Jan 20 2012 2:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings, Part 3

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 3 of A Clash of Kings, in which we cover Chapter 4 (“Bran”), Chapter 5 (“Arya”), and Chapter 6 (“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 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 4: Bran

What Happens
Bran sits at his window and listens to the direwolves howling, and thinks of how he dreams of wolves often, and feels that he can almost understand their singing. He wonders if Summer and Shaggydog miss the rest of their pack; no one Bran has asked can agree on why the wolves howl all the time. He asked the septon, Chayle, about the comet, who told him “It is the sword that slays the season”, though Old Nan thinks it is dragons.

He thinks of his accident, which he still does not remember, and that Summer had howled in mourning for him then, and again when word came of his father’s death; he wonders who they are mourning now, and hopes it is not another of his family. He tries howling like the wolves. Luwin enters and tries to get him to stop; Bran tells him that he dreams of being a wolf, and asks if wolves dream, or the dead, or trees.

“Trees? No . . . ”

“They do,” Bran said with sudden certainty. “They dream tree dreams. I dream of a tree sometimes. A weirwood, like the one in the godswood. It calls to me. The wolf dreams are better. I smell things, and sometimes I can taste the blood.”

Luwin exhorts him to play with the Walders more – the two Frey cousins fostered at Winterfell – but Bran hates them and refuses. He wants to go riding again, and when Luwin reminds him of what happened last time, Bran declares he wants to be a wolf and begins howling again until Luwin leaves.

He thinks of the ridiculous game the Walders (they are both named Walder) play called “Lord of the Crossing”, which is basically an excuse to knock each other into the water. Bran had watched resentfully, unable to participate, until Rickon had insisted on joining in. When Little Walder smacked Rickon with a stick, Shaggydog attacked Little Walder, and mayhem ensued. Bran thinks it is odd that Rickon decided he liked the Walders after that, even showing them the catacombs, which had infuriated Bran.

Luwin comes back with Osha and a sleeping draught, which he tells Bran will give him dreamless sleep. Bran drinks it and Luwin leaves.

Osha lingered behind. “Is it the wolf dreams again?”

Bran nodded.

“You should not fight so hard, boy. I see you talking to the heart tree. Might be the gods are trying to talk back.”

When Bran sleeps, though, he dreams anyway. He dreams that he is Summer, prowling with his brother Shaggydog as they search for a way out of the keep and never find it.

The world had tightened around them, but beyond the walled wood still stood the great grey caves of man-rock. Winterfell, he remembered, the sound coming to him suddenly. Beyond its sky-tall man-cliffs the true world was calling, and he knew he must answer or die.

Neat. Foreboding, but neat.

I hesitate, as usual, to make assumptions about whether Martin means this wolf-dreaming thing literally or metaphorically, since he likes to straddle that line a lot. The “is the magic real or not” thing Martin does is, as usual, simultaneously engaging and a tad frustrating, but I bet it plays really well on the TV adaptation. Which, no, I still haven’t watched and probably won’t, even though it kind of kills me because I hear it is excellent.

(Tangentially, though, I watched the Golden Globes, and thus saw that Peter Dinklage won for his role as Tyrion, which makes me that much more frustrated that I’m not letting myself watch the show, because y’all know how much I like Tyrion, and apparently Dinklage is kicking ass playing him. I’m pretty sure that the book version of Tyrion, by the way, is meant to be much uglier than Dinklage, who is quite good-looking, actually, but Hollywood by nature pretties up everyone at least an order of magnitude from normality (so “ugly” characters are ordinary-to-good-looking, “ordinary” characters are beautiful, and “beautiful” characters are alien beings from the planet Gorgeous), so it doesn’t bother me that much. Or it wouldn’t if I watched the show. Which I can’t. Grr.)

All that said, this bit really does seem straightforward enough that I lean much more toward assuming Bran really is dreamwalking with his wolf Summer. Which is pretty awesome.

Even if I’m wrong, though, it’s still pretty darn cool.

Wolves and trees, yup. And Summer wants to get to the “true world”, which I’m betting includes forest, children of. Yup yup yup.

Which isn’t to say Bran’s dreamwalking adventures aren’t a tad worrying, too, of course. If Bran gets too into running around in his head with Summer, what’s going to be his incentive to come back to his crippled body? Could turn into a problem, is what I’m saying.

Although, if it ends up that a magical godtree uses organic TCP/IP to transfer Bran’s brain to Summer’s body, I quit.

Okay, not really. But I will be VERY PUT OUT. Not that I genuinely think this is going to be a concern.


Rickon seems a little worthy of worry himself these days, if the temperament of his wolf is anything to go by. That’s a lot of rage issues for a four-year old, not that I blame him, really.

I didn’t put it in the chapter summary, but the Walder Freys attempting to explain their completely incomprehensible family tree was kind of hilarious. Hilarious to read, anyway. I left it out of the summary, though, because the idea of trying to actually summarize it made me want to poke myself in the eye. Yeesh.

“Dragons,” [Old Nan] said, lifting her head and sniffing. She was near blind and could not see the comet, yet she claimed she could smell it. “It be dragons, boy,” she insisted.

Old Nan has the right of it, I’ll bet. She and Osha between them are filling out the Common Folk Always Know Better trope very well, but they’re both pretty awesome so I don’t really mind.

Also, Robb is clearly not at Winterfell. Whoops, nevermind. Where is he, then?


Chapter 5: Arya

What Happens
As Yoren’s caravan travels north, Arya observes the flood of refugees heading in the opposite direction, fleeing the pillaging behind them. One of their sellswords dies, and Yoren gives his sword to the Bull. They stop in a village to bathe and eat, but Arya doesn’t risk the bath and goes to the inn’s common room instead. The townsfolk think Yoren is mad for continuing north, but Yoren insists that the Watch takes no sides.

The innkeeper says it’s not just Lannisters and Tullys, but wild mountain men and the Starks. A man says he heard the Stark boy rides to battle on a wolf, and another relates that there’s a huge pack of hundreds wolves near Gods Eye, led by “a she-wolf, a bitch from the seventh hell” who supposedly snatched a baby from its mother in broad daylight. Arya tries to remember where she had been forced to drive off Nymeria, and thinks Nymeria would hate her now if she saw Arya. She angrily declares that wolves don’t eat babies, and Yoren kicks her out of the inn before she draws too much attention to herself.

Outside, one of the three men in irons (the good-looking one) tries to bribe her to get him beer and a bath, and introduces himself as “Jaqen H’ghar, once of the Free City of Lorath”; the way he talks reminds Arya of Syrio. He names the other two prisoners too: the noseless hairy one as Rorge, and the bald tongueless one as Biter (who hisses at Arya). Rorge flings a cup at Arya and yells for her to get them beer, and when she refuses, he threatens her crudely. She tells herself that Syrio would not be afraid and walks closer, and when Biter lunges for her she hits him between the eyes, enraging him. Jaqen observes that she has “more courage than sense”.

The Bull intercepts Arya and reminds her that Yoren said to leave those three alone; Arya protests she is not afraid, but lets the Bull lead her off. She asks if he wants to spar; the Bull is startled, but agrees. Before they begin, though, they see City Watchmen approaching the village, and Arya pulls the Bull down to hide, shushing him when he protests. The officer announces they have a warrant for “a certain boy”, given by the queen herself, and Arya tells the Bull it’s her they want. The Bull is skeptical.

Yoren refuses to yield anyone sworn to the Watch, and Arya is surprised at how many of the recruits move to support Yoren when the officer threatens him with steel, and leaps to join them, declaring she is the one they want. But the officer points at the Bull, saying he’s the one they are after. Yoren gets the drop on the officer and forces him to drop his sword, and the gold cloaks are forced to withdraw, though the officer threatens to someday have Yoren’s head “to go with the bastard boy’s”.

Yoren orders everyone to get ready to leave immediately. Arya is mystified at why the Queen wants the Bull and not her, and demands his real name. He tells her it is Gendry. Yoren tells them to take the coursers, and ride like hell for the Wall if they see any more gold cloaks. Arya reminds him the officer is after Yoren now too.

“Well, as to that,” Yoren said, “if he can get it off my shoulders, he’s welcome to it.”

Yoren’s kind of a little bit awesome. Grotty, but awesome.

But more importantly: Oh ho! Gendry, eh? Dun!

Look at that, an actual son of Robert Baratheon wandering about. At least if I’m right about remembering that Gendry was the blacksmith’s kid apprentice Ned went to see in AGOT who busted Cersei by demonstrating how blond hair is a recessive gene, but I’m pretty sure I’m right.

Veddy interestink. Robert’s son! Gendry’s a bastard, yeah, but still. I bet Cersei does want to get her hands on him, at that. Tying up loose ends, yessir. So that’s something to keep an eye on, for sure.

I can’t remember now if we were told how Gendry got recruited (or “recruited”, I should say) to the Watch in the first place (probably because I didn’t realize to pay attention at the time), but I’m wondering if Ned had something to do with it before he died, to protect the kid. That was nice of him, sort of, if so. And also, do the other recruits know about him, or were they just happy for a chance to fight? Hmm.

Arya did not dare [take a bath], even though she smelled as bad as Yoren by now, all sour and stinky. Some of the creatures living in her clothes had come all the way from Flea Bottom with her; it didn’t seem right to drown them.


Also, Arya, please stop being stupid. Do not taunt the chained-up psychopaths, pretty please? I would like you to not die, help me out here.

Jaqen may be a crazy person (and there’s definitely more story to that one), but he nailed Arya’s basic character flaw: more courage than sense. Which trait has helped her in the past, but I am deeply certain it’s going to bite her in the ass at some point, so, chill, girl. I love you and your badassedness, but there is such a thing as taking it too far.

And Nymeria! Possibly leading a wolf army! That’s… well, more worrying than awesome, I think, even though I don’t believe the baby thing is true at all if it is Nymeria. I’m ashamed to admit I forgot all about Arya’s wolf being out there.

Oh, I hope Arya and Nymeria get back together and Nymeria forgives Arya for throwing rocks and they are an awesome team. Is that too optimistic? Probably. Sigh.


Chapter 6: Jon

What Happens
Jon finds Sam in the library, where Sam is inordinately (in Jon’s opinion) excited about the vast amount of ancient books and archives Castle Black possesses, including an account of a ranger named Redwyn, who traded with the children of the forest in the time before the Conquest. Sam would much rather stay there than go with the expedition beyond the Wall the next day, but Jon reassures him that they will be three hundred men strong, and Sam is needed to handle the messenger ravens. Sam is unconvinced.

They leave the library and head for Mormont’s rooms, pausing on the way to watch the newest recruits at training with the new armsmaster, Ser Endrew Tarth. The armorer, Donal Noye, asks Jon if he’s heard the news about Robb, and Jon says he has. Jon is not certain how he feels about Robb being crowned, but loyally tells Noye that Robb will be a good king. Noye remarks he thought the same of Robert once, but that he was never the same once he was crowned.

“Some men are like swords, made for fighting. Hang them up and they go to rust.”

“And his brothers?” Jon asked.

The armorer considered that a moment. “Robert was the true steel. Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He’ll break before he bends. And Renly, that one, he’s copper, bright and shiny, pretty to look at but not worth all that much at the end of the day.”

And what metal is Robb? Jon did not ask.

They go on to Mormont, who is talking with Thoren Smallwood, a former ally of Alliser Thorne and therefore no friend of Jon’s. Smallwood is arguing that as he is now First Ranger, he should be leading the expedition, not Mormont. Mormont disagrees, and kicks him out. Jon and Sam have brought maps of the country beyond the Wall; Mormont complains that they are old, but Jon rescues a stammering Sam and points out that rivers and hills don’t change. Mormont is unimpressed with Sam’s tongue-tied behavior, and kicks him out too.

Mormont remarks to Jon that he had considered sending Sam as an envoy to Renly, as Sam’s father is high in Renly’s council, but he’ll send Ser Arnell instead. He thinks Thorne should reach King’s Landing soon, but doesn’t know whether Joffrey will listen to him, as the Lannisters have never been a friend to the Watch. Jon points out that Thorne has the wight’s hand to show, but Mormont is unconvinced. He asks after Jon’s injuries, and Jon shows him his healing right hand and assures him he can wield Longclaw well enough.

Mormont asks Jon if he knew that Maester Aemon might have been king. Surprised, Jon answers that he knew Aemon’s father was the king, but thought him a younger son. Mormont replies that he was, ninth or tenth in the line of succession, but events transpired so that all the heirs before him died or were unsuitable for the throne, and Aemon was offered the crown. He refused it, saying the gods meant for him to serve and not rule, and instead it went to Aegon, Aemon’s younger brother. Aemon left court and came to the Wall soon after to prevent conflict.

Jon asks why Mormont is telling him this story, and Mormont says that now Jon and Aemon have something in common: a king for a brother. Jon replies that they also have a vow to the Watch in common as well, and that he’d always known Robb would be Lord of Winterfell. Mormont points out that a lord is not the same thing as a king. He speaks of all the glory and luxury Robb will have as king, and dares Jon to say none of it bothers him.

Jon drew himself up, taut as a bowstring. “And if it did trouble me, what might I do, bastard as I am?”

“What will you do?” Mormont asked. “Bastard as you are?”

“Be troubled,” said Jon, “and keep my vows.”

There’s an awful lot of suddenly significant bastards about these days, aren’t there?

I’m not sure what to make of the conversation with Mormont and Jon. Not on the surface of it – Mormont wanting to test the waters re: Jon’s jealousy of his newly-kinged half-brother is perfectly understandable – but in what the scene seems to be implying for the story at large. I never pegged Jon as being ambitious for power for its own sake, but then I like him a lot, and am therefore perhaps inclined to attribute more selfless qualities to him than may be warranted. I wouldn’t have thought so, but the way this scene was written makes me wonder if I missed something.

I always figured Jon was going to end up Commander of the Night’s Watch, and that concurrently that role was going to take on much greater significance on the world stage when/if the Winterpocalypse gets under way, but gee, should I be thinking bigger?

I hope not. I don’t think having three to four kings wrangling over one kingdom was ever a good idea, but it’s fine as long as it doesn’t end up pitting Robb and Jon against each other. That would suck. Jon, don’t do that.

…Even though I suspect if you did, you might win. But it would still suck!

Also, I hope there’s not going to be a quiz later on the Targaryen royal line, because I confess I barely followed Mormont’s little history lesson. I mean, damn; the Targaryens’ family tree is even more jacked-up than the Freys’, who at least aren’t in the habit of marrying their own siblings as far as I can tell. It doesn’t help that practically everyone in that story has a name that starts with “Ae”. Sheesh.

Sam! Hi, Sam! I wish you could stay with your books too. You and Bran need to get together and read books about the children of the forest, so Bran can go find them and… uh, do whatever is going to happen with that storyline, because I honestly have no clue. Okay then!

Some men want whores on the eve of battle, and some want gods. Jon wondered who felt better afterward.

Heh. Good question.

I have Very Bad Feelings about this foray beyond the Wall they’re gearing up for. There will be frozen zombies. And these wilding raider people. And MONSTER BEARS, just because Mormont said he didn’t believe in them.

It’s going to suck, mark my words. If Mormont actually survives it I will be shocked.

And Uncle Ben: frozen zombified or not? I vote yes. I don’t see why he wouldn’t have come back already if he wasn’t, and his disappearance has been built up too much for him just to be randomly dead in a ditch somewhere. Or So I Think. So finding him ought to be TONS of fun for everyone, not.

I really liked the comparison Donal made in talking about the Baratheons: Robert as rusted steel, Stannis as brittle iron, and Renly as shiny flimsy copper. That really does sum the Baratheon brothers up succinctly and well, doesn’t it?

(Though at least Renly is an excellent conductor!)

And what metal is Robb? I guess I’ll soon find out. I hope it’s a better alloy than I kind of think it might be.

But not until next time, Gadget, next time! Have a weekend, why dontcha, and I’ll see you on the flip side!

Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
Jaqen may be a crazy person (and there’s definitely more story to that one), but he nailed Arya’s basic character flaw: more courage than sense.
Exactly. I'm afraid that she shares this trait too much with her father. It didn't work out well for him and I would really rather it work out well for her. She seems to have Gendry as kind of an ally and the group seems to kind of be bonding.
It was interesting that Jaqwn's accent reminded her of Syrio. I wonder if he saw her take a water dancer's stance when she wanted to spar with Gendry.
Sanctume Spiritstone
2. Sanctume
Re: Mormont and Jon having a brother as king.

I think Mormont is pointing the Night Watch position for the realm, not taking sides. Would Jon (if he rises up in rank) would side with his family if the Clash of Kings/Game of Thrones continue?

Aemon had been in that position in the past maybe since the Targ kings have been overthrown.

Oh yeah, Arya + Jon chapters!
Rob Munnelly
3. RobMRobM
Ok, quick non spoilerly Targ summary (so you don't have to read the family trees the back of the books). Note: Martin's excellent prequel "Dunk and Egg" novellas (there are three of them - first one is The Hedge Knight) explain the early Targs in more detail.

King has 4 sons, one brilliant, two unsuitable, one ok. Brilliant one dies in tourney accident, unsuitables don't make it, ok one becomes king.

OK King has 4 sons, the first two unsuitable, followed by Aemon and the youngest (Aegon). Unsuitables don't make it (and the offspring are also unsuitable), job is offered to Aemon. He declines, and Kingship passes to Aegon, who reigns for a long time. Aegon's grandson is the one killed by Jamie Lannister. Rheagar, Viserys and Dany are the great grandkids of Aegon.

Got it?
4. wcarter4
What about the BOUSes?
Bears of Unusual Size? I don't believe in the-....*MUNCH*
Rob Munnelly
5. RobMRobM
"Jaqen may be a crazy person (and there’s definitely more story to that one)..." *whistling*

And Donal Noye is cool. That is all. (Remember, he's the guy who shocked Jon out of his emo rage and got him focused on being a good Nights Watch guy in AGOT.)
I have to say as a parent that the idea of a toddler with a large wolf that does whatever he wants is terrifying. Can you imagine the nurses trying to get him to go to bed?

I read the first book before the second had come out and therefore devoured the subsequent books as soon as I got my hands on them. On rereads I usually skim a lot to get to my favorite parts so I never noticed before. Is anybody else getting whiplash from the end of the previous book to the beginning of this one? It felt like we went from things happening at 100 miles per hour to a crawl.

Anyway, thanks Leigh! One of your comments made me snort and . . . :::dragged off to corner before spoiling everything:::
Scott Silver
8. hihosilver28
Why are you deciding to not see the HBO series? Don't want to pollute your imaginings of the book? Is this just until you're caught up literary wise, or a complete ban? I personally think you could watch the first season now without any danger of spoiling any of the points that count in Clash. The only big difference is that there are some things that are subtextual in the books that are blatant in the series.

Thanks for the succinct summary of the Targaryen line. I just finished The Sworn Sword and am really enjoying the novellas. I think I prefer The Hedge Knight, though. For those interested in reading the Dunk & Egg novellas: The Hedge Knight is in Dreamsongs Vol. II, The Sworn Sword is in Legends II, and The Mystery Knight is in Warriors. Dreamsongs is a collection of Martin's early work. Legends II and Warriors are both anthologies.
Anthony Pero
9. anthonypero
The Hedge Knight is also available in Legends I, along with a short version of New Spring, the Wheel of Time Novella.
David Scotton
10. Kaxon
Read the Hedge Knight and sequels, it will make you understand the Targaryen history, which is actually really interesting.
11. ChrisG
Re: most of Yoren's group being willing to stand up to the watch, I felt that most of them were each afraid of being the target of the search. This is a motley bunch, and I suspect that most of them each have their own reasons to avoid being taken into custody by the authorities.
Rob Munnelly
12. RobMRobM
Re the Freys - The Tower of the Hand GRRM website includes a full Frey family tree that, using normal 12 or so point type, was five of my computer screens in length - and I'm not even sure it was complete. Seven (I think) wives, many with multiple kids and grandkids, and lots of bastards and bastard grandkids (at least 15 of which are some variant of Walder).
Leigh Butler
13. leighdb
@ 8:

Why are you deciding to not see the HBO series? Don't want to pollute your imaginings of the book?

Nah, it's more avoidance of temptation. I know if I watch the first season of the show I'll just want to watch the second season that much more and be that much sulkier that I can't. Better to wait until I can watch the whole thing through with a clear conscience.

(Plus, this way I'll be able to watch the whole shebang through without having to wait for new episodes, which will be sweet.)
14. Skyweir
This chapter has one of my favourite quotes in it:
"You'll have no one," Yoren said stubbornly. " There are laws on such things"
The gold cloak drew a shortsword. "Here's your law."
Yoren looked at the blade. "That's no law, just a sword. Happens I got one too".
This leads neatly into Varys riddle from Tyrion's chapter about where the power lies and is just a great illustration of a common theme in ASOIAF.
15. Carolyn h
These chapters have a lot of good bits in them, small good bits, not major head-chopping things, but just good. From the succint and spot on description of Arya to using metals to describe the Baratheon boys, these are a good couple of chapters, even though nothing major happens.

Bran's dreams are always chilling and seem to forebode something that is chilling or odd or scary. Old Nan seems to be a sensitive and has the right of it whenever she does say something.

I always figured Shaggydog was the way he was as he mirrors Rickon as a typical toddler--emotional, unformed, prone to tantrums. Of course, that's normal in a toddler and scary as all get out in a big wolf. What was never clear to me is, would Shaggydog change as Rickon matures or is Rickon going to be sort-of stuck emotionally? In other words, is the human always dominant in this wolf-kiddo relationship, or not? Dunno.

And then Gendry appears, too. I always liked that he and Arya seemed to bond right away.

These chapters kind of remind me of several opening moves in a chess game. No side loses a piece, but everything is being moved into position for a strike.
Rob Munnelly
16. RobMRobM
@13 - Leigh, selfishly I'm glad. I used to check in on another initial read type post and the writer started having problems distinguishing between the books and the TV show. She eventually abandoned the read.

The book and TV show are different art forms, each enjoyable in its own way, but combining the two may cause trouble with enjoying the books on their own. Thanks for holding off.

Note - the TV show is causing problems for GRRM as well. The actress playing one of the parts is very different than what is written in the book, but is so good that GRRM has hinted that it is affecting his writing of the character in book 6.
Kendall Vidal
17. kenetic
Best Novel 2011: The Final Arbiter By Mark Rivera
Scott Silver
18. hihosilver28
@17 Right post, wrong article :) I haven't even heard of that book.

@RobM: Could you post which character that is? In spoiler white, of course. I'm just curious who changed, because with two exceptions everyone seemed near perfect for their characters, and even the two exceptions were quite close.
Rob Munnelly
19. RobMRobM
@18 - I don't trust the whte out. I'll post in the Tor Forum in the GoT spoiler thread.
20. The SmilingKnight
Ha! and double HA! again.

Bran chapter:
No it is not dreamwalking! In the sense that he is only dreaming it.
And it isnt magic either.

No, there is no organic tcp/ip connections to the trees either. Nor are the trees related to his "wolf dreams".

Robb? None of your business! Why are you asking? Are ou a spy? How much Lannisters payed you?! Talk!

Now im going back for more evil laughs in the rest of the... tree chapters alltogether... good choice.... hmm... Its as if someone really smart, good looking and dashing gave you a good advice.

Also the TVseries sucks donkey ass.
Like... for example... fox news.
The "wolf dreams" and those pathetic dogs in the series are one of the worst parts and probably the biggets disappointment in the whole show. Although there were many more.
Sanctume Spiritstone
21. Sanctume
I have not seen any of GoT season 1, but I lookforward to the DVD set out early March I think. I can't stand waiting around week after week.

As for books, waiting around years in between... can't do much about it.
Rob Munnelly
22. RobMRobM
@20 - I think the HBO series is awesome but three of its flaws are the lack of on-screen time for direwolves, Bran's dreams and battles, respectively. They have apparently upped the SFX budget for season 2, so here's hoping....
23. ryamano

Leigh shouldn't watch the first season of Game of Thrones because there are scenes in it that actually come from book 2 or book 3 and not book 1.

Also, thanks for pointing out where I can find the other Dunk and Egg novels! I always wanted to read them, but only read "The Hedge Knight".
24. insomnia333
I believe other than that conversation between that man and a woman, she's already gotten past all of the stuff from book 2 that got tacked onto the end of season 1 of the show.
As for book 3, I don't believe anything explicite from that book happened ont he TV show. I know there was a scene in the show that affected a character that may have ramifications when the show gets to book 3, but nothing expicitely from book 3.
Joe Vondracek
25. joev
@20: How would you know those things for sure unless your posted comments were based on stuff that happens in the book(s) beyond the point that Leigh has read up to? And if that's the case, then you are posting spoilers here.

"I'm not going to spoil it for you by telling you who the murderer is, but I will tell you that it is NOT the butler! Hahahahah!"

@15: Yeah, I thought it was interesting that the son of Robert Baratheon would have an affinity for the wild Stark daughter.
26. The SmilingKnight
@22 - yeah, second season should be better. As wolves are concerned and certain ham fisted plot and background exposition dumps involving a certain fast traveling prostitute.
There are some damages that cant be fixed regardless.
And some that will continue. Like Renly being made into a wuss.
To be clear that has nothing to do with him being gay or bi or whatever in the books. Apparently Renly from the books isnt cliche enough for the tv show.

And then some, but... long story all together.

Arya chapter :
@ Yoren’s kind of a little bit awesome. Grotty, but awesome.
- he sure is.

@Jaqen may be a crazy person (and there’s definitely more story to that one)
- Umm... We are not at liberty to discuss these matters in any way shape or form.
Also, get ready for the best Arya chapters in the whole series.

Jon chapter:
Blah, blah, blah, emo, emo, emo... Mormont is awesome.

Loved how he kicked Tarly out too. Sometimes a good boot up your arse is the best thing someone can give you.
Im pretty sure Jon would have gotten one too if he didnt manage to give the correct answer.
I think he should have kicked him just for good measure.

Expedition...? Err... umm... lets see...ahem...
... well... comments on those chapters will be fun to read i can tell you that.

Vincent Lane
27. Aegnor
The SmilingKnight@20,

First, I'd say you were posting spoilers, but much of what you spoiled is wrong, or at least very misleading.

Second, the HBO series is awesome. I'm worried about season 2, due to some characters not showing up in casting news, but I'm giving them some leway due to the awesome job they did on season 1. I agree about the direwolves, but it wasn't exactly their fault. They had two choices. Go with CGI, or go with real animals. They chose to go with the second option for very real and good reasons. Unfortunately, because the animals needed to look like wolves, they had to go with a dog like the Northern Inuit. They couldn't chose a lab, who can be easily trained. Northern Inuits are smart dogs, but they are stubburn and aren't that interested in what you may want them to do. It backfired on them, but there wasn't much they could do about it for season 1 other than limit their involvement as much as possible, unfortunately.

Word is that next season they are going to be CGI.
28. The SmilingKnight
I dont think so.Its just that miss Leigh is making wrong connections although what has been read so far is enough to think otherwise if one chooses.

Like she thinks everything odd or out of ordinary must be magic in the usual fantasy form even though we are not daling with that kind of fanatsy use of magic in these series at all.

I may have given a sort of indirect spoiler in saying that trees dont have anything to do with wolfdreams, i meant not directly too, but if we really want to go to the basics then we dont know for sure as it may well be something that springs up in some of the future books - although i really doubt it.

In any case i guess the moderators can white out the suspicious parts.
29. Ryamano
@24 Actually, there are some conversations that take place in book 3. And one reminiscence by a character became a dialogue. I will post which is which in the spoiler thread in the forum.
Vincent Lane
30. Aegnor
The SmilingKnight@26,

Sheesh, spoiler much? The Renly thing is a clear spoiler. There is no way to gather that from the first book. The hints there are completely insufficient to come to that conclusion and are only understandable in retrospect. You don't get somewhat more obvious clues until book 3, though it might be possible someone could glean it from book 2 clues if they are extremely observant. I guess it isn't really a major spoiler, but it definitely is a spoiler.
31. The SmilingKnight
Save those cheap excuses for yourself fanboy.
Thats all theyre good for.

Ive been through all of it already and behind a certain point you loyalists just flip back into never ending excuses loop that serves only to protect your emotional experience.

Not interested.

I would discuss all of it again only on a real life Westeros fan tournament. In an free for all melee with sharper arguments... and maces.
32. The SmilingKnight
damn, yeah, youre right there.

Could i get some white snow over comment about Renly in post 26?
Irene Gallo
33. Irene
SmilingKnight, Please be courteous to other readers, and Leigh, by logging-in and white-out-ing spoilers. Or, you can visit the Ice and Fire Spoiler Forum and speak more freely.
Juan Avila
34. Cumadrin
Disclaimer: I started and wrote most of this comment when only comment #29 was up, and before Irene came through with necessary white-out. To that I say thanks, and despite it, I'm going to leave that part of my comment intact, since I wrote all the words so carefully over the last couple hours; it doesn't seem right to backspace them.


I really find it difficult to comment on this read without discussing spoilers. Personally I don't get upset about them at all. I have fairly often read plot summaries of books I've been interested in reading before deciding whether to read them or not.

That said, I acknowledge (for my own safety many a time lol) that most people *hate* spoilers, and respect their wishes on the work being discussed. That's why I've been so silent on the SoIaF read comments besides expressing my love of Arya.

I'm notoriously bad at following my own advice (and who isn't?) but after the comments so far on this post, I wish more people also subscribed to the policy of not saying anything if you're unsure how spoilery it is.

We don't know exactly how much we're revealing to Leigh in each of our comments when we discuss plot or character development etc which in any way goes beyond the scope or logical inference on her current point in the book, regardless of how cleverly or roundaboutly we think we've written our comment (damn that was a long complicated sentence). Hell, we don't even know where she personally draws the line on something being spoilery or not. My worries as of yet are minimal. That's due mostly to my joining this read in only the last half dozen or so blog posts, and not reading the comments for any of the posts until I arrived at the then current one when I caught up to the read. I sincerely hope the commentary hasn't been a problem for her.

Now, I know everyone likes and prefers to talk here. I don't know about everyone else but one of *my* main motivations is thinking of Leigh reading my comments later and saying to herself 'hey that Cumadrin kid is pretty kool and wise in the ways of (topic).' But on this read I know most of the stuff I would say would be best suited on the spoiler discussion forum thread. Now, I've elected not even to do that yet since nothing has come up yet that was compelling enough to overcome my gut reaction 'eh, just don't comment.' Yet I've noticed that said thread has been underused in my opinion - at least since I joined the read - until today. Granted a big chunk of that was holiday hiatus, but there's been almost no discussion about Clash of Kings until today.

*** post disclaimer

Uh, nothing. Might go post on the forum thread. Go Arya!
Vincent Lane
35. Aegnor
The SmilingKnight@31,

Trying to take on the personality of your login name?

Anyway, if you aren't interested in the whys and hows of the decisions they made with the HBO show, that is fine. Lets just say that the shortcomings of the series were not anywhere close to impeding my enjoyment of the series. There were tons of things that I didn't like about the series. I didn't like that the direwolves weren't around much. I didn't like the sexposition, I didn't like that we saw nothing of the battle at the Green Fork. But with some of that, you have to deal with reality. The battle at Green Fork would have been incredibly costly, and take way too much time. Showing much of it at all would have been absolutely impossible. I obviously don't mean impossible from a technical sense, I mean in a financial sense. If that scene is a deal breaker, then GoT just couldn't be made into a TV series for another 20 years.
36. sofrina
"the Targaryens’ family tree is even more jacked-up than the Freys’, who at least aren’t in the habit of marrying their own siblings as far as I can tell"

the lannisters aren't in the habit of marrying their own siblings either. not really sayin' much, is it?

i think the question with rickon is does shaggydog reflect him, or does he reflect shaggydog? we don't know if rickon is dreaming of wolves and we don't know if any person is having an influence on him in his family's absence. it's never clear who is in charge of rickon on a daily basis, unlike the girls having their strict septa on hand in king's landing.

as for the exchange btw lord mormont and jon snow, it's an extension of the 'arrest gendry' issue: bastards as potential contenders for the throne. this is the very thing catelyn was worried about when she got lysa's letter in GOT: that jon might try to take robb's birthright. she was thrilled that he wanted to go the wall b/c he'd be giving up the option; and maester aemon came to the wall for the same reason, so his brother would never have to worry that he might change his mind. and not just them, but their brothers' enemies might nourish the hope of supplanting them so long as a viable alternative was around.

we know it's something jon struggles with. recall his reaction to receiving longclaw from mormont. jon didn't want the bear sword. he wanted his father's greatsword, ice, which was always meant for robb.

it's important that mormont keep putting the question to jon and force him to really think it through and be honest with himself. jon is not an adult and he needs the guidance.

as for beyond the wall, i think of that dream bran had when he was first crippled, of the north going on and on and on for many leagues until he sees something that makes him shudder. still dying to know what that is.

(cgi wolves would ruin the production value, but i'm open. at least then they could make them the right size)
37. Kaldannan
A pity you won't let yourself watch the HBO series, Leigh. A friend who wanted me to watch it with her gave me what initially sounded like a ho-hum description, then added nonchalantly, "Oh, and it has Sean Bean in it." Bam, instantly hooked, and not because I think he's a million kinds of awesome, but because he's not known for doing crap work. She also reassured me that it was one of those rare series that was okay to watch first before you read the books because they did a great job of remaining true to the story, which swept away any lingering reservations I might have had. She was right, and when I finally got to the books -- she'd had only four episodes, which ended with Catelyn taking Tyrion hostage, and I *had* to find out what happened to him -- it was wonderful to be able to put faces to the character names. For this alone, I would recommend you give in to temptation and come suffer with the rest of us. :D

As always, I enjoy your entertaining readthroughs and look forward to the next.
38. TrishL
@RobM, to further clarify the Targ family tree, I will note that Aemon became a maester and went to the Wall when his grandfather was on the throne and his oldest uncle was still alive (I think). He was the third son of the fourth son after all, so it was considered a safe life choice - the less heirs to the throne hanging around without jobs, the better.

I'd also like to comment on Noye's assessment of the Baratheons - spot on, as we can see from GoT and the Prologue of ACoK. I often think of it when I try to figure out what the heck Stannis is thinking in future books.
39. The SmilingKnight
@35 Aegnor
It seems you dont understand either english or simply written sentences.
And no, no trying is required.

@33 Irene
You know what? You could have just whited out my whole freakin posts instead of limiting only on spoiler related parts.
Its not like im writing this for other "members of comunity" either.
Not registered and will not be so i cant logg in.

Copy paste of a few parts:

It seems i cant say anything about Bran at all and one thing turned out to be wrong afterall, technically... so we will leave that as it is.

Arya chapter : @ Yoren’s kind of a little bit awesome. Grotty, but awesome.
- he sure is.

@Jaqen may be a crazy person (and there’s definitely more story to that one)
- Umm... We are not at liberty to discuss these matters in any way, shape or form.
Also, get ready for the best Arya chapters in the whole series.
(in my not so humble opinnion)

Jon chapter: Blah, blah, blah, emo, emo, emo... Mormont is awesome.(Thats my bloody interpretation of that chapter NOT miss Leigh commentary)
Loved how he kicked Tarly out. Sometimes a good boot up your arse is the best thing someone can give you. Im pretty sure Jon would have gotten one too if he didnt manage to give the correct answer. I think he should have kicked him just for good measure.

Expedition...? Err... umm... lets see...ahem... ... well... comments on those chapters will be fun to read i can tell you that much.
40. JoeNotCharles
I can't find the button to flag post #39 for the moderator, so I'll just have to air my grievance in public:

This is the second time in this comment thread that The Smiling Knight has insulted other posters who disagree with him, and he's already posted a ton of spoilers that needed to be edited out. Ban him, please.
41. SKM
@40 -- I second the motion. SmilingKnight, please crawl back under your bridge.

Also, I loved the TV show, and I only love it more now that I'm reading the books. Yes, some things on the show were not done as well as in the books, but frankly, some things were also done better than in the books. The show is brilliant as a stand-alone and amazingly faithful to the spirit of the books, even when occasionally it deviates from the letter of the books.
Ian B
42. Greyfalconway
@40 @41 I third that motion, comments like his aren't what I come on this thread for and I definitely hope nobody has been spoiled/put off by him
Rob Munnelly
43. RobMRobM'sBlog of Ice and Fire time. Funny how the bloggers thoughts run in parallel with Leigh.


I almost forgot Bran still had chapters, and it took me a few minutes of digging to remember what last happened to him in Game of Thrones. Bran was just chilling with his little bro Rickon back in the crypts, mourning their dad. Recently, their wolves Summer and Shaggy howl all the time. Maester Luwin thinks its because of the gigantic comet. Their resident wise old woman Nan just casually asserts that the comet means dragons, but everyone ignores her. Luwin should take a hint from every fantasy book ever written: if a wise old woman speaks, she's always right.

Bran complains about his wolf dreams while Maester Luwin offers his cynical scientific advice. Luwin needs to realize that he lives in a universe where dragons and zombies exist. Compared to those, a kid dreaming he's a wolf isn't that weird. Instead, Luwin acts like Bran's shrink and basically writes Cat a prescription for Ritalin. The rest of the chapter is Bran dreaming he's a wolf, which is trippy and strange and frankly kind of cool. Wolf Bran is fast, strong, and generally awesome. But it must suck when Bran wakes up and realizes he can't walk or maul annoying children anymore.


Arya witnesses the exodus of peasants seeking refuge at King's Landing to escape the war-torn countryside. Yoren's group instead travels north, stopping only to bury Praed. I don't know anything about Praed, other than that his name rearranged spells "raped." The group stops at an inn and we get some background about what's been going on. I think it's cool that Martin gives us a commoner's viewpoint on the war, as listening solely to leaders and council chambers dissociates the reader greatly from the grim, brutal reality. We learn that Grey Wind is helping build Robb's legend and Nymeria made some friends and now leads a giant roving wolf pack. Awesome. I suppose Arya could go searching for her, but that would instantly reveal her identity.

Arya meets the three chained guys in the back of Yoren's wagon. One talks a lot, one is vulgar and violent, and the last one is some sort of ogre-monster. Martin obviously wrote this scene because these guys will eventually be freed, so I am curious as to what happens when the chains come off. Maybe they'll be nice guys who will muss Arya's hair and call her "little sister." Or maybe they will, as Rorge so eloquently put it, "shove a stick up her bunghole." Arya certainly didn't help by punching Biter in the face. Arya prepares to duel the Bull, but they're interrupted by the Gold Cloaks. They want "the boy," which turns out to be Gendry, probably because Cersei figured out he was Bob's bastard son. The City Watch guys are all big and bad with their swords and warrants, but Yoren doesn't care and tells them to fuck off anyway. A fight seems imminent, but the Gold Cloaks realize they are outnumbered and peace out, vowing to return. What's going to save Yoren's band of ex-cons when the Gold Cloaks come back? My bet is on the three chained guys or a giant pack of wolves.


Jon wears gloves to hide his burned hand. He should wear one shiny glove like Michael Jackson, because they have so much in common already. Both had troubled childhoods, both are kind of emo, and both were ambivalent about being black. Gloved Jon finds Sam in the library cracked out on books. Sam has finally found his calling. I bet he can't wait to drop some cartography knowledge in the training yard. Some kid will knock Sam on his butt during sword practice and Sam will be like, "Yo fool, back in 1694 the Redwyne ranger scouted Lorn Point to Frozen Shore. Bitch."

The Watch is preparing to mass and go north to find Benjen, but Sam is worried that they will never return. Jon is confident that a few hundred ex-cons can fight the magical undead. Jon and Sam visit LC Mormont who is a cranky but funny old guy. There's some confusing history with lots of names. Cliffnotes: Aemon could've been king but actually turned it down because he made a vow. It was probably a good decision, as every king we've read about thus far has died in some horrible way. Mormont tells Jon all this because at some point Jon will have to make the same about keeping his vows. Jon promises to never break them, partly because he fancies himself honorable and partly because he a virgin and doesn't know what he's missing.
Rob Munnelly
44. RobMRobM
I'm not in favor of banning the Smiling Knight but would appreciate if he could tone it down a notch or two. His contributions to the discussion are are getting lost amidst the spoilers and name calling (literally, with the moderator white out). I'd like to see even more of the former, less of the latter.

45. Tyrion Sedai
If that's the same argumentative and careless-with-spoilers Smiling Knight that used to frequent the recap threads (seems to be the same style and... overuse... of... ellipses...), then, well, all I can say is good luck to the moderators.
46. The SmilingKngiht
Lets keep this short.

Im certainly careful about spoilers, these latest few, instead of tonns, were merely a bit of emotional reaction that meant well and they were rather indirect, just theoretically spoilers, not real spoilers anyway.
Which i recognized and sked for whiting out.
which, btw, doesnt work when i do it which i will try to do now again since this is not the topic for discussion here.

Also i never insult anyone for disagreeing, which certainly cant be said for fanboys the example of which can be seen above.
Disagreeing is fine, misunderstanding what i write and intentional misinterpetation is not.
As is calling for Kingsguard while flinging insults and hypocritical lies around, from under bridges, not to mention some other less savory places, like sewers, for example.
But i will somehow let that fly since i actually dont want to polute this section with what would be real insults, however deserved they are.

I quite like this reread in general and its fun. Its just that sometimes its hard not to... give full reaction to certain things.
Miss Leigh does a damn fine job and it would be quite fun if someone would collect her best premonitions and a few of those that didnt go in right direction.

Her being an obvious Lannister spy asking around where is Robb withstanding. :)
Vincent Lane
47. Aegnor
The SmilingKnight@39,

Heh. It could be you are just incapable of expressing your position in a clear and concise manner. Likely you are too busy throwing around insults to spend much time having any meaningful discussion.

I think I've got your argument though. It consists of the following:
"GoT sucks because it doesn't live up to my completely unrealistic expectations"
"Anyone that doesn't agree with me is a fanboi"

That about cover it?
Anthony Pero
48. anthonypero

It could also be that English is not his first language, and he actually does have difficulty expressing himself in a clear and concise manner.

Or that he's 12.

Whichever, I'm just sayin'... ;)
Anthony Pero
49. anthonypero
Also, @RobMRobM:

"Jon wears gloves to hide his burned hand. He should wear one shiny
glove like Michael Jackson, because they have so much in common already. Both had troubled childhoods, both are kind of emo, and both were ambivalent about being black."

I vote this best line in a A Blog of Ice and Fire. Evar. Like, fo real, evar.
ROTFLMAO,AIHALOATLO (A cookie to the first person to decifer this.)
50. The SmilingKnight
Dream on fanboys. Self dellusions and pathetic flaming is the only thing you can come up with after all.
51. LM
@anthonypero -
Are you calling yourself fat? As in, 'rolling on the floor laughing my ass off, and I have a lot of ass to laugh off'?
Vincent Lane
52. Aegnor
The SmilingKnight@50,

Shucks...that was a rather pathetic and boring retort. Oh well, maybe you are just 12.
53. jojoj
I'll never understand Noye thinking Robert is "the true steel". Unless drunken, abusive fat asshole is your idea of "true steel."
Rob Munnelly
54. RobMRobM
@53 - True steel as a warrior, not so much as a (mostly) peacetime King whose taste for debauchery expanded out of control over time.

@49 - yes indeed, although he has some other good bits coming up before he leaves off (sniff).
56. The SmilingKnight
Look, just repeating what i said isnt making you seem any less ridiculous or obviously insufficient in various other areas which i wont list because of pure kindness to this reared thing i enjoy so much.
Basically you guys are just too easy to even bother with. Especially here which is not the place for it.
I mentioned a few specific things that are quite cear in one of the upper whited out posts (which are still there even if you like to imagine they are not) and you didnt provide any real counter arguments for any and then you went on about battles which i never mentioned at all and just general quite idiotic drivel.
Now... if you really, really want to continue this (and the same goes for any of your partners in stroking eahc other including the happy fatass here) go over to rpg codex (google it) register and make a thread about how awesome the series is. Just be sure that you make it in the general discussion or codex library sections. Dont worry, youll have enough similarly intelligent posters to join your side, and ill just be me, though i cant guarantee a few others wont jump in. The one thing thats good about it is that moderators dont give a damn on what and how you speak there. It will be quite fun.

@53 jojoj
Noye thinks what he does about Robert because he knew him while Robert was alive. What i mean by that is that Robert Baratheon was a casualty of that war. He died. What continued was just a shadow of himself. That does not mean things he did are excused. It means whatever Robert was or could be, if things went differently (which many dont agree with but i say its not certain), was a casualty of that war as much as any of numerous dead.
Vincent Lane
57. Aegnor
The SmilingKnight@56, thanks. I'm done with you and have no desire to discuss anything with you. I reached that point when I deduced your position, which I believe I outlined in a previous post.
Anthony Pero
58. anthonypero
Time to ignore the troll. He's obviously going to respond to every single post at this point.
59. Terpsichoria
There's an interesting paralell between Arya and her wolf, both running wild, away from their pack after having to flee for their lives, although Nymeria, like Arya, seems to have a new pack now.

I've seen a lot of people talking about Tyrion's ugliness vs Peter Dinklage in the show, but I've always seen it as being more about the perception of him as not "normal" looking. They don't just consider him ugly, they consider him a freak, and I don't think that would be different even if he were a particularly handsome guy with dwarfism.
60. naupathia
Hollywood by nature pretties up everyone at least an order of magnitude from normality (so “ugly” characters are ordinary-to-good-looking, “ordinary” characters are beautiful, and “beautiful” characters are alien beings from the planet Gorgeous

Honestly in Hollywood it goes ugly -> good looking, ordinary -> beautiful, beautiful/gorgeous -> good looking. Seriously, the gal playing Cersei in the show is at best average-pretty (by Hollywood standards), and yet the book basically states she is meant to be the most gorgeous woman in the western kingdoms. I always imagined her much more "alabaster beauty" than the somewhat normal portrayal she gets in the show. But she is supposed to be around 30(?) in the books anyway, so it's probably more realistic (point being though I wouldn't expect Hollywood to be realistic).

Also, side note, when I was reading the books I always thought Heath Ledger would make the PERFECT Jaime Lannister. But then he died :( Ultra sad face.

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