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The Unwanted Hand Job

Book I am Reading:  A Feast for Crows

Booze in my Flagon:  Pinot Grigot

Chapters:  Arya I, Cersei II

 

Arya I

Arya is approaching Braavos on The Titan’s Daughter.  She had tried to get the ship’s captain to take her to the Wall so she could reunite with Jon, but the Titan’s Daughter is not an Uber, so no such luck.  She consoles herself thinking that maybe because Syrio was from Braavos, it might not be so bad, and besides, who needs friends when she has Needle?  Thinking of a weapon as your best friend?  Healthy, normal attitude.

The ship’s crew calls her Salty because she came aboard at the Saltpans.

That’s a relatable nickname to me, sorry to say.

The ship approaches the Titan of Braavos statue.  Arya remembers the Old Nan stories about how the Titan likes to eat highborn girls.  Arya figures that Old Nan is dead, along with her whole family and is all, shrug “valar morgulis.”  I know Arya is everyone’s favorite, and she’s one of my favorites too.  But, damn.  Girl’s got issues.

Arya ask’s the captain’s son Denyo if the Titan is the God of Braavos.  Hey, that reminds me, we’re getting the Greekish mythology all mixed in with the British/Irish mythology again.  Oh well.  The captain’s son tells her that all gods are honored in Braavos.  It’s a modern (by this universe’s standards) and progressive city that’s got the melting pot ethos.

Arya starts thinking about the Old Gods and how they’re dead along with her family.  She thinks that Ned’s “the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives” line is wrong because the lone wolf (Arya) is alive when all her pack is slain and skinned.  Again, issues.  I feel like people brush this off a lot because Arya is also a badass.  But it’s really sad that a young kid is like this.

Denyo mentions the Many-Faced God and it’s totally casual and not foreshadowing anything.

They finally go between the Titan’s legs (no comment) and the statue is huge.   It’s straddling a mountain, has space in its face for soldiers to go and shoot arrows out of and it actually roars when they pass.  Arya tries to convince herself that she’s not scared.  They pass the Titan and get to the Arsenal.  Braavos is a big naval power and can summon up a fleet to go to war in a day.  Two ships have to clear the Titan’s Daughter to continue on.  Braavos pretty much puts anything in Westeros to shame.  They don’t even need walls because their Naval fleet is so tough.

The city itself is a series of islands connected by bridges.  There’s no trees.  The whole city is made of stone and very densely populated.  They pass by a mass of temples dedicated to every conceivable god.  Including a red temple of R’hllor that reminds her of Thoros and Lord Beric.  She wonders if its priests have resurrection powers too.

Arya is unceremoniously dropped off at a temple with a half weirwood, half ebony door.

The doors have moon faces on them and Arya thinks that they’re watching her.  Arya tries to get in, even yelling that Jaqen sent her.  But nothing happens.  The door is locked.  Until she says “valar morghulis” and then the door opens.  Because there are no horror movies in Westeros to teach her that entering might be a bad idea, Arya enters the temple.

The temple is dark and cavernous with lots of creepy statues.  In the middle of the temple is a pool.  She sees a man drink a cup of water from it.  He gets gravely ill much instantly.  She notices that there’s a whole bunch of old people similarly dying from the waters.  A creepy girl sneaks up and grabs Arya.   Arya asks if she knows the common tongue and a man sidles up and says “I do.”  Lots of silders in the House of the Many-Faced God

The man is gentle and kind, but undeniably creepy.  He denies knowing Jaqen H’ghar, which is a disappointment to Arya.  She presents the iron coin.  He asks her name and she gives him all the fake ones.  He can tell when she’s lying and she finally gives him her real name.  He tells her that the House of Black and White is no place for Arya of House Stark.  She tells him she has nowhere else to go.  He asks if she fears death and she tells him no.  He lowers his hood to reveal a rotted corpse with maggots in the eyesockets.  He asks her to give him a kiss.

Um…  Stranger danger!

But Arya is not afraid.  She kisses him and tries to eat the maggot.  But it melts away and the skeleton turns into a kindly old man.  He asks Arya if she’s hungry and she thinks “yes, but not for food.”

Oh, shit.

 

Cersei II

It’s chilly and raining in King’s Landing on the day of Tywin’s funeral.  Tommen wants to ride to the Great Sept on horseback and throw pennies at the smallfolk, but Cersei doesn’t want him showing up all bedraggled.  Cersei is annoyed at having to wear black because she doesn’t look that hot in it.  In the litter, Tommen pulls the curtain back and comments that Lady Jocelyn Swyft says that the rain means the Gods are weeping for Tywin.  Cersei tells him that that’s stupid and orders him to shut the curtains.  He obeys and she’s troubled that he’s not a spoiled and defiant brat like Joffrey.  She tells Tommen to sit up straight.

The procession doesn’t get that big an audience.  Because Tywin was a big asshole and nobody liked him.  There aren’t many mourners, but Cersei thinks more will turn up to the later services that are open to all.  She’s annoyed by the funeral rituals.  She wants to get right down to ruling over KL and securing the realm for herself Tommen.

The new High Septon is super old and decrepit.  He smiles at Cersei and she’s all paranoid and thinks it’s a threatening smile.  Cersei still hates her mourning clothes and fantasizes about all the fierce fashions she’ll wear to celebrate Tyrion’s death.  She sent word out that she’ll elevate anyone who brings her his head to lordship.  So she thinks that even abroad is not far enough for him to run.

Speaking of fashion, Jaime is guarding Tywin’s corpse and she’s mad that he’s wearing his Kingsguard whites instead of gold and crimson of the Lannister.  Yeah.  White after Patricide Day.  Total faux pas.

When Cersei and Tommen get to the body, Tommen gets all weepy.  Of course, Cersei is mad about this.  A kid crying over his grandfather’s murder.  Totally not a dysfunctional family.

Speaking of fashion.  Again.  Tywin is all fancied up in some fabulous armor for his internment.  However, his mouth is slightly turned up and this makes Cersei mad too.  She blames Pycelle, thinking that he’s as useless as nipples on a breastplate.  A phrase we’ll see a lot in the coming chapters.  I think GRRM must like the word nipples.

Cersei remembers fondly how Tywin could scare people with his gaze and vows to give scary looks to people in his memory.  Aww.  How sweet.  Then she thinks about how even though Tywin was great, she’s even greater and a thousand years from now he’ll only be remembered as Queen Cersei’s Sire.  Aww?

Also, Tywin’s corpse is starting to really stink.

The funeral is starting to drag.  Lancel is there, and he looks like shit.  He’s too marry a Frey girl at some point.  She thinks contemptuous thoughts about all the other highborn mourners too.  Including of course, the Tyrells.

After the service, one of the people that approaches is Lady Falyse Stokeworth.  She asks if Lolly can name the child that is on the way from that gang rape incident back in the King’s Landing riots Tywin if it’s a boy.  Cersei smacks that idea down and now Falyse is on her bad side.  That’s probably not going to be such a good thing for her.

When Cersei subjects herself to the horror of  the Tyrells, she finds herself getting a girlcrush on the sultry Lady Taena Merryweather, who is originally from Myr and promised that she sent word to the Free Cities to bring back Tyrion’s head.  She thinks that Taena smells like sin.  Did I wander into an old Skinemax flick?

Guess not.  Mace Tyrell lumbers up to hint around at wanting the Hand (of the king) Job.  I’ll never stop laughing at the Hand Job joke.  Anyway, Cersei is again mad.  Mace’s uncle Garth the Gross – so named because he farts a lot, my kinda guy – wants to be the new Master of Coin now that Littlefinger is MIA.  She feels that the Tyrells are trying to take over the realm.  For once, she’s right.

Cersei tells him to fuck off because her perpetually coughing (lung cancer?  TB?) ally Gyles Rosby will be Master of Coin.  Olenna Tyrell comes up and makes snide remarks about how Tywin is stinking up the joint as bad as Garth would.  Cersei thinks about how she’s going to have QOT killed.

When Cersei gets back to the Red Keep, Qyburn immediately wants an audience with her.  The cell of Rugen, the Gaoler who it’s heavily implied was Varys in disguise had a coin hidden with the old sigil of house Gardener on it.  The Gardeners were the ruling family of Highgarden before Aegon’s conquest.  This increases Cersei’s paranoia.  He also tells her that Gregor Clegane is still alive.   Poisoned with manticore venom that was on the tip of Oberyn’s spear.  Usually the venom kills right away, but the Mountain is dying slowly and Qyburn thinks there might be sorcery involved.  Cersei wants to have him killed.  Not for the mercy, but because his screams keep her and Tommen up at night.  But Qyburn convinces her to let him take him to the dungeons to experiment on him.  It turns out that this kind of thing is why the Citadel took away his Maester’s chain.

Later, Kevan Lannister meets with Cersei for dinner.  Kevan is the only one who actually liked Tywin, so he’s pretty depressed.  Too depressed to drink wine.  Cersei can’t relate and neither can I.  Shouldn’t grief make you want more wine, not less?

Cersei tries to get Kevan to take the Hand Job (hehe) but he will not.  He suggest she give the Hand Job (teehee) to Mace instead to avoid making the Tyrells an enemy.  But Kevan says he’ll only take the Hand Job (haha) if he can be regent and Cersei goes back to Casterly Rock and finds a new husband.  You can imagine her reaction.

She throws her wine in his face.  Party foul.

Kevan tells her she’d better not make a foe with him and hints that he knows that Tommen is really Jaime’s incest spawn.  So.  Everyone hates Cersei and she hates them.

 

Deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative deaths: 157

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  13

Betrayals in this recap: 1.  Kevan refusing a Hand Job and threatening Cersei.

Cumulative betrayals: 44

Incest incidents: 0

Cumulative incests: 30

Poop and Corn

Books I am reading:  A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons

Booze in my flagon:  Pinot Noir

Chapters:  Samwell I, Jon II

 

Samwell I

Sam’s been hanging out in the dusty basement all addicted to reading about the Others/White Walkers.  Hey, me too!  Except it’s a cat hair filled bedroom instead of dusty basement.  Sam sees a mouse and considers killing it with a big tome called Annals of the Black Centaur.  Is it just me, or does that sound like a porn?  Also, since when were centaurs among the mythical creatures of Westeros?  I always thought the supernatural parts of ASOIAF were based on British and Irish mythology, not Greek.  But, whatever.  The book is really more of an exhaustive account of one of the Lord Commander’s bowel movements.  So, a really fucked up porn, then?

Anyway, Sam drops the scat porn book and the mouse runs away.

Sam finally emerges from the basement cells where all the old books are and is uneasy to discover that it looks like it’s going to snow.  Tell me about it.  I still have PTSD from all the snow this winter, and there wasn’t even any White Walker apocalypse that went with it.  He remembers the events of the Fist of First Men but feels comforted by the presence of Stannis and his men for some reason.  Sam thinks about dragons flying to the Wall.  Yeah, me too.

Sam’s dragon fantasy is interrupted by Dolorous Edd.  He tells him that Jon wants to see him in the principal’s Lord Commander’s office.  Also, Pyp and Grenn join them to homoerotically bicker.  Speaking of, Sam thinks about how the trials and tribulations of life in the Nightswatch have turned Grenn into a buff hottie.  He’s like Chris Pratt, but without the creepy religious right stealth Trump supporting shit.  After the gang try to cover their homoeroticism (is that a word?) by engaging in some locker room talk about Val, Sam finally heads over to see Jon.  He runs into Gilly, who is super perturbed.  He asks how the babies are, as she is wet nursing Dalla and Mance’s baby.  She lets him know that Dalla’s son cries all the time but Gilly’s son is a silent block of nothing.  This is totally not a relevant detail.  Promise.

Sam walks into Jon’s solar and Mormont’s raven is perched on his shoulder.  As soon as the raven sees Sam, it cries “Corn, corn!”  Is this fucking raven being sponsored by the ethanol lobby or something?  Thing is obsessed with corn.  Sam hands the raven corn and it snatches it up so fast, he breaks skin.  Sam almost faints because of this.  Damn.  My cat scratches me during play all the time.  It’s not that big of a deal.  Jon is out of fucks to give and tells him to wear thicker gloves next time.

The guys talk a bit of politics.  They worry that Tywin will punish the NW for housing Stannis.  They sent out ravens asking for various lords in the North to join Stannis that have been ignored.  Except for the Karstarks, who have pledged for Stannis.

Sam asks Jon why Gilly was upset.  He says it’s because she was pleading for Mance’s life on behalf of Val.  To no avail because Stannis is determined to execute him for his attempted attack on the realm.  There’s a rumor going around that Melisandre wants to burn him because a king’s blood can raise a dragon.  Because what can go wrong with dragons?

The raven helpfully screams “blood!”  Nope.  Not ominous at all.

Jon tells Sam that he’s sending Gilly away.  Sam pretends not to care and changes the subject to tell Jon that he’s not even the youngest Lord Commander, but the fifth youngest.  Jon is still out of fucks to give and asks for more useful info.  Something about the Others.

Sam keeps saying “annals” and that cracks me up because I possess the maturity of Beavis and Butthead.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much there.  The First Men didn’t write, they only had runes. so the books are mostly post Andal invasion.  Long after the Long Night was beaten back.  He did discover that the Children of the Forest used to give the NW a hundred dragonglass daggers per year.  He also found that either the cold brings the Others, or the Others bring the cold.  Which we already knew.  There’s mention of ice spiders.   Those were a no show in the show, but part of me hopes we’ll see those in the books.  The books also suggest that they might be killed with Valyrian steel.  Nothing about where they come from or what they want though.  Sam wants more time to read up.  But that’s when Jon drops the bomb on him that he’s to leave with Gilly.  They are to go to Oldtown and bring Maester Aemon with them.  Jon is concerned that Stannis and Melisandre will figure out that Aemon is a Targaryen and try to burn him.

Yikes.

Sam doesn’t want to go, even though he’s horny for Gilly and should welcome all that alone time with her.  Jon is adamant though.  Because he wants Sam to become a Maester and use his Maestering skills to aid them in the battle against the White Walkers.  Presumably, Jon has seen too many 80’s training montages and thinks that Maester training is a lot faster and easier than it is.

Sam is freaked out and has a flashback to his father, Randyll chaining him by the neck and leaving him in the dungeon for three days to scare him out of wanting to wear a Maester’s chain.  Wow.  I hope the burning alive by Dany is book canon as well, because Randyll Tarly is a real abusive asshole.

Sam tries to whine and cry his way out of going.  I’m not sure why.  I’d want to be as far away from the Army of the Dead as possible.  But Jon has changed since becoming LC.  He’s no longer Sam’s BFF.  He’s his boss.  And he won’t hear any complaints.  It’s an order.  He also gives Sam a nice pep talk though.  He orders himself not to call himself a craven anymore because he’s a badass who face White Walkers.  Mormont’s raven says “Obey” and that pretty much seals the deal.

Early the next morning, they leave.  Gilly is still extremely upset.  She commands Jon not to name Dalla’s baby yet, as it’s bad luck.  She also gets super mad when he calls her “lady.”  Jon tells Sam he has more courage than he knows and tells him to pull up his hood.  Awww.

 

Jon II

This is kind of the same chapter as the last Sam one, but from Jon’s perspective.  This is the only time that the books really do this, so it must be important, right?  Or maybe, because they were taking place in two different books, GRRM was just trying to ground the readers in a timeline.  I dunno.

I’m sure we’ll all be shocked to learn that Jon is emoing again.  We pick up the story at the point in which Gilly has arrived to Jon’s solar.  She’s all timid and cute.  He tells Gilly that he something hard to tell her.  Gilly pleads on Mance’s behalf, thinking this is what it’s about.  Jon reminds her that Mance swore to protect the realm and violated that oath, therefore he is subject to execution.  Imagine if in the real world, we killed all politicians who broke a promise.

Jon tells her that he’s actually talking about Mance and Dalla’s son, who is at risk of being burned for his king’s blood.  Gilly begs mercy for the baby because he’s innocent.  This is when Jon breaks it to her that she’s the only one can save him.  By taking the baby away south.  So, that’d be why Gilly is so upset.  She has to leave her own baby behind and pretend that the other baby is hers.

Jon feels all bad and emoish about this, but keeps reminding himself that he has to be strong and Lord Commandery now.  He is resolved.  Jon assures her that Gilly’s baby will grow up nicely.  You know, among rapists and thieves and under the threat of a zombie apocalypse.

Jon sends Gilly away and looks at Ghost, who is hanging out gnawing on a bone.  Aww.  Just like my dog.

Now Sam is there and it’s word for word the same dialogue as the previous chapter.  Except Jon keeps fat shaming Sam in his mind.  I really do think GRRM has some internalized fatphobia going on.

After Sam leaves, Jon thinks about the talk he had with Maester Aemon earlier.  He gave Jon the same advice that he gave to his brother, (a previous) Aegon “Egg” Targaryen.  That was to “kill the boy and let the man be born.”  One of my favorite quotes from this story.  It’s so poignant.  In a lot of ways, you really do have to kill the child in you, force it away, to survive as an adult.  And it’s sad, but necessary.

Oh, wait.  That was a bit too serious for this blog, wasn’t it.

That’ll fix that.

Anyway, Jon makes his rounds about Castle Black and finds out that two of Stannis’ best men, allies of Melisandre, Ser Richard Horpe and Ser Justin Massey were spied riding south.  They claimed it was a scouting mission, but because they’re high up in the ranks, that smells like bullshit to Jon.  He suspects that they’re going out to try and find allies.

Jon has dreams that night.  Not the usual wolf warging dreams.  But a dream that he rips the heads of Gilly and Dalla and Mance’s babies and sews them on each other’s bodies.  It’s a grim reminder of what happened to Robb and Grey Wind.

Jon wakes up to Edd looming over him.  What an alarm clock.  Actually, a sarcastic dude looming over might be preferable to the annoying beeping of my alarm.  Jon thinks about his breakfast smells dull compared to the richer smells when he’s warging dreaming.  Jon goes out and has the same goodbye scene from the Sam chapter.

When they leave, Jon angsts about how there isn’t enough men in the Nightswatch to defeat the coming Long Night 2.0.

Jon meets with a NW man nicknamed Giant and tells him he’s to head up a new garrison on the previously abandoned Icemark.  I can’t remember if this was mentioned before, but Jon’s plan is to man all the currently abandoned NW posts along the Wall.  Icemark and Greyguard will be the first two to be manned.  He intends to send Janos Slynt to Greyguard.

Later in the day, Slynt finally shows up as Jon had ordered.  He’s all pissy about it.  Jon is trying not to hate him, but can’t help but remember the time that Slynt was involved in Ned’s death.

However, Janos Slynt has no desire to rebuild and watch over a busted ass NW outpost and defies him.  His meaty jowls quiver at the prospect.  Yes, that’s what the book actually says.  I’m not editorializing.  He was the commander of the Goldcloaks, damnit!  Slynt refuses and kicks a chair over on his way out.  Because maturity and status.

Jon hopes that Slynt will come to his senses in the morning and obey in the morning.  But he does not.  He instead hangs out breakfasting with Alliser Thorne.  Jon warns him that he’s going to count to three and this time Slynt had better obey his orders.  Slynt tells him to stick the order “up your bastard’s arse.”  Alliser Thorne smirks.

Jon orders Iron Emmett to go hang Janos Slynt.  Slynt, as you may recall from ACOK is not as tough as he talks and is pretty scared shitless.  As Emmett and Edd carry him away, Slynt rants about all his friends in King’s Landing and how Jon is the son of a traitor and is a bastard and blah, blah, blah.

They’re about to hang him when Jon thinks, this is wrong and tells him to stop.  No.  Jon did not decide that capital punishment should be abolished.  Instead, he says “Edd, fetch me a block.”  Like uncle father, like nephew son.  Jon passed the sentence, he will swing the sword.  Unlike Robb and Theon’s beheading fails, Jon uses Longclaw and gets the head off the very first time.

Stannis was watching from the King’s Tower and gives a nod of approval.  Because of course.

 

Deaths in this recap: 1, Janos Slynt.  Good riddance.

Cumulative deaths: 157

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  13

Betrayals in this recap: 0

Cumulative betrayals: 43

Incest incidents: 0

Cumulative incests: 30

Tyrion Walker or Karen Lannister?

Books I am reading:  A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons

Booze in my flagon:  Pinot Grigot

Chapters:  Jon I, Bran I, Tyrion II

 

Jon I

So, this really seems more like a Ghost chapter.  Ghost is running through the woods.  The moon murmured “snow.”  Huh?  Remember those three wolf moon shirts?  Don’t do a Google image search for that.  Or you might see tank top with three Donald Trumps howling at the moon.  I think that shit’s going to feature in my nightmares tonight.

Anyway, Ghost can commune with the other Stark direwolf.  He sees Shaggydog ripping up a goat with a long horn.  So, a unicorn?  Kinda?  Nymeria is with her pack of regular wolves.  Summer, he can’t sense anymore.

The moon keeps saying “snow.”  All I can think is that it’s the moon version of this

Yikes.  The cries of “snow” fade into real life and Jon, who apparently had been warging wakes up to Mormont’s raven sitting on his chest and screaming “snow” in his face.  That’s every bit as creepy as the Teletubbies sun/baby.  Then Dolorous Edd comes in to ask him to breakfast, but now that Jon is Lord Commander his angst became too important to allow him time to eat.  He reports that some more wildlings have come to surrender.  A bunch have been held captive in the wake of the war and more are turning themselves again rather than try to survive beyond the wall anymore.

Jon is concerned because he heard a Queen’s man (AKA a Melisandre devotee) mutter about how burning two kings will wake the dragon.  Presumably this is referring to an actual dragon, rather than just Viserys coming back to life to be abusive.  Jon is scared that Mel will try to burn Mance Rayder’s newborn son.  Oh, and Mormont’s raven at his face when he died.  Again, I say yikes.

Jon thinks about how Stannis is an annoying asshole of a guest.  Do I smell a wacky sitcom plot coming?  Maybe they can draw a chalk line down the middle of Castle Black and have lots of mishaps when they discover that staying on their own side of the castle presents some logistical challenges.

Jon walks through the yard and some oafish knight named Ser Godry Farring wants to spar with Jon.  When Jon turns him down, Godry makes a big show about how Jon must be too scared.  Jon turns his back to him and thinks about what a piece of shit Castle Black is now.  Much of it is ruins after the battle.  Better hope the White Walkers don’t get past the wall!

Jon gets to the king’s tower to see Stannis and he runs into Sam.  Sam had been delivering a letter.  Stannis has been asking for northern houses to join him and he keeps getting turned down.  Jon enters Stannis’ chamber and Melisandre is there.  Stannis frowns and asks who Lyanna Mormont is.

That about sums up her response to Stannis’ request for fealty.  Well, she said “Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is STARK.”  Which doesn’t foreshadow anything at all.  No sirree.  Stannis is super pissed off that a little girl sassed him.  This also doesn’t foreshadow how men act on Twitter.  Not in the slightest.

Arnolf Karstark is the only one who has agreed to join Stannis.  Jon lets him know in the nicest possible way that the Northern lords don’t really know him and probably fear is just another doomed pretender.  Mel proclaims that if Stannis is doomed, so is the realm.  Sure, Jan.

Stannis wants to marry Wyman Manderly to Mance’s sister in law, Val in hopes of securing Manderly money and wilding loyalty.  But this is a crap plan, as Val is not a wildling princess (they don’t have royalty) and she’d probably kill any husband she is married to non-consensually.  We also get some more internalized fatphobia as we are reminded that people call Wyman “Ser too fat to sit a horse.”

Stannis is also pissed that Jon still won’t ditch the Nightswatch to become Lord of Winterfall.  Jon brushes him off by pointing out that it should go to Sansa and reveals that he plans to send Gilly, who is acting as wet nurse to Mance’s baby away.  They squabble some more because Jon doesn’t want to give the disused castles along the wall to Stannis to give to his man.  Stannis pretty much threatens his life and reminds him that Alliser Thorne and Janos Slynt hate him.  He kicks Jon out and Melisandre walks him out.  She tells him that he has lots of enemies and should watch his back.  She says she sees daggers in the dark.  And she also says “you know nothing, Jon Snow.”  Just in case you thought you’d seen the last of that catchphrase, nope!

 

Bran I

Bran’s getting frustrated because they have been riding with Coldhands and his elk through the north pretty much forever.  Hodor does some Hodoring but not as often as when they were south of the wall.  Jojen is suffering the most of the group, he keeps getting weaker.  Bran has been warging both Summer and Hodor a lot.  Hodor still hates it.  Summer is dying to eat the elk.  Also, a murder of ravens has been traveling with too.  Bran gets the sense that they act as scouts for Coldhands.

Coldhands is told by the ravens or maybe just senses that they are being followed by some men.  He says he’ll deal with them.  Meera wants to come with, but CH tells her to protect the boys.  He tells Meera how to find a nearby lake with an abandoned fishing village where they can seek refuge.  Meera is troubled that CH didn’t specify whether or not the men are wildlings or … something else.  Meera is generally suspicious of him.  She has noticed that he doesn’t eat, drink or get bothered by the cold.  He doesn’t sleep.  They can’t see his breath and his scar doesn’t get crusted with ice.  He’s clearly undead, but doesn’t have the blue eyes of the wights.  Bran is a little more trusting, since CH saved Sam and Gilly from the wights.

After hours searching for the village, Bran wargs Summer to find it.  He does so and leads them there.  None of the wildlings had left any food, so they have to eat gross acorn paste.  Jojen refuses to eat, even though he’s very weak.  He promises that today is not the day he dies.  Their food ran out ten days ago and they are starting to starve.  Even Summer is having a hard time finding prey.  It must be killing GRRM to not be able to write any food porn here.  They are out of the wind but still damn cold and CH has warned them not to make a fire because “you never know what the light might summon from the darkness.”

That night Bran wargs Summer.  Summer has to fight for meat against some regular wolves.  The ones from the prologue.  The meat?  It’s dead Nightwatch men.  Summer fights and defeats the wolf that Varamyr is now living in.  The pack is now Summer’s.  Bran is more upset about Summer having a new pack that isn’t the other Stark direwolves than he is about the fact that he just effectively committed cannibalism.

Bran wakes up to find that CH is back with a dead pig that he has cooked, breaking the no fire rule.  Bran works out that CH killed the NW men that the wolves had feasted on.  Bran asks who he is and why his hands are black.  CH replies that when the heart stops beating, the blood  congeals down in the extremities.  Bran accuses him of being a dead thing.  Well, duh?  He calls him a monster.  Coldhands says “your monster, Brandon Stark.”  Touching.

 

Tyrion II

Tyrion departs Pentos.  I’m sure the servingwomen at Ilyrio’s manse are thrilled to see him go.  He is sent out in a litter so that nobody sees him.  Tyrion thinks that the sea will be faster, but Ilyrio says that the sea is too treacherous due to autumn storms and pirates.  Ilyrio is accompanying him as far as the Rhoyne river where the Dornish were originally from.  Ilyrio likes to eat, so we get the food porn that was missing from the previous two northern chapters.  But?  Jellied eels?  Hard pass on that.  They also drink all day and night of course.  Tyrion is quickly becoming the Karen Walker of this story.  A rich, snarky drunk?  That fits.

Tyrion is getting impatient with the slowness of the journey.  He asks Ilyrio what his motive is for installing Dany on the iron throne.  Why does he give a flying fuck about who rules on some other continent?  Ilyrio claims it’s because he wants to do some good in the world and help a sweet young girl gain the throne.  Tyrion and all readers who are remotely paying attention know that this is BS.  Tyrion asks him to tell him about Dany.  We learn that Ilyrio was horny for her, but didn’t act on it.  We also learn that the night before her marriage to Khal Drogo, Viserys tried to sneak into Dany’s chambers to rape her but was foiled by Ilyrio having the foresight to post guards outside her room.

I can’t even.  I guess this makes the probable aunt-nephew fucking between Daenerys and Jon down the road slightly more palatable though.  The other stuff is an overview of her chapters, so we’ll skip it.

It is revealed that they are meeting up with someone called Griff to go to Volantis where the rulers, called triarchs will provide soldiers and ships.  Tyrion asks why a city that is so reliant on the slave trade would want to assist Dany.  For that matter why would Ilyrio.  Ilyrio says that it’s because Viserys promised him that he could be master of coin and take any castle.  Tyrion is not very satisfied with this response.  It still smells like bull.  We also hear how Ilyrio and Varys became friends.  Varys would spy on thiefs and take their loot.  Ilyrio would then turn around and promise their victims that he would recover their losses for a fee.  They both earned hella money this way.  This is when Varys started his habit of getting orphaned children to do his spying for him.  They started stealing secrets and this was when Mad King Aerys learned of Varys and hired him.

The next day Tyrion peeks out at the Valyrian road.  He muses about the old Valyrian freehold reached to Dragonstone but never to the mainland of Westeros, despite there being plenty of mineral wealth and such there.  I’m wondering if this has to do with the possibility of White Walker and wight infestations.  The Valyrian roads are not bricks or cobbled stones, but one long fused stretch of stone raised about the ground to let ice and rain run off.  No cracks or ruts are to be found, even centuries later.  It’s some sort of magic.  Tyrion inquires more about who Griff is.  Ilyrio says he is a Westrosi born sellsword that he trusts with his life.  He says the Golden Company, a sellsword company is headed to Volantis to join Dany.  Tyrion asks how he got the Golden Company to break their contract with Myr, and Ilyrio cryptically says that some contracts are writ in ink, some in blood.  See, the GC was founded a hundred years ago by Bittersteel, a bastard of Aegon the Unworthy, one of the Targaryen kings.  His also bastard brother Daemon had tried to lead a rebellion to seize the throne, but failed.  So Bittersteel and some other rebels fled to Essos to become sellswords.  Ilyrio points out that the Blackfyre line is done and a dragon is still a dragon, so they want to fight for Dany despite the fact that they are rooted in being anti-Targ.

That night he thinks of Tysha before he goes to sleep.  Because we needed an opportunity for his new catchphrase.  Where do whores go?

 

Deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative deaths: 156

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  13

Betrayals in this recap: 0

Cumulative betrayals: 43

Incest incidents: 1, The revelation that Viserys tried to rape Daenerys

Cumulative incests: 30

Dwarf Men’s Rights Activist

Books I am reading:  A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons

Booze in my flagon:  Leftover New Year’s champagne

Chapters:  Tyrion I, Daenerys I, Brienne I

 

Tyrion I

Tyrion is drunk.  Like, all the time.  He just pukes and drinks and drinks and pukes the whole voyage across the Narrow Sea.  Life goals!  He doesn’t know where he’s going.  Jaime and Varys just stashed him on the ship and sent him away.  The cabin boy who serves him won’t talk to him.  He thinks about Lys and the brothels and wonders if that’s where whores go.  Thus the most annoying catchphrase since Michelle Tanner’s “you got it, dude!” is born.  You see, Tyrion asked a dying Tywin where his first wife Tysha was and Tywin’s answer was “wherever whores go.”  Since Tyrion is going to be full of self pity for the foreseeable future, we’re gonna have to hear it a lot.  I mean a lot.  He thinks it a few more times.

The ship finally stops and the captain stuffs a struggling and pissing Tyrion into a wine cask.  He’s stuck in there for half an hour.  Then a big fat dude gets him out.  He’s described as having a huge white belly and a pair of heavy breasts that sagged like sacks of suet covered with coarse yellow hair.  And like a dead, rotting sea cow.  Damn!

I feel like GRRM has some internalized fat phobia he needs to work out.

In case you haven’t figured it out, the rotting sea cow man is Illyrio Mopatis.  Varys’ rich BFF.  Illyrio takes him to his mansion and has him bathed and given a fancy bedroom.  There’s a homoerotic statue of a naked teen boy poised to sword fight outside his window.  Perhaps Bryan Singer lives here too?  He figures out that he’s in Pentos and when Illyrio comes to his room to greet him, Tyrion asks where whores go.

Sigh.

Illyrio tells Tyrion there is no need for brothels because none of his servingwomen will refuse Tyrion.  It’s heavily implied that they are slaves, even though slavery is outlawed in the Free Cities.  He says this while stroking his beard prongs, because of course he does.

Tyrion wanders around the mansion and its grounds drinking and asking servants and even laundry drying on a line where whores go.  Oh.  My.  God.  I know Tyrion is popular, and I often like him too, but sometimes?  Sometimes I feel like if he lived here and now, he’d be one of those guys who wonder feminist’s Twitter threads to whine about how men are being oppressed by women turning down men for dates.  Fucking hell, dude.  Get it together.

Anyway, he passes out on a garden bench and wakes up back in bed.  A servant comes in to tell him that Illyrio is expecting him for dinner in an hour.  Predictably, he asks where whores go.  She asks him if he expects her to come visit him after dinner and when she’s visibly relieved that he says no, he’s done with women, he changes his mind, tells her to show up naked and makes threatening comments.  He’s just straight up an MRA at this point.

There’s some more fat shaming at dinner, but there’s also lots of the patented GRRM food porn, so yeah, internalized fatphobia.  There’s some mushrooms in garlic and butter that Illyrio makes him think are poisoned.  They turned out not to be, but I guess they are enough to make Tyrion realize he wants to live so he can kill Jaime and Cersei.   Illyrio gives him a Westrosi news roundup and finally gets to the point.  Which is that he’s sending Tyrion to join the cause of a certain dragon.  The name of this dragon is not mentioned, which is maybe a bit suspicious, huh?

 

Daenerys I

Hey, speaking of dragons!  Daenerys has started her rule in Meereen and things are not going smoothly.  Barristan Selmy and Grey Worm bring her the corpse of a man.  He has been killed by a pro-slaver group called Sons of the Harpy.  I wonder if MAGAs are reading these books or watching GoT to root for them?   The victim is an Unsullied named Stalwart Shield who had been visiting a brothel in order to get some cuddles because he’s a eunuch and that’s the only way he’ll get any love and affection.  Dany has to hold back tears, and so do I.

Dany sends her Unsullied off to ask around and try to figure out who did this.  Barristan notes that they will not be well suited to intelligence gathering, but there isn’t really anyone any better.

She goes out to the terrace and Viserion is there, napping.  She notes that they’re growing larger and more wild.

Dany has her servants dress her in a tokar, which is kind of like an elaborate toga, so she can receive her subjects.  She had wanted to ban this garment, as it’s the garment of the slavers, but her advisers convinced her to wear it in order to blend in.  She thinks about how if her nephew Aegon had lived, she might have married him.  Ew!

Two of her advisers, Reznak and Skahaz greet her.  Skahaz shaved his head to symbolize that he was casting off the old ways.  Like Robin Tunney in Empire Records.  Or any other angsty movie teen who angstily cuts off all her hair.  Lots of Skahaz’s buddies did the same and they are called Shavepates.  He wants her to kill members of slaver houses every time the Sons of the Harpy kill someone.  Reznak disagrees.  She takes Reznak’s side and has him up the reward money.

The great hall is full of people.  An Astapori lord name Ghael who has rotten brown teeth present her with some slippers from King Cleon.  This is meant to entice her to marrying Cleon.  It does not.  Next the merchant Hizdahr comes to try and talk her into opening the fighting pits, which he now owns.   This is the sixth visit he’s made. They would help the city’s economy, but she has a moral issue with poor folk being made to fight to the death.  She turns him down.  Another former slaver Grazdan, has come to try and get money from the weavers that used to be his slaves.  The excuse being that they learned to weave under him, so he should get a profit from anything they sell.  She orders him to give them a new loom.

Now I’m tired of summarizing this.  Suffice to say, Meereen has turned into a real shitshow ever since she came along to disrupt their economy.

I know it seems like I’m hating on ADWD.  I don’t hate it.  A lot of it is great.  But these early Dany and Tyrion chapters are quite a fucking slog.

Anyway, Dany has to pay money to people who have lost livestock to the dragons and the Meereenese kind of hate her now.  Also, the last guy she receives presents her with the bones of a child that Drogon presumably ate.

 

Brienne I

Off topic but, I just started playing No Maker Made Me by IAMX and it matches perfectly with that dancing Batman gif.  It’s almost hypnotic.

Back on topic, Brienne is searching for Sansa and so far it’s pretty futile.  She’s stopped at Rosby, on the way to Duskendale.  Nobody has seen anything.  Brienne leaves town and rides past a campfire.  The two hedge knights Ser Creighton and Illifer the Penniless mistake her for a man.  She thinks about how all her life she is called freakish for being so big and tall.  At first the knights are nice.  They share their trout with her.  But they observe her shield, it has the bats of the extinct house Lothston, formerly of Harrenhal on it.  They work out from her size and cast off shield that she is the one accused of killing Renly.  She denies that she killed him and thinks about how she’s been in love with him ever since she was an adolescent and he wasn’t all grossed out by her when visiting Tarth.  The knights believe her and allow her to camp with them.  She’s pretty relieved and happy when she wakes up and realizes that there are some decent men who don’t try to rape sleeping women.  Relatable.

The knights invite themselves to travel with her.  Along the way, they encounter a group of begging brothers and some followers.  They are obnoxiously religious, call themselves sparrows and call the knights false for not wanting to escort them to King’s Landing for free.

Later on, they encounter yet another party.  A merchant, some servants, and a hedge knight name Ser Shadrich.  Shadrich is small and has a Napoleon complex so he makes fun of Brienne’s size, but she gives it right back to him.  He says they call him the Mad Mouse because he likes to pick fights despite his puny size.  He deduces that the blue eyed, auburn haired maid she is seeking is Sansa and announces his intentions to find her so he can collect ransom.

The party stops at an inn for the night.  After everyone is asleep, Brienne ditches the party and rides off into the darkness.

 

Deaths in this recap: 1, Stalwart Shield

Cumulative deaths: 156

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  13

Betrayals in this recap: 0

Cumulative betrayals: 43

Incest incidents: 1, Dany thinking about marrying her nephew

Cumulative incests: 29

Gay Miners and a Hand Job

Book I am reading:  A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons

Booze in my flagon:  Hard cider

Chapters:  The Prophet, Captain of Guards, Cersei I

 

Well, I fell prey to HBO’s marketing campaign and have been watching GoT all day in anticipation of the new season.  So I thought it’d be a good time to resurrect this blog once more.

Some new POV characters are coming into the mix.  So, get ready to party.

 

AFFC The Prophet

The prophet AKA Aeron “Damphair” Greyjoy is drowning men on Great Wyk.  As one does.  Three other men cheerfully let it happen, but the fourth one, named Emmond is too unmasculine to bro it up with the other religious dudes and struggles.  Aemon and some of his minions, called ‘drowned men’ hold him underwater until he stops struggling.  Some other Iron Islanders ride up on horses.  Aeron emerges from the water all naked but for a sealskin wang covering.  To complete the cult leader on an desert island look, he has waist length hair and a long beard with seaweed woven into both.  The drowned men pray around Emmond while Aeron does mouth to mouth and Emmond comes back to life.  This means Emmond can join the cult and all the drowned men give a punch and a kiss to welcome him to the brotherhood.  Everything about the Iron Islands is just the epitome of toxic masculinity, huh?

Having completed the fraternity hazing, Aemon finally greets the riders by asking them if they came to be drowned.  Damn, dude.  Not to kink shame or anything, but give it a rest.  Isn’t four drownings in a day enough?  Two of the riders, Sparr and his son, Steffarion claim to have already been drowned, but Aeron is quite sure it’s not a real masculine type drowning, but just a tip in a tub.  No wonder the Islands have been conquered.  Millenials ruin everything.

The third rider, Gormond Goodbrother is there to insist that Aeron be brought to the residence of his father, Lord Gorold, as there is some important news from a maester’s raven.  Aeron doesn’t want to leave his frat bros, so he makes them tell him the news now.  So they tell him, the king is dead.   Aren’t they all?  Readers of ASOS may be asking.

The king they speak of is Balon Greyjoy, brother of Aeron.  They tell him that he fell off the bridge connecting the different keeps at Pyke and got smashed on the rocks.  Aeron thinks that the Storm God, who is the Satan of the Iron Islands religion stuck down Balon for being too awesome and Making the Iron Islands Great Again.  This kind of contradicts Aeron’s earlier grumpiness over how not great the Islands have been lately, but oh well.  Aeron declares that Balon is now in the halls of the drowned god being serviced by mermaids.  Now we know why Ariel was so anxious to move out of the sea and on to the land.  To get away from these creepy, pervy motherfuckahs.

Aeron decides to go see Lord Gorold at his keep, Hammerhorn after all.  He takes one of the horses, even though it is an icky land beast.  Gorold has an inland keep and his smallfolk toil in mines.  Aeron thinks that they’re totally queer because they aren’t around the sea enough.  No, that’s actually what he says.  “Crabbed and queer.”  So, I Googled “gay miner” and found the best thing ever.

Eat your heart out, Chuck Tingle.

On the ride over, Aeron starts reminiscing about his brothers.  There used to be nine of them.  Now only he, Victarion, Euron are left alive.  Balon was the manliest and toughest, so, even though he was a total prick to Aeron, he is thought of only with admiration.

Aeron arrives at Hammerhorn.  It is ugly, dank, and dark.  There, Aeron learns that Euron AKA the Crow’s Eye has taken possession of the Seastone Chair and is ruling the Iron Islands.  This is probably not a good thing, as Balon had exiled him on the threat of death.  He arrived the day after Balon’s death.

Euron is expecting homage from all the nobility of the Iron Islands.  Aeron is not pleased because Euron is not, according to him, a godly man.  Balon had wanted Asha to succeed him and Garold’s maester thinks Theon should be king even though he’s missing on the mainland.  Aeron’s choice is Victarion, even though Euron is older.  The maester insists that Theon is the rightful heir and Asha is next.  Aeron yells at him for being a dumbass greenlander and storms of to have an angry pray.

Aeron dreams of his brothers.  Including a squeaking hinge, which is supposed to imply that Euron went all Josh Duggar on him.  Ick.  He also dreamed of how he used to be a cool teen partier until he got captured during the time the Iron Islands tried to rebel and got captured and thrown in the dungeons of Casterly Rock.  As many men before him did, Aeron turned into a relgious zealot in prison.

Aeron wakes up in the middle of the night, skinny dips and decides he is resolved.  It is time for a Kingsmoot.  He manipulates all his followers to call one.  A kingsmoot is where a bunch of candidates declare themselves, a lot of angry men yell at each other about it, and finally crown their king.  In other words.  It’s like a Republican primary.  Aeron is super pleased and gives himself a pat on the back.

 

AFFC The Captain of Guards

Now for a complete change of scenery, we join Areo Hotah, the bodyguard to Prince Doran Martell.  They are at the Water Gardens, which is a desert oasis resort type place. Oberyn’s bastard daughter, Obara Sand is approaching.  She’s all big and mean, so Areo is not too pleased.  She’s pissed off that Oberyn is dead and wants to yell at Doran about it.  Areo tries to stop her, but she’s out of fucks to give.  All of Dorne is so upset that all the sex workers are doing everyone for free and Doran is a big wimp and just sitting on his butt.  Areo tells himself “she shall not pass.”

Sadly, Doran ruins his Gandalf fantasy moment by saying that it’s okay if Obara comes in.  She starts complaining about Oberyn’s murder and asking what he’s going to do about it, but Doran is all gouty and eye-baggy and useless, and tells her that since he died in voluntary combat, it’s not murder.  He’s content that Tywin has promised him the Mountain’s head, but Obara wants herself and Oberyn’s other bastard daughter, Nymeria to march to war.  She wants to kill Tywin, not knowing that he’s already dead.  He tells her he’ll sleep on it and Obara pissily leaves.

Doran decides that it’s time to go back to Sunspear, where the Martell royal family lives.  He hasn’t been back there for a while.  It’s a whole big thing because he’s going to have to talk to Myrcella Lannister and deal with Arys Oakheart, the Kingsguard that was sent along to watch over her.  But on the plus side he gets to see his daughter Arianne.  Areo doesn’t like Arys and thinks they’ll fight to the death one of these days.

Doran starts talking about his dead siblings and Areo feels awkward because he’s from Norvos, over in Essos and apparently they don’t reminisce in the mysterious land of Foreign?

A blood orange falls from the tree above them and splats on the ground in front of Doran.  This is probably a foreshadowing of doom, so they decide it really is time to leave for Sunspear.  Well, after an olive and hummus platter anyway.  It wouldn’t be a GRRM book without at least a little food porn.  In fact, it’s midday the next day before they leave, because he has to hang out and eat gull’s eggs with the local children first.

About halfway to Sunspear, Nymeria Sand rides up to the party.  She’s way hotter than Obara because her mom is a Volantis noblewoman, unlike Obara’s mom who is just some random Oldtown whore.  Apparently, aritstrocratic = hot?  The Hapsburgs beg to differ…

Nymeria asks if it’s true that Oberyn poisoned the tip of his spear, meaning that Gregor Clegane is about to die painfully.  Doran is noncommittal, but Nym is pretty well convinced of the rumor’s veracity.  Nymeria says that she and their other bastard sister Tyene are not as war hyped as Obara, but they do want to kill Tywin, Cersei, Jaime and Tommen.  Doran is still disappointingly lacking in the typical Westerosi bloodlust, so Nymeria also pissily leaves, declaring she will not wait for vengeance.

The party gets to Sunspear.  It’s all dusty and gross and the smallfolk shout at them to go to war for Oberyn.  They start throwing things and the procession has to push through to get into the keep.  There they are greeted by Arianne, Myrcella, Arys, and some random Dornish lords.  Arianne informs him that Tyene is waiting for a private word in the throne room.  Tyene is all sweet and innocent looking because her mom was a septa, but Maria Von Trapp wants war too.  Only she wants to wait for the Lannisters to come there for Myrcella and Trystane’s wedding before killing them.    She wants to declare Myrcella queen of Westeros because by Dornish law, the elder child on any sex is the heir and she is older than Tommen.

Doran is all tired out and needs milk of the poppy after having to hear Sand Snakes all day.  After he gets nice and stoned, he commands Areo to arrest the Sand Snakes so that they can’t carry out their plans.  Doran doesn’t mind that his people will be mad, because he wants Tywin to know he has a loyal friend.

 

AFFC Cersei I

Welp.  It’s time to take a trip into Cersei’s mind.  That’s about as pleasant as you might expect.  She’s dreaming that she’s on the iron throne.  All the courtiers are bowing and supplicating until Tyrion starts laughing at her, and then everyone else starts laughing too.  Then she realizes she’s naked and the throne starts cutting her up.

Cersei wakes up to find that the Kingsguard are lurking about her room.  They all look freaked out.  They are there to bring the news that Tywin is dead.  She has some mixed feelings about it.  On the one hand, this is really starting to make her paranoia grow.  On the other hand, she’s pretty glad that she now has Casterly Rock and no one will make her get married.

Cersei does not weep.  She thinks of herself as the only real son Tywin ever had.  Hurrah for internalized misogyny.  Maybe she should leave Westeros and sail to America to audition for a job as a Fox News anchor.

Cersei starts thinking murderous thoughts about the moth trapped in Ser Osmund Kettleblack’s lantern.  I mean, we all probably think murderous thoughts about bugs sometimes, but oh, it gets so much worse from here.

As she walks towards Tywin’s chambers, a bunch of servants are standing around gawking and gossiping and she hates on them too.  When she gets to the tower of the hand, Kevan is there, along with Meryn Trant.  She berates everyone for leaving his corpse with the arrow in it.  She asked for Pycelle to be summoned.  They inform her that he already saw the body and sent for the silent sisters.  Cersei is all enraged that she was the last to know.  She wants a different maester and the servants bring back Qyburn.  He asks what she wants him to do with the girl.  This is the first Cersei has noticed of Shae and oh is she pissed.  Until Qyburn suggests that Tywin must have just been questioning her.  Cersei grasps on to that straw and the worst, creepiest friendship in history is born.  If any show only person chances to read this, just you wait.  You have no idea.

Cersei commands that Shae be secreted out and she threatens everyone with death if they talk about her body being found there.  Jaime emerges from the secret passage.  Cersei wants him to be hand of the king.  He refuses and snarks on her fitness to rule in Tommen’s name.  This spat causes Kevan to scold them.  This makes her think Kevan should take the hand job (teehee) because she can control him.

Cersei hates on the Tyrells and Pycelle and Varys in her head.  This causes her to wonder where Varys is.  She has Boros Blount search for him and it is discovered that he and Tyrion are missing.  Thus begins Cersei’s descent into madness.  Yay!

 

Deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative deaths: 155

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  13

Betrayals in this recap: 1.  Doran not wanting to avenge Oberyn’s death and having the Sand Snakes arrested

Cumulative betrayals: 43

Incest incidents: 0

Cumulative incests: 28

Abominable Snowman

Book I am Reading:  A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons

Booze in my flagon:  Insight Brewery’s Trollway citrus IPA at first, later pinot noir

Chapters:  AFFC prologue, ADWD prologue

 

AFFC Prologue

We open in a new location; Oldtown with a new character named Pate.  He is in an inn called The Quill and Tankard (cool name!) with a couple of other guys named Mollander, Alleras, Armen and Roone and fantasizing about running away to the Free Cities with a girl named Rosey.  Rosey is the daughter of the Q & T’s oldest serving wench, Emma.  Emma is giving away Rosey’s maidenhead for a golden dragon.

Pate doesn’t seem too bothered by the selling of a fifteen year old’s virginity but he is feeling a little sorry for himself because he doesn’t think he’ll ever save up enough money.  If Westeros had fedoras, he’d be wearing one.

The group are arguing about the existence of dragons and throwing up apples in the air and then shooting them with arrows.  I guess this is what dudebros did before first shooter video games.  Armen is an acolyte at the Citadel and the rest are novices training to be maesters.  Armen is skeptical about dragons.  Mollander seems to believe there are some in the world.  Presumably they are talking about Daenerys.

Pate has a short attention span and starts thinking about Rosey again.  Now he wants to buy a donkey and go traveling around the country with her instead.  All he wants out of life is her.  He used to only want to be a master but he sucks at his studies.

Finally Pate stops making us read about his boner and he starts thinking about some alchemist that is supposed to meet him there.  He starts feeling sorry for himself again and thinks about how he has to serve under Archmaester Walgrave who is too senile and old to grant him his ravencraft link.  Instead a master called Gormon, who once accused Pate of theft is the one with the power.  So it’s no good.

The alchemist wanted to give Pate a gold dragon to steal something from the Citadel.  Pate doesn’t want to do it, but the alchemist said he’d be there in three days.  Pate has changed his mind and is waiting for that alchemist while the other maesters in training bicker about the dragons.

A lord’s son named Lazy Leo (formerly a Tyrell) comes into the inn and starts bickering too.  He seems to be an 80’s teen movie villain type.  He does confirm that according to a mysterious Archmaester named Marwyn AKA the Mage, the rumors of dragons are true.  Leo also informs them that there’s a glass candle burning in the Mage’s chambers.

This is a Big Fucking Deal.  Glass candles are made of obsidian from Valyria and are not supposed to be able to burn.  The night before a acolyte’s say their vows to become maesters they are shut up in a room with them.  They have to stay in darkness and realize that nothing they did make the candle burn.  Leo claims that the light was different than regular candles.  It’s brighter, casts weird shadows and doesn’t flicker.

On that note, everyone leaves but Leo and Pate who is still holding out hope that the alchemist will show.  Leo taunts him about Rosey, suggesting that he will bed her instead.  As the sun is coming up, Pate finally gives up and leaves.  He has already stolen what the alchemist wants so he intends to put it back and hope nobody finds out.

He walks past the sept ringing the bells for morning and the red priests welcoming the sun.  He looks at Hightower in the distance.  It’s extremely tall and its lord, Leyton Hightower, ruler of the city has not left it in a decade.  Pate trips and falls and when he gets up, the alchemist is looming over him.  He says he didn’t want to intrude on Pate and his friends.  Pate finally reveals what his loot is, a key from a box under Archmaester Walgrave’s bed.  They go into a narrow alley like they’re doing a drug deal or something.  Pate should probably be concerned about this, but he just wants a dragon so he can bed Rosey.  The alchemist gives him the coin.  Pate asks the alchemist what he wants with the key, but he won’t tell him.  Pate asks him to show his face.  He doesn’t recognize him.  Pate asks who he is and the alchemist says “no one.”

Uh-oh.

He gives the alchemist the key and starts to walk away.  He feels the cobblestones move underneath him and falls and dies in some fashion that GRRM has decided not to share with us.  His last thought is of Rosey.

Presumably the alchemist is Jaqen H’gar?  Definitely a Faceless Man if that wasn’t clear!

 

ADWD Prologue

Meanwhile, beyond the Wall…

A warg is in his (regular, not dire) wolf sniffing stuff.  He’s feeling hateful.  He growls and calls to his packmates, a one eyed male and small female.  They can smell human flesh and they are very excited.  They track down the humans and it’s a group of two men plus one woman and a baby.  The warg/wolf can smell fear on them.  The wolves descend on the group and kill them.  They are armed with “teeth” AKA knives, but the wolves overpower them before they can use them.  The warg takes the woman and her baby.

The warg goes back to his body and it turns out to be Varamyr.  He’s in a hut.  As we recall from earlier Bran chapters, the human gets no nourishment when he eats while warging.  Varamyr feels pretty guilty about eating a woman and a baby.  He thinks of someone or something called Bump.  He thinks of his former skinchanger mentor, Haggon.  Haggon said it is an abomination for a human to eat human flesh.  As is mating with a wolf while warging (is that like when a drag queen kikis?) and the worst abomination is warging a human.  *Ahem* looking at you Bran * cough, cough*

Varamyr doesn’t give a fuck about abominations though.  He as his wolf killed and ate Haggon while he was in his second life.  He ate his heart.  Nice!   Varamyr rationalizes it by thinking the three people he and the pack killed would have died anyway.  That’s probably true.

Varamyr is trying to keep warm but the fire is dying.  He’s wounded.  A spearwife he had been traveling with had sewed it up, but the stiches burst and now he’s bleeding.  The survivors of the battle had scattered and many are already dead.  He thinks that if Mance is dead, as is rumored, the free folk are doomed.  He thinks the crows (Nightswatch, not corvids) are also doomed since the enemy is coming.

Varamyr has died nine times before while warging.  Is this a cat having nine lives reference?  He’s remember these deaths, all in different animals, the first one as a six year old at the hands of his father.  Then he notices that his fire burned out.  He tries to rekindle it to no avail and calls out to Thistle.  No answer.  She’s been gone two or three days.

He goes back to remembering his childhood.  His parents left him at a young age with Haggon, saying he should be with his own kind.  Before he gave himself the name Varamyr, he was Lump.  So Bump had to have been his twin.  The fuck kind of names are those?  I joke about naming my boobs sometimes.  Maybe I should go with Lump and Bump next time the subject comes up.

Varamyr drags himself to the door and discovers that there has been a huge snowfall.  He calls for Thistle again and hears the one eyed wolf howl in response.  He fears he’ll lose control of his wolf and the pack will get him.  He lost control of his other animals when he died inside the eagle during the battle.

Back to the trip down memory lane.  Haggon had only approved of warging dogs and wolfs.  This is not true of all skinchangers though.  He thinks that he’ll take Thistle’s body if she comes back.  He’s getting weaker and weaker.  He eats snow, but that just makes him hungrier.  He tries to walk to a different hut but his leg gives out and he lies sprawled out in the snow, bleeding out.  He thinks about how he hates Jon Snow and how he could sense that Jon is also a warg.  He remember’s how Bump died, torn apart by the dogs.  Lump/Varamyr warged one of the dogs afterwards and that’s when his father killed him while warging.  His human self screamed and that’s how he was outed as a skinchanger.

Varamyr wakes up.  Thistle is yelling at him to get up.  She says “they’re coming!”  I think we all know what she means by that.  He’s too cold and weak.  So he wargs her.  She fights him on it and it ends up looking like she’s dancing madly as the two struggle for control.  Then his consciousness is not in any body at all.  He looks down and sees that the wights have killed Thistle.  Her body looks up with the blue wight eyes.  His last thought is that she can see him.

 

Deaths in this recap: 3. Pate, Varamyr, Thistle

Cumulative deaths: 155

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  13

Betrayals in this recap: 1.  Varamyr stealing Thistle’s body

Cumulative betrayals: 42

Incest incidents: 0

Cumulative incests: 28

Cotter Lecter

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!

 

Jon XII

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.

Love him!

Jon, still stunned takes a skin of wine and goes to talk things over with Stannis.

 

Sansa VII

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.

 

Epilogue

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

tywInBS

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Pinot noir

Chapters:  Jon XI, Tyrion XI, Sam V

 

Jon XI

Jon is training Satin in the yard when Melisandre and some of the queen’s men come lurking and looming up behind him.  Jon digs redheads, so he starts getting some pants stirrings but her red eyes kind of unsettle him and that tames his boner enough for him to be able to carry on a civilized conversation.  Plus, she’s there to tell him that Stannis wants to speak to him and speaking to Stannis is the equivalent of a cold shower.  Jon has stank from sweating inside his armor so he wants to change first and they agree to meet atop the Wall.

Jon and Mel take the lift up to the Wall.  The Wall is weeping (it has ice melting off it) so either winter isn’t here just yet or Mel’s fire crotch is especially firey today.  Jon thinks about how she smells red and is kissed by fire, like Ygritte.  I guess the red eyes and creepy religious fanaticism aren’t such a boner killer after all.  He asks if she’s cold because all she’s wearing is her usual red robe.  She says she’s never cold, only death is cold and puts his hand on her cheek, asking him to feel the Lord’s fire within her.   Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

Stannis is alone and brooding at the edge of the Wall.  Of course he is.  Jon observes that Stannis’ eyes look like bottomless blue pools.  Huh.  Maybe he’s not such a cold shower.  Jon just seems to fancy everybody lately.  Or maybe I’ve just got a dirty mind.  That’s always a possibility.  Jon kneels and Stannis tells him to rise.

Stannis tells Jon that he’s heard a lot about him.  Jon gets all self deprecating and lists off all the bad things anyone has ever said about him.  Stannis asks how much of it is true and Jon is honest with.  Stannis said he believes him because he knew both Janos Slynt and Ned Stark and even though he didn’t like Ned, he knows he was honorable and Jon has a similar look.   I guess it goes without saying that Janos is total cockwomble and nobody believes anything he has to say.

Stannis keeps trying to compliment Jon on things like finding the dragonglass used to slay the White Walker and holding the Wall until his forces could get there.  But Jon is as insecure as Sam would be in a high school locker room today and he keeps deflecting the praise.  It’s almost like GRRM is trying to prove that whole axiom about how those who don’t want power are the only ones fit to have it.  Hmm…

Stannis asks Jon if any of the wildlings have any honor.  He says that Mance does but Rattleshirt does not.  He says Tormund would make a good friend and a bad enemy.  Har!  Then Stannis asks if Jon has honor and courage.  Jon wonders if Stannis wants to tell him he loves him.  Um…

Okay.  What am I, ovulating or something?  I really need to get my mind out of the gutter.  No promises though!

Anyway, Jon just awkwardly tells him that he’s a man of the Night’s Watch and Stannis says that “words are wind.”  A phrase we’ll be hearing a lot more when I get to ADWD.  Stannis said that Davos reminded him that instead of trying to win the throne to save the kingdom, he should be trying to save the kingdom to win the throne.  He says the north is where he’ll find the foe he was born to fight.  Melisandre, the champion lurker finally pipes up to say that his name may not be spoken and the shapes in the snow are his creatures.  Stannis wants Jon’s help in this war.  He says he needs the north.  Jon stammers that Robb was King in the North and Stannis says he would be alive today if he didn’t go gallivanting around the Riverlands and marrying non-Frey girls.

Wrong thing to say, Stanny boy.  Jon gets all indignant at that.  Although I have to say, Stannis has a point here.  Robb is so overrated.  Super hot in the TV show, but let’s face it, lots of blunders.

Stannis, not understanding his blunder tells Jon he wants to  make him the Lord of Winterfell.  As a king, he has the power to debastardize him.  Jon tries to pretend he doesn’t want this, but he totally does.  He’s dreamed about all his life.  Yet he swore his NW vows at a heart tree and he knows that breaking the vows means turning against his father’s gods.

Stannis not only wants to make Jon Lord of Winterfell, he wants to let the wildlings through the Wall in exchange for their loyalty to Stannis.  He thinks the living need to work together to beat Sauron, or whatever the dark lord’s name is.  He wants to wed the new Lord, Jon Stark to Val.  He calls Val a wildling princess.  That’s kind of like when white people claim to be descended from a Cherokee princess.  For all his good ideas here, he doesn’t get Wildling culture at all.  He can only see it from his own culture’s viewpoint.  Jon straight up laughs at him and says that he has a lot to learn about wildling women.  Stannis says that this marriage alliance is part of the price for making him Lord of Winterfell.  Jon wants to think on it.

 

Tyrion XI

Tyrion is in his cell getting ready to die.  Hope is lost.  So you know something is about to happen.  He hears the cell door come upon.  Surprise!  It’s Jaime.  This is their first time together since the beginning of the first book.  They joke about Jaime’s loss of his hand and Tyrion’s loss of nose.  Handless & Noseless, my new indie rock band name.

Tyrion asks Jaime if he’s there to kill him.  Jaime says the plan is to behead him on the tourney grounds tomorrow but he’s going to rescue him instead.  It turns out that Varys is his accomplice.  Varys roofied all the guards so they’d be passed out cold.  Jaime says that Varys will take him by ship to the Free Cities and see that he has enough money to live but that he should take an alias because Cersei will probably send men to look for him.

In a rare moment of sincere gratitude, Tyrion thanks him for saving his life.  Jaime says he’s paying a debt and well, say it with me

Tyrion is confused.  Jaime says that some doors are best left closed, but he wimps out and confesses after very little prodding.  It seems that Tysha, Tyrion’s first wife was never really a whore.  She was really just a crofter’s daughter and she really actually loved Tyrion.  So, she was some poor innocent girl who was gang raped by Lannister soldiers and oh by the way, this story is told to make us pity Tyrion and his sad self image and dating insecurities.   Not, you know, Tysha for being gang raped to teach someone else a lesson.  Does this count as fridging even though she didn’t die?   Am I the only one who wants Tysha to steal one of Dany’s dragons and set fire to all of Westeros in vengeance right now?

Ok.  Deep breaths.

Anyway, Tyrion is obviously pretty pissed off.  He slaps Jaime and storms off.  Well, waddles off.  The storming off is a big fail as he hits an iron gate and has to have Jaime open the door.  Tyrion asks Jaime if he can fight left handed.  Jaime says that no, he’s no Ned Flanders and Tyrion taking the keys says they might be well matched if they meet again.   Jaime then asks if he really did kill Joffrey and Tyrion gets even more into a snit.  He tells Jaime that Cersei is a lying whore who has been fucking Lancel, Osmund Kettleblack and even Moon Boy for all he knows.  He says he did kill Joffrey even though we all know he didn’t.

Jaime walks away and Tyrion goes to find Varys.  It’s a day for lurkers, for he too is lurking creepily in the dark.  They exchange some shade and then proceed on.  Varys leads him through all sorts of secret passage.  They eventually go to the dragon skull chamber under the Tower of the Hand.  Varys says they can go out to the river from here.  But Tyrion wants to make a little stop.  He wants to visit the Hand’s bedchamber which Tywin currently occupies.

He climbs for a while and finally emerges in the fireplace of Tywin’s chambers.  He hears a woman’s voice call out “M’lord?”  Who is it?  Why it’s Shay! Turns out that Tywin is a giant hypocrite.  Who’d have ever thought?  Shae’s naked except for Tywin’s hand of the king necklace.  Tyrion says some Nice Guy type of things and strangles her with the necklace.  Not quite sure how he did that so easily.  I guess because he wept while killing her it’s supposed to be sympathetic or something.  Idk.

After that little crime of passion is completed he takes Twyin’s dagger off the bedside table.  Then he finds a crossbow that’s hanging on the wall and takes that.  He finds Tywin where he knew he’d find him.  On the toilet.  Does that mean that Tywin suffers from IBS?  Twyin acts all casual about Tyrion just appearing in the bathroom with a crossbow.  He tells Tyrion to put down the crossbow and Tyrion asks about Tysha.  Tywin refers to Tysha as Tyrions first whore.  Tyrion said if Tywin says that word again, he’ll kill him.  Tywin does not believe him and says he sent Tysha away.  Tyrion asks where and Tywin answers “wherever whores go.”  That’s another phrase we’ll be hearing waaaay too much in ADWD.

Since Tywin said the magic word, Tyrion shoots him.  Right in the gut.  As he died, his bowels let loose, proving that Tywin does not actually shit gold.

 

Sam V

Stannis is in a bad mood.  Melisandre is full of mirth.  It’s some sort of meeting with the candidates for Lord Commander.  That’s nothing, Stannis.  What if these were the candidates you had to talk to?

Sam is just there to help Maester Aemon and feels all awkward.

Janos tries to suck up.  Stannis is not having it.  He states how displeased he is that a LC has not been chose yet.  Janos uses this opportunity and tries to weasel an endorsement out of Stannis.  Stannis is not having that either.  He tells them all what a corrupt asshole Janos Slynt was as leader of the gold cloaks.  Damn it, GRRM.  Stop making me love Stannis when we now know what you’re going to do to your awesome daughter!  Janos’ jowls quiver.  That is the best sentence I’ve written in my entire life.  Jowls are funny.

Whatever good will Stannis incurs, he as usual squanders by demanding that the NW give him all the land in the Gift and the abandoned castles.  He also says he means to light the Nightfires of the Lord of Light religion in front of all those castles.  Mel swoops in to preach R’hllor’s word but the NW men are dubious.

Stannis says they were the ones who summoned him so they best get used him.  He dismisses everyone but Mel, Aemon and Sam.  This causes Sam to just about shit himself with fear.

Stannis declares that Sam is not very like his father Randyll and then asks all about the White Walker slaying and the Black Gate below the Nightfort.  Stannis wants to make the Nightfort his new HQ.

Aemon asks Stannis to take out Lightbringer and has Sam describe it.  Sam says it glows.  Aemon and Sam are dismissed and Aemon remarks to Sam that he felt no heat from the sword.  He has Sam confirm that it looks but does not feel hot.  In other words,

Sam asks Maester Aemon if there’s something he could do to keep Janos from winning.  Aemon says no because his job is to serve the LC and it wouldn’t be proper.  But Sam asks if there’s something he could do.  Aemon coyly says “why I don’t know, Samwell.  Could you?”  Sam is super nervous but knows he has to do what he’s got to do.

He goes to Cotter Pyke first.  Pyke anticipates that Sam will be asking him to withdraw and he isn’t into it.  Being an Iron Islands bastard, he’s downright hostile.  But for once, Sam will not be deterred.  He goes to see Denys Mallister.  Mallister is much nicer, but still will not agree to drop out.  Sam suggests Jon and then in desperation lies and says that if they don’t choose an LC tonight, Stannis will name Cotter Pyke.  Denys says he’ll think about it and Sam promptly craps his pants again.  But he steals his nerves and goes back to Cotter Pyke to suggest Jon and tell him that Stannis will force Denys on them if they don’t choose an LC tonight.  You go, Sam the Slayer!

 

Deaths in this recap: 2.  Tywin and Shae

Cumulative deaths: 149

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  13

Betrayals in this recap: 3.  All in one chapter!  Jaime reveals that he lied about Tysha, Shae is sleeping with Tywin, Tyrion kills his father and his gf all in one night.

Cumulative betrayals: 39

Incest incidents: 0

Cumulative incests: 28

 

Is that a horn in your tent or are you just happy to see me?

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Cab-Sauv

Chapters:  Jon X, Arya XIII, Sam IV

 

Jon X

Surprise, surprise.  The chapter opens with Jon emoing.  He’s thinking he will today and reflecting on how he’s probably failed in his life mission to prove that bastards aren’t inherently treacherous and bad.

He’s spent the last several days on ice.  Literally.  He’s been in the ice cells.  Janos Slynt and Alliser Thorne had intended on hanging him, but Aemon intervened and tattled on him to Cotter Pyke, who is in command at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.   I still think the name Eastwatch-by-the-Sea sounds more like the name of a New England bed and breakfast with a picturesque lighthouse in the vicinity, not an outpost next to grim and icy waters.

Mance Rayder wants to parlay with the Nightswatch, but because he isn’t stupid, he doesn’t want to go them.  Thorne and Slynt are sending Jon as an envoy figuring he’s all buddy-buddy with Mance and of course, hoping Mance will Jon instead.  They aren’t really sending him to make terms.  They tell him they’re sending him to kill Mance.  It’s basically a death sentence.  Even on the off chance he succeeds, the other wildlings will kill him.

Jon gets to the other side of the Wall.  He walks through the ruins of the battle.  A raven is perched on top of the head of a giant.  The raven screeches “Snow, snow” at him and flies away.  Is that a good omen or a bad one?

Tormund comes out to meet him.  He tells Jon that if he wants to switch sides again, he might as well forget it

Tormund is actually in pretty good spirits.  He always is.  Jon tells him about how a one armed blacksmith named Donal Noye was the one to slay the giant Mag the Mighty and Tormund toasts to both Noye and Mag and says that Mance will probably make a song about their fight.  They also toast to Ygritte.  This gives him a chance  to emo again about how she died bravely storming a castle and he’ll die a turncloak and a killer.

They get to the camp.   Mance is hanging out outside the tent.  He’s accompanied by Harma Dogshead and Varamyr Sixskins, the skinchanger.  Varamyr is accompanied by his shadowcat and two wolves.  Regular, not dire.  Yeah, Jon is screwed.

Harma wants to kill him and Varamyr says some told ‘ya so stuff about never liking Jon.  We get a bit of skinchanger lore.  When Orell died, he went to live inside his eagle and started fading away in there.  So Varamyr skinchanged into the eagle instead and now Orell is part of him whispering about how much he hates Jon.  Creepy!  It’s like a skinchanger Borg.

Skinchanger Borg has flown to the south side of the Wall and has seen that the Watch is in a pretty bad way.  Things are looking bad for both Jon and the Watch.  I sure hope some deus ex machina comes along and aids them…

Inside the tent Mance’s lady friend Dalla is in the early stages of labor.  Her sister Val is holding her hand.  They will stay for the meeting and that’s not at all awkward that she might give birth in front of an enemy’s envoy possibly while he’s killing the babby’s (typo and it stays) father.

Mance seems fairly unconcerned.  He has something to show Jon.  His big, giant warhorn.   No, that’s not a euphemism.  It’s an actual horn.  Eight feet long.  Black with gold runes.  A very one ringish prop.   Mance claims it is the mythical Horn of Winter.  The horn that can supposedly bring down the Wall.  Jon asks why they bothered with a battle at all.  Dalla is the one to answer.  She says sorcery is a sword without a hilt and there is no safe to grasp.  That’s…ominous.

More ominous still, the talk turns to the Others.  Mance says none of wildling races, including the giants have figured out how to defeat them.  He admits this entire war is about hiding behind the Wall.  There will be no where to hide if the Wall comes down.  Mance wants the Watch to open the gates and let them pass.  In exchange, he’ll give them the horn.   Jon asks if Mance will be able to keep his Wildlings peaceful and lawful.  Mance scoffs at that.  Jon asks what will happen if they refuse.  He knows there’s no way Thorne would agree to any of this.  Mance says Tormund will blow the horn in three days.  Jon is trying to figure out if he should try and make a move on Mance when they are interrupted by warhorns of the regular variety.

They rush outside.  Something is coming from the east.  Jon fears it’s the Others but Mance says they never come when the sun is up.  Varamyr can see via eagle what’s coming.  It’s men on horses.  Men in steel and black.  Mance and the wildlings think it must be the Watch pulling a sneak attack.  Jon is baffled because he’s not heard any such thing.

The wildlings go out to meet their enemy.  Well some of them do.  Some are fleeing.  The news comes to the camp that there’s a ton of men and they’re coming from the north too.  Mance leaves Varamyr to guard Jon.  Varamyr is still watching from the eagle.  He sees golden banners.  Then he throws his head back and screams.  Then Jon sees the eagle on fire and falling from the sky.  Varamyr is writhing on the ground.  His shadowcat flees the scene while his wolves start fighting each other.   Val comes out to find out what’s going on and says that Dalla is now giving birth.  Everything is chaos.

Jon hears trumpets.  He wonders if Robb has returned (I guess he hasn’t learned of his death yet?  Or he’s delusional?) or if King’s Landing sent help.  The battle continues all around them.  The Wildlings are mostly losing.  A lot of them are fleeing.  But the giants are doing some damage to the mystery army.  Jon still can’t tell who the yellow banners belong to.   Shortly the Wildlings break.  Jon sees that someone has killed Harma and put her head on a pole.  That’s what you get for being a dog murderer!  Finally Jon sees that it’s a Baratheon banner and hears knights chanting “Stannis, Stannis!”

 

Arya XIII

Sandor and Arya come to an inn.  Arya recognizes it as a place they had stayed on trip to King’s Landing from Winterfell.  It’s come under new management since the war.  Arya doesn’t recognize the innkeep.  She does however recognize some of the guests.  Three  Lannister soldiers.  Polliver is one of them.  He recognizes The Hound who seems unconcerned and just orders some wine.  The other two are a squire and Tickler, the main torturer at Harrenhal.

Polliver and Sandor do some tough guy posturing type of things with each other.  Polliver tells him that if he’s looking for Gregor, he’s gone to King’s Landing.  He also tells him that Joffrey is dead.  Arya is surprised that she’s not happier about this news.

Polliver tells him more news.  I’m not sure why since they were acting all bar room brawly a couple of minutes ago.  I guess it’s just a method of exposition delivery.  Arya gets to find out that Sansa was married to Tyrion and is now suspected of regicide and has disappeared.  Blackfish is under siege at Riverrun and most of the riverlands are in Lannister/Frey hands.  The only fighting is around Raventree where the Blackwoods are still staying loyal.   Then they drop the real bombshell.  They found Arya and are giving her to the Boltons.  Sandor thinks this is pretty hilarious.  Arya is just confused.

Sandor asks if there are ships at Saltpans but Polliver says he doesn’t know, he just knows that Randyll Tarly took Maidenpool and locked up it’s previous lord, Mooten.

Finally we’re done with the exposition and the smackdown begins!  Sandor is drunk and is losing the fight.  The Tickler is stabbing Sandor.  Arya stabs the squire and takes the knife that the Tickler had thrown and lodged in the wall earlier.  The Hound is just about done for, sitting in the corner bleeding.

Or so it seems.  He kicks Polliver in the shins and slices upwards, catching him in the face and practically beheading him.  The Tickler is starting to scared.  He’s ignoring Arya, so she takes the opportunity to stab him in the back!  She repeats all the questions he used to give while torturing people to death.  She keeps stabbing him past death, until Sandor pulls him off.  The squire is still alive.  Sandor says he’s as good as dead though.  He’s been stabbed in the bowels.  He makes Arya mercy kill him.

They leave the inn and make camp later that night.  Oh, and Arya has recovered Needle from Polliver!  Sandor has Arya pour hot wine into his wounds to sterilize them.  She dresses the wound.  When it comes time to sleep, her kill list is shorter.  It is then she wonders if it’s true that Sansa killed Joffrey.  She wishes she could have seen or done it herself.  Don’t we all?  She goes to sleep and has a wolf dream.

The next day, the Hound is weak and sick from his wounds.  Before night falls, they have to stop.  He’s dying and wants her to mercy kill him.   But she won’t do it.  She tells him he doesn’t deserve mercy and leaves him.

Six days later, she finds Saltpans.  There are three ships there.  She has no money so she has to sell Craven the horse.  The woman who buys him gives her only a small amount though.  She knows a pitiful and ragged girl like herself must’ve stolen or found her, so she’ll turn her in for stealing or take what she gives her.

Arya goes to the biggest of the three ships and offers the captain her purse to take her to the wall.  He’s not impressed with the amount of money she has.  The captain doesn’t want to go north as it only has ice and pirates.  He says they’re going home to Braavos.  That’s when Arya takes her iron coin the Jaqen had given her out.  She says “Valar morghulis” to him, just like Jaqen had said to do.  This prompts the captain to answer “valar dohaeris” and offer her a cabin.  Arya is taking a little trip abroad.

 

Sam IV

Gilly is nursing Dalla and Mance’s baby.  She says he sucks harder than her own baby.  Not touching that one.   I guess Dalla has died but my drunkish ass missed where it says so.Jon is watching and smiling, but in a sad and emo type of way.  This is how we learn that Sam and Gilly have arrived safe at Castle Black, shortly after Stannis ex machina arrived.

Mance is captive, a thousand of his best fighters were slain and the rest of the Wildlings have scattered.  Castle Black is chaotic because it’s all messed up from all the fighting, and it’s all full of Stannis’ men.  Castle Black has a tower, called the King’s Tower that is set aside for visiting kings.  This is the first time it’s been used in living memory.

Val wants to see Mance and let him meet his son, but the only one allowed to see him is Maester Aemon.

Jon and Sam are walking together.  Jon can tell Sam doesn’t just like Gilly, he like likes her.  Jon tells him that he cannot keep her.  Sam knows this and thinks it might be best to send Gilly to his home, Horn Hill and tell his family that her baby is his bastard.  Sam thinks his mom would like the baby and his dad would like the proof that he isn’t gay or something.

They talk about the turncloak allegations.  Sam assures him that very few actually believe it.  They talk of the upcoming Lord Commander election.  Alliser was losing so he’s backing Janos Slynt.  The other main candidates are Cotter Pyke and Denys Mallister from the Shadow Tower.  Jon emos about how no one loves him and he has no family.  Sam wants to tell him that he met Bran, but keeps his word.  Jon goes to train in the practice yard with some of the newer recruits.

They have an election choosing later.  Two thirds of the vote is needed.  Janos Slynt gets the most votes.  Why?  Who would vote for that?  I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.  If people will vote for Donald Trump, they’ll vote for anyone.  Even still, he doesn’t get his two thirds.

Later that night, Sam, Pyp and Grenn are discussing the choosing.  They’re all desperate to keep Slynt from prevailing.  Sam says they need someone else besides the current candidates that everyone could get behind.  It sounds like he’s pulling a Kristy from the Babysitter’s Club and getting a great idea!  Stay tuned to find out what that not at all painfully obvious idea is.

 

Deaths in this recap: 4.  Dalla, Harma Dogshead, Polliver, Tickler

Cumulative deaths: 147

Maybe deaths in this recap: 1, The Hound

Cumulative maybe deaths:  13

Betrayals in this recap: 0

Cumulative betrayals: 36

Incest incidents: 0

Cumulative incests: 28

 

 

Butcher Kings and Sad Peens

Book I am reading:  A Storm of Swords

Booze in my flagon:  Pinot noir

Chapters:  Daenerys VI, Jaime VII

 

Daenerys VI

Having conquered Meereen, Dany is sitting out on the terrace garden of the great pyramid eating breakfast and looking over the city.  The battle happened off page, but Dany’s people led a slave rebellion.  She had nailed 163 slave masters to crosses, just the same as they had done to the little slave children.  The rest of the masters were spared.  She had felt righteous at first but later feels guilty.

She tells herself she did it all for the children and gets ready to go hold court.

All of her inner circle are in the throne room.  She wonders who will betray her next and thinks the other two heads of the dragon, whoever they are will be the only ones she can trust.  I see the paranoia of her father is setting in.

She complains about all the flies in the city.  Daario points out that corpses breed maggots and maggots breed flies so she orders Grey Worm to see that the corpses from the sack are removed.  You’d think for the smell alone she’d have wanted the corpses gone, but I guess not.

First visitor is a man named Ghael.  Sounds like the next trendy name for boys in the suburbs but he’s an envoy from Astapor representing the new king Cleon.  She had left a council to rule their but Ghael claims they were caught scheming to bring back slavery and Cleon executed them for it and was named king.  Missandei tells Dany he had been formerly a slave who was a butcher.  A butcher king doesn’t seem to bode well.

Ghael claims that Yunkai is plotting against her and wants to make an alliance between Astapor and Meereen.  He wants to seal this an alliance with a marriage between Cleon and Dany.  She says she’ll consider it but I think we all know that’s going to be a big NO.

The next visitor is a Qartheen ship master.  He tells a different story.  He says Astapor is a famine stricken cesspit and Cleon AKA King Cleaver is seizing young boys and attempting to make new Unsullied.  The Qartheen wants slaves.  Daario says several of the freed slaves want to sell themselves to go live in Qarth.  She says they can sell themselves but not their children or wives and Dany will get a tenth of the price from the Qartheen.

After these meetings, she has Belwas fetch Barristan and Jorah for her.  This will be the first time she’s seen them since their past dishonesty had been revealed to her.  She questions Barristan about why he bent the knee to Robert after the rebellion.    He said it’s because Viserys was a horrible little brat who was about to turn just like Aerys and wasn’t fit to rule.  Dany had been under the impression that the nickname Mad King was a lie, but Barristan tells her the truth.  He said he waited to reveal himself because he wanted to make sure she was sane.  He promises to serve her faithfully for the rest of his life and she decides to formerly swear him into service as he’s very knowledgeable about the history of Westeros and how King’s Landing works.

Jorah on the other hand, just whines a bunch and tips his fedora at her.  He admits that he had even sent a report when they were in Qarth.  Barristan rats him out about how he told Varys when she became pregnant.  He pleads for her forgiveness and says he loves her but she cannot forgive him and he is exiled.

The next day after a restless night, Dany informs her people (minus Jorah) that she planned to stay and rule Meereen rather than march.  Because how can she rule the seven kingdoms of Westeros if she can’t manage one city?  I’m sure the people of Meereen would be flattered to know they were being used for Queen practice.

 

Jaime VII

Tommen is signing a bunch of papers that Kevan is giving him during a small council meeting.  Jaime is bored and sore from trying and failing to fight with his left hand.  He’s been practicing with Addam Marbrand.  Jaime sucks at fighting left handed so he’s pretty depressed.

Most of the papers are giving land to Lannister allies and taking it away from enemies and a bunch of pardons.  Including one for the Westerlings.  Hmm…  One legitimizes Ramsay Bolton formerly Snow and makes Roose Warden of the North.

Finally he can’t take it anymore and asks for leave to go.  Outside he runs into Steelshanks.  He’s about to leave for Winterfell with “Arya Stark.”  She’s a young girl, hollow eyed and frightened.  A little too old and tall to be Arya.  So who is this mystery girl?  Jaime doesn’t know or care.

He passes the area where Gregor and Oberyn had dueled.  Gregor has indeed been poisoned by Oberyn’s spear it seems.  He’s still alive but not healing at all and he spends all night and day howling.  His veins are turning back and when Pycelle tries to leech him, the leeches die.  Do I need to post a Grumpy Cat meme here?  It seems trite in the year 2017.

Oh, what the hell

Whether it’s cliché or classic, it works.

Jaime returns to his bedchamber and finds Cersei waiting for him.  He thinks some lusty and twincestuous thoughts but Cersei is just there to complain.  She’s been kicked off the small council by Tywin and about to be sent back to Casterly Rock and she wants Jaime to convince him to let her back on so she can continue to be the second biggest helicopter parent in Westeros after Lysa.  Predictably, she’s also not thrilled about Tommen’s betrothal to Margaery.

Somehow the subject of the attempted murder of Bran comes up.  Cersei denies involvement in it and doesn’t think Joffrey was either.  FWIW, I don’t think it was Joffrey either!

She wants Jaime to offer to leave the Kingsguard in exchange for Tywin agreeing to let Cersei stay and not marry her off.  He says no but suggests she tells Tywin that they’re going to have a Targaryen style incest marriage.  She doesn’t want to do that so she tries to sex him into going along with her.  Shockingly, he turns her down as it’s not safe to do it there.  Cersei responds by asking if his manhood was hacked off in Harrenhal and says she doesn’t know why he would have the courage to protect Tommen when he didn’t avenge Joffrey.  Yeah, she’s still mad he won’t kill Tyrion for her.  Jaime still doubts Tyrion’s guilt.  He kicks her out and she insults his penis again and leaves.

Jaime sends for Loras and Brienne to ask if he’s spoken to Brienne yet.  He seems a little less certain that she’s responsible for Renly’s death.  He sends Loras way to speak with Brienne alone.  They sort of awkwardly flirt for a minute.  He tells her about faux Arya so that she wouldn’t hear that Arya was in the north and try to rescue her.

Jaime then gives her the sword made from Ice reforged.  He tells her to call it Oathkeeper and that she is too find Sansa and bring her somewhere safe.  She wonders why he’s sending her on this mission.  He thinks that Joffrey was a squirt of seed in Cersei’s cunt who deserved to die but he tells her that Sansa is his last chance at honor.  Brienne sweeps out awkwardly.

 

Deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative deaths: 143

Maybe deaths in this recap: 0

Cumulative maybe deaths:  12

Betrayals in this recap: 0

Cumulative betrayals: 36

Incest incidents: 1.  Cersei and Jaime fool around a little

Cumulative incests: 28