- 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?
Tag Archives: JonSnow
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!”)
Ah, the irony: Ned will someday tell Sansa how helpful(!) she was to him this day. Varys is “worse” than Littlefinger because he “[does] too little.” (Yeah, what was he thinking prepping only three or four Targaryen heirs?) Jon Arryn died “for the truth” (although Ned is finally right about Bran almost-dying for it).
I forgot that Sandor is now technically lord of Cleganeland, or whatever it may be called.
To Ned, the guardsman Tomard isn’t laughable “Fat Tom,” but a sensible and trustworthy supporter.
This chapter is probably Cersei’s sympathetic peak.
“What would Catelyn do, if it were Jon’s life, against the children of her body?” Is that some kinda foreshadowing?
Ned, still snarky!
Second use of the titular phrase, by Cersei.
Here the after school special about how character building it is for the popular, athletic kid to befriend the fat kid continues. (The couplet “We did all we could”/ “All we could wasn’t enough” could have come straight from Degrassi: The Next Generation.) And the exposition around the roles of rangers, builders, etc. is a bit clunky. Still, Jon shows believable leadership potential here, and his steadfast but calm reaction to suggestions that Benjen is dead forms yet another great contrast with Robb.
Once again, two year old horses are rarely ridden except in a modern racing or (very recently) show context, and generally would not be considered safe to ride by a small child, let alone a disabled small child still acclimatizing to his disability. Nice to see Robb riding a gelding instead of stallion, though (stallions are relatively impractical mounts, and the number of them encountered in many fantasy novels is quite unrealistic).
- WiC #7.
- Robb is now adopting the hippie look.
- Old Nan says (again): “Dark wings, dark words.”
- Bran tells another story of Jon’s overcompensating generosity: he once gave Bran his fish when Bran failed to catch one.
- Introducing Osha, an alternate model of womanhood: a head taller than Robb (who is himself described as tall), lean, hardened, “scarcely … like a woman,” a reasonable match for Robb in battle, and happy to talk back to the man she’s with when he gives nonsensical orders.
- Robb is getting a little more nuanced: he restrains himself when his rash actions could endanger Bran, controls his anger at Theon and is “relieved” to be given an excuse not to kill Osha. (Has Robb ever killed anybody at this point? Probably not.)
Meet Sam Tarly: “the fattest boy [Jon] had ever seen,” weighing “twenty stone” — that would be 160 to 320 pounds, 280 by the most common definition of “stone.” Here fat is associated with cowardice and (once again) with effeminacy, but there’s no hint of schemey-ness (fat as disguise) or fallen-ness (fat as outward sign of a decline in morality or dignity).
I find it hard to believe that even Thorne would disallow Sam’s armor because it wasn’t black (leather and wool can be dyed and wood painted, after all), and even harder to believe that he would encourage the boys to break a helmet just to humiliate Sam. Possessions were not cheap or disposable in such times; that broken helmet would take a lot of Noye’s time to fix or recycle.
In Jon’s dream: “I scream that I’m not a Stark, that this isn’t my place.” And later: “he had never truly been one of them [the Starks].”
First mention of blue-lipped Qartheen warlocks — being hired by Randyll Tarly(!). Who is a tool, but a very evocatively described one. In Sam’s story, he expresses his disapproval to his son while skinning a deer: the ultimate source of the Tywin-introducing scene in the TV show?
Overall, this chapter is a bit too after-school special: in a very brief span of pages, we move from Sam as “accidental” hazing death waiting to happen, to his “fitting in” and becoming one of the guys due to Jon’s heroic principles. Jon’s use of force to achieve his goal does lend a little moral complexity, though (and perhaps foreshadows his later attempt at autocratic leadership).
…but only after feeling betrayed by his father, fantasizing his uncle’s death, and mooning after his “true brothers” (or are they cousins?). His life has already taught him, though, that it’s “better not to speak of the things [he] want[s].”
Other stuff I noticed in this chapter:
- Casual sexism: one of the recruits is “weak as a girl.” There’s also another contemptuous dismissal of wet nurse wisdom, this time by Donal Noye.
- Famous last words: Benjen’s “we’ll speak when I return.”
- Donal Noye used to work for Stannis. Interesting.
- The wall is 700 feet high — a little taller than the Gateway Arch, but only about half the height of the Willis (Sears) Tower.
- Jon is now fifteen.
- Jeor Mormont is described as “a gruff old man with an immense” (?!) “bald head.” Cue the corn-requesting raven, calling directly back to the preceding Bran chapter. (It wants Jon to live, too.)
- Jon and Tyrion have great buddy chemistry.