Jump to content
Maia

New information in FaB and it's implications for the novels/novellas

Recommended Posts

So, let's start with the North:

The Stark genealogical tree didn't offer much insight into how usual it was for the Starks to join NW - in fact, there are few that could even be considered, but treacherous Bennard Stark and some of his sons are pretty likely candidates. Not voluntarily, though. 

It also explains why Artos the Implacable was so honored - he had been a long-serving and capable regent, who stepped down when the time came.

Even with Cregan Stark - a respected and competent Lord of Winterfell preparing for a Winter best he knew how, a long Winter is the time of starvation and lawlessness in the North. I am sure that trade with the rest of the realm was disrupted by the Dance, but the North itself was untouched and some relief was even sent during the Regency, though not enough. It is also very difficult to transport things overland in Winter. A third of the Night's Watch starved to death. All of this puts Jon's actions in perspective, doesn't it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Maia said:

So, let's start with the North:

The Stark genealogical tree didn't offer much insight into how usual it was for the Starks to join NW - in fact, there are few that could even be considered, but treacherous Bennard Stark and some of his sons are pretty likely candidates. Not voluntarily, though.

Bennard's actions also show that the Starks aren't all that happy a family as Ned and Cat and their children imply. Whether Bennard or any of his sons took the black I don't know. Perhaps Cregan just kept them in his dungeons and eventually released them once he was secure in his lordship. It might also be that Lynara Stark, Cregan's third wife, turns out to be a granddaughter of Bennard.

20 minutes ago, Maia said:

It also explains why Artos the Implacable was so honored - he had been a long-serving and capable regent, who stepped down when the time came.

We'll have to see about that, one assumes... Perhaps he died as regent and that's why he got special treatment in the crypts?

20 minutes ago, Maia said:

Even with Cregan Stark - a respected and competent Lord of Winterfell preparing for a Winter best he knew how, a long Winter is the time of starvation and lawlessness in the North. I am sure that trade with the rest of the realm was disrupted by the Dance, but the North itself was untouched and some relief was even sent during the Regency, though not enough. It is also very difficult to transport things overland in Winter. A third of the Night's Watch starved to death. All of this puts Jon's actions in perspective, doesn't it?

Yeah, winter is cruel. That would be worth its own topic. The winter of the Shivers is also a pretty good example, considering we learn there that harvest not only the North were affected, but also in the Riverlands, the West, the Vale, and parts of the Reach. This implies that mild winters actually can allow for crops to be planted and harvested in winter.

My main issue with Jon's actions at the Wall in ADwD is the winter provisions thing. The boy doesn't really understand yet what winter means. He makes a good call on the humanitarian level but politically (in the sense to prepare for what they definitely know will come - winter) this was a very bad decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jon's actions have to be seen in light of his belief that the Others are a more immediate threat to survival than the winter. He misjudged how firm his grasp was on the Watch, of course, but the impulse was because he accepted the threat that many of them underestimate because for a variety of reasons.

Share this post


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

Even with Cregan Stark - a respected and competent Lord of Winterfell preparing for a Winter best he knew how, a long Winter is the time of starvation and lawlessness in the North. I am sure that trade with the rest of the realm was disrupted by the Dance, but the North itself was untouched and some relief was even sent during the Regency, though not enough. It is also very difficult to transport things overland in Winter. A third of the Night's Watch starved to death. All of this puts Jon's actions in perspective, doesn't it?

 

56 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

My main issue with Jon's actions at the Wall in ADwD is the winter provisions thing. The boy doesn't really understand yet what winter means. He makes a good call on the humanitarian level but politically (in the sense to prepare for what they definitely know will come - winter) this was a very bad decision.

Provisions are certainly an issue. Even with the Iron Bank's support resupply wouldn't be generally reliable or adequate as it has to come by sea. 

On the other hand there were two bands of wildlings with numbers that are simply beyond the Watch's capacity to repel. The Wall isn't endless, nor can they patrol it adequately to prevent climbers from assembling another small army and attacking them from the south. In fact the Weeper is still out there which means the Watch is still doomed. Peace with the wildlings could well have been the only option. 

There are pros and cons either way. It could still play out either way. 

Share this post


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

Jon's actions have to be seen in light of his belief that the Others are a more immediate threat to survival than the winter. He misjudged how firm his grasp was on the Watch, of course, but the impulse was because he accepted the threat that many of them underestimate because for a variety of reasons.

I know that. But imagine what's going to happen to the Watch/everybody at the Wall if the Others were taking their time and would only show up next winter - or in the fourth or fifth or sixth year of winter. Would then still be anyone alive or in fighting shape at the Wall as things stand now? Can they afford to buy food for all the refugees and the Watch and the starving North which also has lost most of its harvest?

It seems likely that the Others will move first, but Jon is as much a summer child as Bran. He doesn't know what a real winter in the North can be like, especially not at the Wall.

I'm pretty sure the Others can work with everything that's done at the Wall. They can only win. Either they got more zombies or they weaken the resistance by forcing them to share their food with them, fueling conflicts among them. The Wall won't be worth anything if the men manning it are to starved/weak to actually man it.

If FaB is any indication, we'll get food riots and the like in winter, too. The ground is laid for that kind of thing. And if the Shivers or something similar comes back they should be doomed to the highest possible degree.

By the way, we get hints about Velaryon ships going and trading as far north as Eastwatch and Hardhome, so the chances that especially the Shivers came down to Blackwater Bay from beyond the Wall is implicitly on the table.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, somehow I don't think Jon's wrong in reading the Others showing themselves as a winter approaches as meaning that that winter was when they're going to make their move.

Share this post


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

Jon's actions have to be seen in light of his belief that the Others are a more immediate threat to survival than the winter. He misjudged how firm his grasp was on the Watch, of course, but the impulse was because he accepted the threat that many of them underestimate because for a variety of reasons.

Something I noted in ADWD was that Jon sent most of the men who had seen the Others with their own eyes at the Fist of the First Men away to command the other castles (or, in Sam's case, to go to Oldtown) and so on, so Jon was left trying to convince the others of what he'd seen without a huge amount of backup. Not the best of moves, in hindsight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given his limited personnel resources, he didn't have a lot of choice, but yeah. OTOH, the guys were around at Castle Black all through his election and then some, and that hadn't done much to make the others accept how big the threat really was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Something I noted in ADWD was that Jon sent most of the men who had seen the Others with their own eyes at the Fist of the First Men away to command the other castles (or, in Sam's case, to go to Oldtown) and so on, so Jon was left trying to convince the others of what he'd seen without a huge amount of backup. Not the best of moves, in hindsight.

It was like the worst execution of the Godfather adage "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer."  Ever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Others are strangely absent in public discussions at CB throughout ADwD. Stannis and Jon talk about them behind closed doors, as do Jon and Sam, and Jon and the officers, but there is never a concentrated effort from Jon's side to actually play up the Others' threat to justify or explain or try to win support for his political decisions.

In addition, there is a striking naiveté in the Watch - both from Marsh and from Jon - that the Wall is going to hold the Others at bay. Nobody considers the possibility the Others might plan or have the means to breach or destroy the Wall.

In light of that - in light of the expectation that wights on the north side of the Wall are really not that big of a problem for the Watch - it makes sense that cold and starvation are the top priority of the officers and men who have weathered (a couple of) winters at the Wall. If the devil you know is cruel enough already the devil you neither know very well nor that likely to come knocking is easily seen as the lesser of two evils.

Whether starvation and cold (and plagues) will affect the gang at the Wall to a high degree before the Others actually breach the Wall remains to be seen. I expect (or at least hope) to see more of the Others and the wights in TWoW than in ADwD but this doesn't necessarily mean they will breach the Wall in that book. And if TWoW were to cover another year like AGoT then we could be pretty far in winter territory there already - without actually having the Others invade the North.

We shouldn't this make too much about Jon, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, The Sleeper said:

On the other hand there were two bands of wildlings with numbers that are simply beyond the Watch's capacity to repel. The Wall isn't endless, nor can they patrol it adequately to prevent climbers from assembling another small army and attacking them from the south. In fact the Weeper is still out there which means the Watch is still doomed. Peace with the wildlings could well have been the only option. 

Jon himself doesn’t really rebut Marsh’s argument that the Watch could easily kill most of those who would climb the wall when discussing Tormund’s host and whether or not the watch allow them in.Instead, he argued sealing the gates would mean the watch could send out rangers, to see what’s going on north of the wall. Which Marsh countered by bringing up Mormont getting a quarter of the watch killed in his ranging and thus being a time where every brother they have should be preserved.  And then imo kinda feebly just saying Stannis wouldn’t allow it. There was a better argument in terms of the watch needing the gates open to hunt for supplies north of the wall.  But that wasn’t really thought up he Jon as far as I can tell.

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

Share this post


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

Something I noted in ADWD was that Jon sent most of the men who had seen the Others with their own eyes at the Fist of the First Men away to command the other castles (or, in Sam's case, to go to Oldtown) and so on, so Jon was left trying to convince the others of what he'd seen without a huge amount of backup. Not the best of moves, in hindsight.

Jon doesn’t really try imo. When Marsh or Yarwyk directly critizes/questions his open door policy, Jon does try to justify his decision to, but he doesn’t actively  try to   justifyin his decisions to the watch in general or really try to get them to see the others as a far bigger threat than the wildlings rebelling(which Jon does think is a possibility), or Starvation(to which Jon seems resigned to the thought of that being a certainty). This was a mistake. The only voices of authority, most brothers were hearing  in regards to Jon letting the wildlings(who’ve been torturing and killing them crows for centuries)  in were spouting how much Jon’s policy is going to get them all killed-and the things they’d hearing should resonate(and apparently did given Marsh who is not a natural leader or that charismatic in general was able to get the support of the groups that make up the watch). 

 

4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

If FaB is any indication, we'll get food riots and the like in winter, too. The ground is laid for that kind of thing. And if the Shivers or something similar comes back they should be doomed to the highest possible degree.

 By the way, we get hints about Velaryon ships going and trading as far north as Eastwatch and Hardhome, so the chances that especially the Shivers came down to Blackwater Bay from beyond the Wall is implicitly on the table.

Likely there is going to be ildling rebellion. My guess is Val would be leading it given she’s not just going to let Selyse declaration of the wildlings needing to pray to Rh’lor-hell she may very well join up with weeper when he comes. Jon is disgusted by the Weeper not every/most wildlings have to be. He is after all a brave warrior. Hell Ygritte laughs at Jon bringing up how he steals women south of the wall-after all why should they complain, the weeper is strong, he’s cunning, I could see Val opting to join with the Weeper rather than go with Jon and submit to Selyse and renounce her gods. 

Daenerys however would eventually relocate the wildlings to the Riverlands(to which are lacking men due to the war), when/if she gets the throne. And perhaps offer to ship wildlings and other northmen across the sea to live out as mercenaries. 

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I'm pretty sure the Others can work with everything that's done at the Wall. They can only win. Either they got more zombies or they weaken the resistance by forcing them to share their food with them, fueling conflicts among them. The Wall won't be worth anything if the men manning it are to starved/weak to actually man it.

I’m actually inclined to think the PL(if fabricated) was one such attempt to divide the watch further. I mean Jon could not reasonably be expected to go directly to Winterfel-he would literally just outside its walls. At best he could be expected to lay an ambush well enough away from Winterfel to where he would not be privy to the ruse and try to prepare for the army they think is coming. Which in term leaves the watch leaderless for quite a while. A new Lord commander would have to be elected given Jon’s apparent breaking of his vows(to which he did admit to the watch is what he was doing ), and it could take a while for that to happen. If some people try to cater to the Watch’s demands that too can leave the watch to fight and be diminished in the process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Ran said:

Jon's actions have to be seen in light of his belief that the Others are a more immediate threat to survival than the winter.

If Jon had his way and managed to rescue the Hardhomers as well as let in the Weeper and Co., they would have run out of food in weeks, which would have been pretty immediate. And the wildlings wouldn't have just sat there and starved - they would have fallen on the northmen as soon as the supplies came short, if not before. Which wouldn't have been a bit helpful re: fending off the Others.

And yes, letting in Tormund and his band was a necessity, since the mountain clans inexplicably refused to help NW only to then fall over themselves for Stannis, but taking in everybody was not practical until and unless Jon could establish a supply chain of food from Essos, because the North has nothing to spare. Jon should have explained to Tormund's that there was not enough food for everyone - they would have understood, as these are choices that they have to make every Winter too.

21 hours ago, Ran said:

He misjudged how firm his grasp was on the Watch, of course, but the impulse was because he accepted the threat that many of them underestimate because for a variety of reasons.

He misjudged the severity of food problem because he was a pampered castle boy who never lived through a hard Winter and didn't understand the "Cold Equations" ruling the North and the Watch during such times - while watchmen who lived through a few and/or knew their history did. His humanitarian appeals to save and feed old and infirm wildlings fell on deaf ears because old and infirm - and just surplus northmen have to sacrifice themselves in lean times - and there was every reason to think that this Winter was going to be a particularly cruel one. Jon's nebulous insistence that they were going to figure something out made him look like an incompetent fool. He should have announced the Iron Bank loan immediately and sent men to Braavos to organize  supply ASAP, instead of sending all his ships to Hardhome. Food is only going to become more expensive and it will only become harder to transport it and watchmen and wildlings can't eat the loan agreements! That would have bought him time. 

Anyway, enough about Jon - there are other interesting things to talk about regarding the North in FaB:

Such as the fact that it becomes ever clearer that the only surviving brother of a Lord of Winterfell joining NW at a young age is very unusual. We get 2 more data points about that in Bennard and Alaric Stark. What happened with Benjen was neither normal nor particularly conducive to survival of his family or smooth running of the North.

Also, is it even feasible that NW numered 10K at the time of the Conquest? Could the Gift support that many, would the rest of the Seven Kingdoms have provided that much more in gifts on a regular basis? And at what time it actually start to diminish? After all, Nightfort stopped being the residence of the LC some 300 years prior. A lot of people joined during the reign of Jaeherys I and the Targaryens were quite invested in supporting it then. BTW, Cregan Stark was all in favor of letting condemned criminals join - so it wasn't just a southern thing. Nor does it look like the New Gift was failing during Cregan's tenure - as he certainly was in position to request a reversal if it had been the case and was otherwise very competent.

It also seems that the Watch used to be much more mercyful towards the wildlings, sparing would-be raiders on their first attempt. When did this change, I wonder?

Oh, and it is really funny how despite Viserys I' bedtime story to his grandchildren, Jaeherys I hasn't even been at the Wall - it was all Alysanne and all she did was making a brief excursion into the Haunted Forest on the other side under heavy ranger escort when Silverwing refused to fly over and later seeing some captured wildlings. OTOH, Lord Alaric's brother actually died fighting giants, likely providing the inspiration for the martial/adventure  aspects of the story.

Personally, I think that clandestine marriage to Sara Snow is a wild fancy of Mushroom's, because in such a case the "Pact of Ice and Fire" obligating Jace to marry his future daughter to Rickon Stark would have been superflous. But I am now pretty convinced that Daeron I was betrothed to a daughter of Rickon Stark, who, BTW, died fighting for the Young Dragon in Dorne. Also interesting that Joffrey Velaryon was betrothed to a Manderly - which explains why he couldn't become betrothed to Rhaena in Luke's place and why Corlys didn't want him as his heir. He did loved Rhaenyra's children, but he still wanted his own blood to be involved in the future of Driftmark.

Cannibal has the same coloring as Shaggy! Black with green eyes! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jon isn't underestimating anything, as he's gotten exact estimates of how long their supplies will stretch and is calculating with that. He's certainly not leaving himself a lot of margin for error, but then again, he doesn't have a lot of time to play with.

Jon works out the deal with Tycho specifically to address the issue of keeping everyone fed:

Quote

It gave him an uneasy feeling. Braavosi coin would allow the Night's Watch to buy food from the south when their own stores ran short, food enough to see them through the winter, however long it might prove to be. A long hard winter will leave the Watch so deep in debt that we will never climb out, Jon reminded himself, but when the choice is debt or death, best borrow.

I'm guessing that with the agreement signed, this means Nestrois has also left instruments that allow Jon to prove he has a big line of credit with the Iron Bank and can already start sending birds winging south letting people know he's buying food.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How did this thread turn into another Jon bashing?

Anyway, I found it interesting that Cregan, a far more influential and respected leader than Robb, despite spending a long time gathering his men, raised 10k men for a southron war, barely a third of the 30k strength of the North raised by Torhenn BEFORE the population boom under Jahaerys.

By contrast, Robb, an unproven boy, raised 20k men, in a hurry, without having to even wait for the harvest to complete. To me this implies that in Robb’s time the North can raise 20k men much more easily than it could in Cregan’s time. Suggesting a higher Northern strength today than back then.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

How did this thread turn into another Jon bashing?

What’s that theory called that says every online debate always ends up discussing nazis in the end? The Jon-is-a-poo-poo-headers are the forum version of that.   

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Anyway, I found it interesting that Cregan, a far more influential and respected leader than Robb, despite spending a long time gathering his men, raised 10k men for a southron war, barely a third of the 30k strength of the North raised by Torhenn BEFORE the population boom under Jahaerys.

I suspect that most of those Cregan's men were "hunters". Or people who would during long winters sacrifice themselves to save food for their relatives. So very few of those men returned to North with lord Cregan but they chose to stay in South.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Loose Bolt said:

I suspect that most of those Cregan's men were "hunters". Or people who would during long winters sacrifice themselves to save food for their relatives. So very few of those men returned to North with lord Cregan but they chose to stay in South.

The World of Ice and Fire - The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III

When Aegon the Younger came to the Iron Throne in 131 AC as Aegon III, after the death of his uncle Aegon II, the realm may well have thought that its troubles were done. Aegon III's supporters had defeated the last of Aegon II's host at the Battle of the Kingsroad and had full control of King's Landing. The Velaryon fleet once more served the Iron Throne, and the Sea Snake would surely help to guide the young king. But these hopes were built on sand, and this period was soon known as the False Dawn. Aegon II had sent men across the narrow sea in search of sellswords, and none knew when or if those would return to avenge their king. In the west, the Red Kraken and his reavers ravished Fair Isle and the western coast. And a terrible, hard winter—first declared by the Conclave in Oldtown in 130 AC, on Maiden's Day—had taken a firm grip on the realm, and would last for six cruel years.

Young King Aegon III. (illustration credit 59) Nowhere in the Seven Kingdoms did the winter matter more than in the North—and the fear of such a winter had driven the Winter Wolves to gather beneath the banner of Lord Roderick Dustin and die fighting for queen Rhaenyra. But behind them came a greater army of childless and homeless men, unwed men, old men, and younger sons, under the banner of Lord Cregan Stark. They had come for a war, for adventure and plunder, and for a glorious death to spare their kin beyond the Neck one more mouth to feed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Manderly also staged a small tourney in the queen's honor, to show the prowess of his knights. One of the fighters (though no knight) was revealed to be a woman,

...

Page 261 (US)

I couldn't help but think of the Knight of the Laughing Tree. A Lyanna hint?

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

×