Fri
Apr 6 2012 2:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings, Part 14

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 14 of A Clash of Kings, in which we cover Chapters 29 (“Tyrion”) and 30 (“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!

Scheduling note: As those of you who follow the WOT Re-read blog already know, I will be attending JordanCon 2012 in Atlanta the weekend of April 20th. Therefore, there will be no ASOIAF Read post that Friday. However, although the WOT Re-read is going on hiatus after that, the ASOIAF posts will resume as usual the following Friday (April 27th).

Onward!

Chapter 29: Tyrion

What Happens
Tyrion is woken in the night by Ser Lancel, who informs him arrogantly that Cersei demands Tyrion release Pycelle from the dungeon at once. Tyrion wishes he had given Cersei a larger dose of poison. Lancel adds that Ser Jacelyn Bywater defied her command (Tyrion knows for the same thing), and that he is to be arrested for treason. Tyrion ignores Lancel’s attempt to be threatening, and asks whether Cersei had had Lancel knighted before or after she slept with him. He also implies heavily that he knows of Lancel’s involvement in Robert’s death, and wonders what Joffrey’s reaction will be to learn of these things.

Lancel quickly goes from arrogance to bluster to panicked begging for mercy. Tyrion agrees to keep his silence in exchange for Lancel to spy on his sister for him. Lancel agrees eagerly, and Tyrion tells him to tell Cersei that he will release Pycelle, but refuses to reinstate him on the council. He also warns Lancel to make sure he does not impregnate Cersei. Lancel leaves, and Tyrion feels a little sorry for him, for Jaime will surely kill Lancel if Cersei doesn’t beat him to it. He summons Bronn and sets out for Chataya’s brothel. On the way, Tyrion reflects on the men who had been Hand before him, and that men of their honor and nobility were no match for Cersei.

The only way to defeat my sister is to play her own game, and that was something the Lords Stark and Arryn would never do. Small wonder that both of them were dead, while Tyrion Lannister had never felt more alive. His stunted legs might make him a comic grotesque at a harvest ball, but this dance he knew.

At Chataya’s, he is propositioned by one of the other girls while waiting for Alayaya (and her room) to be free, but he is not interested in being unfaithful to Shae, and refuses. In Alayaya’s room, he goes through the tunnel to the stable, and from there to the manse where Shae is, guarded by the ugliest and/or gayest guards Varys could find for him; he would have preferred to use his clansmen, but knew if they were noticed there it would be a dead giveaway. He goes up to Shae’s rooms, and wakes her with lovemaking. After, she smiles and says she had the sweetest dream; Tyrion promises her it is not a dream.

It is real, all of it, he thought, the wars, the intrigues, the great bloody game, and me in the center of it . . . me, the dwarf, the monster, the one they scorned and laughed at, but now I hold it all, the power, the city, the girl. This was what I was made for, and gods forgive me, but I do love it . . .

And her. And her.

Commentary
Aw, that was sweet. In a very porny sort of way, of course. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I do have to laugh a little bit at how much the erotica quotient for this book has been upped from AGOT, like Martin got away with that much the first time and now he’s seeing how far he can push it – or at least, this has been my impression. Again, I certainly don’t care, but it’s fairly unusual for a mainstream-ish epic fantasy series, or at least it used to be. Then again, that’s probably the point.

(From a certain point of view, adapting this series for HBO was bloody well inevitable. If any American visual entertainment venue was going to be able to do it justice, it was going to have to be premium cable, which has managed to become the one mainstream medium in this country that gets away with all the shit none of the others can. Heh.)

Anyway. I may have said this before, but I get the terrible, terrible feeling that Shae’s days are numbered. She is Tyrion’s one real weakness, after all – apart from his own internal issues, of course, which (a few exceptions aside) he has done a marvelous job of overcoming. And while Tyrion may be right that he is much better at playing Cersei’s game than either Jon Arryn or Ned were, I think Cersei still has the edge in sheer ruthlessness.

If she finds out about Shae’s existence Tyrion could find the tables turned on him in a blink. Not to mention, that closing quote above practically screams that Tyrion’s going to have the rug yanked out from under him in some way, and losing Shae would be the way that would hurt him the most.

And that would suck, a lot. For Shae more than Tyrion, really, but I am already mentally cringing at the impact her death would have on Tyrion. That… would not end well.

So let’s hope I’m wrong, yes?

Other than that, Tyrion was in fine form with the snappy quippage this chapter. Re: Cersei’s affair with Lancel, for instance:

Well, no one can ever claim that my sister does not love her family.

*snort*

And:

“Who pissed in your soup?” [Bronn] demanded.

“Cersei, as ever. You’d think I’d be used to the taste by now, but never mind. My gentle sister seems to have mistaken me for Ned Stark.”

“I hear he was taller.”

“Not after Joff took off his head.”

Zing, Tyrion. It’s unsettling sometimes how funny gallows humor can be.

Again in Tyrion’s thoughts on Cersei we are brought back to the question of honor, and Tyrion’s firm opinion that it was their honor that got both Jon Arryn and Ned killed. I don’t have much to add to that debate that I haven’t said already, but it’s worth noting how the narrative comes back to that question over and over again: is it honorable to have honor in a dishonorable world? Or is it just stupid?

(“honor”, “honor”, “honor”… word has lost all meaning. Irony?)

So Pycelle gets out, eh? He will definitely be wanting some revenge on Tyrion, then. I wonder what he’ll try?

As for Lancel, wow, how doomed is he? Do not meddle in the affairs of Lannisters, kid, for they are cunning and quick to backstabbery.

I feel this is a lesson we all can profit from in the future. Too late for Lancel, though!

 

Chapter 30: Arya

What Happens
Working as a drudge in Harrenhal is a slight improvement on starving in the woods, in Arya’s opinion, but only slightly. Hot Pie is working in the kitchens, and Gendry in the forge. She thinks the rumors of ghosts in the keep are stupid, and in any case she is much more frightened of the living men who inhabit it, especially Weese, Gregor Clegane and Lord Tywin Lannister, though she seldom sees the latter. She wonders what would happen if she confessed to Tywin her real identity, but knows no one would believe her anyway.

Weese’s cruelty soon earns him the top spot in Arya’s litany of those she will kill someday, but Arya feels like a mouse in the cavernous ruins of the castle. But since no one ys her any attention, she overhears many rumors, and learns that her brother Robb is at Riverrun, not Winterfell, and that Renly and Stannis have claimed the throne, and even a rumor which claimed Joffrey was a bastard. Secretly, even the Lannister men wonder how long a boy king “ruled by a eunuch, a dwarf, and a woman” will last on the throne. Rumors about Beric Dondarrion’s invulnerability continue to circulate.

A strange group of mercenaries called “the Bloody Mummers” arrive for a short time, led by a terrifying man named Lord Vargo Hoat, and Arya overhears one of them say that Roose Bolton’s army has occupied the ruby ford of the Trident. She also learns that there are captives from Robb’s side in Harrenhal, but only recognizes one, Lord Cerwyn. She hopes to reach him and ask for his help, but he dies of a wound before she manages to speak to him. Tywin seems to spend most of his time in council, and no one can agree on what he plans to do next. Arya thinks that something about him reminds her of her father, except without a sense of humor.

One day Ser Amory Lorch arrives at the castle, and Arya watches him with hatred until she notices that Rorge, Biter and Jaqen H’ghar are part of his company, which infuriates her. They don’t appear to see or recognize her, but that night Jaqen finds her and holds her silent. He observes that “a boy becomes a girl,” and Arya tells him she should have let him burn. Jaqen, however, tells her that he owes her a debt for the three lives Arya kept from the Red God, and that “only death may pay for life.” He has no interest in helping her escape, but tells her to give him three names, and those men will die.

Arya ponders this dilemma all the next day. She remembers what her father said, that if you take a man’s life you owe it to him to look him in the eye, and avoids Jaqen. But then Gregor Clegane’s party returns from raiding, and Arya overhears one of his men, Chiswyck, telling a story in which they are staying at a brewer’s, who had a thirteen-year-old daughter the men began playing with, until the brewer went to Ser Gregor and asked him to make them stop.

“Ser looks her over and says, ‘So this is the whore you’re so concerned for’ and this besotted old fool says, ‘My Layna’s no whore, ser’ right to Gregor’s face. Ser, he never blinks, just says, ‘She is now’ tosses the old man another silver, rips the dress off the wench, and takes her right there on the table in front of her da, her flopping and wiggling like a rabbit and making these noises. The look on the old man’s face, I laughed so hard ale was coming out me nose. Then this boy hears the noise, the son I figure, and comes rushing up from the cellar, so Raff has to stick a dirk in his belly. By then Ser’s done, so he goes back to his drinking and we all have a turn. Tobbot, you know how he is, he flops her over and goes in the back way. The girl was done fighting by the time I had her, maybe she’d decided she liked it after all, though to tell the truth I wouldn’t have minded a little wiggling. And now here’s the best bit . . . when it’s all done, Ser tells the old man that he wants his change. The girl wasn’t worth a silver, he says . . . and damned if that old man didn’t fetch a fistful of coppers, beg m’lord’s pardon, and thank him for the custom!

The others roar laughing, and Arya goes back downstairs and gets a caning for not serving the men as she’d been told. Two night later she contrives to pass near Jaqen, and whispers “Chiswyck” into his ear. Three days later she hears that one of the Mountain’s men fell off a wall last night and broke his neck; Weese says they’re saying it was Harren’s ghost that did it.

It wasn’t Harren, Arya wanted to say, it was me. She had killed Chiswyck with a whisper, and she would kill two more before she was through. I’m the ghost in Harrenhal, she thought. And that night, there was one less name to hate.

Commentary
Uh.

Right, so.

It’s possible that I am supposed to be taking some kind of moral high ground here and condemning Arya for what she’s doing, but, well, fuck that noise.

Not to put too fine a point on it or anything.

The only thing I’m saying to her right now is “Pick Clegane next. Pick motherfucking Clegane next.

It’s just too bad she can’t arrange for him to be castrated first. Slowly. With a rusty spork. Dipped in hydrochloric acid.

Jesus.

So, yeah, I’m a little sick to my stomach right now. I’m sure there were other things in this chapter that are worth commenting on but I kind of really don’t care what they are. I’m going to take a walk for now.


Sorry, I will do better next time. Have a good weekend, Easter-like if that is your inclination. Eat lots of chocolate. I plan to.

33 comments
Paulie
2. Paulie
I love reading your comments Leah. You really have to go back and read your own commentary once you finish with the books. I won't say anything else because I'm itching to get into spoilery stuff and I just won't go there.
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
Yeah, I'd have to vote for Clegane also. A very nasty bunch, the lot of them. Hopefully the third name would then help get Arya out of there.
Paulie
4. Lurking Canadian
The only thing to regret is that she gets only three vouchers.
Paulie
5. Paulie
I think I can say this safely...having omnipotent "reader knowledge", I would have chosen different people than Arya did. But I can see how she came to her decisions.
Drew Holton
6. Dholton
I can understand why you're feeling sick, Leigh. This really is an ugly part of Arya's story. But that's what makes it all the more powerful.
Jeff Weston
7. JWezy
Martin is playing with us, playing with our sense of morality and honor. In his universe, neither is a successful survival strategy.

His game seems to fall into two different categories: getting us to like people we should hate, and showing us how people we like can do things we would otherwise regard as bad without becoming bad themselves (at least not much).

Other characters (those that are inflexibly good or evil) are the cannon fodder of the books. I think their one-dimensionality bores him, and he kills them off because they don't provide opportunities for character development.

I have only read the books through once, so I will not cite any specific characters to avoid spoilage, but I think we can see this in action thus far, and carrying forward.

Thoughts?
Neil Sood
8. RanchoUnicorno
Leigh, I know I generally disagree with you. I can usually find a bone to pick with at least one point in each reread, WoT or ASOIAF.

This time, I got nothing.

The only thing I'd add is that I'm actually impressed by Arya here. The temptation to say, "Chiswyck, Gregor, Tobbot" right there and then, burning all three of her vouchers is hard enough for me to resist, and I don't have to risk running into them on a daily basis. To know that she needs to save her vouchers for future dangers, that impresses me.

ETA: I was just thinking - during the WoT hiatus, since you will still be doing ASOIAF posts, will you be doing two-a-week posts (well, not during JordanCon, but afterwards)? Or is the hiatus not expected to run very long?
Rob Munnelly
9. RobMRobM
Re Tyrion, not much to say. Brilliant how he stomps on Lancel. Concerning (from the Tyrion sympathy standard) that he confesses to himself he is in love with Shae and that "he holds it all."

Re Arya, GRRM's brilliance is in good form here. It takes her hearing a truly awful story of amorality and depravity involving a girl virtually the same age as Arya's sister to get her to burn a death card on a low life such as the storyteller Chiswyk, rather than going after Cleghane (or Tywin, for that matter). It's like someone getting three wishes from a genie and using the first to punish the bully that has been torturing you over the past school year. Satisfying, but probably not the best use of a valuable resources. Of course, Arya had no idea that Jaqen could follow through on his promise. Now she knows. Use of next two should prove interesting.

Jaqen is interesting, no? Further discussion will await later chapters.

Again, Dondarion surfaces as a sharp thorn in the Lannister's side. Can't wait for more details on exactly what's up with that, eh?

The Bloody Mummers. What a charming group of lads.

Quick reminder - Roose Bolton commanded the large piece of Robb's soldiers that did battle with Tywin (while Robb did his sneak attack on Jamie), so they are still in the game for Robb.

Yeah for HBO. Leigh - yes, you are missing something and, yes, they are pulling all sort of "stuff" on the TV screen that would never make it anywhere near broadcast or basic cable. And Season 2, Ep. 4 is entitled "The Ghost in Harrenhall" - can't wait!

Rob
Antoni Ivanov
10. tonka
Here Martin is showing how cruel and smart he can be. At the moment he tells us that Arya can have 3 people killed wherever they are - my top picks were Tywin, Joffrey and Cersei. With them out of the picture Starks would have been looking real, real, real good.

But then come this story. It's a bit shocking how graphic and twisted it is, I almost don't believe that a novel could get away with it, and as Leigh stands as a proof we completely forgot about anything else. I found myself nodding at Arya the first time I read this. As if Chiswyck matters, as if there are not hundreds like him, that are allowed to do such things.

And who allows it ? That's the person you should strike. But emotions overule reason and thought and that's the hard lesson that George Martin is teaching us with this episode.
Paulie
11. Joel Prophet
Leigh : On the subject of honor; It's a POV issue. The dishonorable ALWAYS think honor is stupid. The honorable are so, not because it is a successfull (power/money) lifestyle but because it allows them to sleep at night.

As someone else already commented on, GRRM makes you like characters who start out evil and makes good characters do evil things for practical reasons. The whole gray scale thing. In some sence GRRM is right good and evil reside in each person. Which makes this a very true to life fiction.

There is a LOT more I wish to say but I don't want to be a spoiler. There is much GRRM has taken from Shakespear (I won't say which play for spolier reasons).

Have a Happy Easter all.
tatiana deCarillion
12. decarillion
I think what I like best about the characters in this series is that the majority of them have the potential to run the gamut from good to evil, with many of them sliding back and forth on that continuum. This is what makes it hard to absolutely like or not like most of them.
He gives us our 'evil' and 'good' characters, too, I'd say, but like all humans, everyone has the potential to go in both directions. We can never know what we can pushed to do, until someone or something does that pushing. In Arya's case, we're talking about a young girl listening to the horrors that happened to...a young girl.
Paulie
13. wcarter4
Yeah, Tyrion is playing a game as dangerous as Russian Roulette and you can bet more than one cylinder has a live round in it.

On a side note...I'm sorry is there not some hypocrasy for cheering Arya having someone killed in one series and condemning Rand for killing a complete moster forsaken in another? Not to say that either was "right" or "wrong" is just seems...inconsistent.
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
wcarter - no collateral damage here, in sharp contrast to Natrim's Barrow in WoT. I am a supporter of what Rand did at NB (necessity) but I don't see Arya's case as being the same as Rand's.
Paulie
15. owleyes
I think I may be in the minority here, but on my first read I thought Arya's stint as "The Ghost of Harrenhall" was one of the most awesome demonstrations of complete badassery I'd read so far. And spectacularly creepy to boot. It's what really kicked me off on rooting for Arya.
Marcus W
16. toryx
One of the things I love about GRRM and these books is how effectively it takes the sense of wonder away that so many fantasy books tend to give us about "ye olden days." The reality of it is that the feudal system was only good to those in rule. The lower classes, however, had it bad.

Fantasy is my favorite genre and I love the magic and swordplay and heroes. But I think there's something to be said for interjecting a little reality sometimes. One of the games people like to play alongside with casting their favorite characters is to talk about what fantasy world they'd like to live in. It's a strange game because the reality of such settings aren't particularly pleasant for most of the people who live in them. We never see that, though.

GRRM changes all that. He makes it very clear that the fantasy world isn't all purple unicorns and magic. If you're in that lower class (as most people are) then your life isn't likely going to be pleasant. The sad thing is, most of us are descended from people whose lives really were that harsh and ugly and I admire GRRM for making that plain. I appreciate it even more because even with some of the things that I'm passionately against in our current time and society, GRRM makes me damned grateful to be here.
Rob Munnelly
17. RobMRobM
Leigh also missed one of my favorite one liners - the banter with Poderick Payne about getting him a horse to go to Chataya's and then helpfully explaining something like it's one of those brown things with four legs and eats apples. LOL. High comedy.
Noneo Yourbusiness
18. Longtimefan
is it honorable to have honor in a dishonorable world? Or is it just stupid?
(“honor”, “honor”, “honor”… word has lost all meaning. Irony?)

"Hodor, Hodor, Hodor!"
John Smith
19. TheHardTruth
There is a ''freshness' in LB's ASOIAF Read that has been very...well...''refreshing'' for me, lol. As someone who has read the first 4 books so many times none of them (and Ive bought multiple copies) have covers on them anymore. I was saddened when the WOT reread became more of an obvious 'job' to her and the drop off in enthusiam became apparent. I pray that never happens to her with THIS series because Leigh's blogs so far on ASOIAF have been OUTSTANDING.


QUICK Question - and I know this isn't the proper place, but Im not the best at navigating websites:


I cannot figure out how to post on TOR from any of my mobile devices...namely any of my phones or Kindle Fire. I type and post on many other websites from them sooo...anyone that knows the secret to being able to post on TOR from a mobile device will have MY UNDYING GRATITUDE!!! ;-)
Vincent Lane
20. Aegnor
Toryx@16,

"The reality of it is that the feudal system was only good to those in rule. The lower classes, however, had it bad."

That really depends on your perspective, and the particular situation. It is obviously a primitive form of government and would be considered terrible in relation to our current day governments (most of them...feudal system is probably better than North Korea's government) but it was superiour to most of what came before (namely chaos to some extent).

In a feudal system, the Lord provides stability and safety, and in return the vassal or peasant provided labor, crops, taxes, military service, etc. So the lower classes did get something in return. The problem, of course, is they are so vulnerable to bad leadership and have very little political power.
Margot Virzana
21. LuvURphleb
I'm going to have to go with Klingon Honor.
to Ned, honor was telling your enemy what you were going to do. For a beheading, meeting the guy's eyes right before you behead him...that is high class honor there. Ned wouldnt let his subjects do anything he wouldnt do.
However with the Lannisters it just doesnt work. Tyrion has it spot on.

So for me I would have to use Klingon Honor. I'd have my trusty bet'leth, and mok'bara with me, Confront my enemy. Tell them what horrible things they have done, what my plan is on dealing with them is than challenge them to a duel right than and there. No subterfuge and no waiting.
Worf may have a small, itty bitty problem with killing a woman but as I am a woman Ihave no such qualms be they man, woman or manbearpig.
Qaplah!
Paulie
22. Winter's Heart
Cersei has more honor than anybody. She's had Robert honor, a whole shebang (oh yes she does) of Jaime honor, and now Lancel honor. Dishonorable world, indeed! ;-)
Paulie
23. ClintACK
What an awesome chapter -- and what a beautiful moral dilemma. Like the rest of the commenters, when I read this chapter I was tripping over myself mentally trying to compose my list. (Gregor Clegane; Tywin Lannister; Joffrey Lannister/Baratheon, for those keeping score at home. With hindsight, I'd likely come up with a much different list, of course.)

The squickiest part is how little guilt I feel about it -- perhaps it's the context in a feudal war, where killing the enemy commanders really is a valid way to end wars, and prevent much more death. (Doesn't really work in a more modern war where the soldiers on each side are committed to conflicting ideologies or identities, but in a civil war over which lord gets to be king, killing off the other contenders can save thousands of lives...)
Paulie
24. The SmilingKnight
Ah, getting to know The Mountain that Rides are we?
That incident apparently happened when he was in good mood.

Btw, these chapters and Ghost in Harrenhall part, are the best of the Arya chapters.
Nothing wrong with her making a favor to the world by getting rid of scum as Chiswyck, or doing what she needs to survive deep behind enemy territory surrounded by the very worst of her enemies.
The only problem is that she is a girl. If it was one of the male characters everyone would applaud and root.


Isnt Jaqen Hghar cool? Or isnt he? :)
Love the way he talks.
I think that in this chapter is the first mention of those two, Rorge and Biter being afraid of him. Isnt that interesting too?
Paulie
25. Mayhemm
I do have to laugh a little bit at how much the erotica quotient for this book has been upped from AGOT, like Martin got away with that much the first time and now he’s seeing how far he can push it – or at least, this has been my impression.
I noticed that too, Leigh. It's quite an odd thing. aSoIaF has been brutally violent from day one, but relatively tame on the "explicit sex"/"foul language" fronts. For what ever reason, the latter two elements seem to ramp up by orders of magnitude with each successive book.
Like you, I'm not bothered by this developement at all. My issue stems from the fact that my aSoIaF experience is rarely a solo effort. I frequently listen to the audiobooks on long car trips; I'm not always alone when I do this. You can probably imagine how listening to Theon Greyjoy describe how he likes his blowjobs, or the imtimate details of Tyrion and Shae's relationship in a semi-public environment can make for a few "awkward" moments on the commute.
I run into similar issues with the HBO series. I typically go to my parents' place for dinner on Sunday and we watch GoT afterward (my mom's a big fan of the show). I'm sure they're no more bothered by the show's subject matter than I am. However, I still find myself mentally rolling my eyes when they slip in the "sexposition" scene of the week. That's just not something you can enjoy with your folks in the next seat.
Keep up the great work!
Paulie
26. Mark Z.
ClintACK #23: The squickiest part is how little guilt I feel about it -- perhaps it's the context in a feudal war, where killing the enemy commanders really is a valid way to end wars, and prevent much more death.

Tywin Lannister will make exactly the same argument in about a thousand pages. It comes off as a little insincere since the Lannisters have been refusing every peace offer, but aside from that he has a valid point. ]

I think the biggest change since feudal times is not that soldiers are personally committed to an ideology and will keep fighting to the last man, but that governments developed bureaucratic defenses against losing the head of state. When Genghis Khan died, the entire horde had to ride back to Mongolia to elect a successor, which cost them all their offensive momentum and much of their territory. A modern government would have a successor lined up in advance and sworn in by the end of the day, and the military chain of command would keep following their previous orders until they were told otherwise.
Paulie
27. Xtrafresh
So, i've come to the 'end' of at least ONE of the read-throughs. (I'm still halfway in CoT on the other one.) Hurray!
I wanted to congratulate you on these great read-throughs, but let me give you a big hug instead; you seem to need it after that Arya chapter.
Paulie
28. Black Dread
Was this the chapter that Tyrion makes a crack about how much his sister loves her family? He cracked me up with that one.
Paulie
29. David B
Grrr....Longtimfan@18 got to that comment before I did. There really is only one letter difference between "honor" and "Hodor", and you could argue the relative intelligence of them to death without determining a winner...
Cornell Johnson
30. Oriares
I will say this.


It wasn't Ned's honor that got him killed. It was his mercy.
Juliet Kestrel
31. Juliet_Kestrel
Tyrion has some awesome lines in this chapter. That is all.

Jaqen – still creeps me out. Also he mentions the Red God. I believe this is the same Red God Stannis is into now. That makes me him even creepier in my book. In any case, I thought this Arya chapter was pretty awesome despite myself.

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about HBO. In my opinion it isn’t just stuff you wouldn’t see on basic cable, but stuff that would give movies NC-17 ratings. Every now and then the explicit sex scene doesn’t even fit into the story. It is like they throw one in, just because they can, and then feel like they HAVE to in every episode. I don’t mind it exactly, except it is annoying when it detracts from the pacing and the plot.
Charles Gaston
32. parrothead
Ah. This one. Was wondering when you'd get to this charming anecdote.

This is where I should have quit. Should have said 'fuck this shit', tossed the offending volume aside, and run to go purge myself. Instead I stuck it out through the third book. God I hate this series.

That this is one of the more memorable scenes in the entire series says a lot about it. And it's somehow even worse than I remembered. I mentally aged up the poor girl to about 20. That shouldn't make a difference, but it does. Plus I completely forgot (or repressed) the bit about murdering her brother! "Ha, what a story, Mark."

I give Martin props for one thing: he does manage to elicit emotion for his characters. However, when that emotion is the most profound disgust for pretty much everyone not named Tyrion, I don't think that's really a mark in his favor.
Paulie
33. Paul T
"That incident apparently happened when he was in good mood."

Actually it's explicitly stated that he's in a particularly foul mood, just having lost to Loras Tyrell at Ned's tourney.

The talk here of Martin posing some sort of moral quandary is bizarre to me. There is no moral issue here - it's clearly a war, and Arya is clearly fighting in a war, and the men she's killing are clearly enemy soldiers in the war, besides being evil men. It would be so even if she weren't actually the sister of the opposing King - which she is. She could only morally fail here if she refused to have three men killed.

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