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Most Powerful Houses- what evidence?

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6 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Similarly, the Mountain Clans live in even harsher territory than the Umbers and have raised 3000+ men to date.

But there's "men" and then there's MEN.

A page or two earlier you said Boltons may raise 4000 men and I agreed. I'll say they may raise even more than that the way Freys raised more than 5k, but of men trained and equipped I believe he may raise no more than 3K give or take a couple hundred.

It's the same for clansmen and Umbers. We see clansmen raise to date what, 3500-4000? But how many of them are armed and equipped properly?

Between Jon's description and what Asha saw, not many, I think.

Also how old are these men with Stannis? Are they too old? Too young? In their prime since they didn't ride their shaggy garrons off to war with Robb because they didn't have byrnies and greatswords?

Wulls fantasies along with Whoresbane Umber leading the old and Manderly being suicidal with a tail of old knights with him make me think this is also a suicide mission, so this is probably older men, men without children and unmarried men... and yet Stannis' has swollen his numbers from 1K to over 5K with mountain clans, woodclans and surviving men of Rodrik's host. This makes me think mountains are more populated then it seems.

Back on Umbers, we see they are down to old men and boys and yet their men are properly equipped. And one may assume properly trained as well since there's 100 bowmen in one of the groups. You may thrust a spear in a man's hand, send him off to battle and may expect him to do some damage even without training. Same with crossbows. Not so with a bow.

Long story short, Umbers may raise many more (boys and old men) as well if they go the clansmen way of battering each other with ashen staff or sling stones instead of using sword or spear or bow.

Edited by Corvo the Crow

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Not sure how you get the notion that the Umber lands are larger than what you consider the maximum size of the Karstark lands. Do you know where the border between the Karstark lands and the Umber lands is?

It's possibly somewhere around the forest that surrounds Karstark lands, perhaps a small stream not on the maps. Moreover, logically speaking, that forest mostly belongs to Umbers, if it is even shared. 

Forest = woodsmen and hunters, which mean axemen and bowmen. 

Below are descriptions of Umber and Karstark forces in ADWD.

Umber

Quote

The Whoresbanehis own self," claimed a riverman who'd just brought a load of hides and timber down the White Knife, "with three hundredspearmen and a hundred archers. 

Aside from a handful of half-crippled serjeants, the warriors that Crowfood had brought down from Last Hearth were hardly old enough to shave. "Their spears and axes were olderthan the hands that clutched them. 

There are spears, but there are also axes and at least 100 bowmen. Bowmen make a quarter of one of these forces. I believe spear is, unless specified, a general term for any melee soldier or even any foot soldier. So Whoresbane may have some axes and swords and whatever you have as well.

And Karstarks

Quote

Arnolf Karstark came hobbling, leaning on his blackthorn cane. Lord Arnolf had found them eight days past. The northman had brought a son, three grandsons, four hundred spears, two score archers, a dozen mounted lances, a maester, and a cage of ravens …

Again, spear may possibly mean any melee weapon unless specified so there may be axemen as well. However, there are only 40  bows which make up less than 1/10 of the entire force. So Karstarks may own some portion of the forest but not as much as the Umbers it would seem.

 

Remember as well, Ned wants Catelyn to raise 100 bowmen each from Tallhart and Glover. These are masterly houses, likely more under Stark control than any other principal bannermen save perhaps Cerwyns who live so near, but then again they are also the ones that live closest to MC  among those bannermen who have some considerable amount of forest land in their territory(Hornwood, Umber and possibly Karstark) so they are better suited to this than say, Dustin or Manderly.

Edited by Corvo the Crow

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3 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

It's possibly somewhere around the forest that surrounds Karstark lands, perhaps a small stream not on the maps. Moreover, logically speaking, that forest mostly belongs to Umbers, if it is even shared. 

Forest = woodsmen and hunters, which mean axemen and bowmen. 

Below are descriptions of Umber and Karstark forces in ADWD.

Umber

There are spears, but there are also axes and at least 100 bowmen. Bowmen make a quarter of one of these forces. I believe spear is, unless specified, a general term for any melee soldier or even any foot soldier. So Whoresbane may have some axes and swords and whatever you have as well.

And Karstarks

Again, spear may possibly mean any melee weapon unless specified so there may be axemen as well. However, there are only 40  bows which make up less than 1/10 of the entire force. So Karstarks may own some portion of the forest but not as much as the Umbers it would seem.

 

Remember as well, Ned wants Catelyn to raise 100 bowmen each from Tallhart and Glover. These are masterly houses, likely more under Stark control than any other principal bannermen save perhaps Cerwyns who live so near, but then again they are also the ones that live closest to MC  among those bannermen who have some considerable amount of forest land in their territory(Hornwood, Umber and possibly Karstark) so they are better suited to this than say, Dustin or Manderly.

Say what? I don’t follow.

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1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Say what? I don’t follow.

Simply put, equipment and training is, in some cases, a telltale sign of what your populace does for a living and therefore what kind of lands you have, e.g. woodland or coastal.

If you have more archers than the next lord it's very likely that your lands have more forested areas than him.

More forest = More hunters = More archers. 

If you have more mounted infantry and light horsemen, it's likely that you are a horse breeder.

Edited by Corvo the Crow

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7 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Simply put, equipment and training is, in some cases, a telltale sign of what your populace does for a living and therefore what kind of lands you have, e.g. woodland or coastal.

If you have more archers than the next lord it's very likely that your lands have more forested areas than him.

More forest = More hunters = More archers. 

If you have more mounted infantry and light horsemen, it's likely that you are a horse breeder.

That might work for archers, but the axes used for woodsmen are far different than war axes. 

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19 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Correction, not all northerners, the Reeds who grew up in a swamp and had to hunt for frogs, actual noble children, were actually taught to hunt for frogs. 

To swamp dwellers I daresay most dry land seems an improvement of sorts. 

That ignores the orchard that's a few hundred feet away from where Jojen says that and that the land was enough to support Queenscrown, an inn, and a village, all of which feasted a queen of the realm (and her dragon) on top of what they owed to the NW. There's no doubt the land farther south is better -- generally more warmth, more crops -- but that doesn't mean it's unproductive.

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10 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

That might work for archers, but the axes used for woodsmen are far different than war axes. 

Oh I know but an axe is an axe and one accustomed to chopping trees will have an easier time chopping a men with an axe than swinging a sword or holding a shieldwall.

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3 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

That ignores the orchard that's a few hundred feet away from where Jojen says that and that the land was enough to support Queenscrown, an inn, and a village, all of which feasted a queen of the realm (and her dragon) on top of what they owed to the NW. There's no doubt the land farther south is better -- generally more warmth, more crops -- but that doesn't mean it's unproductive.

There's good farmland even beyond the wall. Varamyr became his own masterly house with a dozen villages "sworn" to him. Villages with orchards and fields.

Edited by Corvo the Crow

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Just now, Corvo the Crow said:

Oh I know but an axe is an axe and one accustomed to chopping trees will have an easier time chopping a men with an axe than swinging a sword or holding a shieldwall.

War axes are generally one handed versus a two-handed wood axe. Anyone use to physical work with their arms qualifies under that criteria.

And the "spearmen can be any type of infantry" is not something I really buy. When we get descriptions of soldiers in groups, they are usually marked out by their weapons. When we see infantry generally described, it's called foot. 

Karstarks have pikemen at Winterfell. Freys have pikemen. Manderlys provide spearmen, pikemen, and tridentmen(?). Kevan Lannister has pikemen in squares around men-at-arms with axes, spears, and swords. Karstark has spearmen in a double hedgehog at the Green Fork. 

 

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@Corvo the Crow

While your reasoning makes some sense on a technical level, the problem is that we do not have complete maps. We know there are woods in the North, the Reach, the Riverlands, etc. which are nowhere to be seen on the maps we have. The maps we have include only some of them - some of them the largest forests in Westeros.

We have no idea whether there are as many forests (in smaller pieces, to insignificant to make it on the maps) in the Umber lands than there are in the Karstark lands. The Umbers do have wood to spare considering that they were ask to provide the Manderlys with the wood to build a fleet for Robb.

I mean, there are a lot of places - castles, towns, villages, etc. especially in the Riverlands - that never made it on any maps, never mind that they are of considerable significance for the plot of the novels.

Not even TWoIaF or TLoIaF rectified that issue, sadly.

And when we cut down to the chase of the men then it might be that the Umbers chose to send more of their woodsfolk to Robb while keeping their farmers behind to bring in what crops they had still on the fields.

We have no reason to believe - especially in the North where the armies were marshaled very quickly - that the various lords recruited men in a way to allow us to make representative guesstimates on the profession of the men that joined the armies.

4 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

There's good farmland even beyond the wall. Varamyr became his own masterly house with a dozen villages "sworn" to him. Villages with orchards and fields.

That isn't 'good farmland' by Westerosi standards, it is just land where people barely survive in huts and hovels. The Valley of the Thenns seems to be somewhat miraculously fertile when compared to the average land north of the Wall but even that land can likely not compete with really fertile land in Westeros.

The farther north we go, the longer winter has the lands in its grip, and the lesser rewards any lands is going to give you when you compare it to land in the south (where winter's teeth are not felt as strongly - or not at all). 

Even if we assume that the lands in the northern reaches of Westeros were as fertile as those in the south when we look at the fertility of the soil, etc. then there is still the issue of the summer snows and the longer, crueler winters.

In the Reach, Dorne, the Vale, the Riverlands, and the West people might already bring in their first or second harvest while the North is still in winter's grip (either in spring or still in winter which isn't all that wintery in those regions), while they might also reap some more harvests in autumn while autumn storms (like the one that has hit Stannis and Roose right now) destroy all the crops left on the fields in the North.

All that has effects on the quality of the food and the heath, life expectancy and quality of the population up in the northern regions.

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9 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

That ignores the orchard that's a few hundred feet away from where Jojen says that and that the land was enough to support Queenscrown, an inn, and a village, all of which feasted a queen of the realm (and her dragon)

Jojen claims that this? that is was this land and this land alone that fed the Queen's entourage? Seems an obscure thing for the singers and the storytellers of the realm to focus on, but if that is what you think who am I to convince you otherwise.  Seems odd that the realm still sends so much food north. 

There are orchids in the Yukon, but that does not mean I would necessarily say that it was good farmland but then that is because I am English and it is all relative. What would be classed as good farmland to someone in the neck is going to be vastly different to someone on the red fork. 

All I am pointing out is that a teenager born and raised in a swamp may well not be the most reliable judge of what is 'good' farmland. No idea how that is so controversial, but that seems to be where we are. 

9 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

 but that doesn't mean it's unproductive.

well no shit, has anyone claimed that it was? 

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2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Jojen claims that this? that is was this land and this land alone that fed the Queen's entourage? Seems an obscure thing for the singers and the storytellers of the realm to focus on, but if that is what you think who am I to convince you otherwise.  Seems odd that the realm still sends so much food north. 

No. Never said that, implied that, or even thought that. Your deflection is awful, is is the norm. 

The realm has sent food north once during a six year winter. Once in 300 years of Targ/Baratheon rule.  No doubt, they listed it on the shipping manifest as "so much food." They probably sent it to the petty, non-lord lords. 

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

There are orchids in the Yukon, but that does not mean I would necessarily say that it was good farmland but then that is because I am English and it is all relative. What would be classed as good farmland to someone in the neck is going to be vastly different to someone on the red fork. 

Orchids are flowers, not fruit bearing trees. That's an entirely irrelevant thing to toss in. The land can support a village, inn, towerhouse. It's clearly not bad land.

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

All I am pointing out is that a teenager born and raised in a swamp may well not be the most reliable judge of what is 'good' farmland. No idea how that is so controversial, but that seems to be where we are. 

You were clearly trying to paint it in a light of "it's not good land." Or just trying to shit on a character, which I guess, good for you?

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

well no shit, has anyone claimed that it was? 

In this thread, no. Others, yes.

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4 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

No. Never said that, implied that, or even thought that. Your deflection is awful, is is the norm. 

Not a deflection. how on earth do you come to the conclusion that was a deflection?  A deflection would be me ignoring your point or sidestepping it completely rather than examining what you actually said.

 Jojen was born and raised in a swamp, pointing out that he is not a great judge of character on farmland is a pertinent point, is it not? 

Quote

The realm has sent food north once during a six year winter.

you really think that is the only time? how have you been a member of this forum for so long and came to a conclusion over something like this. the lords of the realm regularly send food and the watch regularly ask for more, the Watch is a service funded by the rest of the realm, it is not self sufficient

"It was a long summer. The harvests were bountiful, the lords generous. We had enough laid by to see us through three years of winter. Four, with a bit of scrimping. 

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

"If it please my lord, what would you have of King Renly?"
"The same things I'd have of all of them, lad. Men, horses, swords, armor, grain, cheese, wine, wool, nails . . . the Night's Watch is not proud, we take what is offered."
 
 
we also know they are reliant on buying in food
 
"Dareon, I am told that you sang at many a high lord's table and shared their meat and mead. We are sending you to Eastwatch. It may be your palate will be some help to Cotter Pyke when merchant galleys come trading. We are paying too dear for salt beef and pickled fish, and the quality of the olive oil we're getting has been frightful.
 
 
 
Quote

 

Once in 300 years of Targ/Baratheon rule.

sure, once in 300 years

" In winters past, food could be brought up the kingsroad from the south, but with the war … it is still autumn, I know, but I would advise we go on winter rations nonetheless, if it please my lord."

 

Quote

Orchids are flowers, not fruit bearing trees. That's an entirely irrelevant thing to toss in. The land can support a village, inn, towerhouse. It's clearly not bad land.

it is also not good land. 

Quote

You were clearly trying to paint it in a light of "it's not good land."

it is not. 

Quote

 

Or just trying to shit on a character, which I guess, good for you?

how is pointing out that the teenage jojen was born and raised in a swamp a shitty thing to do? 

how precious are you being to try and paint this as something sinister? 

honestly, I have heard some dumb SJW arguments in my time but to see someone get offended on behalf of a fictional character because someone pointed out they were born and raised in a swamp and may not be a great authority on what is and is not good farmland may be the dumbest ever. well done! 

Quote

In this thread, no. Others, yes.

ah, so rather than reply to them you have chosen to reply to me. that is good of you. 

Edited by Bernie Mac

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Queenscrown never feasted Queen Alysanne and her entire entourage. She flew to the Wall on her dragon, and you don't carry an entourage on your dragon.

It wasn't even part of the New Gift back then, because the New Gift wasn't yet made. But those lands up there aren't 'good farmland' if you compare them to good Westerosi farmland. That's in the Reach and the Vale and the West and the Riverlands.

Apparently, those lands weren't worth it to stay there and fight for them when the strength of the NW declined. Really 'good farmland' should allow you to produce a surplus to multiply your numbers and to build up the strength to fight off some savages who try to steal your women and your winter provisions, no?

It is a merit point that Jojen Reed cannot be an expert on the quality of farmland, considering the circumstances he lives in and the fact that he first left the Neck when he went to Winterfell.

But we can extend this to most of nobility, of course. When it comes to judging farmlands then the average lord should have pretty much no clue what this means. They rule the land, they do not work it, nor do they learn how to work it as far as we know.

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5 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

*snip*

I was referring to the North, not the Wall itself. Sending food north is, again, vague.

The Wall itself can't really be self-sustaining if their peasants are long gone to the Umber lands. The Watch itself might have been self-sufficient and received gifts on top of that, which makes sense in the light that it used to be an honor to serve in the NW.

5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Queenscrown never feasted Queen Alysanne and her entire entourage. She flew to the Wall on her dragon, and you don't carry an entourage on your dragon.

You'll note I didn't include entourage. She stayed overnight at Queen's Crown. Do you really think they didn't feed her and the dragon?

:rolleyes:

5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It wasn't even part of the New Gift back then, because the New Gift wasn't yet made. But those lands up there aren't 'good farmland' if you compare them to good Westerosi farmland. That's in the Reach and the Vale and the West and the Riverlands.

Apparently, those lands weren't worth it to stay there and fight for them when the strength of the NW declined. Really 'good farmland' should allow you to produce a surplus to multiply your numbers and to build up the strength to fight off some savages who try to steal your women and your winter provisions, no?

Not really.  Bands of wilding raiders attacking in the dead of night, stealing women and killing people kind of harms of a small community. Clearly that wasn't happening pre-new Gift. 

5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It is a merit point that Jojen Reed cannot be an expert on the quality of farmland, considering the circumstances he lives in and the fact that he first left the Neck when he went to Winterfell.

But we can extend this to most of nobility, of course. When it comes to judging farmlands then the average lord should have pretty much no clue what this means. They rule the land, they do not work it, nor do they learn how to work it as far as we know.

I could care less what Jojen says. 

I just see villages hundreds of miles north of Queenscrown that produce enough grain and fruit/vegetables to store for the long winters and have enough extra they can ferment/brew alcohol.  This is all without the benefit of iron farm tools. 

If arable land that can produce excess food for its population *isn't* good land with stone age tools, then I bow to my agricultural overlords. 

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23 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

War axes are generally one handed versus a two-handed wood axe. Anyone use to physical work with their arms qualifies under that criteria.

And the "spearmen can be any type of infantry" is not something I really buy. When we get descriptions of soldiers in groups, they are usually marked out by their weapons. When we see infantry generally described, it's called foot. 

Quote

 

The rest was only haggling.

A swollen red sun hung low against the western hills when the gates of the castle opened. The drawbridge creaked down, the portcullis winched up, and Lady Catelyn Stark rode forth to rejoin her son and his lords bannermen. Behind her came Ser Jared Frey, Ser Hosteen Frey, Ser Danwell Frey, and Lord Walder's bastard son Ronel Rivers, leading a long column of pikemen, rank on rank of shuffling men in blue steel ringmail and silvery grey cloaks.

Robb galloped out to meet her, with Grey Wind racing beside his stallion. "It's done," she told him. "Lord Walder will grant you your crossing. His swords are yours as well, less four hundred he means to keep back to hold the Twins. I suggest that you leave four hundred of your own, a mixed force of archers and swordsmen. He can scarcely object to an offer to augment his garrison … but make certain you give the command to a man you can trust. Lord Walder may need help keeping faith."

Bolding doesn't work for some reason; Long column of pikemen. 

His swords less four hundred.

Quote

Farther back came the baggage train—lumbering wayns laden with provisions and loot taken in the war, and carts crowded with wounded men and cripples. And at the rear, more Freys. At least a thousand, maybe more: bowmen, spearmen, peasants armed with scythes and sharpened sticks, freeriders and mounted archers, and another hundred knights to stiffen them.

Bowmen, spearmen, mounted archers...

 

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8 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

You'll note I didn't include entourage. She stayed overnight at Queen's Crown. Do you really think they didn't feed her and the dragon?

She likely ate something. Silverwing might not necessarily be dependent on humans to provide her with food. Especially not in the North.

8 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Not really.  Bands of wilding raiders attacking in the dead of night, stealing women and killing people kind of harms of a small community. Clearly that wasn't happening pre-new Gift. 

The whole thing was a process of slow decline - the weaker the NW, the more endangered is the North. The Umbers and clansmen can't protect their smallfolk from raiders, either.

A truly fertile land would quickly allow the people working it to spread through the North like men spread through the Reach. But that never happened. The North is weak because the people spread out and thus unable to defend themselves against savages with ridiculous weapons and armor.

Either they are too stupid to build strong and fortified towns or keeps in the lands close to the Wall, or they lack the means - and some of those means would be resources in food and people to do the work. If the population of the Gifts lived, of the most part, in fortified market towns like Stoney Sept the wildlings would be no real threat to them (unless they came by the thousands).

8 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

I just see villages hundreds of miles north of Queenscrown that produce enough grain and fruit/vegetables to store for the long winters and have enough extra they can ferment/brew alcohol.  This is all without the benefit of iron farm tools. 

If arable land that can produce excess food for its population *isn't* good land with stone age tools, then I bow to my agricultural overlords. 

I guess you have to wait and see what winter does to the wildlings, no? And the North. We have yet to see that. Summer is a thing beyond the Wall, too. But long winters are likely routinely cutting the population up there in half, or reducing it even more.

Fertile lands in Westeros wouldn't be lands where people can only live (barely) in summer. It would be those lands on which people can also thrive in winter. And those lands simply aren't in the North.

Living in the northern reaches of Westeros means you basically play Russian Roulette with your own life, considering that every winter could be longer and crueler than the provisions you and your village can get from the land you live allow you to survive. And you know this.

But down in the Reach surviving winter doesn't pose even remotely the same kind of problem.

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On 6/20/2018 at 11:39 PM, Corvo the Crow said:

@direpupy

Royces does seem to have more than two branches.

Seeing how long they have been around there should be many of lesser branches i never said there weren't  but Lordly branches so far we have only seen two.

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On 6/18/2018 at 4:20 PM, Corvo the Crow said:

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.

The point was not so much the garrison, but the lack of mention of any land attached to the gift. so no he was already a Lord and is just happy because of the prestige. because there is nothing else to be happy about in this gift of a castle without lands to come with it.

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6 hours ago, direpupy said:

The point was not so much the garrison, but the lack of mention of any land attached to the gift. so no he was already a Lord and is just happy because of the prestige. because there is nothing else to be happy about in this gift of a castle without lands to come with it.

 But as I said, a castle with no lands is a poisonous gift. Even some of the better off lords have only small keeps or towerhouses.

Retaining the Stewardship is prestige enough. And then there's this

Quote

A Feast for Crows - Sansa I

Sansa hesitated a moment. "You gave Lord Nestor the Gates of the Moon to be certain of his support."

"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. He wants more for his son. Men of honor will do things for their children that they would never consider doing for themselves."

She nodded. "The signature . . . you might have had Lord Robert put his hand and seal to it, but instead . . ."

So it's not just a case of castle is prestige.

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