Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Francisco Araujo da Costa

Reading from The World of Ice and Fire

Recommended Posts

Why should the Riverlords exchange one foreign invader for the other? Especially when the Ironborn seemed to have been much stronger than the Storm King. I'd not be surprised if Harren's long ships still ravaged the coasts of the Reach and the Westerlands occasionally.

That's why Argilac wanted to forge an alliance with Aegon, after all.

Aegon was a new player, and considering his declaration he would most likely heavily reward the Riverlords who joined him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Harren wasn't called "the Black" for nothing, he was a mean and cruel ruler who beggared the riverlands to build his castle. I don't think riverlords liked being ruled by Ironmen, and they probably decided they didn't know which king they were going to support just that it wasn't Harren. Aegon didn't raid and reave them in his conquest like Ironmen did in theirs.

Aegon had dragons, something the Storm King didn't have, and as LordBloodraven wrote, the riverlords were looking for the first chance to ditch Harren. Harren was focused on Aegon at the time who had burned his longships, and this gave them the opportunity to rebel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, what interests me is the comparative strength of Harren the Black to that of Argilac the Storm King.

Just how was Harren able to conquer so much territory with the paltry numbers that the Iron Islands can produce? And become so powerful that even the Storm King feared him?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, what interests me is the comparative strength of Harren the Black to that of Argilac the Storm King.

Just how was Harren able to conquer so much territory with the paltry numbers that the Iron Islands can produce? And become so powerful that even the Storm King feared him?

The Ironborn probably conquered the riverlands using blitzkreig tactics. The carried their longships from the sea to the rivers throughout the riverlands, and raided along the rivers and streams in blitzkreig strikes.They moved from place to place, and avoided pitched battles. It was hard for the Storm King to lead a united front against the Ironmen when they were everywhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, what interests me is the comparative strength of Harren the Black to that of Argilac the Storm King.

Just how was Harren able to conquer so much territory with the paltry numbers that the Iron Islands can produce? And become so powerful that even the Storm King feared him?

He didn't. The kingdom was carved over years until reaching it's heigth under King Qhored, and then declining. Harren's Grandfather Harwyn Hardhand was the one who took the Riverlands from the Storm Kings. So it had been several decades since the Riverlands had been taken. Also, the Ironborn had more land to spread out so they would have had more oppurtunity to breed. They would have had larger numbers back then. That's almost all from the Appendix of AGoT so far from new nfo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, what interests me is the comparative strength of Harren the Black to that of Argilac the Storm King.

Just how was Harren able to conquer so much territory with the paltry numbers that the Iron Islands can produce? And become so powerful that even the Storm King feared him?

He didnĀ“t. His grandfather Harwyn Hardhand was the one who conquered Riverlands from Storm King Arrec.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, what I meant is, the Ironborn can raise max 20,000 men. It's one thing to raid coastal areas. It's another to occuppy a land area the size of the Riverlands.

So whether it was Harren or his great grandfather, it was still a remarkable feat for the Ironborn to conquer such a large territory and hold it for generations. Especially if the riverlords - as shown during Aegon's conquest - never accepted them and were continually ready to revolt.

The fact is, the Riverlands can probably raise twice the host that the Iron Islands can. So holding such a large and populous enemy territory - with its indigenous lords still intact and brooding in resentment - must have been quite a feat.

Like Asha said in Dance. The North is too large for the Ironmen to hold, and it's too full of Northmen. (And this after Robb's host had been lost in the South.)

Same applies to the Riverlands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As long as House Hoare controlled the Riverlands, they would have been a really powerful force. Think about it. They controlled the Trident and all its vassal streams, which gave them direct access to the Narrow Sea at Saltpans. Ironborn ships were able to plunder and attack the east coast of Westeros without being forced to sail all around Dorne.

And since there were Seven Kingdoms back then, Harren and his forebears most likely encouraged their captains to do some 'unauthorized' pirating and robbing of their own. The way Ironborn society worked my guess is that the other kingdoms only would have declared war on Harren if they had been really threatened.

So my guess is that Argilac feared Harren might eventually decide to invade the Stormlands on land while cutting Storm's End off the sea using a portion of his naval strength.

If we assume that Argilac was on rather bad terms with his neighbors, especially Dorne and the Reach, this could have been a real threat to him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As long as House Hoare controlled the Riverlands, they would have been a really powerful force. Think about it. They controlled the Trident and all its vassal streams, which gave them direct access to the Narrow Sea at Saltpans. Ironborn ships were able to plunder and attack the east coast of Westeros without being forced to sail all around Dorne.

And since there were Seven Kingdoms back then, Harren and his forebears most likely encouraged their captains to do some 'unauthorized' pirating and robbing of their own. The way Ironborn society worked my guess is that the other kingdoms only would have declared war on Harren if they had been really threatened.

So my guess is that Argilac feared Harren might eventually decide to invade the Stormlands on land while cutting Storm's End off the sea using a portion of his naval strength.

If we assume that Argilac was on rather bad terms with his neighbors, especially Dorne and the Reach, this could have been a real threat to him.

I accept your logic regarding Argilac being isolated and weaker than his ancestors who ruled all the way up to the Neck.

But the problem I have with Harren's kingdom, is that he was effectively living behind enemy lines for all this time.

If he had conquered and rooted out the indigenous Riverland houses it would have made more sense. Especially if he then replaced their lords with his own men, like Euron did at the Shield Islands.

But he didn't. We see that the lords that rose up against him during Aegon's conquest are all the Riverlords of today. The Tullys, Mallisters, Vances etc. Houses that despised the Ironborn. And powerful Houses at that.

And the Mallisters sit right on the west coast, cutting Harren off from his homeland. The Riverlords could have raised a host much larger than whatever Harren had available. The only way for him to become powerful on the mainland, would have been to have River lords on his side, boosting his numbers against the other riverlords.

But given the strength of the likes of the Tullys, Mallisters, Vances etc, and their dislike for the Ironborn, it seems to me that Harren building his seat behind enemy lines was an impratical thing to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Ironborn probably conquered the riverlands using blitzkreig tactics. The carried their longships from the sea to the rivers throughout the riverlands, and raided along the rivers and streams in blitzkreig strikes.They moved from place to place, and avoided pitched battles. It was hard for the Storm King to lead a united front against the Ironmen when they were everywhere.

That, and the Stormlands had to worry about wars with Dorne and the Reach as well- it's quite possible that, when the Ironborn invaded, the Stormlands were already facing another war in the south.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Free Northman you keep going on like this was something done all at once. The Ironborn carved their kingdom out over generation and it was in decline at the time of Harren's rule. Yes the indiginous Riverlords rebelled, it hasn't been mentioned wether or not their weren't Ironborn settled in the Riverlands. I can't remember which character it is but one of the Ironborn laments the return of the Trident to the weekling rivermen and another, possibly the same actually, talks about the Iron Islands being reduced to an insignificant backwater of a larger realm. You try to paint it as all or nothing but that is not how it is described.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, what I meant is, the Ironborn can raise max 20,000 men. It's one thing to raid coastal areas. It's another to occuppy a land area the size of the Riverlands.

So whether it was Harren or his great grandfather, it was still a remarkable feat for the Ironborn to conquer such a large territory and hold it for generations. Especially if the riverlords - as shown during Aegon's conquest - never accepted them and were continually ready to revolt.

The fact is, the Riverlands can probably raise twice the host that the Iron Islands can. So holding such a large and populous enemy territory - with its indigenous lords still intact and brooding in resentment - must have been quite a feat.

Like Asha said in Dance. The North is too large for the Ironmen to hold, and it's too full of Northmen. (And this after Robb's host had been lost in the South.)

Same applies to the Riverlands.

The ironborn raised a lot more in their invasion of the reach - I seriously doubt whether a thousand ships hold only 20,000 men. They are more populous than Dorne and a lot more martial so should be able to raise a goodly number of men.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, what I meant is, the Ironborn can raise max 20,000 men. It's one thing to raid coastal areas. It's another to occuppy a land area the size of the Riverlands.

So whether it was Harren or his great grandfather, it was still a remarkable feat for the Ironborn to conquer such a large territory and hold it for generations. Especially if the riverlords - as shown during Aegon's conquest - never accepted them and were continually ready to revolt.

The fact is, the Riverlands can probably raise twice the host that the Iron Islands can. So holding such a large and populous enemy territory - with its indigenous lords still intact and brooding in resentment - must have been quite a feat.

Like Asha said in Dance. The North is too large for the Ironmen to hold, and it's too full of Northmen. (And this after Robb's host had been lost in the South.)

Same applies to the Riverlands.

The ironborn conquered the Riverlands during several generations, so I guess they had time to colonize some chunks of the riverlands, take many saltwives and demand tribute from their subjects, which would have allowed them to breed a lot, and to train all their children as soldiers instead of as fisherfolk or peasants (effectively replacing the local nobility); think of the vikings at Normandy.

Also, the ironborn kings forced many local nobles to bend the knee, and fight their wars for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The ironborn raised a lot more in their invasion of the reach - I seriously doubt whether a thousand ships hold only 20,000 men. They are more populous than Dorne and a lot more martial so should be able to raise a goodly number of men.

Tell that to Ran, who assesses the North's total strength at about 30,000 men.

So if the Iron Islands can raise much more than 20,000, they are effectively matching the North's strength. And in Asha's words, all the Iron Islands combined can fit into just the Stony Shore about 10 times.

EDIT:

As for being more populous than Dorne, I seriously doubt that. I don't think that Doran included the Iron Islands in his assessment when putting Dorne at the bottom.

He stated that Dorne is the least populous of the Seven Kingdoms. The Seven Kingdoms in today's Westeros are:

The North

The Vale

The Riverlands

The Westerlands

The Reach

The Stormlands

Dorne.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The ironborn at their height might well have raised that much, given that they used thralls so heavily in a way that no one else did. The ironmen were left to do nothing but practice reaving and war. Sort of like how the Spartans used the helots, I suppose. They obviously have an unusual form of culture, however, that doesn't fit how most of the mainlanders operate, with all the plusses and minuses that come with that.

The Iron Islands are certainly not as populous as Dorne.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The ironborn at their height might well have raised that much, given that they used thralls so heavily in a way that no one else did. The ironmen were left to do nothing but practice reaving and war. Sort of like how the Spartans used the helots, I suppose. They obviously have an unusual form of culture, however, that doesn't fit how most of the mainlanders operate, with all the plusses and minuses that come with that.

The Iron Islands are certainly not as populous as Dorne.

Thanks for confirming the Iron Islands/Dorne population ranking. I always assumed that there was no way that Doran included the Iron Islands as one of the regions more populous than Dorne.

But just a comment on the Ironborn army size. The post I was responding to above relates to Euron's army, and his infamous "1000 ships". It rightly points out that there is no way that you can man 1000 longships with just 20,000 men. That would give you an average of just 20 men per ship, which is very low to the point of being impractical.

Sure, there may be some small boats that take only around 20 men or so, but on average we are probably talking much more than that per ship. The lowest possible estimate for Euron's army size is if we assume that the 1000 ships is an exxageration and that they only have maybe 500 ships excluding the Iron Fleet. And that the average ship has about 40 men on it. That gives you 20,000 men.

Then you have to add the 100 ships of the Iron Fleet, which must have at least 100 men per ship, bringing the total force to around 30,000 minimum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm under the impression that House Hoare had become somewhat 'native' to the Riverlands. The whole building of Harren's Hall seems to tell the world 'I am here, and I'm here to stay'. We don't know if House Hoare still had holdings back on the Iron Islands - I guess they had, and I'm sure some distant cousins survived the fall of Harren (we have a Half-Hoare still out there in AFfC), but I'd be really surprised if Harren and his sons still spent much time there (the Targaryen Princes of Dragonstone don't seem to have spent much time on Dragonstone, either).

If I'm not mistaken then House Greyjoy returned to the Old Way, and we should rather call it the Very Old Way, since the Ironborn had to be much more sophisticated and subtle during the times when they created and managed their vast kingdoms. The Ironborn once ruled over vast portions of the Reach, even Oldtown was under their sway. You don't get that much control if you can't manage it.

If we consider this, then Harwyn Hardhand and his successor were not necessary foreign evil invaders, but merely invaders from a different kingdom. And I guess Harwyn could only conquer the Riverlands with the help of some of the local lords which have been unhappy with the Durrandon dynasty. The fact that there are still some very ancient noble houses living in the Riverlands today does not necessarily mean that there others were not eradicated during the various wars. And it's also not impossible that many Ironborn houses lived in the Riverlands before the Conquest, but were forced to return the Isles when Aegon took over.

Balon Greyjoy and his brothers seem to have started a rather strong restoration movement. Before Robert's Rebellion there were Septons and Septs on the Isles. That only changed (gradually) after the Rebellion. To disentangle the Ironborn from the mainland and its central government he had to revive the 'Old Ways' of the Ironborn. Which essentially were the ways of the ancient reavers, not the warriors who subdued and ruled vast lands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm under the impression that House Hoare had become somewhat 'native' to the Riverlands. The whole building of Harren's Hall seems to tell the world 'I am here, and I'm here to stay'. We don't know if House Hoare still had holdings back on the Iron Islands - I guess they had, and I'm sure some distant cousins survived the fall of Harren (we have a Half-Hoare still out there in AFfC), but I'd be really surprised if Harren and his sons still spent much time there (the Targaryen Princes of Dragonstone don't seem to have spent much time on Dragonstone, either).

The Hoares still had their ancestral holdings on the island of Orkmont, and I can't see any reason why Harren would part with his family's lands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cersei is not living in Casterly Rock despite the fact that she is Lady of Casterly Rock. She is where there power dwells, and to rule the Realm you have to be in the capital.

The Riverlands are larger and more fertile than the Iron Islands. They are the place where Harren chose to build his huge castle. So he most certainly valued the place more than he did Orkmont, Pyke, or the other rocks his family came from.

Yes, it's unlikely that the Hoares would abandon lands and holdings they owned, but I guess it's a given that the Harren was much more proud to be the King of the Riverlands than he was about being the King of the Iron Islands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×