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Ser Dips A lot

Breaking Down Military Commanders

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So there’s a lot of talk about who the best military commanders of Westeros are, but not too much to be said about strengths and weaknesses. What are the top commanders best suited for is what I want to discuss basically.  What are their specialties and where do they belong on the battlefield. I think if a good commander has any sense, no matter how skilled he is in combat, he belongs no where near the frontlines. The ideal commander should sit behind the center or commanding the rearguard. I know there is plenty of room for speculation on many generals’ particular skill sets and I welcome that on this thread. Here’s mine:

1. Stannis - Naval expert, Siege expert, Cavalry commander. He’s the best all-around commander bar none. Rearguard commander

2. Robb Stark -  Guerrila deployment, Cavalry Commander. Center

3. Tywin Lannister - Field commander. Rearguard

4. Roose Bolton - Field commander, Rearguard

5. Robert Baratheon - Cavalry Commander. Vanguard

6. Randyl Tarly - Cavalry Commander, All-rounder. Vanguard/Center

7. Jon Arryn - Field Commander. Rearguard

I didn’t put a lot of time into this but I think I did enough. What are your thoughts?

 

 

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There’s this fantasy element with Robert Baratheon fighting in the frontlines and even with Robb Stark going where the fighting is the thickest, and I think it’s foolish. A wise commander should sit back and make sure his men are well-situated on all flanks and properly reinforced before throwing himself into the mix. Actually, if I’m a Lord/King in command of a large force or any force for that matter, what business do I have leading a charge? As soon as that guy falls, it’s game over. Mass-routing ensues and chaos consumes your ranks. Not only until the moment comes when the enemy force has committed most or all of its units and you’ve situated your’s should you join the combat. Robert seems to get recognition as a great commander but he’s reckless to fight the way he does. He’s the guy you want to come in to turn the tide once the balance of power is in need of it.

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Why would I follow a coward who is hiding from danger? Or "medieval" commander had to prove to his men that he was strong enough to lead. If nominal leader gained a reputation as either weakling or coward it was very likely that some of his bannermen started to have ideas about rebellion.

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Careful sir careful! No one breaks Stannis on my watch.

Robert and Robb both are loved by their men, Tywin is feared, Stannis is respected and also feared.

He is the most Versatile commander we’ve ever seen. Able to hold against long sieges at a young age with no supplies and a large force at his door feasting. Command navies and win against those born to the sea and live and die in it, succesfully command amphibious assaults on castles, he even almost took KL despite only having 3-4 times their number(1 man on wall is 10 men below the wall) and that is after the disaster on the river. He succesfuly uses ruses on battlefield such as the using the small number of NW as a screen against wildlings. 

Even Tywin says he felt Stannis was a greater threat than all others combined what makes him with the least number of men, friends and supporters a threat if not his commanding abilities?

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7 hours ago, Ser Dips A lot said:

There’s this fantasy element with Robert Baratheon fighting in the frontlines and even with Robb Stark going where the fighting is the thickest, and I think it’s foolish. A wise commander should sit back and make sure his men are well-situated on all flanks and properly reinforced before throwing himself into the mix. Actually, if I’m a Lord/King in command of a large force or any force for that matter, what business do I have leading a charge? As soon as that guy falls, it’s game over. Mass-routing ensues and chaos consumes your ranks. Not only until the moment comes when the enemy force has committed most or all of its units and you’ve situated your’s should you join the combat. Robert seems to get recognition as a great commander but he’s reckless to fight the way he does. He’s the guy you want to come in to turn the tide once the balance of power is in need of it.

Not as much as you think. In the Dance there were several instances of commanders leading from the front and being killed in battle because of it but their armies didn't fall apart unless their army was already losing when the commander fell. Otherwise it just passed to the next in command. At the Red Fork Jason Lannister led from the front and was killed. Command simply passed to Adrian Tarbeck who was in turn killed at Acorn Hall leading from the front. Again command simply passed to the next commander. Based on how often we see commanders fighting in the thick of it (Robb, Randyll, Daemon Blackfyre, Robert, a significant number of commanders in Fire and Blood, presumably Breakspear and Maekar on the Redgrass as well) Westeros seems to hold the belief that this is way to do it. Stannis and Tywin and Roose seem to be more outliers than the norm.

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Overall, Stannis has been shown to be the most versatile and capable commander, despite any setbacks that he’s had. Moreover, they say that he lacks friends but he seems to really win the loyalty of his followers in ADWD. These men stuck by him after the defeat outside of King’s Landing and travelled all the way to the Wall with him. He’s doing something right.

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7 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

Why would I follow a coward who is hiding from danger? Or "medieval" commander had to prove to his men that he was strong enough to lead. If nominal leader gained a reputation as either weakling or coward it was very likely that some of his bannermen started to have ideas about rebellion.

Foremost, you’d “follow” your liege lord because you swore them fealty and must keep that oath. To not follow them upon their banners being raised, would make you the coward, unless they are a mad tyrant, demanding you to kill the innocent or something else unjust of that nature. There’s your case for rebellion. Second, commanding from the rear, away from the frontlines does not make someone a coward; Stannis is no coward. I’m sure he enjoys fighting just as much as the average man does, but he knows his true purpose is to be where he can save the most lives for his men. He’s a Baratheon, they are fierce in combat by nature. It’s not cowardly to understand the significance of putting yourself where you can survey the enemy situation and command your troops effectively. I’m sure he’d get stuck in when the time is right, when his men need it most. What they don’t need is for their commander to fall in battle. Wise men stay alive for the greater good, and put the lives of their own men before their pride. 

I’d rather fight for a Lord with a strategic mind watching the battle , then fight behind or next to a lord that’s not a “coward”. Atleast that way I know their won’t be a cavalry charge into our flank.

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With the armour most kings wear, it's unlikely they would die anyway. Swords and spears are almost useless and the king would have a personal guard at his side

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17 hours ago, Ser Dips A lot said:

Foremost, you’d “follow” your liege lord because you swore them fealty and must keep that oath. To not follow them upon their banners being raised, would make you the coward, unless they are a mad tyrant, demanding you to kill the innocent or something else unjust of that nature. There’s your case for rebellion.

Sigismund III Vasa was king of Poland since 1587 and he also inherited crown of Sweden (and a lot of other titles) from his late father 1592. But he lost Sweden 1599 bc lords of Poland did not support his war in Sweden. Or they simply decided that the fact that someone stole inheritance of their king was not their problem and they would rather do something else instead. During that time Poland was still a local superpower so they would have very good chances to win that war.

There is difference between real world and Westeros, but bannermen seem to sometimes choose when they obey their orders. For instance Frey very much ignored orders from Tullys and they even ambushed their king. Besides those bannermen seem sometimes even choose who is their liege.

Poor Stannis :( It seems that nobody wants him as their king.

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On 5/27/2019 at 6:36 AM, Ser Dips A lot said:

There’s this fantasy element with Robert Baratheon fighting in the frontlines and even with Robb Stark going where the fighting is the thickest, and I think it’s foolish. A wise commander should sit back and make sure his men are well-situated on all flanks and properly reinforced before throwing himself into the mix. Actually, if I’m a Lord/King in command of a large force or any force for that matter, what business do I have leading a charge? As soon as that guy falls, it’s game over. Mass-routing ensues and chaos consumes your ranks. Not only until the moment comes when the enemy force has committed most or all of its units and you’ve situated your’s should you join the combat. Robert seems to get recognition as a great commander but he’s reckless to fight the way he does. He’s the guy you want to come in to turn the tide once the balance of power is in need of it.

Agree that the most successful commanders that we know about did not necessarily charge at the head of their army e.g. Julius Caesar and Subutai (who according to some accounts was so fat he was transported around in a cart). There were exceptions like Alexander who was in the van when crossing the Granicus and almost got killed there. And he wasn't doing that to prove a point, he rode at the head of his companion cavalry at Issus and Gaugemela. Darius wasn't exactly bang on the front lines, but evidently not far behind as Alexander could in both cases figure out where he was positioned and go for the kill. Porus may or not have been on the front line, Greek account state that most of his elephants were in front, but that doesn't have to include him of course.

I guess the roles of commanders changed over time as well. The earliest tribal leaders in martial societies probably needed to be among the best warriors, then things got more sophisticated in Egypt, Persia, the Hellenistic world and of course the Roman Empire. With the dawn of Chivalry and heavy armour this likely changed again, as leaders needed to honour the requirements of the chivalric code, but that didn't mean they had to charge at the head of the army of course. Also hefty ransoms meant they wouldn't necessarily get killed.

It all gets further complicated because victorious leaders have their own personal roles in battle overstated (e.g. Ramses II)

Edited by Ser Hedge

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I agree with you on Stannis Baratheon being the best naval commander but in my opinion I don't think he's the best all rounder. I always thought Randyll Tarly would be the best all rounder because they always describe him as a great soldier and I think he's a really strict and stern guy like Stannis but I still think he'd make a better land commander. 

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Randyll Tarly is the finest soldier in the realm.

 Kevan Lannister to Cersei, also what makes you think that these men are such great commanders in these positions. I understand Stannis, Tywin(RIP) Lannister and Robb Stark(RIP) but why Jon Arryn where did you see that he was good?

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On 5/27/2019 at 6:36 AM, Ser Dips A lot said:

There’s this fantasy element with Robert Baratheon fighting in the frontlines and even with Robb Stark going where the fighting is the thickest, and I think it’s foolish. A wise commander should sit back and make sure his men are well-situated on all flanks and properly reinforced before throwing himself into the mix. Actually, if I’m a Lord/King in command of a large force or any force for that matter, what business do I have leading a charge? As soon as that guy falls, it’s game over. Mass-routing ensues and chaos consumes your ranks. Not only until the moment comes when the enemy force has committed most or all of its units and you’ve situated your’s should you join the combat. Robert seems to get recognition as a great commander but he’s reckless to fight the way he does. He’s the guy you want to come in to turn the tide once the balance of power is in need of it.

Certainly precedented in real life. Edward IV fought from the front in several key engagements during the Wars of the Roses and history is replete with examples of people doing the same thing.

Seeing your leader rushing into battle and risking his life as you are risking yours is a key morale-boosting idea. In most cases it was actually reasonably safe: the king was usually in the best armour on the battlefield whilst the bulk of the men fighting were effectively peasants armoured and armed with whatever they could grab from home, so the chances of taking serious injury were fairly minimal. When nobles were arrayed against one another with more comparative strengths in weapons and armour, they did try to avoid direct combat. Or they took the view they could yield for ransom before they were killed (often a miscalculation).

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Posted (edited)
On 4/17/2020 at 7:03 AM, TheBlackDragonWillReturn said:

I agree with you on Stannis Baratheon being the best naval commander but in my opinion I don't think he's the best all rounder. I always thought Randyll Tarly would be the best all rounder because they always describe him as a great soldier and I think he's a really strict and stern guy like Stannis but I still think he'd make a better land commander. 

 Kevan Lannister to Cersei, also what makes you think that these men are such great commanders in these positions. I understand Stannis, Tywin(RIP) Lannister and Robb Stark(RIP) but why Jon Arryn where did you see that he was good?

Sure kevan did call him the finest soldier in the land, but the truth is we do not have much info on his feats. He did defeat Bobby B in the battle of Ashford, but Bobby's army had just came back after three battles so they probably suffered a lot of casualties and also the Reach army is much bigger than the stormlands army. We do not know how much of the army of the Reach was under Tarly's command. Also Bobby B was able to escape without serious casualties. But we do know that he was respected by his troops and gave them a good share of the plunder and was quite strict in terms of discipline.  So he is no doubt a competent commander, but we do not know enough to really say he is the best. Also the word all-rounder refer to being good at all aspects of a subject. So stannis is the clear winner in that regard because Stannis has won a field battle (The battle beneath the wall) captured islands(Dragonstone and Great Wyk), survived a siege,(Storm's end) almost took king's landing, won a naval battle(Fair Ise) , used "cheat" magic  ways (his assassinations of Renly and Penrose) and might even beat the Boltons and the freys by using the Ice lake

Also Tarly was called finest "soldier" which is different from commander.

Edited by EccentricHorse11

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5 hours ago, EccentricHorse11 said:

Sure kevan did call him the finest soldier in the land, but the truth is we do not have much info on his feats. He did defeat Bobby B in the battle of Ashford, but Bobby's army had just came back after three battles so they probably suffered a lot of casualties and also the Reach army is much bigger than the stormlands army. We do not know how much of the army of the Reach was under Tarly's command. Also Bobby B was able to escape without serious casualties. But we do know that he was respected by his troops and gave them a good share of the plunder and was quite strict in terms of discipline.  So he is no doubt a competent commander, but we do not know enough to really say he is the best. Also the word all-rounder refer to being good at all aspects of a subject. So stannis is the clear winner in that regard because Stannis has won a field battle (The battle beneath the wall) captured islands(Dragonstone and Great Wyk), survived a siege,(Storm's end) almost took king's landing, won a naval battle(Fair Ise) , used "cheat" magic  ways (his assassinations of Renly and Penrose) and might even beat the Boltons and the freys by using the Ice lake

Also Tarly was called finest "soldier" which is different from commander.

Good point, how did I forget about Storm's End, Dragonstone and Greyjoy's Rebellion.

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On 4/20/2020 at 3:42 PM, EccentricHorse11 said:

Sure kevan did call him the finest soldier in the land, but the truth is we do not have much info on his feats. He did defeat Bobby B in the battle of Ashford, but Bobby's army had just came back after three battles so they probably suffered a lot of casualties and also the Reach army is much bigger than the stormlands army.

We have no idea who had the bigger army. But it is strange you would feel the need to highlight this and then in the following sentences ignore all the times Stannis faced smaller armies or armies that had recently been in battles of their own.

On 4/20/2020 at 3:42 PM, EccentricHorse11 said:

 

We do not know how much of the army of the Reach was under Tarly's command. Also Bobby B was able to escape without serious casualties. But we do know that he was respected by his troops and gave them a good share of the plunder and was quite strict in terms of discipline.  So he is no doubt a competent commander, but we do not know enough to really say he is the best. Also the word all-rounder refer to being good at all aspects of a subject. So stannis is the clear winner in that regard because Stannis has won a field battle (The battle beneath the wall) captured islands(Dragonstone and Great Wyk), survived a siege,(Storm's end) almost took king's landing, won a naval battle(Fair Ise) , used "cheat" magic  ways (his assassinations of Renly and Penrose) and might even beat the Boltons and the freys by using the Ice lake

Also needing to resort what Stannis may do in the future is hardly relevant to the conversation.

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Also Tarly was called finest "soldier" which is different from commander.

No it is not. It can be as soldier is a more flexible word than commander, but soldier can also mean commander.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/soldier

  • a person of military skill or experience: George Washington was a great soldier.

From the context of what Kevan said it is more than clear that he was talking about command.

"Mathis Rowan is sensible, prudent, well liked," her uncle went on, oblivious. "Randyll Tarly is the finest soldier in the realm. A poor Hand for peacetime, but with Tywin dead there's no better man to finish this war."

Kevan is talking about military command.

 

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On 4/22/2020 at 10:00 PM, Bernie Mac said:

We have no idea who had the bigger army. But it is strange you would feel the need to highlight this and then in the following sentences ignore all the times Stannis faced smaller armies or armies that had recently been in battles of their own.

Also needing to resort what Stannis may do in the future is hardly relevant to the conversation.

No it is not. It can be as soldier is a more flexible word than commander, but soldier can also mean commander.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/soldier

  • a person of military skill or experience: George Washington was a great soldier.

From the context of what Kevan said it is more than clear that he was talking about command.

"Mathis Rowan is sensible, prudent, well liked," her uncle went on, oblivious. "Randyll Tarly is the finest soldier in the realm. A poor Hand for peacetime, but with Tywin dead there's no better man to finish this war."

Kevan is talking about military command.

 

The point I was trying to make when I said that we have no idea about the number of men in either army is that we do not know how impressive the victories actually were making it difficult to evaluate Tarly. 

"then in the following sentences ignore all the times Stannis faced smaller armies or armies that had recently been in battles of their own." Well let us look at his achievements then.

Siege of Storm's end: Nothing to prove here. Stannis held out for almost a year resorting to rat meat and leather while his enemies were feasting within sight.

The Capture of Dragonstone; He built a fleet and took the island which even though was not heavily fortified, it showed that he can build and manage a fleet while probably on a budget (the realm had just faced a great war so resources were probably depleted).

The Battle of Fair Isle: . Now we do not know the numbers for this battle either, but to beat the Ironborn  at sea is nothing to sneeze at. It shows that he is at least competent on the water if not brilliant.

The Capture of Great Wyk: Again no idea what the numbers were, but it is safe to assume that the ironborn were heavily outnumbered, but again shows that he is capable of not making a botch out of it, 

The Assassination of Renly: Now morally this is quite questionable(although I personally think it is justified) but from a military point of view, it shows that he, like Tywin, can and will resort to such things.

The Battle of Blackwater: Here his fleet falls into tyrion's trap, but I can't really blame him for that since I and most of the readers would not have predicted this trap, and we knew about the chain and the wildfire too so of course expecting him to know it is just ridiculous. Nonetheless he would have taken the city if it had not been for the 80000 reinforcements which shows that he is capable of taking  fortified cities.

The Battle Beneath the Wall: This one is the most controversial of his achievements and there have already been countless debates here on the impressiveness of this victory. My personal view is that it was a battle that any DECENT commander could have won. So it shows that Stannis is decent.

The Liberation of Deepwood Motte: Not much to say here. The men he sent to scale the walls were caught. The camouflage probably helped his troops and they were able to catch up to Asha's men. But again not much of a great victory.

 

So most of the above achievements are not particularly impressive. But it shows that Stannis is capable of many different types military operations. 

Now let us look at Tarly

Battle of Ashford: I have made my views on this battle clear

Battle of Blackwater Bay: He commanded the center, but the vanguard had already won the battle due to Renly's ghost. Not much to say here. He did not show any brilliance but did not mess it up either.

Duskendale: Heavy losses on both sides, but this "battle" was essentially a trap and you could argue that Bolton treachery was much more important than anything Tarly did. But still he did manage to not lose the battle and his end goal was achieved.

He also rebuild Maidenpool and starts dealing with outlaws which although not directly related to being a battle commander, is certainly something to add to his resume.

 

So as we can see Randyl like Stannis has a lot of feats which are while not particularly impressive on their own, show that he is a capable commander. But Stannis has a much more varied set of feats which involve not only field battles but also capturing castles, nearly capturing a city, winning a naval battle etc.

 

So I stand by my view that Stannis is more of an all rounder than Tarly

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, EccentricHorse11 said:

The point I was trying to make when I said that we have no idea about the number of men in either army is that we do not know how impressive the victories actually were making it difficult to evaluate Tarly. 

We know its impressive, it is still talked about 15 years later and Mace seems to dine out on it. Multiple characters hold Tarly up in high regard.

Tarly being the only person to defeat Robert is impressive. Not sure why you are trying to downplay it.

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"then in the following sentences ignore all the times Stannis faced smaller armies or armies that had recently been in battles of their own." Well let us look at his achievements then.

Siege of Storm's end: Nothing to prove here. Stannis held out for almost a year resorting to rat meat and leather while his enemies were feasting within sight.

Yup. A good achievement for his age, but nothing extraordinary. Stannis points out that Penrose should have done the same, it is why he resorts to magic to take the castle.

"Estermont will favor settling down to starve them out, as Tyrell and Redwyne once tried with me. That might take a year, but old mules are patient" - Stannis

"Storm's End is a hugely formidable castle, and should have been able to hold out much longer, as it did during Robert's Rebellion when Stannis was inside rather than outside." - GRRM

Could Tarly have done the same. Certainly. I think we can assume most decent commanders could have done what Stannis did.

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The Capture of Dragonstone; He built a fleet and took the island which even though was not heavily fortified, it showed that he can build and manage a fleet while probably on a budget (the realm had just faced a great war so resources were probably depleted).

Not sure about the budget part. Ned points out that the Kings Landing coffers were full and as Master of Ships and this being a priority of the new King I think you may be streching credibility on suggesting Stannis had a tight budget.

The island itself was weakly defended and the Garrison was ready to turn on the Targs.

"The garrison had been prepared to sell them to the Usurper, but one night Ser Willem Darry and four loyal men had broken into the nursery and stolen them both, along with her wet nurse, and set sail under cover of darkness for the safety of the Braavosian coast." - Dany

No Navy to defend it, and the actual army of Dragonstone prepared to give up before Stannis arrived does not suggest it was particularly impressive. Plus Stannis seems to suggest that he failed his task, rather than succeeded.

"No, he blamed me for letting Willem Darry steal away Viserys and the babe, as if I could have stopped it." - Stannis

Could Tarly have done what Stannis did? Yes, considering Stannis failed. Tarly may even have succeeded. His men seem organized, disciplined and well drilled. Tarly may have got his new Navy built quicker.

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The Battle of Fair Isle: . Now we do not know the numbers for this battle either, but to beat the Ironborn  at sea is nothing to sneeze at. It shows that he is at least competent on the water if not brilliant.

I agree. This victory is something we have no idea if Tarly has any experience of. But given his positon, lord of a landlocked land it is likely not.

So genuine question mark on this one.

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The Capture of Great Wyk: Again no idea what the numbers were, but it is safe to assume that the ironborn were heavily outnumbered, but again shows that he is capable of not making a botch out of it, 

Sure. But I think we can assume that taking the, at best, third most important Island, is something Tarly could have done.

Quote

The Assassination of Renly: Now morally this is quite questionable(although I personally think it is justified) but from a military point of view, it shows that he, like Tywin, can and will resort to such things.

Morally Tarly wanted Renly to attack before dawn.

"Your Grace," Mathis Rowan said with a sideways glance at Catelyn. "As I was saying, our battles are well drawn up. Why wait for daybreak? Sound the advance."
"And have it said that I won by treachery, with an unchivalrous attack? Dawn was the chosen hour."
"Chosen by Stannis," Randyll Tarly pointed out.
 
Stannis would be dead had Renly listened to Rowan and Tarly. Tarly also threatened to murder his own son, so like Stannis, Tarly is a man who can resort to morally objectionable actions.
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The Battle of Blackwater: Here his fleet falls into tyrion's trap, but I can't really blame him for that since I and most of the readers would not have predicted this trap, and we knew about the chain and the wildfire too so of course expecting him to know it is just ridiculous. Nonetheless he would have taken the city if it had not been for the 80000 reinforcements which shows that he is capable of taking  fortified cities.

Tarly may have done better at the Battle of Blackwater. He might not have appointed a Florent to lead his Navy over more experienced men like Velaryon and Saahn.

I don't think we can use the Battle of Blackwater as evidence of Stannis' superiority over Tarly.

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The Battle Beneath the Wall: This one is the most controversial of his achievements and there have already been countless debates here on the impressiveness of this victory. My personal view is that it was a battle that any DECENT commander could have won. So it shows that Stannis is decent.

I agree. Just so you know, nowhere has anyone suggested that Stannis is not. at the very least, decent.

Tarly, would also have won that battle as well.

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The Liberation of Deepwood Motte: Not much to say here. The men he sent to scale the walls were caught. The camouflage probably helped his troops and they were able to catch up to Asha's men. But again not much of a great victory.

True. Tarly would have been equal to this task.

Quote

 

So most of the above achievements are not particularly impressive. But it shows that Stannis is capable of many different types military operations. 

True. Tarly would have been capable of them all perhaps the Battle of Fair Isle.

Quote

Now let us look at Tarly

Battle of Ashford: I have made my views on this battle clear

Yes. The only person to beat Robert on the battlefield.

I don't think Stannis would have done the same.

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Battle of Blackwater Bay: He commanded the center, but the vanguard had already won the battle due to Renly's ghost. Not much to say here. He did not show any brilliance but did not mess it up either.

True. Stannis could gave done that as well.

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Duskendale: Heavy losses on both sides, but this "battle" was essentially a trap and you could argue that Bolton treachery was much more important than anything Tarly did. But still he did manage to not lose the battle and his end goal was achieved.

True again.. Stannis could have done that as well.

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He also rebuild Maidenpool and starts dealing with outlaws which although not directly related to being a battle commander, is certainly something to add to his resume.

And Stannis is also organized and has some discipline amongst his men. He too could have done what Tarly did.

Quote

 

So as we can see Randyl like Stannis has a lot of feats which are while not particularly impressive on their own, show that he is a capable commander. But Stannis has a much more varied set of feats which involve not only field battles but also capturing castles, nearly capturing a city, winning a naval battle etc.

They both have 1 impressive achievement that the other would not have got.

If the war was on land I'd give the advantage to Tarly, if on water Stannis.

Quote

 

So I stand by my view that Stannis is more of an all rounder than Tarly

 

Yeah, never actually disagreed with that. But being an all-rounder does not mean superior. The term Jack of all trades speaks of that. The term all rounder originates in cricket, yet Cricket teams most important members tend to be the specialists rather than the allrounders.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/29/2020 at 1:31 PM, Bernie Mac said:

Yeah, never actually disagreed with that. But being an all-rounder does not mean superior. The term Jack of all trades speaks of that. The term all rounder originates in cricket, yet Cricket teams most important members tend to be the specialists rather than the allrounders.

Let me just reiterate the point I was trying to make in my original post. One of the other posters here had suggested that Tarly is more of an all rounder than Stannis. So my post was aimed at rejecting that claim.(the poster than took back his/her words) So when you criticized my post I assumed you were trying to claim that Tarly was indeed more of all rounder.  But I guess I was mistaken. We both agree that both Tarly and Stannis and competent commanders and that Stannis a jack of all trades. We only disagree on minor details so let us get to them.

 

On 4/29/2020 at 1:31 PM, Bernie Mac said:

We know its impressive, it is still talked about 15 years later and Mace seems to dine out on it. Multiple characters hold Tarly up in high regard.

Tarly being the only person to defeat Robert is impressive. Not sure why you are trying to downplay it.

My point was that we do not have enough information to judge exactly how impressive it was(not whether or not it was impressive)

Heck it could be that Tarly was facing an entire army of battle hardened stormlanders with just a portion of the Reach Army and managed to cause heavy casualties on Robert's army which were then downplayed after the war. If this was true Tarly would be a military genius. Or perhaps he had a large force under his command facing a battered and exhausted force of Stormlanders who managed to escape without any serious losses. Now this is also quite a good feat as Robert is no doubt a great commander and no one else has managed to survive a battle against him much less win. So was Tarly a military genius or just a very competent general? We simply do not know. 

On 4/29/2020 at 1:31 PM, Bernie Mac said:

 

Yup. A good achievement for his age, but nothing extraordinary. Stannis points out that Penrose should have done the same, it is why he resorts to magic to take the castle.

"Estermont will favor settling down to starve them out, as Tyrell and Redwyne once tried with me. That might take a year, but old mules are patient" - Stannis

"Storm's End is a hugely formidable castle, and should have been able to hold out much longer, as it did during Robert's Rebellion when Stannis was inside rather than outside." - GRRM

Could Tarly have done the same. Certainly. I think we can assume most decent commanders could have done what Stannis did.

Penrose would have been resisted for quite a long time but whether he could have resorted to rat meat and leather is a different question. Same with Tarly

Ned found it hard to imagine what could frighten Stannis Baratheon, who had once held Storm's End through a year of siege, surviving on rats and boot leather while the Lords Tyrell and Redwyne sat outside with their hosts, banqueting in sight of his walls.-A Game Of Thrones

Ned here explicitly mentioned the rats and leather. In almost every other mention of the siege too this is mentioned. So it is probably not the standard thing to do during a siege. So we have no idea if Tarly would have done the same. So it was probably extraordinary.

On 4/29/2020 at 1:31 PM, Bernie Mac said:

Not sure about the budget part. Ned points out that the Kings Landing coffers were full and as Master of Ships and this being a priority of the new King I think you may be streching credibility on suggesting Stannis had a tight budget.

The island itself was weakly defended and the Garrison was ready to turn on the Targs.

"The garrison had been prepared to sell them to the Usurper, but one night Ser Willem Darry and four loyal men had broken into the nursery and stolen them both, along with her wet nurse, and set sail under cover of darkness for the safety of the Braavosian coast." - Dany

No Navy to defend it, and the actual army of Dragonstone prepared to give up before Stannis arrived does not suggest it was particularly impressive. Plus Stannis seems to suggest that he failed his task, rather than succeeded.

"No, he blamed me for letting Willem Darry steal away Viserys and the babe, as if I could have stopped it." - Stannis

Could Tarly have done what Stannis did? Yes, considering Stannis failed. Tarly may even have succeeded. His men seem organized, disciplined and well drilled. Tarly may have got his new Navy built quicker.

I stand corrected regarding the budget part.

Also here is the full line

"Did he ever take my hand and say, Well done, brother, whatever should I do without you? No, he blamed me for letting Willem Dary steal away Viserys and the babe as if I could have stopped it."

So its seems that Stannis regarded it as success and that Robert should thank him for it rather than a failure. Unless of course you meant ROBERT considered it a failure.(which he did but then again he was probably just pissed because he really hated Targs)

No doubt that Tarly could have replicated what Stannis did but I am not sure if he could have actually caught the Targaryens.

If you think about what Willem had to do to escape(pack a few people and supplies into a boat) and what Stannis had to do to go after them (build a fleet and crew them with good sailors) it seems almost certain that Stannis could not have stopped them from escaping (Stannis himself seem to think so). If Tarly had managed to build a fleet earlier then Dary would probably just get in the boat earlier.

 

On 4/29/2020 at 1:31 PM, Bernie Mac said:

I agree. This victory is something we have no idea if Tarly has any experience of. But given his positon, lord of a landlocked land it is likely not.

So genuine question mark on this one.

Agreed

 

On 4/29/2020 at 1:31 PM, Bernie Mac said:

Sure. But I think we can assume that taking the, at best, third most important Island, is something Tarly could have done

Most probably yes but however I would like you to keep the following quotes in mind


"His claim is the true one, he is known for his prowess as a battle commander, and he is utterly 
without mercy. There is no creature on earth half so terrifying as a truly just man"-Varys A Game of Thrones

 

"I have felt from the beginning that Stannis was a greater danger than all the rest combined"-Tywin Lannister, A Game Of Thrones

At this point in time the only achievements that Stannis had were  Storms's End, Dragonstone, Fair Isle and Great Wyk. Storm's end was a siege and Dragonstone was piece of cake, so I assume that fair Isle and Great Wyk have to be quite impressive to warrant such praise from even his enemies. But however Randyl is also similarly showered with praise so he probably would have been able to win at Great Wyk. 

 

On 4/29/2020 at 1:31 PM, Bernie Mac said:

Morally Tarly wanted Renly to attack before dawn.

"Your Grace," Mathis Rowan said with a sideways glance at Catelyn. "As I was saying, our battles are well drawn up. Why wait for daybreak? Sound the advance."
"And have it said that I won by treachery, with an unchivalrous attack? Dawn was the chosen hour."
"Chosen by Stannis," Randyll Tarly pointed out.
Stannis would be dead had Renly listened to Rowan and Tarly. Tarly also threatened to murder his own son, so like Stannis, Tarly is a man who can resort to morally objectionable actions.

I stand corrected yet again.

On 4/29/2020 at 1:31 PM, Bernie Mac said:

Tarly may have done better at the Battle of Blackwater. He might not have appointed a Florent to lead his Navy over more experienced men like Velaryon and Saahn.

Selecting a different navy commander does not change the outcome because no one could have predicted Tyrion's trap. Most of Stannis's lords were confident of victory against Joff's ships and no one raised an objection against Florent's plan.

On 4/29/2020 at 1:31 PM, Bernie Mac said:

I don't think we can use the Battle of Blackwater as evidence of Stannis' superiority over Tarly.

I explained at the start of this post that I do not think Stannis is superior to Tarly.

Also agreed with the rest of your points

Edited by EccentricHorse11

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On 4/29/2020 at 7:31 PM, Bernie Mac said:

Sure. But I think we can assume that taking the, at best, third most important Island, is something Tarly could have done.

I almost always only lurk & read, but sometimes disagree with at least some of what you'll say in a comment (just some different opinions, really). However, I agree with virtually everything you said in this wider one & you presented it well. One thing with this sentence, though: Great Wyk is the largest (increasing the difficulty of the invasion & assaults), likely the most mountainous (i.e. toughest terrain), has perhaps the highest population (or only second to Harlaw), has maybe the strongest vassal to Pyke (or again, only second to the Harlaws), & is just about furtherest of the main islands from the mainland.

So, I think it's no coincidence that Robert picked Stannis to take Great Wyk & not Ned, or Barristan, or even Tywin, or whoever else had a command to take an island/subdue a castle (actually, if the Reach had any further involvement beyond the Redwyne fleet, I'd love to know if Randyll was there & if so what level of command he had - perhaps even Orkmont, Saltcliffe, or Blacktyde). Also, it's likely just due to the limited info we have on Greyjoy's Rebellion, but I find it interesting that we don't know who subdued Harlaw & thus, for certain if it was even invaded. However unlikely, the Reader may have sued for peace before such took place. After all, he advised Balon not to follow through with his folly to begin the war, lost two sons off Fair Isle, & is not exactly huge on ironborn supremacy & expansionism, unlike many of his peers.

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11 minutes ago, Lord Corlys Velaryon said:

I almost always only lurk & read, but sometimes disagree with at least some of what you'll say in a comment (just some different opinions, really). However, I agree with virtually everything you said in this wider one & you presented it well. One thing with this sentence, though: Great Wyk is the largest (increasing the difficulty of the invasion & assaults), likely the most mountainous (i.e. toughest terrain), has perhaps the highest population (or only second to Harlaw), has maybe the strongest vassal to Pyke (or again, only second to the Harlaws), & is just about furtherest of the main islands from the mainland.

So, I think it's no coincidence that Robert picked Stannis to take Great Wyk & not Ned, or Barristan, or even Tywin, or whoever else had a command to take an island/subdue a castle (actually, if the Reach had any further involvement beyond the Redwyne fleet, I'd love to know if Randyll was there & if so what level of command he had - perhaps even Orkmont, Saltcliffe, or Blacktyde). Also, it's likely just due to the limited info we have on Greyjoy's Rebellion, but I find it interesting that we don't know who subdued Harlaw & thus, for certain if it was even invaded. However unlikely, the Reader may have sued for peace before such took place. After all, he advised Balon not to follow through with his folly to begin the war, lost two sons off Fair Isle, & is not exactly huge on ironborn supremacy & expansionism, unlike many of his peers.

Interesting points. I had not considered these things. But I still think Tarly could have managed it.

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