Tyrion: “Lord Eddard is a proud, honorable, and honest man, and his lady wife is worse.”
This implies that Catelyn is prouder, more honorable, and more honest than Ned. Is this true? She is proud, as in vain: by treating the existence of a bastard child, which seems quite common in noble families, as an egregious crime, she implicitly holds herself above other noblewomen. Pride also prevents her from seeing that her actions are problematic, even in the face of mounting evidence. She is honorable in the sense of adhering to the letter of prescribed standards for noble behavior, but much less so in examining her own actions for their adherence to the spirit of those standards. No doubt she believes she is honest, but she can be self-deceiving: she thinks of herself as devoted to her sons and, to a lesser extent, her husband, but her actions tend to undermine and endanger them. It’s as if Catelyn’s outer construction of honor is indeed more elaborate than Ned’s, but lacks the inner scaffolding that makes him this story arc’s most honorable (to an ultimately self-destructive fault) character by modern standards. Where Ned’s appreciation for his common soldiers and servants is repeatedly depicted, Tyrion knows that the most appreciation Catelyn could ever summon for someone like Bronn is “a polite word and a look of distaste.”
Elsewhere in this chapter:
- Will Mord ever show up at the gates of Casterly Rock?
- The Tysha story is told for the first time (I guess this is where we begin to approach those twenty thousand million rapes). Bronn, as the voice of common(er) sense, suggests a psychologically appropriate response.
- Are the mountain clans matriarchal? The clan chiefs repeatedly refer to their desire to please, feed, etc. “the mothers.” At minimum they clearly appreciate the miracle of childbirth.