A World of Ice and Fire Analysis VIb (The Seven Kingdoms from the Westerlands to Dorne)

Moving from the North to the heart of the South this week. Some really interesting stuff…


The Westerlands:

  • BTW, I welcome any corrections by Joanna Lannister on this section. My grasp of Westerlands history is not the best.
  • the map: gold and silver, duh. I’m surprised there aren’t more castles along the southern border with the Reach, tho.
  • Lots of caves in the Westerlands…
  • First Men Houses: Hawthornes, Footes, Brooms, Plumms, Farmans, Greenfields, Reynes, Westerlings.
  • Houses from legend: Crake the Boarkiller from Crakehall, the Hooded Man of the Baneforts, The Blind Bowman Alan o’the Oak of the Yews, and Pate the Plowman of the Morelands. Those are some awesome figures.
  • Corlos son of Casterly bearding the lion in the den. Hmmm…I wonder if the Casterlys were lion-wargs?
  • The Rock of Casterly Rock as a hollowed-out gold mine. We knew that already, but you do have to wonder how subterranean it is.
  • Lann the Clever:
    • everyone agrees he came out of the east.
    • Lann very much in the trickster role from myth and fairy tale – coating himself with butter the comedic touch, psychological warfare as the darker side, gory deaths, and sexual assault. The whole gamut of human emotion and probability.
    • Achmaester Perestan suggests a lucky retainer.
    • Lived to 312, 100 sons and 100 daughters. Reminds me a lot of Hugor. I wonder if Lann was a god at some point?
  • So the Lannisters started with the cadet branch model immediately, which explains why there’s so many of them.
  • Surprising that Lannisport got so big, given that it’s on the wrong side of the damn continent.
  • So the Lannister Kings started in Lannisport! Or did they?
  • King Loreon the Lion using both peace (marrying into the Reynes, which means Tywin was killing kinfolk), and war (defeating the Hooded King of the Banefort).
  • King Tybolt the Thunderbolt fighting off the Andals – probably when the mountain castles were built. Or at least some of them.
  • Kings Tyrion III and Gerold II marry the Andals into their lesser houses, but take ward-hostages to keep the peace. Clever.
  • Nothing here about religion. Odd.
  • Gerold III died without issue, and so we pass from First Men Lannisters to mixed FM/Andal Lannisters.
  • So the Jasts, Leffords, Parrens, Droxes, Marbrands, Braxes, Serretts, Sarsfields, and Kyndalls are Andal hybrids.
  • Who were the lesser kings that King Cerion (Gerion?) defeated?
  • Tommen I built the first Lannister fleet and brought Fair Isle and the Farmans into the fold. Odd, since they’d been fighting Ironborn since the time of the Lannisters of Lannisport.
  • Loreon II held the first tourney in the west, but not the first ever.
  • Lancel I (the Lion) conquered as far as Old Oak before dying, and Loreon the Limp lost it all. Except that Old Oak is pretty far north in the Reach, so maybe the gains and losses were exaggerated.
  • Gerrold the Great again, messing up the Ironborn. It took 20 of them to realize he wasn’t kidding?
  • Lancel IV seems like an impressive warrior at Lann’s Point (although I doubt he beheaded two people with one stroke of a sword, even a Valyrian sword), but overreached himself.
  • Norwin the Niggardly. Loreon the Lackwit. Queen Lorea! Our first trans/gay King!
  • Tyrion the Tormenter…ew. And hey, he and Tyrion Halfman both like axes.
  • Fluid boundaries in the south make sense, but shouldn’t you see more castles?
  • Why don’t the Farmans of Fair Isle have a navy?
  • I love that Westeros creates its own legends in the East, with Casterly Rock as the Golden Mountain of Planetos.
  • You’d think that given how much the Lannisters paid for Brightroar, they’d have taken care of it.
  • I like Tommen II’s gumption, but no one makes it out of Valyria alive. And certainly not Euron Greyjoy!
  • Sidebar:
    • well, the Valyrian prophecy could be a misunderstood foretelling of the Sack of King’s Landing.
    • A reverse at Oldtown…well, given the nature of the High Tower, I’m saying squishers/Deep Ones got ’em.
  • House Lannister under the Dragons:
    • Lord Lyman Lannister breaking isolationist tendencies.
    • Love the detail of Tymond Lannister getting shown up by the Tyrells.
    • Ser Tyland and Lord Jason paid a high price for Targaryen patronage. You have to be impressed by Ser Tyland’s endurance.
    • The Fireball taking out Lord Lefford and defeating Lord Damon…with which Houses supporting him? The Blackfyre Rebellion still doesn’t make sense when it comes to numbers!
    • Gerold the Golden – a proto-Tywin? Murdered his own brother and niece? And then suffering tragedies in return.
    • There’s Rohanne Webber!
    • The Peake Uprising – so should this be categorized as one of the Blackfyre Rebellions?
    • So Tywald Lannister dies and sets off Ellyn Reyne, who persuades Tion Lannister to ditch the Rowans, and marry her. I wonder if Cersei modeled her strategy in King’s Landing on the Reynes?
    • The Battle of Wendwater Bridge is a disaster for the Blackfyres, and takes out Tion, but rouses Gerold.
    • Very much a Greens vs. Blacks with the reign of the Reynes vs. Lady Jeyne.
    • Hah! Tytos couldn’t get it up.
    • And so the Reynes and Tarbecks unite. Poor bastards.
    • The War of the Wombs! Awesome. I love that Tywin bit his grandfather’s finger.
    • Tytos reminds me a lot of Viserys I. Poor guy would have been a great third son, but a lousy lord.
    • Wow, you can really see why Tywin preferred to be feared than loved, if wanting to be loved did that to Tytos.
    • Kevan squired for the Reynes? Yeesh, being Tywin’s brother never was easy.
    • All that money to restore Tarbeck Hall…sad.
    • Aegon V had to send men in three times? Good lord.
    • wait…I’m confused. Tytos was the third son of Gerold, who never married again. So where did Ser Jason come from?
    • Tywin, Kevan, and Tygett, all young together.
    • I like the illustration of young Tywin – he has a very Wellingtonian look about him.
    • AHA! So Tywin uses his fellow veterans of the Ninepenny Kings as collections agents. Sensible, logical.
    • I knew about the three prisoners, but I didn’t realize Tywin had provoked it by arresting a lord, who had in the end come peacefully to discuss matters with his liege lord. An early case of Tywin not really caring about the rules.
    • The feast of all eternity really reminds me of Love Day.
    • The numbers here are a bit weird. Yes, I get that Tywin struck first…but only 3,500 men were enough to take out House Tarbeck? And then suddenly Tywin’s got 6,000 men? Or maybe 10,000? The Westerlands have 45,000 men normally, and the two most powerful Houses can barely scrape 2,000 men together?
    • And here we go again, killing every last Tarbeck, putting their heads on spikes, and parading them before his army.
    • Wow, Ellyn and Tion died so randomly…
    • Tarbeck Hall is burnt to the ground. Irony!
    • Roger Reyne was a bit too aggressive there.
    • So Castamere is like a mini-Casterly Rock. Very much echoing the two lions theme.
    • And House Reyne’s mine is flooded. I really wonder how Kevan dealt with all of this.
    • As I said on Twitter, it says a lot about Westeros that Tywin’s reputation afterwards was dangerous but effective leader and not murderous supervillain.
    • Wow…I didn’t realize Kevan married his hostage. That’s hilarious.
    • Casterly Rock:
      • beautiful illustration. Seems like the castle would be incredibly dark inside.
      • Huge caverns beneath. So that’s where the Deep Ones will invade from!
      • Note: not tapped out at all.
      • Oh come on, GRRM! Three times as tall as the Wall?! 2,100 feet? That’s taller than the damn World Trade Center!
      • Seven miles long?! This is crazy!
      • The Rock has its own port inside, complete with shipyards. So it really is a Bond villain lair.
      • The Lion’s Mouth seems cool.
      • So…why not just blockade the damn thing and starve them out?

The Reach:

  • map: there’s a castle at Red Lake that wasn’t there before. Odd little dogleg there up in the north. Also, the east-west axis is REALLY squished. I say again, the Reach could become even richer if it just built two small canals linking the Mander to the Blackwater and the Mander to the Honeywine.
  • So…the Reach was once four kingdoms: Oldtown, the Arbor, the Western Marches (although you’ll note that if it went as far east as Nightsong, a good bit of the Stormlands was once in the Reach), and the Reach Proper bounded by the Mander.
  • I don’t ever want to live in Westeros, but if I had to, Oldtown is definitely the place to be.
  • Garth Greenhand:
    • AHA! I knew it! Garth Greenhand is a life-rebirth-death god, a virtual Dionysus! And for that matter, a Green Man/Horned God! And apparently Johnny Appleseed too. Although Johnny Appleseed never demanded human sacrifice/was a human sacrifice. GRRM really did reach into the pagan nature god hat and pull out a fistful, didn’t he?
    • I love that the Reach says that Garth is the father of all the other Heroes of legend. Typical cultural imperialism.
    • High King of the First Men…well, the Barrow Kings would disagree with that, but the First Men probably stopped in the Reach long before they got to the North.
    • Garth invented farming – I love him trying to each the other races.
    • So it’s possible the Starks, Lannisters, and Gardeners were all relatives? Hilarious.
    • The Children of Garth the Greenhand:
      • John the Oak – the first knight, sired on a giantess! Founded the Oakhearts. Don’t recall Arys as being described as tall though.
      • Gilbert of the Vines – taught wine-making, founded the Redwynes, natch.
      • Florys the Fox – an awesome lady and impressive bigamist, possibly Lann’s mom. Interesting that the Peakes and Florents are related. Which makes me think the Florents were Blackfyre supporters. And ironically, the Florents descend from Garth by the female line, the exact thing they hate about the Tyrells.
      • Maris the Maid – I love this one, reminds me a lot of Tyndareus and Helen’s suitors. Argoth Stone-Skin – a Titan?
      • Foss the Archer – hello, William Tell!
      • Brandon of the Bloody Blade – yeah, killing the giants and the COF doesn’t sound like Brandon the Builder’s dad to me.
      • Ellyn Ever Sweet – I liked this one too.
      • Rowan Gold-Tree – got a real Decameron vibe from that one.
    • The Gardener Kings:
      • “there was a difference, in degree if not in kind, for almost all the noble houses of the Reach shared a common ancenstry, deriving as they did from Garth Greenhand…it was that kinship, many scholars have suggested, that gave House Gardener the primacy.” Sounds reasonable.
      • The Oakenseat is a pretty damn cool throne in a world not exactly lacking in cool thrones. I’m guessing the Lannisters sat on pure gold, but what about the Starks? I don’t remember any mention.
      • Roland of the Horn! Can’t leave Roland out when discussing the home of knighthood. And Serwyn of the Mirror Shield is confirmed as Reacher in origin. I wonder who the Knight Without Armor was?
      • The Kings – Garth V (Hammer of the Dornish), Gwayne I (The Gallant), Gyles I (The Woe), Gareth II (the Grim), Garth VI (the Morningstar), and Gordan I (Grey-Eyes). Hmm, the Gardeners really liked their numbers, didn’t they?
      • So the first enemy was the Ironborn, sometimes allying with the Lannisters and the Hightowers. Here’s Qhored again.
      • Gareth the Grim and Garth the Morningstar both died in battle, and Gyles II died badly.
      • Garth III (the Great), Garland II (the Bridegroom), Gwayne III (the Fat), and John II (the Tall) were peacemakers. Garth the Great brought in Old Oak, Red Lake, and Goldengrove with mutual defense pacts, Garland brought Oldtown into the Reach by marrying into House Hightower (so the Queen of Thorns clearly not the First), Gwayne acted as judge between the Peakes and Manderlys (AHA! First mention of the Brackens and Blackwoods of the Reach, but no clue yet as to where the Manderlys came from), and John did some classic colonizing. Hmmm…who brought in the Arbor?
      • Garth VII, the Goldenhand. My personal favorite. Stopped a Dornish invasion, pushed the Ironborn out of the islands and turned them into the military colonies of the Shield Islands (although where’s their navy?), and then not only won the Battle of Three Armies by trickery but won a long-term peace by marrying his daughters to the sons of the men he killed. And ruled for 75 years. So long-living kings we’ve heard of so far – Edrick Snowbeard, Lann the Clever, the Grey King, Garth Greybeard, Jaehaerys. Am I missing any?
    • Andals in the Reach:
      • We’ve got such a better sense of the Andal invasion now – first the Vale, then the Riverlands, then the Iron Islands and the Stormlands, then only later the Reach and the Westerlands, and never to the North.
      • The Gardeners handled this well (As did the Redwynes and Hightowers). I wonder if Gwayne IV ever found the COF? Mern the Mason was sensible. Mern the Madling was crazy and crazy-awesome.
      • The Three Sage Kings all following accord and assimilation (definitely getting a theme of peace>war):
        • Garth IX converted to the Faith. I love his quote: “when a wolf descends upon your flocks, all you gain by killing him is a short respite, for the other wolves will come…if instead you feed the wolf and tame him and turn his pups into your guard dogs, they will protect the flocks when the pack comes ravening.”
        • Merle I build septs everywhere.
        • Gwayne V was the first knight, and everything before him was rewriting history.
      • So the Gardeners married Andals, another case of FM/Andal mixing. Tyrells as Andals!
      • And we see the benefits of working together – you get the iron, you can fight the Andals better.
      • Andal Houses: Ormes, Parrens, Graceford, Cuys, Roxftons, Ufferings, Leygoods, and Varners. Never heard of any of them.
      • So after the Three Sage Kings, the Reach gets way too over-reaching.
        • Gyles III does some impressive job conquering the Stormlands, but then has to run back to fight the westermen.
        • Then has to fight three Dornish Kings and two Riverlander Kings, and everything goes back to status quo ante bellum. Pointless.
        • Garth X split between Peakes and Manderlys’ civil war – second mention of this feud.
        • Then the Storm Kings and Kings of the Rock take gobs of territory.
        • Note: the Dornish invade, besiege Oldtown, sack Highgarden, burn the Oakenseat, and murder the King. There’s a reason why the Reach hates Dorne, and it’s not just racism.
        • Osmund Tyrell the High Steward – you begin to see why the Tyrells took over, rebuilding Highgarden, putting an end to the Peake/Manderly feud, and restoring the position of the Reach.
        • Garth XI, the Painter of the Red Mountains. Not a man to fuck with.
    • Oldtown:
      • Wow…some real Lovecraftiana going on here.
      • So men have lived there since the Dawn Age…
      • Maester Jellicoe lived among the Children of the Forest? Cool.
      • So it could be an old Valyrian trading post…or it could be the Deep Ones/Squishers. Or both.
      • Battle Isle – Battle for the Dawn? Battle against the Deep Ones?
      • Septon Barth again! Some great historiography/archaeology here.
      • Weird black stone…we’ve seen that before in the Iron Islands and the Velayrons. And now Lorath, too.
      • Maester Theron’s Strange Stone reminds me a lot of the G’harne Fragments or the Eltdown Shards or the Zanthu Tablets from Lovecraft and his pastichers.
      • So the Hightowers have always been on Battle Isle, living in their creepy fortress. And they might be part-Deep One.
      • I like the idea of Brandon the Builder as a jobbing architect, fielding calls from Uthor of the High Tower and Durran Godsgrief. “Look mate, I can do fast, cheap, or magical, but not all three.” 
      • Five separate towers were built – and just in time, because it allowed House Hightower to survive three sacks in a century, one by a Dayne, one by Qhored, and once by Gyles the Woe, who seems like a real bastard.
      • No wonder Otho II went into bankruptcy to build the walls.
      • AHA! So that’s how the Arbor was brought in – the last king was “lost at sea” and King Meryn III inherited.
      • Lymond the Last, the Sea Lion, was a clever bugger, building the biggest navy in all of Westeros.
      • So how big is the Hightower fleet?
      • Prince Peremore the Twisted – founder of the Citadel! King Urrigon seems like a good brother, if not a well-educated one.
      • Dorian Hightower may have been pragmatic, but that’s cold.
      • So here at long last, we have the Faith being dominant in politics – with the first High Septon acting as Regent, and the presence of the Starry Sept and its armies giving it a huge regional power base.
      • Huh…the High Septon under Maegor was kin to the Hightowers. So highborn people do enter the church.
      • Everyone killed the High Septon!
    • House Tyrell:
      • does have royal blood?
      • Interesting the shift from badass knights to bureaucrats.
      • Regents of the Reach under Garland VI.
      • Mern VI, the man who Ser Osmund Tyrell put on the throne, gave a daughter to the Tyrells. Shocking.
      • Nine more unions – all of them on the female side?
      • So the Oakhearts, Florents, Rowans, Peakes, and Redwynes all have closer blood ties. How can these houses not have risen for the Blackfyres?
      • Lord Harlan did very well for himself…right until the First Dornish War.
      • I’m sure Theo made damn sure the council of septons and maesters decided the right way.
      • The Tyrells stayed out of the Dance of the Dragons.
      • Lord Lyonel also ended badly.
      • Lord Leo Longthorn – ok, this is the part that makes no damn sense to me. Peake, Costayne, Strickland, half of Hightower, and half of House Oakheart backed the Blackfyres; the Reach, along with the Marches (and the Yronwoods) were the most antagonistic to the King’s pro-Dorne policies, and must have been the core of his support (how else to explain how Daemon managed to defeat the Lannisters and almost win Redgrass against an army with the Arryns, Baratheons, and Martells supporting Daeron?) Given the march of battle and his minting of coins, it’s clear that Daemon must have made his temporary capitol in the Reach. I see no way in hell that Lord Leo was a staunch Targaryen supporter when most of his bannermen were on the other side. My guess (which is supported by “his forces were unable to gather quickly enough to arrive in time for the Battle of the Redgrass Field”) – Lord Leo stayed out of it until after Redgrass, and then attacked the losers on their way home.
    • Highgarden:
      • a hedge maze as castle defenses! I love it! It’s like the bocage but so much prettier!
      • Garth Greenhand planted weirwoods, eh?
      • The Order of the Green Hand! Ok, huge nerdy confession here: I created a pen and paper RPG character from ASOIAF – Ser Konstanz Gardener, formerly of the Golden Company and Captain of the Band of the Green Hand. My idea was that the Oakhearts who followed Daemon Blackfyre would have copied his taking of a new name, to emphasize their right to Highgarden, and followed Bittersteel into exile when the other half of the family grabbed Old Oak. Hence, a mercenary knight raised as both Westerosi and Essosi, who decides to create his own mercenary force and train them to be experts in training armies (a bit of a lift from Francis Crawford of Lymond in the Disorderly Knights). And of course he’d name his outfit after the famous order of knights created by the Gardeners!
    • Still don’t know when the Manderlys were kicked out. Sigh.

The Stormlands:

  • map: the Stormlands produce lumber and amber. Lumber I can see, but amber isn’t that useful. Man, you can really see what the Stormlands would have been, back before it lost it’s lands to the west and to the north, to say nothing of the Riverlands.
  • Aha! I knew there had to be a port in the Stormlands, it doesn’t make sense otherwise. So Weeping Town is it. I wonder why it never got a city charter?
  • Tarth sounds really, really beautiful.
  • “the realms of the Durrandons and their successors have always been thinly peopled when compared to the Reach, the Riverlands, and the west.” So how did they take the Riverlands? Or hold against their enemies? Guess we’ll find out.
  • The Coming of the First Men:
    • interesting, the First Men went from Dorne to the Stormlands…and then into the Reach?
    • So the Stormlands also produces furs, eh?
  • House Durrandon:
    • little archaeological records, eh.
    • Oy…way too many King Durrans.
    • So Durran Godsgrief also ruled for a thousand years. Or the Durrandons are just not very imaginative.
    • Durran Godsgrief takes the Rainwoods.
    • Durran the Devout gives it back.
    • Durran Bronze-Axe takes it again. Yeesh, make up your mind.
    • Durran the Dour, giant killer!
    • Durran Ravenfriend (warg?) occupies Massey’s Hook.
    • Duran the Young, the Butcher Boye, murders the hell out of the Yronwoods, marries his niece, and then get’s killed by Erich Kin-Killer. (And what was the deal with Erreg the Kinslayer?)
    • Durran the Fair marries into Tarth. So Brienne and Renly were kin.
    • Erich the Sailmaker, not another Durran! Takes Estermont and the smaller isles, probably built a navy.
    • Durran X pushes the border up tot he Blackwater.
    • Monfryd the Mighty (seriously, it couldn’t be Manfryd?) takes Duskendale and Maidenpool.
    • Durran the Dim, Barron the Beautiful, and Durwald the Fat throw it all away.
    • Ooh…the Green Queen, a woods witch! Cool.
    • Morden II and Ronard – what a weird family relationship.
    • Ronard the Bastard, magnificent bastard.
  • Andals in the Stormlands:
    • ouch, Erich the Unready really dropped the ball.
    • Qarlton the Conqueror, conquered himself.
    • Whoah! The Bar Emmons are Andals? Not with a name like Togarion.
    • I feel bad for Qarlton III and Monfryd V. Good soldiers, but it’s like trying to hold back the tide.
    • King Baldric the CUNNING! I love it!
    • What did Durran XXI (seriously, guys, stop it) learn from the Weirdwood Alliance?
    • Cleodon I and the Dornish allied against Drox the Corpse-Maker. That’s a metal name in a book full of them.
    • Seven sieges, seven failures.
    • King Maldon IV and Durran Half-Blood does the smart thing and marries into the Andals.
    • Ormun the III converts to the Seven.
    • Arlan the Avenger retakes the whole of the Stormlands all the way west and north.
    • Arlan III grabs the Trident.
    • And then the overreach kicks in.
  • House Baratheon:
    • Once again, I feel sorry for Orys Baratheon.
    • The Wyl of Wyl takes his sword hand, and Orys resigns to he can pursue vengeance. Yep, he’s a Baratheon alright.
    • Gyldane’s sidebar – that’s how Baratheons take vengeance. And already there’s an association with Davos and onions and missing body parts!
    • Robar Baratheon, the Second Baratheon Hand. And married the Dowager Queen! So that’s another Targaryen link.
    • AHA! Rhaenys was half-Baratheon.
    • Wait, what? Borros captured King’s Landing? And had a pretty bloody end.
    • Bloody Ben Blackwood and Black Aly Blackwood – I love House Blackwood. No wonder Cregan picked her over a Targ.
    • Wow, Lord Lyonel did not fuck around. Cross him, he crowns himself.
    • Ser Raymont Baratheon saved the royal family. Who’s the Stormbreaker?
    • Aha! Steffon’s father died in the War of Ninepenny Kings. Didn’t know that.
  • The Men of the Stormlands:
    • Aha! So this is how the Stormlands kept their land – they’re really good archers. And the marchers are hard men.
    • And sailors – aha! Apparently there are harbors at Massey’s Hook, Estermont, and Tarth. Ok, that makes sense.
    • Ser Galladon of Morne carried Just Maid given to him by the Seven. Precedent for Brienne!
    • The Tarths are First Men! And linked to the Targs?
    • House Caron, House Swann, House Dondarrion (bottomless dry moat?) – I would not want to mess with them.
  • Storm’s End:
    • we knew most of this.
    • So who actually built it? Someone with magic did, we know that.
    • some common smuggler.” I’d say a very uncommon smuggler.


  • map: olives. But what about citrus fruits? Wine grapes? Silk? This is insufficient!
  • If Maester Yandel is going to go the Full Lawrence with Dorne, “he” might as well admit the Dornish are people of color.
  • Why did no one build artificial harbors around the south coast? You’d think it’d be in the interests of Sandstone or Hellholt or Salt Shore or Starfall to get some trade going.
  • Planky Town is cool. Although, if you’re going to go the Full Lawrence, I’d point out that the Middle East historically had high degrees of urbanization, precisely because there was so little agriculture to be done.
  • I like the Dorne/North comparison.
  • The Children of the Forest called it the Empty Land.
  • AHA! The Reach claims Garth led the First Men from Dorne to the Reach. Interesting.
  • So the First Men stayed in the east of Dorne. Interesting. Hmm…House Dayne’s a bit odd then.
  • Lords of the Wells. Lovely name.
  • Man, House Uller has a bad rep.
  • Someone really should tap the Torrentine into irrigation canals.
  • Oy. This illustration – why is the sandy Dornishman lighter than the salty, when it’s supposed to be the other way around?
  • The Breaking:
    • Whoah…a thousand men sacrificed on the Isle of Faces.
    • Archmaester Cassander, evolutionary geologist!
  • Kingdoms of the First Men:
    • Interesting parallels – as the Reach is perhaps the most harmonious, Dorne is the least.
    • House Dayne, the Torrentine Kings. And their magic stone!
    • House Fowler, the Kings of Stone and Sky.
    • House Yronwood, the High Kings of Dorne – ah, no wonder they could fight the Martells so long, their lands actually produce stuff.
    • Elected Kings along the Greenblood. Interesting…parallel to the Night’s Watch?
  • The Sword of the Morning:
    • That’s an absolutely beautiful painting. And sword.
    • A not-Valyrian Valyrian sword. Huh. Meteoric iron isn’t usually pale as milkglass.
  • The Andals Arrive:
    • fewer Andals than anywhere else in Westeros save the North. Makes sense.
    • Andal Houses: the Ullers, Qorgyles, Vaiths, Allyrions, Jordaynes, Santagars, and the Martells. INteresting.
  • The Coming of the Rhoynar:
    • so a soldier queen, rather than a warrior queen.
    • Still not digging the illustrations of Dornish people. Nymeria and Mors do not look like they’re from different ethnicities.
    • The Six Kings:
      • Yorick of House Yronwood, natch.
      • Vorian of House Dayne. Wha? What happened to Ser Davos Dayne? I’m so confused.
      • Garrison of House Fowler, the Blind King. I like him.
      • Lucifer of House Dryland, Last of His Ilk. Oooh…who was he?
      • Benedict of House Blackmont. Now you see why I thought the Vulture King was a Blackmont.
      • And House Manwoody is crazy. Not surprised.
  • Queer Customs of the South:
    • The Stony Dornish – ironic that the least Rhoynish cause the most trouble with the outside world.
    • The Sandy Dornish – the chief breeders of sand steeds.
    • The Salty Dornish – aha, a different accent of the Common Tongue. (Surely, given the distance, you’d have regional accents everywhere in Westeros, no?)
    • Female inheritance. And it sounds like bastard inheritence to.
    • Gay, lesbian, bi, and poly – the most progressive of Westeros.
    • Why did the Martells ban speaking Rhoynish? You’d think given their relations with the Stepstones, it might come in handy.
  • The Yronwoods rode in 3/5 Rebellions. This is so confusing – so, leaving aside the abortive second, which one didn’t they fight in? Are there five proper Rebellions and the Ninepenny Kings, or is the Ninepenny the fifth? A whole damn worldbook and I still don’t understand the Blackfyre Rebellion!
  • Gaemon Palehair and his paramour Sylvenna Sand instituting gender equality, poor relief, and disability insurance! I like them!
  • Dorne Against the Dragons:
    • really wish I hadn’t eaten before covering this.
    • So Lord Tyrell’s forces got all the way to the Hellholt before disappearing.
    • House Toland are clever as hell.
    • See what I mean about Orys getting the hard work?
    • The Defenstration of Sunspear! Man, if that’s a pleasant end…
    • Man, the Dornish like torture. Gruesome.
    • Aha! So the Tyrell army disappears between Hellholt and Vaith.
    • the Dornish burn the Rainwood, burn Nightsong, and burn the fields of Oldtown.
    • And then the Targaryens torch Starfall, Skyreach, and Hellholt…so when were they rebuilt?
    • The “Demise” of Rhaenys is icky.
    • The Dragons Wroth – so the whole damn country burns. And the marcher lords begin to differ from the Martells.
    • And then it descends into assassinations.
    • Man, no wonder Dorne’s military forces declined by half thereafter.
    • Prince Nymor makes peace. What was in that letter?
    • Raiders out of Dorne continued to descend from the Red Mountains in search of plunder in the richer, greener lands to the north and west.” Yeah, Dorne is not innocent of aggressive warfare.
    • Prince Qoren aids the Triarchy but stays out of the Dance. Smart man.
    • So Princess Aliandra – before or after the peace treaty?
  • Sunspear:
    • man, that is a beautiful castle.
    • The Winding Walls and the Threefold Gate. Good architecture there.
  • I feel a bit unsatisfied. There’s a huge gap there between Nymeria and the Dornish War, and we learnt nothing about it.

And we’re done with the Seven Kingdoms! On to Essos!

117 thoughts on “A World of Ice and Fire Analysis VIb (The Seven Kingdoms from the Westerlands to Dorne)

  1. David Hunt says:

    So the next part is where you start tearing your hair out because you’re already a good deal through your Essos articles. I expect to hear the screams down here in Texas.

    More seriously, nice comments. Thanks for doing it.

  2. huggable says:

    I quite liked Nymeria being more soldier queen than warrior queen. I’m sure she knew how to fight considering it was Rhoynar tradition that women could, and being on a battle field and not knowing at least how to defend yourself if it all goes disastrously wrong is a bad idea. She clearly had tactical and strategy knowledge so used that to her best advantage, she had warrior women with her and boys who had become men on the voyage so it was best her skills were put to good use in the place where it was needed most which was leading her people to freedom and safety.

    She seems to have been amazing but also hugely charismatic to keep that many people with her for long especially as some did stay where they stopped and some followed others home. But to keep so many safe and find them a home and then to actually have the ability to take that home and turn it into a real home and not just a place where they live because others allow it for the time being, she really has been fleshed out a bit in the books which is great to hear.

    I love Garth but my new obsession is Florys, now that sounds like a heck of woman. Bunch of husbands, maybe the source of Lann’s cleverness. Ironic she is Florents possibly founder considering they have her fox and name and yet they moan about the Tyrells.

  3. rw970 says:

    I don’t know if Arys is mentioned as being particularly tall, but he does mention that he’s half a foot taller than another guard in Sunspear who he uses as a decoy when he makes off with Myrcella.

  4. Abbey Battle says:

    I believe that far more than Imperialist aspirations and youthful excess motivated King Daeron the Young Dragon’s Conquest of Dorne; what follows is my justification of this conviction.

    Described as fourteen years old in 157 After the Conquest, Daeron the First of his Name was therefore born circa 143AC, which would make him almost eight years younger than his cousin Aegon (later Aegon the Fourth, alias ‘The Unworthy’), who had been born in the year 135AC (his mother was about twenty, his father no more than thirteen years old) and who had since his birth been third in line for the throne and therefore no more than a heartbeat away from becoming Heir Apparent and Prince of Dragonstone by virtue of the fact that his father was Viserys, the King’s Brother.

    One can only imagine the reaction of little Prince Aegon to the news that his Royal Uncle and namesake had finally produced an heir of his own, that there were more little princes where that one came from and that his chances of mounting the Iron Throne must therefore dwindle with every passing year.

    Yet in the year 157 Prince Aegon was twenty-two, his own son and heir was almost hreee years old and Prince Viserys, Aegon’s own father, had been Hand of the King and in practice (albeit not necessarily in theory) had been ruling the Seven Kingdoms for some years; given that it had been Prince Viserys who had granted Prince Daeron the right to rule in his own right, rather than submit to a regency, it might perhaps be said that King Daeron ruled only on sufferance – also that he and his branch of the Royal Family were potentially no more than a single coup away from being replaced by the line of his Uncle Viserys.

    It was under dynastic circumstances very similar to these that Maegor the Cruel had seized power (the coup that turned Richard, Duke of Gloucester into King Richard the Third at the expense of his nephew Prince Edward offer an even stronger comparison) and it seems unlikely that the heir of Aegon the Unfortunate would have been blind to the consequences of Dynastic Rupture and over-mighty subjects – therefore it was time for King Daeron to alter the circumstances in which he found himself.

    Therefore having come to the throne with only strict primogeniture to recommend him and only the loyalty of Prince Viserys to his brothers heir keeping him from being shackled by a regency it must have seemed absolutely vital to King Daeron that he set his rule on less fallible foundations, even at the risk of his own life – by setting out to conquer Dorne he could accustom the Seven Kingdoms to his rule, by subordinating his vassals to him in the field the king might grow familiar with them on a personal level, encouraging positive relations and more importantly oblige them to grow accustomed to obeying his commands.

    By Conquering Dorne he would equal the accomplishments of The Conqueror and in doing so at so tender an age WITHOUT Dragons he would make himself a legend – thereby not only garnishing the crown he wore with new laurels but putting his claim to that ornament and the Iron Throne itself beyond all reasonable question, leaving charming Cousin Aegon and his potential claim to the Iron Throne as a compelling alternative to fourteen year-old stripling in the realm of might-have been.

    As a political strategy this worked beautifully – unfortunately for Daeron the Young Dragon his military strategy would prove less fruitful and those fruits which it did bear would prove bloody, bitter … and in King Daeron’s case fatally poisonous.

    • This seems a bit much to me. For one thing, both Daeron and his brother had potential sister wives and all were young and healthy – the opportunity to sire heirs was clearly open.

      For another, the last thing Viserys would ever do is challenge the succession, so soon after the Dance of the Dragons.

      • Sean C. says:

        Viserys also seems to have known for quite a while that his eldest son was a fuckup (incidentally, there’s an argument against Viserys having poisoned Baelor; if he was going to go that route, he should have poisoned Aegon IV while he was at it).

        • David Hunt says:

          People don’t always make decisions with that type of moral calculus, unfettered by emotion. I can easily see someone who was willing to get rid of his clearly insane nephew still not being able to kill off his own son. At some point there are lines that you can’t cross even for the good of the Kingdom. Aegon hadn’t done anything too incompetent…yet.

          Also, when did Aemon go into the Kingsguard? If he was already there, getting rid of Aegon, wouldn’t have made Aemon king in any case.

          • Sean C. says:

            Aemon was in the Kingsguard by 157 AC, the start of the Dornish War. But Daeron was born in 153 AC, and was an adult with a young son by the time Baelor died in 171.

          • David Hunt says:


            Gotcha. I agree that the Kingdom would very likely have been well served by Skipping Aegon having the Iron Throne go directly to Daeron II. However, even if Viserys did kill Baelor, he obviously couldn’t bring himself to off his own son, even if it was self-evident he’d be a disaster as a king.

      • Abbey Battle says:

        Maester Steven, I think that while it is reasonable to say that my conclusions may indeed be overstated to some degree, it is not unreasonable to suggest that something of that sort of suspicion may have gone through Prince Daeron’s mind as he became King – I agree that VISERYS would be unlikely to challenge the succession but we cannot be certain that Prince Aegon would share his loyalty (going by his marital record fidelity does not not seem to have numbered amongst his virtues, if he had any!).

        More to the point at this point in his personal history, Prince Aegon’s immense charm would not have been obscured by that all-encompassing belly he later developed nor would his reputation as an energetic philanderer have adversely impacted his reputation quite so much as his later record of chronic infidelity (not just in the bed-chamber, but in every other aspect of his life).

        I hope that the idea I have propounded is at least INTERESTING, even if you don’t necessarily agree with it!

        • Aegon had charm, but not much in the way of accomplishments.

          Would anyone seriously back him against a military prodigy?

          But it is interesting.

          • Abbey Battle says:

            Maester Steven, thank you very much for that kind remark!

            I would just like to finish with this theory by saying that at start of his reign Daeron the First had yet to actually prove himself a martial prodigy; my suggestion was that he might in fact have fixed upon the Conquest of Dorne as the perfect means to PROVE his bone fides to Lords and Knights from across the Seven Kingdoms, thereby helping to make his reputation and cement his position as King.

            Had Daeron the Young Dragon not set out to Conquer Dorne would he have left any record of accomplishment for historians to list against his name?

          • John says:

            Isn’t the idea that this is precisely why Daeron became a military prodigy? It’s not like everyone would have known that the 15 year old was a military genius before his invasion of Dorne.

  5. Sean C. says:

    Looking over the regional histories, the North, the Riverlands, the Westerlands, the Reach, the Stormlands, and the Iron Islands were basically unified states prior to the coming of the Andals. The Vale and Dorne remained divided into smaller kingdoms at that point. The Andal invasion unified the Vale, but Dorne remained divided until the arrival of the Rhoynar thousands of years later.

    I suppose the geography of the Vale and Dorne contributed to them being largely self-contained political systems for much longer than everyone else.

    • I think that’s about right. And the geography also leads to defensive advantage – whether it’s hard-to-siege mountain holdfasts and easy-to-hold passes or the advantages of guerrilla warfare in an open environment – which makes statebuilding difficult.

  6. Abbey Battle says:

    I shall post more comments at a later date!

  7. Abbey Battle says:

    One more thing; I really hope that Sylvenna Sand was NOT Gaemon Palehair’s paramour, since he wasn’t even five years old during his brief spell as a Mummer’s Dragon – it’s bad enough that Prince Viserys fathered Aegon the Fourth at the tender age of thirteen!

    You have to suspect the latter fact explains a LOT about Aegon the Unworthy (I also suspect that the fact Aegon’s mother was seven years older than her husband would tend to indicate that she was expected to act as his handler by her kin of the Rogare Bank – given the prolonged period where Prince Viserys was Aegons heir apparent, it’s not hard to guess where the unfortunate incidents of the Lyseni Spring – as manifested in Westeros – probably derived from).

    • Whoops, I misread the Gaemon thing. Sylvenna was the paramour of his mother, not him.

    • John says:

      The fact that Prince Viserys fathers Aegon IV at the age of thirteen shows mostly that Martin didn’t leave nearly enough time in his chronology for all the generations of Targaryens.

      Can any point to an example from real world history of a 13 year old boy fathering an heir? I certainly can’t think of any. The youngest I can find is Edward I, who fathered a stillborn daughter at 16, but then didn’t have any more children with his wife for another decade or so. Pretty much nobody else was younger than 18 or 19.

      It’s true that Margaret Beaufort was 13 when she gave birth to the future Henry VII, but a) she was a woman; and b) that was, in itself, highly unusual even at the time, and mostly shows that Edmund Tudor was a terrible, terrible human being even by the standards of the 15th century.

      • I mean, it’s biologically possible, but it’s not likely.

        I’d say mostly he just screwed up the timeline a bit. And really, if Aegon IV was born 3-5 years later, would it make a big difference?

        • John says:

          There’s too many generations of Targaryens in too little time, overall. We have 15 generations of kings in 300 years. That’s an average of 20 years a generation, which is too low. Looking at French Capetian monarchs from 987-1316, a relatively similar amount of time where we see strict father-son succession involving mostly first or second born sons succeeding, and we get a generation length of 27. Plantagenets give us a similar generation length of about 28. This is a fundamental problem with the verisimilitude of the chronology, in my opinion.

          • John says:

            To go back to that Capetian example, as I said, virtually all of those generations involved eldest sons. It’s true that a couple of the Capetians had sons relatively late – Henry I and Louis VII were both pretty middle-aged, but on the other hand you don’t have any situations where much younger branches are inheriting, as we do several times with the Targaryens, most obviously in the situation leading up to the reign of Aegon V. And, of course, in a real chronology, you’d almost always have at least an occasional situation where someone isn’t fathering a son until they reach their 40s.

          • Abbey Battle says:

            If you look at the Scottish Kings (and Queen) from James the First to James the Sixth you’ll get an almost equally high turnover – quite frankly the late Middle Ages of Scotland were almost as colourful as A Song of Ice and Fire; unfortunately the painter seems to have shared Mr GRR Martins fondness for blood-red.

        • Abbey Battle says:

          To be fair it’s quite possible that Viserys the Second was put out to stud early his brother’s bride wasn’t much more than eight years old and House Targaryen badly needed direct-line heirs male after The Dance of Dragons – given that his wife was about twenty, it’s not impossible that her relatives helped push the pair of them into bed together ASAP, so that their investment in the Seven Kingdoms stood a better chance of paying off in the long run.

          I’d argue that the evidence available tends to support this; Lady Larra and Prince Viserys produce one heir and a spare within two years (in 135 and 136AC), then wait a few years to have their only daughter (born 138AC), which suggests that the need to secure the succession was exceedingly urgent at that point (I’ve seen arguments that a similar desperation to secure some landed wealth and status underpinned the tragically early married life of Lady Margaret Beaufort).

          You might point out that the Lady Baela and the Lady Rhaena make such desperation rather strange, being older than their eldest half-brother by a year and more fit to bear heirs – but it seems they were married off as part of the Peace Process which concluded the Dance of the Dragons and it is also unlikely that a female line succession would have been risked so soon after a conflict had blown up half a Continent over issues surrounding such an inheritance.

          It’s still oddly reassuring that King Aegon the Third waited until his bride was fifteen or sixteen to father his firstborn son upon her – I believe Edward the First was born to his mother when she was a similar age and after a period of waiting at that (his father being her elder by some years).

          I must admit that his marriage to this particular underage Velaryon cousin interests me; I suspect that King Aegon deliberately took an underage bride so that his Regents would cease to importune him with requests that he remarry and pointed suggestions concerning whom he OUGHT to marry – consider Lord Unwin and try not to shudder – but also so that there would be less of a risk that his wife might conceive an heir and that one or more of his Regents might consider prolonging their own hold on power by either obliging him to abdicate in favour of that child or assassinating him so that they would not be obliged to deal with an increasingly independent-minded young King.

      • Sean C. says:

        Viserys II was originally supposed to be Aegon III’s youngest son, back when AGOT was first published, but when fleshing out the timeline it was realized that didn’t work, so he became his younger brother.

        But as far as Viserys fathering Aegon at age 13, that’s just part and parcel of GRRM’s mistaken belief that people in the Middle Ages starting marrying and reproducing as soon as puberty hits.

        • Abbey Battle says:

          If I remember correctly it was not uncommon for aristocrats to marry young in the Middle Ages, but that it was indeed somewhat uncommon for them to begin cohabiting together until there were past puberty – the young couples being kept apart to avoid ‘Accidents of Passion’ at an impressionable age to prevent the potential for loss of heirs AND loss of brides!

        • Well, Martin actually addresses this in the SoSpakeMartin archives. “A girl who has flowered, but not yet attained her sixteenth name day, is in a somewhat ambigious position: part child, part woman. A “maid,” in other words. Fertile but innocent, beloved of the singers. In the “general Westerosi view,” well, girls may well be wed before their first flowerings, for political reasons, but it would considered perverse to bed them. And such early weddings, even without sex, remain rare. Generally weddings are postponed until the bride has passed from girlhood to maidenhood.
          Maidens may be wedded and bedded… however, even there, many husbands will wait until the bride is fifteen or sixteen before sleeping with them. Very young mothers tend to have significantly higher rates of death in childbirth, which the maesters will have noted.”

          But Viserys’ wife could have been older than he.

          • Abbey Battle says:

            According to THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE the lady Lara Rogare was seven years older than her husband Prince Viserys – according to my calculations this would make her twenty years old at the birth of Prince Aegon (later Aegon IV) and twenty-one when she bore Prince Aemon.

            Hence my suggestion that she was intended to be a ‘handler’ for Prince Viserys; being older than he and (going by her portrait) EXTRAVAGANTLY beautiful its not hard to imagine her having considerable influence over a presumably-impressionable youth (no matter how clever a young man may be, he can still be led around by a young lady of equal intelligence – barring an indifference to feminine charm).

          • Well, that would explain it then.

      • thatrabidpotato says:

        Late to the party here, but it’s not the first time Martin has done this either.

        Go back and read Feast For Crows, and you’ll realize that Oberyn was 13 when he fathered Obara Sand on that Oldtown whore.

        I don’t know whether to be in awe of his manliness, disturbed that the brothel actually let him in, or dying of laughter at the thought of the look on the whore’s face when she saw her client.

  8. Amestria says:

    The weird Westerland numbers might be because lots of lords remained neutral and at home rather then risk being on the wrong side in a civil war. Or in the case of the Reyne and Tarbeck revolt, maybe Tywin acted before everyone could get fully mobilized and headed off what would have been a major war (and hence been very impressive to his peers)?

  9. Grant says:

    On the Septons, we do know that Tyrion initially wanted to be one. Of course this was centuries prior, but it wouldn’t be too strange for noble families to send their children into the religious orders, out of piety and a need to find someplace to put them.

    And I wonder if Dorne is Martin’s closest thing to a good guy land. We’d have to know more about his social opinions to say for sure.

  10. huggable says:

    I do wish Nymeria had darker skin. She seems like she’s the same skin tone as Mors in that pic and he’s an Andal. Plus that picture of her in armour and shield on the boat she looks pale as pale can be.

    Although in saying that I loved Meria in that chair though, rhaenys is there in all her finery and looks a bit like a doll, and Meria is like bitch please nymeria had more awesome in her little finger than you and your incest buddies have in your whole bodies. Meria was probably more afraid of Nymeria raising from the dead to do Meria some harm if she didn’t show some serious Rhoynar steel and put Rhaenys in her place.

    • Abbey Battle says:

      Put another way she was just too OLD to be very much more worried about certain death Vs uncertain death – after all she’s going to be meeting The Stranger sooner rather than later in any case.

    • Lann says:

      I haven’t read the book yet. Is there confirmation that the Rhoynar are considerably darker at the time? After all the Rhoyne is right next to Andalos so you wouldn’t expect there to be too much difference. It is possible that it was the first men who lived in Dorne who had the darker skin and the current descendents of the Rhoynar are darker because they have been living in a desert area for so long?

      • There is, in-text, but not so much in pictures.

        I’d be a bit hesitant about the “right next thing.” The Rhoyne is huge. Germany is “right next” to Italy by those same standards, but Italians and Germans can look quite different.

  11. KrimzonStriker says:

    Jason was the fourth son of Gerold and younger brother of Tytos, I think his mother died giving birth to him if I’m not mistaken.

  12. KrimzonStriker says:

    Also to be fair on the numbers involving the Reynes rebellion the issue isn’t the total force they could all actually raise but how quickly they could do so. Tywin by all accounts utilized speed more then anything to quickly isolate and destroy his two adversaries before they could support one another which is good military sense and if that took away some of his total troop count then the results overwhelming justified that decision.

    • Maybe…but he called the banners, and that’s not a secret process. And the conflict had been brewing for some time.

      • KrimzonStriker says:

        Here’s my take on the underlying strategy, Tywin prepared his own personal bannerman sworn to Casterly Rock itself first before anyone else did, and counted on the fact that no one else would have been able to assemble their forces in time before he could strike, so surprise would be his totally before people realized it had come to open arms (likely the Reynes and many others were still counting on being able to use Tytos to check Tywin so were complacent on preparing their forces, armies cost money to maintain when not in use after all). And most of the lords still seemed torn one way or the other on who to side with from the way I read it, so a wait and see and then come to join the likely winner late seemed appropriate under those circumstances, which Tywin would have demonstrated after beating down the Tarbecks down.

        • That’s all a good point, but it seems to me that you could have bumped the numbers up, had the Reynes and Tarbecks at ~4,000 each, and still had the same result.

          • KrimzonStriker says:

            I think they just wanted to underscore how total surprise truly was on Tywin’s side with how the Tarbeck’s had barely enough time to get 500 men up. 4,000 is actually a lot to get ready from a fiefs individual resources however plentiful, you’re talking 10% of the total army immediate army of the Westerlands without accounting for an influx of ready mercenaries that supplemented Tywin’s forces at the start of the War of the Five Kings, and individually 2,000-2,500 is pretty impressive when you consider the rush the Reynes would have been in to relieve the Tarbecks and that they still equaled all of DragonStone and its vassals or how many men the Dreadfort can field. All I’m saying is given enough time I would actually think that 4,000 mark would have easily been reached, and let’s also not forget the Lannisters have to leave behind a sufficient garrison to guard the Rock and Lannisport on top of the need to maintain their fleets, so based on their own income plus whatever taxes they collect from the vassals (which wouldn’t have been much at that point in time) the Lannisters needed to split their resources between financing both an army and a navy, while subtracting whatever they owe to the Iron Throne to boot or how much Tytos squandered lending it out to everyone.

          • My thinking was more about the thinking of the Reynes and Tarbecks – if they really expected to be able to overthrow the Lannisters, you’d think they’d have needed more manpower.

          • KrimzonStriker says:

            Not from how I read of their actions, by and large it read like the Reynes and Tarbecks wanted to siphon off House Lannisters strength non-violently and through financial espionage/sabotage more then anything. Given Tytos, it isn’t hard to imagine how they might have been lax in thinking it would ever come to open arms, which had merit given that Tywin basically superseded his father’s authority to raise his banners. By and large I feel that the attempted rebellion itself was no more then a bluff, an attempt to use the threat of force to pull Tywin back by cowing Tytos and his aversion to bloodshed and discord, rather then an actual overthrow of House Lannister through military force.

          • See comment in Laboratory of Politics Part V.

  13. TakatoGuil says:

    Someone put forth a theory for how Lannister gold destroyed Valyria: the money they poured into the making of Brightroar was money that the forging family paid to the Faceless Men to off rival fire mages. Thus, the Doom.

  14. Wasn’t the argument made that because the first Keep of winterfell was circular proved that it wasn’t as old as it was claimed? Why doesn’t the same apply to the tale thin round tower of Highgarden, apparently even older?

    • David Hunt says:

      Well, if you believe a tenth of the stuff they say about Branden the Builder, all that flies out the window. If you can believe in the guy who built all those massive impregnable fortresses with magic/giants , you can believe he was ahead of his time in tower design.

    • Take any comment about ages with a huge grain of salt – magic can dramatically alter the equation.

      • David Hunt says:

        I’ve often wondered if the time periods in Westeros prior to the Doom are off. It sometimes seems to me that the history just stretches back too far. However, I usually accept the times as roughly correct, give or take a thousand years, because we’re reading a work of high fantasy disguised as an alternate medieval history. Or maybe it’s the other way around, but I still am willing to accept the vast periods going into the distance past as a trope of the genre.

        p.s. I just spotted my prior comment about something having to do with a Branden “flying out the window.” Ouch. Sorry, Bran. No pun intended.

  15. I am interested by the Manderly vs Peake power struggle in the Reach, kinda wished there was more info on those two houses. Given how the history is spun and given what we know of the present day descendants, I wouldn’t be surprised if the (mostly) great success of the Gardners was due to them being amiable lackwits that had strong banner men to fallback on. Like how the Maester credits Lord Tyrel with defeating Robert at Ashford, when we know about Lord Tarlys domination of that victory. Tying this back to Manderly and Peake, I’d like it to be shown that they were the power behind the throne, vying for power and leading the Reach to prosperity, with an aspect of two parties trying to command that power from king to king. Couldn’t say if one house preferred a different method to another, but perhaps Manderlys trade and commerce, vs Peake military domination?

    • Abbey Battle says:

      I think you might be a touch unkind to House Gardner in describing them thus; one might argue from the evidence available that House Gardner was fortunate in having so many Vassal Houses to play off against one another (and so much land to hand out should bribery be required alongside divide-and-rule!).

      On the other hand the situation you describe DOES seem to have parallels in the period after the tragedy of Garth Greybeard – with House Tyrell assuming the ascendancy over Houses Manderly and Peake, probably because they were able to build a coalition across the lines of faction.

      Still, I suspect that the exact political situation in The Reach varied with the precise era of History in question and that the Green Kings varied in terms of competence across the centuries as much as any other lineage!

    • I’d also like to know more as well.

      As for the Gardeners, they clearly had some damn good kings and some bad ones and some mediocre kings. I think the Manderlys just got unlucky with which they got at the time.

  16. Abbey Battle says:

    Well, I’ve finally worked my way around to commenting upon your own comments after sharing a few of my own observations – I hope you’ll forgive me for taking an unconscionably long time to clear my throat before delivering this Maester Steven!

    -I suspect that the abundance of caves in the West owes much and more to the abundance of precious minerals, needing to be got at if they are ever to be claimed for the greater prosperity of whomsoever happens to be holding the Sword of Damocles over the miner’s head today … or, you know, actually paying customers!

    -You make a good point about there not being very many strongholds to the south of the West; perhaps there simply aren’t very many good defensible strongpoints to anchor a castle on? It seems to be a very flat and open sort of area, perhaps better suited to pitched battles than a siege.

    It’s also probable that building too many castles in that area would have rather risked provoking the Green Kings into action, possibly risking a War that Casterly Rock would have had a hard time winning; alternatively it’s possible that House Lannister would have prioritised castellation of the most Gold-rich areas and those most vulnerable to the Ironborn.

    -If Lann the Clever managed to sire two hundred children and STILL live to extreme old age (as opposed to dropping dead of exhaustion) he must certainly have had the CONSTITUTION of a Demigod! (and he certainly seems to have commanded something of the same veneration).

    I wonder if the connections between Lann, Rowan and Florys were originally drawn to facilitate some Southward expansion on the part of Lancel the Lion? (certainly if House Lannister were looking to secure any holdings along the future route of the Oceanroad, making friends with House Florent and House Rowan seems as good a place to start as any).

    -One imagines that when you trade in gold the traders will gladly come to YOU! (wrong side of the Continent or not, if there’s gold in them there hills they WILL come, as the history of San Francisco amply bears out).

    -I would say that the family connection between House Lannister and House Reyne was no closer than that between Houses Stark and Karstark, at least if one reckons from Loroen the Lion. On the other hand I’m not sure whether former in-laws count as ‘Kin’ according to Westerosi mores …

    -One suspects that the conversion from the Old Faith to the New might have been less of an issue in the West than elsewhere (both of them being equally happy to whip on the Ironborn and their Drowned God); it’s possible that in the West the Old Faith withered on the vine over time in the shadows, rather than being formally put aside.

    -I’d guess King Cerion probably beat some combination of House Lefford, House Brax and possibly House Lydden (or their predecessors at Golden Tooth, Hornvale and Deep Den), these being the principal Houses of the Eastern Hills.

    It also far from impossible that one or more Houses from The Trident might have meddled.

    -It seems fair to say that House Farman’s struggles at sea against the Ironborn might have shielded the rest of the West just enough for them to have neglected their naval defences in favour of Coast Guard castles.

    -It seems that Lancel IV knew good luck in battle right up until he ran into the ‘Little Lion’ mentioned by Ser Eustace Osgrey in THE SWORN SWORD; his success in single combat against the Ironborn might explain this king’s curious eagerness to risk a battle on a personal duel given that he had Form in that area.

    -It’s possible that The Kings of the Rock (and House Lannister even after The Conquest) have preferred to keep the power of House Farman at sea to a minimum to avoid Lords of Fair Isle getting any ideas about pulling a Greyjoy; it’s probable that the Warden of the West would want to ensure that HIS fleet is the mightiest in his own home waters.

    Either that or Fair Isle might not have the money to subsidise a fleet of any size, being frequently prey to Ironborn and not a centre of trade like Lannisport.

    -As far as I know House Reyne (in the person of ‘Red Rob Reyne’) sided with Ser Daemon Blackfyre during his Great Rebellion; House Tarbeck seems to have sent a portion of it’s strength to the Black Dragon.

    My guess is that most of Ser Daemon’s supporters were younger sons and hedge knights, not to mention mercenaries and those frozen out from the court of Daeron the Second – individually his followers may not have formally commanded many lances but together they formed a mighty host.

    I would also suggest that King who bore the Sword and his followers relied more on audacity, speed and sheer martial temper to outweigh any disparity in numbers, with the end-goal of hitting Kings Landing before Good King Daeron or his followers could build up an army big enough to drown them in sheer numbers.

    – I don’t believe that the Peake Uprising counts as a Blackfyre Rebellion (as it’s not explicitly numbered as such); it does seem to have been a contributing factor to one such Rebellion, however, courtesy of King Maekar’s abrupt demise and unsettled succession.

    -In all fairness to King Viserys the First, it should be noted that the real trouble began AFTER his death and not before; if he had failings it seems to have been as a father, rather than a King (compared to Lord Tytos, who seems to have been diametrically the opposite in this case).

    -To my eyes the illustration of young Tywin bears a frightening resemblance to Mr Jack Gleason in the role of King Crossbow … (admittedly I do sometimes harbour dark suspicions that the difference between Lord Tywin and his grandson lies more in ability than in attitude).

    -I must admit that Ser Kevan Lannister’s romantic history is surprisingly Romantic (with a capital ‘R’); it’s rather charming to see love flourish in such unlikely circumstances!

    -Charles Dance … as a Bond Villain. YES PLEASE!

    -If it’s a choice between stopping in The Reach and continuing to head North, I’d pick a nice little plot and set to channeling my own inner Fertility Demigod too and pat myself on the back for having sense sufficient to avoid frostbite AND the Boltons in one fell swoop!

    -Foss the Archer reminds ME a little bit of Cupid to boot! (It’s also amusing to wonder if Brandon the Builder headed North precisely because Papa ‘The Bloody’ had killed all The Children within a convenient walking distance).

    -Some people may think that the lover who left Lady Rowen behind in order to trade up and make out like a bandit might be someone other than Lann the Clever; those people are wrong, but I respect their right to be just that!

    -It seems likely that the Knight without Armour was … likely to feel very, very naked in any serious fight!

    -Given that House Gardner seems to have been one of the oldest (and most numerous!) of Royal Lineages it’s perhaps unsurprising that they can only tell one another apart via the strategic employment of enumeration … or perhaps it’s just prolonged proximity to all those Maesters at the Citadel.

    -If Maester Theron doesn’t look EXACTLY like a Medieval H.P. Lovecraft I shall be very, very disappointed!

    -I must admit that the short, lovely tale of Prince Peremore is one of my favourite bits in the entire book; it’s rather heartwarming to imagine the Citadel as having been created by his Big Brother so that this short-lived Prince might leave behind a magnificent legacy.

    -Somewhat ironically it seems as though everyone EXCEPT Maegor killed the High Septon.

    -It’s not impossible that Lord Leo Longthorn was loyal to King Daeron but hopelessly outnumbered by vassals who did not share his sentiments, meaning he is likely to have been cooped up in Highgarden for the duration.

    Still, your theory DOES hold water, especially given the traditionally cautious approach of House Tyrell in everything except making life miserable for the Dornish.

    -Amber may not be useful, but it’s quite valuable if you can find the right buyer (it’s also not impossible that The Stormlands just isn’t blessed with any other natural riches, being small and rather inclement).

    -It’s possible that Weeping Town simply does not get enough trade to upgrade to a city, given that it sits in the resource-poor Stormlands; it’s quite possible that the close proximity of the Stepstones does not make it any more attractive a destination (especially with Tyrosh on the other side of the Narrow Sea).

    -It does rather seem as if House Durrandon showed about as much imagination as the line of the Ptolemy’s when it came to names; perhaps they wanted to emphasise the connection to their nature as putative Demigods?

    -Did anyone else take one look at Durran the Dour and think “So Stannis wasn’t adopted after all!”

    -From what I can make out the Storm-Kings and their heirs House Baratheon won their empire by fishing in troubled waters, but held on to it by dint of producing the likes of King Argilac, The Laughing Storm and King Robert the Rebel (it DOES rather seem that Robert Baratheon took after Great-Grandfather Lyonel, eh?), as well as a certain ‘Sod you’ independence (hinted at by the allusion to EVERY Storm-lander having a drop of king’s blood in them).

    -As far as I understand The Stormbreaker dates from the days of the Young Dragon (he’s mentioned in the Family Trees of the BLOOD OF DRAGONS MUSH).

    – It seems Maester Yandel shares our fascination with History, but not your inclinations towards economics! (alternatively he might just HATE having to draw maps, which would rather explain why his are so sloppy).

    -It’s possible that Dorne simply doesn’t have enough to offer to make a very good go of trade with the likes of the Summer Islanders or the Free Cities (it’s also possible that the local lords do their best to avoid painting ‘Plunder Me’ signs across their holdings, given the proximity of the Stepstones and their Piratical populations).

    -Given that Westeros is a medieval setting it’s not impossible that Maester Yandel might be more interested in CULTURE than Race; as I understand it racial categorisation was more a product of the 19th Century than the 13th.

    -I’d argue that Dorne is based more on the Maghreb (North Africa west of Egypt) than on the Middle East, hence the relatively low degree of urbanisation and frequent troubles with neighbours to the North (as I understand things, North Africa is more fecund than the likes of Arabia and somewhat more rural).

    -Given House Uller called their stronghold Hellholt it’s perhaps unsurprising that the neighbours don’t pop around to tea very often!

    -As a note it seems likely that Ser Davos Dayne was a relative of the last King of that Ilk; he might in fact have been a hostage for their good behaviour, hence his proximity to Princess Nymeria or he may represent a branch of the family that sided with Nymerios-Martell on the understanding that they would be rewarded with Starfall (amongst other things).

    -I’d argue that the Dornish are more tolerant than progressive, given that they don’t seem to be in any hurry to revive the Lemonwood Democracy … (which reminds me that it recently occurred to me that while The Great Council might have the potential to grow into Parliament, it’s not impossible that it might more closely resemble the Sejm of the Polish Commonwealth – oligarchical and almost useless at getting anything DONE).

    -It’s possible that the Martells banned Rhoynish and stopped using it for the same reason the Anglo-Normans stopped using Norman French; the majority of those in their Domains did not actually speak it.

    -I admire Sylvenna Sand for her best attempts, even as I suspect that they were reaching a bit TOO far and focussing on the wrong priorities; first restore Good Government, THEN start working on Constitutional Changes.

    I await your article on the Free Cities with especial interest Maester Steven; I hope you’re continuing to enjoy THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE as much as I am!

    • Westerlands:

      – it’s possible, but you’d think there would be streams or small hills at least. Anything is better than something. And the Lannisters seemed to be plenty willing to fight the Gardeners.

      – well, children per year it’s a bit more reasonable.

      – good point about San Fran.

      – Well, it’s just interesting that conversion isn’t mentioned, given the Reach-centricity of the Faith at that time.

      – it’s quite possible, but you’d think a naval base on Fair Isle is just good policy, even if the number of ships are below those at Lannisport.

      – Ok, so add on the Reynes and Tarbecks to the Blackfyre list. It just seems strange that there’s no Great Houses on Daemon’s side at all, given that the war supposedly split the Seven Kingdoms in half.

      – Blackfyre numbering is really odd.

      – I’m not seeing the Gleason – look at the nose!

      The Reach:

      – yeah, the Reach is a nice place to settle down.

      – I do wonder who that spurning lover was.

      – the Knight Without Armor – peasant hero or martial artist?

      – Outnumbered, except that he crushed them all after…seems to suggest my theory.


      – I suppose my crack about amber is more about the natural resources in only one place thing that’s going on. I.E, it’s not believable that iron only is found in the iron islands. There must be substantial deposits throughout the Seven Kingdoms. I get that they might be extremely rich in the Iron Islands, but not the only one.

      – the Stormlands aren’t necessarily resource poor, more labor-poor. A wiser ruler would do the old “zero taxes for life if you settle this unoccupied land” trick.

      – Yeah, Durran the Dour. It runs in the family.

      – aha. After listening to the Podcast of Ice and Fire thing, it’s clear that the mush might have some clues in it.


      – I disagree. Dorne’s got wines, olives, silks, quality horses, etc.

      – I was more referring to one of the RL authors.

      – the Maghreb is still fairly urbanized.

      – but in that case, why did the Dayne King get sent to the Wall?

      – well, they have a sense of solidarity, as expressed by Elio in that interview.

      – Yeah, but the Anglo-Normans weren’t the last of their race, fleeing imperial conquest.

      • Abbey Battle says:

        Maester Steven, I believe that I’ve mentioned before that I believe not a single Great House in their right mind would support Ser Daemon Blackfyre whole-heartedly for the very simple reason that doing so would set a hideously damaging precedent – if a legitimate KING can be pushed aside in favour of a bastard-born knight then not a single Lord Paramount in the Seven Kingdoms can sleep safe.

        Think of it as the same problem posed by Lord Renly’s refusal to defer to his elder brother’s precedence exacerbated by the fact that Ser Daemon was not born in lawful wedlock – it makes the succession a question of who commands the greatest number of lances by Force of Character, not the legitimate right to inherit through Force of Law.

        While some might argue that this is a more meritocratic approach, I would like to point out that in Westeros seeing the Law ignored in favour of a “Might is Right” approach is NOT a positive precedent – and I suspect that the Great Houses, already at the apex of the Feudal Pyramid, would tend to see their interests best served by loyalty to the Crown (however cautiously expressed).

        In fact I suspect the propagation of the slander that King Daeron himself was illegitimate was principally intended to lure the Great Houses to his side – it would be much easier to support one bastard against another, rather than unseat a Lawful King (and a well-respected one at that) in favour of a slightly more charismatic and far more martial usurper.

        It is those just below the feudal apex, looking up with hungry eyes and old scores to settle that would seize upon Ser Daemon as the best means by which they might move themselves from second place to pole position beneath the Crown (those such as the Peakes or the Reynes are likely to have been The Black Dragon’s most powerful supporters).

        It’s also easy to imagine hedge knights and illegitimate siblings rallying to Ser Daemon, not to mention the likes of Ser Eustace Osgrey; those one the outside of Feudal System looking in and those martial men long bereft of Glory, looking to win it at the side of a man described as a Demigod, if not a God of War (It’s not wonder that Ser Daemon was no more pious than he needed to be – it’s unlikely any Septon would approve of such overweening pride).

        So in conclusion I would agree that it would be nice to know exactly which Houses rose for the Black Dragon, I do think that we already have just about enough information to understand WHY Ser Daemon did not command the loyalty of any Great House – his was the revolt of the outsiders and the social climbers, rather than a revolt born out of any Principle of Legitimacy beyond “Might makes Right”.

        • I find this a bit unlikely. To begin with, we’re told that the Blackfyre Rebellion split the kingdom in half – if none of the Great Houses of Westeros were on board, it begins to look a lot less like half. Second, if all of the Great Houses were against the Blackfyres, explaining why anyone joined expecting to win or how the Blackfyres were able to come so close to ultimate victory gets much much harder.

          Now, some of the Great Houses’ actions are known to us – the Martells, Baratheons, and Arryns fought for Dareon II at the Redgrass Field. The Martells obviously are tied by blood and would be opposed to an anti-Dornish movement, and the Baratheons and Arryns are closely related to House Targaryen by blood. It’s certainly possible that the Starks and Greyjoys sat this one out since they’re a bit far away and don’t have much of an interest at stake. We still don’t know about the Tullys.

          But the Tyrells do have an interest. They hate the Dornish and are prominent members of the pro-war party (as seen in their leading roles in the Dornish War and Daeron’s Conquest) – if the Dornish influence at court is removed, the Tyrells stand to take their place. Daemon Blackfyre is the very embodiment of the culture of knightly virtue that the Reach adores, versus the Dornish-loving Daeron II. And he’s got lots of sons who might be interested in Tyrell daughters. It would make absolute sense if Leo Longthorn promised Daemon aid secretly, was marshaling his banners, and then turned his coat when the Redgrass Field went FUBAR.

          However, there might be another way to think about this – the parallel we might be looking for closer to the Baron’s Rebellion. Daemon had support from the Marcher Lords, a number of houses from the Reach who might be looking to regain influence from the Tyrells, the Yronwoods who hate the Martells, the Sunderlands from the Sisters who want indepedent, the Brackens and the Lothstons and the Shawneys from the Riverlands, and the Reynes and Tarbecks against the Lannisters. So maybe Daemon had the support of most of the lesser Houses bucking against the constraints of the Great Houses? Maybe the half vs. half is less geographic and more Greater vs. Lesser.

          • Abbey Battle says:

            Your last point is exactly what I was trying to get at, but seem to have buried beneath waffle and verbiage – what little we know about the precise course of the Blackfyre Rebellion would seem to support the idea that Ser Daemon principally drew his support from what one might describe as the Greatest of the Lesser Houses (like Hightower and Reyne and Yronwood), although I would suggest that he also drew a great deal of support from less powerful vassal Houses seeking to recapture past glories via service to the Black Dragon (like House Sunderland or House Osgrey).

            I also think that we can infer from what we know of the Blackfyre Rebellion that House Tully did not distinguish itself during that conflict; my guess is that the Blackwoods and the Brackens tore the Trident in half (on behalf of the Red and the Black Dragon respectively), but that for some reason it was Harrenhal and not Riverrun that wound up holding the balance of the conflict.

            It seems not unlikely that Ser Quentyn Fireball would have taken advantage of his victory over the Lannisters to come east through the Golden Tooth (if I remember correctly Lord Lefford would be holed up in Casterly Rock or Lannisport at this point) and I suspect that with their three most powerful vassals busy elsewhere House Tully was smashed trying to resist (they might even have been obliged to surrender Riverrun, although it’s not impossible that they were confined to their stronghold for the duration of the conflict).

            If I might throw in another guess, I would hazard that Lord Lothston’s defection proved so crucial to the outcome of the War because he denied The Black Dragon passage down the Kingsroad toward the Iron Throne – which would explain why Ser Daemon did not launch a pincer attack against the Capital from The Trident as well as across the Mander.

            It’s also far from impossible that the Lord of Harrenhal might have permitted Lord Donnel Arryn to carry his banners past instead (which might prove equally crucial, especially if Lord Donnel wished to keep his ships close to home and ward off raids from the Sistermen, probably bolstered by mercenaries from the Free Cities).

            On a related note I would be surprised if Prince Baelor Breakspear did not spend a good deal of his war prior to the Redgrass Field leading troops south to clear out the Boneway, helping his Uncle Prince Maron to subdue the Yronwoods and most importantly preventing his Marcher Lord In-Laws from killing his Dornish cousins (or vice versa), all the better to ensure that the full power of Dorne reached the wider War at just the right time to tip the balance decisively in his favour of King Daeron.

  17. One thing I was curious about reading through The World of Ice and Fire is that there is no section on the Stepstones. It seems a curious omission, given how often the region comes up.

    • Kuruharan says:

      There were many curious omissions in this book. The western end of Essos in particular was victim to a lot of them.

      • Abbey Battle says:

        May I please ask what you think was missing? (I admit that I’m perfectly happy with what we were given – a detailed look at the Seven Kingdoms and a decent glimpse of the Known World).

        I would in fact argue that there simply isn’t very much to tell about the Stepstones beyond their strategic position and somewhat inhospitable landscape (not to mention their nature as a haunt of Pirates), so it’s perhaps unsurprising that Mr GRR Martin preferred to divert his imagination elsewhere.

        Having said that I must also admit that I’d love to know more about Westeros, but suspect that I’ll just have to re-read the novels and keep an eye open for new books (especially FIRE AND BLOOD), as well as more Dunk and Egg novellas.

        • Kuruharan says:

          I will go into more detail when the read-through of the Essos chapter is posted, but briefly I think the majority of the Free Cities, and particularly Lys, Myr, and Tyrosh, were handled in a very slipshod, uninformative, and frankly lazy manner. I also disliked the decision to skip Qarth and environs. Additionally, I thought that places like Tolos and Mantarys deserved more mention than they received.

          • Abbey Battle says:

            To be fair Westeros and not Essos is the focus not just of THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE but the novels themselves – hence the Sunset Kingdoms would receive the lion’s share of attention and development.

            I would also like to note that THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE is a companion volume to the series, rather than a stand-alone work so it seems not unfair that Mr GRR Martin and his co-authors would leave a few bits and pieces integral to the plot out of this particular coffee-table book.

            For one thing Quarth and Slaver’s Bay would lose a good deal of their exotic mystique were they to be developed upon in detail by THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE – for another it’s not impossible that the authors simply didn’t feel particularly keen to spend much time on Slaver’s Bay because (at the time of writing) Mr Martin had already spent far too much time untying the Mereneese Knot and was more interested in writing about other areas to take his mind off the frustrations of that process.

    • Eh, I think the important bits got covered wrt the Stepstones.

  18. David Hunt says:

    Steven, you recently made a comment on twitter that tv tropes is a better wiki for Song of Ice and Fire than the Wiki of Ice of Fire. As someone who at least tries to have a real life and fulfill his professional responsibilities, I hope that the Seven send you straight to the Seven Hells. TV Tropes is one of the most addictive sites on the internet. Pointing out how much stuff they have on something that I’m actually interested in…pure evil.

  19. Son of Fire says:

    Your friendly inter continental spellchecker here!
    4th bullet point under the westerlands map says ‘First men hoses’….should be houses!!!
    4th bullet point under the stormlands says ‘thinly people’….should be peopled..maybe!!
    I would of phrased it sparsely populated.
    Thats all i could spot on my read through
    Great stuff as always!!!

  20. rw970 says:

    I found Argilac’s rage-rejection of Aegon’s proposal curious. Here he is, perfectly willing to sell off his daughter to be the third wife of the product of incest (the other two wives also being products of incest in an incestuous relationship) but when he’s presented with Orys instead – oh no, Orys might be a [shudder] a bastard!

    Plus, this isn’t 100% clear but I don’t think it’s mentioned that Argilac had any sons or any other daughters. So there’s a decent chance he’s giving away the Stormlands to the children of any Durrandon-Targaryen-Incest-Polygamy marriage. But god forbid that he lets his daughter marry a bastard.

    • Well, the Baratheon temper had to come from somewhere…

    • Abbey Battle says:

      I suspect that King Argilac had already stretched his principles and tested his pride to the breaking point by extending such an offer to Aegon the Dragon (or if you prefer Aegon the Abomination); seeing this offer rejected and then being sent an impertinent counter-offer pushed him past the breaking point, with what results we already know.

      Something to remember; a knight’s daughter who marries a lord becomes a lady, a lady who marries a prince becomes a princess, a princess who marries a King becomes a queen – what then becomes of a Princess who marries a bastard knight of uncertain paternity? She is CHEAPENED in the eyes of one and all.

      So is her house for that matter, so Argilac would have been cheapening his lineage in the eyes of some very unkind neighbours and peers.

      Aegon the Dragon was an abomination born of incest, but he was also a lord and the true born son of a lord, of an old and storied lineage – not to mention lord and master of the last Dragons in the Known World – so there is some prestige in that that match. Orys Baratheon was a sworn shield, of no known lineage and of uncertain social status (we don’t know if he was even a KNIGHT), a man who commanded nothing and could offer nothing beyond himself to the cause of preserving the Storm-Kingdom (Argilac’s Sacred Cause and Purpose in Life).

      I suspect that the latter point – that AEGON, not Orys commanded power sufficient to make the Storm-lands secure but was refusing to commit himself to any pact except as a senior partner (consider that by offering his half brother he was making any future intervention on his part a FAVOUR and not a DUTY) was the real rock on which any chance of an arrangement between Aegon and Argilac foundered.

      • Abbey Battle says:

        More succinctly imagine if some proud lord was offered Shireen Baratheon and refused her, instead offering a bastard son or brother in his stead – now consider just how BADLY Stannis Baratheon would take this offer …

      • rw970 says:

        Isn’t the son of siblings, even if married, a bastard in the eyes of the law? Because siblings can’t be married. A Stannis says in Chapter 36 of A Clash of Kings:

        “Mine only child, he would have wed to a bastard born of incest.”

        I get the practical ramifications of the differences between an alliance with Aegon and an alliance with Orys. But I think he was already signing up to be the junior partner anyway. If Argilac’s daughter is his heir, that means Storms’ End goes to either Aegon or Orys anyway. So he’s essentially giving the Stormlands to Aegon if Aegon marries his daughter, or to Aegon indirectly, because Aegon is Orys’ liege lord.

        And this isn’t some hypothetical future war to be named later. They’re talking about making a pact for a war that’s going to happen now, if not an outright invasion.

        • Abbey Battle says:

          Alright, let me put it this way – if Lord Stannis were to lose his Queen and court Princess Arianne Nymerios-Martell, imagine how livid he would be were an envoy to come back bearing a proposal that he wed one of the Sand Snakes instead …

          Now in relation to your other point you make a sound argument in favour of King Argilac being a junior partner in any pact with Lord Aegon – if one dragon can beat the massed power of Storm’s End then it’s not unfair to say so, given that Aegon had three – but by wedding his daughter to The Lord of Dragonstone, the Storm-King (at least in theory) gains back face by making Aegon his good-son and therefore his junior in strict order of precedence (and more to the point his junior in strict order of succession).

          I would also suggest that Lord Argilac feared the oncoming War with Black Harren less than he feared what might come afterwards should he fall in Battle for after all King Argilac has won out against odds still worse (consider his defeat of the Green King at Summerfield), but even HE could not win victories post-mortem.

          Quite frankly I think that what most roused his anger against Orys Baratheon was that not only would Aegon assume the supreme power in the Storm-lands after his death, he would do so without bothering to legitimise it through marriage into the House Durrendon – he would in effect have conquered the Storm-Lands through a wedding, rather than a War instead of having been absorbed into them as King Argilac had hoped.

  21. Abbey Battle says:

    By the way Maester Steven, I cannot recall if you asked on this thread or elsewhere whether or not Houses Lannister and Stark had ever co-operated against some common enemy – well, in fact they HAVE.

    Back in the days of Lord Beron Stark, a contemporary of that Lord Dagon Greyjoy who had revived the Old Way of the Iron Price and wrecked havoc across the West Coast of the Seven Kingdoms in consequence, the Lion and the Wolf hunted together in order to hound the Ironborn back to their lair, then humble them into submission there.

    I would guess that the Warden of the West sent out a summons and the Lord of the North answered (this would have been at the time of Dunk and Egg – it wouldn’t surprise me if Ser Duncan the Tall came North, squire et al, in response to word being put out that Lord Stark wanted as many swordsmen as he could retain and was prepared to pay well for them).

    Which just goes to show you that History can make for strange bedfellows!

    • Hmmm…I don’t think the Lord of the North would answer a summons. That’s too subservient. Rather, I think two fellow Wardens would exchange polite emails about it.

      But I would like to know more about their cooperation.

      • Abbey Battle says:

        I hope that THE SHE-WOLVES OF WINTERFELL* will satisfy our curiosity regarding this particular co-operative venture – I do wonder if the brother of Gerold the Golden died during the course of it and also whether we will meet the future Lord of the West during the course of it (for who would make a better envoy to the women of Winterfell than the most eligible of Lannister bachelors?).

        (*Mr Martin can even YOU produce a better title for the next Dunk and Egg mis/adventure when you don’t actually need one?).

  22. Andrew says:

    I wonder what was in the letter. I do think it involves Rhaenys. I doubt the story regarding it, given it was basically the Martells saying “Hey, we have your wife, but we’ve been torturing he rover the years, and sign this deal and we’ll kill her.” Aegon likely would have been inflamed by that, and he would have demanded Rhaenys back, or he would turn Sunspear into a smoking ruin. It also begs the question of why didn’t the Dornish try to use her before when they had her? They could have used her to bring Aegon to the negotiating table.

    I think the letter was more likely from Rhaneys. I think she was badly wounded after Meraxes fell, and they cared for her, thinking when she got better they would use her as a hostage to secure a peace. However, her health continued to deteriorate, and her last request on her deathbed was for a letter to be given to Aegon. The Dornish weren’t able to give Aegon that letter up to that point given he was busy burning everything in Dorne.

    • Abbey Battle says:

      I myself have come to believe that Queen Rhaenys died beneath the coils of Meraxes in their dying spasms, rather than under the hands of some cruel Dornish captor – but that some Dornish genius as callous as he or she was clever decided to cover up the precise circumstances of Her Graces demise in order to turn King Aegon’s uncertainty over his little sisters death into the only weapon able to pierce the Kings defences, a weapon of psychological warfare.

      I doubt that Aegon would be the only victim to suffer from the rage, horror and fear he is likely to have experienced as a result of this dreadful uncertainty – I therefore further suspect that any Dornish peacemaker would have been wise to uncover the precise circumstances of the Silver Queen’s demise and inform Aegon of the truth (especially if they were able to inform him that either his Queens remains had been given honourable burial or that those who desecrated them had been given over to an ugly death).

      Given that Aegon was not cruel by nature, I suspect the sheer relief he would feel at KNOWING his Queen had died in battle and not in Torment, not to mention the shame he would very likely feel at having spread something worse than Fire and Blood throughout Dorne for no good reason is as good an explanation for the sudden peace with Dorne as any and an even better explanation for His Graces retreat to Dragonstone, where he might mourn Her Grace and perhaps make peace with her memory, as well as this blow to his self-image.

      • Andrew says:

        I doubt that given Aegon in those circumstances would still be pissed about her death regardless, and custom would have him avenge her. He and Visenya burned Dorne, because she died not how she died. We have nothing to show that Aegon thought she was tortured to death.

        However, if the Dornish cared for her, and that letter was from Rhaenys, I can see Aegon clutching his fist that hard.

        • Abbey Battle says:

          I agree that your suggestion is a very real possibility, but I would argue that the revelation that Rhaenys was long dead and that he had wrought unjustified horrors in unmerited reprisal would have an almost equally strong impact.

          King Aegon was no Maegor, remember.

    • Yeah, I doubt the torture part. Your version might be true.

  23. Azure Owl says:

    “Surprising that Lannisport got so big, given that it’s on the wrong side of the damn continent.”

    The presence of highly productive precious metal mines can more than account for that.

    Take Potosi for example. It’s in the middle of nowhere and in colonial times it was a pain in the ass to get there and back, but because it was located right next to the world’s greatest silver mine, it had a population of 200,000 people.

    It only lasted as long as the mine remained in production, but in Lannisport’s case, the mines of Casterly Rock are still going strong.

  24. Andrew says:

    1. Casterly Rock gives off a lot of Erebor if you’ve seen the The Hobbit. A fortress/mine built into a mountain containing a massive horde of gold. I guess that would make Tyrion Throin Okaenshield, a dwarf lord who is on a quest to reclaim said seat, and escaped via wine barrel. The difference being Tyrion would be using dragons (both figurative and literal) to reclaim his seat.

    2. Look at the three Reyne siblings: we have the Red Lion is the most powerful warrior in the Westerlands (Jaime), his brother Raynard who is as cunning and charming as his brother is skilled at arms (Tyrion) and the sister Ellyne, a hot-tempered ambitious woman who isn’t above using sex to get her way and is a supreme nepotist showering her family with benefits during her “reign,” and fails to give her husband any children (Cersei).

    3. Who was allied with them? House Tarbeck whose colors are silver and blue (the colors of House Frey) led by the old “Walder”-an Tarbeck. Things don’t look well for House Frey.

    4. As for the Tarth’s descent from the Targaryens, one theory going around is that Dunk married one of Egg’s sisters, of which there are two, Rhae and Daella, and their daughter married Lord Tarth. So you got descent from Dunk and the Targaryens.

  25. […] Joanna’s death being a judgement from “the gods…to teach me humility,” from the WOIAF. Third, as we’ve discussed above, Tyrion’s disability and Tywin’s […]

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