Always wear pants to the tourney
Book I am reading: A Clash of Kings
Chapters: Prologue, Arya I, Sansa I, Tyrion I, Bran I
Booze in my flagon: Malbec
The comet that Daenerys saw at the end of AGOT can also be seen in Westeros. Maester Cressen is watching it from a balcony at Dragonstone. The bright red and intense look of the comet is making him feel superstitious. He hates that because maesters are trained to be rational and (relative to the time and place) scientific. I hear ya, Cressen. I’m an atheist and skeptic. Yet, a dark bathroom scares the crap out of me. What if I look at the mirror and there is a ghost right behind me? Gaah!
In addition to the comet, steam is coming out of the presumed volcano Dragonmont and a white raven arrived from the citadel where the maester headquarters is. Albino ravens herald the change in seasons. It is no longer summer. Fall is here. That means what? You know what! Winter is coming.
Pylos, a younger maester who is fairly new to Dragonstone interrupts Cressen’s musings. He tells him that Princess Shireen wants to see the white raven and she brought Patchface, Dragonstone’s fool with her. Shireen is Stannis Baratheon’s only child with his wife Selyse nee Florent. She is 10 years old, shy and awkward with her father’s jutting jaw and her mother’s Obama ears. Half of her face is covered with greyscale. Greyscale is a disease that is deadly to adults but survivable among children. She got the disease as a baby and her face is still grey, scaly and hard. I think it’s a combination of Leprosy and Scleroderma.
Apparently, Shireen is awake at this time because she had her recurring nightmare about dragon eating her. Uh, oh. Cressen tries to comfort her by saying that the stone dragons at the castle just look realistic because the Valyrians had magical techniques to shape stone. However, Shireen has heard from the red woman (more on her in a minute) said that the comet portended dragons coming back to life. of course, Cressen doesn’t know any better and tells her that this just can’t be true. These maesters just can’t seem to grasp that they are in a fantasy tale can they?
Then they start talking about the changing seasons and Patchface interrupts with some creepy nonsense jingles. He wears a bucket with antlers and bells. Stannis’ parents had found Patchy in Essos. He was a very talented entertainer. When they were near Dragonstone they got shipwrecked. Steffon Baratheon and his wife drowned. Three days later, Patchy washed up somehow he was still alive. Except he had some sort of brain damage that makes him all extra creepity.
Pylos returns to tell Cressen that Davos Seaworth has returned. Davos is a former smuggler who was raised to knighthood because he smuggled food onto Dragonstone during Robert’s rebellion when Stannis was holding it and it was besieged by Lord Mace Tyrell. The island was starving. Davos’ nickname is the Onion Knight because that was what he smuggled in. However, smuggling is a crime and Stannis is really into upholding the letter of the law at all times so he also hacked off some of his fingers. Davos wears those bones in a pouch around his neck. Davos is now a trusted friend and ally to Stannis. He just returned from canvassing various other lords for support. He had no luck. Davos tells Cressen that he advised against going to war with Joffrey, but Stannis will not heed that advice. He believes his claim to be true and that’s that.
Cressen goes to see Stannis. Stannis is skinny and he has a permaclenched jaw. He grinds his teeth all the time and doesn’t smile much. Usually only women are called out for having bitchy resting face, but it definitely applies to Stannis. He is pissed right off that the Storm Lords have declared for Renly. The seat of the Storm Lands is the Baratheon’s ancestoral home Storm’s End. Robert gave SE to Renly after he won the crown, an action that Stannis is still not over because Renly is younger than Stannis. Stannis thinks of Renly as a shallow douche undeserving of his good fortune. Fair point. He will not compromise with Renly or accept Robb’s new status as King in the North. Also, he is pretty bitter at Ned because Robert loved him so much more than he loved Stannis.
Selyse comes in and interrupts them. She is unattractive and mustached. You know how it is in fiction ugly woman = THE WORST!!! Selyse is no exception. She is even more dour than Stannis is. She agrees that Stannis is the rightful king and should never compromise. She believes R’hllor wants him to be king. R’hllor AKA the Lord of Light is a god imported from the east. Selyse converted to the worship of LoL when the priestess Melisandre of Asshai (where Mirri Maz Durr studied !) got a vision that Stannis is the king and arrived on Dragonstone. The mission of the LoL is to fight against the Great Other who is all about darkness.
Stanis is still skeptical about his wife’s new religion. I can’t say I blame him. New converts are annoying whether it’s religion, the paleo diet or crossfit. Selyse informs Stannis that Melisandre had a vision of Renly dead. Cressen is appalled at this fratricidal talk and dislikes this religion. He is a follower of the Seven. Stannis isn’t trying to hear that and he dismisses Cressen.
Cressen goes up to his room and decides that Melisandre is a big danger to Stannis. He must be rid of her. he decides to poison her with an amethyst colored substance nicknamed the strangler because it makes its victims choke to death and turn purple. It can be disguised as choking on food.
Cressen naps and when he wakes up realizes that he’s late to dinner with Stannis, Selyse, Mel and Stannis’ bannermen. We meet Melisandre for the first time. She is tall, red haired, red eyed and beautiful with an imposing confidant personality. She wears a choker with a ruby on it that sometimes glows. Confession time, I usually hat religious zealots. But Mel is a fucking fabulous badass. I love her!
Patchy crashes into Cressen and knocks him over. Mel mocks him for it and makes him wear Patchy’s bucket antler bell thing. Stannis adds further insult to injury by informing Cressen that he was not invited to dinner because he’s a yammering old man and not needed. He takes the opportunity to play fake nice with Mel and invite her to share a cup of (poisoned) wine.
They both drink from the cup. Cressen is killed. Mel is unaffected. She attributes this to R’hllor, bolstering her claim that God wants Stannis to be king.
Holy shneikes that was a long info dump of a chapter. I’ll try and make the rest of this post a bit more fun.
Arya has been posing as a boy commoner who is being recruited for the Night’s Watch. Yoren cut her hair off before they left so she would look masculine. The procession is full of rowdy orphan boys, rapers, thieves, poachers and a cage with three hardened criminals in it. Their names are Jaquen H’gar, Rorge and Biter. Rorge has a cut off nose and Biter has teeth that are filed into points.
Arya, who is going by ‘Arry’ is the smallest and youngest of the lot. Two of the orphan boys called Hot Pie and Lommy pick on her for this. They call her lumpy head. They make fun of Needle and accuse her of stealing it. This enrages her. An older boy steps in to defend Arya. He has a bull helm. Spoiler alert! It’s Gendry, Robert’s bastard.
Hot Pie tries to steal Needle, but Arya kicks his fat ass. HP is sprawled on the ground crying until Yoren comes along and breaks it up. After that, the boys are afraid of her. That night Arya dreams of Winterfell and wishes to reunite with Jon. Awww.
It’s Joffrey’s name day. The spin around the court is that the comet is there to portend glory for Joffrey. Yeah, OK. Sansa dresses to attend Joff’s birthday tourney. She wears long sleeves to hide the bruises there from the beating she got when he heard Robb was claiming KitN. Oh, ish! That’s some depraved shit.
This tourney is a piece of crap compared to the tourney from AGOT. All the best knights are away at war. Cersei won’t even be there because she will be in council meetings. Myrcella and Tommen however, are there. They’re still super cute.
When Sansa takes her seat next to Joff, he informs her that Viserys is dead and declares that he will kill Robb too. Sure you will. The Hound is guarding because this tourney is beneath him. After a few jousts it is the turn of Lothar Brune, a servant of Littlefinger and Ser Dontos Hollard. Dontos is wasted. Like, he would be on Cops after a bar fight wasted. He staggers out to the field pantsless with his peen flopping about.
Joffrey is displeased because isn’t he always? You’d think he’d enjoy the entertainment that drunken hot messes bring. But, no. He’s about to kill Dontos by making him drink himself to death shotgunning a cask of wine. Sansa protests. She cleverly makes up some crap about it being bad luck to kill someone on your birthday. The Hound is nice enough to agree. Joffrey buys it. Sansa convinces him to make him a fool instead of killing him the next day.
Shortly after there is a commotion. It is Tyrion and his hill folk. Tommen and Myrcella are delighted to see him. Joffrey not so much. He leaves and Sansa has some awkward conversation with Tyrion. She tries to fake loyalty to the Lannisters, but you know he sees through it. Even though he’s nice, Sansa has vowed to never trust another Lannister.
Tyrion decides to crash the small council meeting. Hee hee. Cersei is super bitchy. Not pleased to see him at all. He presents the letter from Tywin that gives him Hand proxy powers. Cersei is incensed at losing the power to a sibling that she isn’t fucking. The other council members Slynt, Pycelle, Varys and Littlefinger are more welcoming although LF makes sure to seem all smarmy about it.
Tyrion sends everyone away to talk to Cersei privately. She is really not taking his hand job (tee-hee) well and threatens to send him to the dungeons and declare the letter a forgery. Tyrion negs her by pointing out her failures and offering to help make it all better. They come to an uneasy truce. But not before Tyrion makes it clear that he’s aware of the twincest.
I have plenty of criticisms for Tyrion in later books, but he fucking rules in this one. He also implies that he knows she killed Robert and strongly suggests she keep Sansa alive. Good. Sansa’s previous chapter is when I really started to like her.
Tyrion leaves and goes outside to order that all the gross festering heads on spikes be taken down. He rides around the city to appraise thing and realizes that King’s Landing has gone to shit. There’s chaos everywhere and the Tyrell’s who control the food supply and the road into KL have cut them off. The poors are hungry. This can only end well.
Tyrion goes to the inn where Shae is staying to visit her. Varys is already there because he’s a shifty eunuch and knows everything. This is Varys’ message that Tyrion and shit and Varys has his number. He tells Tyrion a riddle about how power is an illusion. it lies where people think it does. Hmm…
Varys leaves and Tyrion and Shae get it on.
Bran has been having a lot of wolf dreams lately. Summer and Shaggydog have been restless and constantly howling lately. They know when shit is going down. The comet is visible in Winterfell too. Old Nan thinks it means dragons. ON is a damn genius. I’m not even snarking right now. She knows all. For maybe the only time in the series Bran acts his age and imitates the wolves by howling at the comet. Luwin chastises Bran and doesn’t think the wolf dreams are very significant. Oh, Luwin.
The wolves have been trapped in a pen because Shaggy lunged at the Frey wards Big Walder and Little Walder. They were annoying and played a game called ‘Lord of the Crossing’ that involves knocking people over that try to cross a log over water. It was Rickon getting hit with a stick that caused Shaggy to attack.
Bran has some more spooky wolf dreams. They foreshadow of course. The end.
Deaths in this recap: 1. Cressen.
Cumulative deaths: 36
Maybe deaths in this recap: 0
Cumulative maybe deaths: 1
Betrayals in this recap: 0
Cumulative betrayals: 10
Incest incidents: 0
Cumulative incests: 6