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Free Northman Reborn

Ranks of nobility in Westeros - Dukes, counts and barons in all but name

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2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Good point about the Houses Allied to Roose who might not have ravens sent to them.

Regarding House Slate, they were once petty Kings, once held the Wolfsden similar to the Lockes and Flints, and are sworn directly to Winterfell and not to one of Winterfell's vassals. They are a major House of the North.

I agree on house Slate, Blackpool there seat as petty kings is probably one of the lakes just above the Rills, since they are with the Ryswells and the Dustins when they burn the Ironborn ships anchored on the banks of the Saltspear river.

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3 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Or rather, 80 Houses which Castle Black has ravens for. Remember, each raven can only fly to one destination, and you will want multiple ravens in stock for the most prominent Houses - those you want to communicate with most often. Therefore practical constraints will likely mean that Castle Black will not have ravens that can fly to every minor castle with a Maester in the North. Else they would need to keep thousands of ravens at any given time in their rookery. 

Not to mention the ravens meant for all the castles in the South.

Good point, but i don't know about thousands of ravens if you wanted one for every castle with a maester in the North a few hundred sure but thousands seems a bit much.

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On 6/12/2016 at 11:34 AM, Free Northman Reborn said:

So in recent threads we have had some interesting discussions around trying to figure out how the hierarchy of the nobility works in Westeros. Having pondered on it a bit, and after doing some research, I came to the conclusion that there is a fairly logical correlation of the Westerosi system to the real world Medieval noble ranking system, despite the lack of clear titles next to a lord's name.

Firstly, we know that Martin deliberately stayed away from the minefield of assigning a complicated set of titles to the hundreds, or more likely thousands, of lords he has created across the Seven Kingdoms. This is confirmed by the 2008 quote from him below:

"The number of titles of medieval nobility multiplied over times, as the feudal system became more complex and the social structure more layered, with various degrees of precedence, etc. In the earlier periods -- say, England around the time of Henry I and William II Rufus -- all those different titles did not exist. I prefered the simplicity of those times. In hindsight, I probably should have added a least one more title to differentiate the great houses from their vassals, but I am glad I stayed clear of using the whole roster of noble stylings".

So it is clear that he stayed away from titles largely as a matter of convenience. But that there are different levels of lords is nevetheless clear. He just wants the freedom to write the interactions of various lords as his narrative demands, unconstrained by having assigned a certain level of title to lord X or Y back in Book 1, and now being constrained by that when he wants to take the plot in a certain direction in Book 5 or 6. So in short, he has certain broad levels in mind, but he doesn't want to have to research what each title would imply in any particular social interaction in the plot.

The above quote does state that he feels that there is not enough of a distinction between the Great Houses and their vassals, however. And this is corroborated by another 2008 quote from him below:

"Sansa is more than just a young lady. She's the daughter, not just of a noble, but of one of the most powerful nobles in Westeros. The great houses stand far above the lesser nobles, as the lesser nobles do above the smallfolk".

So we can see that there is a hierarchical structure in place with the ruling Houses of each region in undisputed first place, far above any of their vassal lords. The hierarchy below the level of Great House is further fleshed out in this 2002 statement from George, in answer to a question on the social structure of Westeros:

Q: "I am also a bit curious as to the social structure of westeros. I understand the seven high lords, and the slightly lower lords (ie. Boltons, Karstarks, Freys etc.). However, do these lords also have sub lords below them? Lords who maybe raise 10 or 20 men for the Karstarks?"

A: "Yes, it is a feudal system. The lords have vassals, the vassals have vassals, and sometimes the vassals of the vassals have vassals, down to the guy who can raise five friends."

So, what we are left with is a pretty clear picture, in my view, on how the noble structure works in Westeros. And by doing some quick Wikipedia searches on various noble titles from the Middle Ages, it is even possible to assign the most likely titles that can be attributed to the various lords based on the evidence at hand. I will use the North as my example, as this is the region I - and probably all of us - know the most about as far as individual lords' domains are concerned.

Grand Duke: House Stark - The monarchic title Grand Duke (feminine: Grand Duchess) ranked in order of precedence below Emperor and King, and above that of sovereign Prince and sovereign Duke. It is or was used in some independent nations or states in Europe. It arose because the title of Duke had gradually lost status and precedence during the Middle Ages by having been granted to rulers of relatively small fiefs (feudal territories), instead of the big tribal regions or even nation territories to which the title was once attached.

So it seems to me that this ties in very well with George's comments about the ruling Houses being so far above other nobles that they are effectively Kings in all but name. They are former Kings after all, and Grand Duke is the closest you can get to their status, in the Medieval noble list of rankings.

Count: Houses Umber, Karstark, Bolton, Manderly, Hornwood, Mormont, Dustin, Ryswell, Reed, Flint, Locke, Slate, Cerwyn - Count (male) or countess (female) is a title in European countries for a noble of varying status, but historically deemed to convey an approximate rank intermediate between the highest and lowest titles of nobility. The British and Irish equivalent is an earl.

A count was essentially in charge of a county, which was a large area of territory that formed a constituent part of a Duchy. I think this ties in very well with what we know of the Umbers ruling land for a hundred leagues next to the Kingsroad and the Bay of Seals, the Dustins ruling the Barrowlands, The Ryswells ruling the Rills, the Reeds ruling the Neck, and so on and so forth.

Baron/Baronette: Various lower level lords sworn to the Counts. The ruler of a barony. A modern geographic barony, in Scotland, Ireland and outlying parts of England, constitutes an administrative division of a country, usually of lower rank and importance than a county. Baronette: A lord of lesser stature than a Baron.

These seem to be petty lords in the North, such as House Stout. A Baronette is of a lower level than a Baron and this is the level where most of the confusion in Westeros exists, as there seems to be some fluidity between Barons and Baronettes. Martin does not seem to distinguish between them, and rather uses a kind of sliding scale, depending on the actual power and strength of the individual lord. So Barons and Baronettes may be largely the same thing in name, although the term "petty lord" may be used colloquially to refer to what would be a Baronette in the real world.

Knight: The basic rank of the aristocratic system. This is the lowest level and would effectively be the Landed Knights and then below them the Household Knights of Westeros. AT the lowest level would be the Hedge Knights, travelling around in search of employment.

So in conclusion, I think that while Martin has not assigned titles overtly, he has nevertheless imlicitly given us the information to construct the general social order of Westerosi nobility. And it goes, from top to bottom, with a single example included for explanatory purposes:

Grand Duke: House Stark

Count: House Dustin

Baron/Baronette: House Stout

Landed Knight: One of the hundred landed Knights sworn to House Manderly

Household Knight: Ser Rodrik Cassell

Hedge Knight: The Mad Mouse (not Northern, but the only example I can recall).

Of course there are many unique Houses - due to their specific histories, past deeds, connections to the Crown etc. who don't fit precisely into this structure. But they merely make the setting richer, and shows us the exceptions to the general system, rather than negating the system that nevertheless is in place. Examples of these would be the Mountain Clans, the Skagosi lords, the Glovers and Tallharts who are Masterly Houses, and of course the many similar examples in the South, which I have not delved into for purposes of this initial post.

I haven't read all the replies as i don't have time, but the basic answer to this system is it all boils down to land, the more land the clan (house) hold the greater there strength and by association their stature, then other clans (houses) pay homage to them, this is how they become a vessal, and in turn recieve protection etc and it basically just trickles down from that, 

In the north the starks hold sway so all in the north pay them homage, but if a small family in lets say karstark territory has a problem he doesnt go to the starks he goes to the karstarks gives them homage and in return the karstarks give them protection.

Its a really simple system actually.

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1 hour ago, direpupy said:

Good point, but i don't know about thousands of ravens if you wanted one for every castle with a maester in the North a few hundred sure but thousands seems a bit much.

Didn't mean there are thousands of Houses in the North. I meant they will have multiple ravens that are trained to fly to fewer destinations, rather than 1 raven for every tiny castle with a Maester.

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14 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Didn't mean there are thousands of Houses in the North. I meant they will have multiple ravens that are trained to fly to fewer destinations, rather than 1 raven for every tiny castle with a Maester.

I figured as much, but even with multiple ravens for each destination i don't think you would need thousands of ravens.

But its really a moot point since i think you are correct in assuming there is a hub and spoke system.

Edited by direpupy

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On 1/20/2018 at 2:28 PM, Lord Varys said:

A central monarch in a Seven Kingdoms like setting in the real world should have about as much real power as the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (in the later middle ages/early modern times) and the whole absolutist thing should be realized on the level of the high nobility directly beneath the king - like it also happened in the Holy Roman Empire, with the various kings and princes and dukes demanding pretty much absolute control over their petty territories.

But that's not how things are portrayed. Lords can certainly rebel against their kings, but that's pretty much all they can do. They have no voice in the governance of the Realm. All they can do is obey the king's command and decrees or rebel.

Which was also the case in Capetian France.

On 1/20/2018 at 2:28 PM, Lord Varys said:

Sorry, back when Jaehaerys was still a boy he hadn't yet done anything remarkable. And neither he as a person nor the size of his dragon - or the sizes of the dragons of his sisters - could stand against Balerion the Black Dread and Maegor himself. If Maegor and Balerion had faced Jaehaerys/Vermithor, Rhaena/Dreamfyre, and Alysanne/Silverwing (Alysanne was then only a girl of twelve!) in battle, chances are about zero that they could have defeated Balerion. Some lucky bursts of fire could have injured or killed Maegor on Balerion's back - and that would have been their strategy, one assumes - but the chances to succeed that way would have been very slim. Just remember how quickly the fight was over when Sunfyre's fire finally hit Moondancer... And we do know that the fire of those ancient dragons burned very hot. It might be that Vermithor/Dreamfyre/Silverwing would have fallen burning from the sky had they had direct contact with Balerion's fire.

The point I'm raising is just that Maegor clearly wasn't yet done when he was apparently done. If he had taken his dragon to Storm's End to burn it along with his sister-in-law and her children and the treasonous Baratheon, then this rebellion would have been over. A man like Maegor doesn't really need an army to crush a rebellion. Even if he had been forced to leave KL for a time - Maegor and Balerion doing the same thing as Aemond/Vhagar did during the Dance in the Riverlands could easily have led to the eventual downfall of a King Jaehaerys. A king who cannot protect his people from his enemies is no king at all. And a dragonrider who controls a dragon the size of Balerion is really literally unstoppable when he employs only hit-and-run tactics.

What would have happened if neither Jaehaerys nor Maegor could protect their people?

Maegor burns Storm´s End... but nobody, because he finds the castle evacuated.

A Queen cowering under a soaking wet tree in rainforest and correctly figuring that Balerion cannot even see her for leaves, let alone know which of the millions of the wet trees has a Queen underneath is not much of a Queen.

And Maegor also finds no dragons... because, just like Arrax should have been faster than Vhagar but for an unfortunate storm, Dreamfyre, Vermithor and Silverwing actually were. With the result that although they could not defeat Balerion, even all three together, nor protect anyone but themselves from Maegor, they could fly and keep flying.

And while Maegor burnt Storm´s End, the other three flew round to King´s Landing, burnt it and left a few hours before Maegor returned.

 

What would have been the political result of such mutually assured destruction?

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5 hours ago, Jaak said:

Which was also the case in Capetian France.

I'm not expert on this, but unlike the HRE - which really constitutionally evolved in an entity where the emperor was little more than a figurehead - the French kings had their ups and downs, eventually recovering the power Charlemagne and the early Carolingians and Merovingians had had, whereas that ship sailed for good in the HRE after the Staufer dynasty collapsed.

5 hours ago, Jaak said:

What would have been the political result of such mutually assured destruction?

Really difficult to say. However, I find the scenario that Jaehaerys, etc. would actually use their dragons to burn KL. That would pretty much mark the (beginning of the) end of the Targaryen rule.

The destruction of Storm's End as such would be a powerful sign, and it is not that Maegor's enemies across the Realm could actually afford to leave their castles, cities, and towns for a longer period of time. If they did that, society would collapse sooner or later.

If Maegor paid a smaller town a visit - say, Maidenpool, Saltpans, or Stoney Sept - burning it to the ground, and then making it clear to everyone that Gulltown, Lannisport, Oldtown, etc. would be next, people would fall in line again.

The fear of those dragons is very real - as we see during the Dance - and Balerion is the largest one of them.

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3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Really difficult to say. However, I find the scenario that Jaehaerys, etc. would actually use their dragons to burn KL. That would pretty much mark the (beginning of the) end of the Targaryen rule.

The destruction of Storm's End as such would be a powerful sign, and it is not that Maegor's enemies across the Realm could actually afford to leave their castles, cities, and towns for a longer period of time. If they did that, society would collapse sooner or later.

That's precisely what the Dornish did. And they did not collapse.

After Dorne won, people across Six Kingdoms must have thought - why didn't we do the same?

But they tried and couldn't. Harren the Red tried leaving no target in the ruins of Harrenhal, as did Vulture King. Eventually, enough people on ground got sick of running and hiding and defeated them on ground. Which hadn't happened to Dorne. Jonos Arryn and Lodos did not even try.

How effective was Faith Militant in evading Balerion?

3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If Maegor paid a smaller town a visit - say, Maidenpool, Saltpans, or Stoney Sept - burning it to the ground, and then making it clear to everyone that Gulltown, Lannisport, Oldtown, etc. would be next, people would fall in line again.

What he had conspicuously failed to do was relieve Crakehall.

3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The fear of those dragons is very real - as we see during the Dance - and Balerion is the largest one of them.

But not the only one.

If the position is: side with Jaehaerys and Maegor will burn you, side with Maegor and Jaehaerys will - then all castles of Westeros would be empty pretty soon. How thoroughly would Westerosi society then collapse?

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45 minutes ago, Jaak said:

That's precisely what the Dornish did. And they did not collapse.

The Dornish live, for the most part, in deserts and mountains, they do not have the same kind of developed economy that, say, the Reach has.

You also have to have this kind of victory-or-death approach the Dornishmen collectively had against Targaryen aggression - but that's simply not there in the other Seven Kingdoms. Put sufficient pressure on those people and they bow, bend, or break.

But the Dornishmen do not.

45 minutes ago, Jaak said:

After Dorne won, people across Six Kingdoms must have thought - why didn't we do the same?

Some might have asked that question - but not many, or else Aegon - and Aenys later, too - would have been faced with a massive rebellion implementing Dornish types of warfare.

45 minutes ago, Jaak said:

How effective was Faith Militant in evading Balerion?

Not that effective. Sure, a dragon doesn't help you crush underground resistance, etc. but that's not what threatened Maegor in 48 AC. It was open resistance, lords calling their banners and marshaling armies. And those armies could have been destroyed and dispersed by Balerion.

45 minutes ago, Jaak said:

What he had conspicuously failed to do was relieve Crakehall.

Why should that be a failure? Prince Aegon was a potential enemy and rival, not an asset or ally. Why should Maegor help him? Besides, it seems as if the Poor Fellows left Crakehall around the time they learned that Maegor had returned, presumably while he was in his coma. Maegor's top priority was obviously to first claim the Iron Throne and secure his kingship in KL, before he was dealing with his enemies.

45 minutes ago, Jaak said:

But not the only one.

If the position is: side with Jaehaerys and Maegor will burn you, side with Maegor and Jaehaerys will - then all castles of Westeros would be empty pretty soon. How thoroughly would Westerosi society then collapse?

The other dragons seem to have been little more than hatchlings compared to Balerion. Balerion darkens the sky. If that beast flies over your city, town, castle you are in different mood than when you see some smaller dragons.

We don't even know whether the younger dragons would have been much of threat to castles and other strong buildings made of stone. Balerion clearly was.

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42 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The Dornish live, for the most part, in deserts and mountains, they do not have the same kind of developed economy that, say, the Reach has.

You also have to have this kind of victory-or-death approach the Dornishmen collectively had against Targaryen aggression - but that's simply not there in the other Seven Kingdoms. Put sufficient pressure on those people and they bow, bend, or break.

But the Dornishmen do not.

Some might have asked that question - but not many, or else Aegon - and Aenys later, too - would have been faced with a massive rebellion implementing Dornish types of warfare.

Not that effective. Sure, a dragon doesn't help you crush underground resistance, etc. but that's not what threatened Maegor in 48 AC. It was open resistance, lords calling their banners and marshaling armies. And those armies could have been destroyed and dispersed by Balerion.

Why should that be a failure? Prince Aegon was a potential enemy and rival, not an asset or ally. Why should Maegor help him? Besides, it seems as if the Poor Fellows left Crakehall around the time they learned that Maegor had returned, presumably while he was in his coma. Maegor's top priority was obviously to first claim the Iron Throne and secure his kingship in KL, before he was dealing with his enemies.

The other dragons seem to have been little more than hatchlings compared to Balerion. Balerion darkens the sky. If that beast flies over your city, town, castle you are in different mood than when you see some smaller dragons.

We don't even know whether the younger dragons would have been much of threat to castles and other strong buildings made of stone. Balerion clearly was.

Interesting in this light that Torhenn's sons were keen to revolt against the Iron Throne, but Torhenn stood fast in his decision and some of them were exiled in the end, if I recall correctly. Seems like his personality had a huge impact on the course of history, since if he had not been the pacifist minded leader that he was, the North would almost certainly have either not knelt in the first place, or revolted around the time of the Dornish wars as well.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Why should that be a failure? Prince Aegon was a potential enemy and rival, not an asset or ally. Why should Maegor help him? Besides, it seems as if the Poor Fellows left Crakehall around the time they learned that Maegor had returned, presumably while he was in his coma. Maegor's top priority was obviously to first claim the Iron Throne and secure his kingship in KL, before he was dealing with his enemies.

1) Potential enemy and rival.

Leaving him a loose cannon assembling supporters at leisure was a stupid move. Maegor and Visenya should have hurried to put tabs on him to make him a prisoner alongside his little brothers Viserys and Jaehaerys.

2) Insult to Targaryens and dragons.

Maegor may have liked Aegon less than Tywin or Cersei liked Tyrion, but failing to target direct vengeance on the specific Poor Fellows who had the arrogance to attack Targaryens weakened general fear of Targaryens. He needed to teach Westeros a lesson: you could get the better of a Targaryen when dismounted and surprised, but you will burn at the hands of some other Targaryen. A lesson weakened by Meraxes.

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5 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Interesting in this light that Torhenn's sons were keen to revolt against the Iron Throne, but Torhenn stood fast in his decision and some of them were exiled in the end, if I recall correctly. Seems like his personality had a huge impact on the course of history, since if he had not been the pacifist minded leader that he was, the North would almost certainly have either not knelt in the first place, or revolted around the time of the Dornish wars as well.

You have to keep in mind the the time that passed. Torrhen apparently still was Lord of Winterfell at the time Queen Rhaenys arranged the political marriages - which seems to indicate that this would have happened during the First Dornish War, perhaps even shortly before Rhaenys' death in 10 AC, considering that Lord Ronnel Arryn was still a pretty young fellow during the Conquest.

Some of Torrhen's sons were both opposed to the Targaryen rule as well as their sister's marriage to the Arryn lord, although the later issue is somewhat murky - we don't know whether they opposed the marriage because Rhaenys arranged it or because her future husband was an Arryn of the Vale, a traditional enemy of the North for hundreds of years.

But as far as we know no Starks went into exile - there were 'wild men (and women)' who refused to bend the knee to Aegon in the North, and they went into exile and founded the Company of the Rose in Essos - a company I'd gladly see returning to the North in TWoW if Stannis' people are indeed going to hire sellswords.

Considering that no Stark lord rose against King Aenys in 37 AC, nor a Stark against Maegor in the years to come, it seems pretty likely that whatever Stark - be he son, grandson, brother, nephew, cousin of Torrhen - ruled in Winterfell in 37-48 AC was no longer (openly) opposed to the Targaryen rule.

2 hours ago, Jaak said:

1) Potential enemy and rival.

Leaving him a loose cannon assembling supporters at leisure was a stupid move. Maegor and Visenya should have hurried to put tabs on him to make him a prisoner alongside his little brothers Viserys and Jaehaerys.

They had obviously other priorities. Taking the throne is more important than taking care of potential rivals before you have the throne. Stannis was also stupid to target Renly before taking the Iron Throne.

2 hours ago, Jaak said:

2) Insult to Targaryens and dragons.

Maegor may have liked Aegon less than Tywin or Cersei liked Tyrion, but failing to target direct vengeance on the specific Poor Fellows who had the arrogance to attack Targaryens weakened general fear of Targaryens. He needed to teach Westeros a lesson: you could get the better of a Targaryen when dismounted and surprised, but you will burn at the hands of some other Targaryen. A lesson weakened by Meraxes.

Well, he did just that when he dealt with the Poor Fellows at Stonebridge and the Great Fork of the Blackwater. Those Poor Fellows besieging Crakehall likely fell at the Great Fork.

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16 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

You have to keep in mind the the time that passed. Torrhen apparently still was Lord of Winterfell at the time Queen Rhaenys arranged the political marriages - which seems to indicate that this would have happened during the First Dornish War, perhaps even shortly before Rhaenys' death in 10 AC, considering that Lord Ronnel Arryn was still a pretty young fellow during the Conquest.

Some of Torrhen's sons were both opposed to the Targaryen rule as well as their sister's marriage to the Arryn lord, although the later issue is somewhat murky - we don't know whether they opposed the marriage because Rhaenys arranged it or because her future husband was an Arryn of the Vale, a traditional enemy of the North for hundreds of years.

But as far as we know no Starks went into exile - there were 'wild men (and women)' who refused to bend the knee to Aegon in the North, and they went into exile and founded the Company of the Rose in Essos - a company I'd gladly see returning to the North in TWoW if Stannis' people are indeed going to hire sellswords.

Considering that no Stark lord rose against King Aenys in 37 AC, nor a Stark against Maegor in the years to come, it seems pretty likely that whatever Stark - be he son, grandson, brother, nephew, cousin of Torrhen - ruled in Winterfell in 37-48 AC was no longer (openly) opposed to the Targaryen rule.

Yes. It seems clear that Martin intended, for reasons of his own, that the North not resist the Targaryen rule in the same way that the Dornish did. This is peculiar, given that the North is actually more seperated from the rest of Westeros than Dorne is. After all, Dorne has the same religion as the other southron kingdoms. The North is the only kingdom that worships different gods entirely. And is largely from a different race - First Men compared to the Andal culture of the South.

Really, it would have made more sense for the North to have a separate national identity in the way that the Dornish have been portrayed, right down to the smallfolk who remained defiant against the onslaught of the Targaryens. Usually it is religion that galvanizes an entire population to make such sacrifices, and it is only the North that has a unique religion compared to the rest of Westeros.

All logic would have suggested that the North, rather than Dorne, would have been the ones refusing to kneel to the foreign invaders. As they had done for 7700 years up to that point.

Strange then, that Martin chose to have this plotline play out in Dorne, rather than the North. I do wonder what his motivation was behind that decision.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Yes. It seems clear that Martin intended, for reasons of his own, that the North not resist the Targaryen rule in the same way that the Dornish did. This is peculiar, given that the North is actually more seperated from the rest of Westeros than Dorne is. After all, Dorne has the same religion as the other southron kingdoms. The North is the only kingdom that worships different gods entirely. And is largely from a different race - First Men compared to the Andal culture of the South.

Religion is not much of a marker of cultural identity in Martinworld. The Northmen are First Men, the same as the people in all the other regions. The fact that the Northmen keep the old gods doesn't set them apart from the other kingdoms in a meaningful manner.

The old gods do not really fight against the new gods (or vice versa) like in the dichotomy heathens vs. christians. The First Men in the south gradually abandoned their old religious traditions but they never completely broke with them - if they had, then there wouldn't be any godswoods with weirwood trees anywhere in the south.

There are some cultural differences between the Northmen and the Andals, but those do not even extend to language, making it pretty clear that they are more or less irrelevant.

In Dorne, a completely different ethnicity/culture was integrated into the society with the arrival of the Rhoynar. They had a strong impact on their culture, and the Red Mountains apparently kept Dorne more apart from the Reach and the Stormlands than the Neck separated the North from the rest.

1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Really, it would have made more sense for the North to have a separate national identity in the way that the Dornish have been portrayed, right down to the smallfolk who remained defiant against the onslaught of the Targaryens. Usually it is religion that galvanizes an entire population to make such sacrifices, and it is only the North that has a unique religion compared to the rest of Westeros.

Nationalism works pretty much the same way, and proto-nationalism is a thing in Dorne, unlike in any other places. Dornishmen do not want to be ruled by outsiders, period, never mind what their own rulers say.

Torrhen could bend the knee for the North, but the Martells cannot bend the knee for Dorne. The Dornishmen will continue the fight.

1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

All logic would have suggested that the North, rather than Dorne, would have been the ones refusing to kneel to the foreign invaders. As they had done for 7700 years up to that point.

The North didn't exist as a political entity until the Stark conquered it. And even then there wouldn't have been any sense of cultural entity. Bolton men are still Bolton men today, not Stark men. Else they would have never participated in the Red Wedding, no?

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32 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Religion is not much of a marker of cultural identity in Martinworld. The Northmen are First Men, the same as the people in all the other regions. The fact that the Northmen keep the old gods doesn't set them apart from the other kingdoms in a meaningful manner.

The old gods do not really fight against the new gods (or vice versa) like in the dichotomy heathens vs. christians. The First Men in the south gradually abandoned their old religious traditions but they never completely broke with them - if they had, then there wouldn't be any godswoods with weirwood trees anywhere in the south.

There are some cultural differences between the Northmen and the Andals, but those do not even extend to language, making it pretty clear that they are more or less irrelevant.

In Dorne, a completely different ethnicity/culture was integrated into the society with the arrival of the Rhoynar. They had a strong impact on their culture, and the Red Mountains apparently kept Dorne more apart from the Reach and the Stormlands than the Neck separated the North from the rest.

Nationalism works pretty much the same way, and proto-nationalism is a thing in Dorne, unlike in any other places. Dornishmen do not want to be ruled by outsiders, period, never mind what their own rulers say.

Torrhen could bend the knee for the North, but the Martells cannot bend the knee for Dorne. The Dornishmen will continue the fight.

The North didn't exist as a political entity until the Stark conquered it. And even then there wouldn't have been any sense of cultural entity. Bolton men are still Bolton men today, not Stark men. Else they would have never participated in the Red Wedding, no?

In all of the above you are basically saying "This is so, because it is so". The internal logic is not presented. You say the North did not exist as a political entity until the Starks conquered it. Well that was thousands of years before the Martells united Dorne. The North has existed as a political entity for far longer than Dorne has. And so what if the Boltons are still Boltons? The Yronwoods are still Yronwoods too.

Martin has not explained WHY the common Dornish peasant is nationalistic and will not accept it if the Martells bow to the Targaryens, while the common Northern peasant will accept it if the Starks did so.

My point is simply that like so many other things in Westeros, this is so simply because it suits Martin's narrative. I don't think it has been sufficiently supported by the worldbuilding. It simply is so, because it is so.

Like D&D once said. "It made sense to us creatively, because we wanted it to happen."

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21 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

In all of the above you are basically saying "This is so, because it is so". The internal logic is not presented. You say the North did not exist as a political entity until the Starks conquered it. Well that was thousands of years before the Martells united Dorne. The North has existed as a political entity for far longer than Dorne has. And so what if the Boltons are still Boltons? The Yronwoods are still Yronwoods too.

Martin has not explained WHY the common Dornish peasant is nationalistic and will not accept it if the Martells bow to the Targaryens, while the common Northern peasant will accept it if the Starks did so.

My point is simply that like so many other things in Westeros, this is so simply because it suits Martin's narrative. I don't think it has been sufficiently supported by the worldbuilding. It simply is so, because it is so.

Like D&D once said. "It made sense to us creatively, because we wanted it to happen."

On Dornish not being submissive; it's cause could simply be the Rhoynar influence. Martell's strength increased tenfold with the arrival of Rhoynar which was only 600-700 years before the conquest, a short span of time to forget their wars with Valyrians when compared to, say, things like Blackwood-Bracken feud. Also of note, House Frey was founded some 600 years ago and older houses still see them as upstarts. 600 years is a very short time in ASOIAF.

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22 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

In all of the above you are basically saying "This is so, because it is so". The internal logic is not presented. You say the North did not exist as a political entity until the Starks conquered it. Well that was thousands of years before the Martells united Dorne. The North has existed as a political entity for far longer than Dorne has. And so what if the Boltons are still Boltons? The Yronwoods are still Yronwoods too.

Martin has not explained WHY the common Dornish peasant is nationalistic and will not accept it if the Martells bow to the Targaryens, while the common Northern peasant will accept it if the Starks did so.

My point is simply that like so many other things in Westeros, this is so simply because it suits Martin's narrative. I don't think it has been sufficiently supported by the worldbuilding. It simply is so, because it is so.

Like D&D once said. "It made sense to us creatively, because we wanted it to happen."

George doesn't have to give us a reason why the Dornishmen are different from the Northmen in regards to independence and proto-nationalism. They just are.

We are also given no reason why the Lannisters or the Reach men tried to regain their independence after the Conquest. Unlike the Northmen or the Dornishmen those people would have the monetary and military reasons to crush the Targaryens, dragons or not.

As to the Bolton example:

There is no precedent for as hideous a betrayal as the Red Wedding in the history of Westeros. No Yronwood or Royce or Reyne, etc. ever turned against their liege/king/prince the way Roose Bolton (and Walder Frey) did at the Red Wedding.

That makes it pretty clear that the men executing the commands of their lords there - Roose's Northmen and Walder's Riverlanders - did not see themselves as subjects of 'King Robb' or even as 'Stark/Tully men' in any meaningful sense.

When the Conqueror and the Young Dragon tried to conquer Dorne House Martell was never betrayed in such a fashion. Dorne stood united against the foreign invaders.

This kind of unity and loyalty clearly doesn't exist in the North. Another example would be the fact that the Northmen needed the leadership of Ser Rodrik - and later Stannis Baratheon and Roose Bolton - to move against the Ironborn on their turf. There was no popular movement, no lords marshaling armies on their own authority to retake Winterfell, Deepwood Motte, Torrhen's Square, etc.

In Dorne, the Targaryens had to deal with a popular guerilla movements. Even in the Riverlands we have right now the Brotherhood without Banners and their associates.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

George doesn't have to give us a reason why the Dornishmen are different from the Northmen in regards to independence and proto-nationalism. They just are.

We are also given no reason why the Lannisters or the Reach men tried to regain their independence after the Conquest. Unlike the Northmen or the Dornishmen those people would have the monetary and military reasons to crush the Targaryens, dragons or not.

As to the Bolton example:

There is no precedent for as hideous a betrayal as the Red Wedding in the history of Westeros. No Yronwood or Royce or Reyne, etc. ever turned against their liege/king/prince the way Roose Bolton (and Walder Frey) did at the Red Wedding.

That makes it pretty clear that the men executing the commands of their lords there - Roose's Northmen and Walder's Riverlanders - did not see themselves as subjects of 'King Robb' or even as 'Stark/Tully men' in any meaningful sense.

When the Conqueror and the Young Dragon tried to conquer Dorne House Martell was never betrayed in such a fashion. Dorne stood united against the foreign invaders.

This kind of unity and loyalty clearly doesn't exist in the North. Another example would be the fact that the Northmen needed the leadership of Ser Rodrik - and later Stannis Baratheon and Roose Bolton - to move against the Ironborn on their turf. There was no popular movement, no lords marshaling armies on their own authority to retake Winterfell, Deepwood Motte, Torrhen's Square, etc.

In Dorne, the Targaryens had to deal with a popular guerilla movements. Even in the Riverlands we have right now the Brotherhood without Banners and their associates.

Seems like just a repetition of your previous post, only using different words. Giving examples of the Dornish showing nationalism does not answer the question why the Dornish are more nationalistic than the rest. It is merely more of "It is so because it is so."

As for your suggestion that the Bolton actions are somehow worse than lords rebelling against their overlords in other parts of Westeros, well, that seems like a silly argument.

Whether you stab your liege at a wedding, or raise 3000 men in revolt against him like the Tarbecks did, both actions show that your ambition is to usurp some of the power of your liege lord.

Martin has been at pains to point out that every region has powerful, ambitious, vassals that are itching to throw off the yoke of their Lords Paramount given half a chance. He even used the examples of the Freys, Yronwoods, Reyne's and Boltons, to name a few.

Anyway, your argument doesn't address the underlying question, and instead relies on flawed equivalences like why some of the central Andal kingdoms didn't revolt, while we know that they aren't as seperated from the rest of Westeros by culture, geography, history and religion as the likes of Dorne, the Iron Isles and the North are.

 

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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7 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

As for your suggestion that the Bolton actions are somehow worse than lords rebelling against their overlords in other parts of Westeros, well, that seems like a silly argument.

Whether you stab your liege at a wedding, or raise 3000 men in revolt against him like the Tarbecks did, both actions show that your ambition is to usurp some of the power of your liege lord.

The Red Wedding wasn't a rebellion. It was the brutal slaughtering of thousands of people done by their own comrades and countrymen.

This kind of thing would not happen within an army where camaraderie and an esprit de corps based on (proto-)nationalism were even remotely a thing. It could only happen within a framework where the personal loyalty to Lord Roose and Lord Walder trumped the loyalty to 'King Robb', his family, and - especially - their own brothers-in-arms.

In Dorne a thing like that never happened - and likely couldn't really happen, especially not while Dorne was threatened by an outside enemy. Dorne is unique in the way the smallfolk there actually take up arms 'for Dorne', even if their lords do not. Those people would never betray Dorne by making common cause/following the orders of a man like Roose who sold his king and country to the enemy.

And by the way:

The Reynes and Tarbecks never tried to topple or usurp the place of the Lannisters. They just tried to throw off the Lannister yoke. That is a difference.

Roose actually extinguished House Stark, and took their place. The Yronwoods, Royces, Reynes, etc. never tried to do anything like that.

7 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Martin has been at pains to point out that every region has powerful, ambitious, vassals that are itching to throw off the yoke of their Lords Paramount given half a chance. He even used the examples of the Freys, Yronwoods, Reyne's and Boltons, to name a few.

See above: Throwing off the yoke is different from butchering the men you have fought with side by side in a succession of successful battles. It is also not the same as butchering your liege lord/king the way Robb was butchered.

7 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Anyway, your argument doesn't address the underlying question, and instead relies on flawed equivalences like why some of the central Andal kingdoms didn't revolt, while we know that they aren't as seperated from the rest of Westeros by culture, geography, history and religion as the likes of Dorne, the Iron Isles and the North are.

Who cares about separation here? We are talking about the Conquest and its effects, not geography and culture. The Targaryens were foreign invaders, and the kings of the Seven Kingdoms had no intention to unite their kingdoms and give up their power. Why should the Lannisters or Arryns have less of a desire to throw off the yoke of the dragons than the North or Dorne have?

It makes no sense to single out the North here. In fact, the Vale is clearly as separated - or perhaps even more separated - from the rest of Westeros as Dorne and the North are. After all, you can only reach the Vale by ship in winter.

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