Tag Archives: King’s Landing

Blood of the Conqueror, Part 5: A Conquest That Lasted a Summer

This post contains spoilers for The Winds of Winter

Intro

“Daeron Targaryen was only fourteen when he conquered Dorne,” Jon said. The Young Dragon was one of his heroes.

“A conquest that lasted a summer,” his uncle pointed out. “Your Boy King lost ten thousand men taking the place, and another fifty trying to hold it. Someone should have told him that war isn’t a game.” (AGOT, Jon I)

As Aegon, Jon Connington and the Golden Company neared the shores of the Westeros, they confronted a Westeros that had repelled the Golden Company time after time. Their invasion towards the end of A Dance with Dragons faced similar difficulties; a seemingly strong political alliance between the Lannisters and Tyrells, enemy armies that far outnumbered the ten thousand men of the Golden Company and massive castles and cities that had withstood sieges stood athwart the Golden Company’s path to seat Aegon onto the Iron Throne. Despite the difficulties, Aegon’s pathway to victory was not without historical precedent.

Daeron I Targaryen was a mere fourteen years old when he launched one of the deadliest wars in Westeros’ history. The desert and mountain lands of Dorne had been a sore spot for House Targaryen ever since Rhaenys Targaryen had failed to take the hold-out kingdom during the Conquest. The Young Dragon was not content to let Dorne remain independent of the Iron Throne; instead, Daeron viewed his role as Lord of the Seven Kingdoms incomplete while one of those kingdoms remained defiantly independent.  Vowing that he would “complete the Conquest,” Daeron planned and enacted the ensuing Conquest of Dorne, which saw Targaryen offensive warfare at its best and holding the peace at its worst. Daeron led his men from the front but the initial invasion cost the Iron Throne ten thousand men. Holding Dorne proved five times as costly. According to Benjen Stark and The World of Ice and Fire, Daeron lost fifty thousand men when the Dornish rose against his conquest. One of the final casualties of the war was King Daeron I Targaryen himself who died when the Dornish treacherously killed him under a flag of truce.

Regardless of how the conquest turned out, the military example that Daeron I Targaryen set during the conquest was not forgotten. Daeron had written himself into the history books in the aptly-titled Conquest of Dorne. This pivotal piece of propaganda ensured that the exploits of Daeron I Targaryen would not be forgotten by future generations.

Prince Aegon and Jon Connington never mention Daeron I Targaryen by name in A Dance with Dragons, but the landing of the Golden Company and Aegon’s (and Jon Connington’s) plan of swift strikes at key castles, divide and conquer tactics and military deception provide a good analogue between the two young dragons.

However decisive this Young Dragon planned to be, the odds were stacked against him. Would this time be different for the Golden Company? Would they be defeated in battle and forced to flee across the Narrow Sea? Or would Aegon, Jon Connington and the Golden Company take after the example of Daeron I and “complete the conquest” started by Daemon Blackfyre and Bittersteel so many years before? In pure military terms, even if Aegon, Connington and the Golden Company could pull off a landing in Westeros, their chances for victory seemed remote. Events in King’s Landing and the Stormlands, however, were shaping Aegon’s conquest to last a summer.

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The Ravenry: Week of 9/21/2015

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Hello, lovelies!

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 SomethingLikeaLawyer – 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. There were a bunch of military maneuvering questions this week, which made the Lord Hand very happy. But military matters are just squares and circles and arrows to me, even in Westeros; it’s why I always skipped most of the Great Northern War in Robert Massie’s excellent biography of Peter the Great. Luckily, I got to talk about royal titles and dynastic marriages, two of my favorite topics.  Also, Euron≠Daario.  You lovelies know just how to make me smile.

So, without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of 21 September:

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What if Game of Thrones, Season 5 was Good, Like Really Good? Part 1: King’s Landing, Braavos and Castle Black

Game of Thrones Season 5 is the most controversial season of the show so far. Many factors went into this. Whether it was the show perhaps passing the books in some storylines, the show’s deviation from the source material or the way that the show adapted scenes from the books, fans had mixed reactions to the season. In this podcast episode, we delve into Season 5. But instead of simply hating on the show, we talk about the parts of the season that we liked. And we liked some of it quite a lot. But there was some that we didn’t like.

In this 1st of 2 parts, we talk about 3 locations, the 3 locations that we thought had the best plot-points from Season 5:

  • King’s Landing: Cersei & the Tyrells, the Faith Militant, Tommen and Qyburn
  • Braavos: The Faceless Men, the House of Black and White, Meryn Trant and Mace Tyrell
  • Castle Black: Jon & Stannis, Samwell, Jon’s Election, Jon as the Lord Commander of he Night’s Watch, Hardhome, “For the Watch”

We also mentioned the 2016 ASOIAF calendar during our intro which can be purchased here!

So, listen to us here or at the following spots:

Thanks so much for listening, and let us know what you think! Were our criticisms fair, accurate? Did our changes make sense? What changes might you make?

Final note: We’re coming up to our 10th(!!!) episode, and we all thought it might be fun if in our 10th episode, we answered any questions or addressed any theories that you all might have for us on the blog. So, if you have questions about ASOIAF (or really anything, within some reason) or a theory that you’d like to get our opinion on, leave a comment below to this post or send us an e mail at warsandpoliticsoficeandfire@gmail.com, and we’ll answer or discuss anything you all want to hear analyzed or discussed!

I invite you to follow us on twitter, facebook, tumblr or itunes to stay up-to-date with every last thing that we are getting into!

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The Lion’s Fury: The Deeply Personal Actions of Tywin Lannister

Introduction

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Tywin Lannister’s name and reputation in A Song of Ice and Fire is associated with the consequentialist political mantra of “the ends justify the means.” But how true is that sentiment when examined against the text? And if true, does the series’ gray morality give Tywin a wider moral berth for his conduct?

Tywin Lannister is a fascinating character in that his actions result in such differing fan-opinions of the character. For his supporters, he’s viewed as someone willing to do evil to achieve a greater good best seen in his defense of his conduct during the Sack of King’s Landing.

“As stupid as he was, even he knew that Rhaegar’s children had to die if his throne was ever to be secure. Yet he saw himself as a hero, and heroes do not kill children.” (ASOS, Tyrion VI)

Tywin’s detractors see his actions as dark, evil acts perpetrated by an evil man for politically nefarious reasons. Eddard Stark was firmly in this camp.

I would sooner entrust a child to a pit viper than to Lord Tywin. (AGOT, Eddard II)

But both perspectives miss something fundamental about Tywin’s conduct. He may have shrouded his actions in political terms, but subtext and context shows that Tywin actually couched all of his major evil actions from a deeply personal perspective.

In this analysis, I’ll hope to show Tywin’s deeply personal reasons for his brutalities through 3 seminal events, all of which took place prior to events of the main book series:

  • The Reyne/Tarbeck Rebellion
  • The Defiance of Duskendale
  • The Sack of King’s Landing at the end of Robert’s Rebellion

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The Spider’s Greatest Intelligence Failures or Something Else?

Introduction

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“I served Lord Arryn and Lord Stark as best I could. I was saddened and horrified by their most untimely deaths.” (ACOK, Tyrion II)

Lord Varys was feared throughout the Seven Kingdoms on account of his inexplicable ability to gather any and all information. The whispers, as he called it, were the lifeblood of his work and kept nobleman and commoner alike in fear of what Varys could report to the king and his small council. And the man was effective. High and low treason was discovered and punished. The activities of ships captains, high-born ladies, great lords and mountain clansmen were all monitored by Varys through his vast intelligence network.

But despite Varys vast network of little birds, there were major intelligence failures — two of which will be the focus of this analysis.

1. Did Varys know of Jon Arryn’s poisoning, and if he did, why did he stand aside and allow it to occur?

2. More importantly for the main story, how did Varys not hear whispers of Eddard Stark’s execution?

Both of these questions have perplexed me in my current re-read. The easy answer is that Varys and his intelligence network were fallible, but in light of information from all 5 books, I think the answer is much more muddled than a simple lapse in intelligence.

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Littlefinger: The Gambling Man and the Master Player Part 1

This is just a series I’m working on in /r/asoiaf. You can find the original post and discussion here!

Introduction

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Littlefinger . . . the gods only know what game Littlefinger is playing. (AGOT, Arya III)

Petyr Baelish: master player in the game of thrones or reckless opportunist motivated by personal reasons? The question is one that divides the fan-community, but I’d say that a majority favors the view that Littlefinger is a master strategist and player in the Game of Thrones. But is that sentiment true? Or is Littlefinger a reckless opportunist?

To spoil my main point, Littlefinger is both. Both sides of Littlefinger come through in A Song of Ice and Fire, often working in tangent with one another. But to come down squarely on one side of the debate does a disservice to the complexity of Petry “Littlefinger” Baelish. He is both a master player in the Game of Thrones and a reckless gambler motivated by personal grievance.

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