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Graydon Hicks

what robb could have done better?

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54 minutes ago, The Hoare said:

Harlaw is rich, but not as rich as the Starks.

Certainly in land the Starks are richer. In income they may well not have as much expendable money as the Harlaws. The Harlaws could afford to build a new castle for themselves, something of  necessity considering. The Starks, for at least three centuries, have not seen the upside in rebuilding and maintaining a castle that can not support itself. The lands are swamped and the water poisoned and there has been no threat of a Southern attack in centuries. 

These are all logical reasons why the Starks have not gone to the great cost of rebuilding and maintaining a castle that can generate its own income to run itself. 

54 minutes ago, The Hoare said:

Harlaw Hall, the old Harlaw seat is still being ruled by a cadet branch, the same happens with Grey Garden and Harridan Hill.

And there are other Holdfasts in the Stark lands, some maybe even ruled by distant cousins. These holdfasts can support themselves, the Starks are not having to foud it through the taxes of Winterfell. The whole point of having vassal lords is to make the rulers stornger. not weaker. 

This is just basic economics. The negatives far outweigh the positives. 

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8 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Certainly in land the Starks are richer. In income they may well not have as much expendable money as the Harlaws. The Harlaws could afford to build a new castle for themselves, something of  necessity considering. The Starks, for at least three centuries, have not seen the upside in rebuilding and maintaining a castle that can not support itself. The lands are swamped and the water poisoned and there has been no threat of a Southern attack in centuries. 

The Manderlys built a new castle for them too, and they're Stark vassals. If a vassal is able to build it, then the overlord can do the same.

I don't know why Winterfell is not in shape, it doesn't really make sense. Even the Greyjoys and Botleys made maintenances on their castles after the Greyjoy Rebellion.

15 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

This is just basic economics. The negatives far outweigh the positives. 

It's not a economic problem, it's strategic. The Starks put way too much faith in the royal peace. What if some southern "kingdom" decided to attack the North?

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The starks are extremely wealthy even tyrion says so telling bran that it's better to be a rich cripple. They're not just rich comparatively either. The starks have a monopoly on not only a very lucrative fur trade that the entire world trades and buys with but what is absolutely the money maker for the Starks is timber. The wolfswood is one of the largest forests in the world. They ship and trade with the entire world but what is the key is that they are the lumber resource of bravos that desperately needs all the lumber it can get because they can't chop down their own trees. Also while I can't be certain with all the times silver is mentioned with the Starks it's enough to make me think they might be in control of some silver mines. 

As far as rebuilding castles other than the first keep that has absolutely no use at all other than just another tower winterfell is in great condition and clearly ready for any siege. I believe that if the Starks wanted to build an entirely new castle they could but they don't need to. 

As far as moat cailin is concerned it is absolutely ridiculous that it's not rebuilt and fortified. It is a major flaw in the strategic defensive capabilities of the north as well as a major draw back to the offensive capabilities. I say this because if the moat was a functional castle with a lord or a landed knight with a garrison and everything else it should be the iron born are not taking it. Offensively the location value especially in the wot5k for troop deployment is undeniably a advantage.

The starks should rebuild the moat and make it a seat for a younger son. If this was done in Robb Starks kingdom the new Stark lord of the moat could be given land north and south the moat along with a really fancy sounding title like warden and defender of the neck to become one of the most powerful lords in robb starks kingdom of the north and riverlands.

 

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4 hours ago, The Hoare said:

The Manderlys built a new castle for them too, and they're Stark vassals. If a vassal is able to build it, then the overlord can do the same.

So they why did they not? Why have they not rebuilt the broken tower in Winterfell? Where was all these riches when Theon took Winterfell?

There are 5 books published. Show some evidence of this opulent spare Stark wealth. 

The Manderlys brought their own wealth to the  North and  are also the richest thanks to the trade of the White Knife and the Sea. They are the most wealthy House in the North and have the resources to rebuild their own lands. And of course it is an investment that they directly benefit from every single day. Rebuilding Moat Cailin does not offer the same value for the Starks as it have been perfectly functional for centuries as it is without a garrison. 

 

4 hours ago, The Hoare said:

I don't know why Winterfell is not in shape, it doesn't really make sense. Even the Greyjoys and Botleys made maintenances on their castles after the Greyjoy Rebellion.

They had a pressing need to. The Starks have not had a pressing need to repair the Tower or garrison and repair Moat Cailin. This is pretty simple//. 

4 hours ago, The Hoare said:

It's not a economic problem, it's strategic. The Starks put way too much faith in the royal peace. What if some southern "kingdom" decided to attack the North?

When was the last time that happened?

How many times has that happened in the last thousand years?

And what was the result? Was a ruinous Moat Cailin without a fulltime Lord and garrison effective in defending the North?

If yes, then why change what already works?

 

 

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9 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

So they why did they not? Why have they not rebuilt the broken tower in Winterfell? Where was all these riches when Theon took Winterfell?

Probably a plot hole.

9 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

 

The Manderlys brought their own wealth to the  North and  are also the richest thanks to the trade of the White Knife and the Sea. They are the most wealthy House in the North and have the resources to rebuild their own lands. And of course it is an investment that they directly benefit from every single day. 

Wealthiest house in the north after the Starks, which are their overlords. Also, how New Castle benefit the Manderlys? Seens that it's just a castle they built to remember them of home.

9 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

They had a pressing need to. The Starks have not had a pressing need to repair the Tower or garrison and repair Moat Cailin. This is pretty simple//. 

When was the last time that happened?

How many times has that happened in the last thousand years?

And what was the result? Was a ruinous Moat Cailin without a fulltime Lord and garrison effective in defending the North?

If yes, then why change what already works?

 

The North rarely involved in southron politics, which naturally made southern invasions unlikely. The only times they did was in the Dance of Dragons, and even then they didn't contributed much, the Robert's Robellion and the Wot5K, which proved that a crumbling Most Cailin was a mistake

Of all 3 wars the Starks participated in the Targaryens era, at least one proved that a ruined Most Cailin was a big mistake. If it was a decent castle, the ironborn wouldn't be able to cut the northern army from their homeland.

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5 hours ago, The Hoare said:

Probably a plot hole.

Or the perfectly logical and reasonable reason. The Starks had more important problems to spend their money on rather than spending huge chunks of money on repairing and garrisoning a castle that is already super effective. 

5 hours ago, The Hoare said:

Wealthiest house in the north after the Starks, which are their overlords.

I'm not sure your point here?

5 hours ago, The Hoare said:

 

Also, how New Castle benefit the Manderlys?

Seriously? Have you ever decorated your kitchen, bedroom or house? Upgraded your car? How do these things benefit you?

I don't want to be rude, but these are not complex issues. I should not have to explain why a superior castle benefits the Manderlys. 

 

5 hours ago, The Hoare said:

The North rarely involved in southron politics, which naturally made southern invasions unlikely.

I'm not sure your point here. 

How many times has Moat Cailin been attacked in the last thousand years?

The North is less likely to be attacked by land while part of Westeros. 

5 hours ago, The Hoare said:

 

The only times they did was in the Dance of Dragons,

Nope. They also contributed to the Invasion of Dorne, Cregan Stark's heir died during the conquest, and there is nothing to suggest that they did not participate in the War of the Nine Penny Kings.

5 hours ago, The Hoare said:

 

and even then they didn't contributed much, the Robert's Robellion and the Wot5K, which proved that a crumbling Most Cailin was a mistake

How so? In the three centuries between Torrhen Stark removing his Crown and Robb Stark pciking it up Moat Cailin was not attacked once from the South. Not a single Southern army attacked the North. 

The mistake was declaring independence while the Northern army was in the South. It was not spending a fortune on a constantly rebuilding a castle that has not been attacked in centuries. 

5 hours ago, The Hoare said:

Of all 3 wars the Starks participated in the Targaryens era, at least one proved that a ruined Most Cailin was a big mistake.

Which war in the Targaryen era proved that? Do you mean the Baratheon era?

This mistake was not leaving enough men behind. Winterfell and other settlements would still have fallen no matter what shape Moat Cailin was in. 

5 hours ago, The Hoare said:

 

If it was a decent castle, the ironborn wouldn't be able to cut the northern army from their homeland.

eh? I'm sorry, but that is codswallop. Is the Golden Tooth not a decent castle? It being a decent castle and being well garrisoned did jack shit to stop the Northmen from attacking the Westerlands and its people.

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On 6/25/2017 at 11:44 AM, Bernie Mac said:

Their current castle was blamed for the deaths of one Lords sons and often flooded. They actually had great reason to rebuild a new castle. And of course the Harlaws are the richest of the Ironborn

"You do with me. So long as I have my nuncle of Ten Towers, I have Harlaw." Harlaw was not the largest of the Iron Islands, but it was the richest and most populous, and Lord Rodrik's power was not to be despised. 

They would have the funds to rebuild a new castle for themselves, especially when the previous one was pretty poor to begin with. 

And of course this seems to be a bad comparison. The Harlaws did not build Ten Towers for some other House to hold it. The castle is the seat of House Harlaw, it sustains itself. A garrisoned Moat Cailin requires the Starks to fund it. 

 

Sure. Just like they have the means to repair their broken Tower or a great deal many things. But other things clearly take priority. The Starks own words, Winter is Coming, speaks of the main threat to the North. Wasting money on a  vanity project like Moat Cailin is just a waste and likely many would suffer with taxes being diverted to that project when they could be used elsewhere. 

 

 

Again, the frame of the story is filled in to suit the direction of the narrative.

Rebuilding Moat Cailin is a vanity project, until said vanity project stifles the Ironborn plan of snatching the north.

Now it's no longer vanity, but an integral part of the northern defensive strategy, that cannot be defeated by group of raiders with boats, who happen to headquarter within spitting distance of the northern realm.

We might just have to agree to disagree.

To me, it reeks of northern mismanagement. As does the Broken tower at Winterfell.

A dilapidated castle doesn't daunt and dissaude potential enemies, which is literally part of the purpose of the mega large seats of power across the realm. 

Its literally a projection of power, and it perhaps makes my point for me.

You say Moat Cailin is pointless in the face of the needs of the people of the north and the Wall. Well, the Wall is a shambling shadow of itself, and the people of the north have hard lives regardless.

Ned Stark fought a war to save his own life, and avenge his father and brother and get back his sister. He alone brought the united strength available to him to Robert's cause, and he went home with fucking nothing, aside from his secret nephew(maybe).

He should've asked for a hefty portion of the coffers of Aerys Targaryen, as Jon Arryn got the handship, Tywin (Late i come and bloody i leave)Lannister got a queenship for his daughter, Robert got a crown and Ned got zilch. 

That was the best chance the Starks had in recent memory to really "secure the bag" as it is called. A freebie, and he got nothing.

He should've demanded that of Robert, and made it clear to Benjen that their house was more exposed than it had been in a long while. To serve at the Wall is a luxury for a time when wolves abound, but now, House Stark needs him.

Use the funds to drain the swamp, build a smaller castle using the foundations, with the chance to expand in the future.

But Ned Stark didn't, because he was a good father, a caring husband and a well meaning Lord. 

But he wasn't the best lord he could be.

But he didn't do what was needed, and the north is weaker for it. 

Which serves narrative purpose.

And i know that fanfiction is taboo here, but there's a good reason why in most Stark centric stories, they address the issue.

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6 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Seriously? Have you ever decorated your kitchen, bedroom or house? Upgraded your car? How do these things benefit you?

I don't want to be rude, but these are not complex issues. I should not have to explain why a superior castle benefits the Manderlys. 

For status, projection of power? A crumbling Moat Cailin is not helping with that. The Blackfish doesn't seen very surprised with it.

6 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

I'm not sure your point here. 

How many times has Moat Cailin been attacked in the last thousand years?

The North is less likely to be attacked by land while part of Westeros. 

Near all castles in the North didn't participated in sieges or assaults until the ironborn invasion, it doesn't mean they should let their castle become ruins.

6 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Nope. They also contributed to the Invasion of Dorne, Cregan Stark's heir died during the conquest, and there is nothing to suggest that they did not participate in the War of the Nine Penny Kings.

 

Dorne is far from the North. The ninepenny kings didn't seemed interested in the North either.

6 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

 

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Frosted King - I think you make some good points on Ned's shit stewardship of the North.

However, IMO rebuilding  Moat Cailin seems excessive. But repairing and manning the surviving three towers, maybe making a smaller (smaller than the original, with 20 towers) perimetre could be sensible and affordable.

Draining the swamp is IMO not sensible - the swamp is part of the defences. The besieging force must camp in wet terrain, with bog water to drink, with no source of food apart from hostile wildlife. For them it is "eat what you brought or go home". Disease, rotting of provisions, the resulting hunger aggravating sickness - all this works to the defender's benefit. IIRC it was only in the 20th century (?) that combat losses actually exceeded those from sickness.

As all the food must be brought in the garrison cannot (or should not) be too large anyway, hence rebuilding the whole thing might not be such a good idea.

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1 hour ago, TMIFairy said:

Frosted King - I think you make some good points on Ned's shit stewardship of the North.

However, IMO rebuilding  Moat Cailin seems excessive. But repairing and manning the surviving three towers, maybe making a smaller (smaller than the original, with 20 towers) perimetre could be sensible and affordable.

Draining the swamp is IMO not sensible - the swamp is part of the defences. The besieging force must camp in wet terrain, with bog water to drink, with no source of food apart from hostile wildlife. For them it is "eat what you brought or go home". Disease, rotting of provisions, the resulting hunger aggravating sickness - all this works to the defender's benefit. IIRC it was only in the 20th century (?) that combat losses actually exceeded those from sickness.

As all the food must be brought in the garrison cannot (or should not) be too large anyway, hence rebuilding the whole thing might not be such a good idea.

i agree. the swamps of the neck, and the native crannogmen, are likely the most integral natural defense of the north. and moat cailin, being built just as the swamps turn into the southern plains of the North, guards the only road way through the swamps that can support a large military body., and it was meant to guard against the south, so all of its defenses point in that direction. now, for its current condition, well, id have to say that the main reason is because there no longer any real need for it anymore after the conquest. the realm was supposed to all one big happy family, right, so why would the first men of the north need to keep a massive fortress, built to guard the only land entrance into the territory form invading armies, in operation? and if any stark wanted to start renovating it back to its former glory, many south of the neck would start getting suspicious as to why. remember that the north wasnt actually conquered the same way the rest of the realm was. torren knelt to aegon, because with aegon's dragons, an open war with the targaryens, and their now very big army, would result in the deaths, glorious as they might be, of his men, and would in the end accomplish nothing, aegon would still win, only having to pay a high price to do it. so the north didnt get them selves, or their culture, trampled into the dirt, the way many of the lords and kings that stood up to aegon suffered. their way of life remain more or less intact.

also, the north is so very distant from the capital at kings landing, that even when considered part of the realm, in many ways its almost as if they were still a separate entity, with relatively little of the iron throne's authority actually reaching that far, especially after the dragons all died. i dont think any of the southern lords, who were far closer to the seat of power for the iron throne, and were primarily andal, with all the bigotry that entails, ever really trusted the tree worshipers in the north, and any attempt to rebuild moat cailin, would be easily interpreted, whether truthfully or simply as play in the game, as a prelude to something the iron throne couldnt tolerate. and even though the fort guards the kings road through the neck, the rest of the realm, united under the iron throne, would be able to but ships to sea to carry its troops up the coast, bypassing moat cailin completely. before the targs, that wouldnt have been feasible to any but the iron born, as each kingdom in the south was fighting so much, that they couldnt risk the manpower to pull something like off, and those on the western coast would have to contend with getting past the iron born anyway if they wanted to invade by sea. that had left the only real possibility of getting to the north be by land, and facing moat cailin. but a united south would have to worry about redirected manpower leaving valuable regions vulnerable, and could devote the resource to both attacking by land, forcing the north's attention on moat cailin, while invading by sea to get behind the north's lines.

so, even if the stark had both the resources and the desire to rebuild moat cailin, politically, it would brought some very unneeded attention their way. 

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Very good points, Graydon.

It is highly likely that in common perception "restoring Moat Cailin to former glory" = "the North plans to rebel".

Like you said - its reason for existence is to be a plug on the invasion route from the SOUTH.

Of course, keeping repairs of the holdfast small, presenting them as part of the creation of a fief for a 2nd son - or, even better, to keep the bastard as far away from the rest of the family as possible - might not cause such alarm.

 

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that is true. in fact, i read a fic where that actually happened, and ned gave lordship of it to benjen, after benjen married dacey mormont. it was very interesting fic. ned didnt kill the Kg at the tower of joy, and brought arthur dayne back to winterfell, it helped to shore up the belief that jon as ashara's child, and arthur was looking out for his snephew. but the real point of difference happen at the greyjoy rebellion. the reach were reluctant to send there fleet, and the rebllion lasted a lot longer, and stannis got killed. after a bit, robert, in a fit of whimsy, decided to grant lordship of dragonstone to jon snow. legitmized him and everything. benjen and dacey served as his regents there til he came of age. it seems, in this timeline, ned and robert didnt make up after lyanna's death, and robert kept trying to woo ned's friendship back by sending gifts, including paying for the restoration of moat cailin. him giving dragonstone to jon was for the same reason. so while moat cailin was being rebuilt, benjen served as jon's regent. and, to punish the tyrells for being so lax during the greyjoy rebellion, he made the tyrells betroth margery to jon. its a very fun fic to read, i highly recommend it.

but back to the main point. i agree that the old fort could have been kept in better condition, but because of the reasons i gave in the earlier post, the starks rarely had reason to turn their attention towards it. and unlike the majority of the southern lords, the starks and their vassals had other concerns beyond the Game. the north is a wilder place than anywhere in westeros save the mountains of the moon, and the dornish high desert, and the lords there have to be more attentive to wildling raids from beyond the wall, the severity of winters, which strike them far harder than anywhere else in the realm, and the harvests from what farms they do have. that does seem to keep them pretty occupied compared to most of the nobles in the south. fighting for survival doesnt leave much time for politics. thats a game for the comfortably soft southerners (save tywin. im not even sure he's human,. lol)

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Another thing is lack of Northern navies. After all Ironborn had raided North "always" and at least twice when North was part of Targ empire. Red kraken during the Dance and Dagon Greyjoy when Bloodraven was HoK. Both times Starks did not get any help from the throne and at least 1 lord of Winterfell was killed by those raiders . So Starks should have used their resources to build at least some warships. After all they have access a lot of timber, man power and land to pay people to build and keep them manned and maintained. 

Ps. Where IB got their timber to build their ships?

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The North can be attacked in 3 ways. It can be attacked from the sea, it can be attacked from the North (ie wildlings), and it can be attacked from the South. The Starks have no fleet which leave them easy prey for constant raids, the Northern borders are protected by a third party group who lack the quality and the numbers to do the job properly and Moat Cailin is in ruins. That’s screams of mismanagement. 


It’s not only possible for the North to have a fleet but it’s a must have.  It will sort a lot of issues
A-    It will make them less dependent on the Riverlands
B-    It will act as a deterrent from Iron Islander’s incursion
C-    It will help military logistics greatly, therefore turning the Starks from loners to great allies that are worth marrying your children to. For the first time in history the Starks can raise an army and move South in a reasonable amount of time.
D-    It will open new trade routes that they need


Not to forget that the North tend to struggle with famine. The westernmost reaches of the Shivering Sea, from Skagos and the Grey Cliffs to the delta of the Sarne, are the richest fishing grounds in the known world. 
 

You can't really blame Robb for that but surely the Starks had done a horrible job in managing the North. 

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Graydon - I know that fanfic. One of the better written ones, I'm afraid to say.

Loose Bolt - in some fanfics the IB are portrayed as stealing timber in the North. I suppose that they could also get it from the Frozen Shore; I remember reading somewhere that the loss of either the Flint Cliffs or Cape Eagle had hurt them badly due to loss of the timber there - where? and how canon was that? - I've no idea.

Devilish - the North is in the same situation as Russia or the USA before the Panama canal - it needs two fleets. However, I believe that it does have one fleet already, the one owned and operated by the Manderly's. But that's in the east - it needs one in the west too. Is the shipping in the east sufficient to move 20-30 thousand men across the Bite quickly, I again have no idea. So they most probably have to slog it across the Neck anyway.

As to Stark mismanagement - I believe that we are at the point where poking at the canon writings makes the whole thing unravel. GRRM was not after creating a viable world, but writing a story "boy meets girl" story which ended very, very badly ...

I've seen this happen in other fantasy worlds such as Middle Earth or Warhammer. These worlds simply cannot work :)

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1 minute ago, TMIFairy said:

Graydon - I know that fanfic. One of the better written ones, I'm afraid to say.

Loose Bolt - in some fanfics the IB are portrayed as stealing timber in the North. I suppose that they could also get it from the Frozen Shore; I remember reading somewhere that the loss of either the Flint Cliffs or Cape Eagle had hurt them badly due to loss of the timber there - where? and how canon was that? - I've no idea.

Devilish - the North is in the same situation as Russia or the USA before the Panama canal - it needs two fleets. However, I believe that it does have one fleet already, the one owned and operated by the Manderly's. But that's in the east - it needs one in the west too. Is the shipping in the east sufficient to move 20-30 thousand men across the Bite quickly, I again have no idea. So they most probably have to slog it across the Neck anyway.

As to Stark mismanagement - I believe that we are at the point where poking at the canon writings makes the whole thing unravel. GRRM was not after creating a viable world, but writing a story "boy meets girl" story which ended very, very badly ...

I've seen this happen in other fantasy worlds such as Middle Earth or Warhammer. These worlds simply cannot work :)

I agree. However its quite an achievable thing to do. The Manderly's are rich enough to have a fleet. The people at Cape Kraken are Ironborn in all but name so they can provide the expertise and men. 

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On 6/26/2017 at 0:10 AM, LordScattergood10 said:

As far as moat cailin is concerned it is absolutely ridiculous that it's not rebuilt and fortified. It is a major flaw in the strategic defensive capabilities of the north as well as a major draw back to the offensive capabilities. I say this because if the moat was a functional castle with a lord or a landed knight with a garrison and everything else it should be the iron born are not taking it. Offensively the location value especially in the wot5k for troop deployment is undeniably a advantage.

This is just not true.  Look, either the Starks themselves rebuild, maintain, and garrison Moat Cailin, which is a very expensive proposition, or they carve out a chunk of their own lands sufficient to support a new lord and grant him the fort.  Which is dangerous; Moat Cailin is an extremely valuable position and to grant another lord the ability to choke off land-bound trade, at will, is a risky bet.  The books make it clear Moat Cailin is a perfectly serviceable defensive position, should the need arise, and the crannogmen help with that.  Why bother otherwise?  Trusting in the King's Peace is not the same as being totally unprepared for an invasion from the South, which presumably the Starks would hear some word of.  Moreover, even if a southern army gets past Moat Cailin, it's not very useful for defending against an attempt to retake it.  

The only situation in which Moat Cailin becomes a liability is if the Starks get trapped south of it.  In which case, you don't want it more heavily fortified.

And the ironmen only take it because of the unique confluence of circumstances which lead to Robb being stranded in the south and the remaining Stark/loyalist forces being butchered by the Boltons.

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On 6/24/2017 at 7:57 AM, Bernie Mac said:

Not quite from all over. It takes people in from their own lands and the Mountain Clans. The other Lords of the land and their people don't flock to Winterfell in Winter. 

Well, we don't know this.  All we know is that the Winter Town becomes a substantial settlement, and that bannermen outside of the directly-held Stark demesne (the mountain clans) send folks to the Winter Town.  We also know that even at major holdings like Karhold, many men go out "hunting" or whatever, but given that this is mentioned hand in hand with some men going to the Winter Town just previously, it's perfectly reasonable to assume the same here.

Quote

How is that clear? Please provide evidence and share this clarity with forum. 

Well, when Bran presides over the harvest festival, the symbolism is pretty unambiguous.  The Starks provide food and hearth in return for loyalty.  And the oaths the Reeds give are far more personal than what we hear in the South.  Again, some of that may be merely because the Starks are our protagonists, but it's what we've got.  Couple that with the fact that we KNOW the Starks provide a service to at least some of their bannermen (the Winter Town) that other lords don't, or don't do as expressly, the added severity of the winters in the North, and the obviously extraordinary loyalty of the Northerners to Ned, and I think it's pretty clear.

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They are clinging to power because they currently appear to be the strongest faction in the North. I am pretty sure that is how is has always worked in medieval kindgoms. The moment a Lord/House looks vulnerable is when the vassals rebel. 

The idea that the North is some special snowflake in this regard is nonsense. 

 

It very explicitly is not how it works in real life medieval kingdoms.  Vassals rebel when their superiors try to assert too much authority, not too little.  When central authority is weak, vassals are happy, since it grants them more effective autonomy.  They cling to power partly because of their support from the Iron Throne, but also because they can at least present the facade that a Stark still walks Winterfell, and is married into their line.

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And how do you know the same is not true in every land? We simply not have seen enough or had the other realms put into a similar position than the Starks in the current series. 

Well, the Stormlords are unwilling to fight for either of Robert's legal heirs (Joffrey or Stannis), and side with Renly.  This is despite Robert's legendary charisma (in other words, it's not because he's a dick).  The Tyrell's lack of authority goes without saying, and the Tully's.  The Lannisters seem to command the loyalty of their men, but as many people comment, no one loved Tywin, not even his own family.  Maybe respect, maybe fear, but not love.

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The Starks, Arryns and Lannisters are all around the same age. I certainly don't think the average peasant has more loyalty due to one House being a slighly bit older than the other. 

The Starks are significantly, significantly older.  The Arryns and Lannisters are both Andal dynasties (through conquest and marriage, respectively), which means the Starks predate them by thousands of years, potentially.

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On 19/06/2017 at 0:46 PM, The Sunland Lord said:

Since he was sabotaged by Roose from the very beginning, I think also more intel among the Bolton's men before the war would do him a solid. He is scared by him, but trusted him at the same time. If you ask me, Roose was Robb's huge problem when he called the banners, and should've kept him close, like he should've done with Theon. But this is also such a long shot!

This is the main one for me. It was impossible for Robb to win the war when his most important general was actively sabotaging him.

If he'd put the Greatjon in charge of the foot then there's a chance that the Lannisters would've wiped them all out, but that's still arguably a better position for Robb because at least he'd be fully aware of his strengths and weaknesses. Instead he was counting on an army that wasn't actually trying to win.

I can't think of much else Robb did wrong though. As much as taking the crown screwed him, I don't see how he could've refused it. After Ned's death he found himself leading a large army with no real purpose. Northern Independence gave them a cause. If he'd refused, they'd have just sat and argued about the merits of Stannis, Renly and Tommen over and over and over again. It really was the only way forward.

I don't really blame him for Theon either, really. He wanted Balon as an ally and released an important hostage as a show of goodwill. That's a pretty logical move really. If he'd gone the other way and did the whole "Do as I command or I'll execute your son" thing then he'd have to be prepared to follow through on his threat, and I don't believe he had it in him to kill Theon. Not at that point anyway.

 

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what if robb had decided to play cautious in his campaign, rather than start gambling on sending his forces into the westerlands, by refortifying the castles in the riverlands?

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