RFTIT Basement Tapes: Revolt From Below

A while back, my editor Marc Kleinhenz asked me to write a bonus essay in case some of the Hymn for Spring essays didn’t come in on time and we needed to bulk out the book. I decided to write an essay elaborating on some of my ideas about smallfolk agency in Westerosi history, and wrote about 3/4ths of it when the late-breaking essays came in and we didn’t need it.

And then I forgot I had written it for about two years…

So here’s a bonus essay!

Revolt From Below – The Impact of the Smallfolk on the Game of Thrones


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Politics of the Seven Kingdoms: The Riverlands (Part I)

Credit to J.E Fullerton/Ser Other-in-Law

Credit to J.E Fullerton/Ser Other-in-Law


In Part IV of the Politics of the Seven Kingdoms, we come to the best example of a failed state in Westeros – indeed, the only region of Westeros to ever lose the status of a Kingdom.  The Riverlands are a perpetual runner-up in the game of thrones, more often a pawn or even the game board than a real player, despite its relatively large size, fertile soil, and significant population. Numbers alone tell the story: despite a population of some four million, which places the Riverlands on par with the Westerlands and substantially higher than the Stormlands or Dorne, the Riverlands can only raise an army of 20,000 men.

For this very reason, the Riverlands are probably the most important region for us to study in this series, because it allows us to understand from the failure of the various dynasties who claimed the title of King of the Rivers and Hills what the necessary conditions are for the growth of a strong polity.

As I will argue throughout this essay, the failure of the Riverlands can be traced to a lack of internal cohesion, best exemplified by the Bracken-Blackwood feud, which sapped the Riverlands and prevented from ever growing to its full potential.

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RFTIT Weekly Tumblr Roundup


Hey folks! Sorry to give you two tumblr roundups back-to-back, but I didn’t want this week to go by without an update. The Riverlands essay is up to 13k words right now but I’m only halfway done (some of that 13k will go down as I cut out quotes I don’t intend to use, etc.). If I’m not finished by this weekend, I intend to put up what I have so far on Monday. Incidentally, I want to take a bit of a break before I do the next one, because they eat up a lot of time and I want to do more ASOS chapters and more frequent content in general…speaking of which, I have outlines for the next three ASOS chapters and want to get more done and start writing out some essays.

So let’s look at what we’ve got from the Tumblrs:

RFTIT Tumblr Weekly Roundup Returns!


Now that we’ve returned to normal, time to get back into a good rhythm. Things I am currently working on: the Politics of the Riverlands essay (currently @ 8,000 words), outlines for Dany I through Catelyn III (I want to get up to 25% of ASOS), and another one of my People’s History of the Marvel Universe essays (because they’re fun).

In the meantime, because I got a bunch of asks about naval stuff this week for some unknown reason, let’s celebrate Westerosi Fleet Week with a few Tumblr responses:

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Jon I, ASOS


“Might be you fooled these others, crow, but don’t think you’ll be fooling Mance. He’ll take one look a’ you and know you’re false…”

Synopsis: Jon Snow meets Mance Rayder.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

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Celebratory RFTIT Tumblr Roundup!

At last, at long last…manuscript revisions are done and turned in to the publisher. Words cannot describe how relieved I feel. It has been three years of trying to turn my dissertation into a proper book; ten years since I started writing it; and many sleepless nights wondering whether anyone would ever read this thing which I’ve devoted a third of my life to.

Among the many things this means is that I can once again write for fun, the mere prospect of which has improved my mood immensely. I’m already working on the Politics of the Riverlands essay, which I think is going to be one of the best of the series, and Jon I, which is already up to 3700 words.

But in the mean time, I have to catch up on my Tumblrs. Buckle in, this is going to be a loooong one:

Guest Post on Tower of the Hand: Politics of the Seven Kingdoms (The Vale)

The next installment in my Politics of the Seven Kingdoms series is up at Tower of the Hand! Somehow, I’m not quite sure, I actually found more to say about the Vale than I had about the Starks, if for no other reason than there was so much to fill in that the WOIAF had not made clear.

So check it out!

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Sansa I, ASOS


“The old woman smelled of rosewater. Why, she’s just the littlest bit of a thing. There was nothing the least bit thorny about her.”

Synopsis: Sansa meets ALL THE TYRELLS Margaery and the Queen of Thorns.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

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Guest “Appearance” on History of Westeros Podcast

Hey folks! As you know if you’ve been following the blog, I’ve been doing a series of guest appearances on History of Westeros Podcast as part of their coverage of the Blackfyres. I don’t actually appear in this episode, but I helped with the writing and research and I’ll be appearing in the next episode on the Golden Company itself, so I thought I’d throw this up so you have context for that part.

In other news, I’m making good progress both through my manuscript and Part III of Politics of the Seven Kingdoms, so don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.

X-Posted from Tumblr: Estimates of Great House Incomes

After I did this post, @joannalannister asked if I could do a similar set of estimates for the other Great Houses, so I figured I might as well knock them out.

So what are the incomes of the .01% of Westeros?

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