Tower of the Hand

Book 5, Chapter 2.
Tyrion crosses the Narrow Sea and is taken in by Illyrio Mopatis, who tells him about Daenerys and her dragons.
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Tyrion is drunk, as he has been for most of the voyage across the Narrow Sea. He wonders where the ship is going, as Jaime had only mentioned that it was bound for the Free Cities. He is also obsessing over the phrase "wherever whores go," Tywin's answer when Tyrion asked where Tysha had gone after Tywin sent her away. As the ship arrives at its destination, Tyrion is placed in a wine cask and rolled to the manse of Illyrio Mopatis, who greets him when he is let out. Illyrio tells him that any friend of Varys is a friend of his and gives him full run of the house. Tyrion takes a much needed bath and falls asleep.

Waking up in a bed several hours later, Tyrion goes to the window and takes in his surroundings, a garden, a statue of a naked boy in a marble pool with a bravo's sword in his hand, a brick wall twelve feet high crowned by spikes, and beoynd a city featuring square brick towers, a great red temple, and a manse upon a hill, and realizes he is in Pentos. Illyrio arrives and confirms their location. Tyrion asks him where whores might go, and Illyrio states they are found in brothels just as in Westeros. He adds that Tyrion has no need of whores because the servingwomen in the manse will not refuse him. Tyrion asks if they are slaves, and Illyrio responds that slavery is outlawed in Pentos due to a treaty imposed upon the city by Braavos one hundred years ago, but implies they are slaves nonetheless. He then takes his leave to attend a session of the magisters with a warning not to try and leave the grounds of the manse, as it would be better if no one ever knew Tyrion had been there.

After poking around the kitchens and the grounds for a bit and drinking heavily from some Arbor gold laid down in the time of Lord Runceford Redwyne, the grandfather of the current lord, he begins rambling to a washerwoman. He mulls his options and wonders if he should go to Dorne to crown Myrcella and start a war with Cersei or go to the Wall and join the Night's Watch. The washerwoman leaves, and Tyrion drops his wineskin. When he goes to pick it up, he notices a circle of seven poison mushrooms and places them in his pocket. Drunk and tired, he falls asleep.

Tyrion wakes in a bed again and finds a young servingwoman who says Illyrio will see him at dinner in an hour. She also offers herself, but he says he is done with women. He sees that she despises him, but reflects it can be no more than he despises himself. He tells her he has changed his mind and deliberately frightens her by stating he might strangle her. Afterwards, he joins Illyrio at dinner. After telling Tyrion that Astapor and Meereen have fallen, he presents a dish of mushrooms and implies they are poisoned. He states that Magister Ordello was poisoned by mushrooms half a year ago and the pain is not so great. He further states that since Tyrion seems to want to kill himself, Illyrio feels obliged to accomodate him. If he would rather drown in wine, Illyrio can fetch a cask to, for doing so one cup at a time is a waste. Tyrion denies wanting to die, but thinks to himself that he really has nothing to live for anymore.

Illyrio goes through Tyrion's options, obviously aided by intelligence from the washerwoman that Tyrion rambled too. He can go to the Wall, but Stannis is there now, so he is unlikely to be welcomed. He could crown Myrcella in Dorne, but she can never hope to win the crown and will probably die. Tyrion states that futile gestures are all he has left, but Illyrio tells him that there is another road to return to Casterly Rock. Pentos is ruled by a prince that presides over feasts and balls and is preceeded by three heralds carrying the golden scales of trade, the iron sword of war, and the silver scourge of justice, yet on the first day of each year he must deflower the maid of the fields and the maid of the seas, and if a crop fails or a war is lost, the prince's throat is slit and a new prince is chosen from among the forty families. He says Westeros is in distress and like Pentos after a disaster is looking for a new savior. The answer, he says, is not Stannis nor Myrcella, but a dragon with three heads.


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