You know, I'll never be able to avoid thinking of this song when I read this book.

Let's Read A Game of Thrones

Pages ~200-~300

Well, a good bit happened here. Tyrion is slowly gaining my confidence. Littlefingers was kind of sketchy to start, but he's definitely looking to be up to something (what that is, I don't know). Anyway, I guess I'll cover the pertinent stuff from each chapter in this section.

Tyrion – I like the way he and Jon talk. It seems to me that the best people so far are those who don't fit in with society, either because of some physical (Tyrion, now Bran) or mental (Hodor) "defect," non-socially approved circumstances of birth (Jon), or due to being unwilling to conform to the traditional rules (Arya). I feel like, having seen what those close to him are capable of, Tyrion is potentially a snake, but he's acquitted himself quite well so far.

Arya – She, like her father, thinks this whole tourney thing is absurd (Sansa loves the idea, so she's still on my list of characters who are insipid and potentially going to screw something up. Good on Ned letting her keep Needle, and arranging for her "dance" lessons. Something tells me she's going to be the family muscle in a few years' time.

Daenerys – I was not expecting her to fight back against her brother so soon. I figured maybe after a few more scenes, but damn. She got herself some courage with the marriage. Her brother's going to get himself killed pretty quickly at this rate – he doesn't seem intelligent enough to understand that while he prattles on about everyone awakening the dragon, his sister is the dragon, and she doesn't take kindly to usurpers. Also, pregnant. I predicted that about a page before it was said, but still, it puts a new piece on the board. As for her brother, the humiliation has only just begun.

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Bran – Bran's a font of good exposition. So the Others are white walkers. Hodor's a good and gentle giant. Tyrion kept his word and brought not only Jon's message for Bran, but also a blueprint for a saddle Bran can use so he can ride. The direwolves seem to have an instinctive dislike for him, though. Way I figure, he's innocent in the "kill Bran" plot, but he's got something going on in the background. Bran doesn't remember anything, which, well, makes sense. If he could, he'd end the plot right there.

Eddard – Not too much here. Ned gets a look at the extent of the spy network, and Littlefingers leaves him with probably the most important thing to know about what Ned's stepped into in being the King's Hand: distrusting Littlefingers is the wisest thing he's done so far.

Jon – Jon's befriending of Samwell continues to solidify my unreserved approval of Jon. This is a guy who could be king and do it well. He's amassing a good number of people on his side in the Night's Watch – tensions there might flare.

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Eddard – Main thing of note here: Gendry is the bastard son of the king. Not sure how he fits in just yet. Everyone who might have anything to do with the old Hand's death is gone – and I'm with Ned on the poison hypothesis.

Catelyn – Seems she'll make it back to Winterfell, with Tyrion in tow. Should prove interesting. Seems his sister is trying to get him out of the way too.

Sansa – Ugh. She's insipid, and privileged, and sheltered, and every bit of this comes through in Martin's writing. She's taken with the tourney because she's supposed to be. She can't be angry at Joffrey because she's not supposed to be. He's just perfect (except for, well, everything about him). She hates Arya, which is no way to be liked. We do learn why Sandor Clegane's face is burned, and at least she has the sense to feel some pity for him. But he has the right of her – she doesn't have a mind of her own and only parrots back what she's been taught.

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Things that seem important:

* Jon's growing stable of supporters in the Night's Watch.

* This Knight of Flowers fellow seems interesting. As does Gendry. Curious how they figure into things.

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* The king has spent the kingdom into massive debt. I'm betting this is the doing of the queen and her brother.

* This tourney seems like a really good opportunity to set somebody up to fall and make Ned responsible, since the tourney's in his honor. The only questions are who's going to die, and who is orchestrating. Seems like Varys is working under the queen to me.

*Ben Stark is missing beyond the Wall. His return won't be the pleasant thing Jon expects it to be.

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*Arya saved Neymiria by driving her away. She'll be back, though, but when? Before the end of this book, I wager.

Predictions pulled out of my ass:

* Arya will be killing Joffrey down the line with Needle.

* Daenerys will be involved in her brother's death.

* The tourney is going to be the first big strike against the Starks. It starts with what Sandor said about his brother – he always places his lance where he wants it. The king declared he wants to fight – good chance to get him out of the way.

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Reminder - I know only what I've read, so please don't dip into spoilers. Laugh amongst yourselves at my wild flailings if you wish, but please do so in such a way as to not tip me off.