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Le Cygne

Rethinking Romance: Love Stories of ASOIAF, Part 2

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I would prefer King Gendry way over King Jon and I find King Gendry already rather cheesy to be honest. The problem I see with all potential candidates though is: Absolutely no one is going to want to be the king after the war. Well maybe Margaery will try for a sex-change since the marriages are clearly not working out. I'm extremely neutral on the Arya/Gendry romance, but really who would wish queendom on the poor girl in the end?

Honestly, and it is pretty obvious he is one of my favorite characters, but yeah, I wouldn't want Gendry as King. No way. All the IT stuff has left a bad taste in my mouth. Robert died for it, Renly died seeking it, Stannis, well, seeking the throne isn't doing him any favors either. And of course, it would never be smooth with Edric Storm alive either.

I am still concerned that his identity reveal that looks like it is coming, doesn't cause aggravation.

A higher station in life than at the beginning for him, and I do think he is going to make or break himself with upcoming events, and I think it is leaning toward "make," a future with Arya years down the road, Hot Pie coming over for coffee and cake, Big Nyms in retirement lording it over on fluffy pillows in old age, being served rare to medium rare steaks after all those years she had to fight and had to leave Arya's side. LOL! I'd be happy with that.

It is too optimistic, but hopefully some in that vein can come to pass.

Edited by booknerd2

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I'm not sure if it always works this way, but in my mind Arya's use of the word "stupid" is frequently related to the realm of romance (stupid princess, stupid lady throwing herself off a stupid tower, etc.). I like that here it's associated with Gendry!

Oh, yeah.

And it always the same trope with young people teasing each other, and still in the "ick" stage.

That is so stupid, ew, you are so stupid, that is so dumb, etc.…almost said when you have nothing to say, and it just comes out.

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have finally got caught up, phew! thanks Booknerd2 great essays as always.



I am more convinced than ever that Gendry and Arya will eventually be re united.


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have finally got caught up, phew! thanks Booknerd2 great essays as always.

I am more convinced than ever that Gendry and Arya will eventually be re united.

Thanks so much!

And I hope so too.

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LongRider wanted to share some thoughts about Sam/Gilly. (And I like to think I had something to do with that line through "shipped" in her signature, I kept saying, I don't consider it shipping, but enjoying romances! :lol:)

Edited by Le Cygne

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Thank you Le Cygne! I'm glad that you and Doglover started these threads as they are terrific! And to be included with an essay of one of my favorite romances really means alot.




A Journey to Romance


Sam and Gilly


Part 1.


Unlike other romances in ASOIAF, the romance of Sam and Gilly begins off page. We’re there when Jon meets Ygritte and when Sandor and Sansa meet, but not when Sam and Gilly do. Sam and Gilly’s meeting has a bit of drama tho, as it is dangerous for them to talk with each other while at Craster’s Keep. This meeting happens because both step out of their comfort zones; Gilly to ask for help and Sam to make an effort to help her.


Samwell Tarly is not the usual male character for romance; he’s physically unattractive being very fat and soft. Unlike most of the other males in the story, he has few martial skills, is clumsy and fearful. He enjoys reading, singing and dancing. He was abused by his lord father for his inherent gentle nature and suffered physical and emotional abuse at his father’s hands as Lord Tarly tried to make Sam (his eldest son and heir) into something he was not.


Later, a second son was born to the family after three girls, and as he grows he shows the traits his father desires for a son and takes to martial training and other stereotypical masculine pursuits. Near Sam’s 15th nameday, his father informs he has two choices; take the black and give up his inheritance, or face an hunting ‘accident‘. Sam chooses to take the black and so although an unlikely recruit, eventually finds his place there. He makes friends among his black brothers, especially Jon Snow and Maester Aemon.



The other half of the match is a young wilding woman, Gilly. Gilly is a daughter/wife of the wilding Craster. Craster is an old wilding man who lives only with his daughter/wives and their female offspring. While Gilly is shy young woman but there is a inherent strength in her character. When we meet Gilly she is also noticeably pregnant. Her life has been one of isolation, physical and sexual abuse. In spite of her life, she is good natured and helpful.


Sam and Gilly meet as she wants to leave with the NW to save her unborn child. She knows that if it is a boy as predicted, Craster will ‘Give it to the God’s’ by leaving it exposed in the forest for the White Walkers. Fear for her child has given her the bravery to approach Sam when Craster is sleeping off a hard drunk and won‘t be up for hours.


Sam is obviously touched by the young woman’s story and her plea. He knows that coming to him was very risky for her and the NW. And yet, he could not send her away without trying to help her. Greatly affected by her plight he sends her to Jon for help.


She explains her predicament to Jon and although moved, he knows it’s impossible and that the NW cannot take her and tells her so. Later when he talks to Sam he finds that Sam has promised Gilly that the NW will take her when they return. Jon tells Sam that is also doubtful and that the NW may not come this way on the way back.


Some members of the NW do make it back to Craster’s Keep, however, it was not at they planned. Sam was one of forty-four survivors who had been attacked by wights and White Walkers on the Fist of The First Men. Not long after his arrival Gilly is heard up in the loft screaming and groaning while giving birth.


As Gilly births her child, Sam reflects on their first meeting and how he had given her his cloak for her meeting with Jon. Thinking of his vows of “guarding the realms of men he thinks “We should help her. We should.” and silently prays that the child is a girl. But alas, later Sam is outside when Craster announces he has a son. When Craster complains that his son is just one more mouth to feed, Sam squeaks that the NW could take the child. This earns him LC Mormonts wroth and he and Mormont go back inside.


Craster feeds the NW on roast horse meat and bread and the men begin to complain that Craster is ‘niggardly’ with his food which angers him and he threatens with an ax. This earns him a cut throat and a violent mutiny erupts. In the end, LC Mormont is killed along with several of the NW men. Some escape but Sam stays until Momont passes. Two women and Gilly convince Sam to leave with her and the babe on two garrons and so their first journey together begins.


Several days out they find shelter in a longhall in an abandoned wilding village and settle in for the night. Gilly asks Sam for a song and he sings the hymn “The Song of the Seven”, a gentle hymn about how the various aspects of the Gods care for the little children. It gets colder so Sam brings in the garron into the longhall for the night. Sam and Gilly have been sleeping under Sam’s cloak with the babe between them and as he falls asleep Sam notes how warm and comfortable it is sleeping this way with Gilly so near.


Sam dreams of his boyhood home, Horn Hill, where he is the lord feasting his friends from the NW. He carves the meat for them with his father’s greatsword Heartsbane. Once the feast is done he goes up to the room he had shared with his sisters to find Gilly, wrapped only in furs and leaking milk from her breasts, in his bed.


Later that night they are attacked by wights and Sam kills the wight that was once Small Paul. Outside the wights are attacked by a flock of ravens at the weirwood tree where the wights have Gilly pinned. While the raven attack is going on, they are rescued by Coldhands.


With Coldhands, they travel to the Nightfort where even Bran, Meera and Jojen notice that he cares for her. They take Bran and his party to meet up with Coldhands then they travel to Castle Black. Here Gilly becomes the wet nurse for Dalla’s orphaned boy and is visited frequently by Sam. It’s noted on one occasion that he squeezes her hand tells her he’ll back after supper when he and Jon Snow leave.


As they leave the nursery Jon asks Sam “You’re more than fond of Gilly, aren’t you?” Sam reddened “Gilly’s good. She’s good and kind.” He thinks about being glad to be back at Castle Black…”but some nights, alone in his cell, he thought of how warm Gilly had been when they curled up beneath the furs with the babe between them. “She…she made me braver, Jon. Not brave but…braver.”


“You know you cannot keep her,” Jon said gently, “no more than I could stay with Ygritte. You said the words, Sam, the same as I did. The same as all of us.”

“I know. Gilly said she would be a wife to me, but…I told her about the words, and what they meant. I don’t know if that made her sad or glad, but I told her.”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Sam and Gilly begin their journey together after a horrible tragedy. It’s filled with hardships, cold, terror and bravery. This is a confusing time for Sam. He’s trying to survive and protect Gilly and the babe. Here they begin to help each other. Sam knows he needs to go South to find the wall and tries hard to find the way. After his garron dies of exhaustion, he has Gilly and the babe ride the remaining one while he walks.


Now Sam must shoulder the responsibility of getting not just himself, but Gilly and her babe to the safety of the Wall. Even more so than when he killed the wight, each step he takes is a step towards manhood. He cares for them and tries not to let them see his worry. He must rely on himself and the skills he has learned as a man of the NW. He cannot dissolve in fear and fall on the ground to have someone stronger pick him up


When he can’t make fire or bind a wound, Gilly does it for he and he respects her skills as person. He finds shelter, not just in a hut, but in Gilly’s quiet bravery and determination for making a better life for her and hers. She doesn’t whine, she doesn’t cry in fear, she just keeps going and let’s Sam know she’s relying on him to get them through. Someone relying on Sam in this way if very new to him and he steps up as best he can.


His growing love for Gilly puts Sam in a similar dilemma to what Jon had with Ygritte. He’s falling in love, his love is near and his vows prohibit him from acting directly on his feeling. And the NW vows are very important to Sam. He had been sent to the NW against his will, he expected to die and instead, found friends, mentors and a place for himself where he could use his talents and develop new skills.


Later, Jon puts into words what needs to be said aloud and does it gently and with compassion. After all, he’s been through it himself. Sam explains that he has told Gilly about his vows and she seems to have accepted them. An yet…. Sam still has to deal with his growing feelings for her, and this is a vast uncharted territory for him. Also, as a fat man he’s been humiliated and treated so disrespectfully by so many, I think his low self esteem had given him low expectations of being able to find love from a woman. And yet, here she is.


Also Sam later notes that Gilly had offered to be his wife, he also thinks “he was a Tarly of Horn Hill, he could never wed a wilding.”


So in this romance there are many obstacles to overcome including the vows of the Night Watch and class differences. And yet Sam continues to fall in love with the wilding girl.

This realities of the situation create a deep conflict. The NW has given him a new life, he’s learning self respect and the joys of friendship, hell, he even killed an Other! But love for a woman is not what he expected. He doesn’t want to desert or give up the NW, but doesn’t want to give up Gilly either.


He discusses with the Jon the idea of telling his Lord father that he has gotten a bastard child on Gilly and sending her to Horn Hill to be servant there. He and Jon discuss this idea and then move on.



Some ASOIAF motifs;


When Sam and Gilly first meet, Sam puts his cloak on Gilly so she can visit Jon Snow safely. This is quite interesting because this is their first meeting and Sam acts out the symbolism of an Westeros marriage ceremony. To extend that thought, in longhall it’s noted that they are sleeping under Sam’s cloak. So twice it’s noted that Gilly is under Sam’s cloak. Is this foreshadowing a future marriage? Just wink to say ‘pay attention here-romance going on!’ Or something different?



Gilly asks for a song and again the bonding motif of singing a sweet song is used as Sam sings a hymn about loving and protecting little children. This is a song that relates directly to their budding feelings as Sam is trying very hard to save the little child in their midst, and his mother too. The song put the baby to sleep and Gilly tells Sam “That was pretty Sam. You sing good.” A sincere complement. So the song establishes warmth, empathy and a rapport between them. A very different reaction to his singing than the cruel yelling and belittling from his father.


After the song he sleeps and dreams and I think his dream shows his growing maturity and his desire to be the master of his own fate. He is the master of his house and is the one serving his friends a fine meal. Finding Gilly in his dream bed, warm, leaking milk and dressed only in fur shows that Sam is also developing sexual longing and feelings for her.


I see this as a traditional type of romance, but also a romance based on discovery. Sam discovers that he has feelings for a woman that goes beyond his NW vows. His feelings of protection and empathy grow slowly into awareness and sexual awakenings. He soon realizes that he loves the wilding girl and now what? The journey ends at Castle Black and so Sam visits Gilly and babe and must face his growing feelings of love, and the reality that as a man of the NW he cannot keep her.


And Gilly? I think it’s safe to presume in the culture of Craster’s Keep, her future of becoming a wife to Craster was always known to her. Craster shows us that he is cruel to his wives; he beats and berates them and treats them as his possessions. In her travels with Sam, she discovers a man who shows kindness, concern and true compassion towards her. His respect towards her as a person is something new to her. And as he went out of his way to help a stranger, he is very different from the man she knows as husband/father.


Their first journey has ended with the romance unresolved. Sam respects his vows but now must learn to live his feelings for Gilly. New feelings he’d like to explore even more, but as a brother of the Night Watch, he must keep those feelings restrained. Sam tries to find a place for Gilly in his family as Gilly is learning to live in a strange new world.


The last issue I’d like to mention is about Gilly offering Sam to “be his wife.” She makes this offer to Sam and also makes this same offer to Jon when she first talked to him about leaving Crasters. I find this interesting. Is she offering up herself as basically as sex slave as a way of leaving her current situation? Being Craster’s wife was a form of slavery in my mind. She had little choice, very limited knowledge of the outside world and was beaten and abused to assure compliance with Craster’s wishes. So does being a ‘wife’ means giving up her autonomy for the perceived protection of a husband? I get the idea that this offer is made without much thought or feeling behind it, but that changes as the story progresses.

Edited by LongRider

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This was great! I love Sam especially, but I love him and Gilly.


There is a special place in the seven hells for Randyll. I er, wish some type of a pox on him.



He knew the NW would be torture for Sam, it turns out Sam found his way there and things got better, but Randyll's intent was nasty. Was it ever said why not even the septons or maesters? Probably because he felt Sam would be locked in for life and very far away at the NW.



And I bear no ill will toward Dickon. Not his fault. But…that being said, I don't think he lives. Unfortunately, that is how Randyll will get screwed. And probably with all that Tyrell/Lannister/KL fall out coming. And I think we all know that Sam/Randyll show down is coming one day, and I hope Sam tells his ass off!



And I feel so sorry for Lady Tarly and her daughters that were close to Sam.



I will come back with more commentary. I have to like hi-light stuff.


Edited by booknerd2

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Thank you so much for this very special treat, LongRider! Anyone who's familiar with my General forum postings regarding Samwell knows I've never been a fan (meanwhile, I believe Samwell is one of Le Cygne's favorite characters and she's a huge fan of the Samwell/Gilly romance), however, I think you managed to hit the defrost button on my frozen heart :lol: . It's late where I am, but I have a lot I want to comment on after revisiting some of Samwell's POVs. I'll be back at a reasonable hour tomorrow (my time)!


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Thank you booknerd2! Looking forward to your comments. :cheers:




Also, thank you as well Doglover. Your comment of " I think you managed to hit the defrost button on my frozen heart ." What a nice thing to say! ^_^







Le Cygne said "(And I like to think I had something to do with that line through "shipped" in her signature, I kept saying, I don't consider it shipping, but enjoying romances! :lol:)




This actually is true, as she mentioned this to me one time. It helped me learn the difference between 'shipping' which I would now define as 'fanfic' and 'romance' which is literature. That's why I like this thread, we look for and discuss the romances in this incredible piece of literature.



Lucky us! :read:


Edited by LongRider

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"We’re there when Jon meets Ygritte and when Sandor and Sansa meet, but not when Sam and Gilly do."



So true, and I never thought about that.



I remember too how I was sort of surprised when I read the app and the Sandor page and saw this:



​"Riding with King Robert to Winterfell, Sandor first meets Sansa Stark and becomes infatuated with her."



Whoah, that early Houndie? It made me go back and look at earlier chapters in a new way too.



I love how you traced Sam and Gilly's interactions and how their bond did grow stronger over time.



Then I went through stages when I feel so bad. This poor guy would've been happy with even a simple life and the love of a woman and children, and well, life is not going to be easy for him, nor what he wants out of it. Well, for right now and for long time anyway.



​And the baby sleeping between him and Gilly and his reactions are adorable.


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"We’re there when Jon meets Ygritte and when Sandor and Sansa meet, but not when Sam and Gilly do."

So true, and I never thought about that.

I remember too how I was sort of surprised when I read the app and the Sandor page and saw this:

​"Riding with King Robert to Winterfell, Sandor first meets Sansa Stark and becomes infatuated with her."

Whoah, that early Houndie? It made me go back and look at earlier chapters in a new way too.

I love how you traced Sam and Gilly's interactions and how their bond did grow stronger over time.

Then I went through stages when I feel so bad. This poor guy would've been happy with even a simple life and the love of a woman and children, and well, life is not going to be easy for him, nor what he wants out of it. Well, for right now and for long time anyway.

​And the baby sleeping between him and Gilly and his reactions are adorable.

I think this is where she backs up into him and he asks "Does my face frighten you so much?" What an opening.

What I like about Sam and Gilly is GRRM takes things slow with them and lets the feelings grow as they progress through the story. One of the reasons I like it so much.

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"We’re there when Jon meets Ygritte and when Sandor and Sansa meet, but not when Sam and Gilly do."

So true, and I never thought about that.

Well, we're technically not there when Sansa and Sandor meet. Their first scene together, in Sansa I, comes after they've been around each other for some time, since she thinks to herself that she's been scared of him all the way the party has been travelling from Winterfell, though that was probably the first time they spoke to each other. We don't see the first time they see each other or Sansa's thoughts on it, while we get to see the first time Arya sees him in Winterfell and his description through her.

I remember too how I was sort of surprised when I read the app and the Sandor page and saw this:

​"Riding with King Robert to Winterfell, Sandor first meets Sansa Stark and becomes infatuated with her."

Is the official app considered canon? Is it based on things GRRM said, or just on an interpretation of the text?

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Just kidding about the "shipping" remark, by the way, sometimes on the forum people will say, that's just shipping, and dismiss the romances.

Edited by Le Cygne

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Is the official app considered canon? Is it based on things GRRM said, or just on an interpretation of the text?

That would interest me too.

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LongRider this was lovely. Thank you. I never realized how much the themes of the cloak of protection and singing a soothing song are reinforced with these two, almost as much as with Sandor and Sansa. Another similarity is that we learn that Sam, our POV character, has a gentle heart and sweet singing voice, just like Sansa. I think what bonds Sam and Gilly is how they both were abused as children despite their completely different upbringings and social status.



Booknerd I also really enjoyed your essay on the Arya Gendry chapter where he first outs her as a girl. That scene was always one of my favorites between them, and it also sets up nicely their inherent conflict about being from two different worlds and Gendry's realization that he should never be this close to a highborn "lady". Actually, Sam sees that as an obstacle too between him and Gilly as LongRider pointed out. That Arya Gendry chapter is one crazy rollercoaster of emotions. It starts out rather lighthearted despite their dire circumstances and their exchange is so funny it made me chuckle. Then it takes this 180 degree turn and ends up so dark and ominous and with one of the worst acts of murder seen on page.


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LongRider this was lovely. Thank you. I never realized how much the themes of the cloak of protection and singing a soothing song are reinforced with these two, almost as much as with Sandor and Sansa. Another similarity is that we learn that Sam, our POV character, has a gentle heart and sweet singing voice, just like Sansa. I think what bonds Sam and Gilly is how they both were abused as children despite their completely different upbringings and social status.

Booknerd I also really enjoyed your essay on the Arya Gendry chapter where he first outs her as a girl. That scene was always one of my favorites between them, and it also sets up nicely their inherent conflict about being from two different worlds and Gendry's realization that he should never be this close to a highborn "lady". Actually, Sam sees that as an obstacle too between him and Gilly as LongRider pointed out. That Arya Gendry chapter is one crazy rollercoaster of emotions. It starts out rather lighthearted despite their dire circumstances and their exchange is so funny it made me chuckle. Then it takes this 180 degree turn and ends up so dark and ominous and with one of the worst acts of murder seen on page.

Thanks so much, Elba!

It was the toughest one to do. I promised I would try not to do two parts once, and then this one required three because it is an important chapter, it sets up a lot, and yeah, there is just so much going on. And you're spot on. It has everything. It can be funny and sad with the Pack arguing. They have so many things to decide on and worry, it shows us Arya and Gendry have emerged as the leaders/decision-makers, we find out a lot about Arya and Gendry and their dynamic, and then all the terrible stuff at the end. But she won't even consider leaving him, despite the risk, walks right with Hot Pie in the face of Lannisters/possible torture and death, she might even stunt her chances at reaching her family, and knows that they want her, and that is the most moving to me. I teared reading that the first time. Also, that Hot Pie is scared, but steps it up, and does go in bravely to help her try to get Gendry. And I loved him more for that too. The Wolf Pack was truly created there.

and of course this ties directly all the way later to book 6 and that Mercy chapter. She has never forgotten Lommy. Feels it so deeply. And I think it tells us that she won't forget Hot Pie and Gendry either. Already it has been the jolt/shoulder shake to help her realize what it means to be Arya, because she has had a lot on her plate for a long time, a path where being herself wasn't warranted, and she has not lost that, not matter what has come her way. Somebody cue the Rocky theme music…lol!

And I forgot that too, Longie. I never picked up on the cloak symbolism with Gilly and Sam. And Sam bestows it earlier. I was totally lulled by the sweet act, it is cold outside, and there is so much cloak stuff in the series, I should have learned to look for it. LOL! But it is like his relationship with Jon. He bonds with you early, and you know he is true from the get go, with his love and caring and friendship.

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LongRider this was lovely. Thank you. I never realized how much the themes of the cloak of protection and singing a soothing song are reinforced with these two, almost as much as with Sandor and Sansa. Another similarity is that we learn that Sam, our POV character, has a gentle heart and sweet singing voice, just like Sansa. I think what bonds Sam and Gilly is how they both were abused as children despite their completely different upbringings and social status.

Booknerd I also really enjoyed your essay on the Arya Gendry chapter where he first outs her as a girl. That scene was always one of my favorites between them, and it also sets up nicely their inherent conflict about being from two different worlds and Gendry's realization that he should never be this close to a highborn "lady". Actually, Sam sees that as an obstacle too between him and Gilly as LongRider pointed out. That Arya Gendry chapter is one crazy rollercoaster of emotions. It starts out rather lighthearted despite their dire circumstances and their exchange is so funny it made me chuckle. Then it takes this 180 degree turn and ends up so dark and ominous and with one of the worst acts of murder seen on page.

Thank you Elba, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I agree with your last line, but didn't find much in the text from Sam and Gilly about that. Just spent too much time trying to survive I guess.

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Thanks so much, Elba!

It was the toughest one to do. I promised I would try not to do two parts once, and then this one required three because it is an important chapter, it sets up a lot, and yeah, there is just so much going on. And you're spot on. It has everything. It can be funny and sad with the Pack arguing. They have so many things to decide on and worry, it shows us Arya and Gendry have emerged as the leaders/decision-makers, we find out a lot about Arya and Gendry and their dynamic, and then all the terrible stuff at the end. But she won't even consider leaving him, despite the risk, walks right with Hot Pie in the face of Lannisters/possible torture and death, she might even stunt her chances at reaching her family, and knows that they want her, and that is the most moving to me. I teared reading that the first time. Also, that Hot Pie is scared, but steps it up, and does go in bravely to help her try to get Gendry. And I loved him more for that too. The Wolf Pack was truly created there.

and of course this ties directly all the way later to book 6 and that Mercy chapter. She has never forgotten Lommy. Feels it so deeply. And I think it tells us that she won't forget Hot Pie and Gendry either. Already it has been the jolt/shoulder shake to help her realize what it means to be Arya, because she has had a lot on her plate for a long time, a path where being herself wasn't warranted, and she has not lost that, not matter what has come her way. Somebody cue the Rocky theme music…lol!

And I forgot that too, Longie. I never picked up on the cloak symbolism with Gilly and Sam. And Sam bestows it earlier. I was totally lulled by the sweet act, it is cold outside, and there is so much cloak stuff in the series, I should have learned to look for it. LOL! But it is like his relationship with Jon. He bonds with you early, and you know he is true from the get go, with his love and caring and friendship.

You really bring out the small but meaningful details bookie, always worth reading.

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Thanks so much, Elba!

It was the toughest one to do. I promised I would try not to do two parts once, and then this one required three because it is an important chapter, it sets up a lot, and yeah, there is just so much going on. And you're spot on. It has everything. It can be funny and sad with the Pack arguing. They have so many things to decide on and worry, it shows us Arya and Gendry have emerged as the leaders/decision-makers, we find out a lot about Arya and Gendry and their dynamic, and then all the terrible stuff at the end. But she won't even consider leaving him, despite the risk, walks right with Hot Pie in the face of Lannisters/possible torture and death, she might even stunt her chances at reaching her family, and knows that they want her, and that is the most moving to me. I teared reading that the first time. Also, that Hot Pie is scared, but steps it up, and does go in bravely to help her try to get Gendry. And I loved him more for that too. The Wolf Pack was truly created there.

and of course this ties directly all the way later to book 6 and that Mercy chapter. She has never forgotten Lommy. Feels it so deeply. And I think it tells us that she won't forget Hot Pie and Gendry either. Already it has been the jolt/shoulder shake to help her realize what it means to be Arya, because she has had a lot on her plate for a long time, a path where being herself wasn't warranted, and she has not lost that, not matter what has come her way. Somebody cue the Rocky theme music…lol!

And I forgot that too, Longie. I never picked up on the cloak symbolism with Gilly and Sam. And Sam bestows it earlier. I was totally lulled by the sweet act, it is cold outside, and there is so much cloak stuff in the series, I should have learned to look for it. LOL! But it is like his relationship with Jon. He bonds with you early, and you know he is true from the get go, with his love and caring and friendship.

I agree so much with what you said in the spoiler. She has not forgotten any of them. One of the arguments I always hear against Arya and Gendry is that Arya doesn't ever think of him anymore after they have been separated. I don't believe that's true and that Mercy chapter is really a callback to all of this. I think Arya is just so numbed after the red wedding and her time with Sandor that by the time she gets to Braavos and has a chance to start a new life she wants to focus on that. After all, Arya runs into Sam in Braavos and even though she doesn't know him personally, she can see that he is a brother of the Night's Watch but she doesn't go asking after Jon then either, yet by the way she didn't give up needle you know she still cares about Jon.

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