Welcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.
Today’s entry is Part 31 of A Clash of Kings, in which we cover Chapters 65 (“Sansa”) and 66 (“Theon”).
Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, The Powers That Be at Tor.com have very kindly set up a forum thread for spoilery comments. Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.
And now, the post!
Chapter 65: Sansa
Sansa joins the rest of the court in the throne room, all in their best finery, as Joffrey receives the heroes of the battle. Lord Tywin Lannister enters first, and Joffrey proclaims him Savior of the City and awards him the title of Hand. He also greets Lord Mace Tyrell of Highgarden, and awards him a place on the Council, and his son Loras a place in the Kingsguard.
Garlan Tyrell, the elder son, asks as his boon that Joffrey consider taking his sister Margaery (lately betrothed to the late Renly Baratheon) in marriage. Joffrey makes a show of declaring that he has made a sacred vow to wed Sansa Stark, but Cersei and the High Septon both declare that the Starks’ traitorousness removes any obligation to honor that vow, and so Joffrey (sullenly) accepts Margaery instead. Sansa tries desperately to look downcast instead of elated.
Joffrey goes on to give awards and accolades to many other heroes of the battle, including some six hundred new knights, though some are too wounded to appear; among these is the Imp, who is “said to be dying as well, from a terrible cut to the head.” Among them is Petyr Baelish, who is made Lord of Harrenhal “for faithful service to crown and realm”; Sansa reassures herself that Littlefinger will not be able to hold it long against Robb and his allies.
Then the captives are brought in, and Joffrey accepts oaths of fealty from those who switched sides during the battle or who beg for mercy, but a handful remain defiant. Joffrey has one executed on the spot, but then several more begin crying imprecations against Joffrey and the other Lannisters, and Joffrey becomes so furious ordering their death that he slams his arm into the spikes decorating the Iron Throne, cutting himself. He wails for Cersei, and one of the rebellious knights shouts “The throne denies him! He is no king!” and tries to rush the dais. Ser Meryn Trant kills the knight, Cersei takes Joffrey out, and Tywin takes over the proceedings.
After it is finally over, Sansa goes back to her rooms, ecstatic over her new freedom, until she goes to the godswood to meet Dontos, who tells her that her situation is now worse than before, as Cersei will never let Sansa go, and if Joffrey wants her, he will still have her. Sansa is appalled, but Dontos assures her he will get her away on the night of Joffrey’s wedding. Sansa protests that that is more than a month away, but Dontos tells her to be patient, and gives her a hairnet made of spun silver, set with rare “black amethysts from Asshai.”
“It’s very lovely,” Sansa said, thinking, It is a ship I need, not a net for my hair.
“Lovelier than you know, sweet child. It’s magic, you see. It’s justice you hold. It’s vengeance for your father.” Dontos leaned close and kissed her again. “It’s home.”
A magic hairnet, huh. Never seen one of those before!
Okay, so I will have to admit to some total naïveté here, because initially I was just as thrilled as Sansa to hear she’d been put aside, and just like her I didn’t follow through to the logical conclusion until Dontos brought it up. Which sucks, because now it seems likely that Joffrey will feel more free to violate her now than he did before. Which, in case you have not gotten the memo here, makes Leigh a very potentially angry blogger.
LEAVE SANSA ALONE, PEOPLE, I WILL CUT YOU. I WILL CUT YOU DEEP.
Sigh. Tragically, I suspect my willingness on the cuttage front is probably not actually going to have a whole lot of impact on what happens. Funny how that works!
Fortunately for me, though, there are inanimate objects to do the cutting for me, yay! I will not lie: I totally grinned and clapped when Joffrey sliced himself up on the Iron Throne and outed himself as a whiny wuss to the whole of the kingdom. Normally I suspect I would have more sympathy for a, what, fourteen or fifteen-year old being forced to sit on what is basically the chair version of an iron maiden, but Joffrey has loooooong since forfeited any rights he might have had to my sympathy, and so I merely point and laugh, and hope it helps undermine his kingship.
As for Margaery: that poor, poor girl. As for the rest of the Tyrells: well, I guess we know your price down to the penny now, don’t we? Wow.
And okay, WHERE IN BLUE BLAZES did Littlefinger come from, y’all? I’ve been periodically wondering where the hell he’s been for like 90% of this book, and now he pops up out of nowhere and gets awarded Harrenhal and nobody even says what he’s been doing! AAAAAAGGH.
Of course, I can’t even remember by now what it was he was supposed to be doing in the first place. Mainly, I suspect, because I was so sure he was going to run off and do the complete opposite. So maybe I unfairly maligned him (pshah) and he actually did do whatever it was he was supposed to do and now he’s getting rewarded for it, and voila. Except, now I really wish I could remember what that thing he was supposed to do was, because I suspect things would be making a lot more sense now than they are if I did.
I’m not entirely sure that last sentence made any kind of grammatical sense, but I think you probably get my gist.
Also, what the hell is this shit with Tyrion being severely wounded and Tywin swooping in and being all well I’ll just take over this Hand thing then, shall I? Ta! FIRST of all, that is a whole bowl of bullshit on general principle (though I can’t say it’s particularly surprising, of course), but SECOND, what, not even a mention of Tyrion’s heroism during the battle?
Of course, maybe they have no idea he was heroic. And actually in thinking back on his last POV I’m not even positive you could actually even call his exploits heroic per se no, I take that back, he went out there when the even the big bad Hound refused to do so. And since a lot of people very seldom bother to define the distinction between “bravery” and “suicidal stupidity,” he should totally have gotten kudos for that at the very least. But nooooooo!
Have I mentioned that Tywin sucks?
And also, Tyrion is not dying. Because I Said So. LIES ALL LIES.
The Lord of Casterly Rock made such an impressive figure that it was a shock when his destrier dropped a load of dung right at the base of the throne.
AHAHAHA. Okay, I’m twelve, but that’s hilarious. Because that is totally what would happen if your arrogant ass insisted on riding a horse into a throne room! Hahahahaha you douche.
Chapter 66: Theon
Maester Luwin comes to Theon when the first scouts of Rodrik’s forces appear beyond the walls, and urges him to surrender; there has been no word from Theon’s uncle or father. Theon accuses Luwin of secretly wanting him dead, and Luwin quietly asserts that he serves Winterfell, and he is bound to counsel whoever holds it. He tells Theon he has no hope of holding here, but Theon tells him he can expect no mercy if he does yield, and sends him away.
He gathers his remaining men and tells them that he does not intend to run, but will not force any of them to stay. For a moment he thinks none of them are going to join him, but finally seventeen of them do so. He tells the rest to run to his sister, and they leave. Theon tells Lorren to get the noose ready, and arms himself for battle.
A herald comes from the gathered force of over a thousand men, offering parley for “Theon Turncloak.” He rides out alone to meet Rodrik, who spits at his feet and berates him for murdering children and turning traitor to those who treated him so well; Theon reminds him he is ironborn, not a Stark. Rodrik demands his surrender and his life. Theon signals Lorren, who pulls out Rodrik’s daughter Beth onto the wall and puts a noose around her neck. Theon tells him that they will disperse by nightfall or his daughter hangs.
Rodrik curses him, and offers himself in exchange, but Theon refuses, and says after Beth another hostage will be hanged every dawn and dusk until they are gone. He rides back to the castle, certain that Rodrik will eventually attack anyway and that there is no way out of the situation. Luwin comes to him with a suggestion, that he offer to surrender and take the black. He assures Theon that Rodrik will allow it, and that way Theon will live. Theon considers the idea, and is on the verge of accepting when Kromm shouts that hundreds more men have joined Rodrik’s forces, but then attacked them.
Theon asks if it is Asha, but Kromm says no, they are northmen, with a bloody man on their banner. Theon recalls Reek had belonged to the Bastard of Bolton, and wonders if perhaps he had not abandoned Theon after all. He goes to the wall and watches the Bolton men gradually butcher the other side, until a man in a red helm approaches the gate and tosses three corpses before it: Ser Rodrik, Leobald Tallhart and Cley Cerwyn. Theon orders the gates opened and goes to greet his rescuer, who turns out to be Reek.
Reek laughs and explains that he is actually Ramsay Bolton, the Bastard; Reek was his serving man, and he had switched clothes with him before the hunters shot him down. Theon orders Palla brought out for him as promised, but Ramsay declares her beneath him, and says he’ll take Theon’s bedwarmer Kyra instead. Theon angrily calls him mad, and Ramsay backhands him, shattering his cheekbone. Theon lies on the ground in agony while the Bolton men kill the rest of his men and Luwin as well.
“Save me the Freys,” the Bastard was shouting as the flames roared upward, “and burn the rest. Burn it, burn it all.”
The last thing Theon Greyjoy saw was Smiler, kicking free of the burning stables with his mane ablaze, screaming, rearing . . .
Isn’t it kind of hard to burn a giant stone castle, like, actually to the ground? Yeah, but I bet you can still do a metric fuckton of damage in the meantime. Well, that just sucks. So does that mean bye-bye Winterfell?
And oh, Theon might be dead. Dead or unconscious, one of the two.
If he’s unconscious, fine. If he’s dead, FINE.
Seriously, it’s almost not worth it to call him a tool by this point; it’s like an insult to tools the world over. He’s just horrific and pathetic and UGH. Threatening to hang children, ugh. Oh, never mind, actually murdering children; “ugh” doesn’t even cover that one.
And I love that little moment of hope Martin gives Theon (re: the Night Watch thing), right before pretty much literally kicking him in the teeth. And seriously, did you have to kill Luwin? And Rodrik? Bah.
Jeez, man, are you nice to any of your characters? Don’t answer that.
And also: ohhhhhhh. So Reek was the Bolton bastard all along? Whoa, did not catch that one at all. I thought they’d killed the bastard guy, but I guess not so much. Well, that’s not chilling or anything. I gotta say, this Bolton clan features some seriously fucked-up individuals, not to put too fine a point on it. Ick.
Ickiness aside, I’m really not clear on what Reek’s (I might as well stick with the accurately descriptive name) long-term plans are here, because I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that Robb is going to take rather large exception to him burning down his house and so on. I have to assume Reek’s thinking he’s going to set up his own little rebellion against the North, but I really can’t imagine that going any better for him than Theon’s attempt, unless he’s got some serious ace up his sleeve.
Which, admittedly, he might well have, so maybe I should shut up and wait and see. Mostly I just hope Robb comes back and kills them all, because sheesh.
I wonder if Beth and Palla and Kyra and the rest survive. I hope they do. I ain’t gonna hold my breath on it, though.
And that’s our show, yaaay! Have a Friday, and I’ll see y’all back here for more next week!