Tag Archives: BranStark

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!”)
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AGoT Bran 4

Another Bran chapter that’s a rich source of insight on Robb. Robb is going through the motions of being Lord of Winterfell, but seems awkward and uncomfortable in the role. He also demonstrates a worrying lack of anger management skills, waving a naked sword at Tyrion, and almost drawing one on Yoren(!) for implying that Benjen is dead. I can’t blame him for finally crying in Bran’s room: he’s out of his league.

More stories from Old Nan (who was originally a wet nurse!):

  • “Crows are all liars.”
  • Brandon the Builder built Winterfell and possibly the Wall.
  • Long ago, there was an epically bad winter, featuring Others, flesh-eating wights, giant spiders (?!), and “a night that lasted a generation.” The Last Hero sought out the children of the forest. (Old Nan is interrupted before we find out what happened after that.)

Miscellany from this chapter:

  • Bran is now eight.
  • The famous “You Starks are hard to kill” is uttered in this chapter.
  • Annoying lack of horse knowledge: yearling horses are generally not ridden (except for modern race horses which have been bred to mature early).
  • Theon Greyjoy had once commented that Hodor did not know much, but no one could doubt that he knew his name.” That’s either a big coincidence, or some epically long-term foreshadowing.

AGoT Bran 2: foreshadowing

AfterA Dance with Dragons, this chapter seems to brim with foreshadowing of Bran’s inhabitation of birds, werewoods, and wolves.

Bran would have sworn [his direwolf] understood every word that was said to him…

[…]

The heart tree had always frightened him; trees ought not have eyes, Bran thought…

[…]

…Bran could see all of Winterfell … spread out beneath him … in a way even Robb would never know.

[…]

Old Nan told  him a story about a bad little boy who climbed too high and was struck down by lightning, and how afterward the crows came to peck out his eyes.

[…]

There was another thing he liked about climbing; it was almost like being invisible.

[…]

[Climbing barefoot] made him feel as if he had four hands instead of two….He liked…the crows in the broken tower…

[…]

Most of all, he liked … seeing the grey sprawl of Winterfell in a way that no one else ever saw it.


AGoT Bran 2: gender

From Bran: “the girls were only girls” (equating them in worth to the “baby”, Rickon)

From Jaime:

“Lysa Arryn is a frightened cow.”

[…]

“Mothers.” [Jaime] made the word sound like a curse. “I think birthing does something to your minds. You are all mad.”


AGoT Bran 2: Old Nan’s stories

Old Nan said there were ghosts [in the Red Keep], and dungeons where terrible things had been done, and dragon heads on the walls.

[…]

Old Nan said [the Kingsguard] were the finest swords in all the realm.

[…]

Old Nan told him a story about a bad little boy who climbed too high and was struck down by lightning, and how afterward the crows came to peck out his eyes.

Old Nan’s score for this round:

  • ghosts: unproveable
  • dungeons: true
  • …where terrible things have been done: probably true in the past, certainly true in the (Qyburn) future
  • dragon heads: true in the past
  • Kingsguard finest swords: true in some cases
  • boy climbed too high, was struck down, “eye” pecked at by crow: metaphorical foreshadowing!

AGoT Bran 2: out of the mouths of babes

Bran demonstrates his observational skills (considerably greater than his father’s!) by noticing that “Jon seemed to be angry at everyone these days” … but immediately demonstrates his naivety by romanticizing the Night’s Watch.

Other notable tidbits from this chapter:

  • the first mention of Hodor
  • the first mention of Grey Wind, Lady, and Shaggydog’s names
  • possibly the first mention of Petyr Baelish, by Cersei (I might have missed an earlier mention of him)
  • Ned says “You’re not my son” — fodder for a new theory? (Kidding, kidding. He follows it with, “you’re a squirrel.”)

AGoT Bran 1: Bran Stark, violence and cosmology

Bran is seven years old.

(And we are in a society where seven is considered an appropriate age to witness an execution.)

(This is also the first mention of the seasonal cycle: “It was the ninth year of summer, and the seventh of Bran’s life.” Is it ever explained what a “year” means in this context? Presumably a certain number of lunar cycles? Yes, I know I could probably look this up at Westeros or Tower of the Hand, but I want to wait and see if it comes from the horse’s mouth in this or a later book.)