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 52 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! This week's guest judge is Zach, a curator and regular host of Vassals of Kingsgrave and prolific poster on the A Podcast of Ice and Fire forums. He’s podcasted on nerdy topics of all kinds. Video games, movies, TV, and of course, A Song of Ice and Fire. Zach is currently planning a VOK episode on Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle.
Main Opinion: Amin
I think that Winterfell is a good potential location for the final chapter, not only because it started there, but also because some sort of resolution for Winterfell and the north will be needed by the final book. I don’t know that it would be the final chapter, but quite likely among the last few chapters. Other potential locations would be King’s Landing or at (what is left) of the Wall.
Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Stefan
For me, it’s clearly Winterfell. It just has to end there, as it began, bringing the story around. I can’t really imagine the “bittersweet” ending anywhere else than in Winterfell.
Concurring opinion: Zach
I think that it’s pretty much impossible to accurately predict where the series will end as of right now. There are just too many variables that are left to be resolved. That said, I do suspect that we will move towards a more northerly conflict as things progress. That may be wishful thinking on my part, as it has always been my favorite locale, but Stefan is so right about Winterfell being the ideal location for anything that would be called bittersweet. This whole story spawned from an image of wolf pups in the snow and so much as I’ve come to relate to and appreciate the characters from all corners, for me it has always been about the Starks of Winterfell. A last look at their ancestral home, may it be through the cold eyes of the Others, or Sansa returned to her snow castle, would be a worthy scene to end on.
Final Verdict: The final chapter will most likely be at Winterfell.
What are your thoughts on the theory that Dawn is Lightbringer? Do you believe House Dayne may play a significant role in future books?
Main Opinion: Amin
I think that House Dayne may play a greater role in the future, but I do not think Dawn is Lightbringer. Lightbringer either has something to do with Dany’s dragons (or the dragons themselves), or something closer to Jon. I don’t see how the sword Dawn makes it into current relevance in either Jon or Dany’s storyline. I am not certain we will ever see it again in the current storyline of the 7 books, or in any case see it travel beyond the south of Westeros.
Concurring Opinion: Stefan
The problem with Dawn is that while it was mentioned several times, it doesn’t bear any connection to either Dany or Jon. How would it enter the story? Gerold Dayne suddenly showing up at the Wall, Elrond-style, handing it to Jon? House Dayne will be more important than currently for certain, though, as of now, it possesses next to no importance to the storyline and there are several threads hanging in the air requiring attention.
Concurring Opinion: Zach
So much as I might enjoy crackpot theories, I think this is an example of conflating the legend of two swords simply because of how cool they are individually. The descriptions don’t even come close to matching. I’d love to see Dawn enter the story, but not as the weapon that Azor Ahai will wield (or Darkstar, gods willing). It does have a certain flair that even the most vaunted Valyrian steel blade fails to match. I am a fan of the more abstract theories on what Lightbringer might be, but I couldn’t guess at which one will prove true. Daenerys’ dragons does make sense, but it also feels a little bit too easy. I don’t think Lightbringer has revealed itself yet. As for House Dayne, if it wasn’t clear, I’m not a fan of Darkstar, but I have no doubt that we’ll see more of him in the future. Beyond that, I have no expectations for their involvement.
Final Verdict: Dawn is not Lightbringer.
Which Free City would you like to know more about or spend more of the narrative in?
Main Opinion: Amin
Braavos is my favourite Free City, but we have already seen a lot of it and will see more in the future. Myr would be a Free City I am interested in seeing more of. The characters we have seen from there are interesting. Thoros is a fan favourite and has an important impact on the story. Taena Merryweather is a sultry beauty married to Lord Merryweather; she has been quite interesting so far with her interactions with Cersei, Margaery, and other Westerosi. Another wife from Myr, Serala (the Lace Serpent), is told to have brought about the doom of her husband’s family, House Darklyn, although the history writers are surely biased against her. Myr itself has had an interesting post-Doom history, being ruled at times by Volantis and then part of a combined kingdom with Lys and Tyrosh that got involved in fights at the Stepstones and the Dance of the Dragons.
Concurring Opinion: Stefan
Myr is a good place as any. I don’t really know whether or not I want to spend more time in any of the free cities because the interesting thing about ASOIAF isn’t exactly the world - which is pretty bland and a amalgam of historic period pieces when you get down to it - but the characters, and Martin manages to make everywhere they go interesting. I for sure didn’t expect to find Volantis a place of interest before “A Dance with Dragons”, but here we are. And that’s not because Volantis in itself is that interesting, but because of the potential that it bears for all the people crossing through it.
Dissenting Opinion: Zach
If I had to pick a Free City that I’d like to see most, it would have to be Norvos. Aesthetically speaking, I am quite taken by the idea of “rolling hills, terraced farms, and white-stucco villages”. Of all the Free Cities, it comes off as the least exotic, which appeals to me, dyed moustaches and bearded priests notwithstanding. Ultimately, I’m not particularly interested in exploring much more of Essos in future novels. I don’t begrudge George for taking us to Meereen, but for me, the story will always be best within the Seven Kingdoms.
Final Verdict: Myr. But Norvos seems a pretty interesting spot, too.