A Dance with Dragons-Chapter 41

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The Turncloak
A Dance with Dragons chapter
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Chapter chronology (All)
The Prince of Winterfell
Tyrion IX  ← {{{current}}} →  The King's Prize

A Ghost in Winterfell


A winter snowstorm has hit Winterfell, Roose Bolton comments that the northern gods do not favour Stannis as he is at the mercy of the weather and they are sheltered in Winterfell. His men cheer, but Theon does not join in and notes that they the Freys do not join in either, unfamiliar with a north that has claimed three of their lives already.

Wyman Manderly is eating at a feast of porridge, while Harwood Stout and Whoresbane Umber chat with each other. Theon spent the whole last night awake dreaming of escape, but ultimately decides he has no where to go, he is a ruined man in a ruined castle, this is where he belongs. He is waiting for his turn for porridge when the bard Abel plays "The Dornishman's Wife" with one of his women beating a drum, but he switches the lyrics to a northman instead. Theon fears that this will be seen as a spite to the Boltons, cost the man his life, angering Ramsay, and getting himself flayed first. But both the Bolton men laugh, the others see that it is safe so they can laugh as well and join in to the bawdy song.

His thoughts fall to the fake Arya, taking note that she has remained locked away in her room. There are whispers that Ramsay keeps her locked naked to the bed, but Theon believes that it is only the guards that keep her there. He has seen bruises on her body as Sour Alyn has assigned Theon as a handmaid to help bring water to Jeyne. Theon tells her that Ramsay only hurts people when they make him angry, so she should do as he says and no harm will come to her. But she only cries and calls him Theon, he corrects her telling her that his name is Reek and he cannot forget it.

One of the bard's women then comes up to Theon and asks him about his exploits, telling him that Abel can make a song about his capture of Winterfell. She questions him on how he was able to conquer Winterfell so easily, wondering if there was a secret entrance or another way that he used to get in. Theon thinks this is another ploy from Ramsay as he desires the woman, so he runs away, leaving her.

Outside there is a snowball fight, Theon observes that a new stable has been built, twice as large as the one that was burned down prior. He wanders through the castle and passes Rickard Ryswell cuddling one of Abel's women. He observes that they have few provisions to last the winter in the keep, but thinks that Stannis is in the same situation. He eventually arrives at the weirwood, kneeling before the heart tree. There he apologizes for something, and asks for something that he is unsure of, strength? He hears crying then leaves, thinking that there are ghosts in Winterfell, and he is one of them.

Theon returns and Lady Barbrey Dustin asks him if he can show her the way to the crypts, as she cannot access them from the dungeons. As they have to dig through the snow, Lady Dustin asks Theon to convince Ramsay to treat Arya better. The northmen love the Starks and hate the Boltons, remaining loyal only out of fear. The tears of Arya Stark will upset them and do Roose and Ramsay more harm than anything Stannis could do.

Inside the crypts they find that some of the dead kings' swords are missing. A bad omen, Theon thinks, as the swords are said to protect the crypt and keep the spirits of the dead from wandering. Dustin asks Theon why he loves the Starks, and Theon reluctantly explains he always wanted to be one, but never could. Dustin remarks that they are similar in that regard, explaining how Brandon Stark took her maidenhead and was enamoured with her rather than his betrothed, Catelyn Tully. Rickard Stark arranged the betrothal of his eldest son to Catelyn, a match that served his ambitions more than one to Lady Barbrey, a daughter of one of his own northern vassals. After Brandon's betrothal to Catelyn, the ambitious Lord Ryswell wanted Barbrey to marry Eddard, but after Rickard and Brandon were both murdered by the Mad King, Eddard fulfilled his older brother’s betrothal to Catelyn to ensure support from Riverrun during Robert's Rebellion. Left to marry Lord Willam Dustin, she blames Ned for Lord Dustin's death at the Tower of Joy during Robert's Rebellion and because she felt slighted that Eddard merely buried her husband in Dorne, yet went to great lengths to transport his sister's body north to be buried at Winterfell.

She claims that she intends to seize Ned Stark's bones, delayed by the Iron Born's occupation of Moat Cailin, and feed them to her dogs, rather than let them be buried in the crypt. On the way back up she tells him to repeat nothing to the Boltons. Theon swears he will not, to which she says he has been trained well, leaving him there.

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