Thursday, July 21, 2016

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 139

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 139! Our guest judge this week is Eamon Redmond, a member of the community. 

Why did Gregor Clegane kill Ser Hugh of the Vale?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Because he was told to do so by Cersei. who in turn got a tip by Littlefinger. Remember that it is Littlefinger who points Ned in Ser Hugh’s direction, but tells him to send Jory (who is sure to be rebuffed, thereby buying time), and shortly after, Ser Hugh is killed. All signs point to the conclusion that Littlefinger went to Cersei after Ned, who by way of her spies got confirmation of Jory’s visit and ordered Clegane to silence him for good.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
It is possible that Littlefinger arranged it or it is possible that Ser Gregor simply wished to kill him because he could, given his despicable nature. GRRM has been asked about this and he left it up to the reader to decide. What I wonder though is if Hugh actually had any useful information to share. It was Lysa who did the poisoning, I don’t think she would trust Hugh to help with that or need his help to do so. I don’t think he would be directly involved in it unless he saw something by accident and then was knighted to cover it up, though he could also just have been eliminated (and was) just as easily as being rewarded.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Eamon Redmond
Stefan is correct if it is true that Ser Hugh did in fact poison Jon Arryn. However, I am not convinced that is what happened. It would make sense for Varys and Cersei to point the finger at someone else who is conveniently dead. I think it more likely that one of their stooges did the deed. It would also be completely in character for Gregor to kill Ser Hugh for no reason other than he felt like it.

Final Verdict: It remains quite unclear, but it's reasonable Cersei pointed him to it.

Why did Osha decide to go to Skagos?

Main Opinion: Stefan
It’s the last place anyone would care to look for her. I mean, who goes to Skagos? And Osha is a wildling, so maybe she hopes she’ll get along with the people there. Plus, it’s a nice opportunity to get to Skagos, isn’t it?

Concurring Opinion: Amin
It’s safer from Osha’s point of view than the Northern lords she knows nothing about. What’s interesting is that Skagos would have had cause to hate the Starks in the past due to their history of rebellions. Osha probably doesn’t know that and perhaps their loyalty and opinions have changed for the better since the last round of rebellions.

Concurring Opinion: Eamon Redmond
I do not have anything to add to Stefan’s opinion that it is the best possible hiding place. I think Skagos will eventually play some role in the story (maybe Skagosi are skilled fighters against the Others) and this gets the story there.

Final Verdict: It's pretty remote.

Is Littlefinger the champion of antifeudalism in ASOIAF?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Hah! Far from it. Littlefinger has zero regard for the plight of the smallfolk. What he wants is to become top of the food chain, not to upend it. He is very much into the concept, but he sees it as an opportunity. Feudalism isn’t Littlefinger’s problem, the bloodlines keeping their thumb down are. He would maybe opt for easier turnout there, but certainly not for killing the system that led him win. He needs it in place; how else would he prove everyone that he’s better than them? They need to bow and scrape before him according to the system, that’s what he wants, what his ultimate triumph is.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
Littlefinger supports what helps him and attacks what doesn’t. To reach the level he’s risen to so far, he needed to break out of feudalist restrictions based on class and focus on a meritocratic approach. However, as Justice Stefan noted, he may simply want to climb the ladder and achieve the same benefits of the higher classes under feudalism.

Concurring in part, Dissenting in Part: Eamon Redmond
I agree that Littlefinger does not want to destroy feudalism, but I would argue that his desire to rise above his station is antifeudal insofar as it represents a rejection of the system. Instead of acceding to the ruling families and merely contenting himself with Master of Coin (an impressive feat for someone of his stature), he seeks to tear them down and take power for himself. Therefore, I believe that it can be said that he is in some way antifeudal.

 Final Verdict: He cares about Littlefinger; there's no great ideology behind it.


  1. Two questions:
    - Please speculate on what could be seen on the fourth level of the Red Keep Dungeon.
    - What does Aemon mean when he says that "The sphinx was the riddle, not the riddler" (besides it being a nod for the reader that something's up with Alleras' identity)

  2. Hi guys,

    Is R+L=J+D a genuine possibility? I feel like a major theme of Dany is her perceived 'destiny' of taking the iron throne, that it is hers by rights. A great 'human heart in conflict with itself' moment would be Dany confronting the fact that actually the throne is Jon's by rights, and seeing what she does internally with her multi-year plight/killing spree that led her to that point. Would she go 'full targ' and claim the throne regardless of her claim?

    Also, Ned reflecting on the promises he failed to keep to Lyanna could be that he didn't take J+D north with him, possibly because Dany was already showing Targ. features as a baby. I mean, would he really feel bad all those years later for not openly raising Jon as a Targ? It also explains his trip to Dorne and the a certain suicide from the cliffs (i.e. that Dany got shepherded out of Westeros because Dayne was an honourable woman "Arthur died for her"). It might even explain why Viserys is such a shit to Dany (as daughter of the crown prince she has a very juicy claim to the throne), if he even knew of any of this.

    Also because I think the song of ice and fire won't have an aunt and a nephew as 'ice' and 'fire' - inter-sibling issues seems to be what GRRM likes best.

    Of course, there would be historical and chronological difficulties with this (Darry, Dany's memory of getting shipped around with her brother, Ned not thinking this when the 'kill dany' plot is launched, the apparent age difference between Jon and Dany of c. 1 year, Dany's official birth in the storm).... but it feels like these could also easily be made to tie into this theory too relatively easily... the Red Door, for example, seems like it has something to it and could go either way.

    Who knows, maybe the original Dany somehow died in that storm perchance...

    But who knows...