Melting Eyeballs and Not a Rapist Cookies

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Absolut Mandarin and Cabernet.  Not mixed together or anything.  I just switched drinks in the midst of writing this.

Chapters:  Jon III, Daenerys III, Sansa III

I just finally noticed that I forgot to title the last post.  Oops!

 

Jon III

Jon is near the mouth of a cave looking at the stars and reflecting on how Westrosi and Wildlings have different names for the stars.  Because of course he and Ygritte stargaze together.  The kind of interesting thing about this is that one of the “stars” is a red wanderer that sounds a lot like Mars.  So, is Planetos actually Earth?  Because there’s some fan speculation that due to the wacky seasons, it’s a different planet.  But this makes it seem like Westeros, Essos, and Southyros are actually in an alternate version of Earth.

Anyway, after some angsting about having no family, Jon locates Ghost on a hill.  I seems the Wildlings and Jon will finally be reaching and going over the wall the next day.  This means that he and Ghost will have to part.  Jon tells him to go to Castle Black, but he’s a shitty warg, so he’s not sure that Ghost will understand.  Ghost responds by running off into the night.  Harsh.  Are we sure that Ghost isn’t secretly a cat?

Some more angsting and reflection happens.  He thinks about how he thought about trying to kill Mance just before he parted with Styr, Magnar of Thenn to go climb over the wall.  But he didn’t do it.  He keeps thinking about sneaking off to ride for Castle Black.  He keeps on not doing it.  He just likes the ginger poon too much, I guess.  Oh yeah, did I mention they’ve been doing it?  He tells himself he has no choice because turning her down all the time would look too suspicious.  Riiight.

Jon is being made to tell Styr about the patrols on the wall.  They have men riding on top of the wall on mules and sometimes they look at the base for signs of tunneling.  It leads them to recall the story of a wildling named Arson Iceaxe.  He was halfway through tunneling through the wall and the Nightswatch just sealed him in.  I don’t know how important this anecdote is.  I mostly bring it up just because being buried alive is pretty much my worst nightmare and because Arson Iceaxe is such a total badass name.  Anyway, Jon bullshits Styr about how many men are manning the various outposts of the wall and Styr, not buying it threatens to kill him.

The Thenns aren’t cannibals like on the TV show, but they’re still the asshole faction of the Wildlings.  They’re also the only group that has any kind of organized society.  It slightly resembles Westeros culture, even.  So they’re a formidable foe.

After getting threatened by Styr, Jon goes exploring in the caves and finds Ygritte.  Long story short, they do it again but this time he goes down on her and she calls it a Lord’s kiss.  Which is sort of cute, but I found it hard to believe that Wildlings have never discovered oral sex.  I mean, really?

 

Daenerys III

Daenerys is back meeting with the slavers to negotiate the sale of the Unsullied.  She tells Missandei to tell the Good Masters that she will take them all.  Missandei is in disbelief.  The Masters argue among themselves.  Some of them want to have some Unsullied left for future buyers.  Others figure that guaranteed gold now is better than potential gold in the future.  Dany listens to the whole thing while she drinks wine.  Remember, she knows Valyrian but they don’t know she knows Valyrian.

Their major concern is her ability to pay.  They’ve already inventoried her money and goods and she only has enough to buy one thousand Unsullied.  She offers her ships as well.  But that’s still only enough for two thousand.  But Dany needs them all.  She has no choice but to offer a dragon.

Oh shit!!!  Dany, no!  You can’t give up one of your babies, can you?  Whitebeard is aghast and tries to talk back, so Jorah escorts him away.  Of course this works.  Valyria defeated Old Ghis many times because they were the ones with Dragons.  These Masters know how valuable a dragon is.  And of course, they want Drogon because he’s the biggest.  They strike the bargain.  It’s official.  Since the Unsullied don’t know the common tongue, they give her Missandei as a gift.

With the bargain being struck, they go back to the ships to get everything ready.  She tells Whitebeard he is free to disagree with her in private, but to not defy her in public anymore.  He still disapproves and tells that a dragon is worth more than an army, as the original Aegon, who conquered Westeros with dragons despite not having a huge army proved.

Dany reveals to Missandei that she actually knows Valyrian and frees her.  She offers her a handmaid job (that sounds … wrong) and assures her she’s free to leave.  Missandei decides to stay because she doesn’t really have anywhere else to go.  They have some girl talk.  In this case, girl talk consists of real talk about the Unsullied.  She confirms that they are what they’re advertised to be.  It also comes out that three of Missandei’s brothers are now Unsullieds.

That night, Dany has a dream that she is Rhaegar, but mounted on a dragon, not a horse.  Also, Robert’s host is made of ice and she melts them with dragonfire.  Hmm.

Dany wakes up from her dream and finds Quaithe creepily standing over her.  Quaithe is that shadowbinder lady she encountered once in Qarth.  Quaithe says “Remember.  To go north, you must journey south.  To reach the west, you must go east.  To go forward, you must go back, and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow.”  Then she disappears.  All this cryptic stuff must mean Dany is going down a path that is very right.  Or very wrong.  I guess we’ll see.

The next day, Dany takes her whole group, including the assorted Dothraki followers to make the exchange.  It’s all very dramatic.  They meet near the gates where flayed rebellious slaves are crucified as a warning to newly captured slaves.  Ramsay would be proud.  They make the exchange.  Drogon is on a chain and he is really not pleased about it.  She hands him Drogon and he hands her the slave whip.  She confirms that it’s done and then she bellows to the Unsullied that they are now hers.  She does this in Valyrian but only a single Great Master, one of the four masters named Grazdan actually notices this.  Everyone else is watching Kraznys struggling to control Drogon.

She informs Kraznys that a dragon is no slave and whips him across the face.  She says “Drogon, Dracarys.”  That means dragon fire.  Drogon spits fire at Kraznys and it’s very graphically described.  His eyeballs melt and run down his cheeks.  Ow, ow, ow!  I can’t say it doesn’t give me some satisfaction though!  There’s a reason I named my calico cat Dracarys.  Chaos erupts.  Irri and Jhiqui unchain Viserion and Rhaegal and they join in one the roast.  The Dothraki and the Unsullied join the fight and start killing slavers left and right.  They kill only the slavers and the soldiers and are ordered to strike the chains from all the slaves.  The slavers all die brutally and everyone else lives happily ever after.   Okay, not so much.  But it’s still pretty cool!  In one fell swoop, Dany goes from fugitive to conqueror.

 

Sansa III

Sansa is getting a new haute couture gown.  Cersei, apparently back to pretending that she’s Sansa’s friend sees to the preparations.  Her gown is a woman’s gown with a sexy bodice.  Not like the juniors section stuff she’d been wearing before.  She’s all excited about how pretty she looks and Cersei reflects that it’s a shame her beauty will be wasted on “that gargoyle.”  Sansa’s confused because apparently, these asshole Lannisters haven’t told her that they’re making her marry Tyrion yet.  That’s when she’s given her wedding cloak and Cersei tells her what’s happening.

She realizes that Dontos was right.  Improbable, but true.  All these people care about is her claim to Winterfell.  Sansa tries to refuse, but Cersei tells her that there’s nothing she can do about it, it’s going to happen, so might as well be dignified about it.  She tries to run, but when that doesn’t work, she decides to submit.

Joffrey is going to be the one to give her away.  Of course, he’s a total dick about it and taunts her about it.  Tyrion interrupts to take Sansa aside and speak with her.  He apologizes for the way this is going down and finally they go to the altar.  Most of the King’s Landing notable are there, but the Tyrells are conspicuously absent.  They must be pretty pissed.   There’s an awkward moment as Tyrion is too short to pin the cloak on her and she refuses to kneel.  Good for her!  In the end, Tyrion is forced to use Dontos as a stool while the whole audience laughs.  She winds up feeling a bit guilty when she sees how humiliated Tyrion is.

The reception isn’t too lavish.  There are only about fifty guests.  Among them are the Tyrells.  They have the right idea.  Wedding ceremonies are very boring.  Best to skip straight to the reception and get some food and booze.  They all give her the cold shoulder now that they can’t get their greedy little thorns on Winterfell.  Although Margaery does give her a sad, sympathetic look.  The feast isn’t very fun, but Sansa dreads the bedding more.  The bedding is a Westrosi tradition in which the guests tear the clothes off the newlyweds and then listen to them consummate the marriage while shouting dirty stuff outside the door.  Yikes.

Tyrion, also miserable, is not willing to dance with her.  Instead, Joffrey and Margaery kick off the dance portion.  Finally, Garlan Tyrell, one of Margaery and Loras’ older brothers asks her to dance.  Garlan is very sweet and tries to reassure her.  He tells her Tyrion will make a better husband than Loras, but doesn’t mention the gay stuff.

Later on, Joffrey dances with Sansa and he continues to be the absolute worst.  He threatens to rape her, talking about how kings can be with anyone they want.  Of course, in true rapist fashion, he doesn’t use the word.

Soon after, Joff announces that it’s time for the bedding.  But Tyrion says it isn’t going to happen.  Joffrey starts to tantrum about it and Tyrion, who is pretty drunk at this point threatens to geld him.  Glorious!  Tywin steps in to smooth things over and says they can dispense with the bedding if Tyrion admits he was totally just kidding about Lorena Bobbitting his nephew.  After some more embarrassing family antics, they go off to the bedchamber, just the two of them.

In an absolutely excruciating passage, they both get undressed.  Tyrion gets a boner but he ultimately decides he can’t have sex with a thirteen year old who is terrified and only doing it out of duty.  According to the incredibly low bar set by Westrosi men, I guess he deserves a not a rapist cookie.

Deaths in this recap: I’ll go with five.  Most of the Great Masters aren’t named.  There’s Kraznys and four named Grazdan.

Cumulative deaths: 100.  I feel like there should be something to commemorate this milestone.  Imagine a fireworks display?

Maybe deaths in this recap:  0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  8

Betrayals in this recap: 1.  Jon violates his NW vows by doing Ygritte.

Cumulative betrayals: 29

Incest incidents: 0

Cumulative incests: 26

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Insight Brewery’s Sunken City beer

Chapters:   Daenerys II, Bran II, Davos III

 

Daenerys II

Dany is in the Plaza of Pride.  It has a fountain in the center.  It kind of sounds like something that would be in a park in a major city’s gayborhood.  But, no.  It’s nothing like.  The fountain has  giant harpy of Ghis on it.  Old Ghis was an old time slave empire from thousands of years ago that got defeated by a newer, better, more dragony slave empire.  That is, Valyria.  Now that Valyria is gone, the region of Slaver’s Bay has sort of re-formed Ghis.  Except they still speak Valyrian, the language of their conquerors.  This is only important because Dany is meeting with an Astapor slaver named Kraznys about purchasing soldiers called the Unsullied and is playing dumb and pretending she can’t speak his language.  He’s having a slave girl speak for him.  We’ll later learn her name is Missandei, so I might as well just start calling her that now.

Kraznys keeps referring to Dany as a Westrosi whore, savage, and pig and just generally being a giant asshole and Missandei keeps having to make up things to tell her that are more diplomatic.  Dany asks about how Unsullied are trained.  It’s pretty horrific.  They’re slave boys selected at the age of five for size, speed, and strength.  They train so rigorously that only one out of three boys survive.  Dany is informed that the Unsullied brought out for inspection have been standing in the blistering heat for about a day and a night without food or water and would stand there until they dropped dead if they had been ordered to.  Arstan Whitebeard, who is accompanying her is pretty disapproving of the whole thing.  This causes Kraznys to declare that he smells of piss.

Oh, and did I mention that the Unsullied are all eunuchs?  Not even just eunuchs, they take their penises too.  Because forcing children to be raised into becoming members of a slave army wasn’t cartoon villain enough, the slave masters of Astapor mutilate their slave army too.  The reasoning is supposedly that they won’t care about maiming or death because they’ve already been maimed and they can’t go start a family or anything anyway.  It makes the Night’s Watch vows seem a little more forgiving, doesn’t it?  Maybe Jon wouldn’t be quite so emotastic if he knew other organizations impose celibacy a bit more strictly.

To prove the Unsullied capacity to give no fucks about maiming, Krazynys cuts one of them across the cheek and the Unsullied does nothing more than blink.  Dany says she’s gotten the point that they’ve got the courage to withstand pain.  But I guess that wasn’t the point.  Because Kraznys moves on to the next Unsullied and cuts his nipple off and throws it on the ground.  Turns out that the Unsullied don’t feel pain.  They drink a potion made with nightshade every day and it kills their capacity to feel.  That way they’re torture proof too.  This whole thing doesn’t make sense.  There is a disorder which causes people to be unable to feel pain and because they lack self preservation skills, they are always getting injured and frequently die very young.  Such a soldier would not be an asset in real life, but oh well.  I guess if I can buy the existence of dragons, I can buy this!

Anyway, Arstan is still skeptical and says there are other ways to tempt men than with sex.  But they are so thoroughly dehumanized that they don’t care about plunder either.  They own nothing but their weapons and they don’t even names.  They just draw a different color + creepy critter name each day.  For example, Red Flea.  It’s to remind them that they are vermin.  Wow.

But we’re not done with the horror just yet!  Krazynys also tells them that part of their training is to go buy an infant and kill it before its mother’s eyes to ensure there is no weakness left in them.  They also give them a puppy as a pet for a year and are required to kill it after a year with it.  Oy.  I need a damn drink.  Hold on…

Okayy.  I’m back.  Now that the Unsullied training has been described, it’s time to get down to business.  Dany asks how many he has to sell and Kraznys says it’s eight thousand.  Dany asks for Arstan’s council and he advises her not to do it.  She asks why, primarily so Missandei will hear and relay it to Kraznys later.  He says it’s because slavery is outlawed in Westeros and has been for thousands of years.  Having a slave army will harm her cause and bring dishonor to house Targaryen.  Dany says she will need to consider it carefully.  This causes Kraznys to go off on a misogynistic diatribe he think she doesn’t understand.  He talks about how women are pampered and stupid and can therefore make no decisions.  Then he talks about how much he would like to fuck her after feeding her jellied dog brains, calamari, and puppy fetus.  I think Kraznys might be an MGTOW.   As if that wasn’t all icky enough, he offers to take her to the fighting pits.  They will take three boys, cover one in honey, one in blood and one in rotten fish, set a bear loose on them and wage over which one the bear will eat first.  For some strange reason, none of this appeals and she decides to go back to her own ships.

They journey through the city in a litter and it’s depressing as hell.  Everything is made out of red brick and there’s dust everywhere.  There’s creepy looking nobles parading around naked slaves.  It’s just a fucked up and creepy place.  Arstan continues trying to persuade Dany not to buy the Unsullied, but she feels she doesn’t have a choice.  She wonders why Jorah dislikes and distrusts him so much and decides it’s jealousy.  She thinks about how she didn’t want him or the kiss, and she makes sure to never be alone with him now, but for some reason, the kiss woke her libido up.  Yeah, I don’t know either.  Then she thinks about she was masturbating, Irri woke up and saw her and just randomly went down on her.  Wait.  How did this turn from a disturbing chapter about the horrors of slavery to an awkward soft core porn?

Back at the bay, she yells at Jorah for taking her to such a vile sty but decides that as horrible as it is, she has to find a way to buy the Unsullied.  She visits the dragons, who have been restless all day.  Jorah comes to talk to her, saying that if she’s going to take the Iron Throne, she’s going to have to spill a lot of blood and the Unsullied might be the way to go about it because they never rape and pillage the way other armies do.  She wonders why the Dothraki have never sacked Astapor, which is pretty undefended.  It’s because they don’t want to face the Unsullied and because what would be the point?  You can’t carry off people to sell into slavery if there are no slavers.   She’s still conflicted because she wants to win, but she wants to be honorable like Rhaegar.  Not a psychopathic little shit like Viserys.   The chapter ends with Jorah saying one of my favorite lines.  It just sums up the whole story so well.  “Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought honorably.  And Rhaegar died.”

 

Bran II

On to a less depressing and horrifying chapter.  It’s time for a travelogue and perhaps story hour with Jojen.  The group is travelling in some remote mountain valley area.  There are no real roads where they are.  Just pine trees and lakes.  Bran is wondering where Osha and Rickon are.  And if you saw last week’s Game of Thrones, you too are probably like

I thought this chapter would be less sad!  But here I am, a page in and already getting depressed.

Moving on.  Meera is complaining about how she hates these mountains.  Bran points out that yesterday she was saying she loved them.  She says that is also true.  She loves and hates them.  This makes sense to Jojen, but not to Bran.  Jojen says “if ice can burn, then love and hate can mate.”  I’m not sure yet what the relevance is, but the burning ice stuff make me think of Jon Snow and his probable part Targ origins.

Bran is frustrated taking the long way and wishes they took the Kingsroad, but Jojen is determined to keep off the roads to avoid detection.  It makes sense, but the traveling is getting harder as the weather gets colder and the game is less scarce.  They never see any people and Meera wonders if anyone even lives there.  Bran says there are hill clans – once again I’m forced to try and talk about clansmen without thinking KKK – like the Wulls, Harclays, Knotts, Liddles, Norreys, and Flints.  The northern ahem, clansmen are cooler than the Vale uh, clansmen in my opinion, but that won’t really come up for another couple of books and the way my lazy ass updates this blog it’ll be a few years before we get to any further discussion.  Jojen wonders if they know they’re there and Bran assures him that they do.  He saw it while warging Summer.  The only person they met was when they sheltered from a storm in a cave and met a nice man, probably a Liddle, who fed them. The Liddle misses the days of the Starks in Winterfell and complains of squid in the Wolfswood and Flayed Men asking about strangers on the Kingsroad.  It seems likely this Liddle knew who they were and was warning them.

Back on the not-road they reminisce about Old Nan and wonder what happened to her.  They talk about Hodor and how his name is really Walder, not Hodor.  Then Bran asks Meera if she knows any stories, and boy does she.  The tale of the knight of the laughing tree.  That sounds like an Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode, right?  She talks about a crannogman who wanted to go visit the Isle of Faces at the God’s Eye lake by Harrenhal.  No men go there because it’s where the mysterious Green Men live, but this lad wanted to go meet them.  He did meet them, but that’s not the point of the story and we don’t get to hear about.  This makes me sad because I really want to know more about the Isle of Face and the Green Men.

So the crannogmen wintered on the Isle and then in the spring went to visit Harrenhal.  A tourney was going on.  The king was there and so was the prince.  As were many other nobles.  It becomes clear that this was the tourney where Rhaegar won and crowned Lyanna the queen of love and beauty and then either abducted her, or they ran off together.  Some knights attacked the crannogmen (who is clearly Howland Reed) and Lyanna kicked their asses.  One of those knights was a Frey, because of course.  The knight of the laughing tree entered the lists and beat the knights who bullied him.  But he didn’t win the whole tourney because he vanished and the prince (obviously Rhaegar) ended up winning.  Meera refuses to elaborate more on what happened with “the wolf maid” and the Reeds were a bit puzzled that Ned never told Bran any of this story before.  Gee, I wonder why?

 

Davos III

Davos is sitting in jail still.  It’s surprisingly warm in the cells under Dragonstone.  Probably cause it’s an active volcano.  You just know this subject is going to come up again sooner or later.  Poor Davos had some kind of flu when he was first imprisoned, but Maester Pylos took care of him and he got better.  So, as far as prison in Westeros goes, he’s treated all right, but is stuck in there for a long time with no one visiting and the gaolers refusing to speak to him.  They are clearly keeping him alive for some reason and that may be worse than just letting him die.

Finally, one night Melisandre comes to visit.  She’s creepy as usual.  She threatens to put out the torch lighting the place and it freaks him out because no one wants to be in a pitch black and rat infested cell.  She thinks this means he has come to love the fire and would therefore be amenable to R’hllor worship.  She compares herself to the torch, created to keep the darkness at bay.  She offers to him, maybe to create another shadow baby?  I’m not really sure.  Anyway, he wants none of that.  She preaches the word anyway, her ruby 1990’s style choker all aglow, but it doesn’t get through.  So she asks Davos why he wanted to kill her.  He says he’ll tell her if she tells her who betrayed his plans and Mel claims she actually saw his purpose in the flames.  She says the defeat on Blackwater was to teach Stannis to have faith, that it wouldn’t have happened if he brought her with to battle.  She keeps yammering on and on about how Stannis is the Lord’s chosen.  Blah blah blah.  Then she swoops off into the knight without even waiting to hear why Davos wanted to kill her.

Three days later, Davos hears the sound of a struggle and some pleading.  And the current King’s Hand, Selyse’s uncle Alester Florent is flung into the cell with him.  He’s in there for treason because he doesn’t think that Stannis can win and thought he should give up.  He very stupidly tried to send a letter with surrender terms to Tywin.  Davos knows this was idiotic and says he’d never make peace without Stannis’ leave.  I wonder if Melisandre saw this convo in the flames?

Well, some more uneventful set up chapters.  Not that they weren’t good!  But I forget sometimes how long it takes this book to turn into a dramatic emotional roller coaster!

Deaths in this recap: 0  Back to no deaths.  For now…

Cumulative deaths: 95

Maybe deaths in this recap:  0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  8

Betrayals in this recap: 1.  Oh, Alester Florent.  You are so, so stupid.

Cumulative betrayals: 28

Incest incidents: 0

Cumulative incests: 26

A Helping Hand

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Absolut Ruby Red and soda

Chapters:  Catelyn III, Jaime III, Arya IV

 

Catelyn III

The chapter starts with the corpses of two little boys being brought into the hall in the middle of the night.  It doesn’t specify who they are just yet.  They’re cousins.  A blonde and a brown haired one.  They remind Cat that Bran and Rickon are “dead.”

We finally find out who they are.  Tion Frey and Willem Lannister.  Is Willem the blonde one?  Because I’m just thinking of this Willam.

I think Willam from Rupaul’s Drag Race (returning in 9 days whoo hoo!) is such a Lannister.

Anyway.  Tion and Willem were Robb’s hostages and they’ve been murdered.  It was a big ol’ murdery conspiracy.  Eight men were involved.  Two killed by Robb’s more loyal men, one critically wounded and the other five were captured and dragged into hall.  The ringleader is Lord Rickard Karstark who lost his two sons in the battle of the Whispering Wood.  The one where Jaime was captured.

Robb scolds Rickard.  Rickard basically calls him a hypocritical mama’s boy for it being considered treason to kill Lannisters but not treason to free them.  I guess that’s a fair point but did he really expect Robb to execute his own mother?  Then Rickard starts taunting Robb about how he deals with treason by just scolding and then forgiving.  Oh shit.  Now it’s on!

At this point, the Blackfish comes running into the hall from out in the rain.  Robb wants to see him privately along with Edmure and Cat so he orders Greatjon Umber to keep Rickard imprisoned and hang the other seven.  Yes.  He’s going to hang men who are already dead because he doesn’t want them fouling his Lord Uncle’s rivers.  Of course, you may recall from ACOK that the Trident is so full of corpses that the water tastes like  death so I don’t know what two more dead bodies will do.  Much better to foul the air with a rotting body I guess!  One of the captives begs for mercy because he didn’t do anything but watch the murders.  So Robb orders him hung last so he can watch everyone die before him.  Awww.  Robb is all growed up!

In the private meeting, Blackfish tells them that all of Karstark’s men have fled.  Rickard promised his daughter to anyone who brings him the head of the Kingslayer so it looks like the number of people hunting Jaime has grown by quite a lot.  Three hundred men about.  Catelyn so far has been spending the chapter sort of stewing in her guilty feelings.

Edmure says that word of the deaths of the boys can’t leave Riverrun.  We find out that Willem was Kevan Lannister’s son and Tion was the son of Genna Frey, Tywin and Kevan’s sister.  Genna rules.  But we don’t get to meet her for awhile yet.  Robb channels his dad a little bit and doesn’t think that’s terribly honorable or ethical.

Talk turns about what to do with Rickard.  Robb knows he has to execute him but he’s concerned what his remaining son Harrion who is with Roose Bolton at Harrenhal will do.  Even if Harrion is secretly happy to be the new lord of Karhold, he can’t be anything but anti-Stark publicly or his men won’t forgive him.  Edmure suggests pardoning Rickard and keeping him hostage even though he killed two of his men, Delp and Elwood getting too Willem and Tion.  Catelyn is sort of on board because they are in need of allies.  The Freys haven’t responded to their back up offering of Edmure and Lysa isn’t sending aid.

Poor Robb has a bit of a frustration tantrum and we remember he’s still just a teenage boy.  He gives off a kill list that’s kind of like Arya’s.  But he does calms down again and declares that Rickard must die in order to preserve Robb and house Stark’s honor.

The execution happens the next morning.  Right in front of the corpses of his hanged co-conspirators.  Rickard will not be hung.  He will be beheaded.  I don’t know why.  For the drama, maybe?  Because the Starks and Karstarks are distant cousins, Rickard tries to tell him that if he does this he’ll be cursed as a kinslayer, but that doesn’t sway Robb at all.  It took only one blow to kill but three to take the head off and there’s blood just everywhere.  Afterwards, Blackfish rides off to see if he can round up any of the escaped Karstark men.

That evening, Jeyne comes to visit Cat.  Robb is really depressed, she doesn’t know what to do about it and she wants some advice.  She tells him just to leave him be and he’ll reach out to her eventually.  Just like Ned would.  It’s a kind of nice little bonding moment.  Until it gets awkward that is.  Cat reminds her that Robb needs and heir and Jeyne says they’ve been trying sometimes twice a day and she’s drinking some fertility brew her mom is making her.

 

Jaime III

Jaime, Brienne, and Cleos are taking a similar Riverlands tour of death and destruction we saw in the Arya chapters from the last book.  Although, predictably Jaime is being an insensitive asshole about it and singing songs and making quips.  Since Jaime is bored with them he starts thinking creepy and twincesty thoughts about Cersei and about how he couldn’t bear to be apart from her.  As children they would sneak into each other’s beds and spoon.  They started at a very young age to imitate that horses and dogs they saw mating.  One time their mother’s maid caught them and until Joanna died giving birth to Tyrion, she kept them separate at night.  Ewwwww.  He starts fantasizing about openly marrying Cersei now that the twincest cat is out of the bag.  I think Twincest Cat is my new band name now.

Jaime, ever the contrarian, also decides that he will keep his word and return Sansa when he gets to King’s Landing.  Not because it would be the right thing to do.  But because he thinks it would be funny to keep his word when everyone assumes he will break it.

The series of douchey Jaime thoughts is finally interrupted when their party starts getting attacked by arrows.  Brienne is a badass and she shrugs off the fact that she has two arrows sticking out of her.  Jaime charges the shooters and Brienne has no choice but to follow.  The shooters flee into the woods.

They go back to find Cleos.  He’s dead.  Not from the arrows themselves.  He fell off the horse and smashed his head on the ground.  Jaime gives no fucks, of course.  He wants his horse, his clothes, and his sword.  Brienne objects to the sword part.  He takes it anyway and the two of them get into a sword fight.  Jaime is shocked that she’s stronger than even though she’s – gasp! – a girl.

Their fight is finally interrupted by the Brave Companions  AKA the Bloody Mummers.  These are the mercenaries that were working for Tywin and then Roose, depending on who was holding Harrenhal.  Brienne tries to bribe them to leave them alone but it doesn’t really deter them and the Noseless guy, Rorge who you may remember from Arya’s ACOK chapters threatens to rape Brienne.  The unnamed Dornish member suggests he anally rape her so he won’t have to look at her.  Nice.

The leader of the gang, Urswyck, who looks like a corpse makes sure Jaime knows he knows who he is.  Jaime tries to win him over by pretending that Brienne would be worth a high ransom and trying to trade on the previous working relationship with Tywin.  It’s then that the Dornishman, whose name is Timeon reveals the Mummers’ leader Vargo Hoat is working for the Boltons now.

After a short fight, Jaime and Brienne who are very outnumbered are beaten up and captured.  Jaime finally experiences some empathy for her as he’s pretty sure she’s about to be gang raped by them.   But then he has to go piss on that empathy by telling her she’s going to be raped, which wouldn’t have happened if he’d been armed without his hands shackled together because then they wouldn’t have been taken.  He recommends she don’t resist so she’s not hurt as badly.  Brienne asks if that’s what he would do if he were a woman.  Jaime says no, he’d make them kill him.

Jaime tries to bribe Urswyck to take them to Casterly  Rock instead.  He also tells him that Brienne’s home island, Tarth is called the Sapphire Isle, implying that she’s very wealthy even though that’s a lie.  He even offers him a knighthood.  Urswyck appears to be considering it, but then just slaps him instead.  Nope.  To Harrenhal they go.

Once they get to the camp where Vargo is, the lie about the sapphires does save Brienne from being too badly hurt.  Jaime on the other hand (hah!) not so much.  Vargo wants to send a message to the Lannisters.  So he cuts off Jaime’s hand!  Ouch!

 

Arya IV

The BWB and Arya and Gendry are travelling along.  Every time they meet people they hear a different tale about how Beric Dondarrion was killed.  Lem keeps reassuring people that he is not really dead.  The outlaws chat about ransoming Arya at Riverrun and Arya wonders if Robb and Cat will even want her back after all she’s done and after she got that janky boy haircut.  Just a little heart wrenching moment dropped into a witty banter scene for us.

The group gets to a place called High Heart.  It’s a really high hill, sort of reminiscent of the Fist to me.  It was sacred to the Children of the Forest.  Tom O’Seven even says that some of their magic lingers there.  The smallfolk in the area shun it because they think it is haunted.  They make camp there for the night.  Arya wakes up to find that the outlaws are chilling around the campfire with this little old lady.  She’s talking about her dreams, which all reflect what did or will happen in the story.  I’m lazy to type it all out, but it can be easily found online.  She makes Tom sing her a song before she’ll use her creepy psychic powers to tell them where Beric is.  He moves around a lot to avoid capture.  Arya tells Harwin about the torture she experienced and witnessed from the Mountain and his lackeys and he says the BWB will make them answer for their crimes.  You kind of have to like the BWB, even though they kidnapped Arya.

The next night, they get to Acorn Hall.  Lady Smallwood is an ally to the BWB.  When she finds out that Arya is highborn she makes her take a bath and dress in girly clothes.  Arya wants to tell her “I’m not a Lady, I’m a wolf” but doesn’t.  Gendry laughs at her when he sees her new getup.  At dinner, during the gossip exchange.  Arya and the BWB find out about the Karstarks looking for Jaime, although they don’t know why just yet.  They did find out that Catelyn is the one who set Jaime free though.

Later on, Gendry and Arya wrastle after he mocks her again for looking like a lady.  It’s super cute.  The dress is soiled.  The chapter ends a bit anti-climatically as Lady Smallwood finally gives her some of her son’s old clothes to ride in and the gang departs.

Deaths in this recap: 6.  Rickard Karstark.  Tion Frey.  Willem Lannister.  Edmure’s men Delp and Elwood, Cleos Frey.

Cumulative deaths: 95

Maybe deaths in this recap:  0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  8

Betrayals in this recap: 1.  Rickard Karstark killing the prisoners against Robb’s wishes.

Cumulative betrayals: 27

Incest incidents: 1.  This was thought, and not deed, but Jaime’s thoughts were creepy enough that I’m going to have to count it.

Cumulative incests: 26

The Bachelor: Westeros

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Absolut Ruby Red and soda

Chapters:  Arya III, Samwell I, Tyrion III

Arya III

It’s been about three days of being forced to ride with the outlaws and Arya thinks they’re lost because the moss is growing the wrong way.   Gendry points out that Lem and Tom probably know where they’re going.  Arya’s annoyed with him, but Genry’s her only friend now.  It turns out that Hot Pie decided to stay behind at inn to become a baker.  This was a really unceremonious way to say goodbye to Hot Pie, who I will dearly miss.  He could have at least given Arya wolf bread or something!

Arya tells Harwin of Hullen’s death and of some of the things that happened to her since leaving King’s Landing.  She doesn’t talk about Jaqen H’ghar and the iron coin and she doesn’t tell him about the stableboy and Harrenhal guard that she killed because that would be kind of like telling her father and she couldn’t bear the thought of that.  There they are!  There are the tears I was looking for, GRRM.  Knew you’d come through!

Harwin tells Arya a little bit about happened when they were sent to deal with Ser Gregor.  It turns out it was a trap meant for Ned.  Tywin was going to have him killed.  But Jaime didn’t know about it and his impulse control issues had him attack and injure Ned so he couldn’t go.  So, the unlucky men Ned sent in his place got attacked instead.  Most of them died and others scattered.  Beric Dondarrion was gravely injured with an open chest wound.  The way Harwin tells it, he did eventually pull through after medieval anesthesia (boiling wine) and Thoros’ prayers to the Lord of Light.  After hearing later on that Robert was dead, they became outlaws.

The weather is shitty.  It’s been raining constantly.  Luckily, the Brothers Without Banners (BWB) has friends everywhere among the smallfolk and they get food and shelter for the night.  It is there they learn that Jaime has “escaped” custody at Riverrun.  They all have a good laugh about Beric hanging him.  But only after a trial, of course!  Beric always gives their enemies a trial.

The next day, the sun is finally out.  Arya can see for sure that they are in fact going south which is not the way to Riverrun.  Lem breaks the news that they are not going to Riverrun.  They are taking her to Beric, who will be the one to decide what to do with her.  So Arya does what Arya does.  She runs off on her horse to try and escape.  A chase ensues but Harwin catches up to captures her.  She says “I thought you were my father’s men.”  Harwin reminds her that Ned’s dead and he now belongs to Beric and the BWB.  And Arya grows more cynical than before.   She pretty much can’t trust anyone.  She agrees to ride peaceful and adds the “for now” in her head.

Samwell I

Here it is.  This is one of my favorite chapters.  I’ve even had nightmares based on this chapter and I don’t scare all that easily.  Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m in Minnesota and it’s very much White Walker weather outside right now.  It’s probably going to be tough to recap because it jumps around in time so much, but I’ll do my best.

Sam’s trying to walk.  It’s been snowing pretty much constantly and he’s very tired.  I can’t say I blame him.  I hate walking the couple of blocks from the bus stop to home in the winter and that’s with no ice monsters and reanimated corpses chasing me.  His weight makes walking even more uncomfortable and awkward.  His sword belt especially has to be adjusted all the time.  But at least he has a couple of knives, including the dragonglass dagger, even though he lost his sword at the fist.

By the way, can you even believe that GRRM makes us wait about 200 pages after that pants shittingly scary prologue to see what happened to the NW at The Fist and when we finally get that chapter, we have to read about how it’s hard to walk in the snow when you’re fat for a couple of pages?  That’s so George!

Anyway, he’s stumbling and crying but he can’t stop.  Because if he stops, he’ll die.  About fifty men escaped The Fist but the WW and/or their wights are still following them.  Picking them off on by one as they get separated from the pack.

He’s trying not to think about what happened, but it’s coming back to him.  As he prays for The Mother to have mercy, he remembers Maslyn crying for mercy as a wight nearly decapitated him.  The Seven have no power beyond The Wall.

Sam eventually trips on a root and falls down.  It’s enough to finally make him give up on life.  He’s about ready to just lie in the snow and freeze to death.  He starts thinking about the start of the attack.  Unlike in the show, Sam did get the ravens off with notes he had prewritten just in case.  After that, he packed up some dragonglass and that old horn that had also been buried in the NW cloak over by The Fist.  Mormont commands him to stay with the ravens while the others shoot fire arrows at the approaching wights.  Things go from bad to worse all around him as the wights, which include not just humans but a bear and a giant get inside the ringwall.

The lovely memories are interrupted by Grenn trying to get him to stand up and keep going.  One of the NW men carrying a torch advises Grenn to just leave him.  The torch bearing brothers are the ones forming a circle around the NW column.  The fire keeps the wights and the Others away.  Once the guy with the torch passes, Grenn and Sam are outside of the protective fire circle and they are very vulnerable.  But then Small Paul, who also has a torch offers to help get Sam up.

Sam starts thinking back to the attack at the Fist again.  It turns out that although he had gotten off the initial messages, he forgot to send any of the other, more detailed ones.  So kind of like the show after all.  Whomp, whomp.

From here, the memories get a little more chaotic.  The upshot is, several of the NW men, including Commander Mormont do escape, although several of the horses run away and they have to fight through hordes of wights on the slope of the fist to do it.

Back in the present, Paul is literally carrying Sam and the two of them and Grenn are starting to fall behind.  Finally, they can’t see any of the other torches except the one Grenn is carrying.  They’re all alone.

Well.  Not quite alone.  Because oh shit, here comes an Other.  On a dead horse.  The Other is pretty bad ass.  It dismounts the horse and his feet don’t even break through the snow.  His sword slim and milky white with blue glowiness and the armor ripples with the Other’s movements.  Grenn threatens it with fire, but the Other just cuts the torch apart and the flame extinguishes in the snow.  Oh, snap!

The Other stabs Paul and the weight of him causes the Other to lose his sword.  Sam takes this opportunity to stab the Other with the dragonglass and it fuck yeah!  It actually works!  There’s a sound like cracking ice and steamy blue blood is everywhere and finally it dissolved like the Wicked Witch of the West when Dorothy threw water on her.  Now they know what kills the Others and Sam is finally able to get motivated to move his ass.

Tyrion III

On a relatively lighter note, back in King’s Landing, a small council meeting is taking place.  Tywin is being all majestic and commanding.  Tyrion’s got Pycelle’s old spot and Pycelle is all meek and skinny and generally a mess.  Plus he has to sit next to Cersei.  That can’t ever be fun.  Tyrion’s starting to get back to his old sassy self and just doesn’t give a fuck about how pathetic Pycelle is.  Mace Tyrell and his bannerman Paxter Redwyne and Mathis Rowan are also there.  So basically, the Tyrells now have a lot of power in how things are run.  Rounding out the gang is Kevan Lannister and of course, Varys and Littlefinger.

Varys brings tidings from the war.  Randyll Tarly attacked Robett Glover and some other northerners and won.  Lord Helman Tallhart is reportedly dead.  Redwyne is apparently some sort of irritating suck up and loudly cheers the victory, but Littlefinger points out that Robb himself is still unbeaten on the field.  Tywin is certain that Robb will leave to go north and take it back from the Ironmen, so the plan is to gather the remaining Lannister forces and attack Riverrun.

The council discusses whether or not to accept Balon Greyjoy’s peace terms, which would include acknowledging that he is king of the Iron Islands.  They also talk about the issue of Lysa Arryn who is a threat if nothing else, because she hasn’t gotten the Vale into the war and their forces are all still alive and strong.  Tyrion wants to take some men and attack the Vale, but Tywin instead sends Littlefinger to go fuck the problem away and make Lysa his consort and the Lannister’s ally.  With LF gone, Tyrion is made Master of Coin.  It’s decided to do absolutely nothing about the Greyjoys for the moment.

At this point Tyrion realizes there’s something else at work that Tywin is not saying.  He remembers all those important letters and wonders what it is in the works.

But talk moves on to the ridiculously extravagant Kardashianesque wedding that’s being planned for Joffrey and Margaery.  Pycelle announces that three hundred Dornishmen are coming for the occasions.  Mace is not happy about this.  We learn that there’s centuries long anonymity between Dorne and the Reach and constant border wars.  Plus the Dornish prince Oberyn Martell AKA the Red Viper had crippled Mace’s son in a tourney.  But it must be accepted.  The Dornish will take a small council seat as part of the agreement to support Joffrey rather than any of the other claimants to the iron throne.

After some kind of boring business, Varys offers up some other assorted rumors.  A kraken (real one, not a Greyjoy) has been spotted off the fingers and there is news of dragons hatching.  Tywin is not interested.  They move on to discussion of the still missing Tyrek Lannister.  They also discuss what to do with the deserters from the battle of Blackwater.  Tywin wants all their knees broken.  Tyrion tries to convince him to send many of them to the Wall instead.  But Tywin sees the Wall only as something that defends the North from the Wildlings so he doesn’t want to send anyone there.

After this, Tywin sends everyone away but the Lannisters.  Tyrion doesn’t trust Littlefinger and doesn’t think Tywin should either.  Cersei has to disagree.  Tywin gets all pissy about the squabbling and of course, Kevan has to take up for Tywin.  He thinks LF is a better match for Lysa than the various Vale men who have no allegiance to the Lannisters at all.  Kevan also says that LF came to him and snitched on the Tyrell plot to marry Sansa off to Willas.  Cersei of course wants to go hulk smash.  Tywin wants to cut them off by making other marriages first.  He declares that Cersei will be married to Willas unless she can come up with a better option.

Tyrion’s too busy laughing at Cersei’s impotent rage to realize he is about to meet a similar fate.  Then it dawn on him.  It’s Sansa he will be wed to.  If they have the wedding before Joffrey’s the Tyrells can’t really do anything to stop it.  He objects on the grounds that it’s cruel to force this marriage on her, but of course Tywin does not give one single solitary fuck about Sansa’s happiness and the marriage gives them potential control of Winterfell.  Tyrion is starting to warm to the idea of having Winterfell if he can’t have Casterly Rock but there’s the little matter of Robb.  This is when a chillingly unconcerned Tywin tells him all about how Robb has married Jeyne Westerling.  So it’s settled.  Tyrion and Sansa will marry.  Marriages, marriages everywhere!  Chriss Harrison and ABC would be so proud.

Deaths in this recap: 3.  Finally!  Some blood!  There’s Maslyn, Small Paul, and Helman Tallhart.  Many other NW men perished, but the only ones named as of now are those three.

Cumulative deaths: 89

Maybe deaths in this recap:  0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  8

Betrayals in this recap: 1.  Harwin has showed himself to be loyal, not to his liege lord Eddard and now Robb, but to Beric and the BWB

Cumulative betrayals: 26

Incest incidents: 0 

Cumulative incests: 25

Shrinkage.

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Pinot noir

Chapters:  Jon II,  Sansa II

 

Jon II

Jon’s now successfully infiltrated the Wildling camp and there’s motherfucking giants!  Riding mammoths!  Things are not looking so great for the NW.  They’re vastly outnumbered, who knows how many of them died in that Other/wight attack that was cruelly  cliffhung about 200 pages ago and the Wildling army has motherfucking Giants!  And Mammoths!  Hundreds of them!  The giants are about 10-14 feet tall and very hairy.  It looks like they’re wearing pelts, but they’re nude.  Just very, very furry.  They’re thick bodied and no necked.  Basically, they’re the ultimate bears.

Jon thinks of an old myth about Joramun blowing the Horn of Winter and waking giants from the earth.  I suppose this will be important later, but who knows?  The new entry into the series doesn’t seem to be coming anytime soon.  So.

One of the giants is older than the rest and rides the biggest mammoth.   His name is Mag the Mighty.  Jon asks Tormund if that’s the giant’s king and Tormund makes fun of him for being a “kneeler.”  Tormund is quite jolly and full of tall (I hope) tales about things like having sex with a woman who actually turned out to be a she-bear who looked like a woman and bit off half his penis.  Maybe the whole half member thing is a cover for Tormund having a smaller peen than he claims?  It’s like the north of the Wall version of George Costanza’s shrinkage.  This story gives Tormund a good segue into making fun of Jon for not doing Ygritte even though she totally wants to get up on his jock.  Unfortunately for Ygritte, Jon is trying to stick to his NW vows and keeps friendzoning her.  Nonetheless, she’s starting to wear him down and his boner, like winter, seems to be coming.

Thanks to Jon’s self inflicted sexual frustration, it takes him several pages into the chapter to start thinking much about his actual mission that Qhorin Halfhand gave him.  He’s not terribly good at gathering intelligence.  He thinks the Wildlings have all gone to the Frostfangs to find a weapon, spell, or power to break The Wall.  Something like the Horn of Winter perhaps.

Jon doesn’t particularly want to kill the Wildlings.  He’s growing to like them.  But he’ll do it and knows he might have to.  He takes note of how completely disorganized they are and believed that Mance is the only one he needs to kill.  They’re no army at all without him leading them.

But enough with boring military type stuff.  Ygritte’s come to chat Jon up some more.  She reminds him of Arya which makes it kind of disturbing that he’s sort of into Ygritte now.  No wonder there are Jon/Arya shippers.  Incest isn’t just for the Lannisters and Targaryens!

The rom com is interrupted by an eagle attack.  Yeah.  Some eagle just came out of nowhere and started attacking him in the face.  Luckily the eagle missed the eye before it flew off.  The eagle used to be Orell’s and Jon wonders if birds can hate.

They probably can!  But the implication is that it’s due to Orell being inside the eagle living his second life.

After that bit of drama, the Wildling party finally gets over to the Fist of the First Men.  It’s gotten increasingly cold and snowy as they approach.  Uh oh.  That’s never good.  They come upon a bunch of dead and mutilated horses.  There’s a bunch of ravens flying around at the Fist but Jon doesn’t know if they’re NW ravens or if they’re wild.  The snow inside the fist is pink from all the blood.  Jon wonders where Sam is and what he is.  The Wildlings being Wildlings, they’re looting the corpses.

Jon joins up with Mance who starts questioning him.  It’s obvious from the body count that Jon lied about how many NW men there were.  He’s forced to show their hand and tell Mance that Mormont was their leader and Bowen Marsh is in charge back in Castle Black.  Mance knows Marsh sucks and feels that the war is as good as won.

Still, even Mance is unsettled about the whole Others and dead people coming back thing.  He also has the sense to worry about Jon’s motives, I guess.  He sends Jon, along with Ygritte with Jarl and Styr and a few others to breach the Wall.  He’s sent away instead of killed because Ygritte implies that she’s caused him to break his vows.  This later compels her to get all creepy and rapey and pretty much tell him he owes her sex.  That’s where the chapter ends, so we’ll have to wait and see how far she’ll push that.

 

Sansa II

Sansa’s getting a makeover.  There’s no cutesy shopping mall montage though.  Cersei is the one who’s ordered that Sansa should get a new wardrobe that looks more womanly than childish.  The seamstress tells Sansa her bosom is as lovely as the queen’s and she shouldn’t hide it so much.  This leads Sansa to think about how now that she has boobs, she’s getting dirty old men staring at her.  I guess Westeros isn’t so different from the real world.  Ick.

Anyway, Sansa is understandably suspicious of the Queen’s sudden generosity.  She’s not yet suspicious of Margaery though.    She’s been hanging out with Margaery’s cousings Elinor, Megga, and Alla a lot.  They all actually sound like normal tween girls which is sort of refreshing.  Margaery has been taking Sansa hawking and calling her sister.  It’s all very sweet.

I unfortunately think we can all feel pretty sure this happiness isn’t going to last.

Sansa tries to convince Margaery that she shouldn’t marry Joffrey.  She’s concerned for her safety.  Margaery seems completely unconcerned though.  Is this naivete or is there a plan in place on the Tyrell side?  Time will tell.

It doesn’t occur to Sansa that there’s any kind of agenda with the Tyrell family, but she does worry that Joffrey will at some point hurt Marg and Loras will become Kingslayer part two.

She tells Ser Dontos, who she’s still meeting in the Godswood that she’s planning to marry Willas.  This is very distressing news for him.  Maybe because he’s a perv for her.  Maybe for other reasons.  He does make a point to remind her to wear that hairnet to the wedding.  He’s still planning on them escaping the night of Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding.  Sansa doesn’t want to escape.  She wants to wed Willas and move to Highgarden.  Dontos suggests they only want her because of her claim.  With Bran and Rickon “dead” she is heir to Winterfell.  Sansa denies it and afterwards stops meeting him.  But she doesn’t really forget what he said.  Yet she still fantasizes about a nice marriage to Willas and kids who look like her father, brothers, and Arya.  She’s choosing to remain optimistic.

Deaths in this recap: 0  Still none.  I remember this book being a lot bloodier!

Cumulative deaths: 86

Maybe deaths in this recap:  0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  8

Betrayals in this recap: 0

Cumulative betrayals: 25

Incest incidents: 0  Jon thinking of Arya and Ygritte as being a like is creepy but it doesn’t really count.

Cumulative incests: 25

 

A Giant in a Love Dungeon

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Pinot noir

Chapters:  Tyrion II, Arya II, Catelyn II

 

Tyrion II

Tyrion pays a visit to Varys.  He’s wearing peach silk but smells like lemons.  There’s some fan theories about sweet smells being associated with bad things happening or about to happen, so perhaps Varys is about to lie squared?  Peach-lemon kind of sounds like a failed Boone’s Farm flavor, so I won’t be surprised if something ungood happens.

Despite Varys’ penchant for colorful silks and sweet smells, his chambers are excessively barren and small.  He asks Tyrion if he’s mad at him for abandoning him after the battle and Tyrion says “it made me think of you as one of my family.”  I guess Tyrion is feeling back to his old snarktastic self!

Tyrion also confirms with Varys that Maester Pycelle has been restored to office.  Varys says it’s not Cersei’s doing, but rather the archmaesters in The Citadel in Oldtown.  They first said only they can unmake a Grand Maester, than they decided to name Maester Gorman – formally a Tyrell – as the successor.  This caused Tywin to hurriedly restore Pycelle.  Perhaps this is an early hint that the maesters are involved in some sort of conspiracy, or at least have an agenda.  As I’ve said many times before, GRRM kind of turns us all into tinfoil hat types.   Did Tywin play the maester Conclave?  Did they play Tywin?  Did neither occur and is Varys just playing Tyrion?  Option two is my favorite because that means a big, fun conspiracy is afoot.

Tywin has also restored the Kingsguard member Boros Blount.  This segues into Varys pointedly mentioning that Bronn has been asking lots of questions about Mandon Moore and wondering if Tyrion’s visit has something to do with this.  It seems nobody really liked Mandon, but he was from the Vale.  This makes me wonder if Lysa or one of the knights of the Vale were behind the attempted murder of Tyrion.  Cersei just seems like a much too obvious suspect, plus, she never implicates herself in her later POV chapters.

Tyrion denies that Mandon was the reason for his visit though.  What he wants is one last rendezvous with Shae before he sends her away because he can’t stand being near her but not being able to be with her.  Sigh.  This won’t lead to badness at all, will it?

They discuss how Tyrion is likely being monitored by Cersei and her people all the time.  Varys confirms that the Kettleblacks are definitely hers.  But we pretty much already knew that.  Varys advises that although more gold might win them back to Tyrion’s side, it probably won’t make a difference because they want to get more and better titles and Osmund Kettleblack wants to go where no non-Lannister has gone before, if you catch my drift.

BTW, when Varys is talking about all of this, t”he tip of his tongue runs across his lower lip like a shy pink animal.”  What.  The.  Actual.  Fuck?  Not the most pleasant imagery, is it?  I guess his GRRM is just warming up us up for the impeding arrival of the fat pink mast.

Tyrion, proving that ASOIAF is basically a soap opera for nerds, wonders if he can Cersei to do more than flirt with Osmund KB so that he can arrange for Tywin to walk in on them.  He can’t think of a way to achieve to this as of yet though.

Varys can’t stop giving Tyrion good news.  We learn that Janos Slynt has sons and they want to avenge his downfall.  Also Tyrion can’t go to brothels anymore because Tywin forbid it and all the brothel owners are buddies with Littlefinger.  Varys also says that Tywin has enlisted him to spy on Tyrion, but Tyrion figures that if Varys was going to get him killed, he would have done it by now.

Tyrion brings the topic back around to one truly important thing.  His penis.  They work out that the only safe place to have sexytimes with Shae is in Varys’ chambers.  Varys agrees to this and for some reason is not at all bothered by the prospect of other people fucking in his bed.

Later that night, it’s finally time for their romantic dungeon date.  Tyrion fancies himself up in his best clothes for the occasion.   Then he realizes that would be conspicuous and changes into everyday clothing.  He takes this opportunity to feel sorry for himself about how he won’t be tall and handsome, so it doesn’t matter what he wears.  I mean, I’ve had plenty of body image issues myself, so I was initially sympathetic.  But, yawn.  Does he have to this in every damn chapter?  Poor little rich kid.  Yep.  Definitely a soap!

On the way to Varys’ dungeon o’ love, Tyrion runs into Loras.  Tyrion pressures Loras into explaining why he’s chosen to become a Kingsguard at such a young age.  He mentions that he can’t be married and what about love?  Of course, he knows damn well about his relationship with Renly.  It’s a bit mean, if you ask me.  I guess compared to all the atrocities committed in this series, teasing someone about their dead significant other is peanuts.  But still.  It does bring about one of the best lines of the series.  “When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”  Loras is of course not so pleased that he’s being mocked so Tyrion thinks of him as a prickly lad (gee, I wonder why!) and takes off.

Varys greets Tyrion at the door dressed as a woman for some reason.  Then he disappears.  Wat?  The only light in the room is a candle that smells like jasmine.  Again with the smells.  Anyway, they do it and then Shae calls him My Giant a bunch of times.  She says she thinks his missing nose scar is fierce looking, not ugly.  Sure.

Tyrion tells Shae that he thinks it’s safest to send her away and she gets all cranky and mean.  She starts making fun of Lollys for being scared she will be raped again.  Wow.  Making fun of a disabled woman’s rape trauma.  Nice.  I can see why Tyrion loves her so much!   The mean girling doesn’t bother Tyrion.  What does bother him is that she starts talking about that singer Symeon and how they’ve talking.  They have sex again anyway and she tells Tyrion that the secret passage in Varys’ chambers is under the bed.  I wonder if this will be important later?  To nobody’s great surprise, his resolve is weakened and Shae will stay in the Red Keep.

Later, Tyrion sends for Bronn and asks him to find Symeon.  Sounds foreboding.

 

Arya II

Arya is digging for some vegetables in a dead man’s garden when she and Hot Pie hear some singing.  Arya doesn’t think it’s the Bloody Mummers, but she’s still a bit freaked out so she has HP wake up Gendry.  There isn’t really anyplace to hide unfortunately. The dead man’s cottage has been burnt down.  The horses, HP and Gendry hide behind the remains of the cottage while Arya decides to hide by a tree.  She plans to kill the singer if he bothers her.

Of course, the singer turns out not to be alone.  They can tell that someone is hiding there.  One of them refers to the other as “Archer.”  The three men make some quips and loudly conclude that the hider must be an outlaw because an honest man would come out and decide to start shooting arrows.  So they have no choice but to show themselves.

After some more bantering back and forth it is determined that the three men are Anguy the Archer.  Tom of Sevenstreams AKA Tom o’ Sevens and Lemoncloak AKA Lem.  None of Arya and the party want to give up their real names.   Actually, we don’t even know Hot Pie’s real name.  Arya is Squab and Gendry is The Bull.  Arya insists that despite still wearing the Bolton sigil on her doublet, they belong to no one.  Lem says they are King Robert’s men.

Hot Pie stupidly asks them how far it is to Riverrun.  Tom says it’s a long ways upstream and offers to take them for a meal at a nearby inn.  The innkeeper Sharna is supposedly good to children.  Of course, Arya doesn’t really trust the seeming friendliness.  I can’t say I blame her.  In fact, it’s made clear it’s an offer they can’t refuse when Arya refutes the accusation she’s been stealing from the garden and Tom has Anguy take out his arrows and demonstrate that he is very, very good with them.

Tom continues to want to sing.  It’s awfully suspicious that they, despite not seeming to be powerful lords or anything, have absolutely no fear of being captured or killed by anyone.  They seem like they must be more than meets the eye.  Arya’s pretty desperate to escape, but there doesn’t really seem to be a way.

The inn features a picture of an old king on his knees.  Clearly this is the same inn where Jaime and Brienne just visited.   Sharna is extra snarky and sassy, but she does seem to be more or less friends with the three men and is willing to give hot food to Arya, Gendry, and HP.  It’s revealed that Tom, Lem, and Anguy are in fact, outlaws and Sharna’s husband did set up Brienne and Jaime.  But of course, Brienne didn’t go the way he sent her, so the outlaws never found them.

Dinner is served.  The bread is subpar and Hot Pie starts dispensing baking advice.  Tom wants to buy Arya’s horses and offers three golden dragons.  Well, not real dragons.  A parchment with an IOU on it.  Arya is not having it at all but knows they’re going to take the horses either way so she tries to trade for the boat that used to be the transport for Brienne and Jaime. Everyone just starts to laugh at her.  She wants to scream but starts to smile.  That makes me think she’s going to go all Bad Seed on them.  But Gendry interrupts them all, screaming because riders are approaching.  Did the Bloody Mummers finally track them down?

Apparently not.  Tom is unafraid.  It’s just some fellow outlaws.  But Arya has PTSD from her Harrenhal experiences still and she breaks Lem’s nose with her ale tankard and tries to make a run for it.  But it doesn’t work.  She’s restrained and one of the outlaws turns out to be Harwin from Winterfell.  She forgets her usual secretiveness and begs him to recognize her.  He finally does and reveals to them all that she is Arya Stark.

 

Catelyn II

Cat is still all penned up with her dying father.  She hears the kennels erupt into a frenzy of barking and knows that they’ve seen and/or smelled Grey Wind.  Therefore, Robb has returned.  Edmure has been giving her the silent treatment like only a bratty younger sibling can, but she figures Robb will agree to see her.

Hoster is still muttering about Tansy and asking for forgiveness and Catelyn has heard bits of pieces of arguing so she knows something is wrong other than just Jaime evading capture.  Some people, possibly some Freys rode off in a huff, trampling a Stark banner in the process.  They never came back.  It’s also been raining for four days straight.  Geez.  Catelyn’s chapters are so cheery they always make me want to curl up in a fetal position under the covers.  But I can’t type like that, so I’ll just drink more instead.

It’s probably not the first and won’t be the last time that gif makes an appearance round these parts.

Indeed, Robb summons her to the Great Hall.  Robb is surrounded by a variety of his allies, so this isn’t going to be a personal and intimate chat.  He seems older and more kingly since she saw him last.  In addition to Edmure, Blackfish and assorted Northern and Riverlands nobility, there is a strange older lady and two young women with a seashell sigil she isn’t placing.  She’s worried that Robb will hate her, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  He’s more worried that he’ll be in trouble with mommy.

Rickard Karstark on the other hand, is still hating.  Greatjon defends her by making a sexist remark about mother’s folly and women being made all stupid and weak and lady brained.

Robb on the other hand, forgives her because “we” follow our hearts.  This may not be going anywhere good.  Robb dismisses almost everyone but her, Edmure and Blackfish, and the people that Cat doesn’t know.  They turn out to be Westerlings.  They’re an old, but poor house.  Lannister bannermen.  The important ones are Lady Sybell and her daughter, Jayne.  Jayne is…

Wait for it…

Robb’s new wife!  Now, if you’ll remember, Robb pledged to marry a Frey.  This explains why a bunch of Freys flounced out of Riverrun.  She’s annoyed that he manipulated with all that love folly follow our hearts drivel.  She’s also freaked out because he crossed Lord Frey.

Poor Jayne is more than a little bit intimidated by Catelyn.  I don’t know if there’s anyone reading this who only watches the TV show and hasn’t read the books, but Jayne Westerling is very, very different than Talisa and I’m still not sure why they made such a drastic and unnecessary change, it’s probably the only thing that made me go all book purist.  *takes some deep breaths*  Okay.  Over it.  Moving on.

The Westerling party retires to their bedchambers because they’re tired and nervous and the plot necessitates that Cat is able to speak freely to Robb for a bit.  She wastes no time in bringing up that he’s lost the Freys.  I know there are a lot of Catelyn haters out there, but not me.  I am so with her on this one.  He’s traded a thousand knights and three thousand foot soldiers for fifty measly Westerling men.  Only a dozen knights.

Robb’s explanation?

“I took her castle and she took my heart.”

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

Of course, that’s kind of just a euphemism for they had sex because he was sad about his brothers “dying.”  Maybe I should give him a pass.  BUT I JUST CAN’T.

Robb is stubbornly clinging to the delusion that Lord Frey will be reasonable if only Robb makes some good matches for his daughters.  Catelyn points out that he is absolutely not reasonable, but he doesn’t seem to want to hear that.  Another troubling development is that Grey Wind is all penned up because Jayne fears him.   Grey Wind doesn’t like Lady Sybell’s brother Rolph and  constantly bares his teeth at him.  Cat is smart enough to be very worried about that.  Robb, not so much.  She still remembers Summer fiercely protecting Bran.  She tells him to send Rolph away, but he dismisses her.  Gah!  He does finally promise to do it, but it’s just to appease her.  He doesn’t agree that the direwolf instinct is all that significant.

Time for a change of topic.  Not one that will be any happier I fear.  Blackfish pretty much tells Edmure he should shut the fuck up and stop boasting about his “victory.”  Robb had been trying to lure Tywin west and Edmure bungled it all up by fighting him.  If Stannis had been drawn away from King’s Landing, Stannis would have won the battle.

Oops.

Deaths in this recap: 0  Wow.  Still?  This isn’t the GRRM we know and love!

Cumulative deaths: 86

Maybe deaths in this recap:  0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  8

Betrayals in this recap:  1  Robb betrayed his cause by going back on his word IMO.

Cumulative betrayals: 25

Incest incidents: 0 

Cumulative incests: 25

 

The Shade of it All

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Pinot grigio

Chapters:  Bran I, Davos II, Jaime II

 

Bran I

We open with Summer’s perspective as Bran is warging him.  He displays some sort of psychic ability that the other Starks and their wolves don’t have.  At least not yet.  He/they senses that Shaggydog is near but getting farther away.  I’m not sure how I should write about the wolf dream segments.  If it’s he and she to represent the human character or if it’s they.  A World of Ice and Fire says that the warg and the wolf’s spirits are mingled.  So I don’t think it should be viewed as a possession of the direwolf’s body.  So maybe it should be they?

Anyway, Summer/Bran can feel the presence of all the wolves in the pack except for Lady.  Their tail droops when they think of her.  Sob!  For some reason this makes me sadder than when any of the strictly human characters are thinking about their dead or missing relatives.  It’s kind of like Independence Day when the only part that got me distressed was when it looked like the dog might die.  Does that make me a terrible misanthrope?

Bran/Summer find a pack of regular non-dire wolves eating a deer and they fight them and steal the prey.  What a total alpha move

They should write a pick up artist blog!

Or not.

Hodor says “Hodor” and his Hodoring pierces through the warg trance just as Bran/Summer is about to feast on deer entrails.  Hodor Hodors so insistently that Bran finally wakes up even though he’d rather eat.

The group is at the ruins of a tower.  Jojen is concerned because Bran was gone so long.  He keeps telling Bran to do specific tasks while he’s warging and he never remembers to.  Jojen make Bran say his name and title.  He’s concerned that Bran will get lost in Summer and he informs him that he’ll get no sustenance from the catches he makes while in Summer.  He’ll have to settle for eating the frogs that Meera catches.

Jojen and Meera start arguing about what to do next.  Jojen wants to move on.  Meera thinks they’ll be safe in the abandoned tower because it’s in the middle of nowhere.  Bran wants to go to Last Hearth to hook up with the Umbers or White Harbor to seek refuge with the Manderlys.  Hodor just wants to Hodor and he does it so much that Bran asks him to take it outside.  Jojen doesn’t think he’s an adequate teacher for Bran and that to truly become the Winged Wolf and fly, they need to find the Three Eyed Crow.  Bran is convinced and they make the decision to go north beyond the Wall.

 

Davos II

The ship Davos is on is arriving at Dragonstone.  He sees a wisp of smoke and is not sure if Melisandre is burning more people or if Dragonmont is restless.  Every time I read these books, I get more convinced that Dragonstone is an active volcano and will blow by the end of the series.

The typically kindly Davos is still consumed by thoughts of taking vengeance against Melisandre.  He wants to cut her heart and burn it.  Yikes!

Another very important fact is that he still has dia.  This time from eating too much rich food like lampreys and snails.  He’s also too weak to stand for a long time and keeps coughing up bloody phlegm.  I’m sure the vengeance campaign will be totally successful.

Davos has been getting filled in on the end of the Battle of Blackwater by the ship’s crew.  Including the bit about Renly’s shade being spotted.  That means his ghost.  But I guess because Renly was gay and was known to have great fashion sense, I just keep thinking about Rupaul’s Drag Race.

When Davos gets to shore he wants to see Stannis immediately.  The Captain of the ship informs him that nobody sees the Great and Powerful Oz Stannis.  He’s going to have to go see Salladhor Saan instead.

Salla invites Davos to work for him but Davos says his duty is still with Stannis.  Salla informs him that Stannis has changed.  He’s become a creepy hermit and will see no one but Melisandre.  There are rumors that there are fires burning down in the mountain and Stannis and Mel go to watch the flames together.  There are chambers so hot that only Melisandre can walk in them unburned.

Davos reveals his desire to stab Melisandre and Salla is like, get a grip.  He pretty much tells Davos to just go to bed because it’s dangerous to even talk about things like this.  Salla informs him that Melisandre has been burning anyone even remotely traitorous to Stannis.  Davos figured this was the case go.  He thinks his life was only spared by the Gods so he could kill Mel.  Salla, not wanting to get into trouble, pretty much tells him to GTFO.

Davos walks through the streets and it’s all abandoned and creepy.  He gets to the castle gate and whoever the gatekeeper is has heard Davos is dead and doesn’t know any of the people Davos knew from before.  Finally, Davos is admitted and taken around the back and into the garden.  He’s met there by Shireen, Edric Storm, and Patchface.  Patchface sings “Fool’s blood, king’s blood, blood on the maiden’s thigh, but chains for the guests and chains for the bridegroom, aye, aye, aye.”  Patchface is psychic and very creepy.   This is a prophetic song.  It’s not from Davos’ plot so he doesn’t think it’s all that interesting though.

I think this is the first time we’ve met Edric.   He’s one of Robert’s bastards.  His mother is a Florent, one of Stannis’ wife’s relatives.   Another Florent is afoot.  Ser Axell Florent.  He had been the castellan of Dragonstone last time Davos saw him.  He’s come to bring Davos to the dungeons.  Oh, the shade of it all.

 

Jaime II

Jaime, Brienne, and Cleos come upon a riverside inn.  It’s called the Inn of the Kneeling Man.  It’s named this because it’s the spot where the last King in the North (until Robb that is ), Torrhen surrendered to Aegon I.  This makes Jaime feel extra smug and douchey.  Business doesn’t exactly seem to be booming and the party is greeted with a crossbow.  It turns out the innkeeper is long dead and the inn is being occupied by some dude, his wife, and a teenage boy they’ve taken in.  The boy is the one with the crossbow.  They do agree to feed the trio.

The parties are exchanging news.  The not-innkeeper only has old gossip.  The last he heard, Stannis is outside the walls of King’s Landing.  He advises against the King’s Road and is skeptical that Brienne can protect her prisoner being just a woman and all.  This annoys her, of course.  She tersely tells him she’s planning on continuing to transport Jaime via the Trident.  But apparently, that’s no good either.  The river is plugged up with wrecked ships and the Lightning Lord and his outlaws are causing all sorts of trouble.  He recommends going over land and avoiding the main roads.

Brienne buys some horses from the innkeeper.  She has to strike off Jaime’s ankle chains in order for him to properly ride.  I don’t know why she doesn’t just make him ride sidesaddle.  Instead of staying the night, they start out that evening.  Against the advice of the not-innkeeper, Brienne leads them on one of the roads, fearing he might have been leading them into a trap.  Jaime’s sort of starting to admire her.  He thinks her ugly, but clever.  I guess that’s progress?

When they stop for the night Brienne and Jaime get to bickering again.  He wants to know why she hates him so much.  Oh, I don’t know.  Maybe because you keep calling her ugly and a wench?  Just a thought.  However, she says it’s because he didn’t keep his knight vows to protect the weak and because of that whole kingslaying thing.  She apparently doesn’t know about the twincest.

Jaime starts having some memories.  Tywin turned down all sorts of marriage offers for Cersei because he wanted to either wait for Elia to die and Rhaegar to become single or for Viserys to get old enough for betrothal.  Jaime on the other hand, was about to be married off to Lysa Tully.  At least, according to Cersei.  Who knows if that’s even true.  Cersei used this info to manipulate Jaime into becoming a Kingsguard so he could stay in King’s Landing and be near Cersei all the time.  Of course, Tywin mucked up their plans by resigning as Hand and taking Cersei back to Casterly Rock.

Of course, Jaime doesn’t tell her all of this.  He only uses the fact that they both have reps as kingslayers to mock her.  He doesn’t really believe her story about the shadow.  Of course, this just pisses her off even more.

That night, Jaime dreams about Aerys and the day he killed him.  He recalls sitting in the iron throne and waiting for someone to come along rather than proclaiming a new king.

Then Brienne kicks him awake.  Oh, the shade of it all!

Deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative deaths: 86

Maybe deaths in this recap:  0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  8

Betrayals in this recap:  0

Cumulative betrayals: 24

Incest incidents: 0 

Cumulative incests: 25

Still nothing new in the numbers.  Maybe next week!

 

Hello M’lady

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Chapters:  Sansa I, Jon I, Daenerys I

Booze in my flagon:  Pinot Noir

 

Sansa I

After much hype, Margaery Tyrell has finally arrived in King’s Landing and she has sent Sansa a dinner invite.  She’s pretty nervous because she wonders why the future queen would want to break bread with a traitor’s daughter.  She dreams up every bad thing that could possibly happen and then actually wishes the Hound was there.  That’s how I know she must really be traumatized.  You know KL is shit when a pervy guy with a burned off face and anger management issues is looking good.

The night of the dinner, Loras comes to pick her up.  Oh is she excited about that!  She tells him he looks lovely.  We learn from him the Lady Olenna Tyrell AKA the Queen of Thrones will be at the supper.  Yaaasss!  It’s a damn shame it took three whole books to meet her for the first time.

But before we meet Olenna, we get some more of Sansa prattling on about how pretty and well dressed Loras is.  She talks about the tourney where he gave her a red rose and he doesn’t so much remember.  Sansa is clueless and is maybe the only one in Westeros who doesn’t know about him and Renly so of course she talks about Renly.  That doesn’t go over too well, let’s just say.

Things get a little less tense when they arrive at the Tyrell quarters.  There are a whole bunch of other women and girls there, but the only one that counts is Olenna of course.  She’s very sweet to Sansa but does mock men a lot.  In fact I saw a thread over on the Westeros forums that was seriously posing the question of whether or not she is a misandrist.  That’ how I know she’s cool.  She makes fun of Renly for thinking that knowing how to dress makes him a viable king, says the Baratheons have queer notions (no, not that kind of queer) and blames it on their bit of Targaryen blood.  She makes fun of Loras saying that being able to knock men off a horse with a stick doesn’t make him wise and calls her son Mace the lord oaf of Highgarden.  All truths.

Then the Tyrell’s fool Butterbumps is summoned.  Butterbumps looks exactly as he imagine he might.  While he’s doing tricks involving juggling and chicks to distract everyone else, Olenna decides to have some real talk.  She tells Sansa that Mace is stupid for getting involved with the Lannisters and asks her to tell the truth about Joffrey.

Of course Sansa, not being as stupid as people think she is knows better than to be honest about it.  She just says a bunch of platitudes about how brave and comely he is.  Lady Olenna can tell she’s not exactly being forthright.  She demands cheese from the servant and the truth from Sansa.

I love her.

Anyway, Sansa’s kind of starting to slip and spill the tea on Joffrey,  She pleads to them not to make her tell.  So Olenna makes Butterbumps sing The Bear and the Maiden Fair because in the Red Keep, the walls have ears and this way they can speak freely.  She finally tells them Joffrey is a monster.  Of course, they don’t seem too terribly surprised about that.  Olenna offers to let her stay at Highgarden and get married.  Poor Sansa with her utter lack of gaydar thinks that means she’s going to marry Loras.

Cue the sad trumpet noise.

They actually want to marry her to Willas.  Which doesn’t sound too bad.  He’s the heir to Highgarder and supposedly a nice and not at all oafish person.  He has a bum leg, but other than that seems to be a catch.  Could things finally be looking up for Sansa?

It’s ASOIAF.  So probably not.

 

Jon I

When we meet up again with Jon for the first time this book, he’s arrived a the wildling encampment on the Milkwater.  Rattleshirt hasn’t exactly warmed up to him yet.  He warns him that Mance will know he’s a big fake and kill him and Ghost.  I guess Rattleshirt is the ASOIAF answer to the Wicked Witch of the West.

A notorious raider called The Weeper due to permanently watery eyes and some other wildlings greet the party.  They all walk through the encampment and Jon notices how disorganized and vulnerable it is.  He remembers Ned always telling him that nine times out of ten, discipline beats numbers.

The finally go into Mance’s tent.  There’s six people inside and nobody tells Jon which one is Mance.  It makes Jon feel a bit awkward.  There are two men who are clearly great warriors, so he presumes it to be one of them.  The earless warrior dude starts questioning Rattleshirt and asks Jon for his name.  Jon, more awkward than ever introduces himself and calls Earless “Your Grace.”

Everybody laughs at him.  It turns out the innocuous gray haired dude playing the lute is really Mance Rayder and he already knows Jon to be Ned Stark’s bastard.  It turns out Earless is Styr, the Magnar of Thenn.  The other warrior, a big bearded guy covered in chicken grease is Tormund Giantsbane.  There is a pregnant woman named Dalla who is Mance’s lady friend, her sister Val who looks like a Swedish supermodel or something, and Val’s fuckbuddy Jarl.

Mance gets rid of everybody so he can question Jon in peace.  He tells Jon how he recognized him.  He had been to Winterfell twice.  Once when he was still in the Nightswatch still when Jon was a kid.  The other time was during Robert’s visit.  He had joined Robert’s procession as a lute player in order to gain entry and check things out.  Cheeky.

Mance mentions guest right.  How it’s as old as the First Men and sacred as a heart tree.  Hmm…

Anyway, the point is, Jon, having eaten his food is safe under guest right at least for the night.  Like Lady Olenna in the last chapter, he wants the truth.  He wants to know why he’s in his tent.  To appease and flatter Mance and buy some time, he says he’ll tell why he turned his cloak if Mance tells why he turned his.  Mance tells some story about a red cloak made of silk from Asshai, but in a nutshell, he left because the NW hates him for his freedoms.  So Jon told Mance he was bitter about being a bastard and not being treated as well for it.  He knew an anti-establishment reason would sound good to Mance and it worked.  Jon is now in.

 

Daenerys I

Daenerys has somehow managed to herd the nervous Dothraki and their nervous horses into a ship and they’ve sailed from Quarth and are headed to Pentos.  Dany’s in a better mood than we’ve seen for awhile.  She likes the sea and likes watching her growing dragons fly and hunt.  They’re still pretty small though.  The size of small dogs.  She asks Jorah how big dragons can get.  Kind of sad that he knows more dragon lore than she does.  He says they can live many times as long as a man but Targaryen dragons were bred for war and died in wars a lot.

Whitebeard/Arstan comes up and tells that Balerion died at two hundred, was big enough to swallow an aurochs whole, and that dragons never stop growing throughout their lives (kind of like my hips and stomach).  Well they never stop growing as long as they have freedom.  If dragons are penned up, they don’t get quite as big.  I wonder why this Arstan guy knows so much about Targaryen dragons.  It seems like there’s some important info here.

Jorah doesn’t believe him because humans don’t have their growth stunted by walls.  I think the issue is more just that Jorah the fedora doesn’t like anyone else talking to his woman.

Daenerys asks Arstan if he knew her father and he said that he in fact did.  She asks about Aerys and also Rhaegar.  Arstan tries to be diplomatic about them when discussing Aerys’ ahem, volatile nature and Rhaegar being Arthur Dayne’s peer when it comes to sword fighting.  In what has become a recurring them lately, she asks for the truth.

He tells her that Rhaegar was actually a big old nerdy bookworm as a kid.  Until he found something in the scrolls he was reading that changed him.  What that was is a mystery, but it caused him to want to learn to fight.  He tells Willem Darry “It seems I must be a warrior.”  Rhaegar did become a competent fighter but it was not something he necessarily had a natural gift for.

Of course, Jorah the fedora is all jealous and pissy that Dany is listening to someone else.  He warns her that he probably isn’t who he says he is and is not to be trusted.

Later that night, Jorah visits her in the middle of the night.  She sleeps in the nude so has to wear her blanket to cover herself.  She was in the middle of feeding her dragons by charring meat over the fire and giving them the command “Dracarys” so they’ll spit fire at it and eat it.  This is where we learn that Dracarys means dragonfire in high Valyrian.  That’s probably a notable fact only to me because I named my cat Dracarys.

Jorah asks to speak with her in private.  I feel a creepin’ coming on!  She sends Irri and Jhiqui away.  Predictably, Jorah the fedora just wants to grouse about Arstan, Strong Belwas and Ilyrio Mopatis again.  He proposes a new plan.  He wants to go to Slaver’s Bay and obtain an army of Unsullied.  The Unsullied are slave warriors who have a reputation for being absolutely unshakeable.

Dany ends up liking this plan.  A lot.  She gets all excited by it and is getting dressed to go tell the ship’s captain Groleo to change course.  Then it happens.  He kisses her.  She tells him he shouldn’t have done that and he pretty much awkwardly proposes that they get married and become a dragonrider.

Hello m’lady.

 

Deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative deaths: 86

Maybe deaths in this recap:  0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  8

Betrayals in this recap:  0

Cumulative betrayals: 24

Incest incidents: 0 

Cumulative incests: 25

By the numbers, these charters weren’t terribly eventful.  They were heavy on backstory and foreshadowing though.

 

Secret Peen Leaches

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Chapters:  Arya I,  Tyrion I, Davos I

Booze in my flagon:  Cabernet Sauvignon

 

I know it’s been forever since I posted.  First I was without an internet connection for a while.  Then I moved and got a new job.  Then my laptop started crashing constantly because it was dying.   Ever since getting a new computer and finally getting around to reading the Dunk & Egg stories, my interest in doing these recaps again started to awake.  Just like the White Walkers stirring again after thousands of years sleeping in the ice.  But I was unmotivated because I figured nobody was reading it anyway.  Then a new commenter at WHTM asked me about my blog and said some kind words and it was just what I needed to get started again.  Thanks, Dave!

 

Arya I

Arya, Gendry, and the magnificent Hot Pie are fleeing from Harrenhal.  Wolves are howling in the distance and I just know that one of them is Nymeria.  Because nobody can disrupt my fantasy that Arya and Nymeria and Nymeria’s wolfpack will get together and kick some serious ass someday.

Arya knows that Bolton’s men will come searching for them eventually.  She’s thinking about Bolton and giving us the most beautiful mental image ever of leeches dotting Roose’s pasty flesh.  I’ve got to say, I prefer the TV show’s leech imagery

Arya proves to be both smart and a smartass when she makes the decision to ride through the first stream they come to in order to throw Bolton hunting dogs off the scent.  Those of you who have read ADWD will know that having Bolton dogs on your scent is not a fun thing.  She also is glad that Hot Pie has become too afraid of her to question her choices because if he makes his own choices, he’s sure to do something stupid.

Arya on the other is not afraid.  Even when they run into three wolves devouring a Bambi.  I wonder if this foreshadows Arya killing Tommen someday since house Baratheon has a stag on their sigil and while technically not a Baratheon by blood, he does still bear the name.  Or I’m reading waaay too much into things because this series has that effect on you.

The gang continues the Riverlands horror hellscape tour that they started in ACOK, riding past a burned village and a slew of hanged men who are now just bones because of rot and hungry wildlife.  This causes her to say her death list prayer for the first time in this book.  She adds fondling Jaqen’s coin to the ritual.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to fondle Jaqen’s coin?

When day breaks, Hot Pie asks where there going over a breakfast of bread and cheese.  Arya says they’re going north.  She uses cheese to point north.  I found that hilarious because cheese is funny.  And delicious.  Anyway, the actual important information in this exchange is that Arya’s plan is to get to the Trident and follow it to Riverrun and meet up with Robb.  She doesn’t trust Hot Pie to keep a secret so she doesn’t say why it is they’ll be safe there.  She thinks about how Gendry has a secret too, he’s just too much of a dumbass to know what it is.  There are no secret Gendry peen leeches in book canon, so she must be talking about his secret Baratheon bastard blood.

Wait.  Maybe the wolves devouring the fawn means that Gendry’s association with Starks will cause his ruin.  I hope not!

The party continues on.  This one time Arya sees a wolf pack on a distant hill.  She howls at them and the biggest one howls back.  NYMERIA SIGHTING!  NYMERIA SIGHTING!  Tell me that wasn’t a Nymeria sighting!

The boys are getting tired and cranky after only one day.  They start to worry that they’re lost.  They want to try and follow that river to get the Trident and argue with her for the first time.  But of course Arya wins and they continue on north.  Crossing non-Trident rivers as needed.

We’re starting to get into rambling travelogue territory.  Just a little preview of what’s to come in the Bran chapters and the Brienne chapters in AFFC.  Hopefully something happens soon.

They’re all getting cranky and tired.  Arya falls asleep on her horse.  Gendry finally convinces her they need to stop and sleep.

Finally some action.  Arya has a dream.  Not really a dream, of course.  She’s warging Nymeria.  She and her wolfpack hunt down some of the Bloody Mummers that are hunting Arya.  Doesn’t Bloody Mummers sound like a British term for underwear that have period blood stains on them?  Nymeria/Arya and the pack kill the Mummers.  They’re unnamed.  Unfortunately, two of the wolves are killed in the fight.  But Nymeria/Arya rips the arm off of one of them and shakes it.  So the chapter ends and finally we get some of the violence and bloodshed we read these books for.

Tyrion I

Tyrion wakes up all sick and dehydrated and confused.  You’d think being a Lannister, this means he has a hangover.  But, no.  Tyrion is a hot mess because he was almost killed in battle.

Bronn’s come to his bedside to mock his busted nose.  GRRM decides to describe the cut up nose meat as “proud flesh.”  That sounds more like a romance novel euphemism for penis than it does a sword wound, but okay.

Bronn reveals that Tywin has had him knighted and his now Ser Bronn of the Blackwater.  His sigil is a green chain on a smoke grey field.  This makes me wonder, would the sigil of a late 90s/early aughts emo kid be a silver wallet chain on a black denim field?

Bronn updates Tyrion on the battle news that we already know from having read ACOK.  He does confirm that Jacelyn Bywater, who heads the gold cloaks died.  Lannister loyalist Addam Marbrand has the job now.  We’ve learned that all of Tyrion’s mountain clan friends have been chased off home.  But Shagga has taken up residence in the Kingswood.  A favorite place for Robin Hood types.   Bronn also informs Tyrion that Alayaya has been released.  But Cersei had her flogged in the yard first.  Tyrion has promised to do to Tommen whatever Cersei did to Alayaya, but the Kettlebacks are now for sure Cersei’s and they retrieved him from Rosby and put him back in the queen’s care.

Thus this book’s arc of Tyrion and the rest of his family turning against each other completely is established.

Tyrion knows Bronn isn’t such a reliable ally anymore, but he still asks him to dig for info on Mandon Moore, the Kingsguard who tried to kill him.

Tyrion wants to go see Tywin so he has Bronn and Pod help him get out of bed and get dressed.  The journey to Tywin’s is humiliating and disconcerting.  Tyrion is too weak to climb stairs and has to be carried by Bronn.  There are also tents everywhere because the city is overrun by Tyrell men.  The Rose takeover has begun.

They run into Marbrand and he informs them that Tyrion’s cousin Tyrek who disappeared in the riots is still missing.  These were in the days before Amber alerts were a thing, so they’re probably not going to find.  I only bring it up because it’s discussed so often in the books.  So it’s probably some sort of plot or conspiracy.  Or ancient aliens.

When Tyrion enters Tywin’s lair, Tywin is even more of a cold asshole than usual and he promptly kicks Bronn and Pod out of the room.  This can’t be good.  Tyrion tries to play it cool and banters about the upcoming Joffrey and Margaery wedding, but Tywin isn’t playing along and wants to get straight to the point because he has important letters to write.  In retrospect, we know what those letters are about.  Shudder.  He says the most chilling line of the series “some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens.”

Tywin moves on to giving him a hard time about his decision to participate in the fighting.  Important war strategy shit is discussed.  Tyrion wonders why Tywin is pretty blasé about the Stark/Tully front.  But we know why.  Oh we know why.

Tyrion wants some gratitude and fatherly love, but of course Tywin is withholding it and mocking him for even wanting praise.  Finally Tyrion comes out and says it.  He doesn’t just want praise.  He wants to inherit Casterly Rock.  Tywin calls it Jaime’s birth right.  He’s in denial about Jaime being a Kingsguard, therefore ineligible to inherit.  Tywin says he’s never gonna get it.

As if that wasn’t enough terrible parenting, Tywin reveals that he blames Tyrion for killing Joanna in childbirth and spills out a torrent of insults at him.  Damn!

The chapter closes with Tywin saying that Tyrion is done with whores and the next one he finds in Tyrion’s bed will be hung.  Shae.  You in danger girl!

Davos I

Davos is stranded on a rocky island after being washed out to sea during the battle.  He starving, thirsty and has a mean case of diarrhea.  He’s started to resign himself to death.  But then he sees a sailboat approaching. He’s not sure he wants to flag it down and live because after the brutal death of his sons, he doesn’t know what he has to live for.

We get treated to a replay of the horrific inferno of Blackwater.  Why?  Because GRRM likes to traumatize I guess.  To make things worse, Davvos’ luck (AKA his severed fingerbones) is gone.

So pretty much, he wants to die.  But then, he remembers that Melisandre is the worst.  She is, in his mind, responsible for all the deaths.  Thoughts of vengeance make him want to flag down the ship.

The ship is manned by Lyseni.  Davos knows they’re Salladhor Saan’s men.  So when they ask who he serves, he answers “Stannis” and the crew takes him aboard.

And that was it.  A short, fairly uneventful chapter.  I always forget that as action packed and full of twists this book is, it starts a bit slow.

Hopefully I’ll get a new post up on Saturday.  It’s good to be back!

Deaths in this recap: 1 named character.  Bywater confirmed dead.

Cumulative deaths: 86

Maybe deaths in this recap:  0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  8

Betrayals in this recap:  5  All in Tyrion’s chapter.  Bronn is now Tywin’s, the Kettleblack triad has gone to Cersei and Tywin dramatically revealed just how much he loathes Tyrion.  Ouch.

Cumulative betrayals: 24

Incest incidents: 0  It’s been awhile, right?

Cumulative incests: 25

 

 

The Elliot Rodger of Westeros

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Chapters:  Prologue, Jaime I, Catelyn I

Booze in my flagon:  malbec

I was sick last weekend so didn’t feel up to blogging.  But now I will finally get to start recapping ASOS.  I’m already wondering how the hell I’m going to cover the RW…

Prologue

Our latest soon to be dead narrator is Chett.  He’s the worst.  You might remember as the zit covered Night’s Watch man who used to be Aemon’s steward before Jon got them to give Sam the job.  He really resents them now.

Chett’s new job is taking care of the dogs.  It’s really cold up near the fist lately and the dogs are uneasy.  They refuse to hunt.  Chett’s friend Lark the Sisterman is with him as is a big guy named Small Paul who seems to be developmentally disabled.  It is revealed that they plan to kill Lord Commander Mormont and run away somewhere south.  Chett doesn’t want to be killed by wildlings who are according to Thoren Smallwood’s rangings on the move and coming towards them.  He means to live.  I think we all know that means he’s about to die.  But how?

We learn a little about Chett’s backstory now.  His father caught and sold leeches in Hag’s Mire which is part of Walder Frey’s domain.  He stabbed a girl for turning him down for sex and got sent to the Wall for his crime.  See?  I told you he was the worst.  He doesn’t even think he did anything wrong.  Now he plans to go kill Craster and take over his creep.  Such delusion.  He’s basically the Elliot Rodger of Westeros.

Finally Chett and his friends return back to the Fist.  They encounter a bunch of men doing archery practice.  Including Sam.  Chett goes into a rage at the sight of him.  He really, really hates having had his job stolen.

The temperatures are falling even more.  The creepy feeling from the prologue of AGOT is starting to set in.  As the night falls, Dywen is commenting on how the forest is too quiet.  No frogs, owls or wolves to be seen or heard.

All of a sudden, Mormont calls for an assembly of all the NW brothers.  Mormont has been convinced by Smallwood to march on the wildlings.  The wildlings outnumber them but are ill trained and armed so Mormont seems to think a sneak attack will work.  Of course, what they don’t know is that Orell lives on his eagle and is spying all the time.  The whole group shouts out their vows together.  As their voices die down it gets creepy again.  The wind whistles and Mormont’s raven says “die.”

Later that night as Chett is waiting for the time to attack Mormont, Same and the rest to come it starts snowing.  The snow will ruin the plan but Chett just thinks fuck it, might as well murder Sam anyway.  Then even that plan is foiled as the sound of the horn rings out.  At first he thinks maybe Halfhand and Jon are back.  A single blast means brothers returning.  But then a second blast comes.  Two blasts means wildlings.

Then comes a third and final blast.  The ravens start going nuts.  Three blasts haven’t sounded in thousands of years.  Three blasts mean the Others are there.  Chett pisses himself and on that note the chapter ends and we don’t get to find out what happens for a good long while.

Jaime I

Jaime is pretty damn happy to be out of the dungeon.  In fact, “an east wind blew through his tangled hair, as soft and fragrant as Cersei’s finger.”  Ewwww.  Brienne is in a much more serious mood though.  Jaime is about as much of a jerk as you expected him to be before he became a POV character and he keeps thinking about how big and ugly Brienne is.  He even compares her to a cow.  Sigh.

He barely remembers his escape from Riverrun.  He was super drunk and Brienne, Catelyn and Cleos Frey had to do all the work.  He eventually passed out.  The deal is, Jaime has to find Arya and Sansa and bring them back safely to Catelyn and he also had to swear not to take up arms against the Starks/Tullys anymore.

Jaime is asking to have his chains off but Brienne is not having it.  He calls her wench which she doesn’t like.  They banter for awhile and Cleos tries and fails to get Jaime to be nice.  Cleos is the son of Genna Frey nee Lannister who as we’ll see later is awesome and Emmon Frey who is a big loser.  He’s very weak willed and afraid of Tywin.  That’s why Cleos, despite being a Frey is team Lannister.

Now Jaime is remembering that wacky time he defenestrated Bran.  He kind of regrets it.  Not because of empathy or anything.  Because it’s caused him a lot of trouble.  Even Cersei wasn’t pleased about it.  This is why Jaime doesn’t think that Cersei could have been the one to send that catspaw after him.  He also thinks she would have sent Jaime if he wanted the boy dead.  So who did send him?  Maybe we’ll find out later.

Jaime has Cleos shave off his hair in hopes that he won’t be recognized.  I’m glad they didn’t do that in the show because bald, bearded Jaime would have looked a bit Walter White for my taste.  He also has a bunch of louses that have to be picked out.  Ew.  Jaime sees his reflection and thinks Cersei will hate the fact that he doesn’t look as much like her now that he’s bald and looks a gaunt mess.  That.  Is.  So.  Fucked up.

They are sailing down the river and the countryside is all deserted and sad.  Usually the Trident is bustling.  One of my favorite things about ASOIAF is that GRRM makes sure to include the toll that war takes on the common people.  That’s usually glossed over in fantasy.  Or any other fiction in which there is a war.

Eventually they spot a fire.  They see a ruined building and a slew of female corpses hanging from a tree.  Jaime wants to move on but Brienne insists that they should get a proper burial.  A sign hung around one woman’s neck that said “they lay with lions.”  Lesson learned.  The Stark side isn’t 100% pure either.  At this point Cleos tells them that Bolton has Harrenhal.  That makes their trip even more dangerous.

The grave digging work is cut short when Brienne spots a sail in the distance.  It’s Tully colored.  Apparently it didn’t take long for the Tully men to discover Cat’s misbehavior.  The boat eventually gets close enough for Robin Ryger, the Tully captain at arms and Jaime to exchange taunts.  It seems like they’re pretty screwed but Brienne eventually manages to leave the boat, climb up a nearbye cliff and throw huge boulders down at Ryger’s ship.  This slowed them down and Brienne and Jaime manage to escape.

Catelyn I

Cat is in some trouble.  The castellan, Desmond Grell and Hoster’s steward Utherydes Wayn feel bad for her because of the (supposed) deaths of Bran and Rickon but they really have no choice but to punish her.  They let her off easy and confine her in Hoster’s chambers even though she offers to take Jaime’s fetters.

At this point, Hoster is dying and delirious and doesn’t know who anyone even is.  He keeps calling her “Tansy”  Catelyn doesn’t know who that is.  He keeps saying “forgive me” as well.  He also speaks of dead babies.

Later, a raven arrives.  Catelyn learns that Robb was injured storming the Crag, one of the Lannister’s holdings.  He should be OK but is temporarily laid up.  Hoster is at his ramblings again and she wonders if Tansy is some pet name for Lysa.  Lysa had several miscarriages which devastated her.

The next day, Edmure comes home.  And he is pissed.  He sent a raven to Harrenhal offering money for Jaime’s recapture.  Uh oh.

Deaths in this recap: 0  We all know a whole bunch of NW men are about to die though

Cumulative deaths: 85. 

Maybe deaths in this recap:  0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  8

Betrayals in this recap:  0

Cumulative betrayals: 19

Incest incidents: 0

Cumulative incests: 25

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