Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Challenge of Ice and Fire: Week 27

A Feast for Crows: Cersei V to the end of Cersei VI (p. 607)

My previous posts on A Feast for Crows:   week 23   week 24   week 25   week 26

24. Cersei V

I am really beginning to dislike the chapters from Cersei’s POV because I find it very frustrating to follow her thoughts. She is so pig-headed and oblivious to the realities of her situation that I find myself wanting to punch something.

Tommen is starting to become more obstinate, thanks to Margaery’s encouragement. Jaime finds this amusing, but Cersei is simply angry because it impinges upon her power. Then she is very rude to the envoy from the Iron Bank, which I expect to be rather angry that she is refusing to repay the Realm’s debts at the moment. Her high-handed attitude with the bank will cause major problems, I am quite sure.  

Lord Manderly claims to have beheaded Davos Seaworth, which I sincerely hope is a lie, because I really like the Onion Knight. As this is the condition for Manderly’s son being returned, I am more confident that it is a ruse.

Margaery continues to frustrate Cersei’s attempts to have her deflowered by Osney Kettleblack, and then irritates her even more by encouraging Tommen to joust. I find it strange that Cersei has not learnt from Joffrey’s behavior as king, and so she runs the risk of Tommen learning to rebel against her in such a way that she cannot control him. At the moment he is quite malleable, but as he gets older he will become more and more willful, and more difficult to silence. Indeed, we see him beginning to bargain with her for what he wants, and, of course, Margaery is quite happy to drive a wedge between mother and child.

I do find it funny that Cersei is gaining weight: she truly is becoming Robert! it is also hilarious that Bronn named Lollys’ son ‘Tyrion’, and that Cersei thinks that he will be easy to kill. I predict a nasty surprise for whoever is stupid enough to try it.  

25. Brienne V

I have never had a particularly high opinion of Randyll Tarly, because of his treatment of Sam, but his rudeness to Brienne makes him appear very churlish indeed. I am unsure about Hyle Hunt: at the moment he seems to be a genuine help to Brienne, giving her intelligence about Sandor Clegane and Beric Dondarrion, but his earlier treatment of her makes it difficult for me to trust him.

Septon Meribald seems like an interesting chap, bringing food and comfort to the most isolated people in the Riverlands. His admission about seducing young women as a young man is somewhat unsavory, but his penance ever since seems like a genuine attempt to make amends for this bad behavior.

I assume that the terrible, marauding she-wolf that he describes is actually Nymeria: I do hope so. I particularly liked the description of her refusing any male wolf that tried to mount her! :D

26. Samwell III

Oh no! It looks like Maester Aemon is dying! He is such a wise old soul that I had hoped that he could recover from his illness, but it looks like I was wrong. Of course, Sam’s choices have not exactly helped matters: Dareon does not seem to have any intention of behaving responsibly. It is interesting that Aemon has been dreaming of dragons. I wonder if this is prophetic or an extension of the dragons’ influence upon the magic of the world. However, the Maester is determined to hear all he can about the dragons rumored to have appeared in Essos.

I am slightly disappointed in Sam that he has been so ineffectual in caring for Aemon and Gilly. He has allowed Dareon to waste their money and they are no penniless. However, I do like the way Mr Martin weaves his storylines together, so that we know that the Cat who saves Sam from the bravos is actually Arya. I had thought that she might ask him about Jon because she knows that he is a Brother of the Night’s Watch, but she has no way to know that Sam is trustworthy, unlike Bran who had Summer to help him. I almost cheered when Sam got so angry that he punched Dareon in the mouth: it was so good to see him acting bravely, even if it was instinctive rather than planned. It also seems that Sam has earned the blessing of Xhondo from the Summer Isles, who claims to have seen the dragons. I hope that this man proves to be honest, as Sam could really do with some good luck at this point.

27. Jaime III

It is strange how the Jaime chapters have only improved my opinion of the man. At least he can see how stupid Cersei is being by surrounding herself with flatterers. It is obvious that he still loves his sister, but the divide between them is growing, especially as he no longer lives up to her ideal of beauty. She is particularly insulting about his lost hand and shows absolutely no sympathy for his pain or loss of the one thing he could do well: fight. Now she is making him break his vow to Catelyn Stark by leading the force that will take Riverrun from Brynden Tully. To add insult to injury, she wants him to name Osmund Kettleblack as the commander of the Kingsguard while he is away.

We are reminded that the body of Tyrek Lannister is still missing after the riot in King’s Landing. Jaime is convinced that Varys had something to do with his disappearance, although he is not sure why the eunuch would want the boy to disappear. As Robert’s squire he might have had some knowledge that was dangerous to Varys, but it seems much more likely that he knew things that would make him a useful witness to be brought forth at a later date. Perhaps Varys thought that Cersei would try to dispose of the boy if he was left in place.

At Harrenhal, the remnants of Gregor Clegane’s men are found to be doing a poor job of caring for the noble hostages in their possession. I am not sure that Ser Bonifer Hasty will be a very effective castellan, but he is certainly pious enough to ensure that the local small folk are not treated too badly.

It is interesting to see Jaime begin to practice seriously with his left hand. I am not sure how suitable Ser Ilyn Payne is as a sparring partner, but Jaime will certainly improve against any opponent. It is also a testament to the man that he is angered by Ronnet Connignton’s disrespect towards Brienne. It is always good to see someone defending the Maid of Tarth.

28. Cersei VI

More Cersei . . . more grinding my teeth . . .

I am not holding my breath until Lady Taena betrays the Queen Regent, because it is so very obvious that she is not to be trusted. She even makes excuses to keep her son away from King’s Landing when Cersei suggests that he become Tommen’s playmate. Anyone other than Cersei would see this refusal as a huge warning sign.

Cersei’s surprise at the situation with the sparrows camped around the Great Sept is a good illustration of her ignorance of what is really happening in the Realm. She should have known all about these people and been dealing with them since they started to arrive and congregate. They constitute a serious threat to the peace as they are an armed group who have very little to lose, and yet she is unaware of them. I have to wonder why she is not angry that her advisors have failed to mention them.

I foresee that the new High Septon will be a thorn in Cersei’s side. She thinks that she has outwitted him, but we all know that she is nowhere near as cunning as she thinks. Yes, he has agreed to forgive the debts that the crown owes to the Faith, but in return, she has accepted the restoration of the Faith Militant. This sounds like she has given him authority to raise an army, which will probably not do what she wants . . . oopsie! :D

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