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The mighty Kingsroad...


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13 replies to this topic

#1 SuperTechmarine

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 11:41 AM

...is a just a beaten path. Which is weird considering that it's basically the main way of travel in Westeros. You'd think the Valyrian Targaryens would pave the Kingsroad or something but nooooooooo.
 

This is surprising considering that even Dark-but-not-really-Dark age Europe had the occasional paved road.



#2 Stannis Eats No Peaches

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 11:45 AM

I think the quality of the road varies enormously depending on where you are in Westeros, but yes the road system as a whole is horrendous.

Edited by Stannis Eats No Peaches, 04 March 2014 - 11:46 AM.


#3 Vaxis

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 11:52 AM

Yeah, it's a pretty bad road. In some places I am sure it's more well-built. I think it becomes a stone causeway as it approaches Moat Cailin, but it's basically dirt everywhere else and relies on fords instead of bridges.

 

But there are probably reasons for this. Firstly, the techniques of Valyrian masonry were lost with the Doom. Secondly, the realm has only been united recently, for a few centuries. Before that it was largely in a state of perpetual skirmishing, which was largely focused in The Riverlands. As most trade in Westeros would have been conducted by sea, these roads were likely less important than they would have been in medieval Europe. But that may just be a guess.



#4 SuperTechmarine

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 12:21 PM

Yeah, it's a pretty bad road. In some places I am sure it's more well-built. I think it becomes a stone causeway as it approaches Moat Cailin, but it's basically dirt everywhere else and relies on fords instead of bridges.

 

But there are probably reasons for this. Firstly, the techniques of Valyrian masonry were lost with the Doom. Secondly, the realm has only been united recently, for a few centuries. Before that it was largely in a state of perpetual skirmishing, which was largely focused in The Riverlands. As most trade in Westeros would have been conducted by sea, these roads were likely less important than they would have been in medieval Europe. But that may just be a guess.

 

Lost masonry? I don't think so. Building a paved road is not so different from building a Castle. Building a good paved road is an entirely other thing.



#5 Waters Gate

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 12:25 PM

There is woefull economic underdevelopment as a whole In Westeros imho. 

-The road network is quite lacking, not only lack of good roads but probably way to few of them too.

-Education is lacking. Sure there is the citadel, but there is practicly no education elsewhere and its limited seemingly to the noble class. A few more "university's" would be nice, like in KL, Gulltown, Lannisport, White harbor, asside of maybe the faith providing some basic education sponsored by the crown.

-There's a lack of city's, or urban centre's. Most of Westeros it's economy is based on agriculture, hunting/gathering, mining and some metalworking. Niches are things like wine making in the Arbor and Dorne. The poppulation thus lives mostly of the lands around castles and lords get income from taxation. 

 

You get the feeling that the Westerosi lords don't feel much incentive for economic development, rather that they would be looking to increase the effeciency of taxation in their lands and try to expand their holdings. Personally i think Westerosi lords have way to few to do in actually managing their lands and are left with times on their hands to feast, joust and have fun, or plot against eachother and war for anothers lands, while the farmers are kept dumb and bound to their lands. It's not exactly a very progressive economic enviroment.

you can get an impression of such "management mentality" in the sworn sword, Where lady Weber dams a river during a very dry time to ensure that her lands have water while she doesn't care for anyone downstream, and oh yeah she has to ensure that her moat is at all times filled with water too. The lords fight over such rights as to using water or being able to hunt in certain forrests etc.

 

It looks to be a bit different for such lords who have more to gain with skillfull economic management than most others, namely the richer lords who's wealth seem not in a small part due to trade/exports, like the Redwyne's, the Hightowers and the Manderly's. I guess these family's have reason to consider economic matters and i'm sure some people in the Redwyne family know just about how much barrels of wine they produce yearly, how much of it gets exported and to which places and which prices they fetch at various places maybe even depending on the specific vintage. Surely for a family like the redwyne's who probably depend by now to some extend on the wealth of their trade to support their numbers in men and ships, various causes which might lead to global or local decrease of demand are things for them to consider, they need to secure their markets if they maintain a trade fleet and such is likely since they maintain a fairly large fleet as it is.

Certainly the Arbor and Oldtown are among the best developed regions of the whole of Westeros.

 

 

 

But there are probably reasons for this. Firstly, the techniques of Valyrian masonry were lost with the Doom. Secondly, the realm has only been united recently, for a few centuries

 

Doesn't look like a good excuse to me. Even withought Valyrian methods of masonry, once people have iron/steel tools working with stone should be fairly effecient. And the Romans did not need centruy's to lay 1000's of miles of really quality road.


Edited by Waters Gate, 04 March 2014 - 01:12 PM.


#6 Ded As Ned

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 12:26 PM

 

Lost masonry? I don't think so. Building a paved road is not so different from building a Castle. Building a good paved road is an entirely other thing.

 

Do you mean a paved road as in cobblestones, or actual pavement (as seen in Essos in aDwD)?  Because one is a far cry from the other in the technology required.



#7 SuperTechmarine

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 12:27 PM

Snip

 

Good explanation.

 

 

 

Do you mean a paved road as in cobblestones, or actual pavement (as seen in Essos in aDwD)?  Because one is a far cry from the other in the technology required.

 

 

Stone roads in general. Cobblestone might be possible in Westeros.


Edited by SuperTechmarine, 04 March 2014 - 12:28 PM.


#8 Waters Gate

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 12:44 PM

I think the romans build better roads in their time than medieval lords did later. i'm pretty sure those quality roman roads should technicly be possible in Westeros too.

 

The problem might be, whats in it for the local lord? Most lords who get their income from taxation on the lands might feel few incentive to pay for the construction of a piece of road in their land. Trade is not where they get it from, and mobilety is not much of a concern to them neither. Sure, a bridge they might feel inclined to build, if there is a natural barrier making it interresting just for the collection of tolls, like the Frey's are doing. The problem of any king who's funding a road then might be that for say any bridge he builds the likelyness exists that the local lord will collect some arbitrary toll there, putting a damper on the freedom of trade, if he can even sway all the lords to allow him to build pieces of road trough their lands withought any strings attached.



#9 SuperTechmarine

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 12:45 PM

I think the romans build better roads in their time than medieval lords did later. i'm pretty sure those quality roman roads should technicly be possible in Westeros too.

 

The problem might be, whats in it for the local lord? Most lords who get their income from taxation on the lands might feel few incentive to pay for the construction of a piece of road in their land. Trade is not where they get it from, and mobilety is not much of a concern to them neither. Sure, a bridge they might feel inclined to build, if there is a natural barrier making it interresting just for the collection of tolls, like the Frey's are doing. The problem of any king who's funding a road then might be that for say any bridge he builds the likelyness exists that the local lord will collect some arbitrary toll there, putting a damper on the freedom of trade, if he can even sway all the lords to allow him to build pieces of road trough their lands withought any strings attached.

 

Building roads is very profitable, not only for trade, but for tolls as well. You can have merchants pay a fee for passage in your roads. So there is some incentive.



#10 Ded As Ned

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 12:50 PM

snip.

 

 

Doesn't look like a good excuse to me. Even withought Valyrian methods of masonry, once people have iron/steel tools working with stone should be fairly effecient. And the Romans did not need centruy's to lay 1000's of miles of really quality road.

 

Actually they did need centuries... several of them.  Which still seems like an amazing achievement to me. (50,000 miles of paved roads in the span of a few hundred years, in BC times) Iron working had been around for a thousand years or so before the Roman highways... steel working in the region came about the same time as Roman highway development, give or take.  I would still lean towards Westeros not having the means to accomplish anything on par with the Romans. Sure it's technically possible, but the Romans more importantly had need to move and supply their unified armies quickly, whereas Westeros never seemed to have one unified army under direct control of the crown (instead each kingdom had it's individual army which could be called upon by the crown, a different scenario), nor any foreign threat to justify the constant need of quick travel.  A rebellion or skirmish here or there, but not centuries-long warfare in an ever-expanding empire.



#11 Waters Gate

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 12:53 PM

 

Building roads is very profitable, not only for trade, but for tolls as well. You can have merchants pay a fee for passage in your roads. So there is some incentive.

 

The probelm with that is that there are to many lords owing pieces of the kingsroad. Sure you can collect tolls on trade, but that is essentially something which will de-incentivise trade, because the more people need to pay tolls along the way the less profitable trade will turn out to be. It wouldn't be to bad if it was a small amount charged by the crown at one point along the road just for paying the maintaince cost of it, but thats not how it would turn out to be, you would have several lords asking different tolls at different places, some would possibly change their price everytime they feel a need for it.

 

 

 

Actually they did need centuries... several of them.

 

Well they did need several century's to build over 50.000 miles of paved road, but they didn't need century's to pave "1000's of miles" as i had put it. They could pave about 10.000 miles per century about i guess byy average, so a few thousands could be done well under a century. How many miles are the roads in Westeros? I wouldn't even dare to say it ammounts to 10.000 miles alltoghether, seeing as they don't have many individual roads as it is.

 

 

 

Sure it's technically possible, but the Romans more importantly had need to move and supply their unified armies quickly, whereas Westeros never seemed to have one unified army under direct control of the crown (instead each kingdom had it's individual army which could be called upon by the crown, a different scenario), nor any foreign threat to justify the constant need of quick travel.  A rebellion or skirmish here or there, but not centuries-long warfare in an ever-expanding empire.

 

Oh i agree to a large extend with that notion. i guess the Dragonriding lords needed no roads neither to mobilize. ;)


Edited by Waters Gate, 04 March 2014 - 01:00 PM.


#12 Jambottle Jeebus

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 12:56 PM

Somewhere in the books it says , the kingsroad was built by one of the early targaryens. It's no Valyrian road, but I think it was Probably pretty decent.



#13 SpringKing

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 01:09 PM

Here's a little puzzle about the King's Road:

 

When Brienne, Ser Hyle and Pod ride up to the crossroads on the King's Road, they cross the old river bed. But the road was built 200 years ago by King Jaehaerys when the river would have been in their way, because it ran right up to the south side of the inn at the crossroads.



#14 Ser Carson

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 01:58 PM

Rome built lots of roads and so did Valyrians, but Rome probably didn't built near as many roads in Britannica as they did in the main contentment of Europe like Essos. So it kinda makes sense.