Thursday, March 10, 2016

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 120

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.
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 120! Our guest judge this week is Michael, a member of the community who also serves the court as a clerk, checking our questions and helping us with keeping it all straight, for which we are immeasurably grateful.  
How will Jaime’s cliffhanger be resolved?

Main Opinion: Stefan
The immediate problem for Jaime is to survive the trial Lady Stoneheart is like to give him. My guess would be that she presents Brienne and him with a "fight to the death" situation, since both of them have strong reservations against this. From there, I see two possible outcomes: Brienne allows Jaime to kill her in order to escape, giving him her mission to complete, or both of them escape together, perhaps even destroying Lady Stoneheart in the process. While I can make no real prediction for Brienne, I'm certain that Jaime will escape somehow. He needs to kill Cersei, after all. I do not think he survives the series, however.

Concurring opinion in part: Michael
I don’t see the new corrupted Brotherhood ever allowing Jaime to leave, even if Brienne dies and Jaime wins his trial by combat, so I’m guessing the two try to fight their way out. This gives us a numbers dilemma of Jaimie and Brienne plus maybe Pod and Ser Hyle vs However many Brotherhood members are present (probably a lot). From here, I think Lady Stoneheart is cut down and a supernatural event may occur that allows Jaime to escape.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Amin
I agree that Jaime has to survive this scenario in some way as it is too early for him to die. I don’t really see him fighting his way out because he isn’t very good at fightning, most of the Brotherhood could beat him. Brienne is another story, so she may fight, but Jaime is more running than fighting. I also think that Brienne escapes somehow as well, I don’t think this is the end for her.

Final Verdict: He'll survive, and the more interesting question is how Brienne's will. 

Why did Benjen ever take the Black?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Because he was complicit in the “abduction” of Lyanna. His taking the Black after Robert’s Rebellion (which is confirmed canon) makes no sense dynasty-wise. Eddard was the only male Stark beside him, which makes the situation incredibly dangerous for the line. The only reason why Benjen should wish to go and Eddard acquiesce to it is the death of Lyanna, devestating them both and loading Benjen up with feelings of guilt. Also, that way, Jon has someone to learn of his parentage from, right?

Dissenting opinion: Michael
While Benjen taking the Black may look bad with hindsight, at the conclusion of Robert’s Rebellion, things were looking up for House Stark. They have an heir (Robb), a spare (Jon), both Ned and Catelyn are ready and willing to make more children and they have the royal favour of King Robert. In Benjen’s eyes it would take a disaster to wipe out the Stark line, and even when one happens, there are still a fair few Starks running around.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Amin
I’m going to refer to our decision in Ruling 50, where I noted that it was odd that Benjen went to the Wall with so few Starks around. Yes, there were a few other heirs once Ned got married but it was still low and plenty of options for Benjen to marry. I think Justice Stefan might be onto something in that it may be related to his role in the events of Harrenhal, but ultimately I think that is a retroactive justification. My bet is that Martin wanted him at the Wall and put them there wihtout thinking too much about the oddness, with this fan theory moving to fill in the void.

Final Verdict: Why the fuck not? You need a Stark at the Wall! 

Is Stannis a closeted gay person?

Main Opinion: Stefan
No, I don’t think so. Stannis is able to sleep with women, allright, when they’re a bit more attractive than his wife. He sleeps with Melisandre, after all, no problem. He doesn’t hop beds like others because of his strong sense of duty - it needs Melisandre’s promise of “sons” to lure him into her bed - and clearly isn’t an emotional or sexual man, but he can if he needs or wants to and hasn’t shown the slightest sign of attraction for men.

Concurring Opinion: Michael
Until ADWD all but confirmed Melisandre and Stannis were a thing, I could see a greater argument being made that Stannis is Asexual or Aromantic. Stannis is simply uncomfortable around women; Asha seems to understand him best; “to [Stannis] women are another race, as strange and unfathomable as giants and grumkins and the children of the forest”.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
Stannis’ issue is mainly with his wife and that he has other priorities. He also wants to be the opposite of Robert, so he shaves his beard while Robert grew a large one, Robert slept around and Stannis avoids it.

Final Verdict: No, he's not! 


  1. "My bet is that Martin wanted him at the Wall and put them there without thinking too much about the oddness, with this fan theory moving to fill in the void"

    I think this is applicable to many events in ASOIAF.

    1. It's most common in AGOT and to a lesser degree in ACOK. After that, it basically vanishes.

  2. Questions for the court:

    - Did Baelor Breakspear die by accident at the hand of Maekar, or was something else going on?

    - To what extent, if any, is Martin guilty of orientalism in ASOIAF?

    - In the past, Martin has speculated that one day he might publish a separate Tyrion chapter he took out of ADWD. Supposedly, it contains an extensive dream sequence, and Martin says it leads him to an absolute dead end. Please speculate what the dream is about and why it might be a dead end?