Guest Appearance on Unspoiled, Episode 378

And we’re back, with another episode going through the World of Ice and Fire, chapter-by-chapter! This time, we examine the reign of Aerys II and Robert’s Rebellion.



33 thoughts on “Guest Appearance on Unspoiled, Episode 378

  1. Sean C. says:

    You pronounce Rhaella’s name as “Ray-ell-a”, which was how I always read it, but I realized that consistency would mean it should be “Ray-la”.

  2. Winnie says:

    I enjoyed hearing your take on how Asha is more high tempo in the books than on the show…of course as I told you privately I’m a little split on Asha as a character.

    Enjoy the podcasts but I hope to get to back to the chapter analysis soon! I expect you’re drooling about all the possibilities for the next couple of Cat chapters, (and certainly there’s plenty for the ‘what if’ section,) but frankly I’m more captivated by Sansa’s upcoming chapter in terms of character development.

  3. Sean C. says:

    Incidentally, I completely agree about the timeline of Robert’s Rebellion being majorly confusing. Or, rather, the series of events is quite logical, but it’s utterly inexplicable how those events took a year to play out.

    • I think it’s more the case that there are missing battles that need explanation.

      • Sean C. says:

        It’s difficult to figure that, honestly. The main temporal gap is that Robb was born while Ned was away at the wars, meaning that the period from Ned’s marriage to Robb’s birth lasted at least nine months. Ned’s marriage presumably occurred either right before the Battle of the Bells, or right after. But every description we’ve ever gotten of the aftermath of the Battle of the Bells indicates that events progressed very quickly to the Battle of the Trident (even though, incidentally, that doesn’t make much sense geographically either). There were no royalist armies in existence other than Conningon’s shattered one (which Selmy and Darry were sent to try to recover and bring to join Prince Rhaegar) and the new army being raised by Prince Rhaegar, which first saw action at the Trident.

        The main gap is Robert’s march northward, where he seemingly saw his army fragment, but that’s pre-Ned/Cat marriage.

  4. David says:

    RE: Varys, Jaime, Tyrion, and the question of whether or not Shae was planted in Tywin’s bed — I think there’s more overlap between your theories than your conversation fully explored.

    Varys’ dialogue with Tyrion definitely suggests aiding-and-abetting in the guise of protest, but I thought Miles made a very legitimate point in suggesting that Varys, with Jaime’s knife to his throat, was acting under duress. Being willing to get his hands dirty and assassinate an elderly man (Pycelle) and shoot a middle-aged man (Kevan) doesn’t make Varys Jaime’s equal in a fight, even a left-handed Jaime.

    I’d suggest that Varys was rapidly improvising the best outcome he could salvage out of an unexpected situation, which would explain his dialogue with Tyrion, be consistent with his dialogue with Jaime, and would argue against Varys having the time or forethought to plant Shae in Tywin’s bed.

    RE: Tyrion as secret Targ and 9 months vs. 12 — the Dance of the Dragons suggests that Targaryen blood is necessary but not sufficient for convincing a dragon to view you as “rider” rather than “lunch.” Assuming that J+D+T = 3 heads of the dragon, and assuming further that “3 heads of the dragon” = the riders of Viserion, Drogon, and Rhaegal, doesn’t that require that either a) Tyrion must be a secret Targ, or b) that the Targaryens were either lying or wrong in claiming that Targaryen blood was a prerequisite?

    And (arguing against option b), here) *if* that were true, why would either the Blacks or the Greens have accepted the political instability and military disunity that resulted from a dragonrider of questionable loyalty successfully bonding a dragon? If you can bond a dragon to anyone, why not raise a corps of absolutely loyal, Janissary-like zealots from birth and use them, instead of any Targ-blooded bastard who walks in the door?

    • I just don’t think Varys was ever in danger from Jaime.

      Regarding option B, isn’t the whole thing with the dragonseeds evidence that the dragonblood in question can be extremely tenuous?

      Moreover, if it’s true that dragonblood is necessary, why would either Victarion or Euron give it a go?

      • David says:

        RE: Varys — linking back to my comment on, I think you’re overestimating Varys’ degree of prescience. Even the most well-informed spymaster can be caught off-guard by a sufficiently-motivated “lone gunman” with a sharp knife and a willingness to throw consequences to the wind (e.g. “Your life is mine. I do not care what secrets you know.”)

        RE: dragonseeds — that’s an interesting point, to which I respond with a question: what’s the smallest portion of Targ blood a successful bond is shown to possess? I’ve only read DotD once, but my recollection is that all of the successful dragonseeds were within a generation or two of the full-blooded Targs (assorted bastards and relations of bastards, etc.)

        RE: Victarion & Euron — because they’re either morons being played six ways from Sunday by Moqorro (Victarion), or because they’re delusional, half-trained-in-sorcery sociopaths who think they’re destined for greatness (Euron).

        • Sean C. says:

          The only dragonseed with any confirmed degree of ancestry was Addam Velaryon, who was Lord Corlys’ son (most likely).

          The Two Betrayers and Nettles had no explicitly identified Valyrian ancestor. Nettles is the one people tend to focus on as far as a potential non-Valyrian dragonrider.

          • David says:

            I think I’m more convinced by the lack of any successful aspirants who clearly *didn’t* have Targ genes (see comment below.)

            We know that the “first night” law was still in common use on and near Dragonstone; I find it much easier to believe that the Two Betrayers & Nettles were within-two-generation Targs with forgettable parents than I do the idea that they had no (or very distant) Targ blood.

          • Sean C. says:

            Thing is, if Tyrion does end up taming Viserion, I expect that will be a big plot twist (either because you believe he’s Aerys’ bastard or because “holy shit, a non-Targaryen is riding a dragon! How’d he do that!”), so I think the author is deliberately cultivating ambiguity on that point.

          • David says:

            RE: deliberately cultivating ambiguity — yeah, I’d buy that. It feels GRRMy. I suspect Barristan will be instrumental in breaking the news, possibly as part of a deathbed confession, just as Bloodraven and/or Howland Reed will be instrumental in breaking the news to Jon.

        • Winnie says:

          Agreed on Victarion and Euron. The former is too dumb to know better and the latter is batshit crazy. And I for one don’t believe for a minute that either of them is gonna get a dragon.

        • I don’t think he saw Jaime coming. I think he could have taken Jaime.

    • Sean C. says:

      It’s entirely possible that the Targaryens believe that you need Valyrian blood to ride a dragon, and be mistaken.

      Though even that is unclear, since Rhaenyra allowed Ser Steffon Darklyn, who has no known Valyrian ancestry, to try to become a dragonrider. If she believed that was hopeless that doesn’t make much sense.

      • David says:

        I think you raise a fair point RE: latter-day Targaryen ignorance exceeding Valyrian knowledge.

        I disagree with you RE: “hopeless” – I would argue that Ser Steffon and other non-dragonseed aspirants (all of whom failed, IIRC) could have been motivated by plenty of things: desperation to meet the military necessity of fielding more dragons, desire for glory combined with upper-class exceptionalism (a la Quentyn Martell), personal loyalty to Rhaenyra, religious faith that the Seven would protect them, et al. Humans are bad at accurately assessing the likelihood that a particular risk will befall them, and can persist in their inaccuracy even in the face of strong evidence that they are as flammable as the next fellow.

        • Sean C. says:

          Sure, but Darklyn was the Lord Commander of the Queensguard. He would not have been able to try without the Queen’s say-so. If she knew that he could never succeed, she would not have allowed it.

          • David says:

            She wouldn’t be the first person to let hope for a positive outcome cloud her better judgment (the charitable interpretation); nor would she be the first ruler to risk a relatively-low value military asset for the chance of acquiring a greater one (the cynical version). Darklyn’s mostly symbolic; he doesn’t bring a great house with him, she doesn’t lack for skilled bodyguards, and even a skilled swordsman is worth orders of magnitude less than a dragonrider.

          • Sean C. says:

            That really doesn’t make sense, if Valyrians-only is a hard rule. And Rhaenyra doesn’t lack for people of Valyrian ancestry (or rather, Jacaerys, since he was running this).

      • David says:

        Addendum: I’d forgotten that Jacaerys promised land, gold, and titles to any successful aspirants, so add straight-up financial gain as a possible motivator as well.

    • Winnie says:

      Also Targaryen/Valyrian blood while it may be necessary for dragon riding under normal circumstances but an exceptional situation being if the dragon is being ‘warged’ by a Greenseer don’t you know.

      • David says:

        Eternal frozen vengeance upon the theory that “You will never walk again, Bran, but you will fly” = “Bran will warg a dragon.”

      • David says:

        Apart from just reading too much into what Brynden is saying (he’s not trying to be prophetic, he’s just a teacher offering some words of consolation to his new student, who happens to be a crippled boy despairing at the loss of his legs), warging and dragon-bonding stem from two very different magical sources. They both carry genetic components run in bloodlines, and Bran only has one of those lines.

        If anyone’s warging a dragon (and I’m not at all sold on the idea that it’ll happen), it will be someone who mixes the bloods of fire and ice, Targaryen & First Men; i.e., either Jon or Bloodraven himself, not Bran.

  5. Doesn’t Mance say he was a young ranger when he visited Winterfell? I took that to be younger than 25 at the worst which would put him mid 30s at the extreme.

    • Salt and pepper in his mid-30s?

      • Winnie says:

        Some people go grey early. My mother’s hair turned completely grey in her thirties and so she started dying it because she got tired of people assuming she was my grandma.

        • I doubt that’s the case here. Mance is a contemporary of Qhorin, who’s got full silver hair and is a long-time veteran of the NW.

          • “‘I remember,’ said Jon with a startled laugh. A young black brother on the wallwalk, yes…’You swore not to tell.”

            Jon’s first storm of swords chapter.

            So unless young Jon would characterize a 30+ year old as a young black brother you have to really stretch to get Mance even to his mid thirties.

  6. I enjoy your analysis in these podcasts. But jeez that Miles guy is an interrupting twerp.

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