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A Game of Thrones

George R. R. Martin

Chapters 5-9

Summary, Prologue-Chapter 4

Chapters 5-9, page 2

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Summary: Chapter 5: Jon (I)

At the feast held for Robert, Jon talks with his uncle, Benjen Stark, about his aspirations to join the Night’s Watch, the group that defends the great Wall at the north of Westeros. Benjen tells Jon that he is too young to join the Watch. Drunk, embarrassed, and angry that he is a bastard with no place in a noble house like Winterfell, Jon leaves the table and walks outside, where he finds the dwarf Tyrion. Jon becomes angry when Tyrion refers to him as a bastard. Having been labeled “The Imp” his whole life, Tyrion advises the boy not to let such labeling bother him. He tells Jon to armor himself with the knowledge that he’s a bastard. Then it may never hurt him. As Tyrion leaves, Jon notices that Tyrion’s shadow stands as tall as a king.

Summary: Chapter 6: Catelyn (II)

After the feast, Luwin delivers a message from Catelyn’s sister Lysa. The message claims the Lannisters murdered Lysa’s husband, Jon Arryn. Though Ned does not want to be the new Hand, Catelyn and Luwin convince him that he now must take the position in order to protect Robert and bring Jon Arryn’s murderers to justice. Ned reluctantly agrees. Since Jon will be welcomed neither by Catelyn nor by the royal court in King’s Landing, Ned allows him to join the Night’s Watch. Ned fathered Jon by a different woman not long after he married Catelyn, and Catelyn is still bitter that Ned brought Jon back to Winterfell with him rather than leave him with his mother. She thinks that Ned’s honor compelled him to take Jon in.

Summary: Chapter 7: Arya (I)

Later, Arya, Sansa, and Princess Myrcella practice needlework under the watch of Septa Mordane. Sansa angers Arya by calling Jon a bastard. When Septa Mordane asks to see Arya’s shoddy needlework, Arya storms from the room in embarrassment. Outside, she finds her direwolf, Nymeria, which she has named after a warrior queen from ancient history. Sansa has named her direwolf Lady. Arya and Nymeria meet up with Jon and his direwolf, named Ghost. Together they watch Robb and Joff train at fighting in the yard under the watch of Rodrik and the Hound. Arya wishes she could practice sword fighting instead of needlework. Robb bests Joff in the fight. Angry, Joff demands that they fight with sharpened steel blades instead of practice swords. When Rodrik denies him, Joff insults Rodrik and Robb and leaves the yard.

Summary: Chapter 8: Bran (II)

Before leaving the castle to ride south to King’s Landing with his father, Bran goes to climb over the rooftops and walls of Winterfell one last time. He is very good at scaling Winterfell’s towers, and from atop the castle he feeds the crows and studies the castle architecture to learn its secrets. While climbing up the First Keep, he hears the voices of Jaime and Cersei. The two are discussing Ned’s motivations for accepting the position as Hand. They think that Ned is dangerous to them, and they fear that he or Lysa Arryn will accuse them of murdering Jon Arryn. As he continues to listen, Bran sees the siblings start making love. When Cersei spots Bran, Jaime pushes him out the window.

Summary: Chapter 9: Tyrion (I)

Four days later, Tyrion is in Winterfell’s library reading about war and the changing of the seasons. As he leaves to go to breakfast, he finds the Hound and Joff. Joff complains about the direwolves’ howling. Tyrion slaps Joff and orders the characteristically rude prince to find the Starks and offer his condolences for Bran. At breakfast, Tyrion remembers how Jaime was the only person who showed him friendship or respect when he was a boy. Cersei says the direwolves scare her, and Tyrion tells her that he senses a strange connection between Bran and his wolf that is keeping Bran alive. Tyrion tells Jaime, Cersei, Myrcella, and Tommen that Bran might live, and wonders aloud what Bran would have to say when he woke up. Jaime asks Tyrion what side he is on. Tyrion smiles and says he loves his family.

Analysis

Jon and Arya both feel themselves to be outsiders in some regard, largely because both feel out of place in the Stark family. Jon feels this way because he is a bastard. Ned is his father, but Catelyn is not his mother. He is always keenly aware that Catelyn dislikes him and that, in the eyes of society, he does not enjoy the status of a legitimate son. Arya, on the other hand, feels as she does because she is female, and society expects women to play a particularly limited role. The names they give their direwolves reflect these feelings. As if in defiance of what people expect of her as a noble lady, Arya has named her wolf after a warrior queen. As if in acceptance of the way he is invisible in the eyes of noble lords and ladies, Jon has named his wolf Ghost.

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