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Ran

[Pre-ADwD Spoilers] Asha - Spoilers for ADwD

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Further thoughts...

What can Asha give Stannis if she gets Theon? Torrhen's Square and the Ironmen. Not a bad offer. While the Northmen may hate what happened to the Starks, they can't all be blood thirsty people. And even if they are, they should see that their real enemy is the Lannisters and the Boltons. Fighting the Ironborn is a unnecessary distraction.

I'm not convinced but I think an argument can be made for keeping Theon alive. Of course, they need to get him first.

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Thanks Asha for the name of the chapter. Not the first time I forgot the name of something.

:lol::P

Can anyone remember what was covered about Torrhen's Square and the Cleftjaw? Why wasn't going there one of Asha's options? Is it because Dagmar remains loyal to his new king? Or was Asha afraid that TS would eventually fall anyway?

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Further thoughts...

What can Asha give Stannis if she gets Theon? Torrhen's Square and the Ironmen. Not a bad offer. While the Northmen may hate what happened to the Starks, they can't all be blood thirsty people. And even if they are, they should see that their real enemy is the Lannisters and the Boltons. Fighting the Ironborn is a unnecessary distraction.

I'm not convinced but I think an argument can be made for keeping Theon alive. Of course, they need to get him first.

It's not just Theon "killing" Bran and Rickon though - the ironborn have also taken several Northern castles (presumably killing at least some of the garrisons) and historically the ironborn and Northmen haven't really been friendly either. Neither the Tallharts nor Glovers would likely be fond of siding with the Greyjoys, and I vaguely remember a Mormont mentioning reavers attacking Bear Island sometimes. If Stannis accepts the ironborn as subjects, Bolton could easily present himself as anti-ironborn and draw support from there as well.

Also, in terms of the bigger picture, Stannis wants the throne, not just the North. Allying with the ironborn immediately alienates the Reach and can be used as propaganda against him. So...while on one level it makes sense, I think Stannis would be risking a lot for not much help (at least on land, where he needs it).

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Another thing that was mentioned was that Stannis won a battle on one of the Iron Isles during Balon's rebellion also. Old Wykk? Probably not.

It's said that Selmy led the attack on Old Wyk. So perhaps it was Great Wyk? The largest of the Iron Isles.

Anything else about Greyjoy's Rebellion or what Asha thinks about Stannis?

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Stannis needs to win a piece at a time. He wants the throne, yes, but he needs to defend the realm and he needs to increase his numbers. Pissing off northmen who are, like as not, going to be following Roose Bolton should not be a big concern. There's very few really unallied players in the North -- the mountain clans chiefly, and they seem to be tying themselves to him -- and it may end up being that it'd be better to get the ironborn and lose some of them than it would be to not get the ironborn at all.

He has practically no shot with most of the significant houses in the North -- and one of the ones which might tip over to his side (the Manderlys) probably doesn't give a damn about ironborn, being hundreds of miles away from the western coast.

Now, there's the mountain clans. But if he works out a deal where they're happy with the terms by which he ironborn join Stannis -- such a promise to never raid in the Bay of Ice and along the Stony Shore -- then they'll like as not see the sense of it. After all, if Stannis rejects the ironborn, they're going to be fewer that many men, reducing the odds that Stannis will succeed, thereby putting any hopes they have in being among his supporters. So it's in their self-interest. Some might on principle refuse, but if Lady Glover (who suggested to Asha that she might well be able to work out a peace) steps up and vouches for her ... well, it's not clear cut.

Stannis is going to have to weigh his realistic chances in the North with and without the ironborn. I suspect his chances are going to be better with them than without them.

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Are the ironborn going to be that much of a help though, is my question? Their strength is raiding and naval engagements, neither of which are going to be all that helpful in the North. The ironborn could hit places like Torrhen's Square (again?) and Deepwood Motte should it fall again, but they aren't going to make a substantial impact against the real centers of power in the North (Dreadfort, White Harbor in particular). I suppose he could use them to take Moat Cailin to block any Frey or other reinforcements for Bolton, but otherwise I don't think they would substantially alter the balance of power in the North.

I also think that Stannis' chances to garner the support of some of the Northern houses (especially the Glovers and Mormonts) aren't that bad - the Manderlys are probably going to keep playing the double game for now, but he also has the Karstarks, for whatever that's worth (since Bolton presumably still has the Karstark men from the Red Wedding). With regards to those that have fallen in behind Bolton - for all we know, some might well be willing to side with Stannis now that the ironborn are out of MC (Jon, for example, specifically doesn't rule out the Umbers joining with Stannis, the wildlings being the main obstacle).

Specifically, from Jon 2...

One of Stannis men expresses scorn going "an Umber side with a Bolton?" but someone replies that the Umbers wont act because the Greatjon is a prisoner. One of Stannis captains responds with "well if the Greatjon dies the uncles can take over, so they will help us." Jon looks at the

captain with scorn and asks "Is that what you would do? The Greatjon has sons. It is in their blood to fight the free folk." Jon tells Stannis that he needs all the northern lords (Umber, Manderly, Glover, etc.) to attack the Boltons, not just the Karstarks.

So, at the least, I think Stannis has a chance with even some of the other houses. With Glover, Mormont, and Karstark (all of which I see as reasonable), he has a decent start to a Northern backing - add in the mountain tribes and a decent chance at Umber and Manderly, and I don't see the necessity of allying with the ironborn, particularly when they mostly provide him with naval strength, which is not particularly important to him right now. My impression is that the real hangup is Stannis' dealings with the wildlings, which is why the Umbers wouldn't side with him readily after clearing out MC.

The bigger issue I have with a Stannis-Ironborn alliance, though, is it depends entirely on Theon being accepted not only as leader of the Isles but as King. Stannis doesn't seem likely to accept a false king, and I don't see the ironborn as being overally thrilled with trading in Euron, who at least offers them the glory and battle they want and would have just added dragons/Dany into the mix, for Theon, who's not well-respected and would probably be seen as Stannis' tool. I'm not convinced that, whatever their doubts about Euron, the ironborn would readily make that switch.

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If Theon is freed he would have some interesting connundrums. He could tell Stannis that Bran and Rickon may still be alive (and thus getting the other northmen off his back but it would be hard for Stannis to justify killing such innocents) or he can say he was just killing escaped prisoners (and thus been more justified in Stannis's eyes but insuring Stannis's Northern allies will hate Theon). Of course there are other issues. People are unlikely to believe him since it would be rather convenient if he didn't "really" kill the Stark children. OTOH, how in the world did Theon kill a cripple and a child, even if they were escaping? He'd have to at least pretend the Starks got help from some quarter, which complicated the hunt.

Stannis has enough to kill him if he wants or to keep him alive. I'm sure Asha is safe but Theon is another story. He comes with a lot of baggage. I think he'll survive just because he can be useful. From Asha's chapter it really does look like any challenger from those that attended the kingsmoot would be treated very badly by the Ironborn in general (they have their own code of honour). Since I doubt he even considered Theon's return, I think Euron's plans weren't that flawed.

Urizen, as mentioned earlier he advises Asha to flee. She didn't have the men to hold DM for long and there was little chance of reinforcements. No mention of the other Botleys. And the Ironman was up to around 8 I think. And yes, seems Tris can fight.

Another thing that was mentioned was that Stannis won a battle on one of the Iron Isles during Balon's rebellion also. Old Wykk? Probably not.

In my mind Theon's fate really depends on Mel. If Mel's in charge then Theon might live as long as he's a loyal yes-man. Mel does not bother with right and wrong, The end justifies the means. If Stannis is in charge then Theon is a goner for murder.

Where's Asha supposed to flee, The Stepstones?

Stannis won a naval battle against the Ironborn around Fair Isle where he beat the Ironfleet led by Victarion. According to the whitebook Barristan Selmy led the attack on Old Wykk

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Does anybody remember who has apparently joined the Boltons more exactly?

We know of the Ryswells -- Bolton's former father in law is the lord -- and of the Umbers and of some others who weren't named. Does anybody recall the names of those?

Or recall who was definitively _not_ among them? Padraig mentioned the Karstarks, the Mormonts and the Manderlys.

What about the Tallharts, the Cerwyns, the Flints, the Lockes, the Dustins or the Hornwoods?

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Ser Hippie,

Their strength is raiding and naval engagements, neither of which are going to be all that helpful in the North.
They're skilled warriors. They've won their share of battles in their history -- they couldn't hold the riverlands, for example, based on raiding alone. The situation for Stannis is that the more men he has, the better.

If a couple thousand ironborn end up joining him because of Theon, then he's greatly improved the numbers he has available to him. He has something over 1,000 at Castle Black, and with the wildlings he has something over 1,300. The mountain clans and Karstark (who, BTW, are another house that has never personally had a problem with ironborn -- they're on the wrong side of the continent)... Call it 2,500, tops. He would be a very happy camper indeed if he could double that number, given that he's currently probably outnumbered by the Boltons and their allies 3:1, so cutting that deficit in half would be very good indeed for him.

Would 2,000 ironborn flock to Theon? Who knows, really. But if Stannis weighs things and figures the shot of getting hundreds of ironborn outweigh the possible (and it should be stressed, this is only _possible_ until it actually happens -- Stannis has room to negotiate to try and keep people on board even when they aren't happy about fighting side-by-side with ironmen) loss of northmen, then I don't see why he wouldn't give it a shot.

It seems really clear that this is what's being setup, in any case. There's no real other purpose to this meeting between Asha and Stannis,

especially the Glovers and Mormonts

Who aren't all that important. One can assume the Glover forces have been all but destroyed, in the fighting in the south and in Deepwood falling. Mormont forces probably don't number more than a few hundred, at best, now, following events in the south.

The really important houses in the North, the ones who are equivalent to, say, the Blackwoods, Brackens, and Freys of the Riverlands, can be counted on one hand, I think: Bolton, Karstark, Umber, Manderly. These are the tier under the Starks.

Karstark is the only really significant house Stannis has, and Manderly is the only significant house really remaining up in the air, and as I noted there's no great reason to think they have any great personal animosity to ironmen, being hundreds of miles away from any danger of raiding.

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Can anyone remember what was covered about Torrhen's Square and the Cleftjaw
I was trying to think of that myself. Not sure was it actually described. Instead it could be related to the fact that she didn't want to go to Dagmar in a position of weakness. In that way she shares something with Theon. What she had, she refused to give up easily.

As for where Asha could have gone according to Tris. Become a pirate, a trader, go to Dagmar, to to the Iron Isles. Anywhere basicly but stay where she was.

Neither the Tallharts nor Glovers would likely be fond of siding with the Greyjoys, and I vaguely remember a Mormont mentioning reavers attacking Bear Island sometimes.

Well, it is a bit more complicated than that. Rather than allying himself with the Greyjoys, Stannis is allowing Theon to stake his claim. Thus hopefully causing an Ironborn civil war. Emphasising that might be one way to encourage the Northmen to support his decision to let Asha and Theon go.

He is also not alienating the South further, since that was Euron's decision. And if Theon/Asha are victorious then he has a ready supply of ships, which will be very useful when it comes to taking to South. That's where the Ironborn really become useful. The main benefit now is that he would hopefully gain Torrhen's Sq without a fight (if Asha can persuade Dagmar to surrender. Theon was friendly with Dagmar so not impossible) and removing the Ironborn as a threat.

The bigger issue I have with a Stannis-Ironborn alliance, though, is it depends entirely on Theon being accepted not only as leader of the Isles but as King.
Maybe not. The deal could be that Theon still swears loyalty to Stannis (like the Prince of Dorne does). This might gall the Ironborn but they are not total fools. Balon surrendered during his rebellion rather than die fighting. If the odds look bad, the Ironborn will fall into line again. Asha is respected also. So that will count. And if they persuade Dagmar to join, then they have a real chance.

Stannis isn't as rigid as he might think. He is determined to take the throne. Letting Theon get away with some dubious acts is definitely possible. Westeros is at stake.

It's said that Selmy led the attack on Old Wyk. So perhaps it was Great Wyk? The largest of the Iron Isles.

Could be. Or Harlaw. Since I think it was mentioned in her discussion with the Reader.

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They're skilled warriors. They've won their share of battles in their history -- they couldn't hold the riverlands, for example, based on raiding alone. The situation for Stannis is that the more men he has, the better.

They're also specifically noted for being limited to infantry and don't strike me as being likely to hold up well on a long campaign (as opposed to hit and run attacks). Even if Stannis isn't looking too far into the future, a winter campaign against Bolton, especially Bolton augmented by the other houses of the North, is going to be rough on the ironborn.

Would 2,000 ironborn flock to Theon? Who knows, really. But if Stannis weighs things and figures the shot of getting hundreds of ironborn outweigh the possible (and it should be stressed, this is only _possible_ until it actually happens -- Stannis has room to negotiate to try and keep people on board even when they aren't happy about fighting side-by-side with ironmen) loss of northmen, then I don't see why he wouldn't give it a shot.
See, this is where I have the problem with it - an alliance with the ironborn set up through Asha and Theon doesn't strike me as any more likely than gathering some of the Northern houses behind him. Why would the ironborn dump Euron? Even if they would, why for Theon who was considered a joke? And, unless Stannis radically changes in character, he would expect them to bend the knee to him as king. After the enthusiasm shown for independence and such, why would the ironborn want that?

Summing it up - I basically don't see "Theon and Asha go back to the Isles and call a kingsmoot" to be a very realistic option yet. After Stannis has secured some more backing from Westeros itself (some Northern houses especially, perhaps even some of the riverlords if/when he beats Bolton), and Euron begins to lose support, as I'm fairly sure he will, then it it's more logical to think that the ironborn would be willing to make a deal.

It seems really clear that this is what's being setup, in any case. There's no real other purpose to this meeting between Asha and Stannis,

I agree. My initial reaction was positive, but it just makes less sense to me the more I think about it.

Who aren't all that important. One can assume the Glover forces have been all but destroyed, in the fighting in the south and in Deepwood falling. Mormont forces probably don't number more than a few hundred, at best, now, following events in the south.

The really important houses in the North, the ones who are equivalent to, say, the Blackwoods, Brackens, and Freys of the Riverlands, can be counted on one hand, I think: Bolton, Karstark, Umber, Manderly. These are the tier under the Starks.

True enough, I was more intending those names to be examples of those who would follow Stannis. Also, you have houses like Cerwyn (and others, surely) who would have heard the story of Ramsay sacking Winterfell from survivors. Also, I was going off a spoiler chapter where Glover was listed as being a house Stannis "needed".

Karstark is the only really significant house Stannis has, and Manderly is the only significant house really remaining up in the air, and as I noted there's no great reason to think they have any great personal animosity to ironmen, being hundreds of miles away from any danger of raiding.

Jon and Stannis both seem to think the Umbers, at least, are up in the air so long as it doesn't come to a choice between fighting wildlings and fighting Bolton.

Again, I wouldn't disagree with the premise that the ironborn would help Stannis, I simply don't think that they provide the kind of help he needs to take on Bolton and I think Stannis is better served to secure some Northern support (and also waiting for Euron's popularity to decline, given the timeline) before messing around with the ironborn.

Well, it is a bit more complicated than that. Rather than allying himself with the Greyjoys, Stannis is allowing Theon to stake his claim. Thus hopefully causing an Ironborn civil war. Emphasising that might be one way to encourage the Northmen to support his decision to let Asha and Theon go.

That strikes me as out of character for Stannis though - which is why I have a problem with it. Theon would be staking his claim as King of the Isles, something which Stannis (theoretically) would never accept. He killed his own brother for being a false king, for example.

He is also not alienating the South further, since that was Euron's decision.
What I mean is, the animosity in the South is directed at the ironborn right now. If Stannis is seen as supporting them, he basically guarantees that said hostility would be redirected towards him, and he would lose any chance to gather support (particularly if the Tyrells and Lannisters continue to fall apart).

And if Theon/Asha are victorious then he has a ready supply of ships, which will be very useful when it comes to taking to South. That's where the Ironborn really become useful.

Agreed, which is why I think Stannis should make that deal later, but not now (with Euron ascendant, etc.).

The main benefit now is that he would hopefully gain Torrhen's Sq without a fight (if Asha can persuade Dagmar to surrender. Theon was friendly with Dagmar so not impossible) and removing the Ironborn as a threat.
IIRC, Dagmar doesn't have many troops anyway, so I doubt Stannis really needs to make major deals to secure Torrhen's Square.

Maybe not. The deal could be that Theon still swears loyalty to Stannis (like the Prince of Dorne does). This might gall the Ironborn but they are not total fools. Balon surrendered during his rebellion rather than die fighting. If the odds look bad, the Ironborn will fall into line again. Asha is respected also. So that will count. And if they persuade Dagmar to join, then they have a real chance

If the ironborn saw themselves as losing I'd agree. Unless I'm way off with the timing, though, a lot of this would happen not much after AFFC at the latest (if even then), which has Euron raiding the Reach successfully, sending off for the dragons, and all the lords of the Isles being perfectly happy. That is why it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me - he'd be making an offer to a side that saw itself as winning their war.

Stannis isn't as rigid as he might think. He is determined to take the throne. Letting Theon get away with some dubious acts is definitely possible. Westeros is at stake.

Even if he is willing to accept Theon's murders (whether it be of the Starks or the miller's boys), it's Theon claiming kingship that would still bother him, IMO.

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Ser Hippie,

Why would the ironborn dump Euron?
Rodrik Harlaw seems to be willing, if a viable option for opposing him was found. If the promised dragons take longer than expected (and they almost certainly will, because Euron has led the ironborn to have really high-end expectations) and things start to go badly when the Redwyne fleet shows up, people may start getting disaffected. If Aeron is not dead but is actually stirring up dissent among those who hold him in high regard as a priest, that may be another bunch of people.

why for Theon who was considered a joke?

If the likes of the Harlaw of Harlaw, Dagmer Cleftjaw, Asha Greyjoy, and maybe Damphair are backing him, would he look like all that much of a joke? Or would folks think that maybe they should at least hear him out, and maybe get won over?

I basically don't see "Theon and Asha go back to the Isles and call a kingsmoot" to be a very realistic option.
Neither do I. Asha and Theon winning ironmen to fighting for them against Euron I can see. The story told by Tris is that the guy who missed out on the kingsmoot was elected when an unpopular king was toppled by his own followers -- it may well happen again. Euron Greyjoy does not strike me as seeing the ironborn as anything but a stepping stone to his ambitions. It may be that they'll start realizing this sooner rather than later.

Jon and Stannis both seem to think the Umbers, at least, are up in the air so long as it doesn't come to a choice between fighting wildlings and fighting Bolton.

Umber have joined Bolton according to Cersei in AFfC (and the Ryswells and, she claims, half a dozen other northern houses), and the first reports (not here, but in the 'Boskone Party' thread in the BwB forum) regarding the chapter state that the "piece of prince" letter that Asha thinks about apparently featured the Umber sigil among those of other houses, which seems to confirm this.

I think Stannis is better served to secure some Northern support

Taking in the ironborn won't mean he has to stop getting Northern support, IMO. It may in some cases make it a bit more difficult, but to some degree I think this issue is quite probably overstated.

Pod does raise another possibility, that Stannis's reasons for freeing Theon might not be so much as to get immediate help as to possibly just make a mess of the situation on the Iron Islands, which will win him fans among those northmen who hate the ironborn (such as they are) and may win him aid from Theon and Asha down the road if they succeed against Euron.

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It seems really clear that this is what's being setup, in any case. There's no real other purpose to this meeting between Asha and Stannis,

That plus the mention of the precedent about the prince who missed the Kingsmoot (setting up why Asha will accept working with Theon rather than renewing her own claim with the help of Stanis) make it clear to me that that's the direction we are going.

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Rodrik Harlaw seems to be willing, if a viable option for opposing him was found. If the promised dragons take longer than expected (and they almost certainly will, because Euron has led the ironborn to have really high-end expectations) and things start to go badly when the Redwyne fleet shows up, people may start getting disaffected. If Aeron is not dead but is actually stirring up dissent among those who hold him in high regard as a priest, that may be another bunch of people.

Well in that scenario, I agree with you. Just by what we've seen from AFFC and the spoiler chapters though, I don't think Euron's in that much trouble yet and with all the bribes and such he's giving out, his position looks secure.

If the likes of the Harlaw of Harlaw, Dagmer Cleftjaw, Asha Greyjoy, and maybe Damphair are backing him, would he look like all that much of a joke? Or would folks think that maybe they should at least hear him out, and maybe get won over?
Given some of the events you mentioned above, I think that it's more plausible, but it requires Euron's luck to start going against him before it's truly plausible IMO.

Umber have joined Bolton according to Cersei in AFfC (and the Ryswells and, she claims, half a dozen other northern houses), and the first reports (not here, but in the 'Boskone Party' thread in the BwB forum) regarding the chapter state that the "piece of prince" letter that Asha thinks about apparently featured the Umber sigil among those of other houses, which seems to confirm this.

My impression of that was that the Umbers simply don't like the ironborn (plus it's the two uncles running things, not the Greatjon). In the ADwD spoiler chapters, the Umbers are not seen as solidly pro-Bolton and it's stated that they'd support Bolton against the wildlings. Otherwise they are seen as potential allies.

Taking in the ironborn won't mean he has to stop getting Northern support, IMO. It may in some cases make it a bit more difficult, but to some degree I think this issue is quite probably overstated.
Possibly, but I also think that he needs troops to fight Bolton and in the near-future, the North can provide that to him (particularly if it's widely known that Ramsay was the one who sacked Winterfell and killed all those troops), whereas the ironborn are more useful later on when he (presumably) marches south.

Pod does raise another possibility, that Stannis's reasons for freeing Theon might not be so much as to get immediate help as to possibly just make a mess of the situation on the Iron Islands, which will win him fans among those northmen who hate the ironborn (such as they are) and may win him aid from Theon and Asha down the road if they succeed against Euron.

That makes more sense to me, and would probably be Stannis' smartest move, much more sense than outright siding with the ironborn, especially since by the time the turmoil would die down, he'd probably be in much better shape.

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Umber have joined Bolton according to Cersei in AFfC (and the Ryswells and, she claims, half a dozen other northern houses)

Let me nitpick a bit. Cersei says “Lord Manderly hacked the head and hands off the onion knight, we have that from the Freys, and half a dozen other northern lords have rallied to Lord Bolton."

The "other" referred to the Manderlys in this context. The Ryswells and the Umbers are already counted among the half dozen lords who've joined Bolton.

Earlier in AFfC Cersei said that "a few have already joined up with his bastard son to help him clear the wretched ironmen from Moat Cailin and clear the way for Lord Bolton to return. Umber, Ryswell . . . I forget the other names."

My impression is that Bolton's support among northmen is still relatively small. Most Houses have not declared for either Stannis or Bolton, though Bolton has perhaps more by a ratio of about "half a dozen" vs. Karstarks + some mountain clans.

However, we don't know how loyal some of those who've declared for Bolton are. A few might only be with Bolton for the sake of getting rid of the Ironmen or for the sake of hostages or might be at odds among themselves (the Ryswells are presented as "quarrelsome"). The same is also true of Stannis' support to some degree. We don't know for sure how Stannis' northmen would react if he were to befriend the Ironmen. Or what were to happen if Harrion Karstark makes an appearance.

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True enough, I was more intending those names to be examples of those who would follow Stannis. Also, you have houses like Cerwyn (and others, surely) who would have heard the story of Ramsay sacking Winterfell from survivors. Also, I was going off a spoiler chapter where Glover was listed as being a house Stannis "needed".

Jon and Stannis both seem to think the Umbers, at least, are up in the air so long as it doesn't come to a choice between fighting wildlings and fighting Bolton.

Manderly had men there as well that would likely have gotten around to reporting it to thier Lord by now what he's actually doing with the Information now is anyone's guess.

IIRC, Dagmar doesn't have many troops anyway, so I doubt Stannis really needs to make major deals to secure Torrhen's Square.

And in crushing Dagmar he wins another victory which makes him that much more impressive to his followers and likely wins house Tallhart right there, to add with the Glovers that will likely support him now.

I'm not so sure Ran's on here about the support Stannis can still muster in the north there's still house we haven't heard about: Locke, both Flint's and Cerwyn who've all just lost family members to Roose/Ramsay with big victories over the IB surely they'll be more appealed to Stannis than Roose which will likely even out the scales alot more. And if he can get his hands on the Greatjon the Umber's will change their tune pretty quick.

If anything does happen with Stannis/Asha/Theon making a play for the Iron Isle I'd expect him to wait till after he has the North secure and Roose down before making himself the bad guy. Or that bit of the King son being away could just be a RH.

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See, I think Euron's luck is already turning. The unexpected reappearance of Theon would be a shock in itself but Loras's deeds on Dragonstone was a real kick in the teeth. Word will soon reach the Iron Isles that the Redwyne fleet is on the way home and things begin to look dicey. Especially since the best of the Iron fleet has headed east. Then you add news of the losses of Moat Cailin and DM. Now, the losses in the North would be expected but added to everything else and things start to be grim.

Of course, we can't be sure where Euron is. I always thought he would follow Victarion but if he sticks around then he will make things very difficult for Asha/Theon. But if he does head east then it makes his control of the Iron Isles a lot more vulnerable?

Damphair's influence is a good point. He really hates Euron, so he could be the man to help turn things around for Theon. I think there is bound to be conflict between the Ironborn before Theon can take his place anyhow.

And Stannis is not supporting the Ironborn as such. He would be supporting a new claimant, who would reject the attacks on the Shield Isles. Some will never forgive the Ironborn of course but for the rational Westerosi it will make a difference. Especially if the Lannisters become even more hated.

Stannis doesn't have a lot of men either, so taking Torrhen's Square with the loss of no men would be a huge bonus. Adds to his liberator credentials and should win some friends as he allocates the place to whoever.

Cybro, not sure is crushing Dagmar of such benefit that it outweighs winning TS without a fight. Especially as Dagmar's men would give Asha a start to put Theon in charge. Without Dagmar, then debating whether Theon can take power becomes moot I think. He wouldn't have the support. So Stannis wouldn't gain the Isles ever easily. And I really doubt Stannis could get the Greatjon anytime soon.

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Of course, we can't be sure where Euron is. I always thought he would follow Victarion but if he sticks around then he will make things very difficult for Asha/Theon. But if he does head east then it makes his control of the Iron Isles a lot more vulnerable?

I thought he was going to remain in the Isles, waiting for Victarion to return. *will check*

And Stannis is not supporting the Ironborn as such. He would be supporting a new claimant, who would reject the attacks on the Shield Isles. Some will never forgive the Ironborn of course but for the rational Westerosi it will make a difference. Especially if the Lannisters become even more hated.
Most Westerosi will not see it that way, and to the lords in the Reach (not just the Shield Isles) who've already been hit by the ironborn, one Greyjoy will probably look just the same as another. The ironborn are known as raiders and that won't change simply because their king or leader does, particularly when their new leader is supported by Stannis, a traitor in the eyes of most people.

Stannis doesn't have a lot of men either, so taking Torrhen's Square with the loss of no men would be a huge bonus. Adds to his liberator credentials and should win some friends as he allocates the place to whoever.

Stannis had several thousand troops when he came north (say 3,000) and has added a few wildlings (300 I think it is) plus would have some Karstarks and other northerners. Say 4,000 give or take. At most, Cleftjaw would have a couple hundred (and I doubt that many) if he's still there, and they'd have little experience in siege warfare. Stannis might make a deal with the ironborn regardless, but I think it would be pretty stupid to do it for Torrhen's Square.

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I thought he was going to remain in the Isles, waiting for Victarion to return. *will check*

That was what he said but people have speculated on whether that makes sense. Would you trust Victarion?

Most Westerosi will not see it that way, and to the lords in the Reach (not just the Shield Isles) who've already been hit by the ironborn, one Greyjoy will probably look just the same as another.

Hmmm, not sure. If the Lannister Tyrell alliance was sound then that would be a negative but its far from sound. In fact, Stannis can declare himself as the man that freed the Shield Isles from the Greyjoys. That has to gain him credit. Sure, if people hate Stannis even more than they hate Lannisters then it will make things worse but that's the whole point. The issue is Stannis v Lannisters. Not Greyjoys v Stannis. The Greyjoy issue is of little importance in the South compared to the Lannister question.

The Ironborn were part of the kingdom since the Targaryens, so people can abide them.

Why would it be stupid to take TS without a fight? Sure the Ironborn aren't experienced in siege warfare but Stannis doesn't want to besiege TS in the first place. He could take the city but taking a fort is never bloodless. The Ironborn can definitely fight. And those 200 men would be vital for Asha's chances of success. Otherwise they wouldn't have an army and he will have to grind the Ironborn into defeat alongside everyone else (and lose any hope of having more power on the sea).

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Stannis had several thousand troops when he came north (say 3,000)

Stannis had about 1,300 or 1,500 men at Dragonstone and 200 or 300 men at Storm's End.

Later it's said that Stannis had more than a thousand men at Castle Black -- with some left at Eastwatch and at Dragonstone and at Storm's End.

So Stannis won't have had more than 1,500 at Castle Black. More like just above a thousand before he was joined by wildlings and mountain clans.

We also know that he left 100 men with Lord Meadows and Melisandre at the Wall.

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