Stormking902

Do the Starks technically own ALL land in the North?

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I was wondering how land holding exactly works so I used Starks as an example it is stated numerous times that the Starks bannerman hold there land in the Starks name so is this land technically the Starks which who basically rent out said land for a kick back in taxes and tariffs? Or do these Bannerman OWN there own land but bend the knee to the Starks for protection and such? 

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If you want to roll it back to whether or not the Starks own the land, well it's kinda irrelevant. If the Starks own the land of their vassals, then the same has to be said of the Starks to the Baratheons/Targs. 

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1 hour ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

If you want to roll it back to whether or not the Starks own the land, well it's kinda irrelevant. If the Starks own the land of their vassals, then the same has to be said of the Starks to the Baratheons/Targs. 

Well, except that the North is owned by the Iron Throne pretty much in the same way that Skagos is owned by the Starks. In other words, nominaly perhaps, but in practice they go their own way.

 

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There are different types of people beneath the Starks.  The Manderlys and Boltons for examples are lords who own their lands, and then there are the northern equivalent to landed knights like the Glovers of Deepwood Mott who administer the lands of the Wolfwood in the name of the Starks.

So no, they do not own all the land but their lands are very extensive and they have bannermen who are not full lords who administer parts of it but who are not entitled to everything that a Lord is such as dispensing justice.  This is what we see when Ned go's to behead the NWmen in the first Bran chapter.

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All land in the Seven Kingdoms belongs to the king. His lords are just holding it in his name. And the great lords are only his representatives in their regions, not the people who sub-own the land their bannermen are sitting on. If that was the case it would fall to the Starks, Lannisters, Tullys, etc. to create new lords and grant castles and lands to other men when a line dies out and no heirs can be found (take the many houses that held Harrenhal over the years - it always fell to the Iron Throne to create new Lords of Harrenhal, never to the Tullys).

The Starks, Lannisters, and Arryns can easily enough make use of their past as former kings, invoking old loyalties and pretending they are still sovereign monarchs. But they are not.

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33 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

All land in the Seven Kingdoms belongs to the king. His lords are just holding it in his name. And the great lords are only his representatives in their regions, not the people who sub-own the land their bannermen are sitting on. If that was the case it would fall to the Starks, Lannisters, Tullys, etc. to create new lords and grant castles and lands to other men when a line dies out and no heirs can be found (take the many houses that held Harrenhal over the years - it always fell to the Iron Throne to create new Lords of Harrenhal, never to the Tullys).

The Starks, Lannisters, and Arryns can easily enough make use of their past as former kings, invoking old loyalties and pretending they are still sovereign monarchs. But they are not.

This is exactly correct. If the question, however, is pertaining to the starks either Pre-Torrhen or post succession with Robb then all the land would belong to the Stark in Winterfell and held by his lords in the way that post kneeling the north was held by the Stark in winterfell in the name of the King. The most clear understanding of the position of a great lord, imo, is in the speech Ned gives before executing the NE deserter in AGOT. In the name of Robert of house Baratheon, first of his name, title of the blah blah blah, I Edward of the house stark....what any lord holds he does by the grace and at the pleasure of the king

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11 minutes ago, YOVMO said:

This is exactly correct. If the question, however, is pertaining to the starks either Pre-Torrhen or post succession with Robb then all the land would belong to the Stark in Winterfell and held by his lords in the way that post kneeling the north was held by the Stark in winterfell in the name of the King. The most clear understanding of the position of a great lord, imo, is in the speech Ned gives before executing the NE deserter in AGOT. In the name of Robert of house Baratheon, first of his name, title of the blah blah blah, I Edward of the house stark....what any lord holds he does by the grace and at the pleasure of the king

Sure, as Kings in the North all the land in the North would have belonged to the Starks.

And Robb actually greatly expanded his domains by also being declared Kings at the Trident which people often forget. In fact, he might have owed more land at the Trident than in the North because there might have been more Riverlords than Northmen doing fealty to him - the Lords Bolton, Manderly, Dustin, Ryswells, etc. never actually did homage to their new king nor did they proclaim him. Was Roose really betraying his king when he killed him? That is actually a difficult question.

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The Targaryen monarch owned all of the land.  The Starks are the wardens of the north.  They administer the land on behalf of the throne.  They collect taxes on behalf of the throne and they enforce the throne's laws.  So the answer is no, the Starks do not own the land.  They are governors on behalf of the monarch on the throne.  The Starks serve the monarch on the iron throne.

Edited by Lame Lothar Frey

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The wardensship is a military title/honor/obligation. The land is owned by the crown--the sovereign. The land is held by the lord. The grant, assuming it's similar to the real world, can be for a term of years, for life, or by the Lord and his heirs in perpetuity. Alternative arrangements can be made, (e.g. the subject of the Sworn Sword), but such arrangments might have to be ratified by the king or an overlord, and all such arrangements could be the subject of little wars (e.g. The Hornwood). 

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15 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Well, except that the North is owned by the Iron Throne pretty much in the same way that Skagos is owned by the Starks. In other words, nominaly perhaps, but in practice they go their own way.

 

Definitely appears that way but they bent the knee (twice now). Can't exactly dismiss it

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9 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

The wardensship is a military title/honor/obligation. The land is owned by the crown--the sovereign. The land is held by the lord. The grant, assuming it's similar to the real world, can be for a term of years, for life, or by the Lord and his heirs in perpetuity. Alternative arrangements can be made, (e.g. the subject of the Sworn Sword), but such arrangments might have to be ratified by the king or an overlord, and all such arrangements could be the subject of little wars (e.g. The Hornwood). 

The Hornwood case only fell to the Starks to deal with because Robb had been proclaimed King in the North. Thus he became the highest authority in that part of Westeros.

We know only the king can create lords. But other lords higher up the tier can sit in judgment over a lot of issues, including the succession of minor lordships (as the Rowans did with the Coldmoat succession) but they certainly can't create new lords on their own. If a line dies out the lands and the title revert back to the Crown. Robb never got a chance to rule on the Hornwood thing so Ramsay is nothing but a self-styled Lord of Hornwood up until that point King Tommen confirms that title.

15 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Well, except that the North is owned by the Iron Throne pretty much in the same way that Skagos is owned by the Starks. In other words, nominaly perhaps, but in practice they go their own way.

We can put this perspective a little bit. If we look at the history of the North there is a very good chance that the Starks do not enjoy all that much support in the Bolton lands, for instance, making it a big leap to assume that they ever properly owned those lands. Despite the bloody feuds between these houses the Starks were never able to break the Boltons completely nor were they able to destroy that cursed line (one actually wonders why that is - if I had been one of those hard Kings of Winter of old I'd have done everything in my power to destroy a family who made cloaks out of the skins of my ancestors), suggesting that their power had limits.

All those former royal lines in the North - the Dustins, Boltons, Umbers, etc. - might be very much ingrained in the history and the consciousness of the people they rule so that any attempt of Winterfell - even while the Starks still wore crowns - might have been unable to take those lands away from them without risking a bloody rebellion.

I mean, we all remember how the Greatjon originally challenged Robb's leadership in AGoT. If the boy had shown any weakness the Umbers might have betrayed Robb, and not Roose.

There are other houses in the North - the Glovers, Tallharts, Cerwyns, mountain clansmen, Manderlys - who are much closer to the Starks. Their lands the Starks might have effectively owned back when they were still kings (and they could, perhaps, still count on the ancient bond between king and subject in those relationships) but not with the others.

It is similar in the other regions. A Royce, Hightower, Reyne, or Frey is not necessarily going to take the side of his formal liege lord if he can gain the king's favor instead.

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6 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The Hornwood case only fell to the Starks to deal with because Robb had been proclaimed King in the North. Thus he became the highest authority in that part of Westeros.

We know only the king can create lords. But other lords higher up the tier can sit in judgment over a lot of issues, including the succession of minor lordships (as the Rowans did with the Coldmoat succession) but they certainly can't create new lords on their own. If a line dies out the lands and the title revert back to the Crown. Robb never got a chance to rule on the Hornwood thing so Ramsay is nothing but a self-styled Lord of Hornwood up until that point King Tommen confirms that title.

We can put this perspective a little bit. If we look at the history of the North there is a very good chance that the Starks do not enjoy all that much support in the Bolton lands, for instance, making it a big leap to assume that they ever properly owned those lands. Despite the bloody feuds between these houses the Starks were never able to break the Boltons completely nor were they able to destroy that cursed line (one actually wonders why that is - if I had been one of those hard Kings of Winter of old I'd have done everything in my power to destroy a family who made cloaks out of the skins of my ancestors), suggesting that their power had limits.

All those former royal lines in the North - the Dustins, Boltons, Umbers, etc. - might be very much ingrained in the history and the consciousness of the people they rule so that any attempt of Winterfell - even while the Starks still wore crowns - might have been unable to take those lands away from them without risking a bloody rebellion.

I mean, we all remember how the Greatjon originally challenged Robb's leadership in AGoT. If the boy had shown any weakness the Umbers might have betrayed Robb, and not Roose.

There are other houses in the North - the Glovers, Tallharts, Cerwyns, mountain clansmen, Manderlys - who are much closer to the Starks. Their lands the Starks might have effectively owned back when they were still kings (and they could, perhaps, still count on the ancient bond between king and subject in those relationships) but not with the others.

It is similar in the other regions. A Royce, Hightower, Reyne, or Frey is not necessarily going to take the side of his formal liege lord if he can gain the king's favor instead.

It is interesting to speculate. The Starks did wipe out many former Royal Houses, amongst them the former rulers of the Wolfswood, Rills, Stony Shore, Sea Dragon point and the Neck. These are just the ones that we can link to specific regions. On top of that we have a dozen(s)? other petty Kings that we don't know exactly where they were based. The Greenwoods for example could easily have ruled the former Karstark lands for all we know, and others may have ruled the current Manderly lands in the past.

In fact, the only current Houses that were definitely the former Kings of their territories are the Glovers, Boltons, Flints, Umbers and possibly the Dustins - if they are the former Barrow Kings, and not merely a former vassal House of the Barrowlands who had links to the Barrow Kings. The Lockes and Slates may be former Kings too, I can't quite recall.

In any case, even in the case of the Umbers, Robb was quite comfortable to state that he would burn down their keep and hang them for oathbreakers if they refused to serve him as was their duty. Similarly, he beheaded Lord Karstark, one of his most powerful vassal lords.

So if the Boltons rebelled again, like Skagos did 100 years ago, I'm sure that once they were defeated Winterfell could wipe them out if they so chose. We all know that the Boltons continued existence after multiple past rebellions is a mystery, and most likely just another plot convenience that we are not meant to dwell on too closely.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

It is interesting to speculate. The Starks did wipe out many former Royal Houses, amongst them the former rulers of the Wolfswood, Rills, Stony Shore, Sea Dragon point and the Neck. These are just the ones that we can link to specific regions. On top of that we have a dozen(s)? other petty Kings that we don't know exactly where they were based. The Greenwoods for example could easily have ruled the former Karstark lands for all we know, and others may have ruled the current Manderly lands in the past.

Sure, but I'd not consider the Red Kings, the Barrow Kings, and the Umbers 'petty kings' considering the domains they may rule. The Barrowlands seem to be pretty big, the Red Kings may have ruled much greater territories than House Bolton controls today, and so on.

The Ryders might have been powerful petty kings once, too. They seem to have been the original rulers of the Rills.

There are petty kings and petty lings. The Yronwoods were petty kings, too, once, and they ruled two thirds of Dorne.

1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

In fact, the only current Houses that were definitely the former Kings of their territories are the Glovers, Boltons, Flints, Umbers and possibly the Dustins - if they are the former Barrow Kings, and not merely a former vassal House of the Barrowlands who had links to the Barrow Kings. The Lockes and Slates may be former Kings too, I can't quite recall.

Considering that the Glovers and Flints seem to be not very powerful in modern days I excluded them above. They don't seem to have been in the position to ever challenge the rule of House Stark - unlike the Boltons.

1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

In any case, even in the case of the Umbers, Robb was quite comfortable to state that he would burn down their keep and hang them for oathbreakers if they refused to serve him as was their duty. Similarly, he beheaded Lord Karstark, one of his most powerful vassal lords.

Sure, but the latter was after Robb had developed into a resolute warrior-king who never lost a battle. The question is what the Greatjon would have done had Greywind not taken his fingers. The Greatjon had already drawn steel against his (future) liege lord at that point, and if Robb hadn't taken his head for that he might have looked weak. And if he had taken his head for that, the Umbers would have gone home, and perhaps others to.

The point I'm making is that the Starks are not the universally worshiped/acknowledged top dogs in the North. People accept them when they show strength. But many a Northern house might skin them alive as soon as they show any weakness, not just the Boltons. That is a recurring theme throughout the books. There are very loyal Stark followers like the mountain clansmen, the Manderlys (as we recently learned), and so on. But there are also Northmen who most likely don't give a damn about Winterfell.

It is not the same in the other regions. The position of the Arryns, Lannisters, Durrandon-Baratheons, and especially the Gardeners before the Conquest appear much securer. A man like Tytos Lannister wouldn't have survived as Lord of Winterfell.

1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

So if the Boltons rebelled again, like Skagos did 100 years ago, I'm sure that once they were defeated Winterfell could wipe them out if they so chose. We all know that the Boltons continued existence after multiple past rebellions is a mystery, and most likely just another plot convenience that we are not meant to dwell on too closely.

Well, there are scenarios imaginable explaining why they could not wipe them out. Perhaps the Boltons were never really conquered but chose to bend the knee in various truces? Anything else makes little sense because else it is very convincing that the Starks would repeatedly confirm the Boltons as the Lords of the Dreadfort. They don't have to eradicate the entire family to be in position to take their lands and titles away and bestow the castle and the adjacent lands to a loyal man.

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30 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Sure, but I'd not consider the Red Kings, the Barrow Kings, and the Umbers 'petty kings' considering the domains they may rule. The Barrowlands seem to be pretty big, the Red Kings may have ruled much greater territories than House Bolton controls today, and so on.

The Ryders might have been powerful petty kings once, too. They seem to have been the original rulers of the Rills.

There are petty kings and petty lings. The Yronwoods were petty kings, too, once, and they ruled two thirds of Dorne.

Considering that the Glovers and Flints seem to be not very powerful in modern days I excluded them above. They don't seem to have been in the position to ever challenge the rule of House Stark - unlike the Boltons.

Sure, but the latter was after Robb had developed into a resolute warrior-king who never lost a battle. The question is what the Greatjon would have done had Greywind not taken his fingers. The Greatjon had already drawn steel against his (future) liege lord at that point, and if Robb hadn't taken his head for that he might have looked weak. And if he had taken his head for that, the Umbers would have gone home, and perhaps others to.

The point I'm making is that the Starks are not the universally worshiped/acknowledged top dogs in the North. People accept them when they show strength. But many a Northern house might skin them alive as soon as they show any weakness, not just the Boltons. That is a recurring theme throughout the books. There are very loyal Stark followers like the mountain clansmen, the Manderlys (as we recently learned), and so on. But there are also Northmen who most likely don't give a damn about Winterfell.

It is not the same in the other regions. The position of the Arryns, Lannisters, Durrandon-Baratheons, and especially the Gardeners before the Conquest appear much securer. A man like Tytos Lannister wouldn't have survived as Lord of Winterfell.

Well, there are scenarios imaginable explaining why they could not wipe them out. Perhaps the Boltons were never really conquered but chose to bend the knee in various truces? Anything else makes little sense because else it is very convincing that the Starks would repeatedly confirm the Boltons as the Lords of the Dreadfort. They don't have to eradicate the entire family to be in position to take their lands and titles away and bestow the castle and the adjacent lands to a loyal man.

Not sure we disagree on much here. Except maybe on some of your interpretations and extrapolations.

That some Stark kings are weak and some are strong, well, we know that. Edrick Snowbeard couldn't even secure his entire realm. Even the strongest Stark king we have records of - Theon the Hungry Wolf - had a rebellion in the Rills while he was off fighting the Andals, or the Sistermen or the Vale. A mere 100 years ago Skagos rebelled. The North is a harsh land, and its vast expanse makes it more difficult to give all of it the attention it warrants.

That, however, hasn't stopped Stark kings from extinguishing rebel Houses completely when they so chose. The Ryders are one such example. But I think the opposite is true to what you conclude based on this. The North has been united under a single King for longer than any other of the Seven mainland kingdoms.

They were completely united by the time the Andals first landed on the Fingers. It is inconceivable that the Starks have lasted this long if they were less secure as rulers than any of the other kingdoms. They are in fact MORE secure. Sure, rebellions break out periodically. But these don't threaten Winterfell itself. The very qualities that make the North dificult to control, namely its size, wildness and climate, also make it pretty much impossible for a rebel to overthrow the Stark rule of the North.

At best a rebel could hope to carve off his own territory. And the nature of the North means that while the Stark King is off fighting elsewhere, or while he is gathering his forces to respond to the revolt in one corner of his kingdom, significant time passses, and thus the rebellion is easier to maintain. And similarly, logistics make it more time and resource consuming to get to a rebel's keep and subdue him, thus rebellions are more easy to contemplate, and probably last longer than in tiny southron kingdoms where it is just a few days march to get to a rebel keep.

But by the same token, these rebels cannot threaten Winterfell itself. Not since before the Andals came, and the Red Kings first bowed. So in the end, the Starks always put them down, even if it takes years.

 

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35 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The North has been united under a single King for longer than any other of the Seven mainland kingdoms.

Nope, the Gardeners and Durrandons are all older. Their lands were settled long before people had even migrated into the North and especially the Hightowers and the Gardeners seem to have roots that stretch back into the Dawn Age, long before the Age of Heroes, the Long Night, and Brandon the Builder.

35 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

They were completely united by the time the Andals first landed on the Fingers. It is inconceivable that the Starks have lasted this long if they were less secure as rulers than any of the other kingdoms. They are in fact MORE secure.

Keeping outer enemies out and being a strong internal ruler isn't the same. It is not unlikely that most Stark kings were just formal kings in vast reaches of the North with the likes of the Boltons, Umbers, and Dustins effectively continuing their rule and pay lip service to Winterfell.

That better explains the fact that each new Stark of Winterfell has to prove his mettle and worth. If the direwolf has no teeth nobody is going to follow him - and one assumes that historically quite a few Starks didn't have all that much teeth. I guess that mostly meant that they were put down by their relatives and a real leader took over but at times it might also have meant that the might of Winterfell eroded for a time.

35 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Sure, rebellions break out periodically. But these don't threaten Winterfell itself. The very qualities that make the North dificult to control, namely its size, wildness and climate, also make it pretty much impossible for a rebel to overthrow the Stark rule of the North.

It is not about 'the rule of the North'. It is about independence in your own ancestral lands. The Boltons and Dustins don't have to conquer Winterfell to effectively regain their independence. It is enough that Winterfell does not have the strength to interfere with their internal affairs or enforce the laws the Kings in the North made on Bolton lands. We see that is the case even today if Roose is correct about the Umbers still claiming the First Night.

35 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

At best a rebel could hope to carve off his own territory. And the nature of the North means that while the Stark King is off fighting elsewhere, or while he is gathering his forces to respond to the revolt in one corner of his kingdom, significant time passses, and thus the rebellion is easier to maintain. And similarly, logistics make it more time and resource consuming to get to a rebel's keep and subdue him, thus rebellions are more easy to contemplate, and probably last longer than in tiny southron kingdoms where it is just a few days march to get to a rebel keep.

But by the same token, these rebels cannot threaten Winterfell itself. Not since before the Andals came, and the Red Kings first bowed. So in the end, the Starks always put them down, even if it takes years.

The idea is that the North might never have been a real nation of sort but essentially a sort of confederacy formally led by the Starks but with the Kings in the North not really exerting much authority in all their territories. I mean, they rule over Skagos seems to be a joke, and the same may be true for other regions as well.

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10 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Nope, the Gardeners and Durrandons are all older. Their lands were settled long before people had even migrated into the North and especially the Hightowers and the Gardeners seem to have roots that stretch back into the Dawn Age, long before the Age of Heroes, the Long Night, and Brandon the Builder.

Keeping outer enemies out and being a strong internal ruler isn't the same. It is not unlikely that most Stark kings were just formal kings in vast reaches of the North with the likes of the Boltons, Umbers, and Dustins effectively continuing their rule and pay lip service to Winterfell.

That better explains the fact that each new Stark of Winterfell has to prove his mettle and worth. If the direwolf has no teeth nobody is going to follow him - and one assumes that historically quite a few Starks didn't have all that much teeth. I guess that mostly meant that they were put down by their relatives and a real leader took over but at times it might also have meant that the might of Winterfell eroded for a time.

It is not about 'the rule of the North'. It is about independence in your own ancestral lands. The Boltons and Dustins don't have to conquer Winterfell to effectively regain their independence. It is enough that Winterfell does not have the strength to interfere with their internal affairs or enforce the laws the Kings in the North made on Bolton lands. We see that is the case even today if Roose is correct about the Umbers still claiming the First Night.

The idea is that the North might never have been a real nation of sort but essentially a sort of confederacy formally led by the Starks but with the Kings in the North not really exerting much authority in all their territories. I mean, they rule over Skagos seems to be a joke, and the same may be true for other regions as well.

To start with the last, that is a baseless idea. The North is no confederacy. At least, no more so than any of the other Seven Kingdoms.  Since the Andal invasion the North has been more of a distinct nation than any of the other kingdoms, given its unique religion, culture and way of life.

And to address the first point, the age of the families has nothing to do with this topic. The fact that the Durrandons and Gardeners lived in the South before the Starks lived in the North has no bearing on which of these kingdoms unified first.

The North unified as the first Andal longships were crossing the Narrow Sea - meaning before the Andals invaded and conquered the Vale. The Andals only reached the Reach many centuries later. Whether all four kingdoms of the present day Reach were united before the North was united is not at all certain. As for the Durandons. Even when the Andals were invading there were apparently independent warlords on Cape Wrath.

This idea that the Starks are somehow less in control of their kingdom than the other Seven Kingdoms is laughable. And seems almost based on wishful thinking on your part. Rebellions, internal wars, the loss of territory to rival kingdoms and general fluctuations in internal control were the norm across the Reach, Riverlands and Stormlands for much of history. And Dorne was not even a kingdom until very recently in Westerosi history. Instead, it was a bunch of petty kingdoms.

As for the Vale, it only became a kingdom centuries after the North had united under the Starks.

 

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5 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

To start with the last, that is a baseless idea. The North is no confederacy. At least, no more so than any of the other Seven Kingdoms.  Since the Andal invasion the North has been more of a distinct nation than any of the other kingdoms, given its unique religion, culture and way of life.

The Andal kingdoms also all share at least a religion, but that doesn't make them a distinct nation. Those are modern concepts which do not fit into a feudal setting where people usually live and die without getting farther than a 50 mile radius around the place they were born.

I did not really say that the North was less centralized than the other kingdoms. In fact, I also think that the Reach is this sort of confederacy-like realm with the former royal lines being strong semi-independent players in the regions (especially the Hightowers and Redwynes).

The North's equivalent to those in the ancient days seem to be the Boltons, the Dustins, and the like. Today it would be those houses in addition to the Manderlys.

The same would also go for the various power centers in the Riverlands. But the West, the Stormlands, and the Vale (after the Andal conquest) have smaller territory to govern and could thus presumably a much more direct control over their territories than, say, the Starks and the Gardeners. Those kings would have ruled more through their lords than those other kings did. 

5 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

And to address the first point, the age of the families has nothing to do with this topic. The fact that the Durrandons and Gardeners lived in the South before the Starks lived in the North has no bearing on which of these kingdoms unified first.

The North unified as the first Andal longships were crossing the Narrow Sea - meaning before the Andals invaded and conquered the Vale. The Andals only reached the Reach many centuries later. Whether all four kingdoms of the present day Reach were united before the North was united is not at all certain. As for the Durandons. Even when the Andals were invading there were apparently independent warlords on Cape Wrath.

The Reach was united long before the Andals came. We don't know whether the Starks had Cape Kraken, the Stony Shore, and the other coastal regions under their control when the Andals came. The Ironborn were very powerful in those days. Nor do we actually know how much territory of the North the Ironborn controlled when their power was greatest.

And I'm not sure they already had Skagos at that point, either.

But it doesn't really matter whether there were any small territorial gains after the arrival of the Andals. The core kingdoms essentially had already formed in the West (Lannister realm), the Riverlands (Mudd realm), the Stormlands (Durrandon realm) when the Andals came. Only the Vale and Dorne were essentially fragmented into petty kingdoms.

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18 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The Andal kingdoms also all share at least a religion, but that doesn't make them a distinct nation. Those are modern concepts which do not fit into a feudal setting where people usually live and die without getting farther than a 50 mile radius around the place they were born.

I did not really say that the North was less centralized than the other kingdoms. In fact, I also think that the Reach is this sort of confederacy-like realm with the former royal lines being strong semi-independent players in the regions (especially the Hightowers and Redwynes).

The North's equivalent to those in the ancient days seem to be the Boltons, the Dustins, and the like. Today it would be those houses in addition to the Manderlys.

The same would also go for the various power centers in the Riverlands. But the West, the Stormlands, and the Vale (after the Andal conquest) have smaller territory to govern and could thus presumably a much more direct control over their territories than, say, the Starks and the Gardeners. Those kings would have ruled more through their lords than those other kings did. 

The Reach was united long before the Andals came. We don't know whether the Starks had Cape Kraken, the Stony Shore, and the other coastal regions under their control when the Andals came. The Ironborn were very powerful in those days. Nor do we actually know how much territory of the North the Ironborn controlled when their power was greatest.

And I'm not sure they already had Skagos at that point, either.

But it doesn't really matter whether there were any small territorial gains after the arrival of the Andals. The core kingdoms essentially had already formed in the West (Lannister realm), the Riverlands (Mudd realm), the Stormlands (Durrandon realm) when the Andals came. Only the Vale and Dorne were essentially fragmented into petty kingdoms.

The Reach was united long before the Andals came to the Reach. However, the Andals only came to the Reach many centuries after they first crossed the Narrow Sea.

As for Cape Kraken and the like. Those areas have fluctuated in ownership between the North and the Ironborn forever, right up to recent times. After Rodrik won Bear Island back - probably 500 years ago - his sons still had to battle the Ironborn for Cape Kraken. That is similar to the Reach losing territory to the Stormlands, then winning it back again a few generations later, then losing it again as was happening right up to Argilac Durrandon's time, when Aegon arrived.

As for the North in general. Its size and terrain necessitates that each regional lord rules his lands with minimal involvement from Winterfell. It is simply a practical reality in the vast North. However, this does not make them any less bound to Winterfell than the Leffords or Crakehalls are to Casterly Rock.

I mean, look at the way you twist examples. You refer to ancient Ryder rebellions 2000 years ago, Bolton rebellions 1000 years ago and a Skagosi rebellion 100 years ago. Meanwhile, the Reynes and Tarbecks rebelled against Casterly Rock a mere generation ago.

Revolts are normal all over Westeros. Martin himself noted that each Great House had a jealous rival bubbling under, just waiting for a chance to revolt. He gave the examples of the Reynes and Tarbecks in the West, the Boltons in the North and I believe the Yronwood's in Dorne. Martin's intent clearly is to have such ambitious lords present in every kingdom, to add what he believes is a sense of political realism to his worldbuilding. (And of course to lay the groundwork for his major plot development known as the Red Wedding).

 

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The Reach was united long before the Andals came to the Reach. However, the Andals only came to the Reach many centuries after they first crossed the Narrow Sea.

If you check the the Gardener king under whose rule Oldtown came into the Reach (immediately after the Arbor) it is pretty obvious that this was long before the Andals came to Westeros. There is a very long succession of known Gardener kings between Garland II the Bridegroom and the first Gardener dealing with the Andals.

2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

As for Cape Kraken and the like. Those areas have fluctuated in ownership between the North and the Ironborn forever, right up to recent times. After Rodrik won Bear Island back - probably 500 years ago - his sons still had to battle the Ironborn for Cape Kraken. That is similar to the Reach losing territory to the Stormlands, then winning it back again a few generations later, then losing it again as was happening right up to Argilac Durrandon's time, when Aegon arrived.

The Reach actually tore the Stormlands to pieces right before the Conquest, not the other way around. The Durrandons were losing territory on all sides.

Before the Andals came the Ironborn held sway on the eastern coast. The Lannisters and the Gardeners eventually got them permanently out of their lands but it took them time. For the North there is no such permanent reconquest confirmed, which could mean that rather vast territories were under the thumbs of the Ironborn at the time we are talking about. We just don't know.

2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

As for the North in general. Its size and terrain necessitates that each regional lord rules his lands with minimal involvement from Winterfell. It is simply a practical reality in the vast North. However, this does not make them any less bound to Winterfell than the Leffords or Crakehalls are to Casterly Rock.

And that is true just because you declare it? Why would a lord (who is descended from kings) feel all that bound to Winterfell if Winterfell is hundreds of leagues away? I mean, unless we assume that the Starks had a much more refined bureaucracy back before the Conquest they would have not exactly the means to punish their subjects if they refused to obey. We are not talking rebellion, we are talking not paying (the proper) taxes, not showing up for some stupid military campaign, etc.

Distance is everything in a feudal setting. You have to be present. Unless the Starks were once also constantly touring their kingdom their actual power wouldn't have extended far across the walls of Winterfell.

2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I mean, look at the way you twist examples. You refer to ancient Ryder rebellions 2000 years ago, Bolton rebellions 1000 years ago and a Skagosi rebellion 100 years ago. Meanwhile, the Reynes and Tarbecks rebelled against Casterly Rock a mere generation ago.

Did they? They rebelled against Ser Tywin, not Lord Tytos. They got pretty well along with the Laughing Lion.

2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Revolts are normal all over Westeros. Martin himself noted that each Great House had a jealous rival bubbling under, just waiting for a chance to revolt. He gave the examples of the Reynes and Tarbecks in the West, the Boltons in the North and I believe the Yronwood's in Dorne. Martin's intent clearly is to have such ambitious lords present in every kingdom, to add what he believes is a sense of political realism to his worldbuilding. (And of course to lay the groundwork for his major plot development known as the Red Wedding).

Sure, but if you point out that the direct control of the Targaryens wasn't all that great due to the vast distances and the power of the great houses, etc. then the same also hits home where the kings prior to the Conquest, especially those with vast territories to govern. The Gardeners enjoyed a very special rank and status thanks to their living throne and the way their interacted with their subjects in the Reach (usually in genial and friendly manner). This is not true for the Starks. The Starks essentially had to constantly hammer their subjects into submission, especially the Boltons.

You don't have to call yourself king to be essentially independent. If the king is far away and cannot really control what you are doing there is actually little difference between being your own master and being the vassal of a king. After all, you are only subject to somebody's rule if you actually feel that rule.

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27 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If you check the the Gardener king under whose rule Oldtown came into the Reach (immediately after the Arbor) it is pretty obvious that this was long before the Andals came to Westeros. There is a very long succession of known Gardener kings between Garland II the Bridegroom and the first Gardener dealing with the Andals.

The Reach actually tore the Stormlands to pieces right before the Conquest, not the other way around. The Durrandons were losing territory on all sides.

Before the Andals came the Ironborn held sway on the eastern coast. The Lannisters and the Gardeners eventually got them permanently out of their lands but it took them time. For the North there is no such permanent reconquest confirmed, which could mean that rather vast territories were under the thumbs of the Ironborn at the time we are talking about. We just don't know.

And that is true just because you declare it? Why would a lord (who is descended from kings) feel all that bound to Winterfell if Winterfell is hundreds of leagues away? I mean, unless we assume that the Starks had a much more refined bureaucracy back before the Conquest they would have not exactly the means to punish their subjects if they refused to obey. We are not talking rebellion, we are talking not paying (the proper) taxes, not showing up for some stupid military campaign, etc.

Distance is everything in a feudal setting. You have to be present. Unless the Starks were once also constantly touring their kingdom their actual power wouldn't have extended far across the walls of Winterfell.

Did they? They rebelled against Ser Tywin, not Lord Tytos. They got pretty well along with the Laughing Lion.

Sure, but if you point out that the direct control of the Targaryens wasn't all that great due to the vast distances and the power of the great houses, etc. then the same also hits home where the kings prior to the Conquest, especially those with vast territories to govern. The Gardeners enjoyed a very special rank and status thanks to their living throne and the way their interacted with their subjects in the Reach (usually in genial and friendly manner). This is not true for the Starks. The Starks essentially had to constantly hammer their subjects into submission, especially the Boltons.

You don't have to call yourself king to be essentially independent. If the king is far away and cannot really control what you are doing there is actually little difference between being your own master and being the vassal of a king. After all, you are only subject to somebody's rule if you actually feel that rule.

I find this a weird argument we're having here. It is pretty clear that every kingdom is depicted as having strong Kings and weak Kings. Edrick Snowbeard was an ancient example of a weak King in the North. But similarly there are Kings of the Rock who were depicted as extremely weak too. And Kings of the Reach who lost territories to the Storm Kings, Dornish and Casterly Rock.

As for the North. Based on no evidence, you seem to feel that the Starks have less control over their lands than the Arryns or Tyrells do. You suggest that lords are withholding taxes from Winterfell more than they do from Highgarden or the Eyrie. Now, you can speculate about that, of course, but there is no evidence supporting this.

In fact, Northern lords are depicted even asking permission from Bran to store less than their alotted percentage of the harvest for Winter, because the Summer has been so bountiful. When he declines, they are forced to abide by his ruling.

On what do you base the idea that if they were witholding taxes there would not be similar consequences? Roose Bolton himself says that the way he managed his lands was to not draw Eddard Stark's ire. "A peaceful land, a quiet people." Stay under the radar, in modern terminology. Does that sound like someone who would withhold taxes from Winterfell if it would draw negative attention to his domain?

The North is harsh. And it is vast. It does not suffer weaklings. And yet, the Starks have survived for 8000 years, despite having strong Kings, mediocre Kings and weak Kings over the ages.

The scheming and plotting in the South seems every bit as ambitious as that of any Northern lords. That's how Martin created his world. In the South it is more subtle, perhaps. In the North it is more of a vicious cunning, involving cannibalistic pies, rat cooks, entrails on Heart Trees, flayings and the like.

It is just the culture that is different. Not the control of the Starks that is less. I am sorry, but that is simply not supported by the evidence.

As for the Reynes and Tarbecks. That was clearly a rebellion against their ruling House. And as for the Reach and the Stormlands. We are told that the borders between them fluctuated greatly over time. During the height of the Stormlands kingdom, a mere 400 years ago, they pushed the border with the Reach far to the West. The fact that Argilac started losing most of that territory again in his later years, after pressures from Harren the Black amongst others is irrelevant to the fact that the Reach has won and lost territory in recent centuries just like the Starks fought over Cape Kraken.

 

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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