A Song of Ice and Blackfyre

Yeah, more Game of Thrones Spoilers…

250px-House_Blackfyre In the comments to my last post, Maxwell James brought up a theory about Aegon and Varys that I had not thought of before – partly because I haven’t read all the Dunk and Egg short stories, and partly because I didn’t pay enough attention to House Blackfyre. Here’s the scoop via the Wiki of Ice and Fire page:

House Blackfyre was founded by Daemon Blackfyre, the bastard-son of Aegon IV after he was legitimized by his dying father. Daemon inversed the Targaryen arms for his coat of arms and named the house after the sword Blackfyre that his father gave him when he was fourteen.[1] The sword had been the personal weapon of the first Targaryen king Aegon I and all his successors. Among the traits passed on to the Blackfyres by the Targaryens were the platinum blond hair, violet eyes and the premonition-like dream ability.[2]

It is not known if lands were bestowed on Daemon.

In 195 AL Daemon and his friends and allies revolted against Daeron II, his half-brother, using the old rumor that Daeron was the son of Aemon the Dragonknightinstead of Aegon IV and that the gift of the ancestral weapon Blackfyre proved that Aegon wanted Daemon to succeed him.

Ultimately the rebellion failed and Daemon and his two eldest sons perished on the Redgrass field. His surviving sons fled to the Free Cities with a number of supporters. The Second Blackfyre Rebellion took place in 212 AL. It never spread beyond the walls of Whitewalls, but several key Blackfyre supporters were killed.[3] The remaining sons and their descendants attacked the Seven Kingdoms a number of times (as many as five Blackfyre rebellions have been mentioned).

The last attack was in 257 AL when Maelys the Monstruous joined forces with a number of ambitious men and invaded the Stepstones as a base for a future invasion of the Seven Kingdoms. Aegon V sent an army that defeated the rebels. Maelys the Monstruous was killed in single combat by Ser Barristan Selmy.

So the theory goes that Varys and Illyrio are in fact allies of the exiled House Blackfyre and that Aegon is not in fact Rhaegar’s long-lost son, but a Blackfyre heir. Maybe Varys has blood ties to the Blackfyres as well, maybe Illyrio also, or maybe it’s more complicated.

This would also explain the loyalty of the Golden Company since they are essentially a relic of the old Blackfyre power base.

Then there’s Aegon’s appearance. He looks like a Targeryen, but so do the Blackfyres. And it would explain why Varys is working to seat Aegon rather than Dany. (If Varys is also a Blackfyre, it would explain why he shaves his head, too.) “Beware the mummer’s dragon” is a prophecy that would also take on a lot more meaning.

Of course this would also mean that the long-con I wrote about in my last post is actually a much more complicated one than I at first thought, and that the dragons eggs really upended a lot of the plans Varys and Illyrio were making.

Barristan Selmy killed the “last” Blackfyre. That’s significant also, I think.

And finally, notice above that the House was named after a Valyrian sword – the first sword of the Targaryen conquerors. Ned Stark’s Valyrian blade was called Ice.

There is some significance in that as well – Blackfyre and Ice.

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19 thoughts on “A Song of Ice and Blackfyre

  1. 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.

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      • 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.

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          • 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.

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            • 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.

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  2. 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.

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    • 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?

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      • 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.

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        • 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.

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          • 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.

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  3. 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.

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  4. 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.

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