For someone who doesn’t want the throne, Robert sure is intense about keeping it. He’s raging up a storm about Dany being pregnant and demanding all the Targaryen heads on a silver platter, including the unborn one. Ned’s the only member of the council to point out the moral ambiguity of murder. Except that he keeps on calling Dany a child and it’s squicking me out. I mean, I’m generally squicked out whenever I think too much about her age, but even more so when the characters in the book don’t even consider her an adult by their own fucked up standards.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that every princess wants a pony for her sixth birthday. It is a heinous crime to butcher a princess’s pony! Except that Tyrion isn’t a princess, it was his twenty-third birthday, and it’s a full-sized horse, but that’s quibbling, the point is that Catelyn is evil!
The great thing about GRRM is that even Sansa’s fairy tale lala-land chapters contain much more than just Sansa’s personality and views. All those things that ruined the fantasy for her — the young knight getting killed by the Mountain and the Hound ranting about how his brother did it on purpose just because he could — are now ruining Ned’s day too and not just because some young knight died at a tourney in his name. The knight just happened to be the late Jon Arryn’s newly knighted squire and Ned never got to speak to him because the man was arrogant and it apparently galled Ned too much to give in to his airs. Next time you really need information, Ned, get it first and get offended later.
Catelyn and Ser Rodrik have reached Tully lands in their trek back homeward. While Rodrik bitches about the rain, Catelyn reminisces about the fun times one has as a child forcing your foster brother to eat enough mud to be sick for a week. The foster brother is Littlefinger, of course, because who else would scarf down mud just to satisfy Catelyn’s poisoning instincts.
Ned is being childish and making some poor City Watch schmuck’s day a little more wearying by insisting the upcoming tourney be called “the king’s tourney” and not “the Hand’s tourney” in conversation. You lost that fight, Ned, let it go. The problem at hand (see what I did there? I wasn’t even trying!) is that all of these knights are flooding the capital with their entourages and incidental arrivals. For every new knight there’s a number of squires, craftsmen, thieves, and two dozen whores. I mean, I get that men have needs, but twenty-four women per knight? I know this is not the number of whores-on-retainer, but still. I guess this isn’t just twenty-four girls vying for the money of one knight but for all the other men a knight would come with. You’d think the King’s Landing girls and pimps would be a little more protective of their territory. Littlefinger owns brothels, how does he feel about all the competition setting up shop?
Hey, remember when, all the way back in chapter one, I theorized that summer weather in the south sucks sweaty, humid balls? I was wrong. Winter weather in the south sucks sweaty, humid balls. I don’t want to imagine which sweaty, humid body part and/or cavity is resembled by the southern summer.
Bran has rejoined the waking world and the first thing GRRM does is make the paraplegic boy sit on a windowsill and watch his brother play tag with the direwolves. Remember when life didn’t suck Bran? Yeah, that’s never happening again.
Arya is angry. She’s angry at Cersei and Robert, at Joffrey and the Hound, at Sansa and her father. Arya has a sword and she wanted to learn how to use it, how to stick people with the pointy end before they stick you and watch them die, so she took a stick and gave a second one to Mycah, the butcher’s boy. She didn’t stick him and she didn’t watch, but he’s dead anyway and in that list of people Arya hates, she hates herself the most.
Ned finally gets to King’s Landing, but there’s no rest for the wicked, nor for the terminally honourable. His presence is requested as a council meeting the moment he steps foot in the Red Keep. Exhausted and dressed in borrowed clothing, his own not having arrived yet, he meets the other four who make up the council. Seeing Renly for the first time through Ned’s eyes we are told that the handsome young Baratheon is the spitting image of a young Robert. Lest we think Ned is friends with someone who was always fat and ugly, I guess. What I really don’t get is how Renly beat Ned here, weren’t they part of the same travelling expedition? Ned greets him as having arrived safely, but how Renly managed to beat Ned by enough time to have rested and dressed, I don’t know.
Tyrion was wrong: Jon has found his home in the Night’s Watch. It’s an organization founded on honour, they train the boys to be men and the social ranks of the outside world mean nothing here. Jon can be himself, recognized for his strengths and accepted for his virtues. It is the place where he fits in this world.
Done laughing? Good, let’s proceed with the real recap.