Sunday, March 22, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 70

Thursday is court day! Real life interfered, though. It's Weekend Edition now!
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.
And now, up to ruling 70 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D. is a professor at and Dean of the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University. He is the author or editor of nine books on political communication and persuasion.

Will the Green Men play a larger role down the road?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Greater, yes. Great, no. I mean, seriously, the role of the Green Men can’t really get any smaller than it currently is. In the books, they are a mystified, rumored presence, and not even the singers aren’t exactly sure what they are, what they do or what they want. We get a little bit more information in “The World of Ice and Fire”, which points us to them being something like the wizards of the Children of the Forest, but that’s basically it. They live on the Isle of Faces, from where no one ever returned, except for Howland Reed. That guy is the greatest extent to which I think the Green Men will play a role in the events to come. At some point, we have to meet him (at least I hope), at which point he might tell us stuff (which I really hope). It might also be possible that we get some more information by proxy, be it the Treenet or Bloodraven or Meera. But I doubt that they’ll become an active force in current events.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
I agree that the Green Men will play some sort of role, but not necessarily a huge role, as Justice Stefan noted. It is hard to predict more deeply than that at this point.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: David Perlmutter
Perhaps…I think Stefan’s ruling is probably correct - giving it what the CIA calls a “hard 90” for likelihood . But I wonder whether GRRM may be hiding some cards from us and feigning to discount others that may yet prove to be decisive. When I first encountered the Green men I suspected they might play a “Tolkien’s Eagles” role (saviors who turn the tide in battle or rescue main characters) or Hobbits (people who the “bigger” folk discount but prove to be important to the plot). GRRM would not be so blatant--or would he? Still…I think you will see the Green Men do SOMETHING really important.

Final Verdict: Given that they're more or less invisible right now, they'll probably become a little bit more apparant, though they're unlikely to take center stage. 

What are your thoughts on the theory that Stannis was in on Mel's plan to free "Arya" all along and meant for her to be delivered to him so that Bolton may be forced to attack him?
See more here.

Main Opinion: Stefan
I guess at some point we will have to go through the Manifesto (which is linked above) point by point, but let me make a quick general point about it before delving into this particular issue. The Manifesto is a constant source of interesting ideas, but it can’t be right on all counts. Some of them are a bit too elaborate to be true, but I’m excited to see which of them will play out. That being said, the idea is nice. My problem with the tactic is that if it was Plan A, Stannis had to have a Plan B. It’s almost borderline insane reckless to put all your money down on Mance rescuing Arya, delivering her safely to Stannis and then to get all pieces into place before Bolton reacts differently than anticipated. 

Concurring Opinion: Amin
The Court has also recently faced a similar question on whether Stannis knew that Mance was still alive. It seems that the two questions may be linked, but I guess it is possible that Stannis might have approved Mel’s plan to free Arya, without knowing the full details (i.e. using an undercover Mance). In any case, I agree with Justice Stefan’s analysis: possible, but difficult to determine with the facts before us.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: David Perlmutter
Yes, BUT Stannis is an evolving character in every sense of that term. We first view him as honest, stubborn and unimaginative. Then after catastrophe he does do something “borderline insane reckless” by striking north to help the Night Watch and establish he is the only would-be King actually doing good King things. To some extent the gamble succeeds. Since he is starting to roll the dice boldly, why not again?

Final Verdict: Maybe Stannis signed off in general terms, but it's unlikely that it is his main plan. 

What will ultimately become of Gendry?

Main Opinion: Stefan
I guess he’ll be smithing away somewhere in the Riverlands, putting all the business of religion, war and Robin Hood behind him. He’s good at that. However, I’m not sure whether or not we will know about his fate. The number of POV that could possibly know about him is rapidly diminishing. At the moment, Brienne is the only one who knows who and where he is, and I’m pretty positive Arya won’t find him and recruit him for the rebuilding of Winterfell. That’s a bit too sweet for the series. Therefore, the most likely option is that he will simply vanish from the pages. In that case I’d like to pretend my initial prediction, though.

Dissenting Opinion: Amin
Gendry has enough buildup in the books that he will appear again in some capacity. He has had a lot character development and still has further room to develop in the series.

Dissenting opinion: David Perlmutter
He will marry Daenerys Targaryen and rule Westeros…OK, I’m really reaching here. This is a super long shot. But GRRM is a student of history, both medieval Europe and Japan. In both periods false pretenders were a common tactic. It rarely worked! But you can see why it was attractive to gather political loyalty around the magical name of a previous dynasty. Why not a real “bastard” who will recall for the smallfolk the more peaceful days of “Good King Robert”? Which is to say he is a pawn who somebody might use to make a king. 

Final Verdict:  Whatever happens, there's an important role for him in the future.


  1. I still can't believe no one has subdued/successfully solved the mystery of the isle of faces. Not a resolute meister, not a group of desperate fugitives, not an adventurous lord with a host of guards, nor a cadre of religious fanatics.

    1. There was this "Pirates of the Carribean"-esque story of no one being able to actually reach it.

    2. That's true, but I think Alex has a great point. The Isle of Faces is like Asshai in that given the way the story tends to work, it's tough to imagine why there hasn't been some major power driven to tilt at windmills by mounting an entire fleet to stage an invasion, for lack of a better world. Some crazy Hoare king, some mad Targaryen with a dragon, something.

    3. Hey, I don't believe this part either, and since we got the question in court, I have this constant nagging in the back part of my brain hoping that the green men won't play a part in the story. However, given the mentioning they received so far, that seems unlikely.

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