Let's Read: A Song of Ice and Fire part three
Game of Thrones pages ~300-~400
Before I get going, one of the things that I'm enjoying most about reading these books is that it's the first time in a long time I've gotten the opportunity to just read something for fun. Trust me when I say that majoring in English and working on a PhD in literary studies means you have no time to read anything you want to and just enjoy it - even if you get to read what you want to, you have to pick it apart and tease out interpretations and implications. It's something I can't avoid doing now when reading or watching something, but I enjoy being able to put that to rest a bit and focus more on just enjoying the plot for what it is.
That said, I'm sure I'll find myself focusing on some interpretive aspects in the future. Like I said, I can't not do it. Anyway, I'll go in the same way as last time and hit it chapter by chapter.
Eddard: This chapter gives us the end of the tournament. We get a bit of important info here - that one knight who died was the previous Hand's squire, so it's a pretty obvious hit to keep him quiet. After Sansa's moment of pity for Sandor in her last chapter, we get another moment with her asking if Sandor wins now that Gregor tried to kill the flower knight. It may be we're seeing the beginnings of development, which I'd like to have happen as so far she's kind of not at all interesting and a bit completely repellent. Sandor's rising in my estimation - he's a jerk and a grump and not very pleasant, but he seems to land on the side of fairness and generally not being a horrible person - kind of like Sparhawk. Give him candidacy for the "best people" list from last post. We also get some of Ned and King Robert, and King Robert still looks and acts the part of a naive fool. We do get a bit more of Varys the eunuch. I don't entirely trust him, but I really like how he's written - Martin definitely did his research on historical palace eunuchs, because Varys is perfect in that role. He's too deep into the world of castle intrigue to be entirely trustworthy, but given his position his motivations probably stem from protecting his ass and keeping his status, so I'm going to tentatively buy what he's selling so long as it makes sense coming from that position.
Tyrion: Tyrion's adventures on the road with Catelyn and her people. Not going to Winterfell but to find Lysa, so it's still up in the air whether Catelyn will actually make it back to her children alive. The attacks on the road force an uneasy trust between her and Tyrion, though, as she needs him and his guys armed in order to survive. Good thing she did, but it makes things too simple for Tyrion. He may be telling the truth and not be interested in killing her children, but he doesn't take kindly to her, and may try something on her before they get too far. He doesn't bet against family, but he probably bets against Catelyn Stark.
Arya: What I really like about Arya right now is encapsulated completely in this chapter. She's catching cats. She doesn't care what she looks like. She's putting the lessons she's learning to work. And she uses these attributes to stumble upon plot. She finds the dragon skulls in the palace dungeons and discovers a fat wizard whom I'll refer to for now as Cartman. She's putting pieces together - they mentioned the book, the bastard, and the truth. So Jon's important, and I bet it has something to do with his mother being in the book. Ned brushes her off though. But maybe he'll start paying attention when he learns about Daenerys, because Arya mentioned her as well. Good plot catching, Arya.
Eddard: Starts off with a meeting about Daenerys, but he doesn't seem to want to give much thought to Arya bringing him that news early. King Robert shows himself here - he plays the part of the naive oaf very convincingly, but his reaction to Ned and to the news about Dany is dire. I'm with Ned and Eminem on this - if you're gonna kill a guy you should tell him why, look him dead in the eye, then waste him. Varys suggest the tears of Lys, what he told Ned in the earlier chapter was used to kill Jon Arryn. The king doesn't like poison, but I find this suggestion interesting. So Ned's on the outs as Hand. Didn't last long, and Littlefinger promises him some info if he can stick around for the evening rather than leaving immediately.
Catelyn: They make it to the Eyrie and Catelyn goes up ahead to see her sister. Lysa does not appreciate her bringing Tyrion with her to the Eyrie, though. Her nephew Robert - how old is he? He's coddled in Catelyn's opinion, but it'd help to have an age to put him at. If he's like, five or more and still suckling his mother's tit that seems like a definite point in favor of Catelyn's impression of things. I don't see Lysa or Robert Arryn being terribly useful down the line, not with this introduction. Sansa's introduction is more favorable, if that's even possible.
Eddard: So far as Ned can tell, it seems Arryn got to close to the king's dirty laundry - and his legions of bastards. I think Littlefinger may have set Ned up here - Ned loses his men and is basically told to get out of town ASAP.
Daenerys: The more we see her, the more I like her, but I love that she doesn't get too much spotlight. I want her doings to be somewhat ominous for the other characters, and she keeps owning her brother now that she's found her courage. I disagree with her - she thinks her kid's the true dragon. I think she is.
Things that seem important:
*They killed Arryn, but Ned's still alive and kicking. It doesn't add up - the truth has to be more than what Arryn knew about the king's brothel visits.
*Ned doesn't see what's so useful about the training Arya's receiving. Her training is going to be key at some point. She's a stealthy rogue type, not a front-line fighter.
*Varys and Littlefinger - they get up to a lot of intrigue in the palace, and seem in some ways poised to benefit no matter how this game of thrones plays out, as is typical of the lower ranking members of court, especially the eunuchs. How much might they be in the employ of the Lannisters? Hard to say. They aren't trustworthy, but if their position is on the line and they're acting as if something's true to keep that position, good chance they're providing a glimpse at some useful information.
Predictions pulled out of my ass:
*Tyrion's not flying any time soon. His new friends will probably help him escape, but probably not before one of Catelyn, Lysa, or Robert Arryn gets hurt/killed in the process.
* Jon's role is going to be due to his mother's ancestry, which will be in the book Ned has.
* Big bold prediction - Jon's mother was a Targaryen, and Jon and Daenerys will eventually wind up together in the kind of Pharaonic marriage the Targaryen line favors, just in time to fight back against the white walkers.
Remember, no spoilers please. I don't want to know anything I don't already know until I read it.