The Ravenry: Week of 8/10/2015

Hello, seekers!

As you may or may not know, Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire has its own Tumblr page (as well as its own Twitter and Facebook pages).  Even more excitingly, a little while back we here at the blog partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire.  We – that is, myself and NFriel – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

So every Monday we present to you The Ravenry.  We collect the questions we’ve answered during the previous week over on the Tumblr in post form, with a brief description of each, and publish it here, and link that post on Twitter and Facebook as well. The Queen Regent wrote a lot of words this week on the women in Aegon IV’s life, and put the finishing touches on her Ladies of Fire piece detailing Aegon III’s two wives and the three ladies of the Maidenvault. I mean, we’re talking in the five-digit mark here, so the Hand sat the Throne again. Anyway, I could say that if we were something, we’d be something strange, esoteric, and intriguing, but you’ve come for the peculiar blend of multiple sciences that our team has knowledge of applied to a book series, not for my metaphors and similes!

So, without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of 10 August:

As always, we love to hear your text-based questions, so if you have a burning question about ASOIAF, click this link to send us a raven. The more specific the question, the better text-based answer we can write, although we do our best to answer them all.

SomethingLikeALawyer, Hand of the King

32 Comments

Filed under ASOIAF Analysis, ASOIAF Character Analysis, ASOIAF History, ASOIAF Meta, ASOIAF Military Analysis, ASOIAF Political Analysis, Ravenry

32 responses to “The Ravenry: Week of 8/10/2015

  1. SomethingLikeALawyer, you don’t believe Tyrion is Aerys’s bastard? I urge you to reconsider. The evidence is so solid that I’m more convinced of it than I am of R+L=J.

    Joanna did attend a tourney at King’s Landing the year before Tyrion’s birth, so the possibility is there. Aerys is apparently noted as making some crude remarks to her then. Think about it, and I’m sure you’ll see how the rest of the pieces fit.

    • somethinglikealawyer

      I’ve looked over the Tyrion Targaryen theory a few times, and I think it doesn’t have enough evidence to be plausible, and it’s a detriment to the story if it was true. We’ve already got R+L=J and fAegon, the secret father dance card is full.

  2. Crystal

    I read a book, called “Born for Love,” by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz (authors of The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog). One of the case studies is a boy who was a sociopath (like Joffrey). He was a rich kid who had nannies, and every time he got attached to a particular nanny the mom fired her – not out of malice but because mom genuinely thought a baby shouldn’t get too attached to the nanny. That seems to have triggered this boy’s personality disorder.

    Of course, I thought of Joffrey. I bet he had nursemaids as a child – a great lady was expected to nurse her child, it seems, but I doubt that she would be changing poopy diapers or walking the floor with a colicky baby. I’m sure Cersei had help with her kids. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cersei fired nurses and, later, tutors, if Joffrey got too attached to them – I am sure she’d want all of Joffrey’s love for herself.

    Tommen and Myrcella are not the heirs, so they would be allowed their attachments to septas and tutors. Myrcella most likely spent more time with her septa than her mother, and Tommen with his maester, and if these people were sane and kind, Tommen and Myrcella would have them and not their jerk parents as primary influences.

  3. KrimzonStriker

    I don’t see it regarding Eddard, yes he was upset about his family but he was driven as much by self-defense/sense of responsibility. We likely would have seen him bring Aerys down, if for no other reason then the cointued danger posed by Aerys, but with Robert gone and the remaining Targaryean’s in their minority, who in turn have a better claim then Stannis but are so young as to be innocent of Aerys crimes, which would only be compounded further after learning about Jon, I could easily see Eddard and Jon Arryn settling for a regency council like style until Aegon came of age, if Tywin didn’t beat him to the punch and set one up himself rather than sack KL.

    • somethinglikealawyer

      I’m sorry, while I can see your reasoning, it runs counter to what Martin says on the matter.

      “Robert proclaimed his intention to take the throne … around the time of the Trident. Would not elaborate any further. Mentioned Robert’s claim being stronger than Eddard Stark’s and Jon Arryn’s, the leaders of the two other great houses that spearheaded the revolution, due to blood ties to the Targaryen’s” -SSM, 19 November 2005

      Once the declaration is made, that’s the decision they went with.

      • KrimzonStriker

        If Robert had survived, the scenario you responded to was one where he died. Those blood ties to the Targaryean were the most important thing, while Robert himself was the driving force behind his elevation to the throne, which was in turn motivated by how much more personally he took everything. Without him the motivation seems lost for anyone else to carry House Baratheons standard to the Iron Throne, especially if some nice young Targaryeans are available and safe from Roberts wrath.

      • somethinglikealawyer

        No, see that’s the thing with acclaim. There really isn’t a backsies on that sort of deal. Robert and the collective nobles behind him declared his rule before the Trident, so they are going to keep fighting. They’ve already declared themselves, and unlike the Dance of Dragons, there are still heirs and candidates waiting in the wings. Stannis and Renly are still at Storm’s End.

        But again, I have to defer back to GRRM’s own words on the subject. They’ve already declared Robert their candidate when the Battle of the Trident begins. They’re not backing down from that. Once the nobles declared him, it ceased to be just about Robert.

      • KrimzonStriker

        And another half of the Kingdom were still Targaryean loyalists, I hardly call that acclaim. To me there’s a confusion of declaring for ROBERT and declaring for House Baratheon. The Tyrells backed Renly in the WoTFK but did that stop them from doing a backsie to House Lannister instead of Stannis after Renly died? What about the Tully’s and Baratheons who switched sides during the Dance from their previous positions of the GC of 101? As I believe you’ve noted a couple of times the foundation of a feudal society is the personal relationship between a Lord and his vassals, thus the nature of the relationships is dependent ON those persons. So I just don’t buy separating Robert personally from the basis of his claim, as he himself boasted his claim was more on the basis of his warhammer then blood, not simply because of his victories in war but in his ability to win people’s loyalty through his command. The entire institution of the House Baratheon dynasty is an infancy state, Robert is the only thing keeping it from dying in the womb at that point. Also, just because Robert said he would claim the throne is not to say he’s ASCENDED the throne either, he’s only a candidate by that point, without strapping himself in the cloth of legitimacy yet, so there’s a definite way out as long as Aerys is out of the picture and said lords don’t have to fear reprisal.

      • KrimzonStriker

        Heck, I’ll go so far as to say if Robert is gone STANNIS would probably be be the first to bend his knee back to the Targaryeans given his own personal doubts and conflicting loyalties at the time. All that’s needed then is a Targaryean who’ll let them bend the knee in the first place, which precludes Aerys anyway and satisfies most demands for justice once he’s gone.

      • somethinglikealawyer

        I think you’re misunderstanding the nature of those situations.

        Renly died without an heir of his body, so really, the Tyrells were free to declare their loyalty to whomever they wanted. The Tullys and Baratheons had twenty years to change their minds. Heck, the lords that did declare at the Great Council didn’t change their minds, their sons did. Robert has heirs waiting in the wings, and the nobles just declared him the rightful ruler of all Seven Kingdoms. Aerys is still alive in the event that Robert slays Rhaegar and succumbs to his wounds. Heck, the nobles could even be tied to him as a tragically wronged and martyred claimant, much as the Starks and Tullys were willing to keep fighting the black’s cause after Rhaenyra died to install Aegon the Younger.

        Sorry man, the pattern fits.

      • KrimzonStriker

        Which really isn’t my point. Robert DOESN’T have heirs of his body by that point either, so the legitimacy of his House’s claim is still in flux. And the lords at the Trident have barely a few weeks to settle into the notion of a House Baratheon dynasty, which is just as frail as loyalties taken 20 years ago. They supported his CLAIM to the throne, which becomes moot when he dies anyway, but on top of that he didn’t crown or declare himself by that point so far as I read, so he wasn’t king yet even amongst his supporters. Yes, and Aerys was still there when they rose up in rebellion in the first place before Robert ever announced his candidacy, and he can still die for his crimes regardless if Robert is there or not now that the way was clear to Kings Landing. The question that remains though is who should rule after him. And that last part came about primarily because Aegon III was a sourpuss about granting pardons.

        Between unambitious Eddard, compromise-centric Jon Arryn, and I-Am-the-law Stannis I also see a pattern. None of the remaining rebel lords have the personality to push a new claim after Robert when the situation is still so in flux and those remaining Targaryean candidates are still available/in their minority, especially since Eddard would never have allowed for them to be disposed of like Robert did and Tywin is unlikely to do so without Robert’s tacit approval along with Stannis hard sense of justice.

      • somethinglikealawyer

        I see the problem, and it’s good to finally get to the bottom of this. Robert has declared himself at this point. The nobles settled on Robert, and Robert marched forward. We see this in the original novels, as Robb when he’s acclaimed by his bannermen, he accepted the acclamation and declared himself. So he was absolutely king by his supporters. He was the new king, the new Baratheon king.

        Stannis is Robert’s dynastic heir, and there’s really no disputing it. Stannis is an adult, rational, capable, and fighting for his brother. All the pieces fit, Stannis is the heir. No questions remain.

      • KrimzonStriker

        Proclaimed his INTENTION to TAKE the throne. That’s not crowning himself or outright declaring himself king and the throne is already his. I don’t recall any type of ceremony on the Trident being confirmed to elevate him to the position like with Robb’s banner-men who bent the knee, laid their swords at his feet, and swore their fealty, and thus showing Robb HAD outright taken the title. That word INTENTION is the real sticking point here. And after all the back-stabbing/bending the knee in the War of the Five Kings are you really going to stick to a position there was no way back for the rebels if Robert’s gone, provided they have a way out in the first place?

        Stannis has barely started his military career by this point, and said start is the inglorious task of holding one of the three most impregnable fortresses on the continent, while STILL being stubborn and unlikable at the same time. More importantly, he’s plagued with doubts and conflicting loyalties, so without Robert alive to push him or having actually formalized the Baratheon Dynasty into law I don’t see Stannis taking the standard up if there are alternatives.

      • somethinglikealawyer

        I read it the opposite. Much like Robb in the War of the Five Kings, once his bannermen agreed on him being king, Robb had to do it. To not do so is to openly proclaim that his bannermen are rebels and he is not. Robert kept moving and fighting with his army after they acclaimed him the rightful king. That’s acceptance, both by my reckoning and what we see happen to Robb.

      • KrimzonStriker

        The difference being Robb never prompted his bannermen to do it, Robert is by all indications the driving force behind his claim and dragging the others along for the ride. And unlike Robb, the Baratheons don’t have thousands of years of history as Kings to fall back on, they owe their very existence to the Targaryeans. All I’m saying is when establishing a new dynasty in its infancy it’s success and failure depend largely on its founder, thus without the founder loyalty to the overall dynasty becomes a fragile thread.

      • somethinglikealawyer

        I disagree there. If Robert was the driving force, I think he would have declared himself before then, around the time of Summerhall, or after Stoney Sept at the Tully marriages. I think Jon was behind the raising and proclaiming, fitting his role as the steward of Southron Ambitions.

      • KrimzonStriker

        Given Robert’s personality it likely didn’t occur to at him after Summerhall. Plus its not like I don’t think getting the other lords support wasn’t an important consideration which is why it was better that Robert declared his candidacy with the coalition’s backing. But that still doesn’t mean he’s legitimized his claim yet or that such support isn’t largely dependent on Robert himself personally and not his new dynasty. And that point about the wedding applies to Jon Arryn as well, why did he wait to prompt Robert if that was the case instead of during or after a major battle? Given that Robert declared himself during the Trident I’m of the opinion Rhaegar’s death prompted the post-war discussion now that they had secured the rebellions overall victory.

      • somethinglikealawyer

        Probably because all four rebel LP’s were united. But the reading I’ve gathered on GRRM’s quote is thar he declared himself before the Trident, not during.

      • KrimzonStriker

        “Around the time of” leaves it rather murky. And the issue of confronting Rhaegar, the first royal person they directly face on the field, might have prompted the discussion of the future anyway. But whether before or after the Battle of the Trident I’m generally of the opinion that since neither Robert nor Jon Arryn brought it up during the wedding when they had all the lords safely gathered for a conference like Robb’s men would in those very halls 15 years later, that Rhaegar was the likely catalyst for looking at the post-war era.

      • somethinglikealawyer

        My work on Robert’s Rebellion in Hymn puts the armies in their places. The north bank of the Trident was the rally point for the Northmen and Valeman, since Eddard and Denys Arryn advanced with their faster forces to rescue Robert at Stoney Sept while the bulk of their slower infantry and supply trains continued their long trek along the Kingsroad and High Road.

      • KrimzonStriker

        Ehhmm, okay? But I’m not really discussing military disposition with you but the political process/thinking behind making the proclamation around the time of that battle.

  4. somethinglikealawyer

    The military reasoning ties into the political. Most of the lords are with their troops, since they are the officers (Riverrun can’t feed the entire army for a wedding after sustaining a campaign for months and the levies aren’t just going to sit around without officers if the nobles assemble for a proto-council). Many of the lords might cry foul if Robert was acclaimed without them being present (even if they supported Robert’s claim, it’s sort of crappy to not even give them a chance to lend their voice). So that’s when a significant majority of Northmen, Valeman, Riverlords, and Stormlords are all present at one time. That’s when it was politically pragmatic to acclaim Robert. Rhaegar had nothing to do with it.

    • KrimzonStriker

      What now? One the timeline is off, the wedding is reported to be after Stony Sept, which makes sense given that Ned and Jon Arryn would be in a rush to save Robert, so all the lords ARE gathered together by that point. Two feeding troops is what strongholds are for, else why are they provisioned against sieges? And nobody said the entire army, but Riverrun lasted long enough for the Riverlords and the North to gather, and the Freys certainly put out a big spread for the Red Wedding so I find this mention of not being able to sustain such a large gathering, even for only a short time and all Robert needs is a short time to make his proclamation, perplexing.

      • somethinglikealawyer

        No, see, that makes no sense. If the lords and armies were assembled at Riverrun, the rebel armies wouldn’t be on the north side of the Trident for the decisive battle, unless they decided on a ridiculously circuitous march. The bulk of the rebel army was moving from the Vale and North. Denys and Eddard rode their cavalry forces to relieve Robert at Stoney Sept, with Hoster supplying the infantry since he was so close by.

        As for the lords, I’m not just talking about the four rebellious Lords Paramount. I’m talking about Bolton and Corbray, all of the men of noble rank, not just the most important ones. As we see in Robb’s conference, every noble had the right to speak, so being denied that would not work out very well. The Ruby Ford is the first time where an overwhelming number of the rebel lords are present.

        Also, Riverrun can’t supply a 35,000 large army. Harrenhal might, but Riverrun is too small. You mistake supplying a garrison (generally a few hundred) for supplying an army.

      • KrimzonStriker

        It’s going to be a circuitous route regardless because we both know the Battle of the Bells happened before the Trident, and Stony Sept is SOUTH of the Trident. So why not stop at Riverrun to gather the now committed River lords (who were at the Trident btw) and then move on to meet Rhaegar from a clear defensive position on the North Bank. Stony Sept was also a bloody battle, since they took heavy losses it makes sense for the rebels to fall back and regroup. The wedding makes way more sense for a gathering point, Riverun is on the way to the Trident, and yet Robert still didn’t make a proclamation until at the Battle itself.

        There’s should be roughly around 15,000-20,000 men at Riverrun after the Battle of the Camps as all the Riverlords are gathered there (and not yet released by Robb to go defend their lands) along with around half of the Northern army. Definitely NOT a small garrison to feed and neither were the amount of men at the Red Wedding which would have included the 4,000 Freys, 3,500 Boltons, and several thousand Northmen from the other Houses. That’s also not a few hundred men.

      • KrimzonStriker

        Ah, forgot to add the Riverlords and their escorts at the Red Wedding as well!

      • somethinglikealawyer

        Because the committed Riverlords weren’t at Riverrun. They were at Stoney Sept, providing the infantry to compliment the Vale and Northern cavalry. They wouldn’t march their entire army west to Riverrun when the enemy is east and south. I’m sorry, but the route you are proposing makes zero sense. There are plenty of defensible positions south of the Trident, and the rebels risk having their column attacked from the back when they cross the Trident, and I doubt they had a riverrine navy to ship them all the way to the Ruby Ford. It’s simply illogical to go across the Ruby Ford if all of the troops are south of the Trident.

        For a simple feast, sure, there’s stockpiles. But to feed 20,000 men for months, waiting for the armies of three separate kingdoms to muster and assemble? No, it strains the supplies. Renly even has this problem with his massive army, both at Bitterbridge and outside Storm’s End. The World of Ice and Fire says that the 35,00 strong army of the Two Kings will eat the countryside bare so it must remain on the march. So, the book says that what you’re proposing couldn’t really happen, sorry.

      • KrimzonStriker

        My main point on this whole matter is that they were already SOUTH of the Trident at Stony Sept saving Robert’s sorry butt. You’re entire argument falls apart in the face of that because they did exactly that, abandon the Southern Riverlands/leave the way open for Rhaegar’s army, and made their way back to Riverrun, which once again isn’t so far-fetched if the army was damaged enough at the Battle of the Bells that they needed to regroup and reinforce.

        I didn’t say they meandered at Riverrun for months, I said it was on the way to the northern bank of the Trident to intercept Rhaegar which it was. And we know they did go back to Riverrun for the wedding, with Jon Arryn there as well. You’re making it out as if I think Riverrun was the planned staging area for the army to gather, I’m not. The rush of the rebels to save Robert basically dictates that path however, as was their withdrawal, while having the double wedding with likely the bulk if not all the rebel lords attend for such a prestigious event. You don’t need months, just have it be on the way while the rebels march along the Trident to the King’s Road for the most direct path to the capital.

      • somethinglikealawyer

        I’m sorry, but that’s against what’s explicitly written and depicted in TWOIAF vis-a-vis the map of the Trident and the timing given in TWOIAF.

        They didn’t leave the way open for Rhaegar’s army, because Connington’s army was the royal army. Rhaegar wasn’t around until after Connington’s defeat. According to TWOIAF, the Kingsguard rallied the remnants of Connington’s army while Rhaegar was returning from the south. So they couldn’t have left it open for Rhaegar’s army, because Rhaegar didn’t have an army in the field.

        If the bulk of the officers were all south of the Trident, why then, would the army be north of it? A medieval army isn’t like a modern army, it will fall to looting, pillaging, and banditry without someone to lead them. Either all of the officers weren’t at the wedding, or all of the Northern and Vale army was at the Stoney Sept for the Battle of the Bells, but that can’t be right, since there’d be no reason to cross the Ruby Ford heading north if the army was south of the Trident, even if they went to Riverrun for a wedding.

        The Trident where the Ruby Ford is runs west-east, meaning the Ford is north-south along the Kingsroad. The River Road runs along the south bank of the Red Fork (we see this in the Riverlands map of TWOIAF) all the way to the crossroads. Never once does the River Road cross the Red Fork after Riverrun. So the rebel army must have been north of the river, otherwise there would have been no need for Rhaegar to cross it to give battle in the ford itself.

      • KrimzonStriker

        Why are you arguing with me via the map when the map itself is the problem. Stony Sept is once again well south of the Trident, thus putting a substantial number of the rebel forces South of the Trident. Whether there was a Royal Army at the moment after the Stony Sept is not my point. No one mentions any sort of resistance against Rhaegar until the Trident. Thus I’m pointing toward the contradiction from your previous statements about all these defensible junctions South of the Trident where I will reiterate the substantial number of rebel forces with Eddard already there after Stony Sept which the rebels later just ended up ceding to Rhaegar’s advance. So you’re arguing it makes no sense for them to have approached Rhaegar from the West makes no sense to me because we know that’s exactly what they did.

        I didn’t put Stony Sept south of the Trident, and I didn’t put the Battle of the Bells prior to the Battle of the Trident or Eddard/Jon Arryn’s weddings after the Bells once they had rescued Robert, but that’s what was established and the timeline we’re supposed to be working with. And I might remind you again that the battle was bloody for both sides, so there would have been a strategic reason for the rebel army to withdraw and regroup while taking care of the matter of the weddings at the same time. And there are SOME military reasons I might also make a point that the Lannister’s were still an uncertain factor, the rebels might not have wanted to leave their logistics/flank open to them by going east from Riverrun. Another consideration is if the Whent’s were loyalist which isn’t unlikely given the rumors about them and Rhaegar, in which case Rhaegar’s western flank would have been covered by Harrenhal and a threat to any rebel approach from that direction to King’s Landing.

      • somethinglikealawyer

        You keep thinking that Eddard had a large number of forces with him at Stoney Sept, but we know that this wasn’t the case, because he had to go back to the Trident. The map is only a problem because it’s not fitting your theory. If you drop your theory, the map is sensible.

        The Whents were rebels. Hoster was married to a Whent. She was dead, but Hoster’s three kids were half-Whent. Much like the Selmys and Barristan.

        I’m not arguing that it makes no sense for them to approach Rhaegar from the north. I’m arguing that it makes no sense for them to approach from the north if their entire army was in the west, which it is under your theory. Since it wasn’t, I conclude that your theory is incorrect.

        The bulk of the army was north of the Trident until the battle of the Ruby Ford. Which meant the bulk of the officer corps was there as well. Once the rebels combined all four armies into one massive force of 35,000, that was when Robert was acclaimed, for reasons of giving all nobles their right to speak (not to mention being a huge morale boost for the common foot).

    • KrimzonStriker

      Arrggh, I meant you stating it meant no sense to approach from the NORTH, not the west.

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