My Lord of Ham
Book I am reading: A Game Of Thrones
Chapters: Jon V, Eddard VI, Catelyn V, Sansa II, Eddard VII
Booze in my flagon: Pinot Grigot
Many apologies to my mostly non-existent readership. My modem died and it took forever to get a new one up and running. Because Comcast sucks. I’ll be posting something either on Christmas eve or Christmas. After all, nothing says ASOIAF like eating 77 course meals. Anyways, on with it.
Jon and Dareon are sparring in the yard of Castle Black. And who should walk in? The fattest boy Jon ere did see. The fur collar of his throat was lost beneath his myriad chins. The horror! I’d call GRRM out for fat shaming if he weren’t fat himself. He really must be working some issues. It’s a lot like V.C. Andrews and all the rapey brothers and fathers. You know something was going on there.
Pyp is skilled in reading where people are from and he can tell that fatty fat pants is a lordling who hails from somewhere near Highgarden (where the Tyrells are). Predictably, Alliser Thorne is unimpressed and refers to him as “my Lord of Ham” and “Ser Piggy.” Ser Piggy is the one that sticks but personally, I prefer Lord of Ham.
L of H, after being fitted with specially made giant armor has to fight Halder in the yard. After less than a minute, L of H goes down. Hard. Everybody laughs and Alliser Thorne encourages Halder to beat him while he’s down and has yielded. Jon’s sense of
self righteousness kindness acts up and he protests. This is not winning him points with Alliser. Alliser is about to make Jon fight Halder, Rast and Albett (I think this is the only time we ever see Albett) but then, Pyp and Grenn decide to join Jon so the fight is fair. For once Westeros is like typical fantasy lands and the good guys prevail.
Jon helps L of H up and we learn who this mysterious HamLord is. It’s Samwell “Sam” Tarly of Horn Hill. We’ll meet his father Randyl later. You won’t like him. Poor Sam at least has the integrity to admit that he’s a coward. Jon admires Sam for being honest about who he is and I agree with him.
One night Jon joins Sam for dinner. Sam is eating pork pie. Is that symbolic cannibalism? Jon wants to soul bond over their mutual angst so he suggests they go up to walk the top of the wall with Ghost. Sam is scared and starts to cry. Ghost acts like a cute sweet dog instead of a bad-ass direwolf and licks Sam’s tears away. This causes them all to laugh and become buddies. Jon talks about a recurring dream he has about the crypts of Winterfell. This is undoubtedly foreshadowing and hints, but this is a recap not an analysis and I hate retelling dream sequences. What it boils down to is there is probably an important secret down there and it involves Jon. Now it is time for Sam to tell Jon about his upbringing. It’s really sad.
House Tarly is an old and noble house. They are bannermen to house Tyrell, their sigil is a striding huntsmen, and they have a Valyrian sword named Heartsbane. Randyll can not stand the fact that Sam is more interested in books, kitties and music than hunting and fighting. For some reason in Westeros fat boys love cats. Tommen
Lannister Baratheon loves kitties too. I guess that means I’m a fat boy? Even though I’m a woman.
Anyway, Randyll did everything he could think of to make Sam manly. Including hiring the warlocks of Quarth (more on them in book 2) to make Sam bathe in the blood of freshly slaughtered aurochs. JFC! That’s insane! Finally one day Sam is forced to get on his horse and ride into the woods until he meets Randyll. Randyll, while skinning a deer tells Sam that he wishes his Sam’s younger brother Dickon would get the inheritance instead. Sam’s choices are take the black or be killed in a “hunting accident.” Wow. Randyll makes the deadbeat dads of Maury paternity test shows look like father of the year. Poor Sam.
After this tale of woe, Jon goes back to the dining hall. Rast and some other assholes are making fun of Sam. Later that night, Jon and his friends sneak over to Rast’s cell and hold him down. Ghost jumps on his chest and menaces him. Jon reminds Rast that they know where he sleeps. After that nobody is willing to bully Sam anymore. Sam is touched. Jon and Sam are now official bros.
King’s Landing is preparing for the tourney and having a small council meeting. Janos Slynt (with a name like that you know he’s the worst) the commander of the gold cloaks, the guys who act as beat cops in KL is complaining about the uptick of crime. There are sorts of strangers in town. A woman’s head was even found floating in the pool at the Great Sept. Ned promises him more men. I think this scene is mostly there to establish Janos Slynt as a character.
Ned is cranky because this tourney is proving expensive and troublesome. Pycelle and Littlefinger disagree. They view it as economic stimulus. Renly takes this opportunity to mock the currently AWOL Stannis Baratheon for wanting to outlaw prostitution. Trust me Stan. That doesn’t work. If I haven’t mentioned Stannis yet, he’s the middle brother between oldest Robert and youngest Renly. Ned wonders when Stannis is going to scoot his ass off of Dragonstone and come back to court but nobody has an answer. Everyone only wants to joke about whores so Ned adjourns the meeting.
Ned is in his chamber reading the genealogy book Pycelle gave him and isn’t turning anything up. Jory Cassell comes to the door and tells us that he interviewed some people LF suggested about Jon Arryn. Nothing much came up except the information that Jon Arryn had been spending lots of time with Stannis. One time they even went to a brothel together. This info doesn’t compute because Stannis hates prostitution. Is Stannis involved with Jon’s death? Hiding because he knows too much? The fictional analogue to Senator David Vitter Republican, LA? Why was Renly not along for these hang outs? Can Ned trust Renly?
One of the leads suggested that they visit Tobho Mott, the best fancy armorer in town. Jon and Stannis visited him previously. Tobho informs him that Jon + Stannis were there to see and question “the boy.” The boy turns out to be a black haired, blue eyed (thanks mom for passing down that attraction!) buff teen stud named Gendry. Gendry is really good at forging armor but he is quite surly. Tobho knows who Gendry is and so does Ned. Gendry is…Robert’s bastard!
Catelyn and Rodrick, pretending to be regular folk stop at the Inn of the Crossroads. When they go to dinner in the common room Catelyn sees a lot of soldiers the bannermen to her father Hoster Tully. Yet Cat wishes to remain incognito. They get stuck sitting across from an annoying singer named Marillion.
There is some commotion across the room. It turns out that Tyrion and his party who are headed to KL have stopped by. Of course Marillion has to attention whore and shout at Tyrion requesting that Marillion sing for him. Tyrion recognizes Cat. Thanks Obama!
Cat starts calling on all the bannermen’s soldiers she sees. She has them reaffirm their loyalty to house Tully. She then accuses Tyrion of the attempted murder of Bran and has him seized. In the words of Tobias Funke; “now that’s an act break!”
Sansa is at the tourney with Septa Mordane and Jeyne Poole. Sansa is impressed by how fancy everything is. Sandor Clegane and his terrifying and gigantic brother Gregor are the most macho and tough of the tourney. Loras “knight of flowers” Tyrell is the most elegant and skillful. Gregor aka “The Mountain” who is a 7 foot tall sociopath kills Ser Hugh of the Vale. Hugh was one of Jon Arryn’s servants who was mysteriously knighted after his death. He was one of the people of Littlefinger’s short list of people Jory/Ned should speak to. Not that Sansa knows anything about this. Ned keeps her out of the loop. Good idea Ned!
Anyway, Jeyne is extremely perturbed by this bloodbath but Sansa is strangely unmoved. Take note Sansa haters! Many think she’s a wuss, but this proves otherwise. Later, Loras beats a Royce and gives Sansa a rose. Sansa develops a big old crush. Sansa lacks gaydar. Littlefinger introduces himself to Sansa and creeps her out. Joffrey, who had been mad at Sansa for the incident makes up with her. After much eating and drinking that goes on for several paragraphs, Joffrey offers up Sandor as an escort home because Septa Mordane can’t hold her liquor and is passed out. I hope nothing happened to her.
The Hound is all grumpy with Sansa. She calls him “Ser” and he must point out that he is no knight. He mocks her for being a “little bird” trained to sing the right songs but not capable of critical thinking. For some reason the Hound decides to act menacing and then turn around and tell Sansa why his face is burned up.
Sandor was 7 and Gregor 12. Sandor was playing with Gregor’s toy, a wooden knight. Gregor did not play with action figures anymore, but all the same he was pissed. He grabbed Sandor and shoved his face in the fire. Ouch! Now we know for sure that Gregor is an unrepentant psychopath. Then Sandor tells Sansa he will kill her if she ever tells Joffrey or anyone else the tale. This whole exchange is why I’m deeply disturbed by SanSan shippers. Yuck. The Clegane family has some serious issues.
Ned pities dead Hugh. Also, his hackles were raised because Hugh died before Ned got a chance to talk to him. Gregor is a Lannister creature. He’s the one who killed Queen Elia and Prince Aegon. This is a cause for suspicion.
Ned is also worried because Robert wants to fight in the melee. He is worried that Robert will be killed either accidently or in an assassination fashion. Robert is in a rage because his armor won’t fit. Ned points out that he’s too fat. Robert tortures Lancel Lannister, Cersei’s cousin and some other squire by yelling at them to get a breastplate stretcher. I wish that shit was real. My bras could use them! Alas, they don’t even exist in Westeros. Robert was just taking the piss. I’m not British. I just love that phrase.
Anyway, Ned is disturbed because Robert is surrounded by Lannisters. That can’t be good. Also, Cersei has forbidden Robert to fight. Anyone who knows Robert knows this just makes him more into fighting. He’s one of those dumbasses who always falls for reverse psychology. Luckily, Ned and Barristan Selmy together convince Robert that it isn’t worth fighting because everyone would just let him win. I can’t stress this enough. Robert is a moron. He would be in the tea party if he was alive today! Robert is pissy and he takes the opportunity to whine about tough it is to be king. Yeah right. And it’s also super tough for me to be white. All the tiny violins for you Robert!
Later, in the tourney Jaime loses to the hound. Littlefinger bet on Jaime and lost to Renly who bet on the Hound. Renly remarks that it’s too bad Tyrion wasn’t there or he would win twice as much. Remember that. Littlefinger claimed that Tyrion bet against Jaime. Renly thinks Tyrion would only bet for Jaime. Of course, poor simple Ned never notices this contradiction.
Then it is time for Gregor and Loras to square off. Ned is afraid of Gregor. For all of Ned’s lack of observational power, he at least realizes this guy is psycho as fuck. Anyway, Gregor loses to Loras because Loras rides a mare that is in heat and Gregor’s boy horse gets distracted. Gregor is about to murder Loras, but Sandor steps in and stops it. The two brothers of craziness fight until Robert bellows at them to stop. Loras in gratitude declines to fight Sandor for the title and forfeits the final match. Later, Anguy from Dorne wins the archery contest and Thoros the red priest (more on that religion later) of Myr wins the melee. Finally the stupid tourney is done. I’ll be honest, this is one of the few parts of the books I get bored by.
Later that night, Varys in disguise as a brown robed peasant sneaks up to Ned’s room to inform him that the Lannisters had indeed planned on killing Robert in the melee. Varys also asserts that a colorless tasteless poison called the tears of Lys killed Jon Arryn. However he does not know or pretends not know who did it. Varys also says that Ser Hugh was killed for asking questions. Uh, oh…
Deaths in this recap: 1 R.I.P. Ser Hugh, we hardly knew you
Cumulative deaths: 7
Betrayals in this recap: 1 Randyll Tarly. Fathers should not want to murder their sons.
Cumulative betrayals: 3
Incest incidents: 0
Cumulative incests: 2