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Ran

[Pre-ADwD Spoilers] Asha - Spoilers for ADwD

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Hmm...

Though we might get an Asha PoV leading up to the battle and a Davos PoV saving the day for Stannis when he arrives with troops

Well if Davos isn't dead, might he be the one ordered to attempt to break Theon out? The Manderlys are probably strong enough to still have a decent sized force, and if Wylis is already on the way home, they might be willing to risk moving against Bolton/the throne.

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Ser Hippie,

I had a question - Roose has 5,000 troops with him, right? Well he had 3,500 at the Red Wedding, so who are the other 1,500? Are they other Boltons that didnt' go to the RW for whatever reason, or from other houses?
Roose had 3,500 men before the Red Wedding. 500 horse and 3,000 foot. Though "some" were said to be Karstark men.

After the Red Wedding Bolton has been strengthened by 2,000 Freys led by Hosteen and Aenys.

Then there were 600 men which the BoB had at Winterfell.

Finally, there is an unknown number of men which the half dozen northern lords who've joined the Boltons have added to the force of the BoB which attacked Moat Cailin from the North. If these lords have provided about 250 men on average this would make another 1,500 men.

3,500 + 2000 + 600 + 1500 = 7,600

Of course, the Karstark men with Bolton may not have been on his side in the first place and he will have had a few losses at the Red Wedding. The BoB lost 20-30 of his 600 men at Winterfell. Then there will have been not insignificant losses at Moat Cailin for all. So I think Bolton might have about 6,000-7,000 men.

Well if Davos isn't dead, might he be the one ordered to attempt to break Theon out?

It's a possibility, I suppose. A raven to White Harbor to inform Davos of where Stannis is, a raven back to Deepwood Motte to inform Stannis that he has Manderly, and another raven back to White Harbor to give Davos orders.

However, Stannis is in serious need of more troops for himself with Bolton around. So I wonder if he would send Davos to the Dreadfort and march himself in the direction of the Boltons with their superior army. It might seem more prudent to rally all his forces at one place. Either to break Theon free if that is what he wants to do or to fight Bolton. Or to do both for that matter. Stannis might even wait for the Boltons at the Dreadfort while he besieges it.

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One of the things which is still up in the air somewhat is what Dagmer Cleftjaw has been up to.

Was he sitting tight at Torrhen's Square all the time or was he up to something, perhaps? Like a daring raid on the Dreadfort with the BoB and his garrison away at Moat Cailin.

On another note, one has to wonder how we're going to "see a lot of Roose and Ramsay". A Theon flashback with Ramsay. But what else?

Even a battle at the end of ADwD between Bolton and Stannis might not quite qualify as "a lot" of the Boltons if we won't have more than one PoV covering it. Though we might get an Asha PoV leading up to the battle and a Davos PoV saving the day for Stannis when he arrives with troops. Or the other way around. Or even a Theon PoV saving the day if he was sprung out of the Dreadfort by Dagmer.

Other possibilities to justify the "see a lot" of them comment would be that Theon has gone with Ramsay for some reason, or that Davos comes into contact with the Boltons prior to an eventual battle against Stannis.

Perhaps Ramsay is keeping Theon with him to parade "the evil Ironborn childkiller" before the people to give the appearance of being just and having the upper hand on the Ironborn.

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Ser Hippie,

Roose had 3,500 men before the Red Wedding. 500 horse and 3,000 foot. Though "some" were said to be Karstark men.

After the Red Wedding Bolton has been strengthened by 2,000 Freys led by Hosteen and Aenys.

Markus,

How do we know that all those Freys will remain with Bolton? The Freys might have agreed to send 2,000 men to deal with Moat Cailin and the threat the ironborn located there represent for the Twins, but once Moat Cailin has been taken, they might decide to send hundreds back home. From what we know of the Davos chapter, the Freys are almost certain to keep a force with Bolton in order to strenghten their alliance with (or coercion of) Lord Manderly, but once the immediate threat to the Twins has been dealt with, old weasel might decide to recall some of his men.

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The big thing you're missing with all this is how they're going to get Theon out in the first place.
Er. :stunned: I think everyone is puzzled by that. Obviously if Theon isn't freed, he can't try to regain the Iron Isles but haven't we assumed that would happen? If you didn't believe this, shouldn't you have pointed it out pages ago? :P

Since Theon is expected to be a POV in aDwD, its expected that he will be released somehow. Also Asha's thoughts in the chapter suggest that we are heading down that path.

If Euron is close at hand then Theon/Asha would lose. If he isn't then they could win. Euron's speech was all very well but time has passed. The initial excitement has died down. The Iron Fleet has sailed into the distance, the Ironborn are been driven out of the Shield Isles (presumably) and the North, things have changed.

Anyhow, it's not crucial for Stannis that they take the Isles. Just disrupting Euron's powerbase will be a victory. And if they do take the Isles, the Tyrells will not go chasing after the Ironborn considering the state of play in KL. As much as he will hate the Greyjoys for attacking him, KL is the real prize. Everything will be subordinate to that. I'm rather stunned you'd think he would put the Ironborn first. If they sort things out in KL, eventually they'll get round to dealing with the Ironborn but that's months away.

Markus got there first but it did cross my mind that Theon could accompany Ramsay. Attacking the Dreadfort does seem a rather daunting exercise but its one way that could make escape very possible (as well as giving us a chance to see what the Boltons are up to). I don't think its an implausible idea . What good is Theon anymore? Euron has taken charge and he doesn't have any use for Theon, so he has no hostage value there. But he is friendly with Dagmar. So perhaps the Boltons will use him to get Dagmar to surrender? OTOH, I didn't believe Dagmar was strong enough to need such a bribe? The Boltons could just storm the fort. Except...if the Boltons also think Theon could be a useful way to divide the Ironborn. :P

Do we have any reason to think he actually has left though?

Markus explains it well. We have nothing conclusive but as he said, its definitely plausible. I'm not sure either way, but i'm inclined to believe he will follow Victarion.

And yes, i'm aware that Mace dislikes Stannis. In aCoK he disliked him more than the Lannisters. In tWoW? That's the question. (Personally I don't think Stannis will succeed but he will have a chance considering what Cersei has wrought).

And seriously, considering Aeron was a POV character it would be surprising if he turned up dead. Maybe GRRM will surprise us but it seems natural to assume he is lieing low in fear of Euron.

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Er. :stunned: I think everyone is puzzled by that. Obviously if Theon isn't freed, he can't try to regain the Iron Isles but haven't we assumed that would happen? If you didn't believe this, shouldn't you have pointed it out pages ago? :P

Uh..no you're missing the point again. Obviously he would have to be free to factor in, I'm saying that for him to get free in the first place is probably asking a lot and may not be feasible within the time frame of ADwD, barring him being paraded around, which I'm not particularly convinced is being done or some kind of commando raid, which would be interesting but probably would either take too long to fit in or would have to come from the Manderlys, probably. With Moat Caillin in Bolton hands, Stannis doesn't really have time to be dicking around waiting for possible help, and even if Theon and Asha are set free and perfectly willing to help, any aid from the Isles would take quite a bit of time to arrive.

Since Theon is expected to be a POV in aDwD, its expected that he will be released somehow. Also Asha's thoughts in the chapter suggest that we are heading down that path.
Heading down that path =/= it's going to happen in ADwD, nor does it mean they necessarily will succeed, be willing to help Stannis or anything of that sort. I happy to think Theon will escape, but I think it will occur later than the context we're discussing (Stannis needing support), which is what I'm talking about - whether it would happen in a timeframe that makes sense for Stannis.

If Euron is close at hand then Theon/Asha would lose. If he isn't then they could win. Euron's speech was all very well but time has passed. The initial excitement has died down. The Iron Fleet has sailed into the distance, the Ironborn are been driven out of the Shield Isles (presumably) and the North, things have changed.

I never said they couldn't win, I said that the factors that are required or nearly-required (i.e. Euron being away, more dissent among the ranks) aren't necessarily going to be there. And, even if people aren't happy waiting for the dragons, I'm not sure why they'd view Theon as a better choice, since the Reach would probably remain hostile and the Northmen would remain hostile as well - only Stannis would really gain/want that to happen and Stannis needs aid, he can't offer anything to the ironborn.

Anyhow, it's not crucial for Stannis that they take the Isles. Just disrupting Euron's powerbase will be a victory. And if they do take the Isles, the Tyrells will not go chasing after the Ironborn considering the state of play in KL. As much as he will hate the Greyjoys for attacking him, KL is the real prize. Everything will be subordinate to that. I'm rather stunned you'd think he would put the Ironborn first. If they sort things out in KL, eventually they'll get round to dealing with the Ironborn but that's months away.
Mace has several thousand troops (IIRC Loras numbers them at 10,000) in the Reach in addition to his own forces that were at Storm's End (and heading north) and Randyl Tarly's at Maidenpool. He's not exactly lacking in troops, and the Arbor fleet is already on its way to the Shields, so it's well in position to take the fight to the ironborn. He doesn't have to subordinate KL to fight the ironborn with the Iron Fleet gone, and if the KL situation resolves itself (which it very well might with a cooler head like Kevan instead of Cersei), he can move more of his strength there.

Markus got there first but it did cross my mind that Theon could accompany Ramsay. Attacking the Dreadfort does seem a rather daunting exercise but its one way that could make escape very possible (as well as giving us a chance to see what the Boltons are up to). I don't think its an implausible idea . What good is Theon anymore? Euron has taken charge and he doesn't have any use for Theon, so he has no hostage value there. But he is friendly with Dagmar. So perhaps the Boltons will use him to get Dagmar to surrender? OTOH, I didn't believe Dagmar was strong enough to need such a bribe? The Boltons could just storm the fort. Except...if the Boltons also think Theon could be a useful way to divide the Ironborn. :P

IMO either of the Greyjoys (Asha or Theon) could be used on Cleftjaw, as he seemed to have a firm grasp on the realities of Theon's plan (and why it was risky) and I could see him being willing to yield in order to serve the Greyjoys again. The Boltons wouldn't bother, I don't think, especially as Euron is leaving them alone.

Markus explains it well. We have nothing conclusive but as he said, its definitely plausible. I'm not sure either way, but i'm inclined to believe he will follow Victarion.
And I said I agreed, but later. If Theon can be freed and he and Asha are determined to make a play for power, they really need Euron to not only be away, but far enough away that he can't just return and pull the same trick on them. Since much of ADwD is semi-concurrent to events in AFFC, I don't think he'd be in a position to leave until near the end, if then.

And yes, i'm aware that Mace dislikes Stannis. In aCoK he disliked him more than the Lannisters. In tWoW? That's the question. (Personally I don't think Stannis will succeed but he will have a chance considering what Cersei has wrought).

If Cersei is sent off to Castlery Rock (or executed/otherwise removed), the Tyrells and Lannisters would probably patch things up if, for no other reason, because they need each other. Their fates are pretty well tied together at this point, given the hostility of most of the other houses to them.

And seriously, considering Aeron was a POV character it would be surprising if he turned up dead. Maybe GRRM will surprise us but it seems natural to assume he is lieing low in fear of Euron.

Which is my point. If he's lying low, he wouldn't be stirring things up against Euron, would he? Perhaps he would do so later, but if he hasn't been heard from by the people he's ostensibly on the same side with (Asha and the others who refuse to follow Euron), he probably hasn't been going around undermining Euron...yet.

-----

Thanks, Markus. I guess I assumed the 2,000 Freys were in addition to his 5,000.

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Krafus,

How do we know that all those Freys will remain with Bolton?

We don't know this for sure, of course. But it's suggested by Cersei that Bolton, Bolton's son and the Freys who have joined Bolton "should be more than enough to deal with Stannis". Clearly she thinks that the Freys will stay with Bolton until Stannis has been dealt with.

While Cersei might be wrong about the intentions of the Freys it's certainly in the interests of the Freys that Stannis is defeated by Bolton. The Freys are allied with Bolton after all.

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By the way, does anybody remember how Asha learned that Moat Cailin has fallen and how long ago it was?
Hmmm. I believe it was mentioned in the letter she got from the Boltons. But can't be sure. Strange how things become vague so quickly.

I also think aDwD is leading upto a battle between the Boltons and Stannis. Not sure how Stannis could succeed except if they surprise a Bolton army. And maybe freeing Theon in the process. :) If Stannis wins, it will be like the climax of aCoK. We thought Stannis was finished then after losing but the Boltons will be even more annoying i'm sure. I'm the Boltons win, i'm not sure Stannis could recover. He is running out of men and he is already starting from a position of weakness. Thus, its more likely he will win since I think he has a bigger role to play than an ignominious defeat in the North to the Boltons.

The Manderlys are probably too far away to attack the Dreadfort. It would be very risky also.

Btw, while the Redwyne fleet was bound to make it to the Reach eventually, we were told that Dragonstone could have held out for a long time if it wasn't for Loras. So it seems they will be returning (in full) earlier than expected.

Ser Hippie, I found what you said extreme because you seem to believe that the only logical step for the Tyrells is to eradicate the Ironborn. It ignores the real prize. KL.

Stannis doesn't really have time to be dicking around waiting for possible help, and even if Theon and Asha are set free and perfectly willing to help, any aid from the Isles would take quite a bit of time to arrive.

I must be missing something because you definitely seem to be missing what I am saying. The Iron Isles aren't going to help Stannis while Euron rules. At best, Asha and Theon will return there and hopefully gain control eventually. Then they might be of some use but this is probably not going to happen quickly. I explicitly said they may not win but causing Euron problems is good enough really.

I'm not expecting Stannis to radically change his plans to get Theon released. I'm thinking he will take advantages of circumstances. Asha offers him a chance to take Torrhen's Square and cause problems in the Iron Isles, why not take advantage of it? If things don't work out, what will he have lost?

I never said it will all happen in aDwD. Theon/Asha are helping Stannis by trying to take control of the Iron Isles, which I did say. And i'm not sure why Stannis must snub Asha/Theon because they can't offer a huge amount of help straight away. Somehow you seem to think that I think Asha/Theon will make a huge immediate difference when it comes to Stannis. I don't. Never have.

I'm not sure why they'd view Theon as a better choice, since the Reach would probably remain hostile and the Northmen would remain hostile as well - only Stannis would really gain/want that to happen and Stannis needs aid, he can't offer anything to the ironborn.
The problem for the Ironborn is that ignoring Euron's wild schemes, it looks very likely that they will lose and lose badly. The only person who may need them is Stannis since he is weak himself. So what can Stannis offer them? Survival.

You seriously think the Tyrells will distract themselves with the Ironborn with KL up for grabs? And I even said that things may sort themselves out in KL but it will take time. I might have picked you up wrong but you seem to suggest that the Tyrells will race up north after the Ironborn. Eventually the Ironborn will face a reckoning but it will take time.

Since much of ADwD is semi-concurrent to events in AFFC, I don't think he'd be in a position to leave until near the end, if then.

Wow, this is turning into a loooong post. The Asha chapter occurs after the last Ironborn chapter in aFfC thus Euron could have already left.

As for Aeron. He obviously only becomes relevant when there is another option to Euron.

The only thing I agree with you really is that the Tyrells will probably make peace with the Lannisters. But again, it will all take time. Especially to build up trust again.

getting her to have Cleftjaw surrender TS is a useful "You do this for me and we can talk" type measure - it's something tangible Asha can offer Stannis in exchange for him risking his reputation/alliances to support a Greyjoy.
OTOH, I read this and think we may not disagree that much after all, since I wouldn't find much wrong with this. Its what i've been advocating almost.

(1) Bolton wasn't liked to begin with (he's weird, cruel, landhungry, etc.). His allies (Lannisters and Freys) are not well liked either, especially not after a war

(2) He betrayed the Starks, who seem to have been held in high regard

(3) He betrayed every other Northern house (Karstarks might have been an exception, but he betrayed Harrion and his uncle apparently has thrown in with Stannis in exchange for Winterfell)

(4) Cerwyn, Tallhart, Manderly all had men at Winterfell that were killed by Ramsay - Manderly also was fighting Ramsay during the Lady Hornwood incident

(5) People might put two and two together about Bolton's conduct during the war - how he constantly put the Glovers and Tallharts and Umbers and so on in harm's way.

Exactly. And that's why the Northmen may forgive Stannis from using the Ironborn (since there is tangible benefits from doing so). The Boltons are even worse than they are. Snubbing the Ironborn because some men may switch sides is a very optimistic approach. As you said, only some substantial victories will lead to any side swopping. The Ironborn may help in that.

I'm not sure if Jaime would really think it through that deeply, he's not exactly politically adept

I wouldn't agree with that though. Jaime has exhibited some skill in aFfC. The Joy thing is rather minor. Releasing the Greatjon would be major. The difference between the North and the Riverlands is that the Riverlands is well under the crowns heel with the fall of Riverrun. Releasing hostages would be a mark of good faith and sooth pride. With Stannis building forces in the North, releasing major hostages would allow some lords to throw their lot in with him easier.

Btw, I don't think Asha broke or even twisted her ankle. She just stumbled over a root. She has a nasty blow to the head but she could recover quickly.

Regina, about the pregnant Asha idea. That would be a twist, which I didn't consider. Possible. :)

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Padraig,

Hmmm. I believe it was mentioned in the letter she got from the Boltons. But can't be sure. Strange how things become vague so quickly.

The letter which included a "piece of prince"? There might actually be a hint here that Theon is with the Bolton's in the south. That is if the skin was really Theon's and was "fresh" and not from some stock of Theon's skin.

In any case, if the letter wasn't received recently but rather some time ago as has been suggested then Bolton could be well on his way to Deepwood Motte at the time of Asha's chapter.

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Hmmm. I believe it was mentioned in the letter she got from the Boltons. But can't be sure. Strange how things become vague so quickly.

Even if it hasn't fallen - and I think it probably has - it's only a matter of time, really. MC cannot be held from attacks from the north, and the garrison is weak. I rerread some of the earlier posts and it's stated that Asha "hears" it has fallen or something like that.

I also think aDwD is leading upto a battle between the Boltons and Stannis. Not sure how Stannis could succeed except if they surprise a Bolton army. And maybe freeing Theon in the process. :) If Stannis wins, it will be like the climax of aCoK.
I think there are several ways Stannis can start things off. The first is, as you say, to surprise the Boltons; the problem I see with that is that it's too late for him to intercept Ramsay on his way south, so he'd be badly outnumbered, and he doesn't strike me as a brilliant enough general to overcome that (plus Roose wouldn't allow himself to lose everything in one battle, I don't think). Stannis would probably have to go for a guerrilla style campaign or something splashy, like taking the Dreadfort (which plays well with the freeing theon angle, from a story point of view).

The Manderlys are probably too far away to attack the Dreadfort. It would be very risky also.

They could sail up the White Knife, like they did to take Winterfell. I don't necessarily think they would attack the Dreadfort, but if the Bolton strength is massed to the South they might (since I don't think Bolton can afford to besiege White Harbor with Stannis running around the North), and it would be more reasonable than having Stannis march across the North or something like that.

Ser Hippie, I found what you said extreme because you seem to believe that the only logical step for the Tyrells is to eradicate the Ironborn. It ignores the real prize. KL.
Where did I say anything about eradicating the ironborn? I simply argued that the Tyrells and their bannermen would want to attack the Isles in retribution. There's no need for them to commit genocide or anything, just to 'remove the teeth', as it were.

I must be missing something because you definitely seem to be missing what I am saying. The Iron Isles aren't going to help Stannis while Euron rules. At best, Asha and Theon will return there and hopefully gain control eventually. Then they might be of some use but this is probably not going to happen quickly. I explicitly said they may not win but causing Euron problems is good enough really.

So where are you disagreeing with me exactly? I'll repeat it again: my problem with a Theon/Asha alliance with Stannis is not its plausibility per se, but rather the amount of time it would take to come to fruition and the likelihood that it will not offer much to either side in the end. The point being that (1) it will take time for them to take over the Isles, (2) Stannis doesn't have enough strength to support them, (3) They may not be in position to help him anyway if the Reach attacks.

I'm not expecting Stannis to radically change his plans to get Theon released. I'm thinking he will take advantages of circumstances. Asha offers him a chance to take Torrhen's Square and cause problems in the Iron Isles, why not take advantage of it? If things don't work out, what will he have lost?
Again, what I said is that he doesn't need to offer her an alliance right off the bat, that would be overplaying his hand. Asha is probably in an even worse position than Stannis is, since she has lost many/most of her loyal troops.

I never said it will all happen in aDwD. Theon/Asha are helping Stannis by trying to take control of the Iron Isles, which I did say. And i'm not sure why Stannis must snub Asha/Theon because they can't offer a huge amount of help straight away. Somehow you seem to think that I think Asha/Theon will make a huge immediate difference when it comes to Stannis. I don't. Never have.

Reread my posts, and the bolded part above. The problem is NOT the Asha/Theon alliance with Stannis, it's the fact that Stannis needs more than possible help sometime down the road if Moat Cailin has fallen.

The problem for the Ironborn is that ignoring Euron's wild schemes, it looks very likely that they will lose and lose badly. The only person who may need them is Stannis since he is weak himself. So what can Stannis offer them? Survival.
Two weak powers don't guarantee survival. They need something more.

You seriously think the Tyrells will distract themselves with the Ironborn with KL up for grabs? And I even said that things may sort themselves out in KL but it will take time. I might have picked you up wrong but you seem to suggest that the Tyrells will race up north after the Ironborn. Eventually the Ironborn will face a reckoning but it will take time.

No, I just pointed out that the Tyrells don't need to abandon KL to still fight the ironborn, and that both parties in KL (Tyrells/Lannisters) have good reasons to note let things get any worse, particularly since the instigator (Cersei) is likely to be out of the picture.

Wow, this is turning into a loooong post. The Asha chapter occurs after the last Ironborn chapter in aFfC thus Euron could have already left.

Which I've never denied. I've simply stated that until there's evidence he has, it only adds to the problems of getting Theon onto the seastone Chair.

As for Aeron. He obviously only becomes relevant when there is another option to Euron.
Again, where have I stated otherwise? I said that because he hasn't been heard from, he probably hasn't done much to undermine Euron, which is something people, including yourself, were saying was going to help Asha/Theon take the throne. Once he has some freedom to act (assuming he is alive), then of course he can be a factor.

I wouldn't agree with that though. Jaime has exhibited some skill in aFfC. The Joy thing is rather minor. Releasing the Greatjon would be major. The difference between the North and the Riverlands is that the Riverlands is well under the crowns heel with the fall of Riverrun. Releasing hostages would be a mark of good faith and sooth pride. With Stannis building forces in the North, releasing major hostages would allow some lords to throw their lot in with him easier.

Well, he also allows the garrison to go free, which even Genna Lannister views as a potential disaster (the 9 of every 10 of these men will take up arms again speech), antagonizes the Freys (which I enjoyed, but wasn't really good for preserving the alliance, and while releasing some Northern hostages will cause trouble, it's not as if the Lannisters understand the North particularly well, especially if they think the houses that have joined Ramsay are now loyal. Jaime knows how to fight and lead, but I haven't seen anything to lead me to believe he really understands politics.

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I too took the name Whoresbane as more of a symbol of an oversexed man than an evil man. I would however, wonder what the Greatjon's other sons, especially his new heir, have to say about arrangements in the North.

However does anyone else think that the last name Crowsfood may be foreshadowing?

Wern't they explained at some point i seem to remember it as Mors Crowsfood being because a crow bit out his eye one time and Hothor Whoresbane being because he was THAT big in the pants he "kills whores"

Ran i don't see why your so ready to paint them as usurpers they were left as the Greatjon's co-castallans so they're supposed to look after things till his return, and Roose has him prisoner so they have to aid Ramsay.

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The letter which included a "piece of prince"? There might actually be a hint here that Theon is with the Bolton's in the south.

Yes, hmm. Good point. We know Bolton did have some of "Theon" with him to show the Starks in aSoS but still interesting. Perhaps Regina will recall when Asha learned it.

Ser Hippie, Stannis does have a good rep as a general. But it will certainly be tested trying to take the North. A guerrila war sounds like it would take too long and even attacking the Dreadfort sounds difficult since I doubt Ramsay will make the same mistake the Starks did. I have to say that its a tough one.

I'm with Ran in thinking that if the Manderlys do side with Stannis, he would do best to join forces with Stannis. Its the only way he would have a decent force. And then he could challenge Bolton in a scrap.

The point being that (1) it will take time for them to take over the Isles, (2) Stannis doesn't have enough strength to support them, (3) They may not be in position to help him anyway if the Reach attacks.
So what? Does this mean Stannis shouldn't make a deal with Asha? We still can't ignore the immediate benefits of grabbing TS without a fight and causing trouble for the Ironborn. I'm not saying that he needs to offer Asha a great alliance straight away. Just let her do her thing and see what happens. (Getting TS been the first step).

And yes, Stannis obviously needs more help than just the Ironborn. Never said anything different.

No, I just pointed out that the Tyrells don't need to abandon KL to still fight the ironborn, and that both parties in KL (Tyrells/Lannisters) have good reasons to note let things get any worse, particularly since the instigator (Cersei) is likely to be out of the picture.

There is 2 things. One they need to drive the Ironborn out of the Reach. We agree about this. The other is that when the Ironborn retreat whether the Tyrells will follow. I think it would be foolish until everything is sorted with the Lannisters. Can we agree this will take time? Its not as simple as getting rid of Cersei. There has been a major breach in faith. Margarey is accused of some major sins. Storms End remains under Stannis's control. Racing off to fight the Ironborn on their home turf would be a costly and difficult task. Not something to be raced into. Makes sense?

Glad you don't think the Ironborn have to be eradicated. ;) I was just making sure. Thus we can conclude that their hatred is not all encompassing and it wouldn't to cloud their judgement. They can focus on what is important.

I've simply stated that until there's evidence he has, it only adds to the problems of getting Theon onto the seastone Chair.
And i've stated that Theon getting onto the Chair would be a bonus for Stannis. Not a neccessity. We don't seem to be getting very far. :P

I said that because he hasn't been heard from, he probably hasn't done much to undermine Euron, which is something people, including yourself, were saying was going to help Asha/Theon take the throne

I was quite happy for Aeron to do most of his undermining after Theon is freed. That's all the help I was expecting from him.

Well, he also allows the garrison to go free, which even Genna Lannister views as a potential disaster (the 9 of every 10 of these men will take up arms again speech), antagonizes the Freys (which I enjoyed, but wasn't really good for preserving the alliance, and while releasing some Northern hostages will cause trouble, it's not as if the Lannisters understand the North particularly well, especially if they think the houses that have joined Ramsay are now loyal. Jaime knows how to fight and lead, but I haven't seen anything to lead me to believe he really understands politics.

Woohoo, now I have to defend Jaime. :) Jaime definitely has his flaws. He likes to antagonise fools. But he doesn't have to worry about the Frey's breaking with him. The Red Wedding saw to that. Genna is paranoid and he did give Edmure his word to release the garrison. And its not as if it can be a major threat anyhow.

Jaime is at his worst when he lets emotion get in his way. There is no reason for emotion to get in the way of any decision on the Greatjon. Not understanding the North and been clueless are 2 different things. Jaime at his best was when he got rid of Mace Tyrell from KL.

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Ser Hippie, Stannis does have a good rep as a general. But it will certainly be tested trying to take the North. A guerrila war sounds like it would take too long and even attacking the Dreadfort sounds difficult since I doubt Ramsay will make the same mistake the Starks did. I have to say that its a tough one

I was presenting other options, not saying these were what he should or must do. It's a simple matter of fact that he's severely outnumbered at the moment, and fighting a pitched battle with Bolton risks his entire cause on whether he can win or not.

I'm with Ran in thinking that if the Manderlys do side with Stannis, he would do best to join forces with Stannis. Its the only way he would have a decent force. And then he could challenge Bolton in a scrap.
Depends on how many troops Manderly has left, since most (all?) of his force sent south is probably gone and more troops were lost at Winterfell, plus he has to keep some troops to garrison White Harbor. All in all, I'm not still not convinced it's at all wise for Stannis to risk it all on a battle.

So what? Does this mean Stannis shouldn't make a deal with Asha? We still can't ignore the immediate benefits of grabbing TS without a fight and causing trouble for the Ironborn. I'm not saying that he needs to offer Asha a great alliance straight away. Just let her do her thing and see what happens. (Getting TS been the first step).

Again, I really don't get what you're trying to say. I've said this like ten times, I am not arguing that Stannis should blow off Asha/Theon, I'm saying that he needn't and shouldn't just jump at it. He could probably get TS as a prelude to negotiations with Asha, for example, which works better (since that means he gets something for agreeing to talk, something that benefits him anyway). If you need me to, I'll italicize or bold or underline it but I've said that over and over.

There is 2 things. One they need to drive the Ironborn out of the Reach. We agree about this. The other is that when the Ironborn retreat whether the Tyrells will follow. I think it would be foolish until everything is sorted with the Lannisters. Can we agree this will take time? Its not as simple as getting rid of Cersei. There has been a major breach in faith. Margarey is accused of some major sins. Storms End remains under Stannis's control. Racing off to fight the Ironborn on their home turf would be a costly and difficult task. Not something to be raced into. Makes sense?
Who said anything about "rushing off" or "racing into" going after the ironborn? The Tyrells don't need to go marching their entire strength off to Old Wyk or anything. The Arbor fleet is already on its way, and is probably all they need in addition to several thousand plus troops that Garlan and Willas have already to harass the Isles (burn some castles and land, plunder a bit, etc.).

Glad you don't think the Ironborn have to be eradicated. ;) I was just making sure. Thus we can conclude that their hatred is not all encompassing and it wouldn't to cloud their judgement. They can focus on what is important.

You're presenting this as 'either the Tyrells send all their resources one way or they send them another'. They don't need to send any troops to the Isles, they can fight the Ironborn with their fleet while their other troops remain near or at King's Landing. The Tyrell's fleet is not needed at KL and could easily handle what's left of the ironborn fleet now that the Iron Fleet is away.

I also still have no idea where you got the idea of eradication from apart from reading something into my posts that simply wasn't there.

And i've stated that Theon getting onto the Chair would be a bonus for Stannis. Not a neccessity. We don't seem to be getting very far. :P
Because you don't seem to understand what I'm saying at all.

You're taking "an alliance with Theon/Asha isn't a sure enough thing for Stannis, who needs more substantial and immediate aid against Bolton" and turning it into "Stannis doesn't need/can't be helped by an alliance with Theon/Asha". Note that they're very different concepts.

I was quite happy for Aeron to do most of his undermining after Theon is freed. That's all the help I was expecting from him.

Which isn't what you brought up in the first place (i.e. that Aeron is undermining Euron and thus making it easier for Theon to take power). Sure, if/when he resurfaces that will be true, but if he's MIA in this chapter, that probably won't happen in ADwD.

Woohoo, now I have to defend Jaime. :) Jaime definitely has his flaws. He likes to antagonise fools. But he doesn't have to worry about the Frey's breaking with him. The Red Wedding saw to that.
The Freys are allied to Bolton and are the premier house in the riverlands now. There's no sense in needlessly antagonizing them without good reason, and them being 'fools' doesn't really compare with them being the ones who will be keeping the peace in the riverlands. Note, that when the Small Council talks of getting a few Frey heads to get the Faith to shut up about the Red Wedding, they never say anything about breaking said alliance or anything. The Freys are still extremely useful to the Throne, and Jaime needlessly insulted them. Did I agree with what he said? Yes, and I think he was right, but that doesn't mean he should have said it - it's not that the Freys would revolt over it, but what profit is there in insulting your ostensible allies?

Genna is paranoid and he did give Edmure his word to release the garrison. And its not as if it can be a major threat anyhow.

How is Genna paranoid? If anything, she comes across as the most level headed and sensible Lannister or Frey at the siege. Also, whether he gave his word or not is irrelevant as to whether it's a smart move or not. He released hundreds of men who even he admits will probably join outlaw bands (or, perhaps, other riverlords like Piper or Vance).

Jaime is at his worst when he lets emotion get in his way. There is no reason for emotion to get in the way of any decision on the Greatjon. Not understanding the North and been clueless are 2 different things. Jaime at his best was when he got rid of Mace Tyrell from KL.

Yes, he got Mace out by having Margaery and Tommen married. Thanks to Cersei, who Jaime had firsthand dealings with, that went really well didn't it? Jaime is a fine warrior and commander, but please show me where he understands the subtleties of political maneuvering, especially when it seems the Lannisters and Small Council would have every reason to think that the Umbers, Ryswells and others are now loyal.

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cybro,

There's no explanation for Whoresbane's name, I am pretty sure. Not in the first four books, anyways. Old Nan explains Crowsfood, but she won't explain Whoresbane.

I think the thing that has made me suspicious is that back in ASoS is this:

Bran tried to think it through, the way his father might have. The Greatjon's uncles Hother Whoresbane and Mors Crowfood were fierce men, but he thought they would be loyal. And the Karstarks, them too. Karhold was a strong castle, Father always said. We would be safe with the Umbers or the Karstarks.

In both of these cases, Bran is wrong. Obviously, he's a child, he doesn't have a good view of the complexity of the situation. But lets recall that the Karstarks and Umbers were not among those who had joined Rodrik at Winterfell -- Theon noted this, even though he had believed the Umbers would appear (he apparently somehow had a report that the Umbers were gathering at Last Hearth).

We know why the Karstarks might refuse to show up. But the Umbers, who certainly had the time to get there, who were apparently raising a force but then simply didn't show up, who are now in with the Boltons .... I find that suspect.

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Ran,

In both of these cases, Bran is wrong.
Do we actually know this for sure? I think it does make a certain difference that the Karstarks and the Umbers have made their choices without to know of Bran or Rickon. We can speculate that they would still have chosen to support Stannis and Bolton over the Stark kids but I would argue that we don't know this for sure.

But lets recall that the Karstarks and Umbers were not among those who had joined Rodrik at Winterfell.

But some Karstark men did show up. Apparently not the uncle -- who may have preferred to stay back at Karhold to protect Karstark lands -- but those Karstark men who showed up can well be suspected to have been sent by him.

But the Umbers, who certainly had the time to get there, who were apparently raising a force but then simply didn't show up, ...

You're right that this needs an explanation. However, the explanation might be less sinister than you suspect. Perhaps they were simply late and Rodrik didn't want to wait any longer? He had enough men, certainly. Or the uncles had gotten wind of the BoB gathering or leading men and decided to protect their own lands before he attacked Last Hearth, figuring that Rodrik wouldn't need them against the few men Theon had?

Moreover, even if the uncles were less than completely loyal to the Starks this doesn't have to mean that they would turn on their own relatives. Perhaps the priority of the uncles is simply to do the best for House Umber, with the Starks coming second.

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Markus,

Ah, you're right about the Karstarks. Fair enough on them.

I take nothing for granted in this series, in any case. The "maybe they were late" doesn't really wash. Lord Frey's the last one to use that one.

Again, I am suspicious of them. No one can show that they are particularly nice guys, and no one can prove that they aren't the sorts to try and seize power if the situation looks ripe for it. Can't prove otherwise, but this is why I'm suspicious rather than certain.

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Ser Hippie, I think we are completely lost in the minutiae. Debates can go like that. In many larger issues we probably agree but because we disagree on the smaller things, we can't see the forest from the trees.

So yes, the problem with Stannis is that he can't risk defeat but he also can't afford to be fighting for the North for years considering he thinks an Others invasion is imminent. So I think he needs to take a chance or have some luck.

And yes, Manderly may not be as strong as he was but I was mainly countering the idea that he could attack the Dreadfort (which we all agree would be difficult) alone. I think it would be most useful to unite with Stannis (if he decides to oppose the Boltons).

In either of these 2 issues we probably don't disagree much, we are just looking at things from a different direction. We run into more problems later on.

I am not arguing that Stannis should blow off Asha/Theon, I'm saying that he needn't and shouldn't just jump at it.
We are going in circles here. Earlier on I pointed out that I agreed with you on this. But then you go off and say that "my problem with a Theon/Asha alliance with Stannis is not its plausibility per se, but rather the amount of time it would take to come to fruition and the likelihood that it will not offer much to either side in the end." I interpreted this as "because it will be of little benefit to Stannis he should ignore it". As long as we agree that they will come to some mutual beneficial agreement it doesn't matter if it doesn't turn the war immediately. I think we can agree on that? I have tried to say this before, so I apologise if it wasn't clear.

Who said anything about "rushing off" or "racing into" going after the ironborn?

I would define any attacks on the Ironborn before they make peace with the Lannisters as "rushing off". Raiding the Iron Isles wouldn't be easy. The Ironborn would cause them lots of problems (especially if they don't have secure access to the neighbouring Lannister and Riverlands) because that is the kind of war they are good at.

I imagine the Tyrells will have learned not to leave the Reach as weak as it was. Thus they wouldn't throw men and ships all over the country in such numbers again.

Eradication was mockery. :P You seemed to be suggesting that the Tyrells would ignore everything to get revenge against the Ironborn. I wanted you to put some limits to this desire for revenge, which you did.

Which isn't what you brought up in the first place (i.e. that Aeron is undermining Euron and thus making it easier for Theon to take power).
:lol: Probably a classic case of misunderstanding. I don't know where/if I said that but you are clear what I mean now anyhow? Just to be clear, Theon isn't supposed to be free at the moment, so its not particularly important what Aeron is doing. Once Theon has made his claim, then Aeron can up his "undermining" mission.

As for the Frey business...I think you are exaggerating. The Frey's have largely got what they want. But there is no way that Jaime (or Genna for that matter) is going to be subservient to them.

And Genna knows that Riverrun is a poison chalice, so she insists that Edmure is killed, the garrison murdered presumably etc. All to try and secure her hold on the castle. She is level-headed but she doesn't get everything right.

As for Jaime breaking his word. That's the point isn't it. He tries to keep it these days. You may argue that he shouldn't but been dishonourable didn't help him either.

when it seems the Lannisters and Small Council would have every reason to think that the Umbers, Ryswells and others are now loyal

What do you know that they don't? Since you presumably think it would be foolish to release the Greatjon?

Yes Cersei is to blame for many bad acts. You are hardly blaming Jaime for Cersei?

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To come back to the letter Asha received: If the letter was signed and sent to her from the south, some time after Moat Cailin was taken by the Boltons and their allies, and if the skin she was sent was fresh and from Theon, then Theon isn't at the Dreadfort anymore, but has accompanied Ramsay to Moat Cailin and Roose.

This would also be a neat way how we could see a lot of the Boltons, as well as the "quarrelsome" Ryswells.

If this were the case GRRM could also let Stannis and Bolton clash, and free Theon at the same time.

There is also some potential for underhanded schemes here. Ramsay might try to use Theon to get rid of his father, for example. And Theon might not be totally adverse to such a scheme whether he trusts Ramsay or not. Bolton killed Robb, and Theon seemed to like Robb despite all.

If Theon is sorry for what he has done and what has come of it taking out any Bolton might be a good way to start to earn some forgiveness. If that is the direction GRRM wants Theon to go.

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Hrm. There may be something to this notion that Theon has been taken to the south, assuming that Theon is a POV (which certainly seems possible). See this report from ConJose, in which GRRM apparently noted that we would see Mors and Hother in (pre-split, gap-abandoned) AFfC. If Theon is being paraded around by Ramsay, he'd certainly see them.

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The only thing I remember about the skin is that it light very quickly. Its definitely interesting to think that Theon could be wandering around interacting with the Boltons and the Umbers.

I'd alove to see the interaction between Ramsay and Roose. They have done very well as a team so far but was that mutual self-interest or is there some bond there? The latter sounds a major assumption considering the kind of men they are but you never know I suppose. It might depend on how quickly Roose's new wife becomes pregnant.

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