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Aryss

TWOIAF only serves to confirm the great flaw of the series

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However much i love this series, the universe created by GRRM is fatally flawed because there is no balance. Dragons are essentially a god weapon that are far too powerful (even when they are killed by now dragon riders, it is essentially a fluke, that happens incredibly rarely). This means that incredibly implausible explanations have to be given to explain why the Dragonlords and Targs don't always win.



Dealing with Valryia essentially the only reason that the Dragonlords did not conquer the entire world is because they couldn't be bothered. No matter how good the water magic from the Rhoyne, when the Dragons turned up in force instead of just sending 3 of them, they were essentially completely destroyed (why the dragons didn't follow Nymeria to sea when they are in wooden boats (i.e. big funeral pyres/coffins) i don't know. One might accept this flaw, possibly the Dragonlords didn't care that much about conquest (although this is unlikely given how far they did conquer), however GRRM has struggled to come up with a plausible way to explain Dorne's survival (in fact he failed to do so)



Dorne of all the kingdoms is least capable of fighting off Dragons. GRRM has attempted to use the Napoleon marches on Russia scenario and the Spanish guerrillas of the peninsular to explain their victories. They didn't protect their cities, they proclaim themselves victors but it is meaningless, uprisings etc and they let the weather help them defeat the opposing armies (how ridiculous that Lord Tyrell and Baratheons would lead their armies anywhere near Dorne). Essentially all the Targs have to do since they have what we now call air superiority is let Dorne itself destroy the Dornish. Destroy every village and castle from the air (they aren't defending them anyway at the beginning) just like you did Harrenhal. Travel the coast and destroy all shipping, travel inland and effect a very literal scorched earth policy destroying what few crops could grow in such a barren landscape, you would also in the process destroy all the irrigations systems used. Finally burn the forests for good measure. At this point the Dornish have no food, they have no external trade (you can destroy enemy ships with Dragons), they have no shelter which they didn't defend, they are in a very inhospitable climate, it is hot in the day, it would also probably be very cold at night. Water would be scare which would mean that people would have to venture to water sources, with a large population (even sparsely populated Dorne talks of called 50,000 spears) that would mean you would have to use rivers. This need to stay close to such a large water source would make it easy for the Targs to hunt them on mass from the air. No population could ever withstand such attacks for more than a couple of years, the population would die in their thousands from starvation.



A better modern example of such warfare would be the bombing of the UK during WW2. Britain could never have survived if first her empire and then later also the USA had not provided a lifeline of supplies. Eventually the island would have succumbed without this. Air superiority would have been lost without the influx of fuel which would have also the Luftwaffe to bomb indiscriminately. Eventually such a toll would have been taken that starvation would have led to surrender just like other sieges over the last two thousands years of human history. Exactly the same would have happened to Dorne, they could never feed the population, because the Targs could prevent them from ever being able to farm crops year on year.



In RL we don't get one power rule all others because there has always been a balance of power. If there is not one single superpower opposing the other, then their were groups of smaller powers able to overcome the others. The US could not do anything they wanted during the Cold War because Russia had nukes too. Before the US was the superpower the British Empire could not do everything it wanted because the Continent could have united and overcome them, never mind the growing power of the US. When Germany overran the continent the world virtually ganged up to crush them. When Napoleon decided to impose his tyranny on a continent financed by Britain the continent came together in coalition after coalition to destroy him. Before that British and French battled in out and so on.



In GRRM's world their is no balance of power. At first the Dragonlords are far too powerful, to the extent they could have conquered all. Then the Targs alone are too powerful. When the targ family grows, and the realm is unified the natural occurrence would be an invasion of Essos. This never occurs, ever. This is extremely unlikely. First because for centuries the Targs have a god weapon and secondly martial societies such as Westeros would require an outlet, and further conquest would allow for Kings to gain glory, gain riches from conquest and make land grants to Lords to placate them. That this appears never to even have been considered (i think the only mention of additional conquests are of the stepstones), even when at times the Targs had 10 dragons making them ridiculously powerful compared to almost magic less rivals, is incredibly implausible.



What makes the current period in GRRMs world and the dance of dragons so exciting is precisely because this great flaw does not exist. Both sides can win and to do so both must suffer grievously. This world history however only highlights the impossibility of the world he has created.


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You can't just send dragons to war. They need riders. That in itself is a limitation of sorts. Do dragon riders have the stomach for scorched earth? There's a human element I think you are missing.

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To Table8:



Well burning castles and armies did not bother them before, they did mind threatening to burn other cities to the ground to get submission. They were willing to start wars even though in all such wars innocent commoners die simply because Aegon decided he wanted to be king. Even if you are right, this essentially means Dorne survives because the the Targs didn't want to force them to submit. I am sorry but how long before the North and The Reach and the Vale etc would say hang on a minute, if you aren't willing to punish Dorne and actually burn cities to the ground, why should be submit.



As to Dragons of course you need riders. We start this tale with 3 incredibly powerful dragons with 3 very good riders, and eventually we reach points in time when there are even more dragons than this.


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After reading your post again...I guess I just don't get what you're argument is. Just as Table8 pointed out...there are many human factors involved that you're not accounting for...at least it's not stated in your post.



Plus there are events that have happened in this world that we are not aware of, just as in our own. We don't know if Dragons are the most powerful 'weapon' out there. I mean...the CotF broke the Arm of Dorne...supposedly. That seems pretty dang powerful.



Also it is said that Dragons were in Westeros prior to the Targaryens bringing them...so what destroyed those dragons? Why isn't Westeros overrun with Dragons?


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at Ser Cold Fingers:



My point is this when writing the stories, essentially there is an unknown how did Dorne survive attack by Dragons who knows, it seems improbable they could have but we are only told that they did and this leaves it up to our imagination which makes it possible. When you try and write a history and essentially fill in the blanks, your history cannot be completely implausible, because you leave so little space for doubt. That is why essentially this leaves me cold in complete opposite to how i feel about the books both dunk and egg and the main series. Perhaps you can suspend disbelief even when things are completely ridiculous, but for me the power of the books, is that within the framework of fantasy, it aims at realistic character interaction.



You say we don't know dragons are the most powerful weapon out there but what we do know is that in an entire history of 300 years of Targ rule, no other weapon was ever presented that could rival them. They die through old age, through attack by other dragons or by fluke shots or overrun when caged in a dragon pit. We also know at times the Targs had 3 or more of these incredibly powerful beasts to the extent that even if you fluke kill one, you still have more to deal with.



No other events could have intervened as you suggest, because we are reading a history not a story that purports to tell us how things happened. If the reason that Dorne actually survived is some event that isn't mention in TWOIAF it makes it rather pointless reading.



Which human factors are you suggesting i missed other than they didn't have the stomach for a brutal war against the cornish again this would have caused revolts against the rule of a recent conqueror? (see William the Conqueror and his raising of the North to see how conquerors put down revolt in medieval periods)



As to why dragons were once in Westeros but are not anymore, that is irrelevant to the discussion in the time period. Maybe some power we do not know of killed them however this power does not present itself within the timeframe we are talking about, 300 years of Targ rule in Westeros so it simply is irrelevant as it was not a factor in any decision made in the history of the realm we are presented with


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I actually agree with the principle of the lack of balance brought about by the dragons.

That is why I believe the unnatural creation of dragons caused the Long Night and the unbalanced Seasons in some way, maybe as an attempt to rectify this affront to nature.

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at Ser Cold Fingers:

My point is this when writing the stories, essentially there is an unknown how did Dorne survive attack by Dragons who knows, it seems improbable they could have but we are only told that they did and this leaves it up to our imagination which makes it possible. When you try and write a history and essentially fill in the blanks, your history cannot be completely implausible, because you leave so little space for doubt. That is why essentially this leaves me cold in complete opposite to how i feel about the books both dunk and egg and the main series. Perhaps you can suspend disbelief even when things are completely ridiculous, but for me the power of the books, is that within the framework of fantasy, it aims at realistic character interaction.

You say we don't know dragons are the most powerful weapon out there but what we do know is that in an entire history of 300 years of Targ rule, no other weapon was ever presented that could rival them. They die through old age, through attack by other dragons or by fluke shots or overrun when caged in a dragon pit. We also know at times the Targs had 3 or more of these incredibly powerful beasts to the extent that even if you fluke kill one, you still have more to deal with.

No other events could have intervened as you suggest, because we are reading a history not a story that purports to tell us how things happened. If the reason that Dorne actually survived is some event that isn't mention in TWOIAF it makes it rather pointless reading.

Which human factors are you suggesting i missed other than they didn't have the stomach for a brutal war against the cornish again this would have caused revolts against the rule of a recent conqueror? (see William the Conqueror and his raising of the North to see how conquerors put down revolt in medieval periods)

As to why dragons were once in Westeros but are not anymore, that is irrelevant to the discussion in the time period. Maybe some power we do not know of killed them however this power does not present itself within the timeframe we are talking about, 300 years of Targ rule in Westeros so it simply is irrelevant as it was not a factor in any decision made in the history of the realm we are presented with

I am going to flag this an respond when I have a few less drinks in me so I can line out my argument clearly. I fear that in my current state...my thoughts would not translate all the way to my typing fingers (as if I have non-typing fingers).

Until the Morrow. :cheers:

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The Valyrians never conquered the entire world because they were not really a martial culture. They conquered to take slaves and protect their economic interests, not for the sake of territorial expansion. Most of their energies seemed to be directed at internal politics. They thought of themselves as better than the rest of the world, and were not terribly interested in it.

The Targs didn't conquer Dorne because having 2-3 or even 10 dragons is nothing like having modern air superiority as in your examples. All of those nations had entire air forces at their disposal. The Targs had at most a handful of dragons, and every one of them was far more precious than an easily replacable plane. Every rider was kin, far more precious than some random pilot. They could be and were killed in battle, as Rhaenys was, and pretty much every dragon during the dance- some of them by humans, not other dragons.

The scorched earth policy you describe is actually pretty rare in war in any era because it is self- defeating. Why bother conquering a land by destroying all its limited resources, including its population? Why put forth the huge resources it takes to do it? Aegon wanted to rule Dorne, not commit genocide. He had no other group of people to move into the area after it was depopulated.

Besides, they have three (then two) dragons with which to do all this destruction, and they can't spend all their time flying around Dorne. They have six other kingdoms to rule and a bunch of former kings to keep an eye on.

The lack of external wars is harder to explain, but there were so many internal wars during the Targ era that isn't completely unbelievable. The reigns of Jaehearys I and Viserys I seem to be the only extended peace, and that did lead to a small foreign war.

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GRRM has built in a dragon fail-safe: once people become a dragon riders, they become complete ass wipes. They become disdainful of everyone, even other dragon riders. Therefore, they can neither effectively lead, or be good followers which means they will never run effective military campaigns.



The most successful military troop in the book is primarily made up of foot soldiers.. not magical beasts


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Dragons aren't god weapons, in the Rhoynish part of World archers bring them down, in Dorne Meraxes was brought down by a ballista, Bloodraven sniping Daemon with weirwood arrows and that flash from Bran of some dude making weirwood arrows seem to point towards them as a potential dragon killing method.

Add on top of that Valyria once invaded Westeros and held up to Oldtown then left due to prophecy and also due to opposition. Weirwood arrows may have played a part in this opposition.

Snipe a rider atop his dragon, that dragon might just go nuts on everything including its own army, or just leave lol

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In reference to why Aegon didn't proceed to fully conquer Dorne, it is told he was sent a letter by the ruling Martell which changed his mind. Up until then his plan was to conquer Dorne, it is unknown what was in the letter. I hope we will find out but chances are we will never know.

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I never saw the Dragons as a "god weapon" and too many of the OP points rely on modern thinking and ways of war which are irrelevant to the series. Also, if you read the book, and understood it, as well as all of the other info we get about the Valyrians you see that they were not really interested in "conquering" the known world so much as collecting slaves from the known world in order to advance their agenda at home.

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Why does there have to be balance? Why can't one side be vastly more powerful than the others? How is that a flaw?

I agree about GrrM's Dornish resistance being BS though.

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The Dornish in this instance are like the Fremen of Dune. Also, a typical way storytellers establish a new character's baddass legitimacy is to have them defeat an already established badass. So by resisting the dragons, however improbable (and it is), Dorne is thereby awarded cool points.

Nerf Dorne.

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However much i love this series, the universe created by GRRM is fatally flawed because there is no balance. Dragons are essentially a god weapon that are far too powerful (even when they are killed by now dragon riders, it is essentially a fluke, that happens incredibly rarely). This means that incredibly implausible explanations have to be given to explain why the Dragonlords and Targs don't always win.

Dealing with Valryia essentially the only reason that the Dragonlords did not conquer the entire world is because they couldn't be bothered. No matter how good the water magic from the Rhoyne, when the Dragons turned up in force instead of just sending 3 of them, they were essentially completely destroyed (why the dragons didn't follow Nymeria to sea when they are in wooden boats (i.e. big funeral pyres/coffins) i don't know. One might accept this flaw, possibly the Dragonlords didn't care that much about conquest (although this is unlikely given how far they did conquer), however GRRM has struggled to come up with a plausible way to explain Dorne's survival (in fact he failed to do so)

Responding only to this piece of your argument, I've concluded that the likeliest reason why Valyria has not conquered much more than it did, including Westeros, has to do to with its society and politics. It seems to me that Valyria has been modeled after the Roman Republic (and also Athens). The government was controlled by the many dragonlord families which constantly vied for power. So it probably had a senate of some sort. Also, just as the Republic elected Consuls to lead the military, the Valyrians elected Archons to lead its military, but they were only temporary. The Roman Republic, despite having the best military of its time did not spread like wildfire, unlike other empires in history. They were content with making client states of rival neighbors, and only really destroyed a rival nation when they deemed it too troublesome (i.e. Carthage). Same thing with the Valyrians - they only destroyed the Ghiscari after five wars, though they probably could have done it in one, and they destroyed the Rhoynar after the Rhoynar themselves started a war of annihilation (sure the Valyrians provoked theme). The Valyrians expanded through colonization as much as they did through warfare.

So when you have a democratic form of government, it's natural that you will have parties which favor war, and parties opposed to war. That is why the Valyrians, despite their super weapons, did not conquer the world.

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