Thursday, October 27, 2016

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 147

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 147! Our guest judge this week is Rick Davids, a student of Linguistics from Berlin who currrently resides in Bielefeld. He's been a fan of the books for well over a decade now. He's honored to make his second appearance on the court.

Will the Karstarks ever learn that Roose let Jaime go?

Main Opinion: Amin
It is unlikely, unless they find out from Steelshanks Walton or the men involved on that specific escort mission. But the information is not relevant anymore nor is there anyone left to pursue it. Rickard Karstark would have care about it and he’s dead. The rest of the Karstarks are not in a position to make any use of that information. The Karstarks leaders with Stannis have been revealed by Jon and will be dealt with, while Stannis makes use of their forces there. Harrion is a prisoner and Alys is already a Stark supporter.

Concurring opinion: Stefan
I don’t see what would narratively be gained by this. The Karstarks are already on the side of Stannis, and when they’d find out, they’d either be on the cusp of victory, or it’s already over, so all resulting sentiment would just be more on the heap. There’s also no person that’s really invested in this issue, especially none close to our POVs in the region, so I don’t see something happening here.

Concurring opinion: Rick Davis
There is little reason for the Karstarks to find out. With only two books left, it's even unlikely we'd ever find out they found out, since it is a subplot of no importance, and a major point of the current plots is that they are meaningless in the face of the Others marching on Westeros. Should the Karstarks ever find out, they will be in no position to do anything about it. Either the Boltons are still in power, in which case they can not go after Jaime. Or someone else is, who has better things to do than allow his vassals to go after a personal vendetta against one of the most powerful families in Westeros. But Judge Amin made the most relevant point: none of the Karstarks care about going after Jaime anymore.

Final Verdict: No. 

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.

Main Opinion: Amin
Waymar looks like an arrogant lordlings son who probably wouldn’t have gotten along with a bastard like Jon. Now there may be an exception, we simply do not know enough of his backstory, but the way he comes off in the prologue suggests a rival relationship initially, probably in the Thorne camp (well, if Throne were still around).

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Stefan
Waymar would definitely look down on the “bastard” Jon, and mock his ambition and teenage angst from the other direction than most rangers. I don’t see him surviving the Great Ranging, though, so ultimately, this is a counter-factual that’s more interesting as to Thorne missing. Who will go to King’s Landing, and maybe ally with Janos Slynt on the way back? Other than that, though, I don’t see that strong a change.

Dissenting in part, concurring in part: Rick Davis
Waymar Royce does seem to be an arrogant lordling. The perspective here is key though: he seems like that to the other rangers. Jon gives of much the same vibe when he joins the Night's Watch. Due to both of them being of First Men blood, both of them trained in the skills required of a lord's son, and both of them seen as arrogant outsiders, there's a chance they could have made fast friends. The problem in assessing this is, indeed, that we know too little about Waymar Royce. Especially how capable he is when it comes to changing himself, growing. But he's shown himself to be eager, duty-bound and valiant. Therefore I think it unlikely that he and Jon would have a bad relationship. A working relationship at worst, and quite probably a friendship, simply due to them being young men with the spark of goodness in them, in an outsider position.

Final Verdict: There aren't that many changes. 

Stannis apparently was able to create two shadow baby assassins by Melisandre. Instead of rebelling against the crown, why didn't he just assassinate Joffrey and Tommen? He'd be next in line whether or not they were bastards. He had no clear aversion to killing children before the Edric Storm/Davos incident and considered them abominations, to boot.

Main Opinion: Amin
Taking out the two children would have put him legally in front, but that wouldn’t have practically put him in power. Renly was also claiming the throne with a huge force, so he would still have had to deal with Renly. Even with no Renly around, the Lannisters would not have ceded to Stannis taking the Throne without a fight. There’s also the practical considerations in relation to shadow baby range: we don’t know how far they can go away from Stannis and how fast they travel. It seems like they only last a single night. Can it only kill one and then it must disappear like it did, or can it kill more? If not, why not take out Randyll Tarly and a few other Tyrell commanders while it was at it while taking out Renly? Perhaps Stannis thought they would go over to him after Renly died and some did, but not all.

Concurring opinion: Stefan
Joffrey and Tommen out of the way does nothing for him. The throne would remain with the Lannisters, who would hold it in the name of (currently unwed) Queen Myrcella. Stannis needs an army, and he needs to get it to King’s Landing, and that’s what the babies are for.

Concurring opinion: Rick Davis
Shadow babies can't do that, apparently. Why march towards Renly and only kill him then? Magic takes a price, and the price for such assassinations is probably simply too high. (Also, on a storytelling level, see Sanderson's Laws of Magic).

Final Verdict: Legal niceties don't matter in war. 

1 comment:

  1. With regards to the Waymar Royce questions, the judges have failed to take into account that Jon and Waymar would have had some form of a relationship from their time together at Winterfell. Waymar, along with his father stayed there on their way to Castle Black. We have no information about this visit, so we do not know but I find it hard to believe that Waymar would be rude to Ned Starks's son given the close relationship between the Stark's and Royce's and their previous engagement at Winterfell