Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Challenge of Ice and Fire: Week 30

A Feast for Crows: Week 30: Alayne II to the end of the book.

My previous posts on A Feast for Crows:   week 23   week 24   week 25   week 26   week 27   week 28   week 29

41. Alayne II

I cannot help thinking that little Lord Robert is not long for this world, and not just because Littlefinger has Sansa betrothed to Harry the Heir. The boy’s health seems to be failing quite rapidly, possibly due to the over-use of Sweetsleep. I do not imagine that he will be much of a loss to his people who will probably live on perfectly well without him.

Sansa is almost thinking of herself as Alayne now, although she does make a slight slip when Myranda Royce mentions the new ‘boy commander’ of the Night’s watch. The slip goes unnoticed, and could easily be explained as Littlefinger educating his newly found daughter about the house of his former sweetheart, Catelyn Tully. However, such a slip could prove dangerous in other company, such as that of Ser Shadrich, one of Petyr’s new hedge knights. He was one of the knights that Brienne met along the road to Duskendale, and he was also searching for Sansa.

Now that she is betrothed, I would hope that Petyr will keep his hands to himself but it does not seem likely, given his predilection for lingering kisses. This makes me very uncomfortable, and is one thing that will certainly cause people to suspect that she is not what they have been told.

This is the last Sansa chapter until The Winds of Winter, which is going to be a long, long time in arriving.

42. Brienne VIII

So Gendry did save Brienne from Biter, but her reprieve is unfortunately very short as she is brought before Lady Stoneheart for judgment and found guilty. In fact this chapter was packed with unpleasant surprises. The revelation of the undead Catelyn Stark and her appearance were totally unexpected and somewhat unpleasant. Her condition is appalling and far worse than Lord Beric’s ever was because she had been dead for three full days before he past his ‘gift’ on to her. It seems that she is being driven solely by her hatred of the Lannisters and Freys and is unwilling to spare Brienne, even though the Maid has been trying to find Sansa.

I cannot believe that they have hanged Brienne and Pod. I suppose the word she shouts might save them: I do hope so, as neither of them deserves to die. I was very impressed by Pod’s stoicism though, especially in contrast to Ser Hyle’s desperate pleas.

It is going to be a very, very, VERY long time until The Winds of Winter. :(

43. Cersei X

“O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! He chortled in his joy.”
(From ‘Jabberwocky’ by Lewis Carroll)

The last Cersei chapter in the book: yay!

The chapter where she finally gets the treatment that she deserves: double yay!!!!!

I believe I predicted that her plans to discredit Margaery were likely to backfire, but I never expected to see Cersei thrown into a cell in the Great Sept and tortured by ancient Septas: I am so happy that I could dance! It would seem that Ser Osney was not very good at pretending to be repentant, and that the High Septon is a cunning old stoat with a suspicious mind. I particularly appreciated the way that he maneuvered Cersei into insisting upon the Kingsguard as the only men who could fight on behalf of the Queen. It is always delicious to see someone who thinks they are clever being totally outwitted and then getting their just deserts.

Poor Cersei, she has been abandoned by everyone but Qyburn, although I doubt that he has much loyalty to her personally. The Merryweathers have scampered back to their home, suggesting that Taena might not have been all that honest in saying that she was spying on Margaery for Cersei. Ser Aurane Waters has sailed off with the new fleet living King’s Landing to the approaching armies of Mace Tyrell and Randyll Tarly. At least the new ‘unbeatable’ champion is ready, whoever or whatever he is.

Being Cersei, she spends a lot of time shouting and ranting about her imprisonment and she cannot believe that she has been left there to rot by the Small Council. I loved the fact that she ripped up the clothes that she was given and then realized she was cold, and that she smashed her chamber pot and then had to pee on the floor. I did laugh!

I was almost sorry for her when she made her plea to Jaime for her help . . . almost, but not really! I think this might make me a bad person, but so what?  

I see that we will have a couple of Cersei chapters in the next book, so I hope that her humiliation will be drawn out for a little while yet.

44. Jaime VII

I am not sure how Jaime has restrained himself from killing Emmon Frey, but it is a testament to his patience. The fact that the Blackfish managed to escape before Edmure opened the gates has not placed him in a great mood either. Although plenty of men are out scouring the countryside, I doubt that Brynden will be found: he knows the country very well and has plenty of people willing to help him to hide. Jaime knows this as well, and he predicts that the Blackfish will continue the fight. I guess we might see some guerilla-style harassment of the Frey and Lannister forces in Book 5.

I find Jaime’s response to Cersei’s plea very interesting: it seems that he has completely abandoned her to her fate. Of course, this could be because he realizes that he cannot really do anything to help her, but his lack of interest in her problem speaks volumes.

I see that there is only one Jaime chapter in A Dance With Dragons, so we might not get much explanation until The Winds of Winter.  

45. Samwell V

In our last Samwell chapter before The Winds of Winter, we finally reach Oldtown.

I did find it very suspicious that Alleras appeared next to Sam whilst he was waiting to see the Seneschal. Sam is totally thrown by learning that Alleras is called ‘the Sphinx’ because of something that Aemon said during his last ramblings: “the sphinx was the riddle, not the riddler.” This makes him think that Alleras is somehow significant, although we soon learn that he was sent by Archmaester Marwyn to intercept Sam. I am very intrigued by the obsidian candle and Marwyn’s assertion that he ‘saw’ Sam coming through it.

It seems that the maesters were responsible for killing the last dragons, although we do not know why they thought it necessary. We also learn that Aemon was distrusted simply because he was a Targaryen, even though his actions clearly showed that he was more interested in serving the Realm than in promoting his family’s interests.

It is nice that we have come full circle from the Prologue and end the book with Pate, although we know that he is not the original novice. It seems most likely that he is a Faceless Man, probably the one who Arya knew as Jaqen H’ghar. Although we have no idea why he has been stationed in the Citadel, it would seem that the internal politics are just as complex as those in King’s Landing . . .

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