(Index of previous ADwD chapter reviews here.)
Chapter 8: Tyrion
Tyrion’s still on a road trip. Things are a bit less cushy for him, now, but he’s still exchanging witticisms and pottering along, seemingly ahead of all the other people who are rushing to claim Daenerys, whether for wife or as a partner in conquest. I think it probably stands in Tyrion’s favour that he’s more interested in the latter. I doubt she’ll have much time for suitors. Her hand in marriage is too valuable an asset to give away. Apart from the potential threat to her own power from marrying, if she can keep suitors in competition she’ll keep more of them in play.
I really don’t have that much to say about this chapter itself. Like most of the Tyrion chapters so far, I’m afraid it pretty much just got the job done. I still love Tyrion, and the chapter was still enjoyable, but at the moment he’s just serving as a witty punctuaion mark between other chapters as he gets from A to B.
One thing I’m noticing about Tyrion in general, however, is that I don’t find him nearly as attractive in the book as in the series. He’s still a favourite character, but I guess it just goes to show that the Dinklage-appeal is a definite addition factor. Man brings his own charisma to the role and makes it his own. I suspect there were also some directorial or adaptational decisions about presenting him as more clearly a goody-within-the-Lannister-camp. Although they maintained the moral complexity of the books, they were probably looking to simplify the lines wherever possible, not to mention the impulse towards presenting a cast that’s easier to identify with. They may have been unsure about how an audience would react to having a little person as a main character. I don’t know.
On a different tangent: let us engage in a bit of wild speculation. The big question hanging over all these books is ‘Who will win the Game of Thrones’. There’s a distinct possibility that the answer will be ‘no one’. It possibly depends on whether Martin is more tied to grim themes as opposed to historical analogues. If we’re talking thematically, there’s a clear temptation towards the ‘rocks fall, everybody dies’ philosophy. Who wins when you struggle over power? No one. In one sense, that’s not grim at all – it speaks to the wonders of co-operation, love, and looking after each other. On the other, if co-operation fails to materialise sufficiently to save the people of Westeros to the threat from the North, that speaks for a rather negative view of human nature. Grim though his books are, I suspect Martin really leans towards something more balanced. No one is purely good or purely evil in these books.
What about the history, then? Oh, here I show the rather large gaps in my knowledge. I had a very engaging and oddly tense discussion a while back about which House aligned to what and who might be successful based on historical analogies. Sadly, I remember very little of it, much like my history lessons from school. Honestly, most of what I know about this period comes from Shakespeare, and I know that’s not a reliable resource. Looking at the Wikipedia page on the Wars of the Roses was just confusing. I think the conclusion of the discussion was that someone unlikely will come in out of the blue and make a claim for the throne on the basis of marrying the right woman. Based spuriously on this, my money is on either Tyrion or Littlefinger with a marriage claim for Sansa, but Daenerys is looking like a stronger and stronger contender. Plus, Tyrion also looks plausibly set up as a Richard III analogue – physically differing from the norm, yet extremely clever. He was also blamed for Bran’s accident, initially, which could be considered an analogue for the princes in the tower.
Speculations, I has them.
But let’s move on.
Chapter 9: Davos
Yet another character who rings bells in my mind but isn’t that familiar. This is Stannis Baratheon’s Hand, who has been sent south with a fleet. He has very poor luck with the weather, loses a lot of ships, and ultimately loses the favour of his pirate friend, who’s sick of a certain lack of money. The pirate guy let’s Davos off on one of the Three Sisters, islands theoretically under the rule of the Vale, but with an uncomfortably rocky history. Essentially, their loyalty is up for grabs.
Davos is captured and brought to Lord Godric. Godric toys with him for a bit, but ultimately hints that he might come out for Stannis if the winds prevail. He’s canny, he’s stepping back from the action. He knows that what really matters is that some strong ruler pulls the country together in time to defend the Wall, for winter is coming. But that doesn’t mean he’ll come out for Stannis just because Stannis is at the Wall now. He lets Davos go as though he had never been so that he might try his hand at winning support for Stannis where it’s most needed.
This chapter was interesting. I enjoyed getting to know Davos better, and Godric made a pleasing little nod to Ned that tickled the fangirl in me. We also learn that Jon Snow’s mother was possibly a woman of the Three Sisters, who likely got it on with Ned when he was in town in the last war. That seems to put paid to those rumours that he was really Robert’s son, but there’s still no proof. Again, this chapter was more about helping characters on their way than really getting anywhere, but it was fun.
Tune in next time for more of A Dance with Dragons