Game of Thrones Time Loop Brainstorming - King Robert

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by Anarchy, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. Anarchy

    Anarchy Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    So, like I am prone to do, I start a lot of stories without finishing them, and this is another idea in a long line of ideas, one that I had after finishing Purple Days.

    Anyways, the basic premise is that a character is stuck in a time loop. Every time they die, they wake back up at some point in the past, Usually it’s in the same spot every time, as will be the case for this story.

    For this idea, I want it to be King Robert. Doing this with him will pretty much be hard mode, since he has a lot of things going against him.

    So, in this idea, it will start off with King Robert getting gored by a boar in canon, and then he wakes up some time in the past. Choosing when he wakes up is a tricky part, as going too far back makes it so the loops take far too long. Like, if he goes back to his rebellion, it might as well just be a normal timetravel fic and not a time loop. Too close in time, and you don’t give Robert enough time to actually make a difference.

    It’s a tough balance, as giving a shorter time also gives a sense of urgency, so I think I’m more leaning towards a shorter time than a longer time, since that would mean the earlier loops would revolve around trying to give himself more time, meaning living past the point of being killed by a boar.

    I chose him waking up on the road to Winterfell, where he goes to recruit Ned. I figure roughly halfway into the trip, too far to turn around. From that time, until the time he gets killed by a boar, is about 6 months.

    With that said, I want to brainstorm the various plots and hurdles he would have to overcome. There are many of them, more than I can think of on my own. These are not in a particular order

    1. Jon Arryn’s death. Robert has to learn that it was poison. That would mean having to listen to Ned better. Also, a bit of a red herring since he would conclude that the Lannister’s had a hand in it, when they really didn’t.
    2. Bran falling out of the tower. Robert would have to learn that he was thrown instead of slipping, and then he would have to discover by who. It’s one of the earliest divergences, but might take awhile for him to realize that he was being thrown from the tower and not slipping.
    3. Bran’s assassination attempt. This directly leads to Cat abducting Tyrion which leads to pretty much everything.
    4. His own death. He has to discover that the plan was to get him more drunk than normal.
    5. Targaryens. Has to discover that they’re not the biggest threat to his kingdom. That will take many many loops probably. Time enough for the pain to fade at some point.
    6. Has to get the kingdom out of debt.
    7. Has to deal with the fact that he has no truborn heirs
    8. Has to deal with the fact that Joffrey is killing all of his bastards
    9. Has to deal with Cersei because.
    10. Has to deal with Tywin and the inevitable war.
    11. White Walkers and the end game.
    12. Why Robert is reliving his life over and over.


    Then there are some sort of non-plot issues that he would have to overcome.
    1. His hatred of the Targaryens. Has to get over Lyanna.
    2. His weight. Hard to be king when you can’t find into armor.
    3. His stubbornness. Real sticking point with Ned Stark. Hopefully dying a bunch mellows him out a bit
    4. His vices. Wining and Dining and Whoring and Hunting. Perhaps some moderation is in order.


    Those are just some of the obvious problems. It’s kind of like a puzzle, as many of them are connect to each other, and pulling one way may make something not happen, or something completely different happen.

    I’m just going to spitball a few things. There are several things that will trigger war with the Lannisters. It’s pretty much inevitable. Doesn’t matter if it’s because Cat abducted Tyrion, or if Robert denounced his wife upon learning that he’s been cuckolded by Jaime Lannister.

    That ties in with the first major problem, is that unless Robert does something drastic, he dies roughly six months in to every loop, thanks to Cersei. His first major problem will be figuring out why and which plot strings he needs to pull as to where that doesn’t happen. Like, if he decides to just not go hunting that one month, then he’ll likely get poisoned. He’ll have to figure out who (probably not the hard part) and then why. Robert is not good at politics, so he will find himself way over his head to begin with. Lots of trial and error, since Ned’s not exactly the best at that either.

    When war comes, Robert will have to be prepared. That means getting in shape. That means not being millions of gold in debt to Tywin. That also means getting allies. I think within a few loops once the shock of his situation wears off, getting in shape would be one of his main priorities. Realistically, 6 months isn’t enough to get into fighting shape from where he’s at, but it would be a start. Once he gets into a routine, it will happen eventually, even it it takes several timeloops to get used to it.

    Getting Ned’s help is a big issue. He’s the main person Robert thinks that he can trust, and he will need his help. That means giving in to some concessions, since Ned is in a spot to help gather him information he can use in future loops. If he doesn’t go all out on the expensive tournament, and he backs down on the Targaryen assassination situation, Ned could tell him the truth behind Jon Arryn’s death and everything it leads to, which is a lot of things. This is part of the early game I would say. Having the information that his children aren’t his children is one thing, but actually acting on that information and being able to do something about it is a whole different issue.

    The Lannister’s are kind of the second issue beyond his own death, and the first main problem. If Robert manages to survive and denounce Cersei, there will be war, and he’s not in a position to win. For example, I thought of some potential dividing lines:

    1. Starks join Robert, due to friendship and loyalty. (Roose bolton can get bought still?)
    2. Riverlands follow the Starks. (can be conquered by lannisters quickly and forced to join. Freys can be bought by the lannisters)
    3. Vale abstains, will only protect itself while Lysa Arryn rules. Baelish can get them to side with the Lannisters maybe
    4. Martells/Dorne hates the Lannisters, will likely side with Robert out of convenience, though they hate him too. They might see Robert as too deep in Lannister affairs.
    5. Tyrells/the reach sided with the Targaryens before bending the knee to Robert. Renly might be able to sway them to their side, if only because of their rivalry with the Lannisters. They’re the second wealthiest, have the largest levy, and can field a massive fleet. Rivalry with Dorne as well.
    6. Greyjoys won’t side with either, and will take the opportunity to pillage everyone. Can maybe be bought with lannister gold, but they might still pillage them
    7. Crownlands will side with Robert and Stannis. Ruled directly by the crown, with the heir apparent controlling dragonstone.
    8. Stormlands will side with Robert due to Renly being paramount of storm’s end.
    9. Westerlands will follow Lannisters, who rule from Casterly Rock.


    On paper, the Lannisters can be outnumbered by quite a bit. They can field like 50k of their own, while the rest of the realm is like 300k. But, that depends on Roberts ability to call forth levies from the other kingdoms, which will be hard. Tywin has a lot of gold, which means they can buy loyalties of other lords, and he can buy elite mercenaries.

    There’s some assumptions that could maybe be made. Dorne might fight against the Lannisters no matter what, just because of the whole Elia thing. But, that would be aiding Robert, whom they’re in secret trying to overthrow. Either way, I think they would prefer war, since that destabilizes the realm for the Targaryens.

    I’m also assuming that the crownlands and stormlands will side with Robert without question. While he is alive, his brothers are loyal to him, no matter what. Perhaps even more loyal, once they learn the depths of Cersei’s deception.

    Anyways, the second major problem is probably the Targaryen issue. Honestly, I hate the Aegon plot, how he pretty much just comes out of nowhere in book 5. But, it is what it is, and it’s not like I’m going to be doing alternating POVS. Regardless, once the civil war is over, just when Robert thinks maybe there will be some piece, he gets invaded by Aegon. Perhaps even in some timeloops, he gets invaded by Daenerys as well. And then there’s the issue of Jon Snow’s true parentage, which will be a shocker once Robert learns of it. Perhaps Jon Snow is actually the key for him to It’s a difficult puzzle to figure out, but I think I can at least get it to the point where Robert won’t send out the assassin in order to keep Ned on his side.

    Lastly, there’s the white walker problem. I’m actually not sure what is more likely to happen: Robert getting over his Targaryen hate, or him believing in White Walkers. But, they are the ultimate end game, so once Robert thinks everything is finally setting down, all the letters and shit begging for help in the north actually turn out to be true. I guess Robert is more likely to learn of the white walkers, since all he would have to do to trigger them is to live long enough, and that can happen even when everything goes to shit with wars and such.

    Overall, I think things needs to be done in small increments. Robert will make lots of mistakes, and he will indulge himself early on. Maybe he’ll personally kill Cersei a few times, or spend an entire loop Making the Eight (which I’ve already written actually). For example, one small change would be simply offering smaller (but still grand) prizes for the tournament of a hand, small enough to where the crown will make a profit off it but larger than anything else in the realm. Seriously though, 40k is a crazy amount for the winner. And perhaps as Robert goes on, he realizes that there’s a deeper problem, and that’s Baelish. Maybe he puts Tyrion to the post instead. After all, despite being a Lannister, they share a lot in common.

    So, thoughts/comments/ideas/etc
     
  2. Xantam

    Xantam Denarii Host

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    Sorry, I don't have much else at this point, but I'm 99% sure Cersei was behind this in book canon.
     
  3. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    I like the idea and how much thought you've put into it. It actually seems kinda solid as far as a general background. The harder part will be the execution. Purple Days works because you see Joffery grow into a better person as he goes through the loops. Sure he figures out problems, but he makes relationships while he does it. Those personal relationships and finding out things he never knew keep the story interesting. It should be the same for Robert.

    The first few restarts he freaks out and does the normal stupid shit. Let people know he's time traveling and worrying them with his crazy thoughts. Having him die a few times because people think he is going crazy helps to get in his head that this is for real and can help seed the plot for the future. Cersei killing him in his first go round after he goes crazy across the camp would help to set her up as the first major antagonist. Subsequent loops with him plotting against Cersei would help him to find allies and identify who will betray him. Maybe one loop he trusts in Baelish who is more than happy to entertain his thoughts. Only to have Baelish betray him at some crucial moment. Thus setting the stage for his mistrust of both and further branching out. Early on it would be interesting to have him get closer with Thoros, who can see something strange is going on with Robert. Maybe have him believe that Robert is the Prince who was Promised and start to bring in some mystical elements. Dealing with Cersei and stopping his death six months makes for a good first arc. Especially if when he finally succeeds it just leads into his larger Lannister problems, something Robert might not think of or underestimate.

    The Bran assassination thing I wouldn't bring until maybe the middle of the first arc though. He had no reason to believe that it was something fishy, only Tyrion being blamed which he can either dismiss or look into in a lull. That opens another can of worms but could also serve as the solution to his Cersei problem. Catching her and Jamie and stopping the assassination, or letting it happen to justify his actions, lets him find a way to start wrapping Cersei in a neat little bow early on. This could free him up to start handling his other problems. It also opens the plot to Tywin's scheming because he's not just gonna let his two favorite children be caught up in this big scandal. Maybe it's how he buys himself extra time. Sending the twins to Tywin in exchange for a "Peace" knowing that it will only lead to the Lannister rebellion.

    This is just my quick thoughts on what I read, if you want to bounce ideas off me I'm down though.
     
  4. vlad

    vlad Groundskeeper Prestige

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    1. There's the option that Dorne stays out of the war entirely, a plague on both your houses type of neutrality, or else uses the civil war as a smokescreen to bring the Targs back.

    2. If you want to throw more shit at Robert, the (first?) time war kicks off with Lannisters, they quickly seize King's Landing. Oh sure, they're army is on the other side of the realm, but all the vital offices in the city insofar as seizing it are either in Lannister hands (if canon), or else being closely watched by seconds-in-command and well placed servants who are in their pay. End result is that as soon as necessary Tywin gives the word and King's Landing taken from the inside. Maybe Robert dies in the coup.

    3. I like the timing. As you say it's long enough that change is possible while at the same time the course is largely set. Bonus, waking up a week or two out from Winterfell gives him some time to reflect on how the last time went, without giving him time to prematurely set things in motion (without serious effort).
     
  5. Anarchy

    Anarchy Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    Could be true. I've been checking through the book on the rough timeline for Robert's major plot points, but I didn't see that one in particular. Doesn't really change too much, since Robert can't really hate Cersei anymore than he already does.


    I've got about half dozen loops written just as a test. First one, Robert sees it as a second chance of life and feels like he's living on borrowed time, so his plan is to just drink and fuck more than usual, and not go hunting that one time, and instead gets poisoned. He doesn't really know what's going on, so he doesn't do much. Next few loops are quick ones where he takes revenge on Cersei once he realizes he keeps waking back up after dying. Then he tries a serious attempt on trying to figure out who's poisoning him (heavily suspects cersei as is) and perhaps more importantly *why* then.

    For the Bran stuff, I figure that at some point in time Robert just gets frustrated with dying so much, that he realizes that Bran has fallen from the tower dozens of times and curiousity gets the better of him. He would see that bran gets thrown, but seeing who throws him would take more effort. But I think at this point, he would have already learned from Ned in a past loop that his children are not his, so that wouldn't be the catalyst for that specifically, but perhaps for other related events. It's just one more piece in the Cersei puzzle, and he has to figure out how to combine them all to put her away for good and have it be repeatable.
     
  6. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    Another point of difference could be Robert coming back before Arryn died. He would of course be very attentive of him, want him to get his health checked "just in case" and that attention might stave off an assassination attempt for now.

    That said, where does that leave Robert? After all, he died in a point in the story where he was completely unaware of basically anything important happening. For anything fo importance to happen, he needs to be dead at which point, well, how much can he really learn? Maybe catch the Bealish plot if the Jon Arryn assassination is foiled and Lysa rants/confesses Bealish's involvement but dunno.

    Him constantly dying because something caught him completely off guard and him trying to puzzle things out can be interesting I guess, but would take quite a while before Robert gets information to really work with.
     
  7. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    I like Robert just whoring and drinking the first few loops. Keeps him easily in character while he tries to figure out why he keeps dying. Having him immediately finger Cersei and go for revenge seems like a stretch. Unless you have him catch her in the act in one of the loops or give some other tell, because as far as we know he had no suspicions that his wife would kill him. If anything I think he would somehow suspect the Targaryens. Robert's fears of them coming to take the throne with a Dothraki army could be what finally compels him to get off his ass. Maybe he sees his death as the opening move and believes that by stopping his poisoning/assassination he will be there to fight them off.

    Let the Cersei action start once he begins looking in Bran's fall. Like you said Bran's accident starts weighing on him so he stops trying to find the Targaryen conspirators, who he believes are causing his death, and takes a break to find that out. Finding out about the affair and twincest would be the catalyst that causes him to really focus. Ned telling him about the kids is a little harder because he doesn't put the pieces together until Robert is on his death bed and about to croak. So having him tell Robert would kind of feel like an easy give.

    Maybe have Robert start off with his whoring and drinking. Throw in him trying to fight a bit and realizing that he just really isn't up to standard. While he's doing this start the character change with him deciding to get to know the people in his castle as a way to suss out the Targ conspirators. A moment in a loop with Ned makes him realize that he is neglecting his family. Robert starts buddying up to them and trying to be a better father and husband. As he learns more about his family and compounds it have him start living just a bit longer. With his death starting to come when Ned is going to tell him for sure that none of his children are his. Robert starting to maybe love Cersei and see her as more than a free hole would be even more crushed when he finds out that she and Jamie are the reason that Bran falls. That's finally what breaks the cracks and helps him realize that it is his wife that engineers his death. From there he starts really working to improve himself and try and play Cersei so that he survive her plots and deal with what he thinks is the bigger plot. Finally overcoming that just for the War of Five Kings to start happening sets up the story for a nice escalation in threats. Also puts a more savvy and in better shape Robert in place to deal with all the issues of the civil war and the butterflies from his changes.
     
  8. Anarchy

    Anarchy Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    I'm not actually sure of Robert would think the Targaryens were after him with point. According to his spy reports, they would be like 5,000 miles away in the Dothraki Sea, and any orders coming and going that kind of distances takes a very long time. And I think it's more an issue of circumstance. The first time he is killed is by being too drunk and getting gutted by a boar. He could maybe pass that off as an accident. But then the next time, instead of going hunting, he stays home and parties with whores and instead gets poisoned in that same time frame. He could maybe pass it off as a coincidence, but he does find it conveniently suspicious. He wouldn't really have a reason to suspect Cersei, other than the fact that she's a colossal cunt. It's not so much that he believes that it's her, it's just easy to beleive that she would do such a thing, and he just happens to be correct. So, if he happens to get killed a third time in that same time frame, then he definitely knows its not a coincidence.

    So the biggest thing would be *why*. That's that hardest part for him to figure out, though it is the sort of thing in future loops where there would be multiple ways for that to be revealed to him. But at first, he would simple think it was under Tywin's command, or perhaps Cersei wishing to rule the kingdom for a few years herself before Joffrey came of age. Her ambition knows no bounds, after all. Those would just be some of the first ideas that popped into his head, so Robert would spent some time being lead on clue hunts that lead to an incorrect answer.

    Ultimately, finding out that his children aren't his should be a quick thing. Robert's not a master of intrigue, and neither is Ned. And Ned, for his part, is very methodical, and isn't going to tell Robert if he wasn't 100% certain. Though, I think with how I want to take this story, it will actually be Ned telling him in a loop, with the Bran tower thing just being an event that further reinforces the truth. And then once he knows there's the issue of actually being able to do something about it, without speeding up his own death. Oh, and there's also the plot within the plot, where Ned was seemingly being led to the answers he sought.

    That in turn leads to other plots, where Robert realizes that half the small council seeks his undoing in one form or another, and he needs to figure out a way to keep his own head and getting rid of the ones that are working against him. And since he's so far behind in the intrigue race, that will take forever and a day as well.
     
  9. Puzzled

    Puzzled High Inquisitor

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    Except he’s a well liked king. He can just kill or arrest his enemies almost immediately, and he can count on several kingdoms following his orders without questions. As soon as he knows what’s going on the schemes of VArys and Littlefinger stop mattering. He’s not in great shape to start because of his ignorance, but as soon as he learns anything his problems become much more solvable.
     
  10. CareOtters

    CareOtters Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    I'm gonna come out of left field here: keep Robert as a fat fuck.

    No, I'm serious. Hear me out. It takes time to make significant changes to your body, and although GRRM took a billion years to write the books, the timeframe in which events happen is still relatively short. Especially short if we take into account how early Robert dies the first time around.

    You could have an amazing character development thread if you had Robert attempt to recapture his youth as a strong, fit warrior, but over time realise that he cannot go back, and must learn to become a king as he is now. And sure, that might result in better habits forming, but he's no longer going to lead from the front. He's going to lead from a throne.

    So perhaps he could realise he's failed as a king, but was successful as a warrior, and decide to try acting the way he used to. But now he's old and chunky, so he fails as a warrior, but out of that failure comes his ultimate success as a king, because he comes to terms with the difference between those two roles at long last, something he never did in canon.
     
  11. Anarchy

    Anarchy Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    It's an interesting idea, but honestly, he's not that old. He's 35 when he dies, which isn't too late to turn your life around. That being said, I do have half a mind to try out a loop where he does what he says to Ned early on, an runs off to Essos to become a sellsword
    --- Post automerged ---
    I will add, that him attempting and failing is definitely a possibility. I think I talked about it in IRC, but him simply going too hard at it and dying from a heart attack would be an interesting loop.
     
  12. Thaumologist

    Thaumologist Chief Warlock

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    One thing I quite liked about Purple Days is Joffrey's reluctance to respawn. He doesn't immediately kill himself if something goes a bit wrong - he's not aiming to a speedrun - and it's possible to learn a lot from failures. I don't think the mechanism of painful respawning would be ideal to copy, but taking it as a basis to work with could work. As a not-thought-out idea, have the restarts happen when Robert is ill, or recovering from an injury. Hell, have it start in the middle of a fight, rather than as he wakes up in the morning- he's at immediate risk of dying again if he respawns and wasn't ready for it.

    I like Careotter's idea, keeping Robert fat. Losing weight is hard - you can't just go to the practice yard for twenty minutes after breakfast, and cut out the third helping of dinner. Losing weight when dealing with alcoholism is likely going to be even harder.
     
  13. Agayek

    Agayek Alchemist

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    The best way to discourage quick resets, to me anyway, is to add "status effects", for lack of a better term, based on the length of a given loop. Say, for example, the first X days after he's back everyone who talks to him refuses to believe a word he says, or he and his forces are struck with illness, etc, and the length and/or severity of the effect would be a function of the length of a loop.

    Personally, I'd go with a "luck" system, where the loop isn't perfectly static outside of Robert's actions, accounting for both the butterfly effect and non-determinant systems. Some events would happen at seeming random, as decided by dice rolls, and the results would gain a modifier, positive or negative, based on the length of the last loop. So a loop where he made it all the way to the Walkers means the next would see a few things (likely) break his way, while one where he gets himself killed at Ned's place sees things go wrong rapidly.
     
  14. vad3r

    vad3r First Year

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    Wouldnt he at least try to save Bran early on?
    I mean it's his bff son? Just tell the little shit to not climb or bring him with him.
     
  15. Heather_Sinclair

    Heather_Sinclair Minister of Magic

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    One of the things I liked about Purple Days is that no matter what Joffery does, it never turns out right and often makes things worse. Otherwise, you're writing a fix-it fic with one of the story's characters. So, yes, he could go around and order Bran to come with him on the hunt, only for him to fall off his horse and be gored in the back by a random creature encounter. Or Ned tries to save him only to be trampled on by his horse.

    Etc. etc.
     
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