Game of Thrones: State of the Kingdoms Part Two
Hopefully, you read part one of our little think piece already. You go ahead and check that out, I’ll just stay here and hang out with pin-up Daenerys…
Oh and by the way…SPOILER WARNING FOR SEASONS 1-6 OF GAME OF THRONES!
Right, all up to speed with how we’re breaking down the state of all the Westerosi realms at the end of Season Six? Awesome! Then, without further delay, check out the remainder of the Seven Kingdoms starting with the perennial stomping ground of the series, the Riverlands:
Oh, the Riverlands. Westeros’ traditional battlefield has had almost as much of a hard time as the North in recent years with the rebellion, the war and then the brutal suppression of the Freys who are once more in possession of the capital, Riverrun.
We’ve already seen in the last series that the remaining River Lords don’t hold the Freys in high regard as they answered the Blackfish’s summons quick enough when the time came to rebel. Worse, from the Freys point of view, that rebellion took place in the face of Lord Walder and his House at their full strength. Now, with the Late Lord Frey dead along with two of his most capable sons (Black Walder, in the books, is supposed to be a good fighter and brutal by nature) the Riverlands are on the verge of a new civil war as the dozens of sons, daughters and grandchildren that fill the Twins from basement to rafters all try to claim the lordship for themselves.
Against this backdrop, I imagine the remaining River Lords will be quick to raise their own banners again and, with Dondarrion also apparently starting to lose his grip on the Brotherhood without Banners, chaos may completely engulf the damaged countryside.
In terms of the grand picture this is likely to mean very little to the remaining great players other then to Cersei who once again loses a potential ally. She could potentially send Jaime and the Lannister army north again to try and quell the inevitable uprisings but that would strip her of the only military force still (probably) loyal to her cause.
We haven’t really seen much of the Stormlands since Renly Baratheon got himself stabbed by Melisandre’s weird shadow-baby. These are the rugged lands to the South-East of Westeros and the traditional seat of House Baratheon. Technically, ownership would have passed to Tommen as the last surviving ‘Baratheon’, but with him now gone as well this is a realm without a Lord and potentially one of the most in-tact fighting forces in Westeros.
See, in the books at least, the Stormlands Bannermen almost entirely follow Renly rather than Stannis. While they temporarily switch sides after Renly’s death, most are happy enough to re-join the Kingdom and keep the peace after Stannis loses at the Blackwater. There is still a garrison loyal to the Baratheon rebels at Storms End (the traditional capital) but elsewhere everyone else is keeping to themselves. Even in the series, it’s unclear how many men remain loyal to Stannis after he loses the battle so we can assume, given his unpopularity, that several probably would have taken the same course as in the book.
This means that, other than the losses at the Blackwater, the Stormlands have been almost completely untouched by the ongoing War. That could represent a fairly sizable force of fighters who now find themselves without a banner to rally around. While Cersei might keep control in the short term, if power shifts against her then the opportunistic lords may be able to summon an army to drive like a knife into her throat.
The Iron Islands
The Ironborn are, without doubt, my favourite group of people in both the book and, for the most part, the series as well. If nothing else the words of the ruling Greyjoy house, ‘We Do Not Sow’, are by far the most intimidating of any of the Great Houses.
The Ironborn have always been a naval power, but now they’re a naval power without a fleet after Theon and Asha stole half of the Iron Fleet, and burnt the rest. While we last saw their uncle, and the new King of the Iron Islands, Euron Greyjoy, ordering the construction of a larger fleet but he is going to find that more of a challenge then his words suggest.
After all, the Ironborn are modelled on Vikings (much more so in the books than the series) and often compared to ‘Norway’ on those maps that link the different areas of Westeros with European nations. However, a better comparison would be somewhere like Iceland or Greenland: a colony of hardy warriors occupying islands with little to no natural resources besides iron ore and sheep. Where this becomes a problem is that the islands are almost completely unwooded. Put simply, there is no timber for a new fleet to be built from. That means using whatever ships they do have to go and trade for more and then bring it back to the islands.
While this might be possible, it’s going to take time and even given the siblings travel time to Meereen he’s unlikely to finish before he finds himself on the wrong end of a Dragon.
Will HBO follow this logic? Probably not, I suspect a massive naval battle might be in our future (and sounds awesome!) but this is just about where the kingdoms are right now.
The Reach and Dorne
This is probably going to be the shortest entry because, to summarise, the force of these two regions combined are going to be pretty much unstoppable.
Seriously, the Tyrells and the Martells were already two of the most powerful Houses in Westeros and controlled vast regions which also have the benefit of being the least affected by the Winter that the Starks have been banging on about for 6 seasons. While the Tyrells obviously have lost forces in Kings Landing (we have to assume), there are still more than enough loyal houses to raise a new force and that force will include the greatest soldier in all of Westeros; Sams father, Randyll Tarly.
Meanwhile, even the ancient Targaryens failed to conquer Dorne (the Martell words: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken reference this) and, traditionally, the only check on their ambition has been the hatred and frequent warfare that exists between them and the Tyrells to the North.
That barrier is now gone and, united underneath the Targaryen banner once again, I honestly don’t see who can stop these forces.
So there we have it, the complete state of play within Westeros itself at the end of Season 6. Think I missed anything? Think I’m just plain wrong? Then let me know here or on twitter!
In the meantime, a man needs a drink.
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