Dukhasinov

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  1. I seem to be on a different wavelength than most of the fandom regarding the relationship between magic and dragons. People seem to take passages like "Magic went out of the world the day the last dragon died" and take it at face value, and assume that dragons are the root of all magic in the world. I guess this is kind of fair, because characters in the book seem to make the same assumption. The Undying, noticing that their magic is suddenly stronger after hearing news of three dragons hatching into the world for the first time in a century, want to secure the baby dragons to somehow amplify their magic. I submit that the Undying, like most of the fanbase, have confused correlation with causation. The birth of the dragons did not cause magic re re-awaken. The re-awakening of magic allowed the dragon eggs to hatch, and also, I think, allowed the White Walkers to re-emerge. Magic is generally assumed to have started to fade with the Doom of Valyria, which killed off most of the world`s dragons. But it seems to me that whether or not the Doom caused the fading of magic, or vice-versa, or whether they were totally unrelated, the death of so many dragons in the Doom had nothing to do with the fading of magic. Rather, it seems to me that the suddenly much smaller population of dragons had difficulty surviving in a suddenly magic-free world. It seems pretty clear that the Valyrian dragonriders used magic to control their mounts, so dragons as a species are somehow connected to, and somehow dependent upon magic, without really being supernatural creatures in-and-of themselves. I could be wrong, but I think Balerion, Vhagar, and Maraxes were hatched on Dragonstone shortly after the Doom. Aegon`s descendants would hatch and ride their own dragons from the eggs laid by these three. It is generally assumed that Vhagar and Maraxes were female, and that Balerion was male. It was customary for Targaryen princelings to be given a dragon egg in their cradle, so that dragon and rider could bond and grow up together. However, as time went on, fewer and fewer of the eggs ever hatched, and many that did were sickly or deformed. Many Targaryen princes were left to adopt dragons who had outlived their original riders. Maegor inherited Balerion from his father. It can reasonably be assumed that Maegor had a cradle egg, and it failed to hatch. Viserys and his son Aemond both had dud cradle eggs, which allowed them to inherit Balerion and Vhagar, respectively. It is also noted that subsequent generations of dragons did not grow as large as their ancestors. This is often blamed on the confined environment of the Dragonpit, but many of the royal dragons were raised in the open air of Dragonstone. It seems that dragons found it difficult to reproduce and thrive in a suddenly magic-free world, like fish after a sudden drop in the water`s oxygen level. After the Dance, there were still four living dragons, and many eggs. The last living dragon died a pitiful and stunted thing, and twenty years after the Dance, no more eggs hatched. So, dragons clung to existance for three or four generation after the Doom. Only the extraordinary longevity of the creatures prevented their extinction for as long as it did.
  2. As much crap as I give Rob Stark, his ultimate ruin was largely the result of factors that were bigger than he was and that he had no control over. Leaving Winterfell lightly defended was a sound decision. The castle is hundreds of miles inland, in the middle of the most geographically defensible of the seven kingdoms. As long as Moat Cailin and White Harbor are well garrisoned, the rest of the North is pretty safe from any large scale invasion. Theon`s betrayal was a black swan that no-one could have predicted. Rob`s cause was pretty much hopeless after the Blackwater. With the Reach brought back into the royal fold and Stannis knocked out, Tywin had overwhelming numbers and nothing to distract him from finishing the Northerners. He didn`t march on Rob`s army only because he had already engineered the Red Wedding.
  3. Yeah, I can`t blame Rob for losing Winterfell the way he did. Like you said, no-one who didn`t have inside knowledge could have pulled off what Theon did. Also, it`s ureasonable to expect Rob to anticipate an Ironborn invasion because of how catastrophically stupid it was. The most sparcely populated of the seven kingdoms deciding to invade the northernmost, geographically largest of the kingdoms on the eve of winter? You can`t predict that kind of stupid. Actually, we are given pretty good details on what Edmure knew and didn`t know. He told Rob, "I didn`t know!" Rob told him, "You were commanded to hold Riverrun, nothing more." Actually, in the military, a commander in the field separated from central authority is expected to take initiative, not blindly follow the last order given. If Edmure was aware of Rob`s intended "End State," he could have adjusted his actions accordingly. As it was, blocking the Lannisters` movement across the river was consistent with his mandate to defend Riverrun.
  4. We don`t have a great deal of detailed information on Tywin`s campaign in the Riverlands, but we do know that the Westerlands, in terms of manpower and material resources, is arguably the most powerful of the seven kingdoms, rivaled only by the Reach. The Riverlands is vulnerable to having few natural barriers to invaders, which is why they spent most of their history being double-penetrated by the Iron Islands and the Storm Kings. He also used the tried-and-true feudal tactic of conducting chevauche raids on the lands of the Tully`s vassals, encouraging them to leave the Tully`s main army to defend their own lands. Edmure made this even worse by intentionally dividing his forces to protect his hinterlands, allowing his small detachments to be defeated in detail. And Tywin WAS suffering from guerilla raids, i.e. the Brotherhood without Banners. His supply lines were never in danger because "Supply lines" are mostly a concept of material intensive, logistics-heavy modern warfare. Before there was a need to supply armies with a constant flow of fuel, spare parts, and ammunition, most armies lived off of forage. In fact, they talk about feeding the army through forage A LOT in the books. ("You haven`t been robbed! You`ve just been good and foraged!") Hannibal`s army was able to camp out in Italy for 14 years while the Romans controlled the sea. He did that by taking everything he needed from his enemies` civilian population. Tywin is also not suffering from desertion because his forces are well supplied, close to home, and mostly victorious. He might well have suffered from grumbling lords while Rob was raiding in his backyard, but we don`t have Tywin`s POV. On the other hand, Tywin has a reputation for not tolerating lip from anyone in his service.
  5. Edmure actually performed well at Riverrun, as far as his standing orders went. He blocked the enemy`s movement at a key choke point. The failure lay in Rob for not communicating his intentions to Edmure. Roose also performed well with his lopsided force. He met the enemy at the Green Fork and withdrew in good order. Later, he used guile and deception to seize control of Harrenhal. It seems to me that after Riverrun, Rob was in an excellent position to challenge Tywin directly. He had broken and scattered Jaime`s host, and swelled his own ranks with the troops from Riverrun and the Twins.The fresh levies at Oxcross would have taken months to work up to combat readiness and actually get into the field. If he had marched on King`s Landing, he would have put Tywin in a VERY difficult position, facing two opposing armies coming from different directions. Tywin would probably have been forced to withdraw into King`s Landing and prepare to defend the walls. Instead, Rob left Roose Bolton in charge of his foot at the Trident, and took his cavalry and Tully levies WEST, FARTHER from King`s Landing, to ravage the Westerlands and prevent the Lannisters from raising additional troops. So, I guess he`s a bit of Hannibal, in addition to Custer. Looking at the big picture, he lost track of his original objective (reaching King`s Landing and securing the release/avenging of his family) and allowed his followers to declare him King in the North, which changed the game completely. If he had remained an aggrieved lord instead of a secessionist pretender, he could have supported the claim of Renly or Stannis and strategically encircled King`s Landing, which is the ultimate objective. Instead, he tried to instigate an alliance with the Seastone Chair to strategically encircle Casterly Rock, which, while that would have been nice, would not have been a decisive end to the war.
  6. There has been a lot written about Rob Stark`s tactical genius compared to his strategic and political incompetence, but I submit that his tactical brilliance is very much overrated. It seems to me that he won tactical victories because he looked for the easiest tactical opportunities regardless of whether or not they promises strategic gains. I`m not going to touch on his disastrous marriage or his foolish release of Theon Greyjoy, because it`s been gone over and gone over, and I think everyone is familiar with it. It`s also very popular to compare Rob Stark favorably with Tywin Lannister, on account of Rob outmaneuvering him so many times before his ultimate defeat. However, Rob and his cause were eventually destroyed by Tywin`s machinations. It doesn`t matter how many jabs you land of you`re knocked out by a hard right in the third round. Tywin failed to pin Rob down because Rob`s audacity and extremely risky maneuvers were hard to predict, especially for a seasoned and cautious commander like Tywin Lannister. If Rob and Tywin were playing Street Fighter, Tywin would be stringing together combos, while Rob would be furiously buttonmashing (Probably with Blanca). Rob`s sending his cavalry off to relieve Riverrun while sending his foot on a delaying action against Tywin came as such a surprise because it was so foolish. If Roose Bolton`s withdrawal in good order from the Green Fork had turned into a route, it would have been a complete massacre, without the Northern horse to screen the withdrawal. And then he continued to push his luck by keeping his force divided, leaving Roose Bolton to his own devices while taking his cavalry and newly acquired Riverrun men to raid the Westerlands. And while drawing Tywin away from Harrenhal by attacking the Westerlands was a good move, there doesn`t seem to be any evidence that Rob instructed Roose to take Harrenhal. It looks like Bolton did that on his own initiative. Also, while everyone (including Rob and the Blackfish) is quick to jump down Edmure Tully`s throat for blocking Tywin`s progress into Rob`s trap, that was entirely Rob`s fault for not informing Edmure of his overall plan. This was a very easily avoidable mistake, to. If your plan is to draw your enemy across a river and then trap and destroy him, the commander you have in the position to block the crossing should definitely know what`s going on, so he doesn`t, you know, fuck up your plan. Rob was brave, audacious, and clever, but he was very reckless, and also very lucky. If his foot had been routed at the Green Fork, (risking the annihilation of more than half his army) or if he himself had been killed storming the Crag (A castle without a substantial garrison or high ranking hostages, and so strategically useless) his career could have ended even more quickly than it did. In this, he was very similar to George Armstrong Custer. Custer`s career lasted a lot longer than Jon Stark`s, but his reckless daring finally got the better of him.
  7. The only direct killing I advocated was of the Greyjoys and the Priests of the Drowned God. Everything else I stated was against the Islands` economic foundation. Which, of course, would cause a lot death as a second order consequece. Eggs and omelettes and all that. Yes, Sherman`s depredations were mostly confined to Georgia, but Phil Sheridan emulated him in the Carolinas. LINCOLN`S eventual plan was to bring them back into the Union. But Lincoln wasn`t commanding troops in the field. Grant`s plan was to cause the South so much pain that they would never dare bear arms against the Federal Government again. There are a lot of colorful quotes from Grant and Sherridan regarding their reaving of the South, and most of them come to field reports sent to General Grant. I have destroyed over 2,000 barns filled with wheat, hay and farming implements; over 70 mills filled with flour and wheat, and have driven in front of the Army over 4,000 head of stock and have killed and issued to the troops not less than 3,000 sheep. Tomorrow I will continue the destruction down to Fisher’s Mill. When this is completed, the Valley from Winchester to Staunton, 92 miles, will have but little in it for man or beast.....from an Oct. 7, 1864 report to Gen. Grant from Gen. Sheridan. Sherman`s notion was to destroy the entire planter class that was the impetus for the slave economy and the rebellion itself. And between the deliberate economic destruction of the war and the policies of Reconstruction, it was a resounding success. Bengladesh is a valid comparison. Much of the rural South was made of subsistance farmers living without electricity or running water well into the 1950s. The sharecropping and tenant farming system "upgraded" the Southern economy from one of chattel slavery to one of serfdom. But at least this made for a greater degree of racial equality, since there were a huge number of newly impoverished whites after the war to be sucked into the debt-peonage system alongside the newly freed slaves. So....progress?
  8. Link between religion, piracy, and power. Two great sieges.... Algeria or Libya. I might guess Malta, but they only had one great siege. Might those "gentlemen" be Oruc Reis and Heyreddin Barbarossa?
  9. My guess is either Denmark or Tunisia. Long occupations and granting land to foreign lords is exactly the situation that creates long, bloody insurgencies. That`s what happened to Ser Aubrey Crakehal. If you`re going to try and change the culture of the Islands by replacing people, you need to start at the bottom, not the top. Instead of setting lords from the Green Lands over a seething mass of angry Ironborn (who will eventually drag him out of his castle and drown him in the sea) deport large numbers of common born Ironmen and give their land to settlers from the mainland. Having them settle the Gift isn`t a bad idea. This worked pretty well for England in their subjugation of the Irish, but they ran out of steam once they finished resettling Ulster. That`s why Northern Ireland is still part of the U.K. Most of the point of my "Stick" plan is about crippling their ability to conduct raids for as long as possible, given the limits of the Seven Kingdoms` military capability. Destroying all of their ports and boats will create an immediate need to replace their fishing fleet quickly, or starve. This will deplete their forests, and hopefully leave little timber left to build longships. Destroying their mines will leave them little to trade for foreign timber.
  10. "This war differs from other wars, in this particular. We are not fighting armies but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war." -William Tecumseh Sherman Sherman didn`t directly kill many civilians, but he gutted the infrastucture everywhere he went. He destroyed rail lines, burned farms and grain elevators, broke canals and levies. Between the Civil War and the end of WWII, the standard of living of much of the rural South was roughly on par with Bangladesh.
  11. Throughout the history of the Seven Kingdoms, the Iron Island have been, at best, faithless and disloyal vassals. At their worst they leap back into their old reaving ways, turning the west coast of Westeros into a bleeding wound, which seems to happen every time the Iron Throne`s power wains. (Haren the Red, the Red Kraken, Dagon the Last Reaver, and finally, Balon Twice Crowned.) Since the Andal Invasion, they have violently resisted every attempt to bring them into the mainstream of Westerosi culture. Aegon`s breaking of Harrenhal, and the union of Westeros under one crown made the Old Way impractical, but never really ended it for good. Civilized societies in the real world have had to deal with the agony of having an active and aggressive raiding culture as an immediate neighbor, and the solution is never simple or pleasant. While the Targaryens had their dragons, the threat of dragonfire was enough to keep the Ironmen in line. Once the dragons were gone, the kings no longer had the centralized executive power to enact a final solution. Robert`s Rebellion presented the best opportunity since Ser Aubrey Crakehal`s conquest of the Iron Islands to impose a lasting remedy to the problem. Fort the first time in generations, the Iron Islands were laid low, invaded and occupied by the lords of the Green Lands. Robert`s clemency to Balon Greyjoy seems inexplicable=y generous without context. Robert`s power lay in his uncanny talent for making friends out of enemies. He could knock you unconcious in a fight, wake you up with a slap, pick you up with a hearty laugh, buy you another beer, and make you a lifelong friend. It was largely this quality that won him his throne. Robert being Robert, it was all he could really do. Unfortunately, in Balon Greyjoy`s case, this was a poor solution. Tywin Lannister (The William Tecumseh Sherman of Westeros.) might have preferred a more long-term solution if he had been in overall command. He might have seen the unpleasant truth that the Ironborn would always be a blade hovering over the neck of the Seven Kingdoms. The royal army would not have the numbers, resources, or stomach to scour the islands clean of human life, but they could be removed as a threat for generations to come by tearing out the root of the Ironborns` culture and economy. I would suggest Tywin`s March to the Sea start with the destruction of every boat too large to be rowed by one man. If this results in the destruction of the Iron Islands` fishing fleet, the resulting famine will result in far fewer Ironmen to trouble the kingdom in the future. Close the entrance of every mine that can be found. Seal the mouth of every major harbor-starting with Lordsport with boulders, or the scuttled hulks of the Iron Fleet. By the time they rebuild their fishing fleet, hopefully they will have stripped their forests so badly that they won`t have the timber to build longships. The Wardens of the West and North could enforce an embargo of trading timber to the Iron Islands. Next, attack the cultural underpinnings of Ironborn society. Tear down Pyke stone by stone, and have the Seastone Chair hauled off to King`s Landing to sit at the foot of the Iron Throne. During special occasions, sit the King`s Fool upon it wearing robes of seaweed and a dead squid for a hat. Gather up all the Priests of the Drowned God that can be found and impale them upon Nagga`s Hill. Take the head of every Greyjoy that can be found, except for Balon himself. Make him a collar of his crown and drag him on a royal progress from Lannisport to Oldtown, followed by an unceremonious execution. Tear down Nagga`s Ribs and have them carved into statues of the Seven. Not out of any genuine piety, mind you, but to humiliate the Ironmen and pierce the very heart of their religion. The Faith of the Seven never took root in the Islands because the Ironmen thought it a weakling`s creed. Maybe with all the servants and symbols of the Drowned God overthrown, they will decide that the Seven are stronger gods and be brought more into the Westerosi mainstream. ON THE OTHER HAND..... Maybe Robert had the right idea, but a magnanimous victory did nothing to address the underlying problems of the Iron Islands. The Old Way is attractive because the Iron Islands are bleak and spare of resources. Reaving turns poor fisherman into wealthy men, and provides pride and social standing. Many Ironborn have adapted to the new geopolitical reality of a united Westeros by turning to commerce, but the huge distance around Westeros to reach the rich markets of the Narrow Sea put them at a big disadvantage to, say, White Harbor, or Oldtown. I then propose to dig a canal from the Blue Fork to Ironman`s Bay (using impressed Ironborn labor, of course). Ironborn ships could run a brisk trade in seal skins and mammoth ivory from the Frozen Shore. They could even subcontract with merchants out of Lannisport. The crown could offer a 10 year moritorium on royal customs duties to Islands flagged ships to encourage the startup in trade. It would also make the Iron Fleet a viable strategic asset to be called upon quickly by the Iron Throne to supplement the Royal Fleet. Incidentally, it would also seriously cut down the response time of the Royal Fleet to any future misconduct on the part of the Ironborn. After Stannis retires, the title of Master of Ships could be granted to a younger son of an Ironborn Great House, perhaps. So, what does everyone think? The carrot or the stick? Other thoughts?
  12. Sometimes I wonder if these people building a grand conspiracy theory on the unlikelihood of lemon trees in Braavos are also 9/11 truthers. The significance of the lemon tree is the same as the red door; It`s a small detail that would stick in the mind of a child and be prominent in a person`s earliest memories. We all have memories like that of our early childhood. It`s no more thematically important than that. Braavos has a similar latitude and elevation to the Iron Islands, so we can assume a similar climate; Rainy and windy, mild summers, and wet, dreary winters, but not murderous, like in the North or the Vale. Yes, they grow citrus in Dorne, because the climate is optimal for it. Citrus orchards are NOT feasible in northern latitudes, but that doesn`t mean that the wealthy couldn`t have lemon trees in their courtyard as a novelty. Once a decade or so, Florida gets a winter bad enough to get freezing temperatures that ruin the citrus crops. But it just ruins the fruit. It doesn`t kill the trees. Real world proof that that a lemon tree could survive just fine in Braavos. As for Quaith`s ambiguous prophecies hinting at a different origin for Danny.... I think it`s obvious that Quaith does not have Danny`s best interest at heart. The Shadowbinder`s advice urges her to mistrust Tyrion, Moquro, and Jon Connington, potentially her most useful allies and councilors.
  13. This is not an impossible figure at all. Every able-bodied male would be a warrior. That doesn`t mean that they are professional soldiers as in settled societies. Every family has its own herd of livestock, so the men must know how to ride to manage their herds. And any man who rides to manage their herds must know how to handle a bow to protect his herds from predators and rustlers. Even if a man is also a metalworker or woodworker, he is also, by necessity, a horseman and archer, which means he is also a warrior.
  14. He doesn`t have to pay those debts from the holdings of Casterly Rock. He can carve up the lands and wealth of Lords who stand against Danny.
  15. I don`t think you can call them "Evil" any more than you can call the Terminator evil. Both are omnicidal killbots created to destroy humanity. The Others were created as a weapon to fight humanity, but they`re just a little too good at their job. But they might not have true self-awareness like humans, so they might not have enough free agency to really be called evil.