August 18, 2011

Tyrion X

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in HBOs Game of Thrones
Tyrion and Penny are called on the auction block. Slaves are sold right below the walls of Meereen. Tyrion still suffers from whipping wounds receives by the slavers, but he thinks Jorah, who was beaten to the point of death, got it much worse. The auction begins as a great show, and the bids are rising. Their seller is clever, initiating a new round of bidding when it turns down. In the end, two bidders remain, one of them being an obscenely fat Yunkish lord, the other a sellsword. Finally, the Yunkish lord has the bigger purse. Tyrion tries to rise the price again by shouting out his worth, but he only gets laughs and the whip.

A retainer of the Yunkish lord introduces the latter as Yezzan and himself as Nurse. He tells them that they need to obey or be punished, and carries them to the Yunkish camp which is build in a crescent around Meereen. When Tyrion glances Jorah Mormont brought on the auction block behind them, he convinces Nurse that Mormont is an essential part of their show and needs to be bought too. After the deed is done, Tyrion wonders why he did it and muses about that Jorah was broken by the news that Daenerys wed.

In the Yunkish camp, six giant trebuchets are standing and serving as landmarks. A soldier boasts that the sight of them already cowed Dany into peace. Tyrion can smell disease lying over the camp and watches the disposal of plague corpses. When they pass an execution site, where three fugitive slaves are riled up, their train stops and Nurse forces them to watch as some Tolosi slingers train their skills at the helpless slaves, killing them with brutal efficiency. Nurse tells Tyrion and Penny that they will receive the same fate should they try to escape. When they are brought to Yezzan's camp, they are fitted with iron, gilded collars. Mormont is then chained outside the tent, while Tyrion and Penny are ushered in. They realize that Yezzan holds himself a grotesquerie, consisting of a hermaphrodite, a boy with goat legs and other grotesques. The hermaphrodite, Sweet, tells Tyrion that Yezzan is dying from a strange disease for the last ten years and that he rewards anyone who makes him forget this fact even for a little while.

In the evening, Tyrion and Penny are summoned to perform a joust for the guests of Yezzan, who consist of nearly all Yunkish leaders. After, they are ordered to serve the wine. The performance meets the expectations of the guests, and after a while of serving one remembers Tyrion's boasting of how good a cyvasse payer he is. Brown Ben Plumm challenges him for a game, demanding that he wins the dwarves if he wins the game, but Yezzan declines and offers the price he paid in gold instead. Tyrion beats Plumm in four out of five games. He thinks that Ben might be amiable on the outside, but is hungry and weary at the inside, a dangerous man. When the feast dissolves, Tyrion and the others are allowed to eat the rests, and after the clean-up, Nurse anounces that the Yunkish commander wanted to have them for the peace ceremony, where they will joust in the arena before tens of thousands, and that Yezzan has conceded them.

Finally, Tyrion has arrived in Meereen. It was not exactly the way he hoped it would be, to be sure, but he did it nonetheless. The only problem for him now is to escape their newest captors. It is startling to see, in comparison to his first chapters, how aware and active Tyrion is now. His situation is all but desperate, but yet he manages to think clearly and see the positive in every situation - and to exploit it. When Brown Ben Plumm tries to buy him at the auction, he instantly sees it as an opportunity, thinking it easier to turn a mercenary than the likes of Yezzan or Mormont. He will be right with that, of course. As soon as he is in the camp, he again tries to manage an escape. When Brown Ben Plumm challenges the game, he would certainly have lost on purpose if Yezzan would have allowed the wager, but when he doesn't, Tyrion takes care that Plumm stays in need of gold rather than granting it to him.

The Yunkish camp in total stands for everything that Dany hates and fights against, one can summarize. There are slave auctions, brutal and savage punishments, backstabbing and decadence at every corner. Yet the Yunkish obviously got the better of her, and Meereen will open herself to the old traditions once more. The slaves in the Yunkish camps still hope for rescue from Daenerys, since they have not enough intelligence on the situation nor the experience, mind and skill to conclude what happens, but Tyrion does. Would everything go as planned, Daenerys would lose her status as savior quick enough, and a great disappointment would grip all slaves. That won't happen, of course, but not because of Dany's actions. Her seeming pragmatism is bound to cost her everything and to gain her nothing, since Hizdahr's course of action is the complete restoration of old Meereen.

Jorah Mormont is broken for good in the meanwhile. His fate is comparable to Theon's in a way. His mind is totally devestated, all his hopes gone to ash, and physically, he has nothing left, was abused, tortured and marked forever. The bruises might heal in time, but even then he would have the demon's mask tattooed in his face. He wasn't a pretty sight before, but now he is a wreck, inside and outside. There is virtually nothing for him left, and he takes over Tyrion's role from the beginning now in a real reversal of positions, being dragged around without a will of his own. Most likely he would drink himself unconscious too if he was allowed to.

As to side notes, it is interesting to see how Tyrion gets repeatedly hit for witty remarks with which he got away before. Even when he got major disadvantages by showing off his quick sarcasm and wit, for example in the regicide trial, he never was facing them so bluntly as he is in Essos, where his identity as a Lannister - if known or recognized at all - is worth nothing at all and does not protect him. One thinks of him more and more as "Tyrion" while reading the book, not as "Tyrion Lannister" anymore.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, Stefan! I have been meaning to keep up with these posts, but real life gets in the way, alas! I will try and do some catch up posting over the next few days!