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Do you think Stannis will achieve a Pyrrhic victory in the Battle of Ice?


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I think Stannis will come to an agreement with the Manderly men after the battle. They will act like Stannis was defeated and return to WF. Some people think that there is a strong Manderly army nearby under the comand of Robett Glover. I think that is how they will take WF. But Roose and most of his men might be on their way to Dreadfort when they come.

But then what about his red sword?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I could imagine a so-called "pyrrhic victory" for Stannis being that the northmen have pulled one of Roose Bolton's own tricks on him... Stannis wins the battle, but of course there will be casualties among his men. And somehow it just so happens that the heaviest casualties are among those southerners that he brought with him, while the Northmen are relatively unharmed. And suddenly Stannis's "army" consists almost entirely of northmen.

At the very least... would they leverage that into forcing Stannis's acceptance of an independent north, as the price for continuing on supporting him?

Or maybe it would be "So long, and thanks for all the fish - we'll do the rest without you" leaving him high and dry with nobody answering to his call?

Or maybe Stannis, with no friends left in the south and increasingly more friends in the north, will himself identify with the northern cause and fight for an independent north himself?

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I could imagine a so-called "pyrrhic victory" for Stannis being that the northmen have pulled one of Roose Bolton's own tricks on him... Stannis wins the battle, but of course there will be casualties among his men. And somehow it just so happens that the heaviest casualties are among those southerners that he brought with him, while the Northmen are relatively unharmed. And suddenly Stannis's "army" consists almost entirely of northmen.

At the very least... would they leverage that into forcing Stannis's acceptance of an independent north, as the price for continuing on supporting him?

Or maybe it would be "So long, and thanks for all the fish - we'll do the rest without you" leaving him high and dry with nobody answering to his call?

Or maybe Stannis, with no friends left in the south and increasingly more friends in the north, will himself identify with the northern cause and fight for an independent north himself?

It already does. Currently, more than 80% of Stannis' army consists of Northmen and any reinforcements he receives for the next year or two will be Northmen as well. No need to force it.

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No, it will be an annihilation of the Freys-maybe White Harbor leaving from east gate can avoid it? Maybe even pull off a "Trojan Horse" by holding the gate as Northmen pour through, taking Winterfell? Or is there a smaller more private route through the crypts? Lady Dustin will betray Bolton (I hope) but its a crazy theory. :)



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  • 1 month later...

I think that Stannis will have a pyrrhic victory, in a sense. I expect that the battle will be a tactical and strategic masterpiece, that will ultimately result in Stannis taking Winterfell (with minimal losses). So in the 'War of Northern Unification' against the Freys and Boltons, its a decisive strategic victory. However, I also anticipate that the others will be attacking the north in force by the middle of WOW. In that sense, all the battle did was weaken the human defenders while providing the others with fresh fodder for their army. So in the context of the war against the others, its a pyrrhic victory.


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The Battle wont go as planned, theres a reason we have 3 chapters or George has read chapters from the Battle of Fire, but none from the Battle of Ice, I think its obvious that something unexpected happens that he doesnt want to reveal until you read the book.



With that being said, a Pyrrhic victyory definitely seems to be the case, even if Stannis uses the Lake to drown the soldiers ala real life medieval history.


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The Battle wont go as planned, theres a reason we have 3 chapters or George has read chapters from the Battle of Fire, but none from the Battle of Ice, I think its obvious that something unexpected happens that he doesnt want to reveal until you read the book.

Wouldn't that be a Stannis victory? ADWD gives the impression that Stannis is in dire straits. He's running out of food, he's lost the majority of his cavalry, his march has crawled to a stop, morale is running low, the Karstarks are preparing to stab him in the back and Roose has just sent out a better equipped and better fed force of Freys and Manderlys. The book gives no indication Stannis has a plan to survive all this beyond "we will march, and we will free Winterfell … or die in the attempt." It's only in the sample that Stannis gives an inkling of what he could be planning, but otherwise it appears that his defeat is almost assured.

It's only if you've analysed the sample and the chapters preceding it that you could come away with the impression that Stannis has a good plan to achieve victory, but for most people his survival would be quite a shock.

Like with the Red Wedding or Ned's capture, it seemed like things were going to go a certain way (Robb with his plan to defeat the Ironborn and return North, Ned with his plan to buy the Goldcloaks and capture the Lannisters) but it went quite the opposite and most people had their expectations unfulfilled, even though looking back at the chapters earlier you could figure out what was in the works.

It already does. Currently, more than 80% of Stannis' army consists of Northmen and any reinforcements he receives for the next year or two will be Northmen as well. No need to force it.

Massey's sellswords may arrive earlier than a year, especially if he sends them over to Stannis in smaller groups whilst he remains on Essos recruiting.

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Massey's sellswords may arrive earlier than a year, especially if he sends them over to Stannis in smaller groups whilst he remains on Essos recruiting.

Unlikely. Let's do it step by step:

Massey traveling to Castle Black: minimum three weeks, could be (way) more depending on weather and Bolton forces blocking the way.

Whatever happens at Castle Black after Jon's assassination: unknown

Traveling to Eastwatch: About a week.

Waiting for the ships to return from Hardhome or alternative transportation: unknown

Sailing from Eastwatch to Braavos: three to four weeks, could be (way) more in bad weather.

So, under the most positive circumstances, Massey will need at least two months to reach Braavos. Returning sellwords would need longer, traveling in larger groups. Let's assume three months for them. That puts the very first sellsword hired and shipped the very day Massey stepped of his ship in Braavos and traveling with absurdly well conditions at arriving at least five months later. With a less optimistic approach, that timespan is doubled.

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Cheers. Some of those dates used aren't in ideal conditions, though. Massey will likely be riding through the blizzard same as Tycho, so fair enough, but Sam's ship underwent some storms in the later part of its journey. The sellswords may have the Braavos-White Harbour-Winterfell route at their disposal, too, rather than Braavos-Eastwatch-CB-Winterfell.


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Cheers. Some of those dates used aren't in ideal conditions, though. Massey will likely be riding through the blizzard same as Tycho, so fair enough, but Sam's ship underwent some storms in the later part of its journey. The sellswords may have the Braavos-White Harbour-Winterfell route at their disposal, too, rather than Braavos-Eastwatch-CB-Winterfell.

Jon's party four years earlier needed 25 days on the Kingsroad, though they didn't made haste.

Sam's ship had 18 days of fair weather and an unknown amount of stormy weather, and did not yet arrive in Braavos.

Later, the sellswords may use White Harbour, but Stannis would need to send word of it to Braavos first.

Of course it amounts to a very rough guess and I won't argue for specific weeks or months. "Long time" would be good enough for me. But the "long" part is important.

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This is a question regarding the upcoming battle of ice in the book.

I believe that Stannis will achieve a Pyrrhic victory(It is a victory with such a devastating cost that it is tantamount to defeat. Someone who wins a Pyrrhic victory has been victorious in some way; however, the heavy toll negates any sense of achievement or profit.)

We already know GRRM likes to use Historic Equivalents For eg: Stark Lannister Conflict - War of the Roses York vs Lancastershire.

This Kind of a victory will fit in well the theory which believes that Stannis is next Night's King.

I would like to know your opinions on this.

At the moment Stannis"s greatest asset is his claim as protector of the realm... not his military forces. Losing most of his forces would not tarnish that so long as he could claim the battle was for justice.

Stannis"s mid and long term military objectives rest with the mercenary forces and supporters he can gain. Any victory and justice would be a win and not a Pyrrhic win. (Unless, it left him too weak to survive a counter attack.)

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At the moment Stannis"s greatest asset is his claim as protector of the realm... not his military forces. Losing most of his forces would not tarnish that so long as he could claim the battle was for justice.

Stannis"s mid and long term military objectives rest with the mercenary forces and supporters he can gain. Any victory and justice would be a win and not a Pyrrhic win. (Unless, it left him too weak to survive a counter attack.)

I agree - unless he dies at Winterfell, any victory there means that he'll be better off. And as he sees it, his death would not be fatal - there is still Shireen.

Shireen, though, is at the Wall. And I don't think that events at the Wall are developing according to Stannis' plans. If anything happens to Shireen, or Shireen falls into the hands of his enemies, that will be a much heavier blow than anything that can happen at Winterfell.

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The Battle wont go as planned, theres a reason we have 3 chapters or George has read chapters from the Battle of Fire, but none from the Battle of Ice, I think its obvious that something unexpected happens that he doesnt want to reveal until you read the book.

With that being said, a Pyrrhic victyory definitely seems to be the case, even if Stannis uses the Lake to drown the soldiers ala real life medieval history.

I think the underlying reason for no 'post-Battle of Ice' POV chapters because of the Bastard letter (and the assassination of Jon Snow). It'd be hard to shed any further light on the Battle of Ice without drawing attention to the Bastard Letter (and Jon's survival). So I think that the lack of information on the battle is an attempt on GRRM's part to dodge those two key topics. Again, its just my speculation.

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I think the underlying reason for no 'post-Battle of Ice' POV chapters because of the Bastard letter (and the assassination of Jon Snow). It'd be hard to shed any further light on the Battle of Ice without drawing attention to the Bastard Letter (and Jon's survival). So I think that the lack of information on the battle is an attempt on GRRM's part to dodge those two key topics. Again, its just my speculation.

We are getting Mereen chapters because those were written years ago, and they weren't included in Dance with Dragons just because of the size of the volume. We got a Theon chapter that revolves around the battle of Ice, though.

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We are getting Mereen chapters because those were written years ago, and they weren't included in Dance with Dragons just because of the size of the volume. We got a Theon chapter that revolves around the battle of Ice, though.

I was referring in particular to those POV chapters that would have dealt with the immediate after-effects of the Battle of the Ice, from a first-hand-account perspective. We have no chapters that are on that point.

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