Politics seems to be returning to the realms. The capitol under attack, the least important part of politics finally becomes impossible to deny. Urgency forces all the notables to consider where they stand & what really counts for them.
The king runs away from battle because his mother wishes him to do so, in plain view of the soldiers defending the gates. His guard, a ruthless killer, disobeys orders & goes to mind his own business.
The patriarch Lannister brings his cavalry to defend the city. It is impossible for him anymore to pretend he has power over the realms, but at least he has defended the capitol.
The Baratheon pretender has his fleet burnt on the waves in view of the capitol & his invasion repelled with slaughter. It would seem his hold on his armies is unshaken, but, his forces so diminished & his power humiliated, he cannot anymore pretend he can conquer the realms. He will find something to defend as well.
The dwarf is the only man left to rouse the troops & to lead them into battle. He dismisses promises to fight for king & kingdoms, for honor & riches – the former have no claim to their allegiance, they have no claim on the latter. These privations are connected, of course.
The dwarf shows he will fight, though small & weak, & admits that their enemies are fearsome. Shame & fear make up his appeal: The would-be conqueror’s reputation for religious fanaticism makes him especially cruel. Fear for their lives, substance, & families is the final appeal.
Only two faiths remain in the land, at the extremes. In the cold north, honor is the name the warriors give to their hatred of a harsh land. Each man goes down to death, but the species endures. Their anger gives them strength. Those who man the wall are sworn to celibacy, so that love of woman may never overcome their anger. In the wilderness, they face beasts at least as fierce & as contemptuous of life.
In the old east, the Targaryen girl is preparing her invasion. The death of her husband meant the horde’s dissolution. She seeks a new base of power. She tried warriors, which made up the original invasion; now she will have to try slaves – they are less fickle & as superstitious. Eastern despotism is a peculiar thing: Vast lands, some incredibly fertile, others harsh deserts, are ruled from distant cities, where slavery & luxury go together. Betrayal is as common as commerce.
This woman is the reason people believe her dragons are not merely a power, but creatures. She attempts to connect the great importance of fire for technology with freeing slaves.