1

Being a Warden allowed you to control armies. But, that power was contingent on the Seven Kingdoms being intact. The outbreak of the War of the 5 Kings fractured the Seven Kingdoms and seemingly left a Warden (especially in the North) with no resources to control.

But, in Season 5, episode 6, Baelish had this dialogue with Cersei:

BAELISH: Stannis Baratheon is also a traitor, marching with his army on Winterfell. Let Stannis and Roose battle, let the enemies of the throne slaughter each other and when they’re done seize Winterfell from whichever thief survives.
CERSEI: Winterfell is 1,000 miles away from here. The weather has already begun to turn.
BAELISH: That is why it is critical to strike soon, while the victor still licks his wounds. Perhaps I can help. The Knights of the Vale are some of the best fighters in Westeros, trained to battle in the ice and the snow.
.....
CERSEI: And if you succeed?
BAELISH: Name me Warden of the North.

After Battle of Bastards, Baelish could have easily done what he said he would do. But, instead, he had his forces stand down.

A King in the North would control all the forces the Warden of the North once controlled?

Baelish knew that the North basically already seceded with Robb Stark declared as King in the North, yet Baelish still wanted the title of Warden of the North?

A final twist, in season 6, episode 9, is that Baelish told Sansa that the Vale has declared for the King in the North, thus betraying the Iron Throne, right? Or, maybe he lied and betrayed Sansa?

  • 4
    Baelish is always lying and betraying people. It's like his bread and butter. – Rand al'Thor Jul 6 '16 at 18:34
4

The outbreak of the War of the 5 Kings fractured the Seven Kingdoms and seemingly left a Warden (especially in the North) with no resources to control...

Baelish knew that the North basically already seceded with Robb Stark declared as King in the North, yet Baelish still wanted the title of Warden of the North?

Not quite. In the TV show, The War of the Five Kings broke out when the former Warden of the North, Ned Stark, was imprisoned by the crown, and his son Robb declared war. While the North eventually demanded secession during this war, this idea died once Robb was defeated — there was no more King in the North.

Roose Bolton was named Warden of the North, and started raising taxes on the Northern houses much as the Starks had done before (you may remember a conversation between Roose and Ramsay on this subject in season 5, episode 3).

So as far as Cersei knows, Baelish is happy for her to rule the Seven Kingdoms, including The North, as long as he’s Warden of the North. But, as you say:

A final twist, in season 6, episode 9, is that Baelish told Sansa that the Vale has declared for the King in the North, thus betraying the Iron Throne, right? Or, maybe he lied and betrayed Sansa?

So yup, could be either. Baelish did say to Sansa that what he wants is to sit on the Iron Throne, with Sansa at his side. Presuming this statement is true (he’s putting in a lot of effort and risk if he doesn’t want to be King himself), he has indeed intentionally betrayed the Iron Throne — but presuming this statement is also in order of priority, his loyalty to Sansa could change at any time if doing so would get Baelish’s bum closer to the big metal chair.

  • 1
    Thanks for getting my timeline correct. I definitely remember Ramsay starting to flay people who didn't pay their taxes. – Just Someone Jul 7 '16 at 1:44
5

The warden of some direction is mostly an empty but honorary title. It is usually traditionally hereditary but in some cases it might not be.

Before he died, Robert made Jaime Lannister the warden of the east Even though traditionally the Lord of the Vale carries this title.

Wardens were supposed to protect their region against foreign invaders, the last of which was the War of Ninepenny Kings. I hardly think Eddard Stark had a command over Hoster Tully as the Warden of the North in peace time.

I think Baelish only seeks some legitimacy in the North. He is the Lord Paramount of the Riverlands, Lord Protector of the Vale and if he was to be named Warden of the North, he might influence an already devastated and divided region. With Jon as the Lord of Winterfell, this title would be meaningless.

  • Random thought: IS he ever named Lord Paramount of the Riverlands in the show? I don't remember it, and the Freys have a big stake in the show for Riverrun. In the book of course, he's not yet relevant to the North. So there are different dynamics at play - in the book, he has nominal control over the Riverlands and the Vale, in the show he was hoping to branch from the Vale to the North. In neither version could he claim all three (yet). – DariM Jul 6 '16 at 22:32
  • @DariM In the show, no, he wasn't. Only the Harrenhal, my mistake. – C.Koca Jul 6 '16 at 22:34
2

Warden of the North and King in the North are not equivalent titles.

Firstly, there is the obvious allegiance difference - one is entirely dependant on the lands granted by the Iron Throne, the other is forcibly taken by military might and independence. But secondly and most importantly, they cover different areas. Warden of the North covers the former kingdom of the North: http://awoiaf.westeros.org/images/c/cd/The_North2.jpg It does not encroach upon the Riverlands

When Robb Stark declared the Kingdom of the North, he didn't just claim the North. As he was allied with his family in the Riverlands, which had control of some of the Riverlands, he declared dominion over this portion as well:

Our domain shall include all the Stark lands north of the Neck, and in addition the lands watered by the River Trident and its vassal streams, bound by the Golden Tooth to the west and the Mountains of the Moon to the east.

Until this, Robb Stark never had dominion over any area of the Riverlands; he had an allegiance with the Tullys. As a result of his mother's marriage.

Lastly, there is how revenue stream and fealty/loyalty works. You can kinda see glimpses of this in how Ramsay Bolton flays the Cerwyns to get "taxes", although it's obviously far more complex. Wardens never got meaningless; in fact, that is how the Boltons had to operate in Winterfell, the Arryns still got incomes from their houses during the time of war, Tyrell army and resources are based on their ongoing position as Wardens of the South etc.

If Petyr Baelish had become Warden of the North, he would have been in control of the largest Kingdom in Westeros, with all incomes and loyalties as part of that position, in "alliance" with the Crown.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.