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Aryss

TWOIAF only serves to confirm the great flaw of the series

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Aren't there lots of examples of asymmetrical warfare in history where the 'weak' side wins? Vietnam? Passive resistance in India? Repeated invasions by world superpowers in Afghanistan?

Empires often choose to be self limiting, conquering is one thing, holding and governing is quite another. Empires are only useful if they're profitable or have strategic value

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Just because someone can benefit from taking an action, doesn't mean that said action comes without a cost.



For example, despite Teutoburg Forest, the early Roman Empire probably could've taken over Germania but chose not to because it would've been a useless, undeveloped waste of resources. What sane Roman would've wanted to squat in the middle of nowhere without the comforts of Roman civilization and isolated from Roman political life? Particularly when both the security and the trade aspects of their mission could've been much more easily handled via diplomacy?


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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 understand peopel saying that the Valyrians didnt have a conquering culture, but that's bullshit. They made it all the way to Dragonstone and by all means shouldve attempted a few landings to try and conquer it. Period.

1.) It seems like Valyrians were constantly infighting between families. We dont hear about many civil wars in Valyria, but one could surmise that they had a few.

2.) Dragons arent invulnerable. They have be killed by bow, by soldiers, by other dragons. Even though Aegon had three Dragons, only Balerion was of any real use. Rememeber what the Queen of Dorne told Aegon's sister when she came to threaten her? Yea, barely feared that Dragon.

Balerion the Dredd was the only real menance. However, as to why Valyria never conquered portions of Westeros, there's probably a mgaical eliment involved. Betwee the Children, greenseers, Weirwoods, White Walkers, whatever, they probably never really tried. Hell, probably feared the power and deemed it unecessary. Makes you wonder what wouldve happened if Torrhen didnt bend the knee. Maybe even the Dragons understand the need for "balance".

3.) Fire Dragons may not do well in the cold. Dragons once ruled the world, what killed them? Was it the Long Night? Are the White Walkers awaking mainly to stop the Dragons? Do they have a secret ability? But one could surmise that the Fire Dragons do not do well in the Winter, and Winter is Coming

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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.

You really skimmed it hmm?

They made a point to mention that the dragons DID burn the lords out, by the end only Sunspear was left alone. And I think they received external aid from the free cities, but that might have been the young dragon's attempt.

Remember, Aegon wanted to rule Dorne, not a ruin, he can't kill all of the peasents. Furthermore, they cannot be everywhere at once, so having a dragon blockade is silly, you also can't destroy the wells with dragons, you would use poison. But even there you would have an issue as the people who know the land wouldn't help you.

Don't think of this as napoleon in Russia, this is afghanistan- the people of Dorne would nip at the enemy and try to take down the air power. Remember it was the LETTER that ended the first conquest of Dorne- we don't know what it contained.

The second conquest had no dragons, so ya.

The issue of conquest in Essos is pretty nonsensical when you consider that only during the time of Viserys 1 could it have happened and the Targs were locked in an internecine political struggle and later a martial one.

If they had tried to conquer they would have faced far larger armies and the threat of Faceless Men. Furthermore they would have had great difficulty in administering the territory. Giving land to a vassal in essos would have only angered the Essosi ( especially since the Targs are wholely Valyrian, suggesting a new freehold to Bravos). Ultimately any land taken would have too much distance between it and dragonstone, making it harder to safeguard.

Your point on laziness is ridiculous considering that George has implied in just about every asoiaf material that the Balyrians had a reason to specifically fear Westeros, this was in TWOIAF, ADWD, SSM, and other texts I'm sure- Tyrion specifically ponders this in ADWD. So it is obviously to do with magic NOT sloth.

In regards to the death of dragons, remember we have been told that dragons can and do die from men all of the time, there was the mirror shield, water magic, Scorpions, swords and spears, etc. It seems likely that dragons are not the check mate you think they are.

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Aren't there lots of examples of asymmetrical warfare in history where the 'weak' side wins? Vietnam? Passive resistance in India? Repeated invasions by world superpowers in Afghanistan?

Empires often choose to be self limiting, conquering is one thing, holding and governing is quite another. Empires are only useful if they're profitable or have strategic value

All your examples are from modern times. Afghanistan in particular has changed hands between a huge number of different empires throughout history. Probably way more than most countries. So much for being unconquerable.

Although it's by no means impossible that the weaker side wins a war, the difference in strength and capabilities in the case of Dorne vs. Aegon I is ridiculous.

Balerion the Black dread was so large that he could swallow mammoths whole, his wingspan so great that his shadow would cover entire towns when passing over them, and his firepower so strong that he could make the largest castle in Westeros (clearly way larger than any castles built in real history, and we built some pretty big ones) literally melt. This is a real weapon of mass destruction we are talking about here, not one side having a few thousand more heavy cavalry than the other or something. Though Aegon of course in addition to Balerion also had troops from all over Westeros, and two other dragons...

It is also inconsistent with how easy he conquered the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, including ones much stronger than Dorne, and with Aegon having very few troops back then at that.

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I agree, OP. It makes no sense that the dornish were the only people smart enough to scatter and use ballistas to kill the dragon while everyone else was doing stupid shit to fight Aegon's forces.

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I agree, OP. It makes no sense that the dornish were the only people smart enough to scatter and use ballistas to kill the dragon while everyone else was doing stupid shit to fight Aegon's forces.

It's stupid to think arrogant, proud kings would go to war before hiding like cowards (because everybody would consider them cowards) ? And who says those who went against them didn't try using ballistas and archers?

And stupid to imagine the last kingdom, would look at the others and be like...hmmm, maybe not a good idea to fight them head on?

Makes perfect sense to me. Not sure why people assume everybody has to fight alike/think alike. Every book makes it clear how proud and arrogant Lords/Kings are.

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Balerion the Black dread was so large that he could swallow mammoths whole, his wingspan so great that his shadow would cover entire towns when passing over them, and his firepower so strong that he could make the largest castle in Westeros (clearly way larger than any castles built in real history, and we built some pretty big ones) literally melt. This is a real weapon of mass destruction we are talking about here, not one side having a few thousand more heavy cavalry than the other or something. Though Aegon of course in addition to Balerion also had troops from all over Westeros, and two other dragons...

It is also inconsistent with how easy he conquered the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, including ones much stronger than Dorne, and with Aegon having very few troops back then at that.

American army vs terrorist groups is a good example to prove you wrong. You can't kill what you can't find, no matter what weapons you have. Not sure why him having that much firepower changes anything, considering Dorne never attacked head-on, just guerrila style warfare.

It's not about strength, which you seem to be stuck on. It was about strategy, which Dorne used instead of, like i said, attacking head on.

Really not hard to imagine one kingdom lasting longer than the others due to using tactics and intelligence instead of gathering every man in the same army and going against dragons. Riverlands joined them, North did too, obviously that's a lot easier. Lannisters and Gardners were idiots who went head on against 3 dragons and an army. Hoare got killed for being an idiot and hiding in his castle.

Pretty easy to see how Dorne lasted longer.

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It's stupid to think arrogant, proud kings would go to war before hiding like cowards (because everybody would consider them cowards) ? And who says those who went against them didn't try using ballistas and archers?

And stupid to imagine the last kingdom, would look at the others and be like...hmmm, maybe not a good idea to fight them head on?

Makes perfect sense to me. Not sure why people assume everybody has to fight alike/think alike. Every book makes it clear how proud and arrogant Lords/Kings are.

Take Harren the Black for example.

“I built in stone,” said Harren. “Stone does not burn.”

Then after his downfall the author tells us:

Stone does not burn, Harren had boasted, but his castle was not made of stone alone.

As in, the guy who spent 40 years to build the thing didn't know that? As if that wasn't obvious?

Second problem:

Once inside, he sent every man of his to the parapets, armed with spears and bows and crossbows, promising lands and riches to whichever of them could bring the dragon down.

No ballistas, catapults, scorpions or trebuchets. Just bows, crossbows and spears.

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I understand peopel saying that the Valyrians didnt have a conquering culture, but that's bullshit. They made it all the way to Dragonstone and by all means shouldve attempted a few landings to try and conquer it. Period.

1.) It seems like Valyrians were constantly infighting between families. We dont hear about many civil wars in Valyria, but one could surmise that they had a few.

2.) Dragons arent invulnerable. They have be killed by bow, by soldiers, by other dragons. Even though Aegon had three Dragons, only Balerion was of any real use. Rememeber what the Queen of Dorne told Aegon's sister when she came to threaten her? Yea, barely feared that Dragon.

Balerion the Dredd was the only real menance. However, as to why Valyria never conquered portions of Westeros, there's probably a mgaical eliment involved. Betwee the Children, greenseers, Weirwoods, White Walkers, whatever, they probably never really tried. Hell, probably feared the power and deemed it unecessary. Makes you wonder what wouldve happened if Torrhen didnt bend the knee. Maybe even the Dragons understand the need for "balance".

3.) Fire Dragons may not do well in the cold. Dragons once ruled the world, what killed them? Was it the Long Night? Are the White Walkers awaking mainly to stop the Dragons? Do they have a secret ability? But one could surmise that the Fire Dragons do not do well in the Winter, and Winter is Coming

There's a passage when Tyrion is traveling in Andalos and comments on the Valyrian roads. He also wonders why they never conquered Westeros, because they knew it was there. I felt like it was hinted at that maybe they knew better than to conquer Westeros because of something they knew about it - related to the Long Night perhaps?

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Take Harren the Black for example.

“I built in stone,” said Harren. “Stone does not burn.”

Then after his downfall the author tells us:

Stone does not burn, Harren had boasted, but his castle was not made of stone alone.

As in, the guy who spent 40 years to build the thing didn't know that? As if that wasn't obvious?

Second problem:

Once inside, he sent every man of his to the parapets, armed with spears and bows and crossbows, promising lands and riches to whichever of them could bring the dragon down.

No ballistas, catapults, scorpions or trebuchets. Just bows, crossbows and spears.

And the stone melted anyways, so this is clearly a case of Harren not knowing what the fuck dragonfire is and how strong it is. Case closed on that one.

As for the second, we're talking about only 1 battle, it's not mentioned if the field of fire had some. And unless everybody in each book make perfect decisions, we can always go back to the "it's illogical"....how about the old man panicked, or just didn't think the catapults/ballistas would hit the dragon, or hell, maybe he didn't have time once the battle (massacre) began. Hell, maybe he just wasn't prepared for it and didn't have scorpions, ballistas or catapults on his parapets, due to arrogance? Plenty of reasons.

Just because a character makes a dumb decision, doesn't make everything illogical when it comes to other kingdoms.

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And the stone melted anyways, so this is clearly a case of Harren not knowing what the fuck dragonfire is and how strong it is. Case closed on that one.

As for the second, we're talking about only 1 battle, it's not mentioned if the field of fire had some. And unless everybody in each book make perfect decisions, we can always go back to the "it's illogical"....how about the old man panicked, or just didn't think the catapults/ballistas would hit the dragon, or hell, maybe he didn't have time once the battle (massacre) began. Hell, maybe he just wasn't prepared for it and didn't have scorpions, ballistas or catapults on his parapets, due to arrogance? Plenty of reasons.

Just because a character makes a dumb decision, doesn't make everything illogical when it comes to other kingdoms.

1 is still debatable, but whatever.

The 2nd was stupid, no doubt about it. He had the largest castle ever built in Westeros, plenty of wood to go around, and with House Hoare always involved with the risk of rebellion and conflicts, he'd obviously have supplies and people capable of building siege weaponry. Pre-gunpowder most siege equipment was built on the spot because taking them on the way to the target would slow the march too much.

I'd be ok with Harren alone being stupid. The problem is that everyone besides the dornish were stupid.

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American army vs terrorist groups is a good example to prove you wrong. You can't kill what you can't find, no matter what weapons you have. Not sure why him having that much firepower changes anything, considering Dorne never attacked head-on, just guerrila style warfare.

It's not about strength, which you seem to be stuck on. It was about strategy, which Dorne used instead of, like i said, attacking head on.

Really not hard to imagine one kingdom lasting longer than the others due to using tactics and intelligence instead of gathering every man in the same army and going against dragons. Riverlands joined them, North did too, obviously that's a lot easier. Lannisters and Gardners were idiots who went head on against 3 dragons and an army. Hoare got killed for being an idiot and hiding in his castle.

Pretty easy to see how Dorne lasted longer.

No it isn't, it is a modern example. Terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and ISIS didn't exist during the Middle Ages, why do you think that is? After all, all you need to do to win a war is to go terrorist style unlike those idiotic people in basically every pre-modern human civilization everywhere who tried gathering in armies instead...

Your soldiers staying in hiding doesn't count for much if you leave your entire kingdom and population wide open to looting and destruction like the Dornish did, and you have no effective means to coordinate guerilla operations between your different groups anyway, without either telephones or radios or any other advanced infrastructure really*. They'd just be a bunch of bums scattered around the desert in small bands who'd never amount to much.

*Sure there are ravens, but they can only fly to castles. Castles that the Dornish let Aegon take over due to their "guerilla tactics".

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No it isn't, it is a modern example. Terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and ISIS didn't exist during the Middle Ages, why do you think that is? After all, all you need to do to win a war is to go terrorist style unlike those idiotic people in basically every pre-modern human civilization everywhere who tried gathering in armies instead...

Your soldiers staying in hiding doesn't count for much if you leave your entire kingdom and population wide open to looting and destruction like the Dornish did, and you have no effective means to coordinate guerilla attacks between your different groups anyway, without either telephones or radio or any other advanced infrastructure really*. They'd just be a bunch of bums scattered around the desert in small bands who'd never amount to much.

*Sure there are ravens, but they can only fly to castles. Castles that the Dornish let Aegon take over due to their "guerilla tactics".

Your problem with it, is you don't like their tactic. Huge difference from not liking it, and claiming it's illogical due to how much strength Aegon had, which is what you were saying.

Which it isn't, because like i said, you cannot kill what you can't find.

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1 is still debatable, but whatever.

The 2nd was stupid, no doubt about it. He had the largest castle ever built in Westeros, plenty of wood to go around, and with House Hoare always involved with the risk of rebellion and conflicts, he'd obviously have supplies and people capable of building siege weaponry. Pre-gunpowder most siege equipment was built on the spot because taking them on the way to the target would slow the march too much.

I'd be ok with Harren alone being stupid. The problem is that everyone besides the dornish were stupid.

Well, the North wasn't stupid, pretty smart actually. Vale too. As were the Riverlands. Harren was a dumbass, this is very true. I think it stems from being so arrogant, though.

Stormlands were lead by a declining warrior who probably wanted to go out fighting. Lannisters/Gardners tried another tactic, combining two huge armies...and failed. I don't know if they were stupid, i just think they under-estimated the power of dragons.

Half gave up without a fight, the other went to war in 3 different ways. 1 head on, 2 combined to against the Targs together, then the Dornish who played hide and seek. Not sure they would all be considered dumb, though.

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Your problem with it, is you don't like their tactic. Huge difference from not liking it, and claiming it's illogical due to how much strength Aegon had, which is what you were saying.

Which it isn't, because like i said, you cannot kill what you can't find.

No, my problem is that it is unrealistic. Now, that isn't really a huge issue since there are whole bunch of other things in ASOIAF that are more unrealistic (like how the long winters haven't messed up civilization and nature in Westeros more) that also have a lot more importance for the plot. But since this topic discusses this, it's worth pointing it out.

That you don't know enough about medieval or historical warfare to realize why the Dornish wars are weird is your problem.

You can certainly kill what you can't find by the way. Those guerillas have to eat. Hard to do that if the villages and fields they rely on supplies from become blackened husks full of burnt corpses.

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No, my problem is that it is unrealistic. Now, that isn't really a huge issue since there are whole bunch of other things in ASOIAF that are more unrealistic (like how the long winters haven't messed up civilization and nature in Westeros more) that also have a lot more importance for the plot. But since this topic discusses this, it's worth pointing it out.

That you don't know enough about medieval or historical warfare to realize why the Dornish wars are weird is your problem.

You can certainly kill what you can't find by the way. Those guerillas have to eat. Hard to do that if the villages and fields they rely on supplies from become blackened husks full of burnt corpses.

It happened many times in historical and medieval warfare, like Albania against the Ottoman empire, managed to last 25 years despite having 1/20th of the army the Ottoman's had....even drove them from their lands due to those tactics that you claim never worked.

But hey, continue being a jerk and talking about how others don't know enough about history, if you want. It always makes great debates....sigh.

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Actually, in TWOIAF it becomes even more unrealistic in that the Dornish apparently launched several counterattacks into the Seven Kingdoms during that war. Sacking large areas of both the Reach and Stormlands. Why Aegon and his sisters didn't just fly there and burn away the Dornish armies once and for all is never answered.


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