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Would the Essos Storyline be more interesting if the Villains had more Depth?


Craving Peaches

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1 minute ago, SeanF said:

Or attack Meereen in conjunction with all the rest of the coalition members.

What I expect the Volantenes would offer Hizdahr, had he remained in power, was that he rule Meereen as their client king, so long as the population were returned to slavery, and prominent freedmen and shavepates were handed over to them for execution.

Would Hizdahr, the Green Grace, Reznak & co. take that offer?  They'd grab it with both hands.

How would he accomplish it? Hizdahr barely has any authority as King at the moment, as we see it after Dany's death. He is surrounded by men who will kill him in a heartbeat when his betrayal comes to light.

Besides, the sellswords the Yunkish hired wanted to sack the city.

It is in his interest that Dany wins so that he can slowly build up his power (e.g. filling up Brazen Beasts with his own men) and maybe depose her in a few years. 

 

Such a deal was maybe possible after Dany's disappearance - because he recognised that the former slaves won't accept him as their leader - but not before it.

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20 minutes ago, csuszka1948 said:

How would he accomplish it? Hizdahr barely has any authority as King at the moment, as we see it after Dany's death. He is surrounded by men who will kill him in a heartbeat when his betrayal comes to light.

Besides, the sellswords the Yunkish hired wanted to sack the city.

It is in his interest that Dany wins so that he can slowly build up his power (e.g. filling up Brazen Beasts with his own men) and maybe depose her in a few years. 

 

Such a deal was maybe possible after Dany's disappearance - because he recognised that the former slaves won't accept him as their leader - but not before it.

They city might still be sacked, or failing that, be required to pay a massive indemnity to the invaders.  But, that indemnity could be paid in human coin.  There are still 80,000 freedmen from Astapor and Yunkai who made it to the city.

There are risks for the Meereenese masters, but the advantage is that if they succeed, they need never worry about a slave uprising again.  

It could be a very hard fight, but with Volantis' forces added to the rest, and the Harpies fighting from within, the advantage must lie with the slavers.

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1 hour ago, csuszka1948 said:

They called upon the Volantene when they were sure that it will come to war, because there was no indication that Dany is willing to compromise. Due to the lack of communication between the Volantene and the Yunkish, they cannot recall them now.

 

I am not talking about Yezzan, but about Yurkhaz, who was the undeniable leader of their army. The Shavepate (who was probably familiar with him) said that he wanted peace - and he said it knowing about the Volantene fleet - and there is no reason to assume he lied.

 

Once the Volantene arrive, they can attack Dany alone or make their own peace with her.

 
“The Yunkishmen. The envoy they sent to woo Volantis…wishes us to be the fourth and offers twice what Myr was paying us, plus a slave for every man in the company, ten for every officer, and a hundred choice maidens all for me.”
“That would require thousands of slaves. Where the do the Yunkishmen expect to find so many?”
“In Meereen.” - A Dance with Dragons - The Lost Lord
If Yunkai was so genuine with their peace offer how would they pay their sell swords then, since they promised them slaves from Meereen (i.e. to enslave Dany's people) ?
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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

They city might still be sacked, or failing that, be required to pay a massive indemnity to the invaders.  But, that indemnity could be paid in human coin.  There are still 80,000 freedmen from Astapor and Yunkai who made it to the city.

There are risks for the Meereenese masters, but the advantage is that if they succeed, they need never worry about a slave uprising again.  

It could be a very hard fight, but with Volantis' forces added to the rest, and the Harpies fighting from within, the advantage must lie with the slavers.

This 

The slavers inside are in limited danger we are told specificaly there are family links between all the major slaver houses around slavers bay , they are holded up in their pyramids and we know they have their own muscle(harpies who are probably mainly ex gladiators). They have conducted a shadow war with impunity and now outside the walls is a seemingly unbeatable force to bring things back to 'normal'  . Then they have   80k or so freedmen to be sold back into slavery (on a market whos prices are prob temp hugely up due to dany stopping 2 of the main slave training hubs for months)  and there may even be an off chance to subdue and sell some actual dragons!!

Riskwise the war seems all but won word sems.to be spreading into and out of the city so they know whats comming !! 20-30k yunkish slave troops ( even with some in stupid outfits), new ghis 36k legionares ,1k or so of high quality slinger and crossbow merc specalists, 6 trebuchets, 100 war elephants, a quartheeen  camel corps , a dothraki khalassar maybe/possibly  on route , 500+ warships  with marines, a combined 4k plus sellswords seemingly on their side too!! With a 5th column inside the city gates and the resistanc being held together by an old man. Youd be hard pressed to face that down with many forces from westeros let alone  the forces inside (seemingly 9k unsullied at most, 500  stormcrows , a few half trained knights and 20k or so green freedmen!)

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15 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Frederick Douglass would disagree with you on the justness of low-paying but voluntary wage labor as a replacement for slave labor.

Btw, this is what he says about wages

Experience demonstrates that there may be a wages of slavery only a little less galling and crushing in its effects than chattle slavery, and that this slavery of wages must go down with the other.

So yeah, I think he would agree with me that the situation in which the freed men in Meereen were hired sucks.

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4 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

This 

The slavers inside are in limited danger we are told specificaly there are family links between all the major slaver houses around slavers bay , they are holded up in their pyramids and we know they have their own muscle(harpies who are probably mainly ex gladiators). They have conducted a shadow war with impunity and now outside the walls is a seemingly unbeatable force to bring things back to 'normal'  . Then they have   80k or so freedmen to be sold back into slavery (on a market whos prices are prob temp hugely up due to dany stopping 2 of the main slave training hubs for months)  and there may even be an off chance to subdue and sell some actual dragons!!

Riskwise the war seems all but won word sems.to be spreading into and out of the city so they know whats comming !! 20-30k yunkish slave troops ( even with some in stupid outfits), new ghis 36k legionares ,1k or so of high quality slinger and crossbow merc specalists, 6 trebuchets, 100 war elephants, a quartheeen  camel corps , a dothraki khalassar maybe/possibly  on route , 500+ warships  with marines, a combined 4k plus sellswords seemingly on their side too!! With a 5th column inside the city gates and the resistanc being held together by an old man. Youd be hard pressed to face that down with many forces from westeros let alone  the forces inside (seemingly 9k unsullied at most, 500  stormcrows , a few half trained knights and 20k or so green freedmen!)

The defenders of cities do enjoy some big advantages over the attackers, (egs the Siege of Zaragoza or Stalingrad) but that’s partly offset by the 5th column, in touch with the attackers.

One advantage for the defenders is that while the attackers have a huge advantage in numbers, they have to encircle a vast city.  While they have some knowledge of siegecraft, it’s not on a par with that of the Romans, who could bottle up defenders with their ditches and ramparts.    The defenders can sally out at any point, with a local numerical advantage, and destroy some of the trebuchets, or supplies for example.

And that’s why it’s so important for Ser Barristan and the Shavepate to attack.  They know Volantis is on its way.  The Volantenes probably have Unsullied, as well as Tigers, in their ranks.  None of the defenders know how close Volantis is to revolt, or that the Ironborn are at hand.

They do know, however, that the Windblown are disaffected, and that dysentery has taken hold among the besiegers.  They do have a chance to inflict real harm on the besiegers, and a good commander takes that chance.

Incidentally, while Dany made mistakes, I think her judgement was sound, to wait for the enemy behind the walls, rather than confront them in the field.  The besiegers are now camped in a plague spot, among groves of burned olive trees, and at the end of their lines of supply.

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6 hours ago, SeanF said:

They city might still be sacked, or failing that, be required to pay a massive indemnity to the invaders.  But, that indemnity could be paid in human coin.  There are still 80,000 freedmen from Astapor and Yunkai who made it to the city.

There are risks for the Meereenese masters, but the advantage is that if they succeed, they need never worry about a slave uprising again.  

It could be a very hard fight, but with Volantis' forces added to the rest, and the Harpies fighting from within, the advantage must lie with the slavers.

 
 
 
 
 

Why would the sellswords care who is 'master' and who is 'slave' when they sack the city?

What guarantees that the Brazen Beasts and the freedmen in the city seeing the Unsullied defeated in the battlefield don't turn against the nobles and massacre them (as they will be probably to in AWOW, at Shakaz' orders while Barristan is fighting outside), that the noble child hostages aren't killed as reitaliation?

How would the Meereenese masters know that the Yunkai keep to their words instead of installing one of their own as a leader? 

 

It is an insanely risky proposition. The majority of slavemasters would rather keep the current status quo after gaining serious concessions from Dany than risking the chaos of a brutal sack, this was the entire point of their 'shadow war'. If they really wanted the city sacked, why did they try to achieve a compromise with Dany at all? They could have just waited quietly, secretly negotiating with the Yunkai and staging an uprising on the day of the battle.

 

In particular, what does Hizdahr gain from re-installing slavery and risking his own neck in the process? He is in a very advantageous social position now as Dany's husband and his main source of profit and enjoyment are fighting pits, which have been reopened. It would be absolutely stupid from his part to give up this position.

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6 hours ago, Oana_Mika said:
 
“The Yunkishmen. The envoy they sent to woo Volantis…wishes us to be the fourth and offers twice what Myr was paying us, plus a slave for every man in the company, ten for every officer, and a hundred choice maidens all for me.”
“That would require thousands of slaves. Where the do the Yunkishmen expect to find so many?”
“In Meereen.” - A Dance with Dragons - The Lost Lord
If Yunkai was so genuine with their peace offer how would they pay their sell swords then, since they promised them slaves from Meereen (i.e. to enslave Dany's people) ?
 
 
 

This was an offer specifically made to the Golden Company, by far the best and largest sellsword company in the world.

Have you seen the Golden Company in Meereen? Because I didn't. If they were on the side of the Yunkai, they wouldn't bother making peace, because they would be much more confident in their victory (even with the potential threat of dragons) and would know they can't cross the GC.

 

As far as I know, the sellswords who are actually with Yunkai didn't receive such contract. The Second Sons and the Windblown choose the side they deemed winning, and Bloodbeard, the leader of the Company of the Cat was reportedly disappointed when peace was achieved, because he was looking forward to sack Meereen. This means he was paid in gold in his contract (not by promises of slaves) and hoped to gain additional riches by sacking the city,

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5 minutes ago, csuszka1948 said:

This was an offer specifically made to the Golden Company, by far the best and largest sellsword company in the world.

Have you seen the Golden Company in Meereen? Because I didn't. If they were on the side of the Yunkai, they wouldn't bother making peace, because they would be much more confident in their victory (even with the potential threat of dragons) and would know they can't cross the GC.

 

As far as I know, the sellswords who are actually with Yunkai didn't receive such contract. The Second Sons and the Windblown choose the side they deemed winning, and Bloodbeard, the leader of the Company of the Cat was reportedly disappointed when peace was achieved, because he was looking forward to sack Meereen. This means he was paid in gold in his contract (not by promises of slaves) and hoped to gain additional riches by sacking the city,

I would expect the envoys would have made a similar pitch to the Triararchs.

The cost of the armada would be gigantic, and they would want it to be reimbursed by the Meereenese.

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Just to be clear: I am saying that the peace was real BEFORE Yurkhaz's death and Dany's disappearance.

This event changed everything: the 'warmongerers' became the leading voice among the Yunkai and Hizdahr, a known coward with no support among the freedmen and the Unsullied became the official leader of the Meereenese. The Shavepate was right that he would have probably tried to open the gates once he heard about the arrival of the Volantene* and they had to coup him, even though he was not the poisoner (it was likely the Shavepate).

 

*again, why would Yurkhaz bother making a 'temporary peace' if he knows that the Volantene fleet will arrive soon AND the news about the fleet's arrival became known before the fleet actually arrives?

It makes no sense: he could have just continued besieging the city, waiting for the Volantene to arrive and back him up. By making peace he risked Daenerys accusing him of treachery and attacking him (just like Barristan&Shakaz did) and possibly also unleashing the dragons.

I see two options: 

a) he would have left the fighting to the Volantene and stayed out of it, because he got the concessions what he wanted

b) he didn't know that the Volantene will send a fleet to help him - this is unlikely, because a few days later even the Shavepate has known about the Volantene fleet's approach

 

In either case, the peace that was made was genuinely real from the leaders of both sides. (Others, like Bloodbeard, many Wise Masters and Shavepate wanted war)

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36 minutes ago, csuszka1948 said:

Just to be clear: I am saying that the peace was real BEFORE Yurkhaz's death and Dany's disappearance.

This event changed everything: the 'warmongerers' became the leading voice among the Yunkai and Hizdahr, a known coward with no support among the freedmen and the Unsullied became the official leader of the Meereenese. The Shavepate was right that he would have probably tried to open the gates once he heard about the arrival of the Volantene* and they had to coup him, even though he was not the poisoner (it was likely the Shavepate).

 

*again, why would Yurkhaz bother making a 'temporary peace' if he knows that the Volantene fleet will arrive soon AND the news about the fleet's arrival became known before the fleet actually arrives?

It makes no sense: he could have just continued besieging the city, waiting for the Volantene to arrive and back him up. By making peace he risked Daenerys accusing him of treachery and attacking him (just like Barristan&Shakaz did) and possibly also unleashing the dragons.

I see two options: 

a) he would have left the fighting to the Volantene and stayed out of it, because he got the concessions what he wanted

b) he didn't know that the Volantene will send a fleet to help him - this is unlikely, because a few days later even the Shavepate has known about the Volantene fleet's approach

 

In either case, the peace that was made was genuinely real from the leaders of both sides. (Others, like Bloodbeard, many Wise Masters and Shavepate wanted war)

I think the peace may have been “real” in the sense of it being a short-term truce.

Dany is looking to suborn the Windblown.  If she succeeds, she has parity, in terms of cavalry, and that shifts the strategic balance in her favour.

The slaver coalition clearly have no intention of returning back home, or sacrificing their gains of territory, but a lull in hostilities enables them to rest and recuperate and obtain food.

 

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23 minutes ago, SeanF said:

I think the peace may have been “real” in the sense of it being a short-term truce.

Dany is looking to suborn the Windblown.  If she succeeds, she has parity, in terms of cavalry, and that shifts the strategic balance in her favour.

The slaver coalition clearly have no intention of returning back home, or sacrificing their gains of territory, but a lull in hostilities enables them to rest and recuperate and obtain food.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A 'truce' allows the same to Dany. In addition, her dragons continue to grow, and if she manages to gain near-complete control of one of them (this is a real fear of the slaver alliance), then she will be very difficult to defeat. I would say a 'truce' would be actually much better for Dany if she hasn't locked her dragons away and gave Hizdahr tangible power (e.g. control of Brazen Beast - he is not in charge now, but he will be in a decade). She could attack the slaver cities in a decade and defeat them with (almost) fully-grown dragons and catch them unaware. 

We also do not know what are the plans of the slaver coalition. Why wouldn't they return home now that the slave trade can resume? Notice that there is no 'slaver coalition' assembled against Braavos.

 

Overall, I would say this peace was real in the same way the as the Treaty of Paris of 1783, even if that was followed by a war in 1812. 

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On 3/25/2023 at 6:45 AM, Craving Peaches said:

The slavers are so evil they don't even feel like real people. They are flat, two-dimensional characters for Daenerys to beat, that is it. And there is basically no real moral conflict in the battle because the morality is all on Daenerys' side. And they are really incompetent so there wasn't even much of a struggle to beat them. Now I am not saying there are no moral complexities in the Essos storyline because there is, but they all come from Daenerys. We have potentially two ex-slaver characters, the Green Grace and Hizdahr, who say they want reform, but none of the readers seem to believe them so if this was an attempt to give more depth it has failed.

Not everything is relative, nor are they grey. The plot line in Slaver’s Bay, the plot I look forward to reading, is like that in Fevre Dream. There is nothing right about neutrality because slavery is wrong. The plot in the northern part of Westeros with regards to the Others will follow the same progress because Skinchanging is an extreme form of slavery.  Skinchanger = Slaver.  

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7 minutes ago, csuszka1948 said:

A 'truce' allows the same to Dany. In addition, her dragons continue to grow, and if she manages to gain near-complete control of one of them (this is a real fear of the slaver alliance), then she will be very difficult to defeat. I would say a 'truce' would be actually much better for Dany if she hasn't locked her dragons away. She could attack the slaver cities in a decade and defeat them with (almost) fully-grown dragons and catch them unaware. 

We also do not know what are the plans of the slaver coalition. Why wouldn't they return home now that the slave trade can resume? Notice that there is no 'slaver coalition' assembled against Braavos.

Fighting against Braavos would be suicidal, given their naval might.  It would be like someone attacking the UK c.1900.

I think you’ve given the argument against the slavers going home.  Ten years from now, the dragons will be a danger.

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3 hours ago, SeanF said:

The defenders of cities do enjoy some big advantages over the attackers, (egs the Siege of Zaragoza or Stalingrad) but that’s partly offset by the 5th column, in touch with the attackers.

One advantage for the defenders is that while the attackers have a huge advantage in numbers, they have to encircle a vast city.  While they have some knowledge of siegecraft, it’s not on a par with that of the Romans, who could bottle up defenders with their ditches and ramparts.    The defenders can sally out at any point, with a local numerical advantage, and destroy some of the trebuchets, or supplies for example.

And that’s why it’s so important for Ser Barristan and the Shavepate to attack.  They know Volantis is on its way.  The Volantenes probably have Unsullied, as well as Tigers, in their ranks.  None of the defenders know how close Volantis is to revolt, or that the Ironborn are at hand.

They do know, however, that the Windblown are disaffected, and that dysentery has taken hold among the besiegers.  They do have a chance to inflict real harm on the besiegers, and a good commander takes that chance.

Incidentally, while Dany made mistakes, I think her judgement was sound, to wait for the enemy behind the walls, rather than confront them in the field.  The besiegers are now camped in a plague spot, among groves of burned olive trees, and at the end of their lines of supply.

Dunno about the sigecradt part ,  for some reason while siegecraft is a much ignored part of.medieval  fantasy we know the slavers have built trenches, 6 trebuchets, scorpions and catapaults!! Its the only competent part of their siege so far and has 0 focus...we as readers are left with just the info that this stuff  somehow all got arranged and thats that!

 

Yeah itl be interesting to see what occurs with the volantis fleet esp.if there are tiger guards in there as half of them are fire worshippers.

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2 hours ago, SeanF said:

Fighting against Braavos would be suicidal, given their naval might.  It would be like someone attacking the UK c.1900.

 
 
 

Is it impossible for the coalition of many slaver cities, including Free Cities to build an armada capable of destroying Braavos or the similarly non-slaver Lorath? Was there even an example of them trying?

My impression is that the main risk to slaver cities is not the existence of a non-slaver city, but a non-slaver city which very actively discourages slavery, blocks slave trade and attacks or at least cuts ties with slaver cities. That is why they never even tried amassing such a coalition against Braavos (they free slavers from ships near them, but also maintain a good relationship with slaver cities) and why they agreed to peace once Dany accepted that slavery will resume everywhere outside of Meereen.

2 hours ago, SeanF said:

I think you’ve given the argument against the slavers going home.  Ten years from now, the dragons will be a danger.

 
 
 

This assumes that many elements in the slaver coalition are not driven by short term interests and don't underestimate Dany (as we have seen them doing it before).

1) They managed to get Dany to accept that slave trade will resume everywhere outside Meereen and even to reopen the pits, would all of them risk an uncertain war (the sellswords obviously would, but New Ghis and Yunkai)?

After Yunkhaz's death and Dany's disappearance they are angry and 'smell blood' (weakness), but before it? I am not so sure.

2) Dany doesn't seem to be especially interested in resuming her fight against slavery worldwide*. She wants to maintain and solidify her rule at Meereen, all her actions in ADWD point to this. She also locked away her dragons, which shows she doesn't want to use them offensively (unless things really become desperate, which can happen if the defeat Meereen). Why would they fear that she will conquer them 10 years later?

 

*Did she ever plan that? My impression is that she wasn't planning to become a worldwide slave liberator, she was just very outraged by the injustice she saw in Astapor, didn't want to give away her dragon, and made an impulsive decision. Afterwards she needed to deal with Yunkai and Meereen, and then she decided to rule Meereen to give safety to the people chosen to follow her (so there is no repeat of the miseries of Astapor) and to learn how to rule. 

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18 hours ago, SeanF said:

17.  WRT Davos, it is not a difficult ethical choice for him to make.   Likewise for Jon, it's not a difficult ethical choice (incidentally, Nights Watch neutrality is a tradition.  It is not a part of any vow).  The difficulty lies in the fact that doing the right thing is very dangerous, and may cost both men their lives.  

It's not a case of either man having to choose between evils, or weigh up competing goods.

 

No, in Jon's case it is absolutely not clear what is the right thing to do, it is a case of choosing between two evils - the danger to Arya&evil of Ramsay or the evil of the Others, and he prioritizes the former. If he goes to war against Ramsay with an army of wildlings, he potentially causes the doom of humanity.

He took up his role as Commander of Night's Watch, so he is not just playing with his own life (like Davos), but with all men of the Night's Watch. Despite this, he approved sending Mance Rayder, the supposedly dead leader of the wildlings to free Arya, and risked that he is discovered and gets Jon (and subsequently the Night's Watch) into conflict with the Boltons, who were (at that moment) in a better position than Stannis to win the northern conflict. 

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6 minutes ago, csuszka1948 said:

Despite this, he approved sending Mance Rayder, the supposedly dead leader of the wildlings to free Arya

No he did not, he approved sending Mance to Long Lake to rescue Arya from the Wilderness, not to smuggle her out of Winterfell.

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17 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

No he did not, he approved sending Mance to Long Lake to rescue Arya from the Wilderness, not to smuggle her out of Winterfell.

Fine, he sent to help Arya to get to the Wall.

However, this may have involved freeing her and Mance himself being caught/recognized during the attempt. After all, who knows if Arya successfully fleeing in a dying horse alone (this is all what Melisandre claimed to see) is not the result of Jon's action to send Mance for her? 

Besides, hiding the wife of the son of the Warden of the North is going to cause huge problems if the Boltons win and will be rightfully viewed as violating the vow of the Night's Watch.

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