Alex Gu

North defeat war of five kings

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What errors/mistakes  did robb make that lost the north the war of five kings or  would stark lose war regardless?

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The first mistake was going to war in the first place. But let's discount that one.

There's really only two big errors: sending Theon to negotiate with his father, and not bending the knee to Stannis.* Those two were bad decisions that had predictable bad consequences. Of course the consequences of the first one were far worse than anyone could have predicted, but still, when you do something stupid, you get at least some of the blame for whatever results from it.

He did plenty of other things that contributed to turning a bad loss into a devastating loss, but none of them would have mattered if he weren't already guaranteed to lose. For example, marrying Jeyne was a mistake, but would have been largely harmless; putting Roose in charge of a good half of his army wasn't even a mistake, because Roose wouldn't have betrayed him unless the war was already lost.

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* You could argue that accepting the crown in the first place, rather than refusing to kneel later, was the mistake. But being in open revolt against the crown when you don't have a pretender to back is really not a tenable position. You need a casus belli, and independence was the best option he had. So, fine, accept the crown. But if he can't then sell his people on the idea that bending the knee to Stannis—which is, remember, exactly what Ned had wanted to do—was the best thing for the North and the Riverlands, he didn't deserve to be king in the first place.

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I don’t want to derail this too much, but the commentary on how Robb should have supported Stannis’ claim instead of accepting his own crown got me looking at a timeline of events.  If we accept the hard work done by fans to line up everything, then Stannis burns the Seven and sends out his messengers proclaiming his claim to the throne a full four months after Robert’s death.

What the hell was he doing all that time?  If he had been even slightly more pro-active prior to the bonfire, he likely would have had an envoy in Robb’s camp (I hope GRRM wouldn’t leave that out, if, in fact, Stannis did).  In fact, the only King actually trying to wheel and deal with the other kings is Robb (Tyrion at least reaches out to Dorne for Joffrey).  Thats weird, to say the least (not to mention that his efforts backfire spectacularly).

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3 hours ago, DominusNovus said:

I don’t want to derail this too much, but the commentary on how Robb should have supported Stannis’ claim instead of accepting his own crown got me looking at a timeline of events.  If we accept the hard work done by fans to line up everything, then Stannis burns the Seven and sends out his messengers proclaiming his claim to the throne a full four months after Robert’s death.

What the hell was he doing all that time?  If he had been even slightly more pro-active prior to the bonfire, he likely would have had an envoy in Robb’s camp (I hope GRRM wouldn’t leave that out, if, in fact, Stannis did).  In fact, the only King actually trying to wheel and deal with the other kings is Robb (Tyrion at least reaches out to Dorne for Joffrey).  Thats weird, to say the least (not to mention that his efforts backfire spectacularly).

Renly was probably happy to deal with anyone who wanted to negotiate but most likely didn't reach out to anyone else because he was already more powerful than the other three combined. Stannis wouldn't negotiate or deal with anyone. If they didn't back him when he sent his letter, then; in his mind; they were traitors. Dumb but thats his personaility. As you said, Joffrey (or at least his Hand, Tyrion) reaches out to Dorne and later the Vale and considers the Greyjoy's IIRC. 

But yeah Robb was far more active in diplomacy than the others.

 

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If Robb really wanted to win the war he should've killed Jamie as soon as Ned was beheaded, regardless of the consequences.  

If the Lannisters were to execute Sansa for the death of Jamie it would further enrage the northern alliance, boosting moral and bloodlust against the Lannisters .  Jamie's execution would also have brought Tywin out of hiding so that the North and Tywin's forces could've met in the field once and for all.

Killing Rickard Karstark didn't help the war effort either.

Neither did Catelyn.

 

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5 hours ago, DominusNovus said:

I don’t want to derail this too much, but the commentary on how Robb should have supported Stannis’ claim instead of accepting his own crown got me looking at a timeline of events.  If we accept the hard work done by fans to line up everything, then Stannis burns the Seven and sends out his messengers proclaiming his claim to the throne a full four months after Robert’s death.

Definitely, I think Stannis actually bears more blame than Robb here.

I can maybe understand why Stannis couldn't declare right away. For example, he may well have been busy negotiating with (read: making demands of) people who were already planning to back Renly, so they strung him along for a while.

But he must have heard what Robb was up to. And if he'd just sent a message saying "Don't tell anyone, but Joffrey's claim will not stand, I was working with your dad on this, more new later", that would have been enough to prevent the North from declaring independence. And then an alliance should have been a no-brainer at least from the moment Renly was dead. (And maybe he could have used that third magic leech to curse Cersei instead of Robb, too…)

But I think for the purposes of this thread, we have to assume that it was at least plausible that Stannis was going to act the way he actually did; otherwise can't really judge Robb's grand strategy at all.

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2 hours ago, Adam Yozza said:

Renly was probably happy to deal with anyone who wanted to negotiate but most likely didn't reach out to anyone else because he was already more powerful than the other three combined. Stannis wouldn't negotiate or deal with anyone. If they didn't back him when he sent his letter, then; in his mind; they were traitors. Dumb but thats his personaility. As you said, Joffrey (or at least his Hand, Tyrion) reaches out to Dorne and later the Vale and considers the Greyjoy's IIRC. 

But yeah Robb was far more active in diplomacy than the others.

 

The thing I’m calling weird is that, if we take these timelines as accurate, Stannis waited 4 months before doing *anything* diplomatically. Hell, he makes a big show of spreading his accusation far and wide, which isn’t nearly so impressive when you take into account the 4 month gap. There had to be plenty of lords that were interested to see what Stannis was doing in that time.

Edited by DominusNovus

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3 hours ago, DominusNovus said:

The thing I’m calling weird is that, if we take these timelines as accurate, Stannis waited 4 months before doing *anything* diplomatically. Hell, he makes a big show of spreading his accusation far and wide, which isn’t nearly so impressive when you take into account the 4 month gap. There had to be plenty of lords that were interested to see what Stannis was doing in that time.

Yep, not declaring for Stannis was not a mistake. Accepting the crown was the mistake. Kevan, Tywin, Renly, Robb, and those at court all wonder what Stannis is doing. He fucked up really badly by not reaching out earlier. People like to paint Stannis as the best option for Robb, without realizing or acknowledging the incredibly bad timeline for Stannis, the fact he "knew" Robert and almost certainly Ned were in danger and did/said nothing, and the sheer unlikeliness of Renly being murdered by a shadow baby

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16 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Yep, not declaring for Stannis was not a mistake. Accepting the crown was the mistake. Kevan, Tywin, Renly, Robb, and those at court all wonder what Stannis is doing. He fucked up really badly by not reaching out earlier. People like to paint Stannis as the best option for Robb, without realizing or acknowledging the incredibly bad timeline for Stannis, the fact he "knew" Robert and almost certainly Ned were in danger and did/said nothing, and the sheer unlikeliness of Renly being murdered by a shadow baby

I can understand him not acting before Robert’s death, not knowing who to trust, but the moment he got word (lets be generous and say a full week after), I have to wonder what the hell the delay was.

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20 minutes ago, DominusNovus said:

I can understand him not acting before Robert’s death, not knowing who to trust, but the moment he got word (lets be generous and say a full week after), I have to wonder what the hell the delay was.

He acted with a low profile but he failed to get support from the Stormlands.

From AGot Tyrion IX we learn that Stannis was building ships and hiring mercenaries:

Quote

 "I have felt from the beginning that Stannis was a greater danger than all the others combined. Yet he does nothing. Oh, Varys hears his whispers. Stannis is building ships, Stannis is hiring sellswords, Stannis is bringing a shadowbinder from Asshai

From the prologue of a ACoK we learn that he sent Davos to the Stormlands to get support and came back empty handed:

Quote

"Ser Davos," the maester said. "When did you return?"

"In the black of morning. My favorite time." It was said that no one had ever handled a ship by night half so well as Davos Shorthand. Before Lord Stannis had knighted him, he had been the most notorious and elusive smuggler in all the Seven Kingdoms.

"And?"

The man shook his head. "It is as you warned him. They will not rise, Maester. Not for him. They do not love him."

No, Cressen thought. Nor will they ever. He is strong, able, just . . . aye, just past the point of wisdom . . . yet it is not enough. It has never been enough. "You spoke to them all?"

"All? No. Only those that would see me. They do not love me either, these highborns. To them I'll always be the Onion Knight." His left hand closed, stubby fingers locking into a fist; Stannis had hacked the ends off at the last joint, all but the thumb. "I broke bread with Gulian Swann and old Penrose, and the Tarths consented to a midnight meeting in a grove. The others—well, Beric Dondarrion is gone missing, some say dead, and Lord Caron is with Renly. Bryce the Orange, of the Rainbow Guard."

 

Edited by Tucu

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6 minutes ago, Tucu said:

He acted with a low profile but he failed to get support from the Stormlands.

From AGot Tyrion IX we learn that Stannis was building ships and hiring mercenaries:

From the prologue of a ACoK we learn that he sent Davos to the Stormlands to get support and came back empty handed:

 

Yeah he didn't give them any reason to support him. He's not their liege lord. He's not their king, or he might claim it but he doesn't say why.  To gain someone's loyalty, especially when no one really likes you, you better damn well give them a reason. Him publishing his letter after Renly was crowned was the height of folly. Renly might not have liked Stannis but he's not like to turn away a potential ally against the Lannisters, who Renly is rightly convinced want him and Stannis dead. Politically his approach to the crown pre blackwater is just hamfisted and awful. He acknowledges as much when he gets to the wall. 

Yes, I should have come sooner. If not for my Hand, I might not have come at all. Lord Seaworth is a man of humble birth, but he reminded me of my duty, when all I could think of was my rights. I had the cart before the horse, Davos said. I was trying to win the throne to save the kingdom, when I should have been trying to save the kingdom to win the throne."

If he'd been more concerned with defeating the Lannisters by any means necessary to prevent their usurpation of the throne, he might well have found himself on it, instead of 2000 miles away from it.

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5 hours ago, DominusNovus said:

The thing I’m calling weird is that, if we take these timelines as accurate, Stannis waited 4 months before doing *anything* diplomatically. Hell, he makes a big show of spreading his accusation far and wide, which isn’t nearly so impressive when you take into account the 4 month gap. There had to be plenty of lords that were interested to see what Stannis was doing in that time.

Well, from Cressen's prologue in Clash we hear that he sounded out the Stormlords to see if he could gain their support before he made any move. His adviser's; Davos and Cressen included; advised him not to push his claim once Davos could not raise the Stormlords. At the advice of Melisandre and Selyse, he did it anyway. That accounts for the delay; he was seeing if it was worth it, if he had a chance and it was only because of Mel and her visions that he went forward with it despite the odds being against him.

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12 hours ago, DominusNovus said:

then Stannis burns the Seven and sends out his messengers proclaiming his claim to the throne a full four months after Robert’s death.

Good observation. Had Robb known of his father's letter to Stannis, or even that Ned had believed Stannis to be the legitimate heir to Robert, he likely would have joined Stannis's forces. Had Robb stood up and backed Stannis from Day 1 (Ned's execution), then maybe the statues of the Seven on Dragonstone need not have burned, Renly and his castellan might not have been killed by shadow babies, and best of all, Melisandre might still be on Dragonstone, seducing Selyse instead of Stannis.

6 hours ago, falcotron said:

But [Stannis] must have heard what Robb was up to. And if he'd just sent a message

I suspect Stannis's hatred of Ned Stark prevented him from "reaching out" to House Stark.

1 hour ago, Tucu said:

From AGot Tyrion IX we learn that Stannis was building ships and hiring mercenaries:

And these were the ships/mercs he LOST in the Battle of the Blackwater. Largely because he let an oaf command his fleet. Why didn't he trust an old seafarer like his beloved Onion Knight?? So Stannis wasted time building up when he should have been establishing his legitimate right to the Iron Throne, and it was all for nothing.

1 hour ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

If [Stannis had] been more concerned with defeating the Lannisters by any means necessary to prevent their usurpation of the throne, he might well have found himself on it,

And ironically, the same thing could be said for Lord Eddard Stark, Hand of the King, who Robert had designated in his will to sit the Iron Throne until his "legitimate heir" (hint - not Joffrey!) came of age. Renly came to Ned, telling him he needed to move fast against the Lannisters and offering his help and men, but Ned had no idea of how "politics" worked in King's Landing. Ned came from a land where a man's word was his bond; he wasn't equipped to deal with a place where "words are wind"  - and signed witnessed legal documents just kindling.

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8 hours ago, Ahl of the House Cutler said:

If Robb really wanted to win the war he should've killed Jamie as soon as Ned was beheaded, regardless of the consequences.  

If the Lannisters were to execute Sansa for the death of Jamie it would further enrage the northern alliance, boosting moral and bloodlust against the Lannisters .  Jamie's execution would also have brought Tywin out of hiding so that the North and Tywin's forces could've met in the field once and for all.

Killing Rickard Karstark didn't help the war effort either.

Neither did Catelyn.

 

Robb had no heir in sight, losing Sansa would have been deadly to morale actually. There is a reason Catelyn releases Jaime - and it's not just out of love for her daughters but politically speaking a single arrow or swing of the sword could end the Stark line once and for all.

To their knowledge, that is. They don't Bran/Rickon still live.

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Not get tied down by the Riverlands. Had Robb, on Ned's death Robb, executed Jaime and had a quick chevauchée of the Westerlands to save face before heading back North (picking up Roslin on the way) and fortifying Moat Cailin then all would have been fine. Trying to protect another region, far from home with no natural defences was too much of an ask.

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1 hour ago, Фейсал said:

Robb had no heir in sight, losing Sansa would have been deadly to morale actually. There is a reason Catelyn releases Jaime - and it's not just out of love for her daughters but politically speaking a single arrow or swing of the sword could end the Stark line once and for all.

To their knowledge, that is. They don't Bran/Rickon still live.

Yes he did.  He was going to name a legitimized Jon as his heir.  

Catelyn released Jamie under the condition that he would return Sansa and Arya to her.  Hence Jamie giving Brienne Oathkeeper and trusting her to find Sansa.  

Sansa was unable to extend the Stark lineage because at the time she was married to Tyrion Lannister.  

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Ahl of the House Cutler said:

Yes he did.  He was going to name a legitimized Jon as his heir.  

Catelyn released Jamie under the condition that he would return Sansa and Arya to her.  Hence Jamie giving Brienne Oathkeeper and trusting her to find Sansa.  

Sansa was unable to extend the Stark lineage because at the time she was married to Tyrion Lannister.  

 

 

 

Jon's stance as KITN would be pretty weak, to be honest. Not a true born Stark, but legitimized - and a man of the Night's Watch which would add even more needless complications. In theory the KITN/Warden of the North has no authority over the NW.

Basically for a legitimized bastard to rule they need to do it with fear and brutality like Ramsay and I don't Jon has that in him. This is ignoring how staunchly against the idea Cat as.

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18 hours ago, Alex Gu said:

What errors/mistakes  did robb make that lost the north the war of five kings or  would stark lose war regardless?

his only major error was being written by GRRM as a tool to subvert "the noble hero dies, his son rises to avenge him" trope that has been used often. Other than that he did everything right 

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15 minutes ago, Фейсал said:

Jon's stance as KITN would be pretty weak, to be honest.

(Feisal?) Probably. But Jon's ability to inherit Winterfell was really the important part for Robb - making sure the ancestral fortress/home didn't fall into the hands of, say, the Boltons. With legitimization by King Robb, Jon could make a good case for being excused from his Night's Watch vows. After all, Maester Aemon would have been freed from HIS Night's Watch AND his maesters vows to become King, had he requested it.

I strongly doubt that the well known son of "The Ned" would have needed fear or brutality. At best, a little convincing - visiting the villages and castles, eating their food, complimenting their children and women, and finally asking (not demanding) their support - as Jon suggested to Stannis. If it could work for Stannis, a notoriously cold, righteous, and non-gregarious man, it would have been a cinch for Jon Snow.

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15 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

being written by GRRM as a tool

Call me naive, but I just hate it when people strip the skin away and turn a what seemed to be a good story with convincing characters into a rickety, cobbled together plot vehicle whose purpose is to deliver some kind of banal "message." Of course, your mileage may vary! Don't let me stand in the way of "literary analysis".

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