Dec 21 2012 2:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords, Part 12

A Read of Ice and Fire on A Storm of Swords, Part 12Welcome 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 12 of A Storm of Swords, in which we cover Chapter 20 (“Catelyn”) and Chapter 21 (“Jaime”).

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 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 begin, scheduling note: there will be no posts for either Friday December 28th or the following Friday, January 4th, owing to travel and holidays and general insanity. The Read will resume on Friday January 11th. Cheers!


Chapter 20: Catelyn

What Happens
Catelyn stands beside Robb’s throne as the corpses of two Lannister squires—Tion Frey and Willem Lannister—are laid before them, and wonders if Robb also sees the faces of Bran and Rickon there instead. The Greatjon brings in the perpetrators: Lord Rickard Karstark and four of his men. Edmure Tully says that they murdered two of his men in order to get to the dungeon where the boys had been imprisoned, and Karstark answers that it is not murder to remove those who stand in the way of a father’s vengeance. Catelyn feels sick, thinking that her actions are the cause of this.

Robb tells Karstark that his sons died honorably on the battlefield, and that the two squires had had nothing to do with it. Karstark answers that they were of the Kingslayer’s ilk, and “only blood can pay for blood.” He also says that Robb’s mother slew them just as much as he did; Robb answers angrily that this was his treason, and Karstark asks how it can be treason to kill Lannisters when it is not treason to free them. He mocks Robb for that, and the Greatjon begs Robb’s leave to gut the traitor, but then they are interrupted by the return of Ser Brynden, and Robb retires with him, Catelyn, and Edmure to speak privately. Before they go, he orders the other prisoners besides Karstark hung; one pleads for his life, insisting that he only stood watch, and Robb orders him hung last.

In private, Ser Brynden reports that all three hundred of Karstark’s fighting men have deserted, and Catelyn reflects miserably on the trap Robb is now in, surrounded by enemies except the useless Vale to the east and now having lost the Karstarks as well. Edmure argues that they can keep the murders a secret, but Robb replies that he owes their kin the truth and justice for it. He says that Karstark betrayed him, and he has no choice but to condemn him for it. They discuss Lord Rickard’s heir Harrion; Robb is sure this will make an enemy of him, and Edmure suggests keeping Rickard hostage to his son’s loyalty.

Robb says they have no word from Ser Rodrik, and neither Walder Frey nor Lysa Arryn have answered his letters. Catelyn opines that they will not hear from her sister at all, saying she was always the sort to run and hide when she’d done something wrong. Robb says he only wants her to open the Bloody Gate for him and provide ships so that he can flank Moat Cailin, but Brynden agrees that Lysa is too fearful to allow any army into the Vale. Robb flies into a rage, cursing Lysa as well as Rickard Karstark, Theon Greyjoy, Walder Frey, and Tywin Lannister, He shouts that he swore to himself to be a good king, loyal to his friends and deadly to his enemies, but now he can’t even tell which is which. Edmure urges him again to spare Lord Rickard, but Robb tells him that Rickard did more than kill those boys; he killed Robb’s honor, and he will die for it.

The next day the court gathers for Karstark’s execution, which Robb insists on performing himself. Lord Rickard reminds him bitterly of their families’ long and illustrious kinship and loyalty, and Robb answers that that did not stop him from betraying Robb. He asks for final words, and Karstark declares “Kill me, and be cursed. You are no king of mine.” Robb chops off his head; it takes three tries, and Catelyn prays for him when she sees him shaking after.

Later, Catelyn goes to sit at her father’s deathbed, and eventually Queen Jeyne comes to see her. Catelyn greets her respectfully, but calls her “Jeyne” at the queen’s insistence. Jeyne says she has come to ask for advice on Robb; he is so miserable and angry, she says, and she does not know what to do to comfort him. Catelyn tells her that sometimes the best thing to do is nothing; to be patient, and wait for him to come to her. She adds that the best thing to do for Robb is to give him an heir, and Jeyne smiles and says she has been taking a posset daily to increase her fertility, and that she and Robb “try” for children very frequently. She is confident she will be pregnant soon with twins, which she wants to name Eddard and Brandon. She leaves, and Catelyn prays that she is right.

As the sound of the rain on the roof mingled with her father’s breathing, she thought about Jeyne. The girl did seem to have a good heart, just as Robb had said. And good hips, which might be more important.


Gotta love a world in which a woman’s uterus—and what it produces—is valued above anything else about her. Oh, wait.

So, Jeyne seems very sweet, and she’s probably sincere in her affections (or else she is a fabulous actress), but I still have my suspicions of how the whole marriage came about in the first place, whether Jeyne herself was in on it or not. I wonder, if it turns out Robb was magically roofied into breaking his promise to the Freys, whether Jeyne’s childbearing hips will outweigh that betrayal?

It wouldn’t for me, but my values ain’t these people’s values. (She understates, dramatically.)

“Rickard Karstark killed more than a Frey and a Lannister. He killed my honor. I shall deal with him at dawn.”

Well, it seems that in some things, Robb Stark is very much his father’s son. Time will tell if that’s a good thing or not.

That aside, ouch. There is pretty much nothing about this situation that doesn’t suck for Robb, politically or personally. If we were looking for an image of a leader hemmed in and beleaguered on all sides, well, I think we’ve got one.

And Robb’s, what, still only fifteen? Dude. When I was fifteen my biggest problem was who to ask to the winter formal dance, and passing my driver’s test, and whether the school theater’s ancient lighting equipment was going to electrocute me before I could get them all hung for the spring play, and I thought I was going to lose my mind. This, I can hardly even get my brain around in comparison. (Spoiler: I was not electrocuted, though I got a couple of nasty shocks. Seriously, that rig was a lawsuit waiting to happen.)

Also, either Edmure is really not the sharpest knife in the drawer, or he’s secretly working for the Lannisters, because damn is that man a fount of bad ideas. Seriously, shut up, Edmure.

“Lord Umber,” said Robb, “this one was only the watcher. Hang him last, so he may watch the others die.”

Mm. Quite right. I mean, as long as we’re going with capital punishment for treason in the first place (which, obviously, we are), those who “merely” aided and abetted are just as guilty as the actual perpetrators.

Doesn’t do much for Robb’s hypocrisy re: sparing Catelyn, of course, but, well. I think that’s wrong even as I agree with it. That ought not to make any sense, but to me it does.

Catelyn’s characterization of her sister Lysa seemed spot on as well. I wonder if she’ll try to run away from Littlefinger, or just put him in her Dungeon of the Most Unfun Slides Ever?


Chapter 21: Jaime

What Happens
When they come to Maidenpool, where the pond that gave the town its name is choked with corpses, Jaime begins singing the song about it loudly and taunting Brienne, asking if she wouldn’t like to go for a swim. Brienne ignores him, and Jaime falls to reflecting on Cersei, and how he and she slept together even as children, and how that had horrified their mother, who had separated them until she died giving birth to Tyrion. He thinks that perhaps Stannis and the Starks had done him a favor in spreading the rumors of his and Cersei’s incest around the kingdom, and that perhaps now he could wed her openly, just as the Targaryens had done, and wed Joffrey to Myrcella, propagating the tradition that royalty is exempt from incest laws. He also decides he will keep his word to send Sansa and Arya Stark back to their mother, just because everyone would expect him to do the opposite.

They are attacked by archers, and Ser Cleos Frey falls from his horse, but his foot catches in the stirrup and he is dragged off. Jaime yells at Brienne to charge the archers’ position, and is rather surprised when she joins him. The archers run, and Jaime offers to treat Brienne’s wounds (she has an arrow in her back and another in her leg), but Brienne is contemptuous. They find Cleos dead, dragged to death by his own horse, and Jaime argues that he should have Cleos’s sword, to help Brienne with watches. Brienne refuses to trust him so far, and in a fury Jaime grabs Cleos’s sword and attacks.

Brienne and Jaime spar, and he is increasingly impressed by his inability to defeat her, though he attributes it to his recent lack of conditioning and also that he is still fettered by chains. Eventually he is chilled to realize she is beating him, and refuses to accede to her shouts for him to yield. They end up in the river with Brienne pinning Jaime down, until they are interrupted by armed men laughing at them from the riverbanks. Jaime recognizes them as Vargo’s Bloody Mummers, and they discuss how best to rape Brienne until Jaime declares that they know him, and adds that the wench is highborn and will fetch a good ransom. Jaime demands that they free him, but the leader, Urswyck, tells him that the Brave Companions have switched allegiances from the Lannisters to the Starks.

Brienne shouts that they are with Lady Catelyn, and that Jaime is under her protection, but the Mummers ignore her and beat them both bloody before tying them onto a horse together to take back to their camp. Jaime feels sorry for what is going to happen to Brienne there, and warns her not to resist it; she asks what he would do if it were him, and Jaime answers that he would make them kill him first. Jaime tries to bribe Urswyck to break with Vargo and take them to King’s Landing, implying that Brienne’s family is also rich, and promises him pardons for betraying the Lannisters, but Urswyck casually slaps him and declares he would never trust the word of an oathbreaker.

They arrive at the camp, where Vargo’s men are desecrating a sept. Brienne again tries to invoke Catelyn and Robb Stark’s name, but Vargo ignores her, and Rorge drags her off the horse. Jaime is dragged to Vargo’s cook fire, where he tries to convince him to turn back to the Lannisters. Vargo lisps that he will have “half the gold in Cathterly Rock”, but first he must send Tywin a message. Urswyck knocks Jaime down, and others grab the chain binding his arms to pull them straight in front of him, whereupon the Dothraki draws his arakh. Jaime thinks it a gambit to frighten him, and is determined not to react.

Sunlight ran silver along the edge of the arakh as it came shivering down, almost too fast to see. And Jaime screamed.

Yeek! Well, either they just cut off Jaime’s arms/hands, or they chopped the chain on him. I’m betting the latter, just because that would be the more surprising reveal for whenever we come back to this storyline.

But I’m not nearly as interested in that as I am in Brienne’s fate, for which I rage for her, because goddammit. I’m really hoping something happens to keep her from getting gang-raped, but all things considered I probably shouldn’t hold my breath on that one. Shit. I know it sounds naïve to say, but that is just so fucking unfair. And horrible, and, and… shit.

I’m probably going to have to not think about it for now. At least until I have to.

And don’t think I see what Sneaky McSneakerson Mr. Martin is doing here with Jaime, either, trying to make me like him because he actually (sort of) respects and (sort of) is trying to (sort of) protect Brienne. Sort of. And now neither of those words make any sense anymore, but nevertheless Jaime is not forgiven, dammit! He threw a kid out of a window so he could fuck his sister some more! Hello!

Speaking of which, the Jaime and Cersei thing is really proof that… well, I’m having trouble deciding what it’s proof of, really. That cultural differences are seriously a bitch to get your head around, maybe? Because, Jaime’s thoughts on the Targaryens’ merry traditions of incest, while an example of a classic logical fallacy best expressed by my mother, i.e. Are you going to jump off a bridge just because everyone else is too?, do kind of provide an at least slightly better rationalization for Jaime’s conviction that his relationship with Cersei is justifiable.

But it doesn’t matter, I think, because incest is really just not justifiable in the end—for strictly biological reasons if nothing else. That said, Jaime’s daydreams about being able to openly marry Cersei made me kind of sad, because never gonna happen, dude. He’s still a horrible person, but in certain ways his life sucks almost as much as Tyrion’s.

Sheesh. Is anyone going to get a happy ending out of this story?

And that’s where we stop, kiddies! Have a lovely however you celebrate the end of the year, and assuming we all survive today I’ll see you in 2013!

Chris Nelly
1. Aeryl

OK, I feel better now.
Ross Newberry
2. rossnewberry
Careful there, Leigh. Your comments toward the end there seem to show you swaying perilously close to caring about Ser Defenestrates-children-for-interrupting-incest (would love to see the coat of arms for that), despite your steadfast claims that it won't happen.

I can't wait to see the reaction that a certain four words evoke a bit later on.
3. TG12
Oh, man, not that interested if Jaime got his hand(s) chopped off? That's cold. Not as cold as throwing a kid out of a window, it's true, but still...
4. Cass314
Great to see a new post! And very interesting to see your thoughts about Jaime.

To steal a line from Martin, though--hanged, Leigh, not hung. The Karstark is not a tapestry.
To be fair to Rob, it's not just Ned's son he's being there. If someone killed Sansa while she was still under the Lannister's . . . governance, Tywin would probably react just as harshly. It's just something that's not done, at least to noble born prisoners. Rob has now totally lost all ability to be taken seriously by any noble not already allied to him.

And wow, this reread is entertaining and the next installment can NOT get here soon enough.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
6. AlirozTheConfused
Yo, Leigh,
I really must say
Poor Cleos Frey

The ground he tread
crushed his head
and now he's dead

Don't just fear for Brienne's fate
Leigh, never underestimate
The skill to surprise
that in Martin lies
There's some real shockers, just wait!
Marty Beck
7. martytargaryen
"I wonder if she’ll try to run away from Littlefinger, or just put him in her Dungeon of the Most Unfun Slides Ever?"

- no comment, except to say, hmmm.

"He threw a kid out of a window so he could fuck his sister some more! Hello!"

- Come to the dark side, Leigh. Come on...don't fight it.
Sanctume Spiritstone
8. Sanctume
That's the hook, readers read on for that happy ending that doesn't happen. At least there's happy holidays in the next two weeks!
9. Aellinsar
"Sheesh. Is anyone going to get a happy ending out of this story?"

I'll bet my paycheck on "no".
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
10. Lisamarie
I'm surprised that you haven't vented about Karstark and his rationale. I can't stand that honor based mentality about revenge for things happening on a battlefield. Like, the other side is just supposed to sit there while you try and kill them?
11. corejay
You know, I think we should compare Robb and Joffrey here. Joffrey had Ned executed for treason, and Robb is about to do the same to Rickard Karstark. Yes, their reasons are slightly different, but both risk(ed) pissing off the heirs of the executed. In Ned's case, exile at the Wall would have been an option, and I'm wondering if Robb shouldn't consider the same for Rickard Karstark.

As for some other comments of yours, I'll have to write that somewhere else. Way too spoilerific.
Chris Nelly
12. Aeryl
Mad sympathy for Robb aside, I have no patience with Karstark.

Dood! You took your sons to war, what did you think would happen? Yes, I know they died actually fighting Jaime, but once again, it seems like the battlefield would be fair play, so for Karstark to hold such a grudge is bad form.

And yeah, discussing Jaime, I just can't. I really can't. But yes, Leigh, come to the dark side with us, I'll bake cookies for your arrival.
13. OsRavan
robbs 16 almost 17 by this point actually. Time flies...

Great posts as always
14. boredme
"The Karstark is not a tapestry."

Roose Bolton can take care of that. ; )
Vincent Lane
15. Aegnor
I think a better comparison is Robb with Theon. They both chopped off someone's head, and both took three attempts to complete.

And Leigh...if you think Westros culture is bad...

Wait until she gets a load of Asapori culture in the next installment. It makes Westrosi culture seem like a beacon of light.
Chris Nelly
16. Aeryl
Also, far be it from me to try and get you to sympathize with Jaime(especially since Martin seems to be doing such a bang-up job!), but he didn't throw Bran from the tower just so he and Cersei could keep having sex. It was to save his and Cersei's lives, along with the lives of their children.

You may now return to your regularly schedule Jaime-hate. :D
17. TBGH
I snorted. The person in the next office over gave me a weird look.
Marie Veek
19. SlackerSpice
@18 - Yeah, I'm thinking if it was the chains, he wouldn't have been so quick to scream.
20. Black Dread
After the Tully deathbed scene I had to do an internet search on "Tansy". Interesting and helpful although the Wikipedia entry now has spoilers.
Steven Halter
21. stevenhalter
Chapter 20: Catelyn -- Dead guys to start with and who are they? OK, Tion Frey and William Lannister -- ah and "treason passed by a touch." I'm guessing these two weren't supposed to be killed. Nice suspense build up here. Slaying semi-random squires to avenge people who died on a battlefield seems like a really bad plan. Catelyn should not have freed Jaime, but that isn't an excuse for these killings. Since the one is a Frey, it would seem astute for Robb to be harsh here to maybe help make up for the broken marriage. Of course, it is really Robb's fault for not protecting his prisoners--hence the 7 hangings. Make that 7 hangings and 1 beheading. Robb is in a very precarious place now. Hmm, I don't know whether to trust that potion the Jeyne's mother is making.
Julian Augustus
22. Alisonwonderland
All the nasty consequences that arise from Cat freeing Jaime (for purely selfish reasons) is why so many fans hate have a low opinion of Cat. We are just seeing the beginning of the effects of Cat's thoughtlessness.
Pirmin Schanne
23. Torvald_Nom
@7: Well, that's certainly an interesting metaphor...

@4 & 14: You guys make great comedians. :D

What kinda concerns me is that noone (including Martin) seems to care about the murder of the two Tully men; even if killing prisoners wasn't treason, killing your own to do it is.
Steven Halter
24. stevenhalter
Chapter 21: Jaime -- The countryside has been quite devastated by the battles. With winter coming, this seems like a really bad idea. Although, apparently this behavior is all too common in Westros as the "Autumn King" remark from a couple of chapters ago alluded. Jaime is still being an ass towards Brienne. Jaime's point of view pretty much confirms he is an ass. He doesn't seem stupid, just very much self centered. Ah, now they are being shot at by bowman. I chuckled a bit at the bowman always run away part. Someone needs to explain Agincourt to Jaime (although the bowmen weren't unsupported there). I wonder if that is a bit of foreshadowing. I have to admit that all of the various Sers we have seen could use a bit of their hot air let out of them.Now, Jaime continues being an ass. The bowmen just ran away and he decides the best thing to do is attack Brienne. And attack and attack--with some breathers. He doesn't even catch on that she is trying not to hurt him. And, predictably someone shows up. I admit, I was expecting the outlaw group that had Arya here given the bowmwn and not the Bloody Mummers. The BM's are not a pleasant group. Hmm, the arakh coming down, Jaime's scream and his arms being outstretched all seem to imply that they just cut off one or both of his hands. That is also the implication in Vargo's statement of:
"But firth I mutht thend him a methage."
Vargo intends to send some pieces of Jaime off to the Lannisters. I can't say I feel wildly sorry for Jaime. We'll have to see how that works out. But, I am very worried about Brienne. Not a good place for her.
George Jong
25. IndependentGeorge
I'm quite thurprithed that thith thection didn't merit thpethial attention for Vargo Hoat'th thpeech.
27. jeanthesquare
Leigh Butler Is Not Your Bitch.
28. corejay
What jeanthesquare said. Nor, for that matter, is GRRM.

Also, Leigh apparently got a preview version of the last installment of the WoT series to read, so I guess she was quite busy doing that this month.

I absolutely love Leigh's posts, and I, too, wish there were more of them. But all in all, I'm just hoping she'll find for more posts in the near future. Any chapter review she gives us is a gift, and I'm just grateful she does post them.
Lucas Hensley
29. windfish113

A) Leigh was reading and reviewing A Memory of Light during the first few weeks of December, which I think most of us agree is more important than recapping a few chapters of a 10-year old ASOIAF novel.

B) Bloggers here aren't told when or what to write by, they arent on a set schedule, and they can write as much or as little as they want. It isn't your place to complain, or try to tell Leigh what to do. You sound like a pretentious clown who thinks everyone should live to constantly serve you. Nobody is buying your "i'm so confused and innocent" routine.
Rob Munnelly
30. RobMRobM
Thuffering thuccotash! Fun to make fun of vargo speaking patterns. And tough to serve two madters.

Jaime is fun when trying to do the right thing. Giver sansa back - hope iot's before her nuptials....

Re robb, not much to say. Martin has boxed him in. Time for a breakout? Who knowsd?
31. MRCHalifax
Leigh, you've started to write about Jaime sympathetically. Oh, you protest. But I think that deep in your heart you k ow the truth, the same truth buried in every heart: you love Jaime Lannister.

It's OK.

It's confusing at first. Your mind keeps telling you no, I see you listing all the reasons why loving Jaime is a bad idea. But if your head wasn't so desperate to convince your heart, you wouldn't need to list those reasons. I know, it's hard. Jaime is a difficult, exasperating man to love. He's rude, he's selfish, he's fucking his sister while throwing kids out of windows. I get it. But in the end, it does't matter. Jaime is what he is, the most lovable character in the series.

You'll be able to come to peace with that soon, I know.

Soon, you too will say "I love you, Jaime Lannister."

Everyone does.
32. o.m.
@23: Killing his own, in a misguided blue-on-blue, Robb can forgive. Killing the two hostages, only Tywin could forgive. Or, technically, Joffrey.
33. AndrewV
Do I wish Leigh would write articles more often? Yes, I do... but I think it's far more important for her to spend time with her family/friends during the holidays.

Besides, she'll catch up to book five before too long. Better that she takes it slow... it gives GRRM time to get ahead. :)
34. AsbjornGV
That said, Jaime’s daydreams about being able to openly marry Cersei made me kind of sad, because never gonna happen, dude. He’s still a horrible person, but in certain ways his life sucks almost as much as Tyrion’s.
Good, good, let the sympathy flow though you
George Jong
35. IndependentGeorge
I think one thing gets overlooked about Jaime's release here: Lord Karstark was obviously wrong here in murdering prisoners (and children, no less), but he and every other Lord in Robb's service are right to be pissed off. Many of them also have noble relatives held hostage by the Lannisters; and all of them know it's possible that they themselves might someday be captured.

Jaime was leverage. With Jaime in captivity, all of them could conceivably have been included as part of a prisoner exchange with Jaime. Catelyn jumped the line, and put her own children ahead of everyone else. It was not only strategically stupid, it was swlfish; it spat upon every other family sworn to Robb's service. In this one instance, sexism served Cat well, as the only reason she could get away with it is because she can play the "mother's grief" card. In truth, she killed Robb's honor as much as Rickard Karstark.
Rob Munnelly
36. RobMRobM
IG - well put. Karstark had his two eldest killed by Jaime at Whispering Wood and his heir is in Lannister custody. His only free kid is his teen daughter back home. Lots of interest in either killing Jaime or trading him - not so much in an awkward kind of deal to get back Robb's sisters.
37. Dragonriding Moogle
One of the most interesting parts of discussing the series, for me, is looking at what actions different readers find unforgivable. There are so many characters that do one or two things near the beginning of the series that cause large amounts of the fanbase to hate them for the rest of the series. Jaime, Catelyn, Sansa are big ones. For me it's the Hound, I can never ever love him the way some fans do because of what he did to Mycah. But I have totally forgiven Catelyn and Sansa for their actions because for me, they were done out of ignorance rather than evil-ness and ignorance can be cured by character development. Jaime, I'm still unsure. I do absolutely love reading his chapters though, and his relationship with Brienne is so much excellent.
George Jong
38. IndependentGeorge
I almost forgot- the most important thing we learned from this recap? Leigh was in the A/V club in high school.
Peter Stone
39. Peter1742
You can stick your tongue out at the Mayans now. I wouldn't stick it out at the Others until the end of the last book, though.
Corey Sees
40. CorwinOfAmber
"Sheesh. Is anyone going to get a happy ending out of this story?"
This is a question I am STILL asking myself two books later.
Jonathan Levy
41. JonathanLevy

Let me come with you, Pontiuth! I may be of thome athithtanthe if there ith a thudden crithith!
Rob Munnelly
42. RobMRobM
He hath a wife, you know....
43. JaimeIsMyHomey
I love Jaime so much. I had the exact same attitude as you did, "Stop trying to make me like him!" but Jaime won me over completely. He's so awesome. I almost forgive him for pushing Bran out of the window. I had to be reminded of it. "Dude, you LIKE Jaime? He threw Bran out of the window!" "Oh...well, I suppose. But, you know. Whatever, that was two years ago!"
44. curdledmilkofpoppey
Almost forgive him? "Awesome"? So you acknowledge this is the same Jaime that threw a kid from a window while he was screwing his sister. The one that ambushed that noble Ned Stark and killed his men? The man who killed the king he took a sworn oath to protect? Who can't wait to get back to kingslanding and screw said sister some more, and has no shame for those feelings. This is the awesome guy? Just because he doesn't want to see Brienne get raped and "says" he intends to keep his word about returning lady Kat's kittens, this elevates him to "Awesome"? Not sure how you find yourself there, all i get from him to this point is an arrogant man who wants to clean a little shit off of his deservedly shit for honor reputation. It also may humanize him some as he has shown Brienne a meaure of respect, but that feeling is more out of sympathy of Brienne's plight, and she actually didn't give him much choice in the matter of earning respect when he decided to "chastise" her. Jeez, get a couple POV's from a guy and now he's the Pope of Awesome?
Marty Beck
45. martytargaryen
@44 - you confuse me with your reference to @28' but whatever.

Do you understand just what he did in taking the life of the mad king? By Westeros standard, what he did was absolutely wrong, but by the moral standards of most readers, it is very much a gray area...and getting lighter with each bit if info revealed.
Jaime is very much a messed up individual. His infatuation for Cersei - her bing a twin - is pure clinical narciscism.
He does not want Brienne to be raped. By ASoIaF standards, any compassion is a big deal. Any empathy at all from Jaime-for anyone outside of his family- is a sign that a character shift is beginning.
He reacted badly to Cat's kidnapping his brother, much as Cat herself reacted poorly by taking Tyrion in the first place. That ambush was not out of the blue.

Jaime is a big, dumb, enabled, golden-child of a jock. His actions brought him right up the the MEH, but for me and many readers, it is impossible to know if he crossed that line without knowing the full background story.

Merry Christmas.
46. curdledmilkofpoppey
My mistake,actually meant to respond to @ 43 not @28

And my real point was to question the appropriateness of the commentors analysis at this point in the story.
Marty Beck
47. martytargaryen
I see. point taken. I hope I did niot add to the "problem".
48. curdledmilkofpoppey
you're good. Merry Christmas.
49. curdledmilkofpoppey
Was also hoping my choice of screenname would provide as a subliminal reinforcer of my central point. lol
Chris Nelly
51. Aeryl
Martin plays an awful trick on his readers. By introducing the Starks as the point of view characters, you get the mistaken impression that they are the good guys, when they are not. They may not be the "worst" like we feel the Lannisters are, but they are not paragons of virtue and righteousness. Catelyn took her anger at her husband out on a innocent child, and allowed her oldest daughter to be turned into a ninnyheaded ingnoramus that still believes in fairy tales at the age of twelve, handicapping her as she sent her into the den of her enemies. Ned allowed his own personal vendetta against the Lannisters and his own sense of "honor" to blind him to what was best for the kingdom(choosing STANNIS over Renly or Joff) and allowed his wife to mistreat an innocent child. If Arya hadn't been introduced to Syrio, she'd have been well on her way to becoming just like Cersei(she'd deny it, of course). Sansa, well she's twelve and believes in fairy tales, believes that a pretty face makes you a good person and refuses to believe that a good person could be behind an ugly one. And Bran refused to heed his mother about engaging in dangerous activities.

Now, because we see inside in their heads, we empathize with the Starks and take their side, even in situations where they may not be in the right.

But these books are about deconstructing these ideas of honor and nobility, of dynasty, and that can't be done until you buy into the story and have that faith in "our" characters completely and utterly demolished.
53. DougL
@51. Aeryl

Heh, little angry? Lol. Can't blaim even Sansa for being a 12 or 13 year old girl. Bran, well, kids climb trees and bounce on beds and do all sorts of stupid things, kids are stupid, it doesn't mean they are "bad" in the moral sense of the word.

Arya, well, she has developed into a cute little sociopath, but can you blame her? If you make a list of the traumatic situations she has gone through over the last year and half of her life you'd probably run out of ink.

Stannis would be a way better King than Renly or Joffrey, I think that's where people get tripped up. Renly was a nice guy, but the realm would have hit bankruptcy with him on the throne. Plus, Stannis is the true heir from Ned's perspective. He showed he was nice by chatting with Cersei about it first, him being utterly stupid does not make him a bad guy.

Yep, he let Cat get away with too much in regards to Jon, but family dynamics are very difficult to diagnose. It is realistic. That's what I think the Starks are, realistic, to a degree (I mean, they have huge wild wolves following them around). It's say, more realistic than Polgara or Belgarath.
54. JustConcerned4LB
Hi - don't check in often but I am mighty worried about Leigh. Someone told me that only one chapter (and an unusally brief one, at that) has been posted of this reread since the end of NOVEMBER!!!

My GOSH - that just CAN'T be right?

Does anyone know if Leigh isin the hospital or something?

Our prayers are with her!
Chris Nelly
55. Aeryl

Don't get me wrong! I love all of the Starks! Arya's my favorite! I'm torn between wanting her to kill everyone on her list or turn her back on all of them and go do what she wants(and I don't think she's sociopathic, sure what's she's done isn't healthy for anyone, but she's no more a sociopath and psychologically fragile than the thousands of boys her age who are fighting in this war)!

But the Starks aren't the good guys, there really aren't any good guys, there are just a whole bunch of people who are trying their damndest to get the best they can out of a fucked up system, and I don't begrudge any of them(well SOME of them).

Yes, I can blame Sansa for believing in that garbage, it's GARBAGE. She is coddled by her privilege, and yes she is at fault for that. So is Cat, but the fact is, Sansa was surrounded by people who were, by her standards, "ugly" in Winterfell but who were loyal and dedicated to her family, and had ample evidence that handsome people could be cruel, in contradiction to the fairy tales of Knights and Ladies she held dear. So I am blaming her for prefering the fantasy to reality, because the fantasy made her special.

I'm not judging Arya on anything she's done to survive. Rather I'm talking about how she would have been, if she had continued to be denied the opportunity to find her own way, restricted by her gender, would have turned into a vindictive and angry woman, much like Cersei.

I understand that Catelyn and Sansa live in a culture where these fairy tales are fed to them to keep them docile, but I honestly can't forgive Cat for how she allowed Sansa's head to be filled with nonsense considering how Cat herself was raised, and regardless of her wisdom in the decisions she makes, she has always faced the world she lived in with clear eyes, something Sansa does not when you meet her.

Bran exercised nothing more terrible than bad judgement(and yes kids will do those things and that's ok. What's not ok is scaling the modern day equivalent of skyscrapers), but that doesn't mean he isn't culpable for his actions, especially as he was told not to.

I don't believe Stannis would be a good king, he's too rigid and lacks the ability to compromise. That doesn't make him any worse than the other contenders, but doesn't make him better. Renly may not have been a good king, but I think for the most part he'd have let those that were smarter than him take care of things and I don't see that he'd have bankrupted the realm worse than Robert. Lastly, I think Renly would have been the more peacable coup, had Ned supported him, which would have helped the common folk a lot more than what they are going through now. So yes, Ned was evil in action by not ALLYING with someone present in KL,(even if it was Joffrey until he was in a better position to oppose) bringing this hardship upon the realm.

Everything about they way they act is completely realistic! That's what transports these stories beyond fantasy. What I am saying is that these stories have never been as simple as Starks=good and Lanisters-Tyrion=evil. We were more sympathetic to the Starks than the Lannisters at the beginning, because we got their viewpoint. But even when they were our sole POV(for the most part) their actions were questionable, and in reality there is not much seperating the things we've seen them do and the actions we've seen others take.

@54 Look on the Read of Ice and Fire page to see how often she's posted, but the schedule at the beginning of this post tells you that Leigh will be back next Friday with a new installment.
56. Auga
Please, guys, is it really that hard?! Use the SPOILER THREAD.
Marty Beck
57. martytargaryen
@54 - Well, there is the holidays, which are traditionally a "slow time" for her posts.
And there is, um, the release of some book or other that she got a pre-release copy of.
All snarky sarcasm aside, these are Big Deals to Miss Leigh. Have patience. She will be back.
In fact, I'm hoping after the dust has settled from the actual re-read of AMoL, she ramps up ASoIaF read. But she has no such obligation to do so.
58. phuzz
The thing about Jamie is, part of his appeal is that he does have some of the same charm as his brother.
Their mother must have been a wonderful woman though because there's not much evidence of Tywin being charming. Clever yes, nice, defenitely not.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
59. AlirozTheConfused
Robb Stark married a Westerling, Westerling
a daughter of the crag!
And northern tension's festering, festering
Under a common flag!

Tell me, Queen, and tell me, King
when hostage children are slayed
And Stark's a Karstark beheading
Which, truly, was betrayed?

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