[ENTITY DETECTED. DISPLAYING RECORDED MESSAGE]
“Hello, potential readers! I’ve been
summoned called away, so I’ll have to do this chapter in absentia, as it were. The presentation might be a little strange… well, no big deal.
“Oh, if this is Fang of Shadow receiving this message, I think I know what happened to that damn spirit. I should be back in a couple days, we can go fetch her then. Ah, and if it’s that spirit seeing this… well, good job finding your way back, I guess.”
Jon 3 (19)
The action, such as it is, moves to Jon Snow, training in Castle Black next to the Wall. He is absolutely destroying his fellow trainees at sword practice, and resentment is bubbling. The armsmaster, Ser Alliser Thorne, is unimpressed, and Jon is convinced that the man hates him, though he seems to hate the other recruits even more.
Later in the armory, Jon starts thinking about his new life. He is always cold, and the men around him are cold too. Even his uncle Benjen treats him coldly now, and had harsh words for him before departing on an investigation into the haunted woods. Jon begins to feel homesick, and thinks of his siblings back in Winterfell. But his musings are interrupted by Grenn, a fellow recruit he had humiliated earlier, along with three others. They start a fight with Jon, but before it could go very far the armorer, Donal Noye, stops them. He sends the four recruits away, but makes Jon stay for a tongue-lashing. He points out that the others never had the advantages that Jon had, and that he was basically bullying them, and was likely to get his throat slit one night.
Finally released from the armory, Jon is stunned once again by the sheer size of the Wall, and recalls the journey to Castle Black. Even Tyrion Lannister was impressed by the Wall; it was almost 700 feet tall, and stretched from the sea in the east, all the way until it met the mountains in the west. As Jon stands staring at it, he is approached by Tyrion, who takes a moment to speculate on what might be on the other side. Jon is uncomfortable talking with the man, but Tyrion is unperturbed, and gives Jon some useful advice about names. He invites Jon along to find some food, and Jon agrees.
As they walk, they chat, and Tyrion mentions that Ben Stark had been gone too long. Jon points out that they had a long distance to travel, potentially, but secretly he is concerned about his uncle as well. In the hall, he is approached by Ser Alliser, who tells him that the Lord Commander has a message for him, about his half-brother. Realizing this means news about Bran, he rushes to Jeor Mormont’s office, where the Lord Commander gives him a message. Jon can barely read the message through his tears, but realizes that Bran had woken up. In a fit of joy he runs back to the hall, telling everyone that his brother is going to live. Tyrion seems startled, and Jon gives him the message to read himself. In a sudden paroxysm of friendliness, Jon goes over to Grenn and offers to teach him some sword moves. Ser Alliser mocks Jon, but Jon wittily brushes him off, causing several adults, including Tyrion, to laugh. Ser Alliser grows angry, and promises Jon that he just made a mistake.
“Well, that’s it. A lot of stuff happened in this chapter, a lot of which I glossed over for time constraints. So yeah, I’ve never been in the situation myself, but pissing off your martial arts instructor is universally held as a ‘bad idea’, as they can be inventive little pricks when it comes to suffering. Nice job, Jon.
“So, another WTF moment in this chapter. So yeah, that Wall. 700 feet tall, huh? A nice, thick wall as tall as an office tower, stretching nearly coast to coast, completely covered in ice. And, according to unca Ben, ‘built by human hands.’ In a pre-industrial society.
“Yeah. Fucking. Right.
“See, this right here is what everyone should be concerned about. At least Tyrion seems to realize that something is up, even though he doesn’t seem to take it seriously. No one else seems to even question it, especially the main question: ‘How did they build this, and why doesn’t it fall down?’ That’s what I’d pay to read. But instead, everyone’s concerned about who’s running things down south, and trying to make sure that it’s them. Politics, in other words. Meanwhile, eldritch abominations prepare to wipe you out. Way to keep your eye on the ball, people.
“Hell, to me, the Wall itself seems more like an eldritch abomination than a barrior. Sure, it might prevent convenient movement from north to south – if you can’t swim. Or climb mountains. Not to mention, the rangers seem able to reach the other side. So what exactly is the point?
“But, hey, I can be patient, right? Still have three-quarters of the book left, it might all be revealed. I doubt it. But it could.
“Anyway, pointless bitching aside, it’s nice that we finally get a call-back to the prologue. See, Ben went out looking for Royce, that noble guy who got ice-zombied in the beginning. And now Ben is missing. Gee, what could have happened? Mind you, the timing is a little weird: Gared (remember him?) had enough time to go crazy, run down to Winterfell, get beheaded in the first chapter, had the rest of the book so far happen – and they’re only searching for him now? Nice reaction time, Night’s Watch.
“Ah, crap, time’s up. Umm. Stuff happened. Sort of. Much mystery. Wish we could explore it further.
“Ok, you can cut it-”
[NEXT TIME: EDDARD STARK IS WORKING]
????: …that was weird. Um. No one…is here? Hello~!
????: Hm? Is he…building something over here? What is this supposed to be…?