Fri
Nov 30 2012 1:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords, Part 10

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

Today’s entry is Part 10 of A Storm of Swords, in which we cover Chapter 17 (“Arya”) and 18 (“Samwell”).

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 17: Arya

What Happens
Arya argues with Gendry that they are going the wrong way (south), based on the moss on the trees, but Gendry argues that they are just taking “some secret outlaw way.” Hot Pie had stayed behind at the inn, and Arya is surprised to realize she misses him. She’s told Harwin of his father Hullen’s death and her escape from King’s Landing, and what’s happened since, though she left out the men she’s killed, and Jaqen H’ghar as well. 

In return, Harwin has told Arya about his travels with Lord Beric Dondarrion, and how they were ambushed at Mummer’s Ford by Gregor Clegane, reducing their numbers to less than two dozen and wounding Lord Beric. By the time he recovered, the fighting had passed them by, and when they heard that Robert and Eddard were dead and Joffrey on the throne, Lord Beric insisted they keep fighting for those who the Lannister’s forces were pillaging, though they were now outlaws themselves.

That night a villager tells their party that men had come through recently looking for the Kingslayer, who has apparently escaped from Riverrun. Greenbeard opines that “the wolves will drown in blood” if the Kingslayer’s loose again, and Thoros must be told about it. Lem comments that Lord Beric would love to capture Jaime Lannister and hang him. Arya goes to sleep and dreams that she is at Winterfell, but cannot get inside.

The next morning she sees they are still going the wrong way to get to Riverrun, and Lem tells her they are not going there. Arya begs Greenbeard to take her there and promises him a reward, but Greenbeard says he must take her to Beric, who will know what to do with her. Tom Sevenstrings promises Beric will treat her well, and likely send her back to her mother after all; but then Anguy adds that they bring him all their highborn captives, and Arya immediately bolts, surprising the party so much that she and her horse burst into the clear.

The outlaws give chase, and Arya dashes madly through fields and woods and across a stream, but Harwin eventually catches up to her. Harwin tells her she rides “like a northman,” and she says she thought he was her father’s man. Harwin replies that Lord Eddard is dead, and he belongs to the lightning lord now (Beric). He tells her they mean Robb no harm, but he’s not who they fight for; he has a great army, but “the smallfolk only have us.” Arya reflects bitterly that for a while she had been a wolf, but now she was “just some stupid little lady” again. Harwin asks if she will come peacefully, or if he has to tie her up.

“I’ll ride peaceful,” she said sullenly. For now.

Commentary
Oh, Arya. I do wish you had gotten away. I’m not sure it would have actually improved your situation, granted, but at least there would have been the pride of having succeeded.

Jeez, she is so like me it’s kind of scary. I think I would have had the precise same reaction to hearing the word “captive” as she did – which is to say “fuck THAT noise” and run like hell. Which makes her lack of success just that much more galling. Dammit.

I’m really feeling the disadvantage here of how slow I’m reading this, because while “Lord Beric of Dondarrion” is definitely ringing some bells in my head, I can only sort of place him, and therefore I have no idea whether to dread that Arya is being brought to him or not. That said, I think I’m going to go ahead and dread it on general principle, because it’s not like expecting the worst out of any given situation in this story has really steered me wrong before. Ergh.

I’m also on principle slightly suspicious of the purported raison d’être for Robin Hood Lord Beric and his merry men. Defending the commonfolk sounds very noble and all, and if that’s truly the mission here then go them, but given the circumstances I can probably hardly be taken to task for raising a skeptical eyebrow at it.

Not to mention, from a feudal point of view I think what Beric is supposedly doing would actually be considered relatively heinous, when by rights he should have gone to either Robb or Stannis (depending on which one he thought Ned would have been more likely to support for the throne) and lent his strength to them, instead of haring about the countryside protecting rinky-dink peasants.

(In case it’s not obvious, that is not a point of view I actually support, of course. But I’m pretty sure that’s what the prevailing viewpoint would be under the circumstances.)

Also, bye, Hot Pie! I can’t say I’m all that upset about his staying behind, although I can spare a moment to be pleased that he is apparently going to be okay where he is – or as okay as anyone can reasonably be expected to be in these crazy times. He’s probably making the smartest choice possible, honestly, since historically hanging around the Starks has not made for fabulous survival statistics thus far. Sigh.

Could a direwolf kill a lion?

Ah, that’s the question, isn’t it.

 

Chapter 18: Samwell

What Happens
Sam stumbles through the snow, sobbing, exhausted beyond endurance, but he knows if he stops he will die. He has lost his sword, though he still has the dragonglass dagger Jon gave him. He thinks that they are still behind the fifty or so men who had survived to flee the Fist. He curses his weakness, and fatness. The remaining brothers are traveling in a ring a torches to fend off the Others and wights. He trips and falls, and cannot find the strength to rise again. He thinks it would not be so bad to die here, compared to how so many had died screaming at the Fist.

He remembers how the Old Bear had charged him to send ravens to Castle Black and the Shadow Tower if they were attacked, and feels pride that he had managed to do that much at least. He remembers the night of the attack, and how he had not known what to do after sending off the birds. He remembers following some of the Shadow Tower men to the wall of the fort, and watching as their arrows had failed to hold off the encroaching monsters. He wonders if his brother Dickon will mourn his death, and thinks that a coward is not worth weeping over.

He remembers that Mormont had sent him back to the ravens that night, and how he had tried to write up a report of what was happening, how the wights had breached the wall and they had lost the Fist, and then forgotten to send any of those messages off before setting the rest of the birds free. Grenn finds him in the snow and orders him to get up; Sam tries to get him to leave Sam behind, but Grenn won’t leave him alone, and then Small Paul joins Grenn and forces him up. Sam implores them to let him die, but Grenn tells him to sing a song in his head.

He remembers seeing a wight twist a man’s head off, and seeing a rotted bear with no hair on it, and somehow finding a horse and then Dolorous Edd. Mormont had told Thoren Smallwood to call in the remaining men to cut their way out and retreat down the south slope, but the undead bear had torn off Smallwood’s head. The rest rode and jumped the low wall, running from the wights behind and trampling those in front of them. They reached the trees, and then a brother had shoved Sam off his horse and stolen it for himself. He doesn’t remember what happened after that, but they had ended up miles from the Fist. Mormont had organized the survivors and they had set out.

Now, Small Paul continues to carry Sam, but they and Grenn are falling behind, and finally Paul puts Sam down, saying he can carry him no further. Then an Other appears, riding a disemboweled horse. It dismounts, and Paul and Grenn attack, but the Other moves lightning-quick, impaling Paul, who falls dead, knocking the Other’s sword from its grip. Sam pulls his dagger and exhorts himself to be brave, and attacks, stabbing blindly with the dragonglass dagger. The Other gives an ear-splitting screech, and Sam watches as it dissolves into steam, leaving the dagger behind.

Grenn goes to pick up the dagger and hisses at the coldness. Sam giggles about dragonglass, and then vomits. Grenn pulls him up and picks up the dagger again, and is able to hold it this time. Sam tells him to keep it.

“You’re not craven like me.”

“So craven you killed an Other.”

Grenn says they should catch up with Mormont and the others if they head east, and Sam agrees to try.

Commentary
Before I even start reading the chapter: Oh! A Samwell POV! Meaning he is not dead! Awesome! Whoo!

And now that I’ve actually read the chapter: Yeesh. Wow, Sam’s life at the moment is pretty much the exact opposite of awesome, isn’t it? Er. But, I am defiantly glad he is alive to be that miserable anyway!

My summary, by the way, in no manner does justice to how well Martin manages to convey in this chapter the slow seductive horror of freezing to death. Because, I have never personally frozen to death (and nor, I strongly suspect, has Mr. Martin), but based on what I know of the phenomenon he did a marvelous job of capturing how it feels to do so.

I think it’s rather universally agreed that of all possible deaths by traumatic exposure, freezing to death is the least painful (it certainly beats drowning or starving or burning to death, by all accounts), but that in itself has its own kind of awfulness–that it makes you want to just lie down and give in. As someone who is firmly in the rage, rage against the dying of the light camp, that’s not something I would want to find myself succumbing to–for purely physiological reasons, no less. Eugh. No.

So, all that was sucky. But! He killed a frozen zombie! Which I’m kind of thinking no one else thus far has managed to do! Whoo!

And, dragonglass (i.e. obsidian) melts the frozen zombies, eh? I am sure that this information will in no way become relevant in the future. Nope.

Also, Sam, Sam, Sam. You, a coward? No. You did what you were told to do, you didn’t run when everything was going to shit all around you, and you attacked your enemy when you saw you had an opening. How is any of that the actions of a coward?

Feh. Anyone who doesn’t think that self-esteem issues aren’t potentially crippling needs to be beaten about the head and shoulders. That shit ruins lives. I sincerely hope Sam survives long enough to figure out that it is his character and not his physical appearance that defines him. Sigh.

And Dolorous Edd is alive too! Yay!

And Mormont, as well, which frankly I find kind of shocking. But Mormont is possibly the Keith Richards of this universe. Which is to say, there are some people who seem to die when you breathe on them wrong, and then there are other people who seemingly won’t die no matter what you do to them. Or they do to themselves. People are weird that way.

Of course, if Mormont then dies in the next chapter or whatever I’m gonna be real red-faced. Oh well.

The white walkers of the wood, the cold shadows, the monsters of the tales that made him squeak and tremble as a boy, riding their giant ice-spiders, hungry for blood…

Ice-spiders? Rideable ice-spiders? Really? Oookay.

On Sam insisting he doesn’t know any songs:

“Yes you do,” said Grenn. “How about ‘The Bear and the Maiden Fair’ everybody knows that one. A bear there was, a bear, a bear! All black and brown and covered with hair!”

“No, not that one,” Sam pleaded.

Okay, the bear song is officially a running gag now. I am Amused.


And that is about what the size of that is, O my peeps, so have a degorgeous weekend, and I’ll see you next Friday!

32 comments
Robert DeJulis
1. DeJulis
The question is, does Sam thinking he's a coward still make him a coward, even though his actions go against that? It could also be argued that even though he killed the Other, he didn't exactly do it on purpose.

I guess we'll have to take a nod from Ned's advice to Bran way back in the day, re: the only time a man can be brave.
Scott Silver
2. hihosilver28
Leigh, in AGoT, Ned sends Beric Dondarrion to bring Gregor back to Kings Landing for justice for the crimes he was committing in the Riverlands. This is just the first time we've heard what he's been up to since. The fact that Ned chose him would imply that he is at the very least a man of some honor to proceed with a dangerous mission.
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
Chapter 17: Back to Arya -- Hot Pie has stayed behind at the Inn and it looks like they are going the wrong way. I have this odd feeling Hot Pie is not going to enjoy his choice.
OK, that answers how Harwin got here--part of the 20 with Lord Beric. And now they have formed a resistance group--basically.
Yes, they are going south--taking her to Lord Beric. The escape attempt gets nowhere and Harwin confirms he is not Robb's man. Short chapter and it seems mainly there to add doubt back into the Arya story.
I really doubt that Beric is going to hand her over to Robb&Co. I didn't particularly think that Arya's trip was going to be that easy. Of course, if she made it back to Riverrun, they would probably just stuff her into a dress and marry her to a Frey. Being a captive of Robin Hood and his Merry Men Lord Beric and his Outlaws is bound to be much more interesting and really much more to Arya's tastes--even if she doesn't realize it.
Black Dread
4. Black Dread
Think back 2 books. While King Robert was out hunting, Eddard acting as the Hand, sent Dondarrion and his crew out to arrest the Mountain for his raping and pillaging.

Seems Dondarrion and his company have spent the war fighting as raiders and guerillas against the Mountains and his types.
Black Dread
5. TBGH
You're not missing much (in terms of reading slow) here. I devoured the books and I too was confused as to just who Beric was until this chapter and those following filled in the blanks again.

Now let me get meta here. Personally, I think the only reason Mormont survives the frozen-zombie-fist attack (fun to type AND to say), is that GRRM couldn't reasonably see a way to organize survivors without him. All the other leadership mentioned is already missing, elsewhere, or killed by Jon. So either Mormont lives or GRRM has to kill off everyone or introduce a new character to save them all.
Scott Silver
6. hihosilver28
Leigh, the relevant chapter regarding Dondarrion and Thoros in your summary is Ch. 43 of AGoT, and part 21 according to your reread index.
Vincent Lane
7. Aegnor
Leigh,

Regarding who Beric Dondarrion is, you are in luck! Someone is doing a thing where she reads the A Song of Ice and Fire series for the first time and you can read her reactions to it. She does a pretty good job!

You can find the relevant read here (the Eddard chapter)...
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/08/a-read-of-ice-and-fire-a-game-of-thrones-part-21
Thomas Simeroth
8. a smart guy
Others- Ghosts with swords of ice, weakness to obsidian
Wights- Zombies resurrected by Others, weakness to fire
Black Dread
9. Lsana
Ah, Sam, how I love you! If only the Night's Watch had more cowards like you, the situation might not be as screwed up as it is.

As far as what Dondarrion "should" be up to from a feudal point of view, really he should probably be marching back to King's Landing to swear fealty to Joffery. He was Robert's man, Joffery is Robert's heir (well not really, but I don't think Dondarrion knows that), ergo with Robert dead he ought to serve Joff. Once he quite understandably decided not to do that, I don't think that feudal ethics say his choice to turn outlaw and protect the small folk was any worse than Robb or Stannis's choice to turn outlaw and declare themselves kings.
Vincent Lane
10. Aegnor
Re: @7,

Why even include linking functionality if even links to Tor content causes the post to be blocked?

Leigh,

Sam didn't kill a frozen zombie. The frozen zombies are the wights. Wights are humans that die and are reanimated somehow by the Others. Who knows what exactly the Others are or how they come about or reproduce, but it is very unlikely they are zombies by any popular definition of the word.
Black Dread
11. Aellinsar
I remember when Harwin recognizes Arya in the inn thinking "Yay! She's safe!". Momentarrily forgetting which series I was reading...
George Jong
12. IndependentGeorge
When I first got to this chapter, I couldn't remember who Lord Beric was, either, but the great thing about eBooks is that you can search for a name and see where he comes up. Here are a few key excerpts from GOT:

p. 234:
"Make way for Lord Beric!" the rider shouted. "Make way for Lord Beric!" And close behind came the young lord himself, a dashing figure on a black courser, with red-gold hair and a black satin cloak dusted with stars. "Here to fight in the Hand's tourney, my lord?" a guardsmean called out to him. "Here to win the Hand's tourney," Lord Beric shouted back as the crowd cheered.
p247:
Jeyne Poole confessed herself frightened by the look of Jalabhar Xho, an exile prince from the Summer Isles who wore a cape of green and scarlet feathers over skin dark as night, but when she saw young Lord Beric Dondarrion, with his hair like red gold and his black shield slashed by lightning, she pronounced herself willing to marry him on the instant.
...Later a hedge knight in a checkered cloak disgraced himself by killing Beric Dondarrion's horse, and was declared forfeit. Lord Beric shifted his saddle to a new mount, only to be knocked right off it by Thoros of Myr.
p392:
eyes searched the faces along the wall. "Lord Beric," he called out. "Thoros of Myr. Ser Gladden. Lord Lothar." The men named stepped forward one by one. "Each of you is to assemble twenty men, to bring my word to Gregor's keep. Twenty of my own guards shall go with you. Lord Beric Dondarrion, you shall have the command, as befits your rank."
p512:
Lord Tywin did not seem awed. "We also have a pair of Ned Stark's afterthoughts making a nuisance of themselves by harassing my foraging parties. Beric Dondarrion, some young lordling with delusions of valor. He has that fat jape of a priest with him, the one who likes to set his sword on fire. Do you think you might be able to deal with them as you scamper off? Without making too much a botch of it?"
p642:
Ser Kevan did as he was bid. Lord Tywin unrolled the leather, smoothing it flat. "Jaime has left us in a bad way. Roose Bolton and the remnants of his host are north of us. Our enemies hold the Twins and Moat Cailin. Robb Stark sits to the west, so we cannot retreat to Lannisport and the Rock unless we choose to give battle. Jaime is taken, and his army for all purposes has ceased to exist. Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion continue to plague our foraging parties."
I'll post some COK excerpts in a bit.
Steven Halter
13. stevenhalter
Chapter 18: Samwell -- Nice to see he isn't dead or an ice zombie (or both as it were). But, he isn't having a good time. Forced marching through snow would be exhausting. i don't think Sam is all that weak--he seems to have done better than a lot--he's alive.
Nice to see the Chett scene from Sam's POV--seems so innocent.
A nightmare march--I wonder if they'll figure out that Paul just told them that Chett was planning treason. Ah, see Sam isn't so cowardly as he thinks. He was frightened but he killed an Other. I wonder how many can say that.
George Jong
14. IndependentGeorge
And here are a few choice excerpts from A Clash of Kings regarding Lord Beric.

p10 (Prologue):
"I broke bread with Gulian Swann and old Penrose, and the Tarths consented to a midnight meeting in a grove. The others - well, Beric Dondarrion is gone missing, some say dead, and Lord Caron is with Renly. Bryce the Orange, of the Rainbow Guard."
p118 ("Catelyn"):
"...and this southron lordling Beric Dondarrion has been raiding the raiders, falling upon Lord Tywin's foraging parties and vanishing back into the woods. It's said that Ser Burton Crakehall was boasting that he'd slain Dondarrion, until he led his column into one of Lord Beric's traps and got every man of them killed."

"Some of Ned's guard from Kings's Landing are with this Lord Beric," Catelyn recalled. "May the gods preserve them."

"Dondarrion and this red priest who rides with him are clever enough to preserve themselves, if the tales be true," her uncle said.
p414 ("Arya"):
The questions were always the same. Was there gold hidden in the village? Silver, gems? Was there more food? Where was Lord Beric Dondarrion? Which of the village folk had aided him? When he rode off, where did he go? How many men were with him?

..."It's not just, it's not," she heard one wizened old woman complain to another when they had bedded down for the night. "We never did no treason, the others come in and took what they wanted, same as this bunch."

"Lord Beric did us no hurt, though," her friend whispered. "And that red priest with him, he paid for all they took."

"Paid? He took two of my chickens and gave me a bit of paper with a mark on it. Can I eat a bit of raggy old paper, I ask you? Will it give me eggs?"
p451 ("Arya")
There was always talk of Beric Dondarrion. A fat archer once said the Bloody Mummers had slain him, but the others only laughed. "Lorch killed the man at Rushing Falls, and the Mountain's slain him twice. Got me a silver stag says he don't stay dead this time, either."
Deana Whitney
15. Braid_Tug
Guess they need to start looking for the dragon glass. Makes lots of new weapons, since they've probably been broken over the years.

In general, it just must suck to be a peasant in these lands. Even when Winter wasn’t heading their way. But then, I’ve never known anyone who wanted to be a peasant when playing make-believe, be it with D&D, WOW, or anywhere else.
Philip Thomann
16. normalphil
I once got caught in a blizzard towards evening in the middle of a trail long distance run, not a soul around. I figure I nearly froze to death four hundred meters out from my car, just stopping and resting for a bit became almost irresistable. I trudged the last bit- all in eyeshot of where I needed to go- on pure mania. Yeah, that's pretty much what it felt like.

EDIT: Oddly enough I had this scene in mind at the time. Thanks GRRM!
Antoni Ivanov
17. tonka
I hope you read this Leigh,

http://towerofthehand.com/ is a great site for a new reader like you. You can set scope. When you enter in a brown box - there is a scope based on which book you have finished (or season for those following the show only).

When you set the scope to A Game of Thrones - for Dondarion it tells you everything you forgotten from the first book and nothing more.
Peter Stone
18. Peter1742
I think it's time to remind Leigh of a quote of hers from Game of Thrones Part 32.
Osha comments that the children of the forest could “tell you a thing or two about dreaming”, but Luwin insists they are dead and gone, and their magic with them, and that “The man who trusts in spells is dueling with a glass sword”.
Maybe magic and glass swords aren't as useless as Luwin thought they were.
Pat .
19. dolphineus
@tonka - Thanks, didn't know that existed. Very cool.

@IndependentGeorge - Thanks for the quotes. I had forgotten how often Lord Beric had been killed. Ain't like the Mountain to make a mistake on an issue like that.
Vincent Lane
20. Aegnor
IndependentGeorge @12 @14,

That is really useful, I hope Leigh reads it.
Steven Halter
21. stevenhalter
Is that towerofthehand site actually safe or just kind of safe?
Rob Munnelly
22. RobMRobM
Safe, except where indocated (e.g. Therre are cautions that footnotes are not subject to scope limits).
Simon Southey-Davis
23. Glyph
Tower of the Hand spoiled me on a certain nontrivial event in ASOS 2, even with scope set and actively avoiding spoilers. The footnotes are typically NOT scoped, nor hidden, and when they're only one line below the scoped part you're meant to be reading...

Suffice to say, I wouldn't consider TotH 'safe'.
Marie Veek
24. SlackerSpice
@01

Likely not, though he's probably had that mindset beaten into him enough by his father that he certainly believes it himself.
Black Dread
25. Giacomo
Kind of makes you wish they had kept all those dragonglass arrowheads and daggers Ghost and Jon found at the Fist (Chapter 35, COK)
Rob Munnelly
26. RobMRobM
Re Arya - not too much to say, covered pretty well above. I love the line referring to Arya as a "golden squirrel" falling into their pot. LOL on that. Also interesting that Harwin is only the latest to compliment Arya by comparing her to her aunt Lyanna. Really makes us wish we could spend more time in a flashback to learn more. Have to hope for some more information to dig into later on. Finally, no necessary need to dread Arya going to Lord Beric, based on the text references discussed above....but no doubt you have cause to be concerned that even well-intentioned Westerosi lords can do things that don't work out well in the end - think Ned Stark, as only one example. Have to hope Beric can do better.

Note - Dondarrion is a Baratheon house, so he should have gone to Joff, technically. He didn't want to do that, and so turned outlaw. Also, putting aside the story on its own merits, the Beric and his men plotline is a nice authorial way of casting light on the impacts of the war on the Westeros common folk. Adds a nice layer of pespective to the game of thrones occurring at the Lord level.

Re Sam - yes, Leigh, you need to keep in mind the distinction covered in the comments above between the Others - powerful creatures that walk lightly on snow and outduel pretty much everybody with crystal swords but are susceptible to dragonglass- and the Wights - zombies created by the Others through some type of magic and susceptible to fire. Love Small Paul's bizarre commentary that confesses to treason, if anyone was really listening. But Sam sure wasn't and it doesn't seem like Grenn was either. With Paul dead, have to see what happens with the rest of the NW traitors.

Mormont is quite cool in this chapter. Brave, decisive, organized, and keeping his head where others (especially including the annoying Smallwood) were losing theirs (in some cases, literally). Not a good sign that Sam got waylaid by one of the other NW folk to take his horse. Have to see how deep the corruption has spread in the NW - what this one of Chett's or was it another one who took what is his even at the potential cost of a brother's life.

By the way, Leigh, yet another doozie of a line in this one to look back on and laugh in the wrap up post later. Set your bookmark.
Rob Munnelly
27. RobMRobM
Stevenhalter - I took another look at Tower of the Hand (I responded from the road yesterday). Agree with Glyph that it is only kind of safe. There are articles linked from various websources on the main page that are not subject to scope limitations. (For example, it links to an I09 article written about 15 characters who will not win the Game of Thrones (such as Hodor), but it includes characters beyond the ACOK scope.) So don't dive into the linked articles. Stick with the resources in the right hand column (chapter summaries, character lists, houses and heraldry, etc.) but watch out for footnotes and member comments (when enabled), as they are not usually subject to scope limits.
Stefan Mitev
28. Bergmaniac
Technically Beric should've joined Renly's forces like all the other lords of the Stormlands. Renly was his liege lord.
Steven Halter
29. stevenhalter
RobMRobM & Glyph: Thanks for the info, I think I'll pass on Tower of the Hand for the time being.
Black Dread
30. natlog
As a daily follower of Tower of the Hand, I would advise to visit at your own risk. If you do, set your scope for only books that you have completed, use the resources up in the right hand corner, and avoid the comments. The resources are thorough and helpful.

However for you folks who've read and watched everything and are following along here just to see the "Ned is Dead" reactions, it's a great place to have spoilery chat and launch wild theories.

In fact I found this little treat from a posting by Johnny, the owner/editor letting all the TotH community know what was going on here.
Ryan W. Enslow
31. SDoyle
I know it's said in the comments already, but I just want to say it again for emphasis.

The Others/White Walkers and NOT the same as the frozen zombies. They are "something else".

Others =/= The Zombies.
Black Dread
32. niner
If you haven't seen the show, then you might not know this, but The Hold Steady actually recorded a version of The Bear song. Just thought you might get a kick out of it, if the running gag part already cracks you up.

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