64

In the Game of Thrones Season 8 finale Sansa

demands the freedom of the North. North will be an independent kingdom.

Why did other houses remain silent. They could also demand the same for their own kingdom.

I could guess they are not very powerful to demand anything but there was no harm putting that in front of

the newly elected king.

  • 21
    Pretty sure the North's bargaining chip is their army – Alec Alameddine May 20 at 6:05
  • 3
    Maybe because they are all divided & not have a prominent leader to demand such a thing. Small houses can't demand freedom. They need protection from invaders. The North is a big area with many many houses but Sansa was their leader. She had the power to bargain – KharoBangdo May 20 at 6:40
  • 2
    In the question and the answers there seems to be confusion between "Houses" and "Kingdoms." Sansa did not demand independence for House Stark, she demanded independence for The North. – krb May 20 at 13:15
  • 2
    @AlecA: After the battle of the bastards and the battle of Winterfell, I don't think that the North has so many fighting men left compared to, for example, Dorne. – Heinzi May 20 at 20:48
  • 22
    Come on, you know this whole season was a complete wash in terms of writing. There is no reason House Stark should have 3 people sitting on that council, no reason anyone would consider Bran as king, no reason why the North - which by the end of Season 6 was effectively under Vale occupation (Daenerys invasion notwithstanding) would get anything interesting, etc. etc. – einpoklum May 20 at 22:13
149

The other answers overlook something very neat and simple: the Starks were the last to speak.

Sansa deliberately waited until all the others had said "Aye". Everyone (including most viewers, I imagine) assumed she would say "Aye" to her own brother becoming king - but she waited until everyone else had committed before making her move.

This was very smart. Bran's position was essentially confirmed, so her little power play wouldn't stop Bran being king, and it meant that if anyone else had wanted to copy her, they would have to publicly contradict themselves and publicly go against their own word.

She waited until they had all committed to accepting Bran as their king before putting the idea of breaking away into their heads and revealing it was something Bran would likely agree to in order to maintain peace. There were clear shots of her watching the others, smiling confidently, looking around making sure everyone else had spoken, waiting for the right moment.

She learned a lot about politics from Littlefinger and Cersei over the years...


Of course, if there had been someone like Tywin Lannister present, he would not have been caught flat-footed like the others were. He'd have smelled someone consolidating power and he'd have known that he had about five seconds between Sansa making this play and Bran accepting it to put Sansa's ambitions down.

He'd probably have quickly made the calculation that Sansa cares more about peace and having a mild king like Bran than she cares about independence. He'd have used his extensive political wits to quickly think up a powerful way of putting Sansa under the pressure of thinking that the whole deal would fall through if she didn't back down. He'd also have found a way of presenting it without making enemies of the others present, risking them allying against him in future, and without appearing to have gone back on his word, risking appearing weak and losing credibility.

Edmure Tully, Gendry, Royce, Yara, Sam, Davos... these are not characters with the same political instincts and wits, or ambitions.

Of those present, only Tyrion could realistically have responded effectively here, but he's not going to bluff bringing down his own suggestion, when it looks like his last chance to save himself from Grey Worm's dagger.

It would be perfectly in character for, say, Yara to sail home kicking herself that if she'd played her cards better, maybe she might have wrangled independence for the Iron Islands. It would not be in character for her to magically transform into a master politician and masterfully improvise her way to it in a matter of seconds, or take big risks in a clumsy, improvised power grab when, unlike Sansa, she had been perfectly happy supporting Queen Dany.

  • 51
    So the other nobles lost the ability to speak after saying 'aye'? This is one of the most absurd post-justifications I've ever read. It's not clever, it's just awful writing. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft May 20 at 18:16
  • 53
    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft Saving face is a very real political thing. "Okay I'll do X" followed by "Oh, damn, I didn't realize I could say no, can I change my answer?" does not look good. That's the sort of stuff that gets you murdered. – zibadawa timmy May 20 at 19:35
  • 17
    Come on, there have been so many examples of the importance of a character's reputation for keeping their word, don't make us list them... Of course Yara for example could have said, "Ooh, hang on, the Iron Islands also demand independence!", but she'd never be taken seriously again. They'd point out that she's gone back on a public commitment she made mere seconds ago, so why would they negotiate or compromise with her, when no agreement she could make would have any value? Her options would be to back down, or start a war she couldn't win. – user568458 May 20 at 21:08
  • 29
    @zibadawatimmy "We chose Bran as the king of the Seven Kingdoms; Six Kingdoms require a new vote". Face saved. Sansa's demand at this point violated the spirit of mutual agreement; any of the other participants could have taken his or her word back and blame it on Sansa. If they didn't do it, this means they didn't desire independence strong enough to risk the civil war. And indeed, with heirless Bran any of them (or their kin) may one day rule the whole Westeros in addition to their own kingdom, this was Tyrion's selling point. – IMil May 21 at 5:25
  • 16
    I feel like this answer is missing one important point. Sansa pointed out that tens of thousands of the North's people laid down there lives to defeat the Night King and his Army of the Dead. And while she didn't outright say it, she strongly implied that the armies of the remaining 6 kingdoms were not there for them, and instead remained in the south either to protect their own lands or to follow Cersei's orders. The other kingdoms turned their backs on the North and left them to fight alone. The North earned their independence and paid for it with their own people's blood. – R. McMillan May 21 at 12:38
33

Because they didn't want to, are not powerful enough and/or lack a prominent enough leader to be able to hold their lands. On top of that, like as with Storm's End previously, the ruling houses of some lands were wiped out so no one knows who rules them currently anyway.

Take the Westerlands, for example, whilst Tyrion is still alive he is the only remaining Lannister and as Hand of the King might not have time and effort to rule the Westerlands effectively. On top of that the majority of the Lannister army was wiped out in the Sack of King's Landing.

Look at the Riverlands as another example, a lot of the forces have been wiped out over the course of the show and Edmure Tully is their current Lord. However, he has been prisoner for a long time so doesn't really have any real power on the lands because he hasn't been their to stake his claim.

And lastly, look at Dorne, their ruler is brand new in effect (which holds true for Gendry and the Stormlands too). He again doesn't really have a lot of power over his lands for a similar reason to Edmure. If these are to rebel and become independent they can't do it until they've had time too replenish their lands with people and resources.

In effect a lot of them just don't have the power to properly hold their lands at the moment never mind become independent and so will rely on the crown's support and help.

  • 14
    What about Iron Islands? They had two independence rebellions just this generation. And they were promised independence by Daenerys. Did they just kinda forgot about it, or just don't care about independence anymore? – user28434 May 20 at 9:46
  • @user28434 I'll be honest I have yet to see the episode, only the odd scene here and there. I believe Yara calls for Bran to be king so presumably she doesn't want independence anymore but I don't know until I watch the episode properly – TheLethalCarrot May 20 at 9:48
  • 6
    But honestly, what power does the crown have to lead and hold the Six Kingdoms? The Northmen, Unsullied, and Dothraki were basically the entire army, so after Sansa goes home, Grey Worm sails away, and the Dothraki evaporate, it seems that the crown would have very little ability to support regional lords. I don't see how the Dornish ruler swearing fealty to a foreigner, for example, is going to make life any easier for him back home. – Nuclear Wang May 20 at 13:07
  • 2
    @user28434 the important part is that under new agreement, all the six remaining kingdoms have a chance that the next King/Queen will be of their lineage. There was no such chance under Dany; the independence of Iron Islands was preferable then. But Tyrion hung a huge carrot in front of the lords' noses: now if they secede, they deny their kin a chance to rule over the whole realm. Sansa doesn't care about anything but the North; others may have different ambitions. – IMil May 21 at 5:40
  • 1
    @IMil That doesn't seem like a huge carrot to me... Bran will sit on the throne for decades, and after that, it's unlikely that the new king will come from any one particular house. And the lineage in this system is way less important, since the king to follow them can be literally anybody. It's not House Stark sitting on the throne, it's Bran. Getting your grandkids an unlikely shot at a one-off kingship does not seem like a great motivator. I don't know that an Iron Islander would even want to rule over the whole realm anyway, that doesn't seem to be anywhere near their list of priorities. – Nuclear Wang May 21 at 12:47
27

I strongly agree with @user568458's excellent point on the order of voting, and the tactical approach Sansa took.

But, additionally, she gives a stated reason: of all of Westeros, the North made the most crucial and sustained effort to resist the Night King and his armies and bore extensive losses, which ultimately saved all of the other Westerosi. They had already contributed to the realm by preserving its existence while the other houses continued to squabble among themselves. Northern territories also suffered a lot of damage to their holdings and infrastructure, which the other regions did not.

That's a hard argument to match, as the other regions were mostly playing Cersei's game. Whether or not it's a compelling argument, there's no good way to attach a "we deserve independence, too" plea when they were not much involved in the unique effort to preserve all life on the continent without any promise or suggestion of a reward for having done so. (I know others were involved, particularly the Vale, but this is the argument Sansa advanced).

Finally, there is a "will of the people" element to consider. The Northerners became heavily invested in the idea of their independence from the Iron Throne over the course of the series, and are frequently shown as eager to follow a Northern monarch and hostile to submitting to a Southern one. Most of the other kingdoms aren't shown to have that same popular will-- independence is usually shown to be a desire of a few important people, who drag the rest of their polities after them.

There are exceptions to these points, as it wasn't only Northerners resisting the Night King, and there was definitely a popular secessionist push in Dorne, and for these reasons I prefer the tactical explanation offered above. But it is also true that the North may have a uniquely compelling explanation for why they deserve independence, while the other regions could mostly just articulate a desire for independence, at best.

  • 2
    Also, the Northmen were a different people from the rest of those populating Westeros. They migrated to Westeros first and the Southerners came much later. – RIanGillis May 20 at 19:13
  • 2
    Worth noting that the Arryns were loyal to the Starks and kept their forces at Winterfell to defend against the Army of the Dead too but didn't ask for independence. – TheLethalCarrot May 21 at 10:11
  • @TheLethalCarrot I mentioned that at the end of the third paragraph (though I described the Vale, collectively). But my argument is that Sansa presented a case why the North deserved to be independent, and also clearly wanted that independence. The Vale might similarly deserve independence, but not particularly want it. Anything about why they wouldn't crave independence would just be speculation (though the Lord of the Vale doesn't seem like he would make an inspiring monarch...). – Upper_Case May 21 at 15:33
14

The North is big. And strong. That's been acknowledged from the very beginning of the series, with the Warden of the North being essentially the second strongest person (in an official position) in Westeros. Maybe third, depending on who the Hand of the King was. It has always been a problematic area to hold onto and appease.

For the most part the Warden was the ultimate authority in the North. In the other kingdoms individual houses may not follow the lead of the ostensible ruler of their kingdom, conspiring amongst themselves to see those they like more placed into positions of authority and power. But essentially no one in the North opposed the head of the Starks as the Warden of the North. Even those who did, such as the Boltons, still saw the Starks as the necessary key; everyone wanted to marry Sansa because she gave them that key. Even King Robert wanted to marry Sansa to Joffrey as much out of his respect and brotherly love for Ned as it was to secure the ties to the North.

As we saw all throughout the series, the Northmen follow the Starks through thick and thin, their only ambivalence being when Jon subjugated himself to Dany. But even then they continued to do as he wanted, and later on organized themselves under Sansa's leadership.

The other Kingdoms do not have this sort of semi-independent and largely autonomous culture to fall back on.


As for why Yara didn't aim for independence...

First, her Kingdom is easily the most dependent one, as it has been said to be almost entirely dependent on raiding. So she will have the biggest practical problems in maintaining independence, especially after Euron's chunk of their fleet got destroyed. The time between when she was gunning for independence to now may have sobered her with the cold reality that independence was a ruinously bad idea.

Beyond that, she certainly doesn't seem the type to lose out on a "who has the biggest stones" contest to Sansa. But maybe the idea hadn't occured to her. She wasn't expecting this to happen and came in planning to be part of a council to decide how to resolve the situation with Jon and the Unsullied. She may simply have been unwilling to debase herself by suddenly jumping on the independence ship after the fact.

But perhaps more importantly, Theon is very important to her, and she knows that he died protecting Bran Stark and considered the Starks his family. As such, the idea of uniting under Bran Stark may strike a powerful emotional chord with her, and that gets her to go along with the idea of remaining in the Six Kingdoms under his rule.

And for those intent on the Game continuing, if the King is elected by the most powerful Lords and Ladies of Westeros, then the only real chance you have of getting yourself or your kin on that throne is to remain one of those powerful Lords and Ladies. So install the non-threatening King who'd rather spy on a dragon than actually govern, and start working on your plan to get on the throne.

11

The rulers don't have the power over their people and lords

All the rulers of major houses are new people who just came to power. They may not have the complete support and power of their people. The rulers are taken from this answer,

| Kingdom     | Ruler            | New Ruler**| Army***                     |
|-------------|------------------|------------|-----------------------------|
| Reach       | Bronn            |   Yes      |Depleted, never commanded it |
| Stormlands  | Gendry Baratheon |   Yes      |Depleted, never commanded it |
| Dorne       | Unknown          |   Yes      |Unsure                       |
| WesternLands| Tyrion Lannister |   No       |Depleted                     |
| Riverland   | Edmure Tully     |   No       |Depleted                     |
| Iron Islands| Yara Greyjoy     |   No       |Depleted                     |
| Vale        | Robin Arryn      |   No       |Strong                       |
| North       | Sansa Stark      |   No       |Strong                       |

** Yes if the person has not ruled that province in the past

*** never commanded if the person has never commanded that Kingdom's army

  • As you can see three of the rulers are ruling this province for the first time. They might not have the full support of their people and the Lords of their Kingdoms. How many of their Lords hate the new rulers? How many of them wanted to overthrow them?
  • Two of them have not commanded the armies of their Kingdoms before. Will their armies go to battle for them? How loyal are their soldiers?
  • Three of the Kingdoms are greatly depleted.
  • Tyrion Lannister is the Hand of the King. He would want his Kingdom to be part of the Six.
  • Yara Greyjoy cannot be sure how many Ironborns are still loyal to Euron. Some will be mad at Dany for burning their men and fleet. Yara was allied with her so she could face some internal resistance.
  • The Vale has a strong army. Robin Arryn probably wanted peace or the others persuaded him.
  • 2
    Riverland is not a kingdom. And the Vale pledged allegiance to the North previous season, so it may stay that way now. – user28434 May 20 at 12:17
  • 2
    Yara Greyjoy, new ruler: ish – user1129682 May 20 at 13:00
  • 1
    A union between Queen Sansa and Robin Arryn is a logical outcome that would ensure the Vale remains a steadfast ally in the North – Mohair May 20 at 16:45
  • 2
    Furthermore, the Reach was given to Bronn by Tyrion, who presumably could do so only by acting on authority of the Crown. – Acccumulation May 20 at 18:06
  • 3
    North: Semi-new ruler, depleted army, effectively occupied by the Vale. Dorne has a new ruler but a Strong army, and had never never captured by the Iron Throne. – einpoklum May 20 at 22:17
5

I tend to disagree with most other answers. At this point, practically any of the present Lords could have claimed independence, and probably would get it with little effort. But was it in their best interest?

Remember Tyrion's speech. It was mostly quite romantic, inspiring and almost poetic.

I've had nothing to do but think these past few weeks. About our bloody history. About the mistakes we've made. What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There's nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it. And who has a better story... than Bran the Broken? The boy who fell from a high tower and lived. He knew he'd never walk again, so he learned to fly. He crossed beyond the Wall, a crippled boy, and became the Three-Eyed Raven. He is our memory, the keeper of all our stories. The wars, weddings, births, massacres, famines. Our triumphs... our defeats, our past. Who better to lead us into the future?

So noble. Yet, could this influence the politicians? No, these words were not for them. This was merely a justification, a common story for all present to tell at home. The real selling point followed:

Bran has no interest in ruling and he can't father children. Good. Sons of kings can be cruel and stupid, as you well know. His will never torment us. That is the wheel our queen wanted to break. From now on, rulers will not be born. They will be chosen on this spot by the lords and ladies of Westeros... to serve the realm.

Any other outcome, no matter who would become a permanent ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, would have made at least six people leave the table unhappy. Or, even more likely, the realm split again, Jon beheaded and the new war looming. Tyrion's words were carefully measured so that seven people would leave the table hopeful. None of them had real hope that he or she would get universal approval, but a chance for their kin to rule over the whole Westeros one day was a better deal than independence. Well, the Imp had a few weeks to prepare.

Sansa's démarche made it six. What course of action could the others take? Demand her to change her mind? One more pretender. Secede as well? Lose the claim for the whole Realm, and pragmatically speaking the union made each kingdom safer and richer. Claim the throne for themselves? No chance.

So in the end everyone acted in their best interest: independence was important for Sansa and the North, for the rest the new arrangement seemed preferable. Tyrion may have omitted a few details, like the potential lifespan of three-eyed ravens and how hard it would be to conspire against one...

0

these people have all given most of the reasons that i have. here is my 2 cents:

  1. they did not want it- mostly because they are all of almost the same race-andals. it was the north who were always isolationist and remained decendants of the first men.

  2. the rest had too much common border with more tahn 1 other region. while the north had a very easily defendable moat caytlin at the neck. they needed to defend their shores true, but they were well defended to any attack from the land.

  3. the north had a true reason- the rest of the southern kingdoms had been isolating and screwing with the north for more than 30 years.

  4. the other kingdoms have been attacking and taking over each other and been invaded and taken over by 2 kingdoms previously before the targaryans took westerosi over 300 years back. as apposed to that, the north has been one kingdom for more than 8000 years and held their kingdom for all that time until the dragons came.

protected by Valorum May 22 at 9:37

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