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Wins and Losses: A Command Analysis of Tywin Lannister Part 4: Quills and Ravens

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“Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens.” (ASOS, Tyrion I)

Artwork by  Pojypojy

Editorial Note: While this is primarily a command analysis of Tywin Lannister, there is a significant section dedicated to Roose Bolton towards the end. While that section in and of itself is worthy of its own post, I thought it important to place it in an analysis of Tywin as it is related to Tywin’s skill as a strategist.

Cementing the Tyrell Alliance

Tywin’s decisive victory over Stannis Baratheon did more than simply lift the siege of King’s Landing; it upended the strategic picture in Westeros. As we discussed in part 3, Tywin’s alliance with Mace Tyrell added the necessary manpower for victory over Stannis at King’s Landing, but there were more ramifications of this alliance than simple victory in the field.

First, the influx of Tyrell soldiers ensured that Tywin had a larger army than all of his enemies combined. If we start with the assumption that Tywin had around 20,000 soldiers at Harrenhal and Mace Tyrell had about 80,000 at Bitterbridge, the combined army now totalled 100,000 soldiers. More than bringing more men under his command, Tywin also inherited good commanders through his alliance. While Mace Tyrell, Lord of Highgarden, was not a good commander, some of his subordinate commanders were. Mace Tyrell’s son, Garlan Tyrell, had led the vanguard of the assault on King’s Landing. In the course of the battle, he personally killed Ser Guyard Morrigen, the commander of Stannis’s vanguard. But however good a knight Garlan was, Tywin’s greatest command inheritance from the Tyrell alliance was Randyll Tarly. Lord Tarly was a skilled warrior with several wars under his belt. During Robert’s Rebellion some 15 years previously, he was the only commander to defeat Robert Baratheon in battle at Ashford. During the Siege of King’s Landing, Randyll Tarly was given command of the center. Having both commanders was a significant windfall for Tywin Lannister.

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A Complete Analysis of the Slaver’s Bay Campaign

Introduction

“I am only a young girl and know little of the ways of war.”

ADWD 8: DAENERYS I

Earlier posts dealt with popular characters such as Robb Stark, Stannis Baratheon and Jaime Lannister. Today, we’re going to start our study of one of the more controversial characters in ASOIAF: Daenerys Targaryen.

Specifically, we’re going to look at the Slaver’s Bay Campaign in Astapor, Yunkai and Meereen. I have one main point and a side point which I’ll touch on repeatedly.

  • Main Point – Daenerys Targaryen is a good attacker through utilization of her primary force multiplier (dragons) and through exploiting enemy weaknesses especially under siege conditions. That said Daenerys is poor counterinsurgent and most of her actions to combat groups such as the Sons of the Harpy do not win her the support of the people she’s conquered or really better her position to launch an invasion of Westeros.
  • Side Point – The Slaver’s Bay Campaign presents the readership with interesting modern military parallels. From superweapons to wars of liberation to counterinsurgency, the issues that Daenerys faces in her Slaver’s Bay Campaign are ones that modern readers are well aware of. Throughout these posts, I’ll reference recent history to make unclear plot points clearer.

So with that said, I have to make a confession: Daenerys Targaryen’s story-arc is not one of my favorites, but I think that her campaign in Slaver’s Bay is fascinating and gives us a unique perspective of how non-Westerosi warfare is conducted as well as provides us a window into how Daenerys’s war in Westeros might unfold in future books.

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The Grand /r/asoiaf Analysis Companion

Have you ever wondered what the hell was going on while reading ASOIAF? I did. I could connect the basic plot while reading it, but even re-reading the books, I was unable to really grasp many of the characters, storylines, prophecies, locations, etc. Fortunately, my brother told me about /r/asoiaf – which quickly became one of my favorite places on the internet. I think the best thing about this subreddit is its analysis. While I love the theories that are bounced around the sub, I have to say my favorite part of this subreddit is the analysis. After yesterday’s very positive response (thank you all!) to the theories compilation, I started working on an analysis compilation. It’s intended to serve for those looking for greater depth in their re-reads. I’ve divided the sections up a little better this time around, so I hope it’s easier and more fun to read. Anyways, enough of an intro. Click on “More” for the best analyses all written of /r/asoiaf all written by its users!

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