She was a widow, a traitor, a grieving mother, and wise, wise in the ways of the world.
Synopsis: Catelyn is put under house arrest at her own urging, comes to a realization about her father, gets some news about Robb, and gets into a fight with Edmure. All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way…
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.
GRRM has frequently said in interviews that the reason why he chose to have Catelyn Stark be a POV is that:
“I wanted to make a strong mother character. The portrayal of women in epic fantasy have been problematical for a long time…the women in fantasy tend to be very atypical women…They tend to be the woman warrior or the spunky princess who wouldn’t accept what her father lays down, and I have those archetypes in my books as well. However, with Catelyn there is something of Eleanor of Aquitaine, the figure of a woman who accepted her role and functions within a narrow society and, nonetheless, achieves considerable influence and power and authority despite accepting the risks and limitations of this society. She is also a mother… Then, a tendency you can see in a lot of other fantasies is to kill the mother or to get her off the stage. She’s usually dead before the story opens…Nobody wants to hear about King Arthur’s mother and what she thought or what she was doing, so they get her off the stage and I wanted it too. And that’s Catelyn.”
This role of Catelyn’s as the woman who works within medieval gender norms, and who is a mother who refuses to exist only as motivation for a male protagonist but who acts in her own right and according to her own motives, is especially true in ASOS where she is absolutely central to the first half of the book. Hell, consider that the first two chapters of the book both center on her actions at the end of ACOK before we get to anyone else’s story.
A Mother’s Madness
Consider, for example, the running theme in Catelyn I of Catelyn Stark insisting on owning her crime. Catelyn releasing Jaime is a hugely consequential action (easily on par with her arrest of Tyrion), although I will argue here and elsewhere that it was but one of many dominoes of bad luck necessary to bring about the downfall of House Stark. However, Catelyn has to fight for most of this chapter just to be treated as an individual possessing the intelligence and agency to be blamed for her actions:
Ser Desmond Grell had served House Tully all his life. He had been a squire when Catelyn was born, a knight when she learned to walk and ride and swim, master-at-arms by the day that she was wed. He had seen Lord Hoster’s little Cat become a young woman, a great lord’s lady, mother to a king. And now he has seen me become a traitor as well.
Her brother Edmure had named Ser Desmond castellan of Riverrun when he rode off to battle, so it fell to him to deal with her crime. To ease his discomfort he brought her father’s steward with him, dour Utherydes Wayn. The two men stood and looked at her; Ser Desmond stout, red-faced, embarrassed, Utherydes grave, gaunt, melancholy. Each waited for the other to speak. They have given their lives to my father’s service, and I have repaid them with disgrace, Catelyn thought wearily.
“The news must have driven you mad,” Ser Desmond broke in, “a madness of grief, a mother’s madness, men will understand. You did not know…”“I did,” Catelyn said firmly. “I understood what I was doing and knew it was treasonous. If you fail to punish me, men will believe that we connived together to free Jaime Lannister. It was mine own act and mine alone, and I alone must answer for it. Put me in the Kingslayer’s empty irons, and I will wear them proudly, if that is how it must be.”
“It is a grave thing you did, my lady, but for naught. Ser Desmond has sent Ser Robin Ryger after them, to bring back the Kingslayer…or failing that, his head.”
Catelyn had expected no less. May the Warrior give strength to your arm, Brienne, she prayed. She had done all she could; nothing remained, but to hope.
“…confined to a tower cell, that would serve.”
“If I am to be confined, let it be in my father’s chambers, so that I may comfort him in his last days.”
Ser Desmond considered a moment. “Very well. You shall lack no comfort nor courtesy, but freedom of the castle is denied you. Visit the sept as you need, but otherwise remain in Lord Hoster’s chamber until Lord Edmure returns.”
Speaking of frustration, one of the things I discovered on this re-read is that I had mis-remembered how long it took for the Tansy mystery to revealed. In my memory, this mystery had stretched on and on in a way that made me hugely impatient because I had figured it out well before Catelyn. But in reality, the whole thing is resolved in one chapter:
“It is a monstrous cruel thing to lose a child,” she whispered softly, more to herself than to her father.
Lord Hoster’s eyes opened. “Tansy,” he husked in a voice thick with pain.
He does not know me. Catelyn had grown accustomed to him taking her for her mother or her sister Lysa, but Tansy was a name strange to her. “It’s Catelyn,” she said. “It’s Cat, Father.”
“Forgive me…the blood…oh, please…Tansy…”
Could there have been another woman in her father’s life? Some village maiden he had wronged when he was young, perhaps? Could he have found comfort in some serving wench’s arms after Mother died? It was a queer thought, unsettling. Suddenly she felt as though she had not known her father at all. “Who is Tansy, my lord? Do you want me to send for her, Father? Where would I find the woman? Does she still live?”
Lord Hoster groaned. “Dead.” His hand groped for hers. “You’ll have others…sweet babes, and trueborn.”
If Catelyn thought of her life as operating on dramatic logic as opposed to real life, she might have figured out a bit faster that, since Hoster starts talking about “Tansy” the moment she mentions losing a child, all of this talk of blood and death probably has something to do with a lost child. But real life doesn’t normally operate on dramatic logic, so I think it’s fair to give Catelyn a pass for her initial confusion. I’m more forgiving in part because it gives us this exchange:
“He was asking after a woman,” said Cat. “Tansy.”
“Tansy?” The maester looked at her blankly.
“You know no one by that name? A serving girl, a woman from some nearby village? Perhaps someone from years past?” Catelyn had been gone from Riverrun for a very long time.
“No, my lady. I can make inquiries, if you like. Utherydes Wayn would surely know if any such person ever served at Riverrun. Tansy, did you say? The smallfolk often name their daughters after flowers and herbs.”
In retrospect, Maester Vyman is far more interesting than he appeared at first glance, because this is the man who actually prepared the tansy tea that Lysa was either forced into or tricked into consuming in order to terminate her first pregnancy with Petyr Baelish. However good he might be at responding “blankly” to inquiries, he absolutely knows what Tansy means. However, as a maester bound by oath to loyalty to the Lord of Riverrun, Vyman has to keep Hoster Tully’s secret and play dumb. At the same time, for whatever reason, Vyman does give Catelyn a little hint with his line about “the smallfolk often name their daughters after flowers and herbs,” trying to point her in the direction of “tansy tea.”
And once she’s got that clue to work on, Catelyn gets the right answer pretty damn quickly, especially when she starts thinking about the constant repetition of blood:
Lord Hoster moaned. “Forgive me,” he said, so softly she could scarcely hear the words. “Tansy… blood…the blood…gods be kind…”
His words disturbed her more than she could say, though she could make no sense of them. Blood, she thought. Must it all come back to blood? Father, who was this woman, and what did you do to her that needs so much forgiveness?
That night Catelyn slept fitfully, haunted by formless dreams of her children, the lost and the dead. Well before the break of day, she woke with her father’s words echoing in her ears. Sweet babes, and trueborn…why would he say that, unless…could he have fathered a bastard on this woman Tansy? She could not believe it. Her brother Edmure, yes; it would not have surprised her to learn that Edmure had a dozen natural children. But not her father, not Lord Hoster Tully, never.
Could Tansy be some pet name he called Lysa, the way he called me Cat? Lord Hoster had mistaken her for her sister before. You’ll have others, he said. Sweet babes, and trueborn.
Lysa had miscarried five times, twice in the Eyrie, thrice at King’s Landing…but never at Riverrun, where Lord Hoster would have been at hand to comfort her. Never, unless…unless she was with child, that first time…
Thus, in one chapter, Catelyn realizes that Hoster Tully forced or tricked his daughter into an abortion, because she had a child out of wedlock. Besides a brief period where she’s on the wrong track, Catelyn actually isn’t a half bad noir detective, especially in comparison to Ned. Frustration only sets in for re-readers of ASOS when they read this chapter in light of Sansa VII, and realize that Catelyn potentially could have blown the whole thing right there and then.
But whoever much we might want Catelyn to get the larger mystery – that Lysa Arryn murdered her husband, lied to Catelyn about the Lannisters being the culprits, and thus helped to start the War of Five Kings – there’s too many pieces of the puzzle that Catelyn simply has no access to. She knows that Lysa was suspiciously squirrelly about which Lannister killed Jon Arryn, and she has a suspicion that Littlefinger might have lied to her about the catspaw’s dagger, but at present she doesn’t have much of a reason to suspect a darker connection between Lysa and Littlefinger or that Lysa and/or Littlefinger wanted Jon Arryn dead. There’s also a lot of “red herrings” in that the Lannisters really did have some major secrets they wanted kept, and attacked the Starks to keep them. Now, if Littlefinger had gone to marry Lysa earlier, she might have been able to connect the dots, but that wasn’t the case.
Lysa “Tansy” Arryn, née Tully
This brings us to Lysa, a woman who I’ve described in the past as the foremost victim of the patriarchy in Westeros. And in this chapter, we see the extent of the damage done to her:
She and her sister had been married on the same day, and left in their father’s care when their new husbands had ridden off to rejoin Robert’s rebellion. Afterward, when their moon blood did not come at the accustomed time, Lysa had gushed happily of the sons she was certain they carried. “Your son will be heir to Winterfell and mine to the Eyrie. Oh, they’ll be the best of friends, like your Ned and Lord Robert. They’ll be more brothers than cousins, truly, I just know it.” She was so happy.
But Lysa’s blood had come not long after, and all the joy had gone out of her. Catelyn had always thought that Lysa had simply been a little late, but if she had been with child…
There is a tiny domestic tragedy in the fact that Lysa was happy in her marriage to a man twenty years older than her father – itself a depressingly common outcome in cultures with arranged marriages – as long as she thought that she was going to have Petyr Baelish’s baby. And I can’t help but imagine what might have been if Hoster had gone with the Lothston/Plumm solution to his problem – more on this later in the What If? section – especially when we see her sad hopes of having a close family relationship with Catelyn and her kids, instead of their virtual strangerhood.
And this only scratches the surface of what happened to Lysa. Now, it remains unclear whether Lysa’s fertility problems were due to her biology or Jon Arryn’s (Lysa mentions later that “his seed was old and weak,” and there is a previous history, with his first wife dying of a miscarriage and his second marriage was childless), but I’ve always wondered whether the herbal abortifacients her father gave her caused lifelong fertility problems. Which brings us to Hoster Tully’s role:
She remembered the first time she gave her sister Robb to hold; small, red-faced, and squalling, but strong even then, full of life. No sooner had Catelyn placed the babe in her sister’s arms than Lysa’s face dissolved into tears. Hurriedly she had thrust the baby back at Catelyn and fled.
If she had lost a child before, that might explain Father’s words, and much else besides…Lysa’s match with Lord Arryn had been hastily arranged, and Jon was an old man even then, older than their father. An old man without an heir. His first two wives had left him childless, his brother’s son had been murdered with Brandon Stark in King’s Landing, his gallant cousin had died in the Battle of the Bells. He needed a young wife if House Arryn was to continue…a young wife known to be fertile.
Catelyn rose, threw on a robe, and descended the steps to the darkened solar to stand over her father. A sense of helpless dread filled her. “Father,” she said, “Father, I know what you did.” She was no longer an innocent bride with a head full of dreams. She was a widow, a traitor, a grieving mother, and wise, wise in the ways of the world. “You made him take her,” she whispered. “Lysa was the price Jon Arryn had to pay for the swords and spears of House Tully.”
Cersei is usually held up as the gold standard for how the imperatives of feudal politics and dynastic alliances are worked out through women’s bodies, but I would argue that Lysa’s case is worse. It’s worse in no small part because Hoster Tully didn’t act out of maliciousness, but rather out of the kindest of motives. Rather than see his daughter disgraced and rendered unmarriagable, he pulled a high-handed power play on the power structure of the rebellion and got his daughter married to a great lord and the Hand of the King.
But even with these seemingly benevolent reasons, the sheer damage done is staggering – Lysa’s bodily integrity was torn from her with life-long devastating impact, and as a result, Jon Arryn was murdered, Ned Stark died, the Riverlands burned, and Riverrun given over to the house he scorned most in life. And the people responsible for the downfall of his house is the daughter who slept with the wrong man and the man he considered unfit for his daughter.
If this is the best that a benevolent patriarch can accomplish, what hope is there for the system as a whole? GRRM might not come out directly and put “ecrasez l’infame” in the mouths of his female characters, but I think the weight of evidence is starkly clear.
Dark Wings, Dark Words
Building on the idea of Catelyn Stark as a mother figure who has no option but but to watch and wait, the most momentous event of Catelyn I happens off the page. And this is true of so much of her life – Brandon’s death, Ned’s “siring” of Jon Snow, Ned’s death, the Battle of the Whispering Woods and the Battle of the Camps – these things happen to Catelyn from a long way away, leaving her as but an observer to her own life story. And so Catelyn becomes incredibly attuned to the importance of news from afar:
A raven came to the castle in later afternoon, flapping down on great black wings to the rookery. Dark wings, dark words, she thought…
“Something is wrong.” She knew it from his manner. He was hiding something from her. “Tell me. Is it Robb? Is her hurt?” Not dead, gods be good, please do not tell me he is dead.
“His Grace took a wound storming the Crag,” Maester Vyman said, still evasive, “but writes that it is no cause for concern and that he hopes to return soon.”
You almost get the sense from the way that Catelyn reacts to the sight of the ravens that she thinks that this is karma at work, that there has to be more punishment for freeing 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 necessary to make the Red Wedding happen. And they really are dominoes, because no one thing on its own would make it happen:
- if it had been Theon and nothing else, then Jaime would still be around as a prisoner to exchange, the Karstarks remain in the fold, and the Late Lord Frey’s betrayal would happen later – perhaps late enough that the deaths of Tywin Lannister and/or Balon Greyjoy might have changed the political equation enough to butterfly away the Red Wedding.
- if it had been Jaime and nothing else, then Bran and Rickon’s survival at Winterfell would have obviated the need to return to the North (and quite possibly have nixed part of the Red Wedding – as Tywin would know that the Starks would fight on in the name of King Bran), Robb would have Jaime as a political chip to use, and the Bolton and/or betrayal might have been butterflied away or at least delayed.
- if it had been Jeyne and nothing else, then the same thing happens up North, Robb still has Jaime on hand so the Karstarks remain in the fold, and he doesn’t need the Freys that much, either for their army or their bridge.
- And even two out of the three probably wouldn’t have been enough – Theon and Jaime and no Jeyne might well have delayed Walder’s betrayal long enough for the Stark’s luck to turn with the deaths of Tywin and Balon; Theon and Jeyne would have still meant that Robb might have been able to bargain with Tywin for at least a truce; Jeyne and Jaime still means that the North holds for the Starks.
Edmure Tully, Eternal Baby Brother
Let’s 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 Edmure had a dozen natural children.” And let’s remember that Edmure has just come back from commanding a grueling multi-day battle fought across hundreds of miles:
“Edmure,” Catelyn said, worried, “you look unwell. Has something happened? Have the Lannisters crossed the river?”
“I threw them back. Lord Tywin, Gregor Clegane, Addam Marbrand, I turned them away. Stannis, though…he lost the battle at King’s Landing,” Edmure said unhappily. “His fleet was burned, his army routed.”
“…You do not understand. Highgarden has declared for Joffrey. Dorne as well. All the south.” His mouth tightened.
It is ironic at this moment that both Tully siblings have a difficulty with seeing cause and effect outside of where they want to see it: Edmure can see that Stannis’ defeat at the Blackwater has changed the balance of power in Westeros, by creating the Lannister/Tyrell alliance, but doesn’t connect the dots between his actions turning back Tywin and Stannis losing the battle. Meanwhile, Catelyn is narrowly focused on the immediate well-being of her family (and hung up on what she saw at Storm’s End) and is unwilling to see the cause and effect between her actions and the increasingly-desperate political position of House Stark:
“And you see fit to loose the Kingslayer. You had no right.”
“I had a mother’s right.” Her voice was calm, though the news about Highgarden was a savage blow to Robb’s hopes. She could not think about that now, though.
“No right,” Edmure repeated. “He was Robb’s captive, your king’s captive, and Robb charged me to keep him safe.”
Like all arguments between siblings, this one becomes immediately emotionally fraught, as personal grievances intersect with principled positions. It’s almost reminiscent of the central conflict in Sophocles’ Antigone: on a legal level, Edmure is entirely in the right. Catelyn had no right to free Jaime, and her doing so not only was an act of treason against her own son, but tainted Edmure’s honor by causing him to fail his orders from Robb without his knowledge. But on an emotional level, the idea of a “mother’s right” is unanswerable. As Stannis himself says, “the laws of blood are older than the laws of men.“
At the same time, when we focus on the practical objective – getting Sansa and Arya back – I still think Catelyn is in the wrong here. Because without the right, there is no exchange of prisoners, just a jailbreak. And at some level, I think Catelyn knows this, but is still operating in a state of shock that means she won’t let herself think about this. Unfortunately for her, Edmure’s about to hit her with a piece of news that’s going to shove it in her face about how rickety her whole plan was from the beginning:
“…Cersei will never give them up.”
“Not Cersei. Tyrion. He swore it, in open court. And the Kingslayer swore it as well.”
“Jaime’s word is worthless. As for the Imp, it’s said he took an axe in the head during the battle. He’ll be dead before your Brienne reaches King’s Landing, if she ever does.”
“Dead?” Could the gods truly be so merciless? She had made Jaime swear a hundred oaths, but it was his brother’s promise she had pinned her hopes on.
As I’ve been saying from ACOK onwards, Catelyn ought to have known better. Yes, it’s absolutely true that Jaime’s word cannot be relied upon from his own admission, but she also knows from the attempted rescue that Tyrion’s entire offer was made in bad faith, so that even if he had remained Hand there’s no guarantee he would have handed over his prisoners. And even if that was not the case, Edmure’s comment about Cersei makes an important point – neither Jaime nor Tyrion are the only people with a say in what happens to the Stark sisters. Cersei is still the Queen Regent, Joffrey is still the king, and Tywin is once again Hand of the King, and they have as much if not more say in the eventual disposition of hostages. (And even if they were on-board, they don’t have Arya to hand over…)
And this is why I feel that her final retort to Edmure, however grounded it might be in perfectly understandable sentiment, is a bit unfair:
Edmure was blind to her distress. “Jaime was my charge, and I mean to have him back. I’ve sent ravens—”
“Ravens to whom? How many?”
“Three,” he said, “so the message will be certain to reach Lord Bolton. By river or road, the way from Riverrun to King’s Landing must needs take them close by Harrenhal.”
“Harrenhal.” The very word seemed to darken the room. Horror thickened her voice as she said, “Edmure, do you know what you have done?”
“Have no fear, I left your part out. I wrote that Jaime had escaped, and offered a thousand dragons for his recapture.”
Worse and worse, Catelyn thought in despair. My brother is a fool. Unbidden, unwanted, tears filled her eyes. “If this was an escape,” she said softly, “and not an exchange of hostages, why should the Lannisters give my daughters to Brienne?”
“It will never come to that. The Kingslayer will be returned to us, I have made certain of it.”
“All you have made certain is that I shall never see my daughters again. Brienne might have gotten him to King’s Landing safely . . . so long as no one was hunting for them.”
In the first place, as I have already said, there’s no reason for the Lannisters to give Sansa and Arya over to Brienne even if they had both of them – prisoner exchanges don’t work with one side making a verbal offer and then the other side handing over their part of the deal unilaterally, taking it on faith that the first party will follow through. You need a formal agreement ahead of time, where the leadership of both sides buy in to the provisions of the deal so that their decisions are binding on their subordinates. You also need a simultaneous exchange and/or a neutral place for the hand-over to occur, so that neither side can back out of the deal. Catelyn simply is not conducting a prisoner exchange, as much as she wants to believe otherwise.
Secondly, the Riverlands are not safe, regardless of what Edmure did. It’s not like Roose Bolton doesn’t have the Brave Companions reaving around Harrenhal, it’s not like the Brotherhood Without Banners aren’t out there looking for noble captives to ransom, and it’s not like Rickard Karstark isn’t going to send his men harrying the countryside the moment he gets back from the Westerlands and finds out that Jaime has been let go.
Thirdly, and speaking of Roose Bolton, this message from Edmure brings up something I hadn’t thought about in a long time. Given that Roose Bolton has advanced knowledge of Jaime’s escape with Brienne, is it therefore the case that he sent people out to find them specifically? And if that’s the case, why send a known loose cannon and backstabber like Vargo Hoat to recover such a valuable prisoner, isntead of someone more dependable like Steelshanks Walton? And why didn’t Roose do something more about Vargo Hoat trying to force his hand by removing Jaime’s? Something to keep my eye on for future Jaime chapters.
There’s a couple different historical topics to talk about this week, so let’s dig in!
The first one to talk about is the history of herbal abortificients, which have been in use pretty much throughout human history. (Indeed, the plant silphium was so popular among the ancient Greeks and Romans that they drove it into extinction through over-use) I still remember a paper I read for a course on the history of capitalism that I took as an undergraduate, which showed that the demographics of medieval Europe and Japan, both in terms of the spacing and gender patterns of births, show that family planning was used extensively by the peasantry regardless of any cultural taboos against it (although most customs against abortions in all circumstances are actually of very recent provenance, and historically up until the “quickening” of a child, authorities accepted the use of abortifacients) because peasants can’t be sentimental about family size and patterns of inheritance.
There are any number of herbs and other substances that have been used for this purpose throughout history – tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is a very real plant that has been used for a variety of medical purposes from ancient Greece to the 19th century, and one of those purposes was to induce abortions. However, the problem with these methods is that they pretty much all work because they’re toxic in nature (and dosage is always a bit tricky with plants), and therefore they tend to come with some very nasty side-effects…including long-term fertility problems. So kudos to GRRM for doing his research here.
Second, let’s talk for a moment about prisoner exchanges. While we’re probably most familiar with prisoner exchanges in the context of the modern Geneva Conventions on the treatment of military prisoners, it’s a pretty ancient custom, easily predating the medieval custom of ransoms for knights and other noble prisoners. The Arabs and Byzantines made it a regular practice, building two bridges over the river Lamos on the Arab/Byzantine border in Cilicia, one for each side of prisoners. Men would be sent simultaneously, one-by-one across their intended bridges, until the exchange was over, at which point surplus prisoners would be ransomed for money or sold as slaves. This practice continued for two hundred years, with thousands of soldiers exchanged at each event, which would stretch out for weeks.
And one of the common themes of many prisoner exchange systems is a high degree of formality. Whether we’re talking about Mediterranean pirates holding Julius Caesar for ransom, or the frankly ridiculously complex German customs of weregild, or the ostentatiously lavish treatment of knightly hostages in Medieval Europe, this is a practice grounded in honor systems (hence the idea that those of higher status deserve better treatment and fetch a higher price than common soldiers). It’s not the sort of thing you do on the sly or in a hurry, so I don’t think this was ever going to work for Catelyn.
So I see one main hypothetical in this chapter (as opposed to the stuff with Edmure sending people after Brienne, which I handled last chapter):
- What if Lysa had carried her baby to term? Now, the Arryns are a family known for their overblown sense of honor and pride, so it may have been the case that Jon Arryn knew about the pregnancy and insisted on a termination so as to avoid being cuckolded. But if that wasn’t the case, I do think it might have been best if Jon Arryn and Lysa Tully’s marriage had started with a healthy baby boy instead of five miscarriages. Jon would have left behind an adult male heir as opposed to a feeble child, and Lysa may well have continued to have four more children that could have prevented House Arryn’s slide into extinction. And while I don’t think their marriage would have been a particularly passionate one, I do think that Lysa’s improved physical and mental wellbeing and Jon’s improved satisfaction would have made it functional rather than murderous and neglectful, respectively.
- And this changes a lot. To begin with, Littlefinger’s scheme doesn’t work at all if Jon Arryn’s death brings a Robb-aged Robert Arryn to power, rather than an extended Lysa regency which allows him to seize the Eyrie by right of marriage and regency. Yes, he can probably put the Starks and Lannisters at odds, but he has no way of ensuring that the conflict drags on by keeping the Vale out of the equation.
- This is especially true if a less anxious Lysa follows through with her plan to have Robb and Robert be “the best of friends, like your Ned and Lord Robert. They’ll be more brothers than cousins.” If the name twins spend a lot of time hanging out as they grow up, then you have the makings of the reconstruction of the Southron Ambitions alliance from Robert’s Rebellion. In that circumstance, then the War of Five Kings happens very differently, with the Lannisters potentially knocked out of the war early if the knights of the Vale slam into Tywin’s army as it retreats from the Green Fork while Robb’s army relieves Riverrun. Then again, Tywin’s entire strategy might well change with that kind of knowledge.
Book vs. Show:
I felt very mixed on Season 3’s Catelyn storyline in the early episodes, although I think it gets better later on. Mostly, this is due to the sudden shift from the end of Season 2, where Robb is winning the war, to the beginning of Season 3, where he is inexplicably losing the war, but I’ll discuss this more in the next Catelyn chapter. Rather, because the Tullys have yet to be introduced, all of Catelyn’s post-Jaime interactions are all with Robb, which leads to some really awkward recrimination and moping in ways that aren’t hugely productive.