Thursday, June 25, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 83

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 83! Our guest judge this week is Neill Smith, a member of the community.

Which houses are the most likely to go over to Aegon?

Main Opinion: Stefan
All of Dorne, most of the Stormlands and the Crownlands. The rest...not so much. I think it can be taken as a given that Arianne will marry Aegon, thereby bringing Dorne on his side in the war - with consequences that will be disastrous for Dorne. Since Doran seems to have the backing of the Yronwoods through his “blood debt” with Quentyn (and the delayed message of Cletus’ death), Dorne should be unified. After that, Aegon will take Storm’s End, gaining some Stormlander support, and then march on to King’s Landing, most likely defeating the Tyrell army there. I don’t see the Reach going over yet again; their authority builds on the Lannister/Baratheon-marriage and Aegon will have married Arianne, so Margaery can’t pull her favorite trick yet again. The Riverlands are a non-entity by now. The Crownlands will join him by virtue of proximity, the Westerlands for obvious reasons are opposed, and the North is preoccupied, which leaves only the Vale as a wild card. I’d guess Littlefinger might throw in his lot with Aegon once King’s Landing has fallen and the Western alliance falls like a house of cards, but I’m not sure whether that will matter given the timeframe in which Dany should arrive.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
It seems like Dorne will side with Aegon, particularly when they get (a potentially distorded) testimony of Dany’s treatment of Quentyn Martell. Stormlands makes sense as well, if they take Storm’s End. I do think that part of the Reach may go over, not the Tyrells, but some of the lower Houses might do that. The way Randyll Tarly speaks about Aegon makes me think he is either considering joining Aegon or severely underestimating Aegon. I’m not sure why because he seems to be doing quite well under the Tyrells, but maybe he is thinking of making the jump up to replace the Tyrells? I don’t think Randyll is the type to underestimate someone (compare his advice there to what he advised Renly about leaving Stannis behind rather than dealing with him right away before his strength could grow). Aegon’s supporters mention having friends on the continent, so I think it is possible that some Reach members may go over if Randyll does, with or without the Tyrells.

Concurring Opinion: Neil Smith
Assuming a union between Aegon and Arianne, Dorne of course. Taking Storm’s End will drive some local houses to them. Though some will stay with Stannis. Maybe some from the Crownlands will go if they take King’s Landing. I don’t see why Aegon and Jon would inspire loyalty from any other place in the realm. They would be usurping the Lannister – Tyrell alliance. Perhaps a Reach/Westerlands Lord may turn their cloak to help Aegon onto the throne. [cough, Randall Tarly, cough] The Riverlands just submitted to Tommen. Shear weariness could make them go over to Aegon but I doubt it. The North will be recovering from the ‘Battle Of Ice’ and/or running from the Others. No friends there. The Ironborn want the throne for themselves. The Vale has a reason to openly oppose Aegon as Jon slew Denys Arryn during the Battle of the Bells. Aegon will take KL but will enjoy little initial support from the rest of the kingdoms. 

Final Verdict: Dorne for sure. The rest of the kingdoms will most likely been divided, as far as they enter the equation at all. 

How would you feel about GOT and Martin as a writer if it turned out that R+L did not equal J?

Main Opinion: Stefan
That would very much depend on the solution he chooses as an alternative. I don’t really think that this is a serious question at this point, though. R plus L does in fact equal J, and Martin isn’t a writer who trolls his audience.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
George has left open the door to avoid R + L = J if he really wanted to, but I don’t think he is going there. He is very committed to R + L = J right now even if everyone seems to have figured it out, so I don’t see that happening.

Concurring Opinion: Neil Smith
Trolling readers for nearly 20 years and for thousands of pages would be odd behavior to say the least. I would be disappointed because it wouldn’t make a lot of sense. Jon is the union of Ice and Fire. His dad is R and his mom is L. If it weren’t for the internet, a big chunk of readers may still not know about this theory. While it’s on the page, George certainly doesn’t beat you over the head with it. 

Final Verdict: It would be considered really distasteful trolling. 

Can you speak to the significance of the similarity in description of Daenarys drinking the Shade of the Evening and Bran eating the Jojen paste? Do you think there is a link between the trees surrounding the house of the Undying and heart trees?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Not at all, no. As far as we can tell, those are entirely different forms of magic. The parallel you see to me seems to stem more from the fact that the underlying logic of all magic traditions is the need for sacrifice. Whether you want to forge a Valyrian steel sword, resurrect someone, father a shadow baby or gain the gift of greenseeing, there is always a price tag attached to it. Having blue lips and getting more or less addicted to a substance is of course not the highest one imaginable, but if Bran really ate Jojen, then the opening of his third eye was very expensive indeed. On the other hand, we have no clue what goes into the Shade of the Evening, so go figure.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
As my fellow judges have noted, there is no explicit connection between the two trees. However, they similarities they do share along with the general price for magic makes me think that there may be a greater cost for the Shade of the Evening than we know about.

Concurring Opinion: Neil Smith
The Shade of the Evening gave Daenerys prophetic visions and riddles. ‘Jojen’ paste allowed Bran access past and present events as seen by Weirwood trees. The two substances have very different effects. The text doesn’t tell us anything about where Shade comes from. The blood sacrifice origins of the religion of the Old Gods gives birth to the theory that the paste contains the blood of Jojen. The only similarity between the two is that the first taste is awful then graduates into something delicious. Both substances alter the reality of the consumer to allow for a consuming, metaphysical experience. There is nothing in the text that relates them any more than that. 

Final Verdict: There is no link. 


  1. Heartsbane of Horn HillJune 25, 2015 at 6:10 PM

    If anyone switches sides to Aegon from the current Lannister/Tyrell power structure, I agree Dorne will be first.
    Arriane is already looking for reasons to justify becoming queen herself instead of Qwentyn. and as previously mentioned I think the news of BBQwent, is the straw that breaks the camel (Doran's) back. Bringing all of Dorne over.

    I've read a lot of interesting ideas about why Tarly might switch sides as well.
    -he's gone as far as he can under the Tyrell leadership, unless Mace outright awards him Storms End and the Storm Lands.
    -he was loyal to the Targs to the end.
    -he was denied the Florent house and lands by Tywin, even though his wife had a better claim.
    -he's also not going to be happy when Mace saves Margaery from the Faith as she is technically Tarly's hostage or prisoner, because he's supposedly devout.

    I'd like to see it happen because I think it'd be interesting, but I'm less certain about this than Dorne. I imagine Tarly wouldn't be fond of conspiring with the Dornish, given his familial history as a marcher lord.

    1. That's the biggest rub I see. fAegon will most likely marry Aryanne, which antagonizes the Reach pretty much. Cersei needs to burn a lot of bridges in order to switch them over.

    2. Heartsbane of HornhillJune 25, 2015 at 7:15 PM

      Well in this case I'm thinking it wouldn't be the entire Reach as much as House Tarly, and presumably those loyal to him as a military commander. They would leave Mace to his own devices with the Lannisters.
      Although the more I think of it, even this would take too much time for two books.
      Tarly would have to relocate his family and give up his holdings in the Reach, (it would provide an opportunity for a Sam reunion) But I don't know if that should happen there.

      We will see I guess.

    3. Tarly to me seems like a follower, not a leader. He needs to rally behind someone who gives him reason to do so. fAegon offering him command of the army may be possible, but I don't see this flying with Connington. Perhaps Tarly is simply the stage for fAegon's first political blunder.

  2. Heartsbane of HornhillJune 25, 2015 at 8:13 PM

    Sure he could remain the good soldier.
    He's done pretty well avoiding big risks and just taking his advancement as it comes, but the Maidenpool match between his son and the infant Mooton, was slightly eye opening. It's the first time he sort of took things into his own hands.
    If it weren't for that, I'd dismiss it immediately.

    I think marrying Arriane, will be Aegon's first blunder.

  3. Why can't shade and the paste be one in the same? i believe it is the same thing or at least close enough to each other to do the same thing, to perform some type of mutant-like enhancement for certain blood lines sort of like Terrine mists in Marvel lore.

    1. Surely they CAN be the same, there's no conclusive evidence either way. We just don't THINK they are.