Fri
May 27 2011 2:29pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones, Part 10

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 10 of A Game of Thrones, in which we cover Chapters 18 (“Catelyn”) and 19 (“Jon”).

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 18: Catelyn

What Happens
Captain Moreo Turnitis comes to tell Catelyn that the ship will make port in King’s Landing in an hour, and to congratulate Ser Rodrik for finally not being seasick anymore. The captain leaves, and Catelyn and Rodrik discuss who they can trust in the capital; Rodrik thinks the king’s master-at-arms, Ser Aron Santagar, is “vain but honest,” but they are both worried about Lord Petyr Baelish, called “Littlefinger,” who had challenged Brandon Stark’s right to Catelyn’s hand in Riverrun and was left scarred for it, and now sits on the council as master of coin. Rodrik is insistent that he go into the Red Keep (the king’s castle) without Catelyn and bring Aron out to her; he thinks no one will recognize him now that he’s shaved his whiskers.

When they dock, Catelyn asks Moreo to recommend an inn, and gives a bonus to all the crew. They settle in at the inn and Rodrik leaves to find Aron, but some hours later Catelyn is woken by the City Watch, who have orders from Lord Littlefinger to escort her to the castle; Catelyn realizes Moreo must have sold them out. The guards take her to a tower in the Red Keep, where Petyr meets her alone. Catelyn icily demands to know what he was thinking to summon her “like a serving wench,” and how he knew she was in the city. Petyr tells her Lord Varys, the king’s spymaster, “knows all,” except for why she is here.

Varys joins them, and commiserates with her over Bran; Catelyn is barely civil to him in reply. Varys then shocks her by asking for the dagger, and Catelyn demands to know what has happened to Rodrik. Varys assures her he is fine, and back at the inn with Aron (with whom he spoke about a dagger), but anxious at Catelyn’s disappearance. Catelyn tosses the dagger on the table, and Varys cuts himself on its edge. Littlefinger surmises that she is looking for the dagger’s owner, and tells her she only needed to come to him for the answer: it is his. Catelyn is stunned, and then Petyr further explains that it used to be his, but no longer; he lost it in a wager during the tourney on Prince Joffrey’s birthday. Shaking, Catelyn asks to whom.

“The Imp,” said Littlefinger as Lord Varys watched her face. “Tyrion Lannister.”

Commentary
DUN!

Yeah, I don’t buy this for a hot second.

Oh, I believe that the dagger belonged to Tyrion, and that he won it just like Littlefinger said, but otherwise, I call total bullshit. This screams “framejob” in ten-foot-tall letters of fire, y’all. It stinks like a stinky thing!

…Of course, having thought about it a little more, given the series I’m reading, it would be just like Martin to have it turn out that Tyrion was behind the assassination attempt, just because he’s been a comparatively sympathetic character up till now, and we can’t have that. But all things being equal, I find it highly unlikely.

Tyrion said flat out to Jaime that he hoped Bran would live, after all. And yes, this was mostly just to needle his brother (and to fish for information), but even so, I believe he was sincere—even if just because he wanted to know what Bran knew. Not to mention, I find it hard to believe Tyrion of all people would justify killing Bran (to the assassin) as a mercy-killing. Nor do I think he would have been stupid enough to use a weapon that could so easily be traced back to him.

But hell, I could be wrong. One thing I will totally give AGOT so far: it ain’t been predictable!

If I am right, though, then of course the next question is: who’s framing him?

…Which is a question I’m not even going to attempt to speculate on at this point, since I can already think of at least five possible candidates and we haven’t even met most of Robert’s court yet. Sheesh.

Also, Littlefinger will be A Problem whether or not he’s the framer. Hell hath no fury like an insecure dude scorned, you guys. Srsly.

And regardless of the truth of the matter, I predict that Catelyn’s reaction is not going to be pretty. She definitely strikes me as the type who would kill first and ask questions later, even if only metaphorically.

And perhaps not so metaphorically, at that. Women may lack agency as a general rule in this setting, but that doesn’t alter in the slightest my suspicion that about the absolute last thing in the world you would want is Catelyn Stark as your enemy.

 

Chapter 19: Jon

What Happens
Jon defeats another boy, Grenn, at practice, humiliating him badly. The master at arms, Ser Alliser Thorne, mocks Jon, calling him “Lord Snow,” giving him no credit for the victory. Jon walks alone to the armory to change, as he has no friends here. He thinks that only Tyrion had told him the truth about what the Watch was like, and that even his uncle had abandoned him, going out on patrol beyond the Wall and refusing to take Jon with him. He fights homesickness, missing his siblings, especially Arya.

Grenn and three of his friends catch Jon alone, intending to get revenge for the practice earlier. Jon is holding his own in the fight, but it is broken up by the armorer, Donal Noye. Noye kicks the other boys out and gives Jon a lecture on his arrogance. He points out that none of the other boys have had Jon’s advantages in training, and if Jon doesn’t stop thinking he’s better than they are, he’ll get his throat slit one night. Jon hadn’t thought of it that way, and feels guilty. Noye dismisses him, and Jon goes out to look at the Wall, still stunned by its sheer size.

Tyrion joins him, and asks if Jon wants to know what’s on the other side, calling him “Lord Snow.” Jon tells him not to call him that, and Tyrion advises him to take the name and make it his own. As they head in for dinner, Tyrion makes a mocking comment on the dilapidated state of the castle, and Jon thinks of the Watch’s sharply dwindling numbers, with only three of the nineteen strongholds along the Wall still occupied. Tyrion also observes that Benjen is overdue from his task (looking for Ser Royce up by the Shadow Tower).

In the common hall, Thorne gives Jon a summons to the Lord Commander’s office, but refuses to say what for, until Tyrion steps in and insists, whereupon Thorne says a letter has arrived from Winterfell concerning Jon’s half-brother. Tyrion tries to console Jon, but Jon ignores him and dashes up to Jeor Mormont’s office; Mormont gives him the letter and offers commiseration on Bran’s crippled state, but Jon is merely overjoyed that Bran is alive and awake, and runs back down to the common hall, where he whirls Tyrion around in jubilation, telling him the news, and then offers a cheerful apology to Grenn, offering to show him how to defend against the move. Thorne mocks him, saying he’d have an easier time “teaching a wolf to juggle.”

“I’ll take that wager, Ser Alliser,” Jon said. “I’d love to see Ghost juggle.”

There is a shocked silence, and then the rest of the hall begins to laugh uproariously. Enraged, Alliser Thorne tells him that was a grievous error.

Commentary
Ah, Jon. Off to a scintillating start, I see.

Well, at least he’s smart enough (and mature enough) to get what Noye was telling him. Most teenagers would have been like All I hear is blah blah no one understands my pain Ihateyousulkytime.

Not that Jon doesn’t have at least some cause for sulkytime, at least compared to you or I, but Noye makes a good point that Jon’s actually had it pretty darn good up to this point compared to most of his fellow trainees, and still has many advantages over them. It was a pretty sharp lesson in privilege, really, and I’m glad Jon seemed to take it to heart. I knew I was right to like him!

Now let’s just hope he gets a chance to apply his knowledge. Having your master at arms for a nemesis probably qualifies as An Obstacle, I’m thinking.

And I see we are getting another possibly-red-herring that Tyrion was behind the assassination attempt on Bran, when he attempts to offer condolences to Jon even before the contents of the letter are known, and then “looking startled” when Jon relates the news that Bran is alive. Rackum frackum circumstantial evidence mumble grumble not conclusive blah. So there!

Man, Benjen better hope he doesn’t really find Royce. I think he will not like it if he does.

And okay, so this chapter states that the Wall is seven hundred feet high. Which is, like, insane. As comparison, the Great Wall of China is 30 feet at its highest height (at least according to the Intarwebs), and the pyramid at Giza is around 450 feet at its apex. I’m just saying. Who the hell built this thing?

(Obviously nowadays we have skyscrapers which are thousands of feet high, but I’m comparing Martin’s Wall to things built with a presumably more or less comparable level of technology, and from that perspective seven hundred feet is CRAZY.)

It was older than the Seven Kingdoms, and when he stood beneath it and looked up, it made Jon dizzy. He could feel the great weight of all that ice pressing down on him, as if it were about to topple, and somehow Jon knew that if it fell, the world fell with it.

Well, that’s not ominous at all. Especially combined with the fact that only about 15% of the Wall is even manned at present. Should probably do something about that, people. Didn’t you guys hear winter is coming?

Also, I’m not sure if the fact that the Wall is apparently made out of ice makes it more or less crazy. Probably more.

Also also:

“My brother is going to live,” [Jon] told Mormont. The Lord Commander shook his head, gathered up a fistful of corn, and whistled. The raven flew to his shoulder, crying, “Live! Live!

I SEE WHAT YOU DID THAR, GRRM

Seriously, that was very nicely done.


And that’s our show for today! Have a weekend, why dontcha? Cheers!

39 comments
Megaduck
1. Megaduck
It always interests me how much Leigh notices when she reads through this. I didn't make half the connections she does, of course, she also has to stop and write up a long summery and responce so has a bit more time for thinking then when I was just plowing through it.

It's interesting to see how much GRRM sets up in advance.

Also,

Vary's is there when Littlefinger tells Cat about the dagger. I'd forgotten that.

Interesting.
Antoni Ivanov
2. tonka

“My brother is going to live,”
told Mormont. The Lord Commander shook his head, gathered up a fistful
of corn, and whistled. The raven flew to his shoulder, crying, “Live! Live!”
I SEE WHAT YOU DID THAR, GRRM
Seriously, that was very nicely done.

Ok, maybe I am stoopit a bit but I don't see it ? What was nicely done ?
Megaduck
3. ryamano
Something another people pointed out to me is that Jon is behaving basically like an ass and beating his colleagues in sparring while he's preocupied with Bran. But when he receives news that Bran's going to live his mood gets a lot better and he offers to teach others. Of course the talk with Donal Noye also had a large impact on that, but it seems Jon subconsciously didn't want to have any friends, any happiness, while his brother could've been dying. It was some kind of subconscious guilt.
Megaduck
4. Wortmauer
I've always thought Littlefinger's nickname was funny, but it took until this reread for me to notice how it came to be. "His father had died several years before, so he was Lord Baelish now, yet still they called him Littlefinger. Her brother Edmure had given him that name, long ago at Riverrun. His family's modest holdings were on the smallest of the Fingers, and Petyr had been slight and short for his age."

(Note the Fingers are a jagged coastline on the Narrow Sea.)

"He had a little pointed chin beard now." Yay for little pointed chin beards.
Megaduck
5. Carolyn H
I guess I'm just a sucker because when I read the whole dagger=Tyrion's section for the first time, I pretty much totally bought into it. Now, years later, I don't remember why. Perhaps it was simply that I ways already learning not to trust the "good" characters in GoT and up to that point Tyrion was pretty likeable, so therefore, my thinking ran, he must really not be a good guy and so maybe he was behind the attempt on Bran's life. My favorite of these two chapters is the Jon chapter. I liked that he learned a life lesson here and didn't go totally defensive about the advantages he'd enjoyed in life thus far. He took the criticism and found it valid. And yeah, the size of the Wall is over-the-top impressive. And if the whole idea of the crumbling, abandoned sections of it doesn't scare you, nothing will.
Megaduck
6. sixthlight
I believe Martin has said that, were he to write the book again, he'd make the Wall a lot shorter. When they filmed the TV series they used a quarry with a wall a couple of hundred feet high and he realised that, really, seven hundred feet was just ridiculous. Which it is, even if you're going for Epic Fantasy Scale. His grasp on scale seems to be about on par with his grasp of children's ages (and I mean that lovingly, but it's obvious he doesn't have a *clue* about the kids.)
Richard Boye
7. sarcastro
Oh, Leigh.

Are you sure you haven't read this series before? Remind me, a few years hence, of the special awesomeness of something you just dropped as a bon mot.
Rob Munnelly
8. RobMRobM
Littlefinger and Varys enter. DUN DUN. Recall that Littlefinger's name was mentioned back in the Bran falling out the window chapter by the Love Twins in the Who Else Could Have Been Appointed the Hand sweepstakes. "Also, Littlefinger will be A Problem whether or not he’s the framer. Hell hath no fury like an insecure dude scorned, you guys. Srsly." LOL Very interesting comment re Catelyn Stark being a bad*ss when her family is involved. I can see why you say that. Re Jon, it's a nice thought exercise to re-read the first half of Jon's chapter from the viewpoint of the kids he is fighting with - and realize, in fact, he actually was acting like a bully (as Donal Noye says). Really nice craftsmanship by GRRM. As you noted, kudos to Jon for snapping out of it. Re the size of the Wall - we're not talking about the TV show (la-la Leigh is not listening) but it is as impressive as you think on the silver screen.
Kat Blom
9. pro_star
Yeah I know all through my first read of the series I was looking at Tyrion with shifty eyes. Leigh, thanks and have a fantastic weekend!
Megaduck
10. Djizeus
I'm with Tonka...what did GRRM do nicely?!? What did he do? What did he do?
Megaduck
11. TG12
"...about the absolute last thing in the world you would want is Catelyn Stark as your enemy."

Heh. True 'dat.
Peter Czyzewski
12. sebastianelgar
I believe what Leigh is referring to is the symbolism of the crow from Bran's vision and the raven in Mormont's chamber. But I'm nowhere near my book and it's been a couple of years since I read them to be certain.
Rob Munnelly
13. RobMRobM
sacastro - I believe I just realized the particular point to which you are referring - among Leigh's many bon mots - and just thought to myself: wow. I'll clarify in spoiler comments for those interested.
Megaduck
14. Wortmauer
Djizeus@10: I'm with Tonka...what did GRRM do nicely?!?
He tied Jeor Mormont's talking raven back to the talking crow in Bran's acid dream. The corn eating, the urging him to live.

So, this is where we meet Varys the Spider, eunuch, master of whisperers. I've always thought his effeminate character was fun, if a little over the top. He has soft, perfumed, powdered hands, his breath smells of lilacs, he tends to giggle. Maybe some of this comes from being a eunuch, but I bet a lot of it is affectation. I bet Varys has the same philosophy as Tyrion. They're both "not a real man" and can't do a thing about it, and they both seem to go out of their way to call attention to this. Nobody can really mock you for something you already mock yourself for.

Also, one would think that being determinedly effeminate in Westeros would be a great way to get people to underestimate you. But that obviously didn't happen. People around King's Landing are terrified of Varys and his "little birds". (Is it just me or is a spider who controls little birds a bit of a mixed metaphor?)

Between Littlefinger, Varys, and the Lannisters we've already met, one starts to see what Robert means when he says he needs Ned because he can't trust anyone else. Robert's not entirely stupid. But he did surround himself with quite the crowd. I'm a big fan of judging someone by who they choose to surround themselves with - e.g., Oliver North's scandal reflected badly on President Reagan, Hillary Clinton's multiple scandals reflected badly on President Clinton. But, at the same time, the slimiest people in politics can sometimes be the most competent, too, and you do want to surround yourself with competence. And then they make themselves indispensable. For all Varys seems really untrustworthy, how many others could have cultivated and run a spy network half as effective as his?
Steven Halter
16. stevenhalter
Yeah, it seemed to me also that leaving your own really distinctive dagger as an assassination weapon would be a truly stupid thing to do. Tyrion doesn't seem stupid.
It's not like there aren't 10,000 nondescript knives lying around in this world that could have easily been used.
Rob Munnelly
17. RobMRobM
@15 - Indeed. Please check my spoiler forum and confirm I am correct. I bet I am. @14 - spider and little birds. LOL. Never thought of that.

Edit - what's up with the spacing on my posts? Not coming through. Oh well.
Megaduck
18. Sooner_Fan
In Regards to what GRRM did nicely...I think she is referring to the three eyed crow from Bran's dream or there were crows looking for corn at the end of the chapter when he is thrown from the tower.

I always find it amusing that so many people jump on Jon's case for his bout of being a teenager. Most people fail to put themselves in his shoes. He comes from a House where honor is valued above everything and is thrust into a group, albeit at one of the only decisions he probably could have made, that is dominated by criminals and rapers. He doesn't realize yet that a lot of his new comrades aren't that bad. To top it all off hes basically forbidden from having sex, which is pretty devastating to a teenager. The fact that he learns from his mistakes separates him from a lot of people. MOST teenagers in our world wouldn't handle themselves so well.

I've always thought it silly that Tyrion would have been responsible for Bran for a couple reasons.
1. GRRM has set up Tyrion as a sympathetic character. Although Martin does like the shock factor, noone can truly sympathize with someone who throws a kid off a tower. especially at the beginning of the series.
2. NO WAY is Tyrion stupid enough to try to murder a kid with a dagger that could easily be traced back to him. Another thing GRRM has done is set up Tyrion as being possibly the most intelligent character in the series.
Joseph Blaidd
19. SteelBlaidd
Fun link for those with Cash on hand
http://www.valyriansteel.com/shop/
Leigh Butler
20. leighdb
@ several who were confused about the raven thing - sebastianelgar and Wormauer are correct, that's what I meant. Sorry, I probably should have been clearer.
Rob Munnelly
21. RobMRobM
Leigh - too subtle for your own good. Nice job this week - couple of good zingers. One observation that is not a spoiler - we've seen the Lord Commander's name before....
Birgit
22. birgit
Is it just me or is a spider who controls little birds a bit of a mixed metaphor?

In German, tarantulas are called Vogelspinne, probably because of a painting of a tarantula eating a hummingbird.
Megaduck
23. Kess
PLEASE do more than two chapters a week! I love your writeups but this will take forever!
Stefan Mitev
24. Bergmaniac
Littlefinger and Varys appear for the first time, which alone is enough to make this chapter one of the best in the series. I love them both. Though unfortunately the explanation of why would far too too spoilerish. ;)

I like that Jon was quickly shown that he was being a whiny jerk. What annoyed me about him in the early chapters is his "woe is me" attitude (though I admit it's realistic given his age and circumstances), even though he's had a far better life than 99% of the people in Westeros until now, raised the same way as the sons of a great noble family. From here on though he gets much better in this regard.
Megaduck
25. JohnnyMac
Wortmauer, @14, "Nobody can really mock you for something you already mock yourself for."

Avram Davidson had another example of this strategy in one of his Dr. Eszterhazy stories ("The Crown Jewels of Jerusalem, or The Tell-Tale Head"). Dr. Eszterhazy has been given a cryptic message:

" 'See Sludge', said the message, in its entirety. The handwriting tended toward the script favored in the official Avar-language schools of Pannonia, which brought it down to only seven million or so possible people. Still, that was a start of sorts. As for 'Sludge'. The word was an epithet for any of three and one half to four million Slovatchko-speaking subjects of the Triune Monarchy, and for their langauge. Its use was rather a delicate matter. "Who you shoving, Sludge?" was, for example, grounds for blows. Yet. Yet the same person who violently objected to the word might easily say, "Speak Sludge"--meaning, talk sense. Or: "What, three beers 'much to drink'? Who you talking to? You talking to a Sludge!" On reflection, and considering that the message had been scribbled on a newspaper...

As the editor of the 'Report' had been born in the Glagolitic Alps, the very heartland of the Slovatchko, he was not eligible to become President of the United States. So, instead, he had accomplished something almost as difficult, namely, becoming editor of the largest-circulation Gothic-language newspaper in the Imperial (and officially Gothic-speaking) Capital. Where he disarmed all insults in advance by using the nickname of "Sludge" almost to the entire exclusion of of his real name.
There would be little point in making references to someone's illegitimacy if he chose to answer his telephone with "Bastard speaking, yeah?"
So.
"Hello, Sludge."
("The Adventures of Dr. Eszterhazy", p. 232)
Rob Munnelly
26. RobMRobM
And... the tradition continues - the relevant posting from A Blog of Ice and Fire. Not his best work, I fear:


Usually knights are shiny and chivalrous, but in Martin's universe,
they shave their beards because of accumulated seasickness barf. Ser
Rodrik seems like the perfect bodyguard who takes many precautions to
keep Catelyn safe on their journey to King's Landing, but then you
remember that just a few chapters ago he didn't think of posting a guard
outside Bran's room. Come on Rod, you're better than that.
When
Catelyn finally arrives at the city, she is greeted by her childhood
friend Littlefinger, who has overcome several social disadvantages to
climb quite high on the political ladder. Though he still harbors
unrequited feelings for Catelyn, his personal history and his obvious
Napoleon complex gives him plenty of reasons to dislike the Starks.
Where Littlefinger is mysterious and clever, Varys is deceptive and
scary. He's the Westeros KGB. He has an almost child-like demeanor, but
the one asset he possesses --information -- is so important to everyone
that he could be more powerful than the King. This contrasts quite
sharply with Vary’s very fragile, very dickless exterior.
Varys
knows that Bran is in a coma and that Catelyn is in King’s Landing.
Varys knows exactly when she arrived and where she is hiding. Varys
knows why she carries a dagger and that it originally belonged to
Tyrion. Varys knows what you are thinking before you do. Varys knows you
know he knows. He knows you know he knows you know. Varys was on the
grassy knoll with Amelia Earhart and Bigfoot, watching the final episode
of Lost which explains everything. Varys knows when A Dance with Dragons will be released. Varys knows, he just knows.
____________________


Jon whines some more about his bastardness, about Benjen, and about Alliser
Thorne. He whines about Night’s Watch comrades and that it's cold near
the Wall. Never mind that it was his choice to come here despite his
uncle’s warning. Jon has had it so rough growing up with kickass royal
siblings in a giant castle with a Lord as a father. Jon must feel so
misunderstood and alone despite his supremely loyal supernatural pet
direwolf who is unconditionally devoted to him. Poor Jon Snow. It's
amazing he has endured such a hard life.
The
sons of famers and miners are no match for Jon’s combination of sword
skills and emo rage. Before Jon makes too many enemies, Donal Noye
verbally beats the pretentious emoness right out of him. Jon starts to
realize that when the snow hits the fan, it won't matter if your mother
was a whore or if you can beat down some big kid named Grenn. Jon bonds
with Tyrion some more while a bird arrives from Winterfell. Tyrion
incorrectly assumes that his super expensive and recognizable dagger man
succeeded in whacking Bran, but it’s actually news that Bran woke up.
Jon is so happy that he extends an olive branch to Grenn. When Thorne
makes fun of them, Jon fires back with his “I’d love to see Ghost
juggle” zinger. Alliser is not amused, probably because he didn't get
the joke. It's funny because wolves normally can’t juggle.
Rob Munnelly
27. RobMRobM
Leigh - FYI, Sarcastro and I were focusing on two different forward looking bon mots. (Mine was better, though.) Guess that goes to show just how on your game you are this week, LOL.

Rob
Megaduck
28. Xolotl
...argh...Littlefinger... Also, Bran is Jon's cousin, not brother. Why you say? Cause the Ned would never cheat on his wife, it's not in him, but when he finds his sister and she has a kid from the prince (who has raped her) what is he to do? He won't kill it but he will say its his bastard and raise as his own. No one wants to kill him cause they don't know how his real father is but Ned gets to keep of his sister near to him.
Megaduck
29. vsthorvs
Oh the mystery of the knife...
Megaduck
30. pasky
remove or edit Xolotl's post @28. While not technically a spoiler since the issue is unresolved, we are not yet at the point in the book where this can be theorized.

IMO.
Irene Gallo
31. Irene
@28: I needed to unpublish your comment for now. I'll be able to white-text de-spoil it once I get to a real (not phone) computer. I'll rre-publish it then.

Folks-- please use the spoiler thread in the forums when you need to. You can always link to your comment here if you want the main thread to know it's there.
Megaduck
32. Yenvious
Ms. Leigh,What I don't get is how you can stand to read just two chapters a week! I'd go crazy, regardless of what other work was on my plate, not being able to keep reading a book like this.

Also, Re: The Wall, consider what would scare the people of Westeros so much that they would feel the wall needed to be 700 feet high to be safe from it?
Michael Maxwell
33. pike747
Hello everyone, I just started my read (not re-read) yesterday and I am way past this already! I wanted to get into this on the ground floor but my local library did not have GoT so I bought it. Yes Torry this works! I will try to stay with you the rest of the way. So far it is very good almost five hundred pages in one night! My visualiztion of the seven hundred foot wall is the Towers of the Golden Gate which I believe are seven hundred and fifty feet. Then I turn that into a wall that goes most of the way to the Oregon border. Wow! This book really keeps you on your toes throwing so much character and world building at you in such a short span. Great intrigue and political maneuvering. Tyrion is a very interesting character and one of my favorites so far. I don't believe for a second that he would be so stupid as to equip the assasin with a blade that could be tied to him. As always an inciteful and entertaining review of the material, Leigh
Cornell Johnson
34. Oriares
I would LOVE Cat as an enemy, provided I know she's an enemy. She never seemed that bright to me.
Rob Munnelly
35. RobMRobM
"Which is a question I’m not even going to attempt to speculate on at
this point, since I can already think of at least five possible
candidates and we haven’t even met most of Robert’s court yet. Sheesh."

Actually, you have. You met Barristan Selmy and Robert's brother Renly on the Kingroad. You've now met Varys and Littlefinger. All you're missing on the King's small council is Grandmaester Pycelle and Robert's other brother, Stannis who, according to this chapter, is off to his castle on Dragonstone. Stannis also shows up indirectly in the Jon chapter in the form of Donal Noye, Stannis' blacksmith, who forged Robert's warhammer and brings Jon back to reality in awesome fashion. (And your recap didn't focus on the interesting fact that he is at this point a one-armed blacksmith.) But I agree, too early for you to make guesses (unless you want to).

Rob
Amir Noam
36. Amir
Yenvious @32:

Also, Re: The Wall, consider what would scare the people of Westeros so much that they would feel the wall needed to be 700 feet high to be safe from it?


Must be Oliphants, surely.
:-)
Fake Name
37. ThePendragon
I agree with kess@23 and it has been asked several times before Leigh. Can you please consider doing more chapter where possible? I get that some chapters might be longer than others, but some chapters are REALLY short and you could fit in three. At the current rate, it's excruciating to follow. Every time I come back it asounds me how little this re-read has progressed.

As for the actual content. On my initial read I was very suspicious of Little Finger from the get go, and couldn't believe Tyrion would be involved, but at the same time, he is a Lannister and I felt I could be totally wrong.
Michael Maxwell
38. pike747
Winter is coming.

When I first moved from CA to NY my wife and I learned quickly that winter is always coming here. It is the last day of May but we still have to be preparing for winter in our minds.
Megaduck
39. The Smiling Knight
Women may lack agency as a general rule in this setting, but that
doesn’t alter in the slightest my suspicion that about the absolute last
thing in the world you would want is Catelyn Stark as your enemy.

Oh, there will be agency and, oh my.... you have nooooo idea. :)

Also, the wall was built partly by magic so that could serve as a sort of explanation for its unusual height.

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