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RedShirt47

Why does the Iron Throne even want the Iron Islands?

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Can the Iron Islands be worth the hassle of keeping them? Their attitude "We do not Sow" and the geography of rocky wild swept islands can't be very productive. I imagine they scrape enough food to survive but can they really be making enough of a surplus to be payin much in taxes to the crown?


Culturally they worship a different god and they don't tend to marry outside the islands.


They may be good fighters but would they make good soldiers in a regular army?



I can understand trying to keep them in line but there doesn't seem to be a garrison of Iron Throne tropps on the island to keep them in line. They seem to be left alone as long as they don't rebel.


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Keeping a potential, and formidable, threat in check saves a lot of time and headaches.


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If you don't squash one rebel, a dozen more will pop up.


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It seems that for the most part, the IT's domination over the II keeps them from attacking them. However, people like Dagon and Balon Greyjoy choose to live by the old way, so occasionally the II attacks the mainland, but I don't think it's as common as portrayed.


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If they're under your governance, they're easier to control than if they're an independent state, I think.


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The very idea of them reeving and pillaging from their longboats terrifies peasants and lords along any coast in the whole of Westeros and is a factor in all land/sea defence. Seems a good enough reason to keep them on side


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Simple, if they are in your kingdom, they can't pilage and raid. If they are not in your kingdom you have to protect against them or go to war with them.

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Because it's easier than simply sinking their ships every now and again. Dominating the islands themselves puts the whole place under Royal control, which is infinitely superior to them being out of control.


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Two rebel lords (Dagon and Balon) in 300 years, doesn't seems that bad actually. I'm more surprised that the Targs didn't get more troubles with the other great houses during their reign, one would expect Arryn, Lannister and Starks would have tried to take their kingdoms back as soon as the last dragon died, but they didn't...


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The power that the Iron Fleet wields will be made clear early on in Winds of Winter. The Battle of Blackwater made it pretty clear that King's Landing is prone to nautical attacks, so I'd say they pose a legitimate threat on that front. More than anything it's a preventative measure, though. Other more valuable islands want to be in the fold and the Ironborn really mess their sh*t up.


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Reasons you want the Iron Islands:



- If they're part of your kingdom, you can forbid them from reaving your lands. Unless they rebel and do so anyway, but as pointed out, that only happened twice in 300 years. Not bad, considering before that, the raiding was pretty much constant.



- There's only three major fleets in all of Westeros; The Royal Fleet, based at Dragonstone, the Redwyne Fleet based in the Arbor and the Iron Fleet, based in the Iron Islands. Of these fleets, the Iron Islands one is arguably the strongest. What King would NOT want that ?



- Iron. Ever wonder why the islands got their name ? Yeah, there you go. We don't have information on how common iron ore is in the rest of westeros, but there's a good bet it's plentiful on the islands.



- We do not sow is the name of ONE HOUSE. It's outrageous to jump from that to the conclusion that the Ironborn don't farm. And, from Theon's own mouth, it's also blatantly wrong. The Ironborn farm and work mines, both steady sources of taxation, and thus income to the crown.


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Because when Aegon conquered, they were included in the Seven Kingdoms package. For any king after to left them go would be just like Cersei dismissing Barristan from the Kingsguard.


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To make sure the Ironborn don't plunder and pillage the Westerosi coast as they tend to do when they're independent.


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Reasons you want the Iron Islands:

- If they're part of your kingdom, you can forbid them from reaving your lands. Unless they rebel and do so anyway, but as pointed out, that only happened twice in 300 years. Not bad, considering before that, the raiding was pretty much constant.

- There's only three major fleets in all of Westeros; The Royal Fleet, based at Dragonstone, the Redwyne Fleet based in the Arbor and the Iron Fleet, based in the Iron Islands. Of these fleets, the Iron Islands one is arguably the strongest. What King would NOT want that ?

- Iron. Ever wonder why the islands got their name ? Yeah, there you go. We don't have information on how common iron ore is in the rest of westeros, but there's a good bet it's plentiful on the islands.

- We do not sow is the name of ONE HOUSE. It's outrageous to jump from that to the conclusion that the Ironborn don't farm. And, from Theon's own mouth, it's also blatantly wrong. The Ironborn farm and work mines, both steady sources of taxation, and thus income to the crown.

All of this. Especially the second point. The fleet is extremely valuable, I assume that's why Robert didn't put it to the torch after Balon's first rebellion.

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Keeping a potential, and formidable, threat in check saves a lot of time and headaches.

Well said. If the Iron Island are not part of the realm then they will be set against the realm and so its easier for everyone this way. Save the rapine Ironmen perhaps but they are in a vast minority.

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I'd like to know exactly what the Iron Islanders have been doing all this time. They've got all these fearsome warriors and a massive fleet, but who are they fighting? Do they reave and pillage in Essos? Or are they traders?


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All of this. Especially the second point. The fleet is extremely valuable, I assume that's why Robert didn't put it to the torch after Balon's first rebellion.

Well, yeah. If he'd done that, he'd leave the Redwynes (and their overlords, the Tyrells) with the only other significant fleet in Westeros. Seeing as they already have the biggest army, that's a bit too strong of a hand to give them, one would think. I'd say there would be a good chance there would have been another rebellion shortly thereafter had Robert done that. A much, much more dangerous one.

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I'd like to know exactly what the Iron Islanders have been doing all this time. They've got all these fearsome warriors and a massive fleet, but who are they fighting? Do they reave and pillage in Essos? Or are they traders?

Both. Those who wish to follow the Old Ways (e.g Euron) do so in Essos. But they also clearly trade, mainly with other parts of Westeros.

Then there's the fishing and farming (yes, they do that), and mining, though a large part of the two latter is done by thralls.

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