Fri
Oct 5 2012 2:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords, Part 4

A Read of Ice and Fire on Tor.com A Storm of Swords, part 4Welcome 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 4 of A Storm of Swords, in which we cover Chapter 6 (“Sansa”) and Chapter 7 (“Jon”).

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, please note that the Read of Ice and Fire spoiler thread has been moved to a new thread here on Tor.com. 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!

Once more, scheduling note: As I mentioned last week, I have been accepted to participate in the Viable Paradise Writer’s Workshop, and so I will of necessity be taking a hiatus from both the WOT Re-read and the ASOIAF Read for the week of October 7th and possibly the week after as well.

So, there will be no post next Friday. Watch this space for updates on what will happen the week after that.

Onward!

 

Chapter 6: Sansa

What Happens
Sansa has received an invitation to dine with Margaery Tyrell, and is agonizing over whether to accept it. She had watched Joffrey’s new betrothed and her family enter the keep amid cheering, adoring crowds, the same smallfolk that had tried to kill Sansa in the riot, and cannot understand why someone so beautiful and beloved would want to keep company with a traitor’s daughter. She is frightened that it might be a ploy on Joffrey’s part to humiliate her further, and now the Imp will no longer be able to protect her from it. She wishes the Hound were here; she knows that his supposed cravenness during the battle had only been fear of fire, not of the battle, and wonders whether she did right to refuse to leave with him. But she thinks that she has no right to refuse the queen-to-be in any case, and so sends a note of acceptance.

Ser Loras Tyrell comes to escort her to the dinner, and Sansa is tongue-tied by his handsomeness. She tells him he looks “lovely,” which seems to puzzle him. He is gracious to her at first, telling her she is to dine with his and Margaery’s grandmother Lady Olenna as well. Sansa asks if that is the one called “The Queen of Thorns,” and Loras laughs and cautions her not to call her that to her face. They pass knights training in the yard, and Sansa notes one knight fighting three others simultaneously. Loras confirms that that is his brother Garlan, who he says is a better warrior than he, though he is better at the lance.

Sansa eagerly speaks of seeing Loras at the tourney and how he’d given her a red rose, and though Loras is polite Sansa realizes he doesn’t even remember it. She tries to jog his memory by reminding him it was when he fought Ser Robar Royce, and Loras lets go of her and tells her he killed Robar at Storm’s End. She asks if that was when Lord Renly was killed, and Loras shuts her down sharply. She apologizes, but he does not warm up to her again, and Sansa curses herself for bringing it up.

Margaery greets Sansa personally and warmly when she arrives. Loras leaves, and Margaery takes Sansa to meet the other ladies, including her mother Lady Alerie, several cousins and in-laws, and her grandmother Lady Olenna, who greets Sansa kindly and extends her condolences for Sansa’s losses. Sansa thinks there is nothing thorny about her. She returns condolences for Renly, and Olenna snorts that Renly thought knowing how to groom himself made him a good candidate for king. Margaery remonstrates that Father and Loras liked him.

“Loras is young,” Lady Olenna said crisply, “and very good at knocking men off horses with a stick. That does not make him wise. As to your father, would that I’d been born a peasant woman with a big wooden spoon, I might have been able to beat some sense into his fat head.” 

Mother,” Lady Alerie scolded. 

“Hush, Alerie, don’t take that tone with me. And don’t call me Mother. If I’d given birth to you, I’m sure I’d remember. I’m only to blame for your husband, the lord oaf of Highgarden.”

Olenna opines that Renly’s claim to the throne was ridiculous, with Robert’s two sons and an older brother ahead of him, and comments that the Tyrells themselves have only a rather dodgy claim to Highgarden, and Mace is puffed up like a puff fish over the idea of seeing his grandson on the Iron Throne. Sansa is astounded by her frankness. Olenna has Sansa sit next to her and calls for their fool, Butterbumps, to entertain them at dinner.

As Butterbumps entertains, Olenna pronounces both her late husband and her son “great oafs,” her son more so for trying to “ride a lion,” and then suddenly says she wants Sansa to tell her the truth about this Joffrey. Sansa is terrified, but Olenna is insistent. Sansa tries lying at first, saying Joffrey is handsome and brave, but Olenna snaps that she wants to know if he is kind, and will cherish Margaery and treat her well. Sansa lies that he will. But Olenna doesn’t buy it, and assures her that no harm will come to her for telling. Sansa blurts that Joffrey promised her mercy for her father, and then cut his head off and made her view it up close on the walls. Margaery urges her to go on, and notes that she is terrified, whereupon Olenna commands Butterbumps to sing a long obnoxious song at the top of his lungs as camouflage for the ears in the walls. She urges Sansa again to tell the truth, and Sansa whispers that Joffrey is a cruel, abusive monster, and so is the queen.

Lady Olenna Tyrell and her granddaughter exchanged a look. “Ah,” said the old woman, “that’s a pity.”

Sansa begs them not to call off the wedding, but Olenna assures her that Lord Mace will not call it off. Margaery asks if Sansa would like to visit Highgarden, and Sansa says she would, but the queen will not let her. Olenna counters that she will if the Tyrells ask it of her, and that way they can see Sansa safely wed to her grandson. Sansa is elated at first, thinking she means Loras, but when she blurts this out Olenna reminds her sharply that Kingsguard never wed; she meant Willas, who was crippled in his first tourney as a squire. Margaery assures her he has a good heart, though. Sansa is hesitant, but does not reject the offer, and they assure her she and Olenna will leave for Highgarden after Margaery’s wedding.

Commentary
Okay, so Lady Olenna is AWESOME. I might be a tiny bit in love with her. I don’t know yet whether she’s to be trusted, but that doesn’t change the fact that thus far she completely cracks my shit up. I want to quote everything she said, but obviously that’s kind of ridiculous, so here are a couple of my favorites:

“Garth [Greenhand] liked to plant his seed in fertile ground, they say. I shouldn’t wonder that more than his hands were green.”

“I’ve never been quite sure what the point of a eunuch is, if truth be told. It seems to me they’re only men with the useful bits cut off.”

“All these kings would do a deal better if they would put down their swords and listen to their mothers.”

Oh, salty grandmothers who are too old to give a shit about what people think of them, how do I love ye, let me count the ways. Olenna is like the love child of Maggie Smith’s character in Downton Abbey and Shirley Maclaine in Steel Magnolias. (And yes, I know. Incidentally, spoil me for Series 3 and I will cut you.)

It might be just a supper. But this was the Red Keep, this was King’s Landing, this was the court of King Joffrey Baratheon, the First of His Name, and if there was one thing that Sansa Stark had learned here, it was mistrust.

…And yet, then you went and blurted everything to the Tyrells the first time you meet them, Sansa. I’m not going to lie, I felt almost as relieved as Sansa must have been to finally tell someone what a giant pulsating douchewaffle Joffrey is, but that doesn’t mean it was a smart move.

Also, I have to say, Margaery Tyrell’s reaction to being told her fiancé is a monster was remarkably calm. This is probably my cue to consider whether there are Hidden Depths there. Either that or she’s stoned out of her gourd, but I’m guessing it’s probably the first option.

I am intrigued, though, by this tacit admission or implication in this chapter that there is a quiet, unofficial, behind-the-scenes network of the female members of the court, doing what they can to counteract or at least mitigate the dictates thrust upon them by their male counterparts. Which of course must always be the case where such obvious power imbalance exists; if the women were not to work together on their own behalf, who would?

Of course, all that being said, the possibility of betrayal exists everywhere, in systems both covert and overt. Which, again, Sansa would do well to remember.

My God, I think I got a tension headache from how loud Butterbumps’s song was, and I couldn’t even actually hear it!

[…] the long slate-roofed keep that had been called the Maidenvault since King Baelor the Blessed had confined his sisters therein, so the sight of them might not tempt him into carnal thoughts.

*stares*

I just – I don’t –

Ugh. Everyone is fired, go home. Go!

*headdesk*

 

Chapter 7: Jon

What Happens
Jon descends the ridge to the wildlings’ camp with Rattleshirt and the others, who have distributed Qhorin’s belongings—and bones—among themselves. Rattleshirt has told Jon flatly that he does not trust Jon’s change of loyalties and expects Mance to kill him, but Ygritte tells him that Mance will take Jon quick enough when he hears Jon killed Halfhand. She tells him he’s not the first crow to fly down off the Wall to be free. Jon asks if he’ll be free to go.

“Sure you will.” She had a warm smile, despite her crooked teeth. “And we’ll be free to kill you. It’s dangerous being free, but most come to like the taste o’ it.” She put her gloved hand on his leg, just above the knee. “You’ll see.”

I will, thought Jon. I will see, and hear, and learn, and when I have I will carry the word back to the Wall.

At the bottom they are met by another infamous raider, The Weeper, who wields a great scythe. They introduce Jon to him, naming him a warg, and the Weeper comments that he has “a wolfish cast,” and tells them to bring him to Mance. Jon is impressed by the sheer size of the camp, but also notes that there are no fortifications or organization to the camp at all, and thinks of his father’s lesson that discipline beats numbers nine times out of ten.

They arrive at Mance’s tent and Rattleshirt and Ygritte take Jon inside, where he sees two young lovers, a pregnant woman, a grey-haired man playing a lute, and two obvious warriors, one of whom has lost both his ears. The earless man demands to know who the crow is, and Jon introduces himself, calling the man “your Grace,” whereupon the other warrior laughs uproariously and tells him to turn around. The singer rises and introduces himself as Mance Rayder, and says that Jon is Ned Stark’s bastard.

Jon is stunned, and asks how Mance knew, but Mance does not answer, instead asking if Jon truly slew his old friend the Halfhand. Jon confirms it, and Mance remarks sadly that Qhorin was his enemy but also his friend. He asks if he should thank Jon for killing him, or curse him; Jon replies that Mance should thank him for killing his enemy and curse him for killing his friend. One of the warriors (Tormund) approves of this, and Mance introduces him and the others in the tent to Jon.

Mance asks about the crows with Jon, and questions how a young boy from Castle Black came to be with rangers from the Shadow Tower. Jon lies that Mormont sent him to Qhorin for seasoning. Styr (the earless warrior) asks how they came to be up Skirling Pass, but they reason out for themselves that Craster must have told the rangers where to go. Mance asks the others to leave, all except his lady, Dalla.

Mance offers Jon food and mead, and tells him he knew who Jon was because he’d seen him before, twice. Jon abruptly recalls when he was a boy, and one of the brothers come to Winterfell had caught him and Robb building a giant snow mountain above one of the gates to dump on someone passing under, and had promised not to rat them out. Mance tells him the second time was when King Robert came to Winterfell to make Ned Stark his Hand. Jon is disbelieving, and Mance replies that he’d wanted to see Robert with his own eyes and get the measure of him, and was sure Jon’s father would not remember him from before, so he snuck across the Wall and posed as a minstrel to join the royal procession.

Mance then asks why Jon turned his cloak, and Jon knows the wrong answer will get him killed. He says he will tell his reason if Mance tells his. Mance says it was not for a crown or a woman or the wildling music, as the stories say; he shows Jon his cloak, black and rent with tears mended with red silk, and tells the story of how he was wounded while ranging, and nursed back to health by a woman in a wildling village. She also sewed up the rents in his cloak with scarlet silk that was her most valuable possession, but when he returned to the Wall, he was told he must burn it, for the men of the Night’s Watch only wear black.

“I left the next morning . . . for a place where a kiss was not a crime, and a man could wear any cloak he chose.” He closed the clasp and sat back down again. “And you, Jon Snow?”

Jon says that if Mance was at Winterfell the night his father feasted King Robert, then he saw how his brothers and sisters were paraded up the center aisle and seated just below the royal dais. Mance allows that he remembers this.

“And did you see where I was seated, Mance?” He leaned forward. “Did you see where they put the bastard?”

Mance Rayder looked at Jon’s face for a long moment. “I think we had best find you a new cloak,” the king said, holding out his hand.

Commentary
Clever Jon. People will always believe in jealousy, sadly enough.

So what Mance is saying here, is that he turned traitor for freedom. Freedom, I have clearly gotten the message, is a big thing for the wildlings. And as usual, Martin has managed to take what should be a positive or at least benign concept and given it a distinctly more ambiguous flavor, since these freedom-loving wildlings are currently planning to lay waste to….

Well, actually I don’t know what the hell they’re thinking to lay waste to, because as Jon observes here, they appear to have pretty much zero discipline as a fighting force. I don’t doubt that they’d be able to overwhelm the Night Watch, as pathetically undermanned as they are, but even with everybody busy fighting each other further south, I’m having trouble picturing these seeming haphazard raiders being more than a temporary extra wrinkle in the general fray.

Of course, maybe I’m just not getting an accurate enough picture here. And there’s also the possibly-not-a-Macguffin thing that Mance is looking for or has possibly already found, which I’m guessing Mance at least thinks is enough to offset his disadvantages, since he doesn’t strike me as being particularly stupid. Which of course now makes me deeply curious to find out what this thingamabob is already.

(As a completely irrelevant side note, Word does not have a spelling issue with “thingamabob.” I may be way too easily amused sometimes.)

But back to freedom, the ironic taking of: well, as an American I’m contractually obligated to sit up and take notice when the concept is brought into play, especially when its use seems so… hm.

I don’t think “naïve” is the correct word I’m looking for here, but maybe something like “immature” works. Freedom as either a philosophy or a governing principle is advanced shit, you guys, and it is super easy to fuck up (as my own country’s history can readily attest), and basically I am just not sure that Westeros is ready for that jelly.

And so far, Mance and Co. are not really doing much to dissuade me on this point. There may be a very fine line between “being free” and “being a hot mess,” but that line does exist, and so far it seems like the wildlings are pretty firmly on the wrong side of it.

Nice little fakeout in the tent scene with Mance being the singer, by the way. I was agreeing with Jon that Mance was probably the earless dude up till then.

And randomly:

“I’ll make a cloak o’ your wolf there, and open your soft boy’s belly and sew a weasel up inside.”

Well, if Rattleshirt ever decides to get out of the barbarian warrior racket, he’d have a great future as a horror flick screenwriter. Also, ew.


And that’s our show, mon peeps! Have a lovely two weeks, and wish me luck! Mwah!

92 comments
Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
Chapter 6: Sansa. Hmm, Margaery Tyrell has sent an invitation. I wonder if there is a naming link between Tyrell and the ty's of Lanister? Sansa goes into flustered mode at seeing Ser Loras.
Love the grandmother--"As to your father, would that I’d been born a peasant woman with a big wooden spoon, I might have been able to beat some sense into his fat head". -- lol. "I’ve never been quite sure what the point of a eunuch is, if truth be told. It seems to me they’re only men with the useful bits cut off. " Yowza! "Should you ever have a son, Sansa, beat him frequently so he learns to mind you." Curmudgeonly grandmothers--gotta like 'em.
The Tyrell women seem a formidable lot, but in a non evil way. I do like the idea of Sansa being out of King's Landing. The son sounds probably OK although I'm not at all sure that sequence of events will ever happen. Seems like too safe a path for poor Sansa.
Aeryl
2. Aeryl
Yeah, the wildling way of "freedom(for whomever has the strength to hold it)" isn't really all it's cracked up to be.
Aeryl
3. Lsana
Great thoughts on freedom. It does seem like what the Wildlings are talking about is not so much freedom as it is anarchy. It's hard to enjoy being "free" to live your life when your neighbor is also "free" to slit your throat at night.

I don't think I'd like Olenna Tyrell if I actually met her, but I do love reading about her. More than any other character, Olenna says what I'm thinking.
James Whitehead
5. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
It might not have been a 'wise' decision on Sansa's part to spill the beans to the Tyrells Female but I'm not sure what else she could do. She has no 'faction' to fall back on. Tyrion is now out of power & dearest Joffrey is a sadistic whackadoddle; and don't get me started on her former mommie-in-law dearest...

Also, she has to be worn down by all she's been through & decided to make the best of her situation. Or at least finally be able to talk to someone else about her situation.

With luck Margery & Grandmama will be able to marry her off to some minor family member. Things go badly for the Lannisters against Robb & Co. & the Tyrells can show how nice they were to his sister. Pretty sharp in my book, no?

Kato
George Jong
4. IndependentGeorge
The Queen of Thorns is teh awesome. I remember having to put the book down multiple times in order to laugh out loud as I was reading her rant. One of the things I love about this chapter is that the reader is put so firmly in Sansa's place: we feel the exact same relief she does at finally confiding in someone (besides a drunk or a psychotic murderer, that is), even as we feel the same wariness at these new characters. We want to believe they'll be the friends she so desperately needs, but we're just as suspicious because of everything we've seen together. Sansa's chapters are really astonishingly well crafted in this way.

Also, the thing I took note of is the fact that (1) Olenna takes Margaery into her confidence, and not Alerie, (2) she seems to have contempt for Loras' brains, but (3) not Willas.
Aeryl
6. Jeff R.
Me, I've never been able to not hear Olenna's lines Stephanie Cole (as Diana Trent in Waiting for God)'s voice.
Vincent Lane
7. Aegnor
Not exactly a spoiler, but whited out just to be safe.

That's one more hint regarding Renly's secret that Leigh has missed. I think there is just one more (and probably the most obvious) left in the series.
George Jong
8. IndependentGeorge
Oh, and one more important point to note:
"Now, child, the truth. What sort of man is this Joffrey, who calls himself Baratheon but looks so very Lannister?"

Yup, she knows, as do probably most of the nobles at court.

Finally, re: Baelor the Blessed - remember, this is considered one of the good Targaryens. They built a friggin' statue of him in the capital.
Melanie DeJulis
9. Shonagon
"... giant pulsating douchewaffle" = best description of Joffrey EVER! Thanks for the chuckles.
Aeryl
10. Skyweir
Bunch of kneelers, the lot of you!

Actually, the wildings are more like libertarians than anarachists, since they seem to retains concepts like personal posessions, love of weapons and at least an informal assertion of rank. Tormod and Mance are leaders based on their possessions and personal charisma, something that could happen in a libertarian system. True anarchy would likely have some kind of commitee leadership where everyone took turns to serve, if it needed leadership at all.

Incidently, it is the property rights that makes the difference here. If you can own stuff, you will need to defend it, and might want to take more of it from others. Thus, weapons and rich/charismatic leaders.
Steven Halter
11. stevenhalter
Chapter 7:Jon--Ah, what becomes of Jon? The wildings camp is probably what a Hun camp would have looked like--part army and part migration. I think the appearance of disorder may disguise a potentially quite effective fighting force. I'm torn a bit in that I lean towards liking the wildings, but I don't really want them to loot the South. It must be terrifying as Jon walks into Mance's tent.
OK, I like Mance so far, but he seems very dangerous to me. Jon does very well--playing the bastard card seems a good story at this point.
Aeryl
12. Mark Z.
I love the story behind the Maidenvault. Once there was a Targaryen who got religion and took a vow of chastity, so he locked his sisters in a tower to keep his hands off them. That right there is everything you need to know about the Targaryens.
Vincent Lane
13. Aegnor
IndependentGeorge@8,

I don't think Baelor the Blessed is considered one of the "good" Targaryens. Maybe among the peasants, but probably not those peasants that lived during his time. It is only in legend that he becomes a good Targ. Among those more scholarly in their assessment of past kings, Baelor is certainly not considered a good Targaryen. Definitely considered bat$@% crazy and a terrible king.
Kat Blom
14. pro_star
Aegnor - both myself AND my boss (who was my partner in crime in getting me to read this series...but I got him on WoT...mwahahaha!) didn't figure that one out until HBO...oops.

I wonder if Leigh has figured it out, but just not yet commented on it.
Aeryl
15. Tenesmus
I would still be a bit skeptical of Jon's story. His bastardness could explain why he JOINED the NW, but it really doesn't explain why he would QUIT the NW. Also, something isn't quite right with the Tyrell's. Sansa should probably be thinking why Loras would give her a rose in a very public setting, then completely forget about it. Then compare how Loras and the rest of the Tyrell's acted when Renly's death was discussed. Something is not quite right with it.
Marty Beck
16. martytargaryen
Luck, Leigh! Also, of course you love Lady Olenna. More to come after I read some comments.
Scott Silver
17. hihosilver28
@7 Aegnor
I'm guessing the other moment is (whited out)...well, I tried to put it in white, but every time I tried, it came up "unwhited" so that comment is trashed. Crap. I wish the commenting would work as advertised.

I really do love this book. And Olenna is only one of the reasons. I love the new characters that pop up in this book and instantly make you glad that they exist. This column is one of the highlights of my Fridays. Looking forward to how Leigh will react to the rest of the book.
Aeryl
18. Pheran
@8: Re: "Yup, she knows" - Well, that's hardly a surprise given that Stannis broadcast the incest/bastard story everywhere via raven.
Vincent Lane
19. Aegnor
Maybe, but I doubt it. It definitely strikes me as something she would comment on. I know I definitely missed it until the last clue.

I want her to realize it because it totally supports my position in an argument in the WoT reread.
Scott Silver
20. hihosilver28
@19. Aegnor
What's the argument in the WoT reread? Feel free to white that out or just message me if that actually gives a hint for ASoIaF.
Melanie DeJulis
21. Shonagon
@7, 17 (whited out) There is another hint later in aSoS, in a Tyrion chapter.
Sanctume Spiritstone
22. Sanctume
The wildlings live in the wild, north of a wall that is frozen every day. They have the advantage of home turf even if they look disorganized.
So it would be interesting how the wildlings siege / attack a very tall ice wall.
Marty Beck
23. martytargaryen
I.G. @4 - well said about the writing of this chapter putting us into Sansa's shoes.

pro-star @14 - Ditto for me on HBO, but I watched s1 after reading book 1 first time....Leigh will not hold back any such thoughts, I assure you.
Steven Halter
24. stevenhalter
Now a bit of thinking re the Tyrells: So, Lady Olenna has warned her son about an alliance with the Lannister's as being a dangerous one to control. That seems like good advice that he is ignoring. Her idea to take away Sansa and marry her to her grandson also seems like a really good plan with respect to hedging her families bets as to which king wins out.
Margaery seems pretty sharp herself. I certainly can see how Sansa would feel relief that she had someone to talk to and hope it doesn't turn against her.
Deana Whitney
25. Braid_Tug
@ 5, Kato:
With luck Margery & Grandmama will be able to marry her off to some minor family member
Uhm, Kato, Willis is the Heir to Highgarden. Grandma is making Sansa the future "Lady Highgarden" here. Which ties North and South together. And would cover their bases even if Robb wins. Because they've been nice to his sister.
Not saying that’s her motivation, but that could be a result. Highgarden is protected no matter what.

So need to reread Jon's time at the banquet. But that was a great way of answering / not answering Mance's question.

Edit: UGH... another set of names that are TOO close.
Mance - "King" of the Wilding
Mace - Lord of Highgarden
Dropping one letter can so confuse you in this world!!!
Aeryl
26. David B
Leigh: Without knowing how much time you spend on these, have you ever considered getting a few chapters ahead, and then releasing them on schedule?

We might not ever need to know you're gone!
George Jong
27. IndependentGeorge
@9: I now have a mental picture of a literal Giant Pulsating Douchewaffle in my head. It's rather disturbing.

@18: Good point; maybe it's more accurate to note that she believes.
Eli Bishop
28. EliBishop
Tenesmus @15: "Sansa should probably be thinking why Loras would give her a rose in a very public setting, then completely forget about it"

I don't think we're really meant to see that as a sign of anything shady, so much as just another reminder that Sansa has always taken the chivalry stuff a bit too seriously. The "queen of love and beauty" thing is a bit of ceremony that's expected at every tourney; there's no reason to believe that every champion gives much thought to the lady in question afterward, especially since for most contestants there would be zero prospect of any future romantic or even social interaction between them. Potential spoiler (roll over): Rhaegar and Lyanna was a special scandalous exception.
David W
29. DavidW
Re this quote:
“I’ve never been quite sure what the point of a eunuch is, if truth be told. It seems to me they’re only men with the useful bits cut off.”
Leigh, I just need to point out that if you switched the roles so it was spoken by a man so that it says this:
“I’ve never been quite sure what the point of a barren woman is, if truth be told. It seems to me they’re only women with the useful bits cut out.”
Correct if I am wrong but I am guessing that you probably wouldn't find that amusing.
Matthew B
30. MatthewB
In most parts of the world, having freedom means the people who have power over you step lightly on your neck instead of bearing down, and yes, i am talking about Western Democracies as well as third world dictatorships.

In my experience, most of the people who fetishize freedom have never known anything but safety and have a very limited definition of freedom.
Rob Munnelly
31. RobMRobM
Knew Leigh would love the Queen of Thorns. Big squee if Leigh knew who is playing her on hbo show (but I won't tell).
Maitrey Deshpande
32. LittleWolf
I think aSoS is when Sansa's POV really started becoming one of my favourites to read if not the best. GRRM sure knows how to make you root for 'em.

@28, going a little tangential here, but the "queens of love and beauty" are remembered, as much as the (male) winners of the tourneys usually. But Sansa wasn't the queen of love and beauty since Loras gave her the rose in the 'Semi-Finals' if you will. The queen is picked by the winner, which in this tourney didn't happen since the Hound won without the final joust happening.
Although, since it was the Hound that finally won, Sansa probably had a good chance of winning that title.
Melanie DeJulis
33. Shonagon
@15, 28, 32 Also IIRC Loras gave roses to several ladies in the crowd that day. Sansa ascribed special meaning to the fact that hers was red, while the other ladies received white roses... but still, I think this is another point in favor of it being reasonable for him to forget about it. I also agree with Tenesmus re: Sansa and her love of chivalry.
Pat .
34. dolphineus
"Definitely considered bat$@% crazy and a terrible king."
That qualifies him as a good Targaryen king. The bar isn't that high. Maegor the Cruel? The Mad Kind Aerys?

Love how the Queen of Thorns has Butterbumps sign outrageously loud to cover their conversation. That one little move tells Sansa (and us) that she understands the situation here in Kings Landing, and won't be taken unawares. Love to see her and Tyrion play a game of stones some day. Wait, wrong series ...
Aeryl
35. EvilClosetMonkey
Potential spoilers ahead:

@28 Do we know about Lyanna being crowned Queen of Love and Beauty by Rhaegar yet? I'm pretty sure that isn't mentioned until later.

End Spoiler

Love the Queen of Thorns! Leigh didn't mention some of my favorite quotes but as she said, there is a temptation to quote everything she says.

Sad that we didn't actually get a response to The Bear and the Maiden Fair. Great song and Irish Moutarde does a good version of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ0rzsNfmIc
Aeryl
36. EvilClosetMonkey
Grumble... disappearing posts... grumble

Potential Spoiler: (whited out)

@28 Do we know about Lyanna being crowned QoLaB by Rhaegar yet? I'm pretty sure we haven't been told that yet in the series

End Spoiler

QUEEN OF THORNS!!! Sad that we didn't get some of my favorite quotes but as Leigh said, the temptation is to just quote everything she says.

Obnoxious? How dare you, The Bear and the Maiden Fair is a heartbreaking work of staggering genius :)

BTW, Irish Moutarde does a pretty good version of it, you can find it on youtube
Aeryl
37. EvilClosetMonkey
For frack sake, WHY does it show as whited out on preview and not post that way! Can a mod please white out the appropriate section of my comment. Thanks.
Deana Whitney
38. Braid_Tug
@32, LittleWolf: The Hound didn't "love" Sansa yet. So don't think she had a chance at being the Queen of Love & Beauty there.

Red Rose, it's a 13 year old girl with a crush on a cute guy blowing the importance up in her mind. But as others have said, it holds no meaning to Loras.
Aeryl
39. johnnylump
On freedom: I'd agree that the Seven Kingdoms aren't likely to see an outbreak of Jeffersonian democracy by the end of the series, but I've wondered more than once if the grand political narrative might end with something like the Magna Carta being signed by whoever is running the show. Just speculation on my part, but it would mark a sort of monumental change and actual progress, don't you think?
Aeryl
40. Kana
Here's a non-shouted version of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6VMSYIXCCY

I didn't notice in the books, but goddamn that is a dirty, dirty song
Vincent Lane
41. Aegnor
hihosilver28@20,

Whited out argument I mentioned from WoT reread below:

Leigh had argued at one point that the fact there weren't any gay male characters in WoT was unrealistic. My point was that we don't actually know that many male characters well enough that we would even know that type of information about them. We get into the heads of many more female characters than male. You've got Rand, Matt, Perrin, Gawyn, Galad, and maybe half a dozen others that we know well enough to know for a certainty their sexual preference.

How aSoIaF relates to that is that here is a perfect example. There are two somewhat significant characters in the story that are gay, and yet Leigh doesn't have enough knowledge about them to figure it out. Which was exactly my point.
Aeryl
42. EvilClosetMonkey
@40 Kana
Very dirty, I didn't notice either until I actually heard it a few times.

Here is the link for the Irish Moutarde version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ0rzsNfmIc
Vincent Lane
43. Aegnor
hihosilver28@17,

Yeah, I saw the post before it was trashed, and you are right about the moment I was refering to.

With regard to trouble whiting out, there is a trick to it.
1) Type the post out and then hit the Preview Comment button
2) Once preview comes up, white out the spoiler portion.
3) Hit the Reply button.

If you white it out initially, it will show up whited out in the preview, but not when you actually post it.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
44. Lisamarie
@29, I totally agree with you there. I actually did not find that particular comment funny or witty, just reductionist and sexist.

@41 - I'm not so sure that proves your argument, since the clues are obviously there here, and intended by GRRM, but not in WOT. That being said, it has never been one of my bones to pick with WOT so I'm not that vested in the argument.
Vincent Lane
45. Aegnor
dolphineus@34,

Not really. I can't go into too much detail due to spoilers, but there have been some very good Targaryn kings. There have also been some very bad ones.
Vincent Lane
46. Aegnor
@44 That there are clues there is irrelevant, except that it allows us to figure it out. That is a reader perspective. From a "real world" perspective, where Westeros is a real place with real people, the hints don't change anything. In one world (Westeros) we have the hints, in the other (WoT) we don't.

So she could take a look at Westeros and say, this doesn't seem realistic because there aren't any gay men. I could then make the same arguement (if I too missed the clues) about how we don't know enough about the male characters to know if they are gay or not. Same arguement, same results. Only those of you "in the know" would be snickering at us for missing the two (three, maybe four) gays in Westeros (that we know about).
Bridget McGovern
47. BMcGovern
@EvilClosetMonkey 35 & 36: I've whited out the spoilers and just published both, in spite of a little overlap (the first post got snagged by the crazy spam filter, sorry).

And I think Aegnor @43 is right, in terms of whiting out spoilers (it always works for me, but I wonder if that's because I'm always signed in--it might make a difference). I've already added it to the list of things we'd like to redesign/improve, so hopefully it won't always be so fussy :)
Aeryl
49. EvilClosetMonkey
@47 BMcGovern
Ok, I'll try that next time. Thanks for taking care of it.

Am I remembering incorrectly or is what I mention in my white out comment a spoiler? If so, should probably white out that portion of the post I mentioned.
Bridget McGovern
50. BMcGovern
@EvilClosetMonkey--Right you are; I've whited out the bit in 28 as well. I think that topic comes up in this book, but not until later (Chapter 24, if some very quick googling is to be believed :) Thanks!
Bill Stusser
51. billiam
@ 35 & 36

Nope, not a spoiler, we've known that Rhaegar gave the crown of love and beauty to Lyanna since AGoT.

AGoT, Eddard Chapter, page 631 (in my paperback edition at least)
Ned remembered the moment when all the smiles died, when Prince Rhaegar Targaryen urged his horse past his own wife, the Dornish princess Elia Martell, to lay the queen of beauty's laurel in Lyanna's lap. He could see it still: a crown of winter roses, blue as frost.
Marty Beck
52. martytargaryen
@40 Kana and others, I am not proud of this, but I did notice that it was dirty the first time reading. Again, I'm not proud of this.
Aeryl
54. KingsGambit
Two chapters that are all about character introductions. These kind of chapters are often boring, but both of these chapters introduce one character that is an instant favourite and that makes them great fun to read.

Some of the best non-pov characters are introduced in this book. I can think of four and that's only counting the completely amazing insta-cool characters and not even mentioning interesting ones like Margeary and Tormund. I would have said three of the best before I read the recap of the Sansa chapter, so there may be more that I've half forgotten about how cool they are. Anyway, two down at least two to go!
Lindy Brown
55. lbrown
I remember when I first read this Sansa chapter, when she mentions that part that the Hound offered to take her with him and she refused, I was all confused because I did not remember that part. I went back and reread that scene in CoK but it still wasn't clear to me that the Hound was offering to take her with him. What??? He never said anything about her going with him. It was just weird. It's like Martin just changed his mind about what happened in that scene.
James Whitehead
56. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@25Braid_Tug, thanks for the clarification. Been awhile since I've read these books so I don't remember all the politcial machinations. It is still a good move on their part.

Kato
Rob Munnelly
57. RobMRobM
Re the Jon chapter - I like how it sets up as seeing how Jon fares with two seductions: Ygritte (who is shown as placing a hand on Jon's leg above his knee after the freedom talk and "most come to like the taste o' it) and Mance the poet singing of freedom over duty.

"Well I stepped in that....See lad, that's why he's king and I'm not. I can outdrink, outfight and outsing him and my member's thrice the size o' his but Mance has cunning." Tormund - love that guy.

I enjoy the "Dornishman's Wife" as a very cool poem/song. It's no "Bear and the Maiden Fair" but pretty good.
Rob Munnelly
58. RobMRobM
@29 - I don't think she's referring to male "useful bits" as referring to procreation but to sex itself - note that "not unskilled in the bedroom" comment elsewhere. Much more of a fun perspective, eh?

@55 - Beware the limits of POV chapters with a freaked out, teen narrator. I don't think that the text of the Sansa chapter in ACOK described all that happened to her. (And, no, I'm not suggesting anything really untoward happened. Really now. Minds out of the gutter, please.)

Above - can't remember the number. If Robb dies and Bran and Rickon are dead (as popularly believed), I believe Sansa is heir to Winterfell - so one of her kids could inherit. So a Tyrell marriage to Sansa could lead to Tyrell kids controlling three of the seven kingdoms and the Iron Throne (Sansa child one, Sansa child two and the Margaery two-fer.) The Queen of Thorns has giant brass cojones.
Aeryl
59. Milk Steak
@lbrown
Sansa's memory of her time with the hound(spoilers)

is shown to be shaky. Later she remembers him kissing her when he did no such thing. This isn't a mistake by GRRM but by Sansa
Bill Stusser
60. billiam
While the Hound never said he would take her with him he did imply it when he said:
"I could keep you safe," he rasped. "They're all afraid of me. No one would hurt you again, or I'd kill them."
Also, in the HBO show he does say he will take her with him during that scene.




On a totally different note, I like the wildlings, especially Mance and Tormund. Mance's veiws of the Night's Watch makes sense to me too, but then again, I would never have sworn those vows in the first place, way too restrictive for me. Of course, I've always had a problem with people with so called 'Authority' telling me what I should do.
Rob Munnelly
61. RobMRobM
"There may be a very fine line between “being free” and “being a hot mess,” but that line does exist, and so far it seems like the wildlings are pretty firmly on the wrong side of it."

This is a very funny and perceptive line, Leigh. Well played.
Rob Munnelly
62. RobMRobM
Leigh - cautionary note: there is a medium-sized ASOIF spoiler in 158 of the current WoT reread. If the poster or B. McGovern doesn't confirm it is whited out, stay away.
Bridget McGovern
63. BMcGovern
@RobM, Leigh, anyone concerned--the spoiler over in the WoT thread's been whited out. It's safe to go back in the water... (Thanks, Rob!)
Rob Munnelly
64. RobMRobM
Excellent. Far more fun to let Leigh have hard-earned insights all by her lonesome without spoilers.
Aeryl
65. o.m.
@RobMRobM in 61:

Seems to me that the main freedom that the Wildling warriors crave is the freedom to push non-fighting people around. We haven't seen their farms and villages, but it appears their blacksmiths and armorers are not very good ... maybe the clever ones all dream of a raiding career, instead of building things.
Rob Munnelly
66. RobMRobM
Maybe yes - or maybe the northern land is so inhospitable the wildlings lack the tools needed to flower as a society until they are able to get to more southern climes.
Rob Munnelly
67. RobMRobM
I should note we don't have enough of a picture of wildling society to know whether or not there are pockets of more advanced technologies.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
68. AlirozTheConfused
Hey, Leigh.

How're you to day?

Just popping in to say:

"Okay, fine, he may not be the only non-lying non-cheating non-delusional non-idiot character in this book so far, but it’s kind of telling that I’d have to sit and think about it for a minute before I could come up with another one. (Barristan. Okay, there’s one.)"

It's not just Ned and Barristan
There's Davos and Sam the Man
(And my personal favourite, Kevan)
Kevan the man, of the Clann of Lann
The man with a plan, and a son named Lan
A loving father, who does the best he can
I can't believe you forgot Kevan!
Aeryl
69. My Amyrlin > Your Amyrlin
Argh! My day is ruined! Is there any way for me to set a filter on the threat, so that it can filter out bad poetry?
Rob Munnelly
70. RobMRobM
@69 - Not as far as I can see.

I actually liked the response in verse
It is not an effort I would curse.
Rob Munnelly
71. RobMRobM
By the way, since Leigh is out at her conference this week and there won't be a post on Friday, we should give thought to how else we can occupy our collective time.
- Perhaps some poll questions (favorite and least favorite major and minor characters? Favorite chapter? Favorite mystery not yet answered in text?)?
- Votes on which character will be killed off next - i.e., a Death Pool (obviously, this would be limited to thos who have not read ahead)?
- Off-topic recommendations for other SFF works?
- Bad poetry contest?

Thoughts?

Rob
Deana Whitney
72. Braid_Tug
Oh lord, Please not a Bad Poetry Contest!
But if anyone has some non-spoiler Filk, that could be fun.

Bet on Who is a King, by end of this Book?
(Similar question on the Spoiler Thread) so go there if you've read ahead.
Rob Munnelly
73. RobMRobM
Response to BT's King Poll: Joff or successor; Robb or successor; Stannis or successor; Balon or successor; Daenarys or successor; and Mance Rayder or successor.

What do I win?
Steven Halter
74. stevenhalter
Favorite Major: Arya
Least favorite Major: Catelyn
Favorite mystery:Just what went on with Rhaegar and Lyann.
Major character most concerned about being killed: I'm growing concerned with Robb's lack of POV. Reasoning: GRRM is merrily faking out Catelyn with all of her other children's deaths, but we get POV's from them. No word from Robb. We know he is alive through various reports, but we don't get any facetime with him. While GRRM could go wild and kill off someone at any point, all of the other POV characters seem to have story arcs that are going somewhere. I also haven't looked at the table of contents, so the rest of the book could be chock full of Robb. (Hint, don't mention anything on this last bit if you know one way or the other.)
Bad poem:
There once was a character named Ned
Whom we met while chopping a head.
He was made the king's Hand,
Far away from his land.
Now it's Ned who's lacking his head.
George Jong
75. IndependentGeorge
@74 - Just a nitpick, but you rhymed 'head' with 'head'. That's cheating :)
Rob Munnelly
77. RobMRobM
Favorite major: Tyrion
Least favorite major: Theon (if he counts as major)

Favorite minor: Jaqen; Aemon Targaryen and Dolorous Ed close behind
Least favorite minor: Pycelle and Lysa (tie)

Favorite chapter: ACOK - Dany (House of the Undying)

Favorite mysteries: meaning of Dany HoU prophecies; who killed Jon Arryn; what is the three eyed crow (tie).
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
78. Lisamarie
Favorite major character - in terms of likability, I'd say Ned. In terms of chapters I want to read, probably Cersei, Jaime or Tyrion
Least favorite major character - Jon (For reasons involving ADwD: I'm sorry, I find his chapters really dull and full of bickerish, unpleasant people, and skimmed through a lot of them in ADwD. I don't mind his character, per se - I just don't enjoy reading about him. Bran's chapters seem to all into this as well sometimes - I guess I'm not that interested in the typical fantasy plots in these books). I find Cersei totally loathsome as well, but at least she is enjoyable to read about.

Favorite minor character - Brienne, Samwell
Least favorite minor character - Stannis

Favorite chapter - Hasn't happened yet: (roll over to read) but involves a privy The pigeon pie chapter might also be a good runner up.

Favorite mystery - I'm still kind of wondering what Varys is really after...and if LF is really as responsible for as much stuff as he says he is. And what exactly was up with Rhaegar, Lyanna, Elia.
Rob Munnelly
79. RobMRobM
Lisamarie - probably should white out your Jon parenthetical and your favorite chapter discussion - trying to keep this limited to where we are as of ASOS.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
80. Lisamarie
For the record, my reasons not liking Jon apply to all those books. I just find him rather dull in general.
George Jong
81. IndependentGeorge
Some of my favorites/least favorites are spoilers, so I'm going to split and hide some of them behind white text:

Favorite POV: Arya
Least favorite POV (current): Theon
Least favorite POV (spoiler): //Daenerys, as of DWD//

Favorite non-POV: Varys or Littlefinger
Favorite non-POV (spoiler): //Stannis//
Least Favorite non-POV: Joffrey. Duh.

Favorite chapter (current): Sansa meets the Queen of Thorns
Favorite chapter (spoiler): //"ELLLLIIIIAAAA!!!". It's also my least favorite.//
Favorite mystery: Who tried to kill Bran?
Steven Halter
82. stevenhalter
For Braid_Tug@72, here is some meta filk. Tune of Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash:

Readin' is a yearnin' thing,
And it makes a body sing
Books, they do entice
I fell into a read of Ice.

I fell into a read of Ice and Fire
I read, read, read
And the words didn't tire,
And we comment, comment, comment,
The read of ice, the read of fire.

The words of a post we greet
In virtual space we meet.
We are quite beguiled
Oh, Ice and Fire run wild.

I fell into a read of Ice and Fire
I read, read, read
And the words didn't tire,
And we comment, comment, comment,
The read of ice, the read of fire.

I fell into a read of Ice and Fire
I read, read, read
And the words didn't tire,
And we comment, comment, comment,
The read of ice, the read of fire.

The read of fire
Rob Munnelly
83. RobMRobM
Very nice shalter. The man in black would have fit in well in westeros, albeit at the Wall.
George Jong
84. IndependentGeorge
The man in black would have fit in well in westeros, albeit at the Wall.
Spoiler: //Unless he got turned into a stew.//
Aeryl
85. Auga
@29 No, neither objectifying comment is very nice. But they're not the same - consider the context. In ASOIAF culture, women *are* generally valued primarily - or even only - for their reproductive parts or capacity. Whereas men have the majority of the power and are valued in other ways. That is how Leah might find the QOT's comment funny but not like your hypothetical one and yet not still be hypocritical about it.
Aeryl
86. Wortmauer
EvilClosetMonkey and others: Simplest way to make sure your white-out "sticks" is to tell your web browser not to permit Javascript for tor.com. As a bonus, this also disables the rest of the comment editor thingy, leaving you with a simple text box in which you can use bb-like markup. Anyway, white-out is square brackets around color=white and /color.

The point of a eunuch: Yeah, pretty sexist, isn't it. The only thing a man is useful for is his libido. But come on, political incorrectness from people old enough not to give a crap is funny. I mean, take Lord Walder Frey. He's just as sexist, just as too-old-to-care-what-we-think as Olenna, and that's why we love him, right?

Right?
Rob Munnelly
87. RobMRobM
RIIIIGHT!
*additional text deleted by request (not worth whiting out). *
Aeryl
88. fuzz
A cantankerous old lady is how the Queen of Thornes wants everyone to see her. She's actaully the female equivilent of Tywin Lannister. Sansa has just let herself be railroaded off to Highgarden.
Rob Munnelly
89. RobMRobM
@88. I like that. Instead of QoT she can be TWAD (Tywin with a Dress).
Deana Whitney
90. Braid_Tug
@ 82, Shalter - Thank You! That was a good one!!

@ 73, RobMRobM - Sorry, you over hedged your bet. It took more to place the bet than the house was paying out for such even money returns.
"You win nothing, RobM."
Aeryl
91. Asbjorn
One week down, one-two to go.

Sigh.

Also:
@87 - white-out, please?
Aeryl
92. MickeyDee
lbrown @55: I really dont think it was GRRM "changing" his mind. I noticed this too at the time of reading. My thoughts at the time were: "hey that's cool. he's showning how people remember different things in their PoV's and how they twist those memories."

Spoiler in code: Shipping SvS

Ands just whited out:
Sansa will have an even bigger "mis-remembering re the Hound later on when she remembers him kissing her. This *did not* happen.
Andrew Mills
93. ajmills
Just a thought, but so far everyone (in the story) has assumed that Mance and the wildlings are moving to invade and regain what the feel is theirs, etc., so on and so forth.

But from what I can remember, we've not heard from their perspective yet? What if it's more a case of having to escape what's happening north of the wall? I mean, who really wants to live in the cold, having to deal with zombies and the like?

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