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[TWOW Spoilers] NEW Chapter Discussion - "Mercy"

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"A sexual awareness way beyond her years"? No, I don't think so. Arya is what now, 12? At 12, a lot of kids are very sexually aware, especially girls, I've found. At my school, I see the 13 year olds, specifically the girls, and the way they act is very sexual. Shit, one of my friends, also a girl, was having regular sex by the age of 13. I don't find it hard to believe Arya is becoming more sexually aware at 12. Especially when you look at her environment. She saw the rape and sexual humiliation of women in the riverlands and Harrenhal, visited a couple of inns and brothels with the Brotherhood, and the ports of Braavos have heaps of prostitutes and courtesans and brothels of different sorts, and she would go on them to sell stuff sometimes. I've gotta admit I find it kind of funny you have no problem whatsoever with a 12 year old girl murdering people in cold blood, which is not a normal or healthy thing at all do to, and something no 12 year old girls do, yet you have huge problems with a 12 year old girl expressing signs of sexuality, something very normal and to be expected :dunno:

Either Arya is 11 years old, and will turn 12 within a short timespan in the books, or she has just turned 12, depending on whether or not Arya's chapters have crossed into the year 301 AC yet.

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It's obvious I'm in the minority here, but this chapter didn't work for me at all.

What didn't you like about it?

I mean I must admit myself that if it weren't for the ending I would have thought this to be the most self-indulgent piece of filler i've ever seen. The first part is literally just several pages of Martin referencing his own work. Fortunately, the ending saved it but it's definitely a flawed chapter. The flood of names and characters that most likely will never be seen again is also a bit grating. Do we really need the names of every triarch of Braavos? I can only assume that the useless names are there to hide some important ones "cough"Bellegere"cough".

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Arya tells Rafford she's a maiden flowered (her character is a maiden flowered). Arya herself still hasn't gotten her first period yet.

so I don't think she's playing Arya Stark, but Sansa (if she's playing any Stark at all)

I don't follow your logic. In a fictionalized re-telling of Tyrion's life why does the status of Arya's real-life (or, even, fictional) maidenhead matter? Tyrion could be raping anyone or anything of any age in this play, right?

I'm not saying that her playing Arya is more likely than her playing Sansa, which would also be ironic, it's just that I don't see why Arya not having gotten her period has anything to do with what character she might be playing in the play.

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It also makes the lines where she frets over "being late for her own rape" make more sense, if she is indeed playing herself, and her character (i.e. Arya Stark) gets raped in this fictionalized version. The whole second act might be a rape rampage for all we know.

Also, if Arya is playing herself, it's funny that Raff was speculating about Tyrion hiding in plain sight, by playing himself in a play, if Arya was in fact hiding in plain sight by playing herself in a play. I hope this little puzzle gets solved in a subsequent Arya chapter.

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It's funny I thought that Gendry was too old for being 5 years older considering her age at the time but she actually hooks up with someone who looks to be 30 years old while she might be 11.


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What didn't you like about it?

I mean I must admit myself that if it weren't for the ending I would have thought this to be the most self-indulgent piece of filler i've ever seen. The first part is literally just several pages of Martin referencing his own work. Fortunately, the ending saved it but it's definitely a flawed chapter. The flood of names and characters that most likely will never be seen again is also a bit grating. Do we really need the names of every triarch of Braavos? I can only assume that the useless names are there to hide some important ones "cough"Bellegere"cough".

Everything. The structure of the chapter, style of writing (so many names supposedly to add realism and texture, and so much referencing), the mummer's setting which sounded a bit like a scene out of Shakespeare in Love to me - down to the rival mummer houses. The blatant filler pages only to have a payoff in the final page, which is not much of a payoff for me since I don't really need further proof that Arya is a stone cold killer, that much I think we all know about her. And most importantly the drastic change in Arya - a character that we've been watching gradually grow and change, to suddenly, out of nowhere, become a wily and worldly seductress. When did that happen exactly?

The whole chapter just felt messy and derivative to me. I'm sorry if that offends anyone here, but can't be helped. For the record, my favourite sample chapter so far was Theon.

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Also, if Arya is playing herself, it's funny that Raff was speculating about Tyrion hiding in plain sight, by playing himself in a play, if Arya was in fact hiding in plain sight by playing herself in a play. I hope this little puzzle gets solved in a subsequent Arya chapter.

She's playing Sansa in the play.

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The whole chapter just felt messy and derivative to me. I'm sorry if that offends anyone here, but can't be helped. For the record, my favourite sample chapter so far was Theon.

I agree, that theon sample chapter was absolutely awesome. I loved this one too, but i'll take Theon's over this one, any day.

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Ya that makes sense, I think the overt sexuality of the whole chapter just threw me off. I get the feeling that wasn't Arya's first kiss though. If it was, then she is REALLY good at acting.

EDIT: come to think of it, maybe it was her first kiss. She was pretty damn dedicated all throughout that scene, so much so that she confused Raff after she cut him by seeming all scared. Dexter could take notes from her.

Maybe it comes to the fact that it wasn't Mercy's first kiss and some memories get transferred with faces. :dunno:

I cannot shake a feeling that something horrible has happened to Mercy, since she ended up as a face to be worn in HoBW and the last face Arya wore was of the ugly little girl.

(on my general impression from the chapter: aljdsifalsčdjasgdčagscbfg)

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just wanted to add my love for that chapter as well. i'm such an arya lover and that was just a great tease for the rest of TWOW!


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Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. A chapter that both made me laugh and shiver, which is much more than can be said for the Theon or Arianne chapters. It was leaving me wanting more though, as ever. :(


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I literally guffawed out loud when i read that in the chapter. It was the first thing that came to mind. Tywin built that tunnel to Chattaya's with his bare hands :)

Hm... Bed slaves =/= sexual philosophy, way of life of Summer Islanders.

He might have discovered the joys of a professional, but Chataya is in the league of her own.

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Words can't describe how uncomfortable that chapter made me feel, and unnecessarily so. If the pay off of it is Raff's death with the line of, "you have to carry me," that could've been achieved without Arya acting with a sexual awareness way beyond her years. It could be assumed that the House is teaching her, but I don't care to think about it. GRRM could, and in fact did, establish Raff as a pedo via the other guard's reaction to Arya's apparent age, so the tongue on tongue and her reaching down to feel his hardness were completely unneeded.

GRRM's sex scenes have been painful enough over the years, but this went straight into Piers Anthony territory. I thought GRRM a better writer than this garbage (and let's admit it, the chapter, for having been rewritten a dozen times, really doesn't read all that well).

What on earth made you think reading that should make you feel comfortable? It seems obvious it's meant to achieve the opposite. Accusing someone of "bad writing" because the writing evokes discomfort seems strange. A text can be written to evoke any number of feelings.

You also seem to labour under the illusion that GRRM's ses scenes are somehow there for titillation, which they fail at. What they succeed at is character development, a much more interesting ingredient in any novel.

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I don't follow your logic. In a fictionalized re-telling of Tyrion's life why does the status of Arya's real-life (or, even, fictional) maidenhead matter? Tyrion could be raping anyone or anything of any age in this play, right?

I'm not saying that her playing Arya is more likely than her playing Sansa, which would also be ironic, it's just that I don't see why Arya not having gotten her period has anything to do with what character she might be playing in the play.

Because it seems the play is retelling Robert's death, and Joffrey's reign, all the way up until his wedding. First of all, Arya was never there while Tyrion was there, but Sansa was. She was even made to marry him. Why put the character of Arya in the play, while ignoring the character of Sansa?

Mercy claims to Rafford that she is a maiden flowered, but that's a lie. Sansa, however, was a maiden flowered, and got her first flowering around the time men had tried to rape her. That fits perfectly.

I'm not saying that Arya specifically plays Sansa in the play, but I doubt she's playing herself, since Arya had nothing to do with Robert's death or Joffrey's reign. As Tyrion's wife, Sansa would be more known throughout the world than Arya, who was nothing to the Lannisters.

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When she put on the ugly girl's face she had memories.




"Hands closed around her throat, hard as stone, choking her. Her own hands shot up to claw at the arms of her attacker, but there was no one there. A terrible sense of fear filled her, and she heard a noise, a hideous crunching noise, accompanied by blinding pain. A face floated in front of her, fat, bearded, brutal, his mouth twisted with rage. She heard the priest say,"Breathe, child. Breathe out the fear. Shake off the shadows. He is dead. She is dead. Her pain is gone. Breathe. "




So Arya could have Mercy's memories.


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I wonder if the Lannister envoys will run into the delegation led by Justin Massey that Stannis sent. So either Arya will head to the Wall or to KL.

Ohhhh, that would be interesting. Arya could pick up quite a bit of info about what's going on in the North and the Wall. If she hears Jon is LC of the Night's Watch, I think she'll join up with Massey...

but will she kill and skin Jeyne to take her face so she can be "Arya"??? ugh, I hope not.

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Maybe it comes to the fact that it wasn't Mercy's first kiss and some memories get transferred with faces. :dunno:

I cannot shake a feeling that something horrible has happened to Mercy, since she ended up as a face to be worn in HoBW and the last face Arya wore was of the ugly little girl.

I'm with you on this one. It seems that there is some memory transfer. In the ugly little girl chapter:

“Then came a tug and a soft rustling as the new face was pulled down over the old. The leather scraped across her brow, dry and stiff, but as her blood soaked into it, it softened and turned supple. Her cheeks grew warm, flushed. She could feel her heart fluttering beneath her breast, and for one long moment she could not catch her breath. Hands closed around her throat, hard as stone, choking her. Her own hands shot up to claw at the arms of her attacker, but there was no one there. A terrible sense of fear filled her, and she heard a noise, a hideous crunching noise, accompanied by blinding pain. A face floated in front of her, fat, bearded, brutal, his mouth twisted with rage. She heard the priest say, “Breathe, child. Breathe out the fear. Shake off the shadows. He is dead. She is dead. Her pain is gone. Breathe.”

“You may have bad dreams for a time,” warned the kindly man. “Her father beat her so often and so brutally that she was never truly free of pain or fear until she came to us.”

Also, Arya/Mercy is the only one who mentions rape and murder. So I fear something terrible did happen to Mercy and some of her memories are overlapping with Arya's.

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And most importantly the drastic change in Arya - a character that we've been watching gradually grow and change, to suddenly, out of nowhere, become a wily and worldly seductress. When did that happen exactly?

We don't know how long she has been apprenticed with that Mummer troupe. If anything, I think him skipping all the details of her training with them was a step in the right direction, pacing wise. He could have written a chapter where she is introduced to everyone in the troupe and a 2nd where everything they are teaching her is thoroughly detailed. The events of this preview easily could have constituted her 3rd chapter in the book instead of her 1st.

That said, my opinion of this chapter hinges mainly on what follows it. If that clearly unauthorized kill at the end sets in motion Arya leaving the FM and starting the journey back to Westeros, then this was a great chapter. If it just leads to another phase in her training, then I downgrade it to just a decent one, propped up mainly by its ending. The rest was just filler. Filler rife with foreshadowing most likely, but still just filler.

Also, I don't think Arya's "seduction" of a character like Raff means she is now some alluring femme fatale. He's the kind of guy who'd screw anything that moves, so it didn't take much to get him to come with her. She basically just said "come with me and I'll fuck you." As far as seductions go, that was clumsy and blunt.

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Anyone thought of the play in Rome the TV show, with the giant fake "cock", when reading this chapter ?


I'm wondering if George got his inspiration from this Rome episode.


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She's playing Sansa in the play.

No. She's playing Shae in the play.

"tonight i'll be raped and murdered" it's clearly reference to Shae. Tyrion killed Shae and she was telling that he raped her.

I don't understand why a lot of people think about Sansa.

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