Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Catelyn III

“Catelyn had always thought Robb looked like her; like Bran and Rick and Sansa, he had the Tully coloring, the auburn hair, the blue eyes. Yet now for the first time she saw something of Eddard Stark in his face, something as stern and hard as the north.”

“He came for Bran,” Catelyn said. “He kept muttering how I wasn’t supposed to be there. He set the library fire thinking I would rush to put it out…If you are to rule in the north, you must think these things through, Robb. Answer your own question. Why would anyone want to kill a sleeping child?”

SynopsisCatelyn Stark has an unproductive meeting about appointments with Maester Luwin, talks with Robb about the beginning of Rickon Stark’s inevitable descent into feral madness, fends off an assassination attempt on Bran with the timely assistance of Summer although not without injury, and discusses the Lannister conspiracy with Robb, Luwin, TheonSer Rodrick Cassel, and decides to go to King’s Landing herself.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

Political Analysis:

One of the major themes in a rather packed chapter is the interplay between Catelyn Stark’s initial failure to uphold her role as the lady of the manor in the absence of her lord and the halting emergence of Robb Stark as “the master of Winterfell” (more on this later). Her nervous breakdown is critical to the plot in more ways than one; had she not been mentally out of commission after Bran’s injury, it’s quite possible that earlier attention to the Stark household (the hiring of a new stable master, for example) could have uncovered the assassin before the attack.

This is complicated by the almost completely ahistorical idea that “there must always be a Stark in Winterfell.” The often fractured nature of feudal landholding, where lords often held non-contiguous fiefs that were quite widespread and frequently traveled between them, many manors were primarily managed by stewards or vassals and rarely if ever experienced the presence of their liege lord, and highborn ladies were expected to manage households and castles for quite some time if the liege lord was absent. During the Crusades or extended wars, this could be for several years. Having a (male) member of the family in residence at a single castle at all times would be highly unusual.

However, this anachronism might be explained by the relatively unique nature of Winterfell as both a castle, the North’s capitol, and a natural hot-spring area. Ordinarily, a lord of the Stark’s status would directly own many castles and generally move between them; the Starks have opted instead for concentrating their power into a single indomitable fortress. This has several advantages. Winterfell is centrally located in the North and both equidistant from all sub-regions and well removed from outside threats from any direction, so it allows the Starks to operate efficiently without a network of smaller castles. More importantly, as one of the few (possibly the only) holdfast built on top of a natural heat source, it’s the major sanctuary from winter, capable of sheltering and (with its greenhouses) feeding thousands and thousands of people through the long winters. Given these two factors, Winterfell is a strategic resource without exact historical parallel, and it would make sense that the Starks would draw political and symbolic power from being the lords of Winterfell and vice versa.

The other major political theme is the attempted assassination of Bran Stark. The plot itself is an odd mix of accomplished and amateurish – the assassin is relatively skilled, enough to hide undetected for a week, to set a fire and sneak past the guards to get into Bran’s room, and yet at the same time takes an enormous risk both in gambling that he would remain undetected in the stable for eight days and the choice of weapon is quite conspicuous (why send a dagger to kill a comatose child when a pillow over the face would have been equally effective and far less identifiable). While we learn in Game of Thrones that Tyrion isn’t involved in the assassination attempt from his POV chapters, it’s not until Storm of Swords that Cersei is eliminated as a suspect. Interestingly, we never quite get confirmation that it was Joffrey’s doing – Tyrion deduces that it is most likely the case, given Joffrey’s means and opportunity; Cersei offers a potential motive. However, like many political assassinations throughout the year, the truth is never fully known, but rather vanishes into the mists of history.

Catelyn Stark’s political skills are a matter of some dispute within the fandom, both of A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones. We see both sides in this chapter. On the one hand, Catelyn immediately and correctly concludes that Jaime Lannister threw Bran from the tower in order to conceal evidence of some wrongdoing, simply by recalling that Jaime Lannister unusually did not join the King’s hunt (despite being one of only two Kingsguard with the royal party) and without any CSI:Winterfell stunts with long blond hairs. Interestingly, she doesn’t make anything of the fact that Cersei and Jaime were the two Lannisters remaining in Winterfell during the hunt. On the other hand, her decision to go to King’s Landing herself is rather lacking in forethought, given the evident danger that the Lannisters pose to members of the Stark family. Given that Eddard Stark is known for his trust in and even-handed dealings with his staff (as we see from Arya’s chapters), the idea that Eddard wouldn’t trust Ser Cassel, Maester Luwin, or his ward if they came bearing news of the attack rather strains the belief.

Rather, her decision seems to stem more from a personal need to be proactive in dealing with the Lannister Conspiracy.

Historical Analysis:

While there isn’t really a historical equivalent to Winterfell, I do think that there’s a mythological or folkloric equivalent – Corbenic or Caer Bran, as it’s written in Cornish. In the Arthurian saga, Corbenic is the domain of the Fisher King, whose legs and/or groin are eternally wounded (the so-called Dolorous Stroke) so that the King cannot move and is reduced to fishing in the river near his home. The wounding of the king becomes the wounding of the land, such that the land surrounding Corbenic becomes the Wasteland, until a true knight, who has the purity necessary to touch the Holy Grail, can cure him. In the earlier Celtic myth, Bran the Blessed is the prophetic King of the Island of the Mighty, who possesses a cauldron that can bring the dead back to life, who is similarly wounded in the leg and healed by the magic of the cauldron.

The similarity of the name and the parallels between Bran Stark’s wounding and the Fisher King’s is hardly accidental. Dramatically, there is a parallel between the health of the Starks in Winterfell, Winterfell itself, and the North. When all of the Starks are present in Winterfell, the castle is an unconquerable citadel that offers shelter and survival from Winter when all around it is dead and buried in Winter, a warm beating heart that keeps the people of the North alive, and the realm is at peace. When the Starks begin to leave and the Stark in residence is a crippled child, Winterfell is threatened by besiegers and the North is invaded and the people scattered by the Ironborn; when the family is symbolically slain, the castle is destroyed and the North faces existential destruction from within and without at the hands of the Ironborn, the Boltons and Freys, the wildlings, and the Other.

Perhaps this crippled Bran will yet be healed, so that spring can come again, the land restored, and the castle rebuilt. We shall see.

What Ifs?

While I’ve already covered several possible counterfactuals already in previous chapters that relate to the basic situation – Bran in a coma, what could appen to him – there are several new ones that are suggested by events in Catelyn III:

  • What If Hodor or Someone Else Found the Assassin Before the Attack? 

The discovery of the assassin hidden in the stables could potentially change much or little. If the assassin doesn’t know the identity or the appearance of his employer (assuming for a moment that Joffrey was intelligent enough to keep himself hooded during his discussion with the assassin), not much changes – the Starks at Winterfell already know from the dagger and payment that this is a political assassination, as opposed to the typical motiveless lone madman. However, if the assassin did know who paid him, or even remembered enough about his employer’s appearance (there aren’t that many blond young lords of Joffrey’s age in the area at the time), this potentially changes everything.

While the word of a common assassin is nowhere near enough evidence for an accusation against the Prince, the knowledge that Prince Joffrey is responsible would certainly change the behavior of Eddard and Catelyn Stark while complicating the politics – Eddard’s investigation would probably focus more quickly on royal heritage and finding an alternative successor knowing how un-Robertlike the Prince is, and it’s highly likely that Eddard breaks off the engagement at a much earlier point in such a way that Sansa is highly unlikely to inform to the Queen (even Sansa would find the attempted assassination of her brother too much to forgive).  Similarly, Catelyn would probably not capture Tyrion if she wasn’t operating in such a vaccuum of information where the only information she’s sure of (thanks to Lysa’s letter) is that the Lannisters are involved as a group in nefarious doings; this likely delays war mobilizations (on the Lannister side especially) by several months.

  • What If Catelyn Doesn’t Go?

One of the reasons why I love counterfactuals that they allow us to see the pivot points in historical narratives. In this case, if Catelyn had chosen someone else to go in her place to King’s Landing, it’s much more likely that the message would have gotten directly to Eddard Stark (since a message from Winterfell would be much less conspicuous than the Lady of Winterfell herself), eliminating Littlefinger’s opportunity to throw suspicion onto Tyrion and preventing Eddard from going down a blind alley on that particular investigation.

At the same time, this change would also prevent the capture of Tyrion, as a subordinate would lack the authority to call upon Tully bannermen to put a Lannister under arrest. This shows us something of George R.R Martin’s literary choices – he clearly needed a catalyst for Tywin to mobilize the Lannister forces, for Tyrion to become personally involved in the overall plot as opposed to observing from the outwise, for Littlefinger to insinuate himself into the investigation, and for Catelyn Stark to not return to Winterfell.

Consider the cascading consequences of Catelyn remaining in Winterfell. To begin with, the defense of the North when the Ironborn attack will not be resting in the hands of a seven-year old boy; Catelyn would likely be more cautious as a leader, which would likely prevent the fall of Winterfell to Theon (and possibly result in Theon’s earlier capture). Continuing on, with Catelyn in the North, Jaime Lannister isn’t released from Robb’s custody, which prevents Robb from losing the Karstark forces. With more men and without the necessity of returning to the North, and quite possibly with Roose Bolton having less motive to betray a much more successful cause than in OTL, the Red Wedding might be obviated, even had Robb screwed up by marrying Jeyne Westerling.

  • What If Both Die?

One possibility I haven’t considered at all is what would happen if both Bran and Catelyn die. In addition to the obvious changes (no Tyrion kidnapping, no Jaime being released), this would probably massively ramp up the nastiness of the resulting War of the Five Kings. A Robb Stark who blames the murder of his father, mother, and younger brother on the Lannisters is a Robb Stark who does not take prisoners; Jaime Lannister probably is executed after the Battle of the Whispering Woods, which might result in retaliation against Sansa, and so on, with Roose Bolton possibly becoming Robb Stark’s right-hand man urging him on to further revenge. Truly a darker timeline.

Book vs. TV:

One of the ongoing controversies about the adaptation from novel to tv show is the way in which Robb Stark’s and Catelyn Stark’s characters have altered, with Robb gaining some of Catelyn’s political nous and becoming more of a conventional heroic figure, while Catelyn is shaped into more of a conventional “mother-first” character who primarily wants to get back to Winterfell to be with her family. There is some merit to this argument; the Catelyn of the books is substantially more politically involved than the Catelyn in the show.

However, I think maintaining BookRobb would have been a huge mistake. While Catelyn sees “something of Eddard Stark in his face” when Robb Stark steps up to take charge of the Winterfell estate, he immediately reverts to immaturity In part this is due to his youth compared to the TV show; Robb’s admission that “I can’t do it all by myself” would be credible coming from a 14 year old boy but wouldn’t have worked for a 17-year old. However, other parts of his behavior in this chapter really make him out to be a complete idiot – Catelyn pointing out the obvious motive for attempting to kill Bran would be bad enough, but waving his sword around (something that Robb repeats when Tyrion and Yoren show up at Winterfell) is not merely idiotic and childish by our standards, but by the standards of everyone around him. And unlike child characters like Arya, Robb’s growth as a character is incredibly halting and inconsistent (although this is probably due to the fact that we only see him through his mother’s eyes), which is dramatically unsatisfying.

Given how close parts of the audience have come to dismissing Eddard Stark for his holding of the idiot ball, I don’t think BookRobb would be a character that the audience would sympathize with and want to succeed – which has to happen for the “Scarlet Reception” to have the necessary dramatic heft.

So the question becomes – does it have to be all or nothing? Is it necessary for Robb Stark to be dim in order for Catelyn to be politically savvy? Edward IV, who Robb Stark is largely based on (more on this later), made political mistakes despite being a rather clever politician as well as a strategic genius. His mother, Cecily Neville, was a formidable political actor who acted as ambassador to kings and parliaments in the interests of her family, who kept the Yorkist cause going when her husband and oldest son were executed after the Battle of Wakefield, and who carried the banner of the Yorkist king in triumph into London. Her skills did not diminish her son’s, and vice versa.


54 thoughts on “Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Catelyn III

  1. andreas says:

    Always a great analysis, I keep looking forward to the next ones. Keep them coming!

  2. scarlett45 says:

    IMO Catelyn’s motivation to go to King’s Landing herself is rooted in her psychological trama over Bran. Having a child be in a coma for a month is devastating for a parent in the 21st century, but in Westeros without the medical technology the uncertainty has to be worse. Further more Catelyn feels powerless, going herself allows her to feel as if she is in control of something. Before Bran’s fall she was focused on doing her duty while Ned was away, making sure Robb developed his lordly qualities, but now the plot behind Jon Arryn’s death and Bran’s fall has clouded her. I don’t blame her for that….other things yes.

    • stevenattewell says:

      Good point. Slight nit-pick – surely it’s 10 days, not a month?

      I do find her lack of thought for Rickon a bit odd here.

      • Natalie says:

        I thought Catelyn said “I have prayed to the mother for a month”, then Maester Luwin says “your mother stayed by your bedside for a month.”.

        As far as Rickon, that’s realistic. When a child is sick the healthy children in the family are often ignored because everyone is so focused on the ill child.

  3. Koby Itzhak says:

    “highborn ladies were expected to manage households and castles for quite some time”
    For a great example, look up Nicolaa de la Haye, who inherited the office of castellan of Lincoln castle. While her husband(s) usually carried out the duties, she held off a month long siege when her husband was away, and more importantly, during the First Barons’ War, she held Lincoln for King John and Henry III under heavy siege for quite a time (at the age of at least 60!), until it was lifted in the Second Battle of Lincoln. She also served as co-High Sheriff of Lincolnshire for five months before the siege. I think she was part of the inspiration for the Mormont women, especially Maege.

    “On the one hand, Catelyn immediately and correctly concludes that Jaime Lannister threw Bran from the tower in order to conceal evidence of some wrongdoing”
    I actually found this incredibly weird. And while a credit to Catelyn for forging the connection, it leads to either nothing or stupidity, which diminishes what she did here. How did she reach this conclusion? He had opportunity, true, but so did everyone else in Winterfell. In fact, people who know Winterfell would have had better opportunity, as they would have known Bran climbs stuff. Ability? Again, everyone in Winterfell tall enough to reach through a window could push a kid off a tower. Motive? She just automatically assumes Jaime was doing something wrong, and so had to cover it up. She was right. But for no good reason whatsoever. Which leads me to question, WHY? Why was it automatically Jaime, and later the Lannisters in general? There’s an innate attitude of suspicion of Lannisters implied here which I feel was part of the causes for the War erupting as it did.

    “Rather, her decision seems to stem more from a personal need to be proactive in dealing with the Lannister Conspiracy”
    And this is where I dislike Catelyn and criticize her. She’s quite intelligent and smart, and is very politically astute, making very good decisions and giving excellent advice. But it seems that once it gets personal (aka ‘MY CHILDREN!’) she loses every rational bone and becomes very impulsive. And the decisions she makes then are so disastrous so as to negate almost any good she achieved previously.

    • John says:

      Surely Catelyn’s assumption that the Lannisters were behind it derives from her sister’s letter, claiming that the Lannisters had murdered Jon Arryn. It seems like a reasonable assumption.

      • stevenattewell says:

        It’s more why she cottons on to Jaime specifically as opposed to any other Lannister.

      • This could be entirely in my head but wasn’t part of the reason she focused on Jaime because most of the rest of the Lannisters were off hunting with King Robert and Ned?

        Also narrative convenience….

      • John says:

        I suppose, but that’s certainly not what Kotzhay was saying. Let’s look at this in terms of means, motive, and opportunity.

        First, who has the opportunity? Anyone who wasn’t on the hunt. That’s a lot of people, including Hodor, Sansa, Arya, Jon Snow, Rickon, Maester Luwin, Old Nan, whatever other servants weren’t on the hunt, Cersei, and Jaime.

        Now, who has motive? Of the people with opportunity, only Cersei and Jaime have a clear motive.

        Next, who has means? I suppose they both do, but I think it makes sense that Catelyn would think Jaime is the more likely of the two – direct physical violence tends to be associated with men.

      • stevenattewell says:

        Cersei and Jaime and their retinue (keep in mind, Robert’s party consisted of 100-odd folks, and not all of them would have been at the hunt) are the primary suspects. I don’t know if I would associate the Kingslayer as the most likely target for throwing someone out a window – stabbing them with a sword, certainly.

        Keep in mind, Lysa’s initial letter blamed the Queen for Jon Arryn’s death specifically. That’s why I find her albeit accurate leap to the Kingslayer a bit confusing, given that the evidence she had “priming” her suspicions pointed to Jaime’s sister.

      • John says:

        The dude killed a king he was sworn to protect. I think pretty much everyone in Westeros is primed to believe he’s capable of anything.

      • John says:

        Also, doesn’t she just think of the Jaime possibility basically in passing? I don’t recall her fixating on it.

  4. John says:

    Even more than the fact that, say, Ser Rodrik would not have the authority to arrest Tyrion, there lies the fact that there’s no way Tyrion would have recognized Ser Rodrik without Catelyn. Catelyn didn’t decide to arrest Tyrion simply because she came across him on the road. When she first saw him she was trying to avoid being noticed. It’s only after he recognizes her that she decides to arrest him. Tyrion wouldn’t have recognized Ser Rodrik, and at any rate wouldn’t have thought anything particularly odd about him traveling on the King’s Road.

  5. John says:

    I’d add that I agree about book Robb being kind of terrible. The moment when Yoren says that Benjen is probably dead and Robb starts waving his sword around and throwing a tantrum is not a good moment for him.

    • stevenattewell says:

      Yah, it would have been even worse on screen. So cheesy.

      • Alexis Taylor says:

        It was bad enough in the books, knowing the character was only 14 made it… while not acceptable, not surprising given everything that’s going on that sometimes he snaps like child he is… but as a 17 year old in show, it would have been… well lets say Aerys III-ish

  6. gratefulwho says:

    Is it wrong that I would really enjoy that darkest timeline? Stark and Bolton as vicious angels of wrath, proving all the southern propaganda about satanic northerners accurate. But on a more substantial note I do think that even if some Stark messenger recognized Tyrion and were recognized nothing would come of it, and even if it did it could be entirely disavowed by the Starks. It would buy Ned much more time and, possibly, allow him to figure out the Lannister Conspiracy in time to warn Robert and spark an entirely different war.

  7. John says:

    BTW, is it fair to say that Bran is in charge of the response to the Ironborn? Isn’t that really Ser Rodrik’s deal? What key decisions does Bran make that backfire?

  8. […] my hero I loved him so much I can’t believe they killed him,” because to me Robb was an underdeveloped character interesting mainly for the way in which he was used as the site of the author’s toying with […]

  9. John W says:

    I’m still not convinced that Joffrey is behind the assassination attempt of Bran. He just doesn’t seem competent enough to pull it off. It makes more sense for me for Littlefinger to be behind it which is why he immediately casts suspicion on Tyrion thus causing discord between the Starks and Lannisters.

    • stevenattewell says:

      Littlefinger is a possibility, but relatively unlikely. As I’ll discuss earlier, his fingering Tyrion when Catelyn arrives in King’s Landing is really dangerous improvisation.

      • John W says:

        Yes but giving that it’s almost a month or longer since Bran fell wouldn’t Littlefinger have had time so size up the situation and plan accordingly?

    • corejay says:

      But Littlefinger was far away in King’s Landing, and couldn’t possibly have known that Bran would suffer an ‘accident’ in the first place. Baelish is an opportunist; he grabs the opening Catelyn’s trust gives him with the Starks, but this simply can’t be his doing. And I’m saying that as someone who suspects Petyr behind almost every plot, including Ser Mandon Moore’s ambush on Tyrion.

      Joffrey, sadly makes more than enough sense. The assassination attempt is prepared incompetently, and carried pout by an incompetent assassin. Which is exactly what makes Joffrey so plausible, in my mind.

      • John W says:

        I hate to keep beating this dead horse but, I’ve been rereading GoT, and here are two passages that make me believe it was Littlefinger.

        In Catelyn III, they talk about how they found the assassin with 70 “sliver” stags.

        And later in Catelyn IV, when she’s reminiscing about Littlefinger she thinks about how even as a kid he always liked his silver.

        Now when you think about the Lannisters they are always associated with gold. Tyrion offers gold to anyone to give up there room at the inn he’s captured. Cersei offers 100 gold stags for Nymeria’s skin.

        It’s thin I know but…

      • John says:

        I think the fact that both Tyrion and Jaime become convinced it was Joffrey, and there’s no real push back, suggests strongly that Martin intended this as being as close to a reveal as we’re going to get, given that both Joffrey and the assassin are now dead.

        Littlefinger doesn’t make any sense because he wasn’t at Winterfell. What’s the mechanism here? That before the departure from King’s Landing happened he paid some random thug to hang around Winterfell and murder Bran? How does that make any sense? It only makes sense that someone would try to kill Bran after his fall, but how would Littlefinger arrange that? In particular, how would he pay the assassin?

        The idea that Lannisters supposedly would only pay somebody gold is a really weak anchor to hang the alternative on. (Especially since Joffrey believes he’s a Baratheon)

      • Vash the Stampede says:

        If it was Littlefinger I don’t think he needed to know about the accident.

        His whole deal is to get the Lannisters and Starks fighting. A way to do that was cause some drama that couldn’t be forgiven or easily explained away. Stark child gets murdered while Lannisters are around = immediate suspicion, anger, blood lust. Ned probably doesn’t go to Kings Landing anymore and has a falling out with Robert. The North probably doesn’t immediately go to war since it wasn’t Ned or his immediate heir and nothing can proven necessarily. Plus, Petyr innocently sits a thousand leagues away.

        OTOH, who paid the assassin? Maybe Littlefinger has some little birds in the entourage. Better yet, what about Varys? Isn’t he in charge of assassinations?

        Overall, probably wasn’t Littlefinger but we know he’s a cold bastard and underestimating him usually doesn’t turn out well. Also, after thinking about it why does the Master of Coin have such a high quality knife, anyway?

        Last questions, was the knife used in the attempted murder of Bran the same knife that Littlefinger holds against Ned after the betrayel in the Kings Landing? If yes, isn’t GRRM giving us a hint?

  10. tequila says:

    Excellent point about the historically fractured nature of feudal landholding – which doesn’t appear to be the case in Westeros, probably for means of narrative convenience. Noble holdings in Westeros generally seem to follow the Winterfell pattern – each family has one major castle/estate holding (Riverrun for the Tullys, Casterly Rock for the Lannisters, etc.) and the rest of their lands spread out contiguously from there. In reality, it’s very likely that the Starks would have estates throughout the Riverlands and the Vale, and Valelords and Riverlords the same in the North, especially since many of these families (also ahistorically) have endured for thousands of years.

  11. Ross Kardon says:

    I like watching GAME OF THRONES on HBO, even though like many watching this series, I have not read the George R. R. Martin novels.

    However, I feel a deep sorrow and pity for Bran Stark! If Bran was a real person and lived in our world, he would still be condemned to be in wheelchair, instead of having Hodor carry him. This is because medical science is not yet advanced enough to re-grow nerve cells and enable make people who suffer spinal injuries to be able to walk again.

    Of course, if Bran only broke his legs, and not his spinal column, shouldn’t even the comparetively primitive medicine of Westeroes have been able to have his legs restored by placing them in a cast?

    I wish George Martin wrote that when Bran became a warg, he aquired the ability to heal his spinal column and make himself able to walk again, in addition to becoming a dire wolf during his dreams. Or that instead, it was Joffrey Baratheon who fell and became crippled, not Bran Stark!

    On the bright side in our world, in Switzerland, medical researchers have in their experiments made a rat rejuvenate some walking ability. So maybe someday being permanently crippled from a spinal injury will be a thing of the past.

    If there is to be a telethon to fund medical research so that one day people who suffer spinal injuries can be restored to being able to walk again. Isaac Hempstead-Wright, the young actor who plays Bran Stark, would be perfect to host it!

  12. Hardy says:

    Hi Steven.

    Hope, you’re well.

    Just wanting to ask when we can expect the next entry of your great historical analyses or your next contribution to your “History of Hands-Series” for the website “Tower of the Hand”.

    Don’t want to stress you but the waiting is killing me ;-).

    Have a good time, greetings from Germany.

    • stevenattewell says:


      So the reason I’ve stopped posting stuff is that I had to “go hermit” in order to finish drafting my dissertation. Now that I’ve done that, I’m going to start posting again, maybe not as fast as I did starting out (I still have editing and the like to do), but don’t worry, I have notes on four chapters plus the final two parts of the Hands series to work from.


      • Hardy says:


        thx for the quick reply.

        Drafting your dissertation is a very good reason to concentrate only on one thing in your life ;-). Wish you success with it!

        Thx for the update and the good news about the notes you’ve already done, c u Hardy.

      • CoffeeHound14 says:

        I love this blog, and am very glad to hear you will continue posting. Good luck with the remainder of your dissertation.

  13. Mr Mojo says:

    Glad to hear you are going to continue also! I was scared the chapter by chapter analysis was dead.

  14. gratefulwho says:

    How’s your dissertation going?

  15. […] lot to say here. The only thing I’d note, following from the discussion of the Fisher King in Catelyn III, is the continuing theme of the wounded mystic. The potential references that follow from the idea […]

  16. Peter says:

    Neat – I never really thought about the Stark in Winterfell as an instance of Sacral Kingship. Love the write-ups!

  17. […] Catelyn III (the attack on Bran,  the ahistorical nature of “always a Stark in Winterfell,” Bran as Fisher King) […]

  18. […] why Bran VI interests me is that we get a rare glimpse of Smart Robb (as opposed to his evil twin Stupid Robb) in how the acting Lord of Winterfell deals with all of these pushy lords. To begin […]

  19. […] Normally, I’d talk here about fostering as a custom in medieval Europe, but I already did that – so if you’re interested in fostering, you can read that entry here. Instead, I want to talk a bit about the legend of Bran the Blessed, who I briefly mentioned here. […]

  20. Jennifer says:

    I find your comments on Bran Bendigeid (the Blessed) and the Welsh myths interesting. Another fantasy series I enjoy, the first book of which came out the same year as A Game of Thrones, is Tales of the Branion Realm by Fiona Patton. There are some interesting comparisons and parallels to ASOIAF:
    – There is a heroic figure named Bran Bendigeid in the distant backstory, who is said to have built pretty much every major monument on the alternate-Britain island of Branion. (His sister, however, was the monarch who conquered it).
    – Their descendants’ crest, and by extension the entire nation’s as well as the principal religion’s, is a wolf. Bran Stark’s crest is an ice wolf; Braniana DeMarian’s is a fire wolf. To the extent that the royal family has fire powers, granted by their god, the Living Flame.
    – There is a bit of an ice-and-fire vibe to the tug-of-war between two faiths – the Celtic-ish Triarchs who follow Flame, symbolized by the firewolf; and the “continental,” Catholic-like Essusiate religion, symbolized by a white dragon whose enemies feel unnaturally cold when attacked.
    – There’s quite a bit of (mostly gay) sex and violence, though it’s not nearly as gritty as Martin’s books.
    – Royal bastardy is a thing and causes a civil war at one point – but because the royal family has fire powers (and literally fiery eyes) it’s quite obvious who’s royal and who isn’t. The war is vicious not because it isn’t obvious who the heir is but because Essusiatism took over in the meantime and regards him as a demon.

  21. […] his first private meeting with the new Hand of the King, he brings the dagger used to attempt the assassination of Bran Stark, and which Littlefinger used to frame […]

  22. […] is absolutely key to this debate, because she provides a link back to Lysa’s letter, the attack on Bran (although she won’t put two-and-two together until next Catelyn chapter), and Ned’s […]

  23. […] “do justice”, he’s finally getting around to trying to figure out who ordered the assassination attempt on Bran that he got blamed for. As noir detectives go, Tyrion’s no Ned Stark. This exchange is quite […]

  24. […] assassination during the melee). It doesn’t fit Joffrey quite as well – while his daggerman was inexperienced and ultimately failed, he did manage to conceal himself and create a diversion before making the […]

  25. […] Jaime Lannister than just being confined to her father’s quarters. (Which, to be fair, is not a new attitude for her) But it’s just GRRM the fates at work, setting up all of the dominoes that are […]

  26. […] between direwolf and warg, and their tendency to display an uncanny foresight (whether it’s Summer’s nick-of-time rescue of Bran, Ghost’s premonition about the wights, or Grey Wind finding the goat path), we do have to […]

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