So, we left off last week’s read along with Catelyn running off to King’s Landing, Jon arriving at The Wall and Daenerys being sold into marriage. Pretty much all of you missed the amazing chat where the term “bitchface” was bandied about in regard to both Catelyn Stark and Cersei Lannister. You also missed out on the hotness of Khal Drogo, Neil Gaiman’s blog entry on why George R.R. Martin is no one’s bitch, and rape/not-rape at Dany’s wedding after which BK decided to form a band called Dothraki Suffragettes.
In this week’s segment probably one of the most pivotal events of the entire series happens.
Catelyn Stark kidnaps Tyrion Lannister and pretty much sets off a war in Westeros and makes me hate her even more – more on that in a minute.
Ned finally arrives at King’s Landing, pissed and tired and is immediately called into a meeting with the King’s Council. Like, literally, as soon as he rides through the gates. King Robert doesn’t attend this meeting – Robert almost never attends any of the meetings. Ned meets Varys “The Spider” here. In a nutshell, he’s Robert’s spymaster and if you poop, he knows it.
He also meets Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish and immediately does not trust him. We find out that the King’s brother, Lord Stannis, fled King’s Landing after Jon Arryn’s death – this will be important later on. Also, Robert has demanded a celebratory tourney in honor of Ned, which only makes Ned about a million times pissier and more tired. After the meeting, Petyr leads Ned to the brothel where he has hidden Catelyn for her own protection. Catelyn catches Ned up on the attempt on Bran’s life and shows Ned the dagger. Ned sends her back to Winterfell immediately.
As if dealing with an absentee king and wandering wife weren’t enough, Ned’s daughters still cannot get along. Arya and Sansa argue at the dinner table, causing Ned to first yell at them and then leave. Arya also runs from the table and locks herself in her chambers, only allowing her father in. Here he discovers Needle, the blade Jon Snow had made especially for her. Ned realizes there is no hope for his daughter in becoming a lady and decides to hire a sword master to at least teach her how to use the weapon correctly.
In addition to this, Ned goes snooping in regard to Jon Arryn’s death, which just plain isn’t smart. Even though I know what happens and how everything turns out, I wish with every page that Ned would just give up and go home to Winterfell. Ned finds out two important things from Maester Pycelle. First, right before Jon Arryn died, he requested a book on the lineages of the great houses. Second, his last words were, “The seed is strong.” From Petyr Baelish, Ned learns that even though Lysa Arryn took most of Jon’s household back to the Eyrie, there are four people who remain in King’s Landing – Ned wants to question them all.
Up on The Wall, Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister bond as outcasts from their respective families. Tyrion eventually returns to King’s Landing and on the way stops at Winterfell to a cold reception from Robb. Tyrion asks Bran how he fell and all Bran remembers is that he did not fall. He never falls. Tyrion provides them with plans for a special saddle so Bran can go riding even though he is paralyzed from the waist down. To me, this speaks volumes about his character. Tyrion may be a Lannister, and unafraid of verbal burnination, but he is kind and has a soft spot for cripples and outcasts. In this segment, we also meet Hodor, the large stable boy who carries Bran around the castle. Hodor!
Jon remains on the wall and witnesses the arrival of Samwell Tarly, the fattest boy Jon has ever seen. Sam is about the worst recruit ever. He was forced to take the black by his evil, manly man father. He’s fat, he hates everything, is a total mama’s boy, and worst of all a self admitted coward and craven. At first, Jon and the other boys are all wtf?, but when Alliser Thorne, the weapons master, abuses Sam to the point of physical damage, Jon says enough. The new recruits band together to protect Sam, pissing Thorne off even further than he already was, which is quite an accomplishment.
Across the Narrow Sea, Dany grows up. She defies Viserys for the first time in her life and discusses with Ser Jorah Mormont the very slim reality that he could ever lead an army. Dany also takes control of her marriage, determined to live her life. She and Drogo conceive a child.
Back to King’s Landing again, the Tourney of the Hand has drawn thousands of people to the city, making it difficult to keep the King’s peace. Ned still cannot contact Robert’s brother Stannis, but finds out that Stannis and Jon Arryn had been visiting a brothel before Jon Arryn’s death, which is bizarre because Stannis spends most of his time on his morality high horse. Ned also visits an armorer where Jon Arryn had commissioned some work and finds there a young apprentice who looks suspiciously like King Robert – tall, broad, and black haired. This is in fact, one of Robert’s bastards.
Ned reluctantly allows Sansa to attend the tourney and she is mesmerized by all the pomp… and even the circumstance. On the first night, Sansa is escorted home by Sandor “The Hound” Clegane at Joffrey’s command. Sansa tries to be polite, but Sandor knows she’s afraid of him. Sandor tells her that he got the hideous burn scars that cover half his face because as children, his brother Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane pressed his face into a brazier. Gregor has also had three wives die under mysterious circumstances and several people go missing in his holdfast. Sandor also claims Gregor killed the knight he jousted against on purpose – the same knight that happened to once be Jon Arryn’s squire.
The second day of the tourney sees the final four of the jousting competition fight for the purse: Jaime Lannister, Sandor Clegane, Gregor Clegane, and Ser Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers. Sandor beats Jaime. Loras goes up against Gregor. Loras unseats Gregor, whose response is to kill the fuck out of his own horse and then go after Ser Loras. Sandor intervenes, saving Loras’ life. Gregor tries to hack the shit out of his brother until King Robert sends him off the field, and I presume he goes on to murder a bunch of prostitutes in King’s Landing. In thanks for saving his life, Loras refuses to joust against Sandor and forfeits the purse. This might not necessarily be super important to the overall plot, but this is a really telling character moment for several folks, especially Gregor and Sandor.
Also on the second day, is a melee. Cersei forbids Robert to fight, which makes him want to fight even more. Ned stops him from entering the melee and later that night receives a visit from Varys telling him he thwarted a murder plot on the part of the Queen. She knew that forbidding Robert to fight would make him more determined and in a melee, it would be easy to stage an “accident” in all that chaos. Varys also confirms that Jon Arryn was indeed poisoned.
Matters continue to become uncomfortable for Ned as the next council meeting turns sour. Robert and several other members of the council including Varys, Littlefinger, and Maester Pycell vote to send an assassin to kill Daenerys Targaryan upon learning of her pregnancy. Ned refuses to be a part of something so vile and walks out of the chambers, leaving the title of Hand behind him. Afterwards, Littlefinger offers to accompany Ned to the brothel that Stannis Baratheon and Jon Arryn had been so interested in before Jon Arryn’s death.
Finally, we come to Catelyn freaking Stark. Goddamn, I hate this woman. Catelyn left King’s Landing and made her way north to Winterfell. She and Roderick Cassel stop at the Crossroads Inn on their way back to stay for a night. The place is packed because of the tourney, but a customer arriving after them causes a stir and offers gold to anyone who would give up their room. This customer? Tyrion Lannister. On his way south from Winterfell.
Catelyn freaking Stark. Without considering that Littlefinger might not be telling the truth, or the whole truth, or just making all kinds of shit up, she calls on several of the other patrons to help her take Tyrion hostage and they make their way to the Eyrie, where her sister reigns until her and Jon Arryn’s son comes of age. Tyrion even tries to rationally explain to her that he didn’t try to kill Bran. I mean, does anyone even believe that this is the case other than Catelyn?
And this right here is what sets off war in Westeros. I do believe it was going to come no matter what. The Lannisters were plotting to kill Robert. And Arya stumbles upon a clandestine meeting between two unknowns who speak of delaying the war. But by kidnapping Tyrion, Catelyn pisses all over this fledgling blaze with lighter fluid and Aquanet. She forces the Lannisters to act in the most hostile way possible, against her own family. She gives them the excuse to do openly to Ned what they would have had to work to do in secret. And why the hell she would trust her sister, whom we have already established as not all there, is beyond me.
Catelyn gets to the Eyrie and even she had underestimated her sister’s crazy. Bitch still breastfeeds her son even though he’s six. And the kid has rabies or has maybe been watching too much epilepsy inducing Pokemon because he goes into fits every time he gets upset, which is a lot. Catelyn Stark steps in poo with every turn she takes – but its poo she’s put there herself.
Again, this is a lot to cover. But please join us in chat on Tuesday this week, at 8/7c, if for no other reason than to watch me lose my shit over Catelyn Stark. I promise, I’m most amusing when I’m angry. CAREY SMASH!