A Clash of Kings-Chapter 3

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Tyrion I
A Clash of Kings chapter
POV Tyrion
Place King's Landing
Page 39 UK HC (Other versions)
Chapter chronology (All)
Sansa I  ← Tyrion I →  Bran 1

Tyrion II

Tyrion meets with the Small Council, bringing with him the letter from Tywin Lannister proclaiming him temporary Hand of the King. Cersei, who, as Regent, has commanded Tywin to return with his army, is not happy but accepts Tyrion. When Tryion returns to the inn where he has hidden Shae, he finds Varys with her. That night Tyrion tells Shea that he will do justice.


Tyrion arrives outside the council chambers with Bronn and Timett. Ser Mandon Moore, who according to Jaime Lannister is the most dangerous of the Kingsguard (beside himself) since his face never gives a hint, refuses to let them in since the Queen has ordered the council not to be disturbed. The letter Tyrion bears from Tywin Lannister does not impress him, neither does the threat of Tyrion’s companions. It is only after he is told that Bronn killed Ser Vardis Egen that Ser Mandon allows Tyrion to enter. Tyrion has passed his first test.

When Cersei sees him she exclaims “You.” Tyrion, knowing he should not show any weakness which Cersei might detect, says “I can see where Joffrey learned his courtesies.” He then tells her he has a letter from their lord father. Tyrion climbs into the Hand’s chair. Cersei reads the letter, which states that Tryion is to act as Hand of the King in Tywin’s absence, which Cersei considers absurd. Janos Slynt states there is need of him with rioting in the streets, and a grimm omen in the sky. Cersei lashes out a Janos because he is in charge of the Gold Cloaks, and then tells Tyrion he would serve better on the field of battle. Tyrion replies that he is done with fighting, preferring the finer things and Littlefinger tells him he is a man after his own heart—this reminds Tyrion that he must have a talk with Littlefinger about the dagger used in an attempt on Bran Stark's life. Cersei is not happy to learn he has brought only a few hundred men; she is worried about Stannis and Renly Baratheon attacking the city. Then she states that only the king can name a Hand, and King Joffrey has named Lord Tywin. Tyrion responds by pointing out that Tywin named him. She is still not happy, so Tyrion recommends she take it up with her father in Harrenhal.

Tyrion requests a private moment with Cersei. Before he leaves Varys states, “How you must have yearned for the sound of your sweet sister’s voice.” After telling Littlefinger that he will take up residence in the Tower of the Hand, Littlefinger comments that Tyrion must be braver than him considering the fate of the last two Hands, and Tyrion corrects him to four, explaining that Aerys's last Hand died in the Sack of King's Landing, and the one before him was burned to death. The two before them were luckier in that they merely died penniless in exile; upon hearing this, Littlefinger japes that he would sooner bed down in the dungeon than the Tower of the Hand, and Tyrion privately thinks to himself that Littlefinger might get that wish.

Once alone, Cersei states she hopes their father did not send him to plague them with history lessons, and Tyrion replies with Varys' words: “How I have yearned for the sound of your sweet voice.” Cersei then asks why Tywin would inflict him on her, and that she is regent, and has ordered him to King's Landing; Tywin ignored her. Tyrion points out he has a large army, so he can do that, nor is he the first to do so. She threatens to call the letter a forgery and throw him in the dungeon, and Tyrion agrees that nobody, including their father, would object, but then tells her he is there to help. She responds that she wanted Tywin’s help, but Tyrion knows that she really wants Jaime, and promises that if she gives him her support he will free Jaime. When she asks how, given that Robb and Catelyn Stark are not likely to forget the beheading of Eddard, he notes that she has the daughters. Cersei reveals that she only has the eldest daughter; she sent Meryn Trant to apprehend the younger girl, but her dancing master interfered and the girl escaped the Red Keep; Cersei believes that she is most likely dead.

Tyrion then asks her if she trusts the Small Council, because their father does not. Joffrey’s short reign has been full of follies and disasters, which suggests the king is getting extremely bad counsel; Cersei concedes that Joffrey, always willful, now believes that as king he is free to do as he pleases, not as he is bid. She explains that Joffrey was instructed to allow Eddard Stark to take the black, but he took it upon himself to order Eddard killed; Janos Slynt and Ser Ilyn Payne were quick to take the command. Cersei also mentions that as a result, the High Septon is accusing them of lying to him and profaning the Sept of Baelor.

Tyrion then questions Cersei about Slynt, asking whose idea it was to make him Lord of Harrenhal and a member of the small council. Cersei replies that Littlefinger made the arrangements; they needed the Gold Cloaks on their side to stop Stark before he handed the throne over to Stannis Baratheon. Cersei adds if it had not been for Sansa bringing her Eddard’s plans, all might have been lost, and even so it was a close thing. Tyrion expresses surprise that Sansa would betray her own father's plans, but Cersei replies the girl was in love with Joffrey and would have done anything for him...right up until he cut her father's head off and called it "mercy".

Tyrion also learns that it was Varys who suggested that Ser Barristan Selmy be removed from his post as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, as Joffrey wanted to blame someone for Robert's death. It freed the Lord Commander's post and seat on the council for Jaime, and allowed Joffrey to throw a bone to his Hound. A generous severance was provided, but Selmy would have none of it and fled the city. Tyrion notes he has heard that Selmy has slain the two gold cloaks Slynt sent to apprehend him on Joffrey's orders. Cersei is unhappy that only two were sent, and does not consider Slynt very competent. Tyrion warns her that Barristan the Bold leading Robb Stark’s or Renly’s army would give them too much credibility; the Smallfolk talk of him like Serwyn of the Mirror Shield and Prince Aemon the Dragonknight. Cersei admits she did not think of that and is told their father did, and this is why Tyrion was sent.

Tyrion tells her Joffrey might be more inclined to listen to him if he feels threatened, something Joffrey doesn’t feel with his mother. He explains that both Cersei and Joffrey need him if Joffrey is to retain the throne and then suggests that he is hers, and will do nothing without her consent. When he asks Cersei who killed Jon Arryn, Cersei tells him she doesn’t know. She goes on to say that Eddard Stark asked her the same thing, hinting that Jon Arryn suspected her of - incest, Tyrion finishes for her, earning himself a slap in the face. Tyrion reveals that he knew all along, as he is not as blind as their father. He earns some more slaps for his crude comments, and finally warns her to stop since he now has new friends, and asks how King Robert was killed. Cersei explains how Robert died; Lancel gave him wine of three times the normal potency before he faced the boar. Robert loved the wine, finishing off a skin and then ordering another. Cersei states that Tyrion should have had some of the boar, there has never been one so delicious. Tyrion, telling Cersei she was born to be a widow, takes his leave. Cersei objects, stating she has not given leave, and wants to know how he will save Jaime. Tyrion tells her he does not know yet, and asks her to make sure no harm comes to Sansa.

Outside Timett has disappeared, so Tyrion commands Bronn to find Timett and make arrangements for the clansmen in the Tower of the Hand. Tyrion commands Vylarr, captain of Cersei’s guards, to provide an escort for him to the Broken Anvil. On the way, he sees the spiked heads and orders Vylarr to have them removed from the spikes on the wall and given to the Silent Sisters. When Vylarr is hesitant because the King ordered them to remain, Tyrion warns him that if they are not removed, one of the spikes will have his head.

As they ride through the city, Tyrion notices the effect the war is having on the people, with guards at every shop—Tyrion thinks how when things grow lean even bakers find sellswords cheaper than bread. Vylarr confirms very little food is coming into the city. Tyrion asks what Cersei has done, and is told she has tripled the City Watch, and has thousands of craftsmen working on the defenses, including the Alchemists' Guild which has pledged ten thousand jars of Wildfire. The latter makes Tyrion uncomfortable, and he asks where the money is coming from, given that Robert has beggared the realm. To pay for it, Littlefinger has introduced taxes for those entering the city. Tyrion considers this clever and cruel. When they arrive at the inn, he orders Vylarr to return.

Tyrion enters the inn to find Shae sitting with several Blackears and Varys. Tyrion is irritated that Varys found Shae so quickly. Varys says that he had a sudden urge to meet his young lady. Tyrion realizes that the eunuch is indirectly threatening him by showing he knows Tyrion's weakness. The two exchange some veiled threats. Varys asks if Tyrion has seen the Red Comet, and Tyrion replies he is not blind; on the Kingsroad it seemed to cover half the sky. Varys tells Tyrion that on the streets it is called the Red Messenger, "a herald before a king, to warn of fire and blood to follow.” Before Varys leaves he poses a riddle to Tyrion:

In a room sit three great men, a king, a priest, and a rich man with his gold. Between them stands a sellsword, a little man of common birth and no great mind. Each of the great ones bids him slay the other two. ‘Do it’ says the king, ‘for I am your lawful ruler.’ ‘Do it’ says the priest, ‘for I command you in the names of the gods.’ ‘Do it’ says the rich man, ‘and all this gold shall be yours.’ So tell me-who lives and who dies?”

Varys then leaves. Shae says it is the rich man who lives, but Tyrion is not so sure, saying it depends on the sellsword. As they climb the stairs to the room, Shea has to wait for Tyrion. Tyrion notes that he still has to look up to her even though she is only five feet tall, but does not mind since she is so sweet. Shea quickly strips and then teases him that he will never be able to sleep in the Tower of the Hand, thinking of her, without masturbating, and then asks whether that is why they call it the Tower of the Hand. She drags him to the bed, and they make fierce love. Afterwards Tyrion thinks he is a fool, she is a whore and after the coin. When Shea asks what Tyrion will do as Hand of the King, he tells her, “Something Cersei will never expect, I’ll do justice.”

References and Notes