Feb 1 2013 2:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords, Part 16

A Read of Ice and Fire on A Storm of Swords, Part 16Welcome 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 16 of A Storm of Swords, in which we cover Chapter 27 (“Daenerys”) and Chapter 28 (“Sansa”).

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 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 27: Daenerys

What Happens
Dany waits while the Good Masters of Astapor confer over her astonishing offer to buy all the Unsullied: not just the fully trained soldiers, but the ones who have not yet earned the title. She listens as one argues that this will leave them with no merchandise for ten years, and another retorts that he would rather have the gold now than later. Dany thinks to herself that she will have them all no matter the price.

At length, Kranznys announces that they will sell her the 8,600 fully-trained Unsullied, but not those still in training; Dany answers that she will pay as much for “the boy they cut yesterday” as she will for a full soldier. When they still refuse, she offers to pay double. One of the slavers points out that at double price, she only has the coin to buy 500 Unsullied, 600 if she throws in her crown. Dany answers that her crown is not for sale, but she offers her three ships. The slavers reply that this will get her 2,000 men, no more.

“Give me all,” she said, “and you may have a dragon.”

Whitebeard is appalled, and begs her to reconsider; Dany rebukes him sharply for questioning her, and has Mormont escort him out. The oldest slaver demands her best dragon, the black one, in addition to the ships and all her goods, and Dany agrees. They throw in the slave girl as a translator, and the deal is sealed. Dany leaves, feeling sick inside.

Once away, she chastises Whitebeard, and warns him to never contradict her in public again. He agrees, but protests that she has been cheated. She ignores this and asks the slave girl for her name; the girl, Missandei, is astonished to realize Dany spoke to her in High Valyrian. Dany tells Missandei that she is free, and offers to let her leave and go back to her family if she wishes. Missandei replies that she has nowhere else to go, and wishes to remain with Dany. Dany asks about the Unsullied, whether it is true they will obey her absolutely, and Missandei assures her it is so, even to the point of killing themselves at her order. Dany asks whether, if she sold them, they could be turned against her, and Missandei answers that they would attack her if their new master ordered it. Missandei also reveals that three of the Unsullied were formerly her brothers.

Dany cannot sleep that night for grief and worry, and goes above, where Ser Jorah joins her. She asks him why the gods make kings and queens if not to protect those who cannot protect themselves; Jorah answers that some kings make themselves, like Robert, and Dany answers scornfully that he was no true king, and did no justice, which is what kings are for. Later, she dreams that she is her brother Rhaegar at the Trident, except that she used dragonfire to win where her brother had lost. She wakes, suddenly sure someone is in the cabin with her, and hears a woman’s voice:

“Remember. To go north, you must journey south. To reach the west, you must go east. To go forward you must go back, and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow.”

Dany thinks it is Quaithe, and leaps up, but there is no one there.

The next morning, Dany and her entourage (including the restless dragons) go to the plaza where the Unsullied are assembled. Dany is disgusted by the hanged corpses of disobedient slaves ranged before it. Dany has all the riches she’d had aboard her ships brought forth while Kraznys advises her to blood her troops early, on one of the small cities nearby, perhaps. Finally, she hands over Drogon’s chain to him, as the final part of the deal, and he hands her in return an ornate whip. She asks if this means they belong to her, and he confirms it. She remounts her horse, and screams to the Unsullied that they are hers now, bought and paid for; most of the slavers are too busy trying to get Drogon off the litter to notice she spoke in High Valyrian.

It is time to cross the Trident, Dany thought, as she wheeled and rode her silver back. Her bloodriders moved in close around her. “You are in difficulty,” she observed.

“He will not come,” Kraznys said.

“There is a reason. A dragon is no slave.” And Dany swept the lash down as hard as she could across the slaver’s face.

Kraznys screams, his face ruined, and Dany calls to Drogon, who sets the slaver on fire. Chaos erupts, and Irri and Jhiqui set the other two dragons free to join the fray as well, terrifying the horses of the slavers’ guards. Rakharo, Aggo, Belwas, and Jorah join in taking the guards down, and Dany hears the oldest slaver call for the Unsullied to defend them, but the soldiers do not budge. Triumphant, Dany orders the Unsullied to kill the Good Masters, their guards, and every free man and slaveowner, but to leave children under twelve, and free any slave they see.

…and then she flung the scourge aside. “Freedom!” she sang out. “Dracarys! Dracarys!

Dracarys!” they shouted back, the sweetest word she’d ever heard. “Dracarys! Dracarys!” And all around them slavers ran and sobbed and begged and died, and the dusty air was filled with spears and fire.

Okay, I stopped partway through the chapter to write this:


Not to mention the ships—because what the hell good are umpty thousand troops going to do her if she can’t take them anywhere?—but especially NO DANY NOT THE DRAGONS NO.

(Okay, on reflection she probably couldn’t have fit elevenish-thousand troops on three ships anyway, unless I missed a memo and they’re the size of your average aircraft carrier, but my point is DANY NO.)

Ooh, maybe it’s a double-cross! Maybe Dany will use her new super-obedient soldiers to sack the city and keep her stuff! I approve of this! LET’S FIND OUT.

*reads the rest of the chapter*

AHAHAHAHA I knew it! I rule!

*cabbage patch*

Yeah, the minute I read Dany quizzing Missandei, all so you’re absolutely sure they will do anything I say, I knew she wasn’t going through with the deal. Plus I just couldn’t believe, on reflection, that she would actually really give away one of her dragons voluntarily for any reason.

Also, that was awesome. A Crowning Moment of Awesome, even, I daresay. Take that, purveyors of slavery! Yeah!

(Note: do not click on that link if you have anything important to do, like, ever.)

Whew. Good stuff, y’all. Like Snickers, it satisfies.

Assuming it doesn’t all backfire in the next chapter, of course.

So in retrospect, Martin portraying the Astapori as so thoroughly disgusting and unlikeable a culture makes a lot more sense now. I recognize the narrative trick he pulled here, making palatable to the reader the wholesale massacre of people who are, technically, unarmed civilians. I recognize it even as I cheerfully fall for it, because FUCK SLAVERY, Y’ALL.

And I suppose reneging on a deal is bad and dishonest, and there are certainly lots of ways you could argue that what Dany did here was unethical, to say the least, but I’m choosing not to care because (a) sometimes the underdog (i.e. Dany) has to cheat to win, and (b) I’m rooting for the underdog (i.e. Dany) to win, therefore I’m sort of obligated to make allowance for that, and (c) FUCK SLAVERY.

I’m still not sure yet whether I extend that Rooting-for-Dany stance to her actually winning back Westeros, mind you, because there are a bucketload of issues involved there (not least the fact that she can free the Unsullied all she wants in her own mind, but she’ll still be marching to war with a slave army in the eyes of everyone else). But I guess at the moment I kind of do, root for that I mean, assuming there’s a way it can happen while leaving the Starks the North. Because God knows just about anyone would be a better monarch to have than frickin’ Joffrey.

And in other news:

Valar morghulis,” said Missandei, in High Valyrian.

“All men must die,” Dany agreed, “but not for a long while, we may pray.”

So that’s what that means.

And, well, that’s… true. Creepy, but true. Assuming your fictional world doesn’t include immortal characters, of course, which as far as I can tell this one doesn’t—not that we’ve met so far, anyway.

And… hm, that’s not quite what I expected that to turn out to mean. Because, yes, it’s definitely not a cool thing for an eleven-year-old kid like Arya to be running around using as a mantra, and I can see why a professional assassin (or something; can you be a professional psychopath?) like Jaqen would adopt it, for the ironic LOLs if nothing else, but I dunno, I was expecting it to turn out to mean something a little more… invocation-like. Y’know, a summoning-up-bad-things kind of thing. Whereas this just sort of strikes me as more of a depressing-yet-accurate philosophical observation than anything else.

*shrug* Maybe I’m missing something?

As for presumably-Quaithe’s little nighttime spate of “advice” for Dany: Gee, thanks for nothing, hon. That’s what you astrally project (?) yourself into young girls’ bedchambers to be creepy about? Whatever, Edward. I’m surprised she didn’t ask for a contribution for that pile of drivel. Or have a bird on her head. Feh.

Also, randomly, from the list of goods Dany brings to the slavers:

a cask of pitted olives stuffed with maggots


Um, why would you want this? Why would anyone want this? What is with the funkass cuisine in these books? STOP EATING PUPPY FETUSES AND MAGGOTS, ASOIAF PEOPLE, WHY ARE YOU SO GROSS.

*grump* Waste of perfectly good olives. What’s wrong with some nice pimento? I ask you.


Chapter 28: Sansa

What Happens
Cersei comes to watch as Sansa is dressed in her new gown. Sansa is delighted with her appearance until Cersei comments that it is “obscene” to squander her on “that gargoyle,” and Sansa is confused, wondering if she meant Willas Tyrell and how she knew. Then Cersei orders her garbed in a maiden’s cloak, and Sansa realizes what it portends; Cersei tells her she is to be married that hour to Cersei’s brother Tyrion, and Sansa protests violently. She tries to run, but Ser Meryn Trant and Ser Osmund Kettleblack are outside the door. Trant looks ready to do her violence, but Kettleblack reminds her gently that wolves are supposed to be brave, and Sansa tells herself she is a Stark, and that Tyrion is not as bad as the rest of them, and acquiesces.

Joffrey meets her outside the sept, and informs her that he is her father for today. She retorts that he is not, and he threatens to marry her off to Ilyn Payne instead. She begins to beg him not to go through with this, but is interrupted by Tyrion himself, who asks for a moment alone with her. Tyrion apologizes to her for “this farce,” and offers to refuse the marriage, upon which they will wed her to his cousin Lancel instead. Sansa wants to say she doesn’t want any Lannister, but remembers Dontos’s assertion that the Tyrells only want her for her claim to Winterfell, same as the Lannisters, and declines his offer. He ventures that at least he is not Joffrey, and she acknowledges that he has been kind, and they go into the sept.

Sansa notes that none of the Tyrells are present to witness the ceremony, but remembers very little else about it until it is time for the changing of the cloaks. Joffrey takes her maiden’s cloak (copping a feel in the process), but when Tyrion tries to indicate she should kneel for him to put on the bride’s cloak, Sansa refuses, to the amusement of the guests. Joffrey finally commands Dontos forward for Tyrion to stand on. Sansa feels guilty afterward, and kneels to kiss him, but all she can think about is how ugly he is, and has to hold back sobs.

At the wedding feast, Sansa is bitterly unsurprised that the Tyrell women shun her, and dreads the chivaree that will follow before she must consummate the marriage. She tries asking Tyrion to dance, but he answers that he thinks they have given the guests enough amusement for one night. Eventually Ser Garlan Tyrell asks her to dance, and tells her that he has seen how she looked at his brother Loras, but opines that the Imp is “a bigger man than he seems,” and will make her a better husband. She dances with a few others, and then is unable to avoid dancing with Joffrey, who tells her he intends to have her anyway, and will command Tyrion to bring her to his bed or be executed.

After the dancing, Joffrey proposes loudly they get the chivaree started (which involves the male guests stripping the bride), but Tyrion refuses to let it occur, and threatens to geld Joffrey if he tries it. Everyone is shocked, and Tywin interjects that he is sure Tyrion did not intend to threaten the king. Tyrion takes it back with ill grace; Joffrey is incensed, but Tywin again intercedes, and Tyrion takes himself and Sansa out of the room.

In the wedding chamber, Sansa asks nervously if she should undress, and Tyrion tells her about his first wedding, to “Lady Tysha of House Silverfist.” He is angered by her stilted politeness to him, and orders her to disrobe. She does, and he remarks that she is a child, but he wants her anyway. He tries to tell her he could be good to her, and Sansa realizes he is frightened as well, but this only makes her pity him, and makes no answer. Bitterly, he orders her into the bed, and disrobes himself. He touches her, but she cannot make herself move or respond.

Then he tells her that he cannot do this, and promises to wait to consummate the marriage until she tells him she wants him to. She looks at him, and tries to find something she finds attractive in him, but sees nothing. She asks what if she never wants him to.

His mouth jerked as if she had slapped him. “Never?”

Her neck was so tight she could scarcely nod.

“Why,” he said, “that is why the gods made whores for imps like me.” He closed his short blunt fingers into a fist, and climbed down off the bed.

Before I even start reading the chapter: oh, crap.

After reading the chapter: Ow. Ow ow ow.

Yeah, so it turns out “oh crap” was the understatement of the geological age, because oh my God that was the most miserable, uncomfortable, painful wedding EVER. I mean, wow. The Etiquette Hell folks would have collective apoplexy. (Again, do not click that link unless you have copious spare time available. And good blood pressure.)

Ugh, ugh, everything sucks! For everyone! Poor Sansa! Poor Tyrion! Poor institution of marriage, that it can be twisted to condone such farces! Pfeh. Pfeh, I say!

I should probably be at least a little censorious toward Sansa for being so unable to get past Tyrion's physical appearance, but look, girl is thirteen, and still secretly a romantic, and has just been forcibly married to, yes, a disfigured and deformed scion of her family's most deadly enemy. I am going to cut Sansa a shit-ton of slack right about now, and that's all there is to it.

I have to confess, as much as I like Tyrion, I was rather surprised that he didn’t go ahead and consummate the marriage. I’m relieved that he didn’t, for Sansa’s sake, but… I was surprised. I think Martin has conditioned me by this point to just expect the worst case scenario, so when someone actually does the right thing it’s like “Really? Whoa.” Sigh.

“I am malformed, scarred, and small, but . . . ” she could see him groping “ . . . abed, when the candles are blown out, I am made no worse than other men. In the dark, I am the Knight of Flowers.” He took a draught of wine. “I am generous. Loyal to those who are loyal to me. I’ve proven I’m no craven. And I am cleverer than most, surely wits count for something. I can even be kind. Kindness is not a habit with us Lannisters, I fear, but I know I have some somewhere. I could be . . . I could be good to you.”

And this just fucking breaks my heart, it does.

The worst part is—hm. I was going to say something about how Tyrion and Sansa could be such allies to each other if all this stupid bullshit wasn’t between them, but then, all that stupid bullshit is really kind of the point, isn’t it? Because as much as I am individually rooting for both Tyrion and Sansa as characters, ultimately their goals are in opposition to the other’s, so wanting them to be allies (or dare I say it, even friends) doesn’t seem to make sense for either of them except in the most short-term sense.

It also means it doesn’t make much sense that I’m rooting for both of them, but hey, I’m also rooting for Dany, which makes even less sense in a “conflicting goal” capacity, so clearly I am choosing not to care that I am basically doing the equivalent of cheering for the Yankees, the Mets, and the Red Sox, all at the same time. I like who I want, nyah!

(It is left as an exercise for the reader to decide which party is which, but I don’t think there’s much doubt, in my mind, anyway, who the Yankees are. Hah.)

Anyway, I don’t know, the whole thing is tangled and ugly, and—okay, yeah, the worst part is that Tyrion’s gesture of nobility in not (let’s face it) raping Sansa is probably going to make things worse for their relationship rather than the opposite, because Tyrion is a virtual powderkeg of sexual/self-esteem issues and I don’t see this state of affairs doing a damn thing to ease the pressure on that front.

So, in conclusion:


Also, how can it be that no one has set Joffrey on FIRE yet? Seriously, I am in awe. Could he possibly be more of a giant bag of dicks?

Wait, don’t answer that. To reiterate: Ugh.

Interesting that Garlan Tyrell spoke up for Tyrion to Sansa. I can’t remember for sure if we’ve been introduced to him before (though I think maybe it was in passing, like he was training in a courtyard or something? I think I remember that), but that rather suggests to me a distinct break with the rest of the Tyrells, who are pretty clearly livid about this turn of events. Or maybe Garlan just hates his brothers (Willas and Loras). The story he tells of how Willas invented his “Gallant” appellation can be taken two ways, after all.

Then there was this, when Sansa is confused about Cersei’s “gargoyle” comment:

Did [Cersei] mean Willas?How could she know? No one knew, but her and Margaery and the Queen of Thorns . . . oh, and Dontos, but he didn’t count.

Aw, shit. Was it Dontos who ratted the scheme out? That seriously blows, if so. I’m not sure it actually makes any sense to suppose he was the traitor on purpose, but given his inclination toward drinking I can easily see Littlefinger getting it out of him unknowingly.

Though that does beg the question of how Littlefinger knew Dontos knew something worth weaseling out of him in the first place. Eh. I’ll find out, I suppose.

The reveal to Sansa of her marriage to Tyrion was played… kind of oddly, I thought. I would have thought there’d be more of a stunned pause, there, from Sansa’s POV. Oh well. That said, of course Cersei dropped the news on her in the most callous way possible. Tchah. I suspect, though, that Cersei feels at least a little sorry for Sansa; not that she handles it very well, of course, but really, she didn’t have to get all that into dressing Sansa up, so I think that tiny bit of compassion is there.

Speaking of which, Sansa’s gown sounded gorgeous, y’all. But then, I have always been a sucker for silver anything. I hope that the HBO series does this costume justice if/when they get to this part (I have no idea if they have already, but am under the vague impression that they are doing one book per season, and I also think there have only been two seasons so far, so probably not), so that when I finally have the chance to watch it I can appreciate it. Since there is damn little else to appreciate at this juncture, sheesh.

And… right. Now that our Barbie Dream Wedding is concluded, have a weekend! With some other kind of vaguely important sports-related rivalry happening, even! Or So I Hear. (No, really, I hear them, they’re right over there. And they are LOUD.) Cheers, people, and see you next Friday!

Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
Chapter 27: Daenerys -- Dany wants to buy all of the mercenaries. A little bargaining and then she offers a dragon. I suspect a trick as I don't think she would part with a dragon. She frees Missandei--foreshadowing? And then:
“Valar morghulis,” said Missandei, in High Valyrian.
“All men must die,” Dany agreed,
So, it looks like Valar morghulis is High Valyrian and it means "All men must die." So, my earlier guesses weren't too bad. I figured the mor part had something to do with death although I missed on the honor part. Also, seems like a good motto for an assassin.

"Olives stuffed with maggots." Clearly that is what the slavers most desired--it would probably go well with the puppy meat that they seemed to want. Of course, Sardinian maggot cheese is a real thing, so, hey, let other people eat what they want as long as I don't need to ever have olives stuffed with maggots.

GRRM is certainly building tension in this chapter. Just what is Dany's plan? Ah, cool. Dragons are not slaves. She killed all of the masters. I hadn't expected that she would use the dragons, but it seems they have done some growing up--their fire is hot. Also, it seemed quite unwise for the slavers to give her all of the unsullied--she started her plundering a bit earlier than they expected. Fatal error on their part. Dany is shaping up to be a really good Queen.
Rob Munnelly
2. RobMRobM
Nice job, Leigh. Except you should have highlighted the two CMAs - one, a Crowning Moment of Awesome and the other a Crowning Moment of Awfulness.
Rob Munnelly
3. RobMRobM
The clothing on the HBO series is astoundingly good, across the board. Kicking serious butt on all relevant award shows. Ditto with set design. You're in for a treat when the time comes to watch.
4. TG12
I remember how cool it was the first time I hit that reveal on Valar Morghulis... I mean, we'd been speculating on what it meant since book two, and then the way it was just casually dropped into a totally unconnected conversation on another continent was awesome (I thought, at least). And I dunno, I thought it was an appropriately cool meaning, kind of a fatalistic/bad-ass combo...

As for weddings, yes, this is one seriously sucky wedding, but it's not even bllrghh argghh ....NO CARRIER
Ross Newberry
5. rossnewberry
Yeah, so it turns out “oh crap” was the understatement of the geological age, because oh my God that was the most miserable, uncomfortable, painful wedding EVER.
Ha. Haha. Hahaha. *SNARF*
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
Chapter 28: Sansa -- Sansa has a nice dress and a fine bath. Kind of a big transition from killing a slave freeing. Especially, since Sansa thinks she is getting sold married to Willas. Cersei means Tyrion of course. And there's the reveal--pretty big bombshell to drop on her. I think I'll go back to the sold part. Sansa has no freedom here--not a jot. Joffrey claiming to be Eddard is fairly obscene also.
At least Tyrion isn't being his usual sarcastic self--some semblance of decency there.
Joffrey continues on his path to Lord Ass of Westros. And, good, Tyrion couldn't go through with it.
7. Cass314
About Dany...yeah, fuck slavery and all, but she also just ordered the murder of any thirteen year old child lucky enough not to be born a slave. So soon she's forgotten how terrified and helpless she felt at that age. So there's that.
Chris Nelly
8. Aeryl
Oh, wow, great write up again this week!
Tricia Irish
9. Tektonica
I loved this scene with Dany kicking butt. Formidable.

Also, how can it be that no one has set Joffrey on FIRE yet? Seriously, I am in awe. Could he possibly be more of a giant bag of dicks?

Well said! I was stunned when this scene rolled around. But yeah....Tyrion is a pretty good guy at heart. At least he understands what being used as a tool feels like. Nice seeing his compassion for Sansa. I do hope she comes around. They could be powerful together....and surprisingly underestimated.
Marty Beck
10. martytargaryen
I was amazed, too, upon first reading that King Ass-wad survived to this point.

I felt a little uneasy about the trickery Dany pulled, thinking that there would be som carmic reconning.

Anyway loved both chapters and really loved the recaps. Thanks Leigh!
11. Lsana
My reaction to Dany's actions was much more ambivilent than most. No, I'm not going to be shedding any tears for the Astapori, but I'm also not pleased to see that Dany is the sort of person who would massacre her hosts like that. Plus, I really, really don't like to see a daughter of Aerys Targaryen getting so much enjoyment out of burning people alive.

Plus, yeah, she's still using a slave army. She says they're free, but I think she knows that even more so than Missandei, these guys have no other place to go.

On the wedding, "heartbreaking" is a good description for it. I like Tyrion. I like Sansa. And yeah, this travesty of a marriage is never going to work for either of them. I did enjoy Tyrion's gesture of kindness at the end, but then I asked myself, "What kind of sick world is this that not raping a 13-year-old girl qualifies you for humanitarian of the year?"
12. andNowMyWatchBegins
@2 while re-reading this I loved the juxtaposition of these 2 Chapters and how they signify a jump in the arc of both. Dany to this point has been generally carried along by her story, she was sold at the start and handled each shitty situation well and finally has the Agency to chase her dream.

Sansa started off as a wealthy little lady with few troubles and has slowly (and at times not so slowly) had her worldview and freedoms eroded to the point where she has now been 'sold' as a Lannister bride.

Very Much like GRRM to follow up the most awesomely empowering chapter in this book (and possibly the series so far) with a creepy, cringy and depressing chapter for 2 of the main POVs (not making any favourites comments)
Deana Whitney
14. Braid_Tug
@ 11, Lsana
"What kind of sick world is this that not raping a 13-year-old girl qualifies you for humanitarian of the year?"
Sadly in the world of GRRM, that does make him one of the "good guys." What does it say about all of us that have gotten sucked into this twisted world?

@12, NMWB; i like your comment about the contrast of the two chapters.

Leigh, thanks for sharing your mid-way view! It's fun to see how your thoughts developed over the chapter.
Tricia Irish
15. Tektonica
I have always had ambivalent feelings about Dany. She's making the best situation she can with what she has, and what she's been told, but her decisions are not always very ethical. Desperate? Yes. Upstanding? No.
16. lampwick
Someone in some comment somewhere said that Sansa might very well end up with Tyrion, that Tyrion might turn out to be the gentle knight she was brought up to believe in. My first reaction to this was No way!, but thinking about it it starts to make more and more sense, and now I'm sorta hoping it'll happen.
17. Delta1212
Ok, so Sansa is clearly the Mets. That's not even in question.

After serious consideration, I have decided that Dany, the highly polarizing juggernaut who just keeps on winning is the Yankees, while Tyrion, the very competent player who just can't catch a break is the Red Sox.

Plus, he's a Lannister so he's red and dragons are totally the pinstripes of sigils.
Chris Nelly
18. Aeryl
The Lannisters are totally the Yankees. $$$$$

Dany is the Mets. And the poor unlucky Starks are the Red Sox. If their seat was Harrenhall the parallel would be perfect.
19. Procrastigator
I feel compelled to point out that Cersei's worry about the dress and such was almost certainly more for the sake of appearances (a Lannister couldn't very well wed a girl in rags, after all, even it it is only that dwarf of a brother of hers) than for any kind of compassion.

As far as I am concerned, Cersei Lannister is one of the most unabashedly awful and evil characters in the whole book (along with the Mountain and perhaps a couple others). I believe she is a complete psychopath who is unable to care for anyone other than as an extension of her own glory and power, and this includes Jamie and her kids.
20. Cass314
@19 I disagree with your interpretation of Cersei. Not that I think she's nice, but I think she's not really a psychopath so much as she has some serious narcissistic issues compounded by circumstance. Clearly, one cannot blame her actions entirely on her environment, but we have here a woman raised without a mother, by a tyrant who is enthusiastic in his pursuit of any means handy to acquire whatever his end is this week. He is brutal is his treatment of enemies and particularly women when a points need proving, and Cersei grew up without a mother, chagrined by the fact that she was worth less than the twin so much like her but younger. She is shaped by a number of other circumstances I cannot mention (spoilers), sold to a man she hates to cement a political alliance and then ignored except when mistreated, and is constantly paranoid because she has been comitting "crimes against gods and men" since she was a teen.

Clearly her behavior is not remotely justified--Tyrion was horribly mistreated, after all, and he's a fairly decent person. But I think the circumstances conspire to make it clear that her actions stem from how she chooses to respond to real obstacles and real problems in a way that's clearly not "complete psychopathy". If one assumes a (potentially derranged, but ultimately "true") infatuation or love for Jaime and a true love for her children, almost everything she has done up to this point follows with a certain amount of sense (if, of course, not morality). Hers is not the behavior of an utter psychopath so much as the behavior of someone who has decided to respond to a bad situation by lowering herself to or even beneath its level--who has decided that if the world fights dirty, she'll fight even dirtier.

She is fiercely protective of her family, and while her infatuation with Jaime is I think something of an expression of narcissism, I really do think she loves her children. There are a lot of characters in these books who do awful things for both good and bad reasons, and there are a few inscrutably horrendous characters in these books who do terrible things for absolutely no discernable reason. I think Cersei falls squarely in the former category.
Rob Munnelly
21. RobMRobM
I felt so bad for Tyrion in this chapter. It is a blow that Sansa wouldn't even bend down to help with the vows, highlighting his deformities. I feel bad for her but, in some ways, even worse for Tyrion.
22. DMAC
Had Tyrion succombed to his desire and taken Sansa, i still don't think you could hang the term "rape" to it. Since in this world, Sansa is of marriagable age and IS married. And she was not going to refuse Tyrion, she was willing to give herself to him, she just wasn't thrilled about the prospect, to say the least.
Marie Veek
23. SlackerSpice
Interesting quandry here. On the one hand, she bought the Unsullied. On the other, she bought the slaves that are still in training, as well. She's gotten them all out of the Astapori's collective hands, and in casting aside the whip, she's declared that she will not be Down With That Shit with her army.

@7: "Slay the Good Masters , slay the soldiers, slay every man who wears a tokar or holds a whip ..." I'd say that doesn't exactly translate to 'kill them all.'

@11: I didn't get the impression that she took any sort of Aerys-brand pleasure out of Kraznys's death, myself. That said, after listening to every little assholish thing he said while having to pretend she doesn't understand a word of it, I'd say that the Asshole Victim trope is definitely in play here.

As for the whole deal-breaking thing, eh, I dunno. This series hasn't exactly been overflowing with truly 'good' choices, and Dany's story so far is no exception (though see above re: Asshole Victim).
24. Cass314
@23 She says to kill anyone upper class and spare children under 12. So any child of 12 or older with the (mis)fortune of being born a free person and to upper class parents is fair game for murder. When Dany was that age she was still a hapless and helpless thrall of her brother's plans and terrified of her own shadow.

So, while I'm happy to say "fuck slavery", in this particular instance I'll also reserve a large helping of disgust for Dany. It doesn't help that she tries to be so high and mighty on the issue of slavery while one of her most trusted advisors is an unrepentant ex-slaver himself, and that while in this scenario she's betraying slavers and burning *them* alive, she also burnt alive for betrayal a vengeful slave who didn't really act all that differently than Dany's acting now. I enjoy reading Dany's chapters, but I don't think we should gloss over what a horrific bloodbath we've got here for somewhat murky and even hypocritical reasons. Martin seldom makes things clear-cut, even when it comes to subjects as normally black and white as this one.
25. Milk Steak
Making someone have sex against their will, regardless of if you use physical force or the coercion of societal norms is rape. Tyrion gets more credit, at least to me, for not doing something awful that's not seen that way by his society but it would still be rape.
Lindy Brown
26. lbrown
I was wondering how Leigh would feel about this Dany chapter.

I did not see this coming although there were plenty of indications of what was coming up as Leigh points out. I, personally, was horrified by it and I don't think I will ever really like Dany again. I thought Dany was another Eddard, driven by honor, but there was nothing honorable about this. Dany murdered all those people and on top of that, she is nothing but a con artist now. Anyway, I don't hate her, but she is no longer a favorite of mine.

Re: Sansa. When I first read that Tywin was thinking of a match between Sansa and Tyrion, I was like, "Seriously! GRRM, what is going on?"
Lindy Brown
27. lbrown
Actually, I think this scene with Sansa has already been filmed for the HBO Show. The third season, which covers the first half of the third book, is starting on March 31, so they would have had to shot this already.
Steven Halter
28. stevenhalter
Cass314@24:The full quote is:
"Slay the Good Masters , slay the soldiers, slay every man who wears a tokar or holds a whip, but harm no child under twelve, and strike the chains off every slave you see."
My reading of this is they are to kill anyone who is a slaver unless they are under twelve. If a person just is an expert purveyor of puppies and not slaves they wouldn't be slain. If they are twelve or older and sell slaves then they are done.
What Dany is really doing here is completely destroying the institution of the Unsullied. There will be no one left to sell or train them.
I can't say that I have any sympathy for slavers and in this case, Dany seems, to me, to be pretty clearly in the right.
29. Megaduck
DMAC @22

I agree with Milk Steak @25, it would have most definitively been rape if Tyrion had sex with her. Not by their standards, maybe, but by ours. The standard is coercion and Sansa is coerced pretty much the entire chapter, she has no ability to say no. If she does she’ll be beaten or injured. So she goes through the wedding an autopilot having things done to her. Then when she’s with Tyrion she’s trapped between a rock and a hard place. She can’t say no, and she can’t say yes, and that is a very important point.

Sansa never says YES.

This is why I like Tyrion so much, he realizes (as does GRRM) that the absence of a negative does NOT mean a positive. This is something all too many people even in real life do not understand. Tyrion does, and knows that without a YES it’s still rape even if she never says NO.

On Dany,

She’s insane.

No, really, she’s got the targaryan insanity in full measure.

Like Lbrown @26 I found this chapter a little disconcerting as it really began, for the first time, to show the depths of Dany’s insanity and what she really is.

Consider, Dany has decided at the age of 13 or so, that she’s going to conquer a continent. She decided this when she had no resources, never even seen the continent in question, and she’s being driving towards this for two books.

For most of the time she’s sympathetic because she’s the underdog. She’s been trying to be polite and diplomatic in order to reach her goals. This hasn’t been working because not everyone shares her obsession, and well, she’s a 13 year old girl plotting world domination. Who’s going to take that seriously?

Now, Dany is basically a good person, she’s going to conquer that continent at ALL costs. She will do anything she has to do.

For the first time we’re seeing her as The Unfettered.

And that's really scary.
lake sidey
30. lakesidey
Yeah, so it turns out “oh crap” was the understatement of the geological age, because oh my God that was the most miserable, uncomfortable, painful wedding EVER.

Yeah, it was, wasn't it? Enough to make you see Red!

Rob Munnelly
31. RobMRobM
I have more sympathy for Dany here than several of you appear to have. Astapor is a mean, horrifically nasty, slaving pit, with miserable slave residents (as covered in excruciating detail in the prior chapters). The slavers and upper class of the City were personallly responsible for this horror, and also enabled it, and Dany targeted them. Leaving them alive would lead to re-institution of slavery the moment she left the City. She had a choice between the slaves and the slavers/those who engage in slavery and she chose the slaves. No insanity there, as far as I'm concerned.

Re the Tyrion-Sansa Wedding scene - yes it should be in the upcoming HBO show season so it should be in the can already. There have been some spoiler photos made available about the upcoming season but nothing about this particular scene to my knowledge.

Re the issue of rape Megaduck has it right - rape by our standards, not by those of Westeros. That's precisely why they have the usual chiavree - to make sure that witnesses confirm that the marriage was in fact consummated and, therefore, legal. It will be interesting to see what happens now. Knowing GRRM, Tyrion no doubt will be amply rewarded for his restraint.....*sarcasm*
32. Nessa
That was two of the most controversial chapters in the books, I think. Dany killing the slaves had me going two ways. On the one hand "Yay! She's killing slaves!" On the other hand, she's indiscriminately killing anyone over the age of 12 who wears a whip/tokar in this city where slavery has been a part of their lives for generations, so it's pretty much a given that most "normal, not-completely-evil" people would have slaves. So I don't know how I feel about that. I know uprisings are usually bloody, and I appreciate that Dany is trying to end slavery (a noble goal), but I don't think this was the best method to go about it. The part with "Dracarys!" was awesome though. Even though she technically shatterred the first deal she ever made with an enemy. I wonder if that will come and bite her in the ass later on.

Sansa and Tyrion's wedding. I think most of my thoughts have already been said here. I feel s0rry for both Sansa and Tyrion (though much worse for Sansa, because she is much younger than him, and is also a hostage whose family has either been killed by the Lannisters or is in dire danger from the Lannisters). The scene with her refusing to kneel has been praised as her finding the only means to express her dissatisfaction with the wedding, and but also has been said to be an indication of how shallow she is. I tend to go with the former interpretation, though I did feel sorry for Tyrion during his humiliation. Ser Garlan was very nice. I was a bit disappointed that Margaery didn't even come to talk to Sansa, after all her talk of them being sisters (hah!). The end of the chapter was the worst, especially when you get to see how humiliating this situation is for both of them, and how neither of them can really find a way to get out of it.
Pepijn Vemer
33. Artsapat
What's wrong with Pimento? It's plastic... (No, not as in "it tastes like plastic", it litterally IS plastic: Dutch consumer show Keuringsdienst van Waarden found this out last year.)

And maggots? Full of proteins. Good source of vitamins.
34. Nessa
@32: Oops, sorry big mistake there. I meant to say "Yay! Dany's killing slavers". Completely changed the meaning, my bad :P
Maiane Bakroeva
36. Isilel
I see that the most important aspect of Dany's dream has been left out - namely, that her enemies seem to be made of ice and melt before the dragonfire.
From the first time that I have read this chapter, I have believed that it foreshadows that the decisive battle with the Others will take place on the Trident and Dany's role in it.

Re: maggots, Limburg cheese was supposed to be a great delicacy in the early 20th century Europe and it was "alive".

Sansa is 12. Even by the standards of her culture she is unusually young to be married and bedded. As was Dany, actually. Remember, how surprised Viserys was that Dogo would want somebody that young? So, the whole situation is actually even more squeeky than your normal Westerosi noble marriage.
Not to take anything from Tyrion, he is one of my favorite characters.

Re: Tywin's effect on Cersei, I am not sure that he was worse than most other noble fathers.
I mean, some of them were marrying their daughters to Walder Frey and Rickard Karstark offered the hand of his daughter to whoever would bring him Jaime's head...
37. Crusader75
I think the "gargoyle" comment was directed at Tyrion. Cersei so hates him she'll even pity a Stark for having to marry him. Sansa just thought about the scheme to marry her to a Tyrell, but it did not occur to her what was actually coming. As to Dany's story, a huge part of her arc is the nasty things a ruler has to do to make changes for the better or even maintain the status quo
Marie Veek
38. SlackerSpice
@32: I can see how that might be a problem, though that's also a issue with only seeing things from Dany's POV. We only have the slavers and their treatment of the Unsullied to go by, and between the nipple-slicing, the fact that they've been brainwashed into a suicidal lack of self-preservation, and the whole thing with having to kill the puppy they've had for a year*, it's not pretty.

Then there's the lack of textual evidence at this point of how the rest of the free populace** views the situation. Is everyone really a-okay with this? Is there anyone who treats the Unsullied as (God forbid) with basic human decency, rather than a commodity or part of the furniture? With no evidence to counter what's been shown in the story, we can only guess, and with no authorial confirmation to back it up, that's still just a guess.

When we've been shown things like slaves being flayed alive for disobedience (the big reason Dany was so squicked)...

* Which reminds me too much of a certain BioShock Audio Diary...
** Not including the children. Then again, knowing how crapsacky this series is...
Gary Singer
39. AhoyMatey
The first "don't click or timesuck" link 404's.

Martin does a great job of ensuring things are gray and never black or white. The slavers had it coming and, unfortunately, innocents are always caught up in wars. Go Dany!

I felt more sorry for Tyrion than Sansa. He's treating her better than anyone has in a long while. His life just sucks.
George Jong
40. IndependentGeorge
Anyone who thinks Sansa's being shallow for being unable to get over Tyrion's looks really needs to think realistically. Tyrion as described looks nothing like Peter Dinklage. Forget his being a dwarf for a moment - dude is missing his nose. Revulsion is a perfectly natural human reaction.
Mike DMonte
41. MickeyDee
Oh har har hardey har har. Wow there are so many of you just bursting to show how fucking clever you are. Nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Just FUCKING stop it! Go show how incredibly amusing and witty you are on the Spoiler Thread. That's what it's there for.

Stop being a dick.
Mike DMonte
42. MickeyDee
@20 Cass314 - Really good points. I actually lean toward the position that Cersei is simply acting as a ultra-protective mother. She will do anything in her power to protect her children. Full stop. No paraphrasing of Meat Loaf songs need apply. ;)

@29 Megaduck - "the absence of a negative does NOT mean a positive. This is something all too many people even in real life do not understand." Well said.

"On Dany, She’s insane."
Yes, thank you! I have this argument with one of my sons on a regular basis. Dany is a functional lunatic. It's in the genes. Some see her refusal to bend to reality as a sign of her nobility of spirit, strength of character, her faith in her Divine purpose, her willingness to exhort her will etc etc. Nope. She's bat-shit crazy is all. Not all the time. Not even most of the time. But irrationality has a poster girl and her name is Daenerys Stormborn.

edit: fixed typo
43. Wongchi
@ MickeyDee
exactly. I know Tyrion's a fan favorite but he sounds...terrible looking. I don't think Sansa's that shallow since she was okay with getting married to Willas Tyrell who's basically lame. Plus he's slept with so many prostitutes. Not that he has much choice in the matter but he seems kind of shallow too.

****SPOILERS********(roll over to read):
Especially the way he brushes Penny off in ADWD.
45. Wongchi
Opps...yeah that was @ Independent Georges comment
David Corless
46. phonos
Because as much as I am individually rooting for both Tyrion and Sansa
Unfortunately for Tyrion and Sansa they aren't rooting for themselves.... Am I the only Australian here? Or just the only one with the mind of a 12yo boy...
Mike DMonte
47. MickeyDee
@46: phonos: - you have the mind of a 12 yo boy? Shit mate, where do you keep it? In a vegemite jar?
Steven Halter
48. stevenhalter
MickeyDee@42:while I am sure that Dany has been deeply scarred by her experiences to date, I don't see any signs that she is a lunatic. Of course, "lunatic" isn't a very precise term and could, at times, be applied to just about anyone.
What particular actions to this point in the story would lead one to believe that she is mentally ill?
Marie Veek
49. SlackerSpice
@48: I suspect it's the deal-breaking and turning the Unsullied on them that they're pointing to.

TBH, though, this whole 'take back the Iron Throne' thing to me is less "Targaryen crazy" and more "driven by the whole 'rightful heirs blah blah Usurper's Dogs blah biddy blah' schpiel she's put up with for her whole life". She's got a remarkably different picture of Robert's Rebellion than we do, after all, and with no one about to tell her "Sorry, but Aerys was bugfuck and the 'Usuprer's Dogs' had some good reasons for what happened, it's not likely to change. Even though she's out from under Viserys's thumb, now, she's known little else.
Chris Nelly
50. Aeryl
Yes, and Jorah, who fought on the WINNING side, sure isn't being honest with her about it.

I think some of her behavior, looked at rationally, seems kinda crazy. When she walked into Drogo's pyre, EVERYONE in her Khalasar thought she was crazy. Trusting Mirri Miraz Duur was definitely not the best thing, and most of us saw it though Dany, so convinced of her own righteousness, couldn't.

The trick is whether she will learn from these things, or double down, because doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome, well that's one of the definitions.
Steven Halter
51. stevenhalter
SlackerSpice@49:Deal breaking with slavers is not insane to my thinking. Killing all the slavers over twelve is somewhat harsh but not outside the bounds of what we have seen as typical behavior in Westros.
Aeryl@50:Walking into the pyre would certainly be crazy here. In Westros, where magic is real, it seems to be less so.
In both of those cases we have to look at the conditions in which Dany finds herself. What is considered normal in Westros in terms of violence is far nastier than we would commonly accept here. Also, the introduction of magic places very different bounds upon what might be considered acceptable reasoning processes.
Vincent Lane
52. Aegnor

Umm...what do you mean? Pimentos are a type of chili pepper. Are you claiming that someone substituted plastic for pimentos in olives? You'll need to show some support for that if that is what you are trying to say. What you actually said is definitely false though.
Chris Nelly
53. Aeryl
@51 steven, yes it would be crazy here, but it was also crazy there. Nobody believes in magic yet, for the most part, except for shadowbinders and maegi. None of her supporters thought she was doing magic, they just thought she was going to immolate herself for Drogo.
Marie Veek
54. SlackerSpice
@50: Fair enough about the pyre, though I'd call dealing with Mirri an act of desperation and naivety.
55. DrewyDecimal
To my mind, Dany didn't break the deal at all. Deal was loots and dragon for Unsullied. Dany gave them the loots and the dragon and got the slaves. Deal fulfilled.
Then, in an entirely unrelated matter, she conquered the city with her army and took back her loots and dragon. The fact that she did it seconds after the deal was fulfilled is irrelevant. I don't think anyone would say she broke a deal if she returned a year or so later and did the same things.
Chris Nelly
56. Aeryl
@54,Sure it was that, but all I could keep screaming when she was letting Mirri help Drogo was, "What are you, crazy?"
Nisheeth Pandey
58. Nisheeth
I like how you warn about visiting TV Tropes everytime!
@51, stevenhalter:
Just wanted to point out that walking into the pyre was actually a custom is India couple of centuries back. It is seen as insane now, but it wasn't so back then.
Steven Halter
59. stevenhalter
Nisheeth@58:Yes, exactly. It is very difficult to judge the behavior of an individual without regard to the cultural setting. This doesn't mean that we can't do so, it just makes the evidence needed fairly large.
It seems fairly safe to say that Joffrey has some pretty serious elements of psychopathology in his personal make-up and Gregor Clegane has some big rage issues.
Dany's issues seem much more difficult to judge at this time.
Chris Nelly
60. Aeryl
Fandom differs wildly in which POV characters are loved/loathed.

I know people who despise Catelyn and love Jaime. Hate Dany and love Stannis. Hate Jon, love Bran(I don't mind Bran, I just find his story boring ATM, his chapters are TOO MUCH EXPOSITION).

The only POV character I can think of off the top of my head that is pretty much universally loved is Tyrion and universally loathed is Theon. Which is a pretty interesting parallel if you think about it. Tyrion was raised as an outsider amongst dishonorable folk, and is what we would considerable and honorable just person. Theon was raised as an outsider amongst the most noble and honorable family* in the realm, and is a conniving dishonorable asshole.

*This is a matter of opinion now surely, but is how they were presented at the start of the books.
Rob Munnelly
61. RobMRobM
I wouldn't say support for Tyrion is universally shared, even though I share it. Lots of fun discussions in spoiler thread. Mayhaps even some in earlier posts in the public thread. Little too ruthless for some.

Theon - that, I may agree with you....
Chris Nelly
62. Aeryl
I brought that up, because I suspect, though I don't know, that maybe the Dany is crazy contingent may be from the segment of fandom that doesn't like her much. The fact that there is a group that dislikes her that much was a shock to me. Catelyn and Sansa, while I don't agree with the people who dislike them, I at least get. But Dany, while not perfect, is at this time the best legitimate contender for the Iron Throne that I could support.
Steven Halter
63. stevenhalter
Aeryl@62:I would guess that a dislike for a character adds weight to wanting to term them crazy--exactly part of the reason applying labels of mental illness is fraught.
I'd have to go along with Theon being an unlikable POV character. I'm not terribly fond of Caetlyn. I think she is making key mistakes; the first being her forcing out of Jon.
Mike DMonte
64. MickeyDee
Aeryl@62: I actually love Dany's character; so in my case I'm not poisoning the well here. But she is mad. Crazy. Has bats in her belfry. It's a Targ thing. And walking into Drogo's funeral pyre shouldn't be equated with that thouroughly dispicable custom of suttee. I'm happy to list examples of her irrationality on the Spoiler Thread if needed.

And I'm also weird in that I actually don't mind Theon's character. He's a short-sighted dick with daddy-approval issues. But so what? He didn't cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of small folk because he valued his honour so very highly. Just in case there is any confusion here, yes, I am saying that Be-headard Stark was a much bigger douche than Theon could ever aspire to being.
Mike DMonte
65. MickeyDee
Oh and Drew@55: much rationalisation here? Seriously dude. This is absolutely how any "Great Person" from our history would have acted and would have rationalised the act afterward. Hey yep I paid a massive price for X. And then *after* that trade I helped them, the people from which I bought X, throw off the burdens of breathing and only charged them the exact massive price in return. LOL. Very mongol actually - thinking of Subotai in particular.

BTW I am not attacking Dany's actions here. Just not dressing them up as a righteous.

edit: fixed typos
Marie Veek
66. SlackerSpice
@65: So what do you think she should have done?
Steven Halter
67. stevenhalter
MickeyDee@64:If the main examples of her irrationality (if any) have to go into the spoiler thread then you really should hold that argument for a later time as that is a spoiler then.

@65:No one said her actions were particularly nice--just not crazy.
68. Auga
Lol! Tyrion has his army of defenders, just as Dany, and other polarizing characters do. Not just on here, but on AFOIAF, etc. No character is universally disliked, except perhaps those who are painted by Martin as 1D badguys, e.g. RS, Gregor Clegane, etc. People are even around who defend Randyll Tarly.
George Jong
69. IndependentGeorge
I'll defend Randall Tarly in the same way I defend Tywin: he's hard and even cruel, but it's largely an understandable response to the Hobbesian world they reside in. As abusive as his treatment of Sam was, he's fundamentally right about one simple fact: Sam would have been a terrible Lord, and might have been the ruin of his House had he remained the heir.

That's not to say that either is a good or even admirable person, but I think it's important to recognize that sometimes bad people make great leaders, and vice versa. If I were a commoner, I'd rather have Randall Tarly as my Lord than Sam.

My thoughts on Dany will go on the spoiler thread.
Vincent Lane
70. Aegnor
Yeah, Tywin is a very capable leader. I would still take Tyrion any day though. Tyrion has the same excellent leadership capabilities that Tywin does, only laced with some compasion (which Tywin lacks entirely).
Marie Veek
71. SlackerSpice
Eh, tough love's one thing, but "go take the black, or die in a 'hunting accident'" is another.
George Jong
72. IndependentGeorge
@70 - oh, I agree - I don't think many people would argue otherwise. Both are cruel men, and Tywin is outright evil. My point is that for all the terrible things that Tywin or Randall Tarly have done, the realm would probably be a better place if one of them was King, rather than Joffrey.

Heck, if you look at the War of the Five Kings from Tywin's perspective, he's the hero of the story. Ned Stark tried to usurp the realm from his grandson, Catelyn kidnapped his son, and Robb is a rebel and a traitor. Based on what he knows, Tywin is on the right side of the law, and has been from the start. (Would he act differently if he knew the truth about Jaime & Cersei? Probably not, but that's irrelevent; based on the facts in evidence, Tywin has been acting lawfully (though not morally) from the start.
Mike DMonte
73. MickeyDee
Steve@67: I said I'd be happy to post a full list in the Spoiler thread; this doesn't detract from the fact that Dany is a functional mad-woman. Think of it like this: I put forward the opinion that Tyrion is an "unrepetant" fornicator. To properly support my argument I would use all the evidence contained in all the books and several surveillance videos of Tyrion fucking that (consenting) goat.

Spoiler Warning: at the time of writing this Tyrion does not fuck a goat in this series at any time. And even if he did there would be *no* video footage.

But I would not produce a complete list if I was going to include or even allude to events not covered by this re-read. If you'd like I'll generate a partial list that covers the tw and a half books to date?

@70 & @72: not trying to be an argumentative dick but I strongly disagree. Tyrion would be a crap King for far too long before he was allowed to be a half-decent (in both senses) King.

Tywin on the other hand (heh) would be a truly Great King. He would rule effectively, restoring peace and bringing prosperity to the majority of the seven kingdoms. He is respected and feared by all. He looks noble (and perception is a big part of the job) and acts as a Lord should. He was the most effective Hand that we know of - hell he even kept Aerys in check for the most part, and ruled very efficiently in his stead for decades.
Lindy Brown
74. lbrown
60. Aeryl
The only POV character I can think of off the top of my head that is pretty much universally loved is Tyrion and universally loathed is Theon.

Whited out for spoilers:

What about Cersei? You can't tell me anyone actually likes her?
Chris Nelly
75. Aeryl
@ lbrown, Well there's a reason I didn't bring that character up, as it's a spoiler. But I do agree with you about them.
Lindy Brown
76. lbrown
@75- Aeryl

Okay, I was just making sure you weren't forgetting.
Vincent Lane
77. Aegnor

Is Tywin evil? In the end I'd probably say yes. The reason I hessitate is because he is a different type of evil than say Joffrey or Gregor. They revel in cruelty and enjoy inflicting it on people for it's own sake. That is definitely not true of Tywin. For him it is a tool just like any other. He exhibits cruelty when he feels it will advance his cause. If the occasion never occured where he felt cruelty would be a useful tool, he would never be cruel. Granted, in this world that is not a likely scenario.

What makes him evil is that, even though he doesn't enjoy being cruel, he feels absolutely no hessitation on inflicting it on someone if he feels it will help his cause. He would torture a child and feel no guilt whatsoever. The fact that he wouldn't torture a child for the fun of it makes him somewhat less evil than Joffrey or Gregor.
George Jong
78. IndependentGeorge
I mostly agree, but I actualy go back and forth on whether Tywin is more ore less evil than the Mountain's.

On a practical and utilitarian level, Tywin is obviously less eveil than Gregor; in fact, that's the entire basis of my saying that bad people can sometimes be great leaders. Tywin can be cruel, but there's no malevolence there. A society comprised entirely of Tywins would still be functional, if not especially pleasant.

The reason that makes it worse for me is that this cold rationality means that Tywin's cruelty is intentional. On a certain level, Gregor and Joffrey can't help being who they are; they're psychopaths physically incapable of feeling empathy or compassion. Tywin most certainly is NOT a psychopath; so when he acts the monster, it's because he actively chooses to do so.

It's a morbid question, but which is worse on a purely moral level - Gregor raping and murdering on sheer impulse, or Tywin ordering Tysha raped as a 'lesson' to his teenaged son? Both are horrible, but the lack of malevolence actually makes Tywin's actions even worse in my eyes.
79. Veggiedaniel
I love how Dany hears "valar morghulis" and is all, "yeah, yeah, I know whatever lol". Then I think she added many Unsullied to her Facebook friends list.

Valar Morghulis competes with Winter Is Coming for The Grimmest View Of Life award.

Joffrey was his reliably warm and charming self again. Although, contemptible as it would be, he is legally correct in that as King he can pretty much sleep with whomever he pleases. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I imagine Robert probably bedded quite a few women with the pickup line "I'm your King. Get into bed." Joffrey is a prick in so many ways that you can't expect him to NOT become a Royal Rape Machine, starting with Sansa.

So Sansa has no bachelorette party, didn't register anywhere (no Dragon eggs for you!), and marrys a scarred dwarf. And is told that she will be raped in the near future. Did I mention her direwolf is dead? I truly feel the most empathy for Sansa, she really just wanted the fairy tale - she sews so well! - and to see her dream constantly get shot in the head is hard. Be safe, girl!
Chris Nelly
80. Aeryl
Gregor is a dog on a leash. Who held the leash? To me, this makes Tywin more evil than Gregor.
Vincent Lane
81. Aegnor
I think Tywin is definitely included in the psychopath scale. Not all psychopaths are cruel/violent because they enjoy it. In our world he would never be the serial killer type of psychopath. He'd be the type to a lawyer representing drug kingpens or what have you.


I think Gregor is definitely more evil. Just as some serial killer is more evil than someone who kills someone for sleeping with his girlfriend or because he wants to escape prison.

It is true that Gregor is a "dog on a leash" and Tywin holds the leash. That makes him evil, but you can't really draw conclusions from that as to who is more evil. All that indicates is who has more power.
Chris Chriserson
82. Captchas_are_annoying
I dunno if anyone's still reading these comments since Leigh put up her next installment of the blog, but anyway:

I found Dany's "destroys-the-slavers" storyline actually just broke the fourth wall for me, more than anything else. It just felt odd to me that Dany, who has led a strange, diverse and unbelievable life (bouncing around different cities most of her life, experiencing nemerous untold and fanciful societies with wildly different social norms, being abused by Viserys, being sold to Drogo, all while believing she had the right to conquer an ancient kingdom she's never even seen...) would come out of it all with such a solidly WESTERN viewpoint on life.

I know it's partly to make sure we automatically side with her, but it just felt wrong to me. Didn't quite sit so well with the concept of the Exotic Dragon-Riding Horde-Leading Princess.
Chris Nelly
83. Aeryl
While Dany's led a diverse life, she was still educated on Westerosi ethics, and one of the ONLY things Westeros has going for it, is that it doesn't allow "slavery"(perpetual servitude in poverty or brothels not being considered slavery).

In addition, having been treated as nothing more than property to be traded by her brother, Illyrio and even Drogo probably gives her a lot more sympathy with slaves than typical dragon riding princesses.
84. CarpeComputer
About Danny, as much as I don't mind slavery (I would just love to have a talking object make my food, wash my dishes etc, oh well I can hope for robots :D) and have great respect for the rule pacta sund servanta (not breaking contracts), I have to approve Danny's actions 100%.

First of all, she never broke the deal. She was like. Ok, you can have my dragon and stuff if you give me your warriors. You did? Great, now I'll pillage your place and take my old stuff and dragon as loot. You should have known better to sell any army which could defend you, sore loser!

Second of all, freeing the slaves was a stroke of genious. Taking a slave army to Westeros would be a bad idea, as the old squire told her. So she freed them on paper which won't have any effect on their loyality but will do wonders to her PR!

About the killing of everyone who would have hated her, it was cruel but made a strong point "don't mess with the dragon!"

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment