A Read of Ice and Fire

A Read of Ice and Fire: ASoS Review and Predictions for A Dance with Dragons

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

Today’s entry is, um, Part 53 of A Storm of Swords? I guess? In which I do some memory-related cheating. Sort of.

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!

Okay, so you’re probably like WOT’S ALL THIS, because in my imagination you are, apparently, a blustering copper in a British farce. Ahem.

So, remember how I did a wrap-up/summation/prediction thingy for all the characters actually appearing in A Feast For Crows before moving on to A Dance with Dragons? Well, it occurred to me that probably an even better use of my time would be to do summary/predict-y stuff for the characters who didn’t appear in AFFC, since the last time I saw them was in A Storm of Swords, which I finished, er, almost exactly a year ago, and whom therefore we can expect that I remember just about zilch of where the hell we left them last, because my memory sucks for anything that isn’t annoying 80’s commercial jingles, like, thanks, brain.

(Honeycomb’s big, yeah yeah yeah! It’s not small, no no—*BLAM*)

Riiiight. So, uh, that’s what I’m doing in this post. And now you know. (And knowing is half the—ARGH!)

Onward!

(Note that I will be ignoring characters who appear in both ASOS and AFFC, e.g., Jaime, Catelyn, Arya, etc., except where they intersect with the other major characters, for reasons which should be obvious. Which means I should just say it here: RED WEDDING FUUUUUUCCCCKKKKK AGGGHHHH)

Character: Tyrion Lannister

What Happens to Him in ASOS

Tyrion recovers from his maiming at the battle of King’s Landing to find that his father is an asshole who has taken the office of Hand from him, and virtually all his allies in court are gone. He arranges with Varys to have an ill-advised tryst with Shae, and fails to convince her of the seriousness of the situation. Tywin sends Littlefinger to seduce Lysa Arryn, and makes Tyrion Master of Coin in his absence, and also tells Tyrion that he will be marrying Sansa Stark. The wedding is awful, and Tyrion is upset by Sansa’s repulsion for him, but promises not to touch her, and keeps that promise despite his father’s censure of him for it.

He meets Prince Oberyn Martell when he arrives for Joffrey’s wedding, and does not enjoy the experience. Tywin doesn’t listen when Tyrion insists that Joffrey is a monster, and Tyrion is disgusted to learn that Tywin doesn’t plan to give Gregor Clegane’s head to Oberyn in recompense for the rape and murder of Elia and her children, and also claims that Robb and Catelyn’s murders are on Walder Frey’s head, not his. Tyrion continues to meet with Shae, and arranges for her to be one of Sansa’s maids.

Joffrey dies (YAAAAY) at his own wedding, and Cersei immediately blames Tyrion for it. Sansa disappears, and Tyrion tries to get Bronn to be his champion for trial by combat, but Bronn has been bought off by Cersei with a marriage to Lollys. The actual trial is a farce, but then Oberyn comes to Tyrion and offers to be his champion, as Cersei’s is Gregor Clegane. Shae testifies the next day that Tyrion had planned the murder, and Tyrion calls for trial by combat. Oberyn severely wounds Gregor in the duel, but Gregor kills him, and Tyrion is thrown in the dungeon.

Jaime busts him out, but confesses to his part in the Tysha affair, and in anger Tyrion lies to Jaime that he had indeed murdered Joffrey. Varys is to lead Tyrion to the ship that will take him away, but Tyrion detours to his father’s (privy) chamber and kills both him and Shae, whom he found in his father’s bed.

What I Think Will Happen

Well, what I’d like to happen is for Tyrion to go across the sea and join forces with Dany and/or Arya in order to exact revenge on, er, everyone, but that is just a kind of wild-eyed fantasy on my part, I think. Probably at least partially fueled by the probably-red-herring-irrelevant mention in Arya’s POV in AFFC about the dwarf mummer show or whatever it was in Braavos.

Really, I have no idea. The only thing I’m (relatively) sure of is that we ain’t seen the last of Tyrion, because he’s just too awesome a character for even Martin to kill off. Or, at the very least, not to kill off-screen.

 

Character: Davos

What Happens to Him in ASOS

Davos survives the battle at King’s Landing only to almost die of deserted-islandness, but is rescued at the last moment, and resolves to murder Melisandre to save Stannis from her evil influence. He goes to Dragonstone, and meets Edric Storm, a bastard of King Robert, before being thrown in the dungeon. Melisandre tries to woo him to the Dark Side her side for shadow-sucking purposes, but Davos rejects her. He learns that Alester Florent, Stannis’s former Hand, tried to arrange for peace terms with the Lannisters behind Stannis’s back, and got similarly en-dungeoned for his trouble.

Stannis sees Davos, and to his shock makes him a lord and his Hand. Stannis and Melisandre curse Joffrey, Balon Greyjoy, and Robb Stark with royally-fattened leeches. Melisandre campaigns for Stannis to let her sacrifice Edric so that she can give him a dragon, and Davos’s insistence on the moral bankruptcy of such an action angers Stannis, who sends him away. Davos quietly gathers allies to stop Stannis if necessary, and spirits Edric off the island before going to admit he did it to Stannis, and showing him a letter.

What I Think Will Happen

Fuck if I know, because Davos’s fate was left very ambiguous, and later secondhand accounts in AFFC seem to indicate Lord Manderly (I think?) had him executed, but as that came through Cersei’s POV I am highly skeptical of its accuracy. So since it makes me happier, I’m going to assume for now that that was all bullshit, and Davos is still out there doing his part for the Stannis Nation. Which, I am not all that thrilled about in the aggregate, admittedly, but I am definitely a lot thrilled about supposing Davos’s continued existence in the world, so I’ll take it.

 

Character: Jon Snow

What Happens to Him in ASOS

After having killed Qhorin Halfhand, Jon successfully infiltrates the wildlings and meets Mance Rayder, who is looking for a Magical Thingamajig. Rattleshirt really, really wants to kill Jon, but Ygritte protects Jon by blackmailing him into sleeping with her. Jon sends Ghost to Castle Black to try to warn the Watch of the imminent invasion, and has a lot of sex with Ygritte.

Their party scales the Wall, and sneaks south to an abandoned village by a lake with a tower on an island in it. The Magnar tries to force Jon to kill an old man to prove his loyalty, and when he refuses, Ygritte leaps in to do it herself. The others are attacked by a large grey direwolf, and Jon escapes in the confusion, though not without being wounded first. He arrives back to Castle Black to learn that Mormont is dead and the castle is defended by a few boys and old men, and that Ghost never arrived, and also that Winterfell, er, fell, and Bran and Rickon are presumed dead.

Jon helps organize the defenses of the castle, and Ygritte dies in the raid upon it. Donal Noye puts Jon in charge of repelling the wildlings from the Wall, which he does, and then finds that Noye has died, whereupon Aemon tells him he is the only one left fit to lead. The siege continues, and then Janos Slynt and Alliser Thorne arrive and accuse Jon of treachery. They send him to assassinate Mance Rayder, but Mance shows him the Horn of Winter, and claims the Wall will fall if he blows it, but he doesn’t want to do that because of the Others, and says they want safe passage beyond the Wall. The negotiation is rendered moot when Stannis’s forces arrive and massacre the wildlings.

Sam and Jon are reunited, and Sam does not tell Jon about Bran. Even though Jon has captured the Horn of Winter, Mance, and Mance’s infant son, Slynt and Thorne still want him dead. Jon meets with Stannis, and is shocked to learn that Stannis wants to make him Lord of Winterfell, and asks for time to consider. Ghost returns, to Jon’s joy. He almost decides to accept Stannis’s offer, but discovers that Sam has manipulated the voting so that the Watch chooses Jon as their new Lord Commander.

What I Think Will Happen

YAY JON

Well, AFFC indicated that Winter Is Finally, At Long Goddamn Last, Coming, and I’m assuming the Others are coming with it, soooo I’m guessing there’s probably a lot more siege-repelling in Jon’s future. Also, possibly, fallout with Stannis/Melisandre for taking their sort-of Royal Baby Dragon-Maker away. I think I said this somewhere before, but I wonder how long it’s going to take Melly to realize that Jon is technically of sort-of royal blood himself, and get all bloodthirsty with that knowledge. Because, if Mance Rayder’s child counts as “royal”, then Jon totally does. So, in conclusion, many fun times ahead, not.

 

Character: Daenerys Targaryen

What Happens to Her in ASOS

Jorah convinces Dany that instead of returning to Illyrio in Pentos, she should detour to Astapor and buy an army of Unsullied, and then tries to seduce her. In Astapor, Dany is horrified by the brutal training of the Unsullied, and resolves to buy them all despite Arstan’s objections. She does, but reneges on the deal and uses the Unsullied to massacre all the slavers instead. Then she goes to Yunkai, intimidates them into surrendering, and frees all their slaves, who call her “Mother.” She becomes frustrated with Jorah’s continued overtures to her and shuts him down harshly.

They besiege Meereen, and Dany discovers that Arstan is actually Ser Barristan Selmy, former Commander of the Kingsguard. Barristan tells her in turn that Jorah is a spy for Lord Varys, and Dany punishes them both by having them infiltrate Meereen through the sewers. She is shocked that many of the former slaves she freed are begging to be sold to Qarth, but reluctantly allows it (and takes a cut). She accepts Barristan’s apology, but banishes Jorah. She decides that she will stay in Meereen and rule it instead of abandoning it like she had Astapor and Yunkai.

What I Think Will Happen

Probably something awful. I mean, duh, but I’m guessing something awful enough to oust her from her inertia and have her get on with her plan to invade Westeros, which I am assuming is going to happen AT SOME POINT EVER.

“Something” probably having to do with Quentyn Martell and Victarion Assmunch McManAngst showing up to proposition and/or kidnap her. Wildass prediction: Daario, the mercenary dude who’s been courting her this whole book, has been Quentyn all along. WE’LL SEE.

 

Character: Bran Stark

What Happens to Him in ASOS

Bran sulks that Jojen will not let him warg with Summer as much as he wants, but Jojen warns him that he might lose himself, and insists that Bran needs a teacher who has both the sight and warging skills. They decide to go to the Wall and find Bran’s “three-eyed crow”. They reach an abandoned village by a lake with a tower on an island, and Bran discovers that he can warg Hodor and control him. He sends Summer to help Jon in the village, but Jojen said that they couldn’t follow Jon, so they go to Nightfort, an abandoned keep on the Wall, instead.

Bran says Nightfort is haunted, but Jojen is insistent that this is where his dreams told them to go. Then creatures come out of the well, and the party almost kills them before they realize it is Sam and Gilly. Sam explains that “Coldhands” brought them there, and shows Bran et al how to pass through the wall to the other side, to meet with Coldhands and go… somewhere.

What I Think Will Happen

Well, it had better be something awesome, because oh my GOD how annoyed I was (and am) that the Coldhands thing was left totally unexplained. I speculated in my commentary that he might be one of the children of the forest and maybe Bran was finally on his way to learn how to control his (deeply worrying) warging/mind control skills, so let’s hope for that.

I confess I am sort of totally agog at the notion that we might finally AT LONG LAST get to meet what I suspect will be ASOIAF’s closest possible version of wood elves. Even though I also suspect that they are very unlikely to be anything remotely like what I subconsciously expect them to be. And also will probably turn out to suck. But whatever, by now it’s a feature, not a bug.


And that’s what THAT all is, kidlets. So, having gotten all our waterlogged poultry in at least something resembling parade formation, I think next week we will be actually for reals absotively posilutely finally starting A Dance With Dragons! Whoo hoo! See you there!

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