In Valyria, we believe that the most stable government is one which combines rapid and unhindered executive decision making with opportunities for popular representation, so we have chosen for our system of government to be a constitutional monarchy. Those privileged to rule and exercise power in Valyria’s government do so according to articles and enumerated powers which are detailed in our constitution, the Great Charter of Valyria, which is drafted by the King and ratified by the nobility. According to the system currently outlined in this charter, there are two ruling powers which play off of each other in a system of dual checks and balances: the Crown and the Parliament. Access to the highest levels of both of these governmental constructs is guided, though not entirely limited, by Valyrian social class. It is possible for individuals to have positions in both the Crown and in Parliament; even the King is present in both.
The Crown is a combined executive and judicial branch; Parliament is the legislative branch. The Crown can be described as essentially the entirety of the royal court – it is comprised of the King, his Royal Cabinet, and the respective departments headed by each of the Cabinet officers (Executors), which employ freeman ministers (Ministri). Parliament, on the other hand, is bicameral. Its upper house, the House of Lords, is comprised of every Valyrian count and duke. Its lower house is composed of two elected representatives from every county who are of the gentle or baronial classes. Both Parliament and certain members of the Crown are capable of issuing rulings which immediately take effect, either as laws or as mandates. When rulings are issued by Parliament, they are called bills or acts, and when they are issued by the Crown, they are called edicts or decrees. In the case of a conflict between the will of the Crown and of Parliament, a constitutional procedure of veto and possible overrule takes place. This is explained further in the “Great Charter of Valyria.”
Because we consider the King as our ideal source of all law, power, and justice in Valyria, the Royal Cabinet officers he appoints are considered deputies to whom “portions” of the King’s power to operate government have been delegated. For example, his right to decide criminal trials is delegated to the Royal Cabinet officer called the Lord Justiciar, and through him, to the royal sheriffs; his right to manage his own household is delegated to the Lord Chamberlain; his right to preside over Parliament is delegated to the Lord Chancellor. The King can choose anyone he likes from all of Valyrian society to assign these positions. Often the ones chosen are already titled counts or dukes, but sometimes, for convenience, the roles might be assigned to those of lesser social stature who don’t already have demands on their attention and time. After all, just as the King assembles a royal court to administrate his rule over all Valyria, so too must dukes, counts and barons assemble their local courts to rule their respective domains.
The three most important Royal Cabinet officers, however, are those tasked with the delegation of the most important aspects of the King’s power of state. These are called the Three Great Officers of State. They are the Lord Constable, who directs the royal and the Valyrian armies by means of the symbolism of the Valyrian Sword of State; the Lord Chancellor, who directs the Parliament and the Chancery and can notarize any document with the king’s authority by means of the Great Seal of Valyria; and the Royal Hand, who directs the Royal Cabinet itself by means of the Royal Privy Seal. In choosing a Royal Cabinet, the king does not relinquish the right to exercise any of the power bequeathed to any of his Executors, and continues to oversee and direct them as he chooses.
The King also sometimes convenes advisory bodies to guide him in decision making for decrees he will pass by means of the Crown and the Great Seal of Valyria. When done publically, this council is called Curia Regis. When more selective, it can be a Concilium Duxorum of dukes only, or a Privy Council of secret members. Because only counsel is being offered instead of deliberation and voting, the advisory bodies can be made up of many more walks of society than the Parliament, which is limited to lords and gentlemen.
By following the above design, we hope to have created a government for Valyria that stands the test of time. The downfall of nation enterprises in games is disagreement, when gaming groups schism because of dissent. We hope that providing a release valve for discontent and a means to appeal for those decisions that some will inevitably disagree with, while also leaving the King free to respond immediately to threats to our kingdom, will provide the best of all worlds. In Valyria, we believe that a sword should be fashioned with a flexible center and a strong edge; our government design appeals to this philosophy.