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Why didn't the Northern lords send troops to castle Black?


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#1 zaphodbrx

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 06:59 AM

I was wondering, in my reread of ASOS, why didn't the northern lords send troops to the Wall, to help against Mance Rayder?

Unlike the Southern lords, the Umbers, Northern clans, in particular, don't view the wall as some kind of abstract thing. They are the last people who would want 10000s of wildlings loose around in their lands.

Even 200-300 extra troops would be great help in the battle. So why didn't they send them?

Because plot?

#2 The Dublin Warrior

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:04 AM

The troops would have been with Robb. Who would they have sent old men, young boys?

#3 Lost Melnibonean

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:10 AM

The troops would have been with Robb. Who would they have sent old men, young boys?

The same guys that answered Roose's call.

#4 thelittledragonthatcould

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:14 AM

The same guys that answered Roose's call.


The whole war has decimated the upper echelons of leadership. So there are very few area's that have a clear command structure that's why you have a couple of commanders out to cement their position rather than help someone else.

#5 Squarely Rooted

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:17 AM

The troops would have been with Robb. Who would they have sent old men, young boys?

The whole war has decimated the upper echelons of leadership. So there are very few area's that have a clear command structure that's why you have a couple of commanders out to cement their position rather than help someone else.


Right - most of the North's capacity is south of Moat Cailin; the Iron Islanders are occupying a substantial part of the North; and general chaos and thin capacity has likely caused communications complications.

#6 Hear me Meow

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:21 AM

Because ... plot hole, imo. No reason the Umbers, Clans and Mormonts couldn't have sent some levies to protect themselves from wildlings. The best place to stop the wildling horde was the Wall after all.

I think the idea is to shut off other options to Jon's wildling resettlement plan in DwD, so his righteousness gels with common sense/military expediency to a greater degree than it should do.

#7 Harpo of House Trashcan

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:29 AM

because they were at war... I thought that was pretty obvious

#8 danm_999

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:35 AM

This question is pretty easy to answer if you paid really a modicrum of attention during a reading of the series. In a nutshell, there isn't anyone available to send.

Every spare able bodied man either went south with Robb, or was killed at the ambush at Winterfell by Ramsay Bolton when Rodrik Cassel marshalled them to throw out the Ironborn. Nobody else had any men to spare, and nobody could afford to neglect even a skeleton garrison, given the Ironborn were still raiding the North.

By ADWD, we know it's so bad in terms of Northern manpower that Alys Karstark and Jon talk about how significant portions of the Northern harvest are going to be destroyed by snow in the field because there aren't enough men, fighting age or otherwise, to harvest them.

The only exceptions appear to be Dreadfort and Dustin men (who didn't send their reserves to help the Watch for obvious, duplicitious reasons) and Hill clans men who Maester Luwin's letters would never reach (given they don't appear to have Maesters).

Edited by danm_999, 19 July 2013 - 07:57 AM.


#9 Squarely Rooted

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:37 AM

I think the idea is to shut off other options to Jon's wildling resettlement plan in DwD, so his righteousness gels with common sense/military expediency to a greater degree than it should do.


No matter what you do otherwise, wildling resettlement is ingenious policy:

Firstly, the wildlings themselves are, in the status quo ante, a consistent nuisance to the Northern Seven Kingdoms as well as the occassional full-blown threat. So anything that brings long-term resolution to that problem at relatively low cost of blood and treasure is a pretty sweet deal.

Secondly, not only was the wildling integration done at low cost, it was done in ways that had substantial *economic* and *political *benefits to the Night’s Watch. Underfunded and undermanned, the wildlings a) had to part with lots of loot as their toll, enriching the Watch, and /cool.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='B)' /> are now settled on the Gift and can begin adding their productivity to the Watch, as full blown sworn brothers, ancillary forces, or agricultural producers supporting the Watch. In addition, the influx of manpower who are loyal and indebted to the Watch gives them a stronger independent base of power in their dealings with the Seven Kingdoms they serve and protect.

Lastly, this is a huge windfall in terms of buttressing the realms of man against the very specific threat that is the Others. Not only do you a) resolve the more immediate but less dangerous threat of the wildlings at low-cost and high-benefit and /cool.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='B)' /> put a lot of bodies on and around the wall facing northward, but c) you also *rob* the Others of one of their most potent sources of destruction - live humans. Need I remind you, the Others have the power (though ambigiously defined at the margins) to turn dead humans into *dead humans with a desire to kill you*. And these wights are a lot harder to kill than regular old humans with a desire to kill you. That’s why an encounter like the Battle at the Fist can go so badly so fast, since your losses are multiplied in real-time. Had Jon left the wildlings beyond the Wall, odds are they would have not only been slaughtered by the Others but they then would have turned right around and marched alongside them. Thus, by bringing them North, Snow simultaneously drastically improves his position vis-a-vis the Others in a way that, say, even the sudden arrival of a small army of reinforcements doesn’t quite match.

Plus, if you reread ADwD, Jon does a lot more "stakeholder buy-in" (or at least attempts it) than he gets credit for. Plus, he's the Lord Commande. The Night's Watch isn't a republic, they're an elective autocracy.

#10 Hear me Meow

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:41 AM

SNIP

I said the curious lack of any northern support for the Wall in SoS and DwD makes Jon's policies seem more necessary than they should.

I never said as it stood they didn't have merit. Greater is a relative term.

Also, when you do the letter b and then a bracket you get an annoying smiley.

#11 The Prince of Ice

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:50 AM

Pretty much as other posters have said there really was no one to send, The North was still in open rebellion at the time they couldnt risk sending away what defensive forces they had.

#12 Hear me Meow

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:53 AM

Pretty much as other posters have said there really was no one to send, The North was still in open rebellion at the time they couldnt risk sending away what defensive forces they had.

They weren't using the Clan, Mormont, Karstark and Umber levies remaining in the north for anything, and defending the Wall is defending the north.

The main field army is away (mostly dead by this time) but the rest of the available forces in the north (mostly levies) should be defending it from its foes. Why is this hard to grasp?

Edited by Hear me Meow, 19 July 2013 - 07:53 AM.


#13 The Prince of Ice

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:58 AM

They weren't using the Clan, Mormont, Karstark and Umber levies remaining in the north for anything, and defending the Wall is defending the north.

The main field army is away (mostly dead by this time) but the rest of the available forces in the north (mostly levies) should be defending it from its foes. Why is this hard to grasp?

Pretty sure the Umber, Karstark, and Mormont levies were in use when Robb went south unless im mistaken. Karstarks went back but their of no help at the moment. I understand that the North should defend the Wall but you also got to remember at this time even the North believes the wildings to be of no threat as long as their on the other side of the Wall. Overall the North just couldnt afford it at that moment.

#14 Grimbold

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 08:00 AM

There was a war going on in the south and the Iron islanders had just raided parth of the North.

What would they send north except a token force that could already be employed as garrison protecting their main lands?

Not to mention that main northern army was crushed, even before the wildlings were besieging the wall. Wouldn't make much sense to send men to the wall when their major force was annihalated now would it?

#15 Hear me Meow

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 08:02 AM

Pretty sure the Umber, Karstark, and Mormont levies were in use when Robb went south unless im mistaken. Karstarks went back but their of no help at the moment. I understand that the North should defend the Wall but you also got to remember at this time even the North believes the wildings to be of no threat as long as their on the other side of the Wall. Overall the North just couldnt afford it at that moment.

They had men left though, the 18,000 men Robb took is the majority of 'professional' northern forces but there are men left that can be raised and raw levies that can be impressed. In CoK Ser Rodrick wanted the Umbers to co-operate with lord Wyman to prevent Wildling raids. Where do you think the 1,000 Umbers, 3,000 clans warriors, 500 karstarks, 500 Mormonts and so on came from in Dance?

#16 Mad Monkey

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 08:04 AM

Pretty sure the Umber, Karstark, and Mormont levies were in use when Robb went south unless im mistaken. Karstarks went back but their of no help at the moment. I understand that the North should defend the Wall but you also got to remember at this time even the North believes the wildings to be of no threat as long as their on the other side of the Wall. Overall the North just couldnt afford it at that moment.


Yeah, I think they were making a triage decision at that time. Sending their backup garrisons to the Wall to deal with a potential future threat was considered a lower priority than using their garrisons to fend off the Ironborn invasion and prepare their holdings for winter. They should have sent men, I agree, but they made a calculated risk to have those forces protect their holdings from the ironborn (especially after the fall of Deepwood Motte and Winterfell) instead.

#17 Jon Pauletto

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 08:05 AM

They were fighting a war, don't forget about it

Just a small amount of soldiers were up North protecting the holdfasts and castles.

and remember, almost anyone cares about the Wall in the realm, The North respects it, but as I told you, they were fighting a war in the south

#18 danm_999

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 08:06 AM

They weren't using the Clan, Mormont, Karstark and Umber levies remaining in the north for anything, and defending the Wall is defending the north.


There weren't any remaining levies.

Alys Karstark talks to Jon about how;

My father took so many of our men south with him that only the women and young boys were left to bring the harvest in.


Spoiler


Of the Stark loyalists (ie, the people who have Maesters and would respond to the Night's Watch), there is no one to send.

#19 Hear me Meow

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 08:09 AM

There weren't any remaining levies.

Alys Karstark talks to Jon about how;



Yea, sure, aside from the ones we actually saw in the book right.

Arnolf had 500 men to bring to Stannis's aid. There are 1,000 Umber men in arms in DwD, half with Crowfood and half with Whoresbane.

Also, I think one has to recognize that while Alys was no doubt accurate to a degree, lord Karstark only took about 2,500 men south, so if she is taken literally that implies there are only 2,500 able bodied males on the karstark lands. Either GrrM screwed up or ... well, it doesn't make a tonne of sense (or she is exaggerating).

Edited by Hear me Meow, 19 July 2013 - 08:12 AM.


#20 Jon Pauletto

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 08:15 AM

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Yea, sure, aside from the ones we actually saw in the book right.

Arnolf had 500 men to bring to Stannis's aid. There are 1,000 Umber men in arms in DwD, half with Crowfood and half with Whoresbane.

Also, I think one has to recognize that while Alys was no doubt accurate to a degree, lord Karstark only took about 2,500 men south, so if she is taken literally that implies there are only 2,500 able bodied males on the karstark lands. Either GrrM screwed up or ... well, it doesn't make a tonne of sense (or she is exaggerating).


To be honest, nobody cares much about fighting the Wildlings, they'll just realize their mistake when the Others come through the Wall

Edited by Jon Pauletto, 19 July 2013 - 08:16 AM.