Book I am reading: A Storm of Swords
Booze in my flagon: Pinot grigot
Chapters: Tyrion VI, Davos V, Jon VII
We open on scene of wedded bliss. Psych! It’s a tense and WASPy dinner between Tyrion and Sansa. At this point they don’t know that their wedding night was probably the least awful wedding in Westeros that year. It seems the pease and mutton are overcooked and Sansa is for some reason (Stockholm syndrome?) apologetic about it even though she didn’t make the food. But unpleasant
English King’s Landing food is the least of his worries. His family are a bunch of assholes and there are tensions between the Dornish and Highgarden people who are all in town for the next upcoming wedding of doom. The one between Joffrey and Margaery. There’s already been a brawl and Queen of Thorns is snarking up a storm as per usual.
But Tyrion is all repressed and sedate now so he doesn’t bring any of that up with Sansa. He just tells her that the pease will suffice as they are green and round. After dinner Sansa leaves to go to the godswood. He offers to accompany her and she adamantly refuses. I’m not saying this detail is important of anything. I’m just including it because.
Tyrion is doing his accountant work and a summons from Tywin arrives. Surprisingly there’s a little family gathering in there. Cersei, Joffrey, Kevan and Lannister toady GM Pycelle are all gathered. Joffrey is really, really pleased to announce that Robb is dead. Tywin is grim as ever and notes that the war is not quite won yet. He plans to offer to spare any Riverlands castle that yields. He expects the Blackfish won’t try anything because they have Edmure hostage. The exception is Harrenhal. He’s sent Gregor Clegane there to kill all the Brave Companions. And he doesn’t even know about Jaime’s hand yet! Predictably, Joffrey just wants everyone killed. He even wants Robb’s head served to Sansa at his wedding feast. But Tyrion isn’t having it and even makes a veiled death threat towards Joffrey. Tywin actually scolds Joff for once, pointing out that no one will bother bending the knee if he punishes those who bend the knee as if they were still fighting and then he kind of compares Joff to Aerys. Instead of acquiescing immediately, Joffrey mocks Tywin for being scared of Aerys and letting Robert do all the fighting and defiance.
Ooooohhhh! Tywin got told! Not really. He just has Joffrey sent to bed and drugged with dreamwine. What is dreamwine anyway? It seems to be a beverage that knocks you right out. I’m picturing this
Yep. Westrosi were drinking lean/purple drank before it was cool.
After Joffrey has been sent to drink purple drank from a sippy cup and go nighty-night, Tywin starts in on Cersei, blaming her for Joffrey’s piss poor behavior. She tries to pass the blame off on Robert but he doesn’t seem to be quite buying it. He sends Cersei off to bed too. Knowing her, she’ll just drink some regular wine now. Not that I blame her. Tyrion and Tywin are now alone and he wants to know how long the RW has been in the works and why he wasn’t told. Tywin did the whole “it’s on a need to know basis and you don’t need to know” thing that’s always in military and political thrillers. He didn’t tell Cersei either. He says Tyrion’s tongue is too loose.
Talk turns to Oberyn and how to appease him. Tywin doesn’t want to give him Gregor’s head so he’s going to try and blame the murder of Elia, Aegon and Rhaenys on Amory Lorch, who you may recall, died in the last book. He’s even going to claim Amory acted on his own. Yeah, I’m sure Oberyn will buy that. No problem. Tyrion says that Tywin shouldn’t have ordered them killed at all and he gets all indignant about it. Tywin does not seem to want to take any responsibility at all for Gregor’s brutal overkill and Amory having been a rapist. He also lays the blame at violating guest right entirely at the feet of Walder Frey. Tywin says it’s more merciful that a dozen people die at dinner than tens of thousands on the battlefield so the Red Wedding is not so bad. I guess in the short run that’s true, but without guest right meaning anything anymore, diplomacy is effectively impossible.
Then Twyin drops a real bombshell. He’s given Arya to Roose to take home as a wife for Ramsay.
Did they capture Arya? Or does Tywin have some other trick up his sleeve? Stay tuned!
The news of the Red Wedding is spreading all over. Now it has reached Dragonstone. Salladhor Saan is the one reporting the news and he gives some more gruesome details than Twyin did. Not only was Catelyn thrown naked into the river, Robb’s head was cut off and Grey Wind’s head sewn onto the body. Not okay. Davos thinks about how the Freys are now cursed but he also remembers Melisandre’s leeches.
Queen Selyse and Ser Axell, religious zealots that they are, are not disquieted by this. They believe it was R’hllor’s doing so they are praising him. Stannis doesn’t buy it because it sounds so very Walder Freyish but Mel agrees and does that whole annoying God works in mysterious ways thing that people do when they don’t have any kind of rational argument.
Stannis wants to attempt an alliance with the Iron Islands and White Harbor. But Mel tells him they will not swear fealty and instead more false kings will rise up to take the crowns of those who have died. She saw it in the flames. She thinks a display of power is what it will take and that she needs to burn Edric Storm to awaken some stone dragons. Melisandre is really hyped up on burning people alive, isn’t she? I think she’d burn something is in order to get her chosen teams into the final four. Stannis is still reluctant to do this though. Or at least he is when Selyse is doing the urging. Mel is using her firecrotch power to hypnotise him into it.
Until cock blocker Davos steps in to interrupt. Davos points out that no one is as cursed as the kinslayer in the eyes of gods and men and Edric is his nephew even though he’s only a bastard. He buys Edric some time by pointing out that they can’t be sure the leeches worked until Joffrey dies. Stannis dismisses everyone. Davos lingers to further convince him not to murder Edric. He talks about how Shireen is friends with him and it would break her heart if he was killed. But Stannis is still conflicted because he wonders if killing Edric will save the kingdom. In one of my favorite exchanges in the book he asks “what is one bastard boy against a kingdom?” and Davos says “Everything.” Stannis clenches his jaw and dismisses Davos. I wonder how many cavities Stannis has. I’m a teeth clencher too and it wears down the enamel. With no dentists and fluoride, it’s a wonder his teeth aren’t a huge mess.
Outside he runs into Sallador. They discuss whether or not Stannis will burn Edric. Davos still has faith. Salla is a little more cynical and he’s now returning to sea to do more piracy. Davos is still thinking about how he has no business being hand of the king because he’s too lowborn. He is learning how to read still from Maester Pylos who is also tutoring Shireen, Edric and Davos’ youngest so Devan. Devan is becoming quite the R’hllor follower which is a little disconcerting. He interrupts the end of a lesson with the kids to talk to Pylos and practice reading by looking at old letters addressed to King Stannis. He picks the one from The Wall that talks about Mance’s armies encroaching and Mormont under attack at the fist. Alester had been hand when the letter arrived and he dismissed it. He confirms that neither Stannis or Mel actually saw the letter. He wonders if this was R’hllor’s adversary marshalling his power and his frightened. But he does nothing. Just asks for another letter.
The Castle Black residents wake up one day to see smoke from Mole’s Town. Styr and the wildlings are getting closer. His leg is still in pain so like Joffrey, he’s been partaking in purple drank. Since his leg is gimpy, Donal Noye is going to have him up on the tower with a bow. He’s of course still being emo about having to fight Ygritte.
The Castle is so sparsely manned that they have to use scarecrows in black cloaks as phony sentinels to look more imposing then they are. Jon is up in the king’s tower with Deaf Dick Follard and a pretty young man named Satin. And six scarecrow sentinels.
Grenn and Pyp are with some of the refugees of Mole’s Town who have fled to Castle Black in advance of the wildling attack. Jon emos some more about how weak Castle Black is and how most of the NW men there hate him for being a turnclock. Rast in particular has it in for him.
They wait and wait and still the wildlings do not come. They wait all day and finally when night falls, the horns blow. Jon manages to shoot a bunch of wildlings but so far the battle is fairly uneventful. Every invader near him is a regular wildling. It’s Styr an the Thenns that Jon wants to get.
At some point the common hall starts burning down. Deaf Dick is shot and falls over the parapet. He sees a flash of red hair and realizes that Ygritte is the one who did it. Now the Thenns are coming up to the tower. Jon and Satin kill the men coming up by dumping boiling oil on them. Down on the ground, the wildlings are gaining ground. Jon sees that young Henly is dead and old Henly dying. I never heard of these chaps before, but condolences. Easy got an axe to the knee and goes down. Easy? Was he a contestant on the VH1 reality dating show I Love New York? Rast has taken a sword through the belly. Dornish Dilly fell and got stabbed.
Styr Magnar and his men are on the seventh landing. He thinks he’s the victor but there’s all sorts of flammable material there and the NW men shoot flaming arrows at them. They die in a blaze.
It’s over. A costly victory, but a victory. Jon of course has to go look for Ygritte. He finds the bodies of Quort, Stone Thumbs and Big Boil. Then he finds Ygritte with an arrow between her breasts. He fears it was his arrow but the feather was black, not the grey goose feather he uses on his arrows. Ygritte is still alive so they get a Big Grand Death Scene together. Her last words seem to be “you know nothing, Jon Snow.”
Deaths in this recap: 8. Almost as much as the RW, it’s just that they mostly aren’t important characters. We have Old and Young Henly. Dornish Dilly. Quort, Stone Thumbs and Big Boil. And of course the manic pixie wildling girl Ygritte.
Cumulative deaths: 134
Maybe deaths in this recap: 2. Easy and Rast. It’s not really clear on these two.
Cumulative maybe deaths: 12
Betrayals in this recap: I guess 0 although Stannis even considering burning his nephew alive might fit in here.
Cumulative betrayals: 33
Incest incidents: 0. It’s been a while. ASOIAF, I am disappoint.
Cumulative incests: 26