A Clash of Kings-Chapter 56

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Theon V
A Clash of Kings chapter
AClashOfKings.jpg
POVTheon Greyjoy
PlaceWinterfell
Page585 UK HC (Other versions)
Chapter chronology (All)
Theon IV
Catelyn VII ← Theon V → Sansa V

Theon VI

Theon Greyjoy is awoken by Wex Pyke and Reek and informed of the arrival of his sister, Asha. Theon meets with Asha, who berates him for having killed Bran and Rickon Stark and having mounted their heads upon the gates of Winterfell. Theon refuses to abandon his conquered seat, after which Asha leaves. As a last measure, Theon sends Reek away with a bag of coin in search of men to defend the castle. Afterwards he has yet another nightmare, which makes him realize all around him belongs to the Starks.

Synopsis

Theon Greyjoy is woken from a nightmare, in which he is being chased by large wolves with the faces of children, by his squire, Wex Pyke, with Reek standing behind him. Reek informs Theon that Asha has arrived. As Theon prepares to see his sister, he thinks back about the nightmares he has been having lately, ever since the night he and Reek killed the two boys at the mill. After washing his face, Theon dresses in rich clothing, only to realize that Asha cares more for blades. He changes again, this time dressing in felted black wool and ringmail. Lastly, he dons his crown.

Theon has taken to using guards for his own safety, while his own men have become sullen and anxious following the murders of Gelmarr, Aggar, and Gynir. Although the three ironborn had been killed by Reek with Theon's permission, to ensure they would not be able to reveal what had happened at the mill the night they returned with the corpses of the children, Theon had felt the need to blame someone for their deaths. To that end, he had executed Farlen, going as far as to personally execute him like Eddard Stark would have done. The memory is a sour one, as it had taken him four difficult blows to sever Farlen's head, afterward feeling sick about it.

His men would prefer to leave Winterfell, a thought that makes Theon angry. He refuses to be driven from his own seat, being the Prince of Winterfell. He blames Asha, feeling she had taken this long to respond to his commands on purpose. Reek, Urzen and Kromm escort Theon to the hall, where he finds Asha in the high seat of the Starks. Theon is dismayed to discover that Asha brought only twenty men. In turn, she scolds him for having killed Bran and Rickon Stark and having mounted their heads upon Winterfell's gates. The memory of returning the bodies to Winterfell is a sour one for Theon as well. He recalls forbidding Luwin from sewing the heads back onto the bodies and placing them in the crypts of Winterfell. Theon leads Asha to Eddard Stark's solar, where he tells her that Dagmer has lost the fight at Torrhen's Square. Asha tells him she was not surprised to learn about it, and informs him that Dagmer is currently leading the survivors back to the Stony Shore, making Theon realize that she is better informed than he is.

Theon is furious about the fact that Asha is planning on leaving only ten of her men behind for him. Leobald Tallhart has joined Ser Rodrik Cassel, Lord Wyman Manderly has sent a dozen barges upriver, and the Umbers are gathering beyond the Last River. Asha compliments her brother for the clever way he took Winterfell, but tells him that the wise course of action would have been razing the castle and taking the two princes as hostages back to Pyke. Winterfell is too far from the sea, and every northman is now his enemy. Theon counters her, telling her that he killed two of Eddard Stark's sons to lay to rest the ghosts of their brothers, Rodrik and Maron. Asha tells him that Rodrik might feel the need to avenge Eddard's sons and asks Theon to return with her to Deepwood Motte. When Theon refuses, Asha leaves, telling him he shall hold the castle for the remainder of his life.

Asha departs the castle with her men and Theon watches her go from atop the wall, where he is approached by Reek. Reek offers to find Theon two hundred good men if Theon provides a horse and a bag of coin. He asks for Palla as a reward. Although Reek makes Theon uneasy, he does not dare kill the man, as he is literate and cunning, and could easily have left a hidden account of what they had done behind. Theon agrees to give him the girl if he can deliver two hundred men, and Reek leaves the castle before the sun goes down. That night Theon dreams about the welcoming feast Eddard Stark had thrown King Robert I Baratheon when the king visited Winterfell. Although the feast is jolly at first, the room grows darker and suddenly Theon finds himself dining with the dead. Robert's guts are spilling out on the table from a great gash in his belly, while Eddard Stark is headless. Lining the benches below are the corpses of men he knows: Jory Cassel, Fat Tom, Porther, Cayn, Hullen, and all the others who had gone south to King's Landing. Mikken, Chayle, Benfred Tallhart and his Wild Hares, the miller's wife, Farlen, and the wildling Theon had killed to rescue Bran are among them. There are also people who Theon has never met, including Rickard, Lyanna, and Brandon Stark. Then, Robb Stark enters through the doors with Grey Wind beside him, both of them bleeding "from half a hundred savage wounds".

Theon wakes screaming, and Wex and his guards fetch Luwin, but Theon does not dare drink the sleeping draught that the maester leaves him. Instead, he summons Kyra and fucks her, but even that cannot help him sleep again, and she leaves sobbing of pain. At dawn, Theon goes outside. Seeing everything belonging to the Starks around him, he thinks to himself he should have gone with Asha. In silence, he looks at the heads mounted atop the iron spikes of the gatehouse, reflecting on what fools people could be. Although everyone had accepted his story, the heads on the wall actually belong to the miller's sons, who had been of an age and coloring with the two missing Starks. With their faces flayed, no one had been able to tell the difference.[N 1] Theon never found Bran and Rickon.

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Notes

  1. Making Jojen Reed's green dream of Bran and Rickon's deaths as described in A Clash of Kings, Bran V come true (" "I dreamed of the man who came today, the one they call Reek. You and your brother lay dead at his feet, and he was skinning off your faces with a long red blade."")

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