Quick Analysis of New World of Ice and Fire Excerpt III: The Return of the Analysis

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.

 

NW Fragment:

– repeated.

 

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.

 

The Westerlands:

– 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.

 

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79 thoughts on “Quick Analysis of New World of Ice and Fire Excerpt III: The Return of the Analysis

  1. Cato the Elder says:

    Hi, just for the little joy of finding a use for my 5 years of Latin in Middle School. The exact quotation is :
    “Delenda Carthago” sometimes quoted as “Delenda est Carthago. ”
    not “delinda”. But I’m assuming it’s a typo. 🙂

  2. Sean C. says:

    I’d be interested to see what Alyssa Velaryon and her remaining children did after escaping Dragonstone.

    I have to say, the more details we get, the harder time I have buying the Dornish resistance to the Targaryens. The use of guerrilla tactics sort of made sense, but now they’re saying that Aegon and his sisters were flat-out torching cities and fortresses. If the Dornish were so dead-set on independence so as to resist even that, why on Earth did they subsequently join the Seven Kingdoms at the cost only of a marital alliance? And being able to even mount conventional attacks into Dorne and the Stormlands without getting shredded by dragonfire, and that’s not even considering that the places they’re invading with split forces would massively outnumber them.

    • Abbey Battle says:

      Remember Dorne only joined the other Sunset Kingdoms 200 years AFTER Rhaenys and Meraxes fell; a lot can change in that time, but more to the point they joined only AFTER The Targaryens accepted the terms of House Martell, which appear to have made them second only to the Dragons in the Seven Kingdoms (as Princes and not merely as Lords).

    • They joined a hundred years later, through mutual marriage alliances, and on their own terms.

      Came out of it better than the Welsh did.

    • Amestria says:

      Pride probably. Can the First Men and Andals boast of having beaten dragons?

    • Abbey Battle says:

      One last thing I’d like to add concerning the apparent implausibility of the Dornish resistance to the Seven Kingdoms of House Targaryen – it is no less incredible than the survival of Scotland as a sovereign kingdom in the face of repeated English Kings to make their title as ‘Lord Paramount of Scotland’ more than a mere pretension; don’t let the victories of Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn mislead you, the Scottish lost more often than they won (look up the Battles of Falkirk, Homildon Hill and Neville’s Cross for a good idea of just how badly Scotland was beaten) for they managed to maintain their Independence only by accepting that they would lose pretty much everything else – yet still they persisted ‘not for Glory but for Freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life’ as the Declaration of Arbroath put it.

      Quite Dornish resistance is a lot easier to accept if you accept that Dorne has repeatedly been conquered, yet impossible to keep by force or the threat of force – remember that the Targaryen Dynasty had to rely on feudal hosts, a majority of whom would be going back home once their knight’s service was done – thereby robbing the invaders of their manpower advantage in a stroke, making it very hard to garrison Dorne as it would have needed to be garrisoned.

      Please also remember that the Uprising of the Faith Militant, The Dance of the Dragons and doubtless any number of lesser crises would have meant the Targaryens would have had far, far more important things to do with their time, treasure and political prestige than conquer Dorne and try to hold it AGAIN – especially if it could be brought into the fold for a little more than the price of two bridal cloaks and of it’s own free will (in fact it should be noted that The Kingdoms of England & Scotland were united by a somewhat similar arrangement – Scotland remained separate from England in practice for over a century after the Union of the Crowns).

      Proof that when it comes to medieval politics wedding bells beat alarm bells any day!

      (I would also like to say here that compared to some of the peculiarities of our own History the resistance of Dorne in the face of the other Sunset Kingdoms seems somewhat TAME by comparison – just for starters, back in the old days Sweden used to be a Great Power with a military strong enough to tackle RUSSIA).

    • Abbey Battle says:

      One more thing concerning the Dornish Resistance; compare it to the resistance of Scotland in the face of repeated attempts to make their claim to the title of ‘Lord Paramount of Scotland’ more than pretension and it seems a lot more plausible (both Dorne and Scotland were able to maintain their Freedom, but only because they were willing to accept the loss of virtually everything else) and the end of this long struggle, accomplished in large part due to a marriage alliance between the Royal Houses of these two realms (it should also be noted that Scotland formally remained a separate kingdom for over a century after the Union of the Crowns,although it did not necessarily profit by this arrangement).

      I would also like to note that if the idea of Dorne being able and willing to resist attempts by the other Sunset Kingdoms to finally subdue it seems implausible, then you really will find the history of this World quite impossible to credit – for example did you know that in the old days Sweden used to be a Great Power with a military capable of challenging The Tsar … and on one occasion actually tried to CONQUER all the Russias!

      • Kuruharan says:

        The ability of Dorne to resist the Targaryens is one of the weakest and strangest conceptual aspects of the history of Westeros. Dragons are portrayed in the series as being nearly unstoppable superweapons that allow one family to conquer and hold together a continent (allegedly) the size of South America…except for this desert bit in the south that somehow managed to hold out.

        I’ve never even been able to buy the guerrilla warfare angle because the Dornish supposedly fled into the desert and mountains. The problem with this working is that dragons can fly. The Targaryens would just be able to go aloft and see for miles and miles and find whoever is hiding from them, especially in the desert.

        The whole thing just does not make much sense. There isn’t much else to say about it except that Martin didn’t think this one through very well and kind of screwed up and attempts to explain it away are not going to make it seem more plausible.

        Also, Sweden didn’t have dragons at the time and all the Russias were less united and smaller then.

        • Go back to the text, it’s explained rather well. There’s only three dragons at the time, and they can’t be everywhere at once – and it’s damn hard to figure out who’s who when you’re looking from far up with the unaided human eye. The Dornish attack everywhere where the dragons are not, then melt away. The Targaryens torched a lot of keeps, and I’m sure the Dornish took a lot of casualties (there’s a reason they don’t have 50,000 spears anymore), but you can’t hold territory with dragons. For that you need armies, and armies are vulnerable, especially when they’re split up into garrisons.

          Honestly, is it any different from how the Viet Cong and NVA dealt with American airpower (which, given Martin’s age, is probably a big reference for him?)?

          • Kuruharan says:

            Those are valid points, but I disagree that they satisfactorily explain the situation.

            I think the dragons have keener senses than humans and would certainly be most helpful in spotting people from afar. I would also think a major target for dragon surveillance would be the major passes to keep any roving Dornish armies like the ones that burned Nightsong and Cape Wrath or, as is possible if the Cape Wrath attack was seaborne, attacking the ports and burning up any ships in harbor. Those could not be replaced quickly.

            Speaking of seaborne attacks, why didn’t the Targaryens utilize the ironborn or Arbor fleet against Dorne once those had submitted?

            However, ultimately whether the Dornish resistance logistically makes sense or not is largely a matter of personal preference and it is the way Martin conceived the story and is a significant factor in it so we have to live with it.

          • How would that be helpful? They’re dragons. All humans look alike to them. It’s not like they could tell the difference between a Tyrell army and a Martell army.

            They may well have done, but that doesn’t help much with the interior of Dorne.

          • Andrew says:

            Unless the Targaryens got some Dornish lords to join them like the Yronwoods combined with a naval assault on Plnaky Town and taking the Greenblood.

          • Which may well have happened during Dareon’s invasion.

      • Or how long Wales held out against the much larger and richer English.

    • oberyn2013 says:

      This also makes the reference I’ve seen to Rhaena being Maegor’s “black bride” sound even more ominous. That is, the possibility that Maegor wed his half-nephew Aegon’s widow.

  3. Abbey Battle says:

    As ever Maester Steven you raise a whole pincushion’s worth of interesting points!

    The Coming of the First Men:-

    – It’s quite possible that the First Men in Dorne may have lived in a manner closer to the bedouin or the berbers, as desert nomads or mountain men, which would leave very few archaeological traces of the sort an antiquarian would be likely to uncover.

    – At a guess the ‘Gods’ of the First Men are forgotten (or were close enough to those of The Children to be very easy to conflate in the first place).

    – Harrenhall seems to be the holding closest to The Isle of Faces (since it dominates the lands around the God’s Eye and very probably the lake itself, this being a castle built by an Ironborn King in the first place).

    Ten Thousand Ships:-

    – At a guess the only history of the Rhoynar and their cities to which a Maester would have access WOULD be Dornish histories, which would of course tend to be wound together with the romanticised memories and nostalgia one would expect from those condemned to exile from their homeland (compare the ‘Kings over Water’ nonsense from ardent Jacobites).

    – One COULD arguably interpret some of the ‘water magic’ of the Rhoynar as being an employment of advanced hydrology (compare the strategic employment of flooding by the Dutch during their wars against Louis XIV).

    – The Rhoynar definitely tend to come off as decidedly celtic in their habits of romanticism and persistent habit of enjoying feuds at the worst possible time to their own detriment.

    – I’d argue that the deployment of dragons was arranged at the convenience of the dragon lords rather than in the interests of the Freehold; think of them as being like Elizabethan sea-captains, every man (or woman) for himself, except in the face of a major threat (one might also argue that the Ghiscari Wars may have given them a fine idea of their own potency – this might well have been their first serious war since that time).

    In addition the interests of the dragon-lords seems to have centred on the Lands of Always Summer (possibly because it’s the only place they can acquire MORE dragons and in the process claim more power) rather than throughout the Free Cities.

    – I doubt Nymeria and her people made it over the Broken Arm without some serious heroic sacrifices and we only see the prologue to that feat (like reading the march east of Xenophon’s company, but not the march west); I’m honestly moved to wonder if Braavos didn’t have something to do with helping Nymeria find that fleet …

    Maegor:-

    – I doubt House Tully sided with The Faith, but one has to wonder just how much House Lannister had anything to do with the Poor Fellows?

    – I’d argue that if Maegor had The High Septon whacked there would have been absolutely NO questions about just what happened to him; my bet is that Queen Dowager Visenya arranged it, since she seems to have some capacity to rein in her ‘SKULLS for the SKULL THRONE’ impulses.

    – The Harroways are likely to have been wiped out for being Maegor’s in-laws.

    – If ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ proves anything it’s that there is ALWAYS another Aegon …

    (?) May I please ask if you have read the transcript of ‘Sons of the Dragon’ on Westeros.org? (which describes a reading by GRR Martin concerning Aenys and Maegor).

    – Given that Aenys dragon outlived him, the odds are in favour of his having been assassinated when dismounted.

    The Dance of Dragons:-

    – I agree that poor Ser Addam was honoured as he deserved only AFTER his death.

    The Arryns:-

    – I suspect the Lords of the Vale were even more snooty BEFORE the dragons!

    The Greyjoys:-

    – Logically Priest-King Lodos is the soggy lovecraftian counterpart to Merlin! (or Aeron Greyjoy’s brother from another ancestral mother).

    – The idea that Balon Greyjoy is a throwback to a throwback to a throwback fails to astonish me; he was so darned reactionary that HARREN THE BLACK was more forward-looking than he!

    – If the Red Kraken DELIBERATELY restricted himself to Green targets then I’m Captain Blood!

    The Westerland:-

    (?) Why Medieval Germany?

    – Perhaps the Casterlys were vassals to the Kings of the River and Hills? (an Andal adventurer able to stab House Mudd in the bank could write his own ticket).

    – I still say that Lann gives me SERIOUS Littlefinger vibes!

    The Dornish Wars (of Aegon the Dragon):-

    – The Dornish are hardcore, dragon-slaying hardcore it Is KNOWN.

    – That depends on the castles and the kingdoms you have to garrison!

    • No, I haven’t yet. Link?

      Medieval Germany, both because of the landscape and the legends behind the various houses.

      • Abbey Battle says:

        I stumbled over this while browsing ‘A Wiki of Ice and Fire’ while trying to work out how a friend might compose an illustration of King Maegor and found even more information than I had hoped for.

        http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/83614-bubonicon-45/#entry4879997

        Please make sure you read through to the end of the thread, as there is more than one report concerning the substance of the reading; be warned that this seems to date from the period before ‘Fire and Blood’ was given it’s working title so the contents may be subject to change before publication.

    • John says:

      It rather makes sense that Harren the Black, ruler of a large kingdom whose main component was the Riverlands, would have been less of a reactionary advocate of the “old ways” than a guy who has nothing much to look at but run down old Pyke and nothing to do with his time but dream about how he was born too late.

  4. Could someone please link to this excerpt? Where can I read it? Thanks!

  5. Jeff says:

    I read the one on the Roynar but I haven’t seen any of the others and I have spent the last half hour googling it with no results. WHERE THE HELL IS IT!!!

  6. Todd says:

    Where are you seeing all theses excerpts? Links? I’ve only seen a few that you mention.

  7. Andrew says:

    1) I don’t approve of the Dornish treatment of prisoners either, even then the rules of chivalry prohibited such treatment of highborn prisoners, and the houses they came from would want vengeance, a recipe for further war. As for Rhaenys, if they did capture her and torture her that was a politically dumb as well as unethical decision. It would have been smarter to use her as a hostage, and tell Aegon that if he burned one more Dornish castle, his favorite sister-wife and mother of nearly all his children would be a head shorter. That would have been enough to give Aegon pause at least. Torturing her to death would require Aegon to avenge her, and continue the war, likely upping the ante.

    2) Nymeria proved to be right that it was war they could not win, because Valyria had dragons and could likely muster a larger army. She was ignored since none of the princes wanted to believe that there was actually nothing they could do to stop Valyria’s expansion over the Rhoyne. At least Garin’s idea gave them a feeling of hope and being in control rather than powerlessness.

    3) The first time around the Valyrians made the mistake of underestimating Garin, with the dragons likely having to fly low and with restricted movement as a result of the water spouts, making them easier targets for the likely 10,000+ archers. What Garin didn’t realize is that battle was just the beginning. He failed to see that Valyria would send an even larger force after that, and they would throw everything they had at him to protect their imperial borders and outposts. He didn’t have nearly enough water wizards and archers to face 300+ dragons.

    4) As Morpheus said, “fate is not without a sense of irony.” The Andals tried and failed to conquer the Rhoynish with the Rhoynish later conquering the Andal descendants in Dorne. At the same time, Westeros wasn’t far enough as Valyrians and their dragons in the form of Aegon and his sisters. Yet, this time they managed to succeed against the Valyrian invasions.

    5) Quicksilver was likely Balerion’s offspring, and I wonder which dragon killed him in battle, as there was a chance Visenya was there with Vhagar, and Meraxes could have been Quicksilver’s mother. If Balerion killed him, then either dragons as parents don’t exactly share a close bond with their offspring, or the bond between rider and dragon was enough to compel the dragon to kill its offspring. If the latter’s the case, then I wonder if the dragonhorn was still being used.

    6) Visenya had no problem screwing over her sister’s children and grandchildren. Not exactly the aunt or great aunt of the year. Maegor wasn’t aiming for uncle of the year either. Also, I think you mean Maegor broke guest right, not birth right.

    • Andrew says:

      The green men are mentioned, and there are stories that a rising wind or flock of ravens drives away curious young lords on a boat. I wonder what prevented the Andals from going there. If they didn’t spare the grove or the Children of the Forest at High Heart, then why was the Isle of Faces left alone?

      As to the green men themselves, are they immortals possibly akin to greenseers, if not, where do they get new recruits in an area where everyone worships the Seven?

      Also, the Valyrian sword, Nightfall, was originally taken off a corsair’s corpse by Dalton Greyjoy. That same sword would later go to House Harlaw. I wonder what the Reader’s forebear did to get that.

  8. AJD says:

    The original gods of the First Men probably include, like, the sea god and wind goddess from the story of Durran Godsgrief.

  9. On Magor:
    -Could the ‘deformed’ babies also be a nod to both Rhaenyra and later Daenerys’ children? After all, there have also been ‘simple witted’ children with the Targs.

    -Visenya was probably the one who had the HS offed.

    -I’m not surprised that Magor was the younger, if Aegon spent more time with Rhaenys, it was bound to happen. (Which probably also why Visenya was set into seeing her son King).

    On the Arryns:
    -The Lady of the Vale is said to have sent her picture to Aegon and said that if he married her and adopted her son as heir, the Vale would yield. Then Aegon sent Visenya. Problem solved.

    On the Dance:
    -Addam deserved that gravestone. That brave, brave man.

    -I want to know if Rhaenyra quartered her standard when the war started or after Daemon bailed out. If she did so after Daemon went off with Nettles, I would not be surprised that she would be upset over it.

    On Dorne:

    -No matter how you slice it, Rhaenys’ death could not have been good. Either she’s killed with an arrow or Meraxes falls on her or she ends in torture. Yep, not good either way.

    • Abbey Battle says:

      I say Your Grace, please do remember that ANYONE could be reading The Internet, so please do be careful to avoid self-incrimination r.e. his High Holiness the late High Septon … although we half-maesters (and Maester Steven) surely do appreciate getting the truth straight from the dragons maw as it were!

      • *Shrugs* What can I say, dear maester. He was bothering my son and something had to be done. And never have I been one to do this halfway, you could say.

        • Abbey Battle says:

          Only half a maester, Your Grace; while I have forged a few links, my chain continues to fall woefully short of the full circumference of my neck (admittedly this may be more because I have a very thick neck, rather than because my knowledge of the world is too slender!).

  10. Amestria says:

    The failure of the disunited Rhoynar Principalities probably helps explain why the Dornish are so united all the time.

    • Are they, necessarily? I mean, we don’t hear what the Yronwoods are up to. How do the Stony Dornish relate to other Andals?

      • Amestria says:

        I’d guess that they are more unified then the other kingdoms given that Dorne maintained its independence until it chose to submit on its own terms and even fought off dragons. If most of them didn’t have a unified sense of identity or purpose its likely that they would have fallen into civil war as certain families rushed to win increased power through alliance with the Iron Throne, such as happened with the Boltons and the Freys.

        • Identity and unity are not the same thing, necessarily.

          The Welsh had a very strong identity but were internally fractured.

          Likewise, look at what the Dornish are going through now.

          • Amestria says:

            By unity I mean the Dornish nobility and people supporting their own ruling House against outsiders as opposed to taking advantage of a strong foreign power to better their own positions, as what happened with Houses Bolton, Frey, Tyrell, and Tully. Like, it sounds like the Dornish were too a man pretty unified on the subject of House Martel during all these invasions and uprisings, otherwise alliance with the Targarians would have been an easy way to gain power.

          • Uprisings I’m not so sure about – It’s quite possible the Dornish split during Blackfyre.

          • Amestria says:

            I mean, the Dornish might have learned from their history and avoided leadership conflicts such as it experienced in the past. Hence why Dorne went from being divided by various petty Andal kingdoms to being a single unified principality, as opposed to a succession of smaller principalities.

          • Quite possibly, but again, we need more evidence.

          • Amestria says:

            True.

          • Captain Splendid says:

            As Warren Ellis wrote in Crecy:

            “Nothing a Welshman hates more than a Welshman from another village.

            ….

            You know how the English conquered Wales? One village at a time. Because no Welshman would run to the next Welsh village to warn them the English are coming. You all went down warm in the knowledge that the next village would get it too and they deserved it for being foreign.”

          • There’s a great German saying from the same period:

            “Me against my brother, my brother and I against our cousins, our cousins and us against our neighbors.”

    • The Yronwoods fought for the Blackfyre claimants every time. And we have that comment that once their holdings dwarfed those of House Martell and now with Quentyn’s adventure and the results, there’s a high chance the Yronwoods will rise against Martells again. After all, wasn’t Quentyn fostered there because of Oberyn’s actions?

      • Is there a cite on that? I was pretty sure that was the case, it would follow the pattern of the other Blackfyre loyalists, but I don’t remember where it was written.

        • Andrew says:

          The Yronwoods fought for the Blackfyres in three of the Blackfyre Rebellions according to Arianne in AFfC The Queenmaker.

        • Andrew kindly answered before I could. And unfortunately, I don’t have the D&E novellas, but if my memory doesn’t fail me, we’re told that minor (or second) houses fought for the Blackfyres. It wouldn’t surprise me at all that the Yronwoods hope to regain territory lost to the Martells.

  11. Amestria says:

    “- 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.”

    Peace being defined by enough low level raids and piracy to sustain a bare minimum of the “old ways” while avoiding all out war. Bear Island’s warrior traditions indicate the Ironborn are always raiding to some extent.

    • The key point seems to be where the raiding happens. “Eschewing further thoughts of conquest, they lived by fishing, trade, and mining. Some men still dreamed of a return to the Old Way, when the ironborn were a people to be feared, but the Stepstones and the Summer Sea were far away, and the Greyjoys on
      the Seastone Chair would allow no reaving closer to home.”

      So it looks like the deal was – no reiving in Westeros, but you can do what you want outside.

  12. Brian says:

    I’m wondering what the deal is with the bit about the Dance of the Dragons. In “The Princess and the Queen”, Aegon II’s wife Helaena Targaryen was taken captive when the Blacks took King’s Landing. She jumped to her death from Maegor’s Holdfast and rumors that she was murdered helped flame the riots in the city. But in this new snippet about the Dance, it says that Aegon II escaped the city with his wife and children. If so, who was it that died? Is this a mistake or is it meant to show that the maesters that supposedly wrote down the histories did not know everything?

  13. Amestria says:

    “- 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?”

    Perhaps the Freehold’s leaders derived some sort of political or economic benefit from coming then and not sooner?

    • Abbey Battle says:

      For example the Peninsular Valyrians may have been quite happy to see the ambitions of their Volantene kinsmen knocked back on their heels by the very civilisation upon which they had hoped to build up their dominion – a Volantis that conquers the Rhoynar and rules their former territory is a Volantis becoming an over-mighty subject (possibly to the point of becoming a Rival instead).

      Amestria, this theory does help explain why Valyria herself held off on diving into this particular war until after the power and prestige of her own dragon-lords was thrown into question – also why she deployed such a petrifying level of overkill when she did deign to take to the skies in defence of her daughter-colony.

    • Well, there is a parallel here with Roman history – often Rome would ignore their colonies right up until some major rebellion, and then they’d come down on that rebellion with a massive hammer.

  14. boink says:

    Hi, my first post 🙂

    About the dragons and Dorne, just one little unnoticed detail: dragonriders were targ kings and queens. Try to imagine a king who spends nearly all of his time flying around and hunting rebels, evading arrows. A day or two, couple of months maybe? First time an arrow had swooshed by his/hers head, thoughts about drinking and whoreing in KL became much sweeter.

  15. Abbey Battle says:

    More to the point it’s hard to run Seven Kingdoms from a saddle – even the Black Dread might have a little difficulty carrying the Court on his back!

  16. Roger says:

    I greatly enjoyed the excerpt, and I’m eagerly expecting the book! Makes the entire world (not only Westeros) a lot more interesting. Especialy I would love to see more of the Free cities.

    Lots of point to comment:

    – Tywin wasn’t unwilling to ally with Balon. Only he didn’t think it was necessary. Balon was already fighting the Northmen without a previous agreement, and he asked too mutch.

    • Which is weird. You’d think, given what they’ve done to the Westerlands, there would be more animosity toward the Ironborn.

      • I think Tywin was willing to let it go for the time being. He wanted the North weakened and that’s what Balon gave him freely. He had a bigger issue with Stannis still spreading the info on the bastardy of his grandkids.

        But at the end of the day, Balon did cave to Tywin, he asked for his crown and that’s where Tywin was going to draw the line. That was never going to happen as long as his grandkids sat on the IT. First neutralize the North and Stannis and then deal with Balon.

        At least, that’s what I think he would have done.

        • Abbey Battle says:

          I must agree with Her Grace; Tywin Lannister is nothing if not a master of realpolitik and it makes sense for him to focus on the threat of The North on land (for one thing I’m not sure he has a fleet to work with at this point), rather than try projecting power across Ironman Bay to deal with another rebel.

          I think that it is only after he managed to patch up a working relationship with House Tyrell that Lord Tywin actually managed to sink his claws into a decent-sized fleet; unfortunately by that point The King in the Narrow Sea is STILL a naval nuisance with designs on all Seven Kingdoms (as opposed to a single one and the least attractive one at that!), making him the priority.

          • Roger says:

            Stannis is dangerous becouse he has legitimacy. And also a fleet, yeah. Ironborn are dangerous for their boldness.

          • You are right that it was only after the Tyrell merger was when Tywin got a navy. The royal navy I believe was lost during the BBWB.

            And yes, Stannis in Tywin’s view has always been the bigger thread. Not only because he’s a naval expert, but the legitimacy. He needed his grandchildren secure before dealing with Balon. And those kids would not be secure until Stannis is death.

            Tywin would’ve had to eventually deal with the Greyjoys. Sadly for him a crossbow got in his way and Cersei’s hormones gave the new fleet to someone of dubious loyalty.

          • I’ve also read somewhere that Stannis took part of the navy with him when he decamped to Dragonstone, but I’m not sure about that.

          • It makes sense, actually. When Robert was alive he was Maester of Ships or something. Unless I’m misremembering.

      • Roger says:

        And Balon Greyjoy burned Tywin’s fleet during his failed rebelion. But Tywin was realistic, and he could wait for years for his vengeances.
        Balon had a healthy respect for Tywin, he didn’t want to attack Lannisport during the Five Kings War, partialy becouse “Lord Tywin was too smart”.

  17. Roger says:

    I think that is interesting that Nymeria, a warrior lady coming from a river-loving culture, could conquer Dorne, a semi-desertic land. Especialy after burning her ships. Perhaps she had some water-wizards. Perhaps it was due to Maron Martell’s help. Personaly I suspect she used both her military prowess and a marriage police with Dornish lords/petty Kings.

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