Thursday, July 23, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 87

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 87! Our guest judge this week is Tara Lynne, who writes for and is co-founder and co-organizer of Ice & Fire Con.

If Patriarchy as laid out in the series is bad - what could replace it?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Look no farther than Dorne. Why I personally could do without the loose tempers, rabid nationalism and thirst for revenge that are the Dornish people’s dark sides, their relations between man and woman seem to be as equal as you can get in a medieval society. Both of them enjoy the same rights and, even more importantly, the same autonomy over their bodies. This is a great start.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
Dorne seems like a good starting option. It is not like you would or could be able to copy and paste an entire culture over, because it wouldn’t have any foundation or lasting permanence. But the ideas of equality and equal primogeniture could be influential over time, gradually improving the systems present in the rest of Westeros. Note that the Dornish had started to influence Westeros in the past, specifically when they married into the Targaryens. This growing influence was one of the reasons for the first Blackfyre Rebellion, and one of the reasons I prefer the Reds over the Blacks in that conflict.

Concurring Opinion: Tara Lynne
Well personally I don't think it's *if* Patriarchy as laid out in the series is bad - clearly it has caused more than its fair share of problems, and those problems probably aren't going to end or go away anytime soon. If we're talking just lifestyle in general, of course there's the Dornish way of things, which I agree is superior for the reasons Stefan listed. But if we're talking about who is head of a household or who sits on the Throne, it still means that the eldest child would gain that position and power regardless of whether or not he or she is fit to do so. Therefore I don't believe there is or even could be some truly perfect way of life in Westeros...but improvements could certainly be made, and beginning by the people as a whole embracing the Dornish ideas of equality would be a good start.

Final Verdict: Dorne would be a good place to start.

Was Euron a failed apprentice of Bloodraven?

Main Opinion: Stefan
This is likely, yes. He also definitely got to Qarth and drank the Shade of the Evening, but I seriously doubt that he can do even half of the things he claims. Him being an apprentice of Bloodraven’s would fit. Bran as his new, better apprentice would have a foil, Dany would have one, and we have the means of diverting one of the dragons away from her into the hands of a guy you really don’t want to trust with a dragon. Plus, once Bran wrestles it back from his control, he can give it to Jon. Ultimately, Euron needs to pull a Darth Vader on everyone by more or less becoming an agent of the Others, perhaps willingly, perhaps unwillingly, but that seems to me where this is headed. Connecting all of this by way of Bloodraven seems right.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
I think that there are too many connections between Euron and Bloodraven, adding to the list specifically his dreams about flying, his nickname: Crow’s eye, the eye patch being over the same eye, his banner being “a red eye with a black pupil beneath a black iron crown supported by two crows”. I also think that there would be a strong narrative purpose for a connection: Euron as a failed disciple shows that Bloodraven has been trying what he did with Bran with others before, which makes sense, but failed, until he found Bran. It also shows that Bloodraven can have unintended consequences and can’t control everything. Though, perhaps he will still get some value out of Euron’s current and future actions in regards to Dany, as Justice Stefan notes.

Dissenting Opinion: Tara Lynne
I'm aware this theory exists, and aware of the version that says he's not a failed apprentice but still working for/with Bloodraven. I understand the reasoning behind these theories, but it's not something I outright believe in. They aren't theories of the type that frustrate or annoy me, but so many of the 'connections' seem to be a stretch. Is there a possibility that Euron has made it North of the Wall and met Bloodraven? Sure. But we also know about a lot of his travels already, and this has never been mentioned or even hinted at in the text. As for the idea that it's not a coincidence that he drinks Nightshade and Bloodraven serves up Weirwood paste, or that both Bloodraven and Euron only have one eye, my question is, why can't it be coincidence? Martin is great at tying things together, but that doesn't mean that everything and everyone always has to be connected. In conclusion, I'm not saying it's impossible, and I suppose it wouldn't be shocking if Euron was an apprentice or failed apprentice of Bloodraven...but as I said, I personally don't subscribe to the theory.

Final Verdict: Yes, he was. 

Who was the brother Bloodraven loved?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Daemon, of course. You could of course argue that it was Daeron II and see it as the reason that Bloodraven joins with him and not, like the other bastards, with Daemon, but that would be boring. Martin’s statement that the interesting thing about fiction is “the human heart at conflict with itself” should be one of the prime litmus tests for any theory, and in this case, it fits perfectly well. Bloodraven being the one that brings down Daemon would carry all the more weight if a difficult decision between love and duty (also a running theme through the series) came beforehand, and it would also explain his later career as a misantropic dictator. It was Daemon he loved, and Daemon he killed. 

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
Here is the line – “I have my own ghosts. A brother I loved, a brother I hated, a woman I desired. In my dreams I see them still, but no word of mine has ever reached them”. I think that the simpler answer may be correct here, Daeron II. I also agree that Daemon could fit that role, but we would need more evidence for that, so I am not quite there yet. One other point that may be relevant though is that Bloodraven and Daemon were closer in age than Daeron II, so they may have grown up together.

Concurring Opinion: Tara Lynne
I agree that arguments can be made that it was Daeron, as he was the brother who Bloodraven backed; I also agree that IF Bloodraven killed Daemon's sons before him on purpose (something that I'm fairly certain is never clarified in the text), that would add more weight to the idea that it truly was Daeron whom he loved. That said, in my opinion it makes more sense in terms of character development that, as Stefan said, he had to kill the brother he loved - because he seemed to have done so "for the good of the Realm", to stop the rebellion that was tearing Westeros apart. 

Final Verdict: Daemon. Makes for better drama. 


  1. yep.. bloodraven has been looking for the next greenseer for a time now..

    all those dead dreamers in Bran´s coma dream during AGOT, are failed apprentices.

    also maesters have been countering (unknowingly perhaps), his efforts:

    "Dragons?" said her mother. "Teora, don't be mad."
    "I'm not. They're coming."
    "How could you possibly know that?" her sister asked, with a note of scorn in her voice. "One of your little dreams?"
    Teora gave a tiny nod, chin trembling. "They were dancing. In my dream. And everywhere the dragons danced the people died."
    "Seven save us." Lady Nymella gave an exasperated sigh.
    "If you did not eat so many creamcakes you would not have such dreams. Rich foods are not for girls your age, when your humors are so unbalanced. Maester Toman says -- "
    "I hate Maester Toman," Teora said. Then she bolted from the table, leaving her lady mother to make apologies for her.

  2. Hi Stefan! Thanks for your work here and in TOTH
    I thought you and Sean, were supposed to do a final tv series BLAH
    We miss hearing you guys!
    Hope to hear you soon!
    Valar Dohaeris

  3. Ironically, the more the kingdom transitions to a modern nation state, the more women are barred from politics. No need for ladies, queens, queen regnants, and dowager queens in a bureaucracy and parliament.

    1. Women are barred from politics already. They may (!) be able to influence people from behind the scenes, but they can do that later as well. While it is true that they lost a little bit of influence overall, the advancing mordern nation state improved their general lot drastically, as they gained more and more protections and rights under the law they hadn't previously enjoyed. So it's kind of a mixed bag - women of the elite lost a bit, the rest gained a bit, and then they started to gain overall, led by the middle class women and followed by upper and lower class.