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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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Posted (edited)

Hello everyone, first post in the book forum after 4 years.

These seem to be the top theories/wishes on the series' ending and the future of Westeros' political system. The way I see it, the same sociocultural and historical forces that exist in our history should also exist in the world of ASOIAF (with the exception of magic, or other creative decisions by GRMM on his world and its nature and history, like the order of the maesters, "Asia" and "Europe" being two continents separated by a mini Atlantic ocean and others). Technological progress, plagues, and other external factors would change the economy, the economy would change the political system, etc. Gunpowder would eventually make castles obsolete, the rise of professional armies would make knighthood and chivalry militarily irrelevant, the discovery and colonization of a continent beyond the Sunset Sea would make Kings richer, allowing them to centralize power and lead to the emergence of modern states, etc.

ASOIAF seems to be based on our 1300s-1400s. It's been 300 years since the unification of Westeros (England's seven kingdoms were unified in 927, Norman Conquest and feudalism in 1066), no gunpowder, feudalism is still dominant but power seems to be increasingly concentrating on a few big houses, straining this old system, an old dynasty has just been overthrown (like the Valois in France), a huge dynastic war has shaken the foundations of their society (like the War of the Roses), and so on.

If we pretended that the world of ASOIAF were real, the most likely outcome is that their history would have a similar general outline to ours: feudalism declines, monarchs and/or states centralize power, technology advances, their early modern period begins. Why are people assuming that the average peasant or noble of the world would suddenly question the legitimacy of kings? How could the people of ASOIAF even have the concept of "breaking the wheel" (stupid show quote) and "changing the system"? They wouldn't be aware there's such a thing as "the system". Monarchs being the executive leaders of the government didn't end in our world until 100 years after the industrial age began. How would democracy even work in Westeros?

The same holds with Westeros breaking up into its old kingdoms. I can think of very few examples in history where great nations (not empires or states) balkanized or reverted to their old, non-unified state. WW1 happened only 50 years after Germany's unification, and yet even after suffering a humiliating defeat in a war and a huge economic crisis after, it remained unified. What most likely will happen is that nationalism will eventually rise in their world as well, leading to the creation of a Westerosi identity, as the Great Houses decline and the kingdoms are seen more and more as mere regions of one kingdom. Maybe there will be some kind of wars of religion and the North and Iron Islands will become independent, but I don't see central Westeros ever breaking up.

So why are so many theories on the final state of Westeros and its system of government based on it becoming democratic or breaking up into separate kingdoms? Why not more absolute monarchy/Tudor-style parliamentary monarchy theories?

tl,dr: applying the same principles and patterns of economic and historical evolution, development and historiography that happened in our world, it makes very little sense for the Seven Kingdoms to become democratic or break up, everything seems to be pointing to centralization like in real life

 

Edited by Panos Targaryen

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They've been independent since the start of the story. Only some of the houses fought for the Mad King, only Tywin fought for Joffrey. The Crownlands are not powerful, they don't have the military prowess to enforce any allegiance. It's like if Iowa tried to be the central government for New York, California and Texas, with each of those three being subservient to it, doesn't work. The Targaryens only united Westeros due to military might and dragons. 

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The word Parliament isn't popular to say.  It sounds stodgy.  I don't feel cool right now, because of how I just said it.  And Tudor makes me giggle.   Did you really see lots of requests for Democracy on here?    I don't recall seeing that more than once or twice.   That's basically another uncool word.  The end of the current liege lord system is more often spoken of, but rarely comes with a specific lust for elected officials.   That's why nobody can smash the lords' wheel.   What would it be replaced by?    Nobody in Westeros has put forth such a concept.  Maybe Braavos has some ideas for what to transition into once lordism implodes.

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Posted (edited)

Democracy is 100% off the table. It just isn't realistic. 

Splitting into independent Kingdoms is very probable without dragons one cannot rule the land size of Westeros. 

North and Ironborn rebelled, nothing is stopping Vale and Dorne to demand independence. King Tommen, Stannis or Aegon do not posses the power to united the 7 kingdoms in current state. Only dragons can do it. 

So if Dragons are out of the game somehow collapse seems most logical outcome. 

Edited by Tygett Lannister

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1 hour ago, GOTFanatic said:

They've been independent since the start of the story. Only some of the houses fought for the Mad King, only Tywin fought for Joffrey. The Crownlands are not powerful, they don't have the military prowess to enforce any allegiance.

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.

1 hour ago, GOTFanatic said:

It's like if Iowa tried to be the central government for New York, California and Texas, with each of those three being subservient to it, doesn't work.

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.

1 hour ago, GOTFanatic said:

The Targaryens only united Westeros due to military might and dragons.  

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.

 

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31 minutes ago, Tygett Lannister said:

Splitting into independent Kingdoms is very probable without dragons one cannot rule the land size of Westeros. 

North and Ironborn rebelled, nothing is stopping Vale and Dorne to demand independence. King Tommen, Stannis or Aegon do not posses the power to united the 7 kingdoms in current state. Only dragons can do it. 

So if Dragons are out of the game somehow collapse seems most logical outcome. 

I'd argue that's exactly what we have - at least where we stand waiting for the last couple of books. The boy king, Tommen with his regent Queen Cersei claim the entirety of Westeros in name, but in fact they have tenuous rule over King's Landing, parts of the Riverlands and the Westerlands as well as the Reach, so long as the alliance with the Tyrells holds.

Aegon, Euron and Stannis all are relatively powerful leaders in their own right who owe no allegiance to the Iron Throne at the moment. Even the players who haven't done much up to this point, like Dorne, the Vale and the Hightowers have varying degrees of loyalty to King's Landing. Dorne in fact, seems like they are seeking an alliance with Aegon and the Golden Company. Littlefinger is the most powerful player in the Vale and he's certainly keeping his own council. And the Hightowers seem to be worrying about themselves and don't seem like they're ready to commit one way or another anytime soon.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Syl of Syl said:

I'd argue that's exactly what we have - at least where we stand waiting for the last couple of books. The boy king, Tommen with his regent Queen Cersei claim the entirety of Westeros in name, but in fact they have tenuous rule over King's Landing, parts of the Riverlands and the Westerlands as well as the Reach, so long as the alliance with the Tyrells holds.

Aegon, Euron and Stannis all are relatively powerful leaders in their own right who owe no allegiance to the Iron Throne at the moment. Even the players who haven't done much up to this point, like Dorne, the Vale and the Hightowers have varying degrees of loyalty to King's Landing. Dorne in fact, seems like they are seeking an alliance with Aegon and the Golden Company. Littlefinger is the most powerful player in the Vale and he's certainly keeping his own council. And the Hightowers seem to be worrying about themselves and don't seem like they're ready to commit one way or another anytime soon.

 

 

When the northern lords marched south it was not for conquest of the Iron Throne.

Stannis, Euron, Aegon and Dany want the Iron Throne.

Evidently those four people think that whoever controls KL and the IT rule Westeros. :dunno:

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No idea, basically.

The series ending in such a way would, in the context of this shitty world, mean they would immediately go back to continuous meaning less justice or peace for everyone.

The only way to end this series on a positive note would actually be to greatly strengthening the position of the king towards proper absolutism because that would curb the powers of the lords and put an end to their petty ambitions. In this shitty pre-modern world where the commoners are less that sheep Thomas Hobbes is the one to follow.

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49 minutes ago, Clegane'sPup said:

Stannis, Euron, Aegon and Dany want the Iron Throne.

Euron wants the Iron Throne? He seems like he'd be fine with ruling whatever he can from the Seastone Chair. And sure Stannis (and probably Aegon as well) will fight to their deaths for a throne that someone else currently sits, but in the meantime they rule where they are.

And just because one of them may end up sitting the Iron Throne is no guarrantee that they will automatically command the allegiance of the entire realm. The way this war has fractured the realm, it seems to me that a claimant would have to conquer at least some of the regions by force.

And Dany isn't anywhere near Westeros at the moment. She'd be the one with the strength to unite the realm considering she's currently the only player with dragons, but she'd have to leave Meereen first.

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I think it has to do with people wishing for a conclusive ending without the circle of violence moving on. I don't think it'll happen, nor do I want it to. Jon being the Prime Minister of the 7 kingdoms would be pretty silly considering what's already been laid out before us.

If there's going to be some sort of radical political change throughout Westeros, I'd imagine it'd be the decentralization of the 7 kingdoms caused by war leading to balkanization or something.

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Posted (edited)

I've been away for a long time and I'll take your word for it that the top wishes are for a democracy.

We know that the Hundred Years war and the War of Roses were an influence on Martin.

 

I think that Hoster Tully, Rickard Stark, and Jon Arryn may have had plans for a sort of Magna Carta that went up in flames and led to Robert's Rebellion.

I think that Varys and Illyrio stand to usher in a Free Cities style Westeros as the Great Houses annihilate each other. Similar to the end of the War of Roses we may see the merchant and labor class rise to replace the lords while the small folk may enjoy their own renaissance after depopulation courtesy of Grey Scale. And their goal may well be a Tudor style central monarchy with a ban on lordly powers and armies. 

Except that there is clearly a magical end game, that Varys must have strong opinions about, and I'm still in the dark and full of terrors over.

 

Edited by 9kNNRQ

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41 minutes ago, Syl of Syl said:

Euron wants the Iron Throne? He seems like he'd be fine with ruling whatever he can from the Seastone Chair.

If Eurion is fine with ruling the Seastone Chair why did he send Vic to get the Dragon Queen for him? For conversational purposes why is Eurion attacking island strong holds and trying to get to Oldtown?

Do I need to pull quotes supporting that Vic took the Iron Fleet to Slaver's Bay.

52 minutes ago, Syl of Syl said:

And Dany isn't anywhere near Westeros at the moment. She'd be the one with the strength to unite the realm considering she's currently the only player with dragons, but she'd have to leave Meereen first. 

Oh, I agree, Dany isn't anywhere near Westeros as of the end of DwD.

Also, young horse size Drogon barely heeds her commands. Plus, the other two dragons are free range living in separate hidey holes.

55 minutes ago, Syl of Syl said:

And just because one of them may end up sitting the Iron Throne is no guarrantee that they will automatically command the allegiance of the entire realm. The way this war has fractured the realm, it seems to me that a claimant would have to conquer at least some of the regions by force.

Ahhh, I see or not --- you are under the impression Westeros is going to break up into separate sovereign states with no central government. Is that what you are tinking? 

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Separating in independent Kingdoms will be bloodier, and it looks like only the North and Iron Islands wanted to be independent which is understandable because of their religion and culture as you mentioned, it will also create more wars far deadlier than war of the five kings, Iron Islands will also be free to raid wherever they wanted.

 

1 hour ago, Syl of Syl said:

Euron wants the Iron Throne? He seems like he'd be fine with ruling whatever he can from the Seastone Chair. And sure Stannis (and probably Aegon as well) will fight to their deaths for a throne that someone else currently sits, but in the meantime they rule where they are.

 

Actually yes, he wanted the Iron Throne, it's one of the reason why Iron islands choose him as king, I advise you to reread Feast, 

 

1 hour ago, Syl of Syl said:

 And just because one of them may end up sitting the Iron Throne is no guarrantee that they will automatically command the allegiance of the entire realm. The way this war has fractured the realm, it seems to me that a claimant would have to conquer at least some of the regions by force.

 

It looks like you think War of the Five Kings is the major political changer in this world, you completely forgot about the Others, Think of how many people and lords will die in the process and the desperation they will face, they'll be united under their savior that's for sure.


 

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The only way to end this series on a positive note would actually be to greatly strengthening the position of the king towards proper absolutism because that would curb the powers of the lords and put an end to their petty ambitions. In this shitty pre-modern world where the commoners are less that sheep Thomas Hobbes is the one to follow.

I agree with this, I've also read somewhere on another topic that absolute monarchy in Westeros will weaken the lords but will strengthen the ambitious generals in the future, but I think monarchs can avoid this by having dragons.


 

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4 hours ago, Clegane'sPup said:

If Eurion is fine with ruling the Seastone Chair why did he send Vic to get the Dragon Queen for him? For conversational purposes why is Eurion attacking island strong holds and trying to get to Oldtown?

To take the second question first, this is well in-line with what a King of the Iron Islands does. The greatest of the Ironborn Kings of old, Qhored the Cruel once sacked Oldtown. It's not like Euron is totally original here. And just like Balon's plan when he took up his crown was to attack the North while Robb was otherwise occupied, Euron saw an opportunity to crack open the sweeter fruit of the Reach while the lords Tyrell and Redwyne are busy in King's Landing. Of course, Euron's goal is to conquer as much territory as possible, but I don't see why he would think that he has to sit the Iron Throne to hold all of it.

Aeron's visions aside, all we've seen of Euron is that he's power-hungry and cruel and bold as well. Dany's dragons are the ultimate source of power in this world, so of course Euron would seek them out. Also, he's already killed his other brothers and part of his plans involves ridding himself of rivals. I'm not sure that Euron expects Victarion to succeed. And if he does return with Dany and dragons, I guess he's got a plan to try to make that work in his favor. But again, none of this means that he would favor the Iron Throne over the Seastone Chair.

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4 hours ago, Clegane'sPup said:

Ahhh, I see or not --- you are under the impression Westeros is going to break up into separate sovereign states with no central government. Is that what you are tinking? 

I am thinking that that is what the current state of Westeros is. How the series ends, I cannot say. Between Dany with her dragons and the existential threat of the Others, perhaps the realm will be united once again.

I am looking at what the Free Cities became once the Valyrian Freehold collapsed and the Century of Blood came to a close. What was once an empire of sorts is now independent city-states and Dothraki khalasars. What is happening now in Westeros is not nearly the same scale, but the same concept holds that peace unites and wars fracture. The longer the wars continue for, the more difficult it should become to re-unite the realm.

3 hours ago, Gendarrion said:

Actually yes, he wanted the Iron Throne, it's one of the reason why Iron islands choose him as king, I advise you to reread Feast, 

I haven't reread Feast in quite some time. Just started a reread this year actually, inspired by the release of FaB. It's been many years since I last read the main books front to back, so I could well be forgetting specific details. I was just going off what I think Euron's character is and he seems like he's along the lines of the crueler Iron Kings from the World book.

3 hours ago, Gendarrion said:

It looks like you think War of the Five Kings is the major political changer in this world, you completely forgot about the Others, Think of how many people and lords will die in the process and the desperation they will face, they'll be united under their savior that's for sure.

True. Winter is coming. But I was just thinking about the state of affairs south of the Wall has continued to shape up. The existential threat of an endless winter still seems to be far enough off for a lot of things to happen in the South. But if it is as devastating as the Long Night, why should we assume that the Westerosi will come out of it as a more united people? Perhaps there will be a period of peaceful anarchy if they survive but are devastated by a fight with the Others. To my reading, that seems to be what the state of the land was after the first Long Night.

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9 hours ago, The Mother of The Others said:

The word Parliament isn't popular to say.  It sounds stodgy.  I don't feel cool right now, because of how I just said it.  And Tudor makes me giggle.   Did you really see lots of requests for Democracy on here?    I don't recall seeing that more than once or twice.   That's basically another uncool word.  The end of the current liege lord system is more often spoken of, but rarely comes with a specific lust for elected officials.   That's why nobody can smash the lords' wheel.   What would it be replaced by?    Nobody in Westeros has put forth such a concept.  Maybe Braavos has some ideas for what to transition into once lordism implodes.

The 33 person High Council of the Triarchy is probably the closest thing. They interacted directly with Westeros during the Dance with Dragons in an attempt to gain the support of the Kingdom of the Three Daughters. We know the members were distributed evenly amongst the 3 cities and that it was largely ineffective (according to Fire and Blood and the Westerosi) due to every representative advocating for their city as they saw best.

Your post is very much on point, I just wanted to provide an example of some sort of precedent.

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13 hours ago, Panos Targaryen said:

Hello everyone, first post in the book forum after 4 years.

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

Just a quickly answer.

I don't think we will see the emergence of a democratic westeros. It is a long way off. However, I truly foresee the decline of nobility in Westeros. In the end we will see many houses wiped out or severely weakened. We will see immigration from Essosi with other ideas as well as from the freefolk, there is the strengthening of the Faith as well as the emergence of other religions (R'hllorism in particular), the probably end of the maester order and in general the small folk is pissed. 

And after years of exhausting wars, famine, winter, plague and other catastrophes, who will have the strength to govern Westeros as a whole? Nobody. Each of the remaining lords will be too busy salvaging what can be still saved and dealing with all the problems that the said catastrophes left.

It is possible, however, that in certain places some republics at the Essos style will emerge. Specially in places with high economic activity and large immigration.

 

 

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Westeros isn't a nation. With its size and the slowness of communication, it should probably be a lot more fractured than it was pre-conquest and a lot more culturally diverse than it is in the books. Think the Holy Roman Empire rather than Tudor England. Heck, Westeros is more like Europe in its entirety. Everybody speaking the same language without even regional accents is complete bollocks. Keeping that under a strong central government just isn't possible. Even in the books it only happened because of the  dragons. So, if there are no dragons left at the end of the story then the Seven Kingdoms should break up for good. Wouldn't necessarily have to be the old kingdoms, though.

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Democracy? No way. 

I don't know if the Kingdom's will break back apart, but I think they should. As several folks have pointed out, the technology and transportation just aren't there to hold something that huge together, UNLESS you have dragons. 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. 

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

I could see Westeros eventually breaking back up into 3-5 kingdoms, though I don't see them all going independent again as it was before Aegon.  

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Loge said:

Westeros isn't a nation. With its size and the slowness of communication, it should probably be a lot more fractured than it was pre-conquest and a lot more culturally diverse than it is in the books. Think the Holy Roman Empire rather than Tudor England. Heck, Westeros is more like Europe in its entirety. Everybody speaking the same language without even regional accents is complete bollocks. Keeping that under a strong central government just isn't possible. Even in the books it only happened because of the  dragons. So, if there are no dragons left at the end of the story then the Seven Kingdoms should break up for good. Wouldn't necessarily have to be the old kingdoms, though.

Most medieval states were not nations. The emergence of national identities did not occur in our history until the end of the middle ages. As for HRE vs Tudor England, Westeros could go either way I guess, since they both started as similar normal feudal countries, but diverged in their future development.

The way I see it, the multi-religion situation in Westeros is a powder keg, and future Iron Throne monarchs (assuming it will still exist) will eventually try to impose religious uniformity on their subjects, leading to huge civil wars with the North and Iron Islands (or their conversion, but very unlikely for the North, maybe the Iron Islands).

What will be left after that will allow for the emergence of a pan-Westerosi national identity, maybe after a big war with some emergent power in Essos which would unify the westerosi people (like the Hundred Years' War for England and France). But anyways that's just my theory on the future history of GRRM's world.

Edited by Panos Targaryen

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