cpg2016

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  1. I think a majority of the Stormlands lords are absent. The implication of everything we hear is that about a third of the Storm lords commit to Renly-then-Stannis, about a third stay loyal to the Crown, and it seems like about a third stay out of it entirely. We also know some Reach lords don't participate in the initial stages of the WOT5K (notably the Redwynes, a very powerful vassal), and it also makes sense that with Doran Martell keeping large armed hosts in the mountain passes, many of the march lords might have withheld part of their strength. Which might explain the relatively low number of mounted knights as compared to levies The difference is that Tywin mobilizes the entirety of the Westerlands for his war effort. As I said, the Reach and Stormlands 100% do not do this. It also makes a great deal of sense in-universe. The Lannisters are rich beyond measure, and the problem with feudalism is that there is only so much land to support so many mounted retainers, but when you can pay in mineral wealth that problem vanishes. Look at Kevan Lannister. He says he has 200 knights in his retinue and the ability to double that if needed. In the Hedge Knight they mention that House Dondarrion can raise 800 knights; that is one of the very strongest Stormlands Houses, a marcher House that should be expected to be among the most highly militarized in Westeros. And a second son Lannister can raise nearly half their number? I would presume that Tywin has a force that is unusually heavily tilted towards professional men-at-arms, mercenaries, and other well trained and equipped men, not raw levies. The fact that Stafford Lannister has to raise raw recruits as reinforcements backs up the idea that unlike, say, the Northern army (which is implicitly composed of agricultural workers armed by their lords, e.g. levies), the core Lannister force is not involved in agricultural production and is paid and equipped out of the vast mineral wealth of the West; the closest Westeros has to a standing army.
  2. Well, Skagos excepted, I don't know that one can consider the crannogmen and mountain clans "outside the civilized order". The mountain clans especially seem to share the same cultural values as the rest of the North, but to echo a point further down the thread, they just seem to be more pastoral (living in mountains, they are probably herdsmen and somewhat nomadic). Certainly, they have nobles, have extensive political contact/relations with the central government of the region, and overall seem tied into the geopolitical picture (they understand who Stannis is and what his goals are, and how he can help them achieve theirs). This just speaks to a different kind of civilization, which can apply in part to the entirety of the North as compared to the Southern regions (or Dorne, for that matter, where the children of the Greenblood, for example, would be a similiar outsider group who are still part of the political order). The crannogmen are a little different, given that marshes are often a liminal zone, but even so, the Reeds clearly have some kind of authority over their smallfolk, and take orders from Winterfell, so they are certainly part of the Northern political order. As far as numbers go, the mountain clans contribute 5,000 men to Stannis' cause, which probably represents much of their strength, since they aren't noted to be part of Robb's force that goes south. But even so, that is a meaningful part of the North's total strength, considering they are pastoralists in a society which is geared around agrarian fiefdoms. I can't speak to the historical record IRL, but as far the North goes, there is a very good reason their population density should be significantly lower than contemporary historical societies; Winter. Winter, particularly long/harsh ones, are nearly extinction-level events in the North. Men go out into the snow to die so that the kids and women can live on and rebuild. That is totally without precedent in our world, and it's happening every decade or so. It doesn't seem unreasonable to assume that the average winter is wiping out 5-10% of the population of the North, with bad ones having a significantly harsher effect. This effectively means that you are wiping out any population growth gains any time winter rolls around. Given that, it's tough to see how the compound growth necessary for an appropriate population size takes place. Contrast that with the southern realms, where winter is a nuisance but doesn't necessitate mass suicide-by-self-sacrifice; it makes sense that population growth can snowball (heh) more effectively and reflect actual medieval conditions.
  3. Well that's just it, right? By that logic he can justify literally anything, so why even bother applying any moral judgments at all? If Bran gets to tell someone about him and Cersei, then he and Cersei and all his kids die. So it's not like he has a choice about murdering Bran, right? The truth is, Jaime always has a choice. He could have fled with a ton of Lannister gold to the Free Cities. He could have sent his kids away and then admitted to everything, or sent them to Casterly Rock. To say that there is no choice because both choices are bad is morally bankrupt; there is a clear lesser evil here, with his vow of knighthood and of protecting the weak and innocent clearly more important than maintaining his own sense of honor. Not to mention, Jaime feels relatively little affection and no true sense of fatherhood for his kids (unsurprisingly). The point being, Jaime is actively involved in propping up an evil regime devoid of ethics or empathy, and injuring the many, for purely selfish reasons, and that context needs to be considered in every action he undertakes. His rebirth and "redemption" arc is barely any such thing; before, he did what he wanted and what benefitted him and Cersei because, like an emo teen, he wanted people to think he didn't care. Now, he has realized that he does care what people think, but only on the surface; the actuality of the results of his actions still don't factor in.
  4. Of course, the problem is that he's learned all this on the surface, and not understood the deeper implications of chivalry and honor (which is ironic, since he starts out getting the big picture). Take his actions in the Riverlands - he's out there, patting himself on the back for achieving peace through negotiation instead of mass violence, but at the end of the day he's still working to prop up an illegitimate regime full of murderers and opportunist scumbags, and what's more, he KNOWS the regime is illegitimate, he KNOWS it's full of murderers and betrayers, and he does it anyway. Brienne, by contrast, is the opposite; she sacrifices anything, in the face of anything, in order to uphold what is right. Yes, Jaime is a less callous and more thoughtful person now, but he's still employing it for evil purposes. It's the same reason that famous knights like Arthur Dayne and Barristan Selmy are being subtly mocked by the text. Yes, these were men renowned for their skill with a sword, for their honor and courtly manners, for their chivalry, and yet, they all stood by and let their king abuse... well, everyone. Rape his wife, murder his subjects, torture and kill without trial - all of it. And they didn't lift a finger, they actively aided and abetted this by keeping him on his throne. Jaime at least had the decency (then) to say something, and also realize that his duty as a knight to protect people from the wildfire came before his duty as a Kingsguard to obey the king. And now we see Jaime cast in that same role; before he was reviled for his greatest act. Now he receives plaudits for the opposite; acts and decisions that appear chivalrous on the surface but are really supporting a system by which people, smallfolk and noble, are being deprived of their rights, livelihoods, and lives. Whereas in the past, he acted in ways that seemed unchivalrous, and dishonorable, but did it for the right reasons. And we consistently see GRRM extolling the virtues of people who don't fit inside the typical social structure of Westeros, but who work to uphold it's core values, and contrasting them against the paragons of knightly chivalry who are held up as shallow and defenders of a corrupted order.
  5. Breakup of the Seven Kingdoms, almost certainly, with the possibility that Varys lets fAegon back into the realm earlier and marries him to some other Tyrell relation (with the promise of many lands/offices for Mace). The problem with Cersei marrying anyone, even if she's willing, is that Cersei has literally no claim to the throne. She's only even grudgingly accepted as Regent because she's the king's mother (who, let us make clear, is considered to be a Baratheon, and through them, a distantly-related Targaryen). House Lannister has no claim on the Iron Throne and if the continuity of the line goes, then my guess is various factions declare independence.
  6. Well it may be worth it to distinguish oarsmen from actual fighters. Stannis can raise relatively few fighters, but he can crew a bunch of ships, which makes sense.
  7. I think Lady Stoneheart is all about vengeance, hence her name. I don't think much of Catelyn is left. Hence why she's livid with Brienne and unwilling to even listen to her; she knows the oath Brienne swore, when Cat herself sent her out, why not listen now. And it fits thematically - she's the literal representation of the anger and desire for vengeance that Lannister brutality has inspired in Westeros - it's so strong that it transcends the grave. It also sort of fits from what little we know about the process of raising the dead. Beric Dondarrion was slowly losing memories of his life; it might be that only strong emotions or moments are passed through (and remember, Cat was dead much longer than Beric). So she comes back, a vengeful and scarred revenant, who's death was so traumatic and visceral that literally the only memory she has is that betrayal, and the only emotion vengeance.
  8. I think the answer is a combination of the symbolic (weirwoods are holy to First Men, and therefore might help bind recalcitrant First Man Houses like the Royces to the Arryns) and practical - weirwoods don't rot. Symbolism + practicality is great.
  9. Well we (and presumably they, since the Freys are privy to Robb's councils) know that bending the knee isn't possible. Demanding a peace which they know cannot be had is just a way to give themselves an excuse to jump ship. After Robb declares himself, not one other person seems to speak of peace. So the fact that the Freys do is more than suggestive. Besides, and I'll repeat this, Martin has said that Walder would have switched sides with or without the Jeyne Westerling marriage. That's the voice of god, right there. Well, I am in the camp that believes this is a major mistake on GRRMs part (he's rather contradictory about the relative power of the Freys and other Houses). In fact, the only way to reconcile would kind of make sense for the Freys; they're troops aren't levies, they are permanent forces paid for by the tolls they charge, and thus, those men aren't needed in the fields for harvest (the explicit reason Robb doesn't march with all his bannermen's forces). Point being, more likely is that GRRM made a worldbuilding error in making the Freys so strong, relatively, but even if not, they're the only House that has no excuse not to provide a full complement of forces. This is obviously untrue. Without Walder's hell, Robb doesn't have the absolutely smashing victory at the Whispering Woods and the Camps. That being said, he also probably does better at the Green Fork, which helps offset. Walder Frey has a feudal obligation to let Robb pass, in the sense that Robb is going to help Frey's feudal overlord (which Walder pointedly doesn't do). He is essentially actively declaring his independence from the Tullys by not only not actively helping himself, but actively restraining their allies from helping. Whole bunch of nopes, here. First off, Umber's respect is earned through threat of strength/violence, but his support is willingly given. We know of two Houses that act like the Frey's; the Boltons, and to a lesser extent, the Dustins. But either way, when Robb calls, they answer. Maybe as little as they dare, but they come in force. When the Tullys call, the Freys don't answer, at all. A level of feudal disloyalty unmatched. There is a strong argument to be made that Hoster's mental instability and Edmure's capture means that, currently, Brynden and potentially even Catelyn should be considered Lord/Lady of Riverrun. OK, couple things here. First, the Lannisters are very explicitly not the King's family. He is a Baratheon, or he's not the king (I mean, we know he isn't, but you get the point). Second, while you are right about the theoretical conflicting loyalties, in practice we've seen that loyalty flows up the feudal food chain, so to speak. When it does not, it's a sure sign that the lower house is looking to aggrandize themselves at the expense of their liege. Look at the Blackfyre Rebellions, where the major supporters were Houses look to supplant the regional Lord Paramount. Walder is explicitly holding out for the best bargain, which isn't loyalty at all; he's a mercenary. If he committed to fighting for Joffrey, or Stannis, then that is being loyal. Committing to no one and fighting for the highest bidder is contemptible and erases any claim you might make to his loyalty. He's bought, and he only stays bought as long as the opponent doesn't offer more. Right, and you'll notice I come back to this - he's not fulfilling either of those obligations! He's actively out there killing Lannisters, so he certainly isn't loyal to Joffrey's cause. And he isn't helping his currently besieged lord, so he isn't doing that. So the word loyalty doesn't apply to him from the word "go". Even Stannis is willing to admit that people might fight for Joffrey or Robb believing it to be right; Walder isn't one of those people. He's waiting to see which way the wind blows before he jumps, which is, again, the definition of disloyal. So what do we know for a fact? He has obligations to at least two parties, and is ignoring them. The only reason he "fulfills" those obligations is because his help is explicitly bought. And he wants to be bought, which is why he invites the Northerners in to parlay in the first place. It's a negotiation on price. He isn't a neutral third party though. As you point out, he owes allegiance to someone. And he isn't giving it. He's waiting to see who wins, or who makes the better offer. How is that anything but mercenary? His lordship of the Twins is based on his oath to fight for the Tullys; he was obligated to help them the second they called their banners. Alester Florent is a traitor too, as we see, one who disobeys the orders of his liege lord. Moreover, the circumstances are entirely difficult; Stannis was just crushed on the Blackwater, whereas Robb has never lost a battle. And those selfsame Lannister forces are raiding the Riverlands while being attainted for treason. And the Freys are fighting them, if desultorily. So no matter what, Walder is committing treason. He is committing treason in not responding to his liege lord's call for aid, and he is committing treason in not assisting the king's forces. So lets point this out again, since you don't seem to understand the basic premise: if Walder Frey committed to the Lannisters from the word "go", I wouldn't fault him as much, because as you say, he does theoretically owe an obligation to the throne (though, it's almost certain that he doesn't, since oaths are given to the direct superior, generally: he holds the Twins through the Tully's, not the throne, as opposed to the Whents and Harrenhal). But he doesn't. He is explicitly supporting neither side, and his reaction when the Northerners show up makes it implicitly clear that he's waiting for the best offer. Actually, re-reading the text, Walder himself is explicit - he will lend aid to whoever "asks" him, which in context very clearly means whoever offers him the most. He's a mercenary from the very beginning. OK, lets unpack this. First off, Robb has no obligation to Walder Frey; Walder Frey has an outstanding obligation to Robb's cause (which, at the time, is the relief of Riverrun). Walder Frey is selling what he already owed for free, and doing it under duress, which is morally reprehensible. Second, you are having a lot of trouble understanding the concept of negotiating in good faith. Walder Frey enters a deal that he is willing to exit the second a better one comes along. This is the definition of bad faith negotiating. Robb, by contrast, means to stick to his signature (as it were), and demonstrates this by being more than willing to make it up to Lord Frey when he (very understandably) breaks that contract. It's more than a little unfair to say that "he couldn't keep it in his pants." He was in extreme emotional and (presumably) physical trauma, and there is some indirect evidence that he may have been even coerced into it by chemical means as well (given Sybelle Spicer's involvement in the whole thing). But most of all, we need to return to the concept of feudal obligation and loyalty. Walder Frey owes his loyalty somewhere, and one of those somewheres (and given the extenuating circumstances and the reaction of all the other Riverlords and Northeners, that somewhere is Riverrun). He isn't giving. He's holding himself in reserve so he can sell himself to the highest bidder, by his own admission. And by GRRMs own admission, Walder was going to figure out a way to be on the winning side, no matter what. Which means abandoning Robb after the Blackwater/Sack of Winterfell, after which his chances of winning the War plummet dramatically. So we have a guy who won't fulfull his obligations and who we know will jump ship, thanks to authorial intrusion, for his own benefit. Any contract signed with a person like that is null anyway; negotiating in bad faith is a thing in real life, and from an obligation standpoint, a vassal who won't honor their commitment forfeits any rights in return.
  10. Well this is an interesting point. First off, Lannister dominance is built off the gold of Casterly Rock, which was there before Tywin and will be after. All he did was stop giving it away like his father did and taking a firm stand. But more importantly, if Tywin gets credit for "rebuilding" the central government of the Westerlands (obviously the Lannisters exercised power before and still does after his death), shouldn't he get the blame for the devastating war which is wrecking-again the power of the West? Think about how many lives have been lost for the Westerlands lords; it far outstrips ANY other region, even including the North. Which means the actual ability of the Lannisters to project force across Westeros has been crippled, which we see because the Lannister/Baratheon regime in Kings Landing is entirely reliant on Tyrell hosts to finish up their war. Tywin's brutal, ruthless, highly illegal actions may have restored Lannister prestige and finances after Tytos' mismanagement, but his brutal, ruthless, highly illegal actions in precipitating the WOT5K has done equally as much as wreck Lannister fortunes - even in Tytos' day, the West could easily send 10,000 men and 1,000 knights to fight in the War of the Ninepenny Kings; it is highly debatable whether there are 11,000 Westermen bannermen floating around anymore. So why are you giving Tywin credit for "building" the Westerlands? If no one was rebelling, and the Lannisters were in charge, what was there to rebuild? Uh, this is precisely what he did to the Reynes and Tarbecks. He had zero legal authority to take action against them, which is made explicit in several places, and moreover, the extent of his response was considered excessive. Moreover, he does it again at the Red Wedding, where he orders at least one Westerling (his bannermen) murdered along with the Northern/Riverlord guests. Well here's the thing; IRL, feudal obligations have a fixed term of service. This is obviously something that has been more or less thrown aside in ASOIAF for logistical reasons, but even so, tens of thousands of productive people have died in Tywin's wars, and the West was the subject of a brief chevauchee by Robb. So no matter how long his men are required to serve, there is no question that the constant warring is eroding the economic base of the West. As for prestige - what prestige? Tywin and his men are fought off their feet in nearly every battle of the WOT5K, leading to the exact opposite of success/prestige. They only win said war because Tywin is party to violating the most important custom in all of Westeros. Tywin's military effort, and therefore that of his bannermen, isn't exactly covering itself in glory. More importantly, I think, is that you see the power of Tywin's legacy when you compare it to Ned. Ned's vassals are all willing to fight and die, probably hopelessly, to restore his family to their ancestral seat. You get relatively little of that in the West; who do we see actively campaigning for the Lannister cause, besides Lannisters? Strongboar, I suppose. Addam Marbrand. But most of those lords go home and leave Cersei alone to rule. Harys Swyft, a toady, is left, I guess.
  11. OK, lets dissect this. First off, the Riverlands HAS no gold. Or, rather, I'm sure it does, but the Westerlands is the place with the obscene mineral deposits. Second, the Lannisters (and Casterlys before them) built their power on the fact that the Rock is a giant gold mine, basically Potosi on steroids (and gold, not silver). The Reynes asserted themselves by taking advantage of several excellent dynastic marriages (the War of the Wombs) and then exploiting Tytos Lannister's good nature to assert themselves at court. The same as probably happened a dozen times over the course of the Kingdom of the Rock; weak feudal rulers invite strong vassals to monopolize offices, honors, etc - kind of like Cersei (and Tywin) with Robert Baratheon. They should have about 40,000, based on semi-canon sources and inferring from the numbers given in canon text. Except it's stated they can only raise ~20,000. The Freys are stated to be one of the more powerful bannermen in the Riverlands (probably an authorial error) and command 4,000 levies. Harrenhal is considered one of the richest fiefs in the Seven Kingdoms, not just the Riverlands, which means it should be able to raise at least that many, and likely significantly more. But lets call it 4,000. The Tully's shouldn't be raising fewer troops then their bannermen, which means they should be commanding at minimum 5,000 swords. You are already pushing 12-13,000 men, counting conservatively, and you've barely covered a fraction of the Riverlands. This is either a massive, massive oversight on the part of GRRM (possible, of course), or there is some structural reason the Riverlands doesn't punch their weight. A lack of loyalty to the Tully's, and their inability to command that loyalty through wealth or strength of arms or long tradition, would be a good reason. Maybe the Brackens and Blackwoods always keep some of their levies at home to protect against each other. Maybe the Mallisters don't because they want to protect against ironborn. Long story short, the stated army size of the Riverlands is demographically too small, so either chalk it up to the author being wrong and refusing to change it over the decades, or there being some in-story reason. Political disunity fits the theme of the Riverlands and it's recent history. The Reach fractures during almost every single major rebellion, and moreso than other regions, excepting Robert's. Moreover, it is essentially outright stated that most of fAegon's support is coming from the Reach, whose Houses are actively in contact with the Golden Company. It's also mentioned at least once that the Tyrells are constantly facing down challenges to their supremacy from other Houses who claim a better blood claim to Highgarden (e.g. the Florents). So yeah, I'll take the textual evidence that even the Tyrells think their claim is "a bit dodgy" and have trouble compelling the same institutional loyalty as the Arryns, Lannisters, and Starks do. Right... "one of the reasons". The WOIAF is explicit that while marriage and the general exhaustion of the Andal push were contributing factors, so was the fact that the Reach and the Rock both had organized central governments (for feudal societies) that were capable of defeating the invaders in battle and then making intelligent peace, marrying their bannermen off (and sometimes their own kids) in order to seal said peace. Something the noble houses of the Vale (which I should have said instead of "Arryn's") and Riverlands did not have the central authority in place to do. Again, I worded that poorly. The point I was trying to get across is that what Tywin did was extremely illegal; he called "the banners" without acting asking his father. The strong implication I got was that the knights that ride with Tywin are the same quasi-legal mercenary company Tywin raises and threatens all his father's vassals with, seeing as he forms a company of 500 knights and is oh-so-conveniently said to ride out against the Reynes and Tarbecks with exactly that same number. The point being, Tywin didn't build the West. The Westerlands were there, with all its extreme mineral wealth, long before him. One weak ruler does not make for the end of a dynasty, as we see. Tywin had the money before becoming Lord of Casterly Rock, when you claim the Lannisters were powerless and broke to form a truly gigantic mercenary company; the Golden Company itself only boasts 500 knights. So it's patently impossible that he seized all that money from wealthy vassals; he had it to begin with, and he had it before becoming titular head of House Lannister.
  12. I'm not arguing he's stupid. I think he's smart, but greedy and shortsighted, which is why his House is likely to be more or less exterminated by the end of the books. Penny wise, pound foolish, as they say. As for Robb.... well, look. The guy had suffered physical and extreme emotional trauma in a short period of time. Robb's actions are understandable from that perspective, and to his credit, he immediately offers a major dynastic prize in Edmure. Walder's price was exorbitant in the first place, and probably cost Robb the war (as in, marrying some more powerful noble lady would have been FAR more advantageous; if he marries Margaery, he probably ends up sitting on the Iron Throne). So in many ways, Walder's avarice dooms the Stark cause from the start. And mind you, Walder DOES demand a new deal and Robb agrees! Hence the whole point about good faith. Obviously in the second case, Walder is actively working to massacre the Starks, but we have a pattern of behavior here which must inevitably point to the fact that Jeyne Westerling marriage or no, Walder was going to find a way to betray Robb.
  13. No, the massive gold and other mineral deposits scattered all over the place are why Tywin is powerful. It is more correct to say that Tytos was a weak lord and because of that, the Westerlands punched below their weight because of the internal dissension and jockeying. Much like the Riverlands seems to have fewer men than they should, because the Tully's don't have the tradition of being the ruling House, or how the Reach fractures more notably than the other realms when rebellions occur, because the Tyrell's have relatively little internal clout. I suggest you.. well, read anything in the lore. The Westerlands have been an extremely powerful force in Westerosi politics for thousands of years; one of the many reasons they defeat the Andals where the Arryns and Mudd's don't is because they have a strong, unified central polity based on Lannister kingship. The only reason Tywin's defeat of the Reynes was so incredible is because he did it without the support of Lannister troops (read: it was all highly illegal).
  14. What? The Westerlands are explicitly not the "realm Tywin built". Admittedly, there is a massive loyalty to the Lannisters in the region, similar to the Starks and Arryns in their kingdoms. That being said, Tywin may be the guy who has undone all that name brand loyalty, with his ruthless purging of possible rivals. And while Jaime is a viable heir (if he were willing, which he isn't), Tyrion is explicitly not. As for the why - again, Tywin wasn't loved but feared, and his actions towards the Reynes and Tarbecks are the kinds of central overreach that breed resentment. Additionally, tens of thousands of Westermen have been dying to support Tywin's royal ambitions, and as a kingdom they are likely a spent force for the time being. Doubtful that anyone "rebels" against the Lannisters, but I could absolutely see some ambitious lord making himself regent or marrying himself into the family and ruling behind the scenes (much like the Reynes did).
  15. What's quite ridiculous is how bad your reading comprehension is. Seriously, talk about throwing rocks while living in glass houses. There are tons of Arryn's running around, and this is pointed to in the text. There is only one main-branch Arryn, and this isn't unusual - branches of noble houses die out all the time in the real world. Moreover, after a while a lot of these Boltons and Arryns will stop being considered Boltons and Arryns and join the faceless mass of the populace. Also GRRM is telling a story, not a genealogical exploration of the various Houses - what narrative purpose does it serve to take us to White Harbor and have Wyman Manderly parade all the various Stark descendants he can find?