History isn’t written by the victors.
History is written by the maesters.
The Citadel Intelligence Agency: Other Kinds of Spies
“There are some who call my order the knights of the mind,” Maester Luwin tells Bran. That may be true. Spies are a military order. But not one would you would ever say has much honor.
Lost in many discussions on the role of maesters and the Citadel, is that a Citadel itself is the name a fortress for war. One does not name the headquarters of the postal service a battle fortification for nothing. But considering how often their employees go postal… maybe they should.
The maesters are an order of historians, healers, postmen, and scientists. An extremely important reason masters are a threat that I have not seen mentioned before is their rivalry with the Alchemists. Maesters supplanted the Alchemists as counselors, and in a sense are rivals of the enemies of Alchemists virtually everywhere. This is very important as Alchemists not only make wildfyre, a flame almost as hot as dragon flame, but they can create living beasts from flame and the alchemist’s magic is made much stronger in the presence of dragons. Not only that but wildfyre is not consumed by water as we learned on the Blackwater and will be of vital importance once the Deep Ones (Sea Others) come from the sea.
Maesters are Rivals to Alchemists
“Wildfire is but one of the dread secrets of our ancient order. Many and wondrous are the things we might show you.”
– Lord Hallyne, to Tyrion Lannister
Behold the money quote hidden in plain sight of what the Alchemist pyromancers showed Tyrion:
Four master pyromancers conjured up beasts of living flame to tear at each other with fiery claws whilst the serving men ladeled out bowls of blandissory, a mixture of beef broth and boiled wine sweetened with honey and dotted with blanched almonds and chunks of capon. Then came some strolling pipers and clever dogs and sword swallowers, with buttered pease, chopped nuts, and slivers of swan poached in a sauce of saffron and peaches. (“Not swan again,” Tyrion muttered, remembering his supper with his sister on the eve of battle.)
-A Storm of Swords – Tyrion VIII
GRRM is a master. He is a masters, master.
He just threw this massively important line in there that most would never catch because like his other techniques of doors slamming, big bangs, interruptions right after something important happens.
Ugh…. Swan AGAIN?!
But… Mooooooom? I hate swan. Do I have to?!
He takes advantage of our collective ADHD. He distracts us and hides things in plain sight. And I cannot possibly love him more for it. Every time I re-read the books, they are brand new. There is always a little something added in there, a layer we didn’t see before on prior reads.
He shoved in our faces that the Alchemists created living beasts made out of flame. They are not not flames that look like there are beasts, but actual beasts made out of living flame. That would be kind of important when fighting beasts made out of ice one would think.
Oh but have you tried the blandissory yet? Its a delicious mixture of beef broth and boiled wine, sweetened with honey and dotted with blanched almonds and chunks of capon? It’s to die for.
When Tyrion came to the Guildhall of the Alchemists he found:
An imposing warren of black stone, but Hallyne led him through the twists and turns until they reached the Gallery of the Iron Torches, a long echoing chamber where columns of green fire danced around black metal columns twenty feet tall. Ghostly flames shimmered off the polished black marble of the walls and floor and bathed the hall in an emerald radiance.
– A Clash of Kings – Tyrion V
Could the black metal twenty feet tall be dragonsteel?
There are hundreds of jars of wildfire at the guildhall and hidden beneath Kings Landing. I think the Others will take over the city and the wildfire will kill them all. All it takes is one dragon flame attack on the Alchemist’s Guild from the air to set it all ablaze flying. Jamie knows where there those staches are because he listened to Aerys and the alchemist. Tyrion also know where they are hidden. Hat tip for the idea that Areys “saves” Kings Landing by burning it down goes to ArguingPizza on reddit.
Below is the exchange in which Tyrion met the alchemist:
The alchemist shifted uncomfortably—”certain spells, hmmm, ancient secrets of our order, very delicate, very troublesome, but necessary if the substance is to be, hmmm, all it should be . . .”
Tyrion was growing impatient. Ser Jacelyn Bywater was likely here by now, and Ironhand misliked waiting. “Yes, you have secret spells; how splendid. What of them?”
“They, hmmm, seem to be working better than they were.” Hallyne smiled weakly. “You don’t suppose there are any dragons about, do you?”
– A Clash of Kings – Tyrion XI
While Kings Landing is producing Widlfyre at a record pace thanks to dragons being in the world again, word from the Citadel is quite different
“The world the Citadel is building has no place in it for sorcery or prophecy or glass candles, much less for dragons. – Archmaester Marwyn
They key word there the world they are building. The Citadel is not the headquarters of the Westerosi Postal Service or the Westerosi Medical Association. They are building a new world. But to make an omelette, they must first need crack open a few eggs.
If you go to a modern medical doctor and start talking about aromatherapy, chakras, astrology or miracle cleanses you will probably get polite smiles and nods and she will most probably will guide you back towards more evidenced based approaches.
They do not tell you what Marwyn told Sam:
“B-b-but,” Sam sputtered, “the other archmaesters . . . the Seneschal . . . what should I tell them?”
“Tell them how wise and good they are. Tell them that Aemon commanded you to put yourself into their hands. Tell them that you have always dreamed that one day you might be allowed to wear the chain and serve the greater good, that service is the highest honor, and obedience the highest virtue. But say nothing of prophecies or dragons, unless you fancy poison in your porridge.”
– A Feast for Crows – Samwell V
What does it mean in Westeros when someone threatens to have someone killed for expressing a view that counters that of those in power?
Here is your answer:
“We must stop this filth from spreading further. The council must issue an edict. Any man heard speaking of incest or calling Joff a bastard should lose his tongue for it.”
…”A folly,” sighed Tyrion. “When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”
“So what would you have us do?” his sister demanded.
“Very little. Let them whisper, they’ll grow bored with the tale soon enough. Any man with a thimble of sense will see it for a clumsy attempt to justify usurping the crown.
…”Your Grace, your brother has the right of this.” Petyr Baelish steepled his fingers. “If we attempt to silence this talk, we only lend it credence. Better to treat it with contempt, like the pathetic lie it is. And meantime, fight fire with fire.”
– A Clash of Kings – Tyrion III
So now let’s combine the take always from the two passages. Firstly the maesters are not mailmen, they are “building a world” that doesn’t include specific magical things and those specific things are specifically the magical things that can defeat Others. And if someone even just mentioned prophesy or dragons they can expect to die as Tyrion and Littlefinger point out.
When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say and silencing this this talk only lend it credence. There is credence in talk of prophesy and dragons, credence they do not want known and they are willing to kill to defeat it.
Bran’s fist curled around the shiny black arrowhead. “But the children of the forest are all gone now, you said.”“Here, they are,” said Osha, as she bit off the end of the last bandage with her teeth. “North of the Wall, things are different. That’s where the children went, and the giants, and the other old races.”
Maester Luwin sighed. “Woman, by rights you ought to be dead or in chains. The Starks have treated you more gently than you deserve. It is unkind to repay them for their kindness by filling the boys’ heads with folly.”
-A Game of Thrones – Bran VII
She told Bran the truth. That he is a Child of The Forest. Ned called Bran a “squirrel” after climbing trees. And for that Luwin threatened Osha with death. This is a secret the Citadel does not want out. Combine that with Marwwyn’s death threats and you can see there are some deadly secrets inside the walls of the Citadel.
Maesters has been drugging Bran and Robin Arryn with sweet sleep that prevents them from dreaming, by preventing them from dreaming they prevent greendreams and the ability of them to generate their own magical abilities unless guided by anOther. I think that Robin Arryn’s shaking sickness is really withdrawal from milk of the opiates.
Only after Luwin died (he was sacrificed to the Weirwood), was Bran able to truly open his third eye.
Marillion loved your lady mother too much and could not live with what he’d done to her, so he walked into the sky.” Alayne had not seen the body, no more than Robert had, but she did not doubt the fact of the singer’s death. “He’s gone, truly.”
“But I hear him every night. Even when I close the shutters and put a pillow on my head. Your father should have cut his tongue out. I told him to, but he wouldn’t.”
-A Feast for Crows – Alayne I
And they keep giving Sweetrobin sweetsleep knowing that it causes long term harm to himself, as well as addiction and shakes of withdrawal:
“It was too soon. My lady, you do not understand. As I’ve told the Lord Protector, a pinch of sweetsleep will prevent the shaking, but it does not leave the flesh, and in time . . .”
“Time will not matter if his lordship has a shaking fit and falls off the mountain. If my father were here, I know he would tell you to keep Lord Robert calm at all costs.”
“I try, my lady, yet his fits grow ever more violent, and his blood is so thin I dare not leech him any more. Sweetsleep . . . you are certain he was not bleeding from the nose?”
“He was sniffling,” Alayne admitted, “but I saw no blood.”
“I must speak to the Lord Protector. This feast . . . is that wise, I wonder, after the strain of the descent?”
Granted the above example was of masters working with their lord, they are still complicit.
There is a very subtle line made by Marwyn to Sam in the presence of the glass candle:
“What feeds the flame?” asked Sam.
“What feeds a dragon’s fire?” Marwyn seated himself upon a stool. “All Valyrian sorcery was rooted in blood or fire. The sorcerers of the Freehold could see across mountains, seas, and deserts with one of these glass candles. They could enter a man’s dreams and give him visions, and speak to one another half a world apart, seated before their candles. Do you think that might be useful, Slayer?”
“We would have no more need of ravens.”
“Only after battles.” The archmaester peeled a sourleaf off a bale, shoved it in his mouth, and began to chew it.
Marwyn made a very subtle line there and then distracted us with his sourleaf. Throughout the book ravens have basically only been mentioned in the context of sending messages or Bloodraven. Crows, a related bird to ravens are known as the scavengers. Wights and Others do not need ravens as they have a telepathic connection. Ravens would then become scavenger crows in this series, if the Other side won the battle.
I believe there is a good chance Marwyn is a Faceless Man.
The Citadel was probably involved in the death of the dragons as well, below are excerpts from The Princess and The Queen on the Storming of the Dragonpit:
No two chronicles agree on how many men and women died that night beneath the Dragonpit’s great dome: two hundred or two thousand, be that as it may.
Both two hundred or two thousand men do not spontaneously appear ready to go to their deaths to fight flying nuclear dinosaurs. Not without help from maesters and blessing of The Faith, that in their deaths they would go to one of the better Seven Heavens, like maybe the Ramada or a Hyatt instead of the Holiday Inn.
For every man who perished, ten suffered burns and yet survived. Trapped within the pit, hemmed in by walls and dome and bound by heavy chains, the dragons could not fly away, or use their wings to evade attacks and swoop down on their foes. Instead they fought with horns and claws and teeth, turning this way and that like bulls in a Flea Bottom rat pit … but these bulls could breathe fire. The Dragonpit was transformed into a fiery hell where burning men staggered screaming through the smoke, the flesh sloughing from their blackened bones, but for every man who died, ten more appeared, shouting that the dragons must need die. One by one, they did.
The line that they fought with horns is an interesting line. You don’t fight with a horn. Hitting someone over the head won’t have the effect one might want. But what if they had in their possession a magical horn such as a dragonhorn? That then leads to the following passage:
Some speak of an unnamed spearman, “a blood-soaked giant” who leapt from the Dragonpit’s broken dome onto the dragon’s back.
Could the giant be the total opposite? Could the giant be a young little girl like Nettles? Might there be more to Sheepstealer than offering sheep… But sounding a horn?
Swarms of starving rats do indeed bring down bulls and bears and lions, when there are enough of them. No matter how many the bull or bear might kill, there are always more, biting at the great beast’s legs, clinging to its belly, running up its back. So it was that night. These human rats were armed with spears, longaxes, spiked clubs, and half a hundred other kinds of weapons, including both longbows and crossbows.
Not listed here are poisons from the Citadel such as ‘Basilisk venom,’ From the wiki “Basilisks are venomous and are the source of ‘Basilisk venom’, a paste spiced with basilisk blood which gives meat a savory scent but which induces a violent madness in any creature with warm blood, whether man or beast.”
If only one agent of the citadel brought the dragons savory meat with Basilisk venom then they could just flee the scene as the four dragons in the dragon pit would kill each other without a single direct loss of human life. A faceless man could wear the skin of one of the dragon tamers to get through security and that would not be too far fetched.
In The Children of The Forest Revealed, we discussed some ways how masters manipulate histories.
GRRM has made it a point to show this is something that is done. He consistently foreshadowing of important things to happen by initially presenting them to us by having them done on what seems insignificant characters, or offscreen characters.
I believe that he did this with the killing of an insignificant character like Yellow Dick as a prequel to show what would happen to Jon in my For The Night theory that states Jon was not killed but sacrificed but not by the watch, but an Other force entirely that controlled both the steward and Bowen Marsh.
GRRM tried to make this known to us, but his style is to show very important things but apply them to only minor characters. And he does this in ways most would not think is significant but just adding color. But this is one of his favorite tools to foreshadow something important going forward.
The present Lord of Highgarden, Mace Tyrell, fought loyally for House Targaryen during Robert’s Rebellion, defeating Robert Baratheon himself at the Battle of Ashford and later besieging his brother Stannis in Storm’s End for the better part of a year.
-The World of Ice and Fire – The Reach: House Tyrell
Mace Tyrell could have defeated Robert Baratheon only at the buffet table, not on any battle field. It was Randyll Tarly that defeated Robert he makes it clear to us that maesters lie to please those they serve. But what if the ones they serve is the Great Other and Hodor, the God of Winter and Night? Hodor is the name of the Norse God of Winter and Darkness (Night). Those are exactly the same “god” the Seven themselves “worship.” In a future article we will explore who or what Hodor the god (not the giant) actually is. Hodor the giant has been repeating that which must not be spoken over and over and over.
Compared to the lifespan of what we call Children and Others, a human lifespan is insignificant.
Pyat Pree tells this to Daenerys in her trip to the House of The Undying:
“When you come to the chamber of the Undying, be patient. Our little lives are no more than a flicker of a moth’s wing to them.”
Once the living memory of the events have died with the living, with a twirl of an inked feather, maesters can re-write the histories, altering places, names, years or entire histories. They can switch the names of the defeated to the victorious.
Who would know the difference of what happened 300 years ago, nevermind 3,000? They hold a complete monopoly on our collective understanding of the world. They have an intelligence network in almost every single castle, sans the Ironborn. Without knowing your history, you have no way of knowing who you are. Without knowing who you are, how can you defeat anOther?
This is like saying, in case of a an apocalypse, contact your local Sauron representative. Your call is very important to us and your soul may be stolen for quality assurance.
The good folks on Team Hodor (God of Night[‘s King] and Winter [the ice dragon]… not the big sweet man) are immortal unless killed and can play a longer game than any living man could fathom.
In three flicks of an icemoths wings, the unthinkable happens. Instead of The Children growing into men… it’s the First Men that grew into Children… of The Forest. If this is true then the enemy becomes exactly who men should turn to when things get bleakest. Eckhart Tolle uses the metaphor going to the chief of police when there is an arson, but the chief of police is the arsonist.
They can wait for generations to die before not only changing the histories of the world but the very essence of the identifies of the people in it. With enough time, the maester becomes the master.
If there is ever another major war, it will begin because one side has obtained (or believes it has obtained) such a complete knowledge of the enemy’s intentions and capabilities that it is sure that with its own resources victory is possible and easy.”
In the very, very beginning of the series GRRM makes it clear that masters see the leaders of humanity with their pants down, both proverbially and literally speaking.
She reached out and took the letter in trembling hands. The furs dropped away from her nakedness, forgotten…
“Perhaps I should withdraw,” Maester Luwin said.
“No,” Catelyn said. “We will need your counsel.”…
Maester Luwin averted his eyes. Even Ned looked shocked. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“Lighting a fire,” Catelyn told him…
“Maester Luwin – ” Ned began.
“Maester Luwin has delivered all my children,” Catelyn said. “This is no time for false modesty.” She slid the paper in among the kindling and placed the heavier logs on top of it.
This is the moment of the highest Lord Paramountial security, and GRRM makes the striking gesture of having Luwin, see them with their proverbial pants down.
Not only do maesters have a complete monopoly on history, but also on ravenry communication. They are the medieval NSA. A medieval NSA that may be working for the Others.
The HBO show had a really incredible scene that they never aired because I think it would give too much away about the show where they showed how Pycelle was faking his persona, age and decrepitude to a much higher level than sleeping with a prostitute conveys.
Lady Dustin’s mouth twisted in distaste. “If I were queen, the first thing I would do would be to kill all those grey rats. They scurry everywhere, living on the leavings of the lords, chittering to one another, whispering in the ears of their masters. But who are the masters and who are the servants, truly? Every great lord has his maester, every lesser lord aspires to one. If you do not have a maester, it is taken to mean that you are of little consequence. The grey rats read and write our letters, even for such lords as cannot read themselves, and who can say for a certainty that they are not twisting the words for their own ends? What good are they, I ask you?”
Lady Dustin is set up to be this pompous evil woman consorting with a pale faced woman. So most would not pay attention to the woman who seems to literally be sleeping with the enemy and what she thinks about masters. I mean Maester Luwin? The nice man? Could he be a master and not a maester? Never. You only get surprised when a rug from under you gets pulled.
“They heal,” said Theon. It seemed to be expected of him.
“They heal, yes. I never said they were not subtle. They tend to us when we are sick and injured, or distraught over the illness of a parent or a child. Whenever we are weakest and most vulnerable, there they are. Sometimes they heal us, and we are duly grateful. When they fail, they console us in our grief, and we are grateful for that as well. Out of gratitude we give them a place beneath our roof and make them privy to all our shames and secrets, a part of every council. And before too long, the ruler has become the ruled.
Here Dustin tells us that their campaign is very subtle. So if you are looking for overt moves as we have been accustomed to on the battlefield, you would be mistaken. Espionage is the world of Varys and Littlefinger. Careful words, subtle gestures, always with a smile, always ready to kill. Dustin echoes Cat being naked in front of Luwin, they were privy to all the shames, secrets and national secrets.
“That was how it was with Lord Rickard Stark. Maester Walys was his grey rat’s name. And isn’t it clever how the maesters go by only one name, even those who had two when they first arrived at the Citadel? That way we cannot know who they truly are or where they come from … but if you are dogged enough, you can still find out. Before he forged his chain, Maester Walys had been known as Walys Flowers. Flowers, Hill, Rivers, Snow … we give such names to baseborn children to mark them for what they are, but they are always quick to shed them. Walys Flowers had a Hightower girl for a mother … and an archmaester of the Citadel for a father, it was rumored. The grey rats are not as chaste as they would have us believe. Oldtown maesters are the worst of all. Once he forged his chain, his secret father and his friends wasted no time dispatching him to Winterfell to fill Lord Rickard’s ears with poisoned words as sweet as honey. The Tully marriage was his notion, never doubt it, he—”
She broke off as Roose Bolton rose to his feet, pale eyes shining in the torchlight. “My friends,” he began
– -A Dance with Dragons – The Prince of Winterfell
Could there be anOther reason why Maester’s shouldn’t have children, apart from the ones from The Night’s Watch and the Kingsguard?
Again we are interrupted just before she could finish and unlike a loud disturbance, Roose is a very, very quiet man. But no less disturbing, interrupts her. She reveals that Walys Flowers, arranged this marriage between Stark and Tully.
Before the maesters suggested great houses intermarrying this never happened in Westeros great lords married their bannermen’s daughters. But soon after the Great Houses intermarried throughout the kingdoms suddenly wars sprang up marriage alliances were called in and large scale wars plagued almost every part of the continent. Just as the Others were preparing for the Long Night the fruits of the maesters Great-House marriages came to fruition. The food stores of Westeros have dwindled and burnt, it’s people maimed and killed, it’s economy in ruin. Libraries like that of Winterfell that had rare books with secrets on dragons and the Others were burnt… everything has gone to hell. Seven of them. One for each kingdom. That was the maester’s wedding gift.
Grey Rat Cooks?
In the story of the Rat Cook supposedly an Andal king went to The Wall and was served his son at the Nightfort. A trip to The Wall would take an extremely long time for the two named potential kings, King Tywell II of the Rock or King Oswell I of the Vale to make the trek. This would leave their lands governed by “others” for months or years. King’s travel with extensive trains and a massive entourage. Why would Tywell or Oswell make that trip? I have previously theorized that Roose Bolton is the Rat Cook but could the Rat Cook not be from the Nightfort but from the Citadel? Could it be a Grey Rat Cook? There are no shortages of rats in Westeros.
The path divided where the statue of King Daeron the First sat astride his tall stone horse, his sword lifted toward Dorne. A seagull was perched on the Young Dragon’s head, and two more on the blade. Sam took the left fork, which ran beside the river. At the Weeping Dock, he watched two acolytes help an old man into a boat for the short voyage to the Bloody Isle. A young mother climbed in after him, a babe not much older than Gilly’s squalling in her arms. Beneath the dock, some cook’s boys waded in the shallows, gathering frogs. A stream of pink-cheeked novices hurried by him toward the septry. I should have come here when I was their age, Sam thought. If I had run off and taken a false name, I could have disappeared amongst the other novices. Father could have pretended that Dickon was his only son. I doubt he would even have troubled to search for me, unless I took a mule to ride. Then he would have hunted me down, but only for the mule.Outside the Seneschal’s Court, the rectors were locking an older novice into the stocks. “Stealing food from the kitchens,” one explained to the acolytes who were waiting to pelt the captive with rotting vegetables. They all gave Sam curious looks as he strode past, his black cloak billowing behind him like a sail.
“B-b-but,” Sam sputtered, “the other archmaesters . . . the Seneschal . . . what should I tell them?”“Tell them how wise and good they are. Tell them that Aemon commanded you to put yourself into their hands. Tell them that you have always dreamed that one day you might be allowed to wear the chain and serve the greater good, that service is the highest honor, and obedience the highest virtue. But say nothing of prophecies or dragons, unless you fancy poison in your porridge.“ Marwyn snatched a stained leather cloak off a peg near the door and tied it tight.“Sphinx, look after this one.”
A Feast for Crows – Samwell V
Porridge is another clue to being eaten.
Maesters control the histories, they control the raven-net, they know how to heal and how to kill. Not only do they know how to kill, perhaps they know how to cook as well.
Their lies and historical misdirection can cause us to both literally and metaphorically eat our own young in the coming Long Night. How can we know who the Others are if we do not know ourselves if our histories are manipulated?
In closing, I believe that the Citadel are agents for the Others and they use their monopoly on communication and history as we began to explore in Children of The Forest Revealed. With their monopoly and the unfathomable time frame combined with immortal Night’s King operates on, leaves men with no clue whether the histories presented by them are true or false or adulterated over time.
The Citadel has shown to lie in histories such as making Lord Tyrell the victor and not Tarly in battle, these are small trivial changes but they point to the fact that they can be corruptible by those they serve.
What if they serve a different, darker Lord? In UnGods’ Children we explored potential evidence showing that The Seven may actually be Children of the Forest associated with Great Other, surely if they fudged the books for Lord Tyrell they would do it for The Gods. And as we will get into in the coming parts of these series, the two are not unrelated.
The Citadel are rivals and successfully supplanted the Alchemists that have one of the few weapons against the Deep Ones and Others, namely wildfyre and living beasts made of fire. Not only that but Ja’qen Hagar is now impersonating someone called the Alchemist.
The Citadel is also anti-dragon, anti-magic and is ready to kill anyone that utters any phrase pertaining to them. Dragons and magic would be key to defeating the Others in the coming Long Night.
And the Citadel is a medieval NSA that goes even further, instead of just reading all your letters, they write them as well.
Maesters know the health, personalities, military strategies, strengths weaknesses, and every single correspondence going in and out of the castle. Like in the case of Catelyn, they see us with our proverbial and literal pants down. They know practically everything and anything there is to know about the lord or king. Yet the kings gladly invite them into their councils. This kind of intelligence is of the highest importance in times of war. Therein lies the blueprint to defeat the lords or kings.
Yet they seem so unassuming, ponderously thinking and playing the role of fools at times. They aren’t. And fool’s like Patchface know more than they lead on as well.
I know, I know, oh, oh, oh.
Hidden in plain sight is that in Patchface’s three oh, oh, oh’s are the three horn blows of the Night’s Watch.
Others are coming.
Your own doom can be hidden in plain sight. Wake up and hear the horn.