A Clash of Kings-Chapter 36
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The small council is discussing the news of Renly's mysterious murder. Tyrion points out that they have an opportunity to recruit House Tyrell to Joffrey I since they loved Renly but not Stannis Baratheon. To recruit them, Tyrion recommends that Joffrey marry Margaery Tyrell. Cersei does not like the idea, stating Joffrey will not like it, but eventually agrees. Neither Cersei nor Tyrion want to leave King’s Landing to meet with the Tyrells but Littlefinger volunteers, expecting a reward for his service.
Varys reports the mysterious murder of Renly, whose throat was cut like soft cheese. The reports of the murderer vary: Stannis with a magic sword, a knight of his Rainbow Guard, a maid, a woman spurned, or Lady Catelyn Stark. The small council, including Cersei, Tyrion, and Littlefinger, are not pleased with the report since they expect the truth, not rumors. Varys assures them it is not a ruse, and that Renly is dead.
Tyrion notes that Joffrey will not be happy since he was reserving a spike for Renly’s head. Tyrion himself is also unhappy since he was depending on the brothers to decimate each other's armies in battle, but points out the killer's identity is irrelevant; Stannis has to be behind Renly's death, as he stood to gain the most from it.
Varys reports the foot remain at Bitterbridge and most of the lords have gone over to Stannis Baratheon with, as Littlefinger assumed, Lord Alester Florent being first. Loras Tyrell, Randyll Tarly, and Mathis Rowan did not switch allegiance, and Ser Cortnay Penrose will not yield Storm's End until he sees Renly’s body, which has disappeared. A fifth of the knights left with Loras, who had killed three of Renly’s guards in anger, including Emmon Cuy and Robar Royce. Loras is probably headed to Bitterbridge for his sister Margaery Tyrell and the foot still there. Tyrion notes that this is an opportunity to win the Tyrells to their cause; they may have loved Renly, but perhaps they can be convinced to prefer Joffrey over Stannis. Littlefinger suggests bribes, but both Varys and Tyrion do not think gold will win Highgarden. Littlefinger admits they are right, and states that Loras, although a younger son, is Mace Tyrell’s favorite, so they just have to win him. Tyrion suggests marrying 15- or 16-year-old Margaery to the 13-year-old Joffrey. Cersei objects that Joffrey is promised to Sansa Stark, but Tyrion responds that there is no advantage in wedding the king to the daughter of a dead traitor. Littlefinger adds that the Tyrells are wealthier than the Starks and Margaery is lovely and beddable.
When Tyrion states that Joffrey should like this, Cersei replies her son is too young to care about such things. Tyrion notes that he was the same age as Joffrey when he married. Cersei insists that Joffrey is made of finer stuff, but Tyrion reminds her that he ordered Sansa stripped by Ser Boros Blount.
Tyrion has spoken to Varys about arranging a secret visit to Chataya’s for Joffrey; Tyrion hopes that it will sweeten him. He noted that they will have to arrange to do it when Sandor Clegane is busy. Varys agreed to look into the matter.
Tyrion tells Cersei that the marriage may be the only way for Joffrey to live to his wedding night and Littlefinger adds that Sansa brings only her body to Joffrey’s bed, while Margaery would bring 50,000 swords. Varys adds that the needs of the realm come before the king’s own desires. Cersei states that the king would never agree to Renly’s leavings, and Tyrion replies that when the king comes of age in 3 years he can make his own decisions, but until then he does as the Hand of the King and the regent say. Cersei agrees but warns them if Joffrey does not like Margaery.
Tyrion brings up the need to send one of them to Bitterbridge before Loras’ blood cools; Loras will scarcely deal with Bronn or Shagga. Cersei first recommends Ser Jacelyn Bywater, but Tyrion points out that whoever they send must be able to make decisions for the king and council. Cersei recommends Tyrion as Hand of the King and Tyrion recommends Cersei as the king’s mother. Littlefinger volunteers, stating he would make a poor hostage and neither Loras nor Mace bears any enmity towards him. Tyrion does not like it since he does not trust Littlefinger but if he leaves King's Landing for any time, everything he worked for would be undone. There is fighting on the route to Bitterbridge, so Littlefinger will need a strong escort. Tyrion initially offers 100 gold cloaks and they agree on 300 plus 40 knights with squires to give Littlefinger a knightly tail to impress the Tyrells. Littlefinger states he will take Horas Redwyne and Hobber Redwyne (Horror and Slobber) who will be sent on to their father as a gesture of good will since Paxter Redwyne is an old friend of Mace Tyrell's. Cersei expresses wrath at this since House Redwyne would have declared for Renly except for the twins being held hostage. Littlefinger notes that Renly is dead and Stannis and Lord Paxter have an enmity against each other from the siege of Storm's End. Tyrion decides to send Ser Hobber and keep Ser Horas in King’s Landing. Littlefinger also demands plenty of horses and gold, and a commission in writing, which Tyrion agrees to, so Littlefinger states he will start before dawn, but is expecting a suitable reward for his services. Cersei asks him what he wants, and Littlefinger replies he will think about it. Tyrion instructs Varys to get parchment and quill, and they will need someone to wake Joffrey.
Cersei asks Tyrion about his chain, and he tells her it is getting longer link by link, and that they should thank Ser Cortnay since Stannis will not march north with Storm’s End untaken. Cersei now tells Tyrion that he has been a great help, contrary to what she expected, and kisses him on the brow.
When Cersei leaves, Tyrion tells Bronn that Cersei is up to something, and asks Bronn to try to find out what; Tyrion hates surprises.
- Summary and analyses of the chapter in the course of a 10th reread.
- Review and summary by Leigh Butler.