I’ve missed Tyrion. That’s nothing new, I always miss Tyrion. Not even specifically in this book, just generally, in life. Somehow, his chapters are always so much less horrifying than everybody else’s. Either fewer bad things happen to him or I just have selective memory when it comes to my favourite.
This chapter’s drinking game: drink any time someone mentions goats or penes; two drinks for the threat of feeding someone’s penis to a goat; finish your drink if a goat actually eats something; find all the alcohol in your home, mix it together, and chug it if a goat actually eats a penis.
Tyrion and his band of merry bandits have reached the Lannister forces. He and the brigands have reached an uneasy but amusing balance: he pretends he’s not afraid of their threats and they pretend they’re not listening to his commands, in the end, it works out for everyone involved. Actually, I honestly don’t remember how it works out for the wild clans, but Tyrion got away from the Crazy Tully Sisters and is back with his own crazy family, so I guess things are looking up for him.
Along with Bronn and an entourage of various clan representatives, Tyrion rides into the Lannister camp. He finds his father and Uncle Kevan in the inn where it all started, appropriately enough. Also, Tywin had the innkeeper killed and her body hung out for the birds. Tyrion, it’s not polite to gloat. (Ok, he doesn’t so much gloat as remind no one in particular that he didn’t start this mess.)
I love that Tyrion thinks of Tywin as Father-with-a-capital-F. You can really tell that behind the façade of sarcasm and indifference, Tywin is a looming shadow over Tyrion’s life.
Tywin gives Tyrion the ubiquitous Mark Twain treatment — “rumours of your demise…” blah blah — with a noticeable lack of paternal joy. We know Tywin is a villain because instead of blaming Catelyn like a rational person, he blames Tyrion for this mess. It takes him all of about three sentences to unfavourably compare Tyrion to Jaime. Tyrion shrugs it off and the rest of us get to feel smug because if only Tywin knew what his first-born got up to in his spare time. Then again, Tywin is a ruthless bastard who married his first cousin in a love-match. If you think about it, where else could Jaime and Cersei go but twincest and murdering a child if they were to one-up the preceding generation?
Kevan and Tywin gives Tyrion the same news that Robb gave Catelyn; of course, in their case, it’s good news. Notably, Jaime has captured Catelyn’s brother Edmure (how fitting). Tywin starts dispatching Tyrion to take care of some left-over opposition, Tyrion counters by asking for equipment for his brigands, and then his entourage interrupts the cozy family tête-à-tête.
My favourite line of the chapter, verbatim: “They followed me home, Father. May I keep them? They don’t eat much.”
Tyrion introduces all the Names sons of Names. Tywin, to his credit, seems to know exactly how to deal with them in a way that will benefit him. Then a messenger arrives to inform us that Robb is beginning to act on his plan. Tywin’s impatient to get this war over with to deal with Stannis Baratheon (no doubt a more serious threat to his grandson’s crown, in his mind), so he chooses to ride out to meet Robb’s forces for a decisive final battle. And since he has all these thousands of mountain men here, he decides to use them. Why not? If they win, he can pay them with the gold and steel of his enemies. If they lose, he won’t have to pay them anything. Now that’s clever use of resources. Also, Tyrion is going with them, ostensibly because he’s their collateral against future payment, but really because what would they do without his directions? Meander around the camp looking for goats to which to feed manhoods?