Wednesday, August 3, 2016
A Dance with Dragons Jon/ The Queen's Hand
This week we're almost to the end. This is the final Jon chapter, and viewers of the show and those who've read the books know what's coming. But this is a fascinating chapter, so much happens here and we have a lot to cover. And then we look in on Quentyn and his companions, after the disastrous attempt to steal a dragon in last weeks chapter. This will be the last look we get at Meereen as well, and Barristan and the Dornish have some tough calls to make. These last few chapters are very exciting, so let's take a look...
Spoilers for the books.
Jon is meeting with Queen Selyse in Stannis' absence and she is nixing his plan to ride to the relief of Hardhome. Jon plans to do it himself and she does not approve. They also discuss Gerrick Kingsblood, who styles himself a king of the wildlings- she announces that he is giving his eldest daughter to Ser Axell Florent for a wife and his other daughters will marry Ser Brus Buckler and Ser Malegorn of Redpool. By this she means to cement relations with this wildling "king", not realizing the other wildlings would hardly recognize him as their leader. Selyse also wants to marry Val to Ser Patrek.
We also get another glimpse of Patchface, the queen's fool who some suspect is more than he seems. His comment here lends credence to the theory about the aquatic creatures that have supposedly mated with human women.
"Under the sea, men marry fishes." Patchface did a little dance step, jingling his bells. "They do, they do, they do."
Selyse dismisses Jon but Melisandre comes after him and warns him again that he's in danger. And she advises against him going to Hardhome.
"Your ships are lost. All of them. Not a man shall return. I have seen that in my fires."
"Your fires have been known to lie."
"I have made mistakes, I have admitted as much, but -"
"A grey girl on a dying horse. Daggers in the dark. A promised prince, born in smoke and salt. It seems to me that you make nothing but mistakes, my lady. Where is Stannis? What of Rattleshirt and his spearwives? Where is my sister?"
"All your questions shall be answered. Look to the skies, Lord Snow. And when you have your answers, send to me. Winter is almost upon us now. I am your only hope."
Jon plans to meet with the leaders in the Shieldhall that evening. As he returns to his quarters he finds his direwolf agitated, and so is Mormont's raven. Foreshadowing, perhaps? He meets with Bowen Marsh and Othell Yarwyck and they predictably take a dim view of his going to Hardhome. They basically want to let the wildlings die (and they have a point- they don't have the men to do a rescue and it will take forever to get to Hardhome and back) but the direwolf bristles when they leave- foreshadowing. And then the Pink Letter comes.
The Pink Letter- much has been made of this. Sent to Jon by Ramsay Bolton, it claims that Stannis is dead and that Mance is captured, and demands that Jon turn over Queen Selyse along with Shireen and Melisandre. He also demands the wildling baby and Reek be returned to him. Jon consults with Tormund and then takes the matter to the Shieldhall , where he announces to the assembled wildlings that he will ride south and take Ramsay. The wildlings go nuts and support Jon to a man- while Bowen Marsh and the Nights Watch men file out. Melisandre is present as well but leaves before Jon can talk to her.
I have my swords, thought Jon Snow, and we are coming for you, Bastard.
Jon leaves the Shieldhall with two guards but hears screaming, and discovers the giant Wun Wun swinging Ser Patrek against the tower. The knight was trying to get at Val and Wun Wun wasn't having any of that. Jon tries to calm everyone and keep the other knights from attacking but then Jon is stabbed by several of his brothers, including Bowen Marsh. The chapter ends with him bleeding out into the snow...
We can debate the wisdom of Jon forswearing his vows to march on Winterfell- I personally don't see it after seeing him resist such temptations in the past, but every man or woman has their limit I suppose and Jon has been threatened on top of the demands for turning people over and everything else. He's just not going to do that. He doesn't care that the Watch isn't with him- he has the wildlings and will break his vow but not encourage any other Night's Watch t do so. The question now is- what happens next? I explore this a bit here but the short version- I don't think Melisandre will be happy, she likes Jon and I think she'll take action. She may command the knights to protect his body and the wildlings will go apeshit- we could look at a bloodbath here especially with a giant already on a rampage. The chapter says men are screaming as Jon goes down- I think all chaos has broken loose.
THE QUEEN'S HAND
And we return to Meereen. Last week we saw Barristan take Hizdahr into custody, removing him as king, and Quentyn of Dorne tried to steal a dragon with the help of mercenaries. That didn't go so well, with Quentyn getting burned. Here we find that he has in fact died after three days. The dragons meanwhile are loose and are wreaking havoc in Meereen, sitting atop various pyramids and burning everything in sight.
Barristan finds himself in charge now, with the king a prisoner. Barristan has sent the Green Grace out to treat with the Yunkai'i and has fortified the city. At least three pyramids have been attacked or wrecked and the Sons of the Harpy are killing again. The Dornish are being held captive. Most of those present are skeptical that the Green Grace will be successful, and Barristan says if the Yunkai'i do nor return their hostages then he will attack.
Barristan then meets with Drink and Arch, the two companions of Quentyn, and they debate Quentyn's plan and whose fault is is. Barristan proposes that they go back to the Tattered Prince along with the Windblown who are in the dungeons- he wants them to hire the mercenaries to bring the hostages back. Later Barristan muses that Rhaegal is showing himself to be more dangerous than Viserion. And the Green grace returns from her mission and asks Barristan to restore Hizdahr. He wonders whether Hizdahr is the Harpy, and wonders about her when she says Hizdahr is innocent.
She tells him that the his offer was refused, and only the dragons will appease their enemies. The Shavepate then shows up and says the trebuchets are being used to hurl corpses into the city. It is war, Barristan thinks.