Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tara's ASOIAF Re-Read: AGOT, Arya IV - Catelyn VIII


Soooo at some point in this re-read I totally screwed up my chapter count and left out recapping a Tyrion chapter. I can't even pretend to care that it was one of his chapters that I skipped, though I'm more than a little bit anal about things like this and it really bugs me that in order to get back on track I have to recap six rather than seven chapters this time around.

I know, it's silly. I'll get over it eventually.

Anywayyy...thanks to the holidays and traveling and whatnot, I had to set aside this re-read for a while. But I'm back now, and as my goal is to somehow finish all five books before Ice & Fire Con in May, I suppose I better get cracking.

And speaking of cracking, Syrio! (I'm speaking of his cracking that wooden sword across several Lannister guard body parts, of course). Serious question though: Is Syrio alive or dead? Because to be honest I still can't make up my mind! Anyone else in the same boat? I mean, Martin usually makes it pretty obvious when a character is dead - and of course we know that Septa Mordane's head was on a spike, so if they had no problem displaying that, why wouldn't they do the same with Syrio's head if he was actually deceased?

I'm completely willing to listen to both sides of this argument. Someone convince me one way or another, please! ;)

First, though, take into account that for the whole first half of this chapter Syrio is trying to teach Arya things like "Watching is not seeing" and "Opening your eyes is all that is needing. The heart lies and the head plays tricks with us, but the eyes see true."

And I mean, not to bring up the show here, but the GoT wiki page for Syrio is pretty freakin' vague. " Arya flees, and (unseen) Syrio and Ser Meryn continue their fight." And under "Season Four", "Arya believes Syrio to be dead, and tells the Hound that he was killed by Ser Meryn Trant. Sandor proceeds to mock Syrio, claiming that Trant is a poor fighter, and that anyone could beat him as long as they have armor and a sword."

picture sources

But that's the show, and I digress.

Really, these six chapters go along way toward positioning pieces on the board. Arya escapes the Red Keep, Sansa is manipulated into writing letters to her family, Jon Snow saves Lord Commander Mormont from the wight, Robb leaves Winterfell and then begins making war plans in earnest, and Daenerys faces an assassination attempt, which pushes Khal Drogo into finally agreeing to reclaim her "iron chair" for her.

But amidst all of that, there are also some incredibly poignant, and sometimes even moving, scenes...and many of them involve Sansa. Not just in her own chapter, in which she dries her own tears as she struggles to comfort Jeyne Poole, but in Jon's and Bran's chapters as well. When Mormont tells him of the news from King's Landing, Jon immediately asks after both his sisters...and later, when he's being comforted by Ghost, he remembers that Lady is dead and Nymeria is lost, leaving Sansa and Arya "all alone".

As for Bran, when Robb tells him about Sansa's letter and complains that she doesn't mention Arya, Bran's only response is "She lost her wolf". And yeah, I'm not ashamed to admit that - even reading it now for the fourth time - I teared up over it, and over the ensuing passage where Bran talks about Lady's bones being returned to Winterfell and how the other direwolves reacted.

(Suddenly I have a mighty need for Queen-in-the-North-Sansa-at-Lady's-grave fanfic. Anyone want to oblige?)

But okay, Sansa isn't the only one who garners attention in these chapters. Jon's friends rally behind him after news of his father's "treason" reaches the Wall - and Sam, good ol' Sam, even offers to go beyond the Wall to pray in the weirwood grove. Maester Luwin does his best to school Bran on all the things he's still able to do, as well as the fact that "A man's worth is not marked by a ser before his name." And then Catelyn takes Moat Cailin by storm, arriving just in time to essentially point Robb - and his armies - in the right direction(s).

Of course, one thing that all these characters will learn soon enough is the meaning behind Mormont's words, "The things we love us destroy us every time." Stay tuned for more GoT angst! Pin It

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