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Headless Wolf

The War in the South (TWOW spoilers)

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I posted a version of this in another forum but thought I'd get more responses here. So with all we know from the Forsaken and Arianne II I've grown pretty skeptical of the idea that Euron is going to be taken down quite so soon, or simply serve as a means for bringing some powerful players to Aegon's cause when he rides in to save the day at Oldtown. To me it seems that Euron has been set up to be a serious antagonist much like Ramsay, and if so this means he's in the market for some serious victories. Take these statements from Sam and JonCon; "If King's Landing loses Oldtown and the Arbor, the realm will fall to pieces." and "Take that (Storm's End) and the realm will shake." Storm's End falling shakes the realm and brings men to Aegon's banners, and Euron taking Oldtown, or at least the Arbor, leaves the Lannisters and Tyrells in utter disarray, and enables Euron to get his hands on magical artifacts housed in the Citadel. It also sets up a pretty damn epic and memorable campaign in the south, with Dornishmen and stormlanders flocking to Aegon and pirates like Salladhor Saan coming to Euron's banners (Stannis never paid him, but we know Euron gives his men most of his plunder to win their loyalty). So the way I see Euron's campaign going in the Reach is:

1. Garlan Tyrell retakes the Shields: Euron gave the Shields to his rivals from the kingsmoot and Victarion's own men, weakening his brother while strengthening his own position. He has no intention of holding them, as he has said himself. When Garlan assembles his ragtag fleet of fishing boats and pleasure barges to land Tyrell men on the Shields, most of the ironborn longships defending them, or raiding up the Mander, will sail west, leaving the islands undefended, only to return to sink Garlan's ships once he's retaken the islands and leave him stranded and blockaded by Ironborn longships on Oakenshield. This would likely leave his host split among all four islands with no way of getting off, making him helpless to defend Oldtown or Highgarden. 

2. Brightwater Keep is sacked and torched: Garlan was made Lord of Brightwater after the Battle of the Blackwater, and was going to take the castle from the Florents when Euron started raiding in the Reach. He then abandoned his mission and started raising men and ships to retake the Shields, so Brightwater is defended only by a token Florent garrison, most of their men having died at the Blackwater or gone north with Stannis. As has been noted before, the ironborn will likely carry their longships overland, and sail down the Honeywine, taking Brightwater and putting it to the torch, a nice middle finger to Garlan, stranded on the Shields and unable to defend his keep, and it serves a dual purpose of forcing Leyton Hightower's son to stay in Oldtown to defend against attacks from the Honeywine rather than going to attack Euron himself in the Redwyne Straits. As people living along the banks of the Honeywine flee the ironborn, they will send their own men with those refugees to infiltrate Oldtown and start riots when Euron comes to take the city, or at the very least the influx of more mouths to feed with strain Oldtown's larders and make the Hightowers more likely to go out and give battle to break the siege.

3. The Battle of the Redwyne StraitsMoqorro's vision of a "twisted thing with one black eye and ten long arms, sailing on a sea of blood" seems to be an obvious reference to Euron. His captains mention that they have sacrificed thousands of people to the Drowned God, and all the blood in the water is likely to bring krakens up to harass Redwyne and sink some of his best ships. Euron could also likely use magic to make this happen, we know he has warlocks from Qarth with him. Also, Victarion's thought of "what would the Crow's Eye do?" before giving a command to "sail the straits" is, I believe, foreshadowing that Euron will battle Paxter Redwyne in the Redwyne straits, possibly splitting the ships he has with him into two forces, one sailing right down the Straits and the other sailing around the Arbor to take Redwyne in the rear, just like Stannis did to Victarion at Fair Isle. With Redwyne dealt with, Euron would be free to continue sacking the Arbor.

4. Sacking Oldtown: If Euron wins his battle in the Straits, he'll likely feign defeat, sending ravens to Oldtown and King's Landing telling them Paxter Redwyne defeated him, then use ships taken from Redwyne's fleet to infiltrate Oldtown, as the ironborn have already tried to do, and this time succeed because they fly Redwyne banners when sailing up the Whispering Sound. Oldtown is at least partially sacked, but the Hightower proves too strong for them, though I imagine Euron will taunt Leyton Hightower with the smiling head of his son Baelor. He will also despoil the Starry Sept, bringing the Warrior's Sons and Poor Fellows down from King's Landing to fight these godless raiders. Ultimately they are forced to abandon the city and return to the sea, while the realm falls to pieces and Mace loses the support of his bannermen for failing to defend the Reach, leaving the Tyrells open for tragedy and further losses, such as the Dornish host in the Prince's pass taking Highgarden, or someone like Darkstar sneaking into the castle and murdering Willas, who was a friend of Prince Oberyn, who hated Darkstar and wanted to kill him. Euron likely wants the obsidian candles from the Citadel, he's fascinated with magic and as far as we know those are the mot significant magical artifacts in Oldtown. I also imagine Alleras (Sarella) will join Euron to get close to him, likely offering him the glass candles, and ultimately try to kill him. We know from the example of Maester Kerwin that Euron at least tolerates maesters and finds them useful, so it's possible he'll spare the Citadel if the Sphinx offers him the candles in exchange. 

I see a protracted war between Aegon and Euron, while Cersei sets about consolidating her power in King's Landing, and Mace Tyrell flounders in the field, and then Dany will land at Dragonstone and the Dance will be on. 

Thoughts?

 

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1 hour ago, Headless Wolf said:

4. Sacking Oldtown: If Euron wins his battle in the Straits, he'll likely feign defeat, sending ravens to Oldtown and King's Landing telling them Paxter Redwyne defeated him, then use ships taken from Redwyne's fleet to infiltrate Oldtown, as the ironborn have already tried to do, and this time succeed because they fly Redwyne banners when sailing up the Whispering Sound. Oldtown is at least partially sacked, but the Hightower proves too strong for them, though I imagine Euron will taunt Leyton Hightower with the smiling head of his son Baelor. He will also despoil the Starry Sept, bringing the Warrior's Sons and Poor Fellows down from King's Landing to fight these godless raiders. Ultimately they are forced to abandon the city and return to the sea, while the realm falls to pieces and Mace loses the support of his bannermen for failing to defend the Reach, leaving the Tyrells open for tragedy and further losses, such as the Dornish host in the Prince's pass taking Highgarden, or someone like Darkstar sneaking into the castle and murdering Willas, who was a friend of Prince Oberyn, who hated Darkstar and wanted to kill him. Euron likely wants the obsidian candles from the Citadel, he's fascinated with magic and as far as we know those are the mot significant magical artifacts in Oldtown. I also imagine Alleras (Sarella) will join Euron to get close to him, likely offering him the glass candles, and ultimately try to kill him. We know from the example of Maester Kerwin that Euron at least tolerates maesters and finds them useful, so it's possible he'll spare the Citadel if the Sphinx offers him the candles in exchange. 

I see a protracted war between Aegon and Euron, while Cersei sets about consolidating her power in King's Landing, and Mace Tyrell flounders in the field, and then Dany will land at Dragonstone and the Dance will be on. 

Thoughts?

 

Most important ramification of the Sack of Oldtown will be Chekhov's horn, the black horn that Sam refused to give up for plot reasons at Braavos. Oldtown and the Wall are linked -- you can allegedly see the Wall from the top of the Hightower, though it would be impossible. So too are Euron and dark magic intertwined; the coming of the Others is probably something that's actually good for him.

I think the Citadel will be sacked, and Euron will recognise Sam's horn as the Horn of Joramun. It will be blown at the top of the Hightower... and then the Wall comes crashing down.  

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6 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

I posted a version of this in another forum but thought I'd get more responses here. So with all we know from the Forsaken and Arianne II I've grown pretty skeptical of the idea that Euron is going to be taken down quite so soon, or simply serve as a means for bringing some powerful players to Aegon's cause when he rides in to save the day at Oldtown.

There was never any reason to believe Euron is going to taken down soon. The guy was played up as a great and important and powerful antagonist throughout AFfC. The signs were all there. We didn't really need the Forsaken to understand that - although many people apparently did ;-).

However, there is little to no reason to assume Aegon will ever ride to Oldtown? What would be the point of that? He wants the Iron Throne.

6 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

To me it seems that Euron has been set up to be a serious antagonist much like Ramsay, and if so this means he's in the market for some serious victories.

Sure, but Ramsay is no serious antagonist. Roose is, Ramsay is a joke.

6 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

1. Garlan Tyrell retakes the Shields: Euron gave the Shields to his rivals from the kingsmoot and Victarion's own men, weakening his brother while strengthening his own position. He has no intention of holding them, as he has said himself. When Garlan assembles his ragtag fleet of fishing boats and pleasure barges to land Tyrell men on the Shields, most of the ironborn longships defending them, or raiding up the Mander, will sail west, leaving the islands undefended, only to return to sink Garlan's ships once he's retaken the islands and leave him stranded and blockaded by Ironborn longships on Oakenshield. This would likely leave his host split among all four islands with no way of getting off, making him helpless to defend Oldtown or Highgarden.

I doubt that Garlan will be as stupid as that, nor do I think that the Tyrells will have only third-class ships to deal with the Ironborn on the islands. Also, we have no idea how many men and ships Euron left there - considering that he doesn't give a damn about the Shields it doesn't sound likely the Ironborn there can deal with, say, 20,000-30,000 Reach men taking back the Shields.

Also, Garlan and Willas don't send any men to defend Oldtown at this point. That's the duty of Lord Leyton and he does have the men to do that. He does not need support.

6 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

2. Brightwater Keep is sacked and torched: Garlan was made Lord of Brightwater after the Battle of the Blackwater, and was going to take the castle from the Florents when Euron started raiding in the Reach. He then abandoned his mission and started raising men and ships to retake the Shields, so Brightwater is defended only by a token Florent garrison, most of their men having died at the Blackwater or gone north with Stannis. As has been noted before, the ironborn will likely carry their longships overland, and sail down the Honeywine, taking Brightwater and putting it to the torch, a nice middle finger to Garlan, stranded on the Shields and unable to defend his keep, and it serves a dual purpose of forcing Leyton Hightower's son to stay in Oldtown to defend against attacks from the Honeywine rather than going to attack Euron himself in the Redwyne Straits. As people living along the banks of the Honeywine flee the ironborn, they will send their own men with those refugees to infiltrate Oldtown and start riots when Euron comes to take the city, or at the very least the influx of more mouths to feed with strain Oldtown's larders and make the Hightowers more likely to go out and give battle to break the siege.

Sounds like a scenario where the guys in that region have to be utter morons. There is a reason why this 'carrying ships' ploy worked centuries ago - because it was done in a land occupied by a foreign force with the people don't giving a damn that the Ironborn were entering the country. This is not the case in the Reach.

6 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

3. The Battle of the Redwyne StraitsMoqorro's vision of a "twisted thing with one black eye and ten long arms, sailing on a sea of blood" seems to be an obvious reference to Euron. His captains mention that they have sacrificed thousands of people to the Drowned God, and all the blood in the water is likely to bring krakens up to harass Redwyne and sink some of his best ships. Euron could also likely use magic to make this happen, we know he has warlocks from Qarth with him. Also, Victarion's thought of "what would the Crow's Eye do?" before giving a command to "sail the straits" is, I believe, foreshadowing that Euron will battle Paxter Redwyne in the Redwyne straits, possibly splitting the ships he has with him into two forces, one sailing right down the Straits and the other sailing around the Arbor to take Redwyne in the rear, just like Stannis did to Victarion at Fair Isle. With Redwyne dealt with, Euron would be free to continue sacking the Arbor.

Euron has to crush the Redwyne fleet, yes - else he would be finished. Now, krakens might have something to do with that, but I think a magical storm will actually do the bulk of the work. Krakens would cause confusion, one assumes, but not necessarily destroy the enemy armada - not to mention that Euron's own men would be very afraid of them, too. But a great storm sparing the Ironborn ships while destroyed all or the majority of the Redwyne ships should do the trick.

There is no reason for Euron to sack the Arbor thereafter, though. He will take possession of it and make it his royal seat for the time being. The Arbor happens to be an island which means it will be unassailable by any enemy on the mainland (unlike Oldtown). It will the place where Euron is going to await news of 'his queen'.

6 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

4. Sacking Oldtown: If Euron wins his battle in the Straits, he'll likely feign defeat, sending ravens to Oldtown and King's Landing telling them Paxter Redwyne defeated him, then use ships taken from Redwyne's fleet to infiltrate Oldtown, as the ironborn have already tried to do, and this time succeed because they fly Redwyne banners when sailing up the Whispering Sound. Oldtown is at least partially sacked, but the Hightower proves too strong for them, though I imagine Euron will taunt Leyton Hightower with the smiling head of his son Baelor. He will also despoil the Starry Sept, bringing the Warrior's Sons and Poor Fellows down from King's Landing to fight these godless raiders. Ultimately they are forced to abandon the city and return to the sea, while the realm falls to pieces and Mace loses the support of his bannermen for failing to defend the Reach, leaving the Tyrells open for tragedy and further losses, such as the Dornish host in the Prince's pass taking Highgarden, or someone like Darkstar sneaking into the castle and murdering Willas, who was a friend of Prince Oberyn, who hated Darkstar and wanted to kill him. Euron likely wants the obsidian candles from the Citadel, he's fascinated with magic and as far as we know those are the mot significant magical artifacts in Oldtown. I also imagine Alleras (Sarella) will join Euron to get close to him, likely offering him the glass candles, and ultimately try to kill him. We know from the example of Maester Kerwin that Euron at least tolerates maesters and finds them useful, so it's possible he'll spare the Citadel if the Sphinx offers him the candles in exchange. 

There won't be any reason to attack or sack Oldtown, actually. Because we know what the Hightowers will do when they learn what happened to the Redwyne fleet - they will be the knee to King Euron like their ancestors did to other Ironborn kings in the past. Euron Greyjoy is a mad psychopath - but he is charismatic and clever and he knows how to show the world his smiling eye. He will offer the Hightowers good terms and they will accept them for the time being - and this is, of course, what's going to cause a great rift in the overall Realm.

Euron Greyjoy wants the Iron Throne. He does not want Oldtown. And he is far too stupid to basically ruin his own chance at winning the throne by sacking a city and committing the worst of atrocities. In fact, while he is going to kill a lot of Redwyne men I expect him to be rather kind to any Redwynes he captures on the Arbor - or else he will have a lot of trouble gaining a foothold on the land which he desperately needs if he wants the Iron Throne.

If Euron wants stuff from the Citadel or any other place in Oldtown - which may or may not be the case - he can go look for them when the Hightowers do him homage when he visits the city and the Hightower.

As for the idea that the Dornishmen would attack Highgarden - that makes little sense. They will likely both join Aegon and thus fight in the same camp.

6 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

I see a protracted war between Aegon and Euron, while Cersei sets about consolidating her power in King's Landing, and Mace Tyrell flounders in the field, and then Dany will land at Dragonstone and the Dance will be on. 

I don't see much potential for a war between Aegon and Euron (though if there was such a war then Aegon is likely going to be dead long before Dany even starts to move west). Aegon has no ships and Euron has, at this point, no armies on land.

However, I do think I know Euron's next target after the Arbor - Sunspear. Arianne's decision to declare for Aegon - as well as Aegon's sudden and - for Euron - completely unexpected and unforeseen appearance - will cause Euron to attack the Dornishmen to get a first stab at Aegon. Might be that he sacks and burns the castle and/or the Water Gardens, killing Doran and/or Trystane in the process of it. Perhaps they get away. One assumes that Doran Martell would start to make precautions when he learns about the Redwyne fleet and the Arbor.

Cersei is not staying in KL for long. She will have to go or she will be killed. Because Aegon and his people are coming (and if they wouldn't do that then the Tyrells). Cersei will take a ship and pay Euron a visit on the Arbor - where they will celebrate their marriage and vow to destroy all their enemies (and Qyburn and Euron will be able to do such great things together...). Perhaps they will see each other merely as placeholders and tools, but once the news about Dany's death/disappearance reaches Euron he will have to adapt his plans - just as the Martells will have to. A dead dragon queen is going to marry no one. Cersei is the second-best thing to Dany. She is the widow of a king, giving her a weak claim to the throne herself (assuming her children are all dead by that point), and she happens to be the richest woman in Westeros and a great lady in her own right. Casterly Rock and Lannisport would give Euron the armies he would need to really start the war on land (because he could not really count on the Hightowers to fight for him).

Once the news about Dany living and eventually coming the Westeros with the largest army and armada the world had seen since, well, the Doom of Valyria, one imagines Euron is going to become Dany's main opponent - and he is going to do that by combining his Ironborn fleet with the Redwyne and Hightower ships under his command, in addition to the ships Aurane Waters has stolen and the surviving Saan fleet to forge a great anti-Daenerys alliance with the Three Daughters.

Volantis' slaver regime will be overthrown by an uprising - it is five slaves for every free citizen, after all - but in Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh it is three slaves per free citizen, and they do not use slave soldiers but rather their own soldiers plus sellswords. They will likely be able to crush any uprisings, drowning their cities in slave blood, and afterwards dreading the arrival of Daenerys will turn to any help against her that offers a hand.

With the armadas of the Three Daughters plus his own ships and various pirates and sellsails Euron can deal Dany a major blow while she is moving her assets to Westeros. In fact, she will never be more vulnerable than at sea. I think she is going to break Euron's main strength there - he will be crippled and play no role during the Second Dance thereafter - but he might survive to come back and haunt her (along with Cersei) after the Second Dance when we get to the Others. Because like Cersei Euron is likely going to be completely unpredictable and utterly mad when he has realized that his great design to win the Iron Throne has failed. Then all he will do is trying to kill everyone before he dies, too. Which is going to be exactly Cersei's objective once her three children are all dead.

Aegon, on the other hand, will take KL in a bloodless battle, after which pretty much the entire Realm but those regions controlled by Euron (and perhaps even the Hightowers will use his rise as a pretext to abandon Euron) and whoever holds the North should do him homage as the rightful king, expecting the son of Rhaegar to give them back the peace of his grandfather. With Cersei fled one expects Aegon to help pacify the Riverlands, possibly even lending a hand in the destruction of the Freys, in preparation of his attack on the West - which he likely thinks he has to take to prevent Cersei from consolidating her power there.

News about Dany should arrive around that time, starting the proper buildup for the Second Dance - because by that time Arianne may already be Aegon's queen and pregnant with his child.

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5 hours ago, Vaith said:

Most important ramification of the Sack of Oldtown will be Chekhov's horn, the black horn that Sam refused to give up for plot reasons at Braavos. Oldtown and the Wall are linked -- you can allegedly see the Wall from the top of the Hightower, though it would be impossible. So too are Euron and dark magic intertwined; the coming of the Others is probably something that's actually good for him.

I think the Citadel will be sacked, and Euron will recognise Sam's horn as the Horn of Joramun. It will be blown at the top of the Hightower... and then the Wall comes crashing down.  

Well, if anyone blew it up there then the only thing coming crashing down would be the Hightower, not the Wall. Joramun's Horn has been blown in the past - and the Wall did not come crashing down. It woke the giants in the earth - i.e. it caused an earthquake - but this earthquake did not affect the Wall. Which means it likely only affects the region where its blow is heard - and then perhaps some more miles considering we are talking earthquakes here - not all of Westeros or the entire world.

If Sam's horn was the Horn of Winter it has to travel back to the Wall to bring it down.

And, I don't know - Euron already had one magical horn. I think it would be overkill to give him yet another.

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1 minute ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, if anyone blew it up there then the only thing coming crashing down would be the Hightower, not the Wall. Joramun's Horn has been blown in the past - and the Wall did not come crashing down. It woke the giants in the earth - i.e. it caused an earthquake - but this earthquake did not affect the Wall. Which means it likely only affects the region where its blow is heard - and then perhaps some more miles considering we are talking earthquakes here - not all of Westeros or the entire world.

If Sam's horn was the Horn of Winter it has to travel back to the Wall to bring it down.

And, I don't know - Euron already had one magical horn. I think it would be overkill to give him yet another.

I think Victarion's horn is going to backfire in some way, thus evening out the Greyjoys seeming "overpowered."

But then again, being overpowered is Euron's thing. If he can have an entire suit of Valyrian steel and whatever eldritch powers he has, there's no stopping his powers from overreaching. 

But he could just recognise it as the Horn of Winter and then head north to blow it. Either way, I think the eventual WallFall is going to be spurred on by the Sack of Oldtown in some form or other. 

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Just now, Vaith said:

I think Victarion's horn is going to backfire in some way, thus evening out the Greyjoys seeming "overpowered."

It will be an important plot device anyway. Else there would be no reason for it to be in the story. And since it was the reason why the Greyjoys seemed to be overpowered George would have likely not had a dragon horn in the story if he didn't want them to be powerful/it to play an important role in the story.

Just now, Vaith said:

But then again, being overpowered is Euron's thing. If he can have an entire suit of Valyrian steel and whatever eldritch powers he has, there's no stopping his powers from overreaching.

Sure, and he is (and will be even more) powerful.

Just now, Vaith said:

But he could just recognise it as the Horn of Winter and then head north to blow it. Either way, I think the eventual WallFall is going to be spurred on by the Sack of Oldtown in some form or other. 

This would still make Euron a double 'horn user' to accomplish fiendish things (and the third Greyjoy if we expect Victarion to have Dragonbinder blown, too). This simply seems weird and unlikely to me.

I expect either a human thrall of the Others - the Weeper, say, or some other wildling having made a Craster-like deal - to blow the Horn of Winter (that would make the fall of the Wall tragic because it was caused by humanity itself) or simply one of the Others doing that job when they approach the Wall. These creatures can talk. Why shouldn't they be able to blow a horn?

As I think I laid out a Sack of Oldtown is not particularly likely and wouldn't really help Euron's cause. Even more since there are actually already hints - very, very subtle hints, though - that he already has one of the glass candles (not to mention that he may not really need such trinkets if the warlocks and the shade of the evening actually help him to activate his greenseer potential).

Crushing the Redwynes will bring Oldtown and the Hightowers to their knees, anyway. They will beg Euron to be their king if he in exchange allows them to continue their trade with the rest of the world. And since the Arbor should enable Euron to secure all the wealth he might need in the foreseeable future he also can afford to be generous again.

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18 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

1. Garlan Tyrell retakes the Shields: Euron gave the Shields to his rivals from the kingsmoot and Victarion's own men, weakening his brother while strengthening his own position. He has no intention of holding them, as he has said himself. When Garlan assembles his ragtag fleet of fishing boats and pleasure barges to land Tyrell men on the Shields, most of the ironborn longships defending them, or raiding up the Mander, will sail west, leaving the islands undefended, only to return to sink Garlan's ships once he's retaken the islands and leave him stranded and blockaded by Ironborn longships on Oakenshield. This would likely leave his host split among all four islands with no way of getting off, making him helpless to defend Oldtown or Highgarden. 

 

While it's likely, I doubt this, Garlan and others is probably smart enough to knock down Ironborn ships first, before the landing and retaking the Shields, they needed to win the Redwyne vs Ironborn battle first, Oldtown is the only port that could handle such a large fleet and army, Arbor is closer to Oldtown than to the Shields.

 

18 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

 2. Brightwater Keep is sacked and torched: Garlan was made Lord of Brightwater after the Battle of the Blackwater, and was going to take the castle from the Florents when Euron started raiding in the Reach. He then abandoned his mission and started raising men and ships to retake the Shields, so Brightwater is defended only by a token Florent garrison, most of their men having died at the Blackwater or gone north with Stannis. As has been noted before, the ironborn will likely carry their longships overland, and sail down the Honeywine, taking Brightwater and putting it to the torch, a nice middle finger to Garlan, stranded on the Shields and unable to defend his keep, and it serves a dual purpose of forcing Leyton Hightower's son to stay in Oldtown to defend against attacks from the Honeywine rather than going to attack Euron himself in the Redwyne Straits. As people living along the banks of the Honeywine flee the ironborn, they will send their own men with those refugees to infiltrate Oldtown and start riots when Euron comes to take the city, or at the very least the influx of more mouths to feed with strain Oldtown's larders and make the Hightowers more likely to go out and give battle to break the siege.

 

1st - Ironborn and Euron are not stupid to land in the most populous region in westeros and take some random castle, they are no match in land that's why they got to rely on sea and ships,

2nd - Euron wouldn't spend his resources, time and men to pissing of Garlan, taking Brightwater keep is pretty stupid as well, they'll just gonna be retaken in no time if they do manage to take it, the moment he lands on the reach, he will lose, they can field 10x as many men as him.

3rd - they don't need to riot, reach is pretty much under total control and too loyal to their lords to riot while the Ironborns are around, and you underestimate Reach capability to feeding their people, they are also pretty much untouched by war so their harvest is plenty.

 

18 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

 3. The Battle of the Redwyne StraitsMoqorro's vision of a "twisted thing with one black eye and ten long arms, sailing on a sea of blood" seems to be an obvious reference to Euron. His captains mention that they have sacrificed thousands of people to the Drowned God, and all the blood in the water is likely to bring krakens up to harass Redwyne and sink some of his best ships. Euron could also likely use magic to make this happen, we know he has warlocks from Qarth with him. Also, Victarion's thought of "what would the Crow's Eye do?" before giving a command to "sail the straits" is, I believe, foreshadowing that Euron will battle Paxter Redwyne in the Redwyne straits, possibly splitting the ships he has with him into two forces, one sailing right down the Straits and the other sailing around the Arbor to take Redwyne in the rear, just like Stannis did to Victarion at Fair Isle. With Redwyne dealt with, Euron would be free to continue sacking the Arbor.

 


we all expect this battle to happen, if you read the "the forsaken" chapter script from winds of winter.
 

Spoiler

I think the ships that's coming from the rear are the ships built from Oldtown/hightower fleet, it is mentioned that the wind is against the Redwyne fleet that's why their coming is slow, they can't outmaneuver Euron that fast, we all know Euron will need magic to win this.

 

 

18 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

 4. Sacking Oldtown: If Euron wins his battle in the Straits, he'll likely feign defeat, sending ravens to Oldtown and King's Landing telling them Paxter Redwyne defeated him, then use ships taken from Redwyne's fleet to infiltrate Oldtown, as the ironborn have already tried to do, and this time succeed because they fly Redwyne banners when sailing up the Whispering Sound. Oldtown is at least partially sacked, but the Hightower proves too strong for them, though I imagine Euron will taunt Leyton Hightower with the smiling head of his son Baelor. He will also despoil the Starry Sept, bringing the Warrior's Sons and Poor Fellows down from King's Landing to fight these godless raiders. Ultimately they are forced to abandon the city and return to the sea, while the realm falls to pieces and Mace loses the support of his bannermen for failing to defend the Reach, leaving the Tyrells open for tragedy and further losses, such as the Dornish host in the Prince's pass taking Highgarden, or someone like Darkstar sneaking into the castle and murdering Willas, who was a friend of Prince Oberyn, who hated Darkstar and wanted to kill him. Euron likely wants the obsidian candles from the Citadel, he's fascinated with magic and as far as we know those are the mot significant magical artifacts in Oldtown. I also imagine Alleras (Sarella) will join Euron to get close to him, likely offering him the glass candles, and ultimately try to kill him. We know from the example of Maester Kerwin that Euron at least tolerates maesters and finds them useful, so it's possible he'll spare the Citadel if the Sphinx offers him the candles in exchange. 

 

I'm not certain about this, Stannis needed an army on land while another on sea to take King's Landing, I believe taking Oldtown will be pretty much the same, they will will need another Army on land, but where will it come from? everybody hates Ironborn.

 

Spoiler

In Arianne chapter in Winds, Mace is about to battle fAegon after taking Storm's End.

 

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3 hours ago, Gendarrion said:

While it's likely, I doubt this, Garlan and others is probably smart enough to knock down Ironborn ships first, before the landing and retaking the Shields, they needed to win the Redwyne vs Ironborn battle first, Oldtown is the only port that could handle such a large fleet and army, Arbor is closer to Oldtown than to the Shields.

Well, since Euron doesn't care about the Shields, it's unlikely he'd commit ships and men to defending them, allowing Garlan to land basically unopposed and then letting him blood his men retaking each island. The ironborn meanwhile can simply sail out of sight of land, as they did when they took the islands in the first place, and descend on Garlan's ships once he's landed. Moreover, if Redwyne loses in the Straits, he has no choice but to retake the Shields with whatever ships he can find along the Mander, those being mostly fishing boats and pleasure barges. 

3 hours ago, Gendarrion said:

1st - Ironborn and Euron are not stupid to land in the most populous region in westeros and take some random castle, they are no match in land that's why they got to rely on sea and ships,

2nd - Euron wouldn't spend his resources, time and men to pissing of Garlan, taking Brightwater keep is pretty stupid as well, they'll just gonna be retaken in no time if they do manage to take it, the moment he lands on the reach, he will lose, they can field 10x as many men as him.

3rd - they don't need to riot, reach is pretty much under total control and too loyal to their lords to riot while the Ironborns are around, and you underestimate Reach capability to feeding their people, they are also pretty much untouched by war so their harvest is plenty.

 

1. The purpose wouldn't be to fight land battles. It would be to move down the Honeywine, like Harwyn Hardhand did in the riverlands, and to force Leyton Hightower's sons to remain in Oldtown or sail up the Honeywine themselves to drive the ironborn back.

2. I never claimed Euron would try to hold Brightwater. I clearly said he would torch the castle, which would obviously draw Leyton Hightower's attention if Oldtown is seen to be threatened from the north. The castle is lightly held, and not execting ironborn to come down the Honeywine. 

3. Oldtown is a large city, and an influx of people fleeing raiders upriver, thousands of people, will cause problems for the Hightowers in terms of keeping order. They will have to deal with a spike in crime, they will have more mouths to feed, since the ironborn would likely take most of the food as they raid along the river. Furthermore, riots aren't essential to taking the city, but a large number of people fleeing to Oldtown will make it more likely the ironborn can disguise themselves as refugees and attempt to attack and open the gates from inside. It was exactly the same in the Dance of the Dragons when Daeron Targaryen and Ormund Hightower took and sacked Tumbleton, they sent men ahead with refugees fleeing the war, who attacked the defenders inside once battle was joined and opened the gates. When Tumbleton fell, it caused mass panic in KL. Similarly, if castles along the Honeywine fall, the people in Oldtown will fear they are next, and with Mace Tyrell so far away, victory is relatively uncertain, and that could cause riots. 

5 hours ago, Gendarrion said:

we all expect this battle to happen, if you read the "the forsaken" chapter script from winds of winter.

  Hide contents

I think the ships that's coming from the rear are the ships built from Oldtown/hightower fleet, it is mentioned that the wind is against the Redwyne fleet that's why their coming is slow, they can't outmaneuver Euron that fast, we all know Euron will need magic to win this.

I'm not certain about this, Stannis needed an army on land while another on sea to take King's Landing, I believe taking Oldtown will be pretty much the same, they will will need another Army on land, but where will it come from? everybody hates Ironborn.

  Reveal hidden contents

In Arianne chapter in Winds, Mace is about to battle fAegon after taking Storm's End.

 

Euron could take Oldtown the same way Ramsay sacked Winterfell, by pretending to be Paxter Redwyne, possibly by glamoring himself to look like him, or by simply flying Redwyne banners up the Whispering Sound. Once admitted to the city, it doesn't matter that they don't have forces on land. Ironborn would be pouring of the ships and into the city. Let us also not forget that they already tried and nearly succeeded at infiltrating Oldtown, when they posed as Tyroshi traders. Posing as a victorious Redwyne Fleet would be an excellent way to get inside the city, and once inside the city is theirs to sack. 

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17 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There was never any reason to believe Euron is going to taken down soon. The guy was played up as a great and important and powerful antagonist throughout AFfC. The signs were all there. We didn't really need the Forsaken to understand that - although many people apparently did ;-).

However, there is little to no reason to assume Aegon will ever ride to Oldtown? What would be the point of that? He wants the Iron Throne.

Sure, but Ramsay is no serious antagonist. Roose is, Ramsay is a joke.

I doubt that Garlan will be as stupid as that, nor do I think that the Tyrells will have only third-class ships to deal with the Ironborn on the islands. Also, we have no idea how many men and ships Euron left there - considering that he doesn't give a damn about the Shields it doesn't sound likely the Ironborn there can deal with, say, 20,000-30,000 Reach men taking back the Shields.

Also, Garlan and Willas don't send any men to defend Oldtown at this point. That's the duty of Lord Leyton and he does have the men to do that. He does not need support.

1. My response was to the seemingly quite popular theory that Aegon will save Oldtown from Euron, winning the Hightowers to his side. The idea that he will ride for Oldtown is entirely reasonable. Mace Tyrell does not command respect, his bannermen are threatened, and in order to gain the appearance of legitimacy as the rightful king he needs to defend his kingdoms against threats like Euron. It's the same reason Stannis went north. There were men to be found with a huge power vacuum having opened up and the region was in peril. Casting oneself as a savior is a very good way of bringing men to one's banners. 

2. Garlan only has the ships along the Mander to retake the Shields if Redwyne loses his battle against Euron, which we have every reason to believe he will, we all seem to agree. The only ships fit for war to be found along the Mander are the longships of the Shields themselves, which belong to the ironborn now or have been sunk, so Garlan will have to make do with subpar ships to ferry his men to the islands, and having a bigger army means less than nothing if that army is stranded on the islands, while the ironborn are descending on his ragtag fleet. He must take the islands back, or the Tyrells lose face with their bannermen, making it likely they will join Aegon. 

17 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Sounds like a scenario where the guys in that region have to be utter morons. There is a reason why this 'carrying ships' ploy worked centuries ago - because it was done in a land occupied by a foreign force with the people don't giving a damn that the Ironborn were entering the country. This is not the case in the Reach.

Brightwater has few defenders, most of the Reach's soldiers are away with Mace and Randyll, outside Storm's End with Rowan, with Paxter Redwyne, assembling under Garlan, or inside Oldtown. There wouldn't be much in the way of organized resistance to a tactic like this, so loyalty of Tyrell's bannermen, which is in question anyway("friends in the Reach" and all that, plus Mace is an idiot, as even his own mother acknowledges) is of little consequence. The ironborn are already raiding up the Mander with impunity. The lords of the Reach are scattered and disorganized, they aren't exactly prepared for a tactic like this, since they anticipate they can easily drive the ironborn back into the sea. 

17 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Euron has to crush the Redwyne fleet, yes - else he would be finished. Now, krakens might have something to do with that, but I think a magical storm will actually do the bulk of the work. Krakens would cause confusion, one assumes, but not necessarily destroy the enemy armada - not to mention that Euron's own men would be very afraid of them, too. But a great storm sparing the Ironborn ships while destroyed all or the majority of the Redwyne ships should do the trick.

There is no reason for Euron to sack the Arbor thereafter, though. He will take possession of it and make it his royal seat for the time being. The Arbor happens to be an island which means it will be unassailable by any enemy on the mainland (unlike Oldtown). It will the place where Euron is going to await news of 'his queen'.

We agree, then. Euron will beat Redwyne. As for sacking the Arbor, he's already sacrificing thousands of people to the sea in order to give himself favorable winds, and has sacked castles just off the Arbor. He can easily remain on the island after the sack, and rule from it. Sacking it may even make that easier. Kill the men and boys, give them to the sea, and make the women salt wives for his men, then there is no one left to oppose him, but the ironborn have already tried to infiltrate Oldtown posing as Tyroshi. We know Oldtown contains magical artifacts, and Euron is fascinated with magic. There is a hell of a lot more reason to believe he will go after Oldtown than there is to think he'll just sit on the Arbor doing nothing. 

17 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There won't be any reason to attack or sack Oldtown, actually. Because we know what the Hightowers will do when they learn what happened to the Redwyne fleet - they will be the knee to King Euron like their ancestors did to other Ironborn kings in the past. Euron Greyjoy is a mad psychopath - but he is charismatic and clever and he knows how to show the world his smiling eye. He will offer the Hightowers good terms and they will accept them for the time being - and this is, of course, what's going to cause a great rift in the overall Realm.

Euron Greyjoy wants the Iron Throne. He does not want Oldtown. And he is far too stupid to basically ruin his own chance at winning the throne by sacking a city and committing the worst of atrocities. In fact, while he is going to kill a lot of Redwyne men I expect him to be rather kind to any Redwynes he captures on the Arbor - or else he will have a lot of trouble gaining a foothold on the land which he desperately needs if he wants the Iron Throne.

If Euron wants stuff from the Citadel or any other place in Oldtown - which may or may not be the case - he can go look for them when the Hightowers do him homage when he visits the city and the Hightower.

There is literally no reason to believe the Hightowers will bend the knee to Euron. They are bulding ships and raising men to oppose him, actively taking the field against him, and have given no indications they would ever submit to Euron. If Hightower bent the knee to a godless raider, he would lose Oldtown anyway since the Faith would rise against him, as would every self respecting Reachman, who despise the ironborn. 

Euron clearly has plans to attack Oldtown, his men have already tried to get in, and he can't take the Iron Throne without seriously weakening its strongest supporters, the Tyrells and the Hightowers. Taking Oldtown weakens both, and Euron wants to prove himself to be a god, he has no regard for the Faith, nor do any of his men, as followers of the Drowned God. He hasn't been kind to any of his captives thus far, just ask Falia Flowers or any of lord Hewitt's daughters that he let his men rape in front of their father. We have no reason to think he would treat his highborn captives well. Euron believes he will have a dragon, he doesn't need a foothold on land, the threat of dying by dragonflame would bring men to him if he succeeds.

17 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

As for the idea that the Dornishmen would attack Highgarden - that makes little sense. They will likely both join Aegon and thus fight in the same camp.

Again, it makes little sense to say people currently going to war with one claimant will then submit to said claimant, especially if it weakens their position to do so. Margaery is Tommen's queen, Mace Tyrell is taking the field against Aegon, why would he join him? Willas won't betray his father and turn over Highgarden to Aegon, and the long history of bloodshed between Dorne and the Reach makes it unlikely they will both join Aegon's cause, especially if he marries Arianne. Why would the Tyrells surrender their position, with their own kin set to inherit the Iron Throne once Margaery and Tommen have children, in favor of Aegon taking over with a Dornish wife? The host in the Prince's Pass could potentially take Highgarden while Mace and Garlan are in the field, weakening the Tyrell position, giving Aegon a hostage in the form of Olenna, and convincing their bannermen to jump ship, like Roose did when Theon took Winterfell. 

17 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I don't see much potential for a war between Aegon and Euron (though if there was such a war then Aegon is likely going to be dead long before Dany even starts to move west). Aegon has no ships and Euron has, at this point, no armies on land.

However, I do think I know Euron's next target after the Arbor - Sunspear. Arianne's decision to declare for Aegon - as well as Aegon's sudden and - for Euron - completely unexpected and unforeseen appearance - will cause Euron to attack the Dornishmen to get a first stab at Aegon. Might be that he sacks and burns the castle and/or the Water Gardens, killing Doran and/or Trystane in the process of it. Perhaps they get away. One assumes that Doran Martell would start to make precautions when he learns about the Redwyne fleet and the Arbor.

As of the end of ADWD, Aegon, Euron and Mace command the most powerful armies in the south. Mace is due for some losses in the field, due to his own incompetence and the Golden Company's allies in the Reach. If Euron were to attack Dorne, whether they've declared for him by that point or not, Aegon will go to war with him, and could likely get ships from Aurane Waters, who is far closer to Storm's End than he is to the Arbor, and the long history between Targaryen and Velaryon makes it more likely he'll join Aegon, in exchange for legitimization and lordship of Driftmark. With Aurane's dromonds, Aegon can take the fight to Euron at sea, supported by ships from Estermont and Tarth, which the Golden Company have already taken. Killing Doran and Trystane and burning the Water Gardens would be considerable atrocities, which you've said Euron is not likely to commit. 

As to your point about Cersei and slave uprisings in Essos, I can only say that it's very possible things will turn out the way you describe. I don't see Aegon taking King's Landing so soon while he has enemies left in the field like Euron or the Tyrells, and i don't think Cersei would leave the city, I think she'd rather see it burn to the ground before that happens, and it's likely she will. 

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4 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

Well, since Euron doesn't care about the Shields, it's unlikely he'd commit ships and men to defending them, allowing Garlan to land basically unopposed and then letting him blood his men retaking each island. The ironborn meanwhile can simply sail out of sight of land, as they did when they took the islands in the first place, and descend on Garlan's ships once he's landed. Moreover, if Redwyne loses in the Straits, he has no choice but to retake the Shields with whatever ships he can find along the Mander, those being mostly fishing boats and pleasure barges.

One has to keep in mind that Willas and Garlan might not actually try to retake the Shields if they learned about the Redwyne fleet before that campaign started. After all, chances to actually win the war then would be very low. They would lack the ships and lack the ability to build a fleet, meaning they would have to go to the negotiating table.

4 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

1. The purpose wouldn't be to fight land battles. It would be to move down the Honeywine, like Harwyn Hardhand did in the riverlands, and to force Leyton Hightower's sons to remain in Oldtown or sail up the Honeywine themselves to drive the ironborn back.

2. I never claimed Euron would try to hold Brightwater. I clearly said he would torch the castle, which would obviously draw Leyton Hightower's attention if Oldtown is seen to be threatened from the north. The castle is lightly held, and not execting ironborn to come down the Honeywine. 

3. Oldtown is a large city, and an influx of people fleeing raiders upriver, thousands of people, will cause problems for the Hightowers in terms of keeping order. They will have to deal with a spike in crime, they will have more mouths to feed, since the ironborn would likely take most of the food as they raid along the river. Furthermore, riots aren't essential to taking the city, but a large number of people fleeing to Oldtown will make it more likely the ironborn can disguise themselves as refugees and attempt to attack and open the gates from inside. It was exactly the same in the Dance of the Dragons when Daeron Targaryen and Ormund Hightower took and sacked Tumbleton, they sent men ahead with refugees fleeing the war, who attacked the defenders inside once battle was joined and opened the gates. When Tumbleton fell, it caused mass panic in KL. Similarly, if castles along the Honeywine fall, the people in Oldtown will fear they are next, and with Mace Tyrell so far away, victory is relatively uncertain, and that could cause riots. 

This is all based to a very large degree on a repetition of plot lines - which would be boring and did, at this point, not really happen in the books as far as I recall. We didn't get two Red Weddings, for instance, two Blackwaters, etc.

If Euron wanted to draw out the Hightowers, etc. it is more likely, I'd think, that he would actually attack a castle of the Hightower bannermen along the coast rather than Brightwater.

4 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

Euron could take Oldtown the same way Ramsay sacked Winterfell, by pretending to be Paxter Redwyne, possibly by glamoring himself to look like him, or by simply flying Redwyne banners up the Whispering Sound. Once admitted to the city, it doesn't matter that they don't have forces on land. Ironborn would be pouring of the ships and into the city. Let us also not forget that they already tried and nearly succeeded at infiltrating Oldtown, when they posed as Tyroshi traders. Posing as a victorious Redwyne Fleet would be an excellent way to get inside the city, and once inside the city is theirs to sack. 

See above. A repetition of plot lines would be lazy writing.

3 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

1. My response was to the seemingly quite popular theory that Aegon will save Oldtown from Euron, winning the Hightowers to his side.

Never liked that theory because it is, at this point, based on pretty much nothing. There are no relations or connections between Aegon and the Hightowers that we know of, and they are half a Realm apart. Aegon first has to secure other allies before he can waste time trying to win the allegiance of the Hightowers while risking to lose everything in a stupid and pointless war against the Ironborn he could not possibly hope to win. 

Aegon is a Targaryen pretender. He will take KL and then the Realm will, for the most part, bend the knee to him because that's what you do when you deal with a platinum-blond pretender with purple eyes.

3 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

The idea that he will ride for Oldtown is entirely reasonable. Mace Tyrell does not command respect, his bannermen are threatened, and in order to gain the appearance of legitimacy as the rightful king he needs to defend his kingdoms against threats like Euron. It's the same reason Stannis went north. There were men to be found with a huge power vacuum having opened up and the region was in peril. Casting oneself as a savior is a very good way of bringing men to one's banners. 

Aegon is not in the same situation as Stannis nor does he has the same motivational background. Nothing indicates at this point that he wants to take the Realm by saving the people from some threats. Instead the hope they have is that the people will come to him, at Storm's End, and later at KL. If were to win the Dornishmen they would likely never agree to march with him to Oldtown rather than to KL to deal with the Lannisters. Neither is Jon Connington going to allow that they will waste resources and men on such a silly and dangerous endeavor. Not to mention that they will have to fight the Tyrell men at Storm's End - which is not going to cause Aegon's people to cheer him at the idea of helping the guys who just tried to kill them all.

3 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

2. Garlan only has the ships along the Mander to retake the Shields if Redwyne loses his battle against Euron, which we have every reason to believe he will, we all seem to agree. The only ships fit for war to be found along the Mander are the longships of the Shields themselves, which belong to the ironborn now or have been sunk, so Garlan will have to make do with subpar ships to ferry his men to the islands, and having a bigger army means less than nothing if that army is stranded on the islands, while the ironborn are descending on his ragtag fleet. He must take the islands back, or the Tyrells lose face with their bannermen, making it likely they will join Aegon. 

We don't know how many Ironborn are on the Shields nor how many ships and men Euron left his 'new lords'. Garlan and Willas do know they don't stand a chance against the bulk of the Ironborn strength but whatever ships they have could certainly overwhelm the ships and men Euron allowed the men he left to die on the Shields.

In my opinion it is much more likely that this is going to be some stupid and pointless side campaign the Tyrells will win without gaining any advantage whatsoever. While Euron has the entire Ironborn armada in their waters they cannot possibly defend the Mander permanently, never mind whether they have the Shields or not.

3 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

Brightwater has few defenders, most of the Reach's soldiers are away with Mace and Randyll, outside Storm's End with Rowan, with Paxter Redwyne, assembling under Garlan, or inside Oldtown. There wouldn't be much in the way of organized resistance to a tactic like this, so loyalty of Tyrell's bannermen, which is in question anyway("friends in the Reach" and all that, plus Mace is an idiot, as even his own mother acknowledges) is of little consequence. The ironborn are already raiding up the Mander with impunity. The lords of the Reach are scattered and disorganized, they aren't exactly prepared for a tactic like this, since they anticipate they can easily drive the ironborn back into the sea. 

How many Ironborn are raiding the Mander at this point? Not that many considering the Iron Fleet is with Victarion and the bulk of Euron's strength with Euron. Whatever ships that are on the Mander and the Shields shouldn't cause that much trouble.

Also, you seem to be mistaken about the strength of the Reach. Renly had 80,000-100,000 men, his own Stormlanders included. But essentially no Hightower (bannermen) men but token forces marched with him - which means the lands around Oldtown are full of men able to fight. They are not depopulated or weakened.

And of the 60,000-80,000 Tyrell men at KL after the Blackwater Garlan Tyrell took half back to Highgarden to have an army to take possession of Brightwater - which means he and Willas actually have 30,000-40,000 men right now to work with in addition to the new men they are mustering.

The idea that nobody would see Ironborn carrying ships under those circumstances in the very populous Reach doesn't make much sense. Not to mention that we don't really know how navigable the Honeywine is, especially in its headwaters. It isn't the Mander or the Trident or the Blackwater.

The Golden Company's alleged friends in the Reach are likely going to turn out to be men with minor/no ties to the Tyrells whose holdings are also far away from the sea so that they can basically ignore the threat of the Ironborn (main candidates are the Peakes, for obvious reasons, and the Merryweathers, due to Orton and Taena's completely irrational machinations in AFfC). Another crucial house that is very likely going to join camp Aegon are the Rowans. Lord Mathis is a Targaryen loyalist at heart - he showed that in ASoS - and he is at Storm's End right now. If he is captured by Aegon he will likely just need a very little nudge to do homage to his rightful king. And considering the reputation of the man throughout the Realm this is going to be a very significant defection.

But until Aegon hasn't won a victory against the Tyrell troops marching against him not many Reach men will declare for him. Mace and Tarly rule Tommen and the Iron Throne right now, they would have to be utter morons to give up that power and support a pretender who may just be an impostor.

Also, nobody actually expects to drive the Ironborn back into the sea easily. The Tyrells are concerned. Without the Redwyne fleet they don't have the strength to deal with the Ironborn, so quite a few Reach lords at the coast might follow the lead of the Hightower after Paxter is crushed and do Euron homage - because that will be the way to keep their wealth, lands, and lives.

3 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

We agree, then. Euron will beat Redwyne. As for sacking the Arbor, he's already sacrificing thousands of people to the sea in order to give himself favorable winds, and has sacked castles just off the Arbor. He can easily remain on the island after the sack, and rule from it. Sacking it may even make that easier. Kill the men and boys, give them to the sea, and make the women salt wives for his men, then there is no one left to oppose him, but the ironborn have already tried to infiltrate Oldtown posing as Tyroshi. We know Oldtown contains magical artifacts, and Euron is fascinated with magic. There is a hell of a lot more reason to believe he will go after Oldtown than there is to think he'll just sit on the Arbor doing nothing. 

Euron understands how to play people. He could have just remained on his stolen throne but he submitted himself to the Kingsmoot, using it as a platform to gain even more power than he had before. He will continue this game. Euron is a man who will pretend to be another Aegon the Conqueror or Tywin Lannister - a harsh man to his enemies and men who betray him, but an openhanded and just king to those who bend the knee and do him homage. We know that this is an act, but Westeros doesn't know Euron. They will be fooled by him.

Where to you get this that Euron has already sacrificed 'thousands of people'? He has people and garrison, etc. killed, but there is nothing about thousands of sacrifices, is there?

Euron's attempts to sneak into Oldtown were just ways to keep his men occupied. The men he sent in couldn't have helped him take the city, could they? They would have been killed in any case.

Also, you - and that goes for all the people putting forth this 'Oldtown theory' - seem to overlook that Euron never had any intention to occupy himself by fucking with the Reach. He took the Shield Islands to give his men the necessary treat to sweeten them up for his true goal - take the entire Ironborn armada to Meereen to capture Daenerys and the dragons. That is his goal, that's what he wants. He only decided to send Victarion - likely with some strange plan in the works to ensure the guy does not betray him which is now being foiled by Moqorro - because he realized his leal Ironborn are not going to follow him on such a mad quest.

That is why everything he does right now is just a way to occupy himself and his men while he waits for Dany and the dragons. He clearly has no interest in any magical artifacts in Oldtown or else such a desire would have been revealed in 'The Forsaken'.

3 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

There is literally no reason to believe the Hightowers will bend the knee to Euron. They are bulding ships and raising men to oppose him, actively taking the field against him, and have given no indications they would ever submit to Euron. If Hightower bent the knee to a godless raider, he would lose Oldtown anyway since the Faith would rise against him, as would every self respecting Reachman, who despise the ironborn. 

We are talking about the political situation after the Redwyne fleet has been crushed and the Arbor taken. Oldtown does not have the strength to defeat Euron under such circumstances, nor do they have the resources to withstand a siege. Keep in mind that Oldtown is city of merchants and traders. Hightower wealth comes from trade. Euron will have the power to cut all of Oldtown off from the world trade. They won't be able to get goods to Oldtown nor from Oldtown to the Free Cities and other ports. This has already begun in AFfC. 

Do you think that's a situation the Hightowers can continue to rule their city and prosper? No. They can either wait to see their city be sacked or they can open their gates the way they did in the past every time a superior foe came knocking at the door - during the Conquest the Targaryens came, before them the kings with the driftwood crowns. The Hightowers know how to kiss the feet of the Ironborn, and they will remember that in TWoW.

It might still be that Euron sacks the city - but if he does it will be as a betrayal after Lord Leyton has already yielded to him.

The High Septon and the Most Devout no longer reside in Oldtown. They are in KL. There won't be much resistance from the Faith against such a policy.

3 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

Euron clearly has plans to attack Oldtown, his men have already tried to get in, and he can't take the Iron Throne without seriously weakening its strongest supporters, the Tyrells and the Hightowers. Taking Oldtown weakens both, and Euron wants to prove himself to be a god, he has no regard for the Faith, nor do any of his men, as followers of the Drowned God. He hasn't been kind to any of his captives thus far, just ask Falia Flowers or any of lord Hewitt's daughters that he let his men rape in front of their father. We have no reason to think he would treat his highborn captives well. Euron believes he will have a dragon, he doesn't need a foothold on land, the threat of dying by dragonflame would bring men to him if he succeeds.

But pretty much nobody knows about the treatment of those prisoners, do they? Brutally sacking Oldtown would likely ensure that Euron can never win the Iron Throne. And he is not stupid enough for that. Especially since, again, he will have the Arbor. What would be the point of taking wealth from Oldtown, too. The cash found on the Arbor should suffice to keep his men happy and to hire sellsails and sellswords if he feels the need to do that. Also, the fact that the Arbor is an island he will completely control whatever atrocities he and his men are going to commit will not reach the ears of the Westerosi - which would be impossible to do were he to actually sack Oldtown.

Euron is also not stupid enough to believe that dragonfire alone will win him a throne. There is a reason why the Targaryens never torched Oldtown. Had they done so, they would have been put down like wild dogs, the way Dalton Greyjoy met his end after the Dance. If you anger too many people somebody will kill you. And Euron knows that. He only shares his secrets and crimes with mutes and men he is going to sacrifice.

3 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

Again, it makes little sense to say people currently going to war with one claimant will then submit to said claimant, especially if it weakens their position to do so. Margaery is Tommen's queen, Mace Tyrell is taking the field against Aegon, why would he join him? Willas won't betray his father and turn over Highgarden to Aegon, and the long history of bloodshed between Dorne and the Reach makes it unlikely they will both join Aegon's cause, especially if he marries Arianne. Why would the Tyrells surrender their position, with their own kin set to inherit the Iron Throne once Margaery and Tommen have children, in favor of Aegon taking over with a Dornish wife? The host in the Prince's Pass could potentially take Highgarden while Mace and Garlan are in the field, weakening the Tyrell position, giving Aegon a hostage in the form of Olenna, and convincing their bannermen to jump ship, like Roose did when Theon took Winterfell.

Oh, nobody said anything about the Tyrells joining Aegon immediately. But this is a very large house and Willas Tyrell especially never swore fealty to either Joffrey or Tommen. He is free to turn wherever he will should he become Lord of Highgarden. And he will play an important role in the future novels, George has indicated that long ago (when he came out saying that cutting Garlan and Willas from the show).

If we check Aegon's current situation then he has the Golden Company, some Stormlanders, and possibly the Marcher Lords as well after he has taken Storm's End. Arianne is likely going to give him Dorne, too, once she met him. But for Aegon's story to continue he has to win against the Tyrell army marching against him - especially since he is not likely to get Dornish help to defeat them. They will wait and see whether the boy is a Targaryen after all before they commit themselves. If Mace were to die in that battle - or if Tommen or Margaery or both died - then the alliance between the Lannisters and Tyrells (which at this point is nearly effectively over, anyway) would officially over. Willas would be free put himself at the head of the pro-Targaryen movement among the Reach lords - which should be pretty strong after Aegon defeated the Tyrell host. In fact, one of my personal guesses how this battle is going to go is that there will at best be some small skirmish and then most of Mace's men will refuse to fight against Rhaegar's son after they see Mathis Rowan and his men with Aegon.

If Aegon had to win a bloody battle against the Tyrell army then the men suffering a defeat there - and losing kin - would not exactly be that inclined to support him.

If things go really good for Aegon then one of the Dornish armies (the one in the Prince's Pass) and survivors of Mace's army certainly could be sent down south to help with the Ironborn threat, but Aegon himself will continue to KL after his victory there. He has to take possession of the Iron Throne. This cannot wait. Once the city is his he can certainly leave for another campaign, perhaps down south perhaps to the Riverlands and the West. That's difficult to foresee.

However, I very much doubt that the smart people around him would encourage him to carry the war to an enemy who controls the seas. He has no fleet whatsoever. He cannot hope to challenge Euron.

3 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

As of the end of ADWD, Aegon, Euron and Mace command the most powerful armies in the south. Mace is due for some losses in the field, due to his own incompetence and the Golden Company's allies in the Reach.

Tarly is with him, it wouldn't be easy to defeat him in the field. In fact, it might turn out that Tarly is going to command the Tyrell army which is supposed to crush Aegon at Storm's End while Mace remains behind to oversee the trials and clean up whatever mess was caused by the murders of Kevan and Pycelle.

3 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

If Euron were to attack Dorne, whether they've declared for him by that point or not, Aegon will go to war with him, and could likely get ships from Aurane Waters, who is far closer to Storm's End than he is to the Arbor, and the long history between Targaryen and Velaryon makes it more likely he'll join Aegon, in exchange for legitimization and lordship of Driftmark. With Aurane's dromonds, Aegon can take the fight to Euron at sea, supported by ships from Estermont and Tarth, which the Golden Company have already taken. Killing Doran and Trystane and burning the Water Gardens would be considerable atrocities, which you've said Euron is not likely to commit. 

Do you recall that Aurane Waters has just stolen ten (!) dromonds? Those are not going to threaten Euron Greyjoy in the slightest. Whatever ships there are to be had on Tarth and Estermont won't help Aegon, either. Nobody counts them as main naval powers.

Euron won't commit major atrocities in his quest to win allies on the mainland, yes - for instance, I could see him treating Mina and Desmera Redwyne with all honors as highborn hostages deserve, unlike he treated the Hewetts and other lords of the Shield Islands. Because the former were just tools to have fun with while he was trying to woo the Ironborn to follow him to Meereen, but the latter are potential bargaining chips to bring the Reach to their knees. He will have to use both the stick and the carrot, and he knows how to do that. He has demonstrated that in AFfC. I mean, I've been preaching the fact that Euron is going to be the main mortal antagonist for years since AFfC but very few people took him seriously as a main threat until we learned of the contents of the Forsaken. Euron fooled his people, his family, and the readers in AFfC. Unlike most other madmen in the books we met to this point this man can control himself and bide his time. 

The reason why Euron will go east to punish Sunspear and Dorne for their meddling is pretty obvious. Euron wants the Iron Throne - meaning that Aegon and all his declared allies are his enemies, anyway. He has to defeat them in any case. Also, Euron moving east rather than west after he has taken the Arbor also fits with him waiting for Dany and the next step in his overall plan once he has Dany and the dragons - then he would obviously want to take his fleet to KL to take possession of the Iron Throne. For that he has to move west as well.

It could very well be that Trystane/Doran's head(s) will be his wedding gift(s) for Cersei.

3 hours ago, Headless Wolf said:

As to your point about Cersei and slave uprisings in Essos, I can only say that it's very possible things will turn out the way you describe. I don't see Aegon taking King's Landing so soon while he has enemies left in the field like Euron or the Tyrells, and i don't think Cersei would leave the city, I think she'd rather see it burn to the ground before that happens, and it's likely she will. 

Oh, Cersei leaving KL doesn't mean she won't or cannot come back. Aegon is not likely going to stay there for long, nor is it likely that KL will be a major focus of everybody's attention during the eventual war against the Others. Cersei and Euron could get back in some sort of twisted 'Scouring of the Shire' finale, forcing the good guys to deal with the secondary mortal enemies after they have won their victories over the Others and think they have won the day.

Any scenario assuming Cersei can return to power now is just completely unrealistic. She has no men to challenge the Tyrells - and her reputation is completely in tatters since everybody saw her paraded naked through the streets. Even if many Lannister men were in the city - which they are not - they would not be inclined to die for her at this point. Cersei technically has the means in Ser Robert Strong to kill Mace and Tarly and Margaery and possibly even the High Septon but she could not possibly seize power after that, because those people have tens of thousands of men in the city. The Storming of the Dragonpit showed what the Kingslanders can do to five dragons. It is pretty clear what they would do to a single zombie in a similar uprising.

In fact, it is going to be a miracle when Mace does not immediately throw her into the black cells or takes her head after the murder of Kevan. He is the Hand, and she has no allies in the city left. He could accuse her of the murders and have her head for that in a minute. And she is smart enough to realize this.

And once the Tyrell army is defeated - assuming she remains long enough in the city - she will also realize Aegon and Connington will come for her and her children (assuming they will be still alive at that point). She cannot keep them safe.

Also, you have to keep in mind that George likely did not play up this trial-by-combat to cancel it for some nonsensical reason. Ser Robert should defeat whatever champion the Faith is going to send against him, but there are potential complications to such a victory - for one, his identity could be publicly revealed. Either because Ser Robert starts to speak, or because his enemy knocks his head off. The latter possibility would also publicly reveal his status as an undead abomination created. Which, in my opinion, would lead to the High Septon declaring that Cersei Lannister is found guilty of all her crimes on the basis that she actually tried to deceive the Seven by using black magic to win her trial. This could lead to Cersei public condemnation and her only being able to flee the city with Qyburn and Robert's help. Her children might die in the process of that, either being killed during her attempt take them with her, or, more tragic, because the sparrows put them down as abominations born of (forbidden) incest.

This will then lay the groundwork for the ominous and destructive Cersei-Euron alliance.

All those Oldtown scenarios usually don't think what Euron might do after he has sacked Oldtown. He is not going to die this early in the story, but sacking Oldtown is not going to help him win any allies whereas helping Cersei in her quest for revenge could at least gain him the Westerlands later on during the story.

You have to keep in mind that the Ironborn can likely not field more men than 20,000-30,000 men (and that only if we assume Euron really took pretty much any man capable to fight when he left the islands). He cannot possibly hope to conquer an entire continent with such a meager force, he has to have more support. And he won't get that if he doesn't forge crucial alliances along the way.

I think he could win the allegiance of the Hightowers and other southern lords in the Reach for the time being - until Dany arrives. Euron's Reach lords could be among the first lords to declare for Daenerys, in part due to the machinations of Sarella and Samwell.

Also, I expect Aeron to survive the battle against the Redwynes. There are hints in the chapter - they used leather stripes to bind him to the prow, and the spray is already making everything wet. Leather widens when it gets wet, so my guess is Aeron will free himself before Euron can cut his throat, entrusting himself to the mercy of his god a second time. He may wash up at the shore to be captured by Hightower men, or some Hightowers witnessing the destruction of the Redwyne fleet from their ships might rescue him. If that happens then we can likely see Aeron coming around to become a, well, less weirdo preachy, saner, and more productive supporter in the formation of an anti-Euron alliance.

He is at a very low point in the Forsaken but he is strangely nice to Falia there, and I don't want him to die this soon.

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