Varysblackfyre321

If not Jon who?

100 posts in this topic

28 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

this distasteful and dishonorable way to get somebody out of the black.

Yes, like moving from one kind of difficult duty to another. I'm sure the Northern lords, who have just voted for independence from the South, would have preferred some unknown Vale cousin who may never have set foot to the North before. 

Edited by Julia H.

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10 minutes ago, The Sunland Lord said:

This would mean Littlefinger keeping the North in line. 

Not if Robb had named Corbray his heir before Littlefinger even arrived in the Vale. Not to mention, you know, that a man like Corbray becoming a great lord/king in his own right wouldn't really care all that much about Littlefinger anymore.

Corbray is a capable fighter and a ruthless man. He is the king of guy who could keep the Northmen in line.

But the problem is that we actually don't know whether the main-line Corbrays and Waynwoods are actually descended from Jocelyn Stark or whether those descendants are more obscure people.

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Robb's will doesn't really matter.  Jon is a bastard sworn to the Night's Watch.  Robb doesn't have the powers to (1) change Jon from bastard to legitimate; (2) write Jon an excuse letter to get him out of his sworn vows to the Night's Watch.  Maybe he did the stupid thing, Robb is known to do stupid things by the way, and named Jon his heir.  We don't know at the moment.  But there are other choices.  Better choices that doesn't require breaking so many laws.  Catelyn.  Edmure.  A Karstark. 

Catelyn and Edmure will have the acceptance of the river lords and will have an easier time of it.  They make the most logical of the choices. 

The monarch in King's Landing has the power to decide who gets the north and Winterfell.  Robb tried to earn his independence and lost.  His will is worthless. 

Edited by Here's Looking At You, Kid

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2 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

Yes, like moving from one kind of difficult duty to another. I'm sure the Northern lords, who have just voted for independence from the South, would have preferred some unknown Vale cousin who may never have set foot to the North before. 

Only Lord Rickard Karstark (disgraced and executed by the time Robb chose his heir), Maege Mormont, Jon Umber, and Galbart Glover are there when Robb is declared king. That's not the majority of the Lords in the North. One assumes that quite a few of them - and not just Roose Bolton - would have raised an eyebrow, asking themselves whether this had been all that great an idea... And more might have been quite vexed about the fact that they were now supposed to be permanently part of smaller secessionist kingdom. The majority of the Northmen/Lords of the North did not declare their independence.

If you look at the facts then there were actually more Riverlords at Riverrun when Robb Stark was proclaimed king than Northmen.

It might be that Umber, Glover, and Mormont would stick with Jon Snow. But these three people aren't the North. They are not even half the North. 

The category these people are thinking in are dynasties and noble bloodlines. They don't really think in modern categories. The important thing that gives you a claim is whether you are a blood relative of a king or lord, not where you were raised or what language you speak. A considerable number of the Kings of England didn't actually speak English or cared to learn the language. Those Vale cousins would also be of noble birth. Jon Snow is born a bastard with an unknown mother, which means he could have actually been baseborn.

I already said that Jon would have been the ideal heir presumptive if he hadn't taken the black (let's keep in mind there that Robb had no intention of dying or not fathering children on Jeyne - he wanted his blood to succeed him; Jon or any other heir was intended as presumptive heir, in case something should happen to him) but with him taking the black that option was always pretty ridiculous.

There is simply no honorable way to get Jon out of his vows, and actually haggling with the Watch about a price for Jon's release - like, how many men Jon is worth, as Robb apparently intended to do - would have made look both of them like both mad and selfish. This is not the kind of way to deal with a solemn vow. Robb is pretty much living in fantasy land when he considers this option.

In addition, the real problem isn't the Watch - technically Robb could just go to Castle Black and take Jon, the Watch doesn't have the power to stop him - the real problem are the Northmen and other the other people in Westeros 'Prince Jon' would subsequently have to interact with. We know that a deserter of the Night's Watch is seen as utter scum in the North (and the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, too). How likely is it that the magical words of King Robb could make this appearance go away? Robb and Jon could tell people a thousand times that everything was okay with Jon's release from his vows, etc. but that doesn't mean people have to believe or accept it.

Robb may have been able to force his subjects by sheer force of will to accept Jon as his heir while he was still alive. But being the heir isn't the same as being the king. Hence the comparison to Rhaenyra. If half of the North or more felt a deep resentment about the fact that their king didn't give shit about the NW vows, freeing his relations and favorites as he saw fit while their own brothers and sons were stuck there forever, then a 'King Jon' would likely have gotten a massive problem after his brother's death.

Any of the lords having issue with the deserter/oathbreaker 'Prince Jon' could certainly have propped up one of the Vale cousins as an alternative claimant. Or they could have declared for 'Lady Lannister', assuming Sansa would have been around in this hypothetical scenario.

Therefore the idea of making Jon Robb's heir is simply not a good idea. Just as it wouldn't have been a good idea if Aegon V had decided in 239 AC to recall Aemon from the Wall, naming him his heir instead of Prince Jaehaerys (when Duncan had to abdicate as Prince of Dragonstone). When you go to the Wall you stay at the Wall. Thus are the rules.

And that doesn't even address Jon's own issues with the offer. In ASoS his vows are more important to him than Winterfell and the North. He did swear a vow to the old gods, a vow nobody can release him from. He may have declined Robb's offer, telling to fuck his wife more often to produce some sons for House Stark.

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26 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Not if Robb had named Corbray his heir before Littlefinger even arrived in the Vale. Not to mention, you know, that a man like Corbray becoming a great lord/king in his own right wouldn't really care all that much about Littlefinger anymore.

Corbray is a capable fighter and a ruthless man. He is the king of guy who could keep the Northmen in line.

But the problem is that we actually don't know whether the main-line Corbrays and Waynwoods are actually descended from Jocelyn Stark or whether those descendants are more obscure people.

You're right probably, he wouldn't care about Littlefinger in particular. But a man with those preferences might be easily compromised. (If by "boys", Littlefinger means...you know)

Also, the Corbrays are Andals so I don't think that that a member from a house worshiping the Seven will be acceptable as a King in the North. Not that he cares, but his vassals might. Unless he converts, like Aegon did. 

 

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8 hours ago, Julia H. said:

1. These lines only tell me you didn't get my point at all.

What? You acted as though if Robb were to go north, Maestor Luwin and Rodrick would be the ones thrust to lead the war effort by virtue of them having guardianship over the boys-ignoring the total possibility of simply picking them up and dropping them off with who Robb would like best to lead the north. Clearly, they wouldn't be the ones tasked to lead the north. And you took Robb not having assighned a lord protector to them during at the start of the war as evidence enough of having to appoint one on his way to KL as going to KL being more dangerous-it's very assumptive. Like, couldnt have Robb just made a mistake in having not done this from the start all toghether and only did realized it?

 

8 hours ago, Julia H. said:

2. It must be great to know for sure what would have happened if... Now, that's certainly one thing the characters couldn't know. The characters don't have your insight into what would have happened. Nor do I.

That's exactly my point. We can only honestly judge a charachter' s actions by what his or her knowledge of what the consequences of committing one.

 

8 hours ago, Julia H. said:

4. She is the only Karstark besides Rickard who ever talks about this on page. "Clearly hates" is deduction rather than anything that is shown by her words or actions, but somehow she still thinks and says that a son of Eddard Stark (which Robb was, too) would be the best protector to turn to in great distress. That's very far from open enmity. 

 

At Robb. Just because she doesn't hate Starks in general doesn't mean she and the rest of the Karstarks blame Robb for their patriarch losing his head. She clearly thinks murdering those boys could not justify Robb enacting Justice on him for it. The whole of house Karstark abandoned the movement when Robb took Rickard's head. They did not recognize Rickard for being in the wrong, and Robb in the right-they saw Rickard having been just and Robb acting egregiously.

8 hours ago, Julia H. said:

What you call "more generality" is actually a very specific example (the Mormont case) against your generalization:

Generally noble families take any action against their family as being totally unjust. The mormonts are the exception to the rule. They are also not strictly patriarchal. They're very unique.

 

9 hours ago, Julia H. said:

5. I'm not sure if this is your opinion or you are just describing what Rickard thought. If it is your opinion, I absolutely disagree. Karstark killed two unarmed POW's who had absolutely nothing to do with his sons' death in battle. He was mad with grief, which is totally understandable, but that doesn't mean what he did was Justice. He probably thought so, I agree about that.

It was the latter. I find it a little frustrating that you think there was some ambiguity in my statement after I said the Karstarks  were mad at Robb for enacting Justice on Rickard for the murder of these boys. 

 

9 hours ago, Julia H. said:

7. Perhaps. But that sort of trust simply wasn't there by the time Tyrion became Hand. Think of Sansa. Tyrion genuinely and sincerely tried to protect her against Joffrey and was kind to her, but after what she had been through, she would never make the mistake of trusting a Lannister again. I can't blame her. That's how it works, and not only in the case of Sansa. 

They left off on a good note-Sansa's experience with the lanisters has them acting the most kind when it suited them and when they could profit-Tyrion had done extrodnary acts of kindness towards the Starks when he was in the position to simply ignore them.

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2 hours ago, The Sunland Lord said:

You're right probably, he wouldn't care about Littlefinger in particular. But a man with those preferences might be easily compromised. (If by "boys", Littlefinger means...you know).

Honestly, I don't think anyone cares about all that much in this world. At least not if Corbray mainly uses children nobody cares about for his fun. Roose and Ramsay can have their fun, too, and at least Roose knows how to ensure that nobody complains. And it is not that pedophilia or child abuse or child molestation are (severe) crimes in this world.

And if Corbray's boys are just youths and he is simply gay then this shouldn't be a problem at all.

2 hours ago, The Sunland Lord said:

Also, the Corbrays are Andals so I don't think that that a member from a house worshiping the Seven will be acceptable as a King in the North. Not that he cares, but his vassals might. Unless he converts, like Aegon did.

Aegon didn't convert to the Faith of the Andals. The Targaryens already had a sept on Dragonstone during his days; they likely professed they now followed this Faith some decades before Aegon was born. Not that they would have truly cared about this religious stuff.

There is really no reason to believe that the Lord of Winterfell or a King in the North has to be an overly pious or even professing follower of the old gods. Everybody in Westeros pays lip service to the old gods - they referenced them in their vows, they keep godswoods, etc. A man from the Vale - be he Corbray or some other guy - certainly would have an easier time if he professed to follow only the old gods now, but it is not that the First Men have a lot of rituals and celebrations during which the degree of piety of followers of the old gods can be measured. In fact, aside from things like weddings (and presumably funerals) the belief in the old gods seems to be mostly personal piety. Ned goes to the godswood to cleanse himself when he has killed someone and to converse with his gods when he faces a difficult decision, etc. but it is not that the everyday life of the Starks or the First Men in the North in general is ruled and regulated by religion.

If a Lord of Winterfell - or pretty much any follower of the old gods in the North - decided he no longer believed/cared about the old gods then this would most likely only be his business. He would be obliged to attend ceremonies like funerals and weddings, etc. but nobody expects him to lead prayers, give sermons, or do any other religious acts.

Now, a Corbray, etc. coming to Winterfell trying to convert the Northmen to the Faith of the Andals might cause trouble. But I'm pretty sure nobody would care if a Lord of Winterfell would personally prefer the new gods to the old gods - as long as he didn't trouble other people with that.

In fact, the Starks themselves are not immune to this. With Ned and Robb both marrying women from the south it wasn't that unlikely that a son or grandson of Ned's would prefer the Seven to the old gods. Nobody took steps to prevent that. And if Sansa ends up ruling Winterfell she could actually end up preferring the Seven to the old gods - and if she ends up with Southron husband, too, her children might even be farther removed from the old gods than she is.

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Only Lord Rickard Karstark (disgraced and executed by the time Robb chose his heir), Maege Mormont, Jon Umber, and Galbart Glover are there when Robb is declared king. That's not the majority of the Lords in the North. One assumes that quite a few of them - and not just Roose Bolton - would have raised an eyebrow, asking themselves whether this had been all that great an idea... And more might have been quite vexed about the fact that they were now supposed to be permanently part of smaller secessionist kingdom. The majority of the Northmen/Lords of the North did not declare their independence.

If you look at the facts then there were actually more Riverlords at Riverrun when Robb Stark was proclaimed king than Northmen.

It might be that Umber, Glover, and Mormont would stick with Jon Snow. But these three people aren't the North. They are not even half the North. 

The category these people are thinking in are dynasties and noble bloodlines. They don't really think in modern categories. The important thing that gives you a claim is whether you are a blood relative of a king or lord, not where you were raised or what language you speak. A considerable number of the Kings of England didn't actually speak English or cared to learn the language. Those Vale cousins would also be of noble birth. Jon Snow is born a bastard with an unknown mother, which means he could have actually been baseborn.

I already said that Jon would have been the ideal heir presumptive if he hadn't taken the black (let's keep in mind there that Robb had no intention of dying or not fathering children on Jeyne - he wanted his blood to succeed him; Jon or any other heir was intended as presumptive heir, in case something should happen to him) but with him taking the black that option was always pretty ridiculous.

There is simply no honorable way to get Jon out of his vows, and actually haggling with the Watch about a price for Jon's release - like, how many men Jon is worth, as Robb apparently intended to do - would have made look both of them like both mad and selfish. This is not the kind of way to deal with a solemn vow. Robb is pretty much living in fantasy land when he considers this option.

In addition, the real problem isn't the Watch - technically Robb could just go to Castle Black and take Jon, the Watch doesn't have the power to stop him - the real problem are the Northmen and other the other people in Westeros 'Prince Jon' would subsequently have to interact with. We know that a deserter of the Night's Watch is seen as utter scum in the North (and the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, too). How likely is it that the magical words of King Robb could make this appearance go away? Robb and Jon could tell people a thousand times that everything was okay with Jon's release from his vows, etc. but that doesn't mean people have to believe or accept it.

Robb may have been able to force his subjects by sheer force of will to accept Jon as his heir while he was still alive. But being the heir isn't the same as being the king. Hence the comparison to Rhaenyra. If half of the North or more felt a deep resentment about the fact that their king didn't give shit about the NW vows, freeing his relations and favorites as he saw fit while their own brothers and sons were stuck there forever, then a 'King Jon' would likely have gotten a massive problem after his brother's death.

Any of the lords having issue with the deserter/oathbreaker 'Prince Jon' could certainly have propped up one of the Vale cousins as an alternative claimant. Or they could have declared for 'Lady Lannister', assuming Sansa would have been around in this hypothetical scenario.

Therefore the idea of making Jon Robb's heir is simply not a good idea. Just as it wouldn't have been a good idea if Aegon V had decided in 239 AC to recall Aemon from the Wall, naming him his heir instead of Prince Jaehaerys (when Duncan had to abdicate as Prince of Dragonstone). When you go to the Wall you stay at the Wall. Thus are the rules.

And that doesn't even address Jon's own issues with the offer. In ASoS his vows are more important to him than Winterfell and the North. He did swear a vow to the old gods, a vow nobody can release him from. He may have declined Robb's offer, telling to fuck his wife more often to produce some sons for House Stark.

Alright that is a really good arguement. I can honestly say you've given me much to think about. I must thank you and the other posters here for their insightful replies to the Original question.

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21 minutes ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Alright that is a really good arguement. I can honestly say you've given me much to think about. I must thank you and the other posters here for their insightful replies to the Original question.

You can also ask yourself what you think would have happened to Jon if he had actually continued his desertion in AGoT. Going down south and eventually joining Robb in the Riverlands.

Would Robb actually have welcomed him? Would he have forgiven him (back then he wasn't a king yet)? How long would it have taken until some fierce Northman (or another righteous person) would have dealt with Jon the way Arya Stark dealt with Dareon in Braavos?

Somehow I don't think Jon would have thrived had he had the chance to meet Robb in the Riverlands. Far to the contrary, actually. In light of Arya's deeds the chances are very good that Robb would have been forced (by Catelyn, and the majority of his followers) to behead Jon Snow as the deserter and turncloak that he was. It would have been a tragedy but I doubt that there would have been a way around that.

This is not a fairy-tale setting. And Robb himself would have been very angry that his half-brother didn't have the strength and sense of honor to keep his vows. Pardoning him would have made House Stark look very bad indeed.

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1 minute ago, Lord Varys said:

You can also ask yourself what you think would have happened to Jon if he had actually continued his desertion in AGoT. Going down south and eventually joining Robb in the Riverlands.

Would Robb actually have welcomed him? Would he have forgiven him (back then he wasn't a king yet)? How long would it have taken until some fierce Northman (or another righteous person) would have dealt with Jon the way Arya Stark dealt with Dareon in Braavos?

Somehow I don't think Jon would have thrived had he had the chance to meet Robb in the Riverlands. Far to the contrary, actually. In light of Arya's deeds the chances are very good that Robb would have been forced (by Catelyn, and the majority of his followers) to behead Jon Snow as the deserter and turncloak that he was. It would have been a tragedy but I doubt that there would have been a way around that.

This is not a fairy-tale setting. And Robb himself would have been very angry that his half-brother didn't have the strength and sense of honor to keep his vows. Pardoning him would have made House Stark look very bad indeed.

That is very interesting. 

I think we have to assume that jon just wanted to be part of the army and wouldn t reveal who he was to anyone.

However if he was found out I think they would put him in the vanguarda and as many dangerous positions as they could during the war. It wouldn t be a pardon but the smartest thing to do... Why kill a northmen during a war when you can use him? If he survived the war then it is another matter...

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28 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Honestly, I don't think anyone cares about all that much in this world. At least not if Corbray mainly uses children nobody cares about for his fun. Roose and Ramsay can have their fun, too, and at least Roose knows how to ensure that nobody complains. And it is not that pedophilia or child abuse or child molestation are (severe) crimes in this world.

They care to an extent that things must look this or that way on the outside. A foreigner, only a distant relative of Robb, andal religion, possible pedophile-all things considered, doesn't look good. Of course, that is for a king. It's a bit more serious than just living and being a vassal Northern house. The Manderlys are doing fine, although coming from the Reach, bringing the new Gods.

28 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Aegon didn't convert to the Faith of the Andals. The Targaryens already had a sept on Dragonstone during his days; they likely professed they now followed this Faith some decades before Aegon was born. Not that they would have truly cared about this religious stuff.

Didn't he convert to the Faith because of political reasons? I'm not sure. You might be right. It's possible that I mixed it up with Valyrians and their old religion-whatever it was back then in the Valyria of Old.

28 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

In fact, the Starks themselves are not immune to this. With Ned and Robb both marrying women from the south it wasn't that unlikely that a son or grandson of Ned's would prefer the Seven to the old gods. Nobody took steps to prevent that. And if Sansa ends up ruling Winterfell she could actually end up preferring the Seven to the old gods - and if she ends up with Southron husband, too, her children might even be farther removed from the old gods than she is.

But Sansa and the Starks are a different matter. She is a Stark, a Northern girl, so it would not be a biggie if she preffered the Seven. If, for example, Arya is the last sirviving heir, she would be accepted, no matter what she believes in right now. But, ultimately, if Robb named Corbray as his heir and there are enough people to enforce his will-then Lyn Corbray it is. Other kings did stranger things before they died. 

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10 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Only Lord Rickard Karstark (disgraced and executed by the time Robb chose his heir), Maege Mormont, Jon Umber, and Galbart Glover are there when Robb is declared king. That's not the majority of the Lords in the North. One assumes that quite a few of them - and not just Roose Bolton - would have raised an eyebrow, asking themselves whether this had been all that great an idea... And more might have been quite vexed about the fact that they were now supposed to be permanently part of smaller secessionist kingdom. The majority of the Northmen/Lords of the North did not declare their independence.

Well, if there is an election or a vote, if you are not there, you can't voice your opinion. Those who were there had to make a decision and they did. They were major bannermen and their decision was unanimous. Their opinion was probably as representative as it could be.

I actually agree that there would be people to disagree with getting Jon out of the NW and the argument of the vows could be used against him. Definitely. But it's also worth noting that nobody of those who signed Robb's will raised an objection. After all, if the vows are so much more important than the question of royal succession (i.e., the future of the North), then there should have been outrage there and then. So I think we can assume that there would also be a support base, or at least those who wouldn't hold the oathbreaking against him. Those who have reason to support Robb's decision or to support Jon himself would probably just get over the vow.

It is true that we don't know what Jon himself would say to the idea (it wouldn't be the same offer as the one that Stannis made). If he accepted the post, Jon might have to live the rest of his life with the "Oathbreaker" stigma (like "King Jon the Oathbreaker"). But he has been there before. Ultimately, the question is what the priorities are. As Qhorin said (I'm paraphrasing here), your honour is not more important than your life when it comes to defending the country. The NW with its vows and ridiculous restrictions is a dated and dwindling institution. A black brother can spend his whole life keeping all the vows and rules and still not make any difference regarding the safety of human kind. The NW used to be a strong and powerful military force in the country and restrictions regarding its power were probably necessary then. Now, the situation is different. As you yourself have said, if Robb wanted to take back Jon by force, the NW couldn't do much against him (so no need to "haggle" - just offer them compensation). This NW needs to be stronger and get more rights, not fewer ones, to be able to properly serve its purpose. But the ultimate goal is not the survival of the NW. It is to have a strong and effective defense system on the Northern border. I'm not sure any more that strengthening the NW would be preferable to replacing it with something more efficient. Anyway, I think a King-in-the-North who knows what is going on beyond and on the Wall could be in a good position to reorganize and  strengthen the defense system and to alert the country to the coming danger. Compared to that, the breaking of the vow and the stigma attached to it might be a fair price to pay. (I'm sure King Torrhen Stark didn't want to go down in history as "The King Who Knelt", but the question of his reputation didn't stop him from doing what was needed to protect his country.) If Jon had been made this offer by Robb, he would have thought of it along the lines of where he could be more useful, what the more important priorities were.

If he accepted Robb's offer, there would probably be an opposition that he would have to convince or overcome or just tolerate. But there would be an opposition to any choice Robb could make - there are always people who don't agree when inheritance doesn't happen along the usual lines. I'm pretty sure there would be Northerners who wouldn't want a cousin from the Vale while there are capable Northmen around. There would be those who objected to inheritance by a woman, probably even those who wouldn't like the idea of Bran being Robb's heir due to his condition. If you made a survey in the North with the question "Who would you choose as your king if there were no other alternatives, a bastard, a woman, a cripple or a Southerner?", there would be a great variety of answers. And,of course, Roose Bolton would always want the greatest power for himself. Robb wouldn't offer Jon an easy life, glory and riches or a comfortable new job. He would offer him another difficult duty. If it gave Jon the chance to better serve the greater good of the realms of men, if he is really the best choise Robb can make (except for the vows), then never mind the vows or those who care more about technicalities than the real things. 

As for Lyn Corbray ("vain, reckless and hot-tempered", according to the wiki) he and Ramsay Bolton would be best buddies in the North. Ramsay could have all the girls for his sport, while Corbray would get all the boys. If Corbray is not into dogs, Ramsay could have those, too. 

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12 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

1. What? You acted as though if Robb were to go north, Maestor Luwin and Rodrick would be the ones thrust to lead the war effort by virtue of them having guardianship over the boys-ignoring the total possibility of simply picking them up and dropping them off with who Robb would like best to lead the north. Clearly, they wouldn't be the ones tasked to lead the north. And you took Robb not having assighned a lord protector to them during at the start of the war as evidence enough of having to appoint one on his way to KL as going to KL being more dangerous-it's very assumptive. Like, couldnt have Robb just made a mistake in having not done this from the start all toghether and only did realized it?

 

2. That's exactly my point. We can only honestly judge a charachter' s actions by what his or her knowledge of what the consequences of committing one.

 

3. At Robb. Just because she doesn't hate Starks in general doesn't mean she and the rest of the Karstarks blame Robb for their patriarch losing his head. She clearly thinks murdering those boys could not justify Robb enacting Justice on him for it. The whole of house Karstark abandoned the movement when Robb took Rickard's head. They did not recognize Rickard for being in the wrong, and Robb in the right-they saw Rickard having been just and Robb acting egregiously.

Generally noble families take any action against their family as being totally unjust. The mormonts are the exception to the rule. They are also not strictly patriarchal. They're very unique.

 

4. It was the latter. I find it a little frustrating that you think there was some ambiguity in my statement after I said the Karstarks  were mad at Robb for enacting Justice on Rickard for the murder of these boys. 

 

They left off on a good note-Sansa's experience with the lanisters has them acting the most kind when it suited them and when they could profit-Tyrion had done extrodnary acts of kindness towards the Starks when he was in the position to simply ignore them.

1. I didn't act as though anything. Robb went to war and left Winterfell and his brothers in the care of the castellan and the maester. He did not choose any lords to bring them up if he never came back. If he had gone to King's Landing to bend the knee (which would have happened about he same time) instead of going to war, what makes you think he would have appointed a Lord Protector in case he didn't return from King's Landing? The only reason for him to do that would be if he considered going to King's Landing even more dangerous than going to war. 

2. Yes, that's the only way I can judge the character's actions. But when judging whether a decision was ultimately a good one or not, I can take other factors into consideration as well. Based only on what Robb knew, going to the Red Wedding could be considered a splendid idea. But it wasn't.

Anyway, while you are telling me that, why do you base your opinion on arguments like Tywin would have been merciful, that bending the knee would have been completely safe? Not even we, the readers, know what Tywin, Cersei or Jeoffrey would have done if Robb had bent the knee. If Eddard in the prison hadn't agreed to the offer Varys made to him, it would be easy to say that he would surely have survived and Sansa would have been safely back in Winterfell if he had only accepted the way out offered to him. After all, it was promised, no?

3. OK, let's see a quote:

"My father wrote that he would find some southron lord to wed me, but he never did. Your brother Robb cut off his head for killing Lannisters." Her mouth twisted. "I thought the whole reason they marched south was to kill some Lannisters."

"It was ... not so simple as that. Lord Karstark slew two prisoners, my lady. Unarmed boys, squires in a cell."

The girl did not seem surprised. "My father never bellowed like the Greatjon, but he was no less dangerous in his wroth. He is dead now though, too. So is your brother. But you and I are here, still living. Is there blood feud between us, Lord Snow?"

While she is naturally bitter about her father's death, she also realizes that her father actually committed something to deserve the punishment, and she knows her father's temper and his character were consistent with the crime he reportedly committed. We don't know how much she blames Robb, but the fact that she does not blame any other Stark is actually quite remarkable. Her father had taken revenge on two boys simply because they were cousins to the man who had killed his sons and the man in question was out of his reach. Now that Robb is dead, too, Alys is ready to move on. She still trusts House Stark and Robb's brother: "I didn't know where else to turn to but to the last son of Eddard Stark." 

Alys and the Mormonts are two examples where noble family members accept the fact that someone in their family (actually a head of a family in one case and an heir in the other) had to be punished by their overlord for something they had done. In both cases they themselves knew the personality trait / tendency that had led to the crime. It did not change their allegiance towards the overlord or his family. Two examples in a novel are not random accidents. Nothing indicates that Martin wants us to believe that Robb would necessarily have fought for Ned if Ned had been a person totally likely to betray his friend, to commit treason and other crimes.

4. I'm glad it was the latter. I didn't want to make you frustrated, but I read your paragraph several times and it wasn't clear in this respect. You also said Rickard was enacting justice and that Robb wronged the Karstarks. It was difficult to tell what was your opinion and when you were referring to the characters' opinion. I mentioned it because I thought what you seemed to be saying might not be what you meant. 

5. Perhaps, but I still don't know how the Starks could have found a way (logistically) to cooperate with Tyrion alone or how much Tyrion would realistically have been able to achieve or how  much he would even have wanted to do that wasn't approved by Tywin (the military man of the family), Joffrey (the king, in name at least) and Cersei (pushy and unpredictable as she is).

Look, we both have shared our opinion, and we seem to be going in circles, far from the original topic of the thread, and I don't think we will be able to convince each other or to say anything new on these questions now. I don't mind finishing this conversation amicably with agreeing to disagree. 

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2 hours ago, Julia H. said:

1. I didn't act as though anything. Robb went to war and left Winterfell and his brothers in the care of the castellan and the maester. He did not choose any lords to bring them up if he never came back. If he had gone to King's Landing to bend the knee (which would have happened about he same time) instead of going to war, what makes you think he would have appointed a Lord Protector in case he didn't return from King's Landing? The only reason for him to do that would be if he considered going to King's Landing even more dangerous than going to war. 

2. Yes, that's the only way I can judge the character's actions. But when judging whether a decision was ultimately a good one or not, I can take other factors into consideration as well. Based only on what Robb knew, going to the Red Wedding could be considered a splendid idea. But it wasn't.

Anyway, while you are telling me that, why do you base your opinion on arguments like Tywin would have been merciful, that bending the knee would have been completely safe? Not even we, the readers, know what Tywin, Cersei or Jeoffrey would have done if Robb had bent the knee. If Eddard in the prison hadn't agreed to the offer Varys made to him, it would be easy to say that he would surely have survived and Sansa would have been safely back in Winterfell if he had only accepted the way out offered to him. After all, it was promised, no?

3. OK, let's see a quote:

"My father wrote that he would find some southron lord to wed me, but he never did. Your brother Robb cut off his head for killing Lannisters." Her mouth twisted. "I thought the whole reason they marched south was to kill some Lannisters."

"It was ... not so simple as that. Lord Karstark slew two prisoners, my lady. Unarmed boys, squires in a cell."

The girl did not seem surprised. "My father never bellowed like the Greatjon, but he was no less dangerous in his wroth. He is dead now though, too. So is your brother. But you and I are here, still living. Is there blood feud between us, Lord Snow?"

While she is naturally bitter about her father's death, she also realizes that her father actually committed something to deserve the punishment, and she knows her father's temper and his character were consistent with the crime he reportedly committed. We don't know how much she blames Robb, but the fact that she does not blame any other Stark is actually quite remarkable. Her father had taken revenge on two boys simply because they were cousins to the man who had killed his sons and the man in question was out of his reach. Now that Robb is dead, too, Alys is ready to move on. She still trusts House Stark and Robb's brother: "I didn't know where else to turn to but to the last son of Eddard Stark." 

Alys and the Mormonts are two examples where noble family members accept the fact that someone in their family (actually a head of a family in one case and an heir in the other) had to be punished by their overlord for something they had done. In both cases they themselves knew the personality trait / tendency that had led to the crime. It did not change their allegiance towards the overlord or his family. Two examples in a novel are not random accidents. Nothing indicates that Martin wants us to believe that Robb would necessarily have fought for Ned if Ned had been a person totally likely to betray his friend, to commit treason and other crimes.

4. I'm glad it was the latter. I didn't want to make you frustrated, but I read your paragraph several times and it wasn't clear in this respect. You also said Rickard was enacting justice and that Robb wronged the Karstarks. It was difficult to tell what was your opinion and when you were referring to the characters' opinion. I mentioned it because I thought what you seemed to be saying might not be what you meant. 

5. Perhaps, but I still don't know how the Starks could have found a way (logistically) to cooperate with Tyrion alone or how much Tyrion would realistically have been able to achieve or how  much he would even have wanted to do that wasn't approved by Tywin (the military man of the family), Joffrey (the king, in name at least) and Cersei (pushy and unpredictable as she is).

Look, we both have shared our opinion, and we seem to be going in circles, far from the original topic of the thread, and I don't think we will be able to convince each other or to say anything new on these questions now. I don't mind finishing this conversation amicably with agreeing to disagree. 

Ok. Forcing a conversation to prolong is never a good idea so yes, let's stop it right here. And yeah, this got quite derailed. I appreariate the talk.

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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11 hours ago, divica said:

That is very interesting. 

I think we have to assume that jon just wanted to be part of the army and wouldn t reveal who he was to anyone.

No, he imagined that he would meet Jon directly. He intended to keep his true identity hidden from others but that wouldn't have worked all that long, especially after he had made contact with Robb. He very much looks like a Stark, after all. And ravens fly a lot faster than horses. Robb's people would have known Jon was coming long before he had even reached the Neck. And, quite frankly, if Cat had gotten wind of it first she may have arranged Jon's quiet execution at the hands of the lord who captured him along the road (and some likely would have captured him).

Robb Stark wasn't ruling in his own right until they declared him king. Prior to the Catelyn Stark was still acting as the regent of the North, appointing by Lord Eddard himself. 

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However if he was found out I think they would put him in the vanguarda and as many dangerous positions as they could during the war. It wouldn t be a pardon but the smartest thing to do... Why kill a northmen during a war when you can use him? If he survived the war then it is another matter...

It is a matter of principle. Gared and Dareon could do various things, too. Instead they were killed.

10 hours ago, The Sunland Lord said:

They care to an extent that things must look this or that way on the outside. A foreigner, only a distant relative of Robb, andal religion, possible pedophile-all things considered, doesn't look good. Of course, that is for a king. It's a bit more serious than just living and being a vassal Northern house. The Manderlys are doing fine, although coming from the Reach, bringing the new Gods.

You have to keep in mind that we are talking about an heir presumptive here. Whatever Robb wrote in his will, it didn't make Jon Snow (or whoever else he might have named) his Heir Apparent. Robb intended to have sons by Jeyne. They would have been his true heirs. The heir he named would have just been the heir he wanted to inherit if he himself would die childless.

In that context Corbray would have been a rather fine choice considering his reputation as a warrior. At least compared to the other Vale cousins - which may or may not be the descendants of Lady Anya Waynwood.

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Didn't he convert to the Faith because of political reasons? I'm not sure. You might be right. It's possible that I mixed it up with Valyrians and their old religion-whatever it was back then in the Valyria of Old.

The Valyrians were religiously tolerant. They welcomed all religions in their city. And the dragonlords - the Targaryens included - were most likely not religious at all. Which is why Aegon and his descendants up until the girls joining the Faith and Baelor the Blessed were mostly only professing to follow the Seven. A real follower of the Seven would have never warred against the Faith, like Maegor and Jaehaerys I did.

The other major hint that the Targaryens were officially following the Seven long before Aegon is the fact that those idols Stannis burns have been made of the wood of the ships Aenar and the other Targaryens used to come to Dragonstone. One assumes those ships were used for some decades after Aenar's arrival but it is not very likely that they only fell out of use during Aegon's days - at which time the castle sept of Dragonstone as well as the idols apparently already existed.

That indicates that one Lord of Dragonstone living prior to Aegon would have made a rather impressive public show of conversion when he used the wood of the ships to build those idols for his castle sept. You don't do stuff like that in secret. It was very likely a public show for the rabble and, most likely, the Westerosi trading partners of the Targaryens.

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But Sansa and the Starks are a different matter. She is a Stark, a Northern girl, so it would not be a biggie if she preffered the Seven. If, for example, Arya is the last sirviving heir, she would be accepted, no matter what she believes in right now. But, ultimately, if Robb named Corbray as his heir and there are enough people to enforce his will-then Lyn Corbray it is. Other kings did stranger things before they died. 

We are not really talking about whether such a Vale cousin could indeed secure power in the North. It is more about whether such a guy would be accepted as Robb's presumptive heir. And I really think a man like Corbray would have pretty good chances to be accepted.

2 hours ago, Julia H. said:

Well, if there is an election or a vote, if you are not there, you can't voice your opinion. Those who were there had to make a decision and they did. They were major bannermen and their decision was unanimous. Their opinion was probably as representative as it could be.

That still doesn't make Robb the king of the absent lords. Quite the contrary, actually. You accept a king when you do homage to him - which the majority of the Lords of the North actually never did. People forget that when they accuse Roose Bolton of betraying his king. He betrayed his lord, but not his king. Roose had already taken Joffrey as his king when he first met 'King Robb' at the Twins shortly before the Red Wedding.

Not to mention, you know, the the absent lords could also have been of the opinion that four Lords of the North and a bunch of Riverlords do not have the right to declare the Lord of Winterfell a king.

As it happens, nobody in the North publicly objected to the whole thing but the reason for that is most likely that the Lannisters were seen as the common enemy. Do you think the Northmen would insisted of continuing this charade of a kingship, not making Robb's abdication part of peace treaty negotiations had the war turned against them? That is not very likely. This was never a broad movement of independence. It was the mad idea of a few men at a council.

And the fact to keep in mind is that 'King Robb' had always more support among the Riverlords than the Northmen. It was the Riverlands Robb (apparently) saved with his campaign, and Hoster's bannermen were the clear majority of the men declaring Robb king.

The Northmen didn't profit from Robb's campaign at all. Instead they got the threat of an invasion by the wildlings, a very real Ironborn invasion, and civil war in the North.

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I actually agree that there would be people to disagree with getting Jon out of the NW and the argument of the vows could be used against him. Definitely. But it's also worth noting that nobody of those who signed Robb's will raised an objection. After all, if the vows are so much more important than the question of royal succession (i.e., the future of the North), then there should have been outrage there and then. So I think we can assume that there would also be a support base, or at least those who wouldn't hold the oathbreaking against him. Those who have reason to support Robb's decision or to support Jon himself would probably just get over the vow.

Robb's will is just a piece of paper. And Robb never named Jon Snow his Heir Apparent in that paper, anyway. He would at best have legitimized the boy as a Stark, naming him his presumptive heir under the condition that he could actually get him out of the Watch. While he was still in the Watch he was no man's heir, and the men signing Robb's will knew that.

Robb intended his sons by Jeyne to succeed him, not Jon. Jon was just intended as a presumptive heir.

It is also pretty clear that Robb's crown made him develop into a somewhat haughty youth, unwilling to listen to advice he didn't want to hear. Kings are not obliged to care what their mothers or lords tell them to do, right? And it is not that Robb didn't just execute Rickard Karstark, sending a clear message to his lords that he doesn't want to talk about things he really wants to do.

The question of outrage, etc. would only have come when Robb had actually taken steps to get Jon out of the Watch, expecting his lords actually do homage and suck up to this turncloak bastard (and that would only have happened after Robb had retaken the North). That would have been very ugly business. The men most likely hoped it would never come to that because Queen Jeyne would give their king not just one but multiple trueborn heirs.

Perhaps some people would have overcome their resentment, being won over by Jon's charms and competence, etc. But I'd not hold my breath for that. The NW vows are taken very seriously by the Northmen.

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It is true that we don't know what Jon himself would say to the idea (it wouldn't be the same offer as the one that Stannis made). If he accepted the post, Jon might have to live the rest of his life with the "Oathbreaker" stigma (like "King Jon the Oathbreaker"). But he has been there before.

He has never been there. Pretty much no one has. Men like that are put down like wild animals, like Gared and Dareon, basically. And I'm pretty sure it would have been very easy to find a brave fool who would gut the turncloak bastard calling himself a prince to restore the honor of the North and the Night's Watch. Arya also murdered Dareon, did she not?

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Ultimately, the question is what the priorities are. As Qhorin said (I'm paraphrasing here), your honour is not more important than your life when it comes to defending the country. The NW with its vows and ridiculous restrictions is a dated and dwindling institution. A black brother can spend his whole life keeping all the vows and rules and still not make any difference regarding the safety of human kind.

Actually, no. Every black brother keeping his vows and fulfilling his duty at the Wall is doing mankind a favor. He protects the realms of men against the Others. The Kings in the North and their heirs don't do that. Or rather - they would not be able to focus on that because, you know, if Robb had been able to retake the North the powers in the south - who ever they might be in this scenario - wouldn't have accepted their independence. They would have continued to attack them.

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The NW used to be a strong and powerful military force in the country and restrictions regarding its power were probably necessary then. Now, the situation is different. As you yourself have said, if Robb wanted to take back Jon by force, the NW couldn't do much against him (so no need to "haggle" - just offer them compensation).

You don't seem to understand my point there - yes, Robb could have taken Jon by force, but that would have been utter madness. It would have shown that this so-called king had no respect for the Night's Watch, and that would have quickly led to the unpleasant end of his rule. The Northmen do honor the Night's Watch. The idea that they would continue to respect and follow a man who actually forced them to hand over his bastard brother so that he can call that man his heir is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

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This NW needs to be stronger and get more rights, not fewer ones, to be able to properly serve its purpose. But the ultimate goal is not the survival of the NW. It is to have a strong and effective defense system on the Northern border. I'm not sure any more that strengthening the NW would be preferable to replacing it with something more efficient.

The ultimate mission of the NW is to defend the realms of men against the Others - which, again, isn't the goal of the Kings in the North. And even if it Robb suddenly decided this was his duty - it would be madness to lay that responsibility solely in the hands of the North.

The North isn't up to that. And the brilliance of the NW as an institution is that all men of the Seven Kingdoms can (and do) join their ranks. All feel to defend that Wall.

If some king took charge of the Wall and laid the duty of its defense in the hands of some lords then those lords and that king - and they alone - would have to deal with the Others. The other people would only concern themselves with the Others when they reached their borders/lands.

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Anyway, I think a King-in-the-North who knows what is going on beyond and on the Wall could be in a good position to reorganize and  strengthen the defense system and to alert the country to the coming danger. Compared to that, the breaking of the vow and the stigma attached to it might be a fair price to pay.

I'm not sure why anyone should listen to what a self-styled king and his bastard turncloak heir have to say. Why do you think anyone would care what such people are saying?

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(I'm sure King Torrhen Stark didn't want to go down in history as "The King Who Knelt", but the question of his reputation didn't stop him from doing what was needed to protect his country.)

Torrhen Stark had no other choice. He could either bent the knee or lose a battle and (likely) his life in the Riverlands. And he actually kept pretty much everything he had that way. Winterfell and the North were given back to him by Aegon. Had he fought and lost, Aegon may have dealt with the Starks the way he dealt with the Hoares and Gardeners.

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If he accepted Robb's offer, there would probably be an opposition that he would have to convince or overcome or just tolerate. But there would be an opposition to any choice Robb could make - there are always people who don't agree when inheritance doesn't happen along the usual lines.

We actually don't know that. We can be reasonably sure that a scenario as hilarious as naming a sworn brother of the Night's Watch your heir is going to provoke opposition. Whether the naming of an heir according to the degree of kinship is going to provoke the same kind of scandal/opposition is by no means clear.

And again 'capable Northmen' isn't a category in those matters. Crowns and lordships are inherited by right of blood. Apparently capable Northmen aren't all that closely related to the Starks these days. Else Catelyn would have brought up them, and not the Vale cousins.

The fact that ambitious people would try to use the whole Stark succession to their own advantage is also another matter. They would do that in any case, never mind who the heir was.

But a grown-up and fierce warrior like Corbray would have a much better chance to deal with men like Roose than the cripple Brandon, the woman Sansa, or the bastard-turncloak Jon.

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As for Lyn Corbray ("vain, reckless and hot-tempered", according to the wiki) he and Ramsay Bolton would be best buddies in the North. Ramsay could have all the girls for his sport, while Corbray would get all the boys. If Corbray is not into dogs, Ramsay could have those, too. 

Quite frankly, we don't know what Lyn Corbray's tastes are. Nothing indicates the ages of his boys, nor are their any indications that this man actually does kill them.

But one can be pretty sure that the fiercer and crueler Northmen like Roose and Hother Umber (who may have pretty much the same tastes as Corbray) would respect Corbray more than other choices. Without Grey Wind, Robb's rule as Lord of Winterfell may have been cut short by the Greatjon.

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8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

1. As it happens, nobody in the North publicly objected to the whole thing but the reason for that is most likely that the Lannisters were seen as the common enemy. 2. Do you think the Northmen would insisted of continuing this charade of a kingship, not making Robb's abdication part of peace treaty negotiations had the war turned against them? That is not very likely. This was never a broad movement of independence. It was the mad idea of a few men at a council.

"As it happens" is as the writer wrote it. If he had wanted to indicate that the idea didn't sit well with the lords, he could have mentioned some raised eyebrows, or at least one lord hesitating before signing the will, or even someone other than Catelyn (whose feeling about Jon are well known) to object and so on. The fact that they had the Lannisters for an enemy didn't need to make them silent on the very important point of succession. 

2. It didn't happen so we don't know. In actual reality they didn't want peace negotiations with the Lannisters at all. It's going a bit far with assumptions to stay what they would surely want to include in the peace treaty in the hypothetical scenario if they wanted a peace treaty in the first place. 

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Robb's will is just a piece of paper. And Robb never named Jon Snow his Heir Apparent in that paper, anyway. He would at best have legitimized the boy as a Stark, naming him his presumptive heir under the condition that he could actually get him out of the Watch. While he was still in the Watch he was no man's heir, and the men signing Robb's will knew that.

Robb intended his sons by Jeyne to succeed him, not Jon. Jon was just intended as a presumptive heir.

The will was written primarily to settle the succession question in case Robb died childless. No one says anything else. Yet, if Robb intended Jon to be his heir (if he died childless, yes), there was no reason for him not to spell it out in the will unambiguously. It was the purpose of the will to include everything Robb wanted to say about succession. He specifically said he wanted an unambiguous situation in case he died childless. The will would have to make it clear that Jon was legitimized as a Stark. It would also make it clear that Robb intended his child to be his successor if there was a child, that's pretty obvious, I think. But he also had to make it clear who his heir was if he died childless (yes). One of the very few things we know about the will is that Robb wanted to create a clear situation in the even of his death, to avoid a succession crisis. He probably intended to claim Jon from the Watch while he was still alive, but he knew he could die in the next battle and have no time for that. The will had to provide for that situation, too. He may have appointed someone to negotiate with the Watch in his name, for example. If Jon wasn't Robb's heir while he was in the Watch, then it was clearly Robb's wish that his men should see to that problem if he died before he could see to it. 

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It is also pretty clear that Robb's crown made him develop into a somewhat haughty youth, unwilling to listen to advice he didn't want to hear. Kings are not obliged to care what their mothers or lords tell them to do, right? And it is not that Robb didn't just execute Rickard Karstark, sending a clear message to his lords that he doesn't want to talk about things he really wants to do.

That's a bit harsh on Robb. Karstark wasn't executed for voicing his opinion or for giving the King advice. 

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The question of outrage, etc. would only have come when Robb had actually taken steps to get Jon out of the Watch, expecting his lords actually do homage and suck up to this turncloak bastard (and that would only have happened after Robb had retaken the North). That would have been very ugly business. The men most likely hoped it would never come to that because Queen Jeyne would give their king not just one but multiple trueborn heirs.

Perhaps some people would have overcome their resentment, being won over by Jon's charms and competence, etc. But I'd not hold my breath for that. The NW vows are taken very seriously by the Northmen.

Anything could have happened depending on a lot of things. 

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He has never been there. Pretty much no one has. Men like that are put down like wild animals, like Gared and Dareon, basically. And I'm pretty sure it would have been very easy to find a brave fool who would gut the turncloak bastard calling himself a prince to restore the honor of the North and the Night's Watch. Arya also murdered Dareon, did she not?

He has played the turncloak for the Watch, made peace with the wildlings for the Watch, risking those very things. 

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Actually, no. Every black brother keeping his vows and fulfilling his duty at the Wall is doing mankind a favor. He protects the realms of men against the Others. The Kings in the North and their heirs don't do that. Or rather - they would not be able to focus on that because, you know, if Robb had been able to retake the North the powers in the south - who ever they might be in this scenario - wouldn't have accepted their independence. They would have continued to attack them.

In theory, yes. But in practice? Come on. Besides, the best oathkeepers aren't necessarily the ones who make the most difference for the realm. Most of the oath is about not doing various things. You can keep all those lines and still do nothing for the realm - in practical reality, I mean. The purpose of the NW is to protect the realm against the Others, but through all these centuries of oathkeeping and stupid restrictions they have become incredibly weak. Change is necessary, and a King-in-the-North could bring about the change, especially if he knew the situation as only a brother of the NW could know. If it is possible to abolish slavery in Essos, why is it not possible to reorganize the defence of the Northern border? Why couldn't a King-in-the-North who knows the situation inside out be involved? Just because it has never happened before? Or because it's difficult? 

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You don't seem to understand my point there - yes, Robb could have taken Jon by force, but that would have been utter madness. It would have shown that this so-called king had no respect for the Night's Watch, and that would have quickly led to the unpleasant end of his rule. The Northmen do honor the Night's Watch. The idea that they would continue to respect and follow a man who actually forced them to hand over his bastard brother so that he can call that man his heir is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

Nope, it's you who didn't understand my point. I wasn't suggesting that Robb should have taken Jon out of the NW by force. No. You said that he could have done that, and I used your assessment to point out how weak the NW from a military viewpoint is. Here is my quoote in the original context:

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The NW used to be a strong and powerful military force in the country and restrictions regarding its power were probably necessary then. Now, the situation is different. As you yourself have said, if Robb wanted to take back Jon by force, the NW couldn't do much against him (so no need to "haggle" - just offer them compensation). This NW needs to be stronger and get more rights, not fewer ones, to be able to properly serve its purpose. But the ultimate goal is not the survival of the NW. It is to have a strong and effective defense system on the Northern border.

See? I was not using your assessment to argue that Robb should have used force against the NW to get Jon back, I used it to show how weak militarily the NW is, even in your opinion, and that it needs to be stronger. 

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The ultimate mission of the NW is to defend the realms of men against the Others - which, again, isn't the goal of the Kings in the North. And even if it Robb suddenly decided this was his duty - it would be madness to lay that responsibility solely in the hands of the North.

The North isn't up to that. And the brilliance of the NW as an institution is that all men of the Seven Kingdoms can (and do) join their ranks. All feel to defend that Wall.

The problem is the NW cannot fulfil its function at the moment because it is too weak. It is not the glorious institution it may have been once. It is weak and despised, and consists mainly of those few people who had no better choice than to join up at some point. Probably any major lord in the realm has a bigger army than the NW. Take Stannis, for example. He complained from the start of his war that he had too few men. Then he lost against the Lannisters and many of his men were slain or captured and some turned their cloaks. Then with the remains of his army, he went to the Wall, and his relatively small army suddenly became the big army there. There is no point in speaking of the NW as though they were able to fulfil their function, and I can't imagine that you don't know this. Yes, changing the system is difficult and many obstacles need to be overcome. But change is necessary. 

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If some king took charge of the Wall and laid the duty of its defense in the hands of some lords then those lords and that king - and they alone - would have to deal with the Others. The other people would only concern themselves with the Others when they reached their borders/lands.

LOL, because now every king and lord all over the Seven Kingdoms is so concerned about what's going on up there. 

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I'm not sure why anyone should listen to what a self-styled king and his bastard turncloak heir have to say. Why do you think anyone would care what such people are saying?

There are apparently people who listened to Robb. If he had not been killed in the Red Wedding, if he had been able to carry out what he intended in the will, there could have been plenty of more reasons to listen to him. Robb is the last person who can be called a "self-styled king" because he was actually elected. We can call Viserys a self-styled king, we can call Stannis a self-styled king, we can call Daenerys a self-styled queen, but Robb was actually declared king by his lords. Of course, in a scenario where nobody listens to him, he doesn't have to worry about succession, and no heir of his (Jon or anyone else) is of any consequence. This conversation is not about that scenario.

As for Jon, it would be worth listening to him, as he actually has a couple of interesting things to say. 

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Torrhen Stark had no other choice. He could either bent the knee or lose a battle and (likely) his life in the Riverlands. And he actually kept pretty much everything he had that way. Winterfell and the North were given back to him by Aegon. Had he fought and lost, Aegon may have dealt with the Starks the way he dealt with the Hoares and Gardeners.

That's what makes his decision a good decision. He knelt for the greater good (whether it was for his country or for his life - I won't dispute that as we have no way to know it). As a price, he remained the King-Who-Knelt forever, but in essence, he continued to be the real ruler of the North, if not a king any more, and his country wasn't devastated by the dragon, and that was the important thing. An "oathbreaker" can stay true to the essence of his vow even if he breaks the parts of the vow that were never the goal just the means - and if he can better serve the true goal of the vow, then it may be worth becoming an "oathbreaker", whatever others say. 

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We actually don't know that. We can be reasonably sure that a scenario as hilarious as naming a sworn brother of the Night's Watch your heir is going to provoke opposition. Whether the naming of an heir according to the degree of kinship is going to provoke the same kind of scandal/opposition is by no means clear.

If only Martin had hinted at it, you know, a tiny bit, with the lords who signed. Just a glance, a half-sentence, something. As it is, it is quite probable that it would have been accepted by some. And probably rejected by others.

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And again 'capable Northmen' isn't a category in those matters. Crowns and lordships are inherited by right of blood. Apparently capable Northmen aren't all that closely related to the Starks these days. Else Catelyn would have brought up them, and not the Vale cousins.

The fact that ambitious people would try to use the whole Stark succession to their own advantage is also another matter. They would do that in any case, never mind who the heir was.

That's my point, too.

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But a grown-up and fierce warrior like Corbray would have a much better chance to deal with men like Roose than the cripple Brandon, the woman Sansa, or the bastard-turncloak Jon.

Quite frankly, we don't know what Lyn Corbray's tastes are. Nothing indicates the ages of his boys, nor are their any indications that this man actually does kill them.

But one can be pretty sure that the fiercer and crueler Northmen like Roose and Hother Umber (who may have pretty much the same tastes as Corbray) would respect Corbray more than other choices. Without Grey Wind, Robb's rule as Lord of Winterfell may have been cut short by the Greatjon.

Boy includes the meaning 'young'. He may not kill them. That makes him slightly better than Ramsay but still not my ideal leader. As I said, he is also described as "vain, reckless and hot-tempered" and as "quarrelsome", someone whose price is gold and boys - which means he is mainly interested in material gain and carnal pleasure of the baser kind. Just what the North needs between the Lannisters and the Others. But it's a moot point anyway because nothing points to Corbray being the Vale cousin. He has no claim, and it would be a truly ridiculous idea to suggest him as Robb's heir. 

Edited by Julia H.

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On 1/5/2018 at 1:13 PM, Julia H. said:

Why would he do that? :blink:

This. Robb is concerned about succession because Jeyne is not pregnant yet, and he is planning to go to battle soon again. He has no reason to disinherit any future child of his, and the will is not a one-word document. It probably explains what should happen if he leaves behind a small child (or children) when he dies and what should happen if he dies childless. The main purpose of the will is to make sure he has an heir even while he doesn't have a child, but there are probably clauses on who should bring up his future child if he dies early and who should be the Lord Protector while his heir is underage, etc. 

As for Robb still trusting Jon after the betrayal by Theon, yes, he specifically states that he has absolute faith in Jon despite what Theon did. 

Willing Winterfell to Jon takes his future babes with Jeyne out of the picture.  When Aerys chose Viserys to inherit it meant disinheriting any other claimant.  The throne passed to Viserys and his heir.  The same will apply if Robb chose Jon to inherit Winterfell.  Jon and his heir will become the new owners of Winterfell.  Robb's children gets disinherited.  You can't give your lands to a person and then make that person give it back when and if you have children later on.  When you give something away it becomes theirs to do what they will per the laws of the kingdom. 

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34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

"As it happens" is as the writer wrote it. If he had wanted to indicate that the idea didn't sit well with the lords, he could have mentioned some raised eyebrows, or at least one lord hesitating before signing the will, or even someone other than Catelyn (whose feeling about Jon are well known) to object and so on. The fact that they had the Lannisters for an enemy didn't need to make them silent on the very important point of succession. 

Well, it is pretty clear that Catelyn is very much devastated by the mad idea of crowning Robb. She is shocked that the Brackens and Blackwoods are on the same page in this matter.

The Lords of the North back home simply don't show up (and those with Roose are not seen behind closed doors). You can believe that Barbrey Dustin, Wyman Manderly, etc. consider the idea of a 'King Robb' a great idea, but we have no evidence that this is true. That Manderly, for instance, is willing to risk his neck for the Starks later on may have more to do with the Red Wedding than the fact that he considered the whole crowning thing a great idea.

Just as the Martells firmly returned into the Targaryen camp after the Sack.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

2. It didn't happen so we don't know. In actual reality they didn't want peace negotiations with the Lannisters at all. It's going a bit far with assumptions to stay what they would surely want to include in the peace treaty in the hypothetical scenario if they wanted a peace treaty in the first place. 

We are not only talking about the Lannisters here. Renly and Stannis would have demanded that Robb give up his crown, too. And it is also pretty clear what Viserys III or Daenerys would have demanded, right?

The idea that lords feel obliged to keep a king they never did homage to is simply very far-fetched. Robb did not really die the king of Roose Bolton, Barbrey Dustin, Wyman Manderly, etc.

As to the contents of the will:

Note that George has been asked about that, and told us that there is a reason why the contents of said will are not spilled out in ASoS. We all believe what's in there but we don't know yet. And we should not act as if we do. There might be a surprise in there, after all.

 

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

But he also had to make it clear who his heir was if he died childless (yes).

Presumably, yes. But our issue here is just the question why the lords present didn't really object to that decision (if it is indeed Jon Snow) to the degree they might have - and here the fact that neither of them thought their Young Wolf would die as early or as childless as he did. There is no reason to risk the ire of your king over an issue that might turn out to be irrelevant.

An heir presumptive isn't the Heir Apparent. There is a huge difference between these two. Especially in light of the fact that Jon might never be able to leave the NW, never mind what Robb intended to do.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

The will had to provide for that situation, too. He may have appointed someone to negotiate with the Watch in his name, for example. If Jon wasn't Robb's heir while he was in the Watch, then it was clearly Robb's wish that his men should see to that problem if he died before he could see to it. 

That is very far-fetched speculation, especially in light of the fact that nobody showed up at the Wall informing Jon Snow about Robb Stark's will.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

That's a bit harsh on Robb. Karstark wasn't executed for voicing his opinion or for giving the King advice. 

He was executed because he killed Lannisters, something all Northmen (presumably) want to do. Sure, they were children, but if I were one of Robb's lords seeing what he did to Rickard Karstark I'd not be exactly all that eager to provoke the man.

And this wasn't actually criticism. Robb makes one severe mistake after another, but he really grows into his role as king. In the end he is a very lonely king when you talk about his lords, but he is still worshiped by his men and really rules his family and lords with pretty much an iron fist. If he had not some of the mistakes he made he could have been very successful.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

He has played the turncloak for the Watch, made peace with the wildlings for the Watch, risking those very things. 

That isn't the issue here. I use the 'turncloak' term here to refer to 'Prince Jon the Oathbreaker', a man who once wore black and now runs around in the Stark colors. He would be seen as a deserter and turncloak, and nothing he or Robb would say to justify this would change that.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

In theory, yes. But in practice? Come on. Besides, the best oathkeepers aren't necessarily the ones who make the most difference for the realm. Most of the oath is about not doing various things. You can keep all those lines and still do nothing for the realm - in practical reality, I mean. The purpose of the NW is to protect the realm against the Others, but through all these centuries of oathkeeping and stupid restrictions they have become incredibly weak.

Sorry, but the reason why the NW has become as weak as it is has all to do with the fact that nobody volunteers for the black anymore. It has nothing to do with the vows you have to swear and everything with the fact that pretty much nobody believes in the Others anymore. That is the core problem. If people still believed in the Others they would volunteer. And if they volunteered the lords wouldn't use the Wall as their garbage dump for criminals. And if they didn't do that the few men actually believing in the cause of the Watch - like Jon, originally - wouldn't be disgusted by the men serving at the Watch, dissuading them from taking the black, etc.

The whole concept that a black brother has to focus only the task to the defend the Wall is no way problematic. It is the only way to ensure that those people up there can do their duty no matter what happens back home. It was most important back during the days of the Hundred and the actual Seven Kingdoms but it is still important during the civil wars today.

If they abandoned that, if they allowed people to care about other stuff besides their duty, the whole thing would be over very quickly. Because everybody can think of something more important than shivering at the end of the world, doing pretty much nothing besides boring guard duty the entire day.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

Change is necessary, and a King-in-the-North could bring about the change, especially if he knew the situation as only a brother of the NW could know. If it is possible to abolish slavery in Essos, why is it not possible to reorganize the defence of the Northern border? Why couldn't a King-in-the-North who knows the situation inside out be involved? Just because it has never happened before? Or because it's difficult? 

That really has little to do with the topic at hand. Robb never showed any interest in the Watch, nor did he believe in the Others. Even if he did believe in them - Stannis believes in them, too, yet he (and Jon) wage wars against the Boltons instead of preparing the Seven Kingdoms for the Others.

Who is to say Robb would have continued his campaigns in the Riverlands, trying to keep his kingdom together after he had retaken the North?

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

See? I was not using your assessment to argue that Robb should have used force against the NW to get Jon back, I used it to show how weak militarily the NW is, even in your opinion, and that it needs to be stronger. 

Oh, I know how weak they are, but that's not really the point. It would have been haggling if Robb had given the Watch a hundred or a thousand volunteers in exchange for Jon's release.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

Yes, changing the system is difficult and many obstacles need to be overcome. But change is necessary. 

Again, this has nothing to do with the topic at hand. And considering that the Watch has recruits from all over the Realm it is rather problematic to assume that Robb had any right to change the situation up there. If he had done that, he would have gotten even more problems, especially if Stannis had shown up, too.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

LOL, because now every king and lord all over the Seven Kingdoms is so concerned about what's going on up there. 

Robb didn't care about them, either. And we see how the whole secessionist movement gave the Lannisters the pretext they needed to ignore the Watch's plea for help in ASoS. After all, if the Northmen no longer want to be part of the Realm of the Iron Throne, the Iron Throne is no longer obliged to protect them from the wildlings (or the Others), right?

There is a reason why all this infighting is pretty much suicidal.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

There are apparently people who listened to Robb. If he had not been killed in the Red Wedding, if he had been able to carry out what he intended in the will, there could have been plenty of more reasons to listen to him. Robb is the last person who can be called a "self-styled king" because he was actually elected. We can call Viserys a self-styled king, we can call Stannis a self-styled king, we can call Daenerys a self-styled queen, but Robb was actually declared king by his lords.

By the traditions of the society these people live in, a king proclaimed by his subjects is less of a king than a king inheriting a crown or a king crowning himself by right of his own presumptions. This isn't even a proto-democracy. And again - Robb was declared king by four of his lords, Theon Greyjoy, and a number of the bannermen of his maternal grandfather - men who clearly weren't 'his lords'.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

Of course, in a scenario where nobody listens to him, he doesn't have to worry about succession, and no heir of his (Jon or anyone else) is of any consequence. This conversation is not about that scenario.

The scenario seems to be that you think Robb and Jon could have made their (mortal) enemies understand that they were all in danger. I see no reason why they should have succeeded at that. Or if they had succeeded in convincing them of the existence of the danger - why their enemies shouldn't have decided to wait until the Others have dealt with Robb and Jon before they move finally against them.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

That's what makes his decision a good decision. He knelt for the greater good (whether it was for his country or for his life - I won't dispute that as we have no way to know it). As a price, he remained the King-Who-Knelt forever, but in essence, he continued to be the real ruler of the North, if not a king any more, and his country wasn't devastated by the dragon, and that was the important thing. An "oathbreaker" can stay true to the essence of his vow even if he breaks the parts of the vow that were never the goal just the means - and if he can better serve the true goal of the vow, then it may be worth becoming an "oathbreaker", whatever others say. 

This is still apples and oranges. A king can do whatever the hell he wants. He can abdicate and bend the knee to his own gardener if he so chooses. He has never sworn a vow or anything to not do that kind of thing.

The Watch is a completely different thing. This is a personal commitment. You don't have the luxury to think about the common good if that clashes with the holy vows you swore.

Not to mention, you know, that Jon the black brother could have contributed to the common good even better than as Robb's heir. He could have helped implement whatever reforms you think the NW should make from within the institution, without ruining his honor and reputation by leaving it. The survival of House Stark in the male line has pretty much nothing to do with the common good. That is nothing but Stark special interests.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

If only Martin had hinted at it, you know, a tiny bit, with the lords who signed. Just a glance, a half-sentence, something. As it is, it is quite probable that it would have been accepted by some. And probably rejected by others.

Again, we really don't know the exact content of the will. And we never see the lords present fix the seals to the document, either. They probably did that, but the chapters ends before they do. 

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

That's my point, too.

Yeah, but again - in Jon's case we have very real reasons to assume that Robb's plans would cause massive problems. In the case of the other potential heirs the lords (or anyone else opposing them) wouldn't have even a remotely similar pretext. In the absence of male heirs, daughters inherit. That's pretty much universally recognized, and the reason why Sansa and 'Arya' are so valuable as brides. And if a king chose a male heir to get around the prospect of having to suffer a female heir, then naming one of the closest male cousins presumably is the way how it is done.

People can still object to all that, but they can't really raise viable legal objections.

In Jon's case the thing is really completely fucked up. If you reread the relevant passages it becomes clear that Robb himself has no idea how to get Jon out of the his vows:

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“Jon is a brother of the Night’s Watch, sworn to take no wife and hold no lands. Those who take the black serve for life.”
“So do the knights of the Kingsguard. That did not stop the Lannisters from stripping the white cloaks from Ser Barristan Selmy and Ser Boros Blount when they had no more use for them. If I send the Watch a hundred men in Jon’s place, I’ll wager they find some way to release him from his vows.
He is set on this. Catelyn knew how stubborn her son could be. “A bastard cannot inherit.”
“Not unless he’s legitimized by a royal decree,” said Robb.
There is more precedent for that than for releasing a Sworn Brother from his oath.

Robb is right on the latter, but his idea that the leadership of the Watch are the ones with the authority to release Jon from his vows seem to be completely wrong. Jon didn't swear his vows to Lord Commander Mormont (like the Kingsguard swear their vows to the king), he swore his vows to the old gods. If he had sworn the vows in a sept then the High Septon might have been able to release him from those vows, but the old gods do not really speak, do they?

And, again - such corruption among the powerful wouldn't convince the people who actually believe that vows should be kept. You know, like Arya Stark.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

Boy includes the meaning 'young'.

Yeah, but quite honestly - it could be youths in their early teens.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

He may not kill them. That makes him slightly better than Ramsay but still not my ideal leader.

Quite honestly, the sexual preferences of a person have nothing to do with his or her leadership capabilities.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

As I said, he is also described as "vain, reckless and hot-tempered" and as "quarrelsome", someone whose price is gold and boys - which means he is mainly interested in material gain and carnal pleasure of the baser kind. Just what the North needs between the Lannisters and the Others.

The latest Sansa chapter may have indicated that Corbray actually would like to inherit his brother's castle of Heart's Home, so he may have actually be interested in more important things. But the point isn't whether Corbray could lead Westeros against the Others - it is whether Corbray or a man like Corbray could be a less controversial and more effective heir to the King in the North than Jon Snow. And he could easily fulfill that role.

34 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

But it's a moot point anyway because nothing points to Corbray being the Vale cousin. He has no claim, and it would be a truly ridiculous idea to suggest him as Robb's heir. 

We actually don't know. If George wants to make something out of the Stark cousins in the Vale it would be fun if it turned out that Lyonel and Lyn Corbray as well as Lady Anya and her children and grandchildren were descendants of Jocelyn Stark. The Waynwoods certainly have the long, horse-like faces of the Starks.

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10 hours ago, Allardyce said:

Willing Winterfell to Jon takes his future babes with Jeyne out of the picture.  When Aerys chose Viserys to inherit it meant disinheriting any other claimant.  The throne passed to Viserys and his heir.  The same will apply if Robb chose Jon to inherit Winterfell.  Jon and his heir will become the new owners of Winterfell.  Robb's children gets disinherited.  You can't give your lands to a person and then make that person give it back when and if you have children later on.  When you give something away it becomes theirs to do what they will per the laws of the kingdom. 

This is not how a will works. A will is not the same as a document giving a present to someone. When you give your property as a present to someone, the property will immediately be that person's property. However, if you write a will, you do not give away your property, it is still yours, and it will be inherited by the other person only when you die. Therefore a will can be changed while the owner is still alive. In real life, you could write a new will every month, and every new will would make the old ones null and void. Or you could sell the property or give it away to a third person. Having written a will does not stop you from doing any of those. Sometimes the will is a secret document which is revealed only after the maker's death, so the beneficiaries may not even know what exactly they will get. (Detective stories are full of this stuff.) If Robb lived, he could change his will whenever he wanted to. 

That's not all though. A will can be a complex document, and it can provide for various situations. It is totally possible to make a will contingent on a future situation. It is totally possible for Robb to say that he wants this or that person to be his successor if and only if he (Robb) doesn't have a child of his body when he dies. In fact, he explains that he is writing a will because he doesn't want to leave behind a succession crisis if he dies childless. He has no reason to disinherit his own future child. He simply provides for a situation where he doesn't have any children, and possibly he also provides for a situation where he leaves behind a young child or young children needing a Lord Protector until they grow up.

Edited by Julia H.

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