May 6 2011 2:26pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones, Part 7

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinWelcome 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 7 of A Game of Thrones, in which we cover Chapters 12 (“Eddard”) and 13 (“Tyrion”).

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 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 12: Eddard

What Happens
Robert insists on riding out into the countryside with Ned to talk. He laughingly brings up the girl Ned fathered his bastard on, Wylla, but Ned refuses to discuss her; Robert mocks him for his guilt over his indiscretion. Robert gives Ned news from his master of whisperers, Varys: Daenerys Targaryen has wed a Dothraki horselord named Drogo. Ned doesn’t see why he should care about this, nor does he care much for the source (Jorah Mormont, self-exiled to avoid slaving charges), but Robert is entirely irrational on the subject of the Targaryens. Ned tries to convince him that Robert is “no Tywin Lannister,” to slaughter innocents the way Tywin had Rhaegar’s wife and children; outraged, Robert reminds him of what the Targaryens did to Ned’s family, especially Lyanna, and vows he will kill every one of them and piss on their graves to boot.

Ned abandons this approach and instead insists that the Dothraki could never be a threat to them, given their fear of the sea, but Robert is not so certain, and is darkly sure that if “the beggar king” crosses with a Dothraki horde behind him, many of the houses formerly loyal to the Targaryens will flip back again. This brings the conversation to the position of Warden of the East, which Robert finally reveals he has already promised to Jaime Lannister. Carefully, Ned points out that Tywin Lannister is already Warden of the West, and Jaime his heir; once Tywin dies that would make Jaime, a man who’s already killed a king, Warden of both the East and West. Robert doesn’t see any problem with this.

Ned tells him the story (Robert complaining that he’s heard it already) of how the Lannisters took King’s Landing through treachery rather than force of arms, and how Ned had ridden into the throne hall to find Jaime Lannister on the Iron Throne, sword still red with Aerys’s blood. Robert laughs this off, reminding Ned that Jaime was barely seventeen at the time, and will hear no more on the subject. Feeling helpless, Ned follows his king as they ride on.

As the great philosopher Bugs Bunny would say, “What a maroon.”

Robert. Robert Robert Robert ROBERT. Please, for the love of all that’s holy, stop being a dribbling idiot before you get the entire cast of this book killed, por favor. You’re killing me here.

Seriously, dude. The modern-day equivalent (sort of) of what Jaime did that day would be if a member of the Secret Service shot the President in the head (the mere notion of which practically hurts to type, ow), and then kicked back and put his feet up on the desk in the Oval Office, and you think this is no big deal? That there’s not a statement being made there? A statement of, oh, I don’t know, I Just Cant Wait To Be King?

No? Nothing? Wow. Excuse me a moment.


Ah, better.

God. If I banged on Robert’s head, how long do you think the echoes would last? I’m voting HOURS.

Anyway. So, “Wylla,” is it? Mmm. Maybe I’ve just been trained too well re: red herrings and/or conspiracy theories, but I call bullshit on this name. Jon’s mother is no random peasant girl, I trow. And Ned’s remorse is very nice and all, but the only reason I’m not rolling my eyes at it at least a little is because I remain convinced there is More To This Story. I raise my eyebrow in your general direction, Eddard Stark!

Also, the Lannisters just keep bucking for Family of the Century, don’t they? And though you could theoretically argue that what they did to seize King’s Landing was only slightly more skeevy than what Odysseus and Co. did to Troy with the big wooden horse, I’m still with Ned on this one: they suck and should not be trusted, end of story.

And having said that, I have this terrible suspicion the narrative is going to try to make me see things from Jaime’s perspective at some point, because Robert is seriously looking like more and more of a douchebag, and I’m really doing that squinched-mouth-averted-head thing kids do when you’re trying to make them eat their vegetables, because DO NOT WANT.

The man pushed a kid off a window ledge, okay, and I claim my right to hate him forever and ever, dammit. And even if you don’t know about that (as, obviously, no one else does at this point), the idea of a man whose OBVIOUS wealth of ambition is only matched by the utter dearth of scruples he has to go with it, being in charge of (if I’m interpreting this correctly) basically the bulk of the kingdom’s military puissance, should be frankly terrifying to anyone with half a brain. And yet Robert sees nothing wrong with it!

But then, I guess I didn’t need to go repeating myself, now did I? Bah.


Chapter 13: Tyrion

What Happens
Tyrion rides north with two armsmen, Benjen Stark and Jon Snow; they are joined some days into the journey by another member of the Night Watch, Yoren, shepherding two peasant boys who are joining the Watch in lieu of castration for rape. Tyrion thinks Jon must be getting an unpleasant wake-up call on what most of the Watch are actually like, excluding his uncle. Benjen makes no secret of his dislike for Lannisters to Tyrion, and Tyrion is determined not to complain about the hardships of the trip as a result.

He passes the time at camp reading about dragons, something of an obsession for him; he had been amazed at the nineteen dragon skulls that used to grace the throne room at King’s Landing. The newest were smallish as the line had dwindled, but the first three (Balerion, Meraxes, and Vhaghar) are enormous; they were the dragons Aegon Targaryen and his sisters had used to conquer the Seven Kingdoms three thousand years ago.

Jon finds him and asks why he reads so much; Tyrion replies that he will never be a swordsman, so his weapon must be his mind. Tyrion talks of how he used to imagine burning his father or his sister with dragonfire, and insinuates that Jon has had similar thoughts about the Starks. He needles Jon about joining “a midden heap for all the misfits of the realm”; Jon screams at him to stop, and Tyrion feels guilty, but before he can apologize Ghost attacks, knocking him down. Jon makes him grovel a bit before ordering Ghost to stand down and helping him up; he tells Tyrion that if the Watch is “a midden heap,” so be it. Tyrion congratulates him on being able to face up to hard truths, and they go back to camp.

Oh, Tyrion. You’re all set to be the one Lannister in this story I’m not trying to kill with my brain; don’t mess it up by messing with my Jon.

Because his life sucks enough already, really. Hanging out with rapists for the rest of his life. FUN.

So, I’m not watching the HBO show (though I’m faintly hearing very complimentary things through my shield of LALALANOSPOILERSCAN’THEARYOU), but I can’t help being curious about how much different it would be to experience this story as a television show first instead of a book. In particular, I wonder about meeting Tyrion’s character visually instead of, er, literarily.

(Wow, “literarily” is a legit adverb? Weird.)

It’s a trifle odd, maybe, but I don’t tend to form very concrete images of characters I read about. I mean, I follow the directions, so to speak; if the narrative tells me a guy is blonde, he’s blonde in my head too, but he’s vaguely blonde, if that makes any sense. Like the form of an idea of a blonde dude, or something.

I don’t think I’m explaining this very well, but what I’m trying to say is, I’m usually content to let my picture of characters be only as specific as the descriptions of them get, and if they get too specific my eyes tend to glaze over. And a lot of times I tend to forget various physical traits until I’m reminded of them. Which is interesting in Tyrion’s case, because I find that I keep forgetting that he’s supposed to be all dwarfed and misshapen until he says or does something in the story that reminds me, and I’m all like “Oh yeah.”

I think this is perhaps a little not cool of me, that I keep automatically defaulting him to “normal” in my brain, even though I’m certainly not doing it on purpose. It’s rather similar to the problem I constantly have with Lois Bujold’s character Miles Vorkosigan (the series about whom you should INSTANTLY READ if you haven’t already, because he is made of awesome with awesomesauce on the side). Both of them just don’t “play” to me as disabled, whatever that actually means, and so I keep forgetting that they, well, are (to obviously differing degrees). I’m pretty sure this does not say anything very complimentary about me, but I’m trying, I swear! And uncool or not, I am also forced to wonder whether I would react to Tyrion differently if his disabilities were impossible for me to forget about—like, say, if I were watching him on screen.

And having written all that, I am now heroically resisting Googling for a picture of the HBO version of Tyrion, because I am determined to keep this project Pure and stuff. See what I go through for you?

Anyway! So Tyrion likes dragons, eh? I am sure that this will never be important in any way. Also, apparently dragonbone is black, which is extremely cool for some reason.

Also also, I am trying to visualize a skull as big as how Tyrion describes Balerion’s (big enough to swallow a woolly mammoth whole), and it is kind of breaking my brain a little. No wonder the Targaryens won. Man.

Then there’s this:

The Lannisters never declined, graciously or otherwise. The Lannisters took what was offered.

I stared at this little quip of Tyrion’s for a surprisingly long time, trying to figure out exactly what he means by it. On reflection, I think that what it means pretty much entirely depends on how you define the word “offered.”

I’m betting that, to a Lannister, that word does not mean what I think it means.

And this concludes my attempt to make every pop culture reference ever in one post! Have a lovely weekend, and call your Momma on Sunday, because she loves you and almost certainly didn’t send you off to freeze to death on a wall with a bunch of former criminals. Our parenting standards, they are so low these days, eh? Byeee!

Andrew Fry
1. FireFro
Out of service, out of Africa...I wouldn't hang about!
Kat Blom
2. pro_star
This child is getting wildly out of wiiiiiing....

(if I got the lyrics wrong, it's been awhile. I may have to pop in the dvd this weekend!)
Jason D
3. Jason D
Loving the read Leigh! A fresh perspective is so satisfying.

One thing to mention is the connection the direwolves have to the Stark kids and Jon is much deeper than the show is portraying, which is unfortunate. And yes, the Lannisters are just totally skeevy.
Ryan Reich
4. ryanreich
It's actually only been three hundred years, not three thousand. You are getting your (re)Reads confused.
Christa Warden
5. lizy
Leigh ~ I respectfully disagree that you are exhibiting poor form when you forget that Tyrion is a dwarf or the other character (that I haven't read...yet) is disabled. Most folks that I've known with disabilities prefer to have their limitations overlooked and for the person interacting with them to see what they are/have to offer. So I say Kudos to you!

Thanks for doing the heavy lifting on these books for me. I read them years ago and have forgotten most everything so it's great to go through them again with your insights. Have a wonderful weekend!
Jason D
6. Tenesmus
The Lannisters never declined, graciously or otherwise. The Lannisters took what was offered.

I take this to mean "opportunity". If something presents itself for the taking, metaphorically, they will grab it with no hesitation. They will never let an opportuntiy pass.
Jason D
7. Whiskeyjak
Normal fantasy may have given you warped views of time where everything something old 1'000 plus years ago.
I don't actually know why fantasy authors have to resort to such ridiculous amounts of time when world building, 300 years is plenty old enough.
(My own personal theory, though probably wrong, so feel free to deride it, is that most fantasy comes from a very American viewpoint. Maybe with Americans having a relatively short history they don't have the same perspective on something that is old.)
Jason D
8. dank
I always thought it was super hypocritical of Ned to deride Jaime for killing the old King, when it only happened because of a rebellion HE led! "The evil king deserved to die, but you were a traitor for killing him!" I mean, wasn't everyone involved in the rebellion a traitor?
Rob Munnelly
9. RobMRobM
You've made some very perceptive comments in this post, none of which I can tell you about. Sorry.

"Oh, Tyrion. You’re all set to be the one Lannister in this story I’m not trying to kill with my brain; don’t mess it up by messing with my Jon." No danger of that - he keeps truth talking to Jon, who (surprisingly) actually listens and learns from him.

One other thing - wish you would highlight all the great Tyrion-Jon bonding lines in their chapter: Tyrion talking about all those "snarks and grumkins" your wet nurse told you about; Ghost attacking, Tyrion asking why he did it, and Jon responding "Maybe he thought you were a snark" and Tyrion coming back with "I wonder what he would do with grumkins." And then closing with "We best get back before your Uncle calls the banners." Priceless comedy.

I'm not going to tell you stuff about the HBO show but the Tyrion slapping Joffrey scene from the show is available on the web running in continuous loops for your viewing pleasure (not yours, though. Good for you!) I'm actually glad you are sitting it out, even though I feel sorry that you're missing it. There's one of these new reader-old reader GoT reads going on at another site (kind of like the Malazan one here at Tor) and I'm having very mixed feelings about the newbie admitting she's watching the series - although she'll try to keep the re-read ahead of the show. It will still color her views of the book, and I prefer your way. Very old school, Leigh. Bravo.
Sydo Zandstra
10. Fiddler
dank@8, re: Ned being hypocritical

IIRC, Ned derides Jaime, because he broke his vow to protect his King. Jaime was in the Kingsguard, after all.

Vows are important to Ned. Remember the scene where he executes the NW deserter, for breaking his vow...
Ted Herman
11. WinespringBrother
Leigh, not only are you avoiding the awesome HBO shows, you are reading this great series only 2 chapters a week! Very impressive! I devoured all 4 books in about 3 weeks, they were impossible to put down.

You earn much Ji for this!
Jason D
12. cheem
@8, yeah, but Jaime had sworn an oath. For Ned, honor is more important than anything else. He's very unbending on that, to the point of pathology.
David Thomson
13. ZetaStriker
I never had any problem like that where Tyrion was involved. His entire persona of sarcastic wit seems specifically born from his disability; an ever-present coping mechanism he uses to overcome the massive dump life took on him at his birth. And in that light, his every quip and verbal jab served as a reminded of exactly what and who he was.
Jason D
14. Carolynh
On imagining what a character looks like while reading: I tend to have fairly specific ideas of what the main characters look like in the books I read, though not so much with the supporting characters. If a character is shown on the cover of a book, I'm usually content to use that as my mind picture for that character. If the main characters are not portrayed on the book's cover, I just use the author's choice of characteristics and add my own interpretation.

Sometimes this causes problems if the book eventually becomes a movie and the actor chosen to portray a character doesn't match my imagination. I had the hardest time warming up to Viggo Mortenson as Aragorn because he looked nothing like I imagined him to be. Eventually I accepted it and grew to like VM in that part, but I think it wasn't until The Two Towers came out.

Sometimes how the character behaves colors my interpretation of how they look. For instance, I kept forgetting that Nyneave was originally described as pretty. Because she is, hmm, a bit touchy, I kept picturing her as more handsome or strongly featured than pretty.

On King Robert: Yes, he can be a total idiot, but I still find myself sort of liking him. I think it's because Ned likes him, so I figure he must have some good qualities or at least did before he became king.

On Tyrion: Tyrion keeps me a bit off-step. One time he's cool, the next not so much. I put it down to him never wearing rose-colored glasses. He sees what he sees and says what he thinks, and never tries to be politically correct or even, sometimes, likeable. On some level, he is acting a bit like a mentor to Jon, trying to make him see the reality of a situation and then deal with that reality, whatever it is. Someimtes I think he must see a little of himself in Jon and wants to make sure that John doesn't succumb to wishful thinking or to seeing the world through some chivalrous, rosy haze.
Steven Halter
15. stevenhalter
Yep, Robert is pretty firmly colored as an idiot here. Ned is not an idiot, but it seems that his honor may be getting in his way a bit.
And, that is kind of the point of Tyrion's remar. The Lannisters don't let anything get in the way of their ambition.
John Pigott
16. AbEnd
Hey, Leigh, now that you're deep into GRR's world, what do you think of the recent New Yorker magazine article on GRR and some of the comments about WoT?

A typical post-Tolkien epic fantasy is the best-selling “Wheel of Time” series, by Robert Jordan. David McCaman, a marketing executive and one of the founding members of the Brotherhood Without Banners, dismissively summarizes the genre this way: “The young kid on the farm discovers he has powers, and no one dies, and they find the magic to rule the world.” He calls it “Nerf fantasy,” meaning that “it’s really safe.” By contrast, “A Song of Ice and Fire” doesn’t truck with “orcs and goblins and dark lords and bad and good. It revolves around people, really gritty people, and real situations, things that you don’t see in fantasy—sex and language and betrayal.” Benioff once told New York that “Game of Thrones” was “ ‘The Sopranos’ in Middle-earth,”

Read more

Can't we all get along?
Melissa Shumake
17. cherie_2137
i usually don't form very specific images of characters in my imagination either. sometimes it helps if there is GOOD cover art to base that imaginary image off of, but in some cases, WoT for example, the cover art simply tells me what they DON'T look like.

i also read all four books in about 3 weeks, bought them over christmas break from college a couple years ago, and that was literally all i did.

and leigh's analogy of the secret service killing the prez is exactly the way that ned views jaime's killing of the king, i would say.
Jason D
18. sixthlight
@4 There's definitely a "three thousand year-old" reference to the dragon skulls in that chapter; I'm pretty sure it's a typo, since every reference everywhere else is to three hundred years. Unless the dragons were supposed to already be 2700 years old when Aegon and co. came a-conquering, but that doesn't seem hugely likely.
Chris Palmer
19. cmpalmer
I just re-read GoT after watching the first few episodes of the series. I'd read it at least three times before, but this was the first time after having the portrayals from the series in mind for the characters.

Strangely, Tyrion was the biggest change from my mental picture because, for some reason, I'd pictured him as stunted and very short, but not as short as the actor playing him (yes, I know his name, but I don't want to give Leigh a mental picture of the actor if she's remained unspoiled this far). (The actor), as my wife pointed out, is also more attractive than Tyrion is described as being (hunchbacked, etc.). Upon re-reading, though, the series got his height right and my mind had it wrong.

Similarly, my mental picture of Winterfell and King's Landing was different from the series depiction, but the series versions are closer to the book's descriptions.
Maiane Bakroeva
20. Isilel
I beg to differ about Jaime being ambitious - if he was, he wouldn't have been in the Kingsguard, surely?

And by the same token, yes, he is seen as guiltier than the rebels. His vows are supposed to be more sacred, more immutable than the normal oaths of fealty. In their own way they are not unlike the vows of the Night's Watch...

Also, most of the leaders of the rebellion were very seriously wronged by the Mad King... while Lannisters weren't. Not to mention that they took the capital by treachery and sacked it unnecessarily. Anyway, actions of his family in the whole affair - extremely treacherous and self-serving, also color people's perceprtion of Jaime's Kingslaying.

Tyrion thinks Jon must be getting an unpleasant wake-up call on what most of the Watch are actually like, excluding his uncle.

Which of course made me wonder what Ned could have possibly been thinking when after all the problematic things he did to keep Jon in Winterfell, he pretty readily agreed to throw him into the Night's Watch. Sure, Benjen joined too - but he was a few years older, of age and the decision wasn't made in a fit of drunken bitterness, I bet. Also, _he_ wanted Jon to wait.

Re: dragons, it is easy to become confused, because in the text it says that some skulls are 3000 years old. Either it was a mistake, or Targaryens brought some of the oldest skulls from Valyria when they first came to Dragonstone, 400 years previously. They have ruled Westeros for slightly less than 300 years when the Rebellion happened - all the chronology is "after Conquest".

Re: Tyrion's actor, he is more handsome than Tyrion's description and doesn't have long, strong arms that Tyrion seems to have, judging by his landing on them when he met Jon outside during the welcoming feast at WF.
Jason D
21. Rootboy
It makes bascially no sense given his description, but since I read these books while taking an art history class, I always pictured Tyrion looking like this guy.
Jason D
22. Dank
@ 12

Yea, but lot's of people swore oaths the Aerys. Jon Arryn must have had to swear an oath to become Warden of the East, and every knight in their army had to swear oaths to obey the king, among other things. Why do they all get passes?
Jason D
24. carolynh
Rootboy: Actually I think the painting DOES look a bit like Tyrion. Needs blond hair, of course, but other than that...
Leigh Butler
25. leighdb
Isilel, others:

Huh. The text definitely said that the oldest skulls in the room were three thousand years old, and that those were the same three the Targaryens used to beat Tyrion's ancestor. Guess it was a gaffe.

Which is good, because I was having trouble believing in a dynasty that lasts three thousand years. Three hundred is much more palatable.
Jason D
26. pratprak
Concerning Jaime's treachery, I think another point to consider may be that Ned et al had declared an open rebellion against the King, which seems honourable enough. Jaime, on the other hand, continued to serve in the Kingsgaurd, and till the very end, when he came into the throne room with his sword, Aerys trusted him to be on his side.
Fredrik Coulter
27. fcoulter
I have to say that these posts are both fun and remarkably difficult.

Maybe I'm doing this wrong, but since I've never read the books in the first place, I'm reading them as you're writing the posts. Complicating things is that I'm also watching the HBO series, which is running far faster than your read of the books.

I read the chapter. I read your summary. I read your thoughts. I read the second chapter. I read your summary. I read your thoughts.

I wait a week.

Forcing myself to only read two chapters a week is hard.

Very hard.

But I've managed so far. (Luckily, my eReader keeps track of where I am, so I don't have to worry about losing my place, etc.)
Bill Stusser
28. billiam
I could be totally wrong here but I always thought that the dragons where three thousand years old (that's why they were so goddamn big) when the Targaryens used them 300 years ago to conquer the kingdom.

Edit: to fix a typo
Jason D
29. Psionandon
A) Great post as always.

B) I'm just throwing this out there, but Balerion, Meraxes, and Vhaghar may be the coolest fantasy names of all time.
Jason D
30. carolynh
Billiam: what you said. It's the dragons that were 3000 years old, not the Targaryen empire.
Jason D
31. JoeNotCharles
Yes, from Ned's point of view, he's an oathbreaker, but Jaime's an Oathbreaker. He feels that he had to make the tough decision between bowing to his liege and facing up to the fact that his liege was a total monster, but Jaime's oath was of an order beyond his and Jaime's clear duty was to suck it up and defend and die with the monster.
Jason D
32. TheJess
cmpalmer: That is a MASSIVE spoiler right there. Seriously, how hard is it to refrain?
Chris Palmer
33. cmpalmer
Jason D
34. Valraukarul
I always saw the "Lannisters take what is offered" as a Marcus Aurelius kind of thing. Never shy away from the luxuries you have earned (i.e. your fancy goose feather down bed) but never complain about what is available (i.e. while on campaign; you can have that comfy looking rock over there). Equally, never whine about what could have been, or how things should have been, accept the situation as it presents itself, and act.
Jamie swore an Oath as a king's guard, to defend the life of the king, and to sacrifice his life before his king's. John Aryn, and Ned and Robert led the rebellion because the king had betrayed them, and pretty much gone Bonkers. Basically, Aerys betrayed his obligations to the Starks, and set off the rebellion; this makes it OK to be a rebel (even more so beause they won). Jamie is in a position as kingsguard much the same as a brother of the night's watch: no lands, no titles, no women, no obligations but to serve, no matter the cost.
(and yes Leigh, you are right, we will eventually see what Jamie is thinking: but it is a ways off in the series)
As for the trojan horse comparison; I disagree. The horse was a great gift to the gods (that was also a trap), left by an apparently fleeing enemy force. The Lannisters were Bannermen to the king, who sat out the war until the very last minute, then sent a big army to "defend" the king, were welcomed into the city as saviors and protectors, and then slew and looted their way through everything. The intention was to prove themselves as being part of the rebel cause (they never took up arms against the rebels, and fought on the rebel side before the rebellion was over) This cements them as better than those who bend the knee After the rebellion, and set them up to "offer" Robert the city, the heads of every Targaryn they could find, and a lovely young Queen.
In this as well, the Lannisters took what was offered. After long service to the king, and maintaining the peace of the realm as king's hand, Tywin Lanniser, jilted, didn't complain about how unfair and unjustly the king had treated him. When the rebellion began he simply waited. Finally, after the Trident, seeing that the king was definitely going to lose, he deftly betrayed the old king, and married his daughter to the new one, murdering a bunch of children in the process to prove his complete separation from the Targaryns. Cold, harsh, and shrewd. No Stark could ever love the Lannister's for it, but you have to agree they were successful.
David Thomson
35. ZetaStriker
It's an argument for another place, palmer. Too much later info is involved in that viewpoint.
Chris Palmer
36. cmpalmer
@TheJess:32, I'm not sure how massive of a spoiler that was (or exactly which message you were referring to - upon careful re-reading, it could have been either, I suppose) as I thought long and hard before posting either one to see if I was revealing anything that happened after these chapters. To be safe, I went back and made a few edits and inviso-texted anything that I thought might be spoiler-ish, but I'll be happy to delete further (or not complain if the moderator deletes them).

I would like to make it clear that I wasn't intentionally posting anything spoiler'ish, even in a veiled way. I apologize.

Later edit:
I would like to know the comment number of the offending post, though because the one I thought it was expresses an idea that is in several other posts here...
37. MasterAlThor

Dont beat yourself up for forgetting about how characters look. I do the same thing. I figured that I do it because I don't want to get the wrong vision in my head. Like you I keep a "sketch" in my head.

If my memory serves, I felt the same way about these chapters. Again this is really fun seeing you go through this for the first time.

Rob Munnelly
38. RobMRobM
Leigh - Re your reference to Jamie's "OBVIOUS wealth of ambition...." Curious as to what you are referring. Note that Jamie was heir to Casterly Rock and could have had his choice of daughters of the most powerful lords as his wife, but ended up joining the Kingsguard for life. Hmmm.

Sandy Brewer
39. ShaggyBella
The coolest thing about Tyrion is the green and brown eyes. That would be weird. I have a hard time picturing that. Also blonde the hair for some reason. I did a google search for images and none of them had the different colored eyes. (Not even the Danny Devito pic!)
Adam Whitehead
40. Werthead
To clear up the dragon confusion, it is said elsewhere that Balerion the Black Dread was over 200 years old when he died in the reign of Jaehaerys the Conciliator (who ruled as king between 48 and 103 years after Aegon's invasion). The 3,000 year thing is a mistake.

Which is good, because I was having trouble believing in a dynasty that lasts three thousand years. Three hundred is much more palatable.

You may want to stop, turn to the appendix and see how long House Stark has been in existence for (allegedly, according to myth and legend). Make sure you're not eating anything at the time.
Jason D
41. FogNSteel

As ever, fantastic post. I always look forward to them. A couple of points I'd like to make.

The first one concerning Jamie's killing of the King. You compared it to a secret service member assassinating the president. In my own opinion, this is not a fair comparison. We have never had a president that's in any way comparable to Aerys Targaryen. A closer analogy would be to say, "If a member of the Iraqi Imperial Palace Guard assassinated Sadaam Hussain..." It doesn't sound nearly as bad when you look at it like that.

Secondly, and I know due to space considerations it wasn't possible, but the conversation between Jon and Tyrion concerning why Tyrion reads so much is one of the most compelling and memorable dialogue sequences in the entire book. I'm afraid my own copy of the book is currently on loan to another would-be convert so I don't have the exact conversation in front of me. If one of my fellow commentators would be kind enough to post it, I'd appreciate it, because I really can't understate what a profound exchange it was. Thanks!
Jason D
42. cheem
One of the issues with the reread and the television series is the way that the series reveals information from different perspectives and at totally different times from the series. Information has been revealed in the show already that doesn't come up in the books until A Storm of Swords.

Which is why it's really a good thing that Leigh isn't watching the show. Sad thing, she can't even watch the first series after finishing the first book, because it would spoil her for the third!
Jason D
43. ryamano
Leigh, the conquest of the seven kingdoms by the Targaryens happened 300 years ago, not 3,000.
Jason D
44. Rowanmdm
I’m betting that, to a Lannister, that word does not mean what I think it means.

Did anyone else read that line and them immediately hear Inigo Montoya say it? Now I have a SOFI and Princess Bride mash-up running through my head and it's vastly amusing.
Rob Munnelly
45. RobMRobM
and because foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, here is the relevant except from the usually entertaining Blog of Ice and Fire. Note that this is a pretty quiet excerpt this time.

If I needed someone to throw a bachelor party, Khal Drogo would be my first choice, Tyrion Lannister second, and Eddard Stark dead last. Robert is having his midlife crisis -- he just wants to bang a tavern wench or assassinate a dragon, and Eddard keeps shooting him down. Snow and hardship made Lord Stark stoic and wise, but it also turned him into a wet blanket. If Robert wants to kill kids, let him. In Martin’s world, kids are treated like adults -- Jon gave a kid a sword, Drogo married one, and Jaime pushed one off a ledge.

Eddard disagrees with a lot of what Robert says and does, and would rather be back in Winterfell. Instead, he’s trudging south with a caravan composed of people he can’t trust and a King who won’t listen. It sucks, but it could be worse -- at least he’s not Jon Arryn.

Tyrion suffers through the bone chilling trip to the Wall, and stops to read about dragonbone. I had thought Viserys and Dany were calling themselves “dragons” metaphorically -- I didn't know that dragons actually existed. Perhaps my surprise was a result of the distinct lack of wizards and magic so far in these books. Sure there are mythical creatures, like the Others or the direwolves, but a flying, fire-breathing dragon seems out of place right now in the universe Martin has created. Usually, most fantasy stories have some sort of wizard throwing lightning bolts by now.

Tyrion and Jon bond some more. I like that Martin wrote these two with such noticeable, important flaws. Every character has flaws, but unlike Robert who can stop eating cupcakes or Cersei who can stop doing her brother, Tyrion and Jon cannot choose to stop being a dwarf or a bastard. Tyrion chose to go north, and he seems far more like a Stark than a Lannister. He and Sansa should just switch families.
Rob Munnelly
46. RobMRobM
@44 - no doubt an intentional reference. I bet Leigh will be amused when Inigo Montoya, Fezzick and Vizzini all actually show up later in the series. And Buttercup is already on the scene....
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
47. tnh
Cmpalmer, if you have to stop and think hard about whether something is a spoiler, it probably is.

Do you need a copy of that text? You could re-post it in the spoilers thread in Forums.
Jason D
48. vsthorvs
I always pictured Tyrion as looking like a shorter version of the hunchback of notredame guy, physically.

Robbert is a really terrible king. Why was he the one to gain the throne? I'm not sure if it counts a spoilers, but judging from the house background infos in the back of the book, I don't see anyway that Baraetheon had a better claim than Stark.
Vincent Lane
49. Aegnor

"Sure there are mythical creatures, like the Others or the direwolves, but a flying, fire-breathing dragon seems out of place right now in the universe Martin has created."

Direwolves are not mythical creatures. They are extinct, but definitely not mythical.
Jason D
50. Valraukarul
@48 Robert's Baratheon grandfather was married to a Targaryn Princess.
That's the source of the claim.
Adam Whitehead
51. Werthead
@48, #50 is correct. Specifically, King Aegon V's daughter Rhaelle was Robert Baratheon's grandfather, giving him a far closer claim to the crown than any of the Arryns, Tullys or Starks (as far as we know for sure, no Arryn, Tully or Stark has ever married into House Targaryen). And of course House Baratheon was founded by a bastard off-shoot of House Targaryen in the first place, which may have also strengthened Robert's claim.
Jason D
52. Mndrew
I’m still with Ned on this one: they suck and should not be trusted, end of story.

You only say that because they suck and can't be trusted. How unjust of you.

Jason D
53. EvilClosetMonkey
@ 22
By the rules of feudal vassalage, which I'm pretty sure GRRM is generally using here, Aerys voided the oaths of fealty of the Starks, Baratheons, and Arryns with his actions. Jaime has no such excuse for his actions.

While direwolves were certainly real creatures, the way they are depicted in ASOIAF is not consistent with what we know about them. They were not as big as the ASOIAF direwolves, so I wouldn't say that calling them mythical creatures is completely inaccurate. After all, basilisk lizards don't make mythological basilisks any more real :)
Vincent Lane
54. Aegnor

I don't remember how big they are supposed to get in the books, but in real life they weighed about 3 times as much as a modern gray wolf.
j p
55. sps49
Werthad @40-

I bet Legh has learned her Lesson from Another Series to avoid appendicies- suprise spoilers can lurk there!

I know I won't read one until finishing, forevermore.
Jason D
56. EvilClosetMonkey
@54 Aegnor
The wikipedia article is incorrect. Most sources estimate that direwolves either weighed between 125lbs and 175lbs or between 150 and 200lbs on average (gray wolves weigh between 55lbs and 125lbs on average depending on which subspecies they belong to). There are other differences, such as direwolves being shorter and stockier than gray wolves.

If I remember correctly, direwolves in the books are compared to ponies in size and weight. This would place the direwolf at no shorter than 3 feet 3 inches in height at the withers and no taller than 4 feet 10 inches at the withers. Their weight would be between 330lbs (which is 90 pounds higher than the wikipedia estimate for a real dire wolf and 130 pounds higher than the highest average for most other sources) and 1100lbs. Weight range depends on what type of pony the dire wolf is similar to. Finally, real life direwolves are estimated to have had an average length of 5ft, whereas most ponies will be at least 6ft long and usually longer.
Jason D
57. lakesidey
@51: "Specifically, King Aegon V's daughter Rhaelle was Robert Baratheon's grandfather"

Was married to, you mean, I presume. But thanks for the info, I don't recall this detail (admittedly it has been a while since I read the books)

@41: "If a member of the Iraqi Imperial Palace Guard assassinated Sadaam Hussain..." It doesn't sound nearly as bad when you look at it like that.

Maybe it would, to an Iraqi? They both sound about the same, to me.

@20: "I beg to differ about Jaime being ambitious - if he was, he wouldn't have been in the Kingsguard, surely?"


(Ah, always wanted to say that...)

Adam Whitehead
58. Werthead
@55: Ha, I can see why. But in all four cases, the appendix shows the state of play only at the start of the book, not the end. So reading the CLASH OF KINGS appendix would be a huge spoiler for the end of GAME OF THRONES, but has no impact at all on the rest of KINGS.

@57: Yes, married to. Whoops.
lawrence henderson
59. justinius23
still loving seeing this through fresh eyes leigh. for want of de-railing, i've just started the malazan series. first book is hard to get involved in. even less exposition than a game of thrones.

worth continuing with? (i'm about 500 pages in)
Peter Stone
60. Peter1742
Werthead says:

But in all four cases, the appendix shows the state of play only at the start of the book, not the end. So reading the CLASH OF KINGS appendix would be a huge spoiler for the end of GAME OF THRONES, but has no impact at all on the rest of KINGS.

This is what Martin was trying to do with the appendices. I think I noticed at least one time when they've let spoilers slip into them anyway, so there may indeed be minor spoilers given away by the appendices.
Tricia Irish
61. Tektonica
Leigh: I"m so enjoying your take on GRRM. I hope you're enjoying it too!


I sent you a shout about Malazan.....keep going!
Randy McCraw
62. sscorp99
I was under the impression that most of you commenters only read WoT over and over...that being said I have certainly read some very opinionated comments about Martin's finest work. Don't get me wrong I love Jordan , but I just finished GoT and I loved it. Can't wait to see what Leigh has to say about some of the later chapters. BTW HBO got it right I think, Tyrion does fit the look Martin was going for.
Ryan Reich
63. ryanreich
justinius23 @59: Malazan advice? Not worth it. But that is off-topic here, so if you want to continue, send me a message (in the "shoutbox" on my user page).

@Leigh: The thing I like most about your Read of this book is how carefully you do it. I am a sloppy reader; I miss foreshadowing, ignore hints, and generally don't pick up on anything that the author is trying to hide. So I have no idea, when reading, what the surprises will be later. Watching you form theories (some right, some not) is fascinating.
Jason D
64. The Smiling Knight
Hi there,

Im kinda enjoying this read of yours a lot.
Most of your conclusions and expectations are very correct and quite sneaky.
I dont remember connecting the dots so much on my first read, but i never even tried to. I was too engrossed to bother with that.

Two things: Your comparisson of Kingsguard and Jaimes murder of the old King to an agent of secret service doing the same to a president is very apt and correct.
Not only that - ive been meaning to use the very same analogy to enlighten misguided tv show viewers since they have no idea what the Kingsguard is nor that Jaime is serving as one of them.

Yes, the show makes blunders of that magnitude.
And many more.

I say youre lucky that youre reading the books first.

Second: Your view of Tyrion (and Miles).
Its funny but... remember when Jon and Tyrion are talking and Tyrion asks him what does Jon see when he looks at him?
Jon is confused and says (paraphrasing): I see Tyrion Lannister, what am i supposed to see?"

He doesnt say "dwarf", or "freak" or anything of the sort. Why?
Because he sees the truth.

Have a nice day. ;)
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
65. tnh
Justinius, take that to the Malazan thread.
lawrence henderson
66. justinius23
^no problem. i hear the two series grouped with each other so much i got carried away.
Marcus W
67. toryx
I'm curious to hear how others feel about this: I've always really enjoyed the way GRRM gives us information about the past. They're not all flashback scenes but there are an awful lot of them. Still, they're presented in a way that I find very real. People think about the past in the same way that I do and in those POVs we get to learn a lot not only about the person whose POV we're reading but also about the people surrounding them.

This Ned chapter has a ton of information in it but it doesn't feel too heavy at all to me because of the way it's given. I think it's one of the areas that prove just how much a master at this GRRM is.

I actually think that the way Tyrion is described works very well because those who become friendly with him (like Jon) start seeing him differently.

That's the way it works for me as a disabled person. I'm a deaf guy with hearing aids who has learned to compensate for it in a lot of ways. I know I'm being particularly successful when people forget that I'm deaf even with the physical evidence right in front of them.

It's obviously harder with Tyrion's deformities but I think there are definitely times when his personality completely overwhelms his appearance, for the reader and for other characters in the series. That definitely doesn't happen so often in other shows.

P.S. I hope my post makes sense. I'm really tired.
Bill Reamy
68. BillinHI
Don't know how many LotR fans there are here but Warner Bros just announced that all three LotR movies (extended editions!) will be shown in theaters this summer. I was surprised to find that one theater in Hawaii will be showing them and have already bought my tickets. I'm on one of WB's e-mailing lists, so I don't know when the tickets go on sale to the general public. Definitely looking forward to seeing them on the big screen again, possibly for the last time. Showings in Hawaii are in June, so a general announcement should be coming out soon, I would think.
Jason D
69. DarrenJL
Robert is an idiot. So is Ned. So is Sansa. And Catelyn (however her name is spelled). And Rob. Unfortunately, the way Martin makes the Lannisters clever is by comparison. Only characters who are otherwise powerless like Arya, who is only a little kid (who no one believes) are not fools. And let's be honest. Arya is a psychopath. She's one of my favourite characters in the books, but as the story progresses, it's hard to consider her anything but.

It would be nice to see one virtuous character who was also insightful. Just so that I could think Martin wasn't making a statement about the two (virtue and insight) being mutually exclusive.
Jason D
70. DarrenJL
Umm... I changed the text about Arya to white, but I guess it got changed somehow between Preview and Post. Don't think I revealed any spoilers there, though.
Nathan Martin
71. lerris
Good call Leigh:

Jon’s mother is no random peasant girl, I trow. And Ned’s remorse is very nice and all, but the only reason I’m not rolling my eyes at it at least a little is because I remain convinced there is More To This Story. I raise my eyebrow in your general direction, Eddard Stark!

I'm curious as to whether you'll put the clues in book 1 together on your own during your first read. I'll admit I didn't until I knew exactly what I was looking for, but since you're recapping and blogging I imagine your retention will be a little stronger.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
72. tnh
DarrenJL, IMO they're no more fools than anyone else, and the Lannisters are no smarter than the average run of humanity.

Have you never met people who think they're stupendously clever because they've realized it's possible to ignore rules that others obey? The catch is that unless they're clever, talented, exceptionally hardworking, or have a knack for power, the advantage is usually temporary; and since people with those characteristics tend to get ahead anyway, in the long run they'd be better off pursuing non-destructive strategies. (Social contract: not arbitrary. Who knew?)

In my experience, people who are on that kind of "I can ignore the rules, bwah ha hah!" rampage are surrounded by people who are thinking, "Can they possibly be doing what it looks like they're doing, i.e. pursuing a destructive and inherently short-lived strategy? But no -- that would be stupid." They are, unfortunately, right on both counts.
a a-p
73. lostinshadow
have to agree with darrenjl on level of idiocy of most of the apparently good characters so far...not big fans of their decision making capabilities so far.
Jason D
74. Cairn
Could you guys stop with the spoilers, please? If it were me reading the books for the first time some of what's been written here would have me livid.

Tipping off to differences in someone's character between now and later is a SPOILER. Telling Leigh which of her assumptions and suppositions are correct and incorrect are SPOILERS.

What you're doing is depriving Leigh from experiencing for herself these things as she reads and discovers it later. If you want to applaud her prowess at seeing something coming later then wait until she gets to those chapters and say, "Yeah, you had this pegged since X."

If I were Leigh there's no way I'd be reading these comments anymore.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
75. tnh
We're used to having POV characters make more insightful decisions than most leaders make in the real world. This isn't because real-world leaders (and non-leaders) are especially stupid; it's because POV characters so often have the plot and the author on their side.

Look at some recent history. (Note: this is not an invitation to turn this thread into a discussion of current politics.) Throughout the 1930s, European leaders believed that making one more concession would appease Hitler, and that he would thereafter stop making new demands. This belief persisted through Germany's withdrawal from the League of Nations, rejection of the Versailles Treaty, re-armament, alliances with Mussolini's fascist government in Italy and Franco's in Spain, heavy interference in the Spanish Civil War, and annexation of the Rhineland, the Saar, the Czechoslovakian Sudetenland, and Austria (which last had been specifically prohibited by the Versailles Treaty).

Neville Chamberlain, who was not a stupid man, came back to Britain after concluding the 1939 Munich Pact, which confirmed Germany's annexation of the Sudetenland, and announced that they had achieved "peace in our time."

Hitler, after making a lot of canny moves, then starting WWII and achieving a surprising amount of success in Europe, decided to throw out the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact he'd made with Russia, and start a second war that was as big or bigger than the one he was already fighting in Europe.

Stalin, who was no one's fool, and certainly no stranger to backstabbing and betrayal, not only put his faith in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, even after his own intelligence apparatus had repeatedly warned him that the Germans were massing forces along the Russian border, but continued to believe the Germans wouldn't invade Russia for some hours after they'd done so.

And Hitler, who like everyone else in the European military knew what had happened to Napoleon's 1812 invasion of Russia, managed to convince himself that not quite taking Moscow and Leningrad, and getting stuck with long supply lines that ran through Russian territory on Russian roads, wasn't an incipient military disaster.

Those were major world leaders. None of GRRM's characters have blundered that badly (so far). Are you sure they're stupider than you would be in their position?
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
76. tnh
Cairn @74:
Could you guys stop with the spoilers, please? If it were me reading the books for the first time some of what's been written here would have me livid.

Tipping off to differences in someone's character between now and later is a SPOILER. Telling Leigh which of her assumptions and suppositions are correct and incorrect are SPOILERS.
Cairn is right.

A general reminder: if you think something is a spoiler, go ahead and flag it. There's no penalty if I disagree.
James Whitehead
77. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
Nice post tnh.

Also, we shouldn't forget that we the readers know a lot more about what is going on than the characters in the story do. They are working with incomplete knowledge, just as we do in real life. They make good and bad decisions based on what they know at the time.

Complaining about the characters making 'dumb' choices is rather like going to see Shakepeare's Julius Ceasar & shouting "Look behind you, Mr. Ceasar!" as he's about to be assassinated. ;-) We know what's about to happen whereas poor 'Mr. Ceasar' doesn't.

Rob Munnelly
78. RobMRobM
Cairn and Theresa - As a suggestion, as a process matter, I recommend that if anyone has a concern regarding spoilers in a particular post, either flag it (as Theresa suggests) or give specific feedback to the poster in question and ask them to edit their posts. If the poster disagrees it is in fact a spoiler or if identifying specific text of concerns itself may involve spoiler issues, ask the poster to discuss the matter in the spoiler forums. Given the diversity of opinion regarding what is and is not a spoiler, specific comment re specific posts is likely the best way to resolve spoiler concerns. I actually thought with only a couple of exceptions we've done well in this post and was surprised to see Cairn's generally expressed concerns. I hope my posts are not the target of Cairn's concern, and would like to know if they are.

Barrett Taylor
79. B_Taylor
@75 tnh: as someone with an interest in military history, I feel I need to defend Chamberlain a little. He did come back and declare "peace in our time," at a time when Britain wasn't ready for war. He also ordered more fighters, which were used to fight the Battle of Britain. He is also, as I recall, the one who noted that it would be so much easier to negotiate with Hitler if they weren't dealing with a madman.

Now, on ASoIaF - Jaime did indeed swear to protect the king to the death, and then betrayed the king. While the king is crazy, Ned still feels that secret betrayal is not a good thing (his was open). As was earlier noted, Jaime was loyal right up to the point where he killed the king.
Jason D
80. Cairn
More help, less rage- my apologies.

I'm not registered with the site so I don't think I can flag a post. (Or at least I'm having difficulties figuring out how).

My comments were specifically in reference to DarrenJL @69 and to a lesser extent lerris @71.

Without getting too specific, I felt the post @69 was very obviously giving away character changes. If the words 'as the story progresses ______' appears in your post then it's hard to not be a spoiler.

I do tend to be a purist about this, but I felt the lerris post @71 would've been better to say, "I thought the same thing at this point" rather than "you're absolutely correct on this and be sure to find the rest of the clues".

I understand the urge to lead somebody along as they take a wonderful journey you've already done, but I feel you take something away from their enjoyment when you lead them by the hand like that.
Nathan Martin
81. lerris
Apologies to anyone who felt I was providing too spoilerish a post. I thought it harmless to encourage leigh to follow a line of thought she indicated she was already pursuing, and avoided specific details beyond that.
Rob Munnelly
82. RobMRobM
Cairn - thanks for the helpful post. You should consider "going gray" by registering. Lots of benefits and no downsides from my standpoint, including not to have to do a verification each time you post and the aforesaid editing/flagging ability.

Marcus W
83. toryx
For what it's worth, I completely agree with Cairn in regards to the post @ 69.

I also agree with RobM's recommendation that Cairn register. It's entirely worth it for a ton of reasons. Of course, as I recall, RobM was slow to convince of that once upon a time as well. :)
Also, TNH is absolutely right @75. It's easy for us to blame people for their decisions when we're thinking about it from our comfortable positions outside the story looking in, particularly when we know things that none of these people can possibly know. It's always harder to make good decisions in the heat of the moment when real life is busy stampeding over your face.

That doesn't mean that Robert isn't acting like a blind fool in Ned's chapter. He should know better than to ignore his friend but he's been wrapped up in the Lannister world for so long that he has no longer has any sense of perspective.
Jason D
84. MickeyDee
Leigh, Leigh, Leigh....

"If I banged on Robert’s head, how long do you think the echoes would last?"

Wouldn't that be just a tad uncomfortable? And what happens if you should fall off?
Jason D
85. DarrenJL
@Cairn... Did you not read my follow up post before slamming me? The one where I said:

"Umm... I changed the text about Arya to white, but I guess it got
changed somehow between Preview and Post. Don't think I revealed any
spoilers there, though."

I can't go back and change it, which is why I added the explanation. In the first post about the read, changing the text to white was Leigh's recommended solution, so I followed that recommendation. Doesn't work, apparently. The site changes it back to black. Not my fault. That being said, I do NOT think it's a spoiler to say Arya's character is a ________. That's a judgement, and reveals no actual plot events. It may not even be a valid judgement. Now, had I provided chapter by chapter evidence to back up that assertion, your criticism would be valid.
Rob Munnelly
86. RobMRobM
Toryx correctly remembers I stayed red for quite a while before breaking down - and then found that being gray worked really well.

Interesting that, under one interpretation, Robert's analysis is potentially reasonable (even if I don't agree with it, nor would many readers I suspect). As a member of the Kingsguard, which is a lifetime post, Jamie is not the Lannister heir. Ned's assumption must be that at some point in the future Jamie will somehow withdraw thereby leaving him as Warden of both East and West. If he doesn't withdraw, that threat is diminished. So you'd have Lannister-minded leaders in East and West but no formal legal tie.

Also, one can wonder if Jamie actually is aware of and/or supports this deal. As Warden of East, Jamie presumably would have to spend more time away from Kings Landing and away from his beloved sister. Hmmm. Might be a Cercei idea rather than one from Jamie.
Marcus W
87. toryx
RobM @ 86: Y'know, that's an excellent point. There's no reason to assume that Jaime wouldn't continue to be in the Kingsguard for perpetuity. On the other hand, Ned's entire opinion of Jaime is based on finding him on the Iron Throne that day. It's not ridiculous for him to assume that Jaime's ambition is greater than his loyalty to the Kingsguard as a result of that.

What it really goes to show is that both men are more biased by their viewpoints than given to logically thinking things through.
Jason D
88. Cairn
DarrenJL, if you didn't think it was a spoiler then why attempt to change the text to white in the first place?

Suffice it to say I do not think a chapter by chapter synopsis is necessary to spoil something. If you're voicing an opinion that strongly changed after the events the re-read has gone through then I view that as a spoiler.

But as I said, I'm a purist and after your follow-up post voiced your concerns and the moderator didn't change it, apparently the moderator felt you weren't in the wrong.
Jason D
89. Hirgon
Silly Robert. Tricks aren't for kids.

Leigh, reading about you reading this book is fun, especially since your reactions are really similar to mine up to this point (only much more intense and multiplied, probably because I read the book(s) quickly and didn't have to write about them). I get the impression it's just going to get more fun as you progress.

On Tyrion's disability, and by extension, on looks in general in this book: I forgot about it sometimes too up to this point. Later on, I will tell you a story, and this will make sense! Provided this comment doesn't make you ignore my name the next time it shows up.

I forget about other people's looks, as well; remember when Jon Snow thought that Jaime Lanister looked like a king? The same Jaime Lanister who pushed a seven-year old kid out a window, possibly killing him and/or stealing away his most loved activity of climbing (because to me at this point, it seems like that second possibility from Bran's perspective might be worse than dying)? Well in my mind, that "kingly" Lannister bastage (not bastard; Jon Snow is a bastard; ergo "bastard" is a compliment in this world so far, whether all the people in power know it or not) has horns. And a forked red tail. And carries a pitchfork. Actually he doesn't carry a pitchfork, but rather has a pitchfork putting new holes into his body for all eternity. Hey, I just realized I gave Jaime his brother's role as Imp.

Rant and the fact that I just contradicted my statement about your reactions being more intense than mine aside, the point is that I don't think it's all that bad that you're not imagining characters' looks accurately. GRRM seems to have understood that people might have trouble seeing his characters clearly, since he keeps putting in little reminders about looks (or maybe that's just part of switching between POVs). And while our imaginations might reflect ineffable internal biases and we might both be horribly prejudiced people, I don't think that's the case. Even if it is, I take solace in the fact that I haven't pushed any small children (or large children or adults for that matter) off any towers yet, and never will; have you?
Jason D
90. Alie
I was actually intensely aware of Tyrion being a dwarf while reading, though probably because he brings it up all the damn time, and I'm a person who visualizes characters very intensely. I actually don't think the HBO Tyrion accurately captured my image of the dwarf, not going far enough.
Brett Dunbar
91. Brett
In the early middle ages it was actually possible to rebel without commiting treason, provided that you openly renounced your oaths first. This also meant you were not an oathbreaker. Ned et al had openly renounced their alleigence to Aerys before rebelling while Jaime killed Aerys without first withdrawing his oath.
Jason D
92. sofrina
i have the same problem as leigh with visualizing characters. i usually pic a model or actor that fits the description and refer to that. but mostly, i forget details until they are highlighted again. for instance, suzie in "the lovely bones" is played by michelle tractenberg in her first season on buffy the vampire slayer. skinny, 14 yo, with long straight brown hair.
Jason D
93. ryamano
@25 leigh

The Targaryen dinasty ruled Westeros for three hundred years (the story starts in year 297 after Aegon landed, it's in the appendix), but the dragons Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters rode to conquer the seven kingdoms were much older. Some say dragons live as much as humans in this world, others say they live much more, like thousands of years. Who knows? There is much debate about this (and about the reliablity of dates of history and how old the world is) even among the scholars inside the world.
Jason D
94. Tobi
I've been surprised that the comparison of Tyrion Lannister to Miles Vorcosigan doesn't come up more often. In my mind, it's very apt. Aaaand that's all I can say since I've already read this series. Damn it, hurry up and read!

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