Tag Archives: Rhaegar Targaryen

Blood of the Conqueror, Part 6: Friends in the Reach

This essay contains spoilers for The Winds of Winter

Introduction

Tarly

Storm’s End had fallen to Aegon, and with that “impregnable” coastal fortress, the young dragon now held the most strategically and symbolically important foothold in the south of Westeros. However great this victory was though, Aegon’s situation was tenuous. The Golden Company was scattered across the Stormlands, Narrow Sea and Stepstones, and a Tyrell army was descending on Storm’s End. Though secure for the moment behind the massive curtain walls of Storm’s End, Aegon, Jon Connington and the Golden Company’s hope for long-term success did not reside at Storm’s End. Their only shot at victory lay in defeating the Tyrells marching for them and developing alliances and local support in Westeros. The bitter history of the Blackfyre Rebellions had proved as much.

The Blackfyre pretenders’ inability to garner widespread support after the First Blackfyre Rebellion had led to their repeated failures. In that first rebellion, Daemon I Blackfyre and Aegor “Bittersteel” Rivers leveraged the grievances and ambitions of secondary noble houses into a broad political and military coalition. In particular, Daemon and Bittersteel brought disaffected nobles from the Reach, Dorne and Westerlands under the black dragon banner against their regional and royal overlords. Though the First Blackfyre Rebellion was ultimately unsuccessful, the coalition that the first Blackfyre pretenders assembled was instrumental to their near-success. Failed subsequent Blackfyre rebellions, like the Fourth (which had barely stumbled past its landing at Massey’s Hook) and the Fifth (which had never even reached mainland Westeros) had proved to the Golden Company that without widespread organic support, Westeros could – and would – cast them off.

The Westeros upon which Aegon and his company landed, though, was much more favorably inclined to the young dragon’s particular foreign invasion than that of his Blackfyre forebears. The mood in Westeros had turned hostile towards the ruling class long before Aegon and his band of sellsword adventurers arrived; the Lannister-Tyrell alliance, which had been Westeros’ dominant political and military power since the Battle of the Blackwater, was crumbling. Better still for the would-be king, internal dissent against Lord Mace Tyrell was growing among some of his lords bannermen.

The taking of  Storm’s End had provided a foundation for Westerosi nobles to take notice of the young dragon, but Aegon desperately needed their homage and swords along with their notice. If it were to press Aegon’s claim to the Iron Throne, the Golden Company would have to do more than win the allegiance of its surviving Blackfyre allies. The Reach had proved fertile ground for Daemon I Blackfyre and Bittersteel when they rose against the Iron Throne. The Blackfyres’ ideological (and biological) successors would now turn to the Reach once again.

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The Ravenry: Week of 3/7/2016

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Hello, everyone!

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,  we here at the blog have partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire.  We – that is, SomethingLikeaLawyer and I – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful, text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

Another productive week for us in the Tumblr-verse. The Hand always has the best answers to meta questions because he is all kinds of brilliant, and his answer to favorite aspects of ASOIAF warfare is no exception.  Just as well, the Hand tackled the false assertion that the Freys were justified in enacting the Red Wedding, and dreamed up some excellent alternate histories about Aegon IV dying before the follies of his reign and Jaime Lannister protecting Elia Martell. As for me, I wrote another essay – The Windblown Grass, all about terrible strategist Doran Martell – thought up some Blackfyre words, and added a defining character moment for Theon to Tumblr friend Poor Quentyn’s excellent post to the same.

Without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of March 7:
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The Ravenry: Week of 2/22/2016

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Happy Leap Day, readers!

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,  we here at the blog have partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire.  We – that is, SomethingLikeaLawyer and I – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful, text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

A very busy week at Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire Headquarters. I can’t say enough times how legitimately amazing at military discussions the Hand is, and it’s proven true this week, with considerations on Dornish spear and curved sword usage. He also did a wonderful job talking about Robert’s Rebellion, and why it really benefited no noble house to support Aerys II in Robert’s Rebellion. Also very excitingly, the Hand published his first essay of 2016 – a military analysis of Euron Greyjoy! I also published an essay this week – the next piece in Heirs in the Shadows, The Plowman at the Gates, and talked a little about possible words for House Ryswell and Maekar’s comparatively large family against his dynastic unimportance.

Without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the Week of February 22:

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The Ravenry: Week of 2/1/16

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Good morning (or afternoon, or evening, or whenever you’re reading this), adventurers!

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,  we here at the blog have partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire.  We – that is, SomethingLikeaLawyer and I – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful, text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

A little bit of a quieter week at Headquarters, but nevertheless got out some solid answers to solid asks. The Hand went back to his great Aegon Doctrine to explain why Aegon took away royal titles, and reanalyzed Viserys I as a poor Targaryen king. For my part,  I looked at Littlefinger’s financial blackmail of Anya Waynwood, and the decline of Visenya’s ideal of the Kingsguard. We also released two – two! – essays this week: one from BryndenBFish about Aurane Waters, and one from me about Tyrek Lannister.

So, without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of February 1:

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The Agents of Chaos, Part 3: The Pirate King

This essay contains spoilers for The Winds of Winter

Introduction

Aurane_Waters

Artwork by Nacho Molina

Following events at the end of A Storm of Swords and the readying of the Golden Company to move on Westeros, the Spider began to aggressively unweave the political and military fabric that kept the Lannisters and Tyrells in power in King’s Landing. Varys’ plan of slow-burn chaos in Westeros seen in the first three books of A Song of Ice and Fire now evolved into an active undermining of the political structure of King’s Landing. Taena Merryweather would work to undermine the relationship between Margaery Tyrell and Cersei Lannister, but she would not be Varys’ only pawn in Westeros.

As I’ve re-read key sections from A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons and The Winds of Winter for the Blood of the Conqueror series, I’ve come to the conclusion that Varys’ intelligence strategy in King’s Landing was not limited to Taena Merryweather. Varys needed to undermine the Lannister-Tyrell alliance in King’s Landing, but Varys also needed to disrupt their military power bloc in Eastern Westeros. The Golden Company and Aegon were coming to Westeros, and they would need the waters cleared for their approach.

Enter Aurane Waters.

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The Ravenry: Week of 1/11/16

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Hello, you awesome people!

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,  we here at the blog have partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire.  We – that is, SomethingLikeaLawyer and I – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful, text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

With yours truly on vacay, it was a quieter week at Wars and Politics Headquarters. The Hand, as usual, did a fantastic job, keeping up a very steady pace of great answers all by himself; his thoughts on the various fighting styles favored by each region is particularly smart and very well-informed worldbuilding. I was more focused on the Dance this week, with not only an essay (the first of the year, hooray!) on the murder mysteries of the Year of the Red Spring but a Tumblr piece on the real winners of the Dance (that is to say, no one).

Without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of January 11:

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The Wolf’s Honor: Brandon Stark

Introduction

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Ice (image credit to John Goodenough)

“Brandon. Yes. Brandon would know what to do. He always did. It was all meant for Brandon. You, Winterfell, everything. He was born to be a King’s Hand and a father to queens.” (“Catelyn II”, A Game of Thrones)

By the time A Song of Ice and Fire begins, Brandon is nearly 20 years dead; the only physical memory remaining of the onetime heir to Winterfell is the solemn statue of him in the ancient seat’s crypts. Brandon is remembered for his hot-headedness and quick temper – that particularly Stark “wolf’s blood” which led him and his sister Lyanna to early graves. What is often overlooked with Brandon, however, is how southron the heir to Winterfell had become by the time of his fateful meeting with King Aerys. From a young age, Brandon – under his father’s watchful eye – had been steeped in southron-looking and overtly southron customs: a competent jouster, friend to riverlords and Valemen, with a young squire and a Tully fiancée, Brandon was almost indistinguishable from the heir to any great southron seat.  What would distinguish him was the inborn Northern vengeance that – combined with southron modes of chivalry – drove him to challenge a grievous crime against his sister, with fatal results.

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