Monday, October 13, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 48

Thursday is court day! This week, however, problems arose. Sorry for that.
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 stefan_sasse@gmx.de, 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 48 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Calvin (aka KCenturion), he is the copy editor for encyclopedia entries on Tower of the Hand. He lives in the UK and is one of the regular members of the APOIAF CockneyMoots. You can also follow him on Twitter @CassiusGren.

I heard a not too crazy theory suggesting that Howland Reed IS the new High Septon/Sparrow. Any thoughts on this?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Yeah, you bet. My first thought is that I never want to hear a “crazy theory”. I mean, that’s as crazy as it gets. Why the fuck should Howland Reed be the new High Septon? How in the world…? And why? And how? I mean, seriously, the guy is a black box. That’s the only reason one can conceive this in the first place. The age roughly fits, but that’s all. The High Sparrow is a crazed fanatic. If Howland Reed could embody him (again: why?), then why didn’t he take a position of power in King’s Landing before? Why didn’t he help Ned when he needed the help? Why now? And why this way? And why doesn’t anybody recognize the northern accent? Did he train that as well? Again, why the fuck? It doesn’t make any sense concerning the plot, and it makes even less sense narratively. Howland Reed, political masterplayer? No.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
While I don’t share Justice Stefan’s same level of incredulity at the theory and I admire the effort that went into crafting it, I don’t think there is much evidence for it. Other than some possible similarity in descriptions between the High Septon and Meera, the rest is really just questionable speculation to try to fill what may be an issue later: Jon’s legitimacy. I think that George would have included more clues for a game plan of this magnitude. We know that Ned would not have given the OK to the plan, so it would have had to occur after his death. The High Septon is an opportunist who has risen with the chaos of the war and the backlash against previous High Septon corruption. His down to earth description is consistent with his lowly origins and tie to the earth and the poor, which doesn’t mean he is a Crannogman, let alone Howland Reed. Howland Reed is collecting a growing amount supporters at Greywater Watch, not leading to the restoration of the Faith Militant, which could outlive his lifetime and cause trouble for all peoples not following the Faith of the Seven.

Concurring Opinion: Calvin
I agree with Justice Stefan that this theory is off the top of Wall and sprinting north! Maege/Galbart meeting Howland could be the reason any new action was taken that late in the war but he’d really need to know the Faith and be politically savvy to pull off everything so far. Maybe he has some mystical resonance among some of the fandom due to the information he has up his sleeve but I don’t think the Weirwood-Net can download skills Matrix-style!

Final Verdict: No, no, no, no, and no, no, plus no. Equals no. Never. Ever. No.

Was there ever an explanation of why she is Brienne of Tarth rather than Brienne Tarth?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Because it refers to the location, not the name. Tywin Lannister is the Lord of Casterly Rock, not Lord Casterly Rock. Only in the case of Tarth, location and name are the same, where for example with houses Stark, Lannister or Frey, they aren’t. It’s Jaime of Casterly Rock, Robb of Winterfell, etc. Only, usually this type of nomes comes with a title in front of it, marking the heir (“Lord Robb of Winterfell”), but in case of Brienne, while she is the heir, she carries not title. Hence, she’s “Brienne of Tarth” or, if one’s especially polite, “Lady Brienne of Tarth”. Since most people want to point ou the unusual circumstances surrounding her, they use the form of “Brienne OF Tarth” which carries all these implications with it, instead of the simple “Brienne Tarth” that would lack them.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
Justice Stefan covers the mater well. The fact that Tarth is also a location name explains the usage, which also matches one of the names for her: Maid of Tarth.

Concurring Opinion: Calvin
Yes, based on where she comes from as opposed to her house seems like the straight forward option. I also think that Brienne of Tarth sounds better. For some odd reason, this also made me think of why characters use the term “my lord of Lannister” instead of Lord Lannister (except on two odd occasions) when referring to the lions. In the same vein, the former sounds better.

Final Verdict: Name and place of birth may overlap. 

There's a pretty nifty theory that Yoren may have been killed by Rorge. Yoren was killed by an axe blow to the face. Arya gave Rorge the axe to escape the burning wagon. Rorge still fights with the axe in “A Feast for Crows” when he attacks Brienne. None of Lorch's men or Lorch are described fighting with axes. It's super possible one of them did it but the idea that it was Rorge seems rather plausible. It also may explain how Rorge, Biter and Jaqen escaped death and joined the Lannister side. What do you think?

Main Opinion: Stefan
That the question who killed Yoren is basically meaningless. His death is important because of the randmoness and obscurity of it amidst the chaos of war. But having said that, the theory is of course valid and I pretty much like it. It would fit in very well with the general theme of unintended consequences of benign actions.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
The theory is a good one, in particular explaining why Amory Lorch would have spared Rorge, and Biter (and Jaqen, although he might not have needed the help to get), when he is not much of the sparing type. It fits with Rorge’s character and is another example of why he was so dangerous. Yoren was doing well in his fight up to that point, and a moment of hesitation when seeing Rorge or a backstab attack may have helped Rorge get in the killing blow. Yoren would have died anyway, but the action allowed Rorge’s group to survive, which had lasting consequences for Arya and others, including Brienne.

Concurring Opinion: Calvin
I remember when I first read about this and it was one of the first minor theories that I really got on board with. Yoren probably thought they were coming to his aid so he let his guard down! It is a nice easter egg and doesn’t really require any follow up as the people primarily involved; Yoren, Rorge and Amory Lorch, are all dead now. I imagine that if Arya and Jaqen ever meet again that it could come up in conversation but Arya may be too far gone to care about poor ol’ Yoren.

Final Verdict: Very well possible. 

8 comments:

  1. I was wondering two things, 1) Where does the theory that the Wall is going to collapse come from, besides Old Nan's tales of how the Wall stands tall while the Watch is true,etc. and 2) is there a chance I can try being a justice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1) Narrative reasons, simply. You don't build such a Wall that has never been breached if you don't want it to be breached ;)
      2) Yes, of course! Send me an email. stefan_sasse@gmx.de

      Delete
    2. Alright, I'll put my faith into the Wall collapsing so long as I see an Ice Spider before it happens. If the Walls gotta fall based on narrative reasons, then the Spiders have to show up for the same reason. Oh, and here's this....https://www.facebook.com/GoTMemes/photos/a.299630363448361.69538.296989473712450/741291135948946/?type=1

      Delete
  2. Are all interesting theories discussed, so that we need to bide time with totally crackpot and / or totally irrelevant? Howland Reed being the High Septon is obviously nonsense; and who cares whether Brienne is Brienne Tarth or Brienne of Tarth, or who killed Yoren? I used to look forward to the court rulings, but I increasingly don't even read the answers any more...

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    Replies
    1. Sometimes we answer the more mundane stuff, yes. I want to point out that some of these things do open themselves up to interesting discussions in our rulings, though. I personally expect a host of new questions once the World of Ice and Fire is out.

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  3. I have a question: Will Dany make it back in time for the battle for Meereen? And if so, will she and Drogon have a Dothraki Khalasar (formally Jhaqo's) with them?

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