A Feast for Crows: Week 26: The Iron Captain to the end of Alayne I (p. 489)
18. The Iron Captain
This time our new POV is Victarion Greyjoy, Commander of the Iron Fleet, who recently conquered Moat Cailin. Although he is not the oldest of Balon’s surviving brothers, he has been persuaded by the many captains in his fleet to make a claim to the Seastone Chair.
He arrives at Old Wyk to attend the Kingsmoot and is met by Aeron, who also wants Victarion to defeat Euron in his claim to the throne. Asha arrives and is quite forthright about her own claim, but Victarion persuades her that she cannot hope to win. However, he refuses her offer to ally her supporters to his in return for making her his Hand, saying that he has no need of one and she returns to her idea of making a claim.
Life in the Iron Isles continues to be harsh and cruel: these are certainly not the Disney version of jolly pirates. It seems like every time we see the Greyjoys they find a new way to show how merciless the ironmen are. This time we hear how Euron had an affair with Victarion’s wife and so, when she became pregnant, Victarion beat her to death with his own hands. Nice! :(
19. The Drowned Man
Staying with the ironmen, we have a chapter from Aeron’s POV.
Unsurprisingly, Euron proves to be the best candidate. He obviously has a gift for rousing crowds and delivers a promise to bring dragons to Westeros in order to win the whole realm. He also has lots of booty to share out with captains, which seals his claim in their eyes. Although we do se other candidates, their claims are rather pathetic in comparison. Asha calls for a return to peace, but the ironmen are not won over by that very sensible argument, preferring the offer of booty, rape and pillage. Yar!
Aeron is genuinely scared of Euron, possibly because of childhood abuse, which he always remembers beginning with the noise of a rusty door hinge. I am not sure if I want to know what exactly happened between the brothers.
20. Brienne IV
Unsurprisingly, Nimble Dick turns out to be slightly less than honest. Pod catches him rifling through Brienne’s bags fairly soon into their journey and there is most certainly a trap waiting for them at their destination. However, the waiting thugs are not his friends, but the fool and his two companions, all lately of the Bloody Mummers. So, in some small way, Dick was actually honest, although rather stupid to trick Shagwell and his cronies. Travelling to the place where he sent them was the height of foolishness on his part, and his death was fairly inevitable.
Although it seems that Brienne has wasted her time on this trek through the wilderness, she does gain some insight from Shagwell: he claims that one of the Stark girls was travelling with The Hound. Of course, we know that it was Arya, and that she is safely ensconced in the House of black and White in Braavos. However, it will give Brienne some hope of fulfilling her promise to Catelyn, even if she will be travelling on a fool’s errand.
Ser Hyle Hunt joins the group, having followed them on Randyll Tarly’s orders. I am not sure if he will stay with them, but I do not trust him one inch. Unlike Pod, who proves to be useful and resourceful in a tricky situation, again! He is really starting to grow on me.
21. The Queenmaker
Yet another new POV character: this time it is Princess Arianne Martell.
We discover that she has hatched a plot to place Myrcella on the Iron Throne in order to strengthen her own claim as her father’s heir. By seducing Ser Arys, she has removed Myrcella from Sunspear and is making for the Greenblood so that she can travel to Hellholt, where she can crown the new Queen. She has three trusted friends helping her, as well as Ser Gerold Dayne, although she is wary of his reputation for cruelty. This wariness seems well placed as he attacks Myrcella when they are surprised by Areo Hotah and his troops. Unlike Ser Arys, who dies while fighting to free his princess, Dayne attempts to kill the girl before fleeing.
I am not quite sure what to think of Arianne. She is hardly the first woman that we have seen using her feminine wiles to manipulate men, but she is also very politically astute. However, her distrust of her father, due to a letter to her younger brother that she found many years ago, gives her a warped perspective on world events. It remains to be seen whether or not she is right to feel threatened, but she may lose everything due to the bold move, especially if Myrcella is badly injured and the Lannisters find out.
22. Arya II
I think of all the religions that we have come across so far, that of the Many-Faced God seems to be the most intriguing. In many ways this is the one religion that we have seen that is designed purely to end suffering and to aid people. At least that it is how it seems at the moment, but as they were referred to as assassins early in the series, I assume that they have bent the rules to include that as part of their service to the god. Certainly, the religion’s origins seem to be based in compassion.
The Kindly Man is very mysterious and I am not sure quite what he wants from Arya when he keeps asking her who she is. However, he seems to have a very singular goal in mind and is trying to lead her towards some type of enlightenment. She is certainly doing a lot of self-exploration, and it is difficult to remember how young she is because she displays so much self-control, discipline and determination. From the point of view of an assassin, I can understand why it is important not to be too tied to one’s belongings, but I can also appreciate how difficult it would be for Arya to give up Needle, which is such an iconic link to her family and past life. I was horrified by the thought that she might just drop it into the water: somehow I feel like Needle has a destiny with Arya and that it would be terribly bad luck for her to lose it again.
I love how direct Arya is. As a person who can sometimes be a little too blunt for my own good, I like to see the same trait in other people: it makes me feel slightly less hopeless! She is also very determined and willing to spend time practicing in order to reach her goals. I imagine that the HBO series will make the most of the scenes where she trains the muscles in her face . . .
23. Alayne I
Just as Sansa has completely accepted her role as Alayne stone, so her POV chapters have been renamed. She is now acting as the Lady of the Eyrie, helping to run the household and deal with young Robert. However, it seems that Littlefinger is holding himself in check. Although he does ask for a kiss, he seems happy to accept a peck on the cheek. Still, I am very uneasy about her being under his control.
Young Robert is much more irritating now that the shock of his mother’s death has passed. He is petulant and unreasonable, flinging his breakfast porridge across the room because he wants eggs. The fact that there simply are no eggs has no effect on him, but this is hardly surprising after seeing how Lysa spoiled him. Maester Coleman suggests giving him breast milk, but I agree with Littlefinger that he is far too old for that. Yikes!
I find Littlefinger to be rather repellent, but he can certainly outmaneuver most other people when it comes to politics. His way of dealing with the Lords Declarant shows how well he plays the game, and it seems that Sansa is starting to understand some of the rules. I was very impressed that she saw through his ruse with Ser Lyn Corbray as she has been woefully naive so far.