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Game of Thrones, Chapters 64-67


Basel Gill

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I'm finally coming into the home stretch here.

 

Chapter 64 (Danaerys VIII): Like I said, there was just about no chance that Drogo would follow Mirri's instructions, no matter how good for him they were. And that's even assuming that she is being honest here (more on that later). He's just too prideful, too macho, to do what a strange woman tells him, especially if it involves not doing things he likes. So the poultice fails to do any good cause he tore it off after it burned. I'm guessing it was meant to do the same sort of thing a fever does: heat up the body, or at least the infected area, and kill off unwanted pathogens. Instead, he shows all the signs that his wound has gotten infected. When he falls off his horse, his people show signs of losing faith in him. There's a big fight scene after Drogo is taken into the tent, and Dany goes into labor. The only person around who can do the midwifing is Mirri. Now, you don't have to have read any further to know that can't turn out well.

 

Chapter 65 (Arya V): This one is interesting. Arya has been barely surviving in King's Landing, eking out a peasant's existence. She finds the ship her father arranged for, but figures out that it's a trap. (Too obvious for me? Naaaaah.) She can't get out of the city any other way, either, as it's too well guarded. A bell summons everyone in the city to the Great Sept, and Ned confesses his treason publicly in front of Joff, Sansa, and assorted officials. Joff notes that Cersei wants Ned to be allowed to take the black, and Sansa has asked for mercy for her father, but Joff orders him beheaded anyway. Ser Ilyn does it with Ice, Ned's own sword. It looks like Ser Ilyn Got what he wanted out of this. I bet he wrote a message (since he can't talk, after all) that said something like, "Janos Slynt is getting his price, a lordship and estate and all that. All I want is Stark's Valyrian sword." Arya fights to get up there and stop it, but really, she's having to fight through several hundred people, so it isn't happening. Yoren pulls her to safety, calls her "boy", and then... scalps her? Kills her? I ended this chapter not knowing if we will see Arya alive again. Yoren seemed more likable up till now.

 

Chapter 66 (Bran VII): This chapter isn't noteworthy for what happens so much as for the backstory contained within. We finally get an in-depth explanation of the religion involved, and what the deal is with godswoods, the First Men, and the like. Both Bran and Rickon have had dreams of speaking with Ned after he died. So psychic dreams aren't limited to bran, but they apparently run in the Stark family. Rickon is still not doing so well psychologically, and neither is Shaggydog. News arrives of Ned's death, and Maester Luwin announces they will need to find a stonecarver who knew Ned's face well. I found this last bit to be a very moving moment.

 

Chapter 67 (Sansa VI): This chapter is where Sansa gets the cold splash of water in her face that she has been so badly in need of the whole book. She has grown a bit and gotten more mature as events around her have taken a turn for the worse. Joff pretty much forces her to attend him, and has Ser Meryn hit her to make her comply. She watches Joff hold court, and it's quite grisly. Most of the cases he shows no interest in and lets the council handle, but GRRM feels a need to mention that when Joff does take part in rendering judgement, not even Cersei can change his mind. This is both interesting and rather odd. Interesting, because this is the second time that we see Joff going against the will of his mother and regent. I get the feeling Cersei was hoping to install Joff as a malleable puppet king and retain all the real power for herself. Tyrion noted as much when he is told that his nephew rules the realm now: "My sister, you mean." But Joff is sowing some independence. Cersei no doubt isn't pleased to see her son has a mind of his own. I expect a mother/son showdown at some point in Book Two, or at least one (or both) of them will begin plotting against the other. Joff also seemed to show a bit of a psychotic side in his rulings. But it's all odd because Joff is still underage and Cersei has been named regent. Doesn't this mean that until he comes of age, that monarchical power is vested in her? The reason regents are named in the first place is because a king who is still a child isn't yet deemed fit to rule. Robert, for all his doltishness, recognized this much on his deathbed. His decree naming Ned as regent was torn up, but the fact that is felt a regent was needed at all is important here. So how does Joff, at the age of twelve have the legal authority to override his mother? Then he shows her all the heads of the people he has ordered killed. Including Septa Mordane. I don't know how any sane person could se her as a traitor, but I have doubts that Joff is entirely sane. Another good question here is, why is Joff keeping the betrothal to Sansa? Sansa still has value as a hostage, yes, but with the Ned dying in dishonor as a traitor, and the rest of the Stark family has been condemned as traitors, any political advantage from this marriage is gone. Wouldn't Joff be better off finding a girl about the right age from a more friendly family, and securing (or at least tightening) a dynastic alliance there, while sending Sansa off to the dungeons, or at least some form of house arrest in the Red Keep? I bet anything Walder Frey would have switched to the Lannister side if Joff offered to marry one of his daughters or granddaughters.

 

In the end of the chapter, Sansa has learned that life is not a song, just like Littlefinger warned her. It no longer seems like a fairy tale of sweetness and light, instead it seems like a Brothers Grimm fairy tale before Walt Disney got his hands on them. The Grimms wrote some dark and disturbing stuff. Check out the Sigourney Weaver version of Snow White sometime if you can find it. Sansa's current situation is a dark reflection of the songs she grew up with, and it isn't pretty.

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So, did you see his Ned's death coming, or were you completely surprised like I was? I, guiltily, didn't feel the least bit sorry for Sansa, but, yeah, that feeling didn't last long. In book 2 you really start to see just how much of a little turd Joffery is. I don't think I've ever hated a character in a book as much as him.

 

 

What'd you think of the series(well, book) now that you're almost done? Think you'll be reading/blogging about the next 4 books?

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I wasn't really surprised much by Ned's death by itself, given the way he bungled everything leading up to it. He was practically begging for stuff to come back and bite him in the ass. The way it happened surprised me as I wasn't expecting any of the plotters to offer him any kind of way out. Nor was I expecting Joff to override that deal once it was made, since as I noted, he has no legal authority to override his regent-mother because he is underage. If an underage king was judged fit to rule, he wouldn't have a regent anyway. I'm definitely planning on blogging the other books too, as well as whatever WoT books I still have to read.

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