Hey, alleged readers: do you like video games? Ever played anything in the “Tales of…” series? You should. I’m currently playing the latest, Tales of Zesteria, and it’s pretty good. I don’t like the battle system as much as the previous game (or rather, the two previous games) but I’m giving it time to grow on me.
Does this have anything to do with my review?
Not really, no.
Book Spirit: …Can I take it that you really hated another chapter, then?
Actually, no. I just don’t have a lot to say to preface this week’s chapter. I’m somehow still waiting for Tyrion to disappoint me, but it seems that time is not yet.
Book Spirit: Do you mind just starting, then, rather than going off on tangents?
I don’t think it really qualifies as a tangent, seeing as I have no intention of drawing parallels between the Tales games and A Song of Ice and Fire…actually, that might actually work. I should think about that.
Some other time.
Tyrion 2 (13)
Tyrion has left the party of the king, and is travelling north with Benjen Stark and Jon Snow. For three days they pass farms surrounding isolated holdfasts, before they reach a dense forest known as the wolfwood. There they are joined by another man of the Night’s Watch, Yoren, along with two peasant boys who chose to go to the Wall rather than face castration for rape. Along with the two men accompanying Tyrion Lannister, the party has eight men.
Tyrion notices Jon Snow looking askance at the new arrivals, who look rather smelly and stupid. He feels a little sympathy for the boy, who probably expected the men of the Night’s Watch to be more like his uncle. He had less sympathy for that uncle, who seemed to have his brother’s dislike of Lannisters. Benjen had not been happy when Tyrion announced that he was coming along, but couldn’t deny the brother of the queen.
As they move northward, there are fewer farms and holdfasts to shelter in, and eventually they are forced to start making camps along the way. Due to his size and physique, Tyrion is essentially useless at setting or breaking camps, so he gets in the habit of taking himself off to read some of the books he borrowed from Winterfell’s library. Tonight he is reading a book about dragons, and the properties of dragon bones.
Tyrion has always been fascinated with dragons. When he first went to King’s Landing after Robert became king, he spent some time tracking down the dragon skulls that had once adorned the Targaryen throne room. He eventually found them stored in a basement, and although he had expected to find them impressive and fearful, he hadn’t expected to find them beautiful. The oldest skulls were a thousand years old, while the youngest were a century and a half. The younger skulls were smaller, dragons who died younger, while the oldest skulls were large enough to swallow cattle whole. The three oldest skulls had been the dragons belonging to the first Targaryen king and his sisters, and they had allowed said king to forge the separate kingdoms of Westeros into one unified nation.
Tyrion’s musing is interrupted by Jon Snow, accompanied by his direwolf, who wonders why the man reads so much. The dwarf points out that Jon is already taller than he will ever be, that he can’t move correctly, that his arms are strong but too short. But he is a Lannister, and he has to uphold the honor of his house; therefore, he makes a weapon of his mind, and uses books to keep it sharp. Jon thinks about this for a bit, and then asks what Tyrion is reading about.
Tyrion admits to his obsession with dragons, and muses about seeing his father or sister burning in the flames. Jon is shocked by this, but Tyrion insinuates that he must have had similar fantasies in his father’s household. Jon hotly denies this, but Tyrion goes on to point out how he had been shuffled off to the Night’s Watch, among scum and villains. Jon becomes enraged, and Tyrion starts to feel bad for baiting the boy. But when he steps forward, he is blindsided by Ghost, who knocks him to the ground.
He has trouble rising, and calls to Jon for help. Jon insists that he ask nicely, and Tyrion masters his pride to do so. Jon helps him to his feet, and they reconcile over a drink of wine. Jon acknowledges that what Tyrion said about the Night’s Watch was true, and Tyrion is impressed with the boy’s ability to accept reality as it is. The two return to the camp together.
You know, it’s almost a pity that I expect Tyrion to become a major antagonist at some point, because he has something that no one else in this story seems to have: actual freaking empathy for other people. Every single other character only cares about their own point of view, with the prize for complete selfishness going to that bitch, Catelyn. Everyone worries about what this person or that person might do, but no one wonders about how anyone else feels about anything. Except Tyrion Lannister.
And he reads books. So he’s your favorite character.
Dammit, yes he is. I know it’s because he’s been handed a really bad lot in life, but he is self-aware, shows instances of compassion, actually thinks about other people, and despite his limitations he pushes himself to be the best. He’s also a caustic, mocking, bitter little dwarf, but frankly that’s still more endearing than his siblings.
And honestly, if it weren’t for his physical infirmities, he’d probably be the most dangerous character in the setting. All the strength in the world is worthless if you don’t know where and when to use it. Put him on the back of a dragon, and he could probably conquer the planet all on his lonesome. Well, I’d prefer to put him in powered armor, or a giant robot, but sadly R.R. seems to have forgotten to write them into the setting.
Book Spirit: You’re…joking, right?
Of course. Anyway, I’m absolutely convinced that he is going to turn evil, because if he didn’t, he’d be killed off immediately for being too good a role model; after all, nothing good ever happens in these books.
Book Spirit: That’s going to become your motto, isn’t it.
Of course. Anyway, the seeds for evil are there: for one, he is quite proud of being a Lannister, even if he hates his immediate family (except for Jaime). The line about “Lannisters take what is offered” is quite telling in that regard. Also, everyone treats him like crap, and even his iron self-control probably won’t last forever. I’d hate to be the one who eventually sets him off, though.
I guess the other major point of this chapter (setting aside the history report, which I glossed over above) was Jon Snow’s reaction to learning just what kind of organization he had joined. Which I find I don’t have a lot to say about, except that it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Tyrion says that the Night’s Watch doesn’t do anything important, but we readers know that there are, in fact, Others out there (man, I miss those guys). I hope he learns. It will be…interesting.
That’s about it, I guess.
Book Spirit: Hmph. You’re just upset that you couldn’t find anything to complain about.
I am? I don’t feel upset. But why are you in such a pissy mood?
Book Spirit: I’m not!
…Weird. Oh well. Ah, there was one other thing.
Book Spirit: …and that is?
“There are no more dragons,” is it? Hah! Are these guys ever right about anything?
Book Spirit: You said you weren’t reading ahead!
Some spoilers are unavoidable.
Next time: Seven Despairs, not this selfish bitch again!
This isn’t working…
Hm? Did you say something?
Nothing! I’m leaving!
Hey. Fang of Shadow.
Yes, Dark One?
Keep an eye on that thing, won’t you?
I will, Dark One.
Thanks. Even figments can be dangerous if they aren’t monitored.