Jump to content
MagicPen

When did the Starks loose their military strength?

Recommended Posts

13 minutes ago, Trigger Warning said:

Their strength is the strength of their bannermen, that's how feudalism works. When Rob calls his banners and summons 20,000 men that is his army, in the same way that the armies of the individual lords making up that army have lesser lords sworn to them making up their armies. The Starks may have lesser lords in their own lands sworn directly to them but why does it matter when they rule the entire North and everyone is sworn to them regardless. 

Exactly. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/16/2019 at 3:54 AM, Free Northman Reborn said:

The likely scenario is that the Starks’ lands (including the petty lords and landed knight equivalents sworn directly to Winterfell), can probably raise around 3000-4000 men.

I agree, possibly more in the 4-5k range but that's a fair estimate.

Quote

This seems to be roughly in the current Bolton range (although the Boltons may well be in the 4000-5000 range once they  tap into their reserves). The Dustins are also likely in this range. But the Manderlys are very likely in the 5000+ range.

Bolton's may be around that. There is little evidence to suggest the Dustins are or Manderly's are likely over 5k.

Three Houses being more or as powerful as the Starks just does not seem likely, especially as two of them are rival royal Houses in the North and the other got kicked out of their previous realm for overreaching themselves. 

Quote

The Tully quote from F&B is being taken out of context by people with obvious agendas.

Dude... 

Quote

 

It is meant to portray that the Tullys were not traditionally among the powerful Houses of their region and in fact was of lesser power than many of their fellow Riverland Houses when they were propped up as overlords by the Targs 300 years ago. And this situation has not changed, and in cases like the Freys’ growing wealth and strength, the ratio has just gotten worse.

Right. Isn't that how most people have used it. 

The Tully's are unique in this position. There is no reason to suspect other regions have multiple Houses more powerful than them. 

The relative stability (in regards to ruling House) of these regions for centuries pre Targ is just not feasible with rulers being overshadowed by multiple Houses.

Quote

By contrast the Starks were the undisputed heavyweight champions of the North, winning every corner of it by force over the course of thousands of years. How much of it they then chose to dish out to their vassals, and how those various vassals then grew at different rates over the centuries is immaterial to that reality.

I agree with this, but I dispute their holdings are now smaller than pre conquest. The Glovers, formerly kings now masterly House, suggests their demesne may actually have increased. 

Plus the Starks may have other holdings outside of what is considered their property. Pockets of lands all around the North.

Quote

When the Manderlys arrived, there was just a crumbling fortress at the Wolfsden.

Come on that is an exaggeration. 

Even before the coming of the Andals, the Wolf's Den had been raised by King Jon Stark, built to defend the mouth of the White Knife against raiders and slavers from across the narrow sea (some scholars suggest these were early Andal incursions, whilst others argue they were the forebears of the men of Ib, or even slavers out of Valyria and Volantis).
Held for centuries by a succession of houses (including the Greystarks, an offshoot of House Stark itself, as well as Flints, Slates, Longs, Holts, Lockes, and Ashwoods), the ancient fortress would be the focus of a succession of conflicts. During the wars between Winterfell and the Andal Kings of Mountain and Vale, the Old Falcon, Osgood Arryn, laid siege to the Wolf's Den. His son, King Oswin the Talon, captured it and put it to the torch. Later, it fell under attack from the pirate lords of the Three Sisters and slavers out of the Stepstones. 
 
It was always important and prosperous, it is why it was targeted by outside forces and used to make other Northern houses capable of rivalling the Starks. It was a significant seat before the Manderlys. 
 
The idea that the Starks and their advisers did not know the value of that land borders on the preposterous. 

 

Quote

Today it is the fifth biggest city in Westeros with a population of 30-50 thousand.

True, but how many cities were there in Westeros pre White Harbour? Two, possibly three if Gulltown reached city status more than a thousand years ago.

Quote

And the surrounding countryside benefited as a result, with lucrative trade up and down the White Knife and villages no doubt popping up all through the Manderly lands where there were none 1000 years ago when they arrived.

None a thousand years ago? 

How do you argue in some posts that the Manderly lands are the most fertile in the North and then claim there was no villages there a thousand years ago? 

Alternatively you may be arguing that there were villages there a thousand years ago but there are more now, which is absolutely true BUT its true across the board, not just the Manderly lands.

Quote

The Starks weren’t going to discourage this growth. They were rather going to encourage it.

Sure, but there is no reason they would cut themselves off from it. The Graftons rule Gulltown, but there is Royce presence via the Shetts there as well. 

Its not a huge leap to imagine the Starks have fiefs akin to Pennytree scattered all around the North, ruled by Masterly Houses.

Quote

Similarly the Starks might have granted the Cerwyn and Tallhart lands to those vassals relatively recently, with those populations formerly falling under Winterfell’s direct control. Thus reducing Winterfell’s directly controlled lands, but leading to better rule of those lands by more invested local overlords, ultimately leading to increased populations and a growth of the Starks’ overall power.

The Tallharts are a masterly House, which appears to be the northern equivalent to a knightly house. Their strength should be counted along with the Starks.

Quote

Similarly, I think there is zero chance that the Tyrells can raise more men from their direct lands than the Hightowers can from Oldtown and its vassal lords.

It just won’t make sense.

Why do you not include the Lords sworn to Highgarden but include the ones sworn to Hightower? We see in the Dance that they too can go against their lord. 

If you are only going to count petty lords and landed knights for the Gardeners then you should do likewise for the Hightowers and with that provisio I see no real reason to assume the Hightowers were/are more powerful than the Gardeners/Tyrells

Quote

Time to use our brains a bit, people.

Do you really have to end your post with such condescension? 

Share this post


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

I agree, possibly more in the 4-5k range but that's a fair estimate.

Bolton's may be around that. There is little evidence to suggest the Dustins are or Manderly's are likely over 5k.

Three Houses being more or as powerful as the Starks just does not seem likely, especially as two of them are rival royal Houses in the North and the other got kicked out of their previous realm for overreaching themselves. 

Dude... 

Right. Isn't that how most people have used it. 

The Tully's are unique in this position. There is no reason to suspect other regions have multiple Houses more powerful than them. 

The relative stability (in regards to ruling House) of these regions for centuries pre Targ is just not feasible with rulers being overshadowed by multiple Houses.

I agree with this, but I dispute their holdings are now smaller than pre conquest. The Glovers, formerly kings now masterly House, suggests their demesne may actually have increased. 

Plus the Starks may have other holdings outside of what is considered their property. Pockets of lands all around the North.

Come on that is an exaggeration. 

Even before the coming of the Andals, the Wolf's Den had been raised by King Jon Stark, built to defend the mouth of the White Knife against raiders and slavers from across the narrow sea (some scholars suggest these were early Andal incursions, whilst others argue they were the forebears of the men of Ib, or even slavers out of Valyria and Volantis).
Held for centuries by a succession of houses (including the Greystarks, an offshoot of House Stark itself, as well as Flints, Slates, Longs, Holts, Lockes, and Ashwoods), the ancient fortress would be the focus of a succession of conflicts. During the wars between Winterfell and the Andal Kings of Mountain and Vale, the Old Falcon, Osgood Arryn, laid siege to the Wolf's Den. His son, King Oswin the Talon, captured it and put it to the torch. Later, it fell under attack from the pirate lords of the Three Sisters and slavers out of the Stepstones. 
 
It was always important and prosperous, it is why it was targeted by outside forces and used to make other Northern houses capable of rivalling the Starks. It was a significant seat before the Manderlys. 
 
The idea that the Starks and their advisers did not know the value of that land borders on the preposterous. 

 

True, but how many cities were there in Westeros pre White Harbour? Two, possibly three if Gulltown reached city status more than a thousand years ago.

None a thousand years ago? 

How do you argue in some posts that the Manderly lands are the most fertile in the North and then claim there was no villages there a thousand years ago? 

Alternatively you may be arguing that there were villages there a thousand years ago but there are more now, which is absolutely true BUT its true across the board, not just the Manderly lands.

Sure, but there is no reason they would cut themselves off from it. The Graftons rule Gulltown, but there is Royce presence via the Shetts there as well. 

Its not a huge leap to imagine the Starks have fiefs akin to Pennytree scattered all around the North, ruled by Masterly Houses.

The Tallharts are a masterly House, which appears to be the northern equivalent to a knightly house. Their strength should be counted along with the Starks.

Why do you not include the Lords sworn to Highgarden but include the ones sworn to Hightower? We see in the Dance that they too can go against their lord. 

If you are only going to count petty lords and landed knights for the Gardeners then you should do likewise for the Hightowers and with that provisio I see no real reason to assume the Hightowers were/are more powerful than the Gardeners/Tyrells

Do you really have to end your post with such condescension? 

Correct, I was most certainly not suggesting there were no villages along the White Knife before the Manderlys arrived. Just that this area appears to have grown much faster than the rest of the North in the last 1000 years, with new villages popping up in this time.

Regarding Highgarden, I do include their landed knights and petty lords in the comparison with the Hightowers and their vassals. But that is where this entire debate becomes somewhat nonsensical. Because how do you decide which vassals to include and which to leave out? The Tyrell vassals include all of the Reach. So if you want to compare them with the Hightowers then it would be all of the Reach except the Hightower vassals, against House Hightower and its vassals.

Then of course the Tyrells would be stronger. But members like Lord Varys try to use the Tully quote to somehow make a distinction between all of House Tyrell’s vassals and those vassals somehow “directly controlled” by them. This is problematic to the point of being virtually impossible to define.

Take House Stark. Over the course of 8000 years their directly controlled land would have fluctuated wildly. At first it was   perhaps a day’s ride around Winterfell. Then they conquered the next now nameless petty king 8000 years ago. Did they wipe out his line and take his lands? Or did they marry his daughter to a Stark, as seems to have been their standard practice and add his lands to theirs? Did his keep go to a younger son of the resulting marital union? Rinse and repeat a few dozen times.

At what point were these growing lands considered to be directly ruled by Winterfell vs being ruled by a vassal? That’s why such a distinction is very difficult to make. What the Starks did to the first petty king a day’s ride from Winterfell is the same thing they did to the Warg King of Sea Dragon point, and to the Marsh King of the Neck etc. And when the Starks took the Karhold lands, the son of King Stark got Karhold. He was a direct vassal of Winterfell too. But over time became a separate House.

The Starks didn’t “lose” the Karstark lands. It is still ruled by a direct Stark vassal.

So we first need to define what direct Stark lands actually are. To me, direct Stark lands at the time of Aegon’s conquest was all of the North. Whereas the Tully lands were just Riverrun and its vassal petty lords and landed knights stretching maybe a day (or two)’s ride beyond Riverrun itself. Hence the point that they were overshadowed by many of their future vassals, most unlike the Starks. 

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

People really take this quote the wrong way. It doesn’t necessarily mean other lords aren’t overshadowed by ANY of their lords, it just means they aren’t overshadowed by MANY.  So it really could mean they are overshadowed by a bannermen or two but not many; Hightowers and Redwynes, Manderlys and Dustins, Royces, Yronwoods, Reynes, Harlaw and Goodbrother are all candidates for their respective regions.

But there is no indication whatsoever that the Arryns, Lannisters, Starks, Baratheons, Martells are overshadowed by any of their bannermen insofar as military strength, size of lands, size/prominence of castles are concerned, or is there?

The idea that this is a normal situation gets shot down by this quote, and it strengthen the obvious fact that a house presuming to rule over a former independent kingdom should actually have the strength to kick the most powerful bannermen all by themselves without being forced to count on the support of others. This is what the Tullys need. They need the support of their bannermen if they have to deal with the Blackwoods, Brackens, Vances, and Freys. They cannot do that on their. And that's why they are weak.

There is no such thing ever mentioned for the Tyrells, the Starks, especially not the Lannisters, the Arryns, the Baratheons, or the Martells.

8 hours ago, Trigger Warning said:

Their strength is the strength of their bannermen, that's how feudalism works. When Rob calls his banners and summons 20,000 men that is his army, in the same way that the armies of the individual lords making up that army have lesser lords sworn to them making up their armies. The Starks may have lesser lords in their own lands sworn directly to them but why does it matter when they rule the entire North and everyone is sworn to them regardless. 

That is nonsense in this context. The relative weakness of House Tully is due to the fact that their personal strength is not sufficient to actually personally deal with a threat to their authority by their most powerful bannermen - this sets them apart from the others which means that being the biggest fish in the pond means you personally are stronger than the other guys, not because people who are stronger than you have sworn some vows.

Sure, collectively those guys are stronger than you, but not individually. Individually this is only the case for the Tullys, and that's why they suck.

11 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

You yourself acknowledge that the Hightowers are wealthier than the Tyrells. That in itself proves that not all of the factors that apply to the Tullys are unique to them. Because if the Tyrells are also less wealthy than some of their bannermen, then clearly the Tullys are not unique in that respect.

What about 'far wealthier' (George's quote) and 'wealthier' didn't you understand?

But then, it is not actually confirmed that the Tyrells are poorer than the Hightowers. The Lannisters are the wealthiest family in Westeros and the Hightowers are often described as being 'as rich as the Hightowers' and they are also often numbered among the richest houses in the Realm, but nobody ever confirmed that.

11 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

So if the wealth requirement is not unique to the Tullys, then why should any of the other factors mentioned (military strength, size of lands, pride of lineage) be unique either? Clearly, the logical inference is that it is the COMBINATION of those factors that are unique to the Tullys.

The crucial fact is the military thing. That's where most houses are listed and that's what comes first. There are other houses who have (possibly) richer bannermen or bannermen with a prouder lineage (whatever that means), but there is simply no example for a great house but the Tullys where an individual house sworn to them can raise more troops than they can on their own.

Or do you know such a house? There is no textual evidence for this claim.

11 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

As for the Starks lineage. Come on. Their lineage is that they were the undisputed Kings in the North for thousands of years. THAT is what they derive the strength of their lineage from. Compared to that, whether the Dustins descend from some mythical Barrow King who ruled a small portion of the North 8000 years ago is miniscule in importance. That's what you fail to grasp in the Tully situation. They never were rulers of their region. Nor are they connected to the former rulers of their region (like the Tyrells are who inherited the Gardner mantle). Instead, they were minor lords in the Riverlands who were simply favored by Aegon.

The Tullys weren't minor lords, either. They were and are significant Riverlords, they just do not number among the greatest military-wise.

Lineage is not a very well-defined term. We don't know exactly what it means to have a prouder lineage, so that pretend that you do. I pointed out that there are factors with the Dustins and the Manderlys that might easily give them a prouder lineage. After all, those ancient Barrow Kings may go back to earlier days of the Dawn Age, millennia before anyone called himself 'Stark'. Those kings who presumed to rule over the First Men are definitely predating Brandon the Builder and House Stark.

11 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

As for the second part of my introductory sentence: Why do I accuse you of goalpost shifting? Because your point was that the Tully quote from F&B incontrovertibly proved that all of the other Lords Paramount can directly raise more men than any of their bannerlords.

The point to believe that a great houses is overshadowed militarily by a bannermen is when this is confirmed - and at this point it is only confirmed by the Tullys. There is no proof that the Hightowers can raise more men than the Tyrells, no proof the Reynes could ever raise more men than the Lannisters, no proof the Royces can raise more men than the Arryns, no proof the Yronwoods can raise more men than the Martells, etc.

Share this post


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

There is no such thing ever mentioned for the Tyrells, the Starks, especially not the Lannisters, the Arryns, the Baratheons, or the Martells.

On the road right now, so I’ll keep it short; Tywin sets out with 3000 foot and 500 horse, 3500 men, to destroy Reynes and Tarbecks since we get no mention of men from the less than a mile away Lannisport joining him, they should be with him from the start. Reynes who had no time to gather all their vassals and allies and had less than a quarter of their strength had 2000 men, with all their vassals, they may have had more men than Tywin.

Martells were mere lords with not much power, it is Nymeria’s arrival that gave them strength and we don’t know whether if they have extended their personal lands or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

But there is no indication whatsoever that the Arryns, Lannisters, Starks, Baratheons, Martells are overshadowed by any of their bannermen insofar as military strength, size of lands, size/prominence of castles are concerned, or is there?

The idea that this is a normal situation gets shot down by this quote, and it strengthen the obvious fact that a house presuming to rule over a former independent kingdom should actually have the strength to kick the most powerful bannermen all by themselves without being forced to count on the support of others. This is what the Tullys need. They need the support of their bannermen if they have to deal with the Blackwoods, Brackens, Vances, and Freys. They cannot do that on their. And that's why they are weak.

There is no such thing ever mentioned for the Tyrells, the Starks, especially not the Lannisters, the Arryns, the Baratheons, or the Martells.

That is nonsense in this context. The relative weakness of House Tully is due to the fact that their personal strength is not sufficient to actually personally deal with a threat to their authority by their most powerful bannermen - this sets them apart from the others which means that being the biggest fish in the pond means you personally are stronger than the other guys, not because people who are stronger than you have sworn some vows.

Sure, collectively those guys are stronger than you, but not individually. Individually this is only the case for the Tullys, and that's why they suck.

What about 'far wealthier' (George's quote) and 'wealthier' didn't you understand?

But then, it is not actually confirmed that the Tyrells are poorer than the Hightowers. The Lannisters are the wealthiest family in Westeros and the Hightowers are often described as being 'as rich as the Hightowers' and they are also often numbered among the richest houses in the Realm, but nobody ever confirmed that.

The crucial fact is the military thing. That's where most houses are listed and that's what comes first. There are other houses who have (possibly) richer bannermen or bannermen with a prouder lineage (whatever that means), but there is simply no example for a great house but the Tullys where an individual house sworn to them can raise more troops than they can on their own.

Or do you know such a house? There is no textual evidence for this claim.

The Tullys weren't minor lords, either. They were and are significant Riverlords, they just do not number among the greatest military-wise.

Lineage is not a very well-defined term. We don't know exactly what it means to have a prouder lineage, so that pretend that you do. I pointed out that there are factors with the Dustins and the Manderlys that might easily give them a prouder lineage. After all, those ancient Barrow Kings may go back to earlier days of the Dawn Age, millennia before anyone called himself 'Stark'. Those kings who presumed to rule over the First Men are definitely predating Brandon the Builder and House Stark.

The point to believe that a great houses is overshadowed militarily by a bannermen is when this is confirmed - and at this point it is only confirmed by the Tullys. There is no proof that the Hightowers can raise more men than the Tyrells, no proof the Reynes could ever raise more men than the Lannisters, no proof the Royces can raise more men than the Arryns, no proof the Yronwoods can raise more men than the Martells, etc.

Ok, so now that we have dispensed with the not-so-rock-solid Tully quote, it seems we are back to just arguing from a point of general evidence and common sense. Which is all we have on this issue. And certainly, that means a debate is warranted in each individual case, rather than just making a blanket statement that the Lords Paramount can all "directly" raise more men than any of their bannermen (whatever that even means).

The point is, at the time of the Conquest, the Tullys ruled land maybe 2 days ride around Riverrun, to be generous. Many of their fellow Riverland lords ruled far more than that, and could raise far more men than they could.

By comparison, at the time of Aegon's conquest, the Starks ruled all the North, and could raise 30,000 men. 

By the way, how exactly do you define "directly ruled" land? Is it land where the Starks go through no intermediary vassal before being able to call up the men? Does that include landed knights/masterly houses? How about petty lords? Let's say it does.

Well then, what if one petty lord grew more powerful over the years and became a more respected lord. Does that then mean his lands are no longer "directly ruled" by Winterfell? What if the Starks destroyed a rebel lord in the northeast, took his lands and put a son of Lord Stark in control of it, calling it Karl's Hold. Is that land directly ruled by House Stark?

How about the Wolf's Den? Was that directly ruled by House Stark? How about Sea Dragon Point? They killed the Warg King and married his daughters. Was that directly ruled by House Stark?

How about the Glover lands? The Glovers too were kings once. But the Starks conquered them and reduced them to a mere Masterly House. Are their lands directly ruled by the Starks?

What about the Neck? The Starks killed the Marsh king and married his daughter. Directly gaining rule over the Neck. Is that directly ruled by House Stark? And if not, why? No doubt some of the petty lords close to Winterfell were also originally conquered by the Kings of Winter, before their domains were added to that of Winterfell. So if those are deemed to be directly ruled by the Starks, why not also the Neck, or Sea Dragon point, or Bear Island, the Last Hearth or Karhold.

Can you see the obvious difference between the situation of the Starks and that of the Tullys, who had none of that, but only had their patch of land around Riverrun and nothing else?

The Starks directly rule Bear Island or the Last Hearth as much as they directly rule a vassal petty lord 20 miles from Winterfell. They are all vassals, and the Starks raise their armies by calling up all of these banners, great and small, in times of war.

 

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

On the road right now, so I’ll keep it short; Tywin sets out with 3000 foot and 500 horse, 3500 men, to destroy Reynes and Tarbecks since we get no mention of men from the less than a mile away Lannisport joining him, they should be with him from the start. Reynes who had no time to gather all their vassals and allies and had less than a quarter of their strength had 2000 men, with all their vassals, they may have had more men than Tywin.

Tywin wasn't the Lord of Casterly Rock at this point. Whatever men he might be able to raise (quickly) are not necessarily the same amount of men the Lord of Casterly Rock might if he did. Tywin was starting to get a bad ass, but his lord father didn't authorize any of that, so most of those men may have been men personally raised by Tywin with other men he may have technically been able to raise but who refused to comply since the heir didn't have authorization from his father.

This is not a good example to guess at the personal strength of the Lord of Casterly Rock, especially since we actually might be able to add Lannisport to their personal resources, too. The Lord of Casterly Rock is also the Shield of Lannisport, and that's likely not just an empty title.

11 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Martells were mere lords with not much power, it is Nymeria’s arrival that gave them strength and we don’t know whether if they have extended their personal lands or not.

Sure, but we do have a very strong hint that the sphere of influence of House Yronwood shrunk when Nymeria finally crushed them. The Martells weren't exactly the strongest house in Dorne prior to the arrival of the Rhoynar, but they were pretty strong.

It is, however, not exactly a long shot to assume that the conquest of Dorne accomplished by Mors and Nymeria resulted in them also increasing their personal lands. Anything else would have been pretty stupid.

The Yronwoods still have the strength to trouble the Princes of Dorne, but they cannot topple or crush them. And that's the difference there. The Blackwoods, Brackens, Vances, and Freys could also singlehandedly crush the Tullys if all the Riverlands chose to sit out such a struggle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Correct, I was most certainly not suggesting there were no villages along the White Knife before the Manderlys arrived. Just that this area appears to have grown much faster than the rest of the North in the last 1000 years, with new villages popping up in this time.

Given we have no idea how much it has grown in the last thousand years or how much the area had grown in the previous 1,000 years in comparison to the rest of the North this point is rather moot. 

"When the Manderlys arrived, there was just a crumbling fortress at the Wolfsden."

This is a clear exaggeration, making such observations weakens your point. 

22 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Regarding Highgarden, I do include their landed knights and petty lords in the comparison with the Hightowers and their vassals. But that is where this entire debate becomes somewhat nonsensical.

You brought it up, not me.

22 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

 

Because how do you decide which vassals to include and which to leave out? The Tyrell vassals include all of the Reach. So if you want to compare them with the Hightowers then it would be all of the Reach except the Hightower vassals, against House Hightower and its vassals.

I'm just pointing out that if your going to rule out Lords sworn to Highgarden then you should do the same to Hightower (Beesbury, Costanye etc,)

22 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Then of course the Tyrells would be stronger. But members like Lord Varys try to use the Tully quote to somehow make a distinction between all of House Tyrell’s vassals and those vassals somehow “directly controlled” by them. This is problematic to the point of being virtually impossible to define.

The author introduced the argument in his books in Fire & Blood but its long been a staple on this forum, especially in regards to Manderly. 

A popular theory on this forum has always been that the Manderly's are more powerful than the Starks, or more accurately have many thousands of yet not seen soldiers waiting in the wings to deliver victory/independence to House Stark.

Now GRRM's quote does not necessarily discredit this theory, but its a valid reference to use in the topic even if it the quote itself is open to interpretation. 

 

22 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Take House Stark. Over the course of 8000 years their directly controlled land would have fluctuated wildly. At first it was   perhaps a day’s ride around Winterfell. Then they conquered the next now nameless petty king 8000 years ago. Did they wipe out his line and take his lands? Or did they marry his daughter to a Stark, as seems to have been their standard practice and add his lands to theirs? Did his keep go to a younger son of the resulting marital union? Rinse and repeat a few dozen times.

??? 

I think you want me to say yes, so yes. 

22 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

At what point were these growing lands considered to be directly ruled by Winterfell vs being ruled by a vassal? That’s why such a distinction is very difficult to make. What the Starks did to the first petty king a day’s ride from Winterfell is the same thing they did to the Warg King of Sea Dragon point, and to the Marsh King of the Neck etc. And when the Starks took the Karhold lands, the son of King Stark got Karhold. He was a direct vassal of Winterfell too. But over time became a separate House.

Sure, true.

22 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The Starks didn’t “lose” the Karstark lands. It is still ruled by a direct Stark vassal.

But I don't think OP is asking that, he's making the distinction of them being top dogs in the North in terms of military strength, which would have been before and after House Karstark were created and their current situation now where he, rightly or wrongly, believes they are no longer the strongest in the North.

 

23 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

 

So we first need to define what direct Stark lands actually are. To me, direct Stark lands at the time of Aegon’s conquest was all of the North. Whereas the Tully lands were just Riverrun and its vassal petty lords and landed knights stretching maybe a day (or two)’s ride beyond Riverrun itself. Hence the point that they were overshadowed by many of their future vassals, most unlike the Starks. 

Nope, the quote is not about the Tully's pre Targs, it is about them in the Targ area.

Then as now, the riverlords were a fractious, quarrelsome lot....

House Tully was unique amongst the great houses of Westeros. Aegon the Conqueror had made them the Lords Paramount of the Trident, yet in many ways they continued to be overshadowed by many of their own bannermen. The Brackens, the Blackwoods, and the Vances all ruled wider domains and could field much larger armies, as could the upstart Freys of the Twins. The Mallisters of Seagard had a prouder lineage, the Mootons of Maidenpool were far wealthier, and Harrenhal, even cursed and blasted and in ruins, remained a more formidable castle than Riverrun, and ten times the size besides.

The Tullys were Lords of the Riverlands but overshadowed by others. Vassals have more autonomy than we've given them credit for. Manderly agreed to join the Blacks before Stark did, similarly Jace still went to House Sunderland after Arryn had agreed to join them.

The Lords Paramount, in my opinion, are more akin to political Chief whips/rent collectors than actual 'rulers'. There job is to keep their vassals in check, but given the amount of times during civil wars we've seen regions split it is clear these lords have a certain amount of freedom to choose for themselves.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/17/2019 at 8:17 AM, Lord Varys said:

Sure, but we do have a very strong hint that the sphere of influence of House Yronwood shrunk when Nymeria finally crushed them. The Martells weren't exactly the strongest house in Dorne prior to the arrival of the Rhoynar, but they were pretty strong.

It is, however, not exactly a long shot to assume that the conquest of Dorne accomplished by Mors and Nymeria resulted in them also increasing their personal lands. Anything else would have been pretty stupid.

The Yronwoods still have the strength to trouble the Princes of Dorne, but they cannot topple or crush them. And that's the difference there. The Blackwoods, Brackens, Vances, and Freys could also singlehandedly crush the Tullys if all the Riverlands chose to sit out such a struggle.

It's kind of a hint and they might have been weakened, but they remain the second strongest house in Dorne, despite having participated in 3 BF rebellions. Doran exiled Oberyn for killing their lord in a duel and had to send Frog boy to serve as a ward (as anhonor / hostage?) years later. They weren't *that* powerful in the first place, given the sheer number of kings Dorne had and they don't seem to have lost any power, prestige, or martial responsibilities. The fact it took 11 years and a Martell lord's life to finally beat them doesn't really sound like a crushing to me either.

The Martells were a pretty weak house.

 Until the coming of Nymeria, no Dornishman would ever have counted them amongst the great powers of the country. Indeed, though surrounded by kings on every side, the Martells themselves never presumed to claim that title, and at certain points in their history, they willingly bent the knees to the Jordayne kings of the Tor, the pious Allyrions of Godsgrace, the many petty kings of the Greenblood, and the mighty Yronwoods of Yronwood.

We also know that Nymeria increased their fighting strength 10x and they ruled land 30 miles wide and 150 miles long, and we at least see the landscape from Sunspear to the Water Gardens. It's pretty brutal -- well I do like a cool sea breeze -- for farming or anything similar. I would be very surprised if the Yronwoods couldn't give the Martells a run for their money if all of Dorne sat out, especially with the Martells lacking a suitable military leader in their current scenario. 

Increasing the size of the their lands would make sense in pretty much any other story or real life, but hands down the most consistent thing we've seen in ASOIAF is conquered foes bending the knee and being confirmed in their lands and titles. Aegon did it with everyone he conquered. Robert did it with most and didn't increase his own personal holdings (SE went to Renly, DS to Stannis). Tywin left the Reyne and Tarbeck lands -- at least their castles -- were left vacant after he crushed them, despite Castamere possibly having producing gold and silver mines. 

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

×