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See Map

Looking at the above map, The Unsullied took the red route which seems much longer than the green route. I read that it was too long (?) to go by land. But at the same time, Jaime attacked Highgarden by land (with foot soldiers) in a route that is almost as long.

As for Casterly Rock's breach, it only needed one ship (as we see in the episode) to open their gates.

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    Can you put the link up for where you found that picture? – natural Jul 31 '17 at 2:55
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    Because traveling by a vehicle is quicker, and your army arrives more rested. Further isn't necessarily slower. – iandotkelly Jul 31 '17 at 4:03
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    The older title was better, but we've been criticized before for spoiling GoT - since (for example) its shown in Europe tomorrow night. – iandotkelly Jul 31 '17 at 4:06
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    In addition to the other great answers, I noticed a remark my by Jamie when explaining his tactics to Lady Olenna Tyrell (at around 00:56:12): ... They [Unsullied] won't be able to hold it [Casterly Rock], Euron Greyjoy's navy burned their ships, we emptied the larders before we left. Eventually, they'll be forced to abandon their position and march all the way across Westeros ... Here, marching across Westeros and not being able to go back by ship has the notion of being a serious disadvantage. – pat3d3r Jul 31 '17 at 16:31
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    Didn't Jamie's troops go from Casterly Rock to Highgarden, not from King's Landing? The unsullied expected to find more troops defending Highgarden, but it seems Jamie had them abandon the castle, leaving just enough defense to keep the unsullied occupied while the Iron Fleet destroyed their ships. Thus, the distance Jamie's troops took was a little shorter. I know Jamie himself was in King's Landing, but I think he just joined his troops mid march from Casterly Rock.This doesn't really change your question that much, but it does mean Jamie's troops had less distance to travel. – Questioner Aug 1 '17 at 2:27
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Travelling by sea has advantages. Its significantly faster than walking and your army arrives more rested and able to fight than one that has walked. I'm not saying that this journey would be faster than walking, given the distance is much longer, but it might not be as much different as the map would indicate.

It's also the case that King's Landing is the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms. There is a fairly direct route between it and Highgarden. Dragonstone is on an island and has indirect routes to Casterly Rock - particularly if you are avoiding going via King's Landing.

Daenerys is also the 'foreign invader', and may not want to stoke more resentment than necessary or invite any ambushes by marching an army via Harrenhal and Riverrun.

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    A high-medieval army on the march would only be about half the speed of a sailing ship (muscle-powered ships could be faster), which would not be quite enough. If there's a helpful current, that difference can be higher - certainly plausible However, an army on the sea can carry its supplies easily, which isn't true for an army on the march - either they'd need an impractical amount of support vehicles (horse-drawn carriages full of supplies), slowing them down, or they'd need to "forage" the country-side, again slowing them down as well as being politically impossible. – Luaan Jul 31 '17 at 10:00
  • As for Jamie, first, he's a local and expected to take from the villages en-route. Second, note the river. That would make transporting supplies (and in some cases, troops) a lot easier, and if the rivers are old enough, provide both plenty of food and space for an army to maneuver. An army travelling in a long column (almost necessary in bad terrain) can be "easily" defeated by a much smaller army that can take proper advantage of that. In forests and plains, the army would spread out over a large area - again making it easier to forage, and having more space to exploit their size. – Luaan Jul 31 '17 at 10:04
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    @Luaan A ship travelling at four knots, which is not particularly fast, travels 96 nautical miles in a day -- because it can keep going 24 hours a day. An army on foot would struggle to do a fifth of that, not half. – Mike Scott Jul 31 '17 at 12:54
  • To add to this I believe they were using the element of surprise with the whole sewer surprise that Tyrion had cooked up. Kind of hard to do that when your troops are obviously throwing a boat into the water. to sneak around. – Elias Jul 31 '17 at 13:22
  • @MikeScott A completely untrained army entirely on foot travelling through hostile territory and foraging for supplies, yes - the slowest armies could get as low as 5 miles per day or so. A high-medieval trade ship could expect about 50 mpd, assuming it's sailing in safe waters. A well-trained army with light cavalry scout units on a forced march with no foraging in good terrain could easily push 30-40 mpd for a few days. The Mongols (mainly light cavalry units) managed 40-60 mpd sustained, and probably got all the way up to 100 mpd during their Hungarian campaign (Kistler 2011). – Luaan Jul 31 '17 at 14:10
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  1. Traveling through friendly lands is considerably faster than travelling through hostile lands. When traveling through friendly lands you can travel light, rest at a friendly keep, and pick up provisions at your destination. When traveling through hostile lands you have to carry your provisions with you, build a fortified camp every night, need to scout, and always maintain battle readiness.

  2. Ships travel much faster than armies walk. Not only are ships 2-4 times faster than a land army while moving, they can also move up to 24 hours a day, if conditions allow (e.g. full moon for good visibility).

  3. Traveling by foot doesn't go in a straight line. There are natural and man made obstacles that take time to move through or around. For example, the straight line in the picture in the question moves through a rather large lake, and crosses a river. It also avoids any large roads - roads are necessary to move at full speed.

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They had to attack without being seen. They're immigrants and part of the Lannister persuasion to get the remaining lords of Westoros to join her fight was to show them that immigrants would be coming to pillage their lands. Tyrion knows this, and he knows that marching them thru the land increases the chances of being seen. Tyrion wants to discredit Cersie's claim of immigrant warriors, so he has them sail the seas, but it cost them dearly.

  • attack without being seen?? I'm not so sure. the navel ships passes across the King's Landing sea part and there must be a spy somewhere. – roottraveller Jul 31 '17 at 9:02
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    King's Landing is situated off a gulf. Theres no way they can see the ships. And it doesn't matter is Cersie knows, what matters is whether the lords know it. – Danny Rodriguez Jul 31 '17 at 9:07
  • What I'm curious about is how Euron intercepted the Dornish ships and not the Unsullied ships, considering they were taking the same route and left at the same time. – TylerH Jul 31 '17 at 13:14
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    @DoktorJ That can perhaps be explained by a couple things: 1) The mix of Ironborn and veteran sailors under Euron are much more capable sailors... expect them to move faster and more efficiently than Unsullied who likely are merely 'proficient' at sailing. 2) Euron's massive fleet is new and is made up of triremes, which are designed for speed and ramming into other ships to sink them. Triremes are also powered by both sail and oar, and rowed ships are much faster than sailed ships. – TylerH Jul 31 '17 at 13:58
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    @DoktorJ If I had to guess, I'd say Euron made port at King's Landing after his victory and then sent most of his fleet on to Casterly Rock with the intent to join them shortly thereafter. The Unsullied ships would be mostly empty during the attack, so even a middling Ironborn lieutenant should be able to mop the floor with them, given the usual gap in nautical skill between Ironborn and others. – TylerH Jul 31 '17 at 14:00
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At the end of the episode Jaime pointed out that without their ships they will have to march back to Dragonstone and can be picked off along the way. I'd say they took ships as a safer mode of travel.

  • ... marching through hostile territory and unknown terrain, with barely any supplies and presumably plenty of ambushes prepared on the way. They're even worse off than if they did choose to attack over land - at least they'd be prepared (e.g. with horse scouts, wagons, local guides/spies etc.). – Luaan Aug 1 '17 at 12:46
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    Looking at what happened to the Greyjoys and the Martells, I don't think the argument of sea being safer really holds that much ground (no pun intended). – JAD Aug 1 '17 at 14:09
  • Not anymore I guess but Im not sure the power of that navy was really known, or that he was fighting for Cersei. – user74671 Aug 2 '17 at 12:44

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