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the Last Teague

Cregan Stark: the fool wolf

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Of all the principal actors in the Dance of Dragons, Cregan Stark is the one I dislike the most. I mean, Aemond Targaryen, Alicent Hightower and Aegon II were bad (and stupid), but they were what they were. While Lord Stark believed he was the only just man in Westeros, but he was only a fool, in my opinion. Here are my reasons to believe that:

1- Slower than a glacier.

Despite joining the black side early in the war, Lord Glacier only moved his army souther of the Twins two years after the war started. His reason was "winter is coming". What? Does it mean he has to reap every field? Drove every cattle inside Winterfell? Weave his socks? A seneschal or a castillan could do that. Also, after the war ended, there was hunger in the North (it started really soon after first snows) so his measures were dull.

Of course some of his vassals (Roddy the Ruin and the Manderlys) brought some help. But they did on their own. Maybe Rhaenyra would have kept King's Landing with more Northerners at her side. Sent by ship, if he was afraid of Aemond and his dragon.

When finaly Lord Furry Snail moved, it was too late to do anything. The Lads had won the last battle without any help.  So thanks for nothing.

2- Whos afraid of the big bad wolf.

Lord Stark wasn't leading an army, but a migration of useless mouth. All very bearded, all very loud mouthed, all very hungry. I think it's hard to believe the Lads were scared of them.  They had the same number of men. But the Rivermen where veterans, no spongers. I don't get why Cregan was scary. Martin says he was a seasoned man, not a boy. Well, the Lads weren't kids anymore. They weren't afraid of Criston Cole, the fiercest knight in the realm. Which battles did won Cregan Stark? Or his famelic horde? His only curriculum was jailing his own uncle. They should have told him "shut up your shaggy mouth and go back home, before we whip dogs like we whipped lions".

3- Just look at the map, sod.

His plans of a Big Genocidal Tour for all the realms was as unrealistic as stupid. Really? With only 6.000 peasants, without supplies, he wanted to conquer Storm's End, Oldtown and Casterly Rock? Jut stay away of Southron wine, ser. Its stronger than your ale and you are veery drunk. 

4- Bring me justice or give me the girl.

The trials of the Sea Snake and his complices gave me some ambivalent feelings. For one side, I understand the need of santioning a vile act. On the other side, it could reignite the fires of the Dance. But Lord Snail doesn't care. He is at the same time prosecutor at judge. Veery correct, yeah. And why at last he absolves Lord Velaryon? Becouse a girl accepted to marry him. Yeah, that's how we do it in the North. 

5- Hey, you forgot your luggage!

Stark and his bride (poor girl) go back North. They did nothing. They helped anybody. They didn't fought anyone. Stark only merit was almost re-starting war. He accepted no responsability (he refused becoming a Regent), and his atention span as Hand of the King was of one day only... But that was not the last mistake.

His men deserted. This isn't surprising, becouse they joined him only to eat, and the North was where they hungered. But AFAIK Cregan made no effort to discipline them (like he didn't move a finger when they started bullying King's Landing). Many became bandits. Other married and stablished themselves. I think it's hard to believe that Riverwomen gladly accepted them. They were foreigners, pagans and soldiers. Soldiers are always a plague for peasants. Also after the war and the dragon's fire, agriculture would be ruined. And winter is here. Do they really need 2.000 new mouth to feed? Perhaps some had luck, but most probable veterans of the Fishfeed discretly killed the shaggy dogs and buried them somewhere.

So Cregan Stark DID NOTHING REMARKABLE. Not only during the Dance, but for his whole life. Only thing he did after 133 AD was dueling once with the Dragon Knight. And he didn't won. 

 

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First fighting with adult dragon is suicide so it is very good idea to wait until all of them are either dead, without riders or AWOL.

Secondly Red Kraken raided all coasts of Sunset Sea so most of Cregan's soldiers almost certainly were needed to guard against IB raids. Besides it is possible that Skagos might have caused some mayhem too although their major rebellion happened couple generations (40-50 years) later.

Third most men that came with lord C had only one way ticket or they were surplus men who would have "gone hunting" anyway. 

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6 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

And why at last he absolves Lord Velaryon? Becouse a girl accepted to marry him. Yeah, that's how we do it in the North. 

I have to admit, I am bemused at the fact that Cregan has largely gotten a big pass from Stark fanboys on his reputation for essentially trading away any sense of being a rigid adherent to moral right and justice above all when Black Aly basically gets him to drop his bloody-minded plans in exchange for her maidenhead. 

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27 minutes ago, Ran said:

I have to admit, I am bemused at the fact that Cregan has largely gotten a big pass from Stark fanboys on his reputation for essentially trading away any sense of being a rigid adherent to moral right and justice above all when Black Aly basically gets him to drop his bloody-minded plans in exchange for her maidenhead. 

And she didn’t even have that anymore.

But to be fair, executing Corlys would have been deeply unpopular and damaging to peace. Sure, it would have been justice, but you could argue in kind that killing Aegon was justice for the crime of kinslaying.

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

I have to admit, I am bemused at the fact that Cregan has largely gotten a big pass from Stark fanboys on his reputation for essentially trading away any sense of being a rigid adherent to moral right and justice above all when Black Aly basically gets him to drop his bloody-minded plans in exchange for her maidenhead. 

Cregan doesn't strike me as a guy who really gave a damn about Aegon II. He wanted to kill him, too, and he wanted to crush all Rhaenyra's enemies. He is just pissed that Corlys, etc. - and to a lesser degree the Lads - beat him to all that. He cannot possibly 'punish' the Lads but he can punish the Greens-turning-Blacks for stealing his victories. The murder of the king is the pretext for the arrests and the trials, but it is not really the cause. The cause is that Cregan Stark couldn't personally use Ice on Aegon II.

One has to say, it is rather mean of George to steal this moment of 'Stark glory in battle' from them. Apparently, they always have to come too late, just as Ned did when he wanted to deal with Aerys II...

And to have Lord Alaric actually complain about a Targaryen king sending men to the Watch is somewhat undermining the idea that they were those great friends of the Watch. They certainly support them with goods and all, but if they were giving a damn about the needs of the Watch in men then sending Warrior's Sons and Poor Fellows up there shouldn't be an issue.

1 hour ago, James Steller said:

But to be fair, executing Corlys would have been deeply unpopular and damaging to peace. Sure, it would have been justice, but you could argue in kind that killing Aegon was justice for the crime of kinslaying.

See above. The means by which Corlys and the others rid themselves of Aegon II was also an issue, of course. By working with poisoners Cregan's own honor would be tarnished, too. And he is not incorrect that the manner of his rise will remain a stain on the honor of Aegon III, too.

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12 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

First fighting with adult dragon is suicide so it is very good idea to wait until all of them are either dead, without riders or AWOL.

Secondly Red Kraken raided all coasts of Sunset Sea so most of Cregan's soldiers almost certainly were needed to guard against IB raids. Besides it is possible that Skagos might have caused some mayhem too although their major rebellion happened couple generations (40-50 years) later.

Third most men that came with lord C had only one way ticket or they were surplus men who would have "gone hunting" anyway. 

1- You can send reinforcements by sea using White Harbor. Or going through the Vale. So that's not an excuse.

2- Red Kraken never attacked the North or the Reach. Only Westerlands. We have no info about Skaggos.

3- That's my point. He didn't bring troops. He get ride off his useless men.

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10 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And to have Lord Alaric actually complain about a Targaryen king sending men to the Watch is somewhat undermining the idea that they were those great friends of the Watch. They certainly support them with goods and all, but if they were giving a damn about the needs of the Watch in men then sending Warrior's Sons and Poor Fellows up there shouldn't be an issue.

See above. The means by which Corlys and the others rid themselves of Aegon II was also an issue, of course. By working with poisoners Cregan's own honor would be tarnished, too. And he is not incorrect that the manner of his rise will remain a stain on the honor of Aegon III, too.

 

If you consider poisoning it's unmoral and needs to be punished, do it well. If you just execute servants and soldiers and absolve the principal responsable, you're being an hypocrite.

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Well again, similar to the Janos Slynt execution scene, Cregan’s supposedly impressive actions were largely underwhelming. If George thought he was conveying something “badass” I’m afraid he missed the mark again.

Clearly Cregan is meant to be perceived as a man of great gravitas and charisma and personal power. To the point of intimidating other lords around him.

I accept that because we are basically told that was how it was, by the author. Not because of any particularly well constructed actions on Cregan’s part.

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5 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Well again, similar to the Janos Slynt execution scene, Cregan’s supposedly impressive actions were largely underwhelming. If George thought he was conveying something “badass” I’m afraid he missed the mark again.

Clearly Cregan is meant to be perceived as a man of great gravitas and charisma and personal power. To the point of intimidating other lords around him.

I accept that because we are basically told that was how it was, by the author. Not because of any particularly well constructed actions on Cregan’s part.

Honestly, I can believe that Cregan Stark could terrify young southron lords like the Tullys and Bloody Ben Blackwood. He was supposedly the greatest swordsman that Aemon the Dragonknight ever faced (and that says something, given how Cregan would have been an old man if he ever did cross swords with Aemon). As a young man with an army of wild northmen at his back (I believe his army was closer in size to 20,000 rather than 8,000, but that's just me), Cregan would have been in a very powerful and intimidating position.

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3 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

Honestly, I can believe that Cregan Stark could terrify young southron lords like the Tullys and Bloody Ben Blackwood. He was supposedly the greatest swordsman that Aemon the Dragonknight ever faced (and that says something, given how Cregan would have been an old man if he ever did cross swords with Aemon). As a young man with an army of wild northmen at his back (I believe his army was closer in size to 20,000 rather than 8,000, but that's just me), Cregan would have been in a very powerful and intimidating position.

As I said, Criston Cole was the great champion back then, and the Rivermen weren't afraid of him. Cregan horde were green boys, greybears, widowers, people too poor to survive winter. Hardly impressive.

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On 2/18/2019 at 2:54 PM, the Last Teague said:

While Lord Stark believed he was the only just man in Westeros, but he was only a fool, in my opinion

I think there is a need to separate weed from chaff here. Gyldayn's text has two Cregans.

The first Cregan is Cregan That Was. The actual, historical Cregan - an opportunist who was only loyal to himself. This Cregan pledged his support to Rhaenyra - and sent a bunch of old, poorly-equipped men with iron swords (!) commanded by a moron instead of actual army. He held back for two years waiting for the fighting to die down and tried to swoop in to claim the spoils. He tried to pull a coup, putting his own King under arrest, seizing office of Hand and threatening to murder Corlys Velaryron. It didn't work out to the extent Cregan would find preferable, but in the end he got his share without much exertion. This Cregan's opportunism payed off - he dumped some superfluous bodies and got a life-long supply of rewards from Aegon III.

The second Cregan is Cregan That Gyldayn Needed. Gyldayn was a maester of Summerhall before it burned down, which places his writing somewhere during Maekar's and Aegon V's reigns. The King was either a long-time resident of Summerhall or his son, placing Gyldayn close to the court. It also is a time of turmoil, looming Blackfyre threat, Stark isolationism and general strain in Crown-nobility relationship. Gyldayn could put real Cregan into the narrative, but it would do little to improve Stark-Targaryen relationship to call current Lord Stark's dad/granddad a murderer, an oathbreaker and a turncloak that he was. Especially at the time when the Crown tries desperately to muster support against Blackfyres/for Egg's reforms. And so Gyldayn created his own Cregan Stark - stitching together Cregan's flimsy excuses for his actions and putting some fluff on top. This imaginary Lord Stark is just, righteous man, loyal and willing to make hard choices. Granted, Gyldayn couldn't rewrite history completely, so he had to limit himself to noting Cregan's unscrupulous actions - and then ascribing those actions to some virtuous motive.

And yes, the result is pretty much idiotic. You can argue that the fault lies with Cregan, whose actions were too brazen to be presented in a positive light in even slightly convincing fashion. Or you can say Gyldayn was bad at propaganda and didn't put enough effort into it. Whatever.

But you try to marry these two Cregans and judge them as one character. The result is obvious - it's insane. These two Cregans can't function as one character because they are complete opposites of each other. Not unless Cregan is a schizophrenic, clamoring for justice on Monday and forsaking justice in favor of a young bride by the end of the week. You have to take Cregan's actions as they are (as opposed to what Gyldayn tries to present them as) in order to get the real deal. A ruthless, opportunistic lord trying to make the best of it in troubled times.

Edited by Myrish Lace

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9 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

Gyldayn was a maester of Summerhall before it burned down, which places his writing somewhere during Maekar's and Aegon V's reigns.

That is factually incorrect since George has decided that Gyldayn lived to see and write about all the Targaryen kings. He may have still been a maester at Summerhall (although that idea might be gone, too), but his history was written and finished during the reign of Robert Baratheon (or later still), not during any of the Targaryen kings. That is made pretty obvious from that quote from FaB:

Quote

Sixteen Targaryens followed Aegon the Dragon to the Iron Throne, before the dynasty was at last toppled in Robert’s Rebellion.

Thus all your arguments based on your assessment of Gyldayn's character and your speculation about his motivations - which seem to be pretty far-fetched and without any textual evidence, anyway - are built on sand.

But the idea that anybody in Aegon V would give a damn about the historical picture of Cregan Stark at the end of the Dance is pretty much nonsensical if you ask me. If he can bore his reader with Coryanne Wylde and thus throw dirt at the marriage of Jaehaerys-Alysanne and later on pretty much all their daughters, focusing in great detail on the sexual exploits (or imaginations thereof) of Alyssa, Saera, and even Viserra - and later still of Rhaenyra, Aegon II, and others - it is crystal clear that Gyldayn is not a Targaryen sycophant. Such a guy would have never so much as mentioned the Wylde book or steeped as low as citing so much as a sentence from The Testimony of Mushroom.

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The North owes nothing to the Targaryens.They stole the gift turning it into unsafe and wild,supplied religious fanatics to the wall,causing the ruling Lord to die.

Better rest and send some useless mouth than suffer for the ones that have caused problems.In any case at least Cregan and northmen didnt take up arms against Rhaenerya while many of those who swore an oath to protect her rights did.And its not like North is close to Green supporters land aka Westerlands,Hightower lands or Kingslanding.Even Jeyne Arryn(Rhaeneryas cousin) from close by Vale came pretty late to help.

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17 hours ago, Lightoftheast said:

The North owes nothing to the Targaryens.They stole the gift turning it into unsafe and wild,supplied religious fanatics to the wall,causing the ruling Lord to die.

Better rest and send some useless mouth than suffer for the ones that have caused problems.In any case at least Cregan and northmen didnt take up arms against Rhaenerya while many of those who swore an oath to protect her rights did.And its not like North is close to Green supporters land aka Westerlands,Hightower lands or Kingslanding.Even Jeyne Arryn(Rhaeneryas cousin) from close by Vale came pretty late to help.

Cregan is Warden of the North and vassal to the Crown. So he MUST help Rhaenyra. And Cregan never complained about the New Gift, so that wasn't a problem to him.

Also, he promised prince Jacaerys his help in exchange of a Targaryen princess. The pact of ice and fire.

The North is close enough to help fight the Lannisters. Robb Stark marched fast enough when he was needed.

Jeyne Arryn was the Winged Snail, but at least gave more help.

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17 hours ago, Myrish Lace said:

But you try to marry these two Cregans and judge them as one character. The result is obvious - it's insane. These two Cregans can't function as one character because they are complete opposites of each other. Not unless Cregan is a schizophrenic, clamoring for justice on Monday and forsaking justice in favor of a young bride by the end of the week. You have to take Cregan's actions as they are (as opposed to what Gyldayn tries to present them as) in order to get the real deal. A ruthless, opportunistic lord trying to make the best of it in troubled times.

I was more in the line of "Cregan was estupid" but "Cregan was an oportunistic" sound accurate to me.

I don't think the winter wolves were useless. They were good shock cavalry. But losing 1.200 men charging against pikemen when the battle is already won (enemy is surounded and surpassed) is hardly heroism. Roddy the Ruin wasn't Marshal Murat.

Was Gyldayn manipulating history? Mayhaps. I'm not so expert to discuse that point. 

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To be clear, I have no problem with Cregan’s actions. I just don’t think they were as impressive as they could have been, given George’s obvious intention to paint him as a bit of a badass.

In the end, it underwhelmed.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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1 hour ago, the Last Teague said:

I don't think the winter wolves were useless. They were good shock cavalry.

Winter Wolves were not useless in so far as Roddy was a good soldier (but not a good commander) and Black war effort was starving for manpower, so even old men with old armor and ancient iron swords were a boon.

However Winter Wolves were not a shock cavalry. They were poorly armed and armored, which makes sense - you don't give your best kit to suicide unit. Their horses were no destriers and the wolves themselves were a bunch of old men (with no record of previous combat of any kind). When Roddy attempted to use this substandard light cavalry unit as shock cavalry, the result was a complete debacle - Northmen smashed into Western pikes again and again, lacking the actual shock to punch through and losing two thirds of their men as casualties.

1 hour ago, the Last Teague said:

Jeyne Arryn was the Winged Snail, but at least gave more help.

Did she?

I recall her sending some troops once Rhaenyra took King's Landing, however there is no mention of those troops actually arriving or doing anything. Considering that even Manderly's measly hundred men were noted to fight in the capital, it seems Jeyne was even less inclined to actually support Rhaenyra than Cregan was.

Jeyne's army actually appears in the narrative at the very end, when all the fighting is done.

Edited by Myrish Lace

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21 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

As I said, Criston Cole was the great champion back then, and the Rivermen weren't afraid of him. 

Yes they were. They defeated him with trickery, deception, and archery rather than a straightforward battle. Cole offered single combat to settle things and nobody wanted to fight him because they knew he’d probably win. Sure, they talk about not giving him and honourable death, but it doesn’t honour them to kill him with arrows. Plus, the Rivermen had Northern allies there, so they knew their fighting worth. Now an even bigger army of unfriendly Northmen arrive on the scene who suddenly have King’s Landing under their power.

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3 hours ago, the Last Teague said:

I was more in the line of "Cregan was estupid" but "Cregan was an oportunistic" sound accurate to me.

I don't think the winter wolves were useless. They were good shock cavalry. But losing 1.200 men charging against pikemen when the battle is already won (enemy is surounded and surpassed) is hardly heroism. Roddy the Ruin wasn't Marshal Murat.

Was Gyldayn manipulating history? Mayhaps. I'm not so expert to discuse that point. 

Cregan Stark simply came too late. But there was nothing opportunistic or disloyal about that. Had he been ambitious he, and he alone, would have called the shots during Aegon III's minority. He had the power to set up and dominate the Regency government. Yet that did not happen.

Also, he only prepared the army he was coming with later when Rhaenyra wrote her letters to him, first from KL shortly before she left, and then again from Duskendale where she received answers.

After Rhaenyra had taken KL and the Greens in the Riverlands had been completely crushed it looked as if the war was about to be won. Rhaenyra didn't need more troops at that point. It is First Tumbleton, the Two Betrayers, and the riots that changed all that.

It is the same with Lady Jeyne's men.

2 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

To be clear, I have no problem with Cregan’s actions. I just don’t think they were as impressive as they could have been, given George’s obvious intention to paint him as a bit of a badass.

Don't think that was his intention. In the actual text he is just somewhat older, somewhat more experienced lord than the Lads. There is nothing exceptional about him that would qualify to make him a bad ass. He shows no great feats of arms, no great military mind, no great grasp for politics. Just a pretty charismatic lord with a pretty large army and the willingness to make use of that army - even if he can't, in the end, make good use of them.

2 hours ago, Myrish Lace said:

Winter Wolves were not useless in so far as Roddy was a good soldier (but not a good commander) and Black war effort was starving for manpower, so even old men with old armor and ancient iron swords were a boon.

However Winter Wolves were not a shock cavalry. They were poorly armed and armored, which makes sense - you don't give your best kit to suicide unit. Their horses were no destriers and the wolves themselves were a bunch of old men (with no record of previous combat of any kind). When Roddy attempted to use this substandard light cavalry unit as shock cavalry, the result was a complete debacle - Northmen smashed into Western pikes again and again, lacking the actual shock to punch through and losing two thirds of their men as casualties.

They accomplished what they were there for. They helped crush the Greens in the Riverlands, and they cut of the head of the Hightower snake at Tumbleton which was clearly one of the most crucial Black victories of the entire war. The battle there was lost, but the general was dead, and thus the men there started to bicker among and plot against each other, effectively neutralizing them as a main threat.

2 hours ago, Myrish Lace said:

Did she?

I recall her sending some troops once Rhaenyra took King's Landing, however there is no mention of those troops actually arriving or doing anything. Considering that even Manderly's measly hundred men were noted to fight in the capital, it seems Jeyne was even less inclined to actually support Rhaenyra than Cregan was.

Jeyne's army actually appears in the narrative at the very end, when all the fighting is done.

See above. There was no need for more men while they thought the dragonriders and the men Rhaenyra had could deal with the last Green army at Tumbleton. One assumes that a considerable portion of the men Lady Jeyne had sent were among the men sent to Tumbleton - but then, due to the blocked passes men from the Vale needed ships to get to KL. They could not march through the mountains.

20 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

Yes they were. They defeated him with trickery, deception, and archery rather than a straightforward battle. Cole offered single combat to settle things and nobody wanted to fight him because they knew he’d probably win. Sure, they talk about not giving him and honourable death, but it doesn’t honour them to kill him with arrows. Plus, the Rivermen had Northern allies there, so they knew their fighting worth. Now an even bigger army of unfriendly Northmen arrive on the scene who suddenly have King’s Landing under their power.

They gave a traitor what he deserved. Not to mention that the war in the Riverlands had escalated at that point to a degree that it is understandable that the guys didn't want to take chances or bother with silly chivalric nonsense.

The mindset of the guys there is very evocative of the leaders of the Brotherhood without Banners, and it seems very likely that both the Fishfeed and the Butcher's Ball are hints as to what the Westermen who hang out in the Riverlands right can expect to happen to them in the future. There will be no mercy. Not for the Lannisters and definitely not for the Freys.

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55 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

Yes they were. They defeated him with trickery, deception, and archery rather than a straightforward battle. Cole offered single combat to settle things and nobody wanted to fight him because they knew he’d probably win. Sure, they talk about not giving him and honourable death, but it doesn’t honour them to kill him with arrows. Plus, the Rivermen had Northern allies there, so they knew their fighting worth. Now an even bigger army of unfriendly Northmen arrive on the scene who suddenly have King’s Landing under their power.

He offered 3 to 1 combat and they refused, they had archers already prepared although he arrived alone to talks. So they certainly were afraid or some would say wise.

Though to be honest he did draw his weapon first, which might be considered breaking of truce in Westeros.

 On the other hand he didn't attack them and they launched missiles very fast. With killing him they removed commander of enemy army which reduced morale and any losses they would have. It also goes along with military tactic they used in Riverlands up to Butchers Ball.

Whole episode reminds me of Jaime Lannister in Battle of Whispering Wood ( or even in show) though he had benefit of being a valuable hostage from great house or he would have been killed unlike Sir Cole.

Those who were at the Butchers Ball would die soon anyway in the Tumbleton, trampled , by dragon or disappear in anonymity, except for Roddy the Ruin which gave good fight.

 

Edited by Eltharion21

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