Jun 17 2011 2:37pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones, Part 13

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 13 of A Game of Thrones, in which we cover Chapters 24 (“Bran”) and 25 (“Eddard”).

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 24: Bran

What Happens
From his window seat, Bran watches his brother Rickon play with the wolves, and tries not to cry. He says it was lie about his flying, and Old Nan agrees that crows are all liars. Bran thinks the crow tricked him, and he just wants things to be the way they were before. Old Nan offers to tell him a story, and he tells her he only likes the scary ones, so she tells him about the first coming of the Others, and how they almost wiped everyone out, until “the last hero” set out to find the children of the forest to find out how the Others could be stopped.

The story is interrupted by Maester Luwin and Hodor, the simple stableboy, to summon Bran, as Robb is meeting with Tyrion Lannister. Hodor carries Bran down to the hall, where Robb is in the middle of very rudely refusing Tyrion Winterfell’s hospitality. Tyrion sees Bran, and comments that “you Starks” are hard to kill. Tyrion asks Bran how he fell that day; Bran insists that he never fell, but Luwin interjects that Bran doesn’t remember the fall or the climb before it. Tyrion then tells Bran he has a gift for him: a design for a special saddle that will allow Bran to ride, if he uses a specially trained horse. He tells Bran that “on horseback you will be as tall as any of them.”

Robb wants to know why Tyrion is doing this, and Tyrion tells him, because Jon asked it of him. Rickon enters with the wolves at that point, and all three of the wolves immediately bristle at the sight (or smell) of Tyrion. They nearly attack before Bran, Robb, and Rickon call them off. Shakily, Tyrion decides it’s time to leave. Luwin has a word with Robb, and Robb offers an apology and hospitality. Tyrion tells him to save the false courtesy, and leaves.

Bran goes back to his room for a nap, and dreams of climbing among watching gargoyles, who Bran tries to assure that “he didn’t hear.” Later at dinner, Yoren tells Robb that their uncle Benjen is missing and probably dead. Robb angrily denies the possibility; Bran remembers Old Nan’s story and blurts out that the children of the forest will help him. Luwin tells him the children of the forest have been gone for thousands of years, but Yoren isn’t so sure. Robb carries Bran up to bed after and promises to find him a horse. He assures Bran that their mother will be home soon, and that they will go on an adventure to visit Jon one day.

“An adventure,” Bran repeated wistfully. He heard his brother sob. The room was so dark he could not see the tears on Robb’s face, so he reached out and found his hand. Their fingers twined together.

Aw, poor Robb, and Bran. I know what a basket case I would be if anything happened to my sisters, so I won’t lie, I choked up a little bit when I read that Robb was crying. Many hugs have I for brothers who care about each other.

Man, I knew Bran was going to be all amnesiac about what happened, just because it would be too easy otherwise. The gargoyle dream, though, is a pretty strong indication he’s going to remember at some point, probably at the least convenient moment possible, because I sense that that is how Martin rolls.

But, special saddle for Bran! Letting him ride! I am a thousand percent in favor of this. Tyrion’s awesome quotient gets bumped up yet more.

It’s interesting that Old Nan knew Bran was referring to a crow when he said the flying was a lie. I suppose he could have told her about the dream at some earlier point, though.

“Oh, my sweet summer child,” Old Nan said quietly, “what do you know of fear? Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep and the ice wind comes howling out of the north. Fear is for the long night, when the sun hides its face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and the white walkers move through the woods.”

Wow. You think Martin might be driving home a point about the suckiness of winter here? Because congrats, man, I’m convinced. Really, I think everyone on this planet should just move.

“The last hero,” eh? Wasn’t that an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie? And why is “Schwarzenegger” in Word’s spellchecker dictionary? These are the mysteries I ponder!

Oh, and the children of the forest? So not gone. Which is, of course, because any time someone declares in a fantasy story that some race/species/nation/thingy is dead, you can be pretty much 100% certain that that race/species/nation/thingy is both (a) not dead, and (b) essential to the plot in some way. It is A Rule. I expect no less here.

I’m also going to make a wild prediction now that Bran ends up being The Last Hero: The Next Generation and finds them, once he gets his riding mojo on, so they can tell him how to defeat the Others again. It would be fitting for it to be him, for sure. We’ll see if I’m right!

As far as what the children of the forest actually are, I’m guessing they’re Martin’s version of Tolkien elves: woodsy, magical, way older than humans, don’t seem terribly fond of us but will (evidently) help us if absolutely necessary, etc. And even if they aren’t anything like elves and I’m way off, I’m probably going to start calling them that anyway, because “children of the forest” is very annoying to have to type over and over. Get a pithier name, woodsy people, jeez.

Hodor: Is adorable. There’s always a simple stableboy, isn’t there? Of course, there’s also a tradition that simple stableboys often turn out to be much less simple than they seem, but I sort of doubt that’s the case with this one.

Robb’s hostility toward Tyrion is puzzling me a little, because as far as I can recall he has no real basis for it yet. Catelyn isn’t back yet with her information about the dagger, and of course no one knows yet what really happened the day Bran fell. I suppose she might have sent a bird with the info on ahead, but no one said so if that’s the case, and anyway, that really seems like the sort of thing you don’t want to put on paper, you know? I feel like I’m missing something here.

I mean, sure, maybe Robb just doesn’t like Lannisters, a sentiment with which I can heartily sympathize, but simple dislike is a very thin reason to risk alienating such a powerful and politically connected family. If Robb actually thought Tyrion had something to do with the assassination attempt that would be one thing, but since he doesn’t (as far as I know), it’s a pretty dumb move.

I wondered, at first, if the direwolves were all hating on Tyrion because he’d recently come from the Wall, but that doesn’t seem to make sense in retrospect. I had some idea they smelled the proximity of the Others on him or some such, but if so, why wouldn’t they have attacked the Black Brothers as well?

*shrug* Maybe they also just do not care for Lannisters. Again, not really blaming them on that one, even if I do like Tyrion individually.


Chapter 25: Eddard

What Happens
Ned visits Grand Maester Pycelle to find out what he knows about Jon Arryn’s death. Pycelle tells him that Arryn had seemed out of sorts for some time, but otherwise healthy until the day he’d come to borrow a book from Pycelle, the morning after which he was too sick to get out of bed. Ned observes that Pycelle had sent Arryn’s original physician, Maester Colemon, away, and Pycelle agrees, telling Ned that Colemon was purging Arryn with “wasting potions and pepper juice,” which Pycelle thought might kill him. Pycelle says that Arryn called out “Robert” several times in his last hours, and then “the seed is strong” to the king and Lysa just before he died. Ned presses him, asking if Pycelle thought there could be a possibility that Arryn’s death was due to poison. Pycelle opines that it is possible, but unlikely. Ned asks for the book Arryn had asked for the day before he died, and Pycelle promises to get it for him. He also tells him that Cersei had not been in town when Arryn had fallen ill. Ned leaves, uncertain of Pycelle’s loyalties.

He runs into Arya on the tower steps, practicing balance drills, and teases her gently. Arya asks what Bran will do when he grows up, and Ned reassures her he still has options even if he cannot become a knight, though he is privately saddened by all Bran will not be able to do.

Ned meets with Littlefinger, who informs him that he has located four former servants among Jon Arryn’s retinue, left behind when Lysa departed with the bulk of the household, one of which was Arryn’s squire, Ser Hugh of the Vale. Ned proposes to send for them immediately, and Littlefinger points out to him the numerous spies who are watching Ned in the Red Keep. He tells Ned to send a trusted servant to the four former servants instead. Ned offers his gratitude for the help, and opines that perhaps he was wrong to distrust him; Littlefinger replies that distrusting him is the wisest thing Ned has done since arriving here.

Ooh, what is the book? And will we ever know, because Pycelle could totally just give Ned a random one and he would never know. Though I have some trouble thinking a guy as old as Pycelle could really be all shady and intrigue-y, but that’s probably just me being ageist or something.

Littlefinger: Dude, I hate guys like this, with the “I’m telling you not to trust me so you will trust me, because I wouldn’t tell you not to trust me if I were actually not trustworthy, but maybe I’m just saying that because that’s exactly what a trustworthy person would say, and I’m untrustworthy enough to use that, and oh no I’ve gone cross-eyed.” Seriously, don’t bother, Ned. He’s either untrustworthy or really into playing head games, and why would you want to deal with that either way?

Yeah, okay, beggars can’t be choosers, I know, and Ned has precious few allies in his current situation. But man do I want to kick Littlefinger in the teeth on general principle.

“I have heard it said that poison is a woman’s weapon.”

Pycelle stroked his beard thoughtfully. “It is said. Women, cravens… and eunuchs.”

My, what lovely company to be in. This has always struck me as a stupid saying, not because it’s not true (though of course it’s only as true as any cliché, which is to say it’s only true often enough to become a cliché), but because the implied value judgment attached to it strikes me as idiotic.

Murder is murder, people. If you’re going to be amoral enough to indulge in the practice in the first place, how is one method “better” than another, empirically? The idea that smashing a guy’s head in with a sledgehammer or something is somehow more “honorable” than, say, slipping him an arsenic mickey, is frankly bizarre in my opinion. If you’re going to kill someone, ideally you do what works and what won’t get you caught. How does it matter if that method turns out to be poison? Sheesh.

Arya cocked her head to one side. “Can I be a king’s councillor and build castles and become the High Septon?”

“You,” Ned said, kissing her lightly on the brow, “will marry a king and rule his castle, and your sons will be knights and princes and lords and, yes, perhaps even a High Septon.”

Arya screwed up her face. “No,” she said, “that’s Sansa.” She folded up her right leg and resumed her balancing.

Oh, Arya. Such a freak you are, wanting to have your OWN accomplishments instead of just hoping your male relatives will get them! YOU CRAZY MINX YOU.


Man, I hope she grows up to kick everyone’s ass.

Aaand that’s all there is, there ain’t no more! Have a lovely Father’s Day weekend, peoples, and see you next week!

John Massey
1. subwoofer
Poor Rob? Well, I suppose so. Bran- man I'd feel rocked if I had his ability and his mobility and have that all taken away. Too bad they didn't have wheel chairs back in the day. I'd find something that would get me moving and then hunt down the SOB's that did what they did. Mind you, the boy is 7...

Hodor... very interesting character, him and Nan both. Nice old lady, that dotes on children. Much wisdom in her.

Edit- see? I'm liking this Arya girl. No need to headdesk here.

Iris Creemers
2. SamarDev
How appropriate in timing: Fathers Day and father's chapter! ;-)
Stefan Mitev
3. Bergmaniac
My sister Lysa believes the Lannisters murdered her husband, Lord Arryn, the Hand of the King,” Catelyn told them. “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.”
The shock was plain on their faces. “My lady, that is a monstrous suggestion,” said Rodrik Cassel. “Even the Kingslayer would flinch at the murder of an innocent child.”
“Oh, would he?” Theon Greyjoy asked. “I wonder.”
“There is no limit to Lannister pride or Lannister ambition,” Catelyn said.
“The boy had always been surehanded in the past,” Maester Luwin said thoughtfully. “He knew every stone in Winterfell.”
“Gods,” Robb swore, his young face dark with anger. “If this is true, he will pay for it.” He drew his sword and waved it in the air. “I’ll kill him myself!”

That's the scene before Catelyn left from King's Landing. Robb had plenty of reasons to suspect Jaime Lannister was guilty for Bran's fall, so no wonder he was hostile to Tyrion here even though he didn't have the info about the dagger's owner which cately got from Littlefinger.

Speaking of Littlefinger, he continues to be really entertaining here.

I knew this Arya scene will be the source of a headdesk moment. ;)
Gabor Kecskemeti
4. gkecskem
“I have heard it said that poison is a woman’s weapon.”
Pycelle stroked his beard thoughtfully. “It is said. Women, cravens… and eunuchs.”

"Murder is murder, people. If you’re going to be amoral enough to indulge in the practice in the first place, how is one method “better” than another, empirically? The idea that smashing a guy’s head in with a sledgehammer or something is somehow more “honorable” than, say, slipping him an arsenic mickey, is frankly bizarre in my opinion. If you’re going to kill someone, ideally you do what works and what won’t get you caught. How does it matter if that method turns out to be poison? Sheesh."

Pycelle: "See? I told you so."

5. carolynh
I always thought that the wolves didn't like Tyrion because their people didn't like Tyrion. The wolves always seem to mirror their owners.

The quote Leigh pulled out from the Bran chapter is one I'm always drawn back to. It's haunting and chilling and beautiful all at the same time. "Fear is for the winter..." and as we all know, "winter is coming."
From where I sit, it's not just the summer children who have less fear of the winter than they should have. Except for the residents of Winterfell and the Wall, nearly everyone else is ignoring the idea of winter, too.

Littlefinger is and always has been entirely too full of himself. Yes, he's the smartest person in the room. Get over yourself, guy.
Ted Herman
6. WinespringBrother
As a wise man once said, "Surprising what you can dig out of books if you read long enough, isn't it?" :D
7. Sydereal
Had I been a child growing up in that world, I'd be like Bran - wanting to hear all the scary and dark stories rather than the dull ones. But looking at it from the outside, Old Nan -- while awesome -- is really rather creepy! And it actually makes me love her more...
Rob Munnelly
8. RobMRobM
Robb is hostile because his mother told him the Lannisters were involved with killing Jon Arryn and likely had some involvement in the Bran thing, and Tyrion is a Lannister. Robb's not parsing individual culpability at this point.

The reference to Tyrion's fondness for Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things or some such is great.

I could never figure out why the wolves attack Tyrion at this point - unless they have the same psychic sense that Lannister = bad.

I love Tyrion's response to all this and wish you had quoted it - something like my shirt is torn and my breeches are unaccountably damp, but I'm otherwise unharmed. Big LOL.

The Old Nan speech is awesome and was highlighted in all the promos for the TV show that shall not be talked about (but is itself awesome - and is heading into final episode this weekend). Aren't there giant spiders in her tale too?

Really nice children of the forest talk. Tres cool.


LOL about your Littlefinger analysis. Almost like having an intellectual challenge against a Sicilian where death is on the line. This is a very good characterization chapter for LF. "Mistrusting me is the wisest thing you've done since you got down off your horse" is an amazing bad*ass line.

Leigh - I will give you the minor spoiler that, yes, we will see the book.

So glad you quoted the Arya line in your commentary. You skipped it above and I was totally shocked by that omission. Glad you worked it in.

Nice job as always.

9. Ryamano
Something about the prospect of noble women in Westeros/Middle Ages:

Even though what society expects mainly from these women is to be fertile and make the noble lines go on (with male descendants), they're also expected to rule (when their lord husband is away, which can be a very long period, especially during war). In the first Arya chapter, Arya says that she is better at math than Sansa and that she pities Sansa's husband, because he must have a good steward or his finances are going to be ruined. So, these girls are not only being taught Home Economics, but also how to rule, apply justice and see that the taxes are paid accordingly and where to put them to good use. Catelyn is supposed to do all that while her husband is away in King's Landing. It's only when she's overcome with grief for days that Robb takes her place.

It's interesting because I didn't know much about that before. It's still a very much patriarchal society, but a little bit less than what I thought (based on stereotypes about the middle ages I had).
10. TG12
That scene at the end of the Bran chapter really got to me on my most recent re-read, in a way that it hadn't previously. Rob's all bad-ass, (proxy) Lord Stark-in-Winterfell, but then in the dark, alone with his crippled younger brother...yeah, it's hard, man, it's hard.

And Arya, oh Arya...good thing you got grit, girl, you're gonna need every bit of it.

Now that it isn't a spoiler, you should go find one of the promos that HBO released before the series premier, it has the voice over of Old Nan's lines "My sweet summer child", etc. , and it's awesome....
11. Wortmauer
Leigh: Murder is murder, people. If you’re going to be amoral enough to indulge in the practice in the first place, how is one method “better” than another, empirically? The idea that smashing a guy’s head in with a sledgehammer or something is somehow more “honorable” than, say, slipping him an arsenic mickey, is frankly bizarre in my opinion.
I think the distinction here is between killing your opponent unawares, and killing him in such a way that he has a chance to fight back, and possibly best you. It is similar to some people's attitudes of hunting vs. trapping; in a hunt, you give your prey the chance to acquit itself with skill and acumen to evade your rifle, your bow, your dogs. With a trap or snare, you take advantage of their base instincts which (depending on the type of trap and type of prey) they may have no chance of overcoming.

Thus, if you follow, poisoning is seen as "unsportsmanlike". Of course, this analogy will be lost on those who do not recognise any hunting as "sportsmanlike".
Antoni Ivanov
12. tonka
Their were more than a couple of examples of the direwolves mirroring their master's behaviour and emotions, so it should not be difficult to understand why the wolves behave the way they do. All the Stark kids are hostile toward Tyrion because he is a Lannister and so are the wolves.
Brian Kaul
13. bkaul
I think the objection to poison as "less honorable" is primarily about it not giving the murdered person a fair chance to fight back. If you challenge someone to a dual with swords, in a "fair fight," and kill him, that's different from sneaking around and killing him in such a way that he can't defend himself. Women, lacking the physical strength to likely come out on top in such fights, were not subject to the expectation that they'd kill "honorably" in such a manner, since the fight wouldn't be "fair" anyway. Men, however, are taught to be honorable and bold, etc. rather than sneaky.

It's the attitude behind the Malcom Reynolds quote: "If I ever kill you, you'll be awake, you'll be facing me, and you'll be armed." Poison just isn't an option for a respectable man with that cultural attitude towards honor.
14. Tenesmus
"Man, I hope she grows up to kick everyone’s ass."

So say we all, So Say We All...
15. Sydereal
@14 -- It is known!
Mary Jones
16. MaggieKat
I've always thought the direwolves attacked Tyrion because of Lady's death, we know that they sensed Lady's death (all that howling before Bran woke up) could they have sensed Tyrion's connection to the reason Lady died (Joffrey and Cersei?) .
Marcus W
17. toryx
I really felt bad for Tyrion in the scene before Robb. I understand why Robb is acting the way he is but poor Tyrion just can't catch a break. He's treated like crap by everyone, even though he was happy to help. And even after that, the wolves attack him. That'd be a terrifying experience for anyone but especially for a dwarf who has serious muscle issues. Man, it's just messed up.

I love Littlefinger's line about trust as well. I have to say, he's one of the characters I can see most clearly with my mind's eye and he's always been so.

Poison as a woman's weapon. Well, that's definitely kind of offensive but Leigh does kind of outline the reason why it's said thus. Many men (but note, not all), being men, prefer what they'd call an even fight, even though most of the time it's only even from a certain perspective (usually that of the one doing the ass kicking). Poison seems kind of dishonorable and so many men dismiss it as an appropriate action because such an act would be, they feel, emasculating.

Hence the woman's weapon. People who share Leigh's argument are, in my opinion, not just more practical but ultimately more honest.

Still, I've got to admit, using poison doesn't appeal to me either. Even I feel like it's kind of cheating, and I'm fully aware of just how stupid a statement that is!


RobM @ 8:
I could never figure out why the wolves attack Tyrion at this point - unless they have the same psychic sense that Lannister = bad.

My personal belief (and I could well be wrong) is that they didn't like Tyrion because he smells like a Lannister. And the wolves have got plenty of reasons not to like Lannisters.
Philbert de Zwart
18. philbert
There is more to the Direwolves than just beasts of the forest. Remember that Bran's wolf began to howl already when he started climbing up, apparently foreseeing that something bad was about to happen. Therefore it wouldn't surprise me that the wolves recognized Tyrion to be of a hostile family, even though he himself isn't so bad. Or indeed the Lady thing.
19. SunnyReads
I personally think the quote about poison being a women's weapon is less about how "honorable" it is, and more about strength or ability.
In earlier times, and in Westeros, while we do see strong women use weapons, it is a rarity, not the norm. So for "weaker" women, poison in the porridge would be an easier option with more chance to succeed, than say, attacking someone twice their size with a kitchen knife.
Just a thought...
Rob Munnelly
20. RobMRobM
And, to keep up the tradition, here is the latest from A Blog of Ice and Fire. The Eddard chapter is the strong one this time.

To be clear, the blog was written by a law student starting in 2009 and he stopped writing it after he got a job last year. Big loss, IMO. He needs to get back up on that horse.

Bran whines a lot, but it’s justified because he can’t walk. When will he not be entitled to complain anymore? According to the Eventual Mitigation of Severe Tragedy Formula Union (EMOSTFU), the grace period for a tragic event is equal to twice the amount of time you lived without the tragedy. Thus, in Bran’s case, it's two times however long he possessed the ability to walk. Assuming all Stark children could walk the instant they were born, Bran can whine until he’s at least twenty-one. That's a long time. Crap.

He’s also a jerk to Old Nan, which is definitely not justified. She’s just trying to help and advise him by telling him about the Others. Thus far, 100% of people who have ignored wise old advice have been turned to zombies, so Bran should really pay attention.

Instead, he's interrupted by Tyrion’s arrival. Despite Tyrion’s handicapped saddle gift, the direwolves still hate him. Gee, I wonder why. Tyrion is lucky that Bran doesn’t remember who pushed him, or else he wouldn’t leave Winterfell alive.

At the end of the chapter, Robb and Bran share an intimate, non-homosexual non-incest moment, showing that their parents’ absence is taking its toll on all of them. Come on guys, get a grip. Starks don’t cry. Besides, this is the north, where tears freeze before they reach your beard.


Eddard is investigating the circumstances of Lord Arryn’s death. Why did Cersei want him dead? Is the Grand Maester in on it? These questions are far too nuanced and complex. Eddard, with all his duty, honor, and hard work, is built more for straightforward problem solving. He’s a firefighter, not a detective, whereas Littlefinger is an investment banker, Robert a washed up football player, Cersei a trophy wife, Varys a CIA director, Pycelle an elite French chess player, and Joffrey the spoiled rich kid who will one day get his comeuppance.

Eddard sees Arya practicing hard at “dancing” before he’s summoned by Littlefinger, who leaks to him the identities of several informants who keep tabs on him. It’s like Eddard is peering down the rabbit hole of King’s Landing politics and finally realizing that he is way out of his depth. This place operates on an entirely different set of rules, the most important being “trust no one.” A wise man once said, if you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the council meeting, you are the sucker
Noneo Yourbusiness
21. Longtimefan
@ 1 Subwoofer,

It is not about chairs with wheels back in the day. There are chairs and there are wheels. someone could slap something together. It is about stairs. Stairs, stairs and more stairs. There are no elevators back in the day.

Hence it is a really bad idea to fling children from windows. Because of the lack of elevators, or something like that.

If they do not slap a couple wheels on a chair there is going to be a lot of horse poop all over the castle when Bran uses his special saddle to ride his horse about.

As for the "Poison is a woman's weapon" crack these are not the most enlightened or forward thinking characters spouting these lines so a big bag of salt should be next to this book at all times for the taking of a grain whenever there is a questionable word spoken by a character. Pretty much every sentence. Bleah, that is a lot of salt.

Maybe it can just be put aside into a little pile and when the peak is taller than the width of the book it may be a good visualization on why not to take the ideas shared by the characters in the book to heart. because if you took all that salt to heart you would have a serious electrolyte disturbance . And we all know what happens when there is a disturbance in the force.

On the other hand one can always start a rock band called Women, Cravens… and Eunuchs and just do covers of Poison songs. It is a subltle rebellion and probably not very effective. :)
Tricia Irish
22. Tektonica
As for the poisoning:

At first I assumed it was attempt to focus the search for Jon Arryn's murderer....women, cravens and eunuchs. That would point to Cersei (who Pycelle said was not in the castle, but who could've had a maid or something do the deed) or Varys. As for cravens, there could be many.

On further reflection, poison would be the choice of someone who did not have the strength or skill to kill someone in a fight.

Other than lumping women in with cravens, I didn't really see it as a derogatory remark, just a practical observation. Call me dense, perhaps.

I feel sorry for Tyrion too. I don't blame Robb for being angry at any Lannister, given the Starks' suspicions about Bran's fall, but then we know Tyrion a darn sight better than Robb does.

I love Arya. Ned is a good dad, but not very 21st Century. Arya was born in the wrong time!

Robb: Thanks again....I liked them both!
Longtimefan: Still hilarious!
23. JoeNotCharles
Even if you're not watching the show, Old Nan needs to be seen:
Katie McNeal
24. Katiya
I find it really fascinating, Leigh, how you keep going to the fantasy tropes we all know and love, and then thinking about how many of them are right and how many are not so much. It's a really neat look at how Martin is on and off the genre, and in what ways. : ) Keep up the good work!
John Massey
25. subwoofer
@LTF- engineering to solve the problem would be fairly similar to nowadays. Put ramps over said stairs where you can, and the castle is huge, Bran could find a room on the main floor and stick to it, the main floor that is. If he ever needed to go to the upper rooms ramps would work or resort to Hodor. Seems like a call for extreme home makeover if ever I saw it. Not sure where the horse comes into play...IIRC I didn't mention it and it doesn't seem practical, indoors that is. Maybe if he asked his mom...

26. anthonypero
Yeah... ramps aren't going to work in a medival castle, I'm afraid. The pitch of a modern staircase is too steep for a ramp, and I promise you that medival staircases were pitched at an even steeper angle. Good for going down... once, at least. Not so good for going up.

Old Nan's lines are so beautifully written that a bunch of screen writers who write pithy dialog for a living decided not to alter a single word. GRRM's background as a screen writer gives him a real leg up in the dialog department.
Noneo Yourbusiness
27. Longtimefan
@ 25 Subwoofer, Oh, I know you did not mention the horse but it was in the chapter as implied by Tyrion's plans for a special saddle. Just being topical. :)
29. CaptainBooshi
Seriously, guys? You don't see "women, cravens, ... and eunuchs" as a deregatory remark? It explicitly compares women to people with no courage, and men who historically are pretty much universally considered to be lesser.

There's not even any reason to include eunuchs on that list except to try and denigrate poisoners. Throughout history, eunuchs have been in militaries and served as guards, so it's not like they can't fight. There's no reason a eunuch wouldn't face an enemy down "with honor," except for the assumption that since they're castrated, it's impossible for them to have honor. Thus, to bring it back around to my point, the only reason to include them in the list is to say that women don't have honor like men do.

This is like saying if I made the same statement but said "women, the clever, ... and historical winners," I wouldn't try to be complimenting women, I would just be stating the facts. Pretty obviously untrue.

I do agree with #21 that it's just the characters talking and not the author, though. I just think the people who say it's not supposed to be an insult are wrong.

As a side note, if you look throughout history, see how many people define the honorable thing as whatever it turns out they, or their family/leader, happen to be good at. It's not a coincidence that most people who consider face-to-face confrontations to be the height of honor happen to be strong, while those who think outwitting the enemy the real way to show your worth turn to be intelligent, and so on.
30. Paratax

Would just like to point out that the scene in question is basically just pycelle clumsily trying to make Ned investigate Varys rather than himself. He is not trying to "dishonor women" with this quote. While i agree that obviously the quote is sexist, in this instance it is just pycelle trying to thrown Ned off rather than to comment on the honor of women.
31. Wortmauer
"Hodor," he said again. Theon Greyjoy had once commented that Hodor did not know much, but no one could doubt that he knew his name. Old Nan had cackled like a hen when Bran told her that, and confessed that Hodor's real name was Walder. No one knew where "Hodor" had come from, she said, but when he started saying it, they started calling him by it. It was the only word he had.
Another of those little nuggets I had missed until this read. I love it. And let me just say this: I know we haven't met any other Walders yet, but I think it is no spoiler to say that Westeros has, on the whole, rather more Walders than one might suppose it needs. Heh.

Also just noticed on this reread: in the next scene, Hodor and Tyrion are in the same room. Hodor is "nearly seven feet tall." A nice visual contrast with Tyrion, along with the contrast in personality: simple and quiet vs. clever and loquacious. (Not that I've been watching the HBO show, so I don't know if the cinematographer(s) made anything of it, but they should've.) Anyway, GRRM does love his grotesques, doesn't he? Among whom I also count Varys and the Hound, plus some we haven't met. Quite a contrast to, say, Robert Jordan, whose cast of thousands is almost entirely composed of beautiful people. Plus, hmmm, Sorilea, Olver, Gaidal Cain, Padan Fain, Teslyn, Estean, the occasional one-eyed beggar, and Narg. (OK, more non-beautiful people than I'd thought. But still, only half of those are grotesques.)
32. hohmeisw
"I'll put down my sword, and you'll put down your rock? And we'll try to kill each other like civilized people?"

I think Tyrion gets the crap end of the stick from everyone (including his own family; or at least Cersei). This is because he is a dwarf. I think Martin is comparing Tyrion's appearance with Bran's; both are unable to help what they are, but both are judged (harshly) by the society for it. Take Bran out of Winterfell, and he'd be treated about the same as Tyrion is treated there, solely for his appearance. Considering a lot of fantasy uses "good=beautiful, bad=ugly" I like this way much more.
33. D-Mac
Re: the wolve's
I have the same take as @carolynh, the wolves mirror their owner's mood, Robb was feeling hostility towards Tyrion and Grey Wind reacted likewise. You have the same thing in one of the earlier chapters when Jon and Tyrion were on their way to The Wall, and Jon becomes upset listening to Tyrion's brutal truths as it relates to bastards and Ghost attacks Tyrion... or maybe Direwolves are just biased against dwarfs!
Claire de Trafford
34. Booksnhorses
The idea that you can only kill someone properly with "honour" by facing them etc etc reminds me of Blackadder:
Back in the old days when the prerequisite of a British campaign was that the enemy should under no circumstances carry guns -- even spears made us think twice. The kind of people we liked to fight were two feet tall and armed with dry grass.
This has never made any sense to me and I'm not even going to get onto the topic of a family's honour being upheld by the sexual behaviour of its women (which is itself kinda getting round to Arya's quote above). Surely if you're going to kill someone you need to do it fairly efficiently, and if that's poison then that's the way you go?

Even back in the day I was a bit miffed about the wolves attacking Tyrion who is just lovely and trying to be helpful.
Birgit F
35. birgit
Adult direwolves get bigger than ponies. If you don't want horses in the house, Tyrion could make a saddle for Summer.
Tricia Irish
36. Tektonica
Capt.@29; Imho, including eunuchs in the statement "women, cravens and eunuchs" was an attempt by Master Pycelle to point Ned toward the poisoner possibly being Varys. I mean, are there any other eunuchs in this book...that we know of? Is being a eunuch an insult? Or just a state of being.

As for being a coward, although insulting, in this medieval world, I still think the use of poison could imply physical weakness, as well as sly cleverness.

Perhaps it is insulting to insinuate sneakiness, but I think there were other currents being explored here too. Misdirection?
John Massey
37. subwoofer
@LTF- yeah I know, I was mostly kidding when I suggested him asking mumsie to let him bring a horse into the castle, y'know, prance around the kitchen and dining hall, nothing amiss there. Bran seems like an earthy kid, perhaps he could hang out in the stables... I woulda suggested roughing it, but camping in tundra really sucks. And it does get cold up north.

@AP- yes, correct, staircases be steep, I fell ass over teacup in a castle in Leeds, and that place has experienced a reno. Come to think, plywood was not er... readily available back in the day either. Hence the extreme home makeover or hanging out on the main floor, or the tried and proved method called "Hodor"!

Perhaps a spin on an idea and actually saddle a pony. They are more... portable than horses, and more likely to take to a saddle than a wolf, and they live a long time to boot. Maybe they can even do stairs;) Just a thought.

Michael Maxwell
38. pike747
@21. Longtimefan
On the other hand one can always start a rock band called Women, Cravens… and Eunuchs and just do covers of Poison songs. It is a subltle rebellion and probably not very effective. :)

Now that's funny! I don't care who you are. Very clever ;-}
Sorcha O
39. sushisushi
CaptainBooshi@29 The commonality between women, cravens and eunuchs is that none of them are supposed to have balls, real or metaphorical, which becomes a huge honking deal in medieval 'honour'-based societies, where the honour is bound up with martial prowess and metaphorical willy-waving contests. Massively derogatory in this context. We've met women in King's Landing (including Cersei) and one eunuch (Varys), although the single self-confessed craven is away up on the Wall (Sam). I think Pycelle is not so much casting nasturtiums, as strewing them liberally, in an attempt to focus Ned's suspicion away from the fact that Westeros' biggest organisational purveyor of medication is the maesters…
Tricia Irish
40. Tektonica
Well put, sushi@39. You are probably correct. "Metaphorical willy-waving contests"...LOL. And you're right! The Maesters do have all the goods, don't they....ummmmmmm?
41. Karan Juneja
I started reading when Leigh started this read-through, and I'm just about to finish aFfC... only to realise it'll take Leigh 25+35+41+23 weeks just to get to the end of book 4 at this rate. :despair:
Dorothy Johnston
42. CloudMist
#41: Fear not! The rate will speed up once Leigh finishes the WOT re-read. :)
43. ropercowboy
Pycelle stroked his beard thoughtfully. “It is said. Women, cravens… and eunuchs.

This is less about the cliche, and more about the want to think a scholar would not be so shady, but he is casting doubt on both Cersei, regardless of if she was away, but further emphasizing that Varys did it.

Me thinkst though dost protest too much, Pycelle! remember, no spoilers :)
44. AndrewShanks
Bear in mind that it was Ned who started the speculation about the poisoner by saying that poison was a woman's weapon. It's obvious that he suspects a particular woman - one because she's a Lannister, and two because Robert seems to leave much of the business of ruling to the Queen and the Hand, and Cersei is the sort of person who would be happy if "and the Hand" was removed from that last statement.

Pycelle seems very eager to discredit Varys - not only does he speculate on eunuchs being poisoners, his very next line is "Are you aware that Varys was a slave in Lys? Trust not the words of spiders." Could he be trying to protect Cersei?
45. iamnotspam
I had alsways just supposed that Summer had associated the scent of Lannister with what had happened with Bran and smelled the same scent on Tyrion.
46. Steve L
"But man do I want to kick Littlefinger in the teeth on general principle."
I want to see if you still agree with this statement by the end of the book. I think you'll change at least one word/phrase in this statement; I'm curious which one(s).

I agree with everyone else that think the wolves reacted to Tyrion due to Robb. Robb is the leader of their pack, and if he were a wolf his hackles would be raised and he'd be snarling at Tyrion. So they react accordingly.
47. carolyn h
Leigh: Now that the HBO series is over and we are fairly deep into this read of GOT, have you considered watching GOT up to the point where we are now reading??

Just wondering.
48. Wortmauer
carolyn h@47: Leigh: Now that the HBO series is over and we are fairly deep into this read of GOT, have you considered watching GOT up to the point where we are now reading??
Doesn't seem wise to me. I haven't watched the show, except the pilot episode, but I can't imagine they just chopped the book into 10 pieces and filmed one contiguous piece per episode. You really can't do it that way if you want each episode to have a plot arc, representation of most or all major actors and subplots, something particularly dramatic or interesting toward the end, and so on. It would also constrain the screenwriters in how to handle exposition: when and how to dollop out the infodumps, so as not to leave the audience either confused or overwhelmed, is not necessarily going to be the same for a TV audience as for book readers.

By which I mean, I bet the show skips around the plot some, and probably has some reveals (spoilers) a lot earlier than you'd expect from the book. I wouldn't even be surprised if Season 1 includes the occasional spoiler beyond the first book. (Speaking of which ... will the show still be named Game of Thrones beyond Season 1? I assume so.)
Marcus W
49. toryx
I agree with Wortmauer @ 48: I've seen 8 of the 10 episodes and I know for sure I'd recommend that people read the entire series before they watch the show (if they're going to bother with the books).

As it happens, I know one person who has decided to stop watching the show and just read the books instead. Which makes me very, very happy.
50. carolynh
Actually, the HBO series of GoT follows the books pretty closely. Leigh could watch the series up to when Ned arrives in King's Landing, which I think is about episode 4 (could be wrong about that).
Rob Munnelly
51. RobMRobM
I've watched the entire series, and it is truly excellent (especially the 6-10 episodes once all background is in) but there are some spoilers for later books that you don't get from reading AGOT alone. Not necessarily major spoilers but some info is transmitted early and a lot of info from the books is omitted re backstory, etc.

I like the idea of Leigh remaining "pure," hard as though that may be for her. The converse situation has been present on the Gestalt Mash site, where the newbie reader has been watching the show and, not to be excessively unkind, but her analysis - while still good - was better, fresher and more interesting in the earlier pre-show chapters IMO. At minimum, I'd prefer that Leigh wait until the end of AGOT before watching S1.

Leigh Butler
52. leighdb
Hi guys,

Unfortunately I have been really sick for the past few days, so there is no new AGOT post today. I'll try to do extra for next week's post to make it up to you.

Off to the doctor now.
54. Dolphineus
"Arya, I hope she grows up to kick everyone’s ass."

LOLOLOL. OMG, it hurts. Must not post ... there are just too many of these moments in this read through.

Regarding The Wall. We've all read lots of fantasy. We've seen castles and fortified cities with walls. The biggest baddest castle in this series (you'll get there eventually) has walls 70 feet high and 40 feet thick, or there abouts.

The wall is SEVEN HUNDRED FEET HIGH. Why isn't anyone asking the obvious question. Why do you need a wall that big? To defend against some wildings? Bears? Direwolves? Mammoths? There must be something out there, and it ain't human. I've got a very bad feeling about this ...
55. AO
Disappointing news, but completely understandable that your health should come first. Looking forward to hearing again from you when you're well, whenever that might be. :)
Marcus W
56. toryx
Sorry to hear you're not feeling well, Leigh. I hope the doctor visit goes well. Summer illness are the worst.
57. Joel Prophet
Leigh sorry to here you are feeling sick. I will miss this weeks post a lot, but I have no life :-) . Get well soon.
John Massey
58. subwoofer
Question- did you drink something then wake up on a hotel roof? Maybe found a chicken or tiger in your room?

Sounds like you need a dog. It will make things better. A trip to the local SPCA for you;)

59. iamnotspam
MUST not read ahead. Must hide book until next week. Really the hardest part about any reread for me is the fact that I reallllly cant discipline myself to read something this slow and stay with the group. Thats why this time I did not even start the book until last week and caught up and passed this chapter in a few hours. So I took the book and put it back on the bookshelf until we catch up again.
Leigh I hope you feel better and I'll look for you on Monday in Rand land.
Fredrik Coulter
60. fcoulter

I thought I'd do good and read both chapters before you post, so that I could go straight to the post. (Normally I see your post, then read a chapter, read part of your post, read the other chapter, read the rest of your post.)


I've read this week's chapters, and have gone to No post. Nothing. Then I spotted your comment here.

Does this mean I won't have any GoT to read next week? Maybe I could reread these two chapters again? It's just wrong...

(Feel better, and stay out of the rain. It'll only make things worse.)
61. Wortmauer
Dolphineus@54: Regarding The Wall. We've all read lots of fantasy. We've seen castles and fortified cities with walls. The biggest baddest castle in this series (you'll get there eventually) has walls 70 feet high and 40 feet thick, or there abouts.

I believe GRRM has indicated that when he saw the 100-foot wall used in HBO's filming, he realised making his Wall 700 feet high was a ridiculous scale.

Regardless, even if you shrink it down to 100 feet ... what an engineering project. Between the mass and brittleness of the construction material (ice, and while there may be some rocks and gravel in there, I don't imagine there's any rebar), you have to figure they had to dig down pretty deep, and found some pretty solid bedrock to put this thing on, otherwise it surely would have shifted and cracked long since.

Which means, if it's ice all the way down to the bedrock, you can't tunnel under it — or, rather, tunneling under it is no easier than tunneling through it. (And even if it's not ice all the way down, well, it's permafrost. Ever try digging through permafrost?) And it's, what did they say, wide enough for a dozen knights to ride abreast? Say a horse and rider need 4 feet of clearance, that's 50 feet wide at the top, presumably at least a little thicker at the bottom. Yeah, have fun chopping a tunnel through that.

So then: how did the deserter get down near Winterfell in chapter 1 to be caught and beheaded? You can't go under or through, you can't go around unless you have a boat, and you can't go over unless, I guess, you have some pretty serious mountain climbing gear.

Even better: how did Mama Direwolf get past the Wall to die from her antler wound? Everyone's shocked to see a direwolf south of the Wall, so she must have come from the other side. It's possible that the ranger had the means to go around or over the Wall, but the direwolf?

There must be either a breach, or an unlocked and unguarded tunnel (presumably near one of the abandoned strongholds of the Night's Watch). Or maybe there's actually navigable terrain to the west, between the Shadow Tower and the sea. If so, it seems kinda silly to build a wall that huge and then not extend it southwest a few more miles, but OK.
Why do you need a wall that big? To defend against some wildings? Bears? Direwolves? Mammoths?
Mongolians. It has to be Mongolians.
62. Trooth
@Post52lb: *Rolls Eyes * Hoooow shocking...not.
Daniel Goss
63. Beren
At the risk of feeding a troll...
Dude, not cool.
Birgit F
64. birgit
Leigh I hope you feel better and I'll look for you on Monday in Rand land.

Better look on Tuesday.

So then: how did the deserter get down near Winterfell in chapter 1 to be caught and beheaded? You can't go under or through, you can't go around unless you have a boat, and you can't go over unless, I guess, you have some pretty serious mountain climbing gear.

There are many abandoned parts of the wall and not enough men to guard it. It shouldn't be too difficult to slip through at an unoccupied watchtower when the patrols are elsewhere.
65. Trooth
@63...Not a troll. One of you...for a loooong time. Probably been on this site longer than you. Just lurk 99% of the time over the last few years. But trust me, you'd all know me if I posted under my regular screenname. If lb is sick I sincerely hope she feels better soon. I just had to say something this time which is my *right*. Ive followed lb for years and was there when she quit on the faq less than a year after it was given over to her. (Like I said - I go waaaay back, lol). And I grew frustrated by the large, large number of delays, missed and cancelled reread wot posts, broken promises and obvious declining interest on her part in the wot reread as that mammoth progect has spiraled on faaaar longer than she ever dreamed it would take (a fact lb herself has admitted on this very site). ... You can go back through the WOT Index if you don't believe me. Usually when a post is cancelled and extra is promised for next time you get a ''Hey guys, I know I promised an extra post this week but I just couldn't...'' ... Ive also grown tired over the years of reading about her personal life and constant drama (as well as being continually hit over the head with her near strangely obsessive feminist views) in this space. This isn't her personal blog. Its supposed to be a ASOIAF/WOT space...I obviously am not using my usual name/email this time but I can tell you that a shocking number of regulars here agree with me (and some of the names would surprise you, I'd wager) but are just scared to say anything because of fear of the weird sort of hero worship she seems to engender. I have to say, my immune system is very poor, mate, and I have changed adresses in my day, but I don't know ANYBODY who gets sick as often as this lass or moves as often or has some personal drama going on as often. One last thing I will mention: I know of several posters who - during the wot reread posts - were irritated because on SEVERAL occassions lb was directly asked in the comments section if she was being paid by MUCH she was being paid...and ignored every single time...never answered. Unreal. ... Now, I have said my peace. I have followed the guidelines. I have supported TOR.COM in many ways over the years (includning financially) and will continue to do so - and hope that my right to voice is respected and this post stays. Again, hopefully lb DOES feel better soon if she is badly ill. She is given a public pulpit so we have the right to comment. I wish her - on a personal level - absolutely no ill will. Last comment: It would be very nice if we ever saw the fresh enthusiasm in her current wot posts anymore that we see in her asoiaf posts. I want to say that I have been greatly enjoying her asoiaf read. Thank you for letting me say my peace. Good day.
John Massey
66. subwoofer
Maybe the harsh reality that is this series is setting in. I mean, I was a bit leery at starting this series because from what other folks had told me, there isn't a lot of shits and giggles going on here. At least reading this, I was not surpised. GRRM is a very... gritty writer. No sugar coating here.

I remember when I was reading Dostoyevsky I had to unplug and take several mental health days just to bring myself up from the horrible downward spiral of depression books like that can lead to. Call it what you want, but sometimes it is tough sticking to the game plan.

*Shameless plug reiterating the merits of dog therapy inserted here*

I won't lie either, I'm disappointed, but frankly my life is full and my daughter takes up more time than I could imagine so this once a week thing is working just fine. I do feel a loss of steam, let's face it, we have gone from each post numbering in the several hundreds in a couple of days to a post barely breaking the one hunny mark in a one week span. I dunno, there are only so many ways you can make a shot to the groin seem funny. Sometimes it feels like we are reinventing the wheel when it even comes to our responses on posts. The rest is silence. Or we could talk about wet towel matches in the sweat tents or something. That's always good for a chuckle.

Things happen for a reason and trying to force somebody to do something just doesn't work. So sick, 24 ounce flu, pet rock got hit by a car, parrot stopped talking to me day, whatever, what is, is. That's the way the flames are burning, so go with it.

Oooooo 66 Lemieux, score!

Eric Lesch
67. EricLesch
Trooth, you seem pretty upset about this. Maybe you should contact to see if they will give you a refund.
68. Trooth
@66...thanks for your comments. I'm in NO way implying that your post *agreed* with mine, but it WAS important to me that it be clear that my original post at #62 wasn't just some random, passing-by shot fired by a troll but by a longtime TOR.COMer. I promise Im not a bad guy - just issuing my honest opinion. I avoided profanity or personal insults and made sure to just give my honest opinion of how I feel the author of the WOT Reread and ASOIAF Read sections have been handled. Everything I referenced can be verified - most on this site itself said by lb herself. I also want to thank Subwoofer's post (again, NOT implying that SW agreed with me at 66 - I don't speak for people) for reminding me of something I had meant to put in my original post at 62. And what is that? - Namely the steadily decreasing rate of posts since the beginning. Look at the index...ah, the good ol days of 3 - 4 posts per week and 5 - 6 chapters per POST. ... Now, in FAIRNESS, as the wot books progess, the chapter length grows longer...GREATLY. So, look at Word Count. Way down. The written word doesn't lie - especially when you read between the lines: use SUBWOOFER'S own words....has obviously lost a great deal of steam - especially regarding the Wot Reread. We now get (sometimes) one or two chapters per week of very short word cound and increasingly generalized recaps as opposed to her early, wonderfully analytical wot reread recap posts. ... Its disheartening. ...Im also big on commitments and I hope this goes in part to answer Eric's post at 67. All the way back to the wot.faq days, and continuing with alot of the promises made early in the wot reread here on, lb promised ALOT...much of which never materialized or was eventually much briefer than originally has SEVERAL SEVERAL times in this space talked about her delayed, shortened, cancelled etc post being because of personal problems, health, family, weather, moving etc. I respect that. I also know MAY people in this world that deal with those same things every day and still manage to keep their commitments...I wish lb would be honest enough to expound here on her obvious slight decrease in passion for the wot reread, but I doubt we will get that. Also, to be fair, she has adressed thiss to a SLIGHT extent a few times in the past, iirc....Makes one wonder why perhaps she didn't just pass the reins of it on to someone who was still passionate about the job??? ... LASTLY...I want to again be clear that this is NOT personal againt lb the person, rather my honest feelings about her use of the public spaces afforded her here on tor...I also want to say that I thought her early wot reread recaps were BRILLIANT and again say that I have been enjoying her asoiaf posts ENORMOUSLY - maybe even more than I did her early wot reread posts....I wish her well personally, including her health and hope she continues to enjoy asoiaf...Thank you..........P.S. Real quick, just to answer a couple of emails by those who know me here regarding my remark in post 62 about being weary about lb's continuous pro-feminism remarks in this space, allow me to clarify: Those that know me know how strongly active I have been in women's rights (because, let's face it, the fact is, sadly, that women are STILL a minority and that is not right)....but I'm just puzzled and put off by the vehemency and frequency of her feminist comments in a space dedicated to the recapping of a fantasy series, lol.
John Massey
69. subwoofer
"to use SUBWOOFER'S own words"

-Who me? I gots a big mouth:D

Teresa Nielsen Hayden
70. tnh
Trooth @62, the sad fact is we're none of us permanently young, hale, or able-bodied. It's a little easier to take, when the universe gets around to forcibly reminding us of that point, if we don't have memories of making unkind remarks about it to others.
71. Trooth
@ 70 - Please reread my posts then come back and discuss the NUMEROUS times I mention that lb the person I wish well and have nothing against. Also, please go back and reread my posts and then come back and discuss the number of times I remarked upon how BRILLIANT I found her early wot reread recaps and how enormously I have enjoyed her asoiaf read. ... I - as is my right - gave my honest opinion (as a long time supporter of, and with out any profanity, nasty remarks etc) of the custodianship of the spaces on dedicated to the wot reread and the asoiaf read...@ SW, I obviously have a much bigger mouth and am already regretting the obviously inaccurate belief I had held that I could share an honest - yet critical - opinion of mine regarding certain public internet forums devoted to numerous things (the wot reread, the asoiaf read, the now defunct faq etc) and how I felt regarding how those forums have been handled by their custodian. Again, I sincerely apologize if anything I said was personally against the *person*, rather that directed at the *public/internet custodian* of the wot reread, asoiaf read etc.
72. Joel Prophet
A couple of points, there is such a thing as burn out on the job, so I understand if there was a fall off at the WOT site. It could also be the later books were less interesting. (You know the plot lines I mean). So to expect LB to make a silk purse out of a sows ear is expecting alot.

It is really rude to ask how much people get paid. And I do assume LB gets paid but I'm sure it is not enough (my paycheck never was). I wouldn't do this for free would you?

As to the Ice & Fire read, it is slow, I will say that and that it's not a reread is fustrating because there are so many spoilers, so many times I wish I could post "see that....remember that for latter" or "this is the point I figured out XXXX". The books are depressing (an anti Middle Earth) I've stop reading them a number of times. LB may need a break from the books too, I can't blame her for something I would do too. When someone says their sick, give them the benefit of the doubt.

As to LB's feminism, I find her personnly a little over the top, but it's her blog and she can say whatever she wants. Now my wife's a doctor and my daughter is a lawyer so don't go thinking I want to go make to the dark ages. However, to complain about history and how it was so unfair back then is IMHO something you say once then move on. I'm one of those people history was unfair to. I just don't think we should go around comparing scars. Or compeating as to who's grandparent got screwed the worst. Time to drop the drama and live in the present.
73. tsb

To paraphrase Neil Gaiman: Leigh Butler is not your bitch.
74. PK from Singapore
I felt the need to say something to Trooth. I am pissed with GRRM cos of the delay with ADwD cos I paid for the damn books (1-4) and I expect the remainder (of this excellent series) to come out in regular intervals. There are wars of words in other forums and we remain unconvinced by one another's arguments (eg. Neil Gaiman's rubbish about bitches).

Anyway, given my opinion abt GRRM, even I am shocked that this being a freebie blog, you (ie Trooth) actually felt entitled! to LB continually giving you freebies postings even though she is sick/not motivated/busy etc. Get a life dude.
75. OldWoman
'Honest' opinion? Under an anonymous pseudonym? It might possibly have been construed as honest when you posted on wot early on but it is cowardly now.
I know I know, shouldn't respond but it got my septegenarian dander up.
76. David B
Ah...bummer to hear you're sick. Just when you started to have the best chance to start catching up on the TV show, too.

Oh well. Get better. (I hear some milk of the poppy might help.)
77. Trooth
@74..This, actually, is very, very much NOT ''Leigh's blog to do whatver she wants with'' ... I've seen this inaccudacy many times and it grates. This is very much - here on - NOT lb's ''personal'' blog. Big Difference. ...It is a space dedicated by to host a discussion about a rereading of Wheel of Time and a first time reading of a Song of Ice and Fire … This is NOT intended as a Personal Blog. … For any that may accuse me of exaggerating the amount of times and frequency of missed and cancelled posts, shortened recaps, posts, chapters covered and word counts (and days per week) broken promises, abandoned progects, pro-feminist rants and remarks about constant moving, health issues, family issues and other such drama that seems to be a constant in lb’s life, I invite you to simply go back through the Index. Its all there. A lot. And often. These things are fine to be talked about in a Personal Blog - that is not what this space is here on ... Again – please be clear, this is not personal against lb the person – it is an honest criticism of what has been happening in the spaces here on this website dedicated to wot and asoiaf (mostly wot). Jesus Christ or Mother Teresa or Ghandi could be the holder of these two spaces (the wot and asoiaf blogs) and I would be saying the same thing – as is my right, under a little thing called the First Amendment, and while I am not egocentric or nationalistic enough (I lived abroad for many years) to think that ‘’America’s’’ way is EVERY societie’s way, the freedom to express is a right that exists in many places, thankfully. As for being ‘’anonymous’’ in my posting name, that is silly. We are all, for the most part, anonymous, here. … Well, ok – not totally, because, in fairness, I have made ‘’real life’’ friends from here that I value. I decided to make this statement (a few other longtimers had been thinking about it but were nervous so I decided to bite the bullet) ... Now: my last statement: I decided in the fall of 2008 that I would never be bullied off a Message Board again. In the fall of 08, in the states, the ‘’Debate Forums’’ on these type of boards was very, very charged and nasty. as it was the presidential election season. I was very civil. I never insulted anyone. I broke NO guideline's of that Board's. When I was pressed…and I mean almost BULLIED – into revealing that I had voted for George W. Bush in BOTH 2000 AND 2008 (and would again today), I was BANNED from said Board…told I was ‘’evil’’ and a ‘’traitor’’ and the type of person ‘’people hate’’ … It was shocking. … Anyway, I want to say again, that, in retrospect, I wish that I had worded my very first post above more tactfully and am sincerely sorry about that – AND about the possibility that my remarks hurt lb on a PERSONAL level. I simply mean my criticisms to WHOEVER it is ‘’at the steering wheel’’ here, so to speak – and not lb the person who gets up and eats lunch every day and works and has a best friend etc etc … I will continue to post here (from this point forward though, only about books) and if I am hated or flamed or ignored, that will be ok. I used my right to Free Speech, but too many people today do not understand that there is (and SHOULD be) consequences for that right sometimes. I am someone who DOES understand this – and accepts it. As I said MANY times above, I think lb’s read of asoiaf is TERRIFIC and that her early wot reread recaps were BRILLIANT and that – on a personal level – I wish her all the best. I wish to got the passion and quantity on her part in her wot reread posts here in the current day were somewhere near her early ones, but I've been advised that this is just not realistic……………….P.S. To whomever it was above that said that these bloggers are doing this for FREE, well, if you can prove that, I really WILL feel like a complete jerkbag, but my understanding was that they were paid. And my belief that it IS a paid position forms a GREAT deal of my criticism here. Again, also frustratingly, in the Index, lb was directly asked SEVERAL times over the last couple of years in the wot reread if she was being paid or doing it for free. And I never saw her answer one single time. If I MISSED her answer, I apologize – it is hard to catch every single thing in the comments everytime. … Thank you for letting me have my say.
Charles Gaston
78. parrothead
You voted for Bush in 2008? I think that says all anyone needs to know...
jon meltzer
79. jmeltzer
Teresa - I think two warnings were enough.
Daniel Goss
80. Beren
Dude. Chill.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion. Everyone has the right to be just as wrong as they feel like being.

And you. Are. Wrong.

If you think that what you said wasn't completely rude and out of line, you are wrong.

If you think anyone here thinks that posting anonymously helps your case, you are wrong.

If you think that you are not a troll, then . . . well, I think you see where this is going.

The final word on the matter is this. It doesn't matter whose blog it is, because it is not yours. It doesn't matter how entitled you feel, you are merely a spectator and all of your expectations wouldn't mean a rat's left testicle even if she just decided that this wasn't something she wanted to do anymore. It doesn't matter if she gets paid or not, because either way you are not paying her and thus have no reasonable expecation of any specific level of performance from her, or even any performance at all. So at the risk of repeating myself:

In response to your comment @62, Trooth, where you said

@Post52lb: *Rolls Eyes * Hoooow shocking...not.

Dude. Not cool. There is no way, no justification, no sense of entitlement, no length of service to the WoT or any other fan community, no person, place, thing, idea, religious belief or special hair gel that would make your statement anything other than inexcusably rude.

The usual way to end a post like this is to say that I will be ignoring you from now on, thus ensuring that I have the last word, at least in my own mind. However, in this case I'm not going to. I encourage you to go black so we can all know who you are when you post, and so that we can help you learn some manners.

William Fettes
81. Wolfmage
It's mostly been covered already, but I just want to add a couple of points:

-Protestations to the contrary, it's exceedingly rude to mock Leigh's poor health preventing her usual posting. Are you really suggesting she is making it up? Or is it that you think she's lacking the necessary stoicism to power through? Because that's seriously uncool either way.

IMO it would be unprofessional for a work colleague to make that kind of remark about a notorious sickie-taker, let alone the context here.

-Hiding behind an annoymous handle to make this kind of attack has obviously emboldened you. But I can't help but think you would have been more circumspect and polite if you were using your real handle, and thus bore some accountability for what you're saying. That accountability shouldn't be viewed as a straightjacket of group-think conformity. You're hardly the first person to lodge an objection to Leigh's focus on gender analysis in her blog posts; plenty of others seem to be able to manage to make this kind objection without needing anonymity.

-Please use paragraphs!! I'm probably guilty of not using enough paragraphs myself, but even poorly used paragraphs make a huge difference to readability.
82. missblake7
I've really loved both reads and I admire the thought and intensity have gone into the WOT especially. I had so much fun re-reading the series with the blog. Sometimes people have other things going on in their personal life; is that less important then a re-read of a fantasy series?
83. missblake7
One more thing- many new fans have come on lately, especially for all the new interest in Game of Thrones. Are attacks like this on a popular and respected blogger really the way we want to introduce the general public to fantasy we all love and admire?
It makes us look like losers.
Captain Hammer
85. Randalator
Trooth (*snort*, 'truth', get it?)

Dude, since Leigh started the re-read I have switched profession once, have attended several marriages, moved twice myself and helped friends move twice as well, lost two grandmothers and experienced all the other "personal drama", too. That's what happens when you have what experts call "a life". The only difference is that I have been blessed with good health all my life and Leigh not so much.

Also, how is Leigh supposed to write about her experiences during the re-read and how she relates to what she reads when she's not allowed to talk about personal experiences? That's the whole point of this re-read in the first place.

So, you coming here and bitching about it (yes, that's what your comment @52 was) is, as might have been mentioned, not cool. If you were just criticising the state of the projects that would be okay. I, myself, have been critical of Leigh's decision to start the ASoIaF-read and slow the WoT re-read. But unlike you I didn't lash out against Leigh with veiled and un-veiled insults and personal attacks. And deny it all you want, that's all that you've been doing in your comments.


Please use paragraphs!!

GOD, yes! Usually I wouldn't even read your comments because, the way I see it, if you don't consider them worth the effort to put them into a readable form why should I consider them worth reading?

Come to think of it, they really weren't all that read-worthy. That's what I get for ignoring my principles...
86. Wortmauer
As a veteran procrastinator myself, when I see "no post today, sorry", it sounds a great deal like "I've had a week to write a post, but I put it off until the last minute, and then something came up." I know the feeling well! I don't ever complain about it, though, because:
(1) I'm not the one paying her, if indeed anyone is, and I gripe enough about Elayne Trakand's sense of entitlement that I don't want to project a sense of entitlement of my own; and
(2) as I said, I'm a veteran procrastinator and thus not in a position to lecture anyone else about same. I've missed professional writing deadlines, usually by hours, but once by a couple days, and in all cases I can say it's because I procrastinated. My editors were understanding, if a bit exasperated.

What "Trooth" is right about:
(1) There is a certain amount of burning-at-the-stake to anyone who comes out critical of things like the read/reread schedule. I can understand not wanting to burn one's "real" handle in the resulting "stab the naysayer" reaction.
(2) This isn't leighdb's personal blog, and any argument or defense based on that premise is fallacious. Of course it isn't my blog either, or "Trooth"'s, but the distinction between a personal blog and a corporate-sponsored community site should not be ignored.
(3) It is possible to keep commitments when things come up. I'm a huge fan of Howard Tayler's Schlock Mercenary comic, for many good reasons, but not least because of his 11-year unbroken track record of never missing an update, 365-366 days a year. How can that be possible? The guy works ahead: 5 whole weeks of unpublished comic! Then when he gets sick, or goes to a convention, or takes his family on vacation, or takes on a busy side project - at the other end, he's still got 2 or 3 weeks in the can. So, it can be done, if you take your schedule seriously, in a way I too often do not.

What "Trooth" is wrong about:
(1) Sorry, but it is rude to ask how much one is being paid, when you're not financially involved in the contract. Plus, insert Neil Gaiman here. However, knowing whether one is being paid for something is a little different - I don't think that's as rude.
(2) There is no "first amendment right" to free expression on someone else's blog. Regardless of whether you think the blog is owned by leighdb or Posting is a privilege, not a right. Corollary: censorship from a moderator is neither a moral nor a legal issue in a way it would be when done by a government.
(3) Spelling, grammar, and paragraph breaks matter. Handling them well gives you more credibility. As does using your real pseudonym. That's how the world works, deal with it.
(4) I bet "Trooth" did not vote for Bush in 2008. However, if he/she is right about being heckled out of an online community due to his/her politics, that reflects very poorly on that community.
(5) I don't think leighdb's writing is or ever was "brilliant". It is fun to read, and fun to comment on, and it keeps me coming back ... but I seem to be a lot more sparing in my use of the word "brilliant" than most.

E.g., I should be working right now.
Captain Hammer
87. Randalator
Wortmauer @86

re: stake-burning

Usually it's hard to burn your handle with reasonable and fair criticism that is phrased politely and backed with valid arguments. I have criticised the fact that Leigh cut down further on the re-read in favour of the ASoIaF-read (although I'm now following that one as well, lousy hypocrite that I am), however I didn't notice any burn marks or stab wounds on my shiny handle. Some agreed with me, some didn't, no one hit me with blunt objects, set me on fire or put pointy things in me.

re: Satan of Procrastinology

Does Howard Tayler have a day job or is he working full-time on his comic? Because that makes quite a difference...
88. Wortmauer
Does Howard Tayler have a day job or is he working full-time on his comic? Because that makes quite a difference...
Both and neither. He was working at Novell for the first few years of the comic, and still managed to stay far enough ahead of his deadlines to never miss a daily update. He eventually quit his day job - I think 2004 or 2005. But, while Schlock Mercenary is no doubt his biggest commitment, he obviously has other projects and hobbies. (In fact you could say his real job is producing Schlock print books to sell, since he apparently doesn't make significant money off the web. But that's splitting hairs, as the print books use much of the same content, and anyway they mostly sell to the fan base he has built by publishing the strips online.) But day job or no, the man is a machine. I get tired just reading about his workload.
John Massey
89. subwoofer
@Wort- yeah, I use my name all the time, and my bark, and I've yet to be totally burned at the stake. Emphasis on yet. Mind you I am within barking distance of a very solid, shiny bunker type deal so I can flee safely. Naw, reality is, if you have something to say, say it, if it is not for popular consumption and does not go over well, it's not the end of the world, it is just an opinion, we're not landing planes here.

Oh yeah, a while ago, R. Fife and a few others took me under their wings and taught me the merrits of hitting "return" every once and again. It breaks up a solid wall o' text so my eyes don't glaze over and want to end it all now. Give it a try.

Hope you were not serious about voting for Bush, good drinking buddy, not so much in the Oval Office department... but that is just my opinion, take that with a bag of salt;)

90. Trooth
AT 86 Point 5 ... I was more referring to her take, not her actual prose when I used the word ''Brilliant'' (though I think she's definitely a good writer in terms of grammar, flow, structure etc) ... I stand by my opinion that her early grasp on, expansion of - through the blog - the early chapters of WOT on the first few books was ''brilliant.'' ... I am enjoying her ASOIAF read even more.

At SW: Thanks for the tip about the Return Button. It definitely helps. As to your question, yes, I did in fact vote republican in the early 2000s and probably would again, because that is where I was AT THE TIME, if that makes any sense. There were MANY other factors involved in why I voted for George W Bush (and not John Kerry, in 04) but that is not really what this blog is for and I don't think any of us really want to go there. The only reason I even brough it up was to relate the story about me being banned from a Board when a Mod found out I had voted for Bush - to show that I am now very wary of any sense of being ''bullied'' on a Board. That is not what heppened here by any means, and I probably overreacted.
Anthony Pero
91. anthonypero

Ha! Give anyone else 9/11 and see how they do. It wasn't pretty, that's for sure, but I'm not sure how it could have been. Talk about a difficult time to be president. History will cut him more slack than we have. Not the best or the brightest, but it could have been far, far worse, as I think time and perspective will demonstrate.
Anthony Pero
92. anthonypero
"Arya, I hope she grows up to kick everyone’s ass."

In this series, @leighdb it's best to just hope kids grow up at all. And I'm not talking about maturity level.
93. Joel Prophet
"Arya, I hope she grows up to kick everyone’s ass."

@92 I would add growing up normal is something to be wished for in this series. All to many people in this series either die from stupidity/innocence or grow up to be revenge seeking a--holes.

I like Arya, she reminds me of my daughter. I fear for Arya living in this world. Normal......not an option in the land of ice & fire.
Tricia Irish
94. Tektonica
I think most of us are disappointed when there's not a new post, because we look forward to Leigh's take on things, and many of us have bemoaned the slow down in posting on the WoT site.

That said....there are reasons, some of which we may never know, this being a company with it's many machinations. Leigh's health and life problems are REAL, and as this is a pretty special, close knit, polite online community here, I consider her (and many others, actually) a friend, who must be respected.

Whether this is Tor's blog or Leigh's, or whether she is paid or not, is none of our business and is irrelevant. We don't always agree, and you most certainly are free to express your opinions, "Trooth", but this is quite the stand to take on the frequency of missed posts. Does it really matter that much to you? Wow.

There's also the fact that the last book has been moved to a later release date, which by itself has provided a certain "let down". That, and the fact that many of our theories have been wrapped up already, or hashed to death. There's less to talk about and speculate on.

And on the subject of Feminism.... Leigh can say whatever she wants. I have always considered myself a feminist, and it's nice to see the subject is front and center with Leigh, because I think many of us have gotten lazy about it after many small victories. There's still a long way to go.....just watch TV and the young women of today. They take much for granted and don't know the history. Sad.
Captain Hammer
95. Randalator
All too many people in this series either die from stupidity/innocence or grow up to be revenge seeking a--holes.

"My name is Arya Stark of Winterfell. You killed my father. Prepare to die!"
96. Trooth
@ 80: If that is what makes you happy. Very mature. As for calling my OPINIONS ''wrong'' ...well, need I say more, lol? Now, if you would like to label any of my facts or assertions wrong, I can prove them all - and most can be proved by simply researching the WOT Index here. I have supported TOR for many years financially and have turned many friends on to this site as well. In essence, I am what is known as a ''Paying Customer.''

@ 91: Amazingly, history is ALREADY softening itself on its stance regarding George W Bush. There is a reason why FIVE of the last SEVEN presidential elections have been won by the republicans. But, sadly, most can't understand those reasons. There is a reason why in the midterm elections republicans won the House back - a day that any ration-thinking American citizen should have felt unrestrained joy over. Bush was the man we needed and so many facts have come out regarding Al Queida, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and MUCH more that prove his credibility now after the fact. Now ration human being can consider Bush ''evil.'' He kept us safe and protected our rights. Part of why he is so misunderstood is - a LARGE part - is because of a media that is largely liberal, atheist and northeastern. Trust me, I am a white, republican-voting, conservative, Christian male who grew up in the south and resided in Texas - and *I* have been discriminated against more than you could believe. No joke. Its horrendously sad the way my demographic has been unfairly and vilely demonized and slandered over the better part of the last decade. Maybe my demographic is what the worl needs a little more of - ever think about that?

@ 94: I disagree about your take regarding the release date. But that is only MY opinion. It is beyond obvious that ''steam'' and passion for the wot reread has greatly diminished, and that blog was intended for the rereading of the series - so, I discount the affect that the slight postponment should contribute in anway to that said decrease. Again, just my opinion.
97. Trooth
My apologies: 'Now ration human being can consider Bush ''evil.'' should have read: ''No rational-thinking human being can consider Bush 'evil'. ''

Also, whether it was internal, or software, when I was hitting ''Return'' on earlier posts, it was either deleting what I had written so so far or advancing to the next page. Sorry about that.
Kimani Rogers
98. KiManiak
RL@95 – Man. I normally just “lurk” on this particular reread’s posts, but I have to give you much respect for that comment. You had me busting up laughing! Well done.
99. Waffles
@Trooth in general, look man, I get you have an issue with Leigh's handling of the blog, you are entelted to your own opinion, but if you want a strictly "this happened, then this, then this, then this" type read, either just read the book yourself, or get on Amizon reviews. If it bothers you so badly, complain to TOR. Placing your increasingly politcal veiws here will achiave nothing, so for the love all things holy stop, I think you are an idiot for voting for Bush, but that has NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS BLOG, if you want to discuss party semantics, go somewhere else. I LOVE Liegh Bultler's style, and seeing as how I, and hopefuly most people, giggle like a small child at her wit, I think she is earning whatever compansation, if any, TOR is providing her. Your actions Trooth remind me of a quote; "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping troll and fill him with a terrible resolve"- Isoroku Yamamoto
Daniel Goss
100. Beren
Just which assertion that I made are you saying is based on an opinion? I believe I said (and egad I hate repeating myself):
If you think that what you said wasn't completely rude and out of line, you are wrong.

Empirical fact. And I have yet to see a true apology from you (no, "if I was rude" does not count) for that rudeness.
If you think anyone here thinks that posting anonymously helps your case, you are wrong.

Go ahead. Challenge me on this. Prove to me that there is someone here who believes that posting anonymously makes you more likely to be taken seriously.
If you think that you are not a troll, then . . . well, I think you see where this is going.

And what is a troll again? Is it someone who posts inflammatory statements anonymously in the hopes of getting a rise out of someone?

And as for your support of TOR and the website . . . I say again. In fact, I'll just quote myself again:
The final word on the matter is this. It doesn't matter whose blog it is, because it is not yours. It doesn't matter how entitled you feel, you are merely a spectator and all of your expectations wouldn't mean a rat's left testicle even if she just decided that this wasn't something she wanted to do anymore. It doesn't matter if she gets paid or not, because either way you are not paying her and thus have no reasonable expecation of any specific level of performance from her, or even any performance at all.

I don't have any problem with your political views, your feelings about the pace of the blog, or any of the other strawman arguments you've set up since your first post. I am concerned about one thing and one thing only.
@Post52lb: *Rolls Eyes * Hoooow shocking...not.

Dude. Not cool.
Fredrik Coulter
101. fcoulter
I was hoping for an extra post this week, but it didn't happen. Oh well.

Hopefully we'll see a new post on Friday.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
102. tnh
Trooth, you should know you're overheated just from the length of your paragraphs and the number of words you're typing all-caps.

It doesn't look to me like you're being bullied. This is a reasonably polite thread, and you're in the running for the heaviest-handed regular commenter in it. You may feel that your opinions should be inarguable, but when you find that others argue with them, it's time for you to revise that judgement. Whether you also revise the opinions is your own business.

Nobody here is responsible for some dumb thing someone said to you years ago during a political thrash on another site.

If you don't like arguing politics, stop arguing politics.

If you think there's a problem with one of's bloggers, consider sending us email about it.

Finally, it would grieve me to think that using a kinder, gentler style of forum moderation had somehow given you or anyone else the idea that warnings can be ignored. You may think you aren't being listened to, but I promise you: you are.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
103. tnh
Note: I was going to go through and white-out all the remarks about Mr. Bush, but there are just too many of them, so I'm just going to zap a few. The text is all still there, so anyone who wants to read current political thrash can highlight it and have themselves a good time.

In future, though, I'd like to see less of that. The internet is well supplied with political forums, but Leigh's re-reading only has one thread per installment.
Sydo Zandstra
106. Fiddler
I can understand Leigh skipping a post every now and then, because of health issues. I have gout, and although the meds keep it under control, I still get at least 2-3 attacks a year (minor luckily, but typing is not fun when it's one of your index fingers). I don't say this to want people to feel sorry, because I don't. I have to live with this, and I will. But an implication is that there are times where I am not feeling well, and need more sleep in order to function normally.

The same goes for the whole scope of other diseases you can get. I noted in Leigh's case it's often something like the flu, which basically points towards a low resistance. And considering Leigh is doing the whole reread things next to a full time day job and somewhere she must have a personal social life too, I am not surprised if tiredness lowers the resistance shields every now and then. BTW, she had enough stuff going on in personal life too, based on what she told to tell us from it (there could be more she didn't tell).

Yes, Leigh gets paid. In comparison, I used to be a referee in amateur baseball in The Netherlands a long time ago, and I got some money for that too. Enough to live from? Certainly not. And I doubt Leigh's blogging income will be enough to retire from a full time job. Meaning that if a choice must be made between going to bed early in order to show up the next morning and stalling that because you have to write this side thing, the choice should be clear, and too bad if some online people have to wait a whole seven days...

As for the number of posts in the WoT reread dwindling, my opinion there is that this is not caused by Leigh losing enthusiasm, although I do think Leigh made the right choice by taking this GRRM project, because it can work refreshing on her mind.

I also don't think it's because there is only one WoT post a week. I just think it's because most people have been there for too long, and there is nothing new. Everything has been discussed there, newtimers get links with theories instead of direct discussion, and most posters there have made their stance and will not change it, and the others know it.

Which means discussion is getting tedious.

As for this GRRM discussion, I read Leigh's comments, and stop there, because I find the whole concept of not talking all series themes here ridiculous, considering how old this series is.

Irene Gallo
107. Irene
Hi Guys,

To be clear: is thrilled with Leigh and the community she has built on this site. Leigh has been part of the team since the beginning and deserves the same personal days and vacations that those of us working in-house enjoy.

This will be the end of this conversation. Let's look forward to Part 14 and discussing Game of Thrones.
John Massey
108. subwoofer
Hi Irene,


Nice shoe:)

I do echo the sentiment that we're all walking a very fine line here when it comes to commenting without any spoilers. It is very bagelling living in the "now" as it were. One thing did occur to me in particular is where the series starts from, specifically the North- the Wall, and the Stark family. It creates an interesting evironment for kids to grow up in, personally coming from a northern climate, cold sucks, so GRRM doing this from the outset really makes me wonder. He is either using certain elements to set a tone, or he wants to drive the readership away en mass.

I am also appreciated the fractured society that is in these books. Everybody has a little fifedom and the population numbers reflect a people that haven't industrialized the production of food. This is something that has always irritated me about RJ's WoT world as compared to this. The Aiel are numbering in the hundreds of thousands, but for all intents and purposes, they are nomads and don't really farm. Same for the rest of the peoples, so the numbers of people in these kingdoms really stay within the scope of what "should" be.


Marcus W
110. toryx
subwoofer @ 108:

I may be misremembering somewhat so take this comment with a few grains of salt, but I'm pretty sure that the North is pretty much inspired by Scotland. Scotland is not at all unlike the North as GRRM describes it and if you flip things around a little, the Wall is not unlike Hadrian's Wall (on a totally different scale, but built with the same general idea).

Granted, it doesn't get as cold in Scotland these days as it does in Stark's lands but back in the era of the little ice age, it probably got pretty bad up there.

At any rate, I'm definitely a northerner myself and given the choice, I'd live in the North of Westeros myself. And I'm still trying to figure out a way to emigrate to Scotland. Ah, summers with highs in the upper 50's/ low 60's (or 15 Celsius if you prefer)...a man could be happy there.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
111. tnh
There's always the spoiler-intensive thread in the forum. Potentially, there are forum threads on all sorts of interesting topics, because you're free to start them.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
112. tnh
Toryx, I'm with you there. The first time I heard someone refer to the mystery of who built the Wall, I said "Hadrian, of course." How else could you account for Ned Stark's accent?

It's also clear that it would be a mistake to try to plot GRRM's worldbuilding onto a point-by-point real-world schema. Characters and events have historical resonances, but they aren't a historical allegory. I can appreciate that the Lannisters are classic overmighty subjects, and that the Dothraki are related to the horse-riding peoples of the European Plain, without having to decide which ones they're supposed to be.
113. fanganga
There was a map publshed on this site a while back comparing Westeros to Europe with the Stark lands lying nicely over Scandanavia. It's an interesting comparison when you think about the Starks praying to the old gods in Godswoods and Scandanavia Christianising later than most of Europe.
114. Trooth
This could just be me, but, historically in the real world, the relationship between the Brits and the Scotts is what the relationship betwixt Lannister and Stark harkened me back to (with the Starks being the Scotts, of course).
Noneo Yourbusiness
115. Longtimefan
Dear tnh and Irene,

I do not know if anyone says this enough but I would just like to say that you are doing an excellent job moderating these comment sections.

Thank you for all your work.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
116. tnh
Thanks, Longtime.

Trooth, Fanganga: Maybe the Starks are Scandinavians or Scots, but what I observe is that "Stark" and "Lannister" sound an awful lot like "York" and "Lancaster."

I wouldn't place too much reliance on the pagan thing. In this universe, everyone's a pagan, except maybe the Lhazareen.
117. fanganga
That certainly seems to fit with the notion that GRRM was inspired by the War of the Roses (did he directly say he was, or was that something reviewers claimed?) . I'd agree with your earlier post about it being a mistake to try for a one to one mapping - I'm just picking connections out of the air, and often fairly tenously, like thinking the Seven Kingdoms might be related to the Heptarchy, the kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, Essex, Sussex, Anglia and Kent that occupied what is now England for no better reason than that there were 7 of each.
118. you guys
hey you guys, dude, does she have to right like a pre-teen girl, YOU GUYS>!? SUPWITDAT you guys?!
119. Josh L
I assumed Ned's "Poison is a woman's weapon" comment is his use of a cliche to basically propose to Pycelle "Hey, I think Cersei might be behind Jon Arryn's death." and Pycelle responding "Oh really? Maybe it was Varys, evil laugh, evil laugh, evil laugh."

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