Thursday, April 17, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 23

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 23 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Jeff Hartline, the author and writer behind Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire. He is a former Infantry Officer with combat and deployment experience with the United States Army. He is also moderator at the ASOIAF subreddit at

What do you think Edric Dayne is doing and will he play a part in what is to become in the Riverlands?

Main Opinion: Stefan
My guess is that he is pretty miserable in Thoros' band of outlaws. However, the part he has to play its very small at best. He was Beric's squire, and he's a Dayne, but besides that there's no real reason for him doing anything important. Maybe he will be engaged in the whole Jaime-Brienne-Podrick-thing, but letting them go for some reason and then dying for it at the hands of Lady Stoneheart is the most pivotal role I see as possible for him.

Concurring in part, Dissenting in part, Jeff Hartline:
I agree with Justice Stefan that Edric Dayne is pretty miserable in the BWB. However, as heir to Starfall, I see the potential for him to play a larger role in the future of the story. As Stefan points out, he may play a role in the Jaime/Brienne dynamic, and here's my theory as to how this will play out: The anti-Stoneheart faction of the BWB will meet up with Lady Stoneheart & Co in an attempt to sway the BWB to return to their former ways of protecting the smallfolk and keeping the flame of Robert Baratheon, Jaime will lean on Edric to help get him out of the clutches of Lady Stoneheart. Jaime will use Edric's relationship with Ser Arthur Dayne, beguile the lad with stories of the famous Sword of the Morning and eventually win the confidence of the boy -- which will play a role in how Jaime escapes Lady Stoneheart's justice. Could he die as a result of this? Possibly. But I have hope that the Daynes will play a larger role in the series, and I believe that Edric will be key to the resurgence of House Dayne, especially in the coming Aegon/Dany dance of the dragons. In this, my hope is that the Daynes (with Edric at the helm) will side with Daenerys over Aegon, thus placing themselves in opposition to the Yronwoods and Martells.

Concurring in part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
I heard an interesting theory on our podcast forums that Edric Dayne may be bringing Beric Dondarrion’s remains back home to their final resting place. While he may have separated from Lady Stoneheart’s branch of the Brotherhood without Banners, there is no specific evidence for this idea, but it is one that I like. I do like Edric (and the Daynes) and I would like to see him out of harm’s way. If he stays in the Riverlands, he may become the war’s latest casualty.

Final Verdict: There are several possible outcomes for his story, but it seems like the Daynes will have a role to play in the future. 

What are your predictions for Theon? Will Stannis kill him, will he escape or will Stannis just punish him and let him go? 

Main Opinion: Stefan 
Dying is the one thing that would put Theon out of his misery. Since that makes him the only character whose lot would be improving if Martin killed him, my bet is that he will survive and continue to be miserable. I don't even know what exactly Stannis would punish him for. Attacking his enemies? Being forced to aid them after? For all the wrongs Theon committed, none of them are especially non-forgiving by the laws Stannis lives by. I guess Stannis would kill him nonetheless because no reason holds him back, but someone will intervene for sure.

Concurring in part, Dissenting in Part Opinion, Jeff Hartline:
Stannis as king feels the responsibility to enact justice. Theon is a murderer and potential kinslayer (see the Winterfell Hois Clos for more on this). So, Stannis has every reason to punish Theon from a moral perspective. He also has a utilitarian reason to execute Theon: the Northerners in his army want Theon dead as a result of Theon's actions in the North and the murder of Bran and Rickon. However, I think Theon will escape. With Asha's capture at Deepwood and her relative freedom of movement in Stannis' Camp at the Crofters' Village, she will be the one to free Theon and get him to safety. I think it will likely go down when the Freys attack Stannis' lines at the Crofter's Village. In the chaos of battle, Asha will attempt to spirit Theon away from the Crofters' Village. They will head south. Why south? Well, because Dagmer Cleftjaw re-took Torrhen's Square (again) and is still holding it per the appendix of A Dance with Dragons. My suspicion is that Theon will exit the North from the Stony Shore and sail back to the Iron Islands where a new Kingsmoot will occur. So, get ready for Kingsmoot 2.0 come A Dream of Spring.

Concurring in part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
I think Stannis may plan to execute Theon, but Martin is not quite done with the character. He has undergone an incredible personally transformation after hitting rock bottom; he will never be the same person, but he has realized his connection to the Starks and the north. As Justice Hartline noted, Asha and Dagmer may both have an impact on Theon’s immediate and future. Bran is also interested in Theon’s fate and may do what he can to intervene, though what he could do, if anything, we do not know yet.

Final Verdict: Theon will survive, but not by the grace of Stannis. 

So when all is said and done - who is king and who are the Lords of the North, Vale, Riverlands, West, Reach, Dorne and Stormlands?

Main Opinion: Stefan
North: the Starks, of course. In the Vale, Harrey the Heir's new line. In the Riverlands, someone new. In the West, a miserable Tyrion Lannister. In the Reach, the Tyrells. In Dorne, the Martells. In the Stormlands, someone new.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part, Jeff Hartline: 
North: The Starks - No way that GRRM leaves the Boltons in charge in the North. I foresee Rickon Stark as Warden of the North with Wyman or Wylis Manderly acting as regent. The Vale: House Royce - As the Arryn's most powerful bannermen, House Royce stands tall among the possible heirs to the Arryns. I don't anticipate Harry the Heir lasting too long with incoming dragons. The Riverlands: House Tully - Call this a fool's hope, but I've had a particular fondness for House Tully (hence my username on reddit & westeros as BryndenBFish). Edmure is still alive as is Brynden Tully. My sincere hope is that House Tully survives the series and returns to their seat of power at Riverrun. I predict Edmure as King of the Rivers and Hills. The Reach: House Hightower - I'm calling this "The Sleeper House." They've basically been under the radar for most of the series. Margaery Tyrell is one half Hightower. With their hold on Oldtown and their absence from some of the key battles and wars, House Hightower will likely stand tall (sorry, awful pun) by the end of the series. Dorne: House Dayne - C'mon Edric, I believe in you (even if Justice Stefan does not). Bonus: Iron Islands: Theon Greyjoy. The Crownlands: Jon Targaryen & Daenerys Targaryen as husband and wife.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Amin
More Starks may die, but someone will survive to carry on the line and rule the North, though with the Manderlys playing an even stronger supporting role than before. I agree with Justice Hartline that the Tullys will survive as well, perhaps through Edmure’s line; I am a bit surprised Justice Stefan didn’t come to that conclusion as well, given his like of Edmure. Sansa has a strong claim to both the Riverlands as well and might play a role. The West will likely be some Lannister, though it would be amusing to see Jeyne Westerling rise to that role, however unlikely it may be. Someone new in the Reach sounds right to me, the Reach seems past due some sort of revision in lands and update in family power levels. House Hightower is a strong contender, that is true. Martells in Dorne, and someone new in the Stormlands, if Shireen does not survive; sadly, there is an air of tragedy accompanying the character. Iron Islands: Theon Greyjoy + Asha working together + Theon’s previous bastard child (Heir to the Iron Islands Theory). King/Queen: Jon + Dany seems appropriate, but I’m not sure if either will end up in that final role when all is said and done.

Final Verdict: North: Starks, Vale: unclear, Riverlands: Tully, West: Lannister, Reach: Hightower, Stormlands: someone new, Dorne: Martell, Crownlands: Targaryen


  1. Cool idea for a blog guys :) You really think Danaerys will end up on the Iron Throne? I know it's all subjective and speculation is fun, but I really don't see that happening. I think she will make it to Westeros to help defeat the Others, but I think Martin's setting it up so that she will realise when all is said and done that Westeros isn't her home after all and will go back to rule in Essos somewhere (possibly in Valyria itself - I rather think she's going to visit at some point). But I totally see Jon ending up as ruler of the Seven Kingdoms (if feudalism persists at all - Jon's learning to lead in a far more democratic/meritocratic environment, who's to say the system isn't up for a complete overhaul?) and being discovered to be the Targaryen heir after the fact.

    As for who becomes Queen (if anyone), I think it'll be Sansa. If R+L=J (and I don't see how it could be anything else, honestly) then Jon and Sansa aren't even half-siblings, they're first cousins. Sansa has the greatest knowledge of and investment in Kings Landing out of any of our original POV characters bar Tyrion, and looks like she's becoming an adept political player, so her knowledge of the city would be invaluable to Jon. I also don't think it's a coincidence that the whore in Winterfell and Ygritte were both redheads (even though Jon couldn't go through with it with the whore) - I think it's pretty clear Jon has a thing for redheads, possibly because they subconsciously remind him of Sansa. Sansa for her part is becoming far more like Jon, her experiences seem to be shaping her to see him in a far more favourable light (as brilliantly argued in the Rethinking Sansa essays over on Tower of the Hand).

    I'd like to think Edric Dayne will end up governing Dorne - much as I love the Martells, I think this whole Aegon business is a bit of a sham and they're gonna be punished for it somehow. I kinda think Gendry will be legitimized and wind up in Storms End, and I kinda suspect that if Arya survives she'll end up with him, and they'll be a pretty atypical pair of rulers. I'm with you on the Reach going to the Hightowers, because the Tyrells need their comeuppance. Tyrion will end up as Warden of the West in Casterly Rock - I think Jaime will kill Cersei and then himself, Tommen and Myrcella both being dead (I think Cersei herself will end up killing at least one of her children herself). I think that would be a nice ending for Tyrion, as he finally gets to pick up the mantle so unfairly denied him by his awful father for so long. I'm not so sure about the Vale, but I think it's a pretty safe bet that Edmure will end up governing the Riverlands (hopefully having become less of a dork). I don't see Theon surviving at all - I think Asha will end up ruling the Iron Islands once her uncles are all dead. And I think the Manderleys, Umbers, Mormonts etc will rally behind little Rickon but that he'll die (possibly living on in Shaggydog), and Bran will reappear to become Warden of the North in Winterfell (possibly having become an antagonist for a while - could he in fact BE R'hllor's cold adversary? I think he'll go down a dark path but will be saved from it by Meera, or by something that he sees through the trees that re-contextualises everything for him, or something).

    Anyway, it's all just speculation, but that's how I see it playing out. One thing's for sure, pretty much everyone's gonna die ;)

    1. This doesn't make sense, politically. Dismantling the monarchy requires a replacement, and there's none to be had. No political elite besides the nobility. Besides, why would Jon's Targaryen heritage count anything when he dismantles the monarchy?
      I also don't see anything between Jon and Sansa happening. She may be a redhead, but many people are. And Jon is over mischanging love and desire (especially for his sister), while Sansa never liked him in the first place.
      The same is true for Edric Storm - why would anyone legitimize him and put him on a throne? He's a smith! He doesn't know shit about ruling. Putting him in position of the Stormlands means alienating everyone. And for what? The man doesn't bring even one sworn sword with him.

    2. Jon's Targaryen blood WOULDN'T matter if there was a complete overhaul of the political system - his experience as Lord Commander would. The Nights Watch is the most democratic body in Westeros, if the feudal system is abandoned (and I think it probably will be, because the smallfolk will be so disgusted with the noble houses' being distracted from what really matters by their Game of Thrones) Jon will be a front-runner for a democratically elected ruler, of the North if not the whole continent. But if the political system goes relatively unchanged, Jon is still well-positioned to rule - assuming Danaerys conquers Westeros and decides she doesn't belong there - if she's aware by then that he is her cousin, he'll be her heir. Martin likes to build up our expectations and then subvert them, so I really do think Danaerys will get to Westeros and then decide she doesn't belong there after all, and go back to Essos to take full responsibility for the mess she's been making of ruling it.
      If Westeros has a democratic future, I imagine members of the Brotherhood Without Banners will probably have something to do with it. If not, Gendry seems like a bit of a folk hero, so I can see him getting his big fantasy hero moment - but as a side plot :)

  2. I feel like you guys are assuming the status quo is going to hold relatively stable with respect to the different kingdoms. When the war comes, it will be a cataclysmic event, the likes of which have not been seen since the Long Night (if ever). In the south, you have the dancing dragons of Dany and Aegon. In the north, the horror of the Others. All of which will take place on a continent already ravaged by a brutal war. I'm not convinced that the 7 Kingdoms will even all exist by the end, let alone that they will be ruled by more or less the same people. Who's to say there will be North or a Riverlands by the end? How likely is it that the Iron Throne's already tenous hold on the Kingdoms survives? It's not a fairy tale, and I would be pretty surprised if the series ended with any character we've liked finishing up as a King or Queen, ready to peacefully rule. The ending will almost certainly not be that happy.

    1. Aye, exactly! There is a lot of romantic thinking about the end. The Question is who will be there to rule at all? the coming events are probably on apocalytic scale so who can say who will be surviving at all.
      My bet is on Sansa, I always pictured her as some kind of Virgin Queen in the end. Jon on the throne is rather unlikely. The Starks will probably survive as well as some other main protagonists but the story could end with all of them dead as well.

  3. Id like to submit a question:
    Who will be the first to kill a dragon? And if and when that happens will the Dragonslayer be revered or reviled?

  4. I find the Theon / Reek plotline very fascinating; the raw psychology and change that the character undergoes is incredible. I think the call that he'll survive at least to close to the end of the books is a safe bet. Maybe he finally is released by the end but the idea that he has a son potentially around from prior to the Reek bit of things could mean that he perhaps does, as you mentioned, assume the Seastone Chair and actually still have an heir, even though he currently isn't able to produce more of them.

    I am interested in that Huis Clos article but as I simply don't have the time to read the massive amount that was written, do you guys know the overall gist of what they're getting at with it?

    Thanks and well done, yet again!

  5. I was flipping through the books again but couldn't find an answer to this so I thought I would ask.

    Is there any evidence in the text that Margery knew or knows that her grandfather murdered Joffrey?

    1. No, but we don't really get much from Margaery anyway.

  6. I don't think Sansa will be queen, but I could definitely see her acting as regent for Winterfell for Rickon and having an active part in helping rebuild the North (I think this is foreshadowed in the snowcastle scene and I genuinely think Sansa has the potential to be a good peacetime ruler)

  7. Why didn't Ned Stark return the bones of his friends from the Battle of the Tower of Joy? It seemed strange to return Lord Dustin's horse but not his bones.