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[twow Spoilers] Arianne II, Part 2

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55 minutes ago, Arrow of the Morning said:

Thanks! I found it.

http://grrm.livejournal.com/487298.html?thread=24441730#t24441730

Many people believed they would get rid of Areo POV when George said we would have less POVs in Winds. They were wrong.  

He might later when he dies, but at least, while he's alive, he will continue as such :P

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@Lord Varys

"...it seems chapters were supposed to take place at Casterly Rock in AFfC at one point."

Is that right? Where'd you hear that?

I actually think we're relatively in agreement about Mace and Aegon. I certainly agree with this...

"Mace certainly wouldn't jump ships and join Aegon at once. But if he is defeated in battle or abandoned by a majority of his vassals then this certainly would be a possibility."

... I just think it would take a political calamity of that nature, or worse, to force him to give up his ambitions.

The only things that will force House Tyrell to join Aegon for an absolute certainty are the deaths of Tommen, maybe Myrcella, and/or Mace himself. It's Mace's ambition that is the driving force behind Tyrell moves (that is, if Olenna can be believed), and that ambition is best served by the Lannister alliance: he gets his daughter as queen, and his grandson as king. If Mace is ambitious as everybody says, I can't see him giving up on that dream without a fight, which will, I think, force him tighter into the Lannister embrace.

"And Aegon actually can't afford not try to woo the Tyrells. They are simply too powerful... [they've] about 100,000 men, after all."

Well, we don't know how many men he truly controls until we know how many friends the Golden Company has. It may turn out that Aegon can afford not to woo House Tyrell. :P

Nah, you're right, it's very much in Aegon's interest to bring the Tyrells onside. It might even be in House Tyrell's interest - but my point is, it's not in Mace's interest, and won't be until it's too late.

The time to make the marriage alliance with Aegon is now, when he's weak and needs help. But a weak Aegon is no threat to Mace's dream, and so the thought of changing sides will never enter his head. It's only later, when Mace is comparatively weak, that he'd even consider it - say, after Aegon wins the Stormlands, is perhaps joined by Dorne and some friends in the Reach, is marching on King's Landing, etc. But at this point, Aegon will most likely have his marriage already arranged; even if he doesn't, will Mace have enough leverage to get his thrice-married daughter made queen again? I think not.

At that point, forced to choose between abandoning Tommen or clinging onto his royal dream, I'd bet on the latter. Expect Mace Tyrell to be ambitious past the point of good sense. That's why I say that by the time events forced him to abandon Tommen, it may be time for him to stop worrying about losing the throne and start worrying about losing Highgarden.

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@Lord Varys

As for Cersei, I'll have to respectfully disagree, although you do raise some good points. (I forgot she'd admitted to fornication.) I'll concede I've overstated my case for her remaining powerful, but I think the reverse is unlikely to be true either, i.e., I can't see her getting locked up in a tower by Mace Tyrell, even if he does think she killed Pycelle. I'll explain my reasoning in a bit, but first, some of your particular objections:

You seem to think that the regency is to be appointed by the Small Council, but I submit that the present situation is so unusual that there isn't really a legal precedent, and so the issue will be decided by force. Not, I hasten, military force, although that's a remote possibility. It's more a case of Varys's riddle: power resides where people believe it resides, and so the question here is, who will be able to convince everybody that power resides with them?

I agree Mace will most likely have the Small Council in hand, at least at first, but that advantage could be neutralized. Cersei has an advantage of her own, namely her personal connection to the king. (And here I add that Cersei may well find being the king's mother sufficient to her purposes, and leave the regency to Mace.) I foresee Mace and Cersei politicking against each other, and in some instances it may well come down to who blinks first.

And I don't think it's particularly relevant that the Lannister army isn't in the city. They can be there in a matter of days. Sure, that's not close enough to save Cersei if Tyrell wants her dead or imprisoned, but, Cersei's diminished status notwithstanding, I don't think he could do that without antagonising the Western lords and risking bringing that army into conflict with his. The Lannister army is still a factor he'd have to contend with if he were thought to be depriving the queen mother of her place at court without cause. Finding that cause will probably be a focus of his efforts in the early parts of TWOW.

As for Varys, I don't mean to suggest that he'd support Cersei against the Tyrells for her sake, but that he needs her to be a viable political entity for the near future so that she can feud productively with the Tyrells. If Mace is able to effectively sideline Cersei, he'll be able to focus on fighting Aegon, and that's not in Varys's interest. I'll go further, though: I think having Cersei be the acknowledged power in King's Landing is good propaganda for Aegon. Cersei is a better villain than Mace, and if he can say that this false king is ruled by his wicked, scheming mother, the admitted harlot, etc, it better paves the way for his victory.

And it's this that most makes me think she won't be sidelined by the Tyrells. She's too important to Varys - but only, of course, for the short term.

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20 hours ago, SeanF said:

Some Septons are monotheists (holding that the Seven are manifestations of one God) others are polytheists (holding that there are Seven Gods).  Quite possibly, some of the latter also believe in the existence of other Deities.

Even if they believe the Seven are separate entities, they are still monotheists as Catholics are: they believe that The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are different things with different powers, but at the same time, they are one single God.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, JCRB's Honeypot said:

Even if they believe the Seven are separate entities, they are still monotheists as Catholics are: they believe that The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are different things with different powers, but at the same time, they are one single God.

Well, sure, officially that's the Faith's position, but they seem to tolerate what would be heresy in the Catholic church: there's no priest in the world who's gonna contend that there's actually three separate gods.

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25 minutes ago, JCRB's Honeypot said:

Even if they believe the Seven are separate entities, they are still monotheists as Catholics are: they believe that The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are different things with different powers, but at the same time, they are one single God.

 

 

I had the impression that the Faith was more like Hinduism in this regard, in that some Hindus believe that their deities are different aspects of one God, and others believe there are multiple gods. 

On the ground, I expect that the people of Westeros have all sorts of folk beliefs, and beliefs that come from other religions, that conflict with the formal doctrines of the Faith.

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WRT the Tyrells, the way they exercise power is interesting.  They're rather like the early Kings of France, surrounded by very powerful vassals, some of whom, like the Hightowers, are probably richer than they are, and could make a good claim to be Lords Paramount of the Reach themselves.  So, they constantly intermarry with their Bannermen.  I think they have less control over their vassals than, say, the Starks or Lannisters, but their chief vassals are all close relatives, which gives them a vested interest in keeping the Tyrells in power.

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2 hours ago, SeanF said:

I had the impression that the Faith was more like Hinduism in this regard, in that some Hindus believe that their deities are different aspects of one God, and others believe there are multiple gods. 

On the ground, I expect that the people of Westeros have all sorts of folk beliefs, and beliefs that come from other religions, that conflict with the formal doctrines of the Faith.

Actually, if you see, the Faith is more like the Greek religion, they had gods that ruled or blessed some specific thing: Zeus (God of the sky and ruler of the Gods), Hares (God of War), Hephaesto (the blacksmith and god of all sort of craftsmanship), Hestia (Goddess of the family and health) and so on. They also had Primordial Deities like Gaia (Earth), Tartarus (Underworld), Pontus (Sea).

May be the Faith have the Seven Gods (like the Greeks had the twelve Olympians Gods) and some other minor or ancient gods that are part of their creation mythology. 

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

WRT the Tyrells, the way they exercise power is interesting.  They're rather like the early Kings of France, surrounded by very powerful vassals, some of whom, like the Hightowers, are probably richer than they are, and could make a good claim to be Lords Paramount of the Reach themselves.  So, they constantly intermarry with their Bannermen.  I think they have less control over their vassals than, say, the Starks or Lannisters, but their chief vassals are all close relatives, which gives them a vested interest in keeping the Tyrells in power.

The problem with the Tyrells is that they are so many. And there are especially many in Oldtown, so there can be no question that the Hightower will remain in their camp. Especially during a time in which the entire Reach is threatened by an outside force.

Keep in mind that the Golden Company doesn't seem to be aware of the Ironborn situation back in ADwD when those friends in the Reach are even discussed. They might be there but still powerless/unable to join Aegon because there levies are either with Mace/Tarly or Willas/Garlan trying to fight of the Ironborn.

@Illyrio Mo'Parties

Cersei doesn't have to be locked up in a tower cell. But right now she was already sort of locked up by Kevan. And Kevan was also adamant about Cersei having no hand in Tommen's education in the future making it very likely she is no longer as close to Tommen as she once was. While Kevan was Lord Regent the well-being of the boy lay in his hands (and prior to that in the hands of the Small Council).

I don't see how you can make the murder of Kevan and the Cersei trial thing a special case. Even a more special case would have been the imprisonment of both the queen and the Queen Regent, and after that power reverted back to the Small Council (which technically Lord Orton Merryweather, the King's Hand and Master of Laws, should have led). But considering that he fled the city rather than facing the wrath of his own liege lord, Mace Tyrell, the rule of the Realm and the city fell to Ser Harys Swyft and Grand Maester Pycelle who offered the Regency to Kevan. That was apparently not contested or challenged by either Mace and Tarly when they arrived in the city because Kevan really became Lord Regent.

Earlier on in AGoT we also see that the Small Council has to confirm the Lord Regent and Protector of the Realm (Eddard Stark) in his office.

Right now Cersei simply lacks the power to do anything.

1. We know she is guarded by Kevan's men and watched by a bunch of septas working for the High Septon who also sleep with her.

2. Cersei has not enough men to stage a coup against the Tyrells like she could back when Robert died.

3. Cersei does no longer have the prestige and the reputation to even try to win over people by seducing them or flatter them.

4. The closest Lannister army is the Riverlands and that one should already be on its way west. Even if they came to Cersei's aid - which even Jaime did not when he read her letter - they would be no match against the Tyrells. Cersei also has no way of contacting them. Any armies in the West would first have to raised and then march through the Riverlands to reach KL - right now a not so good idea. In any case, this would take quite some time.

Even if we take the most favorable series of events after Kevan's murder - say, that Cersei learns first what has happened because some loyal Lannister guardsman or servant stumbles on the corpses at first for some reason and he gains access to Maegor's and the Queen Dowager (which is very unlikely) then there is still no scenario imaginable in which only Cersei learns what has transpired.

Mace and Tarly will be informed as well, and right now Cersei lacks any sort of legal power/authority. She cannot even presume to attend a Small Council session.

If we assume George intends to make Cersei reacquire what power she had (and keep in mind that she didn't have all that much real power when she was Queen Regent anyway which is made clear by the fact that nobody came to her help when she was arrested) then he has put her in a very bad position to sell us such a plot convincingly.

He would have to dumb down Mace and Tarly a lot and make Cersei suddenly a lot smarter and less afraid than she was previously. Say, there would be a good explanation as to why Mace and Tarly don't replace Kevan's men guarding Cersei with their own. Or why they don't accuse her of Kevan's murder. Or why they simply do not put a considerable amount of effort/manpower on the resolution of the whole Cersei Lannister problem.

In addition, there is Cersei's growing paranoia to consider. She starts to believe that everybody is out to get her and Tommen. She knows that she didn't kill Pycelle and Kevan but the manner in which this was done will suggest Tyrion had a hand in that one, too (being in cahoots with the Tyrells just as he was when he murdered Tywin). And that is very likely to push her over the edge for good. She already feared in AFfC that Tyrion might still hide in the walls and only bide his time to come out and murder Tommen as well. The idea that she would want to remain in the Red Keep even if she rose to power again is not very likely. She'll still fear for her own and Tommen's life.

That's why she is most likely trying to flee the city with Tommen in tow. And her trial or events following her trial might actually provide her with an opportunity to do this.

Getting Tommen out of the city or him dying during such an attempt should also help to speed up the Aegon plot. If there is no longer a king in KL then it is much more likely that there won't be a siege or another battle between the Tyrells and the Golden Company. But Cersei would still remain a nuisance and a player of sorts who might rise to become a severe threat later in the story (either during the Second Dance or during the grand finale).

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@Lord Varys I agree with what you say above, especially with regard to Tommen and fleeing the city. Two small points I would make though:

First, you say it would seem stupid for Tarly and Mace not to accuse Cersei of Kevan's murder. I'm not sure I agree with that really, because as you yourself pointed out, she is under constant supervision by both guardsmen and septas. She would not have the means or opportunity to either arrange for someone to kill Kevan or to do so herself. I think this would be obvious to Mace and Randyll so they would take a different approach. For example, they could instead use Kevan's murder as an excuse to ramp up Cersei's "security" and place more of their own people around her. This would effectively be placing her under arrest and in their custody.

On Cersei fleeing in the city, I agree with you that it's quite a likely option. Two things to consider on that front though. First, any move in that direction would need to occur after information about Myrcella reached, either positive (I.e. Myrcella returning) or negative (e.g. Myrcella dead or hostage). Especially since Myrcella is already on her way, it would not make sense for Cersei to leave before knowing what happened there. And what happens will probably affect the circumstances under which Cersei leave. If, as seems the more likely option, Myrcella is dead or hostage, I can imagine Cersei's fleeing the city being in something of a panic/haste, done rather carelessly due to grief. 

I also wonder whether she may plan to leave the city with Tommen, but before e plan is put into action (or perhaps in her attempt to flee) Tommen is killed. I do rather believe that Cersei's attempts to save her last child (as I think the case will be) will to some extent be the cause of his death. I couldn't speculate on specifics on that front of course, but given the parties in Kings Landing who would have an interest in not allowing Cersei to flee with Tommen, it's not too hard to imagine such a scenario where he would be killed

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11 hours ago, Illyrio Mo'Parties said:

@Lord Varys

"...it seems chapters were supposed to take place at Casterly Rock in AFfC at one point."

Is that right? Where'd you hear that?

I actually think we're relatively in agreement about Mace and Aegon. I certainly agree with this...

"Mace certainly wouldn't jump ships and join Aegon at once. But if he is defeated in battle or abandoned by a majority of his vassals then this certainly would be a possibility."

... I just think it would take a political calamity of that nature, or worse, to force him to give up his ambitions.

The only things that will force House Tyrell to join Aegon for an absolute certainty are the deaths of Tommen, maybe Myrcella, and/or Mace himself. It's Mace's ambition that is the driving force behind Tyrell moves (that is, if Olenna can be believed), and that ambition is best served by the Lannister alliance: he gets his daughter as queen, and his grandson as king. If Mace is ambitious as everybody says, I can't see him giving up on that dream without a fight, which will, I think, force him tighter into the Lannister embrace.

"And Aegon actually can't afford not try to woo the Tyrells. They are simply too powerful... [they've] about 100,000 men, after all."

Well, we don't know how many men he truly controls until we know how many friends the Golden Company has. It may turn out that Aegon can afford not to woo House Tyrell. :P

Nah, you're right, it's very much in Aegon's interest to bring the Tyrells onside. It might even be in House Tyrell's interest - but my point is, it's not in Mace's interest, and won't be until it's too late.

The time to make the marriage alliance with Aegon is now, when he's weak and needs help. But a weak Aegon is no threat to Mace's dream, and so the thought of changing sides will never enter his head. It's only later, when Mace is comparatively weak, that he'd even consider it - say, after Aegon wins the Stormlands, is perhaps joined by Dorne and some friends in the Reach, is marching on King's Landing, etc. But at this point, Aegon will most likely have his marriage already arranged; even if he doesn't, will Mace have enough leverage to get his thrice-married daughter made queen again? I think not.

At that point, forced to choose between abandoning Tommen or clinging onto his royal dream, I'd bet on the latter. Expect Mace Tyrell to be ambitious past the point of good sense. That's why I say that by the time events forced him to abandon Tommen, it may be time for him to stop worrying about losing the throne and start worrying about losing Highgarden.

I agree about Mace being all in with Margaery and Tommen. We will have to see how things shake out with the deaths of Kevan and Pycelle, but Mace should be the most powerful man in King's Landing. Assuming Cersei and Margaery "win" their "trials," Tommen's seat on the throne should be secured, and House Tyrell's influence over him, should be secure... for the moment anyway.

As far as Mace knows, he can count on all of the Reach and the Westerlands, Petyr is winning the support of the Eyrie for Tommen, Dorne is a nominal ally, order is being restored in the Riverlands and the Crownlands, His sons will drive the Ironmen out of the Reach, and House Bolton is driving the Ironmen out of the North and fighting Stannis as well. Now he sees this fly off to the south. That he has blazed through the Stormlands and seized Storm's End must be a concern, but Jon Connington and his feigned boy must surely fail against the combined might of Highgarden, Casterly Rock, and the Eyrie, with no safe harbor in Dorne. 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The problem with the Tyrells is that they are so many. And there are especially many in Oldtown, so there can be no question that the Hightower will remain in their camp. Especially during a time in which the entire Reach is threatened by an outside force.

Keep in mind that the Golden Company doesn't seem to be aware of the Ironborn situation back in ADwD when those friends in the Reach are even discussed. They might be there but still powerless/unable to join Aegon because there levies are either with Mace/Tarly or Willas/Garlan trying to fight of the Ironborn.

@Illyrio Mo'Parties

Cersei doesn't have to be locked up in a tower cell. But right now she was already sort of locked up by Kevan. And Kevan was also adamant about Cersei having no hand in Tommen's education in the future making it very likely she is no longer as close to Tommen as she once was. While Kevan was Lord Regent the well-being of the boy lay in his hands (and prior to that in the hands of the Small Council).

I don't see how you can make the murder of Kevan and the Cersei trial thing a special case. Even a more special case would have been the imprisonment of both the queen and the Queen Regent, and after that power reverted back to the Small Council (which technically Lord Orton Merryweather, the King's Hand and Master of Laws, should have led). But considering that he fled the city rather than facing the wrath of his own liege lord, Mace Tyrell, the rule of the Realm and the city fell to Ser Harys Swyft and Grand Maester Pycelle who offered the Regency to Kevan. That was apparently not contested or challenged by either Mace and Tarly when they arrived in the city because Kevan really became Lord Regent.

Earlier on in AGoT we also see that the Small Council has to confirm the Lord Regent and Protector of the Realm (Eddard Stark) in his office.

Right now Cersei simply lacks the power to do anything.

1. We know she is guarded by Kevan's men and watched by a bunch of septas working for the High Septon who also sleep with her.

2. Cersei has not enough men to stage a coup against the Tyrells like she could back when Robert died.

3. Cersei does no longer have the prestige and the reputation to even try to win over people by seducing them or flatter them.

4. The closest Lannister army is the Riverlands and that one should already be on its way west. Even if they came to Cersei's aid - which even Jaime did not when he read her letter - they would be no match against the Tyrells. Cersei also has no way of contacting them. Any armies in the West would first have to raised and then march through the Riverlands to reach KL - right now a not so good idea. In any case, this would take quite some time.

Even if we take the most favorable series of events after Kevan's murder - say, that Cersei learns first what has happened because some loyal Lannister guardsman or servant stumbles on the corpses at first for some reason and he gains access to Maegor's and the Queen Dowager (which is very unlikely) then there is still no scenario imaginable in which only Cersei learns what has transpired.

Mace and Tarly will be informed as well, and right now Cersei lacks any sort of legal power/authority. She cannot even presume to attend a Small Council session.

If we assume George intends to make Cersei reacquire what power she had (and keep in mind that she didn't have all that much real power when she was Queen Regent anyway which is made clear by the fact that nobody came to her help when she was arrested) then he has put her in a very bad position to sell us such a plot convincingly.

He would have to dumb down Mace and Tarly a lot and make Cersei suddenly a lot smarter and less afraid than she was previously. Say, there would be a good explanation as to why Mace and Tarly don't replace Kevan's men guarding Cersei with their own. Or why they don't accuse her of Kevan's murder. Or why they simply do not put a considerable amount of effort/manpower on the resolution of the whole Cersei Lannister problem.

In addition, there is Cersei's growing paranoia to consider. She starts to believe that everybody is out to get her and Tommen. She knows that she didn't kill Pycelle and Kevan but the manner in which this was done will suggest Tyrion had a hand in that one, too (being in cahoots with the Tyrells just as he was when he murdered Tywin). And that is very likely to push her over the edge for good. She already feared in AFfC that Tyrion might still hide in the walls and only bide his time to come out and murder Tommen as well. The idea that she would want to remain in the Red Keep even if she rose to power again is not very likely. She'll still fear for her own and Tommen's life.

That's why she is most likely trying to flee the city with Tommen in tow. And her trial or events following her trial might actually provide her with an opportunity to do this.

Getting Tommen out of the city or him dying during such an attempt should also help to speed up the Aegon plot. If there is no longer a king in KL then it is much more likely that there won't be a siege or another battle between the Tyrells and the Golden Company. But Cersei would still remain a nuisance and a player of sorts who might rise to become a severe threat later in the story (either during the Second Dance or during the grand finale).

Shouldn't we expect Mace to claim the regency? 

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5 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Shouldn't we expect Mace to claim the regency? 

I do that, but it is not really necessary. He is the Hand of the King. The office could remain vacant without causing any harm or hurting his power base. But considering that right now Mace has every opportunity and all the real power in his hands I don't see him not proclaiming himself the new Lord Regent at once, perhaps even naming Randyll Tarly Protector of the Realm. He can throw around titles now.

If he for some reason doesn't claim the Regency and leaves the office vacant then Cersei still can't claim it should she win her trial because Mace and the Tyrell-dominated Small Council will appoint a new regent, no one else.

@HelenaExMachina

The security thing could work just as fine. Mace could easily use the fact that the Lannister guardsmen 'allowed the Grand Maester and the Lord Regent to be murdered within the walls of the Red Keep itself' as a pretext to take the Queen Dowager and King Tommen under his own 'protection' to 'guarantee their safety'.

However, Mace does not have to be rational or care about opportunities Cersei might not had. It is very difficult to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that somebody had no opportunity to do something - Cersei could, for instance, have made use of some (imagined) secret tunnels to get to Pycelle's apartments personally. She could have acted through a Lannister man she previously seduced and corrupted who happened to guard her now, or she could simply have used witchcraft or sorcery. Quite difficult to get out of such an accusation. And if Mace did actually accuse Cersei of such crimes people would come forth and testify against her. They did so during Tyrion's trial, too, after all. It is not that Cersei ever was a very popular person with many friends, not to mention right now with her reputation utterly destroyed. Who would come forth and try to defend her against such accusation if it is clear that they would have to face Mace Tyrell to do so?

Yeah, I think I've tossed around the idea that Cersei might try to use Ser Robert Strong to abduct/free/save Tommen only to get him killed in the process since before ADwD came out. The whole trial-by-combat thing was already a possibility back then.

And I'd also agree that Cersei would actually want to wait and take Myrcella with her, too, but we don't know what effect the murders of Pycelle and Kevan will have on her. The Epilogue suggested that she wanted Taena back in KL and intended to take steps to deal with her uncle somehow. But we still don't know whom she saw as her greatest enemy after the walk, or whom she would like to kill first. Kevan's death might shatter her original plan to play the meek woman - that seemed to have worked for her uncle but it certainly will not work with Mace Tyrell or Randyll Tarly. 

I'm really not sure whether she can wait very long. Every day that passes will give Mace the opportunity to consolidate his power and take away her last remaining allies. Qyburn could be killed or just bought by the Tyrells, after all. And with that she would most likely also lose Ser Robert Strong.

I once also entertained the idea of Cersei using Ser Robert to simply murder Mace and Tarly (and I think that idea will cross her mind once she fully understands how unstoppable that creature is) but that would be a stupid move because it would not remove the Tyrell army in the city nor save Tommen from 'Tyrion'.

We should trust Varys' assessment there that the whole crossbow parallel will cause Cersei to jump on the Tyrion train and that should really increase her paranoia very much. Even killing Mace might not make her feel secure - even if we also assumed his army would disappear with him.

In general I think the only good way to interpret the development in KL throughout AFfC and ADwD is to see this all as preparation for Aegon's success. Remember how pointless and convoluted/strange that plot felt without the knowledge that Aegon was preparing his invasion/already invading at the same time? With Dany not coming soon there seemed to be little to no good reason to destroy Lannister power so quickly or have the people in charge get caught up in petty little schemes.

But in light of the fact that George seems to want seat Aegon on the Iron Throne as soon as possible and install him as (at least one of) the major opponent(s) of Dany in the second half of the series this whole scenario actually makes sense.

Any scenario without Aegon in Westeros would have most likely focused on Cersei and the Lannisters consolidating their power to set them up as formidable enemies against Daenerys.

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Personally I think George is about to decimate the "so many" Tyrells. And not in the original Roman sense of the word, but in the common usage meaning of it. The 100,000 (a number which I am not fully convinced of in any case considering the Stormland host that combined with the Tyrells in Renly's force to get him to his 80k, as well as Renly's tendency to exxagerate), is likely to be around 20k once Euron, Dorne, the Golden company and various Reach rebel lords are done with the Tyrells.

Not to mention the Grey Plague which is just waiting in the wings to sweep through the thightly packed and oh so ripe Reach lands.

All producing tens of thousands of ripe corpses, ready for the Others to raise into their army.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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8 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Personally I think George is about to decimate the "so many" Tyrells. And not in the original Roman sense of the word, but in the common usage meaning of it. The 100,000 (a number which I am not fully convinced of in any case considering the Stormland host that combined with the Tyrells in Renly's force to get him to his 80k, as well as Renly's tendency to exxagerate), is likely to be around 20k once Euron, Dorne, the Golden company and various Reach rebel lords are done with the Tyrells.

Not to mention the Grey Plague which is just waiting in the wings to sweep through the thightly packed and oh so ripe Reach lands.

All producing tens of thousands of ripe corpses, ready for the Others to raise into their army.

That is not going to go quickly. In fact, any outbreaks of the Grey Plague would first hit the Stormlands and possibly KL depending where the hell Jon Connington is when that happens. He isn't in the Reach right now.

We don't know how many Stormland levies were with Renly, but we do know that 'King Renly' effectively did a royal progress throughout the Reach not the Stormlands so most of the men with him at Bitterbridge would have been Reach men. Whether they all were soldiers isn't clear, and I'm very inclined to doubt that. But anyway - the bulk of those men showed up at KL and are essentially still there minus the men who fell at the Blackwater and under Tarly's command when the Northmen were butchered at Duskendale.

I've already said it above - unless some people didn't return home or disappear into thin air without being mentioned in the books then the Mace might still command 50,000-60,000 men. Tyrion tosses around even greater numbers when he talks to Oberyn in ASoS and he might be right because the bulk of Stannis' men (Stormlanders and Reach men) abandoned him when they saw Renly's ghost. However, I guess the majority of them might have gone back home because they did not have their liege requesting their presence at the capital (for the royal wedding and so on).

Perhaps a good portion of the Tyrell men returned home with Olenna and Alerie and Garlan after the wedding between Tommen and Margaery, but we don't know that for sure. Nor do we know what happened to those 10,000 additional men that were remaining back at Highgarden with Mace when Renly began his march. There is no reason to believe that Mace took those men with him when he met with Lord Tywin near the Blackwater. Logistics make it more likely that only a small contingent of men raced from Bitterbridge to Highgarden and then back there to take Renly's remaining troops there (about 60,000) to KL.

And regardless of those numbers we still have the fact to consider that the Tyrells can still raise armies back home. Garlan and Willas are doing that right now, and the impression we get is that the Hightowers more or less stayed completely out of the war. No sons of Lord Leyton joined Renly, so the best idea is to assume that they only sent a token force to Mace and Renly (I think Cat sees a few Hightower banners at Renly's camp).

Again, the potential for treason or rebellion in the Reach is not very good right now. The Reach itself is threatened by the Ironborn. The chance that many lords living there are going to plan to begin a two-front war (themselves against Tyrell/Tommen loyalists and the Ironborn) at the same time makes no sense at all. Some lords close to the Stormlands who feel sort of safe from the Ironborn because they are far away from the coasts might consider joining Aegon - but even they must know that the long ships of the Ironborn can go far up the streams and rivers of the Reach connected to the Mander, and they know from their histories what this means.

Again, the talk about 'the friends in the Reach' is from a time when Laswell Peake had no idea that the Reach was under heavy threat/attacks from King Euron. They only learn about that after they have taken Griffin's Roost, after all. And the overall consideration of that is that they find that pretty promising because this means they don't have to worry about their rear (i.e. a sudden invasion of the Golden Company-occupied territory from the Reach). They can safely focus on the Tyrells troops at KL.

I see little chance that Aegon gains many Reach lords/men willing to fight against their fellow Reach men in the Tyrell armies at KL. He might be willing to get their support if he offers to fight against the Ironborn, but he is most likely not going to do that right now because he first has to deal with the Tyrell army marching against Storm's End.

If Dorne would join Aegon one of Doran's armies - the one in the Prince's Pass - could offer help to the Tyrells and Hightowers dealing with the Ironborn. And that would actually be wisest course if Aegon wants to win the friendship and allegiance and support of the Reach lords. Attacking the Reach/Oldtown wouldn't help him one bit. If he does not want the Dornish army to fight against the Ironborn he should use both Dornish armies in his attempt to take KL.

But if George's plan is to set up Aegon very quickly as a new and successful King of Westeros who actually deserves that name then the best way would be to have him win both the Iron Throne and the allegiance/friendship of the Reach at the same time. And that would work best if he took KL while other people fighting in his name would also help fight off the Ironborn. Whether this will mark Euron's end is unclear. I don't think so, actually, because if the Redwyne fleet is destroyed then the Dornishmen could at best hope to help defend the coasts around Oldtown. Permanently retaking the Shields wouldn't be an option while Euron has the advantage on the sea.

I've thought a little bit about the idea of corpses rising everywhere around Westeros and I don't think that's likely to happen. At least not until the Wall is falling (which should still take considerable time). And even then - we don't know how this spell works or if a mass zombie apocalypse is something George has in mind for us. Not to me

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One thing that called my attention is the number of rumors about rape in the chapter. We had first the rumor about the septas that were kidnap and turned slaves and the rumor about about Alynne Connington being raped by Griffin. In Mystwood we had Lady Mertyns saying she was not raped, but some of her servants were.

I wonder if this rumors will have impact in Arianne.

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10 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I see little chance that Aegon gains many Reach lords/men willing to fight against their fellow Reach men in the Tyrell armies at KL. He might be willing to get their support if he offers to fight against the Ironborn, but he is most likely not going to do that right now because he first has to deal with the Tyrell army marching against Storm's End.

Let's say he defeats that army descending upon Storm's End from King's Landing. And let's say he learns that Euron is besieging Oldtown. Might Aegon then march against Euron, gathering friends in the Reach to his banners? 

If so, might Daenerys arrive at Oldtown as Aegon finds himself hard pressed by foes as Tyrion predicted? 

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5 hours ago, Arrow of the Morning said:

One thing that called my attention is the number of rumors about rape in the chapter. We had first the rumor about the septas that were kidnap and turned slaves and the rumor about about Alynne Connington being raped by Griffin. In Mystwood we had Lady Mertyns saying she was not raped, but some of her servants were.

I wonder if this rumors will have impact in Arianne.

Bad things happen in war. Even Stannis could not prevent bad things, but could only punish the offenders. Jon Connington does not have total control over the Golden Company. 

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12 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Bad things happen in war. Even Stannis could not prevent bad things, but could only punish the offenders. Jon Connington does not have total control over the Golden Company. 

Yes, I know. And when the men of the Golden Company said they raped no one I don't believe in it, even the GC soldiers being very disciplined. But, the number of rumors about noble women being raped was unusual, even if they are not true. Noble women being raped is a rare incident. I wonder if someone like this will gonna happen. Sylva Santagar (Arianne's dear friend and widow of the old Lord of Green Stone) is in Green Stone and the island was captured by the Golden Company. If it happens with her, Arianne's reaction would not be good.

 

 

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33 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Let's say he defeats that army descending upon Storm's End from King's Landing. And let's say he learns that Euron is besieging Oldtown. Might Aegon then march against Euron, gathering friends in the Reach to his banners? 

If so, might Daenerys arrive at Oldtown as Aegon finds himself hard pressed by foes as Tyrion predicted? 

Could be. But I actually find Aegon would be damned stupid or acting irrationally if he did not press his advantage against KL if he is so close. He wants the Iron Throne, not get absorbed in some squabbles at the other end of the Realm. Helping the Hightowers could win him their allegiance only if he won there. But he doesn't have any ships. So lets assume he fights off Euron but the Ironborn just retreat at sea. Does this mean the Hightowers will give him thousands of men to fill up his ranks? No, because they can't. Not as long as the Ironborn threat is still a thing.

A siege of Oldtown is also not very likely to happen. Euron doesn't have the men for that. He could stage a naval blockade of some sort but no land-based siege. The Hightowers seem to have nearly all of their strength back in their lands, and we don't know how many men they actually control. Could be 20,000 or more.

What I could see is that Aegon dispatches the second Dornish army - the one in the Prince's Pass - to support the Reach men against the Ironborn. That would be a grand gesture and most likely help him win the friendship of the Reach in general. Whether he'll be able to do this would depend on the decisiveness of his victory over the Tyrell army. If that is a stalemate or causes great losses on both sides he'll be in trouble and need the full support of Dorne to take KL.

But I think there is no chance that personally invades the Reach while KL is not yet taken. He has to have the Iron Throne and the Red Keep to finally become a king. The plan clearly is to crown and anoint Prince Aegon King Aegon VI Targaryen in the Great Sept of King's Landing, not in some castle or on some battlefield. The people involved in this movement know how important symbolism like that is. If Aegon takes the whole thing the Stannis or Renly he'll be nothing but another pretender.

Not to mention that from a military point of view it would be a grave strategic mistake to keep a Tyrell-controlled KL in the rear. Unless Mace is not defeated completely - and if that happens then there is no reason not to take KL - the army there will remain a threat. Should Aegon abandon the Stormlands the Tyrells from KL or a Lannister army raised in the meantime could actually retake Storm's End and cut off his ability to retreat to Essos.

There is no way the conservatives in the Golden Company will allow this. Not to mention that with Dorne joining them and Varys scheming in KL there is no reason for them to assume they won't be able to take KL. The time for grand gestures and campaigns to win the love of the people and the lords is when the throne is Aegon's, not right now.

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