In the first three pieces in this essay series, we have looked south, to grand seats in the heart of Westeros. We have considered the seat of pre-Conquest kings, a holding intimately connected with the politics of King’s Landing, and an ancient castle in the heart of the Riverlands. Yet this focus should not presume that above the Neck there are no likewise ambitious young pretenders, and those who would see certain individuals rise to the great holdings of their ancestors. Dustin and Ryswell, Bolton and Manderly, Karstark and Umber, all have demonstrated political ambitions worthy of any southron court, and the Northern pretender in question today is no exception.
The seat discussed in this essay has as much ancient significance to the North as Darry does to the Riverlands, and has been at the center of as much politicking over its next heir as Rosby has been. While not so grand as Casterly Rock, the holding nevertheless remains important to the Starks of Winterfell, its lands prominent – and eagerly eyed – in the North. Indeed, the struggle for control of this seat provided the young Prince of Winterfell with an early political education; the failure to answer the question may lead to the seat being claimed by the Prince’s favored candidate.
Welcome to the next installment in a new series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire, Heirs in the Shadows. In this series, BryndenBFish and I will examine a number of individuals who may press blood claims to different Westerosi seats, and the arguments and tactics various plotters will use to install their chosen pawns in these places. Part 1 of this series focused on Tyrek Lannister, a young lion possibly held by Varys as a future puppet Lord of Casterly Rock under Aegon VI. Part 2 argued for the noted Stark loyalist Olyvar Frey as the future Lord or regent of the Crownlands seat of Rosby. Part 3 identified two different men who could serve as the once-mentioned bastard Darry cousin and possible future Lord of Darry. Part 4 will examine a Northern seat currently without an heir, and a young man of its blood who could become the next lord of this Stark vassal House.
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, NFriel and I – 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. Lot of at-length questions and responses, with some lengthy meta on Barristan Selmy, Euron Greyjoy, Dragonstone as a holding, three certain pies, a new theory on why Jaehaerys bypassed Rhaenys the Queen-Who-Never-Was, and a 1,500 word piece on why Robert’s Rebellion and Renly’s Rebellion were different beasts.
Without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of December 7:
We all know Wyman Manderly, Lord of White Harbor, keeper of a number of titles, baker of tasty pies and deliverer of rallying speeches. We know he is a pronounced Stark loyalist, despite his seeming ingratiation into the Bolton regime, and that what he desires most is to place a Stark in Winterfell again – a noble sentiment from the Manderlys’ continued devotion to the Starks.
At least, this is what Manderly appears to be on the surface. What I want to explore in this essay is what is going on beneath the surface. Specifically, I want to suggest that Manderly is not simply “the North remembers” or the public face for righteous vengeance , but a canny and politically ambitious man. Indeed, Manderly is interested in a Stark restoration not for the symbolic gain of the North, but for the political and material gain of House Manderly.