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John Suburbs

Strange Thing About the Twins

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23 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

I remember it being the case for Duskendale but not sure about the others.

Maidpool and Duskendale for sure

“Where once only fishing boats were seen, now cogs and galleys from Oldtown, Lannisport, the Free Cities, and even the Summer Isles began to appear as the flow of trade shifted from Duskendale and Maidenpool to King’s Landing.”

The other Rivertowns are only mentioned as never being given a royal charter (eg Horroway's town, saltpans, et al).

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19 hours ago, House Beaudreau said:

That is exactly how you Generate wealth as a lord. Your vassals produce goods and you collect taxes paid with coin and goods. Smallfolk take excess goods and sell at market towns and to passing traders for coin. 

For example: Say you have a grain producing vassal on Malister lands and he's ready to go to harvest, first a portion of that harvest is going straight to the Malisters as tax because it was produced on their lands. With the remainder of the harvest the vassal will be storing some for himself, and the excess will ideally be sold for coin in a Market town, city, or to a passing trader for coin, because not only to you pay taxes with goods produced on Malister lands, monthly or quarterly or yearly you will also be paying a tax in coin for living on Malister land. The lords are collecting goods and coin from their vassals so that they can pay their taxes to the lord Paramount. 

So with this same example, lets say that the Seagard market is flooded with wheat and you might not get a great price there, The Green Fork is running high. You're a farmer and not willing to risk you harvest floating down the river. You would go up to the Twins, pay the toll and wagon the rest of your goods to the Crossroads, or Salt Pans etc. 

Or lets say we are nearing autumn and you feel like you can get a far better price for your grain in the North, you would be paying a toll to cross at the Twins. 

Almost all  of the goods produce on The Cape Kraken peninsula are passing through the twins when they make their way North, crossing over land, forest and the Bogs of the neck is not feasible with a wagon or wagons. 

There is a lot of People and goods passing through the Twins, especially when the river is raging, which seems to be like once a month or so.      

      

Eh, taxing your own people is not as lucrative as taxing someone else. If this is the way it works, then there would be no reason for long-distance trade at all and seaports would not be the wealth-generators that they are. I'm not saying local traffic does not produce income for the lord, but they generally receive a portion of the produce from their lands and vassals anyway, so charging their own folk extra to cross the bridge will only increase your take marginally and will impoverish your own people so they become less productive next year.

19 hours ago, House Beaudreau said:

It not a major port but there would still be goods coming in and out, and stuff that passes through Seagard there is a pretty good chance its going to pass through the Twins too. 

and as far as the Ironmen, the old way is dead, its been dead since Aegon the Conqueror. Almost all of the excess Ore and good produced in the Iron Island is gonna go through seagard, and then the Twins to get to King's Landing, Vale, etc.

GRRM didn't just throw the Freys and the Crossing in the story without thinking about how Strategic their location would be and is.    

Yeah, some goods move through Seagard, but it is nowhere near as busy as, say, White Harbor or Maidenpool. So, again, the Freys are able to tap a relative trickle of trade compared to what is now moving up and down the Kingsroad.

The old way is dead. With the Conquest, there are no longer multiple river kings, marsh kings, vale kings, etc. all squabbling over territory; all seven kingdoms are united and at peace (most of the time). So as a strategic military point the Crossing is not nearly as vital as it used to be. And with the main trade route now bypassing the Twins, would it be fair to say that the Freys are no longer sitting on the choke point for goods and troops?

GRRM also built up Dorne as a major military power, until we found out otherwise. He may have done the same with the wealth of Casterly Rock. Mayhaps the Frey wealth was once considerable, but time and circumstances has diminished it?

18 hours ago, House Beaudreau said:

I don't think this is what sensible people would do. The Green Fork is not a gentle river, more people don't know how to swim than do know how, and Crossing on a ferry cost coin also, is less safe than a bridge and if that ferry is on Frey land, that money is basically going to the Frey's anyway in Tax

It's a green, murky river. It doesn't sound all that treacherous to me. Sure, it ran high in the heavy rains during Storm, but all rivers do this. I don't see why the Green Fork would not be a useful conduit for goods any more than the Mississippi or the Volga. You shouldn't need to cross on a ferry if you are already on the river.

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11 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Littlefinger thinks like a merchant, not a noble. The merchants would be buying up excess stocks and hoarding them for precisely this reason. 

I'm not sure that is true? Winter has hit the North in ADWD and we are being told that 

The ships I sent to take off Mother Mole and her people have been wracked by storms. We must send what help we can by land or let them die."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"If is a word for fools. We have had no word from Davos. It may be he never reached White Harbor. Arnolf Karstark writes that the storms have been fierce upon the narrow sea.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Braavosi captains will only take women, children on their ships. Witch women call us slavers. Attempt to take Storm Crow defeated, six crew dead, many wildlings. Eight ravens left. Dead things in the water. Send help by land, seas wracked by storms.

Sea travel in Winter may well be more dangerous and risky than land travel in Winter (providing you take roads and not travel through forests like Stannis). 

 

I would guess that all kinds of travel are hazardous in winter. But I'll also note that the storms affecting sea travel in the books right now are happening in fall, not winter. I thought I recalled something about sea travel being the most difficult in fall, with winter not being so bad unless you go too far north and become ice-bound, but I can't find it now.

16 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

I'd say the opposite. Peace between the Kingdoms will have increased trade between them. The Frey's will have seen more trade through their bridge because of it. 

Exactly my point, it increases trade between kingdoms. But the Crossing does not connect kingdoms; it links one part of the riverlands with another. So the trade that the Freys have been tapping into is the same as it was before the conquest, while the trade that is passing them by has increased dramatically, bringing greater wealth to other houses.

17 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

 

Except it is not. Roose's dowry for Walda should be clear that it is not, or the expense of sons as knights

"Sunderland would require me to hand you over if he knew of you." Borrell did fealty for Sweetsister, as Longthorpe did for Longsister and Torrent for Littlesister; all were sworn to Triston Sunderland, the Lord of the Three Sisters. "He'd sell you to the queen for a pot of that Lannister gold. Poor man needs every dragon, with seven sons all determined to be knights."

  nor would the author pointing out the Frey's wealth in the Appendix. 

Powerful, wealthy, and numerous, the Freys are bannermen to House Tully, their swords sworn to the service of Riverrun, but they have not always been diligent in performing their duty.

You can argue that the wealth is not all from the crossing but the idea that the Freys are not wealthy makes little sense. Why would the author deliberately mislead the readers over something as trivial as that? 

They have been seen as being wealthy at least since the Dance of the Dragons, what is in it for the Frey's to do so? They'd be expected to pay higher taxes to both King and Lord, would expect to pay out higher dowries and would be a target for others because of their wealth. 

 

The Freys clearly have wealth; they are a large and powerful house with lands and mills and, yes, the only crossing for miles. So it's not like they're destitute. All I'm saying is that given the position of the Crossing and the way politics and trade have changed since the Conquest that the crossing itself does not contribute as much to Frey wealth as it once did.

The author also mentioned several times about the military might of Dorne, but that turned out to be a mirage. The same might be true for Lannister gold.

Not being perceived as wealthy would make them seem even weaker to other houses. The only reason anyone curries their favor at all is because of their supposed great wealth -- or on the rare occasions when they need to cross.

17 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Have a look at the Green Fork. It is far easier for the people who reside in parts of the Westerlands and the lands ruled by the Tully's, Brackens, Blacwoods, Pipers etc.  That is a huge amount of trade. 

The reason merchants would choose to go through the Twins rather than spend weeks going the other direction is time. 

And look at this logically, either a notable amount of trade happens or the Frey's are going around bragging about how much merchants they get through their lands and everyone else believes it. Are the other Riverlords not going to wonder why they never see these merchants travel through their lands? 

I agree with that, at least most of the time (there will be variables for when it does make sense) but we are talking about medieval countries here. Three medieval countries using that route is going to make the Frey's very rich even it is only a fraction of their merchants.  

It would be far easier for people living in that area to float goods downriver to the seaports. This is how it's been done in virtually every real-world civilization -- from Mesopotamia to Asia to Egypt, Greece, Rome, Mesoamerica... Rivers are faster, cheaper and take you directly to the sea where ships can carry goods to distant lands. You can also sail back up the river faster than by road. If time is the issue, you get to a far more lucrative market going by river than by land. This is how Yandry and Ysilla make their living.

 

17 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Clearly that is not the case. At the very least it would involve other merchants from the lands of other Riverlords southwest to them as well as the Northern Westerland lands. 

It is not people, it is the author who has claimed they are. 

Well that's just it: I don't think it's clear at all. They get a piece of the trade in that one area of the riverlands; everyone to the south or west would move goods by river to the wealthy seaports. The only reason they would want to cross is to follow the kingsroad north through the marshlands where there are no towns or trading posts at all, as far as I know. So if, as you say, time is critical, why take the longer overland route to lands that are basically the same as they are in now, in terms of wealth, when they can take the quick, easy route to the towns that have access to global trade routes?

I'm not sure we can take what's said in the appendices as canon. And as I said, the Freys are wealthy and powerful. It just appears that the crossing itself is not the money-tree that it once was.

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On 3/9/2018 at 3:00 PM, John Suburbs said:

GRRM also built up Dorne as a major military power, until we found out otherwise. He may have done the same with the wealth of Casterly Rock. Mayhaps the Frey wealth was once considerable, but time and circumstances has diminished it?

I think this is a very fair point to ask. Granted that times of long peace means less armies crossing but it would also mean more commerce. Its hard to say if Frey's treasury has diminished over the last three hundred years but from what we see in the books it doesn't seem that way in the current timeline.  I think the idea of the Freys being perceived as more powerful than they really are, is interesting but is there evidence or just speculations?

I would point to this as evidence that the Freys are as powerful as they seem. 

  • Our characters seem to acknowledge that the Frey tolls to cross are fairly common place.
  • Walder Frey is keeping all of his offspring at the castle supporting them all and in his long life he hasn't found the need to remove any of his children, grandchildren and bastards.
  • Walder seems to fairly deliberate and cautious, meaning he is the same when it comes to the houses finances  
  • The Freys seem to keep a pretty good size garrison, plus all the knights and men at arms they have on retainer. 
  • The Freys are able to afford several ransomes during the war. They ransome several Freys and frey men from Tywin at Harrenhal and Merrett had a large bag of dragons to ransom Petyr pimple. 
  • Rhaegar Frey has a lot of coin to throw around at White Harbor to buy sources and spies.
  • The Freys don't seem to be in shabby clothes or Armor or anything like that. Hosteen Frey seems to have some kick as Armor in the winds of winter preview. I think that is mentioned in the Asha fragment. 
  • The frey lands are huge. they could have one of the largest spreads in all of the river lands, rivaling Harrenhal even. 
  • They seem to be able to marshall the largest force of all the river lord bannermen, meaning they probably have more smallfolk, Landed knights and minor houses than anyone else in the Riverlands.     

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Posted (edited)
On 3/8/2018 at 8:25 AM, House Beaudreau said:

the Strangest Aspect about the Twins is that it seems to be the only bridge that you can cross the Green Fork on. No one else seems to have the power to make another crossing. 

If you think about it, it's not all particularly surprising; Riverlands always were a failed state. Whatever Justmans and Mudds have built is probably reduced to the piles of rubble by time and marauding smallfolk; Teagues were too busy struggling with their bannermen to invest into infrastructure (especially the kind of infrastructure that might allow disloyal vassal to invite foreign army into the realm). Durrandons were constantly fighting everyone, Ironborn had raiding and pillaging their own lands as their MO. Tullys constantly lose hold over their vassals.

It's a testament to original Freys' tenacity that Twins were built at all.

On 3/8/2018 at 9:09 PM, John Suburbs said:

But once the dragons united the 7K and built the kingsroad, income from the crossing diminished.

Kingsroad is a pair of dirt tracks near the King's Landing. One shudders to think what the crossing or the patches in areas less developed than the capital city look like, so I find the prospect of Kingsroad competing with Twins doubtful.

Edited by Myrish Lace

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There's nothing strange about it for me. GRRM just didn't produce a world with every single interconnected detail worked out to the absolute degree, with all those details fully elaborated upon on the page. The geography is perhaps a bit off, the economics of Westeros and GRRTH are perhaps a bit off, but the Freys made their money, and built their castle, as we are told. GRRM may be omnipotent, but he's not omniscient. There's not necessarily something strange or sinister behind the incongruence... it's just not the real world, and it doesn't have to work exactly like the real world, if GRRM says it doesn't. 

Another example would be how GRRM describes wolf-packs, with the alpha in the lead, challenges to leadership and all that. This is the popular view of wolf-pack dynamics... but it's absolute nonsense. It was first described from observing wolves in captivity, and a pack created from wolves from different original packs. Wolf-packs in the wild don't behave in that way at all... So, does that mean the wolf-packs GRRM describes are somehow acting as if they're in captivity, or did GRRM just take the popular view of wolf-pack dynamics, that he and the majority of his readers would be familiar with, and run with that? GRRM is good, but he's not perfect, and the imperfections in his work reflect this. 

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8 hours ago, House Beaudreau said:

I think this is a very fair point to ask. Granted that times of long peace means less armies crossing but it would also mean more commerce. Its hard to say if Frey's treasury has diminished over the last three hundred years but from what we see in the books it doesn't seem that way in the current timeline.  I think the idea of the Freys being perceived as more powerful than they really are, is interesting but is there evidence or just speculations?

I would point to this as evidence that the Freys are as powerful as they seem. 

  • Our characters seem to acknowledge that the Frey tolls to cross are fairly common place.
  • Walder Frey is keeping all of his offspring at the castle supporting them all and in his long life he hasn't found the need to remove any of his children, grandchildren and bastards.
  • Walder seems to fairly deliberate and cautious, meaning he is the same when it comes to the houses finances  
  • The Freys seem to keep a pretty good size garrison, plus all the knights and men at arms they have on retainer. 
  • The Freys are able to afford several ransomes during the war. They ransome several Freys and frey men from Tywin at Harrenhal and Merrett had a large bag of dragons to ransom Petyr pimple. 
  • Rhaegar Frey has a lot of coin to throw around at White Harbor to buy sources and spies.
  • The Freys don't seem to be in shabby clothes or Armor or anything like that. Hosteen Frey seems to have some kick as Armor in the winds of winter preview. I think that is mentioned in the Asha fragment. 
  • The frey lands are huge. they could have one of the largest spreads in all of the river lands, rivaling Harrenhal even. 
  • They seem to be able to marshall the largest force of all the river lord bannermen, meaning they probably have more smallfolk, Landed knights and minor houses than anyone else in the Riverlands.     

Well, the evidence would be the map, which shows the crossing on a side route from the main trade artery running through the kingdom. This would be like Delaware not having a toll on I-95 across the Delaware River but on Rte 1 leading to Bayview instead. We also have Catelyn being surprised that her chambers are as lavish as they are, but she expected this more from Walder's pettiness than anything else. She certainly doesn't notice any gold or tapestries or other trappings of wealth elsewhere in the caste, and Walder's high seat is large but only made of oak.

Your other points are all true, but as you say, the Freys have large lands, which would account for their large army more than income from the crossing would. Large land holdings also bring in great wealth, more than enough to by goods at White Harbor. And sure, Hosteen has nice armor, but is it any nicer than other sets we've seen? I'll also note that the few times we actually see the crossing there doesn't seem to be long lines of traders and commoners wanting to cross. But then again, there is any army present, so this might not be all that odd.

But don't get me wrong: they are definitely making money from the bridge -- it's just hard to see that it would make them substantially wealthier than, say, the Manderlys or the Mootens or any other seaside house.

But here's a thought: any warfare that did take place in the region, either before of after the Conquest, would interrupt trade routes in the area, including the rivers, possibly causing traffic to shift to the Twins. We know the Blackwoods and Brackens have been feuding for years, with peace pacts falling apart on a regular basis. Mayhaps the Freys have a vested interest in keeping the hostilities alive and are sabotaging the peace deals over the years for their own self-interest?

 

5 hours ago, Myrish Lace said:

If you think about it, it's not all particularly surprising; Riverlands always were a failed state. Whatever Justmans and Mudds have built is probably reduced to the piles of rubble by time and marauding smallfolk; Teagues were too busy struggling with their bannermen to invest into infrastructure (especially the kind of infrastructure that might allow disloyal vassal to invite foreign army into the realm). Durrandons were constantly fighting everyone, Ironborn had raiding and pillaging their own lands as their MO. Tullys constantly lose hold over their vassals.

It's a testament to original Freys' tenacity that Twins were built at all.

Kingsroad is a pair of dirt tracks near the King's Landing. One shudders to think what the crossing or the patches in areas less developed than the capital city look like, so I find the prospect of Kingsroad competing with Twins doubtful.

It's the main artery connecting north and south. It's only dirt tracks near KL; it becomes wider and flatter as you go north, until you get to the causeway and points north where the road becomes narrower and the inns and towns become fewer and smaller. This is all the more reason why trade from that part of the riverlands would not want to cross at the twins -- it would be much cheaper and faster to float goods downstream to where the seaports and populations are than to trek overland northward to the Twins only to then come south on the kingsroad, or go north again along the causeway (a 15-day journey for the king's party) only to access fewer and less wealthy markets.

As for no other crossings on the Green Fork, I'll bet Frey lands occupy much of that area and intermarriages with other houses account for a good portion of the rest. And from a military point-of-view, it's probably in Riverrun's best interests not to have too many bridges on the GF -- it provides a natural barrier from the Vale.

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On 3/11/2018 at 5:45 AM, Myrish Lace said:

If you think about it, it's not all particularly surprising; Riverlands always were a failed state. Whatever Justmans and Mudds have built is probably reduced to the piles of rubble by time and marauding smallfolk; Teagues were too busy struggling with their bannermen to invest into infrastructure (especially the kind of infrastructure that might allow disloyal vassal to invite foreign army into the realm). Durrandons were constantly fighting everyone, Ironborn had raiding and pillaging their own lands as their MO. Tullys constantly lose hold over their vassals.

It's a testament to original Freys' tenacity that Twins were built at all.

Great point, good insight

 

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On 3/11/2018 at 11:21 AM, John Suburbs said:

But don't get me wrong: they are definitely making money from the bridge -- it's just hard to see that it would make them substantially wealthier than, say, the Manderlys or the Mootens or any other seaside house.

Well now we're getting into the Net worth of the Freys compared to other families. The richest families like the Lannisters, Tyrells, Hightowers, Redwynes etc. surely have more money than pretty much everyone. I think the wealthiest bannermen and other Lords Paramount would come next like the Tullys, Arryns, Dorne, Rosbys, Stokeworths, Littlefinger, big merchants in Gulltown, Oldtown and Kings Landing. The Freys probably fit somewhere in here somewhere. I think it would be fair to say that the Frey's are the wealthiest of all the Riverlords with the exception of the Tully. The Mootens and Manderlys seem to have money problems, Brienne sees Tyco's ships in Maidenpool and Davos sees the same ships in White Harbor either collecting debts or loaning money( or longshot the Bravos are making alliances for Stannis), , and being a seaside house would necessarily make you rich unless you had a Large Harbor with a city, the Royces, Crakehalls, Conningtons are all sea houses and they don't seem to be seafaring people or big traders, and we don't hear anything about their wealth, not broke but not rich. 

The Freys aren't 1% but there not merely upper middle class.         

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12 hours ago, House Beaudreau said:

Well now we're getting into the Net worth of the Freys compared to other families. The richest families like the Lannisters, Tyrells, Hightowers, Redwynes etc. surely have more money than pretty much everyone. I think the wealthiest bannermen and other Lords Paramount would come next like the Tullys, Arryns, Dorne, Rosbys, Stokeworths, Littlefinger, big merchants in Gulltown, Oldtown and Kings Landing. The Freys probably fit somewhere in here somewhere. I think it would be fair to say that the Frey's are the wealthiest of all the Riverlords with the exception of the Tully. The Mootens and Manderlys seem to have money problems, Brienne sees Tyco's ships in Maidenpool and Davos sees the same ships in White Harbor either collecting debts or loaning money( or longshot the Bravos are making alliances for Stannis), , and being a seaside house would necessarily make you rich unless you had a Large Harbor with a city, the Royces, Crakehalls, Conningtons are all sea houses and they don't seem to be seafaring people or big traders, and we don't hear anything about their wealth, not broke but not rich. 

The Freys aren't 1% but there not merely upper middle class.         

We are told (by Catelyn at least) that, by virtue of the crossing, the Freys are the most powerful of the Tully bannermen and possess vast wealth. But again, given the position of the Twins and the fact that the main trade route bypasses that position, it is hard to see how the Freys could be wealthier than a house that is sitting on a key trading point, such as the Manderlys. White Harbor gets a cut of all the trade coming from all of Essos into the north and back, while the Freys get a cut of the trade moving through a relatively small portion of the Neck.

Tycho's ships were in Maidenpool and then White Harbor? I must have missed something. He came directly from Braavos to Eastwatch on three ships, then overland to Castle Black. The next time we see him is at Stannis' camp, and his story is that he came from Winterfell via Deepwood Motte. I think Davos spies a Braavosi galleas in White Harbor, but I don't see how we can conclude that it is one of Tycho's.

And if the Manderlys are having money problems it's only because they've been spending a lot:

Quote

DoD, Davos II

The jetty that divided the inner and outer harbors had been fortified with a long stone wall, thirty feet tall and almost a mile long, with towers every hundred yards. There was smoke rising from Sea Rock, where once there had only been ruins. ...snip... Davos could see scorpions and spitfires behind the standing stones, and crossbowmen peering between them.

As well, they are said to be building a fleet of war galleys.

House Royce is the principal bannerman to the Arryns, so it stands to reason that they are quite wealthy, probably from trade at Gulltown. The Crakehalls are a top house in the westerlands, but their situation is a lot like the Freys: the main trade route goes through Lannisport, so they get some action on the side, but not enough to elevate them to an extremely lofty position. The Conningtons were a principal house to the Targaryens until Jon got exiled. Their seat is also separated from the main trade route, which would go through Storm's End and up the kingsroad. Griffin's Roose would tap trade to their little piece of the Dornish Marches.

So it seems to me that the Twins should be on the same level as these houses, but instead they are considered to be one of the most wealthy and powerful in the realm precisely because of all the traffic crossing their bridge. If they were sitting on a key trade route connecting north, south, east and west, I might believe that, but they control access to a relatively small portion of a single territory that has ample rivers to move goods directly to the key trading ports.

So, thanks for your insight, but I think my conclusion stands: the perception of Frey wealth is a holdover from the pre-Conquest days when they were sitting on a key commercial/military point. But those days are long gone, and the house today is not nearly as wealthy as people think it is.

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6 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Tycho's ships were in Maidenpool and then White Harbor? I must have missed something. He came directly from Braavos to Eastwatch on three ships, then overland to Castle Black. The next time we see him is at Stannis' camp, and his story is that he came from Winterfell via Deepwood Motte. I think Davos spies a Braavosi galleas in White Harbor, but I don't see how we can conclude that it is one of Tycho's.

I believe we first here about Tycho coming to King's Landing in ACOK to collect on Robert's debts and Tyrion sends him to see Littlefinger, He shows up again in AFFC at King's Landing and Cersei turns him away and tells him the Iron Bank will get their money once the wars are over. Later, when Brienne goes to Maidenpool she see a galley, galleas and a Cog, In ADWD Davos see a Bravosi Galley in White Harbor and Tycho arrives at East Watch with a galley, galleas and a Cog. It's not definitive that these are the same ships or that they are carrying Tycho it seems highly likely that they are the Iron Banks ships with Tycho either collecting debt, loaning money, or scheming against the Iron throne. I doubt he was loaning money to anyone still loyal to the Lannisters see how they are supporting Stannis's claim. 

Tycho could have been in each location for a number of reasons, but we know that the Iron Bank has thrown in with Stannis meaning they might have made arrangements with at least the Manderlys in White Harbor to support Stannis. We know that Wyman Manderly is secretly behind Stannis if Davos can rescue Rickon. The Davos POV ends pretty early in ADWD.

Granted this is Not concrete evidence, but there is a enough clues in the text to see that it is possible to theorize that the Iron Bank is now actively playing the game of thrones in Westeros to put Stannis on the throne. 

it seem likely that we would see this happen eventually considering how much we've already heard about the Iron Bank "always getting their due" and how if kings and princes don't pay, the Iron Bank creates new Kings and Princes. #foreshadowing       

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6 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

If they were sitting on a key trade route connecting north, south, east and west, I might believe that, but they control access to a relatively small portion of a single territory that has ample rivers to move goods directly to the key trading ports.

I would argue that the Freys are sitting on a Key trade route considering that in the story it seems much more common for goods to pass through the Twins than be moved down the Green Fork in boats. Not many farmers would have the ability to move a lot of goods by boat, most wouldn't even have a boat. 

  

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3 hours ago, House Beaudreau said:

I believe we first here about Tycho coming to King's Landing in ACOK to collect on Robert's debts and Tyrion sends him to see Littlefinger, He shows up again in AFFC at King's Landing and Cersei turns him away and tells him the Iron Bank will get their money once the wars are over. Later, when Brienne goes to Maidenpool she see a galley, galleas and a Cog, In ADWD Davos see a Bravosi Galley in White Harbor and Tycho arrives at East Watch with a galley, galleas and a Cog. It's not definitive that these are the same ships or that they are carrying Tycho it seems highly likely that they are the Iron Banks ships with Tycho either collecting debt, loaning money, or scheming against the Iron throne. I doubt he was loaning money to anyone still loyal to the Lannisters see how they are supporting Stannis's claim. 

Tycho could have been in each location for a number of reasons, but we know that the Iron Bank has thrown in with Stannis meaning they might have made arrangements with at least the Manderlys in White Harbor to support Stannis. We know that Wyman Manderly is secretly behind Stannis if Davos can rescue Rickon. The Davos POV ends pretty early in ADWD.

Granted this is Not concrete evidence, but there is a enough clues in the text to see that it is possible to theorize that the Iron Bank is now actively playing the game of thrones in Westeros to put Stannis on the throne. 

it seem likely that we would see this happen eventually considering how much we've already heard about the Iron Bank "always getting their due" and how if kings and princes don't pay, the Iron Bank creates new Kings and Princes. #foreshadowing       

The guy in KL meeting with Cersei is not Tycho.  Meet Noho: https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Noho_Dimittis

I had no idea until I looked it up. It could be Tycho in ACOK but I don't see anything to hint at him vs any other representative from the Iron Bank. As to Tycho in ADWD, again no real evidence to say it's him. I can't imagine why it would be unless he was trying to prise money from the Manderlys to pay back the IT debt. Stannis had not yet agreed to anything or even been located yet.

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19 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

So, thanks for your insight, but I think my conclusion stands: the perception of Frey wealth is a holdover from the pre-Conquest days when they were sitting on a key commercial/military point. But those days are long gone, and the house today is not nearly as wealthy as people think it is.

How does that benefit them? Taxes in the medieval era were based on percentage of earnings, not a flat fee for each lord (as it would be ridiculous seeing the likes of the Reeds and Mormonts paying the same amount as the Manderlys). Either the Freys for 300 years have been perfectly happy with being overtaxed by the Tullys or Cat's assertion about their wealth is accurate. 

 

What evidence in the books is there that the Freys are not as rich as other people claim they are?

 

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20 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

We are told (by Catelyn at least) that, by virtue of the crossing, the Freys are the most powerful of the Tully bannermen and possess vast wealth. But again, given the position of the Twins and the fact that the main trade route bypasses that position, it is hard to see how the Freys could be wealthier than a house that is sitting on a key trading point, such as the Manderlys. White Harbor gets a cut of all the trade coming from all of Essos into the north and back, while the Freys get a cut of the trade moving through a relatively small portion of the Neck.

That's true, but I don't think it's said anywhere that the Freys are wealthier than the Manderlys (I may be wrong there), and I think there's a lot of evidence to suggest that's not the case. We see much visible evidence of Manderly wealth, and nothing like that for the Freys. We're just told the Freys are "rich", but that's a relative term.

20 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

House Royce is the principal bannerman to the Arryns, so it stands to reason that they are quite wealthy, probably from trade at Gulltown.

Actually:

Spoiler

We're told in the Alayne chapter in Winds that the Royces have their own ports. These might be little more than glorified jetties for all we know, but the suggestion is they use them for trade.

 

20 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

The Crakehalls are a top house in the westerlands, but their situation is a lot like the Freys: the main trade route goes through Lannisport, so they get some action on the side, but not enough to elevate them to an extremely lofty position.

I seem to recall a map in the World book that showed them having a gold mine? I might be inventing that though. 

20 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

So it seems to me that the Twins should be on the same level as these houses, but instead they are considered to be one of the most wealthy and powerful in the realm precisely because of all the traffic crossing their bridge. If they were sitting on a key trade route connecting north, south, east and west, I might believe that, but they control access to a relatively small portion of a single territory that has ample rivers to move goods directly to the key trading ports.

The Freys having control of a crossing may be a source of wealth, but I think that it's more likely this is their family "origin story" if you will. The Freys became lords because of their control of the Crossing, and all their symbolism, etc. represents that, but that doesn't necessarily mean that their current position is purely based on that. They may now base their wealth on land, as others have suggested. That's not to say the Crossing isn't important for them, either as a source of revenue or for strategic importance, just that their reliance on its toll may be a bit overblown. Not only do the Freys constantly brag of its importance (mayhaps), but other lords look down on them as glorified tollgate keepers. 

I agree, I'd be very surprised if a lord of Frey's obvious wealth and power derived it entirely from taking coppers off of men taking their cows to market, and we know there aren't great caravans of merchants roaming the 7K. It's the sort of thing that in the 7K a lord gets labelled with as a result of the family's history, and myths and legends attached to it, I reckon. 

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14 hours ago, House Beaudreau said:

Not many farmers would have the ability to move a lot of goods by boat, most wouldn't even have a boat. 

Jaime says in ASOS that trade using boats was common. It's unlikely that farmers would move their own goods far, by land or water, merchants and traders would do that, and lords might sell excess produce. 

 

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17 hours ago, House Beaudreau said:

I believe we first here about Tycho coming to King's Landing in ACOK to collect on Robert's debts and Tyrion sends him to see Littlefinger, He shows up again in AFFC at King's Landing and Cersei turns him away and tells him the Iron Bank will get their money once the wars are over. Later, when Brienne goes to Maidenpool she see a galley, galleas and a Cog, In ADWD Davos see a Bravosi Galley in White Harbor and Tycho arrives at East Watch with a galley, galleas and a Cog. It's not definitive that these are the same ships or that they are carrying Tycho it seems highly likely that they are the Iron Banks ships with Tycho either collecting debt, loaning money, or scheming against the Iron throne. I doubt he was loaning money to anyone still loyal to the Lannisters see how they are supporting Stannis's claim. 

Tycho could have been in each location for a number of reasons, but we know that the Iron Bank has thrown in with Stannis meaning they might have made arrangements with at least the Manderlys in White Harbor to support Stannis. We know that Wyman Manderly is secretly behind Stannis if Davos can rescue Rickon. The Davos POV ends pretty early in ADWD.

Granted this is Not concrete evidence, but there is a enough clues in the text to see that it is possible to theorize that the Iron Bank is now actively playing the game of thrones in Westeros to put Stannis on the throne. 

it seem likely that we would see this happen eventually considering how much we've already heard about the Iron Bank "always getting their due" and how if kings and princes don't pay, the Iron Bank creates new Kings and Princes. #foreshadowing       

The IB representative on Clash that Cersei brushes off is named Noho Dimittis. I don't think we have a description of him, but I would think someone would notice if he was wearing a purple conical hat and a beard down to his waist. So I think we can safely conclude that this was not Tycho.

The other sightings are also iffy. As I recall, Brienne sees these ships in Maidenpool, but she doesn't identify them as Braavosi. Davos sees a Braavosi galleas, but there are plenty of those about -- no reason to think this is Tycho. This is about the same time Tycho is at  Castle Black negotiating with Jon, so for him to travel back to Eastwatch, take his ships first to Maidenpool then to White Harbor, then all the way to Deepwood Motte, Winterfell in then the camp is a real stretch.

Yes, the IB is funding Stannis now, but it seems unlikely that part of this plan would be to lend money to the Manderlys, since they are officially back on team Lannister at this point.

17 hours ago, House Beaudreau said:

I would argue that the Freys are sitting on a Key trade route considering that in the story it seems much more common for goods to pass through the Twins than be moved down the Green Fork in boats. Not many farmers would have the ability to move a lot of goods by boat, most wouldn't even have a boat. 

  

Sorry, I just don't see why that would be. Like Yandry and Ysilla on the Royne, there should be any number of boats plying up and down the Green, Red and Blue Forks bringing goods back and forth. This is how it's been done since the dawn of civilization. Barring that, any farmer who knows how to build his own home and farm knows how to build a raft -- these are river people after all. So the river is not only quicker, it also takes you right to the seaport where you can get the highest price for your goods. The only reason to use the crossing would be to move your goods up the Kingsroad into the north, and you have at least 15 days of marshland to cross only to arrive at a sparsely populated, relatively poor area can already grow for itself anything that can be produced in the riverlands.

So this may be a key trade route for the immediate area around the Twins, but it hardly serves as a major connector between realms, particularly for highly prized finished goods like Arbor wine, Myrish lace and such.

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4 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

How does that benefit them? Taxes in the medieval era were based on percentage of earnings, not a flat fee for each lord (as it would be ridiculous seeing the likes of the Reeds and Mormonts paying the same amount as the Manderlys). Either the Freys for 300 years have been perfectly happy with being overtaxed by the Tullys or Cat's assertion about their wealth is accurate. 

 

What evidence in the books is there that the Freys are not as rich as other people claim they are?

 

Wealth equals power, and power is a shadow. If people were to realize that the Freys are not as wealthy as they pretend to be, then they lose status and influence in the realm. Old Walder is very prickly when it comes to people looking down on his house. He would gladly pay a little extra to Riverrun if it maintains the illusion of wealth and power.

We never get a good description of Walder's great hall, but no one seems to notice the richness of the décor or the fineness of their dress. Catelyn notices that her own chambers are richly appointed, which surprises her because she expected some spite from Walder. Later, the Red Wedding fare is described as meager, although there is plenty of alcohol.

So, no, there is no evidence that the Freys are not wealthy -- I'm sure they get plenty of income from their lands and, yes, the crossing -- but neither is there evidence that that are substantially wealthier than other houses that take a cut of the trade passing through their borders. And looking at the map I fail to see why anyone outside of the immediate area of the crossing would bother to use it, nor is there any reason to think the goods being moved are all that valuable.

 

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3 hours ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

That's true, but I don't think it's said anywhere that the Freys are wealthier than the Manderlys (I may be wrong there), and I think there's a lot of evidence to suggest that's not the case. We see much visible evidence of Manderly wealth, and nothing like that for the Freys. We're just told the Freys are "rich", but that's a relative term.

Exactly. There is no reason to think the crossing produces an income any greater than a seaport, and yet the Frey reputation is built on the idea that it is the key to their enormous wealth and power. I'm just saying that this is not necessarily true given that the crossing is not a conduit for the main trade route in the region and that its value as a military asset has dwindled to near nothing since the Conquest.

3 hours ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

The Freys having control of a crossing may be a source of wealth, but I think that it's more likely this is their family "origin story" if you will. The Freys became lords because of their control of the Crossing, and all their symbolism, etc. represents that, but that doesn't necessarily mean that their current position is purely based on that. They may now base their wealth on land, as others have suggested. That's not to say the Crossing isn't important for them, either as a source of revenue or for strategic importance, just that their reliance on its toll may be a bit overblown. Not only do the Freys constantly brag of its importance (mayhaps), but other lords look down on them as glorified tollgate keepers. 

I agree, I'd be very surprised if a lord of Frey's obvious wealth and power derived it entirely from taking coppers off of men taking their cows to market, and we know there aren't great caravans of merchants roaming the 7K. It's the sort of thing that in the 7K a lord gets labelled with as a result of the family's history, and myths and legends attached to it, I reckon. 

My guess is that, at the moment, Frey wealth and power is derived largely from their extended family, which unites the fortunes of Frey. Royce, Swan, Crakehall, Blackwood, Whent, Rosby, Farring and Erenford, not to mention the numerous marriages of Walder's sons and grandsons, including one to House Lannister.

So, sure, the Freys have a great deal of wealth, but the crossing is no longer the heart of it.

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On 2018/03/14 at 7:10 AM, House Beaudreau said:

Well now we're getting into the Net worth of the Freys compared to other families. The richest families like the Lannisters, Tyrells, Hightowers, Redwynes etc. surely have more money than pretty much everyone. I think the wealthiest bannermen and other Lords Paramount would come next like the Tullys, Arryns, Dorne, Rosbys, Stokeworths, Littlefinger, big merchants in Gulltown, Oldtown and Kings Landing. The Freys probably fit somewhere in here somewhere. I think it would be fair to say that the Frey's are the wealthiest of all the Riverlords with the exception of the Tully. The Mootens and Manderlys seem to have money problems, Brienne sees Tyco's ships in Maidenpool and Davos sees the same ships in White Harbor either collecting debts or loaning money( or longshot the Bravos are making alliances for Stannis), , and being a seaside house would necessarily make you rich unless you had a Large Harbor with a city, the Royces, Crakehalls, Conningtons are all sea houses and they don't seem to be seafaring people or big traders, and we don't hear anything about their wealth, not broke but not rich. 

The Freys aren't 1% but there not merely upper middle class.         

What figment of imagination do you base the assertion on that the Manderlys have money problems? Every shred of evidence in the books tell us directly the opposite. They have built a fleet of 50 ships in a year. They have more heavy horse - even after their losses - than any other lord in the North. They rule a city of tens of thousands of people, which is described as the mouth of the North. They deliver masses of food to Winterfell in lavish fasion. They have constructed massive fortifications of their city during the same time that they built their fleet of ships.

And after all of that, Manderly still states almost casually that his vaults are full of silver.

And against this you claim a vague reference to the presence of a Braavosi galley in White Harbor? Heck, it would be weird if there was NOT a Braavosi galley in White Harbor at any given time. Braavos is the closest Free City to White Harbor, and likely their greatest trading partner, with wool, lumber and other products being traded between the two cities. There is probably always a Braavosi galley or ten on route to or travelling from White Harbor.

 

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