(Scenario: Tywin is at a feast when he learns of his father’s latest idea. Tywin responds angrily: “A Lannister marries a first born!”)
The serving girl placed a piece of mutton on Tywin’s plate and he grimaced. He hated mutton; worse than having to eat it, was having to snif in its steaming scent at a feast he did not want to be at.
“Smile, Son,” Lord Tytos Lannister said, over the music. “Have some wine, that’ll cheer you up.”
He patted Tywin on the back. Tywin stiffened. He hated being patted on the back. He was the heir to Casterly Rock, not some common halfwit to play games with his common drinking partners. “No, Father,” Tywin said, sternly. “I prefer water. That way I will remember what people say. A Lannister always pays his debts, remember?”
Lord Tytos gave him that irritating, lippy smile that looked like it sat peculiarly on his face, before getting up and walking away. Tywin glowered, as his father spoke and laughed with Lord Walderan Tarbeck. And Tywin’s blood simmered, as his father stroked the puppy of Lord Tarbeck’s young daughter, making juvenile noises as he did so, like a whimsical child. This was no way for the Warden of the West to conduct himself. Lord Tytos was not supposed to ingratiate himself with those beneath him. What was the matter with him?
House Lannister Has Become A Laughing Stock
“The toothless lion has gone soft,” Lord Roger Reyne of Castamere muttered to his wife, on a table close by. “If he likes puppies so much, perhaps he’ll write off our debts if we give him a litter.”
He and Lady Ellyn Reyne chuckled. Tywin grinded his teeth, hard enough to break them. Lord Tytos had turned House Lannister into a laughing stock. It was no surprise that they did not fear their liege lord. For years the red lion had defied the golden lion in unpaid taxes and mockery. Lord Tytos had done nothing about it when steel, fire and blood would have solved the problem.
“Father is right, Tywin,” Genna said. “You should smile. You seldom do these days.”
Tywin glared at his sister. She was their father’s favourite and she always defended him, especially when there was no defence to be had. Tywin would have disputed the senselessness of arguing about the virtues of Lord Tytos Lannister with her, if squabbling over pointless matters were not beneath him. “There is nothing to smile about,” he said, instead. “If I had my way, we would not be here.”
“Lord Walder Frey is hosting the King. It would have been considered a slight if Father had turned down the invitation.”
Tywin narrowed his brows. He did not disagree with Genna, but he suspected that their father had not just come to The Twins because King Aegon the Fifth decided to venture out of the Red Keep. But rather to make a marital alliance.
The thought unnerved Tywin. He was already betrothed to his cousin, Joanna Lannister, and that left Genna as the only serious available child for a betrothal. And Tywin could not spot anyone in the hall who was worthy of marrying into House Lannister: the Targaeryan heir, Prince Aerys, was to marry his sister, Rhaella, as was the Targaeryan tradition; and Hoster Tully and Mace Tyrell already had brides in waiting in the form of Minisa Whent and Alerie Hightower, respectively. “I don’t see Lord Jon Arryn, Lord Steffon Baratheon, Lord Rickard Stark or Princess Sarella Martell here,” Tywin said. “I doubt they have better places to be.”
“I would not want Father to follow in their example,” Kevan said, sitting on the other side of their sister. “It is not wise to upset the Crown.”
Tywin did not comment. He agreed with his little brother. Indeed, what Kevan had said was what he had told him on countless occasions before.
What Would Lord Tytos’ Father Have Said?
Instead, Tywin looked back at the other noblemen and ladies, eating their supper with a mix of merriment, misery and boredom; and at his father, as he approached Lord Walder Frey and the King, with his head bent like a beggar rather than the proud lion on his crest. Tywin took in breath and sipped some of the wine. It tasted sour; as sour as House Lannister had become under Lord Tytos.
Not for the first time, Tywin wondered what his grandfather would have made of Lord Tytos. Tywin liked to think that Lord Tygek Lannister would have been appalled. But, then again, Lord Tygek had failed to educate his third-born son in the ways of being the most powerful nobleman in the seven kingdoms before his first two sons had died. So what sort of a lord could Lord Tygek have expected Tytos to become?
“My Lords,” Lord Walder announced. He stood up and the music ceased. “A marvelous occasion has been enhanced by marvelous news.”
Lord Tytos walked onto the dais, with a hunch of reticence. Coldness crept up Tywin’s spine, and his back rippled. Seven Hells, what had his father done?
“A Lannister Marries A First Born!”
“His Grace has given his permission,” the Lord of The Twins continued. “My son, Emmon Frey, will have the honour of marrying Lord Tytos’ daughter, Genna Lannister. Let us toast to the union of two great and noble Houses.”
Tywin pressed his lips together, hard, as the cheers from the noblemen of the Riverlands and the Reach rang around the hall. His muscles swelled as the members of Houses Westerling and Payne looked at one another with confusion. And his blood boiled as Lady Reyne laughed in her cup.
Tywin’s arm shook and he smashed his cup on the table. “A Lannister marries a first born!” he thundered. “Genna is not a brood mare to be given to a lesser son.”
The hall fell silent. Suddenly, Tywin realised that he was standing up and that every eye in the room was staring at him. Time seemed to slow, and his guts twisted. He wished he had kept control of his temper.
But it was too late for that now. Tywin scowled and marched out of the hall, slamming the door behind him.
He walked a few paces when the doors re-opened, and the echoes of aimless talk and laughter echoed in the corridor. “Wait, Brother,” Kevan said. “Wait!”
Tywin halted. Kevan was half his height and it would do Tywin no favours to humiliate his brother by making him catch up with him while in full stride. Tywin turned around and noted that Genna accompanied Kevan. “Shouldn’t you be standing next to your betrothed, feigning happiness?” Tywin said.
“Did You See Them Baulk?”
Genna glared at him. Despite their fine-looking features and golden hair, Tywin and his sister bore little similarity in appearance. Yet, her glare mirrored his own. “I would have preferred if Father had not made the match than have you stand up for me,” she said.
“Aye,” Kevan said. “But Tywin, you were right to speak out.”
You might think that, but I wish I hadn’t said anything. “I had to speak out,” Tywin said, instead. “This betrothal is an insult to our House. How dare Lord Walder put his House on the same perch as ours! How can our father allow for this, and for the Reynes’ scorn?”
“Father is father,” Kevan said, repeating something Tywin had told him on many an occasion, to cover up for their father’s inadequacies. “But did you hear their silence and see them baulk when you spoke? I have never seen fear like it.”
Tywin nodded. He was a first-born son and he was fortunate that the gods had gifted him with a voice, even at ten, that could cut like a sword. One day, he knew it would help him command the Westerlands to good effect. “My words silenced them for a few moments. Nothing more. Words mean nothing without threat behind them.”
“What will you do?” Genna asked.
“To Lord Walder? Nothing. However, foolish the deal may be for us, I cannot blame Lord Walder for agreeing to marry off his second son off to a Lannister. He has committed no crime in that.”
Genna scrunched up her face and folded her arms, acting like the seven-year-old girl she was. “If you won’t cancel the arrangement,” she said. “What is the point of doing anything?”
“To ensure this doesn’t happen again. And to send our enemies a message.”
Tywin had a message in mind, and he intended to use the Raynes of Castamere as his example.
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