Jump to content
thi4f

Robb council in Riverrun - who had the best ideas

Recommended Posts

I've reread penultimate chapter of AGOT (Catelyn XI), notable for seeing Edmure & Hoster Tully for the first time and proclaiming Robb Stark "King in the North".

Most readers agree that Robb's crowning turned out to be a bad decision. In my opinion that was the right moment to reset their goals, discuss the matter with Northern lords and proceed with agreed upon strategy. Crowning Robb only antagonized potential allies and did nothing to achieve Stark's objectives, but I digress.

In this chapter we have multiple ideas on "what is our next step" after Green Fork, Whispering Wood and Battle of the Camps. My question is: who had the most beneficial ideas (for Northern/Riverlands cause)? Here is a brief list, going from my memory:

  • attacking Casterly Rock with tempo (Marq Piper)
  • cutting off Tywin supply lines from Westerlands, resting troops at the same time (Jason Mallister)
  • going after Tywin in Harrenhal to "get the job done", ordering Roose Bolton's army to help (Tytos Blackwood)
  • pay tribute to Renly Baratheon in hopes of creating unbeatable alliance, going south to join his armies (Jonos Bracken)
  • making a decision only after winner between Renly & Joffrey is known, negotating temporary ceasefire with Tywin (Stevron Frey
  • making peace with Tywin, exchanging girls for Jaime, coming back North to mourn and prepare (Catelyn Tully)

These are the main options, but if you wish, you can vote for allying with Stannis (Robb Stark and Maege Mormont reminded everyone that Stannis comes before Renly) or you can join the KING IN THE NORTH! chants (Greatjon Umber and Rickard Karstark).

Not all these plans are mutually exclusive so you can come up with your own variation, too. I'm not making a poll, but I'd love to hear your arguments :)

Edited by thi4f

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont remember Lady Stark suggesting giving up and going home to mourn and prepare for winter but if she did Robb should have chosen that option in hind sight. BUT in Robbs shoes I would have humblely declined Great Jons and others chants of KITN and reminded them Ned Stark his father would have supported Stannis the rightful king of Westeros, then immediatly linked up with Stannis shadow baby Renly the Reach might even stay with Stannis if he can set aside selyse for Margery. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem for Robb at that point was that he had really poor options for allies:

-Stannis is the rightful heir but is breaking with longstanding traditions of religious tolerance by allowing Melisandre and her fellow followers of the Red God to burn Septs and Godwoods. Also he seems to lack any skill at diplomacy with his "the law is x so that and only that is going to happen". Keeping your bannermen happy while siding with a man like that is going to be hard.

-Renly is a usurper without any sort of justification for trying to bypass Stannis claim. That alone might make it hard for Bannermen who valued and respected Honorable Ned Stark to approve of siding Renly. Not to mention he seems pretty bad at actually fighting the war as he seemed so sure of victory that he was more focused on a PR campaign. (Also he need better magic resistance)

-Doran is on the wrong end of the continent and seems unwilling to got to war. Until his plan comes to fruition, at least. Even if they wanted to work together Doran can't really get to Robb without marching through some combination of the Reach, Stormland, Crownlands or Westerland. Seems to me like the locals would mind that.

-Balon was a natural fit IMHO but apparently Ned Stark is the source of all evil to Balon so that didn't turn out great.

-Dany is on the wrong continent breaking all the eggs to make an omelet so she's out.

-Lysa is a headcase and doesn't seem to value any kin besides Sweet Robin and Baelish.

-Tywin and the Lannisters have done to much to House Stark and the Riverlands to just sweep under the rugg. That said they'd be formidable if the North, Crownlands, Riverlands and Westerlands was on the same side.

So dragging the war in the south out any longer seems like a bad idea without any allies to guard at-least one of their flanks.

It'd be risky but trying to break the Lannisters by capturing Tywin might be the best way to end Northern and Riverlands involvement in the war. Swap Tywin for Sansa and some Lannister hostages if they can hagle their way to them. Then remain neutral in the south for the foreseeable future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Stormking902 said:

I would have humblely declined Great Jons and others chants of KITN and reminded them Ned Stark his father would have supported Stannis the rightful king of Westeros, then immediatly linked up with Stannis shadow baby Renly the Reach might even stay with Stannis if he can set aside selyse for Margery. 

IMHO the Stannis-Selyse match is set by this point. The best House Tyrell can hope for is for a Tyrell to marry Shireen and act as a King-consort to a future Queen Selyse.

Like I said in my post Stannis has the best claim but his personality and seemingly being under the influence of Melisandre means he isn't that likable and would probably make for a bad King. You can't negotiate with him so the Starks are unlikely to get much out of siding with him, other than dead Lannisters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Ylath's Snout said:

IMHO the Stannis-Selyse match is set by this point. The best House Tyrell can hope for is for a Tyrell to marry Shireen and act as a King-consort to a future Queen Selyse.

Like I said in my post Stannis has the best claim but his personality and seemingly being under the influence of Melisandre means he isn't that likable and would probably make for a bad King. You can't negotiate with him so the Starks are unlikely to get much out of siding with him, other than dead Lannisters.

At the time of the meeting mentioned in the OP, Stannis has not made his claim yet. If his letter had arrived at Riverrun before all the KITN businesses, things would have been very different. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Foot_Of_The_King said:

Stannis has not made his claim yet. If his letter had arrived at Riverrun before all the KITN businesses, things would have been very different. 

Why do you think so? I legit wanna know was Stannis seems like a pretty unappealing ally at that point in the story.

Edited by Ylath's Snout

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Legitimate_Bastard said:

The King in the North plan was going to work, if Robb could just have kept his agreement with the Freys. Shame.

Well I have to say no, because he made claims on the Riverlands as well. So his southern border is a huge hard to defend bulge instead of the easy peasy to defend Neck.

To keep all that land safe he would have take castles in bottlenecks like the Gold Tooth. By that point Robb is taking out a huge chunk of the Seven Kingdoms. So anyone fighting for the Iron Throne has to take Robb down or rule a incredibly weakend realm.

He might not want to admit it but by claiming the Riverlands he is going to have to go for the full enchilada and take the Iron Throne to get a lasting peace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Ylath's Snout said:

Well I have to say no, because he made claims on the Riverlands as well. So his southern border is a huge hard to defend bulge instead of the easy peasy to defend Neck.

To keep all that land safe he would have take castles in bottlenecks like the Gold Tooth. By that point Robb is taking out a huge chunk of the Seven Kingdoms. So anyone fighting for the Iron Throne has to take Robb down or rule a incredibly weakend realm.

He might not want to admit it but by claiming the Riverlands he is going to have to go for the full enchilada and take the Iron Throne to get a lasting peace.

Fair enough on the Riverlands part. But when the Red Wedding happened he was heading North to retake his homeland. That much I think he would have achieved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Ylath's Snout said:

Why do you think so? I liget wanna know was Stannis seems like a pretty unappealing ally at that point in the story.

Well you got to look at what Robb and Co knew and didn’t know at the time. The whole fire god association was not public knowledge so I don’t see that factoring into Robb’s decision (at that time.)

Also at the consul, Robb (being his father’s son) was seen wrestling with the issue of who had the “right.” He even thinks that if they kill Joff then Tommen would be next. He knew Renley didn’t belong in the conversation. If he got Stannis’s letter about the incest all the dots would begin to connect and he would have figured out why his father was executed for a traitor. 

I agree as far as military and diplomatic strength goes, Stannis was a poor option. But if he knew that Stannis had officially put forth a claim because the children of Robert’s are bastards, this would probably be enough to sway Robb. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Legitimate_Bastard said:

But when the Red Wedding happened he was heading North to retake his homeland. That much I think he would have achieved.

Yes, it seems likely that Robb would have been able to take out the Ironborn as they were incredibly overextended in the North. However that doesn't solve the situation in the south. If anything it would just make things worse by allowing the Lannisters and their allies to go ham in the Riverland again.

Robb is as much a Tully as a Stark so he can't really abandon his kin their without a pretty big backlash.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Legitimate_Bastard said:

The King in the North plan was going to work, if Robb could just have kept his agreement with the Freys. Shame.

Having the Riverlands attached as a “package deal” is what killed their hopes. Once Ned was dead, they could have fallen back to the North and simply defended their domain. They would essentially be an independent nation. But Robb’s familial connections would not allow this.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stevron's plan is one of the safer options.  He inherited his father's bold but cautious nature.  

Catelyn, if that is what she advised, is also a good option.  I don't remember this exchange but it is a good suggestion if it happened this way.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To my best knowledge:

  • Stannis hadn't made a claim to Iron Throne yet,
  • neither Robb nor Catelyn knew about the incest for sure - Robb calls Joffrey a "rightful king" as opposed to Renly "usurper", then mentions "even if we deposed Joffrey, Tommen is next in line" - and Marq Piper reply is "another Lannister, I won't ever bow to them". Despite Marq's commentary, the council took place before Stannis pushed his side of the story,
  • nobody knew Stannis was "converting to R'hllor", even Tywin - who had the information from Varys about Red Witch coming to Dragonstone, but no further details.

That's why I didn't list Stannis as a fully viable option at the time, merely as a longshot possibility. I agree with Foot of the King that IF those letters had been delivered before the Council, there'd be new opportunities.

What about other military options, not alliances?

PS. Stevron's idea was booed, and pretty much everyone disagreed with Catelyn, including Bracken, Blackwood (first time they shared an opinion?) and Blackfish. Not saying their plans were bad, but it would be hard to enforce them upon other Lords. Much harder than declining the crown minutes later.

Edited by thi4f

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Foot_Of_The_King said:

Having the Riverlands attached as a “package deal” is what killed their hopes

Well that and Lysa total breaking tradition by refusing to come to her families aid.

Tywin would be hard pressed to deal with three kingdoms fighting together in a tight family alliance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Ylath's Snout said:

Well that and Lysa total breaking tradition by refusing to come to her families aid.

Tywin would be hard pressed to deal with three kingdoms fighting together in a tight family alliance.

Very true. The Starks (rightfully so) really we’re banking on aid from the Vale. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, The Gizzard of Oz said:

Catelyn, if that is what she advised, is also a good option.  I don't remember this exchange but it is a good suggestion if it happened this way.  

She did indeed advise this.
 
"Perhaps I do not understand tactics and strategy … but I understand futility. We went to war when Lannister armies were ravaging the riverlands, and Ned was a prisoner, falsely accused of treason. We fought to defend ourselves, and to win my lord's freedom.
"Well, the one is done, and the other forever beyond our reach.  I will mourn for Ned until the end of my days, but I must think of the living. I want my daughters back, and the queen holds them still. If I must trade our four Lannisters for their two Starks, I will call that a bargain and thank the gods. I want you safe, Robb, ruling at Winterfell from your father's seat. I want you to live your life, to kiss a girl and wed a woman and father a son. I want to write an end to this. I want to go home, my lords, and weep for my husband."
Edited by Foot_Of_The_King

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Foot_Of_The_King said:
She did indeed advise this.
 
"Perhaps I do not understand tactics and strategy … but I understand futility. We went to war when Lannister armies were ravaging the riverlands, and Ned was a prisoner, falsely accused of treason. We fought to defend ourselves, and to win my lord's freedom.
"Well, the one is done, and the other forever beyond our reach.  I will mourn for Ned until the end of my days, but I must think of the living. I want my daughters back, and the queen holds them still. If I must trade our four Lannisters for their two Starks, I will call that a bargain and thank the gods. I want you safe, Robb, ruling at Winterfell from your father's seat. I want you to live your life, to kiss a girl and wed a woman and father a son. I want to write an end to this. I want to go home, my lords, and weep for my husband."

ok

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×