Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thoughts on the new TWOW sample chapter, Alayne

George R. R. Martin released a new sample chapter for "The Winds of Winter" today, called "Alayne". I have some uncollected thoughts.

- Seems like something from this chapter is going to be spoiled in the series, like with "Mercy". If memory serves, Martin stated he didn't want to publish any more chapters. The tourney might be Sansa's coming-off-age-moment in the series too, given how easily the fight for the Winged Knights could be made into a foot-fight, as the series loves to do.

- Littlefinger ordered hunting tapestries of Robert's, not Targaryen tapestries. That basically puts a plug in the idea that he knows of either Dany or fAegon and plans in advance. His actions in the chapter - driving up the food price for later windfall profits - also don't seem like he's playing that great a game currently.

- Sansa is rocking da boat. The way she holds herself and seduces people left and right is astonishing and all in line with her character arc.

- At the same time, she still harbors the same doubts and fears as always and remains a pretty scarred person.

- Ser Shadrich the Wild Mouse sure knew where to look for Sansa Stark, unlike poor Brienne. This will get ugly soon. I wonder who will die when shit hits the fan. It doesn't seem to me that this one will be easily disposed off by Lothor Brune.

- The Royces, the Starks of the Vale.

- Robert Arryn isn't long for this world, but at least Lysa and he are "there" enough to recognize a threat when they see one.

- Miranda Royce doesn't seem to be such a big danger after all, at least not at the moment. Might be she gets caught up in the Shadrich business?

- Mya Stone seems superflous here.

- Lyn Corbray. The Darkstar of the Vale.


  1. Yeah there was a lot of character development of Mya Stone when she is taking Cat up to the Eerie in Game of Thrones. A lot more back story than necessary for someone irrelevant,

  2. Good Evening Stefan.

    After reading the sample chapter I've had the following thoughts:

    - Sansa has learned from her biggest influence up till now: Cersei. She has learned all that is to be known of how a court should work, and how it works in reality. Furthermore I believe she has learned Cersei's mood swings: this can be seen in how quick she is to wish for Harrold's misfortune upon a perceived offense. She has become quick to anger - Harry's offense was not as large as she perceived it to be. This could be a direct result the memory of her bastard brother Jon whom, if I recall correctly, she did not approve of. (Even if she has little love for bastards, she does seem to show some for cripples and broken thi...thi...things...) Technically speaking it Harry was not offensive, he may have been unpleasant and uncourteous, but being led through a castle is not really a grand honor and at the end of the day Alayne is, after all, a bastard. It is even possible to further develop this parallel with Cersei if one also includes Cersei's experience in her betrothals.

    Another thing we as readers are able to appreciate is Sansa's remaining hatred towards Joffrey. In this chapter she keeps reminding herself or comparing her current situation to what it was like at Joffrey's court. While it's completely understandable that this feeling remains as such it is also evident that there still remains a certain closure yet to occur. In this sense Sansa's experience once again seems to parallel Cersei's experience (with her betrothal to Rhaegar Targaryen). She has also, it seems, developed an advanced paranoia - just look at her reaction to Lyn Corbray's comments. She doubts his word after having exchanged only a handful of words with him, I'd agree with her, it's a mercenary honor...

    - I suspect that Saffron won't be long for this world. Who will decide her future? Alayne? I doubt it. Petyr? More likely.

    - it is possible to observe the unity that is maintained in the Vale. All those invited come, there seems to be no discord amongst any of the Lord Commander of the Vale's vassals. Furthermore I also believe that this chapter shows the wealth that the Vale possesses at this point in time, the feast that is offered is anything but discreet.

    - Sansa has clearly come-of-age what better way than for her to point out childish behavior when she sees it in somebody else? Not only this but she s also showing the signs of an incipient player in the game of thrones.

    - Petyr mentions "the world is full of te(/ho)rrors". A mere coincidence? I think not.

    - Petyr only trusts money. He uses it to buy loyalties - Ly Corbray. To buy awe - those invited to his tourney, their brothers, fathers and uncles and ultimately their mothers and sisters and ladies. And love? Will throwing such a lavish feast impress Sansa?

    1. "Technically speaking it Harry was not offensive" - I would beg to differ. He called her a bastard and publicly refused to walk to his quarters with her when she and Miranda had been sent as their official greeters. That's insulting not just to her, but to the hosts generally. Note the his traveling companions reaction - they certainly found it insulting.

      Totally agree she's building on lessons learned for Cersei and not just LF, but I read that reaction as evidence that she hasn't totally lost her innocence. As much as anything else, I think she was hurt because she was trying to like him and make him like her and he responded by being cruel. Her response was utterly human. Yes, she wished him an injury, but a true student of Cersei wouldn't have been hurt and fantasized about Harry getting hurt - she would have been angry and plotting to actually make it happen.

  3. Fully agree with griffin's point about Sansa not totally losing her innocence. The parallels to Arya in "Mercy" are quite clear - each female Stark has clearly learned from their surroundings and adapted, but they keep their true identity at their respective cores. They're still Sansa and Arya, not Alayne and No One.

  4. Sansa is certainly learning how to play the game. She's still very superficial though. With almost everyone she encounters her first thoughts are about the persons appearance.

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