Chronologically Ordered Summaries for AFFC & ADWD
The following is a compilation of chapter summaries from A Wiki of Ice and Fire, in the order set forth by All Leather Must Be Boiled, a chronological reading order for books 4 and 5 of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. The summaries below are available under the CC-BY-SA license.
Prologue (Varamyr): ADWD 1
After the kill the warg returns to his human body. He is Varamyr Sixskins and is seriously wounded. Like other free folk, he had fled after their defeatat Castle Black. Varamyr burned when his eagle was killed and he lost his cloaks and rings. After he robbed a dead woman of her cloak, her son stabbed him. His companion, Thistle, has sewn the wound together but it is too serious and Varamyr knows he is dying.
He thinks back over his youth when he was still called Lump. As a youth he had slipped into one of his father’s dogs. The dogs killed Bump, his little brother, and Varamyr remembers his brother looking at him and knowing. Because his father did not know which dog had killed Bump, he killed them all. When the last dog was killed, Lump — who was in him — screamed, which made his father understand his son’s ability. His parents then brought Lump to Haggon, another skinchanger. Haggon raised Lump and taught him about skinchangers, although Lump did not adopt his morals, particularly regarding what Haggon describes as abominations: eating the flesh of man while inside an animal, mating with a beast while inside one, and seizing the body of a human. When Haggon died, Varamyr drove him out of his wolf Greyskin to claim the wolf for himself.
Later Varamyr adopted more animals and became Varamyr Sixskins. He established himself as a kind of lord, taking tribute in food and using his animals to bring him women from nearby villages.
Varamyr wakes up from his memories when Thistle returns. As he knows that his body is dying, he turns on his companion to take over her body. She struggles and eventually manages to escape his control. As he dies, he half regrets trying to take over Thistle’s body, but also half regrets failing at that. He awakens in the body of one of his wolves. Later his pack discovers Thistle. Frozen blood clings to her — she has become a wight. As her blue eyes stare into his wolf eyes he knows she sees him …
Prologue (Pate): AFFC 1
Pate sits with his fellow students, Mollander, Alleras, Armen, and Roone, at the Quill and Tankard in Oldtown. He yearns for Rosey, the pretty daughter of a serving maid, a fifteen-year-old girl whose maidenhead can only be had for a gold coin. The other students discuss dragons, and whether there are still any in existence. Pate is waiting for an alchemist who has promised to meet him there that evening. The Alchemist has offered to change iron into gold, requesting that Pate steal a particular iron item in exchange for some gold, and said he would be back in three days to make the exchange.
Mollander and Armen continue their argument about dragons. Mollander says that sailors’ tales speak of dragons in far places, often accompanied by a young queen. Alleras keeps splitting thrown apples with his arrows. After the last, he brings up the Targaryens, telling the others that Viserys Targaryen’s sister Daenerys is still alive. Mollander drunkenly toasts her, only to be shushed by Armen.
Lazy Leo appears then. Mollander bristles at his appearance, Armen asking more diplomatically whether Leo wasn’t confined to the Citadel for three more days, but Leo shrugs this off with a quip on the meaninglessness of time. He asks them to buy him a drink, since he lost his money gambling and eating elsewhere. He offends them each in turn, then attempts to mollify them by confirming that Daenerys is alive and has hatched three dragons, as the tales come out of Qarth. Archmaester Marwyn even gives them credence, Leo says. Marwyn, called “The Mage”, is widely considered unsound, partly because of his practice of speaking to smallfolk and other unwholesome people. After the others scoff, Leo adds that there is a dragonglass candle burning in Marwyn’s chambers.
The group breaks up after that, most of the students returning to the Citadel. Pate remains with Leo, hoping that the alchemist will still come by. Leo needles Pate a few times about Rosey. Pate wishes he could kill Leo, but Leo is a Tyrell, with relatives in positions of power. He sees the sun rising, and realizes that the night is over and the alchemist has not come. He leaves, with a final warning to Leo to leave Rosey alone.
Pate wanders through Oldtown in the early morning. After nearly being run down by a cart, he sees the alchemist standing over him. He tells Pate that he didn’t want to intrude on him and his friends. He has asked Pate to steal something from Archmaester Walgrave’s quarters. Pate opened the box under Walgrave’s bed, and found an Archmaester’s iron key which supposedly opened every lock in the Citadel; after wrestling with his conscience, he took it, as well as a sack of silver coins.
He asks the Alchemist for his gold dragon coin, and the alchemist bids him follow him someplace more private. They go through several winding streets and end up in an alley. The Alchemist gives Pate the coin, but the boy hesitates before offering up the key. He asks the Alchemist’s intentions, which he will not say, and asks to see his face, which is nondescript. After giving the key to the Alchemist, he turns away, feeling light-headed, and collapses dead on the cobblestones a few moments later.
The Prophet (Aeron I): AFFC 2
Aeron Greyjoy, who in the chapter is referred to as “the prophet”, is drowning men at a beach on Great Wyk. This a practice in which a worshiper of the Drowned God is held below the water until he drowns. The priest then resuscitates him. Through this initiation the person is stronger:
“What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger.” –Aeron Damphair 
Gormond Goodbrother appears to bring Aeron to Lord Gorold Goodbrother. Aeron initially declines but relents when the messenger tells him the king, Aeron’s brother, is dead. During the journey Aeron remembers his brothers. His father married three times. The sons of his first wife died young. The eldest son from his second marriage was the strongest and fiercest of the remaining. Aeron admired Balon although they were not close in their youth.
When they arrive at Lord Goodbrother’s hall at Hammerhorn, Aeron demands that everyone in the hall be sent away so that he and Gorold Goodbrother can speak privately. Lord Goodbrother insists that his maester will stay as well. Aeron disagrees and prepares to leave, but the maester stops him by informing him thatEuron Greyjoy has occupied the Seastone Chair. Aeron is shocked. He remembers his brother but with little love. Goodbrother wants advice on whom to support, but Aeron wants to pray first and leaves for Pebbleton.
Again Aeron thinks back to his youth. He was not a very religious man but rather a drunken sod. This changed when he fell overboard in a sea battle during Balon’s Rebellion. He almost drowned and became a devoted follower of the Drowned God. Aeron has discussed the succession with Balon. Though Balon wanted his daughter, Asha, to succeed him, Aeron did not agree with having a woman rule the Iron Islands. Theon is a weakling and probably dead. Balon’s eldest brother, Euron, is ungodly and Aeron hates him. Thus Aeron makes up his mind; it must be Victarion.
A few days later, Aeron has arrived at Pebbleton and starts to preach. Asha has also claimed the throne. Now Aeron’s followers and a number of lords look to him for advice on whom to support. During his preaching, he finds his inspiration: the Ironmen should elect the king in a Kingsmoot as they did in the old days. Every captain is to go to Nagga’s Hill on Old Wyk, the ancient place where the old kings were chosen. Aeron hears his followers take up his call and knows he has done the right thing.
The Captain of Guards (Areo I): AFFC 3
Prince Doran has been at the Water Gardens for nearly two years now, watching the children play in the pools while trying to deal with his gout. Captain Areo Hotahhears the approach of Obara Sand, eldest of the Red Viper’s bastard daughters, and bars her from disturbing Prince Doran’s rest. Deadly as she may be, she is no match for the Captain, but the Prince calls her into his presence before they come to blows. Obara demands justice for her father, imploring Prince Doran to marshal the Dornish army and give half to her so she might march on Oldtown and burn it to the ground, and the other half to her half-sister Lady Nym to march up the Kingsroad. Doran tells her that his brother was not murdered, but died in single combat, and that LordTywin has promised them Ser Gregor’s head. Unappeased, Obara mocks her uncle for his meekness and stalks off after he tells her to await his word in Sunspear. Fearing an uprising in Sunspear incited by the Sand Snakes, Prince Doran tells Hotah that he must return to his seat at the Palace of the Sun. The Captain reminds him that Princess Myrcella is there, and that Ser Arys Oakheart sends letters to Queen Cersei. Hotah thinks that he and the Kingsguard will eventually cross swords, and when that occurs the Captain will kill him.
The next morning, the prince and his retinue begin the journey back to Sunspear, but along the way they come upon another of the Sand Snakes. The beautiful Lady Nym is far more tactful than her older half-sister, but no less resolved to seek vengeance for her father. Scoffing at Obara’s demand to go to war, Lady Nym tells her uncle that she needs only her sister Tyene, and the two will assassinate Cersei, Jaime, Lord Tywin and King Tommen. Stating that his brother was only to take the measure of Joffrey’s court and not seek revenge for Elia despite the seventeen years that have passed, Nymeria responds in parting, “My sisters and I shall not wait ten-and-seven years for our vengeance.”
Arriving in Sunspear, the prince’s retinue is accosted by townspeople calling for vengeance for the Red Viper. In the Old Palace, Princess Arianne greets her father and tells him that Tyene Sand awaits him in the throne room. The third of the Sand Snakes is embroidering when the captain encounters her while bearing Prince Doran to his high seat. Tyene offers her uncle the cloth she is knitting, which shows her father mounted on a sand steed, so that he will not forget the Red Viper. Prince Doran responds, “I am not like to forget your father.” Tyene counsels her uncle to wed his son Trystane to Myrcella now, and then crown the princess as is theDornish way. This would incite the Queen Regent and Highgarden to march on Dorne, where the prince’s armies could bleed them in the high passes and treacherous deserts. When she calls her uncle fearful, Doran advises her, “There is a difference between fear and caution.” Tyene raises her hand to touch her uncle, but Hotah brings the butt of his longaxe down on the marble floor, and cautions her, “My lady, you presume. Step from the dais, if it please you.” The Sand Snake replies that she meant no harm and loves her uncle, he loved his brother. After she takes her leave, Maester Caleotte rushes to the Prince’s side to make sure he was not pricked by one of Tyene’s needles.
Shortly after, Prince Doran commands the captain to round up and confine all the Sand Snakes, including Ellaria’s young daughters, in the cells at the top of the Spear Tower, but with no blood spilled. When Hotah tells him that the common folk will howl when they find out, the Prince of Dorne replies, “All Dorne will howl. I only pray Lord Tywin hears them…so he might know what a loyal friend he has in Sunspear.”
Cersei I: AFFC 4
Cersei dreams that she rules from the Iron Throne and courtiers are paying her tribute. But the pleasant dream turns into a nightmare when Tyrion appears and ridicules her, making the great lords, proud ladies and young knights snigger at her as well. She notices she is naked and tries to cover up. Hasty moves make her wound herself on the spikes and blades of the Iron Throne and soon she is engulfed in a mortal combat with the throne that is trying to rip the flesh off her.
She is woken up by her frightened maid Senelle, accompanied by armed men who have arrived to deliver the news of Lord Tywin’s murder. Cersei is still drowsy and believes this to be part of her nightmare. For a moment, she mistakes theKingsguard knight who has been sent by the Lord Commander for Jaime himself and expects Tyrion to crawl from under her bed to laugh at her, although she knows that he is safely in his black cell and his execution will take place the same day. She drank too much wine last night, she thinks. She now recognizes Jocelyn Swyft, SerOsmund Kettleblack and Ser Boros Blount and notices Lannister guards, while she is being handed lemon water to waken her up. She wonders whether the news can be true, insisting that her father is surrounded by guards day and night. Ser Osmund tells her the guards were on their post, but a secret passage has been found behind a hearth in the Hand’s Tower and Jaime has gone in to inspect it. Cersei is worried about Jaime’s safety as well as of Tommen’s, but she is told that guards supervised by Ser Loras Tyrellhave been assigned to watch over the King. This stirs up her resentment against the Tyrells and she wonders whether the murder was their doing, yet does not dare to speak this aloud. She commands Ser Osmund to escort her to the Tower of the Hand and Ser Boros to make certain that Tyrion is still in his cell. She doesn’t believe Tyrion would dare to raise a hand against their father, but needs to be certain.
Outside, the sun is beginning to rise while the stars can still be seen, making Cersei think that the great star of the west has fallen. Ser Osmund tells her that Lum, one of the guards, found the body in the privy. She already feels the hole left by Lord Tywin and decides to act swiftly as she suspects there will be attempts to push her aside, as always. She wonders whether Stannis Baratheonis behind the murder. She enters the tower, thinking that not crying makes her the only true son her father ever had. Climbing the many stairs to the Hand’s chambers prompts her to think about tearing the tower down. As she enters the hall, she finds the room full of guards and servants, whispering among themselves. Cersei resents their presence as well as the fact that she was not called first. She orders Ser Meryn Trant to show the people out and is informed that her father’s body has been brought to his bed. When she enters the bedchamber, guards are present again as well as her distraught uncle Kevan, kneeling by the bed and trying to pray for his brother. She notices how small the door to the secret passage behind the hearth is, making her think of Tyrion again, then settling for Stannis or the Tyrells as more likely suspects. She knows about the rumors of secret passages in the Red Keep and thatMaegor the Cruel supposedly killed the builders of the castle to keep them secret. She thinks of other, yet undiscovered, secret passages to other bedchambers and has a vision of Tyrion using one to get to Tommen.
Cersei has a look at her father’s half-naked body. While reflecting on how he looks much older and smaller than when he was alive, she already notices a smell emanating from the corpse. She is furious that the quarrel that killed Lord Tywin has been left in his stomach and orders it to be removed. Cersei wonders whether she should act desperate and claw her own face, as she heardCatelyn Stark did when her son Robb was killed before her eyes, and wonders how Lord Tywin once received news of his own father’s death. She commands that the bells must toll for her father just as they did for King Robert. She asks for Pycelle and wants him to prepare the body, but is told that the Grand Maester has already been there and left again. This angers her more because of Pycelle’s uselessness in old age and she calls for Maesters Ballabar and Frenken instead. Cersei asks about Jaime and is again told he’s down in the secret passage, inspecting the depth of a shaft found there. She is worried about his safety, thinking of his lost hand and how the murderer might await him in the dark.
Qyburn is shown in, offering his service as maester. He informs her that he treated Jaime’s hand and she remembers that he came down from Harrenhal with her brother. She notices that he doesn’t have a maester’s chain, receiving the answer that it has been taken away by the Citadel while his knowledge is still there. She orders him to remove the quarrel and prepare her father’s body for the silent sisters. Qyburn asks her what he should do with the girl. Cersei has not noticed the second body in the bed before and takes a look at her naked body, observing the golden chain around her neck and that her face is as black as Joffrey’s was when he died. She is furious and demands to know what the girl is doing there, receiving the unsatisfying answer that she has been found where she is and that she was Tyrion’s whore. She thinks that Lord Tywin never used whores and defensively tells a guard how he treated his own father’s mistress after his death, parading her naked through the streets of Lannisport. Qyburn suggests that Lord Tywin might have been questioning the girl about her mistress Sansa Stark’s disappearance. Cersei eagerly seizes on this notion but has a vision of Tyrion mocking it. She can’t stand staying in the room with the girl any longer and goes back to the hall.
She finds Ser Osmund accompanied by his brothers Osney and Osfryd and orders them to make certain that nobody will ever hear about the dead girl in her father’s bed. Her body is to be disposed of no matter how and everyone who talks about this matter will have their tongues torn out. She watches as the Kettleblacks put the girl’s body in a blanket, remembering that the girl’s name wasShae and that she came to her the night before Tyrion’s trial by combat, asking that promises made to her by Tyrion and, allegedly, Cersei be kept, including a manse in the city and a knight to marry. Cersei made it clear that she would get nothing until she told them the whereabouts of Sansa Stark, making her leave in tears. She orders the Kettleblacks to carry Shae’s body out through the secret passage, but wants to have the chain around her neck delivered to herself.
As Ser Osfryd is about to step into the tunnel, Jaime emerges from it. She rushes towards him, asking whether he has found the killers, but is told that the shaft ends in a chamber where half a dozen tunnels meet, some of them closed with locked iron gates, and Jaime needs to find keys first. He suggests that the killers could still be hiding in the maze he just left. Cersei again envisions Tyrion climbing through the walls like some monstrous rat, then reassures herself with the thought that he is in his cell. She says she wants the murderers to be found and that the whole tower will be demolished if need be. Jaime hugs her to console her and she has a rush of desire for him. She whispers in his ear, asking him to take over as Hand of the King to complete their father’s work. But he pushes her away, declines the offer, makes a joke about a Hand without a hand and says that she shouldn’t ask him to rule.
Cersei feels the rejection like a slap, realizing that it has been noticed by everyone present and that the whole castle will know soon. She angrily says that she didn’t ask him to rule, as she is going to do that herself as the Queen Regent until Tommen comes of age. Jaime replies that he doesn’t know whom to feel worse for, Tommen or the Seven Kingdoms. She slaps him. They are both admonished by Ser Kevan to take their indecent behavior out of the room where their father’s body lies. Jaime apologizes for his sister, pointing out that she is forgetting herself while grief-stricken. This makes Cersei want to slap him again and regret her impulse to ask him. She wonders whether the position of Hand should be abolished altogether, remembering how Jon Arryn andEddard Stark meddled in her affairs, the latter forcing her to get rid of King Robert before she could deal with his brothers, and how Tyrion sold Myrcella to Dorne, made Tommen a hostage and killed Joffrey.
Cersei settles on her uncle Kevan as the next Hand, as she considers him loyal and prudent while unambitious to challenge her as the real power behind the Iron Throne. She thinks that she needs men supporting her and that the current small council will not do, with Grand Maester Pycelle too old and Lord Mace Tyrell and his bannermen Lord Paxter Redwyne and Lord Mathis Rowan not to be trusted; she also can’t rely on Jaime, who has lost his courage with his hand. She again considers the possibility of the Tyrells being involved in the murder, as Lord Mace must have known he can never rule the Seven Kingdoms as long as Tywin Lannister is alive. However, she realizes she has to proceed carefully against the Tyrells, with the city full of their men and Loras Tyrell now knight of the Kingsguard. The thought of the engagement of Tommen and Margaery Tyrell still makes her furious and she questions Margaery’s virginity. Cersei intends to use Varys to find out more on this front.
The thought of Varys makes Cersei aware that the eunuch isn’t present, while he is usually around when something important happens in the Red Keep. The only explanation for his absence is that he was involved in the plot, preempting his own downfall as Lord Tywin never had any love for him. She thinks that Varys might have known about the secret passage and acted on behalf of Stannis. She orders Ser Meryn to find the Master of Whisperers and bring him to her.
Ser Boros returns red-faced and puffing, announcing that Tyrion is gone, his cell open, with no sign of him anywhere. Cersei is appalled, thinking her nightmares are coming true. She points out her orders to keep the Imp under guard day and night. Ser Boros says that a goaler called Rugen has gone missing while two others were found asleep. She orders for them to be killed. Cersei’s paranoia about Tyrion breaks out fully and reflects that he has already killed her mother, her father and her eldest son and will try to murder her too, remembering the prophecy she once received about her little brother killing her. She gets queasy and Ser Boros tries to sustain her, but she recoils from his touch, thinking that the knight of the Kingsguard might be one of Tyrion’s creatures, too. He offers her a cup of water, but all she wants is Tyrion’s blood. She envisions Tyrion grinning at her, feeling his hands closing in around her neck the very moment she thought she was rid of him.
Tyrion I: ADWD 2
Tyrion is in the cabin of a ship fleeing across the narrow sea, perpetually drunk and wracked with guilt over his betrayal of the Lannisters and murder of his father, as well as his anxiety over the fate of Tysha, who he now knows to be the only woman to have ever truly loved him.
Having escaped and found passage across the sea thanks to Varys, he ponders where he might be going. He decides he would prefer to go to Dorne so he can raise his niece Myrcella to the Iron Throne. Once the ship reaches port he is bundled into a barrel and smuggled off the ship, finding himself in Pentos, in the home of Magister Illyrio Mopatis.
Tyrion spends a day wandering around Illyrio’s home talking to his servants and plotting escape. He discovers a patch of poisonous mushrooms and picks them before passing out. He meets a courtesan of Illyrio’s who has been assigned to him, threatening her before heading off to dinner with the Magister.
He is eventually served a dish of mushrooms and contemplates whether Illyrio is trying to poison, and whether it would not be best just to eat some and be done with it. Illyrio goads him before eating some of the mushrooms himself and asking Tyrion of his intentions. He informs Tyrion that Stannis is at the Wall, and says that neither Stannis at the Wall or Myrcella in Dorne are viable candidates for support in the game of thrones. Mopatis claims that Westeros is in need of a savior from across the sea. When Tyrion asks who that would be, he replies “A dragon with three heads”.
Daenerys I: ADWD 3
Daenerys, Queen in Meereen, is delivered the body of one of her Unsulliedsoldiers, Stalwart Shield. Stalwart Shield was visiting a brothel alone when he was set upon by the Sons of the Harpy, a secret society raised in opposition to Daenerys’ rule and targeting her supporters for assassination (particularly ex-slaves). She orders an investigation, but has little hope that the culprits will be found.
She discusses her situation with Barristan Selmy. Her Dothraki are attempting to subdue the hinterlands of Meereen, while Brown Ben Plumm is in the north, defending against a feared attack from Yunkai. Daario Naharis, whom she secretly loves, is in the east attempting to make an alliance with the Lhazareen. After leaving the dead man she calls on her dragon Viserion, noting that all three of her dragons are growing larger and wilder. She dons a tokar and holds court.
Skahaz mo Kandaq of the shaven head recommends that the great families of Meereen must be punished for the murders at the hands of the Sons of the Harpy.Reznak mo Reznak, her seneschal, denies that the murderers are connected to the great families. Daenerys hears an embassy from the new king of Astapor, Cleon, who is asking both for her hand in marriage and support in a war against Yunkai. She tells the ambassador that Cleon should feed his own people before marching out to war.
The next petitioner is Hizdahr zo Loraq, a wealthy Meereenese noble, who wants Dany to reopen the fighting pits of Meereen. She refuses him for the sixth time and ponders whether she should take him as a husband in order to solidify her rule over the city. She hears a number of other petitioners, including shepherds who are claiming that her dragons have devoured their sheep. Reznak sends them all away, promising they will be compensated for their loss, but one man remains behind. He empties out a sack of burnt bones on the marble floor. To her horror Dany realizes they are not the bones of a sheep — they belong to a child.
Brienne I: AFFC 5
Brienne is traveling to Duskendale, seeking the whereabouts of Sansa as she was charged to do by Jaime. Having found few leads in King’s Landing, Brienne is asking nearly everyone she can along the roads and villages, but never mentions Sansa by name. Upon the road beyond Rosby, she comes upon a camp with two hedge knights who offer to share their meal. Mistaking her at first for a man, Ser Illifer later remarks on how she bears a shield with the sigil of House Lothston, a disgraced family who once held Harrenhal. Brienne was given the shield by Ser Jaime, who had taken it from Harrenhal. When she tells the two that she lost her own shield, Ser Illifer figures out by her size that she must be Brienne, murderess of King Renly. The Maid denies having killed Renly, and the hedge knights agree to travel with her to Duskendale.
After passing a large group of poor fellows (or ‘sparrows’), lowly holy men bound for King’s Landing bearing the bones of septons killed around the Riverlands, they catch up to a merchant guarded by a couple of men and another hedge knight named Ser Shadrich. Joining forces along the dangerous road, Ser Shadrich tells Brienne in private that he knows that the maid she seeks is Sansa Stark, and that he seeks her as well, but for a purse of gold offered by Varys. Brienne is disturbed by the fact that the knight knew whom she was speaking of when she repeated Sansa’s description to the merchant’s group. When the party stops at an inn for the night, Brienne slips off on her own, swearing to herself that she will not fail Jaime, having already failed King Renly and Lady Catelyn.
Jon I: ADWD 4
In Jon’s dream he sees through the eyes of his direwolf, Ghost, who is hunting in the woods somewhere south of the Wall. In the dream Ghost is aware of the presence of the other stark direwolves Nymeria, Shaggydog and Summer. Jon is awakened from the dream by Jeor Mormont’s raven. He resides in the old quarters of Donal Noye, since Stannis occupies the King’s Tower and the Lord Commander’s Tower has burned down. He reflects that Ghost knows that Grey Wind is dead, but his other brothers’ wolves are still alive. His wolf dreams are becoming more vivid and more frequent, and he wonders if part of Bran and Rickonsurvive in their wolves.
As Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jon heads off to treat with King Stannis, who has requested his presence. As Jon crosses the yard, he gives advice to sparring recruits and is challenged to a duel by Ser Godry Farring, from Stannis’ retinue, but ignores the challenge. On the steps up, he runs into Sam before finally arriving at the King’s Tower.
Stannis has been unsuccessful in seeking allegiance from the lords of the North; the latest rejection letter is from Lyanna Mormont. So far, the only house to have declared for him is House Karstark. Stannis asks for gold from the Night’s Watch to pay off Salladhor Saan. Jon recommends he take White Harbor for that, but Stannis dismisses its lord, Wyman Manderly, as fat and useless. With wildling refugees still seeking shelter south of the wall, they discuss Mance Rayder, whom Stannis intends to burn as a deserter, his wife’s sister Val, and his child. Jon mentions thatGilly is acting as wet nurse for her own child and Mance’s, and that he plans to send her and her babe away south. Stannis approves once he learns that Gilly’s child was born of incest.
Stannis is demanding lands and castles from the Night’s Watch. Jon has already ceded land in The Gift, and refuses to let him have the castles. He offers instead to have his own officers man the abandoned forts, to command Stannis’ men as a garrison. Stannis grumbles and threatens Jon before allowing him to leave. Melisandre, the priestess of R’hllor, follows Jon out from the meeting. Jon is wary of her but she warns him not to refuse her friendship, saying that she has seen him in her visions. Underneath the Wall, she tells him to be wary of foes behind his back and daggers in the dark. Jon assures her he is aware he has enemies in the Watch, to which Melisandre replies “You know nothing, Jon Snow”.
Bran I: ADWD 5
Bran is making his way through thehaunted forest, in search of the three-eyed crow, accompanied by the Reeds, Hodor, and Coldhands. Bran skinchanges into Summer frequently, and even into Hodor, although Hodor seems to dislike the experience. Coldhands is riding on an elk and is accompanied by ravens. Jojen is becoming ill and weak.
Coldhands stops to deal with “foes” he refuses to name, backtracking while the others continue on. Meera points out that they have never seen Coldhand’s breath even in the icy weather — and he does not eat, or drink, or sleep. Bran points out that Coldhands saved Sam and Gilly from wights, so they must trust him.
Bran enters Summer in order to find an abandoned wildling village for shelter. As they rest, Jojen refuses to eat despite his weakness, telling his sister that this is not the day he dies. All four of them are near starving, but they refrain from lighting a fire at Coldhand’s instruction.
Sleepless, Bran enters Summer on the hunt, who has found the corpses of five men — and the wolf pack that found them first. Summer/Bran squares off for a fight against the leader of the pack, seeing in his eyes that he is in fact a warg like him. Bran/Summer defeats the pack leader, making the pack his and giving him the choice parts of the dead men. The dead men are in black — men of the Night’s Watch.
Bran awakens to a fire — Coldhands has killed a pig for them, and as the dawn is near he allows them to light a fire to roast it. Bran asks Coldhands, who fears the flames, what happened to the foes. Coldhands replies that they will not trouble him — he does not deny that they are dead at his hand. Only Jojen pays attention when Bran asks who they were — but he already knows they were men of the Night’s Watch. Bran asks the ranger about his black hands, and he tells Bran that the blood runs into a man’s extremities and congeals once he is dead. Meera demands to see his face, which he refuses. Bran notes that he could not pass beyond the Wall and its enchantments.
Meera asks who the three-eyed crow is and he replies “A friend. Dreamer, wizard, call him what you will. The last greenseer”. Meera asks Jojen if he has dreamed this and he says they have come too far to go back now.
Tyrion II: ADWD 6
Tyrion has been smuggled out of Pentos inside the litter of Illyrio Mopatis, and they are now on their way to the Rhoyne. Illyrio explains that Tyrion and a sellsword called Griff will meet Daenerys in Volantis, while he remains to “smooth the way” for them in Pentos. Illyrio tells Tyrion that Daenerys has need of cunning men such as him, but Tyrion is suspicious: why does Illyrio have a stake in helping Daenerys claim the Iron Throne? Instead of answering, the merchant tells of how when he first met her, Daenerys was young and fearful and her brother Viserys was foolish and greedy, and Mopatis had to post guards on her door to prevent her brother from “undoing years of planning” by entering her chambers and raping her before she was given to Khal Drogo. He recounts how the meek little girl he knew was reborn in the Dothraki sea as a true Targaryen, before turning to Slaver’s Bay, conquering Astapor, cowing Yunkai and sacking Meereen. He now expects her to make her way to Volantis — where she will meet Tyrion and Griff with enough forces to carry her to Westeros.
Tyrion presses Illyrio, wanting to know why a slaver city like Volantis and a man such as Illyrio would want to assist Daenerys, and he says that her brother promised him the position of Master of Coin and the castle of his choice. Tyrion also demands to know how he is friends with Varys, and Illyrio tells him that the two of them were thieves together in Pentos — with Varys spying on and stealing from other thieves, then passing them onto Illyrio, who would return the goods to their rightful owners for a fee. Varys trained a network of spies — young boys and girls — to steal information, and eventually the two of them became influential enough that Illyrio was able to marry the daughter of the cousin of the Prince of Pentos, and Varys was sought by Aerys the Mad in his paranoia for the post of Master of Whisperers.
Over several more days’ travel through Andalos, Illyrio tells Tyrion that he has managed to persuade the Golden Company to break their contract with Myr and instead accompany Daenerys. When Tyrion questions how Illyrio convinced the Golden Company- a group that has spent most of its history warring with the Targaryens- to side with Daenerys, the magister reminds Tyrion that the Blackfyre Pretenders are no more and that Daenerys can give the company of exiles what the Blackfyres never could: she can finally take them home. After Tyrion recounts the story of Hugor of the Hill, he tells Illyrio that he had originally intended to become High Septon before he met and married Tysha. Illyrio likewise has a story of a Lysene bed slave, Serra, his second wife, who was killed by the grey plague. As they continue to travel, Tyrion’s thoughts turn to Shae, and to Tysha.
The Merchant’s Man (Quentyn I): ADWD 7
Quentyn Martell, son of the Prince of Dorne, is in Volantis, disguised as a wineseller’s servant. He and his servant are attempting to book a passage toMeereen aboard ship, but even in the massive port of Volantis they are unable to find a single ship willing to risk the trip to Slaver’s Bay while there is war brewing and the slave trade and fighting pits are both terminated. Quentyn is anxious trying to get to Daenerys in Meereen as his father commanded, intent on marrying her. He has heard that she is the most beautiful woman in the world.
Quentyn is accompanied by Gerris Drinkwater, acting as his merchant master, and Archibald Yronwood. On the trip from Dorne aboard the Meadowlark they were attacked by corsairs from the Disputed Lands, losing their Maester Kedry, Willam Wells and his dear friend Cletus Yronwood. Quentyn feels their loss keenly, and feels in dire need of his missing maester’s counsel.
Quentyn and Gerris meet with the captain of the Adventure, a smuggler’s ship, who only agrees to take them to Meereen if they are prepared to pay three times the normal fare — for each of them. Quentyn knows that the man simply plans to take their money and either kill them or enslave them the first chance he gets.
The pair debate whether they should give up their quest and return to Dorne, or attempt to travel to Meereen overland via the demon road. Quentyn is anxious not to have any more deaths on his conscience, but he feels his duty to Dorne and to his father is too important to turn back. They travel through the streets to theMerchant’s House to meet with Archibald Yronwood. Along the way, they encounter a party of Windblown who are recruiting soldiers as they head to Yunkai to war against Astapor and Meereen. Quentyn tells him that they have no choice but to board Adventure — but Archibald says there is another way to Meereen, less honorable, but faster than the demon road…
Samwell I: AFFC 6
Down in the library beneath Castle Black, Sam is trying to dig up any information on the Others for his Lord Commander, Jon Snow. Returning to the surface, Sam considers how hard Jon has been working the men of the the Watch. He meetsDolorous Edd, Pyp, and Grenn, and they mention how much Jon has changed, acting different and barely spending any time with his friends; although he never misses a day practising his sword work. We learn that Stannis has plans for Val,Dalla’s sister, seeking to use her in order to forge an alliance between the wildlingsand the northmen. Thus far only the Karstarks, who have no other choice, have agreed to ally with Stannis.
Sam arrives at Jon’s solar, and Jon shows him a letter he plans to send to KingTommen which declares that Stannis is aiding them in their battle, but the Night’s Watch is not sworn to his cause. They discuss how Melisandre means to sacrificeMance Rayder for his king’s blood, Jon states, “Mance’s blood is no more royal than mine own”. He reveals to Sam that he is sending Gilly and “the boy” far away from the Wall. Sam tells Jon that he has uncovered little on the Others, but one book mentioned dragonsteel swords as being effective against them. However, neither is sure if dragonsteel and Valyrian steel are the same thing.
Jon breaks the news that he is sending Sam to the Citadel so he can train to become a maester and replace Aemon. Sam will travel by sea from Eastwatch, along with Gilly, the baby, and Maester Aemon. The thought of becoming a maester frightens Sam, bringing back memories of his father’s wrath when he had mentioned training at the Citadel to him when he was a boy. His father had chained him by the neck in a cell and left him there for 3 days, telling him “no son of House Tarly will ever wear a chain”. Lastly, Jon commands Sam to never call himself craven again.
The next morning, as the party prepares to set off for Eastwatch where they will join up with Dareon, Gilly begs Jon to find a good wetnurse for the other baby…
Jon II: ADWD 8
Jon summons Gilly and, despite his own misgivings, forces her to give up her own child and take Mance Rayder’s baby away with her, disguised as her own. Gilly is distraught but Jon tells her that Melisandre will burn the child for the purposes of a spell, as Mance was King-Beyond-The-Wall and the blood of kings has magical powers. Jon warns her that if Mance’s son is burned her own will die as well. She leaves wordlessly.
Soon later, Sam arrives. After a brief discussion regarding what they know of the Others and how to stop such monsters, Jon breaks the news that he is sending Sam to the Citadel so he can train to become a maester and replace MaesterAemon. Sam will travel by sea from Eastwatch, along with Gilly, the baby, and Maester Aemon. Sam leaves him, distraught, while Jon remembers something Maester Aemon told him when he became Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch:
“You will have little joy of your command, but I think you have the strength in you to do the things that must be done. Kill the boy, Jon Snow. Winter is almost upon us. Kill the boy and let the man be born.”Jon makes his inspection of Castle Black, during which he hears a report from Dywen and Kedge Whiteye that two of the queen’s men, Ser Richard Horpe and Ser Justin Massey, were seen riding off to the south.
The next morning, Jon wakes early to see off Sam, Gilly, and Maester Aemon, as they depart for Eastwatch. He then meets with ranger Bedwyck. Jon tells Bedwyck that he is putting a garrison in the abandoned way-castle Icemark and giving him command of it. Both of them assert the danger of wildlings climbing over and creating a toehold for the rest, referring to Raymun Redbeard having done just that to bypass the wall. Jon says he is intending to garrison all of the castles on the Wall, but for the time being, only Icemark and Greyguard. When he learns that Janos Slynt is to command Greyguard, Bedwyck urges Jon to choose someone more trustworthy.
Half the morning passes before Lord Janos reports as commanded, escorted by Kegs and Dolorous Edd. Jon tells him that he is giving him command of Greyguard (partly in light of Slynt’s years commanding the City Watch, but primarily to separate Slynt fromAlliser Thorne and end their scheming), but Slynt curses him and storms out. The next morning, Jon finds Slynt breaking his fast in the common room and announces that he is giving Slynt one last chance to drop his spoon and report to the stables to depart for Greyguard. After Slynt refuses him again and mocks him in front of his men and Stannis’ men, Jon instructs Iron Emmett and Edd to take Slynt to the Wall and hang him. As Slynt is being dragged out, Jon changes his mind and orders a block brought so he can behead Slynt withLongclaw himself. With his head on the block, Slynt desperately begs Jon for mercy. Jon refuses and carries out the execution. Watching from the steps of the King’s Tower, Stannis’s eyes meet Jon’s, and he nods briefly in approval.
Arya I: AFFC 7
Nearing Braavos, Arya recalls how she originally wanted Captain Ternesio Terys to sail for the Wall. She had no such luck, but concluded that the Free Cities would be a good place to land, considering that Syrio Forel came from Braavos and possiblyJaqen H’ghar as well.
During the voyage, many of the sailors and even the captain have asked her to learn and remember their names, and many seem afraid of her. The captain’s younger son Denyo is telling Arya some of the history of Braavos and the Titan that guards its port. The free city honors all gods and even has temples devoted to them, and was founded by the Moonsingers when they brought the people to Braavos to escape the dragons of Valyria. The Titan of Braavos is a massive statue, and has arrow slits and murder holes strategically placed to attack any boat that tries to pass beneath without leave. Furthermore, the Free City of Braavos is protected by theArsenal, a massive fleet of ships and their fortified port.
The captain has his older son Yorko row Arya to shore, so as to get her off prior to customs coming aboard. As Yorko navigates the hundred isles of Braavos, he points out many of the sites, before dropping her off at the quay in front of the House of Black and White. Arya disembarks, assuring Yorko that she will remember his name, and enters the temple of the Many-Faced God. Within, the temple is quite dark with dozens of odd statues, and Arya notices several people in alcoves who are either dead or dying. Soon, a robed man with a kind voice tells her that the House of Black and White is a place of peace. He asks her name, but despite Arya’s use of nicknames, the man keeps asking until she admits that she is Arya Stark. When the man asks if she fears death, Arya answers no. The man removes his cowl to reveal a decaying, horrible visage, but she sees through the illusion. Impressed, the kindly man asks if she is hungry, to which Arya thinks: Yes, but not for food.
Cersei II: AFFC 8
Cersei arrives at the Great Sept of Baelor for Tywin’s wake. She worries. Tommen seems to have a cold and the current High Septon was appointed by Tyrion. She wonders if she should have him removed. Tommen and Cersei both notice the stench that is emanating from her father’s corpse.
After the service, the procession of mourners come to offer condolences to Cersei. First is Falyse Stokeworth, who mentions that her sister is ready to give birth and the family would like to name the child Tywin. Cersei is offended and brusquely forbids her. Next is Lancel who is still looking half dead. As he begins to mention his love and then his new-found faith, Cersei heads him off by saying, “Atonement is best achieved through prayer. Silent prayer.” The only mourner to please Cersei is Taena Merryweather, who promises that all her friends in the Free Cities have been notified to watch for and seize Tyrion.
When Mace Tyrell comes before her, he mentions that his uncle Garth is on the way to assume the duties of Master of Coin. The Queen Regent, not wishing to see another Tyrell on the small council, immediately backpedals that Gyles Rosby has already accepted the post. This upsets Tyrell and his mother, as Tywin had wanted Garth to assume the position. The Queen of Thorns then brings up the terrible smell in the sept, and Cersei wants nothing more than to get rid of the clever old woman. But Lady Olenna states she will not depart until Margaery is wed to Tommen. Leaving the Sept, Cersei rides back to the Red Keep with Gyles Rosby, asking him belatedly to be her new master of coin, which he accepts.
Back in her rooms, Qyburn pays her a visit, revealing that he discovered in the undergaoler’s sleeping cell a gold coin that dated back to the Gardener Kings of the Reach. Once again, Cersei is suspicious that the Tyrells had a hand in Tyrion’s escape and Tywin’s murder. Qyburn then asks if he may experiment on the dying Gregor Clegane in the black cells, since he is more adept at the nature of death than any of the archmaesters from the Citadel. She agrees with his request, but tells him to bring her Gregor’s head when he dies, as her father had promised it to Dorne. Finally, Kevan meets with her for dinner, as she had requested.
Cersei asks him to be Tommen’s Hand. Kevan first admonishes her for making Mace Tyrell look a fool in front of half the court. He then informs her that he would rather help his son Lancel take control of Castle Darry. He offers to take up the position as Hand, provided Cersei removes herself from King’s Landing and returns to Casterly Rock. Cersei is infuriated and a fierce argument takes place during which she threatens Kevan. Unfazed, Kevan counsels her to name Randyll Tarly or Mathis Rowan as Tommen’s Hand. As both men are Tyrell vassals, this makes Cersei even more angry and she accuses him of abandoning Tommen. As he departs, Kevan reveals that he knows who Tommen’s father really is.
Jaime I: AFFC 9
Standing a planned seven day vigil over his father’s funeral bier, Jaime finds himself with a lot of time for thinking. He feels that he is as much to blame for his father’s death as Tyrion or Varys. He also finds himself wondering what happened to the eunuch. His thoughts then turn to the day that Prince Rhaegar rode for the Trident. Jaime had begged not to be left behind to guard the king, but Rhaegar told him thatAerys feared Lord Tywin more than he did Robert, and meant to keep Jaime at his side as insurance. Mounting up, Rhaegar’s last words to Jaime were, “When this battle’s done I mean to call a council. Changes will be made. I meant to do it long ago, but…well, it does no good to speak of roads not taken.” Finally, Jaime recalls his recent questioning of the chief undergaoler, which was a complete farce as Jaime knew far more than the man did, since he was the perpetrator.
When Jaime learned that the two gaolers who were put to sleep were killed by Boros Blount and Osmund Kettleblack, he reprimanded them, warning them never to act on his sister’s orders to kill anyone without consulting him first. Some time in the middle of the night, Cersei visits him with news of Kevan’s refusal to become herHand, as well as remarking that Kevan knows about their relationship. She implores Jaime to reconsider being Hand, but Jaime rejects her again. She departs with, “Very well. If it is battlefields you want, battlefields I shall give you.” The next morning, the mourners arrive anew, but the smell is so nauseating that Tommengets sick. Jaime takes him outside to console him, advising him to “go away inside”, something Tommen understands from when Joffrey would torment him. Cersei then joins them, as does Mace Tyrell, and Jaime asks the Lord of Highgarden to have dinner with his sister. When Mace departs, Jaime tells Cersei to get the wedding over with, and then send Lord Mace to besiege Storm’s End once again. Cersei likes the idea, hoping Tyrell might lose his life this time.
Brienne II: AFFC 10
The gates open at morning, and the captain tells Brienne that his sister can paint over the black bat of Lothston on her shield. After finding and telling the sister what sigil she wants, Brienne heads to the Dun Fort to speak to the lord. Since LordRykker is in the field, she meets with the castellan Ser Rufus Leek and a maester, who tells her that many came before her asking if Dontos Hollard and Sansa had come to Duskendale. The Dun Fort’s maester tells the story of the Defiance of Duskendale, which seems to have been the incident that finally sent King Aerys over the edge.
Either of his own initiative, or from the urgings of his wife, Denys Darklyn took Aerys hostage. When Tywin Lannister (who was Hand at the time) surrounded the Dun Fort, Lord Darklyn threatened to kill Aerys. When Aerys was captured, Symon Hollard killed one of his kingsguard, Ser Gwayne Gaunt.
After Barristan the Bold slipped into the Dun Fort and rescued the king, Aerys had nearly every member of the Darklyn and Hollard families killed or attainted. Dontos, who was young at the time, survived because Barristan asked Aerys to stay his hand.
The castellan tells Brienne that Duskendale would have been the last place Dontos would have fled to. Despairing that she will never find Sansa, Brienne bumps into a skinny boy whom she also saw back at Rosby on a piebald rounsey, but he runs away.
Visiting the Seven Swords inn for dinner, Brienne meets a pious dwarf, who tells her that he overheard a man called Nimble Dick in Maidenpool bragging that he had “fooled a fool” seeking passage for three across the Narrow Sea. That night, Brienne dreams of Renly’s death, but when he topples after the shadow killed him, the body is that of Jaime.
The next day, Brienne picks up her shield, painted with the sigil that Tanselle had painted for Ser Duncan the Tall. Proceeding to Maidenpool, Brienne camps by the ruins of the Hollard castle, and hears a rider. Fearing it may be Ser Shadrich and that a battle might ensue, she discovers the boy who seems to be stalking her. It turns out to be Podrick Payne, who asks to stay with her, hoping that if she finds Sansa, it may lead the boy back to Tyrion.
Sansa I: AFFC 11
Marillion is singing day and night. Because his cell is open, his songs can be heard throughout the castle. Although Marillion has a beautiful voice, Sansa does not like the sound of his singing. She asks Petyr if he cannot silence the singer. Littlefinger explains to Sansa that they need Marillion. With some persuasion, Marillion has confessed to the murder of Lysa. In return for his confession, Littlefinger has spared his life and his voice. Petyr tells Sansa that she has to corroborate Marillion’s confession. Sansa knows that Marillion did not murder Lysa and therefore hesitates. She has no pity for the singer as he has tried to rape her, but she is afraid that people will see through her lies.
The next day Nestor Royce and his son arrive at the Eyrie to investigate the murder of Lysa Arryn. Although she is afraid, Sansa tells the Royces that Marillion killed Lysa Arryn. Her fright and tears only make her more convincing. Then Marillion is led in. He confesses that he killed his mistress because he could not bear the thought of seeing her married to Petyr. The Royces never liked Marillion and don’t question his confession. They agree that Marillion will be confined to the sky cells. Eventually he will fall or jump to his death.
Nestor then informs Petyr that his cousin is gathering other lords to have Petyr removed as Lord Protector of the Vale. Littlefinger already knows this and is unfazed. As a reward for his services, he presents Nestor with a grant that makes him and his descendents hereditary Lords of the Gates of the Moon. The Gates of the Moon are a secondary castle that has always been in the possession of the main Arryn line. Nestor has been appointed castellan but now acquires the castle in his own right. According to Petyr, Lysa had already decided to give the castle to Nestor but was murdered before she could sign the order. When Nestor Royce and his son leave, Littlefinger explains to Sansa that the Royces will now be on his side. If Petyr is removed as Lord Protector, the grant for the castle will be challenged because it was signed by Petyr and not by little Robert.
That night when Sansa goes to sleep, Robert creeps into her bed as he has been doing since his mother died. He asks Sansa if she is his mother now. Sansa says yes because she knows this lie will soothe him.
The Kraken’s Daughter (Asha I): AFFC 12
Asha is at Ten Towers waiting for her supporters to arrive. The feast is almost over. There are a lot of Harlaws in the hall but not enough of the other houses. Asha knows she lacks support.
She tells Three-Tooth to find food for her crew and her prisoners. Then she goes to her uncle Rodrik Harlaw, the lord of Harlaw. She finds him in the Book Tower, reading. Rodrik Harlaw loves his books. It is this love that earned him the nickname “The Reader”. In Asha’s name, Rodrik has sent summons to the captains to gather at Ten Towers. The captains of Harlaw isle have come but very few others. Rodrik informs Asha that Aeron Greyjoy has called for a kingsmoot, an assembly of all captains to choose the king. Rodrik assures Asha that her cause is hopeless, since no woman has ever ruled the ironborn. Even the support of Rodrik does not mean his vassals will support her. Their fealty is for war purposes only. In a kingsmoot they are allowed to vote as they please. Rodrik councils Asha to stay away from the kingsmoot. Besides her lack of support, he is afraid that Euron Greyjoy will kill his competitors. Rodrik offers to give her Ten Towers instead. His heir Harras Harlaw does not need Ten Towers and will protect her. Asha declines the offer and walks back to the hall.
She encounters Tristifer Botley on the way. When they were young, Tristifer was in love with Asha. Asha liked him in the beginning but became bored with him before he was sent away. Tristifer, though, has never forgotten her and wants to wed Asha. He is the legitimate Lord of House Botley. His father has been killed by Euron Greyjoy for refuting Euron’s claim to the throne. His titles have been given to Tristifer’s uncle who supported Euron. Asha sharply refuses Tristifer’s advances by reminding him that they are not children anymore and that she is his queen, not his wife.
Easter egg: In the chapter Rodrik Harlaw mentions an Archmaester named Rigney who believes that history is a wheel. The Wheel of Time fantasy series author Robert Jordan’s real name is James Rigney.
Tyrion III: ADWD 9
As dawn breaks Tyrion awakes to find the litter has stopped. He meets HaldonHalfmaester and Ser Rolly Duckfield, who take on supplies from Illyrio before leaving with Tyrion. Illyrio tells them the dwarf’s name is Yollo, although Tyrion, misliking the name, claims it is his name in Pentos and his name is Hugor Hill. The pair tease Tyrion with tales of river pirates and the Shrouded Lord. Tyrion and Haldon test each others’ book knowledge while Duck recounts the events that led to his knighting at the hands of Griff and his unusual name. They ride until they reach the Little Rhoyne at Ghoyan Drohe, where a poleboat, the Shy Maid, is waiting for them.
On board are the boy, Young Griff, and his father, Griff. The older man reads a letter sent to him by Illyrio, telling of Tyrion’s murder of his father. Griff is mistrustful and Tyrion is convinced he is no ordinary sellsword — he can read, and he is aknight, having knighted Duck himself. Tyrion promises to serve Daenerys faithfully, but asks “What if we should find the queen and discover that this talk of dragons was just some sailor’s drunken fancy? This wide world is full of such mad tales. Grumkins and snarks, ghosts and ghouls, mermaids, rock goblins, winged horses, winged pigs…winged lions.” Griff tells him to guard his tongue or lose it.
Davos I: ADWD 10
In the middle of a storm, Davos is marched beforeGodric Borrell, Lord ofSweetsister, in his castle Breakwater atSisterton. He was captured by Borrell’s men while trying to find passage off the island to White Harbor. Salladhor Saan’s fleet had been smashed by storms since heading south from the Wall, until Saan, frustrated byStannis Baratheon’s continual inability to make good on his promises, abandoned his cause, leaving his old friend Davos on Sweetsister after Davos refused to journey south with him. Davos conceals this fact from Borrell, telling him that Saan has traveled south to raid the Lannisters at Stannis’ command. Borell informs Davos that Lysa Arryn is dead — and Tywin Lannister, at the hand of his dwarf son. We also learn that a shipload of Freys have reached White Harbor, with its Lord, Wyman Manderly of White Harbor having pledged his allegiance to King Tommen. The news dismays Davos, but he hides his reaction and asks Borrell to help him get to White Harbor.
Borrell tells of his meeting with Eddard Stark during Robert’s Rebellion. Ned was attempting to reach Winterfell so he could call his banners and join Robert’s Rebellion, while avoiding Gulltown, which was loyal to the Mad King. Stark had arrived at the Three Sisters after crossing the mountains to the Fingers, where he convinced a fisherman to carry him to White Harbor. The fisherman drowned during passage, but the fisherman’s daughter got Ned to The Sisters. Lord Godric asserts that Ned left her with a bag of silver and a bastard son, whom she named Jon Snow, after Arryn. Borrell’s father decided to let Ned go on his way instead of turning him over to the Targaryens after telling Ned “If you lose, you were never here”.
Borrell decides to let Davos go on his way instead of turning him in, just as his father did to Ned Stark. Davos echos the sentiments expressed by Ned Stark and agrees to deny his presence in Sweetsister if Stannis winds up on the losing side of the conflict.
Jon III: ADWD 11
At Castle Black Melisandre is preparing to burn Mance Rayder in a cage made out of wood from the haunted forest, despite Jon’s pleas to King Stannis to spare him. At the sight of the cage, Mance’s courage fails and he goes to his death begging for mercy, denying his kingship and his name and shrieking of witchcraft. Melisandre burns the Horn of Joramun as well, so that the Wall can never fall. As the cage burns Jon orders his bowmen to shoot Mance with arrows, a fitting end for a man of the Night’s Watch. Melisandre proclaims to the assembled wildlings that Stannis is their true King, Azor Ahai reborn. Stannis draws Lightbringer which is blindingly bright, and promises all who serve him food, land and justice. The gates of the Wallare opened and most of the captive wildlings enter to kneel before Stannis, feeding the fire with fragments of weirwood, pieces of the old gods to feed R’hllor’s fires.
Bowen Marsh thinks it is wrong to let thousands of wildlings south of the Wall, and would prefer to seal the gates and let the wildlings defend the northern side. Many of the men of the Night’s Watch are also muttering against the perception that Jon has taken Stannis’ side in the game of thrones. Jon denies this, but says that the outcome of the struggle is unclear following the death of Tywin Lannister. Jon shares a cup of wine with Clydas, telling that Maester Aemon had shown him a passage in the Jade Compendium describing Lightbringer as both bright and fearfully hot. He notes that although Stannis’s sword radiates light, it produces no heat.
Daenerys II: ADWD 12
There have been more murders by the Harpy’s Sons on the streets of Meereen. This time they involved an attack on fully-armed Unsullied in pairs. Nine died, including one of Missandei’s brothers. Once again, Daenerys orders an investigation, permitting Skahaz mo Kandaq to torture a wineseller when she discovers that three freedmen were among the slain. Furious, Dany orders the Unsullied to restrict themselves to patrolling the walls, and imposes a blood tax on the great families of Meereen to fund a new mixed force of freedmen and andshavepates to patrol the city streets under the control of Skahaz. The families ofZhak and Merreq are preparing to leave the city; the Queen orders that their wealth must remain behind, as well as some of their children in her custody.
That night, Dany offers Missandei the chance to return to Naath, but the girl feels safer with her. Dreaming of Daario Naharis, Dany hopes that the sellsword will remain loyal to her. Dany goes to take a bath on her terrace, when she is surprised by the voice of Quaithe, speaking to her via some magic. “Hear me, Daenerys Targaryen. The glass candles are burning. Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun’s son and the mummer’s dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware theperfumed seneschal.” After telling her to remember who she is, Quaithe is gone. As the sun rises, Dany breaks her fast and prepares for court.
At court she gazes suspiciously at Reznak mo Reznak — could he be a traitor? Hizdahr zo Loraq pleads for the seventh time for the reopening of the fighting pits, this time cunningly presenting former fighters who themselves willingly ask to be returned to combat. She promises to consider all they have said then ends the session.
Barristan Selmy relates how he escaped from King’s Landing andJoffrey’s guards, and defends Eddard Stark when Daenerys angrily denounces him as a traitor, asserting that Stark argued against having her killed in the small council. Dany asks to see her dragons: Rhaegal and Viserion have been chained up in a pit since the killing of the little girl Hazzea, but Drogon could not be taken and was last seen flying off north to the Dothraki Sea.
Reek I (Theon I): ADWD 13
Reek is so weakened and mentally ravaged that he is terrified of the two eight year old Freys. He remembers his attempt to escape with the bedwarmer Kyra, but that had been a ruse by Ramsay Bolton for his own amusement. Kyra had suffered horribly at the hands of Ramsay’s dogs, and Reek has lost several of his own fingers and toes through agonizing flayings at the hands of the Bastard’s Boys.
The Frey boys bring Reek before Ramsay, who is with Arnolf Karstark and Hother Umber. Ramsay taunts him in front of his guests. The reader learns that Reek isTheon Greyjoy when Arnolf Karstark recognizes him as “Stark’s ward”. In his degraded state, Reek thinks of him as a merciful and kind master. Ramsay promises him a bath, since he rides to war, and needs Reek’s help to bring home his virgin bride.
Cersei III: AFFC 13
Cersei is remembering her concession to the Queen of Thorns to allow Tommenand Margaery to sleep in the same bed on their wedding night only, when Jaimearrives to speak to her. He asks if she still means to burn down the Tower of the Hand after the wedding, but she is determined to see it destroyed, and hopefully smoke out a few rats in the process. We begin to notice changes in Cersei, including weight gain and overindulgence in alcohol. Tommen’s wedding is a modest affair compared to his brother’s, and the ceremony goes over well enough. Afterwards,Kevan comes over to Cersei and mentions that Sandor Clegane is reported to have joined Beric Dondarrion’s outlaws. The queen is already aware of this, having heard that outlaws have pillaged Saltpans and savagely raped the townswomen. The report mentioned that they were led by a huge man in a hound’s head helmet.
Cersei suggests that Lancel hunt down the Hound, but her uncle scoffs that his son is not the man to deal with Clegane. When she then suggests that he go after Clegane himself, Ser Kevan responds, “When a dog goes bad, the fault lies with its master.” Talking to Jaime, she wonders if Margaery is really a maiden, and he tells her that Mace Tyrell will be marching on Storm’s End in a few days, while Garlan Tyrell will take half the Tyrell host to Brightwater Keep and then on to Highgarden, including Lady Alerie Tyrell and Lady Olenna. During the reception, Cersei recalls her visit to a woods witch when she was younger, and the old hag’s words: Queen you shall be, until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all you hold dear. Drinking heavily during the feast, she begins to wonder if Margaery is the one in the hag’s prophecy, which also mentions thevalonqar.
When Tommen chokes on his wine accidentally, Cersei flees the hall for some air. She is met outside by Lady Taena, who informs her that one of Cersei’s maids is a spy reporting to Margaery’s cousins. Cersei assumes it is Senelle, and promises to reward Lady Merryweather if this is true. Asking why the beauty from Myr would venture this info, Taena responds that she wants what is best for her husband andson, and Cersei could provide advancement for her family. Back inside, Cersei refuses to dance with anyone, but takes note of how attractive the Bastard of Driftmark, Aurane Waters, is: with his silvery hair — a mark of house Velaryon which is descended from the Freehold of Valyria like the Targaryens — he almost resembles Prince Rhaegar.
Towards the end of the night, Cersei leads everyone outside to watch as the pyromancers set the Tower of the Hand on fire. As the green flames of wildfire consume the Tower, the queen regent compares the beauty of the spectacle to Joffrey. As the others begin to depart for bed, Cersei remains behind to watch the fires burn, arm in arm with Ser Osmund Kettleblack.
The Soiled Knight (Arys): AFFC 14
Slipping through the shadow city of Sunspear during the night for a rendezvous with Princess Arianne, Ser Arys Oakheart considers how unlikely it is for an Oakheart to even be in Dorne. Hailing from the Reach, the Oakhearts have long been enemies of the Dornish. The kingsguard knight left Myrcella playing cyvasse with PrinceTrystane, and under the protection of the prince’s sworn shield Ser Gascoyne. Arys recalls his recent first meeting with Prince Doran, who advised him that Myrcella would be safer at the Water Gardens. All her guards and Ser Arys would accompany them there, but Doran asked him not to write King’s Landing about the move. When he arrives at Arianne’s secret location, he swears he will do no more than tell her it has to end, but her nakedness overwhelms him.
After their passion is sated, Arys is once again consumed by guilt, but Arianne has a response for every one of his doubts. The knight feels he has dishonored himself enough already, and he doesn’t want to dishonor her. But Arianne’s seductive words and gestures are difficult for him to disregard. When Arianne reminds him that he told her he loved her, Arys responds that he has sworn a vow. However, Arianne brings up several Kingsguard who broke their vows, most famously Lucamore the Lusty and Terrence Toyne, and even Prince Aemon the Dragonknight (though Ser Arys doesn’t believe the latter story). She finishes with, “It is not our love that dishonored you, it is the monsters you have served and the brutes you’ve called your brothers.” When Arys tells her that King Robert was no monster, he can’t help but think that she is right about Joffrey. Although he considers Tommen to be Joffrey’s opposite, he can’t disagree with Arianne’s persuasive words that Myrcella would be a better ruler.
Their conversation moves to Criston Cole, Lord Commander of Viserys I’s Kingsguard. At the time of Viserys’ death, Ser Cole convinced Viserys’ son Aegon II to claim the rule of the Seven Kingdoms. This led to the war between Aegon and his elder sister Rhaenyra, whom Viserys had long groomed as his succession.
Arianne reminds Arys that in Dorne, the eldest child rules, and had it not been for Criston the Kingmaker, even the Targaryen inheritance might have been rewritten. She then explains to him the real reason that Myrcella is being moved to the Water Gardens: “To keep her away from those who’d seek to crown her.” Arys tells her that the Water Gardens are not a prison, but she warns him that Hotah will see that Myrcella does not leave, claiming he is terrible when aroused.
Still unable to convince Arys that her suggestions are correct, Arianne hugs him and begins to tremble. Once again, she manipulates him by asserting that if the Sand Snakes can be imprisoned by her father for wanting to crown Myrcella, she could too. She mentions that there are no secrets between Tyene and herself, and then tells him her father has never considered her worthy. Prince Doran tried several times to marry her off to old men of high birth, and when she was 14 she discovered a letter her father had written to her brother Quentyn, a ward of Lord Anders Yronwood for years. In the letter, Doran wrote, “one day you will sit where I sit and rule all of Dorne, and a ruler must be strong of mind and body.”
Ser Arys argues that this couldn’t be true, but when she asks him where Prince Quentyn is now and his response is with Lord Anders Yronwood in the Boneway, Arianne tells him that is what her father wants everyone to believe. She has gotten word from some of her friends that Quentyn is across the Narrow Sea, and she is sure that he is hiring the Golden Company, who recently broke their contract with Myr. The Golden Company has never broken their word since Bittersteel reformed them nearly a hundred years ago, and since most of their members are exiles, the only reason they would change allegiance would be to return home toWesteros. And Anders’ ancestors fought in three of the Blackfyre Rebellions, a fact that convinces Arianne that he seeks to crown Quentyn as the next Prince of Dorne.
Arianne’s final persuasive words are, “So your two princesses share a common cause, ser… and they share as well a knight who claims to love them both, but will not fight for them.” Ser Arys then swears to defend Myrcella’s right to rule, and to protect Arianne from anyone seeking to steal her birthright. When he asks her what she would have of him, Arianne purrs, “All. All my love, my sweet love, and forever. But first…Myrcella.”
Bran II: ADWD 14
Coldhands has brought Bran, Hodor,Jojen, Meera andSummer to a steep snow-covered hill. When his elk died, Coldhands butchered it for food, but all the steaks are gone now and they are all weak from hunger and cold, particularly Jojen.
They have to make their way up the hill into a cleft — about a thousand yards through thick wood. But the Others are close by — Coldhand and his ravens can sense them, and an unnatural cold has descended, even as they remain unseen. The ravens urge Bran on so they start up the hill. Meera has to support Jojen’s weight.
Around eighty yards from the cave entrance, Summer stops at a steep stretch of unbroken snow. Bran, on Hodor’s back, knows something is wrong. Coldhands continues to climb so Hodor follows him. He glimpses a fire in the cave entrance when suddenly Hodor trips and falls. A wight bursts from the snow, grasping his leg. Bran falls from his basket as Hodor and the wight struggle, and soon he is surrounded by dead men emerging from under the snow with pale flesh and black hands. Wights attack Coldhands as well, and Bran is grabbed as he tries to warn Jojen and Meera further down the slope. Summer tears off the arm and throat of the wight assaulting Bran and he begins to crawl the 50 yards to the cave.
Bran enters the mind of Hodor to help him fight off the wights. Meera reaches him as he waves her up the hill and grabs Jojen. Someone sets the wights on fire. Bran awakens in the cave before a child of the forest. She takes them down into the cave, but Coldhands cannot follow them due to the ward on the cave against dead things. They go deeper, underneath roots and across a floor of bones, till they reach a skeletal body sitting on a throne made of roots — the three-eyed crow, the last greenseer.
Tyrion IV: ADWD 15
Aboard the Shy Maid, Griff has banned Tyrion, who is still playing the role of Hugor Hill, from drinking wine as they journey down the Rhoyne. Septa Lemore bathes naked every morning in the river, much to Tyrion’s delight, but he notes she is not as virginal as she appears — Tyrion notices that she has stretch marks from childbirth.
After they all break their fast with Yandry and Ysilla, Duck begins training purple-eyed Young Griff with swords. Griff shoulder-charges Duck into the river, and when Tyrion laughs at him he chucks him overboard. Although Tyrion is dressed in motley and plays the fool with the men, Griff has him engaged in a serious task: writing down all he knows of dragonlore from his extensive reading.
Tyrion has yet to beat Haldon and challenges him to a wager. Since he has no coin, he wants to wager information. Haldon takes the bet and loses. We do not learn what information Tyrion won. Back on deck, as they pass by the ruins of Ny Sar Tyrion witnesses the emergence of a gigantic turtle from the water — Yandry claims it is the Old Man of the River. Tyrion thinks to himself that gods and wonders always appear to attend the birth of kings.
Davos II: ADWD 16
As the Merry Midwife arrives in White Harbor, Davos notices that the city is newly fortified. He is initially hopeful that he may be able to persuade Lord Wyman Manderly to ally with King Stannis — until he sees the Lionstar, a warship bearingKing Tommen’s standard, docked at the harbor.
He takes in the sights and smells of White Harbor, walking through the Seal Gate. He takes up a place at the Lazy Eel, a shady tavern, and listens to gossip as he tries to work out what the Manderlys will do. He finds out that the Freys have come to White Harbor with the bones of Ser Wendel Manderly and proposals of marriage for Lord Manderly’s granddaughters and that his other son, Ser Wylis Manderly, is held captive by the Lannisters. He comes across a Braavosi oarsman who has heard of how Daenerys was attempting to book a passage from Qarth with her three dragons. Davos realizes there is little hope for his mission but he decides he has a duty to try. Approaching the New Castle, he shows them his seals as Stannis’King’s Hand, demanding to see Lord Wyman Manderly.
Brienne III: AFFC 15
Drawing near Maidenpool, Pod Payne can’t seem to remember if Brienne is a knight or a lady, frequently calling her “My Lady. Ser.” Brienne has taken up his training, abandoned since Aron Santagar was killed by the mob in King’s Landing. They soon come upon a farmer, his wife and their cart of eggs bound for Maidenpool. As they ride together, the farmer tells Brienne that the town has been mostly rebuilt, thanks to the hard hand of Randyll Tarly. The Maid of Tarth hopes she can slip through town without encountering the Lord of Horn Hill, as she owes him a debt but bears no liking for the man. At the gates of Maidenpool, the captain informs the farmer that he will take his eggs and wife, forcing Brienne to draw her sword. Outnumbered by the gate guards, she is spared fighting by the appearance of Hyle Hunt, a knight highly placed in Lord Tarly’s army and a man whom Brienne despises.
Hunt begins to mock her and Brienne warns him that she will sort him out in a melee some day, just as she did Red Ronnet Connington during the melee at Ashford. She asks him the location of the Stinking Goose, but Ser Hyle takes her to see Lord Randyll first. The commander of Mace Tyrell’s vanguard is dispensing his harsh brand of justice when they come upon him. When she is brought before him, Lord Tarly asks her if she killed Renly, and then states he should ship her back to Tarth. But Brienne reveals the King’s document that Jaime has given her, and she informs Tarly that she is seeking Sansa. He responds that Sansa is not in Maidenpool, nor would she be in the Vale, as Brienne has also assumed, since Lysa Arryn is dead.
Brienne is shocked to learn that Sansa’s aunt is dead. She heads off to the tavern, sending Ser Hyle off when he attempts to apologize for his actions at Highgarden. Later, awaiting the arrival of Nimble Dick at the Stinking Goose, she recalls the hurtful game Hyle and his friends played at her expense. Brienne had gone to Highgarden to answer Renly Baratheon’s call to banners, expecting to be ridiculed. But unbelievably, many of the young knights she met (Big Ben Bushy, Edmund Ambrose, Hyle Hunt, Red Ronnet Connington, Hugh Beesbury, Richard Farrow,Owen Inchfield, and Mark Mullendore) were exceedingly kind to her, going above and beyond the others to win her favor. Wary of their intentions, Brienne was still vulnerable thanks to hope, but she soon learned the truth. Randyll Tarly called her before him to reveal what he had learned of their game through his son Dickon. The knights involved had a burgeoning wager on who could claim her maidenhead. Tarly ended their game, but told her the fault lay with herself, claiming her being here encouraged them and that a war host is no place for a maiden.
When Dick Crabb finally arrives, Brienne offers to buy him drinks. Nimble Dick soon launches into his story, egged on by a steady bribe from Brienne. He explains how he offered to help a frightened fool make it across the Narrow Sea. The fool claimed he had two girls with him, but couldn’t chance the ports in Maidenpool. So Dick took his coin and took him and the girls along the shore to an old, now-unused smuggler’s cove, up past Crackclaw Point. Nimble Dick agrees to take her there for a large sum of coin, pointing out that he is from the area, and warns Brienne of the Whispers, a keep built by a mythical ancestor of his, Ser Clarence Crabb.
Samwell II: AFFC 16
Sam is trying his best to keep both Gilly and himself calm during the tumultuous sea trip to Braavos. The Night’s Watch ship Blackbird will take them only so far as Braavos, and then Sam will need to find tender there bound for Oldtown. Sam is hopeful that the others making the journey with him will find happiness when they reach their destination: Gilly and the babe at Horn Hill, Maester Aemon back at theCitadel, and Dareon in his new role as a recruiter. The old maester tells them the story of his sea trip to the Wall- how he traveled with Lord Commander Duncan the Tall as his honor guard, along with Brynden Rivers, Lord Bloodraven himself, who was sent by Egg to serve out the remainder of his life in the Watch.
As the trip progresses, Sam finds that nothing he says can console Gilly, and that Maester Aemon’s health deteriorates. Dareon has nothing but scorn for the wildlinggirl, but Aemon tells Sam to look closely at the baby to find the source of Gilly’s grief. When Sam realizes that the baby is actually Dalla and Mance Rayder’s, not her own, he can’t believe what Jon did. Maester Aemon states, “What threats the Lord Commander made, what promises, I can only guess.” And while Sam understands that Jon did so to save the baby from Melisandre’s fires, he remains shocked at what cost this will have for Gilly.
Daenerys III: ADWD 17
Daenerys is hosting Xaro Xhoan Daxos, the Qartheen merchant. After viewing a dance by his naked male and female slaves, they discuss Dany’s situation since she left Qarth. Xaro is aware of the activities of the Sons of the Harpy and flatteringly tells Daenerys that he fears for her safety. He scoffs at her attempts to abolish slavery in Meereen and tells her that the Thirteen are willing to trade with the city — in slaves. He offers her thirteen galleys if she leaves for Westerosimmediately. Dany tells him she will have her men inspect the ships, and refuses his feigned advances to her.
The next day at court, she refuses the desperate pleas of Lord Ghael to defendAstapor against Yunkai. The envoy spits at her refusal, claiming that Astapor will die without her help, and is thrown out by Strong Belwas. After assembling her council to hear the report of Admiral Groleo, she decides she cannot abandon Meereen to Yunkai’i. When she summons Xaro to tell him, his obsequiousness vanishes. He tells her she will die screaming and that he should have killed her in Qarth. She has him thrown out of the palace, but the next day an emissary gives her a bloody glove — the Qartheen have declared war.
Jon IV: ADWD 18
During an inspection of the stores, Jon is informed by Bowen Marsh and some other stewards that there is not enough to feed the Night’s Watch, the wildlings, andStannis’ men through the winter. He grimly orders a cut in rations, though he knows it will make him unpopular, and tells Marsh they will find a way to feed everyone.
He is then summoned to meet with Stannis. Rattleshirt taunts Jon, offering to sing for him and pointing out the red ruby on his iron cuff, and Stannis tells Jon that he is handing the wildling to Jon. Despite his reluctance to be seen as partial to Stannis in the War of Five Kings, he advises him of the ways of the northern lords and offers him advice over how to win them over. He ignores the provocations of theQueen’s Men as Stannis tells him that he plans to leave the Wall and take onRamsay Bolton at the Dreadfort unawares.Arnolf Karstark has been urging Stannis to attack the Dreadfort claiming that it is lightly garrisoned.
Jon bluntly tells him that his plan will fail, earning more scorn from the Queen’s Men. Stannis silences them and orders Jon to explain his reasons. Jon explains several things; firstly, unless Stannis wins Mors Umber (who is offering an alliance in exchange for certain conditions, namely the skull of Mance Rayder and a pardon for his brother Hother Umber, who is fighting under duress for the Boltons) to his cause, Umber will cut Stannis’s host to pieces as it crosses his land. Second, the Dreadfort will learn of Stannis’s coming long before his arrival and Jon, having seen the castle’s defences, knows that a small garrison could hold the Dreadfort against many times their number. Thirdly, with the imminent fall of Moat Cailin to House Bolton, the combined armies of Ramsay andRoose Bolton will outnumber Stannis 5 to 1, and will easily destroy him as he lays siege to the Dreadfort. In addition, the northern lords Stannis seeks to rally to his cause, who have suffered generations of wildings raiding their holdings, will not be pleased to see his wildling conscripts crossing their lands.
Stannis orders everyone out of the room except Melisandre and Jon. Stannis again offers Winterfell to Jon, but Jon reminds him that Sansa is currently the rightful heir and that he cannot forsake his vows. Stannis says he plans to give Winterfell to Arnolf Karstark, and Jon rebuts that the Karstarks abandoned his brother Robb Stark. Robb had personally beheaded Lord Rickard Karstark after the latter killed two of Stark’s prisoners. Jon promises a source of more men to Stannis, if Stannis will let him keep the wildlings to occupy more of the forts at the Wall. Stannis agrees and Jon tells him of the petty lords of the mountains — House Flint, House Wull, House Norrey, and House Liddle. Jon counsels Stannis to march through the mountains, win the mountain clans to his side, then emerge to attack Deepwood Motte and defeat the Ironmen to rouse the north to his side. Stannis agrees that it is a plan likely to succeed and impress the northmen. Jon also warns that the clansmen are deeply devout to the old gods, warning Melisandre that her presence won’t be welcome. Melisandre surprises Jon by telling him she will stay at the Wall. He ruefully reflects on how he has acquired a thousand wildlings whom he cannot feed.
Jaime II: AFFC 17
An honor procession flanks Lord Tywin’s casket as it heads west, led by many of the Lannister bannermen. Jaime falls in with his uncle Kevan, and they discuss the attack on Saltpans. Jaime cautions his uncle not to try and take on Sandor Cleganeor Beric Dondarrion, and that he would have made a good Hand. Kevan rejects him coolly, and lets Jaime know he knows about the relationship of the twins.
As Jaime returns to King’s Landing, he looks upon the encamped Lannister army, which will soon board the Redwynes’ fleet to lay siege to Dragonstone. He finds his sister in her solar as Grand Maester Pycelle delivers news that Ser Bronn has named Lollys’s bastard newborn “Tyrion”. Jaime realizes that his sister may try to have Bronn killed for this jape, and he recalls the look on her face the night ofTommen’s wedding when the Tower of the Hand was aflame. This called to mind the madness of King Aerys and the way he would become arosed by fire. Jaime recalls Aerys’ rape of his wife the evening he had Lord Chelsted burned alive. Jaime had the guard of the queen’s bedchamber when she was screaming for her husband to stop. When Jaime said that they were sworn to protect her too, his partner that night, Ser Jonothor Darry, replied, “We are, but not from him.”
Jaime asks to speak with Cersei alone, and asks her why she keeps Lady Taenaaround all the time, knowing that she is a spy for Margaery. Cersei responds that Taena is more her spy, considering that the Queen Regent can do more for theMerryweather family. Jaime cautions that she doesn’t truly know the woman, but Cersei remarks that she may make Taena’s husband the Hand. After Jaime asks her about the rumor that she plans to name Aurane Waters her new master of ships, he recommends that she would be better off naming Paxter Redwyne. But Cersei will not put any Tyrell vassals on her small council. Cersei also defends her choice of Qyburn, a disgraced and twisted maester, to join the council. Cersei’s growing paranoia and brutality are becoming more evident and Jaime retorts, “You are seeing dwarfs in every shadow and making foes of friends. Uncle Kevan is not your enemy. I am not your enemy.” However, Cersei throws him out of her solar in fury.
In the White Sword Tower, Jaime speaks with Loras Tyrell, asking him what he knows of certain famous kingsguard. Ser Loras is well-versed, but when the Lord Commander mentions some lesser-known Kingsguard, the Knight of Flowers does not recognize their names. Jaime points out that all of them served well, perhaps even better than the famous knights. Loras remarks that the great Kingsguard knights will always be remembered as heroes, but Jaime reminds him that the most infamous will also be remembered. And then there are those who are not easily classified, of which he offers as an example Criston Cole, the Kingmaker.
Tyrion V: ADWD 19
Tyrion and his companions aboard the Shy Maid continue their way down theRhoyne. As they encounter heavy amounts of fog in the Sorrows, severely hindering their visibility, Ysilla insists that it is not a common fog, claiming that restless spirits surround them.
Tyrion is initially unconcerned and begins to make japes, but he quickly begins to re-evaluate the situation as the surroundings grow more and more eerie. The Shy Maid floats past the ruins of a palace in the ruins of Chroyane, and Tyrion recalls to himself the brief joy he once had with Tysha.
Fearing an attack from the fog, Griff orders Young Griff to accompany SeptaLemore to safety below deck. Tyrion reveals his knowledge regarding the boy, and confirms bits of information he apparently learned from his previous bet withHaldon. Young Griff is in fact young Aegon Targaryen, although Tyrion is uncertain how he survived the the events following the Trident. He also comes to the conclusion that Griff is the late Rhaegar Targaryen’s friend Jon Connington, the former Hand of the King.
Tyrion also reveals his Lannister roots to the party, but there is no time to discuss loyalties or intentions. The Shy Maid is attacked by stone men. He helps to make efforts to ensure the safety of the now-revealed young prince on board, but the dwarf is knocked into the water, dragged down by one of the stone men.
Cersei IV: AFFC 18
After yet another group presents her with a dwarf’s head that is not Tyrion’s, Cerseiwalks together with Qyburn to meet the small council. The new Master of Whisperers indicates that he has prepared the “skull” in an ebony box for delivery to Prince Doran, but no mention is made that it belongs to Gregor Clegane.
Pycelle is near apoplectic upon hearing that Qyburn has been raised to Lord and has replaced Varys on the council, and Cersei makes it clear how unfit she considers the old Grand Maester. Cersei has finalised her appointments, placing men she considers to be meek and loyal and giving them the titles used in the Free Cities, thinking that she will have no “masters” with her in the small Council. She now has a council consisting of:
- Orton Merryweather as judiciar (master of laws)
- Aurane Waters as grand admiral (master of ships)
- Her uncle Kevan’s father-in-law Ser Harys Swyft as “her” Hand. This last appointment she considers as a shield against any threat that Ser Kevan may present.
The council first discusses the unrest in Sunspear and Prince Doran’s letter that he imprisoned the Sand Snakes. Cersei notes that they are sending Balon Swann to Dorne with Gregor Clegane’s head as has been promised, but she does not mention that Balon will have another task as well.
We also learn that Tyrion’s High Septon has died in his “sleep”, and the council brings up the continuing influx of “sparrows” into King’s Landing, stirring up the populace with their preaching of “doom and demon worship”. But Cersei cares not, nor does she care who becomes High Septon, provided he “pronounce(s) an anathema upon the Imp.”
The next topic is a letter by the Lords Declarant in the Vale of Arryn, but the Queen Regent decides not to intervene directly on Littlefinger’s behalf, but only send a letter warning these Lords that no harm must come to Lord Petyr.
When the subject of rebuilding the fleet comes up, Cersei is adamant against making any pact with the ironborn, stating, “Their turn will come, once we have dealt with Stannis.” Aurane Waters will get his fleet of dromonds however, and Cersei will find the coin by deferring the crown’s debt to the Faith of the Seven and to the Iron Bank of Braavos until the end of the war. Pycelle warns her against this route, cautioning that it would be foolish to make an enemy of the Iron Bank, but the decision is made regardless. 
The council also discusses the prudence of making someone pay for the Red Wedding so as to appease all the “sparrows”; and in the mean time offering whomever succeeds the sure-to-die-soon Lord Walder Frey a chance to rid himself of unwanted brothers, half-brothers and nephews.
On the topic of the North, the council indicates that Stannis may soon be confronted by Roose Bolton’s army, once his bastard sonhits Moat Cailin from the north, allowing the Lord of the Dreadfort passage through the Neck. Cersei mentions that Wyman Manderlyhas taken Davos Seaworth captive, after the latter was sent by Stannis to treat with him. Lord Manderly seeks the favor of theIron Throne, and the queen will recommend that he can achieve that favor if he beheads Stannis’s Hand. When Sansa is mentioned, Cersei shocks the council into silence with a violent tirade about how she plans to deal with the girl once she is found. In the uneasy silence that follows, Cersei also remarks that Lord Bolton possesses Arya Stark and that her marriage to his bastard should appease the north, keeping to herself the fact that “Arya Stark” is really a “steward’s whelp” provided by Littlefinger.
Next they debate the fact that the Night’s Watch might be joining its might to Stannis, especially now that Jon Snow is their Lord Commander. The council decides to warn the Watch that the crown will stop sending men to the Wall, but Qyburn suggests that they do send 100 men. Cersei picks up on this, with the idea that the men sent will really be assassins ordered to remove Eddard Stark’s bastard.
Back in her apartments, Cersei learns from Taena that Dorcas fancies Osney Kettleblack, and also hints that she herself likes dangerous, scarred men. Cersei tries to learn the name of Taena’s old flame, but the Myrish woman is evasive.
When Osney arrives, Cersei butters him up with an offer to join the Kingsguard and a chance to bed her again, provided he accomplishes a couple of tasks. First, Cersei wants him to seduce, and hopefully bed, Queen Margaery; this will enable Cersei to execute her lawfully. Second, she plans to send him to the Wall as “punishment” for his treason with Margaery, but in reality he will lead a group of men to assassinate Jon Snow. She assures him that the men would not be required to serve in the Watch after they complete their task, and promises him a lordship, should he accomplish both missions.
Later that night, Cersei asks Lady Taena to remark to Margaery that she has a secret admirer, but not to let out Ser Osney’s name unless the girl probes.
Davos III: ADWD 20
Davos is held for eighteen days in a large, airy, handsomely furnished chamber with guards at the door and a view of the city’s streets and the harbor in the New Castle at White Harbor. The Merry Midwife left after four days.
A young girl, Wylla Manderly, Lord Wyman’s granddaughter, vocally supports Stannis, and appears to sway the court. However, Lord Manderly calls for Davos’ head and has Davos dragged off to prison in the Wolf’s Den as a traitor in the presence of the Freys.
The Iron Captain (Victarion I): AFFC 19
Victarion has left the defense of Moat Cailin to Ralf Kenning, and sailed the Iron Fleet to Old Wyk for the kingsmoot. When the fleet arrives at Nagga’s Cradle, Victarion has them blockade Euron’s Silence. The first to greet him on shore isAeron, and later that night the priest is at his side for the feast. Several captains pledge their voice to Victarion’s claim, but Lord Blacktyde seeks a king who will end the wars, saying,
“Balon was mad, Aeron is madder, and Euron is maddest of them all.”
Soon, the captain finds his niece, advising her not to lay forth a claim, because a woman has no place ruling the ironborn. Asha stands by her claim, and notes that the Damphair may have underestimated the appeal of the Kingsmoot, since the Drumm will present his claim and there is talk of Maron Volmark being presented as heir of the throne by Tarle the Thrice-Drowned, while it is apparent that Aeron’s intent was to legitimize Victarion as Balon’s successor.
Their chat is interrupted by the arrival of Euron. Victarion notes Euron does not seem to have aged in the almost three years that he has been gone. Aeron confronts Euron with the accusation that “no godless man may sit the Seastone Chair”, but Euron cows his brother into leaving the hall. Asha then accuses her uncle of the death of her father, but Euron denies he had anything to do with it. When a fight nearly breaks out between Asha and one of Euron’s men, Victarion steps in and demands that Euron leave. After his departure, Victarion and his niece walk outside, and Asha asks why Euron was banished by her father, for he refused to ever speak of it. Victarion eventually tells her that Euron impregnated Victarion’s wife. Victarion wanted to kill his brother but Balon forbid it and sent Euron to exile. Later Victarion killed his wife with his own hands.
Asha offers to set aside her claim if Victarion will name her his Hand and end the war. She feels that the Ironborn have overextended themselves and tells her uncle that she has reached an agreement with Lady Sybelle Glover, and that their people may keep Sea Dragon Point and the Stony Shore in return for the release of Deepwood Motte, Torrhen’s Square and Moat Cailin. Victarion is not receptive. Asha replies that she then will claim the throne.
The Drowned Man (Aeron II): AFFC 20
Aeron is wading in the ocean, berating himself for running from Euron. He considersNagga’s bones, where the Grey King ruled for 1000 years and warred against theStorm God. At dawn, Aeron has his drowned men sound the drums and warhorns to announce the onset of the kingsmoot. The prophet wishes for Victarion to win the claim, and hopes Euron will make a mistake and declare early. But the first claimant is Gylbert Farwynd, who rules a small barrier island far to the west of the Iron Islands where shapeshifters are said to live. Aeron sees madness in the lord’s eyes. He offers to lead the ironmen to a bountiful land beyond the Sunset Sea; few of the gathered captains shout his name.
Next up is Erik Ironmaker, who once might have made a great king. But age and his immense weight make him an easy target for Asha to dismiss by asking him to stand up from his chair. The following claimant is another famous ironborn, Lord Dunstan Drumm, who asks the gathering, “Where is it written that our king must be a kraken?” But the Drumm’s downfall is the cheap loot he offers to swing the vote of the captains.
Victarion steps forth next and asks for Aeron’s blessing. His speech is short and concise and he offers to continue the rule his brother Balon set. His offerings are generous, and many captains give him their voice.
But it is Asha who interrupts the shouts of “Victarion!”, and declares that her claim is best as she is Balon’s daughter. She tells the ironborn that war is bleeding their people and to continue it would be folly. She offers peace with the Northmen, and prosperous land on the western shores of the North. When she opens her chests to show the scant spoils of her warring in the Northlands, the tumult of support she receives is staggering.
Fearing that a woman will win the kingsmoot, Aeron is shocked back to reality by the horrible bellowing of a horn. All eyes turn to a giant war-horn bound with ancientValyrian glyphs being sounded by one of Euron’s “mongrels”. After sounding the horn several times, the giant mute nearly falls over, his lips bloody and blistering. Euron steps forward and announces that he has sailed further and braved more than any other ironman. He offers not only peace and land, but all of Westeros itself to the ironborn. When Asha asks him how he means to do so, her uncle responds that he will use dragons to conquer the Seven Kingdoms, as Aegon did, using the Dragon Horn he found amongst the ashes of Old Valyria. When he tells the crowd that the horn can bind dragons to his will, and that he knows where three dragons can be found, he receives the overwhelming cheers of “Euron! Euron! Crow’s Eye! EURON KING!”
Brienne IV: AFFC 21
On the way to the cove where Nimble Dick led the fool and his two companions, Podcatches Dick looking through Brienne’s saddlebags. She knew something like this might happen, and warned Pod to keep an eye on him. But having no recourse but to follow Dick, Brienne and Pod continue on their path to Crackclaw Point. Dick tells them some of the history of the region, to pass the monotony of their journey. Brienne’s mistrust of Dick has made him take notice, and she considers how easy it is for her to suspect others, after the mistreatments she has suffered in her life. She remembers getting her revenge on several of her false suitors during the mêlée atBitterbridge, but this has done little to stay her natural distrust.
As they pass the Dyre Den, Lord Brune’s castle, Pod takes note of a rider a couple miles behind them. When Brienne learns that Dick may have known Lord Brune, she considers the possibility that Dick is a deserter from the war. After passing through many a treacherous bog and forest, they finally arrive at the ruins of the Whispers. Brienne commands Pod to watch their horses, as she and Dick investigate the ruins. When they find a recently put-out cookfire, Brienne realizes their quarry is still around.
The trap is soon sprung, and the fool turns out to be Shagwell of the Bloody Mummers. Shagwell kills Nimble Dick with his brutal morningstar, then informs Brienne that Urswyck rode south to Oldtown with some of the Mummers, whileRorge headed for Saltpans. He also reveals a rumor that the “daughter of Lord Stark” has last been seen with Sandor Clegane.
When Shagwell’s two companions attack, Brienne’s strength and size are too much for Pyg and Timeon, who fall quickly to her strokes with Oathkeeper. Squaring off against Shagwell, the Fool is struck in the head by a stone thrown by Podrick. Brienne forces the Fool to dig a grave for Dick, but upon completion of it, the former Brave Companion attacks her. She quickly dispatches him as well, and then she is surprised to hear a laugh from the ruined wall. It is Ser Hyle Hunt, the rider who Pod had spied, sent by Randyll Tarly to stay at Brienne’s side in the off chance that she finds Sansa.
The Queenmaker (Arianne I): AFFC 22
At a hidden well at Shandystone in the desert of Dorne, Arianne and her most trusted companions are awaiting the arrival of Myrcella and her sworn sword. Although Arianne has the utmost trust in Garin, Drey and Sylva, she is still unsure about Gerold Dayne the Darkstar. She considers his cruel nature and the mystery surrounding him. She is worried that Arys may be wary of him. But if this would happen and they would to come to blows, who would win? Garin warns Arianne that he does not like the man, but she reminds him that they may need his sword and eventually his castle. Later, Darkstar tells her that this scheme to crown Myrcella will not work as she has planned. He then unsheathes his sword, and reveals that you incite a war with steel (meaning they should kill Myrcella).
When Arys and Princess Myrcella arrive, Arianne introduces the girl to her companions. Myrcella recalls the great knight Arthur Dayne when she meets Darkstar, which seems to upset the Knight of High Hermitage, because in his mind people always remember his cousin for his famous sword. Arys draws Arianne off alone and reveals that Tywin Lannister is dead.
They set off at night for the Greenblood, where they will take an orphan’s barge west along the river. Myrcella is confused, having been told nothing by Arys, especially the fact that everyone keeps calling her “your Grace”. Arianne tells her some of their plan, that they intend to crown her Queen, because her brother Tommen was being controlled by evil councillors. During the trip, Myrcella asks Garin why they call him “an orphan of the Greenblood” when he has a mother and father. He explains that it is a metaphor for their mourning the loss of their homeland, and the “mother” river the Rhoyne. They built barges along the Greenblood and hammered them together, as they did in their ancestral land, for they were never comfortable in the deserts of Dorne.
As Arianne is considering her plan to crown Myrcella at Hellholt, whereEllaria Sand’s father Harmen Uller rules, they reach the river and spot the barge that Garin’s people promised would be waiting. But as they get closer, Areo Hotah steps from the cabin with a dozen crossbowmen. Arianne yells for them to flee, while Drey recommends they yield. But Arys Oakheart charges the boat, intent on protecting his two princesses at all costs. Hit with several bolts, he reaches the deck but falls to Captain Hotah’s longaxe. As Arianne falls off her horse screaming “No!”, she hears Myrcella shrieking, and Hotah commanding horsemen to chase after Darkstar, who fled. Arianne notices Myrcella on her hands and knees, her head in her hands and blood streaming down her arms. Then she is brought before Hotah, pleading to know how her father discovered what she planned. The Captain of the Guards responds, “Someone told. Someone always tells.”
Arya II: AFFC 23
Every day, the kindly man asks Arya who she is. When she replies “no one”, he tells her that she lies, trying to get her to forget her true self and give up her past, but Arya resists. She works hard in the temple, cleaning and doing other chores. She witnesses many people entering the temple, some to light candles, others to curl up near a statue to die, and others to speak in private to the kindly man. When asked whose names she whispers at night, she finally admits that they are people she wants to kill, but the priest tells her that it is the Many-Faced God who determines who shall die, not her. He also finally convinces her to dispose of her possessions, and she does so with all but Needle, which she hides outside the temple under a stone. Once she has done this, the kindly man comes to her and tells her some of their history.
The Faceless Men are older than Braavos, having started amongst the slaves working the mines beneath the volcanoes of the Valyrian Freehold. The slaves worked under the harshest of conditions, and since they came from many different nations, they all prayed to different gods. But one amongst them (although he may have actually been a noble’s son or an overseer, no one knows) realized that they were actually all praying to one god- one who could set them free from their torture.
The kindly man does not finish the story, but now Arya is a novice at the temple, and she and the waif begin to teach each other their respective languages. As Arya learns Braavosi, the waif also teaches her how to read a lie on someone’s face, and Arya discovers that the girl is actually well over thirty years old, having taken “poisons” as part of her sacrifice to become Faceless. One day, when other priests of the Many-Faced God visit the temple, Arya asks the kindly man how to change her face, as Jaqen H’ghar did. While the priest knows not the name, he tells her it takes years of prayer, sacrifice and study to accomplish what he could do. Still, Arya wishes to learn, so he tells her to begin training the muscles of her face in front of a mirror every day. The next day, the kindly man tells Arya that she must leave the temple for a while, so as to learn the Braavosi tongue by being amongst them all the time. He instructs her to find a fishmonger named Brusco, but to not reveal who she really is. Arya decides to use the name “Cat”, pretending to be an orphan girl from King’s Landing.
Alayne I (Sansa II): AFFC 24
Sansa is now completely in the role of Alayne Stone, and she has considerable influence in the Eyrie. On the balcony of her rooms in the Maiden’s Tower, she surveys the armies of the Lords Declarant camped outside the Gates of the Moon. Lord Gilwood Hunter arrived first, and immediately blockaded supplies from reaching the Eyrie. Though they are not yet under siege, the situation looks dire from her standpoint. Lord Robert, even more irritable than normal because there are no eggs or bacon, tells Alayne that he still hears Marillion singing every night. Alayne assures him that the bard is dead, although she has not seen the body, but she herself no longer hears singing. When Littlefinger arrives, he informs them that the Lords Declarant are on their way up to the Eyrie for a parley. He tells Alayne that there will be eight of them, but he is only concerned about Lyn Corbray. We learn that Lyn fought against Jon Arryn at Gulltown at the onset of Robert’s Rebellion, but later fought alongside him at the Trident, where he slew Prince Lewyn Martell of theKingsguard and broke the Dornish line. While his elder brother supports Petyr’s position as Lord Protector of the Vale, Ser Lyn has taken up with the Lords Declarant. Bearing the Valyrian sword Lady Forlorn, Ser Lyn is a dangerous and unpredictable man, quick to demand a duel.
The Lords Declarant seek to defend Lord Robert and the Vale, but do not acknowledge the Lord Protector, naming him a false counselor who has been misruling the Vale. After Robert has another fit, Littlefinger suggests that MaesterColemon try giving him sweetsleep, although the maester seems reticent to do so. Alayne tells her “father” that Yohn Royce will recognize her, having met her atWinterfell when Waymar Royce took the black, but Petyr explains that “men see what they expect to see.” She also asks him why he doesn’t leave the Vale to take up his position as Lord of Harrenhal. Littlefinger is convinced the place is cursed, especially after what happened to Tywin Lannister, Gregor Clegane, and Vargo Hoat. Lady Shella Whent recently died without any heirs, claiming yet another family that once ruled at Black Harren’s nightmare castle. When Alayne recommends that he give Harrenhal to Lord Walder Frey, Petyr smiles and tells her he might, but he would really like to give it to Cersei, although he might have to “remove her from the game” sooner than planned, unless she removes herself first.
Alayne leads the Lords Declarant up to Petyr’s solar, where he confounds them by saying that he would like to sign their declaration to weed out the false counselors. But Yohn Royce tells him they did not come to obtain his signature; they are here to remove Littlefinger and take Lord Robert to foster at Runestone. Petyr informs them that he plans to foster the sons of other lords here so that Robert will have boys his own age around. He also asks Lady Anya Waynwood to send Harrold Hardyng to the Eyrie as his ward, but the Lords scoff at this request. Littlefinger refuses their demand that he leave the Vale and turn over Robert, and after he calls their bluffs of violence, Lyn Corbray draws Lady Forlorn, but this enrages the other Lords Declarant, and Bronze Yohn tells the knight to up his steel, reminding him that they are guests. Corbray stalks off, but this has worked to Littlefinger’s advantage, as he now turns hostile toward the Lords. Demanding that they lift their encampment and give him one year to set the Vale to rights or else he will willingly step down as Lord Protector, all the Lords except Yohn Royce agree, and Petyr emerges victorious in the parley.
Later that night, after the Lords have departed, Alayne asks Petyr what he plans for the next year. Littlefinger continues his tutelage of Alayne in playing the game of thrones. He states that one or two of the older Lords may die over the course of the year, and LordGilwood Hunter may well be killed by his younger brother Harlan, who arranged old Lord Eon’s death. Petyr admits that he will never be able to sway Bronze Yohn, but when Alayne inquires about Ser Lyn, he tells her that he can be bought “with gold and boys and promises.”
Cersei V: AFFC 25
Cersei continues to obliviously move from one folly to the next. Angered byTommen’s brazen demand to sit on the Iron Throne and at council, she realizes thatMargaery put him up to this. Cersei refuses to give her power up to anyone, at least until Tommen comes of age.
Next, she sends away the Iron Bank’s envoy Noho Dimittis after telling him there will be no payment until the rebellion is ended. She receives word from Pycelle that LordManderly had Ser Davos beheaded, and the Freys confirmed this. Later, she speaks with Osmund Kettleblack about his younger brother’s failed efforts to bed Margaery. Osmund swears that the young queen likes him, but that they are never alone. TheKingsguard names some of those always around her, including the male singers she prefers to entertain her and her companions.
When Cersei crosses the yard and finds Tommen riding at the quintain, she is infuriated. Once again, this was Margaery’s idea, and while all those gathered are cheering the young king’s jousting ability, Cersei blunders by saying, “One day you shall rule the lists, as your father did.” Margaery astutely catches this and asks what tourneys King Robert had won. The Queen Regent evades this by mentioning Robert’s deeds at the Trident. She then berates Loras for teaching Tommen how to ride, but the Kingsguard reminds her that there has been no master-at-arms at theRed Keep since Aron Santagar was killed. Walking back to her solar, she considers sending for another Dornish master-at-arms, just to irk the Tyrells.
In her solar, Qyburn informs her that Prince Doran has imprisoned Daemon Sand for demanding the release of the Sand Snakes, and that Sylva Santagar has been hastily married to the elderly Eldon Estermont. He also tells her that both Daemon Sand and Sylva are close friends of Doran’s daughter Arianne. Cersei could not care less, but she is interested to hear of a treasonous puppet show. She commands Qyburn to have the four puppeteers put to death, but Qyburn wants the women for his “experiments”. Cersei has already given him Senelle, but he basically tells her she didn’t last. The Queen Regent recalls her screaming in the darkness when she was down in the black cells, but grants Qyburn his test subjects. Later, as she is bathing in preparation for dinner, Jaime arrives with Tommen, who is demanding to see her. The boy king wants his horse tomorrow so that Loras can continue training him, but his mother will have none of it. Jaime mocks her for suggesting that Ser Osmund is thrice the knight Ser Loras is, but Cersei finally convinces her son to wait for a new master-at-arms to be named.
As she gets dressed, Cersei recalls her fit of rage when her washerwoman shrunk several of her gowns; but it is obvious she is unaware that she is actually gaining weight from all the alcohol. Her guests for dinner are Falyse Stokeworth and her husband,Balman Byrch. It is revealed that Tanda Stokeworth has been thrown from her horse and fractured her hip, but Cersei thinks to herself that Tanda will not recover from the wound at her age. Falyse says she was refused hospitality by the ward of Lord Gyles Rosby and that she encountered ruffians on the road. Cersei deftly convinces Falyse and Balman that she fears Bronn is either hiding Tyrion or gathering swords for him, and may mean to try and kill Tommen. They assure her that it was solely Bronn’s responsibility for naming Lollys’s bastard son “Tyrion”, but Balman gets the hint that Cersei would like to see the ex-sellsword disposed of, and tells her not to worry any further.
On her way to bed, Cersei peeks in on Tommen and sees three kittens in bed with him. Meryn Trant informs her that Margaery gave them to him. That night, Cersei thinks of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, and how King Aerys blocked their betrothal out of spite. When she was 10, her father and her aunt Genna promised she would be betrothed to Rhaegar after the tourney for King Aerys II inLannisport. She was so happy that she agreed to visit the witch Maggy the Frog with her friends. They laughed at her prophesies, but that night King Aerys mocked Lord Tywin for thinking he would give his son’s hand to his servant Tywin’s daughter. And after that, Maggy’s predictions started to come true, one after another.
Reek II (Theon II): ADWD 21
The Ironborn are in bad shape. They have been long isolated from supplies, apparently forgotten by Victarion who brought them there before leaving for theKingsmoot. The North’s crannogmen keep them under constant siege and their morale is so low that they no longer bother to even dispose of their dead.
Their nominal leader Ralf Kenning is only barely alive, suffering a painful, slow, ugly death after being infected by a poisoned arrow. Theon, torn between his conditioning to think of himself as Ramsay’s plaything Reek and his orders to present himself as Lord Balon Greyjoy’s son, has glimpses of his past pride and identity and actually mercy kills Ralf Kenning before making demands of the mostlyCodd men that still survive in the garrison.
Dagon Codd attempts to refuse his terms, but Adrack Humble kills him. The Ironborn surrender to Ramsay Bolton and hear empty promises of food and peace before being mercilessly killed and displayed at stakes along the road.
Theon, still thinking of himself as Reek, is further humiliated by Ramsay and “rewarded” by being “promoted” to the role of a dog. He meets Lord Roose Boltonas his own forces arrive at Moat Cailin with a sizeable number of Frey men, including Hosteen Frey and Aenys Frey, both of whom Theon recognizes from his time at their side as part of Robb’s war campaign. At this point only about a fifth of the Northmen who went south with Robb Stark have returned alive.
Jon V: ADWD 22
Following the departure of Stannis’s host, Castle Black is in a quiescent state, with the exception of the training yard. Although Stannis has vacated Mormont’s former chambers in King’s Tower, Jon does not move in, knowing that others may misconstrue the move as a sign that he does not expect Stannis to return.
Against Bowen Marsh’s wishes, Jon accompanies a line of wagons under armed escort to deliver food to the wildlings who have taken refuge underground at Mole’s Town. As they notice several faces carved into various trees along the road, he comes to realize that the wildlings may have bent the knee to Stannis and feigned to embrace the Lord of Light, but in their hearts they will never abandon the old gods.
A riot nearly breaks out as Jon’s men deliver rations to the wildlings, with many complaining about the small amount of food they receive. Jon promises the wildings adequate food, shelter, and weapons if they help the Night’s Watch defend the Wall, informing them that they have the choice: work with the Watch, or face theOthers alone. In spite of their misgivings, many wildlings agree to join, children,spearwives, and fighters alike, including Halleck, the brother of Harma Dogshead. However, Sigorn and the rest of the Thenns refuse the offer. When the rations are all distributed, the wagons are loaded with 63 wildings heading back to the Wall. Jon remembers something Mance Rayder told him, that the wildlings do not follow names or sigils. They follow strength.
Tyrion VI: ADWD 23
Tyrion is dreaming of his lord father and the Shrouded Lord. In his dream, they are one and the same. He wakes up with his mouth dry and rusty with the taste of blood and his heart hammering in his chest.
Tyrion learns that after being knocked overboard during the battle with the stone men, he was rescued by Jon Connington and the prince forbade the crew to throw him, near-dead, overboard. Tyrion is being treated with vinegar, to reduce the danger of an infection with greyscale. Prince Aegon is also still aboard and irritated about it; however, his companions insisted on keeping him safe, as Selhorys, where the Shy Maid is currently docked, fears an imminent attack by an approaching Dothraki khalasar and they do not want to get caught up in the chaos. To pass the time, Tyrion goads Aegon into playing a game of cyvasse with him, using it as an opportunity to probe the boy for information. Aegon asks Tyrion about his real father, but Tyrion can tell him little; he himself only saw Rhaegar once or twice before Robert’s Rebellion, and was a small boy hidden away at Casterly Rock when Rhaegar died at the Trident.
Tyrion learns from Aegon that the child murdered by Gregor Clegane during theSack of King’s Landing was a tanner’s son from Pisswater Bend whom Varys purchased and substituted for Aegon in the cradle. After the Sack, Varys smuggled the baby Aegon across the narrow sea to Illyrio Mopatis, who made the arrangements for Aegon’s upbringing. Tyrion jokes that it will make a good story for the singers when he returns to Westeros, assuming Daenerys Targaryen takes him as her consort. Aegon is stunned by this, having clearly never considered the possibility that Daenerys might refuse him. Tyrion points out that she is a proud, strong, and fierce young woman who is unlikely to appreciate a relative coming to her with a begging bowl, certainly not one with a stronger claim to the Iron Throne than her own. Aegon angrily denies being a beggar, pointing out his own army, the Golden Company. Tyrion responds that Daenerys has a larger army than his own and owes nothing to Aegon. Aegon protests, trusting in Lord Connington to win her over. Tyrion calls him a fool, and gives him the following warning:
“Trust no one, my prince. Not your chainless maester, not your false father, not the gallant Duck or the lovely Lemore nor these other fine friends who grew you up from a bean. Above all, trust not the cheesemonger, nor the Spider, nor this little dragon queen you mean to marry. All this mistrust will sour your stomach and keep you awake at night, ’tis true, but better that than the long sleep that does not end.”
Tyrion then suggests a different course of action to Aegon: head to Westeros instead of going east, land in Dorne and take advantage of all the problems caused by the War of the Five Kings. He points out that the North is in a chaotic condition, theriverlands are devastated, while Stannis Baratheon holds Storm’s End and Dragonstone. The coming winter will starve out the realm. He then paints the opposition as particularly weak: King Tommen Baratheon is just a boy, and all his potential regents come with their own problems. Jaime Lannister actively avoids the responsibility of ruling, and Kevan Lannister is a born follower- he will only take the rule if it is offered to him. Mace Tyrell will have to fight the Lannisters to become regent, and Stannis’ unpopularity makes him an unlikely choice. That leaves only one potential candidate: Cersei. Tyrion is particularly scathing of his sister’s ability to rule, comparing her to some of the worst Targaryen kings, noting that Cersei, in her paranoia and impatience, will undo all the alliances his father created to secure Tommen’s hold on the Iron Throne and adds that if Aegon acts quickly, he can take advantage of the chaos and make serious gains before Cersei is overthrown and someone more competent takes her place.
When Aegon protests, asking how they can win without his aunt and her dragons, Tyrion points out that he doesn’t have to conquer the Seven Kingdoms; he only needs to start winning victories, acting not as a beggar, but a true scion of House Targaryen, like his ancestor Aegon the Conqueror. When he does, word of it will get back to Daenerys, and she and Aegon can meet as equals. Tyrion is convinced that Daenerys will fly to Aegon’s side and immediately love him, as he is the last of her line, and she is above all a “rescuer”.
To re-emphasize his point to Aegon about trusting no one if he wants to survive in the game of thrones, Tyrion wins the cyvasse game using a piece of bad advice he gave and which the prince took at the start of the game. Aegon does not take his loss well; the sudden burst of anger convinces Tyrion the boy might be a Targaryen after all.
Later that evening,Haldon takes Tyrion into Selhorys in search of information, where they confirm the rumors that Daenerys still has not left Meereen. They need to know more, so Haldon takes Tyrion into an inn where they bribe a customs officer. Qavo Nogarys, to learn more. They learn many things, such as the fact the rulers of Yunkai are spreading slanderous propaganda and offering heavy bribes to convince Volantis to side with them against Daenerys, whose attack on the slave trade has made her enemies in Volantis. By contrast, it is learned that the red priests of R’hllor, particularly the High Priest Benerro are supporting Daenerys, and preach Volantis’s destruction if the city’s rulers side against her, along with other apocalyptic prophecies. There are also rumors of Khal Pono’s khalasar approaching the city, though they are confident they can, as usual, buy off the Dothraki.
Later, Tyrion convinces Haldon to let him find a brothel and goes searching for Tysha. He finds his way into a cheap brothel where he fucks a Westerosi looking girl, retches, fucks her again and then leaves ashamed of himself. On his way out, he stumbles drunkenly into a Westerosi man who takes him prisoner to be “delivered to the queen”.
Daenerys IV: ADWD 24
Galazza Galare, the Green Grace, appears before Daenerys to offer once more the suggestion that she marry. She suggests as a suitor Hizdahr zo Loraq, who is waiting for her summons. Dany agrees to speak with him, and though neither of them love nor even express much physical attraction to one another, Hizdahr promises to put an end to the attacks by the Harpy’s Sons. Dany tasks him with ninety days in which she does not want a single attack as demonstration of Hizdahr’s promise. If he succeeds, Dany agrees that she may accept his wedding proposal. After he leaves, Barristan Selmy expresses his disapproval, but Dany believes that she still has ninety days to figure out another plan, to see if Hizdahr can prevent the attacks, and if he can she will marry him out of duty to her people.
Ser Barristan tells hers that during her assembly with the Green Grace, Daario Naharis has returned. Dany commands to see him at once, overcome with lust. Despite her growing passion, during the meeting Daario upsets her with his barbaric suggestions as solutions to her problems and she sends him away. Dany tells Barristan to forbid Daario from meeting with her directly ever again, but regrets her decision almost immediately.
The Lost Lord (Jon Connington I): ADWD 25
After the disappearance of Tyrion Lannister, Lord Jon Connington decided to continue their route to Volon Therys. There, the former lord of Griffin’s Roost,Haldon and Prince Aegon arrive at the camp of the mercenary Golden Company to meet their officers.
On their way, the man called Griff recalls memories of the time when he served with the mercenaries himself — the Golden Company was founded by former combatants and knights of the Seven Kingdoms who were defeated in the Blackfyre Rebellion. Jon Connington joined the Golden Company after his own defeat at the Battle of the Bells, at Stoney Sept, when he failed to capture the then-rebel Robert Baratheon, seventeen years ago. It is revealed that Connington was dismissed from the Golden Company for ostensibly stealing from their war chest, but in reality left their service as part of a plan staged by Lord Varys to make his ignominious dismissal more forgettable. The Company was previously led by Connington’s close friend Toyne but now it is led by “Homeless” Harry Strickland, a man skilled in negotiating lucrative contracts but cowardly facing combat, in the eyes of Connington.
After presenting the young Griff as Prince Aegon Targaryen, son of the late PrinceRhaegar Targaryen, to the highest-ranking members of the Company, the officers, including Connington, voice their lack of enthusiasm for the complicated situation. They did not anticipate that Daenerys would decide to remain in Meereen instead of marching out to meet her enemies and joining with them. Strickland reveals that the Golden Company has received a large number of alternative offers, including some which would involve them joining the coalition currently arrayed against Daenerys Targaryen. They also bemoan the constantly-changing plans of Illyrio Mopatis and Varys, who did not anticipate Viserys Targaryen’s death or that Daenerys would go to Slaver’s Bay rather than Westeros. Seeing their disillusionment and an opportunity to claim the Iron Throne for his own, Prince Aegon offers them an alternative, earlier proposed by Tyrion: He does not wish to try to rally Daenerys and her dragons, but instead to sail to Westeros with the hope of obtaining support from Dorne in accordance with Doran Martell’s own plan for avenging Princess Elia Martell. Aegeon reasons that once he and the Golden Company have begun the rebellion, Daenerys will cross the Narrow Sea to join him. This proposal is met with great enthusiasm from the officers, except Harry Strickland, who nevertheless has no choice but to comply.
Once agreed on the new plan, Aegon is taken on a tour of the mercenary camp. Connington retires to his quarters, satisfied with the new situation and impressed with a side of Aegon he has not previously seen. He hopes to return home to the castle of his ancestors and repay his debt to his old friend Rhaegar. It is then revealed that he is slowly succumbing to greyscale (presumably acquired during the attack by the Stone Men), which is beginning to spread in his hand — he hopes that he will live several more years to see his ward sit the Iron Throne.
The Windblown (Quentyn II): ADWD 26
Quentyn Martell and his two companions have joined the Windblown, a sellsword company of two thousand people led by a Pentoshi noble known as the Tattered Prince, under false names. Quentyn has assumed the name “Frog”, Gerris Drinkwater now goes by “Dornish Gerrold” or “Drink”, and Archibald Yronwood is now “Greenguts”. Their goal is to reach Slaver’s Bay and eventually Daenerys Targaryen in Meereen without drawing too much danger or attention, although they keep that a secret from their colleagues.
The company was paid for by Yunkai to fight and kill the Butcher King’s successors in Astapor, where they are currently mounted, three miles away from the gates. There they faced Astapor’s still-untrained new Unsullied, far less formidable than those that Daenerys has with her in Meereen.
“Frog” learns that the Windblown are going to Yunkai for provisions before marching for Meereen to fight Daenerys’ forces. While they prepare to leave, he learns many malicious and fearful rumors about Daenerys’ past and present, some of them more grounded in truth than others.
On the way to Meereen, the Tattered Prince receives instructions from Yunkai to hunt the Astapori survivors that have left the ruins of Astapor and drive them away from Yunkai, either back to Astapor or further north to Meereen. It is believed that about half of those survivors are carriers of the bloody flux. The Windblown will fight side by side with the Company of the Cat, another group of sellswords that has fought against them in the past.
The leader of the company has however decided to play both sides, and selects a group of Westerosi men, including Quentyn and his companions, to make for Meereen and contact either the Second Sons or the Stormcrows, offering to defect to Dany. He selects Pretty Meris to command that group and suggests believable justifications for their decision to turn cloak. The group will have to be careful to avoid retaliation from the Company of the Cat or of the Long Lances who know nothing of their plans and might not approve or care if they knew.
The Wayward Bride (Asha II): ADWD 27
Asha is at Deepwood Mottewith her men, having fled the Iron Islands after theKingsmoot. She receives news from Barrowton thatMoat Cailin has fallen toRamsay Bolton. She thinks about a previous message from Stannis Baratheonasking for homage. Bolton’s message is written in the blood of the Ironmen and comes with a piece of Theon Greyjoy’s skin as a warning.
At Ten Towers, Asha received tidings that Euron had married her to Erik Anvilbreaker, so she now lingers at Deepwood Motte, knowing that she cannot return to the Iron Islands without having to submit to her new husband. Asha takes note of the fact that Deepwood Motte is an old castle, yet not a strong one, as proven by her quick capture of it. She also tells herself that she will not be captured alive by the Boltons, and will fight to the death in any attempt of capture. She suspects that the next attack will come from the Boltons. Of the thirty longships that set out to capture Deepwood, only four remain with Asha and her followers council her to take flight. Asha refuses, stating that she will only fights, not run.
Asha and Qarl the Maid have sex on Galbart Glover’s bed and she reflects on their long relationship, regretting that they cannot marry, as Qarl is too low-born. During the night, the alarm is raised — it turns out that five Flint men from the mountain clans have tried to scale the wall. Asha’s men defeat them quickly. A single survivor claims that they were alone, attempting to save Lady Glover. But Asha’s brutal interrogation reveals their true purpose: to open a gate for the three thousand men coming to take Deepwood Motte.
Asha is unsure who is leading these men and she makes the sudden decision to try to flee for their ships instead, hoping that the northmen have not burned the beached ships she left behind. She is confident, however, since she always beaches half her ships and leaves the other half out at sea with orders to move to Sea Dragon Point if they are attacked.
On the way back to the ships, Asha realizes that it is dangerous to speed through the thick woods at night and they cannot light torches or else attract attention and an attack from the northmen. She decides to rest with her men and wait for sunrise in order to flee more quickly and safely. The northmen catch up to them, however, and a bloody, confusing battle ensues. Asha observes that the northmen are wearing shrubs and trees and thinks to herself that it is as if the very woods were attacking them. The battle continues with Asha fighting back to back with Qarl. Amidst the confusion, she loses him and is eventually hit in the head with an axe by a northman.
Brienne V: AFFC 26
Returning to Maidenpool, Hyle Hunt informs Randyll Tarly that Brienne has killed three of the Bloody Mummers. Tarly again warns her against playing a knight, but Brienne will not give up her mission. She and Podrick meet up with Ser Hyle the next morning, and he tells them of his plan for finding Sandor Clegane. He reveals that the Hound has not joined Beric Dondarrion, and that the Lightning Lord’s bandhad no part in the raid on Saltpans. Lord Tarly has created this rumour in the hopes of turning the smallfolk against Lord Beric. Ser Hyle knows a septon with great knowledge of the Riverlands, and proposes that they accompany the man to Saltpans. When Brienne says she has no intention of traveling with Hunt, he tells her that he is no longer in Lord Tarly’s service. They soon depart for Saltpans, while Septon Meribald talks of the gods, his past and the great bands of wolves in the Riverlands led by a demon of a she-wolf. Meribald tells them there may be broken men about on their way to Quiet Isle, and Brienne surmises that the septon himself once had such an experience before he discovered his piety.
Samwell III: AFFC 27
Staying at an inn in Braavos, Sam is nearing wits’ end. Dareon has abandoned them for the brothels, Gilly remains inconsolable, and Maester Aemon’s health deteriorates daily. To make matters worse, Sam had spent nearly all their coin on their rooms, a healer for Aemon, and passage on a boat, Lady Ushanora, that they wound up unable to board due to the maester’s health. Feverish and dying, the maester begs Sam to return to the docks to learn more about this rumor of dragons that Dareon had heard at some winesink. Aemon mumbles to Sam, “Dragons. The grief and glory of my house… My brothers dreamed of dragons too, and the dreams killed them, every one. Sam, we tremble on the cusp of half-remembered prophecies… I should have seen it. Fire consumes, but cold preserves. The Wall…”
Sam departs that night to find Dareon, but gets accosted by two bravos because he is wearing a sword. However, he is saved by Cat of the Canals, who tells him of another black brother about to wed the Sailor’s Wife. Sam finds Dareon at theHappy Port, but his brother from the Watch wants nothing more to do with the black, or Gilly and Aemon for that matter. Sam punches him in the face, but gets tossed into the canal by the proprietors of the brothel. He is saved from drowning byXhondo, a huge Summer Islander, who is a mate aboard the Cinnamon Wind and knows of these dragons that Sam had mentioned.
Jaime III: AFFC 28
Aware that Cersei is trying to rid herself of him, Jaime argues that his place is beside the king, not off laying siege to Riverrun. But his sister responds that she can’t rely on Daven, and needs Jaime to defeat Brynden Tully, as well as find out whyGregor’s men at Harrenhal have not released Wylis Manderly as the crown requested. She states that Osmund Kettleblack will command the Kingsguard in his absence, although Jaime dislikes the idea.
On the first night, they guest at Castle Hayford, and Jaime considers the fate of his cousin Tyrek, who would be lord of the castle were he not missing. He thinks it possible the boy is still alive, perhaps having been secreted off by command ofVarys, who very well could have known that the riot would occur.
Starting that night, Ser Jaime begins training every night with Ilyn Payne, in the hopes that he can become a proficient swordsman with his left hand. The company also visits Sow’s Horn and meets with Ser Roger Hogg.
Arriving at Harrenhal, Jaime has Gregor Clegane’s men release all prisoners, including Wylis Manderly, and then leaves Ser Bonifer Hasty and the Holy Hundredto hold the castle until Petyr Baelish takes up its lordship. Jaime commands Bonifer to kill the Hound or Thoros of Myr if either are captured, but requests he send him any Bloody Mummers or Beric Dondarrion should they fall into his hands.
Outside, Jaime comes across Ronnet Connington, who mentions how he once was betrothed to Brienne. When the Knight of Griffin’s Roost mocks Brienne, Jaime hits him in the face with his golden hand and insists he call her by name.
Tyrion VII: ADWD 28
Tyrion and his captor arrive at Volantis, where Tyrion is put in chains so he will be taken for a slave and thus no one will listen to or help him. Tyrion tells his captor he knows that he is SerJorah Mormont and that Jorah has been working for Varys. Tyrion further explains that he is also on a mission from Varys, thus making them allies, but Jorah is unmoved by his argument.
Mormont takes a room in the Merchant’s House, chaining Tyrion to the wall for the night. The next day, they hear that the Golden Company (who Tyrion knows was hired by Aegon Targaryen and Jon Connington) is headed west, putting an end to Tyrion’s hopes of being rescued by them in Volantis.
In the morning they head into the dining hall of the Merchant’s House, where Tyrion sees another dwarf and notices that he has been recognized. He tells Jorah, but Jorah is not concerned. Tyrion later reflects that this other dwarf seems somehow familiar. They then talk to the widow of the waterfront, a former slave and now the powerful widow of a Triarch of Volantis, who is sympathetic with Dany’s actions. Jorah tells her that he needs to book swift passage to Meereen and Daenaerys. She asks Jorah why he seeks Daenerys and he answers “To serve her. Defend her. Die for her, if need be.” But the widow does not trust his motives.
Suddenly, a chaotic fight breaks out. Tyrion is attacked by the knife-wielding dwarf, but Jorah effortlessly rescues him. Tyrion realizes this dwarf is a girl, and upon questioning her, they learn that the she is Penny, one of the tilting dwarfs from Joffrey’s royal wedding. Her brother (also a dwarf) was mistaken for Tyrion and beheaded by sailors, but she was set free when they realized she was a girl. The “child’s” head that Tyrion and Jorah saw mounted on a spike earlier, who was executed for the crime of kinslaying, certainly belongs to this dwarf.
The Widow instructs Tyrion to take the Selaesori Qhoran, a trading cog which is destined to Qarth by way of New Ghis, however Benerro has foretold that it will not reach this destination. She gives him a message to deliver to Daenerys from the slaves of Old Volantis: “Tell her we are waiting. Tell her to come soon.”
Jon VI: ADWD 29
Jon sends Alliser Thorne out with Dywen and one other man to range beyond the Wall. Thorne believes that Jon is sending him out to die, though Dywen mockingly says that they will teach him to be a true ranger. Thorne tells Jon that he will not refuse and give him the pleasure of cutting his head off as he did with Janos Slynt. Thorne warns Jon that men killed by the Others still remember and he will come back if he is killed by one. Jon thinks to himself that he hopes Alliser Thorne does come back, alive, as he is still a brother in the Night’s Watch. Jon is also sending out two other rangings, one led by Black Jack Bulwer and another by Kedge Whiteye.
Jon descends the Wall with Dolorous Edd, noting that he is receiving messages of need for more men from some of his commanders as more sightings of wildlings are being reported. He wonders where he is to find yet more men. He sees Iron Emmett in the yard and asks to spar with three of his best men, telling them all to come at him at the same time. Rattleshirt sees them and tells Jon that he should fight a man and not boys and they begin to spar. Rattleshirt is getting the best of him, despite fighting with a larger greatsword and no shield. Eventually they lose their swords, roll, and the fight ends with Rattleshirt on top. He is dragged off and Jon remarks that Rattleshirt fought well.
A raven arrives with a message that Jon’s half-sister Arya is to marry Ramsay Bolton. The others ask how old his sister is, and he replies that she is eleven and that he has no sisters, only brothers in the Night’s Watch. Jon later remembers his sister and the sword Needle he once gave to her, wondering if she still has it.
He goes for a walk and sees Melisandre, though at first he believes her to beYgritte. Melisandre tells him that he should not worry over matters of the heart and that she sees that his sister will flee this marriage and ride towards them on a dying horse. She also foresees that three of the rangers sent out will die, and come back eyeless. As she is leaving she tells him that when the dead men return, he should take her hand and she will save his sister.
Davos IV: ADWD 30
Davos, still imprisoned in the Wolf’s Den, is awaiting his death and hopes that he will at least die honorably, losing his head first and not his hands. He passes his time chatting to the guards, gaining a few favours in the form of candles, books, paper & a quill, as well as learning a little more about the general history of the north. Davos writes a few letters to his sons to be delivered upon his death. It is then that Robett Glover appears at his door and politely asks him to follow; Davos is wary but notes his mannerisms and follows.
He is led through secret hallways always going in different directions, passing the old godswood on the way. Eventually they end up in a room of the New Castlewhere Lord Wyman Manderly is waiting for him. He declines the offers of food and wine; Lord Wyman though, apologizes for his poor treatment of Davos. Wyman tells him that they must talk fast, as the Freys wait above, and Davos can hear the sounds of music and chatter above. Lord Wyman says that they must act quickly for Davos is “dead” and his head sits upon the Seal Gate. A criminal similar in appearance to Davos was executed in his place, his head and hands (with fingers carefully shortened) mounted on the wall. He then learns that Lord Wyman Manderly only plays along with the Freys because he has to, as his son Wylis Manderly is being held hostage, though he drinks for his safe return.
Davos says he was quite convinced by Wyman’s daughters’ behaviour, though he was confused by Wylla Manderly. Wyman responds that his young granddaughter was extremely brave to have said those things. There was truth in her words as the debt the Manderlys owe the Starks and Winterfell can never be repaid. He adds though that he cannot show any sign of contempt toKing’s Landing for fear of the harm they might do to his son. Tywin Lannister told Wyman that he must confess his treason, yield White Harbor, declare his loyalty to King Tommen, and bend his knee to Roose Bolton. If he refused, Wylis would be killed as a traitor, White Harbor would be sacked and his people would “suffer the same fates as the Reynes of Castamere”. If he complies, his son will be released. By “killing” Davos, he has proved his loyalty to the Iron Throne and assured the release of Wylis, which Davos notes is a brave move.
Wyman adds that he has been unable to send Stannis more information in his letters because the Freys infest his court, looking for any sign of treachery and his maester Theomore is a distant cousin to the Lannisters, so Manderly does not trust him. Manderly goes on to add his rage at his son Wendel Manderly’s death at the hands of the Freys, calling it murder and the Freys’ claims fables. He tells Davos that the North remembers and his son is home, meaning that his act for the Freys is almost over as well.
He then summons Theon’s mute squire Wex, who survived the Sack of Winterfell. Davos is told by Robett that Theon was captured at Winterfell, and is currently being flayed by the Boltons. He adds that all the women were also captured and marched away. Davos listens to the horrible things that Ramsay Bolton does to the captured women, sending them naked into the woods with half a day’s head start before hunting them down with his dogs. Every so often, according to Manderly, some wench lives to tell the tale, but most aren’t as lucky. If caught, they are raped, flayed and their corpses fed to his dogs, while their skins adorn the Dreadfort. If he considered them good sport, he slits their throats before he flays them, otherwise it is the other way around.
Robett tells a stunned Davos that the evil is in Ramsay’s blood, sired from rape. Wyman adds that the Freys are no better than Ramsay. He also tells Davos that Roose lies and played a darker part in the Red Wedding than he has admitted. In addition, Davos is told that the Boltons and Freys know the northmen are not expected to believe their lies but will be forced to accept them or else die as well.
He tells Davos about the mighty fleet he has built up, which Davos saw when he entered the port. Furthermore he has plenty of silver in his vaults and has more heavy horse than anyone else north of The Neck. Wyman states that Oldcastle and Widow’s Watch will follow his lead, all of the lands east of the White Knife, from Widow’s Watch and Ramsgate to the Sheepshead Hills and the headwaters of the Broken Branch will be pledged to Stannis Baratheon if Davos meets his one price. He says he does not need a king but a smuggler. He needs Davos to smuggle home Rickon Stark, his true liege, and one who holds a stronger claim thanArya, who is soon to be wed to Ramsay Bolton.
The true story about what happened at Winterfell comes out then; Wex hid in the godswood, and Rodrik Cassel was murdered by Ramsay Bolton. Wex also says that six survived the siege, two of them the sons of Eddard Stark. Four of the people went north and two went another way. Manderly insists that they must have the boy and his direwolf as proof of his identity should the Boltons try to deny him. Wyman asks Wex to show them where they went and he throws a dagger at the spot on the map. Davos looks long at where the dagger has landed, pondering whether it would be better to go back to the dungeons and eat porridge for breakfast as it is better than places where men break fast upon human flesh instead.
Cersei VI: AFFC 29
Cersei and Taena share the queen’s litter en route to the Great Sept of Baelor. The lady from Myr is telling Cersei about all the men who are always around Margaery, and how she was present for the bedding at Renly’s wedding. Although Taena is not sure if Margaery is still a maiden, she affirms that Renly was aroused. She also lets on that besides all the knights and bards, Pycelle is a frequent visitor of the young queen, and her brother Loras visits perhaps more than any other. They also discuss the new High Septon, a man who was once a “sparrow” and not a member of theMost Devout. This is not only surprising, but also of concern to Cersei, and she considers that she may have to poison this new leader of the Seven, if he becomes unruly.
Reaching the top of Visenya’s Hill, the queen’s litter can continue no further as the streets are packed with “sparrows”. Continuing on foot, Cersei considers Pycelle’s objection to her choice of Osfryd Kettleblack to replace Addam Marbrand as the commander of the City Watch. She takes note of all the bones and skulls piled up around the statue of Baelor, and is told that they are the remains of septons and septas who were killed by the war, because they received no protection from the Throne. At the doors to the Great Sept, armed men block the Kingsguards’ entry since they bear weapons. Cersei must enter alone, and as she does she wonders about these anointed knights answering the call to defend the Faith.
Inside the Sept, she is appalled to find Septon Raynard in roughspun robes scrubbing the floors, and learns that Septon Torbert has been imprisoned for being obese when so many are starving. She berates the new High Septon, this “sparrow” wearing frayed robes and standing before her barefoot. He tells her that the Faith has sold the crown her father gave his predecessor, as well as all the valuables in their vaults, in order to help feed the poor. Cersei recalls Qyburn’s report that the “sparrows” broke down the doors of the Sept before the final vote with axes in their hands and their leader on their shoulders. She now understands how this man was elected High Septon. Speaking in private, the priest reprimands her for beheadingNed Stark on the steps of the Great Sept, and reveals that he hasn’t come to the Red Keep to bless King Tommen because he is still praying for guidance from the Seven to affirm that the boy is the rightful king. The Queen Regent begins to seethe with anger, but concedes to his concerns that the holy men and women on the roads need protection from rape and murder: Cersei agrees to have Tommen rearm the Faith, something King Maegor forbade almost 300 years ago. She promises to restore the Faith Militant, for which the High Septon will acknowledge Tommen as king and forgive the Crown’s debt to the Faith.
Back in her litter, Cersei tells Taena of her triumph: with one stroke she has gotten the Faith to bless Tommen, reduced the Throne’s debt by almost a million dragons, and cleared the city of “sparrows” by restoring the Warrior’s Sons and the Poor Fellows. Yet she doesn’t realize the repercussions of what she has set in motion. On the way back to the Red Keep, Cersei’s litter encounters Margaery’s entourage returning from a horse ride and picnic. Margaery tells Cersei that she should share some of the burden of ruling the realm. But Cersei laughs at her, especially when the young queen tells her she is always well protected by her brother Loras when she goes riding.
The Reaver (Victarion II): AFFC 30
Victarion Greyjoy’s Iron Victory has rammed one of the longships of the Shield Islands. Victarion kills Talbert Serry of Southshield, and the ironborn’s massive fleet is soon victorious in their conquest of the Shield Islands which sit at the mouth of theMander River north of the Port of Oldtown. It is Victarion’s command that won the battle, but it will be King Euron they cheer for engineering their bold attack. Back in his cabin, as the dusky woman Euron gave him tends his wounds, Victarion recallsAeron’s words that he would find a way to remove Euron from the Seastone Chair. He remembers how he had helped capture Lord Baelor Blacktyde, who had refused to acknowledge Euron and paid for it with his life. Asha, however, had escaped the Iron Islands along with those loyal to her.
Landing at Lord Hewett’s Town on Oakenshield, the Lord Captain meets the Readerand the Drumm. Both are worried that Euron’s little conquest will bring ruin down upon them, as surely Highgarden will respond. At the feast, Victarion notes that Euron has shamed Lord Hewett and his wife and daughters. The recently crowned king then raises Harras Harlaw, Andrik the Unsmiling, Maron Volmark and Nute the Barber to Lords of the four Shield Islands, effectively stealing away the lieutenants of his adversaries.
Euron declares that they will sail the next day with provisions plundered from the Shield Islands; selling the slaves they had just taken in the Free Cities on their way to find the dragons he had promised. But many of the captains object, stating that they should attack Oldtown or the Arbor, and Euron stalks from the hall. Soon, one of Euron’s bastard sons tells the Iron Captain that the king wishes to see him.
In his room, Euron tells his brother that the Reader was correct that the whole fleet could never reach Slaver’s Bay together. But he believes that the Iron Fleet alone could, and promises his brother the Seastone Chair as reward if he sails to Slaver’s Bay and returns with Daenerys. Euron means to marry her and ascend to the Iron Throne. With Lord Blacktyde’s words that Euron was maddest of them all on his mind, Victarion agrees to go, thinking to himself, “You stole my wife and despoiled her, so I’ll have yours.”
Daenerys V: ADWD 31
Daenerys begins every morning my counting the enemy ships in the harbour. Today she has counted roughly twenty-five. She has an argument with her admiralGroleo, who is advising her to send her dragons to attack the enemy fleet. Daenarys tells him to attack with ships, but he replies that she dismantled his ships, and all the timber in twenty leagues has been burned so he can build no more.
Hizdahr has thus far had success in preventing further murders. She has had her betrothed followed and Skahaz mo Kandaq reports that Hizdahr has visited eleven pyramids and it has been twenty-six days since a murder has been attempted. He surmises that he must be one of the Sons of the Harpy or else these others would not have listened to his words alone. Skahaz asks that he may question Hizdahr, but Dany will not let him, stating that she must trust in Hizdahr or face open rebellion in the city. Skahaz also advises her that the fleets in the blockade all have family members in Meereen and that she should use them as hostages, a contemplation she also rejects. Barristan Selmy advises her that she has done a wise thing.
Grey Worm meets with her next to tell her that the first refugees from Astapor are arriving in Meereen and that Astapor is burning. Dany learns of the fall of Astapor, and that many inhabitants have contracted the bloody flux while under siege, with the survivors now fleeing towards Meereen. The survivors also say that they believed and waited everyday for Daenerys to come and save them. She tells them that they will be safe in Meereen now. Dany is advised not to let the survivors and their illness into the city, and reminded again of Eroeh and of how sometimes those whom she tries to save end up worse off.
There are further appeals to use the dragons, however they are followed with comments that they cannot be controlled right now, and even the Unsullied are afraid to go into the dragon pit to feed them. Dany says she cannot and will not unleash the dragons at this point in time. Ultimately she decides not to let the Astapori into the city and that they should have a separate camp outside the city until the flux passes.
Ser Barristan appeals to her to take the battle to the enemy. She then reminds herself that a queen represents her people and not just her own person. She thus decides that she cannot have the Unsullied take the field or else she would have to leave the Brazen Beasts alone to defend against the Sons of the Harpy which will not suffice. She then says that she must marry Hizdahr, for the good of the city.
Melisandre I: ADWD 32
Melisandre is in her chambers, looking into the fire and trying to receive her visions. When she looks for Stannis, she sees eyeless faces staring out, crying blood. Then she sees towers by the sea followed by skulls rising out of the ocean turning to mist and great winged beasts flying in the sky. She tries to see the girl on the fleeing horse again as she knows Jon will want to know more, but she cannot find anything. She does see that there is death around Jon and that dangers and enemies lurk all around him.
When Devan asks her what she sees, she replies with her usual answer “Much and more.” She does not let him know how difficult it is or how much pain she endures to try and see these things, for fear of letting others know that this task is not as simple as she lets on. Melisandre knows and sees that Davos is the most loyal toStannis thus she has kept Devan back against the young boy’s wishes. She knows that Davos has lost too many sons already and although Stannis has ridden out, she keeps the boy in order to save one of Davos’ sons.
Melisandre does not sleep much, often just an hour a night, as she fears to dream and what she sees there, re-occurring images of the words “Lot Seven” and “Melony”.
She sends Devan to go get Rattleshirt and bring him to her. She speaks with him and tells him to keep his bones on, in order to keep the glamor spell active. She also asks that he go and fetch the girl she saw on the dying horse. She tells him of her vision and asks him where the girl might be coming up, and, knowing the North well, he can guess her location, west of Long Lake. Their talk is disrupted by the single long drone of a horn, marking the return of the rangers. She tells Rattleshirt to wait for him there and she goes to see the rangers, thinking of her prediction of three dead rangers.
Upon arrival she sees Jon with the heads of Black Jack Bulwer, Hairy Hal and Garth Greyfeather, impaled on spears. She walks with Jon and they go back to her room. There he sees Rattleshirt, but she removes the glamor to show him that he is actuallyMance Rayder, whom she has spared. She tells him that he will bring Jon back his sister, but Jon mistrusts her. She does not reveal the difficulty of her glamor spell to the men, thinking to herself that the more effortless sorcery appears, the more men fear it and her.
Jaime IV: AFFC 31
He has dispatched Red Ronnet to accompany Wylis Manderly to Maidenpool, but nevertheless he has too many men to be fed at his cousin’s new castle. Jaime takes note of all the armed Freys and “sparrows” in the castle, far outnumbering Lannister men. Darry’s maester greets Ser Jaime, surprised by this unexpected visit, and tells him that Kevan departed right after the wedding, and that Lancel is praying in the sept. The maester provides him with Lancel’s own room, since Jaime’s cousin has taken to sleeping in the sept. As Jaime bathes before the guest feast, he notices thatJosmyn Peckledon, his new squire, wishes to bed Pia. Jaime tells him to use Lancel’s room for his first bedding, saying, “You’ll feel a lord yourself when you’re done, if Pia knows her business.” But Jaime warns him to treat her kindly, perhaps due to his own guilt for refusing the girl when Qyburn sent her during his recuperation at Harrenhal.
At the feast, Jaime learns that his cousin has been fasting since the old High Septondied. Lancel also does not join them for dinner. Lady Amerei begs Jaime to stay and help them defeat Lord Beric Dondarrion, the Hound, and the other outlaws. He learns that the outlaws seem to be following a woman now, cloaked and hooded, and no one has seen Beric Dondarrion for a while. Jaime’s companion Strongboarclaims to be moved by Ami’s words, and promises to return after they take Riverrunto sort out the Hound. Jaime leaves the table and goes to the sept. Three armed sparrows bar his path, but Lancel lets him in.
Lancel admits that his father left after they quarrelled, and that he does not intend to consummate his marriage. And then he admits his greatest sins: serving the wine that resulted in King Robert’s death, and that he had been sleeping with Cersei.
Lancel states that he plans to forsake his title as Lord of Darry, and head to King’s Landing to swear vows as a Warrior’s Son. When Jaime learns that Cersei has rearmed the faith, he is almost as upset by this as he is to discover that Tyrion was not lying about Cersei’s infidelity. Later, in the yard, Jaime admits to Ser Ilyn that he slept with Cersei when she was at Castle Darry with Robert. Cersei wanted him to get Arya Stark and he would have killed her had he found her first.
Brienne VI: AFFC 32
Upon reaching the Quiet Isle, Brienne and her companions are taken up the path to see the Elder Brother. Brienne mentions to the brother guiding them that she is heading for Saltpans to kill the Hound. This takes the man aback, but he tells them to speak to their elder. They see a huge horse in their stables, obviously a war horse, who has mauled two of the brothers. On a hill, they pass a huge cloaked novice digging graves. The man appears lame, but they cannot see his face.
The Elder Brother speaks further of the horrible raid on Saltpans, made worse by the fact that Ser Quincy Cox hid behind his castle walls and did nothing to help the villagers.
After dinner, the Elder Brother speaks in private with Brienne. He asks what she seeks in Saltpans, and when she mentions a highborn girl, the elder knows she refers to Sansa. He lets on that it is the wrong Stark she seeks, for the Hound captured Arya. Shocked that both of Lady Catelyn’s daughters may yet be alive, she is equally surprised when he informs her that Sandor Clegane is dead. The Elder Brother has buried his corpse himself, and left the hound’s-head helm on the grave. It was some other outlaw who found and wore it when they raided Saltpans.
He goes on to tell her that he took pity on Sandor before he died, and will only say that “he is at rest” when she asks if he is truly dead. The elder remarks that the horse in their stables was the Hound’s, Stranger.
The Elder Brother then tells her that he was once a knight who fought for PrinceRhaegar at the Trident. He took several terrible wounds in the battle and fell into the river, yet awoke upon the shores of the Quiet Isle. He urges her not to be another casualty of this war, and return home. Brienne breaks down and cries, telling him her story, finishing with, “I have to try to save her… or die in the attempt.”
Reek III (Theon III): ADWD 33
Ben Bones, Skinner, Sour Alyn, and Damon Dance-for-Me return to the keep ofHouse Stout from a search for some Frey men with Ramsay Bolton. Theon knows this means that Ramsay may want to take his anger out on someone, most likely Reek. He knows that Ramsay has been forced to restrain his violent outbursts in Barrowtonas he needs the loyalty of theDustins and Ryswells, but what he does behind closed doors is none of their concern. Ramsay then throws a severed head for Theon to catch, which he cannot because of his maimed hands. He does not recognize the head as it is covered in blood, rotting, and bursting with maggots.
Theon is then ordered to put away the men’s horses. He is followed by Big Walder Frey, who, Theon notes, does not take after his older cousin in the malicious ways of the flayed men. Theon asks Big Walder who the man’s head belonged to, and he replies it was just an old man who called Ramsay “Lord Snow.”
Then there is a feast, and Theon is chained to the wall and waits his turn to eat, though the dogs provide the night’s entertainment fighting each other for scraps. Theon remembers when Ramsay told him that all the dogs are named after peasant girls he hunted, raped, flayed, and killed. He notes the next litter will likely include a Kyra. It is then that Roose Bolton enters the hall with some of his men. Here it is discovered what happened to the Frey men and why they were searching. The Freys rode ahead of the procession of the Manderlys. Wyman Manderly stopped frequently to feast, but the Freys rode on and disappeared. Roose says that Hosteen Frey and Aenys Frey are distressed, but Ramsay says it is of no concern, as there are plenty of Frey men at the Twins.
Ramsay and Roose argue; Roose says that his son is acting brash and foolish and drawing attention to himself with his cruel and barbaric amusements, that his fore-bears were no fools. He notes that they have powerful allies in the Freys and the Lannisters, but the northmen despise them and only accept House Bolton’s authority grudgingly (with only the exception of Lady Barbrey Dustin, whose support Ramsay would cast aside because she hates him; Roose points out that Lady Dustin was fond of his late son, Domeric Bolton, and holds Ramsay responsible for his death). They talk briefly about the dead sons of the Starks, and what might happen if they were to “return” from the dead; Roose angrily chides his son for openly discussing his part in the Sack of Winterfell, pointing out that their northern vassals would turn on them in an instant if they learned the truth. Roose then changes the subject by informing Ramsay that Stannis has marched from the Wall, adding that it is not towards the intended trap at theDreadfort that the Karstarks baited, thus revealing that the Karstarks are double-crossing Stannis.
Roose tells Ramsay he is to wed the fake Arya Stark not in Barrowton, but in Winterfell. By doing so, the clansmen who follow Stannis will be incensed to march on the keep, something they would not do while the Boltons are in Barrowton; once Stannis lays siege to Winterfell, Arnolf will turn on him there. Roose then takes Theon away from Ramsay. Ramsay tells Theon to observe everything and report back to him, but he is to say nothing about his treatment to Roose.
As they ride to Barrow Hall, Roose tells Theon he knows what his bastard son has asked of him. He goes on to say that he knows what the real Reek was like, the opposite of what Ramsay has turned Theon into. He notes that he provided the first Reek as a servant to the unruly young Ramsay; he had intended it to be a cruel joke, but is now uncertain whether Reek corrupted Ramsay or the other way around. Ramsay was the child of a rape, one that Roose is not proud of; he chanced upon the beautiful young wife of an old miller while out hunting and decided to practice the illicit tradition of the first night, having the miller hanged and then taking the man’s wife. The woman showed up at the Dreadfort a year later with baby Ramsay; Roose had intended to have the woman whipped and the infant thrown down a well, but when he saw the child had his eyes, Roose stayed his hand and agreed to aid them- he gave the woman back the farm her husband’s brother had stolen from her, had the man’s tongue cut out to stop him telling tales to Rickard Stark, Roose’s liege, and periodically sent the woman a few pigs, chickens and coin to help bring up the bastard child on the condition she never tell the boy who his father was. He thinks that the woman may have had a hand in turning Ramsay on to desiring goals outside the rights of a bastard. They also discuss Domeric Bolton, Roose’s true-born son, whom Roose suspects was killed by Ramsay. He also suspects that any trueborn sons he has with his new wife Ramsay will likely kill, though he admits this might be best, as he believes he will not live long enough to raise new sons to manhood and considers child lords the bane of a House.
They finally arrive at Barrow Hall, where Theon is brought to Barbrey Dustin, Lady of Barrowton. He is introduced as Theon Greyjoy, true Lord of the Iron Islands, which frightens Theon into fits, having been tortured into calling himself Reek. She asks Roose if Theon has gone mad, and he replies he most likely has, but it doesn’t matter. Theon claims he is not the turncloak, he died at Winterfell.
Tyrion VIII: ADWD 34
Tyrion is aboard the Selaesori Qhoran, a trading cog on the way to Qarth. He watches the evening prayer led by Moqorro, a red priest from the Summer Islandsand Benerro’s right hand. Tyrion ask Moqorro what he sees in the flames, to which he replies dragons, true and false, with Tyrion in the middle of it all.
Tyrion befriends Penny, uneasily at first. He apologizes for what has happened to her brother Oppo and tells her it was not him that killed her brother but rather his sister Cersei. Regardless, she still blames Tyrion and barges off. Later, there is a terrible storm, following which Tyrion spies Penny again. She says that the storm frightened her and she thought she may have died. Penny tells Tyrion that she does not truly blame him for the death of Oppo.
After their talks Penny spends more time up on the deck, whereas earlier she spent much of the time hiding away in her cabin. After that they began to spend more time together, Tyrion’s witty playful attitude begins to cheer her up and he hears her laugh and act a lot more like the girl she is.
They then draw close to the coast of Valyria. Tyrion sees the fires of the Fourteen Fires, he watches them and talks to Moqorro. As they draw closer Tyrion thinks about the prophecies and if they may be confused with multiple Targaryens. Moqorro says that he has seen in his flames that there are others seekingDaenerys. Tyrion asks Moqorro what else he has seen to which he replies that he sees only their shadows, but one most of all. It is a tall and twisted thing, with one black eye, ten arms, sailing on a sea of blood.
Cersei VII: AFFC 33
Margaery is fuming at Cersei and her council that the Throne must respond at once to the ironmen’s attack on the Shield Islands. Cersei does not appreciate the young queen’s tone, and claims that it must fall to Highgarden to retake “these rocks”.Loras Tyrell interjects as his sister seethes, stating that his brothers Willas andGarlan have the men, but not the ships, to win back the islands. He requests that Cersei pull Lord Redwyne’s fleet from their siege of Dragonstone, so they may return to gather troops at the Arbor. The Queen Regent denies his request, implying that the Redwyne fleet would not depart until Dragonstone fell. Knowing that Lord Paxter intended to starve them out, Ser Loras asks leave to lead the assault, and promises Cersei Dragonstone within a fortnight. Pleased by this unexpected “gift”, Cersei grants him permission.
Returning to her apartments, Pycelle objects to her sending Loras, but Cersei is hoping the knight will die besieging the walls of Dragonstone; but if not, she would still strike a blow against Stannis. When she meets Qyburn, he mentions that he has a “champion” to replace Loras should he fall. Cersei is not so sure of Qyburn’s “paragon”, and informs him that the smiths she hired believe the weight of the armor he requested cannot be borne by a human.
Later, in bed, Lady Taena asks her certain questions; Cersei becomes concerned the woman may report her answers to Margaery. But Taena assures her that all her secrets are safe. However, their chat is interrupted by a guard pounding on her door with word that Falyse Stokeworth begged to see her. Cersei finds the woman battered, and listens to the tale of her husband’s death. After Bronn defeated him in single combat, but before killing him, Bronn forced Ser Balman to confess who put him up to this. Bronn then told Falyse to leave immediately or meet the same fate. When Falyse told her mother’s guards to arrest Bronn, they laughed and told her to listen to “Lord Stokeworth”. Fearful that Falyse would spread rumors of Cersei’s involvement, Cersei summons Lord Qyburn so that he could take another female subject to his lab in the black cells. Back in her room, a very inebriated Cersei contemplates how to deal with Bronn, and then begins to fondle Taena, ‘claiming her rights as queen’ the way Robert would do to her when he was drunk.
Jaime V: AFFC 34
Reaching the camps besieging Riverrun, Jaime meets with his cousin Ser Daven. The new Warden of the West spits when he discovers that it was Vargo Hoat who had Jaime’s hand amputated, informing him that he offered Tywin to forage for Hoat, but he refused, saying that some tasks are fit for lions, but foraging is best left for goats and dogs.
Daven reveals how much the Freys are vexing him, and even their own uncleEmmon Frey is trying his patience, complaining that he doesn’t want his new seat destroyed by a siege. Worst of all is Ser Ryman, who keeps tying a noose aroundEdmure Tully’s neck each morning threatening the Blackfish that he means to hang him unless Riverrun surrenders; however, the Blackfish has long exposed Ryman’s threat to be empty.
They speak of Lancel and his abandonment of Darry, which reminds Jaime of the looks on Ami’s family’s faces when Lancel made his intentions clear. He is all too aware of how Lord Walder deals with those who break Frey marriage proposals. Daven tells the Lord Commander that their uncle Kevan passed through the camps heading west. He also mentions that Edmure’s wife Roslin is pregnant, and oddly she is fond of the dispossessed Lord of Riverrun. He also tells Jaime of Lord Gawen Westerling constantly hounding him to rescue his wife and children, who are being held captive by Ser Brynden Tully.
Jaime is perturbed to learn how little help they are receiving from the bannermen of the Tullys who bent the knee to the Iron Throne after the Red Wedding. He realizes that he must secure Riverrun quickly to put down any threat of rebellion. Starving them out would take far too long.
The next morning, Jaime is considering a parley with Ser Brynden, and recalls when he was a squire of Sumner Crakehall, sent to Riverrun with a message. Lord Hosterseated Jaime next to Lysa, but the young man was far more interested in Lysa’s famous uncle, the Blackfish. Within sight of the walls of Riverrun, Jaime has his tent pitched, and soon receives a visit from his Aunt Genna and her husband, Emmon Frey.
Genna is still a Lannister through-and-through, with the wit and sharp tongue also shared by all of Lord Tywin’s children. Jaime lies to them that their son Cleos died bravely, and then listens to Emmon’s complaints about a siege damaging his castle. Jaime enlightens Emmon to the fact that he was named Lord of Riverrun, but Petyr Baelish is the Lord Paramount of the Trident. Emmon is outraged to learn he is a vassal of Petyr, but Jaime is unconcerned, as there is nothing he can do about it and Cersei won’t indulge someone like Emmon Frey. Genna tells Emmon to leave so she can speak in private with her nephew.
Lady Genna makes it known how she feels about Queen Cersei rearming the Faith (namely that the decision is idiotic, given the trouble the Faith Militant caused theTargaryens before they were finally put down and disbanded), Cersei’s choice of councillors, in particular rejecting her brother Kevan as Hand, and Lancel’s foolish decision to leave behind his lordship. When Jaime remarks that he plans to treat with Ser Brynden, his aunt tells him that he would be better off beheading Edmure. But Jaime feels this may further the Blackfish’s resolve, and would sooner assault the walls of Riverrun if a parley will not work.
At last, they discuss Lord Tywin, and Jaime asks her if she loved her eldest brother. Lady Genna tells him how it was Tywin, a boy of only ten, who objected to their lord father’s decision to wed the seven year old Genna to Emmon Frey, who was not even the heir to the Twins. For that alone, she loved him, stating, “…every little girl needs a big brother to protect her. Who will protect us now?”
When Jaime insists that he is his father’s son, his aunt replies, “You smile like Gerion and fight like Tyg, and there’s some of Kevan in you, else you would not wear that cloak… but Tyrion is Tywin’s son, not you.”
Cat of the Canals (Arya III): AFFC 35
Acclimated to the routine of Cat of the Canals, Arya is learning the Braavosi tongueand trying to learn three new things every time she is sent forth from the House of Black and White, as the kindly man told her she must. Selling clams by day, she sleeps in a bed with Brusco’s daughters by night, and for three days during each black moon, she returns to the House of Black and White. She delivers all three things the kindly man wants her to learn, but he still sends her back to Brusco. He tells her of the Many-Faced God; especially how all religions are aware of him, even if they do not worship him. Even within the Seven there exists the Stranger, whom the kindly man calls “Him of Many Faces”.
One night when the black moon begins, she meets Dareon after he departs the Happy Port. Arya is angered by the singer’s abandonment of his vows as a black brother. Returning to Brusco’s, she gives him the coin she has collected selling his mollusks and a pair of new boots, then heads to the House of Black and White for three nights.
The waif teaches her how to identify certain poisons like Sweetsleep and the Tears of Lys, and then tells her the full story of how she came to the temple. She claims to be the eldest child from an ancient house, but when her stepmother had a true daughter, the woman tried to poison the waif. When her father discovered this, he delivered two-thirds of his wealth to the House of Black and White, and soon after, his second wife was dead and the waif now a servant in the temple. She reveals that she lied about part of that tale, but before Arya can guess which part, the kindly man visits her. She tells him the three new things she has learned, finishing with the knowledge that Dareon is dead- his throat was slit and his body dumped in the canal. When the kindly man asks who killed him, she replies, “Arya of House Stark.” The priest again asks her who she is, to which she answers, “no one”. But, as always, he tells her she lies, then asks the waif to bring Arya some warm milk to help her sleep. Arya goes to bed, but upon awakening in the morning, she discovers that she is blind.
Samwell IV: AFFC 36
The Cinnamon Wind is somewhere off the coast of Dorne as Sam leads a prayer service to mourn the passing of Aemon Targaryen. Xhondo’s information on the three dragons had given Maester Aemon a second wind, but it was not enough. Sam recalls some of the ancient maester’s words during the sea voyage fromBraavos, “No one ever looked for a girl. It was a prince that was promised…Rhaegar, I thought… The error crept in from the translation. Dragons are neither male nor female… Daenerys is the one, born amidst salt and smoke… LadyMelisandre has misread the signs. Stannis has some of the dragon blood in him, yes… Rhaelle, Egg’s little girl, she was how they (the Baratheons) came by it… They must send her a maester. Daenerys must be counseled, taught, protected…” Aemon begged Sam to convince the archmaesters of this, and later rambled some of the following (perhaps prophetic) lines: “a glass candle that could not be lit; eggs that would not hatch; the sphinx was the riddle, not the riddler.”
Gilly and Sam sit together after the eulogy, drinking rum. Gilly points out that had Aemon remained on the Wall, Melisandre might have sacrificed him for his king’s blood. Jon must have known this, and sent the old maester, as well as Dalla’s boy, to save them from the Red Woman’s fires. Gilly then says that she will name the boy Aemon Steelsong once he reaches the age of two. Below decks, Sam and Gilly have sex, although he is consumed by guilt for forsaking his vows. Afterwards, Sam tries to avoid Gilly, but Kojja corners him and tells him that what he and Gilly did was considered holy in the Summer Islands, a way of honoring the dead by celebrating life. Kojja advises Sam that Gilly knows they can never be man and wife, but there was nothing wrong with them comforting each other on the long journey. Sam is persuaded, but perhaps it is because Kojja threatens to throw him overboard if he does not continue sleeping with Gilly.
Lord Aurane Waters has returned from Dragonstone with news that the fortress has fallen. This was good news indeed, considering that word from the Reach mentioned the ironmen raiding the Arbor and pushing towards Oldtown. Aurane indicates that Ser Loras was grievously wounded during the assault and lay dying after having had boiling oil poured on him from the walls; he also holds Loras responsible for turning the battle into a massacre, as thousands of the Crown’s soldiers died in the storming of Dragonstone’s keep, many of them knights or lords. Ecstatic, Cersei had to deliver the news personally to Margaery. The young queen is appalled by Cersei’s description of the fate of her brother, and commands Cersei to get out of her quarters. Back in her solar, four separate men bring word on a dwarf sighting, and one brings her a head. However, none of them bear word related to Tyrion, and Cersei sends them away in frustation. Later, in court, Cersei must deal with several unimportant pleas, and then Septon Raynard arrives. Furious that the High Septonhimself did not come before her, she scoffs at his words that the Faith is trying to abolish the brothels in the city.
Pycelle brings word that Lord Gyles may not live much longer, but Cersei demands that the Grand Maester do his utmost to keep the old man alive. At dinner with her son, Tommen mentions that Margaery has been urging him to attend court, to which Cersei responds how much she’d like to see the young queen’s tongue torn out. Tommen yells at his mother, but she commands Ser Boros to chastise the boy king’swhipping boy. During the night, Cersei dreams of her visit to the woods witch back when she was 10 years old. She vividly recalls Maggy the Frog’s plea that they leave her, but Cersei and Melara will not back down. Maggy commands them to cut open their thumbs, and the old easterner tastes their blood. She prophesized that Cersei would marry the king (not the Prince, as Cersei thought), but her husband would father 16 children and Cersei only three, and that she would reign as queen only “until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear… Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds. And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” Maggy also warns that Melara will die very soon, and true enough, she drowns in a well shortly after.
Waking from the nightmare, she sends for Pycelle to make her a potion that permits sleep without dreams. She asks him if seeing the future is possible, but the old maester evades answering by saying, “Should our morrows be foretold? And to that I should answer, ‘No.’ Some doors are best left closed.” Aggravated, she sends for Qyburn, first asking if Falyse was still capable of being used to root out Bronn. But the necromancer tells her it is too late for that. Then she inquires of him the same she had asked of Pycelle. We learn that Maggy was from the far east, and had married a wealthy merchant. Their son was “upjumped” to a petty lord by Cersei’s grandfather. Qyburn tells her that the name Maggy was probably a mispronunciation of “maegi”, and that bloodmagic was very powerful. The de-chained maester suggests that she already knew how to forestall the prophecy. Seizing upon this suggestion, Cersei plans a fool-proof way to have Margaery killed. Deciding that treason would work best, the next day she inquires of Ser Osmund if his brother Osney could defeat Ser Boros in single combat. He replies that it wouldn’t even be a match, and wonders if Boros has commited treason. Cersei replies no, but thinks to herself: But Osney has.
Brienne VII: AFFC 38
Approaching the Inn at the Crossroads, Brienne’s party encounters many corpses hung from trees, each with a chunk of rock salt in their mouths. They surmise that these were some of the men responsible for the attack on Saltpans, probably hung by Lord Beric’s outlaw band. Reaching the inn, they meet four girls on the porch, and the oldest addresses them. She asks for silver for a night’s lodging, stating the only visitors they get are either sparrows or robbers and worse. When Ser Hylemakes an inquiry regarding her tone, the smith approaches and Brienne is nearly floored by his resemblance to Renly. Inside, Brienne plans to leave before dawn withPodrick only, although she is unsure where to go. At dinner, Septon Meribald leads a prayer, but Gendry does not participate and returns to his forge. One of the orphan boys tells the septon that it is because he worships the Lord of Light. Brienne delivers some food to Gendry and mentions his resemblance to King Robert, but they are interrupted by riders drawing near.
Gendry says they are friends, but when Brienne peeks out, she recognizes Biteramong the seven men. The leader, wearing Clegane’s hound’s-head helm, threatens to kill Willow if she fires her crossbow. Brienne draws Oathkeeper and intercedes. One of the men says that they are wounded and seek only fresh horses, for they are being chased by outlaws. But the large man wearing the Hound’s helm charges Brienne, remembering her well. She makes short work of him, running him through with Oathkeeper, and she whispers “Sapphires” as Rorge dies. But she is blindsided by Biter, who tackles her to the ground. The huge cannibal smashes her in the face, breaking bones, and then shatters her forearm. She hears the sounds of swords clashing in the background, but then Biter takes a bite out of her face. Her last vision is Biter’s tongue sticking out, obscenely long, almost like it were a sword…
Jaime VI: AFFC 39
Ser Jaime and Ser Brynden face each other across the drawbridge to Riverrun, alone for a parley. The Blackfish is aware of the oath Jaime swore to Catelyn, but the member of the Kingsguard makes it known he does not have the Stark girls. He offers Edmure Tully in exchange for Lady Sybell Spicer and her children, but Brynden refuses, telling him he swore to his king to keep his wife safe and won’t hand her over to a Frey noose. Jaime responds that the girl has been pardoned and no harm will come to her, nor anyone else if Brynden yields Riverrun; they will be free to go or take the black as they choose, but Brynden dismisses the offer, claiming that he and his men would rather die with swords in their hands than “be paraded through King’s Landing to die like Eddard Stark”. Tully adds that he is well provisioned for a siege and the Lannister and Frey casualties will be far higher than his own if they storm Riverrun.
The Blackfish also makes it clear that he believes Lord Tywin had a hand in the Red Wedding, though that will never absolve the Freys for their breach of the sacred laws of hospitality. Jaime challenges the older knight to single combat, with each choosing a champion. When Brynden prods Jaime to face him himself, Jaime cannot help but rise to the bait. But the Blackfish is not so foolish as to trust that Jaime’s terms would be honored. The parley over, Jaime rides back to his camp and calls his captains for a war council, resolved that he must break his vow to Lady Catelyn and storm Riverrun.
The lords of the Riverlands who have bent the knee to the Iron Throne do not tolerate the Freys’ presence at the war council. Ser Ryman is too drunk to attend, but Edwyn and Bastard Walder are present. When confronted by Lord Piper as to the condition of his son, Ser Marq, Edwyn replies that he is still being held at the Twins to ensure that Pinkmaiden is truly loyal to the Iron Throne. When Bastard Walder and Lord Clement nearly come to blows when Piper challenges Edwyn to a duel over a threat to Lord Clement’s heir, Jaime silences them, ending the council prematurely. Lord Clement storms out, and Lord Vance explains to Jaime that as well as his first born son, several of Lord Clement’s cousins and nephews accompanied Marq to the Twins, and are either captives or dead. When Edwyn denounces them as traitors and rebels, Jaime coldly retorts that the Freys first rebelled against the Crown with Robb Stark and then betrayed him, making them twice the traitors House Piper are. Jaime takes enjoyment out of watching Edwyn’s smug attitude evaporate at that remark.
Summoning Ser Ilyn and Ser Lyle Crakehall, Jaime heads straight for the Frey camp. He first has Payne cut loose Edmure Tully, and when Edwyn and his father Ser Ryman come forth to protest, he warns them to keep quiet. When Ser Ryman persists, stating that he is the heir to the Crossing, Jaime punches him in the face with his golden hand. He then dismisses Ser Ryman back to theTwins, sick of the man’s whoring and drinking, and takes the bladed crown that his whore wears. When Jaime places Edwyn in charge of the Freys, we get a glimpse of the contempt the man feels for his own father. Jaime also demands that Lord Walderrelease all the hostages that he has imprisoned at the Twins.
Jaime asks that Ser Ryman’s singer accompany him back to his pavilion, and has his squires draw a bath for Edmure. Jaime informs Edmure that he will be returned to Riverrun forthwith, and if he yields the castle, all will end well for him.
The terms are that the smallfolk can stay and serve Lord Emmon Frey, Ser Brynden will be permitted to take the black along with any of the garrison who choose the same, and Edmure and his pregnant wife Roslin will be well-treated prisoners at Casterly Rock. If their child is a boy, Jaime says he will serve House Lannister as a page and squire, and they will grant the boy some lands when he gets his knighthood. If it is a girl, the Lannisters will make sure she has a good dowry when she is old enough to wed.
When Edmure asks what will happen should he refuse to yield, Ser Jaime indicates that he will assault Riverrun’s walls in waves, sending the ex-Tully bannermen first as fodder, then the Freys, and finally his cousin Daven’s westermen, and he would demolish Riverrun and put all within its walls to the sword. As Jaime leaves the tent, commanding Ryman’s singer to play the ‘Rains of Castamere’ for Edmure, the former Lord of Riverrun pleads, “No. Not him. Get him away from me.”
Cersei IX: AFFC 40
With Pycelle prostrate before her, Cersei accuses him of letting Gyles Rosby die, because she believes he is now taking orders from Margaery. The Grand Maesterdenies this, explaining that he visits the young queen to give her sleeping potions, but Cersei knows otherwise. Forcing a confession from him that he also brings Margaery moon tea, she then commands him to announce that Lord Rosby’s dying wish was to donate all his lands and incomes to the Crown.
Lady Taena wonders how Margaery could be so foolish, but Cersei is too excited to care. She does realize that she will need more proof in order to have Margaery executed for treason, knowing that she must arrange to have the girl caught in the act. She asks Taena and her husband to bring the Blue Bard to dinner that night.
During the meal, Cersei demotes Ser Harys Swyft to Lord Treasurer, and with the position of Hand now vacant, she offers the title to Lord Orton Merryweather. Lord Orton accepts, although he is notably uncomfortable during the dinner, particularly due to the presence of Margaery’s favorite singer.
Cersei wastes little time moving on to the Blue Bard, accusing him of sleeping with Queen Margaery. The singer denies it, despite Cersei smashing him in the face with his own lute, and even later in the black cells under interrogation by Qyburn. But the defrocked maester tortures the singer into submission, and they lead him to say what they want. He accuses several others of also having carnal knowledge of Margaery, and then Cersei promises that he will be allowed to take the black after he confesses in front of the court.
Later, Taena persuades Cersei to name Alla as innocent, since they may be able to use her to bear witness against Margaery and her other cousins. At breakfast,Tommen mentions that Margaery will be at the Sept for Maiden’s Day.
Cersei then launches the final move of her scheme, commanding Ser Osney to go before the High Septon and admit his sins of “bedding” Margaery, Elinor and Megga. The youngest Kettleblack agrees to do so, but states, “The best lies have some truth in ‘em… to give ‘em flavor, as it were,” so the Queen Regent then allows him to have his way with her.
The Princess in the Tower (Arianne II): AFFC 41
Arianne is imprisoned atop the Spear Tower, contemplating her failed scheme. She never expected someone to inform her father of the plan, nor for Hotah to intercept them, and certainly not Darkstar’s unprovoked attack on Myrcella. Darkstar escaped from Hotah’s men, but he left a terrible scar on Myrcella’s face, barely missing a beheading stroke as was his apparent intent. Thinking her father would see her within a day, Arianne becomes distraught as days turn into weeks, and although servants come and go with food, none will speak to her. She considers who could have betrayed her, ponders her feelings at the loss of Ser Arys, and thinks of her close relationship with Tyene. She eventually persuades the young serving girlCedra to deliver a letter to Lord Fowler, knowing that the girl has feelings for Garin(who, Arianne assumes, is imprisoned at Ghaston Grey along with her other co-conspirators). But the next day, Cedra does not return, and Arianne never sees her again during her imprisonment.
After an indeterminate period of agonized waiting, Areo Hotah arrives to bring her before her father. Prince Doran asks her why, to which Arianne replies, “For the honor of our House.” The Prince tells her they have not caught Darkstar, but the damage he did to Myrcella, a ward of their house, has done naught but bring the Martells dishonor. He cautions her that a war with the Iron Throne is the last thing they need. Although the Young Dragon wrote that Dorne was populous, his memoirs were written to portray himself in a better light. Prince Doran admits that Dorne is actually the least populous of the Seven Kingdoms, and could not survive open war with the Throne. He admits it was a mistake not to have had her taken prior to running off with Myrcella, but he will not reveal who betrayed her. When he tells her that she disappoints him, Arianne retorts, “You have been disappointing me for years, Father.”
Prince Doran discloses that none of her co-conspirators are imprisoned. Instead, he has sent Ser Andrey Dalt to Norvos to serve Arianne’s mother; Garin is in Tyrosh for two years; and Sylva was sent to Greenstone to marry Lord Eldon Estermont. He goes on to remark that Arianne and her cousins may get the war they wanted, as Ser Balon Swann is on his way to Sunspear. The Prince has several of his bannermen stalling him, but eventually Ser Balon will discover that his brother in the Kingsguard, Ser Arys, is dead and Myrcella maimed. Arianne continues to taunt her father, and he cautions her that he is out of patience. But the princess is unimpressed, remarking, “For LordTywin you always had the forbearance of Baelor the Blessed, but for your own blood, none.” He responds, “You mistake patience for forbearance. I have worked at the downfall of Tywin Lannister since the day they told me of Elia and her children.”
When Arianne tells him that she wants her rights to Dorne, Prince Doran finally reveals that she will have the kingdom when he passes. Arianne divulges that she knew of his scheme to make Quentyn his heir, but her father tells her that he had other plans for her. He offered her hand to old men because he knew she would rebuke them, but he had to be seen as trying. All along, he had promised her to Prince Viserys, but now that the last male Targaryen is dead, he has no reason to deny her her right to Dorne. He finishes by saying, “We princes make our careful plans and the gods smash them all awry.” His original plan was to send her to Tyrosh to serve as the Archon’s cupbearer, where she could meet her betrothed in secret, while her brother Quentyn was being raised to assume the seat of their House. Finally he reveals why her brother is overseas: to bring back their heart’s desire. When Arianne asks what that is, her father replies, “Vengeance. Justice. Fire and blood.”
Bran III: ADWD 35
Bran, Hodor, Jojen, and Meera are still dwelling in the cave of the children of the Forest and exploring its chambers. Bran uses his ability as awarg and skinchanger to enterSummer and Hodor. They begin to name some of the “children” as their own names are unpronounceable by the human tongue. Bran names one of the females Leaf, as she is always adorned with leaves. She is one of the few children who can speak theCommon Tongue. Others are calledAsh, Scales, Black Knife, Snowylocks, and Coals.
The three-eyed crow teaches Bran how to enter into ravens. He learns that all of the ravens around the three-eyed crow have children who have passed away and remain in the skins of these animals. He also learns to use weirwoods to look into the past. The three-eyed crow tells Bran that he was once a lord called Brynden.
The children feed Bran a bowl of weirwood paste to awaken his green seeing gifts. Bran sees his father, Eddard, through Winterfell’s heart tree, and learns that he can view the past, present and future through the weirwoods. The last greenseer tells Bran that he is haunted by his own ghosts, a brother that he loved, a brother that he hated, and a woman that he desired, but knows from experience that you cannot change the past. When he gets tired, he sends Bran away. Hodor carries Bran to his bed.
In his sleep, Bran sees the following visions through Winterfell’s heart tree:
- His young father praying with a bowed head “…let them grow up close as brothers, with only love between them, and let my lady wife find it in her heart to forgive.”;
- A girl and a younger boy play fighting with branches;
- A pregnant woman coming out of the black pool praying for a son to avenge her;
- A slender girl on her toes kissing a knight as tall as Hodor;
- A pale, dark-eyed youth cutting three branches from the weirwood and shaping them into arrows;
- Other lords of Winterfell: tall, hard, stern men in fur and chain mail;
- A bearded man forcing a captive down on his knees, and a white-haired woman killing the captive with a bronze sickle.
Jon VII: ADWD 36
A respite at the falling of snow motivates Jon to range beyond the Wall, leading the new recruits of the Night’s Watch who follow the old gods to the same grove ofweirwoods in the haunted forest where he and Sam swore their vows. Scouting ahead of them go Tom Barleycorn, Big Liddle and Luke of Longtown.
Of the sixty-three wildlings that Jon invited to join the Watch, Leathers and Jax are the only two to accept so far. Among the others wildlings come to the wall, nineteen are girls and women and were sent to Hardin’s Tower to avoid trouble with the men in Castle Black. Their presence makes the men uneasy and there has already been an incident. The spearwives know how to defend themselves and their girls, and three men had to be locked in ice cells.
Jon means to garrison Deep Lake, Sable Hall and Long Barrow with wildlings under command of offices of the Night’s Watch, and to choose an almost completely female contingent for Long Barrow in order to avoid future harassment. Iron Emmett and Dolorous Edd will be Long Barrow’s commander and chief steward.
Other wildlings are also a cause of tension and incidents with the Brothers of the Night’s Watch, most noticeably Halleck and his followers. Jon is also worried that the Thenns may blame him for the death of Styr.
Tom Barleycorn finds a small group of wildlings, including a child and his mother, a Thenn, a Hornfoot and a giant in the weirwood grove. With the advantage of surprise and an effort at diplomacy from Leathers, they succeed in avoiding a fight and even convince the survivors to return to Castle Black with them.
The recruits swear their vows in the presence of the wildlings. As he hears the verse about guarding the realms of men, Jon realizes that his duties involve protecting the wildlings as well as any other men.
They return to Castle Black, bringing the two wildling corpses they found with them. Jon consigns the corpses to the ice cells and receives a letter from Stannis, learning that he succeeded at taking Deepwood Motte and received support from various northern clans and houses along the way, including survivors from the battle at Winterfell. His troops now number five thousand and growing. Stannis has also learned that Ramsay Bolton means to marry Arya in Winterfell and promises Jon to save her if he can. He means to have the help of Arnolf Karstark and Mors Umber at his attempt to conquer Winterfell.
Jon wonders if Arya could have escaped without Stannis’s help, as predicted by Melisandre. He also wonders if Roose Boltoncould be lying about having Arya in order to bait Stannis and thinks about Mance Rayder and the six spearwives who went with him to rescue Arya.
Daenerys VI: ADWD 37
Daenerys visits the thousands of Astapori camped outside Meereen. She finds them sick and dying of the bloody flux, and walks among them with her Bloodriders. She does not fear catching the bloody flux because she thinks that the blood of the dragon does not get sick. She sends Aggo back to Meereen to fetch Grey Wormand 50 Unsullied to help wash and feed the living and burn the dead. Grey Worm asks for permission to allow some Unsullied to bathe in the sea to be purified by their goddess.
Daenerys returns to her pyramid in Meereen, where Irri and Jhiqui are arguing about Rakharo. She takes a much needed bath and dons a tokar to dine withHizdahr. Reznak mo Reznak and Galazza Galare inform her that her body must be inspected by the man’s house before the wedding. Daenerys first refuses to follow this tradition but is then convinced to do so. She is asked to open the fighting pits as a wedding gift but refuses to do that.
While waiting for dinner, Hizdahr informs her that Yunkai will make peace for a fee and the freedom to resume slaving, but then Ser Barristan notifies her that the Yunkai’i are on the march and Daario Naharis has returned. Daenerys excuses herself from dinner and meets with Daario.
Daario informs her that several of Yunkai’s sellswords defected to him, but Brown Ben Plumm and the Second Sons in turn went over to Yunkai. Daenerys commands the gates closed (with the Astapori outside), and gives in to her desires and beds Daario.
The Prince of Winterfell (Theon IV): ADWD 38
The Arya impostor, Jeyne Poole, is preparing for her marriage to Ramsay Bolton, out of fear more than anything. Theon reminds her that she should think of herself as Arya Stark at all times in order to avoid the dangers of enraging Ramsay. Her plight moves Theon considerably.
Theon has been chosen to ceremoniously present “Arya” in marriage to Ramsay, since he was the longtime ward of Eddard Stark and it is widely believed that Arya’s trueborn brothers are dead. Jon Snow is a bastard half-brother and while Theon believes Bran and Rickon Stark to be alive, he does not dare to reveal that.
Meanwhile, Winterfell is suffering from both a hard white frost and the looming menace of the coming of Stannis Baratheon’s troops. Even so, Ramsay marries Fake Arya in the godswood. A bard by the name of Abel arrives uninvited, with six women followers, to perform for the wedding. Theon believes that he hears his name (“Theon”) whispered by the godswood, after months of thinking of himself only as Reek. That and the memories of a different life in a far livelier Winterfell shake him deeply.
After the marriage, there is a banquet with many northern guests, including LordWyman Manderly, who is particularly pleased with the meal. Lady Barbrey Dustinengages in a surprisingly frank conversation with Theon about her mistrust of the Boltons and of the maesters of the Citadel.
Ramsay calls for Theon and cruelly humiliates both him and the fake Arya (Jeyne) in his quarters.
The Watcher (Areo II): ADWD 39
Balon Swann has arrived in Sunspear, with the skull of Gregor Clegane. He asks that Doran Martell takes his seat in the Small Council, and that Myrcella andTrystane Martell accompany them to King’s Landing. His captain of the guard, Areo Hotah notes that many of the Dornish nobility present, including the bastard daughters of Prince Oberyn Martell do not join in the toast Prince Doran makes toKing Tommen. Hotah also notes that Balon Swann would be more of a challenge to defeat than Arys Oakheart was.
When the feast is done, Prince Doran summons his his daughter and the Sand Snakes to his solar and tells them that he has arranged that Myrcella will tell Ser Balon that it was Darkstar who injured her and killed Ser Arys. Once that is done,Obara is to lead Ser Balon to Darkstar’s lair at High Hermitage and destroy him. Doran also reveals to the Sand Snakes that sources loyal to him in King’s Landing have told him the truth he was not meant to hear of this visit to the capital; Cerseiplots to have Trystane killed on the way. An ambush is planned somewhere in theKingswood, where their party will be attacked by outlaws and Trystane will be slain. Blame for the attack will be placed on the Imp, as the outlaws will be crying “Halfman!” during their attack and Ser Balon will claim to catch a glimpse of the Imp. The Sand Snakes are disbelieving, but Doran points out that knights of theKingsguard are sworn to obey, regardless of their personal feelings on their orders, and points out that Ser Balon argued against traveling by sea to return to King’s Landing, as this would disturb the planned arrangements. Prince Doran still does not want to defy the Iron Throne openly, so Nymeria Sand is to accompany Myrcella back to King’s Landing and take the seat on the council, while Tyene Sandis also to travel to King’s Landing, ordered to try and get close to the new High Septon and thus give the Martells an ear amongst the Faith.
Jon VIII: ADWD 40
Jon sends Val to the north, to find Tormund Giantsbane and offer him and his followers shelter south of the Wall. Bowen Marsh, Septon Cellador, and Othell Yarwyck talk to Jon with various complaints; they disapprove of Leathers as Castle Black’s master-at-arms, Satin as Jon’s steward and his decision to negotiate with Tormund and allow him and his men through the Wall. They are also nervous about the fact Jon is keeping two corpses in the ice cells, and react with outrage and horror when Jon reveals he is waiting for them to rise, ignoring Jon’s argument that the Watch knows next to nothing about the wights or their masters, and need to learn more if they are to defeat them. Overlooking their protests, Jon tells them of a large group of wildlings making for Hardhome at the east coast north of the Wall, following the witch Mother Mole who claims they will find ships there to bring them across the Narrow Sea. Jon fears they will die there, but when he gets only indifference from the others at the prospect of thousands of dead wildlings, Jon finally loses patience. Angrily asking if they don’t realise the truth or are just ignoring it, Jon points out that if they do nothing, the wildlings at Hardhome will die in their thousands, and when they are dead, in time they will rise up again with blue eyes and cold hands, and the Others will have thousands more wights under their control to send at the Wall.
Tyrion IX: ADWD 41
Still on board the Selaesori Qhoran, Tyrion jousts on Penny’s ‘Pretty Pig’, for the amusement of the crew in hopes of sweetening their mood, while the ship has been floating becalmed in the Gulf of Grief. Attempts to tow the cog north in hope of finding a breeze, using small rowing boats, have been unsuccessful.
Tyrion and Penny are talking when the ship suddenly starts to move. Everyone cheers until they notice the storm front looming on the horizon. Moqorro states that this is the storm from his visions (the reason that the ship won’t reach Qarth). During the storm, the main mast breaks, crippling the ship. Moqorro and others are swept overboard, the captain and the cook die, and Tyrion is wounded from a splinter. For 19 days the ship barely manages to stay afloat as food and water dwindle and the sun beats down on them relentlessly. Then a sail turns up on the horizon, reigniting hope in them until Jorah realizes it’s a slaver ship.
The Turncloak (Theon V): ADWD 42
A winter snowstorm has hit Winterfell. Roose Bolton comments that the northern gods do not favour Stannis as he is at the mercy of the weather while they are sheltered in Winterfell. His men cheer, but Theon does not join in and notes that theFreys do not join in either, unfamiliar with the north that has claimed three of their lives already.
Wyman Manderly is eating at a feast of porridge, while Harwood Stout andWhoresbane Umber chat. Theon spent the whole last night awake dreaming of escape, but ultimately decides he has no where to go; he is a ruined man in a ruined castle, and this is where he belongs. The bard Abel plays “The Dornishman’s Wife” with one of his women beating a drum, but he switches the lyrics to a northman instead. Theon fears that this will be seen as a spite to the Boltons, cost the man his life, angering Ramsay and getting Theon flayed as a result. But when both of the Boltons laugh, the others see that it is safe so they laugh as well and join in with the bawdy song.
His thoughts fall to the fake Arya, taking note that she has remained locked away in her room. There are whispers that Ramsay keeps her chained naked to the bed, but Theon believes that it is only the guards that keep her there. He has seen bruises on her body as Sour Alyn has assigned Theon as Jeyne’s handmaid. Theon told her that Ramsay only hurts people when they make him angry, so she should do as he says and no harm will come to her. But she only cried and called him Theon, and he corrected her, telling her that his name is Reek.
Rowan, one of the bard’s women, comes up to Theon and asks him about his exploits, telling him that Abel can make a song about his capture of Winterfell. She questions him on how he was able to conquer Winterfell so easily, wondering if there was a secret entrance or another way that he used to get in. Theon thinks this is another ploy from Ramsay as he desires Rowan, so he runs away, leaving her.
Outside there is a snowball fight between boys from the Rills and Barrowton, while squires build snowmen along the battlements. Theon observes that a new stable has been built, twice as large as the one that was burned down. He wanders through the castle and passes Rickard Ryswell cuddling one of Abel’s women. He observes that they have few provisions to last the winter in the keep, but thinks that Stannis is in the same situation. He eventually arrives at theweirwood, kneeling before the heart tree. There he apologizes for something, and asks for something that he is unsure of — strength? He hears someone crying and leaves, thinking that there are ghosts in Winterfell, and he is one of them.
Theon returns and sees that to command the snowmen, the squires have built a dozen snowy lords, including ones resembling Lord Wyman Manderly, Lord Harwood Stout, Lady Barbrey Dustin, and Whoresbane Umber. Lady Dustin asks him if he can show her the way to the crypts, as she cannot access them from the dungeons. As her men dig through the snow, Lady Dustin asks Theon to convince Ramsay to treat Arya better. The northmen love the Starks and hate the Boltons, remaining loyal only out of fear. The tears of Arya Stark will upset them and do Roose and Ramsay more harm than anything Stannis could do.
Inside the crypts they find that some of the dead kings’ swords are missing. A bad omen, Theon thinks, as the swords are said to protect the crypt and keep the spirits of the dead from wandering. Dustin asks Theon why he loves the Starks, and Theon reluctantly explains he always wanted to be one, but never could. Dustin remarks that they are similar in that regard, explaining how Brandon Stark took her maidenhead and was enamored with her rather than with his betrothed, Catelyn Tully. Rickard Starkarranged the betrothal of his eldest son to Catelyn, a match that served his ambitions more than one to Lady Barbrey, a daughter of one of his own northern vassals. After Brandon’s betrothal to Catelyn, the ambitious Lord Ryswell wanted Barbrey to marryEddard, but after Rickard and Brandon were both murdered by the Mad King, Eddard fulfilled his older brother’s betrothal to Catelyn to ensure support from Riverrun during Robert’s Rebellion. Left to marry Lord Willam Dustin, she blames Ned for Lord Dustin’s death at the Tower of Joy during Robert’s Rebellion. She felt slighted that Eddard merely buried her husband in Dorne, yet went to great lengths to transport his sister’s body north to be buried at Winterfell.
She claims that she intends to seize Ned Stark’s bones, delayed by the Iron Born’s occupation of Moat Cailin, and feed them to her dogs, rather than let them be buried in the crypt. On the way back up she tells him to repeat nothing to the Boltons. Theon swears he will not, to which she says he has been trained well, leaving him there.
The King’s Prize (Asha III): ADWD 43
Stannis’s host departs from Deepwood Motte. Asha is chained and carried on at the back of the baggage train under guard by Alysane Mormont. Stannis means to bring her to Winterfell to show off the Kraken’s daughter as his captive and a sign of his strength. They believe the three hundred mile march through the Wolfswoodshould take them about fifteen days to Winterfell.
She bent her knee at Deepwood Motte, but thinks to herself that others have bent the knee before, such as Balon, who rose again to fight another day. Wise advice years earlier from her father. As part of her surrender she hopes that Stannis will spare the rest of her ironborn their lives, which he does, imprisoning them at Deepwood Motte. She listens to talk between the northmen, seeing their pride in their king, though she predicts many if not all will die in a siege attempt of Winterfell. Ser Justin Massey takes a courteous nature with Asha, treating her well. She believes he is after her lands, but takes his company over being left alone.
After a few nights, she is brought to Stannis and tries to treat with him. She says that his brother Robert Baratheon was renowned for turning his foes into friends, but learns that she should not speak his brothers name as it angers Stannis.
The snow begins to take a toll on the passage of the southern men, however the northmen are used to this weather and proceed quickly. Later she hears the queensmen, worshipers of the Lord of Light, begin to contemplate a sacrifice to appease their god and blow the storm away. Stannis does not listen to them, nor does he listen to the pleas to make camp and wait out the storm. After fifteen days, the estimated time of arrival, they have only made half the distance through nine days of storm. After thirty days, they have yet to reach Winterfell. Morgan Liddle, the man who nearly slayed her at Deepwood Motte, comes to apologize, but only for calling her a cunt, not for nearly killing her.
Later they reach a small crofters’ village where they make camp and try to catch some fish. Asha realizes that Stannis is now a gaunt figure, having lost much weight on the march. They are encamped now and locked in by snow, unable to move. Worse, they have almost no provisions, and are starving.
Daenerys VII: ADWD 44
Daenerys Targaryen wakes up beside Daario Naharis. She is hesitant about her upcoming wedding. Daario asks her to marry him instead, but truly he knows that she cannot and will not. Outside the Yunkai are massing more ships, building siege weapons to throw rocks at the city. However, no rams or siege towers are built, as the siege is intended to cause famine and disease to force Meereen to succumb.
Daario introduces Dany to the three Dornishmen who say that they have specific gifts for the queen. Quentyn Martell, Gerris Drinkwater, and Archibald Yronwood, who defected to Daario, reveal themselves to her. A parchment is presented,describing a secret pact of alliance between Dorne and the Targaryens signed byWillem Darry and Oberyn Martell, that would be sealed by a marriage betweenViserys and Arianne Martell. Dany laughs when she learns who Quentyn is, as his mercenary nickname was Frog, and she remembers the story of a frog turning into a prince.
Dany remembers Quaithe’s earlier prophecy. The glass Candles are burning. Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and Dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun’s son and the mummer’s dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal. She recognizes Quentyn and the arms of House Martell as the sun’s son she must be wary about.
Daenerys refuses to marry Quentyn. The Dornishmen make one last plea before Dany’s wedding which she denies, and then goes through with her marriage toHizdahr zo Loraq.
Alayne II (Sansa III): AFFC 42
Alayne has been trying to coax a petulant Lord Robert to get dressed for the long descent to the Gates of the Moon. With winter fast approaching, the high seat of theArryns will soon become inhospitable, and the entire staff is retreating for the valley floor. Her “father” is away at the wedding of Lord Lyonel Corbray, who supports the Lord Protector along with several other Vale lords, including, just recently, LordBenedar Belmore. Maester Colemon is concerned that Robert is being givenSweetsleep too often, as it is poisonous over time. However, he sees no other way to get the boy down the mountain without a seizure. After riding the basket down to Sky, Alayne and the rest of the household begin their descent on mules led by Mya Stone. Accompanying them is Lady Myranda Royce, Lord Nestor’s daughter.
Randa is a natural gossip, and tells Alayne that Lady Waynwood and Ser Symond Templeton both showed at Lord Corbray’s wedding, and that Riverrun has yielded, but not Dragonstone or Storm’s End. Alayne is careful with her words around the very clever Randa, although she stumbles when the woman mentions that LordEddard’s bastard now commands the Night’s Watch. She thinks to herself it would be sweet to see her half-brother once more. Randa discloses that Harry the Heirwas recently knighted at a tourney, but Myranda doesn’t like him because Lady Waynwood denied Lord Nestor’s attempt to marry Randa to Harry. She also lets on that he has a bastard daughter despite his young age. Their banter turns to Mya and how her beloved Ser Mychel Redfort recently married one of Lord Yohn’s daughters. Alayne reveals that Ser Lothor Brune likes Mya, but doesn’t believe that the bastard daughter of Robert Baratheon is aware.
After a rough stretch crossing a gorge, where Alayne has to carry a shaking Robert across, the party reaches the Gates of the Moon. She discovers that her “father” has returned from the east, and she goes to see him immediately. Lord Petyr is entertaining three hedge knights he recently hired for his household, one of whom is none other than Ser Shadrich of the Shady Glen. Dismissing them, Petyr imparts word of Cersei’s spiraling downfall, saying, “It is quite vexing. I had hoped to have four or five quiet years to plant some seeds and allow some fruits to ripen, but… it is a good thing that I thrive on chaos. What little peace and order the five kings left us will not long survive the three queens, I fear.” But he will not explain what he meant by “three” queens.
Petyr then announces that he has a present for her- a marriage contract to Harry the Heir. He tells her that she must first win his approval before they are even betrothed, hopefully giving them enough time for Tyrion to perish, allowing her to marry again. Lady Waynwood agreed to the proposal because despite Alayne’s “low” birth, she is nonetheless the daughter of the Lord Protector; not to mention that House Waynwood is heavily in debt (much of it now owed to Littlefinger). When Alayne asks how the young knight could be Lady Anya’s heir when she has three sons, as well as daughters and grandsons, he tells her that Harry is actually Lord Robert’s heir. He explains that Lord Jon Arryn’s sister married a Waynwood, and her only son perished at age three. But their youngest daughter married a knight of House Hardyng, who are landed knights sworn to Ironoaks, and begot a son, now Ser Harrold Hardyng. Besides Lord Robert, he is the only living male heir to the Arryns, since he is Lord Jon’s great-nephew.
When Alayne learns this truth, she utters, “If Robert were to die…” To which Lord Petyr replies, “When Robert dies, Harry the Heir becomes Lord Harrold, Defender of the Vale and Lord of the Eyrie. Jon Arryn’s bannermen will never love me, nor our silly, shaking Robert, but they will love their Young Falcon… and when they come together for his wedding, and you come out… clad in a maiden’s cloak of white and grey with a direwolf emblazoned on the back… why, every knight in the Vale will pledge his sword to win you back your birthright. So those are your gifts from me, my sweet Sansa… Harry, the Eyrie, and Winterfell.”
Jon IX: ADWD 45
Queen Selyse arrives at Castle Black with Shireen, Patchface, Axell Florent, and others, all on their way to the Nightfort. They are accompanied by Tycho Nestoris, an emissary of the Iron Bank of Braavos. Jon warns Selyse that the Nightfort is still mostly in ruins and advises her that they may be most comfortable at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.
The queen says that they are not safe there and insists on going to the Nightfort. Then, Wun Wun appears, startling the ladies. The giant speaks a few kind words, but mangles them. Jon tells the women he is only just learning the Common Tongue as all giants speak the Old Tongue. Wun Wun’s laugh startles and frightens the group, causing Ser Patrek to draw his sword. Jon warns him to never draw his sword against a giant as he is protected by guest rights here, which Jon says they still honor in the north, though the south may not.
Jon then offers to give Tycho a tour atop the Wall, but he prefers to speak with Jon now, preferably in a warm room. Tycho tells Jon that the Iron Throne has ceased all debt payments to the Iron Bank. Jon thinks this must be madness on the part of the Lannisters. He thinks that the Iron Bank may want to support Stannis in his war to ensure that the debt is eventually payed. Jon asks for a favour: to borrow ships and a loan to keep the Night’s Watch fed until spring. Tycho says this is impossible, but after a few hours of drinking and haggling they strike a deal.
With the three ships added to the Eastwatch fleet, Jon counts that they now have eleven ships. He hopes to bring the wildlings down from Hardhome around the Wall in order to save them and not have them become more wights in thrall to The Others. However, he is unsure if Mother Mole will be desperate enough to trust her people to the men of the Night’s Watch.
He discusses things further with Tycho; he asks after Maester Aemon, Gilly andSam but Tycho knows nothing and Jon can merely hope they have reachedOldtown. They talk about an unknown fleet prowling the narrow sea and rumours ofdragons coming from the east, Jon joking that a dragon would warm things up. Tycho says sternly that his people are descended from those who fled the dragonlords of Valyria and they do not joke lightly about such, so Jon apologizes.
They make their way to the common hall, where Axell Florent asks Jon to see Val. Jon surmises that he must know the woman is gone. He then excuses himself and leaves, pondering the dangers of the agreement with Tycho, uncertain if the Watch will ever be able to repay the Iron Bank and thus avoid consequences. But Jon knows that between being bankrupt and dead, he made the right choice. He also takes another moment to marvel on the stupidity of the Lannisters; the Iron Bank is notorious for deposing royalty who don’t repay their debts and he notes that if Stannis makes a deal with the Braavosi, he will acquire enough money to hire numerous sellsword companies, to bribe as many lords as he needs and keep his men fed, armed and supplied. Jon muses that unless “Stannis is lying dead beneath the walls of Winterfell, he may just have won the Iron Throne”.
He goes to sleep but is awoken by Mully, who tells him that a girl has arrived on a dying horse. Jon’s thoughts instantly go toMelisandre’s vision and he giddily thinks that Arya may have come to him as prophesied. He also thinks about plans to keep Arya safe; she cannot stay at the Wall, for Stannis will just marry her off to one of his vassals so as to gain a claim to Winterfell, and Jon doesn’t know but fears what Melisandre may want with her-Jon speculates that he might be able to convince Tycho to make arrangements to have Arya fostered with some noble family in Braavos or the Free Cities. When he meets her however, to his disappointment Jon sees that the girl in question is not Arya; she is too old. He recognises her as Alys Karstark, having met her before when they were both children, when her father brought her to Winterfell in hope of negotiating a marriage between her andRobb. She warns him not to let Cregan Karstark take her back with him when he arrives, as he and his father Arnolf Karstark intend to force her into marrying Cregan. She also learns the truth about her father’s execution from Jon and is unsurprised to learn that Robb killed him for murdering prisoners in a fit of rage; her father was a brooding man, and her uncles are no better.
Alys asks Jon if there is still a blood-feud between them after the death of her father, but he assures her that men of the Night’s Watch hold no grudges. She tells him that after Jaime Lannister killed her two elder brothers and her betrothed at the Battle of the Whispering Wood, she and her brother Harry are the rightful heirs to their titles. However, Harrion has been a captive for more than a year; Arnolf only declared Karhold for Stannis in the hope it would provoke the Lannisters to execute Harrion. If that happened, Alys would be heir to Karhold, at which point Cregan would marry her, get a child from her and then get rid of her. Jon offers to write to Stannis about the matter on her behalf but Alys reveals that the Karstarks are playing Stannis false; they have long been in league with Roose Bolton and are only waiting for his word to betray Stannis. Alys entreats Jon to protect her, pleading that he is the only hope she has left.
Brienne VIII: AFFC 43
Brienne fluctuates between a fever dream and semi-consciousness, as the outlaws transport her severely injured body to Lady Stoneheart. While she is being treated by Jeyne Heddle, Brienne learns that Biter is dead, skewered through the head by a spear wielded by Gendry. Lem, now wearing Sandor’s steel dog helm, tells her that Stoneheart wants her hanged for her “crimes”. Brienne fully awakens in a cave, where she meets Thoros of Myr. The red priest is a ghost of his former self, and he informs her about the current state of the former Brotherhood Without Banners: “Lord Beric’s fire has gone out of this world… A grimmer shadow leads us in his place… War makes monsters of us all.”
Before long, Brienne is brought before Lady Stoneheart, where she as well as Podand Ser Hyle will be judged. Brienne cannot see Stoneheart’s face, but notices her holding a bronze crown ringed by iron swords. A northman, most likely Harwin, places Oathkeeper before Stoneheart, along with Brienne’s writ signed by KingTommen. The outlaws see this as irrefutable proof that the Maid of Tarth is aboutLannister business. Her words are wasted here, as her pleas of innocence fall on deaf ears. Finally, Lady Stoneheart speaks, needing to place her hand over her throat in order to gurgle out her judgment. Upon removing her hood, Brienne is horrified to discover that the Hangwoman is actually Lady Catelyn Stark, albeit now a specter from the grave. Thoros reveals that it was Lord Beric himself who administered the kiss of life to her, finally extinguishing his own unnatural life.
Stoneheart gives Brienne an ultimatum: kill Ser Jaime Lannister or be hanged. When the Maid states that she will not make that choice, the thing that had been Catelyn Stark orders them hanged. Despite Ser Hyle’s pleas for mercy, and Podrick’s stoicism, nooses are looped about all three of their necks. As they are hefted upward, thrashing and dying, Brienne screams out a word…
Cersei X: AFFC 44
Accompanied by six newly reinstated Warrior’s Sons, Septa Moelle brings word to the court that Queen Margaery and her cousins have been imprisoned at the Great Sept of Baelor for adultery and high treason. The Septa reveals that Margaery’s maidenhead is not intact. Grand Maester Pycelle also reluctantly discloses to the Septa that Margaery has had him mix moon tea on many occasions. Leaving the throne room confident that Margaery was finished, Cersei agrees with Aurane Waters’ request to launch his new dromonds, in case Lord Mace Tyrell decides to march on King’s Landing to save his daughter. Lord Orton Merryweather remarks that the High Septon may want to try Margaery himself, as the Faith used to do. Cersei hopes he is right.
Cersei has Tommen sign some blank warrants, which she then affixes names to. Summoning Ser Osfryd, she orders him to arrest Ser Tallad, the Blue Bard, Hugh Clifton, Mark Mullendore, as well as the Redwyne twins whom she wants to be found innocent of the charges of bedding Margaery. The next morning, Cersei andTaena are carried by litter to the Great Sept. On the way, Lady Merryweather inquires, “What if Margaery demands that her innocence be determined by battle?” Cersei smiles, and replies that she must be championed by a knight of theKingsguard, but since Ser Osmund is brother to one of her accusers, that leaves only Ser Meryn Trant and Ser Boros Blount. Cersei states that the former will not be feeling well when the time comes. Within the Sept, the High Septon grants Cersei permission to visit her good-daughter, while Taena goes to speak with Margaery’s cousins. Margaery is beside herself, stripped of her clothes and dignity, while she is asked once an hour to confess her fornication. Cersei tells her that she has rounded up all those that Ser Osney named, lying that they will reveal her innocence. When Cersei says that a sworn brother of the Kingsguard will fight for her should it come to a trial by combat, Margaery demands that her own brother, Ser Garlan the Gallant, be summoned to fight in place of the grievously injured Ser Loras. Cersei would never allow this to happen; and Margaery, well aware of Cersei’s intentions, tells her to leave, calling her a vile, scheming, evil bitch.
Cersei is then escorted deep beneath Visenya’s Hill to speak with the High Septon. He tells her that seven will sit in judgment of Margaery and her cousins, as the Faith did in yore, before King Jaehaerys I Targaryen stripped them of this power. When Cersei asks to have Ser Osney released into her custody, the priest flatly denies her. Chained to the ceiling of his cell, Osney has been brutally whipped. Infuriated, Cersei tells the High Septon that Osney came of his own free will. The holy man responds, “I have heard many men confess, but seldom have I heard a man so pleased to be so guilty… The more diligently we applied the scourge, the more Ser Osney’s offenses seemed to change. He would now have us believe that he never touched Margaery Tyrell.” When asked now if he had carnal knowledge of the queen, Osney points at Cersei, saying, “Aye. That one there.” Furthermore, he confesses that Cersei ordered him to kill the old High Septon. Upon hearing this, Cersei bolts from the cell, racing headlong through the Great Sept. Fearing what may happen should the Faith question Taena Merryweather, she is soon overtaken by a group of septas, who strip her and confine her to a grim cell.
Her screams going unheard, Cersei begins to shiver from the cold. Every time she begins to fall asleep, she is jostled awake and asked if she will confess her sins. After two days of this torture, Qyburn enters her cell. She begs him to take her home, but the de-chained maester tells her it will not be allowed and she will be tried for murder, treason, and fornication. He reveals that Margaery will be tried by the same court, and that he delivered the Blue Bard to the High Septon, but despite the Faith’s torture, “he is still singing the same sweet song we taught him”. Qyburn then informs her of the rapid changes made since her fall: the realm is now being governed by Ser Harys Swyft and Pycelle; they removed Ser Osfryd as Commander of the gold cloaks and Qyburn from the small council (though he still works for them thanks to his control of Varys’ whisperers); Lord Orton and Taena have fled toLongtable, while Ser Kevan has been sent for to take over the Regency. Perhaps worst of all, Aurane Waters unshipped his oars and sailed the fleet, possibly to join Lord Stannis; while Lord Mace Tyrell and Lord Randyll Tarly are marching on King’s Landing.
Despite Qyburn’s words that his unbeatable “champion” is ready, Cersei knows that only a Kingsguard can defend her in a trial by combat. She has Qyburn pen her final plea to her brother: “Come at once. Help me. Save me. I need you as I have never needed you before. I love you, I love you, I love you. Come at once.”
Jaime VII: AFFC 45
Emmon Frey, now Lord of Riverrun in fact as well as name, demands Edmure Tully’s head. Ser Jaime will not accede, though he is sorely tempted since Edmure betrayed his concessions by helping his uncle, Ser Brynden, to escape the castle when he turned it over to the Lannisters. Despite a massive search for Lord Hoster’s brother, Jaime knows the Blackfish will not be found, nor will he abandon the fight. Before being escorted west to Casterly Rock as a noble prisoner, Ser Edmure speaks his mind, “You will never know how sick it makes me to see you in this room, Kingslayer. You will never know how much I despise you.”
Later, Lady Sybell Westerling and her daughter, the widowed Queen Jeyne Stark, are brought before Jaime. Jeyne is in mourning for her husband and defiant to her mother, but when Sybell moves to slap her, Jaime intervenes and kindly asks Jeyne to leave the solar. Jaime confirms to Lady Sybell that House Westerling has its pardon, her brother has been named Lord of Castamere and marriages will be arranged for her daughters, though Jeyne will have to wait two years before marrying again, to prevent rumours that any children she has are actually Robb Stark’s. Lady Sybell asks Jaime to inquire after her son, Ser Raynald, who accompanied Robb to the Twins, and had no knowledge of the arrangement between his mother and Tywin Lannister. Jaime, suspecting that Raynald is likely dead as Walder Frey also didn’t know of the arrangement, agrees to inquire, promising that House Lannister will pay his ransom if Raynald is held captive. She then mentions that Lord Tywin promised a high-born marriage for him, “that Raynald should have joy of him”. When Jaime states that Joy is his uncle Gerion’s natural daughter, Sybell shouts, “You want a Westerling to marry a bastard?”. Jaime, desiring to strangle the woman with her own necklace, retorts “No more than I want Joy to marry the son of some scheming turncloak bitch. Your daughter is worth ten of you, my lady. You’ll leave with Edmure and Ser Forley on the morrow. Until then, you would do well to stay out of my sight.” He then contemplates how much Lord Gawen knew of his wife’s schemes.
The following morning, Jaime warns Ser Forley Prester to guard Ser Edmure well, for fear either the Blackfish or Beric Dondarrionmight try to free him. The knight is aware of his orders to kill Edmure should he try to slip away. Jaime adds that he should do the same for Jeyne Stark, stating that she is twice as dangerous as Edmure, should she escape. Jaime then visits Edwyn Frey, who is preparing his army to return to the Twins. Edwyn divulges that his father, Ser Ryman, along with his entire retinue, were hanged by Lady Stoneheart near Fairmarket. Although Edwyn blames Jaime, the Lord Commander is well aware that Edwyn couldn’t care less that his father is dead. And although Edwyn is now heir to the Twins, Jaime knows that Black Walder will probably soon move to kill his brother. Jaime’s only real concern is that the outlaws must be getting bolder if they are willing to kill Lord Walder’s heir only a day’s ride from the Twins. Jaime takes his leave after inquiring about Ser Raynald’s fate. Apparently, Queen Jeyne’s brother was responsible for loosing Grey Wind on the Freys, and was shot full of quarrels before diving into the river. An offhand comment from Jaime about killing those responsible makes the Freys drop their smug attitude about the act.
Content that he has taken Riverrun without having to take up arms against the Tullys or Starks, Jaime later agrees to allow SerDesmond Grell and Ser Robin Ryger to take the black, commanding Raff the Sweetling to escort them to Maidenpool. During Lord Emmon’s speech to the people of Riverrun, Jaime speaks with the singer he took from Ryman Frey earlier. He reveals himself asTom of Sevenstreams, and tells Jaime that he hopes to play for Lady Genna and Lord Emmon over the winter. That night, Jaime dreams of his mother, Lady Joanna, whom he barely remembers, but the dream disturbs him when his mother cries and asks who he really is. In the morning, Maester Vyman delivers Cersei’s message written by Qyburn. The old maester asks if Jaime wishes to respond, but the Kingsguard hands the letter to Peck, saying, “No. Put this in the fire.”
Samwell V: AFFC 46
The Cinnamon Wind passes through the Redwyne Straits on her way to Oldtown. Twice they evade and once drive off longships of the ironmen, before they reach their destination and undergo customs inspections. The ironborn now control many of the outlying towns and fortifications surrounding the Arbor and along the Mandernearly to Oldtown, having sacked Ryamsport and taken Vinetown and Starfish Harbor. They have also been raiding ships in the area. Sam learns that even Oldtown is at risk until Lord Paxter Redwyne can bring his fleet back fromDragonstone. Meanwhile, Lord Leyton Hightower has not left his tower in years, while his sons struggle to protect the great city. His youngest son, Ser Humfrey, has sailed to the Free Cities to hire sellsails or persuade his half-sister Lynesse to loan him some of the Archon of Lys’ ships. As Sam prepares to disembark for the Citadel, he considers whether it will be safe for Gilly at Horn Hill, since it will only have a small regiment of guards left. Fortunately, Sam knows that Gilly will be safe aboard the Cinnamon Wind, at least until he can learn more of the situation in Oldtown.
Upon reaching Seneschal’s Court, Sam is forced to wait a long while before he will be admitted to speak with the Seneschal. His patience running thin at the delay, Sam is approached by Alleras, who informs him that it will take a penny to get past the acolyte. But when Alleras introduces himself, Sam is taken aback when he learns that the boy is called “the Sphinx”. Samwell then tells Alleras the story of how he reached Oldtown, leaving out only the secrets he has sworn to keep. After hearing all that has transpired, especially Maester Aemon’s plea that the Citadel learn of Daenerys, Alleras tells him to forget the Seneschal. The archmaesters will believe little of what Sam has to say, but there is one who will: Archmaester Marwyn. At the Isle of Ravens, Sam recognizes Leo Tyrell, but before many words can be exchanged, Marwyn the Mage appears and ushers Sam and Alleras into his chambers.
Marwyn first describes how the Valyrians used dragonglass for various magical means, noticing Sam’s interest in the Obsidian candle. Sam then repeats what he told Alleras, stating that Maester Aemon was convinced that Daenerys was the promised one in the prophecy, not Prince Rhaegar or Stannis. To this, Archmaester Marwyn reveals how fickle and treacherous prophecy can be, but he is still intrigued. He makes it clear to Sam that Maester Aemon may have been killed by the archmaesters had he spoken his mind to them. When Sam inquires why, Marwyn replies, “Who do you think killed all the dragons the last time around? The world the Citadel is building has no place in it for sorcery or prophecy or glass candles, much less for dragons. Ask yourself why Aemon Targaryen was allowed to waste his life upon the Wall, when by rights he should have been raised to archmaester. His blood was why. He could not be trusted. No more than I can.”
Commanding Alleras to look after Sam, Marwyn makes known his plan to travel to Slaver’s Bay, as Maester Aemon had intended. He intends to take the Cinnamon Wind, hoping to reach Daenerys prior to the “grey sheep”, as he calls the other archmaesters. He advises Sam to work rapidly toward his chain, and to never mention anything of prophecies, dragons, or Daenerys to anyone in the Citadel. Marwyn quickly departs, and Alleras reveals to Sam that their meeting was not happenstance. The Mage knew Sam was coming, supposedly from the dragonglass candle. The novice in the room the whole time shows Sam to his quarters, finally divulging his name, “I’m Pate, like the pig boy.”
The Blind Girl (Arya IV): ADWD 46
Arya wakes up after enteringinto Nymeria again; she remembers being feared, but only when she dreams. Arya is still in the House of Black and White in Braavos. She has been blinded, to train her to use her other senses: recognize lies from the tone of voice, walk and work without seeing, even fight. She calls herself Blind Beth now. She goes over her list of names, but remembers that that was someone else, not her, not Blind Beth.
The kindly man asks her his usual question about three things she has learned. Arya learns to play the lying game with the waif; this time however she is blind, so instead she learns to use tone of voice to hear the lies. Arya has gotten better at speaking High Valyrian, though the kindly man insists she learn the languages ofLys and Pentos as well. As she continues to learn her skills as a blind girl, the kindly man tells her that she has five senses and she should learn to use the other four. An acolyte gets into a duel of staffs with her, teasing her throughout the lesson.
She reminisces that she liked being the Cat of the Canals; she thinks about when she killed Dareon, the deserter from the Night’s Watch. The Kindly Man told her that they are not gods to judge who lives or dies, they are just servants of Him of Many Faces. He explains that they are death’s instruments, not death itself.
As she goes out to beg, the waif helps her to look the part, putting on a blindfold and giving her pox mark scars to make her look ugly. As she goes out into Braavos past the Inn of the Green Eel, she goes over the areas where she has begged in her mind. Arya crosses the Bloody Bridge and makes her way to Pynto at the end of Ragman’s Harbor near the edge of the Drowned Town.
She hears that two Lysene pirate ships, the Goodheart and the Elephant, were driven north by a storm and found wildlings atHardhome. The wildlings were eager to board the ships that were prophesied by the witch, and the pirates took the women and children on board, yet meant to sell them as slaves. The Goodheart was damaged in another storm and was forced to make for Braavos, where the Sealord seized the ship since slave trade is forbidden in Braavos.
Arya regularly has wolf dreams, and it is revealed that she has also learned to enter a cat. She uses knowledge gained through the cat’s eyes to impress the kindly man, telling him that she knows it has been him who is hitting her but without mentioning the cat. Apparently this completes her blind training, because when she opens her eyes again she sees a candle flame, and she has never seen anything so beautiful before.
A Ghost in Winterfell (Theon VI): ADWD 47
One of Roger Ryswell’s men has been found dead at the inner wall of Winterfell.Theon hears Lord Roger Ryswell declare that he must’ve fallen off the wall drunk, but he suspects it might have been murder, as do some others.
Roose Bolton and his host are still stuck inside Winterfell’s walls due to the relentless snow storms. They expect Stannis’ forces to attack them, but have no idea how close he may be due to the storms. Tensions rise among the people inside Winterfell, with no one quite certain whether it is a good idea to wait passively for Stannis or instead to pursue him outside. It doesn’t help that food is somewhat scarce and distributed quite unevenly.
Holly, one of Abel the Bard’s washer women, sits down next to Theon, who is upset that she has touched him. She asks him about the crypts, and a mistrusting Theon comes to the conclusion that she, Abel, and the other women want out of Winterfell. Theon sympathizes, but he fears the wrath of Ramsay Bolton and prefers not to get involved.
The next morning Aenys Frey’s squire is found dead and naked outside in the snow. Later on that day another man, a crossbowman sword to House Flint, is found dead with a crushed skull, presumably from a horse kick.
Nevertheless, the suspicions and tensions keep growing to the point that open quarreling happens among the host’s Lords inside the Great Hall. Some are tired of waiting for Stannis and want to attack him. A fight nearly breaks out as Ser Hosteenand Aenys Frey blame Wyman Manderly for the deaths of their three kin Rhaegar,Jared, and Symond. It almost comes to a duel before Roger Ryswell and Barbrey Dustin calm them down, though Roose does nothing throughout the near altercation and Theon sees something new in Roose’s eyes for the first time: a hint of fear.
Soon the newly rebuilt stable collapses, killing two men and twenty-six horses. Roose Bolton gives orders for the surviving horses to be brought inside the walls of Winterfell.
A more suspicious death is discovered, that of Yellow Dick. His namesake is stuffed in his mouth so hard that three teeth have been broken. This death is taken more seriously as it cannot be confused with an accident and to boot he is one of Ramsay Bolton’s Bastard Boys. Theon considers that a hooded man whom he meets may be responsible for the murder. Theon is later ushered to see Roose by Steelshanks Walton. Roose says that Theon has been seen where all the murders have occurred. Theon is freed from the suspicions due to his weakened physical and psychological state, as remarked by Lady Dustin and Roger Ryswell. It is now however undeniable that someone has been committing murders, possibly at Stannis’ behest. The resulting suspicion flames the tensions between the Freys and the Northmen, who are reminded of their role at the Red Wedding and the fact they are surrounded by northern Houses who all lost people at the Red Wedding and have more than good reason to despise and do harm to the Freys.
Suddenly a war horn and drum is sounded, and the men inside the walls begin to believe that Stannis has arrived. Theon goes to pray in the godswood, seeing hints of Bran’s very face in the weirwood, hearing it whisper his name.
Holly, Rowan and a third washerwoman appear, claiming to have come for him. Theon believes that they are behind the murders and want to kill him now, but they deny his suspicions and insist that there will be no more hurt for him but instead a nice, quick death — but first he must see Abel.
Tyrion X: ADWD 48
All remaining crewmen and passengers of the Selaesori Qhoran are sold into slavery in a Yunkish camp near Meereen. Tyrion and Penny are sold together toYezzan zo Qaggaz, an immensely fat Yunkish (though a Westerosi sellsword tries hard to buy them-Tyrion suspects this is because the sellsword knows him and wants to claim Cersei’s bounty on his head) and put under the charge of his retainer called Nurse.
Tyrion sees Jorah Mormont brought on the auction block behind them. The knight tried to fight off the slavers and was beaten almost to the point of death, his face is so swollen as to be almost unrecognizable. Tyrion convinces Nurse that Mormont is an essential part of their show and needs to be bought too. Jorah fought bravely, killing three of the slavers, before being captured and beaten so severely. The fight went out of him once he heard that Daenerys had wed Hizdahr zo Loraq.
Once purchased, they are brought to Yezzan’s pavilion, where they meet some of his other “treasures” and his most prized possession Sweets, a hermaphrodite. They are also fitted with slave collars, which Tyrion does not mind as he observes that collars can be removed. There they find out that the sellsword who also tried to buy them was Brown Ben Plumm of the Second Sons. In the evening, Tyrion and Penny are summoned to perform a joust for the guests of Yezzan, including the Yunkish supreme commander Yurkhaz zo Yunzak. The joust is well received, following which they are to pour wine and water for the guests. One of the men heard Tyrion’s boast of his skill at cyvasse. Tyrion plays against him and wins, angering the man. He also plays Ben Plumm as his master bets on him; he wins four of five matches, and earns much gold for his master.
As a reward for their great jousting performance, Yezzan announces they are to repeat it in the Great Pit of Daznak in front of tens of thousands of people.
Jaime VIII: ADWD 49
Jaime arrives at Raventree Hall, under siege by Jonos Bracken. The siege here is much smaller than the one at Riverrun as the intentions are not to storm the castle but rather to starve them out. The siege has been going on for six months and there is not much hope of rescue for Tytos Blackwood as it is only a matter of time.
Jaime meets first with Lord Jonos who is in an intimate position with Hildy. After she leaves, Jaime inquires as to what Jonos seeks from the situation. Jonos insists on acquiring a quarter of the House Blackwood lands, saying that they were stolen from them long ago, and that Tywin Lannister promised them to Jonos if he subdued the Blackwoods. Jaime chides the Bracken man saying that they were once an enemy of the king when they sided with the Starks, and keeping his head is more than enough compensation for what the Mountain did to his lands. Bracken protests that he will keep faith with the crown as he did with the Starks; Jonos adds that a dozen good men of his died at the Red Wedding with Robb Stark and he bent the knee because he saw no point in fighting on for a lost cause. Jaime remarks that Lord Jonos is a prudent man on hearing this, yet privately thinks Blackwood might be considered more honorable.
Jaime then goes to parley with Tytos Blackwood. Inside he sees the castle’s massive weirwood tree from which the castle derives its name; the tree is black and leafless. Tytos tells Jaime that it is the fault of the Brackens, poisoned and barren for a thousand years, and in another thousand it will turn to stone as weirwoods never rot. As they treat, Jaime tells him that he does not have to physically kneel to him. They agree to a confession, fealty, pardon, and financial sum as well as lands. Finally they discuss the matter of a hostage, and Jaime asks for Bethany, his daughter, but Tytos refuses as she is his only daughter. They eventually agree to sending Hoster as he is a bookish boy who may enjoy his time in King’s Landing and all the books there. Jaime then leaves quickly as he has appointments in Riverrun and King’s Landing. The boy is ready to leave with him within an hour. Before departing, he meets Ser Jonos to tell him the resolution, but also informs him that a daughter of his is to attend to the queen in the capital, as she too is to be a hostage.
Jaime rides to the village Pennytree with Hoster, who tells him of the history of the lands and animosity between the Blackwoods and Brackens. In the village stands an ancient oak tree with pennies nailed to it, the namesake of the village. There, Brienne of Tarth finds them, bandaged on her face, and with the sword Oathkeeper. Brienne claims that she has found Sansa, and that Jaime must accompany her alone or else Sandor Clegane will kill the girl.
Jon X: ADWD 50
Melisandre is conducting the marriage ceremony between Alys Karstark andSigorn, the new Magnar of Thenn. Only a few brothers of the Night’s Watch attend, along with Queen Selyse, her queen’s men, and a few king’s men that Stannis left behind. Meanwhile, Jon has ordered Clydas to dispatch a raven to Deepwood Motte in order to warn Stannis of Arnolf Karstark’s treachery. 
Cregan Karstark followed his niece Alys to Castle Black a day after her arrival. Jon met him before he could reach the fortress and imprisoned Cregan and his men in the ice cells at the Wall. Knowing that Stannis will execute Cregan when he learns of the betrayal, Jon tries to get Cregan to take the black and accept Alys’ claim to Karstark. Cregan won’t hear about it, but Jon thinks time spent in the ice cell might change his mind.
At Alys and Sigorn’s wedding feast, a raven brings message that the relief fleet forHardhome, delayed due to the bad weather, has now left Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.Cotter Pyke is commanding the fleet and he left behind Glendon Hewett in charge of Eastwatch. Jon is unsure of Hewett’s loyalty due to his association with Janos Slynt and Alliser Thorne. Axell Florent once again presses Jon to release the whereabouts of Val, as he intends to marry her, but Jon scoffs at the idea. The wedding feast comes to an abrupt end when a horn is sounded twice, announcingwildlings. Jon knows that Val has succeeded in her mission, and that Tormund Giantsbane has come at last.
Daenerys VIII: ADWD 51
Daenerys holds a wedding feast in Meereen, with the Yunkish lords and sellsword captains in attendance, ready to attend the imminent reopening of the fighting pits. Meanwhile, Meereen is sieged by sellswords and slaves from Yunkai and New Ghis,although the bloody flux has been steadily weakening them.
Dany is upset that the Yunkai’i are holding a slave market just outside the city, butHizdahr tells her it is only for a time and to let them have their show and they will have their peace, with Yunkai keeping their slave trade and Meereen remaining out of it.
The Yunkai’i have brought representatives of the four sellsword companies serving them: the Tattered Prince for the Windblown, Gylo Rhegan for the Long Lances,Bloodbeard for the Company of the Cat and Brown Ben Plumm for the Second Sons. Daenerys is relieved by Daario’s absence, since she knows that he would be furious with Plumm.
An exchange of seven hostages has been arranged in order to ensure a measure of peace during the cerimonies. The four sellsword captains and the three Yunkish nobles present Yurkhaz zo Yunzak, Supreme Commander, and two others) are understood to be Daenerys’ hostages for the time being, while Daenerys offers seven of her own to the Yunkish siege camp in exchange (Hizdar’s sister, two of his cousins, her bloodrider Jhogo, her admiral Groleo, her Unsullied captain Hero and Daario Naharis).
Were he not a hostage, Daario might be causing trouble. He is unhappy about Dany’s wedding to Hizdahr, and he got furious when Quentyn Martell revealed that his group of Westerosi Windblowns had been ordered to “defect” to Meereen.Daario nearly slew them all in his rage, but Grey Worm intervened and stopped him, choosing instead to imprison the group of Windblowns.
Brown Ben comes up to her and explains his defection, saying that it is natural for sellswords to change sides if they believe that it will improve their odds of survival. He claims that the Second Sons were troubled when they learned that Daenerys could not use her dragons to help fight the Yunkish forces. After he leaves, she asks Ser Barristan Selmy his opinion, as he was hiding and listening as always. He advises her that Brown Plumm is quite truthful, and confirms that it is not wise to place trust in a sellsword.
Seeking ways to make up for the loss of the Second Sons, Dany asks Ser Barristan about the possibility of finding a rival leader in the group that might want to “remove” Brown Ben Plumm. Barristan thinks it possible, but doesn’t know for certain. She then mentions the other three mercenary companies, prompting Barristan to offer to arrange a meeting with Gylo Rhegan or the Tattered Prince if she wants so. Dany says that this is not the time or the place as there are too many watchful eyes about. Barristan admits that he is not the best man for such work, and that back in Westeros, it would have been Littlefinger or the Spiderto have done this kind of work.
Dany’s mind turns back to the captured Westerosi turncloaks. She realizes that by freeing one of the Windblows she might establish negotiations with their leader, the Tattered Prince, and perhaps sway them to her cause. She first suggests and later commands Ser Barristan to send back the woman Meris as a gesture of her regard, knowing that their captain will get the message. She wants to contact the Long Lances and the Company of the Cat as well. Barristan advises against dealing with Bloodbear of the Company of the Cat, however; he says that he reminds him of the Ninepenny Kings, that he is much too greedy and much too dishonourable to be an asset. Daenerys feels that such men might be the easiest to sway, but decides to trust his counsel on this matter.
She then summons Quentyn to speak further, at Ser Barristan’s suggestion. He still believes that the Dornish envoys are their best option for returning to Westeros, though Dany will not abandon her city. She speaks with him and brings him to the dragon pit to see her “children”. She introduces Quentyn to Viserion and Rhaegal, telling him that Drogon is away hunting, and that she is a dragon as well. Dany gives Quentyn another piece of advice to leave Meereen, saying that he is not safe here, that men like Daario and Hizdahr could see him as a threat and eliminate him. He boldly, perhaps foolishly, declines.
Dany then retires to bed where Hizdahr is waiting for her, drunk and lustful. She allows him to have his way with her before he passes out. Missandei comes in and hears that the queen is unhappy and comforts her, talking of her home Naath. Eventually Daenerys falls asleep, though she dreads the morrow, when the fighting pits will reopen, and blood will be spilled.
Theon VII: ADWD 52
Theon Greyjoy is with some of the spearwives, Rowan as well as Abel. He tells them that it is madness to try to escape as Ramsay Bolton will chase them and hunt them down with his dogs. Abel replies that Stannis must be close by the sounds of the horns and it is unlikely Ramsay would ride out into that. Theon also begs that he not be allowed to fall back into Ramsay’s hands alive, to whichSquirrel replies “Abel’s word”.
Hosteen Frey barges into the halls, announcing that Little Walder, son of his brotherMerrett, has been killed. Theon looks at the spearwives but Rowan replies that this is no work of theirs. Big Walder implicates the Manderly men, saying that the boy went out to get some silver owed to him. The dispute turns into a spar of words and when Lord Wyman Manderly insults both the dead boy and House Freysimultaneously, Hosteen draws his sword in a blind fury and attacks Manderly, who is sliced under his chins and collapses; his knights leap to defend him and a vicious and bloody fight breaks out. In the end, six White Harbor men lie dead, two Freymen, as well as one of Ramsay’s Bastard Boys, Luton. Roose and Ramsay quell the tension by telling the men present if they want blood, they should turn their anger on Stannis. Hosteen replies that once they bring Roose Stannis’ head, they will come for Wyman’s.
Roose asks Abel to play them a song and the Freys leave. It is then that Rowan grasps Theon’s arm, telling him that the time must be now and that Abel can fend for himself. The plan is to dress the fake Arya up as Squirrel, while the real Squirrel climbs away down the wall. They find the girl in her room, where she is terrified to leave, thinking this is a trap set up by Ramsay. The girl tells the washerwomen that she has been trained, she won’t escape, Ramsay does not need to chop off her feet. They finally get her into Squirrel’s clothes, and Theon tells her to follow Hollyclosely, and not to run.
As they get to the gate they see some guards. Holly seduces one and kills him in the process while Frenya struggles and kills the other- Jeyne lets out a scream in the process, revealing them. Frenya waits at the bottom and fights the rest of the “kneeler”s that come to catch them, while Holly and the others get to the top of the wall. Holly then realizes that Frenya has the rope, just before being killed by arrows.
Theon thinks that if they are caught now they will be brought to Ramsay and tortured. He then throws himself and Jeyne over the battlements.
Daenerys IX: ADWD 53
Daenerys bathes in preparation for her visit with her husband toMeereen’s fighting pits. Ser Barristan Selmy tells her that the girl Meris, whom they set free, said that theWindblown were willing to join her cause, if Dany gave the Tattered Prince Pentos. Dany cannot agree to pay this as Illyrio is from that city and has helped her more than anyone. Her obligations are to him first.
She then departs with her husband and they arrive at the pits, whereStrong Belwas eats a bowl of fried locusts. Hizdahr tells his wife that they are tasty as well, but she declines as Dany is not interested in the spicy food. There are twenty thousand spectators in the pit. As Hizdahr announces the fights, they chant her name, though they use theGhiscari word for Mother because they cannot pronounce her Westerosi name. Dany thinks to herself that it is not her they love, but the fighting.
The first fight begins with a victory for the Spotted Cat, and there are many more after that. Following them, the first folly of the day begins with two dwarfs jousting, one on a pig, the other on a dog. One dwarf has a shield painted in the colours of House Lannister, which amuses Daenerys. That one falls off the pig and is chased by the other on the dog when Hizdahr tells Dany that they are about to loose the lions. She tells him this was not in their agreement, that the dwarfs did not consent to this like the other fighters who died did, so she forbids that the lions slaughter the dwarfs.
Up next is a bout between Barsena Blackhair and a boar. The fight goes well until the boar’s tusk rips her open from the knee to the crotch. The boar then jumps on her, pulling out her entrails, all to the displeasure of the crowd. Daenerys insists on leaving as she is disgusted and no longer wants any part in this. Strong Belwas becomes sick from his locusts, asking for a drink of milk.
It is then that Drogon appears, his attention drawn by the blood and screams. His fires sear the boar, before he eats it and then Barsena. A man runs to try to kill the dragon, jabbing a spear into Drogon’s neck before the dragon kills him. Hizdahr commands the rest of his spearmen to kill the dragon. Drogon roasts two spearmen, breaks the pitmaster in two with a swipe of his tail and tears out the innards of another spearman. As Strong Belwas is puking, Dany runs into the fighting pit in a mad state, hearing footsteps behind her. When she gets close, she fears the dragon does not recognize her and will kill her. As he blows fire at her she rolls under the flames, and she whips him until finally he allows her to mount him. She leaps onto his back, pulling out the spear. As she whips him again, he takes flight, and she tells him to go higher, watching as Meereen grows smaller below.
Jon XI: ADWD 54
Jon treats with Tormund Giantsbane. His four thousand wildlings will be allowed past the wall, including mammoths and giants. They must leave one hundred boys as hostages at Castle Black, and yield all valuables to pay for food. The mammoths are to go the long way around through Eastwatch while the rest are allowed to go through the gates.
Jon accompanies Val to go see Queen Selyse to tell her of the bargain. The queen is excited and tells him that her husband will be proud, all the wildlings have to do is swear fealty to the king and convert to R’hllor. This is when Jon tells her that this was not part of the bargain, and Val adds that the free folk do no kneel. Selyse is quite upset about this. Val notices Shireen’s facial disfigurements, noting that it isgrey death. Jon tells her that it is not always fatal, but she is adamant that it is death, and that the baby “monster” must be taken out of that tower at once and closer to her own person. She insists that Shireen is dead and that the queen and apparently Jon cannot see it.
He then goes to the top of the wall, wondering what has happened to Mance Rayder and if he has found his sister Arya. Up here he meets Torghen Flint of thefirst Flints and Brandon Norrey, the Norrey clan chief. Jon tells them that the wildlings are coming through, though they are not happy about it because of past conflicts. He tells them that they must forgive crimes of the past if they are to live together. They are worried about their lands, but Jon tells them the wildlings are to remain on the wall in the abandoned castles.
Bowen Marsh sees this agreement as a betrayal of Jon’s vows to the Night’s Watch. However, Jon says that he is sworn to defend the realms of men and asks him whether the people beyond the wall don’t count as men. Thus it is his intent to use all available resources to defend the realm of men against The Others.
Cersei XI: ADWD 55
Cersei is still a prisoner of the Faith. She wonders when Jaime will be coming for her, in addition to wondering what has happened to Loras Tyrell as last she heard, he lay dying from his wounds on Dragonstone. She only ever sees three people which are her gaolers Septa Unella, Septa Moelle, and Septa Scolera. Her last visitor was Qyburn. She hates all three of them as much as those she assumes have betrayed her, blaming Osney Kettleblack, Orton Merryweather, Harys Swyft,Aurane Waters and Grand Maester Pycelle. She questions whether she should include Jaime in that group but will not believe it. He would not abandon her, she assumes.
She feels helpless and hates that emotion, and she prays endlessly to the Seven Gods, since that is what they want, but it helps not. At first she fights with her guards but they are much stronger than she thought, they keep her up endlessly, never letting her sleep. Exhausted, she comes to know that she must confess. She asks to be taken to the High Septon to confess, where she admits to extra-marital affairs. She says she has slept with Lancel and the Kettleblack brothers. She insists she did these things because she was afraid for her children and these were her only means to secure the trust of these men.
The High Sparrow still means to accuse her of high treason, incest, regicide, and deicide, all crimes that Osney Kettleblack admitted Cersei had a part in under torture. She manages to talk her way out of the charges of murdering the previous High Septon and Robert and bearing false witness against the Tyrell girls, and avoids the charges of incest by saying that these are lies that Stannis has made up in order to gain the Iron Throne, which satisfies the High Septon, since the Faith is eager to condemn Stannis’ ‘worship of a red demon’. To get the real truth, though, the High Septon means to have her tried by the Faith or trial by combat, where Cersei would be represented by a knight of the Kingsguard. He is unsure of all the crimes she has committed so the only way to pick the truth from the false is to let the gods decide.
She is allowed a visit by her uncle Kevan who, though angry with her for corrupting Lancel, answers her questions. He tells her that Jaime is missing after his return from Raventree Hall, having disappeared with an unknown woman, though they assume it isBrienne. There is word of sellswords appearing all over the south. They do not have the strength to deal with them, though Mace Tyrell does. However, he is unwilling to do so until the matter with his daughter Margaery Tyrell is settled. Mace Tyrell is now theHand, Paxter Redwyne is the king’s admiral, and Randyll Tarly is the justiciar. The Tyrells brought up an army when their daughters were seized, although the High Septon has admitted the case against them is weak.
Kevan brings worse news for Cersei. He relays Balon Swann’s news of Myrcella’s loss of an ear, and Arys Oakheart’s death. Though Cersei is insistent that Myrcella’s mutilation is Tyrion’s doing, she sees a chance in the open position in the Kingsguard, and asks Kevan to approach Qyburn for a replacement.
The Queensguard (Barristan I): ADWD 56
Daenerys has not returned, many fear her dead. The Dothraki are searching for her across the Worm River. Strong Belwas is still in mortal danger from the poisoned locusts that he ate during the reopening of the fighting pits, and Ser Barristan Selmy does not trust the Blue Graces that are taking care of him now. Jhogo,Daario Naharis, Admiral Groleo, and Hero of the Unsullied all remain prisoners of the Yunkai’i.
Ser Barristan is told by Hizdahr zo Loraq’s seneschal Reznak mo Reznak that Hizdahr wishes to receive his Yunkish guests without Barristan there, essentially removing the duties of the head of the Queensguard. Of all of Dany’s servants, onlyMissandei remains within the the royal apartments, although she too has been replaced.
The Unsullied have been slighted by Hizdahr, and the Shavepates might well be more loyal to Skahaz mo Kandaq than to Hizdahr, so the king lets himself be defended by pit fighters while he prepares for the peace discussions with the Yunkai’i.
Meanwhile, disease has spread throughout Meereen, both in the city itself and among the Yunkishmen camped outside it, despite the best of Dany’s earlier efforts. Due to this, the streets are extremely quiet. Barristan is in a depressed and reflective state, wondering how he got here, how he lost Dany like he lost her father and brother, as well as King Robert. He remembers how he ran too slowly after Dany, pondering if Daario would have run faster. As Drogon took to the air with Dany on his back, spears and crossbow bolts were targeted at him, wounding him. In reply, he loosed his fire upon them, killing two hundred and fourteen people and wounding three times as many. Rumor has it that the Yunkai’i sieging Meereen have mounted scorpions around the city in an attempt at slaying Drogon should he return.
As he thinks that she may be flying home, Missandei appears behind him. She tells him that Dany would not leave without them. She also says that Skahaz mo Kandaq the Shavepate wishes to meet with him, secretly. Barristan agrees to a meeting at the stables at sunset. There, the Shavepate says that the Sons of the Harpy poisoned the locusts that Belwas ate, intending to kill Dany, that Volantis has dispatched its fleet, and that Hizdahr means to open Meereen’s gates for them.
Skahaz asks him to speak to Grey Worm, as he will trust Barristan and support them. Selmy agrees to conspire with the Shavepate against Hizdahr, and to attack the unsuspecting Yunkai’i before the fleet from Volantis can arrive to take the city and enslave all Dany’s people. He does this on the condition that Hizdahr’s guilt can be proven and Barristan thinks to himself that he will kill the man personally. Barristan says that he will go speak to Grey Worm.
The Iron Suitor (Victarion III): ADWD 57
Victarion Greyjoy is anchored near the Isle of Cedars, right outside Slaver’s Bay, to find Daenerys Targaryen. He was sent by his brother King Euron Greyjoy to command the Iron Fleet and bring Dany to him, but Victarion means to take her to wife himself. Victarion’s shield hand was hurt fightingTalbert Serry in the Battle of the Shield Islands, and the wound has festered.Maester Kerwin has had little success treating the wound. Victarion learned that the strong Volanteen fleet is on their way to Meereen, too, while his own fleet was scattered on their way and only half have come back together. The 54th ship to arrive, the Grief, has happened upon the red priest Moqorro, who was swept overboard the Selaesori Qhoran when Tyrion travelled her to Meereen. He claims to have seen in the flames that Victarion would die unless the priest helped him. Moqorro succeeds in healing him, and Victarion has the maester killed and makes for Meereen.
Tyrion XI: ADWD 58
Yezzan zo Qaggaz is dying of the bloody flux. A healer explains to Sweets that the only help for Yezzan is good clean water. Nurse also got the bloody flux and died the night before after Tyrion gave him dogtail soup with silver mushrooms in the broth. Tyrion asks Scar, a soldier slave in Yezzan’s ownership, to send 2 men to get fresh clean water for Yezzan. Scar refuses because he will not take orders from a slave, even though he himself is a slave. He tells Tyrion to get the water himself with Penny. Tyrion asks for the mule and the cart to get the water. Scar refuses but gives them Jorah Mormont to help get the water. The three of them travel through the camp to the nearest well south and west of a trebuchet, the Harridan. On the way, Tyrion sees defenses being built to defend against the possible return ofDrogon, although he knows that most of these will prove useless against dragons. Tyrion knows that a dragon’s eyes are its only weak spot, and not the underbelly or throat as old wives’ tales claim. While waiting at the well, they hear the latest news and rumors from other slaves, who are discussing the event at Daznak’s Pit. It is argued whether Daenerys Targaryen flew off on the dragon or died trying. Tyrion states she did not die because her body was not found. He briefly thinks on the moment when he almost revealed his identity to her, only to stop out of fearBarristan Selmy would prejudice Daenerys against him out of contempt for House Lannister.
After getting the water, they are supposed to return to their camp, but Tyrion leads them to the tents of the Second Sons instead. He knows that right now, while Yezzan is on the verge of death, is the best time for them to try and escape the grasp of the slavers. When they get there, Tyrion is recognized as the dwarf thatBrown Ben Plumm wished to buy so they are brought to the captain. There he reveals that he knows that Ben Plumm knows who Tyrion really is and that Tyrion knows that Plumm is a westerman and of House Plumm and that the dragons were fond of him. He implies that he knows more about Plumm’s lineage then even Plumm himself, and that Plumm may have more Targaryen blood than he thinks. Ben Plumm then recognizes Jorah Mormont, and Tyrion convinces Ben Plumm to let him and Mormont join the Second Sons instead of killing him in order to win a lordship from Cersei Lannister. Tyrion suggests they play a game of cyvasse as they continue talking.
Jon XII: ADWD 59
Tormund Giantsbane along with over three thousand wildlings pass the Wallat Castle Black. The price of their entry, which was negotiated between Jon and Tormund, is that the wildlings will yield all valuables so that they can be sold for food, as well as one hundred boys as hostages. Initially, two girls are included in the one hundred hostages, although Jon spots them and they are replaced by two new boys. Tormund voluntarily includes his own son as a hostage as a sign of good faith. Jon decides to take him on as his own squire.
While watching the Wildlings pass through the wall, Jon and Tormund speak of many things. Jon mentions that Melisandre burned the horn of Joramun that Mance and the wildlings were supposedly going to use to break down the Wall. Tormund tells Jon that although they did find that huge horn in the Skirling Pass, it is not actually the true Horn of Joramun, or they would have used it when they assaulted the Wall. Jon, confused, tries to decide whether it was Mance that lied to him or Tormund lying to him now about the authenticity of the horn.
The rear guard of the Wildings with Tormund includes a warg who is accompanied by his boar. Ghost and this boar seem to be on edge around each other, and it is mentioned that they should be restrained while the wildings are staying at Castle Black. Most of the wildlings will be relocated in the coming weeks.
Later, Jon receives a letter from Cotter Pyke, saying that he is stranded atHardhome, and calls for help. He also reveals that the Braavosi captains on loan from Tychos would only allow wildling women and children aboard their ships, and that the Woods Witch has taken to calling them slavers. This explains Arya’s report that the wildlings from Hardhome had been captured by slavers, as narrated in “The Blind Girl”. He also says there are dead things both in the woods and the water, lending a great deal of urgency to his message.
The Discarded Knight (Barristan II): ADWD 60
Ser Barristan attends Hizdahr zo Loraq’s court under the unease that Daenerys’ absence brings.
The Brazen Beasts now have a new commander — the king’s cousin, Marghaz zo Loraq. Reznak mo Reznak keeps a strong voice in court, counseling the new King.
Harghaz is now acclaimed as a hero after his fight against Drogon.
Ser Barristan notices the presence of Quentyn Martell and his two Dornish companions at court, remembering his former companionship to Prince Lewyn Martell, his Kingsguard colleague and also Quentyn’s uncle. He considers the possibility that the poisoned locusts that Strong Belwas ate might have been meant for Hizdhar, as part of a plot to direct Daenerys into marrying Quentyn, given that another of the prince’s uncles was notorious for poisoning those who got in his way.
Before he makes up his mind on the matter, three Wise Masters envoys from Yunkai arrive, along with their sellsword Bloodbeard, to talk with Hizdahr. They show Admiral Groleo’s severed head as a gesture of intimidation, claiming his death as payback for the death of Yurkhaz zo Yunzak, who was trampled to death during the panic when Drogon attacked the Fighting pits.
Ser Barristan reminds King Hizdahr that Yurkhaz’s death was accidental, while the Yunkai representatives free three of the six remaining hostages. They demand that the dragons be destroyed as a condition for the release of the last three hostages. Barristan is also suspicious of Hizdahr’s lack of reaction, given that all three of the Westerosi kings he served under- Aerys, Robert and even the supposedly weak Jaehaerys- would have responded to such an insult by ordering every member of the Yunkish delegation killed; he also believe Bloodbeard is trying to start violence in order to get the plunder the peace has denied him.
As the court is ended for further deliberation of the King’s council, Ser Barristan decides to counsel the Dornishmen. Despite appearing weak, the King has taken notice of Quentyn, and Ser Barristan considers it dangerous for them to remain in Meereen. He advises them to return immediately to Dorne, going so far as offering the coin for the trip, and reveals that there was an attempt at poisoning either Daenerys or her consort during the fighting pits reopening. Quentyn’s shocked reaction reassures Ser Barristan that the Dornishmen had no part in the poisoning, but he still counsels Quentyn and his companions to leave Meereen and return to Dorne, for he considers his prospects of marriage unpromissing and his situation dangerous.
The Spurned Suitor (Quentyn III): ADWD 61
With Daenerys gone, Quentyn Martell’s companions urge him to heed Ser Barristan’s warnings and return to Dorne. Worried that he will lose the respect of his father and his sister if he returns without Daenerys, Quentyn resolves to stay in the East until he finds her.
The three Dornishmen meet with the Tattered Prince with the intention of hiring theWindblown Company, but the Prince is still resentful of their previous betrayal. Quentyn promises to double the amount being paid to the Windblown by the Yunkaionce they arrive in Dorne, but the Tattered Prince is unmoved. Quentyn reveals that he plans to steal one of the two remaining dragons in Meereen, and the Prince names Pentos the price of his allegiance.
The Griffin Reborn (Jon Connington II): ADWD 62
Jon Connington and theGolden Company have landed at Cape Wrath in Westeros, and manage to seize Griffin’s Roost and other small castles by taking them unawares. Thetaking of Griffin’s Roost was quite easy; the Golden Company only lost four men in the attack. Any raven trying to leave the castle was shot down, followed shortly by the castle’s maester being thrown from his tower. After that, what was left of the garrison surrendered.
Taking his leave of the Golden Company officers by claiming to be going to pray at his father’s tomb in the castle sept, Jon instead goes to the battlements and reminisces over the time Rhaegar visited his home and seemed impressed with Connington’s lands. Jon then reflects on what happened next to his House; afterAerys exiled Jon, furious at his failure to stop Robert, the lands and title went to his cousin Ronald Connington (who had been Jon’s castellan while he was in King’s Landing) but after the end of Robert’s Rebellion, King Robert stripped Ronald of his lordship and gave most of House Connington’s lands to houses that had fought for him. Jon, however, is glad that he will not have to fight his deceased cousin or Ronald’s son Ronnet, who is away fighting in the Riverlands, to reclaim Griffin’s Roost, not wanting to celebrate his return by killing one of his own kin. Nor does he blame his cousin any longer for taking advantage of his downfall, since as far as Jon is concerned, the one responsible for House Connington’s downfall is himself.
Jon’s musings then turn to where he lost everything: Stoney Sept. Taking over pursuit of Robert from the Tyrells after the Battle of Ashford, Jon cornered the rebel in the town and began searching for him. But the search yielded nothing, as the townsfolk were protecting Robert, hiding him and constantly moving him. All of Connington’s efforts to find Robert- offering bribes for information, taking hostages, threats and pardons- got him nowhere, and the delays bought time for Eddard Stark and Hoster Tully to bring a rebel army to Robert’s rescue. The rebels attacked Connington’s men at the same time Robert and his followers emerged from the town in a counterattack, and the ensuing battle ended in a rebel victory. For years, Jon reflects that he insisted he did all he could, until Myles Toyne disabused him of that notion by pointing out that Tywin Lannister would have burned Stoney Sept to the ground to kill Robert, then offered pardons to Stark and Tully when they arrived to convince them to give up and go home. Connington, however, knew this would mean killing everyone in the town, and he both didn’t want to be branded a murderer and wanted the glory of slaying Robert for himself. Jon reflects that his failure at Stoney Sept led to Rhaegar’s death at the Trident and vows not to fail Prince Aegon as he failed his father.
Re-joining his fellows, Jon takes note of the captives, including Ronnet’s brother, sister and bastard son. Most of the castle staff swear loyalty to him. Connington pays a visit to Haldon, who is trying to interpret where most of the Golden Company, scattered along the coast by the Volantene ships that transported them from Essos to send a message to Doran Martell to inform him that his nephew Aegon is alive, in order to gain the Dornish alliance. Jon reflects that he could not have expected loyalty from these men if he had reclaimed his home while Robert and Renly still held the Stormlands. Haldon also argues that they need to offer incentives to convince recalcitrant lords to join them-as most of the gold and land will go to the Golden Company officers that was taken from their ancestors, Haldon suggests offering the hands of Prince Aegon and Jon himself for marriage alliances. Jon, however refuses, in the face of his illness and his insistence that Aegon must be free to wed Daenerys Targaryen if she ever returns home. In his chambers, Jon privately treats his greyscale with wine. If his condition became known, he fears that any lords still loyal to House Connington would abandon him.
Four days later, Prince Aegon arrives along with Duck, the first member of his Kingsguard. Jon recalls his disapproval of that choice and how he argued with Aegon that they should leave places in his Kingsguard open to both warriors of great renown or the younger sons of important lords to add lustre to their cause, but Aegon refused, saying all he wanted from his Kingsguard was their willingness to die defending him, pointing out that Jon’s criteria for the Kingsguard perfectly fits the Kingslayer. Jon informs him that his men plan to take Storm’s End in ten days (he had refused the suggestions of the Golden Company officers to make an alliance with Stannis Baratheon, who holds it, arguing that Stannis is Robert’s brother, a rival claimant to the throne and leagues away from them with nothing to offer). Aegon agrees to this plan, and tells him that he intends for the siege to go forward with one change: Aegon will lead the attack himself.
The Sacrifice (Asha IV): ADWD 63
Asha Greyjoy is still a prisoner ofStannis Baratheon at the crofters’ village between the lakes, being guarded by Alysane Mormont. While they thought they would be only three days from Winterfell, the snows have kept them stranded for nineteen days. Food has become a major concern. The supply of fish from the lake has been diminishing, they have already been relying on their dying horses as a source of food for a while now, and foraging has brought little result. Some men have even begun to resort to cannibalism: four men from House Peasebury were caught eating parts of a dead man from House Fell.
There are growing tensions between the queen’s men that Stannis brought with him from Dragonstone and the other people present, both local northerners and theking’s men that Stannis brought from Dragonstone and the Stormlands with him.
Fueling those tensions, Ser Godry Farring the Giantslayer, Ser Corliss Penny and Ser Clayton Suggs are about to burn the four cannibals in sacrifice for R’hllor, hoping to stope the snowfall. Northerners Artos Flint and Big Bucket Wull express dislike of the sacrifice. Asha has noticed that Clayton Suggs is a cruel man and fears that he may eventually turn against her.
Stannis himself has been retreating to a tower roof with a perennial flame for four days, since his squire Bryen Farring was given a funeral burning after dying from the cold. He returns now, along with Queen’s Man Ser Richard Horpe and Karhold’s castellan Arnolf Karstark, whose men joined theirs eight days past. There are rumors that Arnolf may hold Winterfell in Stannis’ behest if they are successful at retaking the castle. Stannis authorizes the sacrifice and watches it until its end.
Ser Justin Massey remains close to Asha and protects her from the worst of Clayton Suggs’ threats. He also reveals that he is no longer a true believer in R’hllor and hints that he knows more than he is telling.
Justin offers to guard Asha for a while, relieving Aly Mormont from that duty. The two of them eat some roasted horse in the hall. Stannis’ knights are however lost by a lack of options, knowing that they are likely to die soon no matter what they do, since they have no food nor are they in any condition to fight Roose Bolton’s forces at Winterfell. Talk is tense and frustrated, and eventually Justin leaves the Hall. Attempting to follow him, Asha finds Clayton Suggs instead. He threatens her, but the two of them are surprised to find that riders are coming to Stannis’ encampment.
Assuming that this is an attack from the Boltons and Freys, Clayton commands Asha to warn the others while he alone attempts to delay the riders. But there is no immediate danger, for the riders are not hostile. It is instead the group of Tycho Nestoris, representative of the Iron Bank of Braavos, with two men of the Night’s Watch and the seven ironmen that he ransomed fromSybelle Locke. Asha recognizes Tristifer Botley among them.
Jeyne’s nose is black from frostbite, and no one has referred to her by name yet, so it is not clear whether Tycho’s group knows that she is not Arya Stark. Asha fails to recognize Theon, who looks decades older than she knows him to be. Theon, however, reveals his identity to Asha, much to her shock.
Victarion IV: ADWD 64
Victarion Greyjoy continues on his way to Meereen. Despite his crew’s unease atMoqorro’s continued presence, Victarion insists that the Red God will help them on their journey. Though his arm and hand are now burned, they are stronger than ever. He says, “Two gods are with me now…No foe can stand before two gods.”
The Iron Fleet captures a number of trading ships: Ghiscari Dawn, Dove, two unnamed ships that he renames as Ghost and Shade, an unnamed fat galleas, an unnamed trading galley, an unnamed fishing ketch, and a slaver galley named the Willing Maiden. Moqorro’s prophecies are instrumental in the capture of these fleets. As a show of his appreciation, Victarion burns seven Lyseni bed slaves as a tribute to both theDrowned God and R’hllor. After this sacrifice, a favourable wind rises for the Iron Fleet, which now numbers 60 ships with the new additions.
That night, Victarion allows Moqorro to inspect the Dragon Horn given to him by his brother Euron. Moqorro reads theValyrian glyphs displayed on the horn to Victarion, telling him that the horn’s name is written as “I am Dragonbinder.” Moqorro goes on to explain that no mortal man can blow the horn and live. However, he states that “Who blows the hellhorn matters not. The dragons will come to the horn’s master. You must claim the horn. With blood.”
The Ugly Little Girl (Arya V): ADWD 65
After a gathering of eleven Faceless Men, Arya is interrogated by plague face and deemed ready for her first assassination. The kindly man informs Arya that she will need a new face for this job, since Cat of the Canals would be easily recognized. He and the waif lead her down into a hidden chamber deep under the House of Black and White. The walls are covered with mask-like faces, which Arya realizes are the faces of people who die at the House of Black and White. The face chosen for Arya is that of a young girl who was abused to the point of permanent disfigurement, and came to the House seeking death.
Arya’s blood is used to soften the leathery mask into living skin, which then bonds to her head and becomes her new face. The kindly man warns Arya that she will suffer the nightmares of the girl whose face she has taken, but only for a time. His promise proves to be true, and that night Arya dreams of the abuse that was suffered by the girl at the hands of her father. The next day, Arya is given her first target. He is an elderly man running an insurance scam at a shipyard.
The target is always accompanied by two guards, and the kindly man has forbidden her to kill anyone other than her target, so Arya must stalk the man for several days to find an opportunity. She eventually dispatches him by slipping a poisoned coin into the purse of his client, knowing the man selling insurance will bite into the coin to test its legitimacy. The Kindly Man is pleased by her success, and raises her to the status of an acolyte. He gives her a black and white robe to wear while at the House and restores her face. However, the next day she is to take a new face and leave for her first apprenticeship with someone named Izembaro.
Cersei XII: ADWD 66
Cersei is forced to walk from the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep, as atonement for her confessed sins; it is the only way to escape the Sept, as her uncle Kevan will not oppose the Faith and Cersei does not not have enough friends in the Sept to risk a trial like Margaery Tyrell — her only hope is a trial by battle. Cersei feels fear at the thought of being paraded through the streets naked, remembering the violence the smallfolk caused during the riot, but reassures herself that no harm will come to her.
When morning arrives, her goalers arrive with a group of Silent Sisters, who strip Cersei naked and shave her of every hair on her body. Cersei is then led by an escort of Warrior’s Sons (among them, her cousin Lancel, much to Cersei’s disgust) to the courtyard, where Cersei finds herself standing close to the spot whereEddard Stark was executed. As the Septas accompanying her announce her sins to the watching crowd, Cersei muses first on how Joffrey undid all her plans and the work of Varys and Littlefinger; had he done as he was told and sent Stark to the Wall, Ned and his knowledge of Cersei’s incest would have been removed and the Lannisters would have had peace with Robb Stark, a hostage in the form of Sansaand the freedom to deal with Stannis and Renly Baratheon, but instead Joffrey demanded Stark’s head, and after that everything fell apart. Cersei’s thoughts then turn to memories of how her father did away with her grandfather’s mistress after his death, having her stripped naked and marched through the streets ofLannisport, but Cersei insists to herself she will not be broken and humiliated so easily.
Cersei is then forced to strip before the crowd and walk to the Red Keep. At first, Cersei walks with dignity, ignoring the insults and worse (such as rotten vegetables and a cat carcass) the crowd throw at her, but as the walk continues and the insults grow worse, mocking her faded beauty and the signs of age on her body, Cersei struggles to maintain her composure. As she walks, Cersei begins to hallucinate, seeing faces of others in the crowd; her father frowning, Ned and Sansa Stark, along with Sansa’s wolf staring accusingly at her, Tyrion laughing at her and finally, the face ofMaggy the Frog intoning her prophecy: Queen you shall be, until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all you hold most dear.
At this, Cersei breaks down in tears and runs for the Red Keep, collapsing as soon as she staggers into the courtyard. Kevan Lannister orders her covered up and removed, at which point Cersei is picked up by an eight-foot-tall giant of a man, clad in the armour and white cloak of a Kingsguard knight. Qyburn appears and introduces Cersei to his champion, Ser Robert Strong and she is most pleased.
Tyrion XII: ADWD 67
Tyrion has made an agreement with Brown Ben Plumm to join the Second Sons. He signs a number of agreements that he will pay about 50 higher ranking members of the company 100 gold dragons. This amount increases for the higher ranking officers, and for Plumm himself, he must sign a contract for 100,000 dragons along with land and a lordship. After this, he signs the register of the Second Sons using his own blood as ink.
After this, he is told to go and find armor for himself and Penny. He returns to where she is sleeping, and there he notices signs that she may have the bloody flux. Regardless, she is distraught over the abandonment of the hog and the dog that were part of her show. Tyrion is hiding from her that the two animals have almost definitely been slaughtered by Yezzan zo Qaggaz’s men. While they are looking for armor, they find Jorah outfitted in a random assortment of armor, which he claims is of decent quality. Tyrion slaps Penny, trying to force her to realize that they must wear armor or likely die. Finally, Tyrion says that he will take care of making sure that the Second Sons turn sides again, since Tyrion and Jorah both agree that they are on the losing side of the coming battle.
The Kingbreaker (Barristan III): ADWD 68
Ser Barristan meets with Skahaz mo Kandaq again, and they go through with their plan to seize Hizdahr and the city, and have it ruled by a council until Daenerys’s return. They decide that their word for going ahead with the plan will be “Groleo,” in reference to the hostage that was slain by the Yunkai’i. Skahaz reveals that he was present in the throne room when Bloodbeard and the slaver lords made their insult, and that he and every one of the Brazen Beasts present would have killed the Yunkish delegation in an instant had Hizdahr given the command, raging that the Yunkish would never have dared do such a thing to Daenerys. The Shavepate goes on to explain to Ser Barristan that Hizdahr’s horrified reaction to Groleo’s severed head was a sham and the slavers couldn’t care less about Yurkhaz zo Yunzak’s death in the pit; the whole thing was arranged so as to give Hizdahr a pretext to kill the queen’s dragons before Volantis’s fleet arrives.
Despite Skahaz’s objections, Barristan insists that after Hizdahr is deposed, they will order the Yunkai’i return their remaining hostage and withdraw their armies fromMeereen, only going forth to do battle if they refuse. Selmy is also confident he can overcome Hizdahr’s guards, as they are only pit fighters and Barristan believes men like that, who fight for the adulation of the crowd and only when they are called to, are no match for a knight of the Kingsguard who must always be alert and ready to fight and die at a moment’s notice to defend their monarch.
Barristan and Skahaz also dispute over trying to rescue the remaining hostages — Jhogo, Hero and Daario — as the Shavepate believes it is too dangerous to try. He is also particularly scathing about Daario, believing it would be better in the long run for Daenerys if the Stormcrows’s captain were to die. Though he is aware Daenerys is in love with Daario, Barristan privately agrees as he is well aware from history that theTargaryens have a propensity for choosing poorly in matters of the heart, choices that almost always lead to disaster:
“Prine Rhaegar loved his Lady Lyanna and thousands died for it. Daemon Blackfyre loved the first Daenerys, and rose inrebellion when denied her. Bittersteel and Bloodraven both loved Shiera Seastar and the Seven Kingdoms bled. ThePrince of Dragonflies loved Jenny of Oldstones so much he cast aside a crown, and Westeros paid the bride price in corpses. All three of the sons of the fifth Aegon had wed for love in defiance of their father’s wishes. And because that unlikely monarch had followed his heart when he chose his queen, he allowed his sons to have their way, making bitter enemies when he might have made fast friends. Treason and turmoil followed, as night follows day, ending at Summerhall in sorcery, fire and grief.”
Skahaz also mentions that they have hostages of their own and that they can easily retaliate in kind if the Yunkai’i harm any more of their hostages, but like his queen, Barristan refuses to harm the cupbearers, due to his own aversion to killing children. Though disappointed, the Shavepate agrees and promises that everything will be ready for the plan by nightfall.
For the rest of the day, Barristan makes his rounds about the pyramid and trains with his boys. He thinks to himself that some of them might be ready for knighthood soon. However, as he wrestles with what he is planning to do that night, he decides it would be worse for the boys if they were knighted by an knight without honour just before his death. He lectures the boys about honor and thinks that someday maybe they will understand. He also warns Missandei not to leave the queen’s chambers, but refuses to answer her questions about his intentions. He also reflects on his own failures, one in particular; that he didn’t defeat Rhaegar at the tourney at Harrenhal. Had he won, he would have crowned Ashara Dayne, who he was enamoured with, as queen of love and beauty and wonders that if he had, would Ashara not have killed herself from grief over a child supposedly fathered on her by a Stark. Barristan considers that his greatest failure.
During the night, after bathing and donning his armour, Ser Barristan goes to confront Hizdahr in his chambers; the Brazen Beasts let him past without incident. Barristan, using the pretext of delivering a message to gain entrance, tries to question Hizdahr, demanding to know if he is in league with the Sons of the Harpy and if he had anything to do with the assassination attempt on Daenerys. Hizdahr’s denials of the accusations do not convince Selmy, and when the old knight draws his sword, Hizdahr call for the pit fighter Khrazz, one of his guards, to defend him. Despite Barristan’s efforts to convince Khrazz to surrender, the gladiator attacks him; however, Khrazz’s inexperience of fighting opponents wearing armour is his downfall, and Selmy kills him quickly. Barristan tells Hizdahr, who desperately begs for his life, that he means to take Hizdahr to a cell, where he will be imprisoned until Daenerys returns. Suddenly, a cup bearer informs them that Reznak wishes to see the king. Barristan, surprised as he and Skahaz had planned to imprison Reznak as well, asks why and is told the dragons (Viserion and Rhaegal) have been loosed upon the city.
The Dragontamer (Quentyn IV): ADWD 69
Quentyn goes ahead with his plan to steal the dragons. With the help of theWindblown Company, they make it to the pit where Rhaegal and Viserionare kept. There, however, they use the codeword “dog” on the Brazen Beasts, who are actually part of the scheme to overthrow the king that very night. A fight ensues, and the four guards are slain, although Quentyn is almost slain by a spear. They enter and find that Rhaegal has also broken his chains since he was last in the pit, and that Viserion has created a cave for himself in the ceiling of the pit. Viserion is first attracted to Pretty Meris, as he is looking for Daenerys, but then tries to exit the pit. Throughout this encounter, Quentyn tries to dominate the dragons like he had seen Daenerys do with Drogon, but when he strikes Viserion with a whip, Rhaegal spews fire on him, setting him aflame.
Jon XIII: ADWD 70
Jon means to lead men to Hardhometo rescue the wildlings and men of theNight’s Watch trapped there. Queen Selyse and Melisandre discourage him, and want to leave them to their fate. However, Jon is determined to lead a rescue mission.
While planning the mission withTormund Giantsbane, Jon receives a letter from Ramsay Bolton. Ramsay claims that King Stannis is dead after a seven day battle, that he captured Mance Rayderand flayed his spear wives, and that he wants his bride back, along with Theon,Melisandre, Val, Mance’s presumed son, and Queen Selyse and her daughter
This changes everything, and Jon decides to send the bulk of the Night’s Watch to Hardhome with Tormund in command, while he will go to Winterfell himself and make Ramsay answer for his words. Jon knows that doing so will break his vow to not interfere in the wars of the Seven Kingdoms, so he is prepared to go alone. He asks if anyone will ride with him and he gets an overwhelming roar of support from most of the wildlings, though not from his Black Brothers — Yarwyck and Bowen Marsh leave the hall with their men. Jon doesn’t mind as he appears to have more than enough men to go with him and none of the Night’s Watch will have to break their vows.
When Jon is on his way to inform Queen Selyse, he hears the giant Wun Wun roar and a man scream. When he arrives, a bleeding Wun Wun is smashing dead Ser Patrek against a tower wall. Jon tries to calm the people who come running, whenWick Wittlestick slashes at Jon’s throat with a dagger, just barely grazing him. While Jon is still trying to understand, Bowen Marsh and others plant daggers in him, all of them saying, “For the Watch.” By the time the fourth dagger slashes him, Jon passes out.
The Queen’s Hand (Barristan IV): ADWD 71
It is raining heavily in Meereen, for whichBarristan Selmy is grateful; otherwise the fires caused duringViserion andRhaegal’s rampage might have consumed the entire city. There is no sign of the twodragons: they do not like the rain any more than men. Quentyn Martell is dead; it took three days for him to die. Out of respect for the prince, Ser Barristan had him placed in the queen’s bed, the same one he crossed half the world to reach. Missandei is the only one he could get to help tend Quentyn, for none of the cupbearers were willing and the Blue Graces never responded to his summons; he suspects the pale mare has carried them off. Missandei asks what is to be done with Quentyn’s body and Barristan replies that they will find a way to send him back to Dorne, though he is unsure how.
He advises Missandei to get some sleep and she urges him to do the same as she has noted that he doesn’t sleep very much. Barristan privately thinks it is not just needing less sleep than a younger man, as Grand Maester Pycelle once told him, but having reached the age where he fears to close his eyes in case he never opens them again; Barristan does not consider dying in his sleep a death worthy of a knight of the Kingsguard. For a brief moment, he wonders if Daenerys is dead, but then dismisses the thought, though he notes that each time it becomes harder to convince himself his queen is still alive.
At dawn, the Shavepate comes to speak with him; Skahaz is already aware that Quentyn is dead, and he informs Barristan that the Green Grace, who Barristan sent to treat with the Yunkai’i to make them release the hostages, has not returned to the city. In addition, while the city is secure, an angry mob is gathered outside the pyramid demanding Hizdahr’s release and that both dragons be destroyed, and since his arrest, the Sons of the Harpy have resumed their nightly murders with a vengeance; Barristan is shocked to learn they have killed twenty nine in the night, in contrast to nine the previous night and three the night before. However, despite Skahaz’s insistence, Barristan still refuses to kill the hostages in retaliation.
The Shavepate tells Barristan (who is now the Queen’s Hand, as head of a council ruling the city) that the council is waiting for him. Barristan does not want the position, but in the absence of Daenerys, he doesn’t trust any of the others to rule. Grey Wormand the captains of the Stalwart Shields, Mother’s Men and Free Brothers, along with Strong Belwas are present. Barristan informs them of Quentyn’s death; most of the council express contempt for the prince’s actions and many want his companions, who are at present imprisoned, executed for unleashing the dragons on the city. The fighting pits are to remain closed, for fear that the noise and smell of blood will attract the dragons, though Marselen suggests reopening the pits in the hope it lures Drogon back, and Daenerys with him. For the time being, the pits are packed full of livestock, from which the dragons are feeding regularly, and thus far, there has been no further evidence of either Viserion or Rhaegal eating people.
The council are convinced that the Yunkai’i are never going to accept any terms beside the killing of both dragons for the return of the hostages. When asked what he will do when his terms are refused, Barristan replies “Fire and Blood”. They quickly grasp his meaning; he intends to do battle with the Yunkish army. A lengthy discussion regarding the battle plan follows, particularly regarding the deployment of troops, targets to attack, how best to use the Unsullied and other such concerns; however, all agree that if they can destroy the slavers, the sellsword companies will abandon their paymasters, and the dragons may make their presence known in the fight, though Barristan cannot say if they will help or just kill indiscriminately, though he does note that if they come, it will help break Yunkish morale.
When the council adjourns, Barristan goes to the cell where the two Dornishmen are being held and informs them of Prince Quentyn’s death. Gerris Drinkwater angrily blames Daenerys for it, causing a fierce argument between him and Barristan, who bluntly dismisses Gerris’s claims Quentyn came for love and asserts they came because Quentyn’s father wanted the backing ofHouse Targaryen before daring to defy the Iron Throne, but Archibald Yronwood angrily tells Gerris to shut up before more can be said. Barristan then makes an arrangement with the two Dornishmen; in exchange for a ship back to Dorne and Quentyn’s bones to return to his father, Barristan wants them to go back to the Windblown company and tell the Tattered Prince that they will give him what he wants (namely Pentos) if he can free and protect the hostages during the attack.
The Green Grace returns, telling Barristan that the Yunkai’i have refused his offer, and that the only price they will accept is the death of the dragons. As they speak, the Shavepate runs in and tells them that the six trebuchets have begun flinging not rocks, but corpses into Meereen.