Book I am reading: A Storm of Swords
Chapters: Sansa I, Jon I, Daenerys I
Booze in my flagon: Pinot Noir
After much hype, Margaery Tyrell has finally arrived in King’s Landing and she has sent Sansa a dinner invite. She’s pretty nervous because she wonders why the future queen would want to break bread with a traitor’s daughter. She dreams up every bad thing that could possibly happen and then actually wishes the Hound was there. That’s how I know she must really be traumatized. You know KL is shit when a pervy guy with a burned off face and anger management issues is looking good.
The night of the dinner, Loras comes to pick her up. Oh is she excited about that! She tells him he looks lovely. We learn from him the Lady Olenna Tyrell AKA the Queen of Thrones will be at the supper. Yaaasss! It’s a damn shame it took three whole books to meet her for the first time.
But before we meet Olenna, we get some more of Sansa prattling on about how pretty and well dressed Loras is. She talks about the tourney where he gave her a red rose and he doesn’t so much remember. Sansa is clueless and is maybe the only one in Westeros who doesn’t know about him and Renly so of course she talks about Renly. That doesn’t go over too well, let’s just say.
Things get a little less tense when they arrive at the Tyrell quarters. There are a whole bunch of other women and girls there, but the only one that counts is Olenna of course. She’s very sweet to Sansa but does mock men a lot. In fact I saw a thread over on the Westeros forums that was seriously posing the question of whether or not she is a misandrist. That’ how I know she’s cool. She makes fun of Renly for thinking that knowing how to dress makes him a viable king, says the Baratheons have queer notions (no, not that kind of queer) and blames it on their bit of Targaryen blood. She makes fun of Loras saying that being able to knock men off a horse with a stick doesn’t make him wise and calls her son Mace the lord oaf of Highgarden. All truths.
Then the Tyrell’s fool Butterbumps is summoned. Butterbumps looks exactly as he imagine he might. While he’s doing tricks involving juggling and chicks to distract everyone else, Olenna decides to have some real talk. She tells Sansa that Mace is stupid for getting involved with the Lannisters and asks her to tell the truth about Joffrey.
Of course Sansa, not being as stupid as people think she is knows better than to be honest about it. She just says a bunch of platitudes about how brave and comely he is. Lady Olenna can tell she’s not exactly being forthright. She demands cheese from the servant and the truth from Sansa.
I love her.
Anyway, Sansa’s kind of starting to slip and spill the tea on Joffrey, She pleads to them not to make her tell. So Olenna makes Butterbumps sing The Bear and the Maiden Fair because in the Red Keep, the walls have ears and this way they can speak freely. She finally tells them Joffrey is a monster. Of course, they don’t seem too terribly surprised about that. Olenna offers to let her stay at Highgarden and get married. Poor Sansa with her utter lack of gaydar thinks that means she’s going to marry Loras.
Cue the sad trumpet noise.
They actually want to marry her to Willas. Which doesn’t sound too bad. He’s the heir to Highgarder and supposedly a nice and not at all oafish person. He has a bum leg, but other than that seems to be a catch. Could things finally be looking up for Sansa?
It’s ASOIAF. So probably not.
When we meet up again with Jon for the first time this book, he’s arrived a the wildling encampment on the Milkwater. Rattleshirt hasn’t exactly warmed up to him yet. He warns him that Mance will know he’s a big fake and kill him and Ghost. I guess Rattleshirt is the ASOIAF answer to the Wicked Witch of the West.
A notorious raider called The Weeper due to permanently watery eyes and some other wildlings greet the party. They all walk through the encampment and Jon notices how disorganized and vulnerable it is. He remembers Ned always telling him that nine times out of ten, discipline beats numbers.
The finally go into Mance’s tent. There’s six people inside and nobody tells Jon which one is Mance. It makes Jon feel a bit awkward. There are two men who are clearly great warriors, so he presumes it to be one of them. The earless warrior dude starts questioning Rattleshirt and asks Jon for his name. Jon, more awkward than ever introduces himself and calls Earless “Your Grace.”
Everybody laughs at him. It turns out the innocuous gray haired dude playing the lute is really Mance Rayder and he already knows Jon to be Ned Stark’s bastard. It turns out Earless is Styr, the Magnar of Thenn. The other warrior, a big bearded guy covered in chicken grease is Tormund Giantsbane. There is a pregnant woman named Dalla who is Mance’s lady friend, her sister Val who looks like a Swedish supermodel or something, and Val’s fuckbuddy Jarl.
Mance gets rid of everybody so he can question Jon in peace. He tells Jon how he recognized him. He had been to Winterfell twice. Once when he was still in the Nightswatch still when Jon was a kid. The other time was during Robert’s visit. He had joined Robert’s procession as a lute player in order to gain entry and check things out. Cheeky.
Mance mentions guest right. How it’s as old as the First Men and sacred as a heart tree. Hmm…
Anyway, the point is, Jon, having eaten his food is safe under guest right at least for the night. Like Lady Olenna in the last chapter, he wants the truth. He wants to know why he’s in his tent. To appease and flatter Mance and buy some time, he says he’ll tell why he turned his cloak if Mance tells why he turned his. Mance tells some story about a red cloak made of silk from Asshai, but in a nutshell, he left because the NW hates him for his freedoms. So Jon told Mance he was bitter about being a bastard and not being treated as well for it. He knew an anti-establishment reason would sound good to Mance and it worked. Jon is now in.
Daenerys has somehow managed to herd the nervous Dothraki and their nervous horses into a ship and they’ve sailed from Quarth and are headed to Pentos. Dany’s in a better mood than we’ve seen for awhile. She likes the sea and likes watching her growing dragons fly and hunt. They’re still pretty small though. The size of small dogs. She asks Jorah how big dragons can get. Kind of sad that he knows more dragon lore than she does. He says they can live many times as long as a man but Targaryen dragons were bred for war and died in wars a lot.
Whitebeard/Arstan comes up and tells that Balerion died at two hundred, was big enough to swallow an aurochs whole, and that dragons never stop growing throughout their lives (kind of like my hips and stomach). Well they never stop growing as long as they have freedom. If dragons are penned up, they don’t get quite as big. I wonder why this Arstan guy knows so much about Targaryen dragons. It seems like there’s some important info here.
Jorah doesn’t believe him because humans don’t have their growth stunted by walls. I think the issue is more just that Jorah the fedora doesn’t like anyone else talking to his woman.
Daenerys asks Arstan if he knew her father and he said that he in fact did. She asks about Aerys and also Rhaegar. Arstan tries to be diplomatic about them when discussing Aerys’ ahem, volatile nature and Rhaegar being Arthur Dayne’s peer when it comes to sword fighting. In what has become a recurring them lately, she asks for the truth.
He tells her that Rhaegar was actually a big old nerdy bookworm as a kid. Until he found something in the scrolls he was reading that changed him. What that was is a mystery, but it caused him to want to learn to fight. He tells Willem Darry “It seems I must be a warrior.” Rhaegar did become a competent fighter but it was not something he necessarily had a natural gift for.
Of course, Jorah the fedora is all jealous and pissy that Dany is listening to someone else. He warns her that he probably isn’t who he says he is and is not to be trusted.
Later that night, Jorah visits her in the middle of the night. She sleeps in the nude so has to wear her blanket to cover herself. She was in the middle of feeding her dragons by charring meat over the fire and giving them the command “Dracarys” so they’ll spit fire at it and eat it. This is where we learn that Dracarys means dragonfire in high Valyrian. That’s probably a notable fact only to me because I named my cat Dracarys.
Jorah asks to speak with her in private. I feel a creepin’ coming on! She sends Irri and Jhiqui away. Predictably, Jorah the fedora just wants to grouse about Arstan, Strong Belwas and Ilyrio Mopatis again. He proposes a new plan. He wants to go to Slaver’s Bay and obtain an army of Unsullied. The Unsullied are slave warriors who have a reputation for being absolutely unshakeable.
Dany ends up liking this plan. A lot. She gets all excited by it and is getting dressed to go tell the ship’s captain Groleo to change course. Then it happens. He kisses her. She tells him he shouldn’t have done that and he pretty much awkwardly proposes that they get married and become a dragonrider.
Deaths in this recap: 0
Cumulative deaths: 86
Maybe deaths in this recap: 0
Cumulative maybe deaths: 8
Betrayals in this recap: 0
Cumulative betrayals: 24
Incest incidents: 0
Cumulative incests: 25
By the numbers, these charters weren’t terribly eventful. They were heavy on backstory and foreshadowing though.
Book I am reading: A Storm of Swords
Chapters: Arya I, Tyrion I, Davos I
Booze in my flagon: Cabernet Sauvignon
I know it’s been forever since I posted. First I was without an internet connection for a while. Then I moved and got a new job. Then my laptop started crashing constantly because it was dying. Ever since getting a new computer and finally getting around to reading the Dunk & Egg stories, my interest in doing these recaps again started to awake. Just like the White Walkers stirring again after thousands of years sleeping in the ice. But I was unmotivated because I figured nobody was reading it anyway. Then a new commenter at WHTM asked me about my blog and said some kind words and it was just what I needed to get started again. Thanks, Dave!
Arya, Gendry, and the magnificent Hot Pie are fleeing from Harrenhal. Wolves are howling in the distance and I just know that one of them is Nymeria. Because nobody can disrupt my fantasy that Arya and Nymeria and Nymeria’s wolfpack will get together and kick some serious ass someday.
Arya knows that Bolton’s men will come searching for them eventually. She’s thinking about Bolton and giving us the most beautiful mental image ever of leeches dotting Roose’s pasty flesh. I’ve got to say, I prefer the TV show’s leech imagery
Arya proves to be both smart and a smartass when she makes the decision to ride through the first stream they come to in order to throw Bolton hunting dogs off the scent. Those of you who have read ADWD will know that having Bolton dogs on your scent is not a fun thing. She also is glad that Hot Pie has become too afraid of her to question her choices because if he makes his own choices, he’s sure to do something stupid.
Arya on the other is not afraid. Even when they run into three wolves devouring a Bambi. I wonder if this foreshadows Arya killing Tommen someday since house Baratheon has a stag on their sigil and while technically not a Baratheon by blood, he does still bear the name. Or I’m reading waaay too much into things because this series has that effect on you.
The gang continues the Riverlands horror hellscape tour that they started in ACOK, riding past a burned village and a slew of hanged men who are now just bones because of rot and hungry wildlife. This causes her to say her death list prayer for the first time in this book. She adds fondling Jaqen’s coin to the ritual. I mean, who wouldn’t want to fondle Jaqen’s coin?
When day breaks, Hot Pie asks where there going over a breakfast of bread and cheese. Arya says they’re going north. She uses cheese to point north. I found that hilarious because cheese is funny. And delicious. Anyway, the actual important information in this exchange is that Arya’s plan is to get to the Trident and follow it to Riverrun and meet up with Robb. She doesn’t trust Hot Pie to keep a secret so she doesn’t say why it is they’ll be safe there. She thinks about how Gendry has a secret too, he’s just too much of a dumbass to know what it is. There are no secret Gendry peen leeches in book canon, so she must be talking about his secret Baratheon bastard blood.
Wait. Maybe the wolves devouring the fawn means that Gendry’s association with Starks will cause his ruin. I hope not!
The party continues on. This one time Arya sees a wolf pack on a distant hill. She howls at them and the biggest one howls back. NYMERIA SIGHTING! NYMERIA SIGHTING! Tell me that wasn’t a Nymeria sighting!
The boys are getting tired and cranky after only one day. They start to worry that they’re lost. They want to try and follow that river to get the Trident and argue with her for the first time. But of course Arya wins and they continue on north. Crossing non-Trident rivers as needed.
We’re starting to get into rambling travelogue territory. Just a little preview of what’s to come in the Bran chapters and the Brienne chapters in AFFC. Hopefully something happens soon.
They’re all getting cranky and tired. Arya falls asleep on her horse. Gendry finally convinces her they need to stop and sleep.
Finally some action. Arya has a dream. Not really a dream, of course. She’s warging Nymeria. She and her wolfpack hunt down some of the Bloody Mummers that are hunting Arya. Doesn’t Bloody Mummers sound like a British term for underwear that have period blood stains on them? Nymeria/Arya and the pack kill the Mummers. They’re unnamed. Unfortunately, two of the wolves are killed in the fight. But Nymeria/Arya rips the arm off of one of them and shakes it. So the chapter ends and finally we get some of the violence and bloodshed we read these books for.
Tyrion wakes up all sick and dehydrated and confused. You’d think being a Lannister, this means he has a hangover. But, no. Tyrion is a hot mess because he was almost killed in battle.
Bronn’s come to his bedside to mock his busted nose. GRRM decides to describe the cut up nose meat as “proud flesh.” That sounds more like a romance novel euphemism for penis than it does a sword wound, but okay.
Bronn reveals that Tywin has had him knighted and his now Ser Bronn of the Blackwater. His sigil is a green chain on a smoke grey field. This makes me wonder, would the sigil of a late 90s/early aughts emo kid be a silver wallet chain on a black denim field?
Bronn updates Tyrion on the battle news that we already know from having read ACOK. He does confirm that Jacelyn Bywater, who heads the gold cloaks died. Lannister loyalist Addam Marbrand has the job now. We’ve learned that all of Tyrion’s mountain clan friends have been chased off home. But Shagga has taken up residence in the Kingswood. A favorite place for Robin Hood types. Bronn also informs Tyrion that Alayaya has been released. But Cersei had her flogged in the yard first. Tyrion has promised to do to Tommen whatever Cersei did to Alayaya, but the Kettlebacks are now for sure Cersei’s and they retrieved him from Rosby and put him back in the queen’s care.
Thus this book’s arc of Tyrion and the rest of his family turning against each other completely is established.
Tyrion knows Bronn isn’t such a reliable ally anymore, but he still asks him to dig for info on Mandon Moore, the Kingsguard who tried to kill him.
Tyrion wants to go see Tywin so he has Bronn and Pod help him get out of bed and get dressed. The journey to Tywin’s is humiliating and disconcerting. Tyrion is too weak to climb stairs and has to be carried by Bronn. There are also tents everywhere because the city is overrun by Tyrell men. The Rose takeover has begun.
They run into Marbrand and he informs them that Tyrion’s cousin Tyrek who disappeared in the riots is still missing. These were in the days before Amber alerts were a thing, so they’re probably not going to find. I only bring it up because it’s discussed so often in the books. So it’s probably some sort of plot or conspiracy. Or ancient aliens.
When Tyrion enters Tywin’s lair, Tywin is even more of a cold asshole than usual and he promptly kicks Bronn and Pod out of the room. This can’t be good. Tyrion tries to play it cool and banters about the upcoming Joffrey and Margaery wedding, but Tywin isn’t playing along and wants to get straight to the point because he has important letters to write. In retrospect, we know what those letters are about. Shudder. He says the most chilling line of the series “some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens.”
Tywin moves on to giving him a hard time about his decision to participate in the fighting. Important war strategy shit is discussed. Tyrion wonders why Tywin is pretty blasé about the Stark/Tully front. But we know why. Oh we know why.
Tyrion wants some gratitude and fatherly love, but of course Tywin is withholding it and mocking him for even wanting praise. Finally Tyrion comes out and says it. He doesn’t just want praise. He wants to inherit Casterly Rock. Tywin calls it Jaime’s birth right. He’s in denial about Jaime being a Kingsguard, therefore ineligible to inherit. Tywin says he’s never gonna get it.
As if that wasn’t enough terrible parenting, Tywin reveals that he blames Tyrion for killing Joanna in childbirth and spills out a torrent of insults at him. Damn!
The chapter closes with Tywin saying that Tyrion is done with whores and the next one he finds in Tyrion’s bed will be hung. Shae. You in danger girl!
Davos is stranded on a rocky island after being washed out to sea during the battle. He starving, thirsty and has a mean case of diarrhea. He’s started to resign himself to death. But then he sees a sailboat approaching. He’s not sure he wants to flag it down and live because after the brutal death of his sons, he doesn’t know what he has to live for.
We get treated to a replay of the horrific inferno of Blackwater. Why? Because GRRM likes to traumatize I guess. To make things worse, Davvos’ luck (AKA his severed fingerbones) is gone.
So pretty much, he wants to die. But then, he remembers that Melisandre is the worst. She is, in his mind, responsible for all the deaths. Thoughts of vengeance make him want to flag down the ship.
The ship is manned by Lyseni. Davos knows they’re Salladhor Saan’s men. So when they ask who he serves, he answers “Stannis” and the crew takes him aboard.
And that was it. A short, fairly uneventful chapter. I always forget that as action packed and full of twists this book is, it starts a bit slow.
Hopefully I’ll get a new post up on Saturday. It’s good to be back!
Deaths in this recap: 1 named character. Bywater confirmed dead.
Cumulative deaths: 86
Maybe deaths in this recap: 0
Cumulative maybe deaths: 8
Betrayals in this recap: 5 All in Tyrion’s chapter. Bronn is now Tywin’s, the Kettleblack triad has gone to Cersei and Tywin dramatically revealed just how much he loathes Tyrion. Ouch.
Cumulative betrayals: 24
Incest incidents: 0 It’s been awhile, right?
Cumulative incests: 25