Ok, I missed this excerpt and was busy finishing my next Esquire piece yesterday, so it’s less “quick” that before, but here’s my take on the Thousand Ships Excerpt:
Coming of the First Men:
– arrival between eight and *twelve* thousand years ago? There goes the timeline.
– Interesting that we see so little in the way of First Men presence in Dorne if they landed there first. You’d think there’d be archaeological evidence.
– “brought with them strange gods, horses, cattle, and weapons of bronze” – who were the gods?
– Children of the Forest’s military caste known as “wood dancers”
– Greenseer magic – foresight, warging, water magic? Odd mix. I do like the rationalist critique from the maester.
– Don’t think much of the art of the Children, they look way too human.
– Green Men extant on the Isle of Faces. I wonder who’s close to there?
Ten Thousand Ships:
– opening of the Rhoynar-Valyrian war seems very similar to the Punic Wars, with both groups brought in through their satellites.
– the Rhoynish civilization seems…a bit Star Trek utopian, everything “lovelier than the last.” Is this being written by a Dornish maester?
– Water magic! Ok, all of the sudden we’re in Avatar: the Last Airbender territory, and I’m kind of liking it. Watery walls – man, if only the Rhoynish had migrated to the Riverlands…Water wizards sinking entire towns, giant waterspouts raised against dragons.
– Political disunity is never a good thing up against a militaristic republic. “In these conflicts, the Valyrians emerged as victors more oft than not. The princes of the Rhoyne, fiercely proud of their independence, fought alone, whilst the Valyrian colonies aided one another, and when hard-pressed called upon the power of the Freehold itself.”
– Rhoynish-Andal conflict predates the Rhoynish arrival in Westeros. Interesting.
– Seems like a very extended conflict: “ the War of Three Princes, the Second Turtle War, the Fisherman’s War, the Salt War, the Third Turtle War, the War on Dagger Lake, the Spice War, and many more, too numerous to recount here.” 250 years all-told, that’s almost as long as the entire Targaryen dynasty.
– Wow. Old Man used to be Old Men. Amazing little synecdoce of loss there.
– Sarhoy gets the Carthago delenda est treatment – three dragonlords are enough.
– so that’s why Garin was known as Garin the Great. Hannibal parallel, with a bit of Phyrrus.
– So the Valyrian colonies get virtually wiped out and then the Valyrians send in the cavalry – wonder why they didn’t send in more to begin with. Arrogance?
– this account definitely makes the legend that Nymeria’s escape was enabled by a heroic sacrifice sound like gilding over a massive blunder.
Fragment on Maegor:
– AHA! The Riverlands and Westerlands joined the Faith Militant, well that explains why it lasted.
– The Battle of the Great Fork is impressive – a dragon in the rain…But you definitely get the sense that there were full-on rebellion/war phases and then constant guerilla warfare phases.
– Maegor definitely had the High Septon whacked in 44AC. (AC or AL, even they can’t make up their minds.) Interesting that the Faith couldn’t stop its own revolt.
– Maegor’s child-bearing problems definitely points to genetic/magical problems with fertility. I wonder if Targaryen inbreeding was necessary to cancel that out, the opposite of what we’ve thought. Unless the widows of the men they murdered were using tansy to fuck up their pregnancies in revenge.
– I didn’t know there was a moat around Megor’s Holdfast.
– Maegor married a Harroway – wonder how they got wiped out?
– Wow, the killing of the craftsmen is amped up to another Red Wedding. So in addition to usurping the Iron Throne and murdering his wives, Maegor also broke guest right.
– “In 43 AC, his nephew, Prince Aegon, attempted to win back the throne that by law should have been his, in what came to be known as the great Battle Beneath the Gods Eye.” WHOA! That’s huge news. There was another Aegon, and he died.
– So Maegor was definitely the younger son, of Visenya.
– I’m not liking the jumping back and forth in time here etween 44/45 and 43, that’s bad historical practice.
– 2,000 skulls in one campaign – definitely getting a Green Beret/Vietnam feel here.
– Maegor has a Prince Viserys tortured to death – I’m guessing Dark Sister made its way to Jaehaerys, who doesn’t show up here.
– Huh. There was a Sept before the Sept of Baelor – which Maegor had destroyed and turned into a “stable for dragons”; reminiscent of Raoul of Cambrai. That means the rebellion made it to the capitol. Or at least the Warrior’s Sons did.
Fragment on the Dance of the Dragons:
– seems a bit repetitious now.
– hmmm. Do knighted bastards get last names? Seems like Jon Snow’s problems in AGOT could have been solved easily.
– we learn the banners of the blacks and greens: “the banner of the king, bearing the golden three-headed dragon that Aegon had taken for his sigil, only to find their neighbor had taken up Rhaenyra’s red dragon quartered with the moon-and-falcon of her Arryn mother and the seahorse of her late husband.”
– I liked Ser Addam’s tombstone.
– would have liked to know more about Jasper Wylde the Ironrod.
– in retrospect, the High Sparrow seems very much of a type with the Shepherd and whoever kicked off the Revolt of the Faith. Cersei should have paid more attention to history.
Fragment on the Arryns:
– “From that day, every Targaryen to sit the Iron Throne had a bit of Arryn blood.” No wonder the Arryns are so snooty. Also, this makes Aerys II a kinslayer.
– Confirmation that not only were the Royces First Men, but Kings. // to the Martell/Yronwoods.
– So the Eyrie’s castles were built sequentially during the conquest of the Vale. Makes sense.
Fragment on the Greyjoys:
– Goren seems like a canny politician; the black line I’m guessing refers to the previous royal house before the Greyjoys.
– Who is the Priest-King Lodos? He seems like a trip.
– Aenys Targaryen allowed Goren to expell the Faith from the Iron Islands. No wonder the Faith rose up against him.
– So as far as the “old ways” go, we seem to have the following trajectory: Harren, then 100 years of peace, then the Red Kraken, then peace, then Dagon, then peace, then Balon. Makes sense.
– the Red Kraken is a bit of a badass. Got a letter of marque to ravage the Lannisters – you wonder why Balon thought he’d get the Lannisters to ally with them after this much history.
– There are First Men in the Westerlands! The Hawthornes, Footes, Brooms, and Pumms. Man, the Plumms are everywhere.
– Getting a Medieval Germany vibe here.
– Crake the Boarkiller, the Hooded Man, the Blind Bowman, and Pate the Plowman…interesting.
– fascinating stuff about the Casterlys. Casterly Rock started as a cave! Why didn’t they make themselves Kings?
– Lann the Clever as an Andal adventurer…fascinating.
Fragment on the Dornish Wars:
– Dornish do not play nicely. Battle of the Boneway, cutting off hands, lots of torture.
– Aegon and Rhaenys actually enthroned themselves in Sunspear!
– definitely see how splitting up your forces to garrison castles could be a bad idea.
– Then the Targaryens went scorched earth…no wonder the Dornish don’t have 50,000 spears any more. At the same time, the Dornish really know how to escalate. Cape Wrath, Nightsong, Oldtown.