Thursday, June 26, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 33

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 33 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Ashley, another one of the hosts of A Podcast of Ice and Fire and dubbed the Queen Beyond the Wall. Check out her twitter at AshleyClegane.

Melisandre prophecy about Patchface: "That creature is dangerous. Many a time I have glimpsed him in my flames. Sometimes there are skulls about him, and his lips are red with blood." Question: How can a fool like Patchface be dangerous? Is there a link between him and Shireen, who was dubbed “dangerous” by Val?

Main Opinion: Amin
This is a very serious warning from Melisandre, and a surprising one given Patchface’s seemingly harmless (though sometimes creepy) nature. Patchface has said prophetic things before though, like talking about the red wedding, so he is not an entirely inconsequential character. One general theory in the fandom is that it is Patchface’s relation to Shireen that will bring out the true danger. Val has warned about the apparent dangers that survivors of greyscale contain and it is possible that Shireen could be the source of a future greyscale (or potentially grey plague) epidemic. She has had ominous dreams herself and is sometimes frightened by Patchface. The warning could be about Patchface biting or otherwise causing Shireen to bleed, which is the source of that epidemic; yes, something as dopey (and horrifying) as that. One has to question the validity of wildling medical knowledge, but given that greyscale seems to have some semi-magical qualities beyond a purely scientific based disease, she may very well have some insight into it. On the other hand, Jon Connington has brought a live strain of greyscale to Westeros, which seems like a more likely source of an epidemic, if there is going to be one.

Dissent Opinion: Stefan
I think Melisandre is more likely to misread the signs here. It might very well be that Patchface is “just” a harbinger of things to come, not the real danger. Shireen’s greyscale seems to be more of a red herring than a real threat to me, the latter one being Jon Connington. Since Patchface did prophesize stuff correctly before, I’d say Melisandre should heed his warnings instead of seeing him as the danger.  

Dissenting Opinion: Ashley
I think Melisandre is misrepresenting the threat. I don’t believe that Patchface on his own is dangerous, but rather there could be power within him that directly challenges Melisandre’s claim that Rhallor is the one true god. It’s possible that Patchface represents an agent of Rhallor’s opponent, and for that reason alone Melisandre would find him dangerous. Wether he’s an actual threat to people aside, he’s a threat to her monopoly on following a god that actually seems to have power.  

Final Verdict: Patchface himself is not the real danger and Melisandre may be misinterpreting things. 

Was Ned gay for Robert? See here for details. 

Main Opinion: Amin
No. They loved each other like brothers, and loved and were loved by Jon Arryn in return as part of a tight knight foster family, not uncommon for foster families and part of the purpose of fostering: building strong ties beteween noble families. If George meant there to be something more on Ned’s side, he knows how to put clues for it, see Jon Connington and Rhaegar, for example. A more interesting question would be what does Ned think of gay people? What would he think of one of his bannermen or women being gay, Whoresbane for example, or even Galbart Glover? What if one of his family members was gay? Would he succumb to the general homophobic views of the times or would he simply not care?

Concurring opinion: Stefan
I also think this is just what it is: strong friendship. We would have had a hint if Martin intended to do so. Bear in mind, please, that “A Game of Thrones” was written in the early 1990s. It’s a way more recent phenomenon to push homo- or bisexual relationships in the column of romanticism like in much contemporary fantasy and stories. Reading with that trend in mind, one might be tempted to read too much into perfectly standard backstory cliches.  

Concurring Opinion: Ashley
I feel it’s pretty straight forward (pardon the pun) that Ned and Robert were good friends were more a brother to each other than perhaps they were to their actual siblings. GRRM writes in POV’s, there would have been many opportunities to hint at it, Renly and Loras are proof enough of that. If any argument could be made, I feel it could be done from Roberts side. His lack of a POV makes his actions more open to interpretation. I wouldn’t go so far as to claim he’s gay, but I could certainly make him have confused feelings towards Ned in fanfiction land fairly easily, Ned, however, would be far, far more difficult to become believable.

Final Verdict: No, it was brotherly and/or Platonic love.

Who would win in a fight between Bronn and the Hound?

Main Opinion: Amin
The Hound would win. While Bronn is a dangerous fighter, the Hound is on another level, one of the most dangerous fighters in Westeros and one of the few that could give an intact Jaime a run for his money. The Hound is both strong and fast, and could keep up with anything Bronn could throw at him. I believe this question has been muddled up in the fandom due to the influence of the HBO TV series, which built up Bronn to try and make it more interesting. But we judge based off the book series taking priority, and my money is on the Hound.

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
The Hound is a more dangerous fighter than Bronn, and most importantly, he’s intelligent. He won’t fall for such tricks as Bronn is used to capitalize on, like outmaneuvering his opponent or simply exhaust him. This might do for Ser Vardis or Gregor Clegane, but not the Hound. One forgets that the Hound is very large as well because he’s in the shadow of the Mountain That Rides, but he has strength and range on Bronn, and most likely determination as well. Don’t mess with the Hound.  

Concurring Opinion: Ashley
Pretty much the same feelings. The only thing to add is, not only is he stronger, faster than average, smart, experienced, ruthless, but he also has the added advantage of being constantly tested against the best. Bronn practices against street rats and sellswords. Sandor likely has every punk out to make a name for themselves trying to challenge him, and being in the constant presence of the kingsgaurd, I would think it’s reasonable to suspect they’ve trained together, not to mention he gets practice from tournaments, something Bronn would have no access to.

Final Verdict: The Hound would defeat Bronn.


  1. There's a little mistake in Amin's answer to the third question, where he ends with "my money is on Bronn". Otherwise, great as always!

    1. Thanks for catching that error for us, was copied over incorrectly. Cheers

  2. The skulls Melisandre saw associated with Patchface can easily be all the dead and death from the wreckage of the ship in Shipbreaker's Bay that Patchface miraculously survived. I don't remember if the text described him as having red lips when he was retrieved.

  3. Are there any thoughts that the faith will make any more political statements of authority? It seems that before the High Sparrow, the faith was a lap dog to the throne, but now the HS is making moves to establish and legitimize the actions of the faith, regardless of the will of the throne. Is there any possibility that he will seize on the political clout of the Red Wedding? It was noted that the commons are wroth at the slight done to the gods via the breaking of guest rite, which the throne has remained in active in the public sense. The HS could choose to act as the throne is unwilling, and publicly damn and denounce all those involved. And if the title of knighthood is based off of a pledge to the faith of the seven, then could the HS also strip people of knighthoods? Like all those that have the last name Frey, and their banner men and partners in the crime?

  4. The hound is often underrated as a fighter. He's huge, quick, skilled, cunning, experienced, determined, confident and more or less fearless. Bronn is a skilled and cunning cut-throat who's gotten so far in life because he "doesn't fight with honour". Neither does the hound when it comes down to it, and he beats nearly anyone in the entire series, except maybe Jaime, Loras, Gregor MAYBE Barristan (certainly not in his prime)