“It all goes back and back, Tyrion thought, to our mothers and fathers and theirs before them. We are puppets dancing on the strings of those who came before us, and one day our own children will take up our strings.” – Tyrion
Welp, I wrote most of this over the summer and then forgot to post it. My sincerest apologies. Anyway, suffice to say, this one is my favorite in the series so far because of all the twists and bloodshed and intrigue and just WHY?!
Jaime: Remember when I said I would never like Jaime? That no matter what I would hate him forever? That he would never be forgiven? Well, I haven’t forgiven him, but I don’t hate him anymore… In fact, I actually like him. He had such a good arc in this book and we see him grow into a less selfish man, a man who actually goes to rescue his old captor (Brienne) and a man who sends Brienne off to defend Sansa. Plus we got an explanation of why he killed Aerys and I agree with it. Sure he broke his vows, but Aerys was going to burn the whole city. I think Jaime’s allowed to kill him for that. I’m really excited to see his further development especially with Tywin dead (yay!).
Catelyn: I don’t know if I agree with what she did; freeing Jaime to offer him as a trade for her daughters. It’s not going to help them in their war effort. BUT, I understand why she did it and I think I would’ve done the same especially if I had just lost my sons. She loves her family and that’s admirable. I’m very split about this!
Now let’s talk about Walder Frey and the wedding massacre. My initial reaction – FUCK! I knew this book got brutal and then they killed two Starks and everything just sucks. And with Arya so close to being home too. George R. R. Martin hates happiness, doesn’t he? Also the ending with Catelyn the reanimated person! I flipped out when she appeared. Like, aren’t you supposed to be dead?! Okay, so I get that she was brought back to life, but still this is very bad. She’s all revenge-y now, very unlike how she was earlier. But then she thinks nearly all her children are dead, what else does she have to live for but revenge?
Arya: Why did I think she might actually reach her family? Seriously! I thought she would reach Robb and Catelyn and there’d be a nice reunion scene. I feel embarrassed to admit that now… Anyway, I appreciate how much she’s changed since King’s Landing. Like she’s become this tough, badass kinda-warrior girl but underneath all that, she’s still a little girl and there are reminders everywhere (like when she falls asleep in the saddle). I hate that this world is so cruel to such a young girl, but that’s war, I suppose. It robs us of our innocence. Before the coin and words came up, I was hoping she’d go to the Wall (JON!) but I’m excited for this as well.
Also I’m concerned about how she’s changed. Yes, she’s a badass warrior, but she’s lost so much and she has this cold killer’s attitude now and that’s a scary change. It’ll help her survive, but I can’t entirely say it’s for the good.
Tyrion: I hate that Tyrion gets so little credit after the battle. I hate that his father denies him his birthright because he’s a dwarf and his wife died giving birth to him. I hate that his talents are pushed aside and he’s made the master of coin. I hate that Tywin ignores the pleas for more soldiers at the Wall. I hate that Cersei is going to be married off, that she has no choice (yet another reason she grabs at power). I hate that Sansa and Tyrion are forced into marriage. I hate that the marriage isn’t working. I hate that Tyrion gets blamed for Joffrey’s death. I hate that Oberyn loses the duel. I hate that Shae betrays him. I hate that Tysha was genuine and that Tywin created that awful story and that Jaime went along with it.
I love Tyrion’s wit and how it never abandons him. I love the way he and Varys interact. I love the way he squabbles with Cersei as if they were just siblings and then plots against her like the scheming nobility they are. I love that Cersei was bossy even when she was little. I love that Tyrion kills Tywin, no matter the consequences because it’s such an awesome moment and it feels so good after the way Tywin’s been treating Tyrion.
Davos: I was really excited to see that Davos had survived the battle and I definitely agree with his mission. Although I was afraid when he was named Hand because Hands have such low life expectancies (except Tyrion – wait, does this mean Tyrion’s going to die?! No… He was only serving as Hand while his father was in combat… Right? He’s going to be okay, right?). Back to Davos… I’m glad he went against his king and sent the boy away. You go Davos! Keep the king from committing atrocities in the name of R’hllor!
I think Davos is one of the few characters with a sense of honor and loyalty who’s still alive? Besides any of the Starks, that is. Okay, now I’m afraid for his life.
Sansa: Sansa has grown so much. I think there was a wonderful contrast with the new ‘friends’ Sansa had for a short time and Sansa herself. They acted like Sansa once did, all girly and giggly and head-in-the-clouds-y. You see them and you remember how Sansa used to be and then you see what’s she become and it’s such a breathtaking change. I felt bad for Sansa marrying Tyrion, but she could’ve had it way worse. At least Tyrion respected her wishes.
I took notes while reading this book and here’s a section from it: “The snow castle! And Littlefinger helping her built it! That was cute and I loved how playful Sansa was when she threw snow at his face. BUT NO DON’T KISS HER WHAT ARE YOU DOING STOP! DAMN YOU ROBERT I HATE YOU YOU LITTLE BRAT KID AND I’M GLAD SANSA TORE YOUR STUPID DOLL AND I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU RUINED THE MAGIC AND ARGH! SHUT UP LYSA! I HATE YOU SO MUCH AND YOU ARE BEING MEAN AND POOR SANSA!” Lol, I’m so coherent in my rage. Anyway, I love the snow castle bit where Sansa gets to be innocent and then it’s all ruined because Littlefinger was stupid and kissed her (oh and Robert).
THAT ENDING THOUGH! OMFG! I was on the edge of my seat, actually I was lying down so my metaphorical edge of seat. I felt sorry for Lysa and the way her envy over Catelyn and her anger over Jon and not having Petyr’s love transformed her into this bitter woman though I don’t condone her present actions at all. Also Lysa’s Nice Guy act, ugh. You do not get love because you think you ‘deserve’ it more. Love isn’t determined that way. It’s determined in strange, inexplicable ways. And then wow, when Littlefinger pushed her over the ledge for power! She poisoned Jon because she loved him and now he’s gone and stabbed her in the back. Just goes to show: trust no one.
Also Sansa ;______; I’m so concerned for her.
Jon: Jon’s story, as always, was fascinating to read and one of my favorites. Being with the wildlings was a culture shock to Jon and I think liberating as well. Dishonorable as well, given his vows, but he found love with Ygritte. And then she died in his arms and I was a puddle of tears. Why is this book full of so much pain?!
But my favorite part in all this was Jon being the leader. He made a fantastic leader, giving inspiring speeches and coming up with good plans to defend the Wall. The flashback with Robb where Robb says Jon can’t be Lord of Winterfell in their game because he’s bastard-born was awful. Can I just adopt Jon? I know Robb loves Jon and they were just kids, but still, that kind of stuff hurts! Also Catelyn could never treat him right. I’m so excited that he’s Lord Commander.
Daenerys: As always, loved the dragons, loved Dany, loved everything. Although the Unsullied, their education and lifestyle is just so harsh and awful. I can definitely understand her reluctance in purchasing them because it is evil, but what’s done is done. Daenerys can buy them and she can use them for good. I love that she frees the slaves because she has a beautiful heart even though she stumbles along the way by not ensuring stability which is a huge stumble. It reminds me of colonialism and also postcolonialism because the retreating empires didn’t leave behind stable governments. But at least Daenerys acknowledges her faults and decides to stay.
Bran: Short section here. Bran is still adorable and I’m excited by how closely linked he is to magic and the promise of magic lessons now that he’s on the other side of the Wall! Also yes more Meera always!
Samwell: “Into every generation, there is a chosen one. One boy in all the world. He alone will wield the obsidian dagger to stand against the Others and forces of winter. To stop the spread of their chill and the swell of their numbers. He is the Slayer.”
No, I’m not sorry for that. The moment Sam got the nickname, this was all I could think of. I will definitely be making a graphic sometime. I love that Sam is so compassionate and caring. He tries so hard and honestly who cares that he’s a coward. He tries and he loves and I just really love the guy okay. I also love Grenn for not leaving Sam to die.
- I like Brienne. She’s awesome and she had some wonderful interactions with Jaime.
- obb made a stupid decision to marry Jeyne. That’s painful for me to say because I believe in marrying for love, but it screwed him over in the end. He’s a king, he doesn’t have the luxury to make impulsive decisions like this. *sigh* But he’s also a sixteen year-old boy and teenagers do make impulsive choices all the time and in another land, it wouldn’t have cost him his life. But in his life, in the middle of a war with political schemes going on everywhere, this was about the dumbest thing he could do.
- The outlaws are fun! Well, not really ‘fun’ since they’re bandits and do awful things, but I enjoy reading their dialogue. Also, their names are the best. Lem <3
- Just as I was thinking that bad things only happen to the Starks, boom, Joffrey dies! It’s interesting how much more revolting he got before his death – from wanting to serve Robb’s head to Sansa (who does that?!) to ruining the book Tyrion gave him. I was so happy that he died! And that feels wrong to say because we shouldn’t be happy when people die, but this is Joffrey and he’s a little shit and in the end, I’m just very, very happy to see him dead. And then, as if to say bad things really do happen to the Lannisters and the Starks aren’t the only ones who die, Tywin dies as well! YES YES YES! The only thing I don’t like about this is that Tyrion is blamed.
- I disagree with Melisandre’s view of the world. Things aren’t so clear-cut (well death and life, yes). There are areas of gray – dawn, dusk, gray, and I think that’s something the book explores a lot. The world really doesn’t support her ideas. Ugh and how creepy is it that she has sex with people and then uses their life energy to create those shadows. Also, I strongly disagree with child sacrifice and I hate the way they talk about the massacre at the wedding!
- Although I like Olenna’s honesty and humor, I don’t appreciate the way she starts ignoring Sansa once she marries Tyrion. It wasn’t her choice and that was rude. It was also plain in that moment that she didn’t really care about Sansa the person, only the kingdom behind her.
- As always, I enjoy seeing more of the cultures. They’re fascinating and I would write more about them, but it’s actually been a few months since I finished the book and I’m just finishing up my review, having discovered it.
- I’m still bitter over Oberyn losing the duel against Clegane. What Gregor Clegane did was unacceptable and yet he wins and it’s just sad. This is not a fair world we live in and this book continuously reminds us of that!
Alright, I’m ending it here. This was a great book and there are probably half a million things I didn’t get to talk about, but I think this has been a good overview.