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UFT

What if Balon was smart?

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what would you have done as balon greyjoy?

keep in mind you have to placate your bannermen who all want to rape and plunder everything

 

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16 minutes ago, UFT said:

what would you have done as balon greyjoy?

keep in mind you have to placate your bannermen who all want to rape and plunder everything

 

Join with Robb, the only other King fighting to break free of the Iron Throne. With the might of the Ironborn on his side, rather than against him, Robb has 40,000 soldiers on land in the Riverlands, and 500 ships in the Sunset Sea.

Balon raids the Westerlands, meaning Robb does not have to invade the West, and after the Whispering Wood can instead turn his full might on Tywin's surviving 19,000 strong host in the Riverlands.  The Riverlands stops bleeding, allowing it to recover some strength, and Robb still has 10,000 extra men in the North to call upon should he need to.

Balon's raiders gather awesome riches by raiding the now unprotected Westerlands, satisfying his captains' need for plunder to a far greater extent than the North could ever offer.

Tywin is either defeated in the  Riverlands, or is forced to retreat to King's Landing, where his 19k men are besieged by Stannis's Blackwater force.

The War in King's Landing has a totally unpredictable outcome now, and meanwhile the North-Riverlands-Iron Isles alliance solidifies its control over the northern realms.

Whatever the outcome in the South, the end result is a Northern alliance of around 70k warriors (including the Ironborn), up against the winner of the southron war. By this time Doran may enter the fray, being the natural enemy of the Lannisters and Tyrells.

All that is needed then is for the Vale to be brought into the Northern alliance, and there is no way to undo the gains made by the allies. Balon has his independence. 

 

 

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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26 minutes ago, Tygett Lannister said:

He would stay neutral like Vale and Dorne.

Can't stay neutral and declare independence at the same time.

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1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Can't stay neutral and declare independence at the same time.

Did I say he would declare independence?

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6 minutes ago, Tygett Lannister said:

Did I say he would declare independence?

Well if you discard that, then you might as well change his entire motivation and character and just advise him to stay loyal to the Iron Throne and become a meek citizen of the Realm. He still needs to stay Balon Greyjoy in this thought experiment, with his overarching goals and motivations. Just in a smarter way.

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5 hours ago, UFT said:

what would you have done as balon greyjoy?

keep in mind you have to placate your bannermen who all want to rape and plunder everything

Says nothing about staying in character, says what would you do in Balon's place. And title says what if Balon was smart. Declaring independence was not smart.

Edited by Tygett Lannister

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Balon was a nutjob, him and his brothers. That's their thing.

Why would you have another Doran in the story? 

3 hours ago, Tygett Lannister said:

...title says what if Balon was smart. Declaring independence was not smart.

Exactly.

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29 minutes ago, The Sunland Lord said:

Balon was a nutjob, him and his brothers. That's their thing.

Why would you have another Doran in the story? 

Exactly.

Fun question:  Why were Balon, Euron, Victarion, and Damphair such fucking maniacs?  Their father, Quellon, seemed to be smart, reasonable, and progressive.  He and Rodrik Harlaw seemed to be on a path to modernizing the Ironborn.  Why did Quellon's sons all go full fucking retard?

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Quellon actually was a sort of visionary compared to his living sons, but not his grand daughter.   Asha wants a new way that will gain the Ib acceptance among the mainlanders.  She wants to work together and assimilate to a point.   Don't forget she is a revered captain among the Ib.   That doesn't look like it's so easy to achieve.  I have to assume that Asha is as good at raping and pillaging and reaving as the best Ironborn.   

Balon was stuck with "the old way" and Vic seems to be the likely successor before the Kingsmoot.  Vic is an old way guy, too.   Asha offers a new way and Euron tells them they are all thinking way too small.   He's got a Harren the Black thing going on--world dominion.   Then again, Euron is a visionary too, in his own twisted way.  

The old way wouldn't allow Balon to see beyond the status quo.  Pick pockets among diamond thieves as it were.   And he was a very nasty and unpleasant man.  He thought small and was woefully shortsighted.   If he had been more like Euron, he could have taken a good chunk of the north, perhaps even the Westerlands coast.  If he had been more like his father or daughter he could have formed an alliance with the Crown which would have allowed him to reave with impunity, like the legendary Dagon.   He could have been the royal armada or north armada.   He could have reclaimed Harrenhall to defend the Riverlands.   There is a lot a smart Balon Greyjoy could have done if he was smarter.  

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2 hours ago, LindsayLohan said:

Fun question:  Why were Balon, Euron, Victarion, and Damphair such fucking maniacs?  Their father, Quellon, seemed to be smart, reasonable, and progressive.  He and Rodrik Harlaw seemed to be on a path to modernizing the Ironborn.  Why did Quellon's sons all go full fucking retard?

I guess he forgot to educate his children. Louis XIV's grandson was also disaster (Louis could educate him since he lived for so long).

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Perhaps Balon Greyjoy is not as stupid as it seems. After all, we only see him through Theon's POV and they are not close at all.

I tend to think that Balon Greyjoy's primary motivation was vengeance from the siege of Pyke, where one of his sons was killed and another was taken away by the Starks. When Balon was brought in chains to Robert, no doubt Eddard was at his side. Perhaps, strict as Eddard is, he advocated for beheading Balon right there. And the North no doubt played an important part during the siege (Jorah being among the firsts to enter the breach, Old Nan's grandson bein killed,...) Meanwhile, Tywin seems to have kept a lower profile during the conflict. If Balon had been obsessed with revenge all those years and his priority was revenge, then attacking the North was not a bad decision.

We have also to keep in mind that, while aiding Robb was the option that could give him the greater gain (since he would be the only one who would acknowledge his kingship), attacking him was also the least risky option. The North had no option to win the war alone, and had no fleet to strike back.

After all, we should not discount the possibility that Balon negotiated with Tywin before the attack. ("Some wars are won with quills and ravens"). I can see that they could easily reach an agreement were Balon was allowed to keep his conquests in the Northern Western coast in exchange of acknowledging Joffrey as king, if he defeated Renly and Stannis.

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Attacking the North was the easiest and the safest thing for Balon to do. Nobody would come to their defense, and if the Northmen ended up making more trouble for the Iron Throne than anyone expected, Balon could offer his help in the process of it, perhaps getting permission to remain independent.

The revenge angle would have played a huge part there, as @The hairy bear said. Eddard Stark played a crucial role in crushing his rebellion, including the death of one son, and the loss of another. The fact that the Starks stole Theon and ruined him seems to play a pretty big role in Balon's overall motivation in ACoK.

And who knows - I could see Theon finally winning his father's respect with his Winterfell plan, especially by (apparently) putting down Eddard Stark's two sons. The Ironborn are a very savage lot. Asha is abhorred by Theon's deed, but Asha is pretty soft when compared to her father and her uncles, especially Euron. Balon would feel satisfaction at the thought that his son had not become a Stark after all, and instead proved who he was by putting down two of Eddard Stark's pups to avenge his two brothers.

Attacking the Westerlands could have gotten the Ironborn a lot of short-term gains - especially in spoils and plunder - but in the end, the Westermen always strike back. And they strike back hard. The Ironborn learned that during the centuries. And if Tywin was the one striking back we are talking the possibility of genocide. If Balon had burned Lannisport, say, and raided vast portions of the West, Tywin would have treated him much worse than he treated the Reynes and Tarbecks. As Hand (and possibly regent) of Joffrey/Tommen nobody would have been able to stop him.

Balon understood that risk. The North would never have the means to ever strike back at the Ironborn on their own islands. They have no war fleet.

Edited by Lord Varys

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I mean, the obvious answer is lampshaded in the text.  Assuming you want to keep his motivations mostly intact, what he should have done was write to Tywin and offer his allegiance and ships and aggression towards Robb in return for something.

But if the idea is that Balon wants independence, full stop, and not just increased lands/wealth/privilege, then he has no smart options except maybe to ally with Robb.  Balon and his Old Way are intrinsically inimical to Westeros - to the ironborn, the mainland is just a source of plunder and thralls.  And the Westerosi know it.  So no one is going to have any time for his nonsense; once someone wins the Wot5K, their first action will be to brutally conquer the Iron Islands (which we know is a relative cakewalk).

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On 12/12/2017 at 10:49 AM, LindsayLohan said:

Fun question:  Why were Balon, Euron, Victarion, and Damphair such fucking maniacs?  Their father, Quellon, seemed to be smart, reasonable, and progressive.  He and Rodrik Harlaw seemed to be on a path to modernizing the Ironborn.  Why did Quellon's sons all go full fucking retard?

I blame Damphair and The Drowned God.They believed in that crap and the god did drown them in the end.

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On 12/12/2017 at 1:35 PM, Lord Varys said:

Attacking the North was the easiest and the safest thing for Balon to do. Nobody would come to their defense, and if the Northmen ended up making more trouble for the Iron Throne than anyone expected, Balon could offer his help in the process of it, perhaps getting permission to remain independent.

The revenge angle would have played a huge part there, as @The hairy bear said. Eddard Stark played a crucial role in crushing his rebellion against him, including the death of one son, and the loss of another. The fact that the Starks stole Theon and ruined him seems to play a pretty big role in Balon's overall motivation in ACoK.

And who knows - I could see Theon finally winning his father's respect with his Winterfell plan, especially by (apparently) putting down Eddard Stark's two sons. The Ironborn are a very savage lot. Asha is abhorred by Theon's deed, but Asha is pretty soft when compared to her father and her uncles, especially Euron. Balon would feel satisfaction at the thought that his son had not become a Stark after all, and instead proved who he was by putting down two of Eddard Stark's pups to avenge his two brothers.

Attacking the Westerlands could have gotten the Ironborn a lot of short-term gains - especially in spoils and plunder - but in the end, the Westermen always strike back. And they strike back hard. The Ironborn learned that during the centuries. And if Tywin was the one striking back we are talking the possibility of genocide. If Balon had burned Lannisport, say, and raided vast portions of the West, Tywin would have treated him much worse than he treated the Reynes and Tarbecks. And Hand (and possibly regent) of Joffrey/Tommen nobody would have been able to stop him.

Balon understood that risk. The North would never have the means to ever strike back at the Ironborn on their own islands. They have no war fleet.

This makes the most sense to me and this is what I expected Euron to do..

Edited by Maximus Greyjoy

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45 minutes ago, Maximus Greyjoy said:

This makes the most sense to me and this is what I expected Euron to do..

I think we'll learn soon enough why Euron chose to attack the Reach rather than the West. Now that Dany is not coming for the time being, he'll ally with Cersei, possibly even marrying her. She is his natural ally now that he attacks the Reach. And that plot element would be literally impossible if the Ironborn - regardless whether they were led by Balon or Euron - had attacked the West during the main series.

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47 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I think we'll learn soon enough why Euron chose to attack the Reach rather than the West. Now that Dany is not coming for the time being, he'll ally with Cersei, possibly even marrying her. She is his natural ally now that he attacks the Reach. And that plot element would be literally impossible if the Ironborn - regardless whether they were led by Balon or Euron - had attacked the West during the main series.

I don't think She'll marry him.He may have decided to attack The Reach in order to align himself with The Lannisters but it's not gonna work out.

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10 minutes ago, Maximus Greyjoy said:

I don't think She'll marry him.He may have decided to attack The Reach in order to align himself with The Lannisters but it's not gonna work out.

I'm pretty sure it will. We'll have to wait and see. Euron and Cersei would make a hell of a couple, united in madness and hate. They could set the world afire, and prove more than a distraction for Aegon, Daenerys, and even the Others.

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On 12/12/2017 at 6:57 PM, Free Northman Reborn said:

Join with Robb, the only other King fighting to break free of the Iron Throne. With the might of the Ironborn on his side, rather than against him, Robb has 40,000 soldiers on land in the Riverlands, and 500 ships in the Sunset Sea.

Balon raids the Westerlands, meaning Robb does not have to invade the West, and after the Whispering Wood can instead turn his full might on Tywin's surviving 19,000 strong host in the Riverlands.  The Riverlands stops bleeding, allowing it to recover some strength, and Robb still has 10,000 extra men in the North to call upon should he need to.

Balon's raiders gather awesome riches by raiding the now unprotected Westerlands, satisfying his captains' need for plunder to a far greater extent than the North could ever offer.

Tywin is either defeated in the  Riverlands, or is forced to retreat to King's Landing, where his 19k men are besieged by Stannis's Blackwater force.

The War in King's Landing has a totally unpredictable outcome now, and meanwhile the North-Riverlands-Iron Isles alliance solidifies its control over the northern realms.

Whatever the outcome in the South, the end result is a Northern alliance of around 70k warriors (including the Ironborn), up against the winner of the southron war. By this time Doran may enter the fray, being the natural enemy of the Lannisters and Tyrells.

All that is needed then is for the Vale to be brought into the Northern alliance, and there is no way to undo the gains made by the allies. Balon has his independence. 

I always thought if the Vale and the Iron Island entered the war as newly independent kingdoms allied with Robb that you would end up with Robb as King of the North, Trident (whatever he kept of the Riverlands) and Golden Tooth (whatever amount of the Westerlands his kingdom swallowed up). Balon as King of the Iron Islands and Rock (whatever chunk of the West's coastline he absorbed) and Sweet Robin as King of the Vale.

There'd likely be Stannis or Renly as King of the South (crownlands, Reach, Stormlands, whatever small chunk of Riverlands/Westerland they could take/keep) and Dorne an Independent Kingdom again.

So a reasonable shake up to the status quo resulting in not 7 kingdoms or 1 kingdom, but 5 kingdoms of varying size and strength.

Edited by GallowsKnight

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