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[TWOW Spoilers] NEW Chapter Discussion - "Mercy"

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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.

You seem to make a lot of assumptions. If GRRM wants to make his readers uncomfortable with pedo scenes, that's his choice, but I'd prefer such scenes to not be included in a War of the Roses-style fictionalized fantasy setting. Like I said upstream, the whole scene could've worked without Arya reciprocating. She didn't need to grab Raff's penis to lure him into a trap, she didn't need to return the kiss. GRRM's sex scenes between consenting adults are so poorly written as is that they come off as undersexed writer projecting his fantasies onto the page. And, really, it was character development letting us know that Daario was sodomizing Dany in book 5? That's one way to interpet it, I guess, but when I read it back I 2011 my reaction was more along the lines of, "Umm, thx GRRM, really needed that facet added to Dany's character."

I wrote elsewhere that it is strange to react more strongly to this chapter than a 10-11yo slicing throats like Arya did at Harrenhal in book 2 to the gate guard. But it's a cultural thing combined with reader expectations that Arya is on her way to becoming an assassin. We don't expect her at age 11-12 to be luring pedos back to a room and feeling them up before doing them in.

Furthermore, was anyone else surprised to see Raff in Braavos? Last time we saw him I thought he was under orders from Jaime in the Riverlands to act as an escort to Maidenpool? Are half the members of Arya's kill list going to conveniently arrive in Braavos for her to practice her budding skills on?

The word rape appears eight times in that chapter.

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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.

While it isn't explicit, I think she is playing Sansa.

“We were meant to be together, Mercy,” Bobono insisted. “Look, we’re just the same height.”

“Only when I’m on my knees."

Mercy rose, to tower over the little man.

Tyrion being unable to reach Sansa's shoulders was a great source of amusement at their wedding. Tyrion also thinks bitterly that Sansa could have bent her knees and allow him to keep some dignity.

From a literary perseptive it makes more sense for her to be playing Sansa.

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I definitely still think that the Bolton guard was her coldest action. He could have been innocent. He didn't do anything to her and she had a Lady Macbeth response with having his blood on her hands and saying so what the rain will wash the blood off.



There were sympathetic circumstances to it though so some will argue that it wasn't cold.



This Raff was a pedo so it's like good riddance. It's still calculated but so was the guard and so was Dareon. This just has the added sexual aspect but the sex is still cold and detached.


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Raff and others of Clegane's troop were sent to KL by Jaime toe score Ronnet Connington. Kevan wasn't too keen about keeping them on, but when hedecided that Harys might have to be an envoy to Braavos, Swyft remarked he could use some guards, and it seems clear enough from that chapter that guys like Raff would end up as Harys's guards.

Hence, no, not a surprise.

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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.

Yeah I agree. There is already Lady Stork being played by another. That one is Sansa.

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On the Dany/lemon tree issue--I have been waiting for both Syrio and the red door house to show up in Arya's Braavos chapters. Now Syrio has, at least referred to sidewise in the person of the playwright Phario. This leaves the absence of the red door/lemon tree as glaring. I am not sure Dany is misremembering (one can't trust a Lannister swordsman to be an expert on the botany and climatology of Essos) but it is interesting. What a chatter by the way, that and the Theon sample are both superb.


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And, really, it was character development letting us know that Daario was sodomizing Dany in book 5? That's one way to interpet it, I guess, but when I read it back I 2011 my reaction was more along the lines of, "Umm, thx GRRM, really needed that facet added to Dany's character."

It's never stated that Daario sodomized Dany...

"That night Daario had her every way a man can have a woman..."

Sorry buddy, that can mean tons of things and yet exclude sodomy.

If you actually take it literally Dany would be dead (oh no, think of all the horrible acts that lead to that, I can't believe GRRM made me read that /sarcasm)... so it's only an expression that the reader can take any way they want.

If you choose to take it in a way that grosses you out and then blame the writer for being vague... that's your own fault.

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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.

Interesting thought.

Yeah I agree. There is already Lady Stork being played by another. That one is Sansa.

Lady Stork seems to be the name of the actual woman, not of the character she plays in the play.

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GRRM's sex scenes between consenting adults are so poorly written as is that they come off as undersexed writer projecting his fantasies onto the page. And, really, it was character development letting us know that Daario was sodomizing Dany in book 5? That's one way to interpet it, I guess, but when I read it back I 2011 my reaction was more along the lines of, "Umm, thx GRRM, really needed that facet added to Dany's character."

This isn't porn, GRRM is writing sex in the way that it actually occurs. Real sex isn't flattering, and certainly is not meant to be titillating. It is character development in the way that adding ostensibly inane details (such as memories which don't add to the plot) adds flesh to the characters. That whole scene was an expression of Dany's sexual identity and her feeling's for Daario? How was that not character development?

And what exactly is wrong with GRRM including anal sex and describing it? People have anal sex, and if I recall correctly, GRRM has always stated that he tries to make his characters as human as possible.

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I think this chapter was a masterpiece to be honest...



Also, it didn't seem to me that Arya's touching Raff's crotch meant she was "reciprocating" or doing it just to feel how hard he was, she was doing so for practical reasons: she needed to slide her hand there to cut the artery on his tight without him noticing what she was doing. It seemed to me that the fact she felt his member was more of a "collateral damage", to make sure she could have access to the artery without Raff noticing anything was off. Same goes for the kiss she gave him as well, she is trying to lure him into going in her room, if she hadn't kissed him back even a tiny bit, he would have noticed something was off.



Of course Arya is going down a dark path and she feels ready to do whatever it takes to take her revenge, even if it means using her own body. She is learning to be an assassin and this pragmatism is what she needs to acquire to be able to become a FM.



Also, I found a lot of parallels with Varys's own training, which is quite disturbing.



Anyway, I think GRRM manages to convey what he planned to the readers with this Arya chapter: he wants us to feel disturbed by what Arya has become and by how deeply broken she is. The WOIAF is a crual one, it's not because she is a child that she is going to be whitewashed in the story and that nothing f*cked up is going to happen to her.



On a side note, as this chapter is already controversial, I can't wait to see the infamous Sansa chapter ;)


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To me the biggest question I have after reading this is whether Arya is now a confirmed sociopath? The whole chapter she was pretty much emotionless until the end when she had such joy killing Raff. Even when she recognized Raff she didn't show too much emotion: "When Mercy glanced at the faces beneath the gilded, lion-crested helm, her belly gave a quiver. The gods have given me a gift."



This is one of the first people she had on her kill list, yet no thoughts or mention of Lommy, Gendry, Sansa or anyone from her other life. No thoughts of why she recognized him, or what she felt about him; just that her belly gave a quiver.



Nothing to insist she is still capable of empathy either : “Valar morghulis,” Arya whispered, but Raff was dead and did not hear. She sniffed. I should have helped him down the steps before I killed him. Now I’ll need to drag him all the way to the canal and roll him in. The eels would do the rest."



Again, she doesn't have any conscious thoughts about how she just murdered a man (even though he certainly deserved it) other than how she could have better disposed of the body. When I read this the first image that popped into my head was Michael C. Hall from Dexter. That is totally something he would have thought of after a kill.



So I ask again, is Arya now a sociopath? And if so, can she overcome this in the future and feel again?

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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.

Yes. I think you might be right.

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.

So we'll have a whole chapter or more of her training with mummers learning to proposition men just so she can clumsily and stupidly kill Raff. The Raff kill itself was so careless it almost negates all her training with the FM. Couldn't she have waited until after the play and shadowed him till a more opportune moment presented itself? Arya is impulsive but not stupid.

Seeing Arya grow and become more sexually confident is a good thing, but it's something that should take place gradually, organically (just as we saw her turn into an a cold blooded killer), and not as an obvious means of executing the killing of a plot device.

But even if you ignore that, the structure of the chapter is messy, the setting derivative as well as the murder mechanics cliche.

I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter, and you maybe right, perhaps other Arya chapters that precede it will place it into context and remove some of the problems I have with it, but it will never render it good imo, merely less rickety.

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It's never stated that Daario sodomized Dany...

"That night Daario had her every way a man can have a woman..."

Sorry buddy, that can mean tons of things and yet exclude sodomy.

Well when I see a phrase saying a guy fucked a woman in every way, I think of three ways, and if we're going by a proper definition here of sodomy, two of those ways would have been included. Unless he meant they just did different positions, but I doubt that was all it meant. Anyway who cares, it's not an important line, it just shows that Dany, like many other 16 year olds, likes trying different stuff in bed :dunno:

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You seem to make a lot of assumptions.

Seems you are making more of them.

If GRRM wants to make his readers uncomfortable with pedo scenes, that's his choice, but I'd prefer such scenes to not be included in a War of the Roses-style fictionalized fantasy setting.

Then read something else? You clearly want this to be something it is not. There are lots of lightweight, cheerful fantasy out there rated PG13. How about the Belgariad?

Like I said upstream, the whole scene could've worked without Arya reciprocating.

Reciprocating? She is luring him into a trap, which is completely different. It's not about sex at all, from her POV, which is completely crystal clear. This is not about sex with minors, this is about a murder in cold blood.

She didn't need to grab Raff's penis to lure him into a trap, she didn't need to return the kiss.

She doesn't "return the kiss", she thinks it's like having a slippery eel shoved into her mouth.

GRRM's sex scenes between consenting adults are so poorly written as is that they come off as undersexed writer projecting his fantasies onto the page. And, really, it was character development letting us know that Daario was sodomizing Dany in book 5? That's one way to interpet it, I guess, but when I read it back I 2011 my reaction was more along the lines of, "Umm, thx GRRM, really needed that facet added to Dany's character."

"Sodomised" was never used at all. And for shame, women having a sex life and enjoying it? How terrible! Who let that happen? :rolleyes: Further, you seem to have missed a lot about Dany's arc in ADWD so I'd recommend going through the Learning to Lead threads which contains a lot of useful discussion on just why Dany chooses to enter into a relatiobship with Daario at that point in time. This is not the place for it.

I wrote elsewhere that it is strange to react more strongly to this chapter than a 10-11yo slicing throats like Arya did at Harrenhal in book 2 to the gate guard. But it's a cultural thing combined with reader expectations that Arya is on her way to becoming an assassin. We don't expect her at age 11-12 to be luring pedos back to a room and feeling them up before doing them in.

You apply your own very narrow reader expectations to everyone. Just because you have an issue with Arya using Raff's rapist teendencies against him (which she knows about since before) doesn't mean the chapter is OMG PEDO!!!! We know from before what kind if person Raff was and that he was part of Gregor Clegane's band of rapist. This is no surprise. The easiest way to get to him was to use herself as bait and to exploit his weakness: his propensity for raping.

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There's spelling errors in there...!? Still loved it.

Also, it's clear the marketing of the show and books are linked now.

Look at the shit storm that happened when that vanity fair piece and other articles came out basically all at once.

And then you have this chapter up on the net within, what...a week? Call me crazy but that's either strategic, or scrambling to appease, but which?

Unless winds has been brought forward(almost categorically ruled out by his publisher for a release this year I believe). We should see winds this time next year at the earliest and probably around the release of the season 4 DVD at the latest.

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Yeah, I'm sort of getting that vibe, to be honest. I hoped the FM thing would divert her from her course of vengeance, what with the FM teaching her that it's not up to her to determine who deserves to die, but nope! This chapter put paid to that notion and puts Arya back on track to her agenda of revenge (with an added ritualistic flavour to her kill), and as others have pointed out, GRRM goes to some pains to avoid glorifying revenge.

It seems clearer to me that GRRM is doing with Arya more or less what he's doing with Tyrion: take a sympathetic character (although AGOT Arya was far more sympathetic and a much better person than AGOT Tyrion, obviously) and defying the reader to continue to sympathize and root for them despite their increasingly questionable actions. "So you still like Tyrion, huh? What if he murders his father and lover? Not enough for you? How about if he rapes a slave? Still not enough? So you still root for Arya even though she murdered Dareon, huh? What if she makes another unauthorized kill and creepily reenacts Lommy's murder? Would you still be cool with her then?" etc. etc.

Even though Tyrion didn't appear in this character, it seemed like Arya and Tyrion were linked quite closely. I'm more convinced than I've ever been that neither will survive the series; I was already pretty sure about Tyrion, but I had hope for Arya.

Heh, I tend to think the opposite: GRRM was forced to throw us a bone by the powers that be because TWOW is looking further and further away.

I'm still cool with her, LOL. But, I know now after that chapter in my heart that he's going to kill her when she gets back to Westeros. She's not going to be any master of whispers or 'come back to herself' and live as Arya Stark, she's dying, her entire arc is about death, she's living with an insane death cult that is teaching her death is a gift for crying out loud. She will die I'm sure in some superbadass, sad, tragic, meaningful way, but she's dead. And I will hate him for it.

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To me the biggest question I have after reading this is whether Arya is now a confirmed sociopath? The whole chapter she was pretty much emotionless until the end when she had such joy killing Raff. Even when she recognized Raff she didn't show too much emotion: "When Mercy glanced at the faces beneath the gilded, lion-crested helm, her belly gave a quiver. The gods have given me a gift."

This is one of the first people she had on her kill list, yet no thoughts or mention of Lommy, Gendry, Sansa or anyone from her other life. No thoughts of why she recognized him, or what she felt about him; just that her belly gave a quiver.

Nothing to insist she is still capable of empathy either : “Valar morghulis,” Arya whispered, but Raff was dead and did not hear. She sniffed. I should have helped him down the steps before I killed him. Now I’ll need to drag him all the way to the canal and roll him in. The eels would do the rest."

Again, she doesn't have any conscious thoughts about how she just murdered a man (even though he certainly deserved it) other than how she could have better disposed of the body. When I read this the first image that popped into my head was Michael C. Hall from Dexter. That is totally something he would have thought of after a kill.

So I ask again, is Arya now a sociopath? And if so, can she overcome this in the future and feel again?

First and foremost I would say that it's not known to be curable. You don't overcome it. This is fantasy so maybe GRRM could if he wanted to.

Secondly, I don't think agree because those who have ASPD prey on everyone. This includes family, friends, strangers, and those they dislike. I don't think a chapter where she's in a role and so limited a scene is a good judge.

I'm still cool with her, LOL. But, I know now after that chapter in my heart that he's going to kill her when she gets back to Westeros. She's not going to be any master of whispers or 'come back to herself' and live as Arya Stark, she's dying, her entire arc is about death, she's living with an insane death cult that is teaching her death is a gift for crying out loud. She will die I'm sure in some superbadass, sad, tragic, meaningful way, but she's dead. And I will hate him for it.

I've accepted it a long time ago.

But I would like it to be like this:

Then is it sin

To rush into the secret house of death

Ere death dare come to us?

…. We’ll bury him, and then, what’s brave, what’s noble,

Let’s do ’t after the high Roman fashion

And make death proud to take us. Come, away.

This case of that huge spirit now is cold.

Ah, women, women! Come. We have no friend

But resolution, and the briefest end.

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Guest BigwigStandsHisGround

Seeing Arya grow and become more sexually confident is a good thing...

She's, like, ten. Her becoming more sexually confident is creepy as fuck.

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I don't think this chapter tells us much about her sexuality. It's not like she desired Raff and when she talked about blow jobs there was no personal desire there either so on that front she has not changed. She is using sexuality but it's just another tool.


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