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Tallhart and Glover Bowmen to man Moat Cailin

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In A Game of Thrones, Eddard IV, Eddard orders the following to Catelyn:

Quote

When the door had closed behind him, Ned turned back to his wife. "Once you are home, send word to Helman Tallhart and Galbart Glover under my seal. They are to raise a hundred bowmen each and fortify Moat Cailin. Two hundred determined archers can hold the Neck against an army. Instruct Lord Manderly that he is to strengthen and repair all his defenses at White Harbor, and see that they are well manned. And from this day on, I want a careful watch kept over Theon Greyjoy. If there is war, we shall have sore need of his father's fleet." 

When I read this a second time it struck me how odd the command is concerning the bowmen that are send to Moat Cailin. Eddard orders that two hundred bowmen need to go to Moat Cailin and fortify the fortress. This seems like a smart move, but why order this to the Tallharts and the Glovers? There are two interesting observations that can be made here which I will discuss.

  • The Tallharts and Glovers are not the houses closest to Moat Cailin.

This is the first thing that struck me as odd. If you look up a map of the North it is immediately clear that house Tallhart and Glover are not the houses that are situated closest to Moat Cailin.  So why ask these houses to man the fortress? The closest house to Moat Cailin seems to be house Manderly of White Harbor. An explanation for Eddard not ordering them to send archers to Moat Cailin may be that later in the quote he orders that Lord Manderly has to strengthen and repair all defences at White Harbor and man these defenses.  His men are already occupied doing something else thus explaining why Manderly is not ordered to send men to Moat Cailin. However, then there are still others houses that are located closer to Moat Cailin than the Tallharts. These houses are the Dustins of Barrowtown and the Cerwyns of Castle Cerwyn. After that Winterfell and Thorren's Square are probably the castles closest to Moat Cailin. The Glovers are the most curious case as they are far far away from Moat Cailin.

  • The Tallharts and Glovers are both masterly houses.

Another thing the Tallharts and Glovers have in common is that they are both masterly houses. This is often seen as the northern equivalent to landed knights. This would mean that these houses are of a slightly lesser stature than other houses in the North like Bolton, Umber, Manderly, Dustin etc. Could this be the explanation as to why they are send? Perhaps Eddard considers them more loyal and that is why he chooses them to man Moat Cailin. 

Hopefully someone has some interesting insights on why they think these two houses are chosen to send bowmen to Moat Cailin. 

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1 hour ago, JS97 said:

In A Game of Thrones, Eddard IV, Eddard orders the following to Catelyn:

When I read this a second time it struck me how odd the command is concerning the bowmen that are send to Moat Cailin. Eddard orders that two hundred bowmen need to go to Moat Cailin and fortify the fortress. This seems like a smart move, but why order this to the Tallharts and the Glovers? There are two interesting observations that can be made here which I will discuss.

  • The Tallharts and Glovers are not the houses closest to Moat Cailin.

This is the first thing that struck me as odd. If you look up a map of the North it is immediately clear that house Tallhart and Glover are not the houses that are situated closest to Moat Cailin.  So why ask these houses to man the fortress? The closest house to Moat Cailin seems to be house Manderly of White Harbor. An explanation for Eddard not ordering them to send archers to Moat Cailin may be that later in the quote he orders that Lord Manderly has to strengthen and repair all defences at White Harbor and man these defenses.  His men are already occupied doing something else thus explaining why Manderly is not ordered to send men to Moat Cailin. However, then there are still others houses that are located closer to Moat Cailin than the Tallharts. These houses are the Dustins of Barrowtown and the Cerwyns of Castle Cerwyn. After that Winterfell and Thorren's Square are probably the castles closest to Moat Cailin. The Glovers are the most curious case as they are far far away from Moat Cailin.

  • The Tallharts and Glovers are both masterly houses.

Another thing the Tallharts and Glovers have in common is that they are both masterly houses. This is often seen as the northern equivalent to landed knights. This would mean that these houses are of a slightly lesser stature than other houses in the North like Bolton, Umber, Manderly, Dustin etc. Could this be the explanation as to why they are send? Perhaps Eddard considers them more loyal and that is why he chooses them to man Moat Cailin. 

Hopefully someone has some interesting insights on why they think these two houses are chosen to send bowmen to Moat Cailin. 

Martin had not really fleshed out the details behind Houses Dustin and Ryswell at that early stage. In fact, I believe that while Torrhen Square and Deepwood Motte was on the original map the much larger Barrowton only appeared many years later.

So I think that partly explains it. And maybe the Masterly House status played a role as well.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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13 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Martin had not really fleshed out the details behind Houses Dustin and Ryswell at that early stage. In fact, I believe that while Torrhen Square and Deepwood Motte was on the original map the much larger Barrowton only appeared many years later.

So I think that partly explains it. And maybe the Masterly House status played a role as well.

The map in AGOT doesn't show Barrowtown I believe. Deepwood Motte is not visible on that map either. While the Dustins and Ryswells are only mentioned in Eddard's fever dream in book 1, the Cerwyns are mentioned more often just like the Tallharts and Glovers. The Cerwyns are still closer to Moat Cailin.

It does make sense that GRRM had not fully worked out the Dustins as they aren't mentioned as much but I suspect that there is a specific reason that Eddard chose those two houses.

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(Long)bowmen means training... or hunting, which means a. Since Eddard wants them to RAISE archers. Glovers with their forest clans are the obvious choice. As for Tallharts, well their name and location near wolfswood suggest the same as well

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1 hour ago, JS97 said:

 

Another thing the Tallharts and Glovers have in common is that they are both masterly houses. This is often seen as the northern equivalent to landed knights. This would mean that these houses are of a slightly lesser stature than other houses in the North like Bolton, Umber, Manderly, Dustin etc. Could this be the explanation as to why they are send? Perhaps Eddard considers them more loyal and that is why he chooses them to man Moat Cailin. 

Hopefully someone has some interesting insights on why they think these two houses are chosen to send bowmen to Moat Cailin. 

I've always assumed Masterly are the Northern equivalent of landed knights and these two Houses are directly under Stark. Ned is trying to keep a possible war under wraps so is using his own personal men to man Moat Cailin rather than trust in other Lords who may well share their information. 

 

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1 hour ago, Corvo the Crow said:

(Long)bowmen means training... or hunting, which means a. Since Eddard wants them to RAISE archers. Glovers with their forest clans are the obvious choice. As for Tallharts, well their name and location near wolfswood suggest the same as well

That's something I had not considered yet. It seems to make sense.

Although, just for the sake of argument, it also seems to me that bowmen are often present on ships. We see seafaring people described as bowmen such as the summer islanders, who are described as good bowmen, and Mallister bowmen, who are mentioned in the text. I can vaguely remember that Iron Islanders are also considered to be good bowmen although this could be show only. If that assumption is correct then the Dustins should have some bowmen as well. 

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

I've always assumed Masterly are the Northern equivalent of landed knights and these two Houses are directly under Stark. Ned is trying to keep a possible war under wraps so is using his own personal men to man Moat Cailin rather than trust in other Lords who may well share their information. 

 

I was thinking the same thing. However, why wouldn't he just send word to Winterfell then, to raise bowmen? 

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Ned was political inept in the south but he managed the north without problems. He probably knew that lady Dustin was not his biggest support.

Umbers, Karstarks and Boltons are too further away. Manderly is busy with White harbor, Roose is not a man to be trusted.

Other than Tallhart and Glover, only Cerwyn and Hornwood would be equally fit for the task.

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I always assumed that Ned isnt a complete idiot and he knows that during a war with the Lannisters Tywin will most likly offer a lot of gold and titles to the lord who betrays house Stark and even though im sure Ned trusts his bannerman say maybe Roose and Lady Dustin but he trusts Tallhart and Glover more because their titles and lands are gifts per say from the STARKS and they are very loyal to the Starks for allowing them to keep an inner circle with then since it seems Ned calls on them a lot. 

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26 minutes ago, JS97 said:

 

I was thinking the same thing. However, why wouldn't he just send word to Winterfell then, to raise bowmen? 

Because ravens and their messages can sometimes be intercepted.  He does not want the Queen and her family to suspect he's onto them the fewer outside his inner circle who know the better. 

Ned's already stripped his capital of men, he probably did not want to remove any more so his direct Masterly vassals would be trusted.

 

4 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Amazing to think that a million square mile kingdom with millions of inhabitants doesn’t have even a hundred men permanently stationed at its only land based access point.

Mind boggling in fact.

Not really. 

  • The North is part of Westeros, its not a separate kingdom
  • It's 300 miles away from the Riverland border

 

If Ned has an extra 100 soldiers lying spare then there are better uses for them than defending an unpopulated ruin. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Bernie Mac said:

Because ravens and their messages can sometimes be intercepted.  He does not want the Queen and her family to suspect he's onto them the fewer outside his inner circle who know the better. 

Ned's already stripped his capital of men, he probably did not want to remove any more so his direct Masterly vassals would be trusted.

 

Not really. 

  • The North is part of Westeros, its not a separate kingdom
  • It's 300 miles away from the Riverland border

 

If Ned has an extra 100 soldiers lying spare then there are better uses for them than defending an unpopulated ruin. 

 

 

Seems unlikely the Golden Tooth is similarly undefended, even in peacetime.

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Just now, Free Northman Reborn said:

Seems unlikely the Golden Tooth is similarly undefended, even in peacetime.

You don't see a difference between a castle with fertile lands, a rich lord and likely mines having a garrison and a ruin located on unlivable land . 

The Leffords are a rich house, they have reason to invest and defend their castle. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

You don't see a difference between a castle with fertile lands, a rich lord and likely mines having a garrison and a ruin located on unlivable land . 

The Leffords are a rich house, they have reason to invest and defend their castle. 

 

Or the Bloody Gate. Or the Boneway or the Prince's Pass. Or the Shield Isles.

It just feels like kingdoms with narrow access points would tend to keep them guarded.

No need to make this a big argument. We all know Martin decided to have Moat Cailin abandoned. It just feels like an unlikely anomaly, given the other examples.

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14 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Or the Bloody Gate.

Is the Bloody gate not on fertile lands? Is the garrison being subsidized by other Lords? 

And the Bloody Gate helps protect the Vale from the Mountain Clans. 

Quote

Or the Boneway or the Prince's Pass.

Close borders and frequent attacks. If Moat Cailin was not 300 miles from the border and the North had a less cordial relationship with the Riverlands I'd see your point

Quote

Or the Shield Isles.

The Shield Islands supports four lords, their garrison is not being subsidized by the Tyrells.

Quote

It just feels like kingdoms with narrow access points would tend to keep them guarded.

Westeros is 1 kingdom. The North is not policing who they let in. Bandits from the Riverlands are not making 600 mile journeys to raid the Northern lands around Moat Cailin.

Quote

No need to make this a big argument. We all know Martin decided to have Moat Cailin abandoned. It just feels like an unlikely anomaly, given the other examples.

Its easily explained. 

 

Edited by Bernie Mac

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2 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Is the Bloody gate not on fertile lands? Is the garrison being subsidized by other Lords? 

And the Bloody Gate helps protect the Vale from the Mountain Clans. 

Close borders and frequent attacks. If Moat Cailin was not 300 miles from the border and the North had a less cordial relationship with the Riverlands I'd see your point

The Shield Islands supports four lords, there garrison is not being subsidized by the Tyrells.

Westeros is 1 kingdom. The North is not policing who they let in. Bandits from the Riverlands are not making 600 mile journeys to raid the Northern lands around Moat Cailin.

Its easily explained. 

 

I disagree.

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21 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I disagree.

Can you not see the obvious difference between the castles you mentioned and the ruins of Moat Cailin? 

Lord Stark has a 100 extra soldiers should he

  • station them in a ruin that has not been attacked in many, many centuries
  • station them on lands on the Western coast to help stop his people moving inland due to Ironborn ravaging
  • station them on lands near the new gift to help combat wildling raiding

 

There are better uses for such a surplus than a vanity garrison at Moat Cailin.

 

Edited by Bernie Mac

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2 hours ago, JS97 said:

That's something I had not considered yet. It seems to make sense.

Although, just for the sake of argument, it also seems to me that bowmen are often present on ships. We see seafaring people described as bowmen such as the summer islanders, who are described as good bowmen, and Mallister bowmen, who are mentioned in the text. I can vaguely remember that Iron Islanders are also considered to be good bowmen although this could be show only. If that assumption is correct then the Dustins should have some bowmen as well.

Part of my post is erased; It was supposed to say hunting means forests or wooded areas.

Well all of the greater lords would have bowmen in their garrisons as will most smaller ones, but, many of these would be crossbowmen. I think Ned wanting to RAISE these men and to raise them from houses with woodland domains means these are longbowmen he asks for and Glovers and perhaps Tallharts too are the houses closest to Winterfell and perhaps  gather  and send these with ease to MC quickest.

I never remember anything about II bowmen, in fact we never see one as far as I recall. It’s just Theon and likely because he lived in “Green Lands”

 

As for using masterly houses to keep it a secret or whatever is just nonsense. He ordered Manderly, a lord, to strengthen his defense as well. And even if the Manderlies and all the lords of the North were loyal, trade ships would spread the word that WH is getting strengthened. 

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4 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Amazing to think that a million square mile kingdom with millions of inhabitants doesn’t have even a hundred men permanently stationed at its only land based access point.

Mind boggling in fact.

I always assumed the Carnnogmen/Reeds defended Moat Cailin. Perhaps their small stature makes them poor wielders of the Longbow?

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8 hours ago, JS97 said:

In A Game of Thrones, Eddard IV, Eddard orders the following to Catelyn:

When I read this a second time it struck me how odd the command is concerning the bowmen that are send to Moat Cailin. Eddard orders that two hundred bowmen need to go to Moat Cailin and fortify the fortress. This seems like a smart move, but why order this to the Tallharts and the Glovers? There are two interesting observations that can be made here which I will discuss.

  • The Tallharts and Glovers are not the houses closest to Moat Cailin.

This is the first thing that struck me as odd. If you look up a map of the North it is immediately clear that house Tallhart and Glover are not the houses that are situated closest to Moat Cailin.  So why ask these houses to man the fortress? The closest house to Moat Cailin seems to be house Manderly of White Harbor. An explanation for Eddard not ordering them to send archers to Moat Cailin may be that later in the quote he orders that Lord Manderly has to strengthen and repair all defences at White Harbor and man these defenses.  His men are already occupied doing something else thus explaining why Manderly is not ordered to send men to Moat Cailin. However, then there are still others houses that are located closer to Moat Cailin than the Tallharts. These houses are the Dustins of Barrowtown and the Cerwyns of Castle Cerwyn. After that Winterfell and Thorren's Square are probably the castles closest to Moat Cailin. The Glovers are the most curious case as they are far far away from Moat Cailin.

  • The Tallharts and Glovers are both masterly houses.

Another thing the Tallharts and Glovers have in common is that they are both masterly houses. This is often seen as the northern equivalent to landed knights. This would mean that these houses are of a slightly lesser stature than other houses in the North like Bolton, Umber, Manderly, Dustin etc. Could this be the explanation as to why they are send? Perhaps Eddard considers them more loyal and that is why he chooses them to man Moat Cailin. 

Hopefully someone has some interesting insights on why they think these two houses are chosen to send bowmen to Moat Cailin. 

My guess is that, being houses located in the Wolfwood, Tallharts and Glovers have the best archers.

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