Thursday, March 28, 2013

My stance on various ASOIAF conspiracy theories, Part 22

Thursday is theory day. Again.
This is the twenty-second article of the series. Since there are a lot of theories floating out there and I'm asked often enough what I think of them, I thought I write it down. You can then laugh about me when I am totally proven wrong by "The Winds of Winter" or something like that. Rules are as follows: you put a question about any theory or plot element (really, let's stress "theory" a bit for the sake of interesting questions) either in the comments of any theory post or by mail ( and I will answer them in an upcoming post. And if you now ask "Stefan, isn't this a shameless rip-off of Sean T. Collin's "Ask me anything"?", I would tell you to shut up, because you are right.
Prepare for part 22. Spoilers for "A Song of Ice and Fire", obviously.  

Is Talysa Maegir (from the HBO show) a spy?
I would never have thought twice about that hadn't Steven Attewell from "Race to the Iron Throne" sent me this You-Tube video:

The creator makes a compelling point. Problematic in the video itself is the structure; it would have been better served if the creator had made his case cohesive and then added the random "proofs" like Talysa wearing no smallcloths as a random collection, because none of them actually proves anything (same is true for the accent and the vows, you can learn some words). But the main argument is good. Many people suspected - before season 2 came out - that Jeyne was made into a Lannister for added drama and reduced complexity, and we were all surprised when "Talysa" came up instead of Jeyne. But it's quite possible that they merged the Westerlings into her. Sybile Spicer is, obviously, from the Free Cities, as is Talysa. She's also a spy working with Tywin Lannister. And Talysa does make Robb to break his vows, so, mission accomplished. What I still can't decide, however, is whether or not it wll make the red wedding more or less satisfying as an emotional experience if the wife was false and Robb was betrayed by the one he loved. I guess we have to wait and see, it's only 10 weeks now. 

Did Arys Oakheart comit suicide with his attack on Hotah or was he just a stupid idiot? 
Oakheart attacking several crossbowmen and a hardened killer with a longaxe surely wasn't expression of tactical genius, that's for certain. It wasn't pure stupidity, in my eyes. The strongest indicator for this is his "long, longing look" that he gives Aryanne before charging. He knows he's going to die, but it's the only honorable way. He's sworn to defend Myrcella to the end, after all, and he also wants to protect the woman he loves. And so he falls, gallant and valiant, and will surely be forgotten quickly. 

Who betrayed Aryanne's plot? 
Spotted Sylva. Just look at how everybody's punished. Darkstar is hunted by Hotah and his men. Garin and the others are imprisoned in the worst prison Dorne has to offer and then exiled for several years. Only Sylva isn't punished at all, as Doran freely confesses, but given to her father, who marries her to the elderly lord Estermont. This only works because Aryanne is biased. Having been presented with so many old people as marriage proposals by her father, she can only look at a real marriage with one as punishment, and Doran, always in for such subtleties, knows this. He explicitly mentions that he has given Sylva to her father (which is the worst person Aryanne can imagine) and that he marries her to an old guy (her personal nightmare). But if you put away Aryanne's emotional blinders, you can see more clearly. Most likely, Sylva will be married to lord Estermont only for a few years before he dies. In this time, she will rule Estermont, and after she either returns to Dorne or continues to hold the seat. Perhaps it was even Doran himself who arranged this marriage that greatly benefits Sylva's family, depending on how many heirs Estermont has (does anybody know?). It's not a harsh punishment, though, if you have no problem with the old person in your bed, and it's not necessary at all to consumate the marriage if Estermont isn't up to the task. Not every 80-year-old is a Walder Frey, after all.

What would have happened if Aryanne's plan had succeeded? 
Two outcomes. First, the Iron Throne would have demanded swift action, and second, Doran would have had no chance but to comply. The result is a civil war in Dorne. They would have taken Aryanne down and forced Myrcella to renounce the claim, most likely. I don't really see the Iron Throne starting a war with Dorne about it when Doran himself takes action. Perhaps they would have send a force of their own to ensure his goodwill and take part in it, but Aryanne's vision of events wouldn't have played out like this. If the Darkstar had suceeded, though...


  1. Lord Estermont (the one married to Sylva) has two sons and a brother, who also has a son (via AWOIAF)

    My question for your theory column: Whats the "magical catalyst"? A lot of characters credit the birth of the dragons for increased magical aptitude - pyromancers, red priests, etc...but our first interaction with the supernatural is the rise of the Others at the start of AGOT, back when the eggs are still stone...and Thoros is reviving Beric from getting cut into 50 pieces - hypothetically before the dragons hatch. So is there a catalyst for both making the eggs live and bringing the others back?

  2. Aw, the honeypot theory.
    Some things to that: Well, some wars are won with quills and ravens, right? The whole Spicer/Westerling family has obviously been merged into one person, who will just as obviously betray Robb at some point. I didn't really untersdand all of the "proofs", but ah well.
    Also, for those who like to revel in other people's misery just as much as I do, here is a Red-Wedding-themed tumblog on the topic:

    1. Why are most tumblr so ugly?

    2. The merged into one person thing makes the most sense to me, Luise.

    3. @Steven: Thanks.

      @Stefan: What, you don't like the Picasso-RW? I loved that! Click on the link that says "background" to see it whole. I think it's pretty.

  3. Stefan you base your answer of who the culprit is on the punishment dealt out by Doran. Spotted Sylvia got off the easiest, so she must have told according to this line of thinking. But you do not address the motive. What possibly could that be? What did she gain from telling?

    I think Arys Oakheart told Doran. Remember this quote from the text when Arianne asks Doran who told he says:

    “I am the Prince of Dorne. Men seek my favor.” What was Spotted Sylvia seeking?

    Arys has vowed that no one shall ever harm Myrcella whilst he lives. He has spoken with Doran and knows he wishes to take Princess Myrcella to the Water Gardens to keep her safe. He is torn between this vow and his love for Arianne, but ultimately chooses Myrcella and tells Doran. When Hotah shows up, his guilt wins out for not only breaking his vow as a knight of the kingsguard by sleeping with Arianne, but betraying her to Doran. So he looks at her one last time and charges in die and be put out of his shame.

    1. Might be, yes. But it doesn't seem likely to me, based on what we saw of his character. I guess we have to wait if it will be revealed later on.

  4. Did you notice the music playing when Robb and Talisa were getting intimate? Sounded an awful lot like RoC to me.

  5. Surely if Oakheart were the spy, we'd have at the very least some pretty strong hints to that effect, given that we see some of the plotting from his POV. "He had to find a way to stop his beloved from taking this foolish path, however she might hate him for it", or the like. No, don't buy that at all, without firmer evidence.