Fri
Jul 8 2011 2:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones, Part 15

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 15 of A Game of Thrones, in which we cover Chapters 29 (“Sansa”) and 30 (“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 Tor.com have very kindly set up a forum thread for spoilery comments. Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

 

Chapter 29: Sansa

What Happens
Sansa and Jeyne Poole enjoy the Hand’s Tourney greatly, whispering and giggling to each other about the various knights jousting, until Sandor Clegane’s brother, Ser Gregor the Mountain, kills a young knight by impaling him through the throat with his lance, whereupon Jeyne becomes so upset Septa Mordane has to take her away. Sansa wonders why she is not more upset herself, but tells herself it would be different if it were someone she knew.

Renly loses (graciously) to Sandor, who is very ungracious about it, and the finalists end up being Sandor, his brother Gregor, Jaime Lannister, and Ser Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers, who comes by and gives a flustered Sansa a red rose (all the others he had given out were white). Afterwards, she is briefly accosted by Littlefinger, who remarks that Sansa has her mother’s hair, and that Catelyn was once his “queen of beauty” before leaving abruptly.

At the feast afterward, Sansa is initially terrified when Joffrey sits next to her, as he had not spoken to her since the incident in the woods, but he is extremely gallant and attentive to her, and Sansa decides she does not blame him for Lady’s death, only Cersei and Arya. The feast is briefly disrupted by a very drunk Robert, who bellows at Cersei that he rules here, and he can fight the next day if he wants to. Cersei storms out, and Jaime tries to put a hand on Robert’s shoulder, but Robert knocks him down and laughs at him.

Despite that, Sansa thinks it all a wonderful dream until Joffrey offers to escort her back and then hands her over to Sandor Clegane instead. On the way back, Sansa tries to compliment him and his brother, whereupon Sandor forces her to examine his maimed face in detail, and tells her how Gregor had given him those burns as a child in retaliation for stealing one of his toys. Sansa tells him that Gregor is no true knight, then, and Sandor agrees, but before he drops her off he threatens to kill her if she ever tells anyone what he confided in her that night.

Commentary
Oh, I see how it is. We’ve got to go and give Clegane, like, dimensions and stuff. Low blow, Martin. I was perfectly happy just regarding him to be a one-note asshole, you know!

Okay, fine, I wasn’t. It’s never a bad thing for characters to be more than one-sided. And it’s not like he isn’t still a grade-A asshole, but man, the psychopaths who were tortured as kids are always the worst. You can’t help but feel sorry for them, and that just makes them all the more dangerous.

Sansa is, unsurprisingly, still completely blind when it comes to Joffrey. I foresee so much heartache for her, because that kid is rotten to the core. I don’t really like Sansa that much, but you can tell she’s got a good heart under her shallowness and naïveté, and she certainly doesn’t deserve whatever fresh hell I’m darkly certain is in store for her. Maybe she’ll actually wise up first, though I don’t see any way for her to avoid Joffrey even if she does, since I’m pretty sure breaking off a bethrothal to the crown prince is probably not just a matter of returning his keys and blocking his number on your cell. Blagh.

Littlefinger: No, he’s not still carrying a torch for Catelyn at ALL. Nosirree. Nothing to see here, move along!

Sansa remembered Lord Yohn Royce, who had guested at Winterfell two years before. “His armor is bronze, thousands and thousands of years old, engraved with magic runes that ward him against harm,” she whispered to Jeyne.

Wouldn’t rune-warded armor count as cheating? I’d sure consider it so! Of course, it didn’t seem to help Royce (or his sons) much in winning the tournament, so maybe the runes are little better than the equivalent of a lucky rabbit’s foot, in which case, whatever.

The young knight in the blue cloak was nothing to her, some stranger from the Vale of Arryn whose name she had forgotten as soon as she heard it. And now the world would forget his name too, Sansa realized; there would be no songs sung for him. That was sad.

That is, indeed, sad. That’s bloody depressing, is what it is. And dying for such a stupid reason, too – so you could say you knocked another guy off a horse with a stick. Really, it’s just so dumb when you start to think about it.

Blood sports are just dumb in general, I’ve decided, not that the world needs me to tell it that. Give me a nice football game any day. Sure, you might end up with paralysis or dementia-inducing brain damage in the long term, but… er.

 

Chapter 30: Eddard

What Happens
Ned makes funeral arrangements for the knight Gregor killed the day before: Ser Hugh, who was once Jon Arryn’s squire. He and Ser Barristan then go to the king, where Ned flatly tells him he is too fat to wear his armor, and points out to him that no one will dare strike him in the melee, so it is pointless for him to participate. Robert considers being infuriated, but then laughs and ruefully agrees with Ned. After kicking Barristan out, Robert tells Ned that Ned or Arryn should have been king, not him, and curses Arryn for convincing him to marry Cersei. He despairs of his son Joffrey, but tells Ned that with him here they will “make this a reign to sing of, and damn the Lannisters to seven hells.” Ned is relieved to have the Robert he knows of old back, and begins to hope he can actually bring Cersei and the others down.

Jaime and the Hound joust first in the finals, and Sandor beats Jaime soundly in the second round. Gregor is next, fighting Loras, and Ned reflects on the very unsavory rumors floating around about Gregor, in particular the mysterious circumstances under which his first two wives and his sister had died. Loras is riding a mare that is apparently in heat, which maddens Gregor’s stallion; Loras defeats him easily in the first round, and in a rage Gregor slaughters his own horse before going after Loras. He is about to kill Loras when Sandor intervenes, and the brothers duel (though Ned notes Sandor is holding back) until Robert roars at them to stop. Gregor storms off, and Loras thanks Sandor for saving his life, and concedes the tourney to him. Afterward, Littlefinger comments to Ned that Loras must have chosen the in-heat mare on purpose, and Barristan decries such low tactics.

The melee is long and vicious, won by a red priest named Thoros of Myr, and Ned is intensely glad Robert did not take part. At the feast after, Arya comes in with fresh bruises, and Ned asks if she wouldn’t rather train with Jory or Barristan, doubtful of Syrio’s peculiar training methods, but Arya refuses, and Ned lets it go.

In his rooms afterward, Ned contemplates the dagger, and reflects that he is convinced that the attack on Bran is connected to Arryn’s death, but cannot think of how. He also wonders why the armorer’s apprentice, the bastard Gendry, is apparently so important when Robert has many bastards about, some openly acknowledged, none of whom could threaten his legitimate progeny.

Then Ned is visited by Varys, in a surprisingly effective disguise, who tells him that the king is in danger; he had been intended to die in the melee that day, and that the Lannisters were behind it. Ned is unsure, until Varys points out that Cersei had protested Robert’s involvement in a way that would guarantee Robert would insist on participating. Ned asks why Varys did not come to him before, and Varys replies that he was unsure of Ned’s loyalties until now. He says that Cersei can have him, Varys, killed anytime, but he thinks Robert would refuse to kill Ned even for her, “and there may lie our salvation.” Ned argues that they should go to the king, but Varys points out they have no proof. He also confirms to Ned that Arryn died of a rare poison; he’s not certain who gave it to him, but strongly suspects it was Ser Hugh, Arryn’s former squire who so conveniently got killed in the tourney the day before.

Wheels within wheels within wheels. Ned’s head was pounding. “Why? Why now? Jon Arryn had been Hand for fourteen years. What was he doing that they had to kill him?”

“Asking questions,” Varys said, slipping out the door.

Commentary
Well, lookee there. The first, I feel sure, of many assassination attempts on Robert: achieved! Ta da!

The plot, she do thicken, yeah?

And also, ha: I was right about the multiplicity (and unimportance) of royal bastards about. Go me! Although of course that just makes the whole Gendry thing that much more confusing. It seems pretty clear to me that Arryn’s discovery of him is what led to Arryn’s murder, so whatever is so special about Gendry must be quite the thing. ‘Tis a puzzlement!

Well, I’m sure it’ll all come clear just in time to bite Ned in the ass. Yay? Yeah, probably not.

(I know people have said the clues are there for me to figure out what the deal is with Gendry, but I’m more interested in just going with it for now. As I’ve said elsewhere, I prefer not spoiling big reveals for myself ahead of time if possible. If I don’t immediately catch it, I’m usually content to let the narrative tell it to me in its own time. So. There.)

Varys: maybe not the creeptastic dude we were all led to believe, I see. Well, not totally, anyway. I’m going to take it all with a very large grain of salt, though. Of course, that’s true of practically every character in this series whose head we haven’t actually been inside of.

They are all very, very salty. The sodium content of this cast of characters in general ought to be banned by the FDA, really. I could get metaphorical hypertension over here!

(Thanks, I’ll be here all week. Try the veal!)

Also, this is random, but I am terribly amused for some reason that Varys actually used the phrase “manly man” in reference to Robert. I snorted out loud, y’all.

[Robert, speaking of Ser Loras:] “Renly says he has this sister, a maid of fourteen, lovely as a dawn…”

Hmm. The same maid Renly showed Ned a picture of and asked if she looked like Lyanna, perhaps? HMMMM.

Also, I think Ser Gregor is someone whom I can safely add to my list of characters in this series who probably need to die, a lot. Nothing says “rage issues” like beheading your own horse, I always say. Or I would say if such a thing had ever actually occurred to me, which it hadn’t. Probably because I’m not COMPLETELY INSANE. Good Lord.

Also also, dude is almost eight feet tall? Jeez. Martin seems to have a thing for everything being outsized in his world – eight-foot giants and seven hundred-foot walls and hundred-year winters and who knows what else. Suppadat?

The victor [of the melee] was the red priest, Thoros of Myr, a madman who shaved his head and fought with a flaming sword.

Exsqueeze me? A flaming sword? Really, just a random flaming sword, that no one really cares about and is allowed to play with all the other reindeer in random, non-world saving tournaments?

Well now, that’s positively post-modern, isn’t it.

Am I going to get an explanation for how this is achieved? Magic, right, duh, but gee, that seems awfully… frivolous a use for something like that. If you can actually make a non-flammable material, like a metal sword for instance, burn consistently for any length of time, why isn’t that being used for any number of much more mundane purposes as well? Do you know how useful that would be?

Magic (or rather, the use of it) in Martin’s world is just weird, man.

[Sansa:] “How was your dancing?”

“I’m sore all over,” Arya reported happily, proudly displaying a huge purple bruise on her leg.

“You must be a terrible dancer,” Sansa said doubtfully.

Ha! I love how Arya is just quietly getting all badass in the background. I look forward to the fruits of this training. Even though I have a feeling I’m jinxing myself by saying so, but whatever!


And now I have a neck injury from sitting too long at this keyboard, so I’m going to end this post and go off to start my crusade to have blogging added to the list of Sports That Will Mess You Up, Yo. We oughta be stopped! S’trewth! Have a lovely weekend!

39 comments
Rob Munnelly
1. RobMRobM
Leigh - nice job, as always. Particularly good work on the Sansa chapter. The magic dimensional Hound indeed. Some good points re Ned chapter as well: Varys interesting (first of his great one-liners); Loras' sister pretty but apparently not Lyanna II (you are right, by the way, to wonder what the heck is Renly thinking of here); Gregor very big and very scary; Thoros of Myr, who no one in Westeros can figure out what's up with him either. You will figure out the Gendry puzzle at some point, don't you worry, no rush.

Rob
carolynh
2. carolynh
Ah, yes, the wheels of plot are really starting to turn now!

I've always felt rather sorry for poor, naive Sansa in these early chapters. At 13 or 14 or whatever she's supposed to be, she just isn't geared for the machinations of this world. And yet, she didn't have to be led away from the tourney the way Jayne Poole had to be. And she didn't throw up or anything when Sandor stuck his scarred face next to hers.

Ned is finally starting to see the edges of the "big picture," though he's still sadly not up to speed. He's well able to deal with Robert, though, and apparently no one else can.

And what's nearly as strange as Gregor beheading his own horse, is that everyone else's reaction to that is rather mild. I mean, beheading a horse is simply considered poor sportsmanship rather than the sign of a raging madman. Aren't ya glad you don't live there?

Whew!
carolynh
3. Kadere
Sansa's 11. Which is vitally important to remember when it comes to her state of mind.
carolynh
4. charles V
The flaming sword is not magic. Its a substance called wildfire, which is very flamable and burns for a long time. Though i still don't understand how they allowed someone with a burning weapon to partake in the meele.
carolynh
5. Kadere
It's just Thoros's thing, weilding a flaming sword. It's like Batman and his whole Bat thing. It's Thoros's calling card, and it apparently ruins a LOT of swords.
carolynh
8. stargazer
charles V @4: Maybe because a sharp sword that has essentially been doused in napalm is not much more dangerous than any other sharp sword? It's not like 'safety' was a consideration on anyone's mind that day...
carolynh
9. TheMan
Gregor is the kind of guy who wouldn't kick a dog who barked at him. He would find the owner, set his house on fire and throw the dog in it.
Sky Thibedeau
10. SkylarkThibedeau
Has Martin made any observations about the nature of magic in Westeros and the East up to this point?

Myr basically is using Chris Angel parlor tricks right now and his opponents all know it. He wins by his martial abilities. (Wasn't his last sword being worked on by the Smith and Gendry when Ned paid his visit?)
carolynh
11. matthewcooley
Sansa wonders why she is not more upset herself, but tells herself it would be different if it were someone she knew.

I would have to go back and re-read a lot of Sansa chapters (no thanks!) but is George saying Sansa is a sociopath? Is there ever a part in the books where she is either struck with guilt or is shown feeling bad for someone else's suffering? (Feeling upset about her family's troubles wouldn't count as they are her own, immediate problems).
Juliet Kestrel
12. Juliet_Kestrel
Great Job Leigh!

I found the scene with the two squires trying to squeeze Robert into his armor hilarious! Just sit and picture that for a little while, these two pre-teen/teen boys trying to wrestle this giant man into too small pieces of metal. Just think about trying to get your own butt into your skinny jeans on a fat day. (I know I am not the only one this has ever happened to :: glares around :: ). I am sure even skinny jeans are more forgiving than armor.

Also I still think I am on to something with the Highgarden girl and some sort of Renly plot.

Interesting that we find out Jon Arryn was the one to convince Robert to marry Cersei. I wonder if that means anything?
carolynh
13. cheem
I really like the way one chapter follows the other contrasting the way the tourney looks from Sansa's view followed by Eddard's. It just brings into focus the differences in character between Sansa and Ned along and emphasizes how unreliable the narrators in this series are.

I don't think that Sansa is necessarily a sociopath, but I think it is meant to show that she is truly Stark in some ways... I don't think Arya would be affected the same way Jeyne is and she's almost certainly not a sociopath at this point.
carolynh
14. fanganga
The one thing that struck me about the king's armour scene was that the Lannister squires were struggling to fasten his gorget - coming immediately after Sandor tells Sansa that Hugh's gorget was improperly fastened. A bit of parallelism to underline the foul play afoot? Maybe Hugh was also lent the use of a Lannister squire to make up for him lacking one of his own.
Mari Ness
15. MariCats
@matthewcooley -- That feeling sad for someone else happens right in this chapter, when Sansa feels sad about the knight - not as upset as her friend, but still, feelings. She's not completely without compassion, although wow is she eleven years old in this chapter.
carolynh
16. Rootboy
I thought the reason they let Thoros do his flaming sword thing is because Robert thinks it's awesome.
carolynh
17. EvilClosetMonkey
Blog of Ice and Fire Time:

Sansa

Last time in Sansa’s first chapter, Martin cleverly disguised her inherent boringness by having Arya and Joffrey drive the action. This time, she attends a tournament where dozens of new characters are introduced. At this rate, the third Sansa chapter will be set in the middle of circus, battle, or hurricane. We see all the action at the Hand's Tourney through Sansa's eyes. She observes that the southern knights look better, and they seem to joust better too, as Jory is the only northerner to make it out of the first round. Who cares about jousting anyway? Everyone knows that wolf-raising, midnight ranging, and deserter executing are far more useful skills.

Because Sandor’s burned face and nonchalant murders aren’t scary enough, we meet his brother Gregor, who is armed with even more size, strength, and brutality. He even has a more goon-ish name. Martin should always write his name in caps. GREGOR. Both Cleganes make the final four of the tournament, along with Jaime and the “Knight of Flowers” Loras Tyrell, who gives a red rose to Sansa. She’s instantly smitten by his metrosexual charm, but the moment is ruined by weirdo pedo Littlefinger. He creepily introduces himself and strokes her face, but stops short of asking for a lock of hair or some toenail clippings.

Sansa is happy because Joffrey is nice to her during dinner. Joffrey predicts Loras will lose to Sandor or Jaime, and that when he is old enough he’ll win all the jousts, assuming Arya never enters. At the end of the night, drunk Sandor takes Sansa home, and they share an intimate moment -- if intimate moment actually meant terrifying therapy session. Sandor has some serious issues, but opens up and reveals to his new shrink Sansa that his face was burned by his brother. In a refreshing take on doctor-patient confidentiality, Sandor threatens Sansa with death if she ever reveals what he said.
PS -- can you imagine a Gregor POV? “Sandor take Gregor toy Gregor burn Sandor head.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Eddard

Eddard watches Sandor beat Jaime in the tourney semifinals, much to the delight of Sansa the dog whisperer. Before the second match we get some juicy Gregor back story. Basically, the dude is a cross between Hulk and Satan. He's extremely large, strong, and angry. He kills infants, rapes princesses, and burns faces. Everything around him dies in mysterious fashion, including his wife, his father, and his sister. Despite his evilness, Gregor is also a hilarious, over the top character that deserves his own television show. It would be awesome if there was a reality show that followed Gregor around during common rage scenarios, like waiting in line at the post office or getting stuck in traffic. Or maybe a talk show like Oprah or Geraldo except titled GREGOR, where every day one unlucky guest is brutally beaten to death.

Gregor’s opponent is Loras, who is basically a jousting boy band singer, complete with gem-encrusted clothing and a sleek, effeminate body. He’s the Leonardo DiCaprio of knights, hated by guys and loved by teen girls. Fortunately for him, it seems like 99% of females in Martin’s book are under the age of eighteen, so his Q-rating is through the roof. The match seems like David versus Goliath, except this time David has a mare in heat instead of a slingshot and stone. Loras uses his horse’s smelly vagina to drive Gregor’s stallion into a horny frenzy, winning him the joust. Gregor does not like being tricked, because GREGOR SMASH. But Sandor surprisingly steps in to save the kid from an imminent Gregor-induced death, and Loras concedes the finals as a thank you.

Later that night Varys secretly visits Eddard to tell him of the Lannister plot to assassinate King Bob during the melee. Eddard talks Robert out of participating, but Cersei and her cronies will try again. It’s up to Eddard to save King Bob and take down the evil Lannisters, but he has no idea what to do. Robert continues to be dumb and clueless -- he couldn’t save Jon Arryn and can’t really help Eddard now.
Michael Maxwell
18. pike747
Oh yes the Lannisters appear to be very generous when it comes to providing sqires ! ;-}
Vincent Lane
19. Aegnor
Ah, I just now got what the thing was with Renly carrying Margaery Tyrell's picture and asking if she looked like Lyanna. That was a bit strange the first time I read it, and was downright confusing on the second read. It just came to me what his angle is with that.
Rob Munnelly
20. RobMRobM
@19 - and a creepy angle it is, once you think through what it would take to accomplish and impact on affected individuals.
Rob Munnelly
21. RobMRobM
@17. Thanks for doing my usual duties of posting the BoIAF.
carolynh
22. Megaduck
If you can actually make a non-flammable material, like a metal sword for instance, burn consistently for any length of time, why isn’t that being used for any number of much more mundane purposes as well? Do you know how useful that would be?

Not usefull at all, really.

Douse a sword in oil and you can get it to burn for a few minutes (this is what fire dancers do) but it's more of parlor trick. It damages the blade and the main effect is mostly for intimidation. People instinctivly flinch back from fire if they're not expecting it.

Mostly though a burning sword is a rather flashy special effect but it's not much more then that.
john massey
23. subwoofer
Huh? Leigh? You don't gets it? Is this a blonde moment? Well... you may want to sit down a while when you do... in the reveal... and pad your desk... and maybe your room... heck, bubble wrap the apartment.

Littlefinger- ah yes, another chapter with him. I need to shower again, the guy makes me feel slimy just reading about him. Douche.

Robert- man was not meant to be king. Too stupid impetuous. Perhaps he needs to look up the definition of "melee". While he's at it, look up the definition of "wife", y'know, the one who tried to goad the King into said fight in the first place? Countries usually fall apart without their leader Robert, you don't seem to be thinking about getting old here. Eating and drinking and wenching are horrible coping mechanisms.

Ned- the guy is still too noble for words. "Shall we tell on them?" Yes, that always works out well. Who owns the kingdom? Who is sleeping with the King? Who is the gah.... buddy, you were better off up north in your own keep.

Woof™.
Vincent Lane
24. Aegnor
"Huh? Leigh? You don't gets it? Is this a blonde moment? Well... you may
want to sit down a while when you do... in the reveal... and pad your
desk... and maybe your room... heck, bubble wrap the apartment."

Ha...I see what you did there...
Peter Stone
26. Peter1742
Great job as usual, Leigh.

Nobody's mentioned the breastplate stretchers. Maybe I have a medieval sense of humor, but I really liked the breastplate stetchers.
carolynh
27. Wortmauer
I love Eddard's chapter, I think it's even more quotable than most.
"Send his armor home to the Vale. The mother will want to have it."

"It is worth a fair piece of silver," Ser Barristan said. "The boy had it forged special for the tourney. Plain work, but good. I do not know if he had finished paying the smith."

"He paid yesterday, my lord, and he paid dearly," Ned replied. And to the silent sister he said, "Send the mother the armor. I will deal with this smith."
Awww. A good man, Ned.
"My wife insisted I take these two to squire for me, and they're worse than useless. Can't even put a man's armor on him properly. Squires, they say. I say they're swineherds dressed up in silk."

Ned only needed a glance to understand the difficulty. "The boys are not at fault," he told the king. "You're too fat for your armor, Robert."
I love that middle sentence: Ned only needed a glance, indeed.
Both lances exploded, and by the time the splinters had settled, a riderless blood bay was trotting off in search of grass while Ser Jaime Lannister rolled in the dirt, golden and dented.

Sansa said, "I knew the Hound would win."

Littlefinger overheard. "If you know who's going to win the second match, speak up now before Lord Renly plucks me clean," he called to her. Ned smiled.

"A pity the Imp is not here with us," Lord Renly said. "I should have won twice as much."

Jaime Lannister was back on his feet, but his ornate lion helmet had been twisted around and dented in his fall, and now he could not get it off. The commons were hooting and pointing, the lords and ladies were trying to stifle their chuckles, and failing, and over it all Ned could hear King Robert laughing, louder than anyone. Finally they had to lead the Lion of Lannister off to a blacksmith, blind and stumbling.
Several ha moments there. I think I particularly like the description golden and dented. And the description of the stuck helmet is great.

Plus, hey check it out, Renly backs up Tyrion's future claim that he never bets against his brother.
"I owe you my life. The day is yours, ser."

"I am no ser," the Hound replied, but he took the victory, and the champion's purse, and, for perhaps the first time in his life, the love of the commons. They cheered him as he left the lists to return to his pavilion.
Awwww. He's a monster of a man, we know this, but for once he got to be a little bit of a hero, and get some very public credit for it. Does not happen often in this world, I'm thinking. Good for Sandor Clegane ... this once.
"Ser Barristan loves his honor, Grand Maester Pycelle loves his office, and Littlefinger loves Littlefinger."
Varys, Varys. Full of one-liners. He's surely right about all those things. What does Varys love, though? Of course he's not so obvious as to say. Would almost insult Ned's gullibility, right?

Interesting too where Varys tells Ned he hadn't trusted him, and Ned's all surprised at this. Come on, dude: have you learned nothing since you came south? Nobody with that much political acumen would ever trust someone else on the thin thread of a reputation for honor, before he has a chance to get to know you! As Littlefinger has said, best start thinking the same way.

Ser Gregor: I bet he's got epic endocrine fail to explain both his anger management issues and his size. But he's not awkward big in the way Tyrion is awkward small. As his brother observes, "You think Ser Gregor's lance rode up by chance, do you? Pretty little talking girl, you believe that, you're empty-headed as a bird for true. Gregor's lance goes where Gregor wants it to go." A scary customer.
Debbie Solomon
28. dsolo
Sansa may be naive, but she is still a Stark of Winterfell. Consider that her younger brother was taken to a beheading, it's not hard to believe that she has seen blood and guts before. She has been in training to be a lady of the manor her whole life, which included how to run a household and healing skills. She also has several brothers, so she has probably seen some injuries (although probably minor). Unfortunately, Sansa also takes after her father in believing in honor, so she takes too much at face value. You're right, Leigh, she is being set up to have the real world bite her in the butt.
Love reading your take on this. It's renewed my interest. Soon, you'll be able to watch the HBO series. It's very good. On the plus side, they recognized that GRRM had no clue about age appropriate behavior, and everyone is aged more correctly for their attitudes and skill sets.
Debbie Solomon
29. dsolo
#24 I don't think Leigh will need that much bubble wrap, but she probably should pad her desk for the headsmack.

I saw what you did there, but I don't think it will help. I didn't figure it out in advance either. On the series, they had to give a big honking clue with Jon Arryn's final words, and I'm sure people still missed it.
Iain Cupples
30. NumberNone
"A pity the Imp is not here with us," Lord Renly said. "I should have won twice as much."

I love this. It's so subtle... Ned hears this remark, plain as day, but if he had ever actually thought about it, he'd have saved himself some grief.
carolynh
31. Joel Prophet
@ 23 lol I saw what you did there too. I laughed out loud, for real...got funny looks from co-workers.

@30 Yes, I missed that the first time I read it. It seems every character misinterpetes or overlooks clear clues. When clues are uncovered it is best to stop and not read the character's POV but just think about the clue yourself. Otherwise you will be lead down false paths.

@29 When I first read the book I thought the writter did not understand basic (spoiler) which is saddly common. Then this chapter showed it was a plot point. Head desk for me...should have trusted the writter knew at least as much as I do about basic (spoiler).
carolynh
32. Lsana
@11,

Off the top of my head.

#1. Here, for Sandor.

#2. Dontos later.

I can actually come up with several more, but I can't come up with a way to discribe them that isn't spoileriffic. Suffice it to say that she isn't a sociopath.
Nathan Rice
33. quazar87
Thoros of Myr is actually one of my favorite characters, though he don't see him much. He's a priest of the Red God from the East, R'hollor. Fire is his symbol. Thoros' sword doesn't actually catch fire magically. (Not really a spoiler) He puts the Westeros equivalent of napalm on it. It ruins the sword but intimidates his foes.
Jonathan Eckrich
34. Greatjon
Flame weakens steel. He's sacrificng some of the integrity of his sword in order to do it. So, it's a gamble, not really an unfair advantage.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
35. tnh
Peter1742 @26: I love the bit where Robert sends his squires to look for a breastplate stretcher. I hadn't realized until that moment that of course there'd have to be something they could send gullible youngsters to fetch, much like our own traditional board stretcher, left-handed monkey wrench, compass oil, bucket of steam, and box of tappet clearances.
Marcus W
36. toryx
Robert struggling to put on his armor always reminds me of Henry VIII. In the Tower of London they have a lot of his armor on display and it's always fun to see because over time the armor got much larger (wider) as he got fatter. It also had increasingly larger crotch pieces, which is just hilarious and something I could totally see Robert doing.

That last line of Ned's chapter that Leigh quoted always chills me: "Asking questions."
carolynh
37. saterade
Arya is about as terrible at dancing as she is at needlework. HA! you like what i did there?

Leigh, the first assassination attempt? somehow i highly doubt it was the first. I envision John Arryn putting out tons of these kinds of fires.

@31 basic instinct? is that what you mean? i know that movie too, but don't see how it applies.
carolynh
38. fanganga
@37: I think basic isn't a movie. It's a field of study, or to be more precise, basic knowledge of the field of
Aimee Powalisz
39. longhairedspider
This chapter really made me think about Edward IV and the Woodvilles. King who was a great warrior going to pot, royal inlaws spreading as many of their relatives as possible across the court. I'm just reading this for the first time (my brother gave me the series after I told him I wouldn't watch the HBO show until I'd read the books), so I'm still guessing too!

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