A Read of A Dance with Dragons – Part 21

Chapter 20 – Reek
Theon is approaching Moat Cailin to take it by subterfuge. He is terrified of what Ramsay will do to him if he fails. The ironborn in the castle are dying of wounds caused by poisoned arrows, bad water and poor food. They are the dregs left behind by Victarion.
Theon tells them that Euron Crowsfeet was crowned at the Kingsmoot and Victarion has abandoned them. If they pack up and leave, Ramsay will let them all go home. They agree, after some debate, and come out. Ramsay congratulates Theon and asks him if he wants to stay or to go with his countrymen. Sensing a trap, Reek says he wants to stay and serve. He is allowed to become one of Ramsay’s dogs and is collared and chained.
The ironborn are killed and Ramsay tells his father, Roose Bolton, that he can come through Moat Cailin. Bolton brings his forces north. He is riding in a litter with a decoy in his armour. He gets out of the litter with Fat Walder and Arya. Theon realises that it’s Jeyne Poole because Arya had her father’s eyes and Jeyne certainly does not.
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A few glimpses of the old Theon and a masterly show of what torture and fear can do to a person. Martin manages to create an absolutely believable depiction of a person so scared of what his abuser will do to him he is incapable of taking action to get away.
Jeyne Poole is going to pretend to be Arya, eh? That’s not going to go well for her, is it. Poor girl. And it seems clear that Roose Bolton won’t do anything to rein in his son.

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