Jump to content

Do you think Balon's plan had merit?

Recommended Posts

11 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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. 




Reasonble. The Danes when conqueroring England would set up ambitious and/or compliant lords in positions that could grant them legitimacy-doubtless there are lords too tired to fight and rather seek a compromise. I have to wonder about others posters have said on this topic: that perhaps Balon thought Westeroes as an empire would be broken or has already been broken in a sense and wouldn't truly be "United" for a number of years if ever due to Robert's assension to throne.

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The North was very lightly defended and its main fighting force went South. So yes, Balon's plan had merit.

1) Attacking with a big chance for success.

2) Minimal casualties.

3) Can be "cashed out" with the main strenght and go home or somewhere else.

4) Northmen don't have ships at the time. They can't go on the Islands like in the first rebellion when the Iron Throne came to Balon's living room. How are they going to respond to Ironborn's attack if they rebel against the IT? 

5) The Ironborn's lifestyle is honored and they're happy. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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? 

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

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

Except everyone among the Ironborn and outside was saying he was pushing for independence. His advice to Asha was basically based off his own experience, that it is okay to kneel after being beaten in submission only to wait for another opportunity to rise again. 

Whether Lady Glover would honor the deal is highly debatable. She likely knows the deal couldn't be pushed through without the consent of the liege lord of the North. No deal was made, or why would Asha continue talk about the North ceding Sea Dragon Point and the Stony Shore if the deal has already been made? 

Source for Balon thinking Robb wouldn't survive the war? 

19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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. 

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

Again, I'm missing your point here.

Except the North hasn't been beaten into submission. White Harbor is unconquered, and has ships and forces enough to resist the Ironborn. It is a partial conquest at most. 

They chose the Baratheons as their rulers while no one chose the Greyjoys. The Targaryens had dragons that allowed them to win without a fight, and no history of raiding the North or having attacked the North or the Starks up until Aerys. 

Yet, none of those people ever sided with the Ironborn throughout Northern history as far as we know. They were likely the result of salt wives, and children of rape aren't likely to be raised by their mothers to love their fathers. 

The phrase is "the North remembers" or in other words the North has a long memory. They ikely wouldn't forget the Ironborn's history of raiding and attacking the North. 

19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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

He wouldn't need to go North just tell the Northerners to prepare their defenses on the western coast for an Ironborn assault. Tywin was shrewd enough to know that. 

19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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. 

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.

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. 

By doing what he did, he pretty much undid his endgame. You forgot Robb defeating Tywin in that scenario, as for much of the beginning of the war until the BoBW Robb had the upper hand. Wars often don't end very quickly, especially with two qualified commanders in the form of Tywin and Robb. The scenario with the ravens is implausible as there is no recorded instance of that happening. 

That's why its important to send a raven. Any skilled commander could see that Tywin using chevauchee to draw Robb Stark to Harrenhal. 

And how many of Robb's men were outside Harrenhal to shoot down ravens? That is another bad analogy. 

19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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. 

Negotiation is all about offer and counter offers. You don't start negotiations after having used up your only bargaining chip. 


19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:


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. 

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?

It's not debatable, Balon clearly did. 

The lords would know by raven. If Tywin has stayed there for a while then sending a raven shouldn't have been a problem. 

Balon's maester would feed him this, or word of mouth which travels faster by water than by land. Some ships that previously stopped at the riverlands could have been easy sources of information. 

19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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

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

Here :


"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."

-ASOS Tyrion III

Tywin clearly wasn't going to give Balon any concessions for invading the North. 


19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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. 

That doesn't fit into any of Balon's goals. Nothing in what Tywin said regarding that would be met with approval by Balon. 

19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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. 

But as you already pointed out, Tywin was planning on placing his potential grandson as Lord of Winterfell. He asked for his supposed dominion over the North to be recognized by the IT.  

19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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

Finally, something we agree on.

19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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.

No, the first acts of war count as part of war as any historian can tell you. The Westerlands were plunged into war when they were clearly attacked. 


19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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,

No, what Tywin describes is at most a partial conquest in that Balon only conquered a part of the North.

19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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. 

People also say Aegon the Conqueror conquered the Seven Kingdoms even though he didn't conquer Dorne. It's likely that, like with Aegon, people were just speaking loosely. 

19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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.

GRRM clearly says "subject to Winterfell" so they are recognized as under Winterfell's dominion. 

19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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). 

Did you even read the quoted text? Over a "score" of riverlords doesn't count as many allies? 

The riverlords weren't fighting for the Ironborn, but rather against the Stormlanders. 

19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

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. 


You're saying Harwyn could have beaten the Stormlands and riverlands forces combined on land on his own? That is highly implausible.

Harwyn ruled the riverlands by playing divide and conquer in a region with a long history of internal strife. The one thing that united riverlords was their hatred of the Ironborn.

Edited by Fire Eater

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now