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Do you think Balon's plan had merit?

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16 hours ago, The South Forgets said:

Um, wasn't the Lannister fleet burned in the Greyjoy rebellion? Also, in Feast Cersei mentions having to rely on the Redwynes for naval power, something which wouldn't be the case if the Lannisters have a fleet as well

Why would Tywin or Cersei move their fleet away from where it is needed? Especially as it may well be too late to be effective for either Kings Landing or the Westerlands by the time it reached KL?

 

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On 2/13/2018 at 7:15 PM, Nevets said:

It was a lousy idea.  The North is way too big and underpopulated to be ruled effectively by an outsider, and is too poor to be worth the trouble and expense of conquest.  Asha had it right when she dumped out a pile of turnips and pine cones at the Kingsmoot.

Sure, there is timber, but they would probably let you take that for free.  The only population center, and the center of wealth, is White Harbour,  which is on the wrong Ocean, and well defended as well.

True.

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22 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The North will absorb the loss of 20k men within a decade or two. And have new armies available to expel the Ironborn. At best, Balon would hold on to bits and pieces like some of his ancestors did, for a time, but will be expelled eventually. Even if it takes a generation or two.

That would be the most likely outcome, but a return to the Iron Born snatching some land, holding it for a while, and moving on, wouldn't be a complete disaster for them. 

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5 hours ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

That would be the most likely outcome, but a return to the Iron Born snatching some land, holding it for a while, and moving on, wouldn't be a complete disaster for them. 

Depends on how much the wrestle away. Occupations are long, expensive and utterly draining from a manpower perspective. Honestly without Theon's improvisation the entire plan is just a huge waste. Balon wasn't wrong in saying the North was easier to attack but there are many reasons for that beyond "Robb and his men are in the south." Holding MC doesn't even guarantee Robb can't come back North. He was going to skirt MC with 2/3 of his army anyway. Nothing is stopping him from bypassing MC, retaking Deepwood Motte, and using some of his cavalry to utterly destroy the Greyjoy supply line. 20 miles of open land for an army that doesn't have horses or oxen, carts, or a way to defend against mobile opponents.

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Balons plan hinged on the Iron throne making a deal that would allow the Iron Born to keep everything from the neck up because it wasn't important to the southerners, this plan is folly for numerous reason but I will list a few. 

1) The northern nobility wouldn't stand for an Ironborn ruler and would deal with them accordingly especially lord Bolton and lord Manderly. 

2) The Iron throne would crush Balon as soon as a victor appears from the WO5K.

3) There is no guarentee the Vale wont help the North defeat the Ironborn since who would want the Ironborn holding the North White harbour is a perfect launching ground for an invasion of the Vale ane Lysa is Robbs aunt, Balon doesnt know she's a piece of shit. 

3) logistics is a HUGE deal 

4) Winter is coming 

5) Winterfell, Dreadfort, New castle are all fortresses id like to see the Iron born siege these castles in winter. 

6) let's say Tywin plan of Tyrion getting Sansa pregnant works.......... Tywin waits for his grandson to reach close to adulthood and BOOM you have the West knocking on your door and the northern nobility begging to help you restore a "Stark" cough Lannister lol. 

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Everything about Balon's plan was stupid. He wanted to gain independence and conquer the entire North. 

First problem, none of the contenders for the Iron Throne would allow the Iron Isles independence, especially if they took the North, or essentially half the kingdom. 

Second, he makes the offer of alliance to Tywin after he invades the North not before. Tywin doesn't take his offer since as he says "Greyjoy demands half the kingdom as the price of alliance, but what will he do to earn it? Fight the Starks? He is doing that already. Why should we pay for what he has given us for free?" He could have offered Tywin before he invaded, Tywin would have given a lot for that. Balon demonstrates himself to be a moron. 

Third, there is the problem of conquering the North itself. It is a large landmass, and the Ironborn would be spread thin trying to conquer it. The Northmen also know the area better than they could, and that makes it easier for them to launch surprise attacks as well as picking sites for battle. The Battle of Torrhen's Square shows that while their method of fighting is good for ship to ship combat, their lack of discipline makes them unable to withstand a cavalry charge ensuring that they lose every land battle when the element of surprise has been lost. Also, every army crawls on its stomach. The further into the interior they go away from the Sunset Sea, the more they stretch their supply lines, making it a logistical nightmare. The Northmen would attack the those supply lines, and likely practice scorched earth to leave nothing for the Ironborn to forage off of. Also, take into account Northern winters, and many Ironborn would perish just from starvation and freezing. 

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Even the argument about Balon's goal being to bring back the "Old Way" makes no sense. Or rather how Balon went about it. The "Old Way" is never going to come back while the Iron Throne rules a united Westeros. Instead he attacks the only other independence movement against the Iron Throne.

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11 hours ago, Stormking902 said:

Balons plan hinged on the Iron throne making a deal that would allow the Iron Born to keep everything from the neck up because it wasn't important to the southerners, this plan is folly for numerous reason but I will list a few. 

How exactly does it 'hinge'? Under Balon the Ironborn, with moderate losses in comparison to the other factions, is coming out ahead no matter what. They, in the words of both Robb  Cat and other Northmen, have already taken the North. 

11 hours ago, Stormking902 said:

1) The northern nobility wouldn't stand for an Ironborn ruler and would deal with them accordingly especially lord Bolton and lord Manderly. 

Bolton was on the wrong side of Moat Cailin and Wyman was powerless to do anything during the Ironborn occupation of the North. 

11 hours ago, Stormking902 said:

2) The Iron throne would crush Balon as soon as a victor appears from the WO5K.

No, not as soon. We see in the Council meetings in ASOS that the Crown had no intention of heading North and crushing the Ironborn.  But it is certainly a possibility sometime in the future. Balon started peace negotiations with the Crown and advised his daughter that smart men are able to put aside their crowns. 

11 hours ago, Stormking902 said:

3) There is no guarentee the Vale wont help the North defeat the Ironborn since who would want the Ironborn holding the North White harbour is a perfect launching ground for an invasion of the Vale ane Lysa is Robbs aunt, Balon doesnt know she's a piece of shit. 

Sure. But the advantage is still with the Ironborn as the smaller Vale navy is located on the East side. Too large of an army comes to attack and the Ironborn can sail away with the small plunder they have made. 

Though the fact that the Vale had not lifted a finger to help the Riverlands likely gave Balon reason to not consider them allying with Robb as a likely possibility.

11 hours ago, Stormking902 said:

3) logistics is a HUGE deal 

The Ironborn secured the Fever River and the majority of the West Coast for this very reason, they also seem to have control of the King's Road if the Liddle man who Bran comes across in ASOS is to be believed. 

The Ironborn have also secured the food stores of the castles and settlements they have plundered. 

 

11 hours ago, Stormking902 said:

4) Winter is coming 

Works both ways. Once Winter hits Robb's attempts to get back home become much harder. 

11 hours ago, Stormking902 said:

5) Winterfell, Dreadfort, New castle are all fortresses id like to see the Iron born siege these castles in winter. 

Invasions don't usually work like that. William the Conqueror did not have to lay siege to every castle in England to become King. Some Lords hold out, others surrender when offered better terms. Just look at how the Riverlands was taken, some Riverlords compromised and swore fealty to the Ironborn. 

11 hours ago, Stormking902 said:

6) let's say Tywin plan of Tyrion getting Sansa pregnant works.......... Tywin waits for his grandson to reach close to adulthood and BOOM you have the West knocking on your door and the northern nobility begging to help you restore a "Stark" cough Lannister lol. 

That is around two decades of consolidating power and alliances within the North. Anything can happen in that time. 

 

11 hours ago, Fire Eater said:

 

First problem, none of the contenders for the Iron Throne would allow the Iron Isles independence, especially if they took the North, or essentially half the kingdom. 

Renly was willing to let Robb call himself King, Mace and Redwyne were in favor of the Ironborn having the North. The idea that none of the contenders could not reach some kind of compromise with Balon is shortsighted and Balon, we know, was willing to compromise and remove his crown. 

11 hours ago, Fire Eater said:

Second, he makes the offer of alliance to Tywin after he invades the North not before.

Of course. Robb is in the Riverlands and Balon has no idea how long the Northern army will be there or how long this war is going to last. In true Viking behaviour he has to strike quickly while the North is vulnerable. Sending ravens back and forth to the Riverlands in the hope they reach Tywin and waiting for an agreement to be made is time consuming, time that Balon does not really have if he wants to invade and take Moat Cailin, the coast and the fever River. 

In a perfect situation he'd be able to secure an agreement with Tywin, but time was simply not his side to do this. 

11 hours ago, Fire Eater said:

 

Tywin doesn't take his offer 

He does not take his offer as he has already made one with Roose. In truth he does not care who will rule the North until Tyrion's heir is old enough to be used. 

11 hours ago, Fire Eater said:

Third, there is the problem of conquering the North itself. It is a large landmass, and the Ironborn would be spread thin trying to conquer it.

They don't have to. Conquerors have rarely had to take every blade of grass to be known as rulers. Robb, Cat, Karstark all acknowledge that he has taken the North. 

The Starks themselves don't seem to have control of the entire North, with Skagos seeming to be pretty independent despite being part of the North. 

11 hours ago, Fire Eater said:

 The Battle of Torrhen's Square shows that while their method of fighting is good for ship to ship combat, their lack of discipline makes them unable to withstand a cavalry charge

Torrhens Square was a feint to take Winterfell. The majority of the force that was in Theon's landing force was still with Euron. Theon and Dagmar only had a quarter of the men, they were not in a realistic scenario to take on Rodrik's far, far larger force. 

 

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37 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Renly was willing to let Robb call himself King, Mace and Redwyne were in favor of the Ironborn having the North. The idea that none of the contenders could not reach some kind of compromise with Balon is shortsighted and Balon, we know, was willing to compromise and remove his crown. 

Except while Renly was willing to let Robb call himself "King in the North" like the Martells use "Prince of Dorne" he wasn't willing to let Robb secede, and form an independent kingdom separate from his. Renly wouldn't let the Iron Isles secede, the Tyrells would especially never approve. Your claim that Balon would give up his crown has absolutely no evidence. Balon never offered to put aside his crown. 

37 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Of course. Robb is in the Riverlands and Balon has no idea how long the Northern army will be there or how long this war is going to last. In true Viking behaviour he has to strike quickly while the North is vulnerable. Sending ravens back and forth to the Riverlands in the hope they reach Tywin and waiting for an agreement to be made is time consuming, time that Balon does not really have if he wants to invade and take Moat Cailin, the coast and the fever River. 

In a perfect situation he'd be able to secure an agreement with Tywin, but time was simply not his side to do this. 

Robb wasn't going to go North given Tywin wasn't threatening the North, and he was in the riverlands. Tywin is known to be a skilled general as Balon himself acknowledged, and Tywin wouldn't be finished quickly, especially since he was holed up at Harrenhal, a strong fortress. There was also the issue of Renly, and Robb hadn't dealt with him yet. Robb wasn't expecting an attack on the North. Balon had plenty of time to send ravens. 

37 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

He does not take his offer as he has already made one with Roose. In truth he does not care who will rule the North until Tyrion's heir is old enough to be used. 

Except Balon sent his offer before the BoBW, when Frey and Bolton likely sent their ravens. Frey didn't consider defecting until after the BoBW. Bolton wasn't offering to secede either. Do you really think Tywin was really going to let Balon secede with half the kingdom? Or that an extremely proud man who never forgets slights like Tywin would give that to a guy who humiliated him by burning his fleet at anchor in Lannisport? 

37 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

They don't have to. Conquerors have rarely had to take every blade of grass to be known as rulers. Robb, Cat, Karstark all acknowledge that he has taken the North. 

The Starks themselves don't seem to have control of the entire North, with Skagos seeming to be pretty independent despite being part of the North. 

No, Balon clearly didn't conquer the North as none of the Northerners acknowledged his rule, the Northerner lords were still fighting him, and most parts of the North were still unconquered. Capturing two keeps, Torrhen's Square and Deepwood Motte, don't count as conquering the North (Winterfell doesn't count since it was cleared of Ironborn and recaptured). That's like saying when Aegon and Rhaenys had gone into Dorne and declared victory that they had conquered Dorne, but that clearly wasn't the case. 

The second comment is a complete exaggeration. Skagos still owes fealty to Winterfell, and acknowledges their rule as exemplified by their last attempt at independence was crushed.  

37 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Torrhens Square was a feint to take Winterfell. The majority of the force that was in Theon's landing force was still with Euron. Theon and Dagmar only had a quarter of the men, they were not in a realistic scenario to take on Rodrik's far, far larger force.

That still completely ignores what Asha pointed out that the Ironborn don't have the discipline to withstand a cavalry charge. 

Edited by Fire Eater

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15 hours ago, Fire Eater said:

Except while Renly was willing to let Robb call himself "King in the North" like the Martells use "Prince of Dorne" he wasn't willing to let Robb secede, and form an independent kingdom separate from his. Renly wouldn't let the Iron Isles secede, the Tyrells would especially never approve. Your claim that Balon would give up his crown has absolutely no evidence. Balon never offered to put aside his crown. 

He started negotiations with Tywin, he surrendered to Robert after the Greyjoy Rebellion and the advice he gave Asha "No man has ever died from bending his knee," her father had once told her. "He who kneels may rise again, blade in hand. He who will not kneel stays dead, stiff legs and all." 

We can even extrapolate this further as we see his chosen heir, Asha, being willing to come to an arrangement with the Glovers to coexist in the North.

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Robb wasn't going to go North given Tywin wasn't threatening the North,

Robb is 15 and Balon does not know him at all. He does not know how long he is going to stay in the Riverlands, how long he is going to remain at war with the North or if he will even survive much longer. We know as we get to see him first hand in the books via Bran and Cat. Balon does not, he has to act on his information so wasting time trying to locate Tywin and then coming to an arrangement is time that Balon simply can not waste

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and he was in the riverlands. Tywin is known to be a skilled general as Balon himself acknowledged, and Tywin wouldn't be finished quickly, especially since he was holed up at Harrenhal, a strong fortress.

Only after the battle of the Green Fork. Balon has no idea how long he would be there for or even if Tywin would not leak the negotiations himself (as it would send Robb home). 

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There was also the issue of Renly, and Robb hadn't dealt with him yet. Robb wasn't expecting an attack on the North. Balon had plenty of time to send ravens. 

If he had the books and already knew what was going to happen he would. War is hugely unpredictable, just look at Tywin's march to the West when he takes it for granted that Stannis would be at Storm's End for sometime. 

In medieval warfare sometimes actions have to be taken rather than await for negotiations. 

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Except Balon sent his offer before the BoBW, when Frey and Bolton likely sent their ravens. 

No. that is not true. Balon's offer comes after in Tyrion III while the letters between Roose and Tywin are seen by him in his first chapter. 

Tywin's arrangement came first, it is pretty much confirmed by in Tyrion III

"King Balon's longships are occupied for the nonce," Lord Tywin said politely, "as are we. Greyjoy demands half the kingdom as the price of alliance, but what will he do to earn it? Fight the Starks? He is doing that already. Why should we pay for what he has given us for free? The best thing to do about our lord of Pyke is nothing, in my view. Granted enough time, a better option may well present itself. One that does not require the king to give up half his kingdom."

Tyrion watched his father closely. There's something he's not saying. He remembered those important letters Lord Tywin had been writing, the night Tyrion had demanded Casterly Rock. What was it he said? Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens . . . he wondered who the "better option" was, and what sort of price he was demanding.

This is yet another clue to the impending Red Wedding. 

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Frey didn't consider defecting until after the BoBW. Bolton wasn't offering to secede either. Do you really think Tywin was really going to let Balon secede with half the kingdom?

First of all it is not really half the Kingdom, it about 15% of the population, probably the same in wealth. 

Secondly yes, in the interim Tywin was prepared to give it up. He confirms this to Tyrion when he talks of Balon's crown in autumn and winter. Tywin or the Crown's army, was not going to go North for a good number of years. Summer was almost over by that point and any invasion of the North would have been a Pyrrhic victory given the conditions there. 

And it should also be pointed out that Balon has started the negotiations. Negotiations are rarely agreed upon on the first offer. The idea that Tywin and Balon could not come come to some kind agreement that would keep both men happy is kind of silly given Balon's statements to his daughter, his opening offer of negotiations and his fear of Tywin's cunning.  Tywin in return was a man who could reward those who made life easier for him and he understood the threat of the Ironborn. 

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Or that an extremely proud man who never forgets slights like Tywin would give that to a guy who humiliated him by burning his fleet at anchor in Lannisport? 

No one in the books calls it a humiliation. Tywin does not act like it is a humiliation, he is more than happy to consider either Balon or Theon as possibilities for Cersei. The Greyjoys burnt down the Lannister Navy in peace time. 

And if Tywin was pissed would he not have been sated when he was with Robert taking down the Iron Islands watching as Balon lost all three of his sons and his castle turned to rubble?

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No, Balon clearly didn't conquer the North as none of the Northerners acknowledged his rule,

Except Robb and his vassals acknowledge the North had been lost. It is not really a debate, the books are clear, Robb had lost the North and was heading back home to win them back

 "Or should I call you the King Who Lost the North, Your Grace?" - Karstark

"He has lost the north, Hosteen Frey. "He has lost Winterfell! His brothers are dead . . ."  -Hosteen Frey

“And I the King in the North. Or the King Who Lost the North, as some now call him. Who never wished to trade Ser Jaime back to the Lannisters.”/  "Won every battle, while losing the Freys, the Karstarks, Winterfell, and the north".- Bolton

"Yes. Very well. Keep him alive, then. For the present. Hold him secure at the Dreadfort till we've retaken the north." - Robb

She saw how he studied his maps whenever they made camp, searching for some plan that might win back the north. /"Leave them to guard their own, and win back the north with northmen." - Cat

The Northern army is marching to retake the North, so clearly in their mind he did. You are being a little too literal when you read the 'north' as it is clear the book characters don't seem to consider that the Iron born have to take all of the North for them to be considered successful. 

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The second comment is a complete exaggeration. Skagos still owes fealty to Winterfell, and acknowledges their rule as exemplified by their last attempt at independence was crushed.  

When do we see them acknowledge their rule in the 5 books published? Robb called his banners, no one from Skagos came. Rodrik called the Northern banners, no one from Skagos came. Osha  picks Skagos as the destination as she can not trust any of the Northern lords. 

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That still completely ignores what Asha pointed out that the Ironborn don't have the discipline to withstand a cavalry charge. 

How did they conquer and hold much of the West Coast of Westeros? How did they conquer and hold the Riverlands? Why was Argilac so threatened by the Ironborn that he was offering free land to Aegon?

Either Asha is wrong, exaggerating or the Ironborn have other methods but we know that they have been successful and disciplined inland. 

Edited by Bernie Mac

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Balon's turning on Robb pretty much increased his list of enemies by thousands. All for reasons of foolish pride.

All that nonsense about "an Iron King doesn't ask for a crown" - garbage.We are talking about a guy who had previously spoke positively about "kneeling, only to come up again with blade in hand".

If he had aligned with the North then all parties would have stood to gain so much - how could a victorious Robb refuse to acknowledge Balon's crown if the Krakens helped him win the war with the IT?

If they had aligned, Balon and his people could have already reaped many rewards by raiding areas like the Westerlands or further south.

I'm sure a deal could have been made, but no, Balon's over inflated sense of self importance got the better of him. 

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9 hours ago, Leo of House Cartel said:

Balon's turning on Robb pretty much increased his list of enemies by thousands.

Except that is not true. Attacking the North only made an enemy out of the North. We have the books, at no point in ACOK or ASOS does Tywin (who considers both Balon and Theon as marriage options for Cersei) or the sitting King consider them enemies nor did they lift a finger to attack, they surely would have done if they attacked the Westerlands. 

9 hours ago, Leo of House Cartel said:

All for reasons of foolish pride.

It was hardly for pride. Balon is pretty clear on the reasons he picks the North over the Westerlands. 

Casterly Rock is too strong, and Lord Tywin too cunning by half. Aye, we might take Lannisport, but we should never keep it. No. I hunger for a different plum . . . not so juicy sweet, to be sure, yet it hangs there ripe and undefended."

9 hours ago, Leo of House Cartel said:

All that nonsense about "an Iron King doesn't ask for a crown" - garbage.We are talking about a guy who had previously spoke positively about "kneeling, only to come up again with blade in hand".

eh? I'm not sure how one contradicts the other? 

King's don't ask for crowns, this is an opinion not only shared by Balon but by Tywin. 

9 hours ago, Leo of House Cartel said:

If he had aligned with the North then all parties would have stood to gain so much - how could a victorious Robb refuse to acknowledge Balon's crown if the Krakens helped him win the war with the IT?

Balon did not think the 15 year old Robb could win, he points out that Tywin is too cunning for him. He seems to have been right. 

He also realises that attacking the West would cause him far more casualties then attacking the North would be, while he has doubts about his success in the West. 

The North is the safer option. Balon is more than clear on this, I don't know why so many people are hung up on his 'pride'. 

9 hours ago, Leo of House Cartel said:

If they had aligned, Balon and his people could have already reaped many rewards by raiding areas like the Westerlands or further south.

The Westerlands has a Navy, as does the Reach. The North does not. If successful he may have become richer, but he'd also have fewer ships and men to protect himself from retribution. 

9 hours ago, Leo of House Cartel said:

I'm sure a deal could have been made, but no, Balon's over inflated sense of self importance got the better of him. 

Pride was not the motivator, the North's lack of an real defence was. 

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58 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Except that is not true. Attacking the North only made an enemy out of the North. We have the books, at no point in ACOK or ASOS does Tywin (who considers both Balon and Theon as marriage options for Cersei) or the sitting King consider them enemies nor did they lift a finger to attack, they surely would have done if they attacked the Westerlands. 

Fair point, but I was more referring to the Northern and Riverlanders. I'd assume there would be thousands of people affected by the Iron Born atacks on these regions.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

 

It was hardly for pride. Balon is pretty clear on the reasons he picks the North over the Westerlands. 

Casterly Rock is too strong, and Lord Tywin too cunning by half. Aye, we might take Lannisport, but we should never keep it. No. I hunger for a different plum . . . not so juicy sweet, to be sure, yet it hangs there ripe and undefended."

 

Yeah, but it still seemed like a fools game to me. How long did he expect to hold the Northern regions he had taken? Did Balon really believe the Iron Throne wouldn't simply put a stop to his kingly pretence? The way they had during his first rebellion.

The main problem I have is that I believe Balon's real enemy was the Iron Throne. 

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

eh? I'm not sure how one contradicts the other? 

Balon's willing to bow, only to come up again seems at odds with his remarks about a king not asking for a crown. Are they not one and the same? This is why I think he should have taken Robb's offer, as the chances of people other than the Iron Born recognising him as King would have increased greatly.

As I previously mentioned in my last post, I believe that If Balon were to have aligned with Robb he wouldn't have needed to ask for his crown to be recognised - Robb wouldn't have any power to refuse him, whereas the Iron Throne were never going to really declare him King, it would set a bad precedent.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

Balon did not think the 15 year old Robb could win, he points out that Tywin is too cunning for him. He seems to have been right. 

He also realises that attacking the West would cause him far more casualties then attacking the North would be, while he has doubts about his success in the West. 

The North is the safer option. Balon is more than clear on this, I don't know why so many people are hung up on his 'pride'. 

The Westerlands has a Navy, as does the Reach. The North does not. If successful he may have become richer, but he'd also have fewer ships and men to protect himself from retribution. 

Pride was not the motivator, the North's lack of an real defence was. 

I agree with your points Ser, however, I would still  say Balon should have been more bold and tried to take the Iron Throne.

Hell, if he and Robb won, then think about the plunder in King's Landing. Think how close Stannis came - If Robb and Balon had made their move either sometime before or soon after the Battle of Blackwater they would have had a great chance of winning the whole deal.

I suppose Balon wasn't totally driven by pride, if he was then he wouldn't have worried about the fruit of Winterfell when he had a whole King's Landing orchard waiting for him. 

All he had to do was pay the iron price.

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1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

Except that is not true. Attacking the North only made an enemy out of the North. We have the books, at no point in ACOK or ASOS does Tywin (who considers both Balon and Theon as marriage options for Cersei) or the sitting King consider them enemies nor did they lift a finger to attack, they surely would have done if they attacked the Westerlands. 

It was hardly for pride. Balon is pretty clear on the reasons he picks the North over the Westerlands. 

Casterly Rock is too strong, and Lord Tywin too cunning by half. Aye, we might take Lannisport, but we should never keep it. No. I hunger for a different plum . . . not so juicy sweet, to be sure, yet it hangs there ripe and undefended."

eh? I'm not sure how one contradicts the other? 

King's don't ask for crowns, this is an opinion not only shared by Balon but by Tywin. 

Balon did not think the 15 year old Robb could win, he points out that Tywin is too cunning for him. He seems to have been right. 

He also realises that attacking the West would cause him far more casualties then attacking the North would be, while he has doubts about his success in the West. 

The North is the safer option. Balon is more than clear on this, I don't know why so many people are hung up on his 'pride'. 

The Westerlands has a Navy, as does the Reach. The North does not. If successful he may have become richer, but he'd also have fewer ships and men to protect himself from retribution. 

Pride was not the motivator, the North's lack of an real defence was. 

Ok you've convinced me. I concede Balon's plan is logical if not reasonable for what he wants to accomplice-what Northern lords however could he craft alliances though?

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14 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

He started negotiations with Tywin, he surrendered to Robert after the Greyjoy Rebellion and the advice he gave Asha "No man has ever died from bending his knee," her father had once told her. "He who kneels may rise again, blade in hand. He who will not kneel stays dead, stiff legs and all." 

We can even extrapolate this further as we see his chosen heir, Asha, being willing to come to an arrangement with the Glovers to coexist in the North.

He didn't surrender to Tywin so that comparison doesn't work. He wouldn't get a better opportunity than this one. 

Asha wasn't going to be given anything by the North. Their history with the Ironborn is anything, but positive. 

14 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Robb is 15 and Balon does not know him at all. He does not know how long he is going to stay in the Riverlands, how long he is going to remain at war with the North or if he will even survive much longer. We know as we get to see him first hand in the books via Bran and Cat. Balon does not, he has to act on his information so wasting time trying to locate Tywin and then coming to an arrangement is time that Balon simply can not waste

Only after the battle of the Green Fork. Balon has no idea how long he would be there for or even if Tywin would not leak the negotiations himself (as it would send Robb home). 

If he had the books and already knew what was going to happen he would. War is hugely unpredictable, just look at Tywin's march to the West when he takes it for granted that Stannis would be at Storm's End for sometime. 

In medieval warfare sometimes actions have to be taken rather than await for negotiations. 

As long as Robb's enemies are in the south, that is clearly where he is going to stay. He also needs to stay in the riverlands for a while given it is part of his dominion.  You missed that as I have already pointed it is clearly stated in the text that Tywin is at Harrenhal, and everyone in Westeros knows that. Balon obviously wouldn't have trouble locating Tywin. If Balon wants concessions from Tywin than he has to negotiate before he attacks not after. He tried to negotiate after, and that went nowhere. 

Tywin would be an idiot to send the negotiations to Robb. Why would Robb go home to deal with a potential threat that hasn't appeared by abandoning an active threat that is already in the riverlands? Robb wouldn't need to go home, just send a raven to Winterfell to instruct them to strengthen defenses along the western coastline in case of an Ironborn attack. 

If victory depends on an alliance, then some negotiations need to start before launching an attack.  

14 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Tywin's arrangement came first, it is pretty much confirmed by in Tyrion III

"King Balon's longships are occupied for the nonce," Lord Tywin said politely, "as are we. Greyjoy demands half the kingdom as the price of alliance, but what will he do to earn it? Fight the Starks? He is doing that already. Why should we pay for what he has given us for free? The best thing to do about our lord of Pyke is nothing, in my view. Granted enough time, a better option may well present itself. One that does not require the king to give up half his kingdom."

Tyrion watched his father closely. There's something he's not saying. He remembered those important letters Lord Tywin had been writing, the night Tyrion had demanded Casterly Rock. What was it he said? Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens . . . he wondered who the "better option" was, and what sort of price he was demanding.

This is yet another clue to the impending Red Wedding. 

First of all it is not really half the Kingdom, it about 15% of the population, probably the same in wealth. 

Secondly yes, in the interim Tywin was prepared to give it up. He confirms this to Tyrion when he talks of Balon's crown in autumn and winter. Tywin or the Crown's army, was not going to go North for a good number of years. Summer was almost over by that point and any invasion of the North would have been a Pyrrhic victory given the conditions there. 

And it should also be pointed out that Balon has started the negotiations. Negotiations are rarely agreed upon on the first offer. The idea that Tywin and Balon could not come come to some kind agreement that would keep both men happy is kind of silly given Balon's statements to his daughter, his opening offer of negotiations and his fear of Tywin's cunning.  Tywin in return was a man who could reward those who made life easier for him and he understood the threat of the Ironborn. 

No one in the books calls it a humiliation. Tywin does not act like it is a humiliation, he is more than happy to consider either Balon or Theon as possibilities for Cersei. The Greyjoys burnt down the Lannister Navy in peace time. 

And if Tywin was pissed would he not have been sated when he was with Robert taking down the Iron Islands watching as Balon lost all three of his sons and his castle turned to rubble?

No, re-read ACoK it came before the BoBW 

Quote

There was an old letter from Doran Martell, warning him that Storm's End had fallen, and a much more intriguing one from Balon Greyjoy on Pyke, who styled himself King of the Isles and the North. He invited King Joffrey to send an envoy to the Iron Islands to fix the borders between their realms and discuss a possible alliance.
Tyrion read the letter three times and set it aside. Lord Balon's longships would have been a great help against the fleet sailing up from Storm's End, but they were thousands of leagues away on the wrong side of Westeros, and Tyrion was far from certain that he wanted to give away half the realm. Perhaps I should spill this one in Cersei's lap, or take it to the council. 

-ACoK Tyrion XI

Firstly, it is half the kingdom in terms of landmass. 

Secondly, unless you provide the quote, I doubt it exists. Tywin made it explicitly clear he wasn't going to give Balon the North or independence. 

Thirdly, 

Just because no one calls it that doesn't mean it isn't. Having your entire fleet burned in your own port is embarrassing. The Greyjoys burned the Lannister fleet during the Greyjoy Rebellion. How is that considered peacetime? 

Balon should have started negotiations beforehand as Tywin wasn't going to give him anything now that Balon is already doing what Tywin would have asked for. 

14 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Except Robb and his vassals acknowledge the North had been lost. It is not really a debate, the books are clear, Robb had lost the North and was heading back home to win them back

 "Or should I call you the King Who Lost the North, Your Grace?" - Karstark

"He has lost the north, Hosteen Frey. "He has lost Winterfell! His brothers are dead . . ."  -Hosteen Frey

“And I the King in the North. Or the King Who Lost the North, as some now call him. Who never wished to trade Ser Jaime back to the Lannisters.”/  "Won every battle, while losing the Freys, the Karstarks, Winterfell, and the north".- Bolton

"Yes. Very well. Keep him alive, then. For the present. Hold him secure at the Dreadfort till we've retaken the north." - Robb

She saw how he studied his maps whenever they made camp, searching for some plan that might win back the north. /"Leave them to guard their own, and win back the north with northmen." - Cat

The Northern army is marching to retake the North, so clearly in their mind he did. You are being a little too literal when you read the 'north' as it is clear the book characters don't seem to consider that the Iron born have to take all of the North for them to be considered successful.

Robb can't get back into the North without taking Moat Cailin which blocks his way. That doesn't mean the Ironborn conquered the North as the Ironborn as you clearly stated before as they only captured two keeps, and the North wasn't beaten into submission as later developments show Northerners fighting such as the Ryswells and Dustins burning the fleet in the Fever River. The people of the North also still see Robb as their overlord. 

14 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

When do we see them acknowledge their rule in the 5 books published? Robb called his banners, no one from Skagos came. Rodrik called the Northern banners, no one from Skagos came. Osha  picks Skagos as the destination as she can not trust any of the Northern lords. 

That argument is completely baseless. If a rebellion for independence was crushed then that clearly means the Starks are their liege lords. Only a fraction of the North's strength came to Robb's call. The mountain clans didn't come, does that mean they don't acknowledge Robb's rule?

14 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

How did they conquer and hold much of the West Coast of Westeros? How did they conquer and hold the Riverlands? Why was Argilac so threatened by the Ironborn that he was offering free land to Aegon?

Either Asha is wrong, exaggerating or the Ironborn have other methods but we know that they have been successful and disciplined inland.

The West Coast was along the water, and marine assaults are among the Ironborn's forte. It's not rocket science. Your arguments completely miss a lot in terms of comparisons. They are answered easily just by reading WOIAF. 

They conquered and held the riverlands, because they had support among the lords like Bracken, and lords and smallfolk of the riverlands were rebelling against the Storm King. Much of the fighting force was made up of riverlanders. The riverlands also has a high density of rivers which longships could sail. The Iron kings also played divide and conquer with the fractitious riverlords to consolidate their rule. Whereas Balon had no allies among the Northern lords, and there were only a few rivers in the North. To get to rivers like the White Knife, they would have to carry their longships far into the interior. Argilac felt threatened by the Ironborn since they had the riverlands to augment their forces, and his Storm Kingdom was in decline. 

It's a terrible comparison that leaves much to be desired. 

Edited by Fire Eater

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15 minutes ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Ok you've convinced me. I concede Balon's plan is logical if not reasonable for what he wants to accomplice-what Northern lords however could he craft alliances though?

We really don't know. You might have a case of a younger branch of House Cerwyn siding with the Ironborn in a bid to have their backing and become the main branch, you might get a Lord asking for support from the Ironborn in making his neighbours his vassals, some lords would be given greater autonomy and more benefits than they held under the Starks to win their support.  All kingdoms will have their fair share of ambitious nobles who would see the possibilities in aligning with a larger conquering host or favouring peace over constant war, especially when they may no longer have the means to fund another war

But to make it clear, there would be patches of the North that would remain independent, I agree some are just too far away to make logical sense in Balon sending out forces that distant. I don't think there was any serious intention of, for example, trying to conquer Karhold. 

 

 

 

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51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

He didn't surrender to Tywin so that comparison doesn't work.

It was not a comparison, it was showing his state of mind. He is a man who is willing to set aside his crown. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

Asha wasn't going to be given anything by the North.

She'd already made the deal. We have no idea if that deal would have been honoured or not. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

Their history with the Ironborn is anything, but positive. 

eh? What does that matter? Do you think that realms that have conqured others have only done so because they had positive relations in the past?

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

As long as Robb's enemies are in the south, that is clearly where he is going to stay.

No, that is not what is shown in the books as he is heading North, despite his enemies still being in the South. Robb is not an idiot, he is not going leave his homeland exposed if he knows that the Ironborn are against him. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

 

He also needs to stay in the riverlands for a while given it is part of his dominion. 

He needs to look after his homeland. When that it taken he heads home. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

You missed that as I have already pointed it is clearly stated in the text that Tywin is at Harrenhal,

Yes, after the Battle of the Green Fork. Balon had likely already started prepping for his invasion before Tywin was even there 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

 

and everyone in Westeros knows that.

Do they? And do they know how long he is staying there for? Where do the residents of Westeros get this information?

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

 

Balon obviously wouldn't have trouble locating Tywin.

No, sorry, that is not obvious at all. He can't simply pick up a phone and start a phone call. 

The Riverlands is at war, even if Balon was aware of where Tywin was, knew that Tywin was not going to move position in the distant future and was willing for raven to come and go as they come to an agreement there is always the risk that the raven would be shot down (like Robb was able to do at the Twins) or these negotiations found out by other parties. 

Time is important. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

If Balon wants concessions from Tywin than he has to negotiate before he attacks not after.

He didnt. He wanted more land and got more land. Someone in posession of something is in a much stronger position to negotiate to keep it than they are before hand. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

He tried to negotiate after, and that went nowhere. 

He died. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

Tywin would be an idiot to send the negotiations to Robb.

No, it would have been the smart thing to do. Let Robb know he was about to be attacked so he would have to split his army up, further weakening himself. This is just basic logic. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

Why would Robb go home to deal with a potential threat that hasn't appeared by abandoning an active threat that is already in the riverlands?

Is this really a sensible question? You think if Robb knew the Ironborn were about to attack the North he would do nothing? He would have to split his force, even if he remained South. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

 

Robb wouldn't need to go home, just send a raven to Winterfell to instruct them to strengthen defenses along the western coastline in case of an Ironborn attack. 

What defences? Why was Robb going home in ASOS? Why did he simply not send a raven home? Rodrik sent ravens to the entire North, he got less than 2k. 

There simply was not enough active soldiers in the North to deal with the Ironborn. We know this because we witnessed it in the books that GRRM wrote.

In fact during the time of Dunk and Egg when the Ironborn were attacking both the West and the North and the entire Northern army was still in the North Lord Stark was still recruiting southern sellswords to help him. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

If victory depends on an alliance, then some negotiations need to start before launching an attack.  

No, they don't. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

No, re-read ACoK it came before the BoBW 

No, I just gave you the quote from the books were Balon's letter is announced and Tyrion is wondering what other deals Tywin has made. 

The deal with Roose was made before Balon's letter arrived. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

Firstly, it is half the kingdom in terms of landmass. 

Well, no even then it is not. It is about a third. The Gift and the New Gift are not part of the North. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

Secondly, unless you provide the quote, I doubt it exists.

What quotes have you came up with to back up your arguments? 

 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

Tywin made it explicitly clear he wasn't going to give Balon the North or independence. 

He made it explicitly clear that he was going to do nothing till Tyrion's unborn son was old enough to be used. He was happy to let the Ironborn rule in that period. 

"Balon Greyjoy thinks in terms of plunder, not rule. Let him enjoy an autumn crown and suffer a northern winter. He will give his subjects no cause to love him. Come spring, the northmen will have had a bellyful of krakens. When you bring Eddard Stark's grandson home to claim his birthright, lords and little folk alike will rise as one to place him on the high seat of his ancestors.

So yes, Tywin ass willing to allow Balon to be King of the North for a good few years. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

Just because no one calls it that doesn't mean it isn't.

lol it is not a humiliation. No one treats it as such because it is not. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

Having your entire fleet burned in your own port is embarrassing. The Greyjoys burned the Lannister fleet during the Greyjoy Rebellion. How is that considered peacetime? 

The burning of the fleet was the first thing the Ironborn did. It was not during the rebellion, it was the opening act.

 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

Balon should have started negotiations beforehand as Tywin wasn't going to give him anything now that Balon is already doing what Tywin would have asked for. 

He's got the land and Tywin can't do anything about it till Spring. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

Robb can't get back into the North without taking Moat Cailin which blocks his way. That doesn't mean the Ironborn conquered the North 

They've taken it. Robb, Cat and many others concede this in the quotes I have you.

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

That argument is completely baseless. If a rebellion for independence was crushed then that clearly means the Starks are their liege lords. Only a fraction of the North's strength came to Robb's call. The mountain clans didn't come, does that mean they don't acknowledge Robb's rule?

eh? The Mountain Clans did come. Arya witnesses some of them at the Red Wedding

"There's northmen in the tents." She knew them by their beards, by their faces, by their cloaks of bearskin and sealskin, by their half-heard toasts and the songs they sang; Karstarks and Umbers and men of the mountain clans. "I bet there are Winterfell men too." Her father's men, the Young Wolf's men, the direwolves of Stark.

We know of Norreys and Burlesy who did not even make it to the Red Wedding as they were caught fighting at the Trident

Two-thirds of my strength was on the north side when the Lannisters attacked those still waiting to cross. Norrey, Locke, and Burley men chiefly, with Ser Wylis Manderly and his White Harbor knights as rear guard.

People who obeyed the Starks came, the Skagosi did nothing. 

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

The West Coast was along the water, and marine assaults are among the Ironborn's forte. It's not rocket science. Your arguments completely miss a lot in terms of comparisons. They are answered easily just by reading WOIAF. 

I've read it. The Riverlands is full of castles and the Ironborn successfully took it. The last Lord Durrandon was fearful that he would be targeted next. 

As I said, either Asha was mistaken, exaggerated or the Ironborn have other ways of dealing with this problem. But by all means, quote the relevent passages from WOIAF that back your argument up

51 minutes ago, Fire Eater said:

They conquered and held the riverlands, because they had support among the lords like Bracken, and lords and smallfolk of the riverlands were rebelling against the Storm King. Much of the fighting force was made up of riverlanders. The riverlands also has a high density of rivers which longships could sail.

So they found other ways. That is exactly what I said. Thank you. 

 

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2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

It was not a comparison, it was showing his state of mind. He is a man who is willing to set aside his crown. 

Only if he's been beaten into submission. 

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

She'd already made the deal. We have no idea if that deal would have been honoured or not. 

The deal likely wouldn't have been honored. Robb clearly wasn't going to give any Northern territory to the Ironborn. The Northmen aren't like to cede land to invaders. The Northerners would have tried to expel them first before considering ceding any land. 

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

eh? What does that matter? Do you think that realms that have conqured others have only done so because they had positive relations in the past?

Northmen along the coast still frighten their children with tales of the Ironborn from bear Island to the mountain clans. It has nearly always been Ironborn as the aggressors, attacking the Northern coasts, and as is always mentioned "the North remembers."

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

No, that is not what is shown in the books as he is heading North, despite his enemies still being in the South. Robb is not an idiot, he is not going leave his homeland exposed if he knows that the Ironborn are against him. 

The only reason he is heading North is because of the Ironborn. This is about hypotheticals when Balon is considering attacking.    

 

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

He needs to look after his homeland. When that it taken he heads home. 

Quote

You missed that as I have already pointed it is clearly stated in the text that Tywin is at Harrenhal,

Yes, after the Battle of the Green Fork. Balon had likely already started prepping for his invasion before Tywin was even there 

Quote

 

and everyone in Westeros knows that.

Do they? And do they know how long he is staying there for? Where do the residents of Westeros get this information?

No, sorry, that is not obvious at all. He can't simply pick up a phone and start a phone call. 

The Riverlands is at war, even if Balon was aware of where Tywin was, knew that Tywin was not going to move position in the distant future and was willing for raven to come and go as they come to an agreement there is always the risk that the raven would be shot down (like Robb was able to do at the Twins) or these negotiations found out by other parties. 

Time is important. 

Again, this is about before Balon even attacks. 

No, Tywin was at Harrenhal for half a year according to the most accurate timeline, Balon didn't need a phone, they had ravens remember?

Balon could have sent a raven. He had six months in between the Battle of Riverrun and Tywin leaving. He had plenty of time to send ravens. Everyone knows Tywin is at Harrenhal given he stays there for months, and residents get info by word of mouth and raven. 

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Well, no even then it is not. It is about a third. The Gift and the New Gift are not part of the North.

What quotes have you came up with to back up your arguments? 

Well, I wouldn't call it a third, given the Gifts aren't that big chunks, and it still is a lot of land.  

I already provided the quote in another post if you looked.

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

He made it explicitly clear that he was going to do nothing till Tyrion's unborn son was old enough to be used. He was happy to let the Ironborn rule in that period. 

"Balon Greyjoy thinks in terms of plunder, not rule. Let him enjoy an autumn crown and suffer a northern winter. He will give his subjects no cause to love him. Come spring, the northmen will have had a bellyful of krakens. When you bring Eddard Stark's grandson home to claim his birthright, lords and little folk alike will rise as one to place him on the high seat of his ancestors.

So yes, Tywin ass willing to allow Balon to be King of the North for a good few years. 

 That is no indication that Tywin was going to give Balon the North or independence for any service. Tywin clearly isn't backing Balon's attempt to take the North, or deciding to let him keep it. Balon didn't ask for the North only for a short period of time. There is a difference between granting someone something, and making the Machiavellian move to let your enemies fight each other and weaken themselves, and then send your grandson at the right moment to secure the North. 

 

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

The burning of the fleet was the first thing the Ironborn did. It was not during the rebellion, it was the opening act.

Quote

Balon should have started negotiations beforehand as Tywin wasn't going to give him anything now that Balon is already doing what Tywin would have asked for. 

He's got the land and Tywin can't do anything about it till Spring. 

Quote

Robb can't get back into the North without taking Moat Cailin which blocks his way. That doesn't mean the Ironborn conquered the North 

They've taken it. Robb, Cat and many others concede this in the quotes I have you.

By that same logic, Germany invading Poland doesn't count as part of WWII just because it was an opening act? That argument makes no logical sense. Burning someone's fleet is clearly an act of war. 

Tywin can do something about it. He has the royal and Redwyne fleet that he can send to crush the Ironborn, including transporting men to North. 

Except how do Deepwood Motte and Torrhen's Square count as the entire North? No one in the North is paying taxes or fealty to Balon. Taken doesn't mean "conquered." 

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

eh? The Mountain Clans did come. Arya witnesses some of them at the Red Wedding

"There's northmen in the tents." She knew them by their beards, by their faces, by their cloaks of bearskin and sealskin, by their half-heard toasts and the songs they sang; Karstarks and Umbers and men of the mountain clans. "I bet there are Winterfell men too." Her father's men, the Young Wolf's men, the direwolves of Stark.

We know of Norreys and Burlesy who did not even make it to the Red Wedding as they were caught fighting at the Trident

Two-thirds of my strength was on the north side when the Lannisters attacked those still waiting to cross. Norrey, Locke, and Burley men chiefly, with Ser Wylis Manderly and his White Harbor knights as rear guard.

People who obeyed the Starks came, the Skagosi did nothing. 

Fair enough. But Skagos still owes fealty to Winterfell, and I think Robb just let them go their own way. Give me one piece of solid evidence that says the Skagosi aren't sworn to Winterfell despite the Appendices saying otherwise. 

 

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

I've read it. The Riverlands is full of castles and the Ironborn successfully took it. The last Lord Durrandon was fearful that he would be targeted next. 

As I said, either Asha was mistaken, exaggerated or the Ironborn have other ways of dealing with this problem. But by all means, quote the relevent passages from WOIAF that back your argument up

Quote

They conquered and held the riverlands, because they had support among the lords like Bracken, and lords and smallfolk of the riverlands were rebelling against the Storm King. Much of the fighting force was made up of riverlanders. The riverlands also has a high density of rivers which longships could sail.

So they found other ways. That is exactly what I said. Thank you. 

You're missing the point. The Ironborn were able to take them, because they had access to many rivers and allies amongst the riverlords. 

Quote

The rout of Lady Blackwood's host [at the hands of Lord Bracken] spelled the end of the riverlords' resistance to the ironborn, but not the end of the fighting, for word of the invasion had finally reached King Arrec Durrandon at distant Storm's End. Assembling a mighty host, the Storm King raced north to meet the foe.
So eager was this young king to come to grips with the ironmen that he soon outpaced his own baggage train—a grievous mistake, as Arrec learned when he crossed the Blackwater and found every castle shut against him and neither food nor fodder to be found, only burning towns and blackened fields.

Many of the riverlords had joined the ironmen by then. Under the command of the Lords Goodbrook, Paege, and Vypren, they slipped across the Blackwater and fell upon the slowmoving baggage train before it reached the river, putting King Arrec's rear guard to flight and seizing his supplies.
Thus it was a stumbling, starving host of stormlanders who finally faced Harwyn Hardhand at Fairmarket, where Lothar Bracken, Theo Charlton, and a score of other riverlords had joined him. King Arrec had half again as many fighters as his foes, but his men were weary from days of marching, confused and dispirited, and their king soon showed himself to be both headstrong and indecisive. When battle was joined, the result was a shattering defeat for the stormlanders. Arrec himself escaped the carnage, but two of his brothers died in the fighting, and the rule of Storm's End over the lands of the Trident came to a sudden, bloody end.

Across the riverlands, it is said, many smallfolk rejoiced to hear the tidings, whilst their lords, emboldened, rose against the few small garrisons of stormlanders that remained scattered across the region, casting them out or putting them to the sword. The bells at Stoney Sept rang for a day and a night, the chroniclers tell us, and singers and begging brothers went from town to town to proclaim that the men of the Trident were their own masters once again.

-WOIAF Riverlands

Harwyn had a lot of help from the riverlords. He likely wouldn't have won without their help. 

What other ways could the Ironborn have used to conquer the North? How could have Balon held the North without support from any Northerners? How could have taken all the North, such a large territory with a small number of men who have no experience, Balon included, in land battles far away from water? Manderly had dozens of warships along the White Knife that could challenge the Ironborn's smaller longships. The odds are clearly stacked against the Ironborn, and their hold wouldn't last winter.  

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2 hours ago, Fire Eater said:

Only if he's been beaten into submission. 

That does not sound like the advice he gave his chosen heir. You don't think his failings in the Greyjoy Rebellion influenced a change of mind? 

Quote

The deal likely wouldn't have been honored.

Who knows, baseless speculation. What we do know is that a deal was made. 

Quote

 

Robb clearly wasn't going to give any Northern territory to the Ironborn.

That's OK. Balon did not think Robb would survive this war. 

Quote

The Northmen aren't like to cede land to invaders.

Sure they could. They have been ruled by the Targaryens/Baratheons for the last three centuries. When the Targs told them they were losing the New Gift they complied. 

Now nowhere have I argued that Balon's plan was a sure thing or that it would be easy, it would not, conquest rarely is, but what I have argued is the logic in his reasoning. 

Quote

The Northerners would have tried to expel them first before considering ceding any land. 

Yeah. The Notherners are no different to any other conquered realm in that regard. I'm not sure of your point. 

Quote

Northmen along the coast still frighten their children with tales of the Ironborn from bear Island to the mountain clans.

There is a sizeable chunk of those coast line populations that have Ironborn blood. 

Quote

It has nearly always been Ironborn as the aggressors, attacking the Northern coasts, and as is always mentioned "the North remembers."

Again, I'm missing your point here. 

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The only reason he is heading North is because of the Ironborn.

Exacttly. So had he some kind of heads up that the Ironborn were going to attack he would have done something, no?

Quote

This is about hypotheticals when Balon is considering attacking.    

It is also about all the variables that could happen while Balon is doing nothing waiting for his ravens/messengers to find Twyin and for them to quickly come to some deal. 

Balon felt it best to strike while the North was vulnerable and nor prepared. 

Quote

Again, this is about before Balon even attacks. 

It's about his options. Either a quick attack while the North is vulnerable, resulting in few casualties, or risk the wait and the various variables that may arise from waiting such as

  • Robb surrendering and going home
  • Robb making peace with the Iron Throne and going home
  • Robb sending a portion of his strength home
  • Balon's ravens over the Riverlands falling into the wrong hands and his plans exposed
  • The Mallisters realising the swarm of activity on the Iron Islands and alerting Robb

There is rarely a perfect answer in war, Balon opted for a quick attack. That is not to say that there was no positives from waiting, but that he chose, for clearly justifiable reasons, to act quickly. 

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No, Tywin was at Harrenhal for half a year according to the most accurate timeline,

Yes, from the Green Fork till the Stony Shore was taken. 

More importantly he had no idea how long Tywin was going to be there for. 

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Balon didn't need a phone, they had ravens remember?

Yes, we see what happened to the Ravens at the Twins

"Unless Lord Frey tells him," Catelyn said sharply. "Theon, when you return to my uncle, tell him he is to place his best bowmen around the Twins, day and night, with orders to bring down any raven they see leaving the battlements. I want no birds bringing word of my son's movements to Lord Tywin."
"Ser Brynden has seen to it already, my lady,"
 
It is perhaps not the best way to negotiate, especially as negotiations tend to take more than one back and forth. 
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Balon could have sent a raven.

Sure. And he would have had to know where Tywin was, how long he was staying there and hope that Tywin would agree on the first offer rather than send another raven to further negotiate. He choose the quicker option. 

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He had six months in between the Battle of Riverrun and Tywin leaving.

The Ironborn had already taken the Stony Shore by the time Tywin left. 

And you are presuming that Balon is aware exactly how long the war will last or how long Tywin would be at Harrenhal. He knows neither. He does not have the power of Hindsight. 

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He had plenty of time to send ravens.

Debatable. 

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Everyone knows Tywin is at Harrenhal given he stays there for months,

Everyone? Westeros is the size of South America, I guarantee you that not everyone knew. 

And they can only know he has stayed there for months after he has stayed there for months. Harrenhal does not have some guaranteed residency. 

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and residents get info by word of mouth and raven. 

Who is feeding this info to Balon? How long does he get it after Tywin has arrived? Who informs Balon for how long Tywin is planning on staying there for?

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Well, I wouldn't call it a third,

You are right, it is likely a little under that. 

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given the Gifts aren't that big chunks, and it still is a lot of land.  

No one has denied that it is a lot of land. But it is not half the kingdom by any measurable means and in importance is it nowhere near half the kingdom. 

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I already provided the quote in another post if you looked.

Which quote? You have made a lot of arguments, which argument do you think is backed up by which quote?

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 That is no indication that Tywin was going to give Balon the North or independence for any service.

He was willing to let the Ironborn rule for a good number of years. 

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Tywin clearly isn't backing Balon's attempt to take the North,

Never claimed he was, he had already made a deal with Roose. You made a point that "Do you really think Tywin was really going to let Balon secede with half the kingdom?" And the books state he was, he did not care who ruled the North in the years between now and the time a grandson of his could be used to retake the North. 

Obviously Tywin was unwilling to let them have it indefinitely but he was willing to let them have it as he was not attacking in what was left of the summer or during the coming Winter. 

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or deciding to let him keep it.

Sure, but neither Tywin or Balon are immortal. 

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Balon didn't ask for the North only for a short period of time.

No, he didnt ask for anything, he started negotiations with asking Tywin where he wants the borders to be. We don't know what further negotiations could have taken place had Tywin not already made a deal with Roose Bolton. 

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 There is a difference between granting someone something, and making the Machiavellian move to let your enemies fight each other and weaken themselves, and then send your grandson at the right moment to secure the North. 

Every move is a Machiavellian move to gain more. These are all ambitious assholes, there is never enough, 

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By that same logic, Germany invading Poland doesn't count as part of WWII just because it was an opening act? That argument makes no logical sense. Burning someone's fleet is clearly an act of war. 

Yes, but there was no war before that. So the Westerlands was enjoying peace while the Ironborn were at war. Now for some devious reason the Ironborn did not send a raven to Casterlty Rock informing them that they were at war and would soon be attacking. 

The burning of their fleet was what brought the Lannisters into the war. 

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Tywin can do something about it. He has the royal and Redwyne fleet that he can send to crush the Ironborn, including transporting men to North. 

He can, but his decision was to do nothing for a good few years till Tyrion has a son who can reclaim those lands, 

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Except how do Deepwood Motte and Torrhen's Square count as the entire North?

eh? You are now being very disingenuous, he clearly has more than that. Bran is close to the Wall and even as far North as that they are complaining about the Ironborn. 

"By what right does he call himself king?"

"By right of conquest," Lord Tywin said. "King Balon has strangler's fingers round the Neck. Robb Stark's heirs are dead, Winterfell is fallen, and the ironmen hold Moat Cailin, Deepwood Motte, and most of the Stony Shore. 

Tywin is jugding it as he sees it,

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No one in the North is paying taxes or fealty to Balon. Taken doesn't mean "conquered." 

Taken means someone else currently has possession of it. I have not come up with this, Robb, Cat, Karstark. Bolton and others refer to the North having been taken. 

Maybe all the characters are wrong and you are right, but I doubt it. 

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Fair enough. But Skagos still owes fealty to Winterfell, and I think Robb just let them go their own way. Give me one piece of solid evidence that says the Skagosi aren't sworn to Winterfell despite the Appendices saying otherwise. 

They do whatever they please. I argued they seem to be pretty independent of the North. My basis for that was what GRRM said on the subject

GRRM: The lords of Skagos, though... they are a special case. Skagos is a =real= backwater, with very little contact with the mainland. In theory, the island is part of the north and subject to Winterfell. In practice, they pretty much go their own way.

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You're missing the point. The Ironborn were able to take them, because they had access to many rivers and allies amongst the riverlords.

Many allies? That is not true. 

They had people prefer then to the Stormlords (or for a multitude of other reasons some pick one side over another). 

 

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Harwyn had a lot of help from the riverlords. He likely wouldn't have won without their help. 

Debatable. And the Riverlords were not happy with his rule, but once he had a foothold there was little they could do until they were saved by yet another conqueror. 

 

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