Jul 29 2011 2:06pm
A Read of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones, Part 18

A Read of Ice and Fire on Tor.comWelcome 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 18 of A Game of Thrones, in which we cover Chapters 35 (“Eddard”) and 36 (“Daenerys”).

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 35: Eddard

What Happens
Ned returns to the brothel’s common room, where Littlefinger, Jory Cassel, and Heyward are waiting for him. Littlefinger makes a crude joke which Ned rebukes him for. As they head back to the keep, Ned thinks of how Lyanna had told him long ago that Robert was incapable of fidelity, and of the girl in the brothel with the baby who looked just like Robert. Ned had promised her the child would not go wanting.

He asks Littlefinger how many bastards Robert has out there, but Littlefinger only knows that there are a lot of them; Robert acknowledged the one he fathered on Stannis’s wedding night, and that bastard now lives with Renly. Littlefinger mentions the rumor that Robert fathered twins at Casterly Rock, and that Cersei had them killed and the mother sold into slavery. Ned grimaces, and asks why Jon Arryn would be interested in Robert’s bastards, and more importantly why looking into them would get him killed, but Littlefinger claims not to know.

They are stopped and surrounded by Jaime Lannister and twenty men. Jaime tells Ned he is looking for his brother, and Ned answers that Tyrion has been taken at Ned’s command to answer for his crimes. Jaime draws steel and challenges Ned, and then advises Littlefinger to get lost. Littlefinger promises to bring the Watch, and flees. Ned warns Jaime that if he kills Ned, Catelyn will kill Tyrion. Jaime doesn’t think so, but admits he is not willing to risk his brother on “a woman’s honor”. He goes to leave, but then tells his men to kill Ned’s men instead.

Ned screams a negative, and he and Jory and Heyward fight, but they are hopelessly outnumbered, and Jory and Heyward are both killed. Ned’s horse falls on top of him, shattering his leg, and he loses consciousness for a bit. When he wakes he is alone, and Littlefinger returns with the Watch to find him holding Jory’s body in his arms. They take him back to the castle, where Pycelle gives Ned the milk of the poppy, and he goes under again.

SEE? This is why you should listen to me, Eddard Stark!

I TOLD you not to go to that brothel, didn’t I? DIDN’T I? But nooooo, you had to trust that little shit Littlefinger and go anyway! You idiot!

And yeah, it may look like Littlefinger had nothing to do with the ambush, but I do not trust him, no I do not, Eddard, and therefore I am highly Suspicious of this whole thing here. Because how else would Jaime know where to find Ned at that particular moment, hmm? HMMM?

Okay, fine, it’s possible that it was overheard by a spy or something, and Littlefinger had nothing to do with it; that’s at least as equally possible that he did, anyway. BUT STILL. He is not a good person and you should not be pursuing this did you not hear me tell you to get the hell out what is wrong with you, Ned. Sheesh.

In other total non-news, Jaime Lannister is an asshole. Poor Jory. And, er, the other guy, too. Okay, yes, his brother’s been taken hostage, I understand that’s kind of a thing that annoys people, but that’s no excuse to kill (relatively) innocent men. At the very least, this is deliberate escalation of hostilities. Gosh, it’s like the Lannisters want a civil war! Uh-huh.

Not that his sister’s much better. I’m not a hundred percent sure the story about Cersei having those twins murdered is true, but I would have no trouble believing it if it was. Not that I don’t have a certain amount of sympathy for the rage induced by being trapped in a marriage with a philanderer (particularly one who doesn’t even bother to try to hide it from you!) but killing babies? How about NO. Jesus.

Still don’t get the bastard thing, and yes, I am aware this makes me dumb, but whatever. Apparently every kid Robert fathers strongly resembles him, which explains the whole “the seed is strong” thing, but there’s clearly someone I’m supposed to be connecting this to and I just am not recalling who it should be. Or alternately, I’ve not yet been shown that person, but I have a distinct feeling I have. But if so, I do not know who it is. Do not spoil me, I will figure this out on my own! Shh!

“I know [Robert’s] acknowledged that boy at Storm’s End, the one he fathered the night Lord Stannis wed. He could hardly do otherwise. The mother was a Florent, niece to the Lady Selyse, one of her bedmaids. Renly says that Robert carried the girl upstairs during the feast, and broke in the wedding bed while Stannis and his bride were still dancing.”

Dude. Seriously?

Wow. “Party foul” doesn’t even remotely come close to covering that. Robert is officially the tackiest human being ever. Among other things.

“Lord Stannis seemed to think that was a blot on the honor of his wife’s House,”

You think?

(not to mention the blot on the bed, hah, ew)

“…so when the boy was born, he shipped him off to Renly.”

Er. This pings me. Am I supposed to know who this is? Is this the significant bastard? But if so, why didn’t Ned latch on to it? Um.

Also, I just used the phrase “the significant bastard” in a totally non-ironic context. I love my life sometimes.

 “Would she? The noble Catelyn Tully of Riverrun murder a hostage? I think . . . not.” He sighed. “But I am not willing to chance my brother’s life on a woman’s honor.”

*sigh* It’s like little pinpricks, every time. Whatever, fuck you, Jaime.


Chapter 36: Daenerys

What Happens
The khalasar arrives at the city of Vaes Dothrak, which is mostly empty except for the dosh kahleen, the crones, who will prophesy over Dany’s unborn child. The approach is littered with prizes taken from the Dothraki conquests, which Dany is fascinated by but Viserys derides as “the trash of dead cities.” Viserys is astride again, after much pleading and “pillow tricks” on Dany’s part, and she is glad Viserys had not realized the insult he had been given when Drogo offered to let him ride on a cart at first, and that he does not understand the mocking names the riders have given him (Sorefoot King, Cart King). Viserys complains that he is tired of waiting for his army.

Once he is out of earshot, Ser Jorah tells Dany that Viserys should not have come, and that Viserys does not understand that while Viserys may regard his deal with Drogo to be a business transaction, Drogo does not; he views it as an exchange of gifts, and one does not pressure the khal over when he gives gifts. He further opines that Viserys won’t be able to do anything with his ten thousand riders even when he gets them. Dany asks if the riders would be effective against the Seven Kingdoms with someone else in charge, and Jorah thoughtfully answers that he would have thought not, but now that he has been among the Dothraki, he is not so sure. He believes the Dothraki would have no talent for siegecraft, though, and while “the Usurper” (Robert) may be reckless enough to meet the Dothraki in open battle, his followers are not. Jorah spits at naming Eddard Stark, and tells Dany that “he took from me all I loved, for the sake of a few lice-ridden poachers and his precious honor.”

They arrive at the city, and Cohollo, one of Drogo’s bloodriders, comes to tell Dany that Drogo is going up on the Mother of Mountains to sacrifice to the gods that night. Dany is relieved that she will have a night of rest for once from Drogo’s amorous attentions, and decides to give Viserys the gifts she has for him: fine new clothes in the Dothraki style. She sends Doreah to invite Viserys to dine with her, but he returns dragging a bruised Doreah, demanding to know how she dared to give him commands.

Dany tries to soothe him, saying Doreah misspoke, and shows him his gifts, but Viserys sneers at the “Dothraki rags,” and grabs her arm, threatening her. Dany picks up the gold belt she’d had made for him and hits him in the face with it. She says he obviously learned nothing from the day in the grass, and tells him to get out and pray Drogo doesn’t find out about this, or he will gut Viserys. Bleeding, Viserys tells her he will not forget this, and leaves. To comfort herself, Dany has Irri bring her one of her dragon eggs to cuddle.

She was lying there, holding the egg, when she felt the child move within her . . . as if he were reaching out, brother to brother, blood to blood. “You are the dragon,” Dany whispered to him, “the true dragon. I know it. I know it.” And she smiled, and went to sleep dreaming of home.

Well, no one’s killed Viserys yet, which makes one more chapter than I predicted for his survival. However, in lieu of his totally inevitable demise, I will certainly take Dany whacking him in the face with a belt for now, because yay. I may or may not have cheered out loud when I read that bit. You go, girl.

Viserys, by the way, is the most utterly miserable character I’ve come across in a while. And I mean that not just objectively, but in himself, if that makes sense. I mean, there’s certainly no way in hell he can be happy, on any level, or ever could have been, even back when things were going his way. The inside of his head must be a thoroughly wretched place to be. I’d almost feel sorry for him, but then I’m like, yeah, no. I hope he dies soon and puts us all out of his misery.

Yet more Ominous Foreshadowing in Dany’s conversation with Jorah, who’d better learn to keep his mouth shut unless he wants his homeland overrun with screaming barbarians. …Which, for all I know, he does want, but I’d got the impression he’d rather just be allowed to go home.

To spin off on a tangent for a moment, one of the problems with reading at this pace is the unevenness of how much I am getting out of it. By which I mean, usually I tend to read novels at a gulp; to be more accurate, I have an unfortunate tendency to speed-read, which is something I trained myself to do (kind of on accident) as a kid, and I haven’t been able to shake the habit since. Which means I miss a lot of things the first time around, but I also am generally going fast enough that I don’t forget what went before when I get to the after, if that makes sense.

But doing a couple of chapters a week, I find I have the opposite problem. Which is that while I am often catching much more on first reading than I generally do, I’m sometimes having trouble remembering facts and relationships and whatnot I was told about, from my perspective, weeks ago. It’s not proved crippling so far, but it’s a thing. (Fortunately, there’s this really awesome chick on the Internet who’s doing chapter by chapter summaries of the book, which I can go and read whenever I forget something! It is SO COOL!)

Mm-hm. Anyway, I’m bringing this up here because I was surprised when Jorah mentioned hating Ned’s guts in this chapter, and it took me a minute to remember that we’d been told *mumble* chapters ago that Ned was the one who got him exiled — and that it was for slaving practices, which is good to remember as it reminds me not to start liking Jorah too much. So, yeah.

Back to the chapter! Vaes Dothrak sounds like a really cool place to visit, but a completely creepy place to live. So I guess it’s good that no one does — yet, anyway:

“Only the crones of the dosh khaleen dwell permanently in the sacred city, them and their slaves and servants,” Ser Jorah replied, “yet Vaes Dothrak is large enough to house every man of every khalasar, should all the khals return to the Mother at once. The crones have prophesied that one day that will come to pass, and so Vaes Dothrak must be ready to embrace all its children.”

Speaking of foreshadowing. Veddy interestink.

Also, crones, eh? Three of them, perhaps? Do they toil and trouble over a cauldron with bubbles? It will not surprise me if they do!

Dragons: Dany, you really need to catch on here. You’re freakin’ nesting with your dragon eggs, or incubating them, or brooding them, or whatever it’s called when the mother keeps the eggs warm with her body in some way. NOT STONE, girl, wake up.

Also, just to be contrary, I’m hoping her kid will be a girl. Just as a nice little upraised middle finger to certain insanely patriarchal parties. If I’m right, I believe the operative phrase will be Nyah.

(Or, oh shit, because watch it turn out that there be some terrible consequence for Dany daring to give birth to a female. Blargle.)

And that’s what I got for this one, kidlets. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you next week!

Don Barkauskas
1. bad_platypus
Renly is Robert and Stannis' younger brother.
Peter Reen
2. pnr060
I've been pretty surprised that you haven't figured out the "seed is strong" mystery yet, but after reading this summary, I finally realized that it's because (spoiler/hint): you're looking at it backwards, just like Ned. You've actually been trying to find a Significant Plot Character with curly black hair.
Joel Prophet
3. Joel Prophet
Great job Leigh. You are all so close with the bastard thing. One more step...just one more step.

I agree Littlefinger set Edd up. Not good to have a broken leg when the shit hits the fan. You won't be good at dodging.

One of the things I like to hate in this series is that all the "bad" people have issues that makes you sorry for them. Even slavers! Which really pissed me off the first time I read it.

Will Dany have a girl or a boy or a dragon? I was sure when I first read this...I was wrong, BTW.
Rob Munnelly
4. RobMRobM
Re seed is strong - you're almost there.....

Re killing of Jory, etc. Thank goodness we have a strong-minded, firm acting King who will mete out appropriate justice in the next chapter. Just you wait....

Re Robert infidelities and bastards - almost makes you feel bad for Cersei, no? Can you just imagine their private conversation coming home from that wedding? "I boinked my new sister-in-law's niece - my bad. Oh, and give me more wine."

Re Jorah - "slaving practices" - don't worry, he just sold some dudes into slavery rather than executing them Ned-style. No flies on Jorah, no sir. Barely worthy of a misdemeanor, eh?

Ok, perhaps it is time to start drawing parallels in cluelessness between Ned and Viserys. Think GRRM did that intentionally?

Josiah Rowe
5. Josiah_Rowe
No spoilers, but I'll just mention that Robert's "party foul" is far from the most unpleasant thing to happen at a wedding in Westeros.
Joel Prophet
6. ftbleighjkjk
The consequence to Dany giving birth to a female in this cock-loving horseriding society would (I'm only guessing) probably be the death of the infant and a beating for her insolence. Meanwhile, R.I.P. Jory; we barely knew ye, but your name was mentioned enough times that we knew this was a big deal. Also, I believe you might have spoken, twice.
Joel Prophet
7. Naraoia
pnr, that's not a "minor" spoiler...
Anthony Pero
8. anthonypero
Comment on the first part before I read the second part:

Cersi is far, far worse than Jamie, in my opinion.

More later
Joel Prophet
9. Belarion
Love your reviews, you're getting there with the "bastard" mystery might want to look at it from a different angle. Much as I dislike Cersei you have to kinda feel sorry for her. King Robert is a drunken ass and instead of ruling a kingdom, he should of went somewhere to be a sell sword. He would of been happy and wouldn't be dragging other people down with him.
Joel Prophet
10. bluemeanies
@RobM- they were poachers who would have been sent to the wall, not executed if Ned found them. And slavery is illegal in Westeros, so even sslling a couple of people is a blot on you. Definite foul from Jorah.
Anthony Pero
11. anthonypero
Yeah, I have nothing to say about the Daenerys Chapter. I think I remember when I first read this in the 90s that I wish they would just get to the point with that whole plot thread. It seemed so tangential to what was going on in Westeroes. Guess what, four books later, it still is. Haven't read A Dance with Dragons yet.

Edited to please the spoiler police.
Joel Prophet
12. carolynh
Sorry, Leigh, I just can't help chuckling about the "seed is strong" mystery you haven't figured out yet.

And yes, Viserys IS the most utterly miserable character I've met in this or any other book in I can't even tell you how long. The first time I read this series, I had a tendency to fast read through the Viserys sections just to get away from him. He made my skin crawl, and I'm pretty sure I threw the book across the room a time or two. I wanted to reach into the book, grab that character by the neck and strangle him myself. It was painful for me to read any paragraphs he was in.

And I didn't get (until now, actually!) that Dany was incubating those eggs. Slap me silly for that. I thought ....(tieing fingers together so I won't type anymore). Well, nevermind just yet.
Anthony Pero
13. anthonypero

But there are sympathetic (alright, just pathetic) reasons around why he did it. There are no black hats in this series... at least among humans.
Peter Reen
14. pnr060
Naraoia@7: In fact, my comment is a "minor" spoiler. It doesn't reveal the secret of the mystery directly, but by analyzing Leigh's deductions about the mystery it does provide a hint about it, as I indicated. To appease you, I edited my post to remove the "minor" label.

A full-bore spoiler would be something to the effect of (don't panic, this isn't a real spoiler), "It turns out that Robert's bastard that he conceived during Stannis' wedding clicks his heels together three times, turns into a dragon, and burns Asshai to the ground!"
Anthony Pero
15. anthonypero
@14: is that a veiled FFIII reference? Or FFVI for those not American?
Rob Munnelly
16. RobMRobM
@10 Blue - I was being sarcastic. Of course, what Jorah did was serious. Sorry, I need to work on that....Re the penalty - I haven't re-read the text but usually it's execution or the Wall - pretty harsh in either event.
Joel Prophet
17. Lurking Canadian
I just had a moderately entertaining thought. Ned and Robert as Prince Hal and Falstaff from Henry IV, except the wrong one ends up on the throne after the rebellion.

And the captcha fun continues. Now it wants me to type a friggin' DELTA.
Anthony Pero
18. anthonypero
@10 and @16:

No one is forced to the wall. They are given a choice to take the black or face the headsman. The Wall is still slavery... its' just slavery with honor. What Jorah did was take their choice away. Instead of choosing between the Wall and the Headsman, he sold them into slavery. I bet, if given a choice between the Wall, death, and slavery to some merchant prince in some desert oasis, many would choose the last.
Anthony Pero
19. anthonypero
Lurking Canadian @ 17:

Then create an account and log in. No CAPTCHA's then, and I don't get any mail at all.
Steve McCracken
20. yocxl
bad_platypus - I think she was questioning if she should know who Edric is, not Renly.
Joel Prophet
21. fanganga
There's a line fairly early on when Robert says that Ned should have been King and Ned replies that Robert had the greater claim. If the rebels had been more flexible with the rules of inheritance he could have served happily as some kind of champion (I was going to say that the Kingsguard wouldn't suit him, but Jaime is Kingsguard and certainly isn't celibate). I'm seeing a bit of a parallel with Samwell here - both forced in to roles they can't fulfil well by virtue of being eldest sons.
Don Barkauskas
22. bad_platypus
yocxl @20: Hmmm... that would make more sense. I was surprised Leigh would have forgotten Renly.
Joel Prophet
23. tugthis
I know that Leigh has a thing for patriachy, but I hope it doesn't ruin her enjoyment of the novel. It may be unfortunate that a novel or our real life is patriarchial, but there it is. A matriarchial society would be just as bad, or good depending on whose ox is being gored. Of course then we have meritocracies, and they are bad for the vast majority of people (who are meritless).
Sky Thibedeau
24. SkylarkThibedeau
Well the Chapter had me screaming "Ned you poor fool" !!! Cat ordered Tyrion's arrest. Why did you lie??? You could have said you didn't order it and worked something out or implied that Tyrion had something to do with Bran's fall and attempted murder. Why are you so honorable on everything else? Your lie cost good men their lives!
Juliet Kestrel
25. Juliet_Kestrel
Poor Jory. The part where the gold cloaks find Ned cradling the dead body made me tear up a little bit. I know a lot of people are yelling at Ned for being so dumb, but I can’t help but feel really horrible for him. He is trying so hard to do the right thing, and serve the realm and justice. Even trying to find the guy behind Bran’s attempted murder, Ned is genuinely trying to find the guilty party and bring them to justice. His thoughts have never indicated he was picking on Tyrion to bring down the uppity Lannisters, or some such. What does he get in return? Watching his loyal retainers brutally slaughtered in front of his eyes, just for associating themselves with him. Compromising ones morals and ethics to achieve a goal is generally not thought of as virtuous. No wonder no one in King’s Landing plays by the rules, look what it gets you.

I also detect that Littlefinger had something to do with this. The timing was just too perfect.

Viscerys. I can’t muster up even a little grain of sympathy for this kid. He can’t seem to do a single thing graciously. Not even accept gifts from his sister. I’d have hit him with a belt too.

Leigh’s commentary about the bastards strongly resembling Robert. I was just as confused as she is this whole time, but with her saying that something clicked. It’s funny that her comment triggered it for me, but not for her. If I am right though…OH GAWD! (Do not tell me though! I want to find out with the book and Leigh).
Joel Prophet
26. insomnia333
@5 Josiah_Rowe

This is still a spoiler. I just finished reading the book in question and due to people like you foreshadowing things in threads that have nothing to do with the event in question I pretty new what was going to happen before it happened. Still shocking, but not the same as being blindsided by it like other reader were. Stick to the chapters/topics at hand, or at least the same G** D*** book for crying out loud.
Vincent Lane
27. Aegnor
I don't think I got the whole "bastards" mystery when I read it. Which is strange, because in retrospect it seems like it should have been obvious. Those are the best kind of mysteries, those that are really difficult to figure out, but are obvious once you do.
Joel Prophet
28. Tanatie
I can't wait for you to figure out the "seed" riddle. You're getting kinda worked up by it and the second you get it, it becomes really obvious, so that should be a great reaction :)
Joel Prophet
29. Random
Leigh - you may want to go back and re-read the chapter where the Starks host the King's family at a dinner in Winterfell - I think it's a Jon POV. The key clue to the whole "seed is strong" mystery is there. Or don't. That's ok too.
Joel Prophet
30. Scylding
Just a thought here about the seed thing and hair color. Does anyone else think its odd that Roberts bastards all have dark hair and his official children are blonde? Lannister genes FTW
Paul Boulos
31. PaulieX
Is there a way to delete certain posts to keep people from spoiling the reveal for others? Note to people reading along with the "re"-read for the first time...just avoid the comments...unless you don't mind the spoilers people post. Those who have read it all know the answers...nobody is proving how smart they are by ruining it for people who haven't read all the books yet.
Joel Prophet
32. JebMar
This Eddard chapter has a clue for a theory I’m working on. Not a spoiler because this is my first reading and I have no idea what the truth will be.

Ned Stark thinks of “the promises he’d made Lyanna as she lay dying, and the price he’d paid to keep them.”

When Ned earlier spoke of his promise to Lyanna, GRRM implied the promise concerned bringing her body back to Winterfell for burial. (Finding earlier text is easy if you are reading an e-copy of the book.)

“’I was with her when she died,’ Ned reminded the king. ‘She wanted to come home, to rest beside Brandon and Father.’ He could hear her still at times. Promise me, she had cried, in a room that smelled of blood and roses. Promise me, Ned. The fever had taken her strength and her voice had been faint as a whisper, but when he gave her his word, the fear had gone out of his sister’s eyes. Ned remembered the way she smiled then, how tightly her fingers had clutched his as she gave up her hold on life, the rose petals spilling from her palm, dead and black. “

But, why would promising her the burial of her choice drive fear from her eyes?

The details surrounding Lyanna are scarce. Robert brought up his vow to kill Rhaegar for what he did to his betrothed. Robert later claims, “’And Rhaegar . . . how many times do you think he raped your sister? How many hundreds of times?’” Robert calls it rape but so far nothing else confirms or refutes this. In any case, this indicates Rhaegar and Lyanna were together for an extended period of time.

In this current chapter, Ned discloses that he paid a price to keep his promise to Lyanna, but he paid no price for bringing Lyanna home for burial. What was his promise, what price did he pay and why was Lyanna so fearful?

Robert defends the murder of Rhaegar’s children, many years ago, and the killing of Viserys and Daenerys in the current day. “’I will kill every Targaryen I can get my hands on, until they are dead as their dragons, and then I will piss on their graves.’”

Lyanna supposedly died of a fever but died in a room that “smelled of blood and roses.” Could that have been the blood of childbirth? Did Lyanna make Ned promise to protect her child by Rhaegar?

Did Robert pay a price to protect Lyanna’s child? Could that price have been a stain on his own honor by claiming the child as his own bastard? After all, to Ned, honor is everything. Furthermore, he is a loving and affectionate father, unlike the man who coldly sent Jon Snow to the Wall. Perhaps the Night Watch was the safest place Ned could imagine to hide someone who could die if the truth came out.
Joel Prophet
33. Wortmauer
Josiah Rowe@5: Indeed, as Illyrio put it, "A Dothraki wedding without at least three deaths is deemed a dull affair." Dany's wedding in particular had a dozen fatalities from, basically, drunk fighting. Technically, though, those aren't in Westeros, but on the eastern continent, across the Narrow Sea. But yeah, I'd say those are worse than Robert's party foul. (Not sure if the Dothraki would agree.) If you didn't mean Dothraki weddings, please don't reply to clarify that you really were posting spoilers, as insomnia333@26 says. I.e., just stop digging.
I can't really get my head around the mentality of a duel to the death just for the fun of it. I know a lot of warrior cultures are written that way, maybe some in the real world really are that way, but I don't get it. Maybe they've been promised an afterlife where their diet has even better things than horse meat in it?
Aaron Miller
34. altarego
I find it terribly annoying that people who are "supposedly" reading the book for the first time has such fully-fleshed and nuanced theories in their comments, yet cry "Not a spoiler, promise!!". Especially when those "theories" include facts from future books, not merely intuitive leaps.

Seriously people, if you want to share something that you think *might* be a spoiler or a theory, bring it up in the spoiler forums first for confirmation. You can get your pats on the back there and not ruin it for others by trying to seem more intelligent than you really are.
Josiah Rowe
35. Josiah_Rowe
@insomnia333: I'm sorry if you felt spoiled by comments like mine. I thought that particular remark was sufficiently vague (in fact, it could refer to any of several different events) but if you think it's too spoilerrific feel free to flag my comment.
Joel Prophet
36. JebMar
altarego, I suppose your comment is directed at me. I have not brought up any facts beyond the current reading. Every statement I mention is in this book in prior chapters. These are my thoughts that occured to me during my reading. I have had my theory about Jon Snow for some time but it was only based upon the inconsistency of Ned forgetting his honor long enough to father a bastard.
Paul Boulos
37. PaulieX
JebMar @ 36...I guarantee he wasn't talking about your post. :)
Matthew Hunter
38. matthew1215
Ye gods, folks. Let people work it out for themselves. I've read the books, and I'm really enjoying Leigh's virgin readthrough, but I'm not posting anything because I know what happens. PLEASE be careful of potential spoilers, even if you think you aren't using any evidence beyond what's already been presented. If you have any doubt at all whether it's appropriate, don't post it here. This isn't the place for vague hints or looney theories.
Aaron Miller
39. altarego
No, not you in particular. But I liken this to a good riddle-telling session among a group of friends. The riddlemaster usually requests that anyone who thinks they have a solution not to blurt out their answer, but to instead confirm/deny in private so as not to spoil the experience for the others who want to enjoy solving the puzzle on their own.

If you have a question or vague comment, this is the place to post it. If you have a fully-formed theory or an idea, take it to the spoiler forum for confirmation before posting. It's not that hard.

Finally, if you have something you feel should be posted in white text, you shouldn't even be posting in the comments at all.
Joel Prophet
40. JebMar
I don't want someone to tell me if my theory is correct or wrong based on what's ahead. I want to discover that while I read. But if this is the wrong place to share my reaction to the series, I misunderstood and this will be my last post.
Joel Prophet
41. insomnia333
To be fair that was pretty vague. I just got burned by to many people in forums for this book and the tv series saying things like, "you think that's bad wait till you get to 'x event' in 'x book'". When people forshadow events, even with no details, it changes your reading experience as you know something is going to happen, so instead of blissfully reading along until you're figuratively smacked upside the head with a 2x4, you instead have a feeling of dread and the scene plays out a bit differently.
Sorry for jumping on you so harshly, as I said that was pretty vague.
Captain Hammer
43. Randalator

Do not spoil me, I will figure this out on my own! Shh!

Teehee. You might want to prepare a helmet and a reinforced desk...

re: Cersei and Robert

Yeah, Robert is an asshole. Though from what I've seen from Cersei I can't shake the feeling that they would have ended up at this point no matter what. Robert, being lazy as usual, just couldn't be bothered with all the slowly becoming estranged, arguing and making up, marriage counseling, etc. He went straight to the drinking and whoring.
Joel Prophet
44. Davyd
Some people enjoy spoilers, myself included. I'm currently reading through the WOT series, and after each chapter I check out Leigh's re-read to see if what I got out of the chapter is similar to what everyone else did. I don't mind the spoilers for the rest of the series, because none have been anything that I will likely remember until after it happens, then think back and be like, 'oh yeah!'

However, it has been expressed SEVERAL times that spoilers, in any form, are not to be posted in this forum, but in the section that is meant FOR SPOILERS. It's basic rule-following, as well as respect for the readers on their first read through.

Back when I first read ASOIAF, I had my suspicions by this time about the bastard issue, and was SHOCKED still once the reveal was done, even though I was right on. It was still a good feeling, one that I share with my friends whom I get to read the book. I can't wait for them to 'get it.' There are several events in this series that will shock the hell out of you, even if you know they are coming. (See: Viserys).

I'm not the boss of anyone, and this is my first post on, but for the love of all things holy, let the readers experience the series the way the rest of us did. Keep the spoilers off these posts. How hard is that?
Joel Prophet
45. Queequeg
*sigh* It’s like little pinpricks, every time. Whatever, fuck you, Jaime.

I nominate this to be the funniest thing Leigh has ever written.
Joel Prophet
46. David B
Interesting. I'm up to date on the books, and (no, I don't think this is a spoiler), the idea that Littlefinger was responsible for Jaime finding Ned at the brothel hadn't occurred to me. In fact, I don't recall it ever being clearly mentioned how he knew - that could be my faulty memory, though.

In regards to all of your wondering and musing, I again leave you with the cryptic, "Awww...that's so cute."

Have you considered more than just 2 chapters a week yet?
Aaron Miller
47. altarego
@Davyd #44: Ironically, you just dropped a huge spoiler regarding a certain character with your reaction to it. Please edit that out.

Joel Prophet
48. Mochabean
Leigh, at this point in the book I had no idea either! Thanks for the great post!
Joel Prophet
49. no_one
Thank you so much. Reading your commentary (via WoT) is almost as impossibly good as reading it again for the first time. It is something nice many look forward to on Fridays. Most of your fans wish you could somehow post and read more or faster, greedy and unfair (this isn't all you read), but who can get enough of a good thing. Hopefully you can continue to do this for the rest of the series, until you catch up. Has someone ever asked him why there aren't numbers on the chapters...
john massey
50. subwoofer
"Still don’t get the bastard thing, and yes, I am aware this makes me
dumb, but whatever. Apparently every kid Robert fathers strongly
resembles him, which explains the whole “the seed is strong” thing, but there’s clearly someone I’m supposed to be connecting this to..."

Erm... Leigh, apparently all the *headdesking* has caused you some trauma to the um... brain/logic region of your head type area;) Stop looking at the bastards of Rob.And you realize of course that this is almost worth me coming down to the next JConn just to give you a V8 bop on the forehead... perhaps you should try a V8, maybe it'll stimulate some ideas.

@Randalator- well maybe Robert suffers from the same addiction Tiger Woods does. I wonder if anywhere in the kingdom there is an AADAC? Cercei seems like the forgiving type and won't go after Robert for half of everything...;)

Viserys- this douche just reinforces my thought that greatness should not be a birthright, but something earned by your actions. His sister should slap him around every other hour just on general principles.

Matthew Watkins
51. oraymw
Jeez. There's like a spoiler war going on here. Don't tell Leigh what to look for everybody. Man. I know it's the internet, but it just seems like such a collection of stupid people that want to prove they're smart.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
52. tnh
Criminently Christmas, did we have to have an efflorescence of spoilers when Irene was actually taking some time off to go have dinner, and I was recovering from having something done to my lower vertebrae that you really don't want to hear about?

Okay, you didn't know that was happening. But can we please watch the spoilers? Altarego @34 is a little harsh, but makes a good point:
"I find it terribly annoying that people who are "supposedly" reading the book for the first time has such fully-fleshed and nuanced theories in their comments ..."
Altarego's right. It's extremely rare for people to read books that way the first time through, with the "view all plot possibilities" option switched on.

To be honest, it's nearly impossible to do that on the first read-through of a book that has a very complicated plot. With all due respect, dear commenters, if you think you did that the first time through, you're probably accessing a false memory. It's hard to truly remember that initial state of unknowing after you read further on into the book, because your brain overwrote your initial perceptions with later reinterpretations.

All our brains do that. It's why these first-read series have to be written by someone who's genuinely doing a first read, rather than just remembering the book in order.

Behaviors that are more spoilerish than you realize:

1. Pointing out some chunk of the plot as being more significant than it looks, or being something other than it currently appears to be.

Part of the fun of the reveal is the realization that you saw it all happen, but didn't understand what was really going on. Pointing out that that's going to happen to a plot thread ruins the effect. You mean well, you don't think of it as a spoiler, but knock it off. Please.

2. Hinting that certain varieties of event are going to be especially dramatic later on in the book.

Those of you who do this probably think it's not a spoiler because you haven't come out and said what's going to happen in that set of circumstances. However, what you have done is added a doom-DOOM-DOOOMMMMM soundtrack to every damned scene in which something like that happens.

This disrupts the hell out of the reading. If you hint that later on, some major piece of significant action is going to explode without warning in the middle of a meal, you've just messed up every meal in the book, including the one you had in mind and all the meals after it, because the reader can't be sure which meal you were referring to.

(Note: I'm not saying anything of the sort happens in the middle of a meal. I'm using it as a generic category of event.)

At this point in the reading, what's happening is that Robert is on the edge of figuring out various mysteries. There's a nice tension in it. Let it happen. The answers will unfold in due time. And if you think that's a polite way of saying "Will you please knock off the "You're getting waaaaarmer..." routines -- you're right!
john massey
53. subwoofer

Right, sorry to all if I did post things that were spoilers... I feel like I've jumped into a world where the PC police are out in full force, instead of "PC" it is spoiler police. My comment about divorce, was just that, a comment about divorce. In this day and age, considering pre-nups, 50% of marriages ending belly up, and squabbles over child custody, marriage infidelity, marriage councelling etc. I was just taking off on what Randalator said. Heck, I'm not entirely sure of this but back in the day, if you had a marriage problem, you'd talk to your Minister about it, now, every other thing winds up in therapy. I was commenting on the fact that GRRM created this world in ye olde knighthood that parallels many modern issues. Oh yeah, and I think Prince Charles and Lady Di may have had something just as epic. Geee, don't let that be taken as a spoiler.

May I suggest that this is a Leigh re-read and we should just refrain from commenting period, especially when it gets taken the wrong way and if you look at any comment, squint and turn sideways, it can be taken as a spoiler.

I whited out the salient stuff, and yet a whole paragraph get's modded. Are we blurring the lines between editing for spoilers and censorship?

Edit and this may be a spoiler, but it is not Robert that is on the verge of figuring stuff out, he's way into the sauce, I believe you meant Ed. And hang on, if it is a spoiler, your comment should be whited out as you posted it, because conversely, Robert/Ed could not be on the verge of figuring out diddly squat and the mystery could go on forever and we all just sit back and shake our heads and wonder about the blind spot these character's have at not figuring things out.

Rob Munnelly
54. RobMRobM
C'mon everyone - can't we all just get along?

Here, for entertainment purposes only, are the relevant posts from the Blog of Ice and Fire. Again, not his best but I like the Dothraki hierarchy bit.



We see the consequences of Cat’s action immediately. Jaime
Lannister confronts Eddard and Littlefinger outside a brothel, and he’s
quite pissed about Tyrion’s disappearance. If Eddard was clever, he’d
say “Mr. Lannister, I do not know the whereabouts of your brother, but I
might have more information in a few hours, when I will have more than
two guys with me.” Instead, Eddard predictably answers “Of course I
arrested that stupid dwarf,” which results in a very one-sided fight, a
very broken leg, and a very dead Jory.

shit really hit the fan this chapter. I wonder what Jaime’s reasoning
was behind wounding Eddard and killing his men. I doubt it would
actually help Tyrion, because when Catelyn hears about this, the poor
dwarf is going to get tortured even more. If that’s the case, why didn’t
Jaime capture Ned and trade him for Tyrion later? Because he’s Jaime
Lannister, man of action, whose strongest trait was never thoughtful
planning. The Starks and Lannisters are now at each other's throats,
just like predicted. ___________________________

Dany finally arrives at Vaes Dothrak. It's funny that the Dothraki
are so skilled at riding and conquering, yet suck so badly at basic
things like building huts. Eddard and Robert must be closet Dothraki,
because they are also great at straightforward conflicts but are equally
horrible at politics and finesse. I wonder what crime Jorah committed
that caused Eddard to send him into exile. Is he really going to kill
Dany? Why is he allowed to just travel with the Khalasar in the first
place? It doesn't make sense that the Dothraki would just let some
random white guy tag along with them so close to their leader. I also
found it funny that in the old days, a Khal's bloodriders would share
his wife, but never his horse. Dothraki hierarchy must be something like
Crone > Khal > Bloodrider > Horse > Wife > Viserys.

Dany is assimilating herself into the Dothraki culture, Viserys becomes
more deluded every day. He's seen a joke by everyone in the Khalasar,
only he doesn't know it. I'm curious how someone could grow up in such a
way. For instance, Joffrey's personality is understandable given his
upbringing, but Viserys grew up poor and in exile. MC Illyrio must have
really spoiled him for Viserys to develop his extreme sense of
entitlement and gigantic superiority complex. Even the most bratty kids
can be cowed somewhat, but nobody ever gave Viserys the advice he really
needed, and now he's beyond the point of rehabilitation. When Dany
brings him gifts, Viserys flips out, because he simply doesn't know how
to be anything but a gigantic douche, even for just five minutes. That's
the biggest difference between him and the Joffrey: Viserys can't even
pretend to be nice. That and he doesn't have a powerful support system
around him. Dany finally stands up to him, and it must have been a very
cathartic experience, because she suddenly starts talking weirdly to her
dragon eggs. Maybe she should sit on them?
john massey
55. subwoofer
@Rob- not when it comes to censorship. How a V8 comment merrited editing is beyond me. It may be a joke taken the wrong way as the winky face was in the wrong spot, but worthy of censorship- riiiight.

As far as it goes, this is my first and only time reading this book. I didn't get into it until probably 5 or so posts/weeks into the reread. And I'm not saying that I'm incredibly perceptive, but if anybody other than me bothers to read book reviews- crazy thought that-, what other folks have told me to persuade me to read this series,the suduvu cage match last year, what GRRM has said about these books himself, etc... it isn't too hard to read between the lines here.

Lemme put this another way, I was very hesitant about getting into this series in the first place because I thought GRRM could not finish it. From what all the critics and book reviewers etc. have said online and other places GRRM has painted himself into a corner because he keeps on killing off all his main characters, nobody is safe. That was why it took him so long to pound out this last book, beyond writer's block. I can find direct quotes if anybody wants. I knew this before I even turned page one. I find it very hard to believe somebody that works for a fantasy book publishing company has not even heard an inkling of this. About the only thing I was surprised at was that Bran survived the fall, the rest, well the book is character driven, and if you get into the characters most of it is not that hard to see coming, but rewarding none the less.

Rob Munnelly
56. RobMRobM
Woof - Hi back . I wasn't troubled by your discussion whited out by Theresa - but my guess it was not for spoilerage but because of your entertaining bashing of Leigh's intellect (which Theresa may have edited out without a full understanding of your long history with Leigh in WOT land). But I could be wrong....

I differ from some of the above in that I believe first time readers can come up with fairly sophisticated theories through careful review of text. (I've posted pretty extensively in ADWD threads here and elsewhere and have also done so in other books/TV shows I was in the middle of) (such as Heroes - boy, the elaborate theories I came up with there before the writers drove the show off a cliff.) And the Complete Unspoiled Speculation thread re GoT/HBO on Television Without Pity had very elaborate theories, some of which even were correct.) And with legitimately first time readers, they shouldn't have to go to Spoiler forum because they might get spoiled about future events in the series. So I'd like folks to be honest - if they really are getting it for the first time, have at it. Probably use white space to be safe in case you're correct in your theories and so others can avoid/bypass at their election.

john massey
57. subwoofer
Well Rob, you are slightly wrong, I was taking a spin at Leigh's very creative *headdesking* term, heck, I even think I put that in there...;)

Edit for winky face- think I put it in the right spot this time;)

Julian Augustus
58. Alisonwonderland
Juliet @25:

I know a lot of people are yelling at Ned for being so dumb, but I can’t help but feel really horrible for him. He is trying so hard to do the right thing, and serve the realm and justice.

Which is why so many readers hate Catelyn for thoughtlessly kidnapping Tyrion and bringing on retaliation against her poor husband and his retainers.
Juliet Kestrel
59. Juliet_Kestrel
Awww, I thought everyone was doing much better regarding spoilers recently, and here we are talking about it again. Le Sigh.

What I am having trouble understanding is the desire to post these “neener-neener I know what’s coming“ comments, or the ones insisting one look harder at the given evidence. I swear everyone here is reading the books and we will eventually get to the big revel the way GRRM intended. Leigh has even mentioned that she has put thought into the “seed” puzzle and hasn’t come up with an answer yet. When people read books for the first time different people clue into different things. For such a well read group of people, I can’t imagine that every person that found this puzzle intuitive didn’t read another book sometime and had to facepalm “duh that was there all along why didn’t I see it?” when the reveal finally came.

Then on top of the these neener-neener comments everyone get upset that people don’t like them.

Although I do have to agree with subwoofer, censoring comments not even about the book does seem like too much.
Juliet Kestrel
60. Juliet_Kestrel
@Alisonwonderland 58
I wonder what Ned would have done with Tyrion if he had made it to King’s Landing. We know he is not the most adept political manunverer, but I get the impression he wouldn’t have acted without a lot more evidence. OTOH Ned does seem pretty convinced Tyrion was to blame after Littlefinger told him about the knife. But that isn’t how it’s written, so maybe this is a useless train of thought.

So I don’t know if there is a way, or if there is a way how, to post a link to a specific comment, but I posted a comment on A Game of Thrones Part 16, comment 51 about the writing craft and the art of clue dropping. It was towards the end of the thread, so people might not have seen it. My feelings on spoilers since we are discussing it, yet again.
Joel Prophet
61. Wortmauer
Juliet_Kestrel@60: So I don’t know if there is a way, or if there is a way how, to post a link to a specific comment, but I posted a comment on A Game of Thrones Part 16, comment 51 about the writing craft and the art of clue dropping.
Don't know whether these links are easy to make (I don't use the "comment editor" thingy everyone keeps complaining about), but here's Juliet's post. For good measure, here is my post saying some of the same things, and tnh's post saying more of the same things.

Those of you complaining about the "spoiler police" (which, by the way, if you aren't trying to belittle those of us who wish to keep these threads spoiler-free, that's a pretty poor term to use) should read all three of those comments, and perhaps also the introductory text Leigh puts near the top of every one of these posts. I can understand having trouble understanding any one of us, but between three different writing styles, you should be able to pick up the main points.
john massey
62. subwoofer
@Wort- that is me complaining about the spoiler police- I own that comment so have the courage to direct your comments to me. As I have said, yes, maybe some of my comments may have been spoilery, and I whited it out myself, and appologized for them, in saying that I feel that my comment about V8 did not merrit said censoring. Read that again before you decide to take me to task. As I have said, there is a difference between keeping a thread spoiler free and censorship. I can understand the problem understanding my posting @53 but you should be able to pick up the main points.

As I have said this is a fairly character driven plotline so lemme break down a few of them as I see it.

Eddard- the guy is Dudley Do-Right, except as we find out in this chapter, he does not walk between rain drops. Robert feels he can trust Eddard as his right hand guy, and Eddard projects his nobility (personality, not royalty, I mean) onto others, to me he seems naive and trusting and not ready for the complex Southern politics, which was why he didn't want to take the post in the first place.

Robert- has many Al Bundy type characteristics... and he is married to Peg. Robert keeps on trying to relive his glory days when he was a huge fierce warrior and took the throne to begin with. Polk High, 1966, scored 4 touchdowns in one game... Come to think, Robert is very Bundy like in that they mirror similar relationships with wife and kids. And I have a feeling that Robert keeps medieval issues of "Big'Uns" to keep him going. Not exactly kingly material, but might makes right in his case.

Tyrion- the guy is a survivor. He survived birth, a life in the shadow of his pretty twin brother and sister and several physical disadvantages. He turns his weaknesses into his strengths, what he lacks for in stature he makes up for with cunning and intellect. The most depth we get from him are the conversations he has with Jon.

Lannisters- the rest of them, can be fairly much lumped together in terms of their drive, their insular attitude and superiority, and their gold digging ways.... they control vast sums of money and the kingdom owes them. Some modern day parallels about debt ceilings can be inserted here. And there has to be trust issues with Robert since he is not offering his brother-in-law the Hand position...

Jon Snow- tough row to hoe. Kid has a bastard complex, much like a Napoleon complex, and is struggling to find out where he fits in the world. The most depth we get from him are the conversations he has with Tyrion.

Sansa- trying to be a proper little er... courtier? Socialite? Somebody that fits in with royals.

Arya- tom boy. No doubt there.

Bran- typical tough little boy. Not concerned about being a noble, just wants to do little boy things.

Catelyn- woman has guts. May or may not be pointed in the right direction, but she is fiercely loyal to her family and her duty. I have to give her credit for that.

Viserys- gah.

Dany- young girl grew up in a displaced home with her tainted brother doing no-no things. She's young but seems to keep her head despite what is going on around her, and to her.

Littlefinger- gah. His name says it all, every time I read his character I feel slimey. Going through the previous chapters, every other word when Littlefinger speaks is "slyly" and there is a very mocking tone to everything he says.

The Hound- well, you'd think I like him because of his nick name, but geeze!

Hodor- Hodor!

Edit- I went over the book to find relevant things but as they had the feeling of being spoilery I left them out, although on the face of it, GRRM tells us everything we need in the first few chapters in regards to characters. In skimming the book I am reminded of the overall feeling GRRM left me with. He has a very visceral, primal way of writing that in a way reminds me of a gritty crime novel, except this is fantasy of course. I always resented whodunits because the author would always leave out vital clues, or bits of information that only the main characters know that they later reveal in a showdown with the baddie. GRRM doesn't do that, in a way he reminds me of John Wayne in Rio Bravo in that he shoots from the hip and tells us what is going to happen and we are enthralled enough by the power of his words that we watch all the way through.

@63- yes that was the part I said I whited out myself. Thank you.

Joel Prophet
63. Elsinora
Woof -- in addition to being about V8, your whited out comment specified what evidence is/is not important. As prior posters have mentioned, that is a spoiler.

And in what universe is changing the color of text "censorship"? What you wrote is still there, and those who choose to can easily read it. It has not been removed or edited down. You have NOT been censored. You are way overreaching with the outrage here.

Leigh -- awesome write-up, as always! "The Significant Bastard" is just crying out to be a band name...
Joel Prophet
64. Davyd
@47- Sorry about that, as I said in the original post, it was my first time trying to insert myself into the conversation.

Thanks to the admin who was able to white it out, I haven't created an account so there was no way for me to edit it.

@52- thanks for the clarification as to what constitutes 'spoilerish' behavior. At the time, I really didn't see it as such, but now looking back on it, it's one of those /facepalm moments where I realize that, yeah, that was pretty dumb. haha.

I'll try to keep stay more in-line with the guidelines set forth from now on.

Now, onward. One thing I don't remember was ever wondering how Jaime knew where Ned was. It never occurred to me that Littlefinger would ever have been involved. And while it has been pointed out that my memories of my first read-through are probably not as accurate as I remember, I do have a distinct memory of focusing so hard on the 'seed' mystery that much of the other plots kind of got on my nerves.

It is interesting how the opinions you form of characters after your initial read-through can affect how you think about things during re-reads. Also, it's fun to be opened up to knew ideas and things to ponder by other readers who have a different take on characters. That's what's fun about these re-reads. It keeps the series, in a manner of speaking, 'new,' even if it's not.

Now back to WoT, where I am in the home stretch of TSR. Cheers!
john massey
65. subwoofer
@Elsinora- thanks for that, in my universe it is censorship, appreciate your downplay. I'll cheerfully not comment any more if no comments are directed at me, but I'm more of an Old Testament type person than New so just be informed.

Really early on we find out what slimebags the Lannisters are. Gahhhhh, I am still creeped out at the idea of incest and brother sleeping with sister, let alone that they are twins... well come to think, back when there was a fair inbreeding of bloodlines as they did not mix with commoners, but brother and sister... yeeeee!

At the beginning of the book we find out that Robert loves Eddard's dead sister and that Cercei was second fiddle, and that Rob isn't happy. Cercei admits as much herself, and rambles on, which is what I seem to be doing, but I'm honked so I'm being expressive... anyways, the point is that is where I was coming from with my divorce comment, and in all divorces, the spouse takes half, that and Randalator says as much about marriage issues in his post, so I was responding to it. That comment may have been missed or as I post a lot, I'm a more visible,and if I'm wrong, mea culpa.

@Davyd- well, this may be tainted by my 20/20 hindsight as it was put, but Littlefinger point blank tells Ed-

"Lord Petyr," Ned called after him. "I... am grateful for your help. Perhaps I was wrong to distrust you."
Littlefinger fingered his small pointed beard. "You are slow to learn, Lord Eddard. Distrusting me was the wisest thing you've done since you climbed down off your horse."
-ch22. Not sure if it was spoilery so I erred on the side of caution, but the whiteout part doesn't work the first time, you have to change it after.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden
66. tnh
Subwoofer, you haven't been censored. Your words are still there. They haven't been deleted or deprecated. They've just been whited out. Anyone can see them who wants to.

We get no thrill from playing Spoiler Police. Your comments were among those flagged by your fellow readers and commenters. Since we avoid spoilers as a courtesy to others, there's not a lot of downside to getting feedback from those others about whether it's working properly.

I did explain why remarks some people think are non-spoilers could nevertheless function as spoilers. If you'd like to discuss expository theory (and practice) at greater length, open a thread about it in the forums and I'll meet you there. I'm certainly willing to explain again why the head-to-desk trope can be a spoiler.
"I find it very hard to believe somebody that works for a fantasy book publishing company has not even heard an inkling of this."
Do you imagine I don't know that? It's not the sort of subject one brings up over dinner with someone, but it hardly needs discussing. Knoweth no man the day nor hour. Every artist lives with the possibility that their work may never be finished, and so does everyone who cares about that artist's work.
"Especially as I have a way of poking fun at Leigh and I do not see the need to white it out."
You're a shareholder in this conversation, not its sole proprietor. In order for us to all get along, we have to all get along.
john massey
67. subwoofer
Subwoofer, you haven't been censored. Your words are still there. They haven't been deleted or deprecated.

Nope, I stand corrected. Mea culpa. IMO they've just been depreciated and deprecated.

deprecation is a status applied to software features to indicate that they should be avoided... Although deprecated features remain in the software, their use may raise warning messages recommending alternative practices, and deprecation may indicate that the feature will be removed in the future. Features are deprecated—rather than immediately removed—in order to provide backward compatibility and give programmers who have used the feature time to bring their code into compliance with the new standard.

But thank you for telling me that folks have flagged stuff. I get that part now. Good to know that's how it's played. This'll be fun. Oh, and thanks for that word as well.

You're a shareholder in this conversation, not its sole proprietor. In
order for us to all get along, we have to all get along.

Agreed, and as Leigh has demonstrated on any number of occasions, she is more than capable of telling me where to go, and I respect her for it, but I also feel that is her role, what you did tells me that I can't joke around, and I'm fine with that, now that the precident is there I can play by that game as well. It will be equal.

Do you imagine I don't know that? It's not the sort of subject one
brings up over dinner with someone, but it hardly needs discussing.
Knoweth no man the day nor hour. Every artist lives with the possibility that their work may never be finished, and so does everyone who cares about that artist's work.
*Blinks* right, very poetic, but the point of that was checking out what folks have to say about the series, and the comments about writing style and characters.And it is not about you either, I was referring to Leigh. It's not about the taboo subject about writer's block, I'm just a guy off the street and I didn't just stroll into a bookstore and pick up the first book with a nice cover, I was pointed at reviews online by friends wanting me to read this series, anybody with an computer or ipad or iphone can do the same. I figured that Leigh, being as plugged in as she is, must have at least heard as much about the series as I have, and that was what I am basing my comment on.

Joel Prophet
68. Elsinora
Woof -- given that I'm a Jew, I don't find the "Old Testament" God threatening at all. :P You have the right to be outraged because the color of your text was changed, but censorship necessitates deletion. Throwing words like "censorship" (or "fascism," or "psychopath," or any other such commonly misused words) around casually and inaccurately dilutes their meaning, and I have a problem with that.

Now let's get back to the book, eh?
Matthew Watkins
69. oraymw
@subwoofer: Actually, Leigh has specifically made the point that she doesn't know these things, because she was intending to read the series, so he purposely avoided reading or listening to anything/one talking about ASoIaF.

She has also made the point that she doesn't want people to say "This is the evidence that is important" which is the argument that the "spoiler police" have been making. From the beginning, she asked that anything resembling spoilers not be in these comments. And then people turn around and start purposely thumbing their noses at anyone who has not already read the series. That is the issue, and you are trying to make this about a personal attack against you. News flash: the world and these books do not revolve around you and your feelings.

I also agree that it is pretty flamboyant conceit to start saying that your comments have been censored. You've depreciated the entire conversation about "censorship" for anyone who listens to you. For one, this is a blog that is owned by Tor and administered by people in their employ. They have a right to censor whatever they darn well please, because it is a private company. For two, your comments have simply been edited to fit the approved format for this thread, since they didn't meet those guidelines from the start. It's fun to throw around buzzwords and loaded phrases, but that is all that you are realy doing.

Of course, I should be chastised for feeding a troll, but I just can't help it, so I'll stop responding to you from here on out, and just flag your spoiler comments.
Rob Munnelly
70. RobMRobM
Oraymw - Subwoofer's no troll, just a very frequent, sometimes flamboyant and often amusing poster who is (at this point) the no.1 (by both total posts and average length of posts) poster on Leigh's two-and-a-half year old Wheel of Time re-read. He's contributed a ton to the great discourse on that thread. I'm happy to have him here. Leigh's undoubtedly happy to have him here. But...

Woof - I agree it's time to move on and get back to our discussion of the tale itself.

Joel Prophet
71. Mort
Oh my, it is so frustrating to see you get SO CLOSE to finding out what the deal is with the bastards. You'll really be kicking yourself in the head once you find out :D
Just found this blog and been reading all entries in one go. It's a great read, so thanks! I hope you enjoy the rest of the series as much as you seem to be enjoying it so far ;) It only gets better!
Anthony Pero
72. anthonypero
Yeah, @sub, @Rob,

I don't think I can actually abide by the rules of this particular thread... which isn't really a problem with the rules, but with myself. So I'm done. See ya in the WoT thread.
john massey
73. subwoofer
@Rob- thanks, but I got this, I've been hurt by professionals, so what are a couple of ameteurs with a keyboard going to do?:D

@68- what difference does your race have to do with anything? Throwing a word like "Jew" around doesn't mean you have any more insight into the Bible than I do. New Testament- Jesus said turn the other cheek, Old Testament, eye for an eye.... you comment, I comment, it could escalate forever. I don't want that, I have bigger fish to fry... like putting in a rebuilt starter.

Both of you rockstars missed me saying that if you want me to drop it don't respond to me and I won't respond back. Both you and 69(dude) missed me saying at 67-
Nope, I stand corrected. Mea culpa.

@69(dude)-Yup this is owned by Tor, no arguement there, but Tor also is a company that should believe in free speech, to go about their stuff as you put in point#2 with "censoring whatever they darn well please" would be not in their best interests.

"Purposely thumbing their noses" that is on you too, not me. Never was my intent, and I explained why I was upset so I won't go into that again, just reread what I wrote at 53 and 67- you'll note I played by the rules in my subsequent posts and even whited out stuff myself that may have been er..."spoilery".

No arguement, the world/ book does not revolve around me. Very true. Never said it did. "The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them."- Leigh. That's what I was going by, I thought stuff we covered was fair game, but as something may hint at future things, it turns out it isn't so I won't do that. But I am free to express myself in a non-spoilery type way. Deal.

The reason I've been responding to tnh is simply because I thought the messaging thing here doesn't work, I always get a fatal error message and whatever I say goes up in smoke, and I have never taken guff laying down so...Edit, and I can't message people in "red" either. Log in, dang it.

flamboyant conceit- cool:D . I'll take that- there's a remake of the Three Musketeers coming out, and in Dumas' book has character's full of that, so I've been called worse, by professionals, not some random person that I don't know from Adam or could care less about. I like that at least #68 calls me Woof, and was being nice about things, troll? heh, you'll have to do better than that. And she is right-
"Now let's get back to the book, eh?"

Irene Gallo
74. Irene
Guys, As far as I am concerned this matter worked itself out a few posts above. Please move on to talking about Game of Thrones. If you feel you have nothing left to say about part 18, wait until part 19 is posted.
Tomas Gerst
75. IamnotSpam
Color me ignorant but I have read many times how you can go back and edit your comments but I never see where that is avaiable when I am logged in. If some one can take a sec to point that out or me in the right direction I would appreciate.
john massey
76. subwoofer
Yay! Thank you Irene- the book,

I went back and skimmed through the chapters yesterday looking for quotes, as I was going through, I could not get over the "feel" of the book. GRRM really has a way of setting the tone here, granted we bounce from character to character, but there is an feeling to each chapter- Eddard's family I get a cold, desolate impression, the kids are kids but I still get very distinct sense of cold, and spiritual cold as well. When Eddard goes south, things get warmer, but the sense of cold and dread is replaced by a feeling of slime as Eddard's setting is changed from his own keep to Lannisters and Littlefinger. Eddard immerses himself in a very unsettling world.

GRRM jumps from character to character- he even does a Lannister, so it is hard to pick a favorite, or a thread to follow. I'd say if I had to choose right now, I'd have to go with Jon as he has the biggest hill to climb... well, maybe Bran does too, but Bran also has an innocent, 7 year old's perspective on things, Jon seems to have an older-beyond-his-years voice because it is tough to understand early on that this is not your mom and you are a bastard.

It always feels like the other shoe is about to drop, because in the prologue we get a spiritual feeling- there are these ghostly Others, Eddard also is a very grounded person in that way, but it seems like the South is all about the politics and they leave the whole "spirit world" behind, but it is still there. Just because a person doesn't believe in something, doesn't mean it isn't so.

I get so immersed in the overall impression I get from the book I forget that sometimes "hey, pay attention- stuff is happening," I miss the actually point of the chapters. I also find it hard to bring myself up after reading the book. The sun has to shine sometime tho'.

Rob Munnelly
77. RobMRobM
@75 - if you're gray (as you are) and signed in (as you can be), you get this under your sig:

VIEW ALL BY | Monday August 01, 2011 05:56am EDT
Flag | Bookmark | Edit

The edit button to the right (that I bolded, underlined and italicized) is the one to do the deed.
Rob Munnelly
78. RobMRobM
@75 - looks like my explanatory post didn't work. If registered and signed in, there is a line under the time stamp of one of your posts that is "flag/bookmark/edit." Clicking on the third one does the trick.
Joel Prophet
79. BFG
@76 subwoofer - I think I have the opposite problem, I read through and see 'stuff' and never really think about the 'feel' of the writing.

So... pause for reflection... I think I'm going to have to disagree with you about the 'feel' of the North. Although obviously the North is a physically cold place, GRRM seems to spend a lot of time detailing the things that make it warm - the hotsprings being the example that immediately springs to mind.

Also when considering the family characteristics or connections with wolves - Wolves (in my twopenny worth of understanding) are family orientated packs, and this is seen from the Starks. So far the only POV character we have that doesn't conform to this is Sansa and she very much seems to be trying to be 'southern'. So I'm also associating the North with family and the south with isolation (isolation isn't quite the word I'm looking for as it sounds too strong, but it's close).

However I'm also going to immediately contradict myself and point out before anyone else can that Tyrion (representative POV from a southern family) is also very family orientated.

But then out most reliable (? - open to debate) POV actually in the South right now is Ned, and he (shall we say) doesn't fit in there. So I'm also transcribing his 'fish out of water' feelings from being in the south to the south itself, which isn't necessarily fair, but regardless of fairness I'm currently associating the cold North with family & (subsequently with) warmth, and the south with a general 'sliminess'.
Having now once again talked my way round a circle I think I'm going to go back to the 'stuff' - clearly I don't deal with the 'feel' very well :)

I agree that I'm also waiting for the other show to drop, but I read a lot of Pratchett's Rincewind, so expect it in everything I read:)
Juliet Kestrel
80. Juliet_Kestrel
@ Sub 76 and tone of the story
For the last few chapters whenever an Eddard or a Cat chapter comes up I get this sinking feeling in my stomach. It might be all the stuff I’ve heard about these books about GRRM pulling the rug out from under the reader, but man I can just feel bad stuff around the corner. I can’t help but feel a broken leg and some dead retainers are not the end of Ned’s troubles.

So far Bran seems to be the most magical character with the crow dreams, and whatever he saw in his dreams North of the wall. I mean Jon is probably going to have deal with all those magic zombies from the prologue, and Dany is probably going to get some dragons pretty soon, but I am the most curious about Bran’s mystic magic. Maybe because it is unclear exactly how the mystic magic is going to play out in regards to the story, where I can imagine that magic zombies are going to be bad for Jon, while dragons will probably be useful to Dany.

Hmm, maybe more later.
john massey
81. subwoofer
@Julie- wow, I had not even tied in Bran's dreams with the potential for Magic in the realm, personally I just chalked it up to troubled dreams and the connection with Summer, gonna have to read that chapter again.

The appearance and developement of the magic system in this story will be what keeps me going. As I have mentioned, after reading this book, it was very hard to bring myself up from the mood it left me in, that "feeling" I was referring to. GRRM evokes some powerful emotion and imagery that takes a bit for me to shake off. I have not read past the first book as I am not ready yet to take the next plunge in. I have a daughter to think of after all... I'm blogging right now because she's napping and the wife told me I can't fire up the compressor in the garage.

The point that BFG made about wolf packs also piques my interest. My hang up on wolves is that there are wolves, and then there are wolves. Although it is the clan crest, dire wolves don't seem house broken, I would not feel comfortable hand feeding them then having to count my fingers. But the family element is a strong thing. Above I did hint at that when talking about Ned's spirituality. The ancestoral burial home, Robert coming to pay homage to his lost love- very powerful things. I am looking at the North in a new light, but wolves have a thick coat of fur and the sun sets early up north too... there is this 700ft honking big ice wall... I can't shake the cold. Sorry. Eddard also talks about a big freeze and that winter is coming- it's cold already, this sounds like something outta "Day After Tomorrow".

Ned's troubles- as someone put it he's a fish out of water and he is operating on a system of principles that worked in his own lordship up north, not really in his current situation. I guess we'll see what gives.

The spirit world- I am referring to this as I am not entirely sure that GRRM has established an organized system of religion. Ned seems like a caretaker of sorts, and he does meditate in the tombs, but I haven't seen characters yet take a deity's name in vain or take an oath as such. I am still trying to figure out if the magic and spirituality is dependent or separate.

Joel Prophet
82. BFG
Juliet @80 - I don't think I really associate this series with magic at all, at least not my standard definition of magic (wand-waving, spells etc). But I love the hints that are being shown that it's there - dreams, dragons... Maybe I need to broaden my definition of magic :)

subwoofer @81 - you're probably right about the finger counting and the dire wolves - remember Summer and the almost assassin? Although that also brings it back to family and loyalty, he could maim/kill Bran very easily, but hasn't - ergo my assumption is that these direwolves have adopted the Starks into the 'pack'.

It's probably also me putting my preference for mountains over cities that helps me prefer the North as well.

As for imagery & mood - again almost opposite reaction, the description of the Wall makes me go wow and want to visit, the same way I wat to visit New Zealand, or Utah National Parks... The events are grim tho!

Also am I being thick (?) - I remember Ned meditating in the woods (and Cat's POV suggested that he's done it before), but I don't remember anything in the tombs, except with Robert - that seems to have been a one-off?..
john massey
83. subwoofer
@BFG- you may be right- I am not entirely sure myself, I thought they were one and the same or at least one was on the way to the other and such... yet something else I'm going to have to look at again. Edit- and to be honest, I didn't read the book cover to cover the way most folks do. From WoT I learned to follow characters and as each chapter is named, not numbered, I just followed the names I wanted, it works better for me to read a plot line from start to finish.

As far as family and wolf packs, your comments really have my mind racing now, so indulge me... We seem to have a few major families all tied to various totems, if you will and all with their own benefits and downfalls.

Starks- Edit- the Dire wolf pack-Ned and wife have been busy, he's got a huge litter of kids going around and Cat seems to want more, she must have awesome genetics to bounce back after sooo many child births. But Eddard's family is fractured. Physically, Dad is away in one part of the kingdom, while the wife is traipsing around, and at some point, is supposed to keep the home fires burning. The kids are split apart too, some with Ned, some with Cat. And the biggest rift is Jon, being apart from the family by virtue of his birth and now by virtue of his place in life.

Lannister's gah! Lions- gah- never been a cat person. I suppose it is fitting that lions and Lannister's are blonde tho', brother and sister, yeee, incest. I think that money is the defining line between nobility and hillbillies. It has been a while since university, but from what I can remember about genetics, I would not be surpised at all if Tyrion was the offshoot of incest being all warped and twisted. Brother and Sister would not surprise me either. While Tyrion is deformed on the outside from weak genes, the Twins seem horribly flawed from within.

Speaking of very wrong relationships, it brings me to Dany's family. The girl has the most to gain in terms of family. Dany is in an obviously abusive relationship with her brother. Reminds me of "The Burning Bed" with Farrah, but Dany knows she is special now from her new family. Her crest is a dragon, but she is with horselords, and I have always had a spot in my heart for armored calvalry. Dany is given a horse that is not like any other as her husband's token of esteem, where she has had nothing, she is now a queen.

Strictly from a family perspective, I think Dany wins out as the other families seem on the down swing and fractured and Dany is finding hers now, she is gaining her "pack".

Juliet Kestrel
84. Juliet_Kestrel
I disagree I believe there are several instances of spirituality. From both old god worshipers and new god worshipers.

Catelyn had been anointed with the seven oils and named in the rainbow of light that filled the sept of Riverrun. She was of the faith, like her father, and grandfather and his father before him. Her gods had names and their faces were familiar as the faces of her parents. Worship was with a septon with a censer, the smell of incense, a seven-sided crystal, voices raised in song.

Compare to

…But the blood of the First Men stilled flowed in the veins of the Starks and his own gods were the old ones, the nameless, faceless gods of the greenwood they shared with the vanished children of the forest.

It seems Oaths tend to be sworn on the Others and the gods.

“The Others take your mild snows,” Robert swore.

“He offers his own son in marriage to our daughter, what else would you call that? Sansa might someday be queen. Her sons could rule from the wall to the mountains of Dorne. What is so wrong with that?”
“Gods, Catelyn, Sansa is only eleven,” Ned said

“Gods,” He whispered. His voice was hoarse. “Your sister is sick with grief. She cannot know what she is saying.”

“The Others take you both,” Ned muttered darkly.

These quotes are only from the first handful of chapters. I am sure they are scattered all over the book.

I guess I lump all the fantastical elements (mystic dreams, dragons, zombies) into the catchall term “magic”
Rob Munnelly
85. RobMRobM
Illyrio has an oath earlier in the book to the Lord of Light (or similar terms). Don't recall if such entity is named in text.
Josiah Rowe
86. Josiah_Rowe
@subwoofer: It's not completely fleshed out in the first volume, but there are several different religions in Westeros. So far, we've seen that people from the North worship the nameless "old gods", and that worship is associated with the weirwood trees and the faces carved into them. (Remember Ned sharpening his sword in the godswood after the execution.) And we know that people from the South worship the Seven, which has more of the trappings of organized religion: chapels, priests (called septons), and so forth. We've had a glimpse of one other religion, with the brief appearance of Thoros of Myr, a "red priest" with a flaming sword.

We don't yet have any indication about whether any of these religious beliefs correspond to a spiritual reality, or to any of the limited "magic" elements we've seen so far. We learn more about all these religions in subsequent volumes.

Haven't we heard people swear "gods be good!" yet?
john massey
87. subwoofer
So there is a church and organized religion then? That was why I was being careful about naming it, and I said I was still trying to figure it out and the tie in with magic, I didn't say it wasn't there. I just couldn't off the top of my head remember how it works. Does anybody remember a wedding or a reference to one? Where did it take place?

For instance, in the Belgariad we are introduced to the gods, hear their names and how the world came to be. Magic- the Will and the Word are separated from the religion. Here things are mentioned in passing and from my bad memory they are never defined. And the Others to me is maybe about the baddies. While they are stories now, I think they are stirring.

Edit-@86- Yes! That was it, the godswood. Now it is coming to me...which answers my first paragraph.

Josiah Rowe
88. Josiah_Rowe
We get a reference to a wedding in this very chapter: Robert sired one of his bastards at Stannis's wedding, in the bridal bed, while Stannis is still dancing with the bride downstairs. That's the "party foul" Leigh mentions in her review.

Incidentally, I tried to white out one sentence in my previous post, but it didn't work. What am I doing wrong?
Joel Prophet
89. BFG
"party foul" seems to be somewhat of an understatement.
john massey
90. subwoofer
mmmm... yeah, in a way I am experiencing things like Leigh, I have read this book once, a month or two ago now, and I'm not really ready to visit it again. My memory of things are very sketchy at best so when stuff jumps out at me as obvious, it really jumps off the page.

I was dancing around the er... Robert situation seeing as it got me in trouble before. Maybe he wasn't happy with the party favors Stannis was giving out....

As far as whiting out, like I said, in one of my posts above, it doesn't work the first time. You have to go into edit, white the selected text and just click "post" not "preview" after. Make sure the selected text is still highlighted when you click "post". And then if you have to edit again, you have to re-do it after as whiting out doesn't seem to stick. Believe me, I would be happy if it worked like it should.

Edit- yes, the religion is also something that defines areas. Southern folks seem to be from a more modern and irreverant form of beliefs being as far removed from evil as they are. Ned and family, being on the doorstep to hell in the North( maybe GRRM was meaning hell froze over), or the Others, are much more devout and respectful of the gods as it were.

Josiah Rowe
91. Josiah_Rowe
@89: Well, yeah. As Leigh put it, ' “Party foul” doesn’t even remotely come close to covering that.'

Edit-- I just tried to go back, edit and hit "post" as you suggested, but it doesn't seem to have had any effect. For the record, the sentence I was trying to white out was the last sentence of the second paragraph in #86... which I thought might be considered a spoiler under a very strict interpretation. Ah, well.
Juliet Kestrel
92. Juliet_Kestrel
From what I quoted above it also appears that the southern religion has some sort of naming/baptismal ceremony.

“… anointed with the seven oils and named in the rainbow of light that filled the sept of Riverrun.”
Joel Prophet
93. BFG
So the three religions in Westeros are: the Old Gods, who have most of the 'real magic' associated with them (mostly cos Bran's associated with them). The seven gods of the south - which doesn't seem to have much if any magic associated with them, and the red priest with the 'burning sword' From this I'm actually getting that the old gods are the most 'casual' as we haven't heard of any priests, or equivalent yet - although I like the idea of Ned being a caretaker - brings it back to head of state (sort of) head of church.
john massey
94. subwoofer
@91- really? hmmmmm-

Hamsters are delicious.

john massey
95. subwoofer
Nope, it works for me. When I went back to edit my comment, I highlighted the text, kept it highlighted on the farthest to the right white, and hit "post". From my above example, it seems to work...

Rob Munnelly
96. RobMRobM
Woof, BFG, Juliet, etc - very interesting discussion that I can't comment upon further due to spoilage concerns. But continue to have at it....
Josiah Rowe
97. Josiah_Rowe
I may be having extra difficulties with the whiting-out of text because I'm writing on an iPad right now. At any rate, It's probably not too much of a spoiler to say that there are also other religious beliefs (both in Westeros and across the Narrow Sea) that we haven't heard of yet. But the main religions in Westeros proper are the old gods and the Seven.
john massey
98. subwoofer
"Casual" is an interesting term. In many ways this reminds me of parallels with the Bible where idols were created and worshipped and the teachings and the ways of God were forgotten. As a result God came along and brought the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the hands of Babylon, keeping only a branch of David's line safe.

Maybe the old god's coming back- or I should say the Others coming is because the current king, Robert ignores the ways of the past, much like King Zedekiah and is suffering as a result. Robert has many similarities to King Solomon as well, a great conqueror at first, but is wasting away by his pleasures of the flesh.

99. birgit
So I'm also associating the North with family and the south with isolation (isolation isn't quite the word I'm looking for as it sounds too strong, but it's close).

The Stark family motto is "Winter Is Coming". The motto of the Tullys, who are from the south, is "Family, Duty, Honor". The Lannisters (also from the south) aren't always nice to each other, but family honor is very important to them.
The northerners have to stick together to survive the winter. The southerners can afford to plot because they live in a more pleasant climate zone.
Vincent Lane
100. Aegnor

I don't know if you've been corrected or not yet, as your comment is as far as I've gotten so far. You say that GRRM had trouble writing the last book because he "painted himself into a corner because he keeps on killing off all his main characters" (spoilered it because I consider that type of comment spoilery even if no one else does). That really is not true at all from what I have heard. From what I heard it was a very difficult timing issue. I won't go into more detail as it would be spoilery. No one knows why for sure except GRRM himself, but I find it very unlikely that what you suggest is the reason.
Roland of Gilead
101. pKp
Subwoofer@98 : the whole "Magic coming back" thing is actually a bit more fleshed out in the last part of book four, when we meet a certain archmaester. I think it's a great idea, and I grieved not to find any reference to it in book five.

Also, if you really are bent on posting spoilers, forget whiting-out and just rot13 them : wil help you there. Frr ? Vg'f rnfl !

Onpx gb zl cbvag : Znejla uvagf ng n pbasyvpg orgjrra zntvp (qentbaf, gur Bguref, Inylevna pnaqyrf, rgp) naq Ernfba (nf ercerfragrq ol gur Pvgnqry). V jba'g qvfphff vg shegure urer, vg'f ernyyl abg gur evtug cynpr, ohg V ernyyl pna'g jnvg gb frr jurer TEEZ jvyy eha jvgu gung vqrn...
john massey
102. subwoofer
Le sigh- dude- or dudette- re #74.

And you scooped 100 with that. Perfect.

Edit- @101, thank's for rot13:)... and I take it that book 5 was the new one that just dropped? Hmmmmmm... I have to soldier through 2 more books and part of another to get to what I want to see develop?. I may have to take up drinking again as a hobby, don't want to lose my cheery disposition;)

Teresa Nielsen Hayden
103. tnh
Hi, pKp.

The trouble with using ROT-13, rather than whiting-out spoilers, is that this site's text input windows don't have an automatic ROT-13 converter in the toolbar. Let's stick with the tools we have.
Carolyn Hoffman
104. carolynh
@76 subwoofer: Funny, but I've never gotten the feeling that the Starks were cold people and cold spiritually as well. To me the Starks simply dealt more with reality than those far from the Wall in the heat of the south. Because Winterfell is closer to the Wall, the old tales about Others and long winters are very real to them, but in the south those concerns are so far from everyday life as to be unreal.

When winter comes, I'd rather be a direwolf than a lion. but in the south, a lion is on his home turf, so down there the direwolves are at a disadvantage.
john massey
105. subwoofer
@104- exactly- and well put.

@mod dudes- we can flag and bookmark other people's posts, but can a tool be added so that we can "like" them?

Joel Prophet
106. Steve L

I think at this point that the Dothraki hierarchy is more like:

Random other Dothraki
Horse manure

Viserys's view of the hierarchy, however, is:

Illyrio (since he stroked V's ego)
Dany (since he needs someone to carry on the bloodline)
Those lords in the Seven Kingdoms that he believes will flock to his banner when he returns (which he thinks is all of them)
Everyone else
Roland of Gilead
107. pKp
@106 : not completely sure the bloodriders have any actual, "legal" authority, although the command-structure of the khalasar is never really made clear besides the fact that the Khal's the absolute leader outside of Dosh Khaleen.

But I agree with you that Vyseris has a certain, ahem, lack of political acumen...and, even whithout taking the next chapters into account, you can just see that it's going to bite him in the ass again quite soon. His whole storyline so far is like a slow-motion trainwreck, watching him get up to stupider and stupider stuff (hit the khaleesi, try to steal her eggs, insult the khal when he thinks he can't hear him...). I think that it's Martin's way of showing us (along with the various horror stories we've heard about Aerys and Rhaegar) that Targaeryens are, as a rule, a bunch of complete psychos, with a few exceptions that I won't mention since I'm not sure they've been alluded to yet.

Those interested in a bit of family history, by the way, might enjoy Martin's two or three "Dunk and Egg" novellas/short stories, published in various anthologies and taking place (IIRC) about 50 years before the events of AGoT, during the Targaeryen reign.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
108. tnh
If GRRM is working from historical European models, then the existence or nonexistence of religious wedding rites is not a benchmark of religiosity. In the ancient and medieval periods, marriage was a matter of intent and consent followed by cohabitation. Witnesses were mostly relevant in case there was a later dispute about who had agreed to what. Beyond that, most of the rules and complications were about inheritance, not marriage as such.

When Holy Mother Church came into the picture, it also held that marriage was a private/civil matter, though it liked to be consulted about the arrangements in advance, and be present on the day to bless the occasion. The church also recorded marriages, though that wasn't strictly necessary either.

The idea that you're not married until your church says you're married came in during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation: a development which should mystify no one. Halfway through the 16th C., the European Lutherans and Calvinists saw to the transfer to the secular state of the power to record and make rules governing marriage. Meanwhile, the cake-or-death Anglicans continued to recognize consent-and-cohabitation marriages until the middle of the 18th C.

Isn't that fun? Yet another case of primordial social institutions that on examination turn out to be a lot more recent than their self-appointed champions would have you believe.
Tomas Gerst
109. IamnotSpam
77. RobMRobM I guess familliarity had hidden that from my sight. Appreciate your help.
Joel Prophet
110. Nunilo
I love the books of ice and fire, but i´ve to say that i´m in love with the Tv series too, and now i´m expectating to watch this second season of
Game of Thrones and i want to see how they have made changes, specially with the wolves, and i have to say that i love the character of Cersei, is by far one of best villains.

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