Friday, October 30, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 101

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: If you want to be a judge, please email us!
And now, up to ruling 101! Our guest judge this week is is Johnny from Philadelphia. He began reading the series after the 1st season of Game of Thrones and began listening to BLAH and APOIAF shortly thereafter. He is on the forums at APOIAF as The Smiling Knight. This is his third time as a member of the Supreme Court of Westeros.

Why do so few houses have Valyrian swords?

Main Opinion: Amin
I am not sure I agree with the original questions, given then 200 or so Valyrian swords that are supposed to be present in Westeros. But in any case, there was no expetation that Valyria would suddenly be destroyed, so no reason to hoard up on Valyrian swords before that happened. Families that could afford them had them at that point, and the supply can only go down since then, accounting for the loss of weapons when a ship carrying one goes down or it otherwise lost. Presumably the weapons are still functional hundreds of years later with proper care, which gets around the regular wear and tear problem for most materials.

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
I absolutely agree, and I want to add that it’s incredibly difficult to get your hands on such a sword. Just recall the lengths that Tywin Lannister goes in his effort to securing one. He didn’t have any success, because those things are treasured heirlooms.

Concurring Opinion: John Kolla
I agree with Justice Amin, I feel that 200 Valyrian swords is a reasonable amount. They are extremely rare and valuable. Once a family gets their hands on one they keep it and pass it down through the ages. I do find it interesting how many of the key families involved in A Song of Ice and Fire are either missing their Valyrian swords or never had one to begin with. I hope to see a couple of them turn up at some point in the series.

Final Conclusion: In fact, there are many Valyrian swords.

What do you think happened with Maegor the Cruel at his coma reanimation and at his death? For example, do you think that Tyanna used dark magic to reanimate him, possibly transforming him into some kind of monster? And why would he die on the throne (presumably suicide) rather than try and destroy his enemies using Balerion?

Main Opinion: Amin
I don’t think it was the dark magic, if any was used, that turned him bad, but more the injuries themselvs that affected him. I believe a similar incident occurred in Henry VIII’s life which affected him negatively as well, though Maegor was already of bad character before hand. As for his death, he may have known the situation was hopeless, though it is right to question why he didn’t go down fighting in a bloody blade riding his dragon. I have heard it suggested that Maegor suffered from mental illness and this might have affected the decision. The suicide is only one possibility, as he may have been simply murdered while on the throne.

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
I think the parallels to Henry VIII are pretty striking, so I go for natural causes of the injury here. And, as Amin points out, Maegor was a monster even before his injury, so there’s not really a need to employ dark magic to make him even worse. His death on the throne is indeed a mystery. I doubt that he committed suicide, except if compelled by some mental illness, and it might be that it was an accident (also driven by said illness) or murder. In any case, it created a legend about the Iron Throne without which the universe would be poorer.

Concurring Opinion: John Kolla
I do think there may have been some magic used to help Maegor out of his coma, although I’m not sure it was necessarily dark magic. I think he had some problems his whole life and things like his exile, his ongoing problems with the Faith and his lack of heirs combined to create the monster that he became. As far as his death, I do believe he was in a terrible state by that point. With the Red Keep finished, his mother dead and still no heirs, I think he had lost some purpose to his life. We hear in The World of Ice and Fire that his response to Jaehaerys’ claim was “slow and confused.” He had absolutely no support from the realm, I think he just decided to give up.

Final Conclusion: Maegor most likely died of natural causes. 

Will we see Benjen again? Is he at Hardhome? Will he get a chance to tell his story?

Main Opinion: Amin
We will see Benjen again, given the amount of buildup and references we have had. I don’t know if he is at Hardhome, but I do think he will get a chance to talk about his story. I’m not sure what condition he might be; he’s obviously not Coldhands, but might not be in a better state at the moment. I don’t really see him surviving to take part in Northern politics as a Stark at the end of the books though, so probably a death fighting the good fight, or dying just after converying important information to the Watch.

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
I’m also pretty sure that we will see Benjen again. My guess is that he is still trying to find out more about the Others. Somehow I doubt he’s at Hardhome because why wouldn’t he have revealed himself to Cotter Pyke, who sent a report from Hardhome clearly after talking to the wildlings? But Bran and Jon are both viable candidates for meeting him.

Concurring Opinion: John Kolla
We have to see Benjen again. It was such a big deal when he went missing and his disappearance has been brought up so frequently throughout the series that he will certainly return in some capacity. I would not be surprised to see him be the POV Character in the Prologue of A Dream of Spring (or Epilogue of The Winds of Winter if there is one), where we get a lot of information about the Others that will be crucial to the endgame of the series. I don’t think he is at Hardhome, but he will definitely tell his story.

Final Verdict: We will see him again. 

1 comment:

  1. I think Maegor the Cruel was a Mama's boy. All his decision were influenced by Visenya. Without Visenya, he couldn't decide what to do.