Thursday, December 22, 2016

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 149

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 stefan_sasse@gmx.de, 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 149! Our guest judge this week is Jeff Meehan. Originally from Northern Virginia, Jeff Meehan is a lifelong history buff and political junkie living in New Orleans where he works as an antiques restorer. His pastimes include following DC sports, cooking, and being obnoxious on Twitter where his twitter handle is Duncan Royce or @AtlasRoyce. He is still overly proud of getting GRRM on the record as to who was the influence for Stannis Baratheon. Email address is molskine.grit@gmail.com.
What future did Rickard have planned for Ned once he stopped being a ward of House Arryn? Presuming Robert's Rebellion never took place

Main Opinion: Amin
As a supporter of Stefan’s Southron Ambitions theory, I think that Rickard had marriage plans for Ned. Probably in the south as part of another alliance (e.g. look for an eligible bachelorette in the Reach), but perhaps in the North if he was wise enough. It would be good to use Ned to shore up the North when the usual Northern marriages are not going to happen with his other heirs. Though he still had Benjen as well to work with, so Ned may have been given some more flexibility with his marriage choice than Brandon and Lyanna.

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
I won’t disagree with anyone citing Southron Ambitions here ;) I guess Ned would have tried to marry Ashara Dayne, and I don’t see why Rickard would have stood in the way of that with any force.

Concur in part, Dissent in part: Jeff Mehan
Whatever plans Lord Rickard Stark did or did not have died with him in Wisdom Rossart’s flames. We may never know the full details of the Southron Ambitions scheme and the Stark children’s place within it as not only are the children dead (Brandon, Ned, Lyanna) but their prospective spouses (Robert Baratheon, Catelyn, Lysa), the people who negotiated the arrangements (Jon Arryn, Hoster Tully, Lord Rickard, Steffon Baratheon), and the persons they confided in (Maester Walys Flowers) are now dead. Even if they weren’t they are not now or likely to become a POV character. With regards to young Ned, it is logical to assume that something was being prepared by the then Lord of Winterfell. It would make some sense that they were in preliminary discussions with some House south of the Neck. Given their age, race, lineage, prestige, relations to the Kingsguard, and the Royal family, House Dayne through Lady Ashara is not unreasonable. It would also fit thematically as Catelyn would always be comparing herself to Ashara and wondering if her husband was brooding on the road not taken. As for Benjen Stark, it is important to remember that he was roughly a year younger that Cersei Lannister. He had plenty of time for his father to ruin his life. If it became necessary, Rickard himself could remarry and take a daughter or sister of one of his bannnermen as a bride in the event of an emergency. He was between 33 and 52 when he died, Walder Frey rambles on and on about the children he sired between those ages and well beyond that. 

Final Verdict: Eddard would likely have married and lived pretty happily. 

How will Ser Jorah react when he finds out Ned Stark's bastard has his family's ancestral sword?

Main Opinion: Amin
The reaction can only be negative, if he does find out. Jorah will not like it, the question is whether he will challenge Jon for the sword or not, and how Jon would react to it. Jeor did forgive Jorah and ask him to join the Night’s Watch as his dying breath, so if Sam is around to convey that it may influence Jon’s view of the matter. By the time Jorah gets over there, if he even does, Jon will likely know about his true heritage and Long Claw will matter even less to him. The caveat being if Jon uses Long Claw as a religious instrument (i.e. Melisandre manipulates this) he might be too bound to the sword to consider giving it up.

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
I doubt this will become a larger issue. If Jorah ever hears of this, he might be pissed, yes, but I don’t see him in any position to do something about it. His inability for introspective and change, however, pretty much preclude any positive realization about this.

Concurring Opinion: Jeff Meehan
Oh, Jorah Mormont will be pissed, but his feelings are immaterial as there is only one of three ways Ser Jorah will end up at the end of the series: taking the Black and walking the Wall for the rest of his life, dying in battle, or beheaded by a Northern Lord. The Old Gods and the North in general have a few taboos that are stated in the text: No kinslaying, no incest, no cannibalism, no slavery, and honor Guest Right. The first two can be shrugged off or else the Old Gods would have had nothing to do with Bloodraven. They seem as well to ignore the ban on cannibalism or else they would have nothing to do with Bran. Guest Right and the Laws of Hospitality are the foundation of not just Northern but Westerosi culture and those who have broken it in the series have or will get theirs. As for slavery…The last slavers we have a record of and who were punished before Jorah were the pirates who occupied the Wolf’s Den late during the reign of King Edrick Snowbeard Stark and laid low by his successor Brandon Ice-Eyes. They only lived long enough to see their entrails ripped from their bodies and festooned upon a Heart Tree like Christmas lights. Even in AGoT the mere mention of the fugitive former Lord of Bear Isle made Eddard Stark’s blood boil and his hand itch for his executioner’s blade. The point here is that Jorah Mormont will be in no condition to demand anything of Jon Snow much less the sword Jorah abandoned that was re-customized for Jon Snow. If Longclaw turns out to just be an exceptional but nevertheless mortal weapon and is desired by anyone in the Mormont family, it will go to one of Lady Maege’s daughters or grandchildren. Especially given the recent history of House Stark’s lost and destroyed ancestral blade Ice. Not Jon, Bran, Arya, Sansa, or Rickon would deny anything that connects the Mormonts to their ancestors. 

Final Verdict: Badly. 

What is Melisandre’s vision about the towers under the black and bloody tide about?

Main Opinion: Amin
We have actually ruled on this question before, early in the Court’s history in Rule 26. It is worth talking about again because I stand with my original ruling on the matter in that it involves Euron Crow’s eye, although I expand the location to potentially include Oldtown as well as was commented by one of our anonymous listeners for that ruling. It’s not the Shield Islands (that guard the way to the heart of the Reach) that is really the key point or even Oldtown, but rather it is the existential threat of Euron Crow’s Eye that Melisandre sees in her vision, just as Moqorro does. Therefore, it’s Euron that starts the bloody tide at the Shield Islands and it can continue to sweep into the twin towers of Oldtown (the maester’s Hightower there and undermining the actual family Hightower). However, even now I still struggle with the idea of Euron successfully taking Oldtown. A damaging raid or sack, but I don’t see how he succeeds or why he would waste some much effort there when the real goal, as he has shared, is to go to Dany and get her dragons first. Even if he does take Oldtown he is not going to militarily hold it or anything on the mainland in the long term without a dragon. Perhaps there is something in Oldtown that Euron needs to help him with the dragon plan or his larger game plan (books on dragons, Sam’s horn), as was suggested; plenty to discuss!

Concurring Opinion: Stefan
I’m pretty much a subscriber to the Eldritch apocalypse theory, so I think Oldtown is definitely the place where bloody and black tides will crash metaphorically over a...let’s say, high tower? Heh. I think Oldtown will not be so much conquered as destroyed, though.

Concurring Opinion: Jeff Meehan
Melisandre’s vision predicts an attack by seaborne raiders, most likely Ironborn as they were similarly described in Jojen Reed’s visions in ACoK. Any details beyond that is anyone’s guess until the books are finished. For example the “Black and Bloody,” part of her prediction could just as easily refer to the red and black of House Targaryen. Therefore it is just as likely Melisandre could be seeing Victarion Greyjoy’s war fleet attacking Volantis or another of the “Free” cities of Essos on the orders of Daenerys Targaryen as it could mean Euron Crow’s-Eye has had his way with the Redwyne fleet and has turned his “black eye shining with malice” towards Oldtown, The Hightower, the Citadel, and all who live within a hundred miles of them. We just don’t know, nor do we have enough information to make an educated guess. I particularly want to pause a moment and second Asmin’s remarks that a permanent conquest of any large swath of territory by any Ironborn leader is farcical. As someone far sharper than I said when the idea Euron Greyjoy using one dragon to totally subjugate Westeros was suggested, their response was “Like Maegor did?” The Ironborn have neither the men nor the resources to take and hold in perpetuity even the gains Balon Greyjoy originally scripted for just the North at the beginning of the War of Five Kings. The Kings of Winter with the whole of the North at their disposal couldn’t cement their conquests on just the Sisters over the course of centuries. The Moon and Falcon still fly above Sisterton. Balon’s successors will be lucky if they and their entire civilization will not be exterminated by the end of the series. Don’t believe too much of the hype, Euron is only one man and far more people hate him and want him dead and gone than want him to be King and paid homage. 

Final Verdict: Oldtown. 

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