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  1. This is why I think your opinion is a joke. You are asserting this without any kind of knowledge of what makes a kingdom "backwards", let alone any evidence to justify it. Pre-Norman England had an unusually high degree of centralization and taxation compared to it's counterparts on the continent. France was an anarchic no-man's land, and Hugh Capet barely ruled anything beyond the precincts of Paris. This is in the late 10th century, comparable to the time we're talking about for England. The Holy Roman Empire was notoriously fractured and difficult to manage, as it had many over-mighty vassals. You seem to think of an advanced "state" as one that had the trappings of feudalism and knighthood and all that. That isn't the case. An advanced state, by any real definition, is one that has a monopoly on violence, where centralization and the ability to extract money through taxation is more developed, where (in this case) royal justice institutions were strongest. That is, in this time period, unquestionably England. The danegeld alone is evidence of a more advanced and centralized state than anything in contemporary continental kingdoms Toledo was already a large city well before the Reconquista got there. And it was never the capital. Again, I encourage you to actually read a little bit about these subjects. It's not even a point of scholarly contention; Castille never had a single capital, and as the mode of itinerant kingship fell out of fashion, various cities in Castille/Spain took on different functions. Seville, Burgos, and Valladolid also were important royal centers. Paris was only the "capital" of France because it was essentially the only part of France the Capetian kings controlled when they assumed the throne. And you don't need to lecture me on the relevant history; with all due respect, I clearly know a bit more than you on the subject. Meanwhile, you've chosen one single kingdom to prove your point, when in all other polities this wasn't the case. Spain and England, to use the shorthand, both had kings and courts which were fully itinerant and thus had no set capital (despite your protestations to the contrary). The Holy Roman Empire was notorious for the fact that the imperial seat shifted so often; emperors conferred legitimacy on their preferred place of residence, and not the reverse, as would be normal in a later kingdom (where holding the capital and the physical throne, as in Kings Landing, would be of massive symbolic importance). So I am sorry to say it again, but your example is the exception that proves the rule, not compelling evidence in and of itself. In the Kingdom of Poland, administrative functions were carried out at Krakow but coronations really only took place at Gniezno - which is the "capital" then? Paris is the one example of a medieval European state where the king resided mainly in one city, which also happened to be the largest city in the "country". Except... it didn't. This is precisely my point. Winchester was the administrative center of England for a good long while, and it did not grow into a major city; London did, despite having no formal role in the governance of the state. I'm not putting words in your mouth, I'm taking the argument you made and showing how it is entirely erroneous. Now who is putting words in whose mouth? I never said real world kingdoms "never" developed a populous political center. What I said, or what should have been clear from my argument, was that there was no strong correlation between towns that became cities and towns which were also major (or in your argument, permanent) seats of royal power. There are certainly some kings who moved their capital over time to larger population centers, but that isn't the same thing. Trade and industry cause population growth. As for some of these other, awful arguments, I mean... lets go. The Mongols had a set capital, it was called Karakorum. Most historians and archaeologists agree that it's permanent population never got above 10-20,000. I'm not well versed in Ethiopian history but 10 minutes of research on the internet shows that a permanent capital wasn't established until the 16th (!!) century. So, you know... well after the medieval period and into the Renaissance. This is a foolish argument. You've provided almost no evidence and the few times you've tried, you're either been wrong (as int he Mongols), completely wrong on the chronology (Abyssinia), or found a single example in a sea of counterexamples (Paris). So here's the rub. There is nothing unusual in Winterfell being a "royal" seat without being the most populous town in the area. Medieval administrative centers don't need to be big, because there is little in the way of a centralized bureaucracy, and because the king moves around and political influence is determined by physical proximity to the king. Economic centers get larger, and as time goes on and centralization picks up, it becomes more intelligent to put your bureaucracy in or near a city with a large and reasonably/relatively well educated population. So as the medieval period moves into the Renaissance and Early Modern periods, you see the establishment of fixed capitals in cities like London and Vienna, even if the reigning kings spend their time elsewhere, because the bureaucracy has grown so large that it can no longer easily move. But you've put the cart before the horse on this one, because it isn't political importance that drives growth, but the reverse.
  2. But the point is, you are wrong. Demonstrably so, as I had shown above. Storm's End is a castle without a city. Highgarden is a castle without a city. The Eyrie is a castle without a city. Riverrun is a castle without a city. Need I go on? Far from Winterfell being exceptional, it is actually the norm. It is rare for Westerosi kingdoms to have their "castle of residence" located in or near a major population center. Lannisport is near Casterly Rock, we presume, but that's about it. Gulltown and the Eyrie are not close to each other. White Harbor wasn't even a city when Winterfell became the traditional capital, so Winterfell may actually be the one example of a castle located in the largest population center in the region, contrary to your inane and uneducated remarks. Storm's End is far from the Weeping Town. Highgarden is nowhere near Oldtown. And who says the North is 600 years behind anyone? You have a rare talent for comprehending literally nothing of what you read. Westeros is "high medieval" in tone but as I said, is a mix up of various cultures through various time periods. Essos is, generally speaking, a few centuries ahead of Westeros, but aside from that any difference in what you perceive as chronological differences are incidental.
  3. cpg2016

    Tyrek Lannister theories?

    Apologies! You know what they say about assumptions...
  4. Reading and understanding seem to be two vastly different things, in your case. You are right, actions speak louder than words. All of the nobles in ASOIAF are "petty warlords" who don't much care for those under their command (though not all of them). GRRM doesn't try and hide that fact. But he also makes it quite clear that what they fight for makes a difference. Ned Stark believed in community and family and his legacy reflects that. Tywin Lannister believed in domination and the innate superiority of his family, and his legacy reflects that too. One of those men has inspired fanatical loyalty after his death, and one of them literally started rotting the moment he died. And to call Robb a "monster" is to be a child. You are either very young, very immature, or very stupid. To not understand that some things are worth fighting for is the opinion of a child. To not understand the context of the (admittedly fictional) situation Robb was in is to be an ignoramus. Was FDR a callous monster for engaging against fascism? Presumably not. No one is claiming the Starks are blameless or pure. And many of them are poised to go down dark paths, or are already on it (e.g. Lady Stoneheart). But that doesn't mean they aren't better than many of their contemporaries. They cling to real values in the face of tragedy or opposition, relatable values, and that is going to be their story. They are all going to be tempted down the dark path you mention, and I think they all turn from that to embrace Ned's values, of respect for all men, of duty and sacrifice, and love of family. That's the message ASOIAF is meant to send, and we can already see that, and anyone who thinks the series is nihilistic for its own sake has completely misunderstood the text.
  5. cpg2016


    Yeah she happens to be an awesome character. Yeah, she makes some poor decisions, but its always easy to see what leads her there. On top of that she's pretty politically astute and a canny operator in her own right. Her treatment of Jon is terrible but understandable. And her actions in the Wot5K do a lot to wreck the Stark cause, but it's also possible to see why she does them, which is what makes her a compelling character. Also want to point out that Robb marrying Jeyne has literally nothing to do with losing his kingdom. This has been proven time and again that chronologically, both Roose Bolton and the Freys are planning to betray Robb before figuring out what happened with Jeyne.
  6. What does this have to do with anything? He wasn't aware of threat until he had marched south. He also didn't march to free slaves in Astapor, you forgot to blame him for that too. When you refer to one petty man, I assume you mean Tywin Lannister? He (Robb) stays to fight for independence, because the Lannisters will continue their escalating series of overly-violent reprisals (which they initiate, bear in mind) against Robb's vassals. Because people have put their faith in his ability to defend them against truly immoral and monstrous people, and he feels that responsibility keenly. The Brotherhood don't see the Northmen as a monstrosity. They see the renegade Karstark men as a monstrosity. We actually don't hear anything about anyone under Robb's command butchering or raping anyone. And to my point about collateral damage - we shouldn't condone it, but nor should we let it blind us to the fact that one side is morally justified and the other isn't. Actually the Freys and Lannisters aren't honest about what they are. They're just terrible liars. Your not a very good troll, since you obviously have only watched the show. I think there is a separate subforum for that
  7. Umm.... that is ONE of the inspirations. Essos is Renaissance Italy. Dorne is Moorish Spain. The Reach is Aquitaine under Eleanor/Richard. The War of the Five Kings as an event is based on the War of the Roses; the influences for all of Planetos span time and space. Those three influences I mentioned? None are contiguous with either the War of the Roses or the Hundred Years War (save perhaps the Renaissance). I think you meant Winterfell. The Starks can go anywhere. They choose to live in Winterfell. It has plenty of advantages. It is explicitly noted as comfortable, since it's fed by hot springs and has it's own greenhouse. It isn't luxurious, but those are not synonyms, sir. And this idea that a "capital" must be located in a large urban area... well, the capital is where the court is, and the court is where the king is. Both Henry II and Richard I spent barely any time in England despite being kings, and the court travelled with them. Even after this ceased to be the case, the capital wasn't London but was Westminster, and it was only when those two municipalities merged that the administrative capital technically became London. Because it's the capital today, and because it was the economic center of the Kingdom of England, people wrongly assume it was always the capital. For most of the medieval period it was not. In fact it wasn't a particularly important town until relatively late in the medieval period. But your last point is instructive. The Starks choose to stay in Winterfell. Where you would go is immaterial; they stay. Just like the Durrandons stayed in Storms End and the Gardeners in Highgarden and the Arryns in the Eyrie and the Lannisters in Casterly Rock.... do I need to go on, or is this sufficient evidence that you're wrong? You know, that almost every other pre-Conquest kingdom has a capital which is in no way, shape, or form in the most populous city?
  8. cpg2016

    Characteristics of a good ruler

    He's a good enough leader that his men were willing to starve to death at Storms End rather than betray him. He's a good enough leader that significant numbers of lords and knights are willing to travel to the literal end of the earth rather than seek clemency from Joffrey or make their fortune in Essos (as tons of other defeated rebels have done). He's a good enough leader that his men are faithfully following him through the teeth of a howling blizzard, fully confident he can win. And in all those cases they're doing it without much hope of material reward. There isn't a single other leader we see in the series, save maybe Robb Stark and Daenerys, who can claim that.
  9. cpg2016

    Characteristics of a good ruler

    Davos is one of his advisers from well before the beginning of the story. Like her or not, Melisandre isn't of noble birth either. And for what it's worth, Stannis is surrounded by many men of noble birth at this point, but he values the advice of the commoner above all of them. Several times. He takes Jon Snow's advice, a bastard, over those of his sworn lords. His record of listening to good counsel despite it's source couldn't be better, post-Blackwater. And yet they do follow him. They could have bent the knee, and didn't. And at Storms End during Robert's Rebellion, his knights and lords and whoever else was in the garrison held on to the point of near-cannibalism rather than betray him. That is fanatical loyalty. We have evidence, that men are willing to follow Stannis into the teeth of howling blizzards and past the edge of the known world and past the point where most men would give up and die or surrender, and then we have your psychological analysis. Yes, some of those lords are now following because that's their only chance to regain lost lands and honors. But look at the Blackfyres; these guys could have fled overseas and joined the Golden Company, but don't. The choose to follow Stannis. Actually, he makes it clear that he's doing it for the good of the realm, on several occasions. He's explicit that he doesn't particularly desire the throne, but that it's both his right and his responsibility. And as he then says, he is out there saving the kingdom to prove he's worthy of ruling it. And look, we can go back and forth on whether his motivation is "good". We can say for certain that it's better than anyone else's, at this point, up to and including Daenerys. Stannis has a meaningful reform program to wipe out the injustice of his brother's rule and manage the Seven Kingdoms better. Neither he nor his motivations are perfect, but they're leaps and bounds better than anyone else. Actually, I do. I think he's going to fight the Others regardless, because he realizes that the good of the many outweigh the needs of the few. In fact, I think the central tragedy of his arc is that he is going to kill his own daughter, his Nissa Nissa, to save the world, only to realize he isn't the savior and that it was all for nothing. But as heinous as that as and as futile as it may be, it won't take away from his motivations, which are fundamentally geared towards offering protection to those under his aegis. Every shred of evidence we have says this is wrong. Stannis has been rejected and Westeros has chosen other leaders... and yet there he is, toiling away, fighting for (reasonably) good and ethical reasons. It's overly cynical to claim that just because his end goal is to rule, means that any other motivation besides complete self-interest must be a false front. They can be both, and as we see, his "desire" to be king stems from multiple sources, some of which are actually excellent ethical reformist reasons. OK. We as readers know that. Stannis as a character only knows that Melisandre has magic that works. And when humanity and the world itself are on the line, she may be the lesser of two evils. Assuming her magic was actually working, the burning of Alester Florent is the only reason the wildlings didn't breach the Wall. You don't actually know that. That's your headcanon. Which is equally as valid as saying that he was on Dragonstone preparing for a civil war with the Lannisters to fight on behalf of his brother. He gives an excellent reason for why he didn't inform Robert, one that rings pretty true. Robert was blind enough to not notice years of infidelity on Cersei's part, he's obviously very good at not noticing things he doesn't want to, and with Stannis is the heir-apparent in that case, it looks pretty damn suspicious on Stannis' part. You know what refutes your view? He went to Jon Arryn. If all he was doing was waiting for Cersei to off Robert, why bother telling anyone? He distances himself from Cressen because he has a new adviser. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Cressen himself takes this poorly and tries to kill Melisandre. I'm not sure where any of this becomes Stannis' fault, even remotely or by proxy. That Cressen may have relatable motives seems immaterial. As long as you're bringing it up, we may as well actually quote GRRM: And it is important that the individual books refer to the civil wars, but the series title reminds us constantly that the real issue lies in the North beyond the Wall. Stannis becomes one of the few characters fully to understand that, which is why in spite of everything he is a righteous man, and not just a version of Henry VII, Tiberius or Louis XI. You'll note that the author himself refers to Stannis as a "righteous" man. That's an extremely loaded term and pretty much rebuts every point you're making about Stannis' inherent selfishness. Actually, he went to them. He charmed them. Not the other way around. Stannis is unwilling to compromise on his core principles, but that doesn't mean he's incapable of playing feudal politics. Again... he's got a fair number of lords and knights still following him. If he's the incapable, rigid fool you make him out to be, there is no explaining that. So? She burns a couple statues and some trees, and this is the grand evil Stannis is perpetrating? He conspicuously does not persecute followers of the Seven or the old gods. When it comes to respect for religion and/or religious tolerance, Stannis is pretty much at the forefront of the ranks of "good guys" on this one. But that also implies there are a bunch of Kings Men. And again, long before he meets Melisandre he's inspiring that same fanatical loyalty. I mean, Stannis has a real agenda. He's a reformist, out to sweep corrupt courtiers out of the capital. He has a real egalitarian streak, promising to promote on merit rather than ancestry ("then we will make new lords"). His view of kingship, especially post Blackwater, is that he is a servant of the realm and not the reverse. For all Aegon's upbringing, he still has the instinctive sense that the kingship belongs to him; he hasn't even conceived of anything else prior to meeting Tyrion. Stannis had that as well, but we see him get over it. Aegon hasn't had that come to Jesus moment and I don't think we can just blithely assume he will. Pretty sure Robb has already been declared King in the North before they learn about the twincest. Kind of a tough thing to walk back. Grudgingly? Where do you get that? And again, Stannis isn't exactly a guy on the make, you know? That the hill clans and others he very obviously rescues from adverse circumstances (such as the Glovers) willingly join him. And again, just because they have other motives beyond love of Stannis doesn't make their acceptance of his leadership any less real. Stannis is acting as a king - he's working over political allies, he's protecting potential vassals, he's showing that he's worthy of fealty. And he gets it. You can complain and moan about his perceived motives all you want, but at the end of the day the proof is in the pudding, and Stannis has people following him for more than just purely opportunistic motives.
  10. cpg2016

    Is Walder Frey the smartest man in Westeros?

    Oh yes I agree. The Freys are screwed because they so blatantly gave the finger to the laws of hospitality to the extent there isn't even a shadow of plausible deniability. I mean, we know what Wyman Manderly's motivations are. Yes, he wants revenge for purely personal reasons. He also has a genuinely altruistic sense of loyalty to the Stark line. Wyman is quite clearly in agreement with Wylla Manderly, given his commentary on her outburst. Without meaning to be an ass to Rickon, Wyman Manderly can be both ambitious and genuinely loyal at the same time. That he isn't considering Rickon's wishes is kind of in keeping with the dictates of this kind of political system. Rickon may be genuinely unprepared, and given his age probably has no real view of what he wants, but that doesn't mean that the Northern political class won't expect him to take up the mantle of running the North, regardless of whether he wants it. Aerys I didn't want to be king either, and I guess he does a piss poor job, but he still gets crowned and all that. I mean, Barbrey Dustin is an interesting case because she has her own bone to pick, but again I'll refer you to Wylla Manderly. Even a more localized slaughter of only Tullys and Starks would lead to significant political backblow (letting alone that it would have been extremely difficult to kill just them and not the various bodyguards). Robb was the King in the North, and more than that, his lords proclaimed him such. They have a vested interest in his success, but more than that, in his honor. I don't think that is something the North or even the Riverlords would have taken lying down. After all, Ned is executed, plausibly speaking for treason (given what the Northerners know) and he's just one man - and it still sparks a full on rebellion. In light of that it's hard to imagine that Robb being assassinated by the Freys wouldn't also spark major long term resentment and violence. To go in order: I don't think the Northern lords could have been offered terms. Who would offer them? The Lannisters have long since proven themselves to be bad faith actors. The Riverlords aren't accepting terms, because the only reason they're in the fight in the first place is because Tywin launched a completely unprovoked, full scale invasion of the Riverlands and started a massive chevauchee. Don't give me the whole Tyrion-kidnapping thing - the proper place for that is before Robert, who passes final judgement, not an invasion of the place Tyrion happened to be kidnapped. And Robb doesn't claim the Riverlands by right of blood; he does so because the Riverlords elect him as their king. Proclaim, really, and it's possible/likely that his ancestry has a lot to do with it, but at the end of the day they want a Stark for their king because he's fighting for them. That is the duty of a feudal overlord - protection in return for service. They don't say "Edmure is our king!" and then have him form an alliance with Robb - they choose a Stark. And while Catelyn doesn't like Jon, she is in no position to contradict his will. Undermining that means undermining his authority. Um, why not? Obviously there will be a Regency, which could very well be a disaster, but both real life and Westerosi history is filled with child kings "ruling" in ridiculous circumstances. Why in the world should Aegon III's rule have worked, given the massive bloodbath that preceded it and his relative age? Just because you say they don't work, doesn't make it so. Bran and Rickon are trueborn sons of Ned Stark, and as Manderly puts it, their wolves will prove that out. Rickon doesn't have to command an army on Day 1. Robb asserts his authority over fractious lords by saddling up and fighting, but no one expects a 5 year old to do that. He'll be a pawn for his regents, depending on how well meaning they are, but that doesn't mean he won't be king and won't rule over a kingdom.
  11. Is this a joke? England was one of the most advanced states in Western Europe prior the Norman Conquest. In fact it was the conflict against the Vikings and the degree of centralization of administration and taxation which laid the foundation for later Plantagenet success. You can argue that "Winchester would have grown" until you're blue in the face - the reality was that it didn't. I could be a billionaire if I had invented Amazon, but I didn't. I'm not really sure what you want out of this. You said most medieval nations had capitals that were based in a large (for the time) city. This is demonstrably untrue - I gave you three distinct examples, and you poorly refuted only one of them. Winchester was the "capital" such as it was. Your rebuttal of this is circular reasoning - you're saying that because Winchester was small, it couldn't be a true capital, because a true capital is populous. I'll remind you that the Stormlands, the Vale, the Kingdom of Isles and Rivers, and the Reach are ALSO pre-unification Kingdoms, and none of them are based around a city, but around a castle. So... you know, again, your argument is wrong on it's face. You can't make the claim that a continuously unified kingdom would have a populous capital when we see that isn't the truth in the majority of cases, and this is consistent with real world history, in which many medieval kingdoms had itinerant courts and so never developed a populous political center
  12. Lol. Yeah, sure. Actually, this is wrong. He took his kingdom and marched for a specific purpose - to liberate his father from Lannister clutches. How, exactly, was he to accomplish this without the threat of military force? Lets state this for the record: the Starks, and anyone else who rebelled against the Iron Throne, is 100% justified in doing so. The Lannister/Baratheon regime had broken the feudal contract several times over, and Robb had every right to rebel. Joffrey has no legitimate claim to his allegiance, and while Stannis might, the Starks don't find out the truth of Joffrey's parentage in time for it to matter. They... didn't get crushed? In fact it's only the massive finger-on-the-scales GRRM has got going on that the Starks don't win outright. Besides which, Robb doesn't crown himself, he is crowned. There is massive difference. Robb cannot say no, cannot back down, without losing the loyalty of his vassals. He has no choice once they proclaim him king. Innocent deaths in wartime are to be lamented and in all possible ways prevented. That they occur doesn't undermine the fundamental legitimacy of the Stark cause. It's like saying that because innocent Germans died in WWII, we should have let Hitler have his way, because anyone innocent dying means that there is moral equivalency between both sides in a war. Yes, and they would have had good reason then, too. Well, since the Lannisters are not only not helping, but actively undermining the Night's Watch, you'd have to actually say the opposite is true. Northern independence is the only thing that might conceptually provide a rallying point for the defense against the Others. Is all of this news to you, did you read the same books?
  13. cpg2016

    Tyrek Lannister theories?

    Ding ding ding! Give this guy the prize
  14. cpg2016

    Big Question regarding Inheritance

    I think it's pretty clear that any son of Tyrion and Sansa's is going to be surnamed "Stark" for purely political reasons. Maintaining links with tradition is important, and one of the traditional political precepts of the North is that there must always be a Stark in Winterfell. Tyrion is no fool, and has no cause to love his family anyway. And to whoever said Northerners are small-minded for wanting traitorous Boltons over a physically handicapped Tyrion + Sansa... well, that's kind of ridiculous. First off, Sansa's marriage is widely regarded, and rightly so, as a sham. Women may not have many options but they are nominally supposed to have a choice in marriage, which is why they're asked to accept their husband. Sansa can claim she's done it under duress. She can claim she didn't swear before a heart tree. Lots of ways out of that. And it's quite clear the North doesn't want a Bolton in charge, and they're waiting for the slightest possible cause to revolt and put a Stark back in Winterfell.
  15. The entire thematic arc of the books is to discredit exactly this idea. Tywin Lannister is all about humiliation, about escalating conflict and crushing enemies entirely and making them fear him. And his legacy is both literally and figuratively shit (his corpse stinks and his political legacy is eating itself alive within months of his death). Ned Stark is about respect. About listening to vassals and those lower than himself, about teaching his kids that family matters, that compassion is important, that those who have less material wealth and influence aren't necessarily lesser beings. And he has the entire political community of the North ready to rise up and "sup on another serving of grief and death" just to protect his legacy.