Thu
Sep 12 2013 1:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords, Part 44

George RR Martin 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 44 of A Storm of Swords, in which we cover Chapter 70 (“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 lovely spoiler thread here on Tor.com. Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

Chapter 70: Tyrion

What Happens
Tyrion contemplates life in the Night’s Watch if he confesses to the crime, and almost wishes he had done it, since it seems he will be punished for it regardless; even Podrick thinks he is guilty. In the throne room, they bring in Shae, who claims that Tyrion confessed to her that he and Sansa intended to kill not only Joffrey, but Cersei, Tywin, and Tommen eventually, to take the throne himself. She adds that Tyrion had insisted that he call her “my giant of Lannister,” which causes the spectators (except Tywin) to laugh. Tyrion shouts for silence, and tells them he will confess if they take the “lying whore” away. He wonders what Cersei had promised Shae, and feels sure she will end up entertaining the gold cloaks anyway. When Shae leaves, however, Tyrion confesses not to Joffrey’s murder, but to the crime of being a dwarf.

“This is folly, Tyrion,” declared Lord Tywin. “Speak to the matter at hand. You are not on trial for being a dwarf.”

“That is where you err, my lord. I have been on trial for being a dwarf my entire life.”

Tyrion says he didn’t do it, but wishes he had, and wishes for enough poison for the whole court. He demands trial by combat. Cersei is pleased, and says that Ser Gregor Clegane will stand for Joffrey; the uproar is deafening when Prince Oberyn declares himself Tyrion’s champion. Tywin declares he is washing his hands of the affair, and leaves, the contest set for the next day.

In his cell that night, Tyrion feels strangely at peace with his decision, knowing that the duel would screw up Tywin’s plans no matter who won, and feeling a certain glee at all the trouble he’d managed to cause. He sleeps well, and asks to attend Oberyn the next morning. He finds Oberyn in good spirits, and though he tries to warn the prince of Clegane’s battle prowess, Oberyn is supremely confident of his success. Tyrion is dismayed to see that Oberyn intends to face Clegane armed with a spear, but Oberyn warns him not to touch it, and Tyrion wonders if it is coated in poison. Oberyn suggests that Tyrion and Sansa can come back to Dorne with him after, and speaks openly of “Queen Myrcella.” Tyrion is shocked, but cannot help but think of the political possibilities therein.

Oberyn tells him the story of his and his sister Elia’s first journey to the Seven Kingdoms and Casterly Rock, and how Tyrion’s mother intended one or both of them to become betrothed to Jaime and Cersei, but died birthing Tyrion before they arrived. He tells how Tywin then refused the offer brusquely, informing Oberyn’s mother that “his daughter was meant for Prince Rhaegar,” and offering Tyrion in place of Jaime for Elia, which surely even Tyrion could see was an outrage. Tyrion observes that it was Elia who married Rhaegar, not Cersei, and Oberyn replies that Tywin never forgave that slight, either, and what happened to Elia was his repayment.

“Elia and her children have waited long for justice.” Prince Oberyn pulled on soft red leather gloves, and took up his spear again. “But this day they shall have it.”

The combat site is choked with onlookers. Ser Gregor Clegane looks extremely impressive, but Oberyn remains unimpressed. Tyrion hopes it is not overconfidence. When the duel begins, Oberyn calls out to Clegane, telling him who he is and who his sister is, but Clegane acts (possibly truthfully) like he has no idea what Oberyn is talking about. As they fight, Oberyn hisses that he will hear Clegane’s confession of Elia’s rape and murder, and the murder of her children, and continues repeating the accusation as he feints at the larger man.

Finally Clegane roars at Oberyn to shut up, and gets inside his guard, driving him back into the crowd. He beheads an innocent bystander when Oberyn dodges, and the crowd scatters. Oberyn continues his litany, and uses the emerging sun to blind Clegane and wound him. He shouts for Clegane to confess, and wounds him again in the knee. Clegane collapses, and Oberyn screams Elia’s name and impales Clegane, still demanding a confession. Tyrion thinks it is all over, but then Clegane grabs Oberyn and drags him down on the ground. As they wrestle, Clegane confesses with relish to Elia’s murder and rape, and smashes Oberyn’s face in, killing him.

Tyrion vomits, and then laughs hysterically, not even hearing his death sentence, and is not surprised when they take him not back to his tower cell, but the black cells.

[His guards] did not bother to answer. Why waste your breath on the dead?

Commentary
Well, shit.

I had really thought Oberyn was going to win that, for a minute there. But of course, he was on the side of righteous vengeance (or, at least, he was more on that side than frickin’ Clegane ever was), and therefore it would be way too trope-fulfill-y for him to actually win, and basically I shoulda oughta known bettah.

Sigh.

Although, spitting in the face of all reason and previous experience here (even the one that just happened), I still don’t believe that Tyrion is actually going to be executed. I literally have no clue what could rescue him at this point (like, seriously, I’m postulating a conveniently-timed alien invasion here, that’s how much at a loss I am), but in what is possibly a bout of sinus-infection-induced psychosis, I am still stubbornly clinging to the conviction that even Martin will not kill off such an awesome character as Tyrion.

Brilliant insight, or staggering naïvete? WE SHALL SEE, SHAN’T WE.

Also, wow, Shae. Way to totally live down to my worst expectations. I’ve been speculating from the moment she was introduced about whether Shae was going to screw Tyrion over (and not in the good way, ba dum dum), and I guess in retrospect that was one pony I’m really glad I never quite committed to laying money on, because that was a betrayal and a HALF, right there. Damn.

Of course, even having said that, I’m not really sure I’m blaming Shae for it all that much, because seriously, what were her options here? I don’t know about you, but I’m guessing they were probably something along the lines of “say this ridiculous shit about Tyrion or die.” And, well. That’s really not a choice at all, is it? Even Tyrion didn’t really seem to blame her for it, even though he was also almost certainly right that her “reward” for perjury probably isn’t going to be all that much more fabulous, and he did admittedly seem a tiny bit gleeful about that. And, well. Under the circumstances, I can’t say I can really blame him for that either.

But either way and from any direction, the whole thing sucks large hairy goat balls. Blargle.

But aside from that: politics! Because there are always politics.

So earlier in the chapter, Tyrion speculates that were Oberyn to die, the result might be Dorne breaking with Cersei/Tommen/Tywin altogether, and declaring Myrcella for the throne instead. I (like Tyrion) sort of gleefully hope this happens now. If for no other reason than that we appear to be getting perilously short on royal pretenders to the throne here, and having less succession-related turmoil will obviously just never do. And here’s a mop to clean up all the sarcasm that just dripped all over your monitor, sorry about that.

But seriously, anything that throws more confusion into Tywin’s life specifically I am really pretty okay with. Maybe that introduces more strife for the average folk in the short run, but (a) it’s not like that’s actually different from what they’re already dealing with, and (b) in the long term, I still believe it’s better to keep Tywin (and, honestly, all his progeny, Tyrion included) as far from the throne as possible.

I’m aware that this might not make total sense from a practical point of view, because yes, I know that Tywin is a very smart and savvy guy, and that some people persist in viewing ruthless assholery as a plus when it comes to wielding power, and I can see, in a way, the rationale for that. And yes, probably in the aggregate Tywin would not be the worst king ever.

But whatever, I don’t have to be rational if I don’t wanna, and what I want is to see that smug asshat get served. So there.

Anyway. There was also some interesting intel from the soon-to-be-late Oberyn in this chapter, namely that Tywin had intended to wed Cersei to Rhaegar, and then (I presume) got beaten to the punch by the Martells. I think we only have Oberyn’s word for that being the motivation behind Elia’s particularly vicious treatment during the sack of King’s Landing, but given what I know of Tywin’s character, plus knowing exactly how much such an end-run would have chapped his ass, I have no trouble believing that Oberyn’s assertion is perfectly accurate. This, as you may imagine, has done precisely nothing to further endear Tywin Lannister in my eyes. I will give you a moment to recover from your shock.

See, all better.

“The only one who was even halfway presentable was young Baelor Hightower. A pretty lad, and my sister was half in love with him until he had the misfortune to fart once in our presence. I promptly named him Baelor Breakwind, and after that Elia couldn’t look at him without laughing. I was a monstrous young fellow, someone should have sliced out my vile tongue.”

Yes, Tyrion agreed silently. Baelor Hightower was no longer young, but he remained Lord Leyton’s heir; wealthy, handsome, and a knight of splendid repute. Baelor Brightsmile, they called him now. Had Elia wed him in place of Rhaegar Targaryen, she might be in Oldtown with her children growing tall around her. He wondered how many lives had been snuffed out by that fart.

I was struck by this passage, not because I think it has any real significance plot-wise (going forward, I mean), but because I’m always drawn by the bittersweetness of a Might-Have-Been moment. Not to mention the inherent fascination of the idea of the butterfly effect. Reading this particular example of both things put me in mind of a poem/proverb thingy I first read when I was very young:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost;
For want of a shoe the horse was lost;
For want of a horse the rider was lost;
For want of a rider the message was lost;
For want of a message the battle was lost;
For want of a battle the war was lost;
For want of a war the kingdom was lost;
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

The entire course of history, changed by a nail. Or a fart, as the case may be. It’s a daunting thing to think upon.

At any rate, whatever the outcome, I give props to Tyrion for not taking the dishonest/cowardly way out. I know having honor is extremely hazardous to your health in this story (and so far Tyrion’s situation is certainly not contradicting that observation) but nevertheless I’m proud of him; for metaphorically telling his asshat dad to suck it, of course, but more importantly for speaking blunt, unyielding truth to privilege, which is that he’d been screwed from the beginning, merely for being what he is—a deformed dwarf, and therefore less than human in the eyes of his peers, no matter what he did to prove them wrong.

Because there’s no way you can convince me (or Tyrion, who would know) that the inevitability of the outcome of his trial was not at least partially based on his judges’ inherent distaste for his very existence. And that is sad and wrong, and nothing Tyrion said is going to change it, maybe, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t need to be said anyway.

Now all we need is some transdimensional portals and a deadly extraterrestrial invasion force or two up in this thang for maximum distraction, and we good! Amirite, eh, eh?


… Yeah, well. Seriously, I got nothin’. At least, I don’t until next week, when, hopefully, MOAR WILL BE REVEALED. DUN! See you next Thursday!

93 comments
Deana Whitney
1. Braid_Tug
This chapter just sucks all around for Tyrion.
Rob Munnelly
2. RobMRobM
"Now all we need is some transdimensional portals and a deadly extraterrestrial invasion force or two up in this thang for maximum distraction, and we good! Amirite, eh, eh?"

Got it in one. You are unbelievable, Leigh. Next chapter, the Captain of the Cinnamon Wind shows up with the Infinite Improbability Drive and bam! Tyrion drinks a beer and he is off and running.
Chris Nelly
3. Aeryl
Aerys choice of Elia over Cersei is also what likely sealed his death warrant. When the opportunity to marry Cersei to soon-to-be-King Robert came up, Tywin COULD NOT pass it up.

And I'm sure Tywin told Clegane to kill Elia and her children, knowing what Clegane would do about it, but Tywin doesn't seem to me the type to engage in petty vindictiveness. He didn't tell Clegane to do it, because he was vengeful and knew Clegane would rape and savage Elia and Rhaenys. He told Clegane to do it because he knew Clegane wouldn't balk at doing it, and the rest was an "unfortunate side effect". So whle I can understand that Oberyn would see Tywin that way, IMO, he's projecting a bit here. He's ascribing HIS motives to Tywin, and Tywin is much more cold and calculating than that(and that's not a good thing).

Also, nothing to say about Cersei's mistreatment of baby Tyrion?
Black Dread
4. Black Dread
The Red Viper won - then he started monologuing like a cartoon villian.
Anthony Pero
5. anthonypero
Love it. Love this whole sequence we are crawling through. I appreciate it much more now than on first read. After the Red Wedding, I spent the rest of the book kvetching and couldn't appreciate how awesome and subtle this half of the book was. I do now.
Black Dread
7. KingsGambit
I'd like to suggest another look at the battle scene. I loved that one. Oberyn's chant, the way he was winning and the twist at the end. Gregor's brutal confession, Tyrions reaction, all of it.

Maybe it's because I read the books a few times that I can enjoy the scene without thinking about the implications. Apart from the implications for Tyrion, it's also too bad that Oberyn died. He may not have been a nice character, but it was fun to read about him.

I think there are what-ifs more closely related to the story. How about 'What if Sansa hadn't told Cersei that Eddard & family were leaving?' Neither here nor there, but as good a reason not to like Sansa as any.
Adam S.
8. MDNY
Wow, no one has ever guessed the aliens coming to save the day in ASOIAF. I am shocked by your foresight, Leigh. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
This chapter (like almost all of them) ends on a down note for our hero. Being a huge Red Viper fan, I was doubly crushed (though not as badly as Oberyn, as they said on the Spoiler thread- ba-dum-dum). Shae's betrayal was not shocking at all, though the extent of her betrayal, with her "my giant of Lannister" lie, was just rubbing salt in the wound.
Goddamn Gregor, we hates him, we does.
The spiel about Oberyn and Elia visiting Casterly Rock was mostly old news, though like you I had a thought on chaos theory and the butterfy effect when I read Oberyn's musings. But that's true about so much in this series. How different would things have been if Rhaegar had named his wife the queen of love and beauty at Harrenhall, instead of stealing Lyanna Stark? There would have been no war (probably) and Rhaegar might be king, with Selmy and maybe Arthur Dayne and some of the other original kingsgaurd knights still serving.
tayyab saeed
9. skyhawkafm
Leigh great as ever
your reread often forces me to re-read the story again just to relive those moments

Poor Tyrion nothing working for him
He came to kings Landing as with all the power in his hand
and now is at the doorsteps of another unjust death

Not the first Hand of the King who got played such a hand by fate. and certainly not the last the way this novel is going. Sort of reminds me of Defence against Dark Arts proffesor from Harry Potter.

Shae was a shock but not unexpected as per story line.

Thanx for reading my musings
Black Dread
10. Black Dread
Maybe the Others are aliens who parked their spaceships on the northpole?
George Jong
11. IndependentGeorge
The interesting thing to me about Oberyn's story is how Joanna Lannister and Rhaella Targaryen had schemed the match along with his mother. Three houses that would soon erupt in a blood feud had, in fact, once been united by its womenfolk behind the scenes. Also, that apparently, " ruled the Seven Kingdoms, but was ruled at home, by his lady wife."

That's the much more interesting counterfactual than Baelor Breakspear (who was never intended to be betrothed ot Elia). How much different would things be if Joanna had lived?

@8:
How different would things have been if Rhaegar had named his wife the queen of love and beauty at Harrenhall, instead of stealing Lyanna Stark?
And that's why, no matter what Barristan or others might say about him, I can never be a part of the "Rhaegar was really great" contingent. Even leaving aside how big of a douche that made him on a personal level (humiliating his wife in front of an audience of thousands), the political ramifications (insulting three Great houses - Stark, Baratheon, and Martell - simultaneously) were even worse.

If he was truly one of the greatest of the Targaryen dynasty, then I'm glad they were deposed. Good riddance.
Amey Chinchorkar
12. ameyc
like, seriously, I’m postulating a conveniently-timed alien invasion here, that’s how much at a loss I am
Not giving out any spoilers, but seriously Leigh, that would have been way awesomer than what really happened next :D

And thanks for one more great post.
Rob Munnelly
13. RobMRobM
Yet another in a long line of powerful chapters. Nice to see Oberyn going all Inigo Montoya on Gregor - at least until Oberyn let his guard down and got killed.

Shae - oh Shae. I really wonder if this is coerced by express threats of harm or just an enormous (for her) pay off - or both. Probably both. Not a happy decision in any circumstance.
Black Dread
14. sofrina
@3 - "Tywin doesn't seem to me the type to engage in petty vindictiveness."

The Tywin who told Tyrion he'd hang the next whore he finds in his bed simply ? The Tywin who once found out his teenaged son had married and fallen in love with a peasant, and then had the girl gangraped by his guards? And then forced Tyrion to rape her, too? I don't think any slight is too petty. It's just that Tywin will wait until the time is right. He doesn't let small things get in the way of his larger plans, but he brooks no insults.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
15. AlirozTheConfused
@11: I agree

Rhaegar valiantly cheated on his wife.

Rhaegar nobly abandoned his children.

Rhaegar honorably seduced a teenage girl.

And everybody died.
Andrew Berenson
16. AndrewHB
Note to readers: the following is a FAKE spoiler

Leigh, if you think about, you know who will save Tyrion. Hear is a hint:
She is faster than a charging Trolloc, more powerful than a steamwagon, and able to leap over Dragonmount in a single bound

It is so obvious -- Tyrion will be saved by Bela.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
Chris Nelly
17. Aeryl
@14, That's well thought out vindictiveness, and it's all directed at Tyrion. That's a very different thing than deliberately planning for the abuse and mistreatment of a woman who had no agency in deciding who she would marry anymore than Cersei did.
Shelly wb
18. shellywb
"I still believe it’s better to keep Tywin (and, honestly, all his progeny, Tyrion included) as far from the throne as possible."

*snort*
Black Dread
19. Halibulu
Call me crass, but I found Oberyn's naming Baelor "Breakwind" hilarious. Titles such as these, and "Perrin Goldeneyes" make me rue the deplorable state of nicknames in modern society.

On another note, I couldn't help but snicker at Oberyn's interest perking up when Shae says Tyrion made her do... "things...", and then asks "what kind of things?" The man was so wonderfully perverse. You shall be missed Red Viper.
Steven Halter
20. stevenhalter
Chapter 70-Tyrion:Cool. Hopefully we'll find out the result of the trial here. Let's see, I predict that Tyrion will get a big basket of fluffy kittens and live happily forever after. Or maybe not. It's a good thing I wasn't drinking anything when I hit this line:
Tyrion stabbed listlessly at a greasy grey sausage, wishing it were his sister.
Chortle. Ouch--Shae is betraying him big time. Cersei has no doubt coerced her with threats and promises, but it stings in Tyrion's thoughts none the less. Ooh, good answer Tyrion. Very true, it is for his differences that he is being tried. If he looked like Jaime he would never have been in this position. And so, we will get Gregor (THE MOUNTAIN THAT RIDES) vs. the RED VIPER. A whole pro wrestling event just flashed before me in which Tyrion gets to hit Cersei with a folding chair.
Interesting tale from the prince. It sounds as if the whole civil war might have been averted if Tyrion's mother had not died.
Hopefully that is poison and it is a good one on the Viper's spear.

Well. The Viper got a little over eager there at the end. His plan was working perfectly right up until it failed completely. Too much to hope for that the Viper would just win. So, he is dead but I wouldn't think Gregor will survive. A poisoned belly wound is almost certain death I would think. I wonder what the law of combat says for a tie. I guess we'll have to wait to find out. In the meantime, it is off to the dungeons apparently.
Also, Gregor did confess. That goes against what Tywin said and I think in addition to having their brother killed, the Dornes may be a bit upset about that.
Deana Whitney
21. Braid_Tug
@16, Andrew, Oh, do I want a "Like" button right now!

@15, as with everyone else in these books - nothing but grey. No one is innocent and clean by the end.
Black Dread
22. sofrina
@17 - in both cases Tywin deliberately threatened/planned and executed mistreatment of women at significant disadvantage to Tyrion. Having Elia raped and murdered is more a message to her family, as advantageous marriages are bigger than one person. It wasn't personally directed at Elia, although she did all the suffering, but to her family in general. When the rebellion succeeded, Elia was done deal anyway. Tywin just made sure to line his own family up for succession to the throne.
George Jong
23. IndependentGeorge
@16 - Tyrion is saved when the animator dies of a sudden heart attack.

@19 - Some of my favorites are hidden behind spoiler bars.

//Lord Too Fat to Sit a Horse, Ser Stupid... I can't wait for the comedy stylings of Stannis Baratheon.//
Anthony Pero
25. anthonypero
Tywin is most definitely not petty, that's for sure. I'm not even sure he's vindictive. If vengence doesn't serve him in some other area, I doubt he has any interest in it for its own sake.

That being said, it certainly doesn't mean he didn't intend for the Mountain to rape and kill Elia. Just that he didn't do it out of vindictiveness.
Chris Nelly
26. Aeryl
Well, he surely knew Clegane was going to rape and savage Elia and Rhaenys, which means all this quibbling over his motives means little.

But the Tywin I know wouldn't go out of his way to further antagonize a house that's possibly poised to continue the Targ fight. The Tywin we've read in these books would "attempt" to be concillatory. Elia dying is an understandable consequence of the fall of the regime, Elia dying a brutal death is not.
Michael Duran
27. MRHD
I don't think Tywin meant for Elia to be killed. Earlier in the book when Tyrion brought up the Gregory/justice matter to Tywin, Tywin calls the killing folly and says that on her own Elia was powerless, that she didn't need to be harmed at all; that he didn't know quite what he had with Gregor at the time and Gregor killed her simply because Tywin failed to instruct him otherwise. Granted, Tywin could be lying to Tyrion, but he genuinely seems to believe that killing Elia was not necessary and was regrettable from a political standpoint.
Tom Smith
28. phuzz
Aliens, hah!
I think we've dropped enough hints that we might as well tell Leigh at this point that this is when Dolorous Edd shows up riding a dragon, at the head of an army of White Walkers.
;)
Because, seriously, he's the best character in the books and I will not be happy if Martin kills him off.
George Jong
29. IndependentGeorge
Personally, I believe Tywin when he says he never explicitly ordered Elia's rape and murder. He openly admits to ordering the deaths of her children, and never shies away from what he did to Tysha; why would he suddenly lie about something he did decades ago?

His cold-blooded recounting of Rhaenys' death (annoyed with Amory Lorch over its manner, but otherwise fine with the outcome) makes it plausible to me that he ordered the deaths of the children, but gave no explicit instructions on the manner of death or what to do with their mother. It's completely in his character.
Black Dread
30. MorsManwoody
I'd argue that Elia's death is not an understandable consequence of regime change. The deaths of her children, yes, but not her. For dynastic purposes once Rhaegar and their children are dead, Elia is totally unimportant. She could have easily been sent back to Dorne to quietly live out her days.

Tywin claimed that he didn't fully understand what he had in Gregor at that time but I think he intended it to be a message to the Dornish about who was in control now.
Chris Nelly
31. Aeryl
Yes she could have, but you also don't leave a grieving mother alive after murdering her children, so she can go home and rouse her house in rebellion either.
Black Dread
32. MorsManwoody
Just reread the passage in question where Tywin talks about her death. Upon further consideration, I do believe that he simply didn't think to explicitly tell Gregor to not rape and kill her. I don't think he cared too much either way but I believe he had a slight preference for her living and being quietly returned to Dorne.

Or maybe he would have had that Tyrion-Elia marriage after all. That would seem more Tywin's style. Bind Dorne to the Lannisters but on his terms when he has the advantage and regardless of the feelings or pain of those involved.
Joe Vondracek
33. joev
She adds that Tyrion had insisted that he call her “my giant of Lannister,”
Shouldn't that be "she call him 'my giant of Lannister'" ?

Since Tywin was against the execution of Ned Stark and had wanted him to take the black, it's hard to see him wanting to off Elia out of spite. But maybe he's mellowed a bit in the intervening years. Yeah, riiiight.

If it's true that "a Lannister always pays his debts", then at this point Cersei and Tywin have some massive overdue bills.

I didn't think there was much wrestling between GREGOR and Oberyn. Didn't GREGOR just reach up and grab Oberyn, and then proceed to Hulk-smash him?

Where's the Vogon Constructor Fleet when you need 'em??
Black Dread
34. cheem
The really great part of the trial by battle is how both Tyrion and Tywin lost... I mean, in front of a huge crowd, Ser Gregor confessed to killing the Queen and her children. Suspicions of which have been cause for frosty relations between the Martells and Lannisters since Robert took the throne. Even more of a pickle for Tywin now.
Black Dread
35. GoldJerry
@17 "That's well thought out vindictiveness, and it's all directed at Tyrion. That's a very different thing than deliberately planning for the abuse and mistreatment of a woman who had no agency in deciding who she would marry anymore than Cersei did."

Except it's exactly the same thing. If you're the orphaned daughter of a crofter, and the son of one of the realm's great lords (the lord to whom you owe fealty) decides he wants to marry you, guess what, you marry him. You have no agency there, either. If you do love him, that's a pleasant bonus.

And I have a very hard time with calling Tysha's brutal gangrape, vindictiveness "directed entirely at Tyrion." It looks like the lesson was meant for Tyrion, but it was also violence very much directed at Tysha, who'd dared to aspire above her station.
Black Dread
36. Gregor Lewis
Much as I love ASoIaF as a whole, this is my favourite chapter. Not the best Chapter, though, it's plenty well-written. Not the most impactful or shocking, though it packs a punch. Not the most emotionally gut-wrenching, though it does give you a good kicking.

But it is my personal favourite combination of all these things.

When Shae showed up at Tyrion's trial and said what she said, how she said it....... It was as if some shorter than average youth, with a scar on his head and round-rimmed glasses walked off the page pointing a stick at me and silently mouthed 'stupefy'.

And it just gets deeper and more engrossingly complex & tensely exciting from there.

My heart breaks as I feel the Red Viper's genuine regret and self-hatred as he dwells on his and Tyrion's forked and barbed 'wotifs'. Just for a minute you sink under the armour and bravado, realising how desperately bitter and too late Oberyn's love for his sister crystallised. You realise just how much he blames himself, before being sucked back out on a tidal wave of vengeance long sought and about to be consumated.

You ride along as Tyrions confidence eases from a walk to a trot, to a canter and finally a galloping careen the moment you read:

"You're going to fight that?"
"I'm going to kill that."

And then the fight happens and you're flying as you read, metaphorical hooves barely touching the ground, when the moment comes and you bunch for the jump over the wall to victory!........ Only to be cruelly, viciously renched down to be slammed into that wall again and AGAIN & AGAIN!

Ultimately, what ranks this particular chapter so much more satisfyingly ahead of the rest, for me, is that no matter how many times I read it, over and over again, I get caught up in the moment EVERY TIME! Even though I KNOW what will happen, I find myself believing the Red Viper will win, and the shock of the reverse has not diminished for me yet........ I hope it never does.

Well done Leigh Butler, this is a brilliantly realised Read by you. Insightful, snarky, polarising, obtuse, at times sanctimonious but always entertaining and very well written.
Love it! Long may you continue and when your long-time WOT Re-Read is complete, I hope you choose another tasty-morsel to reflect on and recount.....

Although, I guess most folks here might prefer you double down on this here Read. Hey! I would love that too! More power too you Leigh and Happy Writing!

grl
Chris Nelly
37. Aeryl
@35 I agree, but it was the same thing. But to the Lords of Westeros, it was a very different thing. Elia's fate was a concern for Tywin, one way or another, by being of noble birth. Tysha was not, but Tyrion's was. It's criminal, but that's the way of their world.
Marie Veek
38. SlackerSpice
@33: I'd prefer a nice kaiju attack on King's Landing, myself.
Christopher Kennard
39. Wani
I've gotta say, that whole battle scene there's one of my favourite scenes in this book. Knowing what GRRM is like with letting major characters die just because (I'm still kinda "seriously?" about Balon Greyjoy), I wasn't thinking "Ooh, how's the good guy going to pull off the victory here!", it was more of a "Hey, I really have no idea if Prince Oberyn will win", then it starts looking like he actually will win, then, well... yeah. Poor Tyrion :( Maybe he secretly is a Stark, that's why he can never catch a break.
Bridget McGovern
40. BMcGovern
Hey guys, let's tread lightly when it comes to the topic of Tysha, or discuss over in the spoiler thread; I've tweaked a few of the comments above in places where we seemed to be getting a bit ahead of ourselves on that topic (and removed references to spoilers just to keep things less confusing). Thanks!
Black Dread
41. LizzieRH
@14

The Tywin who once found out his teenaged son had married and fallen in love with a peasant, and then had the girl gangraped by his guards? And then forced Tyrion to rape her, too?
is a spoiler
Bridget McGovern
42. BMcGovern
Regarding comment 14 that's basically the version of events given in Chapter 42 of A Game of Thrones. For the purposes of this conversation, it's fine. Let's just leave it as-is.
Black Dread
43. Gentleman Farmer
I don't want to post a spoiler, but has it already been revealed why Cersei didn't marry Rhaegar, apart from the potential that Elia and the Martells scooped him up first?

As noted above in the comments, Elia's marriage to Rhaegar surely went into Tywin's decision as to which side to join and when, and why the hand of the king had resigned and was sulking in Casterly Rock without joining either side of Robert's rebellion.

I also think it does indicate that Tywin had a pretty good idea what to expect of Gregor Clegane, and that he would no more have let Elia live than he let any of the Castameres live. He's ruthless, strategic, he doesn't waste a potentially useful chip, but he does have an enormous ego and won't suffer any type of slight without payback. I think this latter personality aspect tips the scales if he was otherwise neutral on whether or not Elia could live.
Chris Nelly
44. Aeryl
And no mention of who Jaime was scheduled for? Talk about dodging bullets!!!
alex
45. jerec84
I always get a Princess Bride vibe from the battle in the chapter, except of course it doesn't end so well...
Black Dread
46. Nessa
Definitely a chilling chapter. I never thought Oberyn Martell was a saint, but I did think he deserved to have some vengeance at least, after waiting so long for it. To have him die in this way is horrifically unfair (though in Westeros, the fact that such things are the norm goes without saying) to the whole of the Martell family.

Shae's confession was very much out of the blue for me. I never believed that she was really in love with Tyrion (it was clear he was deluding himself fancying that he had a romance with a whore he paid for sex) but I didn't think that she would quite betray him in this fashion. And blaming Sansa too, who she didn't even know very well. I've heard a theory floating around that Shae was disgruntled about Tyrion falling in "love" with Sansa, and that this was her revenge on both of them. Not sure how much truth there is in that, but it's something to think about, I guess.

Regarding Elia Martell, I believe absolutely that Tywin is both petty and vindictive, and has a very well-established tendency for disproportionate retribution (the man hated his own son his whole life because of some misguided belief that he 'killed' his mother). That said, I believe he may have been telling the truth when he said that he gave no orders regarding Elia Martell. After all, no mother can experience greater pain than seeing her children brutally murdered in front of her. Even if she herself hadn't been murdered, her children's deaths would have been enough to teach Elia Martell about (unknowingly) getting on the wrong side of Tywin Lannister.
Scott Silver
47. hihosilver28
This chapter was thrilling and awesome, but I still think it's the one error that Martin has made. After the Red Viper was introduced proved to be awesome, I was game for seeing and learning more about Dorne. At the end of the chapter, I remember thinking to myself: "Well, now I don't give a crap about anything in Dorne." I still think he should have let Oberyn live.
Black Dread
48. Jepsie
It's funny. I loved Tywin Lannister when I read the books. He's a very interesting character. He's on my top three favorite Lannisters:

1. Tywin

2. Jaime

3. Tyrion
Black Dread
49. GarrettC
@18: Well spotted!

More generally: I remember feeling particularly engaged by this fight scene, though I can't quite recall why. My memory is that it was very theatrical, which I would expect myself to respond to with an eyeroll, but I did not. I enjoyed it much.

The thing with Shae made me so angry, though, and I suspect it's because of my familiarity with her characterization in the show (not surprisingly, the way they are handling this in the show is pissing me off).

But I am also bothered by the lack of insight we are given into her decision to double-cross him. As far as the book is concerned, at least to this point, it doesn't seem to matter why she did it, only that she did it, and that really rubbed me the wrong way.
Black Dread
50. DougL
You did leave out my favourite part where Tyrion noticed Cersei sudden uncertainty when Oby One Kenobi there became his champion.
Philip Thomann
51. normalphil
@49 There's a quote from the movie Open Range that is worth taking to heart:

"Weren't the only thing he said. Most time, a man will tell you his bad intentions if you listen, let yourself hear."
Black Dread
52. DeadpanStarker
@39 Wani, Tyrion is officially a Stark, don't you remember him marring Sansa. That comes with a course!!!
Black Dread
53. a1ay
Now all we need is some transdimensional portals and a deadly extraterrestrial invasion force or two up in this thang for maximum distraction, and we good!

SPOILER
The first sentence of the next chapter but one is:

"Though carnage, double-crossing and intrigue were the stuff of everyday life to Contact Section, the crew and Mind of the GCU My God, Look At The Size Of That Thing were gloomily aware that they would have their work cut out for them on Westeros."
Black Dread
54. MRCHalifax
I love Tywin as a character, and I think that he's a terrible person. If Machievelli and Tywin met, Tywin would tell the author of the Prince that he's a weak-willed dreamer. Probably without even bothering to look up from the letter he's writing.

Leigh, if you make it to the end of Dance before the next book comes out, you totally need to do a Watch of Thrones as an interlude.
Steven Halter
55. stevenhalter
a1ay@53:Ha! I nominate Syrio Forel as being with Special Circumstances.

(I almost didn't read that when I saw "spoiler" and was wondering why it wasn't whited out when the word GCU caught in the corner of my eye.)
Black Dread
56. a1ay
55: that would explain his sudden disappearance, sure.

("Oh, please," said Skaffen-Amtiskaw. "It's basically a fifty-foot long flying gecko. I'm sure it's terrifying to these primitives, but frankly I'm almost embarrassed to ask my knife missiles to waste their time taking it out.")
Black Dread
57. cleopatra2525
Re Shae:
Her testimony/betrayal was out of the blue to me too. And I realized that's because GRRM's so good with perspective--we're never in her head, only in Tyrion's. In the days/chapters leading up to this, he's not thinking about her much at all (other than to be annoyed at her attempts to attend Joffrey's wedding).
Tom Smith
58. phuzz
And being in the Culture universe might explain the completely messed up climate (winters and summers happen at odd times, sometimes several years apart, which begs the question, what exactly is a year on Westeros?). Maybe it's all set on/in a shell world?
And yes Syrio Forel and Jaqen H'ghar are blatantly SC agents.
Actually, I can totally see Jaqen as the conflicted merc with a troubled past, hired by SC to sort out Westeros, who ends up confronting a shocking revelation about his past at the end of the book.
Shit, between us we've worked out the whole thing! The only trouble is, Leigh probably isn't going to get her alien invasion, SC prefer to be sneaky...
Black Dread
59. a1ay
Oh, yes, Jaqen H'gar as well, obviously. The face-changing thing is a bit of a giveaway.

The shocking revelation will be that Varys is a small rogue SC drone inside a large bald eunuch-shaped shell, who is (like Zakalwe) trying to run his own Contact section and bring peace to the world, but screwing it up completely.
Deana Whitney
60. Braid_Tug
@ a1ay: funny line.
But what stoies are you talking about? Not familer with that set of books.

Thanks!
Black Dread
61. a1ay
60: Iain M Banks' "Culture" series is about a highly advanced galactic civilisation called the Culture which makes it its business to contact (through its Contact Section) less-advanced civilisations and help them advance, occasionally tampering with their development through covert operations carried out by the more secretive Special Circumstances division.
Read them, they're great. Start with "Consider Phlebas".
Black Dread
62. adamas
@27, 29 and others Re: Tywin
I always thougth that Tywin was dissembling here: Tyrion is basically saying, hey dad, you had Clegane go and murder them all, Dorne is going to be pissed... Tywin counters that the "facts" as they exist are stale and can be interpreted through the lens of how they are presented, He can claim that he told Clegane to capture Elia and the children but 'how was I supposed to know he was a monster and would harm them?' I'm pretty sure Tywin knew exactly what Clegane was and what he would do, and intended on precisely what he wanted to have happen occur. Dorne can't prove it, so Tywin can spin the facts as he pleases and maintain his innocense that it was a 'sensless and errible tragedy'. He is showing off to Tyrion that he is well insulated from blame, despite Tyrions fears.

@46
The Shae betrayal over Tyrion falling for Sansa does not make much sense to me from the book perspective: However, it appears that the TV Show version is setting this up as Shae's motivation, since in the books her intentions remain ambiguous and unclear (and it would be spoilery to go into it more than that), whereas TV audiences do not like betrayals that come without ominous forshadowing that telegraphs to the audience that things are amiss.
Chris Nelly
63. Aeryl
@62, I have OPINIONS about what's going on in the show. Can't talk about it yet!
George Jong
64. IndependentGeorge
@62 - but that's not what Tywin's reaction was; he openly admitted ordering the deaths of the children, and justified it by saying it was necessary to prove his loyalty to Robert. It was only Elia that he didn't order, and his explanation is 100% plausible to me.

Gregor Clegane was only 17 years old at the time, and it's not surprising that all Tywin would know about him was that he was huge and terrifying. And given what we know about Jaime and Aerys, it's completely in character for him to be too preoccupied by what he might find in the throne room than to worry about the precise manner of child murder his men chose to utilize. Nothing strikes me as particularly false.

He obviously had no qualms about ordering the Targaryen children dead, or about Jaime murdering Aerys; why would he suddenly become cagey about Elia?
Maiane Bakroeva
65. Isilel
Adamas@62:

But Tywin never claimed to Tyrion that he intended to capture Elia and the kids - he admitted that he ordered the kids' murders, but was disgusted by the mess that his henchmen made of the whole affair.
And that's the thing - denying his direct involvement in Elia's fate doesn't make Tywin a better person nor would it have made the Dornish hate him less, so I think that he was actually saying the truth in this instance. Elia would have been more valuable as a hostage than messily dead.

Re: Tywin's vindictiveness, the whole "paying his debts" philosophy does lend itself towards taking revenge on those who have intentionally slighted him and his, but I don't see how it would apply to Elia or her family, since they didn't do so.
Aerys was the one who first decided to send the Baratheons senior to the Free Cities to look for a bride for Rhaegar and then chose Elia, likely because of her being distantly related to Targaryens.

I do think that in most things, Tywin is coldly calculating and deeply immersed in realpolitik, but his relationships with his children are major exceptions to this general rule.
And, as hinted in this chapter, so was his relationship with his wife. I mean, consider the fact that she was able to overrule Tywin without the benefit of higher social/political position. She must have been very special to him indeed, so it is no wonder that Tywin could never forgive Tyrion for her death.
The double whammy of Tyrion being a dwarf and thus bringing ridicule onto his father and clan Lannister didn't help, but I am sure that even if Tyrion had been as beautiful and warlike as Jaime, Tywin still would have disliked/hated him for depriving him of Joanna.

So, yes, Tywin does torment Tyrion on occasion and even goes so far as to encourage people to laugh at him (a dwarf, yes, but still a Lannister!) in public. But I don't think that it is representative of Tywin's general attitude. His other cruelties seem to be very goal-orientated and politically motivated.
"When your lords defy you, you must serve them steel and fire, but when
they are on their knees, you must help them back to their feet or
nobody would ever kneel to you again" (paraphrasing) strikes me as imminently sensible in this setting.
And yes, I think that Tywin would have made a great ruler in medieval/ Renassaince mold... particularly prior to the Sack of KL. But even so, he was well on his way towards restoring the realm to peace and order when all this unpleasantness Joff's poisoning and Tyrion's trial happened.

Kind of interesting that the Martells were coasting around Westeros checking out eligible bachelors, while Joanna was kind of running on a deadline. I mean, she didn't plan to die in childbirth, of course, but she had to know that it was a non-negligible possibility and she seemed to realize that Jaime and Cersei needed to be separated ASAP. Also, even if she had survived the birth, it might have taken her a while to recover. All of this makes me wonder whether Tyrion was born prematurely.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
66. AlirozTheConfused
@54: Machievelli would be all like:

"You're not even a real person.

Also, I don't speak english

And The Prince was kinda meant to be sarcastic, you know

I was always for the people and the republic

Also, you're bald.

Come back when you can write in more than one language, punk."
Black Dread
67. Lord Foul's Bane
@62 - about Shae's "betrayal";
People shouldn't be so suprised. Really. Although I think she actually does care some for Tyrion, her problem list is huge. 1. Varys knows who and what she is to Tyrion (and if I were him, I'd find a way to use that fact to get into Cersei's good graces). 2. She was Sansa's maid; if I've got a suspect noble on the run, first thing I'd do is question all their servants closely and do some serious arm twisting to see if any were in on the deed or had some prior inkling of what was going on. She's right at the top of that list. 3. Her erstwhile sponsor has no leverage, looks guilty as all hell, and if I remember correctly has already told her that Tywin would kill her if he found out about her. She really doesn't have much choice other to testify in the way Cersei wants, not if she's going to get any chance to run (which she better do soon as she gets out of the door after "testifying" if she wants to stay alive). So, that's what she does. I guess I'm just more cynical than most of you or Tyrion. Besides, the only people in this story who'd save a litter of puppies are the Starks, and look what happened to them!
Adam S.
68. MDNY
@67 Talk to me again after chapter 77.. For now, I'll just say that Shae seems to like Tyrion, but she was always a prostitute, she came to him in the first place because Brom got her away from another soldier in Tywin's army. Tyrion was probably the richest and most important man she had ever been with, and he treated her well and took her to Kings Landing when he became acting Hand. Lately she's had to work as a maid and see him married, and been forced to hide her jewels to avoid suspicion. Now he is arrested and sure to be convicted, so she sells him out. All the "love" she expressed was an act, she just happens to be very good at her job. She certainly liked him, as he treated her well and gave her jewels and riches, but that well has dried up. In the show, she seems much too genuine, so they'll have to do something to change her character's direction before this scene comes around.
Black Dread
69. Lord Foul's Bane
@68 - I'm trying not to read ahead! Arrgh! But, you're on (if I remember to do so...), keeping in mind one thing: there are no 100% reliable narratives by any of the characters in this book. (Seems to me like everyone has a spin in this story; I thought qubits were bad... :) ) The above is what I thought her motives might be since we haven't seen a POV from Shae (not that I recall).
Adam S.
70. MDNY
@69 Lord Foul's Bane: Fair enough. We have no Shae POVs, like so many characters you have to infer her thought and motives from other characters' perceptions. Seeing her from Tyrion's (and Sansa's) POV did not lead me to believe she had true love for him, though, as she is a whore that he got on a battlefield, and she seems unhappy lately. Perhaps she had thought she could be happy with him, and started to love him, but even so she seemed to have lost that illusion when she became Sansa's maid (there are references in Tyrion and Sansa chapters of her giving looks at them).
Your statement about the lack of 100% reliable narrators is one of the reasons I feel these books are so great. Everything we learn is colored by the personality of the character thinking or saying it. This is important to keep in mind as the book (and series) progresses. An easy example is Rhaegar, who we are told "kidnapped and raped" Lyanna Stark, but who Barristan, a clearly honorable and (more than most) reliable man, viewed as highly honorable and his closest friend. We have to take what we learn from multiple characters to piece together any objective truth- if we learned about the Mad King from Dany first, we might not have believed he was bad when others derided him- at least not until multiple reliable characters said it.
I envy you and Leigh, getting to read these chapters for the first time! The last third of this book, from the Red Wedding on, is absolutely amazing and vaults this book to my favorite among the ASOIAF volumes. Enjoy the yummy still to come...
Black Dread
71. a1ay
The Shae betrayal over Tyrion falling for Sansa does not make much sense to me from the book perspective

You think? I reckon it makes perfect sense: as long as Tyrion is infatuated with Shae, she gets gold, jewels and fancy clothes. If Tyrion falls for Sansa, then Shae's suddenly surplus to requirements. Goodbye, well-paid and comfortable long-term employment as bedwarmer to an (admittedly unprepossessing) member of the royal family; hello again, piecework as camp follower. That'd be annoying for anyone.
Captain Hammer
73. Randalator
@71 a1ay

re: Shae

You're absolutely right. What's more, there are instances in the book, where she tries to get "above her station" like the time when she asked Tyrion to let her attend Joffrey's wedding dressed as a lady.

Taking all that into account, it's not all that surprising that she turns on him as soon as he loses his wealth and power.
Rob Munnelly
74. RobMRobM
@67, 70. Shae is Lolly's maid; her serving as Sansa's maid is a TV show-ism.
Rob Munnelly
75. RobMRobM
The real issue with Elia's treatment is not that she was killed (as deaths occur during regime changes) but that she was brutally raped and dishonored before being killed. I doubt Tywin ordered or encouraged that, as it would earn virtually certain emnity from the Martells that would be hard to overcome.
Rica Jackson
76. ral12
I think some people give Tywin to much credit. Tywin knew exactly what would happen to Elia. He sent the most vicious of his men out there to do the deeds. A man who had been rumored to be a cause in his brother's accident. He didn't forget. I do believe him when he said that killing Rhaenys in that manner could have been avoided, but I don't believe a word he says about forgetting Elia. This is the man who stayed out of the war. Then waited to see which side would win. He most definetely knew even before Lyanna was confirmed dead that Robert would need an "unspoiled" Queen. He had the whole of Robert's Rebellion and then the march to King's Landing to decide about all the important people in play at the castle: Jaime, Aerys, Aegon, Rhaenys, and Elia. There is no way that he forgot to mention Elia, a princess of Dorne especially when the children would most likely be with her.

He did it because Elia was proof that someone ever got the better of Tywin Lannister. Even though Elia herself had probably never done anything to the man and was probably always kind and courteous to him during her time when he was at King's Landing.

Tywin is coldly logically and tries not to let his emotions get the better of him. Do I believe that Tywin thinks he kept his emotions regarding the situation in check ? Of course. Do I believe that he did? Not a chance and what happened to Elia is proof of that.

75@ Tywin was totally okay with having the animity of the Martells. Dorne essentially was just one kingdom in the fight. Because with Robert's Rebellion, they had essentially lost all favor. They couldn't do anything especially now that Tywin had Robert's favor. He had coldly murdered highborns before. Years later, he probably thinks that the Elia situation could be handled differently but thats after all the fighting.
Some deaths occur but there have been plenty of times when the regime changed and children lived. Elia didn't have a claim to the throne. The children could have lived. They could have been sent into exile or been fostered with Tywin himself or Ned. Aegon could have been sent to the watch and Rhaenys to the Silent Sisters. Or to further legitimize Robert's children's claim. Rhaenys married to Robert's eldest son just in case people got any ideas.

I totally believe Oberyn on this. Tywin may not have told Gregor to rape her and be so brutal about everything. In fact, he probably told him to take care of her as Gregor saw fit so essentially he never had to even say the words. Especially later on when he can truthfully admit, he had no idea what Gregor would do. Tywin loaded his weapon (Gregor) and pointed it right at Elia.
Black Dread
77. a1ay
This is the man who stayed out of the war. Then waited to see which side would win.

This is the key point. Tywin knew that his late entry to the war would make Robert suspicious of him. He had to do something that would commit him: some sort of unfakeable signal that, however long it had taken him to decide, he was now irrevocably on the Stark/Tully/Baratheon side and would never switch to the Dorne/Targaryen side. By butchering Elia and her children, he burned his boats. He simply couldn't switch sides after that - he knew, and Robert would know that he knew, that Dorne would never forgive him.
Marina Sokol
78. GreyJay
@74 - Shae became Sansa's maid in books sometime after Tyrion married Sansa. I think, Lolly and her mother left KL and Tyrion arranged for her to be Sansa's maid. Bad move, Tyrion, bad move.
George Jong
79. IndependentGeorge
@71 - Tyrion's not in love with Sansa, and there's no reason for Shae to even suspect he is. It's an open secret in court that (a) they haven't consumated and (b) she despises him. He also continues to see Shae the entire time, and shower her with expensive gifts. Jealousy as a motive makes absolutely no sense in the books.

@76 - I'm not saying Tywin wouldn't have done it; I'm just saying that if Tywin did order Elia's death, he would have admitted so to Tyrion. He openly admitted to ordering the deaths of the children, why would he lie about Elia? He obviously felt no guilt, shame, or remorse. Why lie about Elia when he's already copped to killing her children?

The simplest explanation is that Tywin told Tyrion the truth - he ordered the death of the Targ children to prove his loyalty to Robert, but didn't really think about Elia because he was fixated on Jaime.
Black Dread
80. Lord Foul's Bane
@78 - Thanks for bailing me out there; I didn't want to go back and reread to confirm as it's too tempting to read past the point LB is at now. :)

@76, 79 - Hmm... IndependentGeorge... I also have to disagree with you here about Tywin. Why? Because he's a manipulative s.o.b. who plans ahead and knows that he can (and will probably need to) use Tyrion's romantic streak (towards women, anyway) against him. I think (YMMV at this point) Tywin knows he needs to keep Tyrion under some sort of control, and to do that they need to have a illusion of common basis to work from. (It only has to be in Tyrion's mind for it to work at all.) That one lie buried in the rest of the truth is the one detail he needs to keep Tyrion's daddy issues from breaking out into outright rebellion.

Other thoughts:
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that I don't think Tyrion gets killed off just yet. Waaaay back when I still played AD&D, well, I'd take a good look at how the game was going, and which characters were most integral to creating an entertaining game. If there came a point where such a character might die, I would try to have a unlikely but plausable way out for him or her; I'll admit that it didn't always work, but it usually made for a much more entertaining story for the players. (There's probably a trope for that, but I'm not going there; that website is a timesuck-and-a-half!) Sometimes as a DM, you need to remember that it's all about the adventure, not the dice rolls... and so far I think GRRM has been an excellent DM.
Black Dread
81. Aerona Greenjoy
Tywin Lannister, Balon Greyjoy, Randyll Tarly, Craster -- the Brutal Father Society of Westeros.
Leigh Butler
82. leighdb
Hello all,

Apologies, but I have just received some very bad news regarding a family member's health status, and thus there will be no ROIAF post today. I promise to be extra erudite for next week's post!
Adam S.
83. MDNY
Sorry to hear that Leigh, best of luck to you and your family.
George Jong
85. IndependentGeorge
Very sorry to hear that, Leigh. Family always comes first - go do what you have to. We'll be waiting.
Black Dread
86. Joel prophet
Leigh , sorry to hear about your family, my prayers are with you and your family
Black Dread
87. Baba Yaga
Everyone is understanding about Leigh's situation, but not Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga is against it!
Black Dread
88. ebev91
Sorry to hear that Leigh. I was hoping you'd get to my favorite chapter of the entire series next week (Jon), but that's not important right now.
Deana Whitney
89. Braid_Tug
Positive thoughts being sent to your family Leigh.
Black Dread
90. Asbjorn
No need to apologize for that.
Black Dread
91. Lord Foul's Bane
I'm also sorry to hear that, Leigh... good luck, and I hope things turn out the best they can for you and your family!
Andrew Berenson
92. AndrewHB
Sorry to hear about that. We understand. Family comes first.
C R L
93. Maac
Best of luck, Leigh. Sending prayers.
Rob Munnelly
94. RobMRobM
Leigh - belated thoughts in your direction. Hope all is ok.
Brett Dunbar
95. Brett
@31

Actually that is what happened with Margeret of Anjou. In 1471 her son Edward was killed in the battle of Tewkesbury and her insane husband Henry VI murdered in the tower shortly afterwards. She was then allowed to go into exile in France where she died seven years later. Without her husband or son she had no claim on the throne and was no longer a major political threat to Edward IV.

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