Lord Varys

Winter warfare in TWoW (and later on)

112 posts in this topic

On 2016. 8. 1. at 0:09 AM, Lord Varys said:

I know that Siberia is pretty huge. But I meant the region one usually associates with the land (i.e. the lands near and around the arctic circle).

But the North and even the southern lands beyond the Wall are full of leaf trees, suggesting that the climate is actually still pretty mild, comparable to the British Isles, southern Scandinavia, or even northern Germany.

Southern Siberia is full of leaf trees and non-coniferous forest, as @girlfrommonday mentions. Apparently Northern Siberia is what you're thinking of. 

We have packed summer snow even in lowlands in the North around Winterfell, so I doubt the climate thereabouts is comparable to even the most northern reaches of the British Isles. Then south of the Neck the weather is distinctly different, and much, much warmer. Which would lead to the conclusion that even Winter and Long Night might be much more mild south of the neck. 

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11 minutes ago, rhoynestar said:

Southern Siberia is full of leaf trees and non-coniferous forest, as @girlfrommonday mentions. Apparently Northern Siberia is what you're thinking of.

Yeah, mostly. I don't know how far down south Siberia extends. Is Mongolia directly across the border, or is the southern portion of Russia there not Siberia?

11 minutes ago, rhoynestar said:

We have packed summer snow even in lowlands in the North around Winterfell, so I doubt the climate thereabouts is comparable to even the most northern reaches of the British Isles. Then south of the Neck the weather is distinctly different, and much, much warmer. Which would lead to the conclusion that even Winter and Long Night might be much more mild south of the neck. 

That would be special magical freak season stuff. I was only speaking about the plant life and the general looks of the lands. Summer snows definitely are weird and pose considerable problems especially where the harvest is concerned, but they don't make the land look particularly arctic.

I'd not use the 'normal freak season climate' to make guesses how things looked during the Long Night. It is quite possible that all of Westeros was both dark and full of snow during that period. 

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Yeah, mostly. I don't know how far down south Siberia extends. Is Mongolia directly across the border, or is the southern portion of Russia there not Siberia?

Siberia just refers to the entirety of the Russian region bordering Mongolia and Northern China(Manchuria) further to the east. It's huge, so the south is quite different from the north and much more populated and quite mild in summer; probably Winterfell falls along the lines of southern Siberia or Manchuria (I know that sounds off to a lot of people but Scotland is actually about the same latitude as southern Siberia; island weather and continental weather are just drastically different).

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

That would be special magical freak season stuff. I was only speaking about the plant life and the general looks of the lands. Summer snows definitely are weird and pose considerable problems especially where the harvest is concerned, but they don't make the land look particularly arctic.

I'd not use the 'normal freak season climate' to make guesses how things looked during the Long Night. It is quite possible that all of Westeros was both dark and full of snow during that period. 

Summer snows I think are not necessarily freak season inventions so much as a slightly more dramatized version of the continental weather of the North, in comparison to the more mild weather of the British Isles.

The contrast between weather south of the Neck and north is also relevant, and not easily waved away. KL is much warmer than we would expect, for instance. Interestingly we don't get many stories of the Long Night from the south -- whereas in the north the devastation is obvious. In the stories we do get, at the peak of the Long Night the Rhoyne was frozen as far south as the region roughly the same latitude as mid-Dorne. Given GRRM is already sort of bending weather to fit his own imagination rather than staying true to real-life parallels, I'd say wait and see on how harsh this winter is going to be across Westeros by the time we get to the end of the series -- it may be cold and everyone will be affected (North and Riverlands esp), but I think there will be some mobility down south for a portion of the books at least in order to help the plot, if nothing else.

Edited by rhoynestar

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The dothraki would not make it pass the Neck in any season. In winter the causeway would be closed. In any other season the crannogmen would just lure them and their horses into the swamp and destroy them. 

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On 11.8.2016 at 0:30 AM, Slaysman said:

The dothraki would not make it pass the Neck in any season. In winter the causeway would be closed. In any other season the crannogmen would just lure them and their horses into the swamp and destroy them. 

As they lured the Boltons and the Freys into the swamp and destroyed them? 

That doesn't make much sense. Winter would actually have the swamps (potentially) frozen so crossing the Neck could actually be much easier in winter.

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On 6/6/2016 at 6:25 PM, Free Northman Reborn said:

Gonna be a pretty boring last two books if everyone is just sitting in their castles waiting for spring, with only ravens to continue the conflict with.

A raven arrives at the Dreadfort: "I'm going to kick your ass in 7 years time, Ramsay. Signed, Jon Snow." 

Raven arrives in Winterfell:" A pox on you, Stark! 7 years from now you can come and try!"

A third raven arrives in Winterfell: "Mayhaps we can let bygones be bygones. I invite you to come break bread and salt in my castle 7 years from now. Signed, Walder Frey."

:lol:

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On 6/6/2016 at 6:37 PM, Lord Varys said:

Well, I'm not saying nothing is supposed to happen. I'm trying to think how this could work.

Winter can open opportunities. For instance, since you mention the Freys and the Riverlands:

If the Trident and its arms freeze then taking the Twins and Riverrun could become very easy, actually. Especially considering that many people might not, at first, expect any sort of attack in the middle of winter.

But the problem is, I think, that the moving of large armies will be a severe problem. Especially the raising of new troops. I mean, what madman would even answer the call of his liege in the middle of winter? And for what stupid reason? 'Come now, we are going to conquer the world?'

George has already cut them down in size in many places, and if you go with a guerilla tactic as the Brotherhood already does things could work very fine that way. However, those things should be over in the Riverlands soon. Hollow hills or not the cold is going to get to the people unless magic can do something (or a little bit) about that.

In the Reach, the Stormlands, and Dorne there is still a chance for a little bit of conventional warfare, but I don't see that to continue all that long. Winter should have the land it its tight grip long before the Others actually make their move or else the whole thing about the cold/winter being terrible even in normal 'bad winters' would just not come across in the right way.

Consider...

Quote

Nowhere in the Seven Kingdoms did the winter matter more than in the North—and the fear of such a winter had driven the Winter Wolves to gather beneath the banner of Lord Roderick Dustin and die fighting for queen Rhaenyra. But behind them came a greater army of childless and homeless men, unwed men, old men, and younger sons, under the banner of Lord Cregan Stark. They had come for a war, for adventure and plunder, and for a glorious death to spare their kin beyond the Neck one more mouth to feed.

TWOIAF, Aegon III

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40 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Consider...

TWOIAF, Aegon III

What are you hinting at? There are no such Northmen in this winter. They all died in the Riverlands, the West, and the Crownland, and those who are still alive are likely to die at the village or at Winterfell. The survivors will have to stay back home to actually help feed their women and children by going out hunting or fishing in winter.

The men of the Vale or the Reach or Dorne most definitely won't march up against the North in the middle of winter. That would be stupidity and suicide.

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38 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

What are you hinting at? There are no such Northmen in this winter. They all died in the Riverlands, the West, and the Crownland, and those who are still alive are likely to die at the village or at Winterfell. The survivors will have to stay back home to actually help feed their women and children by going out hunting or fishing in winter.

The men of the Vale or the Reach or Dorne most definitely won't march up against the North in the middle of winter. That would be stupidity and suicide.

Werthead did a great assessment recently, to map Westeros. He concluded that Winterfell lies more or less on York's latittude. In Northern England.

Anyway, that as an aside. More importantly, most reasonable assessments estimate the population of Westeros at around 40 million. And the army percentages at around 1% of the population, on average. (The argument can well be made that the North is unlikey to match the mobilization percentage of the South, for obvious reasons, but let that stand for the time being.)

We also know that the Iron Isles and Dorne have lower populations than the North. We further know that in Martin's rough endorsement of the army numbers that the rest of Westeros believes each kingdom to have, the Stormlands were at a lower estimate (30k) than the North (45k).

The WOIAF ties in with this in describing the Stormlands as sparsely populated (but obviously more populated than Dorne, based on Doran's specific statement in that regard). So now you already have Dorne, the Iron Isles and the Stormlands with a lower population than the North.

And then you have Martin's statement that the Vale and the North can raise roughly equal sized armies.

The point of all of the above is not to guestimate the North's army size. That has been done many times. The point is to make it clear that with Westeros having around 40 million people, and with at least 3 kingdoms having fewer people than the North, the North must at least be of average population size among the Seven Kingdoms.

And this is important, because it then means the North cannot have a population that only numbers in the hundreds of thousands, for example. It has to have millions of people. (Of course, around 3-4 million has been the conservative estimate by the likes of Elio, but I am on record as believing that to be too low).

In any case, the bottomline is that even if you go only with 3 million people, that means 1.5 million men. And if say one third of the population is between 15 and 50, that means around 500,000 men of sword wielding age. And even if only half of them are able bodied, that still leaves 250,000.

What does this mean? it means that the idea that "There are no such Northmen in this winter. They all died in the Riverlands, the West, and the Crownland, and those who are still alive are likely to die at the village or at Winterfell" is an unrealistic statement. Maybe 20,000 men have died in the Wars to date. There are at least 10 times that number of able bodied men left. And come Winter, they are going to have no need to harvest, or do anything other than consume food.

If there was ever a Winter where any surplus men would march off to War, to save their families the extra mouth to feed, this one will be it. So in short, there is PLENTY of manpower about to be unleashed in the North, should the plot require it.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

What are you hinting at? There are no such Northmen in this winter. They all died in the Riverlands, the West, and the Crownland, and those who are still alive are likely to die at the village or at Winterfell. The survivors will have to stay back home to actually help feed their women and children by going out hunting or fishing in winter.

The men of the Vale or the Reach or Dorne most definitely won't march up against the North in the middle of winter. That would be stupidity and suicide.

Well then we might as well be done. 

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@Free Northman Reborn

I don't care about fans guessing at the population numbers. That's irrelevant. We know that a large portion of the Northmen willing and eager marched with Robb to war and died. Another, much smaller portion is dying right now in the war between Stannis and the Boltons that began in autumn.

We have no reason to believe that whoever is going to survive is going to be very keen to continue war in winter. Why the hell should do? You are treating those men as cannon fodder for their lords but the thing is that those who didn't march with Robb or Stannis/Roose most likely don't give a shit who their overlord or king is. They might be to cowardly (or too smart) to risk their lives in some pointless battle or they might be too important for their family and kin to spare them.

The point here is to discuss the impact winter has on conventional warfare, not to speculate about numbers George essentially can change on a whim.

There are vast distances to cross in Westeros. That's a fact George is to blame for. He cannot have armies pop up all over the place or teleport them around. In winter it is going to become a very tedious and dangerous business to move a large group of people a hundred miles, let alone a hundred or two hundred leagues. We see how useless the Southron horses are in such a weather in that autumn storm Stannis and his army face in ADwD. How do you think the horses of the Lords of the Vale would fare in such a weather? Or in normal winter weather in the North? Do you think it will be a plausible or believable 'winter has come' setting if winter is just going to be mild nuisance, not affecting the lords capability to raise an army in Dorne to march it up all the way to the Wall (or only half that distance)?

The winter that has come now is going to bring normal Northern winter weather to the South quickly enough, impacting the people there quite severely. Many and more Riverlanders should freeze to death quickly enough, at least all those people who lack a roof over the head (which should be plenty). Even in KL the sparrows might die like flies since not all of them fit into the Great Sept.

Granted, we don't have snow yet in the Stormlands, the Reach, Oldtown (where it is still warm in AFfC!), and Dorne but that will only be a matter of time. Considering that those regions are less prepared for a hard and long winter due to the fact that snow isn't all that common in winter in the southernmost regions we can be reasonably sure that war is no longer going to be a priority there once the snows lie two feet high outside their doors. That isn't going to help with the Ironborn raiding, of course, but the chances that people in the, say, Westerlands are now all cheering the idea to fight a battle in the Crownlands in the middle should be ridiculous.

I can say some regional warfare to continue. The Northmen wrapping up the Bolton-Stannis war. The Riverlords retaking their castles, freeing the hostages, killing the Freys. But no large pitched battles. They lack the men for that, not to mention the resources (horses, provisions, warm clothes, etc.) and what men remain are most likely not the least interested in continuing some stupid war if the chances are pretty good that a march lasting the occasional fortnight might very well end with them being some frozen corpse.

People could move troops back and forth on ships for the time being but those would then have to reach whatever battlefields they want to reach quickly enough. King's Landing is a harbor so fighting can continue in that region.

14 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Well then we might as well be done. 

No, warfare can change. Aegon doesn't have to subdue all of Westeros. Him taking KL and the Iron Throne might be enough to effectively establish him as the new king. The Riverlords should not object, the Westermen might not object unless Cersei gets back there soon, the Reach and the Stormlords will either have declared for him or be defeated by that time, and Dorne is going to be on his side. The Vale could attack him or send troops to KL to bolster his forces.

Perhaps one could imagine an army crossing the Realm if the stakes were very high and the weather suddenly pretty good for winter. But honestly I don't see any good reason for such a campaign right now. Whatever fighting there is will most likely concentrate on the Stormlands/Crownlands area with Aegon's campaign and the Reach (and possibly Dorne) with the Ironborn. The Riverlands won't see a lot of open fighting. There the people who are trying to get rid of the occupying Lannister troops are already there. They don't have to march all that far and the people who plan to retake Riverrun seem to be already more or less in place.

Thinking about that - dealing with the Freys at the Twins might be one of those high stakes reasons for a campaign I talked about right now. But that, too, would be a campaign in the Riverlands, and possibly not so difficult a campaign in light of the fact that the Frey forces might already be pretty spent when the time for that campaign arrives.

All this is one of the main reasons why I can't imagine the Second Dance as a war even remotely resembling the First Dance. That won't be a war all of the Westerosi houses will be split up between two or more pretenders trying to kill each other. It might be a war between Aegon and Daenerys but it could mostly be a naval war with Aegon/Euron trying to defeat Dany before she gets there or with Aegon sending troops to Essos to challenge her there (although I doubt he would be successful there if she gets all the Dothraki).

Again, KL is a harbor, so Dany could easily target the capital of her enemy at the beginning of the conflict. It could then also end pretty quickly unless Aegon happens to be away from the city.

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I think war in winter will continue with similar tactics and methods. Winter will just make battles more brutal and desperate. Like we have seen in the march to Winterfell by Stannis. 

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4 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

I think war in winter will continue with similar tactics and methods. Winter will just make battles more brutal and desperate. Like we have seen in the march to Winterfell by Stannis. 

Absolutely. I know from experience that maneuvering in extreme winter weather conditions is difficult and dangerous, but it can be done. The biggest problem would be supply. 

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13 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

I think war in winter will continue with similar tactics and methods. Winter will just make battles more brutal and desperate. Like we have seen in the march to Winterfell by Stannis. 

 

8 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Absolutely. I know from experience that maneuvering in extreme winter weather conditions is difficult and dangerous, but it can be done. The biggest problem would be supply. 

The problem with such ideas is that this kind of thing simply won't work in a continent as large as Westeros. George cannot hope to sell us the idea that a Dornish army can march to the Riverlands in the middle of winter, just as an army from the Westerlands should not be able to reach King's Landing.

If Dany were to catch Aegon with some garrison at KL she would win the war long before some allies of his could muster an army and march against her. If you have to cross to hundreds of leagues of snow to challenge an enemy you will postpone this until there is better weather.

Stannis' army was just caught in a mild autumn snowstorm and they were basically unable to move. What do you think a real winter snowstorm is going to look like? How quickly could an army march in such a weather and with an insane amount of snow lying around? How many people with freeze to death on such a march? How would the people transport their food and provisions? What would the horses eat? And so on.

If George doesn't include winter as a deciding factor into all this the line 'Winter is coming' would be officially a joke. Business cannot continue as usual in winter, especially not war which is a costly and destructive affair even in summer.

What George can do is have winter show its teeth in the first half of TWoW. It is not yet snowing in the Reach and the Stormlands, and of course not in Dorne, and he could make it so that winter has not completely set in in the Riverlands and KL (say, it could cease to snow, and some snows could even melt in daylight, etc.). That way some of the fighting could continue there, especially whatever Catelyn and the Brotherhood plan in the Riverlands as well as Aegon's campaign. And as long Euron continues his naval warfare winter should have little effect on his actions, especially while his fleet is hanging out in the Summer Sea.

But the idea that winter will still allow everybody who still has any armies to march to war by the time of Dany's arrival or the War for the Dawn makes little sense. The Reach, Dorne, the Golden Company, and even the Vale could actually weaken themselves pretty much before Dany arrives or the Wall falls, depending what happens in the next book, but if they are all in the grip of winter to a degree they were neither expecting nor prepared for it is out of the question that they can to much in the warfare department. The Reach and the Stormlands are not prepared for the kind of winter the average Northman faces in an average winter, and this is going to be the mother of all winters.

Hell, if the Westerosi people still have enough men to challenge some wight army after the fall of the Wall they most certainly won't march against them to challenge them because marching an army up north in the middle of winter would be suicide, plain and simple. Half of the men would join the ranks of the wights before they would even encounter the wight army.

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13 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

 

The problem with such ideas is that this kind of thing simply won't work in a continent as large as Westeros. George cannot hope to sell us the idea that a Dornish army can march to the Riverlands in the middle of winter, just as an army from the Westerlands should not be able to reach King's Landing.

This is actually the point. Leaders and commanders will still want to march on their respective foes because the stakes are high, only to end in disaster after disaster. Armies rebelling, starving, freezing to death, widespread cannibalism, marching on friends to get provisions, attacking the smallfolk, etc. I can totally see a siege where both defenders and attackers are starving out each other.

The south has been mostly untouched by tWo5K, they need to get their share of the apocalypse. Whether we will see that from some PoV, I don't know.

13 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Stannis' army was just caught in a mild autumn snowstorm and they were basically unable to move.

What Stannis got in autumn in the North, is what the Reach will get in winter. How bad are going to be things in the north, I've no idea. Maybe no more snow but freaking freezing temperatures.

13 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If George doesn't include winter as a deciding factor into all this the line 'Winter is coming' would be officially a joke. Business cannot continue as usual in winter, especially not war which is a costly and destructive affair even in summer.

There are reasons why the Eastern Front in WW2 was much more brutal than the Western one. Winter among them. I think GRRM can borrow a bit from that.

 

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1 minute ago, rotting sea cow said:

This is actually the point. Leaders and commanders will still want to march on their respective foes because the stakes are high, only to end in disaster after disaster. Armies rebelling, starving, freezing to death, widespread cannibalism, marching on friends to get provisions, attacking the smallfolk, etc. I can totally see a siege where both defenders and attackers are starving out each other.

But why do you think leaders and commanders will do that? Stannis might, but why would anybody else, really? The Riverlanders are driven by revenge, they will deal with the Freys in winter, that much is clear, but why should they involve themselves in any war after that?

That is separate from the issue of some army getting caught in a snowstorm like Stannis was. Then they are trapped and have to press on or die, etc.

What I'm talking about is why the hell should any lord be willing to call his banners or march to war after winter has actually set in? And that will happen sooner or later. Such people would have nothing to gain and pretty much everything to lose.

1 minute ago, rotting sea cow said:

The south has been mostly untouched by tWo5K, they need to get their share of the apocalypse. Whether we will see that from some PoV, I don't know.

The Riverlands are the most devastated region as of yet, and the Crownlands got their share of war, too, at KL and Duskendale. The fighting between the Reach and the Ironborn can continue for months to come if winter takes its time, to be sure, but in the northern parts of the Reach it might arrive much earlier.

1 minute ago, rotting sea cow said:

What Stannis got in autumn in the North, is what the Reach will get in winter. How bad are going to be things in the north, I've no idea. Maybe no more snow but freaking freezing temperatures.

If you remember how much snow there is expected to fall at the Wall we can expect a lot snow to fall in the North. The Northmen made it clear that the storm that caught Stannis was a mild autumn snowstorm by Northern standards, suggesting that winter snowstorms in the North are a lot worse. And they will be even worse in this particular winter.

1 minute ago, rotting sea cow said:

There are reasons why the Eastern Front in WW2 was much more brutal than the Western one. Winter among them. I think GRRM can borrow a bit from that.

Sure, but that would still be a mundane Russian winter. And a campaign begun in summer stretching into winter. Nothing of this sort is going to happen now that winter is there.

There is no chance that Dany or Aegon would have the means to challenge Stannis in the North in the middle of winter. Neither would have Stannis a chance to march whatever army he might have down south in the middle of winter. Such a war is not going to happen.

The Vale also has no chance to cross the Mountains of the Moon in the middle of winter. They could only enter the war if it came to them (a ridiculous idea) or if they left the Vale by ship. Once they reached their landing point they would have to march through the snow, though, if they did not want to stay at KL or White Harbor.

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13 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

But why do you think leaders and commanders will do that? Stannis might, but why would anybody else, really? The Riverlanders are driven by revenge, they will deal with the Freys in winter, that much is clear, but why should they involve themselves in any war after that?

That is separate from the issue of some army getting caught in a snowstorm like Stannis was. Then they are trapped and have to press on or die, etc.

What I'm talking about is why the hell should any lord be willing to call his banners or march to war after winter has actually set in? And that will happen sooner or later. Such people would have nothing to gain and pretty much everything to lose.

It turns out, it's about to happen. I may not be as dramatic as in Stannis case, but when Dorne declares for Aegon they will need to march into the incoming winter (it is already snowing in KL) or lose the sole possibility to become relevant. And the Dornishmen are utterly unprepared for the winter.

There might be other cases. Blackwoods marching on the Brackens to get vengeance (and food).  The Westerlands marching on KL to prevent Aegon. Etc. I'm not sure in any particular case, but the stakes are getting higher and higher, so they need to march or lose.

13 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

There is no chance that Dany or Aegon would have the means to challenge Stannis in the North in the middle of winter. Neither would have Stannis a chance to march whatever army he might have down south in the middle of winter. Such a war is not going to happen.

I agree here. No mistake. Whenever Dany goes north it will be on the back of Drogon.

13 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The Vale also has no chance to cross the Mountains of the Moon in the middle of winter. They could only enter the war if it came to them (a ridiculous idea) or if they left the Vale by ship. Once they reached their landing point they would have to march through the snow, though, if they did not want to stay at KL or White Harbor.

I'm not sure what will happen with Vale. I haven't paid enough attention to Sansa chapters. It seems to me they are heading to WF at some point. I pity them then.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

 

The problem with such ideas is that this kind of thing simply won't work in a continent as large as Westeros. George cannot hope to sell us the idea that a Dornish army can march to the Riverlands in the middle of winter, just as an army from the Westerlands should not be able to reach King's Landing.

If Dany were to catch Aegon with some garrison at KL she would win the war long before some allies of his could muster an army and march against her. If you have to cross to hundreds of leagues of snow to challenge an enemy you will postpone this until there is better weather.

Stannis' army was just caught in a mild autumn snowstorm and they were basically unable to move. What do you think a real winter snowstorm is going to look like? How quickly could an army march in such a weather and with an insane amount of snow lying around? How many people with freeze to death on such a march? How would the people transport their food and provisions? What would the horses eat? And so on.

If George doesn't include winter as a deciding factor into all this the line 'Winter is coming' would be officially a joke. Business cannot continue as usual in winter, especially not war which is a costly and destructive affair even in summer.

What George can do is have winter show its teeth in the first half of TWoW. It is not yet snowing in the Reach and the Stormlands, and of course not in Dorne, and he could make it so that winter has not completely set in in the Riverlands and KL (say, it could cease to snow, and some snows could even melt in daylight, etc.). That way some of the fighting could continue there, especially whatever Catelyn and the Brotherhood plan in the Riverlands as well as Aegon's campaign. And as long Euron continues his naval warfare winter should have little effect on his actions, especially while his fleet is hanging out in the Summer Sea.

But the idea that winter will still allow everybody who still has any armies to march to war by the time of Dany's arrival or the War for the Dawn makes little sense. The Reach, Dorne, the Golden Company, and even the Vale could actually weaken themselves pretty much before Dany arrives or the Wall falls, depending what happens in the next book, but if they are all in the grip of winter to a degree they were neither expecting nor prepared for it is out of the question that they can to much in the warfare department. The Reach and the Stormlands are not prepared for the kind of winter the average Northman faces in an average winter, and this is going to be the mother of all winters.

Hell, if the Westerosi people still have enough men to challenge some wight army after the fall of the Wall they most certainly won't march against them to challenge them because marching an army up north in the middle of winter would be suicide, plain and simple. Half of the men would join the ranks of the wights before they would even encounter the wight army.

Just go back in the cabin with the ladies, dude. Me and the boys will collect our gear (squad-sized tents, wood burning stoves, snow shoes, extra socks, layered clothing with pelts and furs), and go do what a man's gotta do. If you're gonna die, die with your boots on. If you're gonna cry, just move along, cause your gonna die. 

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6 minutes ago, rotting sea cow said:

It turns out, it's about to happen. I may not be as dramatic as in Stannis case, but when Dorne declares for Aegon they will need to march into the incoming winter (it is already snowing in KL) or lose the sole possibility to become relevant. And the Dornishmen are utterly unprepared for the winter.

That is true. But then, taking KL should be quickly over. The Dornish armies are not likely to stay there indefinitely or march further north into the Riverlands.

By the way, I think the second Dornish army in the Prince's Pass will march into the Reach to offer assistance against the Ironborn. That way Aegon and Arianne could win the friendship/support of a lot of Reach lords including Garlan and Willas Tyrell. Only the army in the Boneway should cross the Stormlands to team up with Aegon at Storm's End.

6 minutes ago, rotting sea cow said:

There might be other cases. Blackwoods marching on the Brackens to get vengeance (and food).  The Westerlands marching on KL to prevent Aegon. Etc. I'm not sure in any particular case, but the stakes are getting higher and higher, so they need to march or lose.

I don't see the West doing anything in the near future. They don't have a clear chain of command over there and Cersei possibly writing letters is not necessarily going to have the same effect as her, Kevan, or Jaime actually being there. And if she wants to return the Casterly Rock she cannot do that overland. She would have to cross the Riverlands, risking getting captured (either by the rebels or by the Tyrell army pursuing her). The only real option would be to go by ship, and that way she could hook up with Euron on the way.

In any case, Aegon will take KL long before a Lannister army could be raised or arrive at KL. And they would have to cross the Riverlands to get their, possibly not exactly arriving in good shape then.

6 minutes ago, rotting sea cow said:

I'm not sure what will happen with Vale. I haven't paid enough attention to Sansa chapters. It seems to me they are heading to WF at some point. I pity them then.

The plan in AFfC seemed to suggest them going to Winterfell next spring, when Stannis and the Boltons have either destroyed each other or have weakened each other sufficiently. The idea that the Vale troops would go north in winter to fight a war in the North makes no sense in any possible scenario. Littlefinger and Sansa both believe she is the last Stark alive, so they can take their time in restoring her to Winterfell. They are in no rush.

But with the news about Aegon new opportunities could present themselves, opportunities that could allow Sansa to become queen or Sansa to get her revenge on the Lannisters (and Tyrells) by supporting Aegon. Her main problem is that she is still accused of regicide, and that cripples her abilities to reveal herself. Once King Tommen is gone that whole situation is going to change. Winterfell can wait.

5 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Just go back in the cabin with the ladies, dude. Me and the boys will collect our gear (squad-sized tents, wood burning stoves, snow shoes, extra socks, layered clothing with pelts and furs), and go do what a man's gotta do. If you're gonna die, die with your boots on. If you're gonna cry, just move along, cause your gonna die. 

Well, then, good hunting to you. I'm going to smother the children in the meantime.

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57 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, then, good hunting to you. I'm going to smother the children in the meantime.

Har!

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