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Tyrion1991

Should the Andal vs First Men conflict be more bitter?

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I should add that from FaB we know the North often gets into trouble in winter and needs outside help. So neglecting your autumn harvest and seceding from the Iron Throne completely (as opposed to backing Stannis vs Joffrey) shortly before you need the Iron Throne the most (and maybe the only time in the season cycle you need them) is pretty dumb. And this when in Ned's first POV chapter we hear that Mance Raider was amassing an army beyond the wall.

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20 hours ago, Tyrion1991 said:

 

I don’t think the mechanics make sense and I question his reasoning.

Westeros is a vibrant multi cultural, ethnic and religious realm where all faiths are tolerated and deemed equally valid? Where there has been no violence between the disparate ethnicities for centuries. This is a utopian situation that George is presenting. That might be a pass in Elder Scrolls (even that has wars of religion and ethnic conflict) but considering that the series professes to be grounded I don’t buy it. Usually you only had begrudging (to put it mildly in many cases) toleration and they were usually reduced to second class citizens by various penalties and levies. 

Really the Faith shouldn’t just consider it a bit quaint that the FM worship trees. They should consider it blasphemous since it means they are denying the divine truth of the real Gods.

Consider Cat. When Christian women married the likes of Clovis they went out of their way to convert them to Christianity and abandon paganism. Because they truly believed their husbands soul was at risk if he did not. But Cat just thinks of them as “your Gods” and hers are just the ones with the rules. People talk like this in the modern world but it goes utterly against it. Societies only went in this direction because of the Enlightenment, the printing press and the spread of secular education; none of which exists in George’s fictional world. Yet they all act as if religion isn’t a big deal worth killing people over. The show Vikings and the Last Kingdom does a good job of depicting this conflict between Paganism and Christianity.

I think GRRM did this because he didn’t want the conflict to be tainted by becoming a religious war. He wanted to make these conflicts entirely personal and familial in nature. When, in reality, it really was just butchering people over what copy of the bible they had. 

Its so ironic because he depicts the Rhollor religion as the aberration when in fact it’s the closest to a real world representation of an actual faith from this time period. They actually believe God is real and you should do what he tells you. Which means all those idols are false Gods and you’re going to hell unless we make you change.

Yet even this doesn’t get the attention it should. Stannis isn’t seen as an apostate who wants to forcibly convert the Seven Kingdoms, burn their Weirwoods and tear their cathedrals down. That’s barely talked about seriously and few consequences spring from it. Jon’s basically like “oh, some of the lads up North won’t like that”. When if he actually believed in any of this none sense he would be incensed that he would even consider it. George likes to mention offhand that a few crazy people care about these things but almost every character is agnostic or atheist. Which is not believable in a pre enlightenment civilisation.

 

It reads as if you have some need for things to follow your worldview. Obviously GRRM has his own and has written the books in accordance with that. 

Try looking at it this way: this is a work of fantasy, and fantasy calls for a "willing suspension of disbelief". Suspend your disbelief in a world without religious or ethnic strife and just enjoy the story.

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45 minutes ago, Ser Hedge said:

1. By declaring himself King, Robb lost the option of gaining the support of the winner of the Stannis-Renly semi-final. When Cat goes to negotiate with the two brothers, they are cool with her since Robb has 'stolen' part of their Kingdom.

2. As you say, the North can be held by holding Moat Cailin (and obviously making sure your home castle doesn't fall to a commando raid by seaborne invaders), but Robb was crowned King in the North and the Trident

The Riverlands has no natural boundaries and cannot be defended against a numerous Reach army, a wealthy Westerlands army or against a Stormland/Crownland army with an experienced commander.

3. Finally, winter was coming. It was August and the harvest was starting to rot without enough men to bring it in.

Hence capturing Jamie was the perfect point to (temporarily) end the war and start negotiating (as Lord not King) after returning his men to the harvest.

He would have left the Riverlands to their own devices, but that's realpolitik. He helped them as much as he could, but without Aunt Lysa's help, nothing further was achievable at that point. He could have left the Tullys the other Lannister hostages as some kind of safeguard.

Being crowned King doomed him, as it was too early. Theon's betrayal, the Karstarks and the Jeyne Westerland situation hastened the process.

If they didn't name KitN, they were finished after the Battle of Blackwater, since Stannis was finished and Renly was dead, Robb would've no chance to submit the current ruler of the Iron Throne. An army-less Stannis wouldn't be usefull to Robb after Battle of Blackwater.

Robb already sent his mother to Renly, and by doing that he also gave him a very important hostage willingly, so Robb already had an intention to negotiate with Renly, so they could fight together, but before that shadowbaby happened.

Even after Blackwater defeat, they could still return to North and protect themselves from the Southern armies of the Reach and the Rock, Riverrun can resist a long siege, until Robb can gather his forces again and could take them from the rear, anyway, they could always give up on the Riverlands, they had enough lands to give any riverlord in the North, as they give to manderlys in the past.

Despite the bad luck, they could still make it if Red Wedding never happened, and again, that's also because of Theon, when Robb learns the situation at Winterfell and death of Bran and Rickon, he gets carried away and Jeyne thing happens because of that. Theon's betrayal was basically doomed Robb, both for losing the Freys and losing the Winterfell (which motivated Boltons to betray them). The only thing Robb shouldn't do was releasing Theon, otherwise they were good.

Also every region pays taxes to the crown, by being independent they would gain a big advantage in terms finance, so they could do it in the winter, as they did for thousands of years before.

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1 hour ago, RYShh said:

If they didn't name KitN, they were finished after the Battle of Blackwater, since Stannis was finished and Renly was dead, Robb would've no chance to submit the current ruler of the Iron Throne.

Robb had Jamie in the scenario I was describing and if he had retreated North with his hostage, there is no way Jamie was escaping from Winterfell to find his way to KL. He had something to negotiate with Tywin. Losing Jamie was the first step in his reign unraveling really.  As Lord rather than King, Robb could have feigned submission in return for Sansa and other guarantees, while Tywin turned his attention to Stannis. Red Wedding averted.

If that was not acceptable, then even after Stannis lost at the Blackwater, he had the force he brought North with him to fight the Wildlings and we see the Iron Bank treating with him willing to give him a loan. Some ally is better than none at all. Of course, the Red Wedding may have happened in this scenario, but Robb as Lord rather than King would have reduced the urgency of the Boltons and other collaborators to turn to Tywin IMO (I need to read that Arya POV in Harrenhall again where the potential collaborators are urging Roose to get Robb to do something, I think it was to submit to Tywin).

1 hour ago, RYShh said:

Theon's betrayal was basically doomed Robb, both for losing the Freys and losing the Winterfell (which motivated Boltons to betray them). The only thing Robb shouldn't do was releasing Theon, otherwise they were good.

Agree this is also a big deal, but if he had retreated North early enough which was my base case in that original post, that disaster could have been averted. Even if Robb reached Winterfell shortly after Theon's takeover, since Theon was traveling by sea to the II and then to the North and therefore possibly faster, Ramsay's treachery would not have been possible or discovered and Theon would have surrendered to Robb rather than Ramsay.

Anyway we would not have had the story we had if these things had not happened and we would not have learnt how the Game of Thrones was played.

I stand by my point that Robb should have refused the crown at that point and returned North with Jamie and perhaps other prisoners to bring in the harvest. There is no way he would know shadowbaby  would happen alienating the Reach from Stannis and allowing them to join the Lannisters. It would have been valid to expect that Stannis could talk Renly into dropping his claim and Reach and Stormlands uniting, potentially even Dorne joining them to gain revenge on the Lannisters. In fact if some of Robb's army had moved towards KL in coordination with Stannis, they could have interfered with Tywin marching on KL potentially altering the outcome, but this is not my preferred scenario, just another option. 

 

2 hours ago, RYShh said:

Robb already sent his mother to Renly, and by doing that he also gave him a very important hostage willingly, so Robb already had an intention to negotiate with Renly

Cat is an envoy not a hostage, Robb trusted Stannis and Renly to be chivalrous and not behave like a Joffrey or a Mountain and take her hostage.

Robb wanted to negotiate, yes, but Stannis and Renly were not listening because Robb made himself King and taken part of their Kingdom. This is exactly my point, Robb was better off staying a Lord, there was no downside. How was he to know about shadowbaby and Wildfire?

2 hours ago, RYShh said:

Also every region pays taxes to the crown, by being independent they would gain a big advantage in terms finance, so they could do it in the winter, as they did for thousands of years before.

We are in autumn and a lot of tax has already been paid since the last winter. You have just screwed up your last harvest of the cycle because you are stomping around the Riverlands and Westerlands playing King and your house words are "Winter is coming" and you want to become independent now, when the only time you need outside assistance is in Winter? Just wait for spring, you idiots. 

In hindsight, I'm not at all surprised George killed Robb off (I love the character btw! Just wished he'd married Alys Karstark, never got bethroted to the daughter or granddaughter of a glorified tollbooth operator, and all would have been well) to show us how the Game of Thrones is not played.

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4 hours ago, Light a wight tonight said:

It reads as if you have some need for things to follow your worldview. Obviously GRRM has his own and has written the books in accordance with that. 

Try looking at it this way: this is a work of fantasy, and fantasy calls for a "willing suspension of disbelief". Suspend your disbelief in a world without religious or ethnic strife and just enjoy the story.

 

Its not a worldview, these things happened centuries ago. It’s important to understand how you go from burning witches at the stake and the horror of the 30 years war to genuine religious tolerance. This is an incredibly recent phenomena and it’s worth understanding.

I can recall a behind the scenes for goT season 2 where George talks about wanting to ground the Ironborn faith in the real world and how important faith was to a medieval mind. So, he’s not just writing a fantasy series. In Age of Sigmar you can hand wave a lot of that. But Ice and Fire has built itself on being grounded in realism. That’s an appreciable quality of the series. So when it fails to that it’s jarring in a way that it wouldn’t for something like the Elder Scrolls.

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There are different historical models that might apply for the co-existence of the New Gods and the Old Gods in ASOIAF.

The Roman invasion of Britain brought the Roman gods into the island territories of the Celts. Romans decided that the Celts believed in the same gods worshiped by the Romans, but used different names. They didn't want the Druids to get in the way of their interpretation, so they did suppress the holy men/women. But they seemed successful in otherwise co-opting the indigenous religion by co-naming gods with Roman and Celtic names: Sulis-Minerva and Mars Cocidius or Mars Belatucadrus are a few examples. The Romans even adopted a Celtic god of horses (Epona) to fill a gap in their own Pantheon.

So the Christian vs. Norse or Celtic model is not our only option for religious change, even if it is closer to the "real" experience of the European Middle Ages.

There is a key moment in ASOIAF when Melisandre burns not just the New Gods, but the original Targ images of the New Gods, made from the masts of the ships that brought the Targaryens to Dragonstone. So there is this symbolic "tree destruction" in the burning of the masts (as well as an important moment in the mast / mastiff symbolism). Melisandre, with R'Hllor, is doing to the New Gods what the followers of the New Gods did with the Old Gods (before the pact).

I learned something new last year when I was reading the GRRM entry in Wikipedia. I knew that the War of the Roses had been a source of inspiration for him, but I didn't know that Ivanhoe was one of his big inspirations for ASOIAF.

Quote

Admiring the works of J. R. R. Tolkien in his childhood, he wanted to write an epic fantasy, though he did not have any specific ideas.[45]

This eventually turned into his epic fantasy series: A Song of Ice and Fire, which was inspired by the Wars of the Roses, The Accursed Kings[46] and Ivanhoe.

I haven't read the original novel, but I looked at a summary. Apparently the book explains how the Anglo-Saxon nobility were not comfortable with their Norman king, for the most part. Ivanhoe decided to support the new monarch and was exiled from his family. The king secretly returned the favor, supporting Ivanhoe as a mystery knight in a tournament in his hour of need. Obviously, GRRM is not wholesale copying the hunky-dory relationship between king and vassal, but he is exploring some of that tension between the old culture and the new leadership.

I suspect there is a lot of symbolism around Torrhen Stark bending the knee for Aegon. He sends his bastard brother to negotiate and he crosses the river to meet Aegon instead of bending the knee on his own land in the north. There are other meaningful details in the Stark - Targaryen relationship in Fire and Blood when Queen Alysanne "enters" the North through the Manderly gateway and Cregan Stark says he doesn't want her dragon within the walls of Winterfell. (I still haven't read Fire and Blood - just the excerpt that was released ahead of publication.)

So you raise a good question about the relationship of the First Men and the Andals. I don't think it has been given the analysis it needs, using details from the books. And I do think it is one of the conflicts GRRM has written into the backstory of the books.

Edited by Seams

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Long-term armed conflict between the Andals and the First Men would be highly desirable.  The War of the Five Kings weakened a lot of the houses who supported Robert during his rebellion.  A year or two of armed conflict between the Andals and the First Men should weaken them some more.  It would greatly benefit the Targaryen restoration that I and many of you are looking forward to.  

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20 minutes ago, Widowmaker 811 said:

Long-term armed conflict between the Andals and the First Men would be highly desirable.  The War of the Five Kings weakened a lot of the houses who supported Robert during his rebellion.  A year or two of armed conflict between the Andals and the First Men should weaken them some more.  It would greatly benefit the Targaryen restoration that I and many of you are looking forward to.  

:thumbsup:

We're all looking forward to Aegon and Danaerys tear each other, and the realm, apart in a new dragon-fueled civil war over the Iron Throne. Just like the good old days.

EDITED: In truth I am happy that GRRM didn't go along with any "race war" ideas in Westeros. Having a unsettled conflict between two great ethnicities that lasts for thousands of years while they live in the same political structures seems far-fetched to me. I am happier that most conflicts in the series is over things that are relevant today and of interest to characters alive, today, as opposed to which ancestor made history's first theft of a pig in Westeros.

Edited by Lion of the West

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There seems to be quite a bit of unfavorable views between the Northerners and the Southerners. I imagine that houses like the Blackwoods that follow the Old Gods are not viewed upon as highly by some of the proud Andal houses.

 

I suppose that the conflict could be more intense but the Faith of the Seven is seen as very important. The South seems fairly united in it and views the Northerners as a bunch of backwards barbarians.

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It's been somewhere between 2 and 8 thousand years, even the smallest number is a really  long period.

The amount of Time that has passed and Interbreeding can explain the relative peace.

There are outliers though, mountain clansmen, orphans of the green blood, etc, but they are small, isolated, and lack political power

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Probably cause the concepts race and nationalism haven't yet emerged in the world of ASOIAF. Give it 100-200 years, and a northern identity will come to existence. Religious wars between the old gods and the Faith of the Seven will also most likely happen around then. Keep in mind that in real life the European wars of religion didn't happen until 1568, almost 100 years after the end of the middle ages, and imo Westeros isn't even in the late middle ages yet.

My prediction for the future of the North is that it will eventually become an independent nation, but much like Christianity in real life, the Faith of the Seven will some day be the official religion of this "new North". It seems to me from our history that much like governments, religions tend to grow and centralize. After a point in history it becomes impossible for multi-religious countries to exist. 

Edited by Panos Targaryen

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On 6/3/2019 at 1:43 AM, Free Northman Reborn said:

Yep. George has made religion play a much smaller role than it did in the real Middle Ages.

Unrealistically so, in my opinion, but it appears to have been a deliberate choice.

Could it be Tolkien influence? In Tolkien, everybody - even the bad guys - believe in Eru, yet there is no organized religion. Numenoreans have a place of worship atop Meneltarma, but they do not start building actual temples until Sauron corrupts them (upon which they embark on AztecPyramidSpam!). In Lord of the Rings - which is what most people are familiar with - you do not have overt religiousy, White Tree is more of a national than religious symbol, and even Eru and Valar are rarely if ever mentioned.

That being said, conflict in Tolkien is, essentially, a religious war. You have people who believe in Eru Illuvatar (One True God), and people who worship Morgoth (Satan) as god. And these two clash. It is just that it is so much in the background that many people miss it.

On 6/3/2019 at 9:41 AM, The Hoare said:

Peacefull cohexistence between different religions is entirely possible. In Scandinavia/Iceland there were some pagan kings that tolerated christianity in their lands. Really, religious wars are rare, unless some side decide to use religion as a excuse to gain some kind of personal benefit(see protestants, the orthodox-catholic split, the sunni-shia conflict, etc.). Most "religious" people don't actualy believe in what they preach

I don't remember Robb pulling the "nationalism casrd" either, it was only one bannerman that mentioned it. Keep in mind that Robb was declared King of the Trident too.

Religious wars between polytheistic religions are rare - as already pointed out by other posters, they can just co-opt each others' gods. But Christianity has had a ton of religious wars, and Islam was spread almost solely through violence. It is mostly pagans that are able to coexist, because they have so many gods that presence of other gods is not a threat to their worldview. "Oh, you have your gods? Fine, but ours are better. You don't agree? No biggie, but if you come here we will show you how wrong you are." Compare that to monotheistic religions where God is, by definition, one true God, and therefore having another God - or, even, another interpretation of God - automatically threatens the very foundation of one's belief.

And that is the problem with ASoIaF. Two main religions are monotheistic - the Seven, the Red God - yet there is no religious conflict. Which makes no sense when you look at their respective medieval inspirations - Orthodox Christianity and Persian Zoroastrism. What happened between them? Nothing much, just the first confirmed religious war in history (while it did not start for religious reasons, it eventually developed into struggle between Christianity and Zoroastrism, with Khusro offering Heraclius peace only if latter converts to Zoroastrism; when citizens of Constantinople heard that, well, they were not exactly thrilled. Cue the Church offering Heraclius a huge loan which basically allowed him to whip Persians).

2 hours ago, Panos Targaryen said:

Probably cause the concepts race and nationalism haven't yet emerged in the world of ASOIAF. Give it 100-200 years, and a northern identity will come to existence. Religious wars between the old gods and the Faith of the Seven will also most likely happen around then. Keep in mind that in real life the European wars of religion didn't happen until 1568, almost 100 years after the end of the middle ages, and imo Westeros isn't even in the late middle ages yet.

My prediction for the future of the North is that it will eventually become an independent nation, but much like Christianity in real life, the Faith of the Seven will some day be the official religion of this "new North". It seems to me from our history that much like governments, religions tend to grow and centralize. After a point in history it becomes impossible for multi-religious countries to exist. 

Eh, you are looking waay to narrowly. Religious wars had been happening since antiquity, especially if you take Bible at face value. And if not, see my reply to The Hoare.

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2 hours ago, Panos Targaryen said:

After a point in history it becomes impossible for multi-religious countries to exist. 

Actually most empires had to at least tolerate many religions. For instance Imperial Russia was in practice multi-religious and very often enemy of security forces of Imperial Russia were religious fanatics who did tolerate other faiths.

Or as long as mostly Lutheran Finns, Catholic Poles, jews or muslims living in empire behave and did not cause problems to Orthodox tsar central government let them keep their own religions. Naturally there were problems like pogroms but even those were usually "only" local phenomenon.

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22 hours ago, Widowmaker 811 said:

Long-term armed conflict between the Andals and the First Men would be highly desirable.  The War of the Five Kings weakened a lot of the houses who supported Robert during his rebellion.  A year or two of armed conflict between the Andals and the First Men should weaken them some more.  It would greatly benefit the Targaryen restoration that I and many of you are looking forward to.  

Yes this. 

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I would love to have a South vs north war that greatly depowers both sides.  High Sparrow against the Starks and the Old God's.   All the weirwood trees get burned and winterfell sacked by the faith.  A Dance of the Direwolves will be even better.  The Starks and their Direwolves at each others' throats would make them at least a little interesting. 

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On 2 June 2019 at 6:29 PM, Tyrion1991 said:

 

But if the Faith is analogue to Christianity and Old Gods to paganism you would expect a similar outcome of forced conversion and violence like in the Baltic Crusade.

OTOH, it could be more like medieval Lithuania, which had large Christian and pagan populations, living more or less in harmony.

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14 hours ago, SeanF said:

OTOH, it could be more like medieval Lithuania, which had large Christian and pagan populations, living more or less in harmony.

 

If you ignore the Teutonic Order...

Plus eventually the pagan population gets converted over a much shorter span of time then the religion of the Old Gods. Which is odd considering the Faith is an organised religion propagating itself whilst the Old Gods is purely inherited tradition.

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A story with dragons, skinchanging, shadow babies, ice zombies, giants, ice fae/Others, fire zombies, resurrections, CotF, glamours, dudes wired into trees, etc, clearly isn't prioritizing historical accuracy.  

I really don't get this idea that GRRM is somehow under any obligation whatsoever to make his fictional fantasy series in any way realistic to rl history which a vast majority of readers don't even know. They're his books. He'll include and exclude what he will. Instead of complaining about "inaccuracies" , maybe ask why GRRM included and excluded what he would. 

And why he avoided things like race and religion? The same reason we have social rules to not bring up those subjects in public. They take over everything and it gets ugly. If I was going to the trouble of writing books, I'd want people talking about what I actually wrote, not turning it into something else entirely. 

On nationalism, I get the temptation to see the North in those terms given the current climate. Can't help but to see it that way myself. But again, this ain't rl and there's additional context in the books which needs to be considered. The Starks and the North have a duty which is to remind everyone that Winter is Coming. They're the primary source of backing for the Wall. They're the first line of defense against the Others. Rickard was focused on the South. Ned rode South. Robb rode South. Now everyone's in worse trouble as Southern drama distracted them from their duty. 

AGOT Bran VI

"Giants and worse than giants, Lordling. I tried to tell your brother when he asked his questions, him and your maester and that smiley boy Greyjoy. The cold winds are rising, and men go out from their fires and never come back … or if they do, they're not men no more, but only wights, with blue eyes and cold black hands. Why do you think I run south with Stiv and Hali and the rest of them fools? Mance thinks he'll fight, the brave sweet stubborn man, like the white walkers were no more than rangers, but what does he know? He can call himself King-beyond-the-Wall all he likes, but he's still just another old black crow who flew down from the Shadow Tower. He's never tasted winter. I was born up there, child, like my mother and her mother before her and her mother before her, born of the Free Folk. We remember." Osha stood, her chains rattling together. "I tried to tell your lordling brother. Only yesterday, when I saw him in the yard. 'M'lord Stark,' I called to him, respectful as you please, but he looked through me, and that sweaty oaf Greatjon Umber shoves me out of the path. So be it. I'll wear my irons and hold my tongue. A man who won't listen can't hear."

"Tell me. Robb will listen to me, I know he will."

"Will he now? We'll see. You tell him this, m'lord. You tell him he's bound on marching the wrong way. It's north he should be taking his swords. North, not south. You hear me?" 
 

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If only the Stark words hadn't become just words, the false oaths of the new NW recruits not a rotten weight on the Wall, if only the heirs of the First Men who survived the Long Night still told the tales and believed them. 

Maybe that would make the opposition with the Andals and their Treeless Gods more important. Some Northerners, blood of the First Men or not, worship the Seven. Lords like Bolton give a bloody fig to Winter or the threat of it beyond cold and possible famine. The Stark heir himself mocked the truth of it, shunting it aside for tall tales.

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On 6/6/2019 at 2:04 PM, Lollygag said:

A story with dragons, skinchanging, shadow babies, ice zombies, giants, ice fae/Others, fire zombies, resurrections, CotF, glamours, dudes wired into trees, etc, clearly isn't prioritizing historical accuracy.  

I really don't get this idea that GRRM is somehow under any obligation whatsoever to make his fictional fantasy series in any way realistic to rl history which a vast majority of readers don't even know. They're his books. He'll include and exclude what he will. Instead of complaining about "inaccuracies" , maybe ask why GRRM included and excluded what he would. 
 

This. I also don't quite understand the OP's original premise. There is substantial religious conflict in GRRM's universe during the war between CotF and First Men, Andal invasion, and 50-100 years following Aegon's Conquest. The early Targaryen kings after Aegon the Conqueror had catastrophic problems with the Faith due to their incest and polygamy, such as the Faith Militant Uprising. It's not a fair characterization to say religious conflict does not play a substantial role. By the timeline of the novels, hundreds or in the former cases thousands of years have transpired: plenty of time to solidify peace with political and economic alliances.

Further, concepts such as race and nationalism are substantially later developments than Europe during the Wars of the Roses, the main inspiration for the series. The Seven Kingdoms shouldn't be compared to a modern nation state, this is a fictional feudal society.

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