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He plays the gracious king today.

Joffrey could be gallant when it suited him, Sansa knew, but it

seemed to suit him less and less. Indeed, all his courtesy vanished at once when Tyrion presented
him with their own gift: a huge old book called Lives of Four Kings, bound in leather and
gorgeously illuminated. The king leafed through it with no interest. And what is this, Uncle?
A book. Sansa wondered if Joffrey moved those fat wormy lips of his when he read.
Grand Maester Kaeths history of the reigns of Daeron the Young Dragon, Baelor the
Blessed, Aegon the Unworthy, and Daeron the Good, her small husband answered.
A book every king should read, Your Grace, said Ser Kevan.
My father had no time for books.Joffrey shoved the tome across the table. If you read
less, Uncle Imp, perhaps Lady Sansa would have a baby in her belly by now. He laughed . . . and
when the king laughs, the court laughs with him. Dont be sad, Sansa, once Ive gotten Queen
Margaery with child Ill visit your bedchamber and show my little uncle how its done.
Sansa reddened. She glanced nervously at Tyrion, afraid of what he might say. This could
turn as nasty as the bedding had at their own feast. But for once the dwarf filled his mouth with
wine instead of words.
Lord Mace Tyrell came forward to present his gift: a golden chalice three feet tall, with two
ornate curved handles and seven faces glittering with gemstones. Seven faces for Your Grace
s seven kingdoms, the brides father explained. He showed them how each face bore the sigil
of one of the great houses: ruby lion, emerald rose, onyx stag, silver trout, blue jade falcon, opal
sun, and pearl direwolf.
A splendid cup, said Joffrey, but well need to chip the wolf off and put a squid in its
place, I think.
Sansa pretended that she had not heard.
Margaery and I shall drink deep at the feast, good father. Joffrey lifted the chalice above
his head, for everyone to admire.
The damned things as tall as I am,Tyrion muttered in a low voice. Half a chalice and
Joff will be falling down drunk.
Good, she thought. Perhaps hell break his neck.
Lord Tywin waited until last to present the king with his own gift: a longsword. Its scabbard
was made of cherrywood, gold, and oiled red leather, studded with golden lions heads. The
lions had ruby eyes, she saw. The ballroom fell silent as Joffrey unsheathed the blade and thrust
the sword above his head. Red and black ripples in the steel shimmered in the morning light.
Magnificent, declared Mathis Rowan.
A sword to sing of, sire, said Lord Redwyne.
A kings sword, said Ser Kevan Lannister.
King Joffrey looked as if he wanted to kill someone right then and there, he was so excited.
He slashed at the air and laughed. A great sword must have a great name, my lords! What shall
I call it?
Sansa remembered Lions Tooth, the sword Arya had flung into the Trident, and Hearteater,
the one hed made her kiss before the battle. She wondered if hed want Margaery to kiss this
The guests were shouting out names for the new blade. Joff dismissed a dozen before he
heard one he liked. Widows Wail! he cried. Yes! It shall make many a widow, too! He
slashed again. And when I face my uncle Stannis it will break his magic sword clean in two. Joff
tried a downcut, forcing Ser Balon Swann to take a hasty step backward. Laughter rang through
the hall at the look on Ser Balons face.
Have a care, Your Grace, Ser Addam Marbrand warned the king. Valyrian steel is
perilously sharp.
I remember. Joffrey brought Widows Wail down in a savage twohanded slice, onto the
book that Tyrion had given him. The heavy leather cover parted at a stroke. Sharp! I told you, I
am no stranger to Valyrian steel. It took him half a dozen further cuts to hack the thick tome
apart, and the boy was breathless by the time he was done. Sansa could feel her husband
struggling with his fury as Ser Osmund Kettleblack shouted, I pray you never turn that wicked
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