Word has it George has (again) read at least part of the 2nd Davos Chapter, this time at the Days of Ice and Fire event. I notice that it seems we never got a thread started for Davos 2, even though he's read a part of it before, so here's the initial report we had from gedo way back in 2007 after GRRM's appearance in Second Life:
I suspect this new reading would have covered rather more ground.
live in St. Paul, MN) and GRRM read a chapter that I have never seen posted anywhere before. I was going to post this in the Westeros Fourm that has all the aDwD chapter posts but I don’t have privileges to post there so I will post it here. If there is an administrator of this site that would like it posted there instead, please feel free to move it or do whatever you like.
WARNING SPOILERS ABOUND!!
1st, we got hit by a huge blizzard this mourning so I barely made it to the event at all and the crowd was much smaller than I would have expected, though I assume this is largely due in part to the weather. GRRM 1st did a Davos Chapter reading, talked a bit and then did a Q/A.
I will try to retell the Davos chapter as well as I can but I have a very poor memory. Please forgive me for all the stuff I will certainly have forgotten (the reading took over a half hour and I am writing this several hours after the event) and don't hold me to any of this, though I will try my best to retell it.
The Merry Midwife was an old cog. Her figurehead was that of a midwife holding a baby upside down by the leg, but the maid's face and the baby's bottom were worm-eaten. Her planks were rotting and were sails were grey and tattered. No one would have looked at her twice except to wonder how she stayed afloat, and that was exactly why Davos was sailing on her.
With Winterfell burned and Robb dead, White Harbor is the strongest point in North, and the wealthiest. The Manderlys had always been loyal subjects to the Starks and enemies of the Boltons. King Stannis had sent ravens to White Harbor seeking to ally himself with the Manderlys without reply. Davos was now being sent as an official envoy. Originally the plan was for Davos to arrive with Salladhor Saan on his flagship Valyrian and all the might of his colorfully striped Lyseni ships. Salladhor Saan, Salladhor the Splendid he was sometimes called as Davos recalled bitterly how a major storm had scattered and sank a large portion of the Lyseni fleet that had sailed from East-Watch-by-the-Sea. This had been the last straw for Salladhor and he had abandoned Stannis and his cause and had literally abandoned Davos on Sisterton. Now Davos was being smuggled into White Harbor from Sisterton on the Merry Midwife. The Captain is a short fellow, only 5 feet tall, a son of an Ibbenese sailor and a Tyroshi whore. He has a long bushy beard that he dyes a mossy green and looks like a tree stump in yellow boots. Davos thinks that he is an able enough sailor, but hard on his crew. The Captain remarks to Davos that he can tell every city in Westeros by smell alone. Each city has its own distinct smell, just like a woman. Oldtown is a perfumed Lady, Lannisport is milkmaid with woody, earthy smell in her hair, King's Landing is an unwashed whore. White Harbor is a fisherman's wife. She smells like the salted ocean, cool air and a little fishy. She smells like a port is supposed to smell like.
As the city pulls into view Davos remarks to himself how much the city's defenses have improved since he'd been there last. The once uninhabited Seal Rock, a large cropping of a rock island that stands where the White Knife river enters The Bite and in front of the outer harbor of White Harbor, now had telltale smoke fires streaming off of it. The presence of the men fortifying the island had scared away all of the trademark seals. The harbor wall defending the port was almost a mile long with a tower every hundred feet, all of them manned with crossbowmen or archers. There are also a large number of scorpions and spitfires. It was rumored by Cotter Pyke at East-Watch that Wyman Manderly had been building a fleet to match that of the Iron Throne's. Davos wonders if there is such a fleet hidden behind the wall dividing the inner and outer harbor. The Captian asks him how long he'll be at port. Davos feels that if his business goes well he could be back tomorrow. "And if it goes poorly?", the Captain asks. Maybe never Davos thinks to himself, though he simply answers, "Don't wait for me". The Captain tells him that he plans to linger in port three days.
The ship docks in the outer harbor and customs officials immediately board the ship to see the Captain. They ignore Davos as he is so plainly dressed in his wool breeches with a wooden clasp and simple shirt. Davos leaves and walks through the docks heading for the city gates. He notices that the Banner of the Manderly Mermaid is everywhere and he is hopeful because he does not spy the banners of King Tommen anywhere. He is also dismayed however that he doesn't see the direwolf of House Stark either. Unfortunately he sees the royal war galley Lionstar anchored in port and worries about where the allegiances of Lord Wyman will be after the death of Robb Stark and about the success of his mission here. Davos also reflects on how he was able to read the name of the ship now that he knows a few of his letters. Davos is able to walk through the main gate of the city without question by the guards as again he is dressed so plain and the guards are distracted with flirting with a dockside whore.
As he enters the city Davos thinks back to his many visits to this city from his smuggling days. The Manderlys were originally a House on the Mander River but were cast out and allowed to resettle by the Starks here at the mouth of the White Knife River and they had brought their Southron ways with them. White Harbor did have a God's Woods, but it was an unkempt tangle of old roots. The Septons and Septas of the Seven ruled here from the large Snow Sept. Part of the city was an old fort from the ages of the First Men called the Wolf's Den that was now mostly in disrepair but served as the city's prison. The streets were large and paved with cobblestone and laid out in good order. The houses and shops were mostly white-washed with grey slate roofs. On the hill the city was built around sat the keep of the Manderly's, New Castle. This is where Davos needed to go to but first he wanted to gauge the mood of the city. He enters a large city court-yard that has a statue of a mermaid holding a trident and one of her feet was broken off. It is named after some forgotten lord, though everyone calls it Fish Foot Yard. There are a surprising number of people milling about in addition to the usual fish merchants, money exchangers and a bad juggler. There is a woman hanging her laundry on the mermaid's trident and Davos spies a large mint building that is full of women, children and old folk lying round on furs with small cooking fires all over. Davos buys an apple from a vendor and engages him in conversation. He inquires about all of the people in the mint building and the apple vendor replies that they are small folk from the White Knife area. Apparently the Bastard of Bolton has been making trouble with the Manderly knights over the now disputed Hornwoood lands. When Davos asks how they are getting by the vendor replies that the women are selling what women always sell when they have nothing else to sell and any man healthy enough to carry a spear can find pay in the White Harbor garrison. The rest are begging or starving. Apparently many forces of the North are reluctantly joining with the Boltons now as they have been named the new Warden of the North. Among them are the Cerwyns, Ryswells (and others I couldn't remember) and Whore's Bane Umber with a force of men from Last Hearth. They are leading a force down the King's Road to pinch the Iron Men who remain at Moat Cailin between them and the remaining Northern army under Roose and some Freys marching north from the south. Davos continues the conversation and learns that Robett Glover was here trying to get men to help recover his castle at Deepwood Motte from the Iron men with apparently little luck. Davos asks about Lord Manderly's intentions. The vendor mocks him and says that Lord Wyman hasn't taken the time to fill him in on his thoughts on the matter. Davos asks if it is true that Wyman is marrying his daughter to a Frey. The vendor says it's his granddaughter, and again mocks him and states that he wasn't invited to the wedding so he doesn't know for sure. Davos asks how he can marry his granddaughter to a Frey when they murdered both his sons. The vendor replies that they only murdered Wendel and his bones lie in the Snow Sept. Wylis lives and is now a prisoner of the Iron Throne. This is disappointing news to Davos. The apple was dry and not that good but Davos feels it was worth the half penny to find out everything he did. The apple vendor asks for the core back so that he can use the seeds left in the core. Davos gives him the core and he looks once more at the huddled crowds of smallfolk and regrets how they fled here to get away from the fighting and now Davos is here to try to drag them into it.
He continues on and thinks about a small pub that lies against the Wolf's Den and makes the best beer he has ever drunk. It is so dark it's almost black and thick. If all the customers didn't drink so much of it so fast the pub could make a fortune if it ever had any left to export to Ib and the likes. He had a different pub in mind right now however, the Lazy Eel. The Lazy Eel was famous for serving the worst wine and meat pie with the meat often being of an uncertain origin and having the oldest whores. The building was dilapidated and in the most run down part of town; all of these factors meant there was never a city official or customs officer in sight. The bar room also has many nook rooms and small confined areas, making it an ideal place for smugglers to sit and plan their trade. Davos walks in and sees many short fat candles burning giving off more smoke than light and the place is empty except for the bartender and four old, ugly whores who were sitting together at a table. One of the whores smiles hopefully at him but Davos shakes his head no. The whore says something to the other girls and they all laugh. Davos sits down in one of the nook rooms by the fire and orders a glass of red sour. Sour and dour like his mood he thinks. The bartender asks him if he wants a meat pie too, Davos asks what kind of meat is in the pie and the bartender replies“"consumable"”(or something to that effect). The bartender goes off to fill his order. Davos looks at the flames in the fire. He thinks about how Melisandre claims she can see the future in the flames. Davos thinks upon his own life. He remembers when he was younger and had dreamed of taking his ship and sailing east to the far lands. Few sailors ever survive such a journey, but those that can return with their hulls intact and full of eastern trade can retire wealthy from the bounty of a single journey. Davos was always a cautious man, and the before he knew it the years had passed by and he no longer felt he had the vigor for such a journey. The bartender returns with a wine that is more yellow than red, and a lit tallow candle. Davos drinks the wine, blows the candle out and waits for the sun to set. Once it does sailors start to make their way into the bar. Davos knows that as the wine begins to flow the sailors will begin to talk and that is what he is here for, to hear the news of the lands. He hears about how Balon is dead and how the Iron Men are fighting over the Seastone chair. How Lysa was killed by a singer and now Littlefinger rules the vale. He learns that there is a renewed war over the disputed lands between the free cities of Lys, Myr and Tyrosh. The Redwyne fleet is slowly making its way to Dragonstone. He hears how Sandor Clegane is now an outlaw and is raiding along the River lands and how Tywin Lannister was killed by his own son Tyrion. Apparently he burst out of a pie and was running around the Red Keep covered in his father's blood, and that Tywin's body stunk up the Sept of Baelor so bad at his funeral that people didn't return to worship in there for days. He also hears about revolts in Slaver's Bay and of dragons in Qarth. They talk about how Wyman Manderly has been so overcome with his grief as of late that he no longer gets out of bed. "You mean too fat", remarks another patron. The bar folk begin a discussion about whether there are any remaining Targaryens. One says that there was a boy and a girl but that the girl was married to some eastern horse lord and the horse lord beheaded Viserys. They argue about the name of the girl until Davos chimes in that it was Daenerys, named after King Daeron II's sister Daenerys Targaryen who he forsook marrying. Instead he married Myriah Martell in order to bring Dorne into the realm to complete the unification of the Westeros under the Iron Throne. Most agree that Daenerys must be dead by now too. One of the bar men says that there is a chance they are both still alive. He says he never saw their dead bodies, nor did ever hear of anyone seeing their dead bodies or the dead body of Rhaegar Targaryen's son Aegon for that matter. The other bar members laugh at this and say they have never seen the body of Baelor the Blessed so perhaps he's just taking a nap and is still alive. Then they go on to talk about how Baelor never married, but the whore that spoke to Davos says that he married one of his sisters, he just never bedded her and had all his sisters locked in a tower in the Red Keep to avoid the temptation.
Davos is disappointed to not hear any mention of Stannis at the wall and about the battle that occurred there or about the wights. Davos sits and contemplates his future with Stannis. Sallador and his fleet have already abandoned him and the news in White Harbor hasn't been especially promising except for the news of Tywin's death. He thinks about how he risked his life to smuggle Edric Storm away from Stannis to the Stepstones while four of his sons died for Stannis in the Battle of the Blackwater. Devan remains as Stannis's squire and his two younger sons, Stannis and Steffon, remain at home with his wife Marya on Cape Wrath. He longs to see them and feels that it has been too long since he has. He dreams of taking his sons and sailing east and seeing all the things he never had the courage to sail and see in his youth. He begins to question whether there is really any hope in Stannis’s cause.
He leaves the bar and begins to walk up the path to New Castle. As he walks he remembers the feast that was held at East-Watch before he left. Everyone was in attendance, even Princess Shireen until her bedtime. He recalls how Axell Florent told a story about a Targaryen King who had a pet ape that he loved so much he called it his son and would dress it in the finest velvets and he would make marriage offers to the daughters of various Lords. They all would all refuse politely, yet they all always refuse. Many at the table looked at Davos and smirked under their breaths. As Davos walks he resolutely says to himself, "I’m no ape in velvet, I’m a King's Hand". When he gets to the top of the hill he looks back and realizes he can see into the inner harbor. He spies twenty three warships. Too fat and sad to get out of bed, but not unproductive Davis notes. He knocks on the postern gate and a guard inquires what his business here is. He brings out his scroll that bears King Stannis's seal and says, "I need to speak to Lord Wyman and him alone".
End Of Reading.
After the reading, GRRM talks for awhile. He apologizes for the delay with aDwD. He states that past claims to have the book nearly finished were not attempts to deceive, just that he is guilty of "bouts of excessive optimism". He also comments on how his publishers claimed at the San Diego Comi-Con that there are only 5 chapters remaining. He states that this is true until he finishes one of those chapters and then decides that that chapter is too long and needs to be split into two chapters and then that causes adjustments needing to be made to other chapters, ect. Please be patient, he is honestly working on it the best he can. He talked about some other stuff, but none of it was especially note-worthy. Fun for those in attendance, but really worth rehashing here.
Then he did a non-HBO series Q/A (There is another Q/A later this evening dedicated specifically to the HBO series). Zero spoilers were released here. Any question even slightly spoilerish in nature was turned away, not even any subtle hints. I found only 2 questions especially interesting. Someone asked whether any of the songs in asoiaf were fully fleshed out (The Bear and the Maiden Fair, The Reynes of Castamere, etc)? GRRM replied that only the portion of the songs that exist in the books has been written and nothing else. He did comment on how he wished he had more musical talent. He joked about how so many of his former works have the word Song in them (A Song of Ice and Fire, A Song for Lya, Songs of Stars and Shadows, Songs the Dead Men Sing, Songs of the Dying Earth, Songs of Love and Death, etc). He says that when he was younger he was friends with a group of kids that had their own garage band and once they threw a party and a lot of pretty girls showed up and the band members were having a lot of luck with the girls and when 2 pretty girls asked him what instrument he played he replied, "the typewriter". "I went on to use that line many times but it never got me laid", he joked. The other question was how does he pronounce some of the characters names? He pauses, looks at us and goes, "Jon Snow, Ned Stark". After the laughing died down he did go through some of the more challenging names, though I don't have the linguistic ability to reproduce them phonetically here.
Sorry for all that I forgot, but hopefully you enjoyed what I was able to recall.