Tyrion and Bronn stop to take shelter along the high road. They have been riding all day since being put out of the Vale by Ser Lyn. Tyrion gathers wood to start a fire. Bronn threatens to leave, but Tyrion offers him any reward if he stays to protect Tyrion, and he accepts. Tyrion lights a fire to draw some mountain clansmen in. He mentions his mistreatment in the dungeon of the Eyrie, and Bronn registers surprise that Tyrion gave Mord the gold he promised the gaoler. Tyrion merely replies that aLannister always pays his debts. Bronn asks where they will go now, and Tyrion says he means to make inquiries about a certain dagger. With no clansmen coming yet, Tyrion begins to whistle a Myrish song called “The Seasons of My Love.” He tells Bronn that the first woman he ever bedded used to sing that song, and it has been stuck in his head ever since. He goes on to tell the story of their meeting.
When he was thirteen, Tyrion was riding back to Casterly Rock from Lannisport with Jaime when they encountered a girl named Tysha being chased by bandits. After they saved the girl, Jaime rode off to get help to hunt down the bandits while Tyrion took the girl to a nearby inn. She was a crofter’s daughter orphaned when her father died of fever, but Tyrion drank too much wine and they had sex. Tyrion fell in love and married her in front of a drunken septon. For two weeks they played at being husband and wife at a cottage until the septon sobered up and told Lord Tywin. The furious lord first made Jaime tell the truth that Tysha was a whore he hired because he felt it was time Tyrion had his first woman.1 Then he gave Tysha to his guards, making them each pay a silver piece to take her. When they were done, Tywin made Tyrion go last, but for a gold piece because a Lannister is worth more. Bronn says he would kill any man that did that to him, and Tyrion says he may get that chance, for a Lannister always pays his debts.
Sometime later, they are accosted by about ten Stone Crows including their chief, Gunthor, Shagga, Conn, Torrek, andJaggot. They are about to kill Tyrion, but he promises to deliver them suitable weapons and armor from his father so they can take the Vale.
One thing that troubles me about Tyrion, as a character, is his approach to risk. By and large, he doesn’t seem averse to taking chances nor can I really say that he is overly reckless, but there is a fatalism that surrounds his character – here, we open the chapter with him pretty much resigned to his fate, regarding the hill tribes. In the beginning of the chapter, he lights the fire, he makes his jokes and the whole while, he doesn’t seem to be making any attempt at trying to hide. We know, from the chapter’s ending, that he has a plan, but there was literally no guarantee that the plan would work, he seems to go past the wiser option of sneaking his way out of the situation and opting straight for his riskier plan. I’m verging on the point of saying that this is typical of his character and there is some kind of depression driven motive behind the way takes these risks, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. We saw him take his gamble in his last chapter during the trial and it’s almost as if he’s exhilarated by the rush of winning that toss. It might seem strange to you that I’m rambling on about this, but reading this after a long break, it dawned on me that this is not the reaction of a man who just avoided death – unless you go for the explanation that he’s still high off that experience. It’s something I’ll be looking at a little closer in future chapters.
We also get the story of Tysha. It’s a fairly horrific tale and somehow it seems a little out of keeping with the character of Twin Lannister. I know Tywin has his fair share of haters and I’m no fanboy myself, but he’s always struck me as a harsh but sane ruler. Ordering a gang-rape…seems like a little bit much, even for him. Sure, there’s ways of explaining it and all that, but I suspect that at this point in time, Martin was still not fully clear, even in his own head, of what his characters’ final forms would look like. He wanted Tywin to be more evil than the final version and so he starts off with heinous acts like this – (remember this was back in the early 90s) but by the time we see him in the main story, we don’t really see him do anything quite on this scale ever again, which only reinforces my belief that it was just a one-time thing. There’s also plenty of half-baked foreshadowing of Tyrion attempting to keep Bronn loyal and mentioning that Tywin will die at Tyrion’s hands but all that tells me is that Martin had the vaguest idea of where he wanted the story to go.
There isn’t much to say about Shagga, except that I’m really happy to see him! I can’t really get past the idea that Tyrion has no real game plan here except ‘convince the hill tribes’ – no plan B, no ace up his sleeve, nothing. Just either I convince him now, or I literally just die here. I don’t know what to make of the fact that he’s so incredibly calm throughout the whole thing, either. We are in his head, so it’s not like he’s hiding his feelings from us, either. He literally does’t feel any particular fear or panic from the situation and that, frankly, just seems insane.
Also, are goat omnivores?