She’s new, she’s the re-re-reader. She’s the newbie, she’s the spoilery vet. Together they’re rereading George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and getting their POV on. Today they react to Chapter 27, Eddard.
If you got her and want to start at the beginning, go catch the start of this Game of Thrones reread and enjoy the full ride!
I have basically two reactions to this chapter: (1) Wait, did Ned Stark just crack a joke?; and, (2) I fucking knew it! I knew that little shit wasn’t actually Robert’s son!
So we have Ned cringing about the tournament being held in his “honor” and some more examples of Robert’s carelessness. He couldn’t be bothered to hire extra city guardsmen to keep the peace?—this is actually puzzling to me. It kind of sounds like Robert does this tournament shit all the time, so wouldn’t the city have figured out crowd control, NOLA style, those two years back when the Knight of Flowers won and Tyrion won Littlefinger’s knife…or the tourney two years before that, or the one two years before that…? And then Ned’s exasperation that “Robert honestly seemed to think he should feel honored” was just more proof that Robert doesn’t realize Ned’s done with that relationship.
I love how charmingly prudish Ned is here. “I’ve heard enough about whores for one day” and stalking out. Lolz. Kind of sounds like he’d get along with Stannis, who I am now quite curious about. What did he know about what Jon Arryn discovered, and is that why he fled to Dragonstone—was that why Lysa wanted to send her son to be fostered there? Then when Stannis again comes up in the context of visiting a brothel with Jon Arryn, Ned is “incredulous” because Stannis is basically totally unlike Robert. I can see easily how a brother of Robert so close in age to him could intentionally become his foil, hence prudish where Robert is promiscuous. He and Ned could drink all night complaining about Robert’s women.
I actually chuckled when Ned had his little crack about wishing Lann the Tricksters was there “to winkle the truth out of [that] damnable book.” Yes, yes he did just make a joke. Ned! Didn’t know you had it in you, old boy.
He does it again later with Jory, about Stannis coming back for the tourney being too lucky to happen—“In other words, not bloody likely.”
We get a lot of descriptions of the city and the people in it for the tourney, none of which stuck out to me as particularly interesting or noteworthy. Just basic medieval bustle. Meh. It was a good reminder of where this part of the story is grounded, but of little interest to me beyond that.
The thing with the portrait of Loras’s sister caught my attention more on my second read of this chapter than it did on the first pass, having seen where the chapter ends (with one of Robert’s bastards). The “does she remind you of anyone” did not ring true as her being a Lyanna look-alike. I assumed there was someone else Renly thought Ned might see in her face, which made me wonder if he was trying to imply Robert had cuckholded someone higher up the social chain–if Margaery were his daughter. Or maybe he was poking Ned about his bastard’s mother being unknown, like maybe he’d heard that Ashara Dayne (sp??) story and wondered if Ned had got after more than one abandoned sister whilst campaigning.
Then we get to the one game-changing aspect of this chapter, which is Ned discovering that Jon Arryn had been to see a bastard son of Robert just before he died. My immediate reaction to Ned’s question at the end, but why?, was DUH BECAUSE JOFFREY IS NOT ROBERT’S SON, AND JON ARRYN FOUND OUT OR SUSPECTED AND WANTED A REAL HEIR.
Now, I realize there is some dramatic irony to this, in that we the audience know that Cersei and Jaime are fuckin’, and we come to this series with our 5th grade biology lessons in Mendel squares to know that a blonde and a blond throw a blond always, whereas a blond and a brunette only do half the time. Or not at all if, as Jon Arryn’s dying words and the fact that Robert’s look-alike bastard apprentice armorer’s mother was blonde imply, Robert is a BB brunette. In that case no combination of BBxbb yields a blond son. The seed is strong, indeed.
Anyway, so obviously this is something the reader will pick up on more quickly than Ned, although in my opinion it should not be a strong jump of logic for him for one simple reason: Jon Arryn wasn’t the one taking care of Gendry’s settlement. If he cared enough about Robert’s bastard for the sake of the boy himself, not what he represented, then he would have been the one taking him down to be apprenticed and paying the armorer’s fee, or at the very least aware of it. But he was not, which means that he was looking for Robert’s bastard…and a man who sees the king as his own son would only be doing that if there were something inadequate about the king’s legal sons. And while they might leave something to be desired in the personality departments, like Samwell Tarley they have none of them given their father (and by extension, or perhaps I should say in reality, his Hand) a reason to disown them. Therefore…they must not be his sons.
So the only question that remains is…how’d Jon Arryn find out?
Readers, if leaving a comment for Elena please direct (@Elena) them at her – and lead your comments with your messages for her. Please do not direct spoilers at her. Thanks!
-Don’t forget to check out the podcast Elena and Rachel–your resident Ladies of Ice and Fire–anchor, with a review of each week’s episode of the HBO series.
–Do not read on if you have not read the series through A Feast for Crows and want to avoid spoilers–
Hahaha… Stannis and Ned staying up all night and drinking together? IS ELENA READING THE SAME BOOK AS ME? I started laughing when I read that. Oh Elena, you’ve made the mistake of expecting Stannis to be a reasonable man. Be not curious of Stannis, if there’s anyone in Westeros that can out-dull Ned, it’s Stannis. He of the jaw-clenching and the rule following.
Can you imagine? Does Stannis even drink? No, he can’t possibly drink. He’d sit there and sip water out of the smallest available straw just to make it more difficult and get all uppity with Ned when commiserating. I’ll bet they did NOT get along. But this DOES get me thinking. If Ned was able to riddle out (ok, with a huge amount of help from Littlefinger) that Jon was researching House Baratheon and House Lannister (Hey Ned.. why WOULD Jon be obsessed with a book that intricately describes how people look! I’ll bet Littlefinger is playing a do-over of the same crap with Ned that he must have pulled with Jon, but Ned isn’t that smart. He’s got Littlefinger practically jumping around in front of him trying to get him to make the connections; he can’t see that Littlefinger is leading him down the same path!) and Stannis was also on these little “let’s go see the bastard” field trips.. why didn’t Stannis start poking around too?
Oh right, because Stannis has no imagination. (Neither does Ned.) It must have been hard for Stannis to grow up in the shadow of his popular and by all accounts handsome older brother. Then he gets stuck on Dragonstone and married to that horrible wife of his and his daughter gets some sort of disfiguring disease… You’d think Stannis would develop a sense of humor just to cope. Is this typical middle child syndrome? I myself am an only child, I have no idea.
Was Jon going to tell Robert his suspicions? That Joffrey was not his son? Who knows if he knew jack about the incest (I’m going to say no.) all he knew was that the Prince was not of the Baratheon line. Yea, Jon thought of Robert as a son in many ways but look at Jon’s ACTUAL SON. Jon wasn’t out telling Lysa to quit the crazy and stop breastfeeding the boy! He was arranging for Robin (ugh) to go to Dragonstone, where tight-ass Stannis would presumably goose step Robin to manliness. I guess Jon didn’t have the time? How do you stand by and watch your insane wife breast feed your son FOR 6 YEARS?! A little LATE to plan on sending the kid to Stannis. Should have sent him a long time ago. And why to Stannis? Why not Ned? Who was Stannis to Jon Arryn? Was Jon secretly planning on getting rid of Robert? Why Why Whyyyy! Shouldn’t Jon have been maneuvering to get a grip on the Lannisters, who were obviously up in some shady dishonorable business? He can’t have expected to just announce that Joffrey was illegitimate and not have Tywin’s fist go straight up his sphincter!
Wow… Ok I don’t know where that came from. Powerful visual. Let’s move on.
Back to the bastards. So Jon was inspecting Robert Baratheon’s bastards. The best of whom is Gendry because he’s got an awesome helmet. Elena is right, Jon couldn’t have been the one handling all the bastards and paying apprentice fees. So who was?
My guess is definitely Renly. He and Loras are cooking up some scheme to tempt Robert with Margaery (Hey Ned, do you think Margaery looks like Lyanna? Yea? What do you mean No?) Who else but Renly and Loras would think setting Gendry up with the most visual of all the armor makers is a good idea? He’s certainly not “hidden”. He’s right out in the open where all the nobles can go and order their armor and see the kid in the back that looks JUST LIKE THE KING. But hey, that’s where Renly and Loras go to get their armor. Why wouldn’t that be an awesome place for Gendry? Now, I have no idea how they found Gendry (let’s just all point at Littlefinger) but find him they did and they put him in a place where they could find him again. I guess they would need Gendry if the plan to get a more desirable recognized bastard on Margaery failed. What was the plan there? Get Margaery pregnant, kill Cersei and marry Robert to her? Or was the plan to just say announce that Joffrey was illegitimate but here’s a great recognized bastard with Tyrell money and support to replace the illegitimate heir? That would SO NOT HAPPEN. 1. No bastard would ever inherit the throne I don’t care who he was and 2. TYWIN’S FIST UP SPHINCTERS!
Let’s assume that Jon wasn’t as dumb as Ned. Let’s say he had thought about it and came up with half a plan.
Ok, so try this on for size:
I have a perfect plan. I can send my pansy son and the horrible prince to the most uptight guy I know. To a place where there isn’t anything REMOTELY pansy or horrible to indulge in. I can do this because this uptight dude is the horrible prince’s uncle and hey I’m sending my kid too so it can’t be funny business. So I’ll do that. While I’m doing that I’ll try to come up with a way to prove that said hostage away in an impregnable fortress is illegitimate. That might keep Tywin at bay for a while. After that I have no idea. I don’t know who can be prince, Robert will just have to make a legitimate heir with the Queen?
This plan will work. The only person I have to trust is Littlefinger.
Do you like my plan?
PS, This chapter also sees the introduction of Beric Dondarrion. And isn’t HE just a can of corpse eating insects?
SPOILERS (for Rachel)
I don’t think Renly and Loras were the ones supporting Gendry. At the time of the story, Renly is about 22 and Gendry is about 16. When does one start apprenticing? Age 10? That would make Renly wily enough to start this plan when he’s 16? And I highly doubt Renly was in a relationship with Loras at this time – Loras would have been 10 as well… Seems more like a Varys move to me.
And I thought the plan with Margaery was to get Robert to divorce/execute Cersei by exposing her betrayal and disinheriting her children and marrying Margaery instead. All legitimate and above the board. No need for bastard legitimization.
I was under the impression that Gendry had only been apprenticing a few years but you’re probably right. Varys could have placed Gendry there.. and that’s where Renly noticed him.
But I don’t think divorce/execution of Cersei would ever have worked. The realm owed far too much money to the Lannisters. Petyr made sure of it.
Kill Cersei and Jaime at once, and who the fuck knows what Tywin would do.
Ya might break ol’ goldbritches.
either way, no more owing him tons of money…
You’d have to kill the children as well. What’s to prevent Tywin from taking the children and starting a war? Which he would do. HE WOULD.
Jon Arryn or Renly murdering a child? Ok.. maybe Renly would.
Nah. stronger men have broken from deaths of children. it could go either way.
*** Spoilers ***
I’m pretty sure it was Varys supporting Gendry, alas, still no book to offer support other than my memory.
I thought Renly’s plan was to get Robert to set Cersei aside in favor of Margaery. Renly doesn’t seem to know about the twincest, he’s just trying to get out from under the Lannister thumb and get more power into the hands of Loras’s family. It’s debatable whether this would have worked. Renly’s plan doesn’t have a legitimate reason for Cersei to be set aside and the Lannisters are powerful enough that getting rid of them without a valid reason wouldn’t be that easy.
Jon & Stannis have the information needed for a legitimate reason. If the Queen and her brother are revealed to have committed treason and the royal children are actually bastards then Robert has every right to get rid of them. Ned certainly thinks so and he seems to also think that Robert would have ordered all their deaths and went to war with the Lannisters as well. Tywin doesn’t really have a leg to stand on if the truth about the wonder twins is revealed. Alas, with Jon dead Stannis doesn’t think Robert would believe the accusation coming from Stannis alone.
*** End Spoilers ***
I agree with you on Renly’s plan. But come on.. he has to have a motivation! Which is why I think he knew about the bastards. Probably not the incest. I think you guys are all discounting Tywin. He’s got money, men, troops.. the crown has nothing. All the troops in the city belong to the Lannisters. Hire an assassin to kill Jaime and Cersei? You better hope they succeed! That still doesn’t do anything but give Tywin an excuse to take power outright. You’d have to kill a whole lot of people for that to work. You’d need a hostage. A high ranking one.
Plus.. there’s really no “proving” the incest. Which is the problem that comes up later in the books. You’ve got these rumors everywhere but .. so what?
*** Spoilers ***
The Crown has the support of enough of the kingdoms to stand against Tywin. If Ned tells Robert about the incest, Robert is probably going to have an extreme and violent reaction. Stannis will stand by his brother, Renly can bring the Stormlands and probably the Reach as well (the Tyrells have more to gain at this point fighting for the Crown than endearing themselves to the Lannisters), the North would join through Ned, the Riverlands as well. Dorne might even bestir herself to screw over the Lannisters. The Vale would sit out and the Iron Islands would probably just raid whoever looked the weakest.
The Gold Cloaks are for sale through Janos Slynt, so perhaps the Lannisters can win an initial victory there but it isn’t clear Littlefinger would help the Lannisters under these circumstances and he seems to be the one that pulled those strings.
The Lannisters have a couple hundred guardsmen in King’s Landing, but that’s it for troops definitely loyal to them. As far as proof, as Cersei says in the show, when you’re king the truth is what you say it is. If Robert says it is the case then few outside of the Westerlands will openly question it. If Robert immediately executes Cersei & Jaime then it looks even worse for the Lannisters. What are they fighting for other than revenge in that case? Tywin isn’t going to garner many allies and though I’m sure he could put up one hell of a fight, he’d ultimately be doomed to failure. The forces arrayed against him would just be too great. Tywin isn’t exactly the most popular lord with his peers, so I don’t really see how he would be able to take power outright.
The problem with the rumors later in the series is they are coming primarily from Stannis after Robert is dead. Cersei and her kids are already confirmed as the rightful rulers at this point (and Ned stated this was the case). It seems to many as if Stannis is just spreading sour grapes and it is much harder to unseat the Lannisters once they’ve been confirmed. If Robert and Ned had decreed the incest as fact, few would question it.
*** End Spoliers ***
** Spoilers **
I agree with you, I always thought it was Varys. For one thing, when he’s being incognito we usually seem to default to our minor characters’ describing some guy in a big cloak. Secondly, he’s always seemed to have a soft spot for the kids – His reminiscing about the death of the little Targaryen princess, and I think he mentions unhappily in a later book there were some of Robert’s bastards that Cersei got to. Whether you want to say he’s doing that out of the kindness of his heart, or professionally to either A) make things better for Robert, or B) keep the peace until it’s time for the invasion… I have no idea.
Loras and Renly didn’t have to be a couple to start scheming. Loras started out as Renly’s squire, they could have been planning all this since then…maybe that’s what brought them together in the first place!
Seems unlikely, though. And not their style at all…they’re too naive.
I don’t think they’re that naive. Renly’s instincts after Robert’s death are pretty spot on. It’s not his fault no one thought his ideas were valid. I think that Renly and Loras became caught up in their own mythos (probably how Ned and Robert were at that age). They didn’t think they could fail so they didn’t plan for it.
** TOTALLY SPOILERS **
It’s not like Renly could have foreseen a way to deal with Mel. If things had gone slightly differently, he could’ve smashed Stannis to pieces, let Tywin and Robb exhaust each other while he’s peacefully sauntering up to King’s Landing, and win the war without even perspiring.
@Rachel – I think if the twincest was exposed, Robert would have to divorce Cersei, and probably imprison her for treason. Tywin wouldn’t like it, but what could he do? Then again, I never saw any proof that Renly knew about the twincest and bastardy of the children, it seemed only Jon and Stannis knew about that.
And I’ve read the books multiple times, and I still don’t get why Stannis ran away to Dragonstone. Did he flee after Jon Arryn died? Was he afraid of the Lannisters? It doesn’t seem to fit.
yea.. I never figured it out either. Only thing that makes sense is because Robin was supposed to go there to be fostered (but.. seriously WHY WOULD HE SEND HIM TO STANNIS?) unless it was to perhaps accompany a certain horrible little boy to ALSO be fostered?
*** Spoilers ***
Sending Sweetrobin to Stannis makes sense. Jon and Stannis seem to have some sort of friendship or close working relationship. Stannis has a child reasonably close to Sweetrobin in age and Stannis is just the sort of hardass in a hard place to toughen Sweetrobin up. Stannis would take the duty seriously (he’s serious about everything) so Jon probably couldn’t think of a better place to send him.
*** End Spoilers ***
*** Spoilers ***
I agree, Tywin might not like it, but he’s not going to find much support if it’s revealed that Cersei and Jaime have been fucking and that the royal children are twincest babies. Tywin is badass but not badass enough to take on the other kingdoms on his own.
I think Stannis ran because he didn’t want to get caught in the trap that Ned walked into. I believe he ran after Jon Arryn died and Robert started North. Remember, Stannis doesn’t have much love or trust for either Robert or Ned. He feels like Robert shafted him by sending him to Dragonstone after he was held up in Storm’s End for the whole rebellion. He also feels like Ned usurped his rightful spot by Robert’s side and that the brotherly love Robert showed Ned should have gone to him. It’s no surprise that he didn’t want any part of a Robert-Ned administration, especially with the Lannister noose steadily closing.
*** End Spoilers ***
yea.. that makes sense except for one thing.. Stannis doesn’t run. I feel like he went there for a specific reason. Maybe the plan was for Lysa to go to him, she of course didn’t b/c she had Littlefinger in her ear..among other places
but I still can’t figure out the Jon/Stannis team. What IS that? I guess… with all of King’s Landing to choose from.. Stannis was the one who at the very least wouldn’t be lying to your face? But he could be lied to… The whole things is such a freaking mess. I’ve always found the Jon Arryn mystery and the events surrounding it to be messy. I guess messy on purpose. I’m still hoping for some more revelations.
Ned is capable of humor! He even has a little snark in him, but he sure does keep that hidden most of the time.
At this point in the story I remember coming to the same realization about Joff and wanting to will this information into Ned’s head because he still doesn’t get it.
Who took care of Gendry’s settlement? How did Jon Arryn find out about the children? Great questions at this point, read and find out I have to say. Can’t remember if we’ve gotten enough info at this point in the story to formulate answers.
RE do we have enough info to formulate answers? I’m going to go with NO, OBVIOUSLY NOT OR I WOULD HAVE. lol. it’s actually possible there was something hinted at back in one of the earliest jon arryn mentions that i’ve forgotten, but for what stuck with a first reader–nothing that would be better than guessing on a multiple choice test. in this case all the choices being “any character named except robert or ned.”
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