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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 4 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Steven Lee who lives in Canada's Northwest Territories. He is a historian, educator and political commentator and blogs twice a week at Orange Tory. He has a limited track record in the community and recently joined the A Podcast of Ice and Fire forums under the name of SJLee.
|The Queen in Meereen, by Monkey 19394|
How does Meereen ultimately resolve? Leaving a counsel in Astapor led to renewed tyranny, conquest by external forces, and ultimately spawned a plague. Yunkai appears headed for defeat, and the death of its power base. Assuming Dany's forces prevail and Dany then heads west to Volantis, what will be left of Slavers Bay? Destruction would be thematically wrong, because Dany wanted to learn to rule and Yunkai and Astapor suggest that the old status quo wouldn't work and that oligarchy would also fail.
Main Opinion Amin:
The question is related to our earlier ruling on the Battle of Fire at Meereen. Our court concluded that Dany’s forces would prevail, but the toll could be quite bloody on all sides. Dany will have learned from her failure of Astapor and will be motivated to salvage what she can at Meereen, but she can no longer stay there to keep order herself. The key point will fall on whether Hizdahr was involved with the poisoned locusts assassination attempt. If he is found to be innocent (or even a target), then he could be a suitable person to leave in charge of Meereen. He seemed adaptive enough to some of Dany’s reforms, while traditional enough to keep the traditional elited happy and bring order to not only Meereen but Slaver’s Bay in general. Some form of stable evolution may work better than revolution, as evidenced by the rise of Cleon the Butcher King in Astapor. If he is guilty (or truly innocent but found guilty anyway), then there is a lack of a good candidates. Perhaps my colleagues can argue some other alternatives.
Dissenting opinion: Stefan
One thing is certain: Dany will not stay Meereen. I would also guess that the city will survive the upcoming battle (which, given the involvement of dragons, is by no means a given). So, she will set her affairs in order before leaving for Westeros. If Hizdahr survives the battle and Dany has not taken completely for the dark turn already, he may be left (with Dany formally staying queen) behind. But Amin and Steven both don’t take the Shavepate in their calculations: he most likely is the one behind the locust-poisoning and a sworn enemy of Hizdahr’s, most likely to start a reign of terror in Meereen (as argued by Adam Feldman in his brillant blog “The Meereenese Blot”). This would fit in with Dany’s (anticipated) personality change: the Shavepate always seemed to support her in her actions to the extreme, so she might be tempted to give the city to him to enact her policies without restraint. And that would end in a gigantic massacre and possibly civil war in Meereen.
Dissenting Opinion: Steven Lee
This question is awfully broad. The short-term seems chaos. The slaver army seems to have been undone mostly by disease, and the greatest threat may be from inside the city. I assume that Daenaerys’ remaining allies will be driven from the city when the Harpy reveals herself/himself (I’m leaning towards the Green Grace) and Dany’s court flees and joins with the Second Sons. The Greyjoys descend and put the city under blockade just as Daenarys reappears leading an army of Dothraki upon Drogon’s back. The Battle of Fire will see the slaver threat eliminated. After the city is liberated I assume momentum has built enough to continue westward. Only after the Battle of Fire will Tyrion, Victarion, Daenarys, et al. meet.
Final Verdict: It's uncertain what will happen to Meereen, but it won't be a peaceful Hizdahr-rules-in-Dany's-name-fairytale.
How do you think will Margaery's trial end?
Main Opinion Amin:
The current High Septon (High Sparrow) was savvy enough to give up Margaery and her cousins *right away* to Randyll Tarly to await trial. Part of that was because the evidence wasn't that convincing, but part of it was because Margaery, unlike Cersei, has thousands of troops + Randyll Tarly there to ensure her safety. Whether or not Margaery is innocent (I think she is), the High Sparrow is not stupid enough to overplay his hand. He has already secured the return of the Sword and Stars and can focus on solidfying his power base, rather than directly antagonizing the Tyrells. The Tyrells in turn have to tolerate the High Sparrow and the show of a trial, but they will not let Margaery die, even if she were found guilty. I am not sure how exactly Margaery's innocence will be guaranteed, but the High Sparrow will see to it: he may be a fundamentalist, but he is not a complete fool. A side question remains: will Cersei try to throw a wrench in the procedure and how so?
Concurring opinion: Stefan
The trial against Margaery always rested on the witnesses, and with the exception of the Blue Bard, all of them either died or have given the game away already. Against the overwhelming testimony of Osney Kettleblack, the ramblings of the Blue Bard won’t suffice. Plus, given Margaery’s public image, I don’t see the High Sparrow doing something stupid anytime soon.
Concurring Opinion Steven Lee:
As is often said, it is important to remember that much of what we have learned about Margaery comes from Cersei’s biased, paranoid, addled mind. Margaery has an impeccable public image through her politicking with the small folk of King’s Landing. There is no reason to assume this does not apply to the clergy as well. Her charity and pious appearance may be enough for the septons who sit in judgement of her. I believe she will be found innocent.
Final Verdict: Margaery will be freed of the accusations.
Will Aeron succed rasing men against Euron?
Main Opinion Amin:
Assuming that Aeron is still alive, Aeron’s attempt to raise the isles against Euron will depend on the current level of piety in the Iron Islands and the strength of Aeron’s person connection with both the smallfolk and the remaining nobility in the Iron Islands. While most of Westeros that has been directly involved in the War of the Five Kings has been sliding toward greater religious fanaticism, we simply do not know enough about the current state of Iron Islands to make a fully reasoned decision. Couple that with Euron’s current policies, which despite coming from a “Godless man”, are in alignment with the martial history and culture (the Iron Price) of the Iron Islands. Aeron also currently lacks a person to support to replace Euron, as Victarion has left, he would not accept Asha, Theon is not around (and he might not support him anyway), and Aeron does not seem to seek the Seastone Chair himself. The ruler does not have to be a Greyjoy, as the rules of the Kingsmoot illustrated, but the Kingsmoot failed. This question may be assuming that Euron is going to stick around in Iron Islands post ADWD. I am not sure he will be or whether he has left already. If Euron is succesful in gaining one of Dany’s dragons, then Aeron’s attempt will be futile. If Euron is unsuccesful in the dragon gambit, then Aeron’s attempt may also be moot, as Euron may not survive to return to the Iron Islands.
Dissenting opinion: Stefan
Aeron is not a man of the smallfolk, that’s right. He never gave them any thought prior to the Kingsmoot (“kings and captains”, remember?). But on the other hand, many kings and captains are away, as well as the fighters, who make up the core of the Old-Way-faction. If Aeron panders to the dispossed Ironborn working the fields and the mines, perhaps even throws in support for the thralls and saltwives in the bargain, he could very easily fuel already existing dissatisfaction and dissent with a new “The Drowned God is now Jesus”-message.
Concurring Opinion: Steven Lee
Victory is a persuasive tool with which to silence critics. The Ironborn successes in the Reach likely have significant benefit to the captains loyal to Euron. I have a hard time imagining a populist lowborn uprising against Euron, so who will Aeron get to side with him? If Aeron succeeds it will because of Asha’s intervention with fresh allies, but I am very doubtful.
Final Verdict: Aeron won't succeed in stirring and leading a smallfolk rebellion.