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How Long Does Bowen Marsh have Left to Live?


Craving Peaches

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What choice did Jon have regarding Stannis. He did not have the manpower to expel Stannis and his forces. And in the act of expelling Stannis and his forces he would in fact be taking a side. IMO the only thing he did that is actually breaking an oath is sending Mance after Arya. Everything else he did or was going to do was justified and within his rights.

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13 hours ago, SeanF said:

The vow is to defend the realms of men.

I should think a Lord Commander has considerable leeway in how he interprets that.  He can judge that leaving the wildlings to be claimed by the Others, is against that vow.  He can judge that Stannis has the legal right, and is more competent than the Boltons, to defend the realms of men.

Well, if we are giving him the leeway to interpret that to benefit a more extensive approach, what gives us the right to deny Bowen Marsh and other more reactionary members their more legalist approach? At the end of the day, just like irl, you can argue for both interpretations, since law doesn't act by itself and needs people to interpret it, but exactly because of that you can't point the finger at Marsh and say that he did wrong, because by a very valid interpretation of the oath which isn't that uncommon (its not like he's the only night's watch unhappy with the wildlings about) what Jon did qualifies as a breaking of vows. 

12 hours ago, KingEuronGreyjoy said:

What choice did Jon have regarding Stannis. He did not have the manpower to expel Stannis and his forces. And in the act of expelling Stannis and his forces he would in fact be taking a side. IMO the only thing he did that is actually breaking an oath is sending Mance after Arya. Everything else he did or was going to do was justified and within his rights.

Regarding Stannis and his forces yeah he had no choice, i think a serious legal analysis of his station would see him as being forced to comply and thus exhume him of his crime, then again i don't know how developed is northerner sense of due legal process.

But even if we admit that not taking military action against Stannis could be forgiven, the mingling with Wildlings, the help given to Stannis and the rescue of "Arya" certainly cannot, now you might argue like Sean that guarding the realms of men do not mean leaving the wildlings to the others, and it could be argued as such, but as i said its one of many valid interpretations, because law is complicated like that, if even today when we have advanced so much in legalist tought there are debates over what a law means imagine in the time it was mostly custom. 

So, the way i see it, there could be plenty of interpretations that could lead to Jon's actions regarding the wildlings as treasonous, and i will focus on two rn: 

I - Guarding the realms of men means protecting the seven kingdoms against the wildlings, and i do not mean that it became like that necessarily, i think that, with time and bad blood building up between the two groups, the watch ended up considering the wildlings the only threat to the realms of men and the guarding against them their only or main obligation, at least it does seem that way because the Others have been away for a long time, and most of the watch doesn't seem to believe or know about them until they start coming back in the books. 

II - Guarding the realms of men means protecting the general from threats outside the wall in general, well, by that interpretation you have a big problem: Stannis just allowed thousands of wildlings, who marched south with the express intent of seizing land for themselves, to cross the Wall into the barely defended North, since most of the levies have gone off to war. Now, sure Stannis asked for oaths and deserters get punished, but we all know that desertions happen regardless and that oaths mean piss and less in a bad situation, which is exactly what the wildlings are in, we are told that the free folk won't respect Stannis and their ways are simply too different, i think no one would be surprised if many free folk are already deserting and doing banditry in the north as we speak, in fact i would be surprised if they didn't.

So, by two interpretations which aren't even that difficult to pass, Jon failed his duty by allowing wildlings through the Wall and into the Watch. Now, one might argue that he shouldn't be punished because he "Had no choice", and i agree, he did a calculation of forces and saw he had no way to oust Stannis, altough with the wildlings situation he had a personal stake because of his feelings for them, but we must remember that we live in a world of oaths, chilvary and honor, the Night's Watch is a sworn brotherhood with heavy paralels to religious orders such as the Knights Teuton or Knights Templar, even if nowadays they are mostly fallen from grace and composed of thieves, they have in their history great names such as Lord Bloodraven and other knights who came North to protect the realm, hell, they had the Old Bear until just recently, Benjamin Stark too and a minor lordling of the Vale, it surely has some prestige and pride in itself.

Is it really that difficult to believe that members of such a group who have all the incentives to hate the wildlings would prefer a more legalist approach that paints Jon as a traitor? I don't think it is, and they aren't even on the wrong technically, because we don't have access to "precedent" on how the Night's Watch would decide on that issue, so their interpretation is as valid as jon's.

In conclusion, i stand by what i say: by laws and customs of the watch, Marsh and the traitors are at the very least on par with Jon in their "treason". 

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