Fri
Feb 3 2012 1:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings, Part 5

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 5 of A Clash of Kings, in which we cover Chapter 9 (“Arya”), and Chapter 10 (“Davos”).

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 9: Arya

What Happens
Once off the kingsroad, Yoren’s caravan makes excruciatingly slow time, but Arya decides it would still be worse to go off on her own even though she herself can slip by their scouts with contemptuous ease. The others are treating Gendry like someone special now, though Gendry rejects this angrily, and Lommy speculates that he might be “the wolf lord” traitor’s bastard. Arya tells him he is not.

Yoren decides to go around Gods Eye to the west to avoid notice, but food soon becomes scarce in the forest. Arya catches a rabbit once, and even the chained men get some; Jaqen thanks her, but Rorge calls her “Lumpyface Lumpyhead Rabbitkiller.” Yoren is bitter that they are treated with suspicion and hostility at the few homesteads they do pass, and mutters that it used to be that a man in black was honored wherever he went.

They have to detour far out of their way to avoid a party of armed men who the scouts report have obviously been fighting, since Yoren is not sure what their allegiance is, and soon after they come upon a village that’s been burned and pillaged, with corpses displayed on stakes. They rescue a tiny girl and a woman with her arm cut off. Hot Pie confesses he’s scared to Arya, and she admits the same, and they have something of a reconciliation.

The woman dies after a day. That night Arya goes to sneak out of the camp to pee out of sight of the men, but Hot Pie stops her and warns her there are wolves in the woods. Arya pretends to be scared and goes back to bed until Hot Pie is gone, and then sneaks out again. She is in the middle of pissing when she sees eyes shining at her in the dark, and one of the wolves surrounding her comes out and bares his teeth. Arya is terrified, but then the wolves simply leave, and Arya races back to camp. She tells Yoren about the wolves, and then about Nymeria and how she drove her wolf off with rocks.

“I bet if she’d been in the city, she wouldn’t have let them cut off Father’s head.”

“Orphan boys got no fathers,” Yoren said, “or did you forget that?” The sourleaf had turned his spit red, so it looked like his mouth was bleeding. “The only wolves we got to fear are the ones wear manskin, like those who done for that village.”

Arya wishes she was home, and Yoren reflects aloud that it might have been better if they’d gone by sea, or not left King’s Landing at all; until now, he’s only lost three men in thirty years on the kingsroad, but he seems sure that’s going to change. He tells Arya to sleep, but she lies awake, listening to the wolves howling and something she thinks might be screams.

Commentary
Oh, this is probably wishful thinking, but what if that wolf were part of Nymeria’s super-pack, and that’s why he didn’t attack, and therefore an Arya-Nymeria reunion is imminent, yes yes? That would be SO COOL.

*bounces*

Hey, I can hope!

Gendry: I like him, he seems like a decent guy. And I love that the others are theorizing that he’s Ned’s bastard. That’s just all kinds of ironic, that is.

I also love that Arya thinks that she’s not being brave enough, when she’s in reality being braver than about 97% of girls her age could possibly hope to be. And not her particular brand of stupid reckless courage, either, but the kind that lets you walk through a scene of utter carnage and still go on and do what you have to do. “Keep calm and carry on,” as the British would say. That’s the kind of courage you want.

The wounded soldiers the party avoided: probably not terribly important in the grand scheme of things, though I might turn out to be wrong on that. But my impression was it’s all just to convey the general atmosphere of pillage pillage pillage. I’m unclear from the chapter whether I’m supposed to infer that that particular group of soldiers were also the ones who destroyed the village Yoren et al come upon later, but again, I’m not sure it actually matters from our point of view.

Lastly, Yoren seems to be having a bit of a crisis of faith in this chapter, or the nearest equivalent. If he ends up chucking it all to go live in a tree or something and leaves Arya and Gendry (and the rest of the recruits, I suppose) in the lurch, I shall be very Put Out.

 

Chapter 10: Davos

What Happens
Davos watches as Melisandre presides over the burning of the icons representing the Seven, and shushes his sons when they mutter rebelliously about it. He thinks of how the queen’s men had destroyed the sept and imprisoned the septon as well, and feels ill. He thinks that Maester Cressen would have stopped this; Davos knows that the maester had fallen to the poison he had attempted to use on Melisandre, and so dares not attempt to kill her himself.

Davos thinks some of the other lords are not thrilled by this either, but doesn’t dare speak to them about it, as they consider themselves far above the Onion Knight. He doesn’t begrudge the fingers Stannis demanded from him for his smuggling, in light of all that he has received in return, but worries what will happen if Stannis fails to gain the throne.

Melisandre tells the crowd of an ancient legend in Asshai of a burning sword called “Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him.” Stannis strides forth and in a carefully staged manner draws out a smoldering sword from the pyre of the Seven, though he is forced to drop it when it catches his glove on fire. The Queen and Melisandre declaim it as the fulfillment of the prophecy, but Davos keeps silent.

The Red Sword of Heroes looks a proper mess, thought Davos.

After a brief discussion with his disgruntled sons, Davos heads to an inn near the docks, where he meets with a flamboyant former pirate named Salladhor Saan, whom Davos had recruited to Stannis’s cause but who remains cheerfully flippant about the entire matter. Saan tells Davos about Tyrion’s arrival at King’s Landing, and thinks that the city is ripe for the taking. He also relates that Renly has left Highgarden with his new queen and a “mighty host” and now marches toward King’s Landing. He also openly opines that the sword Stannis pulled from the fire was not Lightbringer, and tells Davos the true story of how Azor Ahai forged the sword, where after several failed tries he completed it by plunging it into the heart of his own wife, Nissa Nissa. Saan takes his leave, and Davos tries to picture himself stabbing his wife for a magical sword, and cannot.

He is summoned to attend Stannis soon after, and upon arriving finds many of the other lords leaving. One of them, Ser Axell Florent, stops to tell Davos how he’d seen a vision in the flames of the Seven’s pyre that guarantees Stannis’s victory. Davos answers carefully that he’d only seen fire and smoke, and pushes past him to Stannis.

Stannis shows him a letter which he plans to distribute far and wide in the Seven Kingdoms and beyond, in which he declares that Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella are not the issue of his brother Robert, but the product of incest between Cersei and Jaime Lannister, and thus Stannis lays claim to the throne. He signs the letter with the closing “Done in the Light of the Lord.” He asks Davos’s opinion on the letter, dismissing the rest of his lord followers as sycophants and bootlickers. Davos points out that Stannis has no proof of the incest he accuses Cersei and Jaime of; Stannis counters that there is a bastard of Robert’s at Storm’s End (Edric Storm) who is the spitting image of Robert and thus will cast doubt on Joffrey and Tommen. Davos further points out that most people will not see Edric at Storm’s End, which Stannis acknowledges as “a difficulty.” Davos reluctantly voices his other concern with the letter: the closing.

“You have given me an honored place at your table. And in return I give you truth. Your people will not love you if you take from them the gods they have always worshiped, and give them one whose very name sounds queer on their tongues.”

Stannis stood abruptly. “R’hllor. Why is that so hard? They will not love me, you say? When have they ever loved me? How can I lose something I have never owned?”

Stannis tells Davos he believes in no gods, least of all this new one, but there is no doubt that the red priestess has power of some sort, and he believes she may prove his advantage in a field where he is otherwise outnumbered. He says the Seven never did anything for him, and so now it is time to try someone else.

Commentary
Mm, a new POV character. And not a once-off Prologue type, either, or at least so I assume. Interesting.

And foreboding, all of it. There’s nothing uglier than a religious war; they fester and burn both. And ironically enough, it’s often the ones who normally would be perfectly happy to leave religion out of it altogether who get worst caught in the crossfire. I.e. Davos.

I like Davos a lot, but then I have an awful lot of sympathy for him for his clear aversion to this whole religious brouhaha, probably because I would feel exactly the same. Fanaticism sucks across the board, in my arrogant opinion, but it never sucks more than when it is used to bolster political gain, which is just the worst kind of hypocrisy if you ask me.

Or maybe “hypocrisy” is not the right word I’m looking for, since it is of course perfectly possible for said fanatic to sincerely believe that declaring himself king/emperor/supreme ruler/whatever by divine fiat in order to crush out the unbelievers is the right thing to do, but in that case it’s even worse. Mark my words, the bit in the U.S. Constitution mandating the separation of church and state was one of the single wisest clauses ever inserted into a charter of law.

Be that as it may, the merits or lack thereof of the sincere religious tyrant are not really our concern here, because true devotion (for good or ill) is clearly not Stannis’s problem. And in his attempt to ride Melisandre’s god’s influence to political ascendancy, Stannis proves that he’s just smart enough to be incredibly stupid. But hey, maybe he wants to be king over a land that will be tearing itself apart with religious wrangling for centuries to come!

Sacking temples and burning icons, of all the damn fool things to do. And then this letter! Which, don’t get me wrong, spreading the news about the incest and Joffrey’s total lack of a legitimate claim to Robert’s throne is all good in my book, even if Davos is right about the lack of proof, but Davos is also right that the “my new god trumps your old gods” part is going to completely drown the rest of it out anyway.

Sheesh.

And this burning sword business was just hilariously painful. Like, COME ON. It wasn’t even a good fake miracle! If that monk guy who got killed in the tourney could rustle up a flaming sword, Melisandre could do at least that much as well, surely? Or, hey, maybe not. Maybe all her power is good for is shrugging off poisonous substances, how would I know?

Either way, I do not buy for a moment that Melisandre actually believes Stannis is Azor Ahai – any more than Stannis does, in fact, which is also hilarious and painful. And ironic. I sure would like a look inside her head, to see how much (if any) of her religious devotion is real and how much is smoke and mirrors. Her power is real, obviously, at least to some extent, but that means nothing in terms of her true convictions.

And of course, now I have to wonder where the real Azor Ahai and his actual magical burning sword are going to pop up, because they totally are. Let me go out on a limb and say, they ain’t going to show up where Melisandre would prefer. I also really hope the new Azor doesn’t feel the need to forge his sword by murdering his wife, because what the fuck.

So, watch your back, Davos. Stannis may not care that you think this new god is rubbish (for the very good reason that he thinks the same, the hypocrite), but everyone else is going to care, a lot. And that’s the kind of caring that can get a good agnostic very much killed.


And that’s our show, ladies and gennemun! Have a fabulous and possibly Superbowl-oriented weekend, and I’ll see you next week!

48 comments
Tenesmus
1. Tenesmus
My week is complete. Thank you!
Tenesmus
2. TBGH
Now I remember more of why I was rooting for Stannis in this book. Sure he's incredibly harsh and doesn't think in terms of the common folk's good, but he IS the rightful ruler by the law of the land and when he finds a good guy who disagrees with him he listens. He might not change his mind, but aside from the Starks who else in this world has even bothered to listen to advice from their underlings?
Zayne Forehand
3. ShiningArmor
Leigh, I'd like to thank you for getting my butt in gear. I flew through Game of Thrones when Season 1 of the show was coming. I immediately picked up A Clash Of Kings and proceeded to get about 20% of the way through it (according to my Kindle) and sputtered out. Now that you're closing in on where I stopped I decided to pick it up again and man did I forget how much I like these books. Based on what I've read so far, I feel like this first 20% is a lot positioning people for what comes after and I look forward to you catching up with me.

Your commentaries are great as always and I'm also an avid WoT Re-read fan. Keep up the great work!
Tenesmus
4. AJD
"That monk guy who got killed in the tourney" didn't get killed in the tourney. He was part of the group Ned sent later on to apprehend Gregor Clegane. (His name is Thoros.)
Tenesmus
5. Darth Touma
The Constitution doesn't declare any separation of church and state.. The First amendment states that congress "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Thomas Jefferson then stated that this created a "Wall of separation between the church and state." Not the same thing..
Joseph Isaac
6. joebuu
@4 - AJD
I was just about to point out the same. Also, Thoros worships R'hllor too but I can't remeber if that was stated in the first book.
Tenesmus
7. Carolyn H
These two chapters are kind of difficult for me to talk about because, for one thing, this is the first appearance of Davos as a POV character. We 've never heard about Davos before and don't know anything about him other than what's in this chapter. He's obviously meant to be a sympathetic character--a guy who earns his title the old fashioned way--he deserves it. He wasn't born into it or didn't come from some high-born family. He got there from his own success in life, though smuggling isn't something you normally think of as something you get rewarded for. Davos also appears to have a clear idea of the differences between himself and the other lords who were born into the position, and he is smart enough to use that difference to his advantage when talking with Stannis. He has no other political alliances, it appears, but Stannis. He's not jockeying for position with the others because the only position he cares about is the one he fills with Stannis.

The other thing that makes the Arya chapter also difficult to talk about is that not much actually happens that moves the plot forward. Bascially, it's a travleing chapter, moving from there to here. Arya has this meeting with a wolf, but does it really mean anything? We learn a little more about Gendry, but not much. The pillaging part is more than a little grim and simply underscores the dangers and difficulties of surviving in Westeros.

For me, both of these chapters are about laying the groundwork for things to come. In and of themselves, there's not a whole lot going on--no snappy combacks or obvious plot movement. At this point, these two chapters almost seem like an interlude in the "real" action.
Tenesmus
8. sofrina
If that monk guy who got killed in the tourney could rustle up a flaming sword, Melisandre could do at least that much as well, surely?

the red priest did not die in the tourney. he was dispatched with lord beric dondarrion and 100 men to arrest gregor clegane & co., by ned stark.

i haven't given any thought to who the real azor ahai might be, but hey, maybe it's our skilled young blacksmith, gendry! at least we know he has the skill.
Sean Vivier
9. SeanVivier
I just love what the introduction of Davos establishes about Stannis's character. The man sees only absolutes and the wording of laws. Sure, Davos risked his life to save Stannis and his men. But he did it by smuggling and the punishment for smuggling is a shortened hand. So he gets a knighthood for loyal service and loses his fingers for breaking the law in the process. A writer could say "Stannis is harsh," but this just shows it in a way a mere adjective never could.
Tenesmus
10. Black Dread
In SOFI, religion isn't a justification for war, it is a tool of war.
Tenesmus
11. John Blklabel
I've been reading this blog since the start and as a reader of the books it is so fascinating to me the future assumptions you're making based on the other fantasy/sci-fi series you've read. I'm not trying to poke fun or be condescending, just pointing out how cliched so many things have become in fantasy writing. I cannot wait to read your reactions to future events in the series, you'll be blown away. Martin NEVER, EVER pulls punches, you're afraid for everyone, ALL THE TIME.
Matthew Hunter
12. matthew1215
I have to admit, reading your take on the burning sword and how it was forged... well, I'm going to be *really* *interested* in your take on some scenes later on, to see if you pick up on what I think they mean. And that's all I will say, because anything further is spoiler territory.

I agree with the other commenters that Davos is a really effective character in his own right as well as illuminating the character of Stannis.
Marcus W
13. toryx
I enjoy Davos' POV. I didn't think I would, since I'm not really a fan of a billion POVs after reading the Wheel of Time for ten years (at the time that I originally read CoK) but he's really a well crafted character. I'm always impressed at how much GRRM demonstrates of his character, his personality and his values in those simple scenes. The mark of a real craftsman, that.

Loved the scene of Arya and the wolf. I found it very exciting on my first read too.
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
I like what GRRM is setting up here - the compare and contrast between and among Ned, Tyrion and Davos as Hands (in name or not) of their respective kings. This comparison also highlights that so far, Robb does not appear to have named a Hand to help him rule. Need to follow additional chapters to see if that situation remains the same (i.e., Robb as the Hand-less King) or whether someone serves the role and how well they do it (Catelyn? His Great Uncle the Blackfish? Theon? Umber or Karstark?)

Arya's chapter is a traveling chapter - not much to say.

Rob
Tenesmus
15. altarego
Arya's chapter about traveling north is suppose to run counterparallel Ned's journey south with Robert in the beginning of GoT. In that chapter, he specifically warns Ned about a war brewing, and now we see the beginnings of that war. The journey south was idyllic, for the most part; north, not so much.
Corkryn Williams
16. MadCow21
If you don't think of Azor Ahai's "sword of fire" in the literal sense, it's already fairly easy to draw a parallel with his story and that of a certain other character.
Tenesmus
17. LM
Love the commentary, as usual (I compulsively check this site for updates on Tuesdays and Fridays):

Or maybe “hypocrisy” is not the right word I’m looking for, since it is of course perfectly possible for said fanatic to sincerely believe that declaring himself king/emperor/supreme ruler/whatever by divine fiat in order to crush out the unbelievers is the right thing to do, but in that case it’s even worse

I might disagree that it is worse. Surely, the end effect of a sincere religious tyrant can be just as bad or worse than somebody like Stannis, but at least they are sincere and think in some misguided way they are doing something good. I am not in anyway advocating such a thing, but I find hypocrisy to be an added sin (although perhaps a minor one compared to starting a brutal war) and basically he's saying he's okay with all the bloodshed and chaos even though he doesn't believe it's for anything that is true. For all intents and purposes, both types are bad, bad news.
Tenesmus
18. sofrina
@16 - thank you. either my memory has fractured or i am an idiot.
Tenesmus
19. ryamano
RobM,

Davos isn't Stannis' hand. He's just some minor lord he likes to get opinion from.
Anthony Pero
20. anthonypero
People who are hypocritical rather than fanatical are guided by self-interest. People who are guided by self-interest are always easier to deal with than people who are guided by true faith, because you can accurately predict thier responses.

That being said, I have far more respect for a person of strong convictions than for a hypocritical weasel... but I'll take the weasel as my enemy over the fanatic any day.
Anthony Pero
21. anthonypero
ryamano@19 and RobM:

whited for spoilers...

Davos becomes Stannis' Hand... it hasn't happened yet. RobM, you need to white that out or revise it.
Anthony Pero
22. anthonypero
Altarego@15:

That also works as a meta comment on Westeros as a whole.
Vincent Lane
23. Aegnor
Carolyn H@7,

"We 've never heard about Davos before and don't know anything about him other than what's in this chapter."

He was in the prologue chapter. He was friends with the Maester Cressen. He saw Cressen put the poison in the wine glass before giving it to Melisandre.

Also @14, for clarity sake, Davos is not Stanis' Hand. It's a Florent (Axell?). Davos is just a trusted knight whose council Stannis values.
Tenesmus
24. The SmilingKnight
A comment totally without any sort of spoilers:

Last week i jumped and read a couple of chapters forward to remind myself whats ahead and i was wondering what will you make of Aryas chapter.
Its not just a travelogue chapter as some here already commented.
One thing that martin does very, very well, even surprisingly so, is the theme of war. He presents it very realistically. And better than any other writer ive read. (Despite never been directly involved with one, as far as i know). And i say this as someone who has.
This chapter is an introduction to that particular talent Martin has. To that theme.

Davos chapter... ah, very difficult. I really think someone should keep Leigh score on predictions. Both good and bad.
Davos is certainly one of better characters we meet. As for the rest ill just say that despite this beginning i came to quite like Stannis - as a King. In a sense that he really means business. Not in the sense of "oh he is really nice."
And other things i cant really talk about at all here, right now.
Im sure very few people have the same opinion.

As for the rest. Ill just zip my mouth.
Eli Bishop
25. EliBishop
Stannis's self-righteousness makes for some of the funniest dialogue in the series, and the bit where he's editing the letter is one of my favorites. He has to call Jaime "the Kingslayer", not for the sake of insulting him, but just because it's CORRECT. But then he has to give him the title "Ser" because that's also correct. And he won't call Robert "my beloved brother" because technically he didn't love him. And he knows everyone will probably be offended but that's THEIR PROBLEM.

There's at least one Stannis on every Internet message board.
Rob Munnelly
26. RobMRobM
To all - let me be clear: Davos is not Stannis' actual Hand. He is someone who advises Stannis and tells it to him straight. That's what I meant to imply with the "in name or not" reference. The point still holds that there is an interesting compare and contrast set up among Ned, Tyrion and Davos.
Eli Bishop
27. EliBishop
ryamano @19: Well, RobM did say "in name or not", which I took to mean that Davos's role is sort of Hand-ish. But yeah, he doesn't have the title or the executive role that Florent does.
Tenesmus
28. Skyweir
@TBGH:
I don't know....I mean, the Seven Kingdoms only became a single Kingdom after the Targaryen conquest. So really, no other family has any claim to the Iron Throne, since they made both it and the Realm. And Dany is still alive, and so is the lawfull monarch.

Stannis thus have no better claim than any others, and in addition is not very well suited to the throne. He has too many enemies, a bad marriage, only one child and no support in the commons. Even if he could take the throne, there will be another civil war when he dies.
Rob Munnelly
29. RobMRobM
Have to agree with the Smiling Knight that the Arya chapter does give us an excellent worm's eye view of the impact of the Game of Thrones on the common folk - a powerful perspective that we don't often get elsewhere in the series to date.
Tenesmus
30. owleyes
From the first time I heard mention of the R'hllor prophecy, I just assumed it was about Dany. It just seems to fit with the whole dragon thing, and the "fire magic" seems to be part of the force that I think will eventually oppose the "ice magic," re: the Others. It is called "A Song of Ice and Fire," after all :)
Tenesmus
31. JohnnyMac
EliBishop @25:
"There's at least one Stannis on every Internet message board."

So true and so funny. Perhaps we could make this into a useful new term of reproach, as in: "Dude, don't be such a Stannis, OK?".
Tenesmus
32. adamas
For clarification the monk guy is indeed Thoros of Myr, a Red preist of R'hillor, and currently off somewhere as part of the 100 men Ned sent after clegane, which has already been said:
As for the swords: Stannis' fake miracle sword thingy is a glowing sword, it gives off light, is somewhat shiny, and he caries it around; in contrast Thoros covered his sword with oil and lit it on fire, ruining the steel, and requiring it to be replaced after his battle.

hope that helps
Tenesmus
33. ryamano
@30

That also came to mind the first time I read the Davos chapter. Three times to forge a sword, last time a loved one dies. It connected to Dany's story instantly. I would like to read Leigh's opinion on a series where the "prophecized savior" (or the supposed prophecized savior, since we don't know yeat if prophecies come true in ASOIAF or whether Dany is the fullfilment of this one) is a woman and not a man. Especially in a series like this, where women have the same roles as in our medieval times. I actually would like to know a lot what she thinks about Dany, but let's wait for her chapters.
Vincent Lane
34. Aegnor
ryamano@32,

I don't think what you are saying is true. Stannis. The sword in this chapter was likely lit in the exact same way Thoros' was. He certainly doesn't carry it around while it's on fire, and it seems to be a blackened mess.

You are thinking of his sword later, which is a more advanced fake magic sword.
Tenesmus
35. The SmilingKnight
@25
Yes indeed. Very true and funny.
And a very similar thing was what he did to Davos. He cut of his fingers tips for punishment because as a smuggler he simply had to be punished - because that is correct to do.
But on the other hand he was as lenient as possible. He didnt cut his hands off or his head and then he rewarded him substantially for the service and bravery. A reward not only to Davos himself but to his whole family as a noble position (including a piece of land and positins for his sons) will be in their posesion in perpetuity. A great boon.

And then you have the fact that Stannis actually listens and values his opinion. Even if its something he doesnt want to hear or he decides against it sometimes.
Very comendable - and rare.

@26 You phrased it correctly. I would say that Davos is , in a way, a more of a Hand then whoever holds that position officially.
At least in the sense of being simmilar to Eddard-Robert relationship on a more private level. As someone who tries to do whats right instead of just brownnosing and being subserviant. Also as a sort of conscience.


@29 Whited out spoiler teritory :

I would say that we get more parts about this theme. Quite a lot really.
All of the chapters about Aryas voyage... (remember her stay with the mountain?) Then with all the Brotherhood without banners stuff and especially within A Feast for crows and Brienne chapters.
Anthony Pero
36. anthonypero
Yes, Stannis is what Galad from the WoT would be if Gawyn were the oldest and better looking brother.
Tenesmus
37. wickedkinetic
I wasn't really excited about Davos at first, but in the audio book Dotrice gives him a bit of a pirate voice, and now I find him much more tolerable. I didn't make the obvious smuggler/pirate connection at first but like him better because of it. Arrrrrrr. And the outlaw who got involved in a war and was brought-up to lower-nobility is common enough in these stories, but its nice to get it from a first-person perspective.

Arya's just cool.

Time for a bad joke, brought to you by the Baratheon brothers:
Rob-B: "So how tall do you think Tyrion is actually?"
Renly: "Oh - about Asshai....."
Stannis: "uhhh - I don't get it."
David
38. damnlefty
Hey Leigh, in response to:



What is: Stephen Colbert's interview with Bjork, discussion of Icelandic forest elves, and his SuperPAC Making a better tomorrow, tomorrow by raising over 1MM so far from viewers.

Connecting to children of the forest and Nymeria's super PAC of wolves...well played sir (only because I know you don't want me to say ma'am). Well played.

Keep up the great work making an even better review, the next review
Tenesmus
39. DorneSand
when meeting new people in these books i can find myself thinking i wonder what Tyrion would think of them?
Davos reminds me of when Tyrion is talking to Jon in aGoT about don't get pissed off when someone calls you a bastard because, well, you actually are a bastard

Davos knows the other Lords look down on him and will never see him as their equal and he doesn't complain, he knows who he is and just gets on with it and does his best to serve Stannis
i like his honesty and practicality

while taking on R'hllor is a bad public relations move i can understand why he did it
- the common folk never loved him before
- he never belived in the other God(s) anyway
- he knows Melisandre has power and wants to (or seems to want to) help bring him to power and the burning makes her happy so why not

which is why Stannis needs Davos because he seems to have no understanding of how important public relations and marketing are when ruling or wanting to rule people
Leigh Butler
40. leighdb
damnlefty @ 38:

Well done!

(And actually, I'm totally fine with "ma'am".)
Rob Munnelly
41. RobMRobM
@39 - The Davos to Tyrion point is excellent. Re Stannis, it seems more basic than that. He's desperate to become King, which is his right and lives in a black and white world, but doesn't have the power to get there by purely conventional means. Thus, he brings in a big red magical item. And if believing in Rhillor is the price of admission, he will pay it.
@38 - Bless you. Leigh's challenge was bothering me but I had no clue.
@37 - so bad it's funny. Well done.
EliB @25 - forgot to say this earlier, but your Internet message board point re Stannis puts you in the running for the funniest comment so far on the blog in ACOK. Bravo

Rob
Jennifer McBride
42. vegetathalas
It always made me angry that the truth Ned died for was one Stannis already knew. Most of the trouble and pain of the last book could have been avoided if Ned decided to take a trip to Dragonstone and just talk to the jerk. Jerk!
Anthony Pero
43. anthonypero
Umm... I'm not sure this is strictly true. Ned sent Stannis a letter detailing what he had uncovered. I'm not sure Stannis knew before that.
Rob Munnelly
44. RobMRobM
AP - He knew. He was working with Jon Arryn on all the black haired bastards, then bailed out to Dragonstone to begin planning his campaign - insofar as he doubted his brother would live long.

Rob
Vincent Lane
45. Aegnor
The letter from Ned to Stannis never made it. It was intercepted by Cercei.
Tenesmus
47. jcfocarino
Leigh, watching you describe your impressions of Melisandre at this point is what I love about this Read. To me, she's kind of like the Cadsuane of ASOIAF where you either love her or hate her. I can't wait to see how you feel about her! .
Tenesmus
48. MoreJorahPlz
Blog of Ice and Fire:
***************************

Arya continues to travel with Yoren on the Kingsroad to the Wall. Everything along the journey is sunshine and rainbows. People celebrate in villages they pass, and every night their little group sits around a campfire and sings Kumbayah. Rorge makes smores and Biter plays the banjo. (This is not what happens). Martin seems determined to hammer home a theme that was prevelant all throughout Game of Thrones: life is not fair. Good characters are born as bastards or as dwarves or into slavery, while bad characters get wealth, power, and beauty. The honorable guys don't always win in the end, and the douchebag assholes sometimes never get what they deserve. In a perfect world, Yoren and his guys would get free drinks all the way to the Wall and Arya would get a hug from Jon. But not in Martin's universe. The situation in the Riverlands is harsh and horrible. Everyone is on edge and the group travels in constant fear. They avoid a group of wounded soldiers and even rescue the "please, please" crippled woman and her baby. We get plenty of description about her, but it's all for nothing as she dies the next day. The kids have to drink water that tastes like dead bodies and piss in front of wild animals. It's only a matter of time until Arya comes face to face with her direwolf. Surely Nymeria will remember her former owner, but I don't look forward to her meeting Yoren or Hot Pie or Gendry.

____________________

Davos was a smuggler turned knight. Kind of like Han Solo, if Han Solo had a bunch of kids, developed an inferiority complex, and had a man-crush on Admiral Ackbar. Davos shouldn't feel bad though, because this is fantasy. The smuggler farmboy / street beggar / ordinary girl always turns into a Knight / Jedi / Prince / vampire girlfriend. Davos watches Melisandre burn old, non-red religious stuff. Everyone is nervous, but I don't know why. Clearly this guy R'hllor knows what he's doing. He can give you a +50 defense buff against old maester poisoning. He can light swords on fire. His red wizards are smokin' hot chicks. But it seems only Selystache loves the bonfire. This must be what it's like when Tom Cruise tries to convince all the other Hollywood Stars about Scientology -- everyone mumbles their half polite, half terrified agreement. Davos gets a recap of King's Landing events from Salladhor Saan, a smuggler slash trader slash banker slash notorious pirate. Meanwhile, Stannis plans to deliver hundreds of letters proclaiming that King Bob's "kids" are actually the product of twincest. Great start with the commoners, Stan. You are not only doing the first ever spam mailing campaign in the history of Westeros, but you're also laying the groundwork for future heredity lawsuits. Peasants, are tired of watching your siblings own land? Just sue them, because they aren't trueborn heirs! Call the law firm of Lannister & Lannister. But Stan knows that words alone won't win him his rightful throne. So he's chosen his weapon, and it's red and flaming. In the Lord of Light way, not in the homosexual way. Sorry Dave.

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