The Bachelor: Westeros
Book I am reading: A Storm of Swords
Booze in my flagon: Absolut Ruby Red and soda
Chapters: Arya III, Samwell I, Tyrion III
It’s been about three days of being forced to ride with the outlaws and Arya thinks they’re lost because the moss is growing the wrong way. Gendry points out that Lem and Tom probably know where they’re going. Arya’s annoyed with him, but Genry’s her only friend now. It turns out that Hot Pie decided to stay behind at inn to become a baker. This was a really unceremonious way to say goodbye to Hot Pie, who I will dearly miss. He could have at least given Arya wolf bread or something!
Arya tells Harwin of Hullen’s death and of some of the things that happened to her since leaving King’s Landing. She doesn’t talk about Jaqen H’ghar and the iron coin and she doesn’t tell him about the stableboy and Harrenhal guard that she killed because that would be kind of like telling her father and she couldn’t bear the thought of that. There they are! There are the tears I was looking for, GRRM. Knew you’d come through!
Harwin tells Arya a little bit about happened when they were sent to deal with Ser Gregor. It turns out it was a trap meant for Ned. Tywin was going to have him killed. But Jaime didn’t know about it and his impulse control issues had him attack and injure Ned so he couldn’t go. So, the unlucky men Ned sent in his place got attacked instead. Most of them died and others scattered. Beric Dondarrion was gravely injured with an open chest wound. The way Harwin tells it, he did eventually pull through after medieval anesthesia (boiling wine) and Thoros’ prayers to the Lord of Light. After hearing later on that Robert was dead, they became outlaws.
The weather is shitty. It’s been raining constantly. Luckily, the Brothers Without Banners (BWB) has friends everywhere among the smallfolk and they get food and shelter for the night. It is there they learn that Jaime has “escaped” custody at Riverrun. They all have a good laugh about Beric hanging him. But only after a trial, of course! Beric always gives their enemies a trial.
The next day, the sun is finally out. Arya can see for sure that they are in fact going south which is not the way to Riverrun. Lem breaks the news that they are not going to Riverrun. They are taking her to Beric, who will be the one to decide what to do with her. So Arya does what Arya does. She runs off on her horse to try and escape. A chase ensues but Harwin catches up to captures her. She says “I thought you were my father’s men.” Harwin reminds her that Ned’s dead and he now belongs to Beric and the BWB. And Arya grows more cynical than before. She pretty much can’t trust anyone. She agrees to ride peaceful and adds the “for now” in her head.
Here it is. This is one of my favorite chapters. I’ve even had nightmares based on this chapter and I don’t scare all that easily. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m in Minnesota and it’s very much White Walker weather outside right now. It’s probably going to be tough to recap because it jumps around in time so much, but I’ll do my best.
Sam’s trying to walk. It’s been snowing pretty much constantly and he’s very tired. I can’t say I blame him. I hate walking the couple of blocks from the bus stop to home in the winter and that’s with no ice monsters and reanimated corpses chasing me. His weight makes walking even more uncomfortable and awkward. His sword belt especially has to be adjusted all the time. But at least he has a couple of knives, including the dragonglass dagger, even though he lost his sword at the fist.
By the way, can you even believe that GRRM makes us wait about 200 pages after that pants shittingly scary prologue to see what happened to the NW at The Fist and when we finally get that chapter, we have to read about how it’s hard to walk in the snow when you’re fat for a couple of pages? That’s so George!
Anyway, he’s stumbling and crying but he can’t stop. Because if he stops, he’ll die. About fifty men escaped The Fist but the WW and/or their wights are still following them. Picking them off on by one as they get separated from the pack.
He’s trying not to think about what happened, but it’s coming back to him. As he prays for The Mother to have mercy, he remembers Maslyn crying for mercy as a wight nearly decapitated him. The Seven have no power beyond The Wall.
Sam eventually trips on a root and falls down. It’s enough to finally make him give up on life. He’s about ready to just lie in the snow and freeze to death. He starts thinking about the start of the attack. Unlike in the show, Sam did get the ravens off with notes he had prewritten just in case. After that, he packed up some dragonglass and that old horn that had also been buried in the NW cloak over by The Fist. Mormont commands him to stay with the ravens while the others shoot fire arrows at the approaching wights. Things go from bad to worse all around him as the wights, which include not just humans but a bear and a giant get inside the ringwall.
The lovely memories are interrupted by Grenn trying to get him to stand up and keep going. One of the NW men carrying a torch advises Grenn to just leave him. The torch bearing brothers are the ones forming a circle around the NW column. The fire keeps the wights and the Others away. Once the guy with the torch passes, Grenn and Sam are outside of the protective fire circle and they are very vulnerable. But then Small Paul, who also has a torch offers to help get Sam up.
Sam starts thinking back to the attack at the Fist again. It turns out that although he had gotten off the initial messages, he forgot to send any of the other, more detailed ones. So kind of like the show after all. Whomp, whomp.
From here, the memories get a little more chaotic. The upshot is, several of the NW men, including Commander Mormont do escape, although several of the horses run away and they have to fight through hordes of wights on the slope of the fist to do it.
Back in the present, Paul is literally carrying Sam and the two of them and Grenn are starting to fall behind. Finally, they can’t see any of the other torches except the one Grenn is carrying. They’re all alone.
Well. Not quite alone. Because oh shit, here comes an Other. On a dead horse. The Other is pretty bad ass. It dismounts the horse and his feet don’t even break through the snow. His sword slim and milky white with blue glowiness and the armor ripples with the Other’s movements. Grenn threatens it with fire, but the Other just cuts the torch apart and the flame extinguishes in the snow. Oh, snap!
The Other stabs Paul and the weight of him causes the Other to lose his sword. Sam takes this opportunity to stab the Other with the dragonglass and it fuck yeah! It actually works! There’s a sound like cracking ice and steamy blue blood is everywhere and finally it dissolved like the Wicked Witch of the West when Dorothy threw water on her. Now they know what kills the Others and Sam is finally able to get motivated to move his ass.
On a relatively lighter note, back in King’s Landing, a small council meeting is taking place. Tywin is being all majestic and commanding. Tyrion’s got Pycelle’s old spot and Pycelle is all meek and skinny and generally a mess. Plus he has to sit next to Cersei. That can’t ever be fun. Tyrion’s starting to get back to his old sassy self and just doesn’t give a fuck about how pathetic Pycelle is. Mace Tyrell and his bannerman Paxter Redwyne and Mathis Rowan are also there. So basically, the Tyrells now have a lot of power in how things are run. Rounding out the gang is Kevan Lannister and of course, Varys and Littlefinger.
Varys brings tidings from the war. Randyll Tarly attacked Robett Glover and some other northerners and won. Lord Helman Tallhart is reportedly dead. Redwyne is apparently some sort of irritating suck up and loudly cheers the victory, but Littlefinger points out that Robb himself is still unbeaten on the field. Tywin is certain that Robb will leave to go north and take it back from the Ironmen, so the plan is to gather the remaining Lannister forces and attack Riverrun.
The council discusses whether or not to accept Balon Greyjoy’s peace terms, which would include acknowledging that he is king of the Iron Islands. They also talk about the issue of Lysa Arryn who is a threat if nothing else, because she hasn’t gotten the Vale into the war and their forces are all still alive and strong. Tyrion wants to take some men and attack the Vale, but Tywin instead sends Littlefinger to go fuck the problem away and make Lysa his consort and the Lannister’s ally. With LF gone, Tyrion is made Master of Coin. It’s decided to do absolutely nothing about the Greyjoys for the moment.
At this point Tyrion realizes there’s something else at work that Tywin is not saying. He remembers all those important letters and wonders what it is in the works.
But talk moves on to the ridiculously extravagant Kardashianesque wedding that’s being planned for Joffrey and Margaery. Pycelle announces that three hundred Dornishmen are coming for the occasions. Mace is not happy about this. We learn that there’s centuries long anonymity between Dorne and the Reach and constant border wars. Plus the Dornish prince Oberyn Martell AKA the Red Viper had crippled Mace’s son in a tourney. But it must be accepted. The Dornish will take a small council seat as part of the agreement to support Joffrey rather than any of the other claimants to the iron throne.
After some kind of boring business, Varys offers up some other assorted rumors. A kraken (real one, not a Greyjoy) has been spotted off the fingers and there is news of dragons hatching. Tywin is not interested. They move on to discussion of the still missing Tyrek Lannister. They also discuss what to do with the deserters from the battle of Blackwater. Tywin wants all their knees broken. Tyrion tries to convince him to send many of them to the Wall instead. But Tywin sees the Wall only as something that defends the North from the Wildlings so he doesn’t want to send anyone there.
After this, Tywin sends everyone away but the Lannisters. Tyrion doesn’t trust Littlefinger and doesn’t think Tywin should either. Cersei has to disagree. Tywin gets all pissy about the squabbling and of course, Kevan has to take up for Tywin. He thinks LF is a better match for Lysa than the various Vale men who have no allegiance to the Lannisters at all. Kevan also says that LF came to him and snitched on the Tyrell plot to marry Sansa off to Willas. Cersei of course wants to go hulk smash. Tywin wants to cut them off by making other marriages first. He declares that Cersei will be married to Willas unless she can come up with a better option.
Tyrion’s too busy laughing at Cersei’s impotent rage to realize he is about to meet a similar fate. Then it dawn on him. It’s Sansa he will be wed to. If they have the wedding before Joffrey’s the Tyrells can’t really do anything to stop it. He objects on the grounds that it’s cruel to force this marriage on her, but of course Tywin does not give one single solitary fuck about Sansa’s happiness and the marriage gives them potential control of Winterfell. Tyrion is starting to warm to the idea of having Winterfell if he can’t have Casterly Rock but there’s the little matter of Robb. This is when a chillingly unconcerned Tywin tells him all about how Robb has married Jeyne Westerling. So it’s settled. Tyrion and Sansa will marry. Marriages, marriages everywhere! Chriss Harrison and ABC would be so proud.
Deaths in this recap: 3. Finally! Some blood! There’s Maslyn, Small Paul, and Helman Tallhart. Many other NW men perished, but the only ones named as of now are those three.
Cumulative deaths: 89
Maybe deaths in this recap: 0
Cumulative maybe deaths: 8
Betrayals in this recap: 1. Harwin has showed himself to be loyal, not to his liege lord Eddard and now Robb, but to Beric and the BWB
Cumulative betrayals: 26
Incest incidents: 0
Cumulative incests: 25