Tower of the Hand

Politics of the Seven Kingdoms Part IV

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This post discusses the fifth book of the series, A Dance with Dragons (published 2011). If you've completed the book, set your scope above to ADWD. Otherwise, we advise you to avoid reading this post as it may contain spoilers.

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Footnotes

Warning: Footnotes may contain spoilers from later chapters or books.
  • 1 - Another sign of the Riverlands' importance for the First Men is that much of the surviving First Men "myth and song ... colorful tales of Artos the Strong, Florian the Fool, Nine-Finger Jack, Sharra the Witch Queen, and the Green King of the Gods Eye," are set in the Riverlands, with Florian and Jonquil associated with Maidenpool and the Green King with the Godseye.
  • 2 - According to a 1999 So Spake Martin, "the Mudds and Fishers were two dynasties of River Kings, who ruled the lands around the Trident in ancient times, but were destroyed in wars by the Storm Kings or Ironmen." GRRM clearly changed his mind about House Mudd in A Storm of Swords, but it's worth noting that if the line of the Fishers ended in a war with the Storm Kings or the Ironborn, it would fit the pattern of the Mudds (defeated by the Andals), Justmans (defeated by the Ironborn), and Teagues (defeated by the Stormlords).
  • 3 - This last detail may explain how the Vances, who were the "mightiest of the Andal conquerors" in the immediate aftermath of the fall of House Mudd, failed to become true Kings of the Rivers. Given that Wayfarer's Rest is at the far western border of the Riverlands and that the Vances were formerly the overlords of the Tullys, it's likely that Atranta also lies to the west. If the Westermen were pouring over the border to "pillage and conquer," it's possible that they sapped the strength of this House before they could establish themselves as the Arryns of the Riverlands.
  • 4 - Incidentally, the detail about Torrence paying for his army by "seiz[ing] a fortune in gold in a daring attack upon the westerlands" is quite puzzling. The WOIAF tells us that the Lannisters met the Andal invasion of the Westerlands with ease, with the first three armies of Andals smashed to pieces in the hills, and the sage Kings Tyrion III and Gerold II co-opting the Andals into fighting their own. So where is there space for Torrence's daring raid? I see two possible solutions: the first is that Torrence was raiding those parts of the Westerlands that were outside of the realm at that time (the WOIAF mentions that). The second is that, as the Lannisters used co-opted Andals to fight back would-be conquerors, it might be that Torrence was one of those Andals who fought for the Lannisters, but preferred to take his payment in Casterly Rock gold rather than land and title.
  • 5 - The Stormlands and Crownlands together add up to 40,000 men under arms. If Arrec's army was half-again the size of Harwyn's, that makes Harwyn's army about 26,000 strong, and only 3,000 of those were Ironborn.
  • 6 - Slighting a castle refers to the deliberate destruction of a castle's walls and other defenses, so that the structure is no longer defensible.
  • 7 - "The Rust family had produced great soldiers, by the undemanding standards of 'Deduct your own casualties from those of the enemy and if the answer is a positive number, it was a glorious victory' school of applied warfare." (Terry Pratchett, Jingo)
  • 8 - There's a confusing inconsistency here. On the one hand, we're told that Halleck's wars against the Storm Kings were unsuccessful. On the other, we're told that "Harren's father had extended his domains east to Duskendale and Rosby." This, in turn, is contradicted by the accounts that Harren himself is said to have conquered the same lands a generation later: "Harren the Black and his ironmen had pushed them from the Trident and the lands north of the Blackwater Rush." Personally, I lean towards Harren having been the conqueror and Halleck the incompetent, as that's more thematically consistent and better explains Argilac's actions with regard to Aegon Targaryen.

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