I admit it: I am doing an inner happy dance with dragons in anticipation of tonight’s season finale of Game of Thrones. It seems fitting that this morning I finished re-reading the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series and eagerly moved on to the next. The first time I read the books, I devoured them. This time, I am savoring, tasting and appreciating each chapter and phrase. Daenerys’s simple mantra “If I look back I am lost,” for example, fills her penultimate viewpoint chapter with a significance realized only by her later journey.

Another admission: While I am aware of (and have enjoyed following) all of the controversy regarding recent GoT episodes, I have enjoyed this season. I love the books and characters and world. I am bewitched by the television adaptation and actors and screenwriting. Where the two diverge (and converge) only increases my interest and enjoyment. If that makes me undiscerning, so be it.

Beets ready for roasting

Beets ready for roasting

Having just spent three weeks in London, we came home two days ago to a nearly empty refrigerator—except for more than half a dozen large sweet onions. So, this morning, while putting together a menu to celebrate “Mother’s Mercy,” I began with ingredients for an Onion and Cheese Pie, and the rest of the meal fell neatly into place:

  • Volantene Chilled Beet Soup
  • Unpoisoned Mushrooms Bathed in Butter and Garlic
  • Hobb’s Onion and Cheese Pie
  • Queened Cherries with Cream

The beets are in the oven now, filling the house with their rich, dusky aroma. I will post more photos and the recipes later tonight, and here are the sources of inspiration from A Dance with Dragons (page numbers refer to the Bantam 2011 hard cover edition):

  • Sweet beets were grown in profusion hereabouts, and were served with almost every meal. The Volantenes made a cold soup of them, as thick and rich as purple honey.” (p. 86)
  • “‘Mushrooms,’ the magister announced, as the smell wafted up. ‘Kissed with garlic and bathed in butter. I am told the taste is exquisite. Have one, my friend. Have two.’” (p. 27)
  • “‘Hobb is baking onion pies,’ said Satin. ‘Shall I request that they all join you for supper?'” (p. 706)
  • “Illyrio smiled as his serving men spooned out bowls of black cherries in sweet cream for them both. ‘What has this poor child done to you that you would wish her dead?'” (p. 29)

How will you be celebrating “Mother’s Mercy?”