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Ser Illin'

What Varys Doesn't Say in the Epilogue...

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I think the POV was Connington when visiting the Golden Company. One of the captains complains of the constantly changing Eunuch's plans. Is that right? sry don't have my book for ref.

totally... I just re-read that bit last night... and he lists what Varys has changed "first it was Viserys, then it was Danerys, then it was meeting in Volantis, now it's in Merene" or some such.

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But to whom was Varys talking? To Kevan, a dying man?? Pointless!

No, I think he was talking to a pair of ears hidden in the walls, a spy for someone who was to be fed with false assumptions. maybe one of the little birds was a traitor and Varys was using his so very passionate and convincing speech for a little desinformation game.

And who was to be convinced? Who was at the receiving end of Varys' message? Who was go be manipulated?

Yeah, pretty much. He didnt waste the time with any other people he's killed.

totally... I just re-read that bit last night... and he lists what Varys has changed "first it was Viserys, then it was Danerys, then it was meeting in Volantis, now it's in Merene" or some such.

It's clear the plan has changed. They're trying for the most adventageous way of taking over westeros.

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I don't see why GRRM would show that vision to Dany (and us) if it was just for Rhaegar to be wrong. I highly doubt the prophecy can be a load of shit since it has been built so much (maybe misinterpreted but not a load of shit). World is doomed, however, might just be a possibility though.

In an interview, GRRM mentions that one of the reasons he started writing ASOIAF was because he'd read Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series:

In Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn the main prophecy upon which the entire series revolves turns out to be a plot by the villains. The heroes wind up fulfilling it to the villains' delight.

Marwyn also says in ADWD that "Prophecy...will bite your prick off every time."

I think it's dangerous to assume that all or even most of the prophecies in ASOIAF are merely ciphers that--if decoded--will tell us exactly what's going to happen later in the series. Very dangerous indeed.

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Very suspicious that Varys never says "Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar and Elia is here..."

If Aegon is real, I don't think he will be one of the heads. I believe he's going to die before ever even meeting Dany.

Real or fake, I think Aegon will not live to the end of the series. George said there will be a new dance of the dragons, so he and Dany will definitely meet.

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There is also the giant white raven present.

I think this is significant because I believe that Varys is knowingly entangled in the overall Song and is trying to establish something towards making one side (Ice or Fire) or the middle road victorious. My belief in Varys being involved in the Song is that, when Kevan asks "Why did you just kill me?" Varys responds with "For the children." But what children? I highly doubt he needs the realm in shambles for the sake of his little birds; if it was for making it easier for Aegon to be on the throne, then it would be "For the child." If it was "for the children of the realm," well, creating more and more war is NOT in the average kids best interest. But what if, in saying children, he is referencing the Children of the Forest? This brings me back to the white raven that is also in the room. We know that Bloodraven is a very powerful Greenseer/Warg; we know that he has many connections to ravens; maybe he is warging the raven at that time and Varys knows it?

Food for thought

I find this theory too contrived to be true: from what we know Varys and Illyrio lived as brigands for a long time playing the law, surviving and even getting rich in a very hostil environment. I believe Varys does really believe he's killing, betraying and plotting all for the sake of children. And with that he means all the poor people who can't fend for themselves and die and suffer when the high and mighty fight their wars.

That's why Varys feels the need to confess to Kevan before finishing him off: he wants to tell him that although Kevan was a good man doing good things for Tommen he wasn't doing the interest of the Realm as a whole. Varys (in his head at least) IS working in the interest of the Realm, the poor people and their children especially, and therefore he feels ultimately justified even in killing a good man like Kevan, because when Aegon will come to rule he will be the perfect king as he's been trained to care about the common people as his duty. Varys feels guilty about killing Kevan (who doesn't deserve it), but keeping him alive is too risky and the final goal is too important to be jeopardized by moral concerns.

My take is Varys (and maybe Illyrio, though I think the latter is really in the conspiration because he wants the title of master of coin) was scarred pretty badly by his youth and doesn't want any other children to suffer what he suffered back then. All of his plotting is aimed to put someone trustworthy on the Iron Throne, as the way Aegon was raised exemplifies.

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I find this theory too contrived to be true: from what we know Varys and Illyrio lived as brigands for a long time playing the law, surviving and even getting rich in a very hostil environment. I believe Varys does really believe he's killing, betraying and plotting all for the sake of children. And with that he means all the poor people who can't fend for themselves and die and suffer when the high and mighty fight their wars.

That's why Varys feels the need to confess to Kevan before finishing him off: he wants to tell him that although Kevan was a good man doing good things for Tommen he wasn't doing the interest of the Realm as a whole. Varys (in his head at least) IS working in the interest of the Realm, the poor people and their children especially, and therefore he feels ultimately justified even in killing a good man like Kevan, because when Aegon will come to rule he will be the perfect king as he's been trained to care about the common people as his duty. Varys feels guilty about killing Kevan (who doesn't deserve it), but keeping him alive is too risky and the final goal is too important to be jeopardized by moral concerns.

My take is Varys (and maybe Illyrio, though I think the latter is really in the conspiration because he wants the title of master of coin) was scarred pretty badly by his youth and doesn't want any other children to suffer what he suffered back then. All of his plotting is aimed to put someone trustworthy on the Iron Throne, as the way Aegon was raised exemplifies.

Sure, Varys doesn't want children to suffer - that's why he uses children with cut out tongues as spys. Sure, Varys doesn't want the smallfolk to suffer war - that is why he provokes the lords and kings to fight. He is a real saint all right.

And why on earth would Varys and Illyrio care less about the children and smallfolk of Westeros, when they are both natives of Essos? If they really are so altruistic, why not clean up their own backyards first, it's not like Essos is perfect so why focus on a country that isn't even theirs?

And as for Aegon being the 'perfect king' - well, I doubt it. I can't see how he gives a hoot for the poor folk and I can't see at all how he will necessarily be a better king than anyone else. The only thing that is 'better' about Aegon, as far as Varys and Illyrio are concerned, is that they think that he will be their puppet.

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I find this theory too contrived to be true: from what we know Varys and Illyrio lived as brigands for a long time playing the law, surviving and even getting rich in a very hostil environment. I believe Varys does really believe he's killing, betraying and plotting all for the sake of children. And with that he means all the poor people who can't fend for themselves and die and suffer when the high and mighty fight their wars.

That's why Varys feels the need to confess to Kevan before finishing him off: he wants to tell him that although Kevan was a good man doing good things for Tommen he wasn't doing the interest of the Realm as a whole. Varys (in his head at least) IS working in the interest of the Realm, the poor people and their children especially, and therefore he feels ultimately justified even in killing a good man like Kevan, because when Aegon will come to rule he will be the perfect king as he's been trained to care about the common people as his duty. Varys feels guilty about killing Kevan (who doesn't deserve it), but keeping him alive is too risky and the final goal is too important to be jeopardized by moral concerns.

My take is Varys (and maybe Illyrio, though I think the latter is really in the conspiration because he wants the title of master of coin) was scarred pretty badly by his youth and doesn't want any other children to suffer what he suffered back then. All of his plotting is aimed to put someone trustworthy on the Iron Throne, as the way Aegon was raised exemplifies.

I disagree. Vary's doesnt give a shit about the common folk. He cares about his own objectives and will brutally seek their fruition.

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Yeah, pretty much. He didnt waste the time with any other people he's killed.

It's clear the plan has changed. They're trying for the most adventageous way of taking over westeros.

This seems to be everyone's solution to the question of why Varys and Illyrio's plans seem so convoluted: Plans have changed, or this is plan B. although i believe Dany did something unexpected, IMHO Aegon was always plan A, and these guys are too smart to constantly be changing a master plan over a decade in the making. Obviously they adjust things based on some unpredictability in the decisions their pawns make, but I feel that for the most part everything is proceeding as they originally intended.

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Sure, Varys doesn't want children to suffer - that's why he uses children with cut out tongues as spys. Sure, Varys doesn't want the smallfolk to suffer war - that is why he provokes the lords and kings to fight. He is a real saint all right.

And why on earth would Varys and Illyrio care less about the children and smallfolk of Westeros, when they are both natives of Essos? If they really are so altruistic, why not clean up their own backyards first, it's not like Essos is perfect so why focus on a country that isn't even theirs?

And as for Aegon being the 'perfect king' - well, I doubt it. I can't see how he gives a hoot for the poor folk and I can't see at all how he will necessarily be a better king than anyone else. The only thing that is 'better' about Aegon, as far as Varys and Illyrio are concerned, is that they think that he will be their puppet.

So, why did Varys pratically apologize to Kevan while killing him? If he was just the evil man you think him to be he would have laughed in Kevan's face. Instead he justifies himself. He explains how what he does is for the best of the realm and unfortunate casualities like Kevan are despicable but necessary.

As any other character in ASoIaF Varys is neither completely evil nor completely good. For him the end justifies the means, pure and simple. I tend to believe he thought what he was telling Kevan was the truth because he had no reason to lie at that point.

If you want me to tell you Varys does horrible things, I'd say it, because it's in the books, but to me it's also important to understand the reason behind these actions. Varys is never shown to be greedy, or in love with power, believe it or not he's generally shown as someone who thinks he puts the interests of the realm before anything else. And as I said above is monologue about Aegon seems sincere, he really seems to believe Aegon will save the realm and use power responsably. From what we know about his training we know it was top notch and it involved a great many things, and he mingled with the common folks for sure (if you want to disbelief what Varys claims about his training).

So, I'm not telling you Varys is a saint, far from it: I'm just telling you he justifies the horrible actions he takes because he believes what he's doing is for the greater good. Wheter it's true or false we'll see in the next 2 books.

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So, why did Varys pratically apologize to Kevan while killing him? If he was just the evil man you think him to be he would have laughed in Kevan's face. Instead he justifies himself. He explains how what he does is for the best of the realm and unfortunate casualities like Kevan are despicable but necessary.

As any other character in ASoIaF Varys is neither completely evil nor completely good. For him the end justifies the means, pure and simple. I tend to believe he thought what he was telling Kevan was the truth because he had no reason to lie at that point.

If you want me to tell you Varys does horrible things, I'd say it, because it's in the books, but to me it's also important to understand the reason behind these actions. Varys is never shown to be greedy, or in love with power, believe it or not he's generally shown as someone who thinks he puts the interests of the realm before anything else. And as I said above is monologue about Aegon seems sincere, he really seems to believe Aegon will save the realm and use power responsably. From what we know about his training we know it was top notch and it involved a great many things, and he mingled with the common folks for sure (if you want to disbelief what Varys claims about his training).

So, I'm not telling you Varys is a saint, far from it: I'm just telling you he justifies the horrible actions he takes because he believes what he's doing is for the greater good. Wheter it's true or false we'll see in the next 2 books.

Oh yeah, apologising to someone for killing them totally nullifies any 'evil' caused by killing them in the first place.

Look, I agree that Varys is neither completely good nor completely evil. And I think he feels totally justified in doing the things he does. But there is no way he is doing things 'for the realm'. It makes no sense - the realm was pretty much fine before he went pouring paranoia into Aerys's ear and then the realm was pretty much fine before he stirred up trouble again in Robert's reign. Varys is one of the main people who is causing problems, and it is not to protect the smallfolk because they are the ones who are suffering during wars and they are the ones who don't really give a stuff who rules them.

And why on earth, you have to ask yourself, does he give a flying flip over who rules Westeros anyway? It isn't his country, the governance of it is none of his beeswax.

As to Varys's conversation with the dying Kevan - there are so many problems with that scenario you would have to be completely naive to take it at face value. For starters:

  • They are not alone - the conversation may be for the little birds who are present who may report to Illyrio on Varys's behaviour. Or Varys may have them being double agents feeding misinformation to Qyburn. Plus there is a white raven present - the speech could be for the benefit of someone warging the bird.
  • Why speak to Kevan at all? Varys could have just shot him and then left. The speech is hardly an apology - it is very flippant and facetious - a big kick in the pants to a dying man.
  • The whole speil about Aegon is such propaganda it's not even funny. The kid is as self-entitled as any wanna-be king out there. Sure he has lived on a fishing boat and knows how to mend a net but he didn't look or sound like someone who allegedly had been hunted and hungry and afraid all his life. I'd say it is pretty much impossible to raise someone to be king without making them arrogant and conceited, and Aegon is no exception.

As I said, I also believe that Varys is doing what he does for a 'greater good', but you have to ask what greater good? Or who's greater good?

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So, why did Varys pratically apologize to Kevan while killing him?

While obsequious in tone (as always) Varys treatment of a dying Kevan is extremely cruel.

Varys intentionally picks a method of death for Kevan that is tremedously painful. Then, rather than kill him quickly while he bleeds out, Varys takes the time to let Kevan know - as he slips from this world in agony - that he is going to undo all of Kevan's life's work (which they both know will almost certainly result in the deaths of Kevan's children and extended family). And moreover, that Kevan's own death itself will be part of the strategy to unravel the alliances Kevan and Tywin built.

But because he says "This pains me my Lord" that means he's really sorry.

I am continually baffled that people consistently take Varys' self serving statements at their word. Like Syrio says, see with your eyes!

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Oh yeah, apologising to someone for killing them totally nullifies any 'evil' caused by killing them in the first place.

Look, I agree that Varys is neither completely good nor completely evil. And I think he feels totally justified in doing the things he does. But there is no way he is doing things 'for the realm'. It makes no sense - the realm was pretty much fine before he went pouring paranoia into Aerys's ear and then the realm was pretty much fine before he stirred up trouble again in Robert's reign. Varys is one of the main people who is causing problems, and it is not to protect the smallfolk because they are the ones who are suffering during wars and they are the ones who don't really give a stuff who rules them.

And why on earth, you have to ask yourself, does he give a flying flip over who rules Westeros anyway? It isn't his country, the governance of it is none of his beeswax.

As to Varys's conversation with the dying Kevan - there are so many problems with that scenario you would have to be completely naive to take it at face value. For starters:

  • They are not alone - the conversation may be for the little birds who are present who may report to Illyrio on Varys's behaviour. Or Varys may have them being double agents feeding misinformation to Qyburn. Plus there is a white raven present - the speech could be for the benefit of someone warging the bird.
  • Why speak to Kevan at all? Varys could have just shot him and then left. The speech is hardly an apology - it is very flippant and facetious - a big kick in the pants to a dying man.
  • The whole speil about Aegon is such propaganda it's not even funny. The kid is as self-entitled as any wanna-be king out there. Sure he has lived on a fishing boat and knows how to mend a net but he didn't look or sound like someone who allegedly had been hunted and hungry and afraid all his life. I'd say it is pretty much impossible to raise someone to be king without making them arrogant and conceited, and Aegon is no exception.

As I said, I also believe that Varys is doing what he does for a 'greater good', but you have to ask what greater good? Or who's greater good?

If it was propaganda than it was meant to influence the behavior of a listener. Thus, it was mean to be heard by someone other than dying the Kevan.

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Varys survives by having his own tricks and plots. It would be like him to have a plan like this on the backburner to kick into action when and if it should seem necessary. That's all he has but he is damn good at it. Why would he support Dany and Viserys first instead of Aegon? Because he is not as legit, ergo a Blackfyre.

I agree with this. Varys and Illyio and crafty to the extreme. They had a plan to put Viserys on the throne because of his claim and viewed Dany as a pawn. "Aegon" was a back-up plan that they had to put into place because Viserys is dead due to his own hubris and Dany is off trying to save Slavers Bay with her Dragons. Viserys is a chess master playing the game of thrones. I would speculate that Dany's eventual arrival in Westeros after Aegon makes a move on the Iron Throne will wind up spoiling Dany's plan. However, Dany does have a soft spot in her heart for the two schemers for the kindness they showed her and Viserys. He's got the angles covered.

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If it was propaganda than it was meant to influence the behavior of a listener. Thus, it was mean to be heard by someone other than dying the Kevan.

It was heard by someone other than the dying Kevan - all of those little birds that were there, remember? Some people think that they are reporting to Illyrio on Varys's behaviour to make sure he is toeing the official line - and that Varys knows this and was just reciting the speil.

Others (myself included) think that Varys is manipulating Qyburn (and by extention, Cersei) by allowing the new Master of Whispers access to some of the little birds who are feeding him misinformation. I tend to think that Varys was demonstrating to the little birds the official line so that they would know what to repeat. He binds the little birds to him by implicating them in Kevan's murder too. There is absolutely no need for that group of children to be there with their knives - Varys could have done the whole murder himself. He wants to make sure the kids are a part of it so they feel as though they can't go against Varys without getting themselves into trouble.

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They had a plan to put Viserys on the throne because of his claim and viewed Dany as a pawn. "Aegon" was a back-up plan that they had to put into place because Viserys is dead due to his own hubris and Dany is off trying to save Slavers Bay with her Dragons.

Viserys is the one who was wandering without aid for more than a decade. Aegon has been trained by Jon Connington and other agents of Varys for much longer than Viserys was. And when Varys made plans for Viserys, they were always in order that Viserys might better aid Aegon.

Why give Dany three hugely valuable dragon eggs? So that she can buy her husband some ships to get him across to Westeros

I agree with most of what you've been saying, but I don't buy this. If Illyrio wants to make sure that Drogo has ships, he can buy them himself when the time comes. How better to make sure that Dany and Drogo do as he asks?

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I agree with most of what you've been saying, but I don't buy this. If Illyrio wants to make sure that Drogo has ships, he can buy them himself when the time comes. How better to make sure that Dany and Drogo do as he asks?

But the Dothraki may not be anywhear near Pentos when they decide to go to Westeros. They need to be free agents, with the ability to go when and from where they need to. The dragon eggs are highly valuable and highly portable, good currency for when you are on the move. And I don't think Drogo's pride would allow him to ask Illyrio for more money or ships - he would be more likely just to take them, and I don't think Illyrio would want that to happen. Or even worse, Drogo might just use not having the funds for ships as an excuse not to invade at all, so it is best to give him (or Dany) the means to buy ships right from the very beginning.

Plus I'd bet that Illyrio wants to put some distance between himself and the Dothraki, now that he has given them Dany and sent them on their merry way.

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But the Dothraki may not be anywhear near Pentos when they decide to go to Westeros. They need to be free agents, with the ability to go when and from where they need to.

Should that happen, a sizable force of Dothraki should be able to shake down any city in Essos for a small fleet of ships, just to keep Drogo from sacking their city. The Volantenes did that with the Golden Company, and Dothraki khals are bribed all the time just to keep them at bay.

And to the extent that Drogo is looking for an excuse not to invade, Dothraki hating and fearing the sea is a much bigger impediment than a temporary lack of ships.

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Should that happen, a sizable force of Dothraki should be able to shake down any city in Essos for a small fleet of ships, just to keep Drogo from sacking their city. The Volantenes did that with the Golden Company, and Dothraki khals are bribed all the time just to keep them at bay.

And to the extent that Drogo is looking for an excuse not to invade, Dothraki hating and fearing the sea is a much bigger impediment than a temporary lack of ships.

It still doesn't hurt to give them something valuable to exchange for ships. I can't see why this is such a big deal.

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It still doesn't hurt to give them something valuable to exchange for ships. I can't see why this is such a big deal.

Dragon eggs are both among the most valuable things in the world. It's a huge expense on Illyrio's part, and while it may not hurt, Illyrio is spending a lot of money for little apparent gain.

Besides which, dragon's eggs can symbolize Targaryen rule--in the era of Dunk & Egg, all of the Targaryen children had one. Even though Aegon's birth is in doubt to a degree that Dany's isn't and Viserys' wasn't, Illyrio gave all three to Dany while Aegon doesn't have one.

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Dragon eggs are both among the most valuable things in the world. It's a huge expense on Illyrio's part, and while it may not hurt, Illyrio is spending a lot of money for little apparent gain.

Besides which, dragon's eggs can symbolize Targaryen rule--in the era of Dunk & Egg, all of the Targaryen children had one. Even though Aegon's birth is in doubt to a degree that Dany's isn't and Viserys' wasn't, Illyrio gave all three to Dany while Aegon doesn't have one.

It is a huge expense for Illyrio to have purchased the dragon eggs (assuming they were purchased) which is why he wouldn't want to have to shell out a second time and pay for ships as well.

And yes the eggs symbolised the Targs and one reason for giving them to Dany would be to bolst her status in Drogo's eyes. But as you say, this is a big expense for not much reason - presumably Drogo already understands the value of a Targaryen bride.

The 'gain' that Illyrio gets for giving the valuable eggs to Dany is for the Dothraki to have the means to invade Westeros - that is a pretty valuable gain. Presumably Dany would be dead by then (her assassination being the trigger for the invasion), so she wouldn't be around to stop Drogo from selling them.

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