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nyser1

The Northern Army in ASOIAF

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Historically, it would appear that the older men tend to make up a sizable component of the forces which go Southward. Particularly as winter approaches.

 

However, it seems like in the series that the cream of the crop goes South, with the "old folks" showing up later on when the bulk of the forces have been annihilated (i.e. the Umber example). Is this an oversight by Martin, he omitted stating it outright but that it is likely true, or that there just happen to be a few houses with a lot of fighting age males still in the North (Manderlys, Ryswells, Dustins, and the Boltons)?

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1 hour ago, nyser1 said:

Historically, it would appear that the older men tend to make up a sizable component of the forces which go Southward. Particularly as winter approaches.

 

However, it seems like in the series that the cream of the crop goes South, with the "old folks" showing up later on when the bulk of the forces have been annihilated (i.e. the Umber example). Is this an oversight by Martin, he omitted stating it outright but that it is likely true, or that there just happen to be a few houses with a lot of fighting age males still in the North (Manderlys, Ryswells, Dustins, and the Boltons)?

Given that a lot of men died during the two rebellions, there’s a reason why there might be mostly younger men going to war when Robb goes south. I mean, look at Robb himself. He’s a young man who grew up with stories of his dad leading a rebellion and putting down another. There’s a certain generation that was too young for either of the rebellions but are old enough for this war, and it has turned into the biggest war that Westeros has seen since the Dance of the Dragons. That’s something which young men will want to be part of.

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The Dustins were also stated to have sent the bare minimum of troops possible when Robb called the banners. Given how many men Ramsay had no problem raising, it's presumed the Boltons held much of their strength back too. 

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16 minutes ago, Lord Lannister said:

The Dustins were also stated to have sent the bare minimum of troops possible when Robb called the banners. Given how many men Ramsay had no problem raising, it's presumed the Boltons held much of their strength back too. 

I don't think the Boltons held back nearly as many of their men as House Dustin clearly did. They're much closer to the Starks and they have a much less savoury reputation than House Dustin, so the Starks would raise more of an eyebrow if Roose didn't show up with the majority of the men he can raise.

We do know that House Dustin held back, and we can assume that the Ryswells did the same thing. We also know that House Manderly was ordered by Ned to build boats and keep White Harbour safe, so it makes sense that Wyman only sends a minor percentage of his forces to Moat Cailin (he was also sending both his sons, so that's prestige to make up for numbers).

The Umbers and Karstarks sent most of their men, which means the harvest is in trouble. We can assume something similar about House Tallhart if Benfred's Wild Hares are swaggering around making loud noises. Plus the mountain clans sent quite a few of their men with Robb and still had 3000 men for Stannis later. Other than that, it's guesswork, but we can assume that the Flints are either leaderless or struggling with some kind of sickness (Robin being dead and Lyessa being pregnant), the Cerwyns and Glovers are scattered, the Hornwoods are probably the worst off of all the houses, the crannogmen and Skagosi are at full strength (whatever that means), and House Mormont is diminished but still active. 

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6 hours ago, nyser1 said:

Historically, it would appear that the older men tend to make up a sizable component of the forces which go Southward. Particularly as winter approaches.

However, it seems like in the series that the cream of the crop goes South, with the "old folks" showing up later on when the bulk of the forces have been annihilated (i.e. the Umber example). Is this an oversight by Martin, he omitted stating it outright but that it is likely true, or that there just happen to be a few houses with a lot of fighting age males still in the North (Manderlys, Ryswells, Dustins, and the Boltons)?

Six of one and half a dozen of the others. As others have pointed the Umber men are generally very old or very young, though this might be some point of deception on their part since they were marching in autumn / start of winter. The Karstark are lacking hands to tend the crops, but there's no indication if there additional force(s) raised are old men or barely adults like the Umber men. We just know they raised a mixed force of 450 spearmen, archers, and knights.

There were plenty of fighting men left in the North after Robb marched south, enough raise 2K men while having an internal conflict between two of the strongest houses (Bolton & Manderly). The Ryswells and Dustins seem a bit like a retcon to me since the only time either are mentioned in the army is the small force Roose leaves behind to fend off Gregor Clegane at the trident. I've broken it down before but there's at least enough fighting men to defend the wall and defend from the IB simultaneously. 

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2 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

The Ryswells and Dustins seem a bit like a retcon to me since the only time either are mentioned in the army is the small force Roose leaves behind to fend off Gregor Clegane at the trident.

Definitely came across as a retcon to me as well. Both houses were only offhandedly referenced before, but suddenly are prominent northern houses starting in A Feast for Crows, when the Boltons need allies. TWOIAF even includes the Ryswells and Dustins as prominent northern houses.

I can't complain too much, Lady Dustin is an interesting character with a nice backstory, and the Ryswells are pretty cool too.

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9 hours ago, LordSeaSnake said:

Definitely came across as a retcon to me as well. Both houses were only offhandedly referenced before, but suddenly are prominent northern houses starting in A Feast for Crows, when the Boltons need allies. TWOIAF even includes the Ryswells and Dustins as prominent northern houses.

I can't complain too much, Lady Dustin is an interesting character with a nice backstory, and the Ryswells are pretty cool too.

Yeah definitely not complaining here. I can deal with the inconsistency

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On 8/4/2020 at 11:43 AM, Universal Sword Donor said:

Yeah definitely not complaining here. I can deal with the inconsistency

The only thing I'd complain about is the lack of Dustin heirs. And yet Barbrey was unmarried and childless all this time without issue, yet Lady Hornwood was being propositioned just a short while after Daryn and Halys died.

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A great deal of what arises on this forum is not bothersome but for the sake of discussion.

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