Thursday, November 12, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 103

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.
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And now, up to ruling 102! Our guest judge this week is Keelah Rose Calloway, a graduate of Cornell University, currently living and working in Poland. She has been a fan of A Song of Ice and Fire since before the TV show debuted, thank you very much. She enjoys the series almost as much as she enjoys being smug.
Why does Tywin refuse to forgive the crown's debts? It would really help bolster a regime that he has so desperately tried to keep afloat.

Main Opinion: Stefan
Because Tywin isn’t interested in the realm as a whole as far as it isn’t just an extension of Lannister power. There is simply no need for Tywin to pay the crown’s debts. It’s not like some financy wizadry in the vein of Rogoff and Reinhardt would necessitate it being paid back. The only thing necessary is that it pays the interest, and the crown actually does do that until Cersei decides that the whole concept of honoring your contracts is soooooo 3rd century AL. If the crown needs more money to pay down its debts, it can actually raise its revenue, as evidenced by Tyrion’s tax on whores. Besides all that, I’d postulate that Tywin isn’t really savvy in terms of economic and financial policies. He always had enough money and knows how to use it politically, but he has no idea how it actually influences the economoy besides regulating supply and demand as not to let the price for gold fall down too much.

Concurring in Part, Dissening in Part: Amin
There is no need to forgive the debts entirely, just perhaps lower the interest rate for a while as the Crown stabilizes. Kevan may actually have a good idea in regards to using Lannister coin to pay off the other debts of the Crown. That prevents having to raise taxes too high, deals with other debtors, and keeps the main debt to the Lannisters still current as a way of keeping Lannister control over the Crown, no matter who is on the Throne.

Dissenting Opinion: Keelah Rose Calloway
The textual evidence suggests that Tywin is so focused on power that he would never relinquish the power that having the crown in debt to his house provides him. And what we learned in A World of Ice and Fire should prove definitively that Tywin will not forgive his debtors under any circumstances, be they royal or otherwise. I also disagree that forgiving the crown's debts from the Lannisters would help bolster the regime. Even if they no longer owed the Lannisters money, that still wouldn't have impacted their debts to the Iron Bank or the Faith. So at most, 1/3 of the debt would be gone, but the regime's true threat is the Iron Bank. Tywin doesn't think in terms of half measures, or 1/3 measures, and he's not an economist, so I don't think it would even occur to him to use economic measures to fight his battles. He's far more fond of actual battles. In order to bolster the regime, his only true contribution to the effort is the use of brutal force. Once the regime is secured that way, he can then use political means to keep the power concentrated within his family.

Final Verdict: Tywin isn't very financial savvy, and he really should do something. 

Will the mountain clans of the Vale play a part in Peter Baelish's downfall? Perhaps even killing him?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Absolutely. Once Littelfinger leaves the Vale with his army to bring about his grand scheme of crowning Sansa in Winterfell, the tribes will descent on the Vale and kill, rape, burn and plunder it to smithereens - all in the face of oncoming winter. Those depots of food that Littlefinger is building up? The clans will thank him for it, eat what they can and destroy the rest. It will utterly destroy his powerbase and strand the Vale army in the North, depriving him of their support, which will matter squat because the Others are coming and wiping them out, save for the few survivors that can bolster the defenders of Winterfell. Littlefinger will die, yes, but at the hands of an Other, all his plans having come to nothing, and no one will even know how he died. Or care.

Dissenting Opinion: Amin
I don`t think the mountain clans will have much impact on the Vale, or even if they do, they will not be a key point in Littlefinger`s downfall. Littlefinger and the men serving him will not be dumb enough to empty the Vale to the point that the clansmen can have that impact. Many of the clansmen that were with Tyrion have not rerturned yet, and those that have may have brougth weapons, but they are still a disorganized group without the leadership or capability on their own to seriously challenge the rulers of the Vale.

Dissenting Opinion: Keelah Rose Calloway
Tyrion's decision to arm the Vale clans obviously made them more powerful, but the text so far does not suggest that their power will be directed at Littlefinger. Nor would that have any literary significance based on both GRRM's writing style and fiction tropes in general. He's had little or no interaction with mountain clans in his storyline so far, so sudden downfall at their hands would not be . . . poetic. We're not allowed to use specific examples from the new Sansa sample chapters available as a preview of The Winds of Winter, but even reaching back to A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons, I find sufficient evidence to suggest that Littlefinger's ultimate downfall will be at the hands of Sansa Stark. The power being amassed by the Vale clans will more likely be put to use in the final fight somehow. Blood of the First Men runs through their veins, and who better to fight the Others than the descendants of their original enemies/prey?

Final Verdict: The mountain clans will pose a threat, but no mortal one. 

Will Aeron Damphair succeed in rising the Drowned God?

Main Opinion: Stefan
You bet he will! But I seriously doubt that he will take any joy out of it. I’m with PoorQuentyn ( on the Cthulhu-like god taking it out on the fools who called him and then heading for Oldtown, to unleash some Old God power there. To what end, though, I’m not quite sure.

Dissenting Opinion: Amin
I don`t think the Drowned God plays that much of a role, to be honest. I think it is more worldbuilding the past with discussion of Deep Ones and squishers rather than of things to come in the main storyline, but we shall see. I wouldn`t mind it it was done properly.

Dissenting Opinion: Keelah Rose Calloway
Um, no. First of all, don't you mean "raising" the Drowned God? Second, it seems far more likely that Damphair will succeed in getting rid of Euron through normal political means, with a good mix of something unpleasant and violent thrown in since they're Ironborn. He's just as capable of remembering the kingsmoot caveat about the main claimant not being present as Asha was, and his disappearance from the text was attributed to secret rabble rousing, not Drowned God-raising. If anything magical happens on the islands, I think it will be related to Dany and he dragons, though it's certainly possible the Ironborn may have something ancient up their sleeves to help fight the Others when the time comes. However, I don't see the story moving in a "Gods rise up to reclaim the earth" direction, at all. 

Final Verdict: No, he won't. 

1 comment:

  1. Will Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail be returned to the Starks or will the original Ice be found and become the sword of the Starks?