A Read of A Dance with Dragons – Part 39

Chapter 38 – The Watcher

Ser Balon Swann has arrived at Sun Spear to deliver Gregor Clegane’s skull to Doran Martell. Arianne is present, as is Ellaria Sand and Oberyn Martell’s three eldest sand snakes. The head is delivered and accepted. There is a toast. Obara storms out. Then there is a feast. Doran asks Balon if he knows what was in Cersei’s letter; she wants Myrcella and Trystane to come to King’s Landing. Doran agrees that the children should all be friends.

Arianne flirts with Balon. Doran mentions that the other part of Cersei’s letter was that Dorne should have a representative on King Tommen’s small council, but he is not sure he is up to the journey. He suggests he might be if they went by sea. Balon is taken aback and says it is too dangerous.
Doran excuses himself at the end of the feast. Arianne, Ellaria and the sand snakes accompany him to bed. On the way, the sand snakes exhort him to take further revenge. In his chamber, Doran asks them what they would have him do. All the people who were involved in Princess Elia’s death are now dead. Ellaria says that she has four daughters and wonders where the cycle of violence will end. Then she leaves.
Doran then tells the sand snakes that he has plans. When they get to the Water Gardens, Myrcella will tell Balon that it was the Darkstar who cut her ear and killed Arys Oakheart, and he has fled to High Hermitage. Obara will take him in search of the Darstar. He tells them that he still has friends in King’s Landing and that Cersei plans to ambush them on the way back, which is why Balon didn’t want to go by sea.
He says no one treads on the vipers, everyone treads on the grass but it is the grass that hides the viper. Doran is sending Lady Nym to King’s Landing to take Dorne’s seat on the council and Tyene will go to the High Hill to infiltrate the Swords and Stars. The sand snakes are mollified by the prospect of some action.
He also tells Arianne that a Volantene fleet bound for Westeros has put in at Lys. He thinks it is Daenerys but can’t be sure.
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Things are starting to come together. Doran is another one playing the long game. Good to see that something is happening. I bet Lady Nym will wreak havoc in King’s Landing.

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