Fri
Sep 28 2012 2:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords, Part 3

A Read of Ice and Fire on Tor.com: A Storm of Swords, Part 3Welcome 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 3 of A Storm of Swords, in which we cover Chapter 4 (“Tyrion”) and Chapter 5 (“Davos”).

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, please note that the Read of Ice and Fire spoiler thread has been moved to a new thread here on Tor.com. 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!

Before we start, scheduling note: I am pleased to report that your Auntie Leigh has been privileged to be accepted to participate in the Viable Paradise Writer’s Workshop this October, about which I am stupid mad excited, y’all. That means, however, that I will of necessity be taking a hiatus from both the WOT Re-read and the ASOIAF Read for the week of October 7th and possibly the week after as well.

So, a post should go up next Friday as scheduled, but there will be no post October 12th. I will do my best not to miss two weeks in a row, but I’m not going to guarantee it.

Onward!

 

Chapter 4: Tyrion

What Happens
Bronn comes to see Tyrion, sporting fine clothes and an emblem of a burning chain, which he grins and tells Tyrion is his new knightly sigil, by Lord Tywin’s command. Tyrion is displeased, as he had promised to knight Bronn himself, and thinks it is yet another statement by his father. Bronn reports that Ser Jacelyn is dead, killed by deserting gold cloaks, and the Hound has run off. Ser Addam Marbrand commands the gold cloaks now; the men Bronn hired are dead or gone, and Tyrion’s clansmen have all been either been run off by Tywin’s men or left on their own. Bronn also says that Cersei released Alayaya, but did it by whipping her bloody and shoving her out of the gate. Tyrion is enraged; he remembers his promise to do to Tommen what Cersei did to Alayaya, and asks how he can scourge an eight-year-old. Bronn replies that Tyrion doesn’t have Tommen anyway; Cersei sent the Kettleblacks after him as soon as Ser Jacelyn died.

Tyrion asks if the Renly’s ghost thing is true; Bronn didn’t see it himself, but says there are plenty who swear to it. Tyrion thinks that he was upstaged by a dead man. Bronn goes on that Stannis escaped via ship, and Robb Stark is heading for Duskendale, and Tywin is sending Lord Tarly to deal with him. Tyrion tells Bronn he needs to learn everything he can about the late Ser Mandon Moore, but doesn’t tell him why, and demands that Bronn and Pod help him up to go see his father, though he is still only half-healed and very weak.

He is humiliated that Bronn has to carry him up the stairs to the outer ward, which is crowded with tents and pavilions of nobles here for the wedding. They are met on the way by Ser Addam Marbrand, who comments that Cersei has forbidden him to dismiss any of the current Watch, though he does not know how they are to be paid. He also says that Tywin is in a foul mood owing to the continuing failure of the effort to locate Tyrion’s cousin Tyrek, who had vanished in the riot. Bronn opines that he is dead, but Marbrand replies Tywin is “stubborn where his blood is concerned.”

In the Tower of the Hand, Tyrion knows immediately that something is wrong, and wonders what Cersei has been telling Tywin. Tywin dismisses Bronn and Pod, and then he and Tyrion joust verbally over Tyrion being kicked out of his chambers and the upcoming wedding. Tywin asks what possessed him to lead the sortie, and Tyrion replies that if Jaime had done it Tywin would call it valor. Tywin replies Jaime would not have been foolish enough to remove his helm. Tyrion wants to accuse Cersei of setting Ser Mandon Moore on him, but knows his father will not listen if he has no proof.

They discuss battle plans briefly, and Tyrion is confused as to why Robb Stark would be attacking Duskendale, but instead of answering Tywin impatiently asks what Tyrion wants. Tyrion answers that “a little bloody gratitude” would be nice to start, for saving the city. Tywin replies that it was his own attack on Stannis’s flank that turned the tide, and Cersei who started the pyromancers on making wildfire, though he admits that the chain across the harbor was “a clever stroke.” He is less happy with the bargain Tyrion made with the Martells, though. Tyrion almost leaves, and then turns and tells his father he wants what is his by right: Casterly Rock.

He points out that as Jaime is a knight of the Kingsguard, he is forbidden to marry or father children or hold land, and yet Tywin has never acknowledged that Tyrion therefore should have it. Tyrion wants him to formally declare Tyrion his heir. Tywin tells him, flatly, “Never.” Tyrion thinks to himself that he’d always known that would be the answer, which is why he’d never asked it before.

“You ask that? You, who killed your mother to come into the world? You are an ill-made, devious, disobedient, spiteful little creature full of envy, lust, and low cunning. Men’s laws give you the right to bear my name and display my colors, since I cannot prove that you are not mine. To teach me humility, the gods have condemned me to watch you waddle about wearing that proud lion that was my father’s sigil and his father’s before him. But neither gods nor men shall ever compel me to let you turn Casterly Rock into your whorehouse.”

Tyrion realizes this is about Alayaya, and that it was Tywin who’d had her whipped. Tywin accuses Tyrion of threatening his own kin to save a whore’s virtue; Tyrion insists it was an empty threat, and he would never harm his own blood. Tywin retorts that his mother was blood, too, and tells Tyrion to get out. Tyrion will never get Casterly Rock, he says, but Tywin will reward him appropriately for his deeds.

“And make no mistake—this was the last time I will suffer you to bring shame onto House Lannister. You are done with whores. The next one I find in your bed, I’ll hang.”

Commentary
…Jeez.

I have often had occasion to be thankful that my father was an awesome dad, but after reading this I feel like I should put some extra oomph into that thankfulness, because damn.

So it turns out that Tywin doesn’t just dislike or disdain his younger son, he actually despises him – for something that is in no sane way Tyrion’s fault. Not that sanity and loathing your own son are things that go together particularly well in any case, but wow. That is some next-level bitter n’ crazy, right there.

Although on re-reading, Tywin’s pissiness is probably just as much about Tyrion’s threat to Tommen as it is anything else. The set-up from earlier in the chapter about Tywin taking blood relationships very seriously was too pointed for that not to be the case. However, I’m gonna call bullshit on it anyway, because, you dick, if blood were really that important to you you wouldn’t be spewing such vile venom at your own son, now would you?

Gah. I can’t even imagine what it would do to me to hear my father say such things to me. It’s almost impossible to picture in the first place, because my father was about the polar opposite of the kind of ice-cold, stone-hearted, weapons-grade asshole you’d have to be to even think such things, much less say them, but I can kind of barely hypothesize such a scenario, and I think if it had ever happened it would have fucking broken me. Shit.

So boo, epic fatherhood fail. And boo almost as much for not giving Tyrion even the slightest amount of credit for the battle. Although the latter is hardly surprising, given the former. If you truly believe someone to be an “ill-made, devious, disobedient, spiteful little creature full of envy, lust, and low cunning,” there’s likely no way to even try to incorporate the idea of heroism into your mental construct of that person.

The most terrible thing about prejudice is that not only does it predispose one to see the worst in someone, it actively prevents the perception of better things. If you think someone sucks, then they have to suck in every way, don’t they? Because otherwise, there’s a chance you’re hating on someone who isn’t a total waste of space, and that might mean YOU suck. And we can’t have that!

Sigh.

So this is awesome, watching my favorite character get repeatedly shat on. Tyrion and Happy Fun Times are officially un-mixy things, for the moment. I mean, not that they were ever all that mixy to begin with, but now they are like that compound that explodes on contact with frickin’ air. Sheesh.

Also, crap. What is he supposed to do about Shae now? Where is she, anyway? Probably still playing lady’s maid. The standard thing to expect at this juncture, I think, would be that Tyrion would nobly (and angstily) try and push Shae away from him in order to protect her, and she will not have it, and Their Love Will Be So True.

However, this is ASOIAF, which is not so much down with the “doing the standard thing” thing, and so I have no clue at all which way either Tyrion or Shae will jump. The only thing I can be sure of is that the result is probably going to suck. Because the “making things suck” thing is a thing ASOIAF seems to be down with. In spades.

(thing thing thing word makes no more sense ha)

I’m still more than a little suspicious of Shae’s loyalty to Tyrion anyway. I don’t even exactly blame her for it—because seriously, what in her life would ever have led her to be the trusting type?—but that doesn’t mean I don’t dread the inevitable results if/when she does choose to betray him. Or even just spurn him. Please don’t spurn Tyrion, Shae! Seriously, the dude is so over quota on his allotted spurnings that it’s not even funny.

Because, you know, his father rejecting him is probably not going to send Tyrion over the edge, because if it were going to, it would have done so long ago, but Shae rejecting him? Might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

And it is at this juncture that I recall that, as far as I know, Shae has not seen Tyrion yet, post-maiming.

Craaaaaaaap.

Other notes: Dammit, Ser Jacelyn is dead? That’s upsetting. Tyrion needs more allies, people, not less! And yet other than Bronn and Pod he seems to have lost pretty much all of them. To reiterate my previous sentiment: craaaaaaap.

And, uh, am I supposed to know who Tyrek is? I hope not, because the name only rings the vaguest kind of bell, and I suspect it only does that much out of my own paranoia that I’m forgetting characters. And also because apparently just about every Lannister male in the WORLD has to have a name beginning with “Ty” – not to mention how many non-Lannisters there are with it as well! I wonder how Jaime escaped his Ty- prefix fate?

And Bronn is a knight, ha ha, that’s hilarious. I think Bronn thinks it’s hilarious, too, which makes it even better.

 

Chapter 5: Davos

What Happens
Davos sees a ship approaching the small islet on which he has been stranded for days, and debates whether to try and hail it. He knows he will die soon, of either thirst or exposure, if he does not get off the rock soon, and additionally is suspicious of a ship that would voluntarily sail so close to the treacherous waters in this part of Blackwater Bay. He asks himself why he should live when so many of his sons are dead, and thinks he should just let himself die.

He remembers the night of the battle, seeing his sons’ ships consumed by wildfire, and how he had dived to the bottom of the river in an attempt to swim under the chain and flaming wreckage blocking the mouth of the river. He had almost drowned, and then lost consciousness, waking on this tiny rocky spire. He realizes he has also lost the pouch with his fingerbones, his luck, and nearly despairs.

He prays to the Mother for mercy, and seems to hear in response a voice accusing him of having “burned us”. Davos cries out that it was the red woman Melisandre who had led Stannis to burn the Seven at Dragonstone and the godswood at Storm’s End, not him, but thinks that he stood by and watched it, and did nothing, and he was the one who rowed her to where she might “loose her shadow child,” and he stood by when she murdered Cressen as well. Davos climbs his rock.

If he fell he was dead, and he had to live. For a little while more, at least. There was something he had to do.

He hails the ship, which swings toward him and sends a boat. One of the men asks who he is, and Davos says he was a knight and a captain in the battle. The man asks which side. Davos hesitates, worried that they might be Lannister men, but then notices that the ship is Lysene in design, and decides it is a sign from the Mother that Stannis is still alive. He shouts that he serves King Stannis, and the man in the boat says so do they.

Commentary
Before even reading: Oh hey, he’s alive! Dude. That is one stubborn son of a bitch.

My next thought: Man, he doesn’t even have a volleyball to keep him company. That sucks.

And now that I’ve actually read it: ooh, he’s gonna go kill Melisandre! Or at least try.

I’m… not particularly against this turn of events, really. Maybe this is just my prejudices showing, but I really don’t care for people who use religion as a political weapon; whether or not they sincerely believe in the rightness of doing so is really beside the point as far as I am concerned. Church and state, separation of: that is where it’s at, folks.

Besides, magical assassin shadow babies™ is just cheating. So there.

And as always, Martin makes his divine intervention/revelation/epiphanies deliberately ambiguous as to their authenticity. Davos hears the Mother, yes, but he also happens to be delirious with fever and half-dead of thirst at the time; I imagine if I were stranded on a rock for days with no food and water I’d start hearing voices too. So whether it was “real” or not is, as usual, left for the reader to decide.

…And now, of course, it occurs to me that, genuine or not, Davos’s new-found vendetta to assassinate Melisandre is just as religiously motivated as her actions are. So logically, I should be just as against Davos’s intentions as I am against hers, otherwise I’m being hypocritical.

Well, shit.

I think I might have to sulk about that for a bit.

Wildfire as “pyromancer’s piss”: Hahaha.

There was a name painted on her hull, but Davos had never learned to read.

*is sad*

Sailors called [the sea monts] spears of the merling king, and knew that for every one that broke the surface, a dozen lurked treacherously just below it.

Merling king? Like as in mermaids? Reaalllllly. Well, we’ve got dragons and zombies, why not mermaids? Next it’ll be unicorns, I suppose. Although Martin’s unicorns will probably be horrific ichor-dripping monsters that eat virgins instead of gambol with them. Very low gamboling quotient in Westeros, I’m thinking, avec virgins or otherwise. Yeah.

(Have I made that joke before? I hope not. God, I can’t even tell anymore.)

So off you go, Davos, to get your Assassin’s Creed on! I wish you probably hypocritical luck! Maybe you’ll also get to do that flippy thing with the knives!

(See, you were going to doubt my assassinatin’ know-how, but then I went and knew all the lingo. So THERE, doubters!)


And… yeah. That’s enough outta me! Have a great weekend, all, and I’ll see you next Friday!

61 comments
Marty Beck
1. martytargaryen
Thanks Leigh...I know you've been busy overall, so the post this week is much appreciated....I read ahead hoping for more, but glad to have two chapters.
Stefan Mitev
2. Bergmaniac
Why should Shae give a damn about Tyrion? He's just a client, and he's been treating her pretty shabbily overall.

As much as a terrible person Tywin certainly is, I disagree that he didn't give Tyrion any credit for the battle. "“Your chain was a clever stroke, and crucial to our victory. On the other hand, Tyrion's insistence that he basically won the battle on his own and has to have a statue built to honor his greatness, is laughable.
TBGH
3. TBGH
Is it just me or is this book paced MUCH faster than any other in the series?
TBGH
4. MJF
Next it’ll be unicorns, I suppose. Although Martin’s unicorns will probably be horrific ichor-dripping monsters that eat virgins instead of gambol with them.
MWAHAHAHAHAAA!

On a different note, Tyrek was the 13-year-old Lannister who vanished during the riot when Joffrey & co were returning from sending Myrcella off to Dorne.
TBGH
5. Black Dread
We had this discussion in the last book when Tyrion was being shat upon. He isn't underappreciated, mistrusted, or disliked. Tyrion is absolutely hated by his own family. His father and his sister would be happy to see him dead (and she may have tried to make it so). Only Jamie (our new POV buddy) actually likes and cares about Tyrion, and he betrayed Tyrion with his role in that tragic marriage.

I don’t think the Tommen threats have anything to do with Tywin’s opinion of his son. He really blames him for killing his wife and has been holding a grudge ever since.

Great predictions! It all turns out sucky.
David Goodhart
6. Davyd
So, here's the thing. And remember, Tyrion is in my Top 3 favorite characters, probably second after.. wait for it... Sansa. /runsaway. When it comes to the following:
'If you truly believe someone to be an “ill-made, devious, disobedient, spiteful little creature full of envy, lust, and low cunning,” there’s likely no way to even try to incorporate the idea of heroism into your mental construct of that person.'
Tyrion is all those things. Ill made in the form of his dwarfism. Devious insomuch as he's able to keep up with Cersei as well as the rest of the court, and to do that requires one be devious. Disobedient, one word, Shae. Spiteful, again, just look at his relationship/conversations with Cersei, among other things. Envy, of his father's affections for the Wonder Twins and his inheritence of Casterly Rock passed on to Cersei out of custom. Lustful, before Shae, he frequented houses of ill repute constantly. Hell, we met him in a whore house in Winterfell.

However, we are in a position to look beyond those faults and see that at the core, despite questionable acts and motivations, he is still, ultimately a Good Guy. I think the saddest part of his story is that while most of the readership loves the guy, it's because they took more time getting to know him than his own father ever did. He has shunned Tyrion so much to see that, while yes, he is all those things, he is much more and this story would have turned out much different, even up to now, if Tywin had realized this and been able to utilize Tyrion as a tool for House Lannister. I mean, think about it. It makes me shudder.
TBGH
7. baDumDum
"And as always, Martin makes his divine intervention/revelation/epiphanies deliberately ambiguous as to their authenticity."
As opposed to reality, where all divine revelations happen to perfectly sane, healthy, well-fed, well-rested, non-politically motivated people who aren't undergoing some sort of crisis.
Vincent Lane
8. Aegnor
Black Dread@5,

*sigh* Jamie did not betray Tyrion with the marriage thing. Go back and read the chapter in aGoT on the event. Jamie bought Tyrion a prostitute to help him "become a man" and went through a lot of effort to make sure it was a very pleasant experience. Sure it went bad from there, but is it Jamie's fault? Tyrion certainly doesn't think so, and considers what he did a kind act.
Marty Beck
9. martytargaryen
Woah, double posted.
Marty Beck
10. martytargaryen
The reality of how Tyrion's childhood must have been starts to come to light a bit more. Although, you bring up a good point about Tywin's anger being about Tyrion's threat to Tommen...still, it is a pretty clear indication that Tyrion had Daddy Issues to End All Daddy Issues.

I've always liked Davos for his loyalty and recognition of what Stannis gave him - that's how I felt on my first read, and was glad he did not die.
Vincent Lane
11. Aegnor
Tywin is about as far away from a fool as you can possibly get. He is foolish in nothing, except for one thing. His children. In that he is an absolute fool. Two of his children have been having a long term affair right under his nose, which nearly destroyed his family and legacy. Think what would have happened if Ned hadn't been foolish enough to reveal his knowledge to Cercei. Ned would have told Robert. Robert would have killed Cercei and the kids, and declared war on the Lannisters. With the might of the entire Seven Kingdoms agianst them, the Lannisters would have been utterly defeated, even with Tywin as commander.

And then you have Tyrion, his greatest son, with incredible skills in leadership, management, and vision. Does he recognize his son's potential for greatness? Of course not. He sees him as "an ill-made, devious, disobedient, spiteful little creature full of envy, lust, and low cunning". Foolishness.
Rob Munnelly
13. RobMRobM
Nice, Leigh, but bumming because you didn't manage to squeeze in the extra third chapter, which will entertain you - and us - to no end (I predict).

Couple of quick points:
- Robb Stark isn't heading to Duskendale; some of the Northern armies are.
- Tyrek is identified in the comments, but the amusing/sad thing is he just got married to a toddler, the last member of her noble family. Youngest widow ever.
- Allies? I think you forgot to note that Tywin paid off the hill tribes and sent them on their way as well - so no more Shagga, Timmett son of Timmett, etc.
- If you really think of what Tywin is saying, he's potentially implying that Tyrion is illegitimate - if so, pretty tough statement about Tywin's beloved wife.
- Re Davos, not much to say other than you dropped in yet another nugget on which we can look back and chuckle at some unstated point down the line.

@6 - gentle correction - we met Tyrion in a Winterfell whore house only in the HBO show, not the book. He did make his way into houses of ill repute later on the books, of course.
TBGH
14. Black Dread
Davyd,
I don't see any full-sized characters taking criticism for whoring, or the ability to deal with court maneuvering . That conversation never takes place if Tyrion was 6 feet tall.

Aegnor,
You know I cannot respond for spoolerish reasons.
TBGH
17. OsRavan
Great read on tywin/tyrion. I think you hit many nails on the head, and that chapoter is certainly one that has always made me feel for poor tyrion.
Steven Halter
18. stevenhalter
Chapter 4:Good, we get to see how Tyrion is doing. So, not surprisingly, Cersei and Tywin have been undermining Tyrion as he lay abed. Stannis did escape on some ships.
That armpit wound sounds nasty and they really need some better antibiotics in Westeros.
Tywin seems to pretty much despise Tyrion. (Man it would be a pain having all your relatives named Ty****--except for Jaime, hmm).

Chapter 5:Davos survived and he's on a rock. With very little water. Doing some halucinating and maybe getting some goddess visions. He doesn't like Melisandre--good.

Two fairly pauseful chapters with some background info being given.
Vincent Lane
19. Aegnor
J Town@15 please highlight the whited out sentence below.

God dammit, yes I have freaking read the entire freaking series. I know exactly what is coming. Trying not to be rude, but holy crap are you dense... Leigh reads the comments, other people who are reading for the first time along with Leigh are reading the comments. This is a SPOILER FREE thread. I was desperately trying to mitigate the HUGE SPOILER that Black Dread let slip.

Black Dread@14, ditto
Hey, it didn't stop you before did it? Why don't you just give Leigh clear hints to every major plot point in the books?

Drew Holton
21. Dholton
I have to say, this confrontation between Tywin and Tyrion, brutal as it is, is one of my favorite (right word?), and most striking for me in all the books. We get a finally glimpse inside Tywin's icy exterior and of his grief and love for his lost wife, and his misplaced hatred of Tyrion because of her death. The raw emotions expressed overtly by Tywin and internally by Tyrion just kill me every time.
Marty Beck
22. martytargaryen
Rob and Aegnor, I love the depth you (and others) bring to the discussion. I still miss a lot in my second read-through. Thanks!
Rob Munnelly
23. RobMRobM
@19 - what Aegnor said (under seal, of course)

@18 - if you look at the appendices, several other Lannisters share a different prefix but there are some who do not fit the bill (not only Jaime and Cersei but also Uncle Kevan and his kids as well).
Marty Beck
24. martytargaryen
shalter @18 - love following your first-time read as well. Um, Tyrion may be undermining himself, but I doubt that's what you meant. :) Tywin-Tyrion Typos FTW!
George Jong
26. IndependentGeorge
#14 - Robert is (rightfully) taken to task by both readers and Ned his nonstop whoring. It's just a moot point now on account of being gutted by a pig. Tyrion is hardly the only person who is called out on this.

#19 - //Thank you for that - I'm never sure how to reply to spoiler coments without either drawing attention to and confirming them//
TBGH
27. Black Dread
Aegnor,

I said nothing spoolerish (and didn’t realize you had white-out at the bottom of your first post). Jamie mislead Tyrion into the circumstances of his marriage and stood by while his father humiliated him. That is a betrayal.

It is a tragic event in Tyrion’s life and probably destroyed his ability to trust women. Frequenting whores (who he knows he can’t trust) and sarcasm are his defenses.
TBGH
28. EvilClosetMonkey
@13 Ditto on being really bummed that Leigh didn't make it to the next chapter this week. It is an entertaining one.

Re: The possible implications of Tywin's denouncing of Tyrion. I never took his words to mean that he suspected or even knew that Tyrion is illegitmate, though I'll agree it's perfectly reasonable to read it that way. I think what Tywin means there is that he wishes Tyrion wasn't his and he wishes that he had any proof to that effect so he could disown him.
Vincent Lane
29. Aegnor
Black Dread@27,

I would have given you the benefit of the doubt on that if you hadn't responded as you did initially. The only hope of letting that spoiler you gave slip unnoticed by the unread was to not draw attention to the fact that a spoiler had occured, but that was blown out of the water by yours and JTown's follow on posts. Even the first sentance in your post here draws attention to the fact that there is a spoiler there and it won't take a genious to figure it out.
Deana Whitney
30. Braid_Tug
Tywin / Tyrion - anytime I think a father son realtionship is messed up - I think of this relationship. Not so bad in comparison.

If Jamie is Tywin golden boy - why was he allowed in the Kingsgard again? I'm surprised Daddy allowed that. Then again, I can't remember when that is /was talked about.

Davos - I know losing his fingers bones is a major blow to his "luck", but I think he used the bones luck up by being washed ashore on "friend will find me land." Rather than just dying like his sons.
Vincent Lane
31. Aegnor
EvilClosetMonkey@28,

His comments could be taken two ways...
1) He has reason to believe that Tyrion is not his, but he can't prove it.
2) He doesn't have reason to believe it, but he can't believe something so "foul" could come from his line, so therefore Tyrion must not be his.

The way I read his comments I don't think he believes Tyrion to be his. But that could definitely be due to his irrational hatred and disgust for Tyrion and not have any real basis.
Maiane Bakroeva
32. Isilel
Well, I have to say that Tywin does kind of have a point in this particular confrontation. Despite his protestations, Tyrion did contemplate scrouging Tommen, after all, and felt relieved when he heard that Tommen was no longer in his power.
I.e. he did think about hurting his blood, and a kid that he was quite fond of, to boot, to punish Cersei/avenge the whore.
Which is quite dark and very problematic in Westerosi culture, where you are supposed to stick by your family. Not that Cersei/Joff make it easy, of course.

Anyway, of course Tywin knows that Tyrion is more than "spiteful little creature", etc., which is why he sent him to be the acting Hand, after all. And also why he was very quick to dismantle Tyrion's power structure. Tywin knows this, but dislikes Tyrion even more for it, IMHO.

The interesting and characteristic thing here is that Tywin did make all Tyrion's promises and obligations good, payed everybody generously, etc. Despite the hateful relationship they have, Tyrion can count on some things, even if just for the sake of Lannister image.

Re: attack on Tyrion, I never understood why he immediately latched on Cersei as a culprit. I mean, she is not the brightest knife in the drawer, but would even she be stupid enough to jeopardize the battle that way?

Personally, I always thought that it must have been Joff - he talked about how his "uncle would need mercy" during the battle and everybody thought that it was about Stannis, but IMHO he was slyly announcing his intentions re: Tyrion.Wouldn't be the first time Joff ordered somebody killed without informing his dear mother, too (i.e. Ned).
Steven Halter
33. stevenhalter
martytargaryen@24:Thanks--proves my point about too many Ty's! Also, "Ty"po, lol.
TBGH
34. EvilClosetMonkey
Aegnor @ 31

I agree that both are valid readings but I definitely go with interpretation #2. Given how Tywin works, if he really thought that Tyrion was illegitimate I believe Tyrion would have had an accident long ago.
Steven Halter
35. stevenhalter
Isilel@33:Yes, the immediate latching onto Cersei seems to just be based in Tyrion general dislike of her. Joff seems like a pretty good candidate. Tyrion has given him reasons to dislike/fear him.
TBGH
36. EvilClosetMonkey
Isilel @32:
Good points all around.

I also want to point out that at the end of Game of Thrones when Tyrion asks daddy dearest why he is sending him to be acting Hand, Tywin simply responds, "You are my son."
TBGH
37. David B
Hee hee hee...

You know nothing Leigh Butler.

Unicorns. Heh.
Bryan Cogswell
38. shmoo
A (brief) defense of Tywin.

Think about what the possible results are if Tywin were to say, "Ok, son, i'll give you the rock as it is yours being the next son in line." --

A) What would their lords think about this? Jump up and down praising the fact that they will be ruled over by a dwarf? Something that if he had a different last name most likely wouldn't have survived long after being born.
B) Would the people of C Rock love him? We saw what the populance of King's Landing thought of him during the seige -

On Whoring
We saw what a mess of things Robert did by creating little bastards. What if the lord of C Rock had bastards running around. All sorts of future problems. And not just bringing disrepute on the family name.

Nope. Giving him this would have been very problematic even during peacetime but doing it during a civil war would have been much much worse.
Vincent Lane
39. Aegnor
Lol...thinking the mod is confused. Oh well.

shmoo@38,
The Lannister lords may have been resistant initially, but as Tyrion proved during his rule in Kings Landing, he is an extremely effective political leader. I have no doubt he'd be able to convince many of those who would initially protest, and would be able to quash those that could not be convinced.
George Jong
40. IndependentGeorge
I never understood why he immediately latched on Cersei as a culprit. I mean, she is not the brightest knife in the drawer, but would even she be stupid enough to jeopardize the battle that way?
Of course she is. In her mind, there's no way that an ugly dwarf could possibly have any use whatsoever. In fact, killing Tyrion would probably aid her side in battle!
Steven Halter
41. stevenhalter
Typo, the dred Lanister, rowed his mitey stead into the grizzly malay. "Four soothe," he cried, "I am the true air of this realm!"
David Goodhart
42. Davyd
@13

Mea Culpa. You are correct re: The Show. GOT is not one of the books I re-read as much, so I guess I got confused. Thanks!

@14

I wasn't criticizing Tyrion for the whoring or the politiking. I was talking about how Tywin perceives him. I went on to say that despite some of those things being true, that Tyrion is much more than those things. We know that, because we 'know' him better than Tywin does, and that's pretty sad...
Stefan Mitev
43. Bergmaniac
Tyrion is no Good guy at all. yeah, he's funny and it's hard not to feel some sympathy because of the way people mistreat him due to prejudice him, but at his heart he's a ruthless jerk who's done plenty of terrible things so far. Like organising and supervising the burning alive of thousands to keep a illegitimate psychopath on the throne, letting a murderer (Tymett) go unpunished because he was one of his men, breaking Marillion's fingers and being gleeful about it because he was singing sarcastic songs about him, giving the Antler Men to Joffrey's sadistic "justice", etc.

At the end of the day, Tywin gave him the highest job in the realm in a crucial moment, so I can't agree he doesn't see Tyrion's skills. But fact is even if Tywin was OK with it, it would've been very difficult to establish Tyrion as his heir since his lords wouldn't like this at all. Especially with Jaime, the supreme warrior with charisma off the chart, still alive. For all his supposed political competence, during his brief stint in KL Tyrion ended up with pretty much everyone hating him - Pycelle, Cersei, Joff, LF, the population of the city, his father was angry at him too.
TBGH
44. AO
Tywin doesn't seem so bad compared with my own father. I guess it's all relative.
Rob Munnelly
45. RobMRobM
Berg - IMO you're overstating Tyrion's wrongs and ignoring his many rights. I'm not going down that road in detail (as it turned hot and heavy a few posts ago and I don't care to repeat it at this juncture) but I will point out that the Antler Men were traitors and were due to be summarily killed in any event, so I'm not particularly troubled by leaving them to Tyrion's liege for disposition; there's no textual evidence that I can recall that Timmett was a murderer (he killed someone who tried to steal from him, which is a serious crime in Westeros even if technically he should have handed the criminal over to the authorities - there's certainly no evidence of other "murder" by him); Marillion was hurt by the Hill Tribes, not by Tyrion - Tyrion is only guilty of laughing at his misfortune after Tyrion fought to win the battle; and the use of wildfire at Blackwater was in evident self-defense, both to himself personally and to the hundreds of thousands living in Kings Landing, against a foe with superior armed numbers.
TBGH
46. Dan Someone
Something that just occurred to me for the first time on reading Leigh's first reading of that scene between Tyrion and Tywin: While Tywin clearly loathes Tyrion, largely because Tyrion's mother died birthing him, I think some of that loathing is redirected guilt - after all, he was responsible for fathering the "monster" that killed his wife. In a world where every terrible event seems to be a punishment for some past transgression, what do you suppose he must think he has done to cause the bring Tyrion into existence? He even acknowledges it to some degree:
To teach me humility, the gods have condemned me to watch you waddle about wearing that proud lion that was my father’s sigil and his father’s before him.
He must have been right ashamed to imagine what his ancestors must be thinking of him. So he sublimated that shame into detestation for Tyrion. But deep down, he knows it's his fault that Tyrion is a monster.
Stefan Mitev
47. Bergmaniac
@RobMRobM - Timett is a murderer because he murdered a man, you described the incident yourself. Even by Westerosi standards, cheating at dice isn't punishable by death, and Timett is not someone who has the formal power to make judgements and commit executions anyway. It was a clear murder.

Tyrion did break Maryllion's fingers - [i]"The singer’s hand came crawling out from beneath the dead animal, scrabbling in the dirt like a spider with five legs. [b]Tyrion put his heel on the grasping fingers and felt a satisfying crunch. [/b]". A bit later on in the chapter - "Marillion kept throwing sullen looks back at Tyrion as they rode. The singer had broken several ribs, his woodharp, and all four fingers on his playing hand"

As for the Antler men, even if they were traitors (which is debatable), they deserved a real trial, not to be immediately condemned in a second based only on Varys's word. Giving them to Joff even though he knew fully well what his brand of sadistic justice, just because it was a bit more convenient, shows what a ruthless and callous person Tyrion is.

Self-defence is not a good enough reason to burn thousands alive in my book.
George Jong
48. IndependentGeorge
@47 - I half-agree with you, except your last line:

Self-defence is not a good enough reason to burn thousands alive in my book.
Hell yes it's reason enough. If I'm defending against an invading army, I'm using every last trick in the book.
Rob Munnelly
49. RobMRobM
Berg - thanks. We're going to differ on the Antler Men and wildfire - understood. Timmett is a warrior and I'd bet that warrior types in nearly every Westeros culture wouldn't hold back if someone tried to cheat them. He's a professional murderer by definition. I can't be unduly troubled by having Tyrion bring warriors into a situation where warrior skills will be needed. Re Marrillion, I think I fell guilty to the same mixing of book and HBO that I commented on with another poster above. Obviously, what Tyrion did can't be seen as nice and Marrillion was acting like such a jerk (as I recall) that I'm not unduly troubled by it, in my overall view of Tyrion.

I can't agree that Tywin is being fair in his scant assessment of Tyrion's merits as fill in Hand. Tyrion was thrown into a really tough situation, dealing with a psycho incompetent nephew king and a psycho incompetent Tyrion-hating sister regent, and does a remarkable job surviving at all and actually taking the positive steps needed to win the war (chain, organize and train the use of wildfire, Myrcella to Dorne to force Stannis to maintain a hefty rear guard, LF to Highgarden to secure Tyrell support).
TBGH
50. EvilClosetMonkey
@47
While I'm sure that it isn't codified in Westerosi law that cheating at dice is punishable by death, it is safe to say that in a medieval-ish, warrior society such as Westeros there is a reasonable expectation that cheating someone in a tavern will result in serious injury or death. I don't think that is an uncommon reaction in such a society. While we would certainly classify it as murder, I'm not convinced that your average Westerosi would.

Re: the Antler man, traitors (and from the Lannister perspective they certainly are traitors) have always been dealt with harshly in a war time setting. Even in the US during WWII there were some summary executions of those thought to be spies or traitors.

Re: the wildfire, it was war. Terrible things happen during war. Besides, Tyrion wasn't even the aggressor in this war. Would it somehow be better if all those people had drowned or been stabbed to death? They were soldiers at war, I fail to see how their deaths can be used to characterize Tyrion as immoral or a bad guy.

There are other points on which to base that argument (Marillion being one, though I'd probably be pretty angry with him since Marillion directly lead to Tyrion getting arrested). Obviously, I'm a Tyrion apologist so I believe the good outweighs the bad but I think that there are several other actions he takes that are much harder to defend than the ones mentioned above.
Stefan Mitev
51. Bergmaniac
If Timett's murder is considered fairly normal and not a serious crime, why did Varys bother to report to Tyrion about it? Clearly he thought it's serious enough to bring it to Tyrion's attention. But Tyrion cared only about the pragmatic side - he needed the clansmen so he was perfectly willing to overlook pretty much any crime they committed. And given that the population of the city came to really hate them and they were after all used of taking what they want with force, I highly doubt this was the only serious crime they got away with it. This is the kind of person Tyrion is. He doesn't hesitate to use people like Bronn even after they admitted they'd kill a baby if someone offers enough gold for the job. At his heart Tyrion is a ruthless person, willing to do anything, no matter how morally wrong, to achieve his goals.
Steven Halter
52. stevenhalter
At their heart, pretty much all of the POV characters we've seen are fairly ruthless. Recall that they have all been raised to believe that they are rulers--lords, ladies, knights, etc. They think they are better. Rules that apply to "regular" people don't quite apply to them.
The Starks seem to temper this a bit with some noblesse oblige, but recall the first time we saw Ned he was busy cutting someone's head off. He applied the rules, but quite ruthlessly.
So, no one is a particularly nice person. Now, they are all clearly creatures of their environment--a ruthless environment it is indeed.
Tyrion is certainly ruthless, and uses people to reach his own ends. He isn't a complete psychopath like Joffrey and he does seem fairly intelligent. He seems loyal to people who are on his side. His relationships with women are fraught with issues, but at least he isn't killing them. So, on the balance fairly decent for Westeros.
Pirmin Schanne
53. Torvald Nom
If Timett's murder is considered fairly normal and not a serious crime, why did Varys bother to report to Tyrion about it?
It's bad publicity. You seem to be thinking of Timett's deed in terms of the Rule of Law (i.e., if it's a crime, it must be punished), but I'm really not sure whether those terms apply in the Westeros setting, since that was a pretty foreign idea to medieval law.
Instead, I'd say that the whole problem was that one of Tyrion's men (a foreigner! a barbarian!!) dared to cut up a man of King's Landing, and the people of King's Landing frown upon that (they do their own cutting up, y'see).
Steven Halter
56. stevenhalter
I thought I'd make a bit of a meta comment here. I've adopted the following reading process for this book:
On Friday morning I read the next chapter and jot down thoughts. Then, when Leigh makes the post, I check to see how many other chapters (if any) will be in this weeks read. I read through Leigh's comments on the first chapter. Then I read the other chapters.
this is proving to be an interesting reading methodology. It is really different than my usual mode of reading (read large portions quickly). I find that reading the chapters in these discrete segments tends to blur out some of the details from earlier sections. However, mulling about a chapter or two for a week as I wait for the next Friday, tends to sharpen some of the small details within a given chapter. Interesting effects.
Rob Munnelly
57. RobMRobM
shalter - why don't you read two chapters - Leigh does that in all cases except personal emergencies and the rare cases in which she posts three? I see it as a good idea, if you have time, to look back to past chapters to refresh yourself on possible connections and open issues that might be resolved or advanced in the new one. Leigh is not really doing that - she's been pretty clear she is living in the moment - but there may be value to someone with a fresh perspective taking a look back and seeing where things have been left. Whatever you choose to do, I'm enjoying your contributions to the read.

Rob
Steven Halter
58. stevenhalter
I thought about just doing 2 chapters, but there is the small chance that Leigh would only read 1 and also, if I read 1 and jot down my notes and then read Leigh's, I don't have any preconceptions on reading Leigh's post. So, I think I'll stick with 1 and then 1 for this book and see how it goes.
I don't have any rule about not looking back at the previous books. For example, I looked for mentions of blue flowers in AGoT. I have constrained myself from any Google searches--even if they were only for previous books as spoilers would probably show.
Rob Munnelly
59. RobMRobM
Understood. And, yeah, definitely don't use google or other web tools - way too spoilerific risky.
TBGH
60. JMB
I'm horrified that people are willing to defend Tywin here, who by all accounts is a terrible and abusive father. Regardless of Tyrion's moral character, what Tywin says to Tyrion here is pretty awful, after his son's just been hideously disfigured and almost died fighting in a war that his family started, and doing the job his father told him to do. I find it difficult to blame him for wanting a little recognition.
TBGH
61. CarpeComputer
@60 I would definatelly defend Tywin from everything, sans his absurd accusations of Tyrion about his mother dying in childbearth.

Yes, he is a cold and ruthless father to the extreme. Yes, he does not show his children any love. But he does all of this to secure the position of his fammily. He wants them to be perfect in every way and to share his goal in life, that is making Lannisters the strongest house around. Except for what I mentioned, he does not favorise any of his children, he goes to great lenghts to stop Tyrion from scarring the name of Lannisters by his constant whoring, he sends a Hand to Cersei to stop her foolishness and practically disowns Jaimie when he learns that he wont stop being in the White Guard which means no (legitimate) baby Lannisters from him.

This said, he does start a fricking war to save Tyrion, is absolutelly mad when Jamie gets captured and saves Cersei himself. Besides, he does acknowledge the good things his children do, which is shown by making Tyrion the Hand and congratulating him on the chain idea (and Cersei - on the wildfire idea). He is just not the type who would be excited when his kid gets a 100% - but the type who would be quite pissed off if it is 90%.

Besides, in the 2nd season of the movies he is totally badas, arguably his & Arya's scenes are the best ones out there.

And I say it quite objectivelly, as I really liked Tyrion untill a certain last POV from him in this book, at which point I would kind of like to see him fly from The Vale, just as young Robert Arryn would.
TBGH
62. CarpeComputer
Can you guys please white out "practically disowns Jaimie when he learns that he wont stop being in theWhite Guard which means no (legitimate) baby Lannisters from him.", the "d" in "like(d) Tyrion" and "untill a certain last POV from him in this book, at which point I would
kind of like to see him fly from The Vale, just as young Robert Arryn
would."? For some reason the text was white on the preview but became black after I posted it, and these things are spoilers or spoilerish.
Andrew Mills
63. ajmills
I hate being so far behind in these posts. Hopefully I will catch up soon.

Anyway, WRT Tyrion's "whoring". Just think about it for a moment - he is a dwarf, not a particularly good looking person either. His family (maybe with the exception of Jaime and Tommen) appears to despise him.

Who would blame him for going to a whore for a couple of hours to not only get some female attention (let's face it, he's not exactly having women tripping over themselves to get at him like they would with Jaime or Ser Loras), and to perhaps feel like he is "loved", or that someone at least "cares" for him, for a couple of hours.

For those reasons (and not just for the hanky panky) I think he goes to whores for comfort.
TBGH
64. she-wolf
Don't sulk, Leigh! (You probably stopped sulking, like, 2 years ago, but never mind that.) Davos isn't motivated by religion the way Melisandre is. Davos wants to eliminate her because she's up to really shady shit and he thinks her magic will do more harm than good. He's not targeting her because of her religion, per se, but because of what she's chosen to do because of it. Her actions got her on his shit list, not just her faith. (That's no true of Melisandre. As far as I know, The Seven never tried to forcibly convert her.) I really think this is one of those "the only thing needed for evil to win is for good men to do nothing" situations in Davos' mind. And Davos can't sit by and do nothing anymore.
TBGH
65. she-wolf
I don't know if that made sense. My point is - She's out to crush all religious competition; he only wants to stop her.

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