July 27, 2011

Reek III

Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy in HBOs Game of Thrones
With great clamor, Ramsay and his dogs as well as some retainers return from a sixteen day long hunt. They were unsuccessful in whatever they were hunting, and Reek is afraid that the angry Ramsay might do him harm. Luckily, Ramsay just orders a feast from their involuntary host of a small keep, and Reek is send off to tend the horses together with Big Walder. He tells Reek that Ramsay killed a shepherd they came by, but didn’t find their intended prey. Walder is not overfriendly to Reek, but he doesn’t partake in the cruel japes Little Walder and Ramsay’s bastards are engaging. 

At the feast, Reek is chained at a distant corner of the hall since his smell disturbs the feasters. The feast itself is likely to ruin the winter provisions of their host and his people, but there is nothing to  be done against the wishes of Ramsay, as Reek knows. Two of Ramsay’s bitches engage a dog of their host’s and tear him to pieces right there, when Roose Bolton arrives. He immediately commands the hall to be emptied entirely, complaining that Ramsay hasn’t found the missing Freys. He explicitly commands that Reek stays. 

July 25, 2011


Melisandre of Asshai
Melisandre is in her chambers. Fires and candles are burning. Every one of her servants has to learn at first that these fires must never be allowed to go out. She turns to the fire in the hearth to use it for her visions. At first, she sees eyeless faces, then towers by the sea, swallowed up by the tide, then winged shadows before a blue sky. She tries to find Stannis and some trace of him, but she doesn’t succeed, instead witnessing a wooden white face with thousand red eyes around it and a boy-wolf howling beside it. She then sees skulls, and Jon’s face in between them. She again tries to concentrate on Stannis, but she only gets Jon, seeing him to change from man to wolf and then to man again. She also hears Jon’s name, along with the names Melony and Lot Seven. She then breaks up the vision, thinking that the skulls signify death and that she already tried to warn Jon about the danger. 

She muses about Devan then, who was left behind to serve her. She asked Stannis to leave him here to protect Davos from further grief, but she knows that neither will thank her. Her guards are the lowest of all, and she knows that they won’t protect her in the case of danger, but she trusts in R’hollor. When Devan comes in to feed the fire, he asks her if she wants food, which she agrees to, and he leaves again. Melisandre acknowledges the need to keep up certain premises, and while she doesn’t need food due to the powers of R’hollor, other people shouldn’t know. 

July 24, 2011

Daenerys V

Daenerys Targaryen (Artwork by Amoka)
Daenerys is counting the ships sailing up and down the river, confusing the number and concluding that it doesn’t matter since the enemy has brought Meereen down anyway. Groleo, her admiral, comes forward and complains about the situation, urging her to unleash the dragons on the enemy ships. Dany has nothing of it, telling him to build new ships which Groleo declines. When he leaves, Ser Barristan reports that the food situation is good since Meereen is planting crops and the Lhazaareen are sending food too. When Dany asks about the training of knights, Barristan proudly reports that at least five of them, maybe a dozen, may have it in them to receive the honor. 

Skahaz, the Shavepate, then comes and reports that Hizdahr zo Loraq has now visited the eleventh pyramid and that the killings have stopped for near thirty days now. He doesn’t trust him and suspects that he is in truth the Harpy, urging Dany to allow him to inter and torture him to find out the truth. Dany denies it, knowing full well the worth of a confession got under torture. Skahaz then produces a list of the captains of the ships besieging Meereen, telling her that everyone has kin in the city and that she should take them hostage and force the captains to relieve the city. Dany declines again, since this would mean civil war and disturb her shaky order. 

July 23, 2011

Davos IV

Davos Seaworth (Artwork by Amoka)
Davos is interred for days now in the White Harbor prison, called the Wolf’s Den. He is bored by the routine, but treated properly. His food is good, better even than the goaler’s, he has parchment and quill and ink and a book to read, and his bed is halfway comfortable. He knows that something’s not right, since he should be dead already and not be treated that good, but he doesn’t quite know what it is. The goaler Garth always call him “the dead man”, not reassuring him that much, but there is nothing he can do about to it. He likes the other two goalers better, Therry and one Ser Bartimus. 

The latter told him of the history of the Wolf’s Den. The prison-fortress constitutes the oldest part of White harbor, being occupied by some offspring of the Stark family perished in a rebellion many centuries ago. Later the fortress was held by others, among them some slavers from the Free Cities using a period of weak kings in the north, before the Manderlys took it and the evolving city of White Harbor as their seat. After recalling the history, Davos writes a letter to his wife, making amends for not being there and telling her that he loved her, and after that to his son Devan, urging him to be good and to become a good man. He is not yet finished when Robett Glover comes in to fetch him. 

July 18, 2011

Jon VI

Lord Commander Jon Snow and Ghost
Jon talks to Alliser Thorne, commanding him to a ranging. Thorne talks back at him, telling him that he’s master-at-arms, not a ranger, but Jon will have nothing of it, telling him that he’ll have seasoned rangers with him. Thorne tells him that he wouldn’t make Slynt’s mistake, but that if the Others killed him, he would return as a wight, remembering and slaying Jon. 

Jon then leaves his rooms, going out to the training yard. There he commands the actual master-at-arms to point out his best three recruits and to set them against him simultaneously. Jon fights the three recruits, showing him their mistakes while he is at it and ultimately besting them. When he is finished, Rattleshirt, who has watched the combat, challenges Jon to fight him, and Jon tells him that Stannis should have burned him, not Mance. Rattleshirt tells him that the queen burned exactly whom she had to burn for all the world to see. Jon agrees to the fight. Rattleshirt takes on a two-handed sword against Jon’s long sword and shield, fighting him hard and nearly defeating him. When Jon’s shield is hacked to splinters, he charges Rattleshirt and brings him down, but the Lord of Bones gets on top of him and hits his head on the ground, then ripping his visor open and telling him that if he’d a dagger, Jon would be dead. Jon yields to him. 

July 17, 2011

Tyrion VII

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones
Tyrion is bound and thrown over the back of a horse like a sack of wheat. He and his captor Jorah Mormont have reached Volantis. After the traditional rub over the head, the guards admit Tyrion and Ser Jorah to the city. The city stinks badly, Tyrion observes, and much of its once great size now lies in ruins, product of wars centuries past. Tyrion asks Jorah if they are to go to a brothel, since he could use one, but Jorah denies him and tells him to shut up if he doesn’t want to get his fist, which has happened several times these past days. Tyrion goes back to observe his surroundings and finds strange fascination in the omnipresent elephants, some of which are large and grey, but most of them small, white and put before carts. 

They pass the temple of R’hollor, which seems to be the main temple of the cult, enormous in size, almost thrice the Great Sept of Baelor. Currently, the High Priest Benerro is holding ceremony, and especially the slaves are attending it. The priest uses fire tricks to give his sermon additional spice, producing flames from his fingers and fiery Valyrian glyphs into the air. The sermon is about Daenerys and her dragons, and Tyrion, who doesn’t really speak Volantene, can only make out “doom” and “dragons”. At a blacksmith, Tyrion is freed from his ties, but instantly wrought in irons as to prevent him from escaping. Jorah sells his horse, and Tyrion concludes that he wants to buy passage on a ship to Westeros. Jorah then leads the way through the big crowd. 

The Wayward Bride

Asha Greyjoy
Asha Greyjoy stands in Deepwood Motte. She receives a letter from Ramsay Bolton, and when she opens it, a piece of dried leather falls out. The text is written in the blood of the Ironmen who defended Moat Cailin, and she is told that she will be next. The dry leather is actually a piece of Theon’s flayed skin, with Ramsay saying that he sent other pieces to other Ironborn as well. Tris Botley, having grown a beard in the meantime, told her that the Boltons will make for Torrhen’s Square, currently held by Dagmer Cleftjaw, and after their undoubtable victory there will marsh on Deepwood Motte. 

Then an Ironborn names Qarl comes in. She is in love with Qarl, who forces her to sex while she violently defends herself against him. She enjoys the brutal sex, but after it her minds wander off. She remembers the last summer, when everything seemed good and she could enjoy the islands. Now she is wed to Eric Ironmaker, the old contester for the throne she insulted at the Kingsmoot, at command of her uncle Euron. She defied uncle and husband both and returned to Deepwood Motte with a few loyal men, but her position has become more or less hopeless. 

July 15, 2011

The Windblown

Quentyn Martell (Copyright by FFG)
Quentyn Martell, posing as the sellsword “Frog”, sits in the camp of the mercenary company “The Windblown”. The talk is that the unit will marsh to Yunkai before the day is out to re-supply from the campaign against Astapor and then marsh on Meereen. He recalls that the Windblown are a young mercenary company by the standards of the Stormcrows or the Golden Company, but they have a fearsome reputation, being led all the thirty years of their existence by a colorful individual styling himself the “Tattered Prince”, the only of the six original founders still living.

Quentyn does not like the ruse he’s part of. He poses as the squire to Ser Gerris Drinkwater, since he is more safe in battle squiring than actually knighting, but he feels it’s below his station and he would prefer to do something real. In his head he ponders thoughts about his bride-to-be, Daenerys Targaryen, of whom wild rumors are abound. She is said to be mad, killing and lying as a habit, being cruel and bloodthirsty. He asks himself if she truly is the child of Aerys II, and if so, what he is to do then. His father gave him no advice for that. His thoughts then wander to the conquered Astapor, which is like a city from hell, corpses and half-starved people everywhere, most buildings burning. The defeat was devastating for the Astapori. He also remembers getting his crude equipment from the “company steel”, obviously used armor whose former bearer had died. 

July 13, 2011

The Lost Lord

Lord Jon Connington
Jon Connington is aboard the Shy Maid, angrily and impatiently awaiting the return of Haldon, who was sent to acquire three horses. Connington is angry about Haldon for letting Tyrion escape and doesn’t trust him anymore. He intends to take Aegon and Duck and to ride out to the Golden Company which is encamped nearby. Lemore advices against this, saying that they hid Aegon for so long and that they haven’t met Daenerys yet. Connington remembers his own days with the Company, thinking fondly of its now dead commander Myles Toyne. He then tells Lemore that he made his decision, thinking that she was brought into the party to teach Aegon religion, not to bring him into his throne, which would be his task. 

When Aegon emerges on the deck, wearing rich cloth in red and black, looking like a prince, they have a short talk about trust. Aegon tells Connington that Tyrion told him to trust no one, and Connington agrees that it is not the worst course; he counsels him to go a middle-way, however, being tight with his trust giving it only to those who earned it, but being openhearted with these precious few. Aegon seems to take the advice. When Haldon finally returns, they mount their horses and make for the camp of the Golden Company. 

Daenerys IV

Daenerys Targaryen (Artwork by Amoka)
Galazza Gahare, the Green Grace, comes visiting Daenerys. With her she has a swarm of children in white, noble offspring traditionally serving for the temple for a while. When Daenerys greets her, she makes sure that the hostages serving as pages and cupbearers are clearly visible. When they both sit down, their discussion comes shortly to politics and war after some superfluous courtesies. Tolos and Mantarys have joined the Yunkish alliance, further enhancing the number of enemies that are at war against Daenerys. This is not the only problem, however. Daenerys thinks about attacks on the Brazen Beasts, her new city watch, which continue despite all efforts, and that she hasn’t taken to kill hostages as yet, despite the urgings of the Shavepate. 

The talk then changes to the subject of Astapor. Cleon the Great was slain by his own soldiers after commanding a sally against the besieging Yunkish army, and his successor Cleon II. suffered a similar fate only eight days later. Now there are two rulers, a king and a queen, and their followers fight each other in the streets while the Yunkish only wait. Dany doesn’t really want to hear the horror stories, and so they change subject once again. The Green Grace counsels Dany to marry a noble of Ghiscari blood as to reconcile the city with her rule and to stop the attacks. Even more important, such a marriage would open a chance for peace with Yunkai, it is believed. When Daenerys asks whom of the nobles she should marry, Galazza proposes Hizdahr zu Loraq, who conveniently waits below. The Green Grace then leaves Daenerys so she can talk to Hizdahr. 

July 12, 2011

Tyrion VI

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Tyrion was pulled out of the water by Jon Connington and after that washed with vinegar, to reduce the danger of an infection with grayscale. Haldon gives him a knife and commands him to prick every toe and finger to check for numbness, a sign of the plague. Luckily, there is none to be found. Tyrion gets a first chance to look around. The boat is in another city, Selhoris, and Aegon is on board. He is told that Dothraki warriors are in the vicinity, and it’s therefore dangerous to let Aegon leave the ship. Aegon doesn’t understand the security measure and claims to slay every Dothraki who crosses his way. 

To kill time and to deflect Aegon’s thoughts, Tyrion challenges him into a game of cyvasse. While they are playing, they are talking. Aegon explains that Varys exchanged him as a babe, when the Lannisters stormed the city, buying the other babe from a drunkard of Flee Bottom for a flask of Arbor Gold. Tyrion then challenges Aegon about Daenerys. It becomes clear that the boy imagines that she will obediently marry him and give her forces to him, so Tyrion makes it clear what she has gone through and accomplished all on her own and that Aegon won’t be her savior. He then hammers home his prime lesson, to trust no one, not even his closest friends and advisors, in order to survive. 

July 10, 2011

Jon V

Lord Commander Jon Snow and Ghost
Jon wakes up over his books. The candle is burned down, so he fell asleep over his work again. He muses about the chaos in the library and that he would need the books sorted, but there is no one to perform the task, since they all can’t read or write. He also muses about Clydas being a bad substitute for Aemon, having little knowledge and even less wisdom. He analyzes the mood in Castle black as strange, since everyone seems to wait for something to happen as there is no word yet of Stannis. 

When he sets off for the day’s work, Bowen Marsh falls in beside his horse and tells him that he doesn’t like what Jon intends to do. Jon replies that the castles are all seriously undermanned and need to be garrisoned, and that he wants to reopen three other castles as soon as possible. Jon observes that the wound Marsh has taken has hardened his attitudes, and that the Lord Steward is overcautious. He also can see clearly that most good men of the Watch are dead, and that they seriously lack men of skill. He tells Marsh that Lord Commander Mormont wasn’t slain by wildlings but by black brothers whom he trusted. 

Reek II

Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy in HBO's Game of Thrones
Reek is sat upon an old, scrawny horse, terrified not to fall down or to fail in another way. He tries to remind himself who he is, what he is, that he is Reek, and no one else, and worthless. Being sent on his way, he tries to concentrate on the task before him: to deliver a castle to Roose Bolton. As he rides down the causeway, it quickly becomes clear that it is Moat Cailin that needs delivery. Reek remembers that he has ridden down that way before, in the host of Robb Stark, instantly reminding himself that it wasn’t him but another man with which he is not identical. He was born in the dungeons of the Dreadfort, he reminds himself. 

Riding into the broken towers of Moat Cailin, Reek observes how strong defendable the fortress still is, with good line-of-sight on the other towers to fire arrows. He has a peace banner with him, clutching it with his maimed hands, half hoping to be shot and to have his sorrows ended then and there. He calls for admission to talk and is let into the biggest tower, ushered in as someone from another tower shoots at him, obviously against the intentions of the others. In the room he stands it he faces a degenerated Ironman and a corpse. The Ironman tells him that he “bog devils” are attacking them constantly, gnawing at their strength, and seems not quite to understand what Reek wants or who he claims to be – the son of Lord Balon and heir to the Iron Islands. Reek reminds himself again that that’s a lie and that he’s Reek, but the Ironman allows him to see the commander of the tower, finally.
The commander lies on his sickbed, with swollen limbs and head, poisoned and rotting, but not yet dead. Even Reek is aghast. Since the leader, Ralf Kenning, is in no condition to give orders or to recuperate anytime soon, Reek takes his sword and kills him, demanding to be admitted to the second-in-command. The Ironman leads him into a big room, where once Robb had conferred with his lords, and where now about two dozen Ironmen are feasting. Most of them are Codds, by the look of their arms, a minor house of the Iron Islands not well liked by the others. 

Davos III

Davos Seaworth (Artwork by Amoka)
Davos is fetched from his cell by a knight who announces that he now might see Lord Manderly. The knight, upon being asked by Davos, presents himself as Marlon Manderly, cousin to the lord. While they march out of the Wolf’s Den and over to the New Castle, Davos reflects on being imprisoned rather than accepted as lord and envoy of king Stannis. They walk through a long hall, being decorated with the prows of ancient ships and other trophies of valor from the family of Manderly. The throne room’s doors are guarded by two statues of merling kings. 

The throne itself, to which Davos is now admitted, is also decorated by elements of sea and seafaring. On the dais, an enormous throne contains the abnormally fat Lord Wyman Manderly. To his despair, Davos has to see that the whole court has taken attendance, including the Frey envoys, who would kill him in an instant given the chance. Davos observes that Manderly looks bad, half a corpse, totally tired and sagging into his throne. Behind him sit two women, one fat and pink, the other a young girl with a braid dyed green. To Manderly’s right, Ser Marlon Manderly takes his seat, to his left stands a maester, equally fat, with a head of blond curls. 

July 08, 2011

Tyrion V

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones
The Shy Maid is making its way through deep and thick fogs, down the river Rhoyne. While Duck, Yandry and Young Griff pole the boat away from obstacles, Tyrion watches the fire and Yssila steers. They talk about the mists, said to be a product of Garin’s curse. Garin was once captured in treason and hanged in a cage, and he cursed his captors, and the whole city drowned with him when the gods heeded his prayer. It is said that Garin is the fables Shrouded Lord, the commander of the stone men that live in the ruins of the drowned city that later in the chapter is named Chroyane. 

The talk shifts to the stone men. They are all plagues by grayscale, a common disease in the area, and exiled here. Many of them are already blinded by it, and those who have it the longest have gone mad and are dangerous, while the rest normally stays away. The disease can sometimes turn into the much more deadly grey plague. Children, however, can survive the plague. When they talk about the danger of being attacked by the stone men, Young Griff declares that he could defeat them all, but septa Lemore scolds him for the vanity he displays. They encounter a ship in the fogs, exchanging news as they sail by, and learn that Volantis prepares for war, which clearly displeases Griff, who mentions that Illyrio bribed the triarch Nyerssos, an elephant, sufficiently, who now works together with triarch Maloqo, a tiger. 

Jon IV

Lord Commander Jon Snow and Ghost
Jon Snow and Dolorous Edd are making their way through the subterranean tunnels under Castle Black, called the wormways, to inspect the food supplies of the Watch. At a crossing of four wormways, they meet Bowen Marsh, who takes them to the storage rooms. Wick Whittlefield is with him, assisting him as they count. There are supplies of cheese, corn, wheat, turnips, spices and other things. As they progress through the rooms, the air gets colder, until there are beneath the Wall, where the meat is stored and frozen for years. As yet, there is no problems with stealing, but Bowen Marsh advices Jon to post guards. 

When the count is done, Jon is impressed by the sheer numbers of storages. Bowen Marsh tells him that they had a bountiful summer, and the lords were generous, but with all the wildlings and Stannis’ men to feed, the provisions will last for perhaps a year, but not longer, and they will all starve soon. He advices Jon to go on winter rations, cutting the ration of each man by a quarter, and Jon agrees. He suggests that they should send the rangers out in the Haunted Forest to hunt and thereby improve their supplies, but Bowen Marsh strongly disagrees, pointing out the risk with all the wildlings still out there and once more making a point of sealing the gates. Jon thinks about the matter. It divides the Watch currently, with nearly all rangers being against it and stewards and builders for it. The advantage would lie in the impregnability of the Wall, but the rangers say they have too few men to secure it against climbers or a concentrated attack on the Bridge of Skulls. 

Daenerys III

Daenerys Targaryen (Artwork by Amoka)
Naked dancers are performing a show in Daenerys’ court room. Many watch the arousing show, and Dany is not left untouched herself. Next to her sits Xaro Xhoan Daxos. The Qartheen merchant has come from the city to treat with her, bringing a fleet with him. Dany’s hopes are lifted, as his arrival promises the reopening of trade routes and a better fortune for Meereen. She also got word from Daario, who stroke an alliance with the Lhazareen and thereby secured food trade by land. The Shavepate has founded a new city watch, the Brazen Beasts, who wear beast masks to hide their identity since the Sons of the Harpy have set a bounty on Daenerys’ head and promised retribution against the families of everyone who served her. 

When the dancers finish, Dany starts talking with Xaro. He overflows her with the usual compliments, again proposing marriage to her, which Daenerys declines. Xaro instead insists on reopening the slave trade. Dany declines this, pointing out that slavery is a gruesome fate and that no one would take it voluntarily. Xaro points out, however, that a friend of his approached him and pleaded to buy him as to escape Meereen, and engages in a philosophical argument of the need for slaves in order to create true culture and civilization. Dany is unable to really bring forth a good argument against this. When she comes to the subject of trade, Xaro asks her what she means to trade. Meereen has only three goods left, bad wines, salt and copper, none of which brings profit. The only thing Qarth would have been interested in are olives, but the slavers burned the trees when Dany approached. 

Davos II

Davos Seaworth (Artwork by Amoka)
Davos has arrived at White Harbor, leaving the ship posing as an ordinary sailor. He looks around the outlining of the city. The fortifications have been improved, smoke is rising from the Seal Rock, implying hard work to be done there, the walls are manned and the Wolf’s Den is garrisoned as well. The direwolf doesn’t fly above the walls anymore, but neither does the lion. In the harbor, Davos spots the warship “Lionstar”, with which the Freys went to White Harbor, and his hopes die a bit since he hoped that the ship sunk. People are talking about the situation and that Manderly would never throw his lot in with Bolton, but Davos knows the talk for the talk it is. 

He walks onto the first yard, where market is held around the statue of some past lord, only called Old Fishfoot. There he buys a bad apple from a merchant and talks to him, eating the apple, questioning him about the latest tidings. Many fugitives are in the city, seeking refuge from Ramsay Bolton and his army, and Manderly trains troops with every able man he can found, obviously preparing for something. It is not clear, however, whom he means to join. 

Tyrion IV

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones
Tyrion sleeps badly, if at all. After the mess he made of himself, Griff forbade him wine aboard the Shy Maid, so he can hardly sleep at all, since he never slept that good to begin with even on feather beds. It’s still dark when he wakes, and he tries to rub an ache out from his legs. Since he sleeps on the cabin roof, nights are even more uncomfortable than anyway. Tyrion comes upon Griff, who had the night watch, and shortly talks to him. The sellsword doesn’t like him, however, and quickly goes below deck, leaving the watch to Tyrion. 

As the sun rises, Septa Lemore is the first to appear on the deck. The septa in the mid-forties is a handsome appearance and gets naked to bath, which makes Tyrion horny. They tease each other a bit before Yandry and Ysilla, the owners of the boat, appear and start making a breakfast of biscuits and bacon. Tyrion takes a piss with Duck, saying that the Rhoyne doesn’t look that impressive. Yandry angrily interrupts him, telling him that the Rhoyne becomes much larger downriver. Tyrion doesn’t really believe him and has his breakfast. After, Duck and Young Griff train sword fighting. When Young Griff tackles Duck over the ship in the water, Tyrion teases him, so Duck throws him in the water as well. 

July 07, 2011

Bran II

Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark in HBO's Game of Thrones
The small party is making its way through deep snows and cold, hostile environments. Before them, a hill with a steep slow emerges, which the ranger declares as their destination. They are all weary, but everyone feels something’s amiss, too. The ranger warns them that “they” are here, and that one can feel the cold coming along with them. They don’t know where they are, though, and it’s impossible to track wights, as the ranger states. Their only chance is reaching the hill and the cave in its side, since there’s a fire burning and it’s, as the ranger tells them, guarded. Of the ravens who accompanied them, only few remain now, most of them having left in the previous days. 

They start their ascent. Jojen is too weak to walk by himself now, and Bran can’t, so they make a bad pace through the waist-high snow. When they are already at the cave, suddenly wights attack them, having been buried beneath the snow and now using the opportunity. Hodor tumbles and falls, rolling down the hill with Bran on his back, who is half knocked out. The fall has ripped him from Hodor’s back, who tries to engage a wight, and so Bran decides to try to crawl to the cave. He is soon attacked by a wight, though, and has no chance to defend himself. Luckily, Summer intervenes and attacks the wight. 

July 06, 2011

Reek I

Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy in HBO's Game of Thrones
Down in a dark dungeon, a starved prisoner has finally caught a rat and now eats it raw, ripping it apart with broken teeth. His limbs are thin like weeds, but his stomach is swollen and aching. He is half-mad, fearing that someone might catch him eating the rat and then punishing him for it, like it happened before. When the sound of approaching guards can be heard, the prisoner is stiff with fear, hoping that they will go to some other cell, where he can hear prisoners screaming. He muses that the women always scream loudest.

The guards finally arrive at his cell, opening it, obviously first in a longer time, since the prisoner is not accustomed to light and blinded even by the small lantern. Two boys are standing in the door, chatting lightly over the stink and bad condition the prisoner is in, who himself can’t get any clear thought. It becomes evident that the two are the Walders, the formal wards of Winterfell, and they have been commanded by Ramsay Bolton to bring him up to the throne room. They ask him if he remembers his name, and the prisoner panics again, having forgotten it in the darkness. The Walders remind him that he is Reek.

July 05, 2011

Daenerys II

Daenerys Targaryen (Artwork by Amok)
Daenerys wakes up from a night full of bad dreams. She can hear voices, and a child crying. Soon she has to learn that this night nine Unsullied and freedmen had been killed by the Sons of the Harpy, an unprecedented number. Among the dead Unsullied was the brother of her scribe Missandei, who is the child wailing outside. As always, there are neither witnesses nor hints that could tell who did the deed, and the only lead is the wineseller and his son in whose tavern two of the Unsullied were poisoned. Dany first wants to interrogate him “sweetly”, but after seeing Missandei and hearing the full tale, she decides to question them “sharply”. 

After his incident, she goes back to bed, taking Missandei with her and soothing the girl, who tells her a bit of her home Naath and her brother before falling asleep. Dany is restless, however, and walks through her room. Suddenly, Quaithe is standing in one counter, confessing not being really there. She says she came to warn Dany and to show her the path, before she brings forth some cryptic prophecies yet again. The glass candles are burning. She foretells the arrival of the pale mare, followed by the kraken and the dark flame, the lion and the griffin, the sun’s son and the mummer’s dragon. She then warns Dany to be aware of the fate of the Undying and to who she is, and to beware the perfumed seneschal. After that, she vanishes, not answering Dany’s questions. 

July 04, 2011


Lord Commander Jon Snow and Ghost
Mance Rayder is brought forth from the stockade to be burned. He only wears a light tunic and is dragged to a wooden cage hung over a pit filled with wood. The thousand captive wildlings are watching as well as 200 men of the Night’s Watch, riled up with hoods on, and knights and men-at-arms from Stannis’s host. Melisandre and Val attend as well. When Mance Rayder realizes what fate is waiting for him, he begins to resist and cry out that he is no king, but he is put in the cage nonetheless. Melisandre gives a speech about false gods and false kings and the Horn of Winter, with which Mance intended to bring the darkness. She then burns the horn and uses it to light up the pit below Mance Rayder. 

Burning and suffering, Mance pleads for mercy, denies his kingship, his people, his fate. He curses the gods, Melisandre, Stannis, Jon and the Watch. Finally, Jon puts an end to it and commands arrows to be loosened, which angers Stannis. After Mance is dead and burned, Melisandre leads an uproar of the chant “One king, one god, one country” before Stannis addresses the wildlings. He promises them safety and that he will smash their enemies should they kneel before him and honor the law. Whoever doesn’t will be allowed to go. The stockade is then opened, and the wildlings are given each a weirwood branch to burn, as to forsake the Old Gods. After that, they are escorted through the Wall, where they get soup and bred and a warm place to rest. 

Davos I

Davos Seaworth (Artwork by Amok)
Bound at the wrists, Davos is ushered forward by a guardsman to the keep of Sisterton on Sweetsister, the seat of house Borrell. Davos had tried to buy a smuggler or a fisherman to get him from the island and into White Harbor when the guards caught him. A storm rages over the island, the same storm that has plagued the Lyseni fleet as it made its voyage from the Wall south. When Davos is ushered in the dim lit hall of Lord Godric Borrell, said lord is eating. He demands to know who Davos is, who shows him a piece of cloth with several seals that identifies him as Stannis’ hand, but Borrell wants to see the fingers before he is convinced that it is really Davos. He orders the guard to leave and to forget that Davos was ever there. 

He first suspects that Davos had business on the island, probably trying to rally support, but Davos tells him that he was brought by the storms and lost his way, asking if the lord would let him on his way. Borrell has nothing of it and tries to dig deeper into the whereabouts of the smuggler, but Davos sticks to his stories. In his mind, however, he remembers. We learn that Salladhor Saan finally defected Stannis, being angry about not receiving any payments and having lost half his fleet in the late autumn storms. He makes for Stepstones and then the Free Cities, never to return. On the way, he dropped Davos on the Sisters, courtesy of an old friend. 

Tyrion III

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones
Tyrion and Illyrio finally reach their first destination: the Little Rhoyne, a headstream of the Rhoyne. They meet two men here, one introducing himself as Haldon, also called the Halfmaester, and one Ser Rolly Duckfield, called Duck. Illyrio invites them for a feat, but they want to press on quickly, so he gives Tyrion over to them, introducing him as Yollo. Tyrion himself quickly chooses Hugor Hill as “real” name since he can’t hide his Westerosi accent. Ser Duck soon proves to be a droll companion, being of low birth and knighted by Griff, the sellsword they are heading too. Haldon is an educated man. 

Jon II

Lord Commander Jon Snow and Ghost
A piece of paper lies before Jon, ready for signing it, but Jon doesn’t want to. His final decision is stayed when Dolorous Edd reports that Gilly is outside waiting for him. He bids her in and tells her that Mance Rayder’s son is in dire danger of being burned and that she alone has the power to save him. He then demands of her that they swap children. Gilly cries and pleas, but Jon is adamant, threatening to kill her and her child as well if she does not as he bids her. She tries to sway him in allowing her to take both children, but Jon doesn’t allow it, forcing her to touch the flame of a candle and telling her that’s just a taste of what burning feels like. Devastated, Gilly leaves. 

The next visitor is Sam. Jon demands to know from him how his research in the library about the Others went, and Sam doesn’t have much good news. The history is old and unreliable, and the mentions of the Others are few. He just found outlining of their strengths and weaknesses that they already know about, and some feeble rumors about the cold accompanying them. After the fruitless conversation, Jon tells Sam that he means to send Gilly, the babe, him and Maester Aemon to Oldtown. Sam squirms about the thought, since Tarlys never become Maesters (because of the servant’s chain), but Jon is adamant and orders Sam to obey the order. 

The Merchant's Man

Quentyn Martell (copyright by FFG)
Two Dornishmen are in the harbor of Volantis, trying to hire a smuggler to get them to Meereen. They pose as a merchant and his servant. The servant, watching his “master” conduct the negotiations, is Quentyn Martell. The Dornish have tried to find a ship for some time now, with little success, so they try to stick with the lowlife at hand. The “merchant” is Ser Gerris Drinkwater. They tell the smuggler that they want to sell Dornish wines in Meereen, since their own vintage is so bad, but the smuggler doesn’t really believe them. In the end, they settle for thrice the price of a normal voyage and part ways. 

As the two Dornish make back for the great inn called the “Merchant’s House”, they reflect on their previous journey. When they left Dorne, they were six, but now three of them are dead: Cletus Yronwood, Maester Kedry and William Wells were killed by corsairs on the voyage to Volantis, leaving only Drinkwater, Quentyn and Ser Archibald Yronwood. They want to propose a marriage between Daenerys and Quentyn. From the smuggler, they have learned that Astapor and Yunkai are in open war, and that Meereen is expected to be sucked into it soon. 

Tyrion II

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister (in HBO's Game of Thrones)
Tyrion and Illyrio are leaving Pentos in a closed litter. No one is to know that he was ever hear, the magister insists. They are marking their way east, to the river Rhoyne, where they are to part ways. Tyrion shall meet a sellsword named Griff there who will bring him to Volantis. Talking as they are going on, Tyrion inquires about Daenerys. Illyrio doesn’t tell him much, and quickly Tyrion tries to find out what stakes the magister has in the whole venture, but Illyrio just remarks that he wants to defend her birthright and is a friend to the family, which Tyrion doesn’t believe one second. Instead of digging deeper, he asks Illyrio about his common history with Varys. 

Bran I

Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark (in HBO's Game of Thrones)
We meet Bran, Hodor, Summer, Meera, Jojen and Coldhands riding through the snow. Meera and Jojen sit behind Coldhands on the elk, while Bran rides in his basket on Hodor’s back. The weather is ghastly. Much snow has fallen, and an ice cold wind from the north bites deep into them. Hodor’s beard is frozen, ice covers all cloth. Jojen is sick, weak from cold and hunger. His sister tries to shield him from the cold, but she is not really successful. His condition worsens as they progress north. Summer is still hurt; his leg wound from the fight with the Thenns never really healed. 

July 03, 2011

Jon I

Lord Commander Jon Snow and Ghost
The chapter starts with Ghost feeding on his prey and running through the woods somewhere south of the Wall, supposedly in the surroundings of Castle Black. He listens to other wolves howling at the moon, which is constantly whispering “Snow”. As the whispering continues and the wolf gets irritated, we recognize together with Jon that it’s the Old Bear’s raven who croaks “Jon” all the time and wakes him up. Jon is seated in the old quarters of Donal Noye since Stannis occupies the King’s Tower and the Lord Commander’s Tower burned down in the battle. His personal steward at the time is Dolorous Edd, who is gloomy as ever. On the table rests a document that, if signed, would give all castles except the three currently garrisoned over to Stannis to as he pleases. Clearly, Jon doesn’t want to sign it. 

He immediately leaves for Stannis, who requested his presence. First he passes the stockades in which over a thousand wildlings is currently held. These wildlings were the ones who were either captured in the battle or have yielded since. Stannis intent is to settle them in the gift, but no move has been made so far. As Jon crosses the yard, he gives advice to some recruits currently being trained there and gets himself a challenge by a knight from Stannis’ retinue, one Ser Godry Farring, styling himself Godry Giantslayer since he killed a giant in the battle. Jon refuses him however, being taunted by the knight. 

Daenerys I

Daenerys Targaryen (Artwork by Amok)
Daenerys sits in her throne room, awaiting the arrival of Grey Worm and some other advisors. Already there is Ser Barristan the Bold, her seneschal Reznak mo Reznak and the “Shavepate” Skahaz mo Kandaq. The Shavepates are a new movement in Meereen, the collaborators making their new affiliation public by shaving their heads instead of producing the enormous hair styles the Meereenese normally favor. A body was found at night, one of her Unsullied, murdered by at least six unknown attackers and left with goat genitals in his throat and the sign of the harpy. We learn that a terrorist movement named “The Sons of the Harpy” plagues Dany’s rule in the city and has its root in the Meereenese nobility.

The Unsullied are unequal to the task of protecting the city, but the Dothraki are worse (and therefore used to secure the hinterland of the city) and the Stormcrows try to secure a passage to the Lhazareen, as to get a trade route for food imports. So for the moment, everyone needs to live with the situation of constant terror, and precautions have to be intensified. Dany raises the bounty for hints to the attackers from 100 to a 1000 gold pieces, but no one really believes that this will work, since the Sons of the Harpy consist of the rich merchants and the nobility.

Tyrion I

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in HBO's "Game of Thrones"
Tyrion is cramped in a cabin on some ship, getting mean drunk. He is haunted by his memories and tries to drench them in wine, but he clearly fails. His thoughts are flickering between Tysha, the death of his father, and his last words. “Where whores go” roams his mind as much as a constant headache and sea sickness. While he lies there, he remembers how he left his father’s solar to rejoin Varys, who brought him to the harbor on the ship he is no on. He muses why he didn’t kill Varys, not getting a satisfying answer. 


Varamys Sixskins (copyright by FFG)
Three dogs are hunting. One of them clearly is a warg, and soon we learn that it is Varamyr Sixskins. The wolfs fall upon a group of wildlings and kill them, beasts that they are, in a bloody way. They eat from their flesh, and after that, we are with their master in a small, cold hut somewhere beyond the Wall. Varamyr is hurt, hungry and cold. He has fled after the battle, when Stannis’ knights descended upon the wildlings, and his time has nearly come. Delusional, he remembers his upbringings and tries to think of a way to survive. He knows that he is going to die soon, weak and hurt as his body is, and all he can think about is how to start his “second life”.

July 02, 2011

"A Dance with Dragons" review

Von Stefan Sasse

After the break, you will find a detailed review of "A Dance with Dragons", containg thousands of spoilers. If you don't want to be spoiled, under no circumstances click the break or read beyond this point! You have been warned.