Chapter 55 Summary
Catelyn spots the Stark banner and relaxes; she is not too late. She and Ser Brynden have arrived in Moat Cailin by way of White Harbor, a port in the north where they left Ser Rodrik. Catelyn first sees Robb talking with Roose Bolton and Greatjon Umber as they examine maps. Rather than rushing to him and making him look like a child before his men, Catelyn instead compliments Robb on his new beard. Catelyn exchanges courtesies with Robb's men before asking to speak with her son privately. Alone, she reminds Robb that he is fifteen. However, now that he has come this far, he cannot turn back without losing his authority. Robb shows Catelyn a letter from Sansa, and she explains that the true writer is Cersei. The true message, meanwhile, lies in what is not said: Sansa is a hostage. Unfortunately, Catelyn cannot offer more help because Lysa has robbed her of her hostage, Tyrion Lannister. She has also refused to send knights outside the Vale. Robb wonders what he should do next. Catelyn lays out his options: swear fealty in King's Landing and never leave, retreat to Winterfell and lose the respect of his lords, or defeat the Lannisters in the field. The key will be holding enough power that Ned and Sansa will remain valuable hostages. If they can capture Tywin or Jaime, they will perhaps be able to exchange hostages. In the south, Jaime Lannister has already defeated Edmure Tully's knights in battle. Meanwhile, Tywin Lannister brings another host to Riverrun. Robb means to travel south to meet them, even if it means abandoning the defensive strength of Moat Cailin. Robb intends to divide his army in two, cross the river Trident at the Twins, and surprise Lord Tywin. He will give Roose Bolton, his most cunning bannerman, command of the second army. Catelyn is impressed and she announces that she will join Robb so that she can help both him and her brother.