Chapter 47 (Arya IX): Arya is a really strong character in this book, and she shines in this chapter. The Brave Companions return to Harrenhal with some prisoners from the Bolton forces. Jaqen finds her and wants her third name for him to kill, it seems he is getting a bit impatient. He also knows her true identity. She wants him to help free the prisoners. He is only willing to kill one person for her, but she twists his arm by naming him, and refusing to take it back till he helps her. So Arya, Jaqen, Biter, and Rorge ambush the guards in the dungeon and free the prisoners, and find out that the Companions had switched sides and the prisoners were only there as a ruse to capture the castle from the inside. Nice trick. Jaqen takes his leave of Arya and somehow shapeshifts into a whole new person before her eyes. Okay. Arya then meets with the new lord, Roose Bolton, and becomes his new servant. Curiously, she decides not to trust him with who she really is, even though he is with the Starks. Well, since he's Ramsay's father, I'm not sure I'd trust him either. Ser Amory Lorch, the scumbag who attacked the holdfast against the supposedly neutral Night's Watch and killed Yoren, is fed to a bear. Arya gets to watch.
Chapter 48 (Danaerys IV): This seems to be Dany's only good chapter in the whole book so far. She goes to her appointment to meet the magic users' guild in Qarth. Things seem like there's no trouble at first. She sees assorted open doors, some of them showing the past. One shows her brother Rhaegar at the birth of Aegon. Rhaegar says something cryptic about Aegon being the prince that was promised, and his song is the song of ice and fire. So how can Aegon be the prince that was promised if he died as a baby? At least this allows the title of the series to be worked into the text. Maybe the song of ice and fire is the same song the Tuatha'an are trying to find. Oh wait, wrong series. She sees the house she grew up in. She also sees a few things that we haven't learned about yet, whether they're from the future or the past remains to be seen. One involves a king with a wolf's head and may be a reference to the Starks. Finally she gets to meet the Undying, who seem to be some sort of spirits that live in the mages' palace. These are the ones she came to meet. They give her a bunch of strange prophecies. A couple of them sound as if they mean her time among the Dothraki during the first book, but others I have no idea. Neither does Dany, in fact. Then the Undying start attacking her, because they want to suck the life out of her. Or something. She has trouble escaping until Drogon gives them a
Chapter 49 (Tyrion XI): King's Landing is busy setting up for the big battle. Tyrion is sending off his assorted clansmen and barbarians to hit Stannis early. This seems to make him uneasy, though. He still has his big force of sellswords, but doesn't trust them. After all, they're only mercenaries and have no sure loyalty. There's the City Watch, only a third of which can be counted on the be competent. Then there's the three huge catapults nicknamed the Three Whores, all set to give Stannis a lusty welcome. I'm sure Stannis would fail to be amused by the joke, since he has no sense of humor. None whatsoever. Later, Tyrion checks his mail when the Maester brings it. Greyjoy has made an offer of alliance, and Tyrion gives it serious consideration before he realizes their ships are on the totally wrong end of the continent. Still, we could see things happen between Lannister and Greyjoy in future books, whether it be alliance or war between them. Hallyne reports that he has 13,000 jars of wildfire ready, more than Tyrion expected, and even more than the ten thousand that were ordered. It seems that when the last dragons died, magic went out of the world, and making wildfire became hard. But lately for some odd reason, the spells are working again. Gee... you think that's because there are dragons living again? Finally, Varys shows up and tells Tyrion some of the rich men in the city are plotting for Stannis and intend to open a gate for him when the battle comes. The call themselves the Antler Men. Clever. Tyrion orders them arrested with a bit of exasperation.