Feb 24 2012 2:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings, Part 8

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 8 of A Clash of Kings, in which we cover Chapters 16 (“Bran”) and 17 (“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 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 16: Bran

What Happens
Bran knows there are many guests coming to Winterfell, and that it is his duty as prince to listen to them, but he thinks that it was knighthood he wanted, not this. He tells Hodor that he bets Hodor would have made a great knight if the gods hadn’t taken his wits. Lord Wyman Manderly has arrived this day, and Bran is obliged to go eat with him, but he makes Hodor detour on the way to the practice yard. Big and Little Walder take the opportunity to taunt both Bran and Hodor. Bran threatens to set Summer on them, and Little Walder is contemptuous of this. Maester Luwin breaks it up and chastises the Walders sharply for tormenting those weaker than themselves. He then drags Bran off and chastises him more gently for keeping Manderly waiting, and warns him to listen only and not speak.

Manderly wants White Harbor to be the seat for King Robb’s new mint for coinage, and also funds to build a new northern fleet. Luwin promises to bring the idea to Robb for consideration. Manderly also asks after Lady Donella Hornwood, who had lost both husband and son to the fighting, and offers either himself or his son Wendel to marry her. He also tells them of a letter he’d had from Tywin Lannister, who promises the return of Manderly’s other son Wylis if he withdraws support from Robb; he reassures them that he has no intention of complying, but hopes that a more suitable prisoner exchange will be effected soon.

That evening Lady Hornwood arrives, face etched with grief, and the next day she tells them that Roose Bolton’s bastard son, who has a vile reputation, is massing men at the Dreadfort, and she worries that he covets her lands. Rodrik promises dire retribution should he try anything, but recommends she wed again. She replies that she will if Robb commands it, but is unenthused by the available candidates. After she leaves, Luwin teases Rodrik that the lady fancies him. Rodrik explains to Bran that the Hornwood lands are a source of contention now that there is no direct heir. Bran suggests they name Lord Hornwood’s bastard, Larence Snow, the heir; Rodrik doesn’t think Lady Hornwood would like that much, but Luwin thinks there is merit in the idea.

Bran goes with Hodor down to the godswood to see Summer, and finds Osha there, swimming naked in the pool by the heart tree. Osha tells him she’d heard about the altercation between him and the Walders, and says it’s foolish to mock a giant, though Bran tells her Hodor never fights even to defend himself.

“Septon Chayle says he has a gentle spirit.”

“Aye,” she said, “and hands strong enough to twist a man’s head off his shoulders, if he takes a mind to. All the same, he better watch his back around that Walder. Him and you both.”

Bran tells her Walder is too wary of Summer to try anything, but Osha is not convinced. She asks about his “wolf dreams,” and he lies to her that he hasn’t had anymore. That night, he dreams that the weirwood and the three-eyed crow are calling to him.

The next day two Umber men come to Winterfell, Mors and Hother. Mors (crudely) wants to marry Lady Hornwood, and Hother wants ships to defend against the wildlings coming down from the north in increasing numbers. Rodrik orders him to work with Lord Manderly for the latter, despite Hother’s contempt for Manderly. The Glovers are represented by their steward, who tells them Larence Snow has wits and courage. Luwin praises Bran for the notion later; Bran doesn’t think it matters, as he is sure he will never inherit Winterfell, but Rodrik tells him nothing is ever certain.

Leobald Tallhart is concerned about his nephew running wild, and Rodrik tells him to tell his nephew that Robb commands him to stay put. Tallhart also proposes to send his son to foster with Lady Hornwood and take the name so the house would continue. Luwin likes this idea, but he and Rodrik agree to consider the matter carefully before advising Robb.

The rest of the vassals of House Stark check in either in person or by message over the following days. The last to arrive is Cley Cerwyn, son of Lord Cerwyn, who is a captive of the Lannisters. Bran greets him warmly, as they had been friends, and Cley asks if Stannis has written Winterfell as well. Bran doesn’t know what he means, and Cley tells him that Stannis declares that Joffrey is a child of incest, fathered by Cersei’s brother Jaime.

For a moment Bran felt as though he could not breathe. A giant hand was crushing his chest. He felt as though he was falling, and clutched desperately at Dancer’s reins.

He goes back to his rooms, and prays for no dreams, but that night he has a terrible nightmare in which the three-eyed crow pecks out his eyes and then stabs at his forehead.

The pain was an axe splitting his head apart, but when the crow wrenched out its beak all slimy with bits of bone and brain, Bran could see again. What he saw made him gasp in fear. He was clinging to a tower miles high, and his fingers were slipping, nails scrabbling at the stone, his legs dragging him down, stupid useless dead legs. “Help me!” he cried. A golden man appeared in the sky above him and pulled him up. “The things I do for love,” he murmured softly as he tossed him out kicking into empty air.


Wow, I never even considered what it might mean to Bran that Stannis spread the news about the Lannisters’ incest far and wide. Ow, that must have been like getting hit in the face with a hammer, mentally. Oh, poor darling.

I almost kind of wish he’d never remembered, just to spare him that pain, even though I hope in the long run knowing the truth will be for the better. At least this way he knows exactly who to blame. And to hate, I suppose.

I’m trying to remember now who knows for sure that it was Jaime who pushed Bran out of that window. Jaime and Cersei, obviously, and Tyrion is I think about 95% sure of it, but I’m having trouble remembering whether Catelyn (and, by extension, Robb) ever conclusively suspected Jaime, or if Catelyn still thinks Tyrion was behind it because of Littlefinger’s stupid dagger. I know I should know at this point, but at the moment I’m having a total brain fart over it.

In any case, it’s good that this chapter had such a momentous ending, because otherwise it was incredibly boring. I think this was partially on purpose, to show how bloody boring being a high noble and having to deal with vassals and such really is – and if I find it boring I can’t imagine how an eight-year-old is finding the fortitude to sit through it – but that’s not much help, really.

Also, there’s no way I’m going to remember these people for long. Fortunately, Martin seems to realize that no one but the most eidetic of readers is going to keep all these ancillary characters straight, and usually manages to drop enough reminding hints in the text that you can pick up where you’ve seen them before (if you have). And if he doesn’t drop any hints, I tend to take it as a sign that I don’t particularly need to remember that character anyway. So it’s fine, mostly.

I do feel sorry for Lady Hornwood, though. For losing her husband and son, of course, but also for the consequences of that. It must be horrible, being discussed and eyed by everyone around you like you’re a valuable horse for sale, and worse, knowing that you yourself have virtually no say in the transaction. Ugh.

[Nan] would never tell Bran why [Mors’s] gaunt brother Hother was called Whoresbane.

*blink* Yeah, I would imagine not. I laughed when I first read that, but on reflection I think I’m kind of appalled, if the nickname means what I think it means. Hopefully I will never find out.

Oh, and the Walders are total snots and need to go away. They are going to cause a shitstorm sooner or later, and I do not like them, Sam I Am. I do not like them At All.

I think it’s interesting that it’s mentioned at least three times in this chapter, in one way or another, how physically powerful Hodor is, and how he would be an awesome knight if he weren’t so simpleminded (and if he were actually willing to, you know, fight people). I don’t know yet whether to attach any significance to that, but it pinged my attention in a mildly Chekhov’s Gun kind of way, so I tend to think it might not be a coincidence. Hmm. (Warning: do not click that link if you want to get anything else done in the next few hours. I’m not kidding.)


Chapter 17: Tyrion

What Happens
Tyrion goes to Maester Pycelle early and bids him to send two copies of a letter to Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne immediately. While Pycelle is out of the room, Tyrion looks at his medicine collection, noting the great number of poisons among them, and palms a small bottle of something. Pycelle returns, clearly dying of curiosity about the contents of the letter, but Tyrion dodges all his hints, and asks that any reply be brought to Tyrion alone, implying that Cersei and Joffrey know nothing of the letter. Tyrion thinks, One, and leaves.

He meets with Bronn, who tells him Lady Tanda is stalking him again, hoping to get Tyrion to marry her fat, dim-witted daughter. He also foists off a moneylender from Braavos and a gaggle of bakers, butchers and grocers asking for protection from mobs incensed at the skyrocketing prices on food. Bronn tells him a black brother named Thorne is here with some kind of rotted hand in a jar; Tyrion remembers Thorne well and not at all fondly, and tells Bronn to stash him somewhere unpleasant and “let his hand rot a little more.”

He runs into Cersei at the gate, who is very displeased by Tyrion’s disposal of Janos Slynt. She tells him Renly has marched from Highgarden, and is very concerned over it. Tyrion opines that Renly should not concern her no matter how many men he has, for if Renly is smart, he will wait and see what the outcome is of the battle between themselves and the Starks before making a move. Cersei thinks Tyrion a fool, and wants him to make Tywin bring his army to Kings Landing, and free Jaime too. Tyrion doesn’t think either of those things is in his power, and Cersei calls him “worse than useless”, and flounces off. Tyrion thinks to himself that he is far more concerned about Stannis, on whom they have almost no intelligence at all, than he is about Renly, though he acknowledges that if the two brothers attack together it will be a disaster.

He goes back to his rooms to find Littlefinger there. Tyrion compliments his knife, and Littlefinger slyly offers to give it to him, by which Tyrion can tell Littlefinger is aware that Tyrion knows about the attempt to frame him for the assassination attempt on Bran, and doesn’t care. Tyrion considers what he has discovered about Littlefinger’s rise to power, and his cleverness both in matters of business and in securing positions for people firmly in his pocket, and wonders if he dares try anything against him.

Tyrion comments that he’s heard Littlefinger knows the Tullys, to which Littlefinger claims he had both Lysa and Catelyn’s maidenhoods. Tyrion thinks this is a lie, but is not completely certain. He tells Littlefinger he wants to take Lysa a proposal on his behalf. Littlefinger points out that Lysa loathes Tyrion, and Tyrion replies that that is because Lysa believes him to have killed her husband, but he plans to offer her the true identity of Jon Arryn’s killer in return for her martial support against the Baratheons. He will also name “that appalling child of hers” Warden of the East.

“And to seal the bargain, I will give her my niece.”

He had the pleasure of seeing a look of genuine surprise in Petyr Baelish’s grey-green eyes. “Myrcella?”

“When she comes of age, she can wed little Lord Robert. Until such time, she’ll be Lady Lysa’s ward at the Eyrie.”

Littlefinger asks what Cersei thinks of this, and laughs when Tyrion shrugs. He asks what’s in it for him, and Tyrion tells him “Harrenhal”, to the other man’s shock. Tyrion sees the greed in Littlefinger’s eyes and knows he has him. Littlefinger asks why he should trust this offer when the last man to be granted Harrenhal came off so badly, but Tyrion shrugs and says he needs Petyr, where he didn’t need Slynt. Littlefinger accepts and leaves, and Tyrion thinks, Two.

Varys appears an hour later, and mockingly scolds Tyrion for taunting Pycelle so cruelly with secrets. Varys has already deduced that Tyrion’s letter to Doran Martell offers him not only a seat on the council in return for fealty, but also to deliver to him Gregor Clegane, the man who had raped and murdered his sister Princess Elia and her son. Varys points out that Clegane is Tywin Lannister’s sworn man, and wonders what would happen if Martell demanded “the blood of the lord who gave the command as well as the knight who did the deed.” Tyrion counters that technically, Robert Baratheon led the rebellion.

Varys thinks there is more to sweeten the pot, though, and since Myrcella is already being offered to Lysa, it must be Tommen. Varys thinks it a good plan except for the small problem of Cersei, who he thinks might send away one of her precious children, but not both. Tyrion says what Cersei doesn’t know won’t hurt Tyrion.

“And if Her Grace were to discover your intentions before your plans are ripe?”

“Why,” he said, “then I would know the man who told her to be my certain enemy.” And when Varys giggled, he thought, Three.

Clever, clever Tyrion.

So clever, in fact, that I was having a certain amount of difficulty following some of what happened in this chapter. Some of that, I’m sure, is just because Tyrion has not yet deigned to fully explicate his manipulations in his own mind, i.e. to the reader (I have no idea what vial he took from Pycelle, for instance, or what he’s going to use it for), but some of it is because of my own faulty memory. I have the broad shapes of events and most of the larger filling strokes, but the smaller, more intricate details sometimes slip my mind.

And sometimes, honestly, some of the bigger ones do, too. For instance, and this is really embarrassing, I can’t remember if we’ve ever decisively found out who killed Jon Arryn. I mean, I know why he died – because he found out about the incest – and I’m therefore 99% positive it was Cersei, with Pycelle as the triggerman, so to speak, but I honestly can’t remember if we’ve been told that by this point in so many words, or if that’s just a reasonable deduction.

And if Cersei is the murderer, who exactly is Tyrion planning to give to Lysa? The mother of the son she’s being asked to swear fealty to? How is that going to work? Or is the point I’m missing here that Tyrion doesn’t expect either of these peace treaties to ever get off the ground? In which case, why offer them?

Argh. I’m clearly missing something here, and it’s pissing me off.

Well, it’s annoying, but only to be expected, I guess, when you combine the complexity of the material with the rate at which I’m reading it. I was trying to avoid going back and reading my own old entries on the Read, but I may not have a choice if I get much more confused. And regardless of whether I felt a little bit lost amid all the political machinations, that didn’t change the fact that they were fun to read. I do love me some sharp, layered, cunning dialogue, and that’s pretty much all this chapter was. For example:

“You are a cruel man, to make the Grand Maester squirm so,” the eunuch scolded. “The man cannot abide a secret.”

“Is that a crow I hear, calling the raven black?”


“Unless Lord Petyr would care for some refreshment?”

“Thank you, but no.” Littlefinger flashed his mocking smile. “Drink with the dwarf, it’s said, and you wake up walking the Wall. Black brings out my unhealthy pallor.”

Heh. I don’t like Littlefinger, but he and Varys between them could give the characters from Dangerous Liaisons lessons in deliciously poisonous bon mots.

But whether I fully understand what Tyrion is doing or not, beyond the obvious broad goal of corral the Council, I do hope it all works out for him. Even though I really don’t get how he thinks he’s going to get away with shipping Myrcella and Tommen off to two of the Lannisters’ biggest enemies. To say Cersei will pitch an epic shitfit over the idea would be the understatement of the geological age, and I’m really not getting at the moment how that is to Tyrion’s advantage, as he seems to think it is.

Well, hopefully it will be explained to me later. And again, maybe the point is that he never expects either of these negotiations to even get that far. I kind of trust at this point that Tyrion’s smart enough not to make such a huge mistake without doing it on purpose, making it not a mistake at all, of course. Let’s hope I’m right in that trust.

Though he did definitely make one mistake in this chapter, and that was ignoring Alliser Thorne. Believe me, Tyrion, I think Thorne is just as big a tool as you do, but dammit, go look at his hand inna jar, because there is very important supernatural shit going down, and you need to know about it! Argh.

And on reflection, I’m not sure I agree with his assessment of Renly either. Sure, a smart man would totally sit out the Stark-Lannister fracas, and either make peace with the winner or attack them while they’re weakened. The flaw in this is that I’m not sure Renly actually is a smart man. I don’t think he’s a moron or anything, but vanity is a terrible, potentially fatal weakness for a military commander to have. We’ll see, I guess.

But not today! Have a delightful weekend, peoples, and I will see you next week!

1. deBebbler
First? Wow.

I loved they Tyrion chapter, but I was also frustrated what 1-2-3 signified
2. Carolyn h
These are not two of the most exciting chapters in the book. I did like Tyrion's comment about how Cersei could get so steamed up about something that was, after all, true.

Other than that, well, they just aren't all that exciting.
3. Pheran
I won't say what it was, but this entry was another case of Leigh having one of those amazing insights that she doesn't understand yet. :)
Tess Laird
4. thewindrose
~Delurking for a moment~
I loved this Tyrion Chapter, so much comes from this. One of the reason I don't really comment here - hard not to do spoilers.
But yeah - this is a magnificent showcase of the mind that is Tyrion:)

Anthony Pero
5. anthonypero
1, 2, 3... he talked to three people as he said it. Waited for a particular moment, then checked off the number. I honestly can't remember, but re-reading it, it seemed to me that he was manipulating the manipulators.
6. JimmmyMac80
And sometimes, honestly, some of the bigger ones do, too. For instance, and this is really embarrassing, I can’t remember if we’ve ever decisively found out who killed Jon Arryn. I mean, I know why he died – because he found out about the incest – and I’m therefore 99% positive it was Cersei, with Pycelle as the triggerman, so to speak, but I honestly can’t remember if we’ve been told that by this point in so many words, or if that’s just a reasonable deduction.

There is no certainty on John's killer, but both Tyrion and Ned believed that Cersei is responsible after learning that he knew about the incest.

And if Cersei is the murderer, who exactly is Tyrion planning to give to Lysa? The mother of the son she’s being asked to swear fealty to? How is that going to work? Or is the point I’m missing here that Tyrion doesn’t expect either of these peace treaties to ever get off the ground? In which case, why offer them?

I would assume that Tyrion would give her Pycelle, not Cersei. As for the point of offering the two treaties you'll just have to wait until Tyrion's next chapter to find out his reasoning behind both treaties.
7. Black Dread
It amused me how Tyrion the dwarf immediately took command of the situation as soon as he become Hand - while big bad Ned fumbled and bumbled about until he was simply eliminated.
8. Marcela
To answer your question, no, Leigh, we have not decisively found out who killed Jon Arryn. Don't worry; your memory is just fine.
9. Lsana
I'm 90% certain that Tyrion went with the hunting party the day that Bran "fell", so Catelyn knows that he wasn't the person who tossed Bran out of the tower, but I think she still at least half-believes that he's the one who sent the man with the dagger.
Rob Munnelly
10. RobMRobM
Leigh etc - tyrion suspects a top adviser is spying for Cersei. The use of three unique dispositions of kids is intended to flush out the spy.
11. Paulie
I wasn't sure why Tyrion was counting the people he talked to when I first read the book, but I think I know now. Please white this out if it's a spoiler, but I don't think it is.
The best way to find out if someone is telling someone else your secrets is to give 3 people, 3 different secrets. The one your enemy comes back at you about tells you who the snitch is. Given that each of the people Tyrion talked to have different stories, if Cersei comes at him about one of them, he will know who informed on him.
Please let me know if I'm missing something here.
12. Paulie
RobM just said what I said in 7 less lines...never thought of myself as wordy. :)
Rob Munnelly
13. RobMRobM
Re the bran chapters - I predict some day you will be thankful that you got this suvrey of the major northern families. They are not the same and they have different interests - which Robb and the Winterfell group will have to address going forward.
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
I love the creepiness of Bran's dreams - and Osha's apparent knowledge of what they may mean.

I'm surprised and intrigued by Hodor as a potential Checkov's gun warrior. Never picked up on that.

Walders - boy, grrm knows how to write characters who are not nice (ex. W - joff).

Rob (on road today and oosting from mobile device).
Rob Munnelly
15. RobMRobM
Re who killed Jon - in AGOT varys told Ned that Jon's squire delivered the Tears of Lys (and then was killed in a jousting "accident"). There was no resolution re who put the squire up to it. Therre has been no indication in text that Varys told this info to Tyrion. So, we have no idea who Tyrion has in mind re the guilty party. I agree he is not thinking of fingering his sister.
Rob Munnelly
16. RobMRobM
Re who pushed bran - I don't believe anyone has figured that out yet, other than Tyrion.
17. The SmilingKnight
3. Pheran Friday February 24, 2012 01:27pm EST I won't say what it was, but this entry was another case of Leigh having one of those amazing insights that she doesn't understand yet. :)

- oh, so much.
Im keeping a few quotes from the first comentary for the future.
Damn it! :P

7. Black Dread Friday February 24, 2012 02:10pm EST It amused me how Tyrion the dwarf immediately took command of the situation as soon as he become Hand - while big bad Ned fumbled and bumbled about until he was simply eliminated.

-hah, that one cracks me up too!

10. RobMRobM Leigh etc - whited out - tyrion suspects a top adviser is spying for Cersei. The use of three unique dispositions of kids is intended to flush out the spy.

- thats a spoiler.
You better white that out.

BTW mrs Leigh, - not getting some details about potions, someones deaths and words and moves is - AS IT SHOULD BE.
The game of thrones is hard to master or figure out ... and youre playing with the best after all. (and that as a lowly beginner too)
Robert DeJulis
18. DeJulis
One of the reason I don't really comment here - hard not to do spoilers.
That's why I tend to not comment on this read; outside of reminding Leigh about what's happened and who knows what/did what, there's not really much to say.

It really bugs me that many of the comments here are along the lines of "oh ho Leigh you are almost on to something!"

- DeJulis
Catherine Archambault
19. Uniqua
What was the bottle that Tyrion took from Pycelle? Can someone post an answer in the spoiler thread?
Joe Vondracek
20. joev
I wouldn't consider explication of Tyrion's ploy to be a spoiler; I understood what he was doing the first time that I read this chapter. It's a fairly common trick when someone's trying to figure out who's been spilling the beans about confidential info. I've even used it myself IRL.

@15: That's an unfortunately worded closing sentence. I really don't believe that Tyrion is thinking along those lines. Might want to edit that.
Robert DeJulis
21. DeJulis

I'm fairly certain that was intentional.
22. the bottle
You'll find out in the next Tyrion chapter what was in the bottle he stole from Pycelle.
23. Rezidu
Leigh, since reading at a snails pace is causing you issues keeping characters and events fresh in your mind, why do it that way? Read a chapter/write the review & commentary/repeat until done and let them dole out your write-ups to the web at a more leaisurely pace. You have mentioned more than once how drawing out the reading process is causing you issues. Just curious.
Rob Munnelly
24. RobMRobM
Not intentional, but very funny in light of all in the family issues with the Lannisters. LOL.
Eli Bishop
25. EliBishop
SmilingKnight @17 - Not a spoiler; Tyrion says exactly what he's doing!

"And if Her Grace were to discover your intentions before your plans are ripe?" "Why," he said, "then I would know the man who told her to be my certain enemy."

On first reading I thought it was odd for him to explain that to Varys when Varys is one of the three people he's trying to entrap. But it still works, because if Varys is loyal to Cersei then he can't *not* inform to her on such an important matter, even if he knows it'll alert Tyrion. Varys could try to tell her "Don't confront Tyrion about it because then he'll know I told you," but knowing Cersei, there's no way that would work.
Julian Augustus
26. Alisonwonderland
This Tyrion chapter sets up what I consider two of the best moments in the book. Had me in stiches the first time I read it, and still never fails to invoke a chuckle even after all these years.
27. DorneSand
Leigh - i would definately recommend rereading your posts, even on a reread i find my self going who is this guy again? do we like him? which lands does he hold again? we are not even a third of the way through the second book yet so there is still tons of info to come

i love this Tyrion chapter it absolutely shows the contrast between him and Ned, Ned didn't even come close to using a scheme like this to help him to figure out who he can trust the least he would just grumble to himself about it

i don't know if having read alot of mystery/detective novels helps me or hinders me when reading this series
Cersei is just to obvious a suspect isn't she? but then in real life who has the most to gain/the most motive is usually who ends up doing the crime so ...
also the same with Jon Snows mother, we are given two candidates unbelieveably early on in the story so that just made me immediately dismiss both of them

i love the Walders as characters they are both little shits but entertainingly so and it seems that Little Walder the big one is a bit more of a shit than Big Walder the little one
Juliet Kestrel
28. Juliet_Kestrel
I liked the part in the Bran chapter when the bird picked out Bran’s third eye. I have a feeling that someone more versed in comparative mythology could give an account of how important that symbolism is in addition to letting Bran remember what happened to him. I however cannot give that account. I wish I could. I never got to take mythology at college because the class kept conflicting with my actual major requirements. Stupid major requirements ::kicks rock::

I wonder if now Bran will get his real magic powers, or if his dreams will now be usefully prophetic.

Tyrion is awesome and clever that is all.
29. The SmilingKnight
25. EliBishop VIEW ALL BY | SmilingKnight @17 - Not a spoiler; Tyrion says exactly what he's doing!

-yeah, ok... i thought it might be more fun if mrs Leigh figures it out herself.
30. MickeyDee
Robm @15:

"I agree he is not thinking of fingering his sister."

I agree. That would be Jamie.
Matthew Hunter
31. matthew1215
Juliet @ 28: The norse god Odin gave up his eye for wisdom, and is famous for his two raven companions (Thought and Memory); that's the best parallel that comes to mind.
Joe Vondracek
32. joev
@28: In many religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Christian mysticism, etc.), the third eye is a kind of gateway to enlightenment or a higher realm of consciousness. That's probably where GRRM is pulling this from. So maybe the crow is trying to unleash Bran's inner Stark?
daniel floyd
33. flodros
@ RobM and others,

There is a council after Cat recovers from saving Bran from the assassin. Something along the lines of:

Cat: "why would someone want to kill Bran"

Robb: "to silence him"

Cat: "What could he have seen? It occurs to me that the Queen and her brother didn't go hunting"

Robb goes all wannabe with his sword.

So I'm pretty sure that Cat, Robb, Theon and Rodrik suspect who is responsible, if not why.
Rob Munnelly
34. RobMRobM
@33 - I don't have my books handy but I don't recall the discussion being that tied to Cersei and Jamie re the Bran push. I could be wrong. Can someone check?

Don Barkauskas
35. bad_platypus
@33, 34: flodros is (mostly) correct; the whole conversation is spaced out over several pages, but the most relevant part is:
"My sister Lysa believes the Lannisters mudrered her huband, Lord Arryn, the Hand of the King," Catelyn told them. "It comes to me that Jaime Lannister did not join the hunt the day Bran fell. He remained here in the castle." The room was deathly quiet. "I do not think Bran fell from that tower," she said into the stillness. "I think he was thrown."
They (Catelyn, Robb, Maester Luwin, Theon, Ser Rodrik) then decide that someone needs to go to King's Landing to find out the truth, which is why Catelyn ends up going. So they have Jaime speculatively tied to it but not Cersei, because she would not have been expected to go on the hunt. It was Jaime's unusual behavior that caught their attention.
Rob Munnelly
36. RobMRobM
OK, that makes more sense with my imperfect memory. Generalized concern about Jaime but not Jaime and Cersei together. Thanks to both flo and bp.

Rob Munnelly
37. RobMRobM is the Blog of Ice and Fire, belatedly (I was away in Washington DC on vacation - FYI the Spy Museum is really well done.) Enjoy them while you can as we are getting closer to the untimely end of the blogger's efforts:


Back and Winterfell, Bran voltrons with a gigantic dim witted servant named Hodor. It sucks for Bran because he has to do all the annoying lord paperwork but gets none of the usual benefits. He can't joust or swordfight or climb or even dress himself anymore. However, not many knights get to ride a 7-foot tall Hodorse. If Sir Lancelot had a choice between riding an ordinary horse and Shaquille O'Neal, he'd pick Shaq every time. Despite this, Bran still gets made fun of by the douchebag Frey kids, and Maester Luwin shuttles him off to talk politics and business. The lesser lords are doing their best to sell Bran on their coins and ships, especially Fat Wyman.

Afterward, Bran hangs out with Osha. Apparently, despite an attempted kidnapping and murder, the Starks think it's okay to let Osha be alone, naked, with one of their 8 year old princes. Then the chapter talks about bastards and widows and other inheritance stuff that I don't particularly understand. Martin must have a huge excel spreadsheet to keep track of who marries who and who is lord where. Anyway, we learn that Bran has selectively blocked out the traumatic experience of Jaime shoving him out a window. But at the end of the chapter Cley Cerwyn discusses the Stannisfesto's twincest claim, which causes Bran to dream about the incident that night. The important thing here is not that Bran remembers, but that Mr. Cerwyn has successfully peformed inception. Cue loud foghorn noise.


King's Landing is not doing great. Everyone fears that King Bob's brothers will march on the city at any moment. The Lannisters have enemies everywhere and daddy Tywin can only be in once place at a time, much to Cersei's dismay. Thus, Tyrion must set out and win alliances for the Lannisters, through letters and marriages and Littlefinger's cock. We get some backstory on Pedo Petyr, who turns out to be quite the social climbing businessman, multiplying the king's fortunes and debts while simultaneously inserting his own cronies. He also nonchalantly brags about stealing both Tully sisters' "maidenhood," though probably not at the same time. Littlefinger is attempting the rare mother sister daughter trifecta with Cat Lysa and Sansa, impressive. Play on, playa. Tyrion offers him a big castle, and that's enough for Littlefinger and his virginity stealing cock to be on the next ship to the Vale.

Next, Tyrion details his plan to give the Prince of Dorne the killer of his sister. I don't even know who Doran Martell is and had to look at the map to find Dorne, but the guy must be important if the Lannisters are considering giving up GREGOR. Supposedly Tywin ordered GREGOR to rape and kill Doran's sister and her child. While that does sound like something GREGOR would do, let's not convict an innocent man. Remember, we're talking about GREGOR here, who is not only a knight but also happens to be the single greatest academic mind in all of Westeros. Are we sure he killed Elia? Someone call Ser Johnnie Cochran.
Juliet Kestrel
38. Juliet_Kestrel
@32 Joev,
Yes that is more along the lines of what I was referring to. I was thinking that by opening Bran’s third eye the crow might be opening the conduit of the Stark Children’s Wolf Magic Stuff, enlightening Bran if you will, in addition to letting Bran remember the falling incident.
Matthew Hunter
39. matthew1215
Juliet@38: I'm going to defend my preference for the Odin parallel by citing spoilers: In A Dance With Dragons, Bran finds a seer who has given his body to a tree in return for the magic of the children of the forest.

That's not to say that the third-eye parallel isn't also valid, of course, but between the raven, the painful eye-pecking, the price of his legs, and
the tree, the character parallel for Bran is clearly Odin rather than generic third-eye mythology. I wouldn't be surprised to find other parallels if I read up on the yummy norseness before another reread.
Juliet Kestrel
40. Juliet_Kestrel
@39 mathew1251
Well I am reading along with Leigh at the moment, but that is getting tougher every week. I just took a professional exam this weekend and took a big midterm yesterday, and so have all this time on my hands with the not studying like crazy. I really feel the need to power through a good book. But I also still have a giant pile of books I haven’t read yet stashed on various shelves, maybe I will look through them, instead. I haven’t decided.

But I will read your spoiler when I finish the series.

Here is a question. Maybe RobM will know. Is there a SOIAF webpage similar to the 13th depository for the Wheel of Time? Just curious.
Rob Munnelly
41. RobMRobM
Yes. is the big one that covers all things ASOIF, both books and TV shows. Tower of the Hand is another. Both are excellent. ToH has the nice feature that you can set your knowledge level (e.g., only read up to AGOT) and the website won't show you spoiler info beynd your scope.
Rob Munnelly
42. RobMRobM
@40 Juliet, my favorite fun book of the year was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Just the thing to get you moving after exams.

Plot - Bill Gates-ian founder of a virtual reality world used by everyone across the globe in a dystopian, disfunctional future dies and tells all he has hidden three "Easter Eggs" somewhere in his world - all keyed to his love of the games, music, movies and TV shows of the 1980s - with the finder of the last egg to gain his entire fortune. The story follows the obsessed teen egg hunter who finds the first clue. The resulting story is akin to Willie Wonka meets the Matrix, and is tons of fun.
Juliet Kestrel
43. Juliet_Kestrel

That does sound like a nice fun read. I may just check it out.
44. David B
Since nobody else has definitively stated it, I will come out and do so: At this point in the series, it has not been made absolutely clear who killed Jon Arryn.

I would also like to second the recommendation for "Ready Player One". Just be prepared for a very fast read.
Andrew Mills
45. ajmills
I'm a late comer to this series, so have only just gotten to this point.

As far as who killed JR, sorry, Jon Arryn.

I feel that his darling wife Lysa either did it herself, or instigated it (getting Jon's squire to poison him).

Why? Because apart from being a tad mentally unstable (whether she was before Jon's death or not I am unsure), she is obviously wayyyy over protective over her son, who she still breasts feeds at a very late age.

Jon wanting to send their son off to be fostered (was it with Tywin Lannsiter? I forget), was probably enough to push her over the edge and have Jon done away with so she wouldn't "lose" her son.

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