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madkasel

Questions and more questions! (ADWD spoilers)

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I strongly disagree in your assessment of Varys, LoneWanderer. If he in fact turned out to be some sort of supernatural agent of evil, I’d snort in derision. Martin has already given us the reversal with this character - he initially appeared as a sinister spymaster, allied to the Lannisters and complicit in Eddard's arrest. It was only over time that he has been revealed as one of the nobler characters in the series – motivated almost wholly by his sincere concern for the good of the realm.

Which leads me to the bone of my contention with Kennon: The Targaryen dynasty can’t be held to the same standards as that of the other noble House s of Westeros. Sure – its a moral double standard to sign off on Targ incest while condemning that of Jaime and Cersei (or others). But there is no moral equivalency here. The Targaryens are/were a foreign dynasty with different customs and different attitudes which they forced upon the Westerosi with dragons and steel. It remains clearly unacceptable for Westerosi to practice incestuous behavior – simply look at the lengths Jaime and Cersei go to conceal their activity. Cersei even ruse the double standard at one point, wishing Targaryen practices were acceptable for all. But they aren’t. The taint on Myrcella and Tommen is what gives Stannis’s rebellion legitimacy. It also got Jon Arryn killed – and on and on.

As long as the Lannisters are close to the Throne, the realm cannot have peace – and peace is vary’s ultimate and only goal. He clearly believes a Targaryen Restoration is the most effective solution to this whole mess – that a clear restoration of that dynasty will bring peace to the Realm and security for the small folk. And I think martin ahs done a very good job of developing the character and slowly but conclusively revealing his motivation towards this goal.
 

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madkasel said:

Rubinon said:

 

Is chaotic Varys with his unclear agenda the perfumed senechall that Dany should beware?

 

 

 

Good thought! Stag Lord also pointed out to me that the ship Tyrion and gang were on could be translated to perfumed senechall.

 

True - but i now think that was a red herring since taht ship ended up pretty much driftwood after the big storm - and i kind fo assume the salvers sank it. So Dany didn't really ahve anything to fear form that particualr ship. I think the perfumed seneschal was Hizdahr - her erstwhile husband and would be poisoner.

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I cannot believe that Varys is so naive to think all he's been doing has been for the good of the realm, certainly not in a short-term perspective, and even long-term this claim is rather dubious. I cannot agree that the war that he had a part in plunging Westeros into is a small price to pay for restoring a Targaryen dynasty. It's cute that he seems to think Aegon will be an awesome king, but even if they do manage to make him king, it seems unlikely the realm will be at peace in it's war-torn state, with no harvests and Winter™ on the march. So for all his professions of his love for the realm, his actions have apparently been to help prepare the way for the Targaryens with little regard for the needs of the realm and its people. And I can't even guess why he is such a staunch supporter of the Targaryens, so I remain suspicious of his motives.

All that being said, I want to see the tv version of the epilogue scene with Varys and Kevan sooo bad. While reading, I couldn't help but seeing Conleth Hill in my mind, looking apologetically at Kevan with crossbow in hand. It'd be brilliant.

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Well - to be clear: Varys played very little role in "plunging the realm into war". His conditional support of the Lannisters was because he thought they offered a better prospect for stability. They have proven to be a disaster and their actions are responsible for war - going all the way back to Ned's execution. So i think his Lannister hate (at this point) is pretty justified and consistent with hsi goals of peace and satbility.

But I do have to concede that in smuggling out Dany and Viserys (and maybe Aegon) he was laying teh seeds for a War of restoration - which of course woudl have been bad all in all for the small folk of the realm. So i am having a little trouble reconciling my reading of his character and how he ahs evolved. I ahve to reconcile his "concern for the Realm" with his apparent Targaryen loyalties - and I don't have enough information yet.

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Stag Lord said:

peace is vary’s ultimate and only goal

 

If you believe that, then I believe that you have been thoroughly deceived by the books' greatest deceiver.

 

Why would Varys, a eunuch who (apparently) grew up in the Free Cities, stealing and blackmailing his way to wealth/power, give a rotten fig about peace in Westeros?

Sure, one of the Targaryens (most recent Aerys?) brought him over to serve as a spymaster (for a wage), but why would that make a coldhearted black-marketeer like Varys particularly care for the Targaryens, never mind their curious foreign realm and its weird alien customs? In particular, while he may employ urchins to steal and kill for him, I don't see him starting a nursery anywhere. Is this a man who honestly cares for the wellbeing of the realm's youngest?

Sure, Varys may well currently be in a phase of flattering himself as doing this 'for the realm' (at least, when in front of the camera), but there's no way that he can be sincere. Given what we think we know about his background and his ruthlessness, it'd just be a bizarre set of motivations.

Indeed, does Varys even sincerely believe that New Aegon is the real deal? We think that he might me a "Mummer's Dragon", Vary's might well know that he is. And if he does, how does putting a fake king on the throne grant any more stability than putting an illegitimate one on it?

 

Put another way, who thinks that New Aegon will get the Iron Throne without a serious fight? Will the Lannisters really just hand it over without a military struggle? And, if you think that they're a spent force, will the Tyrells? Another marriage for Maergery? I think not. As the last powerhouse left standing, they ought to be the first in line to slap down the new Targaryen pretender. Further, even if you go down the Martell/Tyrell support New Aegon route; can he honestly win both of them at the same time? No way, the enmity between them is just too entrenched. With New Aegon, more war is the only certainty.

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I agree with your arguments in your last two paragraphs. As i siad in my post - i am not sure how to reconcile his designs on Restoration with his goal of stability in the realm. And i am on the record as suspecting Aegon is not what he seems. but - I don't think we have enough information eyt to make a final determination on the Spider.

Your case is well reasoned - but I am comfortabel with my reading of Varys as having a deep desire for epace and prosperity. These two goals can only be accomplished with stability and legitimacy of rule - especially in a dynastic monarchical society -a dn teh Lannisters ain't it. Varys was tarumatically scarred at an early age by forced castration. Psycholgically - he is an outsider and in garve physical danger in a very violent world. For his own survival, and indeed, i would argue for his own inetrnal spritual and mental health - he craves peace adn consistency - form the state elvel on down. He is smart enough to play teh agem as well as Littlefinger - but he feels he is acting for teh good of the realm and finds psychological sceurity in that pursuit. I read him as one of the tru heroes of the saga.

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Stag Lord said:


Which leads me to the bone of my contention with Kennon: The Targaryen dynasty can’t be held to the same standards as that of the other noble House s of Westeros. Sure – its a moral double standard to sign off on Targ incest while condemning that of Jaime and Cersei (or others). But there is no moral equivalency here. The Targaryens are/were a foreign dynasty with different customs and different attitudes which they forced upon the Westerosi with dragons and steel. It remains clearly unacceptable for Westerosi to practice incestuous behavior – simply look at the lengths Jaime and Cersei go to conceal their activity. Cersei even ruse the double standard at one point, wishing Targaryen practices were acceptable for all. But they aren’t. The taint on Myrcella and Tommen is what gives Stannis’s rebellion legitimacy. It also got Jon Arryn killed – and on and on.

As long as the Lannisters are close to the Throne, the realm cannot have peace – and peace is vary’s ultimate and only goal. He clearly believes a Targaryen Restoration is the most effective solution to this whole mess – that a clear restoration of that dynasty will bring peace to the Realm and security for the small folk. And I think martin ahs done a very good job of developing the character and slowly but conclusively revealing his motivation towards this goal.
 

 

Sorry, Stags, but I still don't think you're quite right. While Cersei and Jaime together would be unpleasant to the realm, the "taint" on Myrcella and Tommen isn't what give's Stanni's Rebellion legitimacy, it's the illegitimacy of Myrcell and Tommen that does. The fact of the matter is that Cersei is a married woman and that her children were fathered by someone other than her husband, thus making them illegitimate bastards. It doesn't matter that the father is truly Jaime for Stannis' claim. It could be Jon Arryn or Barristan Selmy for all Stannis cares. The only thing that matters is that they are not Robert's children. That is part of their parentage that matters for Stannis' claim.

That said, look at Robert himself. His claim on the throne was arguable more tenuous than the Lannister children, but he solidified it by crushing the opposition. History is dictated by the winners, and Kevan and co. only had Stannis left to eliminate before the major contention to his niece and nephews' birth was removed. (Prior to the landing of Aegon and Connington) Kevan and their supporters had very nearly finalized this process and restored at least as much a peace as Robert's reign ever was, yet we hear nothing of Varys working to destroy Robert's reign to bring the Targaryens back. Hell, if he could have removed Robert early in his reign, it would have been even easier to restore the Targaryen dynasty. No, I'm sorry, but I just can't really buy it that his game is that simple because it would have been so much more profitable to have done it so much earlier.

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Stag Lord said:

I strongly disagree in your assessment of Varys, LoneWanderer. If he in fact turned out to be some sort of supernatural agent of evil, I’d snort in derision. Martin has already given us the reversal with this character - he initially appeared as a sinister spymaster, allied to the Lannisters and complicit in Eddard's arrest. It was only over time that he has been revealed as one of the nobler characters in the series – motivated almost wholly by his sincere concern for the good of the realm.

Which leads me to the bone of my contention with Kennon: The Targaryen dynasty can’t be held to the same standards as that of the other noble House s of Westeros. Sure – its a moral double standard to sign off on Targ incest while condemning that of Jaime and Cersei (or others). But there is no moral equivalency here. The Targaryens are/were a foreign dynasty with different customs and different attitudes which they forced upon the Westerosi with dragons and steel. It remains clearly unacceptable for Westerosi to practice incestuous behavior – simply look at the lengths Jaime and Cersei go to conceal their activity. Cersei even ruse the double standard at one point, wishing Targaryen practices were acceptable for all. But they aren’t. The taint on Myrcella and Tommen is what gives Stannis’s rebellion legitimacy. It also got Jon Arryn killed – and on and on.

As long as the Lannisters are close to the Throne, the realm cannot have peace – and peace is vary’s ultimate and only goal. He clearly believes a Targaryen Restoration is the most effective solution to this whole mess – that a clear restoration of that dynasty will bring peace to the Realm and security for the small folk. And I think martin ahs done a very good job of developing the character and slowly but conclusively revealing his motivation towards this goal.
 

 

~ Just wondering, Chris... is Targaryan Kool Aid red or more of an orangish color?

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madkasel said:

~ Just wondering, Chris... is Targaryan Kool Aid red or more of an orangish color?

 

BWAHAHAHAHA! Quote of the week.

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Kennon said:

(Prior to the landing of Aegon and Connington) Kevan and their supporters had very nearly finalized this process and restored at least as much a peace as Robert's reign ever was, yet we hear nothing of Varys working to destroy Robert's reign to bring the Targaryens back. Hell, if he could have removed Robert early in his reign, it would have been even easier to restore the Targaryen dynasty. No, I'm sorry, but I just can't really buy it that his game is that simple because it would have been so much more profitable to have done it so much earlier.

 

Well the other side to this is that there would be no point in restoring Targaryens when the heir was still a kid and need a regent. To restore the Targs you would have had to wait till Dany/Aegon got old enough.

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There are quite a ot lof characters that were only infants at the time of Robert's rebellion, aren't there (Dany, Jon, Robb, Aegon)? The switching of babies/concealing of true identities has developed as an ongoing theme in this series.

Maybe Aegon was double-switched by Varys (Whose name btw has a Targaryen ring to it...), so that Jon Connington was the plan B that a few people knew about (including Connington himself), but in reality the heir was hidden with the Daynes...

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LaughingTree said:

Kennon said:

(Prior to the landing of Aegon and Connington) Kevan and their supporters had very nearly finalized this process and restored at least as much a peace as Robert's reign ever was, yet we hear nothing of Varys working to destroy Robert's reign to bring the Targaryens back. Hell, if he could have removed Robert early in his reign, it would have been even easier to restore the Targaryen dynasty. No, I'm sorry, but I just can't really buy it that his game is that simple because it would have been so much more profitable to have done it so much earlier.

 

 

Well the other side to this is that there would be no point in restoring Targaryens when the heir was still a kid and need a regent. To restore the Targs you would have had to wait till Dany/Aegon got old enough.

 

Sure, but at the time there were certainly lords who supported them staunchly enough that they would have made acceptable Regents who would have then turned authority over at the heir's age of maturity without a struggle. Doran Martell comes to mind as a likely candidate.

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Kennon said:

 

Kennon said:

Sure, but at the time there were certainly lords who supported them staunchly enough that they would have made acceptable Regents who would have then turned authority over at the heir's age of maturity without a struggle. Doran Martell comes to mind as a likely candidate.

 

I see what you're saying but the other thing to consider is the early in Robert's reign he was still quite popular among the small folk. You also had Balon's uprising which by all accounts the whole realm really support Robert, Stannis and Ned in putting it down.  In the early years following the rebellion Houses that could have support Targ would have been mostly just the Martells and some of the smaller Crownlands and maybe some Riverlands Houses. Not enough to sustain a rebellion especially while trying to develop a new young Targ ruler. And Doran is so cautious I doubt that plan would have appealed to his "never take the field unless you know you are going win" vibe.

 

It just doesn't make sense to me strategically for Varys-Illyrio to try to replace Robert early on. Seems far more intelligent to play the long game at this point and do what they did and wait for the right moment (eg, the rebellion coalition weaking and dividing on itself).

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Stag Lord said:

LT: So well said. i too ahve been a big Daenerys fan since Book 1 - and have always found her the msot engagaing and fascinating character in the novels. Teh Meereenese Knot not only led to poor  and plodding plotting - it led to some bad writing; in terms of charcter development and what had been established. Many of dany's actions were clearly foolish and her refusal to heed the advcie of people she knew she could trsut liek slemy and the bloodriders was hard to beleive. You can see Martin's struggles with the plot very clearly and very painfully in the Meereen sections - and this sentiment seems to eb unviersal.

Can maybe agree on character development.  Disagree on the points in bold.  Dany acted pretty much as I've always read/interpreted her character.  Granted, she's never been a favorite of mine/I've always found her chapters hard to read (at least post-Drogo's death); but, all of her actions were pretty much exactly what I expected of her.  

 

Stag Lord said:

Lone wanderer; fully agree on Darth Stannis. There is very little i am sure about after closing teh Dance, but one thing is that Bolton's letter is mostly lies adn Satnnis does not die off screen in the dark and snow. Martin ahs invested way too much in the character for him to go out like that.

I too would be extremely disappointed if Stannis is dead.  I actually like his character quite a lot.  Please, GRRM, just have Dany fall off Drogon or die, and end it with Stannis on the Iron Throne. 

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Kennon said:

madkasel said:

 

~ Just wondering, Chris... is Targaryan Kool Aid red or more of an orangish color?

 

 

 

BWAHAHAHAHA! Quote of the week.

 

Hah, just reading trhough the thread now & was about to post; but waited to read the rest of the thread - Drew's response was better than what I was going to post  

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People meantioning that characters cannot die in their own chapters considering Jon Snow, we have had several prologue and epilogue characters die (yes I know they are lesser characters) in their own chapters.

Also are we sure that Brienne is not dead? ;) she could be once dead and revived or even someone else as there is thoros of myr who could possibly do the same trick Melisandre did with Mance. (There is even the strong item to bind it, the Oathkeeper).

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I don't agree with any of you on Meereen or on the alleged "bad character development" on the part of Daenerys. This time I really liked the Meereen parts. The eastern culture was much more fleshed out and a lot of interesting moral dilemmas were posed to Daeny there.  Funny, by the way, how so many people who detest Tywin Lannister want Daeny just to become like him. But she is still a very young woman who still has a lot to learn, and I am glad that Martin gives her time and opportunity to develop, instead of just making her the stereotypical "young hero of the hour" who jumps on the back of her oh-so-willing-but-of-course-still-very-dangerous dragon. Read Eragon if you want this nonsense. In the end, only all her hard choices, failings and mistakes and the real experience she gains through this will give her character true legitimacy to finally become the Saviour / the Hero / the Ruler or whatever Martin holds in petto for her.

I also don't get any of this whining about "the storyline" not having been advanced. There was SO much going on in Dance, more than in any book except maybe Storm of Swords. Maybe it's not the storyline everybody else has made up in the past years, but I am glad that Martin still writes these books, and not everybody else.

I admit there should have been one climax including some story-resolution in the end, though. But I also read that it was Martin's editor who is mainly responsable for that.

 

 

 

 

 

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I think you're somewhat in the minority with your strong positve reaction, Aegon. (though it was nice to see that your head wasn't smashed by the Lannisters as a baby!)

For myself... I really like the books and enjoy Martin's style, but I'm no longer "in his cult."

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The more I think back on this book, the more I mull over the events that took place, and the more I look at the story as a whole, the more I appreciate Dance (and, slightly, Feast). In this series, much like David Gerrold does in my other favorite books series "The War Against the Chtorr," Martin shows us how, even in the face of an outside threat to our survival, people will still fight amongst themselves for the trappings of power. This is a series about the characters, not the events, though the events are epic in scope. And the history is so **** rich, every glimpse into the past is a joy for me.

I can easily say that Dance is my second favorite book of the series, and it could possibly pass Storm, but it may take a few more re-reads for that to happen.

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JerusalemJones said:

 

...  Martin shows us how, even in the face of an outside threat to our survival, people will still fight amongst themselves for the trappings of power. This is a series about the characters, not the events, though the events are epic in scope. And the history is so **** rich, every glimpse into the past is a joy for me.

I can easily say that Dance is my second favorite book of the series, and it could possibly pass Storm, but it may take a few more re-reads for that to happen.

 

 

Well said aplauso.gif.

That is almost exactly how most of my friends and I feel about Dance.

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My 5th favorite out of 5.  At least at the end of 4 it really ramped up - especially the Cercei stuff. 

Nothing happened.  Seriously.  A bunch of stuff kind of happened, and then didn't.  A camping excursion up North, its COLD!.  Some sailing aruond, some SHIPS!.  Dany whining again for 10 chapters - to the point that for the 2nd straight book I skipped her stuff and then read it afterwards.  We knew she was going to ride a dragon since the end of the first book.  WOO_HOO it happened! 

I was hoping repeated times for some major action.  When Dany was getting married I was all geared up for something.  And then she is married. Then various semi-major characters were all on their way to 'rescue' her from 10 more chapters of whining...and then didn't get there. 

I was geared up for Jon to lead SOMEBODY to war again.  And then he gets psuedo-killed (BTW Martin has gotten more and more into this - more main characters have been brought back from apparent death than killed in the last three books by a ratio of 5:1 by my unofficial count). 

I am sure people will say that Martin was doing this on purpose, or surprising us with lack of surprises or something crazy.  But what I loved about his books were that they were packed with EVENTS.  Surprises.  Maybe I have read him enough to be unimpressed by the 'surprises' (i.e. usually SOMEONE IS ALIVE AGAIN!!!). 

The epoligue was by far the best chapter.  And it wasn't the 5th best in 3 or 2.  *shrug*  Like MadK it has lost the luster a bit.  It took me weeks to finish the book, I was expecting a day or two. 

That all being said, I am really optimistic about #6...all this setting up HAS to go somewhere!  lengua.gif

Good to read the various thoughts on the questions though...some interesting theories! 

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rings said:

The always illuminating Sean Collins has a neat deconstruction of Sady's form of criticism on his excellent ASoIaF blog

For all the eye-rolling I do when reading Sady's piece, I have to admit I too thought George Martin was a perv when I read Dany & Drogo's first night.

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 Hi everyone,

I really liked ADWD. It is not the best, but it set the pieces on the whole board and I 'm really looking out to the development of the history.

Some thoughts that weren't rised yet (or that I didn't notice it).

- I've always thought that Dany had to reunite the Dothraki and use them to swap out the Yunkaii. Now it seems that it will be so, but that's normal: she is the mother of dragons, and her son ("Drogon") is the stallion that rides over the world". I think that dany will discover (from the top of Drogon) that the world is round, and that she can go west (to westeros) by going east ;-) (quaithe rulez). The elegant part is that going to westeros from east and circumnavigating the globe, it will mean that she must pass through the Iron Islands, and I can see that happen with Victarion around...

- The Kettlebacks were creatures of Littlefinger, it will be nice to see how everything plays out for him without anyone in King's Landing. I'm personally an huge fans of lord Baelish, I love how he is one who can value someone because is good at something and not because is noble (like all the lowborn people that he placed as lord of coin). Very "revolutionary french".

- Davos had an interesting conversation about Ned Stark with the lord Rodryck of the sweetsisters. I really do not know why, but I think on Skagos (during the journey in search of Rickon) he will learn some truth about Jon Snow. My gut says it. I just think that is not a coincidence that Martin has him involved, thanks this conversation, with the subplot of Jon's origin.

- What about Jaime and Brienne? She is alive, that means she has agreed to search an kill Jaime. But will she? Any thoughts?

this last point is not relevant with ADWD but.....has anyone noticed that Jon knows that the direwolf of Bran is named Summer, although Jon was already gone when bran named him? I know it could be easily explained (some raven send from winterfell to jon), but it still drives me crazy that this was just left happen without explanation :-P

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