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Catnapping: a PSA

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Since it seems to be a natural law of the universe that any Cat thread – regardless of intended focus— will inevitably derail and stagnate on the issue of arresting Tyrion, I decided to take one for the team and put together this comprehensive analysis of the Catnapping as both reference guide and containment area for this blessed topic.

1. Did Cat start the WotFK?

No. Stannis and Jon’s discovery of the incest meant that war would be inevitable. Further, both LF and Varys were looking to create friction between Houses to destabilize the realm for each of their divergent ends. The rapid escalation of tension to the outbreak of war is largely LF’s doing. He had Lysa poison Jon and write to Cat saying it was Cersei in order to keep the truth of the incest closeted for a while longer, as well as to pit the Starks against the Lannisters.

The major causes for the war are the incest and the discovery of incest, LF and Varys’ meddling. The defenestration of Bran, and Cersei’s subsequent attempts to keep the incest hidden (knowing she would have to get rid of Robert and saying as much to her father, who also has interest in disposing Robert to become Hand once more) were the next layer of causes. These factors primed the situation such that any spark would ignite increasingly open hostilities, that is, conflict would be nearly unavoidable.

2. What was Cat’s original plan upon leaving Winterfell?

To warn Ned, prove Jaime pushed Bran, and testify about the cutpurse if necessary. When Cat snaps out of her grief, she realizes that the attempts on Bran’s life were likely due to something he must have seen. Of course, we later learn that Joffrey is responsible for the catspaw independently of the defenestration, but Cat rightly surmises that Bran was targeted because he was witness to something. Now, remember that she also received a letter from Lysa, written in a language they invented as children, which validates its supposed authenticity, stating that Cersei was responsible for poisoning Jon. Between the realization that Bran’s accident was Jaime’s doing, receiving news from a (trusted) source that Cersei poisoned Jon, and knowing the Lannister reputation as ambitious, Cat believes Ned and the girls are in danger, potential victims of a Lannister conspiracy of some kind:

“My sister Lysa believes the Lannisters murdered her husband, Lord Arryn, the Hand of the King,” Catelyn told them. “It comes to me that Jaime Lannister did not join the hunt the day Bran fell. He remained here in the castle.” The room was deathly quiet. “I do not think Bran fell from that tower,” she said into the stillness. “I think he was thrown.”

__________________

“There is no limit to Lannister pride or Lannister ambition,” Catelyn said.

She realizes that someone must go to KL in order to present the dagger, which should serve as proof. The mission isn’t at this point investigatory; she anticipates testifying before an audience of some sort, as she tries to decide who should assume this mission that will be believed:

“Your proof is in the dagger,” Ser Rodrik said. “A fine blade like that will not have gone unnoticed.”

There was only one place to find the truth of it, Catelyn realized. “Someone must go to King’s Landing.”

____________________

“No,” she told him. “Your place is here. There must always be a Stark in Winterfell.” She looked at Ser Rodrik with his great white whiskers, at Maester Luwin in his grey robes, at young Greyjoy, lean and dark and impetuous. Who to send? Who would be believed? Then she knew. Catelyn struggled to push back the blankets, her bandaged fingers as stiff and unyielding as stone. She climbed out of bed. “I must go myself.”

3. How was this plan affected by LF’s lie?

LF’s interference leads Cat to believe the dagger is worthless as evidence (it isn’t, in truth), turns her suspicion from Jaime to Tyrion, and leads her to believe she needs to gather more evidence in order to prove a case of Lannister conspiracy.

Cat sends Ser Rodrick to Aron Santagar, the KL master of arms, in order to determine the owner of the dagger. Varys knows of their entry, and informs LF, who confiscates Cat. Varys heard the conversation between Rodrick and Aron, of which LF has no idea. LF quickly tells his lie, claiming the dagger is his, lost to Tyrion, after LF had bet on Jaime in the last Tourney. In truth, the dagger had been LF’s, lost to Robert who bet on the triumphant Loras, forgotten amongst the sundry blades in his arsenal, and chosen by Joffrey to kill Bran.

The lie LF tells is extremely thin. He tells Cat and Ned that the dagger can’t be used as proof for anything, and suggests they forget it. This is another lie, though. If Ned of Cat brought the dagger to Robert, saying that it was used by a catspaw to kill Bran, it would have been recognized and LF’s lie exposed. The dagger could have been used as proof of sorts to get closer to the truth of the catspaw.

In terms of trust, Cat decidedly trusts LF’s word, and couldn’t imagine his lying to her. Though she says that she trusts LF “only a little and Varys not at all,” she’s referring to showing her grief over Bran, not necessarily trust categorically, at least in terms of LF. In reality, she seems to trust LF a great deal, as she is aghast at the thought LF would lie to her, given that he risked his life and almost died for her out of love. She fiercely defends him to Tyrion while on the road in the Vale, so it does make sense that she takes his word on this.

4. Was arresting Tyrion illegal?

Not exactly; it was neither legal nor illegal. From an SSM:

3. Do members of one Great House have a legal right to arrest and judge members of the other? I.e. was Catelyn’s abduction of Tyrion, given all the incriminating evidence, legal?

It was a bit dicey. A lord administers justice in his own lands. Catelyn would have had a much stronger claim if she had taken Tyrion in the north. Even in our own world, there are always dangers in taking on the rich and powerful, regardless of the legality of your auction or how much evidence you have… and the high lords of Westeros are a deal more prickly about their honor.

The SSM shows us that the arrest is not problematic based on some clearly defined recognized laws or legal precedent, as such do not exist in Westeros. He says that Cat’s claim here would be stronger in the North. He also says that even if someone has all the evidence in the world, it is still dicey to arrest the rich and powerful as they are inclined to challenge an arrest no matter what (look at OJ). The undertone of this SSM is that there is no clearly defined legal doctrine on how to proceed in Cat’s circumstance, and force is the implicit way to enforce “legal” issues. Cat’s claim would have been stronger in the North, because she could have forcibly defended it, not necessarily due to some legal jurisdiction issue.

Further, Tywin takes issue with the arrest, not based on any sense of its illegality, but because he sees it as an affront to his house. It’s an issue of pride for him, not one he sees as “illegal.”

5. What was Cat’s plan after KL?

She planned to return to Winterfell, deciding to be with her children, but first considers going to Riverrun or the Vale. She considers Riverrun to warn her father that trouble with the Lannisters is brewing so that he might prepare to defend the Riverlands. She considers going to Lysa as a means of collecting more evidence about the supposed Lannister conspiracy and warning her of the danger as well. In the end, she chooses the road North, willing to put all of this aside for the time being, and conveying Ned’s instructions to his bannermen to prepare.

For reference, here is the passage:

The crossroads gave her pause. If they turned west from here, it was an easy ride down to Riverrun. Her father had always given her wise counsel when she needed it most, and

she yearned to talk to him, to warn him of the gathering storm. If Winterfell needed to brace for war, how much more so Riverrun, so much closer to King’s Landing, with the power of Casterly Rock looming to the west like a shadow. If only her father had been stronger, she might have chanced it, but Hoster Tully had been bedridden these past two years, and Catelyn was loath to tax him now.

The eastern road was wilder and more dangerous, climbing through rocky foothills and thick forests into the Mountains of the Moon, past high passes and deep chasms to the Vale of Arryn and the stony Fingers beyond. Above the Vale, the Eyrie stood high and impregnable, its towers reaching for the sky. There she would find her sister … and, perhaps, some of the answers Ned sought. Surely Lysa knew more than she had dared to put in her letter. She might have the very proof that Ned needed to bring the Lannisters to ruin, and if it came to war, they would need the Arryns and the eastern lords who owed them service.

Yet the mountain road was perilous. Shadowcats prowled those passes, rock slides were common, and the mountain clans were lawless brigands, descending from the heights to rob and kill and melting away like snow whenever the knights rode out from the Vale in search of them. Even Jon Arryn, as great a lord as any the Eyrie had ever known, had always traveled in strength when he crossed the mountains. Catelyn’s only strength was one elderly knight, armored in loyalty.

No, she thought, Riverrun and the Eyrie would have to wait. Her path ran north to Winterfell, where her sons and her duty were waiting for her. As soon as they were safely past the Neck, she could declare herself to one of Ned’s bannermen, and send riders racing ahead with orders to mount a watch on the kingsroad.

6. Was Cat’s decision to arrest Tyrion emotional?

Not at all. Firstly, she was prepared to leave unnoticed, thankful for her anonymity until Marillion the singer called Tyrion over to her table. However, once Tyrion spotted her, she thinks:

If only the man had lingered at the Wall, she thought, if only …

“I was still Catelyn Tully the last time I bedded here,” she told the innkeep. She could hear the muttering, feel the eyes upon her. Catelyn glanced around the room, at the faces of the knights and sworn swords, and took a deep breath to slow the frantic beating of her heart. Did she dare take the risk? There was no time to think it through, only the moment and the sound of her own voice ringing in her ears.

This isn’t an emotional reaction, but a calculated gamble.

7. Why couldn’t she just let him go after he saw her?

First, Cat was travelling incognito with no retinue. There is no believable alibi for this. No lord ever travels without a retinue anywhere in the series; an “honor guard” is ubiquitous for any sort of travel. LF insists on a large retinue when he’s dispatched to treat with the Tyrells. Tyrion has one both to and from the Wall. Hell, Sam Tarly even had one to get him to the Wall. The very fact that Cat was incognito and alone is so outrageously against the norms of Westerosi nobility, that it broadcasted the message that she was on covert business. So clearly does this project the message that she was “up to no good,” she may as well as been wearing an orange jumpsuit a mile outside of a prison.

Secondly, Tyrion may not have necessarily suspected her precise covert business, but would have noted it as extremely suspicious. Suspicious enough, perhaps, to send riders after her if she hadn’t arrested him first. Cat notes that Tyrion has a couple of young men in his service (Tyrion’s servants and Yoren arrive together). Had Tyrion wished, he could have easily had Rodrick defeated and Cat captured.

Thirdly, bear in mind that Cat believes the entire Lannister family is now implicated in some kind of power grab. She believes Cersei killed Jon, Jaime pushed Bran, and now that Tyrion hired the catspaw as further coverup. It is entirely believable that she believed her capture was possible along the road back to Winterfell, either by Tyrion and his men or another Lannister party. It’s also entirely logical at this point to believe there is a Lannister conspiracy against her family.

Fourthly, given that a Lannister conspiracy seems likely at this point (from her POV), there is the very real possibility that Tyrion might hazard the guess about Cat’s covert business, and realize the Starks are “onto them.” This would put Cat’s family in KL in great danger should Tyrion send advance warning to his House about her presence. Potentially, they might attempt to turn her family into hostages on this premise. Word will inevitably get to KL no matter what, so at least this way, she has leverage in the form of a hostage that may stave off harm to her family.

8. What did Cat plan to do after she arrested Tyrion?

Cat planned to take him to KL. The Vale was intended to be way point en route to KL. The passage I quoted above in the spoiler explains the logic behind visiting the Vale. Given that she believes all 3 Lannisters are involved in a conspiracy, and that Lysa has proof of at least Cersei’s crimes, she wanted to get Lysa to testify and have the Vale prepare for war if needed. Cat by no means intended to try Tyrion here. She explicitly states that she wanted a private meeting between herself, Lysa and Tyrion in order to question him about the pieces of the puzzle.

When she gets to the Eyrie, Lysa takes Tyrion away from her and puts him in the cells. Cat explicitly did not want that to happen, and we’re told she begged Lysa to allow them to speak neutrally. It should also be noted that Lysa was prepared to let Sweet Robin summarily kill Tyrion until Cat reminded her that he needed a trial.

9. What’s the correlation between the arrest and Tywin’s response?

Tywin responded to the Catnapping by sending his men under anonymous banners into the Riverlands to rape and pillage, led by Gregor. It was a terrorist campaign, not the start of a war. Tywin did not openly declare war, rather, he did this as a means of goading the River lords to begin fighting so that they could be blamed for “breaking the peace” and considered the first to attack. He was also trying to lure Ned into a trap to get rid of him. He knew Ned always performs his own executions, so that if anyone appealed about the terrorists to him, he’d likely go to sort it out himself (Jaime’s attack on Ned resulting in a broken leg thwarted that part of Tywin’s plan). So Tywin’s response was two-fold: capture Ned, and goad the Riverlords into open fire first so that they would be the ones reprimanded for breaking the peace.

It seems that Tywin needed only the smallest of excuses, however. We know he and Cersei wanted Robert gone, and that he wanted his position as Hand.

It is clear from the way he responded to the Catnap that the arrest itself was almost beside the point. Cat knew that war was coming even before she saw Tyrion in the inn; it was a matter of time. Tywin’s response was not to start hostilities in a true war context, so actually, this isn’t the event that immediately causes of the war. The immediate cause of the cause is Ned’s arrest after telling Cersei to flee. This is when true military action begins. Tywin’s terrorist response is a factor in the start of the war, just as how the arrest is a factor.

10. How far did Cat’s actions endanger Ned and the girls?

The Catnap endangered them only so far. Ned’s life and the lives of his men were certainly endangered when Jaime met them in the street and angrily killed them in response, breaking Ned’s leg. However, this is as far as the damage goes. What put Ned and the girls’ lives in danger was Ned’s going to Cersei about the incest, and again when Ned refused to take the children into custody in the middle of the night at Renly’s request.

My 2 cents

The decision to arrest Tyrion was objectively wrong, by which I mean that Tyrion was in fact innocent of all charges, and because it turned out so poorly due to circumstances completely beyond Cat’s control. However, it was the “right” decision for Cat to make, given what she very reasonably believed, deduced and expected would come from it.

The disaster of the Catnap is not due to any fault in Cat’s ability to reason, remain unemotional, carelessness, or lack of foresight. The problem is that she analyzed the situation logically, but started from premises that were completely off the mark from actuality.

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Excellent summary, I'll add it tomy "threads that should be pinned" list, allong with AM's ones about Targ fireproofness and others.

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7. Why couldn’t she just let him go after he saw her?

First, Cat was travelling incognito with no retinue. There is no believable alibi for this. No lord ever travels without a retinue anywhere in the series; an “honor guard” is ubiquitous for any sort of travel. LF insists on a large retinue when he’s dispatched to treat with the Tyrells. Tyrion has one both to and from the Wall. Hell, Sam Tarly even had one to get him to the Wall. The very fact that Cat was incognito and alone is so outrageously against the norms of Westerosi nobility, that it broadcasted the message that she was on covert business. So clearly does this project the message that she was “up to no good,” she may as well as been wearing an orange jumpsuit a mile outside of a prison.

Secondly, Tyrion may not have necessarily suspected her precise covert business, but would have noted it as extremely suspicious. Suspicious enough, perhaps, to send riders after her if she hadn’t arrested him first. Cat notes that Tyrion has a couple of young men in his service (Tyrion’s servants and Yoren arrive together). Had Tyrion wished, he could have easily had Rodrick defeated and Cat captured.

Thirdly, bear in mind that Cat believes the entire Lannister family is now implicated in some kind of power grab. She believes Cersei killed Jon, Jaime pushed Bran, and now that Tyrion hired the catspaw as further coverup. It is entirely believable that she believed her capture was possible along the road back to Winterfell, either by Tyrion and his men or another Lannister party. It’s also entirely logical at this point to believe there is a Lannister conspiracy against her family.

Fourthly, given that a Lannister conspiracy seems likely at this point (from her POV), there is the very real possibility that Tyrion might hazard the guess about Cat’s covert business, and realize the Starks are “onto them.” This would put Cat’s family in KL in great danger should Tyrion send advance warning to his House about her presence. Potentially, they might attempt to turn her family into hostages on this premise.

As usual, great post. But this part stood out to me the most. This is imo the strongest reason for cats actions wrt tyrion. I feel that she made the right choice for other reasons, but barring all that if she leaves tyrion to his own devices and lets him go without issue she may run into trouble on the roads. She only has ser rodrick with her, and tyrion has several men with him. Not only that but the bar is full of men with uncertain loyalties who will do much for some gold, and tyrion has gold in spades. If cat let him go, he could have had her killed on the road, or, he could have taken her hostage himself. Cat made a smart move at the inn, which was full of riverlords likely to be sympathetic to her.

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The defenestration of Bran...

What a great word.

Tywin’s response was two-fold: kill Ned

I always thought the plan was to capture Ned alive and trade for Tyrion, but knowing Tywin maybe the plan was "kill Ned so they kill Tyrion."

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:bowdown: Thank you for putting that so well. Unfortunately, somebody will probably still counter this with an argument that amounts to "I don't like Catelyn, therefore everything was her fault"

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I always thought the plan was to capture Ned alive and trade for Tyrion, but knowing Tywin maybe the plan was "kill Ned so they kill Tyrion."

You are right; I think it was a capture mission, though when sending Gregor for that sort of thing, who knows. I just reworded it.

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Well written! So well written (or typed, whatever), in fact, that I'm actually starting to like Cat now! I'd never thought that would happen. Great job! :laugh:

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I don't think that Tywin necessarily would have killed Ned. He seems like a clever and careful man; he would have kept Ned in hand until he was sure that he didn't need him any more. After all, he probably suspected Stannis was up to something and by the time the book ended both Stannis and Renly were rebels. Tywin didn't see that coming but he wouldn't have wanted to alienate potentially four of Joffrey's lords before he was sure of the loyalty of the other three.

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Wow, amazing analysis. Very precise and deductive, great work. Nicely presented and beautifully written. Congrats, butterbumps

Now, if anyone starts disputing this, he/she will deal with me :)

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Excellent argument,valid points,supporting evidence

added to my educational collection and Cat defense arsenal

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She was mistaken. I don't think she did much wrong overall, other than releasing a prisoner, but that is another thread. But she did influence the events that came after the arrest based on the fact that a lot of big events that took place after that was a result of the arrest (Jaime vs Ned and tywin ravaging the river lands) but she didn't really cause them.

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She was mistaken. I don't think she did much wrong overall, other than releasing a prisoner, but that is another thread.

Well, Lysa is the one who released him. Cat lost control of her prisoner as soon as she arrived in the Eyrie. Cat didn't "release" him, exactly. Lysa is truly a fountain of wonder, isn't she.

ETA: also, thanks for the kind words all!

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Well, Lysa is the one who released him. Cat lost control of her prisoner as soon as she arrived in the Eyrie. Cat didn't "release" him. Lysa is truly a fountain of wonder, isn't she.

He probably meant Jaime.

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Well, Lysa is the one who released him. Cat lost control of her prisoner as soon as she arrived in the Eyrie. Cat didn't "release" him. Lysa is truly a fountain of wonder, isn't she.

I meant Jaime. I should have said hostage. But I'm not trying to get into it. I agree with your assessment her actions in GoT but not letting her off toooo easy

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He probably meant Jaime.

I meant Jaime. I should have said hostage. But I'm not trying to get into it. I agree with your assessment her actions in GoT but not letting her off toooo easy

Ah, ok, no problem. Yes, a separate thread perhaps. One Cat "enormity" at a time, lol.

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Good job.

Unfortunately actual textual support and logic have never been enough on this one before. I doubt it will be this time either. One can but try though.

One thing you might add. In support of the whole 'danger on the road' thing, Tyrion himself admits she did well in misleading everyone as to which way she went. Which strongly implies that the perceived danger was very, very real. Now admittedly thats after the actual arrest, but it does show that her understanding of how things work is an awful lot greater than most readers. She understood that if Tyrion was part of the Lannister plots, and therefore wanted her dead or captured once he found her incognito in the inn, it would have been trivial for him to arrange it.

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