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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 46 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Michal H, a Show-watcher turned book reader, forum member of Podcast of Ice and Fire and speaker on Vassals of Kingsgrave.
What do you think the significance is of Jaime burning Cersei's letter asking for help is? Was he thinking practically, in that he could not defeat a champion with his left hand? Or has he fallen out of love with her? It seems odd that he would discard her but still follow the Lannister cause.
Main Opinion: Amin
Jaime spent A Feast for Crows recalling a few recurring lines of thought, one of them being Tyrion’s last words regarding Cersei, Kettleblack, and Moonboy. The burning of the letter culminated that threadline, as he finally turned his back on Cersei. He will still try to do his duty as a member of the Kingsguard, which is in alignment with the Lannisters since Tommen is King, but nothing special for Cersei. It is no coincidence that after rejecting Cersei’s letter, he instead goes off to try and help Brienne; she was one of the major influences on his character development over the past few books.
Concurring Opinion: Stefan
The significance is Jaime’s final break with Cersei, and it can’t be overstated. Remember the symbolism of the scene. He awakens in the morning and treads on the snow he instantly takes for blood, being shocked by the revelation of “snow in the Riverlands” and the death it will bring to all people. Hard times have arrived. And then the letter comes with a plea for help because otherwise, Cersei will die, and he throws it in the fire, rejecting it. Death is coming for Cersei, but Jaime doesn’t care anymore. Practical considerations don’t play into it. Jaime was, after all, never a man for practical considerations. He’s acting emotionally. And, the final point, his emotional anchor remains with house Lannister. Where else would he go?
Concurring Opinion: Michael H
Thanks to Cersei's brief and very self centered letter, all Jaimie knew when he burnt that letter was that Cersei was in deep trouble, not that House Lannister was also in dire straits. Burning the letter was Jamie's act of abandoning Cersei to her fate.
Final Verdict: Jaime abandoned Cersei, not the house of Lannister.
What do you think the significance of Hardhome will be in The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring (besides the Mother Mole plot)? It is mentioned in Dance of Dragons that Hardhome is destroyed by a mysterious disaster. Also, Davos mentions in passing that he used to trade for obsidian with wildlings beyond the Wall during his smuggling days. I think Hardhome was destroyed in a similar way as Valyria and may have the much needed dragon glass needed to fight the Others.
Main Opinion: Amin
There is a theory that Hardhome was destroyed by dragons from the Valyrian freehold. I don’t know why they would have targeted it, as even though it was developing, it was nothing close to southern cities and did not pose a threat as far as we know. Until we know more, it seems like it is some sort of natural disaster, either a volcano eruption or perhaps a meteor crash. At the moment, we simply lack the information to make a conclusive ruling.
Concurring opinion: Stefan
I think we can rule out the dragons of Valyria. The Valyrians generally didn’t care about Westeros, as evidenced by their disdain for the Targaryens for taking up residence there, so why should they care what some savages beyond an absurd wall are building? As obsidian can be found in Hardhome, a vulcano eruption seems to be the most likely solution, because this would provide the obsidian. But really, no way of knowing.
Concurring Opinion: Michael H
The significance of Hardhome may just be that as a ruler, you cannot save everyone and everything, though I don't think we've seen or heard the last of Hardhome yet. A volcanic eruption seems to be the most likely scenario that happened there, so dragonglass could be beneath it, but its doubtful that anyone can get to it now that it's infested with wights.
Final Verdict: Valyria wasn't involved in Hardhome's demise.
What about Jamie's dream with Joanna, where she says that all Tywin wanted was his daughter to be queen and his son to be a knight, and then appears sad when Jamie says he DOES in fact have that. She also tells him if I recall correctly that it wasn't a dream he was having. I dont know but I think it would be perfectly in line with Martin's style if all three Lannister kids were not actually his. All he ever wanted was to carry on his family's legacy.
Main Opinion: Amin
Tywin had some true heirs. While the Tyrion is a Targaryen theory is gaining ground, it is highly unlikely that all three children were illegitimate. The interpretation that his daughter is truly a queen (but a growingly despised, paranoid, and unhappy queen) and his son is a knight (but a despised kingslayer who turns his back on his father) show that Tywin technically got what he wanted, but in way that would leave a bitter aftertaste in his mouth. Tywin lost the wife he surely thought would be there to witness his dream with him. All of this is sufficient to explain Joanna’s reaction in Jaime’s dream.
Dissenting opinion: Stefan
While I agree with everything Justice Amin has said, I think the significance lies in that it is Jaime’s dream, and in dreams, one can’t have information one doesn’t posess. Whatever Joanna’s secretly harbored thoughts and knowlegde about Tywin’s character were, Jaime will never know, and she certainly won’t tell him in a dream. Jaime dreams in a situation of incredible self-doubt and identity crisis, and Joanna’s image reflects that. He wants to know whether or not his life as he lived it up to this point is worth a damn, and as much as he throws the topic around in his head, there’s no scenario he can come up with that ends with a “yes”. His own mother telling him the same thing in a dream is his unconscious coming to terms with that conclusion.
Concurring opinion: Michael H
Tywin wanted more than to just carry on his family's legacy, he had to save it. Save it from the depths his father had plunged their reputation to, so no one would laugh at his family, and at Tywin, of course. Jaime as the 'Kingslayer Knight', and Cersei as the 'Queen of the Whores' is the worst way his dream for his children could ever come true.
Final Verdict: Appearances aren't everything. Jaime's achievements are hollow.