And now, angst.
Arya 2 (22)
Arya’s father is late to dinner again, and she can tell that he has been fighting with the King’s council. Ned discusses the upcoming tourney with Jory, and Sansa expresses a desire to attend. Ned doesn’t want to allow it, but Septa Mordane talks him into it. He allows Sansa and Arya to attend; however, Arya doesn’t want anything to do with the event. She and Sansa begin to argue, before their father stops them. Ned leaves the hall without eating anything, and Arya begins to muse gloomily upon her current life. No one attempts to address her, and she misses her brothers and the days back at Winterfell. Eventually she starts brooding about Mycah, and how no one she trusted had tried to help him. Becoming angry, she gets up and leaves, ignoring Mordane who tries to stop her.
Back in her bedroom, she begins to cry, and blame herself for everything that has happened. She goes to her chest and removes her sword, Needle, from where it is hidden beneath her clothes, and draws it. Mordane starts pounding on the door, demanding that Arya open it, and threatens to tell her father. Arya screams at her to go away, and Mordane leaves. The girl stares out the window, wishing she could climb like Bran, and starts dreaming of running away, finding Nymeria, and returning to Winterfell, or even joining Jon on the Wall. Then her father arrives.
Ned seems more sad than angry, which makes Arya feel even worse. He asks to see her sword, and notes that it had been made by his own blacksmith. Arya won’t tell him that she got the blade from Jon, and after a moment he lets the matter go. Ned sighs, lamenting that the Hand who is supposed to rule the Seven Kingdoms can’t even rule his own household. Ned remonstrates Arya, telling her she is supposed to be learning to be a lady; she snaps back that she doesn’t want to become a lady. Her father half-threatens to break the sword, but Arya claims that Needle won’t break. Ned sighs, and admits that he sees a wildness in Arya that reminds him of his sister and older brother.
Ned asks Arya if she knows anything about using the sword, which she does not. She admits to him that she had asked Mycah to practice her, and then breaks down crying, telling her father that everything was her fault. Her father comforts her, and tells her that Mycah’s death wasn’t her fault at all, but that of the Hound and the queen. She says she hates them, along with Joffrey, who lied about what had happened, and Sansa, who lied so that Joffrey would like her. He points out that she had lied, too, about Nymeria running off. She admits it, and confesses that she had to throw rocks at the wolf to get her to leave. Her father praises her for doing the right thing.
Ned makes Arya sit down and listen seriously. He warns his daughter who has known nothing but summer that winter is almost here. He reminds her that the sigil of their house is the direwolf, and that wolves have to live together to survive in winter. He wants her to make peace with Septa Mordane and Sansa, and to direct her hate towards those who would actually do them harm. Arya promises to behave better, and Eddard returns her sword with a smile. He asks that she not stab her sister, whatever the provocation, and she agrees.
Three days later, she is sent to the Small Hall by her father’s steward, where she is met by a thin, bald man who says, “You are late, boy.” He throws her a practice sword, and starts instructing her in its use. He is Syrio Forel, who once was first sword to the Sealord of Braavos, and he is here to teach her to use her sword.
Hello again. I, the Dark Jackel, am once again healthy-ish and reviewing a chapter of A Game of Thrones! With me today is Spydra.
No, that’s not my name. Please don’t call me that.
Heh. On to the chapter. So, Eddard Stark, you’ve made a lot of mistakes lately. You know it. I know it. Even Spydra knows it.
Spydra: …not my name…
But today, you have just earned some sort of “Best Dad” award. Not only did you comfort your daughter when she most needed it; not only did you treat a nine-year-old girl with respect and understanding; not only did you calmly explain why you needed her to behave well, without simply demanding it; you gave the one gift a girl living in Westeros what she most desperately needs: a background in fucking martial arts. No matter what other errors you have committed, sir, you have made up for it today. I shall no longer harp upon the mistakes of your past.
Spydra: What, really?
Of course. I am a demon of my word.
Spydra: …what’s the catch?
I am going to be stricter about his future mistakes, of course.
Spydra: Yeah, I guess I should have known.
Anyway, so in exchange for toeing the party line from now on, Arya is going to learn to kill people. Yay! I certainly hope it does her some good. And…hmm. What else happened this chapter?
Spydra: You…you just summarized it up there…
Yeah, honestly, this was a hard chapter to summarize. Like I mentioned first thing, it was a lot of Arya angsting, especially over Mycah’s death. (Fun note: I keep trying to write his name Mycha or Micah. Don’t ask me why.) Other than that, there was homesickness for Winterfell, and a lot of hate for everything, including herself. So yeah, this was mostly all about Ned’s crowning moment of heartwarming.
Spydra: You know, this is a much better book than you are claiming.
Hm? Why do you say that?
Spydra: You keep finding things that you like, or that you find interesting. Are you sure that you aren’t actually enjoying the book?
Ah. No. You see, I am deliberately looking for things to interest me, you see, so that this chore doesn’t become completely depressing. Well, more completely depressing.
Spydra: I don’t understand your motivations at all.
No worries. I’m just perverse, that’s all. Well, lets wrap this up. Let’s see, next up is…ah, crap.
Spydra: What is it?