A Clash of Kings: Chapter Forty-One to Chapter Fifty Summaries
Chapter 41 - Tyrion
Tyrion is watching Princess Myrcella departing from King's Landing by ship; she will be on board one of King Joffrey's smaller fast-sailing ship and guarded by a handful of his larger warships. The ships are to sail towards Braavos, where the Braavosi will then escort her the rest of the way to Sunspear in Dorne. Tyrion is not alone - with him are Joffrey, Tommen, Cersei, Sansa and a handful of the king's court. The Kingsguard and City Watch men are there as well, to ensure that the small party comes to no harm when they return to the castle, for the streets of the capital have become very unsafe as of late.
While riding back, Tyrion ponders on what Lancel has told him about Cersei's latest doings: she is planning to buy her own force of sellswords, and engaging a hedge knight named Ser Osmund Kettleblack and his two brothers, Osney and Osfryd, to do so. Tyrion has already foiled his sister's plans by paying the Kettleblack brothers to take Cersei's money and pay her lip service but actually do nothing.
Suddenly, a woman steps out in front of the party, holding her dead baby above her head. She accuses Cersei of being guilty of incest and this is quickly followed by someone in the crowd throwing dung at Joffrey. Enraged, Joffrey orders Sandor Clegane to find the culprit, and to cut through the throng of people if they got in Sandor's way. Hearing that, the crowd begin to get restless and agitated. Soon, they are calling out for food, for the capital has experienced massive food shortages.
One thing leads to another and within moments, the crowd is attacking the King's party. Tyrion orders everyone to ride back to castle immediately. As they try to escape the fury of the angry crowd, Tyrion sees several of the King's party either getting pulled down by the crowd, or attacking the crowd in order to free themselves.
Once back in the castle, Tyrion admonishes Joffrey for setting Sandor on the crowd, claiming that it was because of the king's foolish order to Sandor that pushed the already-angry crowd to attack them. A fire then bursts out in Flea Bottom and Tyrion orders Bronn and Sandor to take as many men as they need to put it out; Tyrion sees the fear in Sandor's eyes and realizes that the Hound is afraid of fire, but Sandor accepts the task anyway.
By nightfall, the city is still in turmoil but the fires have been quenched. Ser Jacelyn Bywater presents Tyrion with the names of all those who had been killed during the riot, which includes the High Septon, one member of the Kingsguard and nine City Watch men. Ser Jacelyn also reports that the small folk in the capital hate Tyrion most of all. When a surprised Tyrion asks why, considering that Joffrey is the one who has been making all the foolish and rash decisions, Ser Jacelyn tells Tyrion that the smallfolk consider Joffrey a boy, manipulated by his evil councilors. Varys and Cersei also sit on the King's council, but they were also in the council during Robert Baratheon's reign, whereas Tyrion came right after Robert's death, and thus the small folk see him as the instigator behind all the evil and chaos in the capital.
Tyrion later summons Bronn and Varys into his room to discuss the riots. Bronn subtly remarks how life would have been easier if Tommen was king instead of Joffrey; Tyrion sees what Bronn is hinting at, but refuses to take the life of his own nephew.
Chapter 42 – Davos
Davos returns from his mission and has now joined Stannis' fleet at Storm's End. He has not managed to get an audience with Stannis for days now; Stannis always seems to be occupied with something or other. Davos notices that Stannis seems to have aged years since he last saw him.
Ser Cortnay Penrose and Stannis treat with each other; Davos is part of Stannis' party, along with Melisandre and many of Stannis' bannermen, both old and new. A fortnight has passed since Stannis offered peace terms to the castellan of Storm's End, and Stannis wants to know whether Ser Cortnay has accepted the terms. Ser Cortnay asks whether the terms still remains as they are: that he has to give up Robert Baratheon's bastard, Edric Storm, to Stannis. Stannis states that the terms have not changed. Hearing that, Ser Cortnay states that his answer is still no. Ser Cortnay then offers his own terms to Stannis: single combat between the two of them, or, if Stannis is too afraid, then they will both name champions to represent them. Ser Cortnay then returns to Storm's End.
Stannis' lords and knights, many of whom fought for Renly but weeks ago, clamor for the honor of representing Stannis in single combat. Stannis makes no decision but calls for Davos to ride with him.
Stannis asks for Davos' opinion on Ser Cortnay Penrose; Davos answers that Ser Cortnay appears to be a stubborn and desperate man. When Stannis says that Davos appears to hold Ser Cortnay in higher regards than the rest of his bannermen, Davos replies that Ser Cortnay kept faith, that unlike most of Renly's bannermen, Ser Cortnay didn't change allegiance upon Renly's death. Stannis agrees, then asks about Davos' mission, on how the common folk took to the news of Cersei's incest. Davos says that many of them appeared to believe the news and responded favorably towards Stannis, but there was another story already being spread around. Stannis says he already knows the false story about himself, of how his daughter was fathered by his wife and their half-wit jester.
Stannis and Davos reach camp and continue their discussion in the king's tent. Stannis tells Davos that his bannermen have given him all sorts of council, but he wants to hear what Davos has to say on the siege of Storm's End. Davos advices Stannis to march on to King's Landing, for Ser Cortnay and Storm's End pose no danger to him. Stannis disagrees, saying that if he doesn't take Storm's End, everyone will say that he was defeated there.
Stannis then mentions that Ser Cortnay's lieutenant is a young boy, one who would surely accept Stannis' terms if something befell Ser Cortnay. When Davos says that Ser Cortnay appears to be a very fit man, Stannis tells him that Melisandre has seen it in her flames that Ser Cortnay will die within the day. He then orders Davos to land a small boat beneath the castle that night, and to do it without being seen.
Later that night, Davos steers the small boat through the treacherous jagged rocks beneath the castle; with him is Melisandre. They talk, and when he asks her about Renly's death, she denies that it was she who killed him, but then and there Davos knows her for a liar. When they reach the portcullis, Melisandre sheds her red cloak to reveal that she is pregnant. She then gives birth to a shadow who disappears between the bars of the portcullis. Davos is horrified - the man who casts that shadow was none other than Stannis.
Chapter 43 – Jon
A horn blows in the middle of the night, waking Jon from his slumber. The single horn blow signals that Brothers of the Night's Watch have returned: Qhorin Halfhand and the rest of the men from the Shadow Tower are finally here. They were supposed to have arrived days go.
Qhorin and Jon meet, and Qhorin immediately guesses who Jon is, for he mentions that Jon has his father's look about him. At Mormont's tent, Qhorin revealed why they are late: they encountered one of Mance Rayder's champions, the wildling known as Alfyn Crowkiller. They managed to slay Alfyn's and most of the wildling's scouting party, but not without some casualties on Qhorin's side.
Jon and some of the other Brothers then prepare food and drinks for Qhorin and his party. During that time, Jon's mind ponders on two issues. The first is the talk of treason he overheard from several of the men last night; Jon knew that he was not supposed to have heard their talk, but Jon dismisses it as empty chatter. The second is the cache of dragon glass or obsidian that he came across earlier: he has used the incredibly sharp blades to make daggers for himself and Mormont, while the horn he passed to Sam and the arrowheads and the spearheads he had shared with his other friends.
When Jon enters Mormont's tent with the food, he finds Qhorin telling Mormont about the information they managed to get out of one of the wildlings captured during the skirmish with Alfyn: Mance Rayder is gathering his strength in the Frostfangs, and when they come to the Wall, they plan to break it. When Mormont asks how, Qhorin says that the wildling prisoner told them that Mance is searching the Frostfang for something he needs; unfortunately, the wilding died before they could question him further.
Qhorin then suggests the next plan of action: to send three groups of five men to scout ahead, to learn what the wildlings are up to in those mountains. If all three parties do not come back, then Mance Rayder will still have to face Mormont and the rest of the men if they intend to march to the Wall; Qhorin grimly states that they will most likely all die, but their deaths would buy some time for the rest of the Night's Watch on the wall to prepare for Mance's assault.
Mormont reluctantly agrees. As Qhorin is to lead one of the three scouting parties, Mormont asks him to go and choose his men; Qhorin immediately chooses Jon as one of his team's members. When Mormont protests, Qhorin tells him that the gods of the Starks are still strong north of the Wall.
Jon's answer is swift - he will go with Qhorin.
Chapter 44 – Tyrion
Lancel informs Tyrion that Cersei has planned for Lord Gyles to take Tommen to Rosby, to hide him from the mob and Tyrion. Tyrion thinks sending Tommen away is one of Cersei's better ideas, but he wants men he can trust guarding Tommen, so he sends instructions to Ser Jacelyn Bywater to take control of Lord Gyle's castle and keep Tommen safe there.
Tyrion then rides for Chataya's, so that he can take the secret passageway to see Shae. However, the streets are empty due to an extended curfew the king's council set, so Tyrion decides to go directly to the manor instead. When he arrives, he discovers that a singer by the name of Symon Silver Tongue is entertaining Shae. Tyrion frightens the singer into obedience when he threatens and warns the singer not to tell anyone else about Shae.
After they make love, Shae and Tyrion are visited by Varys, once again in disguise. Varys brings bad news: Ser Cortnay Penrose is dead and Storm's End has opened its gates to Stannis Baratheon. Tyrion wants to ride back to the castle with Varys, so they can discuss about this new turn of events; Varys tells Tyrion he'll wait in the stables.
Tyrion then reveals one of his plans to Shae: he hopes to bring her into the castle by having her work in the kitchens. With Stannis possibly attacking King's Landing soon, he wants to keep Shae safe. Shae is none too pleased with the idea, however, as she once forced to work in the kitchens by her abusive father. They argue for a while, but Shae eventually agrees to go with Tyrion's plan.
As they ride back to the castle, Varys and Tyrion talk. Tyrion reveals his plan to have Shae brought into the castle, but Varys proposes another alternative: Shae can come to the castle as one of the maidservants for Lady Tanda's daughter, Lollys. Varys even reveals that he can slip Shae into Tyrion's bedchambers unseen, through a hidden door in Tyrion's chambers.
Varys then tells Tyrion about the circumstances of Ser Cortnay's death; apparently the castellan of Storm's End threw himself from a tower, for the guards saw no one enter his chambers, nor did they find anyone within afterwards. Tyrion does not believe Ser Cortnay would ever do such a thing; he believes that a skilled assassin must have killed Ser Cortnay.
Varys then reveals how he came to be an eunuch to Tyrion: a man cut off his manhood when he was but a boy, and burned it in a brazier for the purpose of casting some dark magic. Varys recollects how he heard a inhuman voice answer the man's call, but he did not know whether the voice belonged to a god, demon or just some conjurer's trick. Ever since that day, Varys has hated magic and all those who practice it; if Stannis is one such, then Varys intends to see him dead.
Varys goes on to state that regardless of how Ser Cortnay truly died, the fact of the matter is that Stannis is now free to march. He goes over some of the possible consequences to the war due to Stannis' action, but Tyrion laughs out loud despite the dire circumstances. When Varys enquires as to why he is laughing, Tyrion says that Stannis is marching on to King's Landing with steel, fire and maybe even magic, and now he, the dwarf, is the only thing standing between the smallfolk and chaos.
Chapter 45 – Catelyn
Catelyn and Brienne watch as Edmure and his host goes off to do battle with Lord Tywin and his forces. Later that day, Maester Vyman brings her a letter; it is from Lord Meadows, the new castellan of Storm's End. He writes that Storm's End has opened its gates to Stannis Baratheon and sworn their swords to Stannis' cause. Catelyn says that Robb should know of this at once. Vyman tells her that Robb and his host are marching towards the Crag, the seat of House Westerling; he will dispatch a raven to inform Robb of the situation with Storm's End.
A small party of Lannister scouts reach the river, but are quickly driven away by Lord Jason Mallister's men at the outer ford. Later that night, there is another attempt by the Lannister army, but the ford's defenses hold up well again. Brienne is sure that these attempts are part of Tywin's Lannisters plans - he is trying to find a weak point in their defense, through which he can breach through. If he cannot find that weak point, he will throw all his might against their defense to make one.
The next morning, Catelyn orders a flagon of wine sent over to Ser Cleos Frey. She then hears about two more crossing attempts; both of them have been driven off, at much cost to Tywin's army. Catelyn then pays a visit to Ser Cleos Frey, held captive in a tower cell. Upon seeing her, Ser Cleos denies any involvement in the attempt to rescue Jaime Lannister. Catelyn asks Ser Cleos whether one of the Queen's peace offering was true: that she would exchange Sansa and Arya for the return of her brother Jaime. Ser Cleos confirms that it is true. She then asks him whether he saw her daughters while he was at King's Landing; Ser Cleos says he only saw Sansa.
Three days later, Tywin has done exactly what Brienne predicted - forced a crossing at a dozen different fords. However, none of them have succeeded; every one of Tywins' thrusts has been thrown back, even the strongest attack at Stone Mill, where Ser Gregor Clegane himself led the assault. Edmure has sent Catelyn a letter and in it he mentions that Tywin is retreating to the southeast.
Later that night, the castle is celebrating the great victory, but Catelyn finds herself in her father's solar, studying maps of the riverlands; she is wondering why Tywin is heading southeast.
Chapter 46 – Bran
Bran is having one of his wolf dreams, where he is inside his direwolf, Summer. As Summer, he and Shaggydog both smell danger in the night air. They howl and throw themselves against the gate, but no one hears them. Bran has Summer running up a tree, but the direwolf falls. And when he does, Bran awakens from the dream.
Bran shouts for help, but no one comes; Ser Rodrik has taken every man of fighting age from Winterfell and the nearby holdfasts to deal with the attack on Torrhen's Square by the war chief Dagmer Cleftjaw. However, two men soon come into Bran's room - one is a total stranger and the other one is Theon Greyjoy. Bran is relieved to see Theon at first, thinking that Theon is there under Robb's command. But relief soon turns to helplessness when he learns that Theon is there to seize Winterfell for himself. Theon tells Bran that someone will come to dress him and then bring him to the Great Hall.
It turns out that a wounded Maester Luwin is the one who attends to Bran. Luwin admits that he should have realized that Ser Rodrik took too many of their men to Torrhen's Square, making it easy for Theon's ironmen to overwhelm the remaining handful of guards left at Winterfell. Bran realizes that Theon and his men taking hold of Winterfell was what Jojen Reed's green dream portended to.
An ironman comes to carry Bran to the Great Hall and Luwin follows, leading Rickon by the hand. In the Great Hall, Bran sees that everyone is gathered there, including the two Frey boys, and Jojen and Meera. The man known as Reek, the henchman to Roose Bolton's bastard that Ser Rodrik captured earlier, is there is well. Reek tells Theon of how the Winterfell men killed his master and mentions that his real name is Heke.
Mikken, the blacksmith at Winterfell, constantly insults Theon until one of the ironman kills him with a spear through the throat. Reek and Osha decide bend the knee and are accepted into Theon's service, but none of the others follow. Theon dismisses all of them and Hodor brings Bran back up to his room.
Chapter 47 – Arya
With Weese dead, Arya has a new taskmaster: Pinkeye, so named for his runny eyes. Pinkeye keeps her busy and threatens to hit those who work for him, but unlike Weese, never actually hits anyone.
Lord Tywin has appointed Ser Amory Lorch as castellan of Harrenhal. The gates of Harrenhal have not been opened since Lord Tywin marched west with his host, but now it opens again, for Brave Companions, the mercenary group led by Vargo Hoat; the Brave Companions have brought back prisoners. Most of the prisoners appear to be wounded; Arya realizes that they are all northmen. Vargo Hoat tells how Roose Bolton tried to cross the river, but the Brave Companions cut Bolton's vanguard to pieces, and now they bring back captives, with the commander of the captives being Robett Glover. Ser Amory Lorch, who hates Vargo, orders the prisoners thrown into the great cell under Widow's Tower despite the captives claiming that Vargo promised them honorable treatment.
Arya stops by the armory to talk to Gendry. She asks Gendry whether he could help her free the northmen. Gendry gives the same answer to Arya as Hot Pie had earlier given to her: he's not interested in escaping. Arya states that if they free the northmen, the northmen will return her to Winterfell; Gendry sees no difference in working at Winterfell as compared to Harrenhal. Angry at Gendry's unwillingness to go along with her plan, Arya goes to the godswood for some exercise and to pray.
After her prayers, Jaqen H'ghar appears. He has already killed two men for her; now he wants the third name and be done with repaying his debt to Arya. Jaqen also reveals to her that he knows she is Arya Stark. When Arya tries to get Jaqen to free the northmen by killing all the cell guards, he refuses, saying that he can only kill one more man for her and no more than that. Arya then comes up with a plan: she makes Jaqen swear by the gods that he will indeed kill the man whose name she mentions next. Jaqen agrees but Arya then reveals the man's name: Jaqen H'ghar. Surprised and distraught by Arya's answer, Jaqen tries to get her to unsay his name, but Arya refuses, saying that she only helps her friends, and that Jaqen doesn't appear to be a friend since he refused to help her free the northmen. Jaqen reluctantly agrees to help her, but only if she will unsay his name later once the deed is done. He then instructs her to go the kitchens and make broth, and asks her to wait there until he comes for her.
Arya then goes to the kitchens to prepare the broth. Not long after, Jaqen H'ghar enters the kitchen - with him are Biter and Rorge. Between the four of them, they carry the broth to the great cell under Widow's Tower. Once the reach the cells, they throw the scalding hot broth at the eight guards guarding the northmen's cell. Caught by surprise, the guards are quickly overwhelmed and killed by Jaqen, Biter and Rorge. Once the guards are dead, Rorge opens the doors to the northmen's cells.
The northmen, stripping the dead guards of their weapons, then rush off up the stairs; none of them seem as badly wounded as when they first arrived. Robett Glover asks them who they are; he states that he did not see the four of them when Vargo Hoat came to Roose Bolton's encampment to discuss a plan to take over Harrenhal. Rorge states they are part of Vargo's Brave Companions. Robett Glover then goes to join the rest of the northmen, with Biter and Rorge following him.
When Jaqen is alone with Arya, he tells her to unsay his name; she agrees that the debt has been paid and unsays Jaqen's name. To her surprise, Jaqen says that he must die now, for his time is done. He then passes his hand down his face - and his entire face undergoes a physical change. Arya is amazed at Jaqen's transformation and asks him to teach her how to do it; the man that was once Jaqen replied that if she wants to learn, she'll have to follow him across the Narrow Sea. When Arya says she has to return to Winterfell, the face-changing man gives her an iron coin, saying that if she ever wants to find him again, she should give the coin to any man from Braavos, and say 'valar morghulis'. The man that was once Jaqen leaves, and Arya returns to her bed in the cellars.
The next day, Roose Bolton arrives as the new Lord of Harrenhal. One of the Brave Companions grabs Arya and introduces her Bolton, telling the new lord that it was Arya who prepared the broth that was used in the surprise attack against guards. Bolton says to Arya that she'll have to change her name from Weasel to something more appropriate; Arya chooses to go with Nan, short for Nymeria. Bolton then decides that she will his cupbearer, for as long as he remains in Harrenhal.
Later that night, Arya serves wine to Bolton and Vargo, and looks on in satisfaction as the Brave Companions throw Ser Amory Lorch into the castle's bear pit.
Chapter 48 – Daenerys
Daenerys stands before the House of the Undying Ones, a grey and ancient ruin. She has brought Drogon, her black dragon, and even Drogon is disquieted by the sight. Her bloodriders and Ser Jorah Mormont try to get her to change her mind, but Daenerys insists that she and Drogon must go in alone. Pyat Pree the Warlock warns her that when she enters, she must always go through the door on the right; if she comes to a stairwell, she must always go up and never down. And when she leaves, she has to do the same thing again: always the door on the right, and always up. Pyat Pree also warns her she is to enter no room until she reaches the Undying Ones' audience chamber.
When the reach the entrance, Daenerys is greeted by a dwarf who offers her a drink of shade of the evening, the wine of the warlocks. Pyat Pree tells her that she needs to drink it so that she can hear and see the truths that will be laid before her. Daenerys drinks the wine, and enters.
She keeps to Pyat Pree's instructions. As she walks, she notices that there are rooms where the doors are not closed, and inside those rooms she sees strange and disturbing sights. In one room, she sees a dead man sitting on a throne, but the man has a wolf's head. In another door, she sees Pyat Pree calling out to her, asking her to follow him. She manages to walk pass all these sights and eventually finds herself before the doors of a great hall, filled with sumptuously-dressed wizards, shafts of sunlight and beautiful music. The wizards call out to her, stating that they are the Undying of Qarth; they also acknowledge that she is Daenerys of House Targaryen. Daenerys is about to enter the great hall, but then Drogon flies to the top of the door, and starts biting into the carved wood. Daenerys begins to doubt, and then she decides to move the heavy doors that led to the beautiful great hall. Underneath those doors, she finds a secret door - it is a plain grey wooden door, but it is to her right, so she enters.
Daenerys finds herself in a gloomy chamber, where a blue heart beats and floats above a long stone table. The Undying Ones sit around the table, wizened old men and women with blue skin and eyes. They call her mother of dragons and child of three. Every foretelling uttered from their blue lips comes in group of threes. First, they say that she will light three fires - one for life, one for death and one to love. Secondly, they say that she will ride three mounts - one to bed, one to dread and one to love. Lastly, they tell her that she will know three treasons - once for blood, once for gold, and once for love.
Daenerys says that she does not understand their foretelling, and asks whether they can help her and show her more. The Undying comply; many visions start to come to her, some of them familiar and of things that have already happened, while others are of things that are yet to have happened.
She begins to lose herself to the vision, but is broken out of her trance by Drogon's scream. To her horror, Daenerys sees that the Undying are all around her, touching her, holding her, pulling at her clothes. All the strength has fled from her body - she can't move.
Drogon comes to her rescue by ripping the rotten blue heart to ribbons, then breathing fire down upon the room, setting all the Undying on fire. The whole room soon becomes ablaze with flames and Daenerys' flees the room, taking Drogon with her. They run down the long passageway outside the room, until they are finally out into the sunlight again. When Daenerys looks back on the ancient ruins, she sees smoke forcing their way through the cracks in the stone walls. Pyat Pree howls a curse at her and rushes at her with a knife in his hands, but he is quickly subdued by her bloodriders. Ser Jorah then comes to her aid.
Chapter 49 – Tyrion
Tyrion is sending off more of his mountain clansmen into the kingswood; he has been sending groups of them into the woods since two days ago, providing them with guides who know the area well. His orders to them are to ambush and raid Stannis' approaching army.
Back in the city, bereft of his mountain clansmen, he now only has Bronn and eight hundred sellswords. Bronn has warned him that, while the sellswords might fight for the rewards he offers them, they'll never die for it. The six thousand men of the City Watch are barely any better; Tyrion can only depend on a quarter of them to defend the capital.
Tyrion is going about his inspection of the city's defenses. He notices the clutter of ramshackle structures that have grown up around the city's outside walls, and he orders Bronn to have all of them burned down. He also inspects the three newly-constructed trebuchets at the Mud Gate - the men have taken to calling them the Three Whores, hoping that they will give Stannis' army a lusty welcome. Back at the Red Keep, Tyrion apologizes to trader captains for the seizure of their ships and promises them compensation after the war.
Tyrion then makes his way to castle sept where two knights are undergoing the investiture ceremony for new members of the Kingsguard. Both have been selected by Cersei. Ser Balon Swann replaces Preston Greenfield, who was slain during the city riots. Balon is a very courageous and skilled warrior - Tyrion approves of his sister's choice. However, he cannot say the same for her other - Ser Osmund Kettleblack, a lowborn hedge knight, who has been secretly selling Cersei's secrets to Bronn. Tyrion thinks that at least Ser Osmund could do no worse than Ser Boros Blount. When Ser Jacelyn Bywater and his men had caught Lord Gyle's party by surprise, Ser Boros had yielded Prince Tommen without a fight. Furious at his cowardice, Cersei has Ser Boros stripped of his membership in the Kingsguard.
After the ceremony, Tyrion orders the new High Septon to spread the word among the people that Stannis intends to burn the Great Sept of Baelor and that any man who gives aid to Stannis betrays the gods as well as their rightful king.
Tyrion returns to his solar and finds Hallyne the Pyromancer waiting on him. There is also a letter brought in by the ravens, from Balon Greyjoy, who now styles himself as King of the Isles and the North; Balon invites Joffrey to send an envoy to the Iron Islands, to discuss borders and a possible alliance. Tyrion is unsure of what to do with Balon's request, so he puts the letter aside.
Hallyne's latest tallies of wildfire jars are far beyond Tyrion's expectations. The pyromancer tells Tyrion that the ancient spells that the alchemists cast to make the wildfire seem to be working especially well, more powerful than they have ever seen. Hallyne asks Tyrion whether there are any dragons about. When asked to explain, Hallyne tells Tyrion that when he had been an acolyte, many years ago, he had asked the older alchemists why their spells didn't seem as effective as written in the ancient scrolls; one of the older alchemist told Hallyne that magic in the world has been growing weaker and weaker since the death of the last dragon.
Ser Jacelyn Bywater then has a brief meeting with Tyrion. He tells Tyrion that Prince Tommen is happy and safe at Lord Gyles' estates and that plans have been made to ensure the Tommen's safety should Joffrey lose the battle at King's Landing.
Lastly, Varys brings a list of names of people in the capital who support Stannis' cause. They call themselves the Antler Men and are planning to seize one of the city gates when the battle begins so as to admit Stannis' forces into the city. Tyrion begins writing warrants to have them all arrested.
Chapter 50 – Theon
Theon wakes up in the middle of the night and looks out of the window. Winterfell is quiet, and Theon is about to return to sleep when some instinct in him alerts him to the fact that it is too quiet. He quickly pinpoints exactly what noise should be there but is absent - the howling of Bran and Rickon's direwolves. He sends one of the ironmen to check up on the direwolves and his squire to do the same with Bran and Rickon. Both ironman and squire soon come back to report to Theon: the direwolves are gone, and so are the princes.
Theon orders his men to rouse the castle and herd everyone into the yard. He soon discovers that the two ironmen who had been guarding the castle gate that leads directly out into the fields and forests have been viciously killed. Clues at the scene point to the killers being the two direwolves and the wildling woman, Osha. Theon also spots several bloodstains, which point to the wildling woman opening the drawbridge and escaping into the fields beyond. His men suggest going after the escapees, but Theon does not relish going after the direwolves in the dark and tells his men that they will wait until dawn to ride out.
In the courtyard, Reek has done a head count and informs Theon that six people are missing: Bran, Rickon, Jojen, Meera, Hodor and Osha. Theon is somewhat relieved when Reeks also tells him that there are no horses missing from the stables because that means that all the escapees were on foot, and since Bran is a cripple and Rickon just a young child, they couldn't have gotten very far.
As dawn approaches, Theon rides out with several of his men, including Reek; a handful of Winterfell men go with him as well, including Maester Luwin. The trail of the direwolves and the six human escapees leads them north by northwest, into the very heart of the wolfswood. But it soon ends at a muddy brook, where the direwolves appear to have gone straight into the water. His mute squire also points out something else: the wolves might have jumped into the stream, but there were no human footprints near the brook, which means that the six human escapees must have backtracked somewhere along the trail.
Theon splits the men into three groups, one to go downstream, one upstream and the third one to double back to find where they lost Osha and the others. However, several hours of searching prove fruitless: no traces of the direwolves coming out from the stream are found, and those who backtracked along the trail find no sign of when Bran, Rickon and the rest parted company with the direwolves. Frustrated at their luck of success, Theon calls for the men to continue their search, returning to the brook once again.
However, once the sky begins to darken, Theon is forced to admit defeat. He thinks that either the Reed children know some magic to hide their tracks, or Osha has deceived them with some wildling trick. He is reluctant to return to the castle but is about to do so when Reek stops him and tells him that he thinks that the boys are hiding at a nearby mill. Reek says that he stopped at the mill when he was being taken to Winterfell, and that he noticed that Ser Rodrik had treated the miller's children very well. Theon fails to see why the two boys would find shelter at the mill when there are a dozen villages and holdfasts just as close, but Reek lets him know what he has in mind when he shows Theon a cloth sack that he has brought with him before they left Winterfell. Theon finds that the sack contains clothes... and a silver wolf's-head brooch. He begins to grasp Reek's cunning plan.
He orders three of his men to come with him and Reek to the mill and sends all the others back to Winterfell. As they ride off to the mill, Theon ignores Maester Luwin's plea to be merciful towards the two Stark boys.