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  1. FictionIsntReal

    Did Varys wed Ned to the trees?

    Paste is not wine, and in terms of the PH scale, sour is the opposite of bitter. Varys hates magic, so I don't think he'd be using or drinking some magical concoction.
  2. FictionIsntReal

    Why does Balon Greyjoy want to attack the North?

    We don't know that nobody managed to land and traverse in the North. We know that the North remained religiously distinct, and this serves as evidence that Andals were not able to permanently conquer it as they did everywhere in the south except the Iron Islands. Balon hasn't managed to permanently conquer the north either. The World of Ice and Fire says that the North is the coldest kingdom, and this makes it less far less fertile than the south. In the Malthusian era, "wealth" of a region could be measured via population size, and with approximate one third the land-mass of Westeros, estimates of the North's population put it at the most thinly populated per square smile. In contrast, other kingdoms on that coast that Balon could have attacked are noted as being relatively populous. The land of the Iron Islands might be comparable to the North in how unattractive it is, but the Ironborn are able to support the population they do have via their ships. The North has some coastal towns, but most of its territory is inland. And the "Vale" is not the mountains, the term means "valley", which is noted as being highly fertile. There are mountain clans who are dirt poor, but the lords of the Vale get to extract the bounty of the "Vale" part of "Mountain and Vale". Rhaenyra wasn't queen because there was an earlier precedent that the throne didn't go to or through a woman. Her son wound up king because he was the son of Daemon, brother to a king, after the other males in the line of succession had died. What "changed" to favor Asha? Did she birth dragons, an event that still left Dany with only a small fraction of Drogo's khalasar? Balon tried to arrange a deal after he'd already given Tywin a boon for free. The thing to do was to hold off on invading prior to an agreement. And Tywin wanted Tyrion to take over the North, which would presumably include kicking out the Ironborn. He didn't "insult" Balon, he offered Balon the best possible opportunity. It was foolish to return a hostage, but he didn't think much of a defense would be needed since far more attractive targets for raiding were available which Balon had successfully attacked when he previously rebelled. Ned and his bannermen and allies had all proclaimed Robert as King at the Trident. Jaime thinks he could have claimed the throne because Jaime is a fool who thinks he can just have sex with Cersei while Robert's in the room and kill him if he wakes up, and suggests openly marrying Cersei and claiming their children as Jaime's regardless of what anyone thinks. Killing and capturing Ironborn is "helping them leave"? Remind me not to ask you for help next time I have to move. Reek was explicitly asking as Ramsay's representative while the Ironborn were surrounded by the besieging Bolton forces.
  3. Renly declared himself king when Stannis was still secluding himself on Dragonstone and hadn't yet declared for himself. And while you claim that no sane man would do so, many did support Renly as the best alternative to Cersei and Joffrey's regime. Robert is a disappointment to Ned, but he still commands loyalty. We know from the conversation between Varys and Illyrio that the chaos was unfolding too quickly for their plans. Ned's loyalty to Robert at that point in time was useful for Varys. Stannis resents that Robert is closer to Ned than his own younger brother, but I don't think that would actually be an impediment to the two working together. Stannis' values are actually rather close to Ned's. The version of Viserys we actually got wasn't a better version of anything, which is why he got himself killed. Nobody is stopping you from imagining an alternate version of Viserys who is a golden god that shoots lightning out of his arse. I agree that George is bad with numbers, but he provides us with a lot more evidence that Littlefinger is embezzling funds and obscuring what he's actually doing than that Robert's spending is causing any actual problems. Where is the evidence for that? I agree that Littlefinger's embezzling and Robert's spending are separate issues, although Littlefinger manages to disguise the former behind the latter. We just get to see the the former is a rather big deal, while the latter actually seems to much be less than what Aerys was spending on large projects that started but came to nothing. They didn't fight against Robert's actual son, they inducted Gendry into their group and knighted him. They continued the mission they'd been given by Robert's Hand even after Robert had been killed by his faithless wife and her incestuous bastard that Robert wanted off the throne was installed. People loyal to Robert didn't support the new regime. You're right that he's not a Tywin: Aerys resented Tywin for the respect people gave him for running the kingdom and sought to overrule his decrees out of spite. Robert is on much better terms with his Hands and generally trusts them to do the right thing for him and the kingdom. Robert told Ned "I am planning to make you run the kingdom", and while it may have been partly in jest he was mostly telling the truth. Robert rarely attends council meetings and generally takes a hands-off approach, so it is the exception when he overrules his Hand. Do you actually know that Robert was spending more than a "small allowance" when Jon was Hand? There was a failed attack on Seagard in which Rodrik Greyjoy was killed and his forces thrown back by Jason Mallister. What we know is that Balon thought Robert's regime was on shaky ground, but Robert was able to call his bannermen and crush the Ironborn. Based on a complete absence of evidence you try to use this to conclude that Robert actually didn't command the loyalty of the men who put him on the throne, including one who continued to serve him as Hand. Gregor Clegane is a Westerman, and Ned remembers him among the the knights that took part. We know it and anyone who meets him soon learns. Illyrio sought to keep him away from his allies until it was time to invade, but Viserys didn't listen and proceeded to get himself killed. Yes, she did. Everything Tyrion, Kevan and Varys said about her handling of the situation is true. Ignoring an Ironborn invasion is how Aerys got further Blackfyre rebellions, although at least in his case it was because Bloodraven was solely focused on a Blackfyre invasion rather than because Cersei is fine with the Reach being raided. Cersei doesn't care to know about anyone's plans, she ignores when people are actually giving her important info. Arming the Faith created a powerful faction hostile to her. Even assuming you're right, shooting yourself in the toe might be smarter than shooting yourself in the thumb, but both are very stupid. The Tyrell's are the most important allies the Lannisters have, and while it's rational to be on the lookout for any attempt they make to gain power at the expensive of the Lannisters and to try to gain any advantage should conflict come in the future, it's idiotic to immediately alienate them as Cersei does. We know they and Littlefinger killed Joffrey. Littlefinger wants to cause chaos, along with ingratiating himself with another prominent house, but the Tyrells are actually invested in the stability of the regime they've made a marital alliance with. Tommen could have been an acceptable ruler, but Cersei despises all his positive qualities in contrast with her wretched firstborn. After Joffrey's death it is Cersei rather than the Tyrells who does the most damage to her regime. No, the High Sparrow arms the Faith because she agrees to it rather than because she's a woman. Aurane Waters steals those dromonds because she gave them to him and then got locked up by the Faith she'd just armed, rather than because she's a woman. Bronn kills one of her allies and seizes the Stokeworth estate because Cersei tried to take him out rather than because she's a woman. The Vale lords wanted to enter the war against he Lannisters, and only didn't because Jon Arryn's widow ordered them not do. I think we can reasonably guess that the lords would have obeyed Jon Arryn if he'd called their banners on behalf of Robert, just as they had during the rebellion. His great accomplishments include winning three battles in a single day, and a single "inconclusive" loss against his general track record of victory. Everyone in the story knows he's got a great track record in battle, including his resentful brother Stannis who doesn't think his lack of a loud voice would prevent him from successfully imitating one of Robert's moves. You're the only one who finds this dubious. An organized retreat was VERY difficult in the pre-modern era, when most battle casualties came from routs. GRRM might not be aware of this, but I think the example suffices to prove that Robert wasn't just some reckless guy who always gambled everything and managed to get lucky each time. Ned was involved in an investigation that had to be kept secret from the Lannisters, and a priori it was wise to try to collect all the facts and make as solid possible a case against them before overtly making a move against them. So you don't actually have examples of anyone exploiting Robert, just Robert giving a castle each to his brothers because he found himself with three. Robert reigned in peace for years because he wasn't a paranoiac always seeking to destroy members of his court like Aerys, which was wise because Robert didn't have centuries of legitimacy behind him and instead rested on the strength of the governing coalition he'd assembled. The realm exploded because Ned and Stannis discovered that Cersei's children were illegitimate. Viserys created a succession crisis because there were two opposing precedents in support of each of the factions in his court. The succession crisis after Robert was due to Joffrey's illegitimacy, which he didn't know about and would have regarded as extremely unlikely since everyone other than Targaryens regards incest as an abomination. And having a large number of rival factions can actually be more stable than just having two, since it makes it less likely that one of those factions will have the strength to attempt to dominate the others. Robert re-appoints a man he regards as best for the job, even if they had recently had a severe disagreement. He orders Tyrion's release in order to defuse the conflict, as that was the reason Jaime attacked the former Hand. Ned hadn't actually done anything to start a "vendetta" against Jaime, as he was only implicated in the arrest of Tyrion. Executing the Lord Paramount of the North is how the Mad King got overthrown, and is a terrible way to incentivize people to obey your summons to King's Landing, especially an ally. Under pre-modern systems of law, one often had to pay damages or wergild for the harm one had done. Gregor hasn't actually done any harm, and they don't have a modern criminal code. Robert doesn't do anything about Mycah, and smallfolk don't normally get to demand the heads of their betters. Beric treats it as a capital crime because defending the smallfolk from nobility, particularly Lannister men at arms, is his primary justification. He did fail a lot, but he is regarded as having nearly succeeded. I don't really think of it as one of "Robert's moments" since he doesn't really have any involvement in it. We learn later that if Jaime had found Arya during the search he would have cut off her hand, and that was solely on Cersei's order not Robert's.
  4. That doesn't mean he expected to fight all the other kingdoms. When Mace thinks another side offers him more advantages, he changes tack. Looks aren't nothing in Westeros, but they aren't everything either. Robert is still basically the same guy most of the realm united behind, even if he's now older and fatter. He does come and shows himself to be someone Varys can trust to protect Robert from the Lannisters, not someone at odds with the rest of the STAB bloc behind the rebellion. Is it really that so much had changed in the years between the Greyjoy rebellion and Jon Arryn's death or that Ned is more willing to fight alongside Robert against enemies of the realm than he is to serve in King's Landing as Hand? He was summoned against the Greyjoys. Sometimes the reality turns out to be terrible. We don't know how successful Aegon will be in the future, but he currently has some success to his name. Viserys has none, because he ignored good advice, pissed off his intended allies and got himself killed. Jon Arryn brought Littlefinger to court because he'd done so well in Gulltown. We don't have any indication that the finances were in desperate straits before he came in to save them (we don't know who was Master of Coin between him and Chelsted), instead he just seems like a whiz kid who keeps getting promoted by people who don't actually understand how he's pulled any of his feats off. And he always manages to provide coin when necessary, so nobody complains. And he's not "throwing out" the King's gold, he's using it in ways nobody else understands. As the above link points out, Robert's spending habits just aren't on a large enough scale to explain the Crown's finances. They aren't typical brigands and thieves but instead hang those preying on the smallfolk after giving them trials. And they aren't loyal to the office of "king" but to Robert specifically, which is why they don't side with any of the kings during the war of five kings. The core of the Brotherhood was sent out in mission on behalf of Robert, and they stick true to that mission even when their former enemies have usurped Robert. Aerys interfered with Tywin all the time precisely because Tywin was competent, and after he alienated his best Hand replaced him with a lickspittle. Robert is content to let his Hands govern the kingdom for him. So what we know for a fact is that Robert's coalition put down the one attempt at rebellion against him, but based on a complete absence of evidence you are now claiming that the same won't be the case against Viserys? An empty shell would be preferable to someone as rotten as Viserys. "Adequate" puts him well above Cersei. Tyrion predicted that she would botch things, and he was absolutely right. Indeed Jon might, and we have no reason to think his vassals wouldn't do as he asked. Stannis actually says of himself that he was going to steal a page from Robert's book, not that Robert read one. Robert was a natural strategist and won multiple battles even with numerical disadvantages for reasons other than just his own personal prowess in combat. In his one defeat, he didn't insanely get himself and everyone else killed, instead he led an orderly retreat (Tyrion regarded the battle as inconclusive) to come back and win again. Robert fought to the death against Rhaegar at the Trident, when wagering everything was the rebels' best move. Cersei and Jaime are extremely disloyal, while Tywin does violate the king's peace by raiding the Riverlands with a deniable asset. The Starks aren't comparable. Ned is working on his behalf and trying to protect him from the Lannisters. Catelyn winds up causing a headache by taking Tyrion prisoner, but that's because she'd been told they were behind Jon Arryn's death and correctly suspected they had hurt Bran and Tyrion discovering her risked the Lannisters finding out about her secret mission to the capital. Stannis didn't "exploit" Robert to get Dragonstone, as he didn't actually want it. Robert just decided to give him the heir's seat while Renly, too young to be exploiting Robert, got their ancestral castle. That's what a normal parent does, and it didn't cause any treason. Cersei was already treasonous, and Ned remains loyal. You've got some timelines mixed up. Ned resigns his handship, then gets attacked by Jaime, then after he wakes up Robert re-appoints him as Hand and orders Tyrion's release to end the conflict, then he goes hunting, then Ned hears the Riverlanders' complaints and BECAUSE HE'S INJURED sends Beric and Thoros instead of going himself. Loras wasn't actually injured and Gregor stopped when Robert ordered. He would have a Harry Strickland, but Strickland is no Bittersteel.
  5. Mace intended to take on the Lannisters and perhaps the Crownlands, with a significant portion of the Stormlands supporting him. Dorne was completely out of the war, the Iron Islands hadn't made any move yet, the Vale hadn't either but was expected to be anti-Lannister even if they wouldn't have joined Robb's kingdom, and he was ignoring the North/Riverlands while they fought the Lannisters until he could capture King's Landing. And of course he had the most populous kingdom in Westeros firmly behind him. Robert was fighting a "war of cups" even during the Tourney at Harrenhall, and Stannis regarded him as always just caring about eating, drinking, screwing and fighting. And he was very popular with all those qualities. The Lannisters kept out of Robert's alliance until after he won at the Trident, and were let into King's Landing because Aerys thought they were there to help. Jon Arryn, Ned Stark and Hoster Tully certainly don't all hate each other. When Robert calls his banners, as happened during the Greyjoy Rebellion, they respond. When Robert needed Ned to replace Jon Arryn, Ned did it even though he didn't want to. Ned is a loyal vassal, and if Robert summons him to defend against an invasion, Ned would definitely do so. Ned objects to sending an assassin rather than directly confronting your enemies, as Robert had done during the rebellion. The scenario we're talking about is precisely one that would meet Ned and Barristan's ideal standards. Khal Drogo was a possible threat, but the Dothraki had never cross the water before and had yet to acquire any ships or set any kind of timetable for invasion. I agree on Doran, who did make a secret alliance for just such an ocassion. Viserys isn't all advantages over Aegon. Nobody who knows Viserys seems to like him. Barristan was wary of him even though he'd only known Viserys as a child. And of course Viserys did get himself killed by his supposed ally rather than listening to Illyrio's wise advice to stay in Pentos, so I don't think you can assume his hypothetical wise advisors will win out. You're imagining that Viserys might have some notable military victory early in his campaign, but I see no reason to assume that given that the real Viserys never won any victories and he'd be attacking a more stable kingdom. It's just Littlefinger who reports that the Crown has no coin, and Tyrion finds his accounts impossible to make sense of. We know of no complaints that the kingdom has been overburdened with taxation during his reign, nor that the Crown has been neglecting its duties. His reign is remembered as a time of mostly peace and plenty. Maybe all of Viserys' enemies simultaneously have heart attacks, or spontaneously combust. There's no limit to what we can imagine. Robert got along with most people, even near the end. People supported him when Balon rebelled, and the Brotherhood Without Banners (whose second-in-command is one of Robert's drinking buddies) still claim loyalty to him after his death despite him not actually being the guy who ordered them out. Sandor Clegane may scoff at their high regard for him, but most people aren't like Sandor. Renly may join in Littlefinger's jests at Robert's expense, but he's going to defend the Baratheon dynasty against Lannister or Targaryen threats. Stannis already fought the Targaryens on behalf of Robert, and he'd do his duty again. Robert wasn't insane, and didn't insist on undermining a competent Hand out of jealousy of someone running the kingdom better. He is very, very far from Aerys II. They had no problem being on the same side against Balon. They warred over Robert's succession, and if Robert was still on the throne that would remove the object of dispute. The people who actually knew him didn't think so. That's why Jorah says Rhaegar was the last dragon. Nobody cares about Stannis because he was smashed at the Blackwater and is no longer a threat to the Iron Throne. But this hypothetical takes place during Robert's reign, not after the Stormlanders are depleted in the War of the Five Kings. Varys kills him because he's a good man in service of a bad cause, threatening to undo the damage Cersei caused. The lords of the realm respect his level of competence above Cersei's. They are ravaged during the war of the five kings, but the hypothetical with Robert on the throne takes place before that. The Vale Lords wanted to intervene, but didn't because Jon Arryn was dead and Lysa was regent for his heir. If Viserys invades while Jon Arryn is alive, none of that applies. Old men have successfully led sides in wars. Even Nymeria Martell did despite not being a warrior herself. Robert does not need to lose the pounds in order to win again. Nobody talks about Robert the way they did those kings, because he wasn't a nerd. Robert does not have the problem of disloyal vassals that Tytos had, with only Balon Greyjoy temporarily trying to openly defy him. Robert's resolution for a quarrel between children was that each should be disciplined by their own parents, which is a perfectly reasonable response to a childish quarrel. The news of the Riverlands being raided didn't reach King's Landing until AFTER Robert had already gone hunting and left Ned in charge, if Robert had people to fight that would presumably be more interesting than hunting. As mentioned, they had no problem being on the same side against the Greyjoys. The Blackfyre cause was kept alive by Bittersteel, and the second attempted rebellion was a farce without him. Viserys lacks a Bittersteel.
  6. FictionIsntReal

    Robert should have wed Daenerys to Joffrey

    Tywin was basically running the kingdom under Aerys, even without a marriage alliance. If he failed to get one under Robert, he could still be angling for power and perhaps hoping for a later Baratheon-Lannister marriage. On the other hand, sacking King's Landing would make him something of a persona non grata there for a while. Perhaps the ideal would be for Robert to declare that Aerys' madness and/or Jaime's actions voided the last Kingsguard appointment, so that Jaime would be sent back to Casterly Rock as Tywin's heir. Robert doesn't know about Young Griff. Tywin did it specifically because he knew Robert couldn't do it himself. And when Robert does order the killings of Viserys and Daenerys, it's after the latter has wed a Dothraki khal in order to provide the former with an army to overthrow the Baratheons.
  7. FictionIsntReal

    Why does Balon Greyjoy want to attack the North?

    The horn killed the guy who blew it. Since Euron also killed his own brother to replace him, any Ironborn should conclude that he regards them all as expendable. Boats are not a new invention, which is why the North long fought the "Worthless War" with the Vale over the Three SIsters. People could have sailed around Moat Cailin before, but it would still be hard to build any beachhead you set up. The industrial revolution hasn't occurred, there's no fossil fuels industry. It's a huge space, with a low value per acre, so you need to control a lot for it to add up to much. The Gift has depopulated over time because it's not very viable. Jon might resettle it with wildlings, because they're from somewhere even further north and less hospitable, and the threat from wildlings is one of the reasons people don't want to live there. I'm skeptical of such people settling down to living as farmers obedient to nobles, but that's getting off track. GRRM has said "the North is cruel" with regards to the threat of famine. From the Winter Wolves to the present there is the idea that men should go out and die in battle when winter comes so there aren't too many mouths to feed. It's not just compared to the Reach, but most kingdoms to the south. Euron was elected in a kingsmoot by the other Ironborn. Even if it weren't for Euron, Victarion would probably become king as the Ironborn have never been ruled by a queen. Euron didn't cause the Targaryens to have a male preference either despite Rhaenyra being named as heir, everywhere but Dorne disfavors female rulers. The Mongols built a horse-empire, which is different from a ship-empire. The Ironborn are seamen, and much better at building the latter thant he former. The North is a huge expanse of land, which would be difficult to control with ships. It's been said that the larger army doesn't always win, but that's the way to bet. Balon seems to ignore the logic any rational betting man would use, which is why he's a loser who's biggest victory is Theon's fluke conquest of Winterfell which certainly can't be attributed to Balon's plan. Anyone sitting on the Iron Throne isn't going to tolerate the Ironborn reviving the Old Way in defiance of Westerosi authority. At best he might have managed some kind of cynical deal with Tywin if he'd arranged for it earlier, but because he's an idiot he didn't even do that. Robb made the most reasonable offer Balon could get, failing to anticipate that Balon is a blithering idiot. There's lots of support in the Vale for entering the fight, and as his aunt Robb expected her to assist him against the Lannisters she blamed for killing her husband. He didn't know that Lysa is Littlefinger's pawn and kill Jon Arryn himself, which is not something even a great maker of allies like Robert Baratheon could have anticipated. What are you talking about? Stannis starts out with a disadvantage, but kicking Ironborn out is how he gets northmen on his side. Nobody joins the Ironborn to fight against Stannis, the only other viable side are the Bolton/Frey alliance.
  8. FictionIsntReal

    Wylla was Lewyn Martell's paramour [CRACKPOT]

    A princess/queen-to-be will have noble ladies as companions. Wetnurses are smallfolk. People take noble houses seriously, but nobody refers to her with a surname. Plus, as I said, wetnursing is a job for smallfolk, not the nobility.
  9. FictionIsntReal

    Why does Balon Greyjoy want to attack the North?

    Asha is basically the only reasonable Ironborn. Other Ironborn signed onto Euron's "utter madness" because they are unreasonable. The Riverlands are not the North. As was already pointed out, the RIverlands had been conquered by other kingdoms even before the Ironborn, whereas the North has remained religious distinct because no Southrons could conquer it until dragons arrived. Others have noted how northern hosts assembled to die in battle during the winter. I think they'd be far more motivated to throw the Ironborn out of the North than to support the Blacks over the Greens. Alaska has oil. The North does not have oil. The "stuff" is a famine-ridden region of harsh winters which no Southron has been able to conquer. Not the place you seize for a "thriving kingdom", unless perhaps you're from somewhere even colder. I can understand you being sympathetic to him making Asha his heir, but it didn't work. And I don't think it's admirable that he fails in his rebellion against Robert without seeming to have learned anything. Genghis Khan was from Mongolia, which is near Russia and experiences similar winters. Robb was fighting for Northern independence, and thus the only other king who would have tolerated Ironborn independence. So he was the only possible ally Balon could have had. Robb wasn't Balon's king and couldn't "give" him independence, Balon would still need to fight the claimants to the Iron Throne. But it would be easier fighting on the same side as Robb than against everybody. Thralldom, then. You are assuming the conclusion that Balon wasn't an idiot with a doomed plan, which is precisely what is being disputed. This war was a much better time to declare independence than after Robert was crowned. But attacking the only other belligerent who wouldn't have been fighting against Ironborn independence was the height of idiocy.
  10. FictionIsntReal

    Wylla was Lewyn Martell's paramour [CRACKPOT]

    He was a Kingsguard, so his paramour would have presumably been in King's Landing. All we know of Wylla is that she long served as a wetnurse at Starfall. It's not impossible that she moved from King's Landing to Starfall, but we have no evidence of her ever having been in the former.
  11. FictionIsntReal

    Why does Balon Greyjoy want to attack the North?

    If you don't want to permanently hold territory but instead just raid and plunder, that's actually a viable strategy for the Ironborn. But in that case, it's foolish to attack the North, whose low productivity discussed by others makes it the poorest kingdom per acre. Concentrations of portable wealth are going to be found in big cities, which are more common in the south. The Lannisters happen to have a lot of gold, which is a very concentrated form of portable wealth. Contrast that with the pinecones and stones Asha collected.
  12. FictionIsntReal

    Queries for GRRM

    One thing often forgotten is that Patroclus is the older one tasked with dispensing wisdom to the hotheaded Achilles, even though Achilles both outranks him by birth and is the better warrior.
  13. If the series gets more magical as it goes along, then perhaps we'll see the sword kill Darkstar when he tries to wield it.
  14. FictionIsntReal

    Why does Balon Greyjoy want to attack the North?

    Others have pointed out that the Riverlands are much more fertile than other the North, while the vast amounts of Northern land aren't that valuable. Another point thing is that the Riverlands are, as the name implies, full of rivers, which Ironborn/Vikings are able to navigate in their longships. The North is far less suited to their talents. Finally, the RIverlands have been repeatedly conquered by other people, whereas the north remains religiously distinct precisely because it resisted any incursion of southrons. Pre-modern history was characterized by Malthusian conditions. You want to control fertile land, and if you kill the people currently on said land, it can just be repopulated. The North is permanently less desirable than the Riverlands. The Ironborn got around it with ships, but they're not the only people with ships. However, even after you bypass that it's still hard to hold northern territory. Napoleon and Hitler both learned of the advantages the defenders of a wintry land have during winter. Those advantages don't depend on magic, unless you've got a very unusual take on Russian history.
  15. FictionIsntReal

    Illyrio's Game

    How does lust play a role in Illyrio's plot with Varys?