Asha is back at Deepwood Motte. After the Kingsmoot, she fled. Euron Crow’s Eye married her to Erik Ironmaker and left the Iron Islands in his care while he went off in search of a dragon queen.
Ramsay Bolton has sent her a message that he has taken Moat Cailin. It is written in the blood of ironmen comes with a strip of Theon’s skin and a promise to send her more. Asha burns the skin. She knows that Deepwood Motte will be hard to defend. She doesn’t have many men and the walls are made of wood. But she doesn’t know where else she can go. Asha contemplates going to the Wall.
Instead she goes to bed. Qarl the Maid follows her. After they’ve shagged, he falls asleep but she can’t. Asha goes to eat in the kitchen and finds Tris Botley waiting for her. He wants her, loves her, but she doesn’t feel the same about him. He suggests they take to the sea and become merchants. She reminds him of her long-term relationship with Qarl.
Then there is an alarm from the walls. Five northmen have tried to sneak in to open the gate. Asha decides she doesn’t want to die defending this place and her band escape out the south door while the northmen are breaking down the north door. They are caught in the woods and are overwhelmed but not without taking far more than their number. Asha takes a head wound and the last things she sees are flaming hearts and black stags.
So, it was Stannis at the gates. He’s obviously won the mountain clans to his side. Good, maybe he’ll be able to give the Boltons a fight.
Wouldn’t it be nice for Daenerys if she could have someone like Qarl? It is interesting to contrast Asha, Cersei and Dany for their use of sex as a political tool, and the impact it has on their personal lives. In many ways, Asha seems to handle it best, but the different environments the three women find themselves in may simply mean that Asha finds it easiest. After all, her relationship with Qarl was formed on her ship, which in many ways is a little bubble.
And I so don’t believe Asha is dead. Martin, you’ve done this quiet a lot at this point!