Friday, March 27, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 71

Thursday is court day! And today's Thursday. It was always Thursday.
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 71 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Vedocorban, a member of the community.

What was the reason that Stannis became suspicious of Cersei's children?

Main Opinion: Stefan
For me, the signs point to Littlefinger. His candid half-admission of knowledge to Eddard in “A Game of Thrones” shows that he knew, and while of course Varys knew as well, it wasn’t quite the open secret that it sometimes seems to have been in retrospect. Littlefinger is, contrary to Varys, also the likely suspect if you simply ask the “cui bono”-question: who profits? Varys doesn’t want either Jon Arryn’s death nor Eddard Stark’s ascencion (yet), Littlefinger on the other hand is more than ready to move and wants to stir shit up. Using backchannels he might have been able to plant the knowledge with Stannis somehow (shouldn’t be too hard to get into some confidante), who then in turn went to Jon Arryn. This is the best-case scenario for Littlefinger, and it falls in Martin’s tendency in “A Game of Thrones” to create situations and developments exactly as he needs them, no matter how delicate the timing process (I refer to Steven Attewell’s “Race of the Iron Throne” for more detail on this stuff). Killing Jon Arryn after creates a big case against the Lannisters and a likely start for civil war, but Stannis pulling out must have thrown a monkey wrench into these plans. Therefore, Littlefinger. He profits the most and he has opportunity, reason and motive.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
I agree with Justice Stefan than Littlefinger is the most likely candidate. It matches what Varys hinted at in A Clash of Kings, that someone specifically told Stannis. In regards to Jon Arryn, Stannis tells Renly that he went to Jon for help gathering evidence, since he didn’t think Robert would believe him by himself. Justice Vedocorban is technically correct in that it is possible that Jon already suspected something before Stannis talked to him, as there is no way to know for sure. However, we do know that Jon was not the person who informed Stannis.
"Perhaps he read a book and looked at the color of a bastard's hair, as Ned Stark did, and Jon Arryn before him. Or perhaps someone whispered it in his ear." The eunuch's laugh was not his usual giggle, but deeper and more throaty.
"Someone like you, perchance?"
"Am I suspected? It was not me."
"I did not keep silent," Stannis declared. "I brought my suspicions to Jon Arryn."

Dissenting Opinion: Vedocorban
I'm half sold on Justice Stefan's theory about Littlefinger because of the points he makes, and also "Because Littlefinger" is just the answer to a lot of questions like this. But here's an alternate theory. I think Jon Arryn became suspicious of Cersei's children all on his own. He seemed to be familiar with several of Robert's bastards, and had been reading the ponderous Westerosi genealogy tome. Perhaps Jon Arryn just put two and two together and shared his suspicions with Stannis, and was then killed by Littlefinger before he could get enough proof to show Robert. I don't know why Littlefinger would leak the information, unless he wanted the incest exposed. But then, even Varys admits "The Gods alone know what game Littlefinger is playing." So I'm definitely not putting something like this past him. But I can't condemn him in a court of law until without harder evidence, so my verdict is that Jon Arryn found out and told Stannis. 

Final Verdict: All signs point to Littlefinger. 

What's the deal with Patchface? Also, has he been playing possum since coming to Storm's end or is he actually a sometimes prophetic fool?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Patchface is what he is: a deranged fool, for some reason kept around after Steffon’s death and now confidante of Shireen, who has prophetic dreams but no real measure of either professing them or interpreting them. All he does is to use the images that he gets and weave them into really weird songs. So, of course he is prophetic, but he is so in a way that doesn’t help anyone because he is so vague and opaque that even we as readers with an amount of information much larger than anyone around Patchface have difficulty figuring it out until way after the event.

Concurring Opinion: Amin
Patchface is not playing some sort of higher game, he is what he appears to be. He doesn’t truly understand what he is talking about with his visions, he just is a medium for the visions and prophecies that come through him. He may very well be dangerous without having the mental capacity to intentionally cause harm to Shireen or others. I do think that any new statements he provides from now on will be examined carefully by the fandom and that we may have a better chance at predicting future events from it. I look forward to the opportunity.

Dissenting Opinion: Vedocorban
While I agree that Patchface is a deranged fool with prophetic visions, I think it's noteworthy that he gives Melisandre an uneasy feeling. I don't think he's necessarily been playing possum, but perhaps he was transformed by The Drowned God. Who knows? I definitely feel like he has some sort of sinister purpose to serve, or will at least have a significant impact at some point in the story.

Final Verdict: Patchface is what he seems: a deranged fool. 

There is lots of forewarning that warging into humans is a big taboo. Yet Bran seems to be increasing his Hodorian adventures now that he’s in the cave (“No one ever knew when he was wearing Hodor’s skin… He often tagged along, whether he was wanted or not…”). Given the forewarning, I find it hard to see how this will turn out well. There surely must at least be some sort of consequence. Any thoughts as to what the downside of Bran’s continued warging of Hodor will be?

Main Opinion: Stefan
Some kind of detachment from humanity seems quite possible. With Jojen’s death and Meera’s retreat to herself, there is no one left to check what is essentially a child with extreme powers, and Bloodraven isn’t exactly known for shrinking back from the most efficient course in preference of morale. Bran is essentially tempted by his power: he can exert control over practically anyone if he likes, which, provided the Treenet allows it, could extend over the whole of Westeros. This makes for a Star-Wars-like situation of dark side vs. light side.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Amin
Bran has a great power now, one that can easily be abused. I think he will tango with the ‘dark side’ of skinchanging, but I am not sure if he will end up in that role permanently. He knows ‘harging’ into Hodor is not a good thing to do, as Hodor resists and is frightened by it. On the other hand, he does seem to continue with it and his powers are increasing, so if Bran does end up on the wrong side, his taking control of Hodor will be one important step in that descent.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Vedocorban
Bottom line is that Bran and his friends would probably be dead if he had not warged Hodor a time or two. Yeah, Bran's getting irresponsible with his powers, but I doubt Hodor's going to do anything about it, and Bloodraven doesn't seem to care. If anything, Bran might try to warg someone other than Hodor to some sort of negative effect. We'll see. But like I said, warging Hodor has saved their lives, so anything that happens now is a freeroll for Bran. 

Final Verdict: Bran is playing with the Dark Side, but he will come around eventually. 


  1. I think there is some sort of magical conflict between the powers of the drowned god and the power of R'hllor. As Vedocorban stated Patchface gives Mel an uneasy feeling. Asha asks Stannis to behead Theon infront of a heart tree rather than burn him. There may be some correlation to the water of the drowned god extinguishing the fire of the lord of light. May be a little tinfoil-ey, but just a thought.

  2. Heartsbane of HornhillMarch 28, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    Yes, but will Patches ever get Stannis to smile again?

  3. I have a two-part question (one about the book and one about the fandom) and a Bran comment.
    My question is whats your thoughts on Ned's mother? 2nd part, with the fandom as crazy as we are and obsessed with dissecting every little nugget in this series, why is there so little talk about Ned's mama? Everyone guesses at Jon's and we have long discussions on things mentioned just once or twice like the rats cook or even smaller topics. I know there's very little evidence to work with for theory formation but that has not stopped us before with many other topics. Even when the supplement books came out and shed light on her identity no one wrote any articles about it that I've seen and I check out most asoiaf fan sites very often.
    For Bran, I think people need to prepare themselves for him being the big bad at the end of the series. Edward makes the Starks seem so honorable but his brother and more than half of the past Starks have not been nice people at all. Brandon Stark may not have rushed to KLing to save his sister for honorable reasons. He could have known that she loved Rhegar and left willingly but was more concerned with the northern ambitions agenda which would need her back. Bran himself travels to the three-eyed raven for selfish reasons (wanting to walk again) and not to save the realm. He also acts like a spoiled child the entire trip and constantly breaks the abomination rules for warging with no regrets about it. Blood Raven started wars that killed many innocent people for his own sexual desires towards his sister and god knows what he got sent to the wall for. He very well could be an evil puppet master thats going to manipulate Bran by showing him all the wrongs done to his family. He most likely needs Bran to finally be able to do the one thing he's never been powerful enough to do on his own, Warg a Dragon! Howland Reed, who seems honorable, sending his kids to help could throw a wrench into this but BR could easily be manipulating Jogens dreams as well.

  4. Eddard not Edward obv. Stupid auto correct

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  7. Oh, I didn't realize that Stannis actually says he's the one who brought his suspicions to Jon Arryn, rather than the other way around as I theorized. And I had forgotten Varys' comments about someone whispering the secret in his ear. Probably Littlefinger.