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 55 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Joanna Lannister, one of the admins of the ASOIAF University.
How will Jon react to R+L=J?
Main Opinion: Stefan
Oh, this is just such a good question that surprisingly never came up before. I guess most people simply assume that Jon will take the mantle of destiny, declare himself Jon Targaryen and go kick some ass. This is more or less how this trope plays out much of the time. “You’re royalty!” “Yeah, I know, that must be the reason I’m so awesome!”, or someting along these lines. In Jon’s case, however, the revelation of being Lyanna’s and Rhaegar’s son must be crushing. His whole life, Jon has built his identity on the fact that he is the son of Eddard Stark. He’s a Stark, that’s what he always wanted to be, and he wanted to embody the virtues of his father. The highest praise you can sing for him is that he resembles Eddard. And now you’re telling him he’s no Stark, but a Targaryen, as in “the guys who tortured granddad”? Why should he be happy about this turn of events? What should he take from it? He knows nothing of Rhaegar other than he supposedly raped the woman who he’s now told is his mother. Great news, everyone! It will be a total breakdown for him.
Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
I agree that Jon will not easily take on the mantle of royalty, and perhaps he will not at all fully embrace it. But I don’t think it will be that big of a blow to his identification as a Stark. He is still “Ned’s blood” and he will appreciate even more what Ned did for him. Jon still, at least unconsciously, feels some trepidation about being the product of a one night fling, a shameful reminder Ned’s weakness. While shocking initially, the fact that his mother is Lyanna and the product of a potential romantic love and/or marriage will only deepen his love and respect for Ned. Jon also has his past experiences with Maester Aemon reinforcing the fact that there were also good Targaryens, though it would have been a touching moment for both if Maester Aemon were still alive to see the reveal.
Dissenting opinion: Joanna Lannister
I think the truth of his parentage will initially be a great surprise to Jon, but ultimately he won’t change very much. I don’t believe that Rhaegar and Lyanna married, meaning that Jon is still a bastard, just not Ned’s bastard. Jon’s illegitimacy isn’t something that’s going to be “fixed” in a surprise reveal; he will have to struggle to come to terms with on his own. Rhaegar and the values of House Targaryen are completely alien to Jon. Even after Jon learns the truth, Ned is still his adoptive father, the man who raised him, loved him, taught him what it means to have the Stark blood, even if he doesn’t have the Stark name. Once Jon realizes his identity hasn’t changed, he will continue to do his duty and to strive to live up to the ideals his father instilled in him.
Final Verdict: Jon will always remain Ned's son.
What do you think is in store for Edric Dayne and Edric Storm? Will either young boy play a significant role in future books?
Main Opinion: Stefan
Edric Storm, no. He played out his role, and he’s gone. Nobody’s interested in the question of Lannister incest anymore, especially not when the Targaryens start to fight over spoils and the question of fAegon’s legitimacy is on the table. Edric Dayne might play a role still, provided you believe that the Dayne’s in general still hold importance. I’m still not really sold on the idea of the Sword of the Morning being Lightbringer; I feel that’s a Red Herring, and therefore I don’t expect a big role for little Ned. Might be we meet him again, though, but I don’t grant him a big role in the upcoming events.
Dissenting Opinon: Amin
The House Baratheon family tree is looking dangerously thin right now. Edric Storm is an exception from the rest of Robert’s bastards (including Gendry) in that he is the only “Great Bastard” with noble blood on both sides, and formally acknowledged by Robert. If Stannis does not survive the books, which is quite a possibility, only Shireen is left to follow him, and sadly her fate is up in the air as well. Edric would be a good candidate to carry on the Baratheon line and/or marry Shireen, as they got along fairly well up to this point. Orys Baratheon himself was as bastard. As for Edric Dayne, I feel like we may have ruled on his fate tangentially before, so I will keep it brief: he’s got a role to play as well, as long as he can get safely away from the Brotherhood. It is not going to do much good for one’s life expectancy to be involved with the Brotherhood, even if they may have some temporary success in killing Freys.
Dissenting Opinion: Joanna Lannister
I doubt Edric Dayne will survive his time with the Brotherhood, but I think that Edric Storm may have a significant role to play in future events. Shireen is at Ground Zero for any future catastrophe’s Martin has in store, such as the fall of the Wall or a greyscale plague. I have very little hope that she and Stannis will survive the series, making me think that Edric Storm, as Robert’s formally acknowledged bastard, may eventually be legitimized and inherit the lordship of Storm’s End.
Final Verdict: Both characters will play a bigger role in the events to come.
Is it the goal of the FAegon-conspiracy to conquer Westeros by “Fire and Blood”?
Main Opinion: Stefan
No, their goal is to create such chaos beforehand that fAegon can appear as the savior everybody is flocking to. I fear the idea was twofold: use the backup plan of Dany and Viserys to invade the Seven Kingdoms with a horde of Dothraki, and let fAegon rescue them. But essentially, fAegon comes to END fire and blood in Westeros, of course causing a little bit of both in the process. But rather than a goal, we should talk about the means. The goal is to put a “perfect prince” on the Iron Throne and let him rule in peace thereafter.
Concurring Opinion: Amin
Justice Stefan covered it well, I concur. For a deeper review that I also follow, Alex (Co-founder of Tower of the Hand, wrote an extensive essay covering Aegon in A Flight of Sorrows. Aegon was meant to come in as a saviour figure, rather than a bloody conqueror. Tyrion certainly threw a wrench in those plans, as did Dany herself.
Concurring Opinion: Joanna Lannister
I concur with Justices Stefan and Amin. Without any dragons at his disposal, fAegon was never meant to be Aegon the Conqueror come again. As Stefan explained, the plan was to introduce fAegon as Westeros’s savior against the Dothraki invasion. fAegon was groomed to rule, but I would add that the plan was meant to put a puppet king on the throne, ruling under Varys’s direction. It’s in Varys’s best interests that the realm experience stability and prosperity.
Final Verdict: No, he would end it as a savior figure.