THIS IS NOT A DRILL, REPEAT, NOT A DRILL.
Last night, George R.R Martin put up a new TWOW preview chapter, this time Arianne II. Some of you may be familiar with this one from various readings at cons, but for those of you who haven’t been following that news, I’ve put my thoughts below the cut:
– first of all, let me just say how nice it is to have some more ASOIAF Dornish chapters, compared to what’s been going on in the show. Nice to be reminded that Arianne exists, the Martells love each other, etc.
– Connington’s invasion of the Stormlands definitely seems like a major part of the plot of TWOW, given that we’ve already had two chapters devoted to it in ASOIAF. Does make the decision to leave him out of the show more and more interesting.
– This may be some of the most Stormlands worldbuilding we’ve ever seen, given that much of what we’ve had to date has been extremely Storm’s End-focused. Here we get the rainwood as GRRM’s riff on Murkwood, the differing climates of Dorne and the Stormlands, and the giant caves that the Children of the Forest lived in.
– Starting to get a sense of what the Martells are up to: “Nym and Tyene may have reached King’s Landing by now, she mused,…If not they ought to be there soon. Three hundred seasoned spears had gone with them…If the Lannisters had tried to spring their little trap in the kingswood, Lady Nym would have seen that it ended in disaster.” So two of the Sand Snakes are escorting Myrcella, and not Trystane (because the book Martells aren’t kinslaying idiots) to King’s Landing to work from the inside, while Arianne acts on the outside.
– Elia Sand/Lady Lance is a huge pain in the ass. Love the line about her being Doran’s vengeance for Arianne’s misdeeds.
– So the Golden Company has taken Mistfall of House Mertyn. I’m now curious about Old John Mudd and Young John Mudd and Chain is just a straight-up Marvel character (although now I’m curious who his great grandsire was at Redgrass Field…will have to do some heraldry digging to find out). Bit of an update on the invasion: Halfmaester holds the Roost while Connington marches on Storm’s End…
– Classic GRRM undermining of the romanticism of war here with the discussion of thieving vs. foraging and raping vs. “persuading.”
– Can’t wait to see some Lysono Maar cosplay, that is one fabulous-looking sellsword.
– “Yet the Golden Company has been defeated every time it has crossed into Westeros. They lost when Bittersteel commanded them, they failed the Blackfyre Pretenders, they faltered when Maelys the Monstrous led them.”
That seemed to amuse him. “We are at least persistent, you must admit. And some of those defeats were near things.”
“Some were not. And those who die near things are no less dead than those who die in routs.” Not a bad summation of the Golden Company, the best runners-up ever.
– Big update on the invasion: Storm’s End has fallen without Aegon dying (so much for that theory), and now Jon Connington is preparing to “smash his enemies in the field” as an army marches from King’s Landing. So is that Mace, post-Margaery acquittal? A possibly disloyal Randyll Tarly? Both?
– After two chapters now, I’m even more convinced that Arianne is going to throw in with the Golden Company and marry Aegon. Only question to me is whether the Dornish forces can march up the Boneway fast enough to take part in the battle as the Golden Company’s ace in the hole.