Fri
Mar 2 2012 2:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings, Part 9

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

Today’s entry is Part 9 of A Clash of Kings, in which we cover Chapters 18 (“Sansa”) and 19 (“Arya”).

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 18: Sansa

What Happens
Sansa reads the unsigned note someone had left on her pillow (“Come to the godswood tonight, if you want to go home”) and agonizes over whether it is a genuine offer of help, or a trap. She debates taking it to the queen to show her loyalty, but cannot help hoping it is the answer to her prayers. One of her maids comes in, and Sansa hides the note hastily, unsure of whether the girl saw it. Cersei changes her servants regularly so she cannot befriend them, and she is sure they are all spying on her. She sends the girl away and then burns the note. She is not sure how she would even get past the knight on the drawbridge to go to the grove anyway.

She goes to bed, still wrestling with the dilemma. She wishes she had someone to tell her what to do, but Septa Mordane is dead, and she still doesn’t even know what happened to Jeyne Poole. She even misses Arya, though she is sure Arya must be home safe and happy by now. She hears a commotion from below and sees men running on the walls, and then sees that the guard on the drawbridge is gone. She throws on a cloak and takes a knife, even as she thinks herself mad for risking this, and hurries out. She sees Joffrey in the courtyard, but he does not see her.

She runs to the godswood, and is heartbroken when she sees that it is Ser Dontos waiting for her there. She can tell he is drunk, but Dontos insists that he wants to help her. She doesn’t believe him, and laments aloud that she had prayed for a knight and instead got a fool.

“I deserve that, though… I know it’s queer, but… all those years I was a knight, I was truly a fool, and now that I am a fool I think… I think I may find it in me to be a knight again, sweet lady. And all because of you… your grace, your courage. You saved me, not only from Joffrey, but from myself.”

He reminds her of the story of Florian and Jonquil, and falls to his knees before her. Sansa asks how he would get her away, and Dontos admits it will be difficult, but will find a way. He tells her his life is “a poor thing,” but it is hers, and swears before the gods to get her home. Sansa is unsure, but accepts. Dontos says he doesn’t dare risk another note, and tells her that she must come to the godswood as often as she can to meet with him, as no other place is safe. He also warns her that he will have to continue mocking her in his role as fool. She agrees, but begs him to work as fast as he can. She kisses his cheek and leaves.

On her way back, she runs headlong into the Hound. He is very drunk, and demands to know where she’s been. She tells him she was in the godswood, praying for her father and for Joffrey. He calls her a liar, and tells him to sing a song for her. He pushes her back toward her rooms, but gently. At the drawbridge, he is rude to Ser Boros Blount, and covers for Sansa when Blount asks where she went. Blount tells them there was trouble at the gate, with cityfolk rioting over the rumor that there is to be a feast for Tyrek’s wedding.

As they go on, Sansa asks Clegane why he prefers being called a dog over being called a knight. Clegane tells her the story of how his grandfather was kennelmaster at Casterly Rock, and his dogs saved Lord Tytos Lannister from a lioness attack, and received lands and a squireship for his son in return.

“The three dogs on our banner are the three that died, in the yellow of autumn grass. A hound will die for you, but never lie to you. And he’ll look you straight in the face.”

Sansa promises to sing him a song one day gladly. He snorts and calls her a bad liar, and warns her that she is surrounded by liars much better at it than herself.

Commentary
Ain’t nothing wrong with a hound, yes… as long as the hound doesn’t go rabid.

Clegane hasn’t so far, at least not as far as Sansa is concerned, but that’s no guarantee of anything. I think that he genuinely likes her, even admires her in his own way, but a man like him is exactly the kind to destroy what he loves if the wrong thing happens. All it takes is one bad day. I was frankly kind of surprised that this one wasn’t it.

As for Ser Dontos… ehhhhhh. He makes me very nervous. I believe he’s totally sincere, for what that’s worth, and I think it’s highly admirable of him that he’s willing to take such a risk for honor’s sake, but again, a man subject to such self-destructive behavior (even if his is a different type altogether from Clegane’s), well, it’s difficult to trust that he can stand up under pressure when it counts. I would love to believe that he’ll come through for Sansa, but given her luck so far… ehhhhh.

Then again, maybe she’s due for a change. I deeply, deeply hope so.

I wonder if maybe I’m supposed to be annoyed that Sansa is practically the archetype of the damsel in distress here, wishing and praying for (literally) a knight in shining armor to swoop down and save her from peril. But the thing is, I’m really not.

I would be annoyed if all the female characters were just sitting around waiting for men to rescue them all the time, but that is extremely demonstrably not the case, and it’s simply a truth that not everyone can be strong in the same way as, say, Arya or Catelyn or Daenerys are. The fact that Sansa is actually the exception as opposed to the rule when it comes to the major female characters in ASOIAF makes me very happy, in fact. The women in this world have practically everything working against them, and yet Martin has managed to make that not a way to marginalize them, but instead has made it the gauntlet they run to prove their worth. I appreciate that.

And as I’ve said before, Sansa has consistently been displaying her own kind of strength, and her version of it is just as admirable, if not even more so in its way. And besides, I don’t know that anyone in her situation would be any less trapped than she. There is a certain virtue in recognizing when you are simply in over your head and need help.

That said, it is a frightening thing to be dependent on the bravery of others. Especially when “others” consists of a disgraced drunkard and a borderline sociopath with a chip on his shoulder the size of Utah. “Any port in a storm,” indeed. I continue to be very concerned for her future.

 

Chapter 19: Arya

What Happens
From a high branch, Arya examines the village by the lake shore, which shows signs of occupation. She thinks back to the night after the raid; she had insisted they sneak back to the fort to find Yoren, but they had only found his corpse, and Arya couldn’t decide whether to cry or kick the body. The only other survivors they’d found were Tarber, Cutjack, and Kurz, but Kurz had died of his wounds a few days later, and Tarber and Cutjack abandoned them soon after, so now they were down to Arya, Gendry, Hot Pie, Weasel (the refugee girl) and Lommy, who had taken a wound to the leg during the fight and now could no longer walk. They’ve been traveling for days, surviving on berries and acorns and bugs.

She climbs back down and tells the others that there are people in the village, and they argue over whether the people there would kill them or give them food. Lommy and Hot Pie want to yield, but Gendry tells them to shut up. He says he’ll go scout after dark, but Arya says she should go. Gendry says they’ll both go, and refuses to change his mind even though Hot Pie and Lommy beg him not to leave them alone with Weasel. He promises they’ll come back, and he and Arya leave.

Once away, Gendry tells Arya that he thinks Lommy is going to die, and the sooner the better. He think they should leave him and Hot Pie and Weasel too, before they get them all killed.

“You’re the only one of the bunch who’s good for anything. Even if you are a girl.”

Arya froze in her steps. “I’m not a girl!

“Yes you are. Do you think I’m as stupid as they are?”

Arya insists he’s wrong, but Gendry dares her to prove it by taking a piss in front of him. She tries to divert him by demanding to know why the gold cloaks are after him, but Gendry says he has no idea, and counters by asking why she thought they were after her. Arya realizes the game is up, and decides to trust him. She tells him her real name: Arya, of House Stark. Gendry connects the dots and is shocked to realize who her father is, but even more that she is a highborn lady. He starts stammering apologies for talking crudely in front of her, calling her “m’lady.” Arya hisses at him to stop that, and tells him he’d better keep on treating her the same way he’d been.

“As m’lady commands.”

Arya slammed his chest with both hands. He tripped over a stone and sat down with a thump. “What kind of lord’s daughter are you?” he said, laughing.

This kind.” She kicked him in the side, but it only made him laugh harder.

They continue on to the village, and agree to split up. Arya reaches the shoreline and sees that a gibbet has been thrown up, with six dead corpses rotting on it, covered in crows and flies. There are two armed guards there as well. As Arya watches, they are joined by a third man, who is dragging a captive; Arya realizes it is Gendry by the horned helm they take off him. The guards rough him up and drag him to a storehouse; when they open the doors to toss him inside, a small boy tries to run out but is caught. Arya then sees the banners over the long building: one is the Lannisters’, and the other is three dogs on a field of yellow, which Arya finds familiar but cannot place.

Arya waits and watches while more men show up with food, and others come out to eat and then leave again. Finally there is only the two guards left, and Arya sneaks back to where Hot Pie and Lommy are. She tells them what happened, and tells Hot Pie he has to help her get Gendry out. Hot Pie insists they can’t, and Lommy wants to either go give themselves up to the men or just leave without Gendry. Arya refuses to budge, and reluctantly Hot Pie agrees to come with her.

Arya has to lead Hot Pie by the hand through the woods, and they creep toward the storehouse, until Hot Pie is startled by a crow and gives their position away. He stands and throws down his sword, screaming that he yields. Arya tries to fight but is quickly disarmed, to her shame. They are brought before a huge man, wearing the dog banner on his surcoat, and Arya remembers that this is the Hound’s brother, the “Mountain That Rides”. Hot Pie leads Clegane and the others to where Lommy is; Lommy immediately yields as well, though Weasel has run off. Clegane demands to know where “that whoreson Dondarrion” is, but Lommy doesn’t know what he is talking about. When he admits that he cannot walk, one of the other men casually drives his spear through Lommy’s throat, killing him.

Commentary
Oh em gee, you guys, Gendry knew Arya is a girl! And didn’t care! I love him! Squee!

He is totally my favorite now and should marry Arya so they can be awesome together forever. I am going to draw hearts around their names on my Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper and cover them with glitter and shiny star stickers. And UNICORNS. Gendry/Arya FTW! Their Love Will Be So True!

…Er, assuming he survives, of course. He’d better survive! And Arya too, but I have (slightly) more confidence that Arya will make it out than Gendry. So I’m crossing my fingers big time here.

Because they have been captured by Gregor Clegane, and that is Not Good, if I may be allowed to make such a wild understatement. If they discover Arya is a girl… *shudder*

Well, not that it would have gone much better if anyone who captured them found out she is a girl, admittedly, but Clegane adds that special extra dash of spicy dread to the shit stew Arya et al are currently in. Maybe Nymeria will come and save them, y/y?

Nicely done, by the way, the set-up in the Sansa chapter for this one, where Sandor explains to Sansa about his family sigil, which made the reveal re: the banners in this chapter work exactly right. Very clever.

In other news: Aw, Yoren’s dead. That sucks! I will miss him, oddly. He was gross, but he had gumption, which is more than a lot of these characters can claim.

Semi-relatedly, I realize now I was a bit thrown by Sansa’s assumption in the last chapter that Arya would undoubtedly be back in Winterfell living the high life, because I had this (apparently completely erroneous) assumption that Sansa had been led to believe that Arya was dead. So, what, Sansa thinks that Arya escaped? But who does she think Arya escaped with, then? Oh, maybe she thinks that Arya made it to the ship they were supposed to leave on? Okay, that makes sense.

Anyway, back to this chapter. And not only Yoren, but Lommy died too. And… well. It’s terrible, and the way he died was awful, but… yeah, I’m having some trouble generating a whole lot of sympathy for him.

[Lommy:] “I need some potion for my leg, it hurts bad.”

“If we see any leg potion, we’ll bring it,” Gendry said.

*snort*

Sorry, but he was just kind of a shit. I feel like maybe I am a bad person for not feeling more for him, but honestly I only have just so much commiseration to go around for fictional characters, and ASOIAF is kind of stretching my commiserating reserves to the max, so, well, there you go.

And speaking of characters deserving commiseration: Poor Weasel. I wonder whether we’ll ever see her again. And whether anyone will ever give her a better name, because wow.

And what happened to the Psychos Three? There’s no doubt that at least Jaqen survived the fighting, because there’s just gotta be more to his story. It would probably be very ironic and hilarious if they ended up rescuing Arya and Gendry and Hot Pie, but all things considered I think that’s rather unlikely. Unless they’re in that storehouse already? ‘Tis a possibility, I suppose.

I do like the parallels in these two chapters, with both sisters finding that they have to make the decision to trust someone who they know may choose to betray them, and each finding the courage to trust anyway. Trust is a difficult task under any circumstances, and in Arya and Sansa’s respective situations, well, it’s even more miraculous than it might otherwise be. Regardless of whether either of their choices comes back to bite them in the ass, I applaud that they both had the courage (and the sense) to take the chance where the benefit might truly make the difference between survival and… not.

And by the way, I have probably already gone on about this too much already, but I really do have to reiterate my love for Arya. I have respect for Sansa, but I really identify with Arya, in case that wasn’t already screamingly obvious. She is just so kickass and resourceful and awesome, I heart her for days.

There are a number of characters that I will be very upset about if Martin kills them off, but Arya is probably one of the only ones (Jon is the other) who I will actually have to chuck the book across the room if she dies. Please do not shit on my dream of Arya growing up to be amazing, GRRM!


And with that heartfelt plea, we out! Have a delightful weekend, me chickies, and I’ll see you next week!

36 comments
Steven Pattingale
1. Pattingale
Thank you for the read! :)

Enjoyable as always reading your reactions, keep up the good work!

The leg potion bit is classic. Arya is a favourite of mine too. I didn't notice the parallels in the chapters until you pointed them out, but now that you mention it, see what you mean. :)
NotInventedHere
2. NotInventedHere
She tells him she was in the godswood, praying for her father and for Joffrey. He calls her a liar, and tells him to sing a song for her.
I'm confused...

I do like the parallel in these two chapters, Sansa trapped in a castle and forced to trust someone to have any chance of escape. Arya, ostensibly free but trapped by hunger, loyalty to friendscompanions, and immediate danger, also forced to trust someone whether she wants to or not.
Sanctume Spiritstone
3. Sanctume
There are a number of characters that I will be very upset about if Martin kills them off, but Arya is probably one of the only ones (Jon is the other) who I will actually have to chuck the book across the room if she dies. Please do not shit on my dream of Arya growing up to be amazing, GRRM!
I very much enjoy your first read comments!
Noneo Yourbusiness
4. Longtimefan
As evidenced from previous chapters in the story so far I would go out on a limb and say that GRRM is not inclined to acquiesce to your request not to shit on your dreams.

It may even seem that taking a dream and stomping it into a bloody mess seems to be a general theme in the previous chapters. Princes who are golden monsters and fathers who are noble enough to lose thier heads. Indeed even the dream of having a wolf as a dainty and loyal pet was most thoroughly quashed for dear Sansa.

So far I like Gendry and I like Arya and in the world of high fantasy they are in respective postions to inherit kingdoms worth of trouble yet they could get married and soothe the seathing land. Gendry as the great bastard king and Aray as the wolf queen ruling a land free of danger and filled with ponies that are born with heart shaped patches on their coats.

I have a feeling that this may not be that book series. Not enough rainbows on the cover.

Dare to dream but I have not seen much evidence that this is a series that wafts gossamer about to fill the skies with silvered hope. It does so for target practice and then sends firey arrows into the sky to burn it all down. Still pretty, just not as hopefull. :)
Robert DeJulis
5. DeJulis
Especially when “others” consists of a disgraced drunkard and a borderline sociopath with a chip on his shoulder the size of Utah.
Those of us in Utah thank you for your nod. I always get a kick when people reference the state, because it seems like the rest of the US would like to forget we exist ("Utah, isn't that where everyone has like 4 wives?")

And just to forestall some questions: no, I'm not mormon, and no, I don't have 4 wives.

I only have 3.
NotInventedHere
6. MsMuffet
Brilliant summation and commentary, as usual, Leigh! BTW, I recently read a book (and its sequal) suggested by GRRM in his blog: The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman, and they were such a fun read, full of pop sci-fi/fantasy references. I mention this because his sense of humor reminds me so much of yours. You should check them out if you haven't already!
Scott Silver
7. hihosilver28
@MsMuffet: I have read both of Lev Grossman's books. I really quite enjoyed the first one, but found the second a tad on the random side. I've always felt that Grossman is better at creating characters than plot, especially with The Magician King. But, it didn't interfere too much with my enjoyment of the books (unlike the Elric of Melnibone and His Dark Materials series, both of which I really disliked), I just don't like them as much as Jordan, Martin, and Sanderson's books.
NotInventedHere
8. Black Dread
Sanctume - Be careful, those are some heavy books.
NotInventedHere
9. ryamano
That said, it is a frightening thing to be dependent on the bravery of others.


Not as much as being dependent on the bravery of Others, ain't I right?
NotInventedHere
10. Concerned
Only 2 chapters again this week? And just ONE in the WOT Reread for the third week in a row?

Its obvious something is going on with Leigh. Its totally none of our business and Ill just say: Hope things get better soon Leigh! No worries. We all know you wouldn't be slacking like this lately if you could help it. Take care!
Rob Munnelly
11. RobMRobM
Not too much to say about these chapters. More or less chapters that move the plot along without earthshaking revelations. The most interesting thing about them is the subtle parallelism between the sisters, which speaks volumes about GRRM's craftsmanship in telling the tale.

Sansa is in a bad place, and has to (courageously) place faith in a drunken fool (literally), with the creepy Hound lurking in the background. (Beauty and the Beast jokes to begin in 3...2...1...) Are you going to move past the Gendry-Arya shipping to Sansa-Hound shipping? (Yikes).

Arya is in her own bad place, surrounded by folk who lack her toughness and survival skills ("You should have yielded" - Lommy for the not-so-win). The Gendry interactons are fascinating. Perceptive enough to figure out she's a girl; freaked out to discovery she is a Lord's daughter (and, by this point, a Princess under King Robb); dumb enough to get caught by Cleghane's guards. Still waiting to see whether Ned's prediction in AGOT that Gendry could make a powerful warrior one day will bear fruit.

"Psychos Three" - nice one.

I well understand the love for Arya (and Jon), but with regard to future events furthermore this deponent sayeth not.

Rob
NotInventedHere
12. Carolyn H
These are both solid chapters with good character development and adding ever more layers to the plot. I'm hard-pressed to name which I like better or think is the stronger.

The Sansa chapter shows Sansa to good stead. She's no longer quite as naive as she was, but she's still way out of her league. Admirably, she knows that now. So she takes a chance, such as it is, with a fool of a knight. That's brave. I'm still not sure it was smart. She probably doesn't either (even though she's a fictional character and can't actually think, but you know what I mean. I hope).

Poor Arya is in even worse trouble than she was before. Yoren (her own protector) is dead. Their little band of travelers is decimated. Gendry is imprisioned. This has not been a good day. And through it all Arya stays strong and fierce.

But this being GRRM, it nags at me that these two chapters are back to back. We have the fierce sister and the dainty sister's story. I can't help but wonder if we are being set up for something really ugly. I mean I could totally see GRRM showing us that it doesn't matter how brave or how dainty you are, when you're a pawn caught in the middle of the game of thrones, the final outcome is not likely to be a good one.
Steven Halter
13. stevenhalter
Arya & co aren't in a good place. Hot Pie is an idiot. They really should have gone around. Hopefully they won't be locked up very long as it's going to be hard for Arya to conceal that she is a girl and as Leigh points out that would be bad.
NotInventedHere
14. AuttieB
Although I think I was definately more an Arya than a Sansa growing up...I think Sansa has the harder time here. While Arya is in more danger of being made dead - obviously - she's totally in her element and getting to practice all those skills she fought to learn. While I'm sure some part of her is terrified...she's living the adventure dream. Sansa is stuck waaaaaay out of her comfort zone suddenly having to view herself as a "do-er"instead of a "watch-er".
Allana Schneidmuller
15. blutnocheinmal
Loving the re-read. Especially now that I caved (was going to wait until I could buy the TPB when it comes out) and got ADWD out of the library.

Talk about heavy book that I better not have to throw in a fit of rage. Oof.
NotInventedHere
16. Wortmauer
Alas, poor Yoren, I knew him well. Errrr ... or something. I will miss him too. If there were any justice, the Mountain's pillagers would have done for Ser Alliser instead, and his rotting hand, too.
NotInventedHere@2: I'm confused...
You could always, I dunno, maybe this is kinda out of left field, but one option might be, well, if Leigh's summary isn't clear, you might, maybe, read the chapter. I assure you, the text doesn't leave any confusion as to who is bidden to sing a song for whom.
Longtimefan@4: Gendry as the great bastard king and Aray as the wolf queen ruling a land free of danger and filled with ponies that are born with heart shaped patches on their coats.

I have a feeling that this may not be that book series. Not enough rainbows on the cover.
Ha! Longtimefan, you never fail to disappoint.
Concerned@10: And just ONE in the WOT Reread for the third week in a row?
I rather suspect this is a reaction to the announced release date of AMOL, early next year. Leigh has some 70 chapters to get through by then, which is less than 2 chapters a week. My theory is that she's got a schedule planned out that involves some weeks of 2 and some weeks of 1 chapter. (I might be giving her too much credit, given she apparently rarely writes a post even one day before it's due, but that's my theory and I'm stickin' to it.)
Shalter@13: Hot Pie is an idiot. They really should have gone around.
They're subsisting on berries and bugs, with no better prospects. When's the last time you were in a situation where foraging for roots and crickets was the only food supply in your foreseeable future? Not to mention, a member of your party has an infected leg wound, and you have no medical supplies. Would you really avoid all civilisation in those circumstances, even if the authorities are apparently hunting for at least one of your friends? Not such a simple decision.
Juliet Kestrel
17. Juliet_Kestrel
Well I was really sad about Lommy. I mean he was just a kid and he was scared from the fight and he got ran through with a fricken sword.
Yoren is dead. I had forgotten Sansa’s Septa was dead until she mentioned it again and I remembered about how Sansa saw her head alongside Ned’s.

No rainbows and ponies indeed.

I had some other things to say about Gendry and stuff and the weird guys that escaped but I’m kinda bummed out now. I will have to comment on the other stuff later.
lake sidey
18. lakesidey
A tale of two sisters....and two brothers as well. Let's not forget that while Sansa seems to have made an impression on the Hound, her sister is in the clutches (paws?) of the larger and uglier version.

I remember when reading this I was remembering Alia of house Atreides (even the name's a bit similar) in the clutches of the gross monstrosity called the Baron Harkonnen, and hoping that Arya would do a gom jabbar job on the Mountain.

Don't worry Leigh, you are much more mistrustful than I was, to be pinning hopes on only two characters. Even by the end of aCoK there were fully half a dozen characters I was absolutely frigging certain would make it to the series end (or at least the Last Battle) alive. I thought I was getting the measure of Martin, who he is willing to kill and who not. Needless to say, I wasn't, and aSoS rapidly cured me of my delusions (otoh, aSoS in hardback is a heavy and satisfying book to throw across a room...which I did on at least two occasions)

@9 ryamano: :oP lol

And yes, poor Yoren. I was kinda hoping he would pull off something, till Arya went back and checked. He was an interesting character and no mistake...

~lakesidey
Rob Munnelly
19. RobMRobM
And, here we go with the Blog of Ice and Fire. This are two of his funnier entries. Talking about how creepy it would be for a big massive guy to hook up around with a teenager - and then pointing it's been done already with Drogo and Dany. Well played. And Arya and Gendry going on a date and all that. And Lommy being annoying but not "spear-in-the-throat annoying." LOL.

EDIT - I note with regret that these are the last two chapters in the Blog, completed in late August 2010 before the blogger started a full time job as a law firm associate. So sad.....There's no excuse for him to do this. He should continue writing the Blog and billing his time to the firm as "practice development" or "education and training." The nerve of this guy. Hmmrp.

Rob
+++++++++++++++++++++

I dread Sansa chapters. It's like double the work because the reader has to parse through her clueless observations to understand what's really going on. In this chapter, Sansa discovers a note left by the freedom fairy. Someone wants to meet in secret with Sansa to send her home. The "someone" turns out to be Dontos, the knight Sansa saved from a an execution at Joffrey's birthday tournament. Sansa is hopeful, even though the only thing Dontos accomplished thus far was to be demoted from knight to fool.

She later runs into the Hound, who talks all tough but seems like he's actually a big softie, because he doesn't do anything to Sansa even though he's very drunk and knows that she was up to something. Sandor even helps her slip back into the castle. But afterward, he rants at her about how dogs are loyal and how she is a bad liar and horrible person. His love-hate relationship with Sansa is hard to understand. I can't tell if the "song" he wants from her is sex or truth or something else entirely. It is super creepy though, can you imagine a gigantic hulking beast-man hooking up with a tiny girl? Oh right, that happened repeatedly in the Dany chapters already.

I have officially reached the point where I do not care what happens to Sansa at all. I don't care that she might escape or she might get punished with a beating. I don't care that she gets stalked by Littlefinger or the Hound. She's been dead to me ever since she lied about her awesome sister's fight with Joffrey and then ratted out her own father.

____________________

Arya and the lost boys wander around the countryside, having escaped from the Lannisters. They go back to the site of the battle, and find almost everyone dead, including Yoren. The three surviving men quickly abandon the kids, who are forced to eat bugs and frogs and whatever else they can find. It doesn't help that Arya's companions are basically useless. Gendry manages to figure out that "Arry" is a girl, but when Arya comes clean, Gendry freaks out after learning Arya is a "highborn lady." He even bows and tries to apologize for talking about cocks. It's endearing and ridiculous for him to try to use proper manners after they've been through so much brutality together, and quite symbolic of how deeply ingrained the class hierarchy can be in the average peasant. It's also funny because Gendry is half highborn too, he just doesn't know it. As king, he could talk about cocks all he wants.

Arya and Gendry go on a date. Everything was going great: they sneak around stealing food, smelling dead bodies, and watching crows peck out the eyes of hanged men. How romantic! Unfortunately, they are interrupted and captured by GREGOR's men, who have no problem beating down little kids. Lommy, the injured kid who was whining about yielding the whole time, is executed. A GREGORman just calmly drives his spear through Lommy's throat because he didn't want to carry him. It was so casually done, as if he was at a fast food place ordering a cheeseburger. Poor Lommy. He was annoying, but not spear-in-throat annoying.

As they are taken away by GREGOR, that argument Arya and Gendry had earlier about m'ladys seems so long ago and trivial. In a fairy tale, maybe Nymeria runs out of the woods and rescues them. But if this chapter has shown us anything, it's that war-torn Westeros is anything but a fairy tale.
Rob Munnelly
20. RobMRobM
@10 and 16. Don't forget, last week was Mardi Gras and Leigh lives in New Orleans. Girl's gotta party. Give her a break, for this week at least.

Rob
NotInventedHere
21. @MiatheCaneCorso
I nearly lost it when I read: "I am going to draw hearts around their names on my Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper and cover them with glitter and shiny star stickers. And UNICORNS."

Totally made me LOL. :) I have a Hello Kitty Trapper Keeper.

It's amazing when you think that Arya is only 10 years old (or so) and she's totally own her own and surviving AND kickin' butt. Not many adults (or dogs) could manage that.

Sansa is a bit tougher to deal with, because on the one hand her life is totally miserable but on the other she's _painfully_ naive when it comes to many things. I think GRRM is building her character in this book (and in the later ones) to become an adept at the Game of Thrones (sorta like Cersi, but less, I dunno, megalomaniac).

It's worth noting that each episode she goes through tests her moral compass (more like spins it 'like a weathervane in a tornado'), and without Lady there, she's totally susceptible to thinking 1. she deserves it somehow and 2. that it is acceptable on some level. At this time, Arya is the only other sibling missing her direwolf (Nymeria) and look what's happening to her. If anything, Arya's wild ride is mirroring the wild acccounts of a wold like Nymeria rampaging the countryside (hhmmmm, coincidence???! NOT say I).

The Stark Super Siblings' direwolves continually pull their masters' collective speck from the fire, now and in the future, and I wonder without Lady there to sniff out or growl at danger if Sansa is on the road leading to the Lannister League (ie, EEEVVVIILLLL).

THANK YOU LEIGH. You totally make my week with both blogs.
Maiane Bakroeva
22. Isilel
Longtimefan@4: Gendry as the great bastard king

It never ceases to surprise me that people somehow (even if not totally seriously, as here) expect Gendry to become a king, when in this very chapter it is obvious that he has very little leadership ability. Despite being much older, bigger and stronger than Arya, _she_ was the leader of their group and not him. The little authority he did have in the group was entirely due to age and muscle.

And somebody in Gendry's situation (unaknowledged bastard with no way to prove his paternity) would need to be one heck of a leader to become a contender for the crown. Or a puppet of some extremely intelligent, capable and powerful backer. Hm...
Anthony Pero
23. anthonypero
RobMRobM@11:

Considering who the author is... not so far-fetched.
Anthony Pero
24. anthonypero
@Wortmauer Re: Schedule..

I'm not saying that a slow down en route to the AMoL releae date won't happen... but it's more likely to pick up. I don't think we can get through at two a week right now.

As far as recently... first was family issues, next was Mardi Gras. This week... well, the next two chapters of tGS need to be done together, hence the single chapter this week.
NotInventedHere
25. The SmilingKnight
Lommy you poor unattractive sod.
Not only do you get a spear through your throat instead of medical help but then youre labaled as too boring to even feel pity about.

Unlike that cool Gendry, isnt that right?
You know, the one who actually was so stupid to get caught and therefore caused your painfull death and captivity of others?

But he is cool. Its Gendry! Blue eyes and muscles and... err... umm... !

Also, its quite funny reading comments about how Sansa has it worse then Arya. Hillarious.
Yep...whats so wrong being caught by Mountain that Rides of all people? Poor Sansa...
Vincent Lane
26. Aegnor
Yeah, Arya was in a better position than Sansa before she got caught by Gregor. Now? Not so much.
NotInventedHere
27. Black Dread
MiatheCaneCorso -
While minding the wolves' council might help, do you really think sticking close to their Dire Wolves are all the Starks need do?
NotInventedHere
28. NotATroll
Arya is going to die in her next POV.
Rob Munnelly
29. RobMRobM
@28 ....yes, die of embarassment from such a silly post. LOL.
NotInventedHere
30. NotATroll
No seriously, she challenges the Mountain to a duel because she thinks she's all badass after training with Syrio. He cuts her in half. Such a shame, she was really my favorite character.
NotInventedHere
31. wickedkinetic
Not sure if this is spoilery but I've heard somewhere that Arya is Mrs Martin's favorite character and she won't let GRR Martin kill him.

Of course, the rule of thumb with who will and will not be killed by GRR Martin is everyone will suffer and no one is safe.......

Its almost dissappointing reading the Dunk&Egg stories, knowing there are 3, and that Dunk*Egg will probably live through the first two. Totally safer but less intense than the typical SOIAF experience. Although 'everyone will suffer' still applies in general.

I do like that GRR's characters are so diverse. You've got what i'll call 'realism' in character and plot. The band of bros that Yo is taking North is an unpleasant mix of minor misdemeanors and orphans mixed with serial killers, cannibals, and sociopaths. Naturally the useless/lost children will be abandoned by the older selfish folks that recognize they have better odds looking after themselves rather than looking after the young and the wounded.

It's almost like school - you get stuck with a random group of folks, all sorts - stockholm syndrome kicks in and you develop some levels of affection for the family/tribe solely due to proximity - and you get your lommy's and hot pies 'will surrender for food' - I like that most everyone that dies in these books dies with hope for the future and reasonably probably plans for getting there from here.... its totally different from 'nicer' fiction where everyone dies a noble death after responsibly making plans and passing on wisdom and precious artifacts before going bravely into that good night..... the old 'life (and death) are what happen while you're busying making other plans....' rings so true for me in this series - now i'll miss it when I read other stuff
NotInventedHere
32. @MiatheCaneCorso
Hi Black Dread
Yes!! I may be totally biased, but listening to your canine can't be a bad thing. As things turn out for the Super Stark Sibs, it would've avoided some pain later on.
Mia
NotInventedHere
33. Steve L
@30: If I remember correctly, Arya was in attendance at the tournament when the Mountain and Ser Loras jousted. She saw "Gregor Clegane killed the horse with a single blow of such ferocity that it half severed the animal's neck." He nearly BEHEADED HIS HORSE. Not even the late King Bob would be stupid/arrogant enough to duel the Mountain without some sort of trick up their sleeve and Arya doesn't have one.
Kevin Maroney
34. womzilla
Gendry as a male Baratheon is far too big a complicating factor in the war for succession for Martin to kill him off early. (Note that neither Renly nor Stannis have sons.) Bastardry is no matter here--it would be a task of only minutes for some clever maester to work up a legal document explaining that, because the marital bed of Robert and
Cersei was polluted by infidelitous incest, the marriage was never valid, and Robert's oldest surviving true son is his true heir, for surely Robert would have married Gendry's mother had only he known of Cersei's perfidity....

In short, all that's necessary for Gendry to become Robert's heir is for enough people with swords to agree that he'd be a good choice. And it's clear that Cersei agrees with me or she wouldn't be trying to have him killed.
Rob Munnelly
35. RobMRobM
Wom - Gendry's mother was low born, so it is extremely unlikely Gendry would be viewed as a serious threat for the throne. (It theoretically could be done but no one would expect it, realistically). I don't see Cersei trying to kill Gendry because he is a realistic threat but, rather, because she is vengeful and nasty. A Robert bastard with noble parents would pose a somewhat less unlikely case - gee, wonder whether we have seen one of those yet....?
Matthew Hunter
36. matthew1215
RobM@35: You are basically right about one of Robert's kids via a noble mother being a bigger threat than low-born mother, but this is an unusual situation: With no heirs of Robert's blood and Cersei's womb, the .throne is up in the air. The big threats under those circumstances are any heirs of Robert's blood that are charismatic, remind people strongly of Robert (to reinforce the kinship), and are capable warriors who can lead men in battle. Gendry is big and strong, and his leadership capabilities are so far mostly untested. If someone tells him who his dad is, and is willing to put some swords behind him, he could become just as big a threat as any of Robert's byblows. Which is not to say a noble mother wouldn't help getting some of those fighting and leadership abilities., so there's a potential leg up there.

That said, I don't think Cersei is engaging in rational analysis about who might be a threat. Gendry was a potential threat, large or small, and was close to hand, so she wanted him dead. It's not like she's sitting there thinking "I can send soldiers after this one or that one, but not both..." For Cersei, a bird in the hand is as good as dead, and the two in the bush are next.

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