A Complete Analysis of the Upcoming Siege of Winterfell Part 1

Introduction

“Tell me, turncloak, what battles has the Bastard of Bolton ever won that I should fear him?” (TWOW, Theon I)

One of the most anticipated plotlines from The Winds of Winter is the Siege of Winterfell. The Siege, originally intended to be included in A Dance with Dragons, was cut to The Winds of Winter. But even though The Winds of Winter hasn’t been released yet, I believe there are significant clues how the Siege of Winterfell will unfold and what the outcome will be.

But to say that the battle will have significant consequences would be understating it. For Stannis Baratheon, it’s a zero-sum game. If he wins, he rejuvenates his claim to the Iron Throne. But more than simply gaining momentum, a victory by Stannis would redirect the North to confront the threat of the Others. If Roose Bolton wins, he solidifies his Wardenship of the North while the threat of the Others would likely be ignored until it is too late. To hyperbolize, the battle will determine the fate of Westeros.

Now, I need recognize my own biases here. I want Stannis to defeat the Boltons and take Winterfell. I want Hosteen Frey and his bannermen to die. But, I’m going to do my best to avoid writing these essays as wish-fulfillment. And by all means, if you see my bias flaring, call me out on it. This will be the first of a two-part essay series on the Siege of Winterfell. It’s mostly expository information from A Dance with Dragons, but I think it’s good background to how the battle will unfold. I’ll hope to write and publish the second part sometime soon.


Background

 

Before we delve into the meat of the War in the North, we need to take a brief survey of the 3 major players and their actions prior to A Dance with Dragons. Most of you are probably familiar with the information, but it’s important to recap how the major players got to where they were at the start of A Dance with Dragons.

Stannis Baratheon

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/images/thumb/f/ff/Stannis_Baratheon_by_henning.jpg/270px-Stannis_Baratheon_by_henning.jpg

Stannis Baratheon’s journey to the North is a long one – too long to really expound on more than a few points. If you’d like to read a more in-depth analysis, I’ve previously written on Stannis Baratheon as a military commander. Suffice to say, Stannis Baratheon had been a player in Westeros for a long time. Born the second son of Steffon Baratheon, Stannis fought in his brother’s rebellion at Storm’s End and then Dragonstone. Afterwards, he was named Master of Ships and fought against the Ironborn when they revolted against Robert’s rule in what became known as the Greyjoy Rebellion. Following the victorious conclusion of the Greyjoy Rebellion, Stannis resumed his duties as Master of Ships until he began to suspect that Robert’s children were the product of incest between Jaime Lannister and Robert’s wife Cersei Lannister. He brought his concerns to Jon Arryn, Hand of the King.

When Jon Arryn died mysteriously, Stannis withdrew from King’s Landing to Dragonstone where he brought a red priestess by the name of Melisandre to aid him. When Robert died, Stannis claimed the throne as his. His claim was contested by his younger brother Renly. Renly then had a serious case of shadow baby, and Stannis took most of the Stormlander lords and soldiers from Renly and marched on King’s Landing. He besieged the city but was ultimately defeated in battle by a cavalry force of Lannisters and Tyrells. Stannis and the remnant of his army fled back to Dragonstone where he brooded.

Stannis’ most trusted advisor, Davos Seaworth, brought news that the Night’s Watch was in danger of being overrun by the Wildlings. So, Stannis set sail for the Wall where he soundly defeated Mance Rayder and his Wildlings outside of Castle Black.

Roose Bolton

http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120213181143/iceandfire/images/4/42/250px-Roose_Bolton.jpg

Roose’s journey prior to A Dance with Dragons was not as perilous as Stannis’, but it was fraught with difficulty. Roose had started out as a loyal bannerman to Robb Stark. He was defeated by Tywin Lannister at the Green Fork and had taken Harrenhal some months later in Robb Stark’s name. But at some point, Roose Bolton was convinced by Tywin Lannister to form a secret alliance. I’ve argued previously that Roose was never loyal to Robb Stark, but the timeframe of when he allied himself to Tywin Lannister is up to speculation, but I’d wager it happened shortly after his seizure of Harrenhal. Roose then deployed loyal Stark leal lords and their soldiers to their deaths and Duskendale and the Ruby Ford before finally abandoning the Stark cause for good by stabbing Robb Stark through the heart at the Red Wedding. The Red Wedding was planned and conducted in concert with the Freys.

Roose Bolton’s actions, no matter how treacherous, netted significant windfalls though. Roose Bolton was named to the position of Warden of the North by Crown and given the task of cleaning the North out of Ironborn raiders and Stark loyalists. Roose Bolton’s bastard son, Ramsay Snow, was legitimized and became Ramsay Bolton. Furthermore, Ramsay Bolton would be wed to the newly-discovered Arya Stark to further solidify Bolton hold on the north. The final windfall was the inclusion of Frey levies led by Aenys and Hosteen Frey into the Bolton host.

Ramsay Bolton

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/images/thumb/5/5f/Ramsay_Bolton.jpg/250px-Ramsay_Bolton.jpg

While Roose Bolton was occupied in the south, his bastard son, Ramsay, was busy in the North. After Robb Stark took most of his banners south to fight against the Lannisters, Ramsay began to conduct raids and attacks in the North to further the Dreadfort’s position. His first target was Lady Hornwood. Recently-widowed, she was a prime candidate for marriage. So, Ramsay attacked the Harwood castle, seized it and forced Lady Hornwood to marry him, thus making Ramsay Snow the self-styled Lord of Hornwood. Ramsay continued his pattern of illegal actions by raping Lady Hornwood and then starving her to death in a keep at Hornwood. This finally generated a military response from the remainder of the Northerners left north of the Neck. Ser Rodrik Cassel led a force to capture and kill Ramsay. Ramsay then exchanged his clothing and identity with one of his servants by the name of Reek and was taken prisoner by loyalist Stark forces. He was then held captive in Winterfell until the Ironborn struck.

The Ironborn Invasion of the North upended the strategic picture. Deepwood Motte, Moat Cailin and Torrhen’s Square fell to Ironborn invaders. Ser Rodrik departed from Winterfell in an attempt to re-take Torrhen’s Square from the Ironborn. After his army departed, the Ironborn seized Winterfell, the capital of Robb Stark. Ramsay, then operating in the persona of Reek, offered his services to the commander of the Ironborn at Winterfell: Theon Greyjoy. Theon accepted the offer. When Ser Rodrik heard about Winterfell’s fall, he moved his army from Torrhen’s Square back to Winterfell. Reek offered to depart Winterfell to bring any army from the Dreadfort back to Winterfell to fight against Ser Rodrik’s army. Theon agreed and Reek departed before Ser Rodrik’s army arrived. Ser Rodrik then besieged the Ironborn at Winterfell until Reek arrived. Feigning support for Ser Rodrik, Reek and his Dreadfort men butchered the Northern Host outside of Winterfell. Then Theon granted the Dreadfort men entry back into Winterfell where they conducted a second betrayal by killing most of the Ironborn and taking Theon prisoner. Reek then revealed his true identity as Ramsay Bolton and then sacked Winterfell. At some point later, Ramsay returned to the Dreadfort with his host and Theon Greyjoy where he proceeded to flay, torture and then finally transform Theon Greyjoy’s persona into his own creature, Reek.


Stannis’ Campaign in the North

“And the more we bleed each other, the weaker we shall all be when the real enemy falls upon us.” (ASOS, Jon XI)

Stannis Baratheon was the one king who answered the call of the Night’s Watch. His defeat of the Free Folk outside of the gates of Castle Black ensured that Westeros was not invaded by a hostile force of Wildlings under the command of Mance Rayder. But while Stannis’ victory ensured that the Wall would be secure from Wildling incursion, the Others were coming. Stannis could not hope to defend the realm with his small army alone. He needed the North.

And so, Stannis sent ravens to the major houses of the North in hopes of securing fealty in the short-term and support against the Others in the long-term. But there were two major problems. The first was the Ironborn were still in the North. Having invaded while much of the Northerners’ military strength was south of the Neck, they still occupied many key castles and towns in the North. They would need to be expelled or co-opted.

The second problem was that Roose Bolton had been elevated to the position of Warden of the North by the Iron Throne and the Lannisters, the same Lannisters who previously decreed that Stannis was a traitor. This placed Stannis Baratheon and Roose Bolton on a collision course. As Warden of the North and a Lannister ally, Roose Bolton would fight against Stannis. Stannis needed to deal with the Boltons first before he could begin preparing for the invasion by the Others.

With the Ironborn still reaving in the North and Roose Bolton serving Lannister interests, the response to Stannis’ request for fealty was tepid. The Mormonts would only swear fealty to a STARK. The Manderlys begged off. Mors Umber and half of the Umber bannermen would join Stannis, but only if Stannis would provide him the skull of Mance Rayder and forgive the other half of the Umbers who had sworn fealty to Roose Bolton. The only other house to join with Stannis wholeheartedly was the Karstarks. I’ll have a lot more to say about the Karstarks in part 2, but for now, they were the only house to swear full lealty to Stannis Baratheon.

Stannis needed to march. He needed to defeat the Ironborn and the Boltons and somehow convince other houses in the North to join his cause. After resettling some of the Wildlings in the Gift and burning Mance Rayder, Stannis prepared to march out from Castle Black. Stannis’ initial target was the Dreadfort, seat of the Boltons. In Stannis’ mind, taking the Dreadfort would be a decisive blow to Roose’s reputation in the North. The Boltons were currently occupied far to the south besieging Moat Cailin, and Stannis thought that the Boltons wouldn’t arrive in time before Stannis could take the Dreadfort. Arnolf Karstark, Stannis’ only Northern ally at the time, agreed and encouraged Stannis via raven to march in that direction.

Jon Snow, Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, counseled otherwise.

“Unless your host can outmarch a raven or a line of beacon fires, the castle will know of your approach. It will be an easy thing for Ramsay Bolton to cut off your retreat and leave you far from the Wall, without food or refuge, surrounded by your foes.” (ADWD, Jon IV)

But if Stannis were not to march on the Dreadfort, where would he march?

Jon glanced down at the map. “Deepwood Motte.” He tapped it with a finger. “If Bolton means to fight the ironmen, so must you. Deepwood is a motte-and-bailey castle in the midst of thick forest, easy to creep up on unawares. (ADWD, Jon IV)

And besides defeating the Ironborn, there were other advantages for Stannis to march on Deepwood Motte. For one, it had the probability of securing Glover allegiance to Stannis. For another, there were Northern Mountain Clans along the way who might be convinced to join Stannis’ cause.

“The map is not the land, my father often said. Men have lived in the high valleys and mountain meadows for thousands of years, ruled by their clan chiefs. Petty lords, you would call them, though they do not use such titles amongst themselves. Clan champions fight with huge two-handed greatswords, while the common men sling stones and batter one another with staffs of mountain ash. A quarrelsome folk, it must be said. When they are not fighting one another, they tend their herds, fish the Bay of Ice, and breed the hardiest mounts you’ll ever ride.” (ADWD, Jon IV)

But taking Deepwood Motte would only be a shaping operation – that is a military operation designed to shape the decisive operation to come. The decisive operation would be seizing Winterfell. Winterfell was the capital of the North. Whoever held the castle gained legitmacy and credibility among Northern Lords and Smallfolk alike.

Now, the ethics of Jon Snow’s decision to aid and advise Stannis are debatable. I recommend The Meereenese Blot’s Essay on the topic for further reading. But the effect of Jon’s decision to aid Stannis was that Stannis began the march west to Deepwood Motte instead of the Dreadfort.

Stanni's Campaign in the North

1. Enlisting The Mountain Clans

Before assaulting Deepwood, Stannis and his 1500 or so soldiers moved southwest where apparently he treated with the Mountain Clans and gained the support of the Wull, Norrey and Liddle clans. The clans were fierce warriors and augmented Stannis’ small force. More than being fierce warriors, the clans knew the terrain of the North. This would prove to be decisive at Deepwood Motte and the battles to come.

2. Deepwood Motte

After gaining the support of the Mountain Clans, Stannis’ army likely made a movement more or less in a straight shot west towards Deepwood Motte. But instead of laying siege to the castle, he attempted to try to take it by surprise. The conventional tactic would have been to strike from the east and to use blunt force to overwhelm the small Ironborn garrison. Instead, Stannis chose to send scouts ahead to determine the disposition of the Ironborn garrison and to potentially open the gate for Stannis’ army and Northern Clansman allies to enter. Unfortunately, the scouts were captured and killed by the Ironborn before they could open the gate. And so, Stannis had to assault Deepwood Motte. But instead of attacking Deepwoodconventionally from the east, he opted instead to assault Deepwood Motte from the north.

“A ram!” a voice shouted down from the walls. “They have a battering ram! “

“Which gate?” asked Asha, mounting up. “The north!” From beyond Deepwood’s mossy wooden walls came the sudden sound of trumpets. (ADWD, The Wayward Bride)

The Ironborn under the command of Asha Greyjoy withdrew from the castle south. In an attempt to evade capture, they moved south and then southwest back to their ships as opposed to a direct western route. But Stannis’ Northmen knew the terrain. They tracked the Ironborn and slaughtered all but a few of them. With the Ironborn dead or captured and Deepwood Motte captured, Stannis now had the loyalty of the Glovers. And this victory over the Ironborn would have a greater windfall than Stannis previously imagined.

3. More Houses Join

“…more northmen coming in as word spreads of our victory.” (ADWD, Jon VII)

The inclusion of the Glovers bolstered Stannis Baratheon’s small army, but more houses joined with Stannis. The first was House Mormont. Previously unwilling to swear allegiance to any king whose last name wasn’t STARK, the Mormonts made a dramatic entry.

And we had other help, unexpected but most welcome, from a daughter of Bear Island. Alysane Mormont, whose men name her the She-Bear, hid fighters inside a gaggle of fishing sloops and took the ironmen unawares where they lay off the strand. (ADWD, Jon VII)

And so, Stannis and his army of southron knights, Glovers, Mormonts and Northern Clansmen marched southeast towards Winterfell. Along the way, more joined Stannis’ army. Most interesting among those joining Stannis’ army is only mentioned in passing.

Fisherfolk, freeriders, hillmen, crofters from the deep of the wolfswood and villagers who fled their homes along the stony shore to escape the ironmen, survivors from the battle outside the gates of Winterfell, men once sworn to the Hornwoods, the Cerwyns, and the Tallharts. (ADWD, Jon VII)

The inclusion of Ser Rodrik Cassel’s men would provide evidence of Ramsay Bolton’s treachery at Winterfell. If you’ll recall from ACOK, Theon Greyjoy took Winterfell. In response, Ser Rodrik Cassel marched against the castle and besieged it. Dreadfort men arrived outside of the walls ostensibly to support the besiegers. The Dreadfort men, led by Ramsey, then killed Ser Rodrik and most of his men, gained access to the castle, killed or captured the Ironborn and then burned the castle. Roose Bolton spread the lie that the Ironborn burned Winterfell. The survivors of Winterfell would provide evidence to counter Roose Bolton’s lie.

Stannis’ army now numbered around 5000 soldiers in total. As the army began its march to Winterfell, Stannis’ knights were optimistic about how long the journey would take.

Between Deepwood Motte and Winterfell lay one hundred leagues of forest. Three hundred miles as the raven flies. “Fifteen days,” the knights told each other. (ADWD, The King’s Prize)

Unfortunately for them, winter was coming.

4. The Crofters’ Village

“Aye, men are dying. More will die before we see Winterfell. What of it? This is war. Men die in war. That is as it should be. As it has always been.” (ADWD, The King’s Prize)

At first, Stannis’ army marched at a breakneck pace.

The army covered twenty-two miles the first day, by the reckoning of the guides Lady Sybelle had given them, trackers and hunters sworn to Deepwood with clan names like Forrester and Woods, Branch and Bole. The second day the host made twenty-four, as their vanguard passed beyond the Glover lands into the thick of the wolfswood. (ADWD, The King’s Prize)

But then the snows came. At first, they were little more than flurries. But the blizzard followed the flurries.

But it snowed again the next day, and the day after, and the day after that. The thick beards of the wolves were soon caked with ice where their breath had frozen, and every clean-shaved southron boy was letting his whiskers grow out to keep his face warm. Before long the ground ahead of the column was blanketed in white, concealing stones and twisted roots and deadfalls, turning every step into an adventure. The wind picked up as well, driving the snow before it. The king’s host became a column of snowmen, staggering through knee-high drifts. (ADWD, The King’s Prize)

The pace of Stannis’ march slowed and then slowed further. The optimism of Stannis’ knights of a 15 day journey to Winterfell was shattered. By the 15th day, Stannis’ army was only halfway to Winterfell. By the end of the march, Stannis’s host was only advancing one mile per day. And then Stannis’ scouts discovered something.

The next day the king’s scouts chanced upon an abandoned crofters’ village between two lakes—a mean and meagre place, no more than a few huts, a longhall, and a watchtower. (ADWD, The King’s Prize)

Crofters' Village

This is my attempt to create the Crofters’ Village. The “Weirdwood” Tree and Location of the Longhall will be corrected when I return to my home computer.

The army stopped at the village to rest. One of Stannis’ knights suggested that they cut holes in the lake and fish for food. Stannis agreed.  The army expected to continue their long march soon, but something happened.

Yet when light came, the camp woke to snow and silence. The sky turned from black to white, and seemed no brighter. Asha Greyjoy awoke cramped and cold beneath the pile of sleeping furs, listening to the She-Bear’s snores. She had never known a woman to snore so loudly, but she had grown used to it whilst on the march, and even took some comfort in it now. It was the silence that troubled her. No trumpets blew to rouse the men to mount up, form column, prepare to march. No warhorns summoned forth the northmen. Something is wrong. (ADWD, The King’s Prize)

But perhaps something wasn’t wrong. Perhaps, the extended halt was intentional.


Roose Bolton’s Quest for Legitimacy

Roose Bolton's March North

Meanwhile, Roose Bolton was making moves of his own. Having secured the title of Warden, Roose now had to act the part by securing the North. Initially, he was tagged by Tywin Lannister to clear the North of rebellious lords and the Ironborn.

“Lord Bolton will wed the girl to his bastard son. We shall allow the Dreadfort to fight the ironborn for a few years, and see if he can bring Stark’s other bannermen to heel.” (ASOS, Tyrion VI)

But while this conquest would have a military component, it would have a political one as well. Roose Bolton was feared by the North, but they did not love him as they loved the Starks. But to complicated matters further, the arrival of Stannis Baratheon in the North added a new player: one who could easily serve as a rallying point for pro-Stark/anti-Bolton lords. Thus, Roose had to defeat the Ironborn, bring the Northern Lords to heel and defeat Stannis Baratheon.

But his force was divided. Roose’s army of Boltons and Freys was south of the Neck. Ramsay and his contingent of Boltons, Ryswells, Barrowtons and Umbers were north of the Neck at the Dreadfort. Roose needed to unify his two commands before taking on the Ironborn and solidifying his political position in the North.

1. Through the Neck and Moat Cailin

Behind him were the camps, crowded with Dreadfort men and those the Ryswells had brought from the Rills, with the Barrowton host between them. South of Moat Cailin, another army was coming up the causeway, an army of Boltons and Freys marching beneath the banners of the Dreadfort. (ADWD, Reek II)

First, Roose had to physically be in the North. He had two obstacles in his path. The first was the Neck. The Neck was a thin strip of land that served as a natural chokepoint the North from the South. It was controlled by the Reeds, a house strongly aligned with the Starks. The crannogmen, as they were known, served as loyal bannermen first to Eddard Stark and then to Robb Stark. With Roose Bolton planning the Red Wedding and then personally stabbing Robb Stark through the heart, the Reeds became mortal enemies with the Boltons. But Roose still needed to bring himself and his army north of the Neck in order to claim his wardenship.

The second obstacle was Moat Cailin. Situated just north of the Neck, Moat Cailin was a strong castle – so strong that it had never been taken from the south. The castle had been taken from north though. But per the Modus Operandi of the Boltons, they did not wish to expend the lives of their soldiers. If at all possible, Roose Bolton’s preference was to not expend the lives of his soldiers in taking a castle that was not only a gateway to the North, not the key to the North itself.

Fortunately for the Roose Bolton, his son, Ramsay, had a key prisoner in his possession. Theon Greyjoy was the last surviving son of Balon Greyjoy and might be able to convince the Ironborn to surrender the castle without a fight. So, Theon was sent to negotiate the surrender of Moat Cailin with an offer.

“I am here at the command of Ramsay Bolton, Lord of the Hornwood and heir to the Dreadfort, who captured me at Winterfell. His host is north of you, his father’s to the south, but Lord Ramsay is prepared to be merciful if you yield Moat Cailin to him before the sun goes down.” (ADWD, Reek II)

Even more fortunate for the Boltons, the 63 Ironborn defenders at Moat Cailin were sick and starving. Ramsay’s offer appealed to most of the defenders. After vigorous debate (and two deaths), the Ironborn yielded the castle to Ramsay Bolton. Of course, the mercy that Ramsay promised was a lie.

Along the rotting-plank road, wooden stakes were driven deep into the boggy ground; there the corpses festered, red and dripping. Sixty-three, he knew, there are sixty-three of them. (ADWD, Reek II)

With Moat Cailin secured, Roose Bolton finally made his movement north to link his two hosts together. But Roose had to be cautious. The causeway of the kingsroad was the only avenue of approach into the North. The crannogmen would likely try to ambush his army along the way. So, he decided to dress one of his soldiers in his army and mount him on his horse while he rode in one of the wagons.

When the rider in the dark armor removed his helm, however, the face beneath was not one that Reek knew. Ramsay’s smile curdled at the sight, and anger flashed across his face. “What is this, some mockery?”

“Just caution,” whispered Roose Bolton, as he emerged from behind the curtains of the enclosed wagon. (ADWD, Reek II)

2. Coalescing Northern Support

“Roose Bolton summons all leal lords to Barrowton, to affirm their loyalty to the Iron Throne…” (ADWD, Jon VI)

With Roose’s army successfully passed through the Neck and Moat Cailin taken, Roose Bolton next needed to coalesce support from his vassal lords. The location that Roose chose was Barrowton. Barrowton is an interesting choice and, I believe, deliberate choice. Barrowton was the seat of House Dustin. The Dustins were long-term allies of the Starks. Lord William Dustin rode with Eddard Stark to war and died at the Tower of Joy. Lord Dustin’s widow, Lady Barbrey Dustin, held a long-term grudge against the Starks for her husband’s death. Lady Barbrey Dustin was related to Roose Bolton by his first marriage. Lady Dustin was a Ryswell prior to her marriage to Lord Dustin. So, Roose’s choice to first move on Barrowton was intentional and meant to shore up Dustin/Ryswell loyalty first before confronting Stannis.

But Roose needed something more than Ryswell and Dustin oaths. What he needed was legitimacy in the form of a wedding. Roose Bolton shored up his alliance with the Freys with a marriage to Fat Walda Frey, granddaughter of Lord Walder Frey, but his bastard son was still unwed. But the loyalty of the Northern Houses needed something more concrete than a decree from the Iron Throne to ensure their loyalty to the Boltons. Fortunately for him, Tywin Lannister had produced Arya Stark, the long-lost daughter of Eddard Stark. Arya Stark would marry Ramsay Bolton.

Roose Bolton summons all leal lords to Barrowton, to affirm their loyalty to the Iron Throne and celebrate his son’s wedding to …” His heart seemed to stop for a moment. No, that is not possible. She died in King’s Landing, with Father.

 “Lord Snow?” Clydas peered at him closely with his dim pink eyes. “Are you … unwell? You seem …”
“He’s to marry Arya Stark. My little sister.” (ADWD, Jon VI)
This marriage would serve to soften the Bolton takeover of the North in the eyes of the Northern Lords who might shy away from Roose’s new leadership role as Warden of the North. And Barrowton seemed a good choice at first, but Roose came up with a better location for this wedding.

3. A Wedding in Winterfell

Roose Bolton decided to pull up stakes from Barrowton and advance on Winterfell. There, the Northern Lords would gather to witness the marriage between Ramsay Bolton and Arya Stark. But with Winterfell destroyed, it seemed an odd choice to Ramsay Bolton, but Roose had legitimacy in mind.

“Even ruined and broken, Winterfell remains Lady Arya’s home. What better place to wed her, bed her, and stake your claim?” (ADWD, Reek III)

Hosting the marriage at Winterfell would be a symbolic victory for the Boltons. As the Starks were beloved in the North and Winterfell their traditional seat, the marriage between Ramsay Bolton and Arya Stark would serve as a visual display of the union of Houses Bolton and Stark.

But Roose wasn’t only thinking of the marriage. He had Stannis in mind. Stannis as you’ll recall from above had been making strategic headway in defeating the Ironborn and enlisting support from some of the North. At some point, Stannis would need to confronted in battle, but he did not think it likely that Stannis would march towards Barrowton.

We would be fools to march on Stannis. Let Stannis march on us. He is too cautious to come to Barrowton… but he must come to Winterfell. His clansmen will not abandon the daughter of their precious Ned to such as you. Stannis must march or lose them… and being the careful commander that he is, he will summon all his friends and allies when he marches.” (ADWD Reek III)

The Boltons and their allies marched from Barrowton to Winterfell. Houses loyal to the Boltons would arrive soon to celebrate Ramsay’s wedding. They would bring their bannermen and hopefully enough supplies to outlast Stannis Baratheon.


Conclusion

Admittedly, this first analysis of the Siege of Winterfell did not actually touch on the battle itself, but I think all of this background information is important as it will directly affect how the battle might unfold. I also know that brevity is not my strong suit and that reading the full 10,000 word analysis would be a chore as opposed to a pleasure.

For the creation of the map of the Crofters’ Village, I am indebted to/u/thernkworks, /u/Militant_Penguin, /u/slim034, /u/Only1nDreams, /u/Alckie from Reddit and aryagonnakill and Brother Seamus from A Forum of Ice and Fire for their suggestions to make the map better. Thank you!

In part 2, I’ll examine disloyalty by both Bolton and Baratheon leal lords and then roll right into what I think will be a 4-part battle for Winterfell. I’ll also have a lot more maps. So, if cartography is your thing, you’ll enjoy or laugh along with me at my skill at paint and powerpoint. Thank you all for reading and I hope you’ll stick around for when Part 2 comes out. Cheers!


9 Comments

Filed under ASOIAF Analysis, ASOIAF Military Analysis

9 responses to “A Complete Analysis of the Upcoming Siege of Winterfell Part 1

  1. Guillam

    great analysis of the situation. Looking forward to part 2 and also impatiently to Winds of Winter. There’s bound to be a few suprises in store.

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  3. Julius Winedrinker

    Can’t wait for part 2. Keep it up!!

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