MotherofFirkins might not be my favorite fanfiction author, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy her stories. What I really like about this author is her ability to take the world from A Song of Ice and Fire and make it less dark. I already reviewed one story by her, The Treaty, and there were two big things I liked about it: it was a Jaime and Brienne centric story, and everyone got their happy ending. Those same things hold true for So Many Vows, which explores yet another way for Jaime and Brienne to fall in love and be happy.
Picking up right after Jaime attacks Ned Stark in the streets during A Game of Thrones, King Robert decides to punish the Kingslayer by forcing him to quit the Kingsguard and take up a wife. While that is really horrible from Jaime’s perspective, it is also a punishment that would make Tywin Lannister, the man who owns half the crown’s debts, happy since it would give him back his heir. King Robert, however, and the other members of his small council don’t think it’s horrible enough. As such, Robert, being the misogynistic bastard that he is, makes a match between Jaime and Brienne, since Brienne is the “ugliest girl in Westeros”.
Naturally, at first, Jaime and Brienne don’t like each other, and not only do they have to navigate their marriage, they also have to deal with the War of the Five Kings. In So Many Vows Brienne also doesn’t find out about Jaime’s affair with Cersei until after the two of them are married and start developing feelings for one another, which is yet another issue the two of them must work through.
What’s also neat about this story is that it gives us some LGBTQ+ representation in a character that I was not expecting. In the books, the Blackfish, also known as Brynden Tully, became estranged from his brother when he refused to marry—and we don’t know that much else about his history other than that. So not only is So Many Vows giving us a homosexual character and developing him, it’s doing it with someone who could very well be canonically homosexual and who was also considered the “black sheep”, or in this case “black fish”, of the family for it.
“Is that why you refused to marry?” Brienne wondered. “You hoped to be named to the Kingsguard?”
“You’re determined to hear all of my secrets, are you my lady? You may as well,” he said, sitting down next to her and filling another glass. “That’s part of it, but I’ve never wanted a woman. It may shock you, but I prefer the company of men.”
Brienne nodded. She had heard of men like the Blackfish. Jaime had even delightedly informed her that Renly Baratheon, her girlhood crush, preferred men to women. “I’m not shocked, Ser. Loras Tyrell was said to be Renly Baratheon’s lover and he’s a great knight.”
“I had a lover too. His name is Ser Damon Tollett. I left him in the Vale when I came with Catelyn back to Riverrun. It’s most likely I’ll die in this siege and I’ll never see him again,” he finished sadly. “There’s so much I wish I would have told him.”
Brienne placed her hand over his own in a gesture of kinship. They both understood too much about love and loss.
So Many Vows is only about 30K words long, so it’s a pretty quick read, and like The Treaty, it does have a happy ending for just about every character, so you don’t have to beat yourself up worrying about which characters are going to die or not. Normally I don’t like stories that lack suspense or refuse to kill off characters, but considering this is an A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic, another break from the bleak, death-filled Westeros with a nice happy Westeros is always welcome. Be sure to check it out here.