Assumption: Facelessmen caused the Doom of Valyria
Proposition: The first facelessman was a Targaryen
The Alchemist’s presence in Oldtown, as well as the ‘FM caused the Doom’ theory have caused many readers to theorize that FM is anti-dragons, anti-Targaryen, and therefor they will send someone (Arya in many theories) to kill Dany and her dragons. In this post, I’ll attempt to claim that FM could be pro-Dany and pro-Targaryen. This is not new, but I haven’t read much on it.
Doom of Valyria killed all the dragonlords except the Targaryens. Targaryens had received (and obeyed) warning about the Doom via a dream had by Daenys the Dreamer.
There are many stories about the origins of FM.
“Who was he?” Arya blurted, before she stopped to think.“No one,” he answered. “Some say he was a slave himself. Others insist he was a freeholder’s son, born of noble stock. Some will even tell you he was an overseer who took pity on his charges. The truth is, no one knows. Whoever he was, he moved amongst the slaves and would hear them at their prayers.
- What if it was a freeholder’s son who heard the slaves prayers and felt empathy? What if it was a Targaryen? We do know of another Targaryen who is currently doing her best to free the slaves.
- It could have been a slave, and it is more fitting that it was one among the oppressed that rose and revolted and brought about ultimate vengeance for his fellow men, but a freeholder’s son has better opportunity to move around and see the horrors inflicted upon a large number of slaves, as well as to deliver them the gift they prayed for.
If it was a Targaryen, it makes sense that they were the only ones spared when the Doom came. The Targaryens were not one of the most powerful of dragonlords, and their fleeing were considered an act of cowardice. The Doom came only long after the first FM, so the first FM may have already defected to Braavos by them. He was not with his family to warn them of a conspiracy – he must have been long dead. Yet, Daenys’s father, Aenar took her dream serious enough to flee across the narrow sea. She was a maiden when she had the dream, and in AWOIAF is makes clear that she earned the title of ‘the Dreamer’ only after this prophetic dream. There are no evidences for Daenys having any other dreams that came true – which means Aenar’s actions required a large amount of trust put on a little girl’s dream. Dreamers are laughed at in Westeros, maybe it was not the case in Valyria were magic was strong. However, there is a possibility that Aenar had other reasons – reasons he did not want anyone to find out – to expect the Doom of Valyria. If his ancestor started a cult society for the liberation of slaves, maybe that first FM left some warning to his family, such as ‘be nice to slaves, we will return with a vengeance’.
There is a theory which uses Septon Barth’s report that the Valyrian sorcerors had a prophecy that gold from the Westerlands would destroy Valyria. It says that one of the Valyrian families received enough gold to buy a kingdom as payment for forging Brightroar, the Lannister family sword. This was gold from Westerlands and it was used to fund Facelessmen to cause the Doom. It is suggested that the family that did this was the Targaryens. It may or may not be true, but one thing is certain – so far, FM or Braavos has never done any harm to Targaryens. The nature of assassins imply we won’t know it even if they did, but if FM was so adamant on killing all dragonlords, they should also have killed the Targaryens. FM was already established before the Doom of Valyria. They could have killed the Targaryens too, but they did not. One might say that the downfall of Targaryens was a big conspiracy, but if so Dany and Viserys would not be left alive. Maybe the maesters and septons were working towards the death of dragons and keeping Targaryens (and magic) out of Westeros, and they succeeded with Robert’s ascension to Throne.
For all the cruelties the Valyrians did to slaves, the Targaryens did not bring slavery to Westeros. It could have been diplomacy to not disturb the culture of Westerosi too much, or to not annoy Braavos (who were powerful by the time of Conquest). But the Targaryens had sided with Braavos in war against slavers (I will add WOIAF reference once I find it). When Dany and Viserys fled from Dragonstone, the place they stayed longest is Braavos. The Sealord of Braavos was a witness for the marriage pact between Viserys and Arianne.
All of this suggest that Braavos and the Facelessmen have no vendetta towards Targaryens, or dragons. True enough, Tycho Nestoris tells Jon something like “We do not joke about dragons”. But there is no evidence they had anything against Targaryen dragons. Braavos is heavily anti-slavery, and the dragons in 300AL are all being used to fight slavery. But should they fall into the wrong hands, such as the slavers trying to vanquish Dany or Euron who is trying to woo Dany, this is of great concern for Braavos. Braavos’s only defense is made of wood.
If we establish that Braavos – Sealord, Iron Bank and Facelessmen – are allies of Targaryens, what does it mean for their role in the series? Every action by a Braavosi can be seen in a different light. [Warning – here we step into wishful thinking regime]
- Syrio Forel – Former First Sword of Braavos. He was probably the first sword at the time Dany and Viserys stayed in Braavos. We don’t know what he was doing in Westeros, but most likely it was Varys who arranged him to be hired by Ned. Varys is a Targaryen loyalist and a spymaster, but Syrio does not seem to be useful as a spy. There are plenty of theories that he was Jaqen H’ghar or at least another Facelessman. But Syrio’s purpose, other than guiding Arya, seems a mystery.
- Jaqen H’ghar/Alchemist/Pate – Lorath, Black Cells, Kingsroad, Harrenhal, (Pyke?), Oldtown. Different from other facelessmen. Helped Arya, probably killed Balon, killed Pate, now at Oldtown posing to be Pate, new roommate of Sam.
- The Kindly Man – Manager at House of Black and White. Trains Arya
- Tycho Nestoris – Offers to help Stannis, also strikes a deal with Jon.