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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 http://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf.
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