Thursday, July 9, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 85


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 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 85! Our guest judge this week is Alden, an an avid fan of the Song of Ice and Fire, to the point that it has consumed many of his past times. He enjoys studying the world map taking up the entirety of a wall that he pieced together from the Lands of Ice and Fire. He also wrote and performs a hip-hop song in tribute to Septon Meribald’s speech. His dream is to write an entire album based on the series.


Who is the man behind Margaery needing moon tea?

Main Opinion: Stefan
I would be careful in assuming that Margaery even got Moon Tea in the first place. Pycelle, on whose testimony this assumption is resting, is known to lie and to anticipate the will of the Lannisters. He did the same thing when Jon Arryn died: assuming Cersei was behind it and wanted him dead. To deduct that Cersei was hellbent on destroying Margaery and the way she was doing it doesn’t require a genius. Pycelle’s position is precarious and rests on Cersei thinking he’s useful, so he makes himself useful. But let’s for a moment assume that Margaery does need the Moon Tea. The only option are some singers. I seriously doubt that she really sleeps around in the Red Keep, though.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
The more likely interpretation, as Justice Stefan notes, is that Pycelle simply lied and said what he thought Cersei wanted to hear. He seemed to be very nervous and under duress at the time. We have also speculated on APOIAF (Guys Night Out IV) that that Margaery used moon tea for a non-contraceptive purposes, if it somehow easer pain during her period. This is pure speculation, as moon tea is probably just used as an abortifacient with the tansy ingredient in it, but there are other ingredients and it is completely up to George if he wanted to give it other properties. On the other hand, why would Margaery turn to Pycell for moon tea when she could have gotten it from a more trustworthy source?

Dissenting Opinion: Alden
Pycelle was a Lannister toady to the end, even if Cersei couldn’t recognize it. I think he recognized that she was running the legacy into the ground at a tremendous pace, thus he saw Kevan as a suitable leader for their house. Kevin want to maintain the alliance with the Tyrells, which is weakened by Pycelle’s testimony. Lying about Jon Arryn to Ned behind closed doors is less risky than lying in an open court. Taking his testimony as truth, I believe the affair would be with one of the knights in her entourage or a singer. She strikes me as a person who would be attracted to the chivalry of knighthood. I doubt that the books will ever provide a definitive answer, at most we’ll see speculation on the part of the various P.O.V.s moving toward King’s Landing.

Final Verdict: There is no man. Pycelle lied. 

Why did Jaqen get caught? Was it on purpose? Was he recruiting Arya? If so, how could Jaqen know that Yoren would notice Arya at Ned's execution and then decide to take her North with them?

Main Opinion: Stefan
I am utterly convinced that Jaqen was not recruiting Arya. There is simply no rationale for that. The Faceless Men for this ploy to work would have needed to anticipate the death of Jon Arryn and Eddard’s elevation as hand and send Jaqen to King’s Landing, presuming that he didn’t borrow Littlefinger’s teleport from the TV series. Then he would need to anticipate that Ned would be captured and Arya spiritied away by Yoren, who who also recruit Jaqen, so they could end up together. Jaqen would also have needed to anticipate that they would be attacked by Armory Lorch, which allows Arya to rescue him, and then meet again at Harrenhal. This is only possible if the Faceless Men knew the future detailled and in advance, which would be a rather poor narrative tool. And then, waiting for her to show up at Harrenhal would have been much easier. No, Jaqen and Arya ending up together is pure chance.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
Jaqen did not get caught as part of a plan to recruit Arya, that was a beneficial opportunity he noticed and seized upon during his shared time wither. We don’t know what he was caught, it is possible that he caught on purpose, but not part of a plan to recruit Arya.

Concurring Opinion: Alden
A man makes mistakes. The Faceless Men take requests in the field, so maybe he was a roaming agent taking out hits and got unlucky. I don’t believe he intended to get to the wall because there would be so many easier ways that would raise less suspicion. He does reference the Red God, so maybe he could see future events, but there is no way that he could get enough info to predict the events at the end of Game of Thrones. It was GRRM that lead them together, the true hand of fate in the series. 

Final Verdict: Jaqen's capture and his later meeting with Arya are chance. 

Will Dany convert to R’hollor?

Main Opinion: Stefan
No. Dany isn’t the religious type. The better question is: will Dany ally herself with the Red Faith and serve as their figurehead? Much more likely. In the end, though, Daenerys doesn’t really have that much choice in the matter. Already, there are hundreds of thousands who regard her as Azor Ahai reborn, and simply saying that you don’t really believe in all that horseshit won’t exactly convince them from the opposite. The question is how Westeros will react to the second Azor Ahai, especially the guys in Stannis’ camp.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
I agree that Dany will likely align herself with the Red Faith, given the benefits to her cause, and that will associate her with it anyway. However, I am not convinced that she could not convert. It is possible that she could actually belief in the Faith given the right circumstances rather than see it is a tool to be used. There is a wide spectrum between pragmatic atheist and fanatic believer, just because she won’t be at the fanatic end doesn’t mean she might not fall somewhere in between, or see herself as doing the right thing both by secular morality and religious decree.

Dissenting Opinion: Alden
Dany is looking for a narrative for her own life at the end of Dance. ‘Fire and Blood’ would have been appropriate words for the Red Faith, much of their tactics overlapping. She is also the character with the greatest connection to the supernatural in my eyes. Her successful attempt at blood magic also allowed her to walk into flames, proof that she was imbued with some magical force. She also met the Undying, what could be the closest thing to a god that we’ve seen in these books. She already wants to rise to power, and the moniker could feed the flames of her ego. It would give all the awfulness of her life a meaning, such as the death of Drogo parallel with Nissa Nissa. 

Final Verdict: At the very least, Dany is going to use her status as quasi-messiah. 

9 comments:

  1. Who is/are Doran Martell's spy/spies in King's Landing, who informed him of the plot to kill Trystane?

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  2. Still didn't answer why Jaquen was caught. It would have to be on purpose, but that still leaves out the why...

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    Replies
    1. Why would it have to be on purpose?

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    2. If you can change your face at will, how would you ever get arrested? Just change your face to someone the law isn't looking for. He did it in nothing flat outside Harrenhal, so it doesn't take much time.

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    3. Sometimes the crime is where you are. What you are caught doing. Sometimes it doesn't matter who you are.

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  3. Is weirwood in the Eeryie responsible for the Arryns (Andals) sickness and bad luck?

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    1. It is explicitly stated that there is not Weirwood in the Eyrie, as it is too stony. There is not even a regular tree heart tree.

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    2. There is no weirwood tree. There is a weirwood throne and the Moon Door. The Arryns are historic bloody enemies of the Starks and First Men. Even dead weirwood seems to possess power.

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    ReplyDelete