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At the end of chapter 14 of A Dance with Dragons, Tyrion and the crew of The Shy Maiden see a giant turtle. Tyrion says, "And why not? Gods and wonders always appear to attend the birth of kings." Why? What king is being born?

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TL;DR

That King is:

Aegon VI Targaryen aka the Young Griff

Tyrion had figured out the mystery of his identity. He was on his way to meet his aunt and his stalwart men of

Golden Company

Tyrion, being the smart man he is, soon began to notice odd things about his companions.

He tried the crack the case of who was Griff. He judged by Griff's reaction to Tyrion's comment about Winged Lions, that he was right, Griff was the exiled Lord Jon Connington.

The Half Maester taught the sellsword Knight's son history, maths and languages, The Septa taught him theology and Knights trained him in martial arts. This kind of training is given only to the Highborn children of Aristocrats, not to a sellsword's son. So Tyrion came to suspect that Young Griff was not what he said he was.

Lord Jon was a great friend to Rhaegar Targaryen and held the post of Hand of the King briefly. Tyrion did 2+2 and deduced that the Purple Eyed young man who accompanied him was his friend's son, not his own son. If it was Aegon come-back-from-dead,

he was the rightful King. So there you have it.


Too Long Version

The Winged Lion

When Tyrion was sent by Ilyrio to join Daenerys, he was entrusted to a sell sword by the name of Griff and his company.

The magister shrugged. "Much as it would please me to welcome Queen Daenerys to Volantis, I must rely on you and Griff for that. I can serve her best in Pentos, smoothing the way for her return. So long as I am with you, though … well, an old fat man must have his comforts, yes? Come, drink a cup of wine."

[...]

Tyrion waved the dish away. "You place a deal of trust in this man Griff. Another friend of your childhood?"

"No. A sellsword, you would call him, but Westerosi born. Daenerys needs men worthy of her cause." Illyrio raised a hand. "I know! 'Sellswords put gold before honor,' you are thinking. 'This man Griff will sell me to my sister.' Not so. I trust Griff as I would trust a brother."
ADWD - Tyrion II

There was a half Maester, two Knights and one soiled septa in the company. And a young boy, called the Young Griff, who Illyrio said was Griff's beloved son.

He was introduced to the maester and one Knight right away:

"So he does. I am Haldon, the healer in our little band of brothers. Some call me Halfmaester. My companion is Ser Duck."

"Ser Rolly," said the big man. "Rolly Duckfield. Any knight can make a knight, and Griff made me. And you, dwarf?"
ADWD - Tyrion III

So now Tyrion knew that Griff was a Knight too. Exiled Westerosi Knights always have some interesting backgrounds.

Then he met Griff himself. First thing odd he noted was that Griff could read and that too, without moving his lips at all. Among the Westerosi, it's only Highborns who can do that due to being used to reading since childhood. Other than them, Maesters are also good at reading. Lowborns mostly can't read or if they learn, they move their lips.

Haldon answered. "Illyrio sent a letter to explain."

"I will have it, then. Take the dwarf to my cabin."

I do not like his eyes, Tyrion reflected, when the sellsword sat down across from him in the dimness of the boat's interior, with a scarred plank table and a tallow candle between them. They were ice blue, pale, cold. The dwarf misliked pale eyes. Lord Tywin's eyes had been pale green and flecked with gold.

He watched the sellsword read. That he could read said something all by itself. How many sellswords could boast of that? He hardly moves his lips at all, Tyrion reflected.
ADWD - Tyrion III

Then Tyrion caught him lying about his identity right away.

Griff ignored the request. Instead he touched the letter to the candle flame and watched the parchment blacken, curl, and flare up. "There is blood between Targaryen and Lannister. Why would you support the cause of Queen Daenerys?"

"For gold and glory," the dwarf said cheerfully. "Oh, and hate. If you had ever met my sister, you would understand."

"I understand hate well enough." From the way Griff said the word, Tyrion knew that much was true. He has supped on hate himself, this one. It has warmed him in the night for years.

"Then we have that in common, ser."

"I am no knight."

Not only a liar, but a bad one. That was clumsy and stupid, my lord. "And yet Ser Duck says you knighted him."
ADWD - Tyrion III

An Exiled Knight who doesn't want to reveal his identity? Why would that be? He speaks like a Highborn man. And his desire to hide his true colors is interesting still. Which is why Tyrion came to the conclusion that this one was some exiled Lord.

Tyrion was sure of it but he held his tongue.

Griff weighed that for a moment. "Understand this, dwarf. You are the last and least of our company. Hold your tongue and do as you are told, or you will soon wish you had."

Yes, Father, Tyrion almost said. "As you say, my lord."

"I am no lord."

Liar. "It was a courtesy, my friend."
ADWD - Tyrion III

So who was this exiled Lord, going to join Daenerys Targaryen? One particular exiled Lord, who was loyal to Targaryens to a fault and was the right age, came to his mind and he decided to see if he was right.

Tyrion made a waddling bow, but at the cabin door, he turned back. "What if we should find the queen and discover that this talk of dragons was just some sailor's drunken fancy? This wide world is full of such mad tales. Grumkins and snarks, ghosts and ghouls, mermaids, rock goblins, winged horses, winged pigs … winged lions."

Griff stared at him, frowning. "I have given you fair warning, Lannister. Guard your tongue or lose it. Kingdoms are at hazard here. Our lives, our names, our honor. This is no game we're playing for your amusement."
ADWD - Tyrion III

Two combatant Griffins (Winged Lions with heads of Eagles) are sigil of House Connington. Griff's reaction pretty much confirmed what Tyrion thought. Now the question was, what is Rhaegar's friend Jon Connington doing with this company?

Boy with Purple hair

Now the other interesting companion was the Griff's son.

He told Tyrion that his mother was a Tyroshi. As she was dead, in her memory, he dies his hair in fashion of the Tyroshi people. He had purple eyes.

The Boy was too gentle-spoken and well-bred for a sell-sword's son.

The most interesting bits were the training he received.

Be it the martial training:

When the bacon was gone, Duck punched Young Griff in the shoulder. "Time to raise some bruises. Swords today, I think."

"Swords?" Young Griff grinned. "Swords will be sweet."
ADWD - Tyrion IV

Or Theological training:

Whilst Young Griff went off with Septa Lemore to be instructed in the mysteries of the Faith, Tyrion stripped off the wet clothes and donned dry ones.
ADWD - Tyrion IV

Or the lessons in History, Languages, Geometry:

The lesson began with languages. Young Griff spoke the Common Tongue as if he had been born to it, and was fluent in High Valyrian, the low dialects of Pentos, Tyrosh, Myr, and Lys, and the trade talk of sailors. The Volantene dialect was as new to him as it was to Tyrion, so every day they learned a few more words whilst Haldon corrected their mistakes. Meereenese was harder; its roots were Valyrian as well, but the tree had been grafted onto the harsh, ugly tongue of Old Ghis. "You need a bee up your nose to speak Ghiscari properly," Tyrion complained. Young Griff laughed, but the Halfmaester only said, "Again." The boy obeyed, though he rolled his eyes along with his zzzs this time. He has a better ear than me, Tyrion was forced to admit, though I'll wager my tongue is still more nimble.

Geometry followed languages. There the boy was less adroit, but Haldon was a patient teacher, and Tyrion was able to make himself of use as well. He had learned the mysteries of squares and circles and triangles from his father's maesters at Casterly Rock, and they came back more quickly than he would have thought.

By the time they turned to history, Young Griff was growing restive.
ADWD - Tyrion IV

This was all common training for Highborn Sons of Aristocrats, but for son of a Sell-sword this was unheard of. Even for a Westerosi Noble, the training was rather excessive. Tyrion noted as much in front of Haldon:

Tyrion watched with mismatched eyes, and said, "The boy is bright. You have done well by him. Half the lords in Westeros are not so learned, sad to say. Languages, history, songs, sums … a heady stew for some sellsword's son."
ADWD - Tyrion IV

Tyrion by now knew that the boy had his own secret like everyone else in this interesting company.

But Tyrion needed to be sure. But who could he ask? Opportunity presented itself when Tyrion challenged Haldon for a game of Cyvasse and the latter agreed to play for secrets:

"I have no coin. We'll play for secrets."

"Griff would cut my tongue out."

"Afraid, are you? I would be if I were you."

"The day you defeat me at cyvasse will be the day turtles crawl out my arse." The Halfmaester moved his spears. "You have your wager, little man."

Tyrion stretched a hand out for his dragon.
ADWD - Tyrion IV

Tyrion won this game of Secrets after three hours:

It was three hours later when the little man finally crept back up on deck to empty his bladder. Duck was helping Yandry wrestle down the sail, while Ysilla took the tiller. The sun hung low above the reed-beds along the western bank, as the wind began to gust and rip. I need that skin of wine, the dwarf thought. His legs were cramped from squatting on that stool, and he felt so light-headed that he was lucky not to fall into the river.

"Yollo," Duck called. "Where's Haldon?"

"He's taken to his bed, in some discomfort. There are turtles crawling out his arse." He left the knight to sort that out and crawled up the ladder to the cabin roof. Off to the east, there was darkness gathering behind a rocky island.
ADWD - Tyrion IV

It is never told what secrets did Tyrion win from Haldon, but whatever they were, they were enough to confirm his doubts because by the end of that chapter, this happened:

"What was the cause of all that noise?" the Halfmaester asked.

"A turtle," said Tyrion. "A turtle bigger than this boat."

"It was him," cried Yandry. "The Old Man of the River."

And why not? Tyrion grinned. Gods and wonders always appear, to attend the birth of kings.
ADWD - Tyrion IV

Nevertheless, Haldon still did not explicitly confirm Tyrion's doubts.

Of course, afterwards, in the chaos of Stonemen attack, Lemore's tongue slipped but by then Tyrion knew all he needed to know.

Young Griff gave his father a stubborn look. "Lemore knows where her cabin is. I want to stay."

"We are sworn to protect you," Lemore said softly.

"I don't need to be protected. I can use a sword as well as Duck. I'm half a knight."

"And half a boy," said Griff. "Do as you are told. Now."

The youth cursed under his breath and flung his pole down onto the deck. The sound echoed queerly in the fog, and for a moment it was as if poles were falling around them. "Why should I run and hide? Haldon is staying, and Ysilla. Even Hugor."

"Aye," said Tyrion, "but I'm small enough to hide behind a duck." He thrust half a dozen torches into the brazier's glowing coals and watched the oiled rags flare up. Don't stare at the fire, he told himself. The flames would leave him night blind.

"You're a dwarf," Young Griff said scornfully.

"My secret is revealed," Tyrion agreed. "Aye, I'm less than half of Haldon, and no one gives a mummer's fart whether I live or die." Least of all me. "You, though … you are everything."

"Dwarf," said Griff, "I warned you—"

[...]

Tyrion had no sooner exhaled than Young Griff grabbed hold of his arm. "What do you mean? I am everything? What did you mean by that? Why am I everything?"

"Why," said Tyrion, "if the stone men had taken Yandry or Griff or our lovely Lemore, we would have grieved for them and gone on. Lose you, and this whole enterprise is undone, and all those years of feverish plotting by the cheesemonger and the eunuch will have been for naught … isn't that so?"

The boy looked to Griff. "He knows who I am."

If I did not know before, I would now.
ADWD - Tyrion V

Tyrion thought this was as good a time as any to confess that he knew:

The dwarf ignored him. "The blue hair makes your eyes seem blue, that's good. And the tale of how you color it in honor of your dead Tyroshi mother was so touching it almost made me cry. Still, a curious man might wonder why some sellsword's whelp would need a soiled septa to instruct him in the Faith, or a chainless maester to tutor him in history and tongues. And a clever man might question why your father would engage a hedge knight to train you in arms instead of simply sending you off to apprentice with one of the free companies. It is almost as if someone wanted to keep you hidden whilst still preparing you for … what? Now, there's a puzzlement, but I'm sure that in time it will come to me. I must admit, you have noble features for a dead boy."

The boy flushed. "I am not dead."

"How not? My lord father wrapped your corpse in a crimson cloak and laid you down beside your sister at the foot of the Iron Throne, his gift to the new king. Those who had the stomach to lift the cloak said that half your head was gone."

Young Griff hesitated. "Lannister? Your father—"

"—is dead. At my hand. If it please Your Grace to call me Yollo or Hugor, so be it, but know that I was born Tyrion of House Lannister, trueborn son of Tywin and Joanna, both of whom I slew. Men will tell you that I am a kingslayer, a kinslayer, and a liar, and all of that is true … but then, we are a company of liars, are we not? Take your feigned father. Griff, is it?" The dwarf sniggered. "You should thank the gods that Varys the Spider is a part of this plot of yours. Griff would not have fooled the cockless wonder for an instant, no more than it did me. No lord, my lordship says, no knight. And I'm no dwarf. Just saying a thing does not make it true. Who better to raise Prince Rhaegar's infant son than Prince Rhaegar's dear friend Jon Connington, once Lord of Griffin's Roost and Hand of the King?"
ADWD - Tyrion V

Conclusion

The King whose birth Tyrion was witnessing was Aegon, of House Targaryen, sixth of his name. He figured it out because:

  1. No Sellsword's son receives the kind of education Young Griff received
  2. The Sellsword was not who he said he was. If he was who Tyrion suspected him to be, then who was the young boy with him?
  3. Haldon helped him some presumably.
  • 3
    “Quotes coming up once I am free.” — Make sure you post them before you attend anyone else’s trial in the Sept of Baelor. – Paul D. Waite Sep 14 '17 at 15:11
  • 2
    @Aegon you should definitely ask Martin to help him finish his books ;) – Sekhemty Sep 15 '17 at 9:21
  • @Sekhemty No one can do what his Grace GRRM does. :3 – Aegon Sep 15 '17 at 9:41
  • 1
    @Aegon Do you mean publishing a book once every geological era? >:) – Sekhemty Sep 15 '17 at 9:44
  • @Sekhemty No I mean making every bit of it worth the wait ;) – Aegon Sep 15 '17 at 9:47

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