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I'm Not a Lawyer...

... but I have just been interviewed by one, about the legal system of the Seven Kingdoms, and the topic of law in fantasy in general.

You can hear my interview with David Hoffman the blogsite Concurring Opinions at

http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2007/12/law_talk_george_1.html

Dave is a law professor at Temple University as well as a fantasy fan, with a particular interest in the treatment of law in epic fantasies. If that topic interests you, you can check out some of the earlier discussion on those issues at

http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2007/05/fantasys_apocal_1.html

and

http://volokh.com/posts/chain_1179774041.shtml

and

http://lpcprof.typepad.com/law_and_magic_blog/2007/05/welcome.html

and also

http://www.stephenbainbridge.com/punditry/comments/hoffman_on_hard_fantasy_and_the_absence_of_law/

Myself, I enjoyed the interview with Dave, and found that all these discussions gave me a lot of food for thought. Maybe once I finish A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, I will do a legal thriller set in the Seven Kingdoms next. John Grisham meets J.R.R. Tolkien, as they'd say in Hollywood.

Comments

( 53 comments — Leave a comment )
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makhsihed
Dec. 18th, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
...
THANK YOU.

Fantasy law and fantasy politics fascinate me. I love fantasy politics, but it's so hard to find it done well! It's one of the things I adore about SoIaF.

*adds post to memories; adds links to favorites*
kawakun
Dec. 18th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
I must say, Tyrion as a lawyer would certainly scare me onto the right side of justice...
noctolator
Dec. 19th, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
Unless he were a defense lawyer, which is I imagine what he'd be.
a_steep_hill
Dec. 18th, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC)
Maybe once I finish A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, I will do a legal thriller set in the Seven Kingdoms next. John Grisham meets J.R.R. Tolkien, as they'd say in Hollywood.

That implies that there will still be anyone alive in Westeros at the end of the saga. That's dangerously close to being a spoiler.

On the other hand, I guess it could be a prequel.
blaiddshadow
Dec. 19th, 2007 01:01 am (UTC)
spoilers
I started to say, oh come on it's fantasy we know that somebody will live happily ever after!

And then I realized whose books we're talking about.

Carry on!
(no subject) - makhsihed - Dec. 19th, 2007 03:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - harpie - Dec. 19th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
atthesametime
Dec. 18th, 2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
As a law student and a fan of fantasy, I love the idea of a legal thriller set in the Seven Kingdoms!
errantly
Dec. 18th, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC)
As an executive legal assistant, I feel the same way!
(no subject) - theletterelle - Dec. 20th, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
jimmys27
Dec. 18th, 2007 10:07 pm (UTC)
Keep it simple? :P
Bah, legal system?? Pfah, Off with there heads I say! Vote yes, for an eye for an eye!! lol
al_zorra
Dec. 18th, 2007 10:12 pm (UTC)
I shall certainly check this out. Mmmmmm.

Love, C.
dkountz81
Dec. 18th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
Interesting
see, you're not done yet and just throwing stuff out there and I already want to read it. I hope you do write the thriller, that would take just about every cake in existance.
jojo_kun
Dec. 18th, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC)
Maybe once I finish A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, I will do a legal thriller set in the Seven Kingdoms next. John Grisham meets J.R.R. Tolkien, as they'd say in Hollywood.

that would be AWESOME.

This is very interesting! Thank you for the links!
hippoiathanatoi
Dec. 18th, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC)
I thought it was a really interesting interview, as well. Good stuff.

I could see how it would leave food for thought. For one thing, I'm not strictly sure that all the law is necessarily judged by the lords in the Seven Kingdoms, as the novels have provided some tantalizing alternatives. There are village head men who probably help settle disputes between villagers, at the most basic level, though their authority may be more customary than legal; arbiters, rather than judges.

More notably, there's a mention of "justiciars" in Dorne who render judgments. Then again, we also hear of bailiffs and shariffs in Dorne, and never anywhere else in the Seven Kingdoms, so maybe it's an indication of Dorne having a unique legal system compared to the rest of the realm.

I'd say it'd make a lot of sense for there to be professional judges (and maybe even itinerant advocates) of some sort in the big cities, at the very least. It certainly seems to be the case in Braavos, where justiciars are also mentioned. Sovereign lords of urban areas would be hard pressed to judge the case load a thriving city must generate (even if they delegate some of the work to family, other than the Freys there aren't many families that could handle it), on top of everything else that they have to do.

These justiciars and theoretical judges might be entirely drawn from the gentry and nobility, and ultimately the judiciary receives its authority from the lord and/or king who employs them, but it's still a step removed from the idea of the person having a solely personal and inherent right to render judgment.
justyuekitylor
Dec. 18th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC)
I would love to see that. I'm not into politics or law, but it is really interesting in fantasy. How about a Nintendo DS game? Tyrion Lannister: Ace Attorney! ^_^
nycfalcon
Dec. 19th, 2007 12:28 am (UTC)
Thanks to both of you for taking the time to do the interview.

I would love a Cadfael of Westeros.
twistedsheets10
Dec. 19th, 2007 12:55 am (UTC)
Myself, I enjoyed the interview with Dave, and found that all these discussions gave me a lot of food for thought. Maybe once I finish A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, I will do a legal thriller set in the Seven Kingdoms next. John Grisham meets J.R.R. Tolkien, as they'd say in Hollywood.

That would be SWEET! Tyrion would make a great lawyer. :)
merfunctulis
Dec. 19th, 2007 01:27 am (UTC)
Seven Kingdoms Law
Hell ya, some of the best parts of IaF is the intrigue of Tyrion as Hand, and the laws regarding the slave trade and Daenerys learning how to be a Queen. I'm definately a fan, George, you seem to have nailed the technique bang on.

Please do a fantasy legal thriller! Finally a new approach to an old genre.
h2opolo
Dec. 19th, 2007 02:21 am (UTC)
"Tyrion Lannister: Ace Attorney!"

That is the best idea I've heard all week. PLEASE MAKE IT HAPPEN.

illidanstr
Dec. 19th, 2007 03:20 am (UTC)
Awesome. But! Argh! Is there a transcript of this somewhere?
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