We begin with a wolf dream. Ghost senses his siblings. Mormont's crow wakes him and Dolorous Edd brings news. Wildlings drifting in. Jon reviews Stannis' request for land. Stannis has been down the Kingsroad, inspecting castles, walking the Wall and questioning prisoners. Jon refuses having an escort (compare with Melisandre). He avoids fighting the Queen's man Ser Godry Farring. Builders are working on rebuilding the stair. Offers gloves to Stannis' men, chides Sam.
Jon and Stannis discuss Lyanna Mormont's defiance, Arnolf Karstark's obedience, the duties of Kings and subjects – law and mutual duties. Jon offers to allow Stannis' men to serve freely but under the Watch's officers – an offer that will be repeated in different circumstances later on. Stannis tells Jon that Slynt and Thorne have been complaining about him. As Jon leaves Melisandre accompanies him and warns him of his enemies as well as offering her friendship.
- Prunes with breakfast, (other prune eaters include Pycelle and Roose Bolton) is constipation the true enemy of the realms of men?
- “Any trouble from the stockades last night?” “Not since you put guards on the guards, m'lord.” - who will watch the watchers!
- “The stones of those forts are mortared with the blood and bones of my brothers, long dead. I cannot give them to you.” - sense of tradition, but this can be a burden too, something that will come up again.
- Melisandre plays a similar role to Quaithe – something to watch for.
This is a deceptive little chapter. It is quite dense in content and we see the seeds of future chapters are being planted. A lot of basic concepts are laid out here - Stannis has a duty to his men to provide for them and be open handed and they have a return duty to serve him does this also apply to Jon?
“I am lord commander because my brothers chose me”. Jon is leader because his Brothers chose him. Stannis claims the throne by right of descent, but actually many of his followers have chosen to follow him rather than just doing their duty, and of course there is a lot of 'credit' involved as Stannis hasn't the means to reward them. What happens if the followers withdraw their choice, was their choice, if only from their POV, in some way conditional?
“Robb had died at the Twins, betrayed by men he'd believed his friends” hmm. Bit of a trend here...Of course The Ned was also betrayed by people he thought he could trust, as was Aerys II...The enemy within is a theme to watch for in these chapters.
“My command...as much a ruin as it is a stronghold
” - could the same be said of his men? In which case Jon has a duty to rebuild the Watch as well as the Wall to make sure it is fit for purpose.
“It is too late for such misgivings. You made your choice
”. Bit of an ASOIAF theme, the consequences of choices and how everybody has to live with them. The Ned is another man who was determined to live with the consequences of a choice he made.
At this stage Stannis seems to be doing the work of the leader on the Wall, inspecting, planning for the future, trying to building alliances. Stannis says “Just once you might give me an answer that would please me, Lord Snow”, at this stage Jon plays the part of unhelpful advisor who doesn't support the leader or help them implement their ideas – we'll see this reversed later on with Jon as leader and his officers as the unhelpful advisers. It's also something to watch out for in the Dany chapters.
...and next time Dr. Pepper will be here to bring you Dany I.
Edited by Lummel, 26 May 2012 - 12:44 PM.