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Where are these lords getting all these "smallfolk" to fight and act as cannon fodder for them?


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And where are they getting the resources in terms of gold, field supplies, food, etc? Who is left to tend the fields? And why would anyone fight for them?

I'm asking these questions because in the GoT universe, it seems like the lord/commoner relationship does not follow historical conventions. The old, "you work the farms and pay taxes to me, and I protect you" deal. None of that seems to be happening, and quite the opposite: Opposing armies go rampaging through territories, slaughtering villagers, burning farms and raping women, and aside from Berric Dondarrion and his crew, the rest of the lords don't do a damn thing, and are more concerned with holding castles, keeps and rivers.

Which is fine, if there's sense to it.

But even the King's Landing siege made little sense. It reminds me of the initial stages of the Peloponnesian War, where the Spartans marched up to Attica and the Athenians ran behind their city walls and wouldn't meet them in battle.

The Spartans had an entire city-state of full-time slaves (Messenians) doing all the farm and supply work for them, and still they had to return home and split their forays into campaigning seasons. They were the *only* professional military to exist in the world at that time, and even they couldn't sustain a force in the field for more than a few months at a time.

And when it became clear the Athenians weren't coming out from behind their walls, the Spartans did something brilliant: They started burning farms and homes, but only those farms and homes that belonged to the commoners. They left the properties of the aristocrats untouched. And pretty soon the Athenians had to add class resentment and growing unrest to their list of troubles. All of a sudden, the aristos had more to fear from the angry mobs inside the city walls of Athens.

Of course, the Athenians had the Persians feeding them supplies and gold by sea, because it was in Persia's interest for the Greeks to continue fighting each other. And of course, the Spartans never sacked Athens...disease and Athenian incompetence did the work for them and eventually ended the war.

But in GoT/A Song of Ice and Fire, not only do they have the ravages of war to contend with, they've got a winter coming up that will supposedly last 10 years. Just who the hell is doing the farming and harvesting while everyone off killing each other? How are the lords keeping armies in the field indefinitely? Where are they getting the income if they're leaving their peasants to be slaughtered? And why would any commoner ever consider fighting and dying for liege lords who do not protect them?

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You make some good points. I think not all of the fields have been burned and not all the villages have been plundered? And GRRM does mention a fair few times that in this calm before the storm (that AFFC is turning out to be) many many villagers are hastily trying to salvage some kind of a harvest, albeit a very late one.

The problem will be a widespread famine in the long long winter ahead because no-one has had the time to get a real harvest in since the country has been torn apart by war since before the announcement came that Winter was on it's way.

As for Kings Landing? Why go out and fight in a battlefield and waste countless lives when you can make the enemy come to you, on your own turf and on your own terms? I think I would have done exactly the same.

Places like High Garden and such are about to become very very rich as their harvest seem to be the only ones that have been untouched by the war!

And as for the chivalrous Knights and Lords? Well being four books in to the series I think it has been established that there are o 'true Knights', just ask Sansa lol. But seriously there will be a lot of things to be answered for by these so called Lords and Knights, when/if the war ends! And really the common people of Westeros would benefit from having Dany as their Queen because she has already shown compassion for the 'commonors'!

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Yeah, the knights thing is not so much about chivalry as it is about a working relationship. Historically there's give-and-take. Work and fealty for a spit of land and protection. In the GoT universe, it's more like work and fealty, and when the enemies come that's your problem, smallfolk!

And yeah, I agree it would not make sense to lead a smaller, lesser-trained force out of the city walls for a pitched battle. That's why the scenario is comparable to Athens-Sparta in the early stages of their war. My point is that the Lannisters left the entire countryside to be ravaged, much like the Athenians left Attica to the Spartans and watched their farms burn.

There's really no effort to explain how forces can take the field for indefinite amounts of time, without supply chains and logistics. There's this vague sense of carts with some salt beef and hard cheese, while outriders work the land for game. That doesn't work with an army.

What I found interesting was the talk in book one/season one, about the Dothraki and how "King Robert is fool enough to meet them in open battle." But as Robert himself said in the one scene, how long would commonfolk maintain loyalty with their farms burning, while their lords hide behind high walls? That's where I got to thinking that Martin was probably familiar with classical Greece and the wars in antiquity.

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I am no expert on medieval history or supplying an army, but I do agree the amount of resources in the series comes across as far-fetched. I appreciate the attempts in clash of kings to explain some of it, but too many times while reading I found myself asking "Where did they get all this food/armor/men?" Mostly food. The whole "winter is coming" thing seemed to taper off as a theme in this book, but with the other books every time someone said those words I found myself thinking "so why aren't you stockpiling FOOD!?" Basically if half the world doesn't starve once winter gets here, I'm going to have trouble believing any of it. Without freezers, I don't see how they'll survive a ten year winter.

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Without freezers, I don't see how they'll survive a ten year winter.

The whole world will be their freezer.

Joke aside, I was having the same thoughts. With all the ravaged and burnt villages and fields, many many people will die in winter for lack of food. There are some regions who will be well provisioned though. Dorne, the Vale and Highgarden come to mind. The North and the Riverlands and the regions along the Trident on the other hand will be devoid of people once winter has come I imagine.

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