Thursday, June 5, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 30

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 29 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Emre Sofoglou. Emre is a musician in Germany and still in school, preparing for his exams in 2015. He knows Stefan from a rather unusual position as the teacher of his class. 

In Dany's first chapter, Illyrio says to her "May the Lord of Light shower you with blessings," and then mentions the Red God again soon after. We keep thinking the R'llhor is a god of slaves, not slavemasters, but now I wonder.

Main Opinion: Stefan
R’hollor has huge appeal on slaves, this is true, but that doesn’t preclude the masters from following him as well. The obvious reference point for R’hollor, the Christian god and Jesus, started out as a religion for the underprivileged as well, but that didn’t keep it becoming the religion of the ruling class fairly quickly. From the mouth of Illyrio, moreover, it may just have been the often mentioned “pious noises”. Perhaps it’s yet another ruse to disguise the Varys connection, after all. Varys professes real hatred against Melisandre and Stannis for their use of fire magic, so if Illyrio is heard speaking of R’hollor…? Unlikely, I admit. Another reason for his turning to R’hollor might be the story about Serra, his lost wife. She was a former slave, and he loved her dearly, so maybe he took on her religion for her sake and kept it later. When you’re spurned by the Pentoshi nobility, why not keep a god that’s anathema to them just to stick it to them? But in the end, I don’t think it’s a really relevant thing. The first book was a bit rough on the edges, after all, trying out some things (Tyrion’s artistic ability!) that never get picked up again, so I wouldn’t break my mind about it.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
Lord of Light references are far common in Essos, and not limited to one particular group of society. R'hllor is likely to have widespread appeal compared to a more regional deity. Illyrio is unlikely to be particularly religious and is likely he is just using a common expression. His mention of the red priests in the same chapter reinforces this interpretation: “The Lord of Light would hold our city walls against a million Dothraki, or so the red priests promise . . . yet why take chances, when their friendship comes so cheap?

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Emre
Well there are numerous possibilities. Either Illyrio just adopted the phrase as is common with popular phrases, it is a phrase from when he was not as wealthy as a sellsword or it`s for a supersecret conspiracy which i highly doubt. I think Illyrio just wants to shroud himself in a little more mistery than there actually is about him.

Final Verdict: R'hollor is a god for everyone. 

So, the kinslayer is accursed in the eyes of gods and men. Does that make Tyrion toast?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Very likely, yes. Somehow, it doesn’t seem to likely anymore since we read and interpreted the ending of “A Dance with Dragons” that the three heads of the dragon have big chances to survive the whole mess. At least I’d rule out a big redemption arc for Tyrion in which he gains the love of the commons for rescuing humanity from the Others. At most, he will echo Jaime, who also never got the glory he deserved for saving King’s Landing. He might get old as lord of Casterly Rock, but I doubt he’ll take much joy from it.

Dissenting Opinion: Amin
I think Tyrion might not survive the series, but not because of his kinslaying (note that even if he isn’t Tywin’s son, they would still be related through Joanna and share Lannister blood). Certainly not due to godly disapproval related to it, though perhaps the long term consequences in the eyes of men will contribute to his downfall. Then again, having access to a dragon could make up for many things. In terms of Tyrion’s own mental state, what happened to Tysha will dominate his long term thoughts far more than Tywin’s actual death.

Concurring Opinion: Emre
I totally have to agree with Stefan. By any rules oft the old gods, Tyrion is a Kinslayer and thus guilty in the sense. However one thing to acknowledge here is that if they would have actual interest in Tyrion being dead, there would have been so many chances to ex him off, like being drowned or smashed by the stone men, devoured by lions or painfull death, by various fatal diseases, which all seem to pass by Tyrion. I think this leads to some exciting speculation about the old Gods. Maybe he has suffered enough, maybe the influence of the old goes not as far as Essos or divine revenge generally takes some time (and if it actually strikes, Walder Frey would be the first to die from a timely standpoint and the fact that he delivered what is widely considered one oft the foulest deaths in the books), who knows.

Final Verdict: Tyrion isn't going to some happy ending, that's for certain. 

Are Targaryens (and Valaryons and Baratheons) considered Andals?

Main Opinion: Stefan
No, they’re Valyrians. The Andals were a specific culture from the hills of Andalos which left the country when they were attacked by a superior force. Like the Rhoynar, too, the Andals sailed west and conquered Westeros, like in a forward attack. But the Targaryens are very high Valyrian nobility, which explains all their strange customs and strange gods that so appalled the Andals they were trying to rule - so much that for decades, bloody strife with the Faith Militant followed the Conquest. That doesn’t sound at all like they were of the same culture. They’re not even really the same race, with their distinctive features and all. The picture is muddied because the Targaryens after the Conquest integrated themselves into Westerosi culture by taking the Faith and abolishing some of their most offensive Valyrian customs.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
Justice Stefan covers the matter admirably: the Targaryens are certainly not Andals. They have intermingled to an extent since the consequence, but they were the latest (and potentially smallest) wave of human migrants and invaders, following the First Men, Andals, and Rhoynar. The Baratheons are tricky, as they have probably married the most into other native families and the stormlord line ‘dark hair’ gene seems to dominate. While they do have a claim to the throne via Targaryen blood both recent and old, which is what supported Robert and now Stannis, I don’t think they often mentally think of themselves as ‘Targaryens’ and the storm lords are Andals with mainly Andal based customs.

Concurring Opinion: Emre
I don’t really have anything to add here, unfortunately. 

Final Verdict: The Targaryens and Velaryons certainly are no Andals, the Baratheons might be now due to their marriage policy. 


  1. Tyrion will end up with Sansa , how can that be anything but happy.

  2. Hey guys, another great post. I have a question that could be interesting but also assumes a few things. Assuming Aegon is real, Ser Barristan makes it to Westeros and Danny and Aegon oppose each other. Do you think Barristan will have to make a tough decision on who to serve since technically Aegon comes first in the line of succession, or will he stick with Dany no matter what?