[Re-Read] A Game of Thrones – Catelyn IX


Summary:

Game of Thrones

Robb’s host moves south. He is heading for the Twins, where Lord Walder Frey has amassed a force of 4,000 men. Every day, Robb meets with a different lord and listens to his input. Catelyn discusses Lord Walder with Robb as he meets with Robett and tells him that she fears he will be unfaithful to his oaths. Ser Brynden is commanding the outriders. Theon rides up to report that Brynden has crossed swords with Ser Addam’s outriders and killed a dozen. He promises the Lannisters will not know when the army splits. He has surrounded the Twins with bowmen to bring down any ravens. Lord Walder has killed some Lannister scouts that wandered onto his land, but he is holding back his main strength. There is no other place to cross north of Lord Tywin but the Twins, and Robb must have the crossing. The next day, Ser Brynden personally reports on the battle at Riverrun. Robb is angry at Lord Walder and does not know what to do; Catelyn tells him he must negotiate.

Robb arrives at the Twins with his army flanked by Galbart, the Greatjon, Lord Rickard, Lord Roose, Ser Helman, Ser Wendel, and Ser Wylis. The gates are barred. Robb’s bannermen concur that neither assault nor siege will break the fortress. Four of Walder’s sons led by Ser Stevron come out to greet them. Ser Stevron reports that Lord Walder wants to speak with Robb inside. The northern lords are outraged and make their displeasure known. Catelyn seizes the moment and says she will go. Ser Perwyn Frey remains behind as a hostage while Stevron and the others take Catelyn inside. She is greeted by Lord Walder, surrounded by his entire family (minus Ser Perwyn of course), bastards and all. Two of his sons, Danwell and Whalen help him to his chair and his new wife of sixteen, Joyeuse, stands by his side.

Lord Walder is rude to Catelyn, much to the chagrin of both Ser Stevron and Walder’s bastard son Ryger, and insults her father and brother too, but she endures his insults. Walder is bitter with Lord Tywin for not asking for his help, Lord Hoster for not coming to his last two weddings and not having Edmure marry one of his daughters, and Jon Arryn for not taking any of his grandsons to foster and sending Robert to foster with Stannis instead of him. Catelyn is surprised by this, as she thought he was going to be fostered with Lord Tywin, but Walder assures her it was Stannis. They finally get down to business and work out an agreement, which Catelyn brings back to Robb, escorted by Ser Jared, Ser Hosteen, Ser Danwell, and Ronel Rivers. By the terms, Robb may cross and Walder’s men will join him, less four hundred that will stay to hold the Twins. In return, Catelyn will foster two of his grandsons, Walder and Walder, Robb will take Olyvar Frey as his squire, Elmar Frey is to wed Arya if she is alive, and Robb is to marry one of Walder’s daughters after the fighting. Robb decides to leave Ser Helman at the Twins with four hundred men to insure Walder’s loyalty. That evening, Robb crosses with the majority of his horse while Lord Roose stays on the other bank and marches south to confront Tywin.

Source

Commentary:

Enter the infamous Lord Frey. He’s absolutely detestable in this chapter. Well, really, he’s absolutely detestable in every chapter, but here especially, he seems like a grumpy old man, that embarrassingly old school dad that doesn’t quite realize he’s being embarrassing. The trouble is, to me, at least, he seemed rather harmless. In fact, I almost wrote him off as comic relief the first time I saw him and not without reason. He’s not a great lord, in fact, he doesn’t even seem all that intimidating – if I had to sum up his character based purely on first impression, he seems like a perverted old grump. Which, come to think of it isn’t too far off the mark, but he’s very dangerous in his own way as Robb will unfortunately come to learn. I also find that I’m liking Catelyn’s POVs much more on this re-read than I did the first time through. I think the first time I read the series I still held her bias against Jon and her whole protective mother attitude against her to an extent. I was also much more focused on the actual plot rather than characterization and sometimes her feelings got in the way of me fully appreciating the character and her arc. This time, perhaps with the extra benefit of pacing the re-read, I can take time to do a closer read of her character and her story.

And it is a fairly interesting story, more because of what she sees and knows than because of what happens to her. It is also an inherently unhappy story, even without her death at the Red Wedding. Her story arc, sans her first chapter, is filled tragedy and loss – first Bran’s fall, then Ned’s capture, his death, Arya’s absence, Sansa’s captivity, etc. It’s a hard life and well, from everything we’ve seen of Westeros, it’s the kind of place that a mother would worry about sending her children out into no matter what class they’re born into.

He has learned so much from Ned, she thought as she watched him, but has he learned enough?

I would worry more about what exactly he’s learned. Sure, he knows a little about good leadership and military tactics, enough at least to let him continually surprise the Lannisters, but he also picked up Ned’s warped sense of honour and that, as we all know, leads to different kind of unpleasantness altogether.

“Wounded and taken prisoner,” Ser Brynden said.

This seems pretty much all Edmure is capable of. I wouldn’t really expect him to fight off Jaime but damn man, stop getting captured every battle. Meanwhile, I can’t help but think Robb’s battle already seemed impossible. Even if he has the numerical advantage on Jaime, it’s going to be hard for him to get the drop on him though I guess that’s where killing the outriders would help. I mentioned this before, but I’ve already begun to lose track of the individual army’s movements. Currently, I know Robb is at the twins, Jaime is at Riverrun and Tywin is where exactly? I’d assume that he was trying to make it to King’s Landing so he could deal with the Baratheons but Catelyn makes it seem like he’s heading North. Actually, wait the last Tyrion chapter was somewhere in the Riverlands right? How did Tywin get there so fast? I’m so lost on the timing of everything.

“Is your boy too proud to come before me himself? What am I to do with you?”

For all his bad points, I still find Frey really entertaining. I’m picturing a ninety year old pedophile (because at the end of the day, any man sexually interested in someone 74 years his junior is some kind of deviant (yes, I said it)) sitting on his comfy seat and mouthing off because at 90 he has literally no fucks left to give re: manners.

“Heh,” said Lord Walder, a noise halfway between a laugh and a grunt

The infamous ‘Heh’. In any case, he says he wanted to march, but Edmure lost the battle before he could leave. Which sounds like bullshit considering that Edmure just lost his battle a day ago and Frey could have marched long before then. I’m pretty sure that 4000 soldiers would have made quite the difference, though I guess it’s just as well that they went down South with Robb rather than take orders from Edmure and die.

I’ll match him son for son, and I’ll still have nineteen and a half left when all of his are dead!

Apparently, one’s success in life is measured by the sons they leave behind, both in terms of physical health and number. That would certainly explain his dedication to procreation. It would also mean that Walder Frey is much older than 90 because apparently even in Westeros that kind of mindset seems to have died out a while ago.

“Jon Arryn was going to foster his son with Lord Stannis, you are quite certain of that?”

This is perhaps the biggest red herring in the series yet. At the beginning it seems like this matters a great deal, but at the end of the day, Lysa said that Sweetrobin supposed to go to Tywin instead of Stannis. It might or might not be because Littlefinger thought the idea of Robin Arryn with the Lannisters would get Ned and Catelyn all riled up or it might just have been an error. It’s nowhere near important enough that Catelyn should be ‘disquieted’ by hearing it. Though it does mean that her sister is crazy, but she should have known that already by now.

He had never seemed more manly to her than he did in that moment. Boys might play with swords, but it took a lord to make a marriage pact, knowing what it meant.

Yes, but does Robb really know what it means? I mean he’s fifteen, I doubt he knows enough about anything to make the marriage worthwhile but I think Catelyn is seriously overestimating her son here and who can blame her? We all want to think our children are more mature than they are and apart from that one little business with Jeyne Westerling, Robb remembered well enough.

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