Aug 15 2013 1:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords, Part 40

A Song of Ice and Fire Storm of SwordsWelcome 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 40 of A Storm of Swords, in which we cover Chapter 66 (“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, please note that the Powers That Be have provided you a brand new lovely spoiler 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!

Chapter 66: Tyrion

What Happens
Ser Kevan tells Tyrion that as the Hand of the King is the father of the accused and the grandfather of the deceased, Lord Tyrell and Prince Oberyn will judge at his trial, which does not reassure Tyrion. He asks if he will be allowed to demand trial by combat, but Kevan says he can, but advises him that Cersei intends to name Ser Gregor Clegane as her own champion if he does so. Tyrion demands that he be allowed to gather witnesses in his defense, and asks for Podrick Payne if he cannot go himself, and Kevan agrees. As he goes to leave, Tyrion tells Kevan he is innocent, but Kevan does not believe him.

Tyrion has been unable to think of any witnesses who will speak for him by the time Podrick arrives. He sends Podrick for Bronn with the promise of much gold, but the boy does not return by the next day. Tyrion thinks that Sansa’s disappearance has confirmed his belief that she killed Joffrey, and berates himself for thinking her marriage vows to him had any meaning. He knows, though, that she could not have done it alone, and that no one will believe Tyrion wasn’t in on it. He writes her name on his list anyway.

Kevan warns him he only has three days to come up with others, and says the hunt for Sansa continues apace. Podrick does not return until the day after that. Bronn is with him, but informs Tyrion that he is to wed Lollys. Tyrion tells him his sister has sold Bronn “a lame horse,” but Bronn doesn’t care, cheerfully speculating on the barrenness (and possible death) of Lollys’ older sister. Tyrion wonders whether Cersei “had any notion of the sort of serpent she’d given Lady Tanda to suckle.” But Bronn points out that Tyrion offered once to double any bribe he was given. Tyrion knows that only someone in Lady Tanda’s desperate position would agree to marry their daughter to lowborn scum like Bronn. Tyrion offers gold, and reminds Bronn that if he comes out of this trial alive he may rule the north one day through his wife. Bronn grins and opines that Tyrion’s offer is all maybes, and freely admits he fears fighting Ser Gregor. He says he likes Tyrion, but not enough to risk it and risk losing Lollys and Stokeworth. Tyrion tells him to go then.

Bronn hesitated at the door. “What will you do, Imp?”

“Kill Gregor myself. Won’t that make for a jolly song?”

“I hope I hear them sing it.” Bronn grinned one last time, and walked out of the door, the castle, and his life.

Despite his words, Tyrion knows he has no chance against Gregor himself. Tyrion considers sending Podrick for Shagga or Timett, but knows they will be nigh impossible to find. Kevan reports over the next two days that Sansa has not been found, nor the fool Dontos. Tyrion wonders how to prove that he didn’t poison Joffrey, when everyone at the feast saw him fill Joffrey’s cup.

The next day is the trial, and Ser Addam Marbrand brings Tyrion to the throne room, where hundreds are gathered. Tyrion reflects that Lord Tyrell and Prince Oberyn despise each other, and hopes to use that. Tywin immediately asks Tyrion flat-out if he killed Joffrey; Tyrion says “No.” Then he asks if Sansa did it, and Tyrion thinks that she is still his wife, and replies that the gods killed Joffrey, by having him choke on a pie. He makes an ill-advised jest, and Tywin tells him coldly that he will not speak until the witnesses against him have spoken.

Ser Balon Swann is first, and though he says he does not believe Tyrion killed Joffrey, also reluctantly admits that Tyrion struck Joffrey on the day of the riot. Ser Meryn Trant supports the story enthusiastically, adding that Tyrion had defended Sansa Stark against the king. Tyrion blurts that they should say what Joffrey was doing at the time, and Tywin shuts him up. The Kettleblacks report how Tyrion had threatened Cersei that he would “make her joy turn to ashes in her mouth,” but fail to mention Alayaya.

Ser Osmund claims Joffrey knew and feared that Tyrion wanted to kill him, and Tyrion cries that he is a liar. Cersei asks that he be put in fetters, for Tywin’s protection, but Tywin adjourns the court to resume the next day. Tyrion thinks of Tysha and Shae that night, and asks Kevan for Varys.

The next day, Maesters Ballabar and Frenken aver that poison killed the king. Grand Maester Pycelle identifies a number of poisons Tyrion had stolen from his cell, and Tyrion demands to know if any of the ones found could strangle a person the way Joffrey had died. Pycelle admits they could not, but opines that Tyrion must have used that particular one up. Tyrion declares that he had no part on Joffrey’s death, and again Tywin tells him to be silent. Then there is a parade of witnesses from the feast who testify that they saw Tyrion fill the king’s cup after threatening him, and Lady Merryweather swears she saw him drop something into the cup. Tyrion wonders when he made so many enemies. That night Kevan tells him Varys will not come, as he is testifying against Tyrion the next day.

Kevan urges Tyrion to confess to the murder and take the black instead of execution, and Tyrion laughs and reminds him of what happened to Ned Stark. Kevan points out that Tywin wasn’t involved in that, and says Tywin sent Kevan here with the offer. Tyrion declines, and asks if he is even going to be allowed to defend himself. Kevan reminds him he has no witnesses, and says even if he is innocent of the crime, the Wall would still be a safer place for him than King’s Landing; the mob will kill him if his judges don’t. Kevan makes a passionate speech in support of his brother’s honor, which leaves Tyrion rather amazed, and he agrees to think on the offer. He does, but cannot decide if his father is to be trusted, and does not know if he could bear being called a kinslayer for the rest of his life.

On the third day, Varys is called, and speaks of Tyrion’s schemes to remove the Hound from Joffrey’s guard and his desire to seat Tommen as king. He confirms (with documentation) every accusation brought against Tyrion short of the poisoning itself—Tyrion wonders how he is supposed to cross-examine “little birds,” and damns himself for ever trusting the eunuch. After Varys, Cersei says she has one more witness to call the next day, and Tyrion thinks that after this farce, execution will be almost a relief.

That night, Prince Oberyn comes to Tyrion’s cell, and asks if Tyrion poisoned Joffrey. Tyrion says no. Oberyn tells him he has found Alayaya, but then speaks of Cersei and her tacit offer to marry him if Oberyn finds Tyrion guilty. He relates how Dorne escaped the Young Dragon’s tyranny when their regent was killed by a well-placed bed of scorpions, and opines that he would rather have the scorpions than Cersei in his bed. Oberyn points out with irony that had Tyrion not fallen under suspicion he himself might have, since by Dornish law the Iron Throne should pass to Joffrey’s sister Myrcella, currently betrothed to Oberyn’s nephew.

Tyrion points out that Dornish law does not apply, and Tommen will inherit, but Oberyn counters that they could choose to crown Myrcella in Sunspear anyway, and asks if Cersei would support her son over her daughter. Tyrion thinks of how much Cersei resents being barred from inheritance by her gender, and answers that he is not sure how she would choose, but adds that Tywin will give her no choice.

“Your father,” said Prince Oberyn, “may not live forever.”

Tyrion warns him against speaking treason where the “little birds” can hear, but Oberyn is unconcerned. He remarks that Lord Tyrell is quite convinced of Tyrion’s guilt, but for himself, thinks that Tyrion looks “so very guilty that I am convinced of your innocence.” Still, he thinks that justice is paltry here, and Tyrion will be condemned. Tyrion tells him truthfully that Ser Amory Lorch killed Princess Rhaenys, but really was killed by a bear, and that Ser Gregor Clegane murdered young Prince Aegon and raped Oberyn’s sister Elia, but lies that Tywin never gave the order. Oberyn doesn’t believe him, but says that he might be able to save Tyrion anyway.

“You?” Tyrion studied him. “You are one judge in three. How could you save me?”

“Not as your judge. As your champion.”

Oh ho ho!


I was waiting this entire chapter for the unexpected last-minute save for Tyrion—bearing in mind, of course, that this is the kind of story where I might not actually have gotten one—but this is definitely not where I expected it to come from. I was expecting it to be Varys, actually, but I guess not so much, eh?

Varys = total weasel. Not that this is especially shocking or anything, but, well. I’d kind of thought that he’d rather work with Tyrion over Cersei and Tywin, but then he’s also totally the guy who jumps ship the minute it even looks like it’s sinking—and you have to admit, no metaphorical ship on earth looked more leaky than Tyrion’s in this chapter. Thanks to Cersei, mainly, because wow.

Anyway, so much for Varys. But this, this is kind of brilliant. Not least in how it is so very believable: Oberyn wants to be Tyrion’s champion, not to save Tyrion’s sorry ass, but for the chance to kill the man who murdered his nephew and raped his sister. Thoroughly plausible characterization FTW!

And oh, how I hope it happens. I hardly think Oberyn is any kind of saint, but if he accomplishes the twofer of saving Tyrion’s life while simultaneously ridding the world of that butt-boil Gregor Clegane, I will have nothing but kudos for him.

And don’t think I have missed that this is inadvertently getting me to endorse the eminently idiotic “trial by combat” thing I was yelling about in previous chapters. To which I can only say, DAMN YOU, GEORGE R. R. MARTIN.

*shakes fist*

Give me sweet lies, and keep your bitter truths.

And the rest of this chapter (which was fucking uncompressible, Jesus H. will everyone please stop having complex nuanced conversations that are impossible to efficiently summarize in this book) was devoted to (a) demonstrating how very bad an idea it is to have Cersei as an enemy, and (b) making me have ALL THE FEELS about Tyrion and how completely tragic he is and how no one loves him ever, and holy moly that was depressing.

Because, okay, I understand that Tyrion is not a perfect person. I mean, DUH, do you think I have not noticed what series I’m reading at this point, come on. But at least part of my love and/or rooting-for-ness of him is based on how wonderfully he has always embodied (whether he wanted to or not) the truths about deep-seated prejudices against those who are Different, in whatever way that might be, and how that, legitimately and through no fault of the victim, impairs their ability to fulfill their own potential as people.

Because, how high would someone as brilliant and cunning as Tyrion have risen, if not hampered by how people look at him and see only a deformed dwarf? Sure, you can argue that much of that brilliant cunning was borne from the very adversity that curtails it, but the core root of that stubborn brilliance still had to be there within him from the beginning, otherwise would he have not long since crumpled under the onslaught of the bullshit that is his entire life? I ask you.

Tyrion, to me, is (among many other things, obviously) a stellar demonstration of the evils of privilege: of humanity’s thoroughly regrettable tendency to value (or devalue, rather) a person’s physical appearance over their less tangible attributes—their character, abilities, intelligence, or virtue. Or even, in many cases, over their basic humanity. It is such a kneejerk, immature, stupid thing to do, and yet we all do it, all the time. And anyone who says they haven’t made that mistake in their lives is a liar, because it is how we are all programmed from childhood on, and to disregard it is a lesson learned only with more effort than most people are willing to employ. Even the privilege that Tyrion does have (i.e. his noble birth) is not enough to overcome it. As Eddie Izzard once said, it’s 70% how you look, 20% how you sound, and only 10% is what you actually say.

This is a discussion that has a significant presence in my online life (and I suspect, or at least hope, in many people’s lives who spend time online), but it is often shocking how frequently it goes unexamined in “real” life. I just very recently had the extremely frustrating experience of trying to explain to a “real-life” friend what exactly privilege is and how it functions to oppress those who do not have it, and so I am led to imagine just how much more impossible it would be to explain that problem to anyone in Westeros. And then I shudder, because agh.

The kangaroo court Tyrion is subjected to in this chapter is especially distressing in how I can see, so disturbingly clearly, how closely it reflects the way a similar trial for him might go in the modern-day United States, despite the fact that there ought to be a fucking WORLD of difference between the U.S. justice system and this pile of medieval bullshit. And yet.

It’s a little bit chilling, when you think on it.

Tangentially, I was super upset (even as I was not particularly surprised) by Bronn’s abandonment of Tyrion. Tyrion, of course, was even less surprised by it than I was, but that didn’t stop me feeling a pang of sympathy for him over it—not to mention over Tyrion’s inability to think of anyone who would speak for him. How shitty must it be, to feel that you have no allies in the world of any kind? To have no one who could be bothered to speak for you even to save your life. Ugh, I can’t even imagine it.

Anyway. I do feel that Kevan has a good point, though: even if Tyrion wins this trial, he is still convicted in the court of public opinion, and therefore really probably ought to not stick around afterwards. I wonder (assuming Oberyn’s scheme works) where he will go? Where could he go?

Go looking for Sansa, maybe? Because there were even more Tyrion feels for me, in that he refused to throw her under the bus even though he was convinced she had done so to him. As he did for Tywin, actually, to Oberyn, but I have much less sympathy for that because fuck Tywin, y’all.

Kevan’s big speech about Tywin’s awesomeness in this chapter had me rolling my eyes for real, justly or not, because seriously, Tywin, these are your children. Political expediency should not win over family, dude. And maybe this is just proof that I should never be the head of a noble dynasty, but you know, all things considered I am totally okay with that.

Speaking of which, Oberyn does raise an interesting (if disturbing) question: if it did come down to a contest between Myrcella and Tommen over the throne, which one would Cersei support, assuming no interference from Tywin?

And the answer is… well, like Tyrion, I dunno. I guess it depends on whether Cersei’s (entirely understandable) frustration with the limitations pressed on her by her gender are expanded to the female population at large (or even just her own daughter) or are more concentrated on herself personally. Based on what I know of Cersei thus far (which honestly isn’t all that much, and all outsider POVs), it’s kind of hard to say. So that’ll be an interesting thing to watch unfold, for sure.

I suppose it will be a matter of academic speculation (since I can’t imagine that Tyrion wouldn’t take Oberyn up on his offer) whether Tywin’s plea bargain re: Tyrion taking the black was actually legit or not. I tend to think it was, actually, since for all the shit I (rightly) give Tywin, he does seem to be genuinely reluctant to actually kill his progeny (and how sad is it that we’re giving him points for not murdering his children, WTF). But then again, considering what Tyrion’s likely survival chances would be as a member of the Night Watch, maybe the difference between sending him to the Wall and outright killing him is so small as to be negligible.

Jeez, this family.

And, yeah. That’s what I got for this one. Have a lovely seven days, and I’ll see you next Thursday!

Marty Beck
1. martytargaryen
Due Process FTW!!!

Thank you for the post Leigh. Not surprised this long chapter is alone.
It's hard to express how worried I was for Tyrion here. Being one of my favorite characters and looking at the body count in this book . . .

I was pretty sure he wouldn't be convicted and executed because that already happened to Ned and Martin is usually much more twisty than that. But there are a lot of other possible ways to go in this situation and I remember thinking at length (at least as much length as I had for thought while devouring the book at a rapid pace) about all the grisly fates possibly awaiting him.
Chris Nelly
3. Aeryl
With this chapter, Oberyn became my favorite character in the whole series, not gonna lie.
Marcus W
4. toryx
It's exactly the kind of reasoning and consideration that Leigh is giving this one chapter alone that makes me love this book series so much. As she says, the characters are so freaking true to themselves that it's mind blowing and in one chapter from one character's point of view we're still exposed to so many perspectives and considerations that it's literally like looking at a tapestry made up of words.


As to the specifics: Poor Tyrion. Talk about being utterly alone in the world. Because whether just or not, even the good guys (Starks) wouldn't have given him an inch of consideration in this.
5. Lsana
Two things from the commentary I wanted to touch on.

1) Varys: I don't think it has a thing to do with who Varys would rather "work with." What Tyrion either never saw or didn't decide to investigate too closely is that Varys is more than "the eunach": he's a human being with interests and an agenda all his own. He helped Tyrion in so far as helping him furthered Varys own agenda; now that it doesn't, he's dropped Tyrion like a hot potatoe.

2) Tyrion: what you've said about Tyrion being unfairly judged by his appearance is true, but let's not overlook his actions either. When he got to King's Landing, he was throwing his weight around like a bully: sending Slynt and some of his people to the Wall, letting his Clansman do pretty much whatever they wanted to in the city, using Littlefinger and Varys, arresting Pycelle and throwing him in the Black Cells, arranging Myrcella's marriage without Cersei's consent or even knowledge, threatening the blacksmiths, insulting the King's Guard, taking over Lord Rosby's castle, etc. Do you really think all the people on that list hate Tyrion because he's a dwarf? Do you think that if it had been, say, Theon who did that to them and was then brought low that they would pass up the opportunity for revenge?

In Books 2 and 3, we see Tyrion almost exclusively from his own perspective, and he sees himself as the champion of justice, the one who stands up for "cripples, bastards, and broken things." We've gotten some hints though, from Varys, Bronn, and Tywin, that that isn't how everyone else sees him, and Tyrion has repeatedly ignored those warnings. His trial is unfair, but in some sense, it's also some of his chickens coming home to roost.
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
Chapter 66: Tyrion --
“Does Cersei have witnesses against me?”
“More every day.”
The notions of a trial and justice are very different in Westros. I take this to mean that many people are willing to testify whatever Cersei wants them to say in order to curry favor or payment. On the other hand, maybe not so different in truth.
Tyrion does seem in a pickle. I can't think of a good way out for him. On the other hand (I need some more hands), I really can't see Tyrion getting killed here. That would seem quite the waste of a very interesting character. Running away seems like the best thing, but seems very unlikely to happen. When Bronn said he wasn't Tyrion's brother, I got a brief hope that Jaime would defend him, but Jaime is convinced he can't hold a sword with his left hand. Well, we will see as here comes the trial.
The first day didn't go well at all. Tyrion's asking for Varys seems like a good idea. Since they didn't tell us what was said, something useful might have happened. Nope, he just didn't come.
Taking the black would be an option but, like Tyrion, I doubt he would ever make it to the wall.
Prince Oberyn visits--interesting. Ooh, he volunteers to be Tyrion's champion.
Chris Nelly
7. Aeryl
@Lsana, your number 2 makes some good points, but it also ignores that there are plenty of able bodied people who act much the same way and aren't judged so harshly for it(i.e. Joffrey who now apparently the commons love, after just a few months ago he was jeering at them to cannibalize each other while firing crossbows from the battlements).
8. zambi76
Yes, poor Tyrion, but when he goes: "When did I make so many enemies?" in this chapter, I had to bristle and thought: "Seriously Tyrion? Have you listened to yourself the last month at court?" See also what Lsana listed above.
Captain Hammer
9. Randalator
re: Tyrion in the Night's Watch

I think his chances of survival wouldn't be all that bad. There's no way he would be made a Ranger or anything like it. He'd be made a steward, most likely a scribe, or even get a position in the higher circles due to his intelligence and political/strategical prowess. But there's no way he'd ever be part of the fighting forces, so I'd hardly see this as just a slightly slower death sentence...
10. boquaz
I hate to be all serious here, but I'm a bit confused by your use of the word "privilege". I'm not disagreeing with your view, I just think "privilege" is an inadaquate word to describe the combination of social and instinctual forces that lead us to be generally stupid when faced with someone different. Tyrion represents a fear of the unknown and the different.
Nearly all of the characters in the book are privileged. And this trial is about power, politics and privilege. Tyrion doesn't get to live his life (whoring, drinking and hiring mercenaries) and then complain when someone out-spends him. He made a choice to flaunt his money and family. Maybe for once he's not being unfairly judged because of his physical appearance; he's being unfairly judged because he's a legitimate threat to the people in power.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
11. AlirozTheConfused
So, Leigh, you've seen Tywin through so many other eyes

that Kevan's speech to you is a pack of lies

because you can't accept any Virtue of Tywin's at all

so anything contradicting your notions has only a small

chance of meaning anything to you

that's what opinions tend to do

so it's rather ironic that you can see how people can blind

themselves to the Imp's virtues, but you're in the same bind

when it comes to the people that you don't like

so I'm sorry if this appears as a strike

but our paradigms controll us, whoever we are

even me, even you, that's just course for the par

nobody's truly got an absolutely open-mind

the longer you live, the more paradigms you find

so everyone's biased, we all have our views

but we can at least try to put on others's shoes

opinions define us, for good or for ill

the things that you won't; the things that you will

'tis the human condition, and there is no cure

it's something we all have got to endure

though, sometimes, admittedly, people talk from their rear,

the point is to listen, not simply to hear.
Chris Nelly
12. Aeryl
I think we can feel Kevan's speech is 100% true, and it still doesn't justify Tywin.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
13. AlirozTheConfused
Of course not, Aeryl

I don't mean to tell

that Tywin is swell

or morally well

or has a conscience as clear as a bell

or that he's going anywhere but heck

but I don't like how Leigh didn't even try to check

whether or not the speech was sincere

or whether it was hero-worship from the rear

Tywin's a monster, I won't deny that

but I'm just telling Leigh to try on the other hat.

I don't excuse Tywin, not now and not ever

not even for being Charles Dance and clever

but we all have to see things through someone else's eyes

and there, perhaps there, is where the truth truly lies.
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
@5 But Tyrion did all those things "for the good of the realm." He was dealing with bad people and Ned Stark-ian approaches would have been ineffective at best. A few rebuttals.
- Slynt was a traitor. He agreed to support the Hand who had a royal decree that backed his actions and backstabbed him. He also was an out and out thief and murderer. He was lucky to be sent to the Wall rather than executed.
- There's no textual evidence the clansmen were allowed to "do what they wanted" in KL other than the one cited instance where one engaged in self-help by killing a person who tried to steal from him. A technical violation - the tribesmen should have let the gold cloaks arrest him and probably execute - but understandable.
- He deceived LF during the traitor hunt but later approved the decision sending LF to make a pitch to the Tyrells that made him into a power.
- He deceived Varys during the traitor hunt but there's no text evidence that Varys was bothered by this or that Tyrion did anything else adverse to Varys.
- He arrested Pycelle because he was a traitor - he broke a sworn promise to the Hand and then tried to lie about it later. He was lucky to be only given a haircut and jailed for a bit.
- His decision to arrange Myrcella's marriage with Dorne secretly almost certainly slowed the onslaught of Renly/Tyrell joint forces and may well have saved KL. Secrecy was needed because Cersei would have objected to any such match even if it were needed to save the City. Also, Tyrion no doubt assumed that open discussion might well have resulted in an assassination attempt.
- Re the blacksmiths, Cersei had them on a half cocked mission that made no sense. Tyrion had to lay down the law to get the chain built, which saved the City.

In sum, from where I sit, Tyrion did not accept the nasty and awful stuff happening around him, and was forced to break some eggs in making the right things happen. Now that he is down, the wrongdoers and their friends are having their revenge, plus the prejudiced ones (as Leigh points out). The whole thing is a tragedy.
Rob Munnelly
15. RobMRobM
@9 - agree. Tyrion would either be a high level steward leader or be sent to get a Maester's chain.
16. AllHailTheDragonQueen
I'm surprised Leigh didn't get all excited and talk about how there's apparently a place in Westeros where women have the same inheritance rights as the guys i.e. whoever is born first inherits.
Adam S.
17. MDNY
Thanks for another weekly dose Leigh.
I have always loved The Red Viper, and here he demonstrates part of what makes him so compelling to me. Oberyn has his own brand of honor, like Tyrion, and they are similar in many ways (not only in their love of whores). His desire to kill Gregor to avenge Elia seems to be Tyrion's only chance at survival.
For the rest of the chapter, it's all a downward spiral for Tyrion as he loses support bit by bit. He seems pretty screwed without Oberyn's offer.
George Jong
18. IndependentGeorge
I agree that Westerosi jurisprudence is, at best, dicey, but I don't think this trial is quite the miscarriage of justice Leigh is calling it. The issue isn't so much that Tyrion is being railroaded (though he is), but that he apparently doesn't have the right to cross-examine witnesses.

The evidence against Tyrion really is overwhelming even without the perjury. Varys' testimony is actually 100% factually true. Pycelle's testimony is part speculation (that Tyrion locked him up to steal his poisons) and part blatant lie ("the noblest boy ever born"), but that's are largely irrelevant; the most damaging part is that (a) Pycelle correctly deduces the specific poison used to kill Joffrey, and (b) he establishes (correctly) that Tyrion was in possession of it. And in fact, Tyrion did use Pycelle's stash for his own benefits (to drug Cersei) - something which would be even more damning if it were revealed.

Tyrion publicly feuded with Joffrey, and had threatened to kill or maim him on numerous occasions. Whether he was in the right in those instances are irrelevant - literally dozens of people witnessed Tyrion threatening Joffrey. Hell, the fact that Joffrey had also threatened Tyrion gives him even more motive to the murder.

Finally, the circumstances of death are themselves damning. Joffrey died of poisoning immediately after Tyrion filled his chalice with wine. He was then seen emptying that half-full chalice immediately after Joffrey's death. Even without Lady Merryweather's testimony (which could easily just be a mistake rather than perjury), it's incredibly damning on its own (though not definitive).

Combined with everything else that was revealed, of course Tyrion is the prime suspect. Even though we know he's innocent, I can't think of any jury in the world that wouldn't convict him based on the facts in evidence.
Steven Halter
19. stevenhalter
The problem isn't being a member of the watch. Once Tyrion got to the wall I think he would do fine. Jon even kind of likes him.
The chance of Cersei letting him get to the wall without an unfortunate accident is what seems pretty small to me.
20. Lsana

Most of those are subject to multiple interpretations. Slynt and Pycelle were traitors to the HANDS, but those Hands were going against the wishes of the King/Regent. Arguably, they were the ones who were loyal to the true ruler over a trecherous adviser. In Slynt's case, Tyrion also condemned everyone on the list of Slynt's possible replacements, in most cases without any evidence of wrongdoing. We only get the description of the one incident with the Clansmen, but Jacen Bywater mentions their behavior when he's explaining to Tyrion why he's so hated by the common folk. I suspect there was more than this: there were other incidents, but after Tyrion laughed off the first one, none of the others got mentioned to him.

Regardless, I'll let you assume that Tyrion's motives were pure as the driven snow, and his perspective of his righteousness is totally accurate. Even assuming he did it all for the right reasons, he used people, he pushed them around, and he insulted them. And now he's shocked that he made enemies? And he's acting like no one has any right to hate him? Tywin's a bastard, but at least he owns it. Tyrion has acted like just as much of one, but he seems convinced that everyone should love him for it.


Worth noting that Pycelle's testamony wasn't just speculation. Tyrion DID steal Pycelle's poisons (though not when he was locked up, it was earlier), and I believe that the evidence of it was found in his room.
21. olethros
I doubt that Tywin would ever consent to allow any Lannister, much less his own son, to serve in the Watch.
22. Rancho Unicorno
@7 - For all that Joff was a feckless twit, he was still the king. And for all that people hated him, he was still the figurehead of the nation. Sure, most of the people wished he was dead, but for someone to actually murder him was an act against each of them. How many people wished that W or Obama would die, to stop the woe-is-me-woe-is-me-he's-destroying-America? How many of them would have supported the person that shot and killed either?

As for Tyrion - I like the guy. I think his intentions are noble - his goal is to strengthen and fortify Westeros. But, like others, I think we are colored by our insight into his decisions.
Peter Stone
23. Peter1742
It's not clear to me that in this chapter, anybody actually lied at the trial.

Maybe Joffrey really thinks that Tyrion is out to kill him (Tyrion is the only one who has ever stood up to him, and maybe in Joffrey's mind that's tantamount to hating him). Or maybe Ser Osmund is lying.

Maybe Lady Merryweather really thinks she saw Tyrion drop something in the wine. Or maybe she's just trying to curry favor with Cersei.

With other authors, we would probably know what was going on now, and even if we didn't, we would eventually find out. With GRRM, we may not.
24. MRHD
You know, for Bronn, his hesitation at the door and last couple of lines with Tyrion here are downright sappy.
Chris Nelly
25. Aeryl
@Rancho, Joffrey is but one example. Tywin's done everything Tyrion's done and worse, no one hates him for it. LF, Oberyn, these are people who've been abusing and using others for decades, for less cause, yet they are not judged so harshly.
26. JeanTheSquare
The sequence of Hands is an interesting thing that GRRM uses to examine power and effectiveness, and means and ends. Ned was not an effective or powerful Hand; he did good things, but not many, because he couldn't play the game and he got himself dead. His means were too honorable, his ends were negligable. That is, he did good, but very little good.

Tyrion was a much more effective Hand. His means were less honorable, throwing his weight around a bit, being a "bully," but his ends were by and large pretty great. His tenure as Hand ended badly, as we are seeing, but so far not as badly as Ned's. He accomplished some important things, did a lot of good, on balance more than bad.

Tywin is a GREAT Hand. While Ned used what authority he was given and Tyrion used what authority he wasn't forbidden, Tywin is the actual ruler of Westeros. He is able to get whatever he wants, his wilful progeny notwithstanding. His ends are whatever he wants, but his means are utterly ruthless, so on balance he seems to be achieving more bad than good, at least on a human level. On a political level he is trying to keep Westeros united and strong, so one could argue he is doing more good than bad. But I think most of us would not.

So yeah, it's no surprise Tyrion made a lot of enemies, and it's true his methods were not always pure as driven snow. But of the three Baratheon hands we've seen, he has by far the best combination of effectiveness and being on the right side as much as he is able.
27. Ryamano
Tyrion's case is impossible to defend. He has the means (poison from Pycelle), the motivation (mutual hatred) and the opportunity (filling the king's cup of wine). I think Tyrion would be found guilty in most judicial systems.

Like others said, as far as trial go, this one seem much more just than the one Lysa Arryn gave him. There's even more than one judge, all from different families. Ok, this tribunal has been created because the king is dead and the hand of the king is the father of the accused, but it is less arbitrary than the other judgements we've seen so far. There's even more than one witness.

Regarding Tywyn not letting someone from his family serve the Night's Watch in the wall... I'm not so sure. I think Tywyn would be more angry if someone killed his son (remember, he started a war because Tyrion was captured) and I don't think he has what it takes to kill his own son (commiting the sin of kinslaying, which is just behind ignoring guestright in the list of terrible things in Westeros). Tywyn cares about his family's prestige. It would not be much diminished if one of his sons was sent to the Wall. Samwell's father, Lord Tarly, did send his own firstborn son to the Wall because he thought his other son was more fit to rule. I wonder why didn't Tywyn do the same thing years ago with Tyrion.
Rob Munnelly
28. RobMRobM
Ryanamo - the only problem with your theory is that it assumes Tyrion would be dumb enough to try it in front of hundreds of witnesses rather than during his other, less witnessed, interactions with Joff.
George Jong
29. IndependentGeorge
@28 - "I'm too smart to do something that dumb!" is a terrible defense, evidenced by loads and loads of smart people who have been caught doing some very, very stupid (and criminal) things. It's the legal quivalent of "Who are you going to believe - me, or your own lying eyes?"

I also have to disagree about this bit from Leigh:
Kevan’s big speech about Tywin’s awesomeness in this chapter had me rolling my eyes for real, justly or not, because seriously, Tywin, these are your children. Political expediency should not win over family, dude. And maybe this is just proof that I should never be the head of a noble dynasty, but you know, all things considered I am totally okay with that.
1. Joffrey is also family. (In fact, genetically, Joffrey shares exactly as much genetic material with Tywin as Tyrion does, not that he knows/admits it).
2. It's not political expediency, but justice. If my own son was found standing over the body of the President, not long after he threatened to kill him in front of a dozen eyewitnesses, I would urge him to confess, too.
3. The logical extension of the bolded passage is exactly what Tywin did by going to war over Tyrion's imprisonment.
4. It's also morally wrong. It's the equivalent of the President pardoning his child for a crime he did commit, because he doesn't want his kid to go to prison.

Leigh is doing something we're all guilty of from time to time, in that she's letting her personal feelings about individuals get in the way of what is actually right. I like Tyrion, but he's (1) getting a fair trial even by modern standards, and (2) being offered a plea deal far more generous than he has any right to expect.
30. Sean C.
An additional factor against Tyrion: the disappearance of his wife/alleged co-conspirator (whose motive to kill Joffrey is even stronger than his) immediately after the assassination.

The only possible defence Tyrion could mount would be to argue that Sansa framed him, but even this would be a stretch, because Sansa is a 13-year-old girl with no resources and who is known to generally be meek and compliant (and Cersei and others at court also think she's stupid). Far more likely, to most people, that Tyrion enlisted Sansa in his scheme, and made provision for her to get away (and perhaps himself as well, which Cersei's timely arrest stopped him from effecting).
Eric McCabe
31. Zizoz
This post needs to be added to the index.
Captain Hammer
32. Randalator
@28 RobM²

But Tyrion is smart enough to know that no one would expect him to do something so dumb, so that's exactly what he would be doing to throw suspicion off. Unfortunately everyone knows how smart he is and so they know that he knows that no one would expect him to do something so dumb and would therefore clearly be doing it to throw suspicion off. Now, Tyrion (smart as he is) would know that they know that he knows that no one expects him to do something so dumb and would therefore clearly NOT do it to throw suspicion off. But as people know that he knows that they know that he knows that no one would expect him to do something so stupid and therefore clearly not do it to throw suspicion off, he clearly WOULD do it to throw suspicion off–is that iocane I'm smelling?
34. Maester
Today's entry does not appear in the master index, so some people are having trouble finding it:

I had to search under posts made by Leigh.
36. a1ay
Tangentially, I was super upset (even as I was not particularly surprised) by Bronn’s abandonment of Tyrion.

As someone pointed out in a previous thread: it's easy to forget, in those scenes with Tyrion, Bronn and Shae, that you're watching a man interact with the man he pays to be his friend and the woman he pays to be his girlfriend.
Stefan Mitev
37. Bergmaniac
Tyrion is very privileged because of his birth in the right family. He's spent his whole life in extreme luxury and enjoying all kinds of special treatment. He was made acting Hand of the King based only on his birth, without having to prove himself in any way. Later on he got a very important job (Master of Coin) again mostly because of his birth.

Sure, the prejudice against him for being a dwarf is pretty bad. But he still has more money, power and influence (before his arrest at least) than almost anyone else in this world. He's risen much higher than he could've in a more egalitarian society at his age - he's smart, but hardly a genius.

Tyrion didn't kill Joff, but he did order the murder of Symon and did plenty of other crimes, so in way he deserves what's happening now.
38. Nessa
I actually somewhat disagree with your analysis, Leigh. Tywin was actually trying to be lenient with Tyrion in this case. Sure, he's terrible as a father and as a person, but at this trial, Tyrion was almost certainly going to be 'proven' guilty. The circumstantial and fabricated 'evidence' were too much to actually declare him innocent. Hell, if I was Tywin Lannister, I would be convinced of Tyrion's guilt as well. He was known to have gone prying into Pycelle potions. He poured out the wine. His wife went missing right after the murder (and it's almost certain that a 13 year old would need an accomplice if she committed a murder). Tyrion has a previous history of threatening Tommen with beatings and rape, all for the sake of one of his whores. With all this info, Tywin still allows Tyrion to take the black as an alternative. Tyrion gets that choice most certainly because he's a Lannister and Tywin's son. Very much a position of priviledge, IMO.
Captain Hammer
39. Randalator
re: Tyrion's trial

Agree with the others saying that so far he actually gets an unusually fair trial here. The circumstancial evidence presented against him would be enough for a conviction even in a real world court.

He had means, motive, opportunity and threatened the victim (and others) several times. On top of that he gave Joffrey the poison (albeit unknowingly, but that's only certain for the reader who gets to see his POV) and poured it out afterwards. Even without the other statements by people who didn't like him that is pretty damning evidence.

Granted, the prejudice against his appearance doesn't help at all, but even without that he's thoroughly screwed. Being offered a way out by taking the Black is actually more than he would get in one of our courts.
Rob Munnelly
40. RobMRobM
@32 Might you be ...Sicilian?

@33 +1

@38 - nicely put.
Steven Halter
41. stevenhalter
Nessa@38:That is a good summation. The case against Tyrion does look very bad at a circumstantial level.

We are privledged in that we get his POV and so I think we know he didn't do it. The confession of Littlefinger is feeling a little too convenient and too early to me upon reflection. It could be true or it might be a red herring.
With very little evidence, I begin to suspect Tywin as at least the root of the conspiracy. We saw Joffrey begin to defy Tywin in an earlier chapter and to begin showing Tywin directly what kind of a little monster he was.
If Tywin gets Tyrion to accept the black then I would guess that Tyrion's marriage to Sansa would be void and she would be available for Tywin to use in another political scheme. Assuming he knows where Littlefinger is spiriting her.
No real evidence and if it doesn't work out that way I won't be at all dissapointed, but I like the narrative arc it allows.
Chris Nelly
42. Aeryl
The observation that the offer from Tywin to take the Black is a privilege denied to many is a little off base.

Yoren travelled through the realm offering the Black to the condemned all the time. It was available to anyone convicted(or suspected) of a crime. And it seems likely that if you were sentenced to death, and said you wanted to take the Black, they'd let you rot til the next recruiter showed up.

I just don't see this offer as a big deal, it's the same consideration any criminal gets.
43. Cannoli
As other people have pointed out, Leigh (and this is hardly the first or tenth time I have noticed this tendency in her ReadoI&F) has some enormous prejudices (i.e. religion & how it blinded her to the virtues of Stannis and the followers of Beric & Thoros).

Another one I did not see mentioned in the commentary, and ironically in light of her rant on privilege, is her OWN privilege. Namely, she has the privilege of living in a technologically advanced society where the equality of people is practical possibility, rather than an absurd luxury. In a society with less technology, which is at the mercy of nature and in constant danger of warfare, muscles are important to a degree I don't think any young woman who makes her living at a keyboard can understand at a visceral level. Tyrion only has what he has BECAUSE of the wealthy and nobility of his family. Take away his family connections, and he is all but useless in a militaristic & agrarian society. He can do very little heavy labor, and cannot fight effectively. Much of his combat success thus far has come because of the men who followed him into battle, and while he was a good leader, he would not have been in a position to capitalize on those skills without his high birth. The Cleganes and others started in relative obscurity and won their way into fame and earned the trust of the powerful because of their effectiveness in combat. Tyrion could never do that. On a farm family, he would be just another mouth to feed and less use at the endless backbreaking labor of pre-industrial farming than a girl. He might have made a good craftsman, but there were still many limitations due to his size. All of Tyrion's value and contributions can ONLY come by standing on the shoulders of an established society and the wealth and privilege of his family backing him up.

This goes as well for most women, whose marginalization Leigh likes to bitch about. Yeah, it's "sad" that Arya doesn't have the chance to be a badass if she wants (but note that she had a brother and father who were willing to accomodate her, and a smith willing to make a weapon for her), but is that any sadder than Sam Tarly being equally marginalized by the expectations placed on his own gender and his unsuitability for his gender role? And you can't even say that his father is totally in the wrong, because a lord who can't fight is never going to hold the respect of other fighters, and thus cannot protect his people or family.

The flip side of the gender role is that women WERE more suited for childbearing than most manly work, because men were larger, stronger and less impeded by the reproductive process. Vaginas might not render women stupid or unfit to govern, but they ARE a bottleneck in the whole "breeding more workers and fighters to keep our people alive" process, and thus they needed to be kept out of harm's way. Chauvanism is not a bug, it's a feature. It might be inconvenient nowadays when technology has enabled women to match the economic contributions of men, but all this stuff about equality and privilege and treating people like equals is tiresomely anachronistic.

Likewise the kneejerk reactions against the strange and new, which is what fouls up the one-in-a-million characters like Brienne of Tarth who CAN go toe-to-toe with a male warrior. Those same instincts against the unfamiliar, and the related xenophobia, were advantages that kept primitive people from unsafe behavior, like eating poison berries. Babies are about the most open-minded and non-judgemental people around, and once they attain a degree of agency, parenting turns into a constant vigil to make sure they don't crawl off a staircase or consume toxic cleansers. Likewise, those societies predisposed to mistrust different people succeeded, because other people did not take advantage of them to steal scarce resources. Trust and open-mindedness are luxuries of the modern world, just like gender equality. Sharing is fine when there is plenty to go around. Sharing your last morsel with a burglar while your children starve is something else entirely.

Does it suck that some characters are discriminated against because of their size, or sex, or differences from the accepted norm? Yes, for them. But you can't go around whining like this is comparable to the glass ceiling or Jim Crow. Those are examples of injustice, because there is no practical justification. Blacks are not less capable than whites, nor women less competent executives than men, but Tyrion and Cersei and Catelyn ARE less capable at the important skills of their time and place than Jaime, or Ned, or Gregor.

I would also like to point out that the characterization of Westeros as sexist is grossly unfair. Men might grumble about Lysa not being fit to govern (with some justification), but no one seems to argue her legal right to do so, nor Cersei to be Joffrey's regent and rule in his name. Tywin dominating Joffrey's reign is simply a function of his force of personality and greater practical power (Casterly Rock has more troops and money than the crown does). Catelyn, who has made some of the worst and most outrageous decisions in the series, had a perfect legal right to send Robb, the future undefeated general home and give command of the army to future traitors Rickard Karstark or Roose Bolton, or bull-in-a-china-shop Greatjon Umber, and both she and Robb seemed to think she could have gotten away with it. For all the angst about Arya & Brienne trying to be chick fighters in a man's world, they had fathers who were willing to provide them with weapons and teachers (and unless he was sure Ned would approve, there is no way Mikken would have gone through all the time and effort of custom-making a sword for Arya at Jon's say-so alone). The reason why bastards are so marginalized is to protect the rights of the wives and their children. By the laws of the Seven Kingdoms, Sansa has superior rights of inheritance to Jon (which is why Tywin is so eager to marry her to a Lannister, and can't be bothered assassinating Jon), and that is because of who her mother is.

To say that the reduced options and limited roles of women are a result of only prejudice is to grossly misunderstand blantantly obvous, if not highlighted details in the setting. They are reduced for practical and functional reasons, and what sexism there is, is due to thoughtless people misunderstanding cause and effect. In that, the sexists of Westeros have an awful lot in common with our favorite re-read blogger.
Steven Halter
44. stevenhalter
The aspect of the trial I find I like the least (intentional from GRRM I am sure) is that Tyrion seems to have no right of cross examination. He is, in fact, specifically denied this.
So, a Westros court seems to allow:
1) Each sides gets to call whatever witnesses they wish before a tribunal of judges.
2) The verdict may be superceded by a trial by combat with champions selected if needed.
This is in cases where a court is even convened. Judgement by Lord seems pretty common also as in the case of Ned and the Night Watch guy he executed.
Stefan Mitev
45. Bergmaniac
@43 - so " the characterization of Westeros as sexist is grossly unfair" because Lysa, Cersei and Catelyn were able to hold power temporarily during pretty unique circumstances? That doesn't make sense. It's sexist because are women are treated differently than men and discriminated against, which is very blatant throughout the text. Cersei and Catelyn would've been the heirs of their fathers and eventually inherited in their own right and able to rule until the end of their lives, not just until their children reached their majority, if they were male. Blatant legal discrimination.

Cersei having sex with another man is a capital crime. Robert had sex with thousands of women while married and it's completely normal, legal and accepted.
Tabby Alleman
46. Tabbyfl55
@41.. oh wouldn't that be the icing on the cake for Tywin's candidacy for father of the year if HE had actually arranged Joff's poisoning and made sure Tyrion got framed for it?
47. Ryamano
This may not be supported in the books, but I don't think someone can take the black after commiting treason or regicide. Taking the black is a "get out of jail and go to exile in the North" card for "normal" murder, but for crimes of treason against the realm it'd make no sense for it to apply. Any assassin could then opt to do that and later, helped by his co-conspirators, "disappear" when being moved north or even during one of the missions, taking a boat to Essos and living as another person in Braavos. Offering someone to take the black in that case does seem like a big deal, like they did with Ned Stark (later refusing it at the last moment).
48. Ryamano
@44 stevenhalter

This lack of cross-examination is especially daunting, since the one time Tyrion does call a witness (besides Sansa), Varys, the witness refuses to testify for Tyrion and answers only the acusation's questions.
49. Black Dread
@44 - I had the same frustration. And it was Tyrion's own father making sure he had no defense at all against the stories.

Enter the Red Viper! He is the anti-Ned. Smart, worldly, totally immoral according to most standards - and completely unapologetic about it all.
Steven Halter
50. stevenhalter
Black Dread@49:Exactly. And
duh duh duh
Doesn't that name just inspire a cool villainous sound track?
(although he seems to be motivated by understandable reasons here)
Maybe the crows should all caw or something ala Frau Blücher.
Adam S.
51. MDNY
@49: I wouldn't say Oberyn is "totally immoral" . I think he has his own brand of honor, but he is flamboyant and reckless, (unlike his brother). From what we've seen of him, the Red Viper is flashy, and he has a reputation for using poison- but is that any less moral than Tywin using his huge advantage in wealth to remain the most powerful man in the 7 kingdoms, or using Gregor and the most despicable mercenary company around to burn the Riverlands because his son (who he despises) was captured by Cat? Oberyn is a fun character, and while he is not the most morally upright character in the books, he is not totally amoral, which I think an anti-Ned would be.
52. Ibid
@41 - While it may be fun to speculate that Tywin is behind it, that really doesn't make any sense. Yeah, Tywin had a few unfortunate run-ins with Joff, but I'm pretty confident he would have been able to deal with him eventually. TyLann is a pretty scary dude. He managed to cow Cersei pretty well, and I think she's just as cruel and deceitful as Joff.

Also, as scary as he is, he's not omniscient/omnipotent. Also it's a huge stretch to assume he had something to do with killing his grandson and King with absolutely zero facts to back it up. (Heh, "facts." Let's not forget this is fiction...)
George Jong
53. IndependentGeorge
@44 - yeah, the lack of cross-examination is really troubling to me, and I'm not convinced that this was intentional on GRRM's part. It seems to be a pretty fundamental part of jurisprudence around the world, and I don't think we can just categorize it under "Forget it, Jake. It's Westeros."

The appearance of a fair trial is extremely important in this case, and it seems extremely odd to me that the testimony essentially consists of a prepared speech with no possibility of being questioned by the opposite party.
Steven Halter
54. stevenhalter
IndependentGeorge@53:The fact of the cross examination being pretty fundamental in our notion of a free trial is what makes me think that it was intentional on GRRM's part to leave it out.
It focuses our attention upon the unfairness. We'll have to see if this is just a focus for the sake of focus or a sleight of hand trick to get us to not think about other important details. (not sure what they would be at this time)
55. GarrettC
I hope I do this comment justice, because the concepts are a bit slippery, but I think there is some confusion in the comments about ideas of privilege:

1) Having privileges and being privileged are different things, though they have some natural overlap. Tyrion has privileges in spades (and those spades are filled with spades). He is, I would argue, less privileged than he has privileges.

And, actually, I think I do have the explanation on hand here... Having privileges is an individual state. A person can have privileges. Being privileged is a group state. And individual can be a member of a privileged or non-privileged group. That membership does not determine the individual's success in life, but it does affect it.

For expediency with the two concepts, take, let's say, Barak Obama. He certainly enjoys, as an individual, a great meny privileges. However, he belongs (largely) to a non-privileged group: African Americans. This means that, for instance, he has to struggle on his path--no matter how successful he is, he has to struggle--with things that the privileged would never once have to be bothered with. Can you, by way of example, imagine a world in which John McCain or Mitt Romney were widely believed to be a Muslim terrorist? I assume I needn't explain how the phrase "Muslim terrorist" itself is a perfect example of the concept of privilege.

Tyrion is Barak Obama, I guess.

2) It's more complicated for Tyrion than most because he is actually part of both groups. As a member of a major house, he is privileged. As a dwarf, he is non-privileged. Those two things, of course, should not be confused as being mutually exclusive. Why in good heaven should they be mutually exclusive? Leigh is talking about Tyrion's non-privilege as a dwarf, but I don't see where she ever denies his privilege as a member of a major house. That she doesn't mention it only proves that she's way more interested in talking about the other thing.
56. Cannoli
@45 - Seriously?
It's sexist because are women are treated differently than men and discriminated against, which is very blatant throughout the text. Cersei and Catelyn would've been the heirs of their fathers and eventually inherited in their own right and able to rule until the end of their lives, not just until their children reached their majority, if they were male. Blatant legal discrimination.
Catelyn and Cersei were disinherited for the same reason Lord Tarly drove off Sam - the incapacity to perform the primary duty of a lord. The position of "lord" originated with a warrior who protected the civilians in exchange for a cut of their produce, because being a warrior is a full time skill that you have to train for at least as much as a professional athlete does, and if he was going to spend his time honing military skills to keep everyone in the community alive, someone had to feed him. And it expanded from there. That's why the lords all live in fortresses instead of luxury mansions or palaces (rich guys in the Free Cities have mansions and palaces, because they are all under the protection of a higher law and don't need to fight themselves).
And then there is the reproductive aspect. Ned could impregnate Catelyn with Robb and go off to fight a war without risking his heir or his own ability to fight. Catelyn could not do the same thing. Carrying Robb into battle would be basically risking the entire future of the family. This is biology, not social choice. If any society chose to ignore these issues and let the women wear armor and carry weapons routinely and alongside the men, they might win initially through numbers available, and in the long run, they'd lose because the removal of women from the breeding pool drastically reduces their numbers.
Cersei having sex with another man is a capital crime. Robert had sex with thousands of women while married and it's completely normal, legal and accepted.
Because not one of Robert's bastards can be mistaken for the rightful heir to the throne. The only double standard here is biologically imposed. I cannot believe you are citing THAT issue in a discussion of THIS series. It would be one thing if it was just some random injustice, but we see here in aSoI&F how a queen's infidelity endangers the succession. Robert's bastards are questionably not Cersei's children and therefore not eligible to rule. Cersei's bastards are believed to be Robert's children, and thus are obstacles to his rightful heir succeeding him. And by the way, Jaime is just as liable to capital punishment for his part in her crime. To the extent that a man gets away in such circumstances is, again, a function of biology and the inability to conclusively prove paternity.
Steven Halter
57. stevenhalter
The position of "lord" originated with a warrior who protected the civilians in exchange for a cut of their produce, because being a warrior is a full time skill that you have to train for at least as much as a professional athlete does, and if he was going to spend his time honing military skills to keep everyone in the community alive, someone had to feed him.
Well, it is really more complicated than that. There were many more methods of organizing than just that one. A male dominated warrior elite is not the only outcome in pre industrial societies.
Also as regards to living in castles and being fed by others (serfs probably) you might want to read more on the organization of the Roman republic and Cincinnatus in particular --> not a feudal organization.
If any society chose to ignore these issues and let the women wear armor and carry weapons routinely and alongside the men, they might win initially through numbers available, and in the long run, they'd lose ...
Again, things are more complex. See, for example:
that women have been engaged in warfare for quite a long time and again that fuedalism isn't the only way to go.
Stefan Mitev
58. Bergmaniac
Legally and in practice being a good fighter is not a requirement for becoming a lord in Westeros. What Randyl did to Sam was highly illegal and unusual. Bran was considered to be second in the succession line for WF and then Robb's heir even after he got paralysed. Willas Tyrell has a crippled leg yet he's the acknowedged heir of the largest and most powerful province in the realm. Lord Manderly and his sons are so fat they can barely walk, let alone fight. Walder Frey is 92 yet nobody is saying he can't be a lord because he can't fight. Etc, etc.

On the other hand, Brienne wouldn't have been her father's heir if she had a brother even though she's one of the best fighters in Westeros. Catelyn, Cersei, and all other noblewomen were never given a chance to prove their qualities as fighters and be acknowedged as heirs if they are good enough.

As for other issue, it's very easy to solve - have ruling queens only and matrilinear succession. All questions of proving lineage and having the right blood are solved, biologically it makes perfect sense, but then you'd say it's unfair.

And it's not just the Queen. It's a society where men are free to commit adultery as much as they want, but women faces stiff punishment for the same.
59. Iarvin
The queens don't have to be ruling to have matrilineal succession. There are societies where the matrilineal succession means that the oldest son of the oldest daughter inherits his mother's oldest brothers goods. This means the sucesssion goes from uncle to nephew. Its also interesting in that it makes it important to have both a girl and a boy before succesion is even moderately assured.

I suspect there's also the simple arrangement of having direct mother to daughter succession, but having the husband rule.
Stefan Mitev
60. Bergmaniac
In Westeros they have the example of Dorne which practices equal primogeniture (eldest child inherits regardless of gender) and that hasn't been a problem at all, military or otherwise. In fact Dorne did much better at resisting the Targaryens than any other region.
61. lor
Something I'm surprised hasn't been pointed out re: the offer to take the black: his son lives, and even better, no longer has a claim to castelry rock. That is tywins goal with the offer, to make Jaime the heir and rid himself of tyrions claim without killing him to do it.
62. Iarvin
@61, problem with that is it would likely make Lancel the heir, since Jaime took the white so to speak, when he joined the Kingsguard.
Leigh Butler
63. leighdb
Cannoli @ 43:

I don't think I have ever asserted that I, unlike anyone else in this world, am totally free of unbiased thinking, since such a claim is patently absurd; we all have our blind spots, and we are all to one degree or another constrained by our privilege (or lack thereof). This blog has been from the beginning acknowledged to be a subjective expression of my own opinions based on what I read.

That said, I do find it rather amusing that you followed your accusation of privilege on my part with a long and passionate defense of the historic justification of male privilege, without any apparent acknowledgement (or, dare I say, awareness) of the irony therein. Just something to think on, perhaps.
64. MjF
@61: Actually, with Jaime and Tyrion both out of the picture for whatever reason, Cersei would be next in line as Tywin's heir.
65. Aerona Greenjoy
This was a difficult chapter to read, hearing the court gang up on the man who had helped save them from Stannis with his chain-and-wildfire scheme -- getting seriously wounded in the process -- and tried to mitigate the damage done by Joffrey and Cersei. He had earned some enmity through the acts described about and his general snarkiness, but sheesh. No good deeds going unpunished here.

Other things which stood out:

Oberyn confirming that Ellaria is an openly bisexual woman -- unusual in this series -- by noting that she lusts after Cersei.

Bronn's marriage to Lollys and the way he and Tyrion talk/think of her. Stupid, ugly, nearly worthless even before "half of King's Landing enjoyed her," now completely worthless except as Bronn's portal to lordship. Realistic viewpoints, but sad to see.
67. a1ay
We are privledged in that we get his POV and so I think we know he didn't do it.

Emphasis on "think" here. Do we actually know he didn't do it? We don't get a narration from his point of view of him doing it, but that's no evidence that he didn't do it. Narrations aren't complete. Say we have a "Tyrion" chapter that includes him getting up in the morning: just because it doesn't include the words "Tyrion pulled his breeches on" doesn't mean that he spent that day wandering around half-naked.

What we also don't have: we don't have him thinking to himself, at any point, "I didn't do it". We have lots of examples of him thinking to himself about things he did - like pouring out the rest of the wine - and thinking "that looked really bad, that makes me look guilty". But we don't have "that looked really bad, that makes me look guilty, which I'm not".

Please feel free to correct me at some point: but I don't think that it's unambiguous that Tyrion didn't actually murder Joffrey.
Steven Halter
68. stevenhalter
a1ay@67:Yes, exactly--that's why I included the think there. It's a little bit of an odd piece of writing but I would tend towards it being a red herring to add a touch of doubt rather than an all out head fake and in some later chapter Tyrion will laughing explain how he did it. That wouldn't fall into my favorite methods of writing if Tyrion actually did it.
Part of what contributes to the "think" there is that I think (there it is again) that GRRM is a way better writer than needing that bit of subterfuge.
Adam S.
69. MDNY
@67,68 I would say that the poison necklace Sansa wore points to the murder weapon, but that came to her from Littlefinger (via Dontos), without Tyrion's involvement. That, combined with Tyrion's thoughts, rule him out. If Tyrion had poisoned Joff, he wouldn't be wondering if it was Sansa who was responsible, and who helped her.
Steven Halter
70. stevenhalter
MDNY@69:Good point. Looking back we have Tyrion:
Assuming Joffrey had not simply choked to death on a bit of food, which even Tyrion found hard to swallow, Sansa must have poisoned him. Joff practically put his cup down in her lap, and he’d given her ample reason. Any doubts Tyrion might have had vanished when his wife did.
While there isn't any Tyrion knew he didn't do it" note, this section does seem to indicate his trying to think who did do it. If Tyrion had done it, this would be a very strange line of reasoning.
George Jong
71. IndependentGeorge
@70 - maybe he's "still looking for the real killers."
Bill Stusser
72. billiam
If GRRM wanted there to be any doubt as to whether or not Tyrion killed Joff he would not have written the chapter in which Joff died in Tyrion's POV. We were in Tyrion's head, we know he didn't know what was going on. He easily could have written that chapter from Sansa's POV, then we really wouldn't know.

It would be, in my opinion, terrible writting to leave out something like Tyrion putting poison in Joff's cup, just to keep the reader in the dark about what happened, while in Tyrion's own POV.
Tabby Alleman
73. Tabbyfl55
How interesting and potentially fun would it have been to have that chapter be from Cersei's POV?
Chris Nelly
74. Aeryl
@72, Exactly. Tyrion's clean of this.

@60, Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the equal primogeniture in Dorne START because they were conquered by a woman? While it is awesome that Dorne's that forward thinking, I don't know if their abilty to resist the Targs can be attributed to that.
75. Black Dread
Dorne's ability to resist the Targs is pretty simple - harsh terrain, caution, and a willingness to fight a guerilla war. The rest of Westeros cooperated by lining up their armies to be fried by dragons.
George Jong
76. IndependentGeorge
T.R. Fehrenbach said it best:
you may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life—but if you desire to defend it, protect it and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men in the mud.

Dragons allow you to destroy any army in the field, but they don't allow you to rule over a land and its peoples. The Dornish could never stand against the Targs, but due to geography and culture/ethnicity, they were capable of inflicting a much higher price for conquest than any of the other kingdoms.
77. MGP
I think Tyrion would do quite well as a steward in the Night's Watch.
78. Maac
People are willing to ditch Tyrion because it is safe to do so. What power he had was, sadly, borrowed power, and it is all gone. Tywin's power is nothing like so shaky. People might actually hate Tywin just as much, or more, but they do it quietly if they know what's good for them. Tywin has armies and lands and resources at his disposal, and they are his own, not his family's in general. His children are not his siblings; he has been cowing them into submission all his life. He'd have no problem silencing Cersei's accusations -- the lovely weeping woman persecuted by the "deformed imp" makes a storylike story, whereas for these people, the "hysterical" woman controlled by her competant warrior-lord father... well, it's a story but not one that slants in Cersei's favor. Even if circumstantial evidence against him was as strong, it would be harder to whip up the crowd. (Not to mention the scenario that made it possible would never have arisen -- Joffrey wouldn't dare force Tywin to serve him, or get near his food.)

The privilege in this situation (in this case, average-height privilege) is mainly that if Tyrion were average in appearance, people might turn against him just as much, but it would be less easy for them to demonize and dehumanize him (especially if he looked like his hot siblings). It wouldn't be impossible, but in Tyrion's case, they've had practice from the start -- he's been "imp" all his life with a very brief period of being not "imp" -- it's reflex for them to go back to it.

On the other hand, if Tyrion were a poor peasant dwarf, he would have been ripped apart by now.
79. Cannoli
leigh @ 63
There isn't really any irony, because I'm not the one who has a problem with privilege. The irony is on your part, where you have a problem with the concept (for perfectly understandable and acceptable reasons), but are the one blind to your own privilege. I understand and accept that privilege exists because it is an inescapable fact of life. People are not identical or equal, and thus no amount of effort will ever make them equal in circumstances. The only thing to realistically aim for, socially, is equality before the law for everyone, and in our own persons, treat people equitably insofar as we have the right or ability to do so. As far as I am concerned, no one is sufficiently morally advanced in their own behavior to make specific accusations of general bad conduct, much less assert motivations.

To put the privilege thing in another light, think of it like you are a vocal Catholic chiding a Baptist for criticizing your consumption of meat on an Ember Day, because I described my plans for a BBQ on that date. All I was doing was pointing out that you are not playing by your rules. Your claim of irony in my position falls short, because I don't believe in your rules, and was only citing the disconnect between your positions. My hypothetical Baptist is only being ironic if he is advocating vegetarianism. His own professed code has no problem with his behavior, so he is not being a hypocrite when he points out a discrepancy between anothers' behavior and the rules of his code.

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