Free Northman Reborn

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  1. Even after the Conquest. People in Scotland barely sound like people in England, after all these centuries. Heck people in one English county hardly sound like people in the next English county, and the entire England could fit into the Karhold lands. There is no way that the Old Tongue would have been replaced over such a vast area, no matter who ruled some distant Red Keep in King's Landing. Particularly not among the smallfolk, who mostly never travel more than 30 miles from their birthplace in their entire lives.
  2. I said around and about the beginning of the previous Season of the Show that he would be holding back publishing Winds until the Show was done. That way the anticipation for the book would build all the more, as Show fans would be desperate for any new material about the main series. Thus expanding sales well beyond traditional book readers. That at least gives a plausible, if cynical, reason for the now monumental delay. The idea that the book is simply taking this long to write is too depressing to really contemplate, even if that is probably the real truth of the matter. Then we might as well forget about ever seeing the end of this series - which we all know cannot be wrapped up in just 2 more books. I'm afraid an eighth book is beyond the realm of reasonable expectation at the current rate. So that means the series will remain open ended. A tragedy for the ages.
  3. Histories (or fake histories for that matter) are interesting to me on a macro level. Meaning which kingdoms warred with which others, the descriptions and sizes of battles, major geopolitical events, famines, plagues, volcanic eruptions, tribal migrations and the like. Silmarrilion was great in this respect. Deities at war, with millions of mortals involved in the strife, continents devastated etc. Personal histories, on the other hand, of who liked to sleep with whom in a particular King's court, who succeeded whom and who betrayed whom to become King's Hand, or Master of Coin blabla, well, I find that mind numbingly boring. Thousands of pages of Targaryen court intrigue. Really now, why couldn't George just have done what the Silmarillion did, which was tell an epic history spanning thousands of years. Instead, he gives us soap opera level detail from a tiny portion of his world's history. Sure, in a novel that works, because you actually care about the characters. A novel is usually character driven, after all. But historical figures? Why would you really care enough about any of them to be interested in who they slept with, had children with, loved and hated. I really don't understand the appeal these Targaryen royal histories have to anyone. Particularly when they are written from such a distant perspective as a history book, rather than a novel of a particular person's life and times.
  4. As did the Boltons (a garrison of 600), the Manderlys, Dustins and Ryswells. It has to do with the motivation of the respective lords. Robb wanted the best men down in the Riverlands as quickly as possible, the Weserlings likely were not as enthusiastic. And of course the issue of plot convenience. How else could Martin let Theon capture Winterfell, 500 miles from the coast?
  5. The problem is that we know Balerion's approximate size during the Conquest. It was the size Vhagar reached at her death, 180 years later. So, since Meraxes was larger than that when she died, we know that Meraxes in 10AC was larger than Balerion had been in 0AC, a mere 10 years earlier. And yet, we see that Balerion is much bigger than Meraxes when Tyrion examines the skulls. So clearly Balerion continued to grow significantly in the century or so of his life after the Conquest.
  6. That's assuming that Daenerys or fAegon will be the the one doing the rewarding at the end of the day.
  7. Oh, I am not at all unhappy that this topic remains under discussion. In fact, I delight in it. The dead horse I am referring to is my surprise that you still hold to your flawed position on this, despite the mass of evidence that disproves it. I must admit, I thought you had mellowed from this position over time, and hence my surprise at you raising this argument again after all this time. In this series, there are basically three positions one can take on most issues of this nature. Two are extreme and one is the middle of the road, reasonable position. Yours clearly is an extreme position, ascribing to the North the absolute smallest number of men you can package into a coherent argument. And only budging from that grudgingly once more men appear on screen in undeniable fashion. Hence your 27k admission made through gritted teeth and with many qualifications, riders and conditions. The other extreme is to see the North as having 50-60 thousand soldiers available, as some on the board indeed advocate. The reasonable position is to look at all the evidence, and the context of the comparative quotes about the various kingdoms, historical hosts raised etc and arrive somewhere inbetween these two extremes. I can start going into all of that again, and indeed will do so happily if asked to, but I suspect it would bore you, as you have indeed read it all before. Let me suffice by saying that I believe the North, given the right timing, geographical settings and when fully mobilized can put 40-45k men in the field. As Martin has indeed previously roughly endorsed. But not in a single host. And not projected into a foreign battlefield, as that would be a logistical challenge of probably insurmountable magnitude, given the distances involved. But as two or three separate hosts, yes I can see that as feasible.
  8. Just on the size thing, I always have to focus to get it right in my head. So Vhagar died in 130 AC or thereabouts and at that point was as large as Balerion had been during Aegon's conquest, 130 years earlier. Meraxes died a mere 10 years after the Conquest, and at that point was already larger than Vhagar would be at her death, 120 years later. This means that Meraxes in 10 AC was larger than Balerion had been in 0 AC, a mere 10 years earlier. This is problematic, given that Balerion during the Conquest was already 120 years old or more, and was clearly proclaimed to be the largest of Aegon's dragons by far. The "Black Dread". I do wonder whether Martin perhaps made a small mistake in the chapter (written decades ago in the real world) where Tyrion or Arya (I can't remember which) viewed the dragon skulls in the Red Keep. It would make more sense if Vhagar was the second largest skull, rather than Meraxes, given the later information in the WOIAF. One would not expect a dragon who is 120 years old (Balerion) to suddenly experience a dramatic growth spurt so that he is significantly larger by the time he is 130 years old. And yet, that must have happened, if Balerion remained larger than Meraxes by 10 AC. Also, Vhagar was 180 years old at the time of her death, while Meraxes could be a maximum of around 120 or thereabouts when she was killed in Dorne. Something seems strange about this size order and timeframe.
  9. Edrick Storm is a Great Bastard, acknowledged by Robert and descended from nobility through both the paternal and maternal lines. He would most likely be the most easily legitimized by a new King, should there be one. As for Gendry (who for some mind boggling reason is a regular fan favorite), he has no chance.
  10. Is this old, dead horse being beaten again? The reasons why Robb could not raise the full strength of the North at the start of the war have been discussed at length. And similarly, the reasons why he could not raise more reinforcements after Winterfell had fallen and each lord was looking out to protect his own lands against the raiding Ironborn have also been discussed to death. Torhenn Stark marched 30,000 Northmen into the Riverlands in a single host. That means that there will be well more than that in total in the North if raised in separate hosts without the need to logistically support them all in one place at any given time. Also, Dorne has demonstrated a rough strength of around 30k warriors over the centuries, and we know the North is more populated than Dorne. So quite aside from any specific quotes of remaining strength in the North - of which there are plenty - at a macro level the North must be able to raise at least 35k men, and quite likely well above that level. So the idea that Robb's 19500 men represented the extent of his military strength is quite clearly flawed. If Winterfell was intact with a Stark in charge and with a united North under it, Robb could have had a second 19k army following on the first, had he requested it, and given enough time to raise it.
  11. Bloodraven can warg through the Wall. So can Bran. We have direct evidence of that.
  12. Yeah, I think we're talking past each other. I haven't argued that there are no lords or landed knights who might rule only a single village. Logic dictates that there will be a spectrum, from most to least powerful, amongst both lords and landed knights. Now, we know the most powerful landed knights rule domains that include a thousand villages or more (House Templeton, Glover, Tallhart, to name the known examples). At the opposite end of the spectrum will be the weakest landed knights. And since it is physically impossible to rule less than one village and still sustain your House, the weakest landed knights will logically rule only one village. My argument is simply that the average landed knight falls somewhere inbetween these two extremes. Your argument is that the average landed knight falls at the very bottom of this range. Which I say makes no sense. The WEAKEST ones rule a single village, since you can't grow any weaker than that and still survive. But the average will obviusly be higher than the weakest number. The sheer number of villages that need to exist in Westeros in order to support its overwhelmingly rural population pretty much guarantees that you need a lot more villages than landed knights and lords, else we would have hundreds of thousands of lords and landed knights. So to summarize it all into a holistic picture, let's suggest something like this: Powerful great lord (e.g. House Manderly) - rules a dozen petty lords and a hundred landed knights. Each petty lord maybe rules 10 landed knights of his own, on average, although the poorest ones have no landed knights whatsoever sworn to them (e.g. House Littlefinger in the Fingers). So at the lowest level you have say a thousand landed knights that form the lowest tier of nobility in the Manderly lands, sworn either directly to Lord Manderly or to his various petty lords. And under each of these landed knights there will on average be say 10 villages. With the most powerful landed knight in the region ruling maybe a hundred villages, and the weakest ones ruling only one village. So each petty lord on average then rules about a hundred villages through their landed knights and another few dozen villages directly on the lands immediately surrounding their keep. Again, I say on average, because some petty lords will be much stronger, and some will be much weaker, perhaps at the very bottom you have one at the level of Littlefinger. Your contention that on average a landed knight rules a single village, is not feasible. The weakest ones, yes. But not the average ones. EDIT This is a hypothetical model. I haven't done the calculation to see whether a thousand landed knights can actually exist in the Manderly lands. Most likely we are talking a few hundred, rather than a thousand, meaning each petty lord has say only 4 or 5 landed knights below him, on average. But ironically, that would require each individual landed knight to rule even more than 10 villages on average, in order to arrive at the required number of villages to support the population of the region.
  13. I wasn't sure which quote you were referring to. If it is to the Iron Isles quote, I don't see why you use the poor Iron Isles with its miniscule comparative population and land area as evidence for the state of affairs on the mainland. Martin has said that they don't even have knights, nevermind landed knights, and given the tiny amount of land available there will indeed be some "rocks" that are only large enough for a single village. Given their culture and economy, this village will largely live from fishing in any case, so land area and density patterns will be quite different from the rest of Westeros. So that quote doesn't say anything about the average landed knight in the mainland kingdoms.
  14. Are you then saying Bran IS the great stone beast that takes wing? I don't quite understand your exact theory, sorry.
  15. That simply confirms that there is a village below the keep, which would be the default situation. It by no means indicates that that is the only village he rules. So in fact, the poorest landed knight we have definitive evidence for, has 3 villages. That would be Ser Eustace. Gregor Clegane could easily have a dozen or more. In fact, the impression is that he has a fair amount of armed men personally sworn to him, so he might even be in Lady Webber's league, for all we know. Littlefinger is merely an example of someone with a noble title, but who is a commoner in all but name. The ultimate example of the "petty" in petty lord