A Clash of Kings-Chapter 16
From A Wiki of Ice and Fire
|A Clash of Kings chapter|
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The lords of the north are arriving at Winterfell for the harvest feast. There is a lot of interest in wedding Lady Hornwood who recently lost her husband and son and has no heir. Finally Cley Cerwyn arrives with news that Stannis Baratheon has sent out a letter claiming Joffrey is a bastard. That night Bran has another dream, but this time he sees a golden man push him off a tower.
Lord Wyman Manderly arrived two days ago with many retainers, including knights, musicians, and jugglers, from White Harbor for the harvest feast. Bran wakes to the dawn light. In the past, he would have been excited because of the tilting at quintains in the yard, but now he cannot take part. He used to dream of being a knight, but that is no longer possible. Maester Luwin and Rodrik Cassel have instructed him on being a lord, as he is Robb Stark’s heir and the Stark in Winterfell, and he has to be prepared to act the part.
Hodor arrives and helps him get dressed; he does not like having to be helped, but some things he just cannot do on his own. Bran is amazed at the deftness of Hodor’s fingers for such a big man and tells him that if he had wits he could have been a knight. Bran instructs Hodor to put on the basket in which he carries Bran downstairs. Bran is careful to duck when Hodor goes through doorways because he does not want to have to have Maester Luwin sew up his scalp, nor does he want to wear the helmet Mikken gave him because the two Walder boys would laugh.
In the yard Bran watches Big Walder and Little Walder charging the quintains. Little Walder sees Bran and remarks that Hodor is an ugly horse, which upsets Bran. They make more fun of Hodor, and some of the White Harbor boys laugh also. Then Little Walder bumps his horse into Hodor. Big Walder warns his cousin that Bran might set Summer on him, but Little Walder only responds that he wants a wolfskin cloak. Then, Maester Luwin arrives and tells them they may act like this at The Twins, but it is not how Catelyn Stark’s wards should act, and warns them to stay out of the Godswood. He then instructs Bran to come with him to meet with Lord Wyman.
Along the way, the maester tells Bran he was right to defend Hodor, but it should not have been necessary for him to fetch Bran to meet with Lord Wyman. Bran is hoping they will speak of war and is reminded that he is still only 8, and not to tell Ser Rodrik about what just happened. They put Bran in his father’s chair. Lord Wyman is very pleasant, telling him no prince is ever late, but those who arrived before him have come early. He then starts talking about White Harbor being the place to coin money for the north and to build a fleet. Poxy Tym is sent down to the kitchens for lunch. During lunch, Lord Wyman inquires about his widowed cousin Lady Hornwood, indicating he would be interested in her as a wife, or she could wed his son Wendel Manderly who is to the south with Lady Catelyn. After lunch, Lord Wyman informs them that Tywin Lannister has offered to return his son Ser Wylis Manderly, who was taken captive at the Battle of the Green Fork if he withdraws from the fight, but he will continue to support Robb. Then he notes that Janos Slynt was raised to Lord of Harrenhal by Cersei only to be sent to the Wall by Tyrion. He continues by asking that some equitable exchange be found for his son.
A horn announces the arrival of Lady Hornwood. Bran tells her they are sorry for the loss of her husband Halys Hornwood at the Battle of Green Fork and her son Daryn Hornwood at the Battle of the Whispering Wood. She announces she is tired, and Ser Rodrik states they can continue the next day. She does tell them that Ramsay Bolton, Roose Bolton’s bastard, is massing men at the Dreadfort and hopes he is taking them south. Ser Rodrick states he does not know him, and is told that when Domeric Bolton died, it left Bolton without an heir, so Bolton brought him to Dreadfort, and he brought along a servant almost as cruel as he, Reek; Reek never bathes. The two hunt together, but not for deer. Lady Hornwood fears they are looking to acquire her lands now that her husband and son are gone. Ser Rodrik promises that her lands will be safe. She then goes on to tell them that, although she is beyond childbearing age, suitors are hounding her. She would marry if commanded, but there is nobody of her liking. She points out that Lord Manderly is so big that the bed is not large enough to hold him; Bran knows that men sleep on top of their wives, so sleeping with the lord would be like sleeping under a horse.
After she leaves, the maester tells Ser Rodrik that he thinks she fancies him, which makes Ser Rodrik uncomfortable. Bran notes that she is sad—Ser Rodrik adds she is also gentle, but a threat to his brother’s realm since she has no direct heir. Rodrik continues that it is custom that the liege lord finds a match. Bran suggests Ser Rodrik, who replies that he is just a knight and too old; if he died they would be in the same mire. Then Bran suggests Lord Hornwood’s 12 year old bastard Larence Snow. The maester rather likes this idea. Bran asks leave and Ser Rodrik states he did well.
Bran, riding Hodor, arrives at the Godswood to visit Summer. Suddenly, a naked Osha explodes out of the cold pond. When Bran asks about the cold, Osha states she likes it. Osha notices him staring at her and asks if he has never seen a naked woman. Bran has seen his sisters and the serving women bathing, but Osha is hard and covered in scars, which she tells him were earned fighting men, mostly black crows; she has even killed one. Then she tells him she overheard someone talking about the Freys mocking Hodor, and thinks that it is a mad world if a cripple has to defend a giant; Bran mentions that Septon Chayle said Hodor has a gentle spirit. Osha warns Bran that Little Walder tastes of trouble. Then she asks if he has had anymore wolf dreams and he says no—she tells him he needs to lie better.
She leaves him, and later he has Hodor take him to his chambers where he dreams of a Weirwood calling him with its twisted mouth and a three-eyed crow that came at him from its branches. He is woken by the arrival of men from House Umber from beyond the Last River.
The next day, he is in attendance with the Greatjon’s uncles, including Mors Umber, known as Crawfood because he lost an eye to a crow that thought him dead (it is said he bit the crow’s head off), and Hother Umber, known as Whorebane. Mors immediately asks for Lady Hornwood’s hand; Maester Luwin explains she is still grieving. Hother asks for ships to stop the Wildlings in their little boats; Ser Rodrik says he has plenty of lumber and recommends he talk with Lord Manderly, who has shipwrights. Mors comments on how fat Lord Manderly is and Ser Rodrik replies that he is fat but not stupid. While sitting, the Steward of House Glover from Deepwood Motte arrives with apologies from Lady Glover who is tending to her young babies; Bran recognizes that it is not Lady Glover who rules while Lord Galbart Glover and Robett Glover are in the south with Robb, but her Steward. Ser Rodrik questions the steward about Larence Snow.
Maester Luwin tells Bran his notion of making the bastard heir has merits, and he will be a good lord for Winterfell. Bran does not like that idea, saying Robb will have sons with some Frey girl. Ser Rodrik mentions he himself had three wives and only daughters, and only Beth Cassel lives. His brother Martyn Cassel had four sons, and only Jory Cassel lives.
The next day, Leobald Tallhart from Torrhen's Square, who arrived the day before, has his audience. He tells Bran that Lord Helman Tallhart’s son and his own nephew, 19 year old Benfred Tallhart, are raising a company of lancers; Leobald called them young rabbits once, and now they name themselves Wild hares. Bran remembers Benfred coming to Winterfell with his father, who was friendly with Robb and Theon Greyjoy. Ser Rodrik orders that Benfred remain at Torrhen’s Square. Leobald then raises the possibility of an heir for Lady Hornwood; his wife Berena was a Hornwood, sister to Lord Halys. He mentions sending his younger son Beren to foster with Lady Hornwood, saying he may even take up the Hornwood name if named heir. Bran blurts out thanks for the idea and that they will bring it up with Robb and Lady Hornwell. After the audience, Maester Luwin states that he likes the idea, but Ser Rodrik thinks it will be hard for him to hold the lands. Luwin notes that with the Riverlands part of the kingdom, it may be best to wed her to one of the lords of the Trident.
In the days that follow, ravens arrive with regrets from the other houses. The bastard Ramsay Bolton will not be joining them, the Mormonts and Karstarks have all gone south, Lord Ondrew Locke is too old, and Lady Lyessa Flint is with child and there is sickness at Widow's Watch. That just leaves Howland Reed, who has not left the swamps for years, and Lord Medger Cerwyn, who is captive of House Lannister.
Then, one blustery day, 14 year old Cley Cerwyn arrives with a dozen lances while Bran is riding Dancer in the yard; he has always been a friend to him and his brothers. Cley is very friendly and immediately asks if Stannis Baratheon wrote Winterfell also about Joffrey being illborn. Bran suddenly feels like a hand is crushing his chest. When Cley asks if Bran is alright, Bran states Robb will beat Stannis, too.
That night he does not have the dreamless sleep he prayed for. The crow keeps pecking at his brow, telling him to fly or die, finally pecking through his skull. Suddenly, he can see and is clinging to a tower, slipping. A golden man appears above him saying “The things I do for love,” and then tosses him out.