A new recruit suddenly appears in the practice yard. Everyone stops to stare because he's fat and rich. Samwell Tarly is also weak, cowardly, and insecure. His lord father disowned him for being such a huge wuss, and gave him a choice between taking the black and having a hunting accident. Randyll Tarly then calmly ripped the still bleeding heart out of a freshly killed deer. I take back everything I said about Southerners -- sometimes, they can be just as hardcore as the Starks.
Unsurprisingly, Fat Sam sucks at sword fighting. Ser Alliser sees an opportunity to indulge his sexual deviancy and has Halder spank Sam with a sword. Jon steps in to defend Sam, and later forms a pact with the other boys to protect him, much to the dismay of their now flaccid master-at-arms. Jon had taken Donal and Benjen’s advice to heart: Sam may be fat and pathetic, but he is still a member of the watch, and one of the few black brothers who isn't a rapist or thief.* At the end of the chapter, Jon wonders where his missing uncle went. My guess would be Benjen is busy helping Waymar reanimate dead wildlings.
* out of context, this sounds ridiculously racist
The big tournament brings many knights and whores to King's Landing. With them comes crime, conflict, and an appealing array of new smells. But it’s not all wasted money, as the Super Bowl-like atmosphere stimulates not only the whores but the entire economy of the city. Eddard doesn't like tourneys or brothels -- he would much rather execute deserters or stand solemnly in the cold. Maybe King Bob should reconsider his choice for the Hand position, because Ned isn't doing so well. Here’s a list of job titles, can you guess the ones that are well-suited for Eddard Stark? 1) High school principal, 2) prison warden, 3) late night talk show host, 4) pimp, 5) Hand of the King.
Eddard is investigating Jon Arryn’s death, which leads him to a blacksmith’s apprentice named Gendry. Eddard discovers that this boy is King Bob’s bastard son. “Gentry” means highborn or aristocrat, and while Martin probably chuckled at the wordplay, even Robert wouldn’t be so stupid when naming his secret kid. So Lord Arryn was about to discover and probably reveal that King Bob wasn’t faithful to Cersei, and the Lannisters whacked him before he could? Eddard’s thick, manly eyebrows furrow as he attempts to parse through all the mystery and political intrigue.