Deliverance: North of the wall style.
Book I am reading: A Clash of Kings
Chapters: Jon III, Theon II, Tyrion VI
Booze in my flagon: Malbec
Holy shit. It’s been a while. Sorry to all my vast hordes of readers
Jon is getting blown. By rain lashing across his face as he rides alongside LC Mormont through the haunted forest. It’s been raining for six days. The NW rangers are wet, muddy, and I assume very stinky. On the bus, whenever it’s raining and cool the combination of coats and rain always make it stink like cool ranch Doritos and mildew. That’s how I imagine these guys smell.
They are on their way to Craster’s keep. Craster has a reputation for being a “kinslayer, liar, raper, and craven” who traffics with slavers and demons and worse. But he’s a friend to the Watch and always helps them out, so they turn a blind eye. Craster is also the Warren Jeffs of ASOIAF universe. He has a whole harem of wives and they’re also his daughters. Ew.
Mormont commands Jon to ride up and down the column and warn all the NW members to keep their hand’s off the sister-daughter-slave-wives. Why, oh, why can’t that go without saying?
Like any good perverted rural psycho, Craster has a home that is ramshackle and filthy. There’s even a gate with animal skulls on poles. A ram on one side, a bear with bits of flesh on the other. He couldn’t just have a garden gnome?
Dolorous Edd is tending the horses. He thinks the muddy hills surrounding Craster’s keep look like they’re made of Craster’s shit. Edd’s the best. He’s like a combination of Daria and George Carlin. Edd tells Jon that Mormont wants him to join all the big wigs inside the keep. The hall is leaky and muddy and smells of dung, so maybe Edd had a point?
Craster is in the midst of telling Mormont and the other senior rangers that he has not seen Benjen. Will we ever find uncle Stark? Mormont offers to allow Craster and his wives south of the Wall, but Craster will have none of it. Even hearing the tale of Rykker and Flowers becoming wights doesn’t sway him. Craster only says that he is a godly man. What gods protect from the wights and the Others? It’s all incredibly creepy.
Craster does offer to share what info he has on Mance Rayder. If the NW gives him some wine and an. Finally, Craster does something I can understand! He then sees Jon and somehow notices that he looks like a Stark. He’s pretty contemptuous upon finding out that he’s a bastard. According to Craster you should marry every woman you bed. I guess this makes him a dream man for the rom-com fans.
Later Jon is outside. He sees Ghost menacing one of Craster’s sister-daughter-slave-wives. Well, not so much menacing as stealing Craster’s rabbits. She’s pregnant and some of the other NW men take this as a signal that she should be harassed and teased. One of them is Chett, he of the face boils. The girl runs away.
The next morning, Jon wakes up to find that same girl. She is wrapped up in Sam’s cloak. She wants Jon to take her away with them when they go. It seems Sam gave her the impression that that was a possibility. She introduces herself as Gilly. She wants to escape for the safety of her baby. She thinks she’s going to have a boy and Craster always gives the boy babies to the gods whenever the “white cold” comes. Jon inquires about gods she means. She says “The cold gods, the ones in the night. The white shadows.” So very creepy.
I’m from MN. I had to do it.
Jon had to inform Gilly again that it was a no go. He doesn’t have a choice, but feels guilty and mad at Sam for getting her hopes up.
After breakfast, Jon confronts Mormont about what he’s figured about Craster’s nighttime activities. To nobody’s surprise, Mormont already knows. Mormont is a pragmatic sort and he tells Jon that Craster has provided so much aid to the NW that there’s no choice but to turn a blind eye. After that life lesson about realpolitik is dispensed, he also informs Jon that Mance is gathering the wildings at the Frostfangs, a mountain range. That is why the villages have all been empty. We leave the chapter on the brutal realization that the NW is a shell of its former self and the wildlings far outnumber them.
Theon is looking at his new ship and sees a woman approaching him. He’s kind of the Beavis and Butthead of Westeros so of course he’s pretty pleased about this. He hits on her very aggressively and creepily. She tells him that she’s married and pregs and gives him some snark. Of course, this just turns him on more because he’s one of those guys. She tells him that her name is Esgred and she knows he’s Theon Greyjoy. After much bantering, including talk of naming the ship the Sea Bitch, Theon invites Esgred back to Pyke with him. She agrees. He fetches his squire, a mute named Wex from a local inn and get on their way.
Theon and Esgred share a horse because they aren’t all that common on the Iron Islands. Theon is a gross creeper and he keeps trying to fondle Esgred. If Theon were in our society, he’d be that guy who sends dick pics to random women on OK Cupid. He also spends much of the ride bragging about how he is Balon’s heir and what a great man he is.
When they get to Pyke, the stablemen came out to greet them. He addressed Esgred as Asha. Asha is Theon’s older sister. That’s right. Theon was hitting on his sister this who time and she didn’t bother to tell him. Oh, George. You and your incest. It’s been 10 years. She used to have pimples and no boobs. Now she has boobs and no pimples. Apparently, since Theon only tells women apart by boob size and shape he couldn’t recognize her. When he asks why she let him make an ass of himself, Asha says that she wanted to see who he really was.
Theon goes to his room and sulks for awhile and blames his fuckery on Asha being an evil bitch. Then he heads down to dinner. Most of Balon’s allies are there. None of them have any fucks to give about Theon’s presence. Once seated, Theon orders wine from the servants while Asha orders ale. This emasculates poor Theon further. Then Asha brings out her axe, smashes it into the table and declares it her lord husband. She does that to mock Theon and everyone in the hall joins in the mockery. Asha is a grade A troll really. She points out that he is not trusted because he spent so much time on the green lands with the Starks. And their laws don’t apply. Theon isn’t necessarily the heir just because he is Balon’s only living son.
After dinner, Balon convenes a meeting. He tells Theon to take a mere 8 longships and harry the Stony Shore. That’s a shitty rural coastal area in the north. He will be accompanied by Aeron the boring religious uncle and Dagmar Cleftjaw who’s actually sort of cool (by Ironborn standards). This is a huge dis and will bring Theon no glory. Asha gets 30 ships and is commanded to take Deepwood Motte, the castle belonging to Lord Glover. Victarion, Balon’s brother gets the best job of all. Taking Moat Cailin on the neck between the north and south. Theon is thoroughly humiliated.
Tyrion goes to visit Cersei in her chambers. Lancel is there and he seems to be all pissy about Tyrion’s arrival. Tyrion wants to speak with his sister privately. She sends Lancel away. Lancel gives Tyrion a dirty look.
Tyrion tells Cersei that he has received news about Stannis sailing from Dragonstone. Cersei immediately starts panicking. Tyrion laughs at her. Because the news is good. Stannis is riding out to lay siege to Storm’s End. He’s fighting Renly, not the Lannisters. Thus Cersei’s mood changes to elation. She thinks they might be even stupider than Robert. The mirth is so great that they’re even buddy buddy for a minute. Tyrion is confident that they will not reach any sort of peace agreement. They decided to toast ironically to Stannis. Tyrion pours the wine and slips her a powdered drug. Remember his visit to Pycelle?
It turns out the drug was a laxative. Cersei is too busy having dia to come to court the next day. Best poisoning ever! The first person Tyrion call on at court is Ser Cleo Frey, the guy Robb sent with peace terms earlier. He tells Cleos that he will not accept the term and that the only term Joffrey will accept is Robb’s complete surrender and the release of Jaime. Cleos has to leave again with nothing but Ned’s bones and threats of Tywin’s imminent asskicking of Robb. Tyrion sends Cleos away with all the Lannister guard. This shocks much of the court, particularly Pycelle.
The next man to speak is Alliser Thorne of the NW. Tyrion is shocked to see him. Alliser tells the story of the wights, but he is met only with skepticism. Unfortunately, the dead black hand had rotted while Alliser was rotting in the cells and he has no proof. He is sent back almost empty handed. Tyrion’s snarky ass gives him spades to bury the dead with so they don’t come back. He does offer up the city’s criminals for service on the wall. Alliser takes no guff from imps so he calls Tyrion a fool. It does no good. Alliser is sent off humiliated.
After court, Littlefinger expresses his ire at Tyrion for having been lied to about the Myrcella’s marriage prospects. Bad enemy to make Ty Ty! After that talk he tells Varys that sending away Cersei’s guards was a ruse to infiltrate Riverrun and save Jaime.
Later that night, Tyrion and Shagga bust down Pycelle’s door. He was in there with a whore. Maesters are supposed to be celibate. Oops! I guess we should be grateful it was a consenting adult? You see, Pycelle is in trouble for spilling the beans to Cersei. Tyrion has Shagga cut off Pycelle’s super dignified Nostradamus beard and throw him in the cells. But not before Pycelle reveals that it was he, out of Lannister loyalty that talked Aerys into opening the gates of King’s Landing during Robert’s rebellion. This was supposed to be a comfort to Tyrion but it just makes him think Pycelle is super shady. Tyrion accuses Pycelle of poisoning Jon Arryn. Pycelle, of course denies it. The chapter ends with poor shifty Pycelle getting dragged away to the black cells.
Deaths in this recap: 0. That’s 6 chapters in a row with no deaths! George, I am disappoint.
Cumulative deaths: 43
Maybe deaths in this recap: 0
Cumulative maybe deaths: 1
Betrayals in this recap: 0
Cumulative betrayals: 12
Incest incidents: 20. This one really upped the incest ante! There’s Theon hitting on Asha. Then there’s Craster’s 19 sister-daughter-slave-wives. Yikes!
Cumulative incests: 26