Thursday, April 3, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 21

Thursday is court day!
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 21 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Javi Marcos, a member of the community.
Did Catelyn start the war when she took Tyrion captive?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Certainly. The capture of Tyrion promoted Tywin into attack to save face, as he himself admits. However, the question should at least be amended by the question whether Catelyn caused the war with her action. Here, the answer would be no. The tensions and hidden machinations she was oblivious to were produced by others, mainly the Lannisters in their quest for more power and the need to cover up the incest. Catelyn, again, only fueled this.

Concurring Opinion: Javi Marcos
I concur with Head Stefan. Tywin Lannister started the war the moment his son was captured by Stark-Tully forces, so Cat's action supposed the start of the war. He sent Gregor to pillage the Riverlands and Lannisters begun to act more openly in King's Landing. Nevertheless, many players of the Game were interested in a war, specially Littlefinger, and the conflict would have started in any case.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
Sure, but as my fellow justices have noted, the war would have happened anyway, in one form or another. Tyrion’s capture was the spark that started a forest fire in the dry season, in a forest that was already covered in lighter fluid by Littlefinger and other players of the Game of Thrones.

Final Verdict: Yes, but it was practically in the air anyway.

Is Tormund's blustering persona at least partly a facade? Has he actually slain a giant?

Main Opinion: Stefan
That's hard to decide, actually. It's at least partially a facade when he comes south to talk to Jon. He had been hardened by the burden and responsibility of command, and he directly faced the Others. Before, though, he may have just been the tall-talker, showing off repeatedly and telling stories. You're cranky uncle, basically. We know that he had some standing with his people at least, which suggests that he can hold up to challenges, but I'm unsure whether he slew a giant. We simply don't have enough text to decide this. With Tormund, it could go either way.

Concurring Opinion: Javi Marcos
I think he is as hot-headed, open-minded and funny as he seems. But there is more that meets the eye and he is far more smart that he may seem when he is relating his sexual jokes. I have never thought about if he could have slayed a giant, but Donal Noye was able to do it, why not Tormund?

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
I concur with my fellow justices that Tormund is more intelligent than he seems and knows that he is playing up a persona. As Justice Stefan notes, he becomes more serious (relatively) by A Dance of Dragons, while retaining some of the Tormund charm. I will go out there and say that I don’t think he’s killed a giant, mainly because from what we’ve seen, the giants get along with the wildlings relatively well (though this may be an alliance of convenience) and Tormund doesn’t seem the type to actually kill for sport or pride. Tormund himself denies killing a giant; tells his “giantsbabe” story that may be a tall tale itself, but I don’t think he is lying when he denies having killed a giant.

Final Verdict: Tormund's certainly sobering up in "A Dance with Dragons", but whether he slew a giant is impossible to say.

Why do people believe that Thoros will kill reanimated Catelyn? Has the brotherhood really split? It seems both Thoros and Catelyn have the same end game of destroying the Lannister's, all be it for different reasons.

Main Opinion: Stefan
UnCat totally perverts the cause of the brotherhood. They started as Robin Hoods, now they are criminal murderers on the run, killing people in a mockery of justice much otherwise than the one Beric put up. Back then, the Red God decided, now it's hemp and rope. And, by the way, the brotherhood is already split. Thoros and UnCat only command a part of it. I believe that Thoros will soon realize just how wrong it all is and take steps to redemption.

Dissenting Opinion: Javi Marcos
Well, people think that because the Full Of Hate spirit and No Mercy attitude of the Brotherhood under Lady Stoneheart command is quite different of the bunch of rebel Robin Hoodesque guys of Beric. I personally don't see Thoros killing UnCat, he seems to depressed and terrified of her to act against her. The brotherhood looks like it has been split, yeah. When Brienne meets them we see a few notable absent guys, specially Little Dayne. But Tom o'Sevens seems to be working with the fellowship even if he is not near Stoneheart and Thoros, so maybe Edric and the rest of missing people from the original Brotherhood may not have left the group but are in a mission somewhere (Starfall?)

Dissenting Opinion: Amin
While the Brotherhood has split into factions (as listed in the AFFC appendix), I do not think Thoros will ‘kill’ Catelyn. If he was going to take that sort of direct action, he would have done so by now. Perhaps he knew that attacking Catelyn would truly set the BWB against itself, because she has the support of the more radical side, and perhaps the more numerous side. Better to let it become divided into two groups than to start that sort of fight. He also doesn’t seem like the commander type to me, which would be needed to take Catelyn’s place; he fits more into a supporting, second in command role, and seems gloomily resigned to the current state of the BWB.

Final Verdict: Why ever they believe it, it's false - Thoros won't kill Catelyn. 


  1. Stefan,
    At the very end of season 2 when the white walkers are shown at a wide view, there is a white walker with a Stark shield on its back. It is in the middle of the screen at the very bottom. Do you think there is any relevance in it?

    1. Don't think so, no. Just a dead soldier marching on.

  2. Question for a future court: Had Balon Greyjoy rebelled again before the events of GOT. Would Ned Stark have actually have beheaded Theon? He was still innocent of any crimes at the time. Ned was honor bound to enforce the punishment. But, could he actually have followed through with it? Balon had little enough concern for his son. How would an earlier Greyjoy uprising have affected The War of the Five Kings, and subsequent events.

  3. Heartsbane of HornhillApril 5, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    To piggyback this question, why didnt the Hostage go to King's Landing? Did Ned request Theon for fear of Robert mistreating him? Did Ned think he could potentially forever change the relationship with the Iron Born if he treated Theon well and eventually installed him as Lord of the Iron Born?

  4. I think Tormund is blustering, but it's ... how would you say it ... not serious bluster? As in he could still command loyalty without the boasts, and they're just part of his larger-than-life personality rather than a leadership strategy, as Euron's true or untrue claims are.

  5. Well, it all depends if Podrick got the rope or not. We know Brienne survived, but did Pod or Hyde? Undead Cat is unhinged, but have all the Brother also hit that stage.