Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Catelyn V


“Did she dare take the risk? There was no time to think it through, only the moment and the sound of her own voice ringing in her ears.”

Synopsis: Catelyn Stark arrives at the Inn at the Crossroads and arrests Tyrion Lannister for the attempted murder of her son. Dun-dun-dun!

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:

Here we go – Catelyn V, the kidnapping of Tyrion, and the moment at which open war between the Starks and the Lannisters becomes inevitable. It’s also, next to Catelyn freeing Jaime at the end of A Clash of Kings, one of the major pieces of evidence used by those in the fandom who hate Catelyn as to why she should be held responsible for most of the things that go wrong in the entire series. I’ve talked before about the problem of presentism (i.e, judging people on the basis of future events that they had no knowledge of, also known as hindsight bias), and we get that in spades in discussions of this chapter, although one also finds a good deal of people judging Lady Stark on the basis of knowledge they have gained from other POVs, in other words blaming her for her lack of omniscience. One example will suffice – Catelyn has no way of knowing, at the time that she arrests Tyrion, that when the news of this hits King’s Landing Ned will have resigned the Handship, leaving himself vulnerable to Jaime’s assault.

If we’re going to judge her fairly, we need to pay close attention to Catelyn’s intent and thought process when she orders Tyrion’s arrest, and luckily George R.R Martin has given us an entire chapter of her thoughts. The first thing we see is that Catelyn is thinking very clearly about the larger strategic picture even before she meets Tyrion:

“The crossroads gave her pause. If they turned west from here, it was an easy ride down to Riverrun…If Winterfell needed to brace for war, how much more so Riverrun, so much closer to King’s Landing, with the power of Casterly Rock looming to the west…Above the Vale, the Eyrie stood high and impregnable…there she would find her sister, and, perhaps, some of the answers Ned sought. Surely Lysa knew more than she had dared to put in her letter. SHe might have the very proof that Ned needed to bring the Lannisters to ruin, and if it came to war, they would need the Arryns and the eastern lords who owed them service.”

It’s not that Catelyn doesn’t see that her actions will lead to war; rather, given Ned’s instructions to her during their last meeting, she fully expects a war to come and shows a rather good strategic understanding of the Stark’s need to bring the Tullys and Arryns into alliance . She also is thinking about helping her husband uncover an immanent threat to the King and their own House (which puts a rather different light on Eddard’s resignation), by gathering evidence to bolster their case. Finally, it should be noted that Catelyn tries to avoid being recognized or having to confront Tyrion.

At the moment she is revealed, Catelyn makes a major decision on the spot, but she’s fully aware that she’s taking a major risk. She attempts to mitigate this risk in two ways – first, rather than simply kidnapping Tyrion by force of arms, she calls upon the crowd to “seize him and help me return him to Winterfell to await the king’s justice…in the name of King Robert,” making it a citizen’s arrest. As a Lady of rank in a world without a formal police force or public prosecutors, she has every right to make this arrest – indeed, private prosecutions is how criminal justice works in Westeros. Secondly, she shows her strong grasp on feudal politics by summoning the bannermen of House Whent (so the might of Harrenhal is involved), House Bracken, and House Frey to her aid (which she needs if she’s going to actually effect arrest and transport her prisoner to the Eyrie); this follows a rather interesting passage where Catelyn ruminates that the loyalty of many of her father’s bannermen (both those who fought for House Targaryen and the Late Lord Frey) are so uncertain. 

These are not the actions of a stupid woman, and self-evidently from the text not the actions of a woman who’s ignorant or uncaring of the risks she’s taking.

Historical Analysis:

The warp and weft of historical thought is the interplay between historical forces, those subterranean pressures of economics, society, culture, thought, and environment that build up over centuries and unseen and unawares guide the actions of entire civilizations, and historical contingency, the stubborn resistance of individual agency and human free will to the concept of “inevitability” or “destiny.” The rebuke of “for the want of a nail” reminds us that the smallest of actions, the humblest of people, can shape the course of events.

And this is one of those moments of contingency. There simply was no way to predict that Catelyn Stark would arrive at the Inn of the Crossroads in time to run across Tyrion Lannister, nor was it at all likely that Littlefinger accused him with this in mind. Likewise, Catelyn has no way to know that her husband has resigned the Handship just long enough that Jaime Lannister can cripple him with legal impunity, which in turn will delay Eddard Stark’s investigation long enough that, rather than the Lannisters being exposed as incestuous traitors and brought down by an alliance of Houses Stark, Tully, Baratheon, Tyrell, and possibly Arryn, Lord Stark will be executed at the command of King Joffrey.

Indeed, as people have noted, GRRM has to do some rather fancy footwork to make their intersection work: Catelyn Stark arrives in King’s Landing roughly at the same time that Tyrion leaves the Wall and both of them are riding horses that can travel  Tyrion then travels roughly 2,000 miles from the Wall to the Inn whereas Catelyn travels 400 miles from King’s Landing to the Inn and yet arrives there at the same time. Now, mounted knights of the period could travel upwards of 50-60 miles in a day, so you’d expect Tyrion to be four days from Winterfell when Catelyn hits the Inn of the Crossroads. Realistically, they should have intersected somewhere around Moat Cailin – but Martin clearly needed them to meet at a place on neutral territory so that word can get out and so that Catelyn makes for the Eyrie, since at Moat Cailin, Catelyn could have thrown him into the Stark dungeons then and there, with no way for word to get out.


This gets us to not a historical but a literary principle – the demands of classical Greek tragedy. Developing out of the ceremonies of Dynosian worship in ancient Attic Greece, and given the key elements of the form (multiple actors so that dramatic conflict can occur, a chorus to both act as minor characters but also to provide the commentary that reinforces the key themes of the drama, and attention paid to psychology as well as circumstance), one absolute necessity is an act of tragic hubris that brings on the nemesis or destruction of the hero. Think Oedipus murdering a stranger in a fit of rage, unaware that his rash action will bring about the prophecy he’s fled his home to avoid; Agamemnon stepping across royal purple to return to his home where his murder is committed or Orestes who is commanded by the gods to murder his mother, despite the torment that must result; or Jason, whose desire for a new family destroys his own. Critical to the act of hubris is the ignorance of what will come:

There may be many shapes of mystery,
And many things God makes to be,
Past hope or fear.
And the end men looked for cometh not,
And a path is there where no man thought.
So hath it fallen here. (Euripedes, The Bacchae)

As I have argued before, Catelyn Stark is a Greek tragic heroine, a woman dedicated to family by her House and her character, who in her second chapter hopes for another child, who nonetheless helps to bring about the downfall of her family. George R.R Martin literally bends space and time in order to make her fateful meeting with Tyrion happen, just recently plants in her mind from a trusted childhood friend that Tyrion is responsible for the attempted assassination of her son. If you want to condemn Catelyn Stark for “starting the war,” you might as well blame Oedipus for murdering his father and marrying his mother, or George R.R Martin for writing her tragedy. 

Note – this is not to say Catelyn is blameless. She can, and does, make some rather enormous mistakes with tragic consequences that she should have known better, but this isn’t one of them. What is an act of omission that Catelyn can be blamed for is that she doesn’t immediately send word to Riverrun and to Winterfell, if not to her husband in King’s Landing, that she’s captured Tyrion and that they need to prepare for war with the Lannisters. Her failure to communicate is that contingent “wanted nail.”

What If?

As I’ve been re-reading A Game of Thrones, I’ve been thinking about what the crucial turning points are, those moments of maximum contingency where the course of events could have changed so drastically as to re-orient the entire future of Westeros. Eddard Stark becoming Hand of the King is definitely one of them, Bran’s fall and especially the second assassination attempt against them, and Eddard’s fateful cluster of choices once he learns the truth of the parentage of Cersei’s children. Whatever the final list is, Catelyn and Tyrion meeting at the Inn at the Crossroads will be on the list of the most contingent moments:

  • What if Tyrion and Catelyn never meet each other? This hypothetical shows in reverse how vital this meeting is for GRRM’s plot: if the two ships pass in the night on their way north and south, the rest of the plot careens wildly off its tracks. First of all, war between the Starks and Lannisters is delayed – which means that the Riverlands aren’t burnt before the start of the war, which means Eddard doesn’t send out Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, and Tywin doesn’t start the war right in the middle between the West, Riverrun, and King’s Landing. Second, and this is where you see the cost of Catelyn’s actions, Eddard Stark’s orders to fortify Moat Cailin and White Harbor, and keep Theon Greyjoy under close watch are carried out. In other words, the North mobilizes for war before the Lannisters do – now, instead of a hastily-assembled scratch force being sent out to fight two Lannister hosts who have already reduced much of the Riverlands, the Starks potentially have as many as 45,000 men of the North mobilized for war and potentially the capacity for a naval strike on King’s Landing. Third, as I have already written, Eddard isn’t wounded by Jaime, therefore Jaime’s not on hand to lead an army against Riverrun, Eddard isn’t delayed in his investigations, and it’s quite likely that Cersei and Jaime are arrested as traitors by order of King Robert, which changes everything.
  • What if they’d met at Moat Cailin? Had the two travelers moved at a realistic pace on their intersecting journeys, as I have said, they would have met at Moat Cailin. This would likely have meant Tyrion’s arrest under circumstances in which Catelyn has no need to head to the Eyrie, can control the movement of news south, and where Catelyn has immediate access to ravens. This means that Eddard knows ahead of his resignation (and before the Lannisters) that Tyrion is under arrest and thus the Lannisters will act against him. It also means that Catelyn is also in a position to find out that Littlefinger has lied to them about the dagger used in the assassination attempt (as she will on the mountain roads to the Eyrie), and can inform Eddard of that as well. Since Eddard can easily confirm this fact with anyone who attended that tourney, he now knows that Littlefinger is lying to him and trying to falsely implicate the Lannisters on the attack on his son. Potentially, this brings about the discovery of the entire Littlefinger Conspiracy if Littlefinger breaks under torture, and certainly means that Eddard won’t rely on the Master of Coin when it comes to securing the Goldcloaks, which in turn potentially means that the Regent Queen and Prince Joffrey are successfully arrested – hail King Stannis!
  • What if Catelyn hadn’t arrested Tyrion at the Inn? This is a bit similar to the first case, but it means that Tyrion’s going to arrive in King’s Landing knowing that something really weird is going on with House Stark, which potentially means that Tyrion will be arrested or at the very least contacted first by Eddard instead of his wife. Which again means that Eddard finds out the truth of Littlefinger’s treachery, that the North is mobilized ahead of schedule, and also that one of the sharpest political minds in Westeros is now present to witness what’s about to go down in the capitol. While it probably wouldn’t have happened, an Eddard/Tyrion odd-couple buddy-cop scenario would have been amazing!
  • What if Catelyn had headed North? This is essentially similar to the Moat Cailin case, with the added wrinkle of a really fast chase as Catelyn tries to make it to safety before any ambitious sellsword decides to “rescue” Tyrion in exchange for lots of Lannister gold. It also means that Catelyn finds out Littlefinger’s lies well before she gets to the dungeons but without Lysa’s interference. Which holds out the possibility that once they get to Moat Cailin, Catelyn sends a raven to King’s Landing informing Ned what’s going on, and Tyrion sends a raven to Casterly Rock telling his father that it was all a misunderstanding, and that the real enemy is Littlefinger who tried to set up a civil war.
  • What if Catelyn had headed West? The major difference here is that, with Tyrion behind Riverrun’s walls, Jaime (and to a lesser extent, Tywin) might act more cautiously in attacking the Tullys if they knew that the potential cost of an assault on Riverrun might mean Tyrion’s death.

Book vs. Show: 

Unfortunately, this scene was pretty much lifted, word-for-word, from the book. Nothing to report here.


44 thoughts on “Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Catelyn V

  1. axrendale says:

    Fantastic essay, as always. Your points about the interplay between historical forces and historical contingency were particularly good.

    Regarding the almost innumberable alternative scenarios that can be spun out from this pivotal event in the series, I’d like to add another one, which concerns the events to come in subsequent chapters: what if the Lannisters had responded to Tyrion’s captivity in a different, more moderate fashion?

    Although none of them except Jaime actually like Tyrion on a personal level, the principal players in House Lannister respond to the kidnapping of one of their own in a highly bellicose manner: Lord Tywin (no doubt keeping in mind what happened when Lady Tarbeck took several Lannisters captive during the reign of his father) immediately begins making preparations for war and plans a scheme of his own; Jaime accosts Ned in the streets (and thereby unwittingly sabotages Tywin’s plot to take Ned as a captive), and Cersei badgers Robert without effect. Of these the one who was in the best position to change matters was Cersei: as Tyrion thinks while he is in the skycells, she could easily have defused the situation by insisting that if Tyrion is accused of crimes, he be given a proper trial for them in King’s Landing – something that certainly falls within the rights of the Crown, and a request that would have been very difficult for the Starks to deny. Given such a trial, Tyrion would have had little difficulty proving his innocence, and any number of consequences may have ensued. One of these might indeed have been to expose Littlefinger, but it could also have had negative repurcussions for the Starks, who would have suffered a very public political reverse (and this before Ned had uncovered proof about Joffrey’s parentage).

    Important consequences also came from Ned’s decision to take public responsibility for ordering Tyrion’s arrest: because the Lannisters saw the arrest as a premeditated move that had been ordered by the lord of House Stark, the enmity between the two houses became mutual (whereas before they had viewed Ned as a threat rather than an opponent).

    • stevenattewell says:


      A moderate response doesn’t really fit the realpolitik of Westeros – Tywin is aggressive, but he’s not wrong. A Great House cannot allow a member of their to be kidnapped.

      I’m not sure a public trial would have had that negative a repercussion for House Stark – after all, even without one, Ned gets reappointed fairly easily. And now there’s a public excuse that saves face for both sides: it’s the evil Littlefinger who’s to blame.

  2. Brett says:

    Catelyn Stark arrives in King’s Landing roughly at the same time that Tyrion leaves the Wall and both of them are riding horses that can travel Tyrion then travels roughly 2,000 miles from the Wall to the Inn whereas Catelyn travels 400 miles from King’s Landing to the Inn and yet arrives there at the same time.

    They do? I never got the impression that they leave heading south/north respectively at the same time. Moreover, Tyrion is riding south in the open, without the need to care for concealment. Catelyn is riding north with Ser Rodrik, while being careful not to be spotted – it’s entirely possible that she couldn’t leave King’s Landing on horseback until the opportune time showed up (although I also can’t imagine her hanging around in Littlefinger’s brothel for too long).

    • stevenattewell says:

      Tyrion leaves the same day that Jon does (Jon II), he arrives at the Wall two days after the events of Catelyn III (the second assassination), and Catelyn leaves for King’s Landing 3 days later. Catelyn arrives in King’s Landing really quickly, and leaves the same day after meeting with Eddard; the very next chapter after she arrives in King’s Landing, Tyrion leaves the Wall en route to King’s Landing. This pretty well worked-out timeline suggests a gap of at most 5 days.

      In Catelyn V, we see her travelling north on the main road, and the extent to which she hides herself is to maybe put her hood up if someone passes her on the road, and she’s urgent to get home so that she can warn the north about what’s going to happen.

      We’re talking a five-fold difference in distance, it’s just not credible it would take Catelyn that much longer to go 400 miles.

  3. axrendale says:

    In fairness, the minor bending of time and space to produce dramatic outcomes to advance the plot are not exactly restricted to this one incident in the series. The logistics of Tywin’s rendezvous with the Tyrells in ACOK and their subsequent move to King’s Landing are a little hard to swallow if you go by the timeline in the great thread that you linked to, and Stannis showing up at the Wall in time to scatter Mance Rayder’s army strains credulity a bit.

    • stevenattewell says:

      I don’t hold with that timeline in all particulars.

      However, Tywin’s movement to Bitterbridge and thence to King’s Landing is more realistic: Harrenhal to Bitterbridge is 600 miles, and realistically, Tywin’s horse could have made the journey in 10 days while his foot went straight for King’s Landing (a shorter distance). Bitterbridge to King’s Landing is only 300-odd miles, which is a quick 5 days ride.

      Stannis to the Wall is trickier, but you have to take into account sorcerously-enhanced sea travel. 2400 miles is a long distance, but medieval ships could travel 120-200 miles in a day if they had the wind, so potentially, he could have gotten there in under two weeks.

      • axrendale says:

        Regarding Tywin’s movement to King’s Landing, on a re-read of the chapters in question, it seems that the decisive factor in enabling such a large army to move so quickly was transportation by water. According to Brynden Tully (functioning as the author’s mouthpiece) in ASOS, Tywin apparently recieved messages alerting of the danger being faced by the capital while he was fighting the riverlords in the Battle of the Fords, and pulled his forces back to conduct a forced-march to Tumbler’s Falls, where they joined with the Tyrell army that was waiting there. The combined force then used barges to travel down the Blackwater, before reassembling in the shadow of the Kingswood.

  4. CoffeeHound14 says:

    I think there is additional interesting fallout in the scenario where Cat chooses to take Tyrion to Riverrun. Provided that they succeed in getting him there, Catelyn is now in a position to advise Hoster and Edmure of the rising tensions between the Starks and the Lannisters. This means that the Tullys have a head start in mobilizing their troops which has enormous implications for the war, since a key determining factor in the early conflict is how drastically the Tullys are outnumbered at both the Battle of the Golden Tooth, and the First Battle of Riverrun. Furthermore, Catelyn might have convinced Edmure of the foolishness of distributing his troops all across the border. In short, the Tullys might not have suffered two enormous losses at the beginning of the war, the Riverlands might not have been pillaged, and the Starks would have had a more effective ally. Between the two houses, they might have mustered enough troops to achieve numerical parity, and that would have drastically changed the nature of the war.

    As it was, though, the riverlords lost something like a quarter or more of their strength, and more importantly, their harvest.

    • stevenattewell says:

      Riverlands military strength is hard to gauge, since after two devastating losses, they can still muster 20,000 men before they are dispersed over the region to retake their homes. The pen and paper RPG estimates a total strength of 45,000, which seems about right given what happens.

      Incidentally, it’s not that they’re so much outnumbered but how unprepared they are. Houses Vance and Piper had 4,000 men stationed defensively to block an advance from Golden Tooth, but the banners had yet to be called. A few weeks later, Edmure has 16,000 men under arms to Jaime’s 15,000, but his men are green and unprepared, and he’s only called in the banners closest to him.

      So actually, Jaime was potentially unnumbered 15,000 to 20,000, but used first local superiority of numbers, then initiative and superior experience and discipline to overrun the forces of the Riverlands.

      • CoffeeHound14 says:

        I didn’t realize that Edmure’s force at Riverrun was that large. But I think that the point still stands. If Edmure had managed to muster more troops, he could have drastically outnumbered Jaime’s force. Also, if the Vance/Piper force had been augmented and had not lost the battle under the Golden Tooth so spectacularly, the forces at Riverrun would not have had to fight a battle in a condition of poor morale (I can only imagine that part of the reason for the loss of the Battle of Riverrun was a result of poor morale following the route of the army below the Tooth).

      • CoffeeHound14 says:

        Do you intend to include a strategic analysis of the opening stages of the war when you get to those chapters?

  5. John W says:

    I wonder if Catelyn and Tyrion had met in Moat Cailin and she imprisoned him, would it have stayed a secret or would Varys had somehow found out about it and if he did would he had passed that on to someone else?

    Also if Tyrion and Catelyn had come to conclusion that they were part of Littlefinger’s plan and Tyrion had sent a letter to Tywin to explain, would Tywin had been placated or would he still feel insulted enough to marshal his forces for a reprisal?

    • axrendale says:

      Probably he would have simply redirected his wrath onto the appropriate target – the point is not so much Tywin’s ire at the situation as it is the need to show that messing with his family comes with dire consequences.

    • stevenattewell says:

      1. I think it would have taken longer for the info to get out, and who knows if Varys would have leaked it to the Lannisters per se?

      2. I don’t know. Outright war might be a bit much, but he’d probably want some form of apology and a formal cover story that denied he was ever kidnapped, because that’s how Lannisters roll.

    • peash says:

      Varys, given how unhappy he is about the increase in tensions, I think he would have kept a Moat Cailin arrest on the downlow.

      I can see Tywin doing both, he needs to take revenge on the Starks to underline the don’t take Lannisters point, but he also is going to want to go all Reynes of Castermere on Littlefinger for trying to screw him over, and I don’t see Ned or Robert trying to stop him

  6. […] is that she doesn’t inform Eddard about any of this the moment she gets to the Eyrie. Or her father or Edmure, for that […]

  7. […] in order for the War of Five Kings to happen. If Catelyn’s tragedy is like something out of Greek tragedy where a woman devoted to family is made to suffer the loss of her (she thinks) entire family, […]

  8. […] Catelyn V (assessing Catelyn as a political actor, contingency and inevitability in the meeting of Catelyn and Tyrion, GRRM as a Greek god) […]

  9. inuyesta says:

    I think you greatly overstate the ease with which Ned could have “confirmed” that Littlefinger did not lose the dagger to Tyrion in a bet at the tourney. You’re right that there might have been a lot (though I doubt “hundreds”) of people who plausibly could have been in a position to know about what bet, if any, transpired between Tyrion and Littlefinger in the tilt between Jaime and Ser Loras. However…

    (1) …the tournament occurred about a year before Littlefinger makes his claim about what happened there. How many of those people have a strong enough memory to recall perfectly the details of a bet they were not involved in from a year ago, especially given that Littlefinger and Tyrion would hardly be the only ones making wagers? It seems to me that only someone who was specifically eavesdropping on Littlefinger or King Robert (to whom Littlefinger actually lost the dagger) and making detailed mental notes would be in a position to remember such a thing. Obviously there are ears everywhere in King’s Landing, but I think this narrows our field of people who could potentially ruin Littlefinger’s tale by a lot.

    (2) …even if there were such an active eavesdropper, how would Ned Stark find him/her? Ned has never spent any significant amount of time at court; he is not at all plugged into the spying network except for what he hears from Littlefinger and Varys, and he has no true allies except for the drunken and oblivious King. I would liken Ned Stark trying to find a reliable source on this to a person who has lost their senses of sight and touch trying to find a needle in a haystack while some malfeasant whispers misleading instructions in their ear.

    (3) …more to the point in (2), you have to look at things from Ned’s perspective. When Littlefinger makes his claim about the bet, he does so not just to Ned, but also to Catelyn and *Varys.* Varys is the one person in all of King’s Landing who is most likely to know if Littlefinger is lying about that dagger, but Varys is utterly silent both at the time that Littlefinger tells his tale and in subsequent interactions. Actually, Varys is worse than silent; as soon as he sees the dagger, he professes to know nothing about it, which would undermine his credibility should he dispute Littlefinger’s version of events later. Ned might not like the Spider, but if he was ever going to check on Littlefinger’s story, Varys is probably the one to whom Ned would go. If Varys chooses to remain silent or even actively suppress the truth of Littlefinger’s lie, as he does choose, Ned is never going to get anywhere trying to verify Littlefinger’s story.

    (4) …going backwards, let’s suppose that my argument in (1) is wrong and that Ned could theoretically find the truth about Littlefinger and Tyrion’s bet from any number of people in Kings Landing. Of those people, how many of them would Ned really trust over Littlefinger, if it came down to a direct he said/she said argument? Whatever else Littlefinger is, he is Catelyn’s childhood friend and of a house sworn to House Arryn and the Vale, where Ned’s foster parent Jon Arryn was Lord, and where his sister-in-law now rules. Nearly everyone else at court, on the other hand, will seem much more beholden to the Queen and the Lannisters by comparison. Ned already suspects the Lannisters of having poisoned Jon Arryn thanks to Lysa’s letter, and he’s been deeply mistrustful of them ever since the days of the revolution, when Tywin stayed neutral far too long for Ned’s liking, took King’s Landing by trickery, and Jaime sat on the Iron Throne after killing the Mad King. Ned might not trust Littlefinger, but he trusts anyone associated with the Queen and the Lannisters – meaning virtually all of the rest of the capital – even less.

    tl;dr, I don’t think figuring out that Littlefinger was lying about the dagger would have been nearly so simple for Ned as you have frequently said it would.

    • 1. LF is a member of the Small Council and Tyrion is a member of the Royal family who happens to be a dwarf; they are people who get noticed. And as we’ve seen, these bets are not being made privately – people are shouting them out to one another in crowded stands of other political elites. Moreover, we’re talking about something that is a pattern of behavior – Tyrion always bets on Jaime and LF is saying he bet against him. Moreover, Robert was very public about the dagger, using it to humiliate Jaime. There are plenty of people who would remember – Renly for one, Ser Barristan for another, or King Robert himself.

      2. All Ned would have to do is ask Renly or Ser Barristan or Robert.

      3. Varys could hold back or not, depending on what his interests are. But he’s not the only option.

      4. Given that Ned REALLY doesn’t like Littlefinger, I think he’d trust Renly or Ser Barristan or Robert more than him.

    • YZQ says:

      It was Cat who dispelled Ned’s suspicions on Littlefinger, but Ned probably didn’t remember that it was his brother who kicked LF’s ass.

  10. […] begin with, we can see George R.R Martin in his role as the Greek Fates again, ratcheting the wheels of inevitability into position. As much as it might seem that Yoren and […]

  11. Scott Trotter says:

    The funny thing about the timeline issue is that it could have been resolved had Tyrion simply left the wall earlier than he did. By my calculations based on the clues in Jon III and Tyrion III, Tyrion spent as long as 8 weeks at Castle Black. Beats me what he was doing all that time, besides reading the books that he had borrowed from Winterfell. GRRM obviously wanted him to be there with Jon when Bran woke up, so that Jon could in turn ask Tyrion to help Bran. Still, if Martin could have jiggered events around so that Tyrion only stayed a few weeks at the wall before heading back, having him and Catelyn meet at the Crossroads when they did wouldn’t have been such a glaring boo-boo.

    Another possibility would have been for her and Ser Rodrik to kill some time in the south before heading north. For example, they could have resolved to try and return north by ship, but then be unable to find one in Kings Landing. Then they might have moved up the coast to Duskendale, and be unable to find a ship there either. Then move on to Maidenpool with the same result, nobody’s going north. Then they say “oh well,” and head over to the Kingsroad for the long ride north, just in time to meet Tyrion coming south.

  12. […] inherited that particular trait from their Durrandon ancestors. Thus, Catelyn’s mission is preordained to failure by the Durrandon blood these men share, the ancestral traits that are driving these two stags to […]

  13. […] Catelyn at her best as a political thinker. For all that her political moves get reduced down to capturing Tyrion and then letting Jaime go, it’s impressive to see how quickly Catelyn puts the pieces […]

  14. […] have failed. In other words, we should see GRRM’s thumb pressing very hard down onto the scales of fate at this […]

  15. […] to an extent, it’s not Edmure’s fault that, just like his sister, GRRM has chosen him to be the unwitting agent of his own cause’s destruction. At the same […]

  16. […] in Catelyn VII, is one she comes in for an enormous amount of criticism for. However, as with seizing Tyrion in AGOT, I’m struck by how much, contrary to the way she portrayed in the fandom, Catelyn really does […]

  17. […] Catelyn Stark’s most controversial decision, only rivaled by her decision to arrest Tyrion in Cat V of AGOT. If that decision causes many to blame her for starting the War of Five Kings, it’s this […]

  18. […] 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 revealing as to […]

  19. […] into a popular hero admired by all and the singer who insulted Tyrion by playing songs of his father’s victories and of his own defeat now sings of Tyrion’s victory. More importantly, we see Tywin […]

  20. […] talk about the long-suffering Edmure Tully, whom Catelyn seemingly permanently sees as just her fuck-up little brother – hence her comment earlier about “it would not have surprised her to learn that […]

  21. Bwbah says:

    A couple of points:

    First, Catelyn is going to be very reluctant to send anything imprortant to Ned via raven; the whole reason he was sending his orders by way of Cat was because he was pretty sure Pycelle was compromised and even if the man himself is too stupid to figure out the implications it’s certain his handler will.

    Second, because the arrest was so public there is no way a man as prickly about appearances (and topped off with an unhealthy amount of misogyny) as Tywin Lannister would allow Lady Stark to get away with such a thing. This is, after all, the same man who sicced the Mountain on Ellia of Dorne because because she had the temerity to marry Rhaegar after he rejected a match with Cersei.

    Even if Tywin could be convinced the arrest was some japery of Tyrion’s he’d still feel the need for some disproportionate retribution.

  22. Jon Dow says:

    “Catelyn Stark arrives in King’s Landing roughly at the same time that Tyrion leaves the Wall”

    Citation needed.

    • Errant_Bard and PrivateMajor’s annotated timelines put the time difference between Eddard IV and Tyrion III at a week and five days respectively.

      • Jon Dow says:

        Ah, weak. Those timelines are terrible. They just place events to try to make certain ones make sense but simply make others (like here) make less sense…

        There’s a few cases where GRRM did paint himself into a corner, but it looks like plenty of wiggle room for this one.

  23. […] penchant for treachery, and is looking to guard her family against it by trusting to the one bedrock custom that no one would be insane enough to […]

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