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Does anyone else agree that Robb was a bad King?

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Since the moment Robb married Jeyne Westerling I always thought he was a horrible King. He also made another major blunder when killing Lord Karstark. Robb thought he could pick and choose when to be honourable. He broke his marriage oath to Lord Frey which in my eyes isn't very honourable but killed Lord Karstark for killing the two Lannister boys which is honourable. If Robb had of just gritted his teeth and married the Frey and spared Lord Karstark and held him hostage, he'd still have the Freys on his side, he'd still have the Karstark troops and would currently be marching north to free his Kingdom from the grips of the Ironborn. In my opinion Robb was good at winning Battles but not at being King.


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While I disagree with some of his decisions (and I don't know where in SoS you are, so I won't talk about all of them I agree or disagree with), overall, I think he has a good grip on things. He's, what, a 15 year old kid? I think he's learning how to be a king. Without proper examples, I don't expect him to get everything right the first time.


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I agree that he can't get everything right the first time but was he really in a position to make large mistakes such as breaking his marriage oath to Lord Frey? Correct me if I'm wrong but as far as I remember he was advised against the two mistakes I named in my previous post. He was declared King in the North and was fighting a dangerous war and his own kingdom in the hands of an opposing force. And in saying he was declared King I suppose some of the blame for his decisions should be directed at the men who declared him King when he was too young.


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A lot of Robb's "mistakes" could boil down to "listen to your mother."



As per the marriage thing, Robb thought it more honorable after bedding the Westerling girl to marry her at that point. The way I read/understand it, he didn't necessarily want to, but, after a moment of weakness, didn't think it would be honorable to bed an run.



I do think it's a dumb move, but I'm trying to provide a counterpoint to why he thought it was the right thing to do.



I do think he was good on the battlefield, however. At one point someone will mention that he has won every battle but is losing the war, and this is because of a couple of the mistakes you mention. I do think it was a grievous error to break the marriage pact, but I'm not a 15 year old thinking I've dishonored a maid by bedding and leaving. (Mom wasn't around at the time to say it was a bad idea, but definitely told him her thoughts after the fact, which were very clear).



The people in the North declared Robb King in the North as he was now their Liege Lord. They weren't going to declare the Greatjon king, for example. The Starks are the Lords Paramount in the north. Either they declare Robb their own King and rebel, or they pretend everything was okay with what happened to Ned. I don't think Robb, at that point, could have said no. He was forced into the position of power.



That said, he had, in my estimation, some fantastic help on his war council. I guess he just needed a bedroom council that was just as competent.


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A lot of Robb's "mistakes" could boil down to "listen to your mother."

As per the marriage thing, Robb thought it more honorable after bedding the Westerling girl to marry her at that point. The way I read/understand it, he didn't necessarily want to, but, after a moment of weakness, didn't think it would be honorable to bed an run.

I do think it's a dumb move, but I'm trying to provide a counterpoint to why he thought it was the right thing to do.

I do think he was good on the battlefield, however. At one point someone will mention that he has won every battle but is losing the war, and this is because of a couple of the mistakes you mention. I do think it was a grievous error to break the marriage pact, but I'm not a 15 year old thinking I've dishonored a maid by bedding and leaving. (Mom wasn't around at the time to say it was a bad idea, but definitely told him her thoughts after the fact, which were very clear).

The people in the North declared Robb King in the North as he was now their Liege Lord. They weren't going to declare the Greatjon king, for example. The Starks are the Lords Paramount in the north. Either they declare Robb their own King and rebel, or they pretend everything was okay with what happened to Ned. I don't think Robb, at that point, could have said no. He was forced into the position of power.

That said, he had, in my estimation, some fantastic help on his war council. I guess he just needed a bedroom council that was just as competent.

Seems to me, his mommy got him into the marriage predicament, and it was his mommy that got him into trouble with the karstarks. Robb died because his mommy was selfish.

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Loosing the Freys was the biggest mistake. Sending Greyjoy away was not good at all either. If he would not have married Jeyne Westerlings, he could have hoped to at least regain the North. He needed a mentor to help him in his decision. Catelyn Stark helped him as well she could but he had lacked a hand to counsel him. A closer eye should have been kept on he Boltons. Lord Bolton seemed quite skeptical of Robb as a king.


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He was a great commander, never lost a battle. Just so much less experienced than Tywin, Lord Frey and Bolton, they out-thought him while Robb out-fought them. Plus he didn't think the Jeyne thing through, he was young and that was his downfall.


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Seems to me, his mommy got him into the marriage predicament, and it was his mommy that got him into trouble with the karstarks. Robb died because his mommy was selfish.

His mother got him the alliance he needed to achieve his military objectives. He then went and quite literally fucked it up.

His mother also told him not to send Theon as an envoy to Balon, he ignored her advice and look how that turned out.

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His mother also told him not to send Theon as an envoy to Balon, he ignored her advice and look how that turned out.

In all fairness it wasn't something a brother could foresee. For that was the relationship between Robb and Theon: that of two brothers. They grew up together, played together and fought together. It's no less than bitter treason. A knife in the back. Catelyn never considered him her son though and doubted him for his name: Greyjoy. But in the end she never really sought to stop Theon. She could have perhaps, behind the back of Robb, tried to make sure Theon never reach Pyke to lead him astray. It seems to me that she wasn't convinced either way that he was loyal or a possible traitor. Her counsel was that of taking no chance and send someone else.

Nonetheless a mistake is a mistake. Sending Greyjoy to his father cost him the fall of Winterfell and the North. I very much doubt anyone would have thought Theon capable of been such a pain in the ass, causing such a mess. Even the folks in Winterfell couldn't believe it was true.

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In all fairness it wasn't something a brother could foresee. For that was the relationship between Robb and Theon: that of two brothers. They grew up together, played together and fought together. It's no less than bitter treason. A knife in the back. Catelyn never considered him her son though and doubted him for his name: Greyjoy.

Nonetheless a mistake is a mistake. Sending Greyjoy to his father cost him the fall of Winterfell and the North. I very much doubt anyone would have thought Theon capable of been such a pain in the ass, causing such a mess. Even the folks in Winterfell couldn't believe it was true.

It was a bad move for a very basic reason: Theon was leverage over Balon and sending him as an envoy was giving that away. As some silly old lady who ruined everything told Robb:

"You'll have them sooner if you keep his son as hostage."

"He's been a hostage half his life."

"For good reason," Catelyn said. "Balon Greyjoy is not a man to be trusted. He wore a crown himself, remember, if only for a season. He may aspire to wear one again."

Regardless of the unforseeable, it was a major mistake built on Robb's blindly optimistic assumptions about the motives of a man he hadn't met and had no reason to trust. Cat gets Balon exactly right there, Robb is expressing AGoT Sansa levels of wishful thinking.

But in the end she never really sought to stop Theon. She could have perhaps, behind the back of Robb, tried to make sure Theon never reach Pyke to lead him astray. It seems to me that she wasn't convinced either way that he was loyal or a possible traitor. Her counsel was that of taking no chance and send someone else.

There isn't anything she could have done: Theon is an able bodied man, she doesn't have Brienne to drop a sack over him and smuggle him away. She's aware that even trying to countermand Robb's orders undermines his authority, it's not something she attempts to do until after the Sack of Winterfell in a fit of desperation.

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Seems to me, his mommy got him into the marriage predicament, and it was his mommy that got him into trouble with the karstarks. Robb died because his mommy was selfish.

Catelyn negotiated the alliance and brought the terms to Robb. He gave the final approval, so that doesn't fly.

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There are a few moments early in AGOT, especially in the first chapter, where we see Robb and Jon together, and Jon keeps demonstrating that he has greater insight than Robb.



Robb was an excellent tactician -- though his battlefield successes happen entirely off-stage -- but doesn't have much of a head for political strategy. I think his greatest political mistake was claiming the title of King in the North, which raised the stakes considerably. Had he not done that, he could have hoped to ally with Stannis, isolate and defeat the Lannisters, and march home to rule the North with the more modest title that was good enough for his father.


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Since the moment Robb married Jeyne Westerling I always thought he was a horrible King. He also made another major blunder when killing Lord Karstark. Robb thought he could pick and choose when to be honourable. He broke his marriage oath to Lord Frey which in my eyes isn't very honourable but killed Lord Karstark for killing the two Lannister boys which is honourable. If Robb had of just gritted his teeth and married the Frey and spared Lord Karstark and held him hostage, he'd still have the Freys on his side, he'd still have the Karstark troops and would currently be marching north to free his Kingdom from the grips of the Ironborn. In my opinion Robb was good at winning Battles but not at being King.

I don't think any of that makes Robb a bad king, what it does do however is make him a bad player of the Game of Thrones.

In order to succeed you have to be completely ruthless, driven and play the game correctly which is something Robb, just like his father, was fundamentally unable to do.

He actually probably would have been a great King of the North, and says himself that:

"I told myself ... swore to myself ... that I would be a good king, as honourable as Father, strong, just, loyal to my friends and brave when I faced my enemies ... now I can't even tell one from the other,"

Robb's flaws ultimately mirror those of his father which is why its so tragic as both men were incredibly honourable (although they weren't perfect by any means of course) and ultimately wanted the best they could achieve for their subjects and maybe even the realm as a whole, or at the very least the North.

Like I said, I think you have everything backwards; Robb was a potentially great King, but potentially Great Kings tend to make bad players at the Game of Thrones and thus are unable to ever become King in the first place, which is the ultimate tragedy of the whole thing.

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Catelyn negotiated the alliance and brought the terms to Robb. He gave the final approval, so that doesn't fly.

Actually, agreed. Robb never did have to cross the bridge. Catelyn brought back the terms before crossing, and robb knew the terms when he chose to cross the twins. I agree, robb is to blame. Catelyn did what she could.

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If he doesn't cross the Twins he's locked into facing a substantially larger Lannister force commanded by Tywin and even further from relieving Riverrun if he somehow wins that one.



The Frey deal was crucial to getting his military campaign off the ground, that Robb's later mistakes bring the Freys to turn on him doesn't retroactively make it a mistake.


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If he doesn't cross the Twins he's locked into facing a substantially larger Lannister force commanded by Tywin and even further from relieving Riverrun if he somehow wins that one.

The Frey deal was crucial to getting his military campaign off the ground, that Robb's later mistakes bring the Freys to turn on him doesn't retroactively make it a mistake.

oh no, no it wasnt a mistake. it had to happen for him to cros the twins. and thats the point. the deal was struck, robb knew the terms to succeed, and accepted them. he then went back on his word and broke his contract with walder, then it's all up in the air that walder may have been in the wrong? no no no. robb was in the wrong. id even go as far as to say catelyn was an innocent victim of robbs lust and broken promises.

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Yes, i'm pretty sure he would have lost the war eventually had the Red Wedding not happened, he would have lost support from most of the north (Frey and bolton Etc) and i think he was heading towards that stage if i recall


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Wel, he didn't really have time to prove himself as a good or bad king, since all he was doing was fighting in a fierce and complicated war for several months. So yeah, he did make one or two bad decisions there, but I don't think that made him a bad king. It didn't make him a good one either - you just can't tell.


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Still. The Freys might have been within their rights to refuse cooperation with Robb after the Westerling marriage: but they still owed allegiance to the Tullys, and their duty was to march to the relief of Riverrun, *unconditionally*. When Riverrun was first besieged, there wasn't even the pretence of legality for it: King Robert Baratheon was still alive when Tywin marched, putting Tywin firmly on the wrong side of the law, and it was the duty of every lord in the Riverlands to come to the aid of Riverrun at once. Walder Frey himself overreached any rights he might have, dishonourably so, by refusing to march until he had extracted concessions. Sure, Robb was a fool, and had given Walder Frey something of an insult, that the man frankly deserved: but insults are insults, and murder and treachery are murder and treachery, and nobody has any right to repay an insult with treachery on the scale of the Red Wedding. An acceptable response would, say, have been to refuse to fight under Robb's direct command any further, and insist on being under the direct command of a Tully who was their rightful liege lord, or could represent him - e.g. Edmure or Brynden Blackfish.

As for Rickard Karstark - Firstly, that was because of Catelyn's error in releasing Jaime, their prize hostage. Secondly, it was the only way to save the life of Rickard's surviving son Harrion, captive a second time: Harrion would surely himself have been executed by the Lannisters if Robb did not give justice to Rickard. Who, on his way in to murder the prisoners, who were still children, also killed a couple of the guards too: that, also, was outright murder with no justification. Justice must apply to the lords as well as to the commoners, or it is not justice: Rickard Karstark was guilty of murder, and must suffer the punishment. The only alternative, sending him to the Wall, was not feasible because of the sack of Winterfell (by Ramsay) and the capture of Moat Cailin by the ironborn. Execution was therefore the only option. If Robb made a mistake there, it was in failing to make the argument that Rickard had put Harrion's life in danger by his own deeds, and indeed that executing the father was the only chance of convincing the enemy to spare the son. Making that argument might have at least convinced the rest of the Karstark men to stay instead of deserting.

So, Robb's biggest error was neither of the above, but one which couldn't have been predicted to have the consequences it did: sending Theon back to Balon. Balon refusing the offer of a treaty, and invading the North, would have happened anyway, no matter where Theon was - Balon no longer cared about his son - but the one thing that couldn't have been predicted was Theon himself taking part to the extent of capturing Winterfell, given that he and Robb had actually grown to be friends and fought alongside each other. Without the capture of Winterfell, the rest of the ironborn invasion remains irrelevant - Torrhen's Square gets relieved by the Winterfell reserves, then Moat Cailin recaptured from its vulnerable north side, leaving only Deepwood Motte, which must eventually be recaptured too.

And even the capture of Winterfell would have been nothing if only Theon had left the criminals to rot in the dungeons... including "Reek". Because without Ramsay, Winterfell would have been recaptured, the Stark boys would have dared to show themselves, and Theon would be either dead or at the Wall - and Robb would, unwittingly, have a hostage against Roose Bolton's behaviour, which would sooner or later be discovered.

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