* PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL RE-READ POSTS WILL INCLUDE SPOILERS FOR ALL PUBLISHED WORKS IN THE SONG OF ICE & FIRE UNIVERSE. *
Now that we're down to the wire, it's like one thing after another in AGOT. Jaime's capture in the Whispering Wood, Dany insisting that Mirri Maz Duur save Drogo (at any and all cost[s]), Ned's death, news of his death reaching Winterfell, Sansa as a full-on prisoner in King's Landing, Dany losing her child and offing Drogo, and finally, news of Jaime's capture reaching Tywin...and Tyrion, who is then sent to King's Landing "to rule".
Phew. That's...a lot. Honestly I read these seven chapters a lot faster than all the ones that came before - once I got going I didn't want to stop. (Hey, it's ASOIAF...maybe it's more like I couldn't stop. Don't lie, you know what I mean!)
I've always felt a bit off about what happened in the Whispering Wood, but reading this now I wonder if maybe it's just reading about the battle from Catelyn's point of view. Her chapter begins with some great observations and descriptions, gets pretty jumbled in the middle, and then ends with some awesome Jaime quips. It still feels a bit off to me, but the more I read it the more I get out of it/remember about it, I suppose. So at least there's that.
As for Daenerys, she inspires and maddens me by turns - though in Dany VIII and IV, it's the other way around. (First she maddens me with the mess she makes of Drogo's situation and the fact that she simply "can't talk" to tell Jorah that he shouldn't bring her into the tent, then she inspires me with her recitation of the lines, ""All her fear was gone, burned away...All the grief has been burned out of me...If she looked back she was lost...If I look back I am lost...If I look back I am lost...If I look back I am lost...If I look back I am lost...")
More importantly, though (at least, I think/hope so) are some other things that Dany thinks and sees in these chapters. First, the fact that she muses over how her brother Rhaegar "died for the woman he loved", and that two chapters later Bran makes a comment that Robert was betrothed to marry Lyanna, "but Rhaegar carried her off and raped her" is...quite interesting, and not something I've ever picked up on before. Maybe it's meaningless in terms of its juxtaposition, but I certainly found myself wondering who the hell told Bran that his aunt was "carried off and raped". Maester Luwin doesn't argue against this point of view either, which is...concerning. I understand that Dany was likely to hear her version of the story regardless of whether Lyanna was kidnapped and raped or whether she went willingly, but man I would like to know more about Bran's version of the story and where it came from!
Back to Dany, though - she sees shadows of "a great wolf" and "a man wreathed in flames" dancing with Mirri Maz Duur in the tent. Clearly Robb and Stannis, of course, but I feel like usually what she sees in the shadows is glossed over in favor of the later, more specific visions and prophecies that surround her. Additionally, I'm very interested in hearing any and all interpretations of this passage:
"And [she] saw her brother Rhaegar, mounted on a stallion as black as his armor. Fire glimmered red through the narrow eye slit of his helm. 'The last dragon,' Ser Jorah's voice whispered faintly. 'The last, the last.' Dany lifted his polished black visor. The face within was her own."I'm hesitant to say what I think this means because I'm either (a) reading *way* too much into it or (b) missing something important. Thoughts, anyone?
Anyway, up in Winterfell there are plenty of generally concerning things going on outside of Bran's take on Lyanna's fate. I wonder if Bran's request for a poleaxe - so that he and Hodor can "be a knight together" - followed by Maester Luwin's warning that this is unlikely, as "when a man fights, his arms and legs and thoughts must be as one", was more overshadowing than I gave (give) it credit for. Not just for what's already happened in terms of Bran warging into Hodor, but perhaps what's to come, as well? Ugh, the very thought makes me shudder...perhaps even more than Rickon's patting Shaggydog's nose, getting Luwin's (and maybe Summer's?) blood all over his hand, and then licking his fingers. Wherefore art thou, my little cannibal Rickon... ;)
Speaking of Starks, that brings me to Arya and Sansa in King's Landing. Both girls are surviving, though at this point it's in a sort of "just barely" state. Thankfully, they're both learning fast - Arya is feeding herself and "seeing with her eyes" rather than assuming things are safe (not stealing from the baker's cart when the gold cloaks are close by; not approaching the Wind Witch without thinking and realizing none too soon that it's a trap). As for Sansa, she already knows better than to trust the Lannister servants that wait on her, and she also does a good job of reminding herself of the advice given to her by Littlefinger and Sandor.
Yet in both girls' cases, it's a good thing they have people watching over them - Yoren stumbling across Arya and essentially taking her under his wing, and Sandor giving Sansa that aforementioned advice and then later stopping her from trying to murder Joffrey (and likely kill herself in the process).
I don't know if it's because of what I've been through the past year and a half or so, or if I'm just generally more sensitive because of my current mental and emotional state, but I'll admit this: reading this Sansa chapter was hard. Much harder than it's ever been before. I'm not even sure I can place exactly why, but I found myself rushing through it, wanting it to be over, and suddenly dreading her chapters in ACOK.
Don't worry though, I'll buckle down and get through them, like I do with everything :p
Anyway, Ned's finally dead and although, thanks to Yoren, we missed seeing his death through Arya's eyes, we basically relive it with Sansa. One thing I wanted to point out is that it seemed to me, on this read-through, as if Sansa was saying that she actually liked dreaming about her father's death, because at least she was dreaming about him/at least in her dreams he was still there for a moment, or something? Maybe I'm misreading that...it threw me for a bit of a loop, to be honest, so I kind of hope I am.
Last and very much least, one final Tyrion chapter! To me this one is more about placing people where they need to be - mainly Tywin going to Harrenhal and sending Tyrion to King's Landing to deal with Joffrey - than anything else, though I did pick out this particular quote:
"Lord Tywin was oft quiet in council, preferring to listen before he spoke, a habit Tyrion himself tried to emulate."Do you really, Tyrion? Really? You, who is constantly kicking yourself over how much your big mouth gets you in trouble?
I think that's all I need to say about that ;) And now, on to the last three chapters!