In this episode, Ashaya and Aziz are joined by guest Jeff Hartline (Wars and Politics of A Song of Ice and Fire) for this three part series on The Battle of Ice.
Part 1 is dedicated to unraveling the complex political situation in the North. There are Houses with compelled loyalty secretly plotting revenge, while loyal armies face the winds of winter. Each house of note is discussed, as well as the key players from each side.
In an epic series filled with surprises, plot twists and defiance of convention, there is little we can predict with certainty. One item on that short list is Winter. We knew it was coming…the Starks told us after all. We had glimpses of it throughout the earlier books, especially at and beyond the Wall, but also in dreams that often seemed prophetic. Sure enough, by the end of ADWD, there is a massive, long running storm.
Another certainty in ASOIAF is war. We have certainly not seen the last pitched battle. With those two items in mind…does it follow that we should expect pitched battles in winter?
The Battle of Ice is just that. A struggle in which resources are scarce, the cold is literally enough to kill, and time is on no one’s side. Winter has just begun after all, and we know what the next book is entitled. Before we can Dream of Spring we must brave The Winds of Winter.
Well, not we, them. The armies of two extremely formidable and determined men, Stannis Baratheon and Roose Bolton, facing off while a ridiculous winter storm rages.
This three part series goes beyond a single battle, however. Even our love of detail is not enough to make 3 episodes out of that. We’re dealing with a campaign for the North and it has major implications for the plot and for so many of our favorite characters. In part 1 we’ll explore the motivations and goals of the various players in the North, what they want, which side they’re on, who they want to kill, and how they’ll accomplish any of this without freezing.
We are five thousand strong as I write, our numbers swelling every day. And word has come to us that Roose Bolton moves toward Winterfell with all his power, there to wed his bastard to your half sister. He must not be allowed to restore the castle to its former strength. We march against him. Arnolf Karstark and Mors Umber will join us. I will save your sister if I can, and find a better match for her than Ramsay Snow. You and your brothers must hold the Wall until I can return.”
“He needs an end to this. The castle was too crowded to withstand a long siege, and too many of the lords here were of uncertain loyalty. Fat Wyman Manderly, Whoresbane Umber, the men of House Hornwood and House Tallhart, the Lockes and Flints and Ryswells, all of them were northmen, sworn to House Stark for generations beyond count. It was the girl who held them here, Lord Eddard’s blood, but the girl was just a mummer’s ploy, a lamb in a direwolf’s skin. So why not send the northmen forth to battle Stannis before the farce unraveled? Slaughter in the snow. And every man who falls is one less foe for the Dreadfort.”
“The Frey men wore the badge of the two towers, those from White Harbor displayed merman and trident. They shouldered through the storm in opposite directions and eyed each other warily as they passed, but no swords were drawn. Not here. It may be different out there in the woods.”