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Why Do The Crownlands Suck?


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In Fire & Blood, we learn about the development of King's Lading and how Aegon I, Maegor I, Jahaerys I, Viserys I all contributed to the building of King's Landing. But one thing I never understood is how the Targaryens rely on only the Red Keep and the gold cloaks to defend themselves from a rebel army. This is exemplified in the Battle of the Blackwater, Sack Of KL and Borros's siege. The only major towns, castles and keeps are Stokeworth, Rosby, Duskendale and Rook's Rest. All these petty lords raise around 5,000 men combined which is super pitiful for an area as big as Venezuela. If I was one of the founding Targaryen kings, I would either hire foreign mercenaries and/or offer incentives to move to the Crownlands to establish strong houses and bannerman like other regions. I would also hire Kingslanders to build more forts and keeps around the Crownlands area and generally increase the population of the area by building more towns and ports. This way, if either the Riverlanders or Stormlanders attack King's Landing, it isn't a one sided battle and more of a challenge. Another thing I would do would be to set a Royal Precedent to ensure that houses in direct proximity to KL excluding the lords of the narrow sea must always fight for the King/Queen who sits in KL. They cannot be punished for that act and cannot face legal consequences for actively supporting the reigning king. This would make the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms much more secure and independent in my opinion. What would you do to ensure King's Landing's security from invaders?

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The Targaryens had the dragons. Their authority was firmly established by the time of the last dragon. Keeping a garrison of mercenaries is very expensive. The task of most able-bodied men are to contribute to the GDP. They farmed, logged, fished, and raised families. Full time soldiers are mouths to support that are expensive to sustain. The kingdom was not all that rich. A large fort with soldiers was not needed. 

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First off. You'll have a high probability of having a Roman legion situation (The summary is that sometimes, the legions would declare their commander the emperor). Maintaining a standing army is expensive (drill, arms and armor, food, clothing, housing etc). How do you maintain this force throughout multiple kings? The Romans had trouble with that too, and they were far more developed than Westeros is. 

Probably simply expand the crownlands. They're dinky, and it would allow for more taxes and more levies to be raised. Probably build a few more ships. More goldcloaks, but with better weapons and armor. If you have a small force such as the goldcloaks, then focus on a more material intensive soldier (something like the Men of Gondor). Better armor helps battlefield performance. 

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I think, first of all, dragons gave the Targaryens confidence. also, they might have feared too powerful lords with big armies to be too close. it's a bit strange that house Darklyn for instance could not raise more than 5000 men considering the Darklyns used to be kings in their own right.

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9 hours ago, EggBlue said:

I think, first of all, dragons gave the Targaryens confidence. also, they might have feared too powerful lords with big armies to be too close. it's a bit strange that house Darklyn for instance could not raise more than 5000 men considering the Darklyns used to be kings in their own right.

Everyone used to be a king. The term was meaningless in the era of a hundred kingdoms.

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Royal navy would need a lot of men. So I assume that most available men in crownlands are manning those ships. For instance if average warship would need crew of 200 men then 100 ships would need 20.000 men. So as long master of RN want to keep his warships active crews of those ships cannot be used anywhere else.

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13 hours ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

First off. You'll have a high probability of having a Roman legion situation (The summary is that sometimes, the legions would declare their commander the emperor). Maintaining a standing army is expensive (drill, arms and armor, food, clothing, housing etc). How do you maintain this force throughout multiple kings? The Romans had trouble with that too, and they were far more developed than Westeros is. 

Probably simply expand the crownlands. They're dinky, and it would allow for more taxes and more levies to be raised. Probably build a few more ships. More goldcloaks, but with better weapons and armor. If you have a small force such as the goldcloaks, then focus on a more material intensive soldier (something like the Men of Gondor). Better armor helps battlefield performance. 

It's not a standing army, its just populating the crownlands a little more with peasant levies who can be raised during times of war. As I've pointed out before, the gold cloaks are the primary form of defense and they are unreliable at best.

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Just now, Brynden"Bloodraven" Rivers said:

It's not a standing army, its just populating the crownlands a little more with peasant levies who can be raised during times of war. As I've pointed out before, the gold cloaks are the primary form of defense and they are unreliable at best.

Which can be solved by expanding the crownlands. Then you don't have to do anything besides that. 

Besides, if you invest in the GC better...you can keep it static at 2000, but simply provide them better weapons and armor. But only a few thousand or so. If you have thousands of professionals, you generally have to train them yourself. 

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8 minutes ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

Which can be solved by expanding the crownlands. Then you don't have to do anything besides that. 

Besides, if you invest in the GC better...you can keep it static at 2000, but simply provide them better weapons and armor. But only a few thousand or so. If you have thousands of professionals, you generally have to train them yourself. 

This doesn't help against massive armies from the stormlands or the riverlands both of whom are pretty rebellious and rowdy. If you want to keep KL militarily secure, you need the same armies that your neighbors have. In order to do that, you need more peasant levies in the Crownlands which is some of what you said, expanding the Crownlands. But to ensure your army is good enough, you do some drilling and train the peasants or provide foreign mercenaries gold and lands to settle in the crownlands.

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2 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

Royal navy would need a lot of men. So I assume that most available men in crownlands are manning those ships. For instance if average warship would need crew of 200 men then 100 ships would need 20.000 men. So as long master of RN want to keep his warships active crews of those ships cannot be used anywhere else.

Most of the Royal Navy is crewed by men from Massey's Hook, Claw Isle, Swordfish Point, Driftmark, Dragonstone and the islands surrounding them. Not from areas like Rosby, Stokeworth, the Antlers and Duskendale.

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1 minute ago, Brynden"Bloodraven" Rivers said:

This doesn't help against massive armies from the stormlands or the riverlands both of whom are pretty rebellious and rowdy. If you want to keep KL militarily secure, you need the same armies that your neighbors have. In order to do that, you need more peasant levies in the Crownlands which is some of what you said, expanding the Crownlands. But to ensure your army is good enough, you do some drilling and train the peasants or provide foreign mercenaries gold and lands to settle in the crownlands.

Then expand into the stormlands and riverlands. Why Aegon didn't is beyond me. 

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The Crownlands are far smaller than the other kingdoms with the exception of the Iron Islands and have a much smaller reserve of men to raise as a host, besides Aegon and his sisters and direct descendants were surely overconfident over the fact that was no need for the Crownlands to need a strong land army with their dragons, not thinking that one day they may have not dragons anymore.

And after that the Targaryens certainely didn't think of increasing the size of the Crownlands or were afraid of revolts should they try to expand on the Riverlands and Stormlands who were already deprived of lands for the creation of the Crownlands. 

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1 hour ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

He had dragons yes. But a larger crownlands means a larger army, a larger amount of people to tax. Plus, you need armies as well to hold territory. 

Armies meant nothing compared to dragons. The Dance wasn’t won by armies until the dragons were out of the picture.

And the Targaryens were taxing all the kingdoms anyway, what was the point of further conquest? Once the power structure submitted to them, the system defended itself.

Edited by Canon Claude
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1 hour ago, Canon Claude said:

Armies meant nothing compared to dragons. The Dance wasn’t won by armies until the dragons were out of the picture.

And the Targaryens were taxing all the kingdoms anyway, what was the point of further conquest? Once the power structure submitted to them, the system defended itself.

Ok I'll clarify. After Aegon III, why wasn't there a fortification of the crownlands. The Dance of the Dragons showed how weak and vulnerable the crownlands were. Borros Baratheon, Kermit Tully, Cregan Stark and Ormund Hightower's armies are able to make good progress into the crownlands without anyone stopping them. Houses Rosby and Stokeworth are super ineffectual and field like 500 and 600 men each. Against the 35,000-45,000 men that the Riverlands and Stormlands can raise, this is pathetic. 

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3 hours ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

Then expand into the stormlands and riverlands. Why Aegon didn't is beyond me. 

This doesn't do anything if there are no people to farm and cultivate that land. It's not arguing about how much land the Crown owns. It's how fortified and strongly held the Capitol of the Seven Kingdoms is. The answer is, even with potential expansion, the armies of the Crownlands are useless.

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1 hour ago, Canon Claude said:

And the Targaryens were taxing all the kingdoms anyway, what was the point of further conquest? Once the power structure submitted to them, the system defended itself.

We know that kingdoms weren't super loyal or Westeros wouldn't have a history of such bloodiness. Also even if the system does protect itself, what about foreign invasions? The Triarchy, Braavos and Volantis are all threats that could easily take KL with a fleet and around 40,000 selllswords.

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13 hours ago, Brynden"Bloodraven" Rivers said:

Most of the Royal Navy is crewed by men from Massey's Hook, Claw Isle, Swordfish Point, Driftmark, Dragonstone and the islands surrounding them. Not from areas like Rosby, Stokeworth, the Antlers and Duskendale.

But without RN Crownlands should be able to raise as large hosts as either North, Riverlands or Vale. Naturally assuming that instead of sailors and marines they would be armed, armored and trained to become cavalry and infantry.

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Are the Crownlands even all that arable?

Given that the Crownlands could not feed King's Landing during the WoT5K, that House Stokeworth (a major house in the Crownlands) can't field anything more than 1,000 men and that the Crownlands-native Stannis had, by far, the smallest and weakest army, I would say no.

The Crownlands cannot feed themselves. Why? I don't know. I know that the islands in the Blackwater (a good portion of the Crownlands) are not rich in terms of coin, food or resources but... the rest?

On 12/1/2021 at 7:41 PM, Brynden"Bloodraven" Rivers said:

If I was one of the founding Targaryen kings, I would either hire foreign mercenaries and/or offer incentives to move to the Crownlands to establish strong houses and bannerman like other regions.

This is a great idea!

It would have been even better if you had invited the younger sons of Valyrian families from the Free Cities (particularly Volantis) to the Crownlands. Gives you a chance to keep the Targaryen bloodline as pure Valyrian as possible without having to relying on incest.

Granted you would've ran into a lot more problems come the Blackfyre Rebellions.... but great idea! I love it.

 

 

Edited by BlackLightning
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