The Winds of Winter Sample Chapter


Ryan Noonan

Ryan Noonan is an economist with a small federal agency. Fields in which he considers himself reasonably well-informed: literature, college athletics, video games, food and beverage, the Supreme Court. Fields in which he considers himself an expert: none. He can be found on the Twitter or reached by email.

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14 Responses

  1. Avatar North says:

    I’m not unfond of Stannis mostly because I was more fond of the older generation than their children which leaves Stannis sortof a last man standing. Plus ya gotta respect his stubborn lawfulness.Report

    • Avatar Ryan Bonneville says:

      The man is the epitome of lawful neutral. It’s utterly compelling.Report

      • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

        I think it’s pretty rare to see an actually neutral lawful character in a book. I bet it’s hard to write one because it really requires a sort of subtle pathology to pull it off.Report

        • Avatar Ryan Bonneville says:

          What makes Martin’s achievement so interesting to me is that he does that without making Stannis completely unlikeable. He *is* pathological, but it’s got this noble quality. I can’t help but root for him, although I know what is overwhelmingly likely to happen to him in the long run.

          (Please, please, please let him be the 1,000th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch rather than… well, dead.)Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Stannis is a trainwreck waiting to happen. There’s some sort of sick fascination watching him (probably like watching Patton, actually…). That said, having him die by Bolton’s hand would be VERY unsatisfying. Exploiting Stannis’ flaws to kill him? Fun fun! (Tywin/Tyrion could do it in a jiff, and you know it!) Having him lose, simply because the north is cold, or because Bolton somehow managed to squirm out of a bad position? That’s just… sad and ignoble.

            You’re absolutely right that Martin can actually capture Stannis’ nobility — along with his nearly-adolescent crankyness.

            Somehow, Martin takes a character who IS a walking trope (quite a few, actually… and The Determinator being two of the main ones), and still breathes a certain sort of life into him. He’s willing to listen to Asha, for one.Report

            • Avatar Ryan Bonneville says:

              It’s fairly clear that Stannis’ undoing has to be Daenerys, given the prophecies in the House of the Undying.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Could you refresh my memory on this?Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bonneville says:

                The relevant section, in full:

                “Glowing like sunset, a red sword was raised in the hand of a blue-eyed king who cast no shadow. A cloth dragon swayed on poles amid a cheering crowd. From a stone tower, a great stone beast took wing, breathing shadow fire…mother of dragons…slayer of lies…”

                Three lies Dany must “slay”, presumably all false kings. The first is clearly Stannis, the second probably Aegon, the third unclear but possibly Jon Connington or Victarion Greyjoy.Report

  2. Avatar Kim says:

    Asha does two things with sending Theon out to the island to die. Tactically, the island plays to the ironborn’s strengths, should a rescue so please the lady. It allows Stannis to save face (or at least avoid killing Asha later, should she still be around and Theon gone).

    The best bet would be for Theon to dive into the cold water (giving himself to his own God), and to lie under (perhaps beside a log) until Stannis gives up and goes away. Then have someone about to rescue Theon (either Asha’s man or Bran’s).

    Strategically, she lays out a master argument to get Stannis to draw a bit away from the bloody red god — should she wish, she might try to turn the fanatics against Stannis and the northmen, in order to win herself free.

    Stannis, far more than Ned Stark, is Law Incarnate. He is far too brittle to lead outside of battle — and even then he wastes his resources for “justice.”Report

    • Avatar AgentDiscount says:

      I entirely agree re: Stannis as brittle and “Law Incarnate”.  I want to like Stannis more, but his inflexibility and cheap embrace of R’hallor prevent me from doing so.  My favorite character is undoubtedly Davos, because it feels like he can see the end game and I’m not sure if Stannis can.  Stannis always pursues what is immediately in front of him.  Whether that’s Renly, the Lannisters, Deepwood Motte, and now the Boltons.   He always reacts to events and I fear that the Boltons will out-strategize him just like Tyrion did.


  3. Avatar Kim says:

    Galad and Stannis are two men cut of the same cloth. But where Galad can be made to see the value of mercy, of bending the rules — Stannis has none to teach him, as he sits clad in the trappings of a king, though he is merely a pretender to the throne.

    Great insight on Stannis charging after what’s immediately in front. Hadn’t noticed that…Report

    • Avatar Murali says:

      Galad and Stannis are two men cut of the same cloth. But where Galad can be made to see the value of mercy, of bending the rules — Stannis has none to teach him, as he sits clad in the trappings of a king, though he is merely a pretender to the throne

      I’m going to disagree. Galad is Neutral Good (though he does sometimes border on Lawful good) , while Stannis is Lawful Neutral (or more accurately, Stupid Lawful). Remember, Galad always does what is right according to his own code. Sometimes, that involves doing seriously transgressive stuff like leaving warder training to join the whitecloaks. Other times it involves forging a truce between the whitecloaks and the white tower. That said, he is not chaotic good, so he does think the law is important (or at least he thinks honour is) Stannis is shortsighted and probably doomed to be some kind of undead creature in the near future.Report

  4. Avatar carr1on says:

    Wow, that was a good chapter.  Really made me want to pick up the books again, after a really disappointing DWD read.  I’m tired of Dany; give me more Stannis and Reek!Report

  5. Avatar The Wisdom Cow says:

    The letter is not fake.  Too much accurate information is in it.  The odds are – Stannis and a select few do go out to the island to kill Theon.  While there, the encampment is attacked, where Stannis is misidentified as dead because the sword is left in his hall, not to have been used in a Northern execution.  This would explain why Bran is getting involved, to save these key individuals from Ramsay’s onslaught, which does result in him getting the sword, possibly believing he killed Stannis.  On the island, either Bran helps with an escape, or Asha had one planned for Theon, which is now used for them all instead.Report