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Matter-of-fact

Politics stark robb

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He spent too much time dreaming he was Daeron the Young Dragon... Also a huge political alliance with the Vale fell through, essentially erasing the power bloc that was. Who is he to make allies with? Stormlands, he sends Cat and almost has it until an impossible event occurs. Greyjoys his good possibly best friend and heir of the isle claims it will fall to him. Dorne? He's never met any nobles from there and they'e as far from his as could possibly be. The Tyrells were already with Renly, and besides the best he could offer was Edmure to Mace. Trade Jaime for Sansa at a point before he's gone maybe and have an heir...

There were 5 or so reasons he was doomed, and none were really political missteps except maybe Karstark.

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Robb's biggest issue was that he always to make rash decisions rather than have a lot of patience and letting things develop on there own. They made quit a hasty alliance with the Freys but ultimately it was probably the right move. Sending Theon to treat with Balon was completely unnecessary at the time, he's convinced that he need Balon's ships to win the war but all he need to do was wait, and Balon might have attacked the Lannisters or the Reach knowing that Robb still had Theon. Going to the West also seemed like a poor choice considering they didn't really hold any castles afterword, and he was basically trapped into ruining his alliance with the Freys.

 Robb just wasn't brutal enough, He should have treated Theon like the bargaining chip he was, he should have completely pillaged the west since he was going there anyway. He shouldn't have allow the Riverlords to return to their lands. He acted like a Lord and not a King. He needed to have some of that Stannis attitude that people own him fealty because he is the rightful king rather than thinking he need to please people with his decisions and be likeable.

what he should have done.        

He should have sent Cleos Frey to King's Landing with his demands and if they were not met, Robb should have beheaded Jamie Lannister, and send the Karstarks into the Riverlands to harass Tywin foragers. Tyrion would have most likely tried to save Sansa from any retribution because of how valuable she is, but if they do kill her, he would have to kill all of his Lannister captive. It would sew a lot war wearness amoung the Lannister factions.  Following the death of the Kingslayer, Robb should have gone to Pyke himself with his escort led by GreatJon Umber and listened to Cat and not taken Theon, Balon would not have violated guest right, Robb would ally with the Iron Islands. 

When the Iron Islands Invade the Westerland and Tywin marches either to Kings Landing or the west, Robb would need to engage him with all of the North and Riverlords to at least delay him. Stannis may or may not take Kings landing without Tywin to show up on time. Make another peace offer for all prisoner exchange, peace, kingship all of it, or keep making war with the far superior force.      

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1 hour ago, Matter-of-fact said:

Why is robb stark so amateur/incompetent in the political field?

He was 15. I wasn't even married by then. How can we judge Robb if none of us is sweet enough to get a wife before 20?!

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It’s easy to forget the age of the younger characters, but you really can’t interpret them properly without keeping their age in mind.

Robb was raised to be Lord of Winterfell and Ned became a rather isolationist fella after RR. He taught Robb well to manage the North because I expect it all he was expecting (hoping?) that Robb would need to know. Managing the North is a very different skill-set than navigating Southern-style politics. As we see with Stannis' army in ADWD, some Southern ways are useless for surviving in the North at its harshest.

 

AGOT Bran VI

And when Lord Umber, who was called the Greatjon by his men and stood as tall as Hodor and twice as wide, threatened to take his forces home if he was placed behind the Hornwoods or the Cerwyns in the order of march, Robb told him he was welcome to do so. "And when we are done with the Lannisters," he promised, scratching Grey Wind behind the ear, "we will march back north, root you out of your keep, and hang you for an oathbreaker." Cursing, the Greatjon flung a flagon of ale into the fire and bellowed that Robb was so green he must piss grass. When Hallis Mollen moved to restrain him, he knocked him to the floor, kicked over a table, and unsheathed the biggest, ugliest greatsword that Bran had ever seen. All along the benches, his sons and brothers and sworn swords leapt to their feet, grabbing for their steel.

Yet Robb only said a quiet word, and in a snarl and the blink of an eye Lord Umber was on his back, his sword spinning on the floor three feet away and his hand dripping blood where Grey Wind had bitten off two fingers. "My lord father taught me that it was death to bare steel against your liege lord," Robb said, "but doubtless you only meant to cut my meat." Bran's bowels went to water as the Greatjon struggled to rise, sucking at the red stumps of fingers … but then, astonishingly, the huge man laughed. "Your meat," he roared, "is bloody tough."

And somehow after that the Greatjon became Robb's right hand, his staunchest champion, loudly telling all and sundry that the boy lord was a Stark after all, and they'd damn well better bend their knees if they didn't fancy having them chewed off.

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2 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

He was 15. I wasn't even married by then. How can we judge Robb if none of us is sweet enough to get a wife before 20?!

By far the funniest comment I've seen in past couple of months. Whether it was intentional or not. 

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He was 14 years old, considering his age he's a lot more savvy than most grown men 

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8 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

By far the funniest comment I've seen in past couple of months. Whether it was intentional or not. 

Always intentional, whether or not I know it.

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Hubris.  That was Robb's problem.  He was a hypocrite.  He judges others harshly and yet he is no better.  He forgives himself quicker than he forgives others.  He kills a valuable ally whose family has bled for his war for committing an emotional act.  The killing of the Lannisters was driven by a father's grief.  Robb himself committed an oathbreaking because of emotions, his feelings for Ms. Westerling.  Robb breaks his oaths to an ally who lost his heir in his service.   

Robb's arrogance, hubris, and inconsistent treatment of justice did him in.  It's not for lack of political skills.  

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It seems to me that Robb was trying to be his father rather than just doing what he knew would be right.

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He was raised to value honor and integrity when politics is based on manipulation and deceit. Couple this with the fact that he's young and impulsive and he wasn't exactly set up to be successful. In the first novel he even admitted a cold and calculating commander is often the best. Well it's the same with politics and Robb was unable to see how intertwined war and politics were.

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13 hours ago, Matter-of-fact said:

Why is robb stark so amateur/incompetent in the political field?

He is young and his dad never took him to court. Politics in the north tend to be straightforward as it is a harsh place

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First off, he is 15 years old and I would expect that politics was the furthest thing from his mind growing up.  He did a great job navigating the early political issues with the Northerners especially when he had Maester Luwin and Rodrick in his ear.

Second, the issues he was forced to deal with, would be difficult for the most mature of lords,

Third, he was Ned's son.  He was taught to act honorably and in turn he expected others to behave in the same manner. 

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23 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

The killing of the Lannisters was driven by a father's grief.  Robb himself committed an oathbreaking because of emotions, his feelings for Ms. Westerling.  Robb breaks his oaths to an ally who lost his heir in his service.

The act itself is relevant. "Oathbreaking" is one thing, but there's a difference between breaking an oath and marrying a girl you like, and breaking an oath and stabbing two children to death. 

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2 hours ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

The act itself is relevant. "Oathbreaking" is one thing, but there's a difference between breaking an oath and marrying a girl you like, and breaking an oath and stabbing two children to death. 

A lot more was at stake with Robb's actions than Karstark's.  Karstark killing two enemy squires is not going to have much impact on the war, for either side.  Robb could have let it go.  Breaking an oath to an ally who provides you with an army of thousands will have significant impact.  So it was basically a stupid move by Robb.

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He should've ordered Roose to flay the Kingslayer and send pieces to Lord Tywin as tokens of good will.

There goes the Tywin/Roose cahooting.

On a serious note, the author wrote that everything should go bad and nonsense for Robb. He made some mistakes, but not worse than some other characters who are still alive.

Hell the author invented all the nonsense of Frey's only bridge on a river (?) for that purpose only.

 

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4 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

 Karstark killing two enemy squires is not going to have much impact on the war, for either side.  Robb could have let it go.

You forget that Robb's two sisters are held hostage by the Lannisters therefore his prisoners are less expendable…

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Posted (edited)

He was a pretty good commander on the battlefield but Robb was no king.  Given the simple and direct nature of battles, that is to win, Robb did fine.  However, when it came time to judge people and carry out justice, the boy was a complete failure.  When it came time to honor his oaths, Robb was a failure.  He is very much like his bastard brother.  Both decide based on feelings.  He wanted Jeyne, not a Frey bride and an oath was not going to stop him from following his heart.  That's poor material for a king.  He lacked self-discipline.

Politician is a pretty vague term.  When a person is a good politician, it means they are keenly aware of the feelings of other people and what motivates other people.  A good politician is also a good communicator.  Naturally, a good politician knows how to listen.  The politician is also good at selling to other people and sway them to their point of view.  A good politician has appeal and charisma.  Last but not least, a good politician knows when and how much to compromise.  The politician knows which promises can be broken and which cannot.  Robb was lacking in a lot of these qualities.  Understand, I am not hating on Robb like I usually do when we discuss the Starks.  Robb will do what is right until it conflicts with something he really wants, like Jeyne.  And to those who want to downplay this, it is serious.  Because Robb had a duty to think of the welfare of his bannerman and the people who depend on him to win this war.  When he chose to follow his heart instead of his oaths, that basically meant he chose the path of self-gratification (getting Jeyne) instead of the path of maximizing their chances of winning the war.  

Edited by Noble Lothar Frey

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I don't recall, where was it said that Robb married Jeyne because he loved her? That's a show-thing for Talisa. I thought he married her just to repair his honor, and hers, since he had sullied her. After all, he grew up seeing the tension between Ned, Cat, and Jon over Jon's parentage. Ultimately these are still personal reasons but not quite the same as mere love.

 

As others have said, Robb was a bit too stuck in his rigid sense of honor and justice to compromise when he needed to. He was too lenient with his mother as well. I think he might have appeased Rickard Karstark by marrying Cat off to Harrion or someone else or else just giving her to the Karstarks to keep as prisoner. With conditions befitting the mother of the King, of-course (not saying put her in the dungeon). He can't kill his own mother but he does need to punish her and letting the Karstarks be here jailers might go a ways towards appeasing them. Considering the sacrifices Rickard's family had made for Robb he definitely should have been lenient in punishing him. Keep him in Riverrun under house arrest if need be or make him take the black.

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15 minutes ago, Sourjapes said:

I don't recall, where was it said that Robb married Jeyne because he loved her?

You freed him without my knowledge or consent . . . but what you did, I know you did for love. For Arya and Sansa, and out of grief for Bran and Rickon. Love's not always wise, I've learned. It can lead us to great folly, but we follow our hearts . . . wherever they take us. Don't we, Mother?"

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

"I have. I know what it is to love so greatly you can think of nothing else."

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

"All men should keep their word, kings most of all. I was pledged to marry one of you and I broke that vow. The fault is not in you. What I did was not done to slight you, but because I loved another. 

 

Robb's pretty clear he married Jeyne because he loved her, he is even intelligent enough to realise the potential consequences of such love

"Yes. Jason Mallister captured him in the Whispering Wood and has been holding him at Seagard for ransom. Of course I'll free him now, though he may not wish to join me. We wed without his consent, I fear, and this marriage puts him in dire peril. The Crag is not strong. For love of me, Jeyne may lose all."

 

 

 

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