The previous book was mostly about how the war had affected the common folk. While some of that is still present in this book, this time it’s mostly about how the aftermath of the war affects the noble folks. Mostly they’re working on dealing with consequences of their scheming. It’s almost entirely based out of King’s Landing, but includes their deals with the Freys and others. It’s interesting seeing how complicated unwinding some of those deals are. It would be an exaggeration to say it was a Pyrrhic victory, but it wasn’t nice and tidy either.
There was a lot of deviation of course, considering how much the previous book deviated from the TV show. But while in books 1-3 I preffered the TV show’s tighter pacing, here I feel we were robbed of a lot of character growth. Also, a lot more important lore is communicated – as when Maester Aemmon dies.
edit on 1 June:
One thing I meant to write when I wrote this yesterday is that it’s interesting the TV show spends so much time on Arya and her understanding of who she is. Meanwhile it has Sansa’s deception fall apart after one or two episodes. In the book she becomes the new person so wholly that her chapters are titled Alayne and her inner monologue has her thinking of Littlefinger as her father.
As before, here as some of my favorite quotes from the book:
-Lord Snow wishes to speak with you as soon as he is done with Craster’s wife.” “Gilly.” “That’s the one. If my wet nurse had looked like her, I’d still be on the teat. Mine had whiskers.”
-“I’d eat more mice than you would.” Dolorous Edd Tollett gave a sigh. “When I was a lad, we only ate mice on special feast days. I was the youngest, so I always got the tail. There’s no meat on the tail.” “Where’s your longbow, Sam?” asked Grenn. Ser Alliser used to call him
-“And to you, Sam,” said Dolorous Edd. “Your boat’s not like to sink, I don’t think. Boats only sink when I’m aboard.”
-“ The king is my son! ” Cersei rose to her feet. “Aye,” her uncle said, “and from what I saw of Joffrey, you are as unfit a mother as you are a ruler.”
-“You know I have no other woman. Only … duty.” She rolled onto one elbow to look up at him, her big black eyes shining in the candlelight. “That poxy bitch? I know her. Dry as dust between the legs, and her kisses leave you bleeding. Let duty sleep alone for once, and stay with me tonight.”
-Sam was almost grateful for his fleshy buttocks. Fat men take a cushion with them wherever they go, he thought.
-“If you wish.” He cupped her chin in his hand and turned her head. “Puff up your cheeks and stick out your tongue.” Arya puffed up her cheeks and stuck out her tongue. “There. Your face is changed.” “That’s not how I meant. Jaqen used magic.” “All sorcery comes at a cost, child. Years of prayer and sacrifice and study are required to work a proper glamor.” “ Years? ” she said, dismayed. “If it were easy all men would do it. You must walk before you run. Why use a spell, where mummer’s tricks will serve?”
-“It is being common-born that is dangerous, when the great lords play their game of thrones,” said Septon Meribald. “Isn’t that so, Dog?” Dog barked agreement.
-“It was a pot of molten gold. We princes make our careful plans and the gods smash them all awry.” Prince Doran made a weary gesture with a chafed red hand.
-“You are being foolish. I am only here to help you.” “To help me to my grave. I asked for you to leave. Will you make me call my gaolers and have you dragged away, you vile, scheming, evil bitch?”
-“All Valyrian sorcery was rooted in blood or fire.”