Thursday, August 27, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 92

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.
Casting Call: We need more judges! If you are interest in being judge, even if you have been already, please write us. 
And now, up to ruling 92! Our guest judge this week is Fredrik Fischer, a fan of all things literary with a long history with the Ice and Fire works and an even longer one with curiosity and speculation.

Are the Obsidian Candles Lightbringer?

Main Opinion: Amin
No, because they don’t fit the full description of what Lightbringer is described to be, either directly or figuratively. If the focus is on merely the dragonglass material they are made from, then it would be in a sword form, not a candle. Nor do they seem to involve the required sacrifice or be in a position to directly harm the Others. They are communication or magical tools, not a weapon. It is certainly possible that the original Lightbringer may have been made of obsidian. It was commonly used by the Children of the Forest and may have useful properties, magical or otherwise, against the Others.

Concurring Opinion: Fredrik Fischer
Even though I suppose an object made of Obsidian could hurt an Other regardless of its shape, it is extremely unlikely that the Obsidian Candles would have anything more than a tangential connection with Lightbringer. We, or indeed anyone in Planetos, it would seem, just don’t know enough about their properties to know for certain what they might be good for.

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
Lightbringer is a weapon, wielded against the Others. The hero needs to acquire it under great personal sacrifice. This description fits Daenerys’ dragons much more than anything else. I think it’s also possible that Lightbringer is a Valyrian sword, as the secret for Valyrian steel is blood sacrifice. However, the most important aspect about it from my point of view, narratively speaking, is that the sacrifice has to be personal. This for me rules out any of the three heads of the dragons simply finding Lightbringer or being bestowed of it by Elrond. Currently, ony Dany fits this description. I’d keep my eye out for the other heads of the dragons going through personal pain riding them, any by all means, use an Obsidian Candle to observe it from a save distance. 

Final Verdict: No, the candles are not Lightbringer. 

Which characters do you think are overrated or underrated concerning their future importance for the story?

Main Opinion: Amin
Victarion Greyjoy seems surprisingly popular at times, but it seems to me that he is only an intermediate and his brother Euron will have the far greater impact on Dany and the story. The only thing that gives me pause is Moqorro: the longer he stays with Victarion, the better chance he has of having a larger impact. Aegon/Young Griff, if you think he is legit, because he is not and will ultimately be exposed for it or at least swept aside, although not without making an impact. Underrated it is hard to say, because most important characters, even minor ones, do seem to get some attention by at least some of the fandom. For example, I think Garlan Tyrell has a bigger role to play, which George may have said as well, but I would label him as a character that already gets a lot of attention in the fandom. If we are still talking about Reachmen, maybe Randyll Tarly? His impact has been growing in the series and will continue to do so if he turns against Mace. Qyburn will have an impact, but again, I wouldn’t say he is underrated.

Concurring opinion: Fredrik Fischer
I second Justice Amin’s opinion, adding my firm belief that UnGregor’s role for the further development of the story might be seriously overrated by the fandom. Let’s face it: there’s no repeating the impact (no pun intended) his actions had in A Storm of Swords and, although I regret to admit it, even the revelation of his true state as Robert Strong won’t be the straw that breaks the lion’s back. And why on earth would Cersei need an undead giant to kill off Margaery? Surely there are more efficient ways of taking down the little queen. However, I do believe Thoros might be an underrated character with a larger role to play in the events to come. Other than that, the Motherhood Without Manners seems to be overrated for the sequences to come (yes, the Black Wedding or whatever it might be called will have an impact, but not in the greater scheme of things).

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
I would either name the Golden Company plotline or the whole south (Willas and Garland and Randyll Tarly) as the most underrated. While it’s clear that Jon Connington and Aegon VI are playing a part in the future, I think many people don’t really appreciate how their actions will wreak havoc on many characters that have been with us since book 1, and many of the plot locations (King’s Landing!) as well. In the south, you can hardly underestimate the Tyrells in a traditional sense because they have been such a small side-show so far, but given Martin’s comments about the show, yes, there will be stuff happening there, and most likely it will involve Euron Greyjoy. Moqorro and Qyburn, on the other hand, seem more like enablers to me. Their impact seems reasonably clear. 

Final Verdict: Garlan and Willas Tyrell on the one hand and Aegon VI and Jon Connington on the other may be underrated in terms of future impact. 

Will Bran become more powerful than Bloodraven?

Main Opinion: Amin
Yes. Bloodraven may already know this as well. It seems likely, given that Bran has displayed so much raw talent without proper training. The fact that he is already constrained in motion by his physical disability may unconsciously direct Bran to rely even more on his magical abilities, developing to his maximum potential. He is motivated now and has a tutor in Bloodraven that Bloodraven himself may have lacked during his own youth. Bran may be able to do things that Bloodraven can’t.

Concurring opinion: Fredrik Firscher
Of course he will. Both from a narrative meta perspective and from the facts we know within the story, it is certain beyond a doubt. I’m putting my gold dragons on a clash between the two in the near future where their respective strengths will be measured more tangibly as well.

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
No doubt about it. Bran will fly. 

Final Verdict: Absolutely, yes. 

1 comment: