Ser Snowflake

The desolation of Dragonstone (Spoilers!)

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Posted (edited)

It irked me to no ends that Dragonstone was taken by Dany in a bloodless coup. Dragonstone should have either been manned by a skeletal, residual force loyal to Stannis, soldiers loyal to the Iron Throne, or some random squatters. When Stannis deserted his stronghold to sail to the wall, any random lord of the Narrow Sea should have grabbed up the prime real estate.

 Many a Targayen heir or heiress made the island fortress his or her seat, and Stannis the Mannis held the island fortress for over 15 years before he went off to play the Game of Thrones. It is not plausible that a castle of such significance be completely empty.

The only explanation that I can think of is the tragedy that played out last season regarding Cersei, the High Sparrow, and the Tyrells. 

King Tommen was an inexperienced child, Tywin dead, and Queen Margarey and the the Queen Mother were detained and awaiting trial. I'm not even sure if there was a HOTK during that whole period, so apparently not much got accomplished regarding the rest of the realm. There is no way that Tyrion, Tywin, Jon Arryn, or even Ned would have let Dragonstone remain unmanned.....especially after hearing rumors about the last Targaryen making her way back to Westeros. Where else would she go besides Dragonstone?

Does anyone else have any ideas that could better explain why DS was empty when Stormborn finally returned to the 7K?

 

Edited by Ser Snowflake
punctuation

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I was puzzled by that as well. I have a number of theories, in no particular order:

  1. She did not know that Dragonstone was abandoned (I don't remember if she got that tidbit of information last season).
  2. She did not have any ships to take troops to Dragonstone. This is unlikely as she could have commandeered some trade or fisher vessels.
  3. Dragonstone may be strong against assaults from land or sea, but could be dead open against assaults from three dragons. So, any troops sent their would be dying with no gain.
  4. She didn't forget: The cellar is boobytrapped with wildfire.
  5. She didn't have troops to spare. Jaime had everything. If that is the case, the situation is dire if Daenerys should attack Kings Landing. An alternative is that the missing troops had already been sent south to deal with Highgarden and Dorne.
  6. She wanted to appear weak to get Daenerys to attack Kings Landing without propper preparation.

It would have been nice if the show had given some sort of indication as to the background for the possible oversight.

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Maybe because of the limited resources of men from the lannister army Jamie kept them in KL. Also the other lannister men were just coming from the riverlands. Dragonstone wasnt a priority at the very moment. Especially when you have immediate threats within the city walls and to the east. Also who would send men to fortify a castle knowing dragons will roast them anyways?

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If Dragonstone had even a skeletal guard, there woulda had to be some words.  They decided to make it a long scene without dialogue, so it had to be abandoned.

Without dragons, Dragonstone hasn't been much of a stronghold anyway.  Who's gonna furter deplete their armies and navies to secure a rock in the ocean when dangers are closer to home?

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I can understand no leftover force from Stannis considering that he and all his family died. Who would hang around for something that doesn't exist? But those kind of places always have staff that keep things clean, etc. They could have taken a couple seconds and showed people scattering when they saw the dragons fly up or something. This is one of those things I just have to let go and just watch. There's a lot of that. I mean, who exactly is Cersei ruling since she blew up most of the nobles?

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25 minutes ago, The Knight of Flours said:

Without dragons, Dragonstone hasn't been much of a stronghold anyway.  Who's gonna furter deplete their armies and navies to secure a rock in the ocean when dangers are closer to home?

One could argue that Dragonstone would be a natural foothold for Daenerys from which she could launch an invasion on Westeros. By sending a small force to take the fortress, Cersei could force her to either attack Dragonstone or to launch an attack without a foothold. Both would cause Daenerys to be in a weaker position and likely delay her attack on the mainland.

I do not remember if they have commented on the strength of the fortress in the TV series, but IIRC the books described it as being hard to take. Best way was to lay siege to it, which would take a lot of time if it was provisioned.

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The dragons flew in first - perhaps whoever was there saw them and went 'fuck that, I'm outa here'

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1 hour ago, Zumbs said:

I do not remember if they have commented on the strength of the fortress in the TV series, but IIRC the books described it as being hard to take. Best way was to lay siege to it, which would take a lot of time if it was provisioned.

Of course Dragonstone is hard to take. It is a fortified island in the ocean. If we look at the last 5 minutes of EP1, we can see that Daenarys landed at a site where there used to be some form of docks (the remnants are visible in the beach and the water).

The first part of an invading force would be to navigate the tricky waters around the island, and to find a proper place to land. Possibly, the only decent landing site is the spot where Daenarys landed.
From there they move between the steep rocks to a huge gate (basically the movie 300, but then with a gate as extra fortification), followed by a extremely long and narrow bridge/pathway leading up to the castle itself.
The layout of the landing site, the gate, and the bridge simply screams easy to defend/hard to take.

In the books, Cercei sends Ser Loras with a small invading force to take the castle/island from the remnents of Stannis' army. They are successful, but Loras is reported to be badly injured and not able to return to Kingslanding. The show omitted this (unfortunately).

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Posted (edited)

Let Dany and her army land on Dragonstone, then ambush and cripple her fleet leaving her army trapped on Dragonstone. Not a terrible strategy actually. Obviously from the trailers it doesn't work because the Dothraki make landfall but that's the only logical way you could explain why Cersei just lets her take it outside of an oversight by the writers. (It was definitely an oversight lol)

Edited by Adam_Up_Bxtch

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I think this was just the show taking dramatic license, which it has done over and over.  I don't think we're really supposed to think too much about it...the point of that scene was for it to be quiet and really allow us to take in Dany's reactions to everything-  Hence nobody talking to her and at one point Missandei even holding Grey Worm back from walking near her.  

I can't really fault the show too much.  I thought it was a beautifully shot and rendered scene and the complete silence added to it.  I do agree that it was dumb and didn't really make sense, but I understand why the show shot it that way.

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Maybe Stannis left some people behind but since he was destitute and can't pay them, they left as soon as he was out of sight.

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I think that it is ridiculous that there were no people at all. No lords - fine, they left with Stannis. No soldiers - fine, they left with Stannis and the ones who didn't just found another master because dead Stannis clearly won't pay them any many (although it's questionable if none of the soldiers would try to seize the abandoned castle...). But no common folk? They have a nice fortress far from bandits etc with a sea full of fish and with fields. I don't think that they had a serious reason to leave...

It's also wierd that Cersei wouldn't send at least a few soldiers there. Just to give Daenerys a fight. They could kill at least a part of Dany's Unsullied.

In short: a plothole.

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5 hours ago, Mother of Mini Dragons said:

I can understand no leftover force from Stannis considering that he and all his family died. Who would hang around for something that doesn't exist? But those kind of places always have staff that keep things clean, etc. They could have taken a couple seconds and showed people scattering when they saw the dragons fly up or something. This is one of those things I just have to let go and just watch. There's a lot of that. I mean, who exactly is Cersei ruling since she blew up most of the nobles?

In the book, Stannis had Rolland Storm (I believe) hold the castle in his name, while he sailed north to reinforce the wall. Dragonstone was Stannis' seat of power, and one doesn't abandon their own castle....even during war. D&D could have given us a scene where Dany shows up with dragons and scares the living crap out of whatever force is holding Dragonstone.

Regarding Cersei......I find the fact that Cersei is sitting securely on her throne the most unrealistic aspect of episode 1. Cersei blew up the Sept of Baelor and murdered the High Sparrow and some of his followers. She didn't murder all the sparrows. The realm is full of followers of the Seven, and there is no way that they are just going to take all of that in stride. 

How is the Reach not in open rebellion at this point? If Euron really has 1000 ships, he could take KL easily.

Stannis had less ships than Euron, and still almost captured KL. The only reason Stannis lost is because he was surprised by Tywin and the Tyrells, who attacked him from the rear. 

Episode one would have been more realistic if Euron would have taken KL, murdered Cersei and Jaime, and took the Iron Throne as his own. I have a feeling that they are going to drag out Cersei's fall from power until the end of Season 7.

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I don't think they expected the average unsullied to notice this. Additionally, with only 13 episodes and Ed Sheeran and Missandei/Grey Worm love making scenes to include, there is little room for such details.

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It may be that Stannis left a skeleton garrison there. After all, Daenerys tears down his banner from the main hall, signalling that his forces were the last to occupy the island.

To me, it seems reasonable that the skeleton force abandoned their post when news of Stannis' defeat and death reached them. Dragonstone is an island without any civilian settlements, and with Stannis dead nobody would come with supplies or relief aid. The Dragonstone garrison would literally be the only ones left. They could stay there without orders, without a lord to serve, without a purpose, without pay, and without supplies, or go find something else to do. The only people who would possibly show up on shore would do so with an intent to take the castle, at which point the Stannis loyalists would risk capture and/or death. Sure, they could hold out for a while, but to what end? In the long run, they probably couldn't even maintain the castle. Better then to slip away while nobody's looking, go home to their families and maybe tend to a patch of land before winter comes.

 

It did annoy me, though, that Daenerys' Unsullied could walk right up to the gatehouse doors and open them with a gentle push. The wind would have battered unfastened doors to splinters long before she'd shown up, yet no fastening system was shown.

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Surely the Lannisters took Dragonstone off Stannis in the attack led by Loras Tyrell (in the books), So Stannis had lost the island.

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In my mind it was simply depleted for Stannis' campaign in the North, those that were left either moved on when news of his death got there and the rest heard news of the armada sailing towards them and decided it was futile to stay and subsequently left.

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To be honest, we really don't know that it was abandoned.  There could have been a skeleton crew left on Dragonstone.  If I was there and saw a Targaeryan with actual dragons land, I probably would have bended the knee and let them do their thing.  There probably wasn't enough people left to ma every inch of Dragonstone after they found out Stannis was dead.  The only people left would have been the people that loved Dragonstone and probably were there since before Robert's Rebellion.

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12 hours ago, The Knight of Flours said:

If Dragonstone had even a skeletal guard, there woulda had to be some words.  They decided to make it a long scene without dialogue, so it had to be abandoned.

Without dragons, Dragonstone hasn't been much of a stronghold anyway.  Who's gonna furter deplete their armies and navies to secure a rock in the ocean when dangers are closer to home?

Not to mention without a fleet. We haven't seen the Lannisters have anything of a fleet since Blackwater (actually, did they even have a fleet in Blackwater...). Without dragons, without a fleet, and without the men to hold the island, it is a waste of resources for the Lannisters. 

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