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Why Do The Crownlands Suck?


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15 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

Cavalry? No.

In my head canon average peasant in Westeros cannot even take a leak without order from some lordling. So I assume that most captains of warships and maybe even most officers in the navy are nobles.

It is even possible that some of those warships actually belong to junior noble houses and are actually run by them. Or those houses serve Iron Throne by hiring and maintaining warships instead of cavalry and infantry.

So RN should have hundreds of people who would have pedigree and are rich enough either to become or hire cavalrymen if they had chosen another career or way to pay their "rent" to IT.

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10 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

In my head canon average peasant in Westeros cannot even take a leak without order from some lordling. So I assume that most captains of warships and maybe even most officers in the navy are nobles.

It is even possible that some of those warships actually belong to junior noble houses and are actually run by them. Or those houses serve Iron Throne by hiring and maintaining warships instead of cavalry and infantry.

So RN should have hundreds of people who would have pedigree and are rich enough either to become or hire cavalrymen if they had chosen another career or way to pay their "rent" to IT.

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According to a semi-canon source from 2005, the mainland lords of the crownlands can raise ten to fifteen thousand men.

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If around 50 houses can only raise around 10,000 and this includes the city of King's Landing, that means that the Crownlands are super depopulated. 

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Didn't the Crownlands just pulled out 30000 men out of their asses when Aerys needed it against the Rebels? 

Logically, the Crownlands should be the most densely populated area of Westeros (given its location and the presence of KL). I always tought of it as such. That George didn't bother to expand its background early on (and bases his numbers on unexpanded background), doesn't bother me too much. In real life, the Crownlands would be a pretty solid realm in terms of size.

And it is pretty much a bigger area than the ones most the free cities control. 

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4 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

idn't the Crownlands just pulled out 30000 men out of their asses when Aerys needed it against the Rebels? 

Most of it is assorted.

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40,000

30,000 from the crownlands, Reach, riverlands, stormlands, and Vale

10,000 Dornishmen

They come from The Battle of The Bells, some from Mace Tyrell's host and Gulltown loyalists and Houses Darry and Mooton.

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5 hours ago, Brynden"Bloodraven" Rivers said:

They come from The Battle of The Bells, some from Mace Tyrell's host and Gulltown loyalists and Houses Darry and Mooton.

Welp, doesn't the text say one reason the rebels won was the inexperienced loyalist army? 

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11 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

Welp, doesn't the text say one reason the rebels won was the inexperienced loyalist army? 

Yes it does.

I think the best fighters native to Westeros are either from the Stormlands and the North. It's the hardy, martial culture of those regions.

21 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

Logically, the Crownlands should be the most densely populated area of Westeros (given its location and the presence of KL). I always tought of it as such. That George didn't bother to expand its background early on (and bases his numbers on unexpanded background), doesn't bother me too much. In real life, the Crownlands would be a pretty solid realm in terms of size.

I agree.

While being far from the richest or most fertile lands, the Crownlands should have a lot of people there. Duskendale, Spicetown and Hull should be a full-fledged cities, the island of Dragonstone should have a fairly large population and Rosby and Stokeworth should have large market towns attached to them.

But I think the reason that the Crownlands are not what they should be is because of plot. I didn't think he wanted the Iron Throne to be too strong and independent without dragons and I think he wanted both the Iron Throne and Stannis to be underdogs that were dependent on the support of the other kingdoms.

 

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27 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

I think the best fighters native to Westeros are either from the Stormlands and the North. It's the hardy, martial culture of those regions.

Agreed, the Northerners are hardened by winter and cold weather but for the Stormlands, it is only the Marcher Lords. I would argue that martial houses would also be the House Mallister, the Shields and a lot of Dorne.

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6 hours ago, BlackLightning said:

Yes it does.

I think the best fighters native to Westeros are either from the Stormlands and the North. It's the hardy, martial culture of those regions.

Well, then they were crownlanders. Meaning the Crownlands don't suck that much, I guess. 

 

6 hours ago, BlackLightning said:

I agree.

While being far from the richest or most fertile lands, the Crownlands should have a lot of people there. Duskendale, Spicetown and Hull should be a full-fledged cities, the island of Dragonstone should have a fairly large population and Rosby and Stokeworth should have large market towns attached to them.

But I think the reason that the Crownlands are not what they should be is because of plot. I didn't think he wanted the Iron Throne to be too strong and independent without dragons and I think he wanted both the Iron Throne and Stannis to be underdogs that were dependent on the support of the other kingdoms.

I mean, shouldn't everything North of Blackwater be pretty fertile? Those lands are originally Riverlands. Most things South of the river is originally de jure Stormlands, but that area is largely occupied by the Kingswood. 

Theoretically speaking, houses Hayford, Rosby, Stokeworth and Darklyn had to be the strongest crownlander vassals of the IT beside the Velaryons. Their lands are supposed to be rich, and I would bet on my head that Duskendale is the 6th biggest city in Westeros (it dealt with all the trade of Blackwater Bay before King's Landing was born). 

I mean, just look at the Velaryons. Their island is pretty damn small compared to the area the Hayfords, the Stokeworths or the Darklyns have and had, yet we are told the Velaryons prospered from the fertility of the island (an island which is only big and good when yoi compare it to Dragonstone).

Theoretically speaking, Dragonstone, Driftmark (Spicetown or/and Hull) and Duskendale should be as big as White Harbor and Gulltown. House Stokeworth, for example, had to have a really bad time the past century to be able to field only 1000 men (can anyone tell me where this is told in the books?). Falena Stokeworth, for example, was such a good contestant after Jaehaera's death (to become Queen) that someone (Unwin Peake) had to make her fell off some stairs. In comparison, Aegon V married a Blackwood, and the match wasn't seen prestigious enough, and the single reason it happened was because Egg was never expected to inherit the Throne. How many men can House Blackwood raise? Somewhere between 4-5000 can safely be assumed. And they sit on some 'rich riverland' (which theroetically should be underdeveloped and underpopulated). 

I mean, I think you get what I mean. Not to say if they lost some (or not just some), then someone had to gain from that too. In this case, this could been the Rosbys or the Hayfords. 

And if they had no downfall (of which there is no indication), then things start to get weird. Tho things get weird either way. Such as why wouldn't Tywin accepts Lady Tanda's offer to marry Lollys to Tyrion. I mean, Falyse at the time had no child, it didn't seem like she will have one either, meaning Lollys was pretty close to inherit everything anyway all the time. And then they made her marry Bronn, like, what the hell dude?

That Cersei couldn't rely on the Crownlands to feed the city doesn't mean they suck at all. Some early book backgrounds of the area were really stupid, but George seems to be want to forget that. I mean, you could say they didn't have food because the area is so densely populated, but then it makes no sense why the IT didn't raise its banners from the Crownlands to defend KL. Not to mention how stupid of an idea is defending the entirety of King's Landing. For God's sake its a medieval megapolis with half a million people, and most of these people seem to live inside the city walls. Who in their right mind would decide to defend a city this big when they could only rely on goddamn city walls that should be freaking long to be able to surround almist the entirety of KL. I mean, come on. People (and I mean nobility and the royalty) would've fallen back into serious fortifications with heavily expanded garrisons and supplies looking for skirmishes and stuff. The Red Keep is a fortification of its own, on top of Aegon's (not so tall) hill.

Again, there is just so much inconsistency about this all. I like to think the Crownlands don't suck (at all), and I will continue to do so until we are told the opposite.

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I suspect that the Lords of the Crownlands are engaging in part a deliberate policy to diminish their military strength for political gain. Like the in the RIverlands where refusal to grant charters to prospective growing towns to restrict their size the Crownlands seem to have had a similar policy in stifling the formulization of city governance as provided by a formal charter. Given that the Crownlands arguably have the most urbanized population of any region this could have serious consequences. We know Denys Darklyn sought a charter for Duskendale which probably if he'd gotten the one he wanted would have granted him economic advantages to strengthen his trade but would equally have required other less palatable concessions on topics such as self governance (a double edged sword which could have given the Darklyns more or less control over Duskendale) and rights over the organization of a town militia. Such could represent a considerable force of men particularly in a massive city like King's Landing. Yet at the same time an armed force of commoners inside your own city walls right outside your own gates would have given the urban burghers who ran the city considerable leverage over the crown. Such urban militias in the real world represented a considerable force of semi professional infantry of reasonable quality and a valuable force. Clearly the political risks in allowing such an armed force to be organized so close to his castle.

In fact their seems to be no evidence of any such urban militia in any of the cities of Westeros suggesting either deliberate policy to restrict the political capacity of urban elements or incomplete world building.

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8 hours ago, Brynden"Bloodraven" Rivers said:

Agreed, the Northerners are hardened by winter and cold weather but for the Stormlands, it is only the Marcher Lords. I would argue that martial houses would also be the House Mallister, the Shields and a lot of Dorne.

Don't forget the Vale and its need to constant police the mountain clans.

1 hour ago, Daeron the Daring said:

Well, then they were crownlanders. Meaning the Crownlands don't suck that much, I guess. 

 

That's true.

Paling in comparison to battle-hardened, desperate northmen doesn't mean that the crownlanders are weak. It just means that the northmen are strong.

3 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

That Cersei couldn't rely on the Crownlands to feed the city doesn't mean they suck at all. Some early book backgrounds of the area were really stupid, but George seems to be want to forget that. I mean, you could say they didn't have food because the area is so densely populated, but then it makes no sense why the IT didn't raise its banners from the Crownlands to defend KL.

All true.

But a lot of people tend to forget that the Crownlands were split in A Clash of Kings. Also, the Iron Throne pissed off a lot of people when they publicly executed Ned Stark like a common lowborn criminal (on the steps of arguably the most holy building in Westeros of all places) after publicly promising clemency.

I'm sure the Queen Regent send some of her banners to her father in the Riverlands...but remember, Cersei also wasted time hunting down and killing Robert's bastards. And knowing how Cersei is, she probably hogged all the ones she could get to herself in the Red Keep.

But all in all, the Iron Throne did raise its banners to defend King's Landing from Stannis.

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9 hours ago, BlackLightning said:

And knowing how Cersei is, she probably hogged all the ones she could get to herself in the Red Keep.

But we simply have nothing that indicates this. The Masseys and the other houses close to Dragonstone did gather, but we literally have no word from houses North of Blackwater, except for some petty supports by some. 

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5 hours ago, Texas Hold Em said:

The Crownlands are difficult to defend because of their location.

How so?

6 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

But we simply have nothing that indicates this. The Masseys and the other houses close to Dragonstone did gather, but we literally have no word from houses North of Blackwater, except for some petty supports by some. 

Antlers sent men to the Iron Throne and a lot of them ended up being used as cannon fodder. Literally.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Some things you have to consider for this discussion here. Firstly, we can´t compare numbers from the Dance of Dragons (respectively from the Fire and Blood Volume I.) because it is quiet clear in my opinion, that  the population raised since these  times. We see that if we compare the strenght of the armys during the Dance whith the armies during the war of the five kings. Even when considering that the factions where deeply divided during the Dance and couldnt muster their real numbers, the armies are clearly smaller. This can only be explained in my opinion, by the fact that GRRM imagined, that the pouplation of Westeros rose since the Dance, which is plausibel. This is just a general thing beacuase i saw here in this Thread many using the numbers during the Dance in the same breath as the numbvers during ASOIAF which isnt a good idea.
Regarding the strenght of the crownlands, i think the small numbers are indeed justified. You have to consider that the decline of the Targaryens since the Dance (especially their fall during Roberts Rebellion) deeply affected the wealth of the crownlands. Those houses are the most loyal to that Targaryens and since their decline, they lost a lot of wealth. If a noble house in the crownlands like the Stokeworths have many people living on their land as you argue, it means nothing if they have not the wealth and power to arm and muster them. Especially houses as the Valeryons had obviously a steep decline since the Targaryen Era, they are today just a shadow of their past. Monford Valeryons ships are just a part of Stannis fleet, back then, the Valeryon fleet made the bulk of royal fleet.
And the last thing you must consider!!!!!! is that you cant argue whith the number of people living in cities. Those people cant be called to arms during medival times because the lords had no power over them. The Gold Cloaks are all voluntaries, like the city watches of other cities like Odtwon or Lennisport. If Kngslanding really could arm just a tenth of their populations the crownlands had huge armies (if Duskendale etc. could do the same), but arming the city population wasnt possible in medival times because the lords couldnt control these men. This is the core to the answer why the crwonlands are inferior in millitary strenth because most of the people there living in cities and not on farmlands. The farmers can be called by their lords, the people of flee bottom cant.

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On 1/9/2022 at 3:34 PM, Ser_Balon_Swann said:

The farmers can be called by their lords, the people of flee bottom cant.

The people of Flea Bottom can be called, however, by their king.

On 1/9/2022 at 3:34 PM, Ser_Balon_Swann said:

If Kngslanding really could arm just a tenth of their populations the crownlands had huge armies (if Duskendale etc. could do the same), but arming the city population wasnt possible in medival times because the lords couldnt control these men.

Not true. Not true at all.

Oldtown is the second-largest city in Westeros and the Hightowers field men from their city all of the time.

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On 1/9/2022 at 10:34 PM, Ser_Balon_Swann said:

And the last thing you must consider!!!!!! is that you cant argue whith the number of people living in cities. Those people cant be called to arms during medival times because the lords had no power over them.

Actually, they could be. The reason why most soldiers were not from the city is that professional soldiers in the Middle Ages had to live off the land... which generally meant rural areas. Also, some 80% to 90% of people lived in the countryside. But cities fielded militias which were very well drilled, and would (and did) send soldiers when king requested them. In fact, you have outright contracts which state "this city will give X soldiers in time of need". To use Croatia as an example, in 1224. king Andrew II. required the city of Klokoč in Gorice Duchy to send Royal Army 15 armored knights (loricatos) and 200 infantrymen (pedites). Later, around 1440s, city of Šibenik had 87 soldiers, of which 64 crossbowmen and 3 pikemen.

That being said...

On 1/9/2022 at 10:34 PM, Ser_Balon_Swann said:

If Kngslanding really could arm just a tenth of their populations

Arming and training a tenth of population is pretty much impossible for a medieval society, even a city. If you look at my Šibenik example, 87 soldiers would have been between 1% and 5% of total population, considering the likely size of the city.

Edited by Aldarion
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On 1/10/2022 at 11:55 PM, BlackLightning said:

The people of Flea Bottom can be called, however, by their king.

Thats not how feudalism works. ASOIAF may be fictional but it is based on european medival feudal system. The capability of a lord to call his vassals is bounded on the exchange that the vassals can live and harvest on the land of the lord. This doesnt apply to the inhabitants of a city because they have no feudal connection to the lords. A king or a lord can call the people of a city to arms and many will probably follow as volunteers, with force, a lord may even press those people into the army. But he cant call them like a liege lord.

 

On 1/10/2022 at 11:55 PM, BlackLightning said:

Oldtown is the second-largest city in Westeros and the Hightowers field men from their city all of the time.

I think that is nowhere stated in the canon. Yes the Hightowers are mighty because of trade etc. and they not only control the city but also vast areas of land around them. The Hightowers can maintain a city guard which is consisted of the population of the city, but those are paid volunteers whith the purpose to guard the city and maintain order, not to fight a campaign somewhere else.

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The Crownlands actually don't suck. They played a pretty big role historically ... that they don't for most of the main series so far might have to do with the fact that they were traditionally Targaryen loyalists - which would explain why Robert didn't really rely much of them.

Even more importantly, the Lannisters are hated in KL since the Sack, meaning Tywin and Cersei have even less reason to rely on the levies of the Crownlanders than Robert before them.

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