Tag Archives: AryaStark

AGoT Arya 5

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.

Random thoughts:

  • 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.



AGoT Jon 7: the things they do for love? (more spoilery than usual)

Mormont: “The things we love destroy us every time.” Is this true? Just sticking to the major POV characters:

  • Ned is destroyed by his love of (his idealized image of) Robert, and his resulting blindness to crucial aspects of his situation. (His love of honor figures in also, but this reread has shown Robert to be much more important than I previously realized.)
  • Catelyn is destroyed by her love of her family(or of her concept of herself as perfect family woman), and of drama (e.g., foolishly insisting on traveling to King’s Landing herself; kidnapping Tyrion and then ignoring all logical arguments as to his innocence).
  • Jon is destroyed by his love of being right (see his own comment about himself below). Ultimately this stems from his love of his father and yearning for a level of security and recognition not afforded by his social status.
  • Daenerys was, for quite a while, on the path to being destroyed by her love of her people, or more cynically, of her image of herself as mother savior and emancipator. (Daario’s just a blip on the radar screen.)
  • Theon is destroyed by his yearning for validation, stemming from his frustrated love of the Starks and what they stand for.
  • Jaime did rather poorly living a life defined by his love of his sister.
  • If Brienne has been destroyed, it’s by her love of honor and, possibly, Jaime.

On the other hand:

  • Arya loves her family, her freedom, and the satisfaction of attaining mastery, and has mostly benefited by at least the latter things. And she’s about as far from destroyed as any major POV character at this point.
  • Sansa loves her illusions, and is also far from destroyed yet.
  • Tyrion loves his own intellect and the idea of being in love with a woman. Things haven’t gone well for him, but when it comes down to it, most of his misfortunes have been visited on him by others in spite of his efforts to avoid them. In particular, the bane of his existence is his father, who he mostly has the sense to hate.
  • Bran suffered significant harm due to his love of climbing, but once again, I think the blame for that (as well as for his increasingly creepy situation) largely falls on others, including possibly the gods/fate.
  • Davos seems to love his family and to have a generally strong but realistically calibrated moral compass, which one could describe as a love of goodness. He’s lost a lot, but once again, largely due to the actions of others, and he has remained more stolidly himself (i.e., undestroyed) than any other major adult character.
  • Sam loves knowledge, comfort, and his brothers (particularly Jon), and is doing quite well so far.
  • Cersei loves herself (her brother/husband and children, I think, are loved only as extensions thereof). I don’t think I’d call her destroyed as all her sufferings don’t seem to have made much of a psychological dent.

Elsewhere in this chapter.

  • I think this is the point where Jon chapters, never my favorites, become the boring stuff I have to get through to reach the good stuff (like, yes, Sansa chapters). I’m just not that into zombies, male bonding, or teen angst.
  • “Jon Snow was nothing if not stubborn.” Word.
  • Jon was “a babe in arms” when the current summer began. So Robert’s war took place in winter?
  • Old Nan says: in the past, the Others invaded the south and destroyed human cities and even kingdoms.
  • Jon is bright enough to doubt that Joffrey would allow Eddard to live (Joffrey’s handlers apparently weren’t).
  • “If Lord Eddard was killed, [Catelyn] would be as much to blame as the queen.” Word again.
  • Mormont’s raven initially screams “corn,” but is later able to manage the much more situation-appropriate “burn.” If the raven is a front for the three-eyed crow, this suggests a limited degree of control of its faculties (insufficient, for example, to make it say “There’s a zombie in the solar!”)

AGoT Arya 2: “The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” Really? (more spoilery than usual)

Stark Degree of isolation from “pack” (other Starks and their direwolves) Status as of the end of ADwD Evidence for/against “lone wolf dies, pack survives” theory*
Ned Left Winterfell, but took two Stark children and two wolves with him (wolves were later killed and separated, respectively) Dead Mixed
Catelyn Left Winterfell alone, but eventually joined Robb and Grey Wind (Un)Dead Mixed
Robb Left Winterfell, with Grey Wind and (eventually) his mother. Dead Mixed
Sansa Betrayed her family, thereby perhaps symbolically becoming a “lone wolf.” Helped cause/allow her wolf to be killed and Arya’s to be driven away (by withholding the truth about the events surrounding Joffrey’s wounding). Has been separated from the other Starks since the end of AGoT. Alive Against
Arya Has been separated from the other Starks since the end of AGoT and from her wolf since early in AGoT; is now the most physically separated Stark. Alive Against
Bran Stayed in Winterfell until it was destroyed, but was gradually separated from the rest of the family; still has his wolf. Alive Mixed
Rickon Stayed in Winterfell until it was destroyed, but was gradually separated from the rest of the family; still has his wolf. Alive Mixed

*Dead, isolated Starks and live, un-isolated ones support the theory; live isolated Starks and dead un-isolated ones count against it

I’m not seeing much support for Ned’s theory here. (Of course, you could interpret the word “wolf” as applying to more than Starks, and say that families that stick together tend to do better. But the (theoretically) unconditionally kin-supportive Lannisters and kin-marrying Targaryens aren’t exactly doing well right now, either.)

Other stuff from this chapter.

  • Arya likes to play with babies. Who knew?
  • Arya’s stream of consciousness seems a bit cliche-ridden: “Arya finally felt safe enough to cry”; “hating them all, and herself most of all”; “then maybe she wouldn’t feel so alone”; “Arya, we need to talk” (jarringly modern wording there); “she had never loved him so much as she did in that instant”; “with wonder in her eyes.”
  • The Syrio stuff is wonderful, though.
  • We meet Fat Tom, who appears at this point to be a comic-relief extra (later he’ll be an easy-sympathy-generating extra).
  • Per Ned, Brandon Stark was wilder than Lyanna (and in this culture it would take a lot to be considered wilder than a woman who wants to swordfight).
  • Ned, regarding the saving of Nymeria (or something else?): “even the lie was … not without honor.”
  • WiC #5.
  • Ned: “You [Arya] need her [Sansa], as she needs you.” Foreshadowing?

AGoT Eddard 3: Cersei and the men who do despicable things for her

“The things I do for love,” he said with loathing. [Jaime in Bran 2, just before putting an innocent child to (presumed) death on Cersei’s demand]

“Damn you, Cersei,” he said with loathing. [Robert in Eddard 3, having just agreed to put an innocent animal to death on Cersei’s demand]

Robert seems to be under no illusion of “loving” Cersei, so why did he do it? He’s intimidated by her family’s power, no doubt — but mostly he just can’t be bothered to do the right, but marginally more difficult, thing. Instead he “shrug[s] irritably” and lets her have her way. It speaks to how well Robert’s character is drawn that I found this completely believable — I’ve met the type (though thankfully not any who were in that kind of position of power). And once again, Robert is not Ned’s friend, and is possibly to self-absorbed and emotionally lazy to be anyone’s (whether inherently so, or because Cersei has worn him out).

Other notable stuff from this chapter:

  • The name-check of House Darry, one of whose members was Dany’s guardian, serves to nicely tie disparate threads of the story together.
  • Renly’s reaction to Joffrey’s defeat in, er, battle is hilarious. “Lion’s Tooth!”
  • Arya’s immediate, unconditional defense of Lady (and by extension Sansa, who just betrayed her) is both believable and endearing.

AGoT Arya 1: gender; plus, does Sandor want Joffrey dead?

“You’d think the royal sigil would be sufficient, but no. He makes his mother’s house equal in honor to the King’s.”

“The woman is important too!” Arya protested.

Good for her, even if the woman she’s defending (Cersei) is less than admirable.

A few pages later, just so we don’t forget the institutional sexism Arya is doomed to struggle against:

“Are you training women here?”

BTW, Sandor says this while trying to convince Ser Rodrik to let Joffrey and Robb fight with real swords. Does Sandor want Joffrey dead, wounded, or at least put in his place?

(Another of Sandor’s pro-real swords arguments: “I killed a man at twelve.” Arya will, of course, beat that record.)

AGoT Arya 1: what the Stark girls look like

Sansa (and Catelyn) have high cheekbones and thick auburn hair.

Arya is “skinny” and looks like Ned, with “lusterless brown” hair and a “long and solemn” face (also attributed here to Jon). (Sansa, Bran and Rickon are described in contrast as having “easy smiles.”)

And Arya is called good at managing a household; do we ever hear about that again?

Bonus direwolf description: Nymeria has yellow eyes; Ghost is larger than the other direwolves.