Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Dance with Dragons- Jon I

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

Welcome to my A Dance with Dragons re- read. This week we have Jon's first chapter, picking up at the Wall. Jon is now Lord Commander of the Nights Watch- and Stannis has arrived as well, causing all sorts of complications for Jon. Jon's arc is one of the biggest of this book, and a lot happens. So let's take a look. 

Jon is dreaming of wolves- his white wolf is sensing his packmates far away- Arya's with her hundred smaller packmates, Bran's north of the Wall, and Rickon's wolf somewhere (apparently on Skagos). He wakes up to Mormont's raven asking for corn, and gets a report that wildlings are still streaming in- they have refugees from the wildling host coming for shelter. Jon goes to see Stannis, who has settled in at Castle Black after routing the wildlings. Stannis is not happy after receiving a reply from Bear Island, home of the Mormonts. Stannis has sent letters to the northern lords, asking for their loyalty, and so far only Karhold has declared for him. Lyanna Mormont, the youngest daughter of Maege Mormont, replies that the only king she recognizes is the King in the North a Stark. 

Stannis and Jon disagree about what to do with Mance Rayder. Stannis wants to burn him as an oathbreaker, but Jon says Mance could be useful. Stannis has offered Jon the lordship of Winterfell and the title of Warden of the north, but Jon has refused- he will hold to his vows as a member of the Nights Watch.  Stannis wants Jon to give him the abandoned forts and Jon refuses. He doesn't want to help Stannis too much, given the Nights Watch has always remained neutral. Stannis is not happy with Jon's refusal, and orders him to leave- but when Melisandre walks him out she tells Jon that Stannis likes him. She also warns Jon that he has enemies, including some he doesn't suspect, and even offers names, but Jon declines. Dummy! I thought Jon should have listened to her, but he's a bit dense at times in this one. Mel tells Jon that there is power at the Wall, it is one of the  "hinges of the world."


Jon starts a pattern here of dismissing Melisandre when she could be very helpful. also the relationship between Jon and Stannis is fascinating- something you don't really get on the show. Stannis is blunt with jon but underneath it is respect.  Jon feels he has no choice but to refuse Stannis, and that doesn't sit well with the prickly king. The young Lord Commander also realizes he could have his family name- Stark- and be lord of Winterfell, if he only acceded to Stannis. To Jon's credit, he holds to his vows- but imagine the temptation!

Also Melisandre is clearly in the drivers seat when it comes to Stannis- but then we knew that. I think it's very interesting the interest she takes in Jon- what's going on there? Even though she seems to be reading everything wrong (the prophecies), she must at this point sense that Jon is important, both to Stannis and to the overall conflict. They could be quite a team- but Jon has to get over his hesitation to trust her. And to be fair, she IS dangerous. 

"His Grace is growing fond of you."
"I can tell. He only threatened to behead me twice."
Melisandre laughed. 

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