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Floki of the Ironborn

A question about a region's fighting strength (particularly the North)

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Just now, Free Northman Reborn said:

Do you mind confirming your understanding of Maester Aemon's reference to 10,000 swords under the Lord Commander Hoare 300 years ago? For consistency's sake, do you read that to mean that the Wall was manned by 30,000 men in total back then?

Dude I'm going on Jeors comments. Jeor Mormont

Jeor tells Tyrion:

The Night's Watch is dying. Our strength is less than a thousand now. Six hundred here, two hundred in the Shadow Tower, even fewer at Eastwatch, and a scant third of those fighting men.

While he later tells Jon:

Any one of his lords bannermen commands more swords than you'll find in all the Night's Watch. Why do you imagine that they need your help?

Two quotes from Jeor about the number of fighting men/swords both the Wall and a Northern Lord has. 

This is just like the time you tried to twist GRRM's comments as evidence that the North had 50k soldiers.

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11 minutes ago, thelittledragonthatcould said:

Dude I'm going on Jeors comments. Jeor Mormont

 

Are you suggesting that Maester Aemon is less knowledgeable about the distribution of the Watch's forces than Lord Mormont? And that his reference to "swords" is used in a different context to Jeor's use of the exact same reference? Written by the same author, in two consecutive Jon chapters at the Wall?

11 minutes ago, thelittledragonthatcould said:

Evidence from the books to back this up?

Cley Cerwyn takes 300 men to join Ser Rodrik's host to retake Torhenn square.

Roose Bolton leaves a 600 strong force of Cerwyn and Stout men under Kyle Condon - right hand man to Lord Cerwyn - to guard the Ruby Ford. Note that House Stout is a petty lord. So the Cerwyns certainly made up the majority of the 600. But even if you split it evenly, that takes the Cerwyns up to 600 men in total. Of course, then it simply means that the Stouts can raise at least 300 men, which puts you in a predicament, seeing as they are mere petty lords, thus making it laughable that a full bannerlord to House Stark would not be multiple times as strong.

In any case, even at a minimum of 300 Cerwyn men at the Ruby Ford, this takes the Cerwyn total up to 600. This is after the battle of the Green Fork, where the Cerwyns would already have suffered losses. Considering that Lord Cerwyn was captured at the Green Fork, it can be assumed that his men were thickly involved in the fighting, and that the Lannisters would have had to come through them to get to him. So their losses would not have been insignificant. Anyway, let's add another 100 men lost at the Green Fork, to be conservative. That's 700 men.

Then Brienne sees dead men in Cerwyn colours at the Battle of Duskendale. So even after their losses at the Green Fork, and after the men left at the Ruby Ford, they still had men at Duskendale. Either Brienne happened to stumble across a few lone Cerwyns among the thousands of dead Northmen at Duskendale, or as is far more probable, they had a fair contingent in this battle. Again, let's be conservative and give them just 100 men in this host. That takes them to 800 men.

Next, Lady Cerwyn contributes men to Ramsay's army that retakes Moat Cailin, and brings men to Winterfell for Ramsay's wedding. Call these another 200 in total, and you have your 1000.

Of course, far more likely is that the Cerwyns responded heavily to Robb's call to arms, given that they were the closest to Winterfell, and therefore contributed far more men than the meagre minimums I assigned to them at the Ruby Ford, the Battle of the Green Fork and Duskendale. It is more likely that they had two thirds of the 600 at the Ruby Ford, and at least a couple of hundred losses in each of the Green Fork and Duskendale battles. The Cerwyn banner is prominent to Tyrion amongst the Northern Host at the Green Fork, after all, and they would have fought hard to protect their lord before his capture.

In any case, it is very difficult to see how they have NOT raised 1000 men to date, based on the above references.

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31 minutes ago, thelittledragonthatcould said:

 This is just like the time you tried to twist GRRM's comments as evidence that the North had 50k soldiers.

Which word twisting would that be? Would you be referring to the time I said the North can match the strength of the Vale according to Martin? Which is the truth.

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20 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Are you suggesting that Maester Aemon is less knowledgeable about the distribution of the Watch's forces than Lord Mormont? And that his reference to "swords" is used in a different context to Jeor's use of the exact same reference? Written by the same author, in two consecutive Jon chapters at the Wall?

Cley Cerwyn takes 300 men to join Ser Rodrik's host to retake Torhenn square.

Roose Bolton leaves a 600 strong force of Cerwyn and Stout men under Kyle Condon - right hand man to Lord Cerwyn - to guard the Ruby Ford. Note that House Stout is a petty lord. So the Cerwyns certainly made up the majority of the 600. But even if you split it evenly, that takes the Cerwyns up to 600 men in total. Of course, then it simply means that the Stouts can raise at least 300 men, which puts you in a predicament, seeing as they are mere petty lords, thus making it laughable that a full bannerlord to House Stark would not be multiple times as strong.

In any case, even at a minimum of 300 Cerwyn men at the Ruby Ford, this takes the Cerwyn total up to 600. This is after the battle of the Green Fork, where the Cerwyns would already have suffered losses. Considering that Lord Cerwyn was captured at the Green Fork, it can be assumed that his men were thickly involved in the fighting, and that the Lannisters would have had to come through them to get to him. So their losses would not have been insignificant. Anyway, let's add another 100 men lost at the Green Fork, to be conservative. That's 700 men.

Then Brienne sees dead men in Cerwyn colours at the Battle of Duskendale. So even after their losses at the Green Fork, and after the men left at the Ruby Ford, they still had men at Duskendale. Either Brienne happened to stumble across a few lone Cerwyns among the thousands of dead Northmen at Duskendale, or as is far more probable, they had a fair contingent in this battle. Again, let's be conservative and give them just 100 men in this host. That takes them to 800 men.

Next, Lady Cerwyn contributes men to Ramsay's army that retakes Moat Cailin, and brings men to Winterfell for Ramsay's wedding. Call these another 200 in total, and you have your 1000.

Of course, far more likely is that the Cerwyns responded heavily to Robb's call to arms, given that they were the closest to Winterfell, and therefore contributed far more men than the meagre minimums I assigned to them at the Ruby Ford, the Battle of the Green Fork and Duskendale. It is more likely that they had two thirds of the 600 at the Ruby Ford, and at least a couple of hundred losses in each of the Green Fork and Duskendale battles. The Cerwyn banner is prominent to Tyrion amongst the Northern Host at the Green Fork, after all, and they would have fought hard to protect their lord before his capture.

In any case, it is very difficult to see how they have NOT raised 1000 men to date, based on the above references.

To add to this the cerwyn men at ruby ford, the green fork and duskendale would be the foot of house cerwyn since the horse went with robb, so that would add some more men to the total. but i do agree with the @thelittledragonthatcould on there not being 300 cerwyn men at the ruby ford.

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26 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Are you suggesting that Maester Aemon is less knowledgeable about the distribution of the Watch's forces than Lord Mormont? And that his reference to "swords" is used in a different context to Jeor's use of the exact same reference? Written by the same author, in two consecutive Jon chapters at the Wall?

When does Aemon comment on how many swords a Northern Lord can muster?

We only have Jeor's quote and he is pretty clear. The Wall can generate around 300-400 fighting men and that a Northern Lord can raise more.

Anything else is wishful thinking. Sorry.

Quote

Cley Cerwyn takes 300 men to join Ser Rodrik's host to retake Torhenn square.

Yup, he certainly does and a consequence of that is that his Castle is taken by a small number of Ironborn.

Quote

 

In any case, even at a minimum of 300 Cerwyn men at the Ruby Ford, this takes the Cerwyn total up to 600.

lol you should really read the books before guesstimating numbers.

"No." Bolton's voice was soft, but certain. "I left six hundred men at the ford. Spearmen from the rills, the mountains, and the White Knife, a hundred Hornwood longbows, some freeriders and hedge knights, and a strong force of Stout and Cerwyn men to stiffen them. Ronnel Stout and Ser Kyle Condon have the command. Ser Kyle was the late Lord Cerwyn's right hand, as I'm sure you know

 

Quote

Next, Lady Cerwyn contributes men to Ramsay's army that retakes Moat Cailin,

Yup.

And now the Bastard of Bolton was riding south with Hother Umber to join them for an attack on Moat Cailin. "The Whoresbane his own self," claimed a riverman who'd just brought a load of hides and timber down the White Knife, "with three hundred spearmen and a hundred archers. Some Hornwood men have joined them, and Cerwyns too."

It hardly sounds like a great amount and there is no evidence that this amount was not part of the 300 raised earlier.

Quote

 

and brings men to Winterfell for Ramsay's wedding. Call these another 200 in total, and you have your 1000.

How do you know that Stout and Condon did not catch up with Roose? At the Twins Roose only had 3,500 yet Theon comments that there was around 4k.

Furthermore where do you get 200 from? Pulling numbers out of thin air and hoping that people will take them as fact is precisely why so many too your word that Lord Mormont claimed that each Northern Lord had 1k men. Thank god I finally actually looked into that and read what he actually said rather than what you wanted him to say.

 

edit: and for clarification, I have never stated that the Cerwyns have less than a thousand men. Just that the books have never said so.

Castle Cerwyn is located inbetween two branches of the White Knife as well as close to the Kings Road. There are no other Lords between them and Moat Cailin meaning their lands might be quite large even if their castle is located close to Winterfell.

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3 minutes ago, thelittledragonthatcould said:

When does Aemon comment on how many swords a Northern Lord can muster?

We only have Jeor's quote and he is pretty clear. The Wall can generate around 300-400 fighting men and that a Northern Lord can raise more.

Anything else is wishful thinking. Sorry.

Yup, he certainly does and a consequence of that is that his Castle is taken by a small number of Ironborn.

lol you should really read the books before guesstimating numbers.

"No." Bolton's voice was soft, but certain. "I left six hundred men at the ford. Spearmen from the rills, the mountains, and the White Knife, a hundred Hornwood longbows, some freeriders and hedge knights, and a strong force of Stout and Cerwyn men to stiffen them. Ronnel Stout and Ser Kyle Condon have the command. Ser Kyle was the late Lord Cerwyn's right hand, as I'm sure you know

 

Yup.

And now the Bastard of Bolton was riding south with Hother Umber to join them for an attack on Moat Cailin. "The Whoresbane his own self," claimed a riverman who'd just brought a load of hides and timber down the White Knife, "with three hundred spearmen and a hundred archers. Some Hornwood men have joined them, and Cerwyns too."

It hardly sounds like a great amount and there is no evidence that this amount was not part of the 300 raised earlier.

How do you know that Stout and Condon did not catch up with Roose? At the Twins Roose only had 3,500 yet Theon comments that there was around 4k.

Furthermore where do you get 200 from? Pulling numbers out of thin air and hoping that people will take them as fact is precisely why so many too your word that Lord Mormont claimed that each Northern Lord had 1k men. Thank god I finally actually looked into that and read what he actually said rather than what you wanted him to say.

You continue to avoid the obvious with regard to Maester Aemon and Jeor's references to the "swords" commanded by the Watch. Quite simply, either both refer to only the Rangers, or both refer to the total manpower of the Watch. You cannot avoid that.

As for the Ruby Ford, I used the Wiki as reference. It is incorrect, then. Be that as it may. Given the closeness of Castle Cerwyn to Winterfell, it is highly unlikely that they would have responded poorly to Robb's call to banners. If Cley could gather 300 men quickly for Ser Rodrik, their main force with Robb must have been larger than that.

And we have certainly not seen or heard from Ronnel Stout or Kyle Condon again. There is no evidence that they returned to the North.

The men at the Ruby Ford, Green Fork and Duskendale would exclude the Cerwyn horse, which would have been with Robb in the West.

And lastly, maybe it is just because "I don't have my books with me each time before I post", but where did you get the idea that the Ironborn ever took Castle Cerwyn?

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13 minutes ago, thelittledragonthatcould said:

Yup, he certainly does and a consequence of that is that his Castle is taken by a small number of Ironborn.

Castle Cerwyn was never captured by the Ironborn. Winterfell (briefly), Torrhen's Square, Moat Cailin and Deepwood Motte were the only castle's to fall to the Greyjoy's.

As for your reasoning about Mormont, when he says that "a scant third of them fighting men" he's referring to the Rangers: trained soldiers. Jeor says that a Northern house can raise more swords than the Watch- he's not just referring to the Rangers at this point, but the whole watch. When they say they have x amount of swords, they are talking about overall manpower, not just trained manpower. So a steward would be counted as one of the Watches swords so long as he was physically able to fight.

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3 minutes ago, Adam Yozza said:

Castle Cerwyn was never captured by the Ironborn. Winterfell (briefly), Torrhen's Square, Moat Cailin and Deepwood Motte were the only castle's to fall to the Greyjoy's.

As for your reasoning about Mormont, when he says that "a scant third of them fighting men" he's referring to the Rangers: trained soldiers. Jeor says that a Northern house can raise more swords than the Watch- he's not just referring to the Rangers at this point, but the whole watch. When they say they have x amount of swords, they are talking about overall manpower, not just trained manpower. So a steward would be counted as one of the Watches swords so long as he was physically able to fight.

Well, according to Littledragon's reasoning, Donal Noye is not one of the swords the Watch can use in war, because he ain't no Ranger. Nevermind that he slew a Giant in defense of Castle Black.

However, when Maester Aemon refers to 10,000 swords under Lord Commander Hoare, well, then Littledragon is far less willing to claim them to only be Rangers.

He likes to have it both ways.

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2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

You continue to avoid the obvious with regard to Maester Aemon and Jeor's references to the "swords" commanded by the Watch. Quite simply, either both refer to only the Rangers, or both refer to the total manpower of the Watch. You cannot avoid that.

 lol they are quotes by two different people. Aemon makes zero mention of Northern Lords strength. None.

Jeor does as he tells Tyrion:

The Night's Watch is dying. Our strength is less than a thousand now. Six hundred here, two hundred in the Shadow Tower, even fewer at Eastwatch, and a scant third of those fighting men.

While he later tells Jon:

Any one of his lords bannermen commands more swords than you'll find in all the Night's Watch. Why do you imagine that they need your help?

 

2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

And we have certainly not seen or heard from Ronnel Stout or Kyle Condon again. There is no evidence that they returned to the North.

And none that they have not.

2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The men at the Ruby Ford, Green Fork and Duskendale would exclude the Cerwyn horse, which would have been with Robb in the West.

Sure. But again, you claimed that there was at least a 1,000 Cerwyn raised. There is no such evidence.

2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

And lastly, maybe it is just because "I don't have my books with me each time before I post", but where did you get the idea that the Ironborn ever took Castle Cerwyn?

Yup. My mistake, I was thinking of the Tallharts. See how easy it is to make mistakes, the difference is that instead of arguing that I must be right and the text wrong I can easily say that I was wrong.

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1 minute ago, thelittledragonthatcould said:

 lol they are quotes by two different people. Aemon makes zero mention of Northern Lords strength. None.

Jeor does as he tells Tyrion:

The Night's Watch is dying. Our strength is less than a thousand now. Six hundred here, two hundred in the Shadow Tower, even fewer at Eastwatch, and a scant third of those fighting men.

While he later tells Jon:

Any one of his lords bannermen commands more swords than you'll find in all the Night's Watch. Why do you imagine that they need your help?

 

And none that they have not.

Sure. But again, you claimed that there was at least a 1,000 Cerwyn raised. There is no such evidence.

Yup. My mistake, I was thinking of the Tallharts. See how easy it is to make mistakes, the difference is that instead of arguing that I must be right and the text wrong I can easily say that I was wrong.

You use a straw man argument when trying to deflect my question on Maester Aemon's comment. Nowhere do I claim that Maester Aemon is referring to the Northern lords. But he is referring to the swords commanded by the Watch. And that connects it directly to Jeor's comment, because when he compares the strength of the least of the Northern bannerlords to that of the Watch, he refers, just like Maester Aemon, to the swords commanded by the Watch. So it is very simple.

Either you are saying that by swords Jeor means Rangers and Aemon also means Rangers.

Or you are saying by swords Jeor means Rangers while Aemon means everyone, including Builders and Stewards.

It has to be one or the other. Your response, which is to bring in a reference to the Northern lords, is irrelevant, because what we are talking about here is how the two men define the "swords" commanded by the Watch.

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2 minutes ago, thelittledragonthatcould said:

 lol they are quotes by two different people. Aemon makes zero mention of Northern Lords strength. None.

Jeor does as he tells Tyrion:

The Night's Watch is dying. Our strength is less than a thousand now. Six hundred here, two hundred in the Shadow Tower, even fewer at Eastwatch, and a scant third of those fighting men.

While he later tells Jon:

Any one of his lords bannermen commands more swords than you'll find in all the Night's Watch. Why do you imagine that they need your help?

Yes they are quote's by two different people, but also in different context. Jeor's first statement refers to the trained, battle focused soldiers of the watch. The amount of swords a house (or the watch) has refers to the overall number of fighters (trained knights/men at arms or levied peasants). By your logic, the number of swords should refer only to the knights and men at arms, yet I'm pretty sure there is at multiple points (I'll find references later, I don't have my books with me) examples of commanders saying they have so-and-so amount of swords, and giving the same number as their full army.

Therefore, "swords" refers to anyone that can feasibly fight, and as shown in the Battle of Castle Black, the Stewards and Builders can also fight and would therefore be counted among the amount of swords the watch could raise.

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Just now, Free Northman Reborn said:

You use a straw man argument when trying to deflect my question on Maester Aemon's comment.

What does Aemons comments have to do with Jeor?

Jeor, not Aemon, is making the claim about the Northern Lords strength. HIS WORDS!

 

Just now, Free Northman Reborn said:

Nowhere do I claim that Maester Aemon is referring to the Northern lords. But he is referring to the swords commanded by the Watch.

Are Aemon and Jeor one person?

Just now, Free Northman Reborn said:

 

And that connects it directly to Jeor's comment, because when he compares the strength of the least of the Northern bannerlords to that of the Watch, he refers, just like Maester Aemon, to the swords commanded by the Watch. So it is very simple.

lol they are two separate people. They don't speak as one person.

Just now, Free Northman Reborn said:

Either you are saying that by swords Jeor means Rangers and Aemon also means Rangers.

Now who is trying to use a straw man argument?

If it was Jeor who made the comment about ten thousand swords you would be coorect, but he didnt.

Just now, Free Northman Reborn said:

Or you are saying by swords Jeor means Rangers while Aemon means everyone, including Builders and Stewards.

lol seriously? Are you this desperate?

Just now, Free Northman Reborn said:

It has to be one or the other.

How does it have to be one or the other? They are two different people, both can have different viewpoints.

Just now, Free Northman Reborn said:

Your response, which is to bring in a reference to the Northern lords, is irrelevant, because what we are talking about here is how the two men define the "swords" commanded by the Watch.

Go on then. Show the evidence from the books that the two men have 100% agreement on the correct nomenclature.

Just now, direpupy said:

@thelittledragonthatcould do you believe that swords refer to the whole watch or only to the fighting men? Because that is what @Free Northman Rebornis asking.

When Jeor says that the Watch only has around 3-400 fighting men I believe he (that is to say Jeor) is referring to swords.

The Watch, just like the Lords of the North, would have many men who are not fighting men.

Furthermore Jeor speaks for Jeor. Jeor and Aemon are not one person. Jeor is speaking with the information he knows.

Just like Doran believes that the Dornish have considerably less than 50k while his son is telling Dany that they have 50k. Not everyone has the same information in GRRM's books nor are they making the same statements.

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@Free Northman Reborn

The appendices speak about principal houses (at least those of AGoT, the others just list the lords/houses who showed up) not about lords bannermen.

The term 'petty lord' is also pretty unclear. Does this mean a lord sworn to another lord? If so, then all those lords bannermen you mentioned are petty lords, too, whereas only the lords of the Crownlands play in the same league hierarchically as the great houses. Because only they are sworn directly to the Iron Throne.

Or on a smaller level we would have the Beesburys, Costaynes, etc. as petty lords despite the fact that they are powerful lords in their own right despite the fact that they are sworn to Highgarden and the Iron Throne only via Oldtown.

Not to mention that we know that landed knights (like the Templetons) can be very powerful despite the fact that they lack the basic rights and privileges 'petty lords' like Rohanne Webber (the right of pits and gallows which a landed knight like Eustace Osgrey did not have) do have.

In that sense I'd say that petty lord is just a pejorative name for a lord who has a shitty castle and not exactly many levies.

You can be small or petty lord if you directly sworn to the Iron Throne, a great house, or to some vassal lord of a great lord.

In that sense I'd not think we can settle this question so easily - especially not since we don't know what lords bannermen actually refers to. Or do you think the vassals of Robb's vassals aren't Robb's vassals?

Thinking about that - the clansmen don't seem to be sworn to any other lords besides the Lord Stark of Winterfell. So if they are 'petty lords' that means that they are small/insignificant lords and called petty lords for that reason. They are not called 'petty lords' because they are the vassals of some vassal.

I think in light of the suicidal behavior of the Winter Wolves under Roderick Dustin (during the Fishfeed as well as during the First Battle of Tumbleton) we can safely guess what the majority of the clansmen who have joined Stannis' army intend to do. They intend to die bravely and gloriously in battle because they have no intention of starving or freezing to death in winter (which many of them most likely would).

That actually seems to be an advantage for Stannis is the coming. Suicidal soldiers aren't afraid, and if some of them can pull off the same stunts that Roddy the Ruin pulled of when attacking the Hightower standard he has a good chance of winning the battle. Most of Roose's men are most likely not very inclined to die in the fighting.

Other stuff:

I think TWoIaF can help explain which lands might be directly sworn to Winterfell. There is mentioning that during winter even sons and daughter of the clansmen show up in the winter town to spend winter there. That actually makes the lands directly controlled by Winterfell pretty large.

Oh, and technically Aemon could have meant only the rangers when he talked about the NW under Lord Commander Hoare. After all, Aemon would be one of the few people who might actually know how strong the NW was back during the Conquest. He is the one who keeps the books, after all. And he once had pretty good eyesight.

@Nittanian

Thanks for the information. I should reread the SSMs again. And perhaps the series as well ;-).

I guess we can assume that many of those strongholds are either small stone towers like Queenscrown or the keep in which Yoren made rest in ACoK, or perhaps even just motte-and-bailey castles like Deepwood Motte.

 

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I bring this discussion back to context, which is so often missed when we start nitpicking on things like the terminology used.

The Boltons have in the region of 4000 men. The Karstarks have 3000. The Manderlys have lost almost 2000, and inidications are that they still have more men than even the Boltons. The Dustins seem very likely to have at least a similar strength to Karstarks.

In this context, is it really feasible to have primary Northern bannerlords below 1000 in strength? This when the Cerwyns raise 300 men at the drop of a hat, after already sending their main force and their Lord, south with Robb?

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4 minutes ago, thelittledragonthatcould said:

 

When Jeor says that the Watch only has around 3-400 fighting men I believe he (that is to say Jeor) is referring to swords.

The Watch, just like the Lords of the North, would have many men who are not fighting men.

Furthermore Jeor speaks for Jeor. Jeor and Aemon are not one person. Jeor is speaking with the information he knows.

Just like Doran believes that the Dornish have considerably less than 50k while his son is telling Dany that they have 50k. Not everyone has the same information in GRRM's books nor are they making the same statements.

So basically you have nothing more then your believe that Aemon meant something else with swords then Jeor did.

Also Doran does not believe that they have less then 50k he knows, he is the prince of Dorne and it would be stupidity on his part not to at least know roughly the strength of his principality. Quentin was most likely exaggerating to look more impressive to Dany.

And really information has nothing to do with this, it is about the meaning of a term which i highly doubt two men of the night's watch would use differently.

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3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

@Free Northman Reborn

The appendices speak about principal houses (at least those of AGoT, the others just list the lords/houses who showed up) not about lords bannermen.

The term 'petty lord' is also pretty unclear. Does this mean a lord sworn to another lord? If so, then all those lords bannermen you mentioned are petty lords, too, whereas only the lords of the Crownlands play in the same league hierarchically as the great houses. Because only they are sworn directly to the Iron Throne.

Or on a smaller level we would have the Beesburys, Costaynes, etc. as petty lords despite the fact that they are powerful lords in their own right despite the fact that they are sworn to Highgarden and the Iron Throne only via Oldtown.

Not to mention that we know that landed knights (like the Templetons) can be very powerful despite the fact that they lack the basic rights and privileges 'petty lords' like Rohanne Webber (the right of pits and gallows which a landed knight like Eustace Osgrey did not have) do have.

In that sense I'd say that petty lord is just a pejorative name for a lord who has a shitty castle and not exactly many levies.

You can be small or petty lord if you directly sworn to the Iron Throne, a great house, or to some vassal lord of a great lord.

In that sense I'd not think we can settle this question so easily - especially not since we don't know what lords bannermen actually refers to. Or do you think the vassals of Robb's vassals aren't Robb's vassals?

Thinking about that - the clansmen don't seem to be sworn to any other lords besides the Lord Stark of Winterfell. So if they are 'petty lords' that means that they are small/insignificant lords and called petty lords for that reason. They are not called 'petty lords' because they are the vassals of some vassal.

I think in light of the suicidal behavior of the Winter Wolves under Roderick Dustin (during the Fishfeed as well as during the First Battle of Tumbleton) we can safely guess what the majority of the clansmen who have joined Stannis' army intend to do. They intend to die bravely and gloriously in battle because they have no intention of starving or freezing to death in winter (which many of them most likely would).

That actually seems to be an advantage for Stannis is the coming. Suicidal soldiers aren't afraid, and if some of them can pull off the same stunts that Roddy the Ruin pulled of when attacking the Hightower standard he has a good chance of winning the battle. Most of Roose's men are most likely not very inclined to die in the fighting.

Other stuff:

I think TWoIaF can help explain which lands might be directly sworn to Winterfell. There is mentioning that during winter even sons and daughter of the clansmen show up in the winter town to spend winter there. That actually makes the lands directly controlled by Winterfell pretty large.

Oh, and technically Aemon could have meant only the rangers when he talked about the NW under Lord Commander Hoare. After all, Aemon would be one of the few people who might actually know how strong the NW was back during the Conquest. He is the one who keeps the books, after all. And he once had pretty good eyesight.

@Nittanian

Thanks for the information. I should reread the SSMs again. And perhaps the series as well ;-).

I guess we can assume that many of those strongholds are either small stone towers like Queenscrown or the keep in which Yoren made rest in ACoK, or perhaps even just motte-and-bailey castles like Deepwood Motte.

 

Lord Varys

Indeed. It is quite clear that in general any lord sworn to a vassal of the Lord Paramount is deemed a petty lord in colloquial terminology. Examples would be the dozen lords Manderlys references as being sworn to him. And House Stout, mentioned as being sworn to House Dustin.

But in the North, there are additional categories not found in the South. The Clans are technically not even Houses. They are Clans. But Martin equated them to petty lords in a quote outside of the books, in terms of stature. So in their case, the fact that they are sworn directly to Winterfell does not raise them to the level of Principal Bannerman. They are a category unto themselves.

It seems quite clear to me, truth be told. The Houses sworn to House Hightower are petty lords. And Landed Knights - even ones that can raise a thousand men, like the example in the Vale - are still only Landed Knights. But they can be Principal Bannermen to their Lord Paramount, if sworn directly to him. Such as the Tallharts and Glovers (apparently), in the North.

 

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2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I bring this discussion back to context, which is so often missed when we start nitpicking on things like the terminology used.

The Boltons have in the region of 4000 men.


More than possible.

2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

 

The Karstarks have 3000.

Certainly (well just under)

2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

 

The Manderlys have lost almost 2000,

Possiibly 1,500 men with Robb, though it is possible that some of the Manderly foot returned with Roose.

I'm not sure where you are getting this other 500 from?

2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

and inidications are that they still have more men than even the Boltons.

Really? Provide a quote in the series that states they still have more men then the Boltons.

2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The Dustins seem very likely to have at least a similar strength to Karstarks.

Sure.

2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

In this context, is it really feasible to have primary Northern bannerlords below 1000 in strength?

Sure. 1,000 men is a huge amount of men. There are going to be many Lords throughout Westeros who can't raise anywhere neat that number.

The Florents are one of the richest and most prestigious Houses in the Reach (the most populated region in Westeros) and we are told that they can only raise around 2k.

2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

This when the Cerwyns raise 300 men at the drop of a hat, after already sending their main force and their Lord, south with Robb?

lol

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZsY3lcDDtTdBWp1Gx6mfkdtZT6-Gk0kdTGeSC_Dj7WM/edit#gid=8

Two months.

 

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