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illrede

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  1. Something as to the reason I have a soft spot for Joseph II Habsburg, who self-eulogized himself on his deathbed with "Here lies Joseph the Second, who failed in all that he undertook." Things sure looked bad then, and you'd think his reputation was in the gutter, but guess who's state proved mind-bogglingly enduring and loyal on a popular level later when the French Revolutionaries/Imperials were marching across Europe for a generation.
  2. In other news, calling a lid this morning while easily explicable as "the political terrain didn't so much shift beneath our feet last night as it did pull The Big One, and we need to recalculate and re-message before inadvertently committing ourselves going forward" makes "Biden is Taravangian (from the Stormlight Archive)" quips easier.
  3. There is a case to be made that McConnell has a anomalous amount of moral courage for a successful politician; he really will openly risk failure in the pursuit of success. That's mind-boggling; I've boggled.
  4. Citing that stalling out the Garland nomination was an almost mad gamble on McConnell's part and putting Garland up as an near-compromise pick was a good idea, I suppose an option going forward for Democrats if they think your scenario likely is to find a judge they like that conservatives would really like on one or two issues. For that matter, an option going forward for Republicans could be that (RGB but pro-life, if such exists)- it's probably not worth it for the Republicans to abrogate the vetted list they have, though.
  5. It dominates the Stormlands, and there is the unappreciated aspect that it's probably one of humanity's designated magical holdfasts fit to endure an apocalyptic age within.
  6. We are discussing something that didn't happen (and in a place that doesn't exist, at that), but the thing that didn't happen is set up like this: The ground is anomalously bad, described as rain sodden fields and stony ridges* (Renly's camp is anchored with one itself, people are using them**). Renly does not have huge reserves. He has something on the order of 10,000 cavalry*** (although maybe 15,000 plus the Tyrells, Stannis has near 20,000 after this, but we are given a number at the time and that number is 10,000) and must give battle immediately or withdraw****. Renly could have had huge reserves, but he doesn't. He could have had control of his own timing, but he doesn't. Stannis has 5,000 men, primarily infantry with some hoblars. Renly does not have the material option to envelop Stannis' army****. There is no plan beyond an initial cavalry charge into the sun (explicitly so, when these points were raised altering them was rejected. Also bear in mind this was Stannis' plan, that he fed Renly during their parlay)*****. Loras Tyrell commands the van. I believe that Crecy is the battle to keep in mind because Renly has removed both the choice of timing from his plans and his reserves from the field of battle (although while Philippe's urgency was political, Renly's are material.). Also repeated cavalry charges (and that a cavalry charge that fails, followed by a force that wheels due to skill, but then conducts another cavalry charge because there is no other plan- which fails) seems to be the likely way Renly's part of the battle is going to go, if things don't fall apart on his end. Mostly because the person with ability to change the plan on the pointy end is Loras Tyrell and I don't think that he is going to. So it's not going to work. Then they're wheeling and charging again on sodden ground. And if they're attacking on foot it's through mud and that's if somebody organizes them to do it, which may not happen. Again, Loras commands the van. He'll do for Alencon. Ser Penrose's potential contribution should be the only thing adding confidence here since the narrative left Bitterbridge, the other details provided serve to diminish Renly's chances in understood ways. Stannis is hit in the flank or rear by a competent force (described as a strong garrison), and he probably loses. We anticipate seeing Penrose do this (because it's just what is done- even into a losing battle******- and we aren't given anything to suggest that he wouldn't) but bear in mind we do see at least some of Renly's council and the possibility isn't raised. When it happens, the comment to make would be "Not even Renly could throw away ALL of his chances at Storm's End- he sure as hell did his best trying to, though!". If for some reason it didn't happen he's screwed. While there may be further details that if provided could serve to reverse this impression, where information is filled in it is of the nature that looking back at the situation afterward the reader doubts that Stannis didn't have path to victory- and that path provided by Renly. *"Across rain-sodden fields and stony ridges, she could see the great castle of Storm's End rearing up against the sky, its back to the unseen sea. (Beneath that mass of pale grey stone, the encircling army of Lord Stannis Baratheon looked as small and insignificant as mice with banners)." **"Their camp was well sited atop a low stony ridge that ran from north to south. It was far more orderly than the sprawling encampment on the Mander, though only a quarter as large. When he'd learned of his brother's assault on Storm's End, Renly had split his forces, much as Robb had done at the Twins. His great mass of foot he had left behind at Bitterbridge with his young queen, his wagons, carts, draft animals, and all his cumbersome siege machinery, while Renly himself led his knights and freeriders in a swift dash east." ***"As the long fingers of dawn fanned across the fields, color was returning to the world. Where grey men had say grey horses armed with shadow spears, the points of ten thousand lances now glinted silvery cold, and on the myriad flapping banners Catelyn saw the blush of red and pink and orange, the richness of blues and browns, the blaze of gold and yellow." ****"How like his brother Robert he was, even in that... only Robert had always had Eddard Stark to temper his boldness with caution. Ned would surely have prevailed upon Robert to bring up his WHOLE force, to encircle Stannis and besiege the besiegers. That choice Renly had denied himself in his headlong rush to come to grips with his brother. He had outdistanced his supply lines, left food and forage days behind with all his wagons and mules and oxen. He MUST come to battle soon, or starve." *****"I want every man in place by first light, armed, armored, and horsed. we shall give Stannis a dawn he will not soon forget."/"Chosen by Stannis," Randyll Tarly pointed out. "He'd have us charge into the teeth of a the rising sun. We'll be Half-blind."/"Only until first shock," Renly said confidently. "Ser Loras will break them, and after that it will be chaos." ******The Whispering Wood is La Roche-Derrien, btw
  7. There were terms that Ser Penrose might have accepted (primarily based around Edric Storm); Storms End was winnable (primarily based on Renly's actions- it was as if he had a checklist for how to throw away his advantages and was working down it)
  8. That's not what was set up; I believe the point is to give you enough cause to make you wonder if Stannis really had to rely on Melisandre- it's the same situation with Penrose later.
  9. The Agincourt part is the ground. Otherwise it's Crecy... or either of the two battles that didn't happen before Crecy that you would remember instead of Crecy, on account of it being a fundamental that you never charge prepared positions with cavalry. What finally happened to Philippe VI was that it was politically impossible for him to avoid battle again, his authority was coming apart. And the garrison coming out isn't certain, it's just Renly's only chance.
  10. I recommend that you hunt down a volume of Jonathon Sumption's History of the Hundred Years War. It'll be a revelation to you. Renly was about to try a weird fusion of Crecy and Agincourt- he had not only removed his infantry from the battle (by out-marching them), he was going to charge his cavalry into prepared positions, into a rising sun, across sodden ground, under an impetuous commander. He could not have methodically destroyed an initially advantaged position better if he had tried- these are the conditions for a disaster- yes, even at those odds. The precedents are good. The precedent I can think of that could have saved him is a garrison sortie.
  11. A more salutary example would be the conduct of Edward III's troops in his Normandy campaign before the Battle of Crecy. In it, on a number of occasions towns were sacked after surrender on terms and in one instance even after intriguing to go over to the English before the campaign had begun (this was due to a notably even for the time undisciplined English army in this particular campaign, and a result of piracy campaign waged by Normandy on southern England having troops seeking to destroy the duchy regardless of what their commanders ordered- bear in mind all of these breeches were against explicit orders). As a consequence of this- even after Crecy (a battle that among other things had French nobles in other parts of the realm making private truces with the English)- the Norman lord that had invited Edward III in self-exiled to the HRE and then lobbied to re-submit to Paris (successfully). It's pretty serious shit, man. Hell, simply ignoring a Lord's parole that he had given led to a breech between the French crown prince and the king right about then.
  12. I'd attribute it to something else- the issue lies with Tywin. He is ruled by his obsessions. Tywin refuses to be criticized, or be seen to have been compromising in the matter of avenging insult ("a Lannister pays his debts"). You couldn't do the usual thing and offer up a pair of expendable tools, because that would tarnish the power of House Lannister in perception. Elia's mother had to know what happened and why, because it was vengeance for a humiliation- and it had to be unmitigated by compromise that would protect the dignity of an enemy being punished. Jon Aryn made that visit to placate Dorne, if he could have preceded it with Gregor and Lorch's heads or at the very least used them in a settlement I think that he would have.
  13. There isn't a reasonable expectation that if Doran wasn't as secretive as he was that it would not be all over Doran that Quentyn was off to bring back the Targaryan queen, with celebrations and street entertainers using it for act material. If avoiding word getting back to Kings Landing is as vital as presented, a competent appraisal of Viserys and Arianne at the time all this was happening would also leave you with no choice but to leave them directly out of the loop, and work through their proxies (bear in mind that Viserys not being told about it- ever- was the choice of his guardian, not Doran, and Daenerys' analysis after being informed of the plot by Quentyn vindicated that- that Viserys would have gone immediately to Dorne, heedlessly). Doran had a choice of problems, the problems he chose to have (among them that a rough shape of his activities would be found out by his own nation's pervasive spying and intriguing) gave him a path to success and it could have worked. It didn't, but it very well might have done. Arriane bet her life on her own plot, and she certainly thought the stakes of discovery was her own murder. She still couldn't maintain her information security while being fully aware of this at every moment- Doran is vindicated here, he doesn't get the option of having young Arianne as an ally, she needs to be kept ignorant for the safety of Dorne. It sucks for him but it's the unmitigated reality- that Arianne could not keep an intrigue secret to save her life even if she fully appreciated the stakes was empirically proven. Doran anticipating that and acting on it recommends him. For Viserys we have to rely on Daenerys read at the time but bear in mind how he came to meet his death- the man could not wait to save his life, and he refused to be restrained, again to save to life. Intrigue is likewise a fixture of the Dornish body politic- that there was a plan to be discovered was unavoidable- Arianne found out enough to details to lead to unanticipated disasters (she is not incompetent, Doran had no intention of disinheriting her, he just accurately judged that she could not keep a confidence of this nature at that time and couldn't lie to himself well enough to think that he was wrong about that), but that isn't something Doran has the power to be sure of.
  14. Roosevelt and Taft would be stupefied by the implication that that was something that they would be expected to do. I think Caro plausibly explains how the Kennedy aegis kept having non-starters and has been resigned to shine brightest in potential; transparent bad faith with those they regarded as moral inferiors that they didn't seem to understand was transparent (and that explains more than just their domestic performance). The argument that I can see for for the Kennedy administration getting the '64 bill done as well as LBJ is that not even the Kennedy Administration could squander the political capital of the Kennedy assassination to no effect- which needless to say involves a contradiction.
  15. I think he was consciously emulating the Carolingian project (where dynastic.. "truncation"? for as long as that lasted was a matter or serendipity), also there is the Wittan mechanism. Saxon kings often had direct experience with letting rival claimants live working out.
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