A Dance with Dragons part three! ~200-~300

With Theon back in play, I am interested in what his plot turns out to be, if only in the kind of way I was interested in the Saw movies. A lot of major stuff is now in motion, so let’s see how it begins to unfold.

Tyrion: The lion from Quaithe’s warning. He’s not sleeping well, nor is he doing well with the water he has to drink. Rough travel, and he’s not going to find Dany receptive when he arrives. 

There’s a septa on the ship, and she takes what seems to be a reasonable position on the whole idea of human bodies being made in the gods’ image: we’re to glory in these bodies. Fair enough, septa.

Moving through the river and helping with sword practice leads to Tyrion being thrown into the river. We learn a bit about Tyrion – Kevan taught him some tumbling, a skill he loved and which made people smile until his father dressed him down for it.

Looks like Tyrion’s got two jobs on this trip. In one capacity, he’s the fool. In the other, he’s writing all he knows about dragons. That’s going to be good information. He’s writing about the mating habits of dragons, and hoping there’s more information in Old Volantis.

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We get into the history of Volantis and how it came to be governed as it is today. Young Griff is an adept student. I wonder if he’ll be of importance later? Tyrion plays cyvasse with the Halfmaester for secrets, and wins. What’s the secret?

In any case, the Rhoyne has just doubled in size thanks to the convergence of rivers and has really earned its reputation. It’s also where the ruins of Nymeria’s palace and city can be found. A giant turtle, the Old Man of the river, surfaces briefly, an omen Tyrion takes well.

Davos: I smell onions. He’s made it to White Harbor. If the reports of his death last book are true, he might wind up dead at the hands of Ramsay – the Dreadfort’s not that far away. If the Manderlys don’t have a problem with him first.

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So yeah, the wrecking of Saan’s fleet really did a number on the planned arrival here. So Davos is sneaking into the city to see how things are before he thinks about announcing himself.

Ah, so the Freys are here already on Tommen’s business. White Harbor just got more interesting. Davos discovers refugees in the Old Mint, and learns that they’re here to escape the fighting. Only Manderly has certainly been raising an army from the young men among the refugees. To what end is uncertain.

The apple seller doesn’t have firm answers on the questions about Wyman’s allegiance. Part of that’s certainly down to the fact that often enough one lord’s as good as the next, so that sort of thing is inconsequential to the average peasant. Davos seems to have forgotten how this works.

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Smart of Davos to find his way to the Lazy Eel to listen to the sailors. The citizens of White Harbor might not divulge much, due to lack of caring or fear or another reason, but sailors talk.

There’s the usual stuff that doesn’t concern his mission, but when it turns to the local politics, things get interesting. White Harbor seems unwilling to go to war, and Wylis Manderly is still a hostage. Not a word about Stannis and his help up at the Wall – the Wall is just too far away for most Westerosi to care.

Conversation turns to Viserys, and how he lost his head. Some don’t believe it. Dany’s name is hard to recall all these years since her exile was forced. Davos has to introduce it into the conversation. And that draws a Braavosi oarsman to tell what he knows about her – a young girl wanting to get to Westeros with her three dragons.

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Davos ponders his options. Everything seems pretty hopeless. Before he sailed south from Eastwatch, though, there was a feast. The insinuations leveled at him and his lordship strengthen his resolve. Davos will do what he came to do, hopeless or not.

Daenerys: We start off with quite a bit of naked dancing. Like, a lot of naked dancing. Dany is doing what she can to strike a deal with Xaro. Worth noting that immediately after he says that “sweetness cloys” he calls Dany “sweet queen.” Yeah, that’s not a sign he’s not on her side at all.

A bit of back and forth, and Dany throws fruit at Xaro while playing the naïve girl. Xaro makes what he believes are compelling arguments for slavery. Practically ripped right out of a history book on the subject, even.

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They break off to speak frankly. Xaro wants Meereen to return to its former slaveholding status. He tells Dany she’s only bringing ruin. This is true. She kind of sucks massively at ruling. He also brings news that the other cities of Slaver’s Bay are making moves to crush her. He can’t help but notice her lack of dragons.

He offers her thirteen ships to take her to Westeros. Her and her dragons. To get her out of Essos. Where she’s completely destabilizing the politics of the entire continent by her presence. If he’s sincere and there’s no other hidden trick beyond the implication that if she doesn’t leave soon, her enemies will do her in, then this is a bold move.

Selmy is cautious but optimistic about the ships. Dany still doesn’t know where Drogon has gone. Wherever he is, it’s bad news for that place.

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The report on the ships is largely good, and discussion immediately begins on how to get all of Dany’s people to Westeros. Things break down pretty quickly there, with the Dothraki fear of crossing the water, fear of enslavement for those left behind, and so on. Dany decides Westeros shall wait. And the region will only further destabilize.

Xaro comes with a giant, old map. Beautiful gift, really. And Dany offers trade again and tells him that they will not be going west, as he wanted. And Qarth declares war.

Jon: Adventures in accounting over here. With all of the additional people at the Wall, three years of winter provisions will last barely a year. It’s too late for planting, and other than the Eyrie Jon doubts anyone would send food from down south.

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Stannis’s squire brings news that two rangers, who had gone the wrong way are back. Also, Jon seems to be very unable to get Ghost to fully follow orders right now. Curious.

Rattleshirt has had something done to him by Melisandre. Details are unclear. She says he’s bound to her. Not to Jon, but her, and he’s a gift to Jon. Probably a deadly gift. Not something to keep. Also, half of the Umbers may be going over to Stannis as well. Much ado about the nicknames the men of the north have.

Stannis is, of course, too rigid and his men are as well. Stannis demands Jon attend him. He means to attack the Dreadfort and catch them unawares. Jon blurts out that that won’t happen, and that there is a major thing. Stannis does not like being contradicted.

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No matter how Jon explains it, Stannis and his men are determined. And Stannis fundamentally misunderstands the wildlings with his talk of keeping the women hostage to ensure the loyalty of the men. All the rulers left at this point are pretty weak in major areas now. No good could come from any of them taking Westeros for their own.

Jon manages to come up with a plan, after fending off another attempt by Stannis to get him to be lord of Winterfell and bend the knee. The clans for the wildlings. All Stannis has to do is ask. Given he equates asking with begging, this is bound to go swimmingly. Jon’s redirecting Stannis toward Deepwood Motte. And Melisandre wants to stay with Jon. Joy.

Tyrion: Fog and fear, and a bit of history and medicine to boot. Word of war in old Volantis reaches them from a passing boat in the fog.

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A lot of beautiful and sad imagery in the ruins here. I’m learning a lot about Greyscale and its related diseases as well.

Ah, here’s the trick. Young Griff, in Tyrion’s estimation, is the son of prince Rhaegar and Griff is Rhaegar’s old friend Jon Connington. If he’s right, and the reactions of all involved seem to suggest as much, then things have gotten very interesting. Another Targaryen has surfaced. What’s the real end game here?

Before Tyrion can really ponder that, it seems the Rhoyne has decided to loop them and send them by the Bridge of Dream again, so some of the stone men could fall onto the boat. Tyrion winds up charging into one and ending up pulled overboard. We’re left with the image of him drowning. He’ll be back.

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Davos: Davos is still chugging along, and he gets to meet with Lord Manderly now. And Freys are there. Fun.

Accusations are flung and everything’s off to a bad start, and then one of the Freys, when Davos points out that the Freys killed Wendel Manderly at the Red Wedding, gives the most absurd story ever. Robb Stark apparently turned into a beast and killed Wendel himself. Like, a straight up werewolf story here. Either Wyman is an idiot, he doesn’t much care, or something’s up.

After a bit of back and forth, Davos does attempt to make his case, weak as the case is for White Harbor to join with Stannis when they have such promises from Cersei.

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I like Wylla Manderly. She’s got green hair, and she says screw the rules – there was a promise. Perhaps the only Manderly with a bit of loyalty in her.

It seems here is the end of the road for our dear Onion Knight.

Reek: Theon is perhaps the most utterly broken man in all of Westeros. He’s riding to Moat Cailin to take the castle. He waves his peace banner and is beckoned inside under arrow fire.

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Reek cannot bring himself to call himself by his old name. He can only allude to it. Moat Cailin’s basically unmanned at this point, too. He kills Ralf Kenning, a mercy, really.

Reek presents the letter of safe conduct, but the Codds manning the tower seem not to know about reading. There’s some slight resistance to the idea of yielding, but that resistance is quickly squelched.

The rhyming mantra in this chapter is really well incorporated. It changes every time to be relevant to the circumstances in which he has to remember his new name. The psychological torture might even be worse than the physical torture here. Reek is rewarded. He’s slightly more than a creature now – he’s a dog. Theon Greyjoy is utterly broken.

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Roose Bolton has arrived at Moat Cailin, and Reek can tell that the Arya Stark he has brought is a lie. And now we know what has become of Jeyne Poole.

Jon: Stannis has marched south, but things are still uneasy at the Wall. The wildlings have taken to carving trees, worrying Edd about Melisandre’s wrath.

It’s to Mole Town, where a good number of wildlings have holed up. Jon and his men bring food, and a call to service. Boys and girls twelve or older, spearwives and men at arms. The crippled and the infirm. All are welcome, if they will work to protect the Wall and the realm. And members of all groups join, with the only holdouts being the Thenns. Keep an eye on that situation, Jon.

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Things of importance:
* Got a secret Targaryen by all appearances, which means Dany isn’t the rightful queen. Uh-oh.
* Goodbye, Onion Knight?
* Stannis is heading south
* The fake Arya is Jeyne Poole, and she’s arrived
* War is on the rise for Dany 

Predictions pulled out of my ass:
* Won’t see Drogon again until the end of the book at the earliest
* I shudder to think what we’ll learn about what happened to Jeyne Poole since we last saw her, and what she’s in for now
* Even if the Others are held back and destroyed completely and this war ever ends, Westeros is screwed with a capital F. 

Dany’s Threes:
Three heads: Three identities. Mother of dragons and child of storms are obvious – the third, though… I’ll have to go look things over again, but perhaps Azor Ahai is a possibility. Of course, this one’s most open and could have several meanings.
She thinks: Herself and two others to ride her dragons.
Three fires: life, death, love. There’s the obvious fire of Drogo’s funeral – the fire of life. The other two will come. No predictions as yet.
Three mounts: To bed, to dread, to love. Drogo was to love. Irri seems a good enough bedmate.
Three treasons: For blood, for gold, for love. All three seem to have been in motion or completed before the prophecy. Jorah seems to have betrayed her for love, love of home. For blood, I’m on board with Mirri Maz Duur now. I’m calling Illyrio Mopatis the treason for gold.
She thinks: Mirri Maz Duur for blood. Jorah for love.

Azor Ahai: “When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone.” 

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I’m going to have to go with Dany now, based on Aemon’s dreams.

Quaithe’s Warning: “Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun’s son and the mummer’s dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal.”

Kraken is Euron, Lion is Tyrion, Sun’s son must be Quentyn, as others have noted the symbol. Pale mare is uncertain – a Dothraki woman we haven’t seen yet? Dark flame might be Melisandre or another of her sect. Griffin and mummer’s dragon are uncertain.