A Clash of Kings-Chapter 15
|A Clash of Kings chapter|
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The Small Council is discussing the letters Stannis is circulating about Cersei Lannister’s children not being King Robert Baratheon's. Both Tyrion and Littlefinger think they should do nothing, which makes Cersei furious. Finally it is agreed that they will circulate a rumor that Stannis’ daughter is illegitimate. Tyrion leaves the council to meet with the smiths of King's Landing about creating a chain, and then goes to a brothel to meet with Varys.
Cersei Lannister is furious upon learning that Stannis Baratheon is circulating letters accusing her of incest. The Small Council has two copies of the proclamation, one sent to Maester Frenken (the maester assigned to House Stokeworth), and a second to Lord Gyles Rosby. Littlefinger notes that if Stannis sent letters to them, every other lord has seen a copy. Tyrion Lannister responds to Cersei's demands that every copy be burned—she does not want her father or Joffrey to know—with the point that they have already been read and that there were probably letters sent to Harrenhal and Casterly Rock. When Cersei exclaims that she is being accused of incest, adultery and treason, Tyrion is impressed with her acting skills since he knows the accusations are true. He points out that Stannis needs a pretext to justify his rebellion; Stannis will not accept Joffrey as the legitimate heir since he intends to take the throne. When Cersei insists she will not be called a whore, Tyrion can only think that Stannis did not claim Jaime had paid her. He then points out the words “Done in the Light of the Lord.” Grand Maester Pycelle explains it is a term used in the Free Cities. Littlefinger notes that Varys, who for some reason known only to Tyrion, is not present, reported that Lady Selyse had a red priest in her service. Tyrion notes that they can use this against Stannis. Cersei brings up the letters again, and wants to know what Tyrion thinks they should do. He tells her just to let people whisper and they will grow bored, and Stannis has no proof; without that, most will see the letter as a pathetic attempt to justify his rebellion. Littlefinger agrees, adding that they will give the rumour more credence if they try to stamp it out rather than just ignore it, and then recommends they spread a similar rumor that Shireen is not really Stannis' daughter.
They discuss whom they should accuse of being the father, and Littlefinger proposes Shireen's fool Patchface. When Pycelle exclaims that Lady Selyse would not bring a fool to bed, Littlefinger replies you have to be a fool to want to bed Lady Selyse. He then reveals that the fool is devoted to the girl, and the girl has a mottled half-frozen face from the greyscale. Cersei calls Littlefinger wicked, and he thanks her. Tyrion decides that the news should not come from them, since it would seem self-serving, and Littlefinger recommends using whores.
Tyrion takes his leave, and when Cersei asks why, he tells her he is having a gift made for Joffrey, a little chain. Cersei retorts that Joffrey has lots of chains and that he cannot buy Joffrey’s love. Tyrion replies that one day Joffrey may treasure this chain above all others.
Bronn meets him outside the council chambers and tells him the smiths are waiting in his audience chamber. Tyrion compliments him on his wording, telling him that he almost sounds like a proper courtier and will next be kneeling. Bronn responds with “Fuck you, dwarf.” Lady Tanda Stokeworth overhears and states “That’s Shae’s task,” a comment Tyrion ignores. In his chambers the shy Podrick Payne helps him dress.
In the audience with the smiths, Tyrion immediately gets to the point by presenting them with a short chain of immense links that, he claims, were made by the castle forge. He demands that all of the city's forges be busy night and day making and joining more links, and then puts Goodman Ironbelly in charge of seeing it done. The smiths immediately ask about the queen's orders for armor and her threat of hands being crushed for not meeting the quotas. Tyrion assures them no hands will be crushed, thinking of how Cersei is creating so much love for them among the smallfolk. Ironbelly interjects that they will need much iron and coke, and is told that Lord Baelish will see to the coin, while the City Watch will be commanded to find the iron. Then an older smith, Salloreon, complains about being given work only fit for a common smith. Tyrion replies he can either make chains or wear them, and then leaves the room.
Bronn is waiting with a litter and an escort of The Black Ears. As he travels, Tyrion thinks about how he set the city carpenters to building fishing boats instead of catapults, opened the Kingswood to hunters, and sent the Gold Cloaks foraging to deal with the hunger problem in the city, yet people still give him accusing looks. He also considers that his sister missed the part about Stannis declaring himself king, and wonders what Renly will think about that. His litter makes its way down Shadowblack Lane to the foot of Aegon’s High Hill and a brothel behind Rhaenys's Hill. When he meets a tall woman inside who names herself Chataya, he asks to see the girls; he is looking for a girl for Joffrey. She recommends a dark skinned girl of 16 who turns out to be her daughter Alayaya; in the Summer Isles being a whore is considered an honor.
He is directed into a wardrobe, where he finds a secret panel, beyond which there is a hidden shaft leading down to where a disguised Varys stands. Tyrion tells him that Stannis has accused Jaime and Cersei of incest, and asks how he came by that suspicion. Varys responds that he probably looked at the color of the children’s hair like Eddard Stark and Jon Arryn did; after all, all eight of his bastard children have black hair even when their mothers did not. As Tyrion leaves after being helped onto a horse by Varys, he tells him that he is either his best friend or worst enemy in King's Landing. Varys says he feels the same way about Tyrion.