Jaak

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  1. Edmure was unwed and unengaged, too, and he was 25. Of which Hoster had been seriously ill only for a year or two. But a Warden of North needs to potentially fight wars on several fronts. When Raymun Redbeard invaded, Jolly Jack Musgood was late, and the defending armies of North were led by Lord Harmond Umber... and two Starks. Lord Willam, and his brother Artos. Eddard saw trouble brewing in North, as King beyond Wall. Plus a possibility of trouble in South and East. Starks need low level officers - to command holdfasts. They also need generals - someone who could reinforce Wall when Lord is called South, or vice versa. Someone who could be taken seriously when negotiating on behalf of House Stark and promising rewards for help.
  2. Not quite. Landed knights, like Osgrey, Clegane, Templeton, Connington, Spottswood... have legal hereditary right to the specific lands. Compare appointed commanders like Knight of Bloody Gate and the commander of Moon Gate on Vale. These are appointed, nonhereditary posts. Like the post of Commander of Gold Cloaks (but unlike the Commander of Kingsguard) these do not require celibacy... but do not entitle sons to father´s office. Starks could, in wartime, mobilize 20 000 men - but as Cat explained to Robb, these men would follow Robb, but not forever. They were not permanently employed guards... which the 200 guards of Winterfell were. Same applies to lords bannermen. They had their own ancestral lands and castles - they might serve Stark when called to service, but they expected to go home when emergency passes, and they also had their own homes and lands to defend. It would have been highly desirable for Stark to have at least some pool of officers/commanders who were in full time service - who could be reassigned to other duties when needed by opening of another front, or vacancy of another post. Rodrik Cassel fit that bill. Who else?
  3. An appointed commander of a holdfast is potentially a great "lord". In peacetime, commanding ten or twenty man standing army at the castle, and collecting taxes to Lord Stark from hundreds of smallfolk. In wartime, potentially mobilizing hundreds of men from that smallfolk and commanding a detachment of Stark army. Being the only "lord" the smallfolk meets except for the Lord Stark far away in Winterfell who rarely visits any particular holdfast. Yes, maybe too lowly for second legitimate son of Lord - he might be appointed straight to command 50 men, not 10. But Stark lord can have extended family... whether a trueborn son of a younger trueborn son, or son of Lord but a bastard. Both could be treated as minor nobles and appointed as lower level officers. After appropriate training.
  4. At Wall, Noye has to explain to 14 year old Jon Snow just why Jon is a better swordsboy than older and bigger commoners, and how to lead soldiers. That´s convenient for us the readers - giving the exposition as to why nobles lead - but also indicates folly on the part of Jon... and of Eddard. Why haven´t Eddard, and Rodrik Cassel, explained it to Jon years earlier? He may have been a child, he may not have obeyed instructions at all times, but it should have been no news to have it explained to him. Also: Winterfell has a standing peacetime guard of 200 men. For comparison, Castle Black was 500 brethren - not all of them soldiers. Castle Black´s 500 included stewards and builders. Whereas any manservants doing steward´s work at Winterfell were over and above the muster of 200 guards. Winterfell´s guard would need a stream of new recruits - say, on average 10 per year. Yes, Winterfell may or may not have taken men with some experience... but still there could have been need for training. Who trained recruits to rank and file of Winterfell guards? Did Rodrik Cassel, as the master at arms of Winterfell, train the recruits to guards alongside the boys of the family? Now, even the peacetime standing guard at Winterfell, of 200 men, would have needed multiple officers. Say, 10 sergeants, ensigns and lieutenants to command 20 man units of the 200 total. And Stark standing army must be bigger than that. We often hear of "holdfasts" - a deserter caught near one, Robb visiting holdfasts, abandoned Queenscrown in New Gift... Starks hold large demesne lands not enfeoffed to hereditary lords. We hear of no lords disinherited by Alysanne´s seizure of New Gift. The holdfasts must be commanded by nonhereditary appointees. Unfortunately we never get a close view of an operating holdfast. A likely size of Stark standing army might include 10+ holdfasts, each with 10...20 guards, and a commander. Thus, Eddard would have needed 20+ low-level appointed officers for his standing army alone - as estimated, 10 for the subunits of his 200 men guard at Winterfell, and 10+ for detachments at holdfasts. Would these 20+ posts at Eddard´s grant have been suitable for Bastard of Winterfell, and his trueborn younger brethren, when they grew up? What was Eddard doing to prepare Jon for that kind of jobs?
  5. Besides, if the official excuse of Vale for not sending army to protect King´s Landing is "We are threatened by Clansmen" then Vale are not spending money to fight clansmen. The men ostensibly mobilized to protect Vale are mobilized by feudal obligation, not paid in cash.
  6. And Eyrie made a serious attempt to plant a weirwood. Harrenhal is just 40 years older than Red Keep. Red Keep has a designated heart tree - which is an oak, not weirwood. By contrast, not only did Eyrie fail to make a weirwood thrive, but the godswood is depicted as an open garden, without a non-weirwood heart tree. The point of the old religion is weirwoods with faces. And the faces are implied to be cut by intelligent beings - people or children. Not natural growth of weirwoods. There is one mention of a slender young weirwood at Whispers and no mention of face - presumably lacking a face. An Andal who wanted to compromize about the old religion would have had the option to plant a weirwood but cut no face. Yet that´s not what Harren did - Harrenhal´s weirwood does have a face. Or when was that face cut? Is a slender young weirwood suitable to cut a face? Do weirwood faces need recutting, lest they become healed and obliterated by tree growth? Could an Andal who wants to compromize about old religion obliterate the face of weirwood by allowing it to grow over?
  7. Staying uniform is the bigger problem, yes - but that equally applies to anything since Andal conquest. North was affected by Long Night. Note how Winterfell was built by Brandon the Builder. First Men of Westeros had 4000 years of history before Long Night, but that was not history of Starks of Winterfell. That Brandon the Builder, in his youth before Long Night, counselled Durran about building Storm´s End - in South, not North. We hear how kings shivered and died on their thrones in Long Night. Meaning that in the aftermath of Long Night, there would have been lands and kingdoms to resettle. Some people settling in the North after Long Night would have been Southrons - like Brandon Stark. Others could have been people who fled North during Long Night, and spent the Night in South. If there was a substantial congregation of fugitives in South, then considering the duration of Long Night, they may well have adopted a dialect of their hosts, and carried it back North when returning, alongside the new Southron settlers of North. So, if a lot of North was resettled by Southrons who spoke or long-term refugees who had adopted Common Speech, but some groups also survived in North itself and held to Old Tongue... some of them may have adopted Common Tongue as that of their Stark kings and most neighbours later over time, some may have held out.
  8. My in-universe explanation would be that Common Tongue predated Andal Conquest. Andal invasion did not affect the whole Westeros. Long Night did.
  9. http://mississippiherald.com/jackson-husband-wife-shocked-dna-test-reveals-biological-twins/ BTW, was an underlying cause for fertility problems found? Connected to their relationship, or would they/one of them also have had trouble conceiving with some other partners? Edit: despite having been widely quoted, debunked by Snopes.
  10. What would make sense is if replacement of Old Tongue by Common Tongue predated Andal invasion.
  11. Um? Wildings want to stay there forever. Umbers want to stay there forever. Wildings want to save their families, and so do Umbers. The difference between Watch and Umbers is that because Watch is not burdened by children and women, Watch can support more swords for a given number of mouths.
  12. While having no women at Watch is good for efficiency, lifetime service is bad for that same.
  13. The border between Old Gift and New Gift runs 75 miles from Wall. In Old Gift, the population has always been Stewards, as celibate brethren of Watch. Yet Mole´s Town is just a mile and a half from Castle Black - well within Old Gift. Do Eastwatch by the Sea and Shadow Tower have their associated settlements of civilians and whores?
  14. Who actually run New Gift? Also, what is the punishment for a brother guilty of raping a Mole´s Town whore?
  15. From a given strip of farmland, whether Old Gift, New Gift or north of Wall, a population of married peasants have to feed themselves, their wives and children - and only then they have something left over for warriors or builders. In Old Gift, the Stewards do have to farm and feed for themselves - but instead of feeding wives and children, they can feed Rangers and Builders.