Saturday, January 9, 2016

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 111

Thursday is court day! Sorry for the delay. 
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 111! Our guest judge this week is Tim Upton, a criminal defense attorney from Dayton, Ohio. Tim was hooked on the ASOIAF world after seeing the premier episode of the HBO show. You can follow him on Twitter @uptowngbv

When will Shireen and Stannis die?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Not sure whether Stannis will die in the story - I still see it more likely that he will take the black - but Shireen will die in the siege of Winterfell, much in the manner that the show portrayed. I just think the stakes will be higher. Not just snow blocking passage to an enemy castle, but holed up in the fight against the Others and despairing, needing some magical assistance in order to save humanity. Or at least, that will be what he thinks.

Dissenting Opinion: Tim Upton
I respectfully dissent. Stannis will win the battle at the crofters' village but will not stick around for the siege of Winterfell. He will return to the Wall where he will lead a group of crows, freefolk and queen's men in the first pitched battle in the war against the Others. He and his host will be slaughtered. Shireen and Selyse will relocate to the Nightfort in the wake of Night's Watch mutiny against Jon. Upon hearing of Stannis' death, Melisandre will convince Selyse and her few remaining guards that Shireen's sacrifice is their only hope. Shireen's drop o' dragon blood will make her sacrifice more effective than Melisandre expects. While Stannis' death will be the low point in the war against the Others, Shireen's sacrifice will turn the tide.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
Shireen will die before Stannis. The level of Stannis’ involvement may differ from the TV show, hopefully no more than negligence (leaving her in the care of someone like Melisandre) rather than the intentional role he plays in the TV show, but we’ll see how where on the scale Martin places it. Stannis will still be around in some form (whether alive or undead) at least until Dany shows up, due to Dany’s prophecy.

Final Verdict: Shireen will be sacrificed. Stannis may or may not survive, but he'll live at least until Dany's arrival. 

What will happen to Areoh Hotah and his quest for Darkstar?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Mainly, he will give us a POV into regions we wouldn’t be able to see otherwise, which seems like the most important narrative function that Areo Hotah has. The one big arc this character can have - he’s really giving us a fly-on-the-wall perspective, and his chapter is called The Watcher, for christsakes - is watching Doran (and the children) die at the watergardens. For this, he has to survive. However, I don’t think he’ll kill Darkstar, but that, instead, he’ll kill Balon Swann when the mission goes downhill really fast. So, why should it go downhill really fast? Because Obara is with them, and that particular serpent wants nothing so much as to destroy Oldtown, where we have already learned of one particular half-sister of hers masquerading as a man because she loves the city so much. So Obara will most likely team up with Darkstar, betray Areoh Hotah and Balon Swann both, and make for a quick raid to Oldtown, giving is more stakes for the metaphysical cataclysm that is coming for the city.

Dissenting Opinion: Tim Upton
I respectfully dissent. Areoh's quest for Darkstar is a ruse. Balon Swann is the true target. Balon's complicity in the plot to kill Trystane sealed his fate. Areoh and Obara Sand will make sure that Balon faces Darkstar in single combat. When Balon is killed, it will be revealed that Darkstar told (because someone always tells) about Arianne's plot in order to curry favor with Doran. Areoh will extend Doran's offer of a pardon (the attack on Myrcella was not sanctioned) in exchange for Darkstar securing the loyalty of Dornish houses that do not support Doran. Areoh will give Obara the choice between continuing her obedience to Doran or meeting his axe.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
If Darkstar doesn’t want to be found, I would think he can avoid running into them, so it depends on whether he finds out they are coming and whether he bothers to avoid them. I don’t think Darkstar loses to Balon, but I’m not sure if it comes down to a 1 on 1 fight. I don’t think Darkstar is the type to be won over to Doran’s cause (even if you believe the theory that he was Doran’s mole initially, he burned that bridge with the attempt against Myrcella’s life), but he doesn’t has enough influence to lead a raid on Oldtown. I think Obara will not break with Doran while her other sisters are with him now.

Final Verdict: He'll try to dispatch of him and Balon Swann both, but may not succeed. 

Would Ned have been happy with Ashara Dayne?

Main Opinion: Stefan
I’m not worried for Ned, I’m worried for Ashara. As we see with Ned and Catelyn, he really is a loving husband who builds a great family. So I don’t see any problem with Ashara coming up here. However, I’m not quite sure about Ashara. For one, it seems like in such a scenario, Brandon would still be alive, and that one might just be a presence that makes her uncomfortable, and second, she would be a Dornishwoman in the North - that’s Catelyn’s situation, times ten.

Concurring Opinion: Tim Upton
Assuming that Brandon married Catelyn and a marriage between the North and Dorne made political sense, Ned could marry Ashara and be very happy. Ned would be honored to join such an old and esteemed house. There is also reason to believe that Ned would be welcomed by the Daynes. Even after the tragedy that befell House Dayne during Robert's Rebellion, Starfall chose to honor its future lord with the "Ned" nickname. Ashara's acclimation to Northern culture would have been closer to Catelyn Tully than Lynesse Hightower. The threat to this hypothetical marriage would be from Rickard Stark. Dornish xenophobia would likely trump Ned's desire. A wise man once pointed out that Dorne was not a part of Rickard's southron ambitions.

Dissenting Opinion: Amin
Assuming Brandon was still alive and marryin Catelyn, it is possible that Ned would go south rather than Ashara going North. I think young Ned is flexible enough to adapt to most Dornish customs, though if Ashara wants an open marriage that might cause some issue. On the other hand, the only way the two marry is if Ashara actually wants to marry Ned, so it is not like she’ll be in a loveless marriage. Just because paramours are a possibility in Dorne doesn’t mean every person wants them. The main threat is Rickard’s marriage plans, as mentioned, but in the situation where the two are allowed to marry, then the resulting marriage might have worked out.

Final Verdict: Yes, he would have. 


  1. I could see Ned and Ashara being happy in the North, Dorne, or even the Vale

  2. I must admit, I just finished the first 60 rulings, so I don't know if this or a similar question has been answered before (or if it's even 1, 2 or more questions)...

    Is there a threat of fire like the Others are a threat of Ice? I mean we have several accounts of "epic battle". But do all those accounts actually describe the exact same event (long night)? Are Harkoon the Hero, Azor Ahai, the last Hero, tPtwP all the same "force" (doesn't matter if it's one ore more individuals, dragons etc.) fighting the exact same enemy OR have different enemies attacked at different places / from different sides of the world (#FiveForts) either at the same time, or at different times (maybe even periodically [summer/winter])?

  3. If Cersei has to die as the valonqar prophecy says, does that mean she survives the upcoming trial of the faith?

    1. TWOW spoiler:

      We KNOW that Cersei will survive, as per Mercy sample chapter.