Renly's Banana

Penny at the Wedding

21 posts in this topic

First off, I wanna start by apologizing if this topic has been brought up before or if it's something that's been established already; I'm new to the Professional ASoIaF Tinfoil™ community so go easy on me. 

I was re-reading Storm a little while ago and got to Joffrey's wedding when something popped out at me I hadn't really noticed before.

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When the dwarfs reined up beneath the dais to salute the king, the wolf knight dropped his shield. As he leaned over to grab for it, the stag knight lost control of his heavy lance and slammed him across the back. The wolf knight fell off his pig...  

Both of the dwarfs are addressed as male throughout the entire wedding by Tyrion. But fine, maybe Tyrion wasn't paying close attention to their gender or they were wearing helmets and he couldn't see their faces. Except we know (because she tells him so in Dance) that Penny was the stag knight that initially came in on the dog, and Oppo was the wolf riding the pig. Then this happens next:

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Much shouting and shoving followed. Finally they regained their saddles, only mounted on each other's steed... As the lords and ladies guffawed and giggled, the little men came together with a crash and a clatter, and the wolf knight's lance struck the helm of the stag knight and knocked his head clean off... Until Lord Gyles pulled a dripping red melon out of the shattered helm, at which point the stag knight poked his face up out of his armor.

Everyone in the Great Hall would have seen Penny's face. Tyrion would have been able to see Penny's face and recognized it was a girl. But fine, maybe she was far away and he STILL didn't notice. After all, something similar happens when he first sees her in Volantis and thinks she's a man. Maybe if he'd have heard her voice at the wedding, we'd know one was a girl.. 

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"I yield, I yield," the dwarf on the bottom screamed. "Good ser, put up your sword!" 
"I would, I would, if you'll stop moving the sheath!" the dwarf on the top replied, to the merriment of all. 

There's nothing to indicate that Penny was at the Purple Wedding, only her word. According to the text, they were plainly two men. So the way I see this, it's either an error/inconsistency on GRRM's part, or Penny is lying to Tyrion's face. I suppose he could have just decided on the character of Penny late into the development of Dance.
I've read from a few places that Penny could be a spy working for Littlefinger, but I can't really find much evidence of this. She seemed to bring up Oswell Kettleblack pretty quickly to Tyrion, which is kinda weird. Plot-wise, I'd find it much more interesting and fulfilling if she wasn't some secret spy, but who knows. Any thoughts on this or Penny's motivations in general?

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I don't think there is anything in text that has said Penny has an overly feminine voice?  It has been a while so her hair could have grown to make her look less like a male.  Also, GRRM has brough about the unreliable narrator thing before like Sansa "remembering" the kiss with the Hound.

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Posted (edited)

It's more likely just a GRRM retcon, he hadn't thought of Penny as a character when he wrote the Dwarf jousting scene.

Edited by Cataldo

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Remember, the jousting dwarves were in armor and helmets and probably some distance away. Plus, Tyrion was drunk on his @...   He assumed the mummers were all men; a perfectly normal assumption in a male-dominated society. How many women joust? (Outside of Brienne, who Tyrion has probably never even heard of.)

Believe it. Penny performed at the wedding, just as she said, and was just as she's represented herself. Don't overthink. (I know it's a temptation, since we've been waiting so long for the next installment...)

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3 hours ago, Renly's Banana said:

First off, I wanna start by apologizing if this topic has been brought up before or if it's something that's been established already; I'm new to the Professional ASoIaF Tinfoil™ community so go easy on me. 

I was re-reading Storm a little while ago and got to Joffrey's wedding when something popped out at me I hadn't really noticed before.

Both of the dwarfs are addressed as male throughout the entire wedding by Tyrion. But fine, maybe Tyrion wasn't paying close attention to their gender or they were wearing helmets and he couldn't see their faces. Except we know (because she tells him so in Dance) that Penny was the stag knight that initially came in on the dog, and Oppo was the wolf riding the pig. Then this happens next:

Everyone in the Great Hall would have seen Penny's face. Tyrion would have been able to see Penny's face and recognized it was a girl. But fine, maybe she was far away and he STILL didn't notice. After all, something similar happens when he first sees her in Volantis and thinks she's a man. Maybe if he'd have heard her voice at the wedding, we'd know one was a girl.. 

There's nothing to indicate that Penny was at the Purple Wedding, only her word. According to the text, they were plainly two men. So the way I see this, it's either an error/inconsistency on GRRM's part, or Penny is lying to Tyrion's face. I suppose he could have just decided on the character of Penny late into the development of Dance.
I've read from a few places that Penny could be a spy working for Littlefinger, but I can't really find much evidence of this. She seemed to bring up Oswell Kettleblack pretty quickly to Tyrion, which is kinda weird. Plot-wise, I'd find it much more interesting and fulfilling if she wasn't some secret spy, but who knows. Any thoughts on this or Penny's motivations in general?

Preston Jacob does think she could be an agent for Baelish so that is likely where people were getting that idea. This gives a little more evidence for the idea. She also doesn't really know much just says her brother did everything.

Still most likely thing is that Tyrion is drunk and not paying attention. Brienne is also thought of as a man the first time we meet her, also something similar providing that Lyanna was the Knight of the Laughing Tree.

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3 hours ago, Renly's Banana said:

<snip>

All crackpot aside, the author does not work with an outline, hence the meereenese knot. If the author says penny was there, she was there, even as a retcon.  I read a lot of littlefinger hates tyrion threads, but having penny follow him halfway around the world after being in the exact right place to meet tyrion in volantis after varys hid him and he slow boated it down the Rhoyne seems to be a little outlandish, even for george 

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19 minutes ago, Lord Wraith said:

Preston Jacob does think she could be an agent for Baelish so that is likely where people were getting that idea. This gives a little more evidence for the idea. She also doesn't really know much just says her brother did everything.

Still most likely thing is that Tyrion is drunk and not paying attention. Brienne is also thought of as a man the first time we meet her, also something similar providing that Lyanna was the Knight of the Laughing Tree.

I usually take whatever Preston Jacobs thinks with a grain of salt. Sometimes a fistful of salt. 
But there is something weird about Penny. If she IS a spy of sorts, she's definitely a very weak one that's been paid to keep an eye on him and nothing else. 

1 hour ago, Cataldo said:

It's more likely just a GRRM retcon, he hadn't thought of Penny as a character when he wrote the Dwarf jousting scene.

I agree. Seems to be a mistake from GRRM's part. Or a retcon to be more accurate. 
If anything I guess this gives us some insight into his story development. He usually plans characters out years in advance (here I am still defending Young Griff because of the HotU visions), but it seems like Penny was a pretty late addition. 

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2 minutes ago, Renly's Banana said:

I usually take whatever Preston Jacobs thinks with a grain of salt. Sometimes a fistful of salt. 
But there is something weird about Penny. If she IS a spy of sorts, she's definitely a very weak one that's been paid to keep an eye on him and nothing else. 

I agree. Seems to be a mistake from GRRM's part. Or a retcon to be more accurate. 
If anything I guess this gives us some insight into his story development. He usually plans characters out years in advance (here I am still defending Young Griff because of the HotU visions), but it seems like Penny was a pretty late addition. 

Agreed PJ needs to be taken with a grain of salt... and a shot of tequila. I like him for his connections but his conclusions seem a bit off.

Well remember that she was attempting to kill Tyrion when they met. Then the Widow takes her upstairs to be cleaned, why do that to someone who was attempting to murder one of your guests? Also the Widow wasn't interested in helping them, or so it seemed. Then Penny attacks, then the Widow wants to help?

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I dont have the text in front of me,  but I recall that tyrion thought penny was a guy when they first met in essos as well, and she was closer to him in that situation than in the wedding. 

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Posted (edited)

Tyrion is really drunk at the Purple Wedding. He recalls Bethany Fair-fingers as 'Bessa  the Barmaid',  and calls the bard who follows her and sings the Rains of Castamere "Collio" even though Collio of Tyrosh preceded her. By the time the dwarfs perform, he can barely stand and his perceptions are so askew he thinks people are laughing with him, when they are laughing at him. He knows about Renly and Loras, so the sexual joke would make more sense to him if the dwarfs were both male.

It takes Tyrion more than a long, close, sober look at Penny to overcome the prejudice and ego that decides her gender and significance for him:

Quote

One of those was occupied by a dwarf. Clean-shaved and pink-cheeked, with a mop of chestnut hair, a heavy brow, and a squashed nose, he perched on a high stool with a wooden spoon in hand, contemplating a bowl of purplish gruel with red-rimmed eyes. Ugly little bastard, Tyrion thought.
The other dwarf felt his stare. When he raised his head and saw Tyrion, the spoon slipped from his hand.
“He saw me,” Tyrion warned Mormont.
“What of it?”
“He knows me. Who I am.” (ADwD, Ch.27 Tyrion VII)

Tyrion assures Haldor indignantly that he does not pipe, when Haldor tells him to shut up - but maybe there isn't so much difference between a young male dwarf with a highish tenor voice, and a female dwarf. Penny was wearing a full set of mummers mail when he saw her at the wedding - and I don't think Tyrion has ever seen Brienne of Tarth or considered a female knight could be a thing. A pair of trousers is all it takes to sustain Tyrion's prejudice. I don't find this unbelievable, and if it is a retcon, it is well done.

I loathe Penny as a character, find her and most everything she implies unnecessary. Find the idea of the Widow of the Waterfront standing by while Jorah takes her as a slave (and her pig and her dog, and all her baggage) because his slave told him to, and because Penny couldn't look after herself but Jorah and slave could look after her, and Jorah had no trouble finding the coin to pay her passage (and her livestock, and baggage, and her dead brothers baggage) even though he got one of the cheapest rooms at the Merchant's House, and one of the cheapest gifts for the Widow, deeply implausible.

But that Tyrion's head is fixated too far beneath his self-pitying melon to see either of the dwarves at the wedding as anything but an insult to himself, that he has sworn to avenge, does not surprise me at all. I don't think he has forgotten that aspect of things when he makes enquires about who hired her for the wedding, either.

ETA: Also note that Penny does the melon trick when they entertain the Yunkai outside the walls of Meereen. She has the mummer mail, the dog, the pig. She knows all the tricks. She has the story of how her brother was killed. That there was a male dwarf standing in for her at the Purple Wedding seems a bit much in the circumstances.

Edited by Walda

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7 hours ago, Lord Wraith said:

Preston Jacob does think she could be an agent for Baelish so that is likely where people were getting that idea. This gives a little more evidence for the idea. She also doesn't really know much just says her brother did everything.

and how in the seven hells would Littlefinger arrange that meeting in Volantis!? Please........ Littlefinger indeed payed for the dwarfs just to shame Tyrion. Probably he expected that Tyrion will do something stupid and get blamed for the Purple Weeding, which indeed kind of happened.

Now, how is that nobody recognized a female in the jousting par? 1) GRRM didn't think about that back then 2) Penny likely dressed as male often during their acts. A male dwarf is slightly less loathed than a female one.

Don't overthink this.

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Welcome to tha boards @Renly's Banana.  Nice name and location...ha.  

@Walda and @rotting sea cow are right.  Tyrion mistakenly thought she was a man twice.  Coincidence? I don't think so.  She has the dog and pig, knows the jousting tricks, etc.  What would be the plot reason for her to be deceiving him about this?

 

 

 

16 hours ago, Renly's Banana said:

I've read from a few places that Penny could be a spy working for Littlefinger, but I can't really find much evidence of this.

 

 You can't find much evidence of this because there isn't any really there.  The only thing is that she was hired by Littlefinger's proxy Oswell.  If she's a spy for LF, why would she even hint that she was connected to Oswell?  

Quote

Penny shook her head. "She never … it was a man who came to us, in Pentos. Osmund. No, Oswald. Something like that. Oppo met with him, not me. Oppo made all of our arrangements. My brother always knew what to do, where we should go next."--A Dance with Dragons - Tyrion VIII

She would be a pretty awful spy to give that away.  Furthermore, is there anything in her character that suggests something like that.  If she was sent to spy, why try to kill him? If she was sent as an assassin, she made a laughable attempt in Volantis.......there's nothing that adds up

16 hours ago, Renly's Banana said:

Any thoughts on this or Penny's motivations in general?

To me, her motivations are really nothing.  What happens on the page....she is shy, sad, and lonely.  She loved her brother, dog, and pig. I have no clue what GRRM's plot reasoning for her character, to me it seems pointless, but I'm sure that will become clear later on. 

 

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1 hour ago, Wolf of the Steppes said:

To me, her motivations are really nothing.  What happens on the page....she is shy, sad, and lonely.  She loved her brother, dog, and pig. I have no clue what GRRM's plot reasoning for her character, to me it seems pointless, but I'm sure that will become clear later on. 

My interpretation goes along the following

- Penny shows Tyrion that he hadn't that bad. Being a dwarf of a rich family makes a world of difference. On the other hand, Penny was loved by her kin, Tyrion was not. She is in some sense a mirror for Tyrion.

- Penny provides a reason for Tyrion to focus in something else and look at his own faults and stop his self-compassion and self-loathing. If you look carefully, he barely think anymore "where the whores go".

- To further this, there is also the message that you can only save yourself by saving others. And Tyrion did it with Penny, so she saved Tyrion when he was at the bottom.

Unfortunately I think Penny will die at some point and this will bring up the worst of Tyrion.

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16 hours ago, Lord Wraith said:

Brienne is also thought of as a man the first time we meet her, also something similar providing that Lyanna was the Knight of the Laughing Tree.

Lol, I thought of Lyanna immediately, as well. And the Sealord's cat. People see what they want to see.

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Posted (edited)

@Walda 

I think the final verdict here is that Tyrion is not very good at recognizing people's genders at first sight. Varys in drag fooled him for a bit, after all. 

Incidentally, I really don't want Penny to die. It's weird, she's probably the one character I would feel sorry for if she were to die. It's very cheesy and highly unlikely, but I hope she stays with Tyrion and they learn from each other. 

@Wolf of the Steppes 
Thank you! 

And yeah, there's very little chance she's a spy. Her narrative purpose is entirely different, and Baelish has very little reason to keep tabs on Tyrion anymore. He was a nuisance at best to his plans.

 

Edited by Renly's Banana

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Posted (edited)

I'm a fan of Penny, and I feel strongly about some clues I think the author has built into her character and arc. On the other hand, I think she is one of a number of "unattractive" women that GRRM deliberately wants us to underestimate so he can pull off some good surprise at a later point in the story. I'll try to be succinct:

Tyrion's encounter with Penny was planned from the beginning of the books. Here is some foreshadowing from AGoT, Tyrion I:

The bacon crunched when he bit into it. Tyrion chewed thoughtfully for a moment and said, "He thinks that if the boy were going to die, he would have done so already. It has been four days with no change."

Penny serves several functions in Tyrion's arc, some of which have been mentioned:

- As a "knight," she is the equivalent of Brienne in Jaime's arc. She gets Tyrion to ride the pig (where Joffrey failed at the same task) and she teaches him to joust. She also serves as his squire, helping him into and out of his armor. Brienne gets an old shield from Jaime and has it repainted. Tyrion remarks on the many coats of paint on the mummer jousting shields used in Penny's act. Tyrion's first impression that Penny is a guy is similar to the assumption that Brienne is a guy during her fight with Ser Loras in the tournament at Renly's camp. The Knight of the Laughing Tree is probably also a deliberate connection (which probably means we should also examine Ser Arlen of Pennytree to see if there is a connection to Tyrion's Penny.)

- As the sister of Groat, she becomes Tyrion's "sister" when he takes Groat's place in the jousting act. Hmm. Let's think about Jaime's relationship with his sister. Hmm. Penny tries to seduce Tyrion but, to him, it's like kissing his sister.

- Because Groat (or Penny, depending on which knight was on the pig or the dog at that moment) was "beheaded" but grew a new head during the jousting act at Joffrey's wedding feast, there is probably supposed to be a comparison to Ser Robert Strong, who is expected to be Cersei's champion. Will Penny be Tyrion's champion? What is the meaning of the "Mountain that Rides" (if Robert Strong is Gregor Clegane) being compared to the dwarf jouster? The symbolism (mummers, coins, goat, killed by dismembering) also connects Groat to Vargo Hoat and (coins) to Master of Coins, Littlefinger. (But I don't think Penny is working for Littlefinger.)

- There is a strong Odysseus theme in Tyrion's voyages on the Shy Maid and the Selaesori Qhoran. The two major women in the Odysseus legend are named Penelope and Circe.

I think Penny's role in Tyrion's arc is similar to Ygritte's function in Jon Snow's story, except without the sex. Tyrion knows a lot because of his love of reading, but you will find several important moments when he could learn something from Penny but he cuts her off or doesn't listen to her. (E.g., he knows how to play cyvasse, but never wants to learn the games she knows.) I think the cutting off of Tyrion's nose ("knows") is connected to the "You know nothing, Jon Snow" that Ygritte often says to Jon.

Edited by Seams

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22 minutes ago, Renly's Banana said:

@Walda 

I think the final verdict here is that Tyrion is not very good at recognizing people's genders at first sight. Varys in drag fooled him for a bit, after all. 

 Tyrion is used to women being overtly feminine: highborn ladies of the court and his father's household, and whores, as is almost everyone else raised in Westeros - Arya and Brienne are also mistakenly identified as male. 

Jorah does not correct Tyrion after he mistakenly identifies Penny as a "he" either, so it is not just Tyrion. 

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I've long thought that if there was anyone close to Tyrion who was an agent of Littlefinger, it was Shae.

 

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4 hours ago, Seams said:

- There is a strong Odysseus theme in Tyrion's voyages on the Shy Maid and the Selaesori Qhoran. The two major women in the Odysseus legend are named Penelope and Circe.

Wow! Good catch!

4 hours ago, Eden-Mackenzie said:

Tyrion is used to women being overtly feminine: highborn ladies of the court and his father's household, and whores, as is almost everyone else raised in Westeros

I've often thought that, given the social inferiority and constricted roles which women were permitted to play in these societies, the conspicuously "feminine" dress was so that none may mistake a woman for someone "better." Also, the overly fussy, impractical, constricting, fragile, precarious nature of "women's wear." To understand the concept of "femininity" you need to walk a mile in her 6" heels... and don't skip the delicate hose, push up bra, and short, tight skirt.

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7 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Lol, I thought of Lyanna immediately, as well. And the Sealord's cat. People see what they want to see.

Indeed they do.

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