It’s that time again! Time for the best of Race for the Iron Throne’s Tumblr:
I like the new RFIT Tumblr feature here!
On the Night’s Watch decline: I appreciate your development of this meta-narrative, connecting the decline of a distributed mutual defense institution to the conquest of the Seven Realms by an imperialist dynasty with WMDs. It’s a smart observation, supported by the text, but requiring a bit of teasing to reveal its full implications.
Loved your summary of how Tywin would have handled the situations in AFFC, especially as 1 & 2 condense to “he wouldn’t screw everything up like Cercei did.” I agree that he would have dealt with the Sparrows by (figuratively) grinding them into sausage. He’d have left the literal sausage making to the poor people of Fleebottom.
These are fun Steve. I like your insights on Tywin best.
I think its also safe to assume that if Tywin is in command, Paxter Redwyne is sent off sooner. Not just because of the alliance with the Tyrells but because Tywin would never want to risk being known as the guy who lost Oldtown much less the rest of the Reach (which at present is keeping KL from eating other.) Besides he’s not going to want to embolden the Iron Born either.
Oh, definitely. Letting the IB sack the Reach is bad for business, and Tywin wants to put the hammer down on Pyke eventually.
I really liked the Dorne entry.
I think it’s interesting that when you’ve covered political changes to other regions you’ve talked about introducing proto-parliamentary systems as a method of binding the region together. Whereas with Dorne you made no mention of similar changes and instead would introduce a very modern welfare state and broad international immigration. Do you feel that Dorne is politically that much more advanced than the other Westerosi polities? Is Dorne ready for the seeds of mass participatory democracy? Maybe coercing minor lords to host regular open audiences with all their locals, with certain rules in place that could encourage these exchanges to transform into town hall meeting?
I wanted to avoid repeating myself, but mostly I was focused on the welfare state b/c of Dorne’s history of solidaristic laws, as seen in WOIAF.
How deep do plan on going with this fun mini-series? All eight regions of Westeros? Anything beyond that? I’d love to hear how you’d try to rehabilitate Slavers Bay. Or how would you get ascendant, progressive states like Braavos & the Summer Isles to secure their social gains and possibly encourage likewise reforms in their neighbors.
I’ll probably stick with Westeros. But if I feel inspired, might go further.
I’d definitely encourage tackling as many regions/societies as we have enough canon info to get a solid picture of the polity. (And obviously so long as you still find it fun!) This type of essay is a nice compliment to RFTIT & your Tower of the Hand articles.
Just a thought. If the north and riverlands were granted independence, the other kingdoms might eye independence as well or just ignore the crown’s authority. Especially if their house is marginalized by the crown. The Stark rebellion could have led to the disintegration of the entire kingdom.
Quite possibly. If Mace had been less ambitious or the downfall of the crown more obvious, you could have easily had a Kingdom of the Reach and the Stormlands which would be quite rich and powerful.
Steven, I left a comment regarding the use of Amber in the storm lands in your previous weekly post, would really appreciate a response along with why you don’t think amber is useful.
The difficulties with amber are the following:
1. It’s got very limited potential for moving up the value-added chain, which is always a key concern for developing nations. Basically, you can turn amber into amber jewelry and that’s that.
2. It’s got more limited demand – Lannister gold is used not only in jewelry but ornamentation of all kinds (can’t really gild a plate with amber or make cups or other items out of it), there’s a built-in demand due to the use of gold coins, and when you mine for gold you often find other useful minerals like copper and iron.
So yes, definitely dump amber sales revenue into a bank, but ultimately the market has less potential than, say, timber. That’s one of the things I learned about economic history – in the long run, it’s better to have products that are low margin/high volume than high margin/low volume, because the former is more conducive to growth.
Like in the Discovery mini series Klondike, (starring GoT own Richard Madden btw) the woman who runs a lumber mill in the gold rush town, points out that gold for all the fuss they’re making about it, is devoid of practical value, while *wood* is an absolutely essential building material.
This reasoning is also why I think House Tyrell could be argued to be richer than House Lannister (even without the show’s conceit that the Lannister mines have run dry,) because food’s going to be more valuable than coin when winter comes.
(Though for *this* winter, the price of dragonglass is gonna skyrocket…)
Yep. If you look at who made out like bandits from the major gold strikes, it was usually merchants and people producing consumer goods for the miners. The most famous example of this being Levi Strauss getting rich from selling sturdier pants to gold miners.
LOL. Also there were a number of of women who came with their husbands or male relatives for the Gold Rush, ended up making big money via cooking skills.
To say nothing about the booze vendors and gambling den owners.
The thing about rushes though is that they’re rushes, they’ll only last for so long. Having a consistent supply you can rely upon makes it more economically viable versus all the prospecting logistics cost involved with constantly (and many times fruitlessly) searching for new mines. Not that I disagree with you argument that food and essential products are more valuable but it does alleviate some of the draw backs of the precious stone business when the supply is stable.
No, I can see your points about that, but in regards specifically to the expansion plans you had for the Storm lands I feel the amber revenue would go a long ways to making that viable without digging yourself into huge debt. And while demand/price might be much lower its at least consistent, especially with the Stormlands being ideally placed to supply a decadent, jewelry hungry Essosi customer base.
Not necessarily consistent; demand will vary based on fashion. If amber jewelry isn’t in fashion for any number of reasons – something other gem becomes a la mode, amber clashes with the “in” color, etc.
I think there’s enough diversity in the Free Cities alone where that won’t be such a risk, lack of communication technology means fashion trends will be slow to travel and thus more insular to local customs, so it’s not like you can make a Planetos Paris to dictate fashion to others. Plus Amber is still rare (and pretty) enough like most precious stones where it’ll always have staying power at least.
If Robb properly wins the war, could he make the Riverlands that much more defensible by annexing the Golden Tooth and possibly that whole pass with another castle being built at the western end of it?
That would be the move.
I’ve always been unsure of the actual borders of the Riverlands and the Reach, but could Robb, if he wiped out Tywin, take KL then fortify the Blackwater Rush as his southern border? Because that would be a heck of a defensive feature.
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