Operation Stumpy Re-Read
ASOS: Jon VIII (Chapter 64)
He dreamt he was back in Winterfell, limping past the stone kings on their thrones. Their grey granite eyes turned to follow him as he passed, and their grey granite fingers tightened on the hilts of the rusted swords upon their laps. You are no Stark, he could hear them mutter, in heavy granite voices. There is no place for you here. Go away. He walked deeper into the darkness. "Father?" he called. "Bran? Rickon?" No one answered. A chill wind was blowing on his neck. "Uncle?" he called. "Uncle Benjen? Father? Please, Father, help me." Up above he heard drums. They are feasting in the Great Hall, but I am not welcome there. I am no Stark, and this is not my place. His crutch slipped and he fell to his knees. The crypts were growing darker. A light has gone out somewhere. "Ygritte?" he whispered. "Forgive me. Please." But it was only a direwolf, grey and ghastly, spotted with blood, his golden eyes shining sadly through the dark . . .
Was he dead as well, was that what his dream had meant, the bloody wolf in the crypts? But the wolf in the dream had been grey, not white. Grey, like Bran's wolf. Had the Thenns hunted him down and killed him after Queenscrown? If so, Bran was lost to him for good and all.
Lots to unpack here, and I'm so not the person to do it. Here's some pointless observations instead:
He dreamt he was back in Winterfell, limping past the stone kings on their thrones.
He's limping, and has a crutch. I'm reminded of Jaime's dream in AFFC.
"This is a dream."
"Is it?" She smiled sadly. "Count your hands, child."
One. One hand, clasped tight around the sword hilt. Only one. "In my dreams I always have two hands." - Jaime VII, AFFC
Is it a dream?
You are no Stark, he could hear them mutter, in heavy granite voices. There is no place for you here. Go away. He walked deeper into the darkness.
More Jaime Lannister.
"What place is this?"
"Your place." The voice echoed; it was a hundred voices, a thousand, the voices of all the Lannisters since Lann the Clever, who'd lived at the dawn of days. - Jaime VI, ASOS
Jaime's place is the bowels of Casterly Rock, while Jon doesn't belong in the crypts. Things that make you go hmmm.
Jon can't help walking deeper towards that darkness anyway. Grr.
You are no Stark, he could hear them mutter, in heavy granite voices. There is no place for you here. Go away. He walked deeper into the darkness.
This is a recurring dream for Jon, but in this version the stone kings are rejecting him.
The old Kings of Winter are down there, sitting on their thrones with stone wolves at their feet and iron swords across their laps, but it's not them I'm afraid of. I scream that I'm not a Stark, that this isn't my place, but it's no good, I have to go anyway, so I start down, feeling the walls as I descend, with no torch to light the way. It gets darker and darker, until I want to scream. - Jon IV, AGOT
There is no place for you here. Go away.
Later in this chatper, Jon will think these same thoughts about the wildlings. We already know there is a place for the wildlings at the Wall.
"Father?" he called. "Bran? Rickon?" No one answered. A chill wind was blowing on his neck. "Uncle?" he called. "Uncle Benjen? Father? Please, Father, help me."
Bran and Rickon aren't dead, and his biological father isn't in those crypts. Is that why they're not answering? Is this telling us something about Benjen?
But it was only a direwolf, grey and ghastly, spotted with blood, his golden eyes shining sadly through the dark . . . [...] But the wolf in the dream had been grey, not white. Grey, like Bran's wolf.
Jon's first hint that Robb and Grey Wind are dead.
Amusing little reversal happening here too. At Queenscrown he thought Summer was Grey Wind, and now he's mistaking Grey Wind for Summer. Kings on kings on kings!
In conclusion, this dream is about dying. But also it's about R + L = J. But also it's about Jon struggling with his identity, and yearning to be a Stark. But also it's about Jon becoming King. But also it's about Jon feeling isolated, and undeserving. But also it's about Robb being dead. But also it's about dreams and reality blending together. But also it's abo-
Even beneath the furs, he was cold. Ghost had shared his cell before the ranging, warming it against the chill of night. And in the wild, Ygritte had slept beside him. Both gone now. He had burned Ygritte himself, as he knew she would have wanted, and Ghost . . . Where are you?
A measly sentence dedicated to the thought of burning her, with no other reflection.
Game of Thrones went in another direction.
And now the wildlings answered, not with one horn but with a dozen, and with drums and pipes as well. We are come, they seemed to say, we are come to break your Wall, to take your lands and steal your daughters.
What do you care about daughters who can't defend themselves?
Were there twenty or twenty thousand? In the dark there was no way to tell. This is a battle of blind men, but Mance has a few thousand more of them than we do.
Oh no. Lol.
The Wall was too big to be stormed by any conventional means; too high for ladders or siege towers, too thick for battering rams. No catapult could throw a stone large enough to breach it, and if you tried to set it on fire, the icemelt would quench the flames. You could climb over, as the raiders did near Greyguard, but only if you were strong and fit and sure-handed, and even then you might end up like Jarl, impaled on a tree. They must take the gate, or they cannot pass.
So you're saying Bran will have to use an unconventional method?
Yet still the drums beat on, the trebuchets shuddered and thumped, and the sound of skinpipes came wafting through the night like the songs of strange fierce birds. Septon Cellador began to sing as well, his voice tremulous and thick with wine.
Gentle Mother, font of mercy,
save our sons from war, we pray,
stay the swords and stay the arrows,
let them know . . .
I would love to ask an anti why this is showing up in a Jon chapter. For funsies? Just cause? Is that what the author does?
"Sing, little bird. Sing for your little life."
Her throat was dry and tight with fear, and every song she had ever known had fled from her mind. Please don't kill me, she wanted to scream, please don't. She could feel him twisting the point, pushing it into her throat, and she almost closed her eyes again, but then she remembered. It was not the song of Florian and Jonquil, but it was a song. Her voice sounded small and thin and tremulous in her ears.
Gentle Mother, font of mercy - Sansa VII, ACOK
Credit to @minitafan for the beauty find.
"Jon, you have the Wall till I return."
For a moment Jon thought he had misheard. It had sounded as if Noye were leaving him in command. "My lord?"
"Lord? I'm a blacksmith. I said, the Wall is yours."
There are older men, Jon wanted to say, better men. I am still as green as summer grass. I'm wounded, and I stand accused of desertion. His mouth had gone bone dry. "Aye," he managed.
The Wall is mine, Jon reminded himself whenever he felt his strength flagging.
Gently, he spoke of Braavos, and met a wall of sullen courtesy as icy and unyielding as the Wall he had walked once in the north. It made him weary. Then and now. - Tyrion VIII, ASOS
"Courtesy is a lady's armor," Sansa said. Her septa had always told her that.
"I am your husband. You can take off your armor now." - Sansa III, ASOS
The Wall is yours, Jon!
We all know this becomes a bit of a mantra for him. It reminds me of Sansa drawing strength from Winterfell.
He sent men to the smaller catapults and filled the air with jagged rocks the size of a giant's fist, but the darkness swallowed them as a man might swallow a handful of nuts.
I have no comment, there's just lots of fun words here.
The wind blew cold and colder.
The text keeps highlighting it's getting colder and colder, underscoring the real issue.
Hobb rode up the chain with cups of onion broth, and Owen and Clydas served them to the archers where they stood, so they could gulp them down between arrows.
Onion is coming!
We should have twenty trebuchets, not two, and they should be mounted on sledges and turntables so we could move them. It was a futile thought. He might as well wish for another thousand men, and maybe a dragon or three.
This isn't foreshadowing. This is be careful what you wish for.
A true sword of fire, now, that would be a wonder to behold. - Davos I, ACOK
Like that. It has a distinct feel.
Lucky for us, someone will offer him some clarity.
"Would that we had one here. A dragon might warm things up a bit."
"My lord jests. You will forgive me if I do not laugh. We Braavosi are descended from those who fled Valyria and the wroth of its dragonlords. We do not jape of dragons." - Jon IX, ADWD
When morning came, none of them quite realized it at first. The world was still dark, but the black had turned to grey and shapes were beginning to emerge half-seen from the gloom. Jon lowered his bow to stare at the mass of heavy clouds that covered the eastern sky. He could see a glow behind them, but perhaps he was only dreaming.
Heavy clouds turning black to grey reminds us of a previous Sansa moment.
This is not your land, Jon wanted to shout at them. There is no place for you here. Go away.
Are you sure?
He could feel the despair all around him. "There must be a hundred thousand," Satin wailed. "How can we stop so many?"
"The Wall will stop them," Jon heard himself say. He turned and said it again, louder. "The Wall will stop them. The Wall defends itself." Hollow words, but he needed to say them, almost as much as his brothers needed to hear them. "Mance wants to unman us with his numbers. Does he think we're stupid?" He was shouting now, his leg forgotten, and every man was listening. "The chariots, the horsemen, all those fools on foot . . . what are they going to do to us up here? Any of you ever see a mammoth climb a wall?" He laughed, and Pyp and Owen and half a dozen more laughed with him. "They're nothing, they're less use than our straw brothers here, they can't reach us, they can't hurt us, and they don't frighten us, do they?"
"NO!" Grenn shouted.
"They're down there and we're up here," Jon said, "and so long as we hold the gate they cannot pass. They cannot pass!" They were all shouting then, roaring his own words back at him, waving swords and longbows in the air as their cheeks flushed red. Jon saw Kegs standing there with a warhorn slung beneath his arm. "Brother," he told him, "sound for battle."
He has a lord's voice, Jon thought. His father had always said that in battle a captain's lungs were as important as his sword arm. "It does not matter how brave or brilliant a man is, if his commands cannot be heard," Lord Eddard told his sons, so Robb and he used to climb the towers of Winterfell to shout at each other across the yard. - Jon VII, ASOS
Jon laughed, laughed like a drunk or a madman, and his men laughed with him.
Am I crazy or is he sounding like a king? :)
Barristan Selmy could not dispute the truth of that. He had spent the best part of his own life obeying the commands of drunkards and madmen. - The Queen's Hand, ADWD
They were so small he could have crushed them all in one hand, it seemed. If only my hand was big enough.
Tone that down, Daenerys.
A line of fires burned along the top of the Wall, contained in iron baskets on poles taller than a man. The cold knife of the wind stirred and swirled the flames, so the lurid orange light was always shifting.
They heard a deep bass trumpeting, and a giant roared something in the Old Tongue, his voice an ancient thunder that sent shivers up Jon's spine.
Tongues of pale yellow fire swirled around the jars as they plunged downward.
The fury of the wild, Jon thought as he listened to the skirl of skins, to the dogs barking and baying, the mammoths trumpeting, the free folk whistling and screaming, the giants roaring in the Old Tongue. Their drums echoed off the ice like rolling thunder.
The black arrows hissed downward, like snakes on feathered wings.
"Got him!" Satin shouted, his head sticking out so far that Jon was certain he was about to fall. "Got him, got him, GOT him!" He could hear the roar of fire. A flaming giant lurched into view, stumbling and rolling on the ground.
More fun with language!
The drums had all gone silent. How do you like that music, Mance? How do you like the taste of the Dornishman's wife?
You can feel how personal this is for him. I blame Ygritte.
"Ask me when I've seen the gate,"
The door swung open. Pyp led them in, followed by Clydas and the lantern. It was all Jon could do to keep up with Maester Aemon. The ice pressed close around them, and he could feel the cold seeping into his bones, the weight of the Wall above his head. It felt like walking down the gullet of an ice dragon.
Love when dragons get the mouth treatment.
The last twenty feet of the tunnel was where they'd fought and died. The outer door of studded oak had been hacked and broken and finally torn off its hinges, and one of the giants had crawled in through the splinters. The lantern bathed the grisly scene in a sullen reddish light. Pyp turned aside to retch, and Jon found himself envying Maester Aemon his blindness.
Noye and his men had been waiting within, behind a gate of heavy iron bars like the two Pyp had just unlocked. The two crossbows had gotten off a dozen quarrels as the giant struggled toward them. Then the spearmen must have come to the fore, stabbing through the bars. Still the giant found the strength to reach through, twist the head off Spotted Pate, seize the iron gate, and wrench the bars apart. Links of broken chain lay strewn across the floor. One giant. All this was the work of one giant.
"Are they all dead?" Maester Aemon asked softly.
"Yes. Donal was the last." Noye's sword was sunk deep in the giant's throat, halfway to the hilt. The armorer had always seemed such a big man to Jon, but locked in the giant's massive arms he looked almost like a child. "The giant crushed his spine. I don't know who died first." He took the lantern and moved forward for a better look. "Mag." I am the last of the giants. He could feel the sadness there, but he had no time for sadness. "It was Mag the Mighty. The king of the giants."
Jon found himself envying Maester Aemon his blindness.
Twice? Really? Lol. Be careful what you wish for!
Sharing all of this, because once again a one-armed armorer is the hero of the day. There's no superheroes to be found in this story... or strangely ferocious little girls from House Mormont.
Side note, I understand the nature of war, but god damn Mance sent a lot of giants and mammoths to their deaths. Like dude, you couldn't sacrifice Joe Wildling instead? That's an endangered population!
He looked up at where they'd come from. When you stand here it seems immense, as if it were about to crush you.
The ice pressed close around them, and he could feel the cold seeping into his bones, the weight of the Wall above his head.
Back to Jaime Lannister. These same thoughts were echoed about Casterly Rock in one of his dreams.
The Rock, he knew. He could feel the immense weight of it above his head. - Jaime VI, ASOS
"You give the order, then," Jon told the maester. "You have been on the Wall your whole life, the men will follow you. We have to close the gate."
"I am a maester chained and sworn. My order serves, Jon. We give counsel, not commands."
"You. You must lead."
"Yes, Jon. It need not be for long. Only until such time as the garrison returns. Donal chose you, and Qhorin Halfhand before him. Lord Commander Mormont made you his steward. You are a son of Winterfell, a nephew of Benjen Stark. It must be you or no one. The Wall is yours, Jon Snow."
A son of Winterfell, and a nephew of Benjen Stark. I see no lies there.
We start the chapter with a bunch of dead stone kings rejecting Jon in his nightmares. We end it with Aemon Targaryen reassuring him.
Funny it's a Targaryen reminding him who he is. I suspect Rhaegar and Daenerys might have that same effect on him, hahahahaha.
I'm experiencing Jon battle fatigue.
-> return to menu <-