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Aerion

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  1. When I ask this, I mean the tiers below bannermen-tier houses like the Royces or Daynes. George has said in the past that he didn't want to overcomplicate the system of nobility and so decided to call the head of every noble house a lord in some capacity, though this does make it difficult to judge the strength and influence of anyone who isn't the absolute most powerful. Because of the inherently complex nature of feudalism, my guess at these tiers would probably only serve as a rough model, but here's how I picture it: First, I'd like to base populations on the 1% rule on military mobilization rates and use the Vale for the tiers. Their estimated strength is estimated to be about 45K so that pegs them at around 4.5 million. There are 13 bannermen-tier houses that would have dominion over an average of 350 thousand people, though given House Arryn is disproportionately much more powerful than any of its vassals, we'll reduce this to just 300 thousand. Now we finally get to the next tier, the bannermen-tier lords for the bannermen. At each tier the predominant house will likely directly control over more lands than any of its vassals, so let's assume about a dozen or so lords at this level controlling two thirds of the population under a House Royce or Redfort amongst themselves. Even these lords will have tens of thousands of people serving under them, ~20000 in this example and. This, I believe, is enough to offer plenty luxurious lives for the houses at such a tier. Hundreds of such unheard of houses likely exist in Westeros, giving you a sense of just how big the place really is. These houses are the backbone of any major army we see, sustaining the strength and power of the major lords named in the series. Using the same 1% rule, these lords would be able to field hundreds of men themselves, enough for them to man at least one average sized castle. Beyond this tier we'd enter petty lord territory. With fewer people and lands to divide up to, maybe only half a dozen lords would swear to this tier of lord. As the lands get smaller, the fraction that lords over it will be able to directly govern over themselves will get larger. Consequently only half of the land and people would be divided over the next set of vassals (to clarify, sworn to the bannermen of the major bannermen lords) Only about a few thousand people would serve under these lords. A canon example of such a house in my mind is possibly House Webber, though you might argue that this is a rough fit. Regardless, these lords would still govern over a whole town while those more rurally situated would rule over several miles surrounding their seats of power, these being smaller castles. Even these houses would be decently wealthy, perhaps in an upper-middle class segment of the overall economy with a few knights and a dozen or so guards in their permanent employ. These lords would contribute around 20-30 troops to a united Vale army. Any tiers lower than this compose the House Baelish's or Tollett's of the world, classic petty lords with maybe a single stone tower as their seats. These will govern over a dozen or two families/ a small village's worth of people and will be the most common rung of nobility peasants will interact with, forming the most directly involved layer of feudalism on Westeros. Of course this is all conjecture and George could have a totally different and less well defined structure to it in his head that he just hasn't revealed to us yet, if he ever should decide to at all. Still fun to think about! Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this; I'd love to hear any thoughts anyone else might have on the issue. Maybe names that might be appropriate for each tier?
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