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Wolfbynature

When it comes to major battles, is there a pattern which side wins?

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Aparently in my view, George Martin loves to explain the victory of one side with a special feint or some special action that takes place, not so much just military force and combat effectiveness.  

The battle in the wispering woods:
 - They lure Jamie Lannister into the woods

The Battle of the BlackWater:
 - The chain and the wildfire

The Battle of the Trident:
 - Robert kills Rhaegar

The Battle of the Redgrass Field:
 - Bloodraven first kills Daemon and then defeats Bittersteel 

The Battle of the Bells:
 - JonCon insists of beeing knightly / refuses to burn the city
 - Robert emerges from the Peach

The siege of Meeren:
 - Daenerys sends men through the sewers

Therefore I assume for future battles that the side with the better "trick" will win and the the outcome will not so much depend on the numbers and the sheer military force. 

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We only see a few of the battles of Westerosi history, some with succesful stratagems and magic (Dragons). I do not think there are any intentional trends here.

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5 hours ago, Wolfbynature said:

Aparently in my view, George Martin loves to explain the victory of one side with a special feint or some special action that takes place, not so much just military force and combat effectiveness.  

The battle in the wispering woods:
 - They lure Jamie Lannister into the woods

The Battle of the BlackWater:
 - The chain and the wildfire

The Battle of the Trident:
 - Robert kills Rhaegar

The Battle of the Redgrass Field:
 - Bloodraven first kills Daemon and then defeats Bittersteel 

The Battle of the Bells:
 - JonCon insists of beeing knightly / refuses to burn the city
 - Robert emerges from the Peach

The siege of Meeren:
 - Daenerys sends men through the sewers

Therefore I assume for future battles that the side with the better "trick" will win and the the outcome will not so much depend on the numbers and the sheer military force. 

Maybe the knighthood/honour is a pattern? Jon Con lost because of it and Bloodrave won because of lack of it. Otherwise there isn't much connections. Maybe that smart wins, but even then in some duels/battles brute force wins over smartness

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Yes which makes sense for drama and for a story so centred around the personalities of his characters. He can’t simply shrug his shoulders and say “Grant had more men” and reduce the struggle to statistics. No fantasy writer would ever do that. 

Even battles like Agincourt are more about the terrain or technology than one side having a trick. 

I suspect he may have less pivotal battles reduced to bloody slogging matches or simply hurling men into the struggle. But overall he leans towards the dramatic and unexpected.

 

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

You left out the best trick so far, the liberation of The Unsullied from the Masters in Astapor.

A trick, maybe. A cheat rather. It shows she doesn't hold to her side of the bargains. I believe she is paying it in Meereen by the slavers betraying her at any opportunity... If any deal was possible. But it's buiding a bad reputation anyway. Unike the Starks.

In my first reading, I though it was GRRM cheating us. Until I realize it was intended to be Daenerys cheating.

Edited by BalerionTheCat

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, BalerionTheCat said:

A trick, maybe. A cheat rather. It shows she doesn't hold to her side of the bargains. I believe she is paying it in Meereen by the slavers betraying her at any opportunity... If any deal was possible. But it's buiding a bad reputation anyway. Unike the Starks.

In my first reading, I though it was GRRM cheating us. Until I realize it was intended to be Daenerys cheating.

 

I think this is Tywin and Joffreys biggest mistake. They assume that just butchering their enemies is the best way to win. When all it does is create martyrs. Rob Stark should have been beaten in a straight up battle and held captive like the French King in the Battle of Poitiers. He faced total defeat.

Tywin should have humiliated the Starks and the North. If you laugh at people they have no power over you. If you kill them then you show your fear. Once you destroy the myth of the Starks being the ultimate Kings of Winter than the dream of the Northern cause withers on the vine. 

Instead he washes away all of Robs countless failures at a single stroke by brutally butchering the whole family and army at a wedding. This transformed Rob from the King who lost the North into a national myth comparable to William Wallace. It was an utterly stupid move in the long term.

Edited by Tyrion1991

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48 minutes ago, Tyrion1991 said:

 

I think this is Tywin and Joffreys biggest mistake. They assume that just butchering their enemies is the best way to win. When all it does is create martyrs. Rob Stark should have been beaten in a straight up battle and held captive like the French King in the Battle of Poitiers. He faced total defeat.

Tywin should have humiliated the Starks and the North. If you laugh at people they have no power over you. If you kill them then you show your fear. Once you destroy the myth of the Starks being the ultimate Kings of Winter than the dream of the Northern cause withers on the vine. 

Instead he washes away all of Robs countless failures at a single stroke by brutally butchering the whole family and army at a wedding. This transformed Rob from the King who lost the North into a national myth comparable to William Wallace. It was an utterly stupid move in the long term.

 

While a respectable analysis, I do believe Tywin was in a strong position here before he died, particularly before Joffrey's murder. At that point, he had a Bolton vassal ruling over an unruly North. The Boltons were going to bleed regardless in their attempts to pacify resistance (IB or Stark loyalists or later Stannis) and could be pacified if needed post-winter.

 

Additionally, the Sansa marriage was performed with the notion of creating Lannisters with Stark blood. If and when it was time to replace Roose with Sansa/Tyrion's child, he would reveal (f)Arya and go North.

 

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1 hour ago, Tyrion1991 said:

 

 

Instead he washes away all of Robs countless failures at a single stroke by brutally butchering the whole family and army at a wedding. This transformed Rob from the King who lost the North into a national myth comparable to William Wallace. It was an utterly stupid move in the long term.

I think you are clearly mistaking the fandom's view of Robb Stark to how he is viewed in the North in AFFC and ADWD. He is not some myth, he is a pretender who gambled to heavily and lost.

"They north rode with Robb, bled with him, died for him. They have supped on grief and death, and now you come to offer them another serving. Do you blame them if they hang back? Forgive me, Your Grace, but some will look at you and see only another doomed pretender."     - Jon Snow

Apart from one young girl bringing up Robb we don't hear much in the way of mythologizing Robb in AFFC and ADWD, especially as he died as a result of the 3,500 Northmen with Roose. Half his own army was against him at the Red Wedding.

GRRM has set up the Bolton's demise, Ramsay is a psychopath and the longer he lives the more likely the Dustin/Ryswell faction will switch as they will never allow him to rule them.

 

8 hours ago, Wolfbynature said:

. snip

Quite a few of those battles were won due to the larger army.

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It's just a more engaging way of writing battles than having them skirmish for a few days before one gets on a hill and the other leaves and offers terms as good old reality would have it. 

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2 hours ago, Trigger Warning said:

It's just a more engaging way of writing battles than having them skirmish for a few days before one gets on a hill and the other leaves and offers terms as good old reality would have it. 

Kinda funny, considering GRRM’s emphasis on how things would have gone in real life. 

As for the Battle of the Trident, no cunning seems to have been employed, just 40,000 vs 35,000 and Rhaegar being foolish enough to cross the Trident River when he did not need to with an army of mostly green troops.

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3 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

Kinda funny, considering GRRM’s emphasis on how things would have gone in real life. 

If George Martin would have wrote the story about the Battle at Waterloo, then it would have been
Napoleon himself that had led the final charge of the Old Guard. And maybe they nearly came through if
there would´nt have been Wellington who had led the countercharge, after hiding in a depression with his
best men. And then eye in eye firing their pistols on each other...

Sorry for my bad english.

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I am just reading book about founding of Rome and kings who ruled Rome. There are very few reliable sources about that time and so most of we know about that time comes from myths and stories. In those early Romans seemed to use any nasty trick they can get away. For instance kin slaying, stealing women and braking holy vows.

  Besides at least some of Targ kings look like incarnations of those mythical kings of Rome. Second king of Rome was very religious like Baelor, some behaved like Aegon IV and reason why Rome get rid of their kings was rebellion caused by raping of certain lady and her suicide. 

 

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11 hours ago, BalerionTheCat said:

A trick, maybe. A cheat rather. It shows she doesn't hold to her side of the bargains. I believe she is paying it in Meereen by the slavers betraying her at any opportunity... If any deal was possible. But it's buiding a bad reputation anyway. Unike the Starks.

In my first reading, I though it was GRRM cheating us. Until I realize it was intended to be Daenerys cheating.

It's one of the most enjoyable chapters in the whole series.  GRRM dropped a series of hints that Dany would betray the Good Masters, but it still came as a surprise.

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2 hours ago, Wolfbynature said:

If George Martin would have wrote the story about the Battle at Waterloo, then it would have been
Napoleon himself that had led the final charge of the Old Guard. And maybe they nearly came through if
there would´nt have been Wellington who had led the countercharge, after hiding in a depression with his
best men. And then eye in eye firing their pistols on each other...

Sorry for my bad english.

Dude, that’s what happened

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23 hours ago, Tyrion1991 said:

They assume that just butchering their enemies is the best way to win.

Yes. In GRRM history of Westeros at least, it seems a mistake. But is humiliation a better solution? I don't think so. From the Starks ruling of the North, I believe the right solution is respect. You can't always be strong. Currently the Starks are weak, at least in appearance, with Bran a cripple and Rickon too young. At such point, you need faithful allies. And you'll have none if you have no true friends, believing in your justice and integrity.

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17 minutes ago, BalerionTheCat said:

Yes. In GRRM history of Westeros at least, it seems a mistake. But is humiliation a better solution? I don't think so. From the Starks ruling of the North, I believe the right solution is respect. You can't always be strong. Currently the Starks are weak, at least in appearance, with Bran a cripple and Rickon too young. At such point, you need faithful allies. And you'll have none if you have no true friends, believing in your justice and integrity.

 

You can’t really respect somebody with an irreconcilable difference. If they want independence then they don’t want your respect. I am sure respecting Stark Kingship and dominion of the Riverlands would settle the conflict; but that’s also losing.

Plus it’s who is being humiliated. House Stark aren’t the First Men or the North. It’s their claim to Kingship which is the problem as it predates any “Baratheon” claim. The Ancient Kings of Winter. So they’re at war with an idea. The best way to kill an idea is to humiliate it. To make people laugh at it and see it for a joke. So they needed to discredit house starks legitimacy. They don’t need to humiliate Northerners in general.

Once they’ve done that then yeah they can take Northern squires, have Northern Lords go on joint campaigns to the Iron Islands and other appointments to heal the wounds.

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Across history there are battles that are stalemates and battles that are Agincourt, even in Westeros. We have just been partial to more of the later than the former.

Also, POV was an issue. There was the battle of the Golden Tooth, first battle of Riverrun, Mummer's Ford, Duskendale ... etc., that we do not see first hand. Heck, even the Whispering Wood we see second hand. There are lots of battles that happened, but only after the fact are they determined to be of consequence.

For instance, the Whispering Wood is no longer of consequence, except in Jaime's mind. Jaime was captured, but in the long run, it was a blip in Lannister confidence.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/4/2019 at 10:29 PM, Wolfbynature said:

Therefore I assume for future battles that the side with the better "trick" will win and the the outcome will not so much depend on the numbers and the sheer military force. 

I agree, and it makes for a better story too. For example, I think it's clear Euron will sack a well defended Oldtown with sorcery trick, and Mace will lose to Aegon despite his larger host due to some brilliant tactical maneuver that exploits his incompetence. 

Edited by Br16

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2 hours ago, Br16 said:

I agree, and it makes for a better story too. For example, I think it's clear Euron will sack a well defended Oldtown with sorcery trick, and Mace will lose to Aegon despite his larger host due to some brilliant tactical maneuver that exploits his incompetence. 

 

Yeah Eurons going to have his “Release the Kraken” moment.

I am expecting Aegon vs Mace to be an Agincourt. Iam sure it’s mentioned offhand that the GC has a unit of Longbows. If George wants the flower of chivalry to be slaughtered in the mud fields of the Stormland; kind of hard for that battle not to be referenced.

 

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