Saturday, April 11, 2015

[Re-read] The Captain of the Gardens


Once more I apologize for drifting away (hope this post makes up for the long time since the previous re-read!). As I've mentioned before, I'm the kind of person who gets totally focused and obsessed with something in bursts. Not too long ago all I did in my spare time was to follow the development of the next Star Wars film. This was followed by a long period where I was totally back into music, and now, the last couple of weeks I've been totally back into role-playing, perhaps spurred by the still-breathtakingly-great Pillars of Eternity CRPG. While my fascination with Pillars has cooled off a bit (due to a super-irritating bug that makes 32-bit users like myself crash 85% of the time when transitioning between areas of the world), I've dived headlong into my old pen-and-paper rulebooks and sourcebooks to flesh out the coming sessions of the live game I use to run, and having a lot of fun with it. This means that when I realized just now that tomorrow is the season premiere of Game of Thrones, I was quite surprised. I've had so much fun doing other things that I haven't given the fifth season much thought at all, or Ice & Fire in general - but I'm sure Martin's Not A Blog is positively brimming with fun little updates on his progress on The Winds of Winter, nothing too revealing, just little cute posts that shows Martin cares about his fans, and which allow fans to show they care about his story. I better go check before I delve into "The Captain of the Guards" (which I think would be more appropriately titled if Areo Hotah was captain of the gardens - unless this chapters shows me Areo captainin' it over the guards, which I don't remember him doing at any time in the story; an even more appropriate title would perhaps be "Bodyguard of the Gout Lord"...anyway). I'm happy to have you along on this re-read, so let's get cracking.

WHOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!


Martin has written a whole new novella while I was busy preparing role-playing game sessions! Would you look at that. Endless reams of text. Something about Puppygate. OOOOOOOOH!! The angry face is back! What kind of mischief have Martin's devoted followers come up with now? Perhaps they have tried to ask a question to the great lord of the Internet? Shrug. Screened/unscreened..great. Poor George, getting too many comments for him to keep up. Age is a cruel acquaintance. Beef....mmmmmm. Holy fuck (excuse the language) did he write a lot about Puppygate! And I'm still not sure exactly what this story is about. It's not set in a medieval fantasy milieu, I can see that. I find it more incoherent rambling than a solid story with a proper beginning, middle, and ending. Not his best work. Still, a nice surprise to see the man still have the energy in him to release a novella.

Nah, who am I kidding. GEORGE YOU COULD'VE WRITTEN A WINDS OF ICE-COLD SNOW-LADEN YELLOW-STAINED FRICKING WINTER INSTEAD OF ALL THESE CHILDISH GRUMPY POSTS ABOUT SOMETHING I AM NOT SURE WHAT THE HELL YOU ARE TRYING TO TELL ME HERE BUT IT HAS TO DO WITH THE HUGOS RIGHT? WELL I DON'T CARE I WANT TO ENJOY THE NEXT BOOK AND YES, I AM NOT ENTITLED TO IT BUT YOU'RE THE ONE COMPLAINING ABOUT NOT HAVING TIME ENOUGH TO WRITE YOU KNOW. ALSO. YOU'VE LEFT ME HANGING FOR SO MANY YEARS. IT IS MORALLY WRONG OF YOU TO NOT FINISH BEFORE DOOMSDAY THANK YOU VERY MUCH OK PLS YES THNX BACK TO THE RE-READ.

Ahem. Thank you for allowing my lil' outburst. All is fine now, thank you. Well, well. Here we are. In Dorne. For the first time, officially, the novels take us to the southernmost kingdom of Westeros, to a culture suspiciously close to Iberia during the reconquests, perhaps, and tonally very different from the rest of the kingdoms - you can't really see the difference between a Stormlander, a man of the Reach, a man of Lannisport or a Riverlander - but a Dornish man sticks out like a sore thumb in a crowd of thumbs. The cool thing is that we already know Dorne - in a sense, the kingdom has been involved since the very beginning of the story, gaining more and more screentime as the story progressed; leading us to Oberyn Martell eventually, a character so cool he single-handedly made Dorne a favorite with many readers, long before we got to see the real prince of Dorne sit in his wheelchair sucking oranges and watching naked children. Yeah....I might be in the camp that found Dorne less kewl than the hype suggested - but we'll see. I might change my mind. I do like the Martells, though, but that's mainly because they had so many awesome cards in the A Game of Thrones: Collectible Card Game back in the days, with their own unique card abilities and great titles to slap onto the table, like "You Murdered Her Children", "Red Vengeance", "Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken", "Scorpions in Your Bed" and many more, I'm sure. 

Right. So in our first proper view of Dorne, Martin gives us the story through the POV of an outsider (in the sense of not belonging to the culture) - Areo Hotah, who is from the free city of Norvos. I can understand the decision to have a non-Dornish POV in Dorne, because then Martin as the author can use that character's impressions of the culture to write about it without the text feeling like one long block of exposition. That would be as clunky as the Night's Watch larder. Yet I am surprised Martin then chooses a POV from a place we've never seen before - Norvos - which gives Martin a double load of work, because not only do we need to experience Dorne through fresh eyes, we also need to understand Norvos a little so that Hotah becomes a grounded character, one who compares his own culture to the Dornish...It would have been easier to have a Westeros character in place. The reader would from the get-go understand the mindset and thinking of a Westerosi character, and Martin would not need to double up on the exposition, both Norvos and Dorne. And what do you know, we already have two Westerosi characters in Dorne - way back, Myrcella Lannister, daughter of Cersei and Robert Jaime, was sent here by Tyrion in A Clash of Kings, and she was escorted by a knight of the Kingsguard, Ser Arys Oakheart. Oh, but wait. The Oakhearts are Dornish, aren't they? He never struck me as a Dornish fellow, but as we later learned, there are three kinds of Dornish and they are very different (with one of the groups being much more similar physically to the people north of the kingdom). Actually, there's a fourth group of Dornishmen which is "dead", currently including Oberyn Martell and Elia Martell, and hopefully soon another batch. Right on. And tomorrow we'll see Dorne come to life on the screen, as well. So weird. I was usually so hyped for a new season. Now I feel nothing. Episode One better deliver for me to go into an Ice & Fire spell. 

(I'm almost dreading to go in. I remember this chapter as particularly dreary, and I'm so tired.)

The chapter opens with a less than stellar first sentence - Martin usually has some evocative language that draws you in; something macabre or curious or unexpected that really wants you to read on; see my post on the first Aeron Greyjoy-chapter right here for more on this. 
Here we have a prince, who is weary, observing that the blood oranges are well past ripe. Even the words threaten to induce a comatose state. Yet, yet I see that Martin is working on two levels here, and I guess you need to notice that second layer of meaning to appreciate the opening. Which I do now, on the re-read; Martin really tells us so much about Doran Martell with this first sentence: that he is a character who observes tells us much about how he works politically, how he views the world, and how he considers his actions - all which will be supported later in the text; his weariness tells us all we really need to know about his physical health; and of course, there's a double meaning hidden in Doran's choice of words, telling us that this is a man with a certain shrewdness to him; the blood oranges being well past ripe is another way of saying "It's time for revenge," that's how I interpret it at this moment anyway; the Martells are all about avenging the death of Elia Martell, Doran's (and Oberyn's) sister, who was married to Rhaegar Targaryen and bore him two children - Aegon and Whataever (see what I did there?). So there's a complex backstory already in place, and the reader is already aware of it, and so we see how House Martell ties into the story of both Robert's Rebellion, when Elia was murdered, and how they are connected to the Targaryens (Rhaegar), the Lannisters (Tywin's men murdered Elia), the Starks (Rhaegar abducted Lyanna) and there are probably connections to the other important Houses as well (Alleras/Sarella is in Oldtown with a Tyrell comes to mind). This makes it feel more natural/realistic that House Martell/Dorne is introduced, even though it is late into the story. The pieces have been properly set up beforehand, and the reader has the knowledge to draw from to connect dots. This I feel is lacking with the introduction of the Greyjoys, because we never really learned much about the Iron Islands through Theon; they seem more randomly thrown into the mix than the Dornish, at least that's how I feel about it - feel free to come with counterarguments below! I'm always looking to broaden my view on this story.

The Captain, who doesn't sound much like a captain when he is spending his time rolling Doran around in his wheelchair, is the character who listens to Doran's foreboding words, out on a terrace. Dorne begins with a terrace, and blood oranges falling to burst open on the marble. It's a colorful place, with pink marble, the oranges, ebony and iron wheels on Doran's chair, and the colors of shading trees. It immediately gives a sense of a more exotic, more southernly place - a place warmer, with people with blood that runs hotter. The opening line might not be too evocative, the sense of place weighs up for it. We learn that the maester in these parts is a fellow named Caleotte, which I often confuse for a female name. We'll have to wait and see if this maester is effeminate, or perhaps dreams of being in a woman's body (no, not in that sense). To see if the name was chosen to support something like that, I mean. 

It's all moving slowly, and I'm sure it's on purpose..but my eyelids are so heavy. Having said that one sentence, Doran proceeds to not say a word for hours, and the only sound Areo can listen to is children splashing in pools and fountains. Say one thing about captaincy in Dorne, say it's a pretty lazy life. Better a captain in Dorne, than a captain in King's Landing. 

Fortunately Martin quickly introduces some movement to keep us hanging - it is Obara Sand, striding onto the terrace with long legs.  She has come by horse, and she is known to boast about mastering any horse - and any man - in Dorne, which might be setup for something going down later in the story. Just a hunch. Maybe we'll see Obara not master a horse (or man). Will she try to ride Sandor's horse, perhaps? Stranger? Nah. I'm just fantasizing about more interesting characters like Sandor now. Back to Dorne. Eyes. Must. Stay. Open.  It's the middle of the day (had a rought night). Can't. Sleep. Sweet sweet power nap. Caleotte follows Obara onto the terrace. We learn that Obara is a fast walker. That's definitely foreshadowing for a new tourney game for the commons - she'll join the Fast Walking Contest and win, then proceed to the joust. 

Areo Hotah, the main man of the chapter. We know nothing about him yet, but now he bars the way for Obara by way of a longaxe. Him wielding a longaxe being the first thing we learn about him (except that is the captain, of course, but that's implied), and I guess you could argue that this tells us what kind of man he is, but so far I'm not getting any vibes from this newest addition to the roster. Open a random chapter in A Storm of Swords and you'll feel (without looking at the heading!) quick enough which POV you are dealing with. Areo's POV so far is...kind of devoid of personality, of mood. It's almost like reading in the third person. He tells Obara that the prince does not wish to be disturbed. Obara's face hardens, she tells Areo to get out of her way. Instantly telling us what kind of hot-headed character Obara is. Kind of like her dad. No wait, he's mush-headed. Anyway. Why did George give this POV the name "Areo"? Wasn't it enough with Aegon, Aeron, Arya? Since this is a character from an entirely new region of the setting, why not go for a name that invokes a different type of culture/language? Norvos to me sounds more like something out of Eastern Europe, Russia perhaps. I'd definitely pick a name that stood out better, particularly since Areo himself doesn't really stand out much (except when he holds that longaxe, of course). A name like Ilyia, or Radomil, or Bohdan, or Kamil. Few enough characters have names beginning with I, R, B or K. Why another A? This, incidentally, is the main reason why HBO decided to rename Asha to Yara. You heard it here first. Boy did I digress there.

We learn that Obara is the oldest of the Sand Snakes; big-boned, thirty years old, close-set eyes, rat-brown hair (black rats are crying discrimination), the daughter of an Oldtown whore (and Oberyn Martell, of course). That man was around. We get a detailed description of her clothing which includes a whip, Indy-style. The maester sides with Areo, saying that he also tried to tell her she wasn't allowed an audience with her uncle nuncle. Obara asks whether the prince knows that Oberyn is dead, not paying the maester any mind; Areo really thinks of Obara as a formidable warrior, which could have counted for something if we knew more about Areo; his perspective becomes a little useless here. We don't know how long he's been here, how he came here, what his own prowess is like, and so forth; we have nothing to measure his perception against, if you know what I mean. If Areo is a cowardly fellow who can't fight (just hold up that longaxe), then Obara might not be that intimidating. Areo tells her that the prince does indeed know that his brother has been slain in the trial by battle, felled by none other than Ser Gregor Clegane, the Mountain that Chops Up Queued Peasants Outside the City Walls (and also Rides) - he had a bird. 

It was Areo himself who delivered the letter to Prince Doran, in fact; "death had come to Dorne on raven wings", that's a great and evocative line. I hope it foreshadows the Night's Watch coming south (fleeing the Others) - as far south as south goes, actually - and then they pick a fight with the Dornish and destroy the entire kingdom and create their own, new Republic of the Night's Watch spearheaded by Dolorous Edd. Again, we see how excruciatingly slow Doran is: He didn't rip open the envelope to read said letter, oh no: he waited the "longest time", all afternoon, watching the children (this is getting creepy) with the parchment in his lap (hiding something?); the sun had gone down, driving the children inside, and still Doran remained outside, watching "the starlight on the water". Maybe someone (Areo?) forgot to drive the guy back inside, after all, he doesn't walk. Now I imagine this scene with Doran impatiently awaiting someone to come bring him inside. I chuckle at the expense of the disabled. Disabled fictional character that is. 

Right, the conversation between Obara and Areo gets constantly interrupted by flashbacks like this, making it hard to concentrate. I am sure it has nothing to do with me needing a nap. Obara touches her whip (that sounds weird; is she trying to be threatening? "Touched" is a strange word to use in a sentence that is supposed to suggest intimidation, I think) She tells him, almost looking at the camera as if to deliver a monologue of exposition, that "thousands are to climb the Boneway" (new location! we know nothing), "to help Ellaria bring Oberyn home" (Aha! I've seen the season five trailers! This might be what Ellaria's role will be in the new season, you saw her being angry? I guess she gets a little of this part from Obara - Ellaria is angry and wants Oberyn's bones brought home). Oy! We learn there are read priests lighting temple fires - in Dorne! Those guys are freaking everywhere these days. Used to be it was only Melisandre and Thoros. Though it's hard to remember Thoros is of the same religion as Melisandre, they are not exactly two peas in a Pod (I did something again there). Apparently, to honor Oberyn's memory, whores give out free sex. That's a pretty great offer. And one I find hard to believe, incidentally. A few more new geographical names are bandied about without the reader having a clue yet, but we'll see at least the Greenblood more closely later. Obara claims that everyone in Dorne is now wondering what Doran will do, what will he do to avenge the murdered prince of the kingdom, Oberyn Martell, her father?

"He does not wish to be disturbed."

I can imagine Obara seething as Areo so calmly just repeats that line. Oh, and finally we get to learn a little about Areo himself. Broad-shouldered. From Norvos. His hair is white now (is he that old?); scarred body - okay, he's a great warrior, since he's still alive - still strong, his axe still sharp, "as the bearded priests had taught him" - now that's interesting. What priests? What priests teach callow youths to keep their axes sharp? Areo explains further that the prince is never to be disturbed when he watches the children play. Disturbing, more like. I am sure Martin is going for the pedo-angle here, although he keeps it very subdued because even he knows where to draw the line, I suppose. In terms of perversions on display. There have been a few, and more to come, I'd say. The prince interrupts them and tells Areo to let Obara pass. Oh. OK. But seriously. Why can no one ever disturb the prince while watching the children play? Because that's when he is hatching his schemes, being focused and concentrated? I hope so. But it sure sounds like something else. Maybe I'm meant to suspect the prince of being a degenerate pervert; only his gout stopping him from abuse of the children; everything about Doran is, after all, wheels within wheels within wheels. Within wheelchair wheels. Hey! Does his wheelchair actually symbolize the man's plotting? Immobile, but wheels within wheels (= schemer)? 

Immediately, as if to show the reader just how loyal he is, Areo jerks his longaxe upright and steps aside. Obara glares at him, then proceeds, with Caleotte on her heels - he is smooth and fat and bald, and has served the royal family even longer than Areo (tells us that Areo, too, has been here for a considerable period of time). Never thought of Caelotte as a fat guy, but here it is, black on white. Doran sits in the shade, gouty legs propped up before him (sounds as if his legs are actually off), heavy bags beneath his eyes. Lots of children playing the pools. "The youngest were no more than five, the oldest nine and ten." Why do we need to know this? Why does Areo think of this? Half were girls, half were boys? We learn that Obara herself also has been playing...in Doran's..pool.

Doran says, calmly, that Oberyn was slain during a trial by battle, which is law, not murder. And he is right, too. Oberyn went willingly into that fight, as Tyrion's champion. Obara tries to appeal to his feelings: "He was your brother.
He calmly responds, "He was."
I love this! Best part of the chapter so far, this little exchange. Just through the short snippets of dialogue, we see so much of both characters revealed. And how infuriatingly calm Doran seems to be. And now we finally get a proper Doran description. Fifty-two years old but looks older; body is soft (eew) and shapeless (what?), legs hard to look upon; swollen joints, dark red toes...pretty much the antonym of sexy. Areo remembers Doran telling his dauighter, Arianne (first mention I believe) that "silence is a prince's friend" and that "words are like arrows you cannot call back" - I like it when Martin introduces new characters this way - it's so subtle you almost don't notice; but when you meet Arianne later, she is already in some way embedded in your mind and the experience of the story. Doran begins to explain that he has written a letter to Lord Tywin, but Obara, hot-headed as they come, interrupts immediately (perhaps predictably) - she blames Doran for not being half the man Oberyn was, but now Doran interrupts her with that classic line, "I am not your father." Or am I confusing it with something else now?

Obara wants Dorne to go to war over the death of her father, and that is of course a ridiculous notion (just ask Doran); she believes that Doran is weak of will because he is bound to his chair, as evidenced when she pleads for the armies in Prince's Pass and the Boneway, telling him that he can stay home in his chair, if only she can march to war. If you look at a map of Westeros you will probably see that Dorne would need a pretty big army to conquer Westeros. She wants to start with Oldtown, as good a place as any I suppose.
Doran, however, is not the kind of man to tell Obara that she is stupid just for entertaining the notion. Instead, he tells her that Tywin has promised to send Ser Gregor's head to Dorne. It's funny that the Dornish here have no idea that Tywin is dead, especially when Obara says she wants to gut him with a spear and search his bowels for gold. A funny little nod to the audience, in a way, since Tywin left the world as his bowels emptied. 

The pretty good dialogue exchange is unfortunately interrupted by a long description, again, of the children at play. What the hell is Martin trying to tell me? Children browning in the sun, children paddling in the sea beyond...wait, are we at a beach? I do not have that impression. I thought we were in a garden, with pools. Three children building a sand castle with a great spike (is Martin alluding here? Is Doran really abusing these kids? The phallacy seems almost too obvious), many play out battles in the largest pool, blah blah blah.

Doran tells Obara that Oberyn, too, played in those pools, but he was ten years younger, so when Oberyn was old enough to play, Doran had moved on with his life and began doing more useful things (not that I mind playing in water; it's great. When not...observed by old gouty guys, at any rate). What I know, when Doran tells Obara this, is that I should look for the underlying meaning of Doran's words. Martin really writes the character's dialogue on two levels, and that's basically what makes Doran interesting; and what makes me interested in reading this otherwise very slow chapter. Doran says that Oberyn was "quick as a water snake", which is probably just some random words chosen by Martin but which automatically makes me think of Syrio Forel and  the water dance...wait, we're in the Water Gardens, right? Is there a link? 

Obara is clearly not enamored of her uncle in any way. She did not come for comfort, she came to arrange war against the rest of the world. She goes into a lengthy story of how she chose the spear and to follow her father, and clearly wishes her uncle was more like him; yet she does not see where Oberyn's temperament led him. Straight into the jaws of skull-crushing death! Metal.
Doran eventually promises to sleep on it. Heehee. He's so calm. So sedate...so sleeee..pyyy...

Obara strides off; Doran promises to send word to her at Sunspear. When she's gone, Caleotte asks if Doran's legs hurt, which is a silly question of course, as Doran puts it: "Is the sun hot?" To be pedantic, no one in Westeros would actually be able to prove that the sun is hot. Anyway, the maester offers a draught for the pain, but Doran declines - he needs his wits about him. Tells us he's a thinker, a real hard thinker. It gives us reason to hope for more spectacular chapters in which we see his schemes unfold precisely as he is planned (boy am I disappointed with that). The maester thinks it unwise to let Obara go to Sunspear, but it seems the prince has a plan in place; he tells the maester that he needs to return to Sunspear as well; it's not wise, he says, but necessary; the maester is then told to "inform Ricasso" (a guy from Italy who accidentally wandered into the novel?) to open his apartments in the Tower of the Sun and inform Arianne that he'll be back the following day.

My little princess, Areo thinks, sounding as if he's dreaming up a new line of toys for girls age 4-10, also telling us he has the feels for this hitherto unknown entity, Arianne Martell. Oh no, more flashback! 
Two years ago. Doran's gout, not so bad. Still walked. Old Palace full of eyes. Seeing the prince being unhealthy. Worse now. Wheelchair and all. When the people see, Doran look bad. 
Doran disagrees, however; he must be seen, he claims, because Dorne must be reminded it still has a prince. If you ask me, it feels as if they thought of Oberyn as their ruler. And I guess that's part of the point Martin is making. Caleotte reminds Doran (and the reader) that upon his return, he must grant audience to Princess Myrcella and "her white knight", whom the maester thinks of as a spy ("...and you know he sends letters to his queen"); Doran doesn't seem to care ("I suppose he does"); the mention of this white knight (what's with all the little princesses and white knights all of a sudden?) makes Areo frown; an instant notification that he is not pleased with this fellow; Areo had come here with his own princess, he remembers, and Ser Arys with his (Myrcella); this is something I do not remember at all. Who did Areo escort to Dorne? Who were the bearded priests and how do they factor into the tale? Anyway.

Areo senses (somehow - this is weak writing if you ask me) that someday he and Oakheart will have a fight to the death. Oh my, this is actually poor writing, compared to Martin's usual standards. Agree? Disagree? The foreshadowing is as subtle as a whale falling on your head. Next mission: Get up in the morning to travel back to Sunspear. Okay, let's move already. 

"As you command." Caleotte bows. The captain stands aside to let him pass. Listens to footsteps dwindle. Too much description, George. Get on with it.

Oh wait. The prince has more to say.
Hotah strides forward to the rolling chair, but the prince "had eyes only for the children". What the hell baby. The prince asks if Areo had siblings back in Norvos (strange that he doesn't know everything there is to know about his own bodyguard - at least something as obvious as siblings; again, clunky stuff in my opinion). 
Two brothers, three sisters, as it turns out. Areo was the youngest, and unwanted. His parents sold him to the priests. Doran, perhaps ruefully, says he was the oldest sibling, and the only one left. There were two more besides Oberyn; Mors and Olyvar, both sounding more like characters from, say, the Riverlands, than Dorne. And of course there was Elia, the sister. She was supposed to die right after birth, being weak and all, yet she lived. Same thing now; Doran is the weakest, yet he is the one who still lives. A Lord Gargalen is mentioned; cool name, no idea who it is and why he is what he is. 

Areo does not know what to say to that. Suggestion: "Did you ask me to come over just to tell me this?" He is only a captain of guards (then where are the bloody guards?) and a stranger in this land still; he holds simple vows and considers himself a simple man, which is a nice juxtaposition I guess, with Doran being built up as this convoluted thinker. If only. His plans turn out to be as shallow as the pool for the four-year olds.  Another orange falls, splat. COME ON. I NEED SOMETHING MOAR. 

FINALLY Doran tells Areo to leave him to watch the children "for a few more hours". That's a long time to watch children. I'd go crazy. So he must be using them as a form of soothing himself, a way of keeping his thoughts in line, a way to meditate, focus, concentrate. With the sound of the children, he can make clear decisions. Its his office, in a way, where he works the best. Where he is creative. This is what I want the text to imply. 

And on it goes. Prince remains in wheelchair. Looking. Gets food. Food is described. Doran likes heavy strongwine. He falls asleep in the early morning. Dear Black Goat of Qohor, release me from this ponderousness. The captain finally rolls him down the moonlit gallery to a great bed blah blah. Doran groans. Captain goes to his cell next to the prince's chamber. A cell. Perhaps not nice work captain Dorne.  Whetstone. Oilcloth. Keep axe sharp. May need to stop someone from talking to prince tomorrow as well. Thinks of Norvos.

Okay, Norvos. That's a little interesting at least; a new region of the setting to imagine; a city high on a hill and low beside a river. Standard fare. Sounds of three deep peals from three bells. Wintercake. Fermented goat's milk. Squirrel collar. Branded on chest. 
Not much to learn, there. Bah.

Yawns. Thinks of the brand on his chest. He should have gathered up the oranges, he thinks, but now I'm past caring for any symbolism. 

Dawn came too soon, and I agree. The litter and the horses area ready to bring the prince home. 

Oh no...now I remember that this chapter isn't over yet. There's an encounter with a Sand Snake en route, if I recall correctly. I need to stop now and finish this post when I'm a little more focused, I think.
I'll post this as a Part I for the time being, and put up the rest of my re-read later in the week. My alloted geek time for the day is over already. And I didn't even get time for a power nap. I blame it on Doran and his slow calculating ways. 

6 comments:

  1. Did you really miss the whole Hugo award scandal? It's the Gamergate for sci-fi. Google "Sad Puppies" to find out more

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    1. Yes,I did! I guess I'll have to google it, then :O)

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  2. Let me praise the Dorne storyline. It's not the most boring one in these books, Brienne's is much, much more pointless. And Daenerys's is much, much more annoying.

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    1. Oh, I do like Dorne a lot, as I wrote, I was perhaps too tired for the chapter, but it was a moment where I actually had the opportunity to sit down and read/write. It's more that I find *Areo Hotah* in this instance a bore; his viewpoint isn't nearly as vivid as the other POVs, including other "rare POVs" like, say, Aeron Greyjoy. Of course, we all take away different things. But don't think I do not like Dorne, quite the opposite. I like Martin's world-building and most of the characters here, including Prince Doran with his schemes :)

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  3. I always thought HBO changed ashas name because it was too similar to Osha, who had alreay been well established on the show by the time of Yaras introduction

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