RFTIT Tumblr Weekly Roundup!

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Hey folks! Catelyn II is coming along nicely – up to 3,000 words – and will probably be up sometime this week. After that comes Politics of the Reach Part IV, which is looking like the final part of that particular essay. My hope is that the Stormlands, as a rather short (and dull) chapter in WOIAF, will go more quickly…

In the meantime, what do we have on the Tumblrs?

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17 thoughts on “RFTIT Tumblr Weekly Roundup!

  1. Brett says:

    Oh, I think it ate my comment. Sad.

    Given enough time and more decline, it’s possible the Watch would have re-settled the Gift and worked out an arrangement for men of the Gift to temporarily reinforce the Wall if a threat came that the Black Brothers couldn’t handle. That wasn’t necessary back when they were 10,000 strong before the Conquest, but now it’s different.

    You’re right about the “demand” issue. It could be that the regional impact of the Doom was severe enough that tons of slaves and peasants died, and that drove initially massive demand for more slaves to replace them. I wouldn’t put it past the slave cities to eventually move into a “work agriculture and mine slaves to death and replace them” mode as well once population recovered and the massive slave trade was established, since that’s what Valyria itself seems to have done with mining slaves in the Fourteen Fires.

    • Murc says:

      I’m actually not quite sure that the economics of the slave trade entirely hold up, simply because I’m not sure about either supply or demand.

      Like… okay. Let’s talk supply. You have the three cities of Slaver’s Bay, Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen, which breed and sell slaves. You’ve got Naath. You’ve got the Lhazareen. And you’ve got whatever slavers can pick up from raiding the sea lanes.

      And west of the Bones, that’s basically it, right? The Dothraki are presented as providing an enormous supply of slaves. That might have once been true during their glory days when they were leveling nations, but during the time the books take place in, where are the Dothraki getting slaves to sell?

      They do not take slaves from the Free Cities because they largely don’t make war on them anymore: khalasars show up, get paid off, go away. (At the very least, they’re not taking slaves on a large, industrialized scale.) They don’t take slaves from the Slaver’s Bay region, because that’s where they go to SELL slaves. They don’t raid east of the Bones, they don’t attack Qarth, and what’s left of the Ibbenese foothold on Essos is both massively shrunken and the Hairy Men have severe drawbacks as slaves because they’re only indifferently fertile with other kinds of men. Sarnor is long-gone, ground into the Dothraki Sea, so they can’t get slaves from there anymore.

      So the Dothraki take slaves from the Lhazereen and… that’s it? Maybe they take them from each other? Will Dothraki sell their own kind into slavery to foreigners? I don’t recall seeing much on the topic. If they’re net exporters, where is their input coming from?

      As for demand… I have to wonder how much of the demand for what Slaver’s Bay produces flows east rather than west. Maybe the Qartheen and the Yi Tish are big buyers? Because I have trouble seeing how the Free Cities that practice slavery, plus Mantarys and Tolos, are absorbing what they produce. Maybe the proposition that Volantis explicitly has a “work them to death, buy more” model accounts for it, but… I dunno.

      • Brett says:

        I’m not sure that Sarnor and the Dothraki Sea are completely empty of people, although the cities are long-gone.

      • Tywin of the Hill says:

        The Dothraki do sell other Dothraki to slavery, if Daenerys VII AGOT is any indication.

        • Murc says:

          Ah, you are correct, sir. I was trying to remember that chapter and didn’t get to look it up until I got home from work. Thank you!

          That’s real interesting. If the Dothraki are more than willing to sell each other into slavery that probably provides a constant, massive influx into Slaver’s Bay.

          It would also mean that much of the slave populace of the Free Cities is ethnically Dothraki. One wonders how much of their culture and attitudes they take with them.

          I’ll have to ponder that.

          • Brett says:

            That almost seems like it would clash with the Dothraki equivalent of “manifest destiny” that Steven has brought up before.

          • Tywin of the Hill says:

            “It would also mean that much of the slave populace of the Free Cities is ethnically Dothraki”
            If the Unsullied are representative, then yes:

            “Ignoring them all, Dany walked slowly down the line of slave soldiers. The girls followed close behind with the silk awning, to keep her in the shade, but the thousand men before her enjoyed no such protection. More than half had the copper skins and almond eyes of Dothraki and Lhazerene, but she saw men of the Free Cities in the ranks as well…”
            Daenerys II- A Storm of Swords

          • Crystal says:

            I was reading an article about the Barbary pirates of the 17th century; they apparently heavily raided the coasts of Spain, Italy, and other Mediterranean/Adriatic areas, and even raided as far as Ireland (see the Sack of Baltimore). These pirates were said to have depopulated areas of the coast from Venice in Italy to Malaga in Spain. I wonder if the same was true in coastal areas of Essos and even some areas beyond the Wall? Maaaaybe even remote areas of the Vale under absentee lords like Petyr Baelish – *but* given the religious abhorrence of slavery, and the general piety of the Vale lords, I can’t imagine the likes of Jon Arryn not giving a stern order to protect the villagers and kill any slavers.

            IIRC, slavers did settle in the North under a weak king, but when his successor Jon Stark took the throne, he turned the slavers over to their slaves, who sacrificed them to a heart tree, and that was the end of that. But I wouldn’t be surprised if raiding unprotected areas, at least in Essos, was a source of slaves.

          • fjallstrom says:

            The Dothraki are a culture that violently assimilates people, and also enslaves each other. Leadership is earned through violence. The manifest destiny is that of the culture, not of an ethnic group or bloodline. The Lhazareen appears to be of the same looks, but different culture.

            It’sā€‹ in a way a counterpoint to Westeros with it’s bloodlines and it’s static ways.

      • fjallstrom says:

        When it comes to supply, the Lhazareen appears to be growing in population, if we look at the attempt at establishing a settlement on Dothraki lands in AGOT as expansion. Given the likelihood of Dothraki retaliation, this expansion looks a bit desperate, indicating a lack of land, in effect over-population.

        On the other hand, for it to make sense as a gamble, it needs to be limited in time. Move to Dothraki land, raise a bunch of sheep, move back, sell the sheep and buy a better position. Which means social mobility.

        So the Lhazareen had persistent high population growth (enough to refill land depopulated by slavers and still have population pressure make sheep farmers take desperate gambles), social mobility and a culture not fixated on warrior culture. Get them the means to defend themselves against the Dothraki (guns from Bravoos?) and they will settle the Dothraki plains and roll right over the stale slave societies surrounding it. The sheep shall inherit the earth!

  2. Crystal says:

    I agree with Steven that if Aerys died before the Tourney, there would have been a lot less bloodshed. Certainly Rickard Stark would have been spared a fiery death.

    But given Lyanna’s position in society, if Rhaegar refuses to give her back, there will be two Lords Paramount – Rickard Stark and Robert Baratheon – who won’t be happy campers. Add Doran Martell, whose sister is Rhaegar’s cheated-on wife. And even the unrelated Lords Paramount aren’t going to be thrilled with a King who kidnaps noble women because of some BS prophecy. (Rhaegar doesn’t think it’s BS, obviously, but I’m sure a lot of the other lords would roll their eyes.)

    Would the end result still be a war, albeit less bloody, or a quiet deposition in favor of baby Aegon, or just Rhaegar being known as “Rhaegar the Unworthy”…? I’m not sure.

    • bookworm1398 says:

      I think a lot depends on the timing. If Lyanna is already pregnant, I think the Starks would agree to a marriage deal, it would just be a matter of negotiating suitable compensation. Assurance that Aegon would still be the heir should satisfy the Martells. Robert would still be upset, but without support there isn’t much he could do except challenge Rhaegar to a duel – and possibly Jon Arryn could talk him out of that?

      • Murc says:

        I was saying on tumblr that I think a big, huge deal in this scenario for Hypothetical King Rhaegar is what Lyanna says.

        Because Lyanna isn’t without agency. We’re talking a lot about what Rhaegar will do, what Rickard and Jon Arryn and Robert and whatnot will do… but Lyanna isn’t some passive observer here. Her father and brothers love her and value her wants and needs, and she’s strong-willed and prepared to act on her own behalf if necessary.

        A lot would hinge on what Lyanna tells her father, brother, and fiance with regard to how she would prefer things play out. Her opinion matters.

        • “Her father and brothers love her and value her wants and needs”

          Ned loved Sansa and valued her wants and needs but he still put his foot down and said ‘You’re coming home with me and you’re not marrying that arseling.’ And Ned didn’t have Lord Rickard’s concerns about Lyanna’s wolf-blood clouding her judgement.

          Furthermore, I think Robert demonstrates that his conception of Lyanna is essentially passive, the silent madonna to Cersei’s screeching whore.

          Yes, it might make a difference exactly what Lyanna says…but this series is replete with examples of women (some of them a lot older than Lyanna was at the time) being patted on the head and told to wait quietly until the grown ups are finished. It happens to Cat all the bloody time.

          If Rickard or Brandon or Robert want to make something of this, they’re going to find a reason no matter what Lyanna has to say about it.

  3. weinerparty says:

    If you buy the dominant theory on the Tourney of Harrenhal (informal Grand Council) doesn’t that butterfly it away all together?

    • Actually, I think that if Rhaegar became king in those circumstances he would actually need a tourney more than he did before. There would be no need for the cloak and dagger with Lord Whent, and possibly the event would be held in Kings Landing, but Harrenhal is a very central location for getting all the lords of the realm together.

      Consider this: Aerys died a shut-in going slowly insane in the dark and things like Southron Ambitions and Rhaegar’s own plot show that the credibility of the monarchy had taken a bit of a knock from this.

      A tourney, especially a massive tourney like the one that eventually got held, is a good way to start presenting the image of a new monarchy, giving Rhaegar the chance to:

      1) Schmooze with his lords

      2) Throw lots of money around and so appear open handed

      3) Make like an awesome badass in the jousting

      All of which would help him in creating the right kingly image after the problems of his old man.

  4. fjallstrom says:

    Regarding Dothraki and metal, as far as I know, Eurasian nomads has had their own distinct metalworks, and thus their own metalworkers. So unless Martin has stated otherwise, I assume the same is true for the Dothraki.

    Siege weapons on the other hand has in our world been managed by “recruited” experts, but so far the Dothraki seems not to have the hang of that.

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