So, everything's pretty frakked up, which is par for the course for Westeros. Everyone is evil to everyone else, except for a few northern peoples.
I was slightly surprised when, near the end, they explained that dragonglass actually isn't effective against the wights. Here, I figured that the dragonglass broke against mail because mail is metal, but dissolved the Other because it was stabbed in its unarmored neck. I liked the bit where the literal crows came to rescue Sam and Gilly under the heart tree, giving possible meaning to the black and a possible history of heart trees as protectors, if those are what drew the crows to eat the wights. Then again, "Coldhands" showed up on his gigantic elk, so maybe he had a hand in it. (I haven't read the next two books, of course, so I'll have to wait and see.)
Oh, and here's something really meta: I figured that George R.R. Martin was showing how complex of a world it is, that the lord of the Dreadfort - whose symbol is the flayed man and whose family is known for torture, and things like "a naked man has few secrets; a flayed man has none" - was on the side of the good guys (read: Starks). So, I was actually surprised when Roose Bolton turned out to be evil.
Actually, the thing that strikes me as odd about this book is how much good happens in it. I mean, sure, Robb Stark and Grey Wind die, which sucks, but Joffrey dies, too, so there's that. Balon Greyjoy dies, only to be replaced by his brother, but we know so little about these
Honestly? When I found out that "valar morghulis" meant "all men must die", I expected her to meet Syrio Forel, say that word to him while showing him the coin, and have his head explode or something, where it turns out that the iron coin is some kind of Braavosi-slaying tool and she had to suffer some horrible pain or something to learn to become a face-changer. I mean, really, would you blame me for expecting anything less at this point?
When I get around to reading the next book, here are my points of anticipation:
- Daenerys and her attempts at the whole monarchy thing
- Arya's journey to Braavos
- Who the frak is Coldhands?
- What the frak is Coldhands?
- What will the consequences of the massive violation of the guest right on the part of the Freys be?
- So... Rickon?
- What is Littlefinger's apparently really long and well thought-out scheme?
- Tyrion's an actual kinslayer now. Consequences?
- I liked Patchface. He had this whole creepy quasi-prophetic vibe going on. What ever became of him?
By the way, I think that Daenerys could be carried by her dragons if she had a lightweight litter made w/ 3 handles on the top for her dragons to hold. That said, it's probably too silly to appear in the series, but it's a thought.