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Seriously, where's the logic in Balon's plan?


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#1 AdmiraloftheDothrakiSea

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 02:38 PM

Serious question. I'm so confused because I don't think I've ever seen a more idiotic person. Only people who made worse blunders were probably Imry Florent and Stafford Lannister. Did he actually genuinely believe that Robb had basically marched south with the entire northern force? Surely theon must have told him how many men each lord had brought to Robb's cause and with the sheer size of the north (especially in comparison to his shit-stained rocks) he must've realised that they could still raise up to twice as many men as the ironborn even have. Oh and that basically in an area as big as the north with its horrible weather he'd have no advantage. I know that as the reader we knew his plan was stupid for these reasons, but was Balon really that dumb that he couldn't see through how stupid his plan was. Basically his plan just consisted of secure Moat Cailin (probably the only smart part) and then eventually the entire north would submit to him. The ironborn have no horses, how exactly would they continue their campaign to the eastern castles such as Karhold, Widow's Watch, White Harbour and the Dreadfort? He thought that Winterfell could defy him for a while but did he legitimately not know anything about the other castles such as the Dreadfort? And then Victarion believed he could continue with this plan if he was crowned. If his forces actually try to move further east especially at the slow pace they'd be at where they have no cavalry (and aren't good riders besides) couldn't the White Harbor knights basically thwart any of these plans and just ride them down? I'm just trying to understand, in what way was it actually possible for Balon's plan to work?



#2 Light a wight tonight

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 02:44 PM

Balon reminds me of a line from an old radio show, back when radio drama was still around.

 

What do you think his motive is?

 

He doesn't have a motive; he's loco.

 

A locomotive?

 

Balon isn't necessarily stupid, or at least more than average for an Ironborn. He's just a bit detached from reality.



#3 Bryden Tully

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 02:45 PM

At first I believed this, but looking back on it I can actually see the logic in Balon's plan-he managed to capture Moat Cailin and Deepwood Moat-two pretty high value targets. The thing is that the IB don't even use all there potential to capture the north. If Theon had left winterfell with Bran and Rickon he could of got something in return from the Starks/Crown. Military wise the plan is a success because it captures the North by complete surprise and traps them in the Riverlands.

 

The alternative would be to attack Lannisport which would be bloody at best since they have the best watch in the 7 kingdoms, the IB have no chance to get Casterly Rock, and Tywin lannister evokes more fear than Robb Stark. 



#4 Howlin' Howland

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 02:50 PM

The first time he rebelled the Seven Kingdoms were unified under Robert.  This time he waited until the middle of a civil war.  He was an idiot, but he was getting smarter.  If he'd had enough time he might have been able to get it right by his ninth or tenth rebellion.



#5 Bright Blue Eyes

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 02:52 PM

"Balon is mad, Aeron is madder, Euron is maddest."

 

That's the opinion of the Ironborn themselves.



#6 TheCasualObserver

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 02:55 PM

The real problem is that Balon had no long term goal for the North in mind, not even taking Winterfell, which was Theon's idea. Let's not forget that by taking Moat Cailen he traps Robb's army south of the neck. As it happened, Robb's army was destroyed, but Balon had no idea that would happen at the time, so he guarantees a confrontation with Northmen trying to get home should they win the war, or if Robb bent the knee when he lost his own Kingdom. 

 

Without Winterfell, what did Balon actually have? How much plunder or land could he legitimately claim control over? Even with Robb's army in the south, the Ironborn were still outnumbered and are famously better fighters on the sea. Had Balon lived and continued with his "conquest" failure was guaranteed. Even when Robb dies, the job of taking care of the Ironborn would still fall on Roose Bolton who can command men north and south of Moat Cailen.

 

I've always seen Balon's actions as GRRM's plotting showing through slightly. The Ironborn are really only in the story at all to screw over the Starks and get Dany back to Westeros (I devoutly hope.) 



#7 Mychel_Redfort

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 02:56 PM

But didn't Balon just want to ravage the western coast of the North, period? It's Theon who decides alone to attack Winterfell, and expand the conflict to the whole North.

#8 Bryden Tully

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 02:58 PM

One thing-what can you actually loot from the North apart from Thralls and salt wives?



#9 Colonel Green

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 02:59 PM

Balon is a dumbass, and the worst grand strategist of the entire series, bar none; he needs to be in order for GRRM's plan to screw over the Starks in the early stages of the war to go through, because no sensible strategist with Balon's primary goal (Ironborn independence) would have acted as Balon chooses to.


Edited by Colonel Green, 05 July 2014 - 02:59 PM.


#10 Bright Blue Eyes

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 03:00 PM

One thing-what can you actually loot from the North apart from Thralls and salt wives?

Pine cones and turnips, as Asha demonstrates so graphically at the Kingsmoot.



#11 Fire Eater

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 03:27 PM

Agreed.

 

How did Balon expect to take the North? It is the largest of the Seven Kingdoms in terms of landmass. The Ironborn would have to spread themselves thin, and overextend their supply lines with Northmen likely attacking those supply lines and practicing scorched earth tactics to leave nothing for the Ironborn to feed off of. The reserve force in the North is also about as large as the Ironborn invading force. It also goes in line with what Tyrion said about the mountain clans "They're fierce warriors, but not soldiers. In formal battle, discipline is more important than courage." Their advantage is in ship-to-ship combat which is a free-for-all.They lack the discipline needed in battle on the mainland, as demonstrated at Torrhen's Square when Rodrik's armored charge broke their shieldwall. That is not taking into account Northern winters which would significantly inhibit the Ironmen in hostile enemy territory with the Northmen having the advantage since they are accustomed to Northern winters and are fighting on the defensive in their home territory which they know better than the Ironborn.   

 

Asha herself knows her father was delusional. 

 

But didn't Balon just want to ravage the western coast of the North, period? It's Theon who decides alone to attack Winterfell, and expand the conflict to the whole North.

He wanted the entire North as all the Ironborn POV revealed. 

 

This was Balon's plan, phase one: attack the North, phase two:?, phase three: Norht is successfully conquered and subdued. He had no clear plan on how to conquer the entire North, not a guy for long-term planning. 


Edited by Fire Eater, 05 July 2014 - 03:31 PM.


#12 Capt Captain

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 04:25 PM

What do expect from a Greyjoy? The only interesting one so far is Euron.

Although the initial idea of taking Moat Cailin was a smart* way to keep Robb away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*For a Greyjoy



#13 OldGimletEye

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 04:29 PM

Yeah, Balon was a moron. But, then again, I don't think the Iron Born are generally known for their deft minds and high degrees of intelligence.



#14 JonCon's Red Beard

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 04:31 PM

1. Attack the North

2. ?????

3. Profit.



#15 Bryden Tully

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 04:45 PM

Does anybody think it would of been wiser for Balon to attack the westerlands with Robb?



#16 hodorisfaclessman

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 04:54 PM

To be fair for plot convenience balons plan is never followed up and then he dies plus like 99%  of westeros he belives once moat cailin is taken theres no way a force can get north but through it.

Hes bottled up whats considered the best militarywise  the north has down south and has deepwood motte to boot.

For plot reasons the remaining 35k or so of the ironborns remaining forces sit tight till balon dies then follow euron.



#17 The Fresh PtwP

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 05:00 PM

1. Attack the North

2. ?????

3. Profit.

 

What was worse was that plot allowed for them to "win" UGH!

 

At the beginning of the series if you would've told me Theon Greyjoy was going to make a mockery of Rodrik Cassel on the battlefield I would've laughed at you...



#18 joluoto2

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 05:00 PM

I don't think he really wanted the North. It was a target he could easily move against. The Ironborn of the current era are raiders, not conquerors. And they have never been able to hold onto lands far from water. The Northern coast could be easily raided. Holding Moat Cailin would prove an headache to whoever won the War on the mainland. He think he can use this to get Tywin (or someone else if Tywin against all odds would lose, but Balon think he'll win) to aknowledge Ironborn independence. Thus the Ironborn kingdom is won.

 

Of course the plan is stupid as heck.



#19 The Sullen Sellsword

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 05:12 PM

"Balon is mad, Aeron is madder, Euron is maddest."

 

That's the opinion of the Ironborn themselves.

 

That's the opinion of Baelor Blacktyde, the most greenlandish of the Ironborn.

 

 

One thing-what can you actually loot from the North apart from Thralls and salt wives?

 

Not much. But the loot isn't what's valuable in the North, the land is. Especially for the Ironborn.

 

 

Pine cones and turnips, as Asha demonstrates so graphically at the Kingsmoot.

 

Considering Asha supported Balon's plan, and that she is extremely enthusiastic about getting Sea Dragon Point, I think she's simply taking that stance to differentiate herself from her competitors at the Kingsmoot.

 

Balon's big problem is that he aimed too high, declaring independence robbed him of any alliances he could have seeked against the North, and besides, capturing the whole North would've been impossible without support from another major faction, they simply aren't that strong, and the West Coast is worth enough anyways.

 

Ironborn independence was an unreachable dream, and Balon was a fool for not realizing that.



#20 hodorisfaclessman

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 05:16 PM

Does anybody think it would of been wiser for Balon to attack the westerlands with Robb?

Nope

He chose the easy target, 2 surgical strikes and the north was wide open

by contrast to take the westerlands ud need to co ordinate a massive strike to wipe out the lannisport fleet and the various costal bannermens ships, take a huge city like lannisport (where those elite pikemen are trained) and then either deal with casterly rock or leave it and its forces as a constant threat to your rear as u move inland.

also balon may have been aware of the force staffon was raising close to the coast of 10k men which of course robb then wipes out by bypassing the tooth (something no one could have forseen)