Saturday, July 2, 2016

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 136

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 136! Our guest judge this week is Bailey, a history nut, book nerd & political junkie. Wife to a fellow geek. Mom to a future super villain. Step-monster to a precocious princess.

Do Maesters have to perform a small blood sacrifice when forging their Valyrian steel links?

Main Opinion: Stefan
No, I don’t think so. For one, I have the feeling that Maester Luwin isn’t the type to do such a thing, and blood sacrifices seem only involved in creating Valyrian steel, not reforging it. The master smith who reforges Ice into Widow’s Wail and Oathkeeper also doesn’t seem to perform blood sacrifices. This isn’t a matter of cutting yourself and pouring a bit of blood on the steel, like in Moby Dick. Only death can pay for life.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
I don’t think a blood sacrifice is necessary for their Valyrian steel links, nor for the reforing for Valyrian weapons. Both seem to come from Valyrian steel that has already been made. It is possible that the original forging neeed a sacrifice, but by this point reforging it does not require it, nor is it something the Citadel would condone, unless it was some sort of animal sacrifice.

Concurring opinion: Bailey
I have to agree. Firstly, I don't think there's any such thing as a “small” blood sacrifice. I'm almost certain the blood magic in this world isn't satisfied by slitting the throat of a sheep, like a nice Norse or pagean ritual. And we're not talking about cutting your hand for a few drops, either. The cost is a human life. Like Stefan, I can't imagine Maester Luwin doing such a thing.

Final Verdict: No sacrifice required. 

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?

Main Opinion: Stefan
I have absolutely no clue. Perhaps it was tied into the original vision for Tyrion’s character as kind of a Stark nemesis and featured the North and him ruling there or something, but really, this is pretty baseless speculation on my part. There are quite a few patchs that lead nowhere. Perhaps it was even involved in the 5-year-gap. But again, I have no idea.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
It is too hard to predict right now what he was talking about. My main thought is that it may have been some sort of bridge between Tyrion in Storm of Swords and the dejected Tyrion we see for most of ADWD. That’s a short time in ‘book time’ but 10 years in real world time, so that might have helped soften the transition that many people found jarring. On the other hand, the 5 year gap probably relates well to most of the material that was dropped from ADWD, other than the end material that was cut for length/saved for the next book.

Concurring opinion: Bailey
I couldn't begin to speculate. GRRM'S plot twists continue to leave me amazed every time I read a new chapter, so I can only imagine what he'd have written that he considered a dead end.

Final Verdict: No clue. 

Will the giants and mammoths survive the series?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Yes, but that doesn’t really matter. Their time is over, and they have been in decline for many centuries. The fight against the Others is their last hurrah, and while some of them may survive the battles and settle down in the new North, I doubt that there is a future for them. This is heavily implied in the dialogue between Ygritte and Jon about “the last of the giants”, where Jon says that there are more than one and Ygritte angrily tells him that he “knows nothing”. If they were elves, they would prepare the treck to Valindor.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
Yes, but as Justice Stefan said, they will not be large in numbers nor found in most of Westeros, though if the Wall is gone maybe they go slightly more South than they do now. Men are just not going to be tolerant of them in the long run, the giants anyway. I could see them finding use for mammoths if they are controllable by people and not just be giants. Just think how excited Harry Strickland would become over mammoths.

Concurring Opinion: Bailey Lacey
Their time is done. They're too few in number to last much longer anyways, even without the army of the dead coming to call. I actually can't remember if there are any living female giants, but for some reason, I don't think so. Regardless, I can't see the giants ever living south of the Wall. They're too private to become a spectacle for visiting southron nobles. And they're not going to allow their mammoths to be penned up in some hope of repopulating. 

Final Verdict: Some will survive, but their prospects aren't good. 


  1. I've heard that the Tyrion chapter in question involved Tyrion dreaming about meeting the Shrouded Lord, after he fell into the Sorrows.

    If you had to travel Westeros with three non-pov sidekicks, who would you choose?

    1. Yes, I am surprised that our esteemed judges haven't heard about this one. The cut Tyrion chapter supposedly had something to do with the legendary Shrouded Lord.

  2. It is interesting and horrifying to think that human sacrifice is necessary to forge Valyrian steel. That everyone with a Valerian steel sword is essentially openly displaying the fact that someone died so that they could have it.

    When people say that the world of ASoIaF is too violent compared to reality, that characters like Tywin or the Mountain get away with too much, that there's too much rape and murder, etc, I think of this. This is a world in which magic is real, requires real blood sacrifice, and the people that ruled it for thousands of years were not afraid to use terrible violence in order to access that magic. OF COURSE those that come after them are going to be orders of magnitude more violent than in our real-world history, even after the magic is gone. They learned from the masters that it works.

  3. There might still be Giants in other parts of Planetos or maybe some subspecies like in Sothoryos or something.