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Rose of Red Lake

The rebuilders: Who has the best post-war plans?

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GRRM complains that the "good guys in fantasy never seem to have any post-war ruling plans." (x)

It's true. Many speculative fiction authors obsess over war and conquests. I think GRRM is more interested in rebuilding than war. So instead of generalized "ruling arcs," we should pay more attention to the characters who are quite good at post-war rebuilding. I'm going to list all the characters I can think of that deal with this. Then I'll speculate about who is likely to survive to the end based on who I think is more dedicated to the task.

  • Tyrion: knows it's important to rebuild King's Landing, after accepting responsibility for destroying parts of it for the defense of the city, and constantly worries about the cost of rebuilding it
  • Jon: wants to grow food using glass gardens, wants to restore Winterfell, attempts to secure loans for the Watch, allows of resettling on the Gift, also works on restoring the Castles using the FF to help
  • Stannis: wants to restore the garrisons/castles on the Wall and re-settle the gift, reassures Jon that Winterfell can be restored
  • Dany: doesn't want war with Yunkai (wants to focus on/rebuild Meereen instead), wants to grow olive trees to use as a cash crop, attempts to use former masters as laborers to grow beans, institutes a "blood tax," institutes a tax from people who sell themselves back into slavery, attempts to deal with people's problems after the sack, hopes that Xaro could restore trade to the city (has to use marriage to do it instead).
  • Sansa: creates a lighthearted event for people in the Vale to focus their energies on, designs a kingsguard competition, "rebuilds" a model Winterfell in snow (foreshadowing)
  • Randyll: puts idle soldiers to work, rebuilding Maidenpool and restoring order
  • Tywin: wants to restore Harrenhal (a rumor I believe?), restored order to the Westerlands after his father chaotically ruled
  • Kevan: wants to restore Darry
  • Mace Tyrell: wants to rebuild the Tower of the Hand
  • Bran: I can't think of much? maybe Bran the Builder is just a short-cut sign that he will be cut from a similar cloth. It would be cool if he restored the Broken Tower, which has been rebuilt so many times the maesters can't even count indicating the Starks' familiarity with this
  • Maegor: rebuilds after his destruction of the Sept by creating a Dragonpit using prison labor
  • Jaehaerys: rebuilds parts of Westeros after Maegor's mess

Second point. The characters who really sink their teeth into rebuilding efforts and don't squander it by marching off to war again, will have a better chance of being portrayed as the good guys. So my idea is that we can see who is more on the hero side of the spectrum using this metric. Most definitely the people who cause towns to be destroyed and then abandon them are not heroic. But the people who stick it out, take responsibility, and rebuild--are better. Places that are never rebuilt and just sit in ruin are a symbol of decay and death. The biggest of all would be Valyria (duh). Spicetown and Tumbleton were permanently destroyed because of Targaryen wars. Harrenhal is a known ruin. Cities along the Royne are also permanently destroyed by Valyrian conquests. Vaes Tolorro and all the other ruined cities in the Dothraki Sea are because of Dothraki warring. 

On the whole, I think Tyrion and Jon seem to be the most useful and serious about rebuilding. There is a considerable amount of text devoted to Jon rebuilding the castles. Tyrion also rebuilds, while people in the streets heap scorn on him which echoes Brynden Rivers. In ADWD, Dany appears the most serious of all about rebuilding but then quickly switches into war mode again. I dont see how she will back into the builder mindset. Her ideas for rebuilding Westeros are non-existent and she actually has better ideas for Meereen, but I think she's abandoning it all at some point in Winds. This is a grave error and marks her as sliding further and further away from hero territory based on this metric. As for Bran, I'm having trouble finding direct clues to his rebuilding Westeros. I suppose this is just because he's so young and his story is moving uh...really slowly. I think Randyll's redeeming quality of rebuilding Maidenpool is challenging for anyone who wants him dead because no one else is stepping up. I enjoy Sansa's efforts because she focuses on fun and entertainment. I appreciate this point because it's an important and overlooked part of rebuilding a society, and since GRRM is in the entertainment industry himself, I think he favors her efforts. 

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Tyrion is an alcoholic with a lot of issues.  He will not be able to hold it together to oversee a long project unless he can find somebody who can give his life stability.  And that person is not Jon Snow.  Jon Snow was leading a small group of people at the Wall and he failed miserably at that task.  Jon is a nice guy and by all accounts a good friend to Samwell.  However, his best place in that world is with the Free Folk.  A rebuilding project takes time.  The leaders involved must be able to stay the course and put the best interest of the people ahead of the Starks.  Jon cannot be trusted to do that.  He has proven the opposite during his tenure as the lord commander.

Stannis is too abrasive.  He will alienate the people with the skills to rebuild or rather build a large project.  And good god, why put Sansa on this list?  This is not the right place for Sansa.  Bran is the researcher.  He is not the project leader. 

Mace is alright.  He proved his ability to stay the course at Storm's End and stayed loyal to King Aerys.  Same for Randyll Tarly.  Randyll will do well even if he is not the charismatic and inspiring leader that would be ideal to keep everyone motivated.  

We don't know enough about Maegor.  Building was not the main concern during his reign.  Putting down the trouble makers was his life's mission and that he accomplished.  He gave the Faith such a beat down that they never could recover from.  I like that.  But his skills at leading and overseeing a project is unknown.

The leaders who will be great at this are: Tywin Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Jaeherys, and believe it or not, Walder Frey.  

  1. Tywin Lannister.  There is really no need to discuss because he has the experience.
  2. Daenerys Targaryen.  She is quickly gaining very valuable skills in Meereen.  The problem in Slaver's Bay is the fault of the slavers who want to continue the slave trade.  Things will have gone smoothly if they had agreed to stop slaving.
  3. Walder Frey.  The man is proven in business and leadership.  He brought his family out of the debacle created by his own father into one of the richest families in Westeros.  
  4. Jaeherys

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Tywin Lannister.

Tywin brought the Westerlands prestige and power after undoing his father’s weakness. He quickly made sure he was secure in his position as Lord Paramount and had authority over his vassals. Note how in all regions there are overmighty or ambitious bannermen (Hightowers, Boltons, Yronwoods), except in the Westerlands. Also, Tywins’s entire tenure as Joffrey’s Hand was spent building alliances for the future, and finishing the war quickly. The only thing I think he could have done better was giving relief to the smallfolk, especially in the Riverlands.

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What a cool insight to heroism and practical.  I think you have to take the candidates according to the sum of their work.  At the top of the topic my thoughts went immediately to Tyrion and Jon.  Then Tywin.  Though I think Tywin could have made a ferocious king and there is much to praise for his sheer will to set things in order, but that order often requires a great deal of destruction.  Remember the Riverlands?  Castamere, maybe?  Genocide and huge destruction are no problem for him.  True Maegor built much but another sore loser who was good with utter devastation.  He attempted to kill his own family off to set things in his order.  But Maegor is on the list and if you are looking for decent builders I will add Jahaerys and Allysanne.  Jahaerys built the Kings Road, connecting all Westeros to its neighbors.  Allysanne built a castle and added to the land belonging to the Nights Watch.  

I think the Dothraki should get special mention for their Gods Garden which is built with the religious idols of all the places they conquer.  That's actually a pretty cool concept.   

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4 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

What a cool insight to heroism and practical.  I think you have to take the candidates according to the sum of their work.  At the top of the topic my thoughts went immediately to Tyrion and Jon.  Then Tywin.  Though I think Tywin could have made a ferocious king and there is much to praise for his sheer will to set things in order, but that order often requires a great deal of destruction.  Remember the Riverlands?  Castamere, maybe?  Genocide and huge destruction are no problem for him.  True Maegor built much but another sore loser who was good with utter devastation.  He attempted to kill his own family off to set things in his order.  But Maegor is on the list and if you are looking for decent builders I will add Jahaerys and Allysanne.  Jahaerys built the Kings Road, connecting all Westeros to its neighbors.  Allysanne built a castle and added to the land belonging to the Nights Watch.  

I think the Dothraki should get special mention for their Gods Garden which is built with the religious idols of all the places they conquer.  That's actually a pretty cool concept.   

Yeah, it's interesting to compare characters based on the same standard. Based on his work Tywin seems to be both the best and worst at what he does. And true, Maegor didn't really rebuild he just...built new shit for things he wanted. 

I think the Dothraki taking gods/idols from the places the conquered is in contrast to real-life Cyrus the Great, who conquered but made efforts to restore stolen artifacts and idols to their original cultures. I am not sure sure they are known for re-buildling--maybe more like appropriating? I do like how they have limits though, and won't go into walled cities or cross continents. 

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9 hours ago, James West said:

Tyrion is an alcoholic with a lot of issues.  He will not be able to hold it together to oversee a long project unless he can find somebody who can give his life stability.  And that person is not Jon Snow.  Jon Snow was leading a small group of people at the Wall and he failed miserably at that task.  Jon is a nice guy and by all accounts a good friend to Samwell.  However, his best place in that world is with the Free Folk.  A rebuilding project takes time.  The leaders involved must be able to stay the course and put the best interest of the people ahead of the Starks.  Jon cannot be trusted to do that.  He has proven the opposite during his tenure as the lord commander.

I would say the same for Dany. I doubt both of them will return to their rebuilding work after acting all aggro. Sure these people probably deserve it, but still. Beware the jocks. If they spend all of this aggressive energy on war they're not really focusing on rebuilding are they? Dany and Jon both, had a chance to do that.

Tyrion's alcoholism getting in the way of his potential for rebuilding - now that would be interesting and very...realistic?

 

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Bran cares about the smallfolk, and his minor lords, and he plans to repay the kindness given to him when there's Starks in Winterfell again. And he'll probably be part of the rebuilding of his home, since we're told how well he knows Winterfell.

When they woke the next morning, the fire had gone out and the Liddle was gone, but he'd left a sausage for them, and a dozen oatcakes folded up neatly in a green and white cloth. Some of the cakes had pinenuts baked in them and some had blackberries. Bran ate one of each, and still did not know which sort he liked the best. One day there would be Starks in Winterfell again, he told himself, and then he'd send for the Liddles and pay them back a hundredfold for every nut and berry.
-Bran II, ASOS

The rooftops of Winterfell were Bran's second home. His mother often said that Bran could climb before he could walk. Bran could not remember when he first learned to walk, but he could not remember when he started to climb either, so he supposed it must be true.
To a boy, Winterfell was a grey stone labyrinth of walls and towers and courtyards and tunnels spreading out in all directions. In the older parts of the castle, the halls slanted up and down so that you couldn't even be sure what floor you were on. The place had grown over the centuries like some monstrous stone tree, Maester Luwin told him once, and its branches were gnarled and thick and twisted, its roots sunk deep into the earth.
When he got out from under it and scrambled up near the sky, Bran could see all of Winterfell in a glance. He liked the way it looked, spread out beneath him, only birds wheeling over his head while all the life of the castle went on below. Bran could perch for hours among the shapeless, rain-worn gargoyles that brooded over the First Keep, watching it all: the men drilling with wood and steel in the yard, the cooks tending their vegetables in the glass garden, restless dogs running back and forth in the kennels, the silence of the godswood, the girls gossiping beside the washing well. It made him feel like he was lord of the castle, in a way even Robb would never know.

-Bran II, AGOT

He could see the comet hanging above the Guards Hall and the Bell Tower, and farther back the First Keep, squat and round, its gargoyles black shapes against the bruised purple dusk. Once Bran had known every stone of those buildings, inside and out; he had climbed them all, scampering up walls as easily as other boys ran down stairs. Their rooftops had been his secret places, and the crows atop the broken tower his special friends.  -Bran I, ACOK

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I would put together a team.  One person will not have the necessary knowledge to rebuild a city.  Let us say after all the battles are done.  So this will be my chosen team.

  1. Architects - Marwyn, Samwell, and Tyrion.
  2. Project Leader - Daenerys
  3. Security - Barristan
  4. Administrative Secretary - Missandei
  5. Accountant - Petyr Baelish (I do not blame this guy for the economy of Westeros.  He did not do that.  Robert and Arryn are the ones who ruined the economy)

 

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22 minutes ago, James Fenimore Cooper XXII said:

I would put together a team.  One person will not have the necessary knowledge to rebuild a city.  Let us say after all the battles are done.  So this will be my chosen team.

  1. Architects - Marwyn, Samwell, and Tyrion.
  2. Project Leader - Daenerys
  3. Security - Barristan
  4. Administrative Secretary - Missandei
  5. Accountant - Petyr Baelish (I do not blame this guy for the economy of Westeros.  He did not do that.  Robert and Arryn are the ones who ruined the economy)

 

You know that expanded my reading experience a little bit.  Maybe we do have a team rather than 1 or 2 saviors to choose from.   Excellent.  

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