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Bolton-Stark Conflict


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#1 Gurkhal

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 09:42 AM

Something which I really hope gets cleared up is the historical conflict between the Boltons and the Starks. I would for example would really want to know if the Boltons were kings themselves, maybe Kings of Fear to counter the Kings of Winter in the North, and how the conflict between the two Houses went down through history.

Also some history the historical Boltons would be nice. Was Ice-Eyes' mother a Bolton? So far we've seen three Boltons alive and they've been spread all along the line:

Domeric - nice guy,

Roose - pretty cool but alot of people don't like him

Ramsay - total scum

If more info about the Boltons comes I would suppose it will come as part of a general history of the North or House Stark.

#2 E-Ro

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 09:51 AM

I would be interesteed to know this as well, the bolton must have been very powerful to fight the starks.

#3 SeannieWanKenobi

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 01:14 PM

In the Age of Heroes the Boltons would wear the skins of Starks as cloaks... yea I'd love to know more about that!!! When is this book coming out?!?!?

#4 Free Northman

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 02:01 PM

In the Age of Heroes the Boltons would wear the skins of Starks as cloaks... yea I'd love to know more about that!!! When is this book coming out?!?!?


The Age of Heroes lasted from about 12,000 years ago to 8,000 years ago. Back then, the Starks were just one of a hundred or more petty "kings" fighting for control of the North. So it is only reasonable that the Boltons would have contested with them for rule of the North, as did dozens of other lords, no doubt, like the Flints and Umbers, Lockes, Ryswells and Dustins, I reckon.

But by 4,000 years ago when Jon Stark built the Wolf's Den at White Harbor, we know that the Starks ruled all the way to the West Coast, all the way to the East coast at White Harbor, all the way up to the Wall and all the way down to the Neck (Jon Stark's son defeated the Marsh King and married his daughter, bringing the Neck into the Kingdom).

Hence, the only areas that were unaccounted for at that point are the Bolton and Karstark lands. If the Boltons were Kings as late as that time (4,000 years ago) their kingdom covered only the Bolton and Karstark lands at most. Meaning that the Starks surrounded them from the south, west and North.

Personally, I reckon the Boltons were conquered as early as 4,000 years ago, but periodically rose up in rebellion, maybe to gain independence for short periods before being subjugated again. The reference in Dance to the Greystarks who were extinguished says that they "joined the Boltons in rebellion against Winterfell", which to me most likely means that the Boltons were also rebelling, which in turn implies that the Boltons were subjects revolting against their Kings (the Kings of Winter).

The only mystery in my view, is why the Boltons were allowed to survive for so long. Because we know of at least 3 rebellions (the one which the Greystarks joined around 3,000 years ago, one about 1,000 years ago around the time that the Manderlys arrived at White Harbor, and one about 700 years ago, when the Karstarks were given Karhold).

And yet each time the Boltons were pardoned for some inexplicable reason. The reason behind this mercy from the notoriously merciless Kings of Winter would be most interesting to discover.

Edited by Free Northman, 23 July 2012 - 02:51 PM.


#5 E-Ro

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 02:36 PM

I would also like to know why they have been spared so many times. The rape of sisterton was said to have been brutal. Why after defeating the boltons would they allow them to live and go on ruling their lands?

#6 Rodrik of Dorne

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 05:08 PM

Maybe they only extinguished the main line of House Bolton, letting the lesser ones take the seat, after promises of support against the unruly cousins. There's no way to know what really happened, however.

#7 mudcrab

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 09:54 PM

Unless GRRM tells us. Or this book.

Edited by mudcrab, 23 July 2012 - 09:55 PM.


#8 The Snowman

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 11:21 AM

I think It'd be something like the Boltons have the loyalty of those houses around the dreadfort and after likely killing the main 'antagonist bolton' and probably his heirs i would assume a cousin would be granted lordship in turn for total compliance and to support the starks most ardently.

Also Free Northman stated that the has been 3 mentioned acts of rebellion by the Boltons against Winterfell in the past 4000 years.....that a long time.
Sure 1000 years a go they rose up with the Greystarks against Winterfell but were likely hammered into submission and the above scenario likely played out.
As for the one 700 years ago well in 300 years there were two rebellions by the Boltons...how many rebellions did the French and British crowns have to endure during any 300 year period since their formation and as for the french their total destruction?

Anyway the Boltons and Starks probably aren't the best of friends but one of the characters was talking about how their father always told them once your oppenent was beaten and on their knees the best thing is to help them back up...its probably Jon thinking of Ned but anyway thats my point. The Starks probably beat the Boltons back into the Dreadfort a number of times but to destroy wasn't the best move in terms of overall strength for the North. My reasoning for the Starks destroying their rebellious cadet branches like the Greystarks is probably because they have legitimate ties to Winterfell and the seat of the North so they probably just thought it was safer to destroy them, also it would be a serious betrayal to rebel against (in the eyes of the Starks) 1) your liegelord but more importantly 2) Your 'family' and your parent house. To the Starks that would probably seem like more of a betrayal and probably acted in a harsher fashion towards them. That my take in any case

#9 Last of the Darklyns

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 06:05 PM

I found this in A Wiki of Ice and Fire:

ca. -700: In the North, House Stark finally subdues House Bolton, their primary antagonists for dominance in the North. Later Karlon Stark would defeat sea raiders from the east and found the cadet branch House Karstark.

Edited by Last of the Darklyns, 27 July 2012 - 06:05 PM.


#10 Winterfell is Burning

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 10:54 PM

I found this in A Wiki of Ice and Fire:

ca. -700: In the North, House Stark finally subdues House Bolton, their primary antagonists for dominance in the North. Later Karlon Stark would defeat sea raiders from the east and found the cadet branch House Karstark.


And? This could easily be read as puts down the last rebellion for good. I find it hard to believe that the Starks would have taken this long to make the Boltons their vassals when pretty much everyone of the other kingdoms was already united. It would be impossible for the Boltons to take all the North combined.

#11 The Snowman

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 11:41 PM

And? This could easily be read as puts down the last rebellion for good. I find it hard to believe that the Starks would have taken this long to make the Boltons their vassals when pretty much everyone of the other kingdoms was already united. It would be impossible for the Boltons to take all the North combined.


Yeah it doesnt seem right does it?

#12 Gurkhal

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 03:59 AM

but one of the characters was talking about how their father always told them once your oppenent was beaten and on their knees the best thing is to help them back up...its probably Jon thinking of Ned but anyway thats my point.


The only time that's mentioned is when Tywin explains to Joffrey why they will not kill every single lord who supported Robb during the war. Jon and Eddard never had any similar political discussion.

Yeah it doesnt seem right does it?


It all depends on how powerful the Boltons were back at that time. For example I don't find it strange to think that the Boltons may have held the territories now belonging to the Karstarks and possibly more, before they were submitted by the Starks. The Karstarks were after all founded by the Starks after putting down a Bolton revolt, and hence it wouldn't be an impossible scenario if the new House's lands used to belong to the Boltons. The Boltons might well have been alot more powerful then they are now.

#13 Winterfell is Burning

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 10:31 AM

It all depends on how powerful the Boltons were back at that time. For example I don't find it strange to think that the Boltons may have held the territories now belonging to the Karstarks and possibly more, before they were submitted by the Starks. The Karstarks were after all founded by the Starks after putting down a Bolton revolt, and hence it wouldn't be an impossible scenario if the new House's lands used to belong to the Boltons. The Boltons might well have been alot more powerful then they are now.


Now, I agree that the Karstark lands were most likely Bolton's, but still, Winterfell lands + White Harbor are already far more powerful. Add lands that were too far to be controlled by the Boltons- Barrowlands, Crannogmen, etc, and it's just impossible.

Most importantly, I don't see how the North would have resisted Andal invasions without being united.

#14 The Snowman

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 12:07 AM

Now, I agree that the Karstark lands were most likely Bolton's, but still, Winterfell lands + White Harbor are already far more powerful. Add lands that were too far to be controlled by the Boltons- Barrowlands, Crannogmen, etc, and it's just impossible.

Most importantly, I don't see how the North would have resisted Andal invasions without being united.


Well Gurkhal has a good point about the Starks and perhaps they were the dominant force in the North for thousands of years with the lands of central north, most of the south(of the north) and the the west. At the time of the Andals invasion I believe there was 3 Kings in the North. The Marsh King, The King of Winter (Stark) and the Bolton King but I believe the Stark Kings were the most powerful and overtime just subjugated the Boltons piece by piece until all they had were the lands surrounding the Dreadfort.

#15 Winter's Prince

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 07:52 PM

Along with the Dreadfort it's possible that the Boltons held not only Karhold but Hornwood too, which adds the fuel to their desire to have complete control of the north. Horwood is east of Winterfell and west of the Dreadfort so they (Boltons) know that if maybe they take Winterfell then they'll have the north - whoever has Winterfell owns the north. Plus Hornwood provides to them a base of operations.

#16 The Blade of Winterfell

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 10:18 PM

I would think that the reason the boltons weren't wiped out would be the same reason as the greyjoys- theyre a nuisance, but never a serious threat to stark hegemony. So the Starks might have had to put them down from time to time, but never thought eliminating them as a vital action.

#17 Ser Lepus

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 01:37 PM

I would think that the reason the boltons weren't wiped out would be the same reason as the greyjoys- theyre a nuisance, but never a serious threat to stark hegemony. So the Starks might have had to put them down from time to time, but never thought eliminating them as a vital action.


I think that they were in fact too powerful to destroy completely, and the Starks settled with making them bend the knee, the same way Aegon allowed the Arryns and Lannister to keep their seats after they swore fealty.

#18 Fedelede

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 10:04 PM

Also Free Northman stated that the has been 3 mentioned acts of rebellion by the Boltons against Winterfell in the past 4000 years.....that a long time.
Sure 1000 years a go they rose up with the Greystarks against Winterfell but were likely hammered into submission and the above scenario likely played out.
As for the one 700 years ago well in 300 years there were two rebellions by the Boltons...how many rebellions did the French and British crowns have to endure during any 300 year period since their formation and as for the french their total destruction?


But there's a difference; if, say, Owain ap Glyndwr revolted against the British in 1400 and then Devereux revolted in the 1600s. But if it had been Owain's descendant, the English would've killed the royal family even though it's two revolts in two hundred years. The same might've happened with the Starks; they might've suffered revolts by the Umbers and the Mormonts and the Skagosi and the Dustins would've revolted many different times, as well as several Stark pretenders (King of Night), et cetera; but it was only the Boltons who revolted consistently

#19 Dark-Stag

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 09:20 PM

It was the Starks who forbib the Boltons to continue flaying people, however they didn't listen and continued doing it in secret

#20 sertravisredbeard

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 05:13 PM

It's messed up that flaying people is something each patriarch Bolton taught to his children. "Allright son it's your 12th birthday, you need to come watch me flay this dude. Some day you'll teach your son the same thing." Traditions are what holds families together, I think.