Myranda Royce is a beautiful young widow in need of a rich husband. She wants to marry Harrold Hardyng aka Harry the Heir, but Nestor Royce could not meet the dowry. Myranda is not exactly ‘virtuous’, but she is a (relatively) good match for Harry. It is possible that Anya Waynwood rejected Myranda because Petyr Baelish was already forcing her to consider Alayne. He has been buying Lady Anya’s debts – in fact he was buying Harry. This left Anya in a helpless position. The best argument she could make was that Harry would not like Alayne, and Petyr agreed that the marriage will happen only if Harry liked Alayne. The long and short of it is, Anya Waynwood could not engage Harry to Myranda because of Littlefinger’s intervention.
Alayne does not hear about any of this until late, but Petyr has a tendency to keep information from Alayne (and everyone) until it is right for him. Myranda on the other hand, hears about this plans of betrothal, and visit Eyrie to get a measure of her romantic rival. Alayne wonders why Myranda would climb all the way up only to come down. Given Myranda’s shrewd nature, it is safe to assume that she wanted to spy on Alayne without LF’s supervision, and before Littlefinger could talk to Alayne. And this is exactly what Myranda does.Myranda’s interaction with Alayne can be compared to Arianne’s interaction with the Golden Company. The strategy is to engage the other person and wait for them to slip up. And when they do, act as if nothing happened. GC slips up about Storm’s End, and Alayne slips up about Jon Snow and Lothor Brune. We know what Arianne’s intentions were, but what about Myranda? Before meeting Alayne, things that she would find suspicious are these.
- Myranda is smarter than the Lords Declarant, and she knew Marillion well enough – which means she could know if Marillion was a pervert, but not murderer material. So she can have stronger reason to suspect something is amiss with the roles played by Marillion, Alayne Stone and Littlefinger in Lysa’s death.
- Littlefinger has a bastard daughter, who seems to have appeared out of nowhere. Is she really his daughter? Or is she his secret lover? After all, Lady Lysa died shortly after the girl’s arrival – seems all too convenient for Littlefinger, if the girl was his mistress. The fact that LF engaged Alayne to Harry would suggest that she is not his lover, but someone with Myranda’s taste in gossips would know that this won’t be the first time LF’s lover married someone who only helped to advance LF’s position (Lysa and Jon Arryn). Myranda asks Alayne “how little is his finger?”. This is not simply Myranda being mischievous, but Myranda suggesting to Alayne that she “knows” who Alayne truly is. If Alayne is LF’s lover, this question would disturb her greatly, and Myranda can gauge Alayne’s reactions to confirm her suspicions. Alayne’s reactions to Myranda’s probing were mostly genuine, so it is safe to assume that Myranda figured out the truth – that Alayne is a maiden, and not LF’s lover. But Alayne’s behaviour would plant doubts in Myranda’s mind about Alayne’s baseborn status. Catelyn tells Brienne that “Sansa was a lady at three”. Throughout the series, everyone who meet Sansa notices how courteous she is, so the worldly-wise Myranda will suspect that Alayne is a highborn lady pretending to be baseborn.
After Myranda’s meeting with Alayne, she is equipped with new information which Myranda can use for her own advantage.
- The identity of “Alayne Stone”: For all that the readers know, the Vale lords should put two and two together and deduce that Alayne is Sansa Stark. Perhaps Littlefinger wanted them to make this deduction. However, some people believe that Sansa and Tyrion escaped together, and Lady Lysa’s hatred for Tyrion is known in the Vale (after Tyrion’s trial by combat). So I won’t make any assumptions about what the Vale lords knew about Alayne’s identity before Myranda met Alayne. But after Alayne blurting out Jon Snow’s name, Myranda can easily pinpoint Alayne’s true identity. Myranda’s careless reply “Snow? It must be Snow, I guess” is only a façade, just like Arianne not pressing the point when Chain (of the Golden Company) accidentally let slip “once we have Storm’s End”. Only a Northerner or someone who visited Winterfell would know the name of Ned Stark’s bastard. Littlefinger was obsessed with Cat and the Starks, so his bastard could know the Stark family well from her father’s mentioning them. However, Alayne’s exclamation suggests that she knew more than just the name Jon Snow – she knew him in person. Alayne does not have the Northern look – Her hair is brown, but Myranda notes Alayne’s fair skin and blue eyes. There is no reason for a Gulltown maid, raised by a septa, to know Jon Snow personally. It is an easy leap for Myranda to come at the conclusion that Alayne is Sansa Stark.
- Lothor Brune’s interest in Mya Stone: Alayne tells Myranda that Lothor Brune wants Mya. Myranda could have got this from the gossiping maids, but the point of interest is not that where Randa gets the information, but how she will put this to use. Mya is Robert Baratheon’s bastard daughter, so she could be important in the future, but Lothor Brune is LF’s faithful servant, so he is more significant than Mya. Lothor Brune follows around LF, and does everything asked of him. Lothor was the one who told LF about Sansa saving Ser Dontos. So far, Lothor has been very useful to LF. But Alayne just handed Myranda an access point to Lothor – his interest in Mya. Would Lothor betray LF for Mya’s hand in marriage? If LF’s ultimate aim is the Iron Throne, he could well have promised Mya’s hand and the Stormlands to Lothor Brune. But in ASOIAF, every minor detail and every small exchange has its own purpose, so Myranda knowing Lothor Brune’s interest in Mya will be significant, one way or other. If Myranda can recruit Lothor to her side, it will be a huge blow to LF. She need not even succeed – a lot of events could happen if Lothor oversteps LF’s orders for Mya’s sake.