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Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

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1 minute ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Lol. This is a new low. Arguing that a lord’s host at the end of a long campaign should logically be larger than at the start. Come on Lord Varys, for once just back away with grace from an argument that is clearly flawed, rather than digging yourself deeper with far fetched backup notions.

We are told they are Dreadfort men. There is no reason to suggest otherwise.

LOL, sure, you do remember that Roose Bolton was named the commander of the larger of the Stark army and could and did as such command a lot of his fellow lords along with their vassals and men-at-arms, right?

Originally, Roose joined Robb Stark with his troops, but once he became the commander of most of the Stark men he was in a unique position to draw men to his banner who were not originally fighting for him. I mean, we do see the Bloody Mummers joining him, right? Who is to say that many men who lost their lords and knights in the fighting - and who saw how powerful a general Roose was at Harrenhal - that they would now fight for him?

Theon Greyjoy never was at the Dreadfort before Ramsay brought him there, nor does he know 'Dreadfort men' to the degree that he can decide who is a Dreadfort man and who isn't. 

And it doesn't need a smart man (which Theon isn't) to realize that the men surviving the Red Wedding must have been either Roose's or Walder's friends/loyal followers (or at least willing to submit to him).

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

LOL, sure, you do remember that Roose Bolton was named the commander of the larger of the Stark army and could and did as such command a lot of his fellow lords along with their vassals and men-at-arms, right?

Originally, Roose joined Robb Stark with his troops, but once he became the commander of most of the Stark men he was in a unique position to draw men to his banner who were not originally fighting for him. I mean, we do see the Bloody Mummers joining him, right? Who is to say that many men who lost their lords and knights in the fighting - and who saw how powerful a general Roose was at Harrenhal - that they would now fight for him?

Theon Greyjoy never was at the Dreadfort before Ramsay brought him there, nor does he know 'Dreadfort men' to the degree that he can decide who is a Dreadfort man and who isn't. 

And it doesn't need a smart man (which Theon isn't) to realize that the men surviving the Red Wedding must have been either Roose's or Walder's friends/loyal followers (or at least willing to submit to him).

Roose stated himself that the 3500 returning to the Twins BEFORE the Red Wedding were mostly Dreadfort men, with some Karstarks making up the rest. Not Theon, Roose, who knows Dreadfort men pretty well, I would say.

And given that the Karstark foot suffered heavily at the Green Fork, and that Roose sent the rest off with Harrion to be slaughtered at Duskendale, it will really only be stragglers that made it back to Roose. Along with a smattering of Houses even fewer in number than the Karstarks.

So Roose could have 3000 Dreadfort men out of those 3500, for all we know, but at a bare minimum, around 1800 to form the majority of 3500. And that without Steelshanks Waltons 200 horse with Jaime. Giving us at least 2000 Dreadfort men at that point. Note that this is a bare minimum, not a maximum. The maximum could be 3000 Dreadfort men for all we know.

You see, Roose deliberately bled this force dry of men he could not trust, in preperation for the Red Wedding. And it seems the last batch of non loyalists were the 600 he left to guard the ford. The 3500 were carefully chosen to be Dreadfort men, and some Karstarks who had a reason to hold a grudge against the Starks.

In any case, this still excluded any Bolton horse which might have accompanied Robb on the Western campaign.

With all that said, it is very difficult to see a Bolton force of less than 2500 in Robb’s original host. Your newfound idea of new Bolton recruits in the South notwithstanding. Heck, even 3000 original Boltons fit the quotes perfecty, for that matter.

Against all  of that evidence, we have your “feeling” that the Boltons should not be that strong. I’m afraid that won’t cut it.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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Oh no. Not the Boltons again. Not that I don't ever discuss them but I try to do so if/when there's something new.

Btw I never thought I'd agree with you on this, FNR, but yes, Boltons may have 4000 men the way you put it, with pitchfork and sharpened stick guys the way Freys have some 5000 or more. But counting real, professional soldiers, they would have 3000 just as Karstarks. Perhaps a couple of hundred fewer than Karstarks, perhaps a couple hundred more, but around that.

Also while Roose says 3500 is Dreadfort men in chief, there are clearly some Lockes as evidended by their commander being there, despite getting caught mid ford.

Same applies for m clansmen and Arya actually sees them along with Karstarks and Umbers. 

So obviously there are many men from other houses. They may be in small numbers but say if you have 50 men per house, it makes 500 if you have 10 such houses, making a big portion of that 3500

Also Roose says to Jaime that a thousand Karstarks are prowling in search of him. It makes at least 700 foot that will rejoin Roose once they learn that Harrenhal is being abandoned; Roose leaves days after Freys.

Also the %15 casualty rate given for Bolton's is unrealistic because we never see Bolton men in the only battle he commanded.

Quote

Gods be damned, look at them all, Tyrion thought, though he knew his father had more men on the field. Their captains led them on armored warhorses, standard-bearers riding alongside with their banners. He glimpsed the bull moose of the Hornwoods, the Karstark sunburst, Lord Cerwyn's battle-axe, and the mailed fist of the Glovers … and the twin towers of Frey, blue on grey. So much for his father's certainty that Lord Walder would not bestir himself. The white of House Stark was seen everywhere, the grey direwolves seeming to run and leap as the banners swirled and streamed from the high staffs. Where is the boy? Tyrion wondered.

Either Roose Bolton had so few men they didn't catch Tyrion's eye or he held his men back. Of the two, the latter is more likely.

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Roose has 10000 men after GF, without Freys. He has some 4000 after losing a third in Ruby Ford so roughly 6000 before that. And there's 200 mounted infantry with Steel Shanks. This means he has sent almost 4000 men to die, not adding Tallharts.

He also says there's a thousand Karstarks searching for Jaime and he sent off all the Karstark men that remained in Harrenhal. That is some 2500 Cerwyns, Glovers, Hornwoods at the very least, after suffering a great defeat and there are still Hornwood and Cerwyn men with Roose, however few. So obviously these three houses contributed some 1000 infantry at the very least. Their least possible contribution would only go higher with Karstark casualties earlier considered.

So if these houses who you think that contributed fewer men than Boltons are noticable on the field but not Boltons, then obviously Boltons weren't in that field, not losing men.

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Guys, my point here is that armies always also do contain men who switch allegiance and men (they are called freeriders and are the most professional mounted men after knights) who never *belong* to a lord in the first place. The same goes for sworn swords like Dunk is in TSS.

All the Northmen would have brought such men to Robb's army but this doesn't mean they *are* Bolton or Karstark or Umber men. They are just men joining such an army for a limited period of time. They do not necessarily live on the Bolton, Karstark, etc. lands.

Now, the issue with the survivors of the Red Wedding is that Roose as the general of the Northern army had the time and opportunity to make freeriders, sworn swords, etc. who were, say, marching with the Hornwoods or the Cerwyns his men, especially after the representatives of those houses marching in his army happened to die.

I mean, these men do not fight and kill out of the goodness of their hearts. They expect payments and rewards, and if the men who promised them such rewards are dead then they go and look for other men who will give them what they want.

That is not that hard to understand.

In addition, we also have it from Meribald's speech that levies pass from lord to lord to lord on whim. They have no say in the matter.

I mean, there is a similar thing happening during the Dance. We have a Lannister army there which loses its Lannister general and then ends up being commanded by different Westermen. If the Lefford fellow who caused them all to die at the Fishfeed had won some great victory there many of the men fighting under him may have become 'Lefford men', never mind that they were originally sworn to many other houses.

And even better example is the Green army at Tumbleton. After Lord Ormund Hightower's death there is no clear supreme commander of that army, despite the fact that a royal prince is with them. Those men vying for the supreme command can count on the support of their own men - as well as the support of the men they draw to their banners from the camps of others. But the Two Betrayers who presume to rule Highgarden and sit the Iron Throne do so without so much as a power base of their own. To them a growing number of men flock who originally were following other lords and noblemen. 

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Guys, my point here is that armies always also do contain men who switch allegiance and men (they are called freeriders and are the most professional mounted men after knights) who never *belong* to a lord in the first place. The same goes for sworn swords like Dunk is in TSS.

All the Northmen would have brought such men to Robb's army but this doesn't mean they *are* Bolton or Karstark or Umber men. They are just men joining such an army for a limited period of time. They do not necessarily live on the Bolton, Karstark, etc. lands.

Now, the issue with the survivors of the Red Wedding is that Roose as the general of the Northern army had the time and opportunity to make freeriders, sworn swords, etc. who were, say, marching with the Hornwoods or the Cerwyns his men, especially after the representatives of those houses marching in his army happened to die.

I mean, these men do not fight and kill out of the goodness of their hearts. They expect payments and rewards, and if the men who promised them such rewards are dead then they go and look for other men who will give them what they want.

That is not that hard to understand.

In addition, we also have it from Meribald's speech that levies pass from lord to lord to lord on whim. They have no say in the matter.

I mean, there is a similar thing happening during the Dance. We have a Lannister army there which loses its Lannister general and then ends up being commanded by different Westermen. If the Lefford fellow who caused them all to die at the Fishfeed had won some great victory there many of the men fighting under him may have become 'Lefford men', never mind that they were originally sworn to many other houses.

And even better example is the Green army at Tumbleton. After Lord Ormund Hightower's death there is no clear supreme commander of that army, despite the fact that a royal prince is with them. Those men vying for the supreme command can count on the support of their own men - as well as the support of the men they draw to their banners from the camps of others. But the Two Betrayers who presume to rule Highgarden and sit the Iron Throne do so without so much as a power base of their own. To them a growing number of men flock who originally were following other lords and noblemen. 

Thats all interesting speculation, but I feel quite safe to interpret references to men from specific Houses as being confirmations of the number of men from said House. Unless specifically stated otherwise.

Roose is quite particular in distinguishing between the men from various Houses in his army. Who he sends to Duskendale, who gets trapped on the wrong side of the river, who he leaves to guard the ford, down to breaking a mere 600 men down into their constituent Houses. 

In this context, it is quite clear that when he says Dreadfort men, he is being quite specific.

But let me ask you, why this aversion to the Boltons being able to raise around 4000 men? What evidence do you have against it, in the face of all the evidence for it, that makes you argue this point so strongly?

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1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Thats all interesting speculation, but I feel quite safe to interpret references to men from specific Houses as being confirmations of the number of men from said House. Unless specifically stated otherwise.

Roose is quite particular in distinguishing between the men from various Houses in his army. Who he sends to Duskendale, who gets trapped on the wrong side of the river, who he leaves to guard the ford, down to breaking a mere 600 men down into their constituent Houses. 

In this context, it is quite clear that when he says Dreadfort men, he is being quite specific.

Well, if you want to believe Roose Bolton when he is lying to the boy he is going to gut in the very near future I can't really help you. I don't doubt that Roose knows (roughly) how many men are in his army - but I see no reason why we should the numbers he gives Robb as sacred gospel - which, again, don't tell us anything about the men Roose brought from the Dreadfort to Winterfell at the beginning of the war.

1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

But let me ask you, why this aversion to the Boltons being able to raise around 4000 men? What evidence do you have against it, in the face of all the evidence for it, that makes you argue this point so strongly?

I don't care how many men the Boltons can field - I said we don't know how many men they raised in AGoT and I stand by that.

But my point wasn't that your speculation about the Bolton men numbers are wrong - I said I think the Dustins and Manderlys are both more prestigious and more powerful than the Boltons, and I stand by that, too.

The Dustins have a town, and the Manderlys a city. No other Northern house has any of that.

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5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:Well, if you want to believe Roose Bolton when he is lying to the boy he is going to gut in the very near future I can't really help you. I don't doubt that Roose knows (roughly) how many men are in his army - but I see no reason why we should the numbers he gives Robb as sacred gospel - which, again, don't tell us anything about the men Roose brought from the Dreadfort to Winterfell at the beginning of the war.

I don't care how many men the Boltons can field - I said we don't know how many men they raised in AGoT and I stand by that.

But my point wasn't that your speculation about the Bolton men numbers are wrong - I said I think the Dustins and Manderlys are both more prestigious and more powerful than the Boltons, and I stand by that, too.

The Dustins have a town, and the Manderlys a city. No other Northern house has any of that.

The reason for Roose’s detailed breakdown of the whittling down of his original Green Fork host to the 3500 remaining men, is so that George can set the scene for the Red Wedding. When the reader rereads that section it becomes noteworthy how Roose purged his host of potential Stark sympathizers in preparation for the betrayal at the Twins. It is an information dump to the reader, with no incentive for Roose to be lying about it to Robb.

As for the Dustins and Manderlys, I have no problem with the idea that the Dustins may exceed the Boltons in strength. That is certainly possible. Although by no means certain yet. The Freys too have no major town, yet are the most powerful Riverlands House, and apparently by quite some margin, deploying 5000 men or so to date.

The Dustins certainly could exceed the Boltons, and if not I reckon they are at least on a par with them. The 4000 Bolton men does not affect that argument in any shape or form. These are two independent issues.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The point there would only be relevant if you know whether GRRM cared about the historical meaning of the word 'pool' when inventing the name 'Blackpool' (or that he actually knows or cares where this place is). Do you know any of that?

GRRM has used many medieval terms and naming conventions throughout the books and under there medieval meaning why would this be different?

16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Fear may have helped with that, too. You don't need to torture anyone to keep them in line. The Hornwood maester, for instance, would have been there when Ramsay put down Lady Donella. The Cerwyn maester might know what's going to happen to Lady Cerwyn and all her kin if he misbehaves, etc.

That same fear could be instilled into Henly, he interacts with they other maesters so he knows what they know, the trust in Henly is no different from the trust in they other two and says nothing about where the Slates live or who they are loyal to.

16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

That seems to be an inaccuracy or a tidbit that comes with Nestor's duties as High Steward of the Vale. The man holds a lordly office of considerable importance, effectively ruling the Vale while Jon Arryn was at court. While it is possible that Nestor had a minor seat of his own (a keep, say, or some tower), there is no indication that the man holds two castles now that Littlefinger has granted him the Gates of the Moon.

No there is more evidence of there being two lordly branches of house Royce.

A Game of Thrones - Sansa V

Pycelle pushed himself to his feet. He was clad in a magnificent robe of thick red velvet, with an ermine collar and shiny gold fastenings. From a drooping sleeve, heavy with gilded scrollwork, he drew a parchment, unrolled it, and began to read a long list of names, commanding each in the name of king and council to present themselves and swear their fealty to Joffrey. Failing that, they would be adjudged traitors, their lands and titles forfeit to the throne. The names he read made Sansa hold her breath. Lord Stannis Baratheon, his lady wife, his daughter. Lord Renly Baratheon. Both Lord Royces and their sons. 

He is considered powerful enough to named one of those who must come to swear fealty, you do not call a mere Steward not even one who holds command of the Vale, you call his liege to whom he is sworn because they also swear in the name of those sworn to them. They only reason for him to be called upon is that he has title and land of his own.

A Storm of Swords - Catelyn V

"No," Catelyn agreed. "You must name another heir, until such time as Jeyne gives you a son." She considered a moment. "Your father's father had no siblings, but his father had a sister who married a younger son of Lord Raymar Royce, of the junior branch. They had three daughters, all of whom wed Vale lordlings. A Waynwood and a Corbray, for certain. The youngest . . . it might have been a Templeton, but . . ."

Here we see a historical Lord of the Junior branch, there is no indication that the High Stewardship is hereditary in nature, hell if it was then it certainly would not be in the hands of a Junior branch of house Royce once the great rivals of house Arryn. So this is a strong indication this man has to be a Lord with land in his own right and that would mean the Junior branch has a Lordship and land of there own.

 Storm of Swords - Sansa VII

Lysa was as lonely as she was. Her new husband seemed to spend more time at the foot of the mountain than he did atop it. He was gone now, had been gone the past four days, meeting with the Corbrays. From bits and pieces of overheard conversations Sansa knew that Jon Arryn's bannermen resented Lysa's marriage and begrudged Petyr his authority as Lord Protector of the Vale. The senior branch of House Royce was close to open revolt over her aunt's failure to aid Robb in his war, and the Waynwoods, Redforts, Belmores, and Templetons were giving them every support. 

This speaking of Senior and Junior Branch only happens with house Royce even do we know other houses like for example Arryn has lesser branches to, they only reason for this to occur is that the lesser branch is important enough that when speaking of house Royce you have to clearly distinguish between the two Lords

A Feast for Crows - Sansa I

"I did," Petyr admitted, "but our rock is a Royce, which is to say he is overproud and prickly. Had I asked him his price, he would have swelled up like an angry toad at the slight upon his honor. But this way . . . the man is not utterly stupid, but the lies I served him were sweeter than the truth. He wants to believe that Lysa valued him above her other bannermen. One of those others is Bronze Yohn, after all, and Nestor is very much aware that he was born of the lesser branch of House Royce. 

A bannerman is someone who brings troops of his own, otherwise he would be a household knight no matter what other position he holds within that household.

A Feast for Crows - Alayne I

 And Yohn Royce, mightiest of them all, the redoubtable Bronze Yohn, Lord of Runestone, Nestor's cousin and the chief of the senior branch of House Royce. 

Here again GRRM feels the need to point out that there are two distinct branches of house Royce which he does not do when it comes to other houses with lesser branches.

Coupled with Cat thinking of Lord Nestor as a powerful Lord in his own right, the indication of him being a Lord with his own lands is clear to see.

Edited by direpupy

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Posted (edited)

@direpupy

We know there are at least 2 branches of Royce with the possibility of more and Nestor is of the junior branch among the two prominent ones... But the fact that he is overjoyed with the idea of getting the Gates of the Moon as a hereditary seat he probably has little land of his own, if he has lands. Since Junior branch is still important enough, I think he is either a younger son of the Junior branch or comes from the line of a younger son. He is also never mentioned to be the head of the Junior branch.

Also i'll be a bit nitpicky and say Joffrey calls for both lords Royce and their sons, Nestor only has one.

So there is probably a Lord Royce the Chief of the Junior Branch we haven't seen yet.

Edited by Corvo the Crow

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1 hour ago, Corvo the Crow said:

@direpupy

We know there are at least 2 branches of Royce with the possibility of more and Nestor is of the junior branch among the two prominent ones... But the fact that he is overjoyed with the idea of getting the Gates of the Moon as a hereditary seat he probably has little land of his own, if he has lands. Since Junior branch is still important enough, I think he is either a younger son of the Junior branch or comes from the line of a younger son. He is also never mentioned to be the head of the Junior branch.

That would be my guess, too. There are Royces aside from the Royces of Runestones who are still considered to be significant enough to be mentioned, but there is no evidence that Nestor Royce actually has a lot of land (much less a proper castle) in his own right.

Else, the entire Gates of the Moon plot wouldn't make any sense. I mean, there is no indication that he is now another Lord Peake, having multiple lordships/castles of considerable size after Littlefinger gave him the Gates.

I daresay it is just the magic of the Royce name that makes those distant cousins of the Lord of Runestone important.

Lord Nestor is powerful and significant mostly because of his office, not so much because of the lands and titles he held before he got the Gates.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Corvo the Crow said:

 

Also i'll be a bit nitpicky and say Joffrey calls for both lords Royce and their sons, Nestor only has one.

The "and there sons" does not in any way indicate that they both have to have more then one son if they both only had one the sentence would be the same so that does not say anything at all.

As to getting The Gates of the Moon and being happy about it, that is a matter of prestige not so much power since the garrison is only 300 men.

Edited by direpupy

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7 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

As for the Dustins and Manderlys, I have no problem with the idea that the Dustins may exceed the Boltons in strength. That is certainly possible. Although by no means certain yet. The Freys too have no major town, yet are the most powerful Riverlands House, and apparently by quite some margin, deploying 5000 men or so to date.

The Freys are strong, but they are by no means confirmed to be the most powerful vassals of the Tullys. We have no idea how many men the Mootons, the Brackens, the Blackwoods, and - most importantly - the Lords of Harrenhal can field.

7 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The Dustins certainly could exceed the Boltons, and if not I reckon they are at least on a par with them. The 4000 Bolton men does not affect that argument in any shape or form. These are two independent issues.

Again, even if a considerable amount of the men returning with Roose were Bolton men, we simply don't know how great the ratio between them, the Karstark survivors, and other men Roose draw to his cause are.

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5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Else, the entire Gates of the Moon plot wouldn't make any sense. I mean, there is no indication that he is now another Lord Peake, having multiple lordships/castles of considerable size after Littlefinger gave him the Gates.

Same answer to you as to Corvo, he gets a castle but there is no mention of any lands attached to it and he had no more then a garrison of 300 men when he faced the Lord's declarent. So the castle itself is prestige, just like the tapestries he shows to everyone in WoW sample chapter.

8 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Lord Nestor is powerful and significant mostly because of his office, not so much because of the lands and titles he held before he got the Gates.

Not really he is only a Steward, no matter how important a Steward he would still be a servant not a powerful Lord in his own right. So i disagree with you here, for me the evidence points to him being a Lord of some significance before he gets The Gates of the Moon.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The Freys are strong, but they are by no means confirmed to be the most powerful vassals of the Tullys. We have no idea how many men the Mootons, the Brackens, the Blackwoods, and - most importantly - the Lords of Harrenhal can field.

Again, even if a considerable amount of the men returning with Roose were Bolton men, we simply don't know how great the ratio between them, the Karstark survivors, and other men Roose draw to his cause are.

Firstly, you are wrong. The Freys are indeed the most powerful Riverland House, as confirmed by Cat herself. I will post the quote if you so desire, once I am not typing on my phone, but you can take my word for it in the meantime.

As for the returning Dreadfort men, I already invalidated your “ratio” argument by assuming the minimum number necessary to make them the majority of the host. Most likely they are more than this minimum number, but I am willing to go even with the minimum extreme for sake of argument. Meaning just over 2000 returning Boltons, out of the 4000 strong host.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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14 minutes ago, direpupy said:

Same answer to you as to Corvo, he gets a castle but there is no mention of any lands attached to it and he had no more then a garrison of 300 men when he faced the Lord's declarent. So the castle itself is prestige, just like the tapestries he shows to everyone in WoW sample chapter.

If you want to play that game, there is also no part that the garrison was part of the deal, either. Those men could be still men sworn to House Arryn, directly.

14 minutes ago, direpupy said:

Not really he is only a Steward, no matter how important a Steward he would still be a servant not a powerful Lord in his own right. So i disagree with you here, for me the evidence points to him being a Lord of some significance before he gets The Gates of the Moon.

Nestor Royce is the High Steward of the Vale, not some steward, and we learn in AGoT that there were people who wished that he, the High Steward, continued to rule the Vale in the name of young Lord Robert, not Lysa, during the boy's minority.

Nestor Royce was effectively the regent or governor of the Vale while Lord Jon was in KL. That is an important office.

And the idea that the Royces and Arryns are still at odds with each other for stuff that happened ages ago in the half-forgotten, half-legendary era of the Andal conquest is pretty far-fetched if you ask me. Hubert Arryn (who succeeded Lord Ronnel as Lord of the Vale after Jonos had killed him) was married to a Royce of Runestone, and later Lord Yorbert Royce served Lady Jeyne Arryn as Protector of the Vale during her minority.

We have no idea whether the High Stewardship is a hereditary office (it could be, but we don't know and I never suggested in might be) but granting such an office to a lesser Royce might actually be a reasonably good power play on the side of Jon Arryn.

16 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Firstly, you are wrong. The Freys are indeed the most powerful Riverland House, as confirmed by Cat herself. I will post the quote if you so desire, once I am not typing on my phone, but you can take my word for it in the meantime.

Yeah, I had forgotten that. That very much indicates that the power of various houses can wax and wane. Back during the Dance the Freys weren't as powerful as they had grown under Walder.

16 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

As for the returning Dreadfort men, I already invalidated your “ratio” argument by assuming the minimum number necessary to make them the majority of the host. Most likely they are more than this minimum number, but I am willing to go even with the minimum extreme for sake of argument. Meaning just over 2000 returning Boltons, out of the 4000 strong host.

You seem to overlook that Roose could easily have made men who weren't Bolton/Dreadfort men originally his men during the war. That would mean that the number of men who originally marched with him from the Dreadfort would have been lower. 

When you talked to Robb would you care to explain to him that did not only rid his army of men loyal to him but also bought the allegiance of men who originally served other lords? I don't think so.

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As to the Freys:

There are unknown market towns, etc. all over the place in the Riverlands. The Freys might not have another Stoney Sept, but they are very likely to control a considerable amount of large villages and small towns. Like pretty much all the Riverlords.

But for the North we have no hint that there are market towns all over the place.

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5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If you want to play that game, there is also no part that the garrison was part of the deal, either. Those men could be still men sworn to House Arryn, directly.

exactly, proving once more that the castle is prestige only and he was a formidable Lord with lands before that, i am glad you agree ;)

6 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Nestor Royce is the High Steward of the Vale, not some steward, and we learn in AGoT that there were people who wished that he, the High Steward, continued to rule the Vale in the name of young Lord Robert, not Lysa, during the boy's minority.

A steward no matter how powerful his position makes him, is still a servant and would not be called to swear his fealty. As to him ruling in Robert's name, he was Jon's man, a man he trusted, of course people who knew Lysa for they unstable women she was would prefer the trusted Steward over her, and even those Lord's who did not know she was unstable could have wanted this out of good old fashioned misogyny. So this in no way proves your point.

12 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Nestor Royce was effectively the regent or governor of the Vale while Lord Jon was in KL. That is an important office.

Important but it still means he is a servant not a powerful Lord in his own right, it is the last part that really invalidates your argument "in his own right"

14 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

We have no idea whether the High Stewardship is a hereditary office (it could be, but we don't know and I never suggested in might be) but granting such an office to a lesser Royce might actually be a reasonably good power play on the side of Jon Arryn.

You suggested it is they office that makes him a powerful Lord in his own right and that can only work if they office is hereditary so i interpreted it as you suggesting it was, but i admit you never actually said so my bad.

 

17 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

And the idea that the Royces and Arryns are still at odds with each other for stuff that happened ages ago in the half-forgotten, half-legendary era of the Andal conquest is pretty far-fetched if you ask me. Hubert Arryn (who succeeded Lord Ronnel as Lord of the Vale after Jonos had killed him) was married to a Royce of Runestone, and later Lord Yorbert Royce served Lady Jeyne Arryn as Protector of the Vale during her minority.

So? The Blackwoods and Brackens intermarried numerous times and had periods of peace, yet they are still enemies. The Boltons fought alongside the Starks on numerous occasions yet they also rebelled against them. This is really a non-argument from you.

I also can't help but notice you never addressed the post where i give numerous quotes to back up my notions, no alternative explanation for them, nor do you present any evidence from the books of your own to counter them, only your opinion. I must say for a strong debater such as yourself this is a pretty poor showing, not at all what i am used to from you.

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1 minute ago, direpupy said:

A steward no matter how powerful his position makes him, is still a servant and would not be called to swear his fealty. As to him ruling in Robert's name, he was Jon's man, a man he trusted, of course people who knew Lysa for they unstable women she was would prefer the trusted Steward over her, and even those Lord's who did not know she was unstable could have wanted this out of good old fashioned misogyny. So this in no way proves your point.

You make a lot of claims there. We don't know whether stewards cannot serve as stewards while also holding lands. Not to mention high stewards.

The hereditary stewards of Highgarden, House Tyrell, were very powerful and influential, and prestigious enough to intermarry nine times with the royal House Gardener prior to the Conquest. They are dismissed as *mere stewards* by their noble peers in the Reach, but they were never just *mere stewards*.

And being 'a lord in your own right' is not exactly a very precise term. Could people say Varys and Qyburn are 'lords in their own right'? If somebody did that it wouldn't magically give them lands, titles, and castles.

1 minute ago, direpupy said:

Important but it still means he is a servant not a powerful Lord in his own right, it is the last part that really invalidates your argument "in his own right"

See House Tyrell. And again - the High Steward of the Vale isn't necessarily the same as serving as a steward in a castle. It is obvious an office a nobleman is willing to take, even 'a lord in his own right', right?

If it was the office for a servant, it would be taken by a servant, no?

And you should keep in mind that Cat isn't exactly an expert on the Vale. She was clearly never at the Eyrie, and perhaps not even in the Vale (unless by ship), so she could be mistaken in her assessment of Nestor Royce, no?

1 minute ago, direpupy said:

So? The Blackwoods and Brackens intermarried numerous times and had periods of peace, yet they are still enemies. The Boltons fought alongside the Starks on numerous occasions yet they also rebelled against them. This is really a non-argument from you.

LOL, for the Boltons/Starks and Blackwoods/Brackens we have GRRM tell us in word and deed that not everything is fine between these two houses. Where on earth is your textual evidence that the Royces and Arryns are still at odds in any way, shape, or form? That you can imagine this doesn't make it so.

1 minute ago, direpupy said:

I also can't help but notice you never addressed the post where i give numerous quotes to back up my notions, no alternative explanation for them, nor do you present any evidence from the books of your own to counter them, only your opinion. I must say for a strong debater such as yourself this is a pretty poor showing, not at all what i am used to from you.

All you gave us is the assessment of a character who isn't necessarily an expert on the Vale and its lords and whose opinion - if correct - would introduce an inconsistency in the Gates of the Moon plot from AFfC. Nestor Royce isn't portrayed as a great lord in his own right there, who wants another castle - the ancestral castle of House Arryn, no less - he is portrayed as a man who is desperate need for a great seat for his son to inherit after he dies.

If Lord Nestor already was a proper lord in his own right he would have a proper seat, and he would be motivated by greed and petty ambition - which is clearly not what motivates him in AFfC. In fact, the main point in his story there is that he isn't an ambitious man, merely a man who wants something to leave to his heirs.

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3 hours ago, direpupy said:

As to getting The Gates of the Moon and being happy about it, that is a matter of prestige not so much power since the garrison is only 300 men.

And Starks only have 200 men as garrison are they powerless compared to Nestor?

Castles are money sinks, so even if Nestor is a powerful lord, it is a great negative on Nestor's finances if it has no lands attached to it.

If it has lands attached to it and it will have it's own lands as everyother castle, then it will bring power greater than that 300 garrison.

It's also not like Nestor has a multitude of sons so they will get this new found land as in the case with Garlan and Brightwater. So again, why the overjoy if he already has lands and castle enough to pass on to all his sons? He has a single son and now has a single castle to pass to him.

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