executed regardless, if what you say is true. And it didn't matter whether Ned confessed his sins or not, his execution as regarded as shocking, and also spurred everyone headlong into the War of the Five Kings. If we assume that Joffrey was always going to behead Ned, then Varys would have had no need to persuade Ned to confess. Why go through all that trouble for an outcome which was more likely to happen if Ned refused to confess his sins?

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12 hours ago, James Steller said:

Ned was going to be executed regardless, if what you say is true. And it didn't matter whether Ned confessed his sins or not, his execution as regarded as shocking, and also spurred everyone headlong into the War of the Five Kings. If we assume that Joffrey was always going to behead Ned, then Varys would have had no need to persuade Ned to confess. Why go through all that trouble for an outcome which was more likely to happen if Ned refused to confess his sins?

I dunno, why was he babbling at dead Kevyn Lannister in ADWD?  It seems to be one of his things.

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Illyrio needed more time. Obviouly Drogo would take his time to invade Westeros. He wanted Viserys safe with him during this time. He needed to slow down the affair with the Starks. And he was afraid that someone, Stannis, Tywin, anyone take control and stabilise Westeros before Drogo was ready. He probably didn't want the North at all involved in the contest.

Edited by BalerionTheCat
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There's another benefit for Varys of having Ned at the wall, aside from needing more time.   Ned, alive and at the wall, probably has the Starks angry; but, not angry enough to go to open war against the Lannisters.  Then, when he is ready, and Viserys/Dany make their move, the Starks (and perhaps the Arryn's and Tully's), are likely to stay out of any confrontation, or maybe even side with the Targaryens when/if push comes to shove.   That could have really isolated the Lannisters when House Targaryen arrived.  

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1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

I think the Daynes know the truth. I know that the person who married Rhaegar and Lyanna knows the truth as well.

 

Fair point.  The Daynes must be in on it.  I wonder who married them....I suppose the Dayne's maester, given where Rhaegar took Lyanna.

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1 hour ago, Canon Claude said:

You dare bring up the abomination here? Begone with you, ser. Begone! 

LOL

I am 100% certain that Rhaegar and Lyanna got married and that Jon was thus trueborn.

The big R+L=J reveal makes very little sense and is no longer a big reveal, if we just find out that Jon is a Targaryen bastard instead of a Stark bastard. But if we find out that Jon is a trueborn Targaryen and the true heir to the Iron Throne....

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

LOL

I am 100% certain that Rhaegar and Lyanna got married and that Jon was thus trueborn.

The big R+L=J reveal makes very little sense and is no longer a big reveal, if we just find out that Jon is a Targaryen bastard instead of a Stark bastard. But if we find out that Jon is a trueborn Targaryen and the true heir to the Iron Throne....

 

 

 

Prove it. 

If a marriage isn't recorded and isn't witnessed, is it really a marriage?  Also, it would be polygamous, which also puts it into question.

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27 minutes ago, Nevets said:

Prove it. 

If a marriage isn't recorded and isn't witnessed, is it really a marriage?  Also, it would be polygamous, which also puts it into question.

It doesn't make sense for the big reveal to be that Jon isn't the type of bastard that he thinks he is. Nothing really changes. In fact, if anything it makes it worse because he would now feel like he was the child of rape. Going from "I guess I should be happy that my parents were so inflamed with passion for each other" to "my father was a monster, my mother was a victim, my uncle took me in out of pity and no one wanted me after all" is huge.

 

If the marriage is unrecorded and has no witnesses aside from the officiant, the husband and the wife, then no it is not a marriage. However, that's where the Daynes and the three Kingsguard knights come in...mind you, these are the same knights that didn't join Rhaegar at the Trident. Instead, they were standing guard at the Tower of Joy with Lyanna inside.

Don't you think it's weird that Ned Stark immediately left the Tower of Joy for Starfall. Not Sunspear, the capital of Dorne. Not Storm's End, where he just came from. Not King's Landing, where the king is. Not Winterfell, his home. In this world, there is no long-term preservation of corpses.

Why Starfall? And then Ned Stark shows upa nd Ashara Dayne just randomly kills herself? Ned Dayne suddenly speaks so familiarly and frankly of Ned Stark to his daughter? We keep hearing about this Wylla girl who just so happened to be a wet nurse for Ned Dayne and Jon Snow both...according to Ned Dayne. Where did Wylla come from and where has she gone? And then there's this bit with Darkstar...what is he playing at? His attempt to murder Myrcella not only contradicts what he and Arianne was just talking about but it makes zero sense...unless he is working to place the rightful king on the throne.

On top of that, there's the mystery of House Dayne itself. GRRM says that to reveal their house words is to spoil the story. And then they are the only house that uses purple as their main color. Then, they have the eyes attributed only to Valyrians but GRRM insists that they are not Valyrian.

There is a reason why GRRM created Dorne. Else, he could've had all these events along with other events take place in the Reach or the Stormlands or whatever. Unlike everyone else everywhere else, they gave the Targaryens (and the Blackfyres) a very hard time with and without dragons. There is also a reason why he is so insistent on the importance of both Darkstar and the Martells, particularly Arianne. Literally every single time when he talks about where the show went wrong and how the books will differ, he invokes the name of Arianne and Darkstar. Sometimes, Ned Dayne and the Sand Snakes. But mainly Darkstar and Arianne. 

Dorne is crucial for the endgame on some level. And it almost certainly has to do with Jon Snow and whatever happened at the Tower of Joy and Starfall.

 

As far as polygamy? As far as we know, polygamy is not outlawed. Least of all for the Crown Prince and heir to House Targaryen. Is it legitimate? Posssssibly...I don't know that would be a point of debate and contention within the books. Probably not without the express consent of the king. Such a marriage is antithetical to the Seven but a Valyrian marriage is different. Everyone who engaged in polygamy got married in Valyrian cereomonies. if King Aerys II or even Queen Rhaella co-signed such a union, then I guess that would be that. Especially if Princess Elia agreed as well...that would give it further legitimacy.

Now I stand to be corrected but...I'm positive that Jon is a trueborn Targaryen.

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14 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

It doesn't make sense for the big reveal to be that Jon isn't the type of bastard that he thinks he is. Nothing really changes. In fact, if anything it makes it worse because he would now feel like he was the child of rape. Going from "I guess I should be happy that my parents were so inflamed with passion for each other" to "my father was a monster, my mother was a victim, my uncle took me in out of pity and no one wanted me after all" is huge.

 

If the marriage is unrecorded and has no witnesses aside from the officiant, the husband and the wife, then no it is not a marriage. However, that's where the Daynes and the three Kingsguard knights come in...mind you, these are the same knights that didn't join Rhaegar at the Trident. Instead, they were standing guard at the Tower of Joy with Lyanna inside.

Don't you think it's weird that Ned Stark immediately left the Tower of Joy for Starfall. Not Sunspear, the capital of Dorne. Not Storm's End, where he just came from. Not King's Landing, where the king is. Not Winterfell, his home. In this world, there is no long-term preservation of corpses.

Why Starfall? And then Ned Stark shows upa nd Ashara Dayne just randomly kills herself? Ned Dayne suddenly speaks so familiarly and frankly of Ned Stark to his daughter? We keep hearing about this Wylla girl who just so happened to be a wet nurse for Ned Dayne and Jon Snow both...according to Ned Dayne. Where did Wylla come from and where has she gone? And then there's this bit with Darkstar...what is he playing at? His attempt to murder Myrcella not only contradicts what he and Arianne was just talking about but it makes zero sense...unless he is working to place the rightful king on the throne.

On top of that, there's the mystery of House Dayne itself. GRRM says that to reveal their house words is to spoil the story. And then they are the only house that uses purple as their main color. Then, they have the eyes attributed only to Valyrians but GRRM insists that they are not Valyrian.

There is a reason why GRRM created Dorne. Else, he could've had all these events along with other events take place in the Reach or the Stormlands or whatever. Unlike everyone else everywhere else, they gave the Targaryens (and the Blackfyres) a very hard time with and without dragons. There is also a reason why he is so insistent on the importance of both Darkstar and the Martells, particularly Arianne. Literally every single time when he talks about where the show went wrong and how the books will differ, he invokes the name of Arianne and Darkstar. Sometimes, Ned Dayne and the Sand Snakes. But mainly Darkstar and Arianne. 

Dorne is crucial for the endgame on some level. And it almost certainly has to do with Jon Snow and whatever happened at the Tower of Joy and Starfall.

 

As far as polygamy? As far as we know, polygamy is not outlawed. Least of all for the Crown Prince and heir to House Targaryen. Is it legitimate? Posssssibly...I don't know that would be a point of debate and contention within the books. Probably not without the express consent of the king. Such a marriage is antithetical to the Seven but a Valyrian marriage is different. Everyone who engaged in polygamy got married in Valyrian cereomonies. if King Aerys II or even Queen Rhaella co-signed such a union, then I guess that would be that. Especially if Princess Elia agreed as well...that would give it further legitimacy.

Now I stand to be corrected but...I'm positive that Jon is a trueborn Targaryen.

If Jon can establish Targaryen parentage, he could still make a claim for the throne as Rhaegar's only surviving child.  This is especially true if it's established that Lyanna was a willing participant, which I believe she was.

And that's not even including his role in fighting the others.  The series is called The Song of Ice and Fire.  That could indicate that the merger of Ice (Stark) and Fire (Targaryen) is important.  

I also see nothing suspicious about him going to Starfall.  The Daynes are likely involved in this up to their eyeballs and Ned needs a wet nurse and to return Dawn.  Plus there may be other connections reaching back to Harrenhal.

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Primal duty of any member of Kingsguard is to protect king and members of royal family. Rhaegar might have ordered those 3 KG to stay in Tower of Joy but that order became void when they found out that R died. So the fact that those 3 were still in ToJ when Ned came there would almost certain mean that there was at least one member of RF present in that tower. Or those 3 KG thought that Lyanna was widow of Rhaegar and their son was at least a prince or their king. After all if Jon was only bastard they would not have any reason to stay in that tower anymore. But their duty would have been to report to their new king.

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  • 1 month later...

Aemon knew.  Rhaegar had been communicating with him and as the maester of Castle Black, he was the most well informed man on the Wall.  After meeting Jon and finding out his history he put it together.  

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