Fri
Oct 7 2011 2:30pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones, Part 27

Welcome 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 27 of A Game of Thrones, in which we cover Chapters 55 (“Catelyn”) and 56 (“Tyrion”).

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 55: Catelyn

What Happens
Catelyn arrives at Moat Cailin and its three towers, accompanied by Sers Wylis and Wendel Manderly and their levies, and Ser Brynden Tully, and rejoices that she arrived in time to meet Robb there. She is filled with pride to see her son leading an army, but worries for him as well. They are welcomed into camp, and Catelyn goes with Brynden and the Manderlys to see Robb in the Gatehouse Tower; she explains on the way what a defensible position these seemingly ruined towers are.

Robb is consulting with the Greatjon and Roose Bolton when Catelyn arrives; she wants to run to him, but restrains herself, and tells him Rodrik is on his way back to Winterfell to hold it until their return. Bolton asks about Tyrion Lannister, mentioning his potential usefulness as a hostage, and Catelyn ruefully tells them he is no longer her prisoner, thanks to her “fool of a sister”; she remembers how Lysa had threatened her when she offered to take young Robert for fostering at Winterfell, leaving them to part on bad terms. She politely kicks the other lords out so she may speak to Robb alone.

She questions Robb about his choice to lead when there are more seasoned, older men available, but tells him (to his relief) that she will not humiliate him in the other lords’ eyes by making him step down now. He confirms that she knows about Ned’s imprisonment, and shows her Sansa’s letter, which Catelyn immediately proclaims is Cersei’s doing; Sansa is being held hostage. Neither of them want to consider what it means that the letter does not mention Arya. Robb asks if Lysa’s forces will be joining them, but Catelyn says not.

Robb confesses his uncertainty at leading this army, and asks Catelyn if the Lannisters won’t kill his father and sister even if they win. Catelyn tells him he has no choice but to go forward; he cannot go to King’s Landing and make a third hostage of himself, nor can he retreat and thereby lose his bannermen’s respect. Catelyn believes that Cersei will not kill Ned and Sansa as long as Robb proves himself a force to be reckoned with, knowing she may need them to negotiate peace if she loses.

“What if the fighting doesn’t go against her?” Robb asked. “What if it goes against us?”

Catelyn took his hand. “Robb, I will not soften the truth for you. If you lose, there is no hope for any of us. They say there is naught but stone at the heart of Casterly Rock. Remember the fate of Rhaegar’s children.”

She saw the fear in his young eyes then, but there was a strength as well. “Then I will not lose,” he vowed.

Catelyn questions him about his strategy. Robb reports how their allies were defeated at Golden Tooth and the lands between that and Riverrun by Jaime and Tywin, each commanding separate armies. Catelyn asks if he means to meet the Lannisters here in the Neck, but Robb says Bolton thinks Jaime and Tywin will stay by the Trident, and that they should march south to meet him. Catelyn advises him sharply to be the one to make the decisions, not Bolton or the Greatjon.

Robb explains his idea to split his army in two, using the foot to engage Tywin on the Kingsroad, while the riders (with Robb commanding) go down the west bank to Riverrun, protected by the Green Fork River. Catelyn approves the plan, though with misgivings, and gently guides him to see that Bolton would be a better choice than the Greatjon to lead the foot. Robb then tells her he will arrange for her escort back to Winterfell, but she tells him that her father may be dying; she intends to go to Riverrun.

Commentary
So not very much happened in this chapter, other than setting up what is (presumably) to follow, but I enjoyed it, even though it forced me to look at the maps for pretty much the first time since my initial cursory glance.

I’ve mentioned this before, I think, but I’m kind of odd for a fantasy fan in that I don’t particularly love maps. I certainly acknowledge their usefulness, of course, and I definitely think that if you’re going to make up a fantasy world with any kind of realism or consistency whatsoever then you’d damn well better know where everything is in it, but for whatever reason I only look at them myself when I absolutely have to.

Or at the least, I avoid looking at them until I have enough context from the story so that they’re not just a completely meaningless jumble of names. Which is… well, which is this point, looks like. Hey, nice.

I have to say, I was rather surprised when I realized how close Riverrun is to Casterly Rock, though I’m not sure why this surprised me. They are both also (relatively speaking) surprisingly close to King’s Landing, too, for that matter. I ain’t gonna pretend that I know where the overall conflict is going, but for right now it looks like it could potentially be fought pretty much entirely right in this middle chunk south of the Vale of Arryn and north of, um (*checks*) The Reach. So maybe my worries about Robb leaving Winterfell unprotected were not as relevant as I thought, at least not at the moment, because Winterfell is nowhere near all the rest of this hoopla.

(Then again, famous last words, eh?)

I also think I was a little bemused to realize that I’d been thinking of this as a conflict that was getting ready to begin, when actually it’s already well underway, isn’t it? Oops.

As well as the actual strategy bits, I also really liked Catelyn’s guidance of Robb here. I thought it was very well done, balancing her natural protective instincts as a parent with her (as nearly always) very astute political acumen. I especially thank her for immediately recognizing Cersei’s hand in the letter from Sansa, and explaining that to Robb, because I was really worried for a minute that no one was going to put two and two together on that.

[…] the tall, slender Children’s Tower, where legend said the children of the forest had once called upon their nameless gods to send the hammer of the waters

“Hammer of the waters” = tidal wave? If so, that’s pretty badass. And, assuming it’s not just a legend, it’s also pretty good proof that the children of the forest do actually have magic.

Or a really big wave machine, but I’m betting on the former.

What?

 

Chapter 56: Tyrion

What Happens
Chella of the Black Ears returns from scouting to report that the Lannister force at the crossroads is at least twenty thousand strong. Tyrion is still not sure whether he is the commander of the clansmen or their prisoner, but proposes to go meet his father and/or brother alone. The leaders of the clans he has gathered so far (Stone Crows, Moon Brothers, Black Ears, and Burned Men), however, insist on coming along, as does Bronn. As they ride, Tyrion contemplates Timett of the Burned Men, who had inspired awe in his clan by choosing to burn his own left eye as his rite of passage.

At the encampment, Tyrion’s party is met by Ser Flement Brax, who takes Tyrion to see his father at the inn at the crossroads where he was originally taken prisoner, which amuses Tyrion greatly. Tyrion finds his father and his uncle Kevan Lannister in the common room; Tywin is less than affectionate in his greeting, and Tyrion mockingly thanks him for going to war for him; Tywin replies that Jaime would never have let himself be captured by a woman. Kevan reports that most of Ser Edmure Tully’s forces have been destroyed, and Tywin tells him Jaime smashed Lords Vance and Piper at the Golden Tooth, while Edmure Tully has been captured; Lord Blackwood retreated to Riverrun, where Jaime is besieging them. Kevan adds that Raventree and Harrenhal fell soon after, leaving only the Mallisters at Seagard and Walder Frey at the Twins.

Tywin opines that unless the Starks and Arryns oppose them, they have as good as won. Tyrion tells him the Arryns should not concern him, but the Starks are another matter. Tywin replies that Eddard Stark is their hostage, and he is unconcerned about the son gathering forces at Moat Cailin. Tyrion asks what the king thinks of all this, and Tywin tells him Robert is dead, and Joffrey is on the throne; Tyrion knows that means that Cersei is effectively ruling.

Tywin insultingly offers Tyrion commands doing clean-up jobs on lords Tywin considers already as good as defeated. Tyrion begins to tell his father about his plans, but is interrupted by Shagga and the other clansmen in a temper, insisting on being allowed to join in the war council. Tyrion introduces them sardonically to his father, and then is again interrupted by a messenger who reports that the Stark host is moving south from the Neck. Pleased, Tywin gives orders that they are to be drawn south until his forces can meet them, and then swiftly manipulates the clansmen into joining them. They agree, but only if Tyrion goes with them.

“Until we hold the steel he has pledged us, his life is ours.”

Lord Tywin turned his gold-flecked eyes on his son.

“Joy,” Tyrion said with a resigned smile.

Commentary
Heh.

As always, Tyrion is tons of fun to read. I left out most of his bon mots in the commentary, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t chuckle at most of them. So much snark, so little time.

Also, trust this series to make a running gag out of a guy who wants to castrate people. I mean that as a compliment, by the way.

Timett: Okay, not to state the utterly bleeding obvious here, but if you’re a warrior, putting out your own eye is a COMPLETELY IDIOTIC thing to do. Because, call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure having depth perception is kind of important when trying to accurately hit people with swords and shit! Hello! I mean, yes, you can compensate for that if you have to, but why would you deliberately handicap yourself at the outset?

Oh, right, because you’re just that badass. Excuse me while I recover from the strain of all the eyerolling I just had to do.

Obligatory “Sheesh”: Sheesh.

“I wonder what their king burned off,” Tyrion said to Bronn when he heard the tale. Grinning, the sellsword had tugged at his crotch.

Ha!

In other news, enter: TYWIN LANNISTER. Dun!

And, yep, seems like a total bastard. I will try to contain my shock. I will also be putting his Father of the Year commemorative plaque in the mail any minute now.

That said, it seems, at least for the moment, that Tywin and Jaime are doing just as efficient a job of sowing shit up on their end as Cersei is doing on hers; the sitrep that Kevan and Tywin give Tyrion certainly appears to paint a much more dire picture of the situation for the Starks than Robb’s did to Catelyn, anyway. And I’m assuming that Tywin’s version is the more legit, mostly because I can’t think of any reason Tywin would feel the need to spin doctor their progress to his son, and Robb’s information is undoubtedly a little outdated anyway. Whatever else can be said about the Lannisters, they certainly have the leet blitzkrieg skillz down pat.

Then again, I never claimed that competency and asshole…ish…ism (whatever, shut up) are mutually exclusive; it’s just that much more annoying when they aren’t. Crap.

I’m a little confused here by the geography, because Tywin and Tyrion seem to be in the Trident in this chapter, and Tywin talks about conquering Harrenhal, but Riverrun is more or less directly between those two places and Golden Tooth (and Casterly Rock). So I guess Tywin just bypassed Riverrun and beat up everyone around it?

That seems… imprudent, leaving a stronghold to your rear like that. Yes, I know Jaime’s besieging it now, but it seems like he only just got around to that, so, I dunno. Or I’m wrong about the timeline, Or maybe me and my total lack of a degree in historical warfare should just shut up.


Okay, I will then! See if I care! Have a weekend, people, and I’ll see you next week!

36 comments
Marcus W
1. toryx
Hello Tywin! Nice to meetcha.

(Edited because I realized my original comment might have been a tad colored toward spoilers.)

And also, while I'm thinking about it: One of the things I think GRRM does really well is move time along. Time has passed since Robb left Winterfell and Catelyn left the Eyrie, which is why there are suddenly armies all over the place. He alludes to time passing in a way that makes sense but it can still catch you by surprise, particularly considering how much faster things tend to happen in other fantasy series.
DougL
2. DougL
Here is a better map Leigh and it shows a bit more clearly where the Trident splits and where the host is in relation to those two castles

http://towerofthehand.com/maps/westeros.html

Thanks for the recap, I've read the series about 6 times but it's always fun to read your thoughts.
DougL
3. carolynh
These are not two of my favorite chapters in this book. Necessary they may be, but not emotionally very interesting. That might even be why Tyrion's snarkiness seems so funny here. It's a breath of some fresh air amongst the military manueverings.

Like Leigh, I was glad that Cat picked up on the Sansa letter so quickly. No beating around the bush on that one. In fact of anyone, Cat is at her best here, I think. She's supportive of Robb, yet able to get him to see other ideas, worried for him but not interfering. It's a balancing act, and she does a first rate job.
DougL
4. Megaduck
"That seems… imprudent, leaving a stronghold to your rear like that. Yes, I know Jaime’s besieging it now, but it seems like he only just got around to that, so, I dunno. Or I’m wrong about the timeline, Or maybe me and my total lack of a degree in historical warfare should just shut up."

Castles, especially major ones like Riverrun, are hard to take quickly. If Tywin had besieged it then all of Riverrun’s banner men (Lords that are sworn to bring swords when their High Lord calls) would have formed up and attacked his rear, leaving him with the castle on one side and an army on the other.

By leaving a small force at Riverrun to pen it in, he can then go around and smash all of the smaller lords individually before they can form up into a massive army of DOOM!

Sort of like what Rob has.

He did manage to call all his banner men together.
tatiana deCarillion
5. decarillion
I dunno if you are aware of the cast members of HBO's series, but the person cast as Tywin is near-perfect, IMHO :) I've loved him in every role I've seen him in.
Rob Munnelly
6. RobMRobM
Leigh - Tywin came down the direct road from Lannisport to Kings Landing and then cut up north to the Inn before getting to the City. (Robb notes it came "around from the South" and that Tywin closed down the Kingsroad and then burned his way north). Jamie's forces likely followed the road from Lannister territory that runs through Riverrun.

Very nice set up chapters for what follows. Catelyn is awesome here, as is both Tyrion and Tywin (the "once and future Hand of the King," as Tyrion perceptively notes). I really enjoy the increasing depth here. You meet the (fat) Manderlys; get reacquainted with Greatjon (you bit my fingers off) Umber and Roose (I flay my enemies) Bolton (who already scares Robb), and, of course, get some details on the Riverlands Lord, the "Late Lord Frey." There is also the cronnogman, Howland Reed (Ned's friend from the flashback fight agaisnt the Kingsguard a few chapters ago), who lives EDIT - immediately south - of Moat Callin and will defend the narrow Neck leading up to the North.

The Blackfish continues to be cool.

Note Catelyn chose her father and brother over her duty to return to Winterfell to be with Bran and Rickon. Interesting decision - wise???

Also note that Ned's mission of a 100 knights under the command of Beric Dondarrion to get Gregor Clegane was ambushed and badly damaged. Of couse, what is clear from the Tyrion chapter is that Beric and Thoros of Myr survived and are harrassing the Lannisters from the rear. The chess bord is getting interesting.

Rob

EDIT - PS, the Children of the Forest point is interesting, especially since Moat Caillan is not adjacent to ocean, just to the swamp.
DougL
7. ryamano
What megaduck wrote above me.

Tywyn wants to besiege Riverrun, but avoid being besieged. The safest way of doing that is to divide his forces, with one half destryong everything the river lords have before they form. to relieve the castle Also, Tywyn also was trying to prepare for an attack coming from the Eirye (it made sense at the time, Lisa Arryn seemed to be very anti-Lannister) and the North. It's better if he faces one at a time and doesn't let them combine their forces. Casterly Rock is rich, but not that rich to put more forces than 3 other great houses at the same time. It's only in this chapter that he learns, through Tyrion, that the Vale doesn't pose any problems. Then Tywyn will use his forces to try to attack the Northern lords that are coming his way, as the end of the chapter describes. Is it a gambit to extend your lines and leave a castle in enemy's hands, even if besieged, behind? Yes, but Tywyn has to gamble. He's facing two or three houses (or more) at the same time and it's better to avoid being besieged while besieging another army (because that means being attacked from lots of sides, being flanked and therefore, doomed).
DougL
8. Asa Zernik
While Riverrun is between Tywin's host and his base of support around Lannisport, that isn't the only supply base he has. Note that Riverrun, Lannisport, and King's Landing are approximately in a triangle, with Riverrun at the northern end, King's Landing at the southeast, Lannisport in the southwest, and roads on every side. Jaime is advancing more or less directly up the Lannisport-Riverrun road, via the Golden Tooth, while Tywin is moving up from between Lannisport and King'ss Landing, west of the King's Landing-Riverrun road (a.k.a. the Kingsroad). The basic idea is to trap Riverrun in a pincer movement from both west (upriver) east (downriver) and in so doing cut off Riverrun from its supporting countryside.

(He's actually to a certain extent also cleaning up the area to the south; he seems more intent on blocking the routes into Riverrun and destroying the farms and country manors on which Riverrun depends economically than taking it by an immediate assault.)
Sky Thibedeau
9. SkylarkThibedeau
Peter Dinklage really nails the role of Tyrion. He so deserved his Emmy.
DougL
10. nancym
I'm so impressed with the way Catelyn dealt with her feelings as a mother toward Robb. She supported him and encouraged him, without making him feel like a young inexperienced kid (which he totally sounded like, when he asked her if she was going to send him back home, I liked that bit!) And at the same time she gently and tactfully made himn aware of a tactical mistake and helped him to see how to correct it. I like how both Eddard and Catelyn don't just give their children the answers, they help them figure things out on their own.

At the same time my motherly instincts say: Why aren't you at home with your youngest children, who need you? What an awful choice to have to make.

I know the Lannisters are Eeeevil, but I like Tyrion and his snark!
DougL
11. Lsana
Catelyn's finest moment in this chapter, and there were many of them, was her ability to separate Robb the Boy from Robb the Future Lord. She wants to send her son home. On some level, she needs to send him home: he's 14, he's been taught some things but not everything, and he's up against men who've already fought wars. But she can't because the Stark bannerman need to respect and fear Robb as their liege, not think of him as the boy whose mother sent him to bed for misbehaving. Her willingness to overcome her maternal instincts here is critical.
Katie McNeal
12. Katiya
Leigh, you continue to amaze me with your awesome insights. I wish my perceptions were as sharp as yours!
David Goldfarb
13. David_Goldfarb
The map is a little deceiving: Riverrun isn't actually all that close to either Casterly Rock or to King's Landing -- it's just that Westeros is big. It's easy to think that because their culture is similar to that of medieval England, that their land is about the same size, but in fact from Winterfell to King's Landing is a good deal more than a thousand miles.
DougL
14. Skyweir
I love Tywin Lannister. He is just so...efficent.
One of the more enjoyable characters in the series, and his introduction here is certainly impressive. I find him facinating.

Tyrion and Tywin make quite a pair, and they are in a way very much alike. Just see how Tywin manages the clansmens just like Tyrion did, and how they both have sound grip on their strategical situation. Tyrion is more fun and less ruthless, but they are clearly father and son.
Stephanie Stein
15. stephaniestein
I hate looking at epic-fantasy maps, too, at least on my first read. Even when I wait to study them until I'm familiar with the story, I tend to not want to pull myself out of the narrative to check up geography. Unless I'm rereading. :)

Also, I loved Catelyn in this chapter. I'm consistently amazed by how brilliant an ensemble piece this series is.
Juliet Kestrel
16. Juliet_Kestrel
::Folds arms and grumbles:: I guess Cat isn’t AS horrible as I thought she was at the beginning of the book, but she still has a hole to dig out of regarding her treatment of Jon, her imprudent capturing of Tyrion, and her involvement with Littlefinger (Somehow whatever he is doing comes back to her, I just don’t know how yet). But, I will grudgingly admit she was on the ball in her chapter here, as well as at the Vale.

Tywin seems like a villain of the competent variety. I am curious to see what happens when he and Queen C clash. Because you know Queen C has a chip on her shoulder, probably a result of Tywin’s parenting skills, and I can’t see either of them agreeing to disagree.

I wish we had a calendar, or some more time passage clues. I want to know what time frame everything is happening over, as well as how events from different plotlines line up chronologically.
DougL
17. mike shupp
Skylark Of Thibedeau @ 9 "Peter Dinklage really nails the role of Tyrion."

Well, no he doesn't. I'll give you that Dinklage's a capable actor and a handsome little man. But Tyrion was NOT a handsome little man -- he's pretty clearly an achondroplastic dwarf. I.e., his head is large for his body with coarse features, his limbs are short and possibly ill-developed. He's a thoroughly typical dwarf, in other words, not a managerie pet, and not the sort of suitor a pretty young rich girl drags home to meet Mumsy and Daddy.

HBO sanitized this.
Stephanie Stein
18. stephaniestein
@mike,

I wouldn't say "sanitized" so much as Hollywoodified. People in TV and movies tend be universally prettier than their real-life and/or literary counterparts. And I think they liked cashing in on how recognizable Dinklage is, given his very successful acting history.
alex
19. jerec84
Tyrion's chapters are a joy because of all his snarky comments and thoughts. I can see why GRMM likes him the best, he'd be the most fun to write.
Rob Munnelly
20. RobMRobM
C'mon guys, where's the commentary? Where's the excitement? Leigh must be losing her touch. No decrying of spanking, no bemoaning the absence of positive same sex relationships, no who is the best blademaster in Randland....Oops, wrong re-read.

One point, which the books tee up, is the key upcoming role of Lord Frey. Robb needs him to get to the west bank of the Trident, Cat disparages his loyalty, Tywin dismisses him as being too cautious and self-interested to present a threat. I won't comment (probably none of us bookwalkers should) but time will tell how things play out with the Late Lord Frey (TM).

Rob
Rob Munnelly
21. RobMRobM
By the way, here are the relevant chapters of the Blog of Ice and Fire. Really short this week and, as the blogger notes in explaining the brevity, "they are filled with a ton of names and locations and military tactics that I don't really understand."
______

Catelyn arrives at Robb's camp. She quickly realizes that her son is leading this gigantic army to war, and he's just this fifteen-year-old who is brave but extremely inexperienced. She then tells him that if he loses, there's no hope for any of the Starks -- his father and sisters would forever be captives and they would spend the rest of their days in a Lannister dungeon. But hey, no pressure. The rest of the chapter is spent discussing military tactics and appointing commanders. I only recognize the Greatjon and Karstarks, the rest of the northern bannermen are unfamiliar to me. Robb doesn't seem very confident in his decisions, and that doesn't bode well for his chances, no matter how badass his army may be.

____________________

Tyrion finally returns with his mountain clansmen in tow. Tyrion discusses military tactics with his father Tywin and his uncle Kevan. After reading Martin's description of Tywin, I can't shake the picture of a bearded Captain Picard / Professor X. The guy is never phased, and seems to be completely in control of any situation, even when the clansmen busted in on their meeting. Tywin speaks with such supreme confidence, its easy to feel bad for the Starks. It seems like Robb is in for a rude awakening now that he's playing with the big boys.
James Z
22. Gibush
Does it ever annoy you that you can't just keep reading, rather than closing the book after two chapters and waiting a whole week?
Leigh Butler
23. leighdb
Gibush @ 22:

Occasionally. But mostly it's interesting, to read a book in this way.
DougL
24. between4walls
mike @17- How did they sanitize it? According to wiki, Dinklage does has achrondoplasia.
DougL
25. MickeyDee
To decarillion @ 5 - Ooooh noooo! I respectfrully disagree. Charles-bloody-Dance as Tywin? Too much hair, too much humour. He should nick off and live in a barn somewhere and make jam.

Two of my sons agreed with me that Patrick Stewart would have been far better - the third agrees with you . But then again he likes the casting of everyone. Including Shae!

And mike @ 17 - I agree with you to a certain extent - at least they could have used contact lenses for Tyrion and the Targs surely?
DougL
27. fanganga
I seem to remember reading somewhere before that the actress who played Dany had trouble with the contacts -
http://www.reddit.com/r/gameofthrones/comments/ik4lr/why_did_they_not_use_contact_lenses_to_color/ is the best I can find on the subject now.
DougL
28. mike shupp
stephaniestein @18. "People in TV and movies tend be universally prettier than their real-life and/or literary counterparts."

You took a close look at Sean Bean as Ned Stark, did you?

between4walls @24. "Dinklage does has achrondoplasia."

Ah, I'm enlightened! Hadn't know that. Thank you.

That said, I think my point stands. Dinklage basically looks small -- even very small -- but normal otherwise. Tyrone as described by GRRM is ... not exactly shambling, but very far from handsome. He's not some one people care to deal with, in other words, and that gets pounded in in every chapter seen through Tyrone's eyes. It strikes me very few of us are going to view Dinklage with the same attitudes that Tyrone's contemporaries did; which of course is the reaction that we OUGHT to have, but we ought to reach that enlightenment by reflection on what we're read or seen, not because of the casting.

Or so I'd argue. Oh well. I'm not happy with the looks of King Robert for that matter (too old) or Sandor Clegane (not nearly ugly enough). Sansa Stark ought to be younger, to explain her cluelessness. Jon Snow ought to be a bit bigger, Joffrey Baratheon much taller (he's described as being almost as tall as a full grown man). Other hand, Arya is a delight, and Daenerys Targaryen! She looks exactly like the sort of woman I've always envisoned who would marry a barbarian warlord and fly dragons.
dan
29. Chrysippus4321
These two chapters (and the last bran chapter) were more about fleshing out Robb and Tywin. Robb has apparently inherited many of Eddard's skills. He appears to be a fair but firm lord. He knows that his bannermen are not his friends but his vassals. He is cautious in the field when possible (perhaps because of the episode in the wolfswoods) but willing to take a huge risk and defy military standards when he thinks necessary. Eddard taught him about war and lording but does Robb have the same liabilities that Eddard had? Tywin: The Man and the legend. He cares about family and personal image, a lot, a buttload of a lot. He didn't care whether Tyrion lived or died after kidnapping. What mattered was that someone kidnapped a Lannister and the people who allowed it had to be hanged and the village where it happened had to be raized. And his obsession with family honor explains a lot about his feelings toward Tyrion. Lannisters are supposed to look like Jaime or Cersei or at the very least like his brother Kevan not like Tyrion. Now what will happen to house honor when people learn that Cersei and Jaime are have been tangoing? And who gets to tell him? "I have good news and bad news, my lord. The good news is that your daughter loves her family. The bad news is that your daughter really loves her family."
DougL
30. Dragonara
Mike - Peter Dinklage does a fantastic job of capturing Tyrion's snark. Yes he is far better looking than the Tyrion of the novel - no mismatched eyes, far less misshapen head and body.
I imagine the pool of actors of Dinklage’s talent with the appropriate deformities is approximately zero. I just have to remind myself that Tyrion isn’t Dinklage as I read the novels.
DougL
31. sofrina
@28:
Oh well. I'm not happy with the looks of King Robert for that matter (too old) or Sandor Clegane (not nearly ugly enough). Sansa Stark ought to be younger, to explain her cluelessness. Jon Snow ought to be a bit bigger, Joffrey Baratheon much taller (he's described as being almost as tall as a full grown man). Other hand, Arya is a delight, and Daenerys Targaryen! She looks exactly like the sort of woman I've always envisoned who would marry a barbarian warlord and fly dragons.i thought ned was cast too old, although we can overlook this for sean bean. however, jon snow is described as being a slim boy whereas robb is more muscular. i like both actors but neither really looks his part.
DougL
32. Wortmauer
How did we get onto the TV show? Leigh said at the outset that she wasn't going to watch it until she's read the books, partly I suppose for (justified) fear of spoilers, partly because reading a book is quite a different experience when you have mental pictures from Hollywood of scenes and characters. I'm with her on both points: I wouldn't want the plot to be spoiled, and I wouldn't want my mind's eye to be "spoiled" by a movie producer's vision. So, moving into white text...
Dragonara@30: I imagine the pool of actors of Dinklage’s talent with the appropriate deformities is approximately zero.
This is Hollywood. Neither Dany nor Cersei are played by natural blondes, for example. (In Dany's case I wish they'd lightened her eyebrows some.) They could at least have given Tyrion a shoe platform, or something, to cause him to limp like his legs were different lengths. That would have been a start. He's half-crippled, he shouldn't just prance around like anyone of his height. And surely a makeup artist could have made him less pretty. But I suppose HBO decided it was better to offend fans who expected Tyrion to be a true grotesque, than to risk offending other people with an over-the-top "ableist" (can I use that word?) stereotype.

While I'm on HBO-Tyrion, I wish Dinklage had come up with an accent that at least vaguely resembled that of the other Lannisters. (I'm no expert on accents, but to me it was like everyone from Casterly Rock spoke RP except Tyrion, who spoke American-14-year-old-quoting-Monty-Python.) And if the Stark children had sounded as though they'd grown up in Winterfell, that would have been nice too. I guess we're supposed to infer that they were raised by their Tully mother, Maester Luwin and Septa Mordane, and never had any linguistic contact with Eddard, Old Nan, Ser Rodrik or any other northerners.

Juliet_Kestrel@16: I guess Cat isn’t AS horrible as I thought she was at the beginning of the book
carolynh@3: Like Leigh, I was glad that Cat picked up on the Sansa letter so quickly. No beating around the bush on that one.
Catelyn's in fine form here, no question, as nancym, Lsana, you two and others have noted. But that one really was kind of a gimme. I don't think Cersei having Sansa write the letter was supposed to be subtle; it was just a way to show they weren't bluffing about Sansa being held in King's Landing. Cersei didn't have a camera, tape recorder, telephone, or other such means that modern kidnappers use to get that point across.
DougL
33. saterade
Thanks for the post, leigh! I think you were only partly correct when you said "I was a little bemused to realize that I’d been thinking of this as a conflict that was getting ready to begin, when actually it’s already well underway, isn’t it?" At least from the Starks' perspective, it is quite unwell underway. Ba-dum dooosh! They definitely have their hands full with emperor palpatywin. Ouch, I think I strained my pun muscle with that one, I'll have to quietly sit over here now...
DougL
34. mike shupp
Dragonara @ 30 . "I imagine the pool of actors of Dinklage’s talent with the appropriate deformities is approximately zero."

Well that's the issue, sort of. I haven't done a headcount of dwarf actors or personally assessed the talent, but every so often a film comes along such as UNDER THE RAINBOW which uses several dozen little people. So there's really not an actual shortage of dwarfs who'd like to be in the movies, so much as a shortage of roles. So Dinklage has been in several dozen film this past decade or so, he's built up a reputation, and that made him a good bet for casting as Tyrone, and I'm not out to begrudge him for anything. Still... wouldn't it be nice to have a couple of famous dwarf actors, rather than just the one?

(I'm 5'9" myself, and don't happen to be personally acquainted with any dwarves, so I'm got no axe to grind. It's just the sort of issue you run into if you spend enough time in LA.)


Wortmauer @32

"How did we get onto the TV show?" My fault. I wanted to make the observation about Tyrion/Dinklage, and puffed it up with reactions to other characters. It was kind of a tossup -- yes, the TV show is one thing and the books are another, so the looks and characteristics of the actors aren't germane. But, on the other hand, if you read the books with reasonable amounts of attention, you're probably going to form some ideas of what these characters look like, and that does seem a legitimate discussion topic. (Eg, when I think of King Robert, my image is one of Holbein's portraits of the middle-aged Middle Age Henry VIII, already fat at 40 with suet-pie face and raisin-sized eyes.) Oh well.

Not parenthetically, by the way. I took a mean spirited swipe at you a couple weeks back for not appreciating Prince Joffrey's awefullness sufficiently. It wasn't called for, I wish now I hadn't, and I humbly apologize.





Captain Hammer
35. Randalator
mike shupp @34

Still... wouldn't it be nice to have a couple of famous dwarf actors, rather than just the one?

There are. Verne Troyer (Austin Powers), Michael J. Anderson (Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive), Peter Dinklage obviously, Tony Cox (Bad Santa, Me, Myself & Irene), Zelda Rubinstein (Poltergeist), Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)...they're mostly not Tom Cruise famous but you've seen them all over the place.

Also, I think it's less the lack of dwarf actors as it is the lack of appropriate roles that's to blame for their relative obscurity...
Juliet Kestrel
36. Juliet_Kestrel
@ Wortmauer32

I guess what I was getting at was that I REALLY didn’t like Cat in the first few chapters, but since Tyrion’s trial by combat she has started being more likeable and hasn’t had an opportunity to be mean to John, or interact with Littlefinger. She was a smart cookie in the first few chapters too, catching onto Lysa’s cryptic message, and seeing all the political implications of Ned going to court or not. Her behavior towards John and some of her interactions with Ned really bothered me. Maybe I am starting to like her a little more just because she is interacting with people that she likes (Robb) and as soon as she interacts with a character I like, but she doesn’t (John) will put my hackles up again.

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