House France writes to the Seven Kingdoms
April 13, 2015 2:45 PM   Subscribe

The next king of Westeros gets governing advice from the (real, not a joke) French governement in order to build a "stronger, fairer kingdom". House France's sigil is a rooster. The text is in French so here's a quick & dirty summary: 1) Less centralization and a more efficient territorial organization 2) Less tournaments and feasts and a responsible Master of Coin 3) A well-deserved and early retirement plan for the hard-working brothers of the Night's Watch 4) A fairer justice with no death penalty or trial by combat 5) No more youngster without education 6) Winter is coming! Let's build shelters for the poorest.

Still, House France would be happy to sell Rafale fighter jets to whoever could buy them in Westeros.
posted by elgilito (26 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Less centralization? That's crazy. The Seven Kingdoms are pretty darn de-centralized. Lots of key decisions seem to happen at the level of the individual kingdoms or below. Dorne or the Valley, for example, seem to be basically self-governed at the moment. The North is typically run by the Starks with little input from the South and that's only been changed recently because of a lost war.

(The French are lecturing someone else about an overcentralized state? As an American, that's odd.)
posted by Area Man at 2:51 PM on April 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Good thing they didn't ask any of the Bourbons cause it would be all "reduce taxation on the nobility to nothing and trap them in your elaborate palace fortress more concerned with fashion and scheming then building armies against you in thier holdings."
posted by The Whelk at 2:53 PM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Trying to imagine King's Landing with strikes every August.
posted by maryr at 2:57 PM on April 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yeah, there isn't territorial organization beyond "I'm the lord of so-and-so, I hold such-and-such castles." The King doesn't seem to have any particular say over what happens pretty much anywhere outside of King's Landing.
posted by BungaDunga at 2:57 PM on April 13, 2015


I say King Tommen and his advisors should centralizing. Use the lack of any really strong house in the Riverlands to start running more things centrally there, in the Crownlands, and in the Stormlands. He's got 3 of the 7. Start appointing prefects and directly taxing. Have Jaime out there with an army bringing any petty lords who object to heel.

Bring in experts from Essos and the Reach to modernize agricultural methods. The Riverlands should be a pretty rich agricultural area. It is temperate and well-watered. If he increases yields, he could become gradually much less dependent on the Reach.
posted by Area Man at 3:07 PM on April 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


To be clear, the text is in support of the government's reforms, with Westeros as a stand-in for non-reformed France. Article 1 is about the mess of the current French territorial organization, which is both hypercentralized and divided in wasteful fiefdoms.
posted by elgilito at 3:07 PM on April 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Like this will ever happen, but...Turn the monarchy into a purely ceremonial one, with Sansa or Shireen as Queen, who can then go around cutting ribbons, making speeches, and fundraising for charities. Turn Westeros into a republic or democracy with Davos Seaworth as Prime Minister/President. Offer any and all skilled Essosi craftspeople free immigration and a place to live in exchange for establishing businesses, paying taxes, and taking on Westerosi apprentices.

The Braavosi seem to be doing pretty well under a quasi-republican government. At least their people don't seem to be suffering as much as the Westerosi smallfolk, even if Braavos is still run by the rich. The "torture and beheading" quotient is smaller, at any rate.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:17 PM on April 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Point by point, as this relates to the world of Westeros:

1). Westeros is about as decentralized as it gets - I mean, there's a reason the Starks are Wardens of the North; they are the regional authority on behalf of the crown, with the authority to sort out what is going on in that part of the Kingdoms because it takes too damn long for news and decisions to constantly go back and forth from King's Landing. And under the Starks are a series of local Lords who are the authority over their lands. How much more decentralization can you do? Even as it stands, you get the occasional region deciding it doesn't need to listen to the King anymore and going off and declaring independence and then marrying the wrong girl.

2). "Bread and circuses" is a rather long established means of government distracting the populace from the real issues. And even our modern democracies have problems with corruption and graft. So, maybe we shouldn't be
throwing stones?

3). Actually, this makes some sense. They could retire some folks out reasonably young and grant them land in the Gift and solve some of that pesky supply problem. It becomes a community service thing, with the promise of learning some skills and getting some land at the end of it. Might get more than thieves and whores joining the Watch as a result.

4). Given the standards of the average Westrosi dungeon, I'm not sure the death penalty for most crimes is actually all that cruel or inhumane. And trial by combat avoids a whole pesky appeals process.

5). Everything they need to know about life in Westeros was summed up by Tyrion last night over a mouthful of wine.

6). And a close reading of the series suggests that is the concern for some of the characters - the horrible fate the poorest are being left to as the nobles play their game of thrones.

And really, if you want to get the church onside, you should have a 7th point.

(But more seriously, some of us fans are hoping that the end of the series does result in the upending of the current political structure of Westeros with something more humane coming in to replace it)
posted by nubs at 3:17 PM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


House France should first get its own house in order. They need to do a better job of integrating their Wildlings and stop messing with their former vassals in the Summer Islands.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:20 PM on April 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Running a stable monarchy has not been in the French skill set for a long time.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:39 PM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Running a stable monarchy has not been in the French skill set for a long time.

Well, they did have a similar skill set to certain Westeros leaders for getting rid of aristocrats they didn't like.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:42 PM on April 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


2) Less tournaments and feasts and a responsible Master of Coin

Nice try, Iron Bank of Braavos.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:44 PM on April 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


There seem to be quite a few Westeros related posts on the blue right now, but this seems like the most appropriate thread for this: Can Marxist theory predict the end of Game of Thrones?. Apologies if this has already been posted elsewhere.
posted by talking leaf at 3:46 PM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think I have reached a state of maximum Game of Thrones saturation... and I've never even watched it.
posted by Ratio at 3:48 PM on April 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


There are not enough GoT posts on the front page. /s I haven't watched it either.
posted by Splunge at 4:00 PM on April 13, 2015


#GamerGate of Thrones by Mallory Ortberg, complete with a cats supercut
posted by Apocryphon at 4:06 PM on April 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's about ethics in... wait, what are ethics again?
posted by maryr at 4:15 PM on April 13, 2015


I think I have reached a state of maximum Game of Thrones saturation... and I've never even watched it.

When you play the game of pop cultural phenomenon, you watch or you are saturation bombed.

(no, seriously, I'm a huge GoT fan and this is a little much - it's freaking everywhere on the internet today. Hell, Crooks and Liars is doing episode recaps now! I love that so many people are enjoying it on one level, but on another: this is the closest I have ever been to telling everyone to go away and leave me and my nerd friends alone).
posted by nubs at 4:15 PM on April 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


GamerGate of Thrones -- GRRM from just two days ago.
posted by Llama-Lime at 4:32 PM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


The King doesn't seem to have any particular say over what happens pretty much anywhere outside of King's Landing.

Yeah that actually seems pretty true, at least in the TV show. I figure Kings Landing is still coveted because of the prestige and (probably) a larger population to draw taxes from
posted by Hoopo at 6:45 PM on April 13, 2015


On the other hand, Westeros is literally called "The Seven Kingdoms" which is... pretty descriptive. It's only been ruled by a king for 300-some years. I imagine things might have been different when the Targaryens were in ascendance. Having half a dozen dragons at your beck and call was probably pretty good for enforcing your will.

Arguably it's just not possible to rule all of Westeros for long without dragons...
posted by BungaDunga at 8:47 PM on April 13, 2015


I'm sort of surprised that it's considered OK to address the French public in terms of a product of Anglo-Saxon culture (especially one which is - obviously! - just a fantasy rip-off of the great work of Maurice Druon). Although it is France offering patronising advice, so the world isn't quite upside down.
posted by Segundus at 3:26 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean, it seems pretty obvious that this confederation of seven kingdoms under an increasingly ceremonial "King" who no one outside King's Landing seems to care that much about needs to centralize quickly* due to the thread of both looming famine, dragon queens, and Ice Zombies from the north ...which is something I don't think France has ever dealt with (well okay maybe the Normans)

*I bet you could make an argument about giving the North more autonomy due to cultural distinctiveness and tradition, but that's a post-ice zombie kind of argument.
posted by The Whelk at 8:32 AM on April 14, 2015


Are you suggesting that the North is like the Quebec of Westeros?

In fact, it makes some sense as Dorne has been given more autonomy that respects their cultural distinctiveness.
posted by nubs at 9:04 AM on April 14, 2015


Are you suggesting that the North is like the Quebec of Westeros?

Fact: White Walkers love poutine.
posted by thivaia at 9:17 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


They do invade Maine every summer much to the consternation of the locals.
posted by The Whelk at 9:37 AM on April 14, 2015


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