Nihlus

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  1. Helaena's Choice AKA Blood and Cheese.
  2. Well, my point on Robb and the High Septon is that your comparison to a Muslim king conquering France breaks down because the people of France would be just as unwilling, if not more unwilling, to have a pagan as their king. At least the Muslims (and R'hllor's followers) are monotheists; a 12th-15th century French king following the religion of e.g. the guys targeted in the Northern Crusades (from eastern and northeastern Europe) would be unthinkable, even if he also had Catholic relatives. But in Westeros no one bats an eye at the direct equivalent of the Northern pagans (that direct equivalent being literal Northern pagans) ruling over a kingdom of mostly Seven adherents. Heck, the Targaryens wanted those pagans to be part of the royal family that ruled the continent. It just doesn't work. Religion has little to no power in GRRM's setting. Even the Faith's revival in the current setting which was directly catalyzed by extraordinary circumstance after extraordinary circumstance (like Cersei directly empowering them) is underwhelming. They have a couple hundred knights and a few thousand untrained poorly armed peasants in the capital. That's pretty much it. He left her behind both during Blackwater and the battle of Winterfell because he didn't want to be seen as being dependent on her power. So I disagree. He'd probably stop listening to her if he actually won.
  3. The Faith seems to have close to zero power, nothing equivalent to the Catholic Church, and the people don't seem to give two shits about religion in general to the point where peasants killed and ate the not-Pope because they were hungry and the Riverlords accepted an Old God worshipping pagan as their king. It's one of the most unrealistic aspects of the setting, but it's there. Stannis is also an atheist. If Melisandre ceases to have use to him and/or becomes a liability, he'll get rid of her and then publicly convert to something else.
  4. Where does the 1% rule come from again? It definitely fits the many, many accounts of medieval armies and mustered I've seen compared to demographic studies, but what source is that specific percentage drawn from?
  5. In the far North of Westeros, the Night's Watch presides over a strip of land, which they protect from the wildlings in exchange for the villages and towns in that land creating the resources (mainly food) that sustain the Watch. This land is essentially its own independent state, a tenth region or an eighth kingdom. But "strip" is understating things; the Gift is said to be a rectangle extending 300 miles from east to west and 150 miles from north to south. That's a surface area of 45,000 square miles. Nearly the size of all of England (50,300 square miles). My question is this: how many people actually live there? What even is the minimum number of people that need to live there to sustain between 1,000 and 10,000 soldiers not producing their own food? I ask because even the most low-balled estimates of its size would give the Gift a population of around half a million (population density similar to medieval Scotland, which seems conservative given it's describe as "good farmland"). But I can't recall anything supporting there being that many people- certainly it doesn't seem like there's thousands of villages scattered across the Gift when people are traveling through it, nor are there any major towns of note besides Mole Town. What say you?
  6. Renly can simply be hyperbolic. It would defy all precedents and logic if he only had 100+ anointed knights and no other heavy cavalry whatsoever. There should be men-at-arms, squires. 100+ knights is less than the 300+ he should have with the number of total troops he has, because his lands are coastal, but it's impossible for them to be the majority of his heavy cavalry period. 5,000 is what he has at a later point from when he said he had 3,000. There's no indication Renly was incorrect, and a difference of x2 is not that hard to pick out with the number of scouts Renly has. Those 3,000 are probably his muster, and the other 2,000 either mercenaries or random Stormlanders. That was 300 years ago, Westeros's population was likely smaller than it is now (see also the Field of Fire, where the largest army the Reach had ever fielded was far less than 55,000, while in the series we see them gather close to 80,000 no problem). Additionally there's no indication Aegon's lands perfectly corresponded to the modern lordship of Dragonstone. Present evidence is all that matters beyond setting a minimum.
  7. Were it not real, it would be very easy to notice. That other characters claim Littlefinger drastically increased incomes puts to bed the claim that the money in question never existed. This is not creating an artificial shortage, this is simply applying very basic economic principles. And no, that didn't lead to the food riots in KL; Renly closing the Rose Road did. The Crownlands are like ancient Attica in that they're not self-sufficient in food. Selling minor political positions is not a relevant revenue stream on the scale we're discussing. Bernie Madoff's money was not then used for public works, like LF's. Nope. "Within three years of his coming to court, he was master of coin and a member of the small council, and today the crown’s revenues were ten times what they had been under his beleaguered predecessor." Exactly, he had 14 years. In those 14 years we see a lot of measurable progress; nothing major yet, but the kingdom certainly recovered from that continent-wide civil war pretty quickly, and this on top of him explicitly sinking over ten times as much cash into the local economy as his predecessor (because his revenues are ten times higher, yet Robert's government retains a healthy debt while Aerys had vaults full of gold doing nothing). Fifteen generations of Roberts would have a different result going by the base established and what he did with his limited means so far. Robert also must have spent a lot of cash on the Greyjoy Rebellion, where the Crownlands forces played a large role (wars are extremely expensive); not much of a problem for the first half of the Targaryen dynasty given their magical WMDs. But apparently fifteen generations of Targaryens resulted in no major change to the kingdom's infrastructure or economy whatsoever. But partly as a result of the economy being stronger, the crown's revenues are many times higher as well. In less than a year they could easily repay the debt just by cutting some expenses if they really needed to (which would mean temporarily cutting back on the lavish funds thrown into the economy, hardly the end of the world considering that was business as usual under the Targs). If there was an emergency and the crown needed funds to pay for an expense immediately, Robert had plenty of assets to liquidize to lower expenses and get payments back on track. This was not an option for Cersei because: A. she's dumb, B. there was another continent-wide civil war, and C. the crown should at least have some financial contribution to the upkeep of the armies currently occupying parts of Westeros; armies are basically the most expensive thing in a medieval kingdom. That's fair, but I think Robert deserves credit for appointing Jon and letting him run things. Additionally, even if Robert didn't personally track down and appoint Baelish, he still presumably had to approve Arryn's pick, and then authorize use of the crown's funds for his tasks. Eh, the civil war really wouldn't have happened in 99 out of 100 scenarios; the Lannisters got extremely lucky. Also, to be fair to Robert, Joffrey was only 12 (hardly a lost cause at that point) and his ability to actually discipline the boy was severely limited by his Queen, who he couldn't simply ignore because her family was powerful. His two other heirs also turned out fine.
  8. I stated why: the Targaryens had more or less undisputed rule over the continent for 300 years. Despite this, their dynasty left zero impact on the continent's economy or infrastructure, or any of its major institutions. Literally nothing outside of KL itself, unless you count renaming a dirt road built by the Storm Kings. They should have been a lesser Rome. Instead they were basically the equivalent of the Golden Horde, demanding tribute and burning some stuff every now and then, but otherwise doing nothing. We have no reason to assume the Tourney at Harrenhal wasn't rare either; the fact that the Targaryen dynasty's vaults were full of gold even after the end of a massive civil war, however, very much suggests that little money was being put into the kingdom in general. The huge amount of spending on tourneys and such is directly attributed to Robert. He's also indicated to be directly responsible for the huge amount of money thrown into the Crownlands' economy. Yes, he personally did not generate massive new incomes for the kingdom- because that's not his job. His job is to appoint people who can do that for him, and sign off on whatever they need while vetoing whatever is obviously wrong. And in this, he did his job fine; he trusted Jon Arryn's recommendation of Baelish based on his proven skills despite his low birth and let him do his thing without getting in the way or mindlessly hoarding gold like a Targaryen. Appointing competent economists and keeping them on if they get solid results (which Baelish did) is what a head of state is supposed to do, they're not supposed to run the finances personally.
  9. Hand of the King: Gregor Clegane (really a one-trick pony when it comes time to deal with problems) Master of Whispers: Varys (he'll inevitably murder you) Master of Coin: Aerys II (all the gold will get hoarded and never spent no matter what) Master of Ships: Steffon Baratheon (crash!) Master of Laws: Petyr Baelish (self-explanatory) Grand Maester: Renly Baratheon (thinks reading is for NERDS) Lord Commander of the Kingsguard: Barristan Selmy (four kings if you count Rhaegar died while he was a KG; statistically, no one has a worse record)
  10. Incorrect. While small, their production capacity still exists and is worth expanding. And Robert clearly was not throwing money away given that the crown's incomes increased tenfold even while Robert was throwing boatloads of money into the economy of the Crownlands. Wrong. The money supply isn't fixed due to overseas trade and trade with the Lannisters (whose own extraction of gold really should have devalued it by now a la 17th century Spain's silver mining, but whatever). Incorrect. Robert's government pays for their loans primarily through businesses it owns (businesses established with said loans) and presumably interest payments from the money it loans out (to Westeros's small merchant class who use it to establish their own businesses, massively benefiting the local economy) not via levying higher taxes. Higher taxes were never noted as a feature of Robert's reign. You are further incorrect when you say medieval economies didn't issue loans bought for interest payments; they very much did and there were many banking cartels that survived off of doing so. If Tywin's not charging interest, that just makes him dumb, though I assume he is. Wrong. Borrowing money got Robert loads of returns- the crown's income increased tenfold and all that money, rather than being hoarded, was pumped right into the kingdom's economy, to the point where public entertainment was held at much greater frequency and the Crownlands (particularly King's Landing) are as well-off as ever a mere decade after being in the thick of a brutal civil war that destroyed a lot of the capital.
  11. Because Essos is post-apocalyptic. A few thousand years ago, the Valyrians showed up and replaced all military development with dragons. Because of this most of Essos was stuck in the military Bronze Age to early Iron Age. Why bother advancing in this one area when magical WMDs make everything pointless? When the Doom hit and all the dragons were gone, Essos was left with no institutional knowledge and models horrendously out of date compared to the westerners, who had "normal" military development. In due time they might have adapted, but in the aftermath of the Doom (picture Italy and Greece both being nuked off the face of the Earth at the height of the Roman Empire, except worse) a bunch of low tech and incompetent but extremely numerous Mad Max esque raiders went on a pillaging spree. This further set back any potential military development east of the Free Cities. Speaking of the Free Cities, the westernmost ones did manage to recover due to proximity to Westeros. Westeros-style mercenary armies as far as the eye can see. This mostly doesn't apply to anything the Vayrian Freehold didn't rule, of course. For all we know Yi Ti (China), Leng (Japan), the Jogos Nhai (Mongols/Jurchens), etc. are totally competent and up to date. But we never see them, while we do see the pitiful armies fielded by the Dothraki, Astapor, Yunkai, Meereen, New Ghis, the Sarnor states, etc. New Ghis's armies are crap, by the way. 2,000 years out of date, both in and out of universe. They're fielding hoplites (except with javelins and worse armor) when Westeros has hit 14th-15th century levels bar the lack of gunpowder.
  12. After Blackwater and the Trident, I think Fair Isle might be a contender. We know the entire Iron Fleet was there, as well as ships not of the Iron Fleet given that Harlaw was there. The Iron Fleet alone is ~100 ships of ~12,000 men (since they're similar to the 100- oar war galleys of the Royal Fleet); the Ironborn had hundreds of smaller longships and probably rare specimens of ships on par with the Iron Fleet ones in the hands of various lords. We could be looking at 20,000 Ironborn (all doubling as mailed and armed assault troops) altogether on ~400 ships; it would certainly make sense if the bulk of their forces were concentrated here (the Iron Islands can raise ~25,000 soldiers altogether), as we don't hear about any major battles after it. On the other side you have the Royal Fleet at 100 war galleys and ~13,000 men at least (including ~2,000 marines and archers), plus the Redwyne Fleet with 200 warships of unspecified type and possibly as many as 26,000 men including ~4,000 marines and archers; this is assuming their ships are on average as big as the ones of the Royal Fleet, but even if they're half the size that's still another 13,000 men. Then you must add on the other forces present, like the other Reach ships and Stannis's personal war galleys as Lord of Dragonstone. We're looking at at least 40,000 and possibly as many as 70,000 men duking it out on at least several hundred ships.
  13. I've put some more thought in: If the Lord of Dragonstone has 100 knights sworn to him (he probably has more, since Stannis only listed those who'd rather read than fight) that implies two or three times that number for total "knight equivalents." Well trained and well equipped heavy cavalry; men-at-arms and such. For example, House Lannister mustered 3,500 men to put down the Reyne-Tarbeck rebellion (the house itself, not it and all its vassals); only 500 of these were knights, even though we know that the average heavy cavalry percentage for the Westerlands army is 30% (of the 35,000 men Tywin fields at the beginning of the WOTK5, 10,500 are heavy cavalry) and Lannister, being a wealthy house, should be above that average. This is buttressed by the Field of Fire, where 9% of the Reach/Westerlands soldiers were knights, even though we know cavalry averages 25-30% of their forces from later events (Renly's mostly Reach army at Bitterbridge was more than 25% heavy cavalry). That would imply the Lord of Dragonstone has sworn to him ~300 heavy cavalrymen and 2,700 foot soldiers, plus 10 fully crewed war galleys with ~200 marines and archers (~1,100 oarsmen and sailors at about 130 men per ship, at least 1/10 of whom are marines per Victarion) and whatever sellswords he could hire with his likely considerable incomes (Dragonstone being a major port). Mercenaries are part and parcel of Westerosi armies (and real medieval armies), and we see them in both Robb and Tywin's hosts. Count those and the Lord of Dragonstone has apparently 5,000 soldiers (though only 400 mounted) and 10 fully crewed war galleys. Another question: since the bulk of medieval trade is maritime, the relatively puny volume of land trade crossing the Twins made the Freys rich, and the Lord of Dragonstone has started least one busy port under his control, shouldn't he be personally wealthy? I mean obviously it's not like a prince would do much with it, but a lord with his own house would have different priorities.
  14. I highly doubt Stannis would've cared if he had only gotten Dragonstone, if only Storm's End wasn't given to Renly. Kept by Robert? Joffrey? Tommen? Sure. Renly though? That's just an insult.
  15. A lot of people seem to take the POVs at face value when they say Robert was a terrible king for his spendthrift habits and massively increasing the crown's debts. This is an unfair assessment in my view. I don't think Robert was bad for the kingdom's economy. On the contrary, Robert Baratheon was the best king period when it came to the economy, finances, and infrastructure of his kingdom. It all has to do with his predecessors being comically terrible: It seems most fans just accept Ned is right here; after all, he's the hero, how can he be wrong? Simple. Ned couldn't pass Economics 101. 1. Aerys's vaults being full to bursting with gold at the end of a massive civil war is actually a damning indictment of Targaryen rule, not a positive sign. From what we see, despite having undisputed rule of the continent via magic WMDs for hundreds of years, the net contribution of the Targaryens to their kingdom's infrastructure and economic development was effectively zero. The one achievement their dynasty can wave around is slightly extending a poorly maintained dirt road built by the Storm Kings, and renaming it "the Kingsroad." That's it. Aerys's vaults being full at the end of RR instead of being spent immediately to arm and train new levies or hire more mercenaries (we know Stannis expects to get 20,000 from Essos in ADWD in a reasonable time frame, clearly there's a lot available) is essentially proof that the Targaryens were exactly what they appeared to be: gold hoarders who took their dragon larping just a bit too far. 2. Ned (and many fans) falls into the common trap of thinking more debt = bad. This couldn't be further from the truth. At the most basic level, you need to spend money to make money, and the best way of spending money you don't have on hand at the moment is to borrow it. That Robert chose to do this with the Iron Bank, the largest bank in the world, is a good move; if the crown can consistently make its payments (and it can, see below) then Robert not only increases his kingdom's income, but increases its credit as well. Loaning money to the Westerosi crown would be seen as a safe route by bankers in the continent and beyond, encouraging investment and financial activity. Of course this is all assuming Robert actually used that money on something worthwhile instead of the equivalent of just setting fire it (e.g. waging a pointless war). So did he? Yes, in fact, he did: Basically: Robert decides his kingdom needs a stimulus after decades to centuries of stasis under the Targaryens. He borrows money so that he can have starting capital and appoints a competent economist (Littlefinger had a proven history and Jon Arryn's recommendation) to start investing it in the kingdom's infrastructure and businesses.This goes magnificently and ends up increasing the income of the crown tenfold, partly by creating businesses that belong to the crown and catalyzing the creation of others with financial ties to the crown. The whole point of a government taking out a loan is that it's meant to be repaid in the long term. If we assume the crown had a yearly income of a million gold dragons (it was very likely much higher than this), that means Robert's government brought in 9.5 million extra gold dragons a year by now with the capital it had. In 10 years that's 95 million gold dragons, many times the current debt of the crown. That Robert is still spending enough money despite this increase in income that his kingdom maintains a modest debt is a great sign of how well the economy is doing. He is throwing an obscene amount of money into the economy, more so than any of his predecessors by far. That the Iron Bank also has no problem loaning out so much money is proof of how great the crown's credit is. Finally, Robert has a plethora of methods to pay his debts on a dime in an emergency, and more importantly that money isn't just disappearing into the aether... 3. All that money Robert "wasted"? Loaned or funneled directly into the economy. We know that Robert loaned out a lot of the crown's cash- the Antler Men for example owed a lot of money to the crown. This is how economy works. All kingdoms in the medieval period were like that, constantly loaning and borrowing money to stay afloat. It's a sign of good economic policy and encourages spending and entrepreneurship from the people. His tourneys and other public events are also big boosters to the local economies of the regions they're held in. He's creating thousands of new jobs while also providing a public spectacle for the people. The workers who build everything, the bakers and cooks who make the food, the innkeepers who have guests from out of town, the stableboys who have more work from knights coming to the tournament, etc, all are getting work that otherwise wouldn't exist. His tournaments and such have the additional tangible benefit of increasing the morale of his people. There's a reason that the large empires of history were willing to bear these costs to similar degrees as Robert- the Roman games at just the two capitals during Constantine's time costed ~150,000 solidi, which would have been about 1.5% of the Roman Empire's GDP. 4. We know that at the end of Robert's Rebellion the Royal Fleet was destroyed by a freak storm, and that King's Landing was sacked very brutally by Tywin Lannister on top of being the site of a bloody battle in its streets: These twin blows should have significantly set back the Crownlands. Instead? Robert throws so much money into the Crownlands' economy that the Royal Fleet is rebuilt to full strength in no time and the capital is back to being as prosperous as ever barely more than a decade after Tywin sacked it. Even with those no doubt significant expenditures, Robert's kingdom still manages to prosper in the years after, massively increasing its incomes. Meanwhile, his brother and appointed Master of Ships and Lord of Dragonstone uses the newly built fleet and his levies to not only crush the Grejoy Rebellion at minimal cost (making the seas safe for trade), but conduct anti-piracy campaigns when necessary and slowly turn the most hardcore Targ loyalists into the most hardcore Baratheon loyalists, further solidifying Robert's excellent rule of the Crownlands. When Stannis starts seizing ships at Dragonstone he easily gets a hundred merchant vessels before people stop sailing there because war is breaking out, indicating that maritime trade under Robert was booming. 5. The idea that Robert's debt was in any way unsustainable is pure nonsense. Even in the middle of a brutal civil war, it was specifically stated that interest payments were being made on time until Cersei stopped them to build a new fleet after the original Royal Fleet got destroyed by Tyrion and Stannis at Blackwater: Which shouldn't come as a surprise; we know the debt is only ~6 million gold dragons, less than 2 million of which are owed to the Iron Bank. If things out of the blue reached an improbable worst case scenario, Robert had plenty of assets to liquidize to lower expenses and get payments back on track. After all, the debt to the Lannisters was larger than the one to the Iron Bank, and Tywin still considered the crown able to repay him (since he made it clear for Joffrey's wedding that he isn't giving out money for free) while cut off from half its incomes and needing to expend massive amounts of money to keep the peace during the aforementioned continent-wide civil war. tl;dr: Robert's rule was a massive economy engine, continent wide, unprecedented by anything the Targaryens ever did. His rule was the most prosperous period Westeros ever had, and more kings should take notes from him and his appointees on economics.