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Michael Snyder

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  1. Michael Snyder

    How much could Dorne influence in the war of the 5 kings?

    1. There are initially five candidates. Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Joffrey Baratheon, Robb Stark are the real players. Renly gets eliminated. Now it's Stannis, Joffrey and Robb. Doran probably did not know any of them well, except perhaps Stannis who was near his age. So he would have to depend on other people's information and opinions. He does know that Joffrey holds KL and the Crown Lands and is supported by the Reach and Lady Ohlenna. Joffrey, however, is also supported by Tywin Lannister, who the Dornish want dead or worse. And there is the rumor, and Stannis' claim that Joffrey is really the son of Cersei and Jaimie. If Joffrey and Tommen are illegitimate, then Stannis is the next claimant under primogeniture. But Stannis is being blamed for using blood magic to eliminate his brother, for his stubbornness and his adherence to the Red God. Robb has been proclaimed as King in the North and doesn't want the Iron Throne and wants vengeance on the Lannisters as much as he does. Certainly Viserys has a claim, but no real prospects and while Dorne had remained loyal during Robert's Rebellion, the treatment of Elia and the children by Aerys II, sending his own children to safety but keeping Elia and hers in KL, had probably soured Doran on a Targaryan restoration. 2. Dorne was independent and submitted to Aegon on their own terms after a long insurgency. If Joffrey had promised Dorne independence for its neutrality, Doran might have decided Dorne was more important than his sister. But that wouldn't happen. Doran and Oberyn wanted vengeance. They wouldn't support Joffrey. Stannis was determined to rule all Seven Kingdoms including Dorne, alongside his Red Witch. Would that have been enough for Doran? I don't think so. If Dorne was to intervene in the WotFK, it would have been associated with Robb. It's first move would be to invade the Reach. This would leave Joffrey with only the support of KL, the Crown Lands and the Wester Lands against Robb with the North and the River Lands and Stannis with the Storm Lands. If Loras wasn't there to support Tywin, Stannis might have seized KL. He would have seen that Joffrey, Tommen, Myrcella and Cersei burned for his God. Petyr Bealish would have run to the Vale where he would have convinced Lyssa to intervene against Stannis. Stannis would split the Crown Lands and quickly lose support for burning people. He would soon be putting down rebellions all over the Storm Lands and the Crown Lands and in KL. With Tywin running out of money and Dorne keeping the Reach engaged, Robb would get part of his revenge and complete Doran's vengeance in conquering the Wester Lands and killing Tywin. He would then install a Lannister of his choice and withdraw into the River Lands, warning Stannis to stay away. At this point, Doran offers Lady Ohlenna an accommodation, and support to the lords of the Strom Lands. The Reach and Dorne march their armies to the Trident, joined by the Faith Militant and other adherents of the Faith and defeat Stannis. Stannis dies. The Seven Kingdoms split. Dorne and the Reach, along with the Wester Lands and the Vale join the North in independence. The Faith Militant occupies KL and Petyr Baelish, Prince Consort occupies the Crown Lands. PS. LF takes Sansa with him. Marries Lyssa, then pushes her out the Moon Door and marries Sansa as Prince Protector. Or hands Sansa back to Robb for recognition of the Vale's independence, his position as Prince Protector and Cait.
  2. Michael Snyder

    Was KL a poisoned apple for Stannis without the Tyrell's support?

    1. Stannis would "legitimize" his claim with the seizure of King's Landing and the death of Joffrey and Tommen. As the senior member of House Baratheon, the Storm Lands owed him loyalty, though the Storm Lands were not on a level with the North, the Reach or the Wester Lands. The resources of the city (supposedly nearly a million people lived in KL, which would produce an optimal military population of 100,000 men and the weapons and armor production capacity) would be his, and as the crowned King, the minor lords of the Crown Lands and their bannermen would owe him loyalty. That gave him three of the nine primary resource areas of Westeros. Dorne, however, first had been loyal to the Targaryans and Doran wanted nothing of war, which leaves him neutral. The Reach, however, has proclaimed for Joffrey, but if Joffrey is dead, who does Marjorie marry? Are she, Loras (if he doesn't die in battle) and Sansa now hostages? Of the Houses having sons which have a claim on the Throne, there is no one. There is no one left to fight for. Tywin has a cause, with the death (probably) of his daughter and his "grandsons", but he stands alone against Robb and Stannis, as the Vale is also neutral and the River Lands have either followed the marriage alliance with the Starks or acclaimed Robb as King. So you have the Lannisters facing a two way fight with the Starks and the Baratheons, basically a five on one in resource areas. Tywin is too smart to put his House at risk, which leaves Robb and Stannis. Stannis won't accept a rival, so Robb either bends the knee (which his own lords won't allow) or the war goes on. But there's a wildcard. I doubt Petyr Baelish is going to serve or survive Stannis, so he flees to the Vale. Does that mean he brings the Vale into the war against Stannis on the side of Robb? And who would Tywin, Ohlenna and Doran support in the end if Robb is winning? Could Tywin patch up things with the Starks? Or with Stannis who killed his "grandsons" who were not. Could he publically admit that Cersei committed adultery and incest? 2. There is another wildcard and that is Stannis' adherence to the Red God. While some in the South take their belief in the Faith lightly, the Vale is supposedly still a center of the Faith and the Church Militant still exists, simply underground since its suppression. Do we now have all the fanaticism of a religious war? Would KL and the Crown Lands reject Stannis once they see him as the avatar of an alien faith? Would the Storm Lands? Would this be a rallying point for the Andals, around the Faith and the succession would slip into the background until the religious questions were resolved? I doubt Stannis could succeed, even with mercenaries bought with the plundered wealth of KL, in conquering Westeros. I am not sure who would step forward to lead the Andals, but Dorne would probably still stay neutral and then an alliance of Faith which would be beyond the control of Petyr Baelish, Lady Ohlenna or Lord Tywin might drown the Great Houses in blood.
  3. Michael Snyder

    Aftermath of Daenerys Campaign

    When slavery was ended in the US, and the former slave states rejected Lincoln's initial program by trying to reinstitute slavery between 1865-68, Grant sent in the Army and Reconstruction started in earnest. The southern elites rejected and resisted Reconstruction, and when Federal troops were removed in 1876, promptly created laws and economic instruments that reduced the former slaves to a form of second class citizenship and economic slavery. If Danerys does not set up a powerful and resourced administration of the cities that protects the former slaves and offsets the wealth and influence of both the former slave masters and slave sellers, her departure will see the return of old elite, who will hire mercenaries, make alliances with Volantis and the other slave cities and regain control. As far as slave revolts (or serf revolts) no matter how close some came, whether Spartacus or the Russian serf revolts of the late 18th century, they failed. No slave revolt anywhere has overturned the previous political/economic/social system and then established an enduring replacement. If disease destroys the population of Mereen, the city will either fall into ruin or be colonized by Volantis. The idea that Danerys would send back an expedition from Westeros to set things right is built on the not necessarily correct supposition that Danerys wins the Throne and survived the coming Winter. As far as a free market economy, that's a theoretical construct in macroeconomics, not a reality. But let's say the former slave masters start paying their former slaves. The income earned by the former slaves would not be sufficiently greater than the income earned by the masters from the slaves. In both instances, a market would be created for food, supplies and other products. In one case, the market would be greater for food stuffs and other life support items bought by the former slaves, compared to the luxuries imported and bought by the masters. The former slaves would have barely enough income in a pre-steam technology civilization to do more than feed, house and clothe themselves. The former masters would have insufficient capital to expand the economy. That's only if the masters not engaged in other economic activity found another way to generate products and income as a replacement for slaving. As such the economy would then deflate or collapse. The same happened in the US South. The income generated by the former slaves did not off-set the loss in spending power of the former slave masters. The ruin of the war left no industry for Northern capital to invest in and the Southern elite resisted the industrialization of the South for political and social reasons. The South became and remained an agrarian backwater in the US until the impact of industrial mobilization for WW2.
  4. Michael Snyder

    George answers my question. Kind of.

    This is an interesting question. Does a King's Guard transfer his loyalty automatically to the former heir and new king? Or does each King have his own King's Guard and the oath of a King's Guard ends at the death of the King? Let us say that a King's Guard served the King in his life. At the King's death, the new King appointed his won Guards, allowing him to retire those that had reached a level of physical incapacity that the old King had retained or drop any whom he didn't have confidence in. Remember that an heir doesn't always have a loving relationship with his father. Think Henry II and his sons, Richard, Geoffrey and John. Thus Sir Selmy Barriston's oath ends at the death of Aerys II. So further question, if the King's Guard serves the King, why was Sir Selmy Barriston at the Trident and Sir Arthur Dayne and his companions at the Tower of Joy? Certainly the King may have sent Sir Selmy to assist Prince Rhaegar, who had little command experience. But he also didn't know about Rhaegar's little group at the Tower of Joy. Does anyone think King Aerys II, whom negotiated the marriage of Prince Rhaegar and Elia Martell as a marriage alliance to bind Dorne to himself, would have approved Elia's divorce, Rhaegar's marriage to Lyanna Stark and an assignment of King's Guards to the Tower of Joy? It seems Sir Arthur and his companions were more loyal to the Prince than the King to whom they gave their oaths. If they had been where they were supposed to be, would they have stopped Jaimie? Or joined him? If a King's Guard's oath died with the King, then there is no issue with Sir Selmi Barriston accepting Robert's offer to lead the Guard. Robert had sent his own medical staff to treat Sir Selmi and obviously respected him. Another issue would be whether the fall of the Targaryans ended Sir Selmi's relationship with them. Sir Selmi was an honorable knight. He had, however, stood by while the "Mad" King had murdered people, even Lord Stark and his eldest son. In a feudal society, a king had responsibilities to those that gave him their loyalty. Aerys II had broken those oaths from his side by his actions. A feudal lord owed no loyalty to a king who demanded it but gave none back or ruled outside the limits of an oath. But there is more here. Did Sir Selmi know about Prince Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark and what did he know? He told Danerys that he would accompany the Prince into the strrets of King's Landing and often get drunk together. Was that a close enough relationship that Rhaegar confided in him? It was at least nine months between Lyanna's "abduction" and her birth of Jon. (is this a spoiler? I get confused. If so, please edit it out or something?). Are we to believe that Sir Selmi DID NOT know about Rhaegar and Lyanna and that she was preganant? Sir Selmi's oath was to the King, not the Prince. The Prince had defied his father, as he needed his approval to divorce Elia and marry Lyanna. He had committed treason against his father. If Sir Selmi knew and didn't tell Aerys II, he was complicit in that treason. Finally, here's a thought. Sir Selmi goes to the Trident aware that Lyanna is pregnant. He is severely wounded and doesn't recover for some time. He then hears that Edard Stark had returned from the Tower of Joy with a "bastard" son. What did Sir Selmi make of that? He had to wonder about that child. And what did Ned tell Robert? That she died in childbirth with the baby? Or that Rhaegar had killed her (which was actually true in a way) and left out the pregnancy and the child? If he did, did Sir Selmi wonder about the child that Lyanna had been carrying?
  5. Michael Snyder

    King's Landing's riot

    1. One, a fourteen year old page is not mature enough to run off on his own, even a Lannister. If he was at the riot and ran away, he would have gone back to the Keep. 2. He is a very fringe character (for now). Cersei tied Lancel to herself with sex, at least until he finds religion (if he does). Everyone else involved in the plot either has good reason to keep silent through fear of punishment or being silenced by Cersei's agents. There is no reason to believe Cersei had Tyrek killed. He could have even been manipulated without his knowledge. 3. What Tyrek knows, Varys already knows. And what Tyrek knows isn't important enough to kidnap him and sweat him or try to use him as evidence of the plot against Robert. Everyone involved in the developing War of the Five Kings has already formed their opinion's on this matter. There is no reason for Varys to kidnap him. 4. Even in a story as complex as GRRM has written, there are simply characters that exist as background and simply appear and disappear. Tyrek is probably such a character.
  6. Michael Snyder

    How would a marriage between Jaime and Lysa look?

    Again, we see the 21st century assumption that these people had any real control over such things. Jaimie Lannister was a King's Guard from the age of 16. He was unavailable because of his vows, because his father, being alive was head of House Lannister and because as a King's Guard, he served at the pleasure of the King, both of who would have to give permission for any marriage. Lysa was the daughter of House Tully and would be married where her father deemed suitable. Certainly in Medieval Europe, betrothals were made even of unborn children. Until he joined the King's Guard at 16, Jaimie was the eldest son and heir to Casterly Rock and one of the wealthiest families in Westeros. Tywin would marry off Jaimie to the advantage of House Lannister. The second daughter of House Tully wasn't exactly the best political or social match. The other Houses with eligible daughters were the Tyrells of the Reach, the Starks of the North and (IRC from the books) Martels of Dorne. The best match, Elia Martell, had already been promised to Prince Rhaegar. The next best would have been Lyanna Stark, but we have no evidence of negotiations between Rickard and Tywin. Yes, negotiations. Marriages between Great Houses were major political and economic moves, alliances through marriage. And the female was expected to bring a dowry. Jaimie was Sir Arthur Dayne's squire and wanted to be a King's Guard. He could simply short-circuit any attempt at betrothal by having Dayne convince the King to appoint Jaimie as soon as possible. The King agreed because he was jealous of Tywin and this was a strike back at him, removing his most eligible heir. Hoster Tully had very little to offer for his second daughter. He was probably pleasantly surprised when Rickard offered Brandon for Caitlyn. But that may have been part of Rickard's plan. He marries into the Tullys and the Baratheons. He is BFFs with Jon Arryn. He now controls or has alliances with four of the nine major resource centers in Westeros. He probably expects that the enmity between Tywin and the King makes the Lannisters at least neutral. That means that the King can only rely on Dorne, which he has a marriage alliance with and maybe the Reach, depending on which way Lady Ohlena jumps. The River Lands and the Storm Lands isolate the Crown Lands and King's Landing. The Vale outflanks the Crown Lands and he has safe access through the River Lands from the Neck. He could now pressure the King into abdication or replace him, possibly with Robert Baratheon, who has Targaryan blood. Lyssa became a pawn in that she cemented the alliance of Rickard, Jon and Hoster. Rickard could have gone farther. He could have offered Edard to Tywin as a son-in-law to act as consort to Cersei until a grandson could be adopted in place of Jaimie. But the bottom line, until they became adults, the male members of a House remained under the control of the father. Even as adults, they remained under the orders of the head of the House. An unmarried daughter always remained under the hand of her father. That's how a feudal/tribal society worked.
  7. Michael Snyder

    Robert Arryn is a cockuld

    Jon Arynn was Lord of the Vale. Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish was born into a family in the Fingers of the Vale. Jon Arynn would not have to consult any reference to know the lineages and heritage of the small Houses owing fealty to his own House. I am pretty sure Jon Arynn could have referenced any number of documents in the Aerie and sent agents through the Vale to determine the parentage of his son. No, Jon Arynn was studying the records of the Great Houses (of which there would have been no record of one Petyr Baelish and his family, "Great" being the operative word) for the parentage of his son. He was studying the parentage of Robert's sons and that's what got him killed, with Littlefinger acting as an agent of the Lannisters, the Lannisters not knowing he would exploit Jon Arynn's death for his own agenda.
  8. William Marshall was very much a mercenary in his early life, especially as a professional jouster going from tourney to tourney. He only settled down after he combined his earned wealth with marriage to an heiress and then pursued a career as a military commander and advisor to the Kings of England. At this current state of knowledge, to try and link the inspiration of Sir Arthur Dayne to any English myth or history should be tentative, as it could just as easily be argued that he resembles Roland or El Cid or du Guesclin or any number of mythical and historical figures in Medieval Europe.
  9. GRRM made a large leap in creating the Knights of the Vale. Every mountainous region of Europe has produced good, even exceptional infantry during the Middle Ages. The Swiss produced the pike and halberd formations that crushed the Hapsburgs and ended Charles the Bold's dreams of empire. The Catalans, light infantry armed with javelins, comprising the Great Company, not only terrorized northern Italy, they conquered and held parts of Greece from the Normans who had taken them from the Eastern Roman Empire. The Highlanders gained fame from the 17th century for their wild charges. But horsemen? Such regions sometimes produced light cavalry mounted on large ponies like the Albanian "stradiots", but not heavy armored men-at-arms. Horses require large amounts of grass and fodder, space for exercise, breeding and training and a great deal of economic investment, things the peoples of these valleys and mountains did not have. I could see Dorne producing excellent light cavalry mounted on horses similar to Arabs, the famed Spanish "jinettes". I could see the Reach producing heavy cavalry like southern France and northern Italy, the Westerlands and the Crown Lands producing men-at-arms similar to Germans and the River Lands producing men-at-arms like the English, but a mountainous area like the Vale producing "knights", sorry just can't see that.
  10. Michael Snyder

    Wiki Account

    I understand. I used the series to fill in some of the blanks as far as the size of Westeros and some aspects of the weather and terrain. The maps prepared by various sites have been especially helpful. Mostly it's just trying to make sense of the information we have.
  11. 1. There is no reason Jon shouldn't know about his parents, after being told PRIVATELY. He may then share the information with Danerys and others. It is obvious that Sansa and Arya accept that Bran's visions are real and accurate. It was after Sansa consulted Bran (remember her mysterious visit to someone, not shown?) that she set up the final act with Arya. It was Bran's vision of the REAL history behind Petyr Baelish that ended him. Now did they share this with Yohn Royce? It would seem so. Royce accepted Sansa's accusations against Baelish (though he was rather predisposed to anyway). Bran would demonstrate his abilities to Jon and Jon would accept Bran's vision. If Royce would accept the accuracy of Bran's vision, a collection of the important Northern lords (Glover, Manderly, Mormont) could be gathered and told the truth. 2. But what is the truth? People assume automatically because the High Septum married Lyanna and Prince Rhaegar that everything is fine with Jon/Aegon. This unfortunately, is not true, at least not outside the plot arc. Prince Rhaegar was granted a divorce by the Faith (a divorce, not an annulment. An annulment ends a marriage when it is either unconsummated or childless. A consummated marriage with children can only end in divorce.) and the married in the Faith to Lyanna. But Prince Rhaegar is the Heir and he is still under the command of Aerys II, who is King, father and head of the Targaryan family. King Aerys II decreed that Prince Rhaegar would marry Elia Martell to seal an alliance with Dorne. As head of the Targaryan family , he negotiated a family alliance between the Targaryans and Martells. As Rhaegar's father, he arranged his marriage. Lyanna is daughter of a "Great House" and as a daughter, still under the hand of her father, Lord Rickard. As the head of the Stark family and her father, Lord Rickard DID NOT give Lyanna permission to marry Prince Rhaegar. King Aerys II neither rescinded his decree of marriage, decreed a divorce nor approved the marriage to Lyanna. Lyanna and Prince Rhaegar may be married in the Faith, but they are NOT legally married. In the eyes of the Houses involved, the King and the Westerosi legal system, Jon/Aegon is a bastard. Worse, he is an unacknowledged bastard like Gendry, with no personal or family rights and no name. To make him a legal son of Prince Rhaegar and place him in the succession required that Prince Rhaegar PUBLICALLY acknowledge him as his legal son and a Royal decree accepting the acknowledgement and placing him in the line of succession, behind Aegon, Elia's son. Divorce does not remove an acknowledged royal child from the succession. Both Mary and Elizabeth saw their mothers divorced and executed, but each succeeded to the throne of England after Edward VI. If Prince Rhaegar could not, then the head of the Targaryan family would have to acknowledge him PUBLICALLY, giving him legal standing. He could also be legitimized by a Royal decree. Danerys Stormborn is now head of the Targaryan family and Queen Pretender to the Iron Throne. She could acknowledge Jon as Rhaegar's son, at which point she becomes a Princess and heir and Jon becomes King Pretender. This works if there is not an acknowledged male anywhere in Westeros and Essos with Targaryan blood. Evidently, Westeros has something like Salic Law which means the senior male of the dynasty inherits both crown and kingdom. If anyone acknowledges and legitimizes Gendry as a BARATHEON, he has a superior claim to the Throne because of the strain of Targaryan blood in the Baratheons, despite Danerys being the daughter of the former King. This is what kept Elizabeth I awake at night because there were several English males still alive with Tudor or Plantagenet blood. 3. As such, Jon's acknowledgement by Lord Edard Stark, made him a Stark bastard, when he was no one's bastard. This was a legal action by Lord Stark. Jon may have been a bastard, but he now hade legal and social standing with family rights within the Starks. Ned MADE him a Stark. But he is a Stark bastard with NO LEGAL claim to the succession to the Iron Throne. 4. It can even be argued that he is legally a Stark, regardless of his bloodline. He was made King in the North by acclamation by the lords of the North. Remember that there is only one King in the North, WHOSE NAME IS STARK. Not Snow. Not Tragaryan. By tradition and custom, Jon cannot be King in the North without being a Stark. He is legally a Stark bastard because Ned acknowledged him PUBLICALLY, where Prince Rhaegar made no provisions for such an act should he be killed before doing so. So he can legally be a Stark and King in the North because the lords ACCEPTED HIM AS A STARK. That makes him Jon Stark. 5. Just a comment on Bran and Sansa. In the Medieval world until pretty close to the end, a lord or king was also a military leader, who not only commanded but lead from the front. A lord or king was expected to be able to lead his vassals to war. Minors, women and handicapped males had great difficulty being accepted, gaining power and holding it. Edward II and Richard II both faced continued opposition not only for their misrule but their failures as war leaders. You only see a woman ruling England in her own right until after the Middle Ages ends. There are no Queens of France ruling in their own right. No Holy Roman Empresses (even in the 18th century, Maria Theresa could not stand for election herself so proposed her husband). Isabella of Spain was notable because there were none before and none after and she was a co-ruler with Ferdinand. Bran's injuries and limitations made him ineligible, as did Sansa's gender, in the eyes of the Northern lords, ruling as Jon's regent is one thing, ruling in her own right is another. 6. Now all this is based on what we know of Medieval politics, society, traditions and culture and assume that they apply to GRRM's Westeros, both in the books and TV. Based on what has been written and shown so far, it is obvious that GRRM does not always follow history. This is after all fantasy soap opera, so anything may go, regardless of its logic or what plot gaps it creates.
  12. Michael Snyder

    What was the point of the Dothraki Battle?

    Certainly Cersei needed the supplies to feed her army. Why? We know that the last winter ended in 283 AC. Ned Stark and his contemporaries, all between 17 and 20, were born in winter. This implies the previous winter had lasted at least 20 years. The Maesters declared that winter was here in Season Six. At the start of Season One, Westeros had seen 15 years of peace since Robert's ascension to the Throne. That means summer has lasted around 20 years. This has been going on for at least 8,000 years in the memory and records of men. Given the assumption that Westerosi plant and animal life remains analogous to Earth types and germination takes 3-4 months and gestation periods remain the same, we should have seen three to four harvests of grains each of the 20 years. This is 2-3 times what an Earth cycle would provide. Some of this food has to be prepared and stored after each harvest for the coming winter. There should also have been around 40 generations of domestic animals, cattle, sheep, goats, fowl. These would be slaughtered and processed as needed, with some of the meat being salted or dried and stored. With winter coming, all but a breeding group of these animals would be retained with sufficient fodder to see them through the winter, the rest being slaughtered and processed into storage. Fish and other products of the sea, the lakes and rivers (until the deep freeze) would be available and could also be salted and dried. But this food is to sustain people through the winter. Now if winters are relative in their distance from the Wall, which compares to the areas in northern Europe close to the Arctic circle, then we would still see the lower Reach and Dorne planting and harvesting grains and some vegetables and fruits. These areas probably don't need the amount of storage needed in the North. In fact, there was probably a lively trade of Northern ores, lumber, hides and furs for excess food from the south. But going back to the southern Reach and Dorne, there would be readily available food supplies there to be exploited, without putting the supplies needed for winter at risk. Which is why the Lannister campaign in the Reach makes sense, by securing those food supplies and future food supplies for their armies by eliminating the Tyrells and raising the Tarleys. It also made sense for Danerys to seek to capture that food for her own armies. What didn't make sense was her using Drogon to destroy the same supplies she needed. One resource she really needs to collect is fodder for the Dothraki horses, which aren't the usual steppe nomad ponies able to live on almost anything.
  13. Michael Snyder

    Wiki Account

    I have tried three time to generate a login and password for access to this Wiki. I would very much like to post an article on the population of Westeros based on the information in the TV show and GRRM comments in relation to the population of Europe at the end of the High Middle Ages.
  14. Michael Snyder

    How good a swordsman is Jon actually?

    1. Going back to the original question of how good a swordsman Jon is. 2. Well first we have the problem in that the TV universe seems to think that shields were invented to be thrown away or slipped on to the back or something. Anything but what they were designed for. Second, we have a mishmash of swords and styles that seem to equate to most of the period of medieval combat. 3. The primary weapon seems to be the war sword, also called an arming sword, the descendent of the Roman spathe and Teutonic swords. Used in a single hand in combat against individual and multiple opponents. Enough room in the hilt and on the pommel to use with two hands in an emergency. A straight blade, with sharpened edges on both sides and a point. Its weight and length and its use against armored opponents requires mostly chopping moves with some thrusts. Against an unarmored opponent, it can also be used for cuts. The steel is good enough to bend under stress and can be used to block a chop with the flat. With sufficient momentum, it can chop through mail, scale, splint, lamellar and any lesser protection. It can slice through clothing and light leather. And it can pierce gambesons and under the scales or down through the lamellar mini-plates or between gaps in splint armor and in certain circumstances through the rings of mail, especially butted, versus riveted mail. The sword is always used with a shield. The shield helps protect the user while reducing the need to parry or block the opponent's weapons, especially things like spears. While in GoT, nobles and warriors seem to go armed everywhere, that wasn't the case in medieval society and issues were settled in legal duels or at the tourney. Also as a quick comment, medieval "coats of plates" were worn over mail hauberks as a response to the improved penetration capability of arrows and bolts and the couched lance. The steel plates overlapped, like scale or lamellar, and were riveted together and to a backing and covering material. A real medieval coat of plates would not have gaps between plates. Also medieval warriors were smart enough to wear helmets in combat. GoT could have had Ned or Jon or other protagonists and antagonists wear open bascinets with aventails if we needed to see their faces to connect with them in combat. 4. Jon was evidently brought up alongside the Stark children, which means he would receive training and practice in dismounted and mounted combat with dagger, sword, lance and pole arms against experienced and trained warriors. As a "bastard", he might not be allowed to participate in local tourneys. He might have had a chance to spar with his father and uncle. Sir Selmy Barriston himself praised Ned's COMBAT prowess. It was obvious during the duel, that Jaimie expected a lesser opponent, but his combat experience was limited and his training would have been through sparring and tourneys, where Ned experienced real combat, where skill, strength and endurance were life and death. Jon would have benefitted from that experience. 5. Jon had yet to experience much combat himself and so he was tentative in his first fights and his exposure did not include fighting a veteran knife fighter at close quarters within the constraints of a hall. Yet he survived the melee at the BoB. I'm not sure Hardhome counts as the Others are using some kind of two handed assegai or short pole glaive and they too would not have been exposed to real combat against an opponent that could actually destroy them in 8,000 years. Then there is wielding a Valerian "long" sword which can carve through other swords, shields and steel plate armor. But the use of such a weapon requires skill, as a better opponent could exploit errors and soon be carrying the blade themselves. So I don't know where you can really rank him. I would surely like to see him spar against the Hound or Brienne. And given the time it took to assemble for the meeting at King's Landing, that may have happened with the Hound, not to mention Tormund. But in his world, survival is success, so that should be how we judge him.
  15. Michael Snyder

    True Heir to the Throne

    1. Jon is NOT the Heir. While he might be the issue of marriage in the eyes of the Faith, due to Prince Rhaegar's marriage to Lyanna, such a marriage, involving as it did, the need of a royal decree in support of the divorce and then a royal decree allowing the marriage and Lyanna's father's permission given Lyanna's status as a daughter of House Stark and a minor, could be considered illegal. Jon would then have no claim on title, land, family name or succession. He would legally be a bastard and remain one until the holder of the iron Throne can grant a decree legitimizing him. Perhaps Prince Rhaegar intended such an action after the Rebellion when he forced his father to abdicate. 2. Westeros is evidently under something like Salic Law, which grants inheritance to the eldest living male and the division of an inheritance such as Charlemagne did with his empire at his death. It is also obviously a patriarchal society, feudal in nature with undertones of clan and tribal culture. As such the last remaining male with any of the dynasty's blood is the Heir. If not, then a female might be considered. There might also be a conclave of the "great" Houses to pick an heir. As far as legitimacy, the Lannisters hold the Throne by right of conquest through a coup d'├ętat executed by Lady Cersei Lannister Baratheon, the Queen Mother, in the absence, supposedly, of any male heir of Baratheon blood. Gendry is an unacknowledged bastard, the lowest of the low, even lower than a serf or slave legally (which also applies to Robert's other bastards, which meant they were legally no real threat to Geoffrey or Cersei and killing them had no real political context or rational). For him to claim the succession, he would need to be legitimized either by the head of the Baratheon family or by the King/Queen. If there are other males with Baratheon blood, then they would be Pretenders to the Throne in their claims of succession, as they do not hold the Throne. And it could be argued that Robert's claims of Targaryan bloodline was fig leaf for his seizure of the Throne through military action (and trying to wipe out any other claimants). The same can be said of the Targaryans, having been removed from the Throne by the Baratheons by both blood right in their relationship to ancient Targaryan blood and by right of conquest. Danerys claims to be the Targaryan Pretender in the absence of any male with Tragrayan blood. As I pointed out above, legally Jon is a bastard. He would even be like Gendry, an unacknowledged bastard as Prince Rhaegar never made any public acknowledgement of his issue. A bastard, however, has no legal rights, no family rights or name. It doesn't matter that Jon was not Lord Edard Stark's son by any other woman. He acknowledged him as a Stark bastard, giving him a name and specific family and legal rights. In doing so, Lord Stark changed Jon's "bloodline" from Targaryan to Stark. While Jon is by blood and Faith, Danerys' nephew, legally he has no family relationship to her that would prevent marriage. Only the head of the Targaryan family and or either a king or queen can now make Jon legally a Targaryan. Also, legally any male head of the Stark family could legitimize Jon as a Stark as could a queen or king. Finally, it could be argued since only a Stark can be King in the North, Jon's acclamation by the Northern Houses as King legitimizes him as a Stark, regardless of his bloodl relationship to Danerys. Believe or not, one reason studying at law and becoming a lawyer was actually important during the later Middle Ages was the litigious nature of medieval society just over such legal issues as we just covered. Lawyers could argue before the Faith, the Royal Court or a Conclave of the Houses as to who really was legally heir to the iron Throne. Of course, in the end, military might matters, as with the succession to Edward the Confessor, when William of Normandy took the Throne of England by conquest and covered it by arguing the legalities of Edward's and Harald's promises to him. 3. This doesn't prevent a female from inheriting, especially if a House, like Mormont, has made provisions for accepting a female as head of family and lord. A Queen, however, was always uneasy on the Throne when there were other male claimants ( "The White Princess" captured the essence of this in its last episode, though it was Henry VII on the throne, but Queen Elizabeth I's career is another example, see the Duke of Norfolk). She ruled with the consent of the politically powerful males of her realm (note at Cersei's conference with the lords of Westeros, not a woman among them). This was a residual impact of the ancient tribal customs. The leader of a tribe was the leader because he led the tribe to war, fighting in the front line. His military leadership was a major part of his reason for being. Male kings and lords who did not do so, risked the disapproval of their vassals and neighbors and the possibility of being replaced. This was one of the reasons for Salic law. Note that there was never a female Holy Roman Emperor, no Queen of France that ruled in her own right. This is also why Bran would probably not be accepted as Lord Stark, even with his stepping aside. His physical limitations create political, social and cultural barriers to leadership.
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