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Br16

How much money is needed to Social Climb in AWOIAF?

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I presume Westeros is similar to historical England where those who earned their wealth in trade would wish to save up/sell up and buy land to become Landed Gentry.

How big is the typical gentry Estate and how many silver moons/golden dragons would be needed to buy in? And how much annual generated rents are we looking at? 

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Since there don't seem to be a large ammount of snubbery from, essentially, "nobles of the sword" against "nobles of the robe" I would think that it actually isn't as common as one might think for wealthy merchants to successfully enter the nobility. If it had been, then we would surely hear of more families being descended from merchants.

Sure, there are apparently so that some nobles marry with merchants to get the money, but these socially mixed families don't seem to either last or the nobles quickly returns to marriages with other nobles once their urgent money issue is over.

Or at least that's my take on it but I can't claim to have studies this issue in detail.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/9/2019 at 9:03 PM, Lion of the West said:

Since there don't seem to be a large ammount of snubbery from, essentially, "nobles of the sword" against "nobles of the robe" I would think that it actually isn't as common as one might think for wealthy merchants to successfully enter the nobility. If it had been, then we would surely hear of more families being descended from merchants.

Sure, there are apparently so that some nobles marry with merchants to get the money, but these socially mixed families don't seem to either last or the nobles quickly returns to marriages with other nobles once their urgent money issue is over.

Or at least that's my take on it but I can't claim to have studies this issue in detail.

 

Good point, almost all the Westeros Houses are quite ancient, so perhaps social mobility is just wishful thinking. 

Edited by Br16

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6 hours ago, Br16 said:

Good point, almost all the Westeros Houses are quite ancient, so perhaps social mobility is just wishful thinking. 

I wouldn't go that far, but I would say that the Western Feudal "rise-and-fall" dynamic of nobles families seems to be replaced by great stability in Westeros. And with such stability perhaps the nobles just don't need the merchants' money like they did in our world?

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8 hours ago, Lion of the West said:

I wouldn't go that far, but I would say that the Western Feudal "rise-and-fall" dynamic of nobles families seems to be replaced by great stability in Westeros. And with such stability perhaps the nobles just don't need the merchants' money like they did in our world?

Yeah, the defining feature of Westeros feudalism is that it's unusually static. Perhaps a lot of the minor minor knightly houses are their version of our historical landed gentry. Maybe a merchant made it, got training/armor for his sons and bought some land from someone sworn to someone, and we'll never hear about it. 

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No amount of money is safe. Rich merchants can have their goods and families seized, gold confiscated and lives ruined by the landed rulers. 

If you are rich, you are still a renter.

The best you could hope for in ASOIAF and England is to marry your way into a poorer but still noble family so your heirs would be landed and have your wealth.

Money does not bring security in Medieval times. If anything it made you a bigger target. It’s quite precarious.

 

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On 6 July 2019 at 9:19 AM, Br16 said:

I presume Westeros is similar to historical England where those who earned their wealth in trade would wish to save up/sell up and buy land to become Landed Gentry.

How big is the typical gentry Estate and how many silver moons/golden dragons would be needed to buy in? And how much annual generated rents are we looking at? 

My guess would be 5,000 or so dragons, to buy a decent-sized estate.  The Westerlings and Arryns of Gulltown married trade.  I should think huge clans like the Tyrell's and Lannisters would have cousins involved in trade and professions.

Edited by SeanF

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On 7/6/2019 at 1:19 AM, Br16 said:

I presume Westeros is similar to historical England where those who earned their wealth in trade would wish to save up/sell up and buy land to become Landed Gentry.

How big is the typical gentry Estate and how many silver moons/golden dragons would be needed to buy in? And how much annual generated rents are we looking at? 

Buying land doesn't make you a lord.  Westeros is definetly using a hierarchal land structure, I doubt you're even able to buy land.  That doesn't mean you can't bribe another lord to make you a minor lord, but its probably going to be frowned upon, and that person's liege lord could simply cancel it as happened to Janos Slynt.   The best path to lordships are through the military, like Petyr's father.

All lordships descend from the king ultimately, and he can remove any lordships he pleases at any given time.  Doing so might cause a war of course, so its probably relatively rare.  Historically even attainted families would often get their lands back after a generation or two, because the nobility didn't like the precedent it set to lose their titles, and would often petition and influence the king to restore ancient family lands.

Marrying into lordly families happens though, and its done for status and alliance.  The local lord will protect his merchant cousins, and in exchange the mercants will support the lord financially.

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On 7/11/2019 at 4:19 AM, Br16 said:

Good point, almost all the Westeros Houses are quite ancient, so perhaps social mobility is just wishful thinking. 

I think a lot of the westeros great houses make up a lot of nonsense about their heritage.  Westeros history is implied to be unreliable by several people in the story.  

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19 hours ago, argonak said:

Buying land doesn't make you a lord.  Westeros is definetly using a hierarchal land structure, I doubt you're even able to buy land.  That doesn't mean you can't bribe another lord to make you a minor lord, but its probably going to be frowned upon, and that person's liege lord could simply cancel it as happened to Janos Slynt.   The best path to lordships are through the military, like Petyr's father.

All lordships descend from the king ultimately, and he can remove any lordships he pleases at any given time.  Doing so might cause a war of course, so its probably relatively rare.  Historically even attainted families would often get their lands back after a generation or two, because the nobility didn't like the precedent it set to lose their titles, and would often petition and influence the king to restore ancient family lands.

Marrying into lordly families happens though, and its done for status and alliance.  The local lord will protect his merchant cousins, and in exchange the mercants will support the lord financially.

It won't make you a lord, but it will propel you into the ranks of the gentry.  Your sons can then be chosen as squires, and win knighthoods, your daughters can marry into knightly and lordly families who need cash.

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