RFTIT Tumblr Weekly(ish) Roundup


Hey folks! We’re actually a bit overdue for one of these, so I have quite a bit of stuff from the Tumblrs ready to go:




31 thoughts on “RFTIT Tumblr Weekly(ish) Roundup

  1. Brett says:

    Hmm, I wonder if my post got eaten.

  2. Brett says:

    I’ll try again, and hope I don’t end up with pointless duplicate comments.

    I could see a divergence into specialist schools and even separate universities after Euron’s coming attack on Oldtown. If it destroys the Citadel and kills most of the leadership of the Order of Maesters, then the surviving Maesters elsewhere in the Seven Kingdoms would have to gather together in groups to preserve their knowledge, rebuild libraries, and train new acolytes. These would logically appear around the ruling castle towns and cities.

    Who doesn’t want to fight movie velociraptors, King Kong, giant snakes, and fireless dragon cousins in Sothoryos?

    • Murc says:

      Oldtown has been sacked and burned before; the Maesters survived without splintering.

    • I don’t think Euron’s attack is going to succeed, imho. And I’m pretty sure the thin place will not be on top of Oldtown itself, but nearby…which leads me to guess that the maesters will end up studying/containing the thin place like Cadia guarding the Eye of Chaos.

      • Brett says:

        The Hightower? That seems likely, and there’s obviously precedent for haunted giant ruins (plus it would be pretty dramatic to have it collapse upon the bay).

        I don’t think Euron’s going to succeed at . . . whatever he’s trying to do, but I do think he’s going to cause a Hardhome-style fiery calamity that creates a Thin Place and devastates Oldtown (and the Citadel).

      • Murc says:

        Euron’s attack actually imploding would be amazing news for Asha and Theon as Last Krakens Standing. Assuming she can finesse some sort of pardon for Theon (my money is on Bran interceding on Theon’s behalf, which the northerners interpret as an act of diving intervention and clemency of a sort) Asha can probably make a deal with Stannis that leaves her with a pretty good shot at installing her brother in Pyke.

  3. Haplo-6 says:

    “…the Valyrians had in ancient days reached as far as Oldtown but suffered some great reverse or tragedy there that caused them to shun all of Westeros thereafter.”

    It seems likely to me, that the lack of dragons in Westeros for most of its existence is due to the presence of wargs. The above attempt in the “ancient days” experienced a “tragedy” which doesn’t sound much like a military defeat. This certainly sets up a Bran as dragon rider for the show, and a possible full-on Stark dragon-acquisition for the books.

    • Murc says:

      I’ve seen this theory before, and color me dubious. Warging was almost certainly never all that common, and to the extent it was, it’s a First Men tradition that the Andals would have thoroughly wiped out south of the Neck. Hell, it isn’t even that common in the North, only north of the Wall.

      To be honest… the Valyrians, for all they had the greatest empire the world had ever known (although I think Yi Ti might give them a run for their money, and I think the empire Aegon forged in Westeros is probably bigger) didn’t actually seem to care all that much about being aggressively imperialistic. The Ghiscari wars seem to have mostly been started by the Ghiscari. They left the Sarnori kingdoms completely alone and those would have been ripe, fat plums for the Dragonlords. Their expansion into western Essos seems half-hearted at best, relying mostly on independent colonial expeditions to found quasi-independent city-states only loosely attached to the Valyrian homeland.

      This isn’t to say they didn’t stomp their fair share of people flat. (Ask the Rhoynar.) But Westeros is a long, long way from the Lands of the Long Summer. So while I can’t rule out the warg theory, I’m more inclined to look for more prosaic explanation.

      • Brett says:

        It might be the “Roman Republic” connection. What the feuding families that dominated Valyrian politics cared about was their respective power position within Valyria itself, and the empire was rather informal and hegemonic because they were using it primarily as a source of wealth and power to enhance their position in the intra-Valyrian struggle for power.

    • Grant says:

      The story doesn’t suggest there’s going to be some mass acquisition of dragons by Starks, just Jon.

      And if the wargs were taking over Valyrian dragons, you’d have to wonder how the Andals ever conquered the First Men. Just one would be enough to basically make an entire region of Westeros permanently off limits.

      • Steven Xue says:

        I think its because Westeros (especially the North) isn’t very hospitable to dragons during the winter years. Besides Dragonstone there doesn’t appear to be any volcanoes in Westeros or other sources of heat which will allow them to thrive permanently. Maybe the area around Winterfell once had dragons because of their hot springs, which may explain why they supposedly have a stone dragon.

        • Grant says:

          We don’t see a mention of the post-invasion dragons having problems until after the Dance of Dragons, which would back Marwyn’s theory more, and pre-invasion Targaryen dragons at Dragonstone were far away from a volcanic climate but they managed to hatch two healthy dragons who would grow up just fine.

          Besides the dragons’ health, Dorne would have been warm enough and probably the Reach as well.

    • The problem with that theory is that there’s not much of a link between Oldtown and warging, or an explanation for why the same principle didn’t hold for Dragonstone.

  4. Keith B says:

    I have to disagree about the prospects of gaining the fealty of the mountain clans of the Vale. If the North can accommodate the wildlings, the Vale can do the same with its mountain people. It wouldn’t be easy and certainly not quick, but if House Arryn was truly committed for several generations to winning them over, it could be done. The mountain clans aren’t like the Ironborn, who have demonstrated for several thousand years that they are not just deplorable, but actually incorrigible. The clans raid because they are desperately poor and it’s the only way they can stay alive, not because they have some ideology that piracy is the only honorable way of life. The Vale could bring them into the polity with the right incentives, as the British eventually did with the Scottish Highlanders.

    • Murc says:

      The North has never really accommodated the wildlings, tho. The North sort of hates the wildlings and has for millenia.

      As for the mountain clans… the big issue is, where are you gonna put those people?

      The mountain clans do not live in the mountains because they like the mountains per se. They live in the mountains because they don’t have anywhere else to go to; they were driven up there because all the best land was taken by the Andals and their own lords either couldn’t protect them or were active collaborators. The clansmen specifically want the Vale, which they view as their ancient birthright. “You can have peace if you stay in your shitty mountains” is likely going to sound like a really bad deal to them. They’re going to want good Vale land, which is all taken, and they’re going to want to hold it in their own name and not as peasant farmers, but as lords and freeholders in their own right. Who are you going to dispossess in order to make that happen?

      • Good point. There’s no Gift in the Vale that’s available for settlement.

      • Keith B says:

        The reference to accommodating the wildlings is to Jon Snow’s plan to allow them to move south of the Wall and settle in the Gift. He’s doing this entirely on his authority as Lord Commander, but if the Starks were in Winterfell and supported him, the task would be much easier. Not easy, of course, but the Starks’ power and prestige would make a huge difference. For the same reasons, any plan to make the mountain clans part of the Vale polity would need a commitment from the Arryns to make it work.

        As for where to put them, most would stay where they are, at least initially. However, part of the plan would be to provide shelters, comparable to the Winter Town at Winterfell, where those who were unlikely to survive the mountain winters could go. Winters in the Mountains of the Moon must be devastating to the old, the sick, and young children. Providing for their needs would build trust.

        Another part would be to employ the young men as soldiers, much as the Scottish Highlanders started to join the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars and after. They could send part of their pay home to support their families. This would give the men an occupation other than brigandage and establish economic links between the clans and the Vale that they would be reluctant to break.

        You could create more economic links by buying goods that the clans produce. Since they raise goats, the Arryns could either rent or sell them spinning wheels and looms, then arrange for merchants to buy the yarn and cloth. Goat cheese is another possible commodity. That would provide an incentive to protect travelers instead of attacking them, since the merchants would be unwilling to go into the mountains unless it was safe.

        Eventually the Vale could hire the more trustworthy clans to guard the High Road, under supervision of Vale knights.

        There aren’t very many people in the mountains, far fewer than there are wildlings in the North. So finding places to settle them would be less of a problem. In the long run, some of the more able and energetic could find better opportunities in the Vale or even other parts of Westeros. Shagga decided to stay in the Kingswood; doubtless others would prefer to move to a more favorable location. There’s precedent for resettlement; many members of Cregan Stark’s army decided they preferred to stay in the South after the war was over. The clans could even organize out-migration, choosing the ones to go first, then expecting them to provide support for others who would come afterwards. Those with the ability and initiative to emigrate are probably be the ones most likely to resort to raiding, so migration would help preserve the peace.

        All the incentives wouldn’t be positive. To discourage raiding, you can fortify the villages near the mountains, such as the one that Sandor and Arya stayed at. If necessary, you could even build a wall in some areas, similar to Hadrian’s Wall. There would still be punitive expeditions against brigands, but they would be in response to a specific provocation, not aimed at the mountain people generally. Since the clans fight each other as much as they attack outsiders, you can support the friendlier clans against those who insist on being recalcitrant. And economic incentives go both ways; once people start relying on money from outside, they won’t want that supply cut off.

        You could argue that these plans couldn’t even get started because of the centuries of mistrust between the Vale and the Mountains. But all that’s needed is an opening, however small. Some of the elderly may decide that it’s better to take a chance on winter shelter than to give their clan another mouth to feed. If that’s successful, then next winter some mothers with young children may choose to join them. There was plenty of enmity between the Scottish Highlanders and the British, driven by atrocities and repeated betrayals, but I’m reasonably sure you can drive around Scotland nowadays without fear of being attacked by the descendants of Rob Rob MacGregor.

        • Keith B says:

          Feh. Rob Roy MacGregor. I didn’t mean for that to land with a thud.

        • Grant says:

          It was largely on basis of Stannis being there, vastly outnumbering the NW, that got the migration going in the first place. And Jon’s only able to keep it going because of the current crisis, and his policies still get him killed.

          Arduous as it’s been in the books, it’s really not something they could have gotten done pre-crisis.

          And the mechanisms to even try getting the tribes assimilated into Vale politics and economics largely aren’t in existence. Sending pay home needs a reliable system to either move it or divide it into what the soldier is paid and what some local authority pays his family, which needs a well organized system to know who the soldier is, who his family is, and whether he’s alive or not.

          Once they leave the Vale, as is suggested, you’re getting into an entirely greater and more complicated world of politics, because now the Vale is effectively exporting its people outside into lands the Arryns have no authority over. I doubt the Iron Throne is going to look happily on a violent people, well trained in terror tactics and raiding and who have no experience of swearing fealty to lords living in the Kingswood. From the IR’s perspective and the perspective of every lord outside the Vale, the Vale’s basically dumping its (very dangerous) problem on everyone else and the current Arryn is going to get a very pointed message from them about it.

          As for Cregan Stark, those men might have been worshipers of the Old Gods, but they also were used to serving lords and weren;t viewed as really violent, really troublesome people that are just going to cause problems.

          The economic idea needs the tribes to actually see any value in what the Arryns are suggesting and not assume it’s some trap, and the Arryns able to convince merchants, villages and lords that this isn’t a harebrained scheme that will get the first two groups killed and the third ruined.

          The last problem is that no one is going to want their village fortified to keep the tribes away. They don’t want the tribes to be there in the first place.

          Could it be overcome? Maybe, but not remotely with any ease and it would be something of many decades, a lot of gold that people will pointedly say should have gone to better efforts, probably some blood getting spilled and a strong Arryn lord in charge at all times to keep pushing it through. And emigrating out of the Vale is right out, or you’ll have angry Vale lords, angry Crownlands lords, angry Riverlords and an angry king united and knocking on your door.

          • Keith B says:

            Let me mention what I think is your most important point first: that the wildlings are only being incorporated into the North because there’s a crisis. I believe there’s a crisis in the Vale as well. They have an intolerable problem that they need to solve one way or another. That they’ve had this problem for centuries and haven’t solved it yet only proves that the Arryns are nuts, not that they couldn’t solve it if they tried. I’ll come back to this.

            Jon’s policies towards the wildlings didn’t get him killed. Proposing to use the wildlings to attack a Northern lord for a personal reason got him killed. It was an unforgivable violation of the purpose of the Watch: first because the Watch is forbidden to interfere in the politics of the Seven Kingdoms, second because Jon’s oath required him to renounce all purposes other than that of the Watch, and third because he was taking sides with the Watch’s enemies against those they were sworn to protect. The last one was actual treason.

            Stannis stopped an invasion. It was Jon who initiated the migration. Jon could have left the wildlings to die.

            Finance, trade and other economic institutions can be set up if people want to do it. In our world, they existed in medieval Europe. They existed in ancient times. They didn’t just magically appear out of nowhere. Someone had to create them. If the Arryns don’t have a clue, there are probably people in Gulltown who could advise them. There are definitely people in Braavos.

            Emigration from the Mountains of the Moon would happen eventually and gradually, not immediately. People would only emigrate if there were employment opportunities elsewhere. Primitive as as the Westeros economy is, there are still jobs to do. A tavern owner may need a bouncer or a shipper could use some stevedores. There are always roads to build, bricks to lay, harbors to dredge. Also remember that the mountain population is very small. You could probably put all of them in the middle of Flea Bottom without anyone in the Red Keep noticing anything different.

            I think you misunderstand what I said about fortifying the villages. The ones I’m referring to are those adjacent to the mountains, like the one Arya and Sandor stayed at, that had just been raided. They are already subject to attack. They would welcome any extra protection they could get. Discouraging the mountain clans from attacking would help persuade them that violence won’t serve their purposes and they need to take another path if they wish to survive.

            But now we come back to the biggest point, which is that this is a problem that really does need to be solved. When Catelyn Stark took the High Road into the Vale, she had an escort of about twelve heavily armed men. That should have been enough to discourage any brigands. Yet her party was repeatedly attacked. The mountain clans way have been emboldened by the recent lack of patrols from the Eyrie, but even during the best of times the road would have been too risky for any traveler who couldn’t afford a significant number of armed guards. And that road is the only land route into the Vale. Not only that, but the clans can come out of the mountains and attack any settlement or person in the area who wasn’t adequately protected.

            That’s an intolerable situation. It’s a genuine crisis. And it’s a situation where absolutely everyone loses. The Vale loses because it’s cut off by land from the rest of Westeros. The Arryns lose because they need to devote resources to keeping the clans in check. The smallfolk in the area lose because they’re in constant danger of being robbed or killed. And the clans lose because they die in large numbers from starvation, violence, and winter.

            It’s possible to envision a solution where everyone is better off instead of worse. In fact I envisioned it. And the reaction I get is “oh, it won’t work, it’s hard.” I said it would be hard. But if you’re Lord Arryn, then let me respectfully suggest that you start doing your goddamned job. You’re supposed to be keeping the people safe. And the mountain clans are living on your land and they’re also your people, even if they don’t want to be.

            But maybe you don’t care for that solution. Well, the alternative is to destroy them. With a determined effort, that could be done and they’d never bother you again. I don’t think anyone really wins that way. Some people stop losing and a lot of others die. The current situation is so pathological that it’s easy to imagine alternatives that are better for everyone, and that’s what I’d prefer. But you need to choose. You can either bring them in or wipe them out. Those are the alternatives.

        • fjallstrom says:

          It could work, but I think it’s more likely to blow up spectacularly.

          Imagine that some clans go robbing for one reason or another. Then we have a punitive expedition with Knights of the Vale. Now, will the Knights punish the right clan or just any clan as they are probably used to? Say that the wrong clan gets hit, that means you now have armed people inside the Vale’s forces that are probably mighty pissed. And you have some slipping back to their clan, with their arms and training.

          The clans are to few to take over the Vale, like the Germanic tribes took Rome, but wiping out a knightly expedition would probably hurt a lot. And with up to date arms and tactics plus informers within the Vale and local knowledge, that should be doable. Probably needs an ambush, but that is what mountains are for.

          If the Vale should recruit clansmen they need to send them abroad. So a colonisation project it is. Could Shagga beat a T Rex?

          • Keith B says:

            The British army during the Napoleonic Wars was full of people who were mighty pissed at the country they served. Between the Irish, the Highlanders and the Welsh, probably half their army consisted of people who hated the bloody British and would just as soon see them lose. And yet they won. How could that be, I wonder?

          • fjallstrom says:

            I would guess because the British army sent them to the continent or over seas to fight in the various colonial conflicts. But the Vale currently has no conflicts far from home and would be looking at a scenario more like the late Roman empire and the Germanic tribes that were settled as foederati. That worked less well.

            That is why I think the Vale needs a colonial project to make it work so they have somewhere outside the homeland to send the clansmen. Though lacking technological superiority it is hard to see where to send them. Unless Shagga can beat a T Rex.

    • The North is barely, barely accomodating the wildlings, and they share a common religion and ethnicity with the wildlings.

      The mountain clans and the knights of the Vale have no such common ground.

      • Abbey Battle says:

        I agree – one would also like to note that the Troubles between Scottish Highlanders and Lowlanders were only truly settled after the Battle of Culloden, a period when the Highlanders were effectively FORCED to do things the Lowland way without even the serious possibility of resorting to Armed Resistance.

        One might make much the same observation of the situation in the Welsh Marches, which the situation in The Vale also reminds me of (probably even more so than the Scottish Highlands, given the shape of The Vale and its very name): it is not an encouraging precedent.

        • Keith B says:

          I think Culloden and Glencoe cut my way, not yours. They show that past history, however discreditable, doesn’t preclude future reconciliation.

          There may be many ways to solve a problem, but the first step is admitting that you actually have a problem. Once you’ve conceded that the conflict between the Vale and the mountain clans has to be resolved, the only question is which of several options you choose to do it. Repression can work, if it’s harsh enough. Maybe that’s your preferred solution. But it’s not always the only way or even the best way. And the main thing, the most important thing, is to accept that you need to do something.

  5. Crystal says:

    Re the Crannogmen and the Freys: I agree that smuggling was probably tops on what got the Crannogmen on the Frey’s shitlist – it cut into their precious revenue. I’ll add that the Crannogwomen, with their spears and self-sufficient ways, might have given Frey wives and daughters Bad Ideas about not kowtowing to men, which the Frey men didn’t want them to have.

    • Keith B says:

      We all admire the plucky little crannogmen and despise the big bad Freys. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some sheep stealing going on along with the smuggling and harboring outlaws. Man does not live by frog alone, you know.

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