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Floki of the Ironborn

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

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3 minutes ago, Ser Arthur Hightower said:

Interesting to see that the topics of discussion and the primary debaters haven't changed much since I last frequented the forums...

Yeah. One hopes that George settles that question in the next book. ADwD contained a lot of interesting fan service stuff, most notably the whole 'What's the job of a Kingsguard' stuff. But those lines are seldom cited for some strange reason.

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This debate has many levels. The minutae, and the higher level context.

Utlimately, we know the North can raise the same strength as the Vale. Martin said so. We are just debating how that strength is made up.

We have seen just the 6 Lords Declarant being able to raise 20,000 men. I look forward to seeing the full strength of the Vale. However, by that time, we will have seen the full strength of the North too, so the debate will be settled from two sides.

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Just now, Lord Varys said:

Yeah. One hopes that George settles that question in the next book. ADwD contained a lot of interesting fan service stuff, most notably the whole 'What's the job of a Kingsguard' stuff. But those lines are seldom cited for some strange reason.

I doubt he will. He likes the vagueness so I doubt we will ever get any kind of confirmation.

Of course the absence of all these extra troops, who have yet to make an appearance, in the last two books might be good enough for some but there will likely still be discussions.

1 minute ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

This debate has many levels. The minutae, and the higher level context.

Utlimately, we know the North can raise the same strength as the Vale. Martin said so. We are just debating how that strength is made up.

We have seen just the 6 Lords Declarant being able to raise 20,000 men. I look forward to seeing the full strength of the Vale. However, by that time, we will have seen the full strength of the North too, so the debate will be settled from two sides.

Except it is not just those 6 Lords who raised 20k.

"Bronze Yohn mistrusts me." Petyr pushed a log aside.
"He means to come in force. Symond Templeton will join him, do not doubt it. And Lady Waynwood too, I fear."
"And Lord Belmore, Young Lord Hunter, Horton Redfort. They will bring Strong Sam Stone, the Tolletts, the Shetts, the Coldwaters, some Corbrays."

"If so, I cannot stop him. I keep a garrison of twenty men. Lord Royce and his friends can raise twenty thousand."

 

 

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7 minutes ago, thelittledragonthatcould said:

I doubt he will. He likes the vagueness so I doubt we will ever get any kind of confirmation.

Of course the absence of all these extra troops, who have yet to make an appearance, in the last two books might be good enough for some but there will likely still be discussions.

Except it is not just those 6 Lords who raised 20k.

"Bronze Yohn mistrusts me." Petyr pushed a log aside.
"He means to come in force. Symond Templeton will join him, do not doubt it. And Lady Waynwood too, I fear."
"And Lord Belmore, Young Lord Hunter, Horton Redfort. They will bring Strong Sam Stone, the Tolletts, the Shetts, the Coldwaters, some Corbrays."

"If so, I cannot stop him. I keep a garrison of twenty men. Lord Royce and his friends can raise twenty thousand."

 

 

As I said, I look forward to seeing the full strength of the Vale.

From general impressions and evidence, the Stormlands are the least densely populated region of the South, outside of Dorne, which is the least populated. It is generally believed that the Stormlands can raise in the region of 30,000 men. That too needs to be tested, but if Dorne raises close to that number in books to come, then the Stormlands will have to move higher, to around 35,000.

In any case, the Vale is more populated than the Stormlands. It has a city, which the Stormlands lacks, and the Vale is famously mentioned as being very fertile, comparable to the Reach, although smaller in size.

So in any case, their full strength will be higher than that of the Stormlands. I would like to see what it is.

And regarding the list you mention above. That is a nice list of Houses that are included in support of Royce. How about a list of those that are NOT mentioned in that list, to give an indication of how much of the Vale's strength falls outside of the 20,000.

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4 minutes ago, thelittledragonthatcould said:

I doubt he will. He likes the vagueness so I doubt we will ever get any kind of confirmation.

Of course the absence of all these extra troops, who have yet to make an appearance, in the last two books might be good enough for some but there will likely still be discussions.

Well, I think if nobody extra shows up then things will cool down at least a little bit.

And perhaps we can than get to my secret pet issue: Proving that the ultimate strength of House Hightower is 40,000 men.

2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

As I said, I look forward to seeing the full strength of the Vale.

We could only really guess the full strength of the Vale if we get a context in which we can be reasonably sure that all the troops were raised.

I don't think that will happen, actually, and if the Vale commits to one side eventually they will leave the Vale by ship, confusing things even more. After all, they can no longer cross the mountains.

We also have no in-universe number sources on the Stormlands as far as I remember, and I'm very positive of downsizing the numbers of Renly's armies because it is difficult to believe Renly could ever raise about 80,000 men this quickly, especially not if the Hightowers mostly stayed at home and the Stormlands supposedly did not commit as many men as they might have (thanks to the Dornish betrothal).

If we go with the insanely huge army there might be a lot of plot problems - for one, those friends of the Golden Company supposedly has in the Reach won't be able to raise any men because they are all still with Mace in KL. Not to mention that Aegon would face overwhelming odds against him if Mace can send 50,000-60,000 men.

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3 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

 

And regarding the list you mention above. That is a nice list of Houses that are included in support of Royce. How about a list of those that are NOT mentioned in that list, to give an indication of how much of the Vale's strength falls outside of the 20,000.

 Sure. Here are the Lords of the Vale not included in that list.

 Breakstone · Donniger · Egen · Elesham · Grafton · Hardyng · Hersy  · Lipps · Lynderly · Melcolm · Moore · Pryor · Ruthermont  · Upcliff   · Wydman· Borrell · Longthorpe · Sunderland · Torrent

Though it is unclear if the Hardyng's are actual Lords and not just a vassal House to the Waynwoods.

And judging by Littlefingers words, it seems that Royce could do what he pleased with 20k men which insinuates that the remaining Houses would come to a smaller amount. Which falls in line with Ran's estimation of them having around 35k and would run true with GRRM saying that the North and the Vale are around the same strength.

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2 minutes ago, thelittledragonthatcould said:

 Sure. Here are the Lords of the Vale not included in that list.

 Breakstone · Donniger · Egen · Elesham · Grafton · Hardyng · Hersy  · Lipps · Lynderly · Melcolm · Moore · Pryor · Ruthermont  · Upcliff   · Wydman· Borrell · Longthorpe · Sunderland · Torrent

Though it is unclear if the Hardyng's are actual Lords and not just a vassal House to the Waynwoods.

And judging by Littlefingers words, it seems that Royce could do what he pleased with 20k men which insinuates that the remaining Houses would come to a smaller amount. Which falls in line with Ran's estimation of them having around 35k and would run true with GRRM saying that the North and the Vale are around the same strength.

For what its worth, the Starks supposedly executed 3000 soldiers during the Rape of the Three Sisters, so Sunderland (who rules the Three Sisters now) presumably has a strength of at least 3000.

Of course, the Sisters may be the Vale equivalent of Skagos, meaning it is nominally under their control, but difficult to call to arms.

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2 minutes ago, direpupy said:
Have you read the disclaimer? The creator himself admits in the disclaimer that he can be of by one or two months in his estimates.

Exactly, it could have been even longer than two months.

In the time it took the Cerwyns to gather their 300 Ramsay was able to travel to the Dreadfor and back while a force from the Karsstarks, Flints and Manderlys arrived.

Are you really saying it took all those men a 'drop of a hat' to get to Winterfell?

 

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Regardless of what exactly Jorah meant we can savely say that the North only has a bit more than 30k fighting men in total. 

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7 minutes ago, thelittledragonthatcould said:

Exactly, it could have been even longer than two months.

In the time it took the Cerwyns to gather their 300 Ramsay was able to travel to the Dreadfor and back while a force from the Karsstarks, Flints and Manderlys arrived.

Are you really saying it took all those men a 'drop of a hat' to get to Winterfell?

 

Look, the point is, the Cerwyns are located as close to Winterfell as you can be. To travel from one end of their lands to the other is likely not going to take incredibly long, compared to say travelling from Karhold or Widows Watch to Winterfell. So the Cerwyn men were likely gathered quite a bit earlier than when the Karstarks and others arrived.

Anyway, the point was merely that they could raise 300 men after having sent their main force with Robb.

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5 minutes ago, John Doe said:

Regardless of what exactly Jorah meant we can savely say that the North only has a bit more than 30k fighting men in total. 

Ok. You are safe to say it. You will be wrong, by the end of Winds of Winter. But not in any danger, so it will still be safe to make the statement.

EDIT

Am I going blind, or could I until about 30 minutes ago see a list of members currently viewing the thread, shown at the bottom of the screen. That list has now disappeared, which is extremely annoying, as one is more inclined to hang around preparing for a response if you know who is in the thread along with you.

Where's the list gone now? Guess I'm heading off until later.

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3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Look, the point is, the Cerwyns are located as close to Winterfell as you can be. To travel from one end of their lands to the other is likely not going to take incredibly long, compared to say travelling from Karhold or Widows Watch to Winterfell. So the Cerwyn men were likely gathered quite a bit earlier than when the Karstarks and others arrived.

Anyway, the point was merely that they could raise 300 men after having send their main force with Robb.

Right. When did I ever dismiss the 300? I disagreed with the 'evidence' of their being 1,000 in the books. They may have sent 1k but there is no such evidence.

As I said before, I actually think the Cerwyns would have quite a few men as their domains fall close to two branches of the White Knife as well as the Kings Road and there seems to be no lords directly south of them to Moat Cailin.

I also think the Cerwyn's are a relatively new House (or possibly former lords of the new Gift) and their lands would have formerly been Stark lands, thus their rise has diminished the Starks own personal force.

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8 minutes ago, thelittledragonthatcould said:

Exactly, it could have been even longer than two months.

In the time it took the Cerwyns to gather their 300 Ramsay was able to travel to the Dreadfor and back while a force from the Karsstarks, Flints and Manderlys arrived.

Are you really saying it took all those men a 'drop of a hat' to get to Winterfell?

 

Nope just wondered if you read the disclaimer, since you stated the two months as a fact. Or at least that's how i read it in your post.

And i do agree with Free Northman that the cerwyn men would not take that long to gather, they would have been waiting around for the rest to arrive.

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8 minutes ago, direpupy said:

Nope just wondered if you read the disclaimer, since you stated the two months as a fact. Or at least that's how i read it in your post.

I disagreed with 'the forming at the drop of a hat'. They had quite a long time to gather their forces.

Quote

And i do agree with Free Northman that the cerwyn men would not take that long to gather, they would have been waiting around for the rest to arrive.

Sure. Not sure I claimed anything different, just pointed out that they had plenty of time to gather their forces.

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1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Ok. You are safe to say it. You will be wrong, by the end of Winds of Winter. But not in any danger, so it will still be safe to make the statement.

I'm going by the numbers we can read of in the books. If Martin says there are more in Winds, there will be more, of course, but that doesn't mean it can be safely assumed right now. I posted my numbers in this thread, feel free to show me where they are wrong. 

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On 15/05/2016 at 8:03 PM, Free Northman Reborn said:

 

 

 

I think Northmen vary in size from giants like the Umbers to small folk like the Crannogmen.

I don't think they are superior warriors to the Southroners.

There may be evidence that they are hardier and therefore able to withstand the hardship of low provisions, bad weather and forced marches very well, which may have contributed to Robb's strategic successes. But in terms of fighting skills I think they vary from poor to excellent, just like men from the South.

I agree . They do vary . But more northerners are from first men than Crannogman and therefore may be stronger and tougher on average than the Southroners . But i strongly believe they are better trained for the battlefield . Southerners prefer tourneys and such . Which has very little impact on warfare . Where as the northerners basically battle for sport . I think the culture of the north just breeds better warriors. Where the south like to specifically train individuals .  The northerners just seem culturally more brutal and warlike . Where the southroners have quite a rich fanciful culture . More civil . This seems even more likely when you look back at the history . 

That's not to say there aren't great southern warriors. That would be a ridiculous claim . I just think they have a smaller percentage of men trained to fight on the battlefield properly . Like the Lannister army is for a large part , untrained men in expensive armour. Where the northman face off with them in maile and leather , with inferior numbers alot of the time and still come out on top . Some of that is down to tactics ,but some of it is down to culture i think . 

Edit; here's some quotes to back up my assumptions about the culture in the north ." As knighthood is rare in the North, the knightly tourney and its pageantry and chivalry are rare as hen's teeth beyond the Neck. Northmen fight ahorse with war lances but seldom tilt for sport, preferring melees that are only just this side of battles. There are accounts of contests that have lasted half a day and left fields trampled and villages half-torn down. Serious injuries are common in such a melee, and deaths not unheard of. In the great melee at Last Heart in 170 AC, it is said that no fewer than eighteen men died, and half again that number were sorely maimed before the day was done " - page 136 ,the world of ice and fire . 

"Their life is harder, and so they are hardened by it ,and the pleasures that  in the south are considered noble are thought childish and less worthy than hunting or brawling that the Nothmen love best " Same source as above . 

The idea that they are particularly large is just my personal observation . The Umbers ,Mormonts , Karstarks ,Flints of the mountains and Liddles are all considered families of large men(usually hairy too) .Then the more average houses like Stark , Ryswell,Glover  and Dustin seem to still produce some particularly tall or large(or hairy XD) men and women for example: Barbery (Ryswell )Dustin is very tall and straight backed , Brandon stark was considered a large handsome fella . Considering the population of the north appears to be comparable to any other single kingdom this is a good percentage of particularly large ,tall or strong genetic traits that i'd put down to the blood of the first men . When you look to house Royce , all burly strong fellas and blood of the first men , Crakehalls are the same .There are always going to be one or two exceptions but i think there is sufficient evidence to draw the conclusion .

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North

19 500 go south with Rob 

2000 in Rodrik Cassels army 

Stannis has 5000 men at arms at Deepwood Motte and his army is growing everyday. 3000 of them are mountain clans,1400 southerners and the rest (600+) are:

-smallfolk from the Stoney Shore and Wolfswood 

-some survivors of Rodrik Cassels army 

-men sworn to Glover and Mormont 

So we have 600+ with Stannis minus 100-200 men that were part of Rodrik Cassels host,100-200 garison at Deepwood Motte that was destroyed by the ironborn (we have a few examples of garisons like that in the books guarding smaller castles), unknown number of men died when Dagmer Clefjaw took Torrhen's Square, it is said that lady Cerwyn gave some men to Roose after the battle of Winterfell, 450 men with Arnolf Kastarks, 400 with Hother Whoresbane, another 400 with Mors Umber, 600 with Ramsey, 300 with Wyman Manderly at Winterfell for the wedding and an unknown number of men died in the fighting for the hornwood lands(300?).That all makes around 3200.For now we have a total of 27 700.There atleast 3000 Manderlys, Flints of Window's watch, Lockes, Hornwoods and soldiers from who ever controls Ramsgate. 2000 Reeds (because they still haven't sent troops to anyone) and 3000 Skagos. There also a lot of Dustin and Ryswell available (probably 1500 Dustins and 1000 Ryswells because they send the minimum to go south with Rob and I assume that's half of there troops). The north has 40 000 max if you ask me.

 

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