As the tale goes, in AFFC, Arianne and a small group travel through Dorne to crown Myrcella as the QOT7K.
The group is ambushed, led by Areo Hotah, casualties are had, and when Arianne asks Areo how this happened, he responds with a simple:
Someone told. Someone always tells.
But who? The age old question. Was it Arys? Was it Andrey Dalt? Was it Darkstar? Sylva?
While the mystery of who told is pretty captivating, I feel the better question is who planted the idea to Queen Myrcella in Arianne’s head? We are given 2 Arianne chapters in AFFC: one showing her plotting out the Queensmaker, and one showing the actual event and the aftermath.
Let’s revisit the idea that Arianne was not the first to have the idea of crowning Myrcella.
Back in ASOS, Oberyn has a chat with Tyrion upon visiting King’s Landing, while discussing Tyrion visiting Dorne:
“Plan on a lengthy visit.” Prince Oberyn sipped his wine. “You and Doran have many matters of mutual interest to discuss. Music, trade, history, wine, the dwarf’s penny … the laws of inheritance and succession. No doubt an uncle’s counsel would be of benefit to Queen Myrcella in the trying times ahead.” If Varys had his little birds listening, Oberyn was giving them a ripe earful. “I believe I will have that cup of wine,” said Tyrion. Queen Myrcella? It would have been more tempting if only he did have Sansa tucked beneath his cloak. If she declared for Myrcella over Tommen, would the north follow? What the Red Viper was hinting at was treason. Could Tyrion truly take up arms against Tommen, against his own father? Cersei would spit blood. It might be worth it for that alone.
We see the first person with the idea of crowning Myrcella on page. Oberyn. But that’s not the last time we hear of it. In AFFC Captain of the Guards, we see Tyene speaking to Doran:
“Oh, but they must, or see the realm riven once more, as it was before we wed the dragons. Father told me so. He said we had the Imp to thank, for sending us Princess Myrcella. She is so pretty, don’t you think? I wish that I had curls like hers. She was made to be a queen, just like her mother.” Dimples bloomed in Tyene’s cheeks. “I would be honored to arrange the wedding, and to see to the making of the crowns as well. Trystane and Myrcella are so innocent, I thought perhaps white gold … with emeralds, to match Myrcella’s eyes. Oh, diamonds and pearls would serve as well, so long as the children are wed and crowned. Then we need only hail Myrcella as the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, and lawful heir to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and wait for the lions to come.” “The lawful heir?” The prince snorted. “She is older than her brother,” explained Tyene, as if he were some fool. “By law the Iron Throne should pass to her.” “By Dornish law.”
Oberyn’s daughter Tyene, plants the idea yet again into our story, but this time to Doran, the Snake lying in the Grass.
(Now, pull out a tiny sprig of tinfoil, because this one gets a TINY bit unbased, but it’s a piece of info I’ve been dying to use somewhere and it may as well be used in this:)
Myrcella didn’t attend her brother’s royal wedding. Prince Doran was invited, and Oberyn came instead. But no Myrcella. Why? Why would the Princess of house “Baratheon” not attend her brother, the royal King’s Wedding?
Because the Queensmaking plot is not a new plot. The Queensmaking plot we see in AFFC is QM2.0.
If Doran and Oberyn allowed Myrcella to return to King’s Landing, they may not get her back to Dorne after (knowing Cersei). Oberyn cornered the one Lannister he knew had a soft spot for hating his family, played on his insecurities, pitched him an idea, and was waiting to try to exact the plan.
Oberyn had to let slip his plans to someone else of queening Myrcella and bleed the 7 Kingdoms.
We had no insight to Dorne during ASOS, but if Oberyn told his daughters – or at least Tyene – of his eventual plan to Queen Myrcella (and was waiting for additional support from Tyrion Lannister).
But the first Queensmaking plot also goes awry: Oberyn dies unexpectedly in Part 1 of Martell Vengeance, and his Daughters plant the plan into Arianne’s ear… but Tyene threw a wrench in the plan. By mentioning it to Doran, it put them on the radar.
So who told? No one really had to tell. Doran had more than a hunch. Oberyn would’ve let slip to Doran several times, if his daughters are any example hell, each sand snake corners and hounds Doran in their first chapter to go to war. Tyene mentions it in conversation, Areo overhears, and off-‘camera’ we can assume Doran and Areo discuss and Doran wants extra supervision. After the Queensmaker scene goes haywire, Doran locks the Snakes and Arianne up.
And if we fast forward to TWOW, it appears that Arianne is already in the Stormlands, and not surrounded by any of the possible people who could’ve told. Who Told doesn’t matter to the narrative so much as WHY they told, and WHO planted the idea.
While I love the popular idea that Spotted Sylva may have told to save her own skin, it really isn’t necessary for it to be a huge mystery – hell, I don’t think we’ll ever find out who told if someone did. We’re introduced to the Queensmaker plot in ASOS, the penny drops as Arianne’s version goes to pieces. Furthermore: Doran may have been keeping the Queensmaker plot in his swordbelt, himself, waiting for fire and blood to pay off, before charging ahead to start a bloody and long war between the Lannisters and Martells.
No one told. Doran is, as we have had revealed to us, just a lot damn smarter than we give him credit for