Thursday, September 10, 2015
A Dance with Dragons- Tyrion II
Tyrion and Illyrio leave Pentos to meet with someone named Griff. Apparently Tyrion and Griff are to go to Volantis, another of the Free Cities, to welcome Daenerys and bring her to Westeros. Tyrion asks the merchant about Dany, and Illyrio admits that he didn't expect her to survive for long. He says that the night before her wedding he had to post guards on her door to keep Viserys, her brother, from deflowering her. They agree that Viserys was an idiot, but Illyrio says that Dany is a true Targaryen.
Tyrion wonders why Volantis, and Illyrio himself, would help Dany when she has smashed the slave trade, something they take part in. Illyrio replies that Viserys offered him Master of Coin once he took Westeros, and a lordship as well. But when pressed, he maintains that he has reasons other than personal gain for helping Daenerys. They then talk of varys. The whisperer was a prince of thieves in Myr, but when he came to Pentos he was beaten for being a eunuch. A young Illyrio protected him, and they came to an arrangement.
Varys spied on other thieves and served as a fence, while Illyrio would help the victims of those thieves regain their belongings. Varys trained orphan boys and girls to be his eyes and ears so they could steal information. Eventually they became famed enough that Illyrio married the daughter of the Prince of Pentos' cousin, and word of Varys' talents spread to Westeros, where the king became interested- a king who did not trust his son, wife, or Hand. Interesting here that we learn that Aerys did not trust Rhaegar?
As they travel down a Valyrian road Tyrion thinks it odd that the Valyrians came as far west as Dragonstone, but never went further into Westeros. They had dragons, after all. Illyrio tells Tyrion that Dany has probably left Meereen and they should find her in Volantis. Um, yeah. They're going to be surprised. Illyrio says they may have to adjust their plans, and that Griff will know what to do. Tyrion asks about Griff, and Illyrio says he trusts him as a brother. He also mentions that the Golden Company is heading for Volantis as well, to meet Dany. They have broken their contract with Myr.
We learn a lot about Varys - and also the Golden Company. The Golden Company is the finest of the mercenary companies, founded by Bittersteel, a bastard of Aegon the Unworthy. Bittersteel joined a rebellion against his trueborn half brother, but Blackfyre died and his son Bittersteel and their men fled across the Narrow Sea. They became mercenaries and Bittersteel formed the GC to keep them together. Illyrio says they will join Dany so they can go home.
The biggest question here is probably why Illyrio is helping Dany. It's hard to believe he's doing it out of the goodness of his heart, regardless of what he says. Illyrio tells Tyrion about his second wife Serra, who he met in Lys and brought home, eventually wedding her. She died when the grey death came to Pentos. The merchant mentions that Griff has a son, too- Young Griff. Who on earth is Griff, and why would his son matter?
This chapter is also a bit of a travelogue, with Tyrion musing on Valyrian roads and recognizing the history of the area they pass through (it is mentioned that they are in area called Andalos, where the Andals came from before they came to Westeros). This sets a pattern of showing us the eastern continent, which continues through the book.
I am traveling through years as well as leagues, Tyrion reflected, back through history to the days when dragons ruled the earth.