- Jon stumbles on the difference between highly organized modern religions, and older animistic ones: “[The southrons] had their septons to talk to, someone to tell them the gods’ will and help sort out right from wrong.”
- It’s interesting that black clothing functions like an orange or striped prison uniform. I find it hard to believe that “any bit” of black clothing would automatically mark a man as a deserter, though. After all, there are houses whose colors include black (including northern houses like the Karstarks).
- Old Nan strikes yet again.
- “He was after all his father’s son, and Robb’s brother.” Or not.
- Jon romanticizes suicide, just like Sansa.
- How do the watchmen pay the Mole’s Town prostitutes? Since they (at least the ones that aren’t more-equal-than-others highborn volunteers) aren’t allowed to have contact with their families and are supplied with all their own needs, they’d have no need for a salary. Maybe barter with the produce of hunting or handicrafts?
- See, Kevan knows what’s up.
- We find out about the battle by way of a sort of comedy routine by the semicompetent Lannister vassals. It’s an interesting alternative to the standard fantasy novel play-by-play.
- “Stannis [is] a greater danger than all the others combined.” Speaking as a belated Stannis fan, word.
- Tywin: “Bolton does not concern me.” Sounds like he’s already turned.
Rakharo: “It is the right of the strong to take from the weak.” Is there any culture that actually, openly espouses this? (Obviously many individuals in all cultures privately do, but don’t even fascist dictators at least publicly claim to be “protecting” the weak while actually taking from them?)
This chapter convincingly portrays a depressed Sansa: still self-absorbed (imagining how her suicide would shame those who mistreated her), yet becoming increasingly self-aware, and even able to resist Joffrey within her mind.
- Arys Oakheart isn’t that stellar of a guy here.
- “[Sansa wished] that someone would throw [Ilyn Payne] down and cut off his head.” I call that a prediction.
- Sandor holds the unique position of apparently being able to sass Joffrey with impunity.
Near the end of a book, and immediately after one of its two major climaxes, is a heck of a place to put a giant infodump about distant past history and legend. Nonetheless, it works all right here.
- Old Nan says: there was once a blind knight, Symeon Star-Eyes. Also, she is apparently a pretty effective teacher of Stark family history.
- …but Luwin protests her story of the children of the forest: “The man who trusts in spells is dueling with a glass sword.” Which is, of course, exactly the kind of sword you need against the others.
- “Hodor is a man, not a mule to be beaten.” Or, you know, possessed. Even if it makes you like “a knight together.”
- Luwin: “[Eddard’s death] will not be for many years, gods be good.” Yikes.
- The First Men’s intimidation of the children with horses reminds me of the Conquistadors in Latin America.
Wow, I’d actually forgotten that Ned’s last chapter was Ned’s last chapter. The single paragraph after Joffrey’s pronouncement does an incredible job of portraying the shocked surprise of the Lannisters and cabinet (especially Varys, who’s either truly surprised or acting like it to an admirable degree) while remaining plausibly within Arya’s POV.
- Is “the Others take your [object of derision]” a common oath in the South?
- I like that Arya doesn’t instantly become a perfectly street-smart hustler: her things are stolen and her accent or manner of speech gives her away to the other urchins.
- Old Nan told boys’ adventure stories.
- That is one cold trick the Lannisters pull with the fake Stark soldiers at the docks.
- Nice image of the galloping Redwyne twins.
- Another morbidly obese character: the High Septon.
When first we met MMD, she had a simpering attitude towards Dany whose sincerity I could not judge. Now, after a number of days of ill treatment at the hands of the Dothraki (Dany didn’t think to keep MMD in her own train where she could see how she was treated?) her antipathy is clear, and she’s no longer afraid enough of further punishment to modulate her tone (maybe she doesn’t think things can get much worse). I doubt her original prescription for Drogo was actually poisonous (since he didn’t follow it anyway, it can hardly be blamed for his current condition), but she’s willing to mislead Dany by omission.
Of course, Dany is willing to be misled. I’ve always found her naivete here a little unbelievable, though not completely so if taken in context. She’s so focused on the present situation that she’s not thinking about the future: she “tells herself” that she would die, presumably killing her unborn child as well and thus, so far as she knows, ending the Targaryen line forever, to save Drogo. And she’s still unable to see that the people she “saves” may not consider themselves helped, or be grateful. (I think she’s still working on that lesson as the end of ADwD, although she’s much closer to getting it by then.)
What would have happened if Dany and Jorah had gone to Asshai? If they had taken the dragon eggs, would someone there know how to hatch them?
Through the walls of the tent Dany glimpses “the shadow of a great wolf, and another like a man wreathed in flames.” Something Stark-related, and something R’hllor-related? But presumably Jorah and the others do not see anything particularly paranormal, or they would not think to take her into the tent. Is Dany the only one who can see the apparitions? If so, is it because MMD “aimed” them at Dany, or because of some inherent quality of Dany? Or are the apparitions all in Dany’s own mind?