Friday, May 23, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 28

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 27 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Pjstwo, who is a long-time listener and member of the A Podcast of Ice and Fire community. Though less active in recent time due to his occupation as a physician in internal medicine, he has attained the title of Lord Paramount of House Blackwoody on the forums, and is an avid reader and tin-foiler.

Do you think that in “The Princess and the Queen” are some hints for “The Winds of Winter” that could tell us something important ?

Main Opinion: Amin
I think that broadly, yes, “The Princess and the Queen” may have hints for the current “A Song of Ice and Fire” storyline. “The Princess and the Queen”, like Martin’s “Dunk&Egg” works, gives him a chance to do some further word building as well as lay elements that are useful for the main series. Bloodraven is an example from “Dunk&Egg” as someone who was set up in “Dunk&Egg” before actually appearing in “A Song of Ice and Fire”. The most relevant parts of “The Princess and the Queen” may have to deal with information on Targaryen history, succession struggles, and the true devastation that can happen when dragon fights dragon. It is possible that we might see all of this in future “A Song of Ice and Fire” books. There are probably a lot of little tidbits that can and have been analyzed from “The Princess and the Queen” that increase the meaning and enjoyment a reader will get out of “A Song of Ice and Fire”, which is why “The Princess and the Queen” and the other minor works based in the same world should be considered must read material by any serious fan of the series.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Stefan
I agree with everything Amin says, but I would expand on it a little bit: What “The Princess and the Queen” shows us is the whole theme of Targaryen civil war, when an Aegon is rising up against a female claimant to the throne, which is more or less what’s bound to happen in “The Winds of Winter”. It also gives some other strong thematic hints that have at least in part already occured in “A Dance with Dragons” and are certain to be continued. I am speaking, of course, of the devastation that the dragons bring when they fight and the total awe and destruction they bring.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Pjstwo
I think there are a few points we can glean from "The Princess and the Queen". Primarily, and most superficially, we have learned some of the practical matters of learning to pilot dragons. For tin-foil freaks like myself, this unfortunately will not allow us to assert that certain characters (be they Tyrion or Jon or even Jaime) are hidden Targaryens. But now we know that any character can hope to fly. I think the most important thing that George wants to prepare us for, though, is the ultimate downfall and destruction of everything. The carnage of House Targaryen in "The Princess and the Queen", as well as that of lesser houses, cities, and, of course, smallfolk, will mirror that in the battles to come. And George really wants us to expect it.

Final Verdict: There are certainly important themes and notions that are reinforced in "The Princess and the Queen".

Where do you suppose Tyrion will fall in, with Danny or Aegon?

Main Opinion: Amin
I think Tyrion prefers to fall in with the winning side and that he is smart enough to realize that will be Dany. Tyrion is particularly knowledgably about both dragons and history, which should make his choice easier. It remains to be seen what sort of reception he’ll receive from Dany, but in terms of which side he could join if he were guaranteed safe acceptance, it would be Dany.

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
Tyrion will surely fall in with Dany. He set up Aegon to divert his path from Dany intentionally, increasing his own value as he is able to provide information and insight not only in Westerosi politics, but in Aegon’s approach as well. He even spells it out on the Rhoyne: keep your dragons close. And he gets as close to the dragons as possible. There is simply no way that he will side with Aegon. He’s in with Dany on her quest for fire and blood. It suits his own mood, it suits the theme, it suits the character, it suits the narrative. Of course he’ll go along with Dany.

Concurring Opinion: Pjstwo
Practically speaking, I can't really foresee a way in the near future for Tyrion to meet up with Aegon. He is set up perfectly to fall in with Dany (or at least her faction, pending her return from the Dothraki Sea), and, as mentioned by Amin, has ample knowledge, and a sincere desire to become a dragonrider. This alone is enough to convince Tyrion to stay with Dany. Plus, he can hold over her head that he killed Tywin, somewhat avenging Rhaegar and Aerys.

Final Verdict: He will join Daenerys, no doubt.

Why do you think that is mumbo-jumbo like the business with the leeches that helps Mel to retain her position as Stannis's most trusted advisor ? in fact, she was right, all the other kings died…

Main Opinion: Amin
Melisandre mentions in A Dance with Dragons the importance of keeping mystery to her magical techniques and she uses her magic to her maximum advantage by claiming as much as possible to be within her capabilities. The leech situation is simply another example of this, as she uses his abilities to see who is going to die already and then claims her influence on that, in turn gaining more points with Stannis. The extent to which this is her knowingly tricking Stannis might be argued; perhaps she truly believes she has some influence over this. I personally believe that she is twisting the truth, but under the notion that it is ultimately fulfilling “R’hllor’s will” by getting Stannis to trust her and her prophecies (the ends justify the means to her). If the leech business actually had the power to kill people like that, that would be too powerful narratively as well an imbalance in sacrificial cost (leeching blood that could be done many times) to magical effect (death) that doesn’t match, for example, the cost of making shadow assassins.

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
Absolutely. Melisandre simply used the vision she already had for some mumbo jumbo to gain her influence on Stannis back. And you have to give it to her, it workes.

Concurring Opinion: Pjstwo
If there's one thing age brings, it's wisdom. And Mel has (allegedly) had centuries to develop that. There certainly is some degree of power to Melisandre, with her visions and glamours, but her ability to manipulate is just as important. I, like Amin, see the burning of the leeches as a way to gain the trust of Stannis.

Final Verdict: Melisandre certainly isn't above using her edge in knowledge for manipulation. 


  1. Heartsbane of HornhillMay 24, 2014 at 1:29 AM

    Re: Tyrion, the reason I wondered which side he might fall in on is because of all the inroads he's already made with Aegon. To the rest of the world, he is the reason Aegon should essentially have a cake walk to Kings Landing. Not to mention the boy jumped at his advice with just the slightest nudge.
    As you guys say, and as the chapters GRRM has read from tWoW. The smart money seems to be on Tyrion aligning with Danny. However, if we are to have a true Dragon Dance, someone is going to have to steal/ betray Danny and one or two of her dragons. Maybe in this case Tyrion will choose the easy money (Aegon) over the smart money (Danny)
    After all he is now a Kin slaying sell sword, and everyone knows they turn their cloak and cant be trusted.

    1. spoilers tpatq, and mystery knight:

      In the Dance of Dragons, Aegon had fewer dragons as well, but due to the two betrayers the greens could turn the tides. The same could happen again, after all Dany was told she was going to face three betrayals.
      In the Mystery Knight, Maynard Plumm (Bloodraven) stole a dragon egg with the aid of a dwarf. Same could happen if Tyrion and Brown Plumm steal one (or two) of Dany´s dragons. If they can bond with Viserion and/or Rhaegal and they turn cloak it could be something similar to the Treasons of Tumbleton.
      Tyrion has some foreshadowing. His mismatched eyes, green and black, the factions of the original dance of dragons, which share many paralellisms with the future dance of dragons, could be a hint of Tyrion´s future role in both sides.
      Furthermore, Moqorro´s Vision : “Dragons old and young, true and false, bright and dark. And you. A small man with a big shadow, snarling in the midst of all.”.
      To me that sounds like Tyrion will have a big role in the Dance of Dragons, and since he is “in the midst of all”, his side sounds unclear (perhaps both sides).

  2. Why do you think that Benjen joined the watch? I have read load of theories about his jealousy of Ned, but they seemed really close when he visited Winterfell.

    1. I'm sure it was pretty common, over the generations, for the youngest Stark son to join the Watch.