Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

C.T. Phipps

The Ironborn history is nightmarish, isn't it?

Recommended Posts

It's not like we needed the world book to conclude that the ironmen are heinous. The POVs (Victarion, Aeron, even Asha) convey a pretty unambiguously deplorable worldview and set of core values. Victarion is their most celebrated and respected living captain, and he's a serial rapist who beat his wife to death for adultery (and the way he thinks abut these things is beyond confronting). In his culture's eyes, these aren't points against him, but - in a reflection of what the ironmen stand for - they are points in his favour.

As for the history of the Iron Islands... I really think that the entire Iron Islands storyline is the weakest in the books, and the least "realistic" (not in real world terms, purely on in-world logic). How have the Ironborn not been wiped off the face of the earth and their tiny backwater islands burnt and salted? They repeatedly pillage, rape and kidnap up and down the west coast (at least 4 kingdoms: the North, Westerlands, Riverlands, Reach) throughout history - THOUSANDS of years - and are essentially proven time and again as "irredeemable". Within a generation or two of any chastisement, they revert to their old ways.

They are so tiny, and their fleet (essentially their SOLE strength) was wiped out as recently as Balon's Rebellion - so they are not at all impossible to beat.

How have they not been destroyed?

Fiction is fiction of course, but good fiction is meant to be internally consistent - and the more you read about the Iron Islands history, the more it seems incredibly implausible that they're still a force.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not like we needed the world book to conclude that the ironmen are heinous. The POVs (Victarion, Aeron, even Asha) convey a pretty unambiguously deplorable worldview and set of core values. Victarion is their most celebrated and respected living captain, and he's a serial rapist who beat his wife to death for adultery (and the way he thinks abut these things is beyond confronting). In his culture's eyes, these aren't points against him, but - in a reflection of what the ironmen stand for - they are points in his favour.

As for the history of the Iron Islands... I really think that the entire Iron Islands storyline is the weakest in the books, and the least "realistic" (not in real world terms, purely on in-world logic). How have the Ironborn not been wiped off the face of the earth and their tiny backwater islands burnt and salted? They repeatedly pillage, rape and kidnap up and down the west coast (at least 4 kingdoms: the North, Westerlands, Riverlands, Reach) throughout history - THOUSANDS of years - and are essentially proven time and again as "irredeemable". Within a generation or two of any chastisement, they revert to their old ways.

They are so tiny, and their fleet (essentially their SOLE strength) was wiped out as recently as Balon's Rebellion - so they are not at all impossible to beat.

How have they not been destroyed?

Fiction is fiction of course, but good fiction is meant to be internally consistent - and the more you read about the Iron Islands history, the more it seems incredibly implausible that they're still a force.

the force that did manged to beat them was the redwine fleet, +royal fleet.

that's considerably more ship's than most region's have in the 7 kingdom's.

and there's also the logistical issue. say some stormlander or vale king wanted to take the iron islands. he is going to have to sail hundreds of miles to land a force there. a

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the force that did manged to beat them was the redwine fleet, +royal fleet.

that's considerably more ship's than most region's have in the 7 kingdom's.

and there's also the logistical issue. say some stormlander or vale king wanted to take the iron islands. he is going to have to sail hundreds of miles to land a force there. a

100% agree that it would be costly to take down the Iron Islands, but cost is a relative thing. How much does it cost to have the ironmen pillage and rape the North, the Riverlands, the Westerlands and the Reach essentially non-stop for, what - 8,000 years? 10,000 years?

Add to that the fact that the ironmen have essentially no allies and are *reviled* on the mainland. So the cost/benefit analysis makes sense AND there's motivation to put them in their place.

An alliance to end the ironmen forever would surely have been formed long ago, and the Iron Islands converted to mainland Westerosi culture, or failing that (as it has failed time and again) destroyed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

100% agree that it would be costly to take down the Iron Islands, but cost is a relative thing. How much does it cost to have the ironmen pillage and rape the North, the Riverlands, the Westerlands and the Reach essentially non-stop for, what - 8,000 years? 10,000 years?

Add to that the fact that the ironmen have essentially no allies and are *reviled* on the mainland. So the cost/benefit analysis makes sense AND there's motivation to put them in their place.

An alliance to end the ironmen forever would surely have been formed long ago, and the Iron Islands converted to mainland Westerosi culture, or failing that (as it has failed time and again) destroyed.

no way in hell would that happen.

the reach can't attack because the dornish or storm land would fuck them over.

and since the iron islands don't pose a major threat to them, as they are very far away, they would not pass up the opportunity to take some castle. and your forgetting this was the age of the petty kings. the other kingdom's hated each other.

diplomacy only stared happening between kingdoms once the targ stopped the constant warfare.( it took year's for the inter kingdom rivalry's to start to dissipate.)

the north can't because they lacked a navy after they burnt it all.

the river lands would never be able to take the iron islands alone.

(and if they ever tried what's stopping another kingdom to march in and take the river lands in turn? river-lands is not only fertile but it's central position has strategic value.)

lannisters are historically lazy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Iron fleet was annihlated due to the brilliance of Stannis and probably also due to Victarion not being sharpest tool in the box. The reason the islands fell so easily was because Balon's rebellion had been such a disaster before hand - repelled from Seaguard, defeat of Fair Isle. Attacking the Islands at full strength would probably end in a catastrophic pyrric victory.

If the Ironborn are raiding and you've had enough of it you're going to need a massive fleet to attack, remember this isn't one island you are invading its 7 large (plus Lonely Light) or 31 in total according to World of Ice and Fire.

The Iron Fleet is going to be waiting in waters it knows, and remember how bad those waters can be from the first Theon chapter. And due to the geography you aren't sure where the fleet is. What do you keep sailing around and through the island looking to engage them at sea or make for one of the islands only to have them appear and smash you while you are deploying troops?

On top of the Fleet you have the all the longships, vessels who cant be used at sea for battle but are fast, maneuverable ships that are the perfect troop carriers. To invade you are going to either have to attack one island at a time or split your forces. Once you've dropped anchor its a logistic nightmare trying to get your troops onto land, the ironborn meanwhile can be hopping from one island to another to defend where needed or abandon one to strenghen another.

I'll admit that looking at map it does look stupid that it hasn't happended (would have been better if they were either larger islands or further out to sea) but don't think invading would be a particulary wise move. Up there with trying to take Dorne, the North or the Vale.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Iron fleet was annihlated due to the brilliance of Stannis and probably also due to Victarion not being sharpest tool in the box. The reason the islands fell so easily was because Balon's rebellion had been such a disaster before hand - repelled from Seaguard, defeat of Fair Isle. Attacking the Islands at full strength would probably end in a catastrophic pyrric victory.

If the Ironborn are raiding and you've had enough of it you're going to need a massive fleet to attack, remember this isn't one island you are invading its 7 large (plus Lonely Light) or 31 in total according to World of Ice and Fire.

The Iron Fleet is going to be waiting in waters it knows, and remember how bad those waters can be from the first Theon chapter. And due to the geography you aren't sure where the fleet is. What do you keep sailing around and through the island looking to engage them at sea or make for one of the islands only to have them appear and smash you while you are deploying troops?

On top of the Fleet you have the all the longships, vessels who cant be used at sea for battle but are fast, maneuverable ships that are the perfect troop carriers. To invade you are going to either have to attack one island at a time or split your forces. Once you've dropped anchor its a logistic nightmare trying to get your troops onto land, the ironborn meanwhile can be hopping from one island to another to defend where needed or abandon one to strenghen another.

I'll admit that looking at map it does look stupid that it hasn't happended (would have been better if they were either larger islands or further out to sea) but don't think invading would be a particulary wise move. Up there with trying to take Dorne, the North or the Vale.

The Lannisters managed to do it after the Dance of Dragons.

Also I don't think the Ironmen would island hop given they didn't do it in Balon's rebellion based on the fact it's still made up of feudal structure, and each Ironborn lord would be looking to defend his own lands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll admit that looking at map it does look stupid that it hasn't happended (would have been better if they were either larger islands or further out to sea) but don't think invading would be a particulary wise move. Up there with trying to take Dorne, the North or the Vale.

Right, but those three:

(1) aren't known for venturing into other people's realms habitually to reave, rape and pillage;

(2) are large (even Dorne) and have resources.

The Iron Islands are fairly barren; they mine iron and tin and they fish. How can they possibly sustain a significant population, without the benefit of holding fertile and rich "greenlands" as they did in the past? They can't. Fielding a navy is much less people-intensive than fielding an army (see England v France, 1500s onwards) but if the navy falls, your islands are screwed.

This is, again, why the Iron Islands don't make much sense to me at all, and why I say that it's the least well-structured storyline.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How have they not been destroyed?

Fiction is fiction of course, but good fiction is meant to be internally consistent - and the more you read about the Iron Islands history, the more it seems incredibly implausible that they're still a force.

Are they still a force?

The depiction of the Ironborn in the book implies they're a bunch of weirdo religious fanatics dwelling in poverty and isolation for the past three centuries.

As someone said, they're the Taliban of Westeros.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like The Ironborn they don't hide behind some false notion of honor like the other houses.

At the same time, Victarion beat the woman he loved to death because Euron dishonored her and therefore him. I really liked Victarion until I got to that part. I don't see that as true honor, even if that was the entire point in Victarion's mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Ironborn are the Taliban of Westeros... the internet has been won for today. Best analogy I've heard in some time.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the same time, Victarion beat the woman he loved to death because Euron dishonored her and therefore him. I really liked Victarion until I got to that part. I don't see that as true honor, even if that was the entire point in Victarion's mind.

Yeah, the Ironborn are all about posturing and their "honor" by not paying the Iron Price and so on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Ironborn are the Taliban of Westeros... the internet has been won for today. Best analogy I've heard in some time.

It's a pretty apt comparison in some ways. But unlike the Ironborn, the Taliban were never a truly powerful faction in their region

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

100% agree that it would be costly to take down the Iron Islands, but cost is a relative thing. How much does it cost to have the ironmen pillage and rape the North, the Riverlands, the Westerlands and the Reach essentially non-stop for, what - 8,000 years? 10,000 years?

Add to that the fact that the ironmen have essentially no allies and are *reviled* on the mainland. So the cost/benefit analysis makes sense AND there's motivation to put them in their place.

An alliance to end the ironmen forever would surely have been formed long ago, and the Iron Islands converted to mainland Westerosi culture, or failing that (as it has failed time and again) destroyed.

Not necessarily. The kingdoms not too bothered by it might well have wanted them to keep raiding, to keep their own rivals weak and occupied.

And back when the Ironmen were actually threatening the North, Westerlands and Reach at the same time they were probably too strong to just take down like that anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a pretty apt comparison in some ways. But unlike the Ironborn, the Taliban were never a truly powerful faction in their region

It's also interesting how history exposes the Ironborn's illusions about themselves. The only time they were ever rich was when they were trading with other people and their greatest accomplishments either ended with them getting the ever-loving **** kicked out of them after a period of successful raiding OR were backhanded insults.

The Harrens, for example, took one look at the Riverlands and decided they'd stay there as opposed to the Iron Islands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's also interesting how history exposes the Ironborn's illusions about themselves. The only time they were ever rich was when they were trading with other people and their greatest accomplishments either ended with them getting the ever-loving **** kicked out of them after a period of successful raiding OR were backhanded insults.

The Harrens, for example, took one look at the Riverlands and decided they'd stay there as opposed to the Iron Islands.

I know, the whole Iron Price thing is such a joke and there's no way a culture can survive simply by stealing from others. I mean all it seems to do is make them more and more enemies. I still don't understand how these guys managed to survive for hundreds of years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know, the whole Iron Price thing is such a joke and there's no way a culture can survive simply by stealing from others. I mean all it seems to do is make them more and more enemies. I still don't understand how these guys managed to survive for hundreds of years.

It seems to be they do so by genocide being something other races balk at.

Also, the fact they go into dormancy for decades and centuries at a time.

But yeah, selective memory is an Ironborn trait.

Was it the Red Kraken who led to the Ironborn getting the **** more thoroughly kicked out of them than any other time in their history but they view him as a great hero anyway?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was it the Red Kraken who led to the Ironborn getting the **** more thoroughly kicked out of them than any other time in their history but they view him as a great hero anyway?

The Red Kraken got put down pretty hard, but I think the earlier war between the Hoares and the Lannisters was more devastating for the Iron Islands since it took them centuries to bounce back. The Shrike and Hagon the Heartless seem like the biggest assholes of the entire Ironborn chapter, which is saying a lot :devil:

It's also interesting how history exposes the Ironborn's illusions about themselves. The only time they were ever rich was when they were trading with other people and their greatest accomplishments either ended with them getting the ever-loving **** kicked out of them after a period of successful raiding OR were backhanded insults.

The Harrens, for example, took one look at the Riverlands and decided they'd stay there as opposed to the Iron Islands.

I would bet the Ironborn Kings with the most sinister names - "Demonlover", "Priestkiller" etc. - were probably the best ones of the bunch. They earned their evil titles largely by opposing the Drowned Men, who are the enemies of all progress and prosperity for the Iron Islands

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would bet the Ironborn Kings with the most sinister names - "Demonlover", "Priestkiller" etc. - were probably the best ones of the bunch. They earned their evil titles largely by opposing the Drowned Men, who are the enemies of all progress and prosperity for the Iron Islands

It's the funny thing but Aeron doesn't seem like all that bad of a guy personally.

It's hard for me to blame the Drowned God's priests for the excesses of the Ironborn since all of the ones we meet are less motivated by religious fury than, well, money and slaves.

Then again, religion reflects culture as much as influences it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×