Have you ever watched an episode of Game of Thrones and thought to yourself; ‘what are the maesters really up to?’ The maesters are intriguing characters, often kept at arm’s length from the narrative just enough to balance fascination and suspicion. Not dissimilar to the Night’s Watch, they are considered to be servants of Westeros and have no political allegiance.
Even though you might not give them a lot of thought, they actually hold a great deal of power and influence. They basically control the flow of information in Westeros by reading and writing letters and managing the ravens that carry messages. They’re sagacious, forbearing individuals that never truly arouse among the other characters. There are no greater historians of the realm. The measters collectively have an encyclopaedic understanding of how war, dragons, misrule, madness and magic can ravage a King’s reign or bring horror to the people of the Seven Kingdoms. And while they don’t seem like the scheming type, is it possible that they’re manipulating politics for their own personal gain? A new theory appears to point to that conclusion.
The theory, constructed in painstaking detail by YouTube channel Alt Shift X, purports that the maesters are inherently biased towards the Targaryens. In A Dance with Dragons, Barbrey Dustin claims that they were involved in a plot against the Targaryens prior to Robert’s Rebellion.
As detailed by Winter Is Coming, “She believes that Rickard Stark’s maester, Walys, was partly responsible for Robert’s Rebellion since the southron marriages between the Starks, Baratheons, Tullys, and Arryns were his idea. Were these marriages solely to undermine the Targareyens? Or a way for the Houses to gain greater power by aligning themselves to each other? Prior to that, Grand Maester Pycelle betrayed the Targaryens by convincing the Mad King to open his gates to Tywin’s army. This one isn’t a great argument for a larger conspiracy because, despite Pycelle’s allegiance to the Lannisters, perhaps this act was for the good of the city since the Mad King was spiraling out of control.”
Of course, some maesters are pro-Targaryen is Marwyn, the Citadel’s authority on magic and the occult. It is he who believes there top be a conspiracy among the maesters against the Targaryens, as chronicled in the following passage fro, A Feast For Crows when he is speaking with Sam:
“Who do you think killed all the dragons the last time around? Gallant dragonslayers armed with swords? The world the Citadel is building has no place in it for sorcery or prophecy or glass candles, much less for dragons. Ask yourself why Aemon Targaryen was allowed to waste his life upon the Wall, when by rights he should have been raised to archmaester. His blood was why. He could not be trusted. No more than I can.”
While some of the evidence presented in the video is rather thin and dubious, it’s interesting to see all of their motivations pulled together for one fascinating analysis. With season 6 set to be the biggest and boldest to date, it’ll be interesting to see if the maesters change their behaviour, given the impending threat of the White Walker army.