Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from the Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to email@example.com, leave a comment in the post, ask in the POIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes.
And now, up to ruling 2 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is John Kolla. 29 years old from Philadelphia, PA, he got into the series from watching the first season of Game of Thrones. He began reading the books right after the end of the season, so he would avoid spoilers, such as Ned's death, which was spoiled for him. He loves the books and has been reading from all the main websites and listening to BLAH and APOIAF, but this is the first active thing he ever did in the fandom. He just recently completed his second re-read of the series, where he led a couple of friends through their first read and found it even more enjoyable the second time through.What happened to Edric Dayne?
Main opinion: Amin
I’ve always liked Edric Dayne, in particular during his brief interaction with Arya. He is the heir and actually now the lord of an ancient and well respected house, a house that has already been quite involved with the Starks. We don’t know if Edric was named after Eddard, but if he was, that would add another layer to that connection. Edric squiring with the Beric (a Marcher Lord) and Beric’s engagement with Edric’s aunt were part of an interesting trend of diplomacy between traditional enemies. Beric may be dead, but an adult Edric influenced by that relationship and his time with the BWB could be a very interesting Dornish lord. And, if he earns it, an interesting Sword of the Morning It is therefore with trepidation then I admit that he falls under the large group of expendable characters. He could perish easily offscreen as one of the many Brotherhood casualties. However, I am going to go against the odds and hope that he survives the series and comes out of his BWB time for the better, not unlike Aegon V’s unorthodox training and upbringing. As for where he is now, from the AFFC Appendix, it appears that the BWB has broken into two branches and Edric is presumably no longer with Lady Stoneheart’s group. He could still be with that splinter group, somewhere in the Riverlands or elsewhere, we simply do not know. It was suggested on the APOIAF forums that Edric could be taking Beric’s body back to Blackhaven, which would be both an honourable thing to do and a convenient way for wiser heads to get a stubborn Edric out of the Riverlands. There is no evidence for that, though I like the idea.
Concurring Opinion Stefan:
Edric Dayne is still alive and miserable with the Brotherhood without Banners. After being dragged into a horrifying conflict by his knight, Beric Dondarrion, who doesn’t seem to have given too much attention to the boy, he had to see them die and the monsters take over. I guess he suffers from severe PTSD by now.
Concurring Opinion John Kolla:
According to Thoros, the Brotherhood is broken. Judging by how disgusted Thoros seems to be by his current situation, he is not happy with Lady Stoneheart. It stands to reason that many of Beric's men felt the same way and decided to leave her. I would imagine Thoros stayed because he saw it as his duty from the red god since he was the one who brought her back. I think that Edric, being Beric's squire was furious with Lady Stoneheart's idea of justice and left with Anguy and the other outlaws listed with Beric in the Appendix of AFFC. The question is what is their objective, is it to continue the work of the Brotherhood alone (possibly with Edric taking over for Beric), find a new leader to serve or something different? My guess is that Edric will still have a role to play in the story, that he is leading what's left of the Brotherhood and that they will eventually join up with a major character. The lord of such a frequently mentioned House has to play a part. As a side note, I noticed on my recent reread of ADWD that Beric's name is not in parenthesis in the Appendix after it was in AFFC. I could see this causing some crack pot theories, but I don't buy into it at this point.
Final verdict: Edric Dayne is alive, but not in a happy place.
Is Varys a merling?
For information on this, see here.
Main opinion: Amin
While I like a good crackpot theory and Varys backstory theories specifically (the Court leaves the question of Varys’ true background to be resolved in another sitting), I have to definitely rule that Varys is not a merling, hopefully with the concurrence of my colleagues. If it were true, I’ld be disappointed and confused, because there is hardly enough setup there for it. George doesn’t usually throw absolute curveballs in the story for large reveals; there are hints here and there that connected far more logically than the ‘evidence’ for the merling theory. The smaller the scope of the fandom theory is, the less important such hints are for it. This is a major theory that would be a major reveal, without sufficient buildup.
Concurring Opinion Stefan:
Fuck, no, he’s not. These ideas are so stupid I’m not even sure that the author isn’t just trolling, and the textual evidence is laughable. There are no merlings in this world, and certainly, someone would have noticed such an obvious “secret” by now. Come on, this isn’t “Twilight”.
Concurring Opinion John Kolla:
Absolutely not. I don't like the idea that Varys is anything but low born who rose to be an amazing player at the game of thrones. I feel like it takes away from his character if he is a Blackfyre or Targaryen, let alone a merling. I like that he is comparable to Littlefinger in that he rose to the top to become a master player. I think he is a better player than Littlefinger, because he does not have as many glaring weaknesses. The fact that he has been able to keep his agenda from everyone including the reader is impressive, but I think it loses its luster if we find out that Varys was a (merling or anything like that) all along. That being said, it would not be disappointing to me at all if it turned out Varys was never a eunuch, because mummery and disguises are such an important part of his character.
Final verdict: No, he's not. DEFINITELY.
What do you think happened to Raynald Westerling? Surely Sybelle Spicer would not have been happy that her son was murdered by her own involvement in the Red Wedding? He must be alive, maybe pulled from the river by Nymeria?
Main opinion: Amin
Raynald, otherwise known as the Knight of Seashells, is a character I often mention to show off GRRM’s ability to develop a character and get the reader interested in that character (even if they do die) with amazing efficiency. It is worth listing the short description we get in AFFC about his Red Wedding actions:
“The knight of seashells?” Edwyn sneered. “You’ll find that one feeding the fish at the bottom of the Green Fork.”
“He was in the yard when our men came to put the direwolf down,” said Walder Rivers. “Whalen demanded his sword and he gave it over meek enough, but when the crossbowmen began feathering the wolf he seized Whalen’s axe and cut the monster loose of the net they’d thrown over him. Whalen says he took a quarrel in his shoulder and another in the gut, but still managed to reach the wallwalk and throw himself into the river.”
“He left a trail of blood on the steps,” said Edwyn.
“Did you find his corpse afterward?” asked Jaime.
“We found a thousand corpses afterward. Once they’ve spent a few days in the river they all look much the same.”
“I’ve heard the same is true of hanged men,” said Jaime, before he took his leave.
Is he dead? If he met Nymeria, he may well be, as I’m not sure she is really in the state to be distinguishing between any human beyond the immediate Stark family. Other than that, could have have survived his wounds and swam to safey? While George is ruthless with killing characters, he is also the master of cliffhangers and false deaths. I think the key point is the quarrel to the gut. That is far more likely to be a fatal wound, but even that was not described in detail and his body was not found. I think it entirely possible that Raynald survived by swimming away, assuming that he was not wearing armor, like most of the guests at the Red Wedding. If he did survive, perhaps he’ll show up during Jaime (or Brienne’s) next POV as a member of the BWB, which would be in alignment with Jaime’s previous mentioning of him.
Dissenting Opinion Stefan:
Ser Raynald sleeps with the fishes. Jaime says it rather explicitly in his “A Feast for Crows” chapter: Raynald didn’t know about the agreement between Tywin and Sybelle, and he attacked the Frey men when they killed Grey Wolf and was killed himself. His body was never found, but so were hundreds of others. A vivid example of the downsides of keeping plans to yourself, an echo of Doran’s failed plans.
Dissenting Opinion John Kolla:
I think he is dead. Last we heard, he freed Grey Wind, dragged himself to the river wounded and disappeared. I love it when characters I thought had died return, but in order to make it rewarding it can't happen to every character who's fate remains somewhat a mystery. I think GRRM throws these little open ended character fates at us often enough so that when it turns out someone actually did survive it is surprising. The first one that comes to my mind in Sandor. If everyone who was left on the edge of death survived, it would take away from the excitement of learning that he is living as a novice on the Quiet Isles. As far as Sybelle Spicer, after the way she came off to Jaime in AFFC I wouldn't be surprised that she gambled Raynald's life in exchange for what tywin promised her. She seems like a horrible person.
Final Verdict: Raynald Westerling died at the Red Wedding.