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Canon Claude

How do the Ironborn still have such a strong military?

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I can buy that the Ironborn would have no trouble sustaining themselves before 1 AC. They were free to raid without having to worry about the other kingdoms uniting against them, and they held a whole swathe of the mainland for three generations. But when Aegon comes in and binds them all together, it means that they are isolated and kept on the Iron Islands. Whenever they've rebelled, it ended badly for them. Their Iron Fleet has been destroyed several times. But what I don't get is how they can keep rebuilding it. Euron is apparently this powerhouse threat, even without the Iron Fleet. Where did they get all that wood? There's no way they could have raided the mainland for wood after getting so thoroughly defeated during Robert's reign. Did they buy all their wood with the gold price? That's pretty frigging hypocritical, isn't it, Balon? And how are there still so many available fighters less than a generation after their islands were overrun and conquered? The casualties must have been very light, which seems contradictory to the catastrophes they suffer in the war.

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You said it yourself, Claude. Balon and so many of the Ironborn are utter hypocrites. I have no trouble believing that the Ironborn traded for the wood to build their trees while secretly gnashing their teeth at how they want the old ways back. Balon is especially guilty of that hypocrisy, but what else can you expect from a broken, deluded old man?

And Euron is even madder than Balon was, if he's been to Valyria, he can't have acquired their treasures without some cost of some kind. Plus he's drinking that magic brew from Pyatt Pree, so that's also messing with him. It remains to be seen what exactly Euron is doing, but I'll see where it goes. Maybe he's contained in the Reach? Maybe he has some magic which will be just as destructive for him as it is for his enemies? Too early to tell what his level of threat really is.

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How are the Ironborn are strong?  Due to combat training from a earlier age. Ironborn raped and pillaged the free cities.Euron has ridiculous level of combat experience.

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29 minutes ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

You said it yourself, Claude. Balon and so many of the Ironborn are utter hypocrites. I have no trouble believing that the Ironborn traded for the wood to build their trees while secretly gnashing their teeth at how they want the old ways back. Balon is especially guilty of that hypocrisy, but what else can you expect from a broken, deluded old man?

And Euron is even madder than Balon was, if he's been to Valyria, he can't have acquired their treasures without some cost of some kind. Plus he's drinking that magic brew from Pyatt Pree, so that's also messing with him. It remains to be seen what exactly Euron is doing, but I'll see where it goes. Maybe he's contained in the Reach? Maybe he has some magic which will be just as destructive for him as it is for his enemies? Too early to tell what his level of threat really is.

Maybe the Storm God is influencing Euron.

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2 hours ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

How are the Ironborn are strong?  Due to combat training from a earlier age. Ironborn raped and pillaged the free cities.Euron has ridiculous level of combat experience.

You misunderstood the OP’s question. Where do they keep getting their resources if raiding the mainland is no longer an option? Bringing everything, including all the required wood for shipbuilding, over from Essos is too unwieldy for me to take seriously. Plus they took a lot of casualties in their revolt against Robert. And they’ve been taking even more casualties in the North. It’s strange to me too that the Ironborn can be considered such a threat after all their screw ups. Then again, House Frey manages to field more than 4000 despite all the casualties they took so I guess GRRM simply erred.

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I think it makes little sense but Robb's campaign had to fail and the Theon's arc had to start somehow.

I find very hard to believe that after the destruction they suffered just nine years before Robert's death, they had such manpower and fleet.

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The Iron Price seems to only really apply to luxuries. They still have farmers, builders, there's merchants/traders mentioned as being at Pyke. It'd frankly be impossible for the islands to survive without trade. 

I don't think it's fair to call the Ironborn hypocrites though, even during the reign of Black Harren they wouldn't have been able to go around just stealing everything otherwise what's the point in owning the land? Throughout our own history we've seen empires fall, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire all immediately come to mind, the people living through and immediately after that fall are often nostalgiac or otherwise crave the time that their people were the height of the power and oftentimes are adamant that it will happen again. 

I know many British people that look back on the British Empire or when Britain was the undisputed master of the open seas fondly even though they weren't even born while the Empire was a thing. 

That's what the Iron Price is, a buzzword or a way for the Ironborn to hold onto the belief that they'll be the most powerful force in Westeros again purely due to their denial. 

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7 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

I can buy that the Ironborn would have no trouble sustaining themselves before 1 AC. They were free to raid without having to worry about the other kingdoms uniting against them, and they held a whole swathe of the mainland for three generations. But when Aegon comes in and binds them all together, it means that they are isolated and kept on the Iron Islands. Whenever they've rebelled, it ended badly for them. Their Iron Fleet has been destroyed several times. But what I don't get is how they can keep rebuilding it. Euron is apparently this powerhouse threat, even without the Iron Fleet. Where did they get all that wood? There's no way they could have raided the mainland for wood after getting so thoroughly defeated during Robert's reign. Did they buy all their wood with the gold price? That's pretty frigging hypocritical, isn't it, Balon? And how are there still so many available fighters less than a generation after their islands were overrun and conquered? The casualties must have been very light, which seems contradictory to the catastrophes they suffer in the war.

Traditionally, the Iron Fleet itself is about 100 longships, and the Isle houses can bring another 400 or so. I think Victarion still talks about 100 ships in the IF on the way to Meereen, so it's probably safe to assume that the total number of ships on the Isles is roughly the same.

I suspect that the ironmen would not have much trouble harvesting trees from the mainland along the Neck and points north. It's not very populated, and as long as they are not burning and pillaging they might not even be noticed. And they have plenty of iron, which is in high demand on the mainland and can be easily traded for wood. So it is not inconceivable that they could rebuild their fleet over the past seven years or so. Look at how fast Manderly put a northern navy together -- 23 war galleys in a little over a year.

And I don't recall, but did Euron return to the Isles with just Silence, or did he have a fleet of captured ships as well?

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2 hours ago, S. D said:

GRRM dropped the ball

You mean a plot hole.

14 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

I can buy that the Ironborn would have no trouble sustaining themselves before 1 AC. They were free to raid without having to worry about the other kingdoms uniting against them, and they held a whole swathe of the mainland for three generations. But when Aegon comes in and binds them all together, it means that they are isolated and kept on the Iron Islands. Whenever they've rebelled, it ended badly for them. Their Iron Fleet has been destroyed several times. But what I don't get is how they can keep rebuilding it. Euron is apparently this powerhouse threat, even without the Iron Fleet. Where did they get all that wood? There's no way they could have raided the mainland for wood after getting so thoroughly defeated during Robert's reign. Did they buy all their wood with the gold price? That's pretty frigging hypocritical, isn't it, Balon? And how are there still so many available fighters less than a generation after their islands were overrun and conquered? The casualties must have been very light, which seems contradictory to the catastrophes they suffer in the war.

Martin just wanted the Ironborn to be the threat to the other people of Westeros.  They are an aggressive and very violent people.  It took the Targaryens to kick them out of the riverlands. 

It does seem like their resources would have run out.  Should have run out. 

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1 minute ago, Lady Topspin said:

You mean a plot hole.

Martin just wanted the Ironborn to be the threat to the other people of Westeros.  They are an aggressive and very violent people.  It took the Targaryens to kick them out of the riverlands. 

It does seem like their resources would have run out.  Should have run out. 

Should have run out a long time ago. Nevertheless, how the heck can they raise 20,000-25,000 warriors (does this even include the sailors)? Particularly not too long after their rebellion. 

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21 minutes ago, nyser1 said:

Should have run out a long time ago. Nevertheless, how the heck can they raise 20,000-25,000 warriors (does this even include the sailors)? Particularly not too long after their rebellion. 

I doubt they have 20000 warriors tho. I'd say 15k is more accurate.

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4 minutes ago, frenin said:

I doubt they have 20000 warriors tho. I'd say 15k is more accurate.

I find it hard to believe but it comes from the 2005 "semi-canon" d20 game.

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1 hour ago, nyser1 said:

I find it hard to believe but it comes from the 2005 "semi-canon" d20 game.

Either way, how is that any kind of threat to the godsdamn Reach? House Hightower could raise enough men to defeat the Ironborn. And that’s before even mentioning the Redwyne fleet barrelling down on Euron now that Dragonstone is (allegedly) taken.

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3 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

Honestly, it's just best not to think too much about demographics, economics and military strength in ASoIaF. They're what the plot needs them to be.

What they said ^ GRRM frankly sucks at world building 

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6 hours ago, James Steller said:

Either way, how is that any kind of threat to the godsdamn Reach? House Hightower could raise enough men to defeat the Ironborn. And that’s before even mentioning the Redwyne fleet barrelling down on Euron now that Dragonstone is (allegedly) taken.

Thousands of reavers invading your land is a threat, even if you have the power to crush them. I think even the ironborn are aware that this is a war they cannot win. Euron knows that at least.

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15 hours ago, nyser1 said:

I find it hard to believe but it comes from the 2005 "semi-canon" d20 game.

The only semi canon talks numbered their strenght in about 17k forces. 

25000 seems hard to believe. 

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The crucial thing there is that the Ironborn are a true warrior culture, where men do fish and fight for a living; the bulk of their men do not plow fields or harvest crops.

And that is not an aspect of their culture that ever went away. They play their finger dances in peace and war alike, never forgetting who and what they are.

As for their resources - they do not magically regain their ships. Balon had nine years to rebuild his fleets, and we have no indication that Robert burned all their (war) ships - which is completely unlikely considering his lazy attitude and failure to take Balon's head for his treason and rebellion.

Prior to that we have the Ironborn not involving themselves in a major war between the Conquest and the Dance, and them not exactly suffering many losses in ships during the Conquest.

Lady Johanna dealt them a major blow, true, but afterwards they had decades to recover until Dagon's days - and we don't know how this he is going to go down yet. I don't think Aerys I is going to burn all his ships, either.

The Ironborn seemed to flourish during the long reign of Lord Quellon, meaning Balon really had a strong basis on which he could build when he decided to start his rebellion (sort of like Harwyn Hardhand profited from the reign of his father).

And one should not really downplay the Ironborn as traders in times of peace. They have a lot of ships and should be heavily involved in the trade in the Sunset Sea, especially in those long eras of peace - meaning they should be able to buy wood aplenty in the North and the West and the Riverlands - especially in long bountiful summers.

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