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Rereading Tyrion III (ACOK)


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Passivity - Pod dresses Tyrion for the Cersei supper. Tyrion is not active, but passive from the beginning of this chapter. He dresses in Lannister crimson and avoids wearing the chain of his office, because he does not "wish to inflame the relations" with Cersei. This is an odd choice of color if he doesn't want to inflame her. The first thing she will see when Tyrion arrives for supper is red.

Interesting observation. I actually took it different. I saw it rather as another peace offerings of sort. Tyrion chose not to wear something that offends Cersei, the Hand's chain, but dresses in their family colors as a form of silent appeal to family unity. By his choice of color he is also reminding Cersei that they are both Lannisters after all. That why I found interesting that Cersei is dressed in green, which is a color that Martin often associates with her (her dresses and jewels are often described as complementing her green eyes).

To me Tyrion was actually going to the meeting in more conciliatory terms, until Varys innocently chooses the very moment before the meeting to give Tyrion the news about the Starks. Varys's timing is intriguing to say the least, specially if we consider he probably knew what was awaiting Tyrion as dessert.

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I feel regret at moving on from that discussion but the rereading continues!

OK people, we are just about half way through this reread and at a turning point in the story. Stannis' forces have finally arrived. The battle of the Blackwater is in progress. In Sansa V we get another description of our hero and they have a little conversation:

The Imp was mounted on a red stallion, armored more plainly than the king in battle gear that made him look like a little boy dressed up in his father's clothes. But there was nothing childish about the battleaxe slung below his shield...

“Lady Sansa, surely my sister has asked you to join the other highborn ladies in Maegor's?”

“She has, my lord, but King Joffrey sent for me to see him off. I mean to visit the sept as well to pray.”

“I won't ask for whom...This day may change all. For you as well as for House Lannister. I ought to have sent you off with Tommen, now that I think on it...

While in Davos III we saw Stannis' fleet push up the Blackwater, the rising of Tyrion's chain – mighty and no longer short and the first explosions of the ships packed with over ripe fruit. So we begin our midway chapter overlooking the scene of destruction.



Tyrion looks out over the battle. Most of the fleet is burning. Some ships are landing men and Stannis has enough ships surviving to bring his army across, albeit slowly. Tyrion sends word to Bywater to arrange another sortie to attack those who have made land. He sends Joffrey to take command of the catapults to fire the Antler men. Bets have been placed on if they will make it across the river. A messenger brings word that some of Stannis' men have landed on the tourney ground. Tyrion rushes to the King's Gate and commands Sandor to lead another sortie. He refuses. A sellsword pipes up that they have already been out three times and it really isn't very nice out there. After an exchange of words, Tyrion orders a sortie again and is refused again. He attempts to explain the situation rationally. But no one moves. Tyrion takes command and orders they form up with him to ride out. Tyrion shames about forty into coming with him and he rides out to face the enemy.


“Motionless as a gargoyle, Tyrion Lannister hunched on one knee atop a merlon.” reminds me of Dragonstone where some gargoyles look out over water, here a living one.

A terrible beauty. Like dragonfire.” “A terrible beauty is born”? Definitely all is changed in this sequence of chapters...

If I fight, they must do the same or they are less than dwarfs.”


“They'll kill for that knighthood, but don't ever think they'll die for it” (Tyrion XI ACOK)

The ongoing theme of authority reaches a conclusion here. Tyrion has reached the limit of what gold can buy. Only his personal example and preparedness to share the risk and do no less than he expects from others can make a difference. It won him a deeper bond with his clansmen. Is this a calculated move or just another throw of the dice?

Observer to participant

If the battle begins with an image of two game players having set up their playing pieces and observing the progress of the battle across the board it ends with Tyrion as a participant. Surrendering his overview for a strictly limited perspective. He began ACOK riding into the castle injured from the Battle on the Greenfork and here prepares to ride out at the end of the chapter to risk himself in battle again. I don't have a particular sense of bravery from this, rather that this is part of the job, as lead Lannister.

War in GRRM

“The kiss of wildfire turned proud ships into funeral pyres”...”We been out. Three times. Half our men are killed or hurt. Wildfire bursting all around us, horses screaming like men and men like horses-”

Since we are mid way through the reread and this is a big battle sequence, involving three POVs I thought I would just ask you all about the nature of war in GRRM. It strikes me as unheroic and ignoble. The emphasis in battle is on fear and horror. The battle on the Blackwater is the counterpart in my mind to the toy war of the tournament between the knights of summer that Catelyn witnesses at Bitterbridge.

This contrast is brought out by Tyrion “Did you think we hired you to fight in a tourney? Shall I bring you a nice iced milk and a bowl of raspberries?...” Previously they had been playing at war. This is the reality and they don't all have the stomach for it.

Something that bothers me on the reread is that those ships loaded with wildfire were manned. Did those crews volunteer to go on those suicide attacks?

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Very nice, Lummel.

About the gargoyle - In the Jon Snow chapter in GoT, Tyrion was perched above a ledge at WF, "looking for all the world like a gargoyle." If one is small, mishapen, and prone to crouching in high places "gargoyle" comes to mind.

More later. . .

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This is one loaded chapter.

The colors gold, red, and green come up repeatedly often as crimson and jade. My initial impression based on Cersei's choice of green for the Lannister family dinner is that this might represent her, but I'm not certain. Here's one of our loaded little nuggets:

Ser Mandon Moore coming hard behind him. The shuttered houses were steeped in green shadow

Tyrion wondered if Aegon the Conqueror had felt like this as he flew above his Field of Fire.

Tyrion specifically recalls this battle in Tyrion II GoT.

He had expected to find them impressive, perhaps even frightening. He had not thought to find them beautiful. Yet they were.

This mimics the hypnotic beauty Tyrion sees in this battle.

A fountain of burning jade rose from the river

the wildfire reduced them to no more than candles in a burning house, their orange and scarlet pennons fluttering insignificantly against the jade holocaust. The low clouds caught the color of the burning river and roofed the sky in shades of shifting green, eerily beautiful. A terrible beauty.

He’d thrust the torch into the mouth of one of the larger skulls and made the shadows leap and dance on the wall behind him.

We have Tyrion using fire to project the power from Varys Riddle. He has also been described as "a giant" and casting a large shadow.

The groaning of the great hinges sounded like the moans of a dying giant.

For a few moments, the chroniclers wrote, the conquest was at an end… but only for those few moments, before Aegon Targaryen and his sisters joined the battle.

Aegon Dragonlord had perhaps a fifth that number, the chroniclers said, and most of those were conscripts from the ranks of the last king he had slain, their loyalties uncertain.

This is not unlike Tyrion's current situation. The fire and his joining the battle may very well have saved the city. Unlike Aegon whose sisters joined him in battle, Tyrion's sister just made herself his enemy last we saw.

The furnace wind lifted his crimson cloak and beat at his bare face, yet he could not turn away. He was dimly aware of the gold cloaks cheering from the hoardings. He had no voice to join them. It was a half victory. It will not be enough.

Tyrion's Lannister protection is beating him in his unprotected face and the protection of gold will not be enough.

Downstream, commoners and highborn captains alike could see the hot green death swirling toward their rafts and carracks and ferries

High and low born are dying equally. Another debunking of Lannister the myth. It contrasts with his thoughts about highborns being taken captive and smallfolk dying when he gets Robb's peace offer after he inspected the Hall of Alchemists. It is a green death that's killing them both.

Do you hear them shrieking, Stannis? Do you see them burning? This is your work as much as mine.

Remorse? At least he recognizes the human toll of battle. In one sense though it is neither Stannis nor Tyrion that is truly responsible. LF and Varys certainly shoulder a great deal of this blame along with Cersei and Lysa. It is similar to Varys on Ned's death. Is the man who swings the sword responsible? Is it the man who gives the order or the one who whispered in his ear?

A crown of red gold, Varys says, its points fashioned in the shapes of flames.

Red gold strikes me as very Lannister. Despite Stannis embracing the Red God in all its flaming glory, Tyrion is the one fighting with fire. The reversal is interesting. Also we have two contenders for the Baratheon Throne that have both forsaken the House symbol of the Stag contrasted with naked men crowned in antlers.

“Mother promised I could have the Whores,” Joffrey said. Tyrion was annoyed to see that the king had lifted the visor of his helm again. Doubtless the boy was cooking inside all that heavy steel… but the last thing he needed was some stray arrow punching through his nephew’s eye.

He clanged the visor shut. “Keep that closed, Your Grace; your sweet person is precious to us all.”And you don’t want to spoil that pretty face, either. “The Whores are yours.”

Anytime whores come up in Tyrion it probably has meaning. In this case I'm still struck by just how wrong that sounds. We have a mother permitting her underage son whores (of a sort) and a father denying his grown up son. Joffrey's face is armored while Tyrion's is bare. It is Tyrion's face that will eventually get spoiled.

Lummel-- is "Observer to particpant" the same as Player to Pawn? Sansa's little boy dressed in his father's clothes ties in with Tyrion's thoughts comparing Stannis and his father.

I doubt the crews knew about the wildfire. Men won't die for gold but occasionally they'll die for a lie for free-- or in Tywin's case they'll risk death for gold to avoid the certain death for defying him.

I need to think about the green more. Cersei has plenty of green associations and even some with wildfire. Her jewel is emerald though not jade. Jade strikes me as an Essos association.

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no, observer to participant is not meant to mean the same as player to pawn.

I'm glad you pulled all those colour details out from the chapter Ragnorak, it was something I didn't pay attention to :thumbsup:

And there is an equality in death and suffering (at least at this stage, not later) that is subversive, even something like the clean sweep that the field of fire must have been. Everybody gets to pay for the consequences of political failure at the top of society.

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I haven't read the chapter, so I will only make this observation for now- In the Sansa chapter she makes this observation:

The Imp was mounted on a red stallion, armored more plainly than the king in battle gear that made him look like a little boy dressed up in his father's clothes

In reality, Tyrion was stepping into his father's shoes/clothes when he was send to act as Hand at Kings Landing at the beggining of ACOK. Closing the book he steps up into his brother Jaime when he takes the warrior role and leads that sortie. He started following his Father's footsteps and ended up following those of his brother Jaime.

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Any thoughts on the green? I'm still inclined to go with Cersei because she is the real green theme in Tyrion other than his own eye. The problem is that it strikes me Martin would use emerald if he meant Cersei and he only uses jade. If it isn't Cersei then I'm not sure what to make of it other than a possible Essos connection. I recall other jade references. Maybe Cyvasse pieces?

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green is associated with life. Jade is also associated with life it symbolised immortality in ancient china and was made into suits to cover the bodies of the extremely noble and wealthy to preserve their bodies into the afterlife. But here GRRM is inverting (pardon the pun) this so that it represents death.

This I think links back to the terrible beauty and the Yeats poem suggesting the possibly of new things emerging after destruction - which in plot terms is exactly what happens. Stannis' pretensions are burnt up and swept away, but so to are Tyrion's.

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Green is a faerie colour-the Fair Folk are characterised as mischevious, capricious and heartless, playing malicious tricks on humans. Interestingly they often switch beautiful babes with their own deformed children.

Jade on the other hand attracts love and money. It protects the wearer and acts as a healing stone.

In prehistoric times however, it was valued for toughness and used for forging weapons. Yet by 3,000 BC the Chinese were referring to it as the royal gem.

Today, too, this gem is regarded as a symbol of the good, the beautiful and the precious. It embodies the Confucian virtues of wisdom, justice, compassion, modesty and courage, yet it also symbolises the female-erotic.

Interesting titbit on mining jade:

Jadeite is found in China, Russia and Guatemala, but the best stones come from Burma, now known as Myanmar. There, at the annual 'Gems, Jade and Pearls Emporium', blocks of jade in all sizes are auctioned. When purchasing the raw materials, the dealers need to be fairly lucky, since the nodules, blocks and fragments are sold either whole or after having been cut into slices, and there is only a very small window, the result of some initial grinding. So the buyer cannot see exactly what is hidden on the inside: valuable green jade, or an almost worthless, speckled or streaky material. It is not until the cutting process begins that the real quality is revealed.

Also, the finest quality of jade, Imperial Jade, is emerald green in colour-so there's your Cersei connection.

And just to shock Lummel, Ms Jada Fire is a retired adult film actress, best known for her role as Condi in the mature political satire Who's Nailin' Palin.

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...And just to shock Lummel, Ms Jada Fire is a retired adult film actress, best known for her role as Condi in the mature political satire Who's Nailin' Palin.

you'll have to try harder to shock me...uh I mean I will pray that the Crone lights her way but not in a Loras and Renly way. Anyhow sounds superfluous. Palin was self-satirising.

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Thanks for the Jade info, WK.

In Sansa's POV which comes next she observes:

The southern sky was aswirl with glowing, shifting colors, the reflections of the great fires that burned below. Baleful green tides moved against the bellies of the clouds, and pools of orange light spread out across the heavens. The reds and yellows of common flame warred against the emeralds and jades of wildfire, each color flaring and then fading, birthing armies of short-lived shadows to die again an instant later. Green dawns gave way to orange dusks in half a heartbeat. The air itself smelled burnt, the way a soup kettle sometimes smelled if it was left on the fire too long and all the soup boiled away. Embers drifted through the night air like swarms of fireflies.

Sansa always seems to have a more poetic take and a descriptive beauty with her imagery and maybe that's all there is to it. In Tyrion, Martin seems to deliberately avoids referencing emerald as a flame color so that nags at me ascribing the green to Cersei. Mandon Moore will be steeped in Cersei's shadow after the battle as he is in a green shadow here so I'm a little torn on how to read it. If it is Cersei the symbolism seems to be blaming a good deal this death and destruction on her.

This also struck me.

“My ships.” Joffrey’s voice cracked as he shouted up from the wallwalk, where he huddled with his guards behind the ramparts. The golden circlet of kingship adorned his battle helm. “My Kingslander’s burning, Queen Cersei, Loyal Man. Look, that’s Seaflower, there.” He pointed with his new sword, out to where the green flames were licking at Seaflower’s golden hull and creeping up her oars. Her captain had turned her upriver, but not quickly enough to evade the wildfire.

Queen Cersei and Loyal Man are curious names to see burning. Loyal Man is almost certainly Sandor, but why Cersei and Kings Landing? Are they going through the same type of change Sandor does here? I haven't a clue as to what Seaflower represents but the green flames licking that golden hull sure seems to mean something.

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About Jade, in the books we also have another reference of Jade in the Jade Compendium, heavily associated with the legend of AA and the forging of Lightbringer. Since the AA myth is eastern with certain connotations with fire through Mel and certain parts of the story, is interesting that Martin chose Jade to describe both the destruction:

Jade death, Jade Holocaust

And yet he shifts to green when describing it's beauty:

The low clouds caught the color of the burning river and roofed the sky in shades of shifting green, eerily beautiful. A terrible beauty.

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I feel this links back to the dragons and their destructive power. The wildfire apocalypse reminds Tyrion of the field of fire, the destructive power of wildfire has been signalled in the earlier chapters with the alchemists. The wildfire is made with spells and incantations and so presumably is semi-magical. It suggests that this power is before deadly and alluring.

There's also a contrast between the beauty of the flames and the reality of the burning and the horror which gives us a sharp contrast in the story. Tyrion is able to look out at first as an admirer but at the end of the chapter is about to ride out and experience something that has broken his boozy sellswords.

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Here is something that ties in much more with the theme of Lummel's original chapter summary. Apparently there was an actual ship called the Seaflower.

In 1676, fifty-six years after the sailing of the Mayflower, a similarly named but far less famous ship, the Seaflower, departed from the shores of New England. Like the Mayflower, she carried a human cargo. But instead of 102 potential colonists, the Seaflower was bound for the Caribbean with 180 Native American slaves.

The governor of Plymouth Colony, Josiah Winslow--son of former Mayflower passengers Edward and Susanna Winslow--had provided the Seaflower's captain with the necessary documentation. In a certificate bearing his official seal, Winlow explained that these Native men, women, and children had joined in an uprising against the colony and were guilty of "many notorious and execrable murders, killings, and outrages." As a consequence, these "heathen malefactors" had been condemned to perpetual slavery.

The Seaflower was one of several New England vessels bound for the West Indies with Native slaves. But by 1676, plantation owners in Barbados and Jamaica had little interest in slaves who had already shown a willingness to revolt. No evidence exists as to what happened to the Indians aboard the Seaflower, but we do know that the captain of one American slave ship was forced to venture all the way to Africa before he finally disposed of his cargo. And so, over a half century after the sailing of the Mayflower, a vessel from New England completed a transatlantic passage of a different sort.

The rebellion referred to by Winslow in the Seaflower's certificate is known today as King Philip's War. Philip was the son of Massasoit, the Wampanoag leader who greeted the Pilgrims in 1621. Fifty-four years later, in 1675, Massasoit's son went to war. The fragile bonds that had held the Indians and English together in the decades since the sailing of the Mayflower had been irreparably broken.

King Philip's War lasted only fourteen months, but it changed the face of new England. After fifty-five years of peace, the lives of Native and English peoples had become so intimately intertwined that when fighting broke out, many of the region's Indians found themselves, in the word of a contemporary chronicler, "in a kind of maze, not knowing what to do." Some Indians chose to support Philip; others joined the colonial forces; still others attempted to stay out of the conflict altogether. Violence quickly spread until the entire region became a terrifying war zone. A third of the hundred or so towns in New England were burned and abandoned There was even a proposal to build a barricade around the core settlements of Massachusetts and surrender the towns outside the perimeter to Philip and his allies.

The colonial forces ultimately triumphed, but at a horrifying cost. There were approximately seventy thousand people in New England at the outbreak of hostilities. By the end of the war, somewhere in the neighborhood of five thousand were dead, which more than three-quarters of those losses suffered by the Native Americans. In terms of percentage of population killed, King Philip's War was more than twice as bloody as the American Civil War and at least seven times more lethal than the American Revolution. Not counted in these statistics are the hundreds of Native Americans who, like the passengers aboard the Seaflower, ended the war as slaves. It had taken fifty-six years to unfold, but one people's quest for freedom had resulted in the conquest and enslavement of another.

Source: "Mayflower: a story of courage, community, and War"

Nathaniel Philbrick, Author

Published by Penguin Books, 2006

pages xiv and xv

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Going with green representing Cersei I would embrace Winterfellian's interpretation of the dinner last chapter. Tyrion wore red in a gesture of family unity leaving politics begind but Cersei showed up in green. She has been compared to wildfire (or will be)

An arrow could be aimed, and a spear, even the stone from a catapult, but wildfire had a will of its own. Once loosed, it was beyond the control of mere men.

Wildfire does not distinguish between friend or foe and neither has Cersei's actions. The wildfire consumes the Loyal Man representing Sandor. Cersei's refusal to reign in Joffrey and his treatment of Sansa has been eroding his loyalty for some time. This is just the breaking point. Sansa's treatment relative to Jaime's life and well being has come up repeatedly. Sansa's ill treatment goes directly against family unity.

Two of the other ships are Queen Cersei and Joffrey's Kingslander-- the Lannister Throne. These are destroyed in this battle as well. The Lannisters will seem victorious at the end but their fate is already sealed. The victory will be bought with Joffrey's life and the seeds of Cersei destruction have already taken root.

The last ship is the Seaflower. It is the mirror image of the Mayflower, the ship that brought people to a new land seeking freedom. The descendants of that ship send the residents of their new home away in chains. The relatively peaceful coexistence established after Aegon's landing is shattered. Just like the Mayflower, the descendants of those who made that peace find themselves in a war with no peaceful end in sight. Peace has been shattered liek Tyrion's wine glass in Tywin's tent. The alliance between House Targaryen and House Lannister ended with the rape and murder of Targaryen children. In an odd parallel the new alliance between Lannister and Tyrell will be sealed with Joffrey's murder. Much like the real Seaflower, Tyrion the native to Westeros, will be carried back across the sea and end up a slave.

He pointed with his new sword, out to where the green flames were licking at Seaflower’s golden hull and creeping up her oars. Her captain had turned her upriver, but not quickly enough to evade the wildfire.

Joffrey's sword is named Widowmaker and this uncontrollable destuction Cersei has unleashed will make Margaery a widow. Tyrion tried to reverse course but he did not movbe quickly enough to escape the consequences of the chaotic destruction that surrounded him. Cersei's destructive impulses are sinking the golden Lannister ship.

That's a bit harsh on Cersei even for me , but if green represents her and the green fire is consuming the Queen Cersei there isn't a whole lot of mystery to the meaning. What is worth noting is that Martin is choosing this moment to symbolically show the destruction of the Lannister regime even though it is still intact in name at the end of the fifth book.

I particularly like the description of Sandor.

“No.” A shadow detached itself from the shadow of the wall, to become a tall man in dark grey armor. Sandor Clegane wrenched off his helm with both hands and let it fall to the ground. The steel was scorched and dented, the left ear of the snarling hound sheared off. A gash above one eye had sent a wash of blood down across the Hound’s old burn scars, masking half his face.

The blood across his scars show that the old psychological wounds of his burning have been reopened. What is impressive about him is that he didn't shy away from the fire. He went out in it and fought in it. In Sansa's POV there are numerous clues that watching her beatings grates on Sandor. He was playing with a knight when Gregor burned him and his idealistic notions of knighthood were certainly turned on their head. It wouldn't be a stretch to conclude that facing the fire for Joffrey who is using knights in such a Gregor-like fashion breaks him far more than the actual fire. He does go to Sansa after this and offer to take her away.

This is madness, he thought, but sooner madness than defeat. Defeat is death and shame.

Death isn't quite a good enough reason to go, but throw in shame and he's up for a little suicide.

“You won’t hear me shout out Joffrey’s name,” he told them. “You won’t hear me yell for Casterly Rock either. This is your city Stannis means to sack, and that’s your gate he’s bringing down.

One one level we have a complete rejection of the Lannisters mirroring the failure or limits of gold. There is also an inherent rejection of the class system that reflects the lack of discrimination in the flames we saw earlier. We have another example of Tyrion earning loyalty and respect outside his status as a Lannister. The only reason these men follow him because of who he's a dwarf.

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I wouldn't go overboard about the ship names. Cersei isn't burnt. King's landing isn't burnt. Loyal man, well who is to say if there are any loyal men in Kings Landing - and loyal to what - oh, back to Varys riddle again ;). The ships have to have names and the ships are going to be burnt up in the story.

There might be a bit of a wildfire association with Cersei. Her role so far has been destructive. Lancel was certainly burnt up by her, but the green could also suggest fertility, or life, or jealousy or fickleness. :dunno:

I like the limits of power here in the chapter. Tyrion can only rely on command and control to a point. There is also that sense of random danger - Joffrey could catch an arrow in his eye I see "He clanged the visor shut. 'Keep that closed, Your Grace; your sweet person is precious to us all.'"

The personal danger contrasts with the sense of a duel fought out between Stannis and Tyrion using the lives of others - which I suppose is what the game of throne is.

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Winterfellian: I love your citation of the Jade Compendium. I associate jade with this as well, and I think Tyrion's entranced descriptions likening the flames to dragonfire plays into this well. As you know, I have less than complimentary views on dragons, so this may be somewhat biased, but I think this wildfire business tells us all we need to know about what dragon-warfare will be like, and it's clearly awful-- for "highborn and commoners" alike. Rhaegal is jade-- that's how he's described repeatedly, and jade (the gem) is used to represent him in Dany's crown. But if this somehow foreshadows Tyrion's riding a dragon, I might get a bit nauseous, so I'll leave it there. (I like to delude myself into believing those monsters will go into retirement at Mount Doom before anyone else rides them)

Tyrion's interactions with Sandor are kind of strange here, in that it is almost opposite to what we saw right after the riot. Tyrion sees Sandors fear at the riot: "For half a heartbeat, Tyrion thought he glimpsed fear in the Hound’s dark eyes. Fire, he realized. The Others take me, of course he hates fire, he’s tasted it too well. The look was gone in an instant, replaced by Clegane’s familiar scowl. “I’ll go,” he said, “though not by your command. I need to find that horse.”

But then at Blackwater:

“Who commands here? You’re going out.”

“No.” A shadow detached itself from the shadow of the wall, to become a tall man in dark grey armor. Sandor Clegane wrenched off his helm with both hands and let it fall to the ground. The steel was scorched and dented, the left ear of the snarling hound sheared off. A gash above one eye had sent a wash of blood down across the Hound’s old burn scars, masking half his face.

“Yes.” Tyrion faced him.

Clegane’s breath came ragged. “Bugger that. And you.”

A sellsword stepped up beside him. “We been out. Three times. Half our men are killed or hurt. Wildfire bursting all around us, horses screaming like men and men like horses—” “Did you think we hired you to fight in a tourney? Shall I bring you a nice iced milk and a bowl of raspberries? No? Then get on your fucking horse. You too, dog.”

The blood on Clegane’s face glistened red, but his eyes showed white. He drew his longsword. He is afraid, Tyrion realized, shocked. The Hound is frightened. He tried to explain their need. “They’ve taken a ram to the gate, you can hear them, we need to disperse them—”

“Open the gates. When they rush inside, surround them and kill them.” The Hound thrust the point of his longsword into the ground and leaned upon the pommel, swaying. “I’ve lost half my men. Horse as well. I’m not taking more into that fire.”

Ser Mandon Moore moved to Tyrion’s side, immaculate in his enameled white plate. “The King’s Hand commands you.”

“Bugger the King’s Hand.” Where the Hound’s face was not sticky with blood, it was pale as milk. “Someone bring me a drink.” A gold cloak officer handed him a cup. Clegane took a swallow, spit it out, flung the cup away. “Water? Fuck your water. Bring me wine.”

He is dead on his feet. Tyrion could see it now.

It might just be that Tyrion's need at Blackwater was so desperate that he forced himself to ignore Sandor's obvious reluctance. It's strange, though, because during the riot, Tyrion knew full well that Sandor was extremely afraid of fire, so I was surprised that Tyrion registers shock when he sees that Sandor does not want to go back into the flames. It just struck me as somewhat odd that after going through this during the riot, Tyrion would press the matter with Sandor, or be shocked at his reaction.

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A soldier who won't fight is worthless. Sandor has marketed himself as a sword, as a killer. But when it comes down to it his willingness to do so is strictly conditional. That is an impossibility, which is why Tyrion presses the matter. His sarcasm about the milk and blackberries is addressed at Sandor as much as at the other sellswords. Equally that's why Sandor has to run away I think - although really as a non-fighting soldier he's in good company with the likes of Boros Blunt.

Agree on the wildfire - dragonfire. We're meant to be impressed with the raw destructiveness. It's totally indiscriminate nature turns the social world of yielding and ransoming on its head.

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