Free Northman Reborn

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  1. Or rather, 80 Houses which Castle Black has ravens for. Remember, each raven can only fly to one destination, and you will want multiple ravens in stock for the most prominent Houses - those you want to communicate with most often. Therefore practical constraints will likely mean that Castle Black will not have ravens that can fly to every minor castle with a Maester in the North. Else they would need to keep thousands of ravens at any given time in their rookery. Not to mention the ravens meant for all the castles in the South.
  2. Good point about the Houses Allied to Roose who might not have ravens sent to them. Regarding House Slate, they were once petty Kings, once held the Wolfsden similar to the Lockes and Flints, and are sworn directly to Winterfell and not to one of Winterfell's vassals. They are a major House of the North.
  3. The lords have vassals, the vassals have vassals and sometimes the vassals of the vassals have vassals. "Lords who have vassals" is a bit of a broad term, I think.
  4. Here we go again. The "law" is a bit of a myth in Westeros. It comes down to the interests and desires of the lord who has the power. Roose didn't want Eddard to find out about his transgressions, because Eddard would act against it. If an amoral or indifferent Lord Stark happened to be ruling Winterfell, Roose would not have to care. Basically, the commoner appeals to the goodwill of his local lord. If he does nothing, the commoner can probably appeal to that lord's liege lord and so on and so forth. And in each case, rather than some Maester reading out the "law" to the lord in question, it is the choice of the lord whether he wants to act on the matter or not. And that choice will be influenced by his interests, his morals, the politics of the time, and the power and interest that his liege lord may have in the matter. In short, it is a bit of a free for all in Westeros. There is no court of law, or even a book of laws. Just power influenced by custom.
  5. Agreed. It will be a mixture of the two options. Some of the "spokes" will use ravens and some riders. Some petty lords will have Maesters, some won't. Some Landed Knights will even have Maesters. Clearly some of the vassals of House Glover have Maesters, else Aemon could not send ravens to the hidden places in the depths of the Wolfswood. But as Lady Dustin tells us, there are also many lords who don't have Maesters and aspire to get one. So the answer is inbetween. EDIT The major Houses of the North are: Mormont Umber Karstark Bolton Hornwood Cerwyn Flint of Widows Watch Manderly Locke Slate Glover Tallhart Dustin Ryswell Reed Flint of Flint's Finger That's 16 houses. However, we know House Reed does not have a rookery. We can exchange them with House Stark, who is not on the above list, and who does have a rookery. So the number remains 16. Then we have the Mountain Clans, of which there are 40, varying widely in size. I would expect that the larger clans like Wull, Norrey, Flint, Harckley, Burley, Knott and Liddle likely have ravens. Certainly Martin says they are the equivalent of petty lords, with some having castles, albeit fairly small ones. Next we have the 3 major lords of Skagos, and we don't know if they have Maesters or not. After that we get down to the vassal lords of the primary lords. Clearly, if even some of the Wolfswood clans sworn to Deepwood Motte have ravens, then petty lords in the more developed areas like the Manderly, Dustin and other lands will also have ravens. So in short, it is difficult to quantify how many northern Houses have Maesters. I don't think the "40" number represents all of them. But I also don't think that every rookery has ravens that can fly to every other rookery. For practical reasons they will have to be selective in which Houses they have dedicated ravens for.
  6. Same applies to the White Ravens. They would also not go to every House with a Maester.
  7. There would also be a Raven limit. Meaning Ravens are expensive and take a long time to train and transport. So Castle Black might not have a raven originating from every keep in the North that has a Maester. There might be a hub and spoke system in place, where ravens are sent to main keeps, with those keeps usually having ravens that can fly on to their vassals.
  8. Just to clarify, was this in response to this thread or the one on military strength?
  9. At the end of the day, the legalities are mere technicalities for idle discussion among those who care about it. In the end, it comes down to power. And the truth is that from the evidence, any of the Lords Paramount could decide to rebel, and most of his kingdom would follow his lead, bar maybe the Riverlands and Reach, where the Lords Paramount are in general less respected than in the kingdoms where older lineages hold sway. Sure, there would have been the odd ambitious vassal lord who saw greater prospects for himself by aligning with the Iron Throne, as we saw even in Robert's Rebellion, but it seems pretty clear from the Rebellion itself, that a large number of vassal lords - certainly the majority in the North, and arguably in the Vale too - saw their duty to their Lord Paramount as greater than the duty to the Iron Throne. Else there could have been no rebellion, let alone a successful one. We know this was also true in Dorne, hence their repeated rebellions, and in the Iron Isles. As it was in the West under Tywin's rule. So just based on that, the "legitimate" power of the Iron Throne was certainly not recognized as above all else in much of Westeros. It would seem that the legitimate rule of the Lords Paramount ranked higher in the view of the majority of lords. Bear in mind that even those lords who did support the Iron Throne in the Rebellion, in most cases did so because their Lords Paramounts were backing the Throne. Had the Tyrells and Martells refused Aerys's call for support, Aerys would have been left with a fraction of the forces he ended up with. So in my view Lords Paramount trump the Iron Throne when it comes down to an ultimate choice of loyalty in most of Westeros. With some obviously exceptions in some cases, as we saw with a minority of disobedient vassal lords in the Vale, Riverlands and Stormlands, who backed the King in defiance of their Lords Paramount.
  10. No, that's not the point I'm making. The point is that if the Northmen can do it, then so can every other House in Westeros. The North has the same socioeconomic structure as the South. It is a medieval feudal setup. If anything, the North's is just less economically productive. Meaning for every acre of grain produced they have less spare men to go off warring. The fact still remains that in your scenario the Karstarks are then able to march a quarter of their population off to war. Meaning that the Freys should be able to do so too, and more so, because they have more spare food and more spare money to finance such an endeavour. Take the Hightowers, as an example. They rule a city of 400k people, and therefore a countryside with a multiple of that number again. Say they have only 1 million people in their territory, which seems a lowball estimate, considering the population of Oldtown. If the Karstarks can mobilize 25% of their population, then so could the Hightowers, meaning they alone should be able to field 250,000 soldiers. Clearly this is not the case, with the highest estimates for their strength sitting between 10-20k men. Same with Lord Manderly. He rules a city of maybe 40,000 people. And a countryside with multiple times that number. Let's say he has only 100,000 people in his domain, which again is a massive underestimation, based on the size of White Harbour. Going by the 25% mobilization figure, that should give him alone an army of 25,000 men. A bit difficult to explain if Torhenn Stark's entire army only had 30k men in it. In short, it is impossible for the Karstarks to raise all their adult males to arms - or anything remotely approaching such a scenario. Else everyone else could do it too. And they clearly can't.
  11. The problem is a simple one. Let's assume for a moment that 2300 is indeed the bulk of the men of prime fighting age in the Karstark lands. And that 3000 then is the bulk of all able bodied adult men. Let's say if you add children, the non-able bodied and geriatrics who cannot fight anymore, that you then get to a total male population of double that. Say 6000. That means the total Karstark population, including women is twice that. 12000. So, if that is the case the Karstarks are raising 25% of their total population to war. If so, someone would have to explain how on earth the Karstarks are able to achieve that. And whats more, you seem to be saying that this model is followed by the Umbers and Starks as well, meaning pretty much all over the North. Which then begs the question, if the Karstarks and Umbers can achieve this, how can wealthier houses like the Freys not achieve the same? After all, the more wealth a House has, the more spare resources it has to mobilize its population for war. In short, if the Karstarks can do this, then pretty much every southron House can also do this. Implying that Martin follows this model everywhere. Which in turn means that the armies of Westeros represent closer to 20% of the population, than the 1% which is actually economically feasible in a medieval society. Which means that if Westeros in total can raise say 400k men, then its total population is only around 2 million. Which is impossible, and can immediately be dismissed by merely looking at obvious facts such as city and town populations, which on their own exceed 1 million, and possibly more. A model where lords' armies represent the bulk of their male population creates massive problems for the world building consistency and realism.
  12. I like the idea of Dorne's subterfuge and their ability to collect their own taxes being linked. It is a nice bit of subtle logical consistency to the worldbuilding. I also agree that a lord should have a rough idea of what his vassals can raise. How "rough" that estimate is, is the question, I guess. And clearly that number would vary for each lord, from generation to generation. Clearly, for example, Ned does not seem to have brought more than 10-15k Northmen to the Battle of the Trident. So one wonders how many men the likes of the Karstarks contributed in that instance. If they only brought 1500 men then, on what basis would the Starks expect them to have up to 3000 men in the current war? What I still don't understand, and surely you of all people would agree with me on this given how extensively you have laid out your military/population estimates in your Youtube videos on the topic, is how 2300 men can even remotely represent the number of males of prime swordwielding age in the Karstark lands, (with around 3000 men then apparently representing the entire adult male population). That's if we take Alys at her word and take it to be an accurate reference to the entire Karstark domain. That blows the 1% rule out of the water. And it invalidates George's direct quote that the Ironborn are able to raise a far larger percentage of their population to arms than the mainland kingdoms can, because almost every able bodied man goes to war. Well, they clearly can't be raising a larger percentage than the Karstarks in this case, if the Karstarks too have raised every able bodied man to war. Simply put, it does not make sense in the medieval society that Westeros so clearly is. The Karstarks cannot be raising even close to that percentage of their population to war. If they can, then so can every other House, and then the population of Westeros would seem to be closer to 4 million, rather than 40 million.
  13. Don't know if this SSM has been quoted yet in this topic: Question: The territory of Westeros is huge, and the fact of survival of the local royal houses (like the Starks) suggests a relatively loose connection (more loose than that of a 14th century France, for example, where the Dukes - as independent and selfish as they were - were all in fact blood relatives of the Crown). The position of a Targaryen king reminds me somewhat of that of a Holy Roman Emperor - a monarch of course, but ruling over the more or less cohesive federation of territories with their own local ruling dynasties. It doesn't mean that such a monarch has no power - it means that his power is much more dependent on the strength of his personality than that, say, of a king of France. Martin's answer: There's a certain amount of truth to this, yes. Although the early Targayens also had the advantage of dragons, which the Holy Roman Emperor lacked. End Quote So basically, once the dragons died, the power of the Targ's decreased along with it, away from an absolute monarchy to more of a federal system of sorts.
  14. The Karstark number isn't the issue, for me. It is the principle of whether a Lord knows whether his vassal 100 miles away has no men left to bring in the harvest with after a rushed call to arms. Rickard didn't visit every one of his vassals prior to marching. He sent riders and ravens to call the banners, and marched as soon as the bulk of the men had arrived, from his England sized territory. Alys knows that the fields outside Karhold are untended due to Rickard's eagerness for war, but neither she nor Rickard himself knows if that is the case for every one of the hundred or so vassal houses in their domain (petty lords and masterly Houses, using the Manderly example as a benchmark). And as for the taxes thing. My understanding was that this is a severely underdeveloped aspect of the Ice and Fire world. Do we have any indication that there is a count of households and hearths in Westeros for tax purposes? I have no knowledge of a Domesday Book equivalent for Westeros. Their social structure seems to be less developed than that.
  15. "It was said that Lord Stannis knew the strength of every lord in Westeros". (from memory so some of the exact words may differ slightly. On what would he base that strength, would you say? Clearly he does not know the real strength of every lord in Dorne, else he would know Dorne can raise maybe 25k men instead of 50k. Clearly he didn't even know about the existence of the Mountain Clans and their 3000 men, let alone what their strengths are. Stannis most likely "knew" this strength from a study of military history. From records of previous wars, and the numbers of men that various Houses raised in the past. So he would know that Roddy the Ruin brought 2000 men from Barrowton. Maybe he would know of other hosts raised by Barrowton in the past. But that would not necessarily tell him how many of Roddy's men came from the Rills or elsewhere, perhaps. Or what portion of Barrowton's total strength went with Roddy. He would know pretty much what was recorded about the Conquest of Dorne. He would know Torhenn raised 30k men against Aegon, he would know Dondarrion and Caron raised 4800 men a few decades later. And he would know of all the other recorded hosts that we aren't privy to in the World of Ice and Fire. I wish I could find the quote from George about the number of men that can be expected from a vassal varying widely. Anyway, take Lady Dustin. She knew that a minimum number was required to allay suspicion. But the difference between that number and her full strength can be explained away without risk.