Mat92

Kingsmoot Issue

18 posts in this topic

I personally find the Kingsmoot to be quite an odd tradition for the Iron Born - especially odd considering this is an OLD tradition.

The candidates give their speeches and try to persuade everyone who to vote for, but with this they also give out treasure and gifts to everyone to sway them.
I know that these gifts are "plunder" and items taken from enemies during battles, but they're still given out "freely" as gifts to the rest of the Iron Born. 

Does anyone else think this is odd? Balon chastises Theon for wearing a chain around his neck because it was bought with gold, not taken off the corpse of an enemy (though maybe we should take this as an extreme example because of Balons attitude towards Theon). Perhaps it's ok because they aren't purchasing the gifts given, and they were taken from Iron Born enemies?

Curious to see what everyone else thinks. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Mat92 said:

I personally find the Kingsmoot to be quite an odd tradition for the Iron Born - especially odd considering this is an OLD tradition.

The candidates give their speeches and try to persuade everyone who to vote for, but with this they also give out treasure and gifts to everyone to sway them.
I know that these gifts are "plunder" and items taken from enemies during battles, but they're still given out "freely" as gifts to the rest of the Iron Born. 

Does anyone else think this is odd? Balon chastises Theon for wearing a chain around his neck because it was bought with gold, not taken off the corpse of an enemy (though maybe we should take this as an extreme example because of Balons attitude towards Theon). Perhaps it's ok because they aren't purchasing the gifts given, and they were taken from Iron Born enemies?

1

I think you are probably right.

The issue Balon had with Theon's chain was that he had bought it with his own money rather than it being plunder. He was pretty big on the "old ways" and "paying the Iron price" of reaving in order to acquire wealth. So, the "booty" that was given at the Kingsmoot was still the spoils of plunder that was provided to anyone willing to serve... so, the takers weren't purchasing the items with gold but accepting plunder as a payment for their support. At least, that's what I make of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Methinks it's a little bit simpler: on one hand, there's Mad Balon with his obsessions over the properly proper way of doing piracy (!), and on the other hand there are people who, very simply, like gold, and are willing to overlook some improprieties for its sake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is weird for Ironborn to have elective monarchy in first place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Mat92 said:

I personally find the Kingsmoot to be quite an odd tradition for the Iron Born - especially odd considering this is an OLD tradition.

The candidates give their speeches and try to persuade everyone who to vote for, but with this they also give out treasure and gifts to everyone to sway them.
I know that these gifts are "plunder" and items taken from enemies during battles, but they're still given out "freely" as gifts to the rest of the Iron Born. 

Does anyone else think this is odd? Balon chastises Theon for wearing a chain around his neck because it was bought with gold, not taken off the corpse of an enemy (though maybe we should take this as an extreme example because of Balons attitude towards Theon). Perhaps it's ok because they aren't purchasing the gifts given, and they were taken from Iron Born enemies?

Curious to see what everyone else thinks. 

The point is to display the skill and power of the person hoping to become king by giving away spoils of war. The candidate with the most to give away is considered the best reaver as long as it was paid for with iron and not gold.

Balon got down on theon because Theon paid the gold price. The Balon's is not mutually exclusive with the gift giving of the kingsmoot 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies everyone. It just seemed a weird tradition to have for their culture, but it's a minor issue. 

 

5 hours ago, Tygett Lannister said:

It is weird for Ironborn to have elective monarchy in first place.

Exactly. Seems like a physical fight to determine the winner is more Iron Born style or something more hardcore, not shouting loudly for who you want elected haha. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought, during my read, that it was a symbolic gift (as symbolic as the iron born can be). Lord Farwynd promises an exodus across the Sunset Sea -an awesome plan, all things considered- and lays down some whale bone. Asha talks about forming a reasonable alliance with the North and offers some typical northern stuff. Euron goes for the nuts and promises a non stop loop of plunder and offers gold. 

I don't think the kingsmoot contender is actually giving out "gifts" as a king-to-be throwing bread at the smallfolk but offering a plan and a token of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always wondered if a thrall gets to contribute their voice to the vote. Only captains can run for office, but I don't believe I read any rules about who gets to vote.

Asha makes a point that Theon should have been able to campaign, however... is he even a captain of a ship? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, the voting by Ironborn captains is really a traditional way that democracy first gets started. Remember in old England, the lords were first empowered to vote and thus counterbalance the king; in the early US, only landed men (in practice, white) could vote. Every captain is basically the "king" or lord of his ship and crew, and a significant property owner.

Then consider the parallels with traditional piracy. Pirate ships ran largely by democratic vote. The crew could and did vote on who would command, the missions to undertake, etc. Pirate ships even had women as crew, and not (merely) in the bedroom sense; ships were often what we now call "integrated" in terms of skin color as well. The Ironborn are nothing if not pirates.

It's interesting that the kingsmoot is open to any candidate who wants to "run". Each makes his case by a dramatic speech, heavy on promises, and then delivers a bribe/swag to further convince the captain-voters of his seriousness and ability to deliver.

That this tends to be stolen wealth is just the Iron Way in action, per Balon - the only stuff you're entitled to is what you steal, preferably at dirk point. A sordid and babyish philosophy, but there you have it.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, ChuckPunch said:

I've always wondered if a thrall gets to contribute their voice to the vote. Only captains can run for office, but I don't believe I read any rules about who gets to vote.

Asha makes a point that Theon should have been able to campaign, however... is he even a captain of a ship? 

No, thralls definitely don't get the vote. The moot consists of the captains. It seems as if the crew counts, however, at least in terms of who shouts the loudest. That would disadvantage Euron a little, given that his crew were all mutes.

Theon had been a ship captain recently. That, and he would have been Balon Greyjoy's designated heir, by rules of Westeros.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Mat92 said:

I personally find the Kingsmoot to be quite an odd tradition for the Iron Born - especially odd considering this is an OLD tradition.

The candidates give their speeches and try to persuade everyone who to vote for, but with this they also give out treasure and gifts to everyone to sway them.
I know that these gifts are "plunder" and items taken from enemies during battles, but they're still given out "freely" as gifts to the rest of the Iron Born. 

Does anyone else think this is odd? Balon chastises Theon for wearing a chain around his neck because it was bought with gold, not taken off the corpse of an enemy (though maybe we should take this as an extreme example because of Balons attitude towards Theon). Perhaps it's ok because they aren't purchasing the gifts given, and they were taken from Iron Born enemies?

Curious to see what everyone else thinks. 

 

12 hours ago, Tygett Lannister said:

It is weird for Ironborn to have elective monarchy in first place.

No, not really odd at all. Speeches, personal charisma and gifts are pretty much how the leaders of some primitive, pre-feudal societies ensured the loyalty of their subjects.
The King's Moot is fairly similar to Viking societies. Particularly the bribes/gifts. If you look at surviving tales form the Viking Age and before (like the Edda) you will notice the nobles and gods constantly hand each other gifts and presents and the distribution of loot and wealth was an important ceremony in those cultures. This is even still present in feudalism and you can see that it is expected of the Iron Throne to hand out lands and titles to those that serve it. It's often forgotten but feudalism, in its original form was pretty much a mutual agreement between a lord and their subjects; service and goods in exchange for service and goods and that agreement was fairly fragile and could and was frequently broken on both sides. A feudal king had to waste a lot of time, energy and resources in keeping his lords happy.
And originally, in the Dark Ages, elective monarchies were fairly common, particularly in societies like the Iron Born.

Even in-universe you can see parallels to the elective office of the Wildling King. Since both the Wildlings and the Iron Born are basically First Men it stands to reason that King's Moots and elective leadership might have been fairly common among them as well in the distant past (hence it being an old custom). Old customs sometimes survive among isolated populations (such as the Iron Born, who, like the Sistermen, also seem to have kept a variation of Pagan First Men believes rather than adopting the Old Gods from the Children)

And just like in real life, there are even vestiges of it in Westerosi Feudalism, ritualized as it may be, the nobles of Westeros still have to declare for a new king whenever there's a succession and do so in exchange for being gifted titles and lands. The difference is really that the various Greenlander Kings/Lords managed to convince each other that they don't need to hassle with moots and elections and that the whole succession business can basically run on autopilot. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, zandru said:

No, thralls definitely don't get the vote. The moot consists of the captains. It seems as if the crew counts, however, at least in terms of who shouts the loudest. That would disadvantage Euron a little, given that his crew were all mutes.

Theon had been a ship captain recently. That, and he would have been Balon Greyjoy's designated heir, by rules of Westeros.

Where do I find this info?

 

4 hours ago, Orphalesion said:

 

Since both the Wildlings and the Iron Born are basically First Men it stands to reason that King's Moots and elective leadership might have been fairly common among them as well in the distant past (hence it being an old custom). 

The Ironborn claim to be separate from the First Men, and certainly have a large cultural difference. No Old Gods, no First Men style names, and the entire culture is really different. In the World of Ice and Fire Archmaester Haereg theorizes they have descended from settlers from across the western sea. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, ChuckPunch said:

The Ironborn claim to be separate from the First Men, and certainly have a large cultural difference. No Old Gods, no First Men style names, and the entire culture is really different. In the World of Ice and Fire Archmaester Haereg theorizes they have descended from settlers from across the western sea. 

They have a wind and sea god, like the Sistermen and the ones featured in the founding legend of Storm's End. And if "Theon Stark" is anything to go by, they might have First Men names as well. Also not seeing what's so drastically different between "Asha" and "Sansa" or "Arya".

If you read the rest of the post, you would have seen that I pointed out the religion aspect and compared them to the Sistermen in that regard. The First Men likely had a religion before they adopted the Old Gods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Orphalesion said:

They have a wind and sea god, like the Sistermen and the ones featured in the founding legend of Storm's End. And if "Theon Stark" is anything to go by, they might have First Men names as well. Also not seeing what's so drastically different between "Asha" and "Sansa" or "Arya".

If you read the rest of the post, you would have seen that I pointed out the religion aspect and compared them to the Sistermen in that regard. The First Men likely had a religion before they adopted the Old Gods.

It might be an interesting turn of events if the Ironborn are just worshiping the nameless original religion of the First Men. Doesn't explain their insistence that they are not First Men though, nor does it explain the weird Seastone Chair and the rest of their ancient civilization.

I think comparing given names is a bit of a stretch, surnames are really what I was getting at. There's a Rhaegar Frey after all. Ironborn surnames are pretty long and descriptive of the founding member unlike First Men names which tend to be more blunt and reflect a family's nuanced personality (Stark, Umber, Flint). Greyjoy, Heartless, Blacktyde, Goodbrother etc. There are exceptions of course like Hoare and Drumm- but when they take positions of power they tend to adopt more Ironborn sounding nicknames like "Raven Feeder" or "Stump Hand". 

You may be correct, certainly. I just feel like there's a noticeable difference between the groups and the World book wouldn't bring up the possibility of the Ironborn being distinctly non- First Men if it wasn't at least a likely possibility. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

The point is to display the skill and power of the person hoping to become king by giving away spoils of war. The candidate with the most to give away is considered the best reaver as long as it was paid for with iron and not gold.

Balon got down on theon because Theon paid the gold price. The Balon's is not mutually exclusive with the gift giving of the kingsmoot 

This, and it's a good way to buy "votes." As the OP acknowledges, the loot is plunder, and also the recipients aren't paying for it, so nobody's paying a gold price. I think you can find inspiration for the kingsmoot here...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thing_(assembly)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/12/2017 at 3:35 PM, Tygett Lannister said:

It is weird for Ironborn to have elective monarchy in first place.

I agree! I would have expected some sort of fight to the death with the winner crowned. They follow strength much like the Dothraki. I find it very odd for them to vote on their leader. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, ChuckPunch said:

Where do I find this info?

 

The Ironborn claim to be separate from the First Men, and certainly have a large cultural difference. No Old Gods, no First Men style names, and the entire culture is really different. In the World of Ice and Fire Archmaester Haereg theorizes they have descended from settlers from across the western sea. 

I always found curious one of Preston Jacobs (mind all, I am not a fan of his work) 'post apocalyptic westeros' scenario. He hints at the idea that the Martell's Sandship was actually a ship that may have brought the first settlers ashore. Why do I say this? There's a somewhat similar thing with Nagga's Hill and the bones said to resemble a "dromond". George uses the same word, 'dromond'-like, to depict both the Sandship and Nagga's Hill. Were those bones the remains of an ancient ship that brought the first ironborn settlers ashore from the Sunset Sea? If so, part of their ancestry may actually not be First Menish after all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose it could be because the Ironborn aren't paying for the candidates' plunder, they're receiving them as gifts. Balon freaked out when Theon said Robb would "give" Balon freedom, but Robb's not Ironborn, and Balon isn't mentally sound. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now