Fri
May 18 2012 2:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings, Part 19

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 19 of A Clash of Kings, in which we cover Chapters 40 (“Daenerys”) and 41 (“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 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 40: Daenerys

What Happens
Dany rides in a litter with Xaro Xhoan Daxos, on their way back from a very disappointing interview with the Pureborn of Qarth, who controlled the Civic Guard and the fleet of the city. Dany had hoped to convince them to lend some of those ships and soldiers to her, but they had refused her. She reflects bitterly that they had clearly regarded her as nothing more than a curiosity, and even the ones she had bribed at Xaro’s suggestion had done nothing.

Xaro had helped her raise the gold she had used for those bribes by exacting tribute from those who came to see her and her dragons. Dany thinks that even hailed as a queen, she is still a beggar, and thinks it not surprising that this life drove Viserys to madness in the end. She thinks of returning to Vaes Tolorro, but tells herself she has an advantage Viserys did not, the dragons, and will succeed where he failed.

As they move through the city, Xaro continues his campaign to woo her into marrying him with flowery language. Dany knows his declarations of love are at best facetious, having seen the beautiful boys Xaro keeps in his palace, and counters with proposals that he finance her war. Xaro exhorts her to abandon her dream of the Iron Throne and to stay with him instead. She suggests going to his rivals in the merchant trade, and he dismisses them languidly. Then she suggests going to Pyat Pree and the warlocks, and Xaro’s reaction is vehement, warning her that warlocks are “bitter creatures who eat dust and drink of shadows”, and liars besides.

Their back and forth is interrupted by a commotion in the streets, and Dany climbs from the litter to Jhogo’s horse so she can see the cause, a firemage building an elaborate ladder of fire. Quaithe appears suddenly and tells Dany that six months ago that particular mage could barely call any fire at all, but now his powers have grown, and Dany is the reason.

“Me?” She laughed. “How could that be?”

The woman stepped closer and lay two fingers on Dany’s wrist. “You are the Mother of Dragons, are you not?”

Quaithe warns Dany that she must leave the city soon or she will not be allowed to. Dany determines from her cryptic words that Quaithe is suggesting she go to Asshai, and asks what she will  find there that she will not in Qarth. “Truth,” Quaithe tells her, and leaves. Her bloodriders deride Quaithe as “the spawn of shadows” and say her word is not to be trusted; Xaro agrees.

Dany returns to the palace and feeds her dragons; she realizes they are growing, and that soon she will need to train them, but has no idea how to go about it. Jorah enters and tells her she will get no help in this city, and that he knows why Xaro has been pressing her to marry him: Qartheen law dictates that bride and groom each may choose a gift to demand of the other that cannot be refused, and Jorah is sure Xaro would demand one of the dragons.

Dany tells him of her encounter with Quaithe; Jorah advises against going to Asshai, but also is against returning to the Free Cities, arguing that Illyrio Mopatis is a devious glutton who has already sold her out once. He also tells her that even if she finds the ships and soldiers she wants, they will not win her the Iron Throne as long as the lords of Westeros see her as an invading foreigner. She asks what he suggests she do, then, and he admits he does not know. Dany says that the comet led her to Qarth for a reason, even if it was not to find an army, and tells Jorah that the next day he will go to Pyat Pree.

Commentary
Hmm.

Once again I am in reluctant agreement with Jorah: these people are useless to Dany, and she should just get the hell out before they decide to turn on her.

Although, it’s not like any other place will be any more peopled with friends or less fraught with potential betrayal. It’s kind of a hideously precarious position Dany is in, isn’t it? I mean, I knew that before, but Dany’s thoughts on Viserys really brought it back into focus.

I still think Viserys was a horrible disgusting person who very nearly deserved the gruesome way he died, but Dany’s got a point in how much his life basically sucked. It’s bad enough to be dependent on the generosity of strangers when you’re just an ordinary person; it must be a thousand times worse to be a beggar king, where the only charities you can ask for are enormous ones.

That said, yes, fine, his life blew chunks, but that doesn’t mean he had the right to take it out on anyone else. Especially his sister, who was at fault for none of the suckage, and was (or should have been) the one person whose loyalty he could trust. Some people are just incapable of appreciating the gifts they’ve been given, and it’s sad.

Anyway, I am kind of also in agreement with Jorah in that Asshai is a bad idea, though that’s mostly a rather biased judgment on my part stemming from the fact that Melisandre’s from there, and I don’t like her. But seriously, if her shenanigans are typical of her countrymen, then I for one would be pretty okay scratching that off my dream vacation wishlist, because I have never once noticed that rampant zealotry = awesome tourism experience. It’s crazy how that works!

Of course, by far the most interesting part of this chapter is Dany’s visitation by the Phantom of the Opera Quaithe, and her claim that Dany’s presence is making magic work better in the city. I am very intrigued by this idea and wish to subscribe to her newsletter. Or, at least, get a better idea of how the heck she thinks that works.

Of course, the obvious thing to assume is that it’s the dragons making magic more magicky, and not Dany, which I think was also confirmed in Jorah’s information about Xaro’s little legal loophole trick with his proposed marriage, which Jorah believes (quite reasonably, in my opinion) he would have used to demand a dragon, which I guess just goes to show that you should always read the fine print even when they haven’t invented it yet.

Speaking of which, Xaro is ten different kinds of hinky and I just keep waiting for him to turn on Dany, and keep being amazed it hasn’t happened yet. What is he waiting for? (At a guess: to be certain Dany won’t agree to marry him and fall for his dastardly gift trick. Once that ship has sailed, no pun intended, Dany’d better watch her back.) And like Dany, I would totally want to see anyone Xaro was so against her seeing, i.e. Pyat Pree. Even if it turns out to be a trap, at least it will have forced Xaro to show his hand.

I think. There’s probably something major I’m missing, as usual.

As a last note on Quaithe and Asshai: even if she is right that the Asshai’i will be more forthcoming (or at least more informative) to Dany than the Qartheen have been, I will note that “Truth” is not always a good thing. Of course, of all her options the one I’m personally most in favor of is the one she’s already rejected, namely going back to that abandoned city and having a nice quiet boring life there, so what do I know.

Random bits:

A pair of Jogos Nhai presented her with one of their striped zorses, black and white and fierce.

ZORSES. That is an awesome portmanteau. I love it.

Also:

“I have given you perfume and pomegranates, tumbling monkeys and spitting snakes, scrolls from lost Valyria, an idol’s head and a serpent’s foot.”

A serpent’s foot, heh. I see what you did there, Xaro Xhoan Daxos. Hinky, but clever!

 

Chapter 41: Tyrion

What Happens
Tyrion admires how well Princess Myrcella is holding up as she says goodbye to her family. She is boarding ship to travel to Sunspear in Dorne. Tyrion is uneasy about how much her escort will weaken their already shaky armada, but thinks it wise not to risk their alliance with the Martells, and has instructed the captain to take the ships south via the Free City of Braavos, so as to avoid Dragonstone and Stannis’s fleet as much as possible. Tyrion thinks of his winch towers, three-quarters complete, and thinks they will be ready in another fortnight.

After they see the princess off, the royal party (which includes Joffrey, Cersei, Tyrion, Sansa, Tommen, Bywater, the High Septon, Clegane, and many others) heads back to the Keep, flanked by gold cloaks to keep the crowds back. Tyrion worries about Littlefinger, who had not been heard from since his departure, but tells himself that the Tyrells are probably just being mulish about the proposed marriage of Joffrey to Margaery. The surrounding crowd is silent and ominous, staring at the party with sullen resentment.

Halfway back, a wailing woman runs out of the crowd holding her dead baby over her head. At Sansa’s instigation, Joffrey tosses her a coin instead of riding her down, but the woman starts shrieking imprecations at Cersei, calling her a whore and a “brotherfucker.” Someone else throws dung at Joffrey, which sends the king into a murderous rage. He screams for the person who had thrown it, and ignores Tyrion’s attempt to calm him down. He orders Clegane to cut through the crowd, and the crowd goes berserk, screaming epithets at Joffrey and Cersei and Tyrion, but those are soon drowned out by the screams for “Bread! Bread!” The crowd devolves into a murderous mob, and the party runs for the Keep, fighting not to be taken down.

Tyrion and Joffrey reach safety first, followed by Cersei, Tommen and Lancel and some others. Joffrey is babbling about having their heads, and Tyrion marches over and slaps him in the face and shoves him down.

“You blind bloody fool.”

“They were traitors,” Joffrey squealed from the ground. “They called me names and attacked me!”

You set your dog on them! What did you imagine they would do, bend the knee meekly while the Hound lopped off some limbs? You spoiled witless little boy, you’ve killed Clegane and gods know how many more, and yet you come through unscratched. Damn you!” And he kicked him.

Tyrion realizes that Sansa is not there, and Cersei orders Boros and Meryn to go back and find her. Boros balks, and Tyrion screams insults at him, knowing that if they lose Sansa, Jaime is as good as dead. Boros is enraged and starts to threaten Tyrion, but they are interrupted when Clegane arrives, bringing a mostly unscathed Sansa with him. A voice calls down from the walls that Flea Bottom is on fire, and Tyrion orders Bronn and Clegane to take men to make sure that whatever happens, the fire does not reach the Alchemists’ Guild. He sends the rest of the Kingsguard to enforce a city-wide curfew; this time Meryn balks, but Cersei backs Tyrion viciously, silencing them. Tyrion sends for Shagga, and tells him to go protect Shae.

The fire is contained by the evening, and Bywater reports the casualties: the High Septon, Ser Preston Greenfield, and Ser Aron Santagar had been torn apart by the mob, Joffrey squire Tyrek is missing, and Lady Tanda’s daughter Lollys had been gangraped by a mob of some fifty men before she was found. Bywater tells Tyrion that the city is on the edge of exploding, and he does not trust the gold cloaks to hold it.

He also tells Tyrion bluntly that there was small love for the Lannisters in the city before now, and now there is open talk of treason in the streets, and that the majority of the hatred is directed not at Joffrey, but at Tyrion. Tyrion is astounded, but Bywater tells him that most believe Joffrey is under Tyrion’s thumb, and most of the atrocities perpetrated in his name are really Tyrion’s.

“Yes, and I am a monster besides, hideous and misshapen, never forget that.” His hand coiled into a fist.

He sends Bywater away, and thinks that perhaps his father was right to despise him if this is the best he can do. He sends for Bronn and Varys. He mutters to them that Joffrey isn’t fit to sit on a privy, much less the Iron Throne, and Bronn agrees. He observes how much easier life would be if sweet, pliable Tommen had been born first, and Tyrion goes cold at what Bronn is suggesting. He tells Bronn he could be executed for saying that, but Bronn only laughs.

“Friends,” said Varys, “quarreling will not serve us. I beg you both, take heart.”

“Whose?” asked Tyrion sourly. He could think of several tempting choices.

Commentary
So this is going straight to hell in a Marseillaise-themed handbasket, isn’t it? My total lack of shock, let me show you it.

King Joffrey, ladies and gentlemen: what you would get if you smushed Jeffrey Dahmer and Marie Antoinette together into one person. “Let them eat their dead,” indeed. Feh.

The only person I really feel for in all this, other than Lady Tanda’s poor daughter, of course (Jesus), is Tyrion. This is stating the obvious, but how much must that suck, being the one person who was at least trying to protect the people of King’s Landing from Joffrey’s… Joffreyness, and ending up taking the blame for it?

And mostly for the crime of being ugly, being deformed. For being other. And for being a Lannister, but even I admit he didn’t have any more choice in that than he did in being born misshapen. That takes “unfair” to a whole new level, methinks. And yet there are people who seriously try to pretend that privilege doesn’t exist.

So yeah, other than Tyrion I’m having a serious case of “let me play my little tiny violin for you” going on here. If you deliberately run a boiler dry and then are all shocked when it blows up on you, I’m sorry, but I’m really going to have a limited amount of sympathy for your plight. Sow, reap, etc. For real.

Personally, if I could be sure that Sansa and Tyrion and a couple of other people in the palace would survive it, I’d say let the mob raze the whole place to the ground and be done with it. Take the Lannisters out of the equation and leave Robb and Stannis to duke it out. Works for me!

Of course, I highly doubt this is actually going to happen, but hey, a girl can dream, right? And anyway, I’ve definitely been wrong before. Maybe this’ll be one of those times, y/y?

In lieu of that, Bronn’s casual suggestion to take Joffrey out of the equation and put Tommen in is… sadly tempting, but ultimately I think it would backfire. Don’t get me wrong, I hate Joffrey’s guts and would distinctly fail to shed a tear upon his untimely demise (I may have kind of cheered out loud a little bit when Tyrion smacked him around in this chapter), but if the mob truly believes Tyrion is Joffrey’s puppetmaster for atrocity, killing one perceived puppet and replacing him with another isn’t actually going to do Tyrion, or the situation in general, much good. Sigh.

Plus there’s that whole thing where it’s probably ethically bad or whatever. Grumble mumble gray morality is contagious, achoo.

Meanwhile, Clegane TOTALLY went back and saved Sansa, you guys. Holy crap. You just got yourself like at least four get out of jail free cards in my book, dude. And hopefully I will not come to have cause to regret that declaration.

Starving men take a hard view of priests too fat to walk, Tyrion reflected.

*snort* Indeed. And yet, funny how many fat holy men there tended to be, over the centuries, eh?


And on that completely non-inflammatory note, we out! Bon weekend, mes amies, et je vous verrai vendredi prochain!

38 comments
Mo -
1. Astus
You get a sense for how truly out of his depth Joff is here. I mean, it's pretty undisputable that he's a Grade A tool by this point but he actually seems quite pathetic in this exchange. Mummy should have schooled him a bit better but it's always good to see Tyrion lay the verbal Smackdown. I remember so annoyed that he was seen as the puppetmaster by all the commonfolk, it was a just upsetting.

In any case, this was a point where I found myself liking the Hound. And I got a bit worried, haha.
Sky Thibedeau
2. SkylarkThibedeau
You've caught up to the TV show now. Did you see last weeks episode? If so, what did you think about the differences in Dany's Story?
Stefan Mitev
3. Bergmaniac
Tyrion's whining here that people hate him because he's a dwarf leaves me cold, it only shows how much he likes to play the victim. Of course they'll hate him when the clansmen he brought to the city are murdering people and he's letting them go completely unpunished. And after all, Tyrion's working for Joffrey by his own choice even though he knows he's a bastard and shouldn't be king (not to mention a sadistic psychopath). Tyrion enjoys all kinds of privileges for being a Lannister and an acting Hand. He's eating huge meals of delicious food while the city is starving (due to a war his family started) and he doesn't even have the decency to feel guilty about it.
James Whitehead
4. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@2SkylarkThibedeau, I think Leigh isn't watching the show as it doesn't completely follow the book, chronologically speaking that is.

It is interesting that we have two royals, Sansa & Joffrey, both woefully under prepared for rule, or at least the responsibility of power, and that it is Sansa who is fairing better; under worse conditions I might add. Under dire circumstances Sansa has started to come into her own, as best she can obviously, whereas Joffrey continues to crumble before our eyes.

Kato
Francesco Paonessa
5. ErrantKnave
Re: Tommen vs. Joffrey

Leigh, I respectfully disagree with this part: "if the mob truly believes Tyrion is Joffrey’s puppetmaster for atrocity, killing one perceived puppet and replacing him with another isn’t actually going to do Tyrion, or the situation in general, much good."

If Tommen is as sweet as Tyrion thinks, and if he's so young and impressionable, then Tyrion might stand a chance at actually guiding him, especially if he can keep Cersei and the Small Council out of it. The mob considers Tyrion a monster because Joffrey makes ridiculous demands and commits atrocities. Tommen wouldn't do those things--or so I believe--leading to a change in the way the public thinks of Tyrion.

So, am I advocating murder of one king and manipulation of another? Nope. Just speculating.
JacqueSparrow
6. JacqueSparrow
I'm not sure I get the Marie Antionette remark: isn't it the common view among modern historians that she never actually said, "Let them eat cake?"
JacqueSparrow
7. JacqueSparrow
Sorry, I meant to put that question mark outside the quotations. Anyway, here's the wikipedia page about the cake quote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_them_eat_cake
JacqueSparrow
8. Lsana
The first time I read this chapter, I thought it was horribly unfair to Tyrion that everyone was dumping on him, but on subsequent re-reads, I've come to the conclusion that Bergmanic@3 is right: Tyrion deserves, not all, but quite a bit of the criticism that he's getting.

That he brought savages into the capital who answer to no law but their own? Well, the first part is definitely true, and as for the second, we know that Timmet killed a man and Tyrion laughed it off. The fact that both Varys and Bronn felt the need to bring it up, though, suggests no one else was laughing. There was no suggestion that Tyrion was going to punish Timmet or even have a talk with the clansmen about the need to obey the local laws. True, we haven't heard anything since, but that's likely because Varys and Bronn got the message the first time: Tyrion's big on justice, but not against his own men.

That Tyrion dismissed Janos Slynt because he feared a challenge to his power? Absolutely true. He might have said it was justice for little Barra, he might even believe that, but if that were true, why did he send 5 men who had no role in Barra's death to the Wall? I'm pretty sure it was about purging the City Watch of the influence of someone he didn't trust. Don't get me wrong, I'm shedding no tears for poor ol' Janos, but just because Janos was a bad guy doesn't mean that Tyrion's motives were all that pure in replacing him.

Mostly Tyrion is hated because of bad luck: he showed up just as things were going to Hell in the proverbial handbasket. But he's no martyred innocent either: most of what the crowd is saying about him is true.
Deana Whitney
9. Braid_Tug
Totally have to laugh / agree with you about "how many fat holy men
there tended to be, over the centuries."

I loved Clegane for protecting Sansa.

Joffery = most spoiled entitled brat in the world. He's like a 2 year old, but has a real crown.
JacqueSparrow
10. Megaduck
"Quaithe appears suddenly and tells Dany that six months ago that particular mage could barely call any fire at all, but now his powers have grown, and Dany is the reason.

“Me?” She laughed. “How could that be?”"

Because you're the DRAGON REBORN! Quick, get your two closest friends and go running into the night with Quaithe to escape the wrights sent by the dark one!
JacqueSparrow
11. sofrina
one thing i can never understand is how the knight who took viserys and daenerys away from westeros could fail to secure them a new home/guardian before he died. hopefully that will be revealed eventually because i have a hard time stringing together the small mentions of them alternately on the run from assassins, homeless in the streets selling off the targaryen crown jewels and being hosted and feted by one rich patron after another until all their welcomes were worn out.

viserys' struggle was different from dany's because he could remember a royal life. he had to live with the knowledge of how far they - he - had fallen even as a child.
JacqueSparrow
12. NotInventedHere
Tyrion sends for Shagga, and tells him to go protect Shae.
Struck me the first time I read it as a big, bad "Oops" on the part of Tyrion. I don't recall if it turns out that way or not, but Tyrion - really?
Steven Halter
13. stevenhalter
Clegane is actually shaping up to be one of the honourable yet realistic characters. He refuses to be a knight but he is doing the correct thing as far as he can better than pretty much all of the people with the title.
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
Leigh is not watching the TV show, but it's pretty funny that Internet folk are calling Xaro Xhoan Daxos "Ducksauce" because of the way his last name is pronounced on the show.

Very much loving Quaithe as a cool minor character. Not much else to say about Dany that Leigh didn't say.

I still think the commenters above are being tough on Tyrion. I don't see any textual support for the Clansmen going wild in KL. Even re Timmet, he killed a person who tried to steal from him. I guess he could have arrested the man and handed him over the the gold cloaks for punishment, I wouldn't be surprised if a knight or noble would exercise self help in the same situation. What is certainly true is that Tyrion is eating and carousing like a royal while people are starving - can't really get around that, even if he is taking steps trying to make things better in both short and long runs.

Yes, the Hound saves Sansa. Feel free to start San-San 'shipping at any time, LOL.
Marcus W
15. toryx
I think it was a fairly brilliant stroke to make a character as sympathetic as Tyrion is on the "evil" side. I would so totally support the mob rising up to crush the rulers in KL(hungry people facing a man too fat to walk indeed) but because Tyrion's there my enthusiasm is severely blunted.

It's also hard to deal with a character so brilliant and capable of good being so blind as to remain on the "wrong" side in the first place.
JacqueSparrow
16. Patrick C
The Hound did cut poor Micah in half just because Joffrey told him to, so let's not canonize him just yet. It was damn decent of him to save Sansa, but that good act doesn't absolve the bad one.
JacqueSparrow
17. MJF
I never really understood why Clegane takes such a liking to Sansa until I reread a scene at the end of A Game of Thrones where she wonders why Joffrey's hurting her all the time, and Clegane basically gives her an intensive course on How To Survive Joffrey Baratheon. Then it struck me: he grew up with the Monster that Rapes, of course he has a soft spot for a child stuck at the mercy of an abusive psychopath.
JacqueSparrow
18. Mark Z.
ErrantKnave: The problem isn't really even Joffrey, though. The commoners are starving because the war has cut off their supply lines, and they're mad at Joffrey because he won't fix it. But he can't fix it. King's Landing depends mainly on the Riverlands and the Reach for food, and at this point:

- The Riverlands have been pillaged several times and are basically dead.
- The Reach supported Renly, and now Stannis*, and most of what would feed the city is now supplying the army that's marching on the city.
- The North also won't trade with them, and never had much of a food surplus anyway.
- The Lannister homelands in the west are still in pretty good shape, but Robb's army controls the road.
- Stannis has a navy of professional pirates and can shut down shipping into King's Landing whenever he wants.**

This leaves them with the area immediately north of the city, plus fish from the bay and little vegetable gardens, and once that's gone they're down to rats and pigeons and boiling their leather boots to make soup. And considering that a lot of the city was already eating rats and pigeons and boiled boots (as Arya discovered), the next most disgusting thing to eat is Joffrey.

If Joffrey weren't such a tool, he'd go on a bread and water diet to show sympathy with the people, but it would be purely symbolic. The problem isn't going away until at least one of these kings is removed as a threat.

"So, am I advocating murder of one king and manipulation of another? Nope. Just speculating."

There's a Valyrian saying that seems appropriate here...


* With the exception of the Tyrells, who hate both Stannis and Joffrey and would put Renly's rotting corpse on the throne if they could, but in any case can't supply food to King's Landing because Stannis's absurdly large army is in the way.

** This raises the question of why Tyrion is putting Myrcella on a ship. She'd make a terrific hostage.
JacqueSparrow
19. Black Dread
I'm not that hard onTyrion. Everyone feels a little self-pity sometimes - even CEO's and rockstars. Truly unpleasant people dwell on it and act on it. Tyrion handles it correctly - he feels it, then dimisses it.
David Scotton
20. Kaxon
@8 Lsana - you remember incorrectly about the men Tyrion sent to the wall having nothing to do with the murders. Allar Deem, who Slynt endorsed as his successor, was the one who actually killed Barra and her mother.
JacqueSparrow
21. Lsana
@14,

As far as evidence that the clansmen are running wild, we have Bywater's testimony here about how the people feel. No, we haven't heard about any more incidents after the murder Timmet committed, but I think that's largely because this all from Tyrion's perspective, and Tyrion made it clear he thought the matter of no importance.

@20,

Janos Slynt gave Tyrion a list of 6 men whom he thought were good choices to replace him, though he gave Allar Deem a particular recommendation. Tyrion sent all of the men on that list to the Wall. True, Deem was the one who killed Barra, which is why I said that Tyrion sent 5 men with no role in Barra's death to the Wall. We have no evidence that those 5 ever committed any sort of crime. If what he was doing was really about justice, there was no need to send those 5. He did, because it was about power and justice was his excuse.
JacqueSparrow
22. sofrina
@17 - he grew up with the Monster that Rapes

wait- what?! i thought he was the 'monster that burns and causes mysterious deaths...' was there a page missing from my book? oy! i think i might have to reread this series.
JacqueSparrow
23. faiz Imam
@22

Thats referring to the Mountain, which we all should know is a highly efficient rape-machine (last mentionned by Chiswyck
before his unfortunate demise)
JacqueSparrow
24. David B
@22 - Go back a few chapters (or maybe wait a few chapters, I forget) when one of Clegane's followers tells a "funny" story about his boss. I don't think I'm spoiling anything when I say that he deserves that title - as if you couldn't guess that he did anyway.
JacqueSparrow
25. MJF
@22 -- Just to clarify: it's a general fan nickname for Gregor Clegane, there's no evidence that he ever tried to rape Sandor.
JacqueSparrow
26. a1ay
Totally have to laugh / agree with you about "how many fat holy men
there tended to be, over the centuries."

True fact: you know how in English there's a phrase about "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse"? In Italian, they used to say "I'm so hungry I could eat a bishop".
JacqueSparrow
27. Anorak
Sandor Clegane is a monster. A weirdly sympathetic monster, but still a monster. Every time I think he might be a good guy, I just think back to when he killed Mycah. He is not a nice guy, he just happens to like Sansa.
JacqueSparrow
28. Black Dread
Martin rarely draws a main character as completely evil so trying to shove Sandor into a stereotypical "bad guy" pigeon-hole is silly. He's like real people - part good, part bad.
Gary Glasscott
29. MonktonGaz
I loved this chapter, this is where the great authors earn their corn.

You could feel the hostility in the air, and as I read it, I remember thinking "if Joffrey opens his mouth, they're all in the shit..."
JacqueSparrow
30. Anorak
Black Dread-
Yeah, you're right, but most real people don't murder children. And I couldn't forgive Sandor that.
JacqueSparrow
31. sofrina
@25 - thanks for clarifying. i thought you meant he'd raped the hound when they were kids. whew
Matthew Hunter
32. matthew1215
Anorak@27: No one would confuse Sandor Clegane for a nice person. He does appear to be an honest person who could be redeemed by the love of a good woman like Sansa. His problem is twofold: he's been essentially the personal bodyguard of an absolute monster who happens to be the king, which requires him to sometimes do awful things that he doesn't have the moral agency to resist... and no one except Sansa has shown the slightest kindness or interest in him as a person, rather than a handy sword.

Someone who paid attention to him and saw him as a sympathetic person, not a handy murder weapon, could easily inspire a scary amount of devotion once Sandor figured it out.

And no, that still wouldn't make him a nice man. But it could make him a good man.
JacqueSparrow
33. Black Dread
He is a hound - show a dog some love and it's likely that you will have a loyal guardian for life.
JacqueSparrow
34. phuzz
@25. MJF He might not have raped his little brother, but he did hold his head in a fire until he was perminantly scarred, so probably not a great upbringing.
JacqueSparrow
35. SJMomma
I dot get Danerys' end game. She seems hell-bent on retaking the iron throne, but the Targaryan line is dead except for her, and she believes Mirra Maz Duur's prophecy that she can't have any live children. So... Take over the Seven Kingdoms, then what?
JacqueSparrow
36. King Iron Works
Wow,great article, I really appreciate your thought process and having it explained properly,thank you!

King Iron Works
Marie Veek
37. SlackerSpice
@21

OTOH, those other five men are still on the same list as someone who murdered a prostitute's child under Slynt's orders, and murdered the mother of his own free will because she wouldn't let it happen. They are also all recommendations by Slynt, who accepted the orders from Cersei without questioning, and who helped stab Ned in the back.

Very much not a ringing recommendation, especially not for Hands dealing with backstabbing sisters. So while we don't hear of their crimes, I wouldn't go so far as to call them squeaky-clean, either.
JacqueSparrow
38. CarpeComputer
@ 3, 14 - Why are you such commies? Tyrion eats like a nobleman in a starving city, because he is an nobleman (well, at least noble halfman). He can afford delicious meals, so he eats them and there is no reason why he should feel guilty about townsfolk not having anything to eat - especially that he does what he can to improve the situation in the long run. Not everyone has to be Baelor the Blessed. It's not like today's tourists in India or places like that don't do the same thing.

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