Let’s Read A Game of Thrones! Part 3: Catelyn 1

I’ve said this before: Anything posted, mentioned, or derided on this blog, is in fact the property of its respective owner and copyright holder, and is used for purposes of entertainment, edification, and the advancement of bad taste, not profit. If you feel anything of yours is being unfairly used and maligned, I would remind you that life is imperfect.

And now, for our first female POV:

Catelyn 1 (2):

Catelyn goes looking for her husband in the castle’s godswood, where he tends to retreat to after he kills someone. She is uncomfortable among these trees, which are very different than the ones she grew up with in Tully, to the south.

She and her husband, whom she addresses as Ned, discuss their children, the ‘deserter’ that Ned had executed, and the wildings and the King-beyond-the-wall. Catelyn expresses fear, but Ned dismisses Mance Rayder as nothing to fear. When Catelyn hints at darker things to the north, he scoffs and tells her that the Others “are as dead as the children of the forest.”

Changing the subject, Catelyn gives Ned the news that his foster father had died. He is grieved by the news, and Catelyn tells him that word came directly from King Robert, who had fostered with him. Furthermore, the king was coming to Winterfell to visit him immediately. Ned is pleased by the news, but Catelyn is concerned. There is bad blood between the Starks and the family of the king’s wife, the Lannisters. The two begin to make plans for Robert’s arrival.

Frankly, this is a fairly short chapter, filled with a great deal of stuff that I like, which is depressing as usual. But first order of business…

Ned? NED!!? How the hell do you get to ‘Ned’ from ‘Eddard’? Where the Samwise Gamgee is that phantom ‘N’ coming from? That’s…that’s bizarre. {sigh} Right, got that out of my system. Moving on.

What I do like about this book, what I really like, is how rich the past of this world is. [That dangling participle is making me shudder, but I’m leaving it for now.]  In these six pages alone, we have the godwoods, the weirwood, the First Men, Valyria and the Doom, and the children of the forest I quoted in the summary (which may or may not be related to the green men on the Isle of Faces) make it sound like the world has a deep, interesting history.

So, says I, why are we reading about this part of it? Maybe it’s just me (in fact, evidence suggests that it is definitely just me) but I would like to actually see some of these events, rather have them dismissed in passing as backdrop. I like awesome things, and somehow the plot I’m actually getting seems insufficiently awesome.

Ah, this is also the chapter in which we first hear the Stark’s motto, “Winter is coming,” which is apparently major Arc Words for the series and the biggest meme to come out of it. Big enough, anyway, that even I’ve heard them mentioned. Of course, since I live in Minnesota, this is something I would hear a lot anyway, but even more than usual. (Today’s weather: very windy. I just watched a chair suddenly fly across my patio.) Well, I like it and endorse its truth: Winter is coming, and it will kick the ass of the unprepared. Like the characters I am reading about here. Just saying :P.

By the way. I am not a big fan of women’s intuition as a trope, for reasons I will most likely be getting into next post (no, I haven’t been reading ahead, but I do know who’s headlining next chapter) but I can at least justify it to some degree here, in Catelyn’s reaction to Robert’s arrival. So Ned, here’s the thing: 1. You grew up with this guy, Robert; 2. He’s King now; 3. It’s been years since you met him (two years? the context is kinda weak); 4. His wife(‘s family) hates you; 5. He sees her every day (presumably, and you get my point); 6. Rather than show up with proper notice, he’s surprising you at home, which is more the action you take against a disloyal retainer than a loyal one. Conclusion: yes, Ned, you should in fact be very worried. (Though of course, rather than logic Catelyn is being guided by superstitious ‘signs’, which turn out to be prophetic. What the hell.)

So OK, yeah, there has to be conflict or there would be no story. Got that. So why are we ignoring the conflict laden setting up beyond the wall to play political games down here? I mean, do we want winter to win?

Hey, wait a sec….maybe that’s not such a bad idea….

Ahem. Sorry, back on track.

One last nitpick, before we leave this chapter behind. “It was a dark, primal place, three acres of old forest untouched for ten thousand years as the gloomy castle rose around it.” I actually had to read this sentence about three times before I could make any sense of it. First of all, three acres is a huge area (though not as huge as I was assuming, its a little bigger than two (American) football fields set side by side) to put inside a castle; secondly, if you are building a castle around it, ‘untouched’ seems a bit misleading; thirdly, while intellectually I know that the meaning is “inside the castle walls,” I can’t help but picture a giant roof over the place. I know, that last is just me being stupid, give me a break. But yeah, it works, it just doesn’t seem right to me, thats all. Minor detail, pay it no mind.

Wow, that was a lot of chat for six pages. I think I overthought it a bit…

Next time: Who left this can of worms here? And what’s with this can opener?


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