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.