Although I wasn’t going to reread anything, I found myself thumbing through the earlier books, and one thing led to another. I seem to have accidentally reread about half of the chapters. Now I have so many half-insights! This is spoiler-free until the cut, after which I have a majorly exciting question.
1. About 80% of the best moments in the series happened in A Storm of Swords: Jon and wildlings, the Red Wedding, the delights of Joffrey’s wedding, the Red Viper vs. the Mountain That Rides, Tyrion’s confrontation in a certain privy, the interesting part of Jaime & Brienne’s character development (before it got horrifically boring in AFFC), defending the Wall, the Unsullied of Astapor, the election of a new Lord Commander on the Wall, and “the singer has killed my wife.” This is the one to reread, if you reread anything.
2. Close to 100% of the straight-up villains treat women badly. Kind of an interesting reflection of the real world; the way people treat the powerless is the best way to tell their character. Also, hilarious sex scandal for conservative politician Tywin Lannister! I love it.
3. In Westeros, a single murder can instantly create an army of 40,000 men crying for vengeance. Um, really? The smallfolk leave their farms and families for the sake of what is essentially…a mascot? On the other hand, no amount of explanation has ever clarified WWI for me: some archduke got a bullet, therefore please proceed to trench warfare and mustard gas. I think I buy the idea that armies can be raised due to feudal promises and a general lack of democracy, but any heroic deaths by guards causes major rolling of eyes. The foot soldiers in these wars know damn well that they are getting the sharp end of the stick.
4. People I hate (in order): Littlefinger, Cersei, Lord Frey, Joffrey, Tywin Lannister, Theon Greyjoy, Jorah Mormont, King Robert, Stannis, Lady Stoneheart, Melisandre, Roose Bolton/Ramsay Snow, Lysa, Lady Taena, Jeyne Westerling’s scheming mum, Shae. People I wish would die just so I don’t have to read them anymore: Davos, Brienne, all the Iron Islanders except Asha. My favorite character: Dolorous Edd.
Who’s on your hate list?
SPOILERS HENCEFORTH. I think I’ve figured out Lightbringer.
1. Is Lightbringer the Night’s Watch? The Watch oath says, “I am the sword in the darkness…the light that brings the dawn.” This could refer to the Watch as a whole, or to Jon in particular (if the King’s Hand can be a person, why not the Queen’s Sword?). GRRM certainly finds a lot of excuses to repeat the oath (morale is down? let’s say our words! the tree wants a password? let’s say our words!). In terms of tempering, Jon has so far given up Ygritte and Stannis’s offer of Winterfell in order to keep his oath, and there are more sacrifices coming down that mountain.
2. Why does Qyburn need women to make FrankenGregor? One of the dreams says that Sansa slays a giant in a castle made of snow, and Qyburn describes FrankenGregor as a champion that “no man” can kill.
3. What is that broken old horn that Jon found with the dragonglass cache? Sam still has it in Oldtown, even after he’s lost most of his possessions. Jon mentioned that he couldn’t get any sound from it, which means that he’s already tried to blow it. That bigass “Horn of Winter” Mance showed is almost certainly just a shiny prop. In a minor detail, Bran mentioned a legend of 79 sentinels frozen into the top of the Wall, so those are some possible sleepers to wake. The Watch oath includes the lines “I am the horn that wakes the sleepers” and “I am the watcher on the walls.” Some Susan Cooper action to come?
4. WTF is going on in this Dayne subplot? Is Ashara alive? Is Aegon in there somewhere? I invoke the rule of “If you haven’t seen the body…”
5. Why does everyone keep dreaming about the crypts of Winterfell? If there are 8,000 years of Starks and Bael the Bard could live there for a motherfuckin’ year, there’s a whole lot of crypt down there.
6. Is Jorah Mormont going to take the black? Dude, he’s gonna have angryface on so many different levels. Also, is the Blackfish going to end up on the Wall too? He’s never seen Arya or Sansa in person + he randomly remembers at one point that Catelyn never trusted Jon + Theon has set the precedent = so much tragedy potential.
7. What’s going to happen with Nymeria’s wolf army? Across all the books so far, bit characters keep remarking on the wolf army. We’ve also repeatedly heard tidings that the Golden Company broke their contract with Myr.
8. Is there a reason that we keep running into Robert’s bastards? We’ve seen at least 4 still alive (Mya in the Vale, Edric Storm at Dragonstone, Gendry everywhere, and some whore named Bella who hopefully didn’t sleep with Gendry). Cersei’s carnival witch predicted 3 kids for Cersei and 16 for Robert, so we’re seeing a pretty big percentage of the ones Cersei didn’t kill.
9. There’s some funny plot point happening with the Wall. Coldhands can’t pass it, and Jon can’t sense Ghost when the Wall is between them. What spells are in there? Is Coldhands Benjen Stark? Is there something special about Hodor or the word “hodor”?
10. Why does Melisandre need to burn two kings? Why two? I can think of one person who is twice royal, if that’s what the recipe calls for…
11. Are Tommen and Myrcella marked for death? That gives me the sads. I love it when Cersei is joking creepily about “what kind of gift shall we send the darling boy?” by which she means that she wants to have Lollys’s newborn bastard killed, and little Tommen is all “a kitten!” He’s the anti-Joffrey.
12. Jaime is the Kingslayer, but is he also going to end up kinslayer and kingmaker?
13. Is Ghost gonna get laid? An actual bodice was ripped in A Feast for Crows, folks. I will laugh my ass off if Jon has a wet wolf dream.