In my travels around the Westeros.org forum and other fandom sites, one thing I have noticed is the somewhat common remark that GRRM “pulled fAegon” from nowhere, that Aegon is fake and was never planned for.
Well, I have to disagree with this idea, and I am disagreeing based on text evidence of GRRM re-using this “reborn” theme he once used in Fevre Dream, just reworked and expanded to fit the current ASOIAF narrative. This also makes me think that Aegon is not a fake-Aegon (fAegon), and is the son of Rhaegar and Elia Martell, as well as the baby that Daenerys sees in her House of the Undying vision.
As much as I love, love, love the Blackfyre angle and history and funess, I think Aegon might be real. Aegon/Young Griff is still the mummer’s dragon that Daenerys will slay to bring her to what she thinks she deserves (the iron throne), or because Aegon will betray Daenerys’ love for him to choose Arianne instead. Jon is the sun’s son, being that Jon was born to the Rhaegar-sun to his second moon Lyanna Stark. I have plenty of other ideas on who will be the “new Blackfyre”, but that is for another post.
A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys II
A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys VII
Part of the fandom theories to support that Aegon is who he claims to be, and supports the pisswater prince idea that Tyrion mentions while goading Aegon into a game of Cyvasse. Well, that is exactly what we are witnessing happen in the story Fevre Dream. A switcharoo with a “pisswater prince” named Jean (poor Jean)… which is a bit ironic as the story Fevre Dream takes place on the waters of the Mississippi River.
A Dance with Dragons – Tyrion VI
Yes, of course GRRM can rework his ideas any way he sees fit, but so far in ASOIAF we don’t see too much of that happening; just small tweaks to fit a larger narrative with more literary room. In this case the way this plot point was reworked and was made possible is because of the love Jon Connington had for Prince Rhaegar. Jon wants a chance to do right to make up for lost times.
A Dance with Dragons – The Lost Lord – Jon Connington
Seventeen years had come and gone since the Battle of the Bells, yet the sound of bells ringing still tied a knot in his guts. Others might claim that the realm was lost when Prince Rhaegar fell to Robert’s warhammer on the Trident, but the Battle of the Trident would never have been fought if the griffin had only slain the stag there in Stoney Sept. The bells tolled for all of us that day. For Aerys and his queen, for Elia of Dorne and her little daughter, for every true man and honest woman in the Seven Kingdoms. And for my silver prince.
Also, don’t let the surname Marsh fool you. In this story, Abner Marsh is almost identical in personality to Davos Seaworth and is a good guy. The main protagonist whom Abner partners with is named Joshua/Josh York, and is clearly a Jon-type… all the way down to the white and grey color combo, his bog white ship with red lights, and the smoke stack looking like a crown of flowers, mother dying in childbirth, his love for Valerie, etc, etc, etc.
The antagonist in this story, Damon Julian, follows along the basic fiery-dragon villain that GRRM has used time and again in his stories. I touched on it in the Daenerys posts.
Compare these details in ASOIAF to what we read in Fevre Dream (below).
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN (cutting in at the end of Ch 18)
“You ’member what I told you,” he whispered to the mate. “Quick and quiet. One hit.”
Hairy Mike nodded, and Marsh turned the key. The door clicked open, and Marsh pushed.
It was close and dark inside, everything curtained and shuttered the way the night folks liked their rooms, but they saw a pale form sprawled beneath the sheet by the light that spilled in from the door. They slid through, moving as quietly as two big, noisy men could move, and then Marsh was closing the door behind them and Hairy Mike Dunne was moving forward, raising his three-foot-long black iron billet high over his head, and dimly Marsh saw the thing in the bed stir, rolling over toward the noise, toward the light, and Hairy Mike was there in two long quick strides, all so fast, and the iron fell in a terrible arc at the end of his huge arm, fell and fell toward that dim pale head and it seemed to take forever.
Then the cabin door shut completely, the last thread of light snapped, and in the blind pitch darkness Abner Marsh heard a sound like a piece of meat being slapped down on a butcher’s counter, and under that was another sound, like an eggshell breaking, and Marsh held his breath.
The cabin was very still, and Marsh could not see a thing. From the darkness came a low, throaty chuckle. A cold sweat covered Marsh’s body. “Mike,” he whispered. He fumbled for a match.
“Yessuh, Cap’n,” came the mate’s voice. “One hit, thass all.” He chuckled again.
Abner Marsh scratched the match on the wall, and blinked. Hairy Mike was standing over the bed, his iron in hand. The business end was smeared and wet. The thing beneath the sheet had a staved-in red ruin for a face. Half the top of its skull had been taken away, and a slow trickle of blood was soaking into the sheet. Bits of hair and other dark stuff were spattered on the pillow and the wall and Hairy Mike’s clothes. “Is he dead?” Marsh asked, suddenly and wildly suspicious that the smashed-in head would begin to knit itself together, and the pale corpse would rise and smile at them.
“I ain’t never seen nuthin’ deader,” said Hairy Mike.
“Make sure,” Abner Marsh ordered. “Make damn sure.”
Hairy Mike Dunne shrugged a big, slow shrug, and raised his bloody iron and brought it down again onto skull and pillow. A second time. A third. A fourth. When it was over, the thing hardly could be said to have a head at all. Hairy Mike Dunne was an awful strong man.
The match burned Marsh’s fingers. He blew it out. “Let’s go,” he said harshly.
“What’ll we do with him?” Hairy Mike asked.
Marsh pulled open the cabin door. The sun and the river were before him, a blessed relief. “Leave him there,” he said. “In the dark. Come nightfall, we’ll chuck him in the river.” The mate followed Marsh outside, and he locked the door behind him. He felt sick. He leaned his ample bulk up against the boiler deck railing, and struggled to keep from heaving over the side. Blood-sucker or not, what they’d gone and done to Damon Julian was terrible to behold.
“Need help, Cap’n?”
“No,” said Marsh. He straightened himself with an effort. The morning was already hot, the yellow sun above beating down on the river with an almighty vengeance. Marsh was drenched with sweat. “I ain’t had much sleep,” he said. He forced a laugh. “I ain’t had none, in fact. It takes a bit out of a man, too, what we just done.” Hairy Mike shrugged. It hadn’t taken much out of him, it seemed. “Go sleep,” he said. “No,” said Marsh. “Can’t. Got to go see Joshua, tell him what we done. He’s got to know, so he’ll be ready to deal with them others.” All of a sudden Abner Marsh found himself wondering just how Joshua York would react to the brutal murder of one of his people. After last night, he couldn’t think Joshua would be too bothered, but he wasn’t sure—he didn’t really know the night folks and how they thought, and if Julian had been a baby-killer and a blood-sucker, well, the rest of them had done things near as bad, even Joshua. And Damon Julian had been Joshua’s bloodmaster too, the king of the vampires. If you kill a man’s king—even a king he hates—ain’t he obliged to do something about it? Abner Marsh remembered the cold force of Joshua’s anger, and with that memory found himself none too eager to go rushing on up to the captain’s cabin on the texas, especially now, when Joshua would be at his worst once roused. “Maybe I can wait,” Marsh found himself saying. “Sleep a little.”
Hairy Mike nodded.
“I got to get to Joshua first, though,” Marsh said. He really was feeling sick, he thought: nauseated, feverish, weary. He had to go lie down for a couple hours. “Can’t let him get up.” He licked his lips, which were dry as sandpaper. “You go talk to Jeffers, tell him how it come out, and one of you come and fetch me before sunset. Well before, you hear? Give me at least an hour to go on up and speak to Joshua. I’ll wake him up and tell him, and then when it gets dark he’ll know how to handle the other night folks. And you … you have one of your boys keep a sharp eye on Sour Billy … we’re goin’ to have to deal with him, too.”
Hairy Mike smiled. “Let the river deal with him.”
“Maybe we will,” said Marsh. “Maybe. I’m going to go rest now, but make sure I’m up before dark. Don’t you go let it get dark on me, you understand?”
So Abner Marsh climbed wearily up to the texas, feeling sicker and more tired with every step. Standing at the door of his own cabin, he felt a sudden stab of fear—what if one of them should be inside after all, despite what Mister Jeffers had said? But when he threw the door open and let the light come pouring into the room, it was empty. Marsh staggered in, drew the curtains back and opened the window to let in as much light and air as possible, locked the door, and sat heavily on the bed to remove his sweat-soaked clothing. He didn’t even bother with a nightshirt. The cabin was stifling, but Marsh was too exhausted to notice. Sleep took him almost at once.
CHAPTER NINETEEN Aboard the Steamer Fevre Dream, Mississippi River, August 1857
The sharp, insistent rapping on his cabin door finally summoned Abner Marsh back from his deep, dreamless sleep. He stirred groggily and sat up in bed. “A minute!” he shouted. He lumbered over to his basin like a big naked bear just out of hibernation, and none too happy about it. It wasn’t until Marsh had splashed some water on his face that he remembered. “Goddamn it all to hell!” he swore angrily, staring at the gray shadows gathering in every corner of the small dim cabin. Beyond the window, the sky was dark and purple. “Goddamn,” he repeated, pulling on a pair of clean trousers. He stomped over and yanked open the door. “What the hell is the meaning of lettin’ me sleep so long?” Marsh shouted at Jonathon Jeffers. “I told Hairy Mike to wake me a whole goddamn hour before sunset, damnit.”
“It is an hour before sunset,” Jeffers said. “It clouded up, that’s why it looks so dark. Mister Albright says we’re going to get another thunderstorm.” The clerk stepped into Marsh’s cabin and shut the door behind him. “I brought you this,” he said, handing over a hickory walking stick. “I found it in the main cabin, Cap’n.” Marsh took the stick, mollified. “I lost it last night,” he said. “Had other things on my mind.” He leaned the stick up against the wall and glanced out the window again, frowning. Beyond the river, the whole western horizon was a mass of threatening clouds moving their way, like a vast wall of darkness about to collapse on them. The setting sun was nowhere to be seen. He didn’t like it one bit. “I better get on up to Joshua,” he said, pulling out a shirt and commencing the business of getting dressed.
Jeffers leaned on his sword cane. “Shall I accompany you?” he asked.
“I ought to talk to Joshua by myself,” Marsh said, tying his tie with an eye on the mirror. “I don’t relish it though. Why don’t you come on up and wait outside. Maybe Joshua will want to call you in and talk about what we’re goin’ to do.” Left unspoken was the other reason that Marsh wanted the clerk close at hand—maybe he’d want to call him in, if Joshua York didn’t take kindly to the news of Damon Julian’s demise.
“Fine,” said Jeffers.
Marsh shrugged into his captain’s coat and snatched up his stick. “Let’s go then, Mister Jeffers. It’s too damn dark already.”
The Fevre Dream was steaming along briskly, her flags snapping and swirling in a strong wind, dark smoke pouring from her chimneys. Under the scant light of the strange purple sky, the waters of the Mississippi looked almost black. Marsh grimaced and strode forward briskly to Joshua York’s cabin, Jeffers at his side. This time he did not hesitate at the door; he raised his stick and knocked. On the third knock he called out, “Joshua, let me in. We got to talk.” On the fifth knock the door opened, moving slowly inward to reveal a soft still blackness. “Wait for me,” Marsh said to Jeffers. He stepped into the cabin and closed the door. “Don’t get mad now, Joshua,” he said to the dark, with a tight feeling in his gut. “I wouldn’t bother you, but this is important and it’s almost night anyhow.” There was no reply, though Marsh heard the sound of breathing. “Goddamnit,” he said, “why do we always have to talk in the dark, Joshua? It makes me damn uncomfortable.” He frowned. “Light a candle, will you?”
“No.” The voice was curt, low, liquid. And it was not Joshua’s.
Abner Marsh took a step backward. “Oh Jesus God, no,” he said, and there was a rustling sound even as his shaking hand found the door behind him and threw it open. He opened it wide and by now his eyes had accustomed themselves to the darkness, and even the purplish glow of the storm-laden sky was enough to give brief form to the shadows within the captain’s cabin. He saw Joshua York sprawled on his bed, pale and naked, his eyes closed, one arm hanging down to the floor, and on his wrist was something that looked like a terrible dark bruise, or a crust of dried blood. And he saw Damon Julian moving toward him, swift as death, smiling. “We killed you,” Marsh roared, disbelieving, and he stumbled backward out of the cabin, tripped, and fell practically at Jonathon Jeffers’ feet.
Julian stopped in the doorway. A thin dark line—hardly more than a cat scratch—ran down his cheek where Marsh had opened a yawning gash the night before. Otherwise he was unmarked. He had taken off his jacket and vest, and his ruffled silk shirt was without stain or blemish. “Come in, Captain,” Julian said quietly. “Don’t run away. Come in and talk.”
“You’re dead. Mike bashed your goddamn head to pieces,” Marsh said, choking on his own words. He did not look at Julian’s eyes. It was still day, he thought, he was safe outside, beyond Julian’s reach until the sun went down, so long as he did not look in those eyes, so long as he did not go back into that cabin.
“Dead?” Julian smiled. “Ah. The other cabin. Poor Jean. He wanted so to believe Joshua, and see what you have done to him. Smashed his head in, did you say?”
Abner Marsh climbed to his feet. “You changed cabins,” he said hoarsely. “You damn devil. You made him sleep in your bed.”
“Joshua and I had so much to discuss,” Julian replied. He made a beckoning gesture…