A Feast for Crows-Chapter 41

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Alayne II
A Feast for Crows chapter
POV Sansa Stark
Place the Eyrie - the Gates of the Moon
Page 605 UK HC (Other versions)
Chapter chronology (All)
Alayne I
The Princess in the Tower  ← Alayne II →  Brienne VIII


Alayne has been trying to coax a petulant Lord Robert to get dressed for the long descent to the Gates of the Moon. With winter fast approaching, the high seat of the Arryns will soon become inhospitable, and the entire staff is retreating for the valley floor. Her "father" is away at the wedding of Lord Lyonel Corbray, who supports the Lord Protector along with several other Vale lords, including, just recently, Lord Benedar Belmore. Maester Colemon is concerned that Robert is being given Sweetsleep too often, as it is poisonous over time. However, he sees no other way to get the boy down the mountain without a seizure. After riding the basket down to Sky, Alayne and the rest of the household begin their descent on mules led by Mya Stone. Accompanying them is Lady Myranda Royce, Lord Nestor's daughter.

Randa is a natural gossip, and tells Alayne that Lady Waynwood and Ser Symond Templeton both showed at Lord Corbray's wedding, and that Riverrun has yielded, but not Dragonstone or Storm's End. Alayne is careful with her words around the very clever Randa, although she stumbles when the woman mentions that Lord Eddard's bastard now commands the Night's Watch. She thinks to herself it would be sweet to see her half-brother once more. Randa discloses that Harry the Heir was recently knighted at a tourney, but Myranda doesn't like him because Lady Waynwood denied Lord Nestor's attempt to marry Randa to Harry. She also lets on that he has a bastard daughter despite his young age. Their banter turns to Mya and how her beloved Ser Mychel Redfort recently married one of Lord Yohn's daughters. Alayne reveals that Ser Lothor Brune likes Mya, but doesn't believe that the bastard daughter of Robert Baratheon is aware.

After a rough stretch crossing a gorge, where Alayne has to carry a shaking Robert across, the party reaches the Gates of the Moon. She discovers that her "father" has returned from the east, and she goes to see him immediately. Lord Petyr is entertaining three hedge knights he recently hired for his household, one of whom is none other than Ser Shadrich of the Shady Glen. Dismissing them, Petyr imparts word of Cersei's spiraling downfall, saying, "It is quite vexing. I had hoped to have four or five quiet years to plant some seeds and allow some fruits to ripen, but... it is a good thing that I thrive on chaos. What little peace and order the five kings left us will not long survive the three queens, I fear." But he will not explain what he meant by "three" queens.

Petyr then announces that he has a present for her- a marriage contract to Harry the Heir. He tells her that she must first win his approval before they are even betrothed, hopefully giving them enough time for Tyrion to perish, allowing her to marry again. Lady Waynwood agreed to the proposal because despite Alayne's "low" birth, she is nonetheless the daughter of the Lord Protector; not to mention that House Waynwood is heavily in debt (much of it now owed to Littlefinger). When Alayne asks how the young knight could be Lady Anya's heir when she has three sons, as well as daughters and grandsons, he tells her that Harry is actually Lord Robert's heir. He explains that Lord Jon Arryn's sister married a Waynwood, and her only son perished at age three. But their youngest daughter married a knight of House Hardyng, who are landed knights sworn to Ironoaks, and begot a son, now Ser Harrold Hardyng. Besides Lord Robert, he is the only living male heir to the Arryns, since he is Lord Jon's great-nephew.

When Alayne learns this truth, she utters, "If Robert were to die..." To which Lord Petyr replies, "When Robert dies, Harry the Heir becomes Lord Harrold, Defender of the Vale and Lord of the Eyrie. Jon Arryn's bannermen will never love me, nor our silly, shaking Robert, but they will love their Young Falcon... and when they come together for his wedding, and you come out... clad in a maiden's cloak of white and grey with a direwolf emblazoned on the back... why, every knight in the Vale will pledge his sword to win you back your birthright. So those are your gifts from me, my sweet Sansa... Harry, the Eyrie, and Winterfell."

References and Notes