Wednesday, February 24, 2016
A Dance with Dragons
Welcome to my A Dance with Dragons re- read. This week we are reading Daenerys VII and Jon IX. With the lions share of the chapters in this book, you would expect that their story arcs would be quite expansive, and in some ways they are. However I'm still struck by how little their stories move forward given the the pace of the earlier books. Nevertheless a lot happens here so let's dive in and take a look, shall we?
Dany wakes up next to Daario Naharis and she's thinking how he has no real conscience- and also that he wants the queen, not just her. It is two days before her wedding and Daario tells her to marry him instead. He urges her to hold court as some of the deserters from the Windblown are anxious to see her, as they are Westerosi and are anxious to see a Targaryen. A Dornish squire named The Frog has a gift for her (we know of course that is Quentyn). She agrees to see them the next day.
She thinks that Hizdahr will bring peace as her enemies continue to mass against her. As she holds court Daario brings forth the Westerosi deserters- led by Pretty Meris. This is the group The Tattered Prince sent over to get close to Dany. Quentyn (Frog) is of course among them, and Dany's first impression of him is not favorable. She asks them their true names, and they introduce themselves for who they really are. Quentyn produces the pact that was signed long ago, by Willem Darry and witnessed by the Sealord of Braavos. It calls for her brother to marry Arianne of Dorne, uniting Dorne and the Targaryens against Robert.
Quentyn then introduces himself as Prince Quentyn of Dorne, and Dany... laughs. Not exactly a good start. She realizes that Quentyn means to marry her and thereby uphold the pact, but she tells him she is already promised. She instructs that they be treated well, and afterwards Barristan tells her this changes everything. She demurs however and says it changes nothing. Missandei later tells her it is not too late to cancel the wedding, but Dany feels she must.
As she makes her way to her wedding she talks with Barristan, and he tells her that her father Aerys once desired Tywin Lannister's wife, and said things that angered Tywin.
A lot of this chapter is fluff, seems to me, but that may be because I find Dany's story so boring at this point. I feel like Martin dragged this Meereen storyline out through the whole book, at a much more glacial pace than previous volumes, and even though it is interesting in a way it's really just taking too long to get anywhere. I still disagree with her decision to marry Hizdahr, even though I think Martin is trying to show us she places duty before her own desires, but it just doesn't make sense how she is ever going to go to Westeros anytime soon if she marries and tries to quell Meereen.
Queen Selyse arrives and Jon knows that all her men and attendants serve Melisandre more than her. Along with her is Tycho Nestoris, a representative of the Iron Bank of Braavos. He is looking to meet with Stannis. Hmm, interesting. Jon is escorting the queen to her quarters when they come upon Wun Wun the giant, who kneels before her. That's kinda cute. Shireen is entranced to see him but her mom is not. Turns out Nestoris is there to discuss the crown's debt to the Iron Bank, which the Lannisters have decided not to repay. Jon and Nestoris meet and bargain- Jon wants Nerstoris' three ships and gold to feed the Watch, in return for helping Nestoris get to Stannis in the field.
Jon thinks he now has a total of eleven ships to go to Hardhome. Later he thinks that if Stannis can come to terms with the Iron Bank that he may just have won- because the Bank will lend him whatever he needs to get their debts. Then a girl shows up- the girl Melisandre saw in her visions? But if she's here, what happened to Mance and the spearwives who went to get her? The girl turns out to be Alys Karstark, and Jon had met her once before. She is fleeing her uncle Cregan who wants to marry her.
Jon wonders if Melisandre had some other task for Mance since the girl arrives on her own I find the whole Alys Karstark thing fascinating, and that and the Nestoris part made this a good chapter for me.