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Doctor Memory

I don't pretend to have good answers to any of these questions, but I'd like to propose a counter-question:

What the fuck, precisely, is Littlefinger up to?

Varys has, at least, kinda-sorta tipped his hand to the narrator. But Littlefinger? He clearly has two goals: be king and have incredibly creepy sex with Sansa Stark. But other than the admittedly not-bad-on-its-face step of hiding out in the most fortified castle in the world while his enemies slowly kill each other off, we really have no idea of how he intends to reach the end goal. And no matter who eventually wins the multi-way civil war, they're still likely to have a bigger army and a better claim by blood to the throne than Littlefinger. So... which one of them is actually his agent?


If Baratheon is focused on Viserys and Dany, it makes it easier to keep Aegon on the downlow. Also, Viserys was originally supposed to meet up with Aegon and the Golden Company while bringing along 10,000 Dothraki, but got himself cr0wned.

Pretty clearly Varys is juggling a bunch of balls so that if a couple fall he's not shit out of luck. There isn't a singular gambit here, it's multiple complementary plans that range from incredibly long term (Martell marrying Targaryen) to rapidly shifting (Aegon coming to Westeros without Dany). It's not like Varys has that much control over what Dany does at this point, so it's a good thing that he had a back up plan.


This is assuming Aegon VI isn't just some sliver-haired kid Varys picked up in Pentos. We have only Varys and Illyrio's word to Connington - not the most rational of men when it comes to silver-haired princes - to say otherwise.


@Leinad, absolutely -- Aegon VI could be the "Mummer's Dragon." But Aegon's real parentage might not be so relevant. All Illyrio and Varys really have to do is proclaim Aegon is Rhaegar's kid. After all, Connington is undeniably the real Connington, and he can vouch for the smuggling-out of Rhaegar's heir. Like Slim Charles said, if it's a lie, he'll fight on that lie.

@Kaiserbrown, totally. I should have considered the intended Aegon/Viserys liaison in my post. Only I wonder why anyone would think Viserys would bend the knee to his suddenly-discovered nephew after hoisting the Dynasty on his back for 17 years.

@Doctormemory the absence of Littlefinger from ADWD was a huge bummer. Given his designs on Winterfell, via Sansa, I have to figure that'll be a major part of Book Six, now that we're gearing up for a new Battle of Winterfell.

Benjamin Craft-Rendon

Varys is clearly keeping his decision tree open, but the reveal of Aegon VI made me more trusting of him as a Restorationist; after all, arranging even a half-hearted hit on Dany is less dangerous when you have a spare heir.

As for Viserys, I wage the Dothraki plan was a Glossu Rabban maneuver. King Viserys & the invading Dothraki would wipe Westros clear of obstacles in a combo of cruelty & misrule which would leave the kingdom ripe for the enlightened rule of Rhaegar's son.

I was willing to buy Varys monologue, but it is Illyrio that I wonder about. Giving the dragon eggs to Daenerys; seeming to be genuinely upset that he didn't get to spend time with Aegon VI; the introduction of the Tattered Prince & his desire to rule Pentos; the prophecies swirling around Targaryen.
What is Illyrio's actual motivation? This is a lot of work & cost for any investment scheme, no matter the return.

Josh Winslow

Way back in the first book, Arya runs into a couple of folks in the basement of the Red Keep. One is a warlock, the other is described by his attire. This attire matches one of the costumes that Varys is wearing in one of his secret meetings with I believe Tyrion. With that in mind, I think it's more likely that Varys is involved in a more magic related plot having to do with the link between dragons and the Targaryen line.

Secondly, I'm fairly convinced that he invented Aegon in this book without having planned him to get him out of a plot problem. Danny had no real motive to leave Slavers Bay in the near to mid-term future, now with someone else claiming her throne she has solid motivation. Given all the foreshadowing that points to Jon Snow being the offspring of Rhaegar and Lyanna, the amount of foreshadowing for another Targaryen in previous books is limited to the number of dragons and their need for riders.


@Josh Winslow, in the HBO show, freeze the frame in that scene & it's clearly Varys & Illyrio.

And who knows: maybe the three-headed dragon is Aegon, Dany & Jon Snow. (Who's OBVS the bastard son of Rhae-Rhae.)


Heh, funny how no one thinks we've seen the last of Jon Snow.

For all that Martin is meant to be this remorseless progeny-devouring Kronos there's been a serious devaluation of mortality in the last few books.


What's interesting is that Doran Martell's game (marrying Arianne to Viserys and adding the might of Dorne to an army of 10,000 Dothraki screamers) makes no mention of Varys, and only *possibly* involves Illyrio. It IS possible that Illyrio is playing the Spider, but I don't think so.

The Martell game seems to either be an as-yet unconfirmed aspect of Varys' master plan or an anomaly that allowed Martin a reason to get Quentyn Martell over to Meereen to Screw Things Up even more than they already were.

What's most important here is that IF Varys knows about the Martell game, he hasn't seen fit to share any information with Prince Doran -- if Doran knew that his nephew Aegon was alive, you could bet that his original play to make his daughter Queen of the Seven Kingdoms would quickly be revived. (Doran learning that Aegon is alive will definitely be a scene to look forward in TWoW.)

I agree with the idea that Varys is keeping many plots going at once, though how Tyrion plays into it is pretty confusing. Varys wanted Tyrion, Aegon, and Daenerys in the same place with the intention of bringing them all back to Westeros in force. No one could have expected that Tyrion would have manipulated Aegon the way he did, OR been intercepted on his way to Meereen.

And as for Jonny Snow... I argued with a friend of mine recently that Melisandre's vision of Azor Ahai was clearly mistaken when she interpreted it as meaning Stannis, and all the evidence there supports it actually meaning Jon. Yet Maester Aemon's assertion that the prophecy indicates Daenerys makes me think that the Lord of Light is not necessarily a single person... what if Jon AND Daenerys (AND potentially Aegon) are all the Lord of Light?

Benjamin Craft-Rendon

If Little Griff is Illyrio's son vs. Rhaegar, it would explain tons; the old children clothes Tyrion gets dressed in, why Illyrio is so upset not to spend time with Griff (Illyrio's keeping his wife's hands he's that obsessed), Illyrio's angle in this whole plot, why Varys could take the assassination gamble with Daenerys, why GRRM kept having it come up that various new characters looked like Targaryens (establishes that is the Valyrian blood vs strictly Targaryen)...

Happy town

I know this is rather late but I feel like I can contribute. I think Varys's main motivating factors are what the audience already knows of him before ADWD. 1. Varys hates magic remember he was castrated so that a sorceror could speak to a "demon"(hence his distrust of dragons, sorcery, and etc [obviously he won't side with Dany]). and 2. He believes in strong leadership regardless of the blood of the leader and he favors the plight of the common people (hence his fondness for orphan children [obviously no love for Viserys]). I personally believe Aegon to be the child of Illyrio and his wife who was a Blackfyre (the books say they were extinguished in the male line (but not the female).


Though Varys was instrumental in Robert Baratheon ordering the assassination of Daenerys, he and Illyrio Mopatis were also responsible for sending Jorah Mormont to accompany her. Given Mormont's past, and knowing that he's a sucker for skirts, it's not inconceivable that they figured he'd "go rogue" and try to foil what was--in hindsight--a pretty half-assed assassination attempt. The failed assassination had the obvious effect of infuriating Khal Drogo, and making a Dothraki/Targaryen invasion of Westeros a possibility. I have a hard time believing that Illyrio Mopatis would go to the time and expense of marrying a Targaryen heir to a Dothraki warlord, just to have her and Viserys killed off.

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