Book I am reading: A Storm of Swords
Booze in my flagon: Absolut Ruby Red vodka and sparkling water
Chapters: Jon XII, Sansa VII, Epilogue
Before I get to recapping, a little programming note. Now that I’m going to be moving on to Feast and Dance, I wanted to do a combined book reading order instead of tackling one at a time. It just makes more sense since I take so absurdly long to update. It could be a year before I get to Dance and I don’t think I can go that long recapping ASOIAF and not having the pleasure of poking fun at emo Jon. I will be using Boiled Leather reading order. I’m also going to label all the chapters the same way the first three books do, instead of using the titles like “Cat of the Canals” just for ease and continuity. There are also some ultra long chapters so I may more often stray from the usual three chapter per post formula.
On with the show!
Back to the saga of election night whatever-the-hell-year-it-is-in-Westeros-right-now. Hopefully it goes better than election night 2016 here on earth.
Oh. Never mind. First we get a kind of homoerotic description of Iron Emmett. The sexiest and best swordfighter since Arthur Dayne and the pride of Eastwatch or something. Jon likes to spar with him to keep sharp and get some bruises that hurt in the good way. Usually Jon does all right, but he’s been too emo to sleep properly and is tired. So today he really gets pounded. Jon eventually gets knocked out and dreams that it’s Robb in the practice yard with him. Even I’m not going to turn that one into a dirty joke. He remembers during one of him and Robb’s childhood sparring sessions that Robb told him he was a bastard and can’t ever be Lord of Winterfell. This causes Jon to go into a sleepwalking Hulk smash mode and he has to be pulled off of Iron Emmett. Emmett jokes that now he knows how Qhorin Halfhand must’ve felt and Jon flounces off to emo in the armory.
He’s angry because he feels guilty. He remembers Catelyn’s disapproving visage and compares it to Stannis’ mug. He takes a nice bath and mulls over Stannis’ offer some more. He wants to do it, but feels he has no right and it’s not his place. He snaps out of it when he overhears Alliser Thorne and Bowen Marsh talking about the election. They fear the wrath of Tywin (not knowing yet that he’s dead on a toilet) and note that he favors Janos Slynt. Jon takes a walk on the other side of the Wall to navel gaze some more. He realizes that if Janos wins, he’ll hang Jon as an oathbreaker. He also realizes that even though he was in denial about it, he’s always wanted to be Lord of Winterfell. Then he starts craving freshly killed elk.
Wait. What!? Ghost shows up out of nowhere. That’s why he started thinking wolf thoughts. He looks at Ghost and thinks about how he’s the only albino and has red eyes like a weirwood tree and it’s then he has his answer. He’s not sharing it yet though.
Back at Castle Black, all of Stannis’ men are freaked out by Ghost. He sees Val in the tower and thinks he’s not going to be the one to steal her out of there. I guess that means he’s saying no.
When he goes inside, he hears chaos and yelling. When they see Jon, Janos starts ranting about how Jon is a warg and a beastling and not fit to lead them or even fit to live. That’s when Maester Aemon tells Jon that his name has been put forth for Lord Commander. He thinks it’s a joke of Pyp’s but Dolorous Edd said that he is the one who nominated him. Janos is still ranting and demanding that Jon be hanged immediately. Cotter Pyke tells him that unlike the Gold Cloaks, nobody is going to lick his bloody arse so he’d best take a seat. Mallister is a little more diplomatic and says that any brother is eligible as long as he’s said his vows.
There’s more chaos and yelling until Alliser calls for a vote. He says that Stannis’ men won’t let them leave until they come to a decision. He says that Othell Yarwyck wants to say something. He withdraws from the race. Alliser tries to lead him to endorse Slynt, but he refuses to endorse anyone. Then Sam and Clydas get out a kettle. Mormont’s raven bursts out of it and says “Snow, snow, snow.” Alliser laughs and tries to point out that all the ravens know that word. But voters love gimmicks and Jon wins the race!
Cotter Pyke tells Jon that if he mucks this up, he’s going to rip his liver out and eat it raw with onions.
Jon, still stunned takes a skin of wine and goes to talk things over with Stannis.
Sansa wakes up from a dream that she was home. She has to remind herself that now she is Alayne Stone, a bastard girl and the Eyrie is home. It’s boring and depressing there because Lysa keeps a small household and doesn’t allow guests too often. Her only friend is her cousin Robert AKA Robin and he’s not much fun. She also keeps getting leered at by the singer Marillion. Lysa has the hots for Marillion so she’s pretty annoyed and jealous about that. Littlefinger is also constantly away meeting with the lords of the Vale and so Lysa is sexually frustrated and lonely. Things are politically unstable in the Vale right now. They don’t like that LF is now Lord Protector of the Vale and the Royces are mad that Lysa didn’t back Robb.
Sansa gets out of bed, opens the shutters and sees that it is snowing. The snow reminds her of home and how happy she used to be. She goes outside to further reminisce and starts building a snow castle. As she works, the castle starts turning into Winterfell.
She’s at it for so long that everyone comes and goes from the balcony to watch her. She is trying and failing to build the bridges when LF lurks up behind her to suggest that she packs the snow around a stick. He asks her if he can come into her castle.
He walks around the castle and says he always pictured it as perpetually cold and dark. She told him that no, there are hot springs that pipe water through the walls so it’s always warm. The presence of hot springs makes me think of seismic activity and that makes me wonder if there’s a dragonglass stash down in the crypts somewhere.
Littlefinger continues to help Sansa and act like a dirty old man. Until finally he kisses her. Luckily, the child molestation is broken up by Robert who runs outside to look at the snow castle. He’s carrying a stuffed doll and proclaims the doll to be a giant come to destroy the castle. He swings the doll around and knocks down the castle. Sansa grabs the doll and it rips apart. Robert throws a tantrum, the tantrum turns to a seizure and he flails on the castle and breaks the whole thing.
The maester, Colemon comes along to take him to be leached, because they think it’s bad blood making him angry. Robert is ranting about how much he hates Sansa. Sansa puts the doll’s head on a stick and pushes down on the ruins of snow Winterfell and returns to her bedchamber to wonder if Lysa will kick her out.
Later in the afternoon, Lysa finally sends Marillion to fetch her. Rumor has it that Marillion has sexually harassed all the maids in Eyrie but Lysa doesn’t give a shit. Sansa tries to go to the High Hall without Marillion, but he insists that Lysa wants him to bring her.
Once in the hall, Lysa wastes no time in informing her that she saw the kiss. Sansa tried to protest that he’s the one who kissed her, but she doesn’t believe her. She starts ranting about how Catelyn used to tease him and how Cat and Sansa are both trying to entice Petyr. She reveals that she lost her virginity to him but he was drunk and called her “Cat” Ouch. It turns out that Lysa was married off to an old man like Jon Arryn because he was willing to take her even though she was all soiled.
Lysa drags Sansa over to the moon door. Lysa is shoving her towards the opening when Littlefinger interrupts. Lysa is distracted enough for Sansa to break free from her grip. LF tries to calm her down, but she keeps ranting. Then comes the big reveal. That on Littlefinger’s request, Lysa was the one who poisoned Jon Arryn. That’s right. All along, it was Lysa. Not Cersei. The whole war was basically started by Littlefinger’s scheming. He was also the one who told Lysa to send Cat that letter blaming the Lannisters.
Littlefinger finally soothes her and convinces her to let Sansa go. He takes her in his arms, says he’s only ever loved one woman “Only Cat” and pushes Lysa out the moon door!
Then he calls the guards in and blames it all on Marillion.
There’s an epilogue? This should be good…
The narrator of this chapter is Merrett Frey. One of Walder Frey’s many sons. He’s an alcoholic due to an old head injury fighting outlaws that gives him crippling headaches he must self medicate. That’s about his only distinction. The Brotherhood Without Banners is holding another Frey, named Petyr for ransom and Merrett is bringing the money to meet them. Did the BWB insist that he go alone? Because it really seems like a bad idea.
Merrett is paranoid the whole way to Oldstones, where the exchange is to happen. Merrett reflects on how as much of an asshole as Walder is, things could get a whole lot worse when he dies and the family starts infighting over the inheritance. Merrett whines for some time about his lifelong bad long. I won’t recount it all because who cares if a Frey is miserable? I’ll say he leaves Jon’s emoing in the dust by a lot though!
Finally he gets to the ruins of Oldstones. At first he sees no outlaws, but he hears music inside the tree covered ruins and goes to investigate. He finds a singer with a harp. It’s Tom O’Sevens. Then he hears a voice behind him asking if he brought the gold. He turns around to find that he’s surrounded. All of them men except one woman who is so bundled up that he can’t see her face. They take the gold and tell him that Petyr is in the Godswood. They lead him away.
They get to the Godswood and there Petyr Pimple is hung dead. Then the BWB put a noose around Merrett’s neck too. They tell him if he answers one question, they’ll let him go. They ask him if he’s seen the Hound and the skinny child he was with (Arya) but of course, he cannot answer. Merrett starts begging and that’s when the outlaws make it clear that they’re doing this in retribution for the Red Wedding. In desperation he says that he didn’t plan the RW, and they have no witnesses to prove his responsibility in it. That’s when Tom says that isn’t true and calls the woman forward.
The woman takes off her hood and it’s
wait for it
wait for it
wait for it
Catelyn fucking Stark! Well, the zombie version anyway. Her skin is waterlogged and her face is cut up and her hair is white. She can’t speak because her throat is too severed, but she nods to indicated that Merrett was at the RW and the BWB hang him. Too bad so sad.
Deaths in this recap: 3. Lysa, Petyr Pimple, Merrett Frey
Cumulative deaths: 152
Maybe deaths in this recap: 0
Cumulative maybe deaths: 13
Betrayals in this recap: 2. Littlefinger kills Lysa. The reveal that Lysa killed Jon Arryn and lied to Cat about it, starting the war.
Cumulative betrayals: 41
Incest incidents: 0
Cumulative incests: 28