“Jaime?” he croaked, almost choking on the blood that filled his mouth. Who else would save him, if not his brother?
“Be still, my lord, you’re hurt bad.” A boy’s voice, that makes no sense, thought Tyrion. It sounded almost like Pod.
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.
Tyrion XIV is a wild, chaotic ride of a chapter that rattles along at dizzying impressionist speed, as if George R.R Martin had caught battle fever from his own protagonist. And like so many wild charges throughout military history, it ends in a sickening crash and Tyrion Lannister literally goes one bridge too far.
Tyrion’s Ride at the King’s Gate
And it all starts so well, as Tyrion’s crazy gamble from last chapter pays off. With a full sortie party behind him, Tyrion acts decisely to stop the landing landing party on the tourney grounds from breaking through the King’s Gate:
The slot in his helm limited Tyrion’s vision to what was before him, but when he turned his head he saw three galleys beached on the tourney grounds, and a fourth, larger than the others, standing well out into the river, firing barrels of burning pitch from a catapult.
“Wedge,” Tyrion commanded as his men streamed out of the sally port. They formed up in spearhead, with him at the point…They rode knee to knee, following the line of the looming walls. Joffrey’s standard streamed crimson and gold from Ser Mandon’s staff, stag and lion dancing hoof to paw. They went from a walk to a trot, wheeling wide around the base of the tower. Arrows darted from the city walls while stones spun and tumbled overhead, crashing down blindly onto earth and water, steel and flesh. Ahead loomed the King’s Gate and a surging mob of soldiers wrestling with a huge ram, a shaft of black oak with an iron head. Archers off the ships surrounded them, loosing their shafts at whatever defenders showed themselves on the gatehouse walls. “Lances,” Tyrion commanded. He sped to a canter.
The ground was sodden and slippery, equal parts mud and blood. His stallion stumbled over a corpse, his hooves sliding and churning the earth, and for an instant Tyrion feared his charge would end with him tumbling from the saddle before he even reached the foe, but somehow he and his horse both managed to keep their balance. Beneath the gate men were turning, hurriedly trying to brace for the shock. Tyrion lifted his axe and shouted, “King’s Landing!” Other voices took up the cry, and now the arrowhead flew, a long scream of steel and silk, pounding hooves and sharp blades kissed by fire.
Of all of the landings we’ve seen to date, this is the most well-organized, with three ships having successfully landed their forces in one location without getting attacked, and a larger warship providing covering fire from the river. Moreover, the infantry are working together effectively to suppress the defense at the King’s Gate while the men on the ram break down the doors. Indeed, if they had broken through at this point, the River Row would have given them a straight shot to attack the defenders at the Mud Gate from the flank, at which point the Goldcloaks would have broken and Stannis’ main body of troops would have a straight shot into the city. Indeed, it’s quite possible that Joffrey would have fallen or been taken prisoner in the process. Instead, Tyrion’s flying wedge completely wrecks the forces at the King’s Gate, who drop the battering ram and flee the field. The victory is complete and total, but just as importantly, Tyrion’s argument to the men that they should fight for the city they live in succeeds, creating the foundation for the Halfman mythos that I’ll discuss later.
Ser Mandon Moore took the place to his right, flames shimmering against the white enamel of his armor, his dead eyes shining passionlessly through his helm. He rode a coal-black horse barded all in white, with the pure white shield of the Kingsguard strapped to his arm. On the left, Tyrion was surprised to see Podrick Payne, a sword in his hand. “You’re too young,” he said at once. “Go back.”
But even as Tyrion experiences the euphoria of his first successful command, it’s worth noting that he’s literally riding with his death (in the person of Mandon Moore) on his right side and his salvation (in the person of Podrick Payne) on his left side, waiting for the final moment where they both will be called upon. And on a re-read, you really notice how Mandon Moore is described as akin to an avatar of death, an enigmatic cipher who kills and dies without any sign of interiority or humanity, and by contrast how Podrick’s loyalty extends beyond Moore’s robotic following of orders to a deeper devotion which is lucky for Tyrion, who would otherwise be a corpse at the bottom of the Blackwater Rush.
Tyrion’s Ride to the Mud Gate
Despite Tyrion’s victory at the King’s Gate, there’s no time to rest on his laurels. A stationary knight, after all, is just a bigger target for an archer; it’s the speed of a knightly charge that makes them such a terror on the battlefields. Hence, Tyrion has to keep the charge going or lose momentum:
He spurred his horse back into motion, trotting over and around a scatter of corpses. Downriver, the Blackwater was jammed with the hulks of burning galleys. Patches of wildfire still floated atop the water, sending fiery green plumes swirling twenty feet into the air. They had dispersed the men on the battering ram, but he could see fighting all along the riverfront. Ser Balon Swann’s men, most like, or Lancel’s, trying to throw the enemy back into the water as they swarmed ashore off the burning ships. “We’ll ride for the Mud Gate,” he commanded.
Ser Mandon shouted, “The Mud Gate!” And they were off again…Through the steel and padding of his helm, he heard anguished screams, the hungry crackle of flame, the shuddering of warhorns, and the brazen blast of trumpets. Fire was everywhere. Gods be good, no wonder the Hound was frightened. It’s the flames he fears…
Because of his loss of vantage point, Tyrion’s description of the battle becomes more impressionistic and less precise, so it’s hard to see who’s winning or losing. There’s also an interesting dichotomy between this chapter and Davos III, as the landings seem far more successful and numerous than they did in that chapter. Now it’s possible this is driven by their different perspectives – Davos’ anxiety about the battle not going well makes it seem like more of the landings are defeated than was the case, and vice versa for Tyrion. It’s also possible that more rafts were able to cross the burning river than I had thought, but that seems a bit less likely because otherwise Tyrion would be facing thousands and not hundreds of men.
The Legend of the Halfman
Regardless of which is the case, it’s clear that this is the opportune moment, where the battle could go either way depending on how morale and tempo shake out. If the men on the beach can consolidate and make a strong push, they could force the Mud Gate and quickly be in the heart of the city – but luckily, Tyrion’s men are there to deliver a devastating flank attack. And it is at this moment, critically once Tyrion has triumphed and not before, that Tyrion finally gets the love and admiration that, according to Cersei, he’s always wanted:
“King’s Landing!” his men cried raggedly, and “Halfman! Halfman!” He wondered who had taught them that.
Men were crawling from the river, men burned and bleeding, coughing up water, staggering, most dying. He led his troop among them, delivering quicker cleaner deaths to those strong enough to stand. The war shrank to the size of his eye slit. Knights twice his size fled from him, or stood and died. They seemed little things, and fearful. “Lannister!” he shouted, slaying. His arm was red to the elbow, glistening in the light off the river. When his horse reared again, he shook his axe at the stars and heard them call out “Halfman! Halfman!” Tyrion felt drunk.
The battle fever. He had never thought to experience it himself, though Jaime had told him of it often enough. How time seemed to blur and slow and even stop, how the past and the future vanished until there was nothing but the instant, how fear fled, and thought fled, and even your body. “You don’t feel your wounds then, or the ache in your back from the weight of the armor, or the sweat running down into your eyes. You stop feeling, you stop thinking, you stop being you, there is only the fight, the foe, this man and then the next and the next and the next, and you know they are afraid and tired but you’re not, you’re alive, and death is all around you but their swords move so slowly, you can dance through them laughing.” Battle fever. I am half a man and drunk with slaughter, let them kill me if they can!
In this moment where his men are cheering for both the Halfman and the city he’s been trying to save for an entire book, Tyrion is seen as a hero, the unlikely underdog who’s saved the city in its hour of need. This is the identity that Tyrion has been longing for from the beginning and which he has been denied repeatedly, and it’s given to him like a conqueror’s laurels. It’s a crucial moment, because without this, we don’t have a sense of loss when Tyrion wakes up to see that his glory has been stolen from him and his political career has been nipped in the bud. If he hadn’t ridden on to the bridge of boats, Tyrion could have used this legend as the foundation for a new way to live, and reckon with his father on different terms.
However, there’s more to the legend of the Halfman than just a re-appropriation of the term – in this moment where Tyrion is most loved, he is also most like Jaime. Unlike his desperate combat on the High Road, and distinct from his attempt to survive in the confusion of the Green Fork, Tyrion feels completely in control, a giant “drunk with slaughter.” Both internally and externally, Tyrion is plugging into Westeros’ warrior culture in a way he really hasn’t been able to do in his life – and one of the things that distinguishes a warrior culture from a soldierly culture is that individual combat is seen as a place where meaning and worth are found, and therefore a joyous occasion. (I’m especially reminded of the quasi-erotic way that violence is described in the Iliad, both in terms of the description of beautiful bodies smashing against each other and the dialogue which understands surviving such a clash as a euphoric, ecstatic experience. Nietzsche’s first essay in the Genealogy of Morals is also a good précis on warrior culture, as long as you don’t fall into the teenager’s trap of taking him seriously.)
As the commander at the head of the charge, Tyrion feels released from the limitations of his body (and thus completely accepted) – and that’s why I think it’s important that Tyrion’s wallowing in misery in ADWD ends when he gains command of an army for the first time since ACOK. Whether it’s a healthy thing to think of your best self as a berserker warlord is a topic for another time, but it’s something to keep an eye on in TWOW.
A Bridge Too Far
And therefore it’s fitting that, rather than having his doom fall on him from out of nowhere, Tyrion rushes joyfully towards it:
Steel-clad men-at-arms were clambering off a broken galley that had smashed into a pier. So many, where are they coming from? Squinting into the smoke and glare, Tyrion followed them back out into the river. Twenty galleys were jammed together out there, maybe more, it was hard to count. Their oars were crossed, their hulls locked together with grappling lines, they were impaled on each other’s rams, tangled in webs of fallen rigging. One great hulk floated hull up between two smaller ships. Wrecks, but packed so closely that it was possible to leap from one deck to the other and so cross the Blackwater.
Hundreds of Stannis Baratheon’s boldest were doing just that. Tyrion saw one great fool of a knight trying to ride across, urging a terrified horse over gunwales and oars, across tilting decks slick with blood and crackling with green fire. We made them a bloody bridge, he thought in dismay. Parts of the bridge were sinking and other parts were afire and the whole thing was creaking and shifting and like to burst asunder at any moment, but that did not seem to stop them. “Those are brave men,” he told Ser Balon in admiration. “Let’s go kill them.”
This last charge by Stannis’ men and Tyrion’s counter-charge cannot be understood apart from the ideals of military culture. Stannis’ men are literally charging across a bridge over hell in a stunt that is so reckless and outlandishly courageous that their enemies must emulate them or admit that they fall short of the mark. At the same time, there is no tactical logic here. Compared to the rafts and landing ships that we’ve seen used before, the bridge of ships is totally unreliable as a crossing point and relying on it to transport men is foolhardy. Likewise, there’s no reason for Tyrion and his men to cross onto the bridge themselves; the tactically sound plan in this moment would be to attack the structure of the bridge itself at its anchorage on the north bank and allow the river to do their work with them. Leading 100-200 men on to that structure, especially since they’re mounted on horses, risks overloading the makeshift support and sending both sides crashing into the water.
But by this point, Tyrion’s intelligence (the side of him we could call the Imp) has been subsumed by his battle fever (the side of him we could call the Halfman); the sheer momentum of the charge that has carried him the entire length of the city won’t let him stop until it’s too late. And almost instantly when Tyrion gets onto the bridge, he knows it’s a mistake (indeed, had he just waited the situation would have resolved itself):
Stones began to plummet down, crashing through the decks and turning men to pulp, until the whole bridge gave a shudder and twisted violently underfoot, knocking him sideways.
Suddenly the river was pouring into his helm. He ripped it off and crawled along the listing deck until the water was only neck deep. A groaning filled the air, like the death cries of some enormous beast. The ship, he had time to think, the ship’s about to tear loose. The broken galleys were ripping apart, the bridge breaking apart. No sooner had he come to that realization than he heard a sudden crack, loud as thunder, the deck lurched beneath him, and he slid back down into the water.
The list was so steep he had to climb back up, hauling himself along a snapped line inch by bloody inch. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the hulk they’d been tangled with drifting downstream with the current, spinning slowly as men leapt over her side. Some wore Stannis’s flaming heart, some Joffrey’s stag-and-lion, some other badges, but it seemed to make no matter. Fires were burning upstream and down. On one side of him was a raging battle, a great confusion of bright banners waving above a sea of struggling men, shield walls forming and breaking, mounted knights cutting through the press, dust and mud and blood and smoke. On the other side, the Red Keep loomed high on its hill, spitting fire. They were on the wrong sides, though. For a moment Tyrion thought he was going mad, that Stannis and the castle had traded places. How could Stannis cross to the north bank? Belatedly he realized that the deck was turning, and somehow he had gotten spun about, so castle and battle had changed sides. Battle, what battle, if Stannis hasn’t crossed who is he fighting? Tyrion was too tired to make sense of it. His shoulder ached horribly, and when he reached up to rub it he saw the arrow, and remembered. I have to get off this ship. Downstream was nothing but a wall of fire, and if the wreck broke loose the current would take him right into it.
Stones falling from the sky, water bubbling up underneath his feet, fire on the water – this is a moment of complete elemental chaos and Tyrion’s reason, which has been his staff throughout the series to date, abandons him. Geography itself begins to transmute in front of his eyes as the city and Stannis’ camp changes sides, armies war against themselves, banners lose the meaning they are intended for, and fire and smoke obscure everything. And thus Tyrion Lannister is the first person in the book to see the Tyrell charge that will win the Battle of the Blackwater, but he can’t understand what he’s seeing, lost as he is in a literal fog of war.
A Stab to Remember, Starring Ser Mandy Moore
And all of this brings us to one of the great unsolved mysteries in the fandom – who ordered Ser Mandon Moore of the Kingsguard to attempt to assassinate Tyrion Lannister, the Hand of the King. Part of what makes this so mysterious is that it seems like a completely unnecessary assassination attempt: just as Tyrion only needed to wait for the bridge to collapse to end the threat from Stannis’ men, all Mandon Moore had to do was leave Tyrion there to die, or simply let his hand slip as Tyrion is halfway across the gap:
“MY LORD! TAKE MY HAND! MY LORD TYRION!”
There on the deck of the next ship, across a widening gulf of black water, stood Ser Mandon Moore, a hand extended. Yellow and green fire shone against the white of his armor, and his lobstered gauntlet was sticky with blood, but Tyrion reached for it all the same, wishing his arms were longer. It was only at the very last, as their fingers brushed across the gap, that something niggled at him…Ser Mandon was holding out his left hand, why…
Was that why he reeled backward, or did he see the sword after all? He would never know. The point slashed just beneath his eyes, and he felt its cold hard touch and then a blaze of pain. His head spun around as if he’d been slapped. The shock of the cold water was a second slap more jolting than the first. He flailed for something to grab on to, knowing that once he went down he was not like to come back up. Somehow his hand found the splintered end of a broken oar. Clutching it tight as a desperate lover, he shinnied up foot by foot. His eyes were full of water, his mouth was full of blood, and his head throbbed horribly. Gods give me strength to reach the deck…There was nothing else, only the oar, the water, the deck.
And suddenly he lurched to the left, staggering into the rail. Wood split, and Ser Mandon Moore vanished with a shout and a splash. An instant later, the hulls came slamming together again, so hard the deck seemed to jump.
In attempting to sort out who ordered this murder – and for the sake of brevity and clarity I’ll restrict myself to the three main candidates discussed, Cersei, Joffrey, and Littlefinger – I think the best place to start is the old policeman’s rubric of Motive, Means, and Opportunity:
- Motive: This factor is actually a commonality among the three main candidates, so can’t be used to exclude any of them. Cersei believes that Tyrion is both her prophesied nemesis and an immediate threat; Joffrey hates Tyrion for challenging his psychopathic tendencies and physically striking him; Littlefinger has every reason to believe that Tyrion would seek revenge against him for fingering him as Bran’s would-be killer and resents Tyrion outplaying him with the three messages. Between the three of them, I would rank Cersei first as she has the most pressing reason to want him dead, Joffrey second because the riot was very recent, and Littlefinger third because the most that Tyrion has done to him is mildly embarrass him.
- Means: in other words, who had influence over Ser Mandon Moore? Well, Cersei is the Queen Regent and Ser Mandon was keen to enforce her orders against Tyrion. Joffrey is the King and Mandon Moore is notoriously obsessed with obeying the King’s orders and protecting the King’s person (against Tyrion as well) during the riot. As for Littlefinger…this is where it gets thin. Yes, he’s from the Vale as are many of Littlefinger’s pawns (the Kettleblacks, Ser Hugh, etc.), but he was brought to King’s Landing before Littlefinger was, and critically, Moore lacks the ambition and need for money that the rest of Littlefinger’s pawns all share, and Littlefinger doesn’t have any direct authority over him. In turn, that means that he doesn’t have any of the normal levers that Littlefinger uses to gain control over people. So to me, I would put Cersei and Joffrey as tied for first and Littlefinger a very distant third.
- Opportunity: here’s where we see real differences. Given the extreme happenstance nature of Tyrion’s sortie, this couldn’t have been meticulously planned out in advance, because had the Hound not broken, Tyrion would not be in a position to die on the battlefield away from witnesses. And Littlefinger has been out of King’s Landing since Tyrion VIII. Some people have suggested that he’s still in communication with people inside the city, but I find the evidence for that a bit sketchy – Ser Dontos telling Sansa to wait for his friend to come back and then changing his tune after Littlefinger returns to the city suggests otherwise – and even if that was the case, he wouldn’t be able to information back and forth fast enough to be aware of fast-moving military communications. Cersei I would place second – she’s in the Red Keep, where Mandon Moore and Joffrey were prior to leaving for the walls, but she’s also walled up in Maegor’s Holdfast when Tyrion joins the sortie and not able to get a secret message out to Mandon Moore. But Joffrey…Mandon Moore has been by his side right up until Tyrion leaves for the King’s Gate, and could have easily whispered a royal command into his ear when they left the Mud Gate.
So in general, I lean towards Joffrey or Cersei and away from Littlefinger. So to narrow things down, let’s talk Style. First, Mandon Moore is a lackey of the Lannisters, which fits Cersei’s style (the assassination of King Robert, for example), and somewhat fits Joffrey’s style (using the Kingsguard to beat Sansa). By contrast, Littlefinger’s kills tend not to be stooges – he uses Lysa to kill Jon Arryn, he uses Olenna Tyrell to kill Joffrey, and he kills Lysa with his own hands; the only case that would seem to fit is the murder of Ser Hugh via Gregor Clegane. Second, as I’ve said above, it’s a sloppy attempt, which fits Cersei’s style (the attempted 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 attempt, which speaks to some skill. (On the other hand, the fact that it’s a hired blade rather than an attempted “accident” is more in keeping with Joffrey.)
Moreover there’s a number of elements of Littlefinger’s style that we don’t see in this killing: Baelish murders (Jon Arryn, Lysa, etc.) incredibly cleanly and leaves few details up to chance. Moreover, Littlefinger never uses a blade – he uses poison to kill Jon Arryn and Joffrey and possibly Robert Arryn, and pushes Lysa out the Moon Door despite having the Valyrian dagger. Finally, Littlefinger almost always uses the aftermath to significant advantage – he uses Jon Arryn’s death to provoke a conflict between the Starks and Lannisters, he uses Joffrey’s death as cover for Sansa’s escape among other things, he pins Lysa’s death on Marillion and to set up Robert Arryn’s assassination, and so on. But nothing really would come out of Tyrion’s death that wouldn’t have happened regardless when Tywin assumed the Handship.
So overall, I find myself torn between Joffrey and Cersei as candidates.
When I last left off in the story of the Fourth Crusade, the boom chain guarding the Golden Horn had been lowered by the victorious Crusaders who occupied Galata. The Venetian navy sailed into the Golden Horn and quickly established dominance on the water, driving the neglected Byzantine fleet into its harbors; the Crusader camp shifted from the Anatolian coast to the city’s east to the northern bank of the Golden Horn, pivoting the axis of the entire battle:
After a week of exchanging artillery fire between the Crusaders’ camp and the northern walls of the city, the first amphibious assault began on July 17, 1203. The Crusaders proper attacked the Blachernae Palace at the northwestern corner of the city, while the Venetian marines focused on the sea wall proper. The knights, charging off the horse-transports, took heavy casualties from arrow fire poured down the defenders and were defeated. But the wily Venetians, led by their Doge Enrico Dandelo, looked once again to their ships:
“He [Doge Dandolo] had them take the spars which support the sails of the ships, which were full thirty fathoms in length, or more, and these he caused to be firmly bound and made fast to the masts with good cords, and good bridges to be laid on these and good guards alongside them, likewise of cords; and the bridge was so wide that three armed knights could pass over it abreast. And the Doge caused the bridge to be so well furnished and covered on the sides with sailcloth and other thick stuff, that those who should go up the bridge to make an assault need have no care for crossbow bolts nor for arrows.” (Robert de Clari, quoted in Nicolle and Hook, The Fourth Crusade)
Just as Stannis’ men turned the wreckage of their fleet into a path to cross the Blackwater, the Venetian marines turned their own ships into protected bridges that allowed them to attack the Golden Horn walls from a superior height. Venetian archers fired down on the Byzantine defenders and “easily routed them, since they were fighting from a higher vantage point and discharging their missiles from above.” 25-30 of the 110 towers on the Golden Horn were taken that day, and the city might have fallen to the Crusaders then and there, had not the Emperor Alexios III led a sortie party from the city.
Like Tyrion, Alexios III used his presence to put some heart into the shaken and demoralized defenders, leading out 17 battalions to threaten the Crusader flank. Baldwin of Flanders wheeled the flank around to face the Byzantine cavalry head-on, while Boniface of Monferrat drew up a reserve to defend the Crusader’s camp. A reckless charge by Baldwin’s subordinates allowed the Byzantines to begin surrounding the better part of the Crusader army. This sudden existential threat forced the Venetians to abandon their conquered towers and reinforce the Crusader lines. Having succeeded in his tactical aims, Alexios III withdrew behind the city walls.
But as in the Battle of the Blackwater, chaos and uncertainty reigned on both sides. Outside of Constantinople, the Crusaders believed themselves outmaneuvered and beaten, the Venetians’ prize relinquished to pull their allies’ fat out of the fire. But inside the city, Alexios’ retreat without having come to blows dealt a devastating blow to Byzantine morale and the army and aristocracy began to revolt against him. The same night, fires that the Venetians had lit upon abandoning the Golden Horn towers spread throughout the city, burning 20,000 people out of their homes. The rage of commons and nobility alike snapped Alexios III’s nerve like a twig, and the Emperor, who had for a brief shining moment looked like the victor of the day, grabbed a thousand pounds of gold and fled the city.
In the morning, the defeated Crusaders woke up to find the usurper emperor had fled, and Isaac II restored to the imperial throne. Yay?
Next time, the story of Andrew of Urboise and Peter of Amiens, and how the Crusaders lost their victory, gained it again, and threw it all away.
Much like the chapter itself, the hypotheticals in this chapter shifts scale from the grand to the personal:
- Tyrion dies? It is hardly to be thought of, but had Tyrion died either by accident or injury at any point in his ride, many things change. First, Tyrion isn’t there to get married to Sansa, so either Sansa gets married to Willas after all or Lancel gets drafted in, and now we’re down a Lannister for Gatehouse Ami and Castle Darry. Second, the Purple Wedding conspiracy is thrown on its ear, with no patsy to blame for the murder of a king. It’s possible that Ser Dontos might be used as a patsy, but that’s rather dangerous because Ser Dontos can point the finger to Littlefinger. (Oberyn’s a compelling possibility, but he’s got diplomatic immunity and breaching that means war with Dorne, which Tywin does not need) Third, the Golden Company doesn’t invade the Stormlands and instead marches to Meereen – which probably means the Yunkish get routed, Dany doesn’t have to marry Hizdahr, and quite likely marries Aegon instead.
- Tyrion is unharmed? As I suggested above, had Tyrion not been put out of commission for well over a month by his injuries, he gets the chance to deal with his father as one of the heroes of the battle and be able to present his account of events – and now it’s Cersei who looks bad for ordering Joffrey’s retreat. Now, this doesn’t mean that Tyrion’s going to get Casterly Rock or going to keep his Handship, because Tywin’s gonna Tywin, but there are other prizes. For example, command of the Lannister army in defeating the Starks and retaking the Riverlands for the crown, since Tyrion seems to enjoy the military life. This in turn might butterfly away or greatly transform the Purple Wedding and the death of Tywin, setting up an interesting possibility that you might see Tyrion and Cersei duke it out for who gets to lead House Lannister after his death.
- Mandon Moore lives? One of the many reasons why I consider the assassination attempt so sloppy and foolhardy is that, if Mandon Moore hadn’t died following his attempt, it’s quite likely that he would have been interrogated, revealing the true culprit. Now, if it’s Joffrey, this poses a political difficulty for Tyrion and Tywin – a kinslayer King is really over-the-top even by Targaryen standards, but they need a King to marry Margaery and provide a face for the regime. How far would Tywin go in that scenario? If it’s Cersei, then things get interesting – Tywin would be very unhappy indeed, but my guess is that Cersei’s punishment would be to be stripped of her regency in favor of Tywin himself. If it’s Littlefinger, he’d better run and hope the Gulltown navy can keep the Lannisters out of the Vale.
Book vs. Show:
This section of the Battle of Blackwater is something of a mixed bag. Tyrion’s sortie from the tunnels is somewhat clumsy – the bit where he severs the leg of a Baratheon soldier especially looks quite fake. However, the shot where Tyrion turns around from the triumphant burning of the boat-battering ram and sees what looks like Stannis’ entire army charging at him is incredibly impressive when you realize how few nmen Neil Marshall is using to look like hundreds if not thousands of men. Likewise, the shock and disorientation of Mandon Moore’s assassination attempt and Tyrion’s wounding is quite powerful, and I really like the use of the repeated eyeball shot to show Tyrion looking at but not seeing Tywin’s charge.