This is a fascinating chapter as it gives us a lot of hints at the way things may go in the north. Readers may remember that Stannis' army is hunkered down in the snow, there's been a terrible blizzard, and they've taken shelter at an abandoned village in the woods. The Boltons control Winterfell and are sending some of their forces out to attack Stannis, although it's mostly Freys and Manderlys going out- two factions that have been at each others' throats inside Winterfell. Roose Bolton is probably thinking he's glad to be rid of them and hoping for high casualties on both sides. Also, Theon is newly arrived, having been captured after escaping Winterfell with Jeyne Poole, who was being passed off as Arya Stark to marry Ramsay.
Theon is now a prisoner, hanging in a tower as Stannis takes audience with various and sundry persons. Conditions are terrible as snow blows in every time the door is opened, and Theon reflects that knights and visitors have been coming to see Stannis all night. The first visitor we see is Tycho Nestoris, the banker from Braavos, who is finishing up negotiations with Stannis for a loan. Stannis sends Tycho back to Braavos by way of Castle Black, and assigns one of his knights- Justin Massey- to escort him. Further, Massey is to sail to Braavos with the banker and buy ships and sellswords there- at least twenty thousand men- and send them back to Stannis.
Stannis also instructs Massey to seek out the Golden Company if possible, and hire them if they're not under contract (little does he know they're already coming ashore on Westeros).
After the banker departs Stannis confronts a maester who sent birds to Winterfell to alert them of Stannis' location. After ferreting out the maester's lies he meets with Karstark and his son- both of whom have also betrayed Stannis by conspiring with the Boltons- and Stannis informs them they will be executed. We're seeing here Stannis reacting to those who have wronged him- and by having Theon strung up behind him as he takes audience, I suppose he's sending a message that way too!
His final meeting is with Asha, the sister of Theon. Asha was captured in an earlier battle and Stannis is mulling what to do with her. She tells Stannis that if he's going to kill Theon, he should do it as Ned Stark would do it- himself. Furthermore, there's a weirwood tree in the nearby abandoned village and she tells the king to give Theon to the old gods. At that point the ravens in the room go berserk, calling out Theon's name and saying "tree, tree."
I think the implication here is that Bran and/or Bloodraven are warging the birds and observing events. Why else call to Theon? He thinks too about how the heart tree at Winterfell spoke his name, before he got away. Some other tidbits here lend credence to the theory that Stannis has a trap set for Bolton. We learn that "Crowfood" Umber has dug pits outside the walls of Winterfell- concealed by the raging blizzard- and Frey forces rode forth and fell in, including Aenys Frey who broke his neck.
Thanks for sharing your views on this book. Sounds interesting to me.ReplyDelete
Thanks for stopping by!Delete
Oh did not realise things were that differentReplyDelete
Yeah they're pretty different!Delete
It's been so long since the last book, I don't even remember what happened! I'll definitely need a reread when this hopefully, eventually comes out, especially since all the stuff from the show is out there and can be pretty different from the book series.ReplyDelete
Yeah the book and the show have definitely deviated, as most of the stuff in the last two books is not really making it on screen.Delete
I was always curious about giving the books a go, but normally once I've watched the tv show, it's hard for me to go back to the books. And I didn't realise how different the books were from the show! Thanks for sharing this post with us Greg!ReplyDelete
I'm the same way, I have a hard time going to the book once I've seen the show. But the books in this case are pretty different, once you get to books four and five.Delete
I'm thinking now that I've caught up on the show I might start on the books. I imagine there's a whole lot more revealed about the character's thoughts and motivations in the books.ReplyDelete
Definitely true. Seeing their internal thoughts adds a LOT of nuance to the characters.Delete
I really need to read this series and watch it. I am hopelessly behind. I do wonder when this book will finally be finished.ReplyDelete
I can barely remember what happened in the previous book (how many years has it actually been since it came out??), but I love getting a glimpse at your take on all this. Fan theories are one of my favourite things about beloved books!ReplyDelete
One day I'll have to try the TV show or the books!!!ReplyDelete
I'm having to avoid reading these posts I'm afraid as I need to catch up on the books first!ReplyDelete
I still need to read this series!! I've owned them for two years now! Such a slacker...ReplyDelete
I hear George R. Martin takes forever to release books! I'm still not sure I want to read Game of Thrones because I hear he kills off characters without much reserve. :)ReplyDelete
He does- I think the last one came out in 2011? Kinda crazy really. :) And he does kill off characters, although it's not THAT bad. There's one in particular that's a shocker because you don't really see it coming? Well more than one I guess! :)Delete
I keep forgetting how much the show has started to deviate from the books.ReplyDelete
It really has, and reading these sample chapters for the next book really drives that home! It's weird too because some of these chapters were supposed to be in the last book, so it's not like they're that new- they've been around in some cases for years!Delete
I too keep on forgetting how far ahead and deviated the television show is from the book. And the releases of these sample chapters have been so far and few in between that I totally forgot about them--the excerpt you chose is very interesting, too bad we don't know when the book will be released!ReplyDelete
I know! And these sample chapters are such a tease, I need the book!!!Delete
Thank you for sharing, Greg. I'll check out this book. I love the sound of it. :)ReplyDelete
I kind of just skim through the post because I still hope one day to read these books! BUT Stannis is alive and has Theon as a prisoner? I'm confused! I'll have to go back and Binge watch GoT again [love excuses!]ReplyDelete
Yes- Stannis is alive (in the books) and has Theon prisoner. Not in the show... :)Delete
There's so much that I don't remember. :( And I really don't want to begin that reread without a HINT of when WoW will come out.... :( Love your thoughts on this Greg! Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete