Friday, February 28, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 16

Thursday is court day! But we're one day late.
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 A 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, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-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 16 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Kyle Maddock, who is best known as a co-host of A Podcast of Ice and Fire. He’s also an actor and full-time geek. You can follow him on Twitter.

Will we even get another Bran chapter? He seems to be closing in on Littlefinger/Varys territory where he just knows too much to function as a POV character. I assume we'll go back to the cave at least one more time (Meera maybe?), but I also agree Bran's not coming back south of the Wall.

Main Opinion: Stefan
I never considered that before, to be honest. But I wouldn’t agree that “knowing too much” is a hindrance. In fact, it can be a great narrative device to create more drama. Imagine a Bran that is mastering his abilities and really seeing pretty much everything. On the hand, seeing is not understanding, as Bran himself has experienced from the start (I guess he still doesn’t know about Jaime and Cersei). So we as readers might figure stuff out that Bran doesn’t get. On the other hand, seeing is not being able to act. Bloodraven said as much. It will be heartwrenching to see someone die through Bran’s eyes, with him not being able to interfere, but seeing everything. That’ll be brutal. Besides, we still don’t know many things that are likely to be important, and Bran’s storyline is far from over. I’d say we will get more Bran chapters. They count amongst my favorite ones, actually, and were the ones I was most looking forward to in “A Dance with Dragons”, so I really hope they will come back. I’m convinced they will. Force of Will. Arghhhhh...

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Amin
I agree with my fellow judges that we will get more Bran chapters. As they explained well, there are ways to handle it without giving away too much information. I am particularly interested in seeing the limits of Bran’s tree-net and further backstory through his chapter POVs. However, I think there is hope that he returns south of the wall by the end of the story to fulfill a current age Brandon the Builder role, though I suppose he could still do that without being transported (transplanted?) away from where he currently is.

Concurring Opinion: Kyle
Like Stefan, I had never considered this before. Thinking about it now, however, I'd have to go with the opposite. I believe we have a lot of Bran chapters to come. In fact, I could see his POV becoming a sort of last man standing perspective. I expect the POV body count to rise as the series draws to a close and it would be rather expedient of Martin to use Bran to fill those holes. And, like mentioned above, the pain of a helpless Bran watching someone die is the pain only a Martin can love. I'm not partial to Bran chapters. They were some of my least favorite in the series so I wouldn't be upset if I was way off the mark here. I hope we get enough, however, to know what becomes of his entourage. I agree that he's not coming back south of the wall. He is now one with the forest.

Final Verdict: We will get some Bran chapters, but Bran will never return south.

In the house of Undying Dany has a vision of a king with a red sword who casts no shadows. It is thought that the said king is Stannis. But why is there no shadow of Stannis?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Because he sent it away on an assassination mission, of course. Remember that the shadow Catelyn sees in Renly’s tent, and again the one that Davos sees Melisandre birthing both look like Stannis. That’s most likely because Melisandre doesn’t create shadows, she uses them. And for that time, you don’t have it and suffer a night comparable to a really bad hangover. But that’s not in Dany’s vision because hangovers don’t look good in visions, as a general rule.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
The consensus here is correct: the king in the vision is Stannis and his lack of a shadow related to Melisandre’s magical use of it. The exact mechanics of shadow magic is not yet fully explained, but we do know that it drains the person being used and overuse can be dangerous or lethal. Hence the trusted adage: always use a shadow condom.

Concurring Opinion: Kyle
It's hard to argue with Stefan's I won't even try. His shadow is away on a mission. I always assumed that Melisandre was impregnated with the King's shadow babies, but the idea of her womanhood consuming Stannis' actual shadow during their pre-murder sex is intriguing and disturbing.

Final Verdict: Stannis' shadow is missing because it is on a mission.

Why don't we have a Tyrell PoV? Are they somehow more villainous than they seem?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Since when is villainy an argument against a POV? How bad could the Tyrells be? Did they fling children out of windows? We don’t have Tyrell POVs for the same reason we have no Essosi POVs: Martin didn’t want us to see their perspective. We only get to see them through the eyes of those that have to with them. The show opted to go a different route, effectively transforming Margaery and the Queen of Thorns both into POV characters. It is up to debate whether or not this improves the story (I think it does), but in the books, we simply don’t have them. That makes it harder to see behind them (although most of them aren’t really hard to look through), but also less fleshed out and one-dimensional. I mean, really - neither the Knight of Flowers nor Margaery can be counted as real characters like other guys running around. I guess you just can’t have a POV of everyone, or else the books couldn’t develop any of them.

Concurring in parts, dissenting in parts: Amin
I agree that the Tyrells are not that villainous (they are no worse than the other Great Families and perhaps better than some) and that the lack of a Tyrell POV is there for the mystery factor. The mystery factor has allowed different theories like the Grand Tyrell conspiracy to develop, different and competing interpretations of the Tyrell’s actions so far are definitely out there in the fandom. Some of the Tyrells we have seen on screen in the books seem to be capable, reasonably balanced people such as Garlan Tyrell. It is possible that Garlan is a complete fake and into the same sadism as Ramsay Bolton, but it seems like Martin would have used his usual tools of whispered rumors and singers’ tales if that were the case. I do disagree with Justice’s Stefan’s opinion on the Tyrell characters and their development: I think that they, like a lot of other non-POV characters, have actually been developed quite well indirectly and despite lacking a POV.

Concurring Opinion: Kyle
Villainous or opportunistic? The Tyrell's saw an opportunity and they pounced. That's something that can most likely be said about every great house in Westeros. I don't see them as villainous at all. Perhaps this is because they don't keep a tortured, flayed Theon in their dungeon, or fling children from towers, or burn innocents. I don't see them as anything other then an intelligent family that is smartly playing their chess pieces on the Cyvasse table of Westerosi life. At least, this is what I think. Maybe they are doing horrible things. We don't really know do we? Not letting you see through someone's eyes is as much a strategy as letting you. Perhaps this is why we don't have a Tyrell POV. Mystery makes things so wonderfully intriguing.

Final Verdict: The lack of Tyrell POV is due to storytelling reasons, not because of plot reasons. 


  1. I am picturing Mel's hoo-haa functioning like a shadow vacuum cleaner now. Thanks Kyle.

  2. Well Grrm has told HBO to build up Garland as a character, which leads me to believe that perhaps a Garland POV is in the future. My belief is that the Tyrells, being faithful to the Mad king until the end, will bend rather than break when faced with ...? If Aegon a chance to use Margarey again, if Dany? As for the King without a shadow I do not believe it refers to Stannis , since I think his flaming sword is a Mellisandre trick. Last Bloodraven has said he has watched Bran since he was but a wee thing. This suggests that Bran has been chosen because Bran is special. His powers, I believe, will be boundless. Able to see by raven or Weirwood, able to act through wolf or Hodor, ( I am in the belief someone will warg into Hodor) and finally able to have all the ancient knowledge.

  3. I agree with you guys on all three responses. Kyle's comment that he thinks the POV characters will start dying off quickly reminded me of a question I had in the past. I agree that many POV characters will die, I think The Winds of Winter will be brutal. I know GRRM has said in the past that he would like to get the story back down to around 8 POV's like he had in AGOT. So who do you think will make it to see A Dream of Spring and which characters will be killed?

  4. i've always thought it was kind of fucked up that they started a famine among the smallfolk by closing the rose road and then starting feeding them so their PR looks good. i think the tyrells are just as bad as the lannisters - they just don't fight and plot against each other like the lannisters do lol

  5. also their treatment of sansa was HORRIBLE. yeah i'm going to stick to my opinion that they're just as bad as the lannisters lol (they're just better at hiding it). cannot wait for their inevitable downfall, those assholes have had it too good for too long.

  6. Do you think Jaime and Cersei are Aerys bastards?

    1. Think I answered that before...donnu, though. For the record: no, Tyrion is.

  7. why do you say Tyrion is a Targ?

  8. He loves dragons and has some Targ looks as well. It is known that Aerys wanted Joanna, add this to the mixing pot of the dragon having three heads...boom, Tyrion the Targ