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Alyn Oakenfist

Is Stannis turning more and more into Napoleon?

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So as GRRM told us himself Stannis is mainly inspired by Tiberius. but when you look at it, at ADWD and what we know of TWOW, he seems to have a lot of similarities with Napoleon. The main ones being him stuck and freezing in the Snow, like Napoleon was in the Russian campaign and the battle on the Ice. Now a lot of people think that the battle of ice will be more inspired by The actual battle on the ice, with the Freys being the Livonian Order charging across a frozen lake. But there is also the inevitable ice breaking that is going to happen in the ASOIAF version, that did not happen in the IRL in the battle on ice. It did however happen at Austerlitz, as the Austrians tried crossing a frozen lake that Napoleon bomber with his cannons resulting in countless Austrians dying. So my opinion is that in terms of historical compassion Stannis is becoming less Tiberius and more Napoleon. Both were brilliant military rulers, but Napoleon was also a brilliant administrator great diplomat and genius innovator, that basically created Europe as we know it, while Tiberious absolutely hated the throne and had a huge problem with moral inflexibility. So is this another thing that underlines Stannis's ark, becoming a better and better ruler, less Tiberius and more Napoleon?

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59 minutes ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

So as GRRM told us himself Stannis is mainly inspired by Tiberius. but when you look at it, at ADWD and what we know of TWOW, he seems to have a lot of similarities with Napoleon. The main ones being him stuck and freezing in the Snow, like Napoleon was in the Russian campaign and the battle on the Ice. Now a lot of people think that the battle of ice will be more inspired by The actual battle on the ice, with the Freys being the Livonian Order charging across a frozen lake. But there is also the inevitable ice breaking that is going to happen in the ASOIAF version, that did not happen in the IRL in the battle on ice. It did however happen at Austerlitz, as the Austrians tried crossing a frozen lake that Napoleon bomber with his cannons resulting in countless Austrians dying. So my opinion is that in terms of historical compassion Stannis is becoming less Tiberius and more Napoleon. Both were brilliant military rulers, but Napoleon was also a brilliant administrator great diplomat and genius innovator, that basically created Europe as we know it, while Tiberious absolutely hated the throne and had a huge problem with moral inflexibility. So is this another thing that underlines Stannis's ark, becoming a better and better ruler, less Tiberius and more Napoleon?

You might be interested in these:

https://cantuse.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/a-league-of-their-own/

But in general I agree, even without reading what others have written. I would like to add something however: we have heard that conditions at Winterfell are unusually cold... and unusual cold usually heralds the Others. So Winterfell will be Stannis equivalent of Moscow: he will defeat the Boltons, capture Winterfell - only to encounter the Others there and have his army then slaughtered. Stannis might end up dying there, or he might join the Others and become the Night's King.

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1 minute ago, Aldarion said:

only to encounter the Others there and have his army then slaughtered. Stannis might end up dying there, or he might join the Others and become the Night's King.

How would that even happen???? Isn't the Wall a thing???

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3 minutes ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

How would that even happen???? Isn't the Wall a thing???

It is. But as I have mentioned, there is some focus on how cold Winterfell is. And remember the crypts of Winterfell.

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I think it's more that Stannis is, for reasons of narrative excitement, written into scenarios comparable with those that made historical figures become regarded as 'great' military leaders. i.e. he has an extreme amount of courage and self-confidence, and is thus willing to march into situations that seem doomed, knowing that he only needs the slightest opportunity and he'll sieze victory.

I compare the situation in the north with Caesar and Pompey prior to Pharsallus. Caesar marches into Pompey's place of power and is immediately on the ropes, desperate to trigger a battle so that he might win, while a confident Pompey repeatedly denies him, knowing that he's secure while on the defensive. Yet internal politicking forces Pompey give battle, allowing Caesar to use his greater tactical to mind to steal victory. 

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4 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

So my opinion is that in terms of historical compassion Stannis is becoming less Tiberius and more Napoleon. Both were brilliant military rulers, but Napoleon was also a brilliant administrator great diplomat and genius innovator, that basically created Europe as we know it, while Tiberious absolutely hated the throne and had a huge problem with moral inflexibility. So is this another thing that underlines Stannis's ark, becoming a better and better ruler, less Tiberius and more Napoleon?

Isn't Stannis still all of that, even in (what we've seen of) TWOW?

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5 minutes ago, Hodor the Articulate said:

Isn't Stannis still all of that, even in (what we've seen of) TWOW?

Yes and no. He still has shades of that, but eh is changing. He has taken a far more liberal view on religion no longer favoring the followers of R'hllor and he has learned that saving the realm is more important then gaining it. He's also taken a chill pill in regards to what is owed him.

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1 minute ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

Yes and no. He still has shades of that, but eh is changing. He has taken a far more liberal view on religion no longer favoring the followers of R'hllor and he has learned that saving the realm is more important then gaining it. He's also taken a chill pill in regards to what is owed him.

He now understands that saving the realm should come before claiming it, but that's the extent of his development, that I can see. Mr. "would that all the lords in the Seven Kingdoms had but a single neck" seems as bitter as ever. He never truly bought into R'hollor, so no change there.

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My only input will be that Napoleon didn't really get stuck freezing in the snow, he was stuck fighting in mud and rain just before winter hit, when it got cold he made a desperate bid for Moscow before retreating because of the threat of being cut off from his path of retreat which did happen end up happening anyway. I remember reading a statistic which said that for every 12 men that entered Russia 5 died of heat or disease, 2 died of the cold, 2 died in battle, 2 were captured and 1 made it back home.

I guess it'd be closer to Stannis getting stuck near the Neck before finally pushing through the North but having to immediately turn after taking the some important castle that wasn't Winterfell. Moscow wasn't the capital of Russia in 1812, St Petersburg was so Stannis taking but then giving up Winterfell wouldn't be similar enough imo. 

I know Martin likes to allude to battles more than just rip them off directly but I think in this case there'd be so many differences that it'd be more akin to a romanticised movie version of events rather than basing it on anything historical.

All for a canvas painting of Stannis in some traditionally Napoleon poses though, I'd pay good money for the Mannis on canvas. 

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Posted (edited)

Sure, there are parallels between Stannis' march against the Warden of the North and  Napoleon's march against Russia. In fact, just about any notable battle that involves someone that lives in a wintery land and someone that does not all have the same parallels.

But the historical period this series is based on in the War of Roses. War of the Roses. Your model battle is about 350 years later.

We aren't going to see the same result. Stannis is probably going to win. At least that is my forecast. (But at what cost?)

Edited by S. D

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Not seeing the Napoleonic analogy at all for Stannis. Napoleon was a brilliant military leader turned dictator who had oddly egalitarian notions for his time. Meritocracy mixed with aristocracy, likely a product of his own rise from humbler origins coupled with the sentiment of the French Revolution.

Stannis is a pure aristocrat pursuing his birthright. He may be a brilliant military leader, but honestly, we've not really seen it in the novels. His biggest victories happened off screen and usually have a barb attached to them.

So other than both having fought in a cold climate at one point, I'm not sure what you're getting at really.

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Yes, Stannis victories are off camera, but his trudge to Winterfell is not. It could be seen as a stand in for Moscow. The set up to the Battle of Ice is there, I think, or in other sources. He did understand the problem with the Others, and solved the first attack by the wildlings by being logistically sound. I think Napoleon was better liked by his troops but that is a guess. Stannis claims are purely aristocratic, but elevating Davos by merit is unusual.

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Stannis is not Napoleion, and I mean that without insulting either. What they were born into, their educations, their military experience and skills, their leadership experience...

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4 hours ago, HoodedCrow said:

Yes, Stannis victories are off camera, but his trudge to Winterfell is not. It could be seen as a stand in for Moscow. The set up to the Battle of Ice is there, I think, or in other sources. He did understand the problem with the Others, and solved the first attack by the wildlings by being logistically sound. I think Napoleon was better liked by his troops but that is a guess. Stannis claims are purely aristocratic, but elevating Davos by merit is unusual.

The battle of Moscow and the Battle of Winterfell are not the same, the majority of Napoleon's campaign did not take part in the winter and the only real impact the snow and cold had was forcing urgency, without the looming threat of winter Napoleon could have strengthened his supply lines and taken his time to conquer Russia. As it turned out he had to rush and outpaced his already weak supply lines which led to attrition losses he couldn't replace way before winter kicked in. The idea that Napoleon lost to the Russian winter is really misinformed. 

The reasons given for Stannis resembling Napoleon seem to be:

Good strategist 

Loyal followers

Battle in the Winter

 

These these I really take issue with. The battle in the winter I've already covered but as for the other points... Napoleon was such a military genius because of his revolutionary ideas to warfare and micromanaging the various parts of his force to attack to attack in cooperation to devastating effect. Stannis seems like a very capable commander but nothing outstanding for Westerosi standards. 

As for the loyal followers I'll only say that a lot of Stannis' men are religious fanatics or fighting for a different cause, such as the mountain clans fighting for Ned Stark, rather than for Stannis himself. 

Both are great figures but not comparable in my opinion. 

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Tiki hunt. Please don’t go all cognitive distortion on me. I have only listed similarities, and affirmed a contrast. Stannis and Winterfell are not real:) Tell me after the next battles that Stannis is not a fictional strategic genius. I feel some genius ice strategy coming on. George borrows widely and blends historical events, fiction and people. We argue about it. He’s that good!

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, HoodedCrow said:

Tiki hunt. Please don’t go all cognitive distortion on me. I have only listed similarities, and affirmed a contrast. Stannis and Winterfell are not real:) Tell me after the next battles that Stannis is not a fictional strategic genius. I feel some genius ice strategy coming on. George borrows widely and blends historical events, fiction and people. We argue about it. He’s that good!

I don't understand your comment on cognitive distortion, my first paragraph was to you and then the rest of my response was my thoughts in general on the thread. Maybe I could have structured my response better to make that more clear. 

I appreciate the discussion, it's fun to talk about two of my passions in one breath and could definitely see a case for Stannis taking after Napoleon on a personality front but not really with the comparison between Russia and Winterfell and I believe they're being compared due to the fallacy that Napoleon lost to the cold or that the snow and ice itself was important to his overall campaign/defeat. 

Edited by Tikhunt
Clarifying first sentence

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37 minutes ago, HoodedCrow said:

Tiki hunt. Please don’t go all cognitive distortion on me. I have only listed similarities, and affirmed a contrast. Stannis and Winterfell are not real:) Tell me after the next battles that Stannis is not a fictional strategic genius. I feel some genius ice strategy coming on. George borrows widely and blends historical events, fiction and people. We argue about it. He’s that good!

 

Even if he manages to pull off a miraculous victory against the Boltons with some gimmick, marching off into a blizzard with no supplies to besiege a huge fortress just because you're determined to do it is the opposite of being a military genius. 

So far he's. 

  • Not surrendered during a siege. 
  • Won a major naval battle
  • Lost a major battle
  • Routed a numerical superior but highly disorganised wildling army
  • Taken a lightly garrisoned castle 

Are we just handing out military genius titles? I genuinely have no idea where this perception of Stannis has come from, he's competent sure but a military genius? He's barely even ran a real campaign. 

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10 minutes ago, Trigger Warning said:

 

Even if he manages to pull off a miraculous victory against the Boltons with some gimmick, marching off into a blizzard with no supplies to besiege a huge fortress just because you're determined to do it is the opposite of being a military genius. 

So far he's. 

  • Not surrendered during a siege. 
  • Won a major naval battle
  • Lost a major battle
  • Routed a numerical superior but highly disorganised wildling army
  • Taken a lightly garrisoned castle 

Are we just handing out military genius titles? I genuinely have no idea where this perception of Stannis has come from, he's competent sure but a military genius? He's barely even ran a real campaign. 

I think he's one of the few characters who we read who actively takes part in a long campaign.

Tywin doesn't seem to be that great as a military figure, he doesn't seem to be able to outmach Robb, and his most notable victory, the Blackwater, seems to be mostly Tyrion and the Tyrells victory but with Tywin gaining the most prestige from it. 

Robb seemed very good as a commander from what we see as well as knowing when to take the tactical advice he receives from others to heart, and is probably the most worthy of being compare to old Bonaparte just from how he commands individual engagements, but his campaign didn't really last long. 

Balon doesn't seem to have made many actual plans for waging war, instead leaving the individual captains to make the actual decisions or just declaring war and hoping for profit. The Ironborn as a whole seem quite capable and I don't think Balon himself is an idiot or bad at war, just not hands on. 

Renly seemed to know what he was doing but died before being able to show off what he could achieve. 

Stannis by default has the longest list of military engagements to draw from and so I can understand that comparitively he looks good. 

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Napoleon marched to Moscow, overextending his supply lines. He needed to consolidate.   While a very different character, Adolph Hitler went down, in part, underestimating Russia. Russian city distances are much more vast than a jaunt around Europe. Scorched earth works. It is not very original, but it works. Alexander the Great failed because of snow, then monsoon, supply lines, death of excellent generals, believing his own p.r., dry heat, and rivers.  An army marches on its stomach. Supply lines are an armies potential Waterloo.

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