Tycho’s Gift: I Made a Video-Thing

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:
    1. Theon lives.
    2. 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.

11 thoughts on “Tycho’s Gift: I Made a Video-Thing

  1. arakchi

    Then what is Tycho’s motive in placing Theon and Asha on the Seastone Chair? Perhaps Euron does have the reputation in Essos he boasts about.

    1. arakchi

      Follow-up: the knowledge of Lyseni slavers and Hardhome comes with the additional information of the white walkers, which the freed slaves at the galley Goodheart would tell. Perhaps the Braavosi involvement is an attempt to hit three birds with one stone: 1) Secure Iron Throne’s debt 2) Secure the North by aiding Stannis 3) Pacify the Iron Islands… all to throw their weight against the existential threat of a white walker invasion.
      If not yet, the wheels may be set in motion after the return (if) of Braavosi cogs.

      Firechat video is great btw, keep them coming!

      1. cantuse Post author

        Thanks for the feedback. I’ve already done several but I hate them for various reasons. Another will be coming shortly. It lets me get ideas ‘to the table’ far faster than my normal process.

    2. cantuse Post author

      I don’t think its so much that Tycho has a motive for seating Theon and Asha, but rather he has a motive for seeing a quick return to normal behavior in Westeros, so that debts can be thereafter repaid.

      1. Mark

        Hey hey hey! It’s been a while since we’ve read any new theorizing. I know there’s more percolating…how about some quarantine tin foil?!

      2. cantuse Post author

        I have been trying to get BryndenBFish and Glass_table_girl to help go over an outline/draft of a new essay but things have been slow.

        Basically its a capstone piece for Stannis that ends on a more neutral tone: that Stannis/Melisandre were complicit in Jon’s assassination.

  2. Bryan

    For what is worth when I read your original posting of this year’s ago I thought you were spot on. Frankly I feel that way about most of your essays. Might have a detail or two wrong occasionally but in general you usually nail the spirit of the theories you write about.

  3. The Evening Squire

    “ Plus I’m not ready to have my face on video, I don’t need that kind of fan mail.”

    Nah, don’t worry. You pulled this one of hands down – or steadily on the wheel, I should say. Looking forward to seeing more of these.

    Great to see new material. I gave up staring at the cow tools and hoping for news halfway through last summer. Hope your health allows us to enjoy your thoughtful analysis all the way to DoS and beyond.

  4. specialNEDstark

    No need to get overly complicated on the IB issue. Like all the top schemers in asoiaf Tycho’s biggest asset is the ability to adjust his plans, at a moments notice, in ways that make their chances of success much higher. It took him a very short time to recognize their value. By making this one move Tycho risks little, and in exchange strengths his candidates position, ingratiates himself to the future King of Westeros (although I’ll admit little is gained kissing that particular royal ass but hey it couldn’t hurt to try), earns some brownie points if the Glovers children are saved, and the potential huge payoff of placing an ally on the Seastone Chair. To the Bravosi a seafaring society such as the Iron born could be their most valuable ally, or worst nightmare, in Westeros. Even located on the western side of the country the Iron Born could make or break allot of money. Tycho would be crazy not to take a swing at an alliance bc the alternative could make every purple sailed ship a target for Reavers. No coincidence Tycho went to Asha instead of seeking out Victarion at Moat Cailin. It’s the equivalent of putting a 5 in that last slot machine as you leave the casino hoping to hit the jackpot. If u win you win big, and if u lose u shrug ur shoulders and go get lunch.

  5. MK

    I keep checking back hoping for some new analysis, but have been disappointed 😦 I know you’ve got a few more theory writeups just waiting to drop!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s