Free Northman Reborn

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  1. Lord of Bones kicking Jons butt

    This post had me up in arms, ready to come out firing with all sorts of rebuttals and refutations. But then I read your last paragraph, so I'll take your advice and move on from the post instead. EDIT Let me maybe just add that it is not correct to suggest that disagreeing with you equates to disagreeing that Martin puts symbolism in the books. Instead, it is merely that I think that the sybmolism you see in this particular instance, and in the other examples you mentioned above - is way off track.
  2. Lord of Bones kicking Jons butt

    On Jon's skill level, I think Martin is going to try and portray Jon's skill level as somewhat more realistic than the likes of Jaime Lannister or Arthur Dayne, but it will just so happen that he manages to win every important fight that matters, by some bit of luck or happenstance or sudden act of superhuman strength or what have you. The point is, Martin wants to create the illusion that his heroes are vulnerable, and that fights are unpredictable, with peril involved in every engagement. And yet, we know Jon's fate is not to die in some battle just because he is facing a superior swordsman. At least not unless it is some final climax in which he "sheathes the sword" in Lan fashion in order to take the superior opponent with him.
  3. I wasn't talking about the weirwoods in the castles. I'm talking about the wild weirwoods in the forests. Just like the Andals in general would not go around burning down random septs, similiarly the First Men, due to their religion would not have gone around chopping down wild weirwoods. Because they worship them. Sure, you get unbelievers in all races, such as the Brave Companions and Gregor's evil bunch who have no problem burning down septs when it suits their agenda. But in general, septs are seen as holy among the Andals and largely left in peace. Similarly, the First Men worshipped the weirwoods, and would generally have left the weirwoods in the wild forests in peace. Hence, when the Andals arrived, weirwoods would have been widespread across the southron forests, where today they are almost exclusively found in the North.
  4. Lord of Bones kicking Jons butt

    Indeed. Hence my initial theory that he actually hates Jon Snow (for some very good reasons) and saw a deal with the Boltons as a great way to allow his people to settle south of the Wall, for the small price of betraying Jon, who betrayed him in the first place in any case.
  5. Well it seems to me the major difference that the Andals brought was that their religion made them chop down the weirwood trees, while the First Men revered the trees, even when they pushed the Children from their lands. And it was the fate of the trees, and the spirits of the greenseers that live inside them, that was most important to the Children. So while the First Men reigned, the weirwoods survived, even if the Children themselves dwindled. But that changed with the coming of the Andals, until only the North retained its weirwood trees outside of godswoods.
  6. Lord of Bones kicking Jons butt

    This is a scene of great significance, in my view. It seems clear foreshadowing of a future confrontation, where Jon will meet Mance again, but this time in a battle to the death. This was one reason why I seriously considered Mance as a willing participant in the writing of the Pink Letter. That he had made a deal with Ramsay against Jon and that this would come to a head in some kind of battle between the two. This does not quite feel right, however, as Mance does seem to be a protagonist rather than antagonist in this story. So it may be that the battle with Mance was needed to prepare Jon for a battle against another superior foe in future. Not sure who that would be, though. But I think this scene laid the groundwork for something significant in the future plot. It wasn't just a random fight scene to simply break the monotony.
  7. How does Braavos have giant navy?(SPOILERS ALL)

    Mostly a pointless, rambling post focused on contrasting the sophisticated trade economies of the Free Cities with the feudal, land owner based medieval economy of Westeros. None of which deals with the issue at hand. And the small part of the post that doesn't deal with this side issue, is littered with factual inaccuracies. We know of plenty of exports from Westeros to the Free Cities, else trade would not exist. Just from the North we know that beer is exported and fetches greater prices in the Free Cities than Arbor wines. Who do you think the North exports most of their lumber to if not Braavos? On the one side you have a massive supply of lumber, and on the other you have a massive demand for it. As for our POV characters pointing out that firewood is in short supply in Braavos, that is worldbuilding from Martin, not an attempt to depict our visitors as uniquely deprived of an otherwise plentiful commodity. Also, you repeatedly over exxagerate issues in order to support sweeping statements without basis in fact. Like saying that Robb's war would have had Braavos support him to protect their precious source of lumber. As if lumber is something only found in the North and nowhere else. And as if a change in political leadership would suddenly end all trade between the two parties. Just like your views that if the North was independent, suddenly no trading of food between the North and the South would be possible. Your assertions are overly dramatic, and as I said before, lacking in a factual or logical basis. We have evidence that Braavos has a shortage of wood. We have evidence that the North has an abundance of wood. We have evidence that the North exports wood. Braavos is the closest Free City to the North. Supply and demand would dictate that a flourishing lumber trade exists between the two locations. Again, don't over dramatize it, though. That doesn't mean that Braavos can't source wood from anywhere else. Wood can be found all over the world. It just means that the North is the closest, reliable source of large supplies of wood. So to buy 100 tons of wood from the North would be the most economically efficient means of achieving the equilibrium between supply and demand in this case. If, however, the North was suddenly "blockaded by giant kraken rising from the deep", or some such calamity, well, then Braavos would simply move to the next most economical source of the produce that they desire, and the equilibrium price between supply and demand would move slightly higher, (or perhaps significantly higher, depending on how expensive the new source turns out to be). Simple as that.
  8. How does Braavos have giant navy?(SPOILERS ALL)

    Lord Varys This is quite a good example of the type of absolute statement you like to make, portraying something as obvious or as a statement of fact simply because you believe it makes sense, but with no basis in fact. Here I'm talking about the specific statement from above, where you say that: "If they were dependent on lumber imports from regions they don't control they would be essentially done as a major political and economic power". On what basis do you say that? It is most certainly NOT obvious or a statement of fact. Being reliant on a key import from say the North for the construction materials for their fleets in no way makes it impossible for them to be the dominant naval power that they are. What is an enemy going to do? Blockade the North? How would they do that, if Braavos has the most powerful fleet in the Narrow Sea. And even if they could, it's not like Braavos would suddenly collapse the moment they can't reach their primary source of lumber anymore. And furthermore, they would not be reliant on just one source either. They could then resort to the Snakewood, or the Stormlands or even the inland cities of Qohor and Norvos if necessary. But in any case, if things get to the point where an enemy can blockade Braavos and prevent them from dominating the Narrow Sea with their navy, then Braavos has already lost, because their strength relies on naval dominance. Also, the North is so vast, they could land in a hundred different spots along its coast to buy some wood. In any case, it is stated as fact that Braavos does import lumber from the North. And through Arya we learn for a fact that there is a severe shortage of wood in general in Braavos, even the type of low quality leftover wood used to make fires with. So quality shipbuilding lumber would be in even greater demand. Hence the proven references to imports from the North.
  9. How does Braavos have giant navy?(SPOILERS ALL)

    Bringing in lumber by ship is far more believable than bringing it overland from Norvos or Qohor. Ships can carry far more bulk goods, far more cheaply, than wagon trains can. So the most likely source is indeed the North, which is listed as having lumber as an export good. As for the volumes required, I don't think it is unrealistic at all. Let's say Braavos has a fleet of 500 war galleys. How long does each galley last? 10 years? 20? So let's assume that 10% of the fleet is replaced every year. That means a mere 50 warships have to be built annually. Even if a fifth of the fleet is replaced every year, that's only 100 ships per year. So, how much wood can a single cargo vessel transport in its hold? Enough to build one entire ship? I don't know, but I'd guess so. Volume is greater than surface area, after all. In that case, you just need 100 shiploads of wood per year to meet the construction needs. And they'd probably transport more than that, to build up enough of a stockpile to do a ship a day, in a time of crisis. I'm sure the North sells more than 100 shiploads of lumber per year. They certainly have enough of a supply to provide thousands of shiploads a year. I once calculated the number of trees in the Wolfswood. I cannot remember what number I arrived it, but I believe we are talking upwards of 100,000 trees per square mile of forest. Meaning just in the Wolfswood (at about 100k square miles) you are talking 10 billion trees or more. A better question is where the Ironborn get the wood to build their longships from. Because the North sure as hell isn't trading with them as far as we know. And you can't exactly go and "raid some trees" from some kingdom. It's not exactly a type of loot that you can grab quickly, rush to your ship and make a run for it before the cavalry arrives.
  10. Why do Northmen fight so well?

    The Dothraki are primarily horse archers. Their typical battle strategy involves riding around formations of defending soldiers, firing arrows into their ranks, gradually whittling them down. Their araks appear to be butchering devices rather than duelling weapons. Frankly, Khal Drogo himself won't even make the Westerosi top 10, which will have the following 10 warriors ahead of him, off the top of my head: Arthur Dayne Barristan Selmy Jaime Lannister The Hound The Mountain Garlan Tyrell Quorin Halfhand Greatjon Umber Mance Rayder (based on the reference to him being the "best of us", meaning better than Quorin Halfhand) Robert Baratheon Andrik the Unsmiling Heck, maybe even Victarrion Greyjoy, although I think he and Drogo are roughly on a par This leaves out a bunch of good fighters who might well be better than Drogo, but who slipped my mind initially, such as Darkstar, Bronze Yohn Royce, Lyn Corbray and the like.
  11. Why do Northmen fight so well?

    Not so. In all of the references to great fighters made by various characters in the story, not one mentions Jorah in that category. Neither does Martin himself, when he lists some examples of top tier fighters. A Dothraki bloodrider is likely not in the category of an elite pit fighter such as the one dispatched by the elderly Barristan with relative ease. Meanwhile, Jorah took a wound in defeating Qotho, or whatever his name was.
  12. Why do Northmen fight so well?

    Jorah was nothing special by Westerosi standards. Not nearly in Barristan's class. He is a good fighter. But never mentioned by Jaime for example in the same way that he mentions the Greatjon as a formiddable opponent along with the Mountain, the Hound, Robert Baratheon and Arthur Dayne.
  13. Why do Northmen fight so well?

    Ironically, Martin has portrayed few, if any, individual Northmen as elite fighters. The only current generation Northman that may make the top 10 individual warriors of Westeros list is maybe Greatjon Umber. We don't know what part of Westeros Quorin Halfhand is from, so I don't count him, and Mance isn't a Northman, so I don't count him either. Mostly, Northmen are portrayed as practical, get down to business fighters who are neither particularly skilled nor particularly unskilled. I don't think they display any particular superiority as far as fighting skill is concerned. As I have said before, however, I do believe there is an area where the Northmen are superior - and that translates into an advantage in war. It is not in fighting skill. But rather, in hardiness. Meaning being accustomed to physical hardship. As a result, we see them quite adaptable to harsh terrain, harsh conditions, forced marches and the like, which allows the Northern commanders to make use of surprise tactics and increased mobility as a result. Also as a result, when they are confronted with misfortune, such as at the Green Fork or Duskendale, the Northmen have a kind of grim embrace of fate, and still go down fighting. Just in terms of Duskendale, you are correct that they did not lose the bulk of their men there, but the survivors were hounded further by other southron forces until most were wiped out after Duskendale, in their attempts to retreat and rejoin with Roose's main force. Anyway, so in short. No, the North doesn't have better fighters than the South. But they do appear to have hardier troops, which gives their commanders more tactical options during a time of war.
  14. US Politics: He's Trump, he's Trump, he's Trump, he's in my head

    Well, your mind is made up. Trump is a moron. Assad can survive without the Russians. The Russians have little power over Assad. The Russians allowed the chemical attack for shits and giggles. Democrats wouldn't really have supported Trumps move, despite the latest reports saying John Kerry himself is happy about it, and lost the argument to do so the last time around against Obama. The list goes on. Again, after an hour spent here, I conclude that the positions are just too far apart for meaningful dialogue.
  15. US Politics: He's Trump, he's Trump, he's Trump, he's in my head

    Or maybe Turkey, or Saudi Arabia or some rogue CIA group orchestrated it because Russia and Assad were achieving their goals up to that point. Frankly, that makes more sense than Russia allowing a chemical attack after they themselves had assumed responsibility for ridding Assad of his chemical weapons. Anyway, Assad cannot survive without the Russians. So they have massive leverage over him. A peace settlement could be enforced, if they insisted on that as a price for their continued support.