Full Version: Regal (spoilers mainly Farseer series, also other ROTE series)
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I know, it’s not exactly fun to talk about this loathsome character, but Regal's plots do form the untold second plot throughout the Farseer books, that's why I thought it would be interesting to discuss what exactly all his plans were, and how he implemented them.
It’s a huge post but I hope you might be interested enough to add your own opinions. And my apologies if some or most of this has already been discussed, I couldn’t find any other topic like this in the archives so I hope to tread some new ground at least.

Here is what I have puzzled together;

I suppose it all starts with Queen Desire and her two sons; Galen and Regal. Galen must have been an older boy/teenager already when Desire married Shrewd, and moved to Buckkeep, for him to be the Skillmistress’ apprentice while Chivalry and Verity were still being taught. Regal was born after that marriage (of course) so he must have been much younger then his half-brother. I suppose Desire asked for the boy Galen to be instructed in the Skill as soon as he arrived in Buckkeep, and a couple of years later pressed for him to become Solicity’s apprentice. I'm guessing Shrewd also put Solicity under pressure to take on Galen, in an attempt to please his difficult wive, whom he was still in love with at that point.

However it happened, making Galen Skillmaster and handing his services to her younger son was a masterstroke of Queen Desire. Not only did Galen have the cunning of his mother, to create plots to help Regal to the throne, it also have Regal a base of enormous power.

When Galen became Skillmaster, he must have gained access to the Buckkeep Skill library. Here I am not sure of the order of things; I thought at first that Galen would have shared with Regal the mentions he would have found in the library, of everything that lies beyond the Mountain Kingdom; Kelsingra, the quarry, the sleeping stone dragons, but most importantly; the Skill river/well. But that doesn’t stroke with Regal’s enthusiasm for sending Verity off on his quest, nor for Fitz’s theory that Regal found out after Verity had left, how much was to gain in that area. Fitz even says that Regal comes to believe Verity only went on his quest to make Regal ‘look bad’.
I am however, quite sure that Galen knew. Galen died before Elderlings were even mentioned at Buckkeep, so he couldn’t warn his half-brother to stop Verity from laying claim to that area. But did Galen press Regal and Shrewd to pursue the Mountain Princess because he had his own plans of travelling beyond the mountains, and seeking the Elderling treasures? Quite possibly.

It is said that when Regal found out that he had let Verity travel to the very power his dead half-brother had sought to pursue, he went into a rage and put everything he had into claiming the end of Verity’s quest for his own. Did Regal find this out for himself? I very much doubt that he managed to make the effort. I rather think it might have been Serene, who came to copy Galen’s lifestyle so much. She might have studied the Skill library after Galen’s death, and discovered everything Galen knew and was plotting in there. With her forced loyalty to Regal she would have immediately divulged all to him.
Was Regal perhaps jealous of the Skill power, did he feel slighted that he should have only a weak Skill whilst having more Farseer blood then any of the other boys, and did he hope to gain strong Skill power for himself in that area? Or was the Skill always too much effort for him and did he but wish to possess the territory so that he could have others use it for him?

In Assassins’ Apprentice, when ordered to find a wife for Verity, Regal chooses the Mountain Princess. At that point we don’t know how far ahead he was planning. Certainly he wanted to steal Verity’s bride, but at that point, to what end? To kill Verity and claim the throne, yes, certainly. But his plot to kill Prince Rurisk suggest that he also wanted to possess the Mountain Kingdom, and I’m not sure why - at that point in the story. If we assume that, indeed, only Galen knew about the Elderling territory, it might have all been steered by Galen and he might have used Regal, under the guise of helping his half-brother on the throne.

The plot to kill Rurisk was, I’m sure, also deducted by Regal and Galen, and they must have persuaded Shrewd to go along with it. Regal wants his father to assign Lady Thyme to this task, so that he can arrange too the death of who he believes is his mother’s assassin. But Shrewd sends Fitz instead. Fitz’s question at the end of the book is certainly a good one; did Shrewd choose to sacrifice him? I believe that it is indeed so, I think that Shrewd would have guessed Regal would take the opportunity to do away with Lady Thyme, and couldn’t bear to send his own half-brother to death. He chose his bastard nephew instead.

After the events in the Mountain Kingdom, a very disgruntled Regal travels back to Buckkeep. Verity and Shrewd think him subdued, but this must have been far from true. Bereft of his more cunning half-brother, he instead puts another plan of Galen into play and starts to make use of the coterie which Galen handed to him, to kill his father and to do a number of other things; discredit Verity, make everything Verity attempts to defend the coast fail, and to spy on everything and everyone.

I think this is where Regal becomes really evil, to not care how many people suffer immeasurably as long as he can make Verity look incompetent. It must also have been around this time that he started working together with the Pale Lady. I’m sure this contact was established before that time, I suppose the Pale Lady would have been the one who first contacted Regal and Galen, for she would have seen in her White Prophet visions that enlisting Regal in her plans, would provide a path to her goal (whether she is a White Prophet at all, is another discussion entirely, I’ll leave that here in the middle).
He works together with her by selling to her the Skill library, and by doing whatever he can to make the raids by her Red Ships succeed. When Shrewd and Kettricken manage to leap to the defence of Neatbay, despite Regal’s plotting to have that raid go by unnoticed, he becomes quite beside himself with rage. “I forbid it!” he shouts to Kettricken when she wants to organise a defence. No doubt he had at that point agreements in place with the Pale Lady about where her Raiders would strike, and that he would make sure nobody knew about it. Who knows how he was punished by the Pale Lady for not being able to prevent aid coming to Neatbay? The amount of Red Ships and the presence of the White Ship suggest it was a major move in the Red Ship war.

As soon as Verity leaves Buckkeep, all the defences he had left in place to guard his coast get taken away by Regal, who has his father very much in his pocket at this point. (Here I think Kettricken really could have done more, but that is a topic for another discussion).

What is Regal’s goal at this moment in the story? That is really hard to guess because surely he is creating one gigantic mess for himself should he manage to claim the throne. Yes, he only cares about the inland Duchies, but surely even Regal can not be stupid enough the think the Red Ship raiders will be content with nothing but the coast to plunder, and that this war will never affect the inland Duchies where he goes to play king?
I’m guessing that either he had further plans, to let the coastal Duchies steam in their misery for a while, long enough to please his vindictive little mind, before seeking out the area beyond the Mountain Kingdom himself (or rather send his coterie to do it for him) so that he can swoop in and save everyone. Or that he and the Pale Lady had an agreement that she would never send her Red Ships beyond the coastal Duchies. If that is so, she betrayed him at the end.

According to the Fool in later books, the Pale Ladies’ goal is to cause the fall of the Six Duchies, to cause anarchy and war to spread, and with that war to “clean up” humanity. That may seem an insane idea but it is not without precedence even in our own world; the political leaders and prominent thinkers at the start of the last century had exactly the same idea, they longed for “a good war” that would “sweep clean Europe and cause a breath of fresh air throughout the nations”. With that thinking they started World War 1, laid waste to Europe and caused millions of deaths.
In the Fool’s book series, the Pale Lady later tries to convince Fitz that she was not after total war, that Regal would eventually have manned up and become a good king, and that she was only looking to help her Outislanders. But both the events at the time and the Fool’s information contradicts this.

Fact is that Regal lifts his skirts and runs inland as soon as he possibly can. He wallows in the luxury of Tradeford, but he also seeks to conquer the Mountain Kingdom, or rather distract the people of the mountains long enough so that he can slip others beyond the borders to find the Elderling lands. It is possible that he does this in haste after discovering that Verity still lives and is in a very good position to claim the Elderling treasures and power for himself.

The main blow that Fitz deals Regal, is to kill his coterie one by one. They were always his access to the Skill, and without them he can’t plot, yield power, spy or do anything with the lands beyond the Mountain Kingdom. At the end of the series, Regal drags everyone with even a trace of Skill in their blood into service in a coterie, but this smacks of desperation. When Fitz kills the last of Regal’s coterie, the game is over for him.

The worst thing about Regal is that he is never truly after the throne. He doesn’t want a chance to rule the Six Duchies, he wants the throne simply because his mommy told him it should be his by rights. To him, the throne represents a life of easy indulgence. The one time we see him faced with the decisions expected of a king, when the costal Dukes talk to him in Fitz’s cell in the dungeons, he doesn’t even bother to think about the situation at all. He simply looks for the easiest way to achieve his goals, and when they press him he sulkily asks if he is their king or not? He has no concept of what is truly required of a king.
I don’t think he could have ever wizened up. Not even if he had come to the throne legally in a time of peace. He is too lazy, too cunning, too paranoid, and worst of all he has no sense of responsibility at all.
Hi there!

I was also pondering on these possibilities.
I really doubt that even if Galen sniffed out something about Elderling artifacts he probable didn't give it a second thought. If he had told Regal about it by the time when red ship wars started, he probably considered them as a legendary tale and didn't give it much credence.
Otherwise Galen or Regal, after Galen's death, could have sent a small expedition to the mountains before Verity.

Considering whether Galen planned Regal's wedding with Kettricken to get access to Mountain Kindoms's Eldering treasures, - unlikely, we know that people of Mountain Kindom do not guard or restrict access to Eldering places in any way. All these places are accessbile by anyone who has the map and the means to travel.

I think that Regal subtly instilled the idea to get help from Elderings to Verity, so that he can easily dispose of him and probably learn something about Elderings without risking his own Coterie members.

Regarding possible alliance of Regal with Pale woman - well this is extremely improbable in my view, but not impossible.
First, how did they communicate? By Skill using Regal's Coterie member? That is possible, but in that case they could only have reached an informal agreement which could be easily broken by either side. Well, an informal agreemnt made by skill communication, no papers signed no witnesses except Coterie members.
If that is the case, then Regal is a complete and utter idiot, to cede the coast to raiders and at the same time start the war with Mountain Kingdom, leaving only military weak and undefended Tradeford. This leaves Regal and the whole Six Duchies in a very vurnable position.
Strange to see no other thoughts on the topic.

I still think that there are no clear indications that Pale Woman was in allegience with Regal or/and she knew about the White Prophet in Buckkeep...