September 01, 2011

Tyrion XI

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in HBOs Game of Thrones
The noble Yezzan is sick. The sickness of the pale mare has taken him, and the slaves fear the fate that awaits them. Since Yezzan was one of the few Yunkish lords besides the commander, who died in the pit when Drogon attacked, the Yunkish are disposed to take up the war again. Tyrion knows that when Yezzan dies, they will have a big problem, since no heir will take his interest in grotesque slaves. Penny in the meantime is daydreaming, imaginaing searching for Daenerys in the Dornish Sea. While Sweets tries to rescue Yezzan, Tyrion remembers how Nurse got sick with the pale mare. He brought him a soup, used the mushrooms in it and killed him, whispering "a Lannister always pays his debts" in his ear while he died.

Tyrion grabs Penny and commands some slave soldiers outside to fetch water for Yezzan. The soldiers, aware that their position is more powerful, command Tyrion to do it in turn. Tyrion barters for the cart, insisting to take at least Mormont with them. The three then make their way to the wells with pails in hand and get in the line. Tyrion observes soldiers training and thinks that they don't look very professional, especially compared to the Unsullied. He thinks that the crossbows many soldiers are carrying now will be useless against dragons. Their weak point, he knows, are the eyes, not the underbelly or the gullet as often said.

The wells are still functioning; Tyrion thinks it's a bad mistake by Dany's part. Some people in the line discuss her fate, and Tyrion explains that they never found a body, so she might still be alive. He remembers seeing Barristan in the arena and wonders if the knight would want to kill him. Talking to a slave of a different owner, who takes a fierce proud in the owner, Tyrion sees how slavery can be so persistent and has to admit that servitude in Westeros is not that much a better fate.

When their pails are full, Tyrion leads Penny and Mormont another way through the camp, ignoring Penny's protests. He muses about the many lies he tells Penny, shielding her from the hard truth of the world, not really understanding why he does it. When they reach the camp of the Second Sons, Tyrion tells the guards that they wish to join and to talk to Brown Ben Plumm. The guards, knowing that Ben wanted Tyrion before, bring him to his tent. Tyrion tells Ben that he knows why the dragons were so friendly to him, and that it doesn't make much sense to try to bring him to Westeros, but much sense to bring him to Dany. He then tells them who Mormont is, who was beaten so badly that they didn't recognize him, and challenges Ben to a game of cyvasse.

And Tyrion takes over. The situation should be desperate - they are in the midst of an awful lot of enemies, and their only protection dies - but Tyrion is himself again, seeing only the chances. And he grasps them quickly, playing others left and right. It's no more than a warum-up to get the task of fetching water, and he brillantly manages to get Mormont along. To get into the lines of the Second Sons proves not much of a problem either. The plot of going to Ben Plumm must have been hatched in his mind since the auction block, at least since the cyvasse game, however. And the reactions show him that he was right.

Tyrion again proves to be a great judge of character, like he was before. He knows what a man Ben Plumm is, and how he can get at him. The prospects he offers are good. We will see them in his next chapter by greater detail, but the cautious sellsword has left all options open. The same is true for the slaves and the eastern society in general; Tyrion is quick to grasp why slavery persists and to dismiss old judgements to adjust to his new experiences. These are qualities that you seek in a leader. Additionally, he proves to be still a good guy at heart. Instead of shattering Penny's daydreams, he tries to protect them as good as he can. He also takes Mormont with them, although they theoretically won't need him, most likely just to rescue him from his fate.  

The military situation is also noteworthy. The seeming strength of the Yunkish doesn't look as big as it did before from Dany's perspective. Two out of four mercenary companies are notorious for switching sides, the slave soldiers aren't really good at what they're doing, and even the legions of Ghis are no match for the Unsullied. Of course, there are still giant catapults standing around, but in the moment they don't seem ready to fire. The whole camp is in disarray due to the sickness, and order definitely has gone to rot, as the Shavepate told Barristan earlier. A swift attack should shatter the Yunkish host.

As to side notes, it's interesting how much actual knowledge Tyrion has of dragons. He displays a profound knowledge of how to kill one in the chapter, a knowledge that really might come in handy. I still really hope that he is not a Targaryen bastard by Aerys. Another thing is Tyrion's asseessment of Barristan. I think he is right with his gut feeling not to reveal himself in the arena. The situation was bad down there, and Barristan surely no fan of him.


  1. Taking Mormont actually makes sense for Tyrion, as he explains to the Second Sons Mormont can take his place doing the heavy lifting and actual fighting. And in later chapters we see Tyrion trying to recruit others in the Second Sons as his own personal muscle, so in a way I see Tyrion viewing Mormont along the lines of acting as his pseudo-Bronn here.

  2. Later Chapters?
    But maybe. I'm not sure whether Tyrion just gathers everyting; his caring for Penny makes sense only for his soft heart. I would put the rescue of Mormont in the same category.

  3. I mean, you know, Tyrion's last chapter I believe.

    Well, might be just me, but I really am starting to get a Bronn type of relationship developing between those two, if only incrementally.