A Clash of Kings-Chapter 33
|A Clash of Kings chapter|
|Place||A village near Storm's End - Outside the walls of Storm's End|
|Page||362 UK HC (Other versions)|
|Chapter chronology (All)|
Catelyn prays to the seven in a sept in a small village. As she prays, the realization comes to her that both Eddard Stark and Jon Arryn died for their knowledge of Cersei’s incest, and that Bran also knows. She arrives back at Renly Baratheon's pavillion, where Brienne of Tarth prepares him for battle. She asks Renly to call a Great Council with his brother and Robb to let Bran tell what he saw. He refuses to support the concept. Then, a shadow kills Renly. When the guards arrive, it is assumed that Brienne killed him. Catelyn escapes with her, and they join Catelyn’s party to leave.
It is full dark before Catelyn, Ser Wendel Manderly and Ser Robar Royce arrive at the village. The sept’s seven walls—one for each god—are cracked and crooked. She enters alone. Catelyn remembers Septon Osmynd telling her every god is one with seven aspects. In Winterfell, Septon Chayle hung carved masks, but here they are but rough chalk drawings. Catelyn prays to the Mother to spare them if she can, and spare her own sons. She wonders if Eddard Stark’s gods ever answered him, and looks around. The Father’s face reminds her of her dying father Hoster Tully, the Warrior of Renly Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon, Robert Baratheon, Robb, Jaime Lannister, Jon Snow, and for a second she sees Arya. The smoke burns her eyes, and, after rubbing them, she sees her mother Minisa Tully, who died in childbirth, in the face of the Mother. When her head starts swimming, she realizes she has not eaten today; food lost its savor when Ned died. Then she thinks she can see Lysa’s face, but the eyes are too hard; it is the face of Cersei. She first wonders if Cersei prays to the seven also, and then thinks if Robert, who did not regard Joffrey with any warmth, knew that the boy was of Jaime’s seed would have put both him and his mother to death and few would condemn him. The children born of incest are considered abominations by the followers of both the old gods and the Seven; only among the Targaryens was such practices common. She realises Eddard and Jon Arryn must have both known, hence why Cersei had them both killed, and she suddenly realizes Bran knows also. She prays to the different gods for her children. Ser Robar interrupts her prayers to tell her they must leave to be back before dawn.
They pass through the army, and to Catelyn it seems like grey men on grey horses beneath grey banners. At Renly’s pavilion, Ser Parmen Crane and Ser Emmon Cuy of the Rainbow Guard stand guard outside while inside, Brienne of Tarth is armoring the king and Lords Randyll Tarly and Mathis Rowan are speaking of dispositions and tactics. Catelyn asks to speak to Renly, but he tells her to wait. Lord Mathis is telling Renly that they should advance before dawn since the soldiers are in position, and Lord Rowan is agreeing since if they wait, they will charge into the rising sun, but Renly will not have it said his victory was won by treachery. Renly is sure that Ser Loras will break the first of Stannis' lines. Renly commands that when his brother falls, his body be treated with respect. When Lord Tarly asks what to do if Stannis yields, both Renly and Lord Rowan are amused, and Renly recounts how Ser Gawen Wylde tried to escape to surrender to Mace Tyrell during the siege of Storm's End, and Stannis was going to hurl him out using a catapult. He was only dissuaded by Maester Cressen telling him they might have to eat their dead; mercifully, the Onion Knight saved them from having to eat the flesh of corpses, though Renly notes this was little comfort for Ser Gawen, who died in his cell. Renly, assuming Ser Barristan Selmy will be with Stannis (since Ser Barristan is neither with him nor with Robb and wants to guard a king), states he wants him spared. Finally, Renly is ready to hear from Catelyn, the lords departing.
Catelyn now tells Renly that the Lannisters tried to kill Bran, explaining that there was a hunt the day he fell, and while Robert, Ned and most of the other men were gone, both Jaime Lannister and the queen remained at Winterfell. She then beseeches Renly to set aside the crown, along with his brother, and Robb would do the same. Then they could call a Great Council where Bran will tell his tale so the realm will know the Lannisters are true usurpers. Renly tells her the time for talk is done. As Brienne is kneeling, belting on Renly’s long sword and dagger, a breeze seems to fling open the tent flap. Then, Catelyn sees a shadow lifting a sword that takes Renly in the throat. Brienne catches Renly as he stumbles into her, his blood flowing over her armor. Ser Robar and Ser Emmon come rushing in, and, seeing Brienne covered in Renly’s blood, immediately assume she killed him. Ser Emmon immediately attacks with a battleaxe as Catelyn screams “No!”. Brienne is soon in battle with Ser Emmon and the two men-at-arms with them. Catelyn starts to tell Ser Robar, who hangs back uncertainly, that is was Stannis, only being able to explain it as some sort of sorcery, a shadow, swearing on her husband’s grave and her honor. Ser Robar promises to hold them off and leaves the tent. Brienne has taken out the men-at-arms but now the armored Ser Emmon is in her wool. Catelyn bashes an iron brazier over Ser Emmon’s helm, sending him to his knees and Brienne, seeing the chance, slashes through the tent side. Catelyn tells her to follow her slowly so they do not raise suspicions.
Brienne has seen nothing, and Catelyn tells her it was a shadow, and she could feel Stannis. Brienne swears she will kill Stannis with Renly’s sword. They arrive at the camp, and Catelyn explains that Renly is dead, and there will be no battle. She tells Brienne to select one of the many spare horses; they have to be far away before they look for them, so she does not have time to get her own armor and horse. Catelyn tells them to ride, and cut down anyone that tries to stop them.
Catelyn thinks how all of Renly’s power will now belong to Stannis, won in a single evil stroke; the lords present will have no choice but to side with the last Baratheon. Then she thinks how Stannis has also declared Robb a traitor who must be punished, and a chill goes through her as she recalls Stannis's threat that Robb's time will come.
References and Notes
- Summary and analyses of the chapter in the course of a 10th reread.
- Review and summary by Leigh Butler.