There was also an inkeeper/hostess in the town of... yaddah yaddah... someplace that Robert fought during his uprising. She was connected to the Kingswood rebels when Arya encountered her. I thought that was going to be significant somehow, but now it seems like a red herring -- or else it hasn't ripened yet. Anyway, as they said, Tansy is also the abortion herb. Cat made a conclusion that Hoster gave it to Lysa, I think it was something about how it enabled him to marry her to Jon Arryn, but it might have impacted her fertility. The one sickly kid, and the many miscarriages.
It's kind of a tricky question what someone means when they "like" a character. Cately Stark is somebody I would respect as a human being, forgiving her flaws, but she's a drag to read as a character (and last I checked, it's still a fatasy novel). By contrast I "like" Tyrion the best in either sense. Not to make a throwdown-contest of how rough they have it, but I think of him in the same category as Cat as far as hardship and I find Tyrion rather more inspiring.
Arya and Daenerys (although I keep spelling her name wrong) -- I can't help but love them. Fight the power, Grrl! (need I say more?)
I like the Stark men for the moral substance they all seem to share, but also for how they all have strength in different ways. It makes them more than just dull Boy Scouts.
Davos is refreshing for his humilty and his way of honest self-examination, especially in the rotten world of this story.
Roose Bolton is an utterly evil sack of filth and deserves to be killed before he can draw one more breath, for the sake of all humanity. But I love him as a villain. I'm just in awe of how perfectly cold he is.
Somebody mentioned Tywin Lannister in a similar way. I like how he has such a specific, twisted ethos all based on his social ego. So very regimented and utterly inhumane.
Jaime is shaping up to be one of the great anti-heroes. His redemption arc is all that and a bag of chips, but that doesn't mean it ever excuses what he did to Bran or his (urk!) relationship with Cersei. Again: liking them as a character, liking them as a person, different things.
For contrast, Joffrey is absolutely as rotten as they come but I never found him especially interesting. He's just a stupid, hateful little t#^& and I assumed from the start that somebody would eventually crush him like a worm and yawn about it.
I wasn't allowed to do anything crazy. I got around to reading the damn RW on the train on my way to work, and I had to stick it out all day while not being able to concentrate at all. That day sucked.
I don't think I could ever cast Catelyn as a villain. Tragically-flawed protagonist certainly. She can't be blamed for suffering either. Her mistakes come from inflexibility or gut-reaction over logic, not lack of intelligence or compassion, and certainly not from any lack of strength.
What I don't like about Cat as a character (rather than as a person) is that she just isn't fun to read. No sense of humor, even dark humor. Other characters in straits just as dire or worse still manage to have a certain charm for me. I believe Cat is a respectable enough person, but she is not charismatic. Which brings me to my point: Catelyn Stark is not the female Dolorous Edd, she is the female Stannis. So there.
(Note: I'm not arguing with anyone who loves Cat because they relate to her stuggles, or reasons like that. It's just that for me it's like a pill I had to swallow every 4 or 5 chapters. I could have swallowed it once and been done.)
I admit that I agree with pretty much all the complaints that are voiced here. To sum it up, that is: I question the pace and the rewards because I question GRRM's choice to discard the potential of some characters (like Robb) by not having them do something more climactic "on screen" before they die, while with other characters dwelling too much on the parts of their stories that are not so interesting.
I'm somewhat in the same boat as Ygrette, wondering if I should really press on. BUT, I have decided that I want to finish and see where it goes, no matter how it ends. I believe GRRM has earned that from me in spite of anything. And even if it does all end in an unrewarding mess, I don't think I could ever say that he wrote a "bad" series, considering that he was able to make me care so much in the first place.
Unless he kills Tyrion, in which case, no quarter!
I like the name of this thread, because it's exactly what I said when I read the Red Wedding and the chapter immediately after.
GRRM is really good at developing characters and getting people to care about them. But after enduring three volumes of the clunky ultra-suspended cliffhanger pace just to find out if the suviving members of House Stark would ever be reunited, for THIS... like somebody else here said, I am still reading, but not at the same determined pace as before. What I would really like to do is find out where GRRM lives, go to his house, PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE, and then go back to reading. (Please, I kid.)
(PS, I reiterate, don't take this the wrong way. I'm just griping for the frustration of all the tension built up, and then the shock of this "payoff.")