April 18 2014

A Feast For Crows — Chapters 13, 14 & 15

Here is my commentary on Chapters 10, 11 & 12 of A Feast For Crows.
I have been reading the various Game of Thrones novels for the first time and posting my thoughts over in the tor.com A Read of Ice and Fire.
This has been quite the interesting experience as it is a very odd way to read a book (or even odder a set of books). Since Google is awash with Game of Thrones spoilers, this limits my ease of look-up of details from earlier books. Funny how quickly the internet has become an external reference point/expanded memory. On the other hand, I have eBook editions and that helps balance things out as it is wildly easier to search them than paper monsters.
Since I am reading these for the first time, don’t post any comments about events later in the series, but also be warned that each chapters posts will contain all the details I find in the chapter or happen to think of as I am reading. I may even put in some extra material that I think I have figured out that I either don’t put in the tor read or white out there to not spoil others reads who may not have thought of such things.

Chapter 13 – The Soiled Knight: Arys Oakheart, Kingsguard, in Dorne (with the candlestick).
Interesting that GRRM is sticking with the whole “women from hot places are hawt trope.” All that warmth and spicy food just does things to them–not really, of course, it is just a different culture with different values.
An interesting assertion from Arys:

“I will not soil my cloak.”

It would seem to be a tad late for that and as Arianne says, it seems that the white cloaks are generally a pretty soiled lot. The title of the chapter could have pretty much applied to every Ser we’ve seen so far. “The Unsoiled Knight,” would be a title for a much more singular individual.
This is an interesting nugget:

…bringing on the terrible war the singers named the Dance of the Dragons.

Of course, I didn’t really think the next book’s title referred to a cotillion.
So, Arianne is playing a many fronted game. She basically wants Arys to not just soil, but to dye his cloak black.
Myrcella seems to be having fun in Dorne but it seems like things are going to get way more interesting for her. She is only 11, but it sounds like she probably would make a better Queen than Tommen a King. Of course, better is a relative thing and I have a feeling that the whole Baratheon/Lannister reign is not going to end well for them.

Chapter 14 – Brienne:I can sympathize with Brienne’s sense of confusion over just which unremarked wall was the important one.

… until he was discovered with a salted ham he’d stolen from Lord Tywin’s personal stores. Tywin Lannister chose to hang him as a lesson to other looters. Podrick had shared the ham and might have shared the rope as well, but his name had saved him.

This is a good example of why actual written laws rather than the whim of an overlord tend to be good things. Also, Pod hasn’t done very well at getting assigned to Sers who last very long, not at all. Hopefully this trend of bad luck won’t carry over with Brienne.

“We used to have an ox,” the old man told her as they made their way through the weed-choked fields, lakes of soft mud, and burnt and blackened trees, “but the wolves made off with him.” His face was red from the effort of pulling the cart. “They took off our daughter too and had their way with her, but she come wandering back after the battle down at Duskendale. The ox never did. The wolves ate him, I expect.”

“Wolves” or “Lions,” the peasants suffer under either one. Not a pretty tour Brienne is on.

The Hound has crossed the Trident with a hundred outlaws, and it’s said they’re raping every wench they come upon and cutting off their teats for trophies.”

That’s another rumor of the hound we have heard. Is it the hound, though, or just someone with his helmet? I suspect we’ll find out eventually. Oh, and yeah, that’s some more nasty behavior.
OK, Tarly is an ass:

“They were knights,” she said, stunned, “anointed knights.”
“And honorable men. The blame is yours.”
The accusation made her flinch. “I would never . . . my lord, I did nought to encourage them.”
“Your being here encouraged them. If a woman will behave like a camp follower, she cannot object to being treated like one. …

We knew he was an ass from how he treated Sam, but not it seems he is also quite the complete sexist. Talk about blaming the victim. Pretty much a textbook example.
Then, after thinking on all of this discrimination and getting discriminated against in real time, Brienne goes ahead and finds Nimble Dick and gets a lead while all the various Sers are mostly jostling for the title of the most obnoxious person in Westros.
Feudalism sucks, oligarchs suck and all of the myriad ways in which humans seek to demean their fellows suck. GRRM sure points out a number of these failings in this chapter. We’ve seen a lot of the stasis of Ice so far, maybe some fire and change will come also. Dany is doing some change re slavery and there do seem to be glimpses of other plans afoot. We’ll have to see.

Chapter 15 – Samwell:Ah, Sam was heading out on a ship for the Citadel via Braavos (where Arya is btw) when last we saw him and now he is sick. And, another example of Randyll being an ass–“teaching” Sam to swim by throwing him in. Not a good plan.
Going below deck if you are feeling seasick is also not a good plan as Sam finds out.
I don’t think that Gilly really wants to leave Sam and be a serving girl. That could be the cause of her moroseness here.
This is a fun bit:

Egg wanted me to help him rule, but I knew my place was here. He sent me north aboard the Golden Dragon, and insisted that his friend Ser Duncan see me safe to Eastwatch.

Skagos sounds interesting:

They lived in caves and grim mountain fastnesses, Sam had read, and rode great shaggy unicorns to war.

War unicorns, ho! I am guessing that we will see these war unicorns at some point. I would also guess they are more like rhino’s then frilly pink unicorns.
Ah, so they switched the babies and that is a large part of Gilly’s sadness. Hopefully, if true, Jon won’t just hand over Gilly’s son to be burned. I would think he would announce the change so that no burnings ensue. Otherwise, Jon would be rated down major points–so I’ll bet on no burning at this point.

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Posted April 18, 2014 by user in category "A Feast For Crows", "Book review

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