Welcome to my A Dance with Dragons re- read. I am covering two chapters a week, roughly, and this week we are looking in on Tyrion and Jon Snow.
Tyrion and Jorah Mormont arrive in Volantis. Tyrion of course is Jorah's prisoner, as detailed the last time we checked in with these two. Tyrion notes that most men they see are slaves, and have tattoos on their faces denoting their status. they come upon a temple of the Red God and hear Benerro, the High Priest, speaking. The priest says that Daenerys is in danger and Tyrion thinks that the red priests will not react well a second Targaryen claimant.
They cross the Long Bridge connecting the two parts of Volantis, and stay at the Merchant's House (the same place where Quentyn and his companions stayed when they were here). It's described as having a hundred private alcoves and hidden nooks. Jorah tells Tyrion that when he was sent into exile, he and his wife went to Lys because she wanted a warmer climate. He had wanted to go to Braavos, but ended up fighting the Braavosi as a mercenary, and his wife spent more than he made. She took a lover who threatened him with debt slavery, so Jorah had to leave and that's how his marriage ended. He ended up in Volantis which is how he knows the city.
They hear that some lord has hired the Golden Company to win back his lands, and Tyrion is astonished. He wonders if Aegon really took his advice, and decided to sail west instead of east, forsaking Dany and her dragons. They meet the widow of the waterfront, an old woman who knows the docks, and Jorah surprises Tyrion by asking for passage to Meereen. Tyrion thought he was taking him to Cersei, and he thinks Griff is an idiot for going west because they're going east- to Dany.
The widow predicts that Volantis will join the war against Dany- it's all about the slave trade, and shutting down the slave trade has made an enemy of Volantis for her. We also learn that Malaquo, one of the triarchs of Volantis, tried to hire the Golden Company to kill Benerro, the high priest of the Red God, for supporting Dany. She says that there are more supporters of the Red God in the city than other gods, and that Benerro can see the future in his flames. The implication is that Benerro (and the slaves?) could support Dany, throwing Volantis into chaos.
As the meeting with the widow concludes Tyrion is almost stabbed by another dwarf- a girl named Penny. her and her brother were the dwarfs who jousted at Joffrey's wedding, but some sailors thought her brother was Tyrion and beheaded him for Cersei's reward. The widow agrees to help them, for Tyrion more than Jorah, and tells them to be on the Selaesori Qhoran in two days. The ship will take them to Meereen. The widow also tells them to give Dany a message. She tells them to have Dany come soon... the slaves are waiting for her.
Here we see again that magic seems to have returned now that there are dragons in the world. As the red priest Benerro speaks he draws fiery letters in the air with his hands- could he do that before? We don't know, but it's been theorized that Daenerys and her dragons are responsible for a resurgence of magic.
Jon sends Ser Alliser Thorne on a ranging with Dywen, the most seasoned of the rangers. Kedge Whiteye and Black Jack Bulwer will also lead rangings. He gets reports that more and more wildlings are being seen on the shore north and east - they are seeing camps, half built rafts and even the hull of a cog they seem to be repairing. Jon spars with some of his men and is challenged by Rattleshirt- when he takes him on he gets beaten pretty good, which startles him. How is Rattleshirt such a good fighter?
Jon runs into Melisandre while out for a walk, and she tells him that Arya is on her way to him, fleeing from her impending marriage to the Boltons. A girl in grey on a dying horse... she has foreseen it. She touches the direwolf and when Jon calls to him, he looks at Jon as if he is a stranger. She tells Jon there is power at the Wall, and in his bond with his wolf... if he would only use it. She also predicts that some of the rangers he sent out will come back but will be dead, and that when that happens maybe he will believe her and come to her for help. Help to save Arya...
In the shadow of the Wall, the direwolf brushed up against his fingers. For half a heartbeat the night came alive with a thousand smells, and Jon Snow heard the crackle of the crust breaking on a patch of old snow. Someone was behind him, he realized suddenly. Someone who smelled warm as a summer day.
When he turned he saw Ygritte.
She stood beneath the scorched stones of the Lord Commander's Tower, cloaked in darkness and in memory. The light of the moon was in her hair, her red hair kissed by fire. When he saw that, Jon's heart leapt into his mouth. "Ygritte," he said.
"Lord Snow." The voice was Melisandre's.
I like the idea of an alliance between Jon and Melisandre- if he would only listen to her, things might turn out better for him. He keeps her at arms' length though, not trusting her. Which maybe is wise, to a certain point. Still... we get some intriguing hints here especially about Arya coming north. We know, of course, that Arya is in Braavos... so who is the girl in grey on a dying horse?