* PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL RE-READ POSTS WILL INCLUDE SPOILERS FOR ALL PUBLISHED WORKS IN THE SONG OF ICE & FIRE UNIVERSE. *
I have to admit that I'm having a hard time trying to figure out what to say about these seven chapters. Perhaps it's because at this point in Arya's storyline, my interest has already started to drift...and I'm sure I don't need to say, yet again, that I'm just kind of "meh" about Tyrion in general. As Arya and Tyrion chapters sandwiched the only other two characters featured in this set (those being Bran and Sansa), it's been hard for me to focus on writing my recap for them when really I just want to move forward in my re-read.
Or maybe it's because I read half of these chapters after I'd been drinking ;)
But I suppose I'll try, anyway.
Although previously Arya was just trekking through the Riverlands with Yoren and crew, her two chapters in this section include some pretty rough breaks for her. Probably the saddest thing about her current story is that she was still thinking things like, "...it wouldn't be ghosts at Harrenhal, it would be knights. Arya could reveal herself to Lady Whent, and the knights would escort her home and keep her safe. That was what knights did; they kept you safe, especially women."
Seriously, how very Sansa of her! Unfortunately the first knight she encounters is none other than Amory Lorch, who burns Yoren and the Night's Watch recruits out of the abandoned holdfast they took as shelter, killing Yoren and several others in the process. A hard lesson for her to learn, though I honestly didn't remember her still being so sure of knights and their good deeds at this point in the novels! An interesting reminder for me, for sure. But even though Arya hadn't gotten the hint about knights yet, when Yoren tells her, "'Night's Watch takes no part, so no man's our enemy,'" Arya observes "And no man's our friend". Of course, the Night's Watch does later have a "friend" of sorts in Stannis, but unless Ramsay Bolton's note from ADWD is a fake that *may* no longer be the case.
Of course, Arya doesn't say no woman is their friend...buuut I'm getting ahead of myself. Way ahead of myself. Oops ;)
To conclude my thoughts about what's going on with Arya at this point in ACOK, well, her second chapter in this section was all about positioning. Gendry is captured by Gregor Clegane's men, Arya and Hot Pie are captured trying to save him, Weasel runs off and Lommy is killed and now they're about to [finally] be on their way to Harrenhal, where stuff and things will happen. Side note, though: I do wonder whatever happened to the Night's Watch recruits who ran off on Arya and crew soon after Yoren's death and their escape from the holdfast...but I'm sure I'll stop thinking about that soon enough, because it's not as if it matters, right? Heh.
Meanwhile in King's Landing, Tyrion is busy making chains and meeting whores and disguising himself to visit Shae. And, by the way, getting a LOT of help from Varys. Varys, who was visiting with Illyrio not that long ago. Varys, who we now know is a sort of "sponsor" for FAegon (a.k.a. THE MUMMER'S DRAGON). I've always been interested in Varys' relationship with Tyrion, but the more I read these books the more I wonder what else Varys still knows that we don't, yet. I'm not a fan of the "Tyrion is a secret Targ" theory, but Varys seems to have reasons for everything he does. That said, what are his reasons for "befriending" Tyrion? The *real* ones, I mean - the ones he doesn't advertise. Because there have got to be some of those, right? This is Varys we're talking about, after all.
And while I'm on that subject, was it a typo/mistake in the writing/editing, a slip-up on Varys' part, or on purpose, when he is talking to Tyrion about sending Myrcella to Dorne and notes that Doran Martell still mourns "his sister Elia and her sweet babe". BABE, singular. And how did I not notice this before? This isn't my first re-read so I'm surprised I didn't pick up on that the first or especially second times I re-read this series. Way to go, me.
Anyway, Tyrion also learns that Pycelle is the informer, has some very interesting conversations with Cersei, and begins overseeing the production of the giant chain and the wildfire that will be used in the Battle of the Blackwater later in the book.
See? I told you, SO much Arya and Tyrion.
Bran's chapter is more of the same old, same old. He meets with some of the Stark bannermen and whines about his wolf dreams. All the while, Sansa is busy being smart enough to not trust her maids (she's certain that they all spy on her - clever girl), though she does go to the godswood in response to the note she receives from someone offering to take her home. And hey, although she does decide to "trust" Ser Dontos, it's never a blind trust. Sansa remains wary and on her toes, and I love her and pity her for that.