* PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL RE-READ POSTS WILL INCLUDE SPOILERS FOR ALL PUBLISHED WORKS IN THE SONG OF ICE & FIRE UNIVERSE. *
And just like that, we go from *action action action* to seven chapters that seemed to consist of posturing more than anything else. Tyrion's chapter focuses quite a bit on the bad position that the Night's Watch is in, and as we've already seen that through both his and Jon's eyes, the conversation between Tyrion and Mormont didn't really have much draw for me.
That said, I *did* latch on a bit to Tyrion and Jon's interaction in Tyrion III. Though Tyrion isn't exactly obliging when he asks if he can do anything for Jon and Jon actually makes some requests, I think the fact that they shake hands and part as "friends" is worth pointing out. Even with everything that's happened since, I wonder if perhaps this will come back to haunt - or maybe even somehow help - both of them.
(And yes, I realize that there's a [small] chance that Jon is dead, but I'm pretty firmly entrenched in the theory that he's not.)
I also liked this hint about Jon Snow's future, which of course only makes sense after you've read through most of A Storm of Swords...
"If he doesn't come back," Jon Snow promised, "Ghost and I will go find him." He put his hand on the direwolf's head.Of course none of that was as interesting as some of what I read in Arya and Ned's POV chapters. With Arya, it's already becoming clear how much she's separating herself from her old family and "friends" - she's pretty pissed that the men from Winterfell (Harwin, Alyn, Jory, even her father) didn't do anything about Mycah's violent end. And not just that, but also because "they'd let the queen kill Lady". Despite the [very understandable] fact that she and Sansa aren't getting along (or actually, perhaps because of that), it's no small thing that Arya has such pointed thoughts about Lady's death.
"I believe you," Tyrion said, but what he thought was, And who will go find you? He shivered.
Now, Ned may insist that if Arya is going to hate people, she should hate the ones "who would truly do us harm" - and she certainly shouldn't hate Sansa. They're sisters, and though they "may be as different as the sun and the moon" the same blood flows through their hearts...they need each other, and Ned needs both of them.
That seemed a pretty sentimental thing for Ned to say, as up until now he'd seemed pretty distant in his relationships, but then in Eddard V there's another passage that sheds more light on how he feels about his children. When he received word that Bran had woken up, he took Sansa and Arya to the godswood in the Red Keep for an all-night vigil. The girls fell asleep, but Ned didn't, and he even remembered Sansa waking up and telling him that she'd "dreamed of Bran...[and] saw him smiling."
Speaking of Bran, he may not want to know the end of Old Nan's story about the hero who was trying to fight the Others, but I do! Dang. Other than that, I got a good chuckle out of the direwolves' reactions to Tyrion (yeah, I know, I'm terrible)...and then I got a little choked up over Robb and Bran's conversation at the end of the chapter, especially when Bran realized that Robb was crying. I don't dislike Robb, but this may have been the only time I've really, truly liked him (and felt for him)...if only for a moment.
Meanwhile Daenerys, who is at least a little bit younger than Robb, is a Dothraki khaleesi and pregnant at 14. Obviously their childhoods were quite different, so I don't want to outright compare them - it's just interesting to note the ages of some of the main characters in this series and note how they are often close in age but miles apart in terms of development (or lack of it).
In fact, Jon and Sam are another good example of two characters close in age who are extremely different, and of course the fact that they actually know each other (now, anyway) makes them a much better example of it, as well...especially, I think, because Jon did a lot of growing up in the short time he was with the Night's Watch before Sam arrived. You really see him taking what he must have learned from Ned and just in general from being raised at Winterfell, combining it with the "lessons" he had from Donal Noye and Tyrion, and using all of that to improve relations with his fellow trainees - not just for himself, but for all of them - most importantly Sam, whose declarations of cowardice may be a bit frustrating, but whose life story (especially the part about how/why he ended up at Castle Black, and the somewhat detached way he admits that) bothers me more every time I read about it.
While certainly not action-packed, there's a lot of backstory and even some more foreshadowing in this part of AGOT...and hey, Gendry even appeared for the first time! Of course the novel is already moving in a darker direction at this point, and even though I know what comes next, it's hard to put it down (clearly, as this is my third update in four days).