Guest Post at Tower of the Hand: Politics of the Seven Kingdoms (The North)

The long-anticipated installment of my new Politics of the Seven Kingdoms series is up at Tower of the Hand! In this installment, I explore the historical development of the North into a single polity, how it overcame the disadvantages of geography, how it deals with internal divisions, and its strengths and weaknesses.

Check it out!


13 thoughts on “Guest Post at Tower of the Hand: Politics of the Seven Kingdoms (The North)

  1. Steven Xue says:

    Brilliant essay on the North and the Stark conquest of it. Can’t wait for the next installment. I especially found the point you made of the Starks selectively breeding with the daughters of beaten foes to absorb their magical abilities very intriguing. Now this is total speculation but I do wonder if similar to Robb did with Greywind, if his ancient fore-bearers also managed to tame dire wolves and used them (with the help of warging) to give themselves a military edge in their conquests, kind of like the Targaryens did with their dragons? And perhaps their desire for a ‘monopoly of magic’ was why Cregan was so eager to get a Targaryen bride, so he could stack her family’s brand of magic to his own.

  2. Andrew says:

    A work well-done, Maester Steven.

    1. I agree what Torrhen did was commendable, akin to Robert E. Lee deciding to surrender at Appomattox rather than send his starving army into battle against a better-equipped army twice the size of it.

    2. It seems Theon Stark avoided the one mistake many Westerosi kings made when Andals arrived: ally with them.

    3. If one of original reasons the Ironborn engaged in the Old Way was to deal with a lumber shortage, wouldn’t it make sense that the North likely one of the first places they actually raided given one of the North’s major exports is lumber (as the wolfswood can attest to)?

    • KrimzonStriker says:

      That second point varies based on who and how you ally with them, if you’re not an easily disposed of petty king but instead have a region united under you then you have sufficient leverage to avoid betrayal I’ve noticed going by the Gardeners, the Durrandons. and the Lannisters.

  3. This was thoroughly awesome and very thought provoking. You are the real MVP, Steve!

  4. Grant says:

    There is one point to wonder about, the length of the timeline. It isn’t clear whether it really was that long following a common sci-fi rule of ‘make it bigger’, or is it supposed to be vast exaggeration similar to what we see with our own ancestors centuries and millennia ago.

    We know that at least some of the magical events referenced in the legends really did happen, but on the other hand we also see Sam casting doubt on whether Jon Snow is really the 998th Lord Commander, suggesting that the Night’s Watch is younger than they officially believe.

  5. Abbey Battle says:

    Excellent work Maester Steven and even better than your usual; I look forward to seeing future Articles in this series with the feverish anticipation of that last survivor of a Desert Trek who has just tasted the first freshwater spring to be found for many a thirsty league!

    May I please ask which of the Seven Kingdoms you intend to examine in your next article?

    (Also, might one please ask if you think The Hungry Wolf raised that infamous raider fleet of his from the very Longships of those Andals he slaughtered on Northern Shores?).

  6. […] WOIAF has given us actually points to the Brackens being in the right, as if the Blackwoods were refugees from the North, they were unlikely to have been kings before the […]

  7. […] the last few thousand years – the Free Folk beyond the Wall, the Mountain Clans of the Vale, the hill clans of the North – we don’t see strong caste lines between nobles and serfs. This isn’t modern democracy – […]

  8. […] was an bastard of House Kenning of Harlaw, in the fall of Kayce we see the same phenomena as in the North of Ironborn blood failing to lead to Ironborn sympathies – why be loyal to your father’s […]

  9. […] the Andals were able to overrun territory and hold it, rather than the outright victory of the Starks or the successful assimilations of the Lannisters and […]

  10. […] been marked much more by disunity than unification, more akin to the Vale or the Riverlands than the North, the Westerlands, or the […]

  11. […] that Karstark’s actions have undermined. First, a king has to act as a protector (a role especially central to the Starks, and Lord Karstark has both injured and murdered his subjects (as I’ve discussed above) and […]

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