Unhappy families

Game of Thrones Season 4: ‘Mockingbird’ A Broken Heart or Shattered Pride?


Mockingbird has been the stand-out episode for the fourth season and I loved every minute. From Tyrion’s heart-wrenching scenes with both Bronn and Oberyn, Daenerys’ and Jorah’s touching moment, the Hound’s confession and Hot Pie’s wolf loaf, every scene was packed with emotion. Oddly there was very little deviation from the books this week, even in terms of dialogue. And the Hound finally got to tell his story, to Arya rather than Sansa, but it lost none of its impact. It looks like we know what is going to happen to that nasty wound. Bronn’s marriage to Lollys Stokeworth has been worked into the story, does that mean it will figure in later?

It is difficult to pick out a favourite moment this week but I would have to go with Tyrion and Oberyn.

Of course the absolute shocker this week was the closing scene in the Eyrie. Petyr Baelish is a curiosity, a subtle character in the books, but far less subtle in the show. It is never totally clear what drives him.

The following contains spoilers for Mockingbird and  book spoilers

Unhappy families
Unhappy families

“Littlefinger let Lysa sob against his chest for a moment, then put his hands on her arms and kissed her lightly. “My sweet silly jealous wife,” he said, chuckling. “I’ve only loved one woman, I promise you.”
Lysa Arryn smiled tremulously. “Only one? Oh, Petyr, do you swear it? Only one?”
“Only Cat.” He gave her a short, sharp shove.” Sansa A Storm of Swords p1437

Petyr’s devotion to Cat – bar the murder – might be enough to make some romantics a little misty-eyed. But is Petyr really still pining for Cat after all of these years, or is it something else? “In a better world…you might have been my child,” he tells Sansa in Mockingbird. He also insinuated he had a hand in killing Joffrey as revenge for Catelyn’s death. It is well established that Petyr was in love with Catelyn when he was a boy.

He was my father’s ward. We grew up together in Riverrun. I thought of him as a brother, but his feelings for me were … more than brotherly. When it was announced that I was to wed Brandon Stark, Petyr challenged for the right to my hand. It was madness. Brandon was twenty, Petyr scarcely fifteen. I had to beg Brandon to spare Petyr’s life. He let him off with a scar. Afterward my father sent him away. I have not seen him since…He wrote to me at Riverrun after Brandon was killed, but I burned the letter unread. By then I knew that Ned would marry me in his brother’s place.” Catelyn A Game Of Thrones p395

Would Petyr would spend more than fifteen years nursing a broken heart? Perhaps we should consider that Petyr was not only not good enough for Catelyn Tully, but he was also not good enough for Lysa Tully. As a young woman Lysa Tully was desperately in love with Petyr. One night, while he was drunk and miserable over Catelyn’s rejection, she slipped into his bedchamber and seduced him. A drunken Petyr called her “Catelyn”. After Brandon Stark injured him severely during their duel, Lysa helped nurse him for a fortnight, and the slept together again. Lysa conceived during their second encounter, and was hoping her father would allow her to marry Petyr. Instead Lord Hoster forced her to abort the child and married her off to Jon Arryn.

I should have refused him, but he was such an old man, how long could he live? Half his teeth were gone, and his breath smelled like bad cheese. I cannot abide a man with foul breath. Petyr’s breath is always fresh . . . he was the first man I ever kissed, you know. My father said he was too lowborn, but I knew how high he’d rise… Jon did his duty in the bedchamber, but he could no more give me pleasure than he could give me children. His seed was old and weak. All my babies died but Robert, three girls and two boys. All my sweet little babies dead, and that old man just went on and on with his stinking breath. So you see, I have suffered too.”Lysa to Sansa A Storm of Swords p1221

Lysa's true love
Lysa’s first love

In reality it is Lysa Tully’s heart that never mended.The abortion obviously played havoc with her reproductive system – Lord Hoster made her drink moon tea to force a miscarriage – and Lysa suffered five miscarriages and two stillborn children during her unhappy marriage. Jon Arryn did not respect Lysa – he was forced to accept her in return for an allegiance with House Tully. Clearly already mentally unstable, and in a marriage devoid of love or affection Lysa cherished her memories of her first love.

Petyr often claims that he took both Catelyn and Lysa’s virginity. This is curious in itself, it is clear he did not sleep with Catelyn. We have enough chapters from her POV and she would have recalled the incident. Was he so drunk the night he took Lysa’s virginity, the night he called her “Catelyn”, that he truly thought she was her sister? Or was he deluding himself?

In the end if Petyr truly had loved Cat then why would he compromise her honour by constantly repeating that took her virginity? Rather than wishful thinking, it seems more like petty, boyish revenge. There was no better way to attack a woman than to attack her honour. Petyr’s pride was crushed when he was told he was not good enough to marry the woman he loved. But it was not Lord Hoster who needed to reject Petyr when he wanted Cat’s hand, Cat did that herself.

Petyr betrayed Ned. He now has Sansa almost captive in the Eyrie, killing Lysa so he can gain full control of the Vale of of Catelyn Stark’s daughter. Is Petyr really trying to get revenge on those who hurt Cat, or is he out for revenge against Cat?

As for his involvement in Joffrey’s death? I sense a spider…

Read Jamie Adair’s full recap of Mockingbird on History Behind Game of Thrones.

Watch George discuss Lysa and Petyr here.

The next episode will not be airing until the 1st of June. Here’s a preview of The Mountain and the Viper