A Feast for Crows-Chapter 28

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Cersei VI
A Feast for Crows chapter
POV Cersei Lannister
Place King's Landing
Page 410 UK HC (Other versions)
Chapter chronology (All)
Cersei V
Jaime III  ← Cersei VI →  The Reaver

Cersei VII


Queen Cersei Lannister negotiates with the High Sparrow. Art by Melissa Findley © FFG

Cersei and Taena share the queen's litter en route to the Great Sept of Baelor. The lady from Myr is telling Cersei about all the men who are always around Margaery, and how she was present for the bedding at Renly's wedding. Although Taena is not sure if Margaery is still a maiden, she affirms that Renly was aroused. She also lets on that besides all the knights and bards, Pycelle is a frequent visitor of the young queen, and her brother Loras visits perhaps more than any other. They also discuss the new High Septon, a man who was once a "sparrow" and not a member of the Most Devout. This is not only surprising, but also of concern to Cersei, and she considers that she may have to poison this new leader of the Seven, if he becomes unruly.

Reaching the top of Visenya's Hill, the queen's litter can continue no further as the streets are packed with "sparrows". Continuing on foot, Cersei considers Pycelle's objection to her choice of Osfryd Kettleblack to replace Addam Marbrand as the commander of the City Watch. She takes note of all the bones and skulls piled up around the statue of Baelor, and is told that they are the remains of septons and septas who were killed by the war, because they received no protection from the Throne. At the doors to the Great Sept, armed men block the Kingsguards' entry since they bear weapons. Cersei must enter alone, and as she does she wonders about these anointed knights answering the call to defend the Faith.

Inside the Sept, she is appalled to find Septon Raynard in roughspun robes scrubbing the floors, and learns that Septon Torbert has been imprisoned for being obese when so many are starving. She berates the new High Septon, this "sparrow" wearing frayed robes and standing before her barefoot. He tells her that the Faith has sold the crown her father gave his predecessor, as well as all the valuables in their vaults, in order to help feed the poor. Cersei recalls Qyburn's report that the "sparrows" broke down the doors of the Sept before the final vote with axes in their hands and their leader on their shoulders. She now understands how this man was elected High Septon. Speaking in private, the priest reprimands her for beheading Ned Stark on the steps of the Great Sept, and reveals that he hasn't come to the Red Keep to bless King Tommen because he is still praying for guidance from the Seven to affirm that the boy is the rightful king. The Queen Regent begins to seethe with anger, but concedes to his concerns that the holy men and women on the roads need protection from rape and murder: Cersei agrees to have Tommen rearm the Faith, something King Maegor forbade almost 300 years ago. She promises to restore the Faith Militant, for which the High Septon will acknowledge Tommen as king and forgive the Crown's debt to the Faith.

Back in her litter, Cersei tells Taena of her triumph: with one stroke she has gotten the Faith to bless Tommen, reduced the Throne's debt by almost a million dragons, and cleared the city of "sparrows" by restoring the Warrior's Sons and the Poor Fellows. Yet she doesn't realize the repercussions of what she has set in motion. On the way back to the Red Keep, Cersei's litter encounters Margaery's entourage returning from a horse ride and picnic. Margaery tells Cersei that she should share some of the burden of ruling the realm. But Cersei laughs at her, especially when the young queen tells her she is always well protected by her brother Loras when she goes riding.

References and Notes