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Lord Varys

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Everything posted by Lord Varys

  1. Lord Varys

    Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

    The issue isn't whether the Dustins rule the Barrowlands or not, the issue is how large their territories (or rather: the Barrowlands) are. And we still don't know that.
  2. Lord Varys

    Tywin and Rhaella?

    They are both more reliable than idle speculation done by people who do not, in fact, live in Westeros. Yandel doesn't really talk about Hasty and Rhaella, anyway. And I really don't see a reason why Selmy's story about Rhaella's true love shouldn't be true. And Pycelle isn't really that bad of a source, either. We don't need TWoIaF to know that Aerys II was less than an ideal king and Tywin a pretty good Hand. Still, no reason to believe Tywin gave shit about Rhaella and vice versa, no?
  3. Lord Varys

    The Book of Swords - The Sons of the Dragon SPOILERS

    The problem with the Romanov comparison is that blood claims weren't really an issue there, as the rise of Catherine the Great (and Peter the Great anointing his own wife, a former courtesan, as his successor - who then also actually succeeded him). That was an autocracy, where the word of the Tsar was everything, and there were no proper laws of succession until Catherine's son finally got around to establish male primogeniture.
  4. Whoever wants to discuss the new fake history piece - this would be the place. Fire away.
  5. Lord Varys

    Tywin and Rhaella?

    Far to the contrary, Rhaella seems to have been a faithful sister-wife, looking down on women who actually allowed themselves to be turned into whores. The guy she would have liked to marry was Ser Bonifer Hasty, but even in his case there is no hint that they actually had an affair. They had feelings for each other, but these two seem to have been both the kind of people who would only enter into a proper relationship (i.e. a marriage), not starting some ill-fated, wrong affair destroying the honor of the princess and making the humble knight look as if he overreached himself.
  6. Lord Varys

    Blackfyre Heritage Reveal Predictions

    The Targaryens are the kings of them all. And they know that. Most of the secessionists and rebels think they can/should do what they do (and get away with it) because the dragons are gone. Once the dragons are back the Northmen and Rivermen will fall back in line, or at least not actively oppose their rightful rulers.
  7. Lord Varys

    Shaera in Aerys´ rule

    Sure, they did. They handed them to servants and tutors and masters-at-arms while they lived their own lives, fulfilling the duties that come with being a great lord and the lady of a castle. There are different layers or concept in this story. There are arcs and characters who get an explanation as to why they are what they are and do what they do and there are also characters who are described in a manner that imply they had certain traits since birth, and never had a chance to be any different. That is especially true with the Targaryens - with the geniuses and great guys just as well as with the foul apples, implying that the author thinks that breeding is as important (or more important) than nurture in those cases. And the same is there with the story of a considerable number of sadists and murderers in the books. There is no indication whatsoever that Ramsay or Gregor have a similar sad back story as, say, Sandor. Just declaring they must have had such a story goes against the text as we have it. I never doubted that, but you have given us no evidence that Joff was nice to Sansa because his mother was there or that he reacted the way he did because she left and not, as I put forth, because of the quarrel between his royal parents and the implications. Joff's mind is somewhere else after the quarrel. He has forgotten Sansa, and he rushes off because of the quarrel, but we don't know what he thinks or why he does this. If George wanted to create characters exclusively the way you claim he does create them then he should give especially all his mad/cruel characters a proper back story explaining their motivations to hammer home the point you think he tries to make - that all people have a back story explaining why they do what they do. But he didn't do that. The characters we talk about are not, in fact, extras or insignificant characters. Gregor and Ramsay and Roose and Aerys II and Joffrey and even Aerion are pretty important characters in the frame of the stories they show up. Don't overplay this. I never said 'innately evil from birth'. I said there is no sign for trauma and no sign of abuse for the characters I mentioned while there are sign that some of them had cruel and sadistic tendencies even as small children. Now, does this mean they have to become criminals? Not necessarily. They still have to make choices and are shaped by the people around them. But creatures like Gregor and Ramsay and Aerion were not, as far as we know, shaped by the people around them to become the people they are. They had a very strong tendency in that direction. Sure, Aerion the baseborn bastard of Aegon IV, not knowing who his father was, wouldn't have had the means to abuse as many people the way he did, but if it is the blood of the dragon that makes him think he is dragon in human form then this delusion isn't something that was fed to him by his elders. If Gregor hadn't been his father's son he would never have become a knight, but then - the way he is described he would have still hurt and killed people. It is a part of the bundle of qualities that allows you to become a psychopath(ic) killer. And it is not something for which we are given an explanation. Joff's lack of empathy seems to be something that was there from birth, not something that he acquired (like Arya) along the way, due to traumas he suffered. Sure, there are beloved cats in the castle. Tommen has kittens, Princess Rhaenys had a kitten, other princes had pets. Pets are a thing in this world, at least among the nobility. It could, but again - where the hell is your proof that it was? I understand why Cersei included Joff in his own government. I just argued against your point that Joffrey as a minor king had any legal authority in his own government. He did not. That is why he has a regent. Cersei could have had the heads of the all the people involved in Ned's execution because those men did either knowingly or unknowingly (because they didn't double-check with her) execute a command she did not approve of. It is that simple. If it was different, minor kings in Westeros wouldn't have regents but just a council of advisers like grown-up kings do. If you don't accept things that are actually described in the text as evidence we are literally not on the same page. You are talking about things that are not there. What is even your reason why you don't believe shouldn't have happened? We know Joff commanded it, and we know Cersei didn't even chastise her son after he had Ned Stark executed. She arranged for him to attaint pretty much all the great lords in the Realm during the first court session of her boy. There is no reason why she should intervene in a matter as trivial as the forced duel to the death of some insignificant knights. If Cersei cared about making her son look popular and loved she shouldn't have arranged for him to attaint the Baratheons, Arryns, Tullys, Starks, Tyrells, Martells, etc. long before various pretenders and rebels raised their ugly heads. Any smart person would have tried to secure the loyalty of some of these people before publicly denouncing them as traitors.
  8. Lord Varys

    The Book of Swords - The Sons of the Dragon SPOILERS

    @Bael's Bastard There is no proof, but there are hints that are as subtly pointing in that direction as those hints about Rhaenyra's sons being 'strong stripling lads'. This choice of words is very deliberate, as is the author stressing that Aenys was a good singer with a strong, sweet voice. No other Targaryen is suspected of being fathered by a singer, nor is any ever praised for his singing voice. That isn't a coincidence. In the end, the matter cannot be resolved, but all we know, by and far, is Aegon acknowledged Aenys as his son. That isn't the same as confirmation that 'the official story' is true.
  9. Lord Varys

    Shaera in Aerys´ rule

    The Dunk & Egg stories won't cover the reign of King Jaehaerys II, though. I never said that Princess Shaera is not going to feature in some (important) way in the Dunk & Egg stories (she definitely should show up if such stories cover court life during the reign of Aegon V). But she is still a footnote in history because there is no (good) reason to believe George is ever going to turn back to write a more detailed history of the reigns of Jaehaerys II and Aerys II. And she clearly is not important enough to feature as a character in TWoIaF or as a memory of significance in the main books. Selmy knew both Jaehaerys II and Queen Shaera, but at this point he only remembered Jaehaerys, not his sister-wife. There certainly is potential there - or would be, if George thought about using it, but at this point I'm not holding my breath. I mean, there is also a lot of potential in the story of Rickard Stark and Lyarra Stark (who is as of yet completely absent from the main series and TWoIaF - the family three aside), yet chances are very low that this story is ever going to be told. If I had to guess Lyarra Stark died in childbirth giving birth to Benjen - and Queen Shaera died in childbirth, too, during the reign of her brother-husband, trying to give Aerys and Rhaella a little sibling.
  10. Lord Varys

    Military Strengths and More!

    Guys, there is no reason to assume that the average great house controls many men personally. Just look at Winterfell; in the northwest there are the Glovers, and in the south there are the Cerwyns, a mere day's ride away. A lot of Stark men would therefore be Cerwyn men. Or take Oldtown (surrounded by many lesser castles sworn to the Hightower) or KL (which is basically the only place aside from Dragonstone which is directly controlled by the king). It might be that there are some great houses which control a significant portion without intermediaries - but if that's the case then we have yet to see this. As to petty lords: That is not exactly a well-defined term. A petty lord is a very small lord, but he is still a lord and as far as we know he still has all the rights and privileges a not-so-petty lord has, so this seems to be more derogatory term than one that's clearly defined and marks difference in the feudal hierarchy. From the point of view of the Hightowers pretty much any other lord in the Seven Kingdoms would be 'petty'. From the POV of the Freys or the Tarlys or the Corbrays it would be others. We also don't know how the feudal pyramid is organized. A lord who has still other vassals doesn't sound very petty to me. In that sense, the lords of the Crownlands (especially the Darklyns but also the Rosbys and Stokeworths) wouldn't qualify as petty in my opinion. Those houses likely command a significant portion of yet smaller lords and/or at least landed knights. In regard to the ratio of horse vs. foot, etc. one has to keep in mind that there are always freeriders (basically professional warriors with horses who aren't knights and who fight for coin, not out of some feudal responsibility). We don't know how large that ratio is when comparing freeriders to mounted lords and knights. And when considering the large host of the Lords Declarant one shouldn't make the mistake to assume that those men were all made up out of levies and vassals of the lords making up that alliance. There is a power vacuum in the Vale at this point, and the Lord Arryn cannot do anything to stop some of his principal bannermen to march against them. If the Royces, Waynwoods, Hunters, etc. march against the Eyrie then a lot of people in the Vale might feel compelled to join them - never mind whether they are sworn to any of the lords in the group or not. Lyn Corbray also joined them, and even forced himself among the envoys visiting Littlefinger. And if you look at the Dance, then we see Lord Ormund Hightower subduing the entire Reach along his line of march between Oldtown and Tumbleton. He is forcing men to join his army who are not sworn to Oldtown.
  11. Lord Varys

    Shaera in Aerys´ rule

    Well, you don't seem to care about the actual nature of their relationship. There is love there, but not the kind of love that is common among functional modern families. And this isn't the place to continue this discussion - my point is (and stands) that noble and royal children are not primarily cuddled and cared for by their biological parents. They outsource this kind of thing. And that was my original point when I made clear that a royal child as privileged and cared for as Prince Aerys (second in line to the Iron Throne) wouldn't have spent much time with his princely (and later royal) mother. There are cases to be made that the Starks are a family with closer real emotional ties in comparison to others, but they, too, are a noble family and raise their children the way noble families do. I mean, just take Cat - her mother died in her childhood but her main memories about her father Hoster are about him being absent - not about her hanging out with him. The trusted Tully adult the children could go was the Blackfish, not Catelyn's father. Cressen (and Luwin, too, to an extent) thinks of as a father about the noble children in his care, etc. Do we know he went after Cersei? I don't recall that. Even if he did - perhaps he was intrigued by the whole quarrel his parents had and wanted to know what this was about? I don't allow George to get away with stuff he says outside his work and then project imagined humanizing back stories on characters we don't (yet) have any. I judge the characters by the way the author portrays them. If they don't have back stories, they don't have back stories (yet). And if he wanted us to see Gregor, Ramsay, Aerion, etc. in a positive/humane light he would have given us such back stories (or at least hinted at those). Aerion, for instance, is often discussed and seen in THK (and even later) yet the only reason we are given as to why he is how he is because of an innate cruelty and because a madness causes him to think of himself as a dragon in human form. Ideas that Aerion may have been abused by people at Summerhall we know nothing about is beyond the sphere of things we can reasonably entertain. And it is the same with Gregor and Ramsay, really. Or take Roose. There is no indication whatsoever that Roose was abused. Honestly, I would not speculate about Robert's reason there - because we don't know his reasons. What we do know, though, is that his culture's sense of right and wrong considered that kind of behavior completely unacceptable - presumably, I think, because cats are (also) used as pets in a castle, even by members of the royal family. I know that Joff's motivation there was curiosity, but even that shows that the boy is lacking in empathy. And there is simply no explanation given for that. Why not? She rules the Seven Kingdoms, not the child. She is the Queen Regent, and in the minority of a king the regent rules, not the king. That's why there is a regent in the first place. She is the ultimate authority, not the boy. Having him participate in decisions was always a charade and a mummer's farce. That it had bad consequences is because she failed to stop it in time - but that's because of her inaction/stupidity, not due to lack of authority. There is no reason to believe that King Joffrey's sentence allowed those knights to come to terms peacefully. He decreed that they would fight to the death - not that they should only do that under certain circumstances. And again - your personal ideas what happened afterwards aren't really relevant. There is no indication that anyone (Cersei included) wanted to prevent this thing, and the author does emphasize that the boy king never changed his mind on the matter. Cersei certainly could have kept Joff out of everything - but that she chose to include him in his own government, even giving him authority to decree things, indicates that she stood by his judgments. And in the end she even accepted Ned's execution. There is no indication that Joff was chastised for his disobedience afterwards - which Cersei, as his mother, certainly could have done.
  12. Lord Varys

    Shaera in Aerys´ rule

    That is the kind of public piety/dutifulness a son is expected to show his lord father in this world. In and of itself this is not a sign for deep personal affection. Visenya Targaryen also publicly declared Aegon the Conqueror 'her love' before the Trial of Seven - never mind, that they loathed and resented each other in the years before Aegon's death. I'm not saying Robb didn't look up to his father (he did), I'm saying the Stark children (like all noble children in this world) have stronger emotional bonds with the servants that raise them than they have with their own parents. I never said the children didn't like their parents, I just said that there are other people they have closer connection with. You seem imagine their relationship between noble parents and children we somewhat like in modern families. But that's not what's in the books. Noble and royal parents meet with their children at formal occasions, and they employ servants to nurse, clothe, tutor, train, and entertain them. I'm with you that the Starks had a pretty strong bond with their children on those terms, but they are not close on a emotional level the way parents are close to their children who spent a significant portion of the day with them alone, in proper privacy. How close do you think Ned and his siblings were? Or Ned and his parents (especially the mother he never even thinks about in the books)? Do you think 'love' and 'his emotional connection with his family' motivated him to join Robert - his true brother, the man he actually grew up with - and Jon Arryn, his foster father, in rebellion? Arya is a very strong example for the kind of thing I'm talking about. She spends most of the day with Mordane and the other young girls, she doesn't spend any time with her parents (or her brothers - to have quality time alone with Jon she has to run away). And her parents only show up and talk to her when they discipline her - which they only do after the servants in charge of the education of their children tell them that they misbehaved. By our modern standards this is a very unhealthy and dysfunctional family setup, where children are closer to the servants who raised them than their actual parents. That they still love their parents isn't really the result of them being great parents but it just happened anyway. This doesn't change the fact that Ned and Arya have a kind and intimate moment when they talk - but there is no indication that this kind of thing happens all that often. Ned loves his children, sure, but does the man actually knows them? Does he know what they want want, what they dream about? Does Arya go to him and ask him for a sword? Does he understand the feelings Sansa has for Joffrey? Does Jon approach Ned with his wish to take the black? Nope. And Cat only ends up wanting to go back home after Robb has taken her political power away from her. When she has to choose between her children and House Stark in the abstract sense (politics, ambition, war) she chooses the latter, not the former. The only child she is very close to is Bran - and that seems to be a rather unhealthy affection if you ask me (considering her mad breakdown). There are some moments of that, but that isn't evidence that they are *very close* or spend a lot of time together. Joff knows he can play his mother, and she knows she cares about him. Robert doesn't. We don't know the reason behind Joff's actions there, because we never see why he did what he did. I, for one, always thought he was more intrigued by Renly talking to Robert after he quarreled with Cersei. Why on earth should Cersei care that Joff reconcile with Sansa? She never actively planned to make Sansa her creature and was actually surprised when she showed up to talk about Ned's plans. Can you explain why Gregor does what he does? There is no evidence for a trauma or violence in the boy's life, and the only *explanation* for his behavior we get is that he is suffering from headaches. What made Ramsay what he is? Was he abused by his mother, the person he lived with for most of his life? There is no evidence for that. George has a lot of three-dimensional characters in his books but there are monsters in there, too. He didn't bother hinting at a complex humanizing back story for the likes of Ramsay and Gregor (or Maegor and Aerion) despite the fact that he sure as hell could have done that. With Joff things are more black-and-white considering that he was living a life a complete privilege, giving him a lot of power a boy like him shouldn't have. But there are no traumas we know of which could explain the extent of his animal cruelty in the case of the cat. That just happens, and a realistically depicted boy would do a thing like that only under very special circumstances which don't seem to be there. One can also stress the fact that Westeros is a much more violent world, where children are subjected to sexual and violent acts from a very early age on, but apparently cutting a cat open to check out she looks inside (or rather: her kittens) is apparently not something that's acceptable in this world - by man who essentially enjoy killing people in combat and live for that kind of thing. Well, you can believe it didn't happen, if you want to, but you have no reason to believe it did not happen. The Queen Regent couldn't prevent Eddard Stark's execution, making it not exactly likely she cared to prevent stuff like that. If Cersei had treated her son like a puppet, arranging a charade where he thought his public declarations and commands were obeyed while in truth they were not one would expect nobody would have followed Joff's command when he went as much off script as he did at the Great Sept. Instead, it seems to me Ned could only be executed because everybody at court had been told (repeatedly) to obey the king in all things.
  13. Lord Varys

    The Book of Swords - The Sons of the Dragon SPOILERS

    Well, Catherine didn't have any Romanov ancestors, did she? And her son and successor may or may not have been the son of the husband she deposed.
  14. Lord Varys

    Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

    You make a lot of claims there. We don't know whether stewards cannot serve as stewards while also holding lands. Not to mention high stewards. The hereditary stewards of Highgarden, House Tyrell, were very powerful and influential, and prestigious enough to intermarry nine times with the royal House Gardener prior to the Conquest. They are dismissed as *mere stewards* by their noble peers in the Reach, but they were never just *mere stewards*. And being 'a lord in your own right' is not exactly a very precise term. Could people say Varys and Qyburn are 'lords in their own right'? If somebody did that it wouldn't magically give them lands, titles, and castles. See House Tyrell. And again - the High Steward of the Vale isn't necessarily the same as serving as a steward in a castle. It is obvious an office a nobleman is willing to take, even 'a lord in his own right', right? If it was the office for a servant, it would be taken by a servant, no? And you should keep in mind that Cat isn't exactly an expert on the Vale. She was clearly never at the Eyrie, and perhaps not even in the Vale (unless by ship), so she could be mistaken in her assessment of Nestor Royce, no? LOL, for the Boltons/Starks and Blackwoods/Brackens we have GRRM tell us in word and deed that not everything is fine between these two houses. Where on earth is your textual evidence that the Royces and Arryns are still at odds in any way, shape, or form? That you can imagine this doesn't make it so. All you gave us is the assessment of a character who isn't necessarily an expert on the Vale and its lords and whose opinion - if correct - would introduce an inconsistency in the Gates of the Moon plot from AFfC. Nestor Royce isn't portrayed as a great lord in his own right there, who wants another castle - the ancestral castle of House Arryn, no less - he is portrayed as a man who is desperate need for a great seat for his son to inherit after he dies. If Lord Nestor already was a proper lord in his own right he would have a proper seat, and he would be motivated by greed and petty ambition - which is clearly not what motivates him in AFfC. In fact, the main point in his story there is that he isn't an ambitious man, merely a man who wants something to leave to his heirs.
  15. Lord Varys

    Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

    As to the Freys: There are unknown market towns, etc. all over the place in the Riverlands. The Freys might not have another Stoney Sept, but they are very likely to control a considerable amount of large villages and small towns. Like pretty much all the Riverlords. But for the North we have no hint that there are market towns all over the place.
  16. Lord Varys

    Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

    If you want to play that game, there is also no part that the garrison was part of the deal, either. Those men could be still men sworn to House Arryn, directly. Nestor Royce is the High Steward of the Vale, not some steward, and we learn in AGoT that there were people who wished that he, the High Steward, continued to rule the Vale in the name of young Lord Robert, not Lysa, during the boy's minority. Nestor Royce was effectively the regent or governor of the Vale while Lord Jon was in KL. That is an important office. And the idea that the Royces and Arryns are still at odds with each other for stuff that happened ages ago in the half-forgotten, half-legendary era of the Andal conquest is pretty far-fetched if you ask me. Hubert Arryn (who succeeded Lord Ronnel as Lord of the Vale after Jonos had killed him) was married to a Royce of Runestone, and later Lord Yorbert Royce served Lady Jeyne Arryn as Protector of the Vale during her minority. We have no idea whether the High Stewardship is a hereditary office (it could be, but we don't know and I never suggested in might be) but granting such an office to a lesser Royce might actually be a reasonably good power play on the side of Jon Arryn. Yeah, I had forgotten that. That very much indicates that the power of various houses can wax and wane. Back during the Dance the Freys weren't as powerful as they had grown under Walder. You seem to overlook that Roose could easily have made men who weren't Bolton/Dreadfort men originally his men during the war. That would mean that the number of men who originally marched with him from the Dreadfort would have been lower. When you talked to Robb would you care to explain to him that did not only rid his army of men loyal to him but also bought the allegiance of men who originally served other lords? I don't think so.
  17. Lord Varys

    Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

    The Freys are strong, but they are by no means confirmed to be the most powerful vassals of the Tullys. We have no idea how many men the Mootons, the Brackens, the Blackwoods, and - most importantly - the Lords of Harrenhal can field. Again, even if a considerable amount of the men returning with Roose were Bolton men, we simply don't know how great the ratio between them, the Karstark survivors, and other men Roose draw to his cause are.
  18. Lord Varys

    Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

    That would be my guess, too. There are Royces aside from the Royces of Runestones who are still considered to be significant enough to be mentioned, but there is no evidence that Nestor Royce actually has a lot of land (much less a proper castle) in his own right. Else, the entire Gates of the Moon plot wouldn't make any sense. I mean, there is no indication that he is now another Lord Peake, having multiple lordships/castles of considerable size after Littlefinger gave him the Gates. I daresay it is just the magic of the Royce name that makes those distant cousins of the Lord of Runestone important. Lord Nestor is powerful and significant mostly because of his office, not so much because of the lands and titles he held before he got the Gates.
  19. Lord Varys

    Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

    Well, if you want to believe Roose Bolton when he is lying to the boy he is going to gut in the very near future I can't really help you. I don't doubt that Roose knows (roughly) how many men are in his army - but I see no reason why we should the numbers he gives Robb as sacred gospel - which, again, don't tell us anything about the men Roose brought from the Dreadfort to Winterfell at the beginning of the war. I don't care how many men the Boltons can field - I said we don't know how many men they raised in AGoT and I stand by that. But my point wasn't that your speculation about the Bolton men numbers are wrong - I said I think the Dustins and Manderlys are both more prestigious and more powerful than the Boltons, and I stand by that, too. The Dustins have a town, and the Manderlys a city. No other Northern house has any of that.
  20. Lord Varys

    Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

    Guys, my point here is that armies always also do contain men who switch allegiance and men (they are called freeriders and are the most professional mounted men after knights) who never *belong* to a lord in the first place. The same goes for sworn swords like Dunk is in TSS. All the Northmen would have brought such men to Robb's army but this doesn't mean they *are* Bolton or Karstark or Umber men. They are just men joining such an army for a limited period of time. They do not necessarily live on the Bolton, Karstark, etc. lands. Now, the issue with the survivors of the Red Wedding is that Roose as the general of the Northern army had the time and opportunity to make freeriders, sworn swords, etc. who were, say, marching with the Hornwoods or the Cerwyns his men, especially after the representatives of those houses marching in his army happened to die. I mean, these men do not fight and kill out of the goodness of their hearts. They expect payments and rewards, and if the men who promised them such rewards are dead then they go and look for other men who will give them what they want. That is not that hard to understand. In addition, we also have it from Meribald's speech that levies pass from lord to lord to lord on whim. They have no say in the matter. I mean, there is a similar thing happening during the Dance. We have a Lannister army there which loses its Lannister general and then ends up being commanded by different Westermen. If the Lefford fellow who caused them all to die at the Fishfeed had won some great victory there many of the men fighting under him may have become 'Lefford men', never mind that they were originally sworn to many other houses. And even better example is the Green army at Tumbleton. After Lord Ormund Hightower's death there is no clear supreme commander of that army, despite the fact that a royal prince is with them. Those men vying for the supreme command can count on the support of their own men - as well as the support of the men they draw to their banners from the camps of others. But the Two Betrayers who presume to rule Highgarden and sit the Iron Throne do so without so much as a power base of their own. To them a growing number of men flock who originally were following other lords and noblemen.
  21. Lord Varys

    Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

    LOL, sure, you do remember that Roose Bolton was named the commander of the larger of the Stark army and could and did as such command a lot of his fellow lords along with their vassals and men-at-arms, right? Originally, Roose joined Robb Stark with his troops, but once he became the commander of most of the Stark men he was in a unique position to draw men to his banner who were not originally fighting for him. I mean, we do see the Bloody Mummers joining him, right? Who is to say that many men who lost their lords and knights in the fighting - and who saw how powerful a general Roose was at Harrenhal - that they would now fight for him? Theon Greyjoy never was at the Dreadfort before Ramsay brought him there, nor does he know 'Dreadfort men' to the degree that he can decide who is a Dreadfort man and who isn't. And it doesn't need a smart man (which Theon isn't) to realize that the men surviving the Red Wedding must have been either Roose's or Walder's friends/loyal followers (or at least willing to submit to him).
  22. Lord Varys

    Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

    The point there would only be relevant if you know whether GRRM cared about the historical meaning of the word 'pool' when inventing the name 'Blackpool' (or that he actually knows or cares where this place is). Do you know any of that? Fear may have helped with that, too. You don't need to torture anyone to keep them in line. The Hornwood maester, for instance, would have been there when Ramsay put down Lady Donella. The Cerwyn maester might know what's going to happen to Lady Cerwyn and all her kin if he misbehaves, etc. That seems to be an inaccuracy or a tidbit that comes with Nestor's duties as High Steward of the Vale. The man holds a lordly office of considerable importance, effectively ruling the Vale while Jon Arryn was at court. While it is possible that Nestor had a minor seat of his own (a keep, say, or some tower), there is no indication that the man holds two castles now that Littlefinger has granted him the Gates of the Moon. And we should keep in mind that Tyrion is referred to as 'Lord Tyrion' throughout AGoT, too, yet he was never lord of anything - yet still a man from a lordly family. @Free Northman Reborn Man, you are talking about the Bolton strength after a war where Roose Bolton was in a prime position to actually draw men to his banner and recruit them. The fact that Theon judges most of the men that return with Roose to be Bolton men doesn't mean they were Bolton men at the beginning of the war. It is pretty clear those men were then, at this point, loyal to Roose Bolton, but this doesn't mean all of them were from the start. Roose could have recruited many of the freeriders, men-at-arms, etc. previously in the service of other lords to his cause at Harrenhal. While we don't know how many men Roose brought with him from the Dreadfort in the beginning of the war, how many he lost during the war, how many he gained during the fighting, etc. we really don't have a good basis for speculation there. Historically, there are a lot of signs by now that the Dustins and Manderlys both are more prestigious/powerful Northern houses than the Boltons (or any of the others). As a I said - Roose only got the chance to do what he did because Robb the Moron gave him command of the largest part of his army, and because there were no impressive Dustins/Manderlys in his army demanding the supreme command. And that puts the relative power of the Boltons into perspective.
  23. Lord Varys

    Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

    Or not. Because we have no confirmation that the Dustins rule all the lands that are called 'the Barrowlands'. Sure, perhaps the entire lineage of House Ryswell as such are sworn to Barrowton. We don't know that, either. We have no clue whether there is a Lord Ryswell ruling all the Rills or whether 'the Rills' (and part of the Barrowlands) are controlled by various branches of that house who all have more or less influence there. We don't even have a name for a Ryswell castle. As to the branches stuff, you are making the mistakes to assume that anybody with a lordly name is also part of a lordly branch of a house. The lesser Arryn, Stark, Royce, etc. branches only have a name, they do not necessarily have titles, castles, lands, or feudal responsibilities of note. Such who are pretty much landless wouldn't be sworn to anyone in a meaningful sense. Even the second son of a second son is basically a nobody without lands, titles, or incomes. The fourth son or the fourth of the fourth son of the Lord of Winterfell or the Eyrie is basically a non-entity. The idea that those Gulltown Arryns or the speculative Starks in White Harbor or Barrowton would actually have 'a seat' makes pretty much no sense. They would have houses and live more or less like the other townfolk around them. It is similar with the Royces. There is only one lordly branch of House Royce - the line of the Royces of Runestone. The others are there, but they don't have a (lordly) seat we know of. There might be petty lords or landed knights among them, who are sworn to other greater houses of the Vale - but they might just as well be landless nobodies with a big name. Nestor Royce is just a landless dude in the service of Jon Arryn until Littlefinger grants him the Gates of the Moon. And the Strongs are extinct, we know that. We have no reason to assume that some of them might still be alive. In fact, while they are an old family there is no evidence that they were a lordly family before got Harrenhal. They may have been just a knightly family up until that point. Or, who knows? Perhaps they once had a strong castle in the Riverlands, but it was destroyed by the Durrandons or Hoares during the wars fought in the Riverlands? As to families moving around: That as such isn't an issue. I'm reasonably confident that the Towers of Harrenhal are the Towers from the North. The Walton Towers fellow has a name we see in Steelshanks Walton, so he may have been a man from the North. Maegor had his cronies fight for Harrenhal, so the guy winning could simply have been some younger son of House Towers from the North (assuming it exists in some form) serving King Maegor as a household knight - and thus is a lordly branch of a house created.
  24. Lord Varys

    Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

    The point just is to point out that there is no point in discussing or speculating about the size of the lands of lords we have been given no information by the author, nor about the rulers of territories about whose rulers we have no idea. Your idea about the North being simpler in its feudal landscape and somehow different from the south in that respects makes little sense. Skagos and the Three Sisters are directly sworn to their overlords, just as the clansmen are directly sworn to Winterfell. That doesn't actually change the fact that as per canon at least one Ryswell castle (there seem to be different lordly branches of that house) is located in the Barrowlands. Considering the maps in TWoIaF are not exactly all that detailed I go with the maps in the main books. But then, even if Flint's Finger were on Cape Kraken then this would still not be confirmation that the Flints do rule Cape Kraken, no? I wasn't talking about swimming pools there, I just pointed out that a pool is usually not a word used to describe a lake as large as the ones you are talking about here. Just as the word 'house' is usually not used to describe a castle... But even if Blackpool was a castle close to a body of water it doesn't have to have the same name as said lake. It might be just the castle has the name 'Blackpool' while the lake has a completely different name. The Boltons could have taught those maesters loyalty by then, no? Especially the Hornwood maester... Roose isn't as stupid as that. Nobody seems to be as stupid as that, actually...
  25. Lord Varys

    Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

    Whatever implications we have implies that Cape Kraken is - more or less - the place where the name is written, not the place farther away from it. We all agree, I assume, that the Barrowlands are definitely the parts where 'the Barrowlands' is written, right ;-)? Because the name of the castle might not, in fact, be named after a pool. After all, those large lakes are not likely to be called pools, either, no? Roose is fighting a war and is surrounded by men he cannot trust. He should trust the maesters he allows to handle his ravens. If he can't, he is pretty much finished.
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