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Panos Targaryen

Why do so many people want to see the emergence of democracy in the end of the story, or Westeros separating into independent kingdoms?

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As long as most effective weapon system includes pony riding tin can with long stick chances of any kind of democracy will be very low. In our world firearms made heavy cavalrymen obsolete and so in the long run whole feodal system did not work any more.

So to really change political system in Westeros they would need something like black powder. In fact I had a crazy idea that Euron somehow had gained ability to build and use cannons and rockets.

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We first have to make an important distinction between democracy and independent kingdoms.  Breaking up the realm to return it to the dark, primitive, pre-Targaryen days is not the equivalent of democracy.  It's not better for the vast majority of people.  Allysanne's reforms are the most progressive things to happen to the north.  What the north had before the Targaryens was not democracy.  An independent kingdoms like the Riverlands is not going to be able to stand up to the Ironborn.  Independence means the Ironborn get to raid and attack as they please.  The Targaryens benefitted the peasants and the regular folk.  So it's not accurate to assume Independence equates to democracy.  Nor is it necessarily better for most people.  The north will bring back the right of the first night.  Good for the nobles, bad for the rest.

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16 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

 An independent kingdoms like the Riverlands is not going to be able to stand up to the Ironborn.  Independence means the Ironborn get to raid and attack as they please. 

Well a good fraction of the male population of the Iron Islands and most of the reavers are likely going to die with Euron. So, the women get the chance to organize everything in the aftermath.

BTW. The ironborn are among the few in Westeros who practice some form of democracy: The Kingsmoot. They elected Euron...

 

16 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

The Targaryens benefitted the peasants and the regular folk.  So it's not accurate to assume Independence equates to democracy.  Nor is it necessarily better for most people.  The north will bring back the right of the first night.  Good for the nobles, bad for the rest.

I speculate that nobility will be severely weakened in the aftermath, although possibly in the North will be stronger than in many other places in Westeros. OTOH, they will have to deal with the remaining of the Freefolk, who actually have other ideas.

I think that part of the "bittersweet" ending is that Westeros after the "War of the Dawn" won't be necessarily a better place, but still preferable to the frozen desolation that it is the alternative.

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22 hours ago, Lord Vance II said:

 The comparisons to England don't hold up because of size. I'm pretty sure GRRM has said Westeros is roughly the size of South America. England is 50K square miles, South America is 6.8 million. 

But what about the original Roman Empire? Googling reveals that it covered an area that wasn't much smaller, at it's fullest extent. Or Mongol Empire. Naturally, they'd need some real burocracy to run it, but then, shouldn't they be finally evolving more sophisticated modes of administration? Or, you know, Russian Empire? Which didn't even have the above, really and was also multi-ethnic. No dragons in sight, either.

 

22 hours ago, Lord Vance II said:

Again, as others have said, the North is virtually independent due largely to their remoteness.

Shouldn't the North be more dependent on trade and food assisstance from the South during hard winters after 300 years? They didn't try to leave after the dragons died out, so they must have been getting something out of it.

But then, GRRM's depiction of the North was never particularly plausible - they should have had their own language, for one, with the nobles and other elite being bilingual. And their pre-Conquest history with the Riverlands should have been as fraught as that of the Ironborn. It makes zero sense for the Northmen not to have raided south during hard times. Etc.

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I imagine it's because most of our protagonists are Starks. So if the North=good and the North wants independence, independence=good. There are also people who want to break up the 7K because they equate Targs with imperialism for some reason, or because they just don't like Dany.

But I agree, absolute monarchy would be the most "realistic" path, and it would benefit the smallfolk the most. We've been told over and over again how chaotic pre-Conquest Westeros was, as well as how much the smallfolk suffer under the feudal lords. It's not for nothing that Egg wished he had dragons so that the high lords couldn't block his reforms to help smallfolk.

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So long as armored calvalry remains the weapon of decision, with all the training and resources that implies, modern democracy is impossible because the landed knights are just that much more effective in crushing peasant uprising

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1 hour ago, Hodor the Articulate said:

I imagine it's because most of our protagonists are Starks. So if the North=good and the North wants independence, independence=good. There are also people who want to break up the 7K because they equate Targs with imperialism for some reason, or because they just don't like Dany.

But I agree, absolute monarchy would be the most "realistic" path, and it would benefit the smallfolk the most. We've been told over and over again how chaotic pre-Conquest Westeros was, as well as how much the smallfolk suffer under the feudal lords. It's not for nothing that Egg wished he had dragons so that the high lords couldn't block his reforms to help smallfolk.

The other benefit of enfranchising the smallfolk and stripping the "Rights" of the Lords and Nobility is power play. And with dragons, and a Dragonlord dynasty that lasts longer, all that really happens is the nobility is switched to dragons instead of horses. Reducing minor lords to mere tax collectors and bureaucratic managers with no more Freedom of Predation (Noble Rights) than a Mayor.

 

We like to pretend that Republics were founded for "the people", but this is never true. They are founded so that the wealthy landed aristocrats and wealthy merchants become the top of the totem pole and their is nobody above them that can tell them what to do. The "Freedom" is in removing all constraints from the oligarchy. If there is any real power in non heritable bureaucracy, any tangible authority that binds and restrains the nobility, the nobility chaffe under this. The only alternative is what the French kings did, and use the nobility AS the bureaucracy, eating all their time and centralizing power.

 

Enfranchisment of small folk is like keeping the Iron Born around and never punishing them too harshly when they slip the leash. Its excellent strategy to keep Westerosi looking over there shoulders whenever they look towards the Iron Throne.

 

In the modern world, the nobility have been replaced by merchant oligarchs who dabble in land ownership. Braavos in ASOIAF already has something like this, where the oligarchy openly and directly rules, plainly not bothering with any fanciful pretensions otherwise. It carries the benefit that the Braavosi military is entirely expeditionary in nature, only needing policeman for internal order. 

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On 5/15/2019 at 1:43 PM, Clegane'sPup said:

All of the Warden's who control the various regions of Westeros pay taxes and homage to the ruler of the Iron Throne. I shouldn't say all because I am uncertain about Dorne.

The US has a central government that the individual states adhere to. BUT the individual states in the union each have a government.

The US had a civil war. Remember?

The US also had a Revolutionary War.

America has a verra short history in comparison to other nations/civilizations.

I do agree full grown fire breathing dragons helped. Yet, in the opening book all fire breathing dragons are dead. There was a rebellion and Bobby B. sits the Iron Throne until his demise. Now the Wardens pay homage to his false offspring.

 

They pax taxes but their loyalty is otherwise shallow and they don't aid the crown when it's threatened and such. Only Tywin helped Joffrey, and that's because he is family and wants his legacy and heirs on the throne. Stannis with only the men of a single region would've easily taken King's Landing if it wasn't for the combined Lannister / Tyrell force.

The US government analogy is invalid as the federal government is financially and militarily powerful, with a very large standing army directly loyal to it. Some states have their own militias but they pale in comparison to the might of the federal army, always have. The states would be foolish to try and rebel or secede against such a force, some like Texas have tried but all have failed. In Westeros on the hand, rebellion is easy and the crown can't do much about it. 

The civil war in the US was not a free for all with semi-autonomous regions each doing what they wanted, it was simply North vs South.

The revolutionary war was likewise two sided, between a monarchy and the colonists who wanted freedom, they had the resources and man power to rebel but it was a long hard victory that could've ended up with Britain victorious. In Westeros, when the other regions rebel, especially in unison, the crown is fucked, it has little or no chance without others coming to it's aid, due to it's small population and military prowess.

The regions still paying tribute to the crown so long after the Targaryen invasion and death of the dragons is actually absurd and nonsensical, as it lacks the military might to enforce such. 

Edited by GOTFanatic

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Westeros is more of an empire than a kingdom. It is the size of Europe and has a very low population density. It doesn’t have the technology (without dragons and Valyrian candles) to be ruled centrally.

Europe is still not united under a single ruler today. Westeros is nowhere near that point in its history. Breaking up again is very realistic.

Alexander’s empire didn’t last.  Neither should Aegon’s without dragons.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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On 5/15/2019 at 1:37 PM, Panos Targaryen said:

These seem to be the top theories/wishes on the series' ending and the future of Westeros' political system.

I feel like this mostly stems from the conflation of the show's plotting with where we're at on the page (given how long WINDS is taking, it is becoming increasingly common, even in myself.) I don't really see much of this at all in the books. The closest thing, perhaps, is Dany's attempts at establishing herself in Meereen, but I feel like that part of her story is more about Dany learning to be effective rather than creating radical innovations in governance (as the show put forward.)

This is likely because, for a major network, a story that ends in the confirmation (passively or actively) of a patrilineal/hereditary monarchy might be. . .problematic. . .for modern audiences; ironic considering the widespread popularity and fascination with royal culture. Frankly I think this bias toward democracy reveals more about the showrunners than it does about our text.

As to the notion of some rule by Council: even the Council of 101AC was not a council formed to rule, but one to choose who had the stronger hereditary claim on the throne. There doesn't seem to be any suggestion at all in the books that the Westerosi system of government is under threat. All of the issues that exist are inherit to the system and not necessarily a trend towards some seismic shift in the order (as you so aptly analyzed.)

 

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19 hours ago, GOTFanatic said:

The US government analogy is invalid as the federal government is financially and militarily powerful, with a very large standing army directly loyal to it. Some states have their own militias but they pale in comparison to the might of the federal army, always have. The states would be foolish to try and rebel or secede against such a force, some like Texas have tried but all have failed. In Westeros on the hand, rebellion is easy and the crown can't do much about it. 

I was not making an analogy. I was snarking about the short history of the United States of America and americian sense of superiority in comparison to other countries.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

It is the size of Europe and has a very low population density. It doesn’t have the technology (without dragons and Valyrian candles) to be ruled centrally.

My assumption is that "It" refers to Westeros.

Yet, the peasants follow their Westeros Lords who obey their Wardens who are appointed by the Iron Throne.

 

 

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OP

I am not sure if GRRM fully did his homework on medieval England in the late 15th century. You already had Magna Carta, the rule of law in the form of English Common Law, technically the first Parliament was in 1215.

Westeros is absurdly backwards as a medieval Kingdom where every dispute is settled by brigandage and duels.

BTW I think people misunderstand that the first medieval parliaments were really just large councils of nobles to advise the king. Later becoming representatives and then a slowly broadening franchise. So they could move in that direction.

However the problem with Westeros, IMO, is feudalism and the over mighty subjects. However, readers rightly point to independence and democracy because GRRM is from the 20th century which prejudices him enormously against any kind of centralising state. So he sprinkles this attitude into his novels.

However comparing the ramshackle apparatus of an Early Modern absolutist monarchy (what replaces feudalism) to a totalitarian state is a bit of a stretch in my opinion. By modern standards there is no state bureaucracy in Westeros and the result is total anarchy. This is not good. When people’s way of settling disputes is setting fire to things and banditry you know something ain’t right.

 

 

Edited by Tyrion1991

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