A Song of Ice and Blackfyre

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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19 Responses

  1. Ryan B says:

    This is amazing. I’m sold, and I think it is devilishly clever if Egg has been a clue to Varys’ identity this whole time.

    I’m still not satisfied with any of the explanations for why he wanted Drogo to speed up, though.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Ryan B says:

      Do we know what they wanted Khal Drogo to “bestir himself” to do? Are we assuming they mean invade or is it stated explicitly?Report

      • DarrenG in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        The conversation between Varys and Illyrio quoted by Ryan B in the previous thread makes it clear they were counting on Drogo to wage war in Westeros for some unspecified reason.

        I’m not sold on the Blackfyre theory, but it’s interesting. It seems unlikely that the whole Varys/Illyrio/Dany/Dothraki/Aegon set of plot lines is based on a political faction that wasn’t even introduced until book 5, and even then only mentioned tangentially as backstory.Report

        • E.D. Kain in reply to DarrenG says:

          The Blackfyre rebellion was mentioned in Storm of Swords I think.Report

          • DarrenG in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            Perhaps briefly, in passing, but again only as back story.

            To have the climax of the series hinge on a faction that’s only been previously covered in any depth in a couple short stories seems like a stretch.

            I’ll be disappointed if that’s the game Martin is playing with us.Report

            • Aaron in reply to DarrenG says:

              Given that Martin has expressed dissatisfaction with the ending of Lost, a series that played the game of including obscure, and during later seasons inaccessible, materials in its “official” narrative, and grafted on a “this should be good enough” ending that avoided addressing the many questions and inconsistencies in the underlying story, I would not expect him to take this approach.Report

  2. Ryan says:

    It’s possible, and would explain the references to the Blackfyres, but I’m not totally convinced. The long con you describe in the last post, i.e. Varys has been trying to return the rightful heir to the throne since Robert’s Rebellion, now gets a lot longer, i.e. he was conning Aerys II from the start.Report

  3. john says:

    If this is true Jon Connington is the world’s biggest dope. Which, you know, I’m ready and willing to believe.Report

    • john in reply to john says:

      And we still don’t know how the rest of Potentially Fake Aegon’s entourage fits into this all.

      Lastly, if this true there is no way a kid this young is playing a triple blind – Blackfyre pretending to the Aegon pretending to be Griff. And there’s no way Connington is in on this (friendship with Rhaegar and all). That means that someone else with them is pulling the strings – why would Varys care about installing a Blackfyre if no one (including the Golden Company apparently) knew it was a Blackfyre?

      On the other hand, if Aegon is no Aegon, it would explain VERY EASILY why he looks so much like a Targaryen.

      In this case, Aegon’s identity would be a trifling to Varys/Pentos – what matters is that he’s a reliable, trained king, not a brute like Robert, not a witless idiot like Joffrey, and not vindictive like Cersei.

      One other question: if Aegon is such a sure bet as Varys believes … why is the Iron Bank of Braavos searching out Stannis Baratheon of all people in the snow?Report

      • North in reply to john says:

        To your last question, the Iron Bank of Braavos is ~definitly~ not in on Varys and Illyrios’ plot. They are bankers and they’re not being paid so they’re doing what the Iron Bank does when they’re not being paid; trying to collect. Since the Lannister administration is refusing to pay them they naturally look at the list and say “Who is still in play who we’d consider next in line and who we think would pay us?” Considering that Stannis is next in line, still has an army and is utterly notorious for his iron clad adherence to the word of the law their seeking him out seems an utter no brainer. Of all the claimants to the throne I doubt the Iron Bank would prefer anyone to Stannis.Report

        • john in reply to North says:

          I just wonder how they think Stannis has a chance. What, are they going to hire faceless men to kill all the Boltons and fake Baratheons?

          Clearly the Braavosi are savvy to whats going on – they seem to have some connection to Jaqen H’ghar.Report

          • North in reply to john says:

            If you consider the list of actual formal challengers to the throne Stannis is nigh on the last game in town.Report

          • Ryan B in reply to john says:

            Let’s not forget that the only thing that appears to have derailed Robb was his terrible sexual miscalculation. With Tywin dead and a bunch of ninnies in King’s Landing, Stannis + the North = win (modulo dragons).

            Presumably the Iron Bank isn’t aware of the Davos/Rickon plan, but that plays right into their hands too.Report

    • North in reply to john says:

      I dunno, desperate exiled grieving friend is visited by the royal spymaster, handed a purple eyed baby and is told it’s his best friend’s last remaining child. How and why on earth would he doubt it?Report

  4. Maxwell James says:

    The only thing I’d add to the above is a bit of a subtlety (and a spoiler for “The Mystery Knight” again):

    When Varys monologues about Aegon’s qualities as a potential ruler at the end of ADWD, his manner strongly recollects that of other Blackfyre supporters during “The Sworn Sword” and “The Mystery Knight.” Like Varys, they focus on what marvelous rulers the Blackfyres would be/have been had they had the chance – irrespective of their claim. And Aegon’s preparations for the throne has some similarities to John the Fiddler’s in “The Mystery Knight.”

    Admittedly, they also tend to harp on the Blackfyres’ manly qualities as warriors and whatnot, which is less present in Varys’ speech. But maybe he’s learned from their mistakes.Report

  5. Maxwell James says:

    Oh, and one other thing:

    Illyrio clearly adores Aegon. He describes Connington as doting on him, but that is obviously not the case. He passes along a gift of candied ginger as Tyrion, Haldon and Duck are leaving, and the last thing he says is that he is sorry he won’t be there for the boy’s wedding. Looking sad as they leave.

    That might explain why in book 1 he wanted to take it slow, whereas Varys wanted to hurry up.Report