Whenever I hang out on r/asoiaf, I tend to revisit my old ideas. Often this is because of a new theory causes me to rethink things. Or perhaps its just new people to the fandom and I’m wondering if my stuff is still relevant. Often, I wonder if my old ideas are totally nuts (many are), or if they remain as golden to me now as they did five years ago when I wrote them.
I get a lot of flack because of what seems like a total fan-boy love for Stannis. I have indeed written a lot about him. But it is less a function of love—rather it is the product of interest. I can’t help but be fascinated by the number of little, nuanced details that are happening just beyond our senses.
Because I’ve been “stuck” for months on some of my essays, I figured I would revisit some of my essays and try to give them broader appeal—those that were still viable in my opinion. I’m not a fan of putting my face on video but I feel a more ‘fireside chat’ approach might make some of these ideas more digestible.
I’ve already made several videos, but the one I want to start with addresses the journey and character of Tycho Nestoris, the Braavosi banker.
In this video I explore some of the mysteries and oddities surrounding Tycho and what they probably mean. The ultimate question that people should be wondering is this:
- Why does Tycho free the Ironborn?
My ‘fireside chat’ attempt to explain this (and other things) is here:
TLDR is after the break:
Before beginning the TLDR, it should be noted that the video itself covers much more than just the Ironborn. It also discusses Tycho’s knowledge of both Hardhome and Val, and how he might have exploited both of those facts for profit.
TLDR: Although I honestly would prefer it if you just watched the video, or the source essay (posted below), the short version is as follows:
- Tycho had no reason to take the ironborn from Deepwood Motte.
- Furthermore, the ironborn were captives of Sybelle Glover and/or Stannis; neither of whom would benefit from the coin of this transation. Stannis cares about his campaign; Sybelle about her children held hostage on the Iron Islands.
- Ergo, their motives must have been different.
- The value of these ironborn is derived from how they can benefit Sybelle and Stannis with regards to their individual goals.
- Given that Tycho could not have reasonably known about the ironborn hostages before leaving Castle Black, said value of these hostages was likely only revealed after his arrival at Deepwood.
- The only ‘new’ knowledge that could have been gleaned is that:
- Theon lives.
- Theon poses a threat to Euron’s legitimacy via the story of Torgon Greyiron.
- The first fact is known to Sybelle, Qarl the Maid and Tristifer Botley. The second fact was only known to Tristifer Botley
- It’s extremely unlikely that Tycho would know such ancient ironborn customs.
- There is no practical reason for Sybelle to give up ironborn hostages (particularly Tris Botley) if it is her only leverage for getting her children back.
- The only thing that she might sacrifice that leverage for is for some other option that improved her chances of seeing her children.
Thus, in the absence of other explanations, it seems almost certain that:
Some combination of Sybelle, Qarl and Tristifer entreated Tycho (or perhaps vice versa)
The purpose of this negotiation was for the release of the ironborn, to aid Stannis in leveraging Theon and Asha against Euron.
I do apologize for some aspects of the video that are rough, however. I probably won’t make any more in this setting. The ideas behind this video are largely derived from an old essay of mine, Release the Kraken.
NOTE: I made one or two errors in this video, particularly with regards to nature of Tycho, Ser Axell and Jon’s “dinner”, but its largely just a mistake of timing—the events still happen just as described.
NOTE: No, I’m not going to bust out Camtasia or whatever the latest video editing hotness is, just to pretty this up. I’ve spent 15 years writing computer-based technical training, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to go down that rathole of wasted time again. I’m not trying to get subscribers and ‘go pro’ or some shit. I legitimately only want to share some ASOIAF knowledge as easily as possible.
A minor addendum that I did not cover in the video: This is also why I think that Asha brings Qarl and Tris Botley with her when she meets with Stannis at the end of Theon’s TWOW sample chapter.