A Game of Thrones-Chapter 24

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Bran IV
A Game of Thrones chapter
AGameOfThrones.jpg
POV Bran
Place Winterfell
Page US HC (Other versions)
Chapter chronology (All)
Bran III
Daenerys III  ← Bran IV →  Eddard V

Bran V

Bran is roused from his depression when called to the Great Hall of Winterfell to receive Tyrion Lannister. Despite Robb’s rudeness Tyrion provides plans for a saddle that will let Bran ride a horse once more.

Synopsis

Bran is watching Rickon play with the direwolves from his window. Shaggydog’s fur has darkened to black and his eyes are fiery-green; Summer’s fur has turned silver-and-smoke and his eyes are yellow-gold. Summer is smaller and warier than Grey Wind; Bran thinks he is the smartest. Bran realizes he is crying, wanting to be down there, and thinking that the crow lied about being able to fly.

Old Nan is trying to tell Bran a story about a crow, but Bran tells her that he hates her stories, and thinks she is a very ugly old woman. Next Old Nan offers to tell Bran a story about a boy who hated stories. He remembers his father telling him that she was called Old Nan when he was a child. She has outlived all her own family except the simple stableboy named Hodor.

Bran remembers when his father told him he would ride a real horse when they went south, and laments that such a thing is impossible now. There has been no news from his father, his mother, or Jon Snow. Bran thinks about all the people that have left Winterfell who seem to have forgotten him. Even Robb has changed, he is so serious now and so busy as the lord of Winterfell that he has little time for Bran. Below in the yard Bran can see something has happened, but cannot tell what since the window is facing in the wrong direction.

When Nan starts to tell Bran a story about the Others coming in the darkness of winter for the first time, he listens intently. Thousands and thousands of years ago, a winter fell like no other, and there came a night that lasted a generation. They were cold things, dead things, that hated fire, iron, the touch of the sun, and every creature with warm blood. They overran holdfasts and cities and all the swords of men could not stop their advance. Women and children were not spared, and the Others ate the flesh of children. This was before the Andals had come, and before the women of Rhoynar, when the First Men lived in the lands they had taken from the Children of the Forest. The last hero of the First Men set out to find the Children. He left with his sword, a dog, his horse and twelve companions to search out the Children of the Forest. All of the hero’s companions and even his dog died and he was left, in despair of ever finding the Children, as the Others closed in.

But Old Nan’s story is interrupted by Maester Luwin telling Bran that his presence is needed in the Great Hall to greet Tyrion Lannister and some men of the Night's Watch, down from the Wall. They have a message from his brother Jon. Bran wants to hear the rest of the story, and complains, but Nan tells him that stories can wait. The 7-foot tall Hodor carries Bran down to the Great Hall with Maester Luwin following.

Robb is sitting in his father’s high seat in armor and with his unsheathed sword in his lap (even Bran knows what it means to meet a guest with an unsheathed sword). There is a hostile feeling to the room. Robb makes a point to only offer the Night’s Watch men his welcome. The meaning is not lost tp Tyrion, who notes that he is not welcome, and calls Robb a boy. Robb seethes saying he is a lord. Tyrion responds if that is so he needs to show a lord’s courtesy.

Tyrion sees Bran, and notes that it is true that Bran lives, and says that the Starks are hard to kill. Robb now lifts Bran into the high seat. Tyrion asks how Bran fell. Bran is about to argue that he never falls, but the maester cuts in saying that Bran does not remember. Tyrion states that this is curious, and then asks if Bran likes to ride. Immediately, the maester insists that Bran has lost the use of his legs, and so cannot ride. Tyrion responds that with the right saddle and horse even a cripple can ride. When Bran insists that he is not a cripple, Tyrion retorts that if that is true then he is not a dwarf. Tyrion hands the maester a paper containing plans he has drawn up for a saddle for Bran. The maester states that it will work and he should have thought of it himself. Tyrion responds that it is similar to his saddle. Robb is suspicious of Tyrion’s motive, to which Tyrion replies that Jon had asked it of him, and he has a weak spot for bastards, cripples and dwarfs.

Rickon comes in from outside with the three direwolves, who immediately start growling and surround Tyrion. Theon comments that the wolves do not like Tyrion’s smell. Tyrion says that it is time he took his leave, but the wolves assault him before he can move more than a step. They are called off in time by the boys. Tyrion finds the hostility of the wolves to be interesting, and states nothing is harmed save his dignity. Even Robb is shaken and says he does not know why the wolves attacked. Before Tyrion can leave Maester Luwin confers with Robb, who then offers the hospitality of Winterfell to Tyrion. Tyrion declines the invitation as a false courtesy, declaring that he will stay in the inn he saw outside the wall.

Robb then tells the Night’s Watch men they have rooms prepared, and invites them for dinner. Bran is looking forward to feasting that night with the Night’s Watch. In his room, Bran expresses his excitement at being able to ride again to Summer. Bran dreams of climbing, and sees the shapes of twisted and grotesque gargoyles, and then he hears them whispering. The gargoyles pull themselves free and climb towards Bran. Bran starts to scream, shouting that he did not hear. He wakes to find Hodor above him. Hodor cleans and dresses him and carries him down to the Great Hall.

That evening, Robb and Bran host the Night’s Watch men for dinner. The black brothers bring the dire tidings of Benjen Stark. Yoren states that Benjen is probably dead. Robb vehemently insists that his uncle is not dead. One of the brothers assures them that Benjen knows the haunted forest better than anyone else, and will find his way back. Bran thinks of Old Nan’s stories and blurts out that uncle Benjen will be saved by the Children of the Forest. Maester Luwin tells him the Children have been dead for thousands of years, but Yoren disagrees, saying that in the north, beyond the Wall, who’s to say what lives?

That night Robb carries Bran up to his bed himself. Robb sits by Bran for a long time, and tells Bran that they will find a horse for him. Bran asks if the others will be coming back. Robb says yes with much hope in his voice. Robb then tells Bran that he can meet his mother riding his new horse and later they can visit the Wall together.

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