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 email@example.com, 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 31 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Fredrik Fischer, among many things, a writer and humanist, an almost accidental A Song of Ice and Fire fan and of the opinion that Balerion the Cat will sit the Iron Throne.
Do you think that Tywin was the hand that built the tunnel to Chataya`s brothel?
Main Opinion: Amin
Tywin is definitely one of the major candidates, as he had the means to do so and the motive to hide his whoring tendencies. It is important to point out that whoever had it built probably just built the ‘special’ connection between the stable and the brothel, if there are further tunnels leading from the stable they probably existed there since early in KL’s history. Still, that would take time and money, both of which Tywin had in ample amounts. Another name brought up recently is Jon Arryn, but he seemed willing to enter brothers openly (at least for formal questioning) and probably knew best to save his old seed to at least try to father heirs. I think that it is Tywin, and if not him, then someone quite a few years back, not in recent history. One could also ask the question of whether Tywin knew of and made use of the tunnel, even if he was not the Hand who built it?
Dissenting Opinion: Frederik Fischer
This question is based on information given by Varys, and although we have no evidence to suggest that the Spider is lying here, his information might be taken with a pinch of salt. After all, Varys isn’t, as rumour would have it, omniscient, despite his efforts to that end. It is of course plausible to assume that Tywin would be the Hand in question, given that the information is given in conversation with Tyrion. It would fit nicely with the story of Hypocritywin. However, this kind of not-quite-foreshadowing seems far-fetched even for Martin. Just as an example: what if, for instance, Jon Connington used the tunnel to the brothel as a double cloaking of any homosexual encounters he might have had? We know next to nothing about his relationship with Rhaegar except for some wistful reminiscences on the roof of Griffin’s Roost, but what if Connington’s desire was in some way reciprocated? I know I am going far out on the limbs of the loony tree (would that be a weirdwood perchance?) here, but given the fact that Connington’s homosexuality doesn’t appear to be common knowledge as, for instance, Loras’ seems to be, the discovery of that would certainly be dishonourable according to Westerosi customs; not to mention what it would mean for Connington’s honour to be revealed as the Crown Prince’s admirer or, even, paramour. In spite of the possible stain on his honour it would bring, it would then be far less dishonourable to be revealed as a client of prostitutes. This, of course, is just conjecture, however intriguing the implications, and mainly serves as an attempt to prove that we just cannot know. There have been lots of Hands and there are even more reasons than that for why a Hand, a man, would want to use a tunnel to shield his honour.
Concurring Opinion: Stefan
It was Tywin. Not because there’s overwhelming evidence, but for the sheer irony of it and because the hypocricy so much fits the Lannister overlord. After the death of his beloved wife, he didn’t want to marry again (for some reason), and having lovers openly is a weakness he can’t afford to show. His image is the impeccable lord Lannister, totally joyless and form as a rock. Squandering money at Chataya’s doesn’t fit this image. And Tywin crawling through the tunnel into some harlot’s bed is a picture for the gods, in whose existence Tywin luckily doesn’t believe in anyway. To adress the idea about Jon Connington, it lacks on two front: first, Connington seems like a closeted homosexual who suppresses his sexuality, and second, he was made Hand in the field and lost the handship only a couple of weeks later. No time to dig tunnels.
Final Verdict: It was Tywin, that old so-and-so.
What will Tyrion’s status at the end of the series?
Main Opinion: Amin
Many people believe Tyrion will end up in a position of power at the end of the series, perhaps finally becoming the Lord of Casterly Rock. While he certainly has the abilities to get him there, the fact that he is Martin’s current favourite may mean that his ‘luck’ will finally run out by the end, when all characters are fair game for death. At this moment, it is impossible to tell. I’ll go with the camp that he survives the end of the series, though he pays some sort of price for his not so perfect past.
Concurring in part, Dissenting in part: Frederik Fischer
I believe Tyrion survives. He can’t well go down in any way that would match his development so far. That spot probably belongs to Daenerys if she should slip her sandals, which, by the way, I don’t think she will. Besides, Tyrion has cheated death too many times for his death to have the narrative impact worthy of such a well-fleshed-out character. That said, I believe his road leads not to greatness, but to peace. Not in the martial sense: he will be the root of much bloodshed before the day is done, no doubt. But since he has gone from a rapid rise into the highest echelons of power to a startling plunge into despair, the only route left for him, one he even shows a certain desire for in “A Dance with Dragons” (at least that is what I read into his journey), is an existence left to his own devices. Perhaps he’ll travel the world when all of this is over, not as the desperate he was but as a true seeker of knowledge. Or perhaps he’ll get his tongue torn out for being clever once too many and end up copying books or writing his own at the Quiet Isle. What we can be almost sure of is that he won’t be eighty when he dies.
Concurring Opinion: Stefan
While it’s possible that he survives the series, I think he won’t be too happy about it. It would fit in the bittersweet model that he indeed gets lord of Casterly Rock, but that he will be despised and, over all, very lonely there. However, as Amin rightly notes, there’s nothing certain at the moment.
Final Verdict: He'll survive, but it won't be a totally happy ending.
Will the Hightowers become more important in “The Winds of Winter”?
Main Opinion: Amin
The Hightowers have been gaining importance as the series progresses and that natural progression will continue in The Winds of Winter. They are a powerful house who have had strong influences in the past (see Princess and the Queen) and it makes sense that they would make their mark felt on the latest round of the Game of Thrones. With the Reach being raided and new players enters the Game, the time is right for the Hightowers to make a greater impact (or at least a more overt impact) on the series.
Concurring Opinion: Frederik Fischer
Most definitely. My assumption, that the Trial of Combat between UnGregor and whoever fights for Margaery (UnLoras would certainly be an interesting development, if only for the ludicrousness of it all; and no, I don’t really believe he is even dying, but I digress) will result in some kind of hung jury because of UnGregor killing Margaery’s champion and the revelation that UnGregor is lacking vital parts of his anatomy, or vital parts, period, would certainly throw a wrench in the Tyrell power machinery. Lord Leyton’s family is very well-married indeed and could easily pick up all kinds of slack from the very likely diminishing of House Tyrell. Maybe, when this is all over, the heart of the Reach lies in Oldtown.
Concurring Opinion: Stefan
I think Amin’s right. Besides being the overlords of the city in which Samwell is currently dwelling, two areas of new influence are imaginable: they could be a driving force in the evolving Lannister-Tyrell-conflict and push the Reach (or at least part of it) on Aegon’s side in the coming war, really messing up the political landscape just as Varys intended. Or, on the other hand, they could come in as catalysators for the magical part of the story. Given that lord Hightower sits brooding in his high tower and never comes out, and that the family has artifacts and certainly some lore to go along with it, they could provide something currently missing. In that case, an intervention on Dany’s side becomes more likely. Of course, all could just be a red herring, and the Hightowers would sit out the rest of the series as the lords of Oldtown and that’s that.
Final Verdict: They will become more important for sure.