Wednesday, February 3, 2016
A Dance with Dragons
Welcome to my A Dance with Dragons re- read. This week we are reading The Prince of Winterfell and the Watcher. Martin has a tendency to name chapters this way when the POV in question is a one off, or if their identity has been changed or is in question. So...
Theon is helping Jeyne Poole prepare for her wedding to Ramsay at Winterfell. The Boltons of course are pretending that Jeyne is Arya Stark, but Theon knows better. Jeyne begs Theon to help her, but he's too terrified of Ramsay to do anything but escort her to the wedding. The godswood is full of mist and ravens are in the trees, and Theon is spooked a bit. We learn that there is a bard named Abel there who plays for them. After the wedding Theon hears his name spoken in the godswood.
At the feast Wyman Manderly serves pie to the guests and is quite happy- Lady Barbrey thinks him craven but Theon's not so sure. She says that Roose aspires to be King in the North, and we learn that she hates maesters as well. She tells Theon that Lord Rickard Stark's maester was from the Reach, and put the idea in Rickard's head for a Tully marriage- but that's all she says before she has t go into counsel with Roose.
Fans of the show know of course that Sansa is the one that is married off to Ramsay, not Jeyne Poole. In the books Sansa is at the Eyrie with Littlefinger, so this is one area where the show has deviated quite sharply from the books. Also in the books Mance Rayder is still alive, and is here to rescue "Arya". Given what we know about Bran, it seems likely that when Theon hears his name it's really Bran speaking to him through the heart tree.
The other interesting thing here are the pies. I never realized it on first reading, but after re- reading it appears that Manderly is serving Frey pie- in other words, the missing Freys were apparently killed by Manderly's men and he had them cooked up. No wonder he's so enthusiastic to serve them to the Boltons and Freys.
In this chapter we switch gears and travel to Dorne, where Balon Swann has brought the head of Clegane to Doran Martell. They drink to King Tommen and Areo Hotah (the watcher and Martell's bodyguard) observes those who do not drink- Ser Sand, Lord Tremond Gargalen, the Fowler twins, Dagos Manwoody, the Ullers and the Wyls. He thinks trouble could start with them or the Sand Snakes.
Hotah notices that a change has come over Arianne. And Ser Balon was delayed as he came south, by endless feasts and hunts. Cersei has sent a letter asking that Myrcella come back to Kings Landing, and Doran says that Prince Trystane should accompany her, to get to know Tommen. Doran asks if they should travel by sea, and this unnerves Balon. When Balon says it would be too risky, with pirates and all, Doran relents, but then reveals later to the Sand Snakes that he proposed that to test Balon.
He knows that Cersei intends to have Trystane killed on the way back, and Doran is meant to witness it as the work of "outlaws". Outlaws working for Tyrion. He tells them that he and Oberyn worked closer together than they realize, and he fully intends to deceive Cersei by arranging it so that Myrcella blames Gerold Dayne for her injury, and ask Balon to take retribution. Meanwhile Nymeria is to go to Kings Landing and take Doran's seat on the Small Council, and be Doran's eyes and ears there. Also Tyene is to go and try to get close to the High Septon.
We also learn that Ellaria Sand does not approve of the Sand Snakes' insistence on further revenge against the Lannisters. And after the Sand Snakes have retired, Doran shares with Arianne the news that a fleet of Volantene ships has sailed, with elephants aboard. They think it might be Dany, and perhaps Quentyn is there.
So word of the Golden Company's transit to Westeros has reached Doran. He of course thinks it might be Daenerys. I like Arianne more as a measured, matured princess rather than the reckless provocateur she was before, with her half baked scheme to queen Myrcella. Makes her more interesting. I'm not a fan of Hotah, his only role is to be the POV that gives us a look at Dorne, so this is sort of a throwaway chapter for me other than the fact that we learn of Cersei's plot.