Thursday, May 8, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 26

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 26 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Keene, a member of the community and graduate in Economics from American University.'

Do all three "...and once for love" prophecies from the House of the Undying relate to a single person, and if so, is it Jon?

Main Opinion: Amin
The relevant lines: 
"Three fires must you for life and one for death and one to love... ...three mounts must you to bed and one to dread and one to love... ...three treasons will you know...once for blood and once for gold and once for love..."
I do think that they are related and Jon fits into the most likely answer at the moment for the prophecy. Note that the last line says “for love” while the other two say “to love”; not sure if that is relevant, but worth mentioning. However, Jon does not have to play a central role in each love related prophecy line. An example can be made from the first line in all 3 related prophecies, which are probably related to Drogo in some way. The treason was done by Mirri Maz Duur, even though it affected both Drogo and Drogo and Dany’s unborn son. In a similar way, Jon may be involved in all three love actions, but someone else may be important as well (whether in the treason line or one of the other two situations).

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Stefan
I think they do all relate to the same person, and dramatic rules more or less demand it’s Jon. There’s simply no other character I can think of that would fit in the storyline, especially with Aegon going down for civil war and disaster. Perhaps it’s more allegorical, like “love for the people” or something, but I can’t really imagine that. While Martin certainly does deconstruct several tropes and cliches, including romanticism, he remains to much rooted in the genre and its conventions to simply go that way. And it has been said time and time again, especially by my esteemed co-host from the Boiled Leather Audio Hour, Sean T. Collins, that when prophecy can be read too broadly, it becomes entirely meaningless.

Concurring Opinion:
It’s possible, but uncertain. I agree with Justice Amin that all three lines of the prophecy are related, but I’m less certain it points to Jon. The first part of each line of the prophecy probably refers to the funeral pyre of Drogo, Dany’s marriage to him and Mirri Maz Duur’s betrayal. It’s quite possible the ‘fire’ Dany ‘lights’ is a child who Jon father’s off her, and Jon is the mount she will love, but then what about the betrayal? Will someone betray Dany because they ‘love’ Jon? But if Jon and Dany are on the same side, wouldn’t a betrayal of Dany also be a betrayal of Jon? This, I think, is where the difference of 'for' from 'to' is, because you cannot commit treason 'to love' someone, but you can commit treason 'for love of' someone. If Jon is whom the prophecy refers to we probably won’t know until ‘A Dream of Spring.'

Final Verdict: They are related, and most likely to Jon.

I’m not sure if there is enough information to discuss this question to the degree that you do with the rulings but; considering the many similarities between the series and the era of the wars of the roses, how likely is it that neither a Targaryen, nor a Baratheon and by extension a Lannister will be sitting on the iron throne in the end?

Main Opinion: Amin
I think that a shake up in the closing king or queen (if there is one) may well be likely, but I wouldn’t say it must be because of George’s War of the Roses references. George is inspired by such historic events when writing his series, but he is not bound to follow them and probably tries to avoid to matching too many plotlines to any one source. It would more likely be because that’s where the story is naturally flowing towards in George’s head. Also, Stark and Lannister are the two main houses often given War of the Roses references (among others), which doesn’t match the question’s analogy.

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
Inspiration is not reenactment. With my limited knowledge of the War of the Roses (that’s a question for which Steven Attewell would be the go-to-expert), I’d say we’ve seen enough deviations already. Plus, Martin’s not exactly the writer to let himself be constrained by a historical outcome.

Dissenting Opinion:
Unlikely. The House most likely to control the Iron Throne after ‘A Dream of Spring’ is House Targaryen. House Lannister has no chance of winning, the whole of Westeros hates them, Dany will probably avenge Rhaegar, Aerys and Rhaenys, and they’ve already spent most of their strength fighting Houses Stark and Baratheon. Stannis Baratheon will probably roast as soon as Daenerys returns. That leaves House Targaryen, who has two contenders: Daenerys with her dragons and Aegon. However, for the sake of argument, let’s assume all Baratheon, Lannister and Targaryen claimants die, would Westeros accept a new royal house, with no blood ties to House Targaryen? I doubt it. None of the Great Houses hold enough power individually to control the entirety of Westeros, which means a coalition would have to form around a single leader, which I don’t see happening. I also disagree with Amin's analysis. Daenerys has been compared to Henry VII, the victor of the War of the Roses and the founder of the House of Tudor. Henry VII had ties to the Lancasterian claim to the English crown, and married the best surviving Yorkist claimant, uniting the Houses. I can easily see George R.R. Martin making a fictional version with Daenerys marrying Jon Snow, who is part Stark. However, Martin is under no obligation to have ASOIAF follow the War of the Roses and while I find Daenerys the most likely person to sit the Iron Throne, GRRM could take the series elsewhere.

Final Verdict: No, there's no mechanism for a direct connection. 

When Melisandre is looking into her fires she sees that a great black tide overwhelms two towers. When Jon asks her where the next attack would fall she tells him about this dream. Jon speculates about Eastwatch by the sea and Melisandre thinks about it and replies in affirmative though in her dream the said towers do not resemble eastwatch. So my question is where are these two towers?

Main Opinion: Amin
The particular line of interest (two is not the number listed: “I saw towers by the sea, submerged beneath a black and bloody tide. That is where the heaviest blow will fall.” – Melisandre, ADWD) I have a pet theory about this particular vision that I have discussed on my podcast, specifically during Guys Night Out IV. I think Melisandre is actually seeing the fall of the Shield Islands, whether physically or symbolically. I think the timeline is approximately right to immediately precede or follow that event in A Feast for Crows. While the Shield Islands themselves are not that important in the long run beyond their strategic value to the Reach, I think the vision is more importantly related to Euron Crow’s Eye, who is an important player in the potential magical and/or religious battle to come. This would match the importance placed on him by Moqorro, a red priest who is more skilled at interpreting visions. I think Euron Crow’s Eye is related to the black and bloody tide, and Melisandre is again misinterpreting one of her visions.

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
I have not the slightest idea. The only prominent two towers I can think of are the Twins, but somehow I think they are too distinctive for Melisandre not to at least guess at them and deliver a better description, including the damn bridge. Plus, the Freys don’t really matter no more. I think we can be pretty sure that it is not Eastwatch, because it doesn’t look like it. Hardhome might be possible; at least a “dark tide” is there currently. Don’t know if the Thenns have towers; might be their hideout, too. I’m pretty certain that Melisandre saw an existing place at any rate. Perhaps it’s the Last Hearth, we don’t know how that looks. Or Karhold. Or anything else, really. Westeros doesn’t lack towers, so “two towers” is a bit lacking in the precision department. However, Amin’s Shield-Islands-Theory holds a lot of water. Of all the towers in Westeros we don’t know how they look like it seems the best option, considering Euron’s importance to the story.

Concurring Opinion:
I agree with Justice Amin, the Shield Islands make the most sense. The symbolism of the sea swallowing castles has been used to refer to House Greyjoy in the past, specifically: “I dreamed that the sea was lapping all around Winterfell. I saw black waves crashing against the gates and towers, and then the salt water came flowing over the walls and filled the castle. Drowned men were floating in the yard” (ACOK, Bran V) which refers to Theon’s capture of Winterfell. It also continues the theme of Melisandre misreading her visions, and leading the listener down the wrong path. Jon, or the next Lord Commander, will heavily garrison Eastwatch which will leave Castle Black/the rest of The Wall too lightly defended, leading to a breakthrough and forcing Daenerys to save Westeros. 

Final Verdict: The Shield Islands. 


  1. the vision could be about an attack by the ironborn to Oldtown, where house hightower rules, and several "hightowers" are present. Visions often are symbolic images.
    I don´t see the point of calling the shield islands "the heaviest blow", since its just some random battle in the south. On the other hand, Oldtown has several important plots developing. The "death of dragons" book is there, and also Sam´s Horn.


    1. Melisandre is the one who describes it as the "heaviest blow" - I'm saying it is part of her wrong interpretation, which should be that it is one of Euron's first successful strikes, symbolizes the danger of Euron himself rather than the importance of the Shields.

      The Hightower interpretation is an interesting one, though my problem with it is that I don't think Oldtown is at serious risk of falling anymore with the Iron Fleet gone and the Reach properly mobilizing now and aware of the Ironborn tactics. The original discussion on our episode may be a good listen as we someone (Dan) does bring up the Hightower thread:

      The relevant chat in GNO 4 is at 01:15:20 - 01:19:30.

    2. Ok, yeah, but Melisandre sees things that are either important for her, or for the people she means to influence (Stannis, Jon,). What is the relevance of the battle of the shield Islands? I think it is relevant she describes it as the "heaviest blow". Her interpretation is wrong, but she is seeing a battle that will be the heaviest blow.
      There is a theory that Euron will attack Oldtown from the river honeywine , somewhat like Vikings did, carrying their ships overland and using rivers
      He clearly has a plan that we don´t know of.

  2. I agree with Beto here Oldtown and Euron attack.

  3. On the symbolic point, there is also a House Blacktyde in the Iron Islands, though they aren't doing too well...

    1. Euron is wearing former Lord baleor Blacktyde sable cloak..

  4. the treason for love is Quentyn freeing the dragons as discussed in a Barristan chapter...