Thursday, October 13, 2016

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 145

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.
Please note that our new ebook is up and available on Amazon, collecting the first 60 rulings and the best comments in one place. It's only 5,99$, so what are you waiting for? 
And now, up to ruling 144! Our guest judge this week is Johnny from Philadelphia. He began reading the series after the 1st season of Game of Thrones and began listening to BLAH and APOIAF shortly thereafter. He is on the forums at APOIAF as The Smiling Knight. This is his fourth time as a member of the Supreme Court of Westeros.

What role does Quaithe have to play in TWOW and after? She's done essentially nothing important in the story so far, either the books or the series, but her future role must be important, because she was kept in the HBO series while many other characters were omitted.

Main Opinion: Stefan
I’d be super-careful to draw any conclusions about importance from the show to the books. Qaithe’s appearance there doesn’t serve any purpose other than making the whole affair super-mysterious, but in the books, her prophecies have a profound impact on Dany, as do those of Mirri Maz Duur and the House of the Undying. She is constantly fact-checking everything around her against the backdrop of those visions, comparing them to the actual events and trying to comply with them. Since Qaithe’s visions are more directly concerned with where she’s going next, I expect them to become more important in “The Winds of Winter”. Other than that, Qaithe is future Danaerys. It is known.

Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part: Amin
I agree that Quaithe still has a role to play in Dany’s storyline. She’s important both to Dany and to the reader in our attempts to understand her prophecies. While timetravel of some sort has been shown to be possible, I don’t see a mechanism of how Dany gets to do that so I’m not on board yet with that particular theory.

Concurring in Part/Dissenting in Part: Johnny
I agree with Justice Stefan that Quaithe’s inclusion in the HBO series doesn’t prove anything about her future significance. I think she was thrown in to add mystery and I am almost positive we won’t see her again in the show, and the farther we get from the HBO version of the Qarth storyline the better. I also agree that Dany will continue to think about and act according to Quaithe’s visions. I almost feel like Quaithe was originally supposed to be a more important part of Dany’s story when GRRM may have planned to send her to Asshai, but I feel like his plan changed at some point. So I was surprised to see Quaithe show up in ADWD and even brought up prominently in Dany’s final chapter. I would imagine Quaithe may appear to Dany in TWOW and maybe even ADOS with something about the White Walkers. I disagree with Justice Stefan that Quaithe is future Dany, as I do not think Dany will survive long enough to become Quaithe.

Final Verdict: Qaithe is mainly a vessel of prophecy for Dany. 

From a DSM-IV-TR point of view, what does your esteemed panel think the differences are between Ramsay Bolton, his father, Gregor Clegane, Tywin and Euron Greyjoy.

Main Opinion: Stefan
I’m really not a qualified mental expert, so I’d rather try to avoid all the med-talk and try to describe this more in story-terms. Roose Bolton’s evil is deliberate. It’s a choice. He wants to be evil, and he enjoys it. Ramsay on the other hand is more of a sadist, he has really bad tendencies that are only reinforced by the image of his father. He’s also not as controlled and more impulse-driven. Gregor Clegane is a brute. A choleric with virtually no self-control, nothing and no one to ever tell him no and a liege lord who promotes this to use him as his wild dog. Tywin is a typical war criminal, plain and simple. He detaches himself from the horror and pretends that it all serves the greater good. He’s make a fine Nazi. Euron, on the other hand, is a megalomaniac who thinks he’s a god or on the verge of becoming one and that thus the limits of moral and humanity are not relevant for him.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
I agree with Justice Stefan’s analysis for the most part. I think that Roose Bolton is closer than Tywin than some people accept, in that Roose also thought he was bringing order to his area (“a peaceful land, a quiet people”). However, I agree that Roose did openly enjoy doing some evil things while keeping it secret, whereas Tywin tried to detach himself or ignore that aspect, although both seemed fine with the idea of their sons potentially being abusive in their marriages as long as it was kept secret. Euron’s evil is similar to Ramsay in some ways, just that he has travelled far more, has more knowledge, and loftier goals..

Concurring Opinion: Johnny
I had to google DSM-IV-TR to find out what it means, so I am in no way qualified to diagnose any personality disorders. I agree with all of Justice Stefan’s comments, but would like to add that I feel like Roose and Tywin are actually a little more similar. I feel that he hit the nail on the head with Roose. I think Tywin falls under the same category. Tywin is deliberately evil. He makes choices that he knows are evil, but he convinces himself they are acceptable and necessary. I get the feeling he truly enjoys making those choices and the reputation it has earned him. All of that in addition to what Justice Stefan said about him. I find the love for Tywin by a large part of the fandom to be one of the most mind boggling things about the books. The guy is pure evil and I strongly disagree with the idea that he “gets the job done.” I feel like the immediate downfall of his family after his death should be a hint to the reader that his horrible methods got him nothing but death and the destruction of his family name. One of the highlights of the series is the grin on his face in death and thinking about how angry he would be at it.

Final Verdict: Some people are evil of choice, doesn't need to be a mental disease. 

Say the question about the worst decision ever was not limited to the past 20 years. Does anything even slightly compare with Aegon the Unworthy legitimizing his bastards?

Main Opinion: Stefan
I guess Viserys II’s decision to remarry without ever clearing up the inheritance comes close. It launched the Dance of the Dragons, after all. Argilac declaring war on Aegon the Conqueror also ranks among the worst ideas, I guess. Dorne’s Do you mean the Rhoynar? attack on Valyria might even be higher on that list. And on and on it goes. So, no, the legitimizing isn’t the worst decision. Please also bear in mind that the only bastard that’s really a danger is Daemon, and he was kept close and could’ve been controlled if done more deftly and if Fireball hadn’t rescued him, after all. The whole business might as well have gone down as a quirk of history, a minor anecdote, hadn’t Bittersteel prompted Daemon to revolt.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
I agree with Justice Stefan that the decision(s) leading to Dance of the Dragons provides an example that is already from the Targaryens, relating to a civil war, and had at least equal if not worse consequence for the realm. There are plenty of unrelated decisions that were worse, although it is worth pointing out that Aegon’s decision seemed to be an intentional move to cause trouble whereas many other decisions caused harmed to negligent decision making.

Concurring Opinion: Johnny
At this point, I would have to say the Dance of the Dragons outranks the Blackfyre Rebellion on the downfall of the Targaryens. The Blackfyre’s could still play a part in the story, but the effects of the absolute destruction of the dragons during the Dance by the Targaryens themselves(!!!!) blows the Blackfyre Rebellion out of the water. So I will go with Viserys II’s decision to remarry as the worst decision. 

Final Verdict: The Dance of the Dragons. 


  1. It is probably wise for an unqualified amateur to not use the DSM-IV TR to analyze a fictional character. Who know what calamity could result.