Let's Read A Song of Ice and Fire XV

A Clash of Kings part eight! ~700-800!

The book is rapidly coming to a close and threads are beginning to intertwine more. There's not too much to say right now. Next update will be for the remainder of the book, so a big 170 page chunk and a chance to reflect on the book as a whole before I move on to the third book. On to the fun part: the penultimate section of this book.

Tyrion: Two chapters in this section for Tyrion, and there are developments. He's sent his mercenaries out of the city and is laying the groundwork for the defense against Stannis. His reaction to the fall of Winterfell is interesting in that it's a nonreaction. Wildfire production is up, and apparently the existence of dragons increases the potency and reliability of magic. Interesting. Dany may have unintentionally given a gift to her enemies.

The second Tyrion chapter gives us news on Bran and Rickon – dead, as Theon reports. I'm just going to call that out right now as bull. Not happening at all – he's just trying to cover his ass. I mean, first of all, duh. Second of all, Bran and Rickon are important enough to die on the page. So Theon's just trying to cover his ass and make himself seem impressive, and it's going to get his ass bitten ever the harder for his efforts. Tyrion finally stands up to Cersei, which presents an interesting shift in the dynamic. And clever ploy with the switch on Alayaya and Shae. Cersei gets cocksure and always thinks she's right, which will help Tyrion keep the charade going. But the news of the Starks, that's going to affect the way things go in various places, even when it comes out it's not true.

Theon: Well, Theon went and lost the Starks (and the wolves, and Hodor and Osha, and "that bog boy and his sister"). Good job, Theon. One of the Walders joins the hunting party – I look forward to seeing that Walder taken out of his line of succession sooner than the other. No luck in the search, probably because the combined wits of Osha and Bran and the rest are more than a match for Theon. Then again, Hodor's wits would present a suitable challenge for Theon. No luck, but Reek has a suggestion.

Also, Theon is really, really good at missing the point. He thinks his mercy is actually merciful, and he thinks that being only fairly horrible to the people of Winterfell instead of killing them all immediately is behavior worth rewarding. What a maroon.

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Jon: On the other hand, Jon actually knows what mercy is. He lets Ygritte go free. With luck this might be of benefit to him down the line, because this and the other Jon chapter in this section set a pretty grim picture. Giants on mammoths, eagles, a ridiculous massing of the wildlings. Yeah, there's no fighting that directly.

Ghost gets injured, but he should be okay. More important is that Jon has one of the wolf dreams, and seems to get some sort of message from Bran through it. I'm beginning to wonder if it's not just Bran and Rickon, but perhaps Jon, Robb, and even Arya too (Sansa's Lady is gone, but perhaps there's something still for her on this sort of natural link).

Jon's the third we've seen to recognize this link, and the oldest. If he can get the hang of it, we might see some great things as a result.

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Sansa: Been a while since she's checked in with the reader. If not for Catelyn's reminders, a body would be forgiven if it had forgotten she was still around. She checks in with Ser Dontos, her foolish knight, but she's losing faith in that prospect. He does hear things as a fool, though, so I wouldn't say he's useless quite yet – always keep an eye on a fool's doings. And listen to their advice. Sansa, let Joffrey and Queen Cersei think you an idiot. It is indeed safer that way.

The rapport between her and Sandor Clegane is an interesting one, and one I'd like to give more thought to down the line. There's something which almost resembles fondness there, as their completely opposing viewpoints work on each other. In a way, he's helping her to recognize what's around her, and she's helping him to see what could be, perhaps.

Oh yeah, Sansa becomes a woman. And Cersei has a weird moment of almost maternal regard for Sansa. And then she kills it with her line about love as poison. I'm just going to say poison will probably figure in Cersei's death and leave it there for now.

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Catelyn: And here's the first place where the news of Rickon and Bran gets to play out in an interesting way. Catelyn goes to visit Jaime Lannister. There's a lot of talk, a lot of questions answered for Catelyn that the reader already knew the answers to. But there's other stuff, good crunchy backstory bits. Like what happened to Brandon Stark and the reason Jaime feels justified in betraying his king.

Jaime displays a lot of bravado for a man reduced to using a bucket for a toilet. Jaime's answers, though, give a bit. Catelyn now suspects that Tyrion might have been telling the truth about the dagger, which raises some new questions for her about Petyr.

The chapter ends with Catelyn asking Brienne for her sword. There's the obvious implication there for me to infer, but like Cersei I'm not quite sure she would kill him.

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Things of importance:
* Theon's covering his ass by saying Bran and Rickon are dead. Regardless of its truth, the message will have consequences throughout the continent.
* Sansa's had her period. Poor girl, to have it within a thousand leagues of Joffrey.
* Jon has the wolf dreams as well.
* Catelyn has reason to suspect Petyr.

Predictions pulled out of my ass:
* Catelyn won't kill Jaime – just maim him a little.
* Bran and Rickon, still alive. Thank GlaDOS.

Dany's Threes:

Three heads: Three identities. Mother of dragons and child of storms are obvious – the third, though… the one she seeks is Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Too obvious, though. Not the third head.

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Three fires: life, death, love. There's the obvious fire of Drogo's funeral – the fire of life. The other two will come. No predictions as yet.

Three mounts: To bed, to dread, to love. Drogo was to bed. She will have another to dread, and if the Jon Snow as secret Targaryen and match to her thing works out he's the one to love.

Three treasons: For blood, for gold, for love. Viserys feels right for gold at the moment (the golden crown being a symbol for the power, wealth, and army he desired – yes it was also about his birthright and for blood reasons, but the end goal was essentially expressible in terms of gold), if a bit early. She appears to have implicitly trusted him before the story began, but that's an interpretive question. If someone comes along who looks more likely for gold, I'll change this. I think Ser Jorah might betray her out of love. For blood, Mirri Maz Duur is possible.