Book I am reading: A Storm of Swords
Booze in my flagon: Pinot Grigot
Chapters: Bran IV, Daenerys V, Tyrion VII
Bran, Meera, Jojen and Hodor have finally reached the Wall. More specifically, the abandoned NW castle called the Nightfort. The Nightfort is where the legendary Night’s King had reined. It also featured in many of the other Old Nan stories. The most relevant one being the story of the Rat Cook who had violated guest right (hey, just like someone from a few chapters ago!) by killing the son of a visiting Andal king, cooking him in a pie and serving it to him. Basically, the Nightfort is spooky as shit and it seems like it might be haunted.
The gate has of course long ago been sealed and they can’t find a way through. But Jojen insists that his dreams are always and his dreams told him to go here. Meera decides to climb the wall and see if she can figure out something. Emo must be contagious and Bran must’ve caught it from Jon when they had that near encounter. Because Bran starts emoing about how he should be the one climbing.
While Meera is up on the Wall, Bran, Jojen and Hodor go exploring down below. Summer catches a rat as big as a cat. I actually kind of like rats and other rodents, but that is just gross and scary.
There are lots of dark tunnels full of these rats below the Nightfort. Jojen wants to explore but Bran vetoes this and I can’t say I blame him. If this isn’t a perfect horror movie set up, I don’t know what is.
By the time Meera returns, the sun is going down and they are no closer to finding a way through the Wall. This makes it a perfect time to tell scary stories!
We get to hear more about the Night’s King. This is not to be confused with the show version. He was a lord commander of the Nightswatch who fell in love with what appears to be a female white walker. They ruled for 13 years, making sacrifices to the white walkers until a Stark and Joramun the wildling leader allied together to put an end to it. The NW excised all records of the Night’s King so no one knew who it was. Old Nan thought he was a Stark though. No evidence of this is presented so it’s unknown whether she was telling the truth or just trolling Bran.
The group decided they will sleep in the kitchens. It has a weirwood tree that has busted through the floor and a mega creepy well. Hodor Hodors down it and the Hodors echo. It’s the best.
Bran thinks he hears something splashing around in the well and wants to leave but the Reeds laugh him off. Then we get some more Westeros mythology. We learn more of the Rat King too. After he served the Andal king that prince and bacon pie, the gods turned him into a huge white rat who could only eat his own young. The punishment was according to Old Nan a punishment not for the murder or the non-consensual cannibalism but for the breaking of guest right. As much is this is a scary story, it’s kind of nice because it gives the reader hope that the Freys will get theirs. I guess we’ll see.
Bran finally drifts off to sleep but wakes up to find more noises coming from the well. He figures that Hodor woke it up. It’s all very mines of Moria. He wakes Meera up and once again, Wargs Hodor.
A huge black shape lurches out of the well. Meera catches it in her net. The well monster is wailing and shaking.
It turns out to be Sam. Along with Gilly and her baby. She tells them that someone named Coldhands told them that he’d been sent to find someone and Sam wasn’t it. Sam tells them there’s a gate down there called the Black Gate. It’s hidden and as old as the wall itself. Only a NW brother can open it. Coldhands couldn’t get through the Wall because he’s dead and the spells woven into the Wall keep them from passing the Wall.
Before too long, Sam puts two and two together and realizes that Bran is Jon’s brother. They make Sam promise not to tell him he saw them. They update Sam on how Jon is alive and escaped the wildlings.
Sam leads them to the Black Gate and it’s actually a big weirwood with a face on it. It asks “who are you?” and Sam recites the NW vows. The door tells them to pass and the weirwood’s mouth opens wide enough for them to go through.
Dany has arrived now at the third Slaver’s Bay city, Meereen. It’s much larger and more multicolored than Astapor and Yunkai. It’s also made of brick and full of pyramids though. The Great Pyramid has a harpy on top of it. That’s their symbol.
Outside the walls of the city, Meereen’s champion is riding back and forth, challenging Dany’s people. Her bloodriders are dying to go out and fight him but she thinks they’re too young and risk taking so she forbids it. Ser Jorah likes this decision. Arstan thinks it’s bad PR for them to be afraid to meet him and thinks the decision not to fight can only boost Meereenese morale.
The Meereenese had harvested the crops that they could and burned the rest. So Dany’s host has to do something soon. Or they will starve. They also quite gruesomely nailed a slave child to every milepost on the road from Yunkai to Meereen. As a result, Dany is pretty pissed off and ready to take this city.
Brown Ben Plumm, the new leader of the Second Sons tells them that the champion’s name is Oznak zo Pahl. Henceforth, I will call him Ozarks because that’s just easier.
Anyway, after about an hour of taunting from Ozarks, Dany finally decides to send Strong Belwas out to fight him. Belwas used to fight in the slave pits and so if he wins it will be an embarrassment for Meereen. If he loses the victory over someone perceived as low and worthless will mean little. Also, he’s pretty expendable.
Even though Ozarks is on horse, Belwas meets him on foot. They basically play chicken for a little while. Finally Belwas drops to the ground to avoid Ozarks’ lance and stabs the horse in the legs. Both the horse and Ozarks fall. Poor horsey. Now it’s time for a knife fight. It’s over pretty quickly. Ozarks manages to cut Belwas in the chest, but Belwas manages to behead Ozarks right after that. He takes the head and throws it towards the gates. Then Belwas squats and poops in the direction of the city. I’m never sure if I think this is incredibly awesome or incredibly gross.
After the fight, Dany holds a war council. They’re having trouble figuring out a way to conquer Meereen. Jorah even wants her to head back to Westeros. But they don’t have the food to take care of her people and she’s still mad about those slave children Meereen killed as a message. So these hopes that we’ll finally get to see Daenerys go back to Westeros and mix it up with the other characters are dashed for now.
Ben Plumm suggests the sewers. That’s how he escaped the city in the past. But it sounds absolutely disgusting and there’s a limit to how many people will be able to get through. She decides to sleep on it. But she can’t sleep because she’s all horny for Daario even though he’s a skeezebucket. She decides to go out riding. She takes Arstan with her.
Most of the people in the camps are fond of her but one man comes up, drags her from her horse and tries to stab her. It’s Mero. From the Second Sons I think? He and Arstan fight and Arstan wins.
They get back and Jorah tries to start talking battle. But Dany cuts him off to read him for not warning her that Mero had escaped. She wants Arstan knighted. Both Jorah and Arstan say no firmly.
This is when Arstan reveals that he already is a knight. He is in fact, Ser Barristan Selmy. He begs her forgiveness for ever having stayed in Robert Baratheon’s service.
He also informs her of more than that. He snitches out Jorah for being Varys’ informant all these years. Jorah says he did it to get a pardon and go home but changed his mind when he fell in love and stopped informing.
Dany contemplates having the dragons burn both their lying asses. But she just tells them to go. She tries to figure out where and then settles on something. But the chapter ends before she can tell us.
Tyrion is still angsting over his cold and barren marriage. Just my personal opinion, but when you have a child spouse, you shouldn’t want it to be any other way.
When he told Sansa of the red wedding, he expected a display of grief and anger but only got stone cold silence. He did later hear her crying behind closed doors.
He gets up in the night and dresses and goes to meet Shae in those tunnels where all the dragon skulls are. She’s standing naked in the jaws of Balerion. They have sex and she calls him her lion again. He ends up feeling guilty and stupid because he knows the affair isn’t exactly safe. He thinks he’ll marry her off to a knight named Talled because the safest course of action is getting rid of her.
No time for that now though. Dawn is breaking and it is the day of Joffrey’s wedding.
Shortest chapter ever.
Deaths in this recap: 1. Only Ozarks.
Cumulative deaths: 135
Maybe deaths in this recap: 0
Cumulative maybe deaths: 12
Betrayals in this recap: 1. I’m going with this because I can’t remember if I counted Jorah spying for Varys earlier. If I did, we’ll just count it as Barristan ratting out Jorah.
Cumulative betrayals: 34
Incest incidents: 0.
Cumulative incests: 26