A Clash of Kings: Chapter Sixty-One to Chapter Sixty-Nine Summaries
Chapter 61- Tyrion
Tyrion commands the men of his sortie to form a wedge; he takes the point, with Ser Mandon Moore and Podrick Payne by his side. They make short work of the men assaulting the King's Gate. Tyrion, seeing their own forces at the Mud Gate struggling to throw the enemy back into the water, orders for his sortie to ride to Mud Gate next.
Tyrion manages to kill several men along the way before he meets up with Ser Balon Swann who tells him to look downriver. He looks, and sees twenty galleys jammed together, packed so closely together that Stannis' armored men-at-arms have leapt from one deck to another, creating a make-shift bridge across the Blackwater river.
Tyrion and Ser Balon lead their men to the bridge of boats. Tyrion's horse leaps onto the half-sunk galley that is acting as the foot of the bridge; the horse suffers a broken leg and Tyrion has to fight on foot. Ser Balon and Ser Mandon join him on the deck as well, fighting their way through enemy forces.
The ships suddenly tear loose from each other; Tyrion tries to keep himself from falling off the spinning deck. While doing so, he sees a battle taking place on the south bank, which surprises him as Stannis' main forces are on the south bank, waiting to cross the river - since Stannis hadn't yet crossed the river, Tyrion wonders who he could be fighting with.
Ser Mandon, now on the deck of a nearby ship, calls out for Tyrion to grab his hand so that he can pull Tyrion to safety. Tyrion does so, but just as his fingers brushes against Mandon's, he realizes that Mandon is offering him his off-hand. Tyrion jerks back just in time, but Mandon's slash to his face still wounds him. Tyrion falls to the deck but manages to keep his footing. Mandon is about to finish Tyrion off, but he gets attacked from behind and falls overboard. Tyrion is badly hurt and delirious and thinks it is his brother Jaime who has saved him. But in fact, it is Podrik Payne.
Chapter 62 – Sansa
Ser Lancel and Osney Kettleblack bring dire news to Cersei - they tell her that Tyrion and Ser Mandon Moore are most likely dead and that Sandor Clegane has gone missing; Ser Balon has retreated back to the castle and those of Stannis' men who successfully landed ashore have now taken control of the riverfront and are ramming King's Gate again. Ser Osney also reports that there is some fighting going on among Stannis' troops on the south bank, but no one is sure what is truly going on there.
Both men also report that the men of the City Watch, upon seeing Joffrey going back to the castle under Cersei's orders, have lost heart and deserted the walls. Despite hearing this, Cersei orders Osney to bring Joffrey into Maegor's immediately. Cersei ignores Lancel's protest and proceeds to leave the safety of the hall.
When the Queen does not return, Dontos approaches Sansa and whispers in her ear. He tells her to go back to her bedchamber and that he will come for her when the battle is over. Sansa wonders whether it will be Dontos or Ser Illyn who comes for her, but she does as Dontos requests and returns to her bedchamber.
Once inside, the sight of the wildfire and carnage outside her window horrifies her. And then she discovers that she isn't alone in her room - Sandor Clegane is also there, and he is very drunk. He demands that she sings a song for him. She is reluctant to do so but complies when he threatens her. After she sings a short song, Sandor leaves without saying so much as a word.
A while after that, bells start to ring all around the city, followed by cheers in the street. A drunk and joyful Dontos soon enters her bedchambers and tells her the good news: Stannis has been defeated. Dontos goes on to tell her that the combined power of Highgarden and Casterly Rock attacked Stannis' army in the rear while Stannis and his forces were crossing the Blackwater river, and that it was the vanguard of this combined army that defeated Stannis' army - a vanguard that was led by Renly Baratheon himself.
Chapter 63 – Daenerys
Daenerys is at the waterfront, accompanied by her bloodriders and Ser Jorah. She has decided to flee Qarth, and is looking to find passage for her people and her dragons. Her decision to leave Qarth is a calculated one: Pyat Pree is gathering all the surviving warlocks together to launch an attack against her, the Tourmaline Brotherhood has openly called for her expulsion, the Ancient Guild of Spicers wants her dead, and the city has seen an increasing number of mysterious and strange incidents since she first arrived. Even Xaro has turned her away, demanding the returns of his gifts.
Daenerys stays away from the quays and docks belonging to Qarth's three largest merchant guilds and heads instead to the harbor where the ships from the Summer Islands, Westeros and the Nine Free Cities dock. Many of the captains refuse to offer her passage. Some name a price far more than she can afford while others are either too small or not seaworthy enough.
As they make their way to the next quay, Ser Jorah has Daenerys stop at a brass seller's booth. He tells Daenerys that there they are being followed, and when he holds up a polished brass platter for her inspection, she sees two men behind them - an older man with long white hair and carrying a hardwood staff, and a squat and broad man with a bald head and many old scars on his bare upper torso.
As they decide on their next course of action, a Qartheen man comes up to her and offers Daenerys an opulent jewel box as a gift. Daenerys is so used to accepting gifts that she takes the gift and opens it without a second thought; inside the box is a beautiful scarab. The Qartheen then tells her that he is "very sorry", but by then the "scarab" unfolds, and turns out to be a manticore, complete with human face and poisonous stinger.
The old man rushes forward and uses his staff to knock the box out of her hands. There is chaos and panic, but the old man remains calm and smashes the butt of his staff into the ground. Daenerys' bloodriders quickly apprehend the old man while Ser Jorah does the same with the fat man. Daenerys asks them to release both of the men, for they have saved her - when one of her bloodriders checks the staff, he finds the remains of the manticore still on the butt of the staff.
The old man tells Daenerys that his name is Arstan, and that he is a squire for the fat man, who goes by the name of Strong Belwas. They have been sent by Magister Illyrio to bring her back to Pentos. They have hired three ships, big enough to fit Daenerys, her three dragons and the hundred or so Dothraki who follow her. Daenerys gladly agrees to go with them, but tells them to change the names of the three ships to Vhagar, Meraxes and Balerion - she wants every man who sees them to know that dragons have returned.
Chapter 64 – Arya
Even though Arya is now Roose Bolton's cupbearer and no longer working under Pinkeye, things at Harrenhal have been almost as bad as they were under Ser Amory Loch. Gendry hates Vargo Hoat and the Brave Companions, who have been digging out traitors in the nearby villages in a unique way: Vargo Hoat simply returns to the villages that he had visited when he had been flying Lord Tywin's banners and seizes the villagers who had helped him then.
Arya, or Nan as she is now known, is attending to Roose Bolton while he holds a war council. Many of the lords and knights agree that, with the North being taken by the ironmen and Stannis defeated in King's Landing, Robb Stark has to bend the knee to Joffrey. Bolton tells them he will think about their next plan of action and dismisses them. He then decides to go wolf-hunting, and tells Arya to clean his chambers while he is gone.
While cleaning Bolton's room and solar, Arya comes across a map of the Riverlands. She studies the distance between Harrenhal and Riverrun and concludes that the latter is not so far away. When Bolton returns from the wolf-hunting, he decides to have dinner alone. Once Arya has laid the food in front of him, he dismisses her, but something in her makes her speak up, and she asks him whether he will take her with him when he leaves Harrenhal. Bolton tells her that once he is ready to return to the North, he intends to hand Harrenhal over to Vargo Hoat; Arya will remain in Harrenhal with Vargo.
After going to the godswood and praying to the old gods for guidance, Arya decides that she has to escape from Harrenhal. Later that night, she goes to the forge and wakes a sleeping Gendry. She tells him that Vargo Hoat is going to be the next lord of Harrenhal and that she is going to escape before that happens. She then says that she will wait for him behind the Tower of Ghosts and asks him to bring swords along; she also tells him to go look for Hot Pie and have Hot Pie prepare some food for their escape.
Arya returns to the solar to take the map of the Riverlands, along with a dagger that Roose Bolton left on the table. She then heads off to the stables, where she orders the stableboy to prepare three horses for Roose Bolton. She leads the horses to the Tower of Ghosts and Gendry and Hot Pie soon appear. Gendry tells her that a guard watches over the postern gate; Arya tells him she will deal with the guard and howl like a wolf once she is done.
Arya heads to the postern gate, and to her dismay, finds that it is guarded by a tall man; his height means that she cannot get to his throat. She suddenly has an idea and proceeds to tell the guard that Roose Bolton is giving a silver piece to every man in his service. She then takes out the iron coin Jaqen H'ghar gave her, and lets it fall to the ground. When the guard bends down to find the coin, Arya slits his throat with Roose Bolton's dagger. She picks up the iron coin and howls; Gendry and Hot Pie approach with the horses and the three of them escape from Harrenhal.
Chapter 65 – Sansa
King Joffrey and his council, and most of the lords and knights of King's Landing are gathered in the throne room, dressed in their finest. Sansa makes her way through the crowd to reach the front of the gallery just as Lord Tywin enters the hall. With his destrier in armor as ornate and gilded as his own, Lord Tywin makes for a very impressive figure. Joffrey embraces his grandfather and officially names Tywin as Hand of the King. Tywin takes his seat at the council table, and the heroes of the battle at King's Landing then enter the Hall one by one.
First up is Mace Tyrell, the Lord of Highgarden, and his two sons, Ser Garlan and Ser Loras. As a measure of thanks to the Tyrells for allying themselves with the Lannisters and supporting his rule, Joffrey grants each of them a boon from the throne. Ser Loras asks for place in the Kingsguard, Lord Tyrell for a place on the King's council and Ser Garlan asks Joffrey to marry his sister, Margaery Tyrell. Joffrey grants Loras and Mace Tyrell their requests, and after putting on a show in which the High Septon disavows his betrothal to Sansa due to House Stark's traitorous actions, Joffrey agrees to marry Margaery. Sansa is overjoyed, but as per the Queen's earlier warning to her, keeps her face passive and distraught.
Other heroes of the Battle of the Blackwater then receive their rewards from the crown. The most notable of the rewards goes to Petyr Baelish: for his help in arranging and cementing the alliance between the Tyrells and Lannisters, Petyr is granted Harrenhal as his new seat, where he will rule as Lord Paramount of the Riverlands.
Next come the six hundred men who are to be knighted. The ceremony takes a while as they have to received their knighthoods from the Kingsguard, and only three members of the Kingsguard remain: Balon Swann, Meryn Trant and Osmund Kettleblack.
Next are the prisoners. Those who swear fealty to Joffrey are welcomed back into the king's peace and restored to their lands and rights. However, there are some who remain staunchly loyal to Stannis and who choose death over bending the knee. The most notable of those who do not bend the knee is a knight who calls Joffrey an abomination born of incest. Joffrey calls for the knight to be killed, but is so agitated over the whole affair that he accidentally cuts his arm against the sharp blades on the Iron Throne. The defiant knight then cries out that Joffrey is no king because even the throne denies him. Joffrey leaves the throne room with three maesters tending to his wound. Upon Lord Tywin's order, Ser Meryn kills the knight with a sword through the chest.
After the session ends, Sansa returns to her room to have dinner. Later that night, she goes to the godswood. Dontos is there, waiting for her. Sansa's happy mood begins to sour when Dontos tells her that, although Joffrey is no longer marrying her, the Queen will never let Sansa go because she is too valuable a hostage. He scares her further by telling her that Joffrey might think to father several bastards on her. Dontos then tells her that he has made the necessary arrangements - their escape will take place during the night of Joffrey's wedding feast. He then gives her a hair net of fine-spun silver, set with small black amethysts, telling her that it is magic and represents justice, vengeance and home.
Chapter 66 – Theon
The northern host that Ser Rodrik commands is almost upon Winterfell. Theon has commanded Maester Luwin to send birds to his father and uncle, but has received no reply. Luwin advices Theon to yield, for Theon's tiny force will be no match for Rodrik's host. However, Theon is stubborn and tells Luwin he refuses to yield.
Theon then goes into the yard, to speak to the assembled ironmen. He gives his men the option to stay and fight with him or to leave. Only seventeen men decide to stay; the rest, including the ten men that Asha brought him, decide to leave.
Theon then goes up to the walls to study Rodrik's host; the castellan of Winterfell has at least a thousand men with him, including catapults and ballistas. Not long later, Theon spots of the men from Rodrik's host coming forward with a white peace banner, announcing that Rodrik wishes to parley with Theon Turncloak.
Both Rodrik and Theon exchange jibes and insults at the parley. Rodrik is confident of winning but Theon plays his trump card: he has one of his men inside Winterfell bring Beth, Rodrik's only daughter, out on top of the castle walls, a noose around her neck. Theon warns Rodrik that if the northern host is still there come sunset, he will hang Beth, and continue hanging a hostage every dawn and dusk until Rodrik and his host leaves.
Theon then returns to the castle, brooding. As he practices his archery, he is again approached by Maester Luwin who offers him a solution to help him get himself out of this impossible situation with his life: Theon must surrender to Rodrik and join the Night's Watch. Theon is considering following Luwin's advice when one of his ironmen alerts him to the fighting going on among Rodrik's host.
It turns out that Dreadfort men, loyal to Roose Bolton, pretended to be allies wanting to join Rodrik's army but then savagely attacked the castellan's forces. Although outnumbered, the Dreadfort men are better led and have the element of surprise on their side and they decimate Rodrik's forces.
Theon is relieved that Rodrik's host has been defeated and opens the gates for the Dreadfort men. The man who led the Dreadfort men to victory enters and when he takes off his helm, reveals that he is the man everyone knows as Reek. But then he reveals his real name - Ramsay Snow, Roose Bolton's bastard. Ramsay tells how his henchman Reek had died - when they had been cornered by Winterfell men, he made Reek wear his clothes and ring and then ordered the man to ride back to Dreadfort. When Rodrik and the Winterfell man shot Reek, they thought he was Ramsay.
Ramsay then demands that Theon repay him by giving him Kyra, the Winterfell girl that Theon keeps as his own personal whore. When Theon responds with anger, Ramsay silences him with an armored backhand to the face, sending Theon sprawling on the ground. The last thing Theon sees is his men getting cut down by the Dreadfort men, Maester Luwin receiving the tip of a spear between the shoulders, and Ramsay shouting to his men to spare the two Frey boys.
Chapter 67 – Tyrion
Tyrion is lying on a bed, somewhere. He has been grievously injured; bandages have been wrapped around his face and he flits in and out of consciousness. He sees his father and sister standing over his bed, and Lord Varys and Petyr as well, but he cannot make out what they're saying. He also sees a maester tend to him, but falls into a deep sleep again when the man plies him with milk of the poppy. He sleeps and dreams, and wakes then sleeps again.
When Tyrion next wakes up, he finds that he is more alert and thinking much more clearly than before. He proceeds to choke the maester by pulling on the chain around the man's neck. He tells the maester, whose name he learns is Maester Ballabar, to take the bandages off his face and to bring him wine. Once Ballabar removes the bandages and Tyrion has drunk enough of the wine, he decides to look at his face in a mirror.
Ser Mandon's cut starts just under his left eye and ends on the right side of his jaw; the slash also took off three quarters of his nose. Tyrion then asks Ballabar where he is, and the maester replies that he is in Maegor's Holdfast and that Lord Tywin now occupies the Tower of the Hand.
Tyrion then sends Ballabar to fetch his squire, Podrick Payne. When Podrick finally arrives, he confirms that it was he who saved Tyrion by pushing Ser Mandon over the edge of the boat. Tyrion then tells Podrick to send Ballabar away, and to get Maester Frenken to make him some dream wine. He also asks Podrick to fetch Bronn, who Podrick tells him has just been knighted.
Chapter 68 – Jon
Qhorin Halfhand and Jon are the only two that remain out of the five-man scouting party. Squire Dalbridge holds off the wildlings at Skirling Pass for only a moment, for they soon hear the war horns and spot the eagle following them again. Ebben rides back to the Fist to inform Mormont of what they have seen, and when Stonesnake's horse breaks a leg in the Frostfangs, Qhorin sends him back to the Fist as well, but on foot.
They travel onwards, Ghost never straying too far from them. When Qhorin tells Jon to build a fire, Jon knows that their end is near. He knows that they cannot outrun the wildlings; both of their horses are near the end of their strength. As they sit by the fire, Qhorin tells Jon that if they come face-to-face with the wildlings, Jon must yield to them; Qhorin wants Jon to join the wildlings so that Jon can ride with them and spy on them, and learn what is it that Mance Rayder seeks in the valley of the Milkwater. Qhorin wants Jon to learn all of this and then return to Mormont and the Night's Watch with the information. Jon balks at being an oathbreaker, but Qhorin commands Jon to do as he says, for the good of the Seven Kingdoms and the Night's Watch; Jon reluctantly agrees to do as Qhorin commands.
Qhorin and Jon then ride back, in the direction of their pursuers. Qhorin leads them to a secret cave hidden behind a waterfall; as he rides in, Jon realizes that there is no way out from the waterfall area. However, Qhorin tells him that there is a path through the heart of the mountain. They sleep for a while, and at the break of day, take the path into the mountain.
When Qhorin, Jon and Ghost emerge into the sunlight hours later, the eagle is already waiting for them; it then flies off to alert the wildlings and lead them there. Qhorin tells Jon that they will make a stand there, as the mouth of the cave would greatly reduce the wildling's advantage in numbers.
The eagle returns, accompanied by fourteen wildlings and eight dogs. The one who leads them, Rattleshirt, taunts them by showing them Ebben's head and tells them that the same fate awaits them. He then orders his archers to flush Qhorin and Jon out of the cave, but Jon steps forward and yields.
Rattleshirt does not want to take Jon in, but Ygritte, the red-haired wilding woman Jon had freed, is part of the wildling group, and she vouches for Jon's bravery. Rattleshirt is still reluctant to take Jon in but one of the wildlings provides an appealing solution: have Jon kill Qhorin.
Qhorin then proceeds to attack Jon, who just manages to keep Qhorin's savage attacks at bay. An opportunity presents itself when Ghost clamps his teeth into Qhorin's calf, and Jon takes it, killing Qhorin with a slash to the throat.
After the fight, Rattleshirt wants to have Jon Snow killed, but when the other wildlings show their readiness to accept Jon into their ranks, Rattleshirt relents and allows Jon to join them.
Jon then asks Ygritte whether the wildlings intend to return to Skirling Pass. She tells him that Mance is already marching towards the Wall.
Chapter 69 – Bran
Bran is having one of his wolf dreams. He is in the body of his direwolf, Summer, and together with Summer's brother, Shaggydog, they watch Winterfell burn. The next morning, they leave their hiding spots in the trees, and make their way into the castle, to find most of the wooden buildings burned down to the ground and bodies scattered about everywhere. Bran starts to feel himself being pulled away from his wolf dream; he is reluctant to go but the pull is strong.
Bran closes his third eye and wakes up in the Stark crypt underneath Winterfell. When he asks how long he has been dreaming, Jojen replies that it has been three days. He tells Bran that Bran does not actually eat or drink in the wolf dreams even though Summer and Shaggydog do, and that he could starve himself if he remains in the wolf dreams for too long.
Bran has finally learned how to open his third eye; he can now enter Summer's body whenever he wishes. He has also previously touched Ghost and talked to Jon. Bran then proceeds to tell Osha what he saw. He tells her that he saw Winterfell burning. Osha then asks Bran whether it is night or day above them, for their food supply is dwindling, and she needs to go up soon to steal more food. Bran tells her it is day, but the sky is dark due to all the smoke. Osha says that she'll go up to take a look; everyone follows her.
Osha discovers that something is blocking the door to the crypt; she is unable to budge the door. But when Hodor applies all of his strength on the door, it opens, and they step out into Winterfell's burned remains. Shortly thereafter, Summer and Shaggydog appear from behind a broken tower and greet Bran and Rickon enthusiastically. Jojen says they should leave Winterfell immediately; Osha agrees but says she will look around for food and survivors first.
They find more burnt corpses. Osha is disgusted at the carnage and destruction. Bran mentions that it is Theon's work but Osha disagrees, pointing out several dead ironmen and the carcass of Theon's warhorse. Upon finding a corpse with a badge showing a flayed man, Bran correctly identifies it as belonging to House Bolton of the Dreadfort.
The direwolves then lead them to the godswood, where they find a dying Maester Luwin. Luwin is not surprised to find Bran and Rickon alive - he had examined the two dead bodies that Theon and Reek had brought back from the mill and the dead boy that was supposed to be Bran did not have broken legs. Bran tells Luwin that they were hiding in the Stark crypts all the time, the last place anyone would think to look for them.
Luwin tells Osha that Bran and Rickon are Robb's heirs and because of that, the two boys must not travel together. Osha asks Luwin where she needs to take the boys, but Luwin doesn't have an answer for her. Luwin tells Bran to be strong and Osha then tells Meera to lead everyone away.
When Osha rejoins them, the group splits into two: Osha takes Rickon and Shaggydog with her while Hodor, Meera and Jojen go with Bran and Summer. As Osha's group leaves Winterfell, Bran asks Jojen whether they are going to the Reed's ancestral seat at Greywater Watch but Jojen replies that they need to go north.
As they leave, Bran looks at Winterfell one last time. He realizes that the stone keeps and towers still stand, as do the trees and godswood and the Stark crypts underneath the castle. As long as those things still remained, Winterfell was merely broken, not dead. Just like him.