Fri
Nov 18 2011 1:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones, Part 33

Welcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 33 of A Game of Thrones, in which we cover Chapters 69 (“Tyrion”) and 70 (“Jon”).

Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, The Powers That Be at Tor.com have very kindly set up a forum thread for spoilery comments. Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

 

Chapter 69: Tyrion

What Happens
A messenger from the remains of Jaime’s army has reported to Tywin and his captains that Jaime was taken, and that Tywin’s brutal drive south has been for nothing: Robb Stark reclaimed Riverrun days ago. Ser Harys Swyft asks how Jaime could split his forces the way he did, but Ser Kevan tells him that owing to the geography of Riverrun there is no other way to effectively besiege it. The messenger agrees, and tells how the night ambush caught them unawares; Lord Brax was killed, Ser Edmure Tully was rescued, and two of the three camps of Jaime’s forces were overrun, while the rest were forced to withdraw. Swyft wails that this means they are cut off from Casterly Rock, and that they should sue for peace.

“Peace?” Tyrion swirled his wine thoughtfully, took a deep draft, and hurled his empty cup to the floor, where it shattered into a thousand pieces. “There’s your peace, Ser Harys. My sweet nephew broke it for good and all when he decided to ornament the Red Keep with Lord Eddard’s head. You’ll have an easier time drinking wine from that cup than you will convincing Robb Stark to make peace now. He’s winning . . . or hadn’t you noticed?”

Lord Lefford suggests that the Starks might agree to a prisoner exchange, and Tyrion asks what they will offer, Eddard Stark’s rotting head? Lefford suggests Robb’s sisters for Jaime instead, but Ser Addam scoffs that only “an utter ass” would exchange Jaime for two girls. The lords continue to argue until Tywin abruptly throws them all out, except for Kevan and, to his surprise, Tyrion. Tywin calls Joffrey’s actions “rank madness,” though he supposes they should be glad he hasn’t married a whore yet, and Tyrion keeps himself from throwing his wine at him.

Tywin tells Tyrion and Kevan that Renly Baratheon has allied with the Tyrells by marrying Margaery Tyrell, and has claimed the throne for himself. He adds that Cersei has commanded them to ride for King’s Landing at once to defend it from Renly, though she has not even told Joffrey of the matter, for fear Joffrey would ride out against Renly with the City Watch, leaving the city undefended.

“I had thought you were the one made for motley, Tyrion, but it would appear that I was wrong.”

“Why, Father,” said Tyrion, “that almost sounds like praise.”

Tyrion asks about Stannis, and Tywin says that he’d thought Stannis to be their biggest threat, but so far he has done nothing. He points out on the map how they are basically hemmed in, with Bolton to the north, Stark to the west, the Arryns and Stannis to the east and Renly and the Tyrells to the south. Tywin says they must engage Robb Stark before Renly has a chance to march from Highgarden, and so they will head for Harrenhal; he instructs Kevan to have their forces burn and pillage every step of the way. Kevan bows and leaves.

Tywin proposes sending Tyrion’s savages along to help with the pillaging, but Tyrion replies that he would prefer to keep them with him. Tywin tells him that he’d best learn to control them, then, for Tyrion is going to King’s Landing. Tyrion is taken aback, and asks what he is to do there. Tywin tells him he is to rule, which Tyrion finds hilarious. Tywin grouses about the idiotic moves Joffrey has made so far, and says if Cersei cannot curb the boy and his council, Tyrion must. Tyrion asks why him, instead of “a bigger man”?

Lord Tywin rose abruptly. “You are my son.”

That was when he knew. You have given him up for lost, he thought. You bloody bastard, you think Jaime’s good as dead, so I’m all you have left. Tyrion wanted to slap him, to spit in his face, to draw his dagger and cut the heart out of him and see if it was made of old hard gold, the way the smallfolks said. Yet he sat there, silent and still.

As a last shot, Tywin tells him he may not take his whore to court, and leaves. At length, Tyrion goes up to the tiny room he shares with Shae, and wakes her to tell her he has a mind to take her to King’s Landing.

Commentary
So THERE, Daddy Dearest!

Well, this chapter certainly paints a pleasingly dire picture of the situation for the Lannisters. Pleasing for me, anyway, because Tyrion aside, I do not like them, Sam I am. As you probably have noticed.

I knew that Jaime’s capture was a big blow for them, but I hadn’t quite grasped how Jaime’s defeat had so thoroughly hamstrung the rest of the Lannister forces until Tywin et al spelled it out here. Of course, the most delightful (and ironic) aspect of it all is that, as Tywin himself points out, the worst blow is from their own side. If Joffrey had an ounce of sense he would be thanking his lucky stars he isn’t within arm’s reach of his (double) grandfather right now.

Which is really almost disappointing; though Tywin being in King’s Landing would be very bad for the Starks, which would suck, it would almost be worth it to be able to watch Tywin tear that little shit a new asshole. I would bake myself a Schadenfreude Pie and sit back and grin in glee, I would.

Although, as I recall Tyrion did a pretty fair job of smacking Joffrey around his own self the last time they were in the same place, so it’s actually a pretty good plan to send him to rein the little monster in, I guess. Although I have a distinct feeling Joffrey’s going to be a lot less inclined to take a smacking from Tyrion now that he’s feeling all invincibly kingly and stuff.

(I know, my “Captain Obvious” insignia is in the mail. Hush, you.)

But getting back to Tywin, it’s sort of a shame he’s such a horrible person, because if I were evaluating the man solely by his competence I would quite like him. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I can’t decide which, he’s also a complete and utter dickwad, and thus never the twain shall meet.

Although, I won’t lie: “cockless wonder” (in reference to Varys) made me laugh out loud, however inappropriately. Whatever else he may be, Tywin is a past master of the art of the cutting insult. I would probably enjoy that aspect of him much more, of course, if his acid wit weren’t so frequently aimed at Tyrion. Which is part and parcel of that whole “horrible person” stumbling block, there.

Also, Renly has put a claim in for the crown? Well, okay, then. I guess if Stannis really is just sitting around on his ass, as Tywin seems to think, it makes sense for Renly to throw his hat in the ring. I do wonder what Stannis is actually doing, though. It occurs to me that if Stannis really is pulling a Lysa and just hiding out in his stronghold, the Lannisters aren’t nearly as hemmed in as they assume they are. Interesting.

Well, here’s hoping Tyrion doesn’t get killed on the way to King’s Landing, though I am in the weird position of being unable to root for his mission there. I want Tyrion to succeed at stuff and show up his asshole father for his own sake, because I like Tyrion, but at the same time I really don’t want anything to keep Joffrey from continuing to fashion himself a nice, big, fancy-schmancy noose to hang himself with.

Because I hate him and want him to die. You know, in case you had any CONFUSION on that score. Yeah.

So, uh, good… non-luck, Tyrion? I guess? Er.

 

Chapter 70: Jon

What Happens
Samwell finds Jon in the stables and pleads with him not to go, but Jon charges his horse at him and forces Sam to fling himself aside. He hopes he didn’t hurt Sam, and that Sam has enough loyalty to refrain from rousing Castle Black immediately. Jon regrets abandoning the sword Mormont had given him, but thinks he was not “so lost to honor” as to take it with him, though he is still not sure whether going south is the honorable thing or not regardless of what Aemon Targaryen said. He wants to go to Winterfell, but is sure he will not be welcome there, and hopes merely that Robb will let him help avenge his father, and die as a Stark.

Ghost falls behind as Jon reaches Mole Town, and Jon notes that even the whorehouse is mostly underground there to protect against the cold.

On the Wall, he’d heard men call the whores “buried treasures.” He wondered whether any of his brothers in black were down there tonight, mining. That was oathbreaking too, yet no one seemed to care.

Beyond the village, Jon hears hoofbeats in pursuit of him and hides in the trees. He soon recognizes the voices of the horsemen as his fellow classmates, including Pyp, Grenn, Toad, and Haider, and realizes Sam must have gone to them instead of Mormont. Ghost’s reappearance betrays Jon’s location to the other boys, to Jon’s disgust. Jon warns them to back off, but they insist that they will not allow him to betray his brothers, and hem him in while quoting the words of the oath, and eventually Jon admits he will not cut any of them down and agrees to return to the castle, promising himself he will escape again later.

Jon goes to attend Mormont as usual the next morning, to discover that Mormont knows all about his attempt to desert, and would have had others retrieve him if his friends had not done so. Jon gathers his strength and tells Mormont he is prepared to face the penalty for desertion, which is death, but Mormont replies that if they beheaded every boy who rode to Mole Town in the night, “only ghosts” would man the Wall.

Mormont tells Jon he cannot bring his father back by deserting, and his addition of a lone sword to Robb’s forces will achieve nothing. He also points out that his own sister Maege and her daughters will likely be fighting as well, and yet if she were killed he would not leave, for his place is here, as is Jon’s. He tells Jon of all the signs of something big brewing beyond the Wall, and asks if Jon really thinks his brother’s war is more important than theirs.

“It’s not,” Mormont told him. “Gods save us, boy, you’re not blind and you’re not stupid. When dead men come hunting in the night, do you think it matters who sits the Iron Throne?”

Mormont says he believes Jon and his direwolf are meant to be here, and wants them to go with him when the Watch goes beyond the Wall, in force, to search for Benjen Stark and find him, dead or alive. He asks again if Jon is a brother of the Night’s Watch, or “only a bastard boy who wants to play at war.”

Jon Snow straightened himself and took a long deep breath. Forgive me, Father. Robb, Arya, Bran . . . forgive me, I cannot help you. He has the truth of it. This is my place. “I am . . . yours, my lord. Your man. I swear it. I will not run again.”

The Old Bear snorted. “Good. Now go put on your sword.”

Commentary
Mm, so that’s the way of it, huh.

I’d honestly felt prior to this that there was a fifty-fifty chance between Jon staying on the Wall, and Jon running back south to help Robb. As Jon himself noted, there’s an argument for both honor and dishonor to be made either way. So it’s kind of delicious that this chapter manages to make it so he does both, in a manner of speaking.

I have to admit, for a moment when Pyp and the rest of the boys showed up I totally thought they were going to throw in their lot with Jon and go with him, and I was actually a little disappointed when it became clear that they weren’t. Because apparently I am secretly a cliché-laden romantic at heart.

That said, I’m glad Jon ended up back on the Wall. Mormont was completely right, in my opinion, that Jon’s contribution to Robb’s efforts as an outlaw would amount to little or nothing, while his contribution as a more-or-less law-abiding Brother re: the apparently-impending Winter Apocalypse could potentially be huge. In hindsight, the choice seems pretty obvious.

I was also amused that Ghost apparently made his own decision about which avenue he favored for Jon, and thus continued the direwolves’ subtextual roles as moral compasses of a sort for the Stark children. I say “of a sort” because “moral” is not really the right word to use there. It’s not so much about the “moral” thing to do, it seems, as it is about the… hm, fitting thing to do. Or maybe even the expedient thing to do. Because it has been pretty firmly established, I think, that in Martin’s world those two things are not always or even usually the same thing.

And using a wolf as such a compass, well, even independent of the genre-based inclination to assign anthropomorphic tendencies to them, a wolf’s sense of what is and is not appropriate would by nature be a lot more basic than a human’s. It reflects what Mormont said: clan-based blood feuds come and go, but survival of the species is forever. Even I try not to use the appellation “apocalypse” too flippantly, after all.

It’s also… well, not nice, exactly, but I guess reassuring in a way, or something, to have demonstrated here that the Black brotherhood’s soi disant ultra-strict code of conduct has the same subtly ignored loopholes and leeway for human behavior as does any military body in the history of humanity. So the oh-so-celibate brothers have access to prostitutes, do they? Hah.

It’s not even a question of approval or disapproval, so much as it is a question of sheer realism. Any system that’s totally free of corruption for the purpose of catering to its members’ so-called baser needs is a system I can’t sustain a suspension of disbelief for, sadly. Not that I would suspect Martin of missing an opportunity to demonstrate a seedy underbelly wherever he can, of course, but, you know. The consistency is appreciated.

And I am almost 95% sure that the preceding paragraph made actual sense, but there’s a margin for error there, because I am kind of sleep-deprived at the moment. Which is a pretty good sign that I should shut up while I am still at least theoretically ahead of… um, whatever it is I’m supposed to be ahead of.


…Yeah, shutting up now commencing. See you next time, when we polish off this puppy, eh? Good times!

38 comments
carolynh
1. carolynh
I've always felt the wolves were the heart of the Stark kids, though I suppose moral compass says it well, too. In this case, Ghost did what Jon knew he should do by appearing to Jon's friends, while Jon was still trying to talk himself out of doing the right thing. Lady was as lady-like as Sansa and to me that means underneath it all, Sansa really is a nice and lady-like girl, not just one who's playing that role. Nymeria is a lot like Arya, independent and brave. Shaggy Dog is, unfortunately in my mind, as much an infant as little Rickon. Summer is who Bran would be if he could walk.

And next week, we finish off this puppy! Hooray! It's time to delve deeper into the series. With one book behind us, we'll now have a fair amount of material to draw on in our upcoming discussions.
Marcus W
2. toryx
Poor Tyrion. One embarassing episode with a prostitute and it follows him around for life. This is why the rule "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" got instituted in the first place.
carolynh
3. jmspencer
This chapter has one of my favorite exchanges in the book.

"Honor set you on the kingsroad... and honor brought you back."
"My friends brought me back."
"Did I say it was your honor?"
carolynh
4. Pheran
Ah, finally we are coming to the end! So Leigh, are you going to continue with A Clash of Kings? Regardless, I've really enjoyed reading this blog.
Rob Munnelly
5. RobMRobM
Leigh - pretty clear from text that Stannis has not been doing nothing. He has just hasn't made a move yet. According to what Tywin heard, Stannis is building ships, hiring sellswords and hiring a "Shadowbinder from Asshai." One can of course be free to speculate what Stannis, who knows Jon Arryn's and Ned's thoughts about the illegitimacy of Joff and the other kids (the text discussed that Jon and Stannis were in communication and Ned sent him a confidential letter), and is next in line for the throne, will think about his younger brother's declaration of kingly rights.

Rob
Rikka Cordin
6. Rikka
@3 agreed. That is easily my favorite exchange in the whole book. Mormont is such a badass authority figure, it's sad to see how Jorah went so wrong....
Rob Munnelly
7. RobMRobM
The Jon chapter also is excellent. I had never quite picked up on the extent that Ghost sabotaged Jon's escape, first by mysteriously disappearing for a lengthy time and then showing up right next to Jon's hiding place when his friends were looking for them. I also had never understood until now Jon's cunning plan for avoiding getting beheaded as a deserter when he shows up in Robb's camp - apparently, he's going to say, put me in the vanguard and let me kill Lannisters (and undoubtedly die trying) in lieu of chopping my head off. Right.

Re Mole Town, keep in mind most black brothers were criminals. They may have adopted the brotherhood model but some old, less honorable, traits still have their appeal.

The Jon-Mormont scene is great in every extent, starting with beer for breakfast and Mormont's scientifically correct observation that citrus helps ensure healthy teeth. Mormont points out his connection with Maege for those who did not pick up on that in the Catelyn chapters in very funny text. I also love his asking Jon if his horse could fly and stating wouldn't it be great if they had one. Also great when he asks if Ned is coming back from the dead - Jon acknowledges not - and then points out that there are dead coming back to life up north. Comedy gold that turns serious when he makes clear that NW his putting a big pot of chips in the middle of the table and heading north to find Benjen and whatever the wildlings are up to. Awesome.

Rob
carolynh
8. nancym
Leigh, I understand your back & forth about wishing Tyrion luck, and non-luck! I had been rooting for him since we first met him, and was completely torn when I reached this part of the book. Do I want him to defeat Robb? No, he's a Lannister! But I do want him to defeat his father.

Really, a testament to Martin's skill in creating the character, that we can be so conflicted.

I really, really hope you want to continue with the next book!
someone else
9. Naraoia
The scene where Pyp et al. recite the Night's Watch oath at Jon is just great. Shivers down the spine, and all that.

(Oh my, are we nearly done with the book? Time flies!)
Rob Munnelly
10. RobMRobM
Posting on my cellphone (yeah). I really like these post-Ned chapters, as they really set up the story to come and demonstrate the tale will be good even without its heretofore central character. Dany will be struggling on her own. Bran (and rickon) have some sort of extra-normal thing happening. Tyrion will be off to kings landing to "rule" despite cercei and joff (and defying his father W shae from the outset). Jon commits to the watch and will part of the large force going north. An update on Cat, robb and their army is to come. We are also are teased re stannis, renly, roose bolton's part of robbs army, beric dondarrion and his gregor chasers, etc. So much fun. So well set up.

Rob
Stefan Mitev
11. Bergmaniac
I really dislike that Jon was saved from facing the consequences of his mistake by his magical wolf. It's so contrived and feels out of place in this series, where unlike the vast majority of fantasy, nearly all the main characters don't have plot armour and don't evade paying for their mistakes.

I wonder why Tyrion didn't mention to his father here that Cat told him it was Littlefinger who lied about the dagger to get him in trouble. He had a perfect opening for that after his father's rant about the small council and "Our friend Petyr". Grea chapter overall though.
Tyler Durden
12. Balance
Do you guys know/remember the emperor from Gladiator, the old one, who was like a father to Maximus? I always read Mormont in his voice. Try it, it's nice.

Also

"What did you think of that chapter, Hodor?"

Hodor: "Hodor"

..."thought, so."
carolynh
13. MaestressSands
Re: Conflicting desires for Tyrion's success... I consistently maintain the firm, entirely irrational, wholly un-GRRM conviction that if Tyrion was in charge of the Lannister contingent, his reasonableness and obvious worth would be evident to the Starks and they would arrive a mutual respect and peace. ;)
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
Other miscellaneous thoughts looking at these chapters.
- Ser Addam Marbrand seems a highly competent bannerman for the Lannisters.
- Love the signs Tyrion picks up on that his father is off his game - dead silence in the meeting rather than mere reserve until others had spoken, movement of fingers under his chin, sweat on his bald skull, not touching his own wine and, funniest of all, giving his wine to Tyrion to drink without making a snotty comment.
- Tyrion, putting his finger on a key point: "What of Stannis? He is the elder, not Renly. How does he feel about his brother's claim?"
- "And what am I to do there?" "Rule," his father said curtly. Tyrion hooted with laughter. "My sweet sister might have a word or two to say about that!" Let her say what she likes...." Wonderful set up for the next book. Tyrion, Bronn, the mountain folk and the lovely Shae v. Cersei, Joff, the Hound, the Kingsguard, Littlefinger, Varys and Grandmaster Pycelle. Not the easiests of tasks, eh? "Let's Get Ready to Rumble...."

- "No matter what he did, Jon felt as though he was betraying something." A common feeling in ASOIF.
- After all discussion of whether he is a traitor, Jon sees Ghost come back and calls him "Traitor." Identify with his own wolf much.
- Really like GRRM's names for other black brothers. "Cotter Pyke," "Quorin Halfhand," "Ser Denys" (the latter of which sounds like something from Monty Python and the Holy Grail). And, of course, the wildling leader "Mance Rayder."
- "Gods save us, boy, you're not blind and you're not stupid. When dead men come hunting in the night, do you think it matters who sits on the Iron Throne?" Say it, brother!!
- "Are you a brother of the Night's Watch ...or only a bastard boy who wants to play at war." Ouch. Snap!

Rob
carolynh
15. Wortmauer
Ah, and Margaery Tyrell is back. Remember her? She is Ser Loras's little sister, the sweet young thing Renly was trying to tempt Robert with, to get him to dump Cersei and be rid of the Lannister influence. Margaery is "lovely as the dawn," allegedly resembles Lyanna (but Ned didn't think so, looking at a miniature portrait), and perhaps most importantly, a Tyrell, from a House rich and powerful enough to counterbalance the loss of a Lannister alliance.

I bet Margaery is just as glad not to have wound up saddled with Robert, a man well over twice her age and maybe thrice her weight. Renly may not be a perfect match, but at least he's the youngest Baratheon brother, "near twenty," hasn't let himself go, and is "the handsomest man Sansa had ever set eyes on." As options go for a 14-year-old girl, I suppose she could've done a lot worse. Whether it was a good match politically is of course impossible to say at this point in the narrative.
Bergmaniac@11: I wonder why Tyrion didn't mention to his father here that Cat told him it was Littlefinger who lied about the dagger to get him in trouble. He had a perfect opening for that after his father's rant about the small council and "Our friend Petyr".
Huh, never noticed that. Indeed, Tyrion could've brought it up. He should still be pissed at Littlefinger for setting him up. But, rereading Tywin's speech, I notice that the old man is really on a roll here. He doesn't really leave any gaps to inject your sob story.

I did just notice one peculiarity in Tywin's speech: "that cockless wonder, Lord Varys." I agree with Leigh that that's a pretty great turn of phrase (if you're into insulting victims of body mutilation, of course) ... but we know Varys isn't really a lord, it's just an honorific people give him as spymaster and member of the small council. Given Tywin's outrage that common-born Janos Slynt was rewarded with a title and an estate, I really would have expected him not to say "Lord Varys," even while mocking him.
RobMRobM: Really like GRRM's names for other black brothers. "Cotter Pyke," "Quorin Halfhand," "Ser Denys" (the latter of which sounds like something from Monty Python and the Holy Grail). And, of course, the wildling leader "Mance Rayder."
Eh, you have to get Qhorin's name right — you have to admit "Qh" is way cooler than "Qu." (: Anyway, I like GRRM's names of Lord Tywin's pillagers, too: Ser Gregor, Ser Amory Lorch, Vargo Hoat. Without even having met them yet (except Gregor), they already sound creepy. Some guy named Vargo Hoat moves in on my block, I'm gonna want to keep an eye on my kids, is all I'm saying. (Well, if I had any.)
lake sidey
16. lakesidey
@3 jmspencer: Right on! I loved that exchange too. Overall that chapter is pretty strong - the scene where his friends recite the oath at Jon is also awesome.

@Leigh: Please keep going :o) I so look forward to the re-read every week...
Bill Stusser
17. billiam
Don't you guys read the comments? Leigh said she was doing the whole series in the comments last post.
Rob Munnelly
18. RobMRobM
@15 - good points, all, and sorry about the Qh. Mea culpa.

@17 - I was going to make that observation, but forgot to say it. Thanks.

Re the post-Ned chapters, I failed to mention Sansa and her painful, well written set up as Joff's abused fiancee in Kings Landing. Can't forget about Sansa (or Arya, assuming she survives).
Julian Augustus
19. Alisonwonderland
"Wonderful set up for the next book."

Absolutely. And I don't think I'm threading on any toes here when I say the next book is, for me, far and away the best of the 5 books so far.
carolynh
20. The SmilingKnight
The Hand is dead, long live the Hand! eh?

Well, we will see how our dear Tyrion will fare in the hot seat.
Shame i couldnt spoil it before, by taunting with Neds Successor and "another Hand" and such talk.
But it was one of the twistier twists i appreciated upon first reading. Who would have imagined the imp as Neds successor, eh?

Never have their been tow characters so different and yet so alike, its delicious. Just thinking about it makes me go "Hah!"
Marting really use to write nicely...
Eli Bishop
21. EliBishop
Bergmaniac @11: I wasn't bothered by Jon being "saved by his magic wolf" because the wolves have been established as being more like alter-egos for the children, rather than just helpers. Jon is really conflicted about his intentions, and while he's chosen one of his impulses to act on, Ghost is acting on the other.
carolynh
22. nightWatch
"So the oh-so-celibate brothers have access to prostitutes, do they? Hah."

I don't think this concept, in real life or fiction, is really about not having sex. It's about not being attached to a loved one that takes your focus away from something else. If all you have access to is a prostitute, you're less likely to be distracted from your duty.
carolynh
23. DeJulis
@22: I think the Catholic church would disagree with you. And I'm sure there's other religions/orders that take a vow of celebacy as well, with the intended result that the one taking the vow never indulges in any sexual act.
carolynh
24. deebee
The promise is not celibacy "-I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children" The vow is not to abstain from sex, but to abstain from the normal emotional ties that would accompany it. So prostitutes aren`t forbidden by this wording, love, commitment, family are.
Don Barkauskas
25. bad_platypus
deebee @24: True, but what is there in the way of contraceptives in this world? If you don't have good contraceptives, then just having sex puts you at severe risk of fathering a child in conflct with your oath.
carolynh
26. DeJulis
@24: while that may technically be true, the argument was
specifically about a vow of celibacy "in real life or fiction," and what it entails.

However, I have to disagree with you anyways, because the vow the Night's Watch brothers take is a vow of celibacy, just not named as such.
carolynh
27. MickeyDee
@23 - yeah the Catholic Church sure frowns on all that sex stuff which of course ensures that their priests and nuns never, ever break the rules. At one stage in the 6th and 7th centuries, whilst it was not OK for priests to bugger boys, if they de-flowered a young girl that was a very heinous crime.....on the side of the girl. Having tempted the priest into a mortal sin of fornication. Don't really understand how they gelled that against sodomy but whatever.

That aside (sorry for the meandering), in my view the Brothers took an implicit vow of celibacy. For a pragmatic measure of celibate.
Leigh Butler
28. leighdb
Hi all,

I forgot to note it in this post, but owing to the holiday there will be no ASOIAF post tomorrow. I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving if you're American, and a lovely random weekend if you aren't. Cheers!
Captain Hammer
29. Randalator
No post? This will be the saddest Thanksgiving ever and it's entirely your fault and you should feel very bad. Very bad indeed!
carolynh
30. mike shupp
Somehow ... not to be especially Secular or whatever, y'know. But thoughts of Thanksgiving holidays are way out of place in discussions of A Game Of Thrones!
Anthony Pero
31. anthonypero
Actually, the event Thanksgiving is based on is right in line with this series... "Winter is Coming". I would be surprised if Westeroes (especially the North) doesn't normally have some sort of festival that resembles thanksgiving.
Joel Cunningham
32. jec81
No post today? What am I supposed to do while stuck at work?

(In all seriousness, hope you had a good holiday...)
carolynh
33. The SmilingKnight
The vow made by the Night Watch is NOT the vow of celibacy.
The words of the vow are clear.

The interpretation of "fans" however, is not.
Its just that Martin never really clarified it and makes it as though some characters actually think it is a vow of celibacy.

The only ones having an actual vow of celibacy are the Kingsguard.
Sods, the lot of them. :)

The only ones actually holding to their celibacy are... uops... spoiler ground... cant say but you all know who i mean. They wear small bronze caps and are fond of spears and puppies.
carolynh
34. Jelsel
What #24 Randalator said.... :(

i'll go see 'bout my random Hong Kong weekend now, thank you very much..
carolynh
35. ReddishHerring
I always wondered why Tyrion never said anything about Littlefinger lying about the dagger, too, but maybe it's because even though Tyrion is innocent, he seems to have figured out that his siblings are involved somehow, and so drawing any attention to things might cast further suspicion on his family.
carolynh
36. Remi
@17 - Billiam - Actually, no, I nearly never read the comments. I'm not that interested in what you guys have to say :-)
carolynh
37. The SmilingKnight
This is turning into a thanksgiving knot all over again....
carolynh
38. MoreJorahPlz
Here are the two chapters from A Blog of Ice and Fire:

Tyrion • Jon

It's clear which of his kids Tywin likes best given his reaction to the news of Jaime's defeat. It's too bad his idiot daughter cut off the head of the only guy who could have been traded to get Jaime back. While Tywin stews, the Lannister war council reviews what happened at Riverrun. Basically Robb snuck up on Jaime while Tytos Blackwood "took them in the rear." Taken in the rear by some guy named Blackwood -- ouch. Tywin's little council is freaking out, even suggesting giving up. Perhaps Eddard will get his revenge sooner rather than later. Also, Renly decided to declare himself King and Cersei wants Tywin's army to defend King's Landing. So Joffrey is the official king, but Robert has two brothers (Stannis and Renly) who both want to be king. Do they each have armies? Why don't they work together? Maybe they should have an election. Instead of dwelling on these questions, I focused on the much more important part of this chapter: GREGOR's new assignment of burning the river lands. I sense some kickass GREGOR SMASH action coming up soon. GREGOR even speaks in this chapter, suggesting that they cut the eyes out of every Lannister scout who failed to spot Robb's army. Blind scouts! I like it. Tywin plans on sending Tyrion to King's Landing because Cersei and Joffrey "lurch from one folly to the next." You see Tyrion? Your father loves you. Or at least respects you enough to know your strengths... especially when his only other son is captured. Tywin gives Tyrion one last command: don't take the whore. It's actually good advice, because Tyrion seems to be falling head over heels for another pretty face who's clearly just after his wallet. But it seems like Shae's coming anyway. Tyrion is such a rebel, taking his personal whore when his father told him "no whores." Maybe he'll marry her, too.

___________________

Jon's planning on going south to help his half-brother Robb. Despite all those heart-to-heart talks he had with Benjen, or that blacksmith guy, or Aemon, or LC Mormont, Jon still decided to break his vows to the Night's Watch. Jon reverts into full self-loathing mode, telling himself that he'll never be accepted anywhere. Look on the brightside Jon, you can own land now. And have sex now. Probably both, as one leads to the other. But if he gets caught, he'll end up headless like Eddard. Fortunately for Jon, his friends show up and convince him to come back with a cheesy oath recitation. Jon returns, and it seems LC Mormont pulled a Varys, predicting that Jon would leave and then come back. Old Mormont gives Jon a stern, fatherly lecture: Jon should stay for a lot of reasons, but mainly because undead invasions are pretty bad. Mormont likes Jon because he realizes the power of giant magical wolves and all that superstitious stuff. Jon obeys, and vows he'll stay. Jon needs an agent, because he probably could've gotten Mormont to allow at least a little sex or land ownage. Not that it would really matter, since the NW is planning on marching north -- a plan that has "disaster" written all over it. Yes, let's take the handful of badly trained guys we have and leave the safety of our gigantic wall to fight supernatural zombies. That sounds like a great idea.

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