Tyrion watches Chiggen butcher his horse and endures taunts from Bronn. The horse was a gift from Jaime for his twenty-third birthday. He walks off and thinks back on the events that got him into this predicament. When Catelyn called on the patrons of the inn to arrest Tyrion, Jyck drew his sword, but Tyrion quickly stopped him and realized that he had to surrender to Catelyn to have any chance of survival. Yoren stood aside as Catelyn took him into custody, as the Watch does not involve itself in the quarrels of the realm. Masha begged Catelyn not to kill him in her inn, and Catelyn said she would take him back to Winterfell. Tyrion told the assembled that Lord Tywin will pay handsomely for word of what happened, and he was confident of rescue. Ser Rodrik decreed that they would take Jyck and Morrec too. Catelyn asked for volunteers to guard him, and Ser Willis Wode, Kurleket, Lharys, Mohor, Bronn, and Chiggen stepped forward. Marillion also decided to come along so he could compose a song of the “splendid adventure.” They blindfolded Tyrion and began the journey. When they took off his blindfold at the end of the first day, he realized that they were not going to Winterfell, but were in fact taking the high roadto the Vale of Arryn.
Catelyn has set a relentless pace through the mountains, and they have lost three horses. Ser Rodrik counsels a slower pace, and Tyrion seconds that thought, adding that he may not survive such a rough pace. He once again denies trying to murderBran and tells Catelyn that Lord Petyr is a liar and brags to all and sundry that he took Catelyn’s maidenhead. Before he can tell more, a group of mountain clansmen approach their position. Tyrion tells Catelyn to arm him and his men, which she does reluctantly. They successfully drive off the clansmen, who leave nine dead on the field. Their losses are only three, Jyck, Kurleket, and Mohor. Ser Rodrik is wounded. As the fight nears its end, Tyrion saves Catelyn’s life. Ser Willis counsels riding on, as the clansmen will certainly be back. Catelyn wants to stay and bury the dead, but she is soon dissuaded from that folly. She allows Tyrion to keep his weapons. As they set out again, Tyrion rides up to Catelyn and continues to tell her why he is innocent. Petyr claimed that Tyrion won the dagger betting against Jaime, but Tyrion never bets against his family.
One of the things that I love about this chapter is that it shows that Tyrion doesn’t have a monopoly on the brains department. I know I give Catelyn a lot of shit in general, but that’s mainly over her treatment of Jon and some of the decisions she makes after Bran and Rickon ‘die’. Her ploy here is very clever indeed – lull Tyrion into a false sense of security and then take him somewhere else entirely. I love her little smug smile as she tells Tyrion that she announced her plans “often and loudly” – it’s a rare win for her character and I’m happy to grant her these wins, because things head downhill pretty fast from this point on. Of course, she is a large factor in why they head downhill, but I won’t open that can of worms again.
There is a certain dark comedy to the outrage that Catelyn displays when Tyrion tells her that Littlefinger has boasted of claiming Catelyn’s maidenhood as a young man. She protests that that is a lie but she means that she thinks Tyrion is lying but it’s a clear sign (perhaps more so to a re-reader) that Littlefinger is the one lying. Still, you have to feel for Tyrion – he goes so far as to say that Littlefinger is a liar and uses something that Catelyn would know is a lie to establish this, only to realize that Littlefinger has wormed his way deep into the Tully trust. Of course, he does himself no favours by sticking on with a mocking tone to his captor even after she insists that Littlefinger’s love was pure. It is a sad twist of fate that the mountain clans chose that instant to attack (bad Shagga! No goats for you!) because it seemed that Tyrion was close to breaking through. I wonder why he never takes up that particular line of reason again though.
Marillion screaming “I’m a singer, I want no part of this fight” is rather ironic given how he does end up dead due to his involvement in this very fight (the logic is a bit convoluted, but had he not chosen to get involved with all of this, he would not have ended up flying through the Moon Door, would he?). More important than this being Tyrion’s first confirmed kill, this battle shows how Tyrion is constantly, almost subconsciously working to move the odds closer to his favour. Bronn and Chiggen seems more inclined towards him now and even these small interactions make Bronn’s decision to stand for Tyrion later a lot more interesting. His last line in the chapter ties in nicely with Renly’s comment from the previous chapter – Renly mentions that he would have won double (when the Hound beat Jaime in the lists) had Tyrion been there and Tyrion essentially confirms this by saying he never bets against his family (this sounds like one of Tywin’s rules – never bet against your own house). This is one of many indications that Littlefinger’s story is a lie.