Saturday, April 30, 2016

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 127

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.
Question Call: If you have any interesting questions, please tell us!
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And now, up to ruling 127! Our guest judge this week is David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D., (, a professor at and Dean of the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University. Perlmutter is the author or editor of ten books on visual/political communication and persuasion including Visions of War: Picturing Warfare from the Stone Age to the Cyberage (St. Martin’s, 1999) and Blogwars: The New Political Battleground (Oxford, 2008) as well as hundreds of essays for U.S. and international newspapers and magazines. Perlmutter has been interviewed by most major news networks and newspapers, from the New York Times to CNN, ABC, and appeared on The Daily Show. His research website is here.

Will Cersei try to marry Euron in order to save her power base?

Main Opinion: Stefan
I doubt the two will ever meet. Euron’s centers of action are Oldtown and Highgarden, not King’s Landing. Cersei’s reconning will come with the one-two-punch of the younger and more beautiful queens of Aryanne and Dany coming to depose her and be deposed, and then the city going down in an apocalyptic wildfire explosion. After that, Cersei will have lost both her kids and, being half-mad, retreat to the Rock - nowhere in between is there anything to gain from Euron. Neither is the latter interested in marriage; he wants to conquer the world on dragonback.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
I agree that the two are unlikely to meet, and Euron does not really provide the support she needs in KL.

Concurring opinion: David Perlmutter
I think in fact she won’t marry anyone. One of GRRM’s recurring themes of the books and the TV series is the old insight of power corrupting the soul and the mind the more concentrated it gets. The parallels between the last Targaryen mad king and Cersei are obvious, and I foresee them playing out fully in The Winds of Winter. I agree that Cersei will die taking as many people as possible with her. In fact, I predict that GRRM will borrow from the Sardanapalus legend and artwork: a mad king who decides to immolate him/herself on the (wild)pyre of his/her own city, along with all possessions and people, while an enemy army storms its gates. One wild card—he he—I wonder whether Cersei might be tempted to at least feign one last alliance marriage, but either not follow through with it or kill her groom on the wedding night. That doesn’t contradict the apocalypse + insanity scenario.

Final Verdict: No, they won't. 

Will the Three Heads of the Dragon all be dragonriders or are they just supposed to have Targaryen blood and be in league together at some point, no matter how many dragons are left when they meet? Because as you and your fellow judges have already anticipated, Dany must be short a dragon or two when it's time to rally Jon and to fight the Others…

Main Opinion: Stefan
True enough, but I have bought into PoorQuentyn’s theory that one dragon will not be dead but rather captured by the horn’s powers and under Euron’s command, from which it must needs be rescued before being taken by Jon. I’ve still not really decided whether or not Tyrion has Targaryen blood or not, but “The World of Ice and Fire” established via Nettles that you don’t need to have it in order to tame a dragon, and Tyrion comes well equipped, having read every book about them he could get his hands on.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
I agree that the rider need not be Targayren - a drop of Valyrian blood might be enough and it was for some of the dragonriders involved in the last conflict.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: David Perlmutter
Again, trying to read GRRM’s mind based on his love of medieval history and his homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books The White Company and Sir Nigel, I initially took “heads of the dragon” to be either three Targaryen or Targaryen-allied armies engaging in a classic military manoeuver, marching on their enemies, or three Targaryen or Targaryen-allied generals, or both of the above. I would assume that, if there were three dragons, each would be assigned to one of the armies, so it could have a triple meaning as well.

Final Verdict: It's possible that one becomes head of the dragon without a direct Targaryen lineage.

Do you think Dany's armies will go to Volantis by the Demon Road and give readers the chance to have a glimpse of Mantarys or Tolos, or are they all gonna get there by sea, courtesy of the Iron Fleet and the ships Victarion captured on his way to Meereen?

Main Opinion: Stefan
I haven’t really worked out the logistics of it (go to Steven Attewell for that kind of stuff), but I’d wager they take the Demon Road, being supplied by sea. It’s hard to say at the moment how much of the Iron Fleet will be available to Dany and how much will simply disintegrate once Victarion is dead. There’s not really a reason to stay and not to simply pack and leave again. Whether or not we’ll see much of Mantarys, I’m not sure. If I were them, I’d close the gates and point to the way of Volantis, which will be their target in any case, especially given that Dany is likely to simultaneously descent on them with Dothraki screamers at her back.

Dissenting opinion: Amin
I think they go by sea, partly because George is rushed in making them fit the timeline properly. While it would be interesting to learn more about the Demon Road and see some action in person, the safer and faster route is by sea and will be utilized like that.

Dissenting opinion: David Perlmutter
Although I want to throw in a little military history again: Whether it was the Roman military expedition of Crassus east or Alexander’s march south, there has always been a terrible choice commanders have faced, when in inhospitable terrain, whether to march the most direct route over a blasted area or try to go a longer, indirect route supported by a river or naval transport on a sea. GRRM does indeed care about logistics!

Final Verdict: The sea route seems the more likely. 


  1. I've been having a rambling in no particular order re-read of the series.

    Ned was pushing for Robert to see the Wall, he had Mance Rayder on his mind quite a bit before his attention was turned south. What would Robert's response have been if he had gone North with Ned? We know he hungers for battle, this would've been an opportunity for him to get an extremely low risk fight in. Until the Others arrive.

    Second question, If Waymar Royce (the representation of what Westeros is now) were replaced in the ranging by Alister Thorne. What would Royce's relationship be with Jon? I see them as rivals, but I'm just curious as to how you think they would have gotten on.