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Myrish Lace

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  1. Myrish Lace

    [spoiler] Larys Strong

    Larys is a dead man with no successors. It is thus easy to pin anything and everything on Larys in a chronicle written by a maester close to the royal household. Just like it was easy to pin anything and everything on Unwin Peake, given his House's fall from grace by the time of Gyldayn. Take Aegon II's poisoning. Gyldayn uses some mysterious source to base his story on. The source is never named. There is no explanation to how would the source overhear two men conspiring to poison the King. One would think a spymaster would know better than to yell to all and sundry about such plans. Gyldayn's rampant speculations aside, Corlys was the only man to confess to the crime on his own - the rest of the alleged conspirators were either placed under duress or never confessed to anything. And since there was never any kind of proper investigation, it's all a matter of conjecture and theories. The things we know for certain Larys did - like his efforts to save Aegon II's children - are quite reasonable and not at all vile.
  2. Myrish Lace

    Prince of Dragonstone

    The latter. Jaehaerys was the first to use the title in formal sense, in an obvious attempt to lend additional legitimacy for his son's claim as a successor to the Iron Throne. However it was not obligatory - not every King's heir was granted the title; there is no mention of law or a decree or even an established precedent binding the title and succession right together. It's like Blackfyre - the sword has no legal power and could be granted to anyone, but it is associated with the idea of kingship in the mass consciousness.
  3. Myrish Lace

    Expansion Across the Narrow Sea

    Visenya couldn't protect Velaryon fleet. Aemon was brought down by some pirates. Daemon and Corlys failed to conquer Stepstones. Triarchy's fleet overcame Velaryon fleet supported by six dragons and its landing parties managed to sack High Tide despite heavy losses. Alyn failed to purge the Stepstones (although it can be attributed purely to Alyn's idiocy). Exiled, twice beaten Blackfyres are such a terror to Bloodraven he's ready to leave half the continent to the mercies of Ironborn rather than to slip his eye even for a second from a potential invading army from Essos. When Blackfyres finally manage to muster anything even remotely resembling a sizable army under Maelys, Egg completely loses his shit - and it's quite obvious why. Despite an enormous disparity between two powers - Targaryens with a continent of their own and Blackfyres with but one Free City - the War of Ninepenny Kings is a bloody, hard-fought affair with a bunch of prominent casualties for Westerosi. Westerosi noblemen regularly hire soldiers in Essos. It's a thing. The last time anyone from Essos traveled to hire Westerosi soldiers was... three hundred years ago. Time and again Essosi face extremely unfavorable odds and either win outright or inflict heavy losses upon Westerosi. If you divorce yourself from Westerosi-centric perspective of the text, it's not hard to see who's better. Said company was built after Bittersteel's stint with Second Sons. It is a fully professional force (something completely contrary to Westerosi system of levies). It is lead by people like Strickland, Edoryen, Balaq, Maar - people who who were born and raised in Essos. The latter three are not even progeny of exiles. So the idea of GC as a company "built by and based around Westerosi military organisation" is at best a vast exaggeration. Golden Company was founded by Westerosi exiles who adapted to Essosi environment, adopting non-Westerosi MO, personnel and expertise.
  4. Myrish Lace

    Expansion Across the Narrow Sea

    WoIaF: We speak of Nine Free Cities, though across the width of Essos one may find many other Valyrian towns, settlements, and outposts, some larger and more populous than Gulltown, White Harbor, or even Lannisport. The distinction that sets the Nine apart is not their size but their origins So the map should not deceive you - the "empty" land around Free Cities is densely populated. Any attempt to take it would require fighting Free Cities and Westeros is just unprepared for that.
  5. Myrish Lace

    Expansion Across the Narrow Sea

    Troops from Essos perform better than Westerosi; they even manage to overcome dragons in open battle, something no group in Westeros could achieve. Essos is just too tough nut to crack. Just because Westeros looks like Europe doesn't mean Westeros has the same advantages over its neighbors.
  6. Myrish Lace

    Cregan Stark: the fool wolf

    It was neither prudent in the climate of post-war reconciliation nor useful at the time Yandel was writing.
  7. Myrish Lace

    The Blacks or the Greens?

    The Greens. Legally, Iron Throne's succession was really messed up by that point. Maegor seized the throne from uncrowned Aegon and tried to establish inheritance by appointment (Aerea) as well as exclusion of particular heir from succession (bypassing Jaehaerys). Jaehaerys seized the throne from Aerea, establishing a precedent for excluding even those women who would inherit under Andal law (daughter > uncle). Then Viserys was elected under the same banner. By trying to appoint Rhaenyra as heir, Viserys undermined not only the precedents that raised him personally to power - he undermined the precedent that raised Jaehaerys to power. Rhaenyra's claim to the throne collapses on itself because if women can be appointed ahead of male claimants, then Aerea was the rightful Queen, Jaehaerys was a usurper and Viserys was just some guy talking nonsense. At least Aegon II's kingship doesn't undermine the last century of Targaryen dynasty. In terms of ability to rule, neither candidate is impressive, but since no monarch can realistically rule alone, it's the team that counts and Aegon II definitely had a better team. Rhaenyra's government is insane with the exception of Corlys, Rhaenyra's support outside Dragonstone's island chain is practically non-existent - Black Riverlords basically carry the Black war effort by themselves while Northemen/Valemen wait and Ironborn do their thing. Even Rhaenyra's relatives don't care for her - Baratheon joins the Greens and Arryn sits out the entire war in the Vale. Aegon's government is actually pretty good - Otto is quite competent, Tyland even more so, Larys is a genius and Orwyle is actually very decent guy. Aegon's armies suffer from tactical incompetence, but there is a lot of them since he actually has the wide support - in the Reach, in Westerlands, in Stormlands and beyond. In the end the Blacks had to accept a draw and give massive concessions to the Greens because the Blacks never quite coalesced as an actual party rather than a collection of guys each doing their thing. In terms of likable personalities, George made even Adam unlikable. His sacrifice for the Queen doesn't seem nowhere nearly as heroic given his residence in Dragonpit - the same Dragonpit where Rhaenyra had hundreds or thousands of innocent people murdered and fed to the dragons during her short reign. It's hard to think of a person as heroic when they stink of human blood and meat. But I did like Orwyle (he taught regular people to read) and Tyland (he is the only actual statesman of his era since he does something for the realm at large - see granaries, public relief fund and such).
  8. Myrish Lace

    Let's suppose...

    I foresee two problems. First, we have Rhaenyra's court. It's a deeply dysfunctional bunch. Rhaenyra herself can't resolve a domestic dispute without attempted murder and her husband Daemon has no problems assassinating people, since he was the one to murder little children and he was almost certainly the one to have Laenor and Strongs murdered. You can't have a stable regime with two murder-happy people on top. Worse still, you have to add Corlys to the mix. Corlys is NOT willing to have a strong boy as his heir, he replaced Joffrey with his own bastard at first opportunity. Add Lady Misery whose behavior before Rhaenyra's downfall is extremely suspicious and point to both lack of morals and her own ambitions. It's only a matter of time till they all start trying to have each other murdered/assassinated and eventual succession depends on who comes out on top. Since it probably won't be Rhaenyra, her sons' fate would depend on the victor and whether he/she has any use for them. Second, you have Jace himself. I know people like to think that Jace was a promising prince, but if you take a sharp look at his actions, he was anything but. His diplomatic mission to the Vale and the North was a failure - his own kin Arryns sat out the war, Manderlys and Starks did pretty much the same, sending token forces instead of providing actual support Rhaenyra desperately needed. His idea to hand out full-sized dragons to random people was reckless and was bound to end in debacle. On one hand, he handed out WMDs to people with no allegiance to the Crown. On the other hand, he granted extremely potent symbols of power and legitimacy to what was considered scum of the earth in Westeros. Remember, Jaehaerys and his chosen representative based Doctrine of Exceptionalism on ability to fly dragons. And while Jace was brave, his bravery was rather foolhardy - he ended up rushing in and getting smashed in his first engagement. He had an overwhelming advantage in dragons, he had a fleet to support him, yet the battle ended up a complete debacle - Velaryon fleet was driven off with heavy losses, Jace himself was killed and Driftmark got sacked. To survive, Jace would need to marshal support for his cause, yet he failed at game of thrones and warfare both.
  9. Myrish Lace

    Cregan Stark: the fool wolf

    Few people were, on both sides, albeit for different reasons. If we take the Blacks - Riverlords were left without basis to feed and reinforce their army. Velaryons lost their wealth, much of their fleet and much of their army. Reacher Blacks were either beaten and had to flee from their base (like Rowan), were captured (like Tarly) or quietly disappeared (like Grimms). Dalton went rogue. Cregan and Jeyne didn't lose anything of value during the Dance, but Cregan's coup put Jeyne in a difficult position. If Cregan didn't go rogue in a brazen coup, Jeyne and Cregan could work something out, leveraging power of two united kingdoms and fresh armies into a better peace deal. But Cregan got greedy and Jeyne didn't sit out the war to cede power to Cregan. So Jeyne joined Corlys and Velaryons, pushing for a very equitable peace arrangement instead. The Greens had their own problems. Green Riverlords were beaten. Stormlords and Green Reachmen had no leaders left to rally behind. Westermen had no leaders and suffered from Ironborn invasion. So rather than risking further conflict, they accepted Corlys' proposal. As a result, four of seven Regents were Green, the Hand was Green, the realm accepted Green vision of succession (Viserys - Aegon II - his next male relative Aegon III). The Greens failed to transform their superior manpower and resources into victories on the battlefield. The Blacks failed to leverage their successes on the battlefield to achieve a favorable peace due to internal disunity. These two failures had to meet somewhere inbetween, albeit they ended up slightly tilted to the Green side.
  10. Myrish Lace

    Cregan Stark: the fool wolf

    By that point Riverlands were done. Aemond burned out Riverlands to lure out Daemon. Black Riverlords burned out Riverlands while fighting Cole and their Green counterparts. Riverlands were scorched by war and extra long winter would not help one bit. Black Riverlords were outnumbered, their home base was ruined - it was prudent to avoid further fighting. I mean they could try to do the same thing they did to Cole - murder Cregan during negotiations and decapitate Northern army in one stroke - but it would be insanely risky. They had to fold, even if Cregan's actions were a barely disguised coup. Of course, once Jeyne's army arrived, the situation changed drastically. Cregan found himself outnumbered by Riverlords and fresh Vale army and had to fold himself. He got some concessions, but he had to pull out. It did little to help Black Riverlords to capitalize on their victories - their position remained extremely weak, so politically they got scraps from big boys' table. Even Regency seat went to a Green Mooton. It's ironic, really - Elmo Tully tried to hold out and join the winning side yet ended up pulling others' chestnuts out of the fire, suffering great losses for no gain for House Tully.
  11. Myrish Lace

    Cregan Stark: the fool wolf

    Winter Wolves were not useless in so far as Roddy was a good soldier (but not a good commander) and Black war effort was starving for manpower, so even old men with old armor and ancient iron swords were a boon. However Winter Wolves were not a shock cavalry. They were poorly armed and armored, which makes sense - you don't give your best kit to suicide unit. Their horses were no destriers and the wolves themselves were a bunch of old men (with no record of previous combat of any kind). When Roddy attempted to use this substandard light cavalry unit as shock cavalry, the result was a complete debacle - Northmen smashed into Western pikes again and again, lacking the actual shock to punch through and losing two thirds of their men as casualties. Did she? I recall her sending some troops once Rhaenyra took King's Landing, however there is no mention of those troops actually arriving or doing anything. Considering that even Manderly's measly hundred men were noted to fight in the capital, it seems Jeyne was even less inclined to actually support Rhaenyra than Cregan was. Jeyne's army actually appears in the narrative at the very end, when all the fighting is done.
  12. Myrish Lace

    Cregan Stark: the fool wolf

    I think there is a need to separate weed from chaff here. Gyldayn's text has two Cregans. The first Cregan is Cregan That Was. The actual, historical Cregan - an opportunist who was only loyal to himself. This Cregan pledged his support to Rhaenyra - and sent a bunch of old, poorly-equipped men with iron swords (!) commanded by a moron instead of actual army. He held back for two years waiting for the fighting to die down and tried to swoop in to claim the spoils. He tried to pull a coup, putting his own King under arrest, seizing office of Hand and threatening to murder Corlys Velaryron. It didn't work out to the extent Cregan would find preferable, but in the end he got his share without much exertion. This Cregan's opportunism payed off - he dumped some superfluous bodies and got a life-long supply of rewards from Aegon III. The second Cregan is Cregan That Gyldayn Needed. Gyldayn was a maester of Summerhall before it burned down, which places his writing somewhere during Maekar's and Aegon V's reigns. The King was either a long-time resident of Summerhall or his son, placing Gyldayn close to the court. It also is a time of turmoil, looming Blackfyre threat, Stark isolationism and general strain in Crown-nobility relationship. Gyldayn could put real Cregan into the narrative, but it would do little to improve Stark-Targaryen relationship to call current Lord Stark's dad/granddad a murderer, an oathbreaker and a turncloak that he was. Especially at the time when the Crown tries desperately to muster support against Blackfyres/for Egg's reforms. And so Gyldayn created his own Cregan Stark - stitching together Cregan's flimsy excuses for his actions and putting some fluff on top. This imaginary Lord Stark is just, righteous man, loyal and willing to make hard choices. Granted, Gyldayn couldn't rewrite history completely, so he had to limit himself to noting Cregan's unscrupulous actions - and then ascribing those actions to some virtuous motive. And yes, the result is pretty much idiotic. You can argue that the fault lies with Cregan, whose actions were too brazen to be presented in a positive light in even slightly convincing fashion. Or you can say Gyldayn was bad at propaganda and didn't put enough effort into it. Whatever. But you try to marry these two Cregans and judge them as one character. The result is obvious - it's insane. These two Cregans can't function as one character because they are complete opposites of each other. Not unless Cregan is a schizophrenic, clamoring for justice on Monday and forsaking justice in favor of a young bride by the end of the week. You have to take Cregan's actions as they are (as opposed to what Gyldayn tries to present them as) in order to get the real deal. A ruthless, opportunistic lord trying to make the best of it in troubled times.
  13. We have examples of Kings who thought themselves unbound by such things, with disastrous results. GRRM is on the record saying that Winterfell was always ruled by men. Disinheriting Sansa would be just continuation of Starks' traditional ultra-mysogyny-plus. The quote refers to the period after execution of the Small Council. Rhaenyra has been murdering enough people to have their heads mounted daily on city gates for half a year. Numbers blow up fast, it's hundreds or thousands of people we are talking about. There is just no green conspiracy vast enough to have that kind of manpower in the city. In fact the only Green conspirators in KL we know of - Larys, Perkin & his crew - remained completely untouched by Rhaenyra's purges. And since even paying one's taxes before Rhaenyra's arrival was considered treason, it is not hard to see where this army of "traitors" came from. Branding citizens of a sympathetic city as traitors and mounting their heads on spikes turned the proverbial coin and eventually resulted in Rhaenyra's downfall. She butchered population of her own capital and fed the bodies to dragons. Bonus points for friendly fire - Aemond burned his enemies' peasants. She tried to have Nettles and Adam murdered/tortured for the same reason as Aemond (baseless suspicion), which ended up costing her her head. Since Rhaenyra was rather poor politician, she failed to corrupt many KGs - so she tried to corrupt a host into trying murder a guest and an innocent instead. Fortunately, she failed at that as well. She did write Dalton a blank check for his campaign of rape, pillage, murder and mass enslavement, including sack of Lannisport, so there you go. As far as Fire and Blood Vol1 is concerned, she is at best somewhat less competent at her evil compared to Aemond.
  14. Well, that's kinda the point - Rhaenyra remained as "Realm's delight" as long as daddy dragged her around and she had no power regarding day-to-day business of the realm. Both fiefs that she actually ruled ended up rebelling against her - her "delight" status could only last as long as people had no actual experience in her... unique flavor of governance. I doubt it. Jace's role in the narrative is one of likeable moron, so to speak. He is the sort of character that is supposed to fail with Benny Hill theme and laugh track playing in the background. He tries to kick his uncle's butt - ends up beaten up and causing a scandal (resulting in Rhaenyra's removal from court). He tries to rally Valemen to his mother's side - Valemen nod and then sit out the war. He tries to lure Manderleys with promises - Manderleys bring only hundred men, give terrible advice to Rhaenyra and then go home in the most dramatic moment of the war. He barters for Stark support - gets two thousands of old, poorly equipped guys (with ancient iron swords, no less!) commanded by a complete moron (Roddy commands five charges right into Lannister spearmen and loses two thirds of his host as casualties)... When he flies with five dragons and a fleet to fight Triarchy, you know he is going to fail. Jace exists to fail in all of his undertakings - without being offensive. You can continue make baseless statements contradicting known facts, but saying stuff like "there is no reason to believe" or adding "that's just nonsense" does not make it so. The Council of 101 does come up, traditions do come up, laws do come up. Even Webber's will conforms to overall trend of favoring male heirs over female ones (we can discuss Robb's will when we actually see one). Successful Kings operate mindful of their limitations - like Aegon who bases his rulings on previously established local laws and seeks Faith's support or Jaehaerys who understands shabby foundations of his power, pushes for male heirs and seeks to establish consent of his vassals in such precarious position. When the Kings try to act like they are dictators with absolute power, nothing good comes out of it. Considering gems like "fresh heads began appearing daily upon the spikes above the city gates" in a sympathetic city or her "masterful" handling of Velaryons... Rhaenyra could be better than Aemond. Maybe.
  15. Saying "this is not how it works" doesn't change the fact that this is exactly how it works - as demonstrated in the story many, many times. The fantasy of "personal and arbitrary" rule haunts Targaryen dynasty, but it always comes crashing down whenever the King tries to indulge. Maegor, Viserys, Aerys - it ends in tears every time. Why? Because a functional arbitrary rule by a monarch requires wide-spread bureaucracy and centralization way beyond anything Westeros has ever seen. Even Maegor, with his giant dragon and brutality, could not turn the tide. Successful Targaryens avoided "personal and arbitrary" style like a plague, for a good reason. Given Rhaenyra's abysmal showing both before and during the Dance, I doubt it would help. If anything, she would probably make even more enemies, alienate even more people and generally fertilize the ground for her opponents. Rhaenyra has a legal problem (established precedents are stacked against her) and a personal problem (she is a horrible person and suffers from exceedingly poor judgement). Viserys could try to solve the former, but I doubt anything could be done about the latter.