Thursday, June 16, 2016

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 134

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 133! Our guest judge this week is Daniel Sattelberger, a student studying actuarial science at the University of Texas, Dallas. A relatively new addition to the fandom, he picked up the books two years ago after hearing about the show. He can be found on Tower of the Hand and the /r/asoiaf subreddit under the name Qoburn.

Does Tyrion have some sort of special immunity to illnesses? He avoids catching both greyscale and the bloody flux when exposed to both.

Main Opinion: Amin
Tyrion’s escape from serious diseases, particularly the greyscale when he was far more exposed than Jon Connington and yet Jon was the one infected, are strong hints that he may have a Targaryen background. I do not think he is completely immune as he probably has had the common cold before, but he has a stronger resistance than is normal. Another factor to consider though is that Martin is unlikely to have Tyrion die from those diseases while he still has narrative use from him, though I suppose he could have caught either but survived to play the role he has left to play.

Dissenting Opinion: Stefan
This seems more narrative convenience than anything else. It might be a small hint to Targaryen heritage, yes, and if Tyrion really is a Targaryen, I guess I’m going to eat crow. However, as of this moment, I think that it was just a case of him donning plot armor. Penny is also exposed to the Bloody Flux and doesn’t get it, and Young Griff also is very close to the Stonemen without contracting the disease.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Daniel Sattelberger
The Doylist explanation is the simplest one: plot armor - the plot requires that Tyrion not get greyscale while Connington does, and that Tyrion not catch the bloody flux while Yezzan does. I don’t see this as all that different than Tyrion’s implausibly good performance on the battlefield at the Blackwater or the Green Fork. If pressed for a Watsonian explanation, I’d say simply that’s how the infection/epidemic cookie crumbles. Contra Justice Amin, I don’t think this is evidence for Tyrion’s Targaryen ancestry (a theory I don’t believe anyway). The idea of Targaryen immunity to or resistance to disease is overblown. There are plenty of historical Targaryens who fell ill or died of disease, including one who died of greyscale (Septa Maegelle).

Final Verdict: Most likely not. 

Is Illyrio's extreme weight a clue that he is a Blackfyre descended from the morbidly obese Aegon the Unworthy? In addition to his otherwise strange support for Aegon VI, of course.

Main Opinion: Amin
I don’t think so, as there are other examples of rich people in Westeros and Essos history being overweight, nor is that a particular Targaryen feature. Not do I think he is a Blackfyre, either his son (i.e. Aegon) was through the woman he married, and/or Varys has a Blackfyre connetion, all these options are far more likely than Illyrio being a Blackfyre himself.

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
You mean like the famously obese Daemon Blackfyre, a direct descendant of Aegon IV? Nah, that doesn’t seem likely, to put it mildly.

Concurring Opinion: Daniel Sattelberger
To expand on Justice Amin’s point, there’s no reason to take morbid obesity as an indication of descent from Aegon IV. There are dozens of characters known or strongly suspected to descend from Aegon (partial list: Daeron II and his sons and grandchildren, the Martells, the Plumms, the Baratheons, Egg and his descendants, etc.) and almost none share his obesity (Robert, but that’s about it). Furthermore, there are plenty of very fat characters who do not descend from Aegon (including Sam, Genna, Yezzan, and the Manderlys).

Final Verdict: No, he's simply obese. 

How will Tyrion react when he finds out the Others are real and attacking? And just for fun, how will Arya react?

Main Opinion: Amin
Tyrion will recall the past time spent at the Wall and consider them a real threat worth dealing with. That may be one of the reasons Martin had Tyrion go up to the wall, to give Tyrion that exposure that will become relevant in his arguing of the threat there (this time without being laughed at and mocked by the others at King’s Landing). Arya might not be in a position to be directly affected or do much about it. She will probably react more to news about her siblings (including potentially a threat to them) than to news simply about the Others.

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
I think Tyrion will feel quite strongly about this. His “A Clash of Kings” storyline showed that he is concerned with what goes on at the Wall but simply can’t spare the time to think about it. He simply forgets. When he (credibly) hears about this stuff, he will definitely listen. Question is, when will he hear? And what will his priorities be? As for Arya, she might actually be a window into a common reaction: disbelief and a sense of “What can we do?!” Maybe she tries to get to Winterfell to be with her family, that should be a primal instinct in that moment. Lone wolf dies, but the pack survives, etc.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Daniel Sattelberger
Tyrion’s in a pretty dark and cynical place at the moment, so I’d guess his first reaction (besides disbelief, which would be his first reaction to the rumors) would be in that vein; perhaps wondering how they could be used to his own advantage. He will eventually, however, come around to the realization that the others need to be fought. As for Arya, I agree with Justice Amin. Her first concern will be for Jon.

Final Verdict: Tyrion will come around to fight them, Arya will try to get to the other Starklings. 


  1. What do you think of PQ's response to your Blackfish criticism that he had no reason to trust Jaime to keep his word? There's a lot of validity to that. And it's questionable whether an assault could have worked given Riverrun's defenses. The siege seemed to be going in the Blackfish's favor, as well. Keeping an army of that size in the field for long enough to starve them out would not be easy with winter coming.

  2. When or under what circumstances do you see it becoming public knowledge that each of the Stark children are alive?