Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tara's ASOIAF Re-Read: ACOK, Davos II - Daenerys IV


Oh gosh it's been a while since my last re-read update. Like, months and months. What can I say, I've been...busy? Sort of? Let's say that's my best excuse. Yeah.

I know a lot of people don't care for Davos, but I'm glad that when I picked this up again it was with one of his chapters. A good bit of it is made up of Stannis making frustrating decisions (hey, what's new), but in the end it all works out in his favor thanks to good ol' Mel and [what I presume was] Shadow Baby #2. Which was definitely shocking the first time I read this book - especially the part where Davos realizes that the shadow baby looks like Stannis - but now was actually kind of easy to shrug off. I think if I didn't shrug this and a lot of other things off, this entire series would be far more maddening than enjoyable.

Oh wait...

Aaaanyway. The men of the Night's Watch have been hanging out at the Fist of the First Men for a while and let's be honest, nothing much was happening there until Qhorin finally arrives in Jon V. And even then we only learn that Mance has gathered the wildlings in the Frostfangs because he's looking for some magic way to take down the Wall, and then Qhorin decides to go scouting and to take Jon with him. Probably the most interesting part of this chapter is the bit about the horn Jon gave Sam, because of course there are plenty of theories that it's actually the horn of Joramun (that magic thing that Mance is looking for, of course). I wonder if we'll ever ACTUALLY find that out, or if it's just a red herring...

As I write this particular entry, I realize more and more that most of the chapters in this section were more about moving pieces into place than about anything actually happening. Tyrion X is mostly about him visiting Shae and meeting the soon-to-be-very-unlucky singer Symon Silver Tongue...though at least we get a bit of Varys' back story, and that's interesting enough. Of course nowadays it's hard to decide if that's really as important as I once thought it was, because it's obviously very likely that Stannis is dead in the show...which makes me question whether he was ever going to cross Varys' path in the books :-/

But I digress. Catelyn VI reveals that Tywin has marched southeast and she notes that he's probably already reached the headwaters of the Blackwater...but not before she learns from Cleos that he saw Sansa at court, but not Arya. Obviously we readers knew for quite some time that Arya had escaped King's Landing, and Catelyn is still left wondering WHY Cleos didn't see her, but recalling that Catelyn knew about this makes the fact that she later releases Jaime (in hopes of getting her daughterS back) a bit harder to swallow.

And then of course Theon (oh, Theon...) takes Winterfell. Gosh, I forgot just how maddening ACOK can be!(And yet it's still my favorite book in the series, go figure.) Even knowing now what happens to Theon later, it's hard to stomach everything that he does. Or perhaps I'm not wording that right...but regardless, Mikken's death and Hodor being beaten are bad enough, and knowing that there are worse things on the horizon is a good reminder of why I just really can't stand Theon. And poor Bran...I'm not a big fan of his either, but he really does try in this chapter. It sucks that in some ways he fails (again, Mikken dies because he won't stop taunting Theon even when Bran tells him to), and it also sucks that he sees Osha "betray" him. (That's rough to read even when I know she's not really betraying him.)

Things are looking down for Bran but a bit up for Arya, whose Weasel Soup earns her the position of Roose Bolton's cupbearer. Of course, her refusal to tell any of the Northmen - not just Roose, but any of them - is a lot more telling on re-reads, I think. I mean, I get why she didn't give up her secret to creepy Roose, but before it always bothered me that she didn't tell anyone else, either. Now, though, I'm in the "good for her" boat. Plus of course she gets that coin, which I always assumed was important, though it takes long enough for her to have a chance to use it, no? ;)

And finally, Dany! This is the first re-read post in quite a while that has been entirely in order, but of course that's because there are no repeat POVs in these seven chapters...and honestly they were a pretty slow seven chapters, to boot. That said, ending this section with - of all things - Dany's trip to the House of the Undying definitely means it went out with a bang. Of course that also means that we get to read Dany's constantly wondering about the prophecies of three (three mounts to ride, three treasons she'll know) and not wondering enough about all the other things she sees (symbolic visions of Jon Snow, Victarion, Stannis, etc.)

I will say that the one thing that really interested me was the description of the house with the red door. For some reason I always pictured it as a small, cozy type of place, but this chapter says Dany "remembered those great wooden beams and the carved animal faces that adorned them". Probably doesn't matter at all but it's something I'd never picked up before, and to me means that this house she remembers as her only real "home" for so long was actually much more...ornate, I guess, than I would have thought.

Yeah, I know, I notice the strangest things. I think that's just what happens when you've read these books several times over.

Or maybe it's just me.

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