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John Suburbs

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  1. John Suburbs

    Why Was Robb Such An Awful Diplomat?

    Hard to say exactly when it stopped. I would imagine Sybelle would keep dosing him up until the wedding. After that, who cares? I don't recall Robb ever claiming not to be in love, or had never been in love, with Jeyen. As time goes by, we see him becoming increasingly distant and even frustrated from/with her, but I don't think he ever comes out and says this. Did he?
  2. John Suburbs

    Why Was Robb Such An Awful Diplomat?

    Robb is only 15 at the time, and his battle strategy and tactics likely came from the Blackfish and some of the other lords rather than Robb. It's kind of a running theme in history, though, that the battle commanders who tend to be very effective at overthrowing existing governments often find themselves out of their depth when it comes to politics and managing that government. They both require markedly different skillsets, and few people possess both of them to any great degree. One of those few, of course, was George Washington.
  3. John Suburbs

    Why Was Robb Such An Awful Diplomat?

    That may be part of it, but understand that Robb was also under the influence of one of grandma Maggie's love potions, so he wasn't in his right mind at the time.
  4. John Suburbs

    Why did Robb keep Edmure in the dark about his plan?

    Yes, I addressed this further on in the thread. I didn't mean to imply that Tywin was actually trying to take Riverrun, but that this would have been necessary if his intention was to cross the Red Fork and pursue Robb into the west. But by the time of the battles of the fords and the Stone Mill, and probably long before that, it should have been obvious to all that this was not going to happen. Tywin is not going to go chasing after Robb while armies (which, from Robb's perspective would include both Stannis and the Tyrells, since he is unaware that the Tyrell alliance is in the works) are closing in on King's Landing. He would essentially be trading Cersei's, Joffrey's, Tommen's, Tyrion's and Myrcella's heads for Robb's -- which is simply not a good bargain. Even if Robb could not fathom this, the Blackfish and other northern/river lords should have.
  5. Lol, while I can't comment on who actually "owns" this theory, I admire your chutzpah. But I've always wondered as well whether the truth of Aenys' paternity in particular became known to the Dornish, and they had some way of proving it, which was then relayed to Aegon in a certain letter . . .
  6. John Suburbs

    Why did Robb keep Edmure in the dark about his plan?

    Lol, we were kind of off-topic anyway, but I thought it was a good discussion. I still say, however, that given what Robb and his advisors new at the time they gave Edmure his orders, and still later when Edmure rode out to confront Tywin, they should not have expected Tywin to follow them into the west. He had too many enemies converging on King's Landing at that point, and as I mentioned, there is no way they could expect Tywin to go chasing Robb if it meant the loss of his daughter the queen regent, his grandson the king, his other grandson the crown prince, his own son the acting hand, and his granddaughter the princess. That is not a reasonable trade under any circumstances. PS: it is more logical to make assumptions when they support existing text and established characterizations then to pretend people and things are not as they seem just because every little detail has not been explicitly stated in the books. We assume Ned enters small council meetings with his boots on, even though the text does not state this. We assume the horse he is riding has a saddle on it. Likewise, we can assume Tywin is fully aware of the Tyrell negotiations because otherwise he would not be so quick to ride off with a bunch of Tyrells who show up in his camp out of the blue, and he wouldn't even be in that part of the country if he thought his family was in jeopardy. This conforms to the established characterization of Tywin Lannister, while assuming he knows nothing about any of this does not. Happy Reading
  7. John Suburbs

    Why did anyone support the targaryens in the rebellion ?

    Dorne supported him because Lewyn was a member of the kingsguard and Aerys had Elia and her two children as hostage. The Tyrells are a bit more complex. Prior to the rebellion, there were all kinds of marriage contracts in the works that would have united the Starks, Tully's, Baratheons and even the Lannisters, with maybe the Arryns thrown in as well. Up to this time, it was very rare for the great houses to inter-marry, with at best a great house marrying a bannerman to another great use, ie, Stark-Royce, Lannister-Frey. The fact that these houses are suddenly looking to unite by marriage would have been very worrisome to the MK, because it could potentially lead to a power-bloc that could threaten the Targ dynasty. But it would also have been very worrisome to the Tyrells. If you look at history, Highgarden has been the traditional hegemon on the continent, first under the Gardeners, then the Tyrells. This was necessary because the Reach doesn't have much in the way of natural defenses -- no cold winters, no mountains, no deserts, etc. All they have is people, lots and lots of people, which is what allows them to field the largest army, by far. It takes two or even three other houses to match the might of Highgarden. But this only works when there is political stability among the Reach nobility, and the best way to get that is through marriage. If you look at the family trees, you'll see that the Tyrells, Redwynes and Hightowers are one large extended family, with a smattering of Fossoways, Tarlys and Beesburys thrown in (but no Florents). It's telling that the only time Highgarden has ever fallen is when the Gardener king at the time made a series of unwise marriages for his daughters, which led to dissension among the banners, and the Reach was invaded simultaneously by Dorne, the stormlands and the westerlands. So if enough of the other high lords were to unite their families in the same way that the Tyrells have, this would pose a significant challenge to their hegemony. And the fact that, after the war, Tywin Lannister has managed to do this very thing -- he has both the Iron Throne and Storm's End through Cersei, the riverlands through Genna, the north through Tyrion, and even hooks into Dorn through Myrcella -- would have been equally disturbing for Tyrells with sense enough to see what is going on. And this is why Lady Olenna tried to kill Tyrion at the Purple Wedding by putting a poison crystal into his pie.
  8. John Suburbs

    Why did Robb keep Edmure in the dark about his plan?

    Sherrer is believed to be under the dominion of House Vance of Wayfarer's Rest. This makes it doubtful it is near Pinkmaiden, since then the Pipers would have it. But since the Pipers were burned out of their seat early in the war, maybe Vance was just the one to speak for it before Ned. A bridge might be considered a ford if it is low enough to be submerged in high water.
  9. John Suburbs

    Why did Robb keep Edmure in the dark about his plan?

    Lol, seems like we both have a distinct lack of "proof" here. Prove that these attacks were not a feint. Tywin has 20,000 men. Edmure has 8000. If Tywin wanted to cross the river he would have crossed the river. But that merely puts him farther away from King's Landing, which is threatened by both Stannis and the Tyrells. So the second thing you have to prove is that Tywin is so foolish that he would go chasing after Robb and let his family, and his grip on power, fall to the headman's axe. The river is thinner, shallower and easier to cross the nearer you get to its source. That's the fact. He has already sacked and burned Pink Maiden, so there is no reason to expect any defenses there -- another fact. And it is a more direct route to the Golden Tooth simply by marching overland which he has been doing since Harrenhal -- yet another fact. Veering north puts him closer to Riverrun and Edmure's army and a deeper, stronger river, and then he just has to march back south again to reach his nearest stronghold. There's your proof: three solid reasons to keep away from Riverrun; three very bad reasons to go anywhere near it. The Lands of Ice and Fire. That's what I have. The River Road runs along the south bank of the Red Fork, past the Tumblestone, then over the Red Fork just to the south of Riverrun. Like I said, marching up the River Road might save a little time, but everybody in the realm will know that is exactly what you are doing. Robb wanted that when he sent Bolton down the Kings Road, but Tywin does not want this now. Edmure does not know exactly where Tywin is, otherwise he would not have stretched his men across every ford. He would converge on the point of attack. (Or maybe he would; Edmure is not that bright). If, as you say, it was 55 days between leaving Harrenhall and turning to Tumbler Falls, which would have been less than a week before the Battle of the Blackwater, then that is plenty of time for him to be fully informed about Renly's death, the fall of Storm's End and the Tyrell negotiations. And again, if he is not aware of any of this, than this is even more reason not to cross the Red Fork because the Tyrell army is only a few day's march to King's Landing, and that would be by far the more serious threat considering Tywin would still be under the impression that Stannis is still sitting at Dragonstone with his meager host. Jaime used the River Road because he had already smashed Edmure's army at the GT and taken Edmure hostage. There was no need for secrecy or subterfuge at this point. As I said, there are plenty of roads throughout Westeros, and since Tywin has no great need for speed at this point, it is best for him to stay off the main roads where he can cross the countryside with fewer eyes on him and remain in a position to relieve King's Landing if it becomes necessary. He can't do any of that on the River Road. Yes, Renly is dead, the Tyrells are in disarray, all is in turmoil: but according to your scenario, Tywin is not aware of any of this. He is completely cut off from civilization simply because he is in the field, not at a castle. I'm sorry but there are reasonable assumptions and unreasonable assumptions, and the assumption that Tywin does not know about Renly, Storm's End or the Tyrell negotiations is completely unreasonable, even if there is no direct "proof" of this in the text. Yes, Edmure knows Tywin is near. He does not know where he is heading, how far off they are or what his intentions are. But he would know all of these things if Tywin was marching his entire force straight down the King's Road, and he would know immediately if he had suddenly veered off that course. OK, glad we got the question of Tywin's situational awareness settled. So if Tywin has been informed of Renly and Storm's End, I think we can also agree that he also knows about the Tyrell negotiations, yes? So here is the situation from his point of view: Robb is a hundred leagues to his west or more, and he first has to cross rugged, rocky, hilly terrain to get to him. It could take months. Meanwhile, Stannis is marching his now sizeable host on King's Landing, the seat of Tywin's power. This is even farther away than Robb, but it is over gentle, rolling terrain, and he also has an inside track to sail downriver lickety split to catch Stannis by surprise. But that will only work if Stannis does not know Tywin is coming. So by any rational measure, the smart thing to do (and I think we agree that Tywin is nothing if not smart, especially when it comes to waging war) is to put up a show that Lannisters are fighting Tullys near Riverrun, while quickly marching the bulk of his army to the falls for a quick ride down the Blackwater. Again, if Tywin was hell-bent on crossing the Red Fork to chase after Robb -- his family and his hold on the Iron Throne be damned -- then he wouldn't need to "probe the defenses" at the fords "looking for weaknesses". He has three times Edmure's numbers and orders of magnitude more battle experience. He could have smashed through in a day, eliminated the army at his rear, killed or captured that last Lord of Riverrun, then reconnected with his men at the GT and the remnants of Oxcross and then wiped the floor with Robb and his piddling little 6000-man army. But Tywin is not so great a fool as to trade Cersei's, Joffrey's, Tommen's, Tyrion's and maybe Jaime's head for Robb's, and Robb and his lords were fools to think that he would. I never said anything about Robb attacking Harrenhall. But Tywin could just as easily surmised that Robb invaded the west because Tywin was firmly encamped at HH. If he takes the field and starts laying waste to the Riverlands again, he might think this would draw Robb eastward again. If not, then he is still in a good position to come to the aid of his most valuable asset in the game: his grandson on the Iron Throne. Sorry, but Mace diverting men and material to Tumblers Falls before the negotiations are finalized is silly. Remember, Mace's army at Bitterbridge is in chaos, with a large portion of the men sworn to lords who are now serving Stannis. Randyll Tarly is trying to sort it out, accepting new oaths from some, dismissing others, executing still others. Mace is not going to march a good chunk of his remaining army north with a bunch of barges, leaving the remainder vulnerable to attack from their own former compatriots, only to have to march them south again if the talks break down. I know Mace is a boob, but he is not a complete idiot. (Friendly advice: any time you are "forced to admit" something you don't really believe in, it's a sign that your argument is weak. ) Also, FYI, Lady Olenna is lying here. It's she who wants the marriage to Joffrey and a Tyrell on the Iron Throne. If she was truly opposed to it, it would not have happened, just like the Willas-Cersei plan. But I agree that these negotiations were completed quickly -- all the more reason to conclude that Tywin knew well in advance of his probing that the Tyrell barges were there waiting for him. All he had to do was hide his movements from Stannis by making it seem he was trying to cross the river. Riders were sent to Tywin upon the conclusion of these talks. Not everything is explicitly detailed in the books, and we have no POVs for this. You might as well deny that the sun rises and falls each day. Of course Tyrion acts of his own accord. He received his general instructions from Tywin when they parted on the Green Fork. It would be simply impractical to check with Tywin before every little decision. But again, it is utterly unreasonable to think that Tyrion would not keep Tywin informed of these momentous decisions. He is about to commit Tywin to an alliance with another lord and wed his grandson, the king, to the daughter of said lord, forever linking House Tyrell to the Iron Throne, and to Casterly Rock. Again, there are reasonable assumptions and unreasonable ones . . . When does Edmure know of Stannis' defeat and Dorne/Tyrell alliances: Cat I, SOS, when he returns from the Stone Mill: So first of all, Edmure did not throw back Tywin, Gregor, Addam, etc. That would mean he faced the entire Lannister army, and Edmure would have been crushed. Secondly, this conversation happens shortly after the Stone Mill. So by the time Edmure has returned from throwing back Tywin, Tywin marches overland to the falls, sails down the river and wins on the Blackwater, with both Sunspear and Highgarden openly backing him, and word of this has gotten back to Riverrun. Quite the feat for a man who had to march his entire army some 200 miles at least, load 20,000 men onto barges, travel downriver nearly three times as far and win a battle. So with your standard of "proof" being plain unadorned text, sorry but I cannot "prove" that the fords were a feint and Tywin was on his way to the falls already. But all of the evidence shows that this is what happened. Tyrell riders are not the only explanation supported by the text. Again, if you are forced to accept something that is otherwise unacceptable, then you should question your assumptions. Littlefinger is perfectly capable of sending one of Tywin's own men from Highgarden; he brought 40 knights with him and I am certain there was at least one Lannister bannerman in the bunch. Likewise, Tyrion and Cersei are more than capable of getting word to Tywin. A bunch of Tyrells showing up unannounced in Tywin's camp talking about an alliance that Tywin is completely unaware of? Sorry, no way, no how. Tywin would not be where he is now if he was not already sure that the Tyrells could get him to King's Landing. Like I said, he is not going to trade the Iron Throne and his entire family for Robb. That would be colossally stupid. Robb is the weakest enemy in the field. He can wait. He is not going to just let the Tyrells take over King's Landing. Alliance or no, what's to stop them from executing all Lannisters and declaring themselves king? Where do you get the idea that Tywin is this mind-bogglingly stupid? I agree, Tywin would have marched to KL full tilt the moment he heard about Storm's End. He didn't though. Why? The only possible answer is that he knew he still had time to get there with the Tyrell barges, but it would have all been for naught if word reached Stannis that Tywin had quit the riverlands. With news of fighting at the fords, that possibility is all but neutralized. Tywin, a smart man, a cagey and experienced warlord, acting in a smart and cagey manner, while your characterization of him is a blind, bungling fool. Yes, Tywin can get news from riders when in the field, ravens when he's gone to ground. Either way, he remains fully informed of all the important things that are happening in the war, particularly when negotiations and alliances are being struck in his name. All of the kings have scouts and spies around their enemies. They would be at a huge competitive disadvantage if they did not. And word of battles, particularly from the victors, is quick to spread. Note that when Edmure returns to Riverrun after the fords: Edmure has just won a "great victory" against the most formidable commander in the war. Do you suppose those ravens carried news about the weather? And do you discount the possibility that at least one of them was intended to bring the news to Robb, who is still out in the field? If Tywin wanted news of the fighting at the fords to reach Stannis, he would most certainly tell his men not to kill any scouts in the area. He would, however, order scouts to be killed if they see his army marching to the falls. Again, this standard of proof you seem to expect is blinding you to the simple realities of the situation, and then you further box yourself in when you forcible accept the unacceptable as fact rather than question your original assumption The River Road is the best route over the hills into the westerlands, but you don't need to ford the river all the way north at Riverrun in order to reach it. All he would accomplish by doing that is delay his arrival at the GT and waste good fighting men in the process. If Tywin was so all-terrified of meeting Edmure in battle, then he wouldn't even bother trying to cross. You appeal to common sense has become an appeal to utter nonsense. Tywin is not afraid of Edmure. Jaime took him out with no problem, and Tywin is ten times the battle commander that Jaime is. If Tywin wanted to cross the river, he would have crossed it. That would be stupid, though, because all it would get him is the head of the weakest king with the smallest army while the true threat sits the Iron Throne while the heads of his own family are rotting on spikes above the Red Keep.
  10. John Suburbs

    Why did Hoster Tully support the rebellion ?

    Hoster was trying to broker a power block between realms adjacent to his own in order to counter-balance the hegemony of the Reach, Dorne and the Iron Throne. Aerys saw through this plan and, after Duskendale, sought to stamp out any potential rival to his power. Why Hoster would decide to do this considering the Tully's have long been Targ loyalists is anybody's guess. Hoster's two eldest sons died either just before Aerys succeeded Jaehaerys or early in his reign, so maybe he suspected Aerys of having something to do with that? Or maybe there was bad blood between them during the ninepenny war. Or maybe he saw an increasingly unstable king on the throne and decided he needed to shore up his defensive posture.
  11. John Suburbs

    Just a Mel and patchface theory

    It seems to me that to show up on Mel's radar he would have to pose a more serious threat than the death of a few queensmen. Skulls and red lips are reminiscent of House Lonmouth (Skulls and Kisses), but I can't see how that would relate to Patchface, so it's probably a red herring.
  12. John Suburbs

    Why did Robb keep Edmure in the dark about his plan?

    Sorry friend, it's just common sense. Rivers are smaller and thinner at their source than their mouths. Sure, there are probably rapids and falls, but you don't cross there, you cross at a shallow, which are likely to be shallower and more numerous than downriver. And I'm not talking about bypassing the source through the mountains, just maintaining a westerly course away from the most heavily defended point in the region so he can link up with his own forces. Crossing at Riverrun takes him a hundred miles out of his way, just to find a more difficult, heavily defended crossing. I like the map collection. It's far more detailed and takes you all the way to the Jade Sea and Yi-Ti. But they're probably all on-line by now anyway. Still, it's a nice collectors item. Maybe I'll get it signed some day. I was being facetious about Tywin marching up the River Road. First of all, it's probably a week's march just to get there from Harrenhall. Secondly, it's the largest road in the region and his presence would be known weeks in advance. Then he would have to cross the Red Fork downstream from Riverrun (a significant challenge), or cross the Tumblestone west of Riverrun (which is a deep, fast river, although there is a ford some leagues away from RR), and now he is in no position to possibly rescue King's Landing should it come to that. Remember, Stannis held that very same castle for close to a year, so he knows every secret way in and out, and has a better chance than most to take it quickly, even without magic. So in the end, Tywin did the smartest thing he could do, which is in perfect keeping with his character: he sent a token force to probe Riverrun while sending the bulk of his army to link up with the Tyrells at the Blackwater as soon as that option became available and the need for a quick trip to King's Landing became paramount. If he had chased Robb into the Westerlands, he would be cut off from KL for maybe a year or more (since he would also have an 11k army at his back); plenty of time for Stannis to take SE and then KL. Or, since he apparently is entirely clueless about the outreach to the Tyrells, for the Tyrells to simply take KL and execute his family. If Edmure marches out with all his force, there is a very good chance that he'll muck it up, lose whatever army he has (again) and get himself captured (again). If not, then its no big loss for Tywin. Note that there is no indication that Edmure even knew Tywin was in the area until he was at the Riverrun. If Tywin had been, say, 100 miles to the south, Edmure might not even have known about it until after he was already across. The fact that this didn't happen is further proof that Tywin had no intention of crossing. At the time Tywin marched from Harrenhal, sure, he was probably looking to confront Robb after Oxcross. But I submit his plan was more likely to draw Robb back east rather than chase him to the west. He still has both the Tyrells and Stannis poised to strike King's Landing, and preventing that would be his top priority by far. Ask yourself these questions: Would Mace Tyrell start moving his watercraft to the Blackwater before the alliance with Tywin was signed, sealed and delivered? How long do you think it took to march those boats from Bitterbridge, let alone Highgarden, to Tumbler's Falls? Several weeks? Months? In all that time, do you think it is inconceivable that either Littlefinger or Tyrion could get a single rider to Tywin telling him that this is what is happening and that if he doesn't come to the rescue King's Landing will fall? Tywin has a lengthy heads-up on this alliance before he has to meet up with Mace. Plenty of time to get the bulk of his army to the rendezvous point and send a token force to Riverrun to make it seem that he is "probing" a way to cross the Red Fork. The same gambit that Robb used on the Green Fork. Yes, Tyrion is sent to rule. And both Tyrion and Tywin know what valuable allies the Dornish would make (at the time, it was their only hope for an alliance). So even if this betrothal did not come from a specific command from Tywin, it is the most logical thing to do. Same with the Tyrell alliance. There is no time to waste getting Tywin's approval ahead of time, but this is a golden opportunity that they cannot pass up. Doing the painfully obvious thing on your own accord is one thing; failing to notify your lord father and letting him march his army off into the west is quite another. Tywin was fully informed of these events as quickly as possible, and he had plenty of warning that Mace was on his way to the Blackwater. There is no other possibility. The fall of Storm's End happens about halfway through King's. The first probes on the Red Fork happen about three-quarters of the way through, while the Stone Mill doesn't occur until early in Swords. It should only take a day or two for word of Storm's End's fall to reach Tywin no matter where he is. This is big news; a significant turning point in the war. So did he begin his probing before word of the fall reached him, or after? Hard to say, but he should definitely be aware by the time of the Stone Mill. Heck, the mere fact that word of this battle is only reaching Riverrun after King's Landing has been rescued and that Edmure knows about Stannis' defeat and that Sunspear and Highgarden are now with Tywin is ample evidence that the Stone Mill, at least, was a feint to cover Tywin's retreat to the Blackwater. So Tyrell riders, not Lannisters, come up to Tywin during the fords and inform him that negotiations that Tywin was not even aware of have been successful and he is to march to the Blackwater where his new ally Mace is waiting for him with his army? I don't see how anybody can possibly imagine that Tywin is such a great fool as that. Again, it is inconceivable that Tywin was not aware -- from his own trusted sources -- that this alliance was in the works, that they had been concluded, that Storm's End had fallen and King's Landing was under threat. And if this was not finalized by the first probe on the fords, it was very shortly after because in a few weeks Tywin has marched overland to the Blackwater, sailed to KL with Mace and smashed Stannis. Catelyn is riding through the same lands that Tywin crossed on his initial invasion of the riverlands, and now she is crossing again when Tywin is back in the area. The mere fact that Catelyn makes it back to Riverrun at all is evidence that Tywin is still some distance away, and of course he is taking towns and castles on the way. That means he as access to their ravens and can get word quickly from King's Landing. How do you imagine he got word that the siege at Riverrun had failed, that Oxcross was lost, that Renly married Margaery? He was in the field then too. Just because you're on the march does not mean you are completely cut off from the world. Single riders can move much, much faster than armies. I can't say why Ser Desmond would tell Cat that Robb is unreachable by raven. More than likely, Robb hasn't yet taken any castles, and his force is already rather small, so he probably wasn't leaving behind garrisons anyway. And yet somehow Tywin did know that the northern army had departed the Twins and was marching straight down the Kingsroad, but not that Robb's horse was riding overland toward Riverrun. Somehow Robert knew that Rhaegar was at the Trident. Somehow Tywin knew that Rhaegar had lost at the Trident and he needed to get to King's Landing pronto. It's called battle intelligence. Even medieval commanders didn't just march into the field not knowing where their enemy was or what they were doing. Reports of battles being fought will get back to Stannis, particularly when Tywin gives the order not to kill any of his scouts. By the time Stannis hears of this fighting, however, it's too late because Tywin/Mace are almost on him, 1500 miles south of where he thinks they are. Again, there are many, many more roads than what's on the map. And using major roads is a disadvantage anyway because it is much more difficult to hide your troop movements, unless, of course, that is exactly what you want, ie, the Green Fork. Tywin is not so great a fool as to cross the river and leave 11,000 hostile troops to his rear. It was never a possibility, ergo, the fords and the Stone Mill were a delaying tactic and a feint to finalize the Tyrell alliance and disguise his movement to the Blackwater.
  13. I'm going by the wiki, which says Robert attacked as Rhaegar was attempting to cross, but maybe, maybe not. What's always puzzled me more about all of this is why Robert simply didn't march on King's Landing right after the double wedding and instead waited for Aerys and Rhaegar to get their army together. They had a good nine months, apparently, so why waste time fighting little skirmishes with minor river lords when they could have ended the war in one swift stroke? My only guess is that they were leery of confronting the Tyrell army if it came up from Storm's End, but that is a risk no matter when they marched on KL, and it would be better to do that first rather than after they've been bloodied by Rhaegar. Mayhaps they were leery of Tywin as well? But they would have plenty of word if Tywin suddenly went on the march, and even then, it's still easier to defeat two armies on the way to your goal then three.
  14. John Suburbs

    Why did Robb keep Edmure in the dark about his plan?

    All of these are way, way north of where Tywin should be if his intent is to follow Robb west. The river is lower, slower and less defended hundreds of miles to the south, which would be a mostly straight line from Harrenhall to the GT. Get the map collection; it's far more detailed than the sketches in the books. Yes, Harrenhall is slightly north of the GT, but Riverrun is way north, probably 50 leagues or more. So again, it makes no sense for Tywin to go north only to attempt a more difficult crossing close to the most heavily fortified castle in the region when he could just continue straight to his own fortified position. The Red Fork starts in the hills south of the GT and gains strength as it heads north to Riverrun. The farther south Tywin attempts to cross, the thinner and shallower the river will be. All rivers are like this: small streams at their source, miles wide where they dump into the ocean. The River Road is great, but he doesn't need to get anywhere near Riverrun in order to reach it. Even a hundred miles south would make an easier crossing, with far less resistance, and the road is just a few klicks beyond that. You might as well ask why Tywin did not march due north from Harrenhal to pick up the River Road at Lord Harroway's Town. Sure, Tywin took the field after Oxcross, and his intent at that time probably was to confront Robb. By the time of the Stone Mill and Fords, however, Storm's End had fallen, Stannis was marching on the capital, and the Tyrell alliance was in hand. At this point, everything points to Tywin making a feint at Riverrun to keep Stannis from learning that his true objective was King's Landing. It's the exact same gambit that Robb used on the Green Fork to keep Tywin from guessing his objective was Riverrun. Of course Tywin is in the loop. You think Tyrion is going to commit Tywin to an alliance and marry his grandson the king and not inform Tywin? LF does not leave on his mission until the next day and Tyrion would be a fool not to send a rider to Tywin within the hour. By the time Littlefinger even made it to Bitterbridge with his 300 men-at-arms and 40 knights, a single rider can easily make it to Tywin's army that has just set out from Harrenhall -- even faster if he sends a raven to HH first and then a rider from there. Plus, after Bitterbridge, LF has to go all the way to Highgarden to finalize the deal. It is inconceivable that all of this was sprung on Tywin in a message months later telling him out of the blue to meet Mace at the Blackwater. There is no hope that Stannis will have his hands full after Storm's End. Full of what? Now that Renly is dead and Stannis has a good chunk of the Tyrell army (which happened some time before), the only resistance Stannis faced was Storm's End. This is why Tyrion was so distressed about Ser Cortnay's death; he was counting on Storm's End to delay Stannis' march until Tywin had dealt with Robb. But all of this is changed by the time Tywin nears Riverrun, and again, it is inconceivable that Tywin is completely unaware of any of this. Of course Stannis receives reports as to what the other armies are doing and what battles are being fought and where. How big of a fool do you think he is? I never said Tywin should have taken the Golden Road. That is way far to the south. There are other roads in Westeros that are not on the map, however. Lots of them. Robb had roughly 6k at Oxcross. I don't know how many returned with him to Riverrun, but if Edmure is talking about 11k, that would pose a significant complication for Tywin.
  15. True, most of what we think happened comes from Littlefinger, not the most reliable of sources. But barring any other info, I would guess that the ford is fairly wide, or perhaps there are multiple fords. It had to be large enough to accommodate a large army, otherwise Rhaegar would not have tried to cross there. Plus I think it's fair to say that not all the fighting happened in the water. The battle began when Rhaegar was crossing the river, so I would imagine that some part of his force (namely the Dornish) were already across and were able to establish a line. Or, as you suggest, the northerners were able to cross and establish a line on the south side. But I'm guessing. Yes, I have no evidence that my scenario for Rhaegar and Robert happened. It's a suspicion. Hopefully we'll get some clarity by the end of the story, but maybe no.