Book I am reading: A Storm of Swords
Booze in my flagon: Pinot Grigio
Chapters: Catelyn IV, Davos IV, Jaime V
Oh good. Another ASOS Cat chapter. These are always cheerful! This chapter opens on the funeral of Hoster Tully. So far, I think this is the first natural death in the entire series. So, congrats Hoster for not getting executed or dying in war.
The Tullys have Viking funerals for some reason. I guess because they live by a river and it’s more convenient to send the body down the river in a boat and make it the problem of the people living downriver than building a crypt would be. At least they burn the body first so it’s not a festering maggoty corpse that the downriver people have to see and smell coming towards them.
Just in case we forgot that the Starks and Tullys have pissed the Freys off, we learn that Walder Sr. sent Lame Lothar Frey who is crippled and Walder Rivers, one of his bastards to represent the Freys at the funeral while the other lords in the Riverlands came themselves. This was an obvious insult and the ever thoughtful and mature Edmure is pretty peeved about it but Robb handles it all classy like.
Edmure, being the new Lord Tully has the task of shooting the flaming arrow at the funeral boat to burn the corpse. But Edmure is the Westeros version of Joey from Full House and he’s too incompetent to successfully hit his target. After three embarrassing failures he has to let Blackfish do it. The Blackfish makes it on the first try of course. None of this bodes to well for Edmure’s future tenure as Lord Tully. Poor Ed is rather too fragile for this story. It seems the night before he had been crying about being off at war during his father’s last days. To comfort him, Cat had to lie and tell him that Hoster’s last word was “Edmure” but it was actually “tansy.” Why tansy? I guess we’ll see. That’s actually a pretty normal and healthy amount of a grief for a dying parent, but there’s a shit ton of toxic masculinity going on in Westeros and boys don’t cry. Lysa on the other hand, didn’t even reply to the letter Catelyn sent her, let alone show up. I guess the paranoia is still a’brewin in the Eyrie.
After the funeral, Lothar takes Robb aside and asks if he will grant him an audience later that night. Catelyn is a little dubious and so am I. Robb and Catelyn go for a walk alone and he’s slightly more hopeful about winning the Freys back but not that hopeful. He’s actually in a pretty depressed mood. Robb informs Catelyn that he has to tell her something about Sansa. She fears that she is dead at first, but it’s Sansa’s marriage he tells her of. She wonders why they would marry Tyrion to her but Robb knows that it’s for Winterfell. With Bran and Rickon “gone” she’s the heir if Robb dies before having kids. Cat freaks out a bit and says that Robb can’t die because he’s all she has left. She even tries to convince Robb to surrender but he will not do it. They have a little tiff and Robb kind of accuses her of forgetting that the Lannisters were responsible for Ned’s death.
After dinner, Lothar reveals his business. He tells them about how Winterfell was burned, saying that Theon put it to the torch when he saw that he had lost it. He also informs them of Rodrik Cassel’s death. Old news for us, but not for them. He claims not to know what happened to Theon. In ostensibly happier news, he informs tham that Walder Frey agrees to the new marriage alliance proposed. Edmure will marry a Frey girl, Roslin, the daughter of his sixth wife. If Robb apologizes face to face for breaking the original vow. Another condition is that the wedding take place at once. Again, Catelyn is not comfortable. Edmure is not too pleased either. But ultimately, they have no choice but to agree.
Davos is still sharing his cell with Alester Florent. They hear voices coming towards them. It’s Axell Florent and some guards. Alester thinks he’s being free but it’s Davos that they’re there for. Axell calls Alester a traitor and Alester starts whining. The Florents are almost as uncool as the Freys. Just to be extra dickish, Axell orders Davos to take the one torch and leave Alester in the pitch black.
Axell says that Stannis has sent for him, although Melisandre will be there too. He won’t tell Davos whether or not he’s going to be burned. After climbing many flights of stairs they emerge outside and cross a bridge. On the ground below is a huge fire with men singing to R’hllor. Axell, still a gigantic douchebag tells Davos that if it were up to him, he’d burn both Davos and his brother Alester. He claims to also be able to see in the flames. He says to have seen that Davos will betray Stannis, so Stannis had better name him hand in place of Alester. What an asshole. He’d probably be a child molesting Evangelical fundamentalist megachurch preacher in our universe. He even orders Davos to tell Stannis to make Axell hand. Seriously. What a toolshed. It takes a lot to make the Freys look good, but I think Axell is managing. It seems that Axell is all pissy because Selyse can’t convince Stannis to appoint him as hand. He threatens Davos with a little accident.
They meet up with Stannis in the Chamber of the Painted Table. It’s a cool table in the shape of Westeros with the map painted on it. This is an artifact from Aegon I’s time. Davos is shocked by how much of a haggard mess Stannis looks. But he does emote as much as Stannis ever does when he sees Davos. He gives a faint smile. Of course, Stannis ruins this touching reunion by pointedly asking him what the penalty for treason is. Oh, Stannis. Davos is a bit shaken but has to answer true. He says the penalty is death. Stannis adds that this has always been the case. It’s law. Not cruelty. He seems to not want to execute Alester and he laments how Robert was able to charm enemies and turn them into friends but he lacks that gift. As someone whose social awkwardness gets mistaken for coldness, stuff like this always endears Stannis to me.
Talk moves again to the war. Axell is itching to go back to battle and he has a plan. Stannis wants Davos’ advice on it. The plan is to loot this island called Claw Isle. Claw Isle belongs to house Celtigar. Lord Celtigar has bent the knee to Joffrey after being captured at Blackwater and is in King’s Landing still. Supposedly Claw Isle is full of treasure, including a horn that call up sea monsters. Is that a Chekov’s gun or nah? After looting, Axell wants to burn down the castle and kill everyone there.
Davos speaks honestly about this plan. He calls it cowardice and folly. I love Davos. He says that people didn’t have much of a choice but to go along with their lord. Stannis is unswayed. He says they should have been loyal to their king, no matter what their lord does. But Davos points out that Stannis did not remain loyal to King Aerys when Robert rebelled. Boom! Of course, Axell is pissed and cries treason. That’s about all he knows how to do. But Stannis just sends Axell away to go fetch Melisandre. Bye, Florenticia!
Stannis is not super pleased with Davos pointing out the hypocrisy but as always, he ultimately respects the honesty. He talks about how it was actually no an easy choice to follow Robert and he talks about how he doesn’t want the throne, but is going after merely because the law says he’s Robert’s heir. He expresses his intentions to scour the court clean of corruption, which means bye-bye to Cersei, Varys, and Jaime. He then asks Davos why he wanted to kill Melisandre. He simply says it’s because she gave four of his sons to the flames. He also says that Mel killed Renly. Stannis tries to deny that. He also says that Melisandre is the one who had Davos released and that Edric Storm is sick. But that he’ll recover and that Mel says he has king’s blood and there’s power in king’s blood. Uh oh.
Boy is this chapter full of exposition! Anyway, Stannis abruptly says that he agrees with Davos about Claw Isle and names him a lord and Hand of the King.
Davos doesn’t think he’s fit, but Stannis will hear none of it. I don’t think Axell will be happy. Hahahaha!
Then Melisandre comes in. She says it’s not the political stuff they should be concerned with. She’s seen in the flames that the Long Night part two is coming. Stannis says he saw the same thing, Mel showed him. They saw a hill in a forest, men in black, and shapes in the snow. Melisandre has apparently been trying to convince Stannis that in order to gain the power need to fight this great evil, that Edric with his king’s blood must be burned. Because only king’s blood can awaken the stone dragon. Whatever that is. But Stannis is thankfully still saying no and that leaching Edric will have to do. Melisandre reveals that she has three leaches full of his blood in her hand. Stannis throws them in the fire and names them for Joffrey, Balon and Robb.
Jaime enters the Harrenhal bathhouse (no, not that kind of bathhouse) as Brienne is also bathing. He is to eat dinner with Roose Bolton and it’s probably best that he’s not full of fleas and stinking like piss and shit. Jaime orders the servants out of the bathhouse so that he and Brienne are alone. The tubs are huge so he gets into the one Brienne is in. She’s not entirely pleased with that, but he tells her that he was no desire to sexually harass her. All the same, when his trash talking pisses her off and she stands up so he sees her body, he starts to get wood. He’s troubled by this because he’s only used to incest erections. You’d think he’d pleased to have a sexual attraction that isn’t sick and disgusting, but I guess not.
Brienne gives him shit for being the Kingslayer. Jaime’s recent traumas have made him so tired and vulnerable that he finds himself telling the story of how he became The Kingslayer. Once Aerys started losing some battles he grew paranoid. It only grew when Rhaegar convinced Aerys to seek help from Tywin and didn’t get a reply. It didn’t help when Varys was Wormtonguing him, feeding the paranoia and making him see traitors everywhere. Aerys secretly had wildfire caches placed all over King’s Landing. When his current hand, Chelsted grew suspicios, he had him killed. Aerys kept Jaime close all the time, mostly so Varys could keep an eye on him. So Jaime saw and heard everything and Aerys’ increasing fondness for the wildfire disturbed him. After Rhaegar died, Aerys really lost it and decided to burn down KL rather than let Robert have it. Meanwhile, Pycelle had Tywin, who had by this time thrown in with Robert let into the city. Jaime tried to convince Aerys to make terms, but Aerys demanded Tywin’s head as proof of loyalty. Jaime ended up having to kill Aerys and Rossart, the pyromancer who was getting the wildfire ready to go. He needed to do it to save the lives of everyone in King’s Landing.
This revelation kind of dumbfounds Brienne. She’s still kind of in the mindset that you’re either honorable or you’re not and this is much more of a gray area. She asks Jaime why she never told anyone else this. He seems to think he’d have been judged harshly no matter what. In fact, he’s so riled up even at the thought of Ned Stark passing judgement on them that he knocks his stump on the edge of the tub and passes out. That’s one way to end this somewhat awkward converstation!
He comes to and Qyburn’s creepy ass is there. He helps Jaime get dressed up for dinner with Roose. He also gives Brienne a pink satin gown. It’s the only women’s garment in all of Harrenhal large enough to fit her, although it’s still too small. I can always relate to Brienne so much regarding this. I’m average height, but I have huge boobs and I too would probably have trouble finding cute and stylish outfits that fit me in Harrenhal. She looks so ridiculous in an ill fitting pink dress that Jaime decides for once not to neg her.
Jaime and Brienne go to the dinner with Roose who is as unsettlingly quiet and creepy as ever. Brienne is a teetotaler and rejects his offer of wine. This is where I stop relating to her.
Roose reminds Jaime that there’s a big bounty for his capture. Just to troll him, I think. Then he tells him that he just recently wed Fat Walda Frey because Walder promised his brides weight in silver for a dowry. Therefore, Fat Walda is the sensible price. He also informs Jaime about Edmures impending nuptials and says that his presence at the wedding is required. So he’s about to leave Harrenhal with Vargo Hoat for good. Yikes.
Then something strange happens. Roose says that Arya Stark has been found and he means to return her to the north. This does not match with the last Arya chapter, so something is not right here. Roose Trollton trolls some more and says Lannisters lie, then when Jaime is about to try to kick his ass, he reminds him that guest right is still sacred.
Oh, Roose. Bad Roose.
At this point, Brienne is getting het up too so Roose admits that he actually plans to free Jaime and send him on. If he’ll tell Tywin that Jaime’s maiming was only Hoat’s fault, Bolton’s. Brienne says she will deliver Sansa back to Cat like she said she would. That’s when Roose informs them of Sansa and Tyrion’s wedding. He also breaks it to Brienne that she will remain in Harrenhal as Vargo Hoat’s prisoner.
Deaths in this recap: 1. Hoster Tully. I don’t think Jaime’s recounting of Aerys’ demise counts here.
Cumulative deaths: 108
Maybe deaths in this recap: 0
Cumulative maybe deaths: 9
Betrayals in this recap: 0
Cumulative betrayals: 30
Incest incidents: 0.
Cumulative incests: 26
Book I am reading: A Storm of Swords
Booze in my flagon: Pinot Grigio
Chapters: Tyrion IV, Samwell II, Arya VI
Tyrion is taking a little stroll in the burnt out mess that lies beyond the city walls. He’s evidently still unpopular with the smallfolk as they give him the stick eye. It’s no wonder. The price of food is still inflated even though the Tyrells inundated the city with food supplies. Nobody tries to mess with though because Bronn is there. It’s illegal to live or trade there and Bronn offers to kill them all but Tyrion says no. I guess we know now why there’s never going to be a thriving food truck industry in Westeros. Too bad. I’d kind of like to read GRRM’s version of a hipstery artisan pigeon pie.
The reason they’re by wall is to check progress on the rebuilding of the gates to the city. It was supposed to be Kevan’s job but he’s a little down because word reached him of Willem’s death, and other sons are either prisoners of Robb (Martyn) or in critical condition with a festering wound (Lancel). It’s understandably stressing Tyrion out to have to both deal with the logistics of rebuilding the city and the costs now that he’s Master of Coin. He’s also a smidge cranky because the whole castle has heard that Sansa won’t do him. His sexual frustration at not being able to consummate his marriage with his child bride has caused him to get horny for Shae again. Even though Shae didn’t express any real jealousy that he was getting married, I still think this is a healthier relationship than a statutory rape based marriage would be. So I approve of them getting back together.
Okay, the Tyrion-Shae relationship is still damn toxic. The next thing Tyrion and Bronn do is go to some dive bar where Symon Silver Tongue is hanging out and drinking. Remember Symon? He’s the singer that Tyrion is really jealous of because Shae flirts with and possible sleeps with him. Tyrion is there to try and bribe him to leave the country and go to the Free Cities. Symon is feeling sassy and chooses to play hardball. The thirty gold dragons he planned to offer will not be enough. He wants an invitation to sing at Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding. He’s also giving Tyrion a whole lot of lip. He keeps singing a song about hands of gold being cold and a woman’s hands being warm. Tyrion promises that he’ll try to get him a spot on Westrosi Idol. But when he leaves he actually orders Bronn to kill Symon and make sure his body is never found. Bronn says he’ll give the Symon meat to a pot shop that makes bowls of brown with mystery meat in it. Ew. If the food truck business does take off in Westeros, there’s probably going to be a cannibalism themed truck or two. Maybe one could be called Sweeney Tyrion’s.
Tyrion’s day continues to be busy and fun filled. As soon as he gets home, Pod tells him that Tywin wants to see him. Tywin wants to show him Joffrey’s wedding present. It’s a longsword. It soon becomes clear the sword is Valyrian steel. Valyrian steel is very rare and expensive. To carry on with the food theme in this post, they’re like the white truffles of Westeros. It’s such a status symbol to have a Valyrian steel sword that Tywin tried multiple times to buy them off of impoverished houses only to be turned down. The Lannisters used to have one called Brightroar, but an ancestor took it on a quest to Valyria and never came back. Tywin’s youngest brother Gery also went on a quest to Valyria to try and find it and also never came back. Either something terrible happens to everyone who tries to go into the smoking ruins of Valyria or maybe there’s secretly a utopia in there. It’s like Oz if you’re a lefty or like Galt’s Gulch if you’re a righty. It’s probably the former.
Naturally Tyrion wonders how Tywin got a brand spanking new Valyrian sword. There are a few armorers who can reforge old ones but the secret to making a new Valyrian sword was lost in the Doom. The sword is also a strange color. It’s part black – or close to black – and part red. But not Lannister crimson. More like Targaryen red. There’s also a second, even larger sword. It’s for Jaime.
Now it’s on to more topics like money. Tywin doesn’t have any helpful advice as to how to pay to rebuild the city and throw a wedding of Kim and Kanye extravegence. He just says to find it. Tyrion suggests that Casterly Rock forgive the Crown’s debt to them, but Tywin shoots it down. Tywin also gives him a hard time about him not bedding Sansa and basically tells him to rape and impregnate her. Lovely.
Next comes to the news that Mace Tyrell has refused Tywin’s offer to marry Cersei to Willas. He suspects Olenna talked him out of it. Tywin warns Tyrion not to tell Cersei she was rejected. Then Pycelle comes in with a letter that just arrived from Castle Black warning that the Wildlings were about to invade and asking for help again. It also says that no word has come from the party that went ranging and LC Mormont is feared dead. Pycelle suggests they attempt to install Janos Slynt as the new Lord Commander. They talk about threatening to never send more men unless the Nightswatch votes they want in the next choosing. Tywin instructs Pycelle to send a raven back with a letter implying this. Tyrion wishes he had killed Janos after all and thinks about how he at least learned his lesson by just dispensing with Symon.
Sam and the surviving Nightswatch men have arrived at Craster’s keep. Craster has taken them in again. Maybe to gloat or something? I don’t know. A NW man named Bannen is dying and simultaneously, Sam can hear on of the daughterwives in labor upstairs in the loft. Craster thinks Bannen is as good as dead and it would be kinder to just kill him now. Assholish as he is, he has a point. A NW man named Bedwyck AKA Giant bickers with Craster for a bit. There are other NW men in a bad way and they need more food but Craster isn’t giving up anything but some broth and bread. They’ve been their for days and their resentment over not having enough to eat is really growing.
Now it’s confirmed that it is actually Gilly giving birth. Craster yells up at them to shut her up or he’ll come beat her. Sam is pretty miserable that he can’t help her and thinks disapprovingly of the NW tradition of overlooking the gross misogyny, rape, and domestic violence in the
Koresh Craster compound. It all causes Sam to have to go outside and angst just like his buddy Jon. He thinks about how there have been no attacks by the Others or their wights since arriving at Craster’s. Craster says there won’t be because he’s a godly man and they need to right with gods when the white cold comes. Presumably those gods are the Others.
Sam hears a commotion and goes out to find some of the more robust NW members doing target practice with arrows on a straw man. It’s basically a stereotypical boys locker room situation. Lots of dick measuring contests related to bow and arrow prowess. They see Sam and mock him, calling him Slayer sarcastically because they apparently don’t believe that he slew an Other for real. Sam runs away and encounters Grenn who calls him Slayer unironically. This causes Sam to throw a tantrum that makes him sound like a little kid. But Grenn assures him that he’s not the only one who gets scared and it’s pretty sweet. He also points out that nickname coming from friends is a whole different context than a nickname coming from people who don’t care about you. Grenn is not stupid like people think he is!
Aww. I love Grenn. Time for a Grenn appreciation gif.
Anyway, they discuss the wights and wonder if they will come back. I guess they don’t believe Craster about being godly and having a get out of zombie apocalypse free card. They aren’t worried at this moment because it’s not cold enough. Sam wonders if the cold brings the wights or if the wights bring the cold. I think this is a crucial question but no one else seems too interested.
Sam has some more self pitying thoughts. He wonders why he isn’t the one who died and blah, blah, blah. Geez, Sam. Get it together. His angst is interrupted by Mormont’s Raven who says “snow’ a bunch of times. Sam overhears Mormont talking with some of the other more senior members of the Watch. Apparently, Craster is kicking them out.
Mormont takes Sam aside to talk about the dragonglass. He’s wondering why they never knew about dragonglass. He thinks the NW has forgotten its true purpose. That is protecting the realms of men, not fighting wildlings. Mormont asks if dragonglass was literally made by dragons but Sam tells him it’s made in volcanos. They’re worried because they don’t know where to find more dragonglass. I think I know! Dragonstone!
Craster interrupts their chat to announce that the new baby is a boy and to reiterate that the NW don’t have to go home but they can’t stay here. Sam offers to take the newborn boy with them and Craster gets super pissed. Mormont escorts Sam inside and yells at him and orders him to go back to attending Bannen.
Bannen however, has died. The other NW men are still stewing in rage and debating whether or not Craster has enough food and just deliberately starved them. They later burn his corpse and Sam is disturbed because it smells like pork and makes him all the hungrier. Clearly Sweeney Tyrion’s would also do well if it expanded up north.
Sam has to leave to go puke. Dolorous Edd follows him out and makes a crack about Bannen smelling good, so we know it’s not just Sam who is so hungry that a fallen comrade smells like dinner. Edd informs him that they will be riding at first light.
Now that it’s confirmed they’ll be leaving, Craster finally gives the NW men a decent supper. They eat the meat from the NW horses that died on the march there 😦
But trouble starts when a NW brother name Clubfoot Karl complains that there isn’t enough bread. Mormont tells him to shut the fuck up and be grateful for what they have, but Karl is not having it. Some of the NW men openly accuse Craster of hiding food and he kind of admits. Mormont tries to diffuse the situation but to now avail. Someone called Craster a bastard and that’s when shit really hits the fan. Craster hates being called a bastard. He charges the NW men and one of them, named Dirk slits his throat.
Mormont is furious. He points out that the gods curse those who break guest right. Dirk takes one of the daughterwives at knifepoint and orders her to take them to the food. Mormont says he’ll have his head. One of the brothers, Ollo Lophand stabs Mormont. Chaos ensues but we don’t get to read about it because Sam seems to have fugue states when there is a lot of violence. We do know Garth of Greenaway killed Garth of Oldtown. We know Rolley of Sisterton fell or was thrown out of the loft and broke his neck after trying to rape Craster’s daughterwives. Ser Byam somehow died because Craster crashed into him as he was dying. Grenn and Edd tried to get Sam to flee with them but he wouldn’t so they left without the. Ollo is now raping a woman across the table while Sam is cradling the dying Mormont. Mormont tells him to make for the Wall and tell those still there about everything that happened. He also wants him to forgive Jorah for him. Gilly and some other Craster wives confront Sam and talk him into taking Gilly and the baby and fleeing. They tell him that the white gold’s rising and “they” will soon come to take the baby.
Arya and Gendry being carted around with a hood over her face so she can’t see. When Harwin finally takes the hood off, it’s revealed that they’re in a giganomous cave with a huge fire pit in it. Lem says it’s old secret place where neither wolves nor lions come prowling. Thoros of Myr is there. Arya remembers him from King’s Landing as being fat but now he’s super skinny. The BWB have a captive that they found sleeping off some drunkenness under a willow tree. The captive is also unhooded and revealed to be The Hound, Sandor Clegane. Sandor is predictably not impressed my Thoros’ newfound religiosity and he’s not impressed with the rest of the BWB. They trade some insults for awhile and someone makes a speech about how the BWB are comprised of men from all different backgrounds who found their purpose after experiencing the horrors of war. They still claim to serve Robert even though he’s dead. Sandor is also quite unimpressed with that. The man who made the speech turns out to be Beric Dondarrion. He used to be handsome but now, not so much.
The BWB is charging Sandor with all manner of Lannister crimes and also blaming him for his brother Gregor’s actions. Naturally this does not sit well with Sandor. He tells them not to blame him for the murders committed by others. He does have a point, but then Arya yells at him for killing Mycah. The butcher’s boy. The one who fell afoul of Joffrey. This does have the side effect of causing Sandor to realize who she is. Everyone in King’s Landing thinks she’s dead and that’s probably for the best.
Beric says it’s not for him to judge and sentences him to a trial by battle so the Lord of Light can decide. Apparently using gods as an excuse to dual is found in all cultures. The Hound mocks Beric who doesn’t look very strong. That’s when Beric takes off his shirt and shows them all the scars. He has one on his front and back showing that a lance went right through him. He shouldn’t be alive. But he his.
The BWB all pray to the Lord of Light and say that the night is dark and full of terrors. Sandor is still not impressed or afraid. They fight. Dondarrion has a flaming sword like Stannis does. He’s certainly not afraid of the Hound. He even seems to be beating him. Especially since Sandor fears fire. But in the end, The Hound prevails despite having a burn that seems to have triggered some sort of PTSD and made him cry. He stabs Beric in the neck, killing him. They start attending to Sandor’s burn and Arya charges him and tries to kill him. She’s held back so she shouts at him to go to hell. She hears a voice behind her say “he has” and what do you know. It’s Beric. Alive again.
Deaths in this recap: 6. This was a good one. We have NW brothers Bannen, Ser Byam, Rolley, and Garth of Oldtown, Craster and Jeor Mormont.
Cumulative deaths: 107
Maybe deaths in this recap: 1. It seems likely that Bronn follows through with killing Symon, but we don’t see it so it’s not confirmed.
Cumulative maybe deaths: 9
Betrayals in this recap: 1 big one. The NW mutiny against Jeor Mormont.
Cumulative betrayals: 30
Incest incidents: 0.
Cumulative incests: 26