(Index to previous A Dance with Dragons posts here.)
Making up for lost time! Lordio, I sort of wish I’d started out giving page numbers for these chapters – it’s surprisingly difficult to find where I was last at. Ne’ermind, too late now. Onwards!
Chapter 47: Tyrion
When we last saw Tyrion he was about to be taken by slavers, now he’s on the auction block. Him and Penny seem likely to go for a pretty… uh, penny. Being performing dwarfs and all. Ser Jorah? Not so much. He gave a good fight before they took him, earning himself a bad reputation, and hearing that Daenerys is married took it all out of him. He’s been beaten physically and mentally – there’s not much left.
There’s a bidding war over Tyrion and Penny, spurred on by Tyrion, who sees that one of the sellswords has recognised him for who he really is. Tyrion knows his chances are better with someone who recognises him as a Lannister – whether to take him to Cersei (who is, after all a long way away) or as a man who would pay his debts to anyone who freed him. Alas, the sellsword is outbid by a large wealthy man who likes to keep a menagerie of ‘freaks’, Yezzan zo Qaggaz. Tyrion persuades Nurse, who supervises Yezzan’s menagerie, to take Jorah, too, claiming that he plays the role of the Bear in a sketch of ‘The Bear and the Maiden Fair’ that they perform.
Their first job as slaves is to perform at a feast, and then serve at table. They perform admirably, and as Tyrion boasted of his skill at
Sheldon’s three person chess cyvasse on the auction block, he is commanded to perform in a wager between Yezzan and the sellsword who tried to buy them, who turns out to be Brown Ben Plumm – the man who betrayed Daenerys for money. The wager is that Plumm will win the dwarves if he can beat ‘Yollo’ (Tyrion). Of course, he does not. But in performing so well, Tyrion and Penny please their master, and it is decided that they will perform for Daenerys as entertainment in the great pit. Our players draw ever closer together…
This was a fun chapter. Tyrion on fine form ‘selling’ himself on the auction block. And poor Ser Jorah, learning that he has come too late, and Daenerys is already wed. Not that he had much of a chance – she was always going to need to marry for advantage, and marrying him has little to offer. It’s a nice note, though, his utter dejection after having just displayed his power and prowess trying to fight off a bunch of slavers by himself.
The game of cyvasse is also well employed, in this instance. However much as Tyrion is humiliated and physically beaten, Martin has yet to show him at mental disadvantage, and the encounters with Brown Ben Plumm and the future performance before Daenerys have him well set to turn the situation to his advantage.
Chapter 48: Jaime
Jaimeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Finally, we see Jaime again 😀 He is come to resolve a seige that has been going on needlessly long, and been handled very ineffectually by a Lord Jonos. There’s yet another episode of needless focus on breasts and nipples that I could have done without, but it’s mercifully brief. Unfortunately, Martin also decides that it’s necessary to have a feature of the landscape known as the ‘Teats’. O_O Not that it’s 100% implausible in and of itself – lord knows there are some funny named places about (Cockermouth springs to mind – although I’m pretty sure it didn’t mean the same thing when they first named it, just as ‘Effin‘ is not really a rude word; I once went on holiday to a place called Sandy Balls, and visited a nature reserve called ‘Windy Gap’ on the way back, but they weren’t really named for body parts). These hills, however, really were named as an act of objectifying a woman (although it’s disputed as to which one), on top of employing the most over-used and unpleasant word for a woman’s breasts in this book: ‘teats’. I have never read any book that used the word ‘teats’ so much. And that’s not because the book is so long – I’m talking percentagewise. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it used at most one or two times in pretty much any other book I’ve ever read, but Martin has got stuck on it. Once or twice is shock value, this is just unpleasant; not skillfully unpleasant as in a horror novel to intentionally discomfort, though – I’m pretty sure this is meant to be funny and titillating. Way to alienate your female readers. Yes, you still write some truly awesome lady characters, and I give you full credit for that. It does not make this kind of casual objectification OK.
But enough about that. Jamie sorts out the siege, showing some intelligence and skill that has nothing to do with his sword. Not screwing Cersei appears to be good for him. Speaking of Cersei, he receives a fairly moving plea from her to come to her aid, and ignores it. It’s kind of awesome. He’s growing up. And I think maybe he really is sort of falling in love with Brienne (and I ship Brienne/Jaime so hard).
Speaking of Brienne: !!! Last time we saw her she was apparently being killed, and I was all ‘Nooooooooooooooooo!’. Actually, considering all the things I’ve forgotten about the last book, it’s impressive how much Brienne’s fate was seared into my mind. I’ve been on tender-hooks waiting to find out if she’s really dead, or, you know, undead. After all, death doesn’t have to be final in a GRRM book. And she shows up, saying that she has found Sansa. And with a bandage on her face…
So, is Brienne alive or undead? What has happened to her since we last saw her? I guess if she were undead she’d have black hands, and nothing was said about that, but maybe she’s wearing gloves? I kind of hope she’s not undead, but I kind of don’t dare hope it. OH MY GOD but I want to know more about what’s been going on with her RIGHT NOW. But it’s the end of the chapter and we’re left waiting. You tease!
Suffice it to say that this chapter had a couple of really, super annoying moments, and moments of glorious squee. Could be a metaphor for the whole book.