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Belizarie

Was the Red Wedding inevitable?

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No. But also, yes. Rob's situation is very complicated and every time I've seen this discussion play out. It always ends the same. Whichever way the Young Wolf went, he was without hope. He could of avoided the actual wedding and chose to hold up at RR. Or he could of tried to use subterfuge to evade capture. But it would still leave him in a hopeless position.

He'd lost everything. He needed a hostage, but found himself without. He needed a political marriage, but chose love, he needed the Karstarks, but chose honour. He was a noble guy but the Game of Thrones is played by very unscrupulous fellows. It feels simpler to say that he wasn't cut out for it. If he had a few years under his belt. If he had another strong alliance.  If he had ships. If he had another hostage. If this and if that. 

The RW itself needn't take place. But the walls really were closing in on the King who gambled and lost everything. So in a strange way, the RW was his only hope of securing a new relationship with the people whom held his escape route and to go on and liberate his home from Ironborn. 

So yeah, it did have to happen. But it also sort of didn't. The outcome would of been much the same imo. Damned if you do.... :dunno:

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Not really, what with Tywin's coalition of turncoats Robb was in trouble. The only possible way for Stark to make it through the fall would have to consolidate at Riverrun, Seagard, Torhens Square and the Stoney Sept. That way the coalition would have found it necessary to hard march from The Twins, Harrenhall and Casterley Rock all probably weeks away given the weather.

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Posted (edited)

Sure. All Walder had to do was not become a mass murderer and the most infamous man in Westeros. 

Itd be one thing if the RW put Frey in a position of strength or power, but it didn't. The crown gave Walder very few incentives to become the archvillain of its neighbors

Edited by Hugorfonics

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1 hour ago, TheThreeEyedCow said:

No. But also, yes. Rob's situation is very complicated and every time I've seen this discussion play out. It always ends the same. Whichever way the Young Wolf went, he was without hope. He could of avoided the actual wedding and chose to hold up at RR. Or he could of tried to use subterfuge to evade capture. But it would still leave him in a hopeless position.

He'd lost everything. He needed a hostage, but found himself without. He needed a political marriage, but chose love, he needed the Karstarks, but chose honour. He was a noble guy but the Game of Thrones is played by very unscrupulous fellows. It feels simpler to say that he wasn't cut out for it. If he had a few years under his belt. If he had another strong alliance.  If he had ships. If he had another hostage. If this and if that. 

The RW itself needn't take place. But the walls really were closing in on the King who gambled and lost everything. So in a strange way, the RW was his only hope of securing a new relationship with the people whom held his escape route and to go on and liberate his home from Ironborn. 

So yeah, it did have to happen. But it also sort of didn't. The outcome would of been much the same imo. Damned if you do.... :dunno:

Recognize, though, that Robb did not choose love. He was dosed with one of Grandma Maggie's love potions. The decision to marry was still his, but it was not just a happy accident for Tywin that Robb fell for Jeyne in the first place.

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Definitely not inevitable, but the culmination of a bunch of VERY POOR diplomatic moves complimenting battlefield successes lead to an explosive opportunity.

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If Robb hadn't married Jeyne Westerling, the Red Wedding still might have happened, just without Edmure.

To avoid it, there are a hundred ways. If Balon Greyjoy had attacked the gold-rich West instead of the North. If Theon Greryjoy hadn't attacked Winterfell; if they hadn't sent so many men to Torrhen Square. If Lysa Tully had supported her brother and sister and nephew instead of holding back. If Tywin or Roose or Walder had a single shred of honour. If Renly had supported his brother's claim—if Stannis had attacked King's Landing before Storm's End—if Edmure had been a little worse at holding the Fords—if Tyrion's defence had been less clever—if Stannis had taken Melisandre to King's Landing and also she could control wildfire—if the Tyrells hadn't joined the Lannisters—

The only thing I'd actually say Robb did wrong was not telling Edmure that he wanted the Lannister armies to cross the Trident so they couldn't reinforce King's Landing, and not realising the Balon Greyjoy was self-obsessed and vengeful beyond all reason. [Technically, sending Theon back was an error, but it wouldn't have made a difference.] Jeyne, the Karstarks: those didn't actually matter. He was betrayed because he didn't hold Winterfell, and the Lannisters did hold the south.

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I always felt like Robb gave up too much to make the crossing...

Didn't Ned have to cross the twins for Roberts Rebellion? He did not engage to marry a Frey for it.

In hind sight Robb should not have sent his mother to negotiate the crossing because her deal ended up sucking.

Could the North have taken the twins if Waldey didn't wanna let them through for a fairer price? At the time it may have seemed like a bad decision but probably would have avoided red wedding.

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On 6/4/2019 at 8:22 AM, Belizarie said:

Could it have been avoided? Besides the obvious Robb Stark not marrying Jeyne Westerling.

The RW could have been prevented but Robb was going to break his oath to an ally.  It was just a matter of time.  Team Robb lacked discipline.  Roose, Robb, Catelin, Theon each had a personal agenda ahead of winning the war.  Failure was inevitable.  

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Posted (edited)

Yes, it was inevitable. No, I think it was a scene/event that the author wanted to have in the story, so it happened.

Edited by Ser Leftwich

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There were two contributing factors to the Red Wedding that tied to theFreys' well-acknowledged flaws of being fence-sitters and yet of being prickly about their pride:

1. Robb started looking like he was losing the war, or at least at risk of it. This is from Theon taking Winterfell and Tywin (and Co.) successfully beating Stannis. Before they even heard of Jeyne Westerling, the Freys were looking for a way out of the alliance (GRRM confirmed that had Robb not broken his marriage pact, the Freys would have done something, just probably not something as brutal).

2. Robb broke his betrothal to House Frey and publicly shamed them.

Had #2 not happened, the Freys would have tried to get out of the war, but not felt justified in such huge breaches of the social contract. Had #1 not happened, the Freys would have griped and maybe tried something, but wouldn't have wanted to leave the winning side.

So, as others have posted, had Theon not taken Winterfell, had Tywin not been stopped at the Fords, had Stannis or Renly successfully taken King's Landing, had Robb not taken an arrow in the Westerlands and thus been treated by Jeyne (whether natural seduction or alleged love potion), if any of the above and plenty more didn't happen, the Red Wedding wouldn't have happened.

However, as Ser Leftwich said above me, it happened because GRRM wanted/needed it to happen for his story to work.

 

 

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As others have said, there was a long series of missteps that, by the time the Red Wedding happened, it was inevitable. 

However, on rereading the chapter, one thing I take note of, and possible exception to, if the effectiveness of the Bolton/Frey conspiracy.  Of the thousands of soldiers involved in the betrayal (and some likely drunk from the party) not a one felt more loyalty to Stark/Tully than houses Frey or Bolton?  Not a one thought to curry favor with houses Stark or Tully through a warning?  Not a one misspoke or left a weapon/armor exposed?  Not a note slipped under a tent flap or into a pocket?  The bigger the conspiracy, the harder it is to keep contained, and it seems a bit of a stretch that one like this could be kept under cover long enough to prosecute.

Ok, Bolton at least has his ways of keeping control, but as shiftless and conniving as the Freys are in their own internal power structure, it must have been hard to control.

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It was a series of mis-steps, and we also had some level of active collusion between Bolton/Frey/Lannister that would have doomed him.  The Jayne marriage gave Walder Frey a pretext.... but I am also sure that once Robb lost Winterfell, Frey would be looking for an opening with the winning side.

 

Allowing Theon to go was a mistake and ended up costing Winterfell which started the chain reaction.  Bad idea marriage and executing the lord of Karhold also was to blame.

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I honestly don't think there is a Red Wedding if Robb doesn't marry Jeyne.  As hopeless as the situation may have been, the Red Wedding itself was a brutal response to the very particular insult of Robb breaking the marriage contract.  There were many other mitigating factors that may have led to some sort of Frey betrayal of Robb, but I think if we're just focused on the Red Wedding itself it doesn't happen if Robb doesn't marry Jeyne.  

 

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1 hour ago, Mordant Jester said:

It was a series of mis-steps, and we also had some level of active collusion between Bolton/Frey/Lannister that would have doomed him.  The Jayne marriage gave Walder Frey a pretext.... but I am also sure that once Robb lost Winterfell, Frey would be looking for an opening with the winning side.

 

Allowing Theon to go was a mistake and ended up costing Winterfell which started the chain reaction.  Bad idea marriage and executing the lord of Karhold also was to blame.

Agree, but I do not think the Karstarks variable make too much of a difference alone.

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I like the idea of it being a series of mistakes by Robb that lead to the Red Wedding.  For fun, let's make that list, in order.  This is just off the top of my head so I will not be offended by any additions.

I think Robb did a great job up until he arrived at the Twins, no errors that I can see.

1. Agreeing to the betrothal

I know they were in a rush, but I think they could have at least tried one counter offer that did not include Robb.  I think Robb could have asked a few of his bannermen to step up with replacement sons and daughters to offer in place of Robb.  Walder would have traded quality for quantity when it came to marrying off his children.

2. Accepting a crown

While getting a crown sounds awesome it also alienates potential allies.  Also, it raised the stakes of the betrothal.  Robb went from being the future Lord of Winterfell at the time the deal was made, to being the King of the North and the Trident.  

3. Icing Edmure

Keeping Edmure, the Lord Paramount of the Riverlands, liege Lord to half of your kingdom, inarguably the second most important person in your kingdom out of your war planning is inexcusable.  I understand that loose lips sink ships, but Edmure has to be included in your plans to make sure everything goes to plan.  How can you expect to lure Tywin back to the Westerlands if you don't tell the man you left in charge that is the plan?

4. Marrying Jeyne

We don't know how much of a factor, if at all, any possible "love potion" was in this mistake but obviously this was the biggest one.  I really doubt Walder would have cared much if word got back to him that Robb was sleeping with Jeyne while at the Crag.  

5. Ignoring Greywind

I was thinking about adding both agreeing to a new deal with Walder and agreeing to go to the Twins to the list, but I think those are moves he had to make.  He had very few potential allies and Walder would definitely require an apology in person.  Since Robb was not a POV character we never really get any idea how extensive his bond is with his direwolf.  This makes it tough to really know how much to blame him for ignoring the warning, but I would like to think that after so many battles Robb should have had some inkling that something is up.

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On 6/4/2019 at 2:22 PM, Belizarie said:

Could it have been avoided? Besides the obvious Robb Stark not marrying Jeyne Westerling.

Yes, it could have been easily avoided. Its an example of lacking intelligence service. It is nice to trust your allies, but it is wise not to do so. 

In preparation of the red wedding, a lot of people had to do something. If Rob had some kind of intelligence installed there, it would have been likely that he got knowledge about the plan. And then, he could have countered the conspiracy. After crossing the Trident he would have been able to reconquer the north. He certainly could´nt win the war at this point. But holding the north with a significant force would have led to a kind of stalemate.

So Eddard told him how to rule, how to fight, how to win battles but nothing about intelligence? 
No need to do anything? Especially because Walder Frey was always known for his trustworthiness?

This was some kind of reverse plot armor.

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On 6/5/2019 at 6:49 AM, Staenerys Stargaryen said:

I always felt like Robb gave up too much to make the crossing...

Didn't Ned have to cross the twins for Roberts Rebellion? He did not engage to marry a Frey for it.

In hind sight Robb should not have sent his mother to negotiate the crossing because her deal ended up sucking.

Could the North have taken the twins if Waldey didn't wanna let them through for a fairer price? At the time it may have seemed like a bad decision but probably would have avoided red wedding.

I don't think so. Ned was not heading directly to Riverrun but to link up with the Vale and Riverland armies in support of Robert, whom they eventually rescued at Stony Sept. So there would be no reason to cross the Green Fork, travel overland to Riverrun, cross the Red Fork and then overland into the southern Riverlands when they could just follow the Kings Road to the Ruby Ford, which should be easily crossed since it is still winter, and then southwest into the war zone.

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If Robb

1. Didn't send Theon back to the Grey Islands

2. Didn't execute Rickard Karstark

3. Didn't marry the Westerling girl

It might not have happened.

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