The Mountain That Flies

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  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. The Watch is a military order, and even with a great reduction in knights and no regular use for the kind of tactics Mance employed in Storm, he would have still been familiar with them. In fact, Mance may well have been on a fast track for leadership based on his intelligence and lifetime with the Watch. This would have given him even greater exposure to these tactics than just a curious Ranger would have gotten.
  8. Is there anything confirmed for the release of "The She-Wolves of Winter"? My understanding is that is still the next D&E story set to be released.
  9. Not only was Tywin young, but he had just come back from winning a war. It makes sense that he would be inclined toward hardline approaches.
  10. It's important to remember this situation Sandor was in. He had no money, was wanted by the crown, and had no prospects for improvement. So, while it is a bit risky for multiple reasons to just ride up to the Twins as you described, it's the best option he has. Thats not to say he wouldn't have had a hard time getting an auidience either Robb or Cat, but it was worth trying. And if they did confirm Arya's identity, Robb would have been pretty heavily bound by honor to reward Sandor heavily. If that means lands, so be it. If Sandor says he wants to kill for Robb, pure pragmatism (concerning Sandor's skills) would have justified granting that wish.
  11. Just because GRRM is a progressive writer does not make him perfect at balancing all aspects of human sexuality in his works. If I had to guess I would say being a heterosexual, cis-gendered guy makes writing with the gaze you described more natural for him. While he does try the push outside of his comfort zone on sex, it's simply not as a big a strength for him as it is for Chabon and Gaiman, which is fine because there are areas of world building where he is superior to both of them. It's also fine for you (and I) to want more nuanced depictions of the sexual spectrum in fantasy works, but to quote one of the author's you adore, GRRM is not your bitch. Oh, and Connington doesn't think openly gay thoughts because he's repressed. Does he explicitly say he's repressed? No, I inferred it through understanding what an unreliable narrator is.
  12. We know too little about Brandon to say with certainty what kind of Lord Paramount he would have been, but it seems like a safe bet to say he would have rewarded his brother handsomely for winning the war and saving his (Brandon's) bacon. There are tons of acres of open land around the Gift and New Gift, and putting a Eddard in charge there would suit everyone's interests. Alternatively, Barbary Dustin is single and believed she was going to marry Ned before Brandon died in the real timeline, but how she would react to jon Snow is anyone's guess.
  13. Bowen was/is in a position whose demands were/are beyond his abilities, so he's doing (what he viewes as) the best he can. As others on this thread have already pointed out, Jon's actions aren't that hard to cast in a non-heroic light when you take away the objectivity we naturally have as readers of his story. That makes Bowen's situation, in turn, incredibly complicated and tenuous. It's not that hard to see how a straightforward guy could decide to do what he did. And straightforward does not equate perfectly to stupid.
  14. Is there any mention of why the Targs stopped the practice of slavery, or if it neatly lined up with them moving Dragonstone?
  15. The mod probably beefed up their holdings to make them more of a challenge (I haven't played it so I can't talk with any real authority). New Ghos might hold some level of prestige/sway over others in the area, but I can't recall anything in the text that would give them such vast direct holdings.