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Aldarion

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About Aldarion

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    Hedge Knight

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    Numenor under the sea
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    Military, history, military history, politics etc.

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  1. Aldarion

    Book characters lookalikes

    Who in real life would come closest to how you imagined characters from the books? Personally, I only have a few examples here, as all-and-all I feel GoT, for all its flaws, did casting very well. Stannis in particular was spot-on. So I will only list characters that were either a) not included or b) too far from how I imagined them. (Young) Robert Baratheon - Geoff Capes Rhaegar Targaryen - Devin Oliver or Emil Andersson Young Jon Connington - Chris Martin Robert Baratheon - Robbie Coltrane (as Hagrid) Tommen Baratheon - Jeff Cohen from Goonies Davos Seaworth - Stephen Merchant Jon Snow - Ben Whishaw, minus 20 years Illyrio Mopatis - Mike Myers as Fat Bastard (sorry, too few obese actors in Hollywood) Jon Connington - Damian Lewis (in a decade?) Aegon Targaryen / Young Griff - Jake Love
  2. Aldarion

    Denethoring the Lannisters

    Diplomatic it may not be, but it was achieved through diplomacy. Just that said diplomacy was aimed at Freys and Boltons.
  3. Aldarion

    Denethoring the Lannisters

    It does appear that way. When it comes to battles, well, it depends. Tolkien based a lot of his battles and descriptions on a) heroic songs (e.g. Norse Eddas) and b) early Middle Ages. So on one hand, you get unrealistic things such as Aragorn and Imrahil being "untouchable" on the field of battle, Boromir killing Illuvatar-knows-how-many Uruk-hai and so on. On the other hand, when you look at actual mechanics of battle - psychology, logistics, strategy, tactics - all of it is handled very realistically. Sauron when attacking Gondor triumphs largely because his Nazgul can psychologically overcome forces of Gondor. Theoden adresses - if even in few lines - the logistical concerns of his ride to Minas Tirith, and Nazgul Commander's tactics in attacking Minas Tirith are likewise dictated by logistical concerns. Rohirrim when attacked and cornered by a superior force of Uruk-hai dismount and form a shield-wall (they are aware they do not ride chargers from Hell). Numenoreans in Second Age also form a shield wall in Battle of Gladden Fields. When Rohirrim attack Sauron's army on Pelennor, they do not charge into a wall of pikes (as film would have you believe); instead, they split up into groups and seek out groups of orcs, main enemy force being busy assaulting the city and in any case unable to form up into one phalanx owing to the fact that Minas Tirith's surroundings are a built-up farmland (unlike the steppe movie has). It definitely did give him insight into soldiers' psychology. If you read chapters about Siege of Minas Tirith, battle there is not so much physical as it is psychological. Defenders are nearly overcome not because Sauron has an overwhelming military force - in fact, his advantage which may be on order of 10:1 is hardly extraordinary when sieges are concerned, and Minas Tirith is an extremely tough nut to crack - but because Sauron utilizes psychological tactics to reduce their will to resist (that is yet another thing films screwed up in adapting the text, but then again, television is a different medium, and showing on TV the impact of creeping dread would have taken the entirety of the film by itself). Tolkien was also a scholar of medieval literature, which has a lot of battles (Song of Roland even made it into Return of the King in one line). Agreed.
  4. Aldarion

    Denethoring the Lannisters

    I am aware that George is anti-war. But that is hardly an excuse. Tolkien was anti-war as well, probably far more so than Martin - having served in World War I and all (JRRT served at Somme) - yet, despite a) being anti-war, b) writing mythology as opposed to fictional history and c) having less focus on war (Sauron never could have been defeated conventionally in Third Age), War of the Ring actually makes sense tactically, logistically and strategically. Martin handles tactics very well - although we are yet to see how he will handle interaction of wildly disparate groups (e.g. Golden Company vs Westerosi, Westerosi vs Unsullied) - but logistics and strategy are somewhat off. I do have to give him props for integrating strategy and politics, though - as Clausewitz noted, warfare is merely martial expression of peacetime policies. Therefore, if peacetime aims can sometimes be achieved through war, wartime aims can likewise be achieved through diplomacy. And we see Tywin doing precisely that (e.g. Red Wedding). Precisely. And that is where naval resupply would have been handy.
  5. Aldarion

    Why is navy underutilized in Westeros?

    But what you described is precisely what I am complaining about: navies have played combat role (I am aware of that), but everybody seems to be utilizing them only for that. Yet historically, navies were - especially for land power, which everyone except Ironborn is, in Westeros - far more important for a) logistics and b) strategic maneuver, than they were for naval combat and sieges (though of course they were utilized for that as well). Tywin knew Robb Stark had no navy. Assuming that he had a navy, or at least a merchant fleet, he could have bypassed Robb's army and threatened Riverlands, or even Winterfell. As it was, Bumbling Greyjoy dropped him a coup in the lap - not something Tywin expected, I think. If Robb had a navy, he would have had no need to kiss Old Frey's backside - he could have gone south without needing to come anywhere near the Twins. And no, transporting army by sea would not have left him open to invasion by the south. Navies typically move much more quickly than armies, and in Westeros they have somewhat reliable communications in form of ravens. Merely leaving scouts in Riverlands and the Neck would have meant that he would be able to cut off any enemy advance in that direction.
  6. Aldarion

    Denethoring the Lannisters

    In war between Gondor and Mordor we see (in the books, not so much the movies) outright Byzantine layered defense-in-depth strategy. Now, the entire point of defense-in-depth is our old friend friction. As Clausewitz explains, anything we do encounters friction, that is things which make achieving our goals easier. Some of it friction is internal, and indeed any complex system - such as an army, or society in general - experiences friction. And this friction increases with any addition to that complexity. You move an army, friction increases. If there are any obstacles, difficult terrain, friction increases again. Enemy is interfering? More friction. In fact, friction alone is often enough to defeat an army; for example, if terrain is difficult enough, attacking army not familiar with it may fall apart without any action taken on the defenders' part. And it is this friction which Denethor utilized in defense against Mordor (there is very in depth analysis here, though I will not be using it for the most part; I have however read it, and I highly recommend it). Quick overview of the elements is as follows: 1) Rangers of Ithillien. These guys serve as scouts, spies and raiders. They are operating within enemy territory, gathering information and intercepting smaller elements of Sauron's forces. 2) Anduin. This is a massive river - something similar to Danube - and can only be crossed on few points: Cair Andros and Osgilliath chief among them. It thus serves as both a defensive line and a chokepoint. 3) Rammas Echor. Essentially a giant wall, likely inspired by Anastasian wall. It was not a defence per se, but rather an obstacle which could be used for rearguard action. 4) Fields of Pelennor. 5) Minas Tirith itself. So how does this work? Simple: it is all about friction. Rangers of Ithillien, by their scouting activities, provide the intelligence to Gondor while denying it to the Enemy. Although impact is limited by the fact that both Denethor and Sauron have palantiri, palantiri themselves are also limited. Rangers also present a constant, if low-level, threat, thus forcing the enemy forces to move around in larger, less mobile and more unwieldy groups. Anduin itself is a massive obstacle. Its width and navigational hazards basically funnel Mordor's forces into several chokepoints, thus allowing Gondor to concentrate its limited defensive strength. And even once crossed, it still represents a logistical obstacle for what is essentially a ground-bound force. Rammas Echor, as noted before, is almost impossible to defend due to its massive size. However, that is not its purpose. Its mere presence immensly complicates logistics of any attacking army: doors in the wall are a logistical chokepoint, so any army that has forced Rammas Echor either has to accept that fact, or destroy the wall (and we see Mordor doing that - with gunpowder). Further, road which leads from Osgilliath towards Minas Tirith passes through Rammas Echor, and the point where it passes the wall is defended by Causeway Forts. It is here that Faramir fights a delaying action against forces of Mordor, and rearguard positioned at the forts can cover the withdrawal across Pelennor. Fields of Pelennor are not an defensive obstacle per se, but still function as one. As Faramir's forces retreat from Rammas Echor, his rear guard - consisting of cavalry - is harrying the enemy force, forcing it to maintain formation and thus take its sweet time crossing the Pelennor. Minas Tirith is a massive fortress. As a result, enemy has to mount either a siege or an assault. Both present a difficulty. In sieges, attackers often suffered as much as defenders - especially in the era before railway. And army which may be sitting at its ass for months at the time still needs to be supplied - and there are limits in that ability. It is likely these logistical concerns which motivate Witch King to mount an assault; but assault is in itself incredibly difficult, especially as Minas Tirith is easily one of most fortified cities in fiction. It has seven concentric walls, and in a post I am writing for my blog I estimated the city to be 1,5 kilometers across (in films, it is only 200 meters or so - as height and width of the city are more or less equal). It thus replicates outlined strategy in microcosmos. Overall, the aim is not to destroy the enemy, but to delay them. There are no magical logistics in Middle Earth - orcs have to eat, even if that means eating each other. And Minas Tirith can resist any army that can be kept in the field for the long time, which means that the only way to take the city is by the storm. Even then, however, city's defensive architecture makes such an undertaking an extremely costly affair, in terms of both lives and time. Just to give an example, final siege of Minas Ithil lasted for two years. Combined with previously outlined characteristics, there is usually time enough for reinforcements to arrive. First siege also lasted for perhaps a year before the city fell. Minas Tirith also was reinforced before the siege by provincial forces, which were summoned by the beacons. When Mordor attacks, first major battle is fought at Osgilliath. Faramir returns to Minas Tirith from Ithillien to report on enemy movements, and Denethor sends him to Osgilliath with reinforcements. Orcs force a crossing in boats, but suffer heavy losses, while Faramir retreats to Causeway Forts. There he is reached by retreating forces from Cair Andros, and pulls back to Minas Tirith. Retreat across Pellenor is in marching order, with cavalry fighting a rearguard action, and orcs in pursuit become disordered in their eagerness to get to grips. Once Faramir's forces draw close to Minas Tirith, Denethor releases a cavalry sortie; out of order, forces of Mordor cannot resist. Cavalry of Gondor crushes them, but Denethor calls them back to prevent them from overextending. Crossing, battle at Causeway forts, retreat and finally Denethor's charge all serve to induce friction in forces of Mordor, delay and disorder them. I should also point out the preparations Denethor carried out: he removed all nonessential personnel from the city, thus limiting the mouths to feed. By evacuating the Pelennor, he also denied Mordor army supplies. Mordor army also, and historically accurate, brings their siege equipment disassembled, and assembles it on-site. Army of Rohan, alerted by Denethor's messanger before the siege, is also moving towards Minas Tirith; being six thousand strong, it can make use of local supplies. * * * * * Now, onto Robb Stark. How could he have opposed the Lannisters? The answer is found in logistics. I will cite here the notes I made for the fantasy setting I am developing: "For a two-week march, a 15 000 men force (two legions plus auxilliaries) requires 288 400 kg of grain for soldiers' rations - 115 360 kg for a standard 6 000 men force. Horses and mules significantly increase this – while light horses used by scouts and rangers can subside entirely off the grass, large war horses require a supply of food, around 15 kg per day, while normal war horse requires 9 kg per day, and same for pack or draft horse, while mule would require 7,5 kg per day. Further, each cavalryman has to have a war horse, a riding horse and a pack horse. 2 000 cavalry in usual legion thus requires 6 000 horses, of which 800 heavy war horses, 1 200 average-sized war horses, 2 000 riding horses, and 2 000 pack horses or mules. Assuming mules instead of pack horses, these would require a total of 59 000 kg of fodder per day or 826 000 kg for two weeks. In normal conditions a third of figure for animals is barley, which means animals will require 275 000 kg of barley over two weeks, for a total of 390 360 kg over two weeks. If there is no possibility for grazing at all, total requirements for a legion come for 941 360 kg over two weeks. A standard pack horse or a mule can carry a maximum of 120 kg over any distance. For a two-week march, a mule would carry 105 kg of barley for itself, leaving 15 kg free. Ridden cavalry horses would carry 34 kg of barley, unridden cavalry horses 68 kg of barley, and mules 84 kg of barley. Since soldiers can and do carry 14 to 17 days worth of food with themselves on the march, barley carried by mules would be that required by animals themselves. Horses themselves would carry 204 000 kg of barley. As such, a 6 000 strong legion on a two-week march would have 737 360 kg of barley carried by pack animals, requiring 6 145 mules. If grazing is available as an option, barley carried by pack animals is 186 360 kg, requiring 2 219 mules. Army accompanied by pack animals can make 25 km per day in flat terrain, or 350 kilometers with above numbers. Oxen however would require no fodder, as they can obtain food by grazing; this however requires significant time, and may not be useful in mountainous areas. In flat areas, two mules can pull a wagon carrying 660 or cart carrying 500 kg. Two mules would require 210 kg of fodder for two weeks, leaving 450 kg for a two-week march or 240 kg for four-week march. As such, a legion would require 868 – 2 092 wagons for two week march (280 – 350 km) or 1 626 – 3 922 wagons for four-week march (560 – 700 km). These would require 1 736 to 7 844 mules – former number being mere one fifth of number required in mountainous areas. If using carts – of lesser capacity but more agile in hard terrain – numbers are 380 (with grazing) – 1 504 (no grazing) carts for two-week march and 2 330 (with grazing) – 9 217 carts (no grazing) for four-week march. Four-week march is standard which provincial officials have to set aside for an army. All numbers are increased in practice by some 10 – 20% in order to compensate for losses during the march." Here one also has to understand that armies in Westeros are actually not medieval, but actually from early-modernity: you simply cannot field 50 000+ men as a coherent force without standardized army organization, such as was employed by Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and early modern and later Western European armies. What this means that they also ought to have a standardized and developed logistical system - largest force you can feed in the field, from foraging, is cca 6 000 or so. Army larger than that cannot really remain in the field for more than two weeks without organized system of supply (four weeks may be technically possible, but I suspect it is rather impractical). Yet Robb Stark fields 20 000, and stays in the field for a long time. Other kings also field armies in tends of thousands, but Renly Baratheon takes the cake with his host that is some 90 000 strong. This means that all these armies have well developed supply lines. But supply lines can be cut. Robb, in his initial moves, managed to prevent Tywin Lannister from unifying his armies, as explained by Blackfish here. But in the process he slips Roose Bolton's reins - and never picks back up. He also sent Theon Greyjoy to negotiate with Balon - even had Theon not turned cloak, Balon could have simply imprisoned Theon and attacked North anyway. Anyway, Robb decided to attack Westerlands. Now, his decisions do make some sense. Attacking Westerlands puts Tywin on back foot. But it also removes Robb from his own centre of gravity, and forces him to wage war by Southern rules. Robb also displays strategic confusion in failing to give Edmure clear orders. Problem is, when he went into South, Robb left North almost undefended. Better option may have been to try and incite Tywin into following him up North, and then harrying him until his host falls apart. In going North, Tywin likely would have had to besiege Riverrun and few other key fortresses, thus splitting his force. Between North's size and desolate nature, any campaign by southern forces in the North is bound to run into difficulties - even before you account for armed opposition. So why was this not done? Robb may have intended to do it, but if so, he failed to brief his subordinates on his plan. He also overcommited himself to his southern campaign. Riverlands do have rivers, which may even be significant barriers in the vein of Anduin (although the emphasis on region's "lack of natural boundaries" indicates that these rivers can be easily forded. But historically, rivers are significant strategic actor. In Croatian-Ottoman wars, a major defeat meant that the border get pushed - up to the next river). However, the region is completely open from the West - which is where main danger comes from - and situation from the South is not much better until one comes to Riverrun, by which point half the Riverlands had been lost already. It could never have been held conventionally. Further, necessities of campaigning in the South forced Robb to give too much power to men like Roose Bolton and Walder Frey, who never were reliable allies. Both of them were always keeping their options open. In the North, he might have had more reliable commanders to fall back on. Ironborn, too, would never had attacked - the only reason they did was that there was not sufficient force in the North to counter them. So the way I see it, if he could have incited Tywin to follow North, then he could have harried him throughout the Riverlands, especially at the fords. Similar to what Edmure did, but designed to bleed Tywin, not to stop him. If smallfolk and their possessions are in castles or evacuated, Tywin would have been hard-pressed to sustain his army. Even in the best-case scenario, he would be forced to move to maintain himself, and thus keep chasing after Robb. And if he tried to besiege castles, he would be vulnerable to a counterattack. And there were chances for that: Tywin is nothing if not proud. Such a move would have also limited Ramsay Bolton's actions, though I do not believe Robb was aware of the need to do so.
  7. Aldarion

    George Martin and scale

    Maybe, but a lot of seemingly independent aspects of society are in fact closely interdependent. Economic basis of society will affect its administration, and literacy and administration will affect economy. And with seven different cultures close together, Westeros should be constantly fighting civil wars. Even civil wars for the Iron Throne should have had expression of cultural differences: say, Crownlands, Stormlands declare predominantly for the Blacks, North and Riverlands for Greens and so on.
  8. Aldarion

    George Martin and scale

    Yeah. That does appear to be the case. Problem is, we do not have any indication that people of Westeros are much different from people in our world. So where there are differences, there should be some reason for those.
  9. Aldarion

    George Martin and scale

    Actually, you do need a certain amount of urbanization (of course, there is always some leeway). It comes down to transportation and communication. Communication part is covered by ravens; but you still need to produce goods in cities, and transport those goods across the kingdoms. You need to ensure centres of learning so you have people enough to run administration (although it just occured to me that, since Maesters apparently monopolized learning in Westeros, there may be no centres of learning - which may very well significantly harm economy and urbanization of Westeros). And regarding transportation... In Europe, that trading network you are noting was heavily helped by rivers. And reason why United States could be and remain united is because half the territory of United States is covered by Mississipi river basin. Compare to Europe. Westeros to me appears quite similar to Europe in that regard. And indeed its territories are roughly similar to river basins. Westerlands may be too large, but that could be excused assuming that rivers that flow from Westerlands are not navigable while in Westerlands. However, there are few rivers flowing between the kingdoms, which means that sea transportation is the only way of transporting goods from one kingdom to another. In other words, if what you are saying is true, we should be seeing massive river and sea based transportation. And Westerosi kingdoms are based on RL countries. So forget remaining united for any significant amount of time without dragons, they should not even be speaking same languages. Yes, there could, should and would be lingua franca, similar to how Latin was in the Roman Empire. But seeing difficulties in transportation between kingdoms, there would be little opportunity for it to dominate local languages; especially if Targaryens utilized feudal system of rule as opposed to rather more centralized Roman system. Although I do not really know the details of how latin came to dominate local languages.
  10. Aldarion

    George Martin and scale

    Because it is much bigger and much more dispersed than Britain and Europe. There are not enough cities and population density in Westeros to support societal and more importantly technological level we are witnessing there. They have technology of late 14th or even 15th century - sans gunpowder - yet urbanization level is closer to 10th century and population density closer to Dark Ages Europe. And in fact it makes perfect sense for North to have not moved past chain / maille armour for its troops, as it is too sparsely populated to develop enough for plate armour (so any plate armour you see in the North should be imported). Problem is, at urbanization levels we are witnessing, nobody should have full plate armour. 15th century Hungary and Croatia were sparsely populated compared to Western Europe, but they imported plate armour from Germany and Italy. Now, these are just impression, so I am going to check whether I am wrong about the above. Seven Kingdoms have 40 million people at maybe 3 600 000 square miles (eyeballed, but confirmed here). If we remove North, which is some 1,2 million square miles and 4 million people, we get 36 million people and 2,4 million square miles, for 15 people per square mile. England in 1500 had population of 3 million at 50 345 square miles, for 60 people per square mile. Hungary in 1500 had population density of 30 people per square mile - and it was one of the countries which imported plate armour from abroad (Croatian nobles imported it from Italy and Austria, Hungarian nobles from Austria and Germany IIRC). Ottoman Empire had population density similar to Hungary, but it never fielded full-plate armour, and in any case had significantly different societal and political organization (stolen from late Byzantine Empire, it had little in common with European feudalism). At any rate, for a (relatively) highly technological society such as Westeros to function, you have to have cities. Westeros is an early modern society, not Medieval one, yet population density is closer to Dark Ages than to Renaissance. It should have urbanization rate similar to Byzantine Empire at least - 10 to 15% - and more likely closer to higher end of the scale. But highest estimate for urban population I found is cca 3 million, which is much less than 10%. Higher urbanization would actually reduce population density, so it could fall to well below 10 per square mile. If Westeros is similar to England of 1500, then total population should be 144 million people in the south, or 72 million if we take Hungary (which is waaay too low). North should then have 16 million people (or 8 million for Hungary estimate), for total Westeros population of either 160 million or 80 million. This means that standing, professional forces of Westeros should be at least 800 000 for whole of Westeros. So yeah. Martin should be writing about half-naked barbarians fighting against, at most, fryd militia. NOT the half-professional banderial armies clad in plate armour.
  11. Aldarion

    George Martin and scale

    Fun fact: english longbow, due to the way it is made, is basically a composite bow (they exploit different properties of different portions of wood to create self bow with characteristics of a composite bow). And thanks for corrections. Problem is, where are the cities, then? And castle that is a seat of power (in what are, effectively, kingdoms), should eventually develop into the city even if it is not one. Which also rather constrains where such a castle could be located.
  12. Aldarion

    George Martin and scale

    Ignoring air resistance, gravitational constant is 32,16 fps^2. So an arrow shot at 278 FPS will have lost all velocity in 8,6 seconds, allowing it to cover 1 200 ft. Now, this is a shot in the vacuum. Adding to that the loss of 1 fps every ten yards (30 ft) however seems insignificant (8,38 s). So yes, I do agree that it can kill. Not so about penetrating armour, not the types used in War of the Roses era which is what Westeros is based on. I do not think wildlings use longbows, Night's watch apparently uses mail and boiled leather, and likely padded doublets as well. Mail (assuming it is riveted) and padded doublets (gambeson) are both very good at stopping arrows. Richard's men in holy land walked around looking like pincushions after being shot at by Saladdin's horse archers. And as you can see, padded armour and leather - or even just padded armour - can stop arrows: So if wildilings are using short bows, Night's Watch is more-or-less safe from anything barring lucky shots. No need for full plate. In fact, even longbow is quite useless against good gambeson, although the following example is likely not up the snuff with proper English warbow; I do not think wildlings have proper bowmakers, though: And, again, you are ignoring the question whether they would be able to hit anything (it is not just about distance and arrow's ability to reach, it is also about the effect of the wind - IIRC, Wall is very windy - and angle they will be making shot at - they cannot shoot straight up if they want to have any effect). Though I imagine that would depend on the number of archers. Fill the air with enough arrows and you will hit something.
  13. Aldarion

    George Martin and scale

    What you are quoting is maximum range that arrow can reach. But Night's Watch are not fighting naked, and even if they were, arrow shot straight up would reach a point where it would not be able to pierce skin, let alone skin, bone and/or muscle as well as organs which it needs in order to kill; and that will happen lot sooner than it reaches maximum flight range, as it will be receiving no gravity assistance. But at any rate, my point was about their ability to actually hit the targets. Night's watch will have been standing single-file, and even then not shoulder-to-shoulder. Can they shoot with any accuracy at that range? EDIT: And remember that these are not trained archers; though admittedly hunting would help with practice.
  14. Aldarion

    George Martin and scale

    What do we even know about them? I don't think there is any mention in the books. Found it on Reddit somewhere, confirmed by Googling. It is from a World of Ice and Fire. https://books.google.hr/books?id=hapdAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA204&lpg=PA204&dq="almost+two+leagues+long+from+west+to+east"&source=bl&ots=G2VO7lvt5T&sig=ACfU3U1m4bQm_MXaBzgs6Hk5qrXXJJHwaw&hl=hr&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjWmt2onqDlAhVxw4sKHdS-Cz8Q6AEwAHoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q="almost two leagues long from west to east"&f=false No, it is not. Also, I do not think Harrenhal was built to resist either White Walkers or Targaryens, so it doesn't even have that excuse. Short answer: I do not know. Long answer: Depends on a lot on factors, but biggest factor is the capacity of whatever access points castle in question has. Castle, to function, has to a) bring in food (and maybe water) as well as other living necessities and b) be maintained. And materials for maintenance also have to be brought in. But I have no way of calculating the latter, and also no way of calculating the former either. So it is Moria. Yes, that would solve a few problems, if we assume there are merely a few tunnels and rooms. Do you think it was inspired by Petra? Maybe. But that means that it cannot serve as a refuge for surrounding population, and extremely difficult access poses question of how it is supplied and maintained (though it is not undoable, assuming accessway is wide enough. Dragonstone's drum tower is supposed to be of a massive size, unless I am misremembering. But I was referring more to the circumstances of its construction. Targaryens escaped doom and landed on, by all accounts, poor and not that large island, yet they managed to maintain - and maybe expand - the army, feed three large dragons, and construct the castle. Each of those would be, by itself, a massive logistical burden. Where did the resources come from? Storm's End's wall is a hundred feet tall and between forty and eighty feet thick. Castle may not be massive in terms of acreage it covers, but it is definitely a massive foritification. Largest walls I could find in the medieval and early Renaissance Europe - those of Dubrovnik - were up to 82 feet tall, but only 20 feet thick, and even that height was not maintained throughout. Constantinople's walls are significantly smaller at 40 feet high and 20 feet thick. Storm's End has a wall whose crossection is 2,4 to 4,9 times those of Dubrovnik at their most massive, and fortress itself is I believe situated in very inaccessible terrain. And that wall size places minimum value on size of fortress - it must be at least 150 feet across, maybe 200. More likely 300 to 500 feet, unless most of the buildings are within the curtain wall or else underground. Although it does get an excuse of being built by Bran the Builder. Winterfell is not the largest castle of Westeros, and I do not remember anything indicating its size was seen as extraordinary. A large castle, to be sure, but I get impression it is more akin to Krak des Chevaleurs in our own world - large, closer to upper end of the scale, but hardly unique in terms of scale. EDIT: I also found this: Dragonstone is undermanned with garrison of 200 (wartime). Storm's End is undermanned with garrison of 300 (wartime). Riverrun is overcrowded with 300. Winterfell has garrison of 200 (peacetime). So Dragonstone may be larger than Riverrun and smaller than Storm's End. Now, in real life, Krak des Chevaliers had a garrison of 2 000 and covered 2,38 ha. But that was military fortress, not feudal castle. Feudal castles in real life had much smaller garrisons. This is what I found on British castles: Conwy Castle: 30 soldiers. Size. Dover Castle: Unknown. Largest in England. Rhuddlan Castle: 36, of which 30 soldiers. Dyserth Castle: 2 soldiers. Devizes Castle: 3, of which 2 soldiers. Now these are mostly peacetime garrisons. But Dyserth castle was of concentric type, and Devizes castle is not exactly small either. Yeah, that is what I noticed as well. Which just reinforces my belief that castles weren't meant to be that big, but rather GRRM screwed up the scale. EDIT: And it is not just castles. Standard war galley apparently has 100 oars per deck. King Robert's Hammer has 400 oars, Lord Tywin has 800 oars.
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