From time immemorial, nerds have resented and been fascinated with the men and rarely women of evil. The supervillain takes what he wants, plans and plots, and aspires to greatness. The best of them are world-class conquerors. They use a secret power, corruption, and unscrupulousness to take advantage of society’s weaknesses to advance their causes. Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Khan, Mao. They stride across the world stage. They have a gift for, as Megamind puts it, “presentation”. They are colorful. They are not bound by the usual rules. They play their own game. It is in confronting supervillains that superheroes earn their stripes, capes, glories. Foiling ordinary crimes are insufficient. George R. R. Martin knows this well. Even before he was consuming Lovecraft, Heinlein, and countless others, he was reading comic books off the rack at the local newsstand.
It would take another two decades before Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and Jeffrey Dahmer to take center stage. It took less than a decade for Thomas Harris to combine the two forms into Hannibal Lecter, the Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, super serial killer. Instead of being a messed up entitled white male Protestant from the Midwest with psychiatric issues preying on the most vulnerable in society like a common leech, Lecter was brilliant. He planned. He used superhuman knowledge to evade capture, but always left behind a trail so he and his many imitators on CSI and its progeny could spur their great game with our heroes – the all too human men and women of the thin blue line, the police. Psychology and psychiatry had come a long way from the Freud and dream interpretation days of Martin’s youth. Now, its behavioral scientists could become the stars of the crime drama, whose flatfoots were replaced with scientific detectives and crime labs that performed miraculous operations on “the evidence”. (Technically, much of what they did were miracles as little of it was based on any reality known to forensics.)
Last, and certainly not least, there were the cults of the late 1960s and 1970s. The most infamous of these was the one established by Charles Manson. He appropriated the communal ideals of the so-called hippies, combined it with a pseudo Hindu and Buddhist sensibility, and then took it to the dark recesses of his demented imaginings. He abused young women psychologically and sexually. He took advantage of young people’s searches for their “bliss” to serve his dark, benighted goals. They proceeded to murder two people including actress Sharon Tate, wife of the director, Roman Polanski. The Manson cult was broken and brought to justice. It was not the last. Martin did not have to look far for his inspiration for Euron Greyjoy. He just had to read and watch the news.
Euron first unveils himself in A Feast for Crows. Originally, it was supposed to be the second book in the trilogy, but the second book became the second and third books and the original A Dance with Dragons became too long and became the fourth and fifth books. He is grandiose, living up to Theon’s recollection as an evil presence. Asha and Victarion loathe him. Aeron “Damphair” is so shattered by likely being molested by him that he has become a religious fanatic and coward. Euron sails on an equally frightening vessel, “The Silence”, crewed by mutes. The timing of his arrival is suspicious coming just a few days after Balon’s death.
Euron’s proposal to take all of Westeros by acquiring dragons is ludicrous on its face. There was no reason why someone on the Iron Isles would not have put an axe, a knife, a sword, a mace, or a pointed stick to him long ago. His supporters are few and comprise the malcontent upstarts of the Iron Islands. And yet, he is declared king at the kingsmoot and leads the Iron Fleet to a string of rapes and pillaging on the Shield Islands in the Reach. His troops and ships are likely to fall soon and completely to the superior forces of the Tyrells. His is a cause of reckless stupidity bound to fail. And yet, the fandom seems convinced that Poor Quentyn’s eldtrich apocalypse is upon us. Why is this so?
Euron’s Actual Plan
There is no doubt that Euron is a powerful telepath. It is also likely he is a failed student of Bloodraven, what with his talk of flying and crow’s eye imagery and so forth. It is also true Euron loves the Valyrians for all the wrong reasons: blood lust, power for power’s sake, flying on dragons bringing death and destruction, etc. He also likely has the warlocks from Qarth and a Valyrian horn, Dragonbinder. From “The Forsaken” chapter, we learn Euron has captured Aeron and is forcing him to drink Shade of the Evening, probably to awaken Aeron’s third eye (more Hindu and Buddhist mysticism). It is not unreasonable to conclude that Euron’s mission for Victarion is a feint. Dragonbinder serves Euron, and his ultimate goal is Daenerys (Wow, she has a lot of suitors!) and the Iron Throne, but Euron’s deceitfulness is the equal of Littlefinger’s. We cannot trust a word he says. So, what is the real plan?
The key to Euron’s plan lies in the hell horn, Dragonbinder. It enslaves those who hear it to its owner, but incinerates the one who sounds it. Its effects were demonstrated at the kingsmoot. Even those people who hated Euron including Aeron proclaimed him king. Only after the death of the sounder of the horn, Cragorn, did Victarion, Aeron, and Asha among others begin plotting against him. It makes little sense if Valyrians sounded the horn. They are many things but not fireproof. Daenerys’ emergence from Drogo’s funeral pyre was a one time deal. Therefore, the sounders of the horns must have been the only creatures who could have withstood the process and, therefore, continued the effects for long enough for its use to be worthwhile – dragons. This also means that the horn does not bind dragons to humans, but binds humans to dragons. The name Dragonbinder is being purposefully obscured or misread.
With this true purpose understood, Euron’s plan falls into place. He will sail to Meereen in Victarion’s wake. When Victarion’s men sound the horn and fail, Euron will skinchange the nearest dragon. It is likely to be Rhaegal. Under Euron’s control, Rhaegal will sound Dragonbinder and enslave the forces in and around Meereen including the fleets, soldiers, and mercenary companies. Unfortunately for his wider plans, Tyrion will have already absconded with his dragon, Viserion, and the Second Sons for Casterly Rock. He has a rendezvous with his sister, Cersei, recently deposed by the younger, more beautiful queen, Arianne Martel, and her new husband, Aegon, who, with his Golden Company, is the master of the Stormlands.
This is not much of a loss for Euron for his fate holds much more in store. Daenerys, after joining the khalassars on her “stallion who will mount the world”, Drogon, in Vaes Dothrak, will return to Meereen. She will find her dangerous love, Daario, the master of one of her dragons and in control of massive forces. Daario is of course Euron in disguise and has been since after Daenerys’ original meeting with the three captains of the Stormcrows. Euron had been following Daenerys since Qarth and took the opportunity to ingratiate himself with the Mother of Dragons by killing Daario and donning his visage. With his crow’s eye and Daario’s clothing, Euron is glamoured as Daario. (For the details of how this is all possible and its supporting evidence see all but the last two minutes of the Alt Shift X You Tube video, “Daario = Euron”. Contrary to the video’s conclusion, the equivalence of the two characters actually makes more sense and is less problematic than having the two be separate individuals.) Daenerys will make the obvious choice consistent with her walkabout. “Dragons plant no trees.” The dragon will wed the kraken and the world will beware.
The Betrayer Betrayed
As Daenerys sweeps across Essos to ensure her own independent conquest of King’s Landing in the south, Euron and Rhaegal will go north, to the Wall. He will use dragon fire to destroy it unleashing the White Walkers and their wights upon the North and, ultimately, Winterfell. He thinks this will give him a Northern force to complete the conquest of Westeros from the North in winter while Daenerys will strike from the south. But, he has been deceived.
He has been following his dreams ever since his illness opened his third eye. Those dreams are what are driving him. His compulsions are those of a schizophrenic, a mentally ill person who hears voices. He is no supervillain. He is no genius serial killer. He is a damaged tool in someone else’s very elaborate, very chess-like, very sophisticated game. It is at Winterfell where his shadow fire shall meet its end, not because there is truth in prophecy, but because at least one of our protagonists is going to learn the truth about those who are pulling everyone’s strings, pushing humanity towards annihilation – the Children of the Forest.