Fri
Oct 19 2012 2:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords, Part 5

A Read of Ice and Fire on Tor.com: A Storm of Swords, Part 5Welcome 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 5 of A Storm of Swords, in which we cover Chapter 8 (“Daenerys”) and Chapter 9 (“Bran”).

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!

 

Chapter 8: Daenerys

What Happens
Dany’s tiny khalasar are very uneasy on board the ship, but Dany loves it, and even though they are becalmed she is happier than she has been in a long time. She is pleased that the sailors have all grown accustomed to her dragons, and like to watch them fly about the ship and mock-attack each other. She thinks Drogon may be large enough to ride in a year or so, but at the moment they are about the size of dogs.

Jorah joins her, and she asks how big they will grow; Jorah tells her there are stories of dragons large enough to hunt giant krakens. The squire Whitebeard chimes in to add that a dragon never stops growing “so long as he has food and freedom.” He says that it was noted that the dragons kept confined in the Dragonpit in King’s Landing never grew as large as their ancestors. Dany asks if Whitebeard met her father, who died before she was born, and Whitebeard confirms it, though he stumbles over lying to Dany when she asks if Aerys II was “good and gentle.”

He says he saw her brother Rhaegar as well, at tourneys and playing his harp, and reminisces how he was close friends with Ser Arthur Dayne, Sword of the Morning. Dany talks of how they were warriors without peer, but Whitebeard opines that the phrase is meaningless when a slick patch of grass or a bad meal can be the difference between winning and losing for anyone. He makes an oblique reference to Jorah’s own experience in winning a tourney, which angers Jorah until Dany bids him calm down. Whitebeard tells a tale about Rhaegar’s bookish ways as a young boy, until he found something in them that changed him so that he dropped the books and began training to be a warrior instead. Whitebeard goes to attend Strong Belwas, and Jorah opines that the squire is playing them false, and that he is too well-spoken to be the squire to “that oaf of a eunuch.” She is considering how to answer when the wind suddenly picks up at last.

That night, Jorah comes to her cabin, where she had been feeding the dragons (and teaching them to breathe fire on command), and asks to speak to her alone. She sends Jhiqui and Irri out, though she is wearing only the bedclothes. Jorah reiterates his concerns about the reliability of Whitebeard, Belwas, and their employer Illyrio. They discuss the prediction that Dany was to be betrayed three times, for blood and gold and love; Dany says Mirri Maz Duur was the first. She points out that Whitebeard has already saved her life, and that Illyrio has protected her before, but Jorah counters that the second betrayal will be for gold, which Illyrio loves dearly.

Jorah has an alternate plan: instead of going back to Illyrio in Pentos, he suggests they compel the captain to detour to Astapor, in Slaver’s Bay, to buy eunuch slave warriors known as the Unsullied. He tells her the tale of the Three Thousand of Qohor, in which three thousand Unsullied held off twenty thousand Dothraki barbarians, killing over half of them, and argues that having an army already behind her in Pentos will make her safer. Dany asks where she is to get the money to buy these Unsullied, and Jorah proposes they commandeer the goods being transported on these very ships; he opines that if Illyrio is devoted to her cause he will not begrudge it.

Excited, Dany declares they will do it, and jumps up to put clothes on, but Jorah intercepts her and pulls her into a passionate kiss. Dany is too shocked to fight it, but when he breaks off she tells him he should not have done that to his queen. He replies that he should have kissed her long ago, and tries to call her by name, but she insists on her title. Jorah reminds her of another prophecy, that the dragon has three heads, and says it refers to The three-headed dragon of House Targaryen: Balerion, Meraxes, and Vhagar, ridden by Aegon, Rhaenys, and Visenya. Three dragons and three riders. Dany acknowledges this, but points out that her brothers are dead.

“Rhaenys and Visenya were Aegon’s wives as well as his sisters. You have no brothers, but you can take husbands. And I tell you truly, Daenerys, there is no man in all the world who will ever be half so true to you as me.”

Commentary
Uh-huh. Is it sad that I made bow-chicka-bow-bow noises here?

…okay, yes, that was very tacky and I’m sorry. Sort of.

But anyway: Well, well, well. And so Mr. Jorah makes his move, eh? Politically and, ahem, otherwise. Or was that politically, too?

Hard to tell, at this point. Dany thinks he is genuinely in love with her, but she herself admits that she is not exactly the most experienced person in the world when it comes to love or romance. Especially if you’re like sane people, and don’t count “being a child-bride auctioned off like a prize brood mare to a barbarian warlord by your own brother” in that list of love/romance experiences, because how about NO.

All that said, I do tend to actually agree with her assessment that Jorah is head over heels for her. Although, in practical terms I suppose it doesn’t even matter if Jorah’s feelings for her are more opportunism+lust than they are love. It still doesn’t change the fact that, from Jorah’s point of view, being the consort/husband/whatever of the would-be Queen of Westeros is a pretty darn cushy place to be, and ergo, it’s probably more logical to assume that he really is wholeheartedly committed to Dany’s success, for the very good (i.e. selfish) reason that if she goes down, so does he. Nothing like good old-fashioned self-interest to keep people in line (she says, capitalistically).

Well. Assuming she wins, of course. If she doesn’t win, it’s probably one of the least cushy places to be, so there is that.

And to my slight surprise, I’m even having a hard time condemning him for pursuing her sexually, even though I sort of feel like I should be very suspicious of the whole deal. And I am, but… well, if you’re going to go with the theory that he really does love her and (ergo) really is committed to seeing her goals achieved, then why shouldn’t they get together? To be perhaps terribly cynical and practical about it, tying Jorah to her romantically as well as in other ways is just as much to Dany’s advantage as it is to his – although I do rather appreciate that she herself is evidently not so jaded as to have made that decision herself.

However, if Jorah’s got the courage to go for it… well, as long as he really is on the up and up I’m not seeing a whole lot of downside here for either of them, really. This is perhaps partially motivated by the fact that I think Dany’s self-declared deathless devotion to Drogo (who, aside from being, you know, dead, also represented a veritable cornucopia of squicky dubious consent issues) is kind of stupid. And while I might not care that much about Jorah’s well-being, I do care a lot about Dany’s, and increasing Jorah’s already considerable devotion to her will only benefit that.

Of course, this all hinges on the perhaps very audacious assumption that Jorah is not brimful of shit and that he has not been lying to her from the get-go. Which I don’t really think is the case, but I have learned over the course of this Read to never underestimate the capability of Martin’s characters for deviousness and/or shit brimming-ness, so I am definitely keeping the possibility that Jorah is a big fat honkin’ traitor firmly in the back of my mind, just in case. Sigh.

And also of course, there’s the possibility that he could be in love with her and be a traitor anyway. Jorah made a big deal about how Illyrio could be the one who betrays Dany for gold, but you’ll note he never said a thing about who might betray her for love.

Hmmmm.

Given all that, his suggestion to detour to Astapor is… interesting. As a confirmed hairy-eye-giver to Illyrio myself, I find Jorah’s scheme on the surface to be both pleasing and wise, but I am well aware that I am operating from a serious dearth of reliable information here, just as Dany is. In other words, thus far both she and I have only Jorah’s word that these Unsullied dudes are worth the cost, i.e. probably seriously pissing off Illyrio, and possibly losing his support altogether.

On the other hand, I’ve said from the beginning that I trust Illyrio about as far as I can drop-kick a drunken elephant, and so I cannot deny that the idea of Dany commandeering his goods and buying soldiers with them, and then being all innocent and “What? It’s All For The Cause!” fills me with a perhaps unholy glee.

Assuming, as ever, that Jorah is not a lying liar who lies, I think this sounds like a plan I can get behind. We Shall See.

(I wonder who Jorah thinks the third rider would be, or cares?)

As for the rest of this chapter… well. Look, I’m sure there are just buckets of tantalizing and invigorating hints being dropped here about… er, people who are all already dead and whom I cannot really keep straight in my head and thus have a rather large amount of trouble caring about, so… yay?

Yes, I suck. Sowwy. The only thing, honestly, that really caught my attention in all the reminiscing going on was the anecdote about Rhaegar being all bookish and stuff, and then reading something that evidently (if you imagine Westeros as a high school) made him turn in his nerd card and go full bore jock on everybody, out of the blue. Which I think is also like the plot of Teen Wolf, except substitute “reading” for “getting bitten by a werewolf,” and – okay, it’s nothing like the plot of Teen Wolf, fine.

But my point is, imagining Westeros as a high school is hilarious. And also terrifying, like watching social Darwinism get soaked in radioactive waste, and then flooded with gamma rays, and also other things comic books and cheap B movies tell me make everyone turn huge and green go apeshit gonzo on each other. Much like what’s happening in this series!

Okay, fine, that wasn’t my point. My actual point is, I can’t imagine what Rhaegar could have read that would make him be all “holy shit must acquire badass warrior skillz STAT,” but I am sure that it was—drum roll, please—Something.

There, glad I could clear that up. Game on!

 

Chapter 9: Bran

What Happens
Bran/Summer climbs up a ridge to survey the terrain, and thinks that he is “the prince of the green,” feeling strong and fierce. He spies his “little cousins,” a wolf pack hunting below, and thinks of his lost packmates, “five, and a sixth who stood aside,” now scattered, with one sister lost forever. He smells that the wolf pack has made a kill, and runs down to challenge them for the meat. The alpha wolf fights him well, but in the end lays down and bares his throat and belly in submission. Bran/Summer is just beginning to eat his prize when Hodor insistently shakes Bran from his trance.

Bran wakes angrily in the vault of the ruined tower Meera had found to hide them, and Jojen tells him he’d been gone too long. He asks if Bran remembered to mark the trees as Summer, and Bran flushes, admitting he forgot. He thinks that he always means to do the things Jojen asks him to do when he’s with Summer, but as soon as he is the wolf they seem stupid. Jojen asks his a lot of what Bran considers stupid questions, insisting that Bran say aloud his name and rank. Jojen warns him that he must remember himself, or the wolf will consume him. Bran thinks sullenly that Jojen doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Meera returns with food, and they eat. Jojen announces that they need to move on, though he admits he has not had a green dream about it. Meera protests that they are safe here, but Jojen replies that this is not the place they are meant to be. Bran thinks Robb will come with his armies, but Jojen reminds him that his maester didn’t seem to think Robb was anywhere nearby. Meera says she knows Jojen wants to go for the Wall and find Bran’s three-eyed crow, but she points out that it is an incredibly long way away, especially on foot. Bran suggests that they could go to the Umbers or Lord Manderly, but no one seems to like this idea.

Jojen insists that Bran needs a teacher wiser than he, and Bran asks why, saying his third eye is open now. Jojen counters that his third eye is so wide open Bran “may fall through it,” and he bends to Summer’s will now more than the reverse. Bran points out that he is only nine. Jojen says the chains he dreamed of on Bran are gone now, but he still does not fly. Bran insists that Jojen is a greenseer and so can teach him himself, but Jojen says true greenseers are wargs as well, which he is not; they could walk in the skin of any animal they wanted, and “look through the eyes of the weirwood” as well. He says he cannot teach Bran about a gift he does not understand.

Meera tells Bran he must make a choice: stay in the ruined tower, relatively safe, until the war ends, or leave and either try to go to Robb’s allies, or to the Wall. Bran considers. He thinks they would be safe with the Karstarks or the Umbers or Manderlys, but realizes he has no way to know if any of them are still alive, and they are dead if caught by anyone else. He thinks about staying here, and staying crippled.

Bran realized he was crying. Stupid baby, he thought at himself. No matter where he went, to Karhold or White Harbor or Greywater Watch, he’d be a cripple when he got there. He balled his hands into fists. “I want to fly,” he told them. “Please. Take me to the crow.”

Commentary
Good choice, Bran!

I mean, I think so, but then I would. But I think empirically it’s the better choice all around, because not only are Bran’s thoughts about the unreliability of the Starks’ allies’ survival quite legit, I think Jojen’s concerns about Bran losing himself in warging are just as valid, based on this chapter.

(“Warging”: doing my part to weird language since 19 *mumblecough*!)

That’s such a common trope in science fiction/fantasy, by the way, that whole “danger of losing oneself” in whatever magical/technological transformative experience there is to be had in that world. In fact I think it’s so pervasive as to be almost universal. Which is completely understandable when you consider how addictive all the analogous experiences available in the real world can be. The most obvious example being drugs, of course (crack, as you may have heard, is totes whack), but anyone who has, say, had a friend disappear for six months (or a year, or more) at a stretch to play World of Warcraft can attest to the phenomenon as well.

And warging has to be infinitely more tempting for someone like Bran, who not only gets to have the unutterably cool experience of running around in a wolf’s body, he gets to have the experience of running around, period. Which just adds a whole other layer to the temptation to go in and never come out.

I am not even going to pretend like I have a grasp of what anyone who is rendered permanently unable to walk must go through, but in college I managed to fall down and break one ankle while simultaneously spraining the hell out of the other ankle, with the result that (a) I had the delightful experience of finding out what it’s like to pass out from pain, and (b) I ended up in a wheelchair for a little over a week until my sprained ankle healed up enough for me to use crutches.

And let me tell you, that was an eye-opening experience, having to get around town and campus and manage even the most basic tasks while unable to stand or walk. I can’t say that I enjoyed it, because I really really didn’t, but I think it was probably one of the most useful life lessons I got out of my entire college career. The unexpected ones usually are.

(Oh, and by the way, if you are ever on a bus and feel the need to get all huffy and sigh-at-your-watch-y while a wheelchaired person is being laboriously loaded onto the bus, please consider the notion that the person being so loaded really is not doing it to inconvenience the other passengers, but because they have no choice in the matter, and they almost certainly don’t enjoy delaying everyone else any more than you are enjoying being delayed. You may also want to consider the notion that you are a douchetastic dickbag who needs to shut their privileged ass the fuck up.)

Aaaand that was a tangent. My point is, I totally get why Bran is so tempted to lose himself in the wolf, even as I devoutly hope he finds someone to keep him from doing it. And it’s not a criticism on my part to call it a common trope, either, because it is one of those ideas which seems so intuitively obvious to us that to screw with it risks throwing your reader right out of her suspension of disbelief otherwise.

And lastly and randomly, Summer refers to Ghost as “the white who has no voice,” which made me go “huh.” Because, I know Ghost is always silent, but is he actually mute, as in literally unable to vocalize? For some reason I never thought of it like that, if so. Interesting.


And that’s what’s the haps, chaps! Have a weekend, whydontcha, and I will see you next Friday!

39 comments
Iarvin
1. Iarvin
Hurrah! Leigh is back, and with two chapters!

I wondered about Ghost being a mute as well - does he ever howl in the books?
Iarvin
2. MegaZeroX
I'm not really sure, but didn't Ghost howel with the others on the day Bran fell?
Iarvin
3. Pheran
Heh, I think Leigh had a little more caffeine than usual for this post, but the Teen Wolf bit did make me laugh out loud.

Ghost being silent is one thing that the TV series screwed up, but then again you get to see sadly little of the direwolves in general, they just didn't have time to fit them in.
Steven Halter
4. stevenhalter
Chapter 8: Back to Dany. The boat is heading back to Pentos. So, Dany's journey is going back to where we first met her. Pleasant opening, Dany likes the sea. Interesting talk with Arstan Whitebeard. The Rhaegar presented here seems in a much better light than we have seen before. Someone who reads books is always a plus for me. Ah, now a bit of mystery. Who exactly is this Arstan?
The tale of Astapor and the three thousand unsullied is a very nice tale. Seems like a good idea to have some of those as guardians. On the other hand, I notice that:
“The warlocks in Qarth told you that you would be betrayed three times,” the exile knight reminded her, as Viserion and Rhaegal began to snap and claw at each other.
“Once for blood and once for gold and once for love.” Dany was not like to forget. “Mirri Maz Duur was the first.”
and then Dany thinks:
He means well, Dany reminded herself. He does all he does for love.
So I wonder just how much Jorah can be trusted in the long run. I don't think this will be a betrayal--it seems too early for that, but we'll have to see.And, the remainder of the chapter shows he does desire Dany, indeed.
Rob Munnelly
5. RobMRobM
While I agree Dany and Jorah potentially could be a good move for both, he doesn't seem to float Dany's boat, so to speak.

I really enjoy Whitebeard. His answers and stories are to the point and well-delivered. The 3,000 story and the one about Rhaegar are both really well done.

Re what got Rheagar to be a warrior - since he was so bookish, one would assume it was some sort of prophecy, such as him having to be one of the three heads of the proverbial dragon.

Astapor/Slaver's Bay - must reserve comment until we get there.

Bran chapter - love Jojen and Meera, love the difficult decisions based by our Bran, love the decision to keep heading north to find the crow. Not much else to say.

Re Ghost - it was amusing how the bookreaders went nutty when Ghost was heard to growl in Season 1 of the HBO show. I believe you are correct that he never makes a noise on screeen in the books to date. I never thought before about whether it is his choice or whether he is mute. Good observation.
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
Chapter 9: Bran. We start with Bran/Summer fighting his way into a pack. Hodor interrupts the dream vision.
The mention of the greenseer's of old who could see through any beast and the weirwood trees is interesting. This three eyed crow should be a fun quest. That seems like the right choice as everything else seems pretty unsafe. Also, the most useful and interesting choice.
BFG
7. BFG
Ok, I get that Bran deciding to learn how to use his powers is a necessary thing, but I'm not sure I can be happy about something that seems to move him away from joining the pack.
Iarvin
8. Black Dread
Pheran - Not sure if it's time or CGI budget that limited the direwolf appearances last season.
Iarvin
9. Black Dread
I assumed it was puberty and possibly the sight of a particular Stark girl (or any girl) that convinced Rhaegar to take up a martial lifestyle. Maybe he read his family history and realized his brother might be more than just instable.
Kat Blom
10. pro_star
That's an interesting point...though if it's Ghost's choice to be mute, he sure made it awfully early on, since even as a pup he was silent.
Kat Blom
12. pro_star
@8 - BlackDread - I seem to recall in the commentaries on the Season 1 dvds they were saying how it was a matter of time/money for how little the direwolves were featured. Adding any animal to shooting requires more time, more distractions, etc.
Thomas Simeroth
13. a smart guy
I started to read the Game of Thrones series about four weeks ago, and followed this read throughout. In fact, your blog was one of the reasons why I started them. Unfortunately, I got kind of impatient, so I read all of book 3 while I waited for your next post. Whoops. So now I get the joy of giggling when you say something brilliant and don't realize it.
It's going to be a good time seeing your reactions. When I got to certain points in the book, I could almost imagine your reactions. I won't spoil the book for you, but suffice to say, "You know nothing."
Iarvin
14. Megaduck
I was far more squicked out by DanyXJorah then Leigh seems to be.

Mostly I think because of the issue of control. Right now, Dany is in in control and she needs to be. But the cultural mores that they are working with however her husband is in control of her. So I see this less as a loving lets get together thing and more as Jorah trying to put himself in a position where he can dominate and control Dany.

I do not like people trying to take control of my favorite charecters, no siree I do not.
Deana Whitney
15. Braid_Tug
Forgot it was Jorah who sent Dany to Slavers Bay.

Bran - wonder if he would have turned into a warg even without the fall? Maybe remaining fully mobile would have delayed the onset of his powers. The appeal is much stronger now as Leigh pointed out.

Leigh, great point about how having to live "disabled" for a week expands your world view. Since I lose my voice totally once a year, I appreciate how hard it is to communicate for mute and deaf people. Since so few people know sign langue.
Strangely it also makes me realize how hard it is for anyone to travel outside big cities (in the US) if they don't speak English or Spanish.

GRRM has really simplified and glossed over many communication hiccups in his world.
Iarvin
16. Meezerman
Leigh--if you like the idea of imagining Westeros as a high school, check out: http://imnot1212.tumblr.com/tagged/winterfell-high

Drawings of major characters as modern high school students (no spoilers).
Iarvin
17. Aeryl
I am very squicked out by Jorah and Dany, especially because HE IS OLD ENOUGH TO BE HER GRANDFATHER!!!

This is especially made more explicit in the show, where the nice balding man leers at the teenager, in the books his age isn't really mentioned as much, and we know he's someone's son, so you think it makes them close enough in generation to be compatible, but think of the other Mormonts we've met. He's Maege's older brother, and Maege is old enough to have a daughter serving in Robb's Kingsguard. Jeor is older than dirt!!

Now, for the most part I don't have a problem with age disparities, my partner is almost 10 years older than me, but we were also adults when we met, and don't have the power differentials. Here, Dany is still under 18 and still very impressionable, so for someone of Jorah's age to view himself as an appropriate partner for her, just EWWWWW!!
Genevieve Williams
18. welltemperedwriter
Piggybacking on Braid_Tug's comment, I highly recommend travel to a foreign country where one does not speak the dominant language; it's most instructive. My one semester of college Chinese was not at all adequate to travel alone there, since few people outside the major cities spoke English. Most people in most places I've been are very patient and you can accomplish a lot with facial expressions and pointing at things.

The fantasy shorthand of a common language in order to get to more interesting plot events is understandable, but sometimes feels lazy. I think GRRM does a better job with this than most fantasy authors.
Rob Munnelly
20. RobMRobM
Ah, the joys of posting on a remote device...

The high school parody linked to above is brilliant but not free of spoilers. Leigh would see a couple of the characteri*tions and lights would turn on. Best for her to avoid them.

Jorah hitting on Dany is squicky but so was jon arryn and lysa. It is almost a moot point unless Dany chooses to reciprocate.

Yes, GRRM is good with language differences, even only part way into the series.
Iarvin
22. lapdogg
Is the pup a mute,or is Jon the only one that can hear him?
He was the only one in the litter with his eyes open.

Halfway across the bridge, Jon pulled up suddenly. “What is it, Jon?” their lord father asked. “Can’t you hear it?”
Bran could hear the wind in the trees, the clatter of their hooves on the ironwood planks, the whimpering of his hungry pup, but Jon was listening to something else. “There,” Jon said. He swung his horse around and galloped back across the bridge. They watched him dismount where the direwolf lay dead in the snow, watched him kneel. A moment later he was riding back to them, smiling. “He must have crawled away from the others,” Jon said.

Martin, George R.R. (2003-01-01). A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One (p. 18). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Iarvin
23. Salvation122
For those comenting on the age disparity: the easiest point of reference is that Jorah is Lord Commander Mormont's son and eldest child, which would make Jorah forty-ish at the least.
Iarvin
24. Lsana
@17,

Maege is Jorah's aunt, not his sister, and definitely older than he is.
Iarvin
25. Glawen Clattuc
Longtime listener, first time caller.

I've forgotten - Have we discussed the identity of the three-eyed crow yet? Is that discussion considered spoilerific?
lake sidey
26. lakesidey
Heh. Teen wolf, that's what she said. And then we have Bran in the very next chapter being a...pre-teeen wolf? Leigh, thou art priceless.

I remember loving the story of the 3000 of Qohor when I first read the book...just the right feel of legend.

~lakesidey
Rob Munnelly
27. RobMRobM
@25 - only spoilerific if it relies on information from chapters and books not covered yet in the re-read. If you have existing text-based discussion points, have at them.

Lsana - thanks for pointing that out. Beat me to the punch.

Everyone in the book is younger than you think, given how early people got married and had kids. Ned was in early to mid-30s, Tywin is in early to mid-40s, I'm guessing Lord Commander Mormont and Maege are mid and early 50s, respectively, and I'm pegging Jorah at late 30s. Still a big age difference with Dany, obviously.
Maiane Bakroeva
28. Isilel
RobM@27:

Nope, your ages are off. Tywin was in his mid-fifties when first introduced in AGoT (but very fit), Jeor Mormont is 60+, Jorah is definitely 40+, as I think, is mentioned in some of his descriptions, Jon Arryn was 70 when he died, and yes, he was 55 when he married a 15-year-old Lysa, so yea, poor her.
There are also some very old people around, like Old Nan, Maester Aemon, Grand Maester Pycelle and Lord Walder Frey.

Which is also consistent with what you see in iRL medieval/Renaissance geneological trees of nobility . Just because people married early and many of them also died early doesn't mean that some didn't live to very respectable ages. Particularly if they were in the clergy, for some reason.
Iarvin
29. KingsGambit
Jorah and Dany is definately icky, but one of the things that Martin doesn't do is project modern morals on a book that plays in medievil times. Apart from age and lack of romance, I don't think it's a politically sound match either. It would be nice in the short term to bind Jorah even more, but a Targaryen heir in the posession of dragons can do a lot better. That is assuming she survives to a point where she can invade Westeros with more or less full grown dragons.

I only started caring about the background of long dead characters in rereads. A lot of those stories are relevant, but only if you remember who's who. You're going to have to reread this at some point :)
Steven Halter
30. stevenhalter
The ages don't concern me. Different mores from here. The concern would be jorah's motivation and his reaction of Danu doesn't react as he wants.
Rob Munnelly
31. RobMRobM
Isilel - can't say you are wrong on some of the ages, but not sure you are correct either. If there's text, there is text and that will be determinative. I do know that both Ned and Robert were really young, certainly younger than I had assumed when I began reading the books.

There definitely are much older folk, as you point out. Aemon is over 100 and Nan is probably not much behind. And, yes, Frey and Pycelle in particular are old. By saying some were younger than might be viewed with modern eyes I was not assuming that all were younger than expected.
Rob Munnelly
32. RobMRobM
shalter - I think Jorah's motivation is obvious - she's gorgeous, she's brave and smart and worthy of respect, and he's head over heels for her. Whether she feels the same is one concern, and others include (as pointed out above) whether she as a queen can do much better (very likely) and whether she should save herself for a political marriage that would help her secure the kingdom. But...I'm not sure Jorah is thinking of marriage, just of truw wuv.
Rob Munnelly
33. RobMRobM
I checked some web resources on ages. There is a text based source in a future chapter that places Jorah in early 40s and the site places Tywin in his 50s without a supporting cite.
Iarvin
34. IAmISaid
Just wanted to point out that in the first book Jorah is spying on Dany for Robert's small council. Communicating with Varys. They discuss pardoning him. So he is definitely motivated by his own goals and has betrayed her trust.
Jakub Wrobel
35. ptyx
@ RobMRobM
The age of Tywin is not precised, I think, but we have enough clues throughout the books to know for sure the age of Jaime (and Cersei).
The twins are 32 when the series begins, so it's safe to say that Tywin should be in his 50s.
Iarvin
36. IAmISaid
Tywin was 20 when he became the Hand to King Aerys. He held the position for 23 years. I'm not sure how much time passed between his resignation and the start of Robert's Rebellion, but the war lasted nearly 2 years. A Game of Thrones starts 15 years after the rebellion (17 years in the show). So, Tywin is approximately 60.
Iarvin
37. IAmISaid
Correction: The site I referenced said Tywin was Hand for 23 years, but the only cite I can find claims 20 years, which would make him 57.

Roll over for quote (from ASoS, Chapter 66): "Tywin seems a hard man to you, but he's no harder than he's had to be. Our own father was gentle and amiable, but so weak his bannermen mocked him in their cups. Some saw fit to defy him openly. Other lords borrowed his gold and never troubled to repay it. At court they japed of toothless lions. Even his own mistress stole from him. A woman scarcely one step above a whore, and she helped herself to my mother's jewels! It fell to Tywin to restore House Lannister to its proper place. Just as it fell to him to rule this realm, when he was no more than twenty. He bore that heavy burden for twenty years and all it earned him was a mad king's envy. Instead of the honor he deserved, he was made to suffer slights beyond count, yet he gave the Seven Kingdoms peace, plenty and justice. He is a just man."
-A Storm of Swords, Chapter 66, Tyrion
Steven Halter
38. stevenhalter
IAmISaid@37:Since we are on Chapter 9 of ASoS, a quote from Chapter 66 is, perhaps, premature.
Bridget McGovern
39. BMcGovern
@IAmISaid: Not that it was particularly spoilery, but we don't want to get ahead of ourselves, so I've just whited out the quote to avoid giving anyone an unintentional glimpse into the future :)
Marty Beck
40. martytargaryen
@39 regarding "non-spoilery future glimpses"

I hate being spoiled, and my brother (in his infinite wisdom) told me something "non-spoilery" about a particular character from ADwD (book 5). However, it completely ruined the tension at the end of ASoS because I knew the character had survived. Just because that quote didn't have much to it, just the PoV posted alone says that character survives to that point. JMHO.
Rob Munnelly
41. RobMRobM
@40. Agreed. Anything that tells a point in time at which a character remains alive is a potential spoiler. That's why I just mentioned "a future chapter" re Jorah - it might be in his next chapter before his horrible death, or several books from now while he is happy and living in the Summer Islands drinking pina coladas. Certainty is a potential problem.

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