A World of Ice and Fire Analysis: Chapter IV and V (The Fall of the Dragons and the Glorious Reign)

I decided to move some things around a bit, since Chapter III was a pretty long haul. So in this case, I’m doing two shorter chapters at once, and then splitting up the Seven Kingdoms section in half, so it’s more manageable.

reading

So let’s talk Robert’s Rebellion!

The Year of the False Spring:

  • So 279-280 were winter years. Good to know.
  • “The things that transpired beneath the walls of Harrenhal were set down by a score of chroniclers and recorded in many a letter.” I’m a bit confused that more people in ASOIAF don’t know about it, then.
  • a “shadow host” behind Lord Whent…fascinating.
  • “Prince Rhaegar who urged Lord Walter to hold the tourney, using his lordship’s brother Ser Oswell as a go-between. Rhaegar provided Whent with gold…his intent was to gather the great lords of the realm together in what amounted to an informal Great Council.” I like pragmatic reformer Rhaegar much better than prophecy-obsessed emo Rhaegar.
  • Qarlton Chelsted, Lucerys Velaryon, Symond Staunton, Varys, and Rossart. What a lovely bunch of people.
  • So Rhaegar had the backing of Jon Connington (duh), Ser Myles Mooton, Ser Richard Lonmouth, the Dornish, and Ser Arthur Dayne.
  • Pycelle and Merryweather as the neutrals – of course they were.
  • Yeah…Aerys attending the tourney did not go well.
  • I didn’t realize Tywin didn’t attend. So there was a gap between Jaime getting named and him quitting.
  • Aerys’ paranoia about Jaime is darkly funny, given that it was his idea.
  • Wow…Brandon was ready to throw down at the Tourney.
  • It’s amazing Aerys didn’t burn down King’s Landing before the Rebellion, actually.
  • So Rhaegar found Lyanna near Harrenhal, well given that it was several months after the Tourney, I’m guessing she detoured on the way to Brandon’s wedding. I wonder if any of the half-dozen are still alive?

Robert’s Rebellion:

  • not a lot of new information here. Dangnabbit.
  • the timing is really confusing here, given that I thought Ashford came before the Bells.
  • So Rhaegar was definitely down south when everything that happened to Brandon and Rickard happened.
  • Rhaella was definitely pregnant in 283 AC. Yes, she’s definitely Dany’s mom.
  • Pycelle spinning very hard here.

The Glorious Reign:

  • well, that’s a waste of a page…

That was a short one. Now on to the travelogue!

 

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75 thoughts on “A World of Ice and Fire Analysis: Chapter IV and V (The Fall of the Dragons and the Glorious Reign)

  1. Jeff says:

    Bells was after Ashford. Remember, Robert was wounded at the Battle of Ashford and hid in Stoney Sept to lick his wounds. Of course then he hid in the Peach where he licked other things and had other people lick him.

  2. Jeff says:

    But an undisputed, undefeated, great and glorious warrior king doesn’t lose battles and fuck his way through a brothel. Certainly not when he is fighting to save his one true wuv.

  3. Abbey Battle says:

    Short but sweet Maester Steven – doubtless our good chronicler decided to skimp on the details in this section so that he might avoid stepping on the toes of any Lords still alive and in a position to take umbrage at the scribblings of this mere clerk!

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the write-ups of the Seven Kingdoms (and I would be interested in hearing your opinion on which of them you most enjoyed reading about – I admit that The Reach, The Storm-Lands and The Vale all competed for my acclaim, but that The Vale of Arryn won my particular interest. Must be all the mountains!).

  4. John S. says:

    Yeah, for some reason when I read shadow figure that financed the wealth of the tourney, I thought illyrio mopatis there, only for the maester to say its rhaegar a sentence later. It does seem like something that varys could do to help create a further divide between the king and crown prince, but perhaps I’m just being paranoid here.

    • Possible, I suppose, but it makes Rhaegar rather passive.

      • After reading the section on the Harrenhal Tourney I feel very strongly that the Shadow Financier was Tywin.
        – At this point we are multiple years into the death of whatever friendship/camaraderie existed between Aerys and Tywin.
        – While the road to the end of their partnership began with Aerys’ arrogance colliding with Tywin’s pride (Exhibit A: Aerys insistence on shoving his lust for Joanna into Tywin’s face whenever possible), Aerys was well into King Scab mode by this point.
        – Despite the combination of insults and insanity, it was clear that Tywin had a very prominent goal of weaving the Lannisters into the web of Houses that constituted the ‘first ring’ of marriage-worthy bloodlines for the Targs. Either the Targs themselves or Joanna’s plan with the Martells. If successful this would have placed the Lannisters alongside the Martells, Baratheons, Velaryons etc as being woven into the larger Targ branches
        – At Duskendale we have a fairly reliable (and in-character) quote from Tywin about Aerys being ultimately expendable since Rhaegar was not only available, but not insane, and showing signs of being a decent-to-great king to boot.

        I theorize that Tywin pushed for this Tourney to occur to put on full display and juxtaposition for all the lords of the realm, King Scab vs the Prince of Dragonstone. After a comparison like that, there would be little pressure needed find a way to oust Aerys in favor of Rhaegar. Tywin would continue as Hand under the new king. Elia Martell was known to be of overall ill health, and should she die (for whatever reason) the Hand would have his lovely daughter waiting in the wings to console the grieving king.

        Now, I am not proposing some new “Grand Fill-In-The-Blank Conspiracy”. Obviously if Tywin and Rhaegar were in cahoots…well, then Rhaegar didn’t stick with the script and fucked things up by going after Lyanna. Nor do I feel that this is tied into the Southron Ambitions theory (if anything I would speculate that this could have been part of Tywin working at cross purposes with whatever hints he may have gleaned about the SA alliance).

        So, whatever wink & nod understanding that may have existed between Tywin and Rhaegar falls apart after Harrenhal, the Rebellion plays out, and after Rhaegar is dead Tywin decides it’s time to shit or get off the pot and allows his id to get full revenge on Aerys.

        Finally, this very much fits a similar pattern we saw with the Red Wedding;
        -Public celebration masking a bold political coup
        -Intermediaries serving to keep Tywin’s hands clean
        -Small, unforeseen details begin to ripple out, upsetting Tywin’s best laid plans.

        • I don’t buy that.

          1. Tywin wouldn’t move without his ducks in a row, and nothing had been finalized with the Tullys.
          2. Tywin would have done it at Casterly Rock or Lannisport. Too much of an egoist not to.
          3. If this was Tywin’s move, he would have followed through no matter what happened to Jaime. No way he doesn’t show.

          • 1. I guess to clarify, I perceive the Harrenhal Tourney as being a preliminary move on Tywin’s part towards some ‘Stage 2’ event wherein the actual removal of Aerys would take place. Harrenhal being Tywin’s way of showing lords from all over the realm what he had been seeing develop for years. This was Tywin getting his ducks lined up.
            2. Going with my theory for the sake of argument, the final act would need to happen in Kings Landing to grant legitimacy to Rhaegar.
            3. No disagreement there, but like I said, I’m of the view that this was an early stage to a plan that still had a couple more steps remaining.

          • 1. That seems way too public for a preliminary move. Look at the Tourney of Traitors, etc.

            2. All the previous Great Councils happened at Harrenhal.

            3. Just seems like not a step 1 to me.

  5. Andrew says:

    I think Rhaegar was planning to call a Great Council too, he himself told Jaime that “When this battle’s done I mean to call council. Changes will be made.” It wasn’t a bad idea.

    Sending Rhaegar to find who the KolT was is was led to him meeting Lyanna, no doubt. He was probably impressed by not just being unable to horse more experienced knights, but her reasons for doing so, to defend the honor of a crannogman. He kept her secret since it would mean trouble form his father and an embarrassment for her father.

    Lyanna was less than ten leagues from Harrenhal at the time they ran off. I wonder if they had been sending letters to each other, and she received a letter to meet him there.

    There is one theory that Richard Lonmouth is still alive, only he is called Lem in the BwB.

    Also, poor Rhaella, the night Dany was conceived was mentioned in Jaime’s POV after Aerys burned Chelsted and she was brutally raped.

    • Abbey Battle says:

      I may pity Aerys the Second (it can’t be fun to spend most of your life losing every single scrap of sanity and security), but all my sympathy is saved up for Queen Rhaella, Princess Ellia, little Rhaenys and Aegon for horribly obvious reasons.

    • I highly doubt Lem is Lonmouth – Lem seems too lowborn for that.

      I think so too, it’s just irritating that Rhaegar let himself get distracted.

      • Andrew says:

        How do you know? We have no knowledge of Lem’s personal history other than having had a wife and daughter at some point.

        • His accent and manners suggest someone who wasn’t particularly highborn. A hedge knight, maybe, a man-at-arms or guardsman or sellsword, but a bosom companion to an aesthete like Rhaegar? No.

          • Andrew says:

            Lonmouth was reputedly the same man who challenged Robert in a “wine cup war” until he passed out. Given that, I think manners wasn’t on the top of his list.

          • That’s pretty normal behavior for a feast.

          • Andrew says:

            Tragedy can also change a man. He likely lost his lands after fighting against his liege lord Robert and his friend, Rhaegar, was killed.

            Look at Lem’s friends: a red head and a guy who plays a harp, sound familiar?

            Lem also has a black helm with yellow cloak, both the colors of House Lonmouth.

          • I just don’t buy it. For one thing, why would Lonmouth be so loyal to the man he fought against?

          • Andrew says:

            He isn’t fighting for Robert, he is fighting for the BwB.

            He is mentioned at least twice, and we aren’t given his fate compared to all of Rhaegar’s other friends: Myles Mooton, Jon Connington, Arthur Dayne, etc. Why put him in there with his fate unrevealed unless it is going to play a part someplace in the story?

          • But the BWB fight for Robert. That’s the sticking point for me.

            I don’t know that we have gotten the backstory on all of Rhaegar’s friends – we know he had six companions that fateful day, but we don’t know all six, etc.

            I can see Lonmouth showing up again, but I don’t see it being Lem.

  6. David Hunt says:

    Well, shit. You’ve done the same thing with WOIAF that you did with the main books. You’ve convinced me that I actually ha with WOIve to but a copy of this thing.

  7. Grant says:

    Remember that this is a world where magic and prophecy are fact, even if they’re ones that the maesters prefer to forget. In Westeros it’s quite possible to try to be a serious reformer and believe in a prophecy about an oncoming war against ice fairy monsters at the same time.
    And if memory serves, Jaime’s appointment to the Kingsguard was done at Cersei’s manipulation. We don’t know quite how she did it, but she was the impetus.

  8. Brett says:

    So Rhaegar found Lyanna near Harrenhal, well given that it was several months after the Tourney, I’m guessing she detoured on the way to Brandon’s wedding. I wonder if any of the half-dozen are still alive?

    That sounds like the maester relaying the official story. I wouldn’t be surprised if she actually gave her handlers the slip (or they let her off) and snuck off to meet with Rhaegar, and when she didn’t come back they claimed that Rhaegar’s men had “overpowered them”.

    Rhaella was definitely pregnant in 283 AC. Yes, she’s definitely Dany’s mom.

    Woh, was there a conspiracy theory that Rhaella wasn’t Daenerys’ mom? That’s really strange.

    well, that’s a waste of a page…

    Heh. If he was real, he’d probably tell you the same thing privately.

    • Grant says:

      There’s practically a fan theory that every character is really the child of some other character. Dany’s is obviously pretty weak, what with the hair, eyes, affinity for dragons and that she’s been around Viserys for her entire life.

      Only thing I can think of is that Dany remembers trees when she was growing up and it’s mentioned a few times that trees don’t grow around the place she remembers. Which, at most, would mean she was in Dorne or something briefly.

      • She remembers a lemon tree outside her window in Braavos. Trees grow in Braavos only in the courtyards of the wealthy. Ergo, the tree grew in Darry’s house’s courtyard, not that she lived in Dorne. (The theorist is a twit, sorry.)

    • – I was referring to Rhaegar’s half-dozen companions. Who were they? Are any of them dead? I’m guessing three were Whitetower, Whent, and Dayne, but who were the other three?

      – yeah, I saw some stuff on r/asoiaf. Dany as Jon’s twin sister, Dany as the daughter of Aerys II and Ashara Dayne, etc. People are losing all sense of proportion.

  9. Amestria says:

    Given all the obvious Robert and Lannister propaganda, have you given any thought to the possibility that the section on King Arys II might be filled with propagandist exaggerations and inventions?

    • Grant says:

      It’s possible but remember everything that multiple characters, most of whom are fairly rational and clear headed, say or remember about Aerys II. I don’t think the writer would really need to make much up.

    • Quite possible, but did you have anything in mind?

      • Amestria says:

        Varys. Varys was Master of Whispers for King Robert and Joffrey when this book was written. Obviously there would be a need to minimize the Eunuch’s influence. If the rot of Aerys reign really did begin with Varys as Ser Barristan told Stannis (and he would know), then what does it say of Robert that he continued to employ the guy? Well, one way you would minimize Varys’s importance is in exaggerating the Mad Kings pre-Varys paranoia.

        • Ah, I see. That’s a good point, but on the other hand – Ser Barristan is also something of a romantic, and tries to see the best in people, especially his kings. At the end of the day, Aerys still hired Varys for a reason, and I don’t think you do that without paranoia to begin with.

          • Amestria says:

            Well, obviously. It’s just Barristan’s remark indicates that Aerys paranoia and homicidal tendencies weren’t all that harmful to the realm before Varys. I suppose there might be a very careful distinction between reign and king. The king was rotten, but his REIGN *only* began to rot when Varys showed up. Perhaps because Varys increased Aerys personal power and made his general paranoia much more targeted and focused and very lethal?

            Another thing, we should remember that Aerys was never sidelined for being insane or assassinated by his enemies. He was killed when one of his Kingsguard had just had enough of him. Even though he was really going off the deep end just before the war. In the halls of power he repeatedly triumphed over his enemies and lost by the battlefield.

          • I think Ser Barristan is just wrong about that. He’s a romantic and the opposite of a political realist. Way too much evidence here that Aerys was cracking up before Varys got there.

      • Amestria says:

        Also, maybe some of the stuff about his early reign. When the endpoint is “Mad King” everything is going to be leading up to and pointing to said madness. Hence all the big warning signs.

  10. Unsurprised that Rhaegar had the Dornish support, with Elia and her children being around Aerys, no doubt they felt they were in constant danger.

    Lyanna could have been Lord Whent’s guest for a while after the tourney. At least that’s how my theory goes, that she was there and since Whent (the Kingsguard) was with Rhaegar when she went missing, he’d knew the place very well and could have very well instructed her via letters.

    While I’m not a fan of Rhaegar, I’m glad we get to see him do something other than moping and being an emo boy. Potential wasted I say.

    And I just can’t help but to feel sorry for Rhaella, Elia, Rhaenys and Aegon.

    • Jeff says:

      Radio westeros made a podcast and post (I think this is it here: http://radiowesteros.tumblr.com/post/97983234148/for-the-first-time-in-years-eddard-stark-and-rhaegar) where they put up one theory on R+L=J. There is apparently a version of the Arthurian Lore where for her crimes Gwenevere is sentenced to be burned at the stake. Lancelot saves here and they run off together to a tower called Joyeux or some other castle or tower house that sounds a lot like Joy.

      Thanks to The World of Ice and Fire we now have absolute confirmation on the Knight of the Laughing Tree story and that at the very least 90% of it is true. Now, if Aerys was still obsessed with the knight then isn’t it possible that he sent Varys or his agents to look into it, because remember he didn’t trust Rhaegar at all. If he did, it wouldn’t be that hard to connect the Knight of the Laughing Tree with the Stark children. In a vacuum all the things that Rhaegar, Lyanna and the Stark family have done around this time seem, especially to a paranoid schizophrenic, to be a massive conspiracy. And also thanks to the new book and the parts on Theon “the Hungry Wolf” Stark we know exactly how the Starks handle foreign invasion and thanks to the Dance of the Dragons information we know that the turning point for The Blacks and what eventually brought about their victory is that Cregan Stark himself lead an army south.

      Not a great leap to think that things like this went through the head of the Mad King.

      • This seems quite logical, but…the laughing tree thing I think is harder to piece together than people think. Remember, not very many people from the South go North and almost all of the heart-trees in the South were chopped down. So I don’t know that a southerner would link the laughing tree to the North.

      • Yes, I’ve remember a movie about the Arthurian legend where Arthur does condemn Guinevere to die in the stake, but has a change of heart and asks Merlin to create rain to put the fire out and later Lancelot arrives and runs off with Guinevere. Later Merlin realizes that the one who should have sat beside Guinevere was Lancelot’s son. Not Lancelot himself.

        Quite so. It wouldn’t surprise me that if Aerys would have found out who was the Knight, the Starks would have a lot to answer for (even if it wasn’t anything), after all, they had a marriage pact with the eldest daughter of a LP, forstering another son under another LP and said son was BFF with another LP, it would have sent him off his rocket. Because that is a massive force to be fearful of, specially if Rhaegar gets them on his side you add the Dornish and boom. There are 5 vs 2, stuff of nightmares for Aerys I’m sure.

        • Andrew says:

          That movie was called Merlin with the titular character played by Sam Neil. One of the scenes I liked was when Mab said he would be a mad tyrant like his father Arthur’s response was “I don’t know what I will do or who I will become, only what I am.” Okay, some might find it corny but to each his own.

          Something tells me be being burned is alive is probably what wouldn have befell Lyanna if she hadn’t been at the ToJ. Aerys likely would have tried to use her as a hostage against Ned and Robert, and if she failed, well there is the fate of the Lace Serpent to remember.

          • Thank you for the memory refreshment Andrew.

            Agreed on the ToJ being the safest place for Lyanna after their elopement. Because as what we saw, neither Dragonstone nor King’s Landing was a safe place for her, considering that Aerys had no problem with the idea of burning the whole place to the ground.

    • Well, you’d just think there would be some awkwardness, given that Rhaegar has rather publicly shamed Elia.

      • Don’t know if you have the app, but it (the app) tells us that Doran was *livid* at Lyanna being crowned and they were angry at Elia’s treatment. I posted under the assumption the support was from before the incident of Harrenhal happened, not after it.

        • I do, I’m just not finished reading through it.

          It’s an interesting what if. If the lividness went further, if they somehow got Elia out, which side do they back?

          • Oops, sorry.

            It did went further, apparently anger over Elia’s treatment and Doran’s caution was the factor on Dorne not sending more support. To the point that Aerys reminded Lewyn that he held his niece and ordered to command the army that came from Dorne (10k spears it seems).

            Good question, if they got her back the only two chances they have on taking the throne for Aegon (doubt they would be cheering for Rhaegar at this point) is to ally with The Reach and The Westerlands. If not, if somehow they had managed to get Elia to Sunspear, probably (and that’s a big probably) the rebels.

            Rhaenys could have been married to the Starks or Baratheon and Aegon sent to the Wall afterwards in peace talks. But then again, huge IF.

  11. When Aerys named Jaime to the Kingsguard, Tywin retired as Hand. The Tourney was a little bit later, and that was when Jaime was *officially* inducted to the Kingsguard, received his white cloak, etc. Tywin didn’t attend for, well, obvious reasons. Though none of this is new, it’s all known from various parts of ASOS. The only things new are exactly what Tywin said when Jaime was named, and the fact that Aerys suspected the Knight of the Laughing Tree was Jaime.

  12. Amestria says:

    Given how the Lannisters stuffed and exploited the administration under King Robert, maybe Aerys II was right to clip Tywin’s wings? Of course constantly adding insult to said injuries was absolutely loathsome and crazy, but maybe a case could be made for justifying the injuries? Like, obviously the whole thing gets written off as “Aerys was nuts for turning against his most capable and faithful servant!” But, you know, in the end Tywin’s has always been all about House Lannister… And Aerys, as irrational as he was, could be pretty cunning. He did almost burn down Kings Landing with almost no one the wiser. As you’ve pointed out, there might be good reason to think Tywin wanted Aerys to die at Duskendale…so what else did Aerys see that he had good reason not to like?

    • Eh…there’s a big difference between Tywin and Cersei. Tywin promotes family, but his first priority is good government. Cersei promotes stooges first, last, and always.

      • Amestria says:

        I don’t think Tywin is that devoted to the realm. What Tywin ordered in the Riverlands was definitely not in the interest of good government (the result has been a disaster for good government). Torching the Riverlands was solely in the interest of his family. Tywin can balance and compromise and juggle and do good works when necessary, but he always puts family power first over any common good.

        • Gotta agree here.

          Tywin is the epitome of stability and sane maneuvers when House Lannister is thoroughly tied to the current government (Examples: Tywin as Aerys’ Hand, Tywin throughout ASOS). However, when the Lannisters are out of power, he is willing to start civil wars (Ex: Tywin in AGOT) or end a 300 year old unifying dynasty (Wouldn’t a Tywin regency raising young Aegon been more stabilizing?) in order to blast an opening for House Lannister into power.

        • Yes and no – torching the Riverlands is how Tywin deals with rebels.

          Remember, family power is state power in a feudal society.

          But if you look at him as Hand, he’s not in favor of just promoting cronies – that’s what Cersei does, and Tywin clearly disapproves. Yes, he’s going to appoint loyalists, but only ones who he feels have demonstrated capacity.

  13. Given just how many children Rhaella lost between Rhaegar and Viserys, you gotta consider that Aerys was right about someone poisoning her and those newborn children. Pycelle maybe?

  14. […] This is as close as Jon Snow has come to learning the truth of R+L=J, that Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Baratheon. As we’ve seen before and will see again, blue winter roses are closely associated with Lyanna Stark throughout her life’s story – these roses, which grow in Winterfell, were Lyanna’s favorite growing up; we’ll learn in ASOS that the garland of the Queen of Love and Beauty given by Rhaegar to Lyanna at the Tourney at Harrenhal was made of blue roses; and it’s overwhelmingly likely that the flowers that Ned remembers Lyanna clutching on her deathbed at the Tower of Joy were the same flowers. Similarly, the blue rose figures in Dany’s vision at the House of the Undying and will show up again in Theon’s nightmares. Likewise, the story of a charming singer who abducts a Stark daughter against the will of her father is a close parallel for Rhaegar’s actions shortly before Robert’s Rebellion. […]

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