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Anarch Half-Hoare

Town Charters (Saltpans & Fairmarket)

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9 minutes ago, Ran said:

Had I my druthers, that's what Gulltown would be -- the Graftons ruling a portion, the Shetts ruling another, with this weird situation between them.

Hopefully such a wall would not sever Gulltown from north to south but rather from east to west, or else the Shetts would likely not have any access to the harbor ;-).

But, frankly, the way things are portrayed in TWoIaF I'm not longer all that sure the Shetts have much power in Gulltown. The Graftons seem to be calling the shots - the Shetts are still there, but that's it.

And due to the wealth that should come with the city both houses might be much more wealthy (and thus wield a lot of power) than some of the impoverished Vale houses - Littlefinger bought up the debts of the Waynwoods, and Lord Corbray recently bettered his financial situation by marrying the daughter of a rich Gulltown merchant.

It is odd that the Lords of the fertile Vale of Arryn seem to be so poor - but they may have made investment mistakes. Or, perhaps even more likely - the most fertile lands in the Vale might be controlled by House Arryn directly. The impression we get from Lysa's wardrobe and the overall description of the Eyrie implies that the Arryns are one of the wealthier great houses.

Here in Germany those clashes between the powerful citizens and the bishops in their residential cities have tradition, too. For instance, the people of Cologne routinely through their bishop out of his cities.

It is this kind of conflict that seems to be utterly missing in Westeros. There is no doubt whatsoever that the nobles/royals controlling a city are totally in control of it.

The historical pieces amended that somewhat. The uprising against Queen Rhaenyra during the Dance shows how powerful the Kingslanders can be if they organize themselves. And I'm reasonably positive that we'll see more smallfolk agency in the chapters to come, especially around the rise of Aegon. The Kingslanders - in alliance with the sparrows and the Faith - could very well end up opening the gates to their supposed savior, not to mention all the other humble people which have been hinted at being Targaryen people - the Crackclaw Point folk, the Riverlanders, etc. Those should be the people cheering the Mummer's Dragon - not the lords, but the common people. And if you have enough of those the lords will have to come around, never mind how lukewarm their support will be in the end.

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3 hours ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

Is it not the same with Cox and Hawick in Saltpans?

Not strictly clear. There is a Hawick in the appendices, but GRRM has not explicitly associated them with Saltpans in the published material — that comes only from his heraldry notes. He introduced House Cox afterward, and it may be they share Saltpans with the Hawicks, or it could well be that George changed the Hawick seat for some reason, either in the setting (i.e. they lost it when taking the wrong side in a rebellion) or out of it (i.e. he just changed his mind.) 

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With regard to charters, Alfred the great convinced people to move into defensive towns by granting them additional property and self governing rights.  Charters (mostly those recorded by monasteries) are some of the most prolific historical evidence we have from the early medieval period.  Land rights are pretty much the defining trait of civilization after all.   

Semi-democratic city management was not uncommon in europe either, and was (as some previously stated) a common cause for strife.  But many lords would grant towns additional rights and self government in exchange for tax generation.  Towns were also difficult for Lords to rule, as it didn't fit the traditional system of value and worth they were used to.  

But I've gotten the impression from my readings that while there are a few major cities, some of which are extremely poorly governed (King's Landing), the vast majority of Westeros is rural.  Which makes sense when you consider every six to ten years the whole place is snowed in.  Agriculture monitoring and food storage should be the primary function of the Lords.  Without it, everyone dies in Winter.  I'm surprised there's as large of cities as there are really, since you're looking at major rationing and famine every decade or so.

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