In addition to this TWOW chapter guide, you can find the chapter guides for the rest of the series here. The timestamps will take you to that spot in the video, and FB will take you to the corresponding discussion posts in our Facebook group.
Sean, Aziz & Ashaya chat about Season 7 and Con of Thrones 2017! Listen on your podcast player of choice, otherwise go to the YouTube version. You can also find our full Con of Thrones album at our Facebook page here.
We’re joined by special guest PoorQuentyn for a look at Euron Greyjoy and his past, present and future. This episode includes spoilers for The Forsaken chapter from The Winds of Winter. Listen to our episode on The Forsaken here.
Our introduction and the Westeros and Essos maps were created by Michael Klarfeld (Klaradox), with the cyvasse pieces created by dutchmogul. Check out the episode on YouTube below to see those images and some great art of Euron while listening, as well as the newest art of Mazzalicartho, by Azany. You can also find these images below.
“Tell the Crow’s Eye he’s afraid of kinslaying, and he’ll murder one of his own sons just to prove you wrong.”
– ADWD, The Wayward Bride
Images of God
“Who knows more of gods than I? Horse gods and fire gods, gods made of gold with gemstone eyes, gods carved of cedar wood, gods chiseled into mountains, gods of empty air… I know them all. I have seen their peoples garland them with flowers, and shed the blood of goats and bulls and children in their names.
And I have heard the prayers, in half a hundred tongues. Cure my withered leg, make the maiden love me, grant me a healthy son. Save me, succor me, make me wealthy, protect me! Protect me from mine enemies, protect me from the darkness, protect me from the crabs inside my belly, from the horselords, from the slavers, from the sellswords at my door. Protect me from the Silence.” He laughed. “Godless? Why, Aeron, I am the godliest man ever to raise sail! You serve one god, Damphair, but I have served ten thousand. From Ib to Asshai, when men see my sails, they pray.” – AFFC, The Iron Captain
Euron had seduced them with his glib tongue and smiling eye and bound them to his cause with the plunder of half a hundred distant lands; gold and silver, ornate armor, curved swords with gilded pommels, daggers of Valyrian steel, striped tiger pelts and the skins of spotted cats, jade manticores and ancient Valyrian sphinxes…
– AFFC, The Reaver
“When I was a boy, I dreamt that I could fly,” he announced. “When I woke, I couldn’t…. or so the maester said. But what if he lied?”
– The Reaver, AFFC
An episode dedicated to all kinds of ASOIAF dreams and dreamers, whether mundane or magical. Green dreams, wolf dreams, dragon dreams, dreams of guilt, fever dreams… and an accompanying Q&A to go with it, answering all the burning (and freezing) questions sent us regarding the last episode.
“There’s different kinds,” he said slowly. “There’s the wolf dreams, those aren’t so bad as the others. I run and hunt and kill squirrels. And there’s dreams where the crow comes and tells me to fly. Sometimes the tree is in those dreams too, calling my name. That frightens me. But the worst dreams are when I fall.” – ACOK, Bran V
He knew nothing of his mother; Eddard Stark would not talk of her. Yet he dreamed of her at times, so often that he could almost see her face. In his dreams, she was beautiful, and highborn, and her eyes were kind. – AGOT, Jon III
That night Sansa dreamt of Joffrey on the throne, with herself seated beside him in a gown of woven gold. She had a crown on her head, and everyone she had ever known came before her, to bend the knee and say their courtesies. – AGOT, Sansa IV
They are children, Sansa thought. They are silly little girls, even Elinor. They’ve never seen a battle, they’ve never seen a man die, they know nothing. Their dreams were full of songs and stories, the way hers had been before Joffrey cut her father’s head off. Sansa pitied them. Sansa envied them. – ASOS, Sansa II
She had no time for sleep, with the weight of the world upon her shoulders. And she feared to dream. Sleep is a little death, dreams the whisperings of the Other, who would drag us all into his eternal night. She would sooner sit bathed in the ruddy glow of her red lord’s blessed flames, her cheeks flushed by the wash of heat as if by a lover’s kisses. Some nights she drowsed, but never for more than an hour. One day, Melisandre prayed, she would not sleep at all. One day she would be free of dreams. Melony, she thought. Lot Seven. – ADWD, Melisandre
We were among the first on the planet to hear this chapter, and it’s safe to say: we’re taken by the “The Forsaken”! It is a truly epic chapter. Find PoorQuentyn’s transcript of The Winds of Winter: The Forsaken here. Check out our episode on Euron Greyjoy, also with PoorQuentyn, here. We are recording a Valar Rereadis episode on it too, so look out for that!
“The Shields have served my purpose. I took them with one hand, and gave them away with the other. A great king is open-handed, brother. It is up to the new lords to hold them now. The glory of winning those rocks will be mine forever. When they are lost, the defeat will belong to the four fools who so eagerly accepted my gifts.”
Euron Crow’s Eye stood upon the deck of Silence, clad in a suit of black scale armor like nothing Aeron had ever seen before. Dark as smoke it was, but Euron wore it as easily as if it was the thinnest silk. The scales were edged in red gold, and gleamed and shimmered when they moved. Patterns could be seen within the metal, whorls and glyphs and arcane symbols folded into the steel.
Valyrian steel, the Damphair knew. His armor is Valyrian steel. In all the Seven Kingdoms, no man owned a suit of Valyrian steel. Such things had been known 400 years ago, in the days before the Doom, but even then, they would’ve cost a kingdom.
“Falia Flowers,” he called. “Have courage, girl! All this will be over soon, and we will feast together in the Drowned God’s watery halls.” The girl raised up her head, but made no answer. She has no tongue to answer with, Damphair knew. He licked his lips, and tasted salt.
In this episode, Aziz is joined by guest Jeff Hartline (Wars and Politics of A Song of Ice and Fire) for this three part series on The Battle of Ice.
Though there are a variety of ways the Battle of Ice could play out, there are only two possible basic results, a Bolton/Frey victory, or a Stannis victory. Given that, we only have two paths to chart out. We’ll be following them both as far as we can reasonably (or unreasonably!) go. Of particular importance will be the effect of the battle on the Northern political outlook, the series itself, and what it will mean for a host of different characters. We also discuss how a possible battle at Winterfell itself might play out.
I think a lot people suspect Stannis won’t last the series. Losing to the Freys in the midst of a snowstorm isn’t exactly a popular guess for how he’ll go out. The feedback we’ve gotten on parts 1 and 2 of the series definitely back this up. Most of us expect Stannis to win the Battle of Ice, and for his end to come in some other way, or not at all. Only a few predict Stannis to sit the Iron Throne by series’ end, but it remains possible.
Other possibilities range from villainy to heroism, casting him as Night’s King come again, or ponder the notion of Lord Commander Stannis Baratheon, leading a reformed and regrouped Night’s Watch at conclusion of ASoIaF, manning the Wall in force. That is, if there’s even a Wall to man, but that’s another topic, not directly related to Stannis winning the Battle of Ice.
So this episode will have a Stannis-wins bias in terms of how we spend our time. We expect Stannis to win so we prepared with that in mind…
The king stood outside his tent, staring into the nightfire. What does he see there? Victory? Doom? The face of his red and hungry god? His eyes were sunk in deep pits, his close-cropped beard no more than a shadow across his hollow cheeks and bony jawbone. Yet there was power in his stare, an iron ferocity that told Asha this man would never, ever turn back from his course. Lord Manderly had brought musicians from White Harbor, but none were singers, so when Abel turned up at the gates with a lute and six women, he had been made welcome.
“I am sorry that our good friend Stannis has not seen fit to join us yet, as I know Ramsay had hoped to present his head to Lady Arya as a wedding gift. We shall give him a splendid welcome when he arrives, a welcome worthy of true northmen. Until that day, let us eat and drink and make merry … for winter is almost upon us, my friends, and many of us here shall not live to see the spring.”
“White Harbor might prove troublesome should Lord Wyman survive this coming battle … but I am quite sure that he will not. No more than Stannis. Roose will remove both of them, as he removed the Young Wolf.”
“Lord Manderly had brought musicians from White Harbor, but none were singers, so when Abel turned up at the gates with a lute and six women, he had been made welcome.”
The Battle of Ice is coming, and Stannis is ready. He’s confident, he’s experienced, and even the ravens seem to be cheering him on. On the other hand, his army is snowbound and starving while the army the Lord of the Dreadfort has sent against him is fresh, well supplied and better equipped. While Stannis’ force was marching through Westeros’ largest forest during a seemingly endless blizzard, the Boltons, Freys and their allies sat comfortable in Winterfell’s hot spring-fed warmth while Wyman Manderly’s endless stores kept their bellies full.
It would be a mistake, however, to think that the battle hinges on such standard factors. Though better armor and fresher horses surely matter, there is much about the Battle of Ice that requires a somewhat unconventional thought process. A Song of Ice and Fire has seen many battles, but we haven’t seen anything like this.
In part 1 we analyzed the politics and power situation in the North, but even the genial and affable Renly knows that will only get us so far.
“The time for talk is done. Now we see who is stronger.”
and so we will. Now comes the time of troops & commanders, now comes morale & strategy, now comes blood and controlled chaos. Now comes the Battle of Ice.
Whatever doubts his lords might nurse, the common men seemed to have faith in their king. Stannis had smashed Mance Rayder’s wildlings at the Wall and cleaned Asha and her ironborn out of Deepwood Motte; he was Robert’s brother, victor in a famous sea battle off Fair Isle, the man who had held Storm’s End all through Robert’s Rebellion. And he bore a hero’s sword, the enchanted blade Lightbringer, whose glow lit up the night.
“Half my army is made up of unbelievers,” Stannis had replied. “I will have no burnings. Pray harder.”
“The map is not the land, my father often said.”
“If I had me a nice goose quill and a pot o’ maester’s ink, I could write down that me member was long and thick as me arm, wouldn’t make it so.”
“Wolves, she thought, they howl like bloody wolves. The war cry of the north.”“
Part 1 is dedicated to unraveling the complex political situation in the North. There are Houses with compelled loyalty secretly plotting revenge, while loyal armies face the winds of winter. Each house of note is discussed, as well as the key players from each side.
In an epic series filled with surprises, plot twists and defiance of convention, there is little we can predict with certainty. One item on that short list is Winter. We knew it was coming…the Starks told us after all. We had glimpses of it throughout the earlier books, especially at and beyond the Wall, but also in dreams that often seemed prophetic. Sure enough, by the end of ADWD, there is a massive, long running storm.
Another certainty in ASOIAF is war. We have certainly not seen the last pitched battle. With those two items in mind…does it follow that we should expect pitched battles in winter?
The Battle of Ice is just that. A struggle in which resources are scarce, the cold is literally enough to kill, and time is on no one’s side. Winter has just begun after all, and we know what the next book is entitled. Before we can Dream of Spring we must brave The Winds of Winter.
The Battle of Ice
Well, not we, them. The armies of two extremely formidable and determined men, Stannis Baratheon and Roose Bolton, facing off while a ridiculous winter storm rages.
This three part series goes beyond a single battle, however. Even our love of detail is not enough to make 3 episodes out of that. We’re dealing with a campaign for the North and it has major implications for the plot and for so many of our favorite characters. In part 1 we’ll explore the motivations and goals of the various players in the North, what they want, which side they’re on, who they want to kill, and how they’ll accomplish any of this without freezing.
We are five thousand strong as I write, our numbers swelling every day. And word has come to us that Roose Bolton moves toward Winterfell with all his power, there to wed his bastard to your half sister. He must not be allowed to restore the castle to its former strength. We march against him. Arnolf Karstark and Mors Umber will join us. I will save your sister if I can, and find a better match for her than Ramsay Snow. You and your brothers must hold the Wall until I can return.
Boltons and Freys
He needs an end to this. The castle was too crowded to withstand a long siege, and too many of the lords here were of uncertain loyalty. Fat Wyman Manderly, Whoresbane Umber, the men of House Hornwood and House Tallhart, the Lockes and Flints and Ryswells, all of them were northmen, sworn to House Stark for generations beyond count. It was the girl who held them here, Lord Eddard’s blood, but the girl was just a mummer’s ploy, a lamb in a direwolf’s skin. So why not send the northmen forth to battle Stannis before the farce unraveled? Slaughter in the snow. And every man who falls is one less foe for the Dreadfort.
The Frey men wore the badge of the two towers, those from White Harbor displayed merman and trident. They shouldered through the storm in opposite directions and eyed each other warily as they passed, but no swords were drawn. Not here. It may be different out there in the woods.
History of Westeros delves deep into Heart Trees & Weirwoods. As always, we discuss their history while poring over the details to learn as much as possible. We cover everything from tree dreams to blood sacrifice, the power of stumps, Bran’s visions, the cave of the Three Eyed Crow and an assortment of items made from weirwood… and quite a bit more. It’s such a huge topic we can’t even tease it all! Part 3 of our Weirwoods series is out now, view it here.
A leaf drifted down from above, brushed his brow, and landed in the pool. It floated on the water, red, five-fingered, like a bloody hand.
The weirwood’s bark was white as bone, its leaves dark red, like a thousand bloodstained hands. A face had been carved in the trunk of the great tree, its features long and melancholy, the deep-cut eyes red with dried sap and strangely watchful. They were old, those eyes; older than Winterfell itself. They had seen Brandon the Builder set the first stone, if the tales were true; they had watched the castle’s granite walls rise around them. It was said that the children of the forest had carved the faces in the trees during the dawn centuries before the coming of the First Men across the narrow sea.
I never knew that northmen made blood sacrifice to their heart trees.
The Red Comet
History of Westeros’ series on Religion & Magic kicks off with the great red comet, a sign interpreted by many and seen by all. Was it sent by the gods or is it a sign that magic and dragons have returned? Whatever the meaning, there will be blood and fire. Ash and Aziz give an overview of what to expect in the series while asking a bunch of tough questions. Particular attention is paid to parallels between various supernatural elements found throughout the books. Listen to the rest of our Religion & Magic series here. Our YouTube channel is here.
The comet’s tail spread across the dawn, a red slash that bled above the crags of Dragonstone like a wound in the pink and purple sky.
Dany looked and saw it, low in the east. The first star was a comet, burning red. Bloodred; fire red; the dragon’s tail. She could not have asked for a stronger sign.
It is my comet, Theon told himself.
That night she lay upon her thin blanket on the hard ground, staring up at the great red comet. The comet was splendid and scary all at once. “The Red Sword,” the Bull named it; he claimed it looked like a sword, the blade still red-hot from the forge. When Arya squinted the right way she could see the sword too, only it wasn’t a new sword, it was Ice, her father’s greatsword, all ripply Valyrian steel, and the red was Lord Eddard’s blood on the blade after Ser Ilyn the King’s Justice had cut off his head. Yoren had made her look away when it happened, yet it seemed to her that the comet looked like Ice must have, after.