After a perilous journey, Catelyn finally arrives at the Vale of Arryn. Her sister’s castle has more levels of security than Fort Knox, and is an acrophobic nightmare of cracking spiral steps, narrow windy bridges, and sickeningly steep ascents. It takes Catelyn days to reach the top, ironically guided by bastard girl Mya Stone. When Catelyn has a vertigo freeze up on the mountain crossing, Mya was there to help her. See Cat? Bastards aren’t all evil. I predict in a few chapters, Martin is going to reveal that Cat herself is a bastard, and we’re going to get one of those great “Noooooooo!” screams.
Catelyn chats with her uncle Brynden the Blackfish, who to my great disappointment is not actually black. After some more climbing, she finally meets her sister at the Eyrie. To quote Martin, Lysa Tully has become “thick of body” and “pale of face,” which is a nice way of saying she’s a fatty who never leaves the house. Martin must have realized the lack of creepiness in this chapter, because everything was totally normal until Lysa suddenly whips out a boob for her six year old son to suck on. In the wake of Jon Arryn’s death, Lysa has become a paranoid, overprotective, crazy woman. Traumatic family incidents tend to do that to people. Just ask Catelyn, who kidnapped the son of a powerful house for a crime he didn’t commit. Ladies and gentlemen, the Tullys: no incest, but horrifically bad decision making nonetheless.
We see the consequences of Cat’s action immediately. Jaime Lannister confronts Eddard and Littlefinger outside a brothel, and he’s quite pissed about Tyrion’s disappearance. If Eddard was clever, he’d say “Mr. Lannister, I do not know the whereabouts of your brother, but I might have more information in a few hours, when I will have more than two guys with me.” Instead, Eddard predictably answers “Of course I arrested that stupid dwarf,” which results in a very one-sided fight, a very broken leg, and a very dead Jory.
The shit really hit the fan this chapter. I wonder what Jaime’s reasoning was behind wounding Eddard and killing his men. I doubt it would actually help Tyrion, because when Catelyn hears about this, the poor dwarf is going to get tortured even more. If that’s the case, why didn’t Jaime capture Ned and trade him for Tyrion later? Because he’s Jaime Lannister, man of action, whose strongest trait was never thoughtful planning. The Starks and Lannisters are now at each other's throats, just like Varys predicted.