Saturday, May 2, 2009

Prologue • Bran

You're the new guy, and you've just traveled to a harsh, inhospitable climate to serve on a wall, probably because there are things the wall needs to keep out. Scary things. Things that require this wall to be capitalized "Wall". Things like invincible sadistic ghost-people with unbreakable swords and resurrection powers. Your name "Waymar" ranks among the most non-threatening nerd names ever, on the level of "Milton" and "Poindexter". Yet despite all this, you choose to ignore every piece of advice the clearly more experienced men give you.

I was not surprised when Martin killed off the Royce. He was arrogant in a very annoying way, and committed the cardinal sin of ignoring the wise old guy. Always heed the wise old guy (unless you're six and he's asking you to get in his van). However, I was surprised when Will died too. We were following along through his point of view, so his death set quite an ominous tone for the rest of the book. As for Gared, I presume he peaced out with the horses as soon as he heard the fight.

What exactly is a wildling? I went on Wikipedia and shut the window instantly, because it seemed packed with spoilers. I still don't know for sure. I'm going to assume that it's a wild person or outlaw, just like I assume "Ser" actually means "Sir" and "Maester" means "Master". That or Dr. Aemon is actually Korean.

After Will's untimely death at the hands of zombie Waymar, we come to the first official chapter, written from the point of view of Bran Stark, son of a Lord. I assume that executee is Gared from the prologue, because there can't be that many earless deserters running around. After the execution, upon discovering the wolf, why was the party so scared of the antler? A giant wolf just gave birth while dead and the antler is what makes them uneasy? Also, this chapter confirmed that Waymar's "for Robert!" was actually a tribute to his king and not, as I presumed, one last shout out to his gay lover back home at Royce Manor.

Things I've learned about the Starks: they name their swords, live in a place where it snows during the summer, and attend their first executions at age seven. I get it George, they are total badasses. When I was seven my parents wouldn't let me cross the street, let alone keep a giant wolf as a pet. Other things I've learned: Theon is an asshole, Jon the bastard has superhuman hearing, and Lord Stark has no executioner on the payroll.

Great chapters so far. I'm very intrigued and I want to read more.


  1. Trust me, it gets better. And better. And better. The series (for me anyway) surpasses even Lord of the Rings and I was a LOTR fanatic for like 5 years :P
    My thoughts on Waymar in the prologue have actually changed upon re-reading: yeah hes arrogant, yeah he seems to have this annoying sense of entitlement, but he faces up to the other (despite obviously being sh#t scared!) and gives a good go at fighting it. I mean, he's utterly destroyed but I think the bravery kinda redeems him. At least a bit. Maybe :)
    Anyways, looking forward to reading your thoughts from a new readers perspective.

  2. I envy you what you have to come.
    The opening prologue is a difficult chapter, despite being wonderfully written. It sets up some expectations and a tone but ultimately stands alone.

  3. Thanks for starting this blog, it will be interesting to see your reactions. Just to address some basic facts (without spoilers):

    * Wildlings = barbarians - specifically those who live north of the wall. They're not subjects of the seven kingdoms.

    * Ser (=Sir) - term for anointed knights of the faith (one of the religions you'll learn about).

    * Maester (=Master) - term for members of a specific organization. Think of them like medieval scientists or sages.

    * Yes, that was Gared who was being executed for desertion.

  4. So does Martin just purposely misspell all these names? It is kind of an ingenious way to make common names exotic. Rob to Robb, Kate to Catelyn, Richard to Rickon. It would sound out of place to have Daniella and Vinny Targaryen, that's for sure.

  5. This will be very entertaining. I've laughed out loud several times in the first two posts alone, and I can't wait to see your reactions to later chapters. I hope you enjoy it.

  6. I'm not sure if any of these alternate spellings have any historical basis.

    Catelyn is a reasonably popular modern name, though there are various spellings. As for Robb, this might be of interest:

    I don't know if Martin has ever stated his reasoning for choosing these names, though I would guess it is just to sound exotic, as you suggested. Which I'm ok with. :-)

  7. My theory about the names is that some names sound more generic English/American in order to make the reader comfortable that "These guys are the most like us; they're not the really weird exotic ones". Later on, you'll find that characters from more exotic locations have correspondingly exotic names.

  8. "Dr. Aemon is actually Korea"

    That's a funny comment. May I ask if you are Chinese?

  9. The sigil of the king is a crowned stag and the wolf of Lord Eddard. That's why they were rather afraid of the antler, assuming it was some kind of omen regarding the two houses. Still, you have a point: the men's reaction to the antler seems misplaced.

    Nice blog.

  10. To above: He gets to that later.

    Love the snark, yo. Enjoy your read.

  11. Awesome blog, my SO is currently reading for the first time as well, you have a lot of the same observations and questions as he does but you are freakin' hilarious man! Keep it coming!
    BTW we're not worried that you'll lose interest... you *will* get sucked in just like all the rest of us. MUAHAHAHA.

  12. Is the author of these still monitoring comments? Reach out!


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