- The theme here is clearly decadence: we hear all about the opulent furnishings of the council room, Renly’s clothing budget, and once again, Varys’ perfume.
- Famous last words: Ned: “I do not plan on melting soon, Lord Baelish.”
- Pycelle is introduced: he’s bald, with a wispy white fringe, and wears a compound of about two dozen normal Maester’s chains. (Decadence again.)
- Aerys was apparently a good financial manager, or anyway not a spendthrift. Who knew?
- The fat lady sings in this chapter. (It’s all over for Ned when he accepts Petyr Baelish’s “help.”)
- Petyr uses some nice reverse psychology on Ned re: the dagger and whether to further investigate it.
Tag Archives: RenlyBaratheon
“The things I do for love,” he said with loathing. [Jaime in Bran 2, just before putting an innocent child to (presumed) death on Cersei’s demand]
“Damn you, Cersei,” he said with loathing. [Robert in Eddard 3, having just agreed to put an innocent animal to death on Cersei’s demand]
Robert seems to be under no illusion of “loving” Cersei, so why did he do it? He’s intimidated by her family’s power, no doubt — but mostly he just can’t be bothered to do the right, but marginally more difficult, thing. Instead he “shrug[s] irritably” and lets her have her way. It speaks to how well Robert’s character is drawn that I found this completely believable — I’ve met the type (though thankfully not any who were in that kind of position of power). And once again, Robert is not Ned’s friend, and is possibly to self-absorbed and emotionally lazy to be anyone’s (whether inherently so, or because Cersei has worn him out).
Other notable stuff from this chapter:
- The name-check of House Darry, one of whose members was Dany’s guardian, serves to nicely tie disparate threads of the story together.
- Renly’s reaction to Joffrey’s defeat in, er, battle is hilarious. “Lion’s Tooth!”
- Arya’s immediate, unconditional defense of Lady (and by extension Sansa, who just betrayed her) is both believable and endearing.
In a delicious little touch adding to the sense of mystery around Jon’s parentage, we learn that Sansa once asked her mother if Arya was a bastard (because, after all, Arya looks like Jon). Answered in the negative, “Sansa could not think why Mother would want to lie about it, so she supposed it had to be true.” If Jon isn’t really Ned’s biological son, Ned’s counting on everyone to have exactly that kind of reaction to Ned’s claim that he is.
We also see Joffrey’s mask really slip for the first time, revealing behavior that startlingly echoes Robb’s in Arya 1: both characters, in their respective chapters, let out streams of curses, threaten other characters with violence, and must be restrained (in Joffrey’s case, by Arya’s wolf). The underpinnings of Robb’s actions are completely different–he isn’t a sociopath–but something is being said about his own maturity and preparedness for responsibility.
I do find it a bit implausible that Sansa still seeks Joffrey’s approval after his behavior in this chapter, particularly the “terrible…filthy words” and his final rejection of her.
Characters we meet in this chapter:
- Barristan Selmy, described only as an old, white-haired, but fit man. I love how his spoken language sets him a generation apart from the other adult characters, whether he’s solemn (“[Ilyn Payne] has a fearsome aspect”) or joking around (“a prancing jackanapes*”).
- Renly Baratheon is about twenty and is the handsomest man Sansa has ever seen, tall and well-built with long black hair, green eyes, and a clean-shaven face.
- Ilyn Payne, “a gaunt grim man….pockmarked and beardless, with deepset eyes and hollow cheeks” and “colorless” eyes, not old but bald except for for a fringe “as long as a woman’s.”**
*BTW, according to Wikipedia “jackanapes” was the nickname of William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk and is short for “Jack of Naples.” If Braavos is Venice, where is Naples 😉 ?
**OK, this has been bothering me: every description of a Westerosi male character so far which has mentioned the character’s hair length at all, has specified long hair. So how could long hair be considered specifically characteristic of women in this society?