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