(Index to previous ADwD posts is here.)
Bear with me if I can’t remember things’ names – I’ve just had a job interview and am wedded to a computer away from home whilst my phone charges. I’m too wired to do my research, so I’m doing this for you guys – I just can’t, you know, access my massive book to check things.
Chapter 17: Jon
You’ll be pleased to hear that I enjoyed these two chapters a lot more.
In Chapter 17, Jon checks out the food stores the Night Watch has set aside for winter. They’re really impressive, but not impressive enough – not with Stannis’s men and a bunch of wildings to feed.
Speaking of Stannis: he’s wanting to get some action going – rockin’! With the Boltons heading South he likes the idea of taking one of their strongholds, but he doesn’t have enough men. One dude has pledged his allegiance on the condition that he gets Mance Rayder’s head for a drinking cup, because he’s classy. Even then, he’s not willing to fight other members of his house if they should meet on the battlefield, and some of his family have declared for one of the other sides. Stannis’s knights are keen to take up the offer and rock on down to the stronghold, but Jon, who knows the area better, knows this to be foolish. He’s got a better idea, which he gives to Stannis on the condition that Stannis leaves him the wildings to man the Wall: woo the mountain clans. It’ll take longer, but could garner Stannis 3,000 more men.
Also, Lady Melisandre has made a ‘gift’ of a wildling dude (I think?) named Rattleshirt (maybe?), who apparently hates Jon, but is now under Lady M’s control.
I liked this chapter. The strategies and debate were really interesting. Stannis is actually going to do something. Maybe. In a bit.
I’m still bored to tears with anything to do with Melisandre – she’s just too much of a walking cliche, and even the promise of mind-control isn’t making this plotline sexy for me – but she didn’t dominate the chapter. It just a shame she’s not going to leave with Stannis when he departs. The only other thing that bothered me is that Jon seems to have suddenly gained a whole lot of tactical information about the houses and politics of the far north. I know he’s been levelling like crazy, but it is a bit like he spent his points in Northmen Lore having gained them in Wildling Fighting. I can appreciate that he was raised by Ned, and Ned knows these people, but I somehow doubt he had quite the same education on the matter as Rob. Rob, I would expect to know this shit. Jon, I would expect to have general thoughts about it, but maybe not detailed names and character profiles of every man in the north who can wield an axe. Wildlings and the Wall are what he has experience in. Sam has a reason to have had the time to read up on this, but Sam’s not there. I dunno, it’s not 100% implausible, it just seemed… convenient.
All of which should not detract from that fact that I did enjoy this chapter – it was like a balm to my soul after the last few – it’s just that there’s not that much more to say about it: there was strategising, it was interesting.
Chapter 18: Tyrion
A Tyrion chapter where something happened! At last! Hurray! Again: liked this one; lots of fun.
Tyrion’s still traveling with his misfit crew of secreteers, but now they’re travelling through a strange fog that hangs over a dead city where frozen figures reach up from the water and mad ‘stonemen’ lurk in the mist. Don’t want to touch those stonemen, or you might catch what they have, and it doesn’t look nice. Mind you, you could catch it’s tamer cousin, greyscale, just by breathing the air. Why is Tyrion travelling this route again? Why would anyone travel through here on purpose? I know the demon road has a bad rep, but I can’t help thinking there has to be a better way.
Nevermind. It looks awesome.
I must confess that I am a sucker for ruined cities and dead civilisations, so I’m eating this shit up. Plus, people are starting to uncover each others secrets – Secret Identity Angst ahoy! 😀 Turns out Young Griff is actually a secret Targaryan prince who everyone thought was dead. That’s why he dies his hair blue – because no one else in the world has white blond hair outside this family – and why he’s so unfathomably well-educated. Seriously, with the colour scheme, in my head? he’s now a bit like Superman. I think I’m now Team Young Griff. It doesn’t hurt that Tyrion seems to have declared for his side.
But – oh noes! – the stonemen rush the boat. And everyone’s all ‘protect the prince!’, and Tyrion does, and he’s awesome, but then he’s tumbling into the Evil Water, being pulled down by a stoneman. Noooooooo! And the Chapter ends.
I’m telling you now, Martin – you better not have hurt my Tyrion! Not so early on! He hasn’t met Dany, yet!
Which is my way of saying: I was totally gripped by this and am thoroughly enjoying myself once more.
Carry on, sir!