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Nightflyer

Perhaps Varys greatest crime

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When Stannis attacked KL, Tyrion was extremely busy, to say the least. At one point Varys comes to him with a list of traitors. Without a thought, Tyrion signs the order for their execution, there simply isnt time to do anything. Varys counted on this. Tyrion even remarks that the Antler Men should have changed their name to the Hot Hearts, since they are (supposedly) allied with Stannis.

No more than hours later, the Antler men are at the mercy of Joffrey's justice. He chooses to catapult them at the enemy. One in fact nearly lands at Tyrion's feet while he was battling. At least one of them goes to his death protesting he is "all for Joffrey".

Now to me, it seems impossible that this man was somehow hoping for a list minute reprieve. It is very probable that he was in fact a Joffrey loyalist, he has no reason to lie as his death sentence is being carried out. A real revolutionary in that final moment would have said other things, mostly unprintable. [b]The Antler Men's name makes perfect sense, they thought of themselves as a pro-Baratheon, pro-Joffrey group.[/b] It is the height of irony that the bloodthirsty boy is actually throwing some of his strongest supporters over his walls to the their deaths , thanks to Varys manipulation.

Think about who the Antler Men are. They are bankers, artificers, well-to-do businessmen. Does this sound like a likely group of revolutionaries and traitors? [b] These men were prosperous, and prosperous people are always the strongest supporters of the status quo.[/b]

What we are left with, is that these Antler Men were probably innocent of plotting against Joffrey. Later Tyrion finds that many of the dead men owed large sums to the crown, accordingly to the account books left behind by LF. And since dead men tell no tales there is no way to verify these sums, or who actually got the money. A very convenient method of embezzlement, if one has a slightly dishonest turn of mind.

The conclusion is that Varys murdered these men, knowing they were innocent of the crime of which he accused them. And someone, probably LF, profited from their deaths. So what is Vary's motive?

Varys, as we know from his secret talk with Illyrio, is a longtime manipulator of the feudal socieity around him. His plans are known to spand 2 decades at least. If we interpret this action as part of his long term manipulation, then what Varys is doing is to drastically reduce the middle class in KL.

What effect does killing off the middle classes have on a feudal society? In the long run, it preserves it. This is because as middle classes pursue profit, they produce innovations, cause industrial revolutions, and these in turn produce social upheavals. Viewed in the long term, then, the Antler Men and people of their class will overturn the feudal system.

We know Westeros has been feudal for thousands of years. In order for that to happen, something had to be drastically "pruning" the middle classes back on a regular basis. I don't think that could be Varys personally over that long a span, although I cant rule it out. I do think the forces he represents have been doing this to Westeros for a long time.

Yes this is a conspiracy theory. People who dismiss it on that basis are invited to go back and carefully re-read Varys and Illyrio's conversation. If they are not conspiring, please tell me what is it they actually are doing there?

So Varys murders the middle class. "Nothing personal gentleman. Viewed in the long term, you really are dangerous to Joffrey's cause..."

Read this thread before its disappears, the clock is ticking...Varys isnt the only preserver of an unchanging feudal system.

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Everybody knows that Stannis is bad for fun and business and that Lannisters are brimming with goodly shiny shiny gold.

Your theory is elementary my dear Nightflyer.

So how come I didn't think of it?



Edit to add: But your motivation for Varys is completely off the mark. In point of fact it is exactly opposite to the truth, which I intend to publicize in the near future under the title "Varys' true motives: The first Democracy."

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uhhh, that, was awesome

I don't know if that is true or not, but either way, that's crazy. I don't know how you can come up with this stuff.

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Another theory is, that if the Antler Men were not Stannis's men, that they were Littlefinger's cronies, and Varys used the opportunity to get rid of them, just as he - in Tyrion's opinion - replaced Janos Slynt (Littlefinger's man) with his own as commander of the City Watch.

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Great theory.

I like the idea that Varys is sending Joffrey's best men to their deaths, and would actually ad that he had a backup plan if it didn't work.
He had Tyrion sign the letter. Everyone assumes Tyrion hates Joffrey anyway, so Tyrion would take the blame for the treason list.


However, the idea that Varys is trying to reduce the power of the middle class possibly the worst motive I've ever heard.


Remember his motives are most likely to get Dany back on the throne.
That's what Illyrio is working towards, and Varys is in place to see that the Wolf and the Lion go to war to weaken Westros for Dany's invasion.
Varys is holding up his end of the bargain, Illyrio just needs to get Dany moving. Drogo screewed that up early on.

However, I'm not really sure why Varys is trying to take down the Baratheons because he was in a pretty good place with Robert on the Throne.
Varys has WAY too much to lose, and not really that much to gain considering his standing at the beginning of the series.
I'm thinking there must be some sort of very deep connection between Illyrio and Varys and Varys wants Illyrio back from exhile.
or possibly they both have something against the Baratheons. Killing the "Antler Men" could therefor be a bonus for Varys.

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We know Illyrio wants Varys to get the Lannisters and the Starks to go to war, and mix things up.
We also believe that LF was responsible for poisoning Jon Arryn, which kicked it all off.
LF also backstabbed Ned when Ned thought he had the City Watch secure thru LF.

I've always thought that LF and Varys were working together.
They seem to try too hard making others think they are against each other.

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[quote name='DocBean' post='1416626' date='Jun 26 2008, 11.54']We know Illyrio wants Varys to get the Lannisters and the Starks to go to war, and mix things up.[/quote]
Here is the conversation between Illyrio and Varys in AGOT.

[i]"The gods alone know," the first voice said. Arya could see a wisp of grey
smoke drifting up off the torch, writhing like a snake as it rose. "The fools
tried to kill his son, and what's worse, they made a mummer's farce of it.
He's not a man to put that aside. I warn you, the wolf and lion will soon be
at each other's throats, whether we will it or no."
[b]"Too soon, too soon," the voice with the accent complained. "What good is war
now? We are not ready. Delay." [/b]
"As well bid me stop time. Do you take me for a wizard?"[/i]

It is evident that neither Varys or Illyrio wanted to the war to happen (They wanted a war eventually, but not at the time of AGOT). Looking at this segment, it does tell us something else, specifically that Littlefinger and Varys are not working together and Varys is not omniscient :D . Joffrey was behind the attack on Bran, but Varys blames the Lannisters (aka Jamie and Cersei and notice "fools" plural). If Littlefinger and Varys were conspiring with each other, why wouldn't Littlefinger have told him about the dagger? I believe this scene happens after Catelyn and Eddard meet Littlefinger, but I'm not positive.

Artanaro

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Varys was present at that meeting (Eddard and Catelyn) He seemed to let LF have his little play and try to figure what LF wants. Or else LF said the truth that he's got a leverage over Varys.

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[quote name='Artanaro' post='1417048' date='Jun 26 2008, 16.42']Here is the conversation between Illyrio and Varys in AGOT.

[i]"The gods alone know," the first voice said. Arya could see a wisp of grey
smoke drifting up off the torch, writhing like a snake as it rose. "The fools
tried to kill his son, and what's worse, they made a mummer's farce of it.
He's not a man to put that aside. I warn you, the wolf and lion will soon be
at each other's throats, whether we will it or no."
[b]"Too soon, too soon," the voice with the accent complained. "What good is war
now? We are not ready. Delay." [/b]
"As well bid me stop time. Do you take me for a wizard?"[/i]

It is evident that neither Varys or Illyrio wanted to the war to happen (They wanted a war eventually, but not at the time of AGOT). Looking at this segment, it does tell us something else, specifically that Littlefinger and Varys are not working together and Varys is not omniscient :D . Joffrey was behind the attack on Bran, but Varys blames the Lannisters (aka Jamie and Cersei and notice "fools" plural). If Littlefinger and Varys were conspiring with each other, why wouldn't Littlefinger have told him about the dagger? I believe this scene happens after Catelyn and Eddard meet Littlefinger, but I'm not positive.

Artanaro[/quote]


LF didn't necessarily know that it was Joffrey that sent the man.
He may have been able to figure it out knowing that the King owned the dagger, but he definitely wants Cat and Ned to think it's Tyrion (son of Tywin).
He knew what would happen if they charged a Lannister.
LF is actually instigating the war.
Illyrio is saying too soon - which implies that he wants it to happen, but not so fast.
So you cannot say that line shows us they aren't working together.
if anything that's a link to the three, they all want the same thing.
You also didn't finish the conversation. Illyrio also believes that Varys killed the former Hand.
Well we've seen Cats sister admit to that, so what's going on there?
Did Varys take credit for something LF did on his own, or was Cat's sister fooled by Varys?
Maybe they worked together.

It could easily be that LF saw an opportunity to send them against each other and took it, knowing the goal.
With his ego it's not a stretch to think he wants to act on his timeline not theirs.
And LF's ego could also explain why he hasn't told Varys about his actions.

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[quote name='shadowbinding shoe' post='1417081' date='Jun 26 2008, 15.57'][b]Varys was present at that meeting (Eddard and Catelyn)[/b] He seemed to let LF have his little play and try to figure what LF wants. Or else LF said the truth that he's got a leverage over Varys.[/quote]

No he wasn't (I'm referring to the meeting where Littlefinger blames Tyrion for the attack). I checked the chapter right now, and Littlefinger askes Ned to come with him. Varys is nowhere present in that discussion.

Artanaro

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Littlefinger and Varys are most likely not working together. Varys does not know what Littlefinger wants, but as Petyr acts as if he did know that himself, no one can know that.

On the other hand, there is no reason to believe that anyone except Illyrio knows what Varys is up to. The POVs close to him (Ned and Tyrion) never trusted him, but were unable to realize that he is a Targaryen loyalist. I assume that Littlefinger sees in Varys what Varys wants him to see. And Petyr is certainly not so naive to believe that Varys 'serves the Realm' or tried 'to keep Robert Baratheon alive'. Varys certainly makes him believe that he is useful to him, and that he, too, has secret agendas to seize power. That's something Littlefinger could understand. Certainly not that Varys tries to weaken the Realm to reestablish the Old Dynasty (mostly because that's a ridiculous goal - we have no idea why Varys is doing what he seems to do).

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I have a couple of questions. For these men, who are prosperous, does Joffrey really represent the status quo? I mean, how much time has passed since Robert's death? The King is dead, his two Hands as well, who were two of his closest friends, and the kingdom is in upheaval. It would seem to me that these prosperous men were enjoying their fortune under Robert's rule, not Joffrey's.

You assert in your first paragraph that a man has no reason to lie as his death sentence is being carried out. I find that weak at best. Really? No one lies or protests their innocence unto the last? Unless you have some strong evidence that points to why this/these particular man/men would hold to the truth as their deaths approach? Not saying some people wouldn't say the truth, b/c of course some would, but I find it incredibly unlikely if you are trying to say all men tell the truth as their deaths approach. If he is a revolutionary he might indeed be hoping to escape death so he can escape and start the same process over. I don't think that a rebel or a revolutionary is [b]ALWAYS[/b] going to be defiant to the last, especially a banker or a businessman working behind the scenes in the very heart of their target's power. I would say a foe beaten on the battlefield is more likely to take this attitude, a warrior and a general of troops. You know, like Jaime when he is defeated by Robb.

How many of these men were there? I think Varys has a long way to go if his method of killing off the middle class is by direct killings.

I could write more but I've got to go for now. Looking forward to some discussion on this. Not saying you are wrong or anything but just challengin some of your assertions.

Black Stark

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[quote name='Artanaro' post='1417048' date='Jun 26 2008, 17.42']Here is the conversation between Illyrio and Varys in AGOT.

[i]"The gods alone know," the first voice said. Arya could see a wisp of grey
smoke drifting up off the torch, writhing like a snake as it rose. "The fools
tried to kill his son, and what's worse, they made a mummer's farce of it.
He's not a man to put that aside. I warn you, the wolf and lion will soon be
at each other's throats, whether we will it or no."
[b]"Too soon, too soon," the voice with the accent complained. "What good is war
now? We are not ready. Delay." [/b]
"As well bid me stop time. Do you take me for a wizard?"[/i]

It is evident that neither Varys or Illyrio wanted to the war to happen (They wanted a war eventually, but not at the time of AGOT). Looking at this segment, it does tell us something else, specifically that Littlefinger and Varys are not working together and Varys is not omniscient :D . Joffrey was behind the attack on Bran, but Varys blames the Lannisters (aka Jamie and Cersei and notice "fools" plural). If Littlefinger and Varys were conspiring with each other, why wouldn't Littlefinger have told him about the dagger? I believe this scene happens after Catelyn and Eddard meet Littlefinger, but I'm not positive.

Artanaro[/quote]

You give LF too much credit, just the way he would like it. Also you should consider the idea that Varys and Illyrio know what they are talking about, and it wasn't just a 12 year old boy behind the Bran murder plot. During the dagger scene with Catelyn LF and Varys, they performed a "mummer's farce" as Varys refers to it. Varys was able to pretend to be a mindreader in that scene precisely because he has already been told about the dagger fiasco in advance by LF. He cooperates with LF lies, because he does not want war at this time. Catelyn never had a prayer of finding out the truth about the dagger, because she was facing the greatest liar in the kingdom (LF) and a very skillful mummer and master of disguise (Varys) who simply [b]colluded before the meeting with her[/b]. Poof, magic gone!

The mindreading farce plays on ignorance and superstition, and Varys pulled it off like a master. LF pretended ignorance, and Varys "told" him the magically acquired dagger information in front of Catelyn, which now gives LF the excuse he needs for knowing. By pretending to suck the dagger information out of Catelyn, Varys prevented her from thinking about a very crucial question, namely, [b]why do both LF and Varys know about this dagger in advance?[/b] Remember Catelyn raced to KL aboard the fastest ship she could find at White Harbor. How is it possible for LF and Varys to be ahead of her and intercept her?

This is also the reason why when LF first took Eddard to meet Catelyn, he deliberately baited the man, making him so angry. An angry man can't think straight, and maybe figure out what LF was trying to hide. LF didn't risk his life for no reason at all, he is far too calculating for that.

[quote name='Black Stark' post='1417292' date='Jun 26 2008, 21.18']I have a couple of questions. For these men, who are prosperous, does Joffrey really represent the status quo? I mean, how much time has passed since Robert's death? The King is dead, his two Hands as well, who were two of his closest friends, and the kingdom is in upheaval. It would seem to me that these prosperous men were enjoying their fortune under Robert's rule, not Joffrey's.[/quote]

Yes. and Joffrey "claims" to be Roberts legitimate successor. You and I know that isnt true, but not these loyalists. To them Joffrey is the closest thing to the status quo. Roberts son, already holding the throne.

[quote]You assert in your first paragraph that a man has no reason to lie as his death sentence is being carried out. I find that weak at best. Really? No one lies or protests their innocence unto the last? Unless you have some strong evidence that points to why this/these particular man/men would hold to the truth as their deaths approach? Not saying some people wouldn't say the truth, b/c of course some would, but I find it incredibly unlikely if you are trying to say all men tell the truth as their deaths approach. If he is a revolutionary he might indeed be hoping to escape death so he can escape and start the same process over. I don't think that a rebel or a revolutionary is [b]ALWAYS[/b] going to be defiant to the last, especially a banker or a businessman working behind the scenes in the very heart of their target's power. I would say a foe beaten on the battlefield is more likely to take this attitude, a warrior and a general of troops. You know, like Jaime when he is defeated by Robb.[/quote]

I say he is [i]probably[/i] speaking the truth. If he is a revolutionary as you propose, he would of course know he is in the hands of his evil king, and unlike our times there is no possibility of a last minute reprieve by another authority. His best bet would be to speak out boldly, in the hopes of contacting/inflaming any sympathizers in the crowd, who perhaps couild help him escape, however slim the chance.

[quote]How many of these men were there? I think Varys has a long way to go if his method of killing off the middle class is by direct killings.[/quote] I dont know if we are given an exact number. Anyway, how many Michaelangelos or Da Vinci(s) do you need to kill off to put a serious cramp in a renaissance? Early on, the number of movers and shakers has to be pretty small. Best to kill them off before they multiply beyond control...

[quote]I could write more but I've got to go for now. Looking forward to some discussion on this. Not saying you are wrong or anything but just challengin some of your assertions.
Black Stark[/quote]

And I welcome your challenges sir. I find that "free range" discusssion, like free range chicken, tastes the best :)

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[quote name='Nightflyer' post='1417707' date='Jun 27 2008, 11.22']You give LF too much credit, just the way he would like it. Also you should consider the idea that Varys and Illyrio know what they are talking about, and it wasn't just a 12 year old boy behind the Bran murder plot. During the dagger scene with Catelyn LF and Varys, they performed a "mummer's farce" as Varys refers to it. Varys was able to pretend to be a mindreader in that scene precisely because he has already been told about the dagger fiasco in advance by LF. He cooperates with LF lies, because he does not want war at this time. Catelyn never had a prayer of finding out the truth about the dagger, because she was facing the greatest liar in the kingdom (LF) and a very skillful mummer and master of disguise (Varys) who simply [b]colluded before the meeting with her[/b]. Poof, magic gone!

The mindreading farce plays on ignorance and superstition, and Varys pulled it off like a master. LF pretended ignorance, and Varys "told" him the magically acquired dagger information in front of Catelyn, which now gives LF the excuse he needs for knowing. By pretending to suck the dagger information out of Catelyn, Varys prevented her from thinking about a very crucial question, namely, [b]why do both LF and Varys know about this dagger in advance?[/b] Remember Catelyn raced to KL aboard the fastest ship she could find at White Harbor. How is it possible for LF and Varys to be ahead of her and intercept her?

This is also the reason why when LF first took Eddard to meet Catelyn, he deliberately baited the man, making him so angry. An angry man can't think straight, and maybe figure out what LF was trying to hide. LF didn't risk his life for no reason at all, he is far too calculating for that.[/quote]

The dagger is the very heart of Littlefinger's scheme for bringing war. Varys is trying to postpone war. They are working at cross purposes here.

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[quote name='grinachu' post='1417717' date='Jun 27 2008, 06.40']The dagger is the very heart of Littlefinger's scheme for bringing war. Varys is trying to postpone war. They are working at cross purposes here.[/quote]

There are two takes on this. One take says LF knows all, sees all, and deliberately set about trying to provoke a war. Despite being, at the time, a minor lord from a minor house. The other take says the LF was simply a liar in trouble, trying to cover his tracks with more lies.

Varys and LF will collude without hesitation whenever their interests coincide, as it did when they first met with Catelyn. Otherwise LF supports no one but LF, and whomever pays him the most, that usually being the Lannisters. If there can be said to be a true mastermind fomenting the war, that mastermind could only be Tywin. Only Tywin had the resources to do it, and achieve power from it, as he did. LF never that kind of power, he just rode Tywin's coattails. LF in fact was part of Tywin's "monster collection". Just as Gregor was Tywin's brutal fist, LF often functioned as Tywin's "hidden dagger", doing the bidding of the Lannisters. (I believe LF first came to Tywin's attention at age 15 during the Brandon Stark incident, but that is another story.)

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[quote name='Nightflyer' post='1417707' date='Jun 27 2008, 04.22']Yes. and Joffrey "claims" to be Roberts legitimate successor. You and I know that isnt true, but not these loyalists. To them Joffrey is the closest thing to the status quo. Roberts son, already holding the throne.

I say he is [i]probably[/i] speaking the truth. If he is a revolutionary as you propose, he would of course know he is in the hands of his evil king, and unlike our times there is no possibility of a last minute reprieve by another authority. His best bet would be to speak out boldly, in the hopes of contacting/inflaming any sympathizers in the crowd, who perhaps couild help him escape, however slim the chance.

I dont know if we are given an exact number. Anyway, how many Michaelangelos or Da Vinci(s) do you need to kill off to put a serious cramp in a renaissance? Early on, the number of movers and shakers has to be pretty small. Best to kill them off before they multiply beyond control...

And I welcome your challenges sir. I find that "free range" discusssion, like free range chicken, tastes the best :)[/quote]

Sure, to the public at large Joffrey appears to be the true successor. I don't recall how widespread the rumors about his parentage were leading up to the attack. I just feel that there's no way you can really equate Joffrey's rule with the status quo b/c of how much things had changed since Robert's death. War was everywhere, and people were afraid. Food supplies had been cutoff, raiding parties and bandits were all around the roads. These prosperous individuals could easily have been trying to take advantage of the volatile situation to further their wealth. Also, you mentioned earlier they are in debt to the crown, right? Is that not a point in favor of these men wanting to do something against Joffrey?

Well, we'll have to disagree on these men telling the truth to Joffrey. It didn't work out too well for Eddard Stark, did it?

Also, these merchants or other prosperous men don't seem all that special. I think comparing them to famous philosophers is erroneous. There isn't much evidence that they are THAT important.

Also, what exactly is Varys' motive for weakening the 'middle class'?? I don't understand that. They would seem to be very important to the functioning of the society of Westeros.

I also don't buy Varys and Petyr working together. They strike me more as rivals. Petyr is out for himself, and Varys is trying to accomplish a larger goal.

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It's quite clear that Littlefinger and Varys are at odds with one another in terms of goals.

It's quite clear that Littlefinger has actively helped to instigate the war, what with his having Lysa send secret messages to the Starks and encouraging them to believe the Lannisters were behind Jon Arryn's death and the attempt on Bran.

I think a piece of evidence that Varys provides must have been borne out, namely the fact that these Antler Men armed several hundred followers. If they were in fact supporting Joffrey, why would they keep this fact secret? They wouldn't .. so, QED, they weren't planning to use these armed men for Joffrey's benefit.

Now, Varys may well have decided to turn up this particular lot of traitors when he did because they were also part of Littlefinger's power base. Not at all impossible, and it's a good thought. But as noted, while Varys had wanted the war delayed, it was on him now ... and he preferred not to have a resolution just yet, which Stannis seizing King's Landing would likely lead to.

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[quote name='Ran' post='1417802' date='Jun 27 2008, 13.08']I think a piece of evidence that Varys provides must have been borne out, namely the fact that these Antler Men armed several hundred followers. If they were in fact supporting Joffrey, why would they keep this fact secret? They wouldn't .. so, QED, they weren't planning to use these armed men for Joffrey's benefit.[/quote]

There isn't any evidence that these Antler men had armed several hundred followers apart from Varys say so is there? That's what suspicious about this whole thing. It's possible Littlefinger lent the Crown's money to these men and Varys took the opportunity to remove them, but why would Littlefinger's men be loyal to Stannis Baratheon?

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It seems to me that almost certainly, these armed followers would have been found and rounded up as a potential danger, no? And that some of these Antler Men might, perhaps, have been able to show that in fact, no, they didn't round up these guys.

Varys would have been playing a very dangerous game indeed if he _made up_ this detail of several hundred armed followers, and someone decided to investigate it, to discover that they didn't exist. He could simply have said that they were personally going to attempt to open the gates or whatever; the fact that he includes the detail suggests to me that they actually existed.

I don't think these guys are "Littlefinger's men" just because they are a part of his power base. Littlefinger doesn't really have many "men" who are entirely his own. Instead, he operates through fellow-travellers and trading favors. The Antler Men owed him favors for the bad loans he extended to them and the positions he granted them, but this doesn't mean that they know his plans or march in lockstep with him, nor that they're going to stay aboard what they imagined was a sinking ship for him (especially when he spryly got himself out of King's Landing, which must have seemed like a bad sign to some of them).

Also, Salloreon doubtless had a wee bit less love for the Lannisters after Tyrion told him off, so it actually adds a little more motivation for him to have turned traitor.

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