Aug 29 2013 1:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords, Part 42

A Song of Ice and Fire Storm of Swords GRR MartinWelcome 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 42 of A Storm of Swords, in which we cover Chapter 68 (“Sansa”).

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 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 68: Sansa

What Happens
Sansa has been sick for most of the storm-wracked voyage. She dreams constantly of Joffrey’s death. She tells Littlefinger that Tyrion had had nothing to do with Joffrey’s death, but Littlefinger replies that Tyrion’s hands are “far from clean.” He tells her that when Tyrion got bored of his first wife, he gave her to his guardsmen, and tells her to be glad he didn’t do the same to her. On the morning they sight land off the Fingers, Sansa learns that they are not heading to Winterfell as she’d assumed. Petyr tells her proudly that he is to wed Sansa’s aunt Lysa. Sansa is dismayed, but hopes that perhaps her aunt will welcome her in the Vale.

They are met ashore by Petyr’s house staff. Petyr speaks disparagingly of his meager ancestral home, but greets his servants warmly. At the tower, Petyr gives her wine, and tells her she cannot be known as Sansa Stark in the Vale, lest Varys hear about it. He says he will present her as his bastard daughter, Alayne Stone. Sansa hopes she can remember the name as well as the backstory Petyr gives her. As they eat, Petyr tells her that her father was a good man but “quite a hopeless player.”

“In King’s Landing, there are two sorts of people. The players and the pieces.”

“And I was a piece?” She dreaded the answer.

“Yes, but don’t let that trouble you. You’re still half a child. Every man’s a piece to start with, and every maid as well. Even some who think they are players.”

He cites Cersei as an example, who he says thinks herself sly but is “utterly predictable,” and who doesn’t know what to do with the power she craves. He says when you know what a man wants, you know how to move him. She asks if he “moved” Dontos to poison Joffrey, but Petyr scoffs at the notion of trusting Dontos with that; she asks if he moved others then, and Petyr introduces her to Oswell, whom Sansa realizes is the father of the three Kettleblacks. Petyr tells her they were his hidden daggers, perfectly placed, but also says they were too untrustworthy to involve in the poisoning scheme either. Then he asks her to remember who straightened her hair net at some point in the evening, and Sansa is shocked to realize it was Lady Olenna.

Petyr explains how he subtly spread rumors of the unfitness of Joffrey for marriage while ostensibly presenting his suit for Margaery Tyrell, as well as planted the suggestion that having Loras take the white be part of the marriage contract. Petyr says Olenna realized that putting Joffrey, Margaery, and Loras together would lead to Loras killing Joffrey—unless it was prevented. Petyr wagers that soon enough Margaery will end up wed to Tommen instead. Sansa is stunned by this revelation, but thinks to herself that it is all behind her now.

Lysa arrives eight days later with a small entourage, and Sansa is surprised to see she looks much older (and uglier) than her mother had, even though Lysa is the younger sister. Petyr (re)proposes to her when she dismounts, and she simpers and demands gifts. Petyr presents his “daughter” Alayne to Lysa, and says he hoped to take her to the Eyrie with them. Lysa is displeased, but is soon distracted by her demand that they should marry immediately. Petyr is dismayed, and says he’d hoped to marry her at the Eyrie, but Lysa says she doesn’t want to wait. Petyr tries to protest, but she is insistent, and he acquiesces.

The impromptu wedding and feast commence that evening, and Sansa helps with the chivaree for Lord Petyr; he teases and messes with the other ladies, but never touches Sansa. Lysa is very… loud afterward, and Sansa goes outside, thinking of her own wedding night. Later she returns, and Lysa’s singer Marillion propositions her drunkenly. Sansa protests that she is a maiden, but Marillion is undeterred, and begins manhandling her, until Lothor Brune appears and drives him off. Sansa has nightmares again that night.

The next morning she is summoned to Petyr and Lysa’s chamber, where Petyr informs her that Lysa knows who she really is, and leaves to make preparations for their departure. Lysa comments on Sansa’s resemblance to Catelyn, and says they will have to darken Sansa’s hair to prevent it being remarked upon. She says she has kept out of this war and intends to keep it that way. Lysa speaks of her revulsion for Jon Arryn and how she’d always wanted Petyr instead, and says that they have both suffered.

Under Lysa’s questioning, Sansa admits she is “a woman flowered” but still a maiden, and says Tyrion preferred whores. Lysa spits that she should have killed the vile dwarf, but that he tricked her. She complains that Catelyn brought Tyrion to the Vale and then stole her uncle from her. She asks what Sansa thinks of marrying her eight-year-old son Lord Robert, as she is sure Sansa will soon be a widow. Sansa is unenthusiastic, but knows better than to say so. Lysa assures her that Robert will be a great man one day, and they will wed in secret the moment they hear that the Imp is dead. She says Sansa can read to him and play games with him, though she warns Sansa to always let him win.

“That’s only proper, don’t you think? He is the Lord of the Eyrie, after all, you must never forget that. You are well born, and the Starks of Winterfell were always proud, but Winterfell has fallen and you are really just a beggar now, so put that pride aside. Gratitude will better become you, in your present circumstances. Yes, and obedience. My son will have a grateful and obedient wife.”

Um, ew?

Well, I think I remarked a while back that I didn’t particularly care to find out what Lysa’s been up to, and it turns out I was really, really right not to want to know. My God, but she’s icky.

Which would have been okay, I guess, if it weren’t for the fact that the second she shows up she manages to get her icky all over everything. Including Sansa, and can we PLEASE, PLEASE stop marrying or almost marrying Sansa Stark to people she hates? Seriously, this can stop being a theme any time now.

(The recurring theme of her almost getting raped can also stop any time now. Really. Really.)

And yes, I know that technically she hasn’t actually met Little Robert yet to hate him, but based on what I remember of him from when Catelyn and Tyrion met him, I feel really safe in predicting that he and Sansa are most emphatically not going to be BFFs. Because thanks to Smother Mother over there, Little Robert is a nightmare of a child, and that it’s not entirely or even mostly his fault doesn’t change that fact.

She’s totally still breastfeeding him, isn’t she. And she wants to get him married. And, I guarantee you, continue to breastfeed him! That is so messed up, you guys. The most avid breastfeeding advocate in the world cannot tell me that is not messed up. Holy crap.

And then there’s Petyr, who I stand in kind of horrified awe of right now, because there is a man who really will do anything to get what he wants. And, I assume, has a large mental stack of pornographic fantasies to get him through it, because wow.

Understand, though, that when I call Lysa “icky” and undesirable I’m really not referring to her looks, though Martin certainly does seem to go out of his way to make her sound as unattractive as possible. People can absolutely be less than beautiful by whatever standards you’re going by, and still be wonderful attractive people in spirit. No, Lysa’s attractiveness fail is (in my opinion) at least 95% due to her icky, icky, terrible personality. Every time she talks she makes me cringe. Eesh.

But getting back to Petyr, well. I have a lot of thoughts about Petyr, and OH WAIT HANG ON, we have to talk about Olenna now, because OMG, she’s Joffrey’s killer?!?


I think—I think that’s sort of awesome. Unnerving, but awesome.

I mean, look, okay, I am not saying poisoning a minor to death is generally an awesome thing, because obviously it is not. Duh. But—yeah, you know, if I knew my granddaughter was getting irrevocably hitched to an abusive psychopath, and I knew my grandson would end up killing said psychopath once he showed his true colors and therefore end up executed for regicide… well.

Which brings us to this not-at-all-sneakily-relevant remark of Lysa’s in this chapter:

“A man will tell you poison is dishonorable, but a woman’s honor is different. The Mother shaped us to protect our children, and our only dishonor is in failure.”

I could seriously write a whole essay unpacking everything in this statement and the cultural implications thereof, but for now I will just say that I both agree and disagree with it, for reasons I find vaguely disturbing, like the small voice which points out that poison gives power to the powerless. But down that road lies more ethical quagmires than I can deal with right now, so I’m just going to leave it.

But regardless of how I feel about it, I’m pretty darn sure that this is the exact rationale Olenna used to justify Joffrey’s murder. From her point of view, I bet, it came down to a choice between Joffrey’s life and the lives of her progeny, and put that way, I guess it really wasn’t much of a contest.

So, yeah. Wow.

And now we can go back to Petyr (I am calling him that now because it is about twenty times easier to type than “Littlefinger”), who (at least according to him) orchestrated the whole damn thing.

Which… yeah. The “horrified awe” sentiment still stands.

If he’s not lying (and I don’t tend to think that he is) then Petyr has now taken top position in ASOIAF for The Chessmaster. (Don’t click that.) Which is apropos, considering the conversation he has with Sansa here about people being either players or pieces—pawns, in other words. It’s especially relevant when you look at who is in the conversation—the ultimate player talking to the ultimate (and perpetual) pawn. It’s All So Thematic!

Sigh. I really, really hope I get to see a point at which Sansa stops being a pawn and starts being a player. I have some doubts that it will ever happen, but I will be thrilled if it does.

I also suppose that I sort of owe Petyr an apology for assuming he was going to molest Sansa, which obviously he has not… but I’m kind of withholding that apology, pending further events. Because while on the surface he has treated her with every courtesy, there’s still something about the way he interacts with her that skeeves me out. Possibly I’m being overly paranoid, but if there’s one thing this series has taught me, it’s to err on the side of Bad Shit Happening. So we shall wait and see.

My admiration of his manipulation skills aside, of course, there’s still plenty of reason to dislike Petyr—first and foremost, in this chapter, for his lie to Sansa about Tyrion and his first wife. Although I suppose it’s possible that Petyr actually does believe that’s the way it went down, I find it difficult to buy that he wouldn’t have known the truth of the matter, simply because, as he himself said here in a roundabout way, knowledge is power. And, as he so ably demonstrated in this chapter as well, controlling how knowledge is or is not distributed is also power. Which leads me to conclude that he’s got more reason behind his lie to disaffect Sansa from Tyrion than just being a vindictive jackass about it.

Though I’m sure he didn’t mind that part of it, either. *snort*

And of course, the biggest reason to dislike him is that it’s screamingly obvious, in retrospect, that he was the one who gave Lysa the idea to marry her son to Sansa. Can’t play chess without sacrificing a few pawns, eh. Ugh.

There’s also the point that, for all his generous explanation of his moves to Sansa in this chapter, I still have no idea what Petyr’s endgame is. I mean, he set up this almost insanely elaborate scheme to get Joffrey murdered, but what is his actual goal? Because I don’t think killing Joffrey was anything more than a step in the plan.

(Please note for the record that me asking “what is his actual goal?” in the post does not mean I want you to give me the answer. All questions are rhetorical questions until further notice, n’est-ce pas?)

And upon that ominous note, we out! Have a Happy Labor Day if you are American, and a pleasant random weekend if you aren’t, and I’ll see you next week!

David Goodhart
1. Davyd
, there’s still something about the way he interacts with her that skeeves me out.

You are not alone.

And my money is on Sansa sitting the Iron Throne when this all plays out. She's learning from the Best. ;)
2. DougL
Heh, ya Petyr's revalation was excellent and other than the near rape it was a very good chapter overall.

Still, yet to come, excellence.

Thanks Leigh, I look forward to these posts more than I should heh.
Marty Beck
4. martytargaryen
Thank you for finding the time to post this week around your pre-long-weekend planning
Great post as usual, but I particularly enjoyed this week.
Chris Nelly
3. Aeryl
This chapter is what gave me the enormous respect I have for LF. I still despise him, but the way he manipulated the Tyrells into killing Joffrey(a plot which we NOW KNOW stretches back months, before Mel did her leeches) was masterful.

And yes, poor Sansa. Have to marry Robert, have to pretend to be someone else(LF's daughter!!!!). She finally got away from KL, but is she any better off?

Time will tell.
George Jong
5. IndependentGeorge
I know Leigh won't read the entry, but Littlefinger's actually categorized as a Magnificent Bastard on TV Tropes. Unsurprisingly, most of his entry is whited out.

//And he's not the only one.//
Marty Beck
6. martytargaryen
oh, and you share my sentiments exactly about each of the major characters in this chapter, be it Skeev, Pawn, Chessmaster, or Little Shit.
7. TG12
Lady Olenna's offing of Joffery is just a deliciously devious bit of Machiavellian plotting, the kind that makes perfect sense when it's revealed. That whole kindly interrogation scene earlier on between Sansa-Margery-Olenna takes on added weight in this light: Olenna and her protege (Margery) were clearly getting the unvarnished low-down on Joffery's psychopathtastic personality, and as an unsentimental power-player, Olenna took the necessary steps to protect her line (added points because she can forsee that the "alliance" (and thus Margery/the Tyrell position) won't suffer since they can just transfer the marriage pact to the biddable younger brother).

One lingering question that I have is just how close the coordination, if any, between the Tyrells and Littlefinger was. Littlefinger clearly knows about details of the plot; how actively involved was he?
Rob Munnelly
8. RobMRobM
Thanks, Leigh. Truly a mindblowing chapter of ASOS. LF works with Tyrells to kill off Joff? Makes perfect sense - Sansa confirmed he is a monster and Tommen will be more gentle and likely easier to maneuver. LF manipulated Cersei to get a Kettleblack loyal to him on the Kingsguard? Nice. LF has Lysa in his pocket - how long has that been in the works? Since they were teenagers together and lasting through the Jon Arryn marriage? Yikes.

Re Lysa - icky is a good word for it.

"Sigh. I really, really hope I get to see a point at which Sansa stops being a pawn and starts being a player. I have some doubts that it will ever happen, but I will be thrilled if it does.

Here's hoping....
9. olethros
Petyr's ultimate goal is to first become mayor of Baltimore, then governor of Maryland, and possibly position himself to run for President of the US someday.
Jessica Trevino
10. Ciella
So about Littlefinger being a creep. I have to hand it to Martin, he really gets what is a (usually) female thing. While I'm sure guys get the creeps, there something about being a girl/woman in the presence of a guy who has "designs" about you that sets you hair on end and makes you want to take a shower. And Martin totally pulls that off every time LIttlefinger is in the room with Sansa. All my warning bells go off, despite him not doing anything particular bad towards her (framing her and her husband for murder aside). That's some writing skill right there.
Adam S.
11. MDNY
Yep, LF is a total skeeze (LF is even easier to type than Petyr, that's how we do it over in the spoiler thread). As for his endgame, he remarks later in the book on more specifics, but remember that by playing the game thus far, he has moved from being lord of the most pathetic strip of land ever (how sad is that little tower on a rocky shore, seriously) to the Lord of Harrenhall, the grandest castle in the 7 kingdoms with dominion over the riverlands, and now through marriage the lord of the Eyrie and the vale. He now legally, and with the backing of the crown, controls the whole middle of the country, and he has hidden in his pocket the one who almost everyone believes to be the true heir of the North (Sansa, duh). His end game is the accumulation of power, and he does it through manipulation and the accumulation of wealth.
The truth about Tyrion is more complicated, but again LF tells half lies. Tyrion did in the end help his father's guardsmen gangrape his first wife, so LF uses that to paint him in an unfavorable light (not that it could paint him any differently with the bare facts).
Olenna plucked the amethyst from Sansa's hairnet, and Dontos gave it to her, but Dontos didn't get it himself. I think LF gave it to him, but it could have been Olenna, I guess. We aren't sure who put it in Joff's cup, though. It could be Olenna, but she wasn't sitting right next to him; her granddaughter Margaery, who you remarked may have "hidden depths" when she was introduced as a character, had the better opportunity as she sat with him at the table. Remember Dontos' words to Sansa: The Tyrells are Lannisters with flowers. Both families are devious and money/power hungry.
Lysa is the most disgusting character in the story (which says A LOT), and among the most disgusting ones I have ever read. The question of who is grosser, between Lysa and Padan Fain, I leave to you, Leigh. And yes, she is totally still breastfeeding her little icky Robert, and will continue to do so until he's an old man and she's on her deathbed, if she has her way. I need a shower now.
Steven Halter
12. stevenhalter
Chapter 68--Sansa:Still on the boat. The Imp just blatantly lied about Tyrion's first wife. A casual twist of the truth to influence Sansa. A forlorn tower in the Fingers. That seems familiar somehow. I guess not. This seems to be Littlefinger's family tower--a fairly bleak place although the people seem friendly in a somewhat demented fashion.
Littlefinger is quite clever at emplacement--the Kettleblack's (and maybe everyone's not so much friendly as the politeness shown before they decide to use you as mulch).
Ah, and Lady Olenna!--that makes sense, quite a lot, although I am sure there must be some twisting here also. Littlefinger strikes me as someone who can't just tell the unadorned truth. But, I am quite willing to believe that Olenna did the poisoning.
Well, it seems Petyr has already won Lysa quite over. A marriage without a lot of killing; quite a rarity in Westros it would seem. Even though he is now married and even posted a guard, there does seem to be something off in his relationship with Sansa. Off like in he is savoring the wait before he makes his move--maybe (hopefully) I'm wrong on that.
"How would you like to marry your cousin, the Lord Robert?"
Gee, let me think about that--not. Sansa is certainly being treated as a piece. People are trying to maneuver her all over the place. In her conversation with Petyr of "Guess the Poisoner" she seemed to be showing some glimpses that she might, just might, someday become a player. I really hope so.
Chris Nelly
13. Aeryl
He procured the poison, and enabled the means to smuggle it into the reception.

I would say he has enough for leverage over the Tyrells, should he ever need it.

No observations about how the new devoted Kingsguard is in Littlefinger's pocket? Not giving Tommen a very good life expectancy either.
14. zambi76
From the Leigh does say the darndest things files: When you said something about "Olenna surely having a contingency plan about Joffrey" shorty after she was introduced, I almost fell of my chair.

About Lysa: She's clearly severely mentally ill, which is why I'm always bothered by all the readers picking on her. Mental health care is unfortunately non-existent in Westeros. And I'm sorry MDNY but Ramsay Snow beats her on the disgusto-meter by several thousand miles and there are many more in between for me.
15. Black Dread
What Littlefinger wants ... Considering the dump he hails from, what he has already is pretty wild.

He is the Lord Paramount of the Riverlands and Lord of Harrenhal - which if peace ever breaks out, would make him one of the richest and most powerful lords in Westeros. Now, by marriage, he is the Lord of the Eyrie - one of the two kingdoms unaffected by the war. Not too shabby for a player.
Rob Munnelly
16. RobMRobM
@14 - the reference in the last sentence is pretty spoilery - isn't it? Can a mod fix? Note to BM: I accidentally flagged 15, which doesn't have any spoiler issues. My concern is just with last sentence of 14, thanks.
Adam S.
17. MDNY
@14 Granted, Ramsey beats her, but not at this point in the story yet. I agree Lysa is mentally ill, but there is an underlying personality defect in her too. While narcissism or sociopathic tendencies can be lumped in with mental illnesses, there are some things that are just personality defects, and Lysa definitely has them regardless of whether she should be on Depakote or Prozac or 50 other medications.
Rob Munnelly
18. RobMRobM
Note that I'm not sure it is accurate to consider LF Lord Paramount of Riverlands. The Whents didn't have that role while they were there in the early portions of the series. Major property, historic seat of power, but have Tullys been displaced yet as lords of Riverlands? I don't think so. (I may have forgotten something - feel free to weigh in.)
George Jong
19. IndependentGeorge

//It's not revealed until FFC, when Jaime corrects Emmon Frey and tells him that Littlefinger will be Lord Paramount of the Riverlands.//
20. zambi76
Okay, that's just a terminology problem then, because personality defect/disorder = mental illness (brain not firing in "normal" parameters) in my mind. Sorry about the spoiler, thought we were further along that line already.
Tom Smith
21. phuzz
I don't think Sansa will come to hate Robert (and I wonder why he was named that? After Robert Baratheon?), I think she'll have sympathy for him.
That said, I think she'd hate being married to him, but as the current defacto heir to The North she's probably going to end up married to someone she hates anyway.

Also, Olenna is clearly at least as much a Player as LF. I'm sure that if she went along with LF's plan, it was only because she'd already thought of it as well.
In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if her backup plan would be to blame Littlefinger for posining Joffery if blmaing Tyrion ever stops working out for the Tyrells.
22. Black Dread
Is this the chapter that Sansa makes friends with the Island's big shaggy mastiff? I don't know if it was supposed to respresent something - i.e. the more tame / trainable version of a Dire Wolf. Bbut as an owner of a big shaggy mastiff, I remember enjoying that part of the chapter.
23. cheem
Now that you know more about LF and his designs, you can reread the rest of the series and note the taint of ickiness that now underlies all of LF's interactions with the Starks, particularly Sansa.

Speaking of Sansa, it's interesting how she's failed to develop (her remarks about "no true knight" wrt to Lothar Brune, assuming "home" is her home). Hopefully she'll buy a few more clues soon (we get hints of that here).

If you should reread these books (heh), you should consider listening to the Books-on-Tape audiobook narrated by Roy Dotrice. He really gets Littlefinger right (and Tywin Lannister too). You get that extra ick factor whenever he speaks.
Chris Nelly
24. Aeryl
@21, Yes he's named for King Robert, just like Robb.
25. Black Dread
cheem - Without Roy Dotrice, I would have no idea how to mentally pronounce half these names when reading.
Steven Halter
26. stevenhalter
Black Dread@22:She made friends with A large old dog. I wonder if it isn't supposed to represent her starting a resurgence. She's been rudderless since Lady was killed and now she is making friends with a large (albeit sick) dog is heralding her starting to come back from the bottom. Hopefully.
Stefan Mitev
27. Bergmaniac
@19 - Not true. It was revealed way back in ACOK, and mentioned a few times in the ASOIF chapters Leigh already covered.
28. littlebit_liz
I know no more than you do about Littlefinger's ultimate goal, Leigh, but my thinking with him has been than he just wants to rise as high he can, and gain as much power as he can. I think he's all about power. Oh, and Cat - before she died, I think he was also all about Catelyn. I think he wanted her, which is why he played a major part in taking Ned out, and then from here on, I think he just wants to rise as high he can. I think he was this little lord from this little island whom everyone made fun of, and who didn't get the girl, and his life goal is to change all that.

Which almost seems sort of cliche - you'd almost expect his motives to be more complicated. But actually, a man who's after power and who will go to any lengths for it is kind of terrifying, actually. I think it makes him super terrifying.

As for Sansa, I have high hopes for her becoming a player, and not a pawn, someday. I have really really high hopes for her in that regard. Again, I don't know anything additionally concerning that, I just really hope it happens.
Rob Munnelly
29. RobMRobM
OK - I checked. Berg is correct - LF named Lord Paramount of Trident back in ACOK. Paper title at that point since it was controlled by Robb Stark and Riverrun. Not yet clear (at this point in the books) if it will be enforced in practice now that Robb is gone or whether Freys will horn in.
30. calendarization
Quick note: Canada celebrates Labor (sic) Day as well.
Vincent Lane
31. Aegnor

How is @14's last sentence spoilerish (unless the last sentence was already deleted)? In the last book we know that Ramsey married a woman to take her land, then left her locked in a tower to eat her own fingers and starve to death. We also know he engaged in some necrofilia before he was captured. We also know he killed two small children and cut off their faces. Plus we know that his personality exhudes ICK! DO NOT WANT! even apart from his actions (which are bad enough alone). So yeah, no spoiler to say Ramsay is worse than Lysa.
32. Cannoli
IIRC, Tyrion promised to make Petyr overlord of the Riverlands back when he was first promised Harrenhal, saying something about how the Tullys had proven untrustworthy and they would have to swear fealty to Petyr. I think that it might have been announced as part of the triumphant handing out of rewards chapter where Joffery officially dumps Sansa, because she is thinking that he looks awfully happy with an empty honor, since Robb held the Riverlands and Harrenhal. I think she mentions to Petyr on the boat that he was made Lord Paramount of the Trident, too.

And as for Petyr's plotting, this chapter and the initial revelations of him as Dontos' benefactor are what convinced me that he is the one who incited Joffrey to break Cersei's deal and kill Ned. He brags to Sansa about how he was the mastermind behind the jousting dwarves at the wedding, which helped provide a motive for people to believe Tyrion killed him, thus revealing that he had access to Joffrey and they had private conversations and schemes.
- Janos Slynt was implied to be in on the execution ahead of time, and would not tell Tyrion whose idea it was, but kept bragging about his powerful friends. Littlefinger is the one who bought Slynt, and when Tyrion replaces him, he worries that he might be merely trading Littlefinger's puppet for Varys'.
- Tyrion Petyr is the one who started the war between Stark and Lannister by lying to Catelyn about the owner of the dagger used against Bran. Varys & Illyrio's conversation supports this. Ned's death was the biggest obstacle to the war being resolved peacefully. If Littlefinger had a reason to make the Starks and Lannisters fight, it stands to reason that he had a reason to want the war to keep going.
- Petyr's crush on Catelyn is kind of blatantly obvious, so he has a rather clear motivation for killing the man who is married to the object of his affection, and is the brother and heir of the man who humiliated him in a duel.
- Given how Catelyn's father was responsible for separating them, both by refusing Petyr's suit and marrying her to Brandon & then Ned, and how Edmure acted as Brandon's squire in the duel, he probably has less than zero qualms about them being collateral damage with the Starks.
- Finally, Catelyn. It's entirely possible he has come to hate her just as much, maybe retconning her sisterly affection as toying with him and leading him on. She gave her favor to Brandon for the duel, and to a teenage boy's pride, asking Brandon to spare him hardly counts next to that, and in fact, could very likely even make things worse, that she presumes his defeat and condescends to intercede without him ever asking for her help. Given that in the interim, he has taken to bragging publically that he had sex with her before her marriage, it seems very plausible that his feelings have, in fact, turned to resentment or contempt, if indeed they were ever anything more than carnal. His solicitous care of her when she came to King's Landing is explained by his agenda of manipulating her into picking a fight with the Lannisters. And his right-off-the-bat perving on Sansa could be a sign that even if there was at any point, any sincere affection or love for Catelyn, he could have simply transferred that to Sansa, the younger and prettier version of Catelyn, who is more vulnerable and less likely to have the upper hand in their relationship.

Overall, it makes a lot of sense to show Petyr as the answer to the question often asked back in early CoK of why Joffrey acted as he did. Varys' riddle about who the man with the sword kills immediately led the pragmatic Shae, who often sees through Varys' games, to say that the swordsman would do the bidding of the rich man. Varys later pointed out that at the execution the lawful, knowledgeable and godly authorities were helpless while the swordsman did Joffrey's bidding, but he does not include the Master of Coin among those who were surprised or dismayed. If Varys is plotting a Targaryen restoration, he probably doesn't expose Petyr, because the worse the war gets, the better the opportunity to bring in a new player to take the throne (like Elayne in Cairhien, in WoT). Even with all the personal motivations removed, an ongoing war provides the most opportunities for advancement, especially for someone like Petyr.

That said, it adds to the issues with Catelyn's impulsive and generally stupid behavior that she let herself be manipulated by a man, who in hindsight, should be the last one she should have trusted to help her family. The emasculated platonic male friend who loves you from afar and is a pure, brotherly love, that would help your husband and children for your sake is a romantic fantasy of exactly the kind people ridicule Sansa for holding to. The reality is that the guy who wanted you for himself and was irrational enough to pick a fight for you, is the last one you should entrust with helping the man you actually married.

Also, somewhat unrelated to the rest, Mandon Moore, who tried to assassinate Tyrion, was a nonentity who came from the Vale. Like Littlefinger. Whom Tyrion had slighted with his canary trap and teased with the offer of Harrenhal, and held in suspicion for his lie about the dagger.
Drew McCaffrey
33. PallonianFire
I'm really surprised Leigh didn't mention the relative niceness of this wedding. Nobody died! And only one attempted rape!
Chris Nelly
34. Aeryl
@32, You wrote Tyrion instead of Petyr during one of your bullets, referring to the dagger.

And you laid out Varys' possible motives, which have not been touched on at all.
35. Maddy1990
I share your (perhaps naiive) hope that Sansa will get to become a player rather than a piece - for a character I started off disliking, I have such high hopes for her, she is definitely my 'horse' in this race. Oh, and never apologise about being skeeved out by Littlefinger, especially where Sansa is concerned because YIKES with the transferred mother-daughter affections going on here. As much as I love Arya and wish I was like her, I've always identified more with Sansa as a character because she is more realistic and awesome in her own way - random note, but I appreciate how Martin knows that 'strong' female characters aren't necessarily tomboys or physically strong, but are strongly WRITTEN. And once more I appreciate not having to live in a world of arranged marriages and misogyny and threatened rapes because NOPE would really appreciate Sansa not having all control taken from her FOR ONE MINUTE. Give a Stark a break!

Also Olenna = awesome. Not to harp on about the show, but I cannot freaking wait to see the 'Purple Wedding'.
Rob Munnelly
36. RobMRobM
@31 - You're right, Ramsay is a slimeball with a detailed public record. I withdraw my objection to the last sentence of @14. Mods can un-white as far as I am concerned.
Drew McCaffrey
39. PallonianFire
@38 We're not quite there yet re: other events that Littelfinger was a part of...
40. spoonmaster
Ah crap! Someone delete my last post, I was commenting on the wrong chapter I think. I'm sorry, i really didn't mean to. Argh!!!
George Jong
41. IndependentGeorge
Has everyone else read this post on the main page regarding the scanning error in the eBook version of FFC? The post and the comments are both spoiler free (unless you count out-of-context sentence fragments to be spoilers).
42. jmb
One thing I noticed RE this chapter is GRRM's use of language. Specifically the word "tummy" which Sansa uses refering to herself (seasickness, flutteriness) and which Littlefinger uses in conversation with Sansa (ordering food for her tender tummy, inquiring after it's status).

The first time through that word hit me like a ton of bricks. It's baby talk. "How's your tummy doing?" is something I'd ask a five-year old. It's not something I would expect a 14 year old girl (one who is quite conscious of her dignity) to say.

When I read about Sansa's tummy, not just once, but multiple times in the chapter I thought "grrrr, GRRM, you have no clue about how teenager's behave." Then I reconsidered. True, GRRM does misjudge the age-behavior thing. But the error is in the other direction -- usually characters act older than would be appropriate. Then I thought -- maybe it's just that GRRM is being sloppy with language. Likely? No. A quick check reveals no other characters using this sort of baby-talk. Only Sansa, and only in this book, and largely in this chapter.

Then I started to think. It's GRRM. He writes lots of words. But he doesn't throw them away casually. This little sore thumb of a word means something or is doing something here in this chapter. I think it's his way of emphasizing Sansa's retreat from adulthood.

This traumatized girl is acting in a very childlike manner around the one of the most dangerous manipulators in Westeros. Around a man who is obsessed with her mother. And she looks like her mother. This can't be good....
Rob Munnelly
44. RobMRobM
@43 - Ease off on the espresso, man! ;-) (Great name, by the way. You should go grey so it can't be taken).

These are long books, we're forced to be spoiler conscious and sometimes we are wrong in thinking that posters are looking forward when they are actually (properly) looking only backwards. Appreciate it if all could walk softly in defending posts from spoiler concerns.
George Jong
45. IndependentGeorge
@43 - There's one potential problem with that.

//Does Leigh know that Varys was the "stout dude" talking to Illyrio? She didn't in the original recap, but I can't remember if she figured it out later on.
Forked Beard Dude is Illyrio, duh. Stout Dude is obviously the same guy who paid off the armorer to apprentice Gendry, but other than that I still can’t place him. Possibly I still don’t have enough information to do so. Or I’m being spectacularly obtuse. Either is a distinct possibility. *shrug*
//end spoiler

When in doubt, I put it in white, even if it's not actually a spoiler. It's not really 'speculation' if you've already read beyond Leigh, and it's very easy to unintentionally guide a reader in a direction she wouldn't have gone otherwise.
Bridget McGovern
46. BMcGovern
@43 I'll second RobM on speculation and spoiler consciousness, but more importantly, just a reminder to please be civil and respectful in your interactions with other commenters. You can check out our Moderation Policy at the bottom of the page for our community guidelines.
47. Nessa
LF is slimy as hell. Even if he isn't being overtly creepy towards Sansa, I still get the feeling he's a total sleazebag. All things considered (read: Joffrey's wedding/murder), the Vale is probably the safest place for Sansa right now, but even so, I would rather that she was miles away from LF. On the other hand, Sansa desperately needs some lessons on how to play the game of thrones, and she's not going to get that is she's holed up somewhere with a Ned-type protector figure, so maybe it's a 'good' thing that she's with LF after all. I gotta say, after learning about Olenna's dastardly plotting, I really want to see some female main characters get on the political playing field for once, (no, Cersei doesn't count) and Sansa is one of my hopes for that to happen.

jmb@42: I noticed the "tummy" thing too, especially during ASOS. I do think it's to emphasize Sansa's naivete, but it tends to throw me off as well, since I really don't think it's a word that a 12-13 year old would use, childish or not.
Genevieve Williams
48. welltemperedwriter
I'd also like to see Sansa wise up and become the Catherine de Medici of Westeros. That would be awesome. (Cersei is a disappointment in this regard; she's just not very smart.)

Interestingly, I've been re-reading the books on Kindle lately (originally bought them in print) and at least one instance where I'd swear Sansa said "tummy" before had been switched to "stomach". I could be misremembering though.
Adam S.
49. MDNY
@47 I think Daenerys Stormborn, mother of dragons, khaleesi and conqueror of Slaver's Bay, trueborn queen of Westeros, counts as a female main character with political weight, especially with Barristan the Bold serving her (assuming he survives his sewer trek with Jorah). Sansa is too stupid to be a player, IMHO, and too treacherous to boot. I can't ever root for her, because she betrayed her family and is the only Stark I don't want to win everything, unlike Arya or Jon, who are unequivocally awesome.
Leigh has become a Sansa fan because she has survived her terrible ordeals, but I will never forget that she was the reason Ned didn't manage to survive in Kings Landing (well, her and LF together) when she betrayed him to Cersei. She has suffered but not nearly as much as Arya, who has been beaten, been captive to Gregor and Roose Bolton, has struggled to survive in the Riverlands as they burn and she can barely find enough food. Jon has struggled against Wights, Mance's army, etc.. Sansa has been in castles being served fine food and Arbour wines the whole time. Yes she is in a sucky situation but I repeat: she brought it on herself when she betrayed her family. She is the only Stark that ever deserved to die, yet she is still in probably the safest position (if not by much) because of her claim to Winterfell and LF's ickiness.
50. Nessa
@49: If you don't like Sansa, that's okay. Not everyone is going to like every character in the books. Personally I think she's just as awesome as Arya, just in a different way. Not every woman has to swing around a sword to be an awesome character. And I think that Sansa has suffered just as much as Arya, just in different ways. At least Arya made friends around the way, and she still has Nymeria. Sansa "friends" are all using her in some way and she's lost her wolf as well. As for 'betrayal', first of all, she made a mistake, she didn't know that Cersei was perfectly evil. And also, I don't get why you're blaming Sansa for everything when Ned basically went and told Cersei all of his plans. He knew he was dealing with a dangerous woman and still he decided to risk himself and Robert and his daughters with a gamble like that. If you're blaming anyone blame the adult father who's supposed to be responsible for his family. Don't blame the 11 year old kid who was way in over her head.

PS: We can talk about Dany here, but since we're only halfway through ASOS in Leigh's read, it'd be hard to fully analyze her story at this point.
51. GarrettC
Re: Littlefinger's endgame: I've long suspected that the one position he does NOT want to have is King. I think he wants to be in indirect control of everything, because 1) it's safer, and 2) it's more efficient. To take a good thing maybe too far, remember that the chess player is never the King. The King is another piece on the board.

But, then, he MUST have somebody in mind to be his figurehead, and as far as I can tell there isn't a single person he's positioning on his board to slide into that role. Like, he's just accumulating indirect power and taking the whole f'ing system down in the process. It's occured to me that what he wants may simply to be the lord of total and utter chaos. But then, that doesn't seem to fit his character, either.

Also, I would suggest that the control of how knowledge is conveyed and distributed may in fact be the only real power that exists in the world. Empires have been built on little else.

Re Lysa: I had such weird feelings when I got here because she did not remind me remotely of the character I remember from the last time we saw her. I was surprised by her appearance. I was surprised by her attitude. I was surprised by her speech. It was like a completely different character from my memory.

And then I wondered, well, okay... so am I just remembering Lysa from the show? Was Lysa from the last time she showed up in the books exactly like this and I just don't remember because of the show? And... I just don't remember. Did anybody else have this reaction?
53. Aerona Greenjoy
Oh, Lysa. Unrequited desire generally makes a character more relate-to-able, but her desire for Petyr merely cements our impression that she's insane. Along with her expectation of getting pregnant while lactating.

I was gratified back when Olenna made Sansa describe Joffrey's character and how he'd treat Margaery. Finally someone cared, and dared, to find that out about the person to whom a beloved relative was about to be married! Nobody had asked how Joffrey would treat Sansa, for instance. Not that Ned or Cat had an ex-fiance (someone not invested in the marriage) to ask, but still.

@51: Let the Lord of Chaos, Petyr Baelish, rule. *cackle*

Audiobooks and pronumciation...oy. My Library of Congress for the Blind audios were collectively narrated by three people, and each pronouced some names differently from the others. And from the show.

That sea cave thingy on Petyr's estate sounds a lot like one of the most popular features in the national park where I used to work. He should've marketed it as a tourist attraction (she says snarkily).
Marie Veek
54. SlackerSpice
@51: Well, it has been a book and a half (and a war she's been trying to stay out of) since we last actually saw her, though I think the people she was interacting with then vs. now plays a part in it, too.
55. Gold for Petyr
@ 51. GarrettC: (Roll over for speculation)

I dunno, I think he might want to be king. Does Petyr have any interest in safety? I think he just wants to make his point and once its made he doesn't have any interest in founding a dynasty. Not to mention that Hand of the King of King is an even more dangerous job than king. Indirect power only works when you're dealing with people wise enough to recognize it, it does nothing for someone like Cersei.

Funnily enough Cersei, Jamie and Kevan have all wished Littlefinger would come back to court as either Hand or Master of Coin. In short Littlefinger has all the indirect power that's useful, he's ridden that horse as far as it will go. Petyr needs armies in the field.
56. the littlest finger
I always was curious as to why Petyr's background to being "a lord but the smallest of lords" (and a grandson of a foreign sellsword to boot) added to his character.

I like the nuance, but why not a rich commoner? why not just an insignifcant son of a middling house? how'd he even manage to get fostered at a high level noble's place such as the Tullys?
57. Gold for Petyr
@: 56. the littlest finger

There are similar characters who are of those backgrounds. Sybell Spicer, Lady Dustin (whom we meet later),Varys, Illyrio all of whom have schemes and dreams of their own. Varys and Illyrio are even lower born.

As for Littlefinger and Tullys I think Littlefinger's father was friends with Hoster from the war of the nine penny kings.
58. the littlest finger
I understand the commoners, but GRRM seemed to emphasize Petyr was NOT a commoner. Sybell Spicer married into nobility and Lady Dustin was well born?

I just was wondering what being at the very bottom rung of the top class was supposed to signify. as opposed to being a commoner rising up from the bottom which is a regular trope.
59. Gold for Petyr
58. the littlest finger

Well there's a quote in bonfire of the vanities. Investment Bankers never get rich they only achieve new levels of poverty. Meaning they maybe rich compared average people but not compared to the billionaires and entrepreneurs who are their clients. The same can be said for the Master of Coin, the higher he reaches the more he interacts with the Lannisters, the King, the Tyrells, ect. And no matter what Petyr they merely consider him a servant. We see this with the Freys as well, who are considered upstarts despite being 500 years older than House Baelish. The same is true for Lady Dustin. And as with the Freys a snubbed marriage proposal leads an act of brutal vengeance.

Plus I mean there's only so many classes of people, we have schemes from all walks of life. Everyone from Varys the lowest born to Cersei the Queen.
60. o.m.
@58, 59 - There is a limit how far people from the gutter can rise in Westeros. Minor nobility is nobility, and if they have enough money/power the 'minor' part can be forgotten.

Compare Varys, who will never be accepted.
61. Gold for Petyr
I disagree, I would point to Varys and say the King's small council is about as high as it gets. Bronn is another example, so is Daavos.

Whether they're "accepted" or not is irrelevant. It makes their position less stable but they've already attained the position. Balon didn't accept Robert, the Reins didn't accept the Lannisters Robert didn't accept Aerys.
62. a1ay
Petyr's ultimate goal is to first become mayor of Baltimore, then
governor of Maryland, and possibly position himself to run for President of the US someday.

Heh. I have been thinking that since series 1, and have been kind of disappointed that no other Wire characters have crossed over. Clay Davis would fit into Westeros like a hand into a glove. As would Omar ("Money ain't got no owners. Only spenders.")
63. a1ay
And well-noticed on this!

Which brings us to this not-at-all-sneakily-relevant remark of Lysa’s in this chapter:
“A man will tell you poison is dishonorable, but a woman’s honor is different. The Mother shaped us to protect our children, and our only dishonor is in failure.”
64. Nessa
I don't think that LF has a specific endgame in mind, per se, not like Varys. I think his main goal is to create as much chaos as possible, and inch higher and higher up the rungs of power. I think he gets a thrill from just playing the game of thrones, and if he can get even with the higher born nobles who used to snub him when he was young, so much the better. He may want to become king, but only if it suits him at the time.
65. LordOfTheBrothels
Just finished AStormOfSwords, this is my first Leigh's post i'm past her, and I wished to make a comment in the top 20, well fair enough, you got to answer in the first 30 sec after the post for that.

@5 That's really cool. This means he will become even cooler in the future.

I think all Sansa matured in King's Landing was killed in this chapter, she suddenly become more inmmature, and more childish. Maybe it's just becouse she was using a mask in King's Landing, where she was always thinking everything she say, act or reacted. And also because as she was married, she looked older, and now she can relax beign trated again as a child by Littlefinger.
Chris Nelly
66. Aeryl
@5, IndependentGeorge, I cannot argue with any of the selections on that list.
Matt Fimbulwinter
67. curgoth
@23 Cheem, I actually find Dotrice's pronunciation maddening; he shifts from Jofferey to Geoffery, Kate-lyn to Cat-lyn to Cat-a-lynn, often in the same chapter. And I have real issues with how he pronounces "Brienne" (Bri-Eeen?)

He does, however have a Littlefinger's voice spot-on.
Chris Nelly
68. Aeryl
@67, I've never listened to audio books, I have a defecit in that ability(I hear things, they don't absorb, I'm a visual person), but could that possibly be indicators of different characters.

Last week we had a discussion about how the inconsistencies in memories and big events demonstrates a depth of world building, and I wonder if different pronunciation are his way of giving different inflections to a characters voice.
Matt Fimbulwinter
69. curgoth
@68, IIRC, it's the narrator that's inconsistent in pronunciation of names, rather than different characters speaking.
70. Aerona Greenjoy
Sansa's been mentally saying "tummy" since her menstrual cramps in ACoK, if not before. I don't recall any other characters doing so, though.

My audiobook narrators have at times called Brienne "Bree-enny," Elia "Eel-ya," and Jaime "Jame." None of them pronounced Catelyn or Danerys like the show does. Gah.
71. jmb
Sansa uses tummy twice in ACoK, both times in reference to mentrual cramps. She also uses it once in an early chapter (6) of ASoS. Then it gets used eight times in this chapter.

(oh the joy of having an ebook reader with search capabilities!)

I don't find it used by anyone except Sansa (and Littlefinger), and it doesn't show up in the other books.

I find the word somewhat annoying. Does this mean Sansa is growing into one of those women who use baby talk to refer to themselves?
Adam S.
72. MDNY
Regarding the posts about Varys, and whether it is a spoiler to say certain things: With regards to Varys' endgame, we don't know much at this point (he still has me a bit confused as of the end of ADWD) but Leigh has in fact come to the conclusion that he is working with Ilyrio; from post 35 of ASOS:

"Of course, this immediately begs the question of whether Illyrio knew who Arstan really was before sending him to Dany. That’s all very tangled, because I seem (dimly) to recall that one time Arya caught Illyrio (or someone I decided was Illyrio, anyway) hanging out in an abandoned section of King’s Landing chatting with… Varys? I think it was Varys. And what the hell that implies, I couldn’t even tell you."

LF may be Chessmaster, but Varys is his biggest rival for that title, I think. Varys happens to be less unpleasant IMHO, though LF seems better at making people like him, accept him, or dismiss him (he certainly did a good job on the Tully girls, and on the Lannisters, and apparently on the Tyrells).
73. Aerona Greenjoy
Sansa's tribulations aside, this is an entertaining chapter. Those two "ew"-inducing characters are a match made in hell.
74. GarrettC
I do want to come in at the end and put in another general vote just in favor of Sansa. I don't especially enjoy the way her POV reads, but I think the character deserves credit.

So, in defense of Sansa: She's very young and under enormous stress, not the least of which has to do with the constant personal danger she's in, whether from the threat of physical, emotional, or sexual violence, or actual death (the same is true of most characters in the book, but Sansa's threats seem to be of the variety that just never breaks, even for a second). And what does she do as a result of that stress? She demonstrates the kind of acute self-preservation abilities that others in her family obviously, ahem, have lacked. The war she's leading is not like the one her brother led, but she's demonstrated again and again that she knows when to advance and when to retreat, when to rely on her soldiers and when to rely on herself, when to go undercover and when (and to whom) to make herself known.

And, as others have pointed out, she's still learning. She may still be a piece on the board right now, but she's a piece with a greater degree of self-determination than others we've seen. When her chessmasters have put her in positions that should realistically wipe her off the board, she's done a fine job of staying on of her own accord.

She CAN be annoying to read sometimes, I grant. But she's an impressive young woman nonetheless.
75. Aerona Greenjoy
Well said, GarrettC. I'd add that Sansa has remained compassionate despite her suffering, while retaining her sense of self-preservation. Compassion tends to get people killed here, or diminishes as they suffer, but hers has only increased.

(I wrote this earlier but appear to have clicked "cancel" instead of "post." If I did post it and it was deleted as inappropriate for some reason, mods, please let me know. I don't want to be inadvertantly breaking rules)
76. madkingpro
@9 You sir, are a genius, whose comment triggered my only audible laugher on this dark day
Anthony Pero
77. anthonypero

We just had our fourth child while my wife was breastfeeding our 3rd, so yes, you can get pregnant while lactating.
Valentin M
78. ValMar

I take it that "we had our fourth... while my wife was breastfeeding our 3rd" is not to be taken literally ;) This would be one demanding little one, would put even Tuon to shame (don't want to give ASoIaF examples)!
Anthony Pero
79. anthonypero
haha... no, we neither had nor conceived child 4 while simultaneously breastfeeding child 3... just to be clear.
80. kimikimi
Re: Sansa,

Behaving like a child in a place where so many adults are trying to sexualize her might be a survival tactic. The more she acts like a child the less threatening she seems, and also hopefully will spare her from some forms of sexual attack. Remeber she is supposed to be very pretty, as well as a valuable pawn in the power games.
Anthony Pero
81. anthonypero
Using the word "tummy" is childish? Someone better tell my wife.
82. Aerona Greenjoy

I'd never heard of that happening. Good to know.
Deana Whitney
83. Braid_Tug
@82; Yes, that is one of the myths of breastfeeding.
"You can't get pregnant while breastfeeding." - Myth! Anthony’s 4th child is not the only one conceived by a lactating woman.
There is even advice on how to breast feed two children of different ages.

Much like, "Breastfeeding helps you lose the baby weight faster" is a myth.
It's a great thing to do, but there are many myths around it.

Re: tummy – my sister-in-law is a doctor and she uses the word. While it may sound childish to some, it’s a real medical term. It’s not called a “tummy tuck” just because that sounds cuter.
Rob Munnelly
84. RobMRobM
My memory may be off and I don't have access to e-reader search capabilities, but I thought (and the post upthread confirms) Sansa has always referred to her tummy as her tummy in her POVs. What else is she going to call it - her gut?

Re breastfeeding and pregnancy - I'm also aware of the myth, but not from personal experience, thank goodness. Big LOLs to AP and Val upthread - +1 for a good laugh.

Generally re Sansa - I'm a fan. She's no idiot - just immature and with her eyes blurry with thoughts of unicorns and puppies and Hero Price Joff in AGOT. Her eyes have been clear since then and she's had to maneuver though dangerous waters ever since. Looking forward to seeing what happens with her coming up.
George Jong
85. IndependentGeorge
@83 :
Re: tummy – my sister-in-law is a doctor and she uses the word. While it may sound childish to some, it’s a real medical term. It’s not called a “tummy tuck” just because that sounds cuter.
Isn't it, though? I thought that's just the common name for a much more technical procedure (like "Tommy John" surgery) - I assume it goes by an entirely different term when it comes to surgical records/billing.
Bill Stusser
86. billiam
In regards to the whole tummy conversation, I saw The Worlds End this last weekend and Nick Frost has a line where he refers to his 'tummy'. I probably wouldn't have even noticed that line if not for the comments here.
Anthony Pero
87. anthonypero
There is definitely something to the fact that ONLY Sansa uses the word, or people talking to Sansa. If true, that is simply to specific a usage to be accidental.
Captain Hammer
88. Randalator
@83 Braid_Tug

Re: tummy – my sister-in-law is a doctor and she uses the word. While it may sound childish to some, it’s a real medical term. It’s not called a “tummy tuck” just because that sounds cuter.

Actually it is. The correct term for the procedure is "Abdominoplasty".

@84 RobM²

My memory may be off and I don't have access to e-reader search capabilities, but I thought (and the post upthread confirms) Sansa has always referred to her tummy as her tummy in her POVs. What else is she going to call it - her gut?

How about "stomach"?
89. jmb
@84 RE what to call Sansa's tummy:

ASoS has:

101 instances of belly or bellies
28 instances of stomach
17 instances of gut

There are pregnant bellies and full bellies and empty bellies and cut-open bellies, and Arya's belly rumbles with hunger in Chapter 13.

There are roiling stomachs and rumbling stomachs and sour stomachs and queasy stomachs, and Catelyn's stomach turns (at the thought of some food at a certain wedding).

People know things in their guts and get gutted, and Tyrion's guts are tied into knots over threats to Shae.

Only poor Sansa has a tummy.
91. jmb

Behaving like a child in a place where so many adults are trying to sexualize her might be a survival tactic. The more she acts like a child the less threatening she seems, and also hopefully will spare her from some forms of sexual attack. Remeber she is supposed to be very pretty, as well as a valuable pawn in the power games.

This. Yes. So much better to be Littlefinger's bastard daughter than whatever else he might be thinking of. Acting childish, particularly in his presence, maybe Sansa's only tool to fight off whatever other plans he might have...
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
92. Lisamarie
Actually, 79, you very well may have conceived while breastfeeding :) The act of conception can sometimes happen up to a week (I think even 10 days in VERY rare cases). If fertile mucus is present, the sperm can live for quite awhile in the woman's body, and fertile mucus can be produced well in advance of ovulation. Whereas, once the egg has been released, you have about 24 hours to fertilize it before it's no longer viable.

Also, my sister in law has Irish twins (children less than a year apart). That said, I do want to also counter the myth that breastfeeding is useless as birth control - lactational amenorrheah IS a valid form of birth control, BUT it is extremely variable how long it will last even within the same woman (also, it generally requires more exclusive breastfeeding than the average mother does nowadays, and trying to get your kid to sleep through the night will inhibit it since frequency is a big part of that hormonal response). You have to be versed in charting fertility signs if you actually intend to rely on it.
Anthony Pero
93. anthonypero

Interesting. I did know that conception could occur days after insemination (I did not know 10 days!), it was just more important for me to remove a mental image than be accurate, lol.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
94. Lisamarie

I'm kind of really into fertility charting/cycles and that kind of thing. It's fun to spread the word. The kind of surprising thing about my sister in law was that she was also breastfeeding (but not exclusively), and she's a NICU nurse - but she thought she couldn't get pregnant either. But then I hear other people who say it's a total myth and doesn't work at all, which is also not the case.

At any rate, I think in general, if the mother is doing exclusive, frequent breastfeeding (including through the night) it generally lasts at least 6 months and usually longer (about a year in my personal experience with various mother friends). Some women go longer (up to 2-3 years), some go shorter (within 6 months or less). And some women seem to 'luck out' even if they only nurse a few times a day, sleep train their kids, and use bottles, and other women might be the crunchiest, co-sleeping, babywearing lactivists ever and get their periods again in 6 months. Even between pregnancies it varies.

That being said, I've NEVER heard of it lasting until the child is Robert's age so....unless Lysa has a SUPER sensitive prolactin response mechanism...she can't really rely on it :)
Chris Nelly
95. Aeryl
This takes me back to the beginning Mists of Avalon, and how Igraine is glad her husband held off sleeping with her for a year, so as not to concieve and dry her milk out until Morgaine was old enough to eat food.
Anthony Pero
96. anthonypero
Which also doesn't happen. My wife didn't lose her supply after getting pregnant. She did worry about that though.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
97. Lisamarie
It happens sometimes (my sister in law dried up when she got pregnant, although at the time she didn't know she was pregnant, and assumed it had to do with going back to work - and maybe it did), but in general milk supply is based on supply/demand, so...if you are nursing frequently, you'll continue to make milk. I also know a lot of people who nursed all through pregnancy and then tandem nursed after that.

It doesn't always work that way of course - certainly there are women who do struggle with keeping up a supply despite their best efforts and either supplement with formula/donor milk or choose to look into various ways to increase supply (via nutrition, herbal supplements, medications, extra nursing/pumping, or sometimes treating an issue with the baby's latch. And sometimes even that doesn't work). But, sometimes pregnancy changes the flavor of breastmilk so a child will not want it as much, which then causes a supply drop.
Anthony Pero
98. anthonypero
I get that. I should have been more specific with my thoughts, sorry!

What i was trying to say is that pregnancy is very rarely the direct cause of these things, that the results attributted to pregnancy, or breastfeeding in this instance, are usually secondary or tertiary effects, rather than primary causes.

Sort of like when they say that kids who eat dinner with their families at the table every night do better in school. I'm fairly certain that eating dinner at a table doesn't make you smarter than if you ate dinner at a park, or in your car. Its a secondary effect. Families who eat dinner together every night are able to lead a more structured and organized life. That structure and organization is what leads to both dinner at a set time AND kids to do better in school.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
99. Lisamarie
Nothing to apologize about, I just like to talk about it. :)

But I like your dinner analogy nonetheless!
100. Soliduck
So, do people think that LF is in part responsible for Sansa's marriage to Tyrion?

That was the first thing that came to mind when we found out that Dontos was working for LF - Sansa told Dontos about the plan to spirit her away to Highgarden and Dontos almost certainly told LF who clearly has Plans for Sansa and took steps to ensure that didn't happen.

It's easily possible that the Lannisters found out about the plot some other way, and I have to admit that LF handing Sansa over to the Lannisters only makes sense if he was SUPER confident he could get Sansa out of the marriage somehow. Maybe that is part of the reason why LF chose Tyrion as his fall guy for Joff's poisoning? I'm not sure if the timing of all these events works out so it makes sense.
Chris Nelly
101. Aeryl
I'm confident that LF told the Lannsisters about the Tyrell plan, but I truly doubt he recommended a marriage to Tyrion.
102. ScorpyX
Ah, Petyr. Just wait.

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