Thursday, December 15, 2016

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 148

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 148 ! Our guest judge this week is Daniel Huigsloot, a member of the community.
Apart from Starks and Mormonts, do we know of any Northern houses with men in the Watch? The Umbers especially would seem to have a vested interest in keeping the Watch strong, but they don't send their second or third sons there?

Main Opinion: Amin
Bowen Marsh is actually from House Marsh, a northern house. Taking a look at a list of historic (past and present) members here, there’s Byam Flint and Maynard Holt as some examples. It is clear from the books that Northern houses do send members and support the Wall the most, there just may be a gap in the current generation from some houses, but I’m sure most houses have sent younger sons there. There’s also the harsh times in the winter when some of the older men leave to join the Night’s Watch as well.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Stefan
I guess there are some of them around, but a good deal of them will have died in the Great Ranging. But there surely are fewer people than there could be, since Robert’s Rebellion essentially dried up a generation’s worth of supply, and many of that generation will be very hesitant giving up their heirs, given the havoc that Aerys’ late reign and the war brought on the usual lines of succession.

Concurring Opinion: Daniel Huigsloot
Plenty of nobles from Northern houses have joined the Nights Watch throughout history, especially before the conquest. The lack of Northern nobles in recent times can be attributed to the poor reputation and general scepticism that the Nights Watch faces as an institution across all of Westeros. While there is certainly a greater level of respect for the Watch in the North, it's probably not as appealing for the sons of the noblemen as it once was. Their fathers probably have bigger priorities for their second or third sons, be it marriage alliances or other duties for their house, than sending them to the Wall and would rather send other men. The Umbers don't necessarily have to send their own kin to the Wall to show they have a vested interest in keeping the Watch strong.

Final Verdict: There are members of the Northern Houses, but they (currently) don't play major roles. 

Is R+L=J+D a genuine possibility? I feel like a major theme of Dany is her perceived 'destiny' of taking the iron throne, that it is hers by rights. A great 'human heart in conflict with itself' moment would be Dany confronting the fact that actually the throne is Jon's by rights, and seeing what she does internally with her multi-year plight/killing spree that led her to that point. Would she go 'full targ' and claim the throne regardless of her claim? Also, Ned reflecting on the promises he failed to keep to Lyanna could be that he didn't take J+D north with him, possibly because Dany was already showing Targ. features as a baby. I mean, would he really feel bad all those years later for not openly raising Jon as a Targ? It also explains his trip to Dorne and the a certain suicide from the cliffs (i.e. that Dany got shepherded out of Westeros because Dayne was an honourable woman "Arthur died for her"). It might even explain why Viserys is such a shit to Dany (as daughter of the crown prince she has a very juicy claim to the throne), if he even knew of any of this. Also because I think the song of ice and fire won't have an aunt and a nephew as 'ice' and 'fire' - inter-sibling issues seems to be what GRRM likes best. Of course, there would be historical and chronological difficulties with this (Darry, Dany's memory of getting shipped around with her brother, Ned not thinking this when the 'kill dany' plot is launched, the apparent age difference between Jon and Dany of c. 1 year, Dany's official birth in the storm).... but it feels like these could also easily be made to tie into this theory too relatively easily... the Red Door, for example, seems like it has something to it and could go either way. Who knows, maybe the original Dany somehow died in that storm perchance…But who knows…

Main Opinion: Amin
It is unlikely Dany would be born with Jon but then taken out of the Tower of Joy before Ned gets there. It is unlikely that Ned gives up Dany, particularly and keeps Jon. And there is no reasonable route where this Dany gets switched in to replace the old Queen’s child as she was pregnant with child on Dragonstone. It doesn’t work out there for those reasons, without even looking into the many other problems with the theory, some of which you pointed out. In summary, the problems with the theory outweigh what it explains, and there is little support for it evidence wise.

Concurring opinion: Stefan
All logistical problems aside, where exactly is the thematical resonance in this given all the story so far, and all the backstory that has been revealed? No, Dany is just who she is: the daughter of Aerys, heir to the Iron Throne.

Concurring Opion: Daniel Huigsloot
I also agree that there is no logical route for this happening and that Ned is unlikely to use this kind of rationale. It's also pretty unsatisfying from a narrative standpoint and would undermine both Dany and Jon's individual arcs. 

Final Verdict: Nothing to this. 

Will Bran use his warging powers to release a dragon from Euron's control, assuming Euron manages to capture one with the horn?

Main Opinion: Amin
I do think that Bran has the potential to wrest control of a dragon, and that he could potentially take over a dragon that was bound by a dragon horn. So the possibility exists, but I’m not sure if events will happen close enough for Bran to take a dragon in that particular order. Euron stealing the dragon at the Wall is unlikely unless he misses Dany completely and heads up there afterwards, because there is not much reason for him to head up there with a Dragon. Even if would Euron would want to stop the Others it would likely be far after they have damaged the rest of the world first and then he would sweep in. One caveat though is that we don’t know the range limit of Bran’s skinchanging powers. Arya can see Nymeria in her dreams a continent away but she already had the connection before moving away and warging with your wolf may be stronger than general skinchanging.

Concurring in part, dissenting in part: Stefan
I think Euron is Dany’s to deal with, not Bran’s. His abilities to control a dragon may become much more important in the endgame, where he could conceivably ride metaphysical shotgun to the Heart of Winter and/or take over when the first dragonrider dies.

Concurring Opinion: Daniel Huigsloot
If Euron does take control of a dragon (I think he will), I think he will be killed by Dany before Bran has the opportunity to wrest it from his control. I don't think Euron has any intentions to head North either and as Amin said, we're not quite sure what the range of Bran's skinchanging power is. I do think a confrontation between Bran and Euron would be interesting assuming the theory about Euron being a rogue protege of Bloodraven is true. 

Final Verdict: 
Bran will likely be able to control a dragon, but it's a bit doubtful he can wrestle control from Euron over that distance. 

No comments:

Post a Comment