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Canon Claude

Could the North have pulled a Dornish War?

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In one of the other threads, someone pointed out the difference between Torrhen Stark kneeling to spare his people being slaughtered as opposed to the Dornish, who fought a war of attrition with the Targaryens for years until Aegon gave up and made peace with them as an independent nation. 

Would the North have been able to resist the Targaryens like the Dornish had done? 

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People have often compared the North to Russia, and we all know what happens when conquerors invade Russia throughout human history. Not even Genghis Khan or the Golden Horde could make the Russians completely submit. True, the Targaryens have dragons, but the Germans couldn't defeat Russia with their air support. The winter drove them back, as well as the resilience of the Russian people. The North has both those advantages working for them. Hell, Stannis Baratheon's forces are struggling in what the clanspeople call a mild winter, and you can just assume GRRM was inspired by a similar account when Russians reported that the winter which annihilated Napoleon to be average for them.

Personally, I think Torrhen's biggest mistake was leaving the North to invade the south. Why he did that is beyond me, because he would have benefited from letting the enemy come to him. Sure, the dragons would have easily destroyed Moat Cailin, but if the Northmen tried the Dornish strategy, there'd have been no loss of life at Moat Cailin anyway. The Northerners would have been hard pressed in mild/warm climate, but come the winter, then they'd hold all the advantages over any land army coming to them.

As for the dragons, we don't know resilient they are to the cold, but we can't imagine they'd have a good time of things since they're still reptiles. And they would have a lot of ground to cover. The North's population is widely scattered, too, so they'd be able to rally in several places where the dragons aren't. True, they rely on winter towns and castles to survive the winter, but I could see them adapting, adjusting to hide in the Winterfell crypts or some similar place where they're underground. The Neck would be a good place too, since it's too humid and wet for dragon-fire to burn it all down. 

If the North had stayed on their home turf, they would have worn down the Targaryens. They might be able to create devastation on those dragons, but no land army from the south would ever survive trying to occupy the North. It would have been too costly and too pointless from Aegon's perspective. Especially if Dorne was also resisting him at the same time. Maybe the North and the Dornish even form an alliance against the middle kingdoms?

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No, Aegon only needs to destroy the Northen castles and leave them to struggle with winter. The survivors would be less stubborn.

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13 minutes ago, frenin said:

No, Aegon only needs to destroy the Northen castles and leave them to struggle with winter. The survivors would be less stubborn.

Did we ever confirm what weirwood arrows do to dragons, though? Brandon Snow seemed very confident with his chances, and I don't know why he'd feel that way unless there was a really good reason. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

Did we ever confirm what weirwood arrows do to dragons, though? Brandon Snow seemed very confident with his chances, and I don't know why he'd feel that way unless there was a really good reason. 

I very much doubt that, it seems suicidal. I'm sure that the North can defeat almost any army in their own turf but they are simply fucked with dragons.

Edited by frenin

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1 hour ago, frenin said:

I very much doubt that, it seems suicidal. I'm sure that the North can defeat almost any army in their own turf but they are simply fucked with dragons.

I don’t think the dragons could deal with the winter, though. We don’t have a sure answer how well the dragons can survive in winter, and even they try destroying the North’s castles and food supplies, it’s not like they can just fly across the North in a single day. If it’s winter, they have to deal with snowstorms, freezing temperatures unlike anything south of the Neck, and the missiles of Northerners who are used to the elements. The dragons would be overwhelmed, and even if they weren’t, their riders would be. 

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Just now, James Steller said:

I don’t think the dragons could deal with the winter, though. We don’t have a sure answer how well the dragons can survive in winter, and even they try destroying the North’s castles and food supplies, it’s not like they can just fly across the North in a single day. If it’s winter, they have to deal with snowstorms, freezing temperatures unlike anything south of the Neck, and the missiles of Northerners who are used to the elements. The dragons would be overwhelmed, and even if they weren’t, their riders would be. 

Luckily for them, it was autumm during the Conquest and autumm would last for 3 long years. Ie, the northeners are fucked.

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Posted (edited)

Didn’t the world book state that Aegon had intended to keep marching south before he dealt with the North? If Torrhen had of stayed at Moat Caitlin, then by the time the Dornish war came to an end with Dorne retaining its independence, the Iron Throne would’ve been a spent force with only two dragons + The North would’ve been able to watch Dorne n learn from them + getting vast preparation time for the war.

 

**Just found the quote in the World Book:

 

Quote

“It was Aegons intent to continue his march south and force the submission of Oldtown, The Arbor and Dorne, but whilst at Highgarden a new challenge came to his ears. Torrhen Stark, King in the North, has crossed the neck and entered the Riverlands, leading an army of savage Northmen thirty thousand strong. Aegon at once started started North to meet him, racing ahead of his army on the wings of Balerion, the Black Dread.

 

Edited by Brandon Ice-Eyes V1

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Brandon Ice-Eyes V1 said:

Didn’t the world book state that Aegon had intended to keep marching south before he dealt with the North? If Torrhen had of stayed at Moat Caitlin, then by the time the Dornish war came to an end with Dorne retaining its independence, the Iron Throne would’ve been a spent force with only two dragons + The North would’ve been able to watch Dorne n learn from them + getting vast preparation time for the war.

Dornish weather is an absolute asset for the Dornish and while the northeners are used to Winter, they need the same stuff everyone do to survive. And there is no hole to survive in Winter. Even if Aegon didn't destroy the food, he would only need to target the castles and towns to doom the North. Come winter, the North would simply freeze to death. In fact seeing what Aegon pulled in Dorne, the North faced outright extinction, since Aegon was not shy when it came to genocide people to get his ends.

Edited by frenin

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4 hours ago, Brandon Ice-Eyes V1 said:

Didn’t the world book state that Aegon had intended to keep marching south before he dealt with the North? If Torrhen had of stayed at Moat Caitlin, then by the time the Dornish war came to an end with Dorne retaining its independence, the Iron Throne would’ve been a spent force with only two dragons + The North would’ve been able to watch Dorne n learn from them + getting vast preparation time for the war.

4 hours ago, frenin said:

Dornish weather is an absolute asset for the Dornish and while the northeners are used to Winter, they need the same stuff everyone do to survive. And there is no hole to survive in Winter. Even if Aegon didn't destroy the food, he would only need to target the castles and towns to doom the North. Come winter, the North would simply freeze to death. In fact seeing what Aegon pulled in Dorne, the North faced outright extinction, since Aegon was not shy when it came to genocide people to get his ends.

 

Come to think of it, the North could have had a golden opportunity to ally with Dorne against Aegon. Imagine if Aegon had to deal with raids from both the North and the Dornish. What was he going to do? Divide the frontier between himself and Visenya after Rhaenys died? A single dragon on either end of the kingdoms isn't going to win the war. If the North sent raids south from the Neck and used that as a cover, and if the Dornish continued to resist, they could have jointly sent messages claiming independence. I'd love to see how the history of Westeros changes with that kind of game-changer.

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It comes down to assassinating the dragons. If that worked, the North was invulnerable. But with three dragons Aegon could wreak devastation on Northern towns, villages and even crops in the field. Sure, over time the North might have brought down the dragons if a campaign stretched over years and the dragons had to rest on the ground each night. But even one winter with all crops destroyed could see the North lose a big chunk of its population.

Personally I believe the weirwood arrows are a real weapon against dragons, based on ancient First Man knowledge from when dragons still occurred naturally in Westeros 10,000 years ago. But to get close enough the assassin would have to get past all the guards and get not just one but all three dragons. And that was probably too risky.

But I fully expect Chekov’s weirwood arrow to be employed against a dragon during the course of the next two books.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, frenin said:

Dornish weather is an absolute asset for the Dornish and while the northeners are used to Winter, they need the same stuff everyone do to survive. And there is no hole to survive in Winter. Even if Aegon didn't destroy the food, he would only need to target the castles and towns to doom the North. Come winter, the North would simply freeze to death. In fact seeing what Aegon pulled in Dorne, the North faced outright extinction, since Aegon was not shy when it came to genocide people to get his ends.

The people can flee to hidden places though like the Dornish did. No food in winter also means no food for dragons to be able to fly around trying to find them. Dorne: "Round and round the dragons went, snapping at their tails for want of any other food, till they were tied in knots." Just make them waste their energy. And I agree with others that they cant handle the cold. When it rains in Meereen they hide in the pyramids. If they cant handle rain very well...hah

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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The North is a great deal more flammable than Dorne. It has vast forests, the timber is one of the region's more valuable resources, and in guerilla warfare the forests would be a source of shelter. Except dragons that can burn stone could easily ignite forest fires and ruin great areas of the region.

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Yes, certainly they could have pulled something like that. The North is vast, there are more places to hide, a clear strong leadership,  it has a proud local culture and are able to withstand suffering. Three dragons wouldn't have been enough to burn the North as thousands of napalm-loaded bombers weren't enough to burn Vietnam. Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters would have gotten stuck in a protracted war in an unknown territory with not enough support from the South.

If Torrhen Stark knew all of this why he went south to "fight" Aegon in the Riverlands? It doesn't make sense at least there are few other explanations

- Torrhen wanted to spare Winterfell of a Harrenhal-like destruction. Winterfell might be too important for a fight against the Others.

- Aegon also started his conquest for other reasons. He probably saw himself as TPTWP and with his sisters the Three Heads of the Dragon. There might be a supernatural reason why he wanted to conquest and unite Westeros before it was too late.

- Torrhen also went south for similar reasons. He wanted of course a show of strength but in the end knew that Winter was coming and these dragons might be of help 

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11 hours ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

Stannis Baratheon's forces are struggling in what the clanspeople call a mild winter, and you can just assume GRRM was inspired by a similar account when Russians reported that the winter which annihilated Napoleon to be average for them.

Yup its very clear that Stannis's forces are handling the march poorly while the Northmen are fine. I think, if GRRM had written an invasion they would match Dorne, since they are described as mirror regions to each other in the Worldbook. They are places where the people use the hazardous climate to their advantage. Neither places were conquered by dragonfire. Torhhen just didnt want his people to die in a guerilla war. 

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I don't think it could have for several reasons:

- Winterfell could be hold indefinitely by Aegon. It's one of the best castles in Westeros, and so once Aegon easily took it and garrisoned it he would have a permanent base to hold the North. So it's not like Dorne where the Targs couldn't hold on to anything and were limited to just obliterate Dorne via dragon.

- The White Harbour situation. White Harbour would be too big to evacuate and would be forced to bend the knee to Aegon. As such Aegon would get easy access to the North that doesn't require going through the perilous Neck, as well as a direct supply line to Winterfell via the White knife.

- The Boltons would not be retarded enough not to turn cloak at this. The Boltons faced better odds and turned against the Starks, this would be the perfect moment to ally with the Targs and become Lord Paramounts. We can see how to to these 3 particularities Aegon could deffo secure a big chunk of the North, basically everything west of Winterfell and south of the Dreadfort.

- Food and sea access. The North is often faced with starvation issues. The Targs would undoubtedly try and exploit this as they did with Dorne. Dorne only hanged on due to rampant smuggling from the Summer Isles and Free cities. The Norht couldn't do that. For one it would have to get food either through the extreme north of the shivering sea from places like Karhold of Skagos, which is so far away it's doubtful anything but Ibbenese would go there, or through the Sunset sea, which is clearly off the limits. This is compounded by several more things. 1 the North is poor it probably couldn't afford the exorbitant prices smugglers would charge, 2 it has a bigger population then Dorne, we know that Dorne is the least populated kingdom, 3 it is deeper so only the coast would not starve, and the winters there are so harsh that without places in which to properly store food and with the North being cut off, it would be a Great Leap forward style famine.

All in all the Stark would starve, would be unable to harm Aegon in any way as the Neck is easy to hold, or at least it's entrances are, combined with the North not having a fleet and the Targs easily taking a big foothold with the Dreadfort Winterfell White Harbour triangle, and the only thing a Dornish war style campaign would bring would be hundreds of thousands if not millions of dead, just delaying the inevitable.

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4 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

When it rains in Meereen they hide in the pyramids. If they cant handle rain very well...hah

They wouldn't need to. As long as the dragons secure White Harbour and Winterfell and scare off any trade the North would go broke and subsequently starve come Winter. The forests would be burned to crisp and so the North would have no income, no food no nothing. Aegon wouldn't have to do anything just sit and watch the North die of starvation.

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12 hours ago, Trigger Warning said:

Why are we assuming that they're attacking in the winter in a universe where summers and winters last years? 

Good question, is trying to cheat badly, there are three seasons in which Aegon can destroy the North, there is one he can't. It would be very dumb for him dying at Winter, especially since it was autumm when they encountered each other.

 

 

6 hours ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

Come to think of it, the North could have had a golden opportunity to ally with Dorne against Aegon. Imagine if Aegon had to deal with raids from both the North and the Dornish. What was he going to do? Divide the frontier between himself and Visenya after Rhaenys died? A single dragon on either end of the kingdoms isn't going to win the war. If the North sent raids south from the Neck and used that as a cover, and if the Dornish continued to resist, they could have jointly sent messages claiming independence. I'd love to see how the history of Westeros changes with that kind of game-changer

A single Dragon may not win the war in Dorne, but Balerion sure as hell is enough to destroy the North, and since it would take a lot of time, you can be very sure Aegon would be pissed off and his aim would be cripple the North. If the North fought in a guerrilla way, or they had multiples hot spots to survive winter and they dug and dug... Maybe,  they still lack of a deadly crippling sun and the rest of the attrezzo that made the Dornish a pain in the ass. The North is a huge wasteland, that only the northeners know, that isn't enough against dragons.

Again, come winter the Northeners are doomed.

 

5 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

The people can flee to hidden places though like the Dornish did

Such as?? The North doesn't have hidden places. 

5 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

No food in winter also means no food for dragons to be able to fly around trying to find them. Dorne:

They don't need to, only an idiot would stay there for Winter, destroy their castles and towns, if possible destroy their food. And leave them to face winter, if you haven't completely wipep them coming summer, the survivors are either easy pickings or eager to join you. If they are stupid enough to keep resisting, well, you can launch an invasion against a nearly wiped out country.

 

5 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Just make them waste their energy. And I agree with others that they cant handle the cold. When it rains in Meereen they hide in the pyramids. If they cant handle rain very well...hah

They don't need to, they don't need to attack in Winter, there are three seasons their hands are not tied.

 

1 hour ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

The Boltons would not be retarded enough not to turn cloak at this. The Boltons faced better odds and turned against the Starks, this would be the perfect moment to ally with the Targs and become Lord Paramounts. We can see how to to these 3 particularities Aegon could deffo secure a big chunk of the North, basically everything west of Winterfell and south of the Dreadfort.

Eeh who knows, The Yronwoods were saltier than the Boltons and they never betrayed the Martells when the dragons came. Had the Yronwoods sold them out, it was game over to Dorne.

You can't never tell when nationalism is at play and it's not only naked ambition.

 

4 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

The North is vast, there are more places to hide

No, there are more places to burn. Unless the North has big holes a la Dorne, anything else is simply tinder.

 

4 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

it has a proud local culture and are able to withstand suffering.

There is suffering and suffering, this kind of suffering only the Dornish were able to endure and it's not even if they can endure it. But they can't endure the winter and Starvation.

 

 

5 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Three dragons wouldn't have been enough to burn the North as thousands of napalm-loaded bombers weren't enough to burn Vietnam. Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters would have gotten stuck in a protracted war in an unknown territory with not enough support from the South.

It would've been more than enough, they don't need to burn the whole North, just key positions. And three dragons are more than enough to burn every settlement in the North. They don't need more than that.

 

 

 

 

 

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49 minutes ago, frenin said:

No, there are more places to burn. Unless the North has big holes a la Dorne, anything else is simply tinder.

Look at the map. Look at the mountains, at the vast forests, at the rivers, at the lakes. The area of the North is almost as large as the rest of Westeros and besides White Harbor there are not cities.

Thinking that three dragons alone would be able to burn the Wolfswood, the largest forest in Westeros, is laughable. Specially compared to real world examples as Vietnam. The USAF had thousands of dragons and they were unable to make the vietnamese to submit.

 

49 minutes ago, frenin said:

There is suffering and suffering, this kind of suffering only the Dornish were able to endure and it's not even if they can endure it. But they can't endure the winter and Starvation.

The North is actually accustomed to this kind of suffering. They had thousands of years withstanding harsh winters, so much that when winters arrive the old know they have to go in "suicide mode" if they can give their families any hope to survive winter.

 

49 minutes ago, frenin said:

It would've been more than enough, they don't need to burn the whole North, just key positions. And three dragons are more than enough to burn every settlement in the North. They don't need more than that.

Do you know how many settlement are in the North. Besides White Harbor, Barrowtown and few others, everything looks pretty rural to me, with lots of villages, making harder to annihilate.

Of course, there is a weak spot: Winterfell. Too important to let it burn.

 

 

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