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Immediate consequences of Jon's betrayal of the NW


Rondo
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Jon's opponents aren't interested in maintaining Nights Watch neutrality.  They too, have picked a side, namely the Lannisters and the Boltons.  They'd readily assume the position, the moment that Roose Bolton or Cersei told them to.

Neutrality is no longer an option, given the War of the Five Kings.  It ceased to be an option, once they accepted Stannis' aid, and provided him with food and shelter.  

 

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On 8/14/2022 at 5:30 PM, Rondo said:

The Wildlings do not count.  The sworn brothers of the watch will be unanimous in their support of Bowen Marsh.  A staunch friend of Jon, Samwell, would have turned his back on Jon after what he revealed in the meeting.

I think this is hilariously inaccurate. The Wildings OUT NUMBER the Watch. Of course they count, because if you didn't account for them and you killed someone they deem a leader... you are in trouble. Additionally, thinking the watch is unanimous in any way what so ever is foolish. There are multiple factions. GRRM goes into detail about this recently in the story, there was this election...

 

Oh, funniest of all. Samwell. Sam loved Jon so much he swore his oath to Jons Gods.

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2 hours ago, SeanF said:

Jon's opponents aren't interested in maintaining Nights Watch neutrality.  They too, have picked a side, namely the Lannisters and the Boltons.  They'd readily assume the position, the moment that Roose Bolton or Cersei told them to.

Neutrality is no longer an option, given the War of the Five Kings.  It ceased to be an option, once they accepted Stannis' aid, and provided him with food and shelter.  

 

Not to mention the Lannisters intended to interfere with the Night's Watch themselves since Tywin refused to help the Watch unless Slynt was named Lord Commander and Cersei intended to send Osney Kettleblack to assassinate Jon.

Speaking of which, why didn't Tyrion have Slynt killed like he did Allar Deem?

Edited by Angel Eyes
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56 minutes ago, Northern Sword said:

I think this is hilariously inaccurate. The Wildings OUT NUMBER the Watch. Of course they count, because if you didn't account for them and you killed someone they deem a leader... you are in trouble. Additionally, thinking the watch is unanimous in any way what so ever is foolish. There are multiple factions. GRRM goes into detail about this recently in the story, there was this election...

 

Oh, funniest of all. Samwell. Sam loved Jon so much he swore his oath to Jons Gods.

When the current conflict is resolved the wildlings will likely be the only ones who count at all at the Wall. Marsh and his watch are dead men walking. FTW's timing was catastrophic and ultimately suicidal. It almost makes one wonder if there wasn't an invisible hand pushing events along because one would have to think that with his full faculties Marsh would have been intelligent enough to realize how dangerous he was making an already delicate situation by removing the only member of the the watch that the hundreds of wildlings south of the wall expressed any respect or fealty towards.

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11 minutes ago, sifth said:

Still not sure how Jon was suppose to stay neutral, when the Warden of the North and his heir are psychopaths and enjoy murdering, torturing and killing others, just for their own sick amusement. Peace is only possible with reasonable people.

It's like Dany and the Slavers.  I do think the author is making the point, in both Dany's and Jon's arcs, that there are some people you just can't have peace with, because it means allowing them to victimise innocents.

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10 hours ago, SeanF said:

Jon's opponents aren't interested in maintaining Nights Watch neutrality.  They too, have picked a side, namely the Lannisters and the Boltons.  They'd readily assume the position, the moment that Roose Bolton or Cersei told them to.

Neutrality is no longer an option, given the War of the Five Kings.  It ceased to be an option, once they accepted Stannis' aid, and provided him with food and shelter. 

Stannis showing up certainly was a big problem ... but it only became really ugly once they actively sided with the man. The Watch is dependent on the Realm for its existence, so their neutrality was never really neutrality but a dependent neutrality ... dependent on the guy(s) in charge. They have to suck up to him/them. And they always did to some degree.

Expecting that Marsh should oppose Ramsay if he actually crushed Stannis and his allies is ludicrous. It would mean the end of the Watch. It is nearly as stupid to support a Stannis who is most obviously doomed. Yes, in the short run he might help them, but what is that help worth if he dies and his enemies then decide that the Watch are traitors like he was?

We can imagine how things would have gone for the Watch if Rhaenyra or Aegon II had sought shelter there during the Dance, to return to the righting and lose thereafter ... the victorious side wouldn't have looked kindly on the Watch. Ditto with a Blackfyre pretender being offered shelter up there to recover and come back to haunt the Realm again.

It is well and good to stay out of the fighting for a throne. That the Watch should do. But try to appease and have good connections to the most powerful faction in a civil war is never a bad idea. The Watch cannot posssibly to go down with a doomed pretender like Stannis. That would be the ultimate betrayal of their mission.

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4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Stannis showing up certainly was a big problem ... but it only became really ugly once they actively sided with the man. The Watch is dependent on the Realm for its existence, so their neutrality was never really neutrality but a dependent neutrality ... dependent on the guy(s) in charge. They have to suck up to him/them. And they always did to some degree.

Expecting that Marsh should oppose Ramsay if he actually crushed Stannis and his allies is ludicrous. It would mean the end of the Watch. It is nearly as stupid to support a Stannis who is most obviously doomed. Yes, in the short run he might help them, but what is that help worth if he dies and his enemies then decide that the Watch are traitors like he was?

We can imagine how things would have gone for the Watch if Rhaenyra or Aegon II had sought shelter there during the Dance, to return to the righting and lose thereafter ... the victorious side wouldn't have looked kindly on the Watch. Ditto with a Blackfyre pretender being offered shelter up there to recover and come back to haunt the Realm again.

It is well and good to stay out of the fighting for a throne. That the Watch should do. But try to appease and have good connections to the most powerful faction in a civil war is never a bad idea. The Watch cannot posssibly to go down with a doomed pretender like Stannis. That would be the ultimate betrayal of their mission.

The Watch was never in any position to refuse anything to Stannis, something Jon understood only too well but that Marsh and the others refused to see, they owed him for saving them from the Wildlings and he was the one holding Mance prisonner, not counting the large difference in numbers and miliary equipement and discipline between the NW and Stannis' army. 

Not counting that the Lannisters themselves didn't give a shit about the Watch's neutrality and were already planning to violate it with Tywin refusing any help unless Janos Slynt was made Lord Commander, and Cersei planning to murder Jon. 

The Night Watch's neutrality policy was already long doomed.

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The Watch could not refuse Stannis or he would remove them by force. Stannis' army outnumbers the Watch's fighting men. I don't like his interference but there was nothing the Watch could do about it. Either they acquiesced or Stannis would choose their Lord Commander and take their castles by force. This scenario would make them much more Stannis' bannermen than they are now.

Staying neutral with Ramsay is also impossible because neither Jon nor anyone else at the Watch has a way to fulfill the demands of the letter. 

Cersei could have sent men to kill Jon even without the coerced sheltering of Stannis. She doesn't like bastards or Eddard. And as others have pointed out the Lannisters were already interfering in the Watch's affairs.

The Watch's neutrality was broken but it wasn't by Jon. It goes both ways. The forces of the Seven Kingdoms have to also respect the rules of the Watch, otherwise it is simply impossible for the watch to remain neutral. Stannis broke the Watch's neutrality, not Jon.

Admittedly Jon didn't have to go the extra mile and give Stannis additional advice. I wouldn't've done that (but I am quite biased).

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6 minutes ago, sifth said:

Not entirely sure how giving Ramsay everything on his list of demands...............some of which Marsh doesn't even have, is staying neutral. In fact that's the very definition of taking sides. Taking sides with a psychopath at that.

That's a good point and something I overlooked. I was thinking more in terms of avoiding Ramsay's attack as staying neutral. But giving into his demands, which cannot be fulfilled anyway, is also not staying neutral. The most neutral thing to do would probably be to ignore the letter, which they can't do because it stipulates that if they don't follow the terms they will be attacked. Really the only thing the Watch can do to remain neutral at this point is to get rid of themselves...and even that isn't neutral because they would join the Others unless all the bodies were burned. Through no fault of their own the Watch can no longer keep to their vow of neutrality because every single party in the area has seen fit to ignore it.

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12 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

Through no fault of their own the Watch can no longer keep to their vow of neutrality because every single party in the area has seen fit to ignore it.

It's a tricky situation. From my understanding the NW is only fit to be slaves of every kingdom in Westeros or it's overlord dictator. With out neutrality means theyre playing the game themselves, and the game famously has no middle ground 

I also don't really understand how CB was neutral for thousands of years with hundreds of random kingdoms and now the idea is just a non starter

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20 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Let's not pretend that he doesn't take hostages for good behaviour and send wildlings to garrison the deserted castles.  There is a plan of action and it's aim is that the wildlings give assurances of good conduct and/or assist the NW.

The hostage situation is laughable. They are taking this model from how a lord ensures the loyalty of lesser lords but these aren't noble borns, being sent as hostage to another household ensure a lord goodwill and to educate him to follow his liegelord. These hostages are still at Castle Black, where the wildlings outnumber the NW 10 to 1, same as everywhere else, and that disparity is only growing as Jon's plans continue. The idea doesn't work if the households you are sending the hostage too are no different from the households you are taking them from. The foodshortages are at play at Castle Black as well, as well the inability to hold all these wildlings as well as Stannis' men. And when you are migrating an entire people there really is no guarantee how many people have family members available to take as hostages to begin with. Like you say below it's a refugee crisis, it's not gonna have a one size fits all solution to every group that passes through the wall because there is no structure to those groups.

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The Weeper has not agreed to Jon's terms and been let through The Wall.  His response was to send back the eyes of the rangers sent to offer the terms.

I assume that's a typo on the numbers in his raiding party but the raiders don't lead armies they lead bands of several hundred.  Harma Dogshead and Rattleshirt are both dead, The Weeper north of The Wall.  I can't think of any other raider or any south of The Wall.

You're right on the paltry number the NW now musters.  It's why Jon is keen to work with Stannis and to secure Tormund / Mance for leadership of The Wildings so their numbers are boosted.

Maybe it wasn't a typo after all.  How many Wildlings do you think there are?  The raiders were never very many in number and the vast majority of wildlings are just simple folk managing a subsistence living by whatever means they can. They are the free folk not an army of orcs.  It might help to consider the situation a refugee crisis rather than analogous to tens of thousands of Dothraki screamers scorching the earth throughout the North.  Just look at how easily Stannis defeated Mance's "army" with a couple of thousand, or how Mormont intended to face them with 300 rangers.

They are nowhere near as many as you make out and are mostly non-combatants.

 

Yet, the Weeper had not been let through the Wall yet. The negotations not going so well so far had done little to change Jon's mind about the pros and cons of letting the Weepers people stay north of the Wall. 

Harma, Rattleshirt and the Weeper are just the named characters. You expect GRRM to put a name to every single person? 

Stannis's men are by an large simple folk too. The Seven Kingdoms do not have a standing military. They just levy the grown fighting men from their farmers, fishers et al. They don't let the women into their ranks though, where with wildlings everyone is allowed to carry a spear if they can. 

The people of King's Landing that stay behind when the kings send out armies to fight wars are non-combatants too but when they get hungry they kill Kingsguard and dragons. You pretend I am making them out to be a army of orcs but you have to be holding the wildlings up to a higher moral standard then any other people in ASOIAF to not consider them capable killing a few thieves when they get hungry because they promised Jon they wouldn't.

The difference between Stannis' thousands and the Wildlings were being better rested, better fed, better armoured and having a cavalry charge. But when the wildlings that outnumber you are in your stables, armouries, messhalls and you have been starving and resting together the exact same place those differences disappear but the Wildlings will never stop outnumbering the NW, nor ever become a part of them. Castle Black is not a castle. It's just a bunch of buildings that aren't allowed to be properly fortified. They can't keep an entire folk of people out of vital areas. They can't longterm keep the hostages seperate from other wildlings short of locking them in cells day and night which they won't. The Wall was the only defensive measure the NW is afforded and Jon's toll for giving that up was not that high. 

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Mance is absolutely a deserter and oathbreaker.  He is also The King beyond The Wall and the one person who can bind The Wildlings together and, to an extent, enforce discipline and a common purpose.  Stannis may say that laws should be made of iron not of pudding but if ever there was a reason for a stay of execution / grant of clemency / presidential pardon if the guilty man agrees to co-operate then this is it.

You'll note I deliberately reference real world systems of justice where the sentence or verdict written in law can be set aside if the circumstances are deemed to warrant it. It's my view that this is clearly the case here. 

Executing Mance, rejecting Stannis, leaving the wildlings north of The Wall to die: these are all small-minded, rigid decisions that miss the bigger picture and the adaptability needed to surmount this crisis.  Hold your nose if you want but "needs must".

 

Sure, but that's not what Jon did. Letting Mance go, free south of the Gift to rescue his own family member is not making use of Mance's position. It's a clandestine operation to serve Jon's personal ends at the cost of the realm of men he decided he does not like. It's nuts that Jon lets Ramsay describe the situation to his men through a letter he reads and nothing else.

Edited by Denam_Pavel
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26 minutes ago, Hugorfonics said:

It's a tricky situation. From my understanding the NW is only fit to be slaves of every kingdom in Westeros or it's overlord dictator. With out neutrality means theyre playing the game themselves, and the game famously has no middle ground 

I also don't really understand how CB was neutral for thousands of years with hundreds of random kingdoms and now the idea is just a non starter

It doesn't make sense. Are we to believe that in the thousands of years the Watch has existed, that there were no other Kings in the North/Lords of Winterfell, who were madmen who felt they have free rein to do anything they wanted with their realm? I mean, maybe they all conveniently choose to ignore The Wall............because reasons.

Edited by sifth
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1 hour ago, Hugorfonics said:

It's a tricky situation. From my understanding the NW is only fit to be slaves of every kingdom in Westeros or it's overlord dictator. With out neutrality means theyre playing the game themselves, and the game famously has no middle ground 

I also don't really understand how CB was neutral for thousands of years with hundreds of random kingdoms and now the idea is just a non starter

1 hour ago, sifth said:

It doesn't make sense. Are we to believe that in the thousands of years the Watch has existed, that there were no other Kings in the North/Lords of Winterfell, who were madmen who felt they have free rein to do anything they wanted with their realm? I mean, maybe they all conveniently choose to ignore The Wall............because reasons.

Yeah I have no idea what's going on with this either to be honest. Maybe it's because the Night's Watch was much stronger in the past so the Lords thought it was more trouble that it was worth to try and use them as Stannis and the Lannisters did? Maybe because there was no unified realm? At the time of the Conquest the Watch numbered 10,000 men. The North, the only kingdom that's really near, can raise I think 45,000 men max. It's hard to tell with the harsh winters whether the North saw any significant population growth but even being generous with their estimate the NW at that time commanded roughly a quarter of the men they did. Maybe they thought it was just a little too much to bother with? Though I still think a power-hungry King of Winter would have tried something. But we don't even hear of anything similar happening before. As far as I'm aware no one seems to have tried to assassinate the Lord Commander either or meddled in the politics of the Night's Watch before which is strange...

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5 hours ago, Terrorthatflapsinthenight9 said:

 Not counting that the Lannisters themselves didn't give a shit about the Watch's neutrality and were already planning to violate it with Tywin refusing any help unless Janos Slynt was made Lord Commander, and Cersei planning to murder Jon. 

The Night Watch's neutrality policy was already long doomed.

Who cares about that? At the Watch they don't know any of that ... and even if they did, common sense means Stannis is doomed, which means they might be doomed as well if they are viewed as his allies.

Teaming up with him may mean small success in the short run and death in the long run.

Tywin not supporting the Watch isn't a real betrayal considering how the general state of the Realm was at that point. He had more pressing concerns. And strangely enough ... Cersei planning to murder Jon Snow is actually justified considering how Jon plots against the Lannister allies in the North.

3 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

Staying neutral with Ramsay is also impossible because neither Jon nor anyone else at the Watch has a way to fulfill the demands of the letter. 

That is a non-issue since we can reasonably assume that Ramsay might be satisfied by Jon doing his best to deliver the people in his list to him. He might not fault him for not producing folks he doesn't have at that point. Although if the Pink Letter were true Jeyne and Theon might actually be on their way to the Wall right now, so Jon could have had them by the time Ramsay and his army showed up at the Wall.

3 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

Cersei could have sent men to kill Jon even without the coerced sheltering of Stannis. She doesn't like bastards or Eddard. And as others have pointed out the Lannisters were already interfering in the Watch's affairs.

That is kind of a moot point. The Realm isn't obliged to stay out of the affairs of the Watch. They serve at the pleasure of the kings and lords of the Seven Kingdoms, not the other way around.

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32 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

Yeah I have no idea what's going on with this either to be honest. Maybe it's because the Night's Watch was much stronger in the past so the Lords thought it was more trouble that it was worth to try and use them as Stannis and the Lannisters did? Maybe because there was no unified realm? At the time of the Conquest the Watch numbered 10,000 men. The North, the only kingdom that's really near, can raise I think 45,000 men max. It's hard to tell with the harsh winters whether the North saw any significant population growth but even being generous with their estimate the NW at that time commanded roughly a quarter of the men they did. Maybe they thought it was just a little too much to bother with? Though I still think a power-hungry King of Winter would have tried something. But we don't even hear of anything similar happening before. As far as I'm aware no one seems to have tried to assassinate the Lord Commander either or meddled in the politics of the Night's Watch before which is strange...

In the long ago times I think the LC was probably dictator of the realms, and probably under no obligation to be neutral. I believe some people got irritated from this situation and left the NW to what it is now, as @Lord Varys correctly summarizes 

12 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The Realm isn't obliged to stay out of the affairs of the Watch. They serve at the pleasure of the kings and lords of the Seven Kingdoms, not the other way around.

(Also while this person may have been a Stark (everyone seemed to be) he also may have been southron. The Watch is a Westerosi institution, not strictly a Northern one.)

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1 minute ago, Lord Varys said:

That is a non-issue since we can reasonably assume that Ramsay might be satisfied by Jon doing his best to deliver the people in his list to him.

I'm going to have to disagree here. Ramsay is a maniac, he is one of the least easy to satisfy people in the series.

Even if Jon had all the people and delivered them straight to him I think he still might have wanted Jon dead. I always got the impression that he hated Jon or was very jealous of him because he was also a bastard and made Ramsay feel insecure about his own status. Now obviously Roose would probably do his best to keep him in line. But I don't think Ramsay would be satisfied until Jon was dead if he felt slighted. Which I believe he would if Jon could not fulfill his demands to the letter, and even then...

8 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

That is kind of a moot point. The Realm isn't obliged to stay out of the affairs of the Watch. They serve at the pleasure of the kings and lords of the Seven Kingdoms, not the other way around.

What I was trying to say is that it may have been hard for Jon to keep away from the affairs of the realm even without the Stannis situation, because Cersei due to her dislike of Starks and bastards might have decided to kill Jon anyway, even without his sheltering of Stannis. Though this may be an unlikely scenario.

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