Abominable Snowman

Book I am Reading:  A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons

Booze in my flagon:  Insight Brewery’s Trollway citrus IPA at first, later pinot noir

Chapters:  AFFC prologue, ADWD prologue

 

AFFC Prologue

We open in a new location; Oldtown with a new character named Pate.  He is in an inn called The Quill and Tankard (cool name!) with a couple of other guys named Mollander, Alleras, Armen and Roone and fantasizing about running away to the Free Cities with a girl named Rosey.  Rosey is the daughter of the Q & T’s oldest serving wench, Emma.  Emma is giving away Rosey’s maidenhead for a golden dragon.

Pate doesn’t seem too bothered by the selling of a fifteen year old’s virginity but he is feeling a little sorry for himself because he doesn’t think he’ll ever save up enough money.  If Westeros had fedoras, he’d be wearing one.

The group are arguing about the existence of dragons and throwing up apples in the air and then shooting them with arrows.  I guess this is what dudebros did before first shooter video games.  Armen is an acolyte at the Citadel and the rest are novices training to be maesters.  Armen is skeptical about dragons.  Mollander seems to believe there are some in the world.  Presumably they are talking about Daenerys.

Pate has a short attention span and starts thinking about Rosey again.  Now he wants to buy a donkey and go traveling around the country with her instead.  All he wants out of life is her.  He used to only want to be a master but he sucks at his studies.

Finally Pate stops making us read about his boner and he starts thinking about some alchemist that is supposed to meet him there.  He starts feeling sorry for himself again and thinks about how he has to serve under Archmaester Walgrave who is too senile and old to grant him his ravencraft link.  Instead a master called Gormon, who once accused Pate of theft is the one with the power.  So it’s no good.

The alchemist wanted to give Pate a gold dragon to steal something from the Citadel.  Pate doesn’t want to do it, but the alchemist said he’d be there in three days.  Pate has changed his mind and is waiting for that alchemist while the other maesters in training bicker about the dragons.

A lord’s son named Lazy Leo (formerly a Tyrell) comes into the inn and starts bickering too.  He seems to be an 80’s teen movie villain type.  He does confirm that according to a mysterious Archmaester named Marwyn AKA the Mage, the rumors of dragons are true.  Leo also informs them that there’s a glass candle burning in the Mage’s chambers.

This is a Big Fucking Deal.  Glass candles are made of obsidian from Valyria and are not supposed to be able to burn.  The night before a acolyte’s say their vows to become maesters they are shut up in a room with them.  They have to stay in darkness and realize that nothing they did make the candle burn.  Leo claims that the light was different than regular candles.  It’s brighter, casts weird shadows and doesn’t flicker.

On that note, everyone leaves but Leo and Pate who is still holding out hope that the alchemist will show.  Leo taunts him about Rosey, suggesting that he will bed her instead.  As the sun is coming up, Pate finally gives up and leaves.  He has already stolen what the alchemist wants so he intends to put it back and hope nobody finds out.

He walks past the sept ringing the bells for morning and the red priests welcoming the sun.  He looks at Hightower in the distance.  It’s extremely tall and its lord, Leyton Hightower, ruler of the city has not left it in a decade.  Pate trips and falls and when he gets up, the alchemist is looming over him.  He says he didn’t want to intrude on Pate and his friends.  Pate finally reveals what his loot is, a key from a box under Archmaester Walgrave’s bed.  They go into a narrow alley like they’re doing a drug deal or something.  Pate should probably be concerned about this, but he just wants a dragon so he can bed Rosey.  The alchemist gives him the coin.  Pate asks the alchemist what he wants with the key, but he won’t tell him.  Pate asks him to show his face.  He doesn’t recognize him.  Pate asks who he is and the alchemist says “no one.”

Uh-oh.

He gives the alchemist the key and starts to walk away.  He feels the cobblestones move underneath him and falls and dies in some fashion that GRRM has decided not to share with us.  His last thought is of Rosey.

Presumably the alchemist is Jaqen H’gar?  Definitely a Faceless Man if that wasn’t clear!

 

ADWD Prologue

Meanwhile, beyond the Wall…

A warg is in his (regular, not dire) wolf sniffing stuff.  He’s feeling hateful.  He growls and calls to his packmates, a one eyed male and small female.  They can smell human flesh and they are very excited.  They track down the humans and it’s a group of two men plus one woman and a baby.  The warg/wolf can smell fear on them.  The wolves descend on the group and kill them.  They are armed with “teeth” AKA knives, but the wolves overpower them before they can use them.  The warg takes the woman and her baby.

The warg goes back to his body and it turns out to be Varamyr.  He’s in a hut.  As we recall from earlier Bran chapters, the human gets no nourishment when he eats while warging.  Varamyr feels pretty guilty about eating a woman and a baby.  He thinks of someone or something called Bump.  He thinks of his former skinchanger mentor, Haggon.  Haggon said it is an abomination for a human to eat human flesh.  As is mating with a wolf while warging (is that like when a drag queen kikis?) and the worst abomination is warging a human.  *Ahem* looking at you Bran * cough, cough*

Varamyr doesn’t give a fuck about abominations though.  He as his wolf killed and ate Haggon while he was in his second life.  He ate his heart.  Nice!   Varamyr rationalizes it by thinking the three people he and the pack killed would have died anyway.  That’s probably true.

Varamyr is trying to keep warm but the fire is dying.  He’s wounded.  A spearwife he had been traveling with had sewed it up, but the stiches burst and now he’s bleeding.  The survivors of the battle had scattered and many are already dead.  He thinks that if Mance is dead, as is rumored, the free folk are doomed.  He thinks the crows (Nightswatch, not corvids) are also doomed since the enemy is coming.

Varamyr has died nine times before while warging.  Is this a cat having nine lives reference?  He’s remember these deaths, all in different animals, the first one as a six year old at the hands of his father.  Then he notices that his fire burned out.  He tries to rekindle it to no avail and calls out to Thistle.  No answer.  She’s been gone two or three days.

He goes back to remembering his childhood.  His parents left him at a young age with Haggon, saying he should be with his own kind.  Before he gave himself the name Varamyr, he was Lump.  So Bump had to have been his twin.  The fuck kind of names are those?  I joke about naming my boobs sometimes.  Maybe I should go with Lump and Bump next time the subject comes up.

Varamyr drags himself to the door and discovers that there has been a huge snowfall.  He calls for Thistle again and hears the one eyed wolf howl in response.  He fears he’ll lose control of his wolf and the pack will get him.  He lost control of his other animals when he died inside the eagle during the battle.

Back to the trip down memory lane.  Haggon had only approved of warging dogs and wolfs.  This is not true of all skinchangers though.  He thinks that he’ll take Thistle’s body if she comes back.  He’s getting weaker and weaker.  He eats snow, but that just makes him hungrier.  He tries to walk to a different hut but his leg gives out and he lies sprawled out in the snow, bleeding out.  He thinks about how he hates Jon Snow and how he could sense that Jon is also a warg.  He remember’s how Bump died, torn apart by the dogs.  Lump/Varamyr warged one of the dogs afterwards and that’s when his father killed him while warging.  His human self screamed and that’s how he was outed as a skinchanger.

Varamyr wakes up.  Thistle is yelling at him to get up.  She says “they’re coming!”  I think we all know what she means by that.  He’s too cold and weak.  So he wargs her.  She fights him on it and it ends up looking like she’s dancing madly as the two struggle for control.  Then his consciousness is not in any body at all.  He looks down and sees that the wights have killed Thistle.  Her body looks up with the blue wight eyes.  His last thought is that she can see him.

 

Deaths in this recap: 3. Pate, Varamyr, Thistle

Cumulative deaths: 155

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  13

Betrayals in this recap: 1.  Varamyr stealing Thistle’s body

Cumulative betrayals: 42

Incest incidents: 0

Cumulative incests: 28

Cotter Lecter

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Absolut Ruby Red vodka and sparkling water

Chapters:  Jon XII, Sansa VII, Epilogue

 

Before I get to recapping, a little programming note.  Now that I’m going to be moving on to Feast and Dance, I wanted to do a combined book reading order instead of tackling one at a time.  It just makes more sense since I take so absurdly long to update.  It could be a year before I get to Dance and I don’t think I can go that long recapping ASOIAF and not having the pleasure of poking fun at emo Jon.  I will be using Boiled Leather reading order.  I’m also going to label all the chapters the same way the first three books do, instead of using the titles like “Cat of the Canals” just for ease and continuity.  There are also some ultra long chapters so I may more often stray from the usual three chapter per post formula.

On with the show!

 

Jon XII

Back to the saga of election night whatever-the-hell-year-it-is-in-Westeros-right-now.  Hopefully it goes better than election night 2016 here on earth.

Oh.  Never mind.  First we get a kind of homoerotic description of Iron Emmett.  The sexiest and best swordfighter since Arthur Dayne and the pride of Eastwatch or something.  Jon likes to spar with him to keep sharp and get some bruises that hurt in the good way.  Usually Jon does all right, but he’s been too emo to sleep properly and is tired.  So today he really gets pounded.  Jon eventually gets knocked out and dreams that it’s Robb in the practice yard with him.  Even I’m not going to turn that one into a dirty joke.  He remembers during one of him and Robb’s childhood sparring sessions that Robb told him he was a bastard and can’t ever be Lord of Winterfell.  This causes Jon to go into a sleepwalking Hulk smash mode and he has to be pulled off of Iron Emmett.  Emmett jokes that now he knows how Qhorin Halfhand must’ve felt and Jon flounces off to emo in the armory.

He’s angry because he feels guilty.  He remembers Catelyn’s disapproving visage and compares it to Stannis’ mug.  He takes a nice bath and mulls over Stannis’ offer some more.  He wants to do it, but feels he has no right and it’s not his place.  He snaps out of it when he overhears Alliser Thorne and Bowen Marsh talking about the election.  They fear the wrath of Tywin (not knowing yet that he’s dead on a toilet) and note that he favors Janos Slynt.  Jon takes a walk on the other side of the Wall to navel gaze some more.  He realizes that if Janos wins, he’ll hang Jon as an oathbreaker.  He also realizes that even though he was in denial about it, he’s always wanted to be Lord of Winterfell.  Then he starts craving freshly killed elk.

Wait.  What!?  Ghost shows up out of nowhere.   That’s why he started thinking wolf thoughts.  He looks at Ghost and thinks about how he’s the only albino and has red eyes like a weirwood tree and it’s then he has his answer.  He’s not sharing it yet though.

Back at Castle Black, all of Stannis’ men are freaked out by Ghost.  He sees Val in the tower and thinks he’s not going to be the one to steal her out of there.  I guess that means he’s saying no.

When he goes inside, he hears chaos and yelling.  When they see Jon, Janos starts ranting about how Jon is a warg and a beastling and not fit to lead them or even fit to live.  That’s when Maester Aemon tells Jon that his name has been put forth for Lord Commander.  He thinks it’s a joke of Pyp’s but Dolorous Edd said that he is the one who nominated him.  Janos is still ranting and demanding that Jon be hanged immediately.  Cotter Pyke tells him that unlike the Gold Cloaks, nobody is going to lick his bloody arse so he’d best take a seat.  Mallister is a little more diplomatic and says that any brother is eligible as long as he’s said his vows.

There’s more chaos and yelling until Alliser calls for a vote.  He says that Stannis’ men won’t let them leave until they come to a decision.   He says that Othell Yarwyck wants to say something.  He withdraws from the race.  Alliser tries to lead him to endorse Slynt, but he refuses to endorse anyone.  Then Sam and Clydas get out a kettle.  Mormont’s raven bursts out of it and says “Snow, snow, snow.”  Alliser laughs and tries to point out that all the ravens know that word.  But voters love gimmicks and Jon wins the race!

Cotter Pyke tells Jon that if he mucks this up, he’s going to rip his liver out and eat it raw with onions.

Love him!

Jon, still stunned takes a skin of wine and goes to talk things over with Stannis.

 

Sansa VII

Sansa wakes up from a dream that she was home.  She has to remind herself that now she is Alayne Stone, a bastard girl and the Eyrie is home.  It’s boring and depressing there because Lysa keeps a small household and doesn’t allow guests too often.  Her only friend is her cousin Robert AKA Robin and he’s not much fun.  She also keeps getting leered at by the singer Marillion.  Lysa has the hots for Marillion so she’s pretty annoyed and jealous about that.  Littlefinger is also constantly away meeting with the lords of the Vale and so Lysa is sexually frustrated and lonely.  Things are politically unstable in the Vale right now.  They don’t like that LF is now Lord Protector of the Vale and the Royces are mad that Lysa didn’t back Robb.

Sansa gets out of bed, opens the shutters and sees that it is snowing.  The snow reminds her of home and how happy she used to be.  She goes outside to further reminisce and starts building a snow castle.   As she works, the castle starts turning into Winterfell.

She’s at it for so long that everyone comes and goes from the balcony to watch her.  She is trying and failing to build the bridges when LF lurks up behind her to suggest that she packs the snow around a stick.  He asks her if he can come into her castle.

He walks around the castle and says he always pictured it as perpetually cold and dark.  She told him that no, there are hot springs that pipe water through the walls so it’s always warm.  The presence of hot springs makes me think of seismic activity and that makes me wonder if there’s a dragonglass stash down in the crypts somewhere.

Littlefinger continues to help Sansa and act like a dirty old man.  Until finally he kisses her.  Luckily, the child molestation is broken up by Robert who runs outside to look at the snow castle.  He’s carrying a stuffed doll and proclaims the doll to be a giant come to destroy the castle.  He swings the doll around and knocks down the castle.   Sansa grabs the doll and it rips apart.  Robert throws a tantrum, the tantrum turns to a seizure and he flails on the castle and breaks the whole thing.

The maester, Colemon comes along to take him to be leached, because they think it’s bad blood making him angry.  Robert is ranting about how much he hates Sansa.  Sansa puts the doll’s head on a stick and pushes down on the ruins of snow Winterfell and returns to her bedchamber to wonder if Lysa will kick her out.

Later in the afternoon, Lysa finally sends Marillion to fetch her.  Rumor has it that Marillion has sexually harassed all the maids in Eyrie but Lysa doesn’t give a shit.  Sansa tries to go to the High Hall without Marillion, but he insists that Lysa wants him to bring her.

Once in the hall, Lysa wastes no time in informing her that she saw the kiss.  Sansa tried to protest that he’s the one who kissed her, but she doesn’t believe her.  She starts ranting about how Catelyn used to tease him and how Cat and Sansa are both trying to entice Petyr.   She reveals that she lost her virginity to him but he was drunk and called her “Cat”  Ouch.  It turns out that Lysa was married off to an old man like Jon Arryn because he was willing to take her even though she was all soiled.

Lysa drags Sansa over to the moon door.  Lysa is shoving her towards the opening when Littlefinger interrupts.  Lysa is distracted enough for Sansa to break free from her grip.  LF tries to calm her down, but she keeps ranting.  Then comes the big reveal.  That on Littlefinger’s request, Lysa was the one who poisoned Jon Arryn.  That’s right.  All along, it was Lysa.  Not Cersei.  The whole war was basically started by Littlefinger’s scheming.  He was also the one who told Lysa to send Cat that letter blaming the Lannisters.

Littlefinger finally soothes her and convinces her to let Sansa go.  He takes her in his arms, says he’s only ever loved one woman “Only Cat” and pushes Lysa out the moon door!

Then he calls the guards in and blames it all on Marillion.

 

Epilogue

There’s an epilogue?  This should be good…

The narrator of this chapter is Merrett Frey.  One of Walder Frey’s many sons.  He’s an alcoholic due to an old head injury fighting outlaws that gives him crippling headaches he must self medicate.  That’s about his only distinction.   The Brotherhood Without Banners is holding another Frey, named Petyr for ransom and Merrett is bringing the money to meet them.  Did the BWB insist that he go alone?  Because it really seems like a bad idea.

Merrett is paranoid the whole way to Oldstones, where the exchange is to happen.  Merrett reflects on how as much of an asshole as Walder is, things could get a whole lot worse when he dies and the family starts infighting over the inheritance.   Merrett whines for some time about his lifelong bad long.  I won’t recount it all because who cares if a Frey is miserable?  I’ll say he leaves Jon’s emoing in the dust by a lot though!

Finally he gets to the ruins of Oldstones.  At first he sees no outlaws, but he hears music inside the tree covered ruins and goes to investigate.  He finds a singer with a harp.  It’s Tom O’Sevens.  Then he hears a voice behind him asking if he brought the gold.  He turns around to find that he’s surrounded.  All of them men except one woman who is so bundled up that he can’t see her face.  They take the gold and tell him that Petyr is in the Godswood.  They lead him away.

They get to the Godswood and there Petyr Pimple is hung dead.  Then the BWB put a noose around Merrett’s neck too.   They tell him if he answers one question, they’ll let him go.  They ask him if he’s seen the Hound and the skinny child he was with (Arya) but of course, he cannot answer.  Merrett starts begging and that’s when the outlaws make it clear that they’re doing this in retribution for the Red Wedding.   In desperation he says that he didn’t plan the RW, and they have no witnesses to prove his responsibility in it.  That’s when Tom says that isn’t true and calls the woman forward.

The woman takes off her hood and it’s

wait for it

wait for it

wait for it

Catelyn fucking Stark!  Well, the zombie version anyway.  Her skin is waterlogged and her face is cut up and her hair is white.  She can’t speak because her throat is too severed, but she nods to indicated that Merrett was at the RW and the BWB hang him.  Too bad so sad.

 

Deaths in this recap: 3.  Lysa, Petyr Pimple, Merrett Frey

Cumulative deaths: 152

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  13

Betrayals in this recap: 2.  Littlefinger kills Lysa.  The reveal that Lysa killed Jon Arryn and lied to Cat about it, starting the war.

Cumulative betrayals: 41

Incest incidents: 0

Cumulative incests: 28

tywInBS

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Pinot noir

Chapters:  Jon XI, Tyrion XI, Sam V

 

Jon XI

Jon is training Satin in the yard when Melisandre and some of the queen’s men come lurking and looming up behind him.  Jon digs redheads, so he starts getting some pants stirrings but her red eyes kind of unsettle him and that tames his boner enough for him to be able to carry on a civilized conversation.  Plus, she’s there to tell him that Stannis wants to speak to him and speaking to Stannis is the equivalent of a cold shower.  Jon has stank from sweating inside his armor so he wants to change first and they agree to meet atop the Wall.

Jon and Mel take the lift up to the Wall.  The Wall is weeping (it has ice melting off it) so either winter isn’t here just yet or Mel’s fire crotch is especially firey today.  Jon thinks about how she smells red and is kissed by fire, like Ygritte.  I guess the red eyes and creepy religious fanaticism aren’t such a boner killer after all.  He asks if she’s cold because all she’s wearing is her usual red robe.  She says she’s never cold, only death is cold and puts his hand on her cheek, asking him to feel the Lord’s fire within her.   Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

Stannis is alone and brooding at the edge of the Wall.  Of course he is.  Jon observes that Stannis’ eyes look like bottomless blue pools.  Huh.  Maybe he’s not such a cold shower.  Jon just seems to fancy everybody lately.  Or maybe I’ve just got a dirty mind.  That’s always a possibility.  Jon kneels and Stannis tells him to rise.

Stannis tells Jon that he’s heard a lot about him.  Jon gets all self deprecating and lists off all the bad things anyone has ever said about him.  Stannis asks how much of it is true and Jon is honest with.  Stannis said he believes him because he knew both Janos Slynt and Ned Stark and even though he didn’t like Ned, he knows he was honorable and Jon has a similar look.   I guess it goes without saying that Janos is total cockwomble and nobody believes anything he has to say.

Stannis keeps trying to compliment Jon on things like finding the dragonglass used to slay the White Walker and holding the Wall until his forces could get there.  But Jon is as insecure as Sam would be in a high school locker room today and he keeps deflecting the praise.  It’s almost like GRRM is trying to prove that whole axiom about how those who don’t want power are the only ones fit to have it.  Hmm…

Stannis asks Jon if any of the wildlings have any honor.  He says that Mance does but Rattleshirt does not.  He says Tormund would make a good friend and a bad enemy.  Har!  Then Stannis asks if Jon has honor and courage.  Jon wonders if Stannis wants to tell him he loves him.  Um…

Okay.  What am I, ovulating or something?  I really need to get my mind out of the gutter.  No promises though!

Anyway, Jon just awkwardly tells him that he’s a man of the Night’s Watch and Stannis says that “words are wind.”  A phrase we’ll be hearing a lot more when I get to ADWD.  Stannis said that Davos reminded him that instead of trying to win the throne to save the kingdom, he should be trying to save the kingdom to win the throne.  He says the north is where he’ll find the foe he was born to fight.  Melisandre, the champion lurker finally pipes up to say that his name may not be spoken and the shapes in the snow are his creatures.  Stannis wants Jon’s help in this war.  He says he needs the north.  Jon stammers that Robb was King in the North and Stannis says he would be alive today if he didn’t go gallivanting around the Riverlands and marrying non-Frey girls.

Wrong thing to say, Stanny boy.  Jon gets all indignant at that.  Although I have to say, Stannis has a point here.  Robb is so overrated.  Super hot in the TV show, but let’s face it, lots of blunders.

Stannis, not understanding his blunder tells Jon he wants to  make him the Lord of Winterfell.  As a king, he has the power to debastardize him.  Jon tries to pretend he doesn’t want this, but he totally does.  He’s dreamed about all his life.  Yet he swore his NW vows at a heart tree and he knows that breaking the vows means turning against his father’s gods.

Stannis not only wants to make Jon Lord of Winterfell, he wants to let the wildlings through the Wall in exchange for their loyalty to Stannis.  He thinks the living need to work together to beat Sauron, or whatever the dark lord’s name is.  He wants to wed the new Lord, Jon Stark to Val.  He calls Val a wildling princess.  That’s kind of like when white people claim to be descended from a Cherokee princess.  For all his good ideas here, he doesn’t get Wildling culture at all.  He can only see it from his own culture’s viewpoint.  Jon straight up laughs at him and says that he has a lot to learn about wildling women.  Stannis says that this marriage alliance is part of the price for making him Lord of Winterfell.  Jon wants to think on it.

 

Tyrion XI

Tyrion is in his cell getting ready to die.  Hope is lost.  So you know something is about to happen.  He hears the cell door come upon.  Surprise!  It’s Jaime.  This is their first time together since the beginning of the first book.  They joke about Jaime’s loss of his hand and Tyrion’s loss of nose.  Handless & Noseless, my new indie rock band name.

Tyrion asks Jaime if he’s there to kill him.  Jaime says the plan is to behead him on the tourney grounds tomorrow but he’s going to rescue him instead.  It turns out that Varys is his accomplice.  Varys roofied all the guards so they’d be passed out cold.  Jaime says that Varys will take him by ship to the Free Cities and see that he has enough money to live but that he should take an alias because Cersei will probably send men to look for him.

In a rare moment of sincere gratitude, Tyrion thanks him for saving his life.  Jaime says he’s paying a debt and well, say it with me

Tyrion is confused.  Jaime says that some doors are best left closed, but he wimps out and confesses after very little prodding.  It seems that Tysha, Tyrion’s first wife was never really a whore.  She was really just a crofter’s daughter and she really actually loved Tyrion.  So, she was some poor innocent girl who was gang raped by Lannister soldiers and oh by the way, this story is told to make us pity Tyrion and his sad self image and dating insecurities.   Not, you know, Tysha for being gang raped to teach someone else a lesson.  Does this count as fridging even though she didn’t die?   Am I the only one who wants Tysha to steal one of Dany’s dragons and set fire to all of Westeros in vengeance right now?

Ok.  Deep breaths.

Anyway, Tyrion is obviously pretty pissed off.  He slaps Jaime and storms off.  Well, waddles off.  The storming off is a big fail as he hits an iron gate and has to have Jaime open the door.  Tyrion asks Jaime if he can fight left handed.  Jaime says that no, he’s no Ned Flanders and Tyrion taking the keys says they might be well matched if they meet again.   Jaime then asks if he really did kill Joffrey and Tyrion gets even more into a snit.  He tells Jaime that Cersei is a lying whore who has been fucking Lancel, Osmund Kettleblack and even Moon Boy for all he knows.  He says he did kill Joffrey even though we all know he didn’t.

Jaime walks away and Tyrion goes to find Varys.  It’s a day for lurkers, for he too is lurking creepily in the dark.  They exchange some shade and then proceed on.  Varys leads him through all sorts of secret passage.  They eventually go to the dragon skull chamber under the Tower of the Hand.  Varys says they can go out to the river from here.  But Tyrion wants to make a little stop.  He wants to visit the Hand’s bedchamber which Tywin currently occupies.

He climbs for a while and finally emerges in the fireplace of Tywin’s chambers.  He hears a woman’s voice call out “M’lord?”  Who is it?  Why it’s Shay! Turns out that Tywin is a giant hypocrite.  Who’d have ever thought?  Shae’s naked except for Tywin’s hand of the king necklace.  Tyrion says some Nice Guy type of things and strangles her with the necklace.  Not quite sure how he did that so easily.  I guess because he wept while killing her it’s supposed to be sympathetic or something.  Idk.

After that little crime of passion is completed he takes Twyin’s dagger off the bedside table.  Then he finds a crossbow that’s hanging on the wall and takes that.  He finds Tywin where he knew he’d find him.  On the toilet.  Does that mean that Tywin suffers from IBS?  Twyin acts all casual about Tyrion just appearing in the bathroom with a crossbow.  He tells Tyrion to put down the crossbow and Tyrion asks about Tysha.  Tywin refers to Tysha as Tyrions first whore.  Tyrion said if Tywin says that word again, he’ll kill him.  Tywin does not believe him and says he sent Tysha away.  Tyrion asks where and Tywin answers “wherever whores go.”  That’s another phrase we’ll be hearing waaaay too much in ADWD.

Since Tywin said the magic word, Tyrion shoots him.  Right in the gut.  As he died, his bowels let loose, proving that Tywin does not actually shit gold.

 

Sam V

Stannis is in a bad mood.  Melisandre is full of mirth.  It’s some sort of meeting with the candidates for Lord Commander.  That’s nothing, Stannis.  What if these were the candidates you had to talk to?

Sam is just there to help Maester Aemon and feels all awkward.

Janos tries to suck up.  Stannis is not having it.  He states how displeased he is that a LC has not been chose yet.  Janos uses this opportunity and tries to weasel an endorsement out of Stannis.  Stannis is not having that either.  He tells them all what a corrupt asshole Janos Slynt was as leader of the gold cloaks.  Damn it, GRRM.  Stop making me love Stannis when we now know what you’re going to do to your awesome daughter!  Janos’ jowls quiver.  That is the best sentence I’ve written in my entire life.  Jowls are funny.

Whatever good will Stannis incurs, he as usual squanders by demanding that the NW give him all the land in the Gift and the abandoned castles.  He also says he means to light the Nightfires of the Lord of Light religion in front of all those castles.  Mel swoops in to preach R’hllor’s word but the NW men are dubious.

Stannis says they were the ones who summoned him so they best get used him.  He dismisses everyone but Mel, Aemon and Sam.  This causes Sam to just about shit himself with fear.

Stannis declares that Sam is not very like his father Randyll and then asks all about the White Walker slaying and the Black Gate below the Nightfort.  Stannis wants to make the Nightfort his new HQ.

Aemon asks Stannis to take out Lightbringer and has Sam describe it.  Sam says it glows.  Aemon and Sam are dismissed and Aemon remarks to Sam that he felt no heat from the sword.  He has Sam confirm that it looks but does not feel hot.  In other words,

Sam asks Maester Aemon if there’s something he could do to keep Janos from winning.  Aemon says no because his job is to serve the LC and it wouldn’t be proper.  But Sam asks if there’s something he could do.  Aemon coyly says “why I don’t know, Samwell.  Could you?”  Sam is super nervous but knows he has to do what he’s got to do.

He goes to Cotter Pyke first.  Pyke anticipates that Sam will be asking him to withdraw and he isn’t into it.  Being an Iron Islands bastard, he’s downright hostile.  But for once, Sam will not be deterred.  He goes to see Denys Mallister.  Mallister is much nicer, but still will not agree to drop out.  Sam suggests Jon and then in desperation lies and says that if they don’t choose an LC tonight, Stannis will name Cotter Pyke.  Denys says he’ll think about it and Sam promptly craps his pants again.  But he steals his nerves and goes back to Cotter Pyke to suggest Jon and tell him that Stannis will force Denys on them if they don’t choose an LC tonight.  You go, Sam the Slayer!

 

Deaths in this recap: 2.  Tywin and Shae

Cumulative deaths: 149

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  13

Betrayals in this recap: 3.  All in one chapter!  Jaime reveals that he lied about Tysha, Shae is sleeping with Tywin, Tyrion kills his father and his gf all in one night.

Cumulative betrayals: 39

Incest incidents: 0

Cumulative incests: 28

 

Is that a horn in your tent or are you just happy to see me?

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Cab-Sauv

Chapters:  Jon X, Arya XIII, Sam IV

 

Jon X

Surprise, surprise.  The chapter opens with Jon emoing.  He’s thinking he will today and reflecting on how he’s probably failed in his life mission to prove that bastards aren’t inherently treacherous and bad.

He’s spent the last several days on ice.  Literally.  He’s been in the ice cells.  Janos Slynt and Alliser Thorne had intended on hanging him, but Aemon intervened and tattled on him to Cotter Pyke, who is in command at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.   I still think the name Eastwatch-by-the-Sea sounds more like the name of a New England bed and breakfast with a picturesque lighthouse in the vicinity, not an outpost next to grim and icy waters.

Mance Rayder wants to parlay with the Nightswatch, but because he isn’t stupid, he doesn’t want to go them.  Thorne and Slynt are sending Jon as an envoy figuring he’s all buddy-buddy with Mance and of course, hoping Mance will Jon instead.  They aren’t really sending him to make terms.  They tell him they’re sending him to kill Mance.  It’s basically a death sentence.  Even on the off chance he succeeds, the other wildlings will kill him.

Jon gets to the other side of the Wall.  He walks through the ruins of the battle.  A raven is perched on top of the head of a giant.  The raven screeches “Snow, snow” at him and flies away.  Is that a good omen or a bad one?

Tormund comes out to meet him.  He tells Jon that if he wants to switch sides again, he might as well forget it

Tormund is actually in pretty good spirits.  He always is.  Jon tells him about how a one armed blacksmith named Donal Noye was the one to slay the giant Mag the Mighty and Tormund toasts to both Noye and Mag and says that Mance will probably make a song about their fight.  They also toast to Ygritte.  This gives him a chance  to emo again about how she died bravely storming a castle and he’ll die a turncloak and a killer.

They get to the camp.   Mance is hanging out outside the tent.  He’s accompanied by Harma Dogshead and Varamyr Sixskins, the skinchanger.  Varamyr is accompanied by his shadowcat and two wolves.  Regular, not dire.  Yeah, Jon is screwed.

Harma wants to kill him and Varamyr says some told ‘ya so stuff about never liking Jon.  We get a bit of skinchanger lore.  When Orell died, he went to live inside his eagle and started fading away in there.  So Varamyr skinchanged into the eagle instead and now Orell is part of him whispering about how much he hates Jon.  Creepy!  It’s like a skinchanger Borg.

Skinchanger Borg has flown to the south side of the Wall and has seen that the Watch is in a pretty bad way.  Things are looking bad for both Jon and the Watch.  I sure hope some deus ex machina comes along and aids them…

Inside the tent Mance’s lady friend Dalla is in the early stages of labor.  Her sister Val is holding her hand.  They will stay for the meeting and that’s not at all awkward that she might give birth in front of an enemy’s envoy possibly while he’s killing the babby’s (typo and it stays) father.

Mance seems fairly unconcerned.  He has something to show Jon.  His big, giant warhorn.   No, that’s not a euphemism.  It’s an actual horn.  Eight feet long.  Black with gold runes.  A very one ringish prop.   Mance claims it is the mythical Horn of Winter.  The horn that can supposedly bring down the Wall.  Jon asks why they bothered with a battle at all.  Dalla is the one to answer.  She says sorcery is a sword without a hilt and there is no safe to grasp.  That’s…ominous.

More ominous still, the talk turns to the Others.  Mance says none of wildling races, including the giants have figured out how to defeat them.  He admits this entire war is about hiding behind the Wall.  There will be no where to hide if the Wall comes down.  Mance wants the Watch to open the gates and let them pass.  In exchange, he’ll give them the horn.   Jon asks if Mance will be able to keep his Wildlings peaceful and lawful.  Mance scoffs at that.  Jon asks what will happen if they refuse.  He knows there’s no way Thorne would agree to any of this.  Mance says Tormund will blow the horn in three days.  Jon is trying to figure out if he should try and make a move on Mance when they are interrupted by warhorns of the regular variety.

They rush outside.  Something is coming from the east.  Jon fears it’s the Others but Mance says they never come when the sun is up.  Varamyr can see via eagle what’s coming.  It’s men on horses.  Men in steel and black.  Mance and the wildlings think it must be the Watch pulling a sneak attack.  Jon is baffled because he’s not heard any such thing.

The wildlings go out to meet their enemy.  Well some of them do.  Some are fleeing.  The news comes to the camp that there’s a ton of men and they’re coming from the north too.  Mance leaves Varamyr to guard Jon.  Varamyr is still watching from the eagle.  He sees golden banners.  Then he throws his head back and screams.  Then Jon sees the eagle on fire and falling from the sky.  Varamyr is writhing on the ground.  His shadowcat flees the scene while his wolves start fighting each other.   Val comes out to find out what’s going on and says that Dalla is now giving birth.  Everything is chaos.

Jon hears trumpets.  He wonders if Robb has returned (I guess he hasn’t learned of his death yet?  Or he’s delusional?) or if King’s Landing sent help.  The battle continues all around them.  The Wildlings are mostly losing.  A lot of them are fleeing.  But the giants are doing some damage to the mystery army.  Jon still can’t tell who the yellow banners belong to.   Shortly the Wildlings break.  Jon sees that someone has killed Harma and put her head on a pole.  That’s what you get for being a dog murderer!  Finally Jon sees that it’s a Baratheon banner and hears knights chanting “Stannis, Stannis!”

 

Arya XIII

Sandor and Arya come to an inn.  Arya recognizes it as a place they had stayed on trip to King’s Landing from Winterfell.  It’s come under new management since the war.  Arya doesn’t recognize the innkeep.  She does however recognize some of the guests.  Three  Lannister soldiers.  Polliver is one of them.  He recognizes The Hound who seems unconcerned and just orders some wine.  The other two are a squire and Tickler, the main torturer at Harrenhal.

Polliver and Sandor do some tough guy posturing type of things with each other.  Polliver tells him that if he’s looking for Gregor, he’s gone to King’s Landing.  He also tells him that Joffrey is dead.  Arya is surprised that she’s not happier about this news.

Polliver tells him more news.  I’m not sure why since they were acting all bar room brawly a couple of minutes ago.  I guess it’s just a method of exposition delivery.  Arya gets to find out that Sansa was married to Tyrion and is now suspected of regicide and has disappeared.  Blackfish is under siege at Riverrun and most of the riverlands are in Lannister/Frey hands.  The only fighting is around Raventree where the Blackwoods are still staying loyal.   Then they drop the real bombshell.  They found Arya and are giving her to the Boltons.  Sandor thinks this is pretty hilarious.  Arya is just confused.

Sandor asks if there are ships at Saltpans but Polliver says he doesn’t know, he just knows that Randyll Tarly took Maidenpool and locked up it’s previous lord, Mooten.

Finally we’re done with the exposition and the smackdown begins!  Sandor is drunk and is losing the fight.  The Tickler is stabbing Sandor.  Arya stabs the squire and takes the knife that the Tickler had thrown and lodged in the wall earlier.  The Hound is just about done for, sitting in the corner bleeding.

Or so it seems.  He kicks Polliver in the shins and slices upwards, catching him in the face and practically beheading him.  The Tickler is starting to scared.  He’s ignoring Arya, so she takes the opportunity to stab him in the back!  She repeats all the questions he used to give while torturing people to death.  She keeps stabbing him past death, until Sandor pulls him off.  The squire is still alive.  Sandor says he’s as good as dead though.  He’s been stabbed in the bowels.  He makes Arya mercy kill him.

They leave the inn and make camp later that night.  Oh, and Arya has recovered Needle from Polliver!  Sandor has Arya pour hot wine into his wounds to sterilize them.  She dresses the wound.  When it comes time to sleep, her kill list is shorter.  It is then she wonders if it’s true that Sansa killed Joffrey.  She wishes she could have seen or done it herself.  Don’t we all?  She goes to sleep and has a wolf dream.

The next day, the Hound is weak and sick from his wounds.  Before night falls, they have to stop.  He’s dying and wants her to mercy kill him.   But she won’t do it.  She tells him he doesn’t deserve mercy and leaves him.

Six days later, she finds Saltpans.  There are three ships there.  She has no money so she has to sell Craven the horse.  The woman who buys him gives her only a small amount though.  She knows a pitiful and ragged girl like herself must’ve stolen or found her, so she’ll turn her in for stealing or take what she gives her.

Arya goes to the biggest of the three ships and offers the captain her purse to take her to the wall.  He’s not impressed with the amount of money she has.  The captain doesn’t want to go north as it only has ice and pirates.  He says they’re going home to Braavos.  That’s when Arya takes her iron coin the Jaqen had given her out.  She says “Valar morghulis” to him, just like Jaqen had said to do.  This prompts the captain to answer “valar dohaeris” and offer her a cabin.  Arya is taking a little trip abroad.

 

Sam IV

Gilly is nursing Dalla and Mance’s baby.  She says he sucks harder than her own baby.  Not touching that one.   I guess Dalla has died but my drunkish ass missed where it says so.Jon is watching and smiling, but in a sad and emo type of way.  This is how we learn that Sam and Gilly have arrived safe at Castle Black, shortly after Stannis ex machina arrived.

Mance is captive, a thousand of his best fighters were slain and the rest of the Wildlings have scattered.  Castle Black is chaotic because it’s all messed up from all the fighting, and it’s all full of Stannis’ men.  Castle Black has a tower, called the King’s Tower that is set aside for visiting kings.  This is the first time it’s been used in living memory.

Val wants to see Mance and let him meet his son, but the only one allowed to see him is Maester Aemon.

Jon and Sam are walking together.  Jon can tell Sam doesn’t just like Gilly, he like likes her.  Jon tells him that he cannot keep her.  Sam knows this and thinks it might be best to send Gilly to his home, Horn Hill and tell his family that her baby is his bastard.  Sam thinks his mom would like the baby and his dad would like the proof that he isn’t gay or something.

They talk about the turncloak allegations.  Sam assures him that very few actually believe it.  They talk of the upcoming Lord Commander election.  Alliser was losing so he’s backing Janos Slynt.  The other main candidates are Cotter Pyke and Denys Mallister from the Shadow Tower.  Jon emos about how no one loves him and he has no family.  Sam wants to tell him that he met Bran, but keeps his word.  Jon goes to train in the practice yard with some of the newer recruits.

They have an election choosing later.  Two thirds of the vote is needed.  Janos Slynt gets the most votes.  Why?  Who would vote for that?  I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.  If people will vote for Donald Trump, they’ll vote for anyone.  Even still, he doesn’t get his two thirds.

Later that night, Sam, Pyp and Grenn are discussing the choosing.  They’re all desperate to keep Slynt from prevailing.  Sam says they need someone else besides the current candidates that everyone could get behind.  It sounds like he’s pulling a Kristy from the Babysitter’s Club and getting a great idea!  Stay tuned to find out what that not at all painfully obvious idea is.

 

Deaths in this recap: 4.  Dalla, Harma Dogshead, Polliver, Tickler

Cumulative deaths: 147

Maybe deaths in this recap: 1, The Hound

Cumulative maybe deaths:  13

Betrayals in this recap: 0

Cumulative betrayals: 36

Incest incidents: 0

Cumulative incests: 28

 

 

Butcher Kings and Sad Peens

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Pinot noir

Chapters:  Daenerys VI, Jaime VII

 

Daenerys VI

Having conquered Meereen, Dany is sitting out on the terrace garden of the great pyramid eating breakfast and looking over the city.  The battle happened off page, but Dany’s people led a slave rebellion.  She had nailed 163 slave masters to crosses, just the same as they had done to the little slave children.  The rest of the masters were spared.  She had felt righteous at first but later feels guilty.

She tells herself she did it all for the children and gets ready to go hold court.

All of her inner circle are in the throne room.  She wonders who will betray her next and thinks the other two heads of the dragon, whoever they are will be the only ones she can trust.  I see the paranoia of her father is setting in.

She complains about all the flies in the city.  Daario points out that corpses breed maggots and maggots breed flies so she orders Grey Worm to see that the corpses from the sack are removed.  You’d think for the smell alone she’d have wanted the corpses gone, but I guess not.

First visitor is a man named Ghael.  Sounds like the next trendy name for boys in the suburbs but he’s an envoy from Astapor representing the new king Cleon.  She had left a council to rule their but Ghael claims they were caught scheming to bring back slavery and Cleon executed them for it and was named king.  Missandei tells Dany he had been formerly a slave who was a butcher.  A butcher king doesn’t seem to bode well.

Ghael claims that Yunkai is plotting against her and wants to make an alliance between Astapor and Meereen.  He wants to seal this an alliance with a marriage between Cleon and Dany.  She says she’ll consider it but I think we all know that’s going to be a big NO.

The next visitor is a Qartheen ship master.  He tells a different story.  He says Astapor is a famine stricken cesspit and Cleon AKA King Cleaver is seizing young boys and attempting to make new Unsullied.  The Qartheen wants slaves.  Daario says several of the freed slaves want to sell themselves to go live in Qarth.  She says they can sell themselves but not their children or wives and Dany will get a tenth of the price from the Qartheen.

After these meetings, she has Belwas fetch Barristan and Jorah for her.  This will be the first time she’s seen them since their past dishonesty had been revealed to her.  She questions Barristan about why he bent the knee to Robert after the rebellion.    He said it’s because Viserys was a horrible little brat who was about to turn just like Aerys and wasn’t fit to rule.  Dany had been under the impression that the nickname Mad King was a lie, but Barristan tells her the truth.  He said he waited to reveal himself because he wanted to make sure she was sane.  He promises to serve her faithfully for the rest of his life and she decides to formerly swear him into service as he’s very knowledgeable about the history of Westeros and how King’s Landing works.

Jorah on the other hand, just whines a bunch and tips his fedora at her.  He admits that he had even sent a report when they were in Qarth.  Barristan rats him out about how he told Varys when she became pregnant.  He pleads for her forgiveness and says he loves her but she cannot forgive him and he is exiled.

The next day after a restless night, Dany informs her people (minus Jorah) that she planned to stay and rule Meereen rather than march.  Because how can she rule the seven kingdoms of Westeros if she can’t manage one city?  I’m sure the people of Meereen would be flattered to know they were being used for Queen practice.

 

Jaime VII

Tommen is signing a bunch of papers that Kevan is giving him during a small council meeting.  Jaime is bored and sore from trying and failing to fight with his left hand.  He’s been practicing with Addam Marbrand.  Jaime sucks at fighting left handed so he’s pretty depressed.

Most of the papers are giving land to Lannister allies and taking it away from enemies and a bunch of pardons.  Including one for the Westerlings.  Hmm…  One legitimizes Ramsay Bolton formerly Snow and makes Roose Warden of the North.

Finally he can’t take it anymore and asks for leave to go.  Outside he runs into Steelshanks.  He’s about to leave for Winterfell with “Arya Stark.”  She’s a young girl, hollow eyed and frightened.  A little too old and tall to be Arya.  So who is this mystery girl?  Jaime doesn’t know or care.

He passes the area where Gregor and Oberyn had dueled.  Gregor has indeed been poisoned by Oberyn’s spear it seems.  He’s still alive but not healing at all and he spends all night and day howling.  His veins are turning back and when Pycelle tries to leech him, the leeches die.  Do I need to post a Grumpy Cat meme here?  It seems trite in the year 2017.

Oh, what the hell

Whether it’s cliché or classic, it works.

Jaime returns to his bedchamber and finds Cersei waiting for him.  He thinks some lusty and twincestuous thoughts but Cersei is just there to complain.  She’s been kicked off the small council by Tywin and about to be sent back to Casterly Rock and she wants Jaime to convince him to let her back on so she can continue to be the second biggest helicopter parent in Westeros after Lysa.  Predictably, she’s also not thrilled about Tommen’s betrothal to Margaery.

Somehow the subject of the attempted murder of Bran comes up.  Cersei denies involvement in it and doesn’t think Joffrey was either.  FWIW, I don’t think it was Joffrey either!

She wants Jaime to offer to leave the Kingsguard in exchange for Tywin agreeing to let Cersei stay and not marry her off.  He says no but suggests she tells Tywin that they’re going to have a Targaryen style incest marriage.  She doesn’t want to do that so she tries to sex him into going along with her.  Shockingly, he turns her down as it’s not safe to do it there.  Cersei responds by asking if his manhood was hacked off in Harrenhal and says she doesn’t know why he would have the courage to protect Tommen when he didn’t avenge Joffrey.  Yeah, she’s still mad he won’t kill Tyrion for her.  Jaime still doubts Tyrion’s guilt.  He kicks her out and she insults his penis again and leaves.

Jaime sends for Loras and Brienne to ask if he’s spoken to Brienne yet.  He seems a little less certain that she’s responsible for Renly’s death.  He sends Loras way to speak with Brienne alone.  They sort of awkwardly flirt for a minute.  He tells her about faux Arya so that she wouldn’t hear that Arya was in the north and try to rescue her.

Jaime then gives her the sword made from Ice reforged.  He tells her to call it Oathkeeper and that she is too find Sansa and bring her somewhere safe.  She wonders why he’s sending her on this mission.  He thinks that Joffrey was a squirt of seed in Cersei’s cunt who deserved to die but he tells her that Sansa is his last chance at honor.  Brienne sweeps out awkwardly.

 

Deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative deaths: 143

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  12

Betrayals in this recap: 0

Cumulative betrayals: 36

Incest incidents: 1.  Cersei and Jaime fool around a little

Cumulative incests: 28

Petyr Humbert

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Pinot Grigio

Chapters:  Sansa VI, Jon IX, Tyrion X

 

Sansa VI

They arrive in the Fingers after a rough sea journey.  Sansa has been sea sick and traumatized the whole time.  She feels guilty that Tyrion is about to go down for murdering Joffrey even though he’s innocent.  Littlefinger tells her he gave Tysha, his first wife to his guardsman to make her feel better about that.

Big surprise, LF was misleading Sansa about going home.  He meant his home.  Not Winterfell.  His home is the Fingers for a couple of weeks, then on to the Eyrie where he’s going to marry Lysa.  Yes that’s right.  We will soon be getting another encounter with the queen of attachment parenting.  I’m pretty sure that if Lysa had been around in 21st century US or UK, she’d be one of those insufferable mommy bloggers.

Sansa is disappointed not to be going home even though the North is overrun with Iron Born and Boltons but she’s somewhat comforted because surely Lysa will be kind to her own niece.  Oh, honey.

A pathetic looking assortment of servants meet Sansa and Littlefinger’s party.  Including a fat middle aged woman named Kella who pops out bastards every couple of years and never knows who their fathers are because she doesn’t ever turn men down.

I guess patriarchal monarchy doesn’t guarantee that there will be no single mothers and sex outside of marriage after all.

Another of the servants tells them that there’s a dung fire burning.  The area is barren enough that there isn’t plentiful wood to burn so they have to use sheep dung for heat and fuel instead.  The rocks they have to step over to get to the little mini castle are full of sheep pellets.  It must smell wonderful there.

There’s a shield in the tower with a stone head with fiery eyes.  I can’t be the only one who thought of Olmec from Legends of the Hidden Temple, right?

We learn that Littlefinger’s great grandfather was a Braavosi and so the family sigil became the Titan of Braavos.  LF took the mockingbird for his own sigil I guess because he’s all devious and can mimic a decent human being when he needs to?

Once Littlefinger and Sansa are alone and he’s getting her drunk and pliable given her a cup of wine to settle her tummy, he tells her that it’s not safe to be open about who she is once they get to the Vale as Varys has informers everywhere.  He says they’ll have to tell Lysa’s people that she’s his bastard daughter.  They’ll call her Alayne after his mother.  She wants to pose as the trueborn daughter of a knight who died in his service, but he says that will invite questions.  The story will be that her mother is a Braavosi gentlewoman who willed her to the Faith after dying from childbirth but “Alayne” wanted to come live with dad because she didn’t want to be a septa.

Littlefinger asks if she likes to play games.  What is he, Jigsaw?  Actually I guess there are some similarities.  He tells her there are two sorts of people in King’s Landing; the players and pieces.  He declares that Cersei is a piece who thinks she’s a player.  Then he reveals that the Kettleblack brothers are his men and Cersei has no idea.  They’re his spies and secret weapons placed in the city.

Then comes the even bigger reveal.  That Olenna Tyrell was the poisoner of Joffrey.  She took an “amethyst” out of the hairnet when she straightened it at the wedding.  Not too big of a surprise since LF was with the Tyrells for a suspicious length of time back in the previous book.  With these books, I’ve learned that if a character is off page for a while, they must be up to something.  He didn’t suggest this plot directly though, he spread rumors in the Tyrell camps of Caligula like behavior.  He predicts that soon Margaery will be marrying Tommen.

Why does he tell her all this?  He’s grooming her to be a player or he’s grooming her to be molested by his pervy ass.  Maybe both.

Eight boring days go by.  Sansa does nothing but hang out with old blind dog.  Finally, Lysa arrives.  Sansa is all shady about how she’s less of a MILF than Catelyn was.  It is very obvious that Lysa is deeply in love with Littlefinger.  She brought a septon so they could marry right away.  When he suggests they wait to have a more lavish wedding in the Eyrie, she goes all Fatal Attraction and throws a tantrum.  She TMIs about how she’s going to scream so loud when they consummate the marriage that they’ll hear her in the Eyrie.  So it’s settled.  They marry within the hour.  They do the traditional creepy as hell Westeros bedding and then Lysa follows up with her promise to be a total screamer.  She even screams for him to make her a new baby

Lysa’s singer Marillion, who you may remember as part of Catelyn and Tyrion’s entourage headed to the Vale starts creeping on Sansa.  He’s says he’s been composing songs for her various body parts including a duet for her breasts.  Wtf?  Does he intend one part to represent the left breast and the other part to represent her right breast?  She turns him down but he continues to do what a PUA would call a “kino escalation” on her.  By that I mean he gropes her and asks if she’s wet for him.  Ew, ew, ew!  I guess it wouldn’t be a Sansa chapter if there weren’t multiple men who are the types of guys that think Lolita is an instruction manual.  Fortunately, she is saved by Lothar Brune.

The next day, Littlefinger tells Sansa that he told Lysa who she is and Lysa wants to speak with her.  Lysa informs her that she looks too much like Catelyn so she’ll have to die her hair brunette.  She also tells her that she hadn’t wanted to marry Jon Arryn anymore than Sansa wanted to marry Tyrion.  Lord Arryn was elderly and his breath always smelled like bad cheese.  She seems sweet at first but then she goes all Jekyll and grabs Sansa demands to know if she is pregnant.  Sansa assures Lysa that she’s a maiden and Lysa tells her she’ll be married to her cousin, the little breastfed Robert “Sweetrobin” Arryn.  Joy.  But not until after Tyrion is executed.  Until then, Sansa will be expected to be meek and grateful.  So, out of the frying pan and into the fire pretty much.

 

Jon IX

It’s been three days and the Wildling army is besieging the Wall. The Night’s Watch men are all ragged and exhausted as they are vastly outnumbered.  The Wildlings send up arrows every morning and it’s mostly been futile but one did catch Red Alyn on the leg and knock him down to his death.  There’s a Myrish eye on the wall which is apparently some sort of weak telescope.  Jon uses it to look at their foes.  Mance doesn’t leave his tent but Jon does see his very pregnant girlfriend Dalla and her sister Val.  The Wildlings are building a turtle.  A wooden structure covered in the hide of a mammoth so that the fighters can have shelter from the Watch’s fire arrows.  The turtle is almost done so they expect another fight today.  They are almost out of oil and arrows and the NW lost a bunch of men fighting the Weeper and his army down by the Shadow Tower.

Not long after the turtle is finished and starts for the Wall.  None of the fire arrows or catapulted rocks do any real damage.  If it makes it to the Wall, the Wildlings will be sheltered while they use picks and axes to remove the rubble that’s blocking the gates.  If that happens, they are all finished.

The Watch has been planning for this.  They filled barrels with gravel and then covered them in water and left them out to freeze overnight so the barrels won’t burst on the way down.  These battle scenes are exciting to read but boring to writing about!  Anyway, the plan is a success.  The manmade boulders destroy the turtle.

That night, Jon is roused from sleep and brought to the Lord Commander’s solar.  Maester Aemon is there as well as Alliser Thorne who has just returned from Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.  Thorne calls him a turncloak and starts accusing him of desertion.  Aemon said that he and Donal had been satisfied by Jon’s explanations but some other jowly dude is making big noises about not buying it.  Mr Jowls turns out to be one Janos Slynt.  Remember how Tyrion sent him to cool his heels up at the Wall?  Well, he’s there and has formed a fellowship of douches with Alliser Thorne.  They have Rattleshirt as a hostage and he testifies that Jon killed Qorin Halfhand and had sex with Ygritte.

Jonos Slynt continues acting like someone who’s fragile masculinity has been demolished by a dwarf.  He brags about how he can’t be fooled by Jon’s lies.  Yeah, okay Slynt.  You’re the coolest.  Alliser is egged on by this and even accuses Benjen Stark of being in some sort of nefarious conspiracy with Jon.  Slynt starts trash talking Eddard Stark as a traiter and orders Alliser to take him to the ice cells.  Jon just about kicks Alliser’s ass which he uses as further proof that he’s really a wildling.  Then the chapter abruptly ends.

 

Tyrion X

Tyrion is starting to get nervous.  He has one more witness against him and then it’s his turn to testify.  He still doesn’t know how he’s going to save himself.  He’s not convinced that he should let Oberyn be his champion and challenge Gregor.

As Pod comes to announce it’s time, Tyrion thinks that he is doomed.

The surprise witness turns out to be Shae.  Shae claims that Tyrion admitted to her that he and Sansa planned the regicide together.  He also wanted to kill Cersei and Tywin according to her.  She openly admits to having been Tyrion’s whore although she pretends to have been a nice  maiden that was trafficked into prostitution by Tyrion.  She said he forced her to call her giant and the whole room laughs at that.

Tyrion flies into a rage and says he’ll give a confession.  He says he confesses to the crime of being a dwarf and that’s what he’s really on trial for her.  He says he didn’t poison Joffrey but wishes he had.  He demands his trial by battle.  Cersei looks all pleased and smug about that.  Until Oberyn says he’ll be Tyrion’s champion.  The throne room is in an uproar.  Pandemonium!

Later in his cell, Tyrion feels a bit better.   He even sleeps well that night.  Oberyn visits him in his cell the next morning just before the battle.  They have a drink together.  Oberyn says he always drinks before a battle.  It’s kind of like me and how I bowl better with a couple of beers in me.  The stakes are a wee bit higher here though.  Oberyn is very confident that his speed and cunning will defeat the Mountain’s size.  His spear seems to be tipped with poison.  There’s something glistening and black on it.

Oberyn tells him a long story involving failed courtships and farts.  The long and short of it is, Tywin has been mad for a long time that the Martells turned down Tywin’s offer to marry Jaime to Elia so that Elia could marry Rhaegar Targaryen who Tywin had wanted for Cersei.  This goes a long way towards explaining why Tywin joined Robert’s rebellion and sent his men to kill Elia and her children.  This fight has been a long time coming.

Predictably a lot of people turn out to watch celebrity deathmatch.  Gregor is looking imposing as usual and Ellaria is scared but Oberyn is still pretty cocky.  As is Gregor.  Oberyn darts around Gregor trying to poke him with spear (no, not that way.  Mind out of the gutter!) while talking about Elia and how Gregor raped and murdered her and killed her children.  He’s demanding a confession.

This goes on for some time.  Until finally Gregor loses his temper.  He somehow accidently slices up a stableboy trying to get at Oberyn.    Gregor says all the talk is making his head hurt.  Finally Oberyn lands a blow beneath Gregor’s armor.  Gregor falls and Oberyn slams the spear into him.

Oh wait.

Oberyn can’t walk away.  He’s still demanding Gregor says Elia’s name.  Like a horror movie villain, Gregor is not done yet.  His hand rises up, he grabs Oberyn and finally confesses.  Then he pokes Oberyn’s eyes out and smashes his skull with his fist.  Ellaria screams.  Tyrion pukes.  Twyin announces that Tyrion is guilty and condemned to death.

 

Deaths in this recap:  2.  Red Alyn.  Oberyn Martell.

Cumulative deaths: 143

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  12

Betrayals in this recap: 1.  We get the reveal that the Tyrells, who are supposed to be the Lannister’s ally were involved in Joffrey’s death.

Cumulative betrayals: 36

Incest incidents: 0.  I thought about including the betrothal of Sansa to her cousin, but they didn’t actually do anything and I don’t think that counts as incest in Westeros anyways.

Cumulative incests: 27

 

 

Child of Rage

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Pinot noir

Chapters:  Arya XII, Tyrion IX,  Jaime VIII

 

Arya XII

Surprise!  Arya wasn’t killed by Sandor at the Red Wedding.  He just knocked her out with the flat end of an axe.  She’s not surprisingly pretty depressed and just wants to sleep.  When she does sleep, she has a lot of wolf dreams where she’s warging Nymeria.  Nymeria has a giant pack that she’s leading.

A female alpha wolf?

Sandor however, forces Arya to wake up every morning.  We know from Bran chapters that it’s probably for the best, she would lose herself if she stayed in Nymeria all the time.  But Arya doesn’t know this and she’s not pleased.

At least Arya finally has her own horse now.  The horse had run away from the Twins during the RW and so Arya named her Craven.

Arya keeps telling herself that she’ll kill The Hound in his sleep, or take Craven and run away, but she never does.  She has nowhere to go.

They go on like this for days.  Arya sullen and The Hound full of barely contained rage.  He won’t tell her where they’re going and they avoid populated areas, so there’s no way to know.

One time, they come across an archer who’s dying from an infected mace wound.  Real shocker here, a Bolton man was the culprit.  Sandor mercy kills him and takes his dagger and coins.

They reach the foothills of the mountains and Sandor finally reveals that he’s taking her to the Eyrie to try and ransom her to Lysa.  Maybe while they’re there, they can have a nice tall refreshing glass of breast milk.   Arya is in denial that her mother is really dead and wants to go all the way back to the Twins.

That night she has a dream that she, as Nymeria finds Catelyn in the river.  There are tons of corpses there, but she sniffs Catelyn out.  She actually goes into the river and drags the body out.  She drives the other wolves away from the corpse and thinks “Rise.  Rise and eat and run with us.”  Then some men on horseback come along and the pack scatters.

The next morning, Sandor brings up her mother again, but Arya now says she knows she’s dead because she saw it in a dream.

When they get to the Vale, they find that it’s going to be about impossible to get up to the Eyrie.  There’s frost up in the mountains now and the clans are out in full force.  After being turned away from King’s Landing, they came back to wreak more havoc.

They spent days in a village.  Arya’s increasingly angry.  A little girl keeps following her around and talking about how her doll, Ser Soldier keeps her safe.  She steals the doll and rips it apart, tells the girl that now it really looks like a soldier and throws the doll in the brook.

One of my favorite nineties TV movies.  After Death of a Cheerleader, of course.

A couple of weeks later, the villagers, who know who The Hound is, make it plain that they are unwelcome.  So they leave and go back to the Riverlands.  The Hound decides that he’ll take her to Riverrun.  Arya suggests the Wall, but Sandor is not having it.  He wants to take vengeance on his brother.

 

Tyrion IX

Tyrion is talking with his uncle Kevan who informs that in the absence of a king, the trial will be led by Tywin.  Mace Tyrell and Oberyn Martell are to be co-judges.  He asks if he can request a trial by battle but Kevan advises against it because Cersei plans to name Gregor Clegane as the crown’s champion.  Tyrion requests a visit from Podrick Payne and tells Kevan that he didn’t do it.  Kevan doesn’t seem to believe him though.  When Pod comes, Tyrion tells him to send for Bronn, tell him there’s a lot of gold in it for him and not to return without Bronn.

Pod does not come back that day.  Tyrion struggles to come up with witnesses on his behalf and tries to figure out whodunit.  He thinks it’s Sansa at first, but doesn’t know where she could’ve gotten the poison without accomplices.  He doesn’t think that anyone will buy that she did it alone.  All the same, she’s the only witness he can think of.

When Kevan returns, he tells him that Ser Addam Marbrand is hunting for Sansa but the trial is to begin in three days.  Not much hope that’ll find witnesses in that time, considering that he’s locked up.

Finally, the next day, Pod returns with Bronn.  Bronn informs him that he’s about to marry Lollys Stokeworth.   She’s not the heir, but her older sister Falyse is barren and there are no males, so if Bronn gets her pregnant, he’ll get a son as an heir.  In other words, Bronn is more interested in climbing up the social ladder than helping Tyrion, and Falyse may not be long for this world.  Bronn refuses to be Tyrion’s champion.

It’s the morning of the trial and Addam Marbrand comes to escort him.  It seems to be the social event of the season.  Well, after the purple wedding anyway.  Everyone is there and everyone is dressed well.  Tywin asks Tyrion if he killed Joffrey.  Tyrion says no.  Then he is informed that he is to stay quiet while the witnesses against him testify.

Balon Swann and Meryn Trant and Boros Blount talk about all the times Tyrion was mean to Joffrey.  Including when he smacked him around a bit during the battle of Blackwater.  The Kettleblacks did the same.  Everyone glosses right over how much of an asshole Joffrey was.  At last Tyrion loses his temper and starts shouting.  He realizes right away how big of a mistake that was.  With that, the first day of the trial ends.

The second day, the Maesters testify.  They say they found no food in Joffrey’s throat, so he must have poisoned.  Pycelle tells of the time Tyrion stole poison from him.  Remember the time he gave Cersei the Hershey squirts to keep her out of the way?  He testifies that the poison used was the strangler, which we already knew.  Then a parade of nobles comes along to testify that he choked.  Lady Merryweather even says she saw Tyrion drop poison in the king’s cup.

So far this trial is kinda boring.  It reminds me of the summer of OJ Simpson’s trial.  I was annoyed because Days of Our Lives was always being preempted.  I’m not even ashamed about that.  I was 15.  The nineties were the glory days of Days.  When Marlena was possessed.

But I digress.

Another day ends.  Kevan comes back in to tell Tyrion that if he confesses, Tywin would permit him to take the black.  I admit I’d kind of hoped he would agree that because I would not hate seeing him and Jon interact again.  But he’s not having it.

The next day, Varys testifies.  He pretty much just confirms what everyone else said and that he knows because his little birds told him.  At the end of the day, Cersei says she has one final witness to speak on the morrow.

That night, there is a knock on the door.  He’s expecting Kevan, but surprise!  It’s Oberyn.  He tells Tyrion that Cersei has been working really hard to buy his vote against Tyrion.  She’s even hinting at marriage.  Oberyn tells him that by Dornish law, the throne should pass to Myrcella and of course, the Martells have Myrcella.  He hints that his brother, Prince Doran may crown her.  Tyrion says that even if Cersei would agree to that, Tywin wouldn’t allow it.  Oberyn says “your father may not live forever” in a wink wink, nudge nudge kind of way.

It is then that Oberyn reveals that he actually thinks that Tyrion is innocent.   Tyrion confirms that Gregor was the real killer of Aegon and rapist and killer of Elia, not Amory Lorch.  Then Oberyn finally gets to the point and says that he will step up as Tyrion’s champion.

 

Jaime VIII

Jaime has been emoing around the castle all Jon Snow style.  He’s been watching the trial, but just kind of hanging around at the back.  Cersei has been distant and he’s disowned, so he never hangs out with Tywin either.

He’s sitting all alone in Kingsguard HQ, the Round Room.  There’s a weirwood table with a big white book chronicling all the history of the KG.  He’s reading some of the recent entries and pouting about how Barristan Selmy had given him such a paltry entry when the other KG members come in.  It’s a super exciting Kingsguard meeting.

Jaime kind of scolds them for letting Joff die on their watch.  He asks their opinion on whether or not Tyrion is guilty.  They don’t seem to really know or care.  Oswald Kettleblack thinks it’s the High Septon.  Loras thinks it’s Sansa.  Aw.  That kind of makes me sad.  It’s bad enough when you’re a teenager and your crush isn’t into you.  How much would it suck if your crush thought you were a murderer.

Jaime changes the subject to the protection of Tommen, who will be the new king.  He decides that Boros Blount will taste everything Tommen eats or drinks to make sure it isn’t poisoned.  Boros is pretty pissed off about it but Jaime threatens him until he hawks a loogie on the ground and leaves.  It seems that even though Jaime is no longer capable of fighting, people still fear him out of habit.

Jaime scolds Meryn Trant for brutalizing Sansa on Joffrey’s orders.  He says that from now on, he’s to obey Jaime first and foremost.  One by one he questions and dismisses the KG members.  Until he is alone with Loras.  Loras is all extra cocky and Jaime realizes that he’s just like a younger version of himself.  He brings up Brienne.  Loras thinks she has to be guilty of killing Renly because how else could the death have happened if she weren’t part of it.  Jaime points out that the same could be said for Loras and the other KG present.  He convinces Loras to talk to Brienne and give her a fair hearing.

The chapter ends with Jaime thinking her has other debts to pay.  Whatever that means!

 

Deaths in this recap:  0.  Yeah, nothing really happened in these chapters.  All set up for the final chapters.

Cumulative deaths: 141

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  12

Betrayals in this recap: 0

Cumulative betrayals: 35

Incest incidents: 0

Cumulative incests: 27

Menstrual Blood is Thicker Than Water

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Absolut citron and soda

Chapters:  Jaime VII, Davos VI, Jon VIII

 

Jaime VII

Jaime and Brienne still haven’t reached King’s Landing yet, but they know of Joffrey’s demise because the whole kingdom is apparently buzzing about it.  The smallfolk are arguing about how it happened though.  A costermonger (whatever the fuck that is) said Tyrion slit his throat and drank the blood from a big cold chalice.  Wrong book, dude.  This isn’t Interview With the Vampire

The innkeep has a better handle on the situation and says it was poisoned that turned Joffrey’s face plum colored.  Then we get back into some fuckery when an archer claims that Sansa vanished from the hall in a puff of brimstone.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that only women are gossips.

Jaime tries to be sad about his firstborn son dying but when he tries to conjure up his face, he can only think of Cersei.

They finally approach the city and Steelshanks Walton complains about how much the city stinks.  That’s actually one of my favorite things about this city.  No one usually points out how disgusting and smelly cities would have been before plumbing, sewage treatment and trash collection were a thing.

Jaime reflects more on how little he cares about Joffrey’s death.  Apparently he never even held him because Cersei thought that might give away that he was his real father.  He only resented the baby for taking up too much of Cersei’s time, love, and breasts.  So many different kinds of wrong and gross here.

Jaime rides up to Brienne and tells her that she’s fulfilled his goal.  She’s been sullen and depressed since hearing about the red wedding (haven’t we all?) but still seems to want to find Sansa and protect her.

They get to the city gates and Jaime still doesn’t reveal who he is.  He pretends to be part of Bolton’s contingent, there to swear loyalty to Tywin.  They get waved right through.  In the city, no one even seems to recognize him.  Nobody pays him any mind.

Finally at the gate to the Red Keep Ser Meryn Trant recognizes him.  Inside he sees Loras Tyrell and discovers that he is now a Kingsguard.  He gives them both some shade for failing in their duty to keep the king alive.

Then Loras spots Brienne.  He still thinks she killed Renly so he starts yelling at her and asking why she killed him.  She swears she didn’t do it but he doesn’t believe her.  They almost come to blows until Jaime puts an end to it with some casual homophobia telling Loras to “sheathe your bloody sword, or I’ll take it from you and shove it up some place even Renly never found.”  Cute.  Loras still insists on having her arrested.  To smooth things over and keep Brienne safe, Jaime orders her locked into a tower cell.  Brienne is hurt by this.

Jaime goes to sept to see Cersei who is in mourning.  Another new Kingsguard, Osmund Kettleblack tries to give him a hard time about it but Jaime tells him who he is and they aren’t to be disturbed.

Jaime and Cersei’s reunion is tearful and almost sweet.  For a minute.  Cersei soon talks of vengeance.  She wants Jaime to kill Tyrion for her.  He’s reluctant to do so.  He’s skeptical that Tyrion really did it.  He refuses and says he must hear more about what happened.  It is then that Cersei reveals that there will be a trial.

Then out of nowhere we get a twincest scene.  The first one in a while.  There’s some ambiguity as to whether or not Cersei consents but I’m not going to get into it because I don’t feel like it.  She’s on her period but he doesn’t care.  In fact he “lost himself in her flesh” which is a terminology that really grosses me out, incest and possible rapiness aside.  Then it talks about the wetness of the blood and seed joining.   Afterwards, the marble is smeared with period blood.  GRRM seems really determine to make me throw up my pricey liquor here.

Jaime wants to marry Cersei and have another son in place of Joffrey.  Cersei points out that Tommen’s claim to the throne depends on being Robert Baratheon’s son so that would be a really terrible idea.  When Cersei is the reasonable one in the conversation, you should really reflect on your life choices.

Jaime doesn’t care and says that Casterly Rock should be enough.  Then he touches her face with his stump.  This is enough to freak Cersei out.  She tells him that he’s changed.  She makes him leave.

Next stop on the homecoming parade is a visit to the Tower of the Hand to see papa Lannister.  As expected, he gets a cold welcome from Tywin who had expected him sooner.  Tywin does tell him that Gregor took Harrenhal back from Vargo Hoat.  Hoat was apparently half mad with sepsis from the bite wound on the ear that Brienne had given him.  Clegane is presently torturing him to death.

Tywin wants to know if Jaime can fight with his remaining left hand.  He can’t.  He can barely function at all.  But he pretends otherwise.  Tywin says he has a gift for him.  Jaime first wants to know Tywin’s take on Joffrey’s death.  He confirmed it was poison but doesn’t seem to care whether or not Tyrion actually did it.  He just seems glad it appears that he did because it’s an excuse to get rid of him.

Tywin badly wants Jaime to be retired from the Kingsguard and take his place as heir to Casterly Rock.  Jaime refuses and Tywin disowns him.

 

Davos VI

Another night, another nightfire with Melisandre praying to R’hllor.  Since most are preoccupied with the cult meeting, Davos uses this as an opportunity to smuggle Edric out of Dragonstone to keep him safe from Mel’s fires.  Ser Andrew Estermont is going with him to some unspecified location overseas.  Edric protests a little but Davos tells him that he’ll make Stannis mad if he refuses.  It’s a lie, but it convinces him.

Later in the chamber of the painted table, Melisandre and Stannis walk in.  She’s insisting that Joffrey is dead, she saw it in the flames.  Stannis is dubious but Davos confirms that it’s true.  Mel is very self satisfied because three burned leaches of king’s blood = three dead kings now.   The statistical rule that correlation does not imply causation doesn’t seem to have been discovered in this universe yet.

Stannis treats us all to a grim little tale about Joffrey having cut open a pregnant cat to take out the kitten fetuses.  He says that the imp served the kingdom well and now they’ll have to send for him.

Melisandre reminds Stannis that Joffrey has a brother and they will crown him.  Stannis is not too pleased to hear this.  Mel takes this opportunity to suggest again that she burn Edric Storm to awaken the stone dragons.  Stannis finally relents and then Davos steps up all like “swipe, denied!”  He tells them that he’s gone.  Stannis is threatening to punish him for treason.  Davos pleads his case by revealing that he has learned to read and has an interesting letter.  We don’t get to hear what the letter is, but maybe you remember it from the last Davos chapter.

 

Jon VIII

Jon is having a dream and surprise, surprise, he’s as emo in his dreams as he is in his waking life.  He’s back in Winterfell in the crypts and all the statues of the past King in the Norths tell him that he’s no Stark.  He hears people feasting in the great hall above and knows he’s not wanted there and blah, blah, blah.

He wakes up alone in his chilly steward’s cell.  He misses Ygritte and Ghost and still feels kind of shitty from his injury but it’s getting better.  He hears horns.  Two blasts.

It is still the dead of night and Mance has at last come.  They can’t see much except for torches.  They can hear horses and even mammoths.  When they send some burning pitch down, they see that there’s actually 100 mammoths.  That’s a lot.  I’m wondering how they were tamed because as far as I know, no humans in our universe ever did that.  But this is fantasy and we need a battle to rival Pelennor Fields from LOTR so suspend disbelief, I guess!

The wildling army is at the gate.  Usually it would be impossible to get through, but they have giants and mammoths.  So this is a risk right now.

The Nightswatch men throw down some jars of burning lamp oil and can hear screaming down below.  Donal Noye, who has been commanding the battle thus far says he needs to take some men down to defend the gate.  He gives Jon the Wall.  Jon emos about it of course, thinking he’s not up to the task but he does say “aye.”

They throw down and shoot burning stuff for like, ever and finally dawn breaks.  The NW did some damage but nowhere near enough.  There are still a shit ton of wildlings there.  Giants are riding on mammoths, ramming the gat with a tree trunk.  The NW men are starting to despair but Jon assures them that the Wall defends itself, even though he thinks they’re hollow words.  But it works and with renewed morale, they pick up the fight once more.  The wildlings are trying to shoot them with arrows, but the arrows can’t reach that high.  The NW men manage to shoot down the giants and mammoths with the ram.  The Wildlings finally break.  The Wall does defend itself after all.

They all want food and rest.  But first, Jon wants to check the gate.  Donal Noye and his men are in the tunnels.  They died defending the Wall from a giant.  The giant twisted Spotted Pate’s head off and crushed Noye’s spine.  But Noye sunk his sword into the giant’s throat, killing him.  Jon recognizes the giant as Mag the Mighty, king of the giants.

Jon says that the Wall needs to be blocked up.  Her says Ser Wynton Stout, the only knight left, will have to take command now.  Maester Aemon says that Stout is too old and senile now.   He insists that it is now Jon who must command.  Jon pretends he didn’t want to hear that, but we all now he did.

 

Deaths in this recap:  4.  Spotted Pate, Donal Noye and Mag the Mighty.  I’m also putting Vargo Hoat in there because it’s pretty clear he’s about to die and from previous reads, I don’t remember any clear confirmation forthcoming.

Cumulative deaths: 141

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  12

Betrayals in this recap: 0

Cumulative betrayals: 35

Incest incidents: 1 and it’s a doozy.  It’s been a while since the last one, so I guess GRRM had to make up for it!

Cumulative incests: 27

Purple Reign

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Insight Brewery Sunken City

Chapters:  Sansa IV, Tyrion VIII, Sansa V

 

Sansa IV

Sansa dreams of being home with her family, including Lady.  She wakes up thinking about how they are all dead.  I guess Sansa doesn’t like emo very much but she doesn’t think of Jon as a living family member at all.

The maids, Shae among them draw her a bath to get ready for the sure to be awkward wedding breakfast for the Lannisters and Tyrells.  She thinks about how Shae gives her insolent looks sometimes.

Tyrion comes in wearing rumpled clothes.  He starts drinking right away.  I won’t deny that I’ve done some day drinking before, but starting before breakfast is pretty hardcore.  Sansa judges him aloud for being a hot mess even though she’d been contemplating having a glass of wine to calm her nerves just on the previous page.  She must need to ease into the Lannister tradition of being drunk at all times.   He does go change into fresh clothes but cannot be dissuaded from the wine.

They go to the breakfast and it’s time for some food porn.  The only thing I’ll mention is the Dornish egg, cheese, onion and fiery pepper dish because that sounds delicious.

After the eating is finished, it’s time for the gifts to be presented. First Cersei presents Joff with the cloak he’s to drape around Margaery.    Joffrey stays on his best behavior for awhile until he receives Tyrion’s gift, a really nice leatherbound book about four of the Targaryen kings.  He tells Tyrion that he hasn’t knocked up Sansa yet because he spends all his time reading and then threatens to rape Sansa after he gets Margaery pregnant to show her how it’s done.

The final gift is from Tywin.  It’s the new Valyrian steel sword made from Ned’s sword, Ice.   Joffrey names it Widow’s Wail, boasts about being no stranger to Valyrian steel and chops up Tyrion’s book.

Tyrion shades him by saying he should get a matching knife with a dragonbone hilt.  This is a description of the knife that Bran’s would be killer had way back in the beginning of the series.  He doesn’t seem to get the reference though and of course Sansa doesn’t either.

Afterwards when Sansa and Tyrion are in their litter, Tyrion asks her if Joffrey quarreled with Bran while in Winterfell like he did with Robb.  She’s confused by this and just says he’s a sweet boy.  He assures her that he had nothing to do with the attempts on Bran’s life.  He points out she’s never asked about how Robb and Catelyn died and she tells him she doesn’t want to know.  That’s fair enough.  I don’t think I’d want to hear about that either.

 

Tyrion VIII

Now it’s time for the wedding ceremony.  Both Joffrey and Margaery look splendid and regal but Tyrion drank too much wine and has to pee hella bad and it’s making him think murderous thoughts about Joffrey.

If it wasn’t clear from the previous chapter, that boast about being familiar with Valyrian steel has Tyrion pretty well convinced that it was Joffrey rather than Jaime or Cersei who sent the catspaw after Bran.  Personally, I suspect Littlefinger or Varys because they both wanted to destabilize the realm and have some war.

Now it’s time for the cloak exchange.  Tyrion is still bitter about Sansa refusing to kneel when he was too short to put it on her.  Ffs, dude.  Get over it.  We’re into some serious Nice Guy™  territory here.  She was really supposed to be thinking about being accommodating when being forced to marry a member of the family that’s been killing her family off?  The aggravating thing is that there are a lot of fans who think Sansa is some sort of heinous bitch for not being pleased about being forced to marry him.  Ugh.

After the ceremony there is a procession so the smallfolk can watch and cheer.  They all like Joffrey again because they love Margaery so much.  They credit the Tyrells with saving the city from starvation because they opened up the roseroad so that supplies could come in.  They don’t remember that they were the ones who closed the road in the first place.  Basically, the people of King’s Landing are like all those working and middle class people who absorb Fox News capitalist propaganda.

Tyrion thinks about how he wants to get out of KL.  He suggests Casterly Rock and Sansa apathetically agrees.  He also thinks about going to the Free Cities instead.

They sit in awkward silence for the rest of the procession.

Tyrion finally gets to pee.  Whoo hoo!

They put on new close for the feast.  Weddings are a lot more complicated in Westeros, I guess.  Tyrion of course continues drinking while he’s getting ready.  Shae is helping Sansa and asks to serve the table at the feast.  This annoys Tyrion.  Apparently he doesn’t like it when women want nothing to do with but also doesn’t like it when women want to be heavily involved in every aspect of his life.  Did he take a red pill (the MRA kind, not the Matrix kind) with his wine today?

They make the small talk rounds with all the other guests.  Sansa is good at it.  Tyrion doesn’t give a fuck.  Lancel is there.  It’s the first time he’s gone in public since getting badly injured at the battle of Blackwater.  His hair is white and he’s scrawny as fuck.  Even more of a mess than Tyrion and his no nosed state.

Olenna Tyrell comes up to Sansa and starts fussing with her hair and her amethyst hair net.  Totally insignificant detail just there to add color I’m sure.

Finally they settle in for the seventy fucking seven course feast.  Tyrion is paranoid that he’s being stared at and judged.  Fair enough.  He probably is.

Joffrey and Margaery ride in on white horses.  Joffrey toasts Margaery with the giant chalice that Mace Tyrell had given him earlier.

Now it’s time for some serious food porn.  Forgive me if I skip over it.  Sansa is all listless and barely eating or paying attention to all the singers and musicians.  That’s all anyone needs to know.

Several courses and cups of wine later, Tyrion is drunk and Joffrey is even drunker.  He doesn’t know how to handle his booze yet.  That’s what happens when you go to your wedding feast without having first lived on a college campus, I guess.

Part of the entertainment is a fake joust by two dwarfs.  A male dwarf riding a dog and a female dwarf riding a pig.  Everyone thinks this is hilarious for some reason.  Drunk ass Joffrey tries to get Tyrion to joust on the pig.  Drunk ass Tyrion says he’ll do it if  Joffrey does, because he’s the only one in the hall he’s certain of defeating.  Everyone laughs at this and Joffrey is enraged because he’s basically Donald Trump and can dish it out but can’t take it.  Joffrey pours the wine from his chalice on Tyrion’s head.

The Tyrells try to smooth things over.  It doesn’t really work.  Joffrey forces Tyrion to be his cupbearer and in a move that will be familiar to anyone who has ever worked as a server, continuously verbally abuses Tyrion.

Finally it is time for the pie.  The equivalent of the wedding cake at our culture’s weddings.  Joffrey and Margaery cut the pie with the sword made from ice and a bunch of doves flew out.  Poor doves.  Stuck in a pie made out of their pigeon cousins.  No wonder the birds want us all dead.

Tyrion and Sansa are about to leave when Joffrey notices and commands him to stay and serve him his wine.

Joffrey is eating his pie and starts coughing.  He thinks it’s just dry and tries to wash it down with wine but the wine comes spewing back out.  His face turns bright red and it’s clear that he’s actually choking.  Tyrion realizes that Joff is going to die.  He knows he is dead when he hears Cersei scream.

Then Cersei looks up from the corpse, accuses Tyrion and Sansa of poisoning Joffrey and has the kingsguard arrest Tyrion.

 

Sansa V

It turns out that Sansa did not stick around to watch Joffrey die.  She’s in the Godswood as the bells toll.  Changing into some plain and practical clothes that she had hidden there.  It seems that Dontos had forewarned her that this day would be when she would escape King’s Landing.

As she takes off her hairnet, she notices an amethyst missing.  It fills her with dread but she isn’t sure why yet.  Apparently Dontos had told her that the hair net was magic, it would take her home and she needed to wear it tonight.  But she is either in shock or kind of slow because it takes her a minute to do the math.  But she does get there.

There’s some rustling in the trees and Dontos, like a lurking pervert appears.  She accuses him of poisoning Joff but he still insists the amethysts are just magic.  He tells her that Tyrion has been arrested and they mst leave quickly.  She wonders if Tyrion really did poison him.

Dontos is super drunk as usual but they manage to make it out of the city.  He leads her down a cliff after sloppily crying and kissing her.  Gross.  Finally they make it to the river and into a small boat.  Dontos call out his name, “Oswell” even though he wasn’t supposed to do that.  Oswell says “no names.”  They go down the river into the Blackwater bay and finally come upon a larger ship.  She and Oswell go up while Dontos remains in the smaller boat.  Who is on the ship?

Why it’s our old pal Littlefinger accompanied by Ser Lothor Brune.  Dontos says he needs to row back.  LF says he’ll first want his payment, 10,000 gold dragons.  This was clearly some kind of code because three men step up and shoot him to death with crossbows.

They sail away.  Sansa is of course upset but LF assures her that because he was such an unreliable drunk, he would’ve eventually talked and they had no choice.

Littlefinger reveals that he was behind Dontos’ offer to take her home and Joffrey’s poisoning.  He was even responsible for hiring the dwarf jousters, knowing that it would cause tensions.  So basically, he framed Tyrion.  Not to hard to do since Cersei already hates him and is suspicious of him.  LF creepily tells her that “widowhood will become you.”

Sansa wonders what his motive is.  He tells her he has no motive, it’s just best to keep your foes confused by making moves that seem to serve no purpose or move against her.  He tells her to remember that when it comes to be her turn to play the game of thrones.  I sure hope that advice backfires on him one day.

 

Deaths in this recap: 2.  Dontos and Joffrey.  The later being the best goddamn death in the whole series so far!

Cumulative deaths: 137

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  12

Betrayals in this recap: 1.  I’m not sure Littlefinger can really betray anyone as he has no real allegiance to anyone but himself, but he’s supposed to be a Lannister ally so I think we can count this one.

Cumulative betrayals: 35

Incest incidents: 0.

Cumulative incests: 26

 

 

R.O.U.S

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Pinot Grigot

Chapters:  Bran IV, Daenerys V, Tyrion VII

 

Bran IV

Bran, Meera, Jojen and Hodor have finally reached the Wall.  More specifically, the abandoned NW castle called the Nightfort.   The Nightfort is where the legendary Night’s King had reined.  It also featured in many of the other Old Nan stories.  The most relevant one being the story of the Rat Cook who had violated guest right (hey, just like someone from a few chapters ago!) by killing the son of a visiting Andal king, cooking him in a pie and serving it to him.  Basically, the Nightfort is spooky as shit and it seems like it might be haunted.

The gate has of course long ago been sealed and they can’t find a way through.  But Jojen insists that his dreams are always and his dreams told him to go here.  Meera decides to climb the wall and see if she can figure out something.  Emo must be contagious and Bran must’ve caught it from Jon when they had that near encounter.  Because Bran starts emoing about how he should be the one climbing.

While Meera is up on the Wall, Bran, Jojen and Hodor go exploring down below.  Summer catches a rat as big as a cat.  I actually kind of like rats and other rodents, but that is just gross and scary.

There are lots of dark tunnels full of these rats below the Nightfort.  Jojen wants to explore but Bran vetoes this and I can’t say I blame him.  If this isn’t a perfect horror movie set up, I don’t know what is.

By the time Meera returns, the sun is going down and they are no closer to finding a way through the Wall.  This makes it a perfect time to tell scary stories!

We get to hear more about the Night’s King.  This is not to be confused with the show version.  He was a lord commander of the Nightswatch who fell in love with what appears to be a female white walker.  They ruled for 13 years, making sacrifices to the white walkers until a Stark and Joramun the wildling leader allied together to put an end to it.  The NW excised all records of the Night’s King so no one knew who it was.  Old Nan thought he was a Stark though.  No evidence of this is presented so it’s unknown whether she was telling the truth or just trolling Bran.

The group decided they will sleep in the kitchens.  It has a weirwood tree that has busted through the floor and a mega creepy well.  Hodor Hodors down it and the Hodors echo.  It’s the best.

Bran thinks he hears something splashing around in the well and wants to leave but the Reeds laugh him off.  Then we get some more Westeros mythology.  We learn more of the Rat King too.  After he served the Andal king that prince and bacon pie, the gods turned him into a huge white rat who could only eat his own young.  The punishment was according to Old Nan a punishment not for the murder or the non-consensual cannibalism but for the breaking of guest right.  As much is this is a scary story, it’s kind of nice because it gives the reader hope that the Freys will get theirs.  I guess we’ll see.

Bran finally drifts off to sleep but wakes up to find more noises coming from the well.  He figures that Hodor woke it up.  It’s all very mines of Moria.  He wakes Meera up and once again, Wargs Hodor.

A huge black shape lurches out of the well.  Meera catches it in her net.  The well monster is wailing and shaking.

It turns out to be Sam.  Along with Gilly and her baby.  She tells them that someone named Coldhands told them that he’d been sent to find someone and Sam wasn’t it.  Sam tells them there’s a gate down there called the Black Gate.  It’s hidden and as old as the wall itself.  Only a NW brother can open it.  Coldhands couldn’t get through the Wall because he’s dead and the spells woven into the Wall keep them from passing the Wall.

Before too long, Sam puts two and two together and realizes that Bran is Jon’s brother.  They make Sam promise not to tell him he saw them.  They update Sam on how Jon is alive and escaped the wildlings.

Sam leads them to the Black Gate and it’s actually a big weirwood with a face on it.  It asks “who are you?” and Sam recites the NW vows.  The door tells them to pass and the weirwood’s mouth opens wide enough for them to go through.

 

Daenerys V

Dany has arrived now at the third Slaver’s Bay city, Meereen.  It’s much larger and more multicolored than Astapor and Yunkai.  It’s also made of brick and full of pyramids though.  The Great Pyramid has a harpy on top of it.  That’s their symbol.

Outside the walls of the city, Meereen’s champion is riding back and forth, challenging Dany’s people.  Her bloodriders are dying to go out and fight him but she thinks they’re too young and risk taking so she forbids it.  Ser Jorah likes this decision.  Arstan thinks it’s bad PR for them to be afraid to meet him and thinks the decision not to fight can only boost Meereenese morale.

The Meereenese had harvested the crops that they could and burned the rest.  So Dany’s host has to do something soon.  Or they will starve.  They also quite gruesomely nailed a slave child to every milepost on the road from Yunkai to Meereen.  As a result, Dany is pretty pissed off and ready to take this city.

Brown Ben Plumm, the new leader of the Second Sons tells them that the champion’s name is Oznak zo Pahl.  Henceforth, I will call him Ozarks because that’s just easier.

Anyway, after about an hour of taunting from Ozarks, Dany finally decides to send Strong Belwas out to fight him.  Belwas used to fight in the slave pits and so if he wins it will be an embarrassment for Meereen.  If he loses the victory over someone perceived as low and worthless will mean little.  Also, he’s pretty expendable.

Even though Ozarks is on horse, Belwas meets him on foot.  They basically play chicken for a little while.  Finally Belwas drops to the ground to avoid Ozarks’ lance and stabs the horse in the legs.  Both the horse and Ozarks fall.  Poor horsey.  Now it’s time for a knife fight.  It’s over pretty quickly.  Ozarks manages to cut Belwas in the chest, but Belwas manages to behead Ozarks right after that.  He takes the head and throws it towards the gates.  Then Belwas squats and poops in the direction of the city.  I’m never sure if I think this is incredibly awesome or incredibly gross.

After the fight, Dany holds a war council.  They’re having trouble figuring out a way to conquer Meereen.  Jorah even wants her to head back to Westeros.  But they don’t have the food to take care of her people and she’s still mad about those slave children Meereen killed as a message.   So these hopes that we’ll finally get to see Daenerys go back to Westeros and mix it up with the other characters are dashed for now.

Ben Plumm suggests the sewers.  That’s how he escaped the city in the past.  But it sounds absolutely disgusting and there’s a limit to how many people will be able to get through.  She decides to sleep on it.  But she can’t sleep because she’s all horny for Daario even though he’s a skeezebucket.  She decides to go out riding.  She takes Arstan with her.

Most of the people in the camps are fond of her but one man comes up, drags her from her horse and tries to stab her.  It’s Mero.  From the Second Sons I think?  He and Arstan fight and Arstan wins.

They get back and Jorah tries to start talking battle.  But Dany cuts him off to read him for not warning her that Mero had escaped.  She wants Arstan knighted.  Both Jorah and Arstan say no firmly.

This is when Arstan reveals that he already is a knight.  He is in fact, Ser Barristan Selmy.  He begs her forgiveness for ever having stayed in Robert Baratheon’s service.

He also informs her of more than that.  He snitches out Jorah for being Varys’ informant all these years.  Jorah says he did it to get a pardon and go home but changed his mind when he fell in love and stopped informing.

Dany contemplates having the dragons burn both their lying asses.  But she just tells them to go.  She tries to figure out where and then settles on something.  But the chapter ends before she can tell us.

 

Tyrion VII

Tyrion is still angsting over his cold and barren marriage.  Just my personal opinion, but when you have a child spouse, you shouldn’t want it to be any other way.

When he told Sansa of the red wedding, he expected a display of grief and anger but only got stone cold silence.  He did later hear her crying behind closed doors.

He gets up in the night and dresses and goes to meet Shae in those tunnels where all the dragon skulls are.  She’s standing naked in the jaws of Balerion.  They have sex and she calls him her lion again.  He ends up feeling guilty and stupid because he knows the affair isn’t exactly safe.  He thinks he’ll marry her off to a knight named Talled because the safest course of action is getting rid of her.

No time for that now though.  Dawn is breaking and it is the day of Joffrey’s wedding.

Shortest chapter ever.

 

Deaths in this recap: 1.  Only Ozarks.

Cumulative deaths: 135

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  12

Betrayals in this recap: 1.  I’m going with this because I can’t remember if I counted Jorah spying for Varys earlier.  If I did, we’ll just count it as Barristan ratting out Jorah.

Cumulative betrayals: 34

Incest incidents: 0.

Cumulative incests: 26