A Giant in a Love Dungeon
Book I am reading: A Storm of Swords
Booze in my flagon: Pinot noir
Chapters: Tyrion II, Arya II, Catelyn II
Tyrion pays a visit to Varys. He’s wearing peach silk but smells like lemons. There’s some fan theories about sweet smells being associated with bad things happening or about to happen, so perhaps Varys is about to lie squared? Peach-lemon kind of sounds like a failed Boone’s Farm flavor, so I won’t be surprised if something ungood happens.
Despite Varys’ penchant for colorful silks and sweet smells, his chambers are excessively barren and small. He asks Tyrion if he’s mad at him for abandoning him after the battle and Tyrion says “it made me think of you as one of my family.” I guess Tyrion is feeling back to his old snarktastic self!
Tyrion also confirms with Varys that Maester Pycelle has been restored to office. Varys says it’s not Cersei’s doing, but rather the archmaesters in The Citadel in Oldtown. They first said only they can unmake a Grand Maester, than they decided to name Maester Gorman – formally a Tyrell – as the successor. This caused Tywin to hurriedly restore Pycelle. Perhaps this is an early hint that the maesters are involved in some sort of conspiracy, or at least have an agenda. As I’ve said many times before, GRRM kind of turns us all into tinfoil hat types. Did Tywin play the maester Conclave? Did they play Tywin? Did neither occur and is Varys just playing Tyrion? Option two is my favorite because that means a big, fun conspiracy is afoot.
Tywin has also restored the Kingsguard member Boros Blount. This segues into Varys pointedly mentioning that Bronn has been asking lots of questions about Mandon Moore and wondering if Tyrion’s visit has something to do with this. It seems nobody really liked Mandon, but he was from the Vale. This makes me wonder if Lysa or one of the knights of the Vale were behind the attempted murder of Tyrion. Cersei just seems like a much too obvious suspect, plus, she never implicates herself in her later POV chapters.
Tyrion denies that Mandon was the reason for his visit though. What he wants is one last rendezvous with Shae before he sends her away because he can’t stand being near her but not being able to be with her. Sigh. This won’t lead to badness at all, will it?
They discuss how Tyrion is likely being monitored by Cersei and her people all the time. Varys confirms that the Kettleblacks are definitely hers. But we pretty much already knew that. Varys advises that although more gold might win them back to Tyrion’s side, it probably won’t make a difference because they want to get more and better titles and Osmund Kettleblack wants to go where no non-Lannister has gone before, if you catch my drift.
BTW, when Varys is talking about all of this, t”he tip of his tongue runs across his lower lip like a shy pink animal.” What. The. Actual. Fuck? Not the most pleasant imagery, is it? I guess his GRRM is just warming up us up for the impeding arrival of the fat pink mast.
Tyrion, proving that ASOIAF is basically a soap opera for nerds, wonders if he can Cersei to do more than flirt with Osmund KB so that he can arrange for Tywin to walk in on them. He can’t think of a way to achieve to this as of yet though.
Varys can’t stop giving Tyrion good news. We learn that Janos Slynt has sons and they want to avenge his downfall. Also Tyrion can’t go to brothels anymore because Tywin forbid it and all the brothel owners are buddies with Littlefinger. Varys also says that Tywin has enlisted him to spy on Tyrion, but Tyrion figures that if Varys was going to get him killed, he would have done it by now.
Tyrion brings the topic back around to one truly important thing. His penis. They work out that the only safe place to have sexytimes with Shae is in Varys’ chambers. Varys agrees to this and for some reason is not at all bothered by the prospect of other people fucking in his bed.
Later that night, it’s finally time for their romantic dungeon date. Tyrion fancies himself up in his best clothes for the occasion. Then he realizes that would be conspicuous and changes into everyday clothing. He takes this opportunity to feel sorry for himself about how he won’t be tall and handsome, so it doesn’t matter what he wears. I mean, I’ve had plenty of body image issues myself, so I was initially sympathetic. But, yawn. Does he have to this in every damn chapter? Poor little rich kid. Yep. Definitely a soap!
On the way to Varys’ dungeon o’ love, Tyrion runs into Loras. Tyrion pressures Loras into explaining why he’s chosen to become a Kingsguard at such a young age. He mentions that he can’t be married and what about love? Of course, he knows damn well about his relationship with Renly. It’s a bit mean, if you ask me. I guess compared to all the atrocities committed in this series, teasing someone about their dead significant other is peanuts. But still. It does bring about one of the best lines of the series. “When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.” Loras is of course not so pleased that he’s being mocked so Tyrion thinks of him as a prickly lad (gee, I wonder why!) and takes off.
Varys greets Tyrion at the door dressed as a woman for some reason. Then he disappears. Wat? The only light in the room is a candle that smells like jasmine. Again with the smells. Anyway, they do it and then Shae calls him My Giant a bunch of times. She says she thinks his missing nose scar is fierce looking, not ugly. Sure.
Tyrion tells Shae that he thinks it’s safest to send her away and she gets all cranky and mean. She starts making fun of Lollys for being scared she will be raped again. Wow. Making fun of a disabled woman’s rape trauma. Nice. I can see why Tyrion loves her so much! The mean girling doesn’t bother Tyrion. What does bother him is that she starts talking about that singer Symeon and how they’ve talking. They have sex again anyway and she tells Tyrion that the secret passage in Varys’ chambers is under the bed. I wonder if this will be important later? To nobody’s great surprise, his resolve is weakened and Shae will stay in the Red Keep.
Later, Tyrion sends for Bronn and asks him to find Symeon. Sounds foreboding.
Arya is digging for some vegetables in a dead man’s garden when she and Hot Pie hear some singing. Arya doesn’t think it’s the Bloody Mummers, but she’s still a bit freaked out so she has HP wake up Gendry. There isn’t really anyplace to hide unfortunately. The dead man’s cottage has been burnt down. The horses, HP and Gendry hide behind the remains of the cottage while Arya decides to hide by a tree. She plans to kill the singer if he bothers her.
Of course, the singer turns out not to be alone. They can tell that someone is hiding there. One of them refers to the other as “Archer.” The three men make some quips and loudly conclude that the hider must be an outlaw because an honest man would come out and decide to start shooting arrows. So they have no choice but to show themselves.
After some more bantering back and forth it is determined that the three men are Anguy the Archer. Tom of Sevenstreams AKA Tom o’ Sevens and Lemoncloak AKA Lem. None of Arya and the party want to give up their real names. Actually, we don’t even know Hot Pie’s real name. Arya is Squab and Gendry is The Bull. Arya insists that despite still wearing the Bolton sigil on her doublet, they belong to no one. Lem says they are King Robert’s men.
Hot Pie stupidly asks them how far it is to Riverrun. Tom says it’s a long ways upstream and offers to take them for a meal at a nearby inn. The innkeeper Sharna is supposedly good to children. Of course, Arya doesn’t really trust the seeming friendliness. I can’t say I blame her. In fact, it’s made clear it’s an offer they can’t refuse when Arya refutes the accusation she’s been stealing from the garden and Tom has Anguy take out his arrows and demonstrate that he is very, very good with them.
Tom continues to want to sing. It’s awfully suspicious that they, despite not seeming to be powerful lords or anything, have absolutely no fear of being captured or killed by anyone. They seem like they must be more than meets the eye. Arya’s pretty desperate to escape, but there doesn’t really seem to be a way.
The inn features a picture of an old king on his knees. Clearly this is the same inn where Jaime and Brienne just visited. Sharna is extra snarky and sassy, but she does seem to be more or less friends with the three men and is willing to give hot food to Arya, Gendry, and HP. It’s revealed that Tom, Lem, and Anguy are in fact, outlaws and Sharna’s husband did set up Brienne and Jaime. But of course, Brienne didn’t go the way he sent her, so the outlaws never found them.
Dinner is served. The bread is subpar and Hot Pie starts dispensing baking advice. Tom wants to buy Arya’s horses and offers three golden dragons. Well, not real dragons. A parchment with an IOU on it. Arya is not having it at all but knows they’re going to take the horses either way so she tries to trade for the boat that used to be the transport for Brienne and Jaime. Everyone just starts to laugh at her. She wants to scream but starts to smile. That makes me think she’s going to go all Bad Seed on them. But Gendry interrupts them all, screaming because riders are approaching. Did the Bloody Mummers finally track them down?
Apparently not. Tom is unafraid. It’s just some fellow outlaws. But Arya has PTSD from her Harrenhal experiences still and she breaks Lem’s nose with her ale tankard and tries to make a run for it. But it doesn’t work. She’s restrained and one of the outlaws turns out to be Harwin from Winterfell. She forgets her usual secretiveness and begs him to recognize her. He finally does and reveals to them all that she is Arya Stark.
Cat is still all penned up with her dying father. She hears the kennels erupt into a frenzy of barking and knows that they’ve seen and/or smelled Grey Wind. Therefore, Robb has returned. Edmure has been giving her the silent treatment like only a bratty younger sibling can, but she figures Robb will agree to see her.
Hoster is still muttering about Tansy and asking for forgiveness and Catelyn has heard bits of pieces of arguing so she knows something is wrong other than just Jaime evading capture. Some people, possibly some Freys rode off in a huff, trampling a Stark banner in the process. They never came back. It’s also been raining for four days straight. Geez. Catelyn’s chapters are so cheery they always make me want to curl up in a fetal position under the covers. But I can’t type like that, so I’ll just drink more instead.
It’s probably not the first and won’t be the last time that gif makes an appearance round these parts.
Indeed, Robb summons her to the Great Hall. Robb is surrounded by a variety of his allies, so this isn’t going to be a personal and intimate chat. He seems older and more kingly since she saw him last. In addition to Edmure, Blackfish and assorted Northern and Riverlands nobility, there is a strange older lady and two young women with a seashell sigil she isn’t placing. She’s worried that Robb will hate her, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. He’s more worried that he’ll be in trouble with mommy.
Rickard Karstark on the other hand, is still hating. Greatjon defends her by making a sexist remark about mother’s folly and women being made all stupid and weak and lady brained.
Robb on the other hand, forgives her because “we” follow our hearts. This may not be going anywhere good. Robb dismisses almost everyone but her, Edmure and Blackfish, and the people that Cat doesn’t know. They turn out to be Westerlings. They’re an old, but poor house. Lannister bannermen. The important ones are Lady Sybell and her daughter, Jayne. Jayne is…
Wait for it…
Robb’s new wife! Now, if you’ll remember, Robb pledged to marry a Frey. This explains why a bunch of Freys flounced out of Riverrun. She’s annoyed that he manipulated with all that love folly follow our hearts drivel. She’s also freaked out because he crossed Lord Frey.
Poor Jayne is more than a little bit intimidated by Catelyn. I don’t know if there’s anyone reading this who only watches the TV show and hasn’t read the books, but Jayne Westerling is very, very different than Talisa and I’m still not sure why they made such a drastic and unnecessary change, it’s probably the only thing that made me go all book purist. *takes some deep breaths* Okay. Over it. Moving on.
The Westerling party retires to their bedchambers because they’re tired and nervous and the plot necessitates that Cat is able to speak freely to Robb for a bit. She wastes no time in bringing up that he’s lost the Freys. I know there are a lot of Catelyn haters out there, but not me. I am so with her on this one. He’s traded a thousand knights and three thousand foot soldiers for fifty measly Westerling men. Only a dozen knights.
“I took her castle and she took my heart.”
Oh, for fuck’s sake.
Of course, that’s kind of just a euphemism for they had sex because he was sad about his brothers “dying.” Maybe I should give him a pass. BUT I JUST CAN’T.
Robb is stubbornly clinging to the delusion that Lord Frey will be reasonable if only Robb makes some good matches for his daughters. Catelyn points out that he is absolutely not reasonable, but he doesn’t seem to want to hear that. Another troubling development is that Grey Wind is all penned up because Jayne fears him. Grey Wind doesn’t like Lady Sybell’s brother Rolph and constantly bares his teeth at him. Cat is smart enough to be very worried about that. Robb, not so much. She still remembers Summer fiercely protecting Bran. She tells him to send Rolph away, but he dismisses her. Gah! He does finally promise to do it, but it’s just to appease her. He doesn’t agree that the direwolf instinct is all that significant.
Time for a change of topic. Not one that will be any happier I fear. Blackfish pretty much tells Edmure he should shut the fuck up and stop boasting about his “victory.” Robb had been trying to lure Tywin west and Edmure bungled it all up by fighting him. If Stannis had been drawn away from King’s Landing, Stannis would have won the battle.
Deaths in this recap: 0 Wow. Still? This isn’t the GRRM we know and love!
Cumulative deaths: 86
Maybe deaths in this recap: 0
Cumulative maybe deaths: 8
Betrayals in this recap: 1 Robb betrayed his cause by going back on his word IMO.
Cumulative betrayals: 25
Incest incidents: 0
Cumulative incests: 25