Jump to content
honorable men

Why would the fiscally savvy Iron Bank offer so much debt to regime that does not have the tax revenues to remotely have the ability to pay its debts?

Recommended Posts

2 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

elevating House Lannister to first among equals in the realm, displacing House Tyrell in that role.

 

House Tyrell have never been in that role. Only the Velaryons really had that role and that ended with the end of Dragons. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tywin himself pointed out that House Lannister needed to do something drastic to endear themselves to Robert despite coming late to the party. Of course he says that the killing of Rhaegar's children accomplished this, but lending to the crown could easily be part of this. He shows us with the Tyrell situation that a single marriage isn't enough to secure an alliance, when he wants to strengthen it further by marrying Cersei to Willas, on top of all the new lands and incomes he gives the house of roses.

Another important thing is that once Robert died the crown would go to Tywin's grandson, giving him greater control over Joffrey and thus the realm. Of course he wouldn't have much reason to expect to outlive Robert, unless he was in on Cersei's "plans" to remove him early, but even so House Lannister would have added leverage against the half-Lannister (but unpredictable) King Joffrey, and even perhaps Joffrey's successor. If you believe Tywin had a hand in Joffrey's murder, then this fits in nicely as with Tommen he had even greater opportunity to reshape the Kingdom's tax system to ensure that House Lannister got its money back plus interest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

House Tyrell have never been in that role. Only the Velaryons really had that role and that ended with the end of Dragons. 

The Martells had something like that going on

Share this post


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

House Tyrell have never been in that role. Only the Velaryons really had that role and that ended with the end of Dragons. 

Yeah they were. The Reach was the single strongest of the 7K under the Gardeners, with the largest army by far. And the Tyrells (+Redwynes and Hightowers) were the most powerful of the great houses, with the largest army and the largest navy. It's why the Reach was successfully raided only once that we are aware of, despite the fact that their realm is literally acres and acres of wide open countryside with virtually no natural defenses.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Hugorfonics said:

The Martells had something like that going on

Well no, not really. Aerys was left with fewer options when Steffon died, ending his search for a bride, the Martells were not his first choice and he seemed to have openly despised them. 

Just look at Aegon V, four children all betrothed to houses not one of them Martell, nor were any of his cousins, his father or three uncles married to a Martell. Three marriages in a century does not make first among equals and its clear that after Daeron II they didn't acquire any significant power at court, no Hands and as far as we know no members of the Small Council. 

36 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

Yeah they were.

No, they were not. The Tyrells have never been first amongst equals in regards to the Targs and their vassals.  I have a feeling you are misunderstanding the phrase. 

Not a single Tyrell royal marriage before the series began, or a Hand or even a member of the Small Council. There is zero indication that the Arryns, Lannisters, Starks, Baratheons or Martells thought of them as their 'betters'. 

Infact in the last three centuries their own vassals, the Hightowers, have overshadowed them, with royal marriages, plum positions like Hand and High Septon.

Even the Peakes, before their fall from grace. seemed to be a more dominant player.

 

36 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

 

The Reach was the single strongest of the 7K under the Gardeners, with the largest army by far.

Yeah, that has nothing to do with your actual claim. 

And the Reach being so strong with powerful Houses goes against what you are saying, the Tyrells remained neutral during the Dance while the Hightowers were not even united as a House during the first Blackfyre war. 

36 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

 

And the Tyrells (+Redwynes and Hightowers) were the most powerful of the great houses, with the largest army and the largest navy.

They are three separate Houses, not one.  The phrase makes zero sense if you use it like that, besides they don't always work together. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

As others pointed out, I don't think the Iron Bank is primarily concerned with getting paid back, their intention is to give Kingdoms enough rope to hang themselves with, and when they default, install a King loyal to Braavos, and have the whole world as their debt slaves. 

 

I also think he was working for the Iron Bank to bankrupt Westeros and destabilize it.

 

 

In a world where the rule of law only triumphs because of superior military force, no.  The Iron Bank cannot practically take the seven kingdoms no matter how badly they are indebted. They would have to forcefully take those lands and castles.  Which they cannot do, unless they have dragons.  

Robert's own folly is what brought down Westeros.  You can't blame this on Littlefinger.  It's bad fiscal policy by Robert and his allies that brought the kingdom to its knees.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

Honorable men this is an ungodly complex topic but I will try to answer one question at a time.  

1.  Greed.  Not too long ago in the US, many lenders started lending money to people who have little chance of paying.  High risk loans to people who want to buy houses beyond their incomes can support.  These loans were later sold to other people.  The whole system eventually collapsed and the economy suffered.

2.  Fiscal Irresponsibility.  Robert was a generous man.  I believe he lowered taxes but not the spending.  His government was running a deficit for years.  Tywin and Petyr kept the government afloat.  Tax cuts without real spending cuts.  What our presidents have been doing.  Aerys and his council had high taxes and reasonable spending.  The Aerys government was running a surplus and the treasury grew. The North feeling overtaxed was very likely one of the reasons why Rickard wanted  to remove the Targaryens.  Do you believe the high lords gave their small folk a tax decrease after Robert took office?  I don't think so.  They pocketed the difference.  Those who could use it most benefited the least.

3.  The Iron Bank is in the business of lending.  That is what they do.  Who else will borrow large sums?  Slavery in Essos is a mature business.  The three slavery cities of the bay have little need to borrow capital because they are stagnant.  They train slaves.  It is a closed economy.  I would say they are depositors.  The IB need borrowers to grow interests to pay those depositors.

4.  Government bonds are attractive because the US government have never defaulted.  China has been accused of lending money to countries that cannot pay.  The terms allows the lender to temporarily take control of lands subject to the terms in case of default.  Both sides benefit because the borrowing nation's need capital to improve their infrastructure.

The sample material from Fire and Blood supports the theory of the north suffering from poverty.  It's not a land of plenty.  So if Rickard Stark is anything like Alaric this is a good theory.  

The bank was probably as desperate to make loans as KL was at borrowing.  Banks make money from its lending business but they never counted on somebody like Cersei taking command.  That was unexpected.  I don't think they have a particular liking for Stannis but he is their only option at the moment. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Wm Portnoy said:

The sample material from Fire and Blood supports the theory of the north suffering from poverty.  It's not a land of plenty.  So if Rickard Stark is anything like Alaric this is a good theory.  

The bank was probably as desperate to make loans as KL was at borrowing.  Banks make money from its lending business but they never counted on somebody like Cersei taking command.  That was unexpected.  I don't think they have a particular liking for Stannis but he is their only option at the moment. 

The great medieval banks all tended to go down after one thing, no matter how powerful- a king got used to not paying his debts, then they tolerated an era of confiscations or inappropriate "loans" as a cost of doing business. After that started, the only solace is that unlike the jews they stood a good chance of surviving the experience, even if reduced to penury. The Iron Bank is right to take this as an existential threat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Wm Portnoy said:

I don't think they have a particular liking for Stannis but he is their only option at the moment. 

Yup, they are screwed if Aegon or Dany become ruler as neither are likely to take ownership of the Baratheon's debt. They'd simply claim them as being pretenders with them having no responsibility for it. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Crown of Westeros is perfectly capable of paying back the loans; it merely chooses not to do so at this point in time.  Cersei wants to use the money for other things.  The IB's first reaction was to try to exert pressure on her through other borrowers.

The IB has ways to get its money back.  The most obvious is to support a challenger who will pay them back.  Thus the visit to Stannis.  Another means would be to take over some means of revenue generation, such as a customs house or mint.  This was something the British used to do with recalcitrant creditors in the 1800s.  Concession to extract resources are another possibility.  Trust me, the IB will find a way to get paid, if only because whoever eventually takes charge is likely to need funds, and the only way he is going to get t hem is if he makes some arrangement to apy the current debts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Wm Portnoy said:

In a world where the rule of law only triumphs because of superior military force, no.  The Iron Bank cannot practically take the seven kingdoms no matter how badly they are indebted. They would have to forcefully take those lands and castles.  Which they cannot do, unless they have dragons. 

I wasn't talking about actual conquest led by the Iron Bank, if someone defaults the Iron Bank gives support to someone there already who is willing to be more loyal to the bank.  

21 minutes ago, Nevets said:

The most obvious is to support a challenger who will pay them back.  Thus the visit to Stannis. 

Quote
When princes failed to repay the Iron Bank, new princes sprang up from nowhere and took their thrones.
As poor plump Tommen may be about to learn. No doubt the Lannisters had good reason for refusing to honor King Robert's debts, but it was folly all the same. If Stannis was not too stiff-necked to accept their terms, the Braavosi would give him all the gold and silver he required, coin enough to buy a dozen sellsword companies, to bribe a hundred lords, to keep his men paid, fed, clothed, and armed. Unless Stannis is lying dead beneath the walls of Winterfell, he may just have won the Iron Throne

Or they could just assassinate the King with a Faceless Man.

 

1 hour ago, Wm Portnoy said:

Robert's own folly is what brought down Westeros.  You can't blame this on Littlefinger.  It's bad fiscal policy by Robert and his allies that brought the kingdom to its knees.

Bad fiscal policy by Robert is exactly what I was referring to with the phrase "give them enough rope to hang themselves" if Littlefinger, Varys and the other advisors had given Robert real information and said "we're broke you can't spend any more money" then the Kingdom would not be in the position it is now.  Instead his advisors were working against him and the kingdom, and lying to him, and allowed him to beggar the kingdom and become deeply indebted to the Iron Bank.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, By Odin's Beard said:

Bad fiscal policy by Robert is exactly what I was referring to with the phrase "give them enough rope to hang themselves"

Robert's debt has zero to do with the realm being in its current position, the money was there, even after a costly year long civil war, an arrogant Queen decided to default on payment and build a brand new navy instead. Neither Littlefinger or Varys were on the Council when she came to this idiotic decision . 

18 minutes ago, By Odin's Beard said:

 

if Littlefinger, Varys and the other advisors had given Robert real information and said "we're broke you can't spend any more money" then the Kingdom would not be in the position it is now. 

They were never in such a position though, realms with huge revenues often borrow. They can afford to pay back, Westeros could afford their repayments. 

18 minutes ago, By Odin's Beard said:

 

Instead his advisors were working against him and the kingdom, and lying to him, and allowed him to beggar the kingdom and become deeply indebted to the Iron Bank.

Kings often borrow and raise the debt. Henry VII was a rare exception in rich england of leaving a flowing vault but most of his predecessors and successors did not. Westeros, managed right, could afford to live as Robert was doing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Robert's debt has zero to do with the realm being in its current position, the money was there, even after a costly year long civil war, an arrogant Queen decided to default on payment and build a brand new navy instead. Neither Littlefinger or Varys were on the Council when she came to this idiotic decision . 

If Robert had not been allowed to become indebted to a foreign power then there would not have been a debt to default on.

15 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

They were never in such a position though, realms with huge revenues often borrow. They can afford to pay back, Westeros could afford their repayments. 

Quote
[book 1] Grand Maester Pycelle looked to Littlefinger and asked, "Will the treasury bear the expense?"
"What treasury is that?" Littlefinger replied with a twist of his mouth. "Spare me the foolishness, Maester. You know as well as I that the treasury has been empty for years. I shall have to borrow the money.
 
[book3] "The treasury is empty,"  . . .
 
"Why? I have seen Littlefinger's accounts. Crown incomes are ten times higher than they were under Aerys."
"As are the crown's expenses. Robert was as generous with his coin as he was with his cock. Littlefinger borrowed heavily. From you, amongst others. Yes, the incomes are considerable, but they are barely sufficient to cover the usury on Littlefinger's loans.

It wasn't like the funding shortfall was a short-term thing under Robert, he came into office with a surplus and then got 6 million in debt, the small council were spending beyond their means for a decade with no intention of changing their behavior or paying down loans, and they would have gone further into debt until someone stopped them.  They could barely pay the interest on their loans, let alone pay them down.

 

Renly says in book 1 that under Robert all the real governance was done by the small council.

Quote

"What Lord Varys means is that all this business of coin and crops and justice bores my royal brother to tears," Lord Renly said, "so it falls to us to govern the realm. He does send us a command from time to time."

But then blames Robert for the Kingdom being deeply indebted because Robert really likes tournaments.  As if tournaments were the main cause of their debt.  I suspect that much of the missing revenue went into Petyr's pockets.

Quote

He went back to work after she left, trying to track some golden dragons through the labyrinth of Littlefinger's ledgers. Petyr Baelish had not believed in letting gold sit about and grow dusty, that was for certain, but the more Tyrion tried to make sense of his accounts the more his head hurt. It was all very well to talk of breeding dragons instead of locking them up in the treasury, but some of these ventures smelled worse than week-old fish.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Yup, they are screwed if Aegon or Dany become ruler as neither are likely to take ownership of the Baratheon's debt. They'd simply claim them as being pretenders with them having no responsibility for it. 

 

The best approach is to take the Baratheon wealth, what's left of it, and give it to the Iron Bank.  Tax the houses that rebelled.  The Lannisters required the Manderlys to pay a sum of money for their role in the rebellion.  The Baratheons, Tullys, Lannisters, and Starks should be made to pay.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Yup, they are screwed if Aegon or Dany become ruler as neither are likely to take ownership of the Baratheon's debt. They'd simply claim them as being pretenders with them having no responsibility for it. 

 

Id highly doubt any of them would be so stupid.

Both have spent most of their life in essos and are well aware of the ib power,its not an enemy anyone wants

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

If Robert had not been allowed to become indebted to a foreign power then there would not have been a debt to default on.

Yeah, I don't know what to tell you as Robert borrowing from foreign power is completely in line with the medieval world. Robert is not doing anything unusual for a real life monarch or even for a Westerosi one

Daeron's marriage to Queen Mariah. He was sent to Braavos to negotiate with the Iron Bank on several occasions, and there is record of a correspondence between him and the keyholders of the Iron Bank (sealed with his seal and signed with his name, but apparently in the hand of Elaena) regarding these negotiations.

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

In the end, it was Larra Rogare and her wealthy, ambitious family who helped break the power of the regents and, almost certainly, that of Lord Peake. It was an inadvertent role they played, however, caught up as they were in the Lyseni Spring. This was a time when the Rogare Bank waxed greater than the IronBank,

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

 In 267 AC, after a dispute with the Iron Bank of Braavos regarding certain monies borrowed by his father, he announced that he would build the largest war fleet in the history of the world "to bring the Titan to his knees."

 

Robert and his predecessors were not the only rulers to borrow from the Bank

Thus was born the Iron Bank of Braavos, whose renown (or infamy, to hear some tell it) now extends to every corner of the known world. Kings, princes, archons, triarchs, and merchants beyond count travel from the ends of the earth to seek loans from the heavily guarded vaults of the Iron Bank.

 

Medieval rulers were flush with capital (land and subjects, the most dependable capital at the time) but were not always flush with disposable income so naturally they borrowed from those who did. The merchant banks who had an overabundance of income were only too happy to put it to work and gain interest from it while in turn strengthening their influence with foreign powers. 

 

6 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

It wasn't like the funding shortfall was a short-term thing under Robert, he came into office with a surplus and then got 6 million in debt,

Over 15 years, after the end of one civil war and needing to fund a new one.  There is nothing strange in that. 

The Iron bank and other lenders were happy to lend as the rulers of the continent of Westeros are good for it. 

6 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

 

the small council were spending beyond their means for a decade with no intention of changing their behavior or paying down loans,

What are you talking about? They were constantly paying down loans, that is how loaning from banks work, there is a constant stream of repayments, it is not all due at once. 

Cersei actually had the money, she chose to spend it on a new navy and maintaining a surplus amount of Gold Cloaks

Accordingly, I have decided to defer our repayment of the sums owed the Holy Faith and the Iron Bank of Braavos until war's end." The new High Septon would doubtless wring his holy hands, and the Braavosi would squeak and squawk at her, but what of it? "The monies saved will be used for the building of our new fleet."

And it is not Littlefinger or Varys who cosign this agreement but her new council

"Your Grace is prudent," said Lord Merryweather. "This is a wise measure. And needed, until the war is done. I concur."

While Robert, and Tywin for that matter, lived there was zero issue with the debt. Had Kevan agreed to become Hand we would not see this issue

Unless a new source of coin could be found, or the Iron Bank persuaded to relent, he would have no choice but to pay the crown's debts with Lannister gold. He dare not resort to new taxes, not with the Seven Kingdoms crawling with rebellion. Half the lords in the realm could not tell taxation from tyranny, and would bolt to the nearest usurper in a heartbeat if it would save them a clipped copper

The fault is all on Cersei.  She paid for a navy that abandoned her, while armed the Faith that arrested her and insulted the bank who funded her rivals. 

 

 

6 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

 

Renly says in book 1 that under Robert all the real governance was done by the small council.

Yeah, many medieval kings were like that. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, argonak said:

Yeah its quite crazy how willing Tywin was to loan money to the Iron Throne.  What was he expecting out of that?  Joffrey, for all the ways that matter, was a Baratheon.  Even if Tywin succeeded wtih all his hands and became Hand of the King and Regent, the best he could hope for was repayment of the debt.  We never see him itching for new lands or revenues, (like maybe becoming lord of the riverlands in addition to the westerlands), so what was his plan supposed to be?

Tywin is the only person in the story that talked down to King Joffrey or put him in his place at all. From the moment he set foot in King's Landing he basically owned the place as Hand, and seemed to be acknowledged by all as the guy in charge. I'd say that was probably worth a loan. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

 

But then blames Robert for the Kingdom being deeply indebted because Robert really likes tournaments.  As if tournaments were the main cause of their debt.  I suspect that much of the missing revenue went into Petyr's pockets.

 

there are no indications that the were any missing revenue , the only thing we have seen so far is that Tyrion thinks that some of the investments "smelled worse then weeks old fish" but even at the end of ADWD there is no indication that the Iron Throne has found anything that indicates that Littlefinger was embezzling anything . 

 

12 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

 

It wasn't like the funding shortfall was a short-term thing under Robert, he came into office with a surplus and then got 6 million in debt, the small council were spending beyond their means for a decade with no intention of changing their behavior or paying down loans, and they would have gone further into debt until someone stopped them.  They could barely pay the interest on their loans, let alone pay them down.

 

 there is nothing in the books as far as i remember that indicates that the Iron Throne was having any trouble paying the interest on their loans , even after a massive  civil war the Iron Throne still  has the Iron Bank's payment ready to go  but Cersei decides to use it on a fleet of ships . Littlefinger had increased the Iron Throne's revenue 10 fold so there would be plenty of money coming in to maintain the loans as far as we can tell . 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Over 15 years, after the end of one civil war and needing to fund a new one.  There is nothing strange in that. 

That was in book 1, after 15 years of peace, before the war of 5 kings. 

Ned was aghast. "Aerys Targaryen left a treasury flowing with gold. How could you let this happen?"
 
After Robert's Rebellion the treasury was flowing with gold.  It all mysteriously disappeared and an additional 6 million were spent, as fall as we know there were no major construction projects or other big ticket items during this time.  Where did the money go?  Who was the master of coin?

 

4 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

While Robert, and Tywin for that matter, lived there was zero issue with the debt.

5 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

They were constantly paying down loans, that is how loaning from banks work, there is a constant stream of repayments, it is not all due at once. 

 
"You know as well as I that the treasury has been empty for years. I shall have to borrow the money."
 
[book3] "The treasury is empty,"  . . .
 
"Why? I have seen Littlefinger's accounts. Crown incomes are ten times higher than they were under Aerys."
"As are the crown's expenses. Robert was as generous with his coin as he was with his cock. Littlefinger borrowed heavily. From you, amongst others. Yes, the incomes are considerable, but they are barely sufficient to cover the usury on Littlefinger's loans."
 
 
Quote

Usury (/ˈjʒəri/)[1][2] is, as defined today, the practice of making unethical or immoral monetary loans that unfairly enrich the lender. Originally, usury meant interest of any kind.

Barely being able to pay the interest on your debt is a problem, it means you are rapidly approaching insolvency.  He makes no mention of paying down the principal, only the usury.

Tywin understood that if the crown was in debt to him that gave him power, the same thing with being in debt to the Iron Bank.  If they had any other alternative, who in their right mind would get in debt with the Iron Bank, knowing their reputation?

Quote

The Iron Bank will have its due, it is said. Those who borrow from the Braavosi and fail to repay their debts oft have cause to rue such folly, for the Bank has been known to topple lords and princes and has also been rumored to send assassins against those it cannot remove (though this has never been conclusively proved).

 

The crown's debt to the church is forgiven in exchange for political control.

Quote
"Nine hundred thousand six hundred and seventy-four dragons. Gold that could feed the hungry and rebuild a thousand septs."
"Is it gold you want?" the queen asked. "Or do you want these dusty laws of Maegor's set aside?"
The High Septon pondered that a moment. "As you wish. This debt shall be forgiven, and King Tommen will have his blessing."

 

 

The passages about the Rogare Bank conspiracy, and Aerys II actually support my position, they are both  cautionary tales about getting indebted to foreign powers. 

" In 267 AC, after a dispute with the Iron Bank of Braavos regarding certain monies borrowed by his father, he announced that he would build the largest war fleet in the history of the world 'to bring the Titan to his knees.' "

His father had gotten the crown so far into debt with the Iron Bank that he thought invading them and destroying the bank was preferable to paying back the loan.

 

The Rogare Bank conspiracy was about a bank controlling the king.

Quote

In the end, it was Larra Rogare and her wealthy, ambitious family who helped break the power of the regents and, almost certainly, that of Lord Peake. It was an inadvertent role they played, however, caught up as they were in the Lyseni Spring. This was a time when the Rogare Bank waxed greater than the Iron Bank, and so fell prey to the plots to control the king; they were blamed for many more acts than they were actually guilty of. Lord Rowan, then the Hand and one of the last regents, was accused of being complicit in their crimes and was tortured for information. Ser Marston Waters, now somehow Hand of the King in his place (Munkun, the only regent at this time besides Rowan, is reticent to discuss this in the True Telling), dispatched men to seize Lady Larra after having arrested her brothers. But the king and his brother refused to give her up, and were besieged in Maegor's Holdfast by Waters and his supporters for eighteen days. The conspiracy eventually unraveled as Ser Marston—perhaps recalling his duty—attempted to fulfill his king's command to arrest those who had falsely implicated the Rogares and Lord Rowan. Waters himself was killed by his own sworn brother, Ser Mervyn Flowers, when he attempted to arrest him.

 

" He was sent to Braavos to negotiate with the Iron Bank on several occasions, and there is record of a correspondence between him and the keyholders of the Iron Bank (sealed with his seal and signed with his name, but apparently in the hand of Elaena) regarding these negotiations."

Here Elaena commits bank fraud and forges the signature of the Master of Coin, but we don't really know what is going on. 

 

5 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

The fault is all on Cersei. 

It is worth remembering that she is only alive because Littlefinger wanted her to stay Queen, presumably because he had information that could be used to control her, and he knew she was unstable.  Littlefinger, who I think is an agent of the Iron Bank, knew that Jon Arryn was going to reveal that Joffrey wasn't Robert's son and so assassinated Jon Arryn, got Cat to capture Tyrion by lying about the dagger, and sent the kingdom into civil war.  And he is probably the one responsible for getting the crown into debt.  He is playing a much bigger role in all this than you are giving him credit for.

 

Quote
Ten years ago, Jon Arryn had given him a minor sinecure in customs, where Lord Petyr had soon distinguished himself by bringing in three times as much as any of the king's other collectors. King Robert had been a prodigious spender. A man like Petyr Baelish, who had a gift for rubbing two golden dragons together to breed a third, was invaluable to his Hand. Littlefinger's rise had been arrow-swift. Within three years of his coming to court, he was master of coin and a member of the small council, and today the crown's revenues were ten times what they had been under his beleaguered predecessor . . . though the crown's debts had grown vast as well. A master juggler was Petyr Baelish.
 
Oh, he was clever. He did not simply collect the gold and lock it in a treasure vault, no. He paid the king's debts in promises, and put the king's gold to work. He bought wagons, shops, ships, houses. He bought grain when it was plentiful and sold bread when it was scarce. He bought wool from the north and linen from the south and lace from Lys, stored it, moved it, dyed it, sold it. The golden dragons bred and multiplied, and Littlefinger lent them out and brought them home with hatchlings.
 
And in the process, he moved his own men into place. The Keepers of the Keys were his, all four. The King's Counter and the King's Scales were men he'd named. The officers in charge of all three mints. Harbormasters, tax farmers, customs sergeants, wool factors, toll collectors, pursers, wine factors; nine of every ten belonged to Littlefinger. They were men of middling birth, by and large; merchants' sons, lesser lordlings, sometimes even foreigners, but judging from their results, far more able than their highborn predecessors.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

No, they were not. The Tyrells have never been first amongst equals in regards to the Targs and their vassals.  I have a feeling you are misunderstanding the phrase. 

Not a single Tyrell royal marriage before the series began, or a Hand or even a member of the Small Council. There is zero indication that the Arryns, Lannisters, Starks, Baratheons or Martells thought of them as their 'betters'. 

Infact in the last three centuries their own vassals, the Hightowers, have overshadowed them, with royal marriages, plum positions like Hand and High Septon.

Even the Peakes, before their fall from grace. seemed to be a more dominant player.

 

Yeah, that has nothing to do with your actual claim. 

And the Reach being so strong with powerful Houses goes against what you are saying, the Tyrells remained neutral during the Dance while the Hightowers were not even united as a House during the first Blackfyre war. 

They are three separate Houses, not one.  The phrase makes zero sense if you use it like that, besides they don't always work together. 

 

I'm not talking about vs the Targs or in terms of status or respect. I'm talking about vs. the other houses/kingdoms in terms of military strength. The Reach has long had the largest population of all the regions and has been able to field the largest army, and the largest navy. This is why invasions of the Reach were few and far between despite the fact that they have no natural defenses -- no severe winters, no choke points, no mountains to speak of, no deserts; just miles and miles of open farmland.

This makes them first among equals in the realm from a purely military perspective, even after the Conquest when they and all the other great houses became vassals to the Targs. Heck, without the dragons, the Targs themselves are militarily inferior as well. Look at the Field of Fire: Targ host of roughly 11,000 mostly conscripts from the Riverlands, vs. a combined force of Reach/westerlands of 55,000, with Hightower providing 1.5 times the Lannisters without support from either Hightower or Redwyne. The only difference, of course, was the dragons.

This doesn't mean they could take over the entire continent, of course. But it does mean that it takes a coordinated effort by multiple realms to overthrow Highgarden, which is exactly what happened in the Gardener days.

So for a man like Tywin, who is trying to raise Casterly Rock to the preeminent position in the realm, the first thing he needs to confront is the military superiority of Highgarden. How does he do that? The same way that the Gardeners and Tyrells did it: by marriage. First, he marries into the Iron Throne, giving him a blood tie to both the crown and the stormlands. Then he subjugates the riverlands and puts his nephew in line to become the next Lord of Riverrun while at the same time marrying his son to the last known Stark, making him Lord of Winterfell. And he even has a granddaughter marrying into House Martell. Now, he has the foundations of a power bloc that can challenge the Tyrell-Hightower-Redwyne bloc -- which is, in fact, one large extended family despite the inevitable splits that occur in families during civil wars -- although it will probably take a few more generations of intermarriage to solidify it. Meanwhile, he is also marrying into the Tyrells to provide a hedge against any immediate conflict between lion and rose. But the ultimate goal remains the same: to elevate Casterly Rock as the dominant house in the realm, both militarily and politically.

So, no, no one looks at the Reach as their "betters", but they do respect their military strength and acknowledge it as the strongest on the continent -- or fail to do so at their peril.

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

×