Thu
Mar 27 2014 1:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Feast for Crows, Part 9

A Song of Ice and Fire Feast for CrowsWelcome 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 9 of A Feast for Crows, in which we cover Chapter 13 (“The Soiled Knight”).

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 Powers That Be have provided you a lovely spoiler 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!

A couple of notes before we begin: As some of you may know, JordanCon 6 is approaching, and as usual I will be there to fulfill my Other Blog duties. Therefore, there will be no ROIAF post on April 10th, and depending on what happens I’m reserving the right to take off the following Thursday, April 17th, as well. I will keep you posted.

Secondly and very awesomely, The Powers That Be have informed me that my ROIAF post last Thursday marks my 500th post overall on Tor.com.

DUDE. I am still a little bit in amazement over that. Go me!

And also, go onward!

Chapter 13: The Soiled Knight

What Happens
Ser Arys Oakheart rides through Sunspear, ashamed that he is wearing Dornish garb instead of his Kingsguard cloak, but knows to wear it would be to invite attack, especially now that the people have been inflamed by Oberyn’s death and the detainment of the Sand Snakes. He tells himself that “she” will respect the need for subterfuge, and reflects that love makes men fools. He is uneasy about leaving Myrcella alone, but tells himself she is heavily guarded, and enjoying playing games with her betrothed Prince Trystane.

He reminds himself that Prince Doran had promised they would be gone in a fortnight, taken to the Water Gardens for their protection, though he had been shocked to realize how ill and frightened Doran was. He also is wary of the fact that Doran had urged him not to disclose to King’s Landing just where they were going, arguing that the fewer people who know where Myrcella is, the safer she will be, but Arys had reluctantly agreed.

He reaches the place he had been directed to, and though he had intended to tell Princess Arianne Martell that he could not see her anymore, she greets him naked, and overcome with desire, he has sex with her instead. Afterwards he is filled with guilt, and tries to tell her he must do his duty and go. Arianne assures him that her father Doran will take forever to actually leave for the Water Gardens. Arys confesses that he is drunk with love for her, and fears for both their honor. Arianne isn’t worried, and entices him to come back to bed, but Arys says if they are discovered he will be named an oathbreaker.

She points out he’s claimed before that this is their last time together, and Arys thinks to himself that it is because he’s weak. She tells him that if he truly loves her, he wouldn’t want to leave her. He protests that he swore a vow, and she replies that surely he is not the only knight in the Kingsguard to break that particular vow. Arys knows this is true, but points out that those who were discovered came to bad ends. He is startled, though, at Arianne’s claim that her great-uncle Prince Lewyn, who is revered as a great knight, had had a lover while in the Kingsguard.

“My uncle always said that it was the sword in a man’s hand that determined his worth, not the one between his legs,” she went on, “so spare me all your pious talk of soiled cloaks. It is not our love that has dishonored you, it is the monsters you have served and the brutes you’ve called your brothers.”

Arys thinks of Joffrey, and is ashamed of when he struck Sansa Stark at his command, but points out that Tommen is king now. Arianne counters that Tommen may not be his brother, but he is not his sister either, and Arys admits to himself how much stronger and braver a person Myrcella is than Tommen. He thinks of Cersei and his own mother and the Queen of Thorns and Arianne herself, and reflects that “women are the strong ones, truly,” but tells Arianne that a son comes before a daughter. Arianne rejects this roundly, pointing out that she is her father’s heir, but Arys insists that Dorne is different.

Arianne counters that the first Viserys intended his daughter Rhaenyra to succeed him, but the Lord Commander of his Kingsguard decided it would be Prince Aegon instead. Arys thinks of the story of Ser Criston Cole the Kingmaker, and how he had set the Targaryen siblings against each other, touching off the civil war called Dance of the Dragons. Arianne suggests that perhaps Arys is here to set right what his brother white knight set wrong.

She tells Arys that Doran’s real motive for taking Myrcella to the Water Gardens is to prevent her being crowned, because he is a coward, and says if Arys truly loved Myrcella as a daughter he would not allow her to be deprived of her birthright and imprisoned, but defend her right to the crown. She argues that Myrcella will rule far better than Tommen, and will let no harm come to her brother either. Arys wavers, and Arianne presses her suit, saying that Myrcella would surely give Arys and herself leave to marry.

He is torn, and realizes she is trembling, and she says she needs him desperately, that she is afraid of her father’s guards, who have already imprisoned her cousins and she fears to be next, along with Myrcella. Arys protests that she is her father’s heir, but she says it is her brother Quentyn who Doran really wants to succeed him, that she had found a letter as a child proving it. Arys thinks that he would want his son to succeed him as well, but knows he cannot say this to her.

He suggests that she misunderstood the letter, but Arianne tells him Quentyn is even now across the narrow sea, posing as a merchant. She thinks it is to do with the Golden Company breaking its contract with Myr even though Myr is on the brink of war with Lys and Tyrosh. She thinks Quentyn’s foster father, Lord Anders Yronwood, is encouraging Quentyn to believe that he should have the throne after Doran, not Arianne. So, she says, Arys has two princesses who have a common cause, and yet he will not defend them. Arys goes down on one knee and pledges to defend her honor and birthright as well as Myrcella’s.

“I am yours. What would you have of me?”

“All.” She knelt to kiss his lips. “All, my love, my true love, my sweet love, and forever. But first…”

“Ask, and it is yours.”

“…Myrcella.”

Commentary
So, before even beginning this chapter, I amused myself for a few minutes by trying to guess who the title referred to, and was stymied by trying to figure out which knight in ASOIAF wasn’t soiled, at least a little. Not counting Dunk, of course, who is not only unsoiled (as of “The Sworn Sword,” anyway) but also decades (centuries?) dead.

I mean, Jaime, Barristan – hell, every last one of the current Kingsguard – either of the Cleganes (though Gregor probably wouldn’t see it that way), Jorah, Beric… the list goes on of knights whose records are less than stellar.

So, um… we haven’t seen anything of Dany yet, so I’m going with Jorah. Let’s see if I’m right!

…Aaaand I’m totally wrong. Dangit.

In other news: Daammnn, y’all. Arianne Martell just played Arys Oakheart like a fiddle. That was straight-up masterful, right there.

I don’t know whether I am awed or appalled. Probably both. She even managed to dance him past his crippling case of cultural patriarchy, which is probably more impressive than all the rest of it put together. Lawyers and con artists everywhere just got all hot and bothered and they don’t even know why.

Of course, the question is what her actual motives are, and how much of what she’s fed Arys is bullshit and how much isn’t. No way to tell at this point, for instance, whether she is totally just using Arys for his access to Myrcella, or whether she genuinely has feelings for him. I tend to think the former, but even if she does care for him there’s no doubt she’s also using him for his access to Myrcella.

But what does she actually want with Myrcella? Does she want what she told Arys, to crown Myrcella queen of the Seven Kingdoms while also securing her own power in Dorne, or is there something else going on? The answer to that, I think, lies in whether her story about her brother Quentyn (which, hi there new character totally coming out of the woodwork) is real or bogus, and whether he is any actual threat to Arianne’s succession.

I… can’t decide what I think about that. It all played just a little too neatly into Arys’s cultural prejudices for me to not be suspicious of it, plus I don’t remember that we had any hint of such a thing from when we were in Doran’s head earlier. But then again, it’s an awfully specific and elaborate conspiracy theory. Perhaps too much so to be made up from whole cloth?

*shrug* Dunno. But one thing’s for sure, Arianne needs “protection” from Arys about as much as a giraffe needs a stepladder. She may not technically be one of the Sand Snakes, but if Doran had really wanted to cover his bases re: scary and badass female relatives who are totally going to start shit between Dorne and the Seven Kingdoms, methinks he missed one.

Arianne’s pitch to Arys in general conflicts me quite a bit. On the one hand, it will shock precisely no one that I am all in favor of ending the Seven Kingdoms’ version of Salic law and allowing either male or female offspring to succeed to the throne. (Side note: as far as I can tell the absolute Salic bar to female inheritance applies only to the Iron Throne; in most other cases it seems that male-preference primogeniture applies, which allows women to inherit if all possible male heirs are dead. Which is still sucky but not quite as sucky. I could be wrong about that though. About the primogeniture thing, I mean, not the sucky thing. Because the suckiness thing is not in question. You know, in case that was unclear – You know what, I’m gonna move on.)

My POINT is, a lot of the things Arianne is arguing for here are things that, in principle, I am totally in favor of, because yay progressive gender roles, etc. (Her story about the first king Viserys and his daughter was very interesting, and a rather sad Might-Have-Been to boot.) And yet, at the same time, she is augmenting her case by using tactics that are so regressive (and squicky) that I want to cringe. Because she’s sitting there espousing gender equality, while simultaneously embodying some of the most stereotypical scheming, devious, using-her-feminine-wiles-to-manipulate-hapless-male-libidos femme fatale tropes in the book.

And in a way it’s even more offensive that Arianne should use these tactics than most of the other female characters in the series, because it’s one thing when “feminine wiles” is the only power a character has at her disposal to protect herself, but rather another thing when that character has power and agency in her own right.

But then again, it’s worth remembering that just because Dorne has greater gender equality than the rest of Westeros, (a) it’s not like that’s a very high bar to clear, and ergo that (b) that doesn’t mean everything in Dorne is all puppies and rainbows between the sexes, just that it evidently doesn’t suck quite as much as everywhere else.

There’s also the point that it might actually be a double standard to condemn Arianne for pulling out all the stops on Arys to get what she needs/wants, when we might not necessarily feel the same about (or at least be less likely to immediately demonize) a male character employing dubious emotionally manipulative means to achieve his ends. Caveat emptor, and alla that.

It is also, quite possibly, evidence of unconscious sexism on my part that I immediately assumed that Arianne was being less than ingenuous here. I don’t think I am, because there were just a few too many clues in the chapter that indicated otherwise, but it is a possibility and so I acknowledge it.

All that said, one can hardly help feeling bad for Arys either way, an emotion which I suspect is at least partially helped along by the fact that it’s been so long since I read about him that I’ve mostly forgotten about the many shitty things I feel sure he did while in King’s Landing (besides hitting Sansa, of course, which he specifically mentions in this chapter, and at least has the decency to feel bad about). So, perhaps undeservedly, I feel bad for him, and for his stupid constipated cultural conditioning and taboos that turns sex (and actual strong women) into a weapon against which he has no defense or even frame of reference, barely.

I suppose the best you can do is hope that Arianne’s affection for him is not totally counterfeit, and also that she doesn’t intend any harm to Myrcella. I’m not really holding my breath here, honestly, but it’s nice to hope.

Speaking of Myrcella, ain’t it a shame. The one character who looks like she’s actually enjoying her involuntary betrothal-slash-exile, hanging out and playing games with her fiancé and all, and it’s about to go completely pear-shaped on her. Not that I’m shocked about that or anything, but that doesn’t make it any less sad-making on her behalf.

I can’t quite figure out whether I want Myrcella to get crowned or not. Purely in principle, perhaps, but going by the track record so far, getting crowned in this series has the survival rate equivalent of whitewater rafting without an actual raft: even if you do make it past the rapids, you ain’t gonna look pretty when you arrive. And that’s not an experience I would wish on any ten-year-old who isn’t Joffrey.

Other notes:

Do I remember the Golden Company, or that a new thing we’ll get introduced to whenever we get back to Dany’s storyline? There’s been so many shifting political shenanigans going on around her war, many of them seemingly involving mercenaries and/or slave soldiers, that I’m having trouble keeping track. (Note that I do not actually want an answer to this question; I’ll figure it out when I get there.)

There’s also the thought that while Quentyn is a new character to me in real name, judging from Arianne’s remarks about his undercover work overseas, I assume there’s a possibility that I have already met him in disguise. Something to keep in mind.


But that’s for next time, Gadget, next time! Have a delineated chunk of time, and I’ll see you next Thursday!

40 comments
Church Tucker
2. Church
I'm getting superstitious. One chapter augers a ill weekend.
Black Dread
3. Black Dread
Never could decide if I should feel jealous or sorry for the poor sap. A little of both I guess.
Michael Duran
4. MRHD
I think this is the first time the Golden Company comes up. Although it might have in the second Dunk and Egg story, but I'm not sure. It was formed by the losers of the rebellion talked about in the second Dunk and Egg, whom unlike Ser Eustace didn't take a pardon.
Ozancan Demirışık
5. RGiskard
Great post again, congrats Leigh.

About the "spoiler" in this post's first version: I didn't think it was a spoiler at all, because GRRM had announced it long before AFFC was released, and almost all of us read the book with that knowledge. But I understand that it can be considered a spoiler. Sorry about that.
Chris Nelly
6. Aeryl
Yeah, my feelings about this are conflicted. Love Arrianne, hate what she does.

But I did find myself seriously tickled by the fact that if Arrianne suceeds, what would Cersei do? Would she stick by Tommen, or would her anger at the sexist system lead her to support Myrcella?
Eric McCabe
7. Zizoz
We weren't actually in Doran's head. The POV for the earlier chapter was Areo, the captain of his guard.
Black Dread
8. TG12
I would raise a (perhaps lonely) voice on Ser Barristan's behalf: I think he's pretty close to "unsoiled," or at least as unsoiled as we're likely to get. Sure, there's the interesting question of what to say of those who served in Aerys's Kingsguard and their complicity in his perversions (the topic of one of Jaime's dialogues with Brienne, if you recall), and then Barristan himself chides his own conduct in taking Robert's pardon. I wouldn't be nearly as hard on him for that one, though.

But I think he's as close as we get, outside Dunk (whose credentials as a knight are...dubious) and Brienne (who's a knight in aspiration and intent, if not form), to the knightly ideal in this particular narrative.

Good thoughts on the Arianne/Dorne situation. Hold to those insights as the Plot Thickens....
Black Dread
9. Crusader75
A right to rule by inheritantance is generally sucky, except for the instances where it prevented a right to rule by winning a civil war. Tommen and Myrcella are both fairly sweet children, so there really is not much to choose between them other than what you may think they will become and what you think about who controls them. Besides we know that neither of them really have a legally valid claim to the throne in the first place. Those contenders are Stannis and Dany.
Lauren Hartman
10. naupathia
You say it might actually be a double standard to condemn Arianne -- but Littlefinger did the same thing with Lysa, and I don't think anyone else found it less squicky or evil. (That did already happen, right? I tend to lose track of how far Leigh has gotten)
Adam S.
11. MDNY
Arianne may be Doran's daughter, but she is so much like the Sand Snakes that I'm amazed her father left her free. Ser Arys never had a chance.
Arys was one of the kingsguard who beat Sansa back in GOT, but she felt he was kindly to her despite that:
" Arys Oakheart was courteous, and would talk to her cordially. Once he even objected when Joffrey commanded him to hit her. He did hit her in the end, but not hard as Ser Meryn or Ser Boros might have, and at least he had argued."
So I do feel sorry for him, he's a relatively good man, as his memory of Joffrey demonstrates. Just easy to manipulate.
George Jong
12. IndependentGeorge
I rather like Arianne, because it's really hard to tell how much of what she says in this chapter is genuine, and how much of it is manipulation and self-interest, but my instinct is that she's at least partly sincere. She might not have Myrcella's & Tommen's best interests at heart, but she doesn't appear to wish them any specific harm, either (unlike Tywin).

@8 - I agree - Barristan is probably the least soiled knight we've seen thus far, and to the extent that he has been soiled it's largely a matter of omission than commission (with the omission being a matter of conflicting oaths). //There's a Jaime chapter coming up that sheds a lot more light on just what he omitted.//

I think it is worth bringing up one small fact mentioned in COK: Sansa actually recalls Arys hitting her as light as possible when ordered to do so, and mentally thanking him for the small mercy. That's admittedly a case of defining deviancy down, but even that small act of rebellion was more than just about anyone else in the Kingsguard.

I've always wondered just what Barristan would have done if he hadn't been dismissed. Would he have objected? Would he have done as Arys did? Or would he have grudgingly complied? He served Aerys for many years, but it's never mentioned exactly what he personally did on the King's behalf, and we also learned in a previous Brienne chapter that Aerys gave Barristan more leeway than others (such as sparing a young Dontos when house Hollard was destroyed).
Black Dread
13. WCjobber
I'm reasonably sure this is the first time the Golden Company has come up in detail. They might have been mentioned in passing as background flavor before, but this is the first time you really hear their MO.
Deana Whitney
14. Braid_Tug
Yeah on the 500th post! Now it's 502. :-)

Good one. Expected the contradiction comments to come out, and they did. I don't think Oberyon talked much about his extended family besides the dead ones in last book. So I'm pretty sure Quentyn and sister are new to you.

Myrcella & Trystane playing games together is one of the sweeter mental images. But it is odd to think that a Royal Princess was sent to marry the 3rd child in line for the throne.

But was a good way to try to smooth over the harms of the last royal marriage alliance.
Black Dread
15. Josh Lu
Why's Beric soiled? For the random executions the BWBs have carried out, even before the ending of the last book?
Tabby Alleman
16. Tabbyfl55
I dunno, isn't Sir Loras relatively unsoiled, or am I forgetting something nasty he did somewhere?
Tabby Alleman
17. Tabbyfl55
Oh! and let's not forget Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Series...

: )
Black Dread
18. bookworm1398
@15 For robbing people, holding Arya for ransom. He does help some poor people but the good doesn't cancel out the bad.

Seems like I may be the only one who doesn't feel sorry for Arys? Arianne may be maniplating him, but that doesn't mean he isn't responsible for his own actions and keeping to his vows or not. As a contrast, take Ygritte and Jon and his resistance in a similar situation. We are in Arys's head and he justifies his actions to himself by saying he can't help himself, but he could if he wanted to.
Black Dread
19. bookworm1398
@16 Well, starting a civil war to put your lover, who has no claim, on the throne isn't too knightly. And there the two random innocent knights he killed after Renly's death - they were armed, so it wasn't quite murder but still.
Black Dread
20. just some guy
It should be noted Leigh, that Arys Oakheart was the kingsguard knight that beat Sansa the lightest and apologized before doing it.

in the earlier books he was portrayed as the classic decent guy "just following orders"
Tabby Alleman
21. Tabbyfl55
@19, yeah if that's the worst Loras has done, I'd say he's relatively unsoiled.

a) I wouldn't say he "started" a civil war. Encouraged it, I'll grant. And not for sinister motives. He truly believed Renly should be king for the good of the realm, even if he had ulterior motives on top of that.

b) When did Loras kill two innocent knights? I thought Brienne killed two knights in self-defense, when they found her over Renly's body. Were there two others that Loras killed for some reason?
Black Dread
22. just some guy
@19 In his rage he killed Robar Royce and Emmon Cuy for failing to protect Renly, both sons of lords. you would think there'd be more consequences than that for 2nd degree murder of nobles.
Janice Boyd
23. scaredicat
This chapter inspired in me a deep, compelling desire to make rude comments about the POV character based on a combination of his thoughts/actions and his name.

As in:

Oakheart - ruled by his woody
Oakheart - thick as a plank
Oakheart? - really just punk wood
Subborning Oarheart? - like falling off a log
Black Dread
24. R0bert
@21 Brienne didn't kill any of those knights. Catelyn talked one of them (Robar Royce) out of arresting Brienne on the spot and when Loras saw Renly dead, he went crazy and killed Royce and the other one (Emmon Cuy, I think, or something like that), presumably for either letting Brienne go or just because the sight of his lover dead caused him to go temporarily insane.

As for Arys, he's a combination of a nice guy and a pathetic one. You get the idea he looks at the ideals of the Kingsguard as what defines his being, but he knows some of the stuff (ie: beating Sansa) is wrong. But since he's following his king's orders, it's right. So he's all confused and just wants someone to tell him he's doing the right thing. Which makes it easy for him to be manipulated. I mean, Arianne probably has it easier than many would in manipulating him, but I always got the impression of him being the sort of person that'd be pretty easy to convince that what you wanted was the right thing for him to do.
Black Dread
25. Athreeren
@10: I for one, love Littlefinger as much as I do Arianne. His behaviour towards Sansa is icky (though, she is a married woman, and by that point, it's a miracle that she is still a virgin; by this society's standard, it shouldn't be considered as paedophilia. But it's hard not to judge it so, and the fact that he lusts after her because she looks like her mother is really awful), but apart from that, I can only respect what he was able to obtain without shedding blood (though the chaos he sawed killed thousands).

Both Arianne and Littlefinger are excellent players in the Game of Thrones, and just for that, I enjoy reading about them and I want to see them succeed as long as possible. Especially Arianne: anything that tears the Lannisters apart is great to read.
Black Dread
26. WCjobber
@14, I think the reason Myrcella was sent to marry someone so far down the line is because she was never expected to take the throne at the time she was promised to Dorne, with Joffrey not in immediate mortal peril, and Tommen taking over the throne even if he was. So it basically cements an alliance with a notoriously inscrutable province, with no real danger to the lineage. Joff dying flipped the script a bit, but realistically, moving Myrcella to Dorne made a lot of sense at the time.
Tabby Alleman
27. Tabbyfl55
@24: ah, that's the problem with seeing the show more recently than reading the books. If I don't remember otherwise, I assume what happens in the show is more or less what happened in the books.

In the show I'm pretty sure it's Brienne that kills the two knights that come into the tent and attack her after Renly dies. It's too bad -- Renly killing them carries more emotional impact, but I guess they wanted to show what a bad-ass Brienne is early on.
George Jong
28. IndependentGeorge
@14:
Myrcella & Trystane playing games together is one of the sweeter mental images. But it is odd to think that a Royal Princess was sent to marry the 3rd child in line for the throne.
If I remember correctly, Tyrion's primary goals at that point were (in some order):

1. Getting Myrcella the hell away from King's Landing before Stannis arrived
2. Securing Dorne's neutrality
3. Smoking out Cersei's informer.

@18 - I agree about Arys, but not about Beric. I really can't fault them for holding Arya for ransom, or for robbing the likes of the Hound and Merrick(?) Frey. Judging by the reactions of the smallfolk we've encountered in the Riverlands, I'd say he's done a lot more good than Robb.

@23 - Brilliant!
Valentin M
29. ValMar
I don't believe Arianne's use of sex on Oakheart is a part of the discussion on gender equality (or the lack of it) in Westeros. This could've been a woman bank robber tricking security chief of a bank into giving her key security info in Boston today.
Arianne might've judged seducing Arys to be especially effective because of the "the thin edge of the wedge" effect on his psyche. Having shed one part of his Oaths he will be more maleable to give up more and more. And he is only a man...
Brett Dunbar
30. Brett
The sucession law were a woman can succeed if, and only if, there is no male heir in any collatoral line is semi-salic law (as happened to the Hapburgs in 1740 with the death of Emperor Charles VI when his daghter Maria Theresa inherited his lands). This is distinct from male preference primogeniture where daughters come after sons but ahead of more distant relatives.
Agnaldo S.
31. Greenseer
@25:
Both Arianne and Littlefinger are excellent players in the Game of Thrones
I do not agree with you. Petyr is possibly the greatest player in Westeros. Maybe just Varys compares to it and is also the only one able to predict, at some moments, their moves.
Arianne is more like Cersei. So much so that she is using her beauty to manipulate Arys.

I think the reason Arianne want crown Myrcella is at once an attempt at revenge and a way of wanting to draw attention from his father. Even if her plan initially go as she plans (if she has planned everything), how many vassals of his father will follow Arianne? And even that it will lay gain support of the lords of Dorne, the Tyrells has the largest army in the Seven Kingdoms and being committed to support Tommen. The Tyrells would not gain anything in support Myrcella in succession to the throne and are also great enemies of Dorne. Arianne also would not obtain help from The Stormlands, once Dorne and the Stormlands are old enemies..
@ 28:
I really can't fault them for holding Arya for ransom, or for robbing the likes of the Hound and Merrick(?) Frey. Judging by the reactions of the smallfolk we've encountered in the Riverlands, I'd say he's done a lot more good than Robb.
Robb would have been a good king, but he was not caring too much with the peasants of his kingdom. When it was no the Lannisters who were killing and burning The Riverlands, was the army of Roose Bolton who came raping and loot what remained.
Robb did not have the same control that Stannis has in his army. When the army of Stannis broke the army of Mance Rayder, Stannis severely punished them men who raped women of Free folk.

Beric would use the ransom Arya to buy food for the peasants, as far as I know.
Rob Munnelly
33. RobMRobM
@32. No way, we love our Leigh. Hear her roar! p.s. very funny user name though.

500 posts - almost Waltonian. Nice.

Really packed chapter and full of insights in the analysis and comments.
- The story of the first Viserys - the original Dance of the Dragons - was written up by GRRM in the novella that came out in December. (A related issue will be addressed in another novella coming out this summer.) I'd vote to read the third Dunk and Egg and the new December novella before we start ADWD. Both will be useful to understanding the events to come.
- Is this the first appearance of cyvasse? Dun-dun-dun!!! (Just kidding).
- Interesting dynamic set up. Arianne - Dad's a coward. Dad - I don't fight wars I can't win. Who is right?
- Can't talk about Quentyn, sorry. Words are wind and all that....I love, by the way, Leigh's side comment that we may well have met Q already in hiding. Could be - maybe's he's hanging out with the missing Sand
Snake....Mwa ha ha ha.....
- Can't talk Myrcella but agree it's looking, if not pear shaped, then at least oblate spheriod shaped. She does seem to be enjoying herself and seems to be a delightful young lady. No doubt she'll be just ducky as things go forward.
- Something in me just likes the name Plankytown.
- Nice point that there are plenty of soiled knights, including Jorah and Barristan (in the taking of Meereen, literally). Loras is very soiled, including murdering two knights in anger without cause. Bad Loras! (yes, in Tv show Brienne does it - bad HBO!)
- Especially ironic since (as pointed out in the chapter) the Oakhearts are longstanding enemies of Dorne. So not only is Arys potentially betraying Myrcella and the Kingsguard, he is also betraying his own family located just over the border in the Reach. But illicit love is just so sweet!
Bridget McGovern
34. BMcGovern
@32: Comment unpublished. Clearly, we're quite happy with the work that Leigh puts into this series, and if you have issues that you feel aren't being addressed, feel free to bring them up in the comments in a way that's civil and respectful toward everyone participating here. This is the second time I've asked you to take a look through our Moderation Policy: if you want to share your opinions, then please don't be rude about it. Thanks.
Black Dread
35. Maddy1990
Great post. Minor point though - We haven't been in Doran's head, we've only seen him from the point of view of Areo Hotah. So at this point we can't be sure what the truth is about Quentyn.

Would be awesome if Leigh ever gets around to reading 'Princess and the Queen' which goes into the whole Rhaenyra vs Aegon Targaryen thing. You're right about the sucky succession law thing. I can't really say too much else that isn't spoilery, but I think you've captured really well my ambivalence about Arianne's character.

I think if it came to it Cersei would back Tommen. She doesn't actually care about women's rights in general, she only cares about her own power, and her power is through Tommen.
Black Dread
36. Gregor Lewis
The impression I got from Arianne, the first time I read this, was of a tiny cat testing/learning what it can do with a particularly uncertain mouse, while at the same time bemoaning the status and opportunities the supposed 'big cats' were wasting, given two things:
- the ease of her success.
- the misperceptions of privilege in a time seemingly ripe for action (of some sort).

Granted someone as intelligent as Arianne is being signposted to be, ought to eventually recognise the weaknesses she manipulates in the seemingly misnomered 'Oakheart', as reflections on the actual scale of her success (less about her 'abilities' and more about his propensities).

On the other hand, he is Kingsguard, Westeros' pre-eminent Order of Chivalry. Some pride of accomplishment may be in order!

It's a tad too early to be comparing her to LF, who, although we've never been inside his head, and whose motives might have started out shallow enough (didn't get the girl 'just because' of his relatively low birth), has proven inordinately pragmatic, opportunistic and cold blooded in executing his plans.

And I certainly wouldn't compare the thus far relatively inactive princess with those epitomes of action, the Sand Snakes. Lets wait and see what Arianne cooks up and what additional ingredients she uses.

We only know two so far:
- wounded pride
- 'Soiled Knight'.

Given that she wants to cook up more than a hot dog, I'm very interested to see what else she chooses/who else she uses.

Hopefully, her being Dornish and all, it's something/someone spicy.

One last thing of great interest to me, especially given how it has already been discussed here, is the beatings Joffrey has certain members of his Kingsguard dole out to Sansa. And more importantly who is excluded from such 'responsibility'.

IMO, Martin doesn't normally fall prey to this accusation, in fact he may not be open to it here (and I'm overthinking this). However, isn't it convenient how the three knights who we have confirmed intances of Sansa beatings from, are either already signposted as cruelly competent (Ser Meryn), or eventually revealed to be lacking in moral fibre on some level (Ser Boros & Ser Arys)?

The supposed 'bad egg' Sandor ('don't you dare call me Ser') Clegane, who is present and passive at some of the beatings never hears boo from Joffrey. Is that a 'silent contract' between the monster and his dog? Is it a result of an off-screen discussion between the two? Is it a case of even a pustule like Joffrey being attuned to who he could take with him over the sadistic edge?

Or - and here comes the accusation! (finally!) - is it just a case of convenient plotting, providing fodder (intended or not), for all the 'SanSan Shippers' out there?

Or, am I just wrong and did Sansa get beaten by all Kingsguard members as surrogates for the king?

grl
Black Dread
37. Eendje
@36
"One last thing of great interest to me, especially given how it has already been discussed here, is the beatings Joffrey has certain members of his Kingsguard dole out to Sansa. And more importantly who is excluded from such 'responsibility'."

You are right that Sandor never hit Sansa. At one point Joffrey did order the Hound to hit Sansa, but he didn't go through with it. He hesitated and before Joffrey could repeat the order they were interrupted by Tyrion, if I recall correctly.
Michael Duran
38. MRHD
@33, 35: If Leigh is to read TPATQ, we really, really, really need to insist that she not even attempt a summary section and just do a commentary section. I cannot even begin to imagine what a nightmare trying to summarize it would be. Depending on content, the story coming out in Rogues might also be better to read before TPATQ.
Sasha P
39. AeronaGreenjoy
Dunno. I think it could be summarized "Everyone, and this time I mean everyone, kills each other." (Joking...kinda)
Steven Halter
40. stevenhalter
Chapter 13 - The Soiled Knight: Arys Oakheart, Kingsguard, in Dorne (with the candlestick).
Interesting that GRRM is sticking with the whole "women from hot places are hawt trope." All that warmth and spicy food just does things to them--not really, of course, it is just a different culture with different values.
An interesting assertion from Arys:
“I will not soil my cloak.”
It would seem to be a tad late for that and as Arianne says, it seems that the white cloaks are generally a pretty soiled lot. The title of the chapter could have pretty much applied to every Ser we've seen so far. "The Unsoiled Knight," would be a title for a much more singular individual.
This is an interesting nugget:
...bringing on the terrible war the singers named the Dance of the Dragons.
Of course, I didn't really think the next book's title referred to a cotillion.
So, Arianne is playing a many fronted game. She basically wants Arys to not just soil, but to dye his cloak black.
Myrcella seems to be having fun in Dorne but it seems like things are going to get way more interesting for her. She is only 11, but it sounds like she probably would make a better Queen than Tommen a King. Of course, better is a relative thing and I have a feeling that the whole Baratheon/Lannister reign is not going to end well for them.
Joe Vondracek
43. joev
was stymied by trying to figure out which knight in ASOIAF wasn’t soiled, at least a little.
As far as we know, Ser Garlan "the Gallant" Tyrell hasn't done anything unsavory. He's about the only person to be publicly nice to Tyrion.

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