Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sansa • Arya

I dread Sansa chapters. It's like double the work because the reader has to parse through her clueless observations to understand what's really going on. In this chapter, Sansa discovers a note left by the freedom fairy. Someone wants to meet in secret with Sansa to send her home. The "someone" turns out to be Dontos, the knight Sansa saved from a an execution at Joffrey's birthday tournament. Sansa is hopeful, even though the only thing Dontos accomplished thus far was to be demoted from knight to fool.

She later runs into the Hound, who talks all tough but seems like he's actually a big softie, because he doesn't do anything to Sansa even though he's very drunk and knows that she was up to something. Sandor even helps her slip back into the castle. But afterward, he rants at her about how dogs are loyal and how she is a bad liar and horrible person. His love-hate relationship with Sansa is hard to understand. I can't tell if the "song" he wants from her is sex or truth or something else entirely. It is super creepy though, can you imagine a gigantic hulking beast-man hooking up with a tiny girl? Oh right, that happened repeatedly in the Dany chapters already.

I have officially reached the point where I do not care what happens to Sansa at all. I don't care that she might escape or she might get punished with a beating. I don't care that she gets stalked by Littlefinger or the Hound. She's been dead to me ever since she lied about her awesome sister's fight with Joffrey and then ratted out her own father.

Arya and the lost boys wander around the countryside, having escaped from the Lannisters. They go back to the site of the battle, and find almost everyone dead, including Yoren. The three surviving men quickly abandon the kids, who are forced to eat bugs and frogs and whatever else they can find. It doesn't help that Arya's companions are basically useless. Gendry manages to figure out that "Arry" is a girl, but when Arya comes clean, Gendry freaks out after learning Arya is a "highborn lady." He even bows and tries to apologize for talking about cocks. It's endearing and ridiculous for him to try to use proper manners after they've been through so much brutality together, and quite symbolic of how deeply ingrained the class hierarchy can be in the average peasant. It's also funny because Gendry is half highborn too, he just doesn't know it. As king, he could talk about cocks all he wants.

Arya and Gendry go on a date. Everything was going great: they sneak around stealing food, smelling dead bodies, and watching crows peck out the eyes of hanged men. How romantic! Unfortunately, they are interrupted and captured by GREGOR's men, who have no problem beating down little kids. Lommy, the injured kid who was whining about yielding the whole time, is executed. A GREGORman just calmly drives his spear through Lommy's throat because he didn't want to carry him. It was so casually done, as if he was at a fast food place ordering a cheeseburger. Poor Lommy. He was annoying, but not spear-in-throat annoying. As they are taken away by GREGOR, that argument Arya and Gendry had earlier about m'ladys seems so long ago and trivial. In a fairy tale, maybe Nymeria runs out of the woods and rescues them. But if this chapter has shown us anything, it's that war-torn Westeros is anything but a fairy tale.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bran • Tyrion

Back and Winterfell, Bran voltrons with a gigantic dim witted servant named Hodor. It sucks for Bran because he has to do all the annoying lord paperwork but gets none of the usual benefits. He can't joust or swordfight or climb or even dress himself anymore. However, not many knights get to ride a 7-foot tall Hodorse. If Sir Lancelot had a choice between riding an ordinary horse and Shaquille O'Neal, he'd pick Shaq every time. Despite this, Bran still gets made fun of by the douchebag Frey kids, and Maester Luwin shuttles him off to talk politics and business. The lesser lords are doing their best to sell Bran on their coins and ships, especially Fat Wyman.

Afterward, Bran hangs out with Osha. Apparently, despite an attempted kidnapping and murder, the Starks think it's okay to let Osha be alone, naked, with one of their 8 year old princes. Then the chapter talks about bastards and widows and other inheritance stuff that I don't particularly understand. Martin must have a huge excel spreadsheet to keep track of who marries who and who is lord where. Anyway, we learn that Bran has selectively blocked out the traumatic experience of Jaime shoving him out a window. But at the end of the chapter Cley Cerwyn discusses the Stannisfesto's twincest claim, which causes Bran to dream about the incident that night. The important thing here is not that Bran remembers, but that Mr. Cerwyn has successfully peformed inception. Cue loud foghorn noise.

King's Landing is not doing great. Everyone fears that King Bob's brothers will march on the city at any moment. The Lannisters have enemies everywhere and daddy Tywin can only be in once place at a time, much to Cersei's dismay. Thus, Tyrion must set out and win alliances for the Lannisters, through letters and marriages and Littlefinger's cock. We get some backstory on Pedo Petyr, who turns out to be quite the social climbing businessman, multiplying the king's fortunes and debts while simultaneously inserting his own cronies. He also nonchalantly brags about stealing both Tully sisters' "maidenhood," though probably not at the same time. Littlefinger is attempting the rare mother sister daughter trifecta with Cat Lysa and Sansa, impressive. Play on, playa. Tyrion offers him a big castle, and that's enough for Littlefinger and his virginity stealing cock to be on the next ship to the Vale.

Next, Tyrion details his plan to give the Prince of Dorne the killer of his sister. I don't even know who Doran Martell is and had to look at the map to find Dorne, but the guy must be important if the Lannisters are considering giving up GREGOR. Supposedly Tywin ordered GREGOR to rape and kill Doran's sister and her child. While that does sound like something GREGOR would do, let's not convict an innocent man. Remember, we're talking about GREGOR here, who is not only a knight but also happens to be the single greatest academic mind in all of Westeros. Are we sure he killed Elia? Someone call Ser Johnnie Cochran.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Arya • Tyrion

The bar exam is over, time to read and blog again, hooray! The past few months were awful, but I had fun on my bar trip and I'm excited to start reading again. I purposely left Clash of Kings at home because I knew I'd just blow through it on the plane instead of write blog entries. When I got back and finally picked up the book, I was worried I had forgotten all the characters, but after a few visits to the appendix I was good to go. It was much easier picking it up this time compared to my first hiatus after Game of Thrones.

The Yoren train chugs north, looting dead bodies and acting paranoid. You know the situation is bad when the theives, rapists, and murderers can't even travel safely. Hot Pie tries to bond with Arya, but she's not having any of it. Aw, he just wants to be your friend, and he can bake pies for you. Eventually everyone goes to sleep behind some stone walls, but Arya's internal wolf alarm wakes her up right before the Lannisters arrive. They don't believe Yoren's Night's Watch neutrality explanation and attack. Yoren decides to fight instead of surrender, because surely a few new Night's Watch recruits can hold off a hundred fully armed men. But they do have the high ground, and momentarily execute a mini Helm's Deep, stabbing the Lannister guys as they come over the wall. In true Martin-esque fashion, no Gandalf comes to save them. Despite Arya's badass enemy face stabbing, Yoren's party is overwhelmed. Between the Lannisters and the fires, almost everyone bound for the Wall dies, but Arya and a few of the boys manage to escape. At the last minute, Arya decides to save those three dudes in the wagon, tossing them an axe. Surely, that's the last we'll see of them, right!?

At this point in the books, I know Martin well enough to realize that if a character has a careful, thoughtful plan at the beginning of a chapter, future events will almost always foil it. Additionally, things don't just go wrong. They go retardedly wrong. They go so wrong that the plan which sounded reasonable at the time becomes completely ridiculous in hindsight. So the instant Yoren decided to spend the night in the holdfast and sail up the river the next morning, I knew their little band of misfits were screwed that very night. In Martin's universe, plans are always fucked up. Examples: We'll just check out these dead wildlings and then head back to the castle. I'll just push this kid off the ledge and he'll die. I'll just marry my sister off and use her husband's army. I'll just buy the city watch. I'll just arrest and prosecute this dwarf myself. I'll just let this demon sorceress deliver my baby. I'll just confess and be sent to the Wall.

The Stannisfesto has reached King's Landing, proclaiming Jaime and Cersei's incest loudly and proudly. Cersei wants all copies burned. Clearly, she doesn't know how spam mailing works. Littlefinger is smarter, and suggests counter-libel. Though in Stannis's case, it's not really libel, since the statement about Cersei's twincest was a) true and b) even if it was false, Stannis's actions don't meet the higher burden of proof for public figure defamation because he didn't act with reckless disregard for the truth. Stannis, if you get sued, hire me. Anyway, Littlefinger suggests spreading a rumor that Stannis's daughter was actually the product of Selystache and Patchface the fool. I have an even better rumor: Joffrey is the son of both Robert and Stannis. That's right, they had a gay brotherly affair. Robert carried the child to term, that's why he got so fat. Not only does that one-up Stannis's suddenly tame incest-only accusation, but it eliminates all the claim problems too as Joffrey is Stannis's rightful heir. Problem solved.

Meanwhile, King's Hand Tyrion is busy making gigantic chains for some sort of fat girl BDSM party. I'm glad to see LeBronn here, who decided to leave the Vale and take his talents to King's Landing. Soon, it's time for Tyrion to secretly sneak away to Shae. A wise man once said, sometimes, you just gots to get your freak on. Before that though, Tyrion has a quick chat with Varys about who leaked Joffrey's true parentage. But Varys feigns ignorance, and Tyrion is conflicted about whether the dickless know-it-all is his friend or enemy. I hope Tyrion doesn't end up dead like the previous Hands. He's so much more entaining and interesting than Jon Arryn or Eddard Stark.