[A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

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[A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by Crazedwraith » 2019-02-28 08:17am

I was going to title it "what was Robb Stark's worst mistake?" but his absolute worst is pretty obvious in and out of universe, breaking a marriage alliance in favour of someone who brings very little to his cause. But really Robb made plenty of mistakes in retrospect.

including (based on the first three books):
  • going South personally, leaving Bran to rule the north. This goes to shit quickly.
  • assigning Roose Bolton to command his entire force of foot independently, allowing Bolton to undermine him and waste his forces.
  • sending Theon to treat with his father rather than keeping him close as a hostage
  • not letting edmure in on the big strategic plan, which leads Edmure to screw things up with best intentions
  • breaks marriage alliance for another house
  • executes Rickard Karstark and makes no efforts to retain the rest of his forces.
It's easy to think of Robb as a great guy who only made one big mistake, but really the dude messed up a lot, understandably for 14 year old. He seems to be a competent enough tactician and strategists but lacking in leadership, losing people's allegiance easily and not regaining it, not trusting subordinates excepting them to follow him loyally and to the letter without question.

What do you guys thing? Have I missed any fuckups?
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Re: [A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by Bedlam » 2019-02-28 01:24pm

Crazedwraith wrote:
2019-02-28 08:17am
  • going South personally, leaving Bran to rule the north. This goes to shit quickly.
Would his bannermen have supported a leader who stayed at home while sending them off to fight? Who would he have apointed as the armies leader if he wasn't there? Given how communications are he wouldn't have really retained any control of his forces if he stayed back home.

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Re: [A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by Crazedwraith » 2019-02-28 02:36pm

Bedlam wrote:
2019-02-28 01:24pm
Crazedwraith wrote:
2019-02-28 08:17am
  • going South personally, leaving Bran to rule the north. This goes to shit quickly.
Would his bannermen have supported a leader who stayed at home while sending them off to fight? Who would he have apointed as the armies leader if he wasn't there? Given how communications are he wouldn't have really retained any control of his forces if he stayed back home.
As Catelyn tells him, he could have sent literally any of his lords in his place. Delegation! Though Catelyn is not unbiased her PoV strongly suggests that if he had assigned someone else to go this would not have result in much loss of honor and status, Robb after all was not Lord at that point anyway. At least in comparison to him leading them down until they met Catelyn and then being sent home.

The other option of course is to leave someone more capable than a recently crippled 8 year old in charge of the north. His reasoning in both cases is simply 'A Stark must do this'. Now I'm not saying Robb doesn't have his reasons for any of these decisions just that they all went badly and are interesting to consider what they tell us about him.

In both the case of Bran leading the North and Bolton's command, is mother inadvertently worsens the decisions. By refusing to got to Winterfell to help Bran manage the north herself, and encouraging Robb to pick someone other than the Greatjon as commander of the foot army, which makes him go to Bolton as second choice.


Another mistake I meant to note was him depending entirely on Moat Cailin as all that was needed to defend the north, when the second biggest city his primary enemies if have is Lannisport, now there's not much evidence the Lannisters have much of a navy rather than merchant fleet and Robb was expecting to enlist the iron isles to help there so again understandable but still a mistake.

That and his blunder with Edmure well seems to have a bad record with contingencies, his plans are good but when they fall through he doesn't have much to fall back on.
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Re: [A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by Solauren » 2019-02-28 05:18pm

Most of his mistakes would have been avoided if he'd sent Catelyn home.

Catelyn basically buggered the war for Robb.

- Bran would have had support in Winterfell
- they would have kept Jamie as a hostage
- no 'guess what Robb, you're getting married' deal with the Frey's.
- Bolton kept at arms length.

I don't remember if it was her idea to let Theon go to the Iron Isles, but if it was, that can get put on her as well.
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Re: [A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-01 01:45am

Sigh... the constant bashing of the Starks' "mistakes" from the fandom gets really irritating, especially because most of it is Flanderizing them for being "too honourable" and sneering at them for... basically being decent people, instead of HARD MAN pragmatists/organic tactical computers.

That said, nobody's perfect, especially in GoT, so let's break this down and see which of these criticisms are actually merited, before deciding which failure was worst.
Crazedwraith wrote:
2019-02-28 08:17am
I was going to title it "what was Robb Stark's worst mistake?" but his absolute worst is pretty obvious in and out of universe, breaking a marriage alliance in favour of someone who brings very little to his cause. But really Robb made plenty of mistakes in retrospect.
I will never condemn someone for refusing to follow through on an arranged marriage that they agreed to under coercion. To blame Robb for this would make me, in my eyes, an apologist for forced marriage/rape. I don't hold this against Robb any more than I hold Robert's Rebellion against Lyanna for going with Rhaegar. And before anyone says "but Robb agreed to it"- he agreed under coercion because the Freys strategically had his balls in a vise. Frey's demands were utterly unreasonable and frankly disloyal (he was a sworn Tully bannerman, yes?).

Should Robb have known what the consequences would be? I would argue no. Violating guest right is a big fucking deal in Westeros- there was no fucking way Robb could have known how far Frey would go, especially since Frey has a reputation in-universe for being a coward who likes to hedge his bets. The Red Wedding is arguably seriously out of character behaviour for him, and happened only because he had strong allies prompting him to do it, of which Robb was unaware.

If you want to blame anything, blame Robb's lack of a better spy network, Caetlyn for negotiating such an absurd deal on his behalf, or best of all, blame Frey for being a piece of duplicitous human slime even by the low standards of Westrosi nobility.
including (based on the first three books):
  • going South personally, leaving Bran to rule the north. This goes to shit quickly.
This is not a mistake. This was absolutely essential if he was going to wage war at all, in my opinion. In a society like Westeros, personal leadership on the battlefield matters, and long-distance communications are often unreliable. Moreover, considering how divided and unreliable his vassals seem to have been, who in the hell could he have trusted to command in his stead? If Bolton so thoroughly stabbed him in the back when he was present, God only knows what he could have done if they were a thousand miles apart the whole time.

Plus, Robb is an excellent tactician, and his personal leadership likely made a big difference on the battlefield.

Point noted above about Caetlyn telling him he didn't need to lead the army, but given that the very same post attacks Caetlyn for her poor judgment in other areas, there seems to be a bit of a contradiction here. Moreover, while I actually sympathize with Caetlyn a great deal and think that she probably gets the most disproportionate and excessive hostility from the GoT fandom of any single character (with the possible exception of the "blame Lyanna for not being a good subservient sex slave wife to Robert" crowd), I also am aware that Caetlyn's driving motivation as a character, much of the time, is her desire to protect her family. So I am skeptical as to how much of her argument is a strategic assessment, and how much of it is "How can I get my first born home and away from the battlefield?"
  • assigning Roose Bolton to command his entire force of foot independently, allowing Bolton to undermine him and waste his forces.
Probably a big mistake, yeah. In fairness, however, I'm not sure if Robb had any reason to suspect Bolton's treason, and Bolton is to all appearances a capable battlefield commander, so this is more a mistake with the benefit of hindsight.
  • sending Theon to treat with his father rather than keeping him close as a hostage
I'll give you that one. Robb seems to have had a blind spot where Theon's character is concerned, and foolishly counted on him to side with his best friend over his family. In fact, I'll say this is his biggest one, since it cost him his capitol, endangered much of his family, and seriously eroded his credibility with his vassals all in one go.
  • not letting edmure in on the big strategic plan, which leads Edmure to screw things up with best intentions
No comment. My knowledge of this aspect of the story is shaky at best. That said, I will point out that there is an argument, as a general principle, to keeping strategic plans as "need to know" as possible, especially when those plans rely on surprise.

Why do I have a bad feeling that this is going to turn into another version of the "should Holdo have told Poe the plan" debate over TLJ.
  • breaks marriage alliance for another house
I don't recall this. Can you elaborate?
  • executes Rickard Karstark and makes no efforts to retain the rest of his forces.
No comment. I'm not sure how I feel about that one myself.
It's easy to think of Robb as a great guy who only made one big mistake, but really the dude messed up a lot, understandably for 14 year old. He seems to be a competent enough tactician and strategists but lacking in leadership, losing people's allegiance easily and not regaining it, not trusting subordinates excepting them to follow him loyally and to the letter without question.

What do you guys thing? Have I missed any fuckups?
His "big mistake' was entirely justified in my view, but other than that this summary is more or less right, I think.

Worst mistake, as noted above, was trusting Theon.
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Re: [A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by LaCroix » 2019-03-01 07:10am

The film also changes the story a lot regarding to the books, where in the books he marries a girl (Jayne Westerling) which is a westerosi, daughter of a noble family, who has nursed him back to health after he was wounded/ill, and had taken her virginity (it is kind of implied that he might have impregnated her, too, but that is much later in the books), and married her out of honor as much as of love.

Also, she did not attend the Red Wedding, and was later pardoned. It is not sure if she was (willing or unwittingly) a part of a plot to break the Frey-Sstark alliance or if it was just young people in love.
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Re: [A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-02 02:15am

LaCroix wrote:
2019-03-01 07:10am
The film also changes the story a lot regarding to the books, where in the books he marries a girl (Jayne Westerling) which is a westerosi, daughter of a noble family, who has nursed him back to health after he was wounded/ill, and had taken her virginity (it is kind of implied that he might have impregnated her, too, but that is much later in the books), and married her out of honor as much as of love.
A valid point.
Also, she did not attend the Red Wedding, and was later pardoned. It is not sure if she was (willing or unwittingly) a part of a plot to break the Frey-Sstark alliance or if it was just young people in love.
If she was part of a plot, then at least we can say Robb made an error in judgement, but a sadly predictable one for a teenage boy in love.
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Re: [A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by streetad » 2019-03-05 11:48am

Robb's single biggest strategic mistake I don't think has even been mentioned yet.

It was letting his Bannermen pressure him into declaring the North independent. Whilst it makes for a stirring scene, it put him into an unwinnable war and burned his bridges with any of the potential contenders for the Iron Throne.

He committed himself to holding a great swathe of territory in the Riverlands that was indefensible in the long term and over which the North had no traditional claim, putting him on a guaranteed collision course with the eventual winner of the succession crisis in the South, whoever it might be. He escalated a limited war between houses Stark and Lannister into a full blown rebellion against the Crown from which he couldn't de-escalate even if he wanted to.

It is an understandable decision. He wants to impress these older men and can't possibly countenance abandoning his grandfather's lands to be harried by Lannister men. He's never met any of these men who claim to be king and suffers from the romanticism of youth. But it's absolutely not a decision Eddard Stark would have allowed himself to be pushed into if he was leading the Northern forces.

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Re: [A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by Coop D'etat » 2019-03-05 01:20pm

Declaring indepence wasn't much of a mistake. None of the three proposed Kings are acceptable to the Stark coalition. Indepence also gives his cause an obtainable political goal to unite his faction around now that their initial goal of liberating Eddard Stark is rendered moot.

Neither can Robb abandon the Riverlands to their fate absent Northern aid. They represent half his military strength, and the balance of their forces allows the Starks to contend on equal terms with the other factions. Retreating North only became an option after an unlikely confluence of events put the Lannisters and Tyrells in the same camp, which was not reasonably forseeable at the time of Robb's acclaimation. A lot of this criticism is assuming that Robb or any other feudal warlord can act unilaterally, but a key part of how they hold power is managing the opinion of his vassals.

I think the fandom inappropriately focuses on Stark mistakes. Eddard and Robb's actions were far from perfect, but they hardly did worse than much of the other faction leaders. The typical point of comparison to Robb is Tywin Lannister, but let's look at how well the Uber Machival did in the War of Five Kings. He consistently gets his ass handed to him strategically ever since the Starks enter the war. He's about to lose yet again to Edmure Tully of all people, when an alliance he did make himself bails him out from total defeat. Then, in parallel to Robb's fall, he gets assaisinated by a key Ally he alienated. Then, as with Robb, his cause falls apart after his death.

The point of Robb Stark's arc is boy military prodigies don't necessarily win against hard odds and the difficulty a feudal ruler faces with vassal management.

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Re: [A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-05 05:37pm

streetad wrote:
2019-03-05 11:48am
Robb's single biggest strategic mistake I don't think has even been mentioned yet.

It was letting his Bannermen pressure him into declaring the North independent. Whilst it makes for a stirring scene, it put him into an unwinnable war and burned his bridges with any of the potential contenders for the Iron Throne.

He committed himself to holding a great swathe of territory in the Riverlands that was indefensible in the long term and over which the North had no traditional claim, putting him on a guaranteed collision course with the eventual winner of the succession crisis in the South, whoever it might be. He escalated a limited war between houses Stark and Lannister into a full blown rebellion against the Crown from which he couldn't de-escalate even if he wanted to.

It is an understandable decision. He wants to impress these older men and can't possibly countenance abandoning his grandfather's lands to be harried by Lannister men. He's never met any of these men who claim to be king and suffers from the romanticism of youth. But it's absolutely not a decision Eddard Stark would have allowed himself to be pushed into if he was leading the Northern forces.
Agreed.
Coop D'etat wrote:
2019-03-05 01:20pm
Declaring indepence wasn't much of a mistake. None of the three proposed Kings are acceptable to the Stark coalition. Indepence also gives his cause an obtainable political goal to unite his faction around now that their initial goal of liberating Eddard Stark is rendered moot.

Neither can Robb abandon the Riverlands to their fate absent Northern aid. They represent half his military strength, and the balance of their forces allows the Starks to contend on equal terms with the other factions. Retreating North only became an option after an unlikely confluence of events put the Lannisters and Tyrells in the same camp, which was not reasonably forseeable at the time of Robb's acclaimation. A lot of this criticism is assuming that Robb or any other feudal warlord can act unilaterally, but a key part of how they hold power is managing the opinion of his vassals.

I think the fandom inappropriately focuses on Stark mistakes. Eddard and Robb's actions were far from perfect, but they hardly did worse than much of the other faction leaders. The typical point of comparison to Robb is Tywin Lannister, but let's look at how well the Uber Machival did in the War of Five Kings. He consistently gets his ass handed to him strategically ever since the Starks enter the war. He's about to lose yet again to Edmure Tully of all people, when an alliance he did make himself bails him out from total defeat. Then, in parallel to Robb's fall, he gets assaisinated by a key Ally he alienated. Then, as with Robb, his cause falls apart after his death.

The point of Robb Stark's arc is boy military prodigies don't necessarily win against hard odds and the difficulty a feudal ruler faces with vassal management.
Why would Renly or Stannis have been unacceptable to the North as kings? They negotiated with Renly, while Stannis has the strongest blood claim by Westrosi law and custom, and is at least a capable commander (I also expect that his religious affiliations would be less of an issue for the North, given that they are already outside the mainstream Westrosi religion for the most part, though I could be wrong).

As to Tywin...

Internet Tough Guys constantly fellate Tywin Lannister online because he's a HARD MAN, but he's actually a complete imbecile a lot of the time. For example, his starting a war with the Riverlands on a point of pride while Robert was still alive, Ned was Hand, and he had no way of knowing how things would shake out in King's Landing. If Cersei hadn't pulled off her coup at the time that she did, Tywin would have ended up branded a traitor with pretty nearly the entirety of Westeros united against him.

Or his ordering the murder of Elia and her kids, and sacking King's Landing. Oh, sure, it secured Robert's rule and his influence over it. It also seriously damaged his reputation, further destabilized the realm in the long term, and ensured the continuing hostility of the Dornish.

And then of course there's the constant abuse of his own son which ended with him dying ignominiously on a toilet with a crossbow bolt in his gut.

Twyin is an arrogant thug with money, nothing more. Admittedly, Charles Dance plays him with such panache that you can forget it from time to time.
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Re: [A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by Coop D'etat » 2019-03-05 07:27pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-03-05 05:37pm


Why would Renly or Stannis have been unacceptable to the North as kings? They negotiated with Renly, while Stannis has the strongest blood claim by Westrosi law and custom, and is at least a capable commander (I also expect that his religious affiliations would be less of an issue for the North, given that they are already outside the mainstream Westrosi religion for the most part, though I could be wrong).

Neither Renly nor Stannis has the blood claim according to the facts available at the time of coronation. Twincest isn't even postulated as a theory by Stannis until later. In particular, Renly is right out for good reasons Robb himself points out in council, the younger brother doesn't succeed over the older under fairly ironclad Westerosi law and custom. Supporting Renly is the path for anyone with an army to claim titles, which sets up a Hobbesian war of all against all. It's a poor option and Renly hasn't done anything to earn their support. There is a reason why the Frey's are the ones to suggest Renly, its the superficially easier path that doesn't lead anywhere good.

Stannis meanwhile, has a better paper claim than Renly, but almost no real support on his own. If they back him, they'll be committing themselves to doing virtually all the work of placing him on the throne for no gain. That's a grim slog nobody is volunteering to do in council. And much like Renly, Stannis has no personal connection to make him appealing as a leader. Maybe Robb can persuade his nobles to back this move based on his own personal opinon, but it burns political capital for no apparent gain.

Now, the Stark's are quite willing to help Renly seize a throne they don't care to be subject to anymore as part of fighting the Lannisters. Catlin Stark is likewise willing to put the matter to a Great Council to determine the succession if all the non-Lannisters are prepared to ally on that basis based on Stannis's representations that Robert's supposed children are illegitimate. But as of situation at the end of the 1st book, neither Baratheon brother is an attractive candidate from the viewpoint of Robb's banner-men.

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Re: [A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-05 09:28pm

Coop D'etat wrote:
2019-03-05 07:27pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-03-05 05:37pm


Why would Renly or Stannis have been unacceptable to the North as kings? They negotiated with Renly, while Stannis has the strongest blood claim by Westrosi law and custom, and is at least a capable commander (I also expect that his religious affiliations would be less of an issue for the North, given that they are already outside the mainstream Westrosi religion for the most part, though I could be wrong).

Neither Renly nor Stannis has the blood claim according to the facts available at the time of coronation. Twincest isn't even postulated as a theory by Stannis until later. In particular, Renly is right out for good reasons Robb himself points out in council, the younger brother doesn't succeed over the older under fairly ironclad Westerosi law and custom. Supporting Renly is the path for anyone with an army to claim titles, which sets up a Hobbesian war of all against all. It's a poor option and Renly hasn't done anything to earn their support. There is a reason why the Frey's are the ones to suggest Renly, its the superficially easier path that doesn't lead anywhere good.
Eh, I'd argue that "the only legitimacy is an army" was pretty clearly established when Robert took the throne over the bodies of dead Targaryen children.

What was the timeline on the "King in the North" thing, again? Is there any way Robb could have known about the incest before declaring? Or alternatively, he could have bent the knee to Stannis once the truth got out.

Besides, if Robb really cared all that much about lawful succession as an inviolate principle, he would have bent the knee to Joffrey. Once he called the banners, it had pretty clearly gone past "following the rules of succession" to "pick the king that works for me by force of arms".
Stannis meanwhile, has a better paper claim than Renly, but almost no real support on his own. If they back him, they'll be committing themselves to doing virtually all the work of placing him on the throne for no gain. That's a grim slog nobody is volunteering to do in council. And much like Renly, Stannis has no personal connection to make him appealing as a leader. Maybe Robb can persuade his nobles to back this move based on his own personal opinon, but it burns political capital for no apparent gain.
That's valid, but its an argument based purely on short-term practicality, which runs contrary to the idea that this was some principled decision based on respect for the laws of succession.
Now, the Stark's are quite willing to help Renly seize a throne they don't care to be subject to anymore as part of fighting the Lannisters. Catlin Stark is likewise willing to put the matter to a Great Council to determine the succession if all the non-Lannisters are prepared to ally on that basis based on Stannis's representations that Robert's supposed children are illegitimate. But as of situation at the end of the 1st book, neither Baratheon brother is an attractive candidate from the viewpoint of Robb's banner-men.
I suppose.

Mind you, I think its a damn shame Renly suffered death by shadow demon. Because weakness of his claim aside, I honestly believe that of the five kings in the War of Five Kings, he would have been the best man for the throne on merit (possibly barring Robb, but Robb evidently had no interest in claiming the throne for himself).
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Re: [A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by Crazedwraith » 2019-03-06 03:59am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-03-05 09:28pm
Mind you, I think its a damn shame Renly suffered death by shadow demon. Because weakness of his claim aside, I honestly believe that of the five kings in the War of Five Kings, he would have been the best man for the throne on merit (possibly barring Robb, but Robb evidently had no interest in claiming the throne for himself).
Why? Renly was a flashy nothing by all accounts.

The main reason for Northern independence as far as I see it was akin to the Scottish desire independence. They were sick of being ruled by the South when none of the Kings knew or gave a shit about the north. Aggravated by the fact that the last two generations of the beloved Starks that went south never gave home. Rickard and Eddard. Plus Brandon and Lyanna. So there was a lot of ill feeling.


TRR, I do apologise for not addressing your main post blow-by-blow. To summarise though; I hope your railling against fandom in general was not supposed to indicated my post was doing that. I don't intend to flanderise Robb or blame his honourable nature, just examine his character. I also feel you are putting an implication of blame on the word mistake that I didn't also didn't intend. e.g. Breaking the Frey alliance was a massive mistake but does not mean Robb deserved or was to blame for the Red Wedding. (I quite agree Robb couldn't see the RW coming, but that doesn't mean he didn't know losing the Freys was very bad for the cause just owing to the loss of men and the Twin's strategic location.)

I see the morality of arraigned marriages, as a separate issue from whether it was a mistake, because it certainly was a mistake strategically.

I also find the application of that standard to Rheagar and Lyanna even more suspect. Since we don't know the full story yet and even if they eloped they did so such an obscure and secret way that it led to a massive war and everyone involved's death. If they'd opened eloped Dorne and Robert wouldn't have been happy but Robert and Brandon probably wouldn't have declared war on Rheagar.

It's also pretty inconsistent to say 'modern morality of marriage applied to Robb breaking an engagement' in one post and then full 'might makes right for the crown' real politick for Renly in the next.
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Re: [A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-06 04:24am

Crazedwraith wrote:
2019-03-06 03:59am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-03-05 09:28pm
Mind you, I think its a damn shame Renly suffered death by shadow demon. Because weakness of his claim aside, I honestly believe that of the five kings in the War of Five Kings, he would have been the best man for the throne on merit (possibly barring Robb, but Robb evidently had no interest in claiming the throne for himself).
Why? Renly was a flashy nothing by all accounts.
He seems at least a bit more open to social progress than many- see allowing Brienne on his Kingsguard, and his sexuality.

He understands the importance of PR and making friends, and has the charisma to pull it off.

Related to the above, he's self-serving, but damn it he gets political realities. He was completely and utterly right to advise Ned Stark to move against Joffrey and Cersei immediately. He was right that his claim was as legitimate as anyone else's, because Robert's Rebellion threw lawful succession out the window.

He has the support of the Reach, the single most prosperous part of the realm, and if not assassinated could probably have gotten the North/Riverlands and Stormlands as well.
The main reason for Northern independence as far as I see it was akin to the Scottish desire independence. They were sick of being ruled by the South when none of the Kings knew or gave a shit about the north. Aggravated by the fact that the last two generations of the beloved Starks that went south never gave home. Rickard and Eddard. Plus Brandon and Lyanna. So there was a lot of ill feeling.
Understandable, I suppose, but in my opinion ill-advised. The North isn't strong enough to stand on its own.
TRR, I do apologise for not addressing your main post blow-by-blow. To summarise though; I hope your railling against fandom in general was not supposed to indicated my post was doing that. I don't intend to flanderise Robb or blame his honourable nature, just examine his character.
Its not personal, and I'm sorry if I sounded harsher than I meant to. Its just a sore point for me. But yeah, a lot of my post is addressed at the fandom, not you.
I also feel you are putting an implication of blame on the word mistake that I didn't also didn't intend. e.g. Breaking the Frey alliance was a massive mistake but does not mean Robb deserved or was to blame for the Red Wedding. (I quite agree Robb couldn't see the RW coming, but that doesn't mean he didn't know losing the Freys was very bad for the cause just owing to the loss of men and the Twin's strategic location.)
Fair enough, but I still put most of the blame there on Walder for trying to strong arm Robb like that to begin with, and a bit on Caitlyn for negotiating such a one-sided deal on Robb's behalf.
I see the morality of arraigned marriages, as a separate issue from whether it was a mistake, because it certainly was a mistake strategically.
I just can't find it in me to fault someone for going with who they love, and not who society tells them they're required to fuck. This is one of those "no negotiation" red lines for me, morally. I'm aware that arranged marriages were the norm in many societies throughout human history, as with Westrosi nobility. But it doesn't change my feelings on the issue, which is that Westrosi marriage customs amount to legalized rape.
I also find the application of that standard to Rheagar and Lyanna even more suspect. Since we don't know the full story yet and even if they eloped they did so such an obscure and secret way that it led to a massive war and everyone involved's death. If they'd opened eloped Dorne and Robert wouldn't have been happy but Robert and Brandon probably wouldn't have declared war on Rheagar.
If they'd eloped openly Robert would probably have still confronted Rhaegar over the issue, and Rhaegar doing so openly would probably have set his paranoid nut of a father off too. Certainly, Rhaegar could have handled the situation more capably, and he doesn't seem to have had much in the way of contingency plans. But in any case that's a separate question from whether the elopement itself was justified.

In any case, a major war was coming, if Aerys didn't die before something triggered it. Hell, the overthrow of the Targaryen dynasty and the fragmentation of the realm were arguably coming from the moment the dragons died out.

Its like saying Fort Sumter was the cause of the US Civil War. I mean, its technically true, but that shit was a looong time coming, and if that wasn't the trigger, something else would have been.
It's also pretty inconsistent to say 'modern morality of marriage applied to Robb breaking an engagement' in one post and then full 'might makes right for the crown' real politick for Renly in the next.
My point is not "Might makes Right". At least, that's not a position I morally agree with. The point is that as a matter of fact, Westeros at that point arguably has no legitimate government. Its a shitty situation, but Renly is right that his claim is no less legitimate than Stannis's.

The other thing is that I have about zero respect for the concept of hereditary monarchy, so I don't really care about who has a "legitimate" royal blood line. At most, its the lesser evil in Westros for the sake of maintaining stability.

Also, actually, real politick is a very modern concept.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

Alkaloid
Jedi Master
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Joined: 2011-03-21 07:59am

Re: [A Song Of Ice And Fire] Robb Stark's mistakes

Post by Alkaloid » 2019-03-13 10:25am

My favourite thing about this line of argument is that half the issues the Lannisters have were because push comes to shove, the Starks we at least by Westeros standards, honourable and fair rulers.

No one, up to and including his children, really gives a shit Tywin Lannister was killed.

The Stark family start being killed and the entire North goes fucking berserk. Remember the situation in ASoIaF is very different to GoT. As much as the Boltons hold Winterfell, fully half their forces will turn on them the moment hostages are released. A quarter are already killing Freys ans Boltons and cooking them into pies, and they were the one's laughed at for being the "least northern". Somehow, if the next book is ever released I don't feel old mate Onion Knight will fail to bring Bran back to Whiteharbour atwhuch point all bets are off.

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