One thing I will forever appreciate in Martins books is how he can continue on his story from where he left off. There’s not an added time skip, or new events, it just continues through smoothly. In the previous book, Catelyn released Tywin Lannister’s son, Jamie, in order to get back her daughters, Sansa and Arya. Catelyn’s son, Robb (and one of the five self proclaimed kings), had been keeping Jamie as a pawn incase his sisters were harmed and to keep Tywin in check. But now, his mother had released him secretly and he had lost a key component in his strategy.
As the first chapter opens, Jamie reflects on his escape from camp despite being so exhausted that he slept through most of his escape. He is accompanied by his cousin Ser Cleos Frey and his protector/escort Brienne of Tarth -a woman-. Attempting to flee Robb’s huntsmen, the trio desperately board a skiff to get off the roads and safely sail down river. However, this is a George R.R. Martin book, there is not a single chapter that doesn’t have death in it. The trio face a galley of Stark banner men and their new goal is to flee, but eighteen or so rafting a large boat versus two people rafting a canoe doesn’t work out very well. The trio sail to a nearby island, Brienne climbs the cliffside and knocks of a boulder into the galley, causing the boat to sink and many more drowning -a true George R.R. Martin book-.
Meanwhile, Catelyn is placed under castle arrest by her son and spends her days at her father’s castle in Riverrun. Her father, Lord Hoster Tully, is on his deathbed calling for someone named Tansy. Catelyn questions if this was a woman he had been with prior to her mother and father’s marriage or maybe a girl he had killed with how much he talked about blood. She eventually asks the family maester (a man of medicine and history) about the name Tansy. The maester points out that the common people typically name their children after herbs and flowers, but all he can remember is the woman named Violet who would clean shoes many years ago. As the chapter concludes, Hoster Tully passes peacefully and Catelyn stops trying to find this “mystery woman”. I believe that it’s not a woman but a type of herb/spice, Lysa had mentioned in one of Sansa’s chapters that “they” killed her first illegitimate child with Tansy, a type of medieval birth control of sorts.