Fri
Jul 1 2011 1:08pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones, Part 14

A Read of Ice and Fire on Tor.comWelcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 14 of A Game of Thrones, in which we cover Chapters 26 (“Jon”), 27 (“Eddard”), and 28 (“Catelyn”).

Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, The Powers That Be at Tor.com have very kindly set up a forum thread for spoilery comments. Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

 

Chapter 26: Jon

What Happens
Jon and the other trainees are joined by the fattest boy Jon has ever seen, a noble’s son. Thorne immediately begins ridiculing him, christening him “Ser Piggy,” and sets him against Halder, a brute of a boy. Jon moves to defend him, and Thorne commands that Rast, Albett, and Halder all attack Jon to get to the fat boy, but then Pyp and Grenn suddenly join in on Jon’s side. Jon’s side defeats the other, and Thorne leaves in disgust. The fat boy introduces himself as Samwell Tarly, formerly of Horn Hill; the other boys are astonished at Sam’s frank admission that he is a coward.

The next night, Jon talks to Sam, and is incredulous that he seems to be afraid of everything; Ghost licks Sam’s face when he starts to cry, and the two boys laugh together. Jon tells him about his background, and confesses that he dreams about Winterfell, and finding it empty, and being compelled to go down into the catacombs below, but waking before he finds anything there. Sam tells him the story of his childhood, and how his father hated him for being soft and awkward, and tried to beat it out of him, and finally disinherited him by threatening to kill him unless he pledged to join the Watch.

Back in the Hall, Jon angrily defends Sam when the other boys make fun of him, and convinces all of them except Rast to conspire to thwart Thorne’s attempts to humiliate Sam. Later, Jon and the other boys beat on Rast until he agrees to join their plan as well. Sam finds him a few nights later and thanks him, and comments that he’s never had a friend before. Jon tells him they are not friends, but brothers; he realizes that Benjen spoke truly about the brotherhood of the Watch, and wonders if he will ever see him again.

Commentary
So, was I the only one who had flashbacks to Full Metal Jacket during this chapter?

Srsly. Right down to the blanket party. Even if this one was conducted via direwolf. Wow.

Some writer or poet somewhere once said something (today is Specific Day!) about how life obstinately persists in digging in and persevering even in the most abjectly hostile environment, and I wish I could remember the phrasing or who wrote it, because it was beautifully put. I can’t, but whatever the line was, that’s what this chapter made me think of, the way Jon is building himself a life and a community and even a sense of pride in a place that, I’m sorry, is pretty much a complete shithole.

From which category it will not be promoted, for my money, until somebody offs that asshole Thorne. KILL IT WITH FIRE PLZKTHX.

I think I will get my wish on that, at least if Jon’s seduction campaign (so to speak) of the other boys to follow him rather than Thorne is any indication. Go, Jon, go!

Hopefully, of course, Thorne’s death will not also culminate in Sam offing himself, Gomer Pyle-style. Because that would suck.

And oh, man, Sam. Who is pretty much tailor-written, as far as I can tell, to be the antithesis of every stereotypical “manly” trait in existence. And it’s shocking how hard it is to not be immediately at least a little contemptuous of him for it. Deeply embedded cultural prejudices = epic fail. Bad Leigh. No socially enlightened biscuit!

[Jon] wondered what Tyrion would have made of the fat boy. Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it, the dwarf had told him, grinning. The world was full of cravens who pretended to be heroes; it took a queer sort of courage to admit to cowardice as Samwell Tarly had.

True dat, Jon.

I’m interested to see where Martin goes with this character. I’m thinking that, assuming we don’t go the Kubrickian murder-suicide route, Sam is either the poor schlub whose completely unnecessary death at Thorne’s hands finally gets Thorne the boot (or better, an appointment with Mr. Pointy End), or he’s going to turn out (eventually) to be the baddest badass of all of them, other than Jon, of course.

It could go either way at this point. Or, of course, go a different way entirely, but one of those two are my guesses. And the latter, obviously, is the one I’m personally rooting for.

And speaking of things that need to be killed with fire, my jaw dropped when I read Sam’s story of how his father “convinced” him to join the Watch. Um, holy crap. You know your home life was heinous when getting relocated to Castle Black counts as an improvement. Good god.

Jon’s dream about Winterfell: well, I don’t know exactly what form it’s going to take, but that’s a pretty clear indication Jon’s not even close to being done with the Starks. I’m still going with the theory that it’s all down to the identity of his mother. Though that’s probably a fairly “duh”-like statement at this point, since the focus on the catacombs is about as strong an indication as one could come up with to emphasize the importance of the Stark ancestry/genealogy to Jon’s future.

And — oh shit.

*blinks*

Er. So, I was sitting here free-associating about this for the last few minutes, and my brain just went to a really disturbing place.

Let’s just say, I really hope the practice of incest is going to be limited to the Lannisters in this story.

Oh, ew. I’d better be wrong about that, y’all. Gah ick mlah bad touch!

Wow, I just completely grossed myself out. Well done, me!

 

Chapter 27: Eddard

What Happens
The commander of the city watch, Janos Slynt, is complaining to the council that the influx of knights and lords for the Hand’s tourney is causing a spike in crime in the city, and says that he needs more men. Ned commands that Littlefinger find the funds to hire fifty more men, and also pledges the loan of twenty of his own house guard until the tourney is over. He complains of the tourney, and Renly laughs and says at least his brother Stannis is not there to complain of the licentiousness in the city. Ned reflects that this tourney business is “chafing him raw.”

He goes back to his rooms and peruses the book that Arryn had asked for before his death, a genealogy of the great houses of the Seven Kingdoms. Ned had read it, particularly the section on the Lannisters, searching for a clue to why Arryn had wanted it, but nothing jumps out at him. Jory enters, and reports that they’ve found Arryn’s former stableboy, but he was as uninformative as the other remaining members of Arryn’s household. The potboy, however, had related that Arryn had gone once to commission armor with Lord Stannis Baratheon, which Ned finds interesting in light of Stannis’s subsequent departure to Dragonstone.

Ned leaves to visit this armorer, hoping that he had done enough to throw off the Spider’s spies. The armorer is named Tobho Mott, and tells him with some reluctance that Arryn and Stannis had come to him not for armor, but to see “the boy.” Ned wants to meet him, too, so Mott takes him out back and introduces him to Gendry, a strong lad about Robb’s age. Gendry tells Ned that Arryn had asked him questions about his mother, who had worked in an alehouse and died when Gendry was young, but Stannis had only glared at him. Ned looks closely at the boy’s blue eyes and black hair, and thinks that he sees it.

He goes back into the house with Mott, and asks who paid the boy’s apprentice fee. Mott tries to feign that he took the boy on for free, but at length admits it was paid by an anonymous lord. Mott tells him that the lord’s face was shadowed by a hood, but that he had a reddish-brown beard and was stout. Ned tells Mott that if Gendry ever decides he wants to wield a sword rather than make them, to send him to Ned, and leaves.

His guard was waiting outside with the horses. “Did you find anything, my lord?” Jacks asked as Ned mounted up.

“I did,” Ned told him, wondering. What had Jon Arryn wanted with a king’s bastard, and why was it worth his life?

Commentary
Hmmm. Veddy interestink.

I am just as puzzled as Ned, because I was under the distinct impression Robert’s never been exactly shy about flinging his DNA around, so to speak. You’re telling me there aren’t like a dozen royal bastards wandering around? Really?

And why would it matter, anyway? It’s not like Robert’s line isn’t as secure as can be reasonably expected, with two sons and two brothers. (And a daughter, but I don’t know whether girls can inherit in this system even if all her male relatives die. With my luck, probably not.)

And who is the lord that paid off Tobho? I didn’t recognize the description, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t “met” him already. It doesn’t mean I did, either. We’ll see, I suppose.

Tis a puzzlement!

Porther, the lusty guardsman who likes brothels: a reference to Porthos?

Ned was not sure what to make of Renly, with all his friendly ways and easy smiles. A few days past, he had taken Ned aside to show him an exquisite rose gold locket. Inside was a miniature painted in the vivid Myrish style, of a lovely young girl with doe’s eyes and a cascade of soft brown hair. Renly had seemed anxious to know if the girl reminded him of anyone, and when Ned had no answer but a shrug, he had seemed disappointed. The maid was Loras Tyrell’s sister Margaery, he’d confessed, but there were those who said she looked like Lyanna. “No,” Ned had told him, bemused. Could it be that Lord Renly, who looked so like a young Robert, had conceived a passion for a girl he fancied to be a young Lyanna? That struck him as more than passing queer.

Erm. Okay, I have no idea what’s up with all this hoopla, but I am VERY VERY SUSPICIOUS OF IT. Especially in light of my icky-and-hopefully-completely-erroneous wild theory about Jon’s mother’s identity in the last chapter. (yipeyipeyipe)

Man, these people are starting to make the crowned heads of Europe look like a sane, noncontroversial family tree by comparison. *marvels*

Also, I’m a little upset that Renly is involved in whatever shenanigans is going on here. Does this mean I’m not going to get to like him for much longer? Because, you know, I may have to pout about that, if so. Can’t we at least have a token nice guy in this story?

Don’t answer that.

 

Chapter 28: Catelyn

What Happens
Rodrik and Catelyn are traveling near her childhood home of Riverrun, and Catelyn proposes they stop at an inn she knows. Rodrik argues against it, worried that Catelyn will be recognized, but they are passed just then by a lord Catelyn knows well (Jason Mallister), and he doesn’t give her a second glance. Catelyn opines that the inn will be no problem.

The innkeeper doesn’t recognize her, either, and gives them rooms rather ungraciously. Catelyn contemplates changing her direction to either her father’s home or to the Eyrie to find Lysa, but her father has been sickly these last few years, and the route to the Eyrie is too dangerous for a woman and one armsman to travel. Catelyn decides to continue to Winterfell for now. She and Rodrik head down to dinner, where there are numerous armsmen from houses beholden to the Tullys, but all of them are too young to remember Catelyn.

She and Rodrik are conversing with a young singer named Marillion when the meal is interrupted by the entrance of none other than Tyrion Lannister and his entourage. Tyrion cheerfully bribes one of the patrons to give up his room for the night, and orders food. He is about to leave without having noticed Catelyn, when Marillion leaps up and offers to perform for Tyrion, whereupon Tyrion sees and recognizes Catelyn. He greets her by title, to the astonishment of the rest of the patrons. Catelyn debates the risk, and then asks the various armsmen in the room to assure her of their loyalty to her father. Confused, they all answer in the affirmative.

“This man came a guest into my house, and there conspired to murder my son, a boy of seven,” she proclaimed to the room at large, pointing. Ser Rodrik moved to her side, his sword in hand. “In the name of King Robert and the good lords you serve, I call upon you to seize him and help me return him to Winterfell to await the king’s justice.”

She did not know what was more satisfying: the sound of a dozen swords drawn as one or the look on Tyrion Lannister’s face.

Commentary
Oh boy.

Well, this should go swimmingly. For everyone involved. You may detect that I am employing the teensiest smidgen of sarcasm, there.

It would be one thing if Catelyn had any actual proof at this point that Tyrion was guilty, but seeing as she totally just jumped the gun on that, well. The dagger thing can’t possibly be enough to convict a peer of the realm, can it? In which case, this was — wow. Yeah, this was a decision that seemed stupid the moment I read it, and keeps getting stupider the longer I think about it.

Because while I’m sure Cersei could not care less about Tyrion on a personal level, she (and every other Lannister) are sure to raise holy howling hell over his arrest — whether or not she and Jaime intended it to happen in the first place. And that hell is going to be aimed directly at — guess who? — the Starks.

That’s why it’s stupid, because the way I see it the result’s going to be the same no matter where the truth of the matter lies. If the outside possibility is true, that the Wonder Twins never intended for Tyrion to be involved, their familial outrage might be genuine, but even if Jaime and Cersei are actually secretly thrilled to let Tyrion take the bullet for this one (even if they didn’t plan it that way from the beginning), that won’t alter their public response of indignant fury. Or so I predict.

(The question of whether Tyrion is actually guilty or not is, ironically, rather beside the point.)

Either way, sez me, there’s no way the Lannisters will miss the opportunity to exploit the political leverage this will give them — specifically, the leverage this will give them over Ned.

So, yeah, Catelyn, not the smartest move. I understand why she gave in to the temptation, but man, I really really wish she hadn’t. For her and Ned’s sakes far more than for Tyrion’s. Maybe I’m completely wrong about all of this, but I don’t see the remotest chance of Catelyn’s accusation sticking. Not with what she’s got — which is to say, just about nothing — and not with the connections Tyrion has. The only people who are going to be hurt by this, I forecast, are the Starks.

Greaaaaat.


And now that I’m going to have the memory of R. Lee Ermey screaming obscenities in my head for the rest of the day, I think we’ll stop here. Have a lovely and draft-free Fourth of July weekend, peoples, and I’ll see you next week!

88 comments
cheem
1. cheem
Damn, that's some perceptive commentary Leigh. Your mind travels into some dark and disturbing places, though...
cheem
2. Nine Quiet Lessons
It's always a pleasure to read your commentary, Leigh.

I think, along with the incident with Jon earlier, this last chapter is the reason why I've always disliked Catelyn. She usually means well, but she seems to be ruled more by her emotions and whims of the moment than by considered reason, which leads her to do ill-considered things such as...well, such as kidnapping Tyrion. In fact, it's doubly ill-considered given that her husband and daughters are parked square in the center of Lannister power.
cheem
3. Tenesmus
"The only people who are going to be hurt by this, I forecast, are the Starks."

Is it sexist on my part that when a male character does something stupid, I will subconciously call him an "idiot" in my mind, but when a female character does something stupid, I subconsciously call her a "dumb bitch"? Oh well...I apologize, but Catelyn please stop being such a dumb bitch...

Is it spoilerish to say I have read all the books and that I have no idea who Jon's real parents are? So I don't know what to make of your theory, other than... Ick!!
Tricia Irish
4. Tektonica
Yup. Not a Catelyn fan. She is ruled by emotion. Dumb move here.

Love Jon coming to Sam's defense. Good character, I say! After all, it is a brotherhood of misfits. Why persecute one of them. They need every man and Sam must have some skill that would be useful on that Wall.

And....have a good 4th weekend, Leigh...and all!
tatiana deCarillion
5. decarillion
I often wondered if Sam admitted his cowardice as a sort-of pre-emptive strike, the way that fat comedians make fun of their portliness or other people make fun of their own perceived failings/shortcomings--they figure if they do it before someone else does, it kind of softens the blow to their ego .
cheem
6. fanganga
When I first read Cat's chapter I somehow got the impression that being recognised by Tyrion was a threat to Cat forcing her to pre-empt him by having the Tully loyalists capture him, although on reflection I'm not sure why. If she was attacked after he publicly greeted her in the inn, then there would be plenty of reason for houses that weren't fully behind the Lannisters to suspect him and be outraged, if he went back to King's Landing and told the other Lannisters that Cat was snooping around - well, they probably know anyway and certainly would once he's been captured.

Samwell seems a bit like Sansa in being one of the few people in Westeros who aren't apparently born to be warriors or plotters. While Sansa gets tangled up with Joffrey, he gets two masters who think that if bullying him doesn't make him into a warrior, the solution is to bully him harder. I'm not sure which is worse.
Roland of Gilead
7. pKp
Leigh : I won't spoil, but I'll say that your current puzzlement will be resolved soon, and probably not the way you'd expect it to.

Also, I had completely forgotten this anectode about Renly ! The last sentence's wording left me in none-too-mature stitches, though.
cheem
8. carolynh
I think I'm going to be jumping all over the place today, so forgive me for taking the Catelyn chapter first. I remember feeling that Catelyn must have felt pushed into calling out Tyrion. She clearly didn't want to be seen by him, and, I believe, was simply looking for a way to shut him up and keep him quiet. So she turned the tables on him. Catelyn has always seemed to me to be someone who reacts emotionally, rather than intellectually. This scene was very satisfying emotionally, but as Leigh said, not the smartest action she might have taken. That said, the idea of 12 swords being drawn in unison and completely turning the tables on Tyrion was an eminently satisfying one.

The Jon-Sam meeting: Truthfully, my first response to this one was, "did GRRM have to name him Sam?" The association with Lord of the Rings was just a tad too close for me. But after that reaction, this chapter left me wondering whatever was going to happen to this Sam. He's either a "red shirt" or the Wall will soon change him into some new and hopefully better version of himself. At this point, I still wasn't sure if I liked Sam, though I was sure sympathetic to his plight, assuming that he wasn't making it up, of course (you can slap me if you like, I can be really cynical sometimes). I did like that Jon stood up for him and was willing to give him a chance. I was just hoping that wasn't going to up and bite him at some point.

Ned's chapter: I was a huge Ned fan from the opening pages, but sometimes all this political wrangling and machinations make my eyes cross. I wasn't sure who the lord was who paid Gendry's fee at this point. As Leigh said, it's a wonder Robert doesn't have a dozen bastards floating around the kingdoms, so what makes this one any more interesting or important than any of the presumed others. Proximity? It was a mystery.
Colin
9. philosophygeek
Are you thinking of the line from Jurassic Park? "If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, expands to new territory, and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously."
cheem
10. PC Wheeler
I think the story of how Sam came to be the wall is very tragic. In Westeros, being fat and ungainly is about as damning as being a dwarf, cripple or bastard.
Chris Long
11. radynski
@6: I always thought the point of kidnapping Tyrion was that she had him there then, and if she let him go, they'd never get him back.

At that moment, she is sure that Tyrion is behind the assassin. And while she was perfectly prepared to let Ned gather more proof and arrest Tyrion in due course, the situation in the Inn derails that plan.

Now Tyrion will be suspicious, and likely won't hang around King's Landing. Whereas before, Ned could have waited and taken him into custody at his leisure, now Tyrion will likely be out of their grasp in Casterly Rock no matter what happens. And then there's no justice for Bran.
cheem
12. Lilly
This may ease your uncomfortable suspicions about Jon Snow's parentage, Leigh. Remember, Lyanna died during the sacking of King's Landing, which was just before Ned and Catelyn were married.. Given that Jon is the same age as Robb, it would be impossible for Lyanna to be his mother.
Rob Munnelly
13. RobMRobM
First attempt posting on my cell phone. Wish me luck. Re Jon, I see this chapter as a special cookie for Leigh. Her belovedJon acting cool. Sam is an interesting character. Query importance of ghost liking/licking him. At thispoint, I had an option 3 in mind. Will let you know later if I proved correct.

Rob

Ps. Someone else should free to post the corresponding chapters in blog of ice and fire. f
cheem
14. Paulie
I'm re-reading along with Leigh's read. I forgot a lot of the details of the first book. I'm really enjoying Leigh's reaction to a lot of the happenings. The best parts are yet to come. Can't wait...
cheem
15. sixthlight
@Lilly

Nope, that's completely wrong. Catelyn and Ned were married well before the sack, which marked the end of the rebellion; their marriage was part of the alliance that made the rebellion possible. Robb was conceived very shortly after, and Jon was conceived some short time after that, while Ned was away at war.
Sky Thibedeau
16. SkylarkThibedeau
I too thought of Vincent D'Onofrio's "Pyle" in FMJ when Sam first came on board the "Nightwatch" It will be interesting to see what influence being a friend of Jon Snow will have on him. 'Joker' and 'Cowboy' may have pitied 'Pyle' but they weren't his friend.

It is a insight to the nature of things in Westeros that having a Fat Nerd for a son is enough of a dishonor to your house that you are willing to kill him in a hunting accident to get rid of him. Too bad Ser Tarly was not cursed by the Seven with nothing but daughters.
Leigh Butler
17. leighdb
philosophygeek @ 9:

That's a good line, but not the one I was thinking of. Thanks for trying, though!
Rob Munnelly
18. RobMRobM
Lilly - timing of events is not crystal clear at this point in story and I'm not sold on stormlight's timing either, but storm is correct lyanna did not die during sack of kl.

Rob
cheem
19. Delafina
@3:

Yes. "Idiot" applies equally to men and women, whereas "bitch" has a whole bunch of connotations that have nothing to do with intelligence. So if the same behavior from a man and a woman evokes from you the response that the man is merely behaving unintelligently, while the woman is doing that, plus being "malicious, unpleasant, selfish" and "lewd," (Dictionary.com), and, in the most literal of senses, is comparable to something less than human (i.e. a dog), yes, you are being profoundly sexist.
Ian B
20. Greyfalconway
According to some witch from a flashback in book four, King robert has 16 bastards, if I'm recalling correctly lol. Thanks for the read leigh!
Sara H
21. LadyBelaine
I've always thought that Catelyn had no choice here - her original plan was to duck back home but she was exposed away from home and her bed-ridden son.

We have the benefit of knowing Tyrion's POV: Catelyn does not. All she knows is that he is a member of the family that has declared war on her family directly - targetting her brother-in-law, her son and herself for death, directly. She has circumstantial evidence that the weapon used to wound her hands was once owned by Tyrion. Her husband told her to return home and start preparing the defenses for war against House Lannister.

Catelyn, at this point, has been directed by the authorial hand into expecting the worst fron House Lannister: her options are not good from this vantage - leave the inn with just her Poor Ole Ser Rodrik and get intercepted on the road by the Evil Imp and his squad of Lannister goons? Let him go and pray that he doesn't make it Kings Landing before she can get to a safe haven and warn Ned, him (him being Tyrion, not Ned) assuming she is up to no good (Tyrion would be immediately suspicious: why is she here? Is she on the way to rally her father or her sister?) and take action with respect to her husband or daughters (they have killed before! they have tried to kill children! will they kill again?). Or maybe she just thought that rather than let him report to Evil Lannister Conspiracy High Command that House Stark is on the move, maybe she'll take him into custody and hope that will stop House Lannister from trying to murder any more members of her family?

It infuriates me that people say that this was an emotional and not intellectual decision. That's pure hooey. She ran through a series of bad options and took a calculated risk - it wasn't like "Bad Man! Seize Him!" She froze and tried to hide - if she just was fueled by raw emotion she would have immediately pounced on him.

edit: that's not what vis a vis means, Belle ;)
cheem
22. johntocaelpiano
philosophygeek @9

Yes! That's EXACTLY what I thought of when I read Leigh's post.

"Life can-can-can't be contained, it, ahhhhhh, breaks free. Life will, ahhhhh, find a way."

AND IT DID! IT TOTALLY DID!
someone else
23. Naraoia
Some writer or poet somewhere once said something (today is Specific Day!) about how life obstinately persists in digging in and persevering even in the most abjectly hostile environment, and I wish I could remember the phrasing or who wrote it, because it was beautifully put.

That sounds a lot like a line from The Living Planet by David Attenborough, actually. If I'm not making stuff up so many years after reading the book, that is.

Let’s just say, I really hope the practice of incest is going to be limited to the Lannisters in this story.

Oh my, I can't believe you just said that. "Disturbing" doesn't even begin to describe it. XD

The commander of the city watch, Janos Slynt, is complaining to the council that the influx of knights and lords for the Hand’s tourney is causing a spike in crime in the city, and says that he needs more men. Ned commands that Littlefinger find the funds to hire fifty more men, and also pledges the loan of twenty of his own house guard until the tourney is over.

I'm slightly annoyed by the numbers here. IIRC, the city watch is something like 2000 strong at this point, so really? Seventy more watchmen are going to make a difference?

Cat's chapter: In Which Shit Hits the Fan.

Catelyn was in a bit of a bind here. She was (in theory) on a secret mission, and she was outed by the very man she suspected of trying to murder her son. If there's a least bad decision in that situation, the one she made probably wasn't it... but I don't think there's any way that encounter could have turned out well for her.

(Oh, I see that LadyBelaine @21 posted a much better analysis. *Tips hat*)

Nine Quiet Lessons @2:

I think she's an interesting (and tragic) mixture of very clear-headed thinking and emotional decisions. Of course, I might just misremember her PoVs completely, but I recall her as an intelligent and politically astute person for the most part. I don't think I ever liked her, but I had to give her that.

PC Wheeler @10:

I give you House Manderly XD

Skylark @16:

It is a insight to the nature of things in Westeros that having a Fat Nerd for a son is enough of a dishonor to your house that you are willing to kill him in a hunting accident to get rid of him. Too bad Ser Tarly was not cursed by the Seven with nothing but daughters.

I think Lord Randyll is a very... exaggerated case. I don't know if your typical lord would go that far. Randyll Tarly is a jerk.

(I actively hate that guy. Probably more for being an outstanding misogynist even for that culture than for what he did to Sam.)
Simon Southey-Davis
24. Glyph
Catelyn: "There is no possible way that this could fail!"
(ObSrs: Agree with others here that Cat felt forced into action, having only bad options available. I haven't reacted against her in the way that many others seem to, but admittedly I don't read anywhere near as deeply or insightfully as they may.)

Re the 'life' quote - it's making me think of something from Discworld, something Death said. Or maybe I'm mixing up with the 'red flower' speech from Hogfather?
Michael Maxwell
25. pike747
When I first read this a few weeks ago, I really believed Cat was doing unto others before they did unto her.

Tyrion is a Lannister and not to be trusted as well as the prime suspect in her mind for the attempt on Bran's life.

She seemed to feel threatened and needed to prove, to herself and Tyrion, that she held the cards. She has none of the point of view we, the readers, enjoy that might influence us to view Tyrion somewhat favorably.
Captain Hammer
26. Randalator
Leigh

I am just as puzzled as Ned, because I was under the distinct impression Robert’s never been exactly shy about flinging his DNA around, so to speak. You’re telling me there aren’t like a dozen royal bastards wandering around? Really?
And why would it matter, anyway? It’s not like Robert’s line isn’t as secure as can be reasonably expected, with two sons and two brothers.


Strange you didn't figure that out, because in face of the strange places your mind sometimes takes you, I thought you would in a second.

I don't want to spoil, so i'll just direct you to the relevant information that we have already seen so far:

1. re-read chapter 8
2. remember that Robert is married, so there's more than one house involved
3. keeping 1+2 in mind try to come up with a scenario in which bastards could cause a problem

Technically, GRRM has already given us everything we need in order to figure out what's going on.
Eugenie Delaney
27. EmpressMaude
pike747,

"Tyrion is a Lannister and not to be trusted as well as the prime suspect in her mind for the attempt on Bran's life"

Don't forget that the assassin also tried to kill her as well. She thinks that Tyrion yadda yadda House Lannister tried to murder her and her son (who was already crippled in a mysterious accident when House Lannister was, well, in the house) and also killed her sister's husband. She's definitely chary of them, thanks to GRRM pointing her in that direction.

I agree that she took a calculated gamble based upon the (mis)information she had and a slew of bad choices, but it wasn't based on pure impulse.
cheem
28. Randomer
Lilly @12

Hold on there Lilly. I won't discuss the veracity of the statement that "it would be impossible for Lyanna to be his (Jon's) mother" because spoilers obviously. But I will say that at this point in the story, there is no definitive proof one way or another.

All we know is that Ned went south to fight the Targaryen's, and afterwards he came back with a bastard. As to the identity of the mother: RAFO. Or more accurately, "Read and speculate endlessly".
Sara H
29. LadyBelaine
Lilly@12 et al,

re: Lyanna's time and place of death

I don't we can discuss this to any degree without transgressing the Spoilers Edict until more deeply in the story. At least this book, anyway.
cheem
30. JohnnyMac
A couple of comments on Samwell Tarly.

First, this character seems to be a reinvention of one of GRRM's secondary characters in his 1983 novel "The Armageddon Rag". That character, known as "Slum" to his friends, is, like Sam, a fat, creative, peaceloving boy who is treated brutally by his militaristic shithead of a father. I could elaborate but I fear I would be crossing the line into spoiler territory.

Second, as a contrarian, may I offer a faint and heavily qualified defense of Lord Tarly, Sam's father. We need to keep in mind that his attitude toward his son is not the same as some Daddy Macho Man losing his temper because his son has announced that he is quiting the football team so he can major in Modern Dance. In Westeros, a lord who fails to maintain even a minimal reputation as a warrior is putting the status, power and, ultimately, survival of himself and his house at risk.

In an age of peace, a Lord Samwell the Fat might live out his years suffering nothing worse than a volley of comic ballads mocking his gluttony. In a time of war, a Lord Samwell who can't or won't lead his troops into battle could be stripped of his lands and title by the king. Or, being seen as a soft target by the envious and ambitious, he could end up losing title, lands and life.

That being said, I will certainly agree that Sam's father is a damn poor excuse for a parent. If he loved his eldest son at all, he could figure out a way to remove him as heir without condemning a life that combines the less attractive features of the Foreign Legion and a medieval monastery. Say, a gilded exile in Braavos as what the Victorians called a remittance man.
cheem
31. Lilly
To everyone that replied to my comment: Oh, okay then. I'm on the third book and history is STILL blurry. I think when I finish the series I'll have to start again from the beginning... :P
cheem
32. Zmflavius
@23, sure, why not?

You don't need that big of a police force in a city to keep order. For example, for NYC, a city of 8 million in the city, and 22 million in the environs, 39000 policemen are evidently sufficient. An increase of 1500 in this number, roughly the same percentage as an increase of 70 in King's Landing, would probably have a noticeable effect on any crime waves occurring in the city.
Debbie Solomon
33. dsolo
I believe Samwell's trope is Non Action Guy. Too bad Westeros doesn't have the tradition of sending sons to the church, as medieval nobles did with inconvient extra sons. The usual route in fantasy is to have that character have information or special abilities our hero will need. For example, Tyrion is well aware that he needs to be smarter than the average knight to survive.

re: King Robert's bastards -the clues are all there, Leigh.

re: Ned's bastard - EWWW! I don't think there was anything between Ned and Lyanna. The only family that condoned incest was the Tarygarens, which is why Cersei and Jaime are so desperate to keep it secret (in addition to the fact that it's treason and punishable by death). As long as there is no proof. Anyone who finds proof must die.
Bill Stusser
34. billiam
@21,
I agree with everything you said with one exeption. It was made clear, at least imo, that Cat's decision was made out of fear, hense it was an emotional decision.
Juliet Kestrel
35. Juliet_Kestrel
Hi Leigh!

I’ve been lurking for a long time on the WOT re-read and finally decided to jump in over here.

As I was reading the scene with Cat and Ty I could tell it was bad news bears from the second the singer stood up. I was yelling “No No No. Don’t do it!” at the book (In my head, mostly…I got a few weird looks from my fellow row mates on the airplane. I had primed them already with my gasps of horror at Lady’s death a little while before this). I couldn’t have articulated as well as you why I had that feeling, but that is why you have the blog and not me.

Poor Sam. I certainly can’t hold it against a guy for wanting to read books instead of getting knocked around with swords (wooden or otherwise).

For no good reason, that I can articulate anyway, I get the impression that Renly’s Shenanigans are of another flavor than the boy at the forge Shenanigans. The two Baratheon brothers each have their own sneaky, tricksy plots. What those plots are or what each of these tid bits of info means is still to be determined. Or ya know, I am totally wrong. I am not one that is usually very good at guessing things before hand. I tend tear through books and stop and think about them later.

Keep up the good work Leigh!
John Massey
36. subwoofer
@Leigh- I'm going to have to go with Randalator on this one- GRRM spells this out for us, fairly graphically- you just zigged when you shoulda zagged. Apply the same logic further with Robert, whom, IMHO is a tool. Actually, mosta the folks seem like one type of tool or another, they work the whole tool chest, and except for a few bright spots, the females seem to be fairly toolish as well.

Catlyn- gah! Granted, she has had some serious drek happen to her. Son is crippled for life, she just travelled across the galaxy to talk with her husband, and she is going back, across land, in crappy weather. The worst part is her getting her husband to trust one of the biggest tools ever. But the blundering with Tyrone is right up there too.

Sam... yeah, his dad is giving him the medieval version of tough love. Man wants a son to be strong and inherit the castle as it were, instead he gets a softy. In this day and age it would be like wanting a son that plays football, but getting a boy that will probably grow up to be the next Bill Gates. I totally get the FMJ reference tho'. When I was in boot we had a couple of guys that struggled to keep up. Best advice is "shut up and run, save your energy for that". Usually the Master Corporals would make us all run more to make sure no one was left behind. Team building 101, give everyone the common enemy- the guy busting your balls, so that the group bonds together as they all share the same misery.

Edit- & Leigh, R U sure you didn't mean to say sedition instead of seduction?

Woof™.
cheem
37. Oneshot
Cat, unfortunately, didn't have much choice. The moment Tyrion recognized her, he knew something was up.

First, she was traveling with only one wizened castellan, not a retinue. She wasn't traveling as a Lady, thus making the trip suspect and clearly sneaky.

Second, If he continued to KL, and she to Winterfell, he would've known her trip was *from* KL (the only place a Lady Stark really has any business visiting in that direction). If the Golden haired fops are anything like what she suspects, that information alone would be enough to put her daughters and husband in grave danger. and potentially bring war to the North before they were prepared.

Once Tyrion let slip he saw her, innocently or otherwise, the "why was she here" wouldn't be nearly as important as the "Why didn't we *know* she was here". Lannisters are no strangers to skullduggery, so it makes sense that their imaginations would run wild with that little informational ort.
someone else
38. Naraoia
Zmflavius @32:

Your feelings against mine? :)

I'll be happy to concede that if there are, like, studies to that effect. But not on "probably".

The other thing that bothers me about the city watch is its absolute size. If this friendly article is even remotely correct (or, heck, even more so if we go by your proportions for NYC), King's Landing would have to be an enormous city by mediaeval standards, or maintain an exceptionally large city watch, for it to have 2000 watchmen. (Just how populous is King's Landing supposed to be, anyway?)

Then again, GRRM kind of made a point of making everything in Westeros exceptionally large, so maybe I should just suspend my disbelief and shut up XD
cheem
39. anthonypero
The reason Caitlyn felt compelled to seize Tyrion seemed obvious and well thought out to me at the time. She knows the Lanisters are conspiring against Robert, and she believes they tried to kill her son to cover something up. That's why she's traveling in secret to kings landing and back. She felt she needed to capture Tyrion since he'd noticed her, and would have easily puzzled out where she had been. Since she was traveling in secret, and not with a retinue, it would have looked highly suspicious. So I think the thought was, once he noticed her, she had no choice.

Also, Leigh, you have enough information to figure out why the bastard is important at this point. Just like we had enough information to figure out who killed Asmodean, eh? No seriously, the info is there. You aren't really getting anymore, until the reveal. You'll just get more of the same kinds of clues.

Possible spoiler to the identity of the Lord who paid for the apprenticeship, not that it matters (in white):

I believe Jon Arryn paid for it.

That's all folks.
Matthew Watkins
40. oraymw
You are such a perceptive reader. You catch onto so many things that I never picked up on my first time reading through ASOIAF.

Jon's treatment of Sam was one of the things that really made me fall in love with him. He treats him with such an open mind in a world that doesn't care for Sam at all.
Matthew Watkins
41. oraymw
Also....

Wow! Can you people really not refrain from giving spoilers. Holy simolean.

Note: Telling someone that they are missing something, is a spoiler!!!! Don't do it. Don't tell Leigh -- "You should have put this together...." That is a spoiler, and it is potentially making the book less enjoyable.

You're acting like a bunch of Lannisters. "I know something you don't know. Na na na na na."
cheem
42. saterade
Hi leigh! love both your read of this and your re-reads of WoT!

@3 Yes, it's spoilerish to say "i have read all the books and i think (insert anything at all here)"

In the catelyn debate, i vote for "she always makes bad emotional decisions." There are interesting comments to both sides of this written here, but i'm leaning toward the idea of "don't see me, don't see me, don't see me, ohshiznithesawmewhatnow somebody get him!"

about ned: I was confused why he cared about a bastard too. I think you're supposed to be confused still. I call spoiler shenanigans on the people who say otherwise.

about jon and sam: this seems like a case of best-friend-waiting-to-happen syndrome
cheem
43. Megaduck
Lilly @12

I agree with you, it is not possible for Ned and Lyanna to be Jon's parent's. The time line doesn't work out.

1. Lyanna is kidnapped which starts the Rebellion.
2. Ned Marries Catlyn and fathers Rob and then goes off to war. Because Jon and Rob are the same age this sets the general time frame for Jon to be conceived as well.
3. Lyanna is never rescued or is rescued and dies soon after.

Ned and Lyanna aren’t in the same place long enough have Jon. They're separated by the war. It would have to take place before Lyanna is captured which would make Jon to old or after she is rescued in which case she dies before 9 months could pass.


@ all the Catlyn speculation.

I can't see this as anything other then a monumentally dumb decision. Catlyn starts the chapter thinking that there must not be another war at all costs, she then ends the chapter with the one thing that would GUARENTEE another war.

Just letting Tyrion go might have aroused the Lannisters suspicions but capturing him aroused their wrath. I haven’t seen a single other option in the comments here that would have worse consequences then what she did.
cheem
44. Megaduck
Sorry double post,

Naraoia @38

That is an awsome link. Thought I should mention that.
Peter Stone
45. Peter1742
33 dsolo says

I believe Samwell's trope is Non Action Guy. Too bad Westeros doesn't have the tradition of sending sons to the church, as medieval nobles did with inconvient extra sons.

Westeros does have the tradition of sending extra sons to the Citadel to be turned into maesters. In fact, at one point it is mentioned that, despite a pretense of egalitarianism, all the Grand Maesters that are elected somehow turn out to be nobly born. And this would have been perfect for Sam, who has the brains for it. However, a maester is much too girly a career for Lord Tarly's son, hence the Night's Watch. Sam's father is truly despicable.

Finally, Leigh, I won't say any more to avoid spoilers, but it's amazingly perfect that you're talking about "things that need to be killed by fire" in this chapter.
Sydo Zandstra
46. Fiddler
@Leigh

Just a few comments, which are not spoilery in my opinion, and may help your reading:

There is no incest in the House of Stark.

Do not take Robert's comments about perfect love with Lyanna for granted. That is HIS POV, and it's feeding his hatred against any Targaryan living.

And as Randalator said, the clues have been laid out. 'The seed is strong'. But you will find out soon. ;-)

Jaime Lannister is fond of his lil' bro Tyrion.
cheem
47. Fenric25
@33 dsolo

Westeros does have a tradition of giving some noble children to either the Faith of the Seven or the Citadel of the Maesters in Oldtown (Lord Walder Frey, who comes up later on, has a few children in either service, IIRC)-in fact, in a later book, Sam does remember a time when he brought up the idea of becoming a Maester to his father. Lord Randyll Tarly, militant jerkass that he is, told his son that no Tarly should serve another man and that if Sam wanted to wear chains so bad (i.e. the chain of many metals around a Maester's neck), he would make him wear them. Poor Sam had to spend several nights in his bedchamber clasped in chains, IIRC, until he relented and promised he wouldn't serve another in such a manner. Despite the fact that the Night's Watch serves the realm, Lord Tarly obviously had no problem with shipping Sam off there due to the fact that they're ostensibly warriors and the like.
Michael Maxwell
48. pike747
On Robert being a tool

Can we imagine where he is coming from? He loved loves Lyanna Stark as much as it is possible for him to love anyone. He and Ned successfully overthrow their “rightful” King because of her. Then he loses her to death and is faced with the tedium of the Game of Houses Thrones.

I once believed I had lost everything that mattered to me but my family was still alive. I had just estranged myself. To say I was a tool does not even do it justice. I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose someone you love that much to death.
Michael Maxwell
49. pike747
On behalf of RobM RobM
From a Blog of Ice and Fire

FRIDAY, MAY 29, 2009
Jon • Eddard
A new recruit suddenly appears in the practice yard. Everyone stops to stare because he's fat and rich. Samwell Tarly is also weak, cowardly, and insecure. His lord father disowned him for being such a huge wuss, and gave him a choice between taking the black and having a hunting accident. Randyll Tarly then calmly ripped the still bleeding heart out of a freshly killed deer. I take back everything I said about Southerners -- sometimes, they can be just as hardcore as the Starks.

Unsurprisingly, Fat Sam sucks at sword fighting. Ser Alliser sees an opportunity to indulge his sexual deviancy and has Halder spank Sam with a sword. Jon steps in to defend Sam, and later forms a pact with the other boys to protect him, much to the dismay of their now flaccid master-at-arms. Jon had taken Donal and Benjen’s advice to heart: Sam may be fat and pathetic, but he is still a member of the watch, and one of the few black brothers who isn't a rapist or thief.* At the end of the chapter, Jon wonders where his missing uncle went. My guess would be Benjen is busy helping Waymar reanimate dead wildlings.

* out of context, this sounds ridiculously racist
____________________

The big tournament brings many knights and whores to King's Landing. With them comes crime, conflict, and an appealing array of new smells. But it’s not all wasted money, as the Super Bowl-like atmosphere stimulates not only the whores but the entire economy of the city. Eddard doesn't like tourneys or brothels -- he would much rather execute deserters or stand solemnly in the cold. Maybe King Bob should reconsider his choice for the Hand position, because Ned isn't doing so well. Here’s a list of job titles, can you guess the ones that are well-suited for Eddard Stark? 1) High school principal, 2) prison warden, 3) late night talk show host, 4) pimp, 5) Hand of the King.

Eddard is investigating Jon Arryn’s death, which leads him to a blacksmith’s apprentice named Gendry. Eddard discovers that this boy is King Bob’s bastard son. “Gentry” means highborn or aristocrat, and while Martin probably chuckled at the wordplay, even Robert wouldn’t be so stupid when naming his secret kid. So Lord Arryn was about to discover and probably reveal that King Bob wasn’t faithful to Cersei, and the Lannisters whacked him before he could? Eddard’s thick, manly eyebrows furrow as he attempts to parse through all the mystery and political intrigue.

MONDAY, JUNE 1, 2009
Catelyn
Catelyn and Ser Rod travel north in secret. They are prissy high society folks, so they risk staying at an inn instead of camping by the road. It’s not a five star place, but it’s completely filled due to all the travelers going to King’s Landing for the tournament. The inn has a deafening dinner bell, a shoe polishing kid, and singers that solicit for money. Catelyn and Roddy were inconspicuously minding their own business when Tyrion suddenly walks in. The annoying singer draws his attention, and Tyrion quickly recognizes Cat. Since this is Catelyn’s old neighborhood, everyone knows that she is the daughter of the most important lord in the area. So when she asks for help arresting Tyrion, everyone draws their swords.

I hope Tyrion kept the receipt for that cripple-saddle. He’s very unlucky to have picked this particular inn. Why would he so readily greet Catelyn if he sent the assassin? It seems even more likely that Jaime and Cersei moved against Bran and set up their brother to take the fall. Is Cat really just going to take him back to Winterfell and execute him? Before she does that she should send a raven to Jon Snow with a letter that reads “I arrested your dwarf friend, he’s going on trial for murder. It should have been you.”
Nathan Rice
50. quazar87
Well Robert loved Lyanna, and Renly is willing to do whatever it takes to get his brother out from under the Lannisters. For the sake of his inheritance, if nothing else. If Robert could meet this highborn girl who's said to resemble Lyanna...
cheem
51. aliasnotinuse
@38
Enormous by medieval standers, but Westeros is an empire of seven kingdoms, so maybe more comparable to Rome. Rome was estimated to have around 1 million inhabitants.
cheem
52. CaptainBooshi
I'm not personally a Catelyn fan, but I have to agree with the people who are saying that is not an emotional reaction. She chose the best of her limited, poor choices, as already laid out by the other people here. An emotional reaction would be if she just stabbed him.

billiam@34, just because you are feeling an emotion, doesn't mean that your actions are dictated by that emotion. She was afraid, understandably, in the face of a disastrous occurance, but I see no evidence that fear caused her to choose as she did. Like other people have said already, she actually did choose the best course of action that she could with the information she had available to her.

Something to remember as well is that when she and Robert argued about becoming the King's Hand, it was he who argued from emotion and her from logic and reasoning. That's why I hated that scene in the TV show, because it sets up her character wrong for the rest of the series. The simple fact of the matter is that Catelyn is usually the logical one, and it just sucks that it doesn't actually help her out in the generally sucky world that is Westeros.
cheem
53. Megaduck
Captainbooshi @52

I have not really heard an argument on why just saying "Hi, what are you doing here Milord?" is a worse choice then kidnapping him.

Yes, it might make the Lannisters suspicious that she is there. Yes he might try to pursue her. However, there are ways to deal with both of those. She proves next chapter that she can outrun pursuit.

If she really wants to deflect suspicion she can try to say, “My father is really ill and I’m going to visit him. Why wasn’t I at Winterfell? Had a small problem with a banner man I was going to sort out.” Sure, it might make Tyrion think she might be up to something as opposed to kidnapping him that PROVES she is up to something.

It’s also not like Tyrion is going to get away. As the deformed son of the richest and one of the most powerful men in the kingdom he’s going to be really easy to find. Get the proof first and then try to arrest him.

Anyway I look at it, out of all her choices she choose the worst one possible.

Here are two great posts that look at the dynamics of her decision to leave Winterfell and then to Kidnap Tyrion. The first discussion of each link is unspoiler, the second discussion of each link has spoilers.

On her going to Kings Landing
http://www.boomtron.com/2011/02/a-game-of-thrones-chapter-14-reread-catelyn/

On her arriving at Kings Landing
http://www.boomtron.com/2011/04/a-game-of-thrones-reread-catelyn-stark-chapter-18/

On her kidnapping Tyrion
http://www.boomtron.com/2011/05/a-game-of-thrones-reread-catelyn-stark-chapter-28/
cheem
54. FiFi
Just to throw something new into the ring...

Any chance Jon's Lyannas son by Rhaegar? On the for side I get it's more in keeping with Neds character, i.e. he didn't cheat on Catelyn. It would explain his reluctance to talk about Jons parentage (have to assume that being a Targaryen is bad news in the current political climate) and his love for Jon (the way Jon's treated as a bastard doesn't match any other houses method of treating them. And I don't think I remember Ned saying that Jon was his - more a general assumption that everyone knows he is. Against I have Jon looks like a Stark and the Targaryens have distinctive colouring. Robert thinks Jon is Neds and one would assume that he'd know as they were together throughout that general period. Also Ghost implies he's a Stark, whereas it would be more ideal for Jon to get a dragon :)

Also am I the only person that doesn't immediately think of Samwise Gamgee when reading about Sam Tarly. Yes Sam might be a sidekick, but I've never read Samwise as being a coward.
Tricia Irish
55. Tektonica
The phrase you may be looking for Leigh is, "Life will out". I've googled it, but all they bring up is Jurassic park....but this is an OLD phrase...probably Darwin or some poet...I've known it since college, at least.

LadyBelaine@21: I'm going to respectfully disagree with your parsing of Catelyn's nabbing Tyrion.......I think she almost always makes emotional decisions...not just here.

Her options were several.....yes, she could've been overrun by the Lannister goons, as you say, but Tyrion doesn't know of her suspicions. And she could've commandeered some of the other nobles there in the tavern that are sworn to her father, if she felt she needed more of an escort.

Tyrions's just come from Winterfell, as a matter of fact, and while not warmly greeted there, he did engender some good will, by offering plans for the saddle for Bran. Now, Catelyn doesn't know any of this, it's true. She has no clue why Tyrion is there. ( And as she is close to River Run, her ancestral home, it's logical that she might be in the area.)


Perhaps a less emotional and more politically astute method of dealing with Tyrion, with only a suspect dagger and a hunch to go on, would've been to have invited him to sup with her, and ask a few probing questions. She would've learned about Winterfell and Bran's progress....and maybe have started to doubt her assumptions. In fact, Tyrion can be very candid, and no doubt suspects his brother and sister, since he knows what they're up to. He might have even volunteered to investigate?

Either way, if Catelyn did gather enough hard evidence against Tyrion eventually, Ned was in a perfect position in King's Landing to arrest him. Now she has infuriated the Lannisters, who have 3 of her family in their control. Very risky and rash, imho.
Sara H
56. LadyBelaine
Megaduck, Tektonica:

"Perhaps a less emotional and more politically astute method of dealing with Tyrion, with only a suspect dagger and a hunch to go on, would've been to have invited him to sup with her, and ask a few probing questions. She would've learned about Winterfell and Bran's progress....and maybe have started to doubt her assumptions. In fact, Tyrion can be very candid, and no doubt suspects his brother and sister, since he knows what they're up to. He might have even volunteered to investigate?"

From her perspective, being an intended recipient of a throat slashing in her own home, you expect her to quietly sup with the man she suspects was at the very least, partially behind that, and the attempted murder of her son, as well as the murder of her sister's husband? And what, probe for evidence? She is very understandably concerned and wary of him and the family of which he is a member.

From her POV at this point in time, the Lannisters are capable of anything: murdering Prime Ministers as well as crippled bed-ridden children (don't you think that she is also a little bit aware that Bran happened to fall when the Lannistesr were around, when he never fell before?). Her entire journey south was done with secrecy and expediency in mind - do you really think that anyone would be fooled with her travelling in mud-encrusted clothing without a proper retinue if she were to say, "I hi, I just decided to pop in on my father and see how he was doing! Oh, don't mind me, I always travel like this! What's new with you? Arranged any secret murders lately? Pass the wine, milord. Oh, that was a lovely meal. Kthx bye!"
Rob Munnelly
57. RobMRobM
Pike @49. Thanks! Couple of good lines in the Blog this week.

Re Cat, it was an emotional response, imo, but logically executed. It felt good to take tyrion into her custody. She was not thinling of the many potential risks, including to her famoily in KL. I do think she had personal safety/cover story options, especially telling people she was heading to Riverrun to see her ill father.

Rob
Leigh Butler
58. leighdb
Tektonica @ 55:


The phrase you may be looking for Leigh is, "Life will out".



Hmm. I think the quote I was thinking of was longer, but nevertheless, that's a wonderfully succinct way of summing it up, isn't it? I like it. Thanks!
cheem
59. CaptainBooshi
Megaduck@53

First of all, "get the proof first and then try to arrest him?" Once he's back with his family, he' s pretty much untouchable for anything but the strongest of evidence, and maybe even then. His family is debatably the most powerful family in the kingdom, and in this world, their honor and reputation would demand complete protection, whether or not they even cared what happened to him.

Also, to decide whether or not a decision is rational (for a character or a person in real life, for that matter), you have to consider only what information they have. From Catelyn's point-of-view, she is sitting across from the man who's already tried to kill one of her family, part of a family that is willing to kill anyone, even the second most powerful man in the kingdom. She's relatively unguarded. If she lets Tyrion go, she probably expects there would be someone trying to kill her within hours.

Also, like I said earlier, this may be her only chance to get any justice on any one of the Lannisters, ever. There is no guarantee that any of the Lannisters will be punished for what they did at Winterfell, no matter what evidence Ned finds. They are essentially immune to any repercussions, especially with as weak a king as Robert.

At the very least, her cover is blown for sure now, and doing this gives the Lannisters a reason for why she traveled all this way incognito. If she just acts like there's no big deal, they're no doubt going to be looking for other reasons for this subterfuge, which might cause huge trouble for Ned's searches, while this one focuses them in on a very obvious reason.

I'd like to say again, I don't really like her character, but I think the charges that she's acting emotionally only are just unfair. If I had to guess, I think they are coming from the fact that we know better than she does, and, to be honest, from the fact that she's a woman, and it is culturally a lot easier to judge a woman making bad decisions as emotional than logical.
cheem
60. Megaduck
Captainbooshi @59

The logic that she should arrest him as soon as she had the chance also means she should have tried to arrest Tyrion, Cercei, and Jaime as soon as she read Lysa's letter about Jon Arryns death. I don't buy that argument.

One way or another arresting Tyrion is going to cause a war, either to arrest him or to keep him arrested. It only makes sense to be as ready for what war as possible. Heck, at least warn your husband who is sitting with your daughtors right in the middle of lannister power what your going to do!

As for the emotion, yes, it's culturly easier to say that because she is a woman she reacts emotionally, that doesn't mean that it's wrong however.

I draw your attention to the chapter itself. The chapter starts with Cat mentally monologuing how it's vital that they avoid war. She then promply starts a war.

When she's arresting him it even goes "There was no time to think..." This has every indication of a snap decision.

Look also at the reader responces. I don't think anyone has ever read this chapter and went "Good thinking Cat." at the end. Leigh went "This is not going to end well." And then went into a few reasons why it would not end well.

This is not a "Well she had a bunch of bad choices and she made a the best one." sort of decision. This is a pure "WTF" decision.

So why does Cat make a decision that basically makes all the readers go "Oh crud this is going to be bad." A snap decision that goes against every single argument she herself comes up with erlier in the very same chapter?

I don't think it's a coincidence that this horrible decision is the very same one that is the most satisfying to Cat emotionally. She gets to arrest the man that tried to kill her son and maimed her.

LadyBelaine @56.

I agree with all of your assertions. The lannisters are a powerfull and ruthless family. All of which is why it's a bad idea to throw down an open decleration of war on them on three seconds thought.
Eugenie Delaney
62. EmpressMaude
Hold on to your horses, boys and girls, because this is long and contains a very lengthy quote; however, I think this conversation needs to wind down shortly here because this debate tends to get very vitriolic (Catelyn's a rash emotional woman/no, she had no choice; she should do what her husband told her/ events forced her think independently) and because not all the participants in this thread now what is coming. We can't really discuss the merits of this decision without uploading what happens later.

However, here is the relevant passage:
The crossroads gave her pause. If they turned west from here, it was an easy ride down to Riverrun. Her father had always given her wise counsel when she needed it most, and she yearned to talk to him, to warn him of the gathering storm. In Winterfell needed to brace for war, how much more so Riverrun so much closer to King's Landing, with the power of Casterly Rock looming to the west like a shadow. If her father had been stronger, she might have chanced it, but Hoster Tully had been bedridden these past two years, and Catelyn was loathe to tax him now.
The eastern road was wilder and more dangerous, climbing through the rocky foothills and thick forests of the Mountains of the Moon, past high passes and deep chasms to the Vale of Arryn and the stony Fingers beyond. Above the Vale, the Eyrie stood high and impregnable, its towers reaching for the sky. There she would find her sister ... and perhaps some of the answers Ned sought, Surely Lysa knew more than she dared put in her letter. She might have the very proof that Ned needed to bring the Lannisters to ruin, and if it came to war, they would need the Arryns and the eastern lords who owed them service.
Yet the mountain roads were perilous. Shadowcats prowled those passes, rock slides were common and the mountain clans were lawless brigands, descending from the heights to rob and kill and melting away like snow whenever the knights rode out from the Vale in search of them. Even Jon Arryn, as great a lord as the Eyrie had ever known, had always travelled in strength when he cross the mountains. Catelyn's only strength was one elderly knight, armored in loyalty.
No, she thought, Riverrun and the Eyrie would have to wait. Her path ran north to Winterfell, where her sons and her duty were waiting for her. As soon as they were safely past the Neck, she could declare herself to one of Ned's bannermen and send riders racing ahead with orders to mount a watch on the Kingsroad.

Catelyn knew them all: the Blackwoods and the Brackens, ever enemies whose quarrels her father was obliged to settle; Lady Whent, last of her line, who dwelt with her ghosts in the cavernous vaults of Harrenhal; irascible Lord Frey, who had outlived seven wives and filled his twin castles with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and bastards and grandbastards as well. All of them were sworn to the service of Riverrun. Catelyn wondered if that would be enough, if it came to war. Her father was the staunchest man who'd ever lived, and she had no doubt that he would call his banners.... but would those banners come? The Darrys and the Rygers and Mootons had sworn oaths to Riverrun as well, yet they'd fought with Rhaegar Targaryen on the Trident, while Lord Walder Frey had arrived with his levies well after the battle was over, leaving some doubt as to which army he had planned to join (theirs, he had assured the victors solemnly in the aftermath, but ever after her father has called him the Late Lord Frey). It must not come to war, Catelyn thought fervently. They must not let it." "I was still Catelyn Tully the last time I had bedded here," she told the innkeep. She could hear the muttering, feel the eyes upon her. Catelyn glanced around the room, at the faces of the knights and swords and took a deep breath to slow the frantic beating of her heart. Did she dare take the risk? There was no time to think it through, only the moment and the sound of her own voice ringing in her ears. "You in the corner," she said to an older man she had not noticed until now. "Is that the black bat of Harrenhal I see embroidered on your surcoat, ser?"





The man got to his feet. "It is, my lady."
"And is Lady Whent a true and honest friend to my father, Lord Hoster Tully of Riverrun?" "She is," the main replied stoutly.
Ser Rodrik rose quietly and loosened his sword in its scabbard. The dwarf was blinking at them, blank faced with puzzlement in his mismatched eyes.
"The red stallion was ever a welcome sight at Riverrun," she said to the trio by the fire. "My father counts Jonos Bracken among his oldest and most loyal bannermen."
The three men-at-arms exchanged uncertain looks. "Our lord is honored by his trust," one them said hesitantly."
"I envy your father all these fine friends," Lannister quipped, "but I do note quite see the purpose of this, Lady Stark."
She ignored him, turning to the large party in blue and grey. They were the heart of the matter, there were more than twenty of them. " I know your sigil as well: the twin towers of Frey. How fares your good lord, sers?"
Their captain rose. "Lord Walder is well, my lady. He plans to take a new wife on his ninetieth name day and has asked your lord father to honor the wedding with his presence."
Tyrion Lannister sniggered. That was when Catelyn knew he was hers. "This man came into my house and there conspired to murder my son, a boy of seven," she proclaimed to the room at large, pointing. Ser Rodrik moved to her side, his sword in hand. "In the name of King Robert and the good lords you serve, I call upon you to seize him and help me return him to Winterfell to await the king's justice."
She did not know what was more satisfying: the sound of a dozen swords drawn as one or the look on Tyrion Lannister's face.




For those who say that Catelyn wasn't thinking ahead, what say you to the sections in that passage that show her clearly weighing the options regarding where and how she should go? Then she gets busted and she realizes that perhaps the only time to get the upper hand against the pack of murders was right then and there.


You may think it was the wrong choice (and those that never suggest anything other than chat him up and then go merrily about her way - which never accounts for the dastardly deeds Catleyn has programmed to expect at this point) but after engaging in this debate for over ten years, I can say that more often than not, those who decry Catelyn's decision or blame it on her being emotional/hysterical are often those who exude not-so-subtle sexism. Not all, of course, but the correlation is quite common.

(another signal, imho, is those who refer to it as a 'kidnap' as opposed to an 'arrest' - which is the text clearly denotes).

edit: typoos ;)
Tricia Irish
63. Tektonica
Empressmaude@62: those who decry Catelyn's decision or blame it on her being emotional/hysterical are often exude not-so-subtle sexism.

I resemble that remark!
I also think there are plenty of men that would've made an emotional decision in the same situation, and probably drawn their sword and started an all out war right there. Women have no corner on the emotional market.

Catelyn's actions were not politically astute. She has not had to play that game, which is so very prominent in Kings Landing. She is certainly aware of it, having been raised a Tully, but it's not something she had to do on a daily basis, and she's either out of practice or too honest and straightforward, like her husband, to be any good at it.

I certainly don't blame her for being enraged at the sight of Tyrion and the other Lannisters he represents. An attempt on her own life and that of her son seems to be laid squarely on them. But what about the position of Ned, Sansa and Arya? They are virtual prisoners in Kings Landing under the control of the Lannisters.

All I'm saying is, it was not completely thought through. She could've paused, contemplated throughout her dinner and made a plan more slowly. Her emotions...anger and fear, won the day....too quickly.

By the way....it's good that characters react to situations in different ways. Catelyn is a catalyst for plot movement in this book. That's a good thing. But we the readers are free to groan when someone does something dumb.
Rob Munnelly
64. RobMRobM
Empress maude - not convined by your arguments (aand really don't appreciste you pulling out the sexism card for many of those who disagree with you.) My post above describes the state of affairs - an emotional decision logically executed. Cat has a very strong tactical mind, as is seen how she acts here and in some future events that we can't discuss, but is not showing a stromg stategic sense that assesses the pros and cons of her decision. She takes tyrion into custody and exults over it, without any apparent understanding of the harms it likely would cause to those around her.

I like and value Cat as a character but I have troble classifying this as anything other than a dumb, illogical decision

Rob

Ps apologize for spelling misdtakes but hard to correct on my mobile device.
Eugenie Delaney
65. EmpressMaude
Tektonica, Rob,

I carefully didn't accuse everyone who disagrees with Catelyn's decision as sexist: if you thought that somehow that applies to you, well, I apologize that you felt that appellation matched your opinions. That was not my intent. Nor was I the first person to raise the spectre of sexism, for that matter.

However, as a veteran of a decade (really? Wow!) of the wars waged over on Elio Garcia's board, I can state with a certainly that well over 60% of the anti-Catelyn coments are leveled because she's hysterical/rash/emotional (classic sexist comments), that she didn't do what she told to do by husband (or other patriarchal figure in her life), and that everything that flows from this .. well, you know.

Even in this thread people felt comfortable leveling the insult "stupid bitch" at Catelyn instead of just "foolish woman" "or stupid woman, " or even "stupid broad/dame/chick." I find that very, very telling.

That's all.
cheem
66. Megaduck
EmpressMaude @62
but after engaging in this debate for over ten years, I can say that more often than not, those who decry Catelyn's decision or blame it on her being emotional/hysterical are often exude not-so-subtle sexism.

That is a rather difficult argument to defend against. I can’t prove whether I’m sexist or not. All I can do is back up my opinions with examples and analysis from what is in the text.

EmpressMaude @62
For those who say that Catelyn wasn't thinking ahead, what say you to the sections in that passage that show her clearly weighing the options regarding where and how she should go?

She is thinking ahead. Catelyn isn’t an idiot. She runs through the numbers and comes up to the following conclusion.
[i] It must not come to war, Catelyn thought fervently. They must not let it.
This is good analysis. She runs the numbers and realizes that if it comes to open warfare they are in trouble. Therefore she determines that it must not come to war. Good, I agree with her completely. Therefore, the rational thing to do would be to try and avoid war.

We then get this line, There was no time to think it through, only the moment and the sound of her own voice ringing in her ears.

This is not the line of someone going through things logically. At this point Tyrion has (unknowingly) provoked her, she’s had her plans disarrayed, and she’s making snap decisions without thinking with them. She lets go of all her previous analysis and makes the decision that emotionally feels right.

I can’t connect a chain of logic that results in her decision to arrest/kidnap Tyrion, I can connect an emotional chain.

EmpressMaude @62
Then she gets busted and she realizes that perhaps the only time to get the upper hand against the pack of murders was right then and there.

Can you provide a quote for her realizing this? I don’t see anything in the text that supports her thinking that she has to take him now or he’ll get away.


Now, because I don’t think I’ve been controversial enough for one post. Let me continue one step further and say this marks a pattern of Catelyn’s. Her flaw is that she tends to let her current emotions overrule her good sense. Witness her reaction to Bran’s fall. Also note, this does not make her unique. Plenty of other characters do the same thing, heading the list with of all people Tyrion himself. In this case however it’s her bad decision we’re discussing. I will discuss other characters poorly thought out decisions at length when we come to them.
EmpressMaude @62
but after engaging in this debate for over ten years, I can say that more often than not, those who decry Catelyn's decision or blame it on her being emotional/hysterical are often exude not-so-subtle sexism.

That is a rather difficult argument to defend against. I can’t prove whether I’m sexist or not. All I can do is back up my opinions with examples and analysis from what is in the text.

EmpressMaude @62
For those who say that Catelyn wasn't thinking ahead, what say you to the sections in that passage that show her clearly weighing the options regarding where and how she should go?

She is thinking ahead. Catelyn isn’t an idiot. She runs through the numbers and comes up to the following conclusion.
[i] It must not come to war, Catelyn thought fervently. They must not let it.
This is good analysis. She runs the numbers and realizes that if it comes to open warfare they are in trouble. Therefore she determines that it must not come to war. Good, I agree with her completely. Therefore, the rational thing to do would be to try and avoid war.

We then get this line, There was no time to think it through, only the moment and the sound of her own voice ringing in her ears.

This is not the line of someone going through things logically. At this point Tyrion has (unknowingly) provoked her, she’s had her plans disarrayed, and she’s making snap decisions without thinking with them. She lets go of all her previous analysis and makes the decision that emotionally feels right.

I can’t connect a chain of logic that results in her decision to arrest/kidnap Tyrion, I can connect an emotional chain.

EmpressMaude @62
Then she gets busted and she realizes that perhaps the only time to get the upper hand against the pack of murders was right then and there.

Can you provide a quote for her realizing this? I don’t see anything in the text that supports her thinking that she has to take him now or he’ll get away.


Now, because I don’t think I’ve been controversial enough for one post. Let me continue one step further and say this marks a pattern of Catelyn’s. Her flaw is that she tends to let her current emotions overrule her good sense. Witness her reaction to Bran’s fall. Also note, this does not make her unique. Plenty of other characters do the same thing, heading the list with of all people Tyrion himself. In this case however it’s her bad decision we’re discussing. I will discuss other characters poorly thought out decisions at length when we come to them.
cheem
67. John_twk
Tenesmus@3: OF COURSE "X is not resolved yet!" is a spoiler. It tells about something that DOESN'T happen, in response to Our Host posting a "I wonder?"

All things that reference the content of future books, whether by talking about what is in them or what isn't in them, contain spoilers.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
68. tnh
EmpressMaude @62, I appreciate your concern about maintaining a civil thread, and even more your recognition that a particular argument is likely to generate spoilers.

I like to think that most people have figured out these days that the internet is not the Wild West. For those who haven't, hitting "flag" in the message header will cause a notice to pop up in my email in a hot New York quarter-hour. (Actually, it's been getting faster.)

May I ask something as a personal favor? Please don't use boldface for emphasis. It's the typographical equivalent of escalating weapons deployment.
John Massey
69. subwoofer
Hi Tnh:D

Hmmmmmm.... for those whom think that the er, bastard discussion is spoilerish- well dang it, don't make me find my book and start quoting passages- from previous chapters- cause it is spelled out for us on many levels what Ned is looking for. Bran was already tossed from the tower at this point so geeze- it is not a great leap of logic here. And Robert himself has said stuff. It was icky, but he did.

As for Robert being a tool, well, I hear the arguement about being devastated and such, but the man can abdicate the throne. He's a craptastic king, don't even get me started about the debt to the Lannisters that the kingdom is in. On top of that, he has a harpy for a wife, a snot for a er... son, and he leaves all the truly kingly stuff for his Hand to do, then he dogs them out for doing what is in the best interests of the kingdom (re, Ned's predicessor) And instead of coming to terms with any of this the man is self medicating in the form of drinking and eating and wenching himself to death. I thought I was being gentle by calling him a tool... well okay, he's a likeable, but crappy king.


Woof™.
John Massey
70. subwoofer
@Empress Maude- well, my personal issue is that all Catelyn has is a knife from a midget that is not remarkably spry. Yes it is rare blah ba blah ba blah... but the fact remains is that all she has is that knife... and the corpse of the would be assassin... and the say so of a douche. Not a whole heck of a lot to go on to accuse the son of arguably the strongest house in the kingdom. Knives can be misplaced or stolen... especially if it is a midget that does not use/need to go about armed on a regular basis. I dunno, but it wouldn't really hold up in a court of law. Perhaps and eye witness or something corroborating in terms of evidence. Without going further into the book, I can tell you that Lannisters seem slimy (brother and sister going at it- yak lalalala) and Tyrion oddly enough seems like the ugliest nice guy of the bunch so I'm cutting him some slack here, he was nice to Jon Snow after all.

Woof™.
Sara H
71. LadyBelaine
Subwoofer,

I don't think (nor, would EmpressMaude, I hazard to guess) that Catelyn thinks that Tyrion is the assassin; that would be silly, especially since Catelyn, you know, actually was attacked by the assassin and knows it not be Tyrion (that assassin was rendered into Direwolf Chow). Your suggestion, with your snark about 'going armed and/or being not very spry' that EmpressMaude is suggesting that Catelyn though *Tyrion* was the assassin is, well, quite patronizing.

What does Catelyn have is a series of amazing coincidences (Bran's fall and the attempt on hers and Bran's lives all happening in a relatively conmpact period of time that overlaps with a) the Lannisters visiting and b) her sister telling her that the Lannisters murdered Jon Arryn. This spate of threats of murder and attempted murder - to which the Stark family was not constantly subject to prior to the Lannister family coming and going would certainly send her into a position of founded suspicion regarding their involvment, no?

She also has the 'say-so' of a foster brother who was raised in her family castle and professed to love her once and has seemingly risen high at Court.

I am going to ask you a pair of questions you can't answer without transgressing the Spoilers Edict:

Should Catelyn know that a) Petyr is a douche? b) should she know that the man who is known as the Imp, of all things, is the nicest guy of the bunch?

As I mentioned above, Catelyn was sent off with accusations and circumstantial evidence that the Lannisters are a murdering spree.

I would also direct your attention to the quote when I ask you whatdo you mean about holding up in a court of law? Catelyn didn't execute sentence right there - she arrested him on mumble mumble legal authority to await the King's Justice - one doesn't always have all the evidence one needs to convict at the time of arrest. She has a founded suspicion (which at this point in the books, she can have no way of knowing is right or wrong - from her POV, all points are in favor of right) that Tyrion et al were resposnsible for mayhem while a guest in her home.
Rob Munnelly
72. RobMRobM
@65. Thanks for the clarification of intent. Appreciate that.

@71. Please be nice to Woof. He only barks a bit and doesn't bite.

And on the merits, to an indepedent decisionmaker for the King's Justice (which is where this dispute should end up), Winterfell was full of both Lannisters and Baratheons, any one of which could have had it in for Bran (at fall or knife stages or both). There is no compelling facts regarding Lannister involvement that Cat could offer to an independent decisionmaker at this point. So... how could this possibly be anticipated to turn out well (and, no, I won't discuss how thing do turn out eventually)? Hmmmm...

Rob
Rob Munnelly
73. RobMRobM
I should also put in a qualified defense for Randyll Tarly. It is a significant problem with the system in place that an unsuitable eldest son can be a disaster to a House and all of the many individuals and sub-lords protected by the House. Westeros is a tough place, and a lord's decisions can literally mean life or death to hundreds. One that is physically and emotionally weak, who would be detested by subject knights, armsmen and lords, would be a disaster. So the issue is not whether Sam would inherit the lordship - he can't - but the manner in which he is disinherited. Tarly accomplished this is an excessively brutal manner and is rightly scorned by most readers. Would be feel the same if he was sent to one of the Free Cities with money and a couple of retainers to become an exiled businessman? Or forced to become a Maester against his will? Food for thought.

Rob
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
74. tnh
Subwoofer, I have a terrible confession to make: I haven't read the whole series. Also, this forum software tells me when a message is flagged, but not why it's flagged. I therefore err on the side of caution with possible spoilers. If I'm wrong, there's not a lot of harm done. But if I don't white-out a message and someone gets hit between the eyes with a spoiler, there's no way to fix the damage.
John Massey
75. subwoofer
@Tnh- S'ok- I haven't read the whole series either:) Just got through book one- but I can see enough from GRRM's writing style and reading between the lines. I don't know what will happen but I can see what is happening now.

@LadyB- not sure if you meant for "snark" and "Stark" to rhyme. Oh well:P Guess you are in the camp of Catyln followers. Good on you. Nope, what I was snarkily (not sure how to spell that) suggesting was that Tyrion travels with body guards and may not be constantly aware of where his dagger is or even if it is stolen. He could keep it in a chest at home somewhere and a person hoping to implicate him could have stolen it- thus the smoking gun. What I was suggesting is that a normal person... er, knight, traveler whatever, goes along and is constantly aware of the sword at his hip because he depends on it. Tyrion, not so much, he depends on his body guards.

@Rob- s'ok, but thanks, I respond when I have the time... which is slipping away right now.

As for court of law, I thought I was pretty strait forward with that... If Catyln was to go before the king and say, "hey, I think this guy plotteed totried to kill my son and then the assassin tried to kill me when I interupted the plan- here's his knife", and the king then had to pass judgement on a Lannister- brother to his wife- well, I think he'd ask for more evidence. Edit-And all things are not above board and so cut and dried, if so, Catyln would not need to hide her identity while traveling.

As to the rest- what is the point of asking questions I can't answer on a non spoiler thread? Why don't we just discuss the factual existence of unicorns instead?

Woof™.
cheem
76. Looking Glass
Naraoia @38: Honestly, medieval Europe is probably not the best parallel for Westeros. I tend to think more of the civil wars ending the Roman republic, though Three Kingdoms China is probably an even better match for the action of the series. King’s Landing is the capitol of a centuries-old and continent-spanning empire (and the seven kingdoms before that were there for something like eight thousand years?); a city the size of ancient Rome doesn’t seem particularly out of the question. Two thousand watchmen at 150-300 citizens apiece would be 300-600,000 people, which is still a bit smaller than Rome.
--
Ok, so Lord Tarly is a mean SOB, and I do feel sympathy for Sam... but at the same time, it’s hard to see how handing a feudal lordship to Sam would work out well for anyone. Even under ordinary conditions, much less now that everything’s about to go to hell.
--
Hm… I hadn’t thought about it previously, but now the idea that Jon is Lyanna’s (hers and not Ned’s, ick) son is quite the interesting one. Though it’s hard to imagine that one going by without being rumored, at the least.
Marcus W
77. toryx
I'm no fan of Catelyn and if I say what I think of Catelyn's decision it'll constitute as a spoiler.

Side note: Funny that people don't think of that; to someone who hasn't read beyond this chapter yet, the result of Catelyn's decision determines whether it actually was a bad idea or not. When ten people say, "That was a dumb move!" it's potentially informing the new reader of the result of the action, even if it contains no specific details.

Anyway, I do agree that Catelyn by and large acts emotionally. I'm not going to disagree with that. What cracks me up, however, is how many people criticize her for that. Now I've known a lot of logical people in my day but when push comes to shove, I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't act with emotion first when something terrifying or uncertain is happening and time is of the essence. Maybe not in every such situation but frequently, that's the way we tend to react. It's part of being human (as opposed to, say, Vulcan).

Everyone who is criticizing Catelyn for being SO emotional is making a judgement from a very comfortable position. Would any of us really be less emotional when events are happening this fast? She's been traveling long distances like crazy, she's deprived of her husband and her children. She's well aware that every decision she makes can affect the safety of her entire family. It's not like she's in a nice comfortable place where she can carefully reason out the full ramifications of her choices.

It's one thing to allow emotion to drive you when you have time to think things through but in this particular instance she simply didn't have that time. It was a now or never moment and by and large such moments are usually dealt with emotionally.
John Massey
78. subwoofer
@toryx- well I dunno- I think it would be safe to say that Cersei is fairly douchy. From the way she's raising her son, to the way she treats her husband to how she's knocking boots with her brother (ick ick ick). Nothing spoilerific there, she'd just have to spend the rest of this series being Mother Theresa to redeem herself.

As for reacting from an emotional state, most of the folks in this book who are not career bureaucrats seem to come from one emotional place or another. Ned is the only one whom is not a eunuch that seems to avoid being so passionate. Quite the contrast to his wife. I dunno, maybe this is the first of an ongoing theme that women are er... emotional and not fit to rule- note, I'm not saying this, I am just interpreting the way GRRM seems to be writing characters here. Maybe one of the ladies will come out on top in the end, but it seems to me that most decisions made in the heat of things complicate the snot outta future events. Take all the bastard children for instance... made in the heat of misplaced passion, hard life for the children growing up and the er half mothers don't like them and if the fathers do the right thing ie- find the kid an occupation like blacksmithing/ Black Watch, it still leaves a mark and a feeling that cannot be erased.

Woof™.
cheem
79. Steve L
subwoofer@70:
"Yes it is rare blah ba blah ba blah... but the fact remains is that all
she has is that knife... and the corpse of the would be assassin... and
the say so of a douche."

Said 'douche' is the Master of Coins for King Robert I Baratheon. While Littlefinger isn't a lord, he is a high-ranking government official (the equivalent of Secretary of the Treasury, a Cabinet-level position in the US) and so his say-so may carry some weight. Would this be enough to convict Tyrion in King's Landing? No. But they're not _in_ King's Landing, now are they?
cheem
80. J M Cornwell
As I was reading your commentary about Sam, it suddenly struck me that Samwell is quite close to Samwise, as in Gamgee, and that Sam is likely to be a hero in some way. Samwise was also fat and an unlikely hero, but he was faithful and strong and determined, traits that Samwell Tarly possesses as well. Could be interesting.

I am farther along in the reading that you are (more than halfway through A Clash of Kings, and it's still riveting and interesting and I wish I could spend more time reading it.
cheem
81. David B
This is not a spoiler to the speculation at the end of Chapter 26...well, not really.

As of today, that question has still not been answered.

But, based solely on events that are revealed in the future (exposition, not action), I don't think it's anything Targarayen or Lannister-like. There's just no time for it.
cheem
82. Wortmauer
Steve L@79: say-so may carry some weight. Would this be enough to convict Tyrion in King's Landing? No. But they're not _in_ King's Landing, now are they?
No, they are not. Neither is the dagger. Nor the guy who knows whose dagger it is. In short, she's got no evidence except her own third-hand testimony. So what the tanj is Catelyn's plan? What's she gonna tell the court wherever she seeks trial? "Your Honor, would you please hold this halfman while I send for King's Landing, from which I visited and escaped in secret, but somehow I figure I can sneak somebody back in to borrow a knife back from my husband. And, speaking of King's Landing, I need to summon a cabinet-level minister from the small council of the king, who by the way is the brother-in-law of the accused. I'm sure Lord Baelish will come right up here, willing and able to get away from his important post in King's Landing too stealthy and quick for the queen or her family to interfere."

I just can't see it. So her other option, and we have to assume her Plan A, is to shrug off the fact that her entire case against Tyrion is third-hand hearsay and he-said-she-said, and will stay that way (until, e.g., someone discovers Travelling, weaves a gateway, and spirits Littlefinger out of one of his brothels). I guess she can shop for a friendly venue in which to prosecute, like Winterfell, Riverrun or anywhere in between, where the judge is a vassal to either her father or her husband. (Bah, long sentence.) Then of course lean on her connections. Pragmatic? Maybe, but I thought the Starks were a little more honorable. I mean, at some point, why even talk the talk? Which brings us to Option 3: just order someone with a sword to make the short man shorter, and to heck with due process.

Not a Catelyn fan, as I'm sure you all will be shocked to hear.
cheem
83. Wortmauer
Tenesmus@3, Fiddler@46, David B@81 and especially friggin' Randalator@26: Guys, guys! I'm trying very hard right now not to go ad hominem on you lot. So instead let me just present:




What is a spoiler?
by Wortmauer

Let's start with a common misconception: A spoiler does not just mean telling us what happens in the future! A lot of people seem to think you can say anything you want so long as you don't give away a concrete plot point. Not so! As I use the term, a spoiler is anything you can say that, if you were a reasonably careful reader but had never read ahead, you would not have sufficient knowledge or perspective to say. Including, but not limited to:

I can't tell you what the right track is, but you're on the wrong track with Question Q1. Uh, thanks but no thanks. The author sometimes lays down false trails on purpose. Who are you to deny the reader the pleasure of later discovering that a trail was false? It can be a cool twist. And even if the author didn't lead me down that trail on purpose, it's still fun to discover, in-text, that I was wrong about something.

I can't tell you the answer, but rest assured, Question Q2 will be answered later. Even worse is the variant where we hear approximately when something will be revealed. Either way, any time the topic comes up, we'll find ourselves watching for the answer instead of just enjoying the story and being blindsided by the answer when it does come. We like being blindsided! (Unless it's a deus ex machina, but that's what foreshadowing is for. About which, see below.)

Question Q3 has not been answered yet, as of Book 4. Robs the new reader of some of the joy of hunting clues, if we've been assured that they will not lead anywhere. Also prevents the reader from following false trails laid down by the author, since we now know that they will be false.

Theory T1 is obsolete (or mostly obsolete) due to info that I can't tell you yet. Again, robs the author of the ability to lay down false trails, and the reader of the ability to speculate and theorize. Theorizing is a lot less fun if someone tells you which of your theories are definitely wrong.

Theory T2 seems much more (or less) likely after books 3 and 4. Same problem as the last example, just to a different degree.

Event E or Character S or Habit H is important! Make sure to remember it, you'll be glad you did. Some people like these, I'm sure. But still, you're coloring the new reader's perception of things involving E or S or H in a way the author didn't necessarily intend. This can easily rob a later reveal of its power.

I hope you see where I'm going with this. General point: it is a spoiler to short-circuit a reader's theorizing and speculation for any reason related to being further through the story than they are. (Or more immersed in the fan theory base. The fan theory base is spoiler territory even if you've read all the books. If you like it, great, sometimes I like it too ... but it is.)

The other class of annoying spoilers I've seen here recently is what I'll call exegesis of foreshadowing: Look under rocks R1 and R2 in chapters 7 and 9, and think real hard about what Character M said to Character N back in chapter 5, and reread the descriptions of objects F and G, and remember what Direwolf D did back in chapter 3. These things all have some bearing on question Q6 and, taken together, should let you figure it out. The reason this is a spoiler is, the author hid those clues on purpose. It's called foreshadowing. They're not there for everyone to figure out right away. They're there so you can look back and say "aha, sure enough, it was all in there, how clever." If the author wanted the clues to be so obvious that everyone would figure them out, you wouldn't have to point them out, now, would you?

And here's one that's been touched on before: I used to hate Villain V but now, a few books later, she's actually pretty awesome. Or We all know Character L is a whiny emo who makes stupid choices, but don't worry, he'll eventually grow up and be less annoying. Conversely, Sure, Character J is playing it smart and seems to be in a great position now, but just you wait! Anyone can mess up and have to pay dearly! Of course, given GRRM's (perhaps exaggerated) reputation, you might be giving away the non-obvious fact that a given character will not die for awhile! But beyond that, discovering character growth, or a sympathetic view on an unsympathetic character, is another of those things that you shouldn't prepare the new reader for. These are "twists" like any other, which you should leave to the author.

Thanks for understanding. Yes, this is something I feel strongly about. Yes, I've read all four books; that's not the point. (Besides, I probably won't devour A Dance With Dragons immediately on July 12, as many of you will. But even if I do, that's still not the point.)

P.S. tnh@68, I know you said not to use boldface for emphasis, but was my use OK? I mainly used it so that my main points would stand out in spite of the sheer brevity of which I am utterly incapable. Not in order to shout or escalate. But, feel free to chastise or mock me in whatever way is appropriate, if my bold sentences were inappropriate.
Birgit
84. birgit
While Littlefinger isn't a lord

He is a lord, just a very unimportant one:
His father had died several years before, so he was Lord Baelish now, yet still they called him Littlefinger. Her brother Edmure had given him that name, long ago at Riverrun. His family's modest holdings were on the smallest of the Fingers, and Petyr had been slight and short for his age.
Varys is the one who is called a lord although he isn't really a lord.
Rob Munnelly
85. RobMRobM
Wort - I can quibble with some of the details but your core points are all too valid. Nice work on this.

Rob
Sydo Zandstra
86. Fiddler
@Wortmauer:

I read your explanation, and I disagree on a couple of points.

But let's not go there here. Feel free to send me a shout though, and I'll happily go into a debate with you about it. :)


EDIT: Actually, skip that.

So you didn't like my post. It wasn't put up there for you, who admitted to have read all the books. So your judgement on what is a spoiler and what is not is not exactly clean here then as well, because you know what's going to come, unlike first-readers.

FYI, I asked in the spoiler thread in the forums if my post was spoilerish. Nobody replied saying it was, and tnh was in that thread. Neither Leigh, tnh nor any other first-readers commented on them, and when it comes to me posting possible spoilers, those are the opinions I care about. Not yours.

I saw somebody cry 'SPOILERS!' in today's new GoT thread, when somebody said Thoros of Myr's sword was inflamed because of wildfire added to it (and not by magic, as Leigh suggested). WTF?

And at the rate Leigh is reading the books, she probably forgot all I said when the plot thickens. So what's the big deal?

Doran Martell has a daughter called Arianne. Call me a spoiler.

Basically, what I mean is, chill out dude/dudette...
John Massey
87. subwoofer
@SteveL- the whole point of the Justice of the Crown is to be judged by the King. Not some random person with an agenda. Wort said it infinitely better than I could so I'll just set here and happily wag my tail:)

Woof™.
cheem
88. saterade
@66 I like your post.
@83 I like your post too
@86 I like that you are angry. You should be. At yourself for being a spoiler. PS the magic/fire thingie can quite clearly fall under many of the headings listed in 83, which i will now refer to for all time as "The Spoiler Bible"
and finally @ leigh: I was wondering if you read through the comments yourself or if you have a buffer person peruse them for you to catch any spoilers before you accidentally see them?
Bel Bauer
89. Belcyrlis
@wortmauer
Reading through these comments made me look at my computer screen with a REALLY?! look on my face. I can't believe how many spoilers ARE in here. I haven't read all the books, I'm keeping up with Leigh, but I don't think that should matter even though so many people apparently do. What I'm trying to say is YOU ARE RIGHT!!! Thank you for posting this, a lot of people should pay attention, and take notes.

In other news, I find myself agreeing with the few people here that are saying maybe Jon IS Lyanna's son by Rhaegar. Just becasue most Targareons have a certain coloring can't rule him out, becasue most Targareons have children with other Targareons. And there is no real timeline between when Rhaegar raped Lyanna and when she died. Plus, in the confusion that is war, anyone who would've known she was pregnant could've been killed. I just keep thinking about how Ned keeps remembering her saying, "Promise me..."

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