Thursday, October 15, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 99

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 98! Our guest judge this week is Talha Naushad, a professional researcher working in the middle east. When he is not working, he is dabbling his wits in contemporary history and politics and immersing himself in all things concerning A Song of Ice and Fire. He is a member of the community at JonSnow123 at Tower of the Hand and usually lurks around various forums, blogs & podcasts engrossing himself in the theories and analysis of the ASOIAF material and show.

What is the endgame for Essos?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Let me start by saying that I fully expect the story of Essos to be concluded at the end of “The Winds of Winter” or the beginning of “A Dream of Spring”, with no POV character remaining there. The way I see it unfold is thus: Dany will bring the Khalasaar(s) under control, uniting them all (most likely at Vaes Dothrak) and leading at least a part of them to a sack of Qarth. This may also happen offscreen, but I expect Qarth to get sacked. Meereen will be left under the Jacobinian control of the Shavepate, with Dany’s army and a big chunk of freedmen marching down the Demon Road to Volantis, where the slaves of the city will stage an uprising and bring the city sans the part walled off by the Black Walls under control, which will be delivered by dragonfire. After leaving Qarth and Slaver’s Bay in a chaotic yet slaveless state, she will do much the same for Volantis, leaving it to the slaves to make their destiny and instead press on to Pentos, which she will also conquer. There, the big showdown with Illyrio waits, whom she’ll likely kill. At the latest here will she learn of Aegon and decide to get the mummer’s dragon and that Varys figure. Pentos will be delivered to the Tattered Prince, who’ll murder the local nobility and install yet another bloody new regimen, while Dany will get her troops (such as they are at this point) on ships and herself fly over to Dragonstone, which should be “The Winds of Winter”’s final chapter. Perhaps Tyrion et al are delayed compared to that, but not by much. The story will then concentrate on Westeros and the showdown with the Others, with Essos only being an afterthough. Martin has always said that the story he wanted to tell was about Westeros, not Essos, which is why I expect it to go down roughly that way.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
I agree with the concluson that Martin is focussed on Westeros, not Esssos; thus, most of Essos’ story will be over by the end of Winds of Winter. I don’t think it will go quite the same way as Justice Stefan outlined, though I think a stop by Volantis and an uprising there is possible. I think Dany will have a mix of success and failure as she heads over to Westeros, with many people happy to see her gone as well as others missing her.

Concurring Opinion: Talha
I completely agree with Justice Stefan’s analysis of what is expected to occur in the storyline going forward with respect to Essos. I would also like to add that the Essosi story shall also include the machinations of Euron who will try, and probably succeed, to get a dragon under his control through Victarion. The actions Euron takes then, and how Daenerys and her allies respond to this development, shall also interplay with how the political circumstances described by Justice Stefan evolve during the course of the endgame for Essos. Justice Stefan’s description of what is likely to transpire in Essos is also a fulfillment of Quaithe’s prophecy for Dany where she says that Dany has to go back to go forward and the course of events completely retraces Dany’s steps of her original journey from Vaes Dothrak to Slaver’s bay via Qarth. The whole story being told by GRRM has its focus on Westeros and all the characters central to the story who are present in Essos have all their energies directed to the political circumstances on the Westerosi continent. However I would also like to add that even when all the characters finally end up in Westeros, certain elements of Essos are still likely to play a key role in the final outcomes. This I believe this will primarily happen through two aspects. One is the involvement of the Faceless men of Braavos through the actions of Jaqen H’ghar’s presence at the Citadel. The other is through the Iron Bank of Braavos and how its actions will continue to influence the politics of those present in Westeros.

Final Verdict: Essos' story will be mostly over at the end of "The Winds of Winter", with the slaves freed. 

Did Bloodraven improve in the cave over his days as Hand?

Main Opinion: Stefan
It’s hard to say. He hasn’t lost his lust for spying, that’s for sure. But I somehow doubt that this is even “Bloodraven” in the cave. He once was Bloodraven, no doubt, but now he’s a vessel, a part of the gigantic tree network, which is why he hasn’t improved so much as been totally reconfigured. I doubt that he has become more compassionate or empathical, but he now serves a higher purpose and hasn’t any direct measures of influencing the world around him as in the days of his Handship, which reduces him to a kind of observing figure and renders those destructive parts of his personality moot. He definitely experiences echoes of his past, though, memories of old, although how much they influence his actions is hard to say yet.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
I think that Bloodraven already had some significant character growth by the time he was serving in the Night’s watch. Certainly, he has learned more though with the opportunity to revisit his past and learn from mistakes made then. There’s no doubt that plugging into the treenet will change you that way, even if there isn’t a more direct reconfiguration of the person’s thoughts and feelings. What’s true now is that he is playing the long game and on a far bigger scale now, perhaps with a different goal but utlizing the skillset he had before.

Concurring in part, Dissenting in part: Talha
Bloodraven, while speaking to Bran in Dance with Dragons, does say that one see elements of the past and one can learn from it but not change it. He does talk about Ghosts of the past that he sees and that he has tried to communicate with people to no avail. This may indicate that he came to view what happened in a new light and may have had second thoughts about his actions. Given that he has had so many years to ponder over what he did and the knowledge that he now has of the incoming doom, this can seem plausible. However his purpose and aim as the Three Eyed Crow is completely different to what he had before he immersed himself in the weirwoods so any form of ‘improvement’ is of no consequence. His only influence now is with respect to communicating with Bran and training him to equip him in the fight against the Others.

Final Verdict: The Treenet will have changed him, since he could learn from past mistakes.

Did Bloodraven kill Quentyn "Fireball" Ball? Seems pretty convenient for one archer to accidently kill him.

Main Opinion: Stefan
That seems extremely convenient, yes. While it may have happened just like that - it’s not exactly unheard of for heroes and generals to die that way - it sounds exactly like something Bloodraven would have done, knowing that Fireball was alone at that stream at that moment.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
I always thought it was Bloodraven who was responsible for that, partciularly since it was death by arrow. No accident here.

Concurring Opinion: Talha
Given what we know about the Greenseeing ability of Bloodraven it is very much the probability that he used some form of his powers to either find the opportune moment to kill him, or to direct the arrow in such a way to bring about his demise. Given Fireball’s martial and symbolic importance to the Blackfyre regime, his death on the eve of the battle would have been a priority for Bloodraven. Bloodraven’s company, the Raven’s Teeth, also brought about the demise of Daemon Blackfyre, and importantly his immediate heirs, on the Redgrass field. The manner of Fireball’s death may also have been a test run for Daemon and his son’s deaths on the main battle who were all killed in a pinpointed manner by a flurry of arrows from an improbable distance. 

Final Verdict: It was most likely Bloodraven's doing. 


  1. why Bloodraven allied with Children of the forrest ?

  2. The child Eddard Stark brings back from the South to be raised at Winterfell is a girl, what changes? (Is the world doomed?)