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[twow Spoilers] Arianne II, Part 2

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2 minutes ago, Ser Wun Wun said:

Unless I'm misremembering, there is a Dornish army waiting in the Boneway for Arianne to call for them by sending the word "Dragons" via raven.  So she meets Aegon, decides to commit Dorne to him and suddenly the Dornish army pours out of the Boneway to crush the Tyrell army.  Pretty simple.  

I think something will come of that whole "friends in the Reach" thing eventually, but I don't think it's how Aegon wins this particular battle.  

I don't remember, but in any case if an army leaves from the Boneway the moment Arianne reaches SE, it would still have to outpace an army from KL, which is closer and has been on the march for days. They however have the advantage of the KL army being in supposedly no hurry, still I don't think the dornish army could reach SE before the battle unless Aegon/Jon Con is actively stalling for time.

If Aegon does manage to win the battle, either the people in control of the reach army are terrible commanders (thinking of Mace) or they went without sufficient numbers, which would be stupid as they (theoretically) aren't pressed for time.

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11 minutes ago, Blade of Sunlight said:

I've enjoyed the chapter, it's moody and interesting, perhaps diminished by already knowing fAegon took storm's end. 

What will happen next, I see only two outcomes, the battle happens and fAegon is destroyed (I doubt the GC I'd strong enough to face a Reach army that likely has many times their numbers) or he converts the army. The problem here is the first option puts a period to the whole Aegon story, and the only lasting ramifications could be the capture of Arianne, and the second option is a bit of a stretch, yet the one everyone (including me) expect to happen, thus it's theoretical "surprise efect" is much diminished. 

In any case, I cannot wait for the Winds of Winter launch! 

The Golden Company can win, not always the numbers decide a battle, it depends of the commander's competence (they have Mance and the GC have Jon Connington), the strategy used, if the army choose the terrain that give them advantage. The discipline of the troops (the GC have high disciplined soldiers, the Tyrells have a bunch of knights eager for ransoms and glory, no so disciplined). Other factor are the elephants, their charge is unstoppable, not even a forest of lances can stop them. Their charge can smash and trample the enemies, break the lines and cause a devastator psychological effect in the adversary making them disorganize. Also, the smell of the elephants cause panic in horses not used to this animals. 

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I enjoyed this chapter, it seemed to cover a lot more ground at a quicker pace than some of the DwD chapters did. I would need to go back over it when I have more time to pick out specific quotes, but as I was reading I felt like there were a lot of hints/nods towards Aegon not being a legitimate Targaryen. I'll admit I was about 50/50 until now, but this pushed me more toward fAegon.

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2 minutes ago, Arrow of the Morning said:

The Golden Company can win, not always the numbers decide a battle, it depends of the commander's competence (they have Mance and the GC have Jon Connington), the strategy used, if the army choose the terrain that give them advantage. The discipline of the troops (the GC have high disciplined soldiers, the Tyrells have a bunch of knights eager for ransoms and glory, no so disciplined). Other factor are the elephants, their charge is unstoppable, not even a forest of lances can stop them. Their charge can smash and trample the enemies, break the lines and cause a devastator psychological effect in the adversary making them disorganize. Also, the smell of the elephants cause panic in horses not used to this animals. 

I agree with you about command, terrain and discipline, but not the elephants, westerosi armies have face them before, and as such their shock value is greatly diminished since any competent commander should be accustomed to the tactics associated with elephant warfare. As I've said before, the likely way the reach will lose is with an incompetent commander, and as the books pointed out multiple times Mace fits the role, but if Randyll is actually in command, then I doubt the GC can win.

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Great chapter. Makes me so eager to read TWOW.

I am not sure that Mace is leading this army given the power vacuum in KL following Kevan's death. And there's still Margaery's trial.

If Randyll Tarly is leading it, I could see him well joining Jon Connington, as Lord Rowan likely did. If Mace is leading it, well he will probably end up defeated and dead

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It's a bit of an assumption that Mace is leading the descending army, and even more so that it is the whole strength he had in KL marching with him. Whatever the case, that army is destined to be fodder for us to see first-hand the skill of the GC at war and the usefulness of elephants in battle.

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4 minutes ago, VVSINGOFTHECROSS said:

I quite liked it, enjoyed the discussions, the hints of the children were interesting. Glad to see the pace has picked up.

That was the best bit for me - I want to go back to that cave!

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About the Fall of Storm's End, Arianne give us a good description of the walls and towers and show us how mighty this castle is.

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Storm’s End. This griffin is a bold one, it would seem. Or else a fool. The seat of House Baratheon for three centuries, of the ancient Storm Kings for thousands of years before that, Storm’s End was said by some to be impregnable. Arianne had heard men argue about which was the strongest castle in the realm. Some said Casterly Rock, some the Eyrie of the Arryns, some Winterfell in the frozen north, but Storm’s End was always mentioned too. Legend said it was raised by Brandon the Builder to withstand the fury of a vengeful god. Its curtain walls were the highest and strongest in all the Seven Kingdoms, forty to eighty feet in thickness. Its mighty windowless drum tower stood less than half as tall as the Hightower of Oldtown, but rose straight up in place of being stepped, with walls thrice as thick as those to be found in Oldtown. No siege tower was tall enough to reach Storm’s End battlements; neither mangonel nor trebuchet could hope to breech its massive walls. Does Connington think to mount a siege? She wondered.How many men can he have? Long before the castle fell, the Lannisters would dispatch an army to break any such siege. That way is hopeless too.

But, also give us a clue of how Jon Connington could have conquered it.

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“Banners?” asked Arianne.

“Gold. On the gatehouse and the keep.”

“What device did they bear?”

“None that I could see, but there was no wind. The banners hung limp from their staffs.”

That was vexing. The Golden Company’s banners were cloth-of-gold,[...]

“All the ones that I saw were gold, princess.”

She nodded. Mistwood was the seat of House Mertyns, whose arms showed a great horned owl, white on grey. If their banners were not flying, likely the talk was true, and the castle had fallen into the hands of Jon Connington and his sellswords.

The banner of House Mertyns is not there, the castle fell and that could be the reason the banner is not there, but we have another clue when the dornish are searching for information in the inns.

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The town was large enough to support three inns, and all their common rooms were rife with rumors. Arianne sent her men into each of them, to hear what they might hear. In the Broken Shield, Daemon Sand was told that the great septry on the Holf of Men had been burned and looted by raiders from the sea, and a hundred young novices from the motherhouse on Maiden Isle carried off into slavery. In the Loon, Joss Hood learned that half a hundred men and boys from the Weeping Town had set off north to join Jon Connington at Griffin’s Roost, including young Ser Addam, old Lord Whitehead’s son and heir. But in the aptly named Drunken Dornishman, Feathers heard men muttering that the griffin had put Red Ronnet’s brother to death and raped his maiden sister. Ronnet himself was said to be rushing south to avenge his brother’s death and his sister’s dishonor.

We don't know about the first rumor (It can be true). The second may be true either, but I will discuss it later. But, by the last POV of Jon Connington we know it is not entirely true, even Red Ronnet is dead, we know his sister was not raped, she was just imprisoned in the castle and is been well treated. Chains and Young Jon Mudd said Jon Connington forbid rapes (we know the highborn women are safe, at least). And, may b Ronnet not even headed Griffin's Roost or encountered JonCon. It shows how inaccurate the rumors are and they can be just lies or half-trues.

It leads back, to the second rumor, that men-at-arms of House Whitehead joined the Golden Company. It can be true, may be this House was royalist and defended the Targaryen in the Robert Rebellion or is betting in Aegon, the heir of the house is with them indeed. But is Ser Addam with them because he wants or forced? Did the travelers just see some men dressed as  Whitehead soldiers and carrying the House's banner?

We saw in Dance that Jon have a plan to take Storm's End and it is probably an ruse. I bet Jon Connington ordered the soldiers to take the banners of each castle they conquered, to pose as a relief force to Storm's End forces, beat the small force commanded by Mathis Rowan and when the besieged open the gates, they enter and conquer the castle. It can explain the missing banner and the Whitehead forces.

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Trojan Horse, eh?

 

What confused me was the list of impregnable castles: Casterly Rock - check, Eyrie - check, Storm's End - check. Winterfell????

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@Veltigar

It is very difficult to assess the KL situation on the basis of that. Especially since we don't know anything on Haldon's source on the army marching against Storm's End. But if Varys is the source then it is most likely very good information.

The question as to who is going to lead the army is completely open. We don't know what is going to happen in KL in the wake of Kevan's death, but we do know that the plan was to have Cersei's trial three days later. Whether that's going to happen as planned is an open question, too, as is what's going to happen directly thereafter. Say, for instance, what's going to happen if Ser Robert Strong's true identity/status is revealed to a larger public in the wake of that. How will people in the city react to that?

There is also no reason to believe Margaery's trial is going to postponed indefinitely (assuming Mace is going to continue with that now that Kevan's gone and can no longer push him) All they need is four septons and three septas, after all.

Regardless of all that it is reasonable to assume that Mace will not sent his entire strength against the Golden Company. He'll keep half his strength or more in the capital to ensure that he can keep the Faith Militant and the remaining Lannister loyalists in check and the peace in the city. I'm inclined to assume Mace will remain in KL because he is now completely in control of Tommen's government and may enjoy sitting on the Iron Throne and all but that is by no means certain. He might also decide to win glory by smashing the Golden Company. Tarly commanding the army alone or alongside Mace is also an option.

However, I don't think it likely that Tarly is a secret Golden Company ally or Targaryen loyalist. If that was the case then a battle could easily be avoided completely simply by Tarly either arresting Mace or murdering Mace and then opening the gates to the approaching Aegon.

I think we'll see the Golden Company fighting and crushing the Tyrell troops whoever is going to command them. After all, Jon Connington is now a seasoned and experienced commander and the Golden Company is made up of professional soldiers who know how to fight and what to do. Their lines won't break easily (unlike those of the Tyrell levies) and they will continue to fight even if things seem confusing or dangerous for a time. Finally, the Golden Company has elephants. Neither knights nor peasants in Westeros seem to have any experience in fighting against war elephants.

A general question:

How likely do you guys think is the possibility that Arianne is going to meet Nymeria, Myrcella, and her party at Storm's End. We learned in that chapter that they took the Boneway and crossed the Stormlands so the chances that they walked right into the clutches of the Golden Company are pretty big, actually. And thanks to Kevan not mentioning any of that to Mace of Cersei (that Myrcella was coming with Nymeria to KL) the Tyrells have no clue about that at all.

I don't expect the Dornish to commit to Aegon's cause prior to the Golden Company showing their mettle against the Tyrell. Arianne will play wait and see until she is sure that they can win if they combine their forces. And if Dorne then declares for Aegon publicly during the victory celebration after this battle the effect of that could ripple through the entire Realm. Many disgruntled lords everywhere might decide to throw in their lot with this Targaryen pretender rather than suffer this clearly fake Baratheon boy king. Not just in the Reach but also in the Riverlands, the Crownlands, and possibly even the West and the Vale. A Targaryen restoration means hope and tastes like the good old days, whereas Cersei's brood is not exactly popular and well-liked.

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1 hour ago, Veltigar said:

Can you imagine Arianne's reaction to Faegon after this exchanche? She'll probably find herself looking at that potential Faegon-Dorne alliance a lot more favourably ;) 

I thought quite the opposite actually: Arianne looks at a Valyrian featured individual and he makes her flesh crawl. Not a good start to any relationship with Aegon, I don't think. 

Did anybody else get a bit of a CoK Arya chapters vibe from this sample? The fleeing peasants in the green fields, the dripping forests, the war that is mostly bypassing the lords but being felt strongly by the lower classes who have thus far been untouched.

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2 minutes ago, Constantinople said:

I thought quite the opposite actually: Arianne looks at a Valyrian featured individual and he makes her flesh crawl. Not a good start to any relationship with Aegon, I don't think. 

Did anybody else get a bit of a CoK Arya chapters vibe from this sample? The fleeing peasants in the green fields, the dripping forests, the war that is mostly bypassing the lords but being felt strongly by the lower classes who have thus far been untouched.

Agree on both counts. What the opposite to 'foreshadowing'? "Backshadowing"? I'd like to think it is deliberate. However noble or righteous war seems to those at the top, the outcome is the same for the poor bloody smallfolk.

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Wasn't this the first time that Arianne is exposed to the brutality of war?

I agree that there is a connection to Arya' own experience but we should not forget that Arianne was raised in Dorne.

In the water gardens she was friends with children, regardless of their status in society.

In Stormlands-and in the rest of the 7 Kingdoms apart from Dorne-the priority is always the wellbeing and safety of the nobles.

Commoners have little worth. 

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The guy that Arianne met, who looked like a Targaryen?

I wonder if he *is* (f)Aegon... Or some other offshoot of the family.

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5 minutes ago, JLE said:

The guy that Arianne met, who looked like a Targaryen?

I wonder if he *is* (f)Aegon... Or some other offshoot of the family.

"Offshoot" - how many 'last of the Targaryens are ther'e??? :P

I wondered about the former, but (f)Aegon has been a master of disguise for most of his life.

Edited by House Cambodia

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12 minutes ago, Danelle said:

Wasn't this the first time that Arianne is exposed to the brutality of war?

I agree that there is a connection to Arya' own experience but we should not forget that Arianne was raised in Dorne.

In the water gardens she was friends with children, regardless of their status in society.

In Stormlands-and in the rest of the 7 Kingdoms apart from Dorne-the priority is always the wellbeing and safety of the nobles.

Commoners have little worth. 

I mean, I think this is a key theme GRRM has been sending out to the readers for 20 years.

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59 minutes ago, Arrow of the Morning said:

It leads back, to the second rumor, that men-at-arms of House Whitehead joined the Golden Company. It can be true, may be this House was royalist and defended the Targaryen in the Robert Rebellion or is betting in Aegon, the heir of the house is with them indeed. But is Ser Addam with them because he wants or forced? Did the travelers just see some men dressed as  Whitehead soldiers and carrying the House's banner?

We saw in Dance that Jon have a plan to take Storm's End and it is probably an ruse. I bet Jon Connington ordered the soldiers to take the banners of each castle they conquered, to pose as a relief force to Storm's End forces, beat the small force commanded by Mathis Rowan and when the besieged open the gates, they enter and conquer the castle. It can explain the missing banner and the Whitehead forces.

I am certain that House Whitehead would behave in the most honourable and yet badass way possible at all times.

:D

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What confused me was the list of impregnable castles: Casterly Rock - check, Eyrie - check, Storm's End - check. Winterfell????

Winterfell is surrounded by two massive walls, one of them 100 feet tall, separated by a moat and with strong defensive walls. A full-scale assault on Winterfell would be extremely costly and victory would be dubious. It's probably less defensible to direct assault than Casterly Rock, the Eyrie or Storm's End because, as Theon found out, Winterfell is so spread out you'd also need quite a lot of men to effectively hold it. But at its height, Winterfell would be extremely hard to take in battle.

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54 minutes ago, House Cambodia said:

What confused me was the list of impregnable castles: Casterly Rock - check, Eyrie - check, Storm's End - check. Winterfell????

What's wrong with that? I don't think there was ever an incidence Winterfell was taken, is there? Except Theon and his 20 good men of course. But 20 good men can do anything. It has the same builder as Storm's End. It has an pretty impregnable layout.

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1 minute ago, messem said:

What's wrong with that? I don't think there was ever an incidence Winterfell was taken, is there? Except Theon and his 20 good men of course. But 20 good men can do anything. It has the same builder as Storm's End. It has an pretty impregnable layout.

Well yes, it was the ease with which Theon took it that I had in mind.

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