RFTIT Tumblr Weekly Roundup!

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Hey folks! Work has begun on Politics of the Reach, Part III – although it’s still early days yet. In the meantime, there’s a HUGE amount of stuff on the Tumblrs to get to.

ASOIAF:

Non-ASOIAF:

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26 thoughts on “RFTIT Tumblr Weekly Roundup!

  1. Steven Xue says:

    I think Balon had a very good reason not to attack Bear Island and left it out of his plans entirely. When it comes to invading Bear Island there are two key factors one must consider if your plans for conquest includes the entire North.

    1. Although Meage had taken all the fighting men with her south when Robb called the banners, Bear Island could still call on its women to defend their homes as every woman on the island is trained in combat and they know how to fight the Iron Born to boot. Nowhere else in the North are there any female militias to supplement the lack of men to defend their homes. This made Deepwood Motte and Torrhen’s Square pretty much everywhere else much softer targets.

    2. Judging by the maps I’ve seen of the North, Bear Island looks like a fairly large island. It is my belief that there are many villages and strongholds dotted all over coasts of the island. These places must also be pretty well fortified considering that dealing with pirate raids is a fact of life on the island.

    If you put these two points into consideration, to take Bear Island Asha would have needed a much larger force than she brought to Deepwood Motte. Because the island would have fortified settlements around its coasts in case of Iron Born attacks (which they should) and defended by hordes of angry amazons who will not run from a fight against Iron Born raiders. So there is no guarantee that they will be able to secure the entire island in a short amount of time which they will need if they want to keep up the initiative to make inroads on the mainland. Of course even if miraculously that’s all successful, I have no doubt that the cost in troops to take the island would be very high, plus they would need to leave a sizable garrison to occupy the island which means they will have even less men to invade the rest of the North.

    My guess is Balon may have considered the importance of taking Bear Island but decided in the end that the cost of taking it outweighed its strategic value. I mean the lives that would have been lost just to take the island and then the need to leave an occupying force there to secure it could have very easily made it an albatross around his neck and impeded any further plans to for further invasion.

    • Brett says:

      I’d second that as well. The Bear Islanders have had to deal with raids from the Frozen Shore wildlings, so it’s very possible that they’d be much more on alert and prepared for potential sea attacks and could make taking the island costly for the Iron Men (if they can take it at all without damaging their other commitments in terms of force). Whereas with Deepwood Motte, it sounds like they were caught totally by surprise.

    • David Hunt says:

      While your reasons for Balon not attacking Bear Island make strategic sense, I’m not sure that they’re accurate. Judging any decision that Balon Greyjoy makes based on how much strategic sense it makes it a prospect fraught with peril.

      To illustrate, I quote poorquentyn when asked what the single worst decision any character in ASOIAF was, he replied that pretty much every decision Balon Greyjoy made was a tie. I can find virtually no fault with that assessment.

      • Murc says:

        Because I’m in the business of disagreeing with Quentyn, I do have to say there’s one exception: Balon pushing Asha, by far the most intelligent, level-headed, self-aware, and non-genocidal member of House Greyjoy, as his heir and future ruler of the Iron Islands was the smartest decision we ever see him make, head and shoulders above the rest of his idiocy.

        • David Hunt says:

          Yes. I almost listed his pushing Asha as his heir as the specific exception that proves the rule. It’s also why I said “virtually” no fault. Quentyn was engaging in a bit of hyperbole for humor and effect. It’s possible for even Balon Greyjoy to make a decision that isn’t horrible. But in general…

          Also, if you’d allow a semi-personal question, are you the same Murc that posts at Lawyers Guns & Money? I read things there regularly.

          • Murc says:

            I absolutely am! Thank you for noticing. Even if I weren’t using the same username here, the excessive pedantry and inability to simply let the joke be a joke would have 100% given me away. I am also opinions-about-tiaras on tumblr.

            I honestly should have made it over here years ago. I’m not sure why I didn’t, ASOIAF has been a borderline obsession for me since 2001.

        • Crystal says:

          Yes, that is the *one* exception to the “Balon is as dumb as a bag of wet hair” rule. Asha got her brains from the Harlaw side of the family, to be sure.

        • Hedrigal says:

          Maybe, but I’m inclined to not give him credit for it because his actual reason for having made that decision is insane (since it frees him up to go in on another disastrous campaign against the North).

      • Keith B says:

        Balon’s goals may have been crazy, but at least he knew what he wanted and had a plan to accomplish it. He certainly wasn’t the best strategist around, but I wouldn’t call him the worst. For example, Doran Martel makes Balon look like a strategic genius.

        • Murc says:

          Doran Martell is absolutely a good strategist. It is his nieces and daughter who are idiots.

          I mean. Doran comes to the absolutely, 100% correct conclusion that his underpopulated kingdom cannot, in fact, actually fight all the rest of Westeros put together. Or, rather, it can do, but the last two or three times it tried that Dorne was left a smoking ruin and there’s a strong argument, advanced by our host, that Dorne hasn’t actually yet recovered from Aegon and Daeron, that it is actually weaker now than it was before the Conquest.

          So he bides his time and waits carefully and positions himself to take advantage of things if the proper time ever arrives. He had that secret marriage contract with Viserys that he could invoke if it ever looked like Viserys was going to become a going concern, or could made to be a going concern. When he heard there was a Targaryen out there with dragons, he moves quickly and decisively to send his son to treat with her and get his house in on the ground floor of what he probably hopes will be Conquest II: This Time It’s Personal. When it appears as though his nephew has returned from the grave, he moves equally quickly.

          Doran Martell knows what he is doing. Not all his moves are necessarily gonna pan out, but they’re decent-to-smart moves.

    • Crystal says:

      I agree with this. Bear Island was large and well-defended, and its defenders (the island’s women) weren’t going anywhere. Plus think of the negative PR in the very patriarchal Ironborn culture if they got their keisters handed to them by an army of women – which was more likely than not, as the Ironborn way is to attack, raid, and then leave with their ill-gotten gains, not fight an actual resident army. And if the resident women fought like their Mormont liege ladies, then I think the Ironborn *would* have had their asses handed to them. Suppose Asha was killed? Who would be Balon’s heir? Euron is in exile, and Victarion doesn’t seem able to produce a child. Suck it up and appoint Theon your heir, or wave bye-bye to the Greyjoy line, Balon. Or marry Cersei!

      Bear Island is poor – I mean, at least Galbart Glover left wine behind at Deepwood Motte, but Bear Island is not going to have much worth fighting over. Maybe some of the more feckless Ironborn would wander off and get eaten by actual bears…(Now if there was ever actual heavy-duty trade established, with, say, Braavos, Bear Island could offer timber, fish, furs, maybe mineral resources, that Braavos might really need.)

  2. fjallstrom says:

    Regarding Tywin’s strategy at Green Fork, I figured he couldn’t resist first beating the green boy before making peace, what with Tywin’s reputation to uphold and all. Essentially his pride getting the better of him, and then events conspired to make peace impossible.

    But if I understand your argument his strategy was to defeat first the three northern kingdoms one-on-one before refocusing to the south. That’s ​a nutty strategy, in particular when you already hold the throne. Tywin would have been so lost if not for Tyrion’s alliances, Stannis killing Reply, and then everything going just so.

    • Murc says:

      In fairness to Tywin, “holding the throne” means “King’s Landing and the two thousand armed-but-not-soldiers men of the City Watch.” King’s Landing was surrounded by enemies on all sides, and the Lannister “coalition” at this point doesn’t actually exist, because literally everyone else is either openly against them, or at least not for them.

      If Tywin had done what Cersei wanted him to do, which is punch through the Riverlands to King’s Landing with all of his power, that actually doesn’t put them in a much stronger position, because they’re still surrounded on all sides by foes. The only hope of House Lannister is to defeat their enemies in detail before they have time to coalesce, and Tywin, to his credit, makes a solid go of this; he goes right through the Riverlands like a hot knife through butter (I love you Edmure, I do, but I’m not gonna defend your conduct during the first part of the campaign) and he has to stay there to keep the Riverlords and the Starks from combining their power, possibly making a southron alliance, and placing King’s Landing under siege.

      This doesn’t precisely work, because Robb flips the script in a bunch of ways; his declaration of independence means he doesn’t give a shit about King’s Landing or the Iron Throne, only securing the North and the Riverlands. This allows him to make choices that someone who has to claim the Iron Throne in order to “win” cannot make.

      Short of just surrendering at the outset, Tywin made probably the most decent strategic choices he possibly could, I think. This does not mean, however, that you aren’t absolutely correct that without Tyrion working his ass off and other events going, as you say, just so, that he’s pretty boned. The Lannisters were trying to take on the world and that might not’ve gone so well.

      • fjallstrom says:

        He has no good military options, and I agree his course is the least bad military course. But holding the Iron Throne, he has the political upper ground. His goal should as soon as he becomes Hand switch to bringing support for Jeoffrey, instead of fighting for the return of Tyrion (that he probably has written off​).

        He actually has two good cards, in that his side holds Ned (and his daughter) and that the Lannisters has scored victories in the Riverlands. If he gets Ned to swear fealty by credibly threatening his kid (essentially doing the part Jaime much later does at Riverrun) and returns him to the North, he has at least one less foe. If he also makes peace with the Tullys for fealty and a return to status quo ante and the return of Tyrion (if alive), he has two less foes, and supply for King’s Landing. With the North and Riverlands supporting the King (in words, if not in deeds), the Vale has little reason to get involved, so make that three less enemies.

        With that, a Westerland not depleted of troops, a marriage deal with Dorne to flank the Reach and Stormlands (per the original timeline) and a fierce reputation, Mace Tyrell might think twice about backing Renly. Or at least it gives Tywin a chance to win the actual war against the Baratheon brothers.

        But instead he marches to hold the Green Fork, trying to defeat three kingdoms he doesn’t need to defeat one-on-one, spending troops he will need later against the actual rivals for the crown and leaves the political side to his daughter without anyone ​in charge with an understanding of the over-arching strategy (shades of Robb and Edmure there).

        Don’t get me wrong, he makes an excellent antagonist on the Doylist level, it’s ​just that his strategy is all force and luck on the Watsonian level. He knows that you must rise up the man who bends his knee, it’s just that he hasn’t understood that there are other strategies then military defeating them first.

  3. Keith B says:

    The point of Asha taking Deepwood Motte is that it was takeable. It’s about the home front and public relations. After the debacle of the Greyjoy Rebellion, Balon needed an easy victory to maintain support for the war. He could point to Deepwood Motte and say that even early in the fighting, the Ironborn had already captured a major Northern fortress. True, it was a relatively weak fortress, poorly defended, and more vulnerable from the sea than any of the others, but he didn’t need to emphasize that. He needed a win. Moat Cailin was more important strategically, but it didn’t have the propaganda value because there wasn’t anything there.

  4. Crystal says:

    Renly’s justification for attempting to be king seem to have been from the school of Stuart Smalley: “I’m good-looking, I’m smart, and, dammit, people like me!” I don’t think he was thinking about the succession, primogeniture, or, indeed, what he was going to do once his butt was on that throne. I don’t think he would have liked the hard work that being an absolute monarch entailed. But no, there was no grand plan there.

    And I think he had to have known about the incest. Why? How else could he have justified replacing Cersei with Margaery? There was no no-fault divorce in Westeros. Cersei had already borne children, who were heirs to the throne, so no annulment on account of “barrenness” which some medieval monarchs used to get rid of unwanted wives. If Westeros is like most of medieval Europe, an annulment was a complicated process that required grounds and the woman and her family could fight it. (See: Catherine of Aragon.) So Renly had to drop an incest bombshell, or at least adultery, in order to render her marriage null and, more importantly, bar her children from the succession – or why even bother with installing Margaery in the first place? The conclusion that Renly knew about the incest is inescapable to me.

    BTW, one of the things that make me really hate Renly is how awful he was about Shireen. Making fun of a sweet little girl because of her looks and implying she’s a bastard is *really punching down*, Renly ol’ pal.

  5. They will bend the knee says:

    Hi I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to speak to dozens of hardcore fans of the serie to ask a quick question.
    I will participate in a LARP set in ASOIAF world, with some minor changes, and will play the head of house Locke, from the North. I was wondering if someone had any idea what their words could be ? I found nothing in the canon maybe some fan has created something cool yet, otherwise I’d come up with something on my own. I’m interested in anyone’s ideas.

    Thank you.

  6. Mark hayes says:

    Hey one question what if after aegon conquered westeros he had used your economic development plans what would westeros look like by the start of the series

    • Well, keep in mind a lot of those Econ Dev. plans are, if not contradictory, in competition. But I think I answered this one at some point on the Tumblr.

      • Murc says:

        I can’t speak for others, but I would read the hell out of a capstone economic development post from the standpoint of “Westeros as a whole” rather than “this one of the sub-kingdoms which is treating the other seven sub-kingdoms as economic rivals rather than part of the same nation-state.”

        It would, of course, probably feature the same amount of canal-building. If not more!

      • Mark hayes says:

        well give me examples of contradictions with your plans and have you read the story many sons of winter if so what are your thoughts and opinions on it

      • Mark hayes says:

        And give me your answer from tumbler

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