Westeros Playbook

Parody: Mike Allyn's must-read briefing on what's driving the day in King's Landing

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WINTER IS COMING, maesters say: "A white raven arrived today from the Citadel in Oldtown, signaling the end of the longest summer in living memory. After meeting to consider the reports and measurements of maesters from around the realm, the Conclave concluded the summer of 10 years, two turns, and 16 days is over. Winter is coming."

Harvest Quotas—**Full announcement coming today, exclusively in Politoros Pro**

STILL DRIVING THE DAYEddard Stark’s head, or lack thereof.

PEACE TERMS from the Young Wolf: "Self-styled ‘King in the North’ Robb Stark set peace terms for an end to his ongoing rebellion against the Iron Throne. Ser Cleos Frey, a prisoner of the Starks, arrived in King’s Landing and presented the terms to the King’s Council. Stark demanded the release of his sisters and the return of his father’s bones and greatsword to Winterfell. Stark also demanded King Joffrey and the Queen Regent renounce all claim of ownership to dominion of the North, from now until the end of time."

RIPPED IN TWO: "Sources close to the King’s Council say the peace terms offered by Robb Stark, Lord of Winterfell, were flatly rejected when Queen Regent Cersei Lannister ripped the letter from Stark in half."

"A craven traitor," His Grace Joffrey Baratheon says of Robb Stark in a statement. "No traitor will be shown mercy so long as I sit on the Iron Throne. I will hunt down every last one, mount their heads on pikes, and the crows will eat their eyes."

BEHIND THE VEIL—From Politoros’ Ser Jonathan Martin: "Despite its strong proclamations and stance, the Iron Throne is struggling to set a clear executive agenda, several sources within the Red Keep say. The King’s Council is being roiled by two competing visions for the kingdom. One side—believed by many to include His Grace, the Queen Regent, and a minority of the Council—argue that order is best maintained through arrows and vats of boiling tar. The hawkish contingent also takes a hardline stance on challenges to the throne, one which also involves arrows and vats of boiling tar. The other side—rumored to include the King’s Hand and several other members of the Council—is pressing for less slaughter of peasantry and favors delaying open battle for the moment. The divisions in the Council could spell trouble at a time when His Grace’s political foes are sharpening their knives and would very much like to open his throat with them."

PREVIEW: Public approval of Iron Throne dips following starvation and wanton pillaging, latest poll finds.  Ser Zogby’s latest poll, to be released later today, will find lower public approval of His Grace. A 10-day tracking poll of 1,200 wastrels and peasants finds 39 percent saying the kingdom is heading in the right direction, down from 44 percent in the previous poll. Fifty-six percent of respondents disapproved of His Grace’s handling of the economy and would like some bread.

Senior Red Keep officials downplay results. "Any time you have an economy like this, where people are struggling to make ends meet or having their hovels put to the torch, there’s going to be frustration," one official tells Westeros Playbook. "But we’re putting the kingdom back on track." The official pointed to the ongoing rebellion in the north as "yet another example of Stark obstructionism when we need unity."

"What Westeros needs is leadership, not more excuses," a Stark spokesman said in a statement this morning. The Stark camp will roll out a series of raven-delivered missives today hitting His Grace for the kingdom’s growing debt. "Under Baratheon rule, Westeros owes thousands of gold dragons to foreign investors. What happens when Braavos stops lending?"

The Stark camp has also seized on reports of the King’s men raping and plundering in the Riverlands, but Politifact has rated those claims "mostly false."

A LITTLE RAVEN passes along this note: "The villages and fields are burning. My people are being put to the sword. Their screams echo through the war-torn valley. The enemy surrounds the walls of my keep. Provisions gone, almost no dogs and cats left. I request assistance from His Grace in this, our hour of need. Gods have mercy on us."

**A message from Chataya’s House: At Chataya’s House, our experienced and exotic women provide weary gentlemen with the finest pleasures of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond. **

Name Days: Ser Allerd Hafflebrocken, Archmaester Walgrave, Prince Quentyn Martell, Lord Steffon Varner, Hodor.

WEEKEND WEDDING: Guests to the wedding of Ser Dallen Umber and Lady Emyria Karstark this weekend were treated to a sumptuous feast, beginning with trenchers of bread filled with chunks of browned meat off a skewer, dripping with hot juice, accompanied by skewers of onions, fire peppers, and fat mushrooms, which the guests washed down with tankards of ale and mead. The main course: roast capon stuffed with plums, sides of roasted potatoes and wild greens, served with Dornish wine. Dessert: lemon cakes. Spotted: A hedge knight and Lady Tallya Umber, begetting a bastard.

SHOT—Deep into his cups of wine, Madcap the Fool beseeched Lady Tenley of Highgarden to seat herself upon his face, so he could "see the only place Lord Tenley has ever successfully invaded."

—CHASER—By order of Lord Tenley, Madcap the Fool no longer has a tongue.

Not a bastard—"The ugly rumors being propagated by Stannis Baratheon regarding His Grace’s blood are nothing more than an attempt to legitimize his treasonous campaign against the throne. Anyone caught repeating such filth will face the King’s Justice."

White walkers beyond the wall? "No."

** Westeros Morning Playbook is sponsored by the Night’s Watch. Are you a rapist, thief, or have you otherwise shamed yourself and your family before gods and man? Pledge your life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all nights to come. **

CJ Ciaramella   Email CJ | Full Bio | RSS
CJ Ciaramella is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon, he was a reporter for the Daily Caller. He was also a Collegiate Network year-long fellow at the San Diego Union-Tribune and has written articles for the Weekly Standard and Oregon Quarterly. Ciaramella attended the University of Oregon, where he edited the award-winning student magazine, the Oregon Commentator. He lives in Washington, D.C. His Twitter handle is @cjciaramella. His email address is ciaramella@freebeacon.com.

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