"The fields were fruitful, and starving men moved on the roads."
—John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
Pa borrowed money from the bank, and then the bank wanted the land. The Lannisters — they’re the bank — sent someone out to collect, but he took more than the land. Joff tucked away his gun, tipped his hat, and smiled at my sister as Pa bled to death in the doorway that wasn’t ours anymore.
I lost people. A woman in Texas with dollars in her eyes charmed Sansa away. The doctor took our last dime, but Robb died anyway. “Problem with the heart. Can’t be fixed,” Bolton said. Ma couldn’t go on after that.
I found people too. Gendry — he didn’t have any more to his name — chauffeured for a rich man named Robert, before the rich man shot himself in the Crash and left his mess for other people to clean up. Jaqen was a conman, but I conned him, didn’t I? There were others. Mycah, Hot Pie, Lommy, Weasel, all of us in this rusty car creaking along the highway to the west. These folks — these folks driven from the land by the Lannisters — they’re my folks. Family’s more than common flesh and blood.
I met an outlaw in Albuquerque. “The Lannisters ordered us to dump the potatoes in the river, to keep the prices high. We had hoses,” he said with a rasp, “filled with fucking kerosene. We sprayed it on the oranges. A million people hungry, and the Lannisters make bonfires of the fruit.” He shook. Half his face was burned.
There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. The fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit. And children dying of malnutrition…
In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage….
ASOIAF retold as classic literature
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