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Westeros Blog: The Courtly Dance

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The court in King’s Landing has featured certain upheavals in the last month, following Lord Cargyll’s stepping aside as Master of Coin. The office was, to no one’s surprise, granted to Beron Buckwell, the King’s Scales. Buckwell—son to the influential Lady Taria—had more or less fulfilled Lord Cargyll’s duties when he was away from court, so this merey made the tacit situation official. Rumors claim Lord Cargyll’s long absence from court had less to do with famiial concerns and more to do with arguments he had had with King Daeron over the cost of his efforts to hold Dorne. Of course, others lay Cargyll’s departure at Lady Taria’s feet…

Regardless of the truth of matters, other notable changes at court were put into motion. Ser Dagur Saltcliffe was made Warden of Crackclaw Point, with old Ser Richard Harte coming back to resume command of the City Watch, and the Stormbreaker became Harbormaster of King’s Landing while—to the surprise of not a few—the bastard knight Ser Luthor Rivers filled the now-vacant office of Warden of the Kingswood. In the days afterward, Ser Burton Crakehall was revealed to be the new King’s Scales, reporting directly to Beron Buckwell. Other adjustments followed, many minor, though as Ser Dagur and Ser Luthor took the reins of their tasks, few failed to notice that Buckwell knights seeemed to be winning rather more than their share of commands in the new companies being raised by these wardens. Beron Buckwell, it seemed, was being much courted by men desperate to have funds released to them, and it seems he took full advantage of it under Prince Viserys’s watchful eye.

Since then, the court has settled into a careful new routine, with a scramble by younger men to fill vacancies and carve out spaces for themselves in the scramble to secure position while King Baelor is away. King Viserys has met with a number of great lords and ladies in this time, and some say the focus of these audiences has been to increase the stability of the realm. But in readiness for what? Does the Hand presume that peace with Dorne is an impossibility? Or is he concerned instead with the East, where Donalo Prestayn has been named Sealord of Braavos, and all the alliances among the Free Cities are changing with one common factor: few seem interested in being closely associated with the Seven Kingdoms, and some indeed may look to a different kind of relationship, one centered on the Stepstones and the pirates there.

Yet others at court seem more sanguine about such things. Lord Whalon Rosby, for one, who came to host a pair of tourneys to satisfy his love of jousting, even if a personal complaint prevented his participation. The first day’s jousting was an event that ended with the wonderous victory of Ser Ethos Mertyns against the new Harbormaster of King’s Landing, Ser Sarmion Baratheon, for whom Ser Ethos once squired. A mystery knight, the Knight of Fetterlock, left the field still unmasked ... and was not seen again, leaving some to wonder if it had not been some noted member of the court in disguise. The next day’s jousting also earned some gossip, for it was called the Joust of the Golden Goose . . . which was the sigil of the former Master of Coin, Lord Cargyll. Some might say it was mere coincidence, or thoughtlessness on the notoriously thoughtless Lord Rosby’s part . . . but others had cause to wonder.

Regardless, the tourney was a grand success, with many bold knights riding. In the end, the contest came down to two: Ser Conrad Arryn, the king’s steward, and Ser Dagur Saltcliffe. The gods favored Arryn at the last, and gave him the victory. Such as a fine day’s jousting ended, despite the gloom and fog.

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