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Foot_Of_The_King

Does anyone find the existence Mountain Clans of the Vale odd?

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On 9/20/2018 at 8:35 PM, Foot_Of_The_King said:

I honestly think if GRRM knew the full scope of what the series would eventually become, he would’ve altered or omitted the Mountain clans. It’s not that I don’t enjoy their contributions to the story. It’s just that it seems very “out of place” that  in the middle of Westeros, there is a small nation of people who do not fallunder any sort of subjugation of the Crown or any great/lesser lord (and as far as I know never have). When you compare them with the “free folk” we meet later in the series, it just seems odder to me that the Clans were included at all. Like I said, I chalk it up to it being the first book.

Read up on the history of Vietnam and Afghanistan before you write about how an isolated population should have been subjugated by a ruling power

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On 9/20/2018 at 11:35 PM, Foot_Of_The_King said:

I honestly think if GRRM knew the full scope of what the series would eventually become, he would’ve altered or omitted the Mountain clans. It’s not that I don’t enjoy their contributions to the story. It’s just that it seems very “out of place” that  in the middle of Westeros, there is a small nation of people who do not fallunder any sort of subjugation of the Crown or any great/lesser lord (and as far as I know never have). When you compare them with the “free folk” we meet later in the series, it just seems odder to me that the Clans were included at all. Like I said, I chalk it up to it being the first book.

Sorry I couldn’t articulate this as well as I would have liked, but does anyone else understand what I’m trying to say?

This  is pretty silly.  First off, given the quality of medieval logistics, it would be nearly impossible to eradicate the Mountain Clans.  Look at the repeated English interventions in Wales.  While they're there, they succeed, but medieval rulers cannot keep standing armies in the field and the Welsh always retreated into deep forests or the mountains, only to re-emerge when the English leave.  Why the clans should be any different is beyond me.

The clans have nothing of value and are likely poor pastoral people; the effort needed to subjugate them would be prohibitively expensive.  The Arryns patrol the mountain passes to protect them, and that is that.  I think the burden of proof lies on you to explain why it should be any other way.  Why doesn't the Crown conquer the wildlings?  Because it's expensive and there is nothing up there worth conquering.  Ditto the Mountain Clans.

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On 9/21/2018 at 9:18 AM, Curled Finger said:

the threat of cutting off manhood and feeding it to goats. 

Reminds me of Black Goat worship

Quote

One truth remains undisputed, however: The dark god of Qohor, the deity known as the Black Goat, demands daily blood sacrifice. Calves, bullocks, and horses are the animals most often brought before the Black Goat's altars, but on holy days condemned criminals go beneath the knives of his cowled priests, and in times of danger and crisis it is written that the high nobles of the city offer up their own children to placate the god, that he might defend the city.

 . . .

"No man who serves with Vargo Hoat is a stranger to stumps. He makes them wherever he goes."

(fyi, "vargus" means "bandit" and "hote" means "to command")

 

Also, I think the names of the clans are some kind of coded message.

Black Ears--"The Black Ears take the ears of men they defeat in battle as trophie"--they celebrate human mutilation.  A Black Goat would have Black Ears. 

"You did for Vargo with that bite, you know. His ear turned black and started leaking pus. . . . We heard the Mountain killed him piece by piece. A hand one day, a foot the next, lopped off neat and clean. They bandaged up the stumps so Hoat didn't die. He was saving his cock for last, but some bird called him to King's Landing, so he finished it and rode off."

Could also be a reference to frost bite on ears? 

 

Burned Men--"Every clan in the Mountains of the Moon feared the Burned Men, who mortified their flesh with fire to prove their courage and (the others said) roasted babies at their feasts.  And even the other Burned Men feared Timett, who had put out his own left eye with a white-hot knife when he reached the age of manhood. Tyrion gathered that it was more customary for a boy to burn off a nipple, a finger, or (if he was truly brave, or truly mad) an ear. Timett's fellow Burned Men were so awed by his choice of an eye that they promptly named him a red hand, which seemed to be some sort of a war chief."

weirwood leaves are red hands, Timett has Odin symbolism like Bloodraven, they maybe burn babies.

"Amongst the Burned Men, a youth must give some part of his body to the fire to prove his courage before he can be deemed a man. This practice might have originated in the years after the Dance of the Dragons, some maesters believe, when an offshoot clan of the Painted Dogs were said to have worshipped a fire-witch in the mountains, sending their boys to bring her gifts and risk the flames of the dragon she commanded to prove their manhood.

The burned body parts is similar to Varys' junk getting burned for sorcery, and the Unsullied burning their junk to appease their god the "Lady of Spears/Mother of Hosts." 

This a just a coincidence but the Summer Islanders from Walano are described as "demons with skins burned black by the fires of hell" who have "enormous Talking Trees, on the trunks of which is recorded the entire history of the Summer Islanders"  

 

Howlers--wind and wolves both howl?

 

Milk Snakes--"Bran saw great white snakes slithering in and out of the earth around him, and his heart thumped in fear. He wondered if they had blundered into a nest of milk snakes or giant grave worms," Milk snakes are weirwood roots.

 

Moon Brothers--could be a reference to there having been two moons, or direwolves howling at the moon: "before long the moon will rise and my brother will sing to it"

" Harlon the Hunter and Herndon of the Horn, twin brothers who built their castle atop Horn Hill and took to wife the beautiful woods witch who dwelled there, sharing her favors for a hundred years (for the brothers did not age so long as they embraced her whenever the moon was full)."  Sounds kinda like two brothers joined the weirwood network and did not age.

"Jonos sent his brother flying out the Moon Door to his death"  Foreshadowing brother on brother violence?

 

Painted Dogs--"were said to have worshiped a fire-witch in the mountains, sending their boys to bring her gifts and risk the flames of the dragon she commanded to prove their manhood."  R'hllor worship.

There are several real-world myths about painted dogs, in one of them shaman can warg painted dogs.

 

Redsmiths--"the red wanderer that septons preached was sacred to their Smith

 

Sons of the Mist--"A man can fight the dead, but when their masters come, when the white mists rise up … how do you fight a mist, crow?"  The white walkers are the mist, sons of the mist would be the undead army.

 

Sons of the Tree--sons of the weirwood tree?

 

Stone Crows--???  Night's watch gets greyscale?  In Jojen's dreams, Bran was a crow with stone chains?

 

Weirwood worship, sons of the Others, R'hllor worship, Worship of the Seven, blood sacrifice (possibly to the Black Goat), ritualized mutilation, Odin symbolism, possible warging, all under the umbrella of "Mountain Clans," some of them have feuds and some of them have kinship, but they are all essentially one people.  I think this is another hint that there is really only one magical entity in the books, and it is the weirwood.

Edited by By Odin's Beard

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On 9/22/2018 at 8:54 AM, Back door hodor said:

To add another that we do encounter: the orphans of the greenblood, who live on the river and the planky town and preserve the rhyonish culture and language....they do however seem to accept (at least nominally) the rule of the prince of dorne 

Indeed. They are another case. I don't find a contradiction between accepting the rule of Sunspear and still adhering to their own culture. It happens in our world too.

 

 

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On 9/21/2018 at 6:54 PM, Legitimate_Bastard said:

I don't find it weird either. There is something about mountains. Look at the Taliban in Afghanistan - the Afghans in general at least as far back as the British invasion have successfully held out in the safety of the mountains. That is one historical example, I am sure there are more.

The topography and the general absence of anything worth committing the men and resources it would take to conquer are why the Mountains Clans still exist, in my humble opinion.

Yes, Afghanistan also came to my mind as a extreme and similar example. But even in the urban landscape of western cities you have people (for different reasons) that still follow their customs. For example, they tell me that arrange marriages are still a thing in Chinese and other east Asian communities even decades after they settled in the respective countries.

 

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On 9/21/2018 at 5:30 PM, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

Also, the Northern Mountain Clans. The Iron Islands, the Sisters and Cracklaw Point are arguably similar pockets of primitivism if you want to stretch it a bit.

Indeed. These are places where the social order should be somewhat different to the centers of power. Where lordship has a different meaning. We see how the Mountain Clans chiefs are the equivalent to petty lords, however they don't use that name.

And the Iron Island, where having a ship makes you a king on that ship, as important socially as to hold lands.

The fisherfolk of the Shields should also be somewhat different that the rest of the Reach. The lords there were raised recently. The people of the Three Sisters also come to my mind.

 

On 9/21/2018 at 5:30 PM, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

That made me chuckle.

In all seriousness, throughout history there have been plenty of places that have been nominally "ruled" but largely left to their own devices, particularly in mountainous areas.

qft

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On 9/21/2018 at 5:08 PM, SirArthur said:

No. If you pay close attention to the story, you will find that the Kingdom was called "Kingdom of the Mountain and the Vale". It's a double kingdom of the vale and the mountain. And it is established as early as the first book. 

"I might have expected that," Catelyn said. Small wonder there; Lysa was still young, and the kingdom of Mountain and Vale made a handsome wedding gift. "Will Lysa take another husband?" A Game of Thrones - Catelyn VI

In comparison to that, the Lord Protector is called "Lord Protector of the Vale". Now I do not know if this is a mistake in the books, however I think we can somehow conclude that the mountain clans belong to the kingdom of the mountain. My best bet is that the name was kept after Aegon's conquest, but the Lord is actually only from the Vale. :dunno:

The Giant's Lance (where the Eyrie is located) is a bigass mountain 

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On ‎9‎/‎24‎/‎2018 at 7:02 PM, YOVMO said:

Being armed by the lannisters surely changes the game so I will leave that out.

 

It is, I believe, mentioned that the mountain clans had become a lot more dangerous with the death of John Arryn. It has been a while so please correct me if i am wrong but the general presence of the knights of the vale in the normal routine. With Sweet Robin as Lord of the vale and dingbat running day to day operations the mountain clans were getting much more bold...in a way that had been gone from the world for long enough that I imagine people had long forgot about it.

 

As for the west virgina hicks, i've seen deliverance.

 

A couple of other ideas...just spitballin' ya know...

They might have been left there as a defensive method. Certainly the mountain clans posed no threat in breaching the bloody gate. Any army that was camped outside the bloody gate might have to contend with that?

The other thought is that as first men descendants there might have to do with the founding of house arryn. again, pure conjecture. After the first men being led by King Robar II lost to the Andals being lead by Artys Arryn they were given the option to bend the knee. Many did and King Artys pardoned them. This is seen to this day with powerful vale houses like houses royce and corbray lesser vale houses like house belmore.

The first men who did not take the knee were forced into the mountains of the moon. No specifics on this, but at the end of the war it is clear that Artys would have had the option to execute the first men that didn't take the knee rather than banishing them.

That house Arryn is such an honor bound family (As High as Honor) it could very well be the case that Artys Arryn banished but did not slaughter the ancestors of the current mountain clansmen as a promise to the ones who did take the knee and the lord of the vale to this day honors that promise...whether to maintain honor or politically because of the prickly nature of first men houses and the nature of ethnic politics in the vale or both

I don't think any of the First Men houses are so attached to the mountain clansmen, especially since they have been fully assimilated into Andal society.

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7 hours ago, Giant Ice Spider said:

I don't think any of the First Men houses are so attached to the mountain clansmen, especially since they have been fully assimilated into Andal society.

This is very likely so. However, if Artys Arryn made a vow to Robar II Royce that the first men who did not bend the knee would be banished to the mountains of the moon rather than slaughtered I can see the Arryn's, honor bound as they are, upholding that vow and the Royce's, as prickly as they can be, feeling slighted if it were broken (especially if it was a condition of the surrender).

That said, it could be very much as people said above...an analogy to taliban...where in the wild mountains it just isn't as easy as people think to rid a nomadic tribal people....but I feel there is more at play and there are only so many possibilities. The Arryn's keeping faith to a centuries old vow is just as liekly as any other.

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As many posters have stated, mountains are tough and the people that live there: tougher. So long as they're not attacking, it's wise to leave them be. If/when the Vale have a new Lord with some renown, they'll likely back off.

I think George is using them as a pretty good plot device. Their presence in aGoT is significant for Catelyn, and Tyrion especially. And ultimately, as other posters have pointed out, they'll probably become more significant during winter. The LN is a first-man gig. In First Men culture, they pass down tales and legends which should give these people a better understanding on how to behave at such a time. The Andals by comparison have little to no understanding of the LN. I don't think they believe in any of the First Men legends simply because they weren't around in Westeros during the time. So I'm fully expecting the Mountain clans, both north and south to take centre stage during winter. 

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On 9/24/2018 at 2:02 PM, YOVMO said:

As for the west virgina hicks, i've seen deliverance.

Okey, I am Virginia born. When traveling the continental USA there are places I take the long route around.

While living in Wash, DC or visiting Baltimore, MD I did not venture into risky areas.

NYC, I was on a well guided tour.

As an American citizen traveling and living abroad I paid attention to warnings.

As a passenger aboard a cruise ship I didn't venture out of the safety confines of the itinerary.

In ASOIAF the Vale clans were a necessity for Tyrion. If someone can refresh me memory have the Vale mountain clans been relevant since SoS?

Are the Vale mountain clans going to be relevant again in WoW? Are they gonna show up at the tourney LF has set Sansa to organizing?

 

Edit: For some reason your joke plucked my nerve. That film is without a doubt one of the best films of male attitude.  What a man will do to another man is a shallow exhibition of what a man will do to a female.

Edited by Clegane'sPup

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On 9/24/2018 at 9:59 PM, By Odin's Beard said:

Reminds me of Black Goat worship

(fyi, "vargus" means "bandit" and "hote" means "to command")

 

Yep.  Me, too.

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I think the reason they still exist and why the Vale lords tolerate their existence is because the lands they inhabit (mostly the Mountains of the Moon) are treacherous terrain which not only are not so valuable but also maybe expensive for them to have soldiers station there to patrol that area themselves. So instead its just cheaper to leave some barbaric raiders in the area to act as a kind of buffer to attack anybody that tries to trek through the mountains uninvited. Now the main problem with this plan is the fact that outsiders can still win over the Mountain Clans to fight for them like Tyrion had done.

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17 hours ago, Clegane'sPup said:

Okey, I am Virginia born. When traveling the continental USA there are places I take the long route around.

While living in Wash, DC or visiting Baltimore, MD I did not venture into risky areas.

I have never been to DC or Baltimore, but I would imagine this would be necessary.

17 hours ago, Clegane'sPup said:

NYC, I was on a well guided tour.

As an American citizen traveling and living abroad I paid attention to warnings.

Of course. The question, as pertains to the story, tongue and cheek aside, is why the knights of the vale don't just clear out the mountians of the moon. It owuld be a lot easier for a military force to clear out DC than a rough mountainous area with nomadic clans.

17 hours ago, Clegane'sPup said:

As a passenger aboard a cruise ship I didn't venture out of the safety confines of the itinerary.

In ASOIAF the Vale clans were a necessity for Tyrion. If someone can refresh me memory have the Vale mountain clans been relevant since SoS?

Relevance, of course, is always hard to point out. Directly? No. But clans of first men living in the mountains of the moon will play some role in the war to come i believe....to be fair the knights of the vale haven't played much of a role yet either.

17 hours ago, Clegane'sPup said:

Are the Vale mountain clans going to be relevant again in WoW? Are they gonna show up at the tourney LF has set Sansa to organizing?

I gotta be honest, I don't believe we will ever see WoW but if we did I think they will. I think that all first men ancestors living in westeros will somehow be relevant when the war comes.

17 hours ago, Clegane'sPup said:

 

Edit: For some reason your joke plucked my nerve. That film is without a doubt one of the best films of male attitude.  What a man will do to another man is a shallow exhibition of what a man will do to a female.

I certainly didn't mean to pluck a nerve. My humor can be off putting I admit. Apologies all around. As to the nature of man I must confess I am out of my element.

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6 hours ago, YOVMO said:

tongue and cheek aside, is why the knights of the vale don't just clear out the mountians of the moon.

Cat gives her view of the Vale clans below. I also think that Cat's quote explains why the Vale Lords did not seek to rid themselves of the clans.

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn V    Yet the mountain road was perilous. Shadowcats prowled those passes, rock slides were common, and the mountain clans were lawless brigands, descending from the heights to rob and kill and melting away like snow whenever the knights rode out from the Vale in search of them. Even Jon Arryn, as great a lord as any the Eyrie had ever known, had always traveled in strength when he crossed the mountains./

 

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On 9/27/2018 at 5:33 PM, Clegane'sPup said:

Cat gives her view of the Vale clans below. I also think that Cat's quote explains why the Vale Lords did not seek to rid themselves of the clans.

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn V    Yet the mountain road was perilous. Shadowcats prowled those passes, rock slides were common, and the mountain clans were lawless brigands, descending from the heights to rob and kill and melting away like snow whenever the knights rode out from the Vale in search of them. Even Jon Arryn, as great a lord as any the Eyrie had ever known, had always traveled in strength when he crossed the mountains./

 

Yeah - they were a pain, with no gain.

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