Fri
Jan 13 2012 2:40pm
A Read of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings, Part 2

George R. R. Martin read of A Song 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 2 of A Clash of Kings, in which we cover Chapter 2 (“Sansa”) and Chapter 3 (“Tyrion”).

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 2: Sansa

What Happens
Ser Arys Oakheart comes to fetch Sansa for the tourney on Joffrey’s nameday, and compliments her on her dress, which covers up her bruises nicely. Sansa thinks that she likes Arys better than the other Kingsguards, as he beats her the most lightly, except for the Hound, whom Joffrey has never ordered to beat her. He insists that the comet in the sky is to herald Joffrey’s triumph over his enemies, and Sansa wonders if the gods are truly that cruel.

As they head down, Arys confides to her that Cersei will not be in attendance, as she is meeting with the council over Lord Tywin’s refusal to obey her order to return to King’s Landing; Tywin is instead holed up with his army at Harrenhal, which has made Cersei furious. Sansa is seated with Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen, with the Hound on guard. Tommen is excited that he is to ride in the tourney, though Joffrey remarks snidely that he is only jousting against a straw knight. Sansa is relieved that Joffrey appears to want to “play the gallant” with her today, and wishes him a lucky name day.

Joffrey tells her news: Viserys the Beggar King is dead, killed by the Dothraki; Joffrey is delighted at the ironic method of his death, and muses that perhaps he’ll feed Sansa’s brother Robb to wolves once he catches him. Joffrey is annoyed that he will not be in the lists for the tourney, but the Hound opines it is not worth entering a “tournament of gnats.”

The tourney is a piss-poor affair compared with the one Robert Baratheon had thrown, poorly attended and poorly fought, and Sansa watches with worry as Joffrey grows more irritated with each joust. When Ser Dontos comes out naked from the waist down and stone drunk, Joffrey orders him drowned in a cask of wine. To her own shock, Sansa jumps to the knight’s defense, and begs Joffrey to wait until the morrow to kill him. The Hound backs up her invented excuse that it would bring Joffrey bad luck to kill on his birthday, and Sansa suggests he make Dontos a fool instead. This mollifies Joffrey, and he orders it done, but calls off the rest of the tournament. Tommen puts up a fuss, wanting his turn, and Joffrey gives in.

Tommen does badly on his first pass, and Sansa finds herself telling Joffrey that he should go to his brother; the Hound interrupts that Tommen is trying again, but they are all interrupted by the entrance of a column of riders, bearing the standard of Lannister but mostly made up of sellswords and savages, and led by Tyrion the Imp. Tommen and Myrcella shriek with glee and run to meet him, and Tyrion greets the children warmly.

“You,” Joffrey said.

“Me,” the Imp agreed, “although a more courteous greeting might be in order, for an uncle and an elder.”

Tyrion greets Sansa, and tells her he is sorry for her loss, and sorry for Joffrey’s loss as well. Joffrey doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and Tyrion reminds him sarcastically of his father Robert’s death. Sansa tells him she is sorry her mother took him captive, and Tyrion thanks her. Put out of countenance by his uncle, Joffrey soon leaves; Clegane warns Tyrion to watch his tongue before following. Alone with Sansa, Tyrion asks her if it is grief for her father that makes her so sad; Sansa quickly replies by rote that her father and mother and brother are all traitors, and she is loyal to her “beloved” Joffrey.

“No doubt. As loyal as a deer surrounded by wolves.”

“Lions,” she whispered, without thinking. She glanced about nervously, but there was no one close enough to hear.

Lannister reached out and took her hand, and gave it a squeeze. “I am only a little lion, child, and I vow, I shall not savage you.”

He leaves, and Sansa thinks he speaks gently, but then so did Cersei, and Tyrion is still a Lannister. She will not make the mistake of trusting a Lannister again.

Commentary
Wow, Joffrey is such a little shit that he can’t even beat up his fiancée himself. That’s just super special. It’s times like these that make me sorry some people can only be killed once.

“Did I tell you, I intend to challenge [Robb] to single combat?”

“I should like to see that, Your Grace.”

Ah-haha. You and me both, girl.

So, Sansa’s life continues to suck like a vacuum on steroids, but as infuriating as that is, I can’t say I’m exactly surprised. Her life is never going to improve until she either gets the hell out of there, or someone kills Joffrey. Ideally, both.

And I’m still standing by my prediction that Cersei will be the one to kill Joffrey, but oh, it would be just delicious if Sansa got to be the one to do it instead. I don’t see it, personally – Sansa has her own brand of strength, and (at least thus far) physical violence is not a part of it – but dude, I would throw a goddamn parade if she did. It would be a thing of beauty, fo sho.

Also, reenter: Tyrion. Yay!

And the level of snarky quips instantly go up by an order of magnitude. Not that I have a problem with this. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I love that he tried to be nice to Sansa. It’s a shame that she (quite reasonably) doesn’t buy his niceness for a hot second, but I still vastly appreciate that he tried. Hopefully Sansa will eventually find out that he is about her best chance for a useful ally in the joint.

I’m not saying, by the way, that he is guaranteed not to screw her over at some point; I like him, but he still is a Lannister, after all, and therefore pretty much genetically programmed to have an eye toward the main chance, and if that doesn’t happen to favor Sansa… well, at that point it becomes a crapshoot. But as far as Sansa’s concerned, even shitty odds are better than none; the problem is whether she ever realizes this.

A big fat clue to Sansa re: Tyrion’s character, if you ask me, is that Myrcella and Tommen adore him. The whole “children are instinctively good judges of character” is a cliché, yes, but things become clichés for a reason. And, of course, her other even bigger clue is that he obviously thinks almost as little of Joffrey as I do, which post-AGOT earns him an even more special place in my heart than it did previously.

I do hope he twigs fast to how unstable Joffrey is, though, if he hasn’t already. I’m looking forward to him taking the little psycho down a peg or eighteen, but not if it costs him his life.

Lastly, that was just about the lamest tournament ever, you guys — a fact which fills me with irrepressible glee. Maybe it’s unfair to draw the parallel that crap kingships throw crap parties, but right about now I’m not particularly in the mood to be fair about anything concerning King Tool Jr., so there. Nyah!

 

Chapter 3: Tyrion

What Happens
Ser Mandon Moore will not allow Tyrion into the council chamber at first, but Tyrion faces him down, and eventually Mandon yields, to Tyrion’s satisfaction.

“You,” his sister Cersei said in a tone that was equal parts disbelief and distaste.

“I can see where Joffrey learned his courtesies.”

Tyrion gives her the letter from their father, and climbs up into the Hand’s chair while she reads it. Cersei declares the letter’s contents (that Tyrion is to temporarily take Tywin’s place as Hand) to be absurd, but Pycelle and Slynt welcome him immediately. Littlefinger laughs at Tyrion’s jests, and Tyrion makes a mental note to have a conversation with him later about a certain dagger. Tyrion asks for a moment alone with his sister, and Varys smiles and ushers everyone out. As they go, Littlefinger asks if Tyrion remembers the fates of the last two Hands, and Tyrion corrects him that actually the last four have met with grim fates, but he prays he is “small” enough to escape the curse’s notice.

When they are alone, Cersei demands to know why their father would inflict Tyrion on her and ignore her royal command; Tyrion points out that Tywin has the power to ignore her, and he’s not the only one, and that besides, it’s Jaime she really wants. He promises her that if she supports him, Tyrion will get Jaime back to them unharmed. He asks about the other Stark girl, but Cersei tells him she is missing and presumed dead. He tells her Tywin suspects someone on the council is playing them false, based on the series of disasters Joffrey’s reign has been, not least the execution of Eddard Stark. Cersei sighs and says Joff was supposed to pardon Stark, but now he thinks he can do whatever he wants, and Slynt went ahead with the beheading without a say-so from Cersei.

Tyrion is surprised by the news that Sansa had been the one to betray Eddard’s conspiracy with Renly and Stannis, but Cersei tells him the girl was “wet with love” for Joffrey — until he cut off her father’s head, anyway. Tyrion is also contemptuous of the decision to cast out Ser Barristan Selmy, considering his reputation among the commonfolk, which Cersei admits was an error. Tyrion says that is why he is here, to being Joffrey to heel, which he thinks Cersei will never be able to do since Joffrey knows she would never hurt him. Capitulating, Cersei demands that he will be utterly loyal to her as the Hand, and Tyrion lies that he will. Then he asks who murdered Jon Arryn, since his widow seems to believe it was Tyrion. Cersei says she doesn’t know, and that Eddard Stark accused her of he same, implying that she….

“That you were fucking our sweet Jaime?”

She slapped him.

“Did you think I was as blind as Father?” Tyrion rubbed his cheek. “Who you lie with is no matter to me . . . although it doesn’t seem quite just that you should open your legs for one brother and not the other.”

She slapped him.

“Be gentle, Cersei, I’m only jesting with you. If truth be told, I’d sooner have a nice whore. I never understood what Jaime saw in you, apart from his own reflection.”

She slapped him.

His cheeks were red and burning, yet he smiled. “If you keep doing that, I may get angry.”

She stops, and he asks how Robert was killed; Cersei replies that Robert did it to himself, they just helped him along. She demands to know how he intends to free Jaime, and Tyrion tells her he doesn’t know yet, and takes his leave, warning her to be sure that no harm comes to Sansa Stark.

He leaves the castle, and pauses to order that the heads on spikes on the walls be taken down regardless of Joffrey’s orders to the contrary. He rides into the city, observing evidence of escalating crime and starvation everywhere; his escort tells him there is precious little food getting past the blockades, though Cersei has done a great deal to fortify the city’s defenses, including commissioning ten thousand jars of “wildfire,” which Tyrion thinks a very dangerous move. They are paying for it by imposing a tax on those wishing to enter the city, which Tyrion thinks is both clever and cruel.

He goes to the inn where he had hidden Shae, and is shocked to see that Varys is there. Tyrion knows this is Varys’s way of sending Tyrion a message and a threat together, one which Tyrion does his best to return in kind. Varys leaves him with a riddle:

“In a room sit three great men, a king, a priest, and a rich man with his gold. Between them stands a sellsword, a little man of common birth and no great mind. Each of the great ones bids him slay the other two. ‘Do it’ says the king, ‘for I am your lawful ruler.’ ‘Do it’ says the priest, ‘for I command you in the names of the gods.’ ‘Do it’ says the rich man, ‘and all this gold shall be yours.’ So tell me—who lives and who dies?”

He leaves. Shae opines that the rich man would live, but Tyrion replies that it would depend upon the sellsword. He takes her upstairs, and apologizes to her that she cannot live at court, but thinks that this is as far as dare defies his father on the matter. He makes love to her, and even while reminding himself that it is only his coin that she loves in return, cannot quite believe it. She asks him what he will do now that he is the Hand.

“Something Cersei will never expect,” Tyrion murmured softly against her slender neck. “I’ll do . . . justice.”

Commentary
Justice, Tyrion? Like, actual, real justice? Well, that’s just crazy talk!

Here’s to insanity, then.

Also: Daaaaamn, Tyrion. Talk about not pulling your verbal punches. His confrontation with Cersei was kind of completely awesome, though I think under other circumstances I would have found it — well, offensive is not exactly the right word, but the bit where he asks (even in jest) why he couldn’t have her too was… something. “Disturbing,” perhaps, or maybe just “shocking”? Something like that. (“Eyebrow-raising”? I dunno.)

In this case, though, with these particular characters and their history together, it was mostly just awesome. I think I actually said “OH SNAP” out loud. (Because I am hip to what the cool kids are saying these days.)

And Tyrion knew about the incest all along, apparently! Wow. I guess in retrospect it makes sense that he does, but it honestly hadn’t occurred to me to think so before now. And he still loves Jaime anyway, huh.

Not Cersei, though, that’s for damn sure. Brilliant moves all around from Tyrion, really; he now has serious leverage on her, which is something he will need badly in this job. Though I do have to wonder, if he knew about the incest all this time, why he waited until now to play that card? *shrug* I guess this was the opportune moment.

I think I’ve said this before, but man, politics make me tired. Political intrigue is fascinating to read about,of course (well, usually), but it sure does make me incredibly relieved that I never went into politics myself. It’s clear that there are people in the world that thrive on all this powerplay/jockeying for position/parry-and-riposte stuff, and I enjoy reading about both the fictional and not-so-fictional versions of these people, but the idea of having to live it myself makes me want to lie down and breathe deeply and maybe get a hug and a hot cup of tea. Thanks, but no thanks.

I note (and I’m pretty sure Tyrion noted it as well, though he doesn’t think it specifically) that of all of Cersei’s actions re: making the city safer, not one of them seemed to be doing anything about actually making the city an un-hideous place to live. Wall fortifications and such are very necessary, I grant you, but I’m not sure I see the point of defending a place where everyone in it might starve to death.

Of course, the obvious caveat here is, Cersei isn’t going to starve to death whatever happens, nor her precious little psycho puppet, so why should she give a crap if all the little peons die? Nice, Cersei.

(I’m assuming, by the way, that “wildfire” refers to Greek fire or the equivalent. In which case, the idea of ten thousand jars of it lying around is fairly terrifying.)

I have to admit Tyrion’s assertion that Cersei would never hurt Joffrey rather throws a damper on my conviction that Cersei will kill him, because I’ve noted before that Tyrion is clearly an excellent judge of character and also knows his sister exceedingly well, and this chapter proves it as well as stating it flat out. So, okay. But still — a lot can change, and I still think if it comes down to a choice between Jaime and Joffrey, Cersei would pick Jaime every time.

So I’m sticking to my guns on that, at least for now. If nothing else, it will be fun to point and laugh at me if/when I turn out to be wrong.

Tyrion totally has the right answer to Varys’s riddle, by the way: there is no meaningful answer to be had without knowing anything about the character of the sellsword involved. Different men would make different choices. Which one would you pick?


And with that little conundrum, we out, kids! Have a mahvelous weekend, and I’ll see you next Friday!

37 comments
Tomas Gerst
1. IamnotSpam
Well I would kill them all and keep the gold and tell everyone they did each other in. Thats my two cents and Im sticking two it.
Steven Halter
2. stevenhalter
Cersei's line:
I sent Meryn Trant to take her in hand when Robert died, but her wretched dancing master interfered and the girl fled.
was interesting to me. It doesn't say that Syrio was killed. In fact, it seems to imply (just a bit) that he may still be alive. I would like that.
Tyrion was made of awesome in both chapters.
Rob Munnelly
3. RobMRobM
Leigh - Nice job. Remember how every once in a while you say something in a post that we tell you that you are going to laugh your *ss off about at some later date? This one contains a major doozy (but I'm not telling). EDIT - I added it to the spoiler post in the Forums for those interested.

I seriously love these two chapters. Sharply written (both Joff and Cersei saying "You"; Joff calling Tommen childish and Myrcella pointing out tartly that they are in fact children; the line you quoted from Sansa relative to Joff dueling Robb; the poignant Tyrion-Sansa back and forth); the mysterious awesomeness that is Varys; and the brilliant closing line "I'll do ...justice." So much info (yet two more long recaps) but so well done.

Rob
Rootboy
4. Rootboy
The Tyrion/Cersei confrontation is one of many reasons I'm looking forward to season 2 of the TV show.
Rootboy
5. TBGH
Looking back, I was really excited to see what Tyrion would do now that he was in a position of power. But I was also (of course) hoping the Lannisters had their power crushed, their lands salted, etc.

GRRM is extremely frustrating to read at times.
Rootboy
6. Carolyn h
Thank heaven for Tyrion to come up with the best lines in this series. Although "winter is coming" is pretty awesome, too, you can't go around saying that all the time. Plus, Tyrion never says the same thing twice. But he always says the best things. His timing is impeccible, too.

I think the thing that chilled my bones when I read this the first time was the sentence where Tyrion says he's going to do the unexpected...justice. Just how well have the "good guys" done so far in this series?? That line scares me to death, frankly.

Poor Sansa is surrounded by lions, and I'm still not sure how or if she's going to survive long enough to make use of her new-found strengths. Even her strengths and her awareness of the pit she is in seems kind of weak to me. More like the mewing of a rabbit that's about to die than a prey animal that somehow finds the strength to evade the larger, stronger predator.
Rootboy
7. Skyweir
Here is when Sansa started to grow on me as a character. She is a (pre)-teen girl that is regularly beaten and humilated, but she is not broken and she has infact grown quite a nose for manipulation already. The lie to Joffery to spare the drunken knight is good, and her instinct to not trust anyone is likewise(though we know Tyrion is awesome, to her he is still a Lannister).
She lies easily and fast, and has learned how to cope with a horrible situation. In fact, we can be glad that it is Sansa and not Arya that is caught in the Red Keep. Arya would have been defiant to the point were they might have thrown her in a dungeon or beaten her to death. Sansa has grown tall walls to protect herself without giving up her personality or hope of freedom.

For Tyrion, there is really nothing to say but that he is awesome.
Drew Holton
8. Dholton
I've always admired Martin for the incredibly tense, no holds barred verbal confrontations that he writes in this series. The one between Tyrion and Cersei is just one of several to come that are truly devastating both to reader and character.
Birgit
9. birgit
Did Tom Riddle apply for the post of Hand and was turned down?
Rob Munnelly
10. RobMRobM
@9 - Defense against the dark arts indeed. Must have occurred after Tywin headed back to Lannisport.
Benji Cat
11. benjicat
I think the answer to Varys' riddle is that the common man dies. When the powerful are set against each other, it's the common men who suffer.
Rootboy
12. TBGH
@11

If any larger commentary is in there (personally I think Tyrion has it right), his point would be the exact opposite. You can have all the money, moral authority, or divine right you want but if the common men have the numbers weapons, they can make the rules if they only realize it.

Those powerful men only have power as long as the sellsword BELIEVES they have power.
Benji Cat
13. benjicat
@12 I might have an argument but I don't want to get into it here because I think it would be giving away spoilers. I do see your point though.
Rootboy
14. bluemeanies
@11 The answer to Varys riddle is - Tyrion, look out your whore/girlfriend values riches above all else since that is her choice and you'd better be able to keep paying. Oh, and also I know where she lives- maybe I can start paying. Varys was probing and Shae fell into it. Someone who answered the priest you would watch for their religion and someone who answered the by birth lawful ruler you'd look out for orders.

What Tyrion's answer tells Varys is that Tyrion will use his best judgement to find what moves who. That doesn't say anything of his opinion of Tyrion's judgement. And also that Tyrion knows all three of those authorities are not assured of the support of force or violence inherently.
Eli Bishop
15. EliBishop
"Joffrey is such a little shit that he can’t even beat up his fiancée himself"

Seemed to me that he would've been happy to do that himself, but, as he said, he'd learned from Cersei that a king should never hit his wife (referring to Robert's abuse of her). Following the letter of the law while ignoring the obvious point is a very 12-year-old thing to do. And not calling him on it is a very Cersei thing to do.
alex
16. jerec84
I'd say this book is the reason Tyrion is the favourite character of a lot of people.
Rob Munnelly
17. RobMRobM
Leigh - was that a Lady or the Tiger reference in the jump page? Haven't read that story since Jr. High.
Joe Vondracek
18. joev
Maybe it’s unfair to draw the parallel that crap kingships throw crap parties, but right about now I’m not particularly in the mood to be fair about anything concerning King Tool Jr., so there.
Well, yeah, but all the really good fighters are off actually fighting, so the Tool Tournament only got the dregs.
Debbie Solomon
19. dsolo
Poor Sansa. It's kind of sad that her favorite knight is the one who doesn't beat her as hard. It's been a while since I read any of these, so I'm rediscovering it with Leigh.

I can't wait for season 2 of AGoT. I can already visualize the Tyrion/Cersei scene in my mind. As for Tyrion's answer, considering that a sellsword saved his life at the Eyrie, he knows where the real power lies. Viserys thought calling himself king would be enough. Doesn't work without an army to back you up.
Julian Augustus
20. Alisonwonderland
Did I mention that this is my favorite book in the series so far? And that is due, in large part, to the prominent parts played by Tyrion and Arya in this book. Tyrion did everything Eddard could not, and that is match the snakes at Kings Landing in political intrigue and cunning. This meeting between Tyrion and Cersei sets the tone for their encounters to come. You can already see the nature of their future manoeuverings in this meeting.
Rob Munnelly
21. RobMRobM
Leigh has to be getting aggravated at the presence of facts showing that the Hound is not simply an animal. He saves Sansa by supporting her lie that it is bad luck to kills someone on his or her name day, he supports Myrcella in trying to let Tommen ride and he praises Tommen's grit at getting back on the horse after he falls. I for one would like to know why Joff doesn't use the Hound to beat her and whether they've had an off-screen discussion about it.

Re the wimpy tournament, it is also clear that the crowd is wimpy too, with the focus on coughing Lord Rosby and Landy Tanda with her two abnormal (dull and acid-tongued) daughters. and baby Lady Ermasade. Unimpressive.

"Joff was fond of making men fight to the death." Good grief.

Pity that the match ended before we could see how Lothar Brune would do in the lists. He is Littiefinger's man, so it would have interesting.
Rootboy
22. Megaduck
TBGH @12

I have to agree with you. In my mind the answer to Vary’s question was obvious but it wasn’t one of any of the four answers presented.

The swordsmen survives.

Bluemeanies @14

That is a very good analysis and I never considered that Vary’s might be testing who these people are by asking the riddle.

I do think however he’s showing a little bit of himself in his answer though. He’s not the person with the money, the royal power, nor the divine power. He’s the ‘Swordsmen’ with the secrets so he can’t lose in the answer.

RobMRobM @21

I always thought the reason that the hound is never ordered to beat Sansa is that Jeoffery is intimidated by him. They don’t need to have a discussion, the hound just looks at Jeoff and Jeoff decides to do something else.
Rootboy
23. jelsel
good to see you back, leigh!

the tyrion/cersei argument is brilliant. Offensive maybe, but also sarcastic, cynical and most of all awesome.

for all you who read AGOT and saw the HBO series;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxLOXUGmRKI
:D
Rootboy
24. Cullion
RobMRobM @3

Doozy indeed. I found myself rereading the line thinking did Leigh just say that.
Rootboy
25. Juanito
I'm somewhat surprised you didn't mention the whole "a person who strikes another because they can't hit back" thing from earlier in the Game of Thrones re-read. I honestly didn't recall it the first time I read the books, but it's a delicious mirror between the two. Robert finds a person who's words cut him to the bone so deep he can't help but strike her for the pain of if and Cersei will "wear these bruises like a badge of honor." And now Cersei finds someone whose words cut so deep she lashes out with physical force.

It may lose its meaning somewhat given that Tyrion has obviously defended himself physically in the past. But given the restraints put on him by his place in society and the fact that he can't exactly bob and weave out of the way makes this rather poetic.
Rob Munnelly
26. RobMRobM
And...here is the blog of ice and fire, FYI]

+++++++++++++++++++

Sansa's having a grand time in King's Landing as Joffrey's betrothed. She gets front row tourney seats, wears nice clothing, and has the honor of receiving the occasional royal beating. She's guarded by Arys, one of Joffrey's bodyguard knights who frankly is kind of a pussy. He compliments Sansa, talks about gossip, and even hits her with less enthusiasm. Come on man, grow some balls. How can you call yourself a Kingsguard if you can't even beat a teenage girl properly?

The tourney is quite lackluster. This time, there are no pretty boys like Jaime or Loras. There are no badass GREGOR-induced deaths or exciting Hound interventions. It sucks so much that Joffrey almost kills a drunkard out of boredom, but Sansa saves the poor guy. The incident all but proves that Joffrey is a psychopath. The kid beats his girlfriend, almost kills a guy for being drunk, laughs when his brother falls off a horse, and doesn't seem to remember that his "father" King Gored Bob died quite recently.

The tourney is interrupted by Tyrion's arrival to the city. Despite Tyrion's kind words and gentlemanly behavior, Sansa doesn't trust him. I can't imagine why -- he's only a hideous dwarf with mismatched eyes from the family that executed her father. What's not to trust?

____________________

Tyrion was sent to King's Landing to help rule, but he first must gain entrance to Cersei's council meeting. In his way is pop singer turned actress turned Kingsguard Mandy Moore, who doesn't really obey Tyrion as much as the two dudes with swords that Tyrion brought with him. Cersei isn't happy that her father named Tyrion Hand, but she can't really do anything about it, as her actual power lies in Tywin's army, not Joffrey's title. Tyrion immediately dismisses the council and tells Cersei that he has a plan to get Jaime back by trading Sansa for him. Robb probably loves his sister, but he would have to be beyond stupid to trade Jaime for her. She doesn't even have a wolf anymore. If I were Robb I'd offer to trade Jaime back for half of Tywin (the upper half) and half of Cersei (the lower half). That way the Lannisters are deprived of their two greatest assets. Brilliant, I know.

We also found out that Joffrey just arbitrarily decided to execute Ned, despite agreeing to allow post-confession Eddard to go to the Wall. Joffrey apparently didn't even tell anyone, and on the day of the pardoning just decided "meh, let's execute him" as if he changed his mind about ordering eggs or pancakes. Cersei can't control him, sounds like one of those parents who just proclaims "what am I going to do with him!?" as if she had nothing to do with the fact that her son turned into a gigantic asshole. What Joffrey needs is a good old fashioned spanking, and Tyrion thinks he's the one that can do it.

Tyrion gets triple slapped for making twincest jokes, but knowing Tyrion, he probably likes it so its win win win. Tyrion goes off to clean up the city, using the patented two step Tyrion motivational technique: 1) make joke, 2) threaten death. Tyrion makes his way to his clansmen and Shae and has a WTF VARYS moment. The dickless King's Landing TMZ already knows everything. After delivering the "I know about your whore" threat, Varys leaves and Tyrion gets down to business with Shae. And by that I mean they have boring sex that totally does not live up to the potential a dwarf-prostitute pairing. Tyrion's falling in love. Again. With a whore. Again. Sigh. When will that dwarf ever learn
Rootboy
27. The Smiling Knight
@ 20. Alisonwonderland -Tyrion did everything Eddard could not, and that is match the snakes at Kings Landing in political intrigue and cunning. -

What irony, ridicule and satire.... Laughable but, it appears on the level of Martins target audience, at least the biggest part of it.

Rob M...Ram, or whatever.... whats your deal really? You have some kind of a blog that follows this reread by the chapter or whatever... and then you just copy paste it all here? It reads like the thing Tywin Lannister is rumored to produce but actually doesnt, if you really want to know my opinion about it.
Rob Munnelly
28. RobMRobM
@27. Not my blog, just a funny one out on the interwebs that reflects the results of a first read and inckudes some good lines and fresh poerspective.
Rootboy
29. The SmilingKnight
Ah... i see. Well... ahem, ok then.
Dont mind me. Im obviously not into this whole "internets community" thing.
Rootboy
30. JohnnyMac
I love this: "Tyrion goes off to clean up the city, using the patented two step Tyrion motivational technique: 1) make joke, 2) threaten death." (above @27). So true. Hmm "Managing Through Humor and Terror", would make a good chapter in a book called, say, "Management Secrets of the Seven Kingdoms".
Rootboy
31. Looking Glass
Maybe it’s unfair to draw the parallel that crap kingships throw crap parties
Honestly, Robert threw great parties, and I thought he was a pretty crap king. Way better than Joffrey, yes, but that particular bar is so low as to be subterranean.

Actually, even Aerys could throw a pretty good tournament, though his barbecues left something to be desired.
Rootboy
32. Wortmauer
Juanito@25: It may lose its meaning somewhat given that Tyrion has obviously defended himself physically in the past. But given the restraints put on him by his place in society and the fact that he can't exactly bob and weave out of the way makes this rather poetic.
The funnier one was back in book 1, when Ned confronts Cersei in the godswood. At some point she slaps him and he quotes her: "I shall wear that as a badge of honor." Tyrion getting slapped by the same woman for the same accusations is, well, by now it's just Cersei being Cersei. (To be fair, he also got slapped for his snark. Not to be confused with his grumpkin.)
Looking Glass@31: Honestly, Robert threw great parties, and I thought he was a pretty crap king.
Indeed he did. And given how badly he bankrupted the Crown, one would hope his successor wouldn't even try to match him. But of course, Joffrey does.

I remember a moment, when they came to the Trident during the drive south in book 1, Joffrey was showing off to Sansa, explaining that this is where his dad killed Rhaegar. Joffrey even pretended to swing a warhammer, to show how it was done. To me that showed that, although Joffrey mostly acts like the Lannister he is, he must still have looked up to Robert in some ways. I guess throwing tourneys is one of those ways.
Actually, even Aerys could throw a pretty good tournament, though his barbecues left something to be desired.
Ha! Makes me wonder. I know Aerys himself didn't have any dragons, but if you go back a few hundred years ... is dragon-charred BBQ more like charcoal or propane? The aficionados seem to prefer charcoal for the extra smoke flavor. How does lizard breath compare to hickory smoke? Does it depend on what the dragon has eaten lately?
Rootboy
33. The SmilingKnight
Lizard...? LIZARD?
Draw your sword Ser.
:stabs wortmauer in the kidney before he even grabbed the hilt:

What? I told him to draw it... what? Whaaaat?
It was funny...
Asa Zernik
34. AsaZernik
@32 My assumption is that, as dragon-fire is magical, nothing's actually burning to produce smoke; the flavor would probably be a lot closer to propane than to the distinctive smoke smell of wood.

On the other hand, if there are some tasty fumes emitted along with the fire... mmmm, dragon barbecue.
Tom Feltes
35. tomf
@34 & 32 Dragon fire magical? Oh, no, no, no. Haven't you ever read Robert Heinlein's Glory Road? To quote:
"They [dragons] don't exactly breathe fire. That would kill them. They hold their breaths while flaming. It's swamp gas - methane - from the digestive tract. It's a controlled belch, with a hypergolic effect from an enzyme secreted between the first and second rows of teeth. The gas bursts into flame on the way out."
So the smell of wood-smoke would definitely be missing from that BBQ. Propane, a bit closer, but I think the scent would be more like, well, um... well, I'll take another quote from further down in that same book:
"...when suddenly I got my first blast of methane, whiffing it before it lighted, and retreated so fast...The reason that I backed away in time was halitosis. It says here that 'pure methane is a colorless, odorless gas.' The G.I. tract methane wasn't pure; it was so loaded with homemade ketones and aldehydes that it made an unlimed outhouse smell like Shalimar."
Personally, I would probably pass on dragon barbecue...
Eli Bishop
36. EliBishop
@35: A methane-fueled dragon would be no good for the kinds of tasks GRRM requires of them— melting swords and destroying stone castles— for the same reason male dormitories are rarely burned down by fart-lighting contests. Methane burns at a temperature slightly lower than wood.
Rootboy
37. Terpsichoria
I think Tyrion's comment to Cersei about why he couldn't have her too was just meant to rile her, as he seems to greatly enjoy needling her even if it means he gets slapped for it. Which is one of Tyrion's flaws - he can't resist pissing people off even if he knows he shouldn't, especially if that person is easy to piss off, like Cersei. It's basically what he said about Alliser Thorne, if someone paints a target on their chest they shouldn't be surprised when an arrow gets loosed in their direction.

Although I do think he has a bit of resentment that Jaime and Cersei have always had each other while he has to pay someone to love him. I think he's known about their incest for a long time. The Lannister family dynamics are weird like that.

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