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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
AFFC Week 4. Discuss Ch23 (Alayne) 6977 – Ch29 (The Reaver) stop at 9426, read Ch30 (Jaime) 9430 – Ch37 (Brienne) stop at 11866

1. Sansa gets to see Littlefinger in action has he diffuses the threat of the other Vale Lords. Will she learn from this and become a player of the Game in her own right?

2. Cersei plots to kill Bronn. Any chance of succeeding? Why does everyone underestimate him?

3. What do you think of Septon Meribald (the septon Brienne follows to Saltpans)? I think he is a good contrast to the religious figures we have seen to date (Melisandre, Aegon) in that he seems to have tempered his faith with lots of common sense and genuine compassion.

4. Sam has a passing encounter with Cat of Braavos and then has a fight with Dareon. How could Lord Snow have trusted this pair with escorting Maester Aemon to Oldtown?

5. Jaime begins to see how he could be a just and honorable man. He also strikes Connington for insulting Brienne. Will this newfound honorable nobility last, or will it fade if he can regain his fighting skills?

6. Cersei meets the new High Septon and agrees to allow them to raise an army in exchange for forgiving the crown’s debt and blessing Tommen. Was this a wise move or a political disaster?

7. Victarion agrees to go on a mission to capture(?) Daenerys. Is Euron getting rid of a rival or does he actually think Victarion will do this?
 

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jason10mm said:
1. Sansa gets to see Littlefinger in action has he diffuses the threat of the other Vale Lords. Will she learn from this and become a player of the Game in her own right?
It's hard to know what to think of Littlefinger and his motives for anything (he can never be trusted after his betrayal of Ned) and it's hard to know what, if anything, Sansa is learning. She really did take a very long time to learn some life lessons in the earlier books. And Martin, surprisingly, gives so little insight into her thinking on any subject. Her chapters are almost entirely just story. I don't feel like I'm learning anything about Sansa and her progress. We're just observing her life.

2. Cersei plots to kill Bronn. Any chance of succeeding? Why does everyone underestimate him?
Ohhh, Cersei. Bronn is underestimated because he's not rich. Everybody thinks he's just a dumb brute. But there are Kingsguard noblemen who have half of Bronn's brain. He's survived as long as he has because there's obviously something up there in his brain!

3. What do you think of Septon Meribald (the septon Brienne follows to Saltpans)? I think he is a good contrast to the religious figures we have seen to date (Melisandre, Aegon) in that he seems to have tempered his faith with lots of common sense and genuine compassion.
I agree. He's definitely not a religious fanatic, at least not from what we've seen so far. His interests are not political, but in actually helping people.

4. Sam has a passing encounter with Cat of Braavos and then has a fight with Dareon. How could Lord Snow have trusted this pair with escorting Maester Aemon to Oldtown?
Loved the little run-in with Arya. Sansa is the only surviving Stark child he hasn't met yet! I was expecting Cat to ask Sam more questions, especially about Jon. And maybe even try to send a message. But oh well.

I understand sending Sam; Jon also wants him to become a Maester. But Daereon I don't understand. Did we meet Dareon before this book? If we did, he certainly never stood out for me.

5. Jaime begins to see how he could be a just and honorable man. He also strikes Connington for insulting Brienne. Will this newfound honorable nobility last, or will it fade if he can regain his fighting skills?
I suspect Jaime's nobility will stay; his fighting skills are not likely to ever equal his glory days. And if he does come close, he's a different person.

6. Cersei meets the new High Septon and agrees to allow them to raise an army in exchange for forgiving the crown's debt and blessing Tommen. Was this a wise move or a political disaster?
This sounds like trouble to me. Cersei is allowing the Church to raise its own army, an army that will not answer to the crow. Their loyalties will be to the Church and we know the Church's and the crown's interests are frequently not the same. She is a fool to allow this. We also know she and the new High Septon are not friends. So, armed and organized enemies led by someone who obviously does not like her, within the walls of her own home. What a fool!

7. Victarion agrees to go on a mission to capture(?) Daenerys. Is Euron getting rid of a rival or does he actually think Victarion will do this?
I hadn't thought of this being a way for Euron to get rid of Victarion. I think he really wanted to get rid of him he would have killed him. One way or another. But what reason does he have to think that Victarion would succeed? They know nothing about Dany; does he really believe his surrogate would go and sweep this strange woman off her feet? I don't see how.
 

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jason10mm said:
1. Sansa gets to see Littlefinger in action has he diffuses the threat of the other Vale Lords. Will she learn from this and become a player of the Game in her own right?
One can only hope that Sansa will finally learn something. Not that I want to see her turn into a miniature female version of manipulative Littlefinger, but I have been waiting forever to see her start to take control of her own life and she never seems to do it. Will she just let herself be a pawn for Littlefinger - constantly under his scheming control? Or will she learn from him the talents it would take to become her own person. If anyone can teach her that, it is Littlefinger. On the other hand, if there is anyone who can continue to manipulate and control her, it is also Littlefinger. Which way will it go?

jason10mm said:
2. Cersei plots to kill Bronn. Any chance of succeeding? Why does everyone underestimate him?
Cersei dismissed Bronn like he was a bug and I suspect he won't be squashed so easily. I was kind of surprised to see his name starting to pop up. Without Tyrion around, he hasn't seemed to have much role to play. I am sure GRRM has some plans for him if he is being brought back into things. Otherwise, he'd just let him exist outside on the fringe fo the story again.

jason10mm said:
3. What do you think of Septon Meribald (the septon Brienne follows to Saltpans)? I think he is a good contrast to the religious figures we have seen to date (Melisandre, Aegon) in that he seems to have tempered his faith with lots of common sense and genuine compassion.
Meribald seemed to be a genuine good Samaritan type, looking out for all the little people he passes along his way and careful not to take more than he can give back. Is he supposed to be connected to the sparrows in Kings Landing? It sounded like they have the same mission. But then again, they want to build up an army and I am not sure how Meribald fit in with that plan.

jason10mm said:
4. Sam has a passing encounter with Cat of Braavos and then has a fight with Dareon. How could Lord Snow have trusted this pair with escorting Maester Aemon to Oldtown?
Sam has genuine affection for Maester Aemon, so in that respect I think he made a good choice. He might not be the ablest of men, but he would never abandon him or give up on his mission. I don't know about Dareon. Where the heck is Oldtown? I have to find myself a map. It just seems Braavos has to be way out of the way, so I don't know how they ended up there.

jason10mm said:
5. Jaime begins to see how he could be a just and honorable man. He also strikes Connington for insulting Brienne. Will this newfound honorable nobility last, or will it fade if he can regain his fighting skills?
I agree with DYB - I think that the changes to Jaime's personality will be lasting. His circumstances have caused him to re-evaluate who he is. His circumstances could change again, but his identity won't be as likely to revert to the past as if nothing had ever happened. I was impressed that he stood up for Brienne, but I am glad that she was not there to see it. She needs to figure out that she can become who she needs to be without a man to worship and I am concerned about the way her devotion is starting to shift from Renly to Jaime. Its not that she couldn't partner with Jaime or be loyal to him, but she becomes too dependent on idealizing a figure in her life and she doesn't need to idealize Jaime. She is better off seeing him how he is.

jason10mm said:
6. Cersei meets the new High Septon and agrees to allow them to raise an army in exchange for forgiving the crown's debt and blessing Tommen. Was this a wise move or a political disaster?
This is an example of how Cersei's leadership is significantly lacking from her father's "rule" before her. She grabs at the easy out without analyzing it and even goes so far as to think she has gotten the better end of the deal. She doesn't care about the consequences of allowing the formation of this army and even thinks that it will be doing her job for her, as she assumes Beric Dondarrion will be their target. I don't know what this army will end up doing, but I pretty much expect it won't be working in Cersei's interest.

jason10mm said:
7. Victarion agrees to go on a mission to capture(?) Daenerys. Is Euron getting rid of a rival or does he actually think Victarion will do this?
Euron knows about Dany from his past travels - has he seen her? I believe he knows she has a claim to the crown. I believe he knows she has dragons. He probably knows better than anyone what she is capable of if he has traveled to places where she has been. If he has set his sights on her as his wife, why would he sned Victarion? He must know that this would be a huge undertaking and also that it will be important to his plans of ruling Westeros. Shouldn't he go himself? I can't imagine him fathoming this plan would succeed by allowing a brother who hates him to lead the mission. I don't get it.

I wonder what will happen with Victarion if he actually meets Dany.
 

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DYB said:
Loved the little run-in with Arya. Sansa is the only surviving Stark child he hasn't met yet!
I don't think he has met Rickon. And speaking of Rickon, where the heck is he? Who the heck is he? When last we saw him he was a bit of a wild and uncontrollable child, but everyone is starting to grow up. Who is he growing into?
 

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VondaZ said:
I don't think he has met Rickon. And speaking of Rickon, where the heck is he? Who the heck is he? When last we saw him he was a bit of a wild and uncontrollable child, but everyone is starting to grow up. Who is he growing into?
I forgot Rickon and Osha were already gone when Sam ran into Bran. And yes, where is Rickon? I'm also very curious where Osha has taken him and what he's growing into.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I fully expect Rickon to come sweeping back into Westeros at the head of some barbarian army. No matter who rules Westeros, he'll take them out :p

Good point about not getting a lot of insight into Sansa. I think GRRM wants to talk about Littlefinger but feels obligated to follow a Stark whenever possible. It would be nice to hear about her reflections of life in Winterfell, some vignettes about how pressured she felt trying to emulate her mother, etc. But I'll take "take charge" Alayne over moony Sansa anyday!

It is interesting how dismissive nobility can be of commoners (like Bronn) who lack a pedigree but demonstrate technical competence. There are numerous passages of various nobles extolling the virtues of their ancestors/relatives, I guess social networking is way more important :) Then again, I suspect most nobles think of commoners the way a vice-president thinks of the janitor in their corporate building (I know this is probably unfair to a lot of VPs, but anyway), their contributions are minimalized at best.
 

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jason10mm said:
I fully expect Rickon to come sweeping back into Westeros at the head of some barbarian army. No matter who rules Westeros, he'll take them out :p

Good point about not getting a lot of insight into Sansa. I think GRRM wants to talk about Littlefinger but feels obligated to follow a Stark whenever possible. It would be nice to hear about her reflections of life in Winterfell, some vignettes about how pressured she felt trying to emulate her mother, etc. But I'll take "take charge" Alayne over moony Sansa anyday!

It is interesting how dismissive nobility can be of commoners (like Bronn) who lack a pedigree but demonstrate technical competence. There are numerous passages of various nobles extolling the virtues of their ancestors/relatives, I guess social networking is way more important :) Then again, I suspect most nobles think of commoners the way a vice-president thinks of the janitor in their corporate building (I know this is probably unfair to a lot of VPs, but anyway), their contributions are minimalized at best.
Haha, that'd be great about Rickon riding at the head of a barbarian horde! He is being raised by Osha, after all!

One of the most interesting sociopolitical themes in the novels (and we know this was absolutely true - and remains true - in so much of our own society) is the complete disregard for the "commoners." I mean, innocent dwarves are being killed around Westeros on the off-chance that one of them is going to be Tyrion. And Cersei and everyone in court shrugs. Commoners are the ones being slaughtered across the country and it means nothing. It is their duty to do as they are told by their Lords. (Who, if taken prisoner, will likely be treated well and traded. The commoners will be hanged.) On the, ahem, more civilized court level, people like Littlefinger and Bronn and Davos are dismissed. But every time they have proven to be wiser, smarter and more conniving.
 

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DYB said:
I mean, innocent dwarves are being killed around Westeros on the off-chance that one of them is going to be Tyrion. And Cersei and everyone in court shrugs.
It's funny - she doesn't care about the killing of innocents. But if those who do the killing are intentionally trying to deceive her, then they get sent off to Qyburn and his evil lair never to be seen again. The sin wasn't killing an innocent dwarf. If was lying to Cersei.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, there does not really seem to be a system of justice, or even basic law enforcement, in Westeros. No sheriffs, judges, or even beat cops outside of the urban Gold Cloaks. So I guess she has to rely on the riffraff and there isn't really a local authority who could vet a dwarf for her. You'd think the local lords could do this for her but I suppose she questions everyone's loyalty too much to rely on their judgement (and really, at this point I think Tyrion could walk into Casterly Rock and legitimately take it over).

The class system in effect here is what I would draw attention to, especially in comparison to today's society. In Westeros there is virtually no way for a commoner to ascend in status, so it is understandable (but not permissible) for nobles to see themselves as distinct and "better" than the commoners. But today we do have class mobility, so presumably when a "commoner" ascends to the heights of power or wealth they would remember where they came from and have more empathy. Not sure that really plays out though.
 
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