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Stormking902

Quick question about Robbs will

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7 hours ago, Sophist said:

There are lots of unstated assumptions in this thread. I'd like to try to make them explicit and deal with them from a legal perspective (after all, as a matter of practicalities, lots of things might happen).

Let's start with the basics: did Robb write an actual will? Without seeing the document, we don't know this for sure. It's possible that it's simply a decree of legitimation for Jon, with Robb simply assuming the consequences of that.

I'll start with option 2 and assume that Robb declared Jon legitimate but nothing else. Here are the possibilities:

1. Jon is already legitimate because R+L married or otherwise legitimated him. If this comes to light before Robb's decree, then the decree is irrelevant. Jon would have no claim to Winterfell in this case because he's not Ned's son, unless no other candidates remain alive. Nor would a meaningless decree of legitimacy, standing alone, have any impact on the succession to the KitN.

2. Jeyne is pregnant. In this case, legitimating Jon would have no effect on the succession to KitN -- children come before brothers (and see #2 below) -- but could affect his status as Lord of Winterfell assuming that case #1 remains unknown.

3. As a legitimated claimant to Winterfell, Jon might have to contest claims by Bran, Arya, and Sansa (see below). If the decree becomes public at a time when everyone thinks Bran and Arya are dead, and Sansa is missing, then Rickon might contest his claim.

Now let's assume that Robb wrote a will in which he BOTH (a) legitimated Jon; and (b) named him his heir to either or both of KitN and Winterfell. Here are the options; bear in mind the options above because some of the problems may come into play below too:

1. If Jon is a trueborn son of R+L, then the will is moot. Jon is the heir to Westeros and wouldn't need a separate kingdom.

2. If Robb assumed that Bran, Arya, and Rickon were dead, and Sansa missing, he might not have mentioned them. If he didn't mention them, then there'd be what at common law was called a "pretermitted heir" issue. Simplifying, if the maker of a will doesn't know about the existence of an heir and therefore doesn't mention him/her, that heir still has a claim regardless of the terms of the will. We'd need to know the exact terms of the will in order to determine if this is a problem.

3. While it seems that Kings can name their heirs, that's much less clear for lesser titles. Without detailing the reasons for this, I think everyone can recognize that having estates transfer by decree rather than by law would be problematic and likely to be contested. In this situation, Robb might be able to designate Jon as his heir as KitN, but not to Winterfell (assuming anyone else is alive to make a claim).

In short, unless someone is willing to state explicitly all the conditions in which the decree/will would operate, plus the exact terms of the document, it's impossible to make any definitive statements about it.

But we do know Robb made a will and had his bannermen - the ones who were in that tent - sign it.

“I left my wife at Riverrun. I want my mother elsewhere. If you keep all your treasures in one purse, you only make it easier for those who would rob you. After the wedding, you shall go to Seagard, that is my royal command.” Robb stood, and as quick as that, her fate was settled. He picked up a sheet of parchment. “One more matter. Lord Balon has left chaos in his wake, we hope. I would not do the same. Yet I have no son as yet, my brothers Bran and Rickon are dead, and my sister is wed to a Lannister. I’ve thought long and hard about who might follow me. I command you now as my true and loyal lords to fix your seals to this document as witnesses to my decision.”
A king indeed, Catelyn thought, defeated. She could only hope that the trap he’d planned for Moat Cailin worked as well as the one in which he’d just caught her.”

Also worthy of note is the fact that while he does say Bran and Rickon are dead and Sansa is married to a Lannister, he never mentions Arya. 

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9 hours ago, 300 H&H Magnum said:

I have read many of your posts before.  I can ask the same question of you.  You are fond of the Starks, so how is what you offer not biased towards them?

I am biased against the Starks.  You are right about that one thing.  That is why we disagreed on many topics here before. 

The northern people are subjects of the iron throne.  They do not have the right to make Robb their king.  This is not a democracy.  You know, even if that boy king Tommen is proven to not have the rights to sit on that throne, that still doesn't mean the northern people are independent. 

The North turned its back on the Iron Throne and raised there Great Lord Robb as KITN so as far as the Northern nobility are concerned Robb was KING not anyone in the south and Robb had every right to legitimize Jon because Robb was KING. Your argument IMO makes no sense you kno as a reader that Robb was a king you just refuse to believe what GRRM has written perhaps?. 

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4 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

But we do know Robb made a will and had his bannermen - the ones who were in that tent - sign it.

The passage you quote implies that it's a will, but doesn't expressly say so. In fact it rather oddly uses the more cumbersome phrase "this document". There are "documents" other than wills which could declare the succession, and we need to consider them as logically possible since we've never seen the original.

Edited by Sophist

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1 hour ago, Sophist said:

The passage you quote implies that it's a will, but doesn't expressly say so. In fact it rather oddly uses the more cumbersome phrase "this document". There are "documents" other than wills which could declare the succession, and we need to consider them as logically possible since we've never seen the original.

Then it's a semantics issue? Do you object to it being called a will because the word "will" is not used? Regardless, it's an official document penned by the KitN, signed by those bannermen present, and where said KitN establishes his succession. 

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Well, the legal issues related to the effect of a document are mostly semantic, so it's fair to treat those as important here. For example, the "pretermitted heir" concept applies to wills, but not to, say, contracts. It would not apply to a simple declaration (a document that's not a will) regarding the order of succession. So yeah, I think word choice is important for that reason at least.

But it's also important because we're missing key facts about the document. We don't know what it says. We don't know its form. Under these circumstances, we have to consider all the logical possibilities. That makes it not so much a semantic issue as a logical one.

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22 hours ago, zandru said:

I figured Robb would send a copy of this important document to the Citadel, for archival and safekeeping.

Cantuse theorized a few years ago that it was transported to Oldtown by the Myraham.

20 hours ago, Adam Yozza said:

Well IIRC correctly he sends it with Galbart and Maege but I may be mistaken.

Robb gives them false documents for their risky mission, so I doubt it.

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 "I want two ships to double the chances of my message reaching Howland Reed. Lady Maege shall go on one, Galbart on the second." He turned to the two he'd named. "You'll carry letters for those lords of mine who remain in the north, but all the commands within will be false, in case you have the misfortune to be taken. If that happens, you must tell them that you were sailing for the north. Back to Bear Island, or for the Stony Shore." (ASOS Catelyn V)

 

19 hours ago, Darion Storm said:

As far as I know even a legitimised bastard comes after his trueborn siblings regardless of age (not sure if he would be before or after the girls). 

GRRM indicates it is not set in stone. 

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Well, the short answer is that the laws of inheritance in the Seven Kingdoms are modelled on those in real medieval history... which is to say, they were vague, uncodified, subject to varying interpertations, and often contradictory.

A man's eldest son was his heir. After that the next eldest son. Then the next, etc. Daughters were not considered while there was a living son, except in Dorne, where females had equal right of inheritance according to age.

After the sons, most would say that the eldest daughter is next in line. But there might be an argument from the dead man's brothers, say. Does a male sibling or a female child take precedence? Each side has a "claim."

What if there are no childen, only grandchildren and great grandchildren. Is precedence or proximity the more important principle? Do bastards have any rights? What about bastards who have been legitimized, do they go in at the end after the trueborn kids, or according to birth order? What about widows? And what about the will of the deceased? Can a lord disinherit one son, and name a younger son as heir? Or even a bastard?

There are no clear cut answers, either in Westeros or in real medieval history. Things were often decided on a case by case basis. A case might set a precedent for later cases... but as often as not, the precedents conflicted as much as the claims.

 

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The issues raised by our lack of knowledge regarding what Robb wrote are true, but they are true whether it's a document or a will. And a will is a document, so. 

And sure, there's lots we don't know about it. How did Robb word it? Did he say anything about Bran and Rickon being presumed dead/dead? Why did he conspicuously left Arya out? And loads more. But the gist of it is, Robb, the KitN, wrote an official document in order to avoid chaos should he die w/o heir, and his bannermen signed it. 

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On 12/26/2017 at 10:55 PM, Daenerys Targaryen's slave said:

Rickon is 5 years old. No one gives a crap about him.

Manderly does.  Most will prefer him to a bastard who belongs to the watch.

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There are issues which make that will worthless.  Only a king can legitimized a bastard.  Robb's rebellion failed so he never had the authority of a king because he never was.  

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Tell that to all the northerners who fought and died at Robb's side, and who made him their king in the first place.

The argument is utterly preposterous, but will be parroted ad nauseam by rabid Jon/Stark haters. :rolleyes:

 

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14 minutes ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

There are issues which make that will worthless.  Only a king can legitimized a bastard.  Robb's rebellion failed so he never had the authority of a king because he never was.  

He was a king, and even one proclaimed by his bannermen.

If there are enough people in the North to carry out his will, it's not worthless.

By the way, Joffrey was a false king born of incest. Doesn't mean he didn't have actual power to enforce his orders.

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17 hours ago, 300 H&H Magnum said:

I have read many of your posts before.  I can ask the same question of you.  You are fond of the Starks, so how is what you offer not biased towards them?

I am biased against the Starks.  You are right about that one thing.  That is why we disagreed on many topics here before. 

The northern people are subjects of the iron throne.  They do not have the right to make Robb their king.  This is not a democracy.  You know, even if that boy king Tommen is proven to not have the rights to sit on that throne, that still doesn't mean the northern people are independent. 

By this logic Robert Baratheon was never king and Jon is likely Targ heir anyway...

But even Aegon took the Seven Kingdoms by force, so all his line are bunk too...

And the Stark Kings of Winter usurped the Blackwoods...

the point is that this is a pointless line of thinking...  what matters is who is able/willing to consolidate power going forward. Robb’s will will help someone as far a popular northern support goes.

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9 minutes ago, The Sunland Lord said:

He was a king, and even one proclaimed by his bannermen.

If there are enough people in the North to carry out his will, it's not worthless.

By the way, Joffrey was a false king born of incest. Doesn't mean he didn't have actual power to enforce his orders.

Incest has never been an impediment to one's right to rule.  Joff is a Baratheon because nobody could prove otherwise.

Robb was the Lord of Winterfell but he was never a king of anything.  He could have been AFTER the north won it's independence but they were defeated.  Thus, the north was and is part of the 7 kingdoms.  

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1 minute ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

Incest has never been an impediment to one's right to rule.  Joff is a Baratheon because nobody could prove otherwise.

Yes, he is legally a Baratheon, but known to us readers and to many noblemen in Westeros that he was in fact born of incest and a bastard child-product of Cersei and Jaime Lannister. Still, I agree that this doesn't stop him from carrying out orders and there are people who will enforce them.

1 minute ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

Robb was the Lord of Winterfell but he was never a king of anything.  He could have been AFTER the north won it's independence but they were defeated.  Thus, the north was and is part of the 7 kingdoms.  

The North is part of the 7 Kingdoms now, yes. But, if the warden of the North loses his already shaky position at one point, the North may declare independence again and the vassals may want to honor Robb's will. I think that, even if they do this, they would eventually bend the knee to a king who they think is worthy of following or simply must do it if Daenerys becomes Queen because well, dragons. 

Your denial about Robb not being a king is a delusion. He clearly was a king. Balon, Renly, Joffrey, were also kings. Stannis and Euron are kings, whether someone who sits on the IT likes it or not.

If the Iron Throne doesn't receive taxes from the regions which are in rebellion and the Houses there don't respect IT's power- you can say that the Throne practically doesn't rule this region.

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On 12/26/2017 at 10:44 PM, Stormking902 said:

If Robb Stark did indeed name Jon Snow his heir and legitimized him as a "Stark", what happens if Ser Davos does find Rickon? Is Jon still technically KITN or does Rickon automatically take this title since he is Robb Starks true heir? We know the will was only needed because Bran and Rickon were thought dead so what are your thoughts on this topic? Also how would the Northern nobility feel taking orders from a bastard when the true born son or Ned Stark still breaths. 

It's a great question for a blue book exam in law school. If a will-maker (Robb) makes a mistake by relying on a false statement (Theon/Ramsay), common law would suggest that the will, or at least the relevant provision, would fail. And there are some jurisdictions that have codified protections for potential beneficiaries written out of inheritance due to the mistaken belief that they are deceased. In ASOIAF, it would certainly give the maesters something to argue about, and it would justify competing claims by Rickon, and possibly Bran and Arya, and even Sansa, assuming such claims would be backed by a sufficient number of swords. And then there is the possibility that the world of ASOIAF will learn that Jon was not even the son of Eddard. 

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On 12/26/2017 at 10:44 PM, Stormking902 said:

If Robb Stark did indeed name Jon Snow his heir and legitimized him as a "Stark", what happens if Ser Davos does find Rickon? Is Jon still technically KITN or does Rickon automatically take this title since he is Robb Starks true heir? We know the will was only needed because Bran and Rickon were thought dead so what are your thoughts on this topic? Also how would the Northern nobility feel taking orders from a bastard when the true born son or Ned Stark still breaths. 

Very well, I have read the replies to your question(s) and a lot of good points were raised.  We should divide this into smaller, manageable questions because there are many that need answering before we can answer who inherits the title.  Think of these are hurdles.

  • The first we have to ask is "does Robb have the right to change Jon's legal status from bastard to legitimate?  On this, I will side (not surprisingly) with those who say No.  Robb Stark was fighting to separate the North from the 7 kingdoms of Westeros but he lost.  I.E., the North was not an independent land and a land only has one king, Joffrey.  Robb failed this hurdle.
  • Was Winterfell and the North Robb's to give?  We know Theon had taken Winterfell.  The folks who say it's all about the right of the conqueror will have to give here and admit that Robb lost Winterfell to conqueror Theon.  So the Starks lost all rights to Winterfell according to this idea.  I don't necessarily think that but for those who support that conquest gives one ownership it is valid to say Winterfell is lost to the Starks.  The North itself is hard to determine because the Ironborn never conquered all of the North.  One other important hurdle.  Did Joffrey take legal actions to dispossess the Starks?  If he did, and we are not told whether he did or not, then the Starks lost everything.  {Here's my opinion on this matter.  I don't think the Starks lost the North and Winterfell.  At least not until it's proven that a writ to disposses them was properly written and signed.  Even then, can you take away a castle from those who built it without compensation?    I don't think so.  Paying for something, bartering, has existed since ancient times.  For this same reason, I never believed that the Baratheons were ever the rightful rulers.  I believe Viserys and Daenerys retained ownership of Westeros.}  I think Robb clears this hurdle.  Winterfell and the North is his to give, but he cannot give it to Jon.  He can will it to Bran, Sansa, Rickon, etc., but not to Jon.  One sticking point, King Joffrey in feudalism technically has the final say in who gets what land.  This last point may cause problems for Robb's will.  
  • Jon Snow joined the Watch and swore their oaths.  He cannot own lands nor can he own Winterfell.  He cannot be King in the North even if Robb wanted him to be.  His vows will never allow him to leave the Wall.  The oaths of the Night's Watch carries more weight than the will of a failed and dead rebel.  
  • Does Robb have the right to disposses Rickon, Bran, Sansa, and Arya?  I don't think so.  That is the reason why Randy Tarly had to play mind games with Sam to get him out of the picture.  Randy could not simply disinherit an inadequate son in favor of his loved son, Dickon.   Randy will have to go before the king and ask for a provision to disinherit Sam before Dickon can inherit Hornhill.   Robb Stark was the Lord of Winterfell but he was not a true king.  He cannot disinherit Rickon, Bran, Sansa, etc. without approval from his king.  So if it should be found that they are alive, yeah, they will inherit before Jon does.  

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Onto the question of how people will feel taking orders from the bastard Jon Snow.  This is feudalism.  It doesn't matter how they feel.  Do you think it mattered to Ned's job security how people felt about him?  Can his vassals and commoners remove him from his position if they felt him inadequate?  Nope.  They will just have to suffer him.  That is hereditary rights for you.  We may not like it but you know that is their system and they all used it to their advantage.   This is not too relevant of a question though because Jon will never legally become KitN.  He can't be legally king.  He is bound by unbreakable oaths to the wall.  Mind, the fine print here.  I said Jon can never legally become KitN.  It doesn't mean he can't be illegally KitN.  Think of this scenario.  Mance Rayder waits for Roose and Stannis to beat up on each other.  He sends his free folk to attack the victor.  The victor is weakened already and the free folk win.  Mance Rayder dies and Jon becomes the illegal KitN propped up by the wildlings.  He is an oath-breaking law breaker but wildlings don't care about that.  

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Robb was a king, Joff was a king, Balon was a king, even Mance was called a king. It's probably why the second book is a called Clash of Kings and the war fought was called The War of Five Kings by scholars.  If you have an army and at least one Kingdom calling you a king your a king for the time being, IMO.

 

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On 12/27/2017 at 9:36 PM, Foot_Of_The_King said:

Someone has probably already said this but, in a case like this, it would most likely come down to what the great lords and "powers that be" want. 

Much to my surprise, that has not yet happened.  It is almost as if readers have forgotten George's commentary Varys's soliloquy on the nature of power.  "Power resides where men believe it resides."

It feels as though everyone on this thread is expecting a panel of men in black robes to hear both sides, consult their law books, and issue a ruling from on high which will be uniformly accepted. That's not gonna happen.

The effect of the various parts of Rob's will will be whatever the powers in charge (most likely the Northern lords) want to give them. There is enough ambiguity in the laws and enough problems with the will itself that whatever gets decided will probably be permitted under the laws and/or the will's provisions (whatever they are).

Sansa, for example, has almost certainly been disinherited.  This will provide a convenient excuse to keep her from power, especially if she is perceived as being under the control of another e.g., Baelish, Aegon, Tyrion, etc. However, if they want her, they will find a way to disregard the will.  The same thing essentially applies to Jon.  

.The only fortunate thing is that it is unlikely that the Starks will fight among themselves over who rules the North.  Although proxies could and very well might (especially for or against Starks perceived under control, like Sansa or Rickon might be).

Robb's will may well have an impact, just not as much of one as Robb or many readers expect

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