Tag Archives: Varys

The Ravenry: Week of 3/7/2016

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Hello, everyone!

As you may or may not know, Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire has its own Tumblr page (as well as its own Twitter and Facebook pages).  Even more excitingly,  we here at the blog have partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire.  We – that is, SomethingLikeaLawyer and I – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful, text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

Another productive week for us in the Tumblr-verse. The Hand always has the best answers to meta questions because he is all kinds of brilliant, and his answer to favorite aspects of ASOIAF warfare is no exception.  Just as well, the Hand tackled the false assertion that the Freys were justified in enacting the Red Wedding, and dreamed up some excellent alternate histories about Aegon IV dying before the follies of his reign and Jaime Lannister protecting Elia Martell. As for me, I wrote another essay – The Windblown Grass, all about terrible strategist Doran Martell – thought up some Blackfyre words, and added a defining character moment for Theon to Tumblr friend Poor Quentyn’s excellent post to the same.

Without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of March 7:
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Heirs in the Shadows: The Young Lion

Introduction

Tyrek Lannister may be considered by readers little more than a tertiary character in A Song of Ice and Fire. The consideration is not unreasonable: not even mentioned by name in the first book, seen “on-screen” only twice before his mysterious disappearance in the violent riot in King’s Landing in A Clash of Kings, young Tyrek merits little more than a footnote among his more prominent Lannister relatives, much less the grander cast of characters. If he is noted at all, he might be remembered as simply a victim, on the same plane as his cousin Willem: an unfortunate pawn to Lannister dynastic ambitions, an innocent murdered by the rioting smallfolk of the capital.

Yet Tyrek disappeared so thoroughly – and so mysteriously – that his “simple” disappearance might not be so simple after all.  Rather than being one of the many bodies cleared from the streets in the days and weeks after the riot, Tyrek might be alive and well (or at least relatively well). Even more, Tyrek might be waiting to make a dramatic reappearance in Westeros, schooled and prepared by an unlikely “ally.” Who would want the young Lannister cousin, and what might be in store for him in the future?

Welcome to the newest series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire, Heirs in the Shadows. In this series, BryndenBFish and I will examine a number of individuals who may press blood claims to different Westerosi seats, raising ancestral (or “ancestral”) House banners into the stormy Westerosi skies. We will analyze the powerful backers to these claimants, and the arguments and tactics these plotters will utilize to install their chosen pawns as great lords and even ruling monarchs. We will attempt to sketch out how the political face of Westeros might change with the rise of these heirs in waiting – and how their schemes might comport with the volatile game of thrones as the main narrative races to its climax.

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Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire Podcast, Episode 09: Fan-Submitted Questions and Answers

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A Song of Ice and Fire is a gripping work of fantasy, but it’s also full of mysteries. Moreover, it’s a series that generates a lot of deep thought and questions. In today’s podcast, we try our best Melisandre impression and look into our fires to give you all the answers to questions you’ve been asking for months now. Thank you so much for all of your questions.  Some of the questions we answer are on the topics of:

  • Aegon and whether his true identity actually matters.
  • Whether Tyrek Lannister is alive
  • A potential live-video youtube Q/A
  • The Others and whether the War for the Dawn was resolved peacefully
  • Many more!
As a bonus, we are taking question full time now. We didn’t totally get through all of your questions this time, but we’re taking your questions from here on out, and we’ll incorporate them into our episodes going forward! So, submit your questions to us below, and we’ll be happy to answer any and all questions (eventually!).
You can listen to us here, but please feel free to listen/subscribe at the following spots:

At the end of the podcast, we talk about where you can find the blog’s social media. Here’s some links to help out

Additionally, you can find us individually on twitter at the following spots:

Thanks for listening!

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The Ravenry: Week of 10/5/2015

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Good morning (or afternoon, or evening, or whenever you are in the time-space continuum), lovelies!

As you may or may not know, Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire has its own Tumblr page (as well as its own Twitter and Facebook pages).  Even more excitingly,  we here at the blog have partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire.  We – that is, SomethingLikeaLawyer and I – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

So every Monday we present to you The Ravenry.  We collect the questions we’ve answered during the previous week over on the Tumblr in post form, with a brief description of each, and publish it here, and link that post on Twitter and Facebook as well. This week was a busy time for the Ravenry (especially for the Lord Hand), with 48 questions answered (the most we’ve ever done here). We traveled all around Westeros and Essos, forward and back in wibbly wobbly spacetime, from individual characters to meta-thematic questions.

A note about question answering. We here at the Ravenry do our best to answer every question we get, but it’s a, well, Sisyphean task. We do, however, reserve the right not to answer rude comments. Demanding to have a question answered will not get the questioned answered more quickly. This is not usually a problem, of course; the vast majority of the questions we get are well-meaning and respectful.

Without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of October 5:

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What if Season 5 Was Good, Like Really Good? (Winterfell, Meereen and Dorne) — Corrected!

Part 1 dealt with storylines we thought were the best in Season 5, but for every good storyline, there’s always the bad one (the bad pussy one). Today’s podcast episode delves into the worst storylines of Season 5. From underwhelming battles to poor dialogue to convoluted motivations, we explore:

  • The Boltons: the sole Northern House in Season 5
  • Stannis’ tell-don’t-show march on Winterfell
  • Brienne the Candlewoman
  • The Coming Mask Making Industry Bubble in Meereen
  • Jorah Connington’s/Varys’ travels with Tyrion
  • Dorne…

But instead of criticizing the show, we offer ideas to make it better. At the end, we give a few thoughts on where we think Season 6 might go!

Agree or disagree, and let us know your thoughts on Season 5 and what you would have done to improve it in the comments below!

You can also listen to us at itunes or podbean.

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Blood of the Conqueror, Part 2: The Mummer’s Folly

Introduction

In medieval and early Renaissance Europe, allegories or long-form metaphors were used as moral and explanatory story-telling devices. In these allegories, Folly was a character who resembled court jesters in appearance and served as the dramatic device to tempt the protagonist towards foolhardy deeds.

If A Song of Ice and Fire were an allegory, Varys and Illyrio would play the part of Folly in the story. Their soft, powdered hands and tittering laughs guide much of the action in A Song of Ice and Fire. Yet these men aren’t simple mummers performing trickery for laughs. Instead, their tricks and mummery are intended for the highest of dramas.

But their role as Folly is unclear and often misinterpreted. To attempt to expand our knowledge of the Varys-Illyrio plot, I’ve divided their scheming into two parts. In order to understand the plots of Illyrio and Varys, we have to explain the motivations and backgrounds of those pulling the strings. So, in today’s part we’ll be taking a deep dive into the underpinnings of Varys and Illyrio’s conspiracy before the start of events from A Game of Thrones. I plan to do this in three basic ways:

  • Their overall objective
  • A deep dive into the background of both players to include discussions of their origins, family dynamic and a bit of prophecy..
  • Finally, we’ll cover Varys and Illyrio’s opening acts in the folly during the reign of Aerys II.

Through this extended analysis, I hope you’ll come to understand Varys and Illyrio’s role as Folly in the story. But in the end, keep in mind that Varys and Illyrio’s folly will cause the deaths of tens of thousands in Westeros and Essos.

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The Ravenry: Week of 8/24/2015

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As you may or may not know, Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire has its own Tumblr page (as well as its own Twitter and Facebook pages).  Even more excitingly,  we here at the blog have partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire.  We – that is, myself and SomethingLikeaLawyer – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

So every Monday we present to you The Ravenry.  We collect the questions we’ve answered during the previous week over on the Tumblr in post form, with a brief description of each, and publish it here, and link that post on Twitter and Facebook as well. We were both busy answering a whole bunch of different questions this week, from explaining the Conqueror’s Dornish letter to looking at a Stark victory on the Green Fork to – ugh, R+L=J&M. Look, we here at Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire love to asnwer your questions. We strive to provide thoughtful, researched answers to your FOR THE LOVE OF R’HLLOR THAT THEORY NEEDS TO DIE AND THEN GET REVIVED BY BLOOD MAGIC JUST SO I CAN KILL IT AGAIN.

It’s fine. I’m fine.

Here’s The Ravenry for the week of August 24:

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The Ravenry: Week of 6/1/2015

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As you may or may not know, Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire has its own Tumblr page (as well as its own Twitter and Facebook pages).  Even more excitingly, a little while back we here at the blog partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire.  We – that is, Nfriel and SomethingLikeaLawyer – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

Each week, we’ll publish links to our answers on tumblr in a little post here on the site known as The Ravenry.  Every Monday, we’ll collect the questions we’ve answered during the previous week over on the Tumblr in post form, with a brief description of each, and publish it here, and link that post on Twitter and Facebook as well. It’ll be like Best Week Ever, except with fewer bright flashy graphics and probably no Paul F. Tompkins.

So, without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of 1 June:

As always, we love to hear your text-based questions, so if you have a burning question about ASOIAF, click this link to send us a raven. The more specific the question, the better text-based answer we can write, although we do our best to answer them all!

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The Agents of Chaos: Spies, Spymasters and Their Tradecraft in Westeros Part 1: The Myrish Femme Fatale

Introduction

“Secrets are worth more than silver or sapphires.” (ADWD, Tyrion II)

Artwork by Elia Fernandez

The cloak and dagger business in A Song of Ice and Fire is thriving. Within the timeline of the universe, the schemers plot and succeed against individuals, knights, lords, kings and queens. In this new essay series, we’ll examine two of A Song of Ice and Fire’s greatest spymasters: Varys and Littlefinger. That Varys and Littlefinger have agents and spies planted across King’s Landing cannot be questioned. But are they effective in executing the wills of their spymasters?

We’ll take a look at the methods and goals of these spymasters. We’ll also be taking a look at known or suspected agents of both Littlefinger and Varys. But today, I’d like to write about something a little more fun. I’d like to posit a theory that a certain noblewoman in King’s Landing is not all she appears, but more importantly, she’s not what fans of the series think she is either.

Today, I’ll hope to convince you that Taena Merryweather is not an agent of the Tyrells or Littlefinger; she’s an agent of Varys’.

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The Spider’s Greatest Intelligence Failures or Something Else?

Introduction

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“I served Lord Arryn and Lord Stark as best I could. I was saddened and horrified by their most untimely deaths.” (ACOK, Tyrion II)

Lord Varys was feared throughout the Seven Kingdoms on account of his inexplicable ability to gather any and all information. The whispers, as he called it, were the lifeblood of his work and kept nobleman and commoner alike in fear of what Varys could report to the king and his small council. And the man was effective. High and low treason was discovered and punished. The activities of ships captains, high-born ladies, great lords and mountain clansmen were all monitored by Varys through his vast intelligence network.

But despite Varys vast network of little birds, there were major intelligence failures — two of which will be the focus of this analysis.

1. Did Varys know of Jon Arryn’s poisoning, and if he did, why did he stand aside and allow it to occur?

2. More importantly for the main story, how did Varys not hear whispers of Eddard Stark’s execution?

Both of these questions have perplexed me in my current re-read. The easy answer is that Varys and his intelligence network were fallible, but in light of information from all 5 books, I think the answer is much more muddled than a simple lapse in intelligence.

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