Who wants to kick a decapitated head?
Book I am reading: A Game Of Thrones
Chapters: Prologue, Bran I, Catelyn I, Daenerys I, Eddard I, Jon I
Booze in my flagon: Cabernet-Sauvignon
We open with Gared, first of many grizzled Night’s Watch men we will meet. The NW live at a fort on a huge wall of ice. This wall protects Westeros from all the scary stuff north of it. Like wildings, who are like to Westeros what the Roma are to Europe. They don’t cotton to the feudal laws of Westeros. There may or may not be supernatural creatures north of the wall too. He is nervous because a bunch of wildling were found slaughtered. Our narrator Will is also nervous because he’s still sort of a rookie and if grizzeldy 50 year old Gared is nervous, he should probably be too. However, Gared and Will don’t want to look wussy in front of their new commander Waymar Royce. He a rich entitled young guy who only got the post because his father is a lord from an old family. His dumbass has only been at the NW for half a year so he is the only one who doesn’t notice that something doesn’t feel quite right.
Will reflects that it is “hard to take orders from a man you laughed at in your cups.” Good one Will. Waymar does have a fabulous sable cloak that sounds like something a Carrington would rock. I guess that’s something.
Mormont, the Lord Commander has ordered them to track the wildings. They’re about two miles away from the camp where the body was found and twilight is approaching. Looking for corpses in the dark in a place called the haunted forest always ends well, right?
It’s getting increasingly cold and creepy. Gared thinks something is wrong. Waymar is a dumb shit and dismisses the grizzled wisdom of Gared. Bad idea Waymar.
They get to the camp and all the Wildling bodies have vanished. Will starts to freak out too. Waymar is still being too stupid to notice that bad shit is about to go down. He orders Will to climb a tree and look for the wildlings.
Will sees some Others. It gets really, really cold. One of the Other’s steps forward to confront Waymar. It has bad ass chameleon-like armor, bright blue eyes, and a cool sword that is really sharp and looks like crystal. They fight and Waymar gets his ass kicked while some more Others lurk in the background. The Other mocks Waymar in a voice that sounds like cracking ice. The crystal sword shatters Waymar’s lame steel sword. Waymar dies. The first of many to be killed by GRRM. He doesn’t always kill the good ones, despite his bad rep for being a heart stomper.
Will inspects the abandoned corpse of Waymar. All of a sudden, Waymar rises from the dead. He has the same bright blue eyes as the Others. Dead Waymar chokes Will out. Too bad. He seemed like a cool guy who knows his sable coats and is fun to drink with. RIP Will.
Thus concludes our first chapter of AGOT. It’s off to a good start, but savor this chapter. There will be no more supernatural happenings (besides Bran’s dreams) for a good long while.
Somewhat south of the wall in Westeros proper is Bran Stark. He is seven years old and about to witness his very first execution. That’s a little fucked up. Westeros is weird. We also find out that it has been summer for nine years. The man awaiting execution is none other than Grizzly Gared who has fled in terror from his ranging of doom. Unfortunately, desertation is punishable by death. Ned, patriarch of the Stark family who rules the north will carry out the sentence. The Starks are too cool to use executioners to do the dirty work. Sadly, Ned is also too cool to a lowly Nights Watchmen warning of the impending army of ice monsters and zombies. This establishes a long pattern of Ned not listening people, at his own peril.
Gared’s decapitated head rolls toward Theon Greyjoy. Theon is a giant asshole and he thinks it’s cute to kick the head away. He would have made a great Aztec football player. Theon is a hostage of the Starks because the Greyjoys rebelled. He has a lot of freedom though. He hangs out with Stark heir, Robb a lot. He’s more of a “guestage” in the words of Andrew from Buffy. Bran’s bastard brother Jon is not pleased with Theon. The Greyjoy sigil is a kraken.
When the beheading party is on the way back home, they find a dead direwolf. She has been killed by an antler. This is the first direwolf south of the wall in two hundred years. It turns out she was preg and there are five newborn pups. Ned wants to kill the pups because they’ll just die in the wild anyway. Theon is all gung ho to do it. What an asshole. For some reason, GRRM really doesn’t want us to like the guestage. Luckily Jon is a clever bastard and he convinces Ned that because there are five pups and five trueborn Stark kids, they were meant to be their pets. The Stark sigil is a direwolf.
This means that bastard Jon has to leave himself out of the running for puppy having. What a guy. Not to worry! Jon finds a red eyed albino pup angsting by himself (just like Jon does!) Theon thinks this albino pup will die even sooner. Seriously Theon, stop being such an asshole. Just because nobody loves you, doesn’t mean you get to wish death on baby animals. Jon is once again unimpressed with Theon’s butt munchiness and the chapter ends.
Catelyn is Ned’s wife. She is a Tully from the south and feels out of place in the godswood where the northerners pray to the old gods. They pray to the old gods by sulking in front of a big creepy white weirwood tree with a face carved into it. Can’t say I blame her. Ned is angsting because he always gets the sads when he has to execute somebody. The Tully sigil is a trout.
Catelyn informs Ned that the youngest Stark Rickon, aged three is a little scared of his direwolf pup. Ned says “he must learn to face his fears. He will not be three forever. And winter is coming.” What the fuck Ned? I now the northerners are supposed to be all tough, but what do you expect from a three year old? Somebody doesn’t read enough mommy blogs. It’s a good opportunity to hear the Stark family words though. The Starks are kind of Debbie Downerish in case you haven’t noticed. We also learn that the Stark sword, Ice is Valyrian steel. That means it was made with magic spells. Only the coolest bros carry Valyrian steel swords. It’s only 400 years old but Ice has been around for 8000 years since the age of heroes. We don’t get to find out what happened to Ice the first. One of many Chekov’s guns loose nuking it around Westeros.
After much exposition from GRRM Catelyn finally gets around to telling Ned that Jon Arryn is dead. Arryn was the hand of the king and Ned used to foster with him when he was a teenager so Arryn was like a second father to Ned. The Arryn sigil is a falcon and a moon. It seems that he got sick out of nowhere and croaked really quickly. We learn that Arryn’s wife who is Cat’s sister Lysa and their son Robert hightailed it back to the Eyrie, seat of the Arryns. This information is totally not suspicious at all. 25 pages in and four named characters are already dead, plus the direwolf mom. Damn George. You’re mean.
Now Cat breaks the news that king Robert is coming to visit and he’s bring his lovely family. We’re told that Robert Barratheon, with the aid of the Starks, Tullys and Arryns rebelled and took the Iron Throne from the previous occupant the mad king Aerys Targaryen. Robert also fostered at the Eyrie with Ned and they are BFFs so you’d think Ned would be happy about the royal visit. Ned is never anything but grim though so the chapter ends with Ned saying “Damn his royal hide,” The Baratheon sigil is a stag. Crowned because it is now the royal house.
Daenerys Targaryen (Dany for short because who ever wants to type the full name?) is the daughter of the Mad King Aerys. She and her brother Viserys escaped to Essos with a Targ loyalist named Willem Darry. They lived with him in a house in the free city of Braavos with some stupid lemon tree that Dany always thinks about. After Willem dies they become vagabonds because they weren’t smart enough to nab Willem’s stuff before his servants got to it and now Dany and Viserys are broke.
Dany and Viserys eventually wind up in the manse belonging to magister Ilyrio, a cheese monger. I wish I was a cheese monger. Cheese is delicious. Ilyrio is very fat. I don’t know why that’s important, but GRRM loves to point out when people are fat. GRRM is fat himself, so he gets a free fat shaming pass.
Ilyrio’s manse is in the free city of Pentos. In Essos, the free cities don’t sell slaves but all the rich people keep slaves and it is an open secret. Fuck rich people. They can never just clean their own houses can they?
We learn over the course of the book that their older brother Rhaegar was killed by Robert during the rebellion. The Targs are both hot and weird looking because they have silver hair and purple eyes and they look like this because they inbreed a lot. Just wanted to get that all out of the way now.
Now, on to the good stuff. The moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived. We get our first incest! The first of many! Dany is bathing and about to put on her pretty purple silk dress to meet her bridegroom Khal Drogo. Viserys is a creepy asshole because of course he is. He wants Dany to look hot for Drogo so he tells her to stand up straight. Then he gropes her naked breasts and gives her a purple nurple. I guess he wanted her nipples to match her eyes? He threatens her by saying “you don’t want to wake the dragon, do you?” The Targ sigil is a three headed dragon. The Targs used to ride dragons around but the dragons all died out. Viserys uses this dragony history to justify his unbelievably abusive behavior.
Important side note; I have been on Full House hate watch kick lately and it is playing in the background. Quite a juxtaposition! Actually, I think the Tanners might be as horrible and selfish as all the worst characters in ASOIAF.
Dany reminisces about her childhood. She is apprehensive about marrying Drogo, a leader of a Mongol horde type culture. She always thought she would marry Viserys to keep the bloodline pure. EWWWWWW!!!!!! Some servants come in to help Dany get ready for the wedding and then this happens; “the old woman anointed her with spiceflower perfume of the Dothraki plains, a dab on each wrist, behind her ears, on the tips of her breasts, and one last one, cool on her lips, down there between her legs.”
What? Is this a thing? Not to be prudish, but I find it hard to imagine somebody putting beef curtain perfume on me. Dany chapters always make me feel like I’ve wandered into a V.C. Andrews novel. I mean that in the best possible way.
Once Dany is ready, Ilyrio and Viserys approve of her hotness, although Viserys thinks she might be too skinny and too young. I can’t with you Viserys. Viserys is cocky in that way that hides insecurity so Ilyrio has to reassure Viserys that Westeros totally wants him to be the king. With the marriage, Viserys will have Drogo’s khalasar to use as an army. Viserys and Dany call Robert the usurper. I don’t blame them, but it’s kind of annoying.
Khal Drogo arrives with his khalasar. They are so formidable that when they roll up on cities the people pay them “gifts” to go away and leave them alone. Drogo is all huge and buff. He has some bloodriders accompanying him. Bloodriders are fierce fighters who will die for their Khal. Also present in the khalasar is Jorah Mormont, estranged son of Jeor Mormont who is LC of the Night’s Watch. The Mormonts are a northern house seated on bear island. They aren’t too fancy and when Jorah married rich society bitch Lynesse Hightower he felt compelled to enter the slave trade to provide her a nice lifestyle. Slavery is a big no no in Westeros and when Jorah got caught he had to leave town. Now Jorah dislikes the Starks because Ned was not having Jorah’s slaving ways. Naturally he and Dany get along because she doesn’t like the Starks either because they are the “Usurpers dogs.”
Holy crap, this recap is taking forever. The chapter is a good read, but there is just so much exposition. Hopefully, I can get through all of the back story in the next couple posts.
Drogo has a super long braid with lots of bells. That means Drogo is a bad ass because the Dothraki cut their braids off in humiliation when they lose. Dany gets scared and doesn’t want to go through with the wedding. Viserys says she has to do it and he’ll let the whole khalasar fuck her if that’s what it takes to get an army. Nice. I hate you Viserys. Dany decides to stand up straight, smile and be brave. Finally this exposition drop chapter is done.
Ned is short for Eddard, but you knew that. This chapter is more exposition. Sorry.
Robert’s party has arrived in Winterfell. Robert’s wife is Cersei nee Lannister. Queen Cersei is fabulous, but evil. She is blonde and green eyed and beautiful. So is her twin brother Jaime. He is nicknamed the kingslayer because he is the one who killed the mad king Aerys. This is scandalous because Jaime is a kingsguard and they are like the secret service of Westeros. Ned doesn’t approve of Jaime even though Jaime’s kingslaying was a big part of why Robert won his coupe. Ned is kind of an uptight prig.
The Lannister’s are totally rich because their dad
invented toaster strudel owns a lot of gold mines. The twins have a younger brother Tyrion. He is a dwarf and he has one green eye and one black eye. People call him the imp and pretty much hate him because this is a bigoted society. Tyrion is very smart and funny so there is hope for him yet.
Cersei and Robert have three kids. Joffrey is a tween. Tommen and Myrcella are elementary school aged. The other notable character is Sandor Clegan aka the Hound. He is big and huge and half his face is all burnt and scarred.
Ned is all shocked because Robert used to be a “maiden’s fantasy.” Yes, he says that. Robert used to be all big and beefity and hunky. Now he’s fat. I don’t know why this is such a shock. Big jocks always run to fat when they quite sports. In this case, sports are war and melees. Robert is still all jovial though!
Robert wants to pay his respects to Ned’s dead sister Lyanna down in the crypts of Winterfell. This makes Ned feel the warm fuzzies, but it makes Cersei feel the cold pricklies. Lyanna used to be engaged to Robert but she died during the rebellion and Robert had to settle for Cersei. More on that later, I’m not in the mood.
They walk through the crypts and get to the tombs of Lyanna, their father Rickard and their brother Brandon. We learn that Cat was supposed to marry Brandon, but that nutjob Aerys strangled him so she had to marry the spare to Winterfell instead. Ned remembers that Lyanna made him promise some unknown thing before she died of a fever. Cryptic! We now know that Ned was with her as she died. Ned’s second bff Howland Reed was there too. Robert wishes he could kill Rhaegar Targaryen again for “what he did to” Lyanna.
Robert tells Ned that Jon Arryn died suddenly and he wanted his son, also Robert to foster at Casterly Rock with Tywin Lannister, his father in law. Lysa wasn’t having it and she goes back to the Eyrie, a mountain fortress. Apparently Robert Arryn is all sickly and wimpy. This is our first hint that something fishy is happening.
After some hemming and hawing Robert finally gets to the point and asks Ned to be his new hand. The hand is like VP, secretary of state and press secretary all in one. It’s not a good job and they tend to die a lot. The colloquialism is “the king eats and the Hand takes the shit.” That phrase is fucking awesome.
Ned doesn’t want the job but he doesn’t feel like he has much of a choice. He accepts the job. He also makes a deal with Robert to betroth his daughter Sansa to the prince Joffrey. Ned, Sansa, Arya and Bran will be traveling to the capital of King’s Landing in the south. This will turn out well.
There is a big banquet in the great hall of Winterfell. For once, Jon is happy to be a bastard because he can just relax with the commoners instead of putting on the ritz for the royal family. You see, Ned returned from the rebellion with his bastard son Jon. Jon was made shortly after Ned and Catelyn were married and conceived Robb so she resents the shit out of him and is afraid he is a threat. Poor Jon is misunderstood though. He is emotastic and angsty but he isn’t a threat to anyone. Yet.
Jon watches the procession of the true born Starks and the Baratheon royals. He just kind of goes over what I’ve already said about the royal family. We haven’t really met the Stark girls yet. Sansa is a pretty 11 year old. She has red hair and blue eyes. She looks like a Tully. She is charming and girly. Arya is a 9 year old. She is tomboyish and looks more like Ned. She has brown hair and gray eyes. She’s smart but doesn’t like sitting still and studying. Benjen Stark, Ned’s younger brother is also at the banquet. He is a ranger for the Night’s Watch. Jon want’s to join the NW. What the fuck else is a bastard with five true born sibs going to do?
Jon gets drunk and throws his chicken on the floor. His direwolf who is named Ghost fights all these regular dogs for it and wins, Benjen comes up to Jon and makes conversation. Jon expresses his desire to join the NW and gets all pissy and loudly declares that he will never father a bastard like himself. The angst is too much to bear so he has to excuse himself and go get some air.
Jon and Ghost go outside and encounter Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion asks Jon if he’s Ned’s bastard and Jon gets all butthurt. Tyrion tells Jon he had better get used to being a bastard because nobody else will forget it and so he might as well take away the talking point. Tyrion knows where Jon’s pain is coming from because “all dwarfs are bastards in their father’s eyes.” Ouch. Westeros is really narrow minded, Tyrion reveals that his mother, Joanna died giving birth to him. This hints that Tywin hates Tyrion and he is a huge asshole. Jon and Tyrion are totally bros now so Jon feels strong enough to go back to the party.
All right, I think I’m done now. Hopefully the next recaps will be more heavy on plot and less on exposition. I’ll probably be back on Thursday night/Friday morning for a very special holiday spanksgiving post. Here are the tallies for the week. A quick note, I am only counting the deaths of named characters because it would be too hard to try and tally the unnamed people. Sorry unnamed people.
Deaths in this recap: 4
Cumulative deaths: 4
Betrayals in this recap: 0
Cumulative betrayals: 0
Incest incidents: 1
Cumulative incests: 1