Thursday, November 26, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 105

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.
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And now, up to ruling 105! Our guest judge this week is Anders Frost Bertelsen. He first read the books shortly after the publication of AFFC and became an instant superfan. While he isn't particularly active on forums, he does keep up with most major fan theories and has spent countless hours wondering about Jeyne Westerling's hips and the motivations of Myles Toyne. In real life he lives in Copenhagen, Denmark and designs educational board games. He is also fond of american football, nordic freeform roleplaying and all kinds of strategy games.

Will the Night’s King be the major adversary in the end?

Main Opinion: Stefan
I’ll pretty much bet my money that he will be in the show. I’m not that sanguine regarding the books, where, so far, no Night’s King has made any appearance. As far as the books are concerned, he’s a historical, almost legendary footnote to early Night’s Watch history, and I have a hunch that he’ll remain just that. While I hope for ice spiders as much as the next geek, I’d doubt that all of this stuff will turn out to be true and that the Others even have their own king to slay. I’d interpret them more as a force of nature or force of evil, far better represented by the Heart of Winter than by any king of the night.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
I think if there is a Night King in the books, he will not be the same one from old Nan's stories. If there is one, it will probably be some sort of ruling title instead of the same individual. It is possible it could be the same one, but I feel like having a villain that is closer to this time period would suit the story better. For example, some think Stannis may become the new Night King, which ranks up there with the possibilities of dying heroically or becoming Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. While I agree that the Night King might not be the ultimate ruler or represenative of the Others, it seems likely that the Other's do have some sort of social structure, including a King and/or Ruling Council.

Concurring opinion: Anders
I think Stefan pretty much nailed it. The Others will feel alien and non-human in their rationales throughout the series, and introducing the Night's King as their leader would give them a human-like power structure and motivation that I don't think fits.

Final Verdict: The Others are most likely not led by a Night's King.

How much time do you think will pass before the end of the series? The pace of the story seems to have really slowed down in AFFC and ADWD. Considering Dany still has to travel from Meereen and with all the talk of a long summer bringing a long winter, how much time can possible be covered in just two books? It seems like the books will end with spring arriving.

Main Opinion: Stefan
Since autumn broke out in “A Clash of Kings” and winter at the end of “A Feast for Crows”, I’d say two books to cover the winter aren’t unreasonable. Of course, that doesn’t merit a “long winter” at all, and I would assume that winter is cut short when you rip its literal heart out, as Tyrion, Jon and Dany are like to do, riding there on dragonback in the end. Therefore, the Winds of Winter will blow not only the Others steadily south but also Dany back to Westeros. The pace of events hasn’t slowed down that much at all, only the frentic accumulation of climaxes that happened in “A Clash of Kings” and especially “A Storm of Swords”. Feastdance as a whole is far more en par with “A Game of Thrones” in terms of pace.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
The "Year of the False Winter" seems likely given the eventual defeat of the Others. We will get to Spring or just before it in the A Dream of Spring, and I don't think we are having a big time jump, so the Winter will not last long, though it will start brutally.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Anders
About three years have passed since the start of the books so with that pace we should have slightly more than a year left. However, as Westeros gradually becomes aware of the threat from the Others and GRRM starts killing off redundant PoVs, I expect there to be fewer plotlines. Those plotlines would then be able to advance further in each book, so maybe two years or even upwards of three. I could see an epilogue taking place several years later, but that wouldn't really count.

Final Verdict: The final two books will likely spend their time with the winter. 

Who will be the 999th and 1000th Lord Commanders of the Nights Watch? For 999th: Thorne? Marsh? Pyke? Mallister? The Riverrunners who took the black? For the 1000th: Stannis? Jaime? Jorah? Benjen? Tormund?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Bowen Marsh is dead meat, he won’t take over anything. Pyke is either already dead or otherwise still preoccupied at Hardhome, which makes him unsuitable, and Mallister is too far away from the action to quickly assert his position. Let me remind you that there needs to be an election anyway in order to become Lord Commander. If the old Lord Commander died, the First Ranger takes over. Unfortunately, that honor goes to Benjen Stark, who is also unlikely to take over. In his stead, Thoren Smallwood and Black Jack Bulwer served in the position, both of them dead at the time of Jon’s assassination. So Jon served as his own First Ranger, underscoring his hand-on-approach in terms of micromanagment. Since Bowen Marsh will almost certainly die, this leaves Othel Yarwick as the only senior officer in Castle Black. It is entirely unclear as to whether the wildlings won’t slaughter all black brothers, though, so who knows? Therefore it comes down to semantics whether you will accept ANYONE as 999th Lord Commander before shit hits the fan. Number 1000, though, almost certainly has to be Stannis.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
The last time we saw the Wall, the conspirers had just killed Jon with Tormund and a huge group of Wildlings nearby. It is likely there will be a bloodbath and a lot of the conspirers will be killed. It is unlikely that someone from their group could get elected, given that killing Jon will be a divisive act. So if someone is elected, it maybe a returning Thorne, who can get the support of the conspirers while be able to say that he had nothing to do with Jon's death. The only way one of the conspirers becomes the next commander is if they seize power via martial law. As for the 1000th commander, it may be Stannis, as that is one of the options open for him. The men from Riverrun are decent options if they make it up there in time, though I see them as more in a support and advisory role to Jon (‘the wise old men from Riverrun’). The 1000th commander may also be the last commander, because I'm not sure there will be a need for the Night's Watch by the end of the books.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Anders
The fanboy in me would love to see Benjen riding in just in time to be elected as the 999th Lord Commander, but I think a weak or incompetent candidate serves the story much better. Even if Jon's killers aren't slain by wildlings on the spot, I think they will have a hard time drumming up support, much like Cassius and Brutus had. To follow that line of thinking, who might Jon's Marcus Antonius be? Could someone like Pip be elected and try to carry on Jon's work but with less ability and no success? I think an experienced candidate with no association to the assassins is more likely, and ser Denys Mallister is probably the best bet. It isn't clear if Yarwick is part of the conspiracy, but him and Marsh seem thick as thieves so I'd assume so. Even if a conservative is elected, it is much too late to roll back some of Jon's reforms: the wildlings are there to stay. The 1000th Lord Commander will propably be stronger, as he will need to rally the Night's Watch just in time to stave off disaster. Stannis is the obvious candidate, but I could see scenarios for all the other candidates from the question as well. I'd like to throw in Jon's name as well. I'm still voting for Stannis, but I could see a reelection of a revived Jon Snow. 

Final Verdict: There will be a weak intertim commander and a strong 1000th, likely Stannis. 


  1. What will be the role of Ilyn Payne in the rest of the story?

  2. Are there any big mysteries in the books that you think GRRM will leave open to interpretation, or will George wrap everything up in a neat little package?

  3. 999th Lord Commander is Dolorous Edd,it is known.Why not? He was Jon's steward,and he dreamed to become Lord Commander !

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  5. Why are there so few real feasts or festivals in Westeros? In almost every culture we have feasts like Pentecost, Carnival, Harvest festivals, Eid al-Adha, Jom Kippur and so on (not so mention the smaller holidays like All Saints' Day, or even something as trivial as birthday celebrations), but in Westeros, there seems to be nothing like that. Even without a regular structure of seasons in a year you should expect something like a "Feast of the last summer's day" or something, but there is barely anything. In fact, i cannot even remember without looking it up if any feast is mentioned at all, except for weddings and tournaments. Why?