Friday, December 19, 2014

Tara's ASOIAF Re-Read: AGOT, Eddard IX - Jon V

* PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL RE-READ POSTS WILL INCLUDE SPOILERS FOR ALL PUBLISHED WORKS IN THE SONG OF ICE & FIRE UNIVERSE. *

Yes, I fully realize that it's been a while since my last re-read post...what can I say other than, who has time to read during the holidays? ;) (Especially since my birthday was just last weekend, too!)

Actually, I finished reading these chapters days and days ago, it's the writing that's the real issue. For the first time in this re-read, I'm simply stuck on what to say. Perhaps it's because in this particular chunk of AGOT, Catelyn annoyed me, Tyrion annoyed me, and one of my favorite characters (Jaime) was painted in a pretty terrible light.

As for Ned, well, his whole search for the truth has always been a bit maddening for me (and surely for other readers as well). Not that it's really all his fault - as readers, we know about Jaime and Cersei's "twincest", but Ned doesn't.
Black of hair, blue of eye...the seed is strong...come on Ned...come on...

And he still hasn't figured it out when he gets attacked by Jaime (on account of Catelyn "kidnapping" Tyrion). Funny that this also immediately follows a conversation with Littlefinger in which Ned learns that Robert fathered twins with a servant girl from Casterly Rock, and that Cersei had the babies murdered and the mother sold into slavery. Then we see Jaime killing Ned's innocent guards, and, well, the Lannisters aren't exactly gaining popularity points here. Or at least they certainly weren't with me, and reading all of this again now reminds me why it took me so long to warm up to them the first time I read ASOIAF.

We're certainly learning a lot more about Robert as well, though, and not much of that is good either. Lyanna knew that he would never be true to her. Robert hits Cersei in front of Ned. And then he threatens to make Jaime Hand of the King if Ned leaves...after Jaime just attacked Ned! Between this and all of Robert's raving about killing Dany, it admittedly surprises me how many people defend him as being a good guy, maybe just misunderstood, blah blah blah.

To wrap up the two Ned chapters in this section, I suppose I should talk about his fever dreams. But as it's likely that we won't know more about what happened at the Tower of Joy unless we eventually meet Howland Reed, most of what occurs in Ned's dreams is pretty self-explanatory. We know that it was Ned and eight men against the three Kingsguard, and that only Ned and Howland lived. We know that Lyanna died there in her "bed of blood". What caught me this time around, though, was the fact that she was screaming "Eddard!" from inside the Tower as he began fighting her guards. Was she just screaming because she heard him and wanted him to come to her, or was she screaming because she didn't want him to fight the Kingsguard members? And if it was the latter, did she not want him to fight them because she was worried he would lose...or because she knew he would win, and she didn't want him to kill men who were only following orders?

Elsewhere in the Known World, Dany finally reaches Vaes Dothrak with Drogo and his khalasar, Viserys is a huge jerk, but also so is Drogo's bloodrider, Qotho. It bothered me more on this re-read that the way he treated Dany's handmaidens was brushed over as if it was nothing. I get that because of who he is, who she is, where she is, Dany can't really do anything about him leaving "bruises on Doreah's soft white skin whenever he touched her" and sometimes making "Irri sob in the night", but honestly, Dany's thoughts about him are almost detached, despite the harm that he's causing to people she supposedly cares for. And that just bothers me.

Anyway, speaking of being bothered, is it just me or was Robb almost overly obnoxious about Theon shooting the Night's Watch deserter who was threatening Bran? I think when I first read AGOT I was kind of on Robb's side, and yeah, Theon's simpering smiles don't exactly do it for me, but at the same time...I don't know, he was just trying to help? Additionally, I'd somehow totally forgotten that the group who attacked Bran included two Night's Watch deserters. Who were these men? How did they end up with the wildlings? I don't recall ever hearing about them again, although Robb says he's going to send their heads to the Wall, so I guess the only point of having them be deserters was to show how much that's happening and/or show how many Night's Watch men suck these days?

Speaking of the Night's Watch, man is Jon Snow pretty decent at making buddies of his fellow trainees...and enemies of the older brothers. First Ser Alliser and now Chett (and Clydas?). I'm not sure I ever really thought about it before, though of course many of the men Jon pisses off are dead before he's attacked in ADWD. Still, I'm about to start keeping a tally or something...haha.


And now, finally, we come to the Eyrie. As much as Tyrion isn't really a favorite of mine, I do love his thoughts about his siblings...

"Tyrion Lannister sighed. His sister was not without a certain low cunning, but her pride blinded her. She would see the insult in this, not the opportunity. And Jaime was even worse, rash and headstrong and quick to anger. His brother never untied a knot when he could slash it in two with his sword."
And yeah yeah yeah, Tyrion is smart. One of the thing she considers is that someone is trying to start a feud between the Starks and the Lannisters...oh, how little he really knows, right?

He does know enough to have gotten himself "in" with Bronn, though, and we all know what happens next. Bronn wins, Tyrion lives, and Lysa has to set them free. Meanwhile Catelyn is confused about Maester Coleman's insistence that Robert Arryn was supposed to be fostered at Dragonstone and daydreaming about the time Littlefinger fought Brandon Stark for her hand. Yawn.

No seriously, I don't know why, but this entire set of chapters just dragged me down, and that's probably at least part of the reason why it's taken me so long to write this recap. Hopefully I'll have more interesting things to say the next time around ;)
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