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


Summary:

Game of Thrones

Lord Tywin and his lords bannermen and retainers, including Ser Kevan, Ser Addam, Ser Flement, Ser Harys Swyft, Ser Gregor, Lord Leo and Tyrion receive a messenger from Riverrun. Tywin has been marching south at a relentless pace, leaving many wounded along the side of the road to die, trying to reach Riverrun. The messenger reports that Jaime has been captured and his army destroyed. The north camp fell first. It started with Ser Brynden leading the van, taking out the sentries, and clearing the palisades. Then, Robb personally led the main force and the Greatjon fired the siege engines. Lord Tytos completed the trap by leading a sortie from Riverrun to take the Lannisters in the rear. Ser Edmure was freed, along with many other captives. At the west camp, Lord Andros Brax was killed trying to cross the river as his camp was surrounded. Ser Forley Prester was able to extricate his men from the south camp, but the Tyroshi sellsword leading his freeriders changed sides.

Tywin’s lords are horrified. Ser Addam wants to march against Robb, but Ser Harys and Lord Leo think that peace must be forged. Tyrion points out that killing Eddard eliminated any chance of that. Finally, Lord Tywin speaks up and commands everyone to leave save Tyrion and Kevan. Tywin reveals that Renly has married Margaery Tyrell and claimed the throne with the might of Highgarden at his back. Stannis continues to sit at Dragonstone, but Varys hears rumors of various sorts, including that he is building ships, that he is hiring sellswords, and even that he brought in a shadowbinder from Asshai. Tywin’s army is now in a precarious position. Robb holds the Twins and Moat Cailin and blocks the route back to Lannisport. With Renly massing in the south and Stannis at Dragonstone, there is a risk of being caught between three armies.

Tywin decides he must deal with Robb before Renly can march. He decides to regroup at Harrenhal. Ser Addam will screen the army, while Ser Gregor, Ser Amory Lorch, and Vargo Hoat set the Riverlands aflame. Meanwhile, Tyrion will go to King’s Landing to rule. Tywin is disgusted with the recent activities of Joffrey such as elevating Janos to a lordship and dismissing Ser Barristan. He orders Tyrion to take Joffrey in hand and deal with the small council. When Tyrion asks why Tywin is suddenly giving him such responsibility, he replies that Tyrion is his son. At that point Tyrion realizes that Tywin has given up Jaime for lost and hates him for it. Tywin orders him not to bring Shae to court and then dismisses him. He returns to his room and Shae and tells her they are going to King’s Landing.

Source

Commentary:

And so continues the tragic tale of Tyrion and Shae. Shoot me now, please. Honestly though, I love Tyrion’s arc in ACOK as I suspect most people do but for some reason, Shae seems determined to annoy me every time I see her ‘on-screen’. I believe this is Tyrion’s last chapter in AGOT and it’s a fairly minor one with little enough to ponder in the bigger scheme of things.

“They have my son,” Tywin Lannister said.

I loved this scene in the TV shows. Charles Dance’s ‘seriously, how dense are you people’ face was quite hilarious to see.

Jaime might have lost Riverrun, but it angered him to hear his brother slandered by the likes of Swyft, a shameless lickspittle whose greatest accomplishment was marrying his equally chinless daughter to Ser Kevan, and thereby attaching himself to the Lannisters.

I love Tyrion’s burns. Between him and Jaime, they could have run a Lannister stand-up act. Such potential lost.

“A man who sees nothing has no use for his eyes,” the Mountain declared.

What the fuck? The Mountain speaks? I could have sworn I had not heard it speak before. Interestingly, he asks a pertinent question before reminding us all about exactly what kind of person he is with the whole rip-out-their-eyes thing.

He was a fool, Tyrion thought, swirling his cup and staring down into the winy depths.

Tyrion please, respect the dead. Though, I can fully imagine people even today thinking that wearing armour on a flimsy raft might not be a terrible idea for a terrible way to die. Also, this is possibly the first time I’ve seen the phrase, ‘winy depths’. I will try to incorporate this in real life conversations somehow.

“How could it happen?” Ser Harys Swyft wailed again.

If I remember correctly, this is the same Harys Swyft who becomes Hand under Cersei, right? Because I’m really hoping that there’s an upper limit to the number totally useless Swyfts in this series. It’s especially hilarious that he wants to surrender after the first loss given how everything turns out.

“Peace?” Tyrion swirled his wine thoughtfully, took a deep draft, and hurled his empty cup to the floor, where it shattered into a thousand pieces.

I like how Tyrion drinks first and then knocks it. Foreshadowing his eventual alcoholism? Also, you can just imagine Tywin watching this and going ‘That brat is so fucking spoiled’.

“If the Starks feel the need for gold, they can melt down Jaime’s armor.”

Turns out Jaime knew what he was about – he carried his ransom with him everywhere!

“Joff’s only a boy,” Tyrion pointed out. “At his age, I committed a few follies of my own.”

Ok, so I think this is a good point in the story to talk about this whole Tysha thing. I should mention right now that Tyrion’s whole ‘Where do whores go?’ madness in ADWD drove me crazy just from reading it over and over. There is this weird recurring theme in ASOIAF that people never ever get over their issues. I’ve mentioned this before at the beginning of the book, but it certainly bears mentioning again – Robert was obsessed with Lyanna despite never really even being romantically involved with and that too, over a decade ago. Similarly, Littlefinger can’t get over Catelyn, Stannis can’t forget past slights and even Ned can’t let the whole Lyanna thing go. There are reasons for all these things, but on the whole, in ASOIAF, everyone gets permanently scarred far too easily. Back to Tyrion, I feel that given that he knew Tysha for all of three weeks or so, he would have gotten over it by now – yes, what happened to her was horrific and it would mess with even the most stable of minds but I can’t be the only one who thinks the wound is still raw more than ten years later. To put this in perspective, how many of you still think about things that happened when you’re thirteen or so (the age Tyrion was when the Tysha thing went down)? I know I’m comparing apples to oranges a little but there reaches a point beyond which I think Martin tries to get too much mileage from the trauma of the Tysha thing. In any case, looking at the whole thing from Tywin’s viewpoint – the girl probably was a whore and was trying to sucker Tyrion for some sweet Lannister cash. You might hate me for saying this, but this is a sadly legitimate assumption to make – Tyrion doesn’t have much in the looks department and it feels unlike that he had the charm and charisma at the time to really seduce anyone. The natural conclusion is the above. Now, this obviously does not justify what Tywin does about it, but I can almost imagine (especially in a universe where no one bats an eyelid at Randyl Tarly’s parenting shenanigans) that Tywin just figured Tyrion was going through a phase and that Tywin would put an end to it at once, lest Tyrion become the next Tytos. What I find stranger is why Tyrion is making excuses for Joffrey here – surely marrying a prostitute (which at this point is what Tyrion believes Tysha to be) isn’t on the same level of adolescent fuckup as ordering an execution of a valuable prisoner?

“Cersei has not seen fit to tell him yet,” Lord Tywin said

Wait, so Joffrey does not realize there’s an army coming for him? That’s weird, I could have sworn that Joffrey knew but being Joffrey, just didn’t care. Oh well, I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

“He talks of leading the City Watch,” Lord Tywin said.

Well, assuming that wasn’t a terrible idea off the bat how many men does the City Watch even have? I remember reading that it was around two thousand, which seems like a reasonable amount given King’s Landing’s size and the fact that it is King’s Landing. I guess the fact that most of these men are not really soldiers but rather policemen (so to speak) is supposed to show that Joffrey’s kind of an idiot. I wonder though, because Kevan’s reply isn’t about that, or about who’s going to keep the peace while the City Watch marches off for a few weeks to get routed but instead is about Stannis which makes it seem almost like Joffrey potential idea would be alright if the invasion forecast wasn’t cloudy with a chance of Stannis.

“Unleash Ser Gregor and send him before us with his reavers. Send forth Vargo Hoat and his freeriders as well, and Ser Amory Lorch.”

The nonchalance with which Tywin says this bothers me. It doesn’t surprise me, but it does highlight the utter pragmatism of Tywin Lannister and it is frightening to behold. This isn’t an order given from the blissful ignorance of not knowing what these men are capable of doing – he saw Rhaegar’s children with his own eyes. He knows exactly what those creatures mean when he orders them to ‘reave’ and he’s ok with it. His comment about the mountain clansmen wanting in also has this bizarre casualness about it, like it’s perfectly normal to send men out to rape and murder.

That was when he knew. You have given him up for lost, he thought.

Hmm, that’s not the conclusion I would have drawn actually. I mean, it might very well have been what Tywin was thinking, and I think given the context we can be fairly sure that it was what Tywin was thinking but it’s also perfectly logical to think that Tywin was acknowledging Tyrion’s potential just a little and giving him some real responsibility. Tyrion instantly sees the worst possible interpretation of things which is rather sad because his emotional war against Tywin is one-sided and doomed to failure.

On a final note, the whole analysis of the political mistakes of Cersei’s early rule is one of the things that I really like about Tyrion’s POVs (even though he isn’t the one who says it here). It was what I meant, a few chapters ago, when I said that we get a different read of events from different characters based on how they see the world and their alignments. It’s like seeing the world with different filters and it really fleshes out the events and makes them come alive for me. I actually really like how Martin has left each faction in a state of mixed feelings – the Starks are in a dominant position in the war but have lost Ned, the Lannisters have the crown but have temporarily lost Jaime and are in a terrible position defensively and Dany (as of her next chapter) ends the book with dragons but no army while she spent the whole book in exactly the opposite situation.

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