How many pages in a dance with dragons

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5) by George R. R. Martin, Paperback


He drank his way across the narrow sea.
The ship was small and his cabin smaller, and the captain would not allow him abovedecks. The rocking of the deck beneath his feet made his stomach heave, and the wretched food they served him tasted even worse when retched back up. Besides, why did he need salt beef, hard cheese, and bread crawling with worms when he had wine to nourish him? It was red and sour, very strong. He sometimes heaved the wine up too, but there was always more. "The world is full of wine," he muttered in the dankness of his cabin. His father had never had any use for drunkards, but what did that matter? His father was dead. He ought to know; he'd killed him. A bolt in the belly, my lord, and all for you. If only I was better with a crossbow, I would have put it through that cock you made me with, you bloody bastard.

Below decks there was neither night nor day. Tyrion marked time by the comings and goings of the cabin boy who brought the meals he did not eat. The boy always brought a brush and bucket too, to clean up. "Is this Dornish wine?" Tyrion asked him once, as he pulled a stopper from a skin. "It reminds me of a certain snake I knew. A droll fellow, till a mountain fell on him."

The cabin boy did not answer. He was an ugly boy, though admittedly more comely than a certain dwarf with half a nose and a scar from eye to chin. "Have I offended you?" Tyrion asked the sullen, silent boy, as he was scrubbing. "Were you commanded not to talk to me? Or did some dwarf diddle your mother?"

That went unanswered too. This is pointless, he knew, but he must speak to someone or go mad, so he persisted. "Where are we sailing? Tell me that." Jaime had made mention of the Free Cities, but had never said which one. "Is it Braavos? Tyrosh? Myr?" Tyrion would sooner have gone to Dorne. Myrcella is older than Tommen, by Dornish law the Iron Throne is hers. I will help her claim her rights, as Prince Oberyn suggested.

Oberyn was dead, though, his head smashed to bloody ruin by the armored fist of Ser Gregor Clegane. And without the Red Viper to urge him on, would Doran Martell even consider such a chancy scheme? He may clap me in chains instead, and hand me back to my sweet sister. The Wall might be safer. Old Bear Mormont said the Night's Watch had need of men like Tyrion. Mormont may be dead, though. By now Slynt may be the Lord Commander. That butcher's son was not like to have forgotten who sent him to the Wall. Do I really want to spend the rest of my life eating salt beef and porridge with murderers and thieves? Not that the rest of his life would last very long. Janos Slynt would see to that.

The cabin boy wet his brush and scrubbed on manfully. "Have you ever visited the pleasure houses of Lys?" the dwarf inquired. "Might that be where whores go?" Tyrion could not seem to recall the Valyrian word for whore, and in any case it was too late. The boy tossed his brush back in his bucket and took his leave.

The wine has blurred my wits. He had learned to read High Valyrian at his maester's knee, though what they spoke in the Nine Free Cities... well, it was not so much a dialect as nine dialects on the way to becoming separate tongues. Tyrion had some Braavosi and a smattering of Myrish. In Tyrosh he should be able to curse the gods, call a man a cheat, and order up an ale, thanks to a sellsword he had once known at the Rock. At least in Dorne they spea the Common Tongue. Like Dornish food and Dornish law, Dornish speech was spiced with the flavors of the Rhoyne, but a man could comprehend it. Dorne, yes, Dorne for me. He crawled into his bunk, clutching that thought like a child with a doll.

Sleep had never come easily to Tyrion Lannister. Aboard that ship it seldom came at all, though from time to time he managed to drink sufficient wine to pass out for a while. At least he did not dream. He had dreamt enough for one small life. And of such follies: love, justice, friendship, glory. As well dream of being tall. It was all beyond his reach, Tyrion knew now. But he did not know where whores go.

"Wherever whores go," his father had said. His last words, and what words they were. The crossbow thrummed, Lord Tywin sat back down, and Tyrion Lannister found himself waddling through the darkness with Varys at his side. He must have clambered back down the shaft, two hundred and thirty rungs to where orange embers glowed in the mouth of an iron dragon. He remembered none of it. Only the sound the crossbow made, and the stink of his father's bowels opening. Even in his dying, he found a way to shit on me.

Varys had escorted him through the tunnels, but they never spoke until they emerged beside the Blackwater, where Tyrion had won a famous victory and lost a nose. That was when the dwarf turned to the eunuch and said, "I've killed my father," in the same tone a man might use to say, "I've stubbed my toe." The master of whisperers had been dressed as a begging brother, in a moth-eaten robe of brown roughspun with a cowl that shadowed his smooth fat cheeks and bald round head. "You should not have climbed that ladder," he said reproachfully.

"Wherever whores go." Tyrion warned his father not to say that word. If I had not loosed, he would have seen my threats were empty. He would have taken the crossbow from my hands, as once he took Tysha from my arms. He was rising when I killed him. "I killed Shae too," he confessed to Varys.

"You knew what she was."

"I did. But I never knew what he was."

Varys tittered. "And now you do."

I should have killed the eunuch as well. A little more blood on his hands, what would it matter? He could not say what had stayed his dagger. Not gratitude. Varys had saved him from a headsman's sword, but only because Jaime had compelled him. Jaime... no, better not to think of Jaime.

He found a fresh skin of wine instead, and sucked at it as if it were a woman's breast. The sour red ran down his chin and soaked through his soiled tunic, the same one he had been wearing in his cell. He sucked until the wine was gone. The deck was swaying beneath his feet, and when he tried to rise it lifted sideways and smashed him hard against a bulkhead. A storm, he realized, or else I am even drunker than I knew. He retched the wine up and lay in it a while, wondering if the ship would sink.

Is this your vengeance, Father? Have the Father Above made you his Hand? "Such are the wages of the kinslayer," he said as the wind howled outside. It did not seem fair to drown the cabin boy and the captain and all the rest for something he had done, but when had the gods ever been fair? And around about then, the darkness gulped him down

When he stirred again, his head felt like to burst and the ship was spinning round in dizzy circles, though the captain was insisting that they'd come to port. Tyrion told him to be quiet, and kicked feebly as a huge bald sailor tucked him under one arm and carried him squirming to the hold, where an empty wine cask awaited him. It was a squat little cask, and a tight fit even for a dwarf. Tyrion pissed himself in his struggles, for all the good it did. He was up crammed face first into the cask with his knees pushed up against his ears. The stub of his nose itched horribly, but his arms were pinned so tightly that he could not reach to scratch it. A palanquin fit for a man of my stature, he thought as they hammered shut the lid and hoisted him up. He could hear voices shouting as he was jounced along. Every bounce cracked his head against the bottom of the cask. The world went round and round as the cask rolled downward, then stopped with a sudden crash that made him want to scream. Another cask slammed into his, and Tyrion bit his tongue.

That was the longest journey he had ever taken, though it could not have lasted more than half an hour. He was lifted and lowered, rolled and stacked, upended and righted and rolled again. Through the wooden staves he heard men shouting, and once a horse whickered nearby. His stunted legs began to cramp, and soon hurt so badly that he forgot the hammering in his head.

It ended as it had begun, with another roll that left him dizzy and more jouncing. Outside strange voices were speaking in a tongue he did not know. Someone started pounding on the top of the cask and the lid cracked open suddenly. Light came flooding in, and cool air as well. Tyrion gasped greedily and tried to stand, but only managed to knock the cask over sideways and spill himself out onto a hard-packed earthen floor.

Above him loomed a grotesque fat man with a forked yellow beard, holding a wooden mallet and an iron chisel. His bedrobe was large enough to serve as a tourney pavilion, but its loosely knotted belt had come undone, exposing a huge white belly and a pair of heavy breasts that sagged like sacks of suet covered with coarse yellow hair. He reminded Tyrion of a dead sea cow that had once washed up in the caverns under Casterly Rock.

The fat man looked down and smiled. "A drunken dwarf," he said, in the Common Tongue of Westeros.

"A rotting sea cow. " Tyrion's mouth was full of blood. He spat it at the fat man's feet. They were in a long dim cellar with barrel-vaulted ceilings, its stone walls spotted with nitre. Casks of wine and ale surrounded them, more than enough drink to see a thirsty dwarf safely through the night. Or through a life.

"You are insolent. I like that in a dwarf." When the fat man laughed, his flesh bounced so vigorously that Tyrion was afraid he might fall and crush him. "Are you hungry, my little friend? Weary?"

"Thirsty." Tyrion struggled to his knees. "And filthy."

The fat man sniffed. "A bath first, just so. Then food and a soft bed, yes? My servants shall see to it." His host put the mallet and chisel aside. "My house is yours. Any friend of my friend across the water is a friend to Illyrio Mopatis, yes."

And any friend of Varys the Spider is someone I will trust just as far as I can throw him.

The fat man made good on the promised bath, at least... though no sooner did Tyrion lower himself into the hot water and close his eyes than he was fast asleep.

He woke naked on a goosedown featherbed so deep and soft it felt as if he were being swallowed by a cloud. His tongue was growing hair and his throat was raw, but his cock felt as hard as an iron bar. He rolled from the bed, found a chamberpot, and commenced to filling it, with a groan of pleasure.

The room was dim, but there were bars of yellow sunlight showing between the slats of the shutters. Tyrion shook the last drops off and waddled over patterned Myrish carpets as soft as new spring grass. Awkwardly he climbed the window seat and flung shudders open to see where Varys and the gods had sent him.

Beneath his window six cherry trees stood sentinel around a marble pool, their slender branches bare and brown. A naked boy stood on the water, poised to duel with a bravo's blade in hand. He was lithe and handsome, no older than sixteen, with straight blond hair that brushed his shoulders. So lifelike did he seem that it took the dwarf a long moment to realize he was made of painted marble, though his sword shimmered like true steel.

Across the pool stood stood a brick wall twelve feet high, with iron spikes along its top. Beyond that was the city. A sea of tiled rooftops crowded close around a bay. He saw square brick towers, a great red temple, a distant manse upon a hill. In the far distance sunlight shimmered off deep water. Fishing boats were moving across the bay, their sails rippling in the wind, and he could see the masts of larger ships poking up along the bay shore. Surely one is bound for Dorne, or for Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. He had no means to pay for passage, though, nor was he made to pull an oar. I suppose I could sign on as a cabin boy and earn my way by letting the crew bugger me up and down the narrow sea. He wondered where he was. Even the air smells different here. Strange spices scented the chilly autumn wind, and he could hear faint cries drifting over the wall from the streets beyond. It sounded something like Valyrian, but he did not recognize more than one word in five. Not Braavos, he concluded, nor Tyrosh. Those bare branches and the chill in the air argued against Lys and Myr and Volantis as well.

When he heard the door opening behind him, Tyrion turned to confront his fat host. "This is Pentos, yes?"

"Just so. Where else?"

Pentos. Well, it was not King's Landing, that much could be said for it. "Where do whores go?" he heard himself ask.

"Whores are found in brothels here, as in Westeros. You will have no need of such, my little friend. Choose from among my serving women. None will dare refuse you."

"Slaves?" the dwarf asked pointedly.

The fat man stroked one of the prongs of his oiled yellow beard, a gesture Tyrion fond remarkably obscene. "Slavery is forbidden in Pentos, by the terms of the treaty the Braavosi imposed on us a hundred years ago. Still, they will not refuse you." Illyrio gave a ponderous half-bow. "But now my little friend must excuse me. I have the honor to be a magister of this great city, and the prince has summoned us to session. " He smiled, showing a mouth full of crooked yellow teeth. "Explore the manse and grounds as you like, but on no account stray beyond the walls. It is best that no man knows that you were here."

"Were? Have I gone somewhere?"

"Time enough to speak of that this evening. My little friend and I shall eat and drink and make great plans, yes?"

"Yes, my fat friend," Tyrion replied. He thinks to use me for his profit. It was all profit with the merchant princes of the Free Cities. "Spice soldiers and cheese lords," his lord father called them, with contempt. Should a day ever dawn when Illyrio Mopatis saw more profit in a dead dwarf than a live one, he would find himself packed into another wine cask by dusk. It would be well if I were gone before that day arrives. That it would arrive he did not doubt; Cersei was not like to forget him, and even Jaime might be vexed to find a quarrel in Father's belly.

A light wind was riffling the waters of the pool below, all around the naked swordsman. It reminded him of how Tysha would riffle his hair during the false spring of their marriage, before he helped his father's guardsmen rape her. He had been thinking of those guardsmen during his flight, trying to recall how many there had been. You would think he might remember that, but no. A dozen? A score? A hundred? He could not say. They had all been grown men, tall and strong... though all men were tall to a dwarf of thirteen years. Tysha knew their number. Each of them had given her a silver stag, so she would only need to count the coins. A silver for each and a gold for me. His father had insisted that he pay her too. A Lannister always pays his debts.

"Wherever whores go," he heard Lord Tywin say once more, and once more the bowstring thrummed.

The magister had invited him to explore the manse. He found clean clothes in a cedar chest inlaid with lapis and mother-of-pearl. The clothes had been made for a small boy, he realized as he struggled into them. The fabrics were rich enough, if a little musty, but the cut was too long in the legs and too short in the arms, with a collar that would have turned his face as black as Joffrey's had he somehow contrived to get it fastened. At least they do not stink of vomit.

Tyrion began his explorations with the kitchen, where two fat women and a pot boy watched him warily as he helped himself to cheese, bread, and figs. "Good morrow to you, fair ladies," he said with a bow. "Do you perchance know where the whores go?" When they did not respond, he repeated the question in High Valyrian, though he had to say courtesan in place of whore. The younger fatter cook gave him a shrug that time.

He wondered what they would do if he took them by the hand and dragged them to his bedchamber. None will dare refuse you, Illyrio claimed, but somehow Tyrion did not think he meant these two. The younger woman was old enough to be his mother, and the older was likely her mother. Both were near as fat as Illyrio, with teats that were larger than his head. I could smother myself in flesh, he reflected. There were worse ways to die. The way his lord father had died, for one. I should have made him shit a little gold before expiring. Lord Tywin might have been niggardly with his approval and affection, but he had always been open-handed when it came to coin. The only thing more pitiful than a dwarf without a nose is a dwarf without a nose who has no gold.

Tyrion left the fat women to their loaves and kettles and went in search of the cellar where Illyrio had decanted him the night before. It was not hard to find. There was enough wine there to keep him drunk for a hundred years; sweet reds from the Reach and sour reds from Dorne, pale Pentoshi ambers, the green nectar of Myr, three score casks of Arbor gold, even wines from the fabled east, from Meereen and Qarth and Asshai by the Shadow. In the end, Tyrion chose a cask of strongwine marked as the private stock of Lord Runceford Redwyne, the grandfather of the present Lord of the Arbor. The taste of it was languorous and heady on the tongue, the color a purple so dark that it looked almost black in the dim-lit cellar. Tyrion filled a cup, and a flagon for good measure, and carried them up to gardens to drink beneath those cherry trees he'd seen.

As it happened, he left by the wrong door and never found the pool he had spied from his window, but it made no matter. The gardens behind the manse were just as pleasant, and far more extensive. He wandered through them for a time, drinking. The walls would have shamed any proper castle, and the ornamental iron spikes along the top looked strangely naked without heads to adorn them. Tyrion pictured how his sister's head might look up there, with tar in her golden hair and flies buzzing in and out of her mouth. Yes, and Jaime must have the spike beside her, he decided. No one must ever come between my brother and my sister.

With a rope and a grapnel he might be able to get over that wall. He strong arms and he did not weigh much. With a rope he should he able to reach the spikes and clamber over. I will search for a rope on the morrow, he resolved.

He saw three gates during his wanderings; the main entrance with its gatehouse, a postern by the kennels, and a garden gate hidden behind a tangle of pale ivy. The last was chained, the others guarded. The guards were plump, their faces as smooth as a baby's bottom, and every man of them wore a spiked bronze cap. Tyrion knew eunuchs when he saw them. He knew their sort by reputation. They feared nothing and felt no pain, it was said, and were loyal to their masters unto death. I could make good use of a few hundred of mine own, he reflected. A pity I did not think of that before I became a beggar.

He walked along a pillared gallery and through a pointed arch, and found himself in a tiled courtyard where a woman was washing clothes at a well. She looked to be his own age, with dull red hair and a broad face dotted by freckles. "Would you like some wine?" he asked her. She looked at him uncertainly. "I have no cup for you, we'll have to share." The washerwoman went back to wringing out tunics and hanging them to dry. Tyrion settled on a stone bench with his flagon. "Tell me, how far should I trust Magister Illyrio?" The name made her look up. "That far?" Chuckling, he crossed his stunted legs and took a drink. "I am loathe to play whatever part the cheesemonger has in mind for me, yet how can I refuse him? The gates are guarded. Perhaps you might smuggle me out under your skirts? I'd be so grateful, why, I'll even wed you. I have two wives already, why not three? Ah, but where would we live?" He gave her as pleasant a smile as a man with half a nose could manage. "I have a niece in Sunspear, did I tell you? I could make rather a lot of mischief in Dorne with Myrcella. I could set my niece and nephew at war, wouldn't that be droll?" The washerwoman pinned up one of Illyrio's tunics, large enough to double as a sail. "I should be ashamed to think such evil thoughts, you're quite right. Better if I sought the Wall instead. All crimes are wiped clean when a man joins the Night's Watch, they say. Though I fear they would not let me keep you, sweetling. No women in the Watch, no sweet freckly wives to warm your bed at night, only cold winds, salted cod, and small beer. Do you think I might stand taller in black, my lady?" He filled his cup again. "What do you say? North or south? Shall I atone for old sins or make some new ones?"

The washerwoman gave him one last glance, picked up her basket, and walked away. I cannot seem to hold a wife for very long, Tyrion reflected. Somehow his flagon had gone dry. Perhaps I should stumble back down to the cellars. The strongwine was making his head spin, though, and the cellar steps were very steep. "Where do whores go?" he asked the wash flapping on the line. Perhaps he should have asked the washerwoman. Not to imply that you're a whore, my dear, but perhaps you know where they go. Or better yet, he should have asked his father. "Wherever whores go," Lord Tywin said. She loved me. She was a crofter's daughter, she loved me and she wed me, she put her trust in me. The empty flagon slipped from his hand and rolled across the yard.

Grimacing, Tyrion pushed himself off the bench and went to fetch it, but as he did he saw some mushrooms growing up from a cracked paving tile. Pale white they were, with speckles, and red ribbed undersides as dark as blood. The dwarf snapped one off and sniffed it. Delicious, he thought, or deadly. But which? Why not both? He was not a brave enough man to take cold steel to his own belly, but a bite of mushroom would not be so hard. There were seven of the mushrooms, he saw. Perhaps the gods were trying to tell him something. He picked them all, snatched a glove down from the line, wrapped them carefully, and stuffed them down his pocket. The effort made him dizzy, though, so afterward he crawled back onto the bench, curled up, and shut his eyes.

When he woke again, he was back in his bedchamber, drowning in the goosedown featherbed once more while a blond girl shook his shoulder. "My lord," she said, "your bath awaits. Magister Illyrio expects you at table within the hour."

Tyrion propped himself against the pillows, his head in his hands. "Do I dream, or do you speak the Common Tongue?"

"Yes, my lord. I was bought to please the king. " She was blue-eyed and fair, young and willowy.

"I am sure you did. I need a cup of wine."

She poured for him. "Magister Illyrio said that I am to scrub your back and warm your bed. My name – "

" – is of no interest to me. Do you know where whores go?"

She flushed. "Whores sell themselves for coin."

"Or jewels, or gowns, or castles. But where do they go?"

The girl could not grasp the question. "Is it a riddle, m'lord? I'm no good at riddles. Will you tell me the answer?"

No, he thought. I despise riddles, myself. "I will tell you nothing. Do me the same favor." The only part of you that interests me is the part between your legs, he almost said. The words were on his tongue, but somehow never passed his lips. She is not Shae, the dwarf told himself, only some little fool who thinks I play at riddles. If truth be told, even her cunt did not interest him much. I must be sick, or dead. "You mentioned a bath? Show me. We must not keep the great cheesemonger waiting. "

As he bathed, the girl washed his feet, scrubbed his back, and brushed his hair. Afterward she rubbed sweet-smelling ointment into his calves to ease the aches, and dressed him once again in boy's clothing, a musty pair of burgundy breeches and a blue velvet doublet lined with cloth-of-gold. "Will my lord want me after he has eaten?" she asked as she was lacing up his boots.

"No. I am done with women." Whores.

The girl took that disappointment entirely too well for his liking. "If m'lord would prefer a boy, I can have one waiting in his bed."

M'lord would prefer his wife. M'lord would prefer a girl named Tysha. "Only if he knows where whores go."

The girl's mouth tightened. She despises me, he realized, but no more than I despise myself. That he had fucked many a woman who loathed the very sight of him, Tyrion Lannister had no doubt, but the others had at least the grace to feign affection. A little honest loathing might be refreshing, like a tart wine after too much sweet.

"I believe I have changed my mind," he told her. "Wait for me abed. Naked, if you please, I expect I'll be a deal too drunk to fumble at your clothing. Keep your mouth shut and your thighs open and the two of us should get on splendidly." He gave her a leer, hoping for a taste of fear, but all she gave him was revulsion. No one fears a dwarf. Even Lord Tywin had not been afraid, though Tyrion had held a crossbow in his hands. "Do you moan when you are being fucked?" he asked the bedwarmer.

"If it please m'lord."

"It might please m'lord to strangle you. That's how I served my last whore. Do you think your master would object? Surely not. He has a hundred more like you, but no one else like me." This time, when he grinned, he got the fear he wanted.

Illyrio was reclining on a padded couch, gobbling hot peppers and pearl onions from a wooden bowl. His brow was dotted with beads of sweat, his pig's eyes shining above his fat cheeks. Jewels danced when he moved his hands; onyx and opal, tiger's eye and tourmeline, ruby, amethyst, sapphire, emerald, jet and jade, a black diamond and a green pearl. I could live for years on his rings, Tyrion mused, though I'd need a cleaver to claim them.

"Come and sit, my little friend." Illyrio waved him closer.

The dwarf clambered up onto a chair. It was much too big for him, a cushioned throne intended to accomodate the magister's massive buttocks, with thick sturdy legs to bear his weight. Tyrion Lannister had lived all his life in a world that was too big for him, but in the manse of Illyrio Mopatis the sense of disproportion assumed grotesque dimensions. I am a mouse in a mammoth's lair, he mused, though at least the mammoth keeps a good cellar. The thought made him thirsty. He called for wine.

"Did you enjoy the girl I sent you?" Illyrio asked.

"If I had wanted a girl I would have asked for one. I lack a nose, not a tongue."

"If she failed to please... "

"She did all that was required of her."

"I would hope so. She was trained in Lys, where they make an art of love. And she speaks your Common Tongue. The king enjoyed her greatly."

"I kill kings, hadn't you heard?" Tyrion smiled evilly over his wine cup. "I want no royal leavings."

"As you wish. Let us eat." Illyrio clapped his hands together, and serving men came running.

They began with a broth of crab and monkfish, and cold egg lime soup as well. Then came quails in honey, a saddle of lamb, goose livers drowned in wine, buttered parsnips, and suckling pig. The sight of it all made Tyrion feel queasy, but he forced himself to try a spoon of soup for the sake of politeness, and once he had tasted he was lost. The cooks might be old and fat, but they knew their business. He had never eaten so well, even at court.

As he was sucking the meat off the bones of his quail, he asked Illyrio about the morning's summons. The fat man shrugged. "There are troubles in the east. Astapor has fallen, and Meereen. Ghiscari slave cities that were old when the world was young." The suckling pig was carved. Illyrio reached for a piece of the crackling, dipped it in a plum sauce, and ate it with his fingers.

"Slaver's Bay is a long way from Pentos," said Tyrion, as he speared a goose liver on the point of his knife. No man is as cursed as the kinslayer, he reminded himself, smiling.

"This is so," Illyrio agreed, "but the world is one great web, and a man dare not touch a single strand lest all the others tremble." He clapped his hands again. "Come, eat."

The serving men brough out a heron stuffed with figs, veal cutlets blanched with almond milk, creamed herring, candied onions, foul-smelling cheeses, plates of snails and sweetbreads, and a black swan in her plumage. Tyrion refused the swan, which reminded him of a supper with his sister. He helped himself to heron and herring, though, and a few of the sweet onions. And the serving men filled his wine cup anew each time he emptied it.

"You drink a deal of wine for such a little man."

"Kinslaying is dry work. It gives a man a thirst."

The fat man's eyes glittered like the gemstones on his fingers. "There are those in Westeros who would say that killing Lord Lannister was merely a good beginning. "

"They had best not say it in my sister's hearing, or they will find themselves short a tongue." The dwarf tore a loaf of bread in half. "And you had best be careful what you say of my family, magister. Kinslayer or no, I am a lion still."

That seemed to amuse the lord of cheese no end. He slapped a meaty thigh and said, "You Westerosi are all the same. You sew some beast upon a scrap of silk, and suddenly you are all lions or dragons or eagles. I can bring you to a real lion, my little friend. The prince keeps a pride in his menagerie. Would you like to share a cage with them?"

The lords of the Seven Kingdoms did make rather much of their sigils, Tyrion had to admit. "Very well," he conceded. "A Lannister is not a lion. Yet I am still my father's son, and Jaime and Cersei are mine to kill."

"How odd that you should mention your fair sister," said Illyrio, between snails. "The queen has offered a lordship to the man who brings her your head, no matter how humble his birth. "

It was no more than Tyrion had expected. "If you mean to take her up on it, make her spread her legs for you as well. The best part of me for the best part of her, that's a fair trade."

"I would sooner have mine own weight in gold." The cheesemonger laughed so hard that Tyrion feared he was about to rupture and drown his guest in a gout of half-digested eels and sweetmeats. "All the gold in Casterly Rock, why not?"

"The gold I grant you," he said, "but the Rock is mine."

"Just so." The magister covered his mouth and belched a mighty belch. "Do you think King Stannis will give it to you? I am told he is a great one for the law. He may well grant you Casterly Rock, is that not so? Your brother wears the white cloak, so you are your father's heir by all the laws of Westeros."

"Stannis might grant me the Rock," Tyrion admitted, "but there is also the small matter of regicide and kinslaying. For those he would shorten me by a head, and I am short enough as I stand. But why would you think I mean to join Lord Stannis?"

"Why else would you go the Wall?"

"Stannis is at the Wall?" Tyrion rubbed at his nose. "What in seven bloody hells is Stannis doing at the Wall?"

"Shivering, I would think. It is warmer down in Dorne. Perhaps he should have sailed that way."

Tyrion was beginning to suspect that a certain freckled washerwoman knew more of the Common Speech than she pretended. "My niece Myrcella is in Dorne, as it happens. And I have half a mind to make her a queen."

Illyrio smiled, as his serving men spooned out bowls of black cherries in sweetcream for them both. "What has this poor child done to you, that you would wish her dead?"

"Even a kinslayer is not required to slay all his kin," said Tyrion, wounded. "Queen her, I said. Not kill her."

The cheesemonger spooned up cherries. "In Volantis they use a coin with a crown on one face and a death's head on the other. Yet it is the same coin. To queen her is to kill her. Dorne might rise for Myrcella, but Dorne alone is not enough. If you are as clever as our friend insists, you know this."

Tyrion looked at the fat man with new interest. He is right on both counts. To queen her is to kill her. And I knew that. "Futile gestures are all that remain to me. This one would make my sister weep bitter tears, at least."

Magister Illyrio wiped sweetcream from his mouth with the back of a fat hand. "The road to Casterly Rock does not go through Dorne, my little friend. Nor does it run beside the Wall. Yet there is such a road, I tell you."

"I am an attainted traitor, a regicide and kinslayer." This talk of roads annoyed him. Does he think this is a game? "What one king does another may undo. In Pentos we have a prince, my friend. He presides at ball and feast and rides about the city in a palanquin of ivory and gold. Three heralds go before him with the golden scales of trade, the iron sword of war, and the silver scourge of justice. On the first day of each new year he must deflower the maid of the fields and the maid of the seas. " Illyrio leaned forward, elbows on the table. "Yet should a crop fail or a war be lost, we cut his throat to appease the gods, and choose a new prince from amongst the forty families."

Tyrion snorted through the stump of his nose. "Remind me never to become the Prince of Pentos."

"Are your Seven Kingdoms so different? There is no peace in Westeros, no justice, no faith... and soon enough no food. When men are starving and sick of fear, they look for a savior."

"They may look, but if all they find is Stannis – "

"Not Stannis. Nor Myrcella. Another." The yellow smile widened. "Another. Stronger than Tommen, gentler than Stannis, with a better claim than the girl Myrcella. A savior come from across the sea to bind up the wounds of bleeding Westeros."

"Fine words." Tyrion was unimpressed. "Words are wind. Who is this bloody savior?"

"A dragon." The cheesemonger saw the look on his face at that, and laughed. "A dragon with three heads."

A Dance With Dragons by George R.

R. MartinProsecraft: A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin

this is a SHAXPIR project
how does it work?

  by George R. R. Martin

clippings from this book

We’ve analyzed hundreds of millions of words, from thousands of different authors, training our linguistic models to recognize the most vivid words in the English language… the words that create the most intense sensory experiences: colors, textures, sounds, flavors, and aromas.

Based on our analysis, we’ve scanned through the pages of this book to find the two pages at the extremes, both the most-passive and the most-vivid pages, so that you can compare them side-by-side and see the difference:

Masters. Who else would it be?” He is as bold as he is bloody. “We have no proof this is their work. Would you have me slaughter my own subjects?” “Your own subjects would gladly slaughter you. ” He had been so long away, Dany had almost forgotten what he was. Sellswords were treacherous by nature, she reminded herself. Fickle, faithless, brutal. He will never be more than he is. He will never be the stuff of kings. “The pyramids are strong,” she explained to him. “We could take them only at great cost. The moment we attack one the others will rise against us.” “Then winkle them out of their pyramids on some pretext. A wedding might serve. Why not? Promise your hand to Hizdahr and all the Great Masters will come to see you married. When they gather in the Temple of the Graces, turn us loose upon them.” Dany was appalled. He is a monster. A gallant monster, but a monster still. “Do you take me for the Butcher King?” “Better the butcher than the meat. All kings are butchers. Are queens so different?” “This queen is.” Daario shrugged. “Most queens have no purpose but to warm some king’s bed and pop out sons for him. If that’s the sort of queen you mean to be, best marry Hizdahr.” Her anger flashed. “Have you forgotten who I am?” “No. Have you?” Viserys would have his head off for that insolence. “I am the blood of the dragon. Do a fist-sized chunk of chalk from his pouch and mark each cask and sack and barrel as he counted them while Marsh compared the new count to the old. In the granaries were oats and wheat and barley, and barrels of coarse ground flour. In the root cellars strings of onions and garlic dangled from the rafters, and bags of carrots, parsnips, radishes, and white and yellow turnips filled the shelves. One storeroom held wheels of cheese so large it took two men to move them. In the next, casks of salt beef, salt pork, salt mutton, and salt cod were stacked ten feet high. Three hundred hams and three thousand long black sausages hung from ceiling beams below the smokehouse. In the spice locker they found peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon, mustard seeds, coriander, sage and clary sage and parsley, blocks of salt. Elsewhere were casks of apples and pears, dried peas, dried figs, bags of walnuts, bags of chestnuts, bags of almonds, planks of dry smoked salmon, clay jars packed with olives in oil and sealed with wax. One storeroom offered potted hare, haunch of deer in honey, pickled cabbage, pickled beets, pickled onions, pickled eggs, and pickled herring. As they moved from one vault to another, the wormways seemed to grow colder. Before long Jon could see their breath frosting in the lantern light. “We’re beneath the Wall.” “And soon inside it,” said Marsh. “The meat won’t spoil in the cold. For long storage, it’s better than salting
emotional story arc

Click anywhere on the chart to see the most significant emotional words — both positive & negative — from the corresponding section of the text…

This chart visualizes the the shifting emotional balance for the arc of this story, based on the emotional strength of the words in the prose, using techniques pioneered by the UVM Computational Story Lab. To create this story arc, we divided the complete manuscript text into 50 equal-sized chunks, each with 8297. 46 words, and then we scored each section by counting the number of strongly-emotional words, both positive and negative. The bars in the chart move downward whenever there’s conflict and sadness, and they move upward when conflicts are resolved, or when the characters are happy and content. The size of each bar represents the positive or negative word-count of that section.

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Game of Thrones. Dance with dragons

Product code: 327794

990 ₽

Winter is coming

And you can play it with the addition to the big Game of Thrones. Dance with dragons: almost trampled Starks, mad Boltons and Greyjoys, insidious Martells and Lannisters hiding with the Tyrells. The add-on brings 7 new cards to each of the houses, so you gather six of you and start the last battle in this powerful military strategy. nine0003

What are we doing?

With this addition, the Game lasts only six rounds, or even less if one of you captures seven castles first. Some cards give effects from their combinations, for example, with Stinky in the court of Ramsey Bolton is capable of more.

Why is Game of Thrones so good?

  • Firstly, this is a carefully crafted world, and it is a pleasure to transfer it to the table. Map of Westeros on cardboard detailed, accurate and easy to navigate. Moreover, the geographical position of the armies really affects their actions and capabilities. nine0020
  • Secondly, these are equally carefully written heroes and balanced forces of each house. Heroes delight fans and help their armies. At the same time, their problems are also spelled out. For example, the Tyrrells have a sea, but their fleet is not nearly as large as that of the Greyjoys. It turns out that they need to support their allies and not lose territory because of these salty invaders.
  • Thirdly, it is an interesting and unusual mechanics. In the game, you will need to base your positions on the Diplomacy, Power, and War tracks. You are constantly drawing event cards and running into each other on the field. nine0020

To whom to give this beautiful box?

  • For those who already have the main Game of Thrones box,
  • Fans of books, series, the world of George our Martin,
  • For those to whom you and your friends make a big gift from the main game and all add-ons,
  • Connoisseurs of really good military strategies with interesting mechanics,
  • Fans of war games in a medieval and fantasy setting. nine0020

Supplement composition

  • 42 House cards - seven generals for each,
  • 6 scenario cards Dance with Dragons,
  • Rules of the game.

All cards in this expansion are marked with the Dance with Dragons symbol. This way you can easily distinguish them from the components of the base game.

This expansion features a 6-player scenario that reflects the balance of power and events from A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. For this, 42 new House cards and 6 scenario preparation cards are used. nine0003

House cards

The House cards featured in this expansion are compatible with both the A Dance with Dragons scenario and the base game. If you decide to use them, return all 42 House cards from the base game to the box and replace them with cards from the expansion.

Rules of the game

nine0062 Number of players 3 to 6 players Age of players From 13 years old Game time 120 to 180 minutes Weight 0. 14 kg Manufacturer Hobby World


nine0004 Game of Thrones

One of the best strategies. Martin World

5 490 ₽


Game of Thrones. Feast of Ravens

Arrynes enter the fight

990 ₽


Game of Thrones: Mother of Dragons nine0003

Drakaris! Addition to the legendary game

3 290 ₽

actors, plot, what to expect from the series and whether to watch it

Alexey Ionov

wants to have a dragon

Author profile


In Russia, the series will be shown by Amediateka. Episodes will be released the day after the world premiere. A total of ten episodes are planned for the first season of House of the Dragon. nine0003

We answer the main questions about the series: what is it about, who are the main characters and who is responsible for the quality of the "House of the Dragon". In the end, we recommend what to read before the premiere and after it.

🐉 What is the House of the Dragon about and how is it related to the Game of Thrones

The action of the House of the Dragon takes place 170 years before the events of the Game of Thrones, at the height of the Targaryen dynasty. In the center of the plot is the Dance of the Dragons, or, in some translations, the Dance of the Dragons. This is the name given to the bloody civil war between the two branches of the Targaryens. She left half of the country in ruins, bled dozens of noble families and almost brought the ruling dynasty to the grave. nine0003

The first season of "House of the Dragon" will cover about thirty years of history. It is not for nothing that the two main characters, Princess Rainier and Queen Alicent, will be played by two actresses at once: in their youth and in adulthood.

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What a Dragon Dance. The prerequisites for civil war appeared during the reign of King Jaehaerys. Under him, Westeros experienced a rare period of calm, but due to the good health of the old king, a serious dynastic crisis occurred. Jaehaerys reigned so long that he outlived almost all of his children, including both heirs. Prince Aemon died in a skirmish with pirates, and Prince Balon died due to an unknown illness. nine0003

After Balon's death, Jaehaerys convened a Grand Council, a gathering of all the lords of the Seven Kingdoms. They had to choose a new heir. A dozen and a half candidates presented their rights to the throne, but there were two real contenders: Rhaenys, the eldest daughter of Aemon, and Viserys, the eldest son of Balon. The Grand Council deliberated for two weeks and decided to appoint Viserys as heir.

The Grand Council's decision set a precedent: the crown was now to always be passed down through the male line. But Viserys soon broke this rule. His wife died without giving birth to a son. Then the king appointed his only child, his daughter Rainier, as heir. nine0003 Rhaenyra Targaryen in Dragon House. Source: HBO

True, he later married a second time. And the second wife, Queen Alicent Hightower, gave birth to three healthy boys. The king was still in no hurry to change his mind. Yes, and his daughter Reynira did not understand why she had to part with the dream of the crown because of the appearance of half-brothers. At first, the princess even tried to be friends with her stepmother Alicente. But the friendship did not last long.

At some point, the royal court was divided into two factions: the “blacks” supported Reynira, and the “greens” supported Queen Alicent and her eldest son. These factions will then start a civil war for the throne. nine0003

Spoilers ahead!

Below we retell the plot elements of the book "Fire and Blood", on which the series is based. These are probably spoilers for the first season of Dragon House. Don't read this paragraph if you don't want to spoil your surprise.

Skip the spoiler item.

King Viserys was a good man, but a bad manager. For a while, he managed to keep the peace in the family. He even gave Rhaenyra in marriage to the heir of one of the influential Westeros families. But time passed, the children of Rainier and Alicent grew up, the tension at the court grew. After the son of Rhaenyra gouged out the eye of the son of Alycente, the king separated two factions: the queen and supporters remained in the capital, and Rhaenyra received Dragonstone, the ancestral castle of the Targaryens, in possession. nine0003

The king's decision proved fatal. After the death of Viserys, not a single supporter of the princess turned out to be in King's Landing: those that were were quickly killed. Alicent's close associates promptly crowned her eldest son.

However, Rhaenyra also claimed the throne. She proclaimed herself the true ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, and declared her stepbrother and stepmother traitors and rebels.

At first, the opposing sides tried to resolve the issue amicably. As George Martin writes, "the early battles of the Dance of the Dragons were fought with ravens, feathers, parchment, threats, promises, edicts, and persuasion." But soon the first blood was shed, one of the sons of Reynira died and the country collapsed into the abyss of civil war. Thus began the Dance of the Dragons. At this point, apparently, the first season of "House of the Dragon" will end. nine0003


10 films with unexpected endings

The opposing factions owe their names to the dresses in which the rivals appeared at the big tournament in honor of the fifth wedding anniversary: ​​Alycente dressed in green, and Rhaenyra donned the red and black colors of the Targaryens . Source: HBO

🏰 Why it might be interesting

An intriguing cast of authors. "Game of Thrones" is one of the most popular series of the last decade. But recent seasons have disappointed many fans. There was even a petition on the Internet demanding that the final episodes be re-shot without the participation of showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. Of course, they did nothing of the sort. nine0179 But Benioff and Weiss have nothing to do with the House of the Dragon.

House of the Dragon showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Kondal. The first directed most of the battle episodes of Game of Thrones, including the famous Battle of the Bastards. Kondal is a screenwriter on The Colony, an ardent fan of A Song of Ice and Fire, and a longtime friend of George Martin.


What surprised us, pissed us off and touched the fourth season of Stranger Things - with spoilers

It was Martin who suggested to Kondal that he take over the House of the Dragon. He respects the original source and tries to ensure that the series is first of all liked by fans like himself. Kondal regularly consults with George Martin on all issues and keeps him informed of what is happening on the site.

With the help of promotional materials, the creators of the series like to remind that the dragons in it will not have to wait long. Source: HBO

Massive budget. House of the Dragon costs $200 million, $20 million per episode. For comparison: the budget of one episode of "Game of Thrones" in the first season was about 6 million and only by the eighth increased to 15 million.

A big budget frees the creators' hands and allows them to shoot a more ambitious and spectacular story. At least dragons in the series should be much more than in the Game of Thrones. Ten fire-breathing creatures fought on each side of the conflict.

Good source. One of the key problems of recent seasons of Game of Thrones is the lack of a primary source. George Martin did not have time to write the final books of A Song of Ice and Fire, and the showrunners got out as best they could. nine0003

In the case of the Dragon Dance, nothing like this will happen. The whole conflict from beginning to end is described on the pages of the book Fire and Blood.

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Original author's approval. George Martin managed to watch rough versions of nine of the ten episodes of the first season - and was completely delighted. “Even with the special effects not done, everything looks very good, and the acting, direction and script are first-class,” he wrote on his blog. nine0003

The first press reviews, by the way, are also very positive. Critics noted the quality of the pilot episode and called the series a worthy successor to Game of Thrones.

Steve Toussaint as Corlis Velaryon, a seafarer and ally of Rhaenyra Targaryen. Source: HBO

🤴 Who's Who in The House of the Dragon

Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. Viserys' eldest daughter. From childhood, she prepared for the role of a queen: at the age of seven she first saddled a dragon, at eight she began to attend meetings of the Small Council and try to delve into the affairs of the state. nine0003

When part of the royal court turned against Rhaenyra in favor of Alicente, the princess surrounded herself with powerful allies. Among them, her uncle Daemon Targaryen and the famous navigator Corlis Velarion especially stood out. Rhaenyra is romantically associated with the first: nevertheless, marriages within the family among the Targaryens are as common as riding dragons.

Rainier was played by Millie Alcock in her youth and Emma D'Arcy as an adult. This is the first high-profile project in the filmography of the actress. nine0003

Alicent Hightower, the new queen. Daughter of King's Hand Otto Hightower and second wife of King Viserys. She was once a friend of Rainier, but after the wedding, their relationship went wrong. Alicenta is looking for a better future for her children. She would rather see her eldest son on the Iron Throne than her stepdaughter.

Young Alicent is played by Emily Carey. The role of the adult queen was played by Olivia Cooke, the star of Ready Player One and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. nine0003 Olivia Cooke and Emma D'Arcy as Alicente Hightower and Rainier Targaryen. Source: HBO

Daemon Targaryen, The Vicious Prince. Viserys' younger brother. An experienced warrior, a brave rider, a dashing, daring and quick-tempered adventurer. He was chief of the city guard in King's Landing until he was expelled from the country on pain of death. All because he cheerfully celebrated the death of the king's wife.

After that, Damon managed to be the commander of a detachment of mercenaries and even the ruler of a self-proclaimed island state. He earned the nickname "Vicious Prince" while working as the head of the capital's guards. The thing is that Damon personally "inspected" brothels, taverns and brothels. nine0003

At one time claimed the Iron Throne and competed with Rainier. But later he became her faithful ally and lover.

Damon was played by Matt Smith, best known as the Eleventh Doctor from Doctor Who. The actor says that his character lives to "wreak havoc around and piss off people around him, because it entertains him."

Matt Smith as Damon Targaryen. Source: HBO

Corlis Velarion, Sea Serpent. One of the ancient Valyrian families and one of the most powerful people in all the Seven Kingdoms. In his youth, he made nine sea voyages and returned as a fabulously rich man. Clever, cunning and resourceful. The father of Rainier's first husband and a loyal ally of the princess. nine0003

Corlis was played by Steve Toussaint. You might have seen him in Skins, Doctor Who and Prince of Persia.

Princess Rhaenys Velarion, the Queen of the Lost. Daughter of Jaehaerys' eldest son and wife of the Sea Serpent. In her youth, she claimed the Iron Throne, but the Great Council preferred Viserys to her. A smart and experienced woman who never forgot about the grievances inflicted on her. One of Rainier's closest supporters.

Reinis played Eve Best. Of the notable cinematic works, she only has a small role in the Oscar-winning film The King's Speech! nine0003

Lord Otto Hightower, Hand of the King. Father of Queen Alicent, a skilled politician, pragmatist and manipulator. He was the right hand under three kings.

Otto is played by Rhys Ifans. The actor is known for his roles as the Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man and Grigory Rasputin in the recent King's Man. He also played in "Mr. Nobody" and played the role of Luna Lovegood's father in "Harry Potter".

Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, next to his on-screen daughter Olivia Cooke. Source: HBO

King Viserys Targaryen. Alicente's husband and Rainier's father. A good man and a bad king. Viserys was simply not created for the throne, and the title of ruler physically and morally kills him.

Viserys was played by Paddy Considine. You may know the actor from Peaky Blinders, Hunky Hop or The Bourne Ultimatum.

Sir Christon Col. Knight and later Lord Commander of the Royal Guard. Once an ardent supporter of Rainier, he has since become one of Alicente's most trusted allies. nine0003

Christon was played by a little-known actor Fabien Frankel. Of his notable films, perhaps the comedy "Christmas for Two" with the star of "Game of Thrones" Emilia Clarke.

Misaria. Damon's former dancer and henchman. She was played by Sonoya Mizuno, the star of Ex Machina, Annihilation and The Programmers.

Actor Paddy Considine admitted that he was called for the role back in the "Game of Thrones" - but then he refused, thinking that it would be a stupid fantasy about dragons. Source: HBO

📚T-F advice: what to read before the premiere of "House of the Dragon"

"Fire and Blood. Blood of dragons. The first part of George R. R. R. Martin's pseudo-historical chronicle about the 300-year history of the Targaryen dynasty. The book is stylized as an old chronicle, but it is still a fascinating read. The entire background of the "House of the Dragon" is collected here.

Where to buy: Book 24, $1145.

Fire and Blood. Dance of death. The book is almost entirely devoted to the civil war between Rhaenyra and Alicente's children. If you do not want to wait for the continuation of the new series, you can find out its entire plot. nine0003

This is one of the best books by George Martin: written in a recognizable style, yet capacious, concise, colorful. The entire conflict fits into 384 pages.

Where to buy: Book 24, $1145


How do I buy rare books

The World of Ice and Fire. The encyclopedic reference book tells the whole history of the world of George Martin: from the Dawn Age and the coming of the First Men to the rebellion of Robert Baratheon. There is also about the Dance of Dragons here, but very briefly. nine0003

Where to buy: "Litres", electronic version, 799 R.

"Knight of the Seven Kingdoms". A collection of three stories by George Martin about the adventures of the warrior Duncan the Tall and his faithful, dexterous and resourceful squire Egg. This couple is far from being as simple as it seems at first glance.

The story takes place one hundred years before the events of Game of Thrones. Kings, intriguers, impostors, robbers and other interesting personalities appear in the plot. HBO has already ordered production of the series: Steve Conrad, creator of The Patriot and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, has been appointed showrunner. You can get ahead of them and find out in advance what the next Game of Thrones prequel will be about. nine0003

Where to buy: Labyrinth, $1236.

Feast of Ice and Fire. Official collection of recipes from the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series by George Martin.

Learn more