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[TWOW Spoilers] NEW Chapter Discussion - "Mercy"

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Warning! Long post ahead!

So who do you think her intended victim is? Her FM assignment? Izembaro? Ser Harys? One of the Keepers of the Keys? Some other bigtime Braavosi politician?
Or was she just supposed to learn about common forms of disguise?

I'm initially inclined to believe that she had a task which involved killing a guard as part of a larger FM plan (possibly to create a scandal for "Cersei's" delegation?) and it was simply fortune that the guard was someone on her list. While somewhat cheesy, it would remove some of the questions regarding why she had no thoughts about leaving the FM and repercussions, etc.

Perhaps since the Iron bank has backed Stannis instead of Tommen Arya was ordered to disrupt Harys Swifts party and she just got lucky in how she was able to do it.

What if her mission was a What, not a Who? What if the Iron Bank wants to stall the Swyft delegation (or to make their negotiations fall through completely) because Tycho Nestoris has either came back, or send news of his deal with Stannis? So they employ the Faceless Men and Arya's task is to accomplish just that - cause a rift between the Braavosi and Swift. As with the guy with the poisoned coin, the means with which she will achieve the ends are to be of her own choosing. So when she sees Raff, she thinks that the Gods have given her a gift, because she can both strike him off her list and use his death to cause strife.
And if she thinks that the Kindly man will be displeased with her, maybe that's because of another FM rule - the one where the FM can't kill people they personally know. And she obviously knew Raff.

I'm surprised that people are so surprised about the way Arya is acting. She's been on a dark path for a while now, and her getting near to some sexual stuff isn't any more shocking than all the murder she's been doing.

I am not at all disturbed by Arya's use of sex as a lure. Thought it was great, dark, scary. She already has killed people. There's really nothing darker than that. People get really uptight about sex but someone can slit throats, cut off heads, and burn people up... cracks me up.

That would be the violence/sex bias that GRRM so beatifully explained in this quote:

“I can describe an axe entering a human skull in great explicit detail and no one will blink twice at it. I provide a similar description, just as detailed, of a penis entering a vagina, and I get letters about it and people swearing off. To my mind this is kind of frustrating, it’s madness. Ultimately, in the history of [the] world, penises entering vaginas have given a lot of people a lot of pleasure; axes entering skulls, well, not so much.”

As to why Tywin was in Lys, could Aerys have sent him to recruit Varys?

I doubt it. If you go down that road, you have to assume that Varys was some sort of an international celebrity Spymaster - which kinda defeats the purpose of the job, really.

Are we going to talk about the fact that Tywin went to Lys while he was Hand to Aerys? It's not surprising, but it confirms what a lot of us already suspected about Tywin's penchant for whores going way back.

I think that it is more likely connected to Steffon Baratheon's mission to Lys. After all, the trip happened during Tywin's tenure as Hand of Aerys, so it was probably an official business on the King's behalf.

...our bby girl...

I assume you mean "baby girl"? If you do, I find this very weird. Arya hasn't been a baby ever since Mycah died, and certainly after Ned was beheaded. I think it's demeaning to her character to think of her as "baby Stark". Hell, that would even be demeaning to Rickon's character, and he's 3 yo.

About Lady Stork....that is not an actress.

Yeah sorry. "Lady Stork" is the Sansa character.

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

Ran (as well as many other people) has already said that Lady Stork is the name of the actress and her stage-gown appears to be gold-colored, so she is probably playing Cersei.

As to why she may be called Lady Stork - maybe she is tall and graceful, like the bird.
Here is Ran's post:

Florina,

We have that Mercy is asked to help sew up Lady Stork's gown after she stepped on the hem and messed it up, and then we have her describing how she runs to get needle and thread so that they can "sew the lace hem back onto the cloth-of-gold gown that the queen would wear in the wedding scene."

Damaged gown = cloth-of-gold gown the queen wears = gown that Lady Stork is wearing.

...could the Lannister bashing play signify a change in regime to Tyrell? Cersei would still be able to hand out a lordship as lady of the rock so that doesnt prove she is still queen.

I don't think the play is Lannister-bashing - I think it's Tyrion-bashing, which actually fits well with Cersei being back in power in KL.

I think the assumptions that Arya has or will forget who she is and/or treats Sansa/her family callously are way off. The North Remembers. Arya has been hurt by what she's seen and been through. She has built up walls for survival.

People tend to forget that Eddard's words "the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives" were actually said to Arya.

I liked that the Black Pearl made an appearance instead of just Arya's flashback of speaking to her.

I liked how we had two of Aegon the Unworthy's mistresses mentioned in the chapter - The Black Pearl and Daena.

Not to mention the subtle connection between him and Robert - both attractive young men who grow up to be fat kings with many bastards.

The Prince Garin, mentioned in the play "The Wroth of the Dragonlords", could this be a Dornish Martell Prince? The wroth of the Dragonlords could apply to the war against Dorne Aegon started a few years into his reign, in which Queen Rhaenys was killed.

What do you guys think?

As cheesy as it is, allow me to quote an earlier post I made on the subject:

Btw, did someone else catch the subtle reference to the Rhoynish exodus? Izembaro quotes "prince Garin" from Forel's first play "Wroth of the Dragonlords". He is most likely based on Queen Nymeria's first husband - and his death (and loss on the battlefield) is what triggers the Rhoynish journey to Dorne. So maybe this chapter is also the point from which Arya's trip back home begins.

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Another excellent sample chapter! Probably the best yet, although I really enjoyed the Theon, and Barristan ones as well. Arianne's was probably my least favorite. The last bit was so good. I absolutely love Arya, and Braavos too for that matter.

As for the lemon tree, I really think it's just a case of only wealthy houses having them in their personal gardens, and not some clue about Dany's memory. That said, it's curious he put that in there.

It could be a mistake, could be climate change/winter is coming, could be your suggestion that you're only going to see lemon trees in inside gardens where they can get extra care. It would be funny though if Stormborn's most cherished childhood memory was something she imagined..but that seems the most unlikely.

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That is a thin thread on which to hang one's hope. All signs point to dead. I don't even know what I am reading for anymore, that leaves me with only two characters who I really want to see live, Jon and Bran, Rickon being a non character cipher for 'future Stark generations' so he doesn't count.

well then i just have to trust that he wouldnt say one thing and do another. i never thought she would die but i dont think she can really reenter normal society.

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Guest BigwigStandsHisGround

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?

Someone having a reasonable reaction to a (arguably) gratuitous depiction of pedophilia deserves better than this.

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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.

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.

One of the ways a man and woman can couple is sodomy. If a writer is going to write that male character X had sex with female character Y and "had her every way a man can have a woman" you're really reaching to exclude sodomy. In fact, my take is that GRRM was intentionally conveying sodomy to the reader with that line. Ohhh, Dany is under his spell, young girl with the hots for a bad boy, those blue forks in his beard, the way he twirls his thumbs over those breasty pommels. . .so so hot. Yes, we get it.

As for another poster's inability to read, when Arya slides her tongue on Raff's, she's reciprocating the kiss. This isn't complicated folks, and it's behavior wildly out of character for Arya unless there are intervening chapters (GRRM's teaser samples are usually among the first for a POV) we haven't seen yet. So the only explanations are the skin mask memories or House training. Either way, thanks for the pedo material. Like Bigwigstandshisground wrote, this is creepy stuff.

Love Lyana's "read something else" knee-jerk reaction though. I've probably been reading the series before 95% of the board's members, have all the books signed in person, blah blah, but the minute you criticize a sample chapter a fanboy like that has to take that route.

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Maybe this is because she absorbed some of the personality and memories of Mercy through her face... That's how it works with the Faceless Men, right?

I got the impression that they relive their last moments, not absorb their personality. But who knows, maybe. :dunno:

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She has just learned to use sex as a weapon because that's what she has seen and learned.. but I repeat, she doesn't think of wanting to have sex, or feeling any kind of lust....

Yea, she is still a kid, but she wanted to kill him so much... My stomach flipped, eeew.

Arya's Mercy is her sister through and through. Her description of Mercy could easily be a description of Sansa from AGOT. The way she acts with Daena is just like Sansa and Jeyne Poole. She's playing her sister whether or not she's doing it on stage.

:agree:

Does anyone else think that the name Mercedene could be an allusion to The Count of Monte Christo?

It was so long ago and I didn't get far into it, can you elaborate?

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One of the ways a man and woman can couple is sodomy. If a writer is going to write that male character X had sex with female character Y and "had her every way a man can have a woman" you're really reaching to exclude sodomy. In fact, my take is that GRRM was intentionally conveying sodomy to the reader with that line. Ohhh, Dany is under his spell, young girl with the hots for a bad boy, those blue forks in his beard, the way he twirls his thumbs over those breasty pommels. . .so so hot. Yes, we get it.

As for another poster's inability to read, when Arya slides her tongue on Raff's, she's reciprocating the kiss. This isn't complicated folks, and it's behavior wildly out of character for Arya unless there are intervening chapters (GRRM's teaser samples are usually among the first for a POV) we haven't seen yet. So the only explanations are the skin mask memories or House training. Either way, thanks for the pedo material. Like Bigwigstandshisground wrote, this is creepy stuff.

Love Lyana's "read something else" knee-jerk reaction though. I've probably been reading the series before 95% of the board's members, have all the books signed in person, blah blah, but the minute you criticize a sample chapter a fanboy like that has to take that route.

does that give you the right to critique the chapter? like sorry but who are you? where is yous fantasy series?

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In he play, Mercy is playing Shae, not Sansa.

"Mercy" says at the start of the chapter that she will be raped and murdered. Sansa was not murdered; Shae was, and Shae also testified that Tyrion was cruel to her. Also, Mercy's role is a bit part in a play that showcase Tyrion's evil, and the general consensus / rumor in the world is that his wife Sansa abetted his deeds and escape.

My money says the role was Shae, a bit part, and some other actor played a cruel and evil Sansa "Lady Stork" with more lines. Seems obvious to me.

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Even if they don't find Raff's body and Mercy "disappears" it seems almost certain this is NOT what she was there for, as Mercy...so it will mean she's blown her FM assignment..and is still going to create a firestorm of publicity with Raff disappearing. All bad. This Arya's impulsive tendencies at their very worst. It will be for the good if she leaves the FM, but since she appears to be close to an emotionless revenge murder re enacting maniac, it may not matter that much.

I have to wonder, if Raff's body is never found, would Ser Harys even think it's strange that one of The Mountain's men disappeared down the dark streets of Braavos, never to be seen again? Alot of these men are the handoffs no one has wanted, for damn good reason. Just an idea.

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Guest BigwigStandsHisGround

does that give you the right to critique the chapter? like sorry but who are you? where is yous fantasy series?

Oh. That's John Reynolds. Says so right on his post.

Am I to undertand from your post, Niamhikus, that only people who have written a fantasy series can critique the chapter? If so, unless you have a series out there, you may as well disqualify yourself from saying it was good.

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I got the impression that they relive their last moments, not absorb their personality. But who knows, maybe. :dunno:

There was definitely some personality absorption going on here. Even when she was completely alone she would sing "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!" while going down steps....Arya would never do that. It even affected her internal monologue a bit, as she actually thought the words "fuss and feathers" at one point.

There was just a giddiness to Arya this chapter that was totally unlike her. So I don't think we can entirely attribute her personalty change to just dedication to playing her part.

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I'm trying to make sure I've covered and read all the available chapters. Which is the app chapter you are talking about? I know the paperback is Barristan (yeah, I finally bought it to read the whole thing instead of a synopsis, LOL), obviously the Arriane and now Mercy Me Arya chapter, I've read the Theon one, is it the Tyrion chapter that you're talking about? Thanks for any info.

I know George was trying to sell an audience once on a Damphair chapter, it cracks me up that no one wanted it.

I was indeed talking about that Tyrion chapter (Tyrion II) included in the app.

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There was definitely some personality absorption going on here. Even when she was completely alone she would sing "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!" while going down steps....Arya would never do that. It even affected her internal monologue a bit, as she actually thought the words "fuss and feathers" at one point.

There was just a giddiness to Arya this chapter that was totally unlike her. So I don't think we can entirely attribute her personalty change to just dedication to playing her part.

I don't believe that Arya has somehow absorbed the personality of the face that she wears.

She's obviously just become very skilled at playing the role of other people. The best way to do that is to try and think like them, hence all the "Mercy" stuff in her internal dialogue.

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I have to wonder, if Raff's body is never found, would Ser Harys even think it's strange that one of The Mountain's men disappeared down the dark streets of Braavos, never to be seen again? Alot of these men are the handoffs no one has wanted, for damn good reason. Just an idea.

What is odd is that they sent Arya to kill someone from KL, that's not the FM code or whatever. Arya should be the last person they now she lived in KL. The other thing is, why are they doing it? Who ordered the hit? The Iron Bank? What purpose does it serve?

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I don't believe that Arya has somehow absorbed the personality of the face that she wears.

She's obviously just become very skilled at playing the role of other people. The best way to do that is to try and think like them, hence all the "Mercy" stuff in her internal dialogue.

How can she "think like them" unless she has some access to the past personality? There was definitely a very different tone here than when she was the ugly girl..that was clearly all Arya except for the very first time she puts the face on, when she gets the flood of memories.

In this chapter, there is a curious flatness to her thoughts combined with the outside and also somewhat internal manifestation of a different, non Arya personality and almost all the POV is tagged as Mercy.

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I have to wonder, if Raff's body is never found, would Ser Harys even think it's strange that one of The Mountain's men disappeared down the dark streets of Braavos, never to be seen again? Alot of these men are the handoffs no one has wanted, for damn good reason. Just an idea.

I doubt that anyone will care.

"Those are Gregor's men at Harrenhal," Jaime reminded her. "The Mountain liked them cruel and stupid. Most like they ate your ravens, messages and all."

Although Raff seemed to be more cunning than the rest, I don't think that Ser Harrys will suspect anything unusual in his disappearance or at the potential discovery of his body. His eagerness to follow a young girl, a child and have sex with her, isn't surprising for anyone who is familiar with the nasty reputation of Gregor and his men.

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I don't believe that Arya has somehow absorbed the personality of the face that she wears.

She's obviously just become very skilled at playing the role of other people. The best way to do that is to try and think like them, hence all the "Mercy" stuff in her internal dialogue.

please dont state things as fact, people might try to correct you, and you might look foolish in the end

Its already been said by many others including Ran that when you don someone else's face you absorb some of their personalty.

"mercy, mercy, mercy" tune

"fuss and feathers"

those are some of the things Arya doesnt do that she might have gotten from "Mercy"

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What is odd is that they sent Arya to kill someone from KL, that's not the FM code or whatever. Arya should be the last person they now she lived in KL. The other thing is, why are they doing it? Who ordered the hit? The Iron Bank? What purpose does it serve?

My impression was this was a freelance Arya Stark job, not what she was sent there for.

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