Welcome to my A Dance with Dragons re- read. This week we are reading Theon and Daenerys IX. Theon is at Winterfell and is trying to lay low as the spearwives and Mance Rayder plot to rescue Jeyne Poole. The Boltons are using Jeyne to masquerade as Arya so they can claim lordship over the North. Meanwhile Dany is now married and peace is at hand- or is it? So let's take a look...
Theon is keeping his head down and trying to keep a low profile as Winterfell waits the arrival of Stannis' forces. He is sitting with Mance and reminds him that he would not let Theon fall into the hands of the Boltons. Hosteen Frey barges in and shows the body of Little Walder who was killed and stuffed in a snowbank. He is furious and blames Lord Wyman Manderly, and fighting breaks out.
Manderly is injured but not seriously, and Roose Bolton orders the Freys and the Manderlys out to fight Stannis. Rowan, one of the spearwives, says it must be now to rescue "Arya". Theon asks about Mance but they say he can fend for himself. They go to bathe Jeyne (pretending to be servants) and Theon reflects that after hearing his voice in the godswood, he feels like Theon again. They manage to squirrel Jeyne out and make it as far as the walls before the gig is up- Holly and another spearwife take out guards, and then one of the others stays behind to cover their escape.
"You poor boys must be freezing," said Holly. "Here, let me warm you up." She slipped past the guard's spearpoint and reached up to his face, pulling loose the half-frozen scarf to plant a kiss upon his mouth. And as their lips touched, her blade slid through the meat of his neck, just below the ear. Theon saw the man's eyes widen. There was blood on Holly's lips as she stepped back, and blood dribbling from his mouth as he fell.
Jeyne Poole let out a shrill, high scream.
"Oh, bloody shit," said Holly. "That will bring the kneelers down on us, and no mistake. Run!"
On the drawbridge, Frenya stopped and turned. "Go on. I will hold the kneelers here." The bloody spear was still clutched in her big hands.
As he leaned up against a merlon, breathing hard, Theon could hear the shouting from below, where Frenya was fighting half a dozen guardsmen in the snow. "Which way?" he shouted at Holly. "Where do we go now? How do we get out?"
Some of the spearwives go down but we don't know about all of them, or what happens with Mance. Theon has no choice- with the guards closing in, he and Jeyne jump off the walls, into the snow eighty feet below.
The crazy thing here is it is Jeyne Poole they are rescuing, not Arya. Still, Theon and Jeyne have a shot.
The fighting pits are reopened and Dany is resigned to going and witnessing the spectacle. She doesn't want to go but here Martin is again showing us Daenerys' mindset as a ruler, as opposed to Cersei's. Quentyn wants to see her but she says another day. She goes to the Pit and Barristan tells her that the Windblown will come over to Dany's side if she promises to grant Pentos to the Tattered Prince. She says she will not give Pentos to a sellsword.
The fighting goes on and Dany is disgusted by it. Then two dwarves joust on a pig and a dog- Tyrion and Penny, although she is unaware that is who they are. When Hizdahr tells her a lion will be released for them to fight, she puts a stop to it (saving Tyrion's life). Belwas meanwhile starts to get sick (after eating a bunch of honeyed locusts), and Dany wants to leave, sickened by the carnage, when Drogon appears over the arena.
The dragon is attacked and everything goes crazy. Dany jumps into the arena and goes to Drogon and is terrified- he almost attacks her, but she is able to command him. She jumps on his back and they ride out, and just like that she's out of Meereen.
Interesting here that Hizdahr encourages Dany to try the honeyed locusts when they arrive at the arena. There are a lot of theories as to who poisoned the locusts, this would seem to indicate that Hizdahr was in on it?