I’m going to admit right now that I lied in my last post about A Storm of Swords. I am going to make a blog every 200 pages rather than every 20%. Due to my gaming stuff, personal life, and work, I don’t have as much time to digest the books I do want to read. I’m currently struggling to finish reading At The End: An Apocalptic Novel by John Hennessey for a Twitter group I am in called Two Girls One Book, but with how badly the book is written I usually end up googling pictures of cute puppies instead.
Without too much further ado, I want to jump right into my thoughts about A Storm of Swords, pages 202 – 412!
Let’s begin with Jon Snow and his mischievous little adventures up North of the Wall. Looking back on my previous entries, I haven’t written very much about Jon Snow or analysed anything about his character. The reason for this isn’t because I find his story or character boring, but that its easy to forget about Jon Snow since he is so far removed from every other event in the novels. Jon Snow was a Man of the Night Watch, and, while he cares deeply about what might happen to his half siblings, nothing he does personally influences their stories or the war. He has no eyes or ears during the war and his POV doesn’t give us any insight to the politics behind the war or war strategies. Jon Snow, like Daenerys Targaryen, may as well be light years away from the events unfolding on the mainland of Westeros. Unlike Daenerys, however, Jon Snow has nothing to add to the combat anytime soon. That was until he joined a the army of Wildlings.
Jon Snow, at the behest of the late Q. Halfhand, joined the Wildlings to spy on them. Through Jon’s eyes we are now witnessing what is to become a pressing matter for Westeros, the invasion of Wildlings and the Others. The increasing threat of the Others is made more pointedly by the slaughter of the Night’s Watch on the Fist (a place, not the thing). Ygritte, a female Wildling, has really taken a liking to our Jon Snow and she is basically his guide to what its like to be a Wildling. The relationship between Ygritte and Jon Snow also pulls me away from the typical feel of the book since Ygritte is more or less a Manic Pixie Dream Girl in terms of personality.
The first part of the definition strikes me as Ygritte’s role in Jon Snow’s story. While she is a character in her own right, Ygritte is there to help Jon embrace life and help him learn about what things are like North of the Wall. Her catchphrase is seemingly, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” She repeats this phrase many times in the last chapter I read for this blog. The last part of the definition doesn’t seem to fit her… yet. Ygritte is mysterious enough that I am not certain if she loves Jon Snow or is just really into him. The way things are looking she must love him, her behavior denotes that much. She could be a great liar, but that wouldn’t really fit the archetype she has found herself in. My biggest worry for the character is she will die trying to protect Jon Snow. Or something along those lines.
Sam, Jon Snow’s obese friend, has his own POV chapter now. I was worried he was killed in the battle with the Others that Jon and the Free People stumbled onto atop the Fist, but its nice to know he somehow made it. Sam is a character I wanted to know more about, because he was flung from a world of comfort into a frozen hell. Sam isn’t a bad guy and is book smart, which makes me relate to him somewhat. Even though I might have more guts and fight in me, I enjoy a character that is at least true to himself. It was really moving when Edd and Grenn were helping him get back up to move on, though he was ultimately carried by strongman Tom. From Sam’s distorted thoughts in the text it was apparent how much strain and stress he had taken — and he was frail to begin with. This chapter shows me that no character’s ‘3rd person text’ is completely true. Sam was having trouble remembering what exactly had happened and it showed in the narrative. Sam’s POV chapters will clash nicely with Jon Snow’s. If the Night’s Watch fights the Wildlings we should be able to see both sides of the battle.
Arya Stark is learning the hard way that she should never bother to reveal her real name and station. Its understandable that she revealed herself to Harwin, a man that used to work for her father, but during a time of so much strife its incredibly reckless. Arya is one of my favorite characters, and I do enjoy reading all of her chapters. Its hard to explain, but I like her snarky thoughts about the people around her. It would be amazing for Arya to meet up with her mother again, but I have a feeling that may not happen any time soon. Arya would be confined again into the role of a little lady in-training, and the story of a girl struggling with being trained to be someone she doesn’t want to be is a little old and boring. Arya, at least from what I could gather, has always wanted an adventurous life. Now that she is living it I wonder what she will do next. She is currently traveling with Gendry and a band of AWOL soldiers to see Lord “Lightning” Bolton. I don’t really know much about Lord Bolton other than he formerly bent the knee to Eddard Stark and then ended up becoming a turncoat. He held Harrenhal, but now he is just the wind and they are chasing after it. Aside from these facts, not much else to report on for our dear boy.
Tyrion and Sansa’s POVs continue to greatly entertain me. Watching them try to avoid toes (or in Tyrion’s case, step on them) is easily some of the better drama I’ve ever read. For example, Petyr Baelish has played another card on the table. He has offered to Joffrey’s council his promise to wed Lady Lysa Arryn. If he accomplishes this he will have the Eyrie (which is implied as sporting a large army as well as land) and he promises to raise her son to be a supporter of King Joffrey and the Lannisters. Given the way the TV show has been going, I was worried he would try to marry Sansa Stark, because she looks a lot like her mother. I get very creepy vibes from him, so it wouldn’t have been so shocking. This, however, is leagues more interesting. Sadly, I think he will accomplish his goal. I wonder if he wants to style himself a King in his own right? A commoner King, because as I recall Baelish is a lowborn man that clawed his way to the top.
As for Sansa and Tyrion… well, they are married now. Say what!? Yeah, I heard me. THEY ARE MARRIED. My mind was blown reading it. At first, during Tyrion’s chapter where we learn that Baelish is going to court Lysa, Tywin suggests to Tyrion that he marry Sansa Stark because the Tyrell’s mean to marry her to Willas Tyrell, which would have granted Tyrell’s the power of Winterfell if Robb Stark could be dealt with. Of course, no one knows Bran and Rickon Stark are very much alive and well, though they travel north and may not be found alive yet. Sansa’s marriage to Tyrion is extremely awkward. I’m so glad it was him that she ended up being force to wed since we have no idea what Willas Tyrell is like anyway. Plus Tyrion is a gentleman, mostly, and won’t force Sansa to do anything she doesn’t want to. I’m glad he acknowledges that she is still a child and didn’t consummate. This is such an interesting turn of events and it makes me eager to read more!
King Idiothead the Dumbest of his Name (yeah, I am super original) intends to make Sansa his whore anyway. I hope Tyrion Lannister can keep Sansa safe or sneak her out of King’s Landing at least. Sansa had done some stupid things in the first book, but she doesn’t deserve what has become of her. Cersei, however, may be carted off to marry Willas Tyrell since her son is old enough to rule on his own AND her father is there to be the Hand properly. Cersei hates the idea with a passion and I can’t help but find some happiness in her misery.
Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth tried to continue their journey south to King’s Landing, but have been caught by mercenaries working for House Stark. After an epic sword fight with one another, they are ambushed by these ‘mummers’ and are presumably raped and/or tortured. I hope Brienne isn’t raped at the very least, because she is fastly becoming one of my favorite characters. She reminds me of what Sansa was like, but with Arya’s will and desire to fight.
Daenerys found herself trapped between hard decisions. She could either enlist a slave army or attempt to hire sellswords. The slave army would be so disciplined that they would never disobey her or go AWOL, but slavery is illegal in Westeros and the lords who might receive her would look down upon her. The sellswords are the opposite, they wouldn’t cause lords to look down upon her, but there is a chance they would turn against her for higher coin. Her main enemy is King Joffrey and he is backed up by Lannister banks. Daenerys had to go with purchasing a slave army despite how it made her feel. The slave army, known as the Unsullied, are men that know no fear and are all eunuchs. They would not rape or pillage, because they were conditioned in their training to desire no such thing. They would obey their master without question going as far as killing themselves if that was what had been asked of them. Ultimately Daenerys set up a brilliant plan. She traded her Drogon and ships of valuables for 8,000 + strong slave army, then when the slaves understood she was their master, she commanded them to kill every slaver in the city and free all the slaves. Her dragons flew into the sky breathing fire all around while the people chanted, “Dracarys!”
I am certain the Unsullied will always behave like slaves, or at least it will take them a long time to learn how to be ‘normal’ again. This will probably be a point of contention between Daenerys and the lords in Westeros. If she becomes Queen, her decision to enlist the slave army, even if she freed them anyway, might come back to haunt her politically.
I’m going to point out that the meme about G. R. R. M. killing off every character seems false.
Of course, I am only on the very first 35% of the third book in a series of five (so far), but so far the only surprise death has been Ned Stark. While many characters have died since the start of A Song of Ice and Fire, most of them were minor characters in the long scheme of things. The death of Maester Luwin, while heart wrenching, did not seem so shocking to me or unnecessary. When I picked up this book series, I was told not to get attached to any character, because they could die. As far as I’m concerned, the only character that has died and made a large impact on my feelings was Ned Stark. Renly Baratheon was minor. Maester Luwin was minor. That maester of Stannis Baratheon was extremely minor. The Stark’s children’s uncle was minor (I assume he is dead).
When I talk about main characters, if I do in this blog, it will always be about prominent characters that are featured in the book. Tyrion, Jon, Arya, Sansa, Catelyn, Jaime (recent), Davos, Dany, and any other POV character I am missing. If any of them die it will be shocking. If Cersei, Joffrey, Stannis, Robb, Tywin, Shae, Bron, Gendry, and Hot Pie die it will be shocking, because they are main characters with their prominent appearances and influence. I suppose its just an issue of which characters seem ‘expendable’ for the plot and which aren’t. The death of a maester is not as grave as the death of a character’s whose POV we see, because that is one less person we can use to understand the politics and movement of the plot. The death of some random sons of Davos is not as serious as the death of say Cersei (if she does die), because Davos’ sons did not have as much influence over the fate of Westeros.
My question is: Who out there feels I am wrong about this? Are there any characters you really liked, other than Ned Stark, that has been offed? Please keep this restricted to the first two books in the series! I would love to know, though, because so far I feel certain none of my favorite characters are going to bite the dust!