A Clash of Kings-Chapter 30
|A Clash of Kings chapter|
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Arya is working for the understeward of the Wailing Tower doing various chores. When the Ser Amory Lorch arrives, Jaqen H'ghar, Rorge and Biter are with him. Arya thinks that Jaqen has not seen her, but he interrupts her sleep that night to tell her he will kill three men for her for saving him and his two companions. She avoids Jaqen for a while, but after hearing a story by Chiswyck, she whispers Chiswyck’s name in Jaqen's ear. Several days later he falls to his death.
Arya wonders what King Harren Hoare meant to name the five towers of Harrenhal, but they are now known as the Tower of Dread, the Widow's Tower, the Wailing Tower, the Tower of Ghosts, and Kingspyre Tower since the burning of Harrenhal. She now sleeps in a niche in the vaults beneath the Wailing Tower. The work is hard, but no harder than the miles she was walking every day, and she can wash and the food is filling; she does not need to find bugs to eat. Hot Pie is assigned to the kitchens, and Gendry to the forge, while Arya works for the understeward Weese doing errands; running messages, drawing water, fetching food, and sometimes serving tables in the barracks hall. Arya hates Weese and adds him to her list of names. She occasionally gets to see Hot Pie when she is sent to fetch the food for Weese and his charges; Arya does not want to learn the names of Weese’s other charges since it hurts when people she knows die.
Lady Shella Whent only occupied parts of two towers, letting the rest of the castle go to ruin. She left a small staff when she fled, inadequate for the host that now occupies the castle. As a result, the Lannisters have to forage for servants to make more of Harrenhal habitable. Harrenhal covers three times the area of Winterfell, but its buildings are much grander: the stables handle 1000 horses, the Godswood covers 20 acres, the kitchen is as large as Winterfell’s Great Hall, and the Hall of the Hundred Hearths could handle Tywin’s entire host.
Some claim the ghosts of Harren the Black and his sons occupy the Wailing Tower, but Arya knows that they died in the Kingspyre Tower; the wailing is from the wind, and the ghosts never trouble her. However she fears living men, including Ser Gregor Clegane and Tywin Lannister, who keep their apartments in the Kingspyre Tower. She considers marching up to Tywin and telling him who she is, but figures she would never get close enough to him, and if she did, he would not believe her, and she would get a beating form Weese, whom she fears more than the Mountain; he hits at the slightest provocation. On the road to Harrenhal, she felt like a sheep, but now she feels like a mouse.
The lords and ladies never notice the grey mice under their feet, and Arya hears many secrets by just listening as she does her duties. The 'slut' Pretty Pia is working her way through every knight, the wife of the gaoler is pregnant either by Ser Alyn Stackspear or a singer Whitesmile, Lord Leo Lefford keeps a candle lit by his bed because of the ghosts, Ser Dunaver’s squire Jodge cannot hold his water at night, the cooks spit on the despised Ser Harys Swyft’s food, and Maester Tothmure’s serving girl told her brother that Tywin has ordered the maester to burn a message claiming that Joffrey is a bastard, and to never speak of it again. She also hears from Weese that Stannis Baratheon and Renly Baratheon are both kings and have joined the fighting. Many of the Lannister men question how long Joffrey can hold the throne, protected only by Gold Cloaks and ruled by a eunuch, a dwarf and a woman. There have also been a number of reports of Beric Dondarrion being killed by the Bloody Mummers, but he has already supposedly been killed by Amory Lorch at Rushing Falls, and twice by the Mountain.
A fortnight later, the queerest collection of men Arya has ever seen arrives, the Bloody Mummers. Weese assures her that she does not want to know them, and is told they are called The Footmen, Toes of the Goat, and Lord Tywin’s Bloody Mummers. They call themselves the Brave Companions and their leader is the very tall, stick thin Vargo Hoat. They are housed in the Widow’s Tower, for which Arya is thankful. On their first night, Ser Harys Swyft’s squire is killed and two of the Bloody Mummers are wounded. Tywin hangs both along with one of Lord Lewys Lydden’s archers who is supposed to have started the trouble. They do not stay long, but before they leave she hears that Roose Bolton has occupied the Ruby Ford and her brother is in Riverrun, which is much closer than Winterfell but she does not know where it lies in relation to Harrenhal; if only she could get away.
She learns that there are captives from the Battle of the Green Fork. They have been given freedom of the castle in return for a pledge that they will not attempt to escape, but Arya is hoping they can help her escape. There are three Frey brothers and their bastard brother, but they are soon ransomed. There is also a very fat lordling who is always in the kitchen, one that wears a black cloak with white suns, and Lord Medger Cerwyn, whom she recognizes. She figures she can get aid from Lord Cerwyn, but learns later that he died from his wounds.
Arya hears all sorts of rumors about Lord Tywin’s plans. Lord Tywin spends his days with his war council. Arya often catches sight of him, and thinks he is strong looking for an old man, and his face reminds her of her father, although they look nothing alike, and she could never picture Tywin laughing.
Ser Amory Lorch arrives one afternoon, looking less frightening in the daylight. He has fewer men than she remembers and many wounded. She is told that they rode all the way around the lake chasing Beric Dondarrion and slaying rebels. Arya figures they are talking about the men of the Night's Watch. At the end of the column she sees Jaqen H'ghar, Rorge and Biter with his body covered in half-healed wounds. Jaqen H’ghar still smiles, and his clothes are filthy, but his hair washed and brushed. His eyes pass right over Arya, and she thinks he did not even notice her. Arya thinks that Gendry was right and she should have let them die. That night, she says the names again: Weese, Dunsen, Chiswyck, Polliver, Raff the Sweetling, the Tickler, the Hound, Ser Gregor, Ser Amory Lorch, Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, and King Joffrey and Queen Cersei. She thinks she might add three names to the list, but she is too tired to decide.
She is dreaming of wolves in the wild when she wakes with Jaqen H’ghar’s hand over her mouth. He notes that the boy Arry became a girl and revealing that he did see her that afternoon. He then explains that she saved three lives, thus he has to repay her by taking three lives of her choice, in order to appease the Red God. When Arya asks him to take her to Riverrun, he replies that he will take three lives for her, nothing more, and gives her some time to decide whom to kill. Then, he leaves before she can even light her candle.
The next morning, Arya yawns in Weese’s presence, and he warns her not to let her mouth drop open again, telling her he will feed her tongue to his bitch, and twists her ear to make certain she heard. As she works, she thinks of whom she wants dead, and that, being at war, she should try to kill as many Lannisters as she could, but her father personally killed those he condemned to death. She is not sure she should trust Jaqen, and avoids him for a while, which is not hard to do.
Ser Gregor returns, and Weese sends Arya to see if they have clothes that need mending. She arrives to find Chiswyck talking, and does not want to interrupt because she might be hit. He is talking about when he was returning from the Tourney of the Hand with Ser Gregor, Raff, Joss Stilwood, and Eggon. They stopped at an alehouse where the brewer did not stop talking. They knew better than to talk because the Mountain was seething over the joust with the Knight of Flowers. The brewer’s girl was serving, and they were touching her. Finally, Joss put his hand up her skirt, and she screamed, running to the kitchen. The brewer went to Ser Gregor and asked that his men leave the girl alone. Ser Gregor had the girl brought before him, payed the brewer a silver, and raped her right there.Her brother ran in from the cellar and Raff stabbed him with a dirk. After Ser Gregor was done, Tobbot and Chiswyck continued to rape her. Ser Gregor told the brewer the girl was not worth a silver, and demanded change, and the brewer gave it to him. They all roar with laughter at the story while Arya sneaks away. When Weese learns she did not ask about the mending, he beats her bloody.
Two days later she sees Jaqen H’ghar in the Barracks Hall. Ensuring that Weese is not around, she works her way down to him filling wine cups until she reaches him and whispers “Chiswyck” in his ear. He gives no sign that he heard, and nothing happens until the third day, when she hears that a man fell off the wallwalk the previous night. Some are saying Harren’s ghost flung him down and Arya thinks that she is the ghost in Harrenhal and there is one less name on her list.
References and Notes
- Summary and analyses of the chapter in the course of a 10th reread.
- Review and summary by Leigh Butler.