Chapter 43 Summary
Eddard can only see the red color of blood in the Red Keep's throne room. It is sunset and Ned has spent the day on the Iron Throne, which was made from the swords of Aegon the Conqueror's defeated enemies. The throne is sharp and dangerous even now. King Robert, meanwhile, is hunting. Ned and members of the small council listen as Ser Raymun Darry and other river lords report that Ser Gregor Clegane has attacked their lands. He robs the smallfolk as he burns their crops and villages. Now, the river lords ask for leave to answer with their own steel. Clegane is a bannerman of Tywin Lannister, the father of Queen Cersei, Grand Maester Pycelle tells the court. Pycelle advises that the river lords take up their concerns with Lord Tywin rather than bringing the matter before the court. Ned responds that it is "all the king's justice." He orders that word be taken to the king. In the meantime, though the realm cannot restore to the people what was taken, it can offer some measure of justice. Ned stands, painfully, and explains that cannot pursue justice himself as he is still recovering from his attack. Ser Loras Tyrell asks permission to lead the search for Clegane. Instead, Ned sends Lord Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, and several others to gather men. They shall bring Gregor Clegane to justice. Further, Ned announces that Clegane shall be stripped of his lands and title. As Ned and the small council leave, Varys suggests that Ser Loras Tyrell would have been a better choice than Lord Beric. By setting the Tyrells against the Lannisters, Ned would gain the southerners as allies. Beyond that, Ser Ilyn Payne is the King's Justice, and he should have been sent after Clegane.