Good evening, and welcome to another edition of “Let’s Read A Game of Thrones!” I’m your host, the Dark Jackel. And joining me will be…
…well, nobody. Huh. That book spirit thing wandered off somewhere, outside my sphere of influence. I sent Fang of Shadow to follow it, since it was acting weird. Ah, Fang of Shadow is, um, some kind of a freelance minion. Sort of? Unlike me, he actually does take the form of a jackal, sometimes. Well, I suppose I could, but my name is confusing enough without adding questions of appearance. Anyway.
The jackals, the real ones, are playing over there. I could call them over here, but they don’t really have a lot to add to these reviews, so I think I’ll just let them play.
As long as no one is pressuring me to get to my review, I guess I could say a few words about here. This…is my world, the shadow of the Gate. It is related to the human world in metaphorical ways, which is why it is possible to be living here and maintaining a separate existence there at the same time. If you were to ask me which version of me is real, I would have to say “this one.” Hope that clears things up for you.
Behind me lies the Gate (insofar as there is such a direction.) It doesn’t have a fixed appearance, and it will look different to you than it does to me. Many people choose to cross its threshold of their own accord. It’s not really a good idea, as once you walk the path of Tragedy you will find it quite hard to escape. I will warn those who can hear my whispers in the shadows, but many are too desperate to heed. Such is life, I suppose.
In a roundabout way, this brings me to today’s chapter, wherein Catelyn Stark does her level best to throw open the Gate of all Tragedy, all by herself. Well, since no one is here to complain, let me try something a bit different, and be a little less formal with the summary. I doubt that I will permanently change my style, but let’s see what happens.
Catelyn 3 (14):
It’s been eight days since Eddard Stark left Winterfell, and Catelyn is still sulking over the broken body of her son, Bran. Maester Luwin comes in, and attempts to get the woman to stop moping around and concentrate on running the castle, which was missing its steward, captain of the guards, and master of horse, among other things. Catelyn explodes with rage at this invasion of her misery, and Robb, who had been standing nearby, says that he will make the appointments himself. Sending Luwin out, he calls out Catelyn for shirking her duties to everything, including her family, and using Bran as an excuse. He opens the window to Bran’s sick room, and the sound of wolves howling drives Catelyn even further over the edge. Robb says he will close the window if she will lay down and get some sleep, but she refuses.
Suddenly Robb notices something different about the howl, and realizes that the library is on fire. Catelyn at first mistakes him, and thinks that the fire threatened Bran; when she realizes that he is talking about the library, she is quite relieved, although Robb stares at her like she is insane. He orders Catelyn to stay put, and rushes out. She notes that the wolves have stopped howling as she closes the window, and when she turns back around there is a strange man in the room with her. He mutters that she shouldn’t have been there. He pulls out a knife, and she realizes that he means to kill Bran. The two struggle, and the man attempts to slit her throat. She grabs the knife by the blade and holds it away, cutting her hands.
And then Bran’s unnamed direwolf silently enters, knocks down the man, and rips out his throat. Yay!
Catelyn murmurs a thank you to the wolf, who climbs into bed with the boy. Then the woman finally breaks down completely into hysterical laughter. Eventually she is found, and bundled off to her own bed. Luwin bandages her hands, and gives her a sleeping potion, and she sleeps for four days.
When she wakes up, she is some approximation of sane again. Even better, she is no longer obsessing over Bran, and can spare a thought for the rest of her family. She calls for food, and Lewin to change the bandages on her hands. Robb shows up first, though, with Ser Rodrik, Theon Greyjoy and the new captain of the guards. They conversed about the identity of the assassin, with Catelyn certain that he was left by the king or the Lannisters. She explains that man was targeting Bran, not her, and challenges Robb to work out the reason when he expresses disbelief. Robb realizes that someone was trying to silence the boy, meaning he had seen something that someone wanted covered up. He orders guards posted on Bran’s tower, and that the direwolf be allowed to stay with him.
After the captain leaves, Catelyn extracts an oath of silence from those who remain, and tell them of her sister’s claim that the Lannisters murdered Jon Arryn, and that Jaime Lannister was still in residence when Bran fell from the tower and might have thrown him. The men are shocked by the suggestion, but quickly begin to accept the possibility. While they consider, Catelyn is thinking ahead, and decides that someone needs to go to King’s Landing to warn Ned. And that someone was her. The men object, but she overrules their protests and decides to take Ser Rodrik with her on a quick trip to the south.
Hum. In the end, it wasn’t that much different. I need to practice more. Well, I snuck a few insults in, so I guess I’ll leave it like this. Well, to the review, and before I start with the selfish, arrogant bitch who POVs this chapter, there are a few others I want to focus on.
Starting with the hero of the chapter, the unnamed direwolf, who saves the day in no uncertain fashion. I was quite happy that he got to defend his friend, even if it involved saving his mother as well. At least she isn’t trying to keep them apart anymore, so hey, maybe the kid will survive after all.
And then there’s Robb. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t have a good handle on Robb; he’s been out of focus for most of the novel so far, except as something of a hothead. But in this chapter, we see him doing one thing that completely endears the boy to me: calling his mother out on her bullshit. It was a pure pleasure to see him point out to that bitch that she has other children, including a three year old, who also needed her help. And still that stupid creature…no, we’ll get to her in a moment. From this chapter, Robb obviously still has hotheaded tendencies, but he is doing his level best to discharge his duties, despite being only fourteen. So good for him.
I’m not sure what to make of Bran’s assassin. For a hired killer, he was not very professional. You should never talk to your victims, under almost any circumstance; just kill them and move on. Also, why did he have a ridiculously valuable dagger, completely out of character with the quality of its wielder? These discontinuities lead me to believe that he was a patsy, meant to fail in such a way as to lay suspicion exactly where it went. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, though, since the conclusion Catelyn et. al. jump to is exactly what had occurred. So yeah, very strange.
And then, because there is no way to put it off any longer, we have Catelyn. Seven Despairs, but I hate this woman. So she’s having a mental breakdown, and all but realizes it, and is shirking her duties. But then! She is almost killed, and has to sleep for four days to recover. And when she wakes up, she is almost sane again, and not Bran-obsessed. So yay, she’s going to pick up the slack she dropped and resume her duties, right?
HELL NO! She is going to drum up a pretext (which is correct basically by coincidence) in order to drop everything in her son’s lap and go haring off to see her husband, in order to drop all her conspiracy theories on him. I don’t care that for the most part she’s probably right about what is happening, she is still not doing what she’s supposed to, which is supporting her underage son in his new position as Lord of the castle. Furthermore, she is taking one of the most experienced men still around with her when she goes. It’s like this woman wants things to go horribly wrong.
So, in my final analysis, she is an arrogant, selfish bitch, and I’m not going to have a lick of sympathy for her when it all blows up in her face. Sorry Starks, but this woman has screwed you.
Huh. It’s almost boring to rag on her when there is no one to defend her.
And what defense could there be?
YIP! …Oh, Fang of Shadow. How did you manage to sneak up on me here?
Fang of Shadow: It is a gift.
I guess. So, is that spirit up to something?
Fang of Shadow: No, Dark One. I returned because I smell your discontent. The spirit sits in one of the Empty Spaces, and seems to be talking to herself.
Well, that’s somewhat worrisome, but I suppose it could be wor…waitasec, herself!?
Fang of Shadow: Did you not know?
Of course not! It’s a discorporate spirit, how could it possibly have a gender?
Fang of Shadow: I cannot answer your question, but I smell what I smell.
Fang of Shadow: As you say. But Dark One, for what reason are you discontent?
Just bored, I think. As it turns out, it’s boring to hate people.
Fang of Shadow: I will have to take you at your word. I know neither hate nor boredom.
Lucky you. I suppose mild concern is more your style. Anyway, I’m going to wrap this entry up. Unless you have anything else to say?
Fang of Shadow: Hmm. Profit from her bad example, and attend your duties.
Ah, of course, well spoken. I will go back to lurking, then.
Fang of Shadow: I’m not quite certain that is what I meant, but rest well, Dark One.
Next time: The most delusion Stark arrives!
…Duty, huh? But what is my duty here?
I do not know. What do you intend?