Runaway Penguin

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About Runaway Penguin

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    Lord Too Fat To Eat

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    Military history, technology, tactics, literature, music, hiking, whine and cheese...

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  1. The bones did not pass before the Neck was cut - actually they started after that already happened. However I really do not think that the fact of Ironborn invasion would cause either detour to Maidenpool (way too far away through war zone) or Mollen returning (I mean he would assume raven mail informs Robb - his warnirng would come late, no raven flies to Greywater Watch). A most sensible option is him being guest at GW until the Ironborn are removed - and maybe even after that. I don't think Howland Reed would send Ned's boned into danger willy-nilly and he may even know about Lady Dustin's enmity... Unless the Lady is part of the conspiracy (at times she gives the impression of lady who doth protesteth much). The Lady is very bitter about the Southron ambitions and shows interest in the crypts... Maybe she knows why the bones need to reach their destination?
  2. The Gift was able to support a standing army 10,000 strong. That means there has to be quite some surplus - and a 700-ft tall windbreaker creates a rather good "wind shade", so climate int he Gift might be actually less harsh than a bit further down tot he South. It also means the settlements were not scattered and isolated - even if you take rather remote areas in Europe, most villages are not so remote that you'd not see a signal fire. Actually for the Gift, a settlement structure similar to say fortified villages on Balkans would make sense - at least villages with fortified church. Again, Balkans have pretty harsh climate in winters and all that - despite being south - and historically they were the "military border", always under threat of raids and incursions. Did not depopulate them, contrary to that, made local Lords incentivize settlements, as they knew that the denser the settlement, the easier the defense. And again, these raids were usually by rather strong paramilitary force. Sure, wooden holdfast burns. Rather badly actually unless you can prepare it for burning from the inside, pile timber etc. - Wildlings with little to no armor would find it hard to set them on fire. The key Norman tool of conquest - Motte-and-bailey - was wooden. Limes had a lot of wooden parts. Most US Army forts in the West were wooden - heck, during American civil War one of the basic means of road control were wooden blockhouses. Heck, wood was popular material for field fortifications all the way to Balkan wars of 1990s, and that is with all the modern tools such as white phosphorus grenades or flamethrowers. Wooden structures did not fare well against strong besiegers, but they were always pretty expedient way of building fortifications against raiders (which, among others, makes Night Watch castles stupid - a pallisade would make the basicallt impregnable to Wildling sneak attack by climbers, while not pose a problem for Norther lords. As for transporting stolen goods, meat is even harder to transport than cattle (as cattle moves by itself). As a Wildling raider you carry back only what you carry on your back. If you have to dodge armed bands from villages, with Watch being alerted and blocking your nearest escape over the wall... And you need to do it fast, else you are dead meat. If the villagers are smart, the holdfast would also hold supplies for winter. And a net of villages, combined with the Wall, would allow warning against raids (as esp. if NW dwindled, villages would organize their own lookouts on the Wall). All in all, Westerosi population inability to cope with such a simple problem ties down with their inability to innovate, build up infrastructure and industry unless nudged by their rulers, who come from the same stock Or rather it is just running into the World of Cool
  3. That is actually a laughable explanation. Even the exceptionally strong raid against Castle Black would fail at an inhabited Queenscrown - no siege equipment to take the stone tower, and even if they saw the villagers go across the hidden causeway, it would mean one approach and slaughter. I know GRRM wanted to make the conflict between Wildlings and North more severe than would be in realistic Wildling power, but still... If you take real history, it would seem you had kinda depopulated belt moving across the country for example in Saxon conquest of Britain (leaping forward few times a generation with arrival of new settlers), but there the Saxons had quite the numerical and military advantage. Raiders were also trying to get through Limes all the time - and left little impression. Steady wave of large bands and armies bent on expansion was something else, esp. with Rome collapsing, but we do not have that here. Few raiding parties a year would not depopulate such a large area - if anything, they would lead to Watch having quite a good grid of fortified villages / holdfasts throughout the Gift, with people armed and ready to defend themselves - and to, if needed, reinforce the Wall garrison. It's kinda as plausible as Canada being depopulated by Inuit raiders in any case, I guess it is another example of Reality getting into the way of Cool factor EDIT: To the topic, Targs did not build much, everyone before them as well. Heck, where are free cities the like of Hanse in Westeros? With such low population density even on populated South, any local lord would be hard pressed to act against large trade cities. At the same time there seem to be a host of natural chokepoints for trade where city would spring up on its own - and often on border of two kingdoms (such as Neck), where such cities would be able to haggle for more rights (until becoming independent) by trading their support (and incomes) for influence.
  4. Note that we still do not know what happened at Dragonstone - apart from heavy losses among Lannister veterans. A man Stannis trusted to hold out might have easily figured the more important objective - heck, he could have even struck a deal with the Tyrells. For all we know, he is now part of Aurane Water's fleet.
  5. Well, a force of 10k dropping to 1k over 300 years can happen easily. The real question is how did they maintain the 10k for millenia before In any case, one of reasons may be that the failure of NW to stand up to a supernatural invasion (dragons) did lead to everyone just dismissing them. I mean... They boast their main job is defence against monsters, then monsters show up and they go... "Hey, 7k, his is your problem!" Still... The world building around the Wall is kinda shoddy, starting with the Wall itself (GRRM himself admitted that the 700 feet was based on the value of cool without thinking much about the real world implications and that it gots in the way later on). Same goes for the mostly deserted Gift - I mean, it seems to be pretty rich and Watch was able to sustain itself out of there, it is more a separate kingdom - sounds like ideal place to settle if you are tired with the 7k conflicts. Would few raiding parties be enough to depopulate it? I hardly think so - the Thenn raiding party could be held off by a small castle or even wooden keep - definitely long enough for a garrison from a Watch castle to arrive to relieve the siege. Hardly worse than brigands around Kingswood etc. Yes, winters are harsh, but a 700-ft high mountain range (ie the Wall) would be a nice windbreak, making the area possibly more hospitable than more Southern parts of Northern North. Few ill-armed raiders are not gonna change this. Same way, NW would not leave old libraries . And NW would not be wanting of conventional weapons and arms - for Gods Old and New's sake, you have at least 9,000 spare sets, no? I mean yes, leathers and stuff would probably go bad with disrepair, but steel would not. Not to mention Watch lacks logistical background. The logical way would be a central garrison BEHIND the Wall, with good network of roads (to allow action even if Wildlings cu the Wall by lodging on it). And don't get me started on the "No fortifications" rule - I mean it is easy to have fortifications that are enough to prevent a raiding party from storming a Watch castle fromt he rear, yet weak enough to make sure the King of Winter can smash the gate and crack heads if need be.
  6. Not sure he would be killed twice. By a twist, he might end up practically immortal by whatever will be used to revive him... Which in itself would be a pretty tough fate.
  7. By definition Ghiscari legionnaires will be stronger than the Unsullied (physically) and well trained (three year mandatory service is already enough to get very competent force). they may not be as fearless as the brainwashed Unsullied, but fear keeps you alive If they have any say inb tactical disposition, they will keep together and use the Yunkai menagerie as arrow fodder. though with desertion of some of the Free Companies they will probably lack cavalry, so would be hard pressed to dictate the flow of battle. Note that while the besiegers seem to have enough heavy weapons, they are employed in AA defences, so may not be readily available in the battle.
  8. @TriggerWarning Gold cloaks were melting away, sellswords would too, city population would if anything not offer much resistance at worst, would join in at best. While Stirling castle resisted siege, say Badajoz castle fell to escalade in much similar situation and so did one of Badajoz bastions. Not to mention the four ladder escalade at Ahmednuggur or one ladder escalade at Gawilghur. And that was against strong and at least initially fairly determined garrisons - which however focused (at least in the case of Badajoz and Gawilghur) on defending against main assault. Stirling castle was not really assaulted from what I read - just besieged and bombarded. The garrison of 30 would be hard pressed to repel an assault on one place, let alone on several. After all... Stirling was besieged after the end of Wallace's uprising, as a last outpost and was not really wotrth the losses. There was no relief coming, so the English could just sit around and throw nasty things at it, with the garrison surrendering after further resistance was futile, for whatever reason - but even simple surrender (and the English sparing their lives) seems to sugegst there was no assault.
  9. All the easy falling castles are understaffed or demoralized. However so would be Red Keep in case of Stannis getting into the city. Do not forget tyrion stripped a lot of garrison to weaken Cersei. She even acknowledged that they may hold out in Maegor's for some time - pointing to losing the rest quickly.
  10. Benjen knows. He is about the only person to whom Ned might divulge the truth, especially if he was able to piece a lot together on his own. Both brothers would at least need to agree on one sort of story, so that people do not get different replies to same answers from Ned and from Benjen - for example the difference between "She went willingly" and "She was kidnapped and raped". then again getting notes in tune would be suspicious if Benjen did not get explanation and HE might start askinbg questions...
  11. Less prophecies and more legal procedures Stannis did not fight because of the prophecy, he fought because he thought he is the legitimate heir to Robert with the kids being an issue of twincest. He needed to dally with renly to get bigger land army, but he should have ignored the Storm's End until later - though the castle held the "proof" of Twincest (Edric Storm).
  12. If the chain/wildfire did not work (which it might not if the attack was earlier), the relief army cannot get across the river easily, they would have to go the long way, ford Blackwater upstream and. In the city itself you would have Alesia situation - Red Keep besieged, with besieging forces having a line of fortifications (city walls) protecting them from the outside. That alone might give Tyrells a pause and Tywin would be in a rather tricky position. There was not that much forces left in KL once the Goldcloaks would eventually break.And if the city populance would join in - which they might - there might be no sack. Sacks of cities (unless deliberate) usually happened when troops got out of control after a bloody assault, but if the city fell quickly...
  13. The point is: You can disperse them in the Gifts, they do not need to kneel and at the same time are isolated form the NOrthern lords. They already lived in a very cold place and they survived a long march through wintry landscape (even as it was remarked it was unusually free of game etc.) - even in winter Gifts will be considerably better place than Frostfangs. You do not need to rebuild village right away. But house walls and bases will provide you with a far better place to pitch your tent than random wilderness - and villages tend to be built where there is good ground and where you can survive winters. Take Queenscrown (well, the only example we have, really): Small village, but with a stone tower and by the lake -> you can go ice fishing, you have a stone building and you have presumably game in the forest. That should sustain you better than Haunted Forest untilfirst false spring comes. Settle a clan there - there you go. Rinse and repeat all over the Gift. To stop them making nuisance out of themselves, cosnscript bulk of military age males and raiders to the Wall, to keep them busy. They do not have to organize and maintain large community. They are rather similar to the mountain clans and they have a HUGE space to spread out in, where they do not have to build and maintain large communities.
  14. For comparison, Lapland has roughly the same surface as the Gift and currently hsts 180k inhabitants. Far less in old times to be sure, but the Gift and New Gift should be pretty usable to house all the Mance's people. Norway around year 1,000 AD housed some 450,000 inhabitants on a surface of roughly 4 Gifts or 2 Gift+New Gifts. Lack of infrastructure would hurt, on the other hand Queenscrown is hardly the only place there where remnants of the village are relatively visible - and after all Mance's host survived a long march in rather cold weather already, so the Wildlings have what it takes to get by.
  15. Four thousand in exstremis, not in regular settlement. Danger made them band up, once danger passes, they would split up. There was plenty conflicts between them even when held together by Mance with a single purpose (getting through the Wall).