The Mountain That Flies

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  1. I do agree that Imry gets more hate than is warranted, but not using scout ships was an arrogant mistake. I've never been on the "Davos for Admiral" train that the OP rightly criticizes, but Stannis is the former Master of Ships and was by all accounts an outstanding naval commander. Either he (or someone in the chain of command) should have made that very fundamental call. Even when you are certain of victory, basic fact checking is always warreneted.
  2. It would have been a bit harder since there is simply more of the North to defend. Bear Island could have quite easily been taken with the combined navies of the Iron Islands and Reach, which would have given the Targs a valuable spot to lead attacks against the west coast of the North. Meanwhile the eastern coast features White Harbor, which if taken (and defending cites was never in the Dornish playbook the North would be cribbing from) provided control of the White Knife, a massive tactical advantage. Both of these routes negate the influence of any Alligator King, and would prove very difficult for the North to counter.
  3. 100% correct on the second and third bits, but I doubt Beric was riding for Castle Clegane (or whatever its proper name is). IIRC it sits pretty deep in the Westerlands, and even during perfect peacetime Tywin wouldn't allow a group of Stormlanders and Northmen to just waltz around dispensing justice on his lands. Since Gregor was technically passing as a brigand at that point, the plan was to capture him in the field and bring him to King's Landing to face justice.
  4. Theon is an interesting case study in this topic. His sense of familial identity is a major source of early conflict for him, and then when he is re-born into pure individualism it's a brutal process that leaves him a pathetic wreck, who only just now is starting to assert a sense of self-ownership of his identity. Of course, he wouldn't have been in the circumstances he was in at the start of the series had it not been for his biological family, and he was given a chance to rise high through the war efforts of them and his foster family (in reverse order). But these opportunities were at odds with one another, and his inability to reconcile his desire for both directly led to his capture. In his time as Reek, he makes no choices for himself save to survive through obedience. It's not even just Ramsay he does this for, as both Roose and Lady Dustin treat like a tool in their machinations. The fact that his chapters go through the most re-naming is a clear indication that his identity has become fluid. Ultimately, while still in enourmas physical and emotional pain, his re-asserting of himself, ironically through saving someone from one of his two (extended) families, brings him some small measure of peace.
  5. Appointing a Kingsguard before you've actually seized the throne is an unnecessary move, only done by Renly because he was obsessed with pomp and ceremony/was looking for something to focus his troops on while they meandered around. Robert had no need of a formal bodyguard order while surrounded by an army of his friends and allies. However, after formally becoming King yes, Lyn 100% should have been made a Kingsguard. His strength at arms, command abilities, and regional/political value are all very strong.
  6. As mentioned Varys has a size advanatage and a rougher background, which should mean more direct experience in unarmed combat. However, Littlefinger likely received some level of martial training growing up at Riverrun, otherwise he wouldn't have even known how to challenge Brandon. I'd says Varys in a pinch, but it would be comical through and through.
  7. I would say the Martells are up there as well. While they've done a better job than the Tulleys in recent wars, they couldn't even coordinate all the houses in Dorne during the anti-Dornish Blackfyre Rebellion. Part of this is due to there being greater cultural divides between sandy and salty Dornishmen than anything the Tulleys or Tyrells have to deal with, but it's still notable for a region that should have a sense of identity rivaling the North's.
  8. To the OP, bastards are bastards everywhere. But, if the bastard is well connected and looked after, they can rise far. First Men Culture does not seem notably different from Andal culture in that regard. The two are really not as different as they are often made out to be, and hold the same basic tenants as iron-clad rules (guest right, patriarchal family structures, anti-kinslaying). Regarding the debate around Starks being given preferential treatment at the Wall, it's very clearly a real thing, but if you've ever worked in fundraising then the idea of being a bit overly nice to your major patron isn't quite as repulsive as the word "nepotism" sounds.
  9. Tywin. Since the most serious Blackfyre threat was quashed before Bloodraven took over as Hand, I don't think that came be counted on his list of Hand-accomplishments (Handishments?). Tywin served Aerys so well he not only provided a counter-weight to the king's utter incompetence, but even led the realm to thriving. Selmy is an incredible battle commander, but is possibly being manipulated by the other political powers within Mereen. Tyrion did a great job, but one successful battle (which he would have eventually lost without Tywin and the Tyrells riding in when they did) does not equal 20 years of success. Septon Barth had the advantage of working with the best Targ king in history. Jon Arryn was a stabilizer, but was unable to really do much about the negative influences during Robert's reign.
  10. Jackson was an established veteran who was killed by his own men on accident, not a green boy who botched his alliances. As to your larger point, the causes of each war are too vastly different to equate them beyond the agrarian point you made and the fact both were civil wars. The Confederate States were fighting for independence, but not as a unified nation behind an ancient tradition of a past dynasty. Had the CSA succeeded they would have like split into a very loose assembly of states, and culturally were very different from one another. Furthermore, the issue of state's rights as regards to slavery has no direct (or even indirect) equal in the WOT5K, and was the driving force of the U.S. Civil War that had been a festering issue for decades leading up to the conflict. Finally, while there is a comparison to be made in the Confederacy's early successes compared to Robb's, the Union did not prevail through betrayals or marriage alliances. They won because the South was almost constantly playing defense in its home land and had no real strategy for victory besides attrition. As a side note, I will grant that failures of diplomacy is one point of comparison you could make between the two causes. The CSA was unable to get any foreign power to recognize its autonomy and offer assistance, while Robb's cause was awful at attracting support outside the North. The lack of outside help certainly made both causes harder to sustain, as foreign assistance had been critical to the American Revolution.
  11. Magic as an elemental force which certain individuals have the ability to manipulate. There are also specific geographic locations which are deeper steeped in it, as Mel mentions being more powerful at the Wall than anywhere else in her life (the fact she worships a different god than should be present at the Wall lends credence to my point).
  12. Fevre Dream. The plot moves along at a strange pace, but it's a well told story that takes vampire lore in a very fun direction.
  13. Peasants can still own property, so there is logic behind the legal institution of marriage for them. Remember, a wealthy merchant who is not from a landed family would technically be a commoner, but they would have a lot of assets that need a clear line of control should anything happen to them. Also, weddings are just fun and people like to have a reason to celebrate, especially in a society where life for a commoner suck as badly as Westeros does.
  14. I'm not sure what the motivator would be for a Princess of Dorne to engage in this. The logic behind a Lord's right to the First Night is that there is value in a virgin bride, and peasants owe things of value to their Lord. Westeros doesn't seem to place much value in male virginity, so a Princess taking a male peasant doesn't make sense from that angle. I suppose a Princess could just want a bit of side action, but as the others above indicated that runs a ton of risks.
  15. I've personally seen more hate for Stoneheart than love. My understanding is that many people dislike her one-dimensional nature, and that while Cat clearly paid a price for coming back the entire character of Stoneheart is unnecessary. Personally I like that she acts a personification of how the horrors of war can turn good people into monsters. That said, there's not much of a personality to get engaged in, and my prior point of could have been supplanted by a more gradual descent.