A Clash of Kings-Chapter 66
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A Dance with Dragons
As Winterfell is being besieged, Theon Greyjoy declines Maester Luwin's suggestion of yielding. Theon parleys with Ser Rodrik Cassel, using Rodrik's daughter Beth as a hostage. Theon knows that the host will attack regardless of his threat of Beth and considers Luwin's suggestion of requesting taking the black until he is informed that the northmen are fighting among each other. Newly-arrived men from the Dreadfort unexpectedly attack Rodrik's host, and Theon is shocked to discover that they are being led by "Reek", who reveals himself to be Ramsay Snow. Ramsay knocks Theon to the ground and orders Winterfell to be burned.
Theon Greyjoy is approached by Maester Luwin, who advises him to yield. Victarion and Balon Greyjoy have not replied to Theon's messages, and although new birds will not reach them on time, Theon orders Luwin to send them anyway. He accuses Luwin of wanting him dead. The maester calmly explains that, although he bears Theon no great love, his order serves and the fact that Theon holds Winterfell means that Luwin is bound to serve him. Again, he counsels Theon to yield Winterfell, as he has no hope of holding it. Theon counters that by holding onto Winterfell, Ser Rodrik Cassel cannot turn south to take Victarion in the rear. He is willing to withstand a siege of a year, but Luwin tells him that within days the northmen will be climbing the walls in more places than Theon can stop them.
Theon has his ironborn assemble in the yard. He informs his men he will not run from the northmen, and gives them the option of leaving him or dying beside him. None of his men reply, until Wex Pyke steps over to Theon's side. Black Lorren, Red Rolfe, Kromm, Werlag, Tymor and his three brothers, Ulf the Ill, Harrag Sharp, four Harlaws and two Botleys, and Kenned the Whale follow. The others leave. Black Lorren counsels him to put the castle folk to the sword, as they will turn on them as soon as the fighting begins. Garbed for battle, Theon climbs the watchtower and watches the northmen who have gathered. Despite his disapproval about the plan, Lorren goes to fetch Beth Cassel.
After Cley Cerwyn announces Rodrik's wish to parley with Theon, Theon goes to the drawbridge. Theon meets them in the market square of the winter town, where Rodrik demands Theon return Winterfell to the Starks, command his men to lay down their weapons, and allow himself to be judged by Robb Stark, King in the North. Theon gives Rodrik his own terms, telling the knight that the northmen are to disperse and to swear fealthy to Balon Greyjoy as their king and Theon as the Prince of Winterfell. He then signals Lorren, who produces Rodrik's daughter Beth with a noose around her neck atop the walls of Winterfell. When Rodrik accuses Theon of being craven, Theon tells him that he felt the noose for ten years. He declines Rodrik's offer of taking his daughter's place, informing the knight that she will hang if the northern army is still present at sunset. Every following dawn and dusk, he says, another hostage will follow.
Theon returns to the castle and retreats to Eddard Stark's bedroom. He knows that the northmen will attack and that Winterfell will easily fall. Finding no solace in wine, Theon takes his bow to the inner ward, where he loses shafts at archery butts. He sees no way out: if he hangs Beth, the northern army will attack at once; But if he does not hang her, he will prove his threats are empty. Luwin approaches him, suggesting Theon take the black. Theon considers the option, realizing it is a way to live with dignity and honor. They are interrupted by Kromm, who informs them that men from the Dreadfort have arrived, who are now fighting Rodrik's army.
After the battle at Winterfell ends, the leader of the Dreadfort men presents Theon with the corpses of Rodrik Cassel, Cley Cerwyn, and Leobald Tallhart, and Theon orders Winterfell’s gates to be opened to their new friends. The Dreadfort leader, Red Helm, informs Theon that Rodrik thought the Dreadfort men were allies to the other northmen, which allowed the Dreadfort to win the battle despite being outnumbered five-to-one. He takes off his helm and Theon identifies him as Reek. The man tells Theon that Reek is dead; His name is Ramsay Snow, although he prefers Ramsay Bolton. Reek had been killed while fleeing the northern soldiers who had captured Ramsay, but as they had exchanged clothes, no one had realized the switch of identity. Ramsay tells Theon that he was promised a prize for bringing two hundred men, but brought more than promised by bringing six hundred. Instead of Palla, he prefers Theon's bedwarmer Kyra. When Theon objects, Ramsay punches Theon to the face and Theon falls to the ground in pain. The Dreadfort men attack the ironborn, and Theon sees Red Rolfe, Kenned, Ulf, and Luwin die, while the roof of the stables are set aflame. Ramsay orders his men to "save me the Freys and burn the rest. Burn it, burn it all." The last thing Theon sees during the sack of Winterfell is his horse Smiler escaping the stables afire.
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