May 13 2011 2:19pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones, Part 8

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 8 of A Game of Thrones, in which we cover Chapters 14 (“Catelyn”) and 15 (“Sansa”).

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 14: Catelyn

What Happens
Eight days after Ned leaves, Maester Luwin comes to Catelyn in Bran’s room, to try and convince her to attend to matters of the household, but she can pay attention to nothing but Bran, shouting at Luwin to leave her alone. Robb enters and sends Luwin out, and begs her to come back to herself and sleep, but Catelyn won’t listen. He opens the window so that the howling of the direwolves is plain, and she screams and falls to the floor, begging for them to stop. Robb realizes that the dogs are barking, too, and then that the library tower is on fire. Catelyn can only think of how the fire cannot get to Bran from there, and is thankful; Robb looks as her as if she is mad, and hurries out to help combat the fire.

After he leaves, Catelyn turns from the window to find a filthy man in the room with her, holding a dagger. He says she wasn’t supposed to be there, and Catelyn realizes he is here to kill Bran. Catelyn tries to scream for help, but the man attacks her. She holds him off initially, but he is about to kill her when Bran’s direwolf charges into the room and rips out the man’s throat. Catelyn thanks the wolf shakily, and it licks her before jumping up on Bran’s bed.

Robb, Luwin and Rodrik find her and bring her back to her chambers to tend her wounds. She sleeps for four days, and wakes feeling much more herself, and is ashamed of the way she had been behaving. Robb, Rodrik, Theon Greyjoy, and the new captain of the guard Hallis Mollen attend her to report no one knows the assassin or where he came from, but they found a quantity of silver buried in the stable, and the dagger used is of far too fine quality for such a man. Catelyn tells them that the man was after Bran, not her, and coaches Robb to realize why: someone is afraid of what Bran might say when he wakes up. Catelyn then reveals to them Lysa’s suspicions re: the Lannisters and her husband’s death.

“It comes to me that Jaime Lannister did not join the hunt the day Bran fell. He remained here in the castle.” The room was deathly quiet. “I do not think Bran fell from that tower,” she said into the stillness. “I think he was thrown.”

Robb swears vengeance if it is true, and Theon offers to help, but Luwin points out they cannot make such an accusation without proof. Catelyn realizes someone must go to King’s Landing to obtain that proof, and decides that she must go herself, bringing only Ser Rodrik, and take ship at White Harbor so as to arrive even before Ned and the King.

Well, you go, Catelyn. Now that you’ve stopped being insane, of course.

I’m actually not kidding about the “insane” part, either. I heard or read somewhere once that after a certain point of sleep deprivation (I think 36 hours or thereabouts), the person can be considered more or less clinically insane until they sleep again. I’m not sure if that’s backed up scientifically, but speaking from personal experience (read: college) it is abso-fucking-lutely true.

(Yes, there is a story there; and no, I ain’t gonna tell it to you. And yes, I am evil.)

It occurs to me that I keep tending to make excuses for Catelyn’s behavior, but other than the way she treated Jon I really do think that considering the situation, she’s reacting no worse than most people would. And once she gets some sleep, considerably better than most.

And, not to mention: YAY, SOMEONE SUSPECTS THE TRUTH. And is doing something about it, by gum. Whether anything will come of the doing is another matter, of course, but for now I’m just going to be happy that there’s even a chance for justice to be done.

The assassin scene, by the way, was done really well:

When she turned away from the window, the man was in the room with her.

I think I actually jumped a little when I read that line. Very visceral, especially how Catelyn saves herself from getting her throat slit by grabbing the knife with her hands. Which is exactly what they teach you to do in self-defense classes—better to have mangled hands than a perforated bowel or jugular, after all—but the idea of grabbing a blade with your bare hands makes me go yeeek every time.

Of course, the idea of being attacked by an assassin at all is quite sufficiently yeeek-worthy all on its own, but still.

And, yeah. I’m quite looking forward to when Catelyn and Jaime are in the same room again. It might not be pretty, but it sure as hell ain’t gonna be boring.


Chapter 15: Sansa

What Happens
Septa Mordane tells Sansa that she and Arya have been invited to ride in the queen’s wheelhouse that day, which Sansa has been greatly looking forward to, especially for the chance that Prince Joffrey will be there, but she is worried that Arya will ruin everything as usual. She finds Arya by the riverside, brushing a muddy Nymeria; Arya declares she has no intention of riding in the wheelhouse, preferring to ride out into the countryside with her new friend Mycah, the butcher’s boy. Sansa can’t understand how she and her sister could be so completely different, and finally gives up and leaves.

She returns to the wheelhouse to see the queen greeting two knights, one old and of the Kingsguard, and the other young and handsome. There is a third man, gaunt and grim, who terrifies Sansa on sight; her direwolf Lady growls at him, and there is almost an uproar until Joffrey steps in (at the queen’s command) and orders everyone to leave Sansa and “her little pet” be. She learns that the gaunt man is Ser Ilyn Payne, the king’s headsman, and the older knight is Ser Barristan Selmy, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. She correctly guesses that the younger knight is Renly Baratheon, Lord of Storm’s End and the king’s youngest brother. Payne stares her down silently before walking off, and Joffrey tells her Aerys Targaryen had had his tongue ripped out fourteen years earlier. The queen begs off on their day together, and suggests Joffrey entertain her instead.

Joffrey takes Sansa out riding, getting her to leave Lady behind, and Sansa enjoys it greatly, besotted with Joffrey. They are heading to the site of the battle where Robert had killed Rhaegar Targaryen when they come upon Arya and Mycah, sparring with wooden swords. Sansa is horrified, but Joffrey laughs, and commands Mycah to spar with him, ignoring Arya’s entreaties to leave her friend alone. Joffrey tells Arya that he won’t hurt Mycah “much,” and Arya cracks him across the head with her wooden sword. Mycah runs, and an enraged Joffrey slashes at Arya with his sword, ignoring Sansa’s screams. Nymeria attacks Joffrey, mangling his arm until Arya calls her off.

Arya said, “She didn’t hurt you… much.”

Arya throws a cowed Joffrey’s sword in the river and runs off. Sansa tries to comfort Joffrey, but with contempt, he spits at her not to touch him.

Oh, Sansa. You poor, stupid, deluded darling. I said earlier that Martin’s world is a crap one for tomboys, but I guess now that I think about it, it’s not a whole lot less sucky for girly-girls, either.

Well. That’s oversimplifying. You can do just fine as a girly-girl, I’m sure; you just can’t be an idiot at the same time. It’s Sansa’s naïveté that’s the problem, not the fact that she isn’t outdoorsy.

Because, outdoorsy or not: Welcome to the jungle, kiddo. You better smarten up, quick.

And with that in mind, I predict nothing but RAINBOWS AND LOLLIPOPS will come of the events in this chapter! All those in agreement, raise your hands… Nada? Nobody?

Yeah, that’s about what I thought. Crap.

This… is not going to end well. Though I couldn’t help but cheer for Arya’s (and Nymeria’s) mad smackdown skillz (and Arya’s snarky comeback to Joffrey quoted above, which was PRICELESS), I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be worth the hell that is probably going to get rained down on her as a result. Although, considering how I thought Joffrey’s little excursion with Sansa was going to end, right from the moment he convinced Sansa to leave her wolf behind, this alternative is… well, sadly, preferable.

Man. Martin’s already got me primed to expect the absolute worst outcome of any given situation. But, well, you place your bets where the odds are in your favor, n’est-ce pas? And rainbows and lollipops are definitely the long shot in this series. I wonder if Sansa will ever realize (or Arya will ever appreciate) what Arya may have inadvertently saved her sister from (at least for the moment, argh) by being in the right place at the right time. Or the wrong place at the wrong time. Whichever.

Hey, but at least direwolves turn out to be a pretty handy thing to have around, eh? That’s three times now one of Ned’s kids has been saved and/or protected by his or her wolf. It’s all very Natty Gann.

(If you get that reference without Googling it you get an Internet cookie!)

It is also very interesting, as Sansa observes in this chapter, that the direwolves seem to be taking on the characteristics of their respective owners. Time will tell if there’s any (magical) significance to that, or if it’s just a thing, but it’s still pretty cool regardless.

Joffrey: contending strongly with his uncle Jaime for the title of Biggest Tool of This Series. Actually, Joffrey probably wins, simply because the rank of “Tool” is kind of below Jaime’s paygrade at this point. I’m pretty sure “shoving a seven-year-old off a window ledge and then sending an assassin after him” rates more like a “Monster.”

But hey, no worries! I’m sure the way Joffrey’s headed he’ll catch up with his darling uncle Real Soon Now! *headdesk*

Jeez. Why do people suck so much sometimes?

Other, more minor notes on this chapter:

Lizard-lion: perhaps my favorite Fantasy Renaming of an alligator I’ve yet come across. (I suppose it could be a crocodile, yes, but my Louisiana-bred self is going with alligator, because I can. So There.)

Scary Headsman dude is scary, and I’m sure we’ll get more on what crawled up his ass and died as time goes on. Just ‘cause you got your tongue ripped out doesn’t mean there’s any call to be rude, man. *snerk*

Also, there’s very little to go on at this point but I’m inclined to like Robert’s brother Renly very much, based on nothing more than that (a) he is capable of laughing at himself (when Barristan teases him), and, more importantly, (b) Joffrey evidently can’t stand him.

Anyone that little weasel dislikes is automatically Awesome until proven otherwise, as far as I am concerned. If you can’t take your cue from an excellent judge of character, I always say, your next best bet is to find the worst, and then just do the opposite of whatever they do. It’s a very efficient system!

Which we will continue to test next week, ja? Have a lovely and assassin-free weekend, y’all, and I’ll see you next Friday!

1. litg
Leigh, I'm enjoying this read quite a bit. It's always fun to see a fresh perspective on a favorite series. Though in regards to the tools and monsters of this series, well, you ain't seen nothing yet.
2. tenesmus
Very Excellent insights for a newcomer! I hope you go back and read your commentary in hind sight, you will enjoy it!
Marcus W
3. toryx
Man, the direwolves are cool. I have a dog myself and I'm sorry to say that I have a bad habit of comparing him to these.
Anyway, I cheered when Bran's wolf came along to rip the assassin's throat out. That was bloody awesome. Though I also wince every time I read (or even think) about Cat's hands.

Who else read the suggestion that Joffrey entertain Sansa and shuddered in horror? I had a bad feeling from the start. I'm really impressed with just how well GRRM illustrates his characters for us in such a short time. We've hardly dealt with Joffrey at all by the Sansa chapter and yet he still came across as an insufferable little brat.

I wasn't even surprised by the way he treated Mycah and Arya. I think this scene is officially the one where Arya became one of my favorite characters.

I love that Leigh responds so favorably to a character (Renly) in part because Joffrey can't stand him.
4. Pheran
Another excellent post, I really look forward to reading these every Friday. It's wonderful to see a newcomer's perspective on the series. I considered doing a blog like this for my first time read of Malazan that I'm doing right now, but sadly, I have neither the time nor the writing ability to pull it off nearly as well as what Leigh is doing here.

Yeah, without spoiling anything, you get exactly as many rainbows and lollipops from this Arya/Joffrey incident as you'd expect. Also, I had the same worry about what was going to happen to Sansa as you when I read that chapter.

So, no love for Viserys in the Biggest Tool of This Series competition? :)
5. Nightsky
It’s all very Natty Gann.

I used to love that movie!
Andrew Foss
6. alfoss1540
Thanks for the Cookie Leigh. I'm with you on the foresight. Lots of expecting the worst and seeing it happen. Cat waking up couldn't have a happened soon enough.

You were light on commentary on Robb taking over. He is seeming more cool as in his role as Jr Stateman of the House. When Bran got pushed and Cat went catatonic, I kind of lost track of who was cming and going from the Stark household. scary that the 15 year old is the one most with-it.
Peter Stone
7. Peter1742
Great job, Leigh! I really enjoy reading your commentaries ... you catch a lot of stuff I missed the first time through.
Anyway, with regards to lizard-lions:

Lizard-lion: perhaps my favorite Fantasy Renaming of an alligator I’ve yet come across. (I suppose it could be a crocodile, yes, but my Louisiana-bred self is going with alligator, because I can. So There.)

I think it's too cold in winter (remember those years-long winters) in the Neck for either alligators or crocodiles to survive. So my take is that a lizard-lion is a fantasy relative of these with the ability to hibernate through the winters.
8. beingmused
Leigh - it is extremely comforting to know that you don't like mean people, but if you make a point of writing about how aggrivating you find the negative characteristics of fictional characters, your write-ups of this series are going to be extremely repetitive. GRRM loves depicting a harsh world where all of the characters have shades of grey to their moral character, so hopefully you can get over the "why do these people suck" angle; it is extremely uninteresting to read that sort of reaction (but, in comparison, your predictions/interpretations are quite interesting).
9. Jelsel
welcome to the jungle indeed and you ain't seen nothin' yet!

enjoy your read!!
jonathan Sheridan
10. Sheruman
great work as always Leigh,

I have to say I didn't pick up on what you thought wa going to happen with Joffery entertaining Sansa, maybe I was just naive all those years ago when I read this first, and it's strange that with all the rereads I have done since then, that until you said it I never thought it, but as I read your reread I was like, the the little weazel, he was so going to do it.

Love both your rereads keep up the good work
11. Pheran
@8 beingmused

I completely disagree, it's fun to see rants about the "evil" characters.
David Thomson
12. ZetaStriker
I for one truly doubt that Joffery ever intended to force himself upon Sansa, if that's what Leigh was alluding to. He's already bethrothed to her, and once their relationship is made official - which given Sansa's current enthusiasm could be rather soon - he'll be perfectly within his rights to do whatever he pleases, whether she displeases or not. Joffery is kind of dumb and short sighted, but if he had done that . . . well, considering what Robert and Ned went to war for last time, he'd either cause a civil war or his father would disinherit him. And the latter might still cause a civil war if this incited the Lannisters. So, fun!
13. Bandenjamin
Leigh (and anyone else who cares)

To gain further insight in to where many of the underlying ideas of this book came from, check out Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne in Splendor There are a TON of similarities
14. RafoMofo
Cersei clearly does not like the idea of Ned being Hand because Robert trusts him so much. Do you think Cersei sent Joffrey off alone with Sansa in the hope that he would do something inappropriate and thereby drive a wedge between Ned and Robert? Ned doesn't seem like the type to take an affront to his daughter's dignity lightly, and I'd bet Cersei knows that.
Rob Munnelly
15. RobMRobM
Nice work as always, Leigh. A few comments:

1. I re-read these chapters last night and they are truly brilliantly crafted pieces of work. Really among the best in the entire series. Take a look at Catelyn's dialogue and the disjointed way her mind is thinking of other things in response to Maester Leuwin's and Robb's questions and the brilliant entry of the assassin (as Leigh noted). In the second chapter, the witty dialogue among Sansa, Selmy and Renly (Selmy's jokes about Renly's pricely wardrobe. Sansa: "By our extreme youth I name you the King's youngest brother." Selmy: By his extreme youth I name him a jacknape") and the wonderfuly Arya/Sansa back and forth. Also the brilliant phrasing that she doesn't really know Joffrey but is already falling in love with him. Oh, this should end well....

2. Note how boyish Robb is acting (apart from offering to handle the appointments). Nice mix of trying to be a grown up and not really succeeding. Cat is awesomesauce in trying to tutor him , as is Roderick Cassel ("Put that steel away unless you're going to use it"). Also note how Theon offers the support of his House.

3. "And, yeah. I’m quite looking forward to when Catelyn and Jaime are in the same room again. It might not be pretty, but it sure as hell ain’t gonna be boring." *whistling* (Must not make snarky comment that hints at future events).

4. I like how GRRM shows that Sansa does have some skills - naming the various people, showing some humor, even showing some diplomacy in the beginning re Arya ("They'll have lemon cakes in the wheelhouse....").

5. You can almost see Sansa's excitement at having Renly around - the polished metrosexual that she's sure she'll get to meet in Kings Landing - the girl from the provinces ready to make it big, of course with her love the Prince at her side.

6. Note that the Hound was there in the midst of Sansa's interactions with Payne and the others - which makes sense as he's Joff's protector. Never lose track of the Hound.

7. Joff is such an ass - he demands free service as the Prince at a nearby holdfast; tries to get Sansa to drink too much (and I had not thought he was going to try to violate her on this visit but I'll bet he was at least hoping for second or third base); and gives Mycah a scar just to show how tough he is.

8. "And with that in mind, I predict nothing but RAINBOWS AND LOLLIPOPS will come of the events in this chapter! All those in agreement, raise your hands… Nada? Nobody?" Time again for the recommended glass of wine or two before starting on the next chapter.

Steven Halter
16. stevenhalter
I had the same thought as Leigh re: Joffrey--little weasel boys taking Sansa off for his own amusement.
Sansa may be a naive twit, but she didn't deserve that.
The intervention of the Arya scene was fortuitous from that standpoint. So, GRRM handled that scene nicely.
Nathan Martin
17. lerris
I prefer to think of the characters as having shades of black or white to their moral greyness. After all ( from an example we've seen thus far ) even the most honorable of the characters to this point fathered a bastard. And brought him home as a constant reminder to his wife of his infidelity.
Rob Munnelly
19. RobMRobM
By the way, not to gloat (actually, I am), but friends at HBO just mailed me some GoT goodness - Stark keychains, Stark letter opener, GoT notebook, a couple of copies of the Episode 1 DVD and, most importantly, a kickass Stark direwolf tee shirt. Woo hoo.

Marcus W
20. toryx
Isn't it rather amazing how much freedom these children have? They're going on rides by themselves, visiting holdfasts, playing at swordplay by the river far from where anyone else goes. It sure does paint a picture of a fairly relaxed society as they go further south, particularly considering these are noble children.

I don't really think that Joffery was in any particular danger if he'd taken advantage of Sansa. She's besotted with him, she's too young to know any better and he's a prince to boot. I suspect he fully intended to do what he wanted and talk her into keeping quiet because she's certainly eager to please him.
21. throwJamieFromTheTrain
"Very visceral, especially how Catelyn saves herself from getting her throat slit by grabbing the knife with her hands. Which is exactly what they teach you to do in self-defense classes—better to have mangled hands than a perforated bowel or jugular, after all—but the idea of grabbing a blade with your bare hands makes me go yeeek every time."

That is the most idiotic thing I've ever heard. You should get your money back from any class that even suggests such a thing. Your body involuntary moves away from pain, the idea that you'll do anything but scream in pain, let go, and then die with bloody hands as your attacker gets you for real this time is nonsense.

Strike the hand/arm, not the blade(! morons) and step low and inside the attacker's arm's reach to finish the job.
Marcus W
22. toryx
Nice, RobM. You bastard. :)

I really wanted to get a Stark mug when I was at the HBO store but they were all sold out. I was thinking about getting a pendant but decided it wasn't quite worth the $25.

Now the Episode 1 DVD...that'd be really sweet. Especially if it had captions/ subtitles. :)

I've already got a Stark t-shirt (and a Targaryen one, along with two or three BwB shirts, including a particularly spiffy one with the oath of the Night's Watch on the back) that was made by GRRM's wife years ago. Those are of much higher quality than the HBO ones.

Edit to add: Supposedly Parris is going to be making more of those t-shirts eventually and selling them again. If she ever does, I highly recommend them. They're fantastic.
23. MyBestExcuse
Leigh, I love your perspective! This is my first read of ASOIAF, too, and I'm thoroughly enjoying having someone else's thoughts to reflect on.

PS - thanks for the cookie!! I grew up on Natty Gann, and my sister is even named after her. :)
24. Wortmauer
Catelyn's quest: I don't know if I agree with her decision to go to King's Landing. Surely she could have sent someone to Ned whom she, and he, could trust. If it's a matter of the credibility of the testimony, the emissary could have brought a deposition from her via a sealed letter. Then again, with Robb assuming the duties as acting Lord of Winterfell, she isn't as indispensable there as I would have thought. She's no northerner, and may have actually been looking forward to flying south for the winter, as it were.

Joffrey: is a tool. Shocking, huh? And yes, it was very satisfying for Arya to totally humiliate him, but you know Joffrey's not going to be all "ha, guess I got served" and shrug it off. So, not really wise, but living that scene vicariously through text on a page, it seemed worth it. And to me, Arya throwing his sword in the river was perhaps even more fun than "She didn't hurt you ... much".

Also, I call WTF on Joffrey getting all indignant about how Mycah was attacking Joff's future sister-in-law. He didn't really think the sparring was anything but what it was, did he? I mean, sure, I can see him deciding it would be fun to skewer a commoner to impress his fiancée, but the way he verbally justifies his attack, defending either honor or safety, is ridiculous. I'm also not sure why he thinks Sansa might be impressed if he clobbers a kid years younger who has neither sword nor horse.

ZetaStriker@12: Joffery is kind of dumb and short sighted, but if he had done that . . .
I could see it go either way. As we've seen him so far, Joffrey has little regard for the consequences of his actions. Except when Tyrion was around to coach him, which he isn't now. On the other hand, at this point he does seem more interested in impressing her than in getting laid.
Fredrik Coulter
25. fcoulter
I might be wrong, but I thought the brat was too young to have his way with her. "The Spirit is willing, but the Flesh is weak" (or young) was my thought.
Vincent Lane
26. Aegnor

"Also note how Theon offers the support of his House."

Iris Creemers
27. SamarDev
some of you will know me from the Malaz-reread, but I'm completely newbie in this series! It took some time for the library to get the book(s) in English (I made a reservation just at the start of this read, sigh), but finally I've catched up, and grew kind of accustomed to some other fantasy than Eriksons. That was my very first entry in fantasy-literature, so it kind of set my standard / expectations :-).
But: I like ASOIAF thus far and I wonder where the books will bring us. I don't expect to post here often, but I'll follow behind the curtains, enjoying Leighs analysis.
Tyler Will
28. Willard17
First off, excellent first read!

In regards to the Joff "taking advantage" stuff: I didn't get that feeling at all. Joff is an idiot and a selfish brat but I don't think he has the drive to sexually abuse someone like that. He’s not even 13 yet, correct?

Also, this might be slightly spoilerish so I'll white the text: Joff spends most of his time with his mother since Robert pretty much ignores him. This leads me to think that Joff would sympathize with her when Robert does something abusive like slapping Cersei. Even if Joff seeks his father's approval, I think that he identifies with his mom and wouldn't think of treating another girl the way his mother is sometimes treated.
I'd like to hear what others think about this though.
Wolf Bro Joe
29. Wolf Bro Joe
Natty Gann! Enjoying my internet cookie as my Friday afternoon snack.
Gerd K
30. Kah-thurak
@21 throwJamieFromTheTrain
I second that. In 12 years of self defense focussed martial arts training that is the most idiotic knife defense technique I have heard. And there are a lot bad knife defense techniques out there. From the good ones I allways liked "run like hell" best, second best beeing "make one block, deliver one punch and then run like hell" ;-)
Dave Thompson
31. DKT
So very much enjoying this, Leigh.

"Man. Martin’s already got me primed to expect the absolute worst outcome of any given situation. "

I just recently finished listening to this book (don't worry, no spoilers) and I don't know if I've ever felt how claustrophobic this story feels at times, how viscerally worried I was. It was like I was just waiting for the old gods to fall down from the sky on all these characters. I'd wondered if this was a feature of the narration (done by Roy Dotrice, who did an incredible job reading this), or if it was all there in Martin's prose. Based on what you're saying, I'm guessing it's at least the latter, and possibly a combination of the two.
someone else
32. Naraoia
Who doesn't like Renly Baratheon? XD

throwJaime @21 - I'm pretty sure there *are* situations when you automatically ignore pain, and it's definitely possible to train yourself for it. That said, "don't block the weapon" is also what I've been taught. That said, I have also been taught that if you ever get in a knife fight (as in, for some reason you can't run away), you shouldn't expect to get away without being hurt - and if they're gonna get you, it's better that they get you in a less vital place.

Willard17 @28

I'll white-text this too, but his later treatment of Sansa and pretty much everyone else (including IIRC his mother) makes me think otherwise. Of course, in Sansa's case he's taking his anger out on her, but still...

Maybe I'm just exceptionally naive, but I agree with you about the sexual element (or lack thereof). I was frankly surprised that Leigh read it that way.

Whoever said Sansa was a diplomat:

A lady's armour... :)
Tricia Irish
33. Tektonica
Thanks for the oatmeal raison with NO calories, Leigh! Love me a good tomgirl. (Having been one, surprise.)

Joff is a selfish brat and most importantly his mother's son, in that he spends most of his time with her. I'm not sure he would have a clue how to even get started with Sansa in a sexual way, if that's what you meant, Leigh. My interpretation of his taking on Mycah, was some idiotic attempt to impress Sansa. But challenging the butcher's boy who has a stick? Argh. How lame. Tool.

Oh, and Go Arya!!

SamarDev@27: Welcome to Westeros!
Malazan was your first foray into Fantasy? Geez louise, you started at the top! GRRM is a good encore, but wow, you've already peaked!
someone else
34. Naraoia
Also, I always felt that Cat's going south was a bit contrived. I can't remember exactly how her reasoning went down, but if someone has to go, and has to go in secret to boot, why not Ser Rodrik alone? My impression was that Cat usually showed more sense than she did with this decision. Then again, I can't really expect her to show sense after what just went down, so maybe I just don't like the decision :P
Rob Munnelly
35. RobMRobM
@34 - the text makes clear she looked at her circle in Winterfell and believed Robb was too young, Theon too untrustworthy and Roderick (who is old and had funny whiskers) would not be believed. Hence, she felt compelled to go. I thought about this and can't say I disagree with her thinking.

someone else
36. Naraoia
Rob, I have no idea why I originally thought it was contrived (I came up with Ser Rodrik on the spot), but I remember I did so ever since my first read.

If it's perfectly logical as you say (and I can't remember the details even though I reread that chapter just a few weeks ago), then I have to go with my more self-critical second hypothesis. I just don't like that it was her :)
Tyler Will
37. Willard17
I thought about that too. But in my opinion, some of those acts were committed on Sansa because he viewed her as opposing his absolute authority. She gets hit initially because she insults him or goes against his will. It is also important to note that HE doesn't start out hitting her, he has his Kingsguard do it because he says something along the lines of "My mother tells me that it isn't right for a husband to hit his lady wife." To me, this doesn't paint a picture of someone who would personally sexually abuse a woman.

I'd love to hear your and others' takes on this because the depth of the characters in this book is one of my favorite aspects of the series and I love hearing other people's perspectives.

Edit: white out didn't go through...
38. RanchoUnicorno
I had to wait until it showed up in the library to start reading, so I've been doing a bit of catch-up the last couple of days (I only allow myself to read during my Tues-Thurs commutes). I was thinking about mentioning it in the comments to the proper chapter, but since you mention it here, I figure I will too.

I doon't get why you are so intent on consistantly blaming Jaime for what he did to Bran. From what I read, it sounds like he wasn't sure what he was going to do with the Bran until after Cersei started freaking out. At that point, he knew what she wanted him to do, and he did it because of his self-described love.

In the end, Jaime chose to be the tool to harm the child, but it was Cersei that guided the tool. I don't know how much blame each deserves, but it certainly isn't the 100/0 your phrasing seems to suggest.

Relatedly, I suspect that we are going to find out that Cersei is the brains in the relationship and Jaime is the brawn.

Also, I woke up this morning with a thought - I'm betting that Jon turns out not to be Ned's bastard. Instead, he will be the rape child of Ned's sister and whatshisface. I'm only posting this here so that I can be proud of myself for being right or shamed for being wrong, and not feel like I'm lying to myself.
someone else
39. Naraoia
Willard @37 - Interesting view. I always read that as Joffrey mocking mum's teaching and flaunting his power (he doesn't have to hit anyone, he has obedient henchmen to do it for him).

And I think we should conclude this discussion before we get thrown out >.>

EDIT: What's wrong with the font colour function?
Tyler Will
40. Willard17
See white text: POTENTIAL SPOILERS but no events listed below!! That last paragraph is actually a MAJOR theory by readers. The whole theory is kind of involved and I'd direct you to for looks at this theory and others when you're through the books. As for having it here in the spoilerless discussion board, I guess it's your call. My perspective is clouded by having read the books so I know when predictions hit very close to the mark and could potentially mess up others reading of the books.

Also, completely agree with your reading of the Jaime push situation. Jaime decided to do something after Cersei said that they needed to do something. I think Jaime initially said that Bran wouldn't even know what was going on anyways.

Wow, I'm on a white text spree today!
Tyler Will
41. Willard17
Agreed, I always feel compelled to post on these boards but knowing about things that happen later always kind of scares me off since everything I say is influenced by later events. That being said, moderators (or whoever has the power to police the postings) feel free to delete any posts if I cross the spoiler line too much. I won't mind and I'd hate to ruin new reader's first readings of the series.

Edit: @Naraoia I'm really not sure but I've been having problems with it too. It seems like if you white something and then hit preview right after then it unwhites the text or something... hmmm
42. Ian P. Johnson
@38 RanchoUnicorno: you've just stumbled upon the most common theory of Jon's birth in ASoIaF fandom. But it's not proven yet, and we need to read more to find out…
Hugh Arai
43. HArai
RanchoUnicorn@38: Regardless of his motivations, Jaime did it. He's responsible. "Cersei wants me to" or "Robert will kill Cersei and me" are reasons why he did it, they don't change the fact he was the one who did do it. Very little besides some form of explicit body/mind control would.
Hugh Arai
44. HArai
Naraoia, Willard17: The "whiteout" function is really really unreliable on these forums. I've been burned a couple times myself, luckily on less spoiler sensitive threads. I'd definitely move your (interesting) discussion to the spoiler threads, just to be safe.
j p
45. sps49
I'm being entertained by the book and the re-read, but long term, I get depressed by constant bad things happening to every character good and bad. Are Tools going to sow what they reap/ get revenged upon? Is a "good" character (say, Jon) going to get some payback/ success/ reward?

Donaldson and Cherryh also put me through a lot of crap before getting to the payoff, but both have been worth it so far for me.

I'm not asking for anyone to tell me, I'm just saying these books might not be for me.

Speaking of which:

Willard17 @28-

There is a SPOILER THREAD for spoilery discussions, linked up top by the cover picture. You don't need to talk over everyone here with whitetext.
someone else
46. Naraoia

It's okay, I think I'm done with the spoiling. We got carried away, but as Willard said, we won't be offended if a mod purges the white stuff off the face of the earth :)

Re: depression, I hear you. Four books into the series, I'm not at all sure anyone is going to get a happy ending... luckily, that includes the tools :) (Mwahaha!)

I think GRRM himself characterised his planned ending as "bittersweet" somewhere, can't recall where. I don't know if I want to find out what he means by that. Well, of course I do, but I'm anxious about it all the same.

ETA: IMO, Martin isn't nearly as dark as what I've seen of R. Scott Bakker.

(That said, the main reason I put down The Prince of Nothing after the first book was because I couldn't stand any of the characters. A perverse amount of darkness AND a cast of insufferable psychiatric cases? No, thanks...)
Hugh Arai
47. HArai
Sps49: Just as a random and suitably vague datapoint, I thought the first two Thomas Covenant series paid off, and I couldn't manage the Gap series the one time I tried it. Given that calibration, I think ASofIaF is paying off after the books so far. So I'd say keep going while you're being entertained.
Peter Stone
48. Peter1742
Speaking of the ending of the whole series, one of the funniest comments I've heard on this subject was when Martin was asked whether he was planning to kill all the characters off by the end of the last book. His answer was that he was planning to kill everybody off in the second to last book, and that the last book would be 1000 pages of poetic descriptions of snow drifting over dead bodies.
Jennifer McBride
49. vegetathalas
I always figured a lizard-lion was one of those maned lizards that could flare out their neck flaps. One of these dudes, only bigger.
50. RobSRobS
Is it possible to put all of RobMRobM's comments in white text? I find all of his comments spoilerish, especially the ones where he is telling people what to look out for ("Note this", "Keep in mind that", "Never lose track of this"). And as he did before, he warns people when upcoming chapters are not for the faint-hearted.
51. EvilClosetMonkey
I'm stealing RobMRobM's Blog of Ice and Fire tradition (at least for this week) because he wasn't quick enough and I've taken to rereading it every Friday after Leigh's post.

Catelyn • Sansa

Catelyn is spending all her time in Bran’s room and fears that he might die at any moment. Her absence has taken its toll on Robb and Rickon. I understand her concern, but ignoring the mental health of her other children is more irresponsible than leaving Bran’s side. She can’t control his condition, so there's no need to be there. However, her irrationality saves Bran's life, because the Lannisters send an assassin to kill him. Catelyn slows the guy down long enough for Bran’s wolf
to take him out. I thought the direwolves were still pups, but apparently they are strong enough now to rip out throats. The Starks are starting to see that the direwolves are special, but I wonder if Catelyn realizes that in this analogy, she's the big dead mom wolf in the snow with an antler in her throat. The traumatic event shocked Catelyn back to her senses, and now she's headed to King's Landing in search of the truth.
It was dumb of Jaime to give his goon a super expensive identifiable knife -- he might as well have written "rich people want coma boy silenced" in big neon lights. It's not surprising that Jaime or Cersei would try something so reckless and stupid. They call Jaime the
"Kingslayer" but so far he's failed twice at killing a helpless seven-year-old boy. What happens when he has something difficult to kill?

Sansa gets her own chapter! I know that Eddard and Catelyn need to have their own chapters to narrate events through adult eyes in the middle of the main storylines, but I'm not sure if a Sansa POV
would be interesting or necessary. Thus far she seems like the typical highborn girl, and her boringness is emphasized even more by how different Arya acts. Sansa is obsessed with Joffrey, looks down on Jon, and is embarrassed by Arya. You can't really blame her, because young girls brought up in such an environment typically only care about boys and social status. Even though this chapter is told through Sansa, Arya is the one who drives the action. I thought it was ironic that Sansa actually asked Catelyn if Arya was a bastard, because it really should be the other way around. Sansa is the only Stark child who doesn't act like a Stark.
Sansa is so excited about her date with Joffrey that it makes her completely change her viewpoint on horseback riding. Joffrey
initially is very chivalrous, protecting her from the Hound and that scary Payne guy, but when they encounter Arya sparring with a peasant friend, Joffrey turns into a pompous jerk. One thing leads to another and Arya hilariously beats him up with Nymeria's help. Afterward, Sansa is horrified and tries to comfort the injured prince, but he's not having it. Sansa's dream of being a queen in a big castle is crumbling right before her eyes.
Claire de Trafford
52. Booksnhorses
Is it possible to put all of RobMRobM's posts in white text when he's GLOATING! Damn you sir. I'm off to the bunker to sulk.

@51. I lurve the analogy of Cat and the mum wolf. Hadn't crossed my mind at all. Brilliant.
53. Joel Prophet
The dagger just seems to easy to me. Just because someone is guilty does not mean someone else, who dosen't know he's guilty, is trying to frame him. After all the assassin got paid in silver (30 peices?) why give him the cool dagger too? Maybe to drop at the site of the killing to frame someone you hate...Jamie? So maybe there are more then one child killer on the lose?
Eugenie Delaney
54. EmpressMaude
re: why did Catelyn go to Kings Landing herself?

For those who question this decision, bear in mind that she is headed down to tell Ned, who is after all, the Hand, and might then whisk her to the King and have her accuse the Lannisters of all sorts of nasty things. It''s a pretty weighty accusation and Catelyn is the only person of sufficient social heft to make that accusation and not risk being thrown down a well or something. Plus, her maimed hands are corroboration - it's be pretty difficult to brush aside the Lady of Winterfell holding up her wounded hands and saying "House Lannister did this!"
Andrew Foss
55. alfoss1540
Looking at Joffrey again, I agree with everyone who thinks he was trying to ply Sansa with wine and then nail her. There seems to be no decorum in this world (Remember: Dany and her brother and her Horse berserker husband; the Queen is screwing her own brother; Ned has a bastard child). Sex is expected. Joff is scum on this account in my unread ahead opinion).
Max Espensen
56. Andvari
It's funny, initally I was rather hesitant about this project, like many others, but I think now I enjoy this aSoIaF thread more than the WoT re-read! (Sorry Leigh, it's more case of Rand comparing sunrises, I love them both) I think I just about prefer these books to WoT but I'm liking the new reader aspect too, and I have to say you're doing a good job and being a lot more perceptive than I was on my first readthrough. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else who was sceptical at the beginning has revised their opinion.

I think, like everyone else, the Sansa chapter was where Arya sealed the deal for being favourite Stark child for me. Whether she remained it for the rest of the series or not is another matter, but certainly at this point in time she was.

For what it's worth, I'd agree that RobM does seem to be a bit spoilery still though I think he's calmed down a bit. To be honest if I were reading this for the first time, I'd probably steer clear of these comments altogether to be on the safe side, but they still have been designated spoiler free and so even comments about what is important or not is to be avoided. Having said that, I agree with his observations that Sansa has already developed some useful abilities which tends to get lost in the action because she is seen as being a loved-up naive princess-in-waiting.
Jennifer Fiddes
57. junefaramore
Joff is scum, I thought worse things might happen myself on first read.

Jaimie's obviously very weak when it comes to his sister and her desires from the very beginning. For this reason I've always borne sympathy for him. Part of the fun of this series is none of the mysteries are cut and dry. Just watched a bit of Abercrombie's interview with Martin where R.R. says his goal in part was to write a fantasy mystery, and all I could do was nod my head.

Mystery is what ASoIaF is all about.

Really great to read your reactions. My favorite this week was the rainbows comment.
Rob Munnelly
58. RobMRobM
@50 - if you have a problem with specific comments I make, alert me and let's discuss in the spoiler thread. I'm not finding generic ad hominem comments re spoilers to be productive.

@51 - thanks for stepping in. I had to leave work early to go to a picnic at my son's former school. I always enjoy the BoIAF.

@52 - chuckles. I'll henceforth try to limit my gloating activities. I guess I won't remind you all of the HBO poster of Jon and Bran shooting arrows hanging on my wall at work (or the poster of Dany and her silver in my daughter's room or the one with Ned and Ice hanging in my son's room).

@54. That's ultimately where I come out. I originally questioned her decision too but, after looking closely at the text, I can't say I disagree with her.

@55. Three reasons why I don't think Joff would go all the way: (1) he's is really young and might not yet be capable, (2) Sansa hasn't "flowered" so the equipment isn't quite ready, and (3) if he managed to do it and she somehow got knocked up, it would be the scandal to end all scandals. Even without groping, rape would likely end a publicized betrothal and cause a scandal that would embarass his mother. So, some kisses and groping, with or without her consent, yes. Beyond that, I doubt it.

Maiane Bakroeva
59. Isilel
@24 Wortmauer:

Then again, with Robb assuming the duties as acting Lord of Winterfell, she isn't as indispensable there as I would have thought.

Robb is 14 or 15 and Ned didn't consider him ready to govern the North. He left _Cat_ to govern the North and to finish Robb's training in the art of ruling.
Yes, Robb made the appointments, but his behaviour in the godswood shows that he is still a child.

EmpressMaude @54:

Catelyn is the only person of sufficient social heft to make that
accusation and not risk being thrown down a well or something.

But she doesn't have any proof for her accusations - only hearsay and speculation.
Personally, I have always felt that her decision to go to KL was very contrived or maybe the symptom of her not being completely recovered from her craziness over Bran's fall.
The rational thing to do would have been to send Ser Roderick to warn Ned, so that Ned could, hopefully, gather some more convincing evidence. And when he did, Cat could come south and give her testimony.

I honestly never felt that Sansa's virtue was in danger. They have been riding for hours before coming across Arya and Mycah, IIRC, and Joff didn't even try to kiss her or anything. Also, it is not something that could have been kept secret, IMHO, and both Ned and Robert would have killed Joff for it.
Tricia Irish
60. Tektonica

Just why are you the recipient of all these GoT goodies? Are you going to let the rest of us in on your secret connection? Eh? Only sounds like your kiddies are enjoying the spoils too.

Isilel@59: I agree. Cat's trip south seems contrived to me too. Sir Roederick is a long trusted family advisor and it would be natural for him to convey sensitive information from Cat to Ned. ?

I think Joff is too young and too self-involved to think of Sansa in an intimate way. It never occurred to me that she might be in danger of his sexual advances on this ride. Given his mother's love of all things Lannister, it seems like even touching a non-Lannister might give him cooties.
Marcus W
61. toryx
I don't think Catelyn's trip is contrived, exactly, but more a matter of Catelyn convincing herself that the only option is the option that she most wants. She can't do anything for Bran (and has finally realized that) and she doesn't want to sit still in the North while people are trying to kill her son for reasons she doesn't fully know.

Above and beyond that, I think she really wanted to see Ned again. She wanted to be able to take the news to him so that she could be part of resolving the issue rather than just sitting and waiting for it to be taken care of. I don't agree that going south at that particular time was very wise of her, but I definitely understand why she chose to do it.
Rob Munnelly
62. RobMRobM
Tek - no secret connection. I do some work in an industry where HBO folk occasionally appear and where people who interact with HBO appear. The latest goodies are from HBO directly (I gave some of their folk a primer on what to expect with the GoT show over dinner in January and they have (finally) reciprocated); and the earlier goodies were from clients in the latter group (who had goodies and knew I liked GoT). And, yes, my kiddies enjoy both the GoT stuff and the show itself (although I've had to fast forward through an awful lot of inappropriate scenes so far - they haven't seen all that much of Dany, for instance).

Birgit F
63. birgit
Cat is from the south and was unhappy that she was left behind in the North. Now she has an excuse to go to her sister and help her husband with the politics in the south.
64. carolynh
Oddly, at least compared with what everyone else has mentioned so far, the thing that struck me the first time I read the series was:
Catelyn could beat everyone back to King's Landing by taking a boat?!?!

You mean those idiots spent a month in an uncomfortable wheelhouse, slowly trudging north and then south again when they could have taken a boat?!? How bizarre is that?

Catelyn grabbing the knife with her hands made me go *ewwhh* too.

And despite their ages, add me to the list of those who thought Joffrey was going to do Something Evil to Sansa too.

I have always felt a bit sympathetic to Sansa, even though she is a naive twit. I think twit and naive is almost inevitable in her situation. She was the sister who bought into this culture's world view and who, without trying at all, manages to embody the stereotype of what a girl or a woman should be. She has no experience of the world, no experience of not measuring up, no experience of not fitting in.

What else is she going to be but a twit?

Life has a way of taking care of this problem, especially, I suspect on Westeros.
Rob Munnelly
65. RobMRobM
@64 - LOL re the boat. I suspect they had too many people to travel by ship or they couldn't bring the wheelhouse on the ship (as they would still have to ride 100 miles up from White Harbor.) The Queen needs her wheelhouse.
66. Patrick C
Not that I want to defend Joffrey, but I also didn't get any kind of sexual vibe from his offer to take a walk with Sansa. They're only, what 11? 12? No older than that.
67. Will Belegon
Re: the land voyage for the king's party: remember that "The King" is a distant figure to most all that he governs. A trip like this serves multiple purposes, and the chance to show the minor nobles along the route that he is hale and hearty is a major side benefit to the journey. Also, considering he is from a coastal domain, Robert never shows much inclination for the sea. The only mention we've had of Robert being a seagoing type is a very brief comment about Greyjoy's rebellion. I suspect seasickness.

Also, being a martial artist I agree regarding the knife defense. However, I think the intial comments were somewhat harsh. Leigh didn't teach the class and her instructor is (AFAIK) not here to receive the correction. So I suggest more honey and less vinegar.

Catelyn totally talked herself into a reason for doing what she wanted to do anyway.

Regarding the potential sexual assault, never saw that possibility before but now that it is pointed out, I can see Joff being selfish enough to go there and Sansa being naive enough to "keep the secret." Sadly.
Tricia Irish
68. Tektonica

Nice to see you are putting all those hard working hours to good purpose! There has to be some payback for the sweat and BS.
Leigh Butler
69. leighdb
throwJamiefromthetrain @ 21, others:

re: knife defense - Yes, obviously the best option when someone is coming at you with a knife is to run, or strike at the arm wielding the weapon. However, that doesn't address situations where neither of those options are available - say, if your attacker has you pinned on the ground. Or, as in Catelyn's case, being held from behind. I also get the distinct feeling you are not accounting for the possibility that the assailant may be significantly stronger than the victim.

So no, as a first line of defense grabbing the blade is not optional. As a last-ditch effort to survive, however, it's certainly better than nothing.
Gerd K
70. Kah-thurak
@69 Leigh
The difficulty of actually grabbing a blade you are beeing attacked with set aside (if this were easy, grabbing the hand that wields the blade would also be easy and thus knife defense itself would be relativly easy - which it is not), it would gain you nothing. You cannot hold a blade. The attacker will just draw it back, cutting open your hand in the process and it will be free again. If you want to grab something, grab the hand or the arm. If you can do so, you are either very good, lucky or your attacker is clumsy and/or careless. In this case you might actually succeed in defending yourself. Which normally is pretty improbable when dealing with a knife.
Marcus W
71. toryx
Re: The question as to why Robert didn't take the ship.

Someone else already mentioned that there were too many people to take a ship. Another point to be mentioned is that when a King is travelling with his court, it's a very bad idea to put him and everyone else on something that can sink, be run aground by storms, or attacked by pirates.

Trips by sea are simply far more dangerous.

Re: Grabbing a knife as a last measure of self-defense.

A couple of things. Everyone who has mocked Leigh for endorsing it has referred to martial arts. Not every self-defense class is martial arts related. Furthermore, not everyone who attends self-defense classes are going to gain much from martial arts training.

Thirdly, and far more importantly, this is the absolute last measure. Last measures are ruled by desperation, not rationale. When your back is to the wall and you have no other choices left, you do what you can, no matter how bad an idea it is.
Amir Noam
72. Amir
re: boat trip to King's Landing instead of a long march:

This reminded me of this.
(no spoilers, except for LotR :-) )
Gerd K
73. Kah-thurak
Self defense and martial arts are closely related. The latter encompasses the former.I have allready exlpained why I think it is not a good idea to try to grab a knife blade. If this was perceived as "mocking" I am sorry. I would have hoped it to be perceived as a strong discouragement to do this. I have studied marial arts for a long time, I have visited seminars specifically on knife defense. I have read books on self defense. Never ever have I heard of the idea of grabbing a blade. I do not know who told Leigh that was a good idea, but I must disagree strongly. From my perspective it is dangerous and stupid. When you are attacked with a knife flee. If you cant flee consider really good whether surrendering is an option and only if you cant do this try to fight. Because in all probabillity you will loose.
Sky Thibedeau
74. SkylarkThibedeau
#13 Tyrion as Richard III. That never crossed my mind until now. I knew that Cersei is based on Margaret of Anjou but not really which York or Lancaster (Lannister?) the other Lords were based on until now.

#71. Another Sharon K Penland book, When Christ and His Saints Slept dealt with the contention for the throne of England between King Stephen and Henry I's daughter Maude after Henry's son and heir drowned crossing the channel from France.

I read somwhere that the breed of dog the American Alsatian was bred to resemble a Direwolf. I'd like to see one of those.

I always find Catelyn to be so impetuous. She gives in to her emotions and tries to take charge of things way too much
Marcus W
75. toryx
Kah-thurak @ 73:

I realize that self defense and martial arts are closely related. I'm also aware that many forms of martial arts are all about defense. But that does not mean that all self-defense courses utilize martial arts, which is the point I was trying to make.
Gerd K
76. Kah-thurak
If you limit the course to awareness, prevention of dangerous situations and generally the psychlogical components of self defense, which may be a wise choice for such courses, this is true. But I do not see how this connects to telling someone to grab the blade of a knife.
77. oraymw
I think the point that Leigh was making is that it is better to trade a cut for a kill. In other words, if the knife is at your throat, you get it away from your throat as quickly as possible and then you run like hell. You don't try to fight back and you don't try to negotiate. If someone comes at you with a knife, they are intending to kill you. If that happens, you get away from the knife and then run. You should never try to grab the blade of a knife, but it is better to grab the blade if it is already against your throat. They key in such a situation is to react as quickly as possible, because if you do not then you are dead.
78. Hirgon
Leigh, you win again with this post. I forget why, though. Better go back and skim for details...

Oh yeah, got it. I want a direwolf.

Go easy on Sansa and her decision-making skills so far - she's a twelve-year-old highborn girl who lived a sheltered life in a northern hold and has a head full of whatever it is that twelve-year-old highborn girlie girls have their heads full of, which she is finally going south to see! And she has a "friend" who can help her hate on her tomboy sister in the bargain! Naïve? Absolutely, and you're right about her needing to wisen up. But given what you know of the world Martin's placed her in up to this point, does she have any reason to be wised up yet? That's part of what I like - borderline love - about Martin's characters. stuff. Anyway, moving on.

It's interesting watching which characters you focus on and the predictions you make, especially when those stuff.

Grrrr. "Spoilers" suck. Especially when there's a point I'd like Leigh to read, and can't because it stuff. I'm not posting anymore.
79. Hirgon
@13 Bandenjamin & 74 Skylark Thibedeau
See the spoiler thread. I unleash my direwolf on you both.

@The Knife-Fighting Argument
Bwahahahahaha. There's something to be said here, but all I can think is, "It's the internets!"
Sky Thibedeau
80. SkylarkThibedeau
#79 My silver roasts your Direwolf and gobbles it though burning wolf fur smells. I see no Spoilers. Cat is impetuos and jumps to conclusions from chaper 1 on.
Kat Blom
81. pro_star

pretty. and oh so shaggy. That's a lot of grooming! If that's what a direwolf should look like, howcome we don't hear about the Starks (or Snow for that matter!) doing more grooming? ;)
82. Hirgon
Direwolves devour dragons, so your silver is no match. Cat has been the impetuousness to Ned's starkness.

See the forum thread for spoilery posts, please. The link is in Leigh's intro.
83. Hirgon
I am in a caffeine-induced stupour and attempting to spar in a fake-internet-creature duel at the same time, and therefore reached for the most fearsome beast alluded to in order to show that your...never mind. I didn't finish that post before posting.

It's all over in that other place, because the very discussion of it here is forbidden. It has to do with defining characters this early.
84. hohmeisw
Hi, I'm enjoying your read of Ice and Fire. I had many of the same reactions, including Joffrey Is a Douche Fan Club. But he's also only 12. And he grew up with two psychos for parents, and there is a lot of potential power (as a future king) that can go to his head. I feel as bad for that kid (dickish as he is) as I do for Bran.
Lee VanDyke
85. Cloric
I have to confess that I'm surprised... one might say stunned... at the level of naievete re: Joff's age and sex. While I may not have actively pursuing that at 12, I certainly knew what was what. And yes, the necessary components for tom-foolery function, if not for actual procreation. This is a fuedal society, so marriage at a relatively young age is not unheard of. And even a hundred years ago or less in the United States, sometimes fathers would take their 13 year old sons to the local brothel to "Make them a man." I think it is well inside the realms of possibility that Joff could have been planning some bow-chick-a-wow-wow, or at least starting the ball rolling, so to speak.
86. J M Cornwell
Since the direwolves were found in what could be considered a portentous manner, I'd say their resemblance to their human counterparts indicative of something more that will likely show in time.

Giving points as Head Tool to Jaime for pushing Bran out of the tower window, I'd still say that Joffrey is pretty close to Head Tool already since he's such a whiny, back-stabbing little rat. He's probably further along as Head Tool considering his age and station. There's no call for him to be such a jerk. However, I do not think he intended amorous mayhem on Sansa, not with her father so close by and his relationship to Joffrey's father, the king. I rather think he was doing as little as possible to entertain her while keeping some distance because he does not like her and does not want to be betrothed to her; she doesn't have enough status or money to entice him. He'd rather be king and play in whorehouses for free. It's good to be the king.

Good call on Arya's comeback to Joffrey after she called off Nymeria. Martin does slip in a few zingers here and there. His writing is spare and on the minimalist side, but I am enjoying my first read of the books, too. I'm ahead of you in Game of Thrones, but really like what I've read so far. I look forward to more of the same.
John Massey
87. subwoofer
The best solution is to "pants" the would be attacker- it is hard to threaten somebody with your pants down around your knees, limits your mobility too, and folks make fun of your underwear... and don't really take you seriously at all at that point.

Option "B" is to shoot the would be knife attacker. Not sure if guns were invented but that would be my plan.

Or set them on fire. Hard to attack somebody with a knife when you are on fire, there may be more pressing matters.

Knife vs. flaming toarch- I'm going with that matchup. Pants around the ankles runs a close second.

88. Shobbs
We actually named our cat after Renly, he's such a cutie!

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