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About mmenolas

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  1. Where has BBE been? I'd love for him to chime in, he's my favorite poster (just ahead of E-Ro).
  2. If it's a marcher lord, I'd lean toward House Caron. They have the title Lord of the Marches, and while it's explicit that the other marcher lords are not necessarily their vassals, it does imply some level of standing. Caron and Swann both claim to be the oldest of the Marcher Lords. Finally, Nightsong is further west than Stonehelm, so I'd assume they have more conflict (due to their proximity to the Reach) and would need a stronger military presence. This is all just me making assumptions/educated guesses. Is there a good case to be made for Swann instead? Right now I have the two as a toss-up, assuming the second strongest is even a marcher lord.
  3. 5 steps, 6 at most. Referencing who the show includes or leaves out is a weak argument. I mean, they wouldn't leave out a dragon-stealing prince of Dorne, a Queen of the North who was the undoing of her king, etc., right? Plus, I don't know that the "final king on the Iron Throne" is what matters in this story. I'd be totally content if it was some out of left field new player that shows up in the final book, if all of the preceding books paved the way for it. We shouldn't assume that winning the Iron Throne or being TPTWP is some final end goal for one of our initial main characters to reach. We don't know how the story ends, so we don't know what the narrative arc "should" look like. Right, he's already at least one book ahead of Dany as far as involving himself in the primary storyline (whatever that may be, it clearly involves Westeros, an area Dany has had almost no impact on thus far). I don't really agree with this. I, personally, view the first 3 books as a conflict between Stark and Lannister, as well as introducing the greater threat to the realm. Then we have books 4/5 which essentially set up a new story involving additional characters and conflicts, which I'm guessing will be resolved in the next couple books. In the end, what I'm assuming we'll see is a series with an underlying main conflict that runs throughout all the books, but with smaller narratives contained within a few of the books. Almost like a TV show- there might be a "main plot" to the overall show, but there are also season-long and even multi-season plot arcs that broaden the cast and grow the story, all feeding in to the primary story. Also, you mention "driven by its own internal logic" but also want it narrowing the field and gaining focus. That'd never be logical- there should always be new players, outside forces, etc. in play. Whenever I read a "chosen-one" type story, where there are one, or a few, groups of heroes that drive the entire story it immediately loses any sense of logic, internal or otherwise.
  4. I'd agree that the Bolton have the more historic lineage and greater prestige in the North. I'd also agree that the Manderlys surpass the Boltons in wealth and troops. I don't know that I'd assume that the Starks have more wealth or direct troops, however. The Starks have more troops in that when they call their banners, it includes all of the lower houses and all the men sworn to those houses, but we don't have much clarity on how many lords and knights are sworn directly to the Starks. I'll admit, that for purposes of an imagined war between Stark and <other great house> the Starks should have significant advantage. However, if the Starks and every second-tier Northern house (those sworn directly to the Starks) split in to individual kingdoms, I don't know that the Starks have the most troops (I'd have to revisit the world book for hints). With regard to wealth, we don't see a significant tax system in place between the lord's paramount and their vassals. I assume there must be some system, but it may not be massive. Could it be that their dues are primarily paid in the form of troops for wartime? There don't appear to be massive infrastructure improvements going on, so where does all that tax income go? It might be safer to assume that very little of it rolls upward, and second-tier lords use it to grow their own cities/towns/harbors/mines. No evidence either way, so maybe the Starks are richer. It's just a really big assumption to say that the Starks get some significant cut. In fact, many of the taxes we see in the books are on goods/services (entering the city, whores, etc.), not a income or property taxes.
  5. Is it not safe to assume that 1. Holding a city 2. Being on the coast 3. Not being in the harsher regions of the North would lead to higher population? If we consider the low urbanization rate of a medieval world (taken to the extreme in Westeros, with only 5 cities on a massive continent), it would take massive land holdings for any other Northern house to make up for the population lead the Manderlys get from White Harbor. Then factoring in the fact that their lands are adjacent to water, enabling more trade and thus more small towns/villages helps them secure that lead. Finally, not experiencing the harshest of winters would provide them with a more stable population- preindustrial societies had very volatile populations that fluctuated with climate changes, disease, etc. The Manderlys would suffer less from winter (beyond the more mild winters, they also have waterways and a city for easier access to trade goods when needed), and thus be better suited to maintain their population dominance. So, yet again, it's not stated directly but we can use the information we have to make a very reasonable deduction.
  6. This is nonsensical. The "long periods of time" you're referring to, I assume, are winter? The season where warfare does not traditionally occur? Heavy cavalry are by no means unstoppable on their own- you'd need heavy and light infantry, archers, light cavalry, etc. to truly have a well-balanced force. However, heavy cavalry are the most expensive type of unit to maintain, so why would any feudal lord in his right mind spend his funds on more expensive heavy cavalry if they were not proportionately more effective? Common sense tells us that they function, at least, as an indication of military strength (I seem to recall Luwin specifically talking about how many cavalry were going south with Robb as a shorthand for measuring comparative military strength). And I know some people refuse to believe that significant quantities of horses exist in the North, as we recently covered in another thread, so let's no rehash that one here... Those saying that there's no explicitly stated second strongest house in the North are correct. However, we can absolutely infer probable house strength based on a variety of factors. FNR does a good job demonstrating the "more heavy cavalry" argument, and even if we assume they have a higher cav ratio than other Northern houses that still leaves the Manderlys near the top of the heap (if not the top) in army strength. With regard to wealth and incomes, having one of the few cities on the entire continent, and a major port, can be assumed to provide them with significant wealth relative to other Northern houses. Finally, we know for a fact that Wyman has "a dozen petty lord and a hundred landed knights." It can be assumed that the Boltons also have significant numbers of lords and knights below them in the feudal hierarchy, but we have no evidence to suggest they have more (specifically, the fact that Mandery uses those numbers as though they ought to impress Davos implies that they are higher than Davos may have assumed, or are greater than that of a typical lord of Manderly's standing). So the available evidence suggest that Manderly is the second strongest house, but we cannot say that definitively. If anyone genuinely believes it to be the Boltons, I'd love to see some text and numbers to support that position. Consistently stating "nuh uh, I don't believe it, so my opinion is better" is a pretty poor foundation for any position.
  7. Using 300mx250m, we'd end up with 1100m of wall, meaning it'd require 880 soldiers to man it to the standard of one of Alfred's burhs. However, Winterfell has much higher walls and I'm guessing that would make it easier to defend with fewer men. Maybe someone with more knowledge of medieval warfare could cite examples of the number of men required to guard something like the White Tower, as it's walls are more comparable to Winterfell.
  8. It's one dimensional because your sticking to facts, and only facts- one dimension. If you don't include wild baseless speculation you're ruining everyone's fanfic... Seriously though, there is no support for things like B+_=J; just because we cannot give a definitive date of conception for Jon, the possible window is small enough as to exclude a lot of these proposed lineages.
  9. Do we know the length of the Winterfell (or any other castle) walls? For Alfred's burhs they wanted 4 men for every pole (5.5 yards, or 5 meters). Now the burhs are not equivalent to Westerosi castles, but it could give us some insight.
  10. I was thinking the same thing- As an American, I had the same misconceptions about population distribution and market towns in medieval Europe. I recommend that Lord Varys read Medieval Lives by Terry Jones, it dispels a lot of the misconceptions about medieval life. The first section specifically addresses peasant lives, including trade, village life, agricultural practices, familial structure, etc.
  11. This is a perfect analog to most of these theories conspiracies on this forum.
  12. Astronomy. Not Astrology. Astronomy studies celestial objects and processes. Astrology is magical thinking that attempts to ascribe some sort of geocentric meaning/purpose to the movements of the stars (believing their position influences humans, believing they're signs from deities, etc.). Just had to clarify once I saw that error pop up twice.
  13. Not that I disagree- but out of curiosity, do we see anyone having natural deaths while in their 50s? Hoster Tully fell ill in his late 50s, and died when he was around 60. So we have that one example. Beyond that, we tend to see people who die young to violence or live to relatively old ages.
  14. I'd much prefer if there were no Others. Heck, I'd be ok with gutting most, if not all, of the magic. The politicking and character relationships are far more interesting than any of the magic.
  15. Just to clarify- Gout isn't something that will kill him. Yes, there're studies that show that it correlates with as much as a 50% increase in risk of heart attack, but that's a 50% increase beyond a relatively small chance. So let's not misrepresent what gout leads to- he'll be uncomfortable, miserable, and unhealthy, but it's not like he's dying from it.