The Battle of Ice is coming, and Stannis is ready. He’s confident, he’s experienced, and even the ravens seem to be cheering him on. On the other hand, his army is snowbound and starving while the army the Lord of the Dreadfort has sent against him is fresh, well supplied and better equipped. While Stannis’ force was marching through Westeros’ largest forest during a seemingly endless blizzard, the Boltons, Freys and their allies sat comfortable in Winterfell’s hot spring-fed warmth while Wyman Manderly’s endless stores kept their bellies full.
It would be a mistake, however, to think that the battle hinges on such standard factors. Though better armor and fresher horses surely matter, there is much about the Battle of Ice that requires a somewhat unconventional thought process. A Song of Ice and Fire has seen many battles, but we haven’t seen anything like this.
In part 1 we analyzed the politics and power situation in the North, but even the genial and affable Renly knows that will only get us so far.
“The time for talk is done. Now we see who is stronger.”
and so we will. Now comes the time of troops & commanders, now comes morale & strategy, now comes blood and controlled chaos. Now comes the Battle of Ice.
Whatever doubts his lords might nurse, the common men seemed to have faith in their king. Stannis had smashed Mance Rayder’s wildlings at the Wall and cleaned Asha and her ironborn out of Deepwood Motte; he was Robert’s brother, victor in a famous sea battle off Fair Isle, the man who had held Storm’s End all through Robert’s Rebellion. And he bore a hero’s sword, the enchanted blade Lightbringer, whose glow lit up the night.
“Half my army is made up of unbelievers,” Stannis had replied. “I will have no burnings. Pray harder.”
“The map is not the land, my father often said.”
“If I had me a nice goose quill and a pot o’ maester’s ink, I could write down that me member was long and thick as me arm, wouldn’t make it so.”
“Wolves, she thought, they howl like bloody wolves. The war cry of the north.”“