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Ragnorak

Aegon, Varys, and Serra-- the Backfyre Triangle

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About a year ago I started a thread on the Dance with Dragons Forum trying to make sense of the potential clues in the text for the Aegon is a Blackyre scenario. It was recently archived and is no longer accessible and there seems to be a lot of new members (which is a good thing) which has revitalized the interest and debate on the topic. I'll repost what I remember and hopefully people will add to it, improve upon it, or come up with more plausible alternatives from the text.

The original thread was called Piecing Together Vary as a Blackfyre because I started with the question of whether or not Varys came to Kings Landing with an agenda or if his current schemes are something opportunistic that arose later separate from his original motivations for becoming Master of Whispers. I concluded that Varys seemed far more a long term chess player than just an opportunist and that it was more reasonable for his character to have an agenda from the start. Varys and Illyrio were partners and given Illyrio's wealth greed did not seem to be a probable motivator. Illyrio wields great influence throughout Essos and very directly in Pentos so power for power's sake didn't explain much either. There isn't anything unique to Westeros that the duo couldn't acquire and enjoy in Essos except the Iron Throne which as of a DwD we know is their desired end state. So if Varys came to Westeros with an agenda it seems likely that it was the Iron Throne then as it is now. The question remains "Why?"

The Blackfyre Hypothesis and Marriage Scheme

Apparently whatever Varys and Illyrio were planning it dates back further than the few months Dany and Viserys were staying at his manse.

A vain young man, and greedy. Viserys lusted for his father’s throne, but he lusted for Daenerys too, and was loath to give her up. The night before the princess wed he tried to steal into her bed, insisting that if he could not have her hand, he would claim her maidenhead. Had I not taken the precaution of posting guards upon her door, Viserys might have undone years of planning.”

The theory is that Varys is a Blackfyre and Serra (the woman Illyrio loved) was his sister. Aegon is the son of Serra and Illyrio and is a Blackfyre through the female line. Technically, only Serra has to be a Blackfyre for Aegon to be one, but Varys as her brother or some similar connection explains his motivations better. Varys and Illyrio were information brokers and would have known that Aerys sent Steffon Baratheon to Essos to look for a bride for Rhaegar. They would know exactly what Steffon was told to look for such as the Valyrian blood and noble birth we're told about as well as other things the reader doesn't know such as possible connections to some prophesy Aerys and/or Rhaegar might be trying to fulfill. Anything written to or from Steffon or any conversations Steffon had are things Varys and Illyrio could reasonably come to know.

"Black or red, a dragon is still a dragon. When Maels the Monstrous died upon the Stepstones, it was the end of the male line of House Blackfyre." The cheesemonger smiled through his forked beard.

The king—the old king, Aerys II Targaryen, who had not been quite so mad in those days—had sent his lordship to seek a bride for Prince Rhaegar, who had no sisters to wed. “We have found the most splendid fool,” he wrote Cressen...

I suspect that Varys and Illyrio originally concocted a scheme to seize the Iron Throne through marriage. We know they came up with a marriage scheme for Dany and when that went to hell they came up with... another marriage scheme for Dany. It could have been a scheme to marry Serra to Rhaegar or another Targaryen heir or a longer term scheme to marry Serra and Illyrio's children to an eventual Targ heir. Illyrio married the daughter of the cousin of the Prince of Pentos at about the same time Varys received his invitation to go to Kings Landing. This makes Illyrio Pentos nobility and that position could have been used to say Serra was related to him or simply make his eventual children with Serra Pentos nobles. Illyrio's marriage ends for an unknown reason and his marriage to Serra comes quite soon after with some displeasure from the Prince.

I grew so respectable that a cousin of the Prince of Pentos let me wed his maiden daughter, whilst whispers of a certain eunuch's talents crossed the narrow sea and reached the ears of a certain king.

“Serra. I found her in a Lysene pillow house and brought her home to warm my bed, but in the end I wed her. Me, whose first wife had been a cousin of the Prince of Pentos. The palace gates were closed to me thereafter, but I did not care. The price was small enough, for Serra.”

Not everything is nefarious but Illyrio did marry a noble woman whose loss he never laments enough to explain her fate and then in short order marries a prostitute slave that gains him the ire of the Prince of Pentos. It invites curiosity.

Serra the Blackfyre

We're told very little of Serra. Varys is said to be from Lys like Serra was-- not compelling by itself but it doesn't hurt the case. Illyrio marrying her stands out but isn't wholly unprecedented as the Widow Jorah and Tyrion deal with seems to have had a similar marriage. Illyrio does mention his irrational lust for Dany when speaking with Tyrion and when he sees her in GoT he says:

“Look at her. That silver-gold hair, those purple eyes… she is the blood of old Valyria, no doubt, no doubt… and highborn, daughter of the old king, sister to the new, she cannot fail to entrance our Drogo.”

Dany seems to remind Illyrio of someone he is fond of who he associates with the blood of old Valyria.

Inside was a painted likeness of a woman with big blue eyes and pale golden hair streaked by silver.

Aegon the Blackfyre

As to Aegon being Illyrio's son there are the richly made boys clothes Tyrion is provided while staying at Illyrio's and Illyrio's apparent fondness for the boy that offer some hints.

“There is a gift for the boy in one of the chests. Some candied ginger. He was always fond of it.” Illyrio sounded oddly sad. “I thought I might continue on to Ghoyan Drohe with you. A farewell feast before you start downriver …”

But the bigger reason is Illyrio's motivation and stake in who sits the Iron Throne when he has no apparent reason to care for anything Westerosi. He is man described by both Dany and Tyrion as someone who would sell out anyone for a profit so why would he care so much about this? Illyrio tells Tyrion:

"I told you, my little friend, not all that a man does is done for gain. Believe as you wish, but even fat old fools like me have friends, and debts of affection to repay."

If Serra is a Blackfyre than putting their son Aegon on the Iron Throne would certainly explain the debt of affection. Having a friend to repay would indicate that this Aegon scheme is also Illyrio repaying a debt of friendship which would imply Varys has a personal stake in this as well as opposed to Varys being the one repaying a debt to Illyrio.

There is also this bit of foreshadowing that points toward a Blackfyre returning as a Targaryen as the red dragon is the Targaryen symbol and the black dragon is the Blackfyre symbol.

The sight of the black iron dragon made him wroth, so he cut down the post, hacked the sign into pieces, and cast them into the river. One of the dragon’s heads washed up on the Quiet Isle many years later, though by that time it was red with rust.

What Game has Varys been Playing?

As an interesting bit of background on the two it would seem Varys is the real schemer.

We both grew rich, and richer still when Varys trained his mice.

The older thieves were fools who thought no further than turning a night’s plunder into wine. Varys preferred orphan boys and young girls. He chose the smallest, the ones who were quick and quiet, and taught them to climb walls and slip down chimneys. He taught them to read as well. We left the gold and gems for common thieves. Instead our mice stole letters, ledgers, charts … later, they would read them and leave them where they lay. Secrets are worth more than silver or sapphires, Varys claimed.

Taking a look at Varys time in Kings Landing under Aerys we know Varys had a certain investment in the continued Targaryen reign because he counseled against opening the gates to Tywin. If Varys had a long term plan to use the Targaryen "blood arrogance" to ensure a marriage to Serra or one of her children this would explain his seeming Targaryen loyalty in contrast to his indifference to the fates of Viserys and Dany. It also has the potential to explain, or at least hint at, some of the dynamics going on in Kings Landing under Aerys. We know Tywin was intent on Cersei becoming queen which meant she needed to marry a Targaryen heir. He brought her to court after Aerys turned down the marriage and refused all offers for her Hand. It seems Tywin was scheming and looking for an opening to make Cersei queen at the expense of either Elia's life or Rhaegar's if Viserys came of age soon enough. Arya overhears Varys and Illyrio talking in GoT.

"We are not ready. Delay."

"As well bid me stop time. Do you take me for a wizard?"

"No less." "What would you have me do?" asked the torchbearer,

"If one Hand can die, why not a second?" replied the man with the accent and the forked yellow beard. "You have danced the dance before, my friend." "Before is not now, and this Hand is not the other,"

“If he does not bestir himself soon, it may be too late,” the stout man in the steel cap said. “This is no longer a game for two players, if ever it was. ...

Varys lists all the potential players on the field presently but who possibly qualifies as a long standing "other player?" Ned is new, LF is relatively new or at least very new considering the Aegon plan, and Stannis, Renly, and Lysa are also all new as well aside from a dubious status as players to a Varys. What about Tywin? This other player, the "Danced the dance before" and the other Hand he refers to could be Tywin and Varys long standing game to seize the throne through marriage now playing out through other means-- Tywin's side still playing the marriage card through cuckolding and incest and Varys playing the conquest and savior angle with the Dothraki and Aegon.

A very anxious king, who did not wholly trust his son, nor his wife, nor his Hand, a friend of his youth who had grown arrogant and overproud. I do believe that you know the rest of this tale, is that not so?”

Varys is also fond of his "for the children" and talking about how the children suffer most when high lords play their game of thrones. It may well be that the children he speaks of are himself and his sister-- enslaved, castrated, forced into prostitution. The original Blackfyre rebellion was premised on being "more fit to rule" which meshes well with the speech Varys gives Kevan at the end of DwD.

Why People Subscribe to the Blackfyre Theory

The Blackfyre angle is the one best supported by the text. Nothing in here is 100% proof of the Blackfyre case. Aegon may not be a Blackfyre or he could be and a number of things I tried to put together could still be dead wrong. It is a plausible scenario based on the text that offers a reasonable explanation for the mysterious motives of some characters with otherwise seemingly contradictory actions. I'm not opposed to Aegon being the actual son of Rhaegar and Elia saved in a baby swap-- I just haven't seen any plausible evidence in the text to support it. There are several theories that are going to be wrong even though people have put together a decent case based on textual evidence and reasoning. Some theories are diametrically opposed to others so despite citations from the books backed by reasonable supposition one of them has to be wrong. I saw some excellent cases made for a pregnant Jeyne Westerling-- a theory that apparently was torpedoed by the app. Still there were details pulled out like the timing of the lowering of the Stark flag over Riverrun coinciding with the escape of the Blackfish who supposedly smuggled out the pregnant Jeyne. If people can take a known incorrect theory and build a substantial text based case to support it, it should raise concerns that there seems to be literally no evidence in the text that can be pulled to support a baby swap. The very little we're told says that the man's father was paid with Arbor Gold which only brings to mind Sansa's notorious line "Lies and Arbor Gold." To the best of my knowledge, that "lies and Arbor Gold" reference alone outweighs the sum total of textual evidence for a baby swap. If there's anything better that matches the text (or makes better sense than what I've come up with) I'd love to hear it.

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I'm not opposed to Aegon being the actual son of Rhaegar and Elia saved in a baby swap-- I just haven't seen any plausible evidence in the text to support it. ... it should raise concerns that there seems to be literally no evidence in the text that can be pulled to support a baby swap.

Good job summing up the theory for people for whom it may be new.

The above quoted portion is, in a nutshell, my biggest beef with the "Aegon is real" idea. Other than the word of a few highly unreliable people, there is not a single shred of evidence that what they're saying is true. Not one. "Varys said so" or "JonCon said so" is not good enough for me. And to be frank, in a story where we have very good reasons to be suspicious and distrust what people with agendas say, I'm rather surprised so many people are willing to believe it.

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Nice rundown of the Blacfyre theory.

I guess Varys and his sister, Serra, were Blackfyre through their mother's side, and were forced into slavery. Pycelle said Varys was originally from Lys where Illyrio found Serra. Varys was bought by Myrish mummers and then came upon a sorcerer who castrated him, and he could have been Varys's mentor in magic.

Varys then came up with a plan to place a Blackfyre on the IT. House Blackfyre had repeatedly tried to take down House Targaryen from the outside, but the idea came to Varys of taking down House Targaryen from the inside.

Varys had Illyrio go to Lys to buy his sister and marry her. Their son would be placed on the IT as Rhaegar's when the rebellion started.

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While I think that Young Griff may be a Blackfyre descendant, I think it is jumping the gun to assume that Varys and Sera are also of the Blackfyre line and Varys secret agenda is to put a Blackfyre on the throne.

My first problem with this theory is a practical one. Namely, the name Blackfyre is never mentioned until book three. Not even as a throw away line in one of the historical discussions in the first two books. Daemon Blackfyre is not even mentioned in Appendix for Game if Thrones. It's sloppy writing not to set up any type of foundation for such a major underlying plot point until the third book (remember, GRRM initially believed after AGOT that this would be a trilogy).

My second problem is by assuming that the origins of these major players in the books can all be answered by the history of House Blackfyre ignores a lot of the other Targaryen history that has been established by the series. Namely the history of Aerion Brightflame and his unnamed son who were passed over by the Great Council in favor of Aegon V. Remember Moqorro's prophecy to Tyrion "Dragons, Dragons old and young, true and false, bright and dark..." I don't think that House Blackfyre is the only lost Targaryen line that is floating around in the series right now. I have a feeling that there are other disinherited heirs that may be revealing themselves.

This theory also assumes that Illyrio and Varys master plan is to put Young Griff on the throne. I think this is a major leap. Remember their original plan was to allegedly put Viserys on the throne. It has become apparent that he was probably merely a catspaw to further their own agenda. I don't think that it's much of a stretch to assume that they are merely using Young Griff as well. Recall the sadness displayed by Illyrio as he gives the Halfmaester and Duck his parting gifts for Young Griff. That sadness may reflect a man who knows he is sending a young boy that grew up in his Manse off to an unpleasant end.

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My first problem with this theory is a practical one. Namely, the name Blackfyre is never mentioned until book three. Not even as a throw away line in one of the historical discussions in the first two books. Daemon Blackfyre is not even mentioned in Appendix for Game if Thrones. It's sloppy writing not to set up any type of foundation for such a major underlying plot point until the third book (remember, GRRM initially believed after AGOT that this would be a trilogy).

And yet the majority of Blackfyre mentions in the series come in the same book wherein Young Griff is introduced. Coincidence?

There is also the entire D&E series, which is heavily predicated on the Blackfyre Rebellions and that history.

My second problem is by assuming that the origins of these major players in the books can all be answered by the history of House Blackfyre ignores a lot of the other Targaryen history that has been established by the series. Namely the history of Aerion Brightflame and his unnamed son who were passed over by the Great Council in favor of Aegon V. Remember Moqorro's prophecy to Tyrion "Dragons, Dragons old and young, true and false, bright and dark..." I don't think that House Blackfyre is the only lost Targaryen line that is floating around in the series right now. I have a feeling that there are other disinherited heirs that may be revealing themselves.

I don't see why he couldn't be both a Blackfyre and an Aerion descendant. It actually makes sense that the two family branches would try to find each other.

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I don't see why he couldn't be both a Blackfyre and an Aerion descendant. It actually makes sense that the two family branches would try to find each other.

He's not psychotic enough to be Aerion's descendant. And if he is then god help us all if he takes the throne.

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I tend to prefer explanations which answer more questions than they raise. The Blackfyre theory answers questions about motivation of several major characters, whilst Aegon being real raises more questions than it answers.

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He's not psychotic enough to be Aerion's descendant. And if he is then god help us all if he takes the throne.

lol. I guess that means Rhaegar wasn't really Aerys' son since Rhaegar had no history of burning people alive.

I tend to prefer explanations which answer more questions than they raise. The Blackfyre theory answers questions about motivation of several major characters, whilst Aegon being real raises more questions than it answers.

I agree.

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And yet the majority of Blackfyre mentions in the series come in the same book wherein Young Griff is introduced. Coincidence?

There is also the entire D&E series, which is heavily predicated on the Blackfyre Rebellions and that history.

I don't see why he couldn't be both a Blackfyre and an Aerion descendant. It actually makes sense that the two family branches would try to find each other.

My issue with the theory isn't the possibility that Young Griff could be a Blackfyre, I agree that is a definite possibility (even though I could think of one other very wicked possibility). My issue with it is that Varys is a secret Blackfyre and that his ultimate plan is to put a Blackfyre on the throne. The fact that the idea of House Blackfyre came so late in the books makes me doubt that is the ultimate end game of Varys and Illyrio. I'm also keeping a close eye on the HBO series for clues as well. I've observed that the show is making definite attempts this season to bring the audience up to speed on the Targaryen family history. I've noticed that they have mentioned Aerion Brighflame but have yet to mention the Blackfyre line. Certainly not dispositive of anything but interesting.

Yes, I do agree that Varys could be a descendant of both Brightflame and Blackfyre. It would be an interesting interpretation of the prophecies that the meeting of dragons "old and young", "true and false" and "bright and dark" could refer to three distinct characters: 1) Dragon both old and young: Daenaerys who while may be technically young there is some indication that she may also be a "reincarnation" of Rhaegar and Rhaegar himself could be a reincarnation of Aegon V. 2) Dragon both true and false: Young Griff who is a false dragon because of his claim to be Rhaegar's son, but may actually be a true dragon from another line (i.e. House Blackfyre). 3) Dragon both bright and dark: Maybe Varys? if indeed he is descended from both House Blackfyre and House Brightflame.

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...Daenaerys who while may be technically young there is some indication that she may also be a "reincarnation" of Rhaegar and Rhaegar himself could be a reincarnation of Aegon V...

Eh? Que es eso?

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My issue with the theory isn't the possibility that Young Griff could be a Blackfyre, I agree that is a definite possibility (even though I could think of one other very wicked possibility). My issue with it is that Varys is a secret Blackfyre and that his ultimate plan is to put a Blackfyre on the throne. The fact that the idea of House Blackfyre came so late in the books makes me doubt that is the ultimate end game of Varys and Illyrio. I'm also keeping a close eye on the HBO series for clues as well. I've observed that the show is making definite attempts this season to bring the audience up to speed on the Targaryen family history. I've noticed that they have mentioned Aerion Brighflame but have yet to mention the Blackfyre line. Certainly not dispositive of anything but interesting.

This is obviously delving into gustatory opinions, but I don't think setting something up in book 3 to be possibly revealed in book 6 or 7 (or later) is terribly late or rushed at all, nor is it really a mark of sloppy writing. Info dumps are sloppy writing. Were we hearing about a (supposedly) defunct branch of a deposed family in the first two books, I'd say that would be awkward.

Considering how many characters or pieces of information that are going to be crucial going forward aren't introduced until even books 4 and 5, I don't see the Blackfyre angle as particularly tardy, especially since it's given so much emphasis in the prequels.

I ask myself has the Blackfyre faction, the notion of bastards causing chaos once legitimised and the mysteriousness of Varys and Illyrio's endgames been set up long before we meet Young Griff? Definitely.

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Eh? Que es eso?

A lengthy theory that would hijack this thread. If you would prefer, try this theory on for size: Daenerys is the dragon young and old because of her age and the fact that she is Azor Ahai, the first dragonrider, reincarnated.

This is obviously delving into gustatory opinions, but I don't think setting something up in book 3 to be possibly revealed in book 6 or 7 (or later) is terribly late or rushed at all, nor is it really a mark of sloppy writing. Info dumps are sloppy writing. Were we hearing about a (supposedly) defunct branch of a deposed family in the first two books, I'd say that would be awkward.

Considering how many characters or pieces of information that are going to be crucial going forward aren't introduced until even books 4 and 5, I don't see the Blackfyre angle as particularly tardy, especially since it's given so much emphasis in the prequels.

I ask myself has the Blackfyre faction, the notion of bastards causing chaos once legitimised and the mysteriousness of Varys and Illyrio's endgames been set up long before we meet Young Griff? Definitely.

But the problem is the idea that there would be six or seven books wasn't decided by Martin until after the second book was written. And as of book two still no mention of House Blackfyre. That's why I find it hard to believe that the Blackfyre story is the solution to both Illyrio's and Varys' motivations. It's too critical to the story to come along so late in the game.

Another interesting issue, look to the last names of a number of members of the Golden Company, Mudd, Cole, Toyne, Lothston. Houses Mudd and Cole were exiled well before the Blackfyre rebellion, and Houses Toyne and Lothston were exiled well after and for reasons having nothing to do with the Blackfyres. It makes me believe Illyrio when he says it doesn't matter if the dragons are black or red, what matters is that the exiles are able to return to Westeros. It also makes me believe that the Golden Company may be using Young Griff as a means to an end as opposed to someone they intend to sit upon the Iron Throne.

Not long ago, the war of the ninepenny kings were fought. This group was comprised of a number of magisters, archons, and pirates who banded together to lead a group of exiles back into Westeros. I wonder if what we are seeing in these books is not merely a continuation of that war. Illyrio, Varys, the Archon of Tyrosh, Salladhor Saan, Taena of Myr, Doran, maybe even Euron Greyjoy and the faceless men, all in a conspiracy to overthrow the great houses of Westeros.

I also wonder if Varys mention of Aegon during his speech to Kevan at the end of ADWD may have not been referring to Young Griff but maybe to himself? After all Young Griff never has truly been "hunted, hungry, or afraid" but Varys has been. Food for thought anyway.

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Great post Ragnorak. Anyone who's new to this theory should definietly read this first.

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While I think that Young Griff may be a Blackfyre descendant, I think it is jumping the gun to assume that Varys and Sera are also of the Blackfyre line and Varys secret agenda is to put a Blackfyre on the throne.

My first problem with this theory is a practical one. Namely, the name Blackfyre is never mentioned until book three. Not even as a throw away line in one of the historical discussions in the first two books. Daemon Blackfyre is not even mentioned in Appendix for Game if Thrones. It's sloppy writing not to set up any type of foundation for such a major underlying plot point until the third book (remember, GRRM initially believed after AGOT that this would be a trilogy).

Brynden Bloodraven is the three-eyed crow.

My second problem is by assuming that the origins of these major players in the books can all be answered by the history of House Blackfyre ignores a lot of the other Targaryen history that has been established by the series. Namely the history of Aerion Brightflame and his unnamed son who were passed over by the Great Council in favor of Aegon V. Remember Moqorro's prophecy to Tyrion "Dragons, Dragons old and young, true and false, bright and dark..." I don't think that House Blackfyre is the only lost Targaryen line that is floating around in the series right now. I have a feeling that there are other disinherited heirs that may be revealing themselves.

Why? Why does Aegon and perhaps Varys being a Blackfyre mean we are ignoring all other Targ relations? No, the Blackfyre's aren't the only Targ line that is floating around. There's also Jon, Dany, Stannis, Shireen and all of Roberts bastards. Yeah, I think Aerion's descendants will probably turn out to have married into the Blackfyre's to explain how Aegon still bears strong Targ characteristics after all these generations but still.

This theory also assumes that Illyrio and Varys master plan is to put Young Griff on the throne. I think this is a major leap. Remember their original plan was to allegedly put Viserys on the throne. It has become apparent that he was probably merely a catspaw to further their own agenda. I don't think that it's much of a stretch to assume that they are merely using Young Griff as well. Recall the sadness displayed by Illyrio as he gives the Halfmaester and Duck his parting gifts for Young Griff. That sadness may reflect a man who knows he is sending a young boy that grew up in his Manse off to an unpleasant end.

Catspaw for WHAT? They have all the money they could dream off, and more still if Varys put his mind to it. If they are not after the throne itself then what?

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My issue with the theory isn't the possibility that Young Griff could be a Blackfyre, I agree that is a definite possibility (even though I could think of one other very wicked possibility). My issue with it is that Varys is a secret Blackfyre and that his ultimate plan is to put a Blackfyre on the throne. The fact that the idea of House Blackfyre came so late in the books makes me doubt that is the ultimate end game of Varys and Illyrio. I'm also keeping a close eye on the HBO series for clues as well. I've observed that the show is making definite attempts this season to bring the audience up to speed on the Targaryen family history. I've noticed that they have mentioned Aerion Brighflame but have yet to mention the Blackfyre line. Certainly not dispositive of anything but interesting.

Yes, I do agree that Varys could be a descendant of both Brightflame and Blackfyre. It would be an interesting interpretation of the prophecies that the meeting of dragons "old and young", "true and false" and "bright and dark" could refer to three distinct characters: 1) Dragon both old and young: Daenaerys who while may be technically young there is some indication that she may also be a "reincarnation" of Rhaegar and Rhaegar himself could be a reincarnation of Aegon V. 2) Dragon both true and false: Young Griff who is a false dragon because of his claim to be Rhaegar's son, but may actually be a true dragon from another line (i.e. House Blackfyre). 3) Dragon both bright and dark: Maybe Varys? if indeed he is descended from both House Blackfyre and House Brightflame.

Connections like that are what is missing from the alternative theories to Aegon being a Blackfyre. That item alone needs more references and at least a vague supposition as to how the Brightfire angle ties into the motivations of Varys and Illyrio. At least it is the start of theory that is based in the text.

A number of people have floated various theories-- some of which were pretty cool-- but they don't hold up when applied to the text or make sense in the context of the characters' actions. It isn't that the Blackfyre angle is bulletproof so much as it could make sense of everything in the context of the story. The other theories floated, including Aegon as real, either lack evidence in the text or create character motivation and agenda conflicts (things like--Ok so why does Varys care about an Aegon Targaryen but not a Rhaenys, Dany or Viserys Targaryen?) The Blackfyre angle still raises plenty of questions but not conflicts. Sure, I find the lack of a specific mention of Blackfyres until Storm a reasonable complaint to raise-- but no one who has raised it (including myself) has thrown out any plausible alternative much less one that has hints predating the first Blackfyre reference. This was never my favorite theory-- just the only one that makes sense so far.

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But the problem is the idea that there would be six or seven books wasn't decided by Martin until after the second book was written.

Actually, Martin says the decision to expand beyond the concept of a trilogy came while AGoT was being written.

And as of book two still no mention of House Blackfyre. That's why I find it hard to believe that the Blackfyre story is the solution to both Illyrio's and Varys' motivations. It's too critical to the story to come along so late in the game.

Says who? The reveal is going to come at/towards the end of the series. I don't understand why something introduced in book three is too late, especially since even writing the first book Martin knew that the original trilogy idea was kaput. I don't understand why you think that every pertinent motivation or faction has to be transparent in book 1. That's not good worldbuilding.

Moreover, what would be wrong with Martin initially deciding he wanted Varys and Illyrio conspiring to put an unintroduced candidate on the Iron Throne, but he hadn't decided the specifics of who that character was, and what their family history/situation was? Clearly he writes with a great deal of fluidity in terms of details, so I can't see what's so gauche about deciding he wanted a fake Targaryen/pretender, then around ASoS laying the foundations for a character that still wouldn't be introduced until two books later.

It seems like you're searching for reasons to dismiss the idea based on how you think the writing process in these books ought to work, but that's not necessarily the case. It makes more sense to examine whether the Blackfyre connection has been set up by ADWD, than attempt to meta-textualise analyse how we feel these books should be written.

Hell, you can point to half a dozen other things that haven't been set up until even later that are hugely important to the story moving forward too. The Dornish-Targaryen conspiracy isn't uncovered until book 4, nor is the Maester anti-magic, anti-dragon conspiracy. Harold Hardyng, the lynchpin to all of Littlefinger's plans, is only introduced at the end of AFFC. Hardhome isn't introduced until book 5. The dragon horn isn't introduced until book 4.

Another interesting issue, look to the last names of a number of members of the Golden Company, Mudd, Cole, Toyne, Lothston. Houses Mudd and Cole were exiled well before the Blackfyre rebellion, and Houses Toyne and Lothston were exiled well after and for reasons having nothing to do with the Blackfyres. It makes me believe Illyrio when he says it doesn't matter if the dragons are black or red, what matters is that the exiles are able to return to Westeros. It also makes me believe that the Golden Company may be using Young Griff as a means to an end as opposed to someone they intend to sit upon the Iron Throne.

If the Golden Company is simply looking for a pardon, there are plenty of opportunities to do that after the Ninepenny Kings. They could have offered to join Robert during his rebellion, they could have offered to join Robert or Balon during Balon's Rebellion, they could have offered to join anyone during the outbreak of the War of the Five Kings.

That they've waited, and waited on a group of people who seem to be moving ponderously slowly towards their goal (Daenerys languishing in the East, Young Griff being tutored for decades) suggests their interest isn't in simply returning for it's own sake, it's in returning for the right cause.

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Excellent post Ragnorak, I knew about this theory from several posts in bits and pieces, but it was good to read the whole thing in one single post with all the textual hints and explanation and very well structured. Thanks for posting this, now I know the details :thumbsup:

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