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I’ve read multiple opinions on Robb’s strategy in Twotfk, and I’ve heard several takes on when and how he went wrong. My personal opinion is that Robb was doing well, and in a good position overall, all the way up to his broken wedding pact with House Frey and his execution of Rickard Karstark. I forget which came first but they were both abysmal mistakes.  A broken oath to a key and already unreliable vassal is a major fuck-up indeed. Beheading one of your principal bannermen and leader of a strong contingent of your army, also a major fuck-up. Perhaps the worse mistake of all though was wasting that much time in the Riverlands to begin with; they say that Roose Bolton originally left the North in service to Robb with no ulterior motives until these events took place, but I believe Roose already had that seed of betrayal planted when Robb, having taken his mother’s advice, went to liberate the Riverlands instead of liberating his liege lord and father, Eddard Stark, who was imprisoned at King’s Landing. Should Robb have marched his army straight towards King’s Landing, taking on Tywin along the way? Tywin has already divided his army at this point, taking 20,000 to Harrenhal. Rob at near that number when he crossed through the neck, maybe more? 18,500 perhaps or more with Manderly men. Bypass The Twins and I like those odds. I do if I’m Roose Bolton anyways. An evenly-matched, pitched battle with the surest chance at reaching King’s Landing before anything happens to Ned. And fuck being King in the North too, he’d still have an open door with a Baratheon alliance once he got that far South if he gets his priorities straight. Freeing Eddard Stark should have been the number one priority here, not aiding House Tully. Their situation was more or less stagnant anyways, they could hold out in siege long enough for whatever Robb’s situation turned out to be. Defeating Tywin and sieging Kings Landing would have sped things up with the Baratheons and one of them would have aided him at this point, had he still just been Robb Stark and not king. Whether or not Robb has the numbers to lay a siege after a major battle with Tywin, or if he even wins that battle...who knows. But I think he might’ve had a shot to save his father and maybe kept Roose on his side if he went through with this strategy. 

Edited by Ser Dips A lot
Wrong Karstark

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Robb cannot totally ignore his Tully roots. Or the fact that his mother was/is a Tully and he himself has a minor claim to Riverrun means that he had to do something to brake the siege of RR.

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30 minutes ago, Loose Bolt said:

Robb cannot totally ignore his Tully roots. Or the fact that his mother was/is a Tully and he himself has a minor claim to Riverrun means that he had to do something to brake the siege of RR.

And after this he needs for the Tullys to gather their strength, regardless of his next move.

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Robb strategy was the right one, he acomplished all his objectives.

Robb wanted a Lannister hostage to trade for his father, he wanted to protect the riverlands and free his family, and he wanted to blood the Lannisters. He was able to get all of this. He won his battle, he captured Jaime, he freed Edmure, he lift the siege of the Riverlords and he destroyed the Lannister army under Jaime, all this with minimal loses.

After riverrun everything changes for reasons beyond his control.

 Joffrey does what no one would do and kills Eddard. Stannis has no political timing and let Renly mess up the sucession. Even if Robb had made everything right after this he would lose.

Join Stannis? his cause is lost after blackwater.

Join Renly? he will delay his march and die like a dog before the first battle.

Independence? we saw how it went.

Marry the frey girl? they would still betray him as the Freys tell us, before even knowing about the vow break.

“Even if Riverrun marshals all its strength and the Young Wolf wins back from the west, how can we hope to match the numbers Lord Tywin can send against us? When he comes, he will come with far more power than he commanded on the Green Fork. Highgarden has joined itself to Joffrey’s cause, I remind you!”

Ser Harys Haigh, who was a Frey on his mother’s side, nodded vigorously. “If Lord Tywin could defeat a seasoned man like Stannis Baratheon, what chance will our boy king have against him?” He looked round to his brothers and cousins for support, and several of them muttered agreement.

“Stannis lost,” Ser Hosteen said bluntly. “Wishing it were otherwise will not make it so. King Robb must make his peace with the Lannisters. He must put off his crown and bend the knee, little as he may like it.”

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On 8/8/2019 at 8:17 AM, Arthur Peres said:

Robb strategy was the right one, he acomplished all his objectives.

Robb wanted a Lannister hostage to trade for his father, he wanted to protect the riverlands and free his family, and he wanted to blood the Lannisters. He was able to get all of this. He won his battle, he captured Jaime, he freed Edmure, he lift the siege of the Riverlords and he destroyed the Lannister army under Jaime, all this with minimal loses.

After riverrun everything changes for reasons beyond his control.

 Joffrey does what no one would do and kills Eddard. Stannis has no political timing and let Renly mess up the sucession. Even if Robb had made everything right after this he would lose.

Join Stannis? his cause is lost after blackwater.

Join Renly? he will delay his march and die like a dog before the first battle.

Independence? we saw how it went.

Marry the frey girl? they would still betray him as the Freys tell us, before even knowing about the vow break.

“Even if Riverrun marshals all its strength and the Young Wolf wins back from the west, how can we hope to match the numbers Lord Tywin can send against us? When he comes, he will come with far more power than he commanded on the Green Fork. Highgarden has joined itself to Joffrey’s cause, I remind you!”

Ser Harys Haigh, who was a Frey on his mother’s side, nodded vigorously. “If Lord Tywin could defeat a seasoned man like Stannis Baratheon, what chance will our boy king have against him?” He looked round to his brothers and cousins for support, and several of them muttered agreement.

“Stannis lost,” Ser Hosteen said bluntly. “Wishing it were otherwise will not make it so. King Robb must make his peace with the Lannisters. He must put off his crown and bend the knee, little as he may like it.”

If Robb and Stannis are allies, then Stannis does not need to sail his fleet directly into the Blackwater Bay, it changes the dynamics of the war entirely. 

Stannis and Robb likely gather their forces together and strike Kings landing from either the Riverlands or northern shore of the Crownlands. 

 

There is also the idea of simply  ruling as King and not advancing.  He could have fortified the Riverlands against incursions and simply kept a standing army in the South, and gone back home while negotiating for Sansa and Arya.  

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18 hours ago, dsjj251 said:

If Robb and Stannis are allies, then Stannis does not need to sail his fleet directly into the Blackwater Bay, it changes the dynamics of the war entirely. 

Stannis and Robb likely gather their forces together and strike Kings landing from either the Riverlands or northern shore of the Crownlands. 

  

There is also the idea of simply  ruling as King and not advancing.  He could have fortified the Riverlands against incursions and simply kept a standing army in the South, and gone back home while negotiating for Sansa and Arya.  

Not really.

Robb sidding with Stannis does not change anything. Robb already made everything that he could to help Stannis when he lured Tywin West, and let Stannis free to attack KL... and he still failed.

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On 8/23/2019 at 6:42 PM, Arthur Peres said:

Not really.

Robb sidding with Stannis does not change anything. Robb already made everything that he could to help Stannis when he lured Tywin West, and let Stannis free to attack KL... and he still failed.

They werent strategizing together though.  We have no idea what would have happened if they were actually working together and instead of attacking King's Landing, they had joined together and destroyed Tywin. 

 

Lets be clear, holding King's Landing doesnt actually mean anything if Tywin Lannister is still alive and well to oppose you.  It makes more sense to go after Tywin than to take kings landing. 

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5 hours ago, dsjj251 said:

Lets be clear, holding King's Landing doesnt actually mean anything if Tywin Lannister is still alive and well to oppose you.  It makes more sense to go after Tywin than to take kings landing. 

Actually holding King's Landing could be enough to win them the war as then Robb gets back Sansa. Tyrion, Cersei, Lancel and Joffrey maybe even Tommen would all fall into enemy hands. In this case all the sons of Kevan and all of Tywin's children and King himself would be caputred or killed.  

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12 hours ago, EccentricHorse11 said:

Actually holding King's Landing could be enough to win them the war as then Robb gets back Sansa. Tyrion, Cersei, Lancel and Joffrey maybe even Tommen would all fall into enemy hands. In this case all the sons of Kevan and all of Tywin's children and King himself would be caputred or killed.  

Tywin didnt sue for peace when Jamie or Tyrion were captured, He set the Riverlands on fire.  He would do no different for Cersei or Joffrey or Tommen. 

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On 8/25/2019 at 1:00 AM, dsjj251 said:

Lets be clear, holding King's Landing doesnt actually mean anything if Tywin Lannister is still alive and well to oppose you.  It makes more sense to go after Tywin than to take kings landing. 

Actually, it's exactly the opposite.  Once you take Kings Landing, Tywin is irrelevant.  He no longer has anything to fight for, if you take Kings Landing.  Cersei and her kids are dead, with Myrcella in Dorne and effectively an unusable political chip.  At this point, Tywin is facing Stannis on the Iron Throne, with whatever support he can drum up, and Robb not only on the loose but within the Westerlands themselves.  What does he have to fight for?  He might make a bid for an independent Lannister Kingdom, but he would stand little chance against Westeros, if it ever congealed again, or even just southern Westeros.

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On 8/7/2019 at 12:27 AM, Ser Dips A lot said:

 But I think he might’ve had a shot to save his father and maybe kept Roose on his side if he went through with this strategy. 

Roose is cutting bait no matter what.  He betrays Robb at the Green Fork, which is long before Eddard is dead or anything bad has happened to Robb's coalition, meaning he's looking to at the very least increase his power relative to the other Northern Houses, not fighting for Robb in good faith.

Also, if Joffrey is going to execute Ned at any point, then there is no time at which Robb could have saved him, because Joffrey will kill Ned regardless at the first sign that the war is going badly... you know, just as he does IOTL.

Honestly, Robb's strategy is about as flawless as it can be.  Edmure ruins his plans against Tywin with his gloryhounding, and the Freys and Boltons jump ship as a result of Stannis' defeat and the solidification of the Lannister political situation.  That is pretty much it.  His marriage to Jeyne doesn't help anything, but is completely tangential to the way the war plays out.  I guess trusting Roose Bolton in the first place to command anything is a mistake, but it's worth remembering that Roose has been nothing but a model bannerman til this point, if a creepy one.

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2 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

Honestly, Robb's strategy is about as flawless as it can be.  Edmure ruins his plans against Tywin with his gloryhounding, and the Freys and Boltons jump ship as a result of Stannis' defeat and the solidification of the Lannister political situation.  That is pretty much it.  His marriage to Jeyne doesn't help anything, but is completely tangential to the way the war plays out.  I guess trusting Roose Bolton in the first place to command anything is a mistake, but it's worth remembering that Roose has been nothing but a model bannerman til this point, if a creepy one.

I agree with this 100%. Robb is the golden child who near flawlessly out maneuvers all seasoned commanders in front of him all through out tWotFK. His only major misstep is breaking his vow to Walder Frey, which is a big one, but everything else is completely out of his hands as cpg2016 mentioned. A quick aside-I personally think his execution of Karstark was justified to show that the KitN's word and orders command the respect that it should. It's tragic, but that's kind of the point George was wanting to make: Not everything can go according to plan, especially in Westeros. Robb had no idea that Roose and Walder were going to betray him to better their houses standings as the tides of war shifted with Renly's death. Perhaps, that goes to show Robb's main flaw was naivety, not necessarily inexperience. 

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3 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

Actually, it's exactly the opposite.  Once you take Kings Landing, Tywin is irrelevant.  He no longer has anything to fight for, if you take Kings Landing.  Cersei and her kids are dead, with Myrcella in Dorne and effectively an unusable political chip.  At this point, Tywin is facing Stannis on the Iron Throne, with whatever support he can drum up, and Robb not only on the loose but within the Westerlands themselves.  What does he have to fight for?  He might make a bid for an independent Lannister Kingdom, but he would stand little chance against Westeros, if it ever congealed again, or even just southern Westeros.

I disagree. At one point in our series, Tywin was opposite a united North, Riverlands, Reach and Stormlands. So i really doubt the death of Cersei and her children would matter as to him continuing to fight. 

If numbers mattered.... Tywin would have bent the knee to Renly early on or Stannis in this scenario , to save the life of his Daughter and grand children. 

So short, beating Tywin matters more than taking King's landing.  

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33 minutes ago, dsjj251 said:

I disagree. At one point in our series, Tywin was opposite a united North, Riverlands, Reach and Stormlands. So i really doubt the death of Cersei and her children would matter as to him continuing to fight. 

If numbers mattered.... Tywin would have bent the knee to Renly early on or Stannis in this scenario , to save the life of his Daughter and grand children. 

So short, beating Tywin matters more than taking King's landing.  

Yes, but think for once.  What was he fighting for?  At first, he's fighting to avenge the insult done by abducting Tyrion (and breaking the King's Peace in the process).  His whole strategy, at first, relies on Eddard leading whatever forces he brings in person, and capturing him, and trading him fro Tyrion, and relying on Robert's essential apathy towards passing judgement in order to get away with it.

After Joffrey ascends the Throne, he's fighting to keep his grandson as king.  Once Cersei and her kids die, he has nothing left to fight for.  It's not a question of "can he win against overwhelming odds" but, for what is he fighting for in the first place.  Tywin doesn't want Stannis or Renly as king, and neither of them want him.  Stannis is campaigning specifically on the premise of murdering Tywin's grandkids and daughter, which Tywin is unwilling to accept.  Renly doesn't need or want Tywin in his camp, and anyway is also likely to be disinheriting all Lannisters in the capital (if not killing them too), and again, Tywin, whose goal is to have a Lannister on the Throne, isn't going to throw his support behind them either.  As long as Joffrey sits the Iron Throne, he, and therefore Tywin, has legitimacy and protection.  That is what Tywin fights for.  Once all that goes boom! if/when Stannis wins at the Blackwater, his bannermen will begin to make their own peace if Tywin doesn't.  Just like all of Stannis' supporters do, despite Stannis being alive and still fighting.

Long story short, beating Tywin means taking Kings Landing.  After that, the war is over.  Tywin may be alive and in charge of some number of men (as he is in the story), but without a meaningful enough army, or any kind of political support, his cause is done.

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1 hour ago, Lord Daedrunk said:

I agree with this 100%. Robb is the golden child who near flawlessly out maneuvers all seasoned commanders in front of him all through out tWotFK. His only major misstep is breaking his vow to Walder Frey, which is a big one,

To be fair, this has no actual impact on Robb's fortunes.  Robb loses the war when Tywin wins at the Blackwater.  Once Tywin has the Iron Throne firmly in hand, and the political support to make it stick, it's inevitable that the Freys and Boltons jump ship.  Which we know, because that's exactly what happens.  The Freys are abandoning Robb before they hear about Jeyne, and Roose is maneuvering to weaken Robb and his Northern rivals as early as the Battle of the Green Fork.

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26 minutes ago, cpg2016 said:

To be fair, this has no actual impact on Robb's fortunes.  Robb loses the war when Tywin wins at the Blackwater.  Once Tywin has the Iron Throne firmly in hand, and the political support to make it stick, it's inevitable that the Freys and Boltons jump ship.  Which we know, because that's exactly what happens.  The Freys are abandoning Robb before they hear about Jeyne, and Roose is maneuvering to weaken Robb and his Northern rivals as early as the Battle of the Green Fork.

Are we to believe that Walder would have done the same thing if Robb kept his word to marry a Frey? Was his betrayal all based on the Battle of the Blackwater? I honestly don't recall if the text goes into much detail on Walder's reasoning aside from what the reader already knows, which is that Robb broke his vow to one of his biggest allies. Please let me know if I am misremembering. Seems like having a Frey as QitN would be better than just a liege lord of the King/Lannister's, but there is something to say about always making sure your house is on the winning side. I feel to say that breaking his vow and marrying Jeyne has no impact may be inaccurate, and to say that them jumping ship was inevitable after what happened on the Blackwater is assuming with the benefit of hindsight. Unless of course you can find some text supporting that thus showing me the error of my ways. 

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28 minutes ago, Lord Daedrunk said:

Are we to believe that Walder would have done the same thing if Robb kept his word to marry a Frey? Was his betrayal all based on the Battle of the Blackwater? I honestly don't recall if the text goes into much detail on Walder's reasoning aside from what the reader already knows, which is that Robb broke his vow to one of his biggest allies. 

https://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/1116

GRRM has confirmed that post-Blackwater, Walder Frey was going to betray Robb in some way, because he wanted to be on the winning side.  The whole Jeyne Westerling issue is just a convenient excuse, not a motivating cause.  It should also be pointed out that the timing means that this has to be the case as well; to start that kind of dialogue and hammer out terms with Tywin means that a line of communication must have been open prior to hearing about Robb's wedding.

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12 minutes ago, cpg2016 said:

https://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/1116

GRRM has confirmed that post-Blackwater, Walder Frey was going to betray Robb in some way, because he wanted to be on the winning side.  The whole Jeyne Westerling issue is just a convenient excuse, not a motivating cause.  It should also be pointed out that the timing means that this has to be the case as well; to start that kind of dialogue and hammer out terms with Tywin means that a line of communication must have been open prior to hearing about Robb's wedding.

Thanks for the link. I rarely read or listen to any Q&As with GRRM, but perhaps I should for these little nuggets of information. 

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13 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

Yes, but think for once.  What was he fighting for?  At first, he's fighting to avenge the insult done by abducting Tyrion (and breaking the King's Peace in the process).  His whole strategy, at first, relies on Eddard leading whatever forces he brings in person, and capturing him, and trading him fro Tyrion, and relying on Robert's essential apathy towards passing judgement in order to get away with it.

After Joffrey ascends the Throne, he's fighting to keep his grandson as king.  Once Cersei and her kids die, he has nothing left to fight for.  It's not a question of "can he win against overwhelming odds" but, for what is he fighting for in the first place.  Tywin doesn't want Stannis or Renly as king, and neither of them want him.  Stannis is campaigning specifically on the premise of murdering Tywin's grandkids and daughter, which Tywin is unwilling to accept.  Renly doesn't need or want Tywin in his camp, and anyway is also likely to be disinheriting all Lannisters in the capital (if not killing them too), and again, Tywin, whose goal is to have a Lannister on the Throne, isn't going to throw his support behind them either.  As long as Joffrey sits the Iron Throne, he, and therefore Tywin, has legitimacy and protection.  That is what Tywin fights for.  Once all that goes boom! if/when Stannis wins at the Blackwater, his bannermen will begin to make their own peace if Tywin doesn't.  Just like all of Stannis' supporters do, despite Stannis being alive and still fighting.

Long story short, beating Tywin means taking Kings Landing.  After that, the war is over.  Tywin may be alive and in charge of some number of men (as he is in the story), but without a meaningful enough army, or any kind of political support, his cause is done.

Im not saying I dont understand your logic, im saying in the context of the story and character that is Tywin Lannister, the deaths of Cersei, Joffery, and Tommen wouldnt have stopped his warring. He would have wanted to avenge their deaths and would have never accepted Renly or Stannis as his king.

In that scenario, Myrcella is the rightful Queen and safe in Dorne.  You dont think Tywin(and Doran/Dorne) arent going to fight to seat her on that thrown ?

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11 hours ago, dsjj251 said:

In that scenario, Myrcella is the rightful Queen and safe in Dorne.  You dont think Tywin(and Doran/Dorne) arent going to fight to seat her on that thrown ?

I don't think this is true, at all.

First off, it's debatable in the extreme whether Tywin would consider Myrcella to be a legitimate contender for the throne.  His extreme misogyny, coupled with several generations of precedent which dictate that women shouldn't inherit the IT, might work against him.

Second, it's not clear that Doran would accept this. As he makes clear, he has two goals; to avenge Elia and her kids, and to regain the power he sort of held when he was the father in law to the Crown Prince.  With Myrcella, those are mutually incompatible - to put his son on the Throne means rewarding the man he knows killed Elia.  

Quote

He would have wanted to avenge their deaths and would have never accepted Renly or Stannis as his king.

The thing is, under these circumstances, he can't get revenge.  Lets assume that Edmure doesn't stop Tywin at the Fords, Stannis takes Kings Landing, and Cersei, Joffrey, and Tommen die.  Where does Tywin stand?  Jaime is still in captivity, technically.  I can't quite recall if Cat knows about the results of Blackwater when she frees Jaime, but it stands to reason she does, or else she wouldn't think the Lannisters were in a position to return Sansa and "Arya".  Tyrion, for all that he's hated, is dead.  Robb is burning and pillaging at will in the West.  What exactly is Tywin going to do?  Most of his vassals aren't going to fight on; they're going to sue for peace or go home to protect their lands.  Tywin no longer has any chips.  He is massively outnumbered, he's got nothing left to fight for and no allies left to call in, massively outnumbered, having hemorrhaged men throughout the WOT5K, he's got a losing hand and no one he can bluff.  What he'll do is try and parlay what little influence he has left, from his money and his army, into securing Jaime's release.  Even if he wants to challenge for the throne for Myrcella, he won't have the Tyrells as allies, since they won't ally with the Dornish.... in other words, he's screwed.  

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