Chapter 31 Summary
Catelyn is the first to arrive at the meeting place. Stannis Baratheon arrives next. He is accompanied by the shadowbinder Melisandre, who bears his banner, a stag within a burning heart. Catelyn does not recognize it. Stannis expresses his condolences for Catelyn’s losses, though he quickly points out that Eddard Stark was never his friend. Catelyn suggests that Robb and Stannis can be friends, but Stannis maintains that kings can only have enemies and subjects. One day, he will come for Robb. Renly arrives last with Brienne at his side. Renly and Stannis immediately begin bickering over who has the best claim. Renly argues that his army gives him the right to be king and he threatens to destroy Stannis. Stannis returns that Renly was just a year ago plotting to replace Cersei with Margaery, but now he has married her—and she is likely to stay a maid in Stannis’s bed, he taunts. Renly returns that Stannis has no male heir. Catelyn tries to make the Baratheon brothers see reason, reminding them that Cersei is laughing at them and that Joffrey is the rightful king. Stannis tells her that Joffrey was born of incest. Stannis gives Renly until dawn to pledge fealty or else he will be destroyed. Renly, who has the much, much larger army, is undaunted. He and Catelyn return to Renly’s army (he has separated the horse from his supply lines to rush to Storm’s End), and they make plans to attack the next day. Catelyn asks permission to return to Riverrun, but Renly insists that she wait to witness the power of his army. Catelyn instead asks leave to pray nearby.