As soon as Genna left for Casterly Rock, Tywin got down to business. He had Lancel, Kevan’s son, contact Tyrion’s secretary, Penny, to find out when his son would return home and to fix a time for a heart-to-heart between them. In the meantime, he had Kevan check out Harley Street for a discreet psychiatrist for Joffrey. Then he got Gawen Westerling to contact Ned Stark’s and Jon Arryn’s offices, to arrange a lunch meeting at the House of Commons dining room. Since all three men were members of the House, no one would remark on their lunching together—it would just be assumed that they were hammering out a policy on the EU or something similar.
By the end of the day, all three issues had been sorted out to his satisfaction. Joffrey would see a Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a well-regarded American psychiatrist who had shifted his practice (no one knew why) to Britain, the coming Friday. Tyrion would come home on Tuesday evening—he would spend the night at Downing Street before he went up to his university town, which would give him, Tywin, enough time to lecture his son on the necessity of matrimony. Both Stark and Arryn were free for lunch Tuesday.
When Tywin sat down to lunch with Jon Arryn, a prominent member of the Lib Dems, and Ned Stark, a die-hard Labour man, both men must have assumed he wished to discuss politics, for they started off with a discussion of the Leveson report. However, Tywin soon cut this short.
“I’m sorry gentlemen,” he said firmly, “this has nothing to do with politics; it’s personal.”
Both Stark and Arryn looked at him, surprised.
“Personal? You will surely not harp on how you’d like me to send my little Robin to Casterly Rock, so that you can toughen him up? Lysa was livid when you said that; she didn’t speak to me for a week.” Arryn responded.
Bet that must have made you a happy man, Tywin thought to himself. Years ago—twenty or so at most—he had thought to wed Jaime, the apple of his eye, to Lysa Tully, Hoster’s younger girl. (Catelyn, the older one, was already engaged, to Ned Stark’s brother. And then the brother, Brandon, broke the engagement, to marry the daughter of a Newmarket stable owner and trainer. He was immediately disowned by his father, who left the business to Ned, who ended up marrying Catelyn. Brandon took over his father-in-law’s business, which he ran very well.) Jaime had, so he was told by Hoster, spent the evening listening to his brother Brynden’s war stories; he did not attempt to make conversation with Lysa, although he danced with her once or twice. Lysa ended up marrying Jon Arryn and gave him an extremely irritating young son, who was just a little less annoying than Joffrey. Jaime ended up marrying the army—Tywin was never gladder that the match with the Tully girl had not worked out every time he thought of being grandfather to the irritating Robin.
“No—this is not about Robin, but about Robert.” And Tywin talked to them briefly about Robert’s unceasing marital infidelities, and his equally determined attempt to cover them up.
“I think,” Ned Stark said, firmly, as he finished his dessert (it took Tywin the whole meal to give Stark and Arryn all the details of Robert’s many extramarital relationships), “that neither you nor Jon nor I should cover up for Robert. He’s been a skirt-chaser all his life. He was like this even when we were boys—both Jon and I hoped he would grow out of it as he grew older and got married, but our hopes have been belied. You should come out with this in the open—and let Cersei give him a divorce. If he’s been like this from the beginning, she should have ended the marriage sooner.”
“Cersei wanted to go into politics,” Tywin said firmly, “and she felt it was necessary to project the image of a stable home life...”
“I don’t think,” Arryn said, “that voters care that much if their candidate is married or divorced nowadays. Yes, it would have mattered some decades ago—but no longer in this day and age. Divorce is quite common. Moreover, in this case, it is Robert, not Cersei, who has behaved badly. Ned is right—I think it’s about time Robert endured the opprobrium of a divorce. Let all these women come forward and give evidence, and let Cersei divorce him for marital infidelity. Both Ned and I hoped he’d grow out of his youthful overindulgence in the charms of the fairer sex—I cut him more slack than I should have because of the ghastly manner in which Ambassador Baratheon, his father, died. However, it’s time Robert acted like a man and took some responsibility for his behaviour.”
“But...,” Tywin protested.
“No more buts, Tywin,” Stark said sternly. “Talk to Petyr Baelish—tell him to let the women tell all and let Robert face the consequences.”
Tywin could do little other than gulp down his objections—the thought of the divorce, of the agony that Cersei would have to go through, the questions the gutter press would raise about his family—all of that made him feel ill. He felt he had no choice—he’d had all he could take of Robert’s irresponsibility; he did not know how Cersei had put up with it for so long. He hadn’t fancied another woman after Joanna died; his brothers, with the exception of Gerion, who had dropped off the face of the earth somewhere in the Himalayas while he was finding himself, had all been strait-laced. He could not imagine fooling around or being thoughtless enough to leave young girls pregnant after spending a few nights with them, as Robert had done.
He returned to No. 10 and spoke to Kevan about his meeting with Arryn and Stark. Kevan agreed with them both. “Cersei should get a divorce—Arryn is right; it will not alienate voters. Moreover, she’s getting rid of a husband who has been repeatedly unfaithful to her—this will appeal to the young female voter. I think,” he said suddenly, “both Arryn and Stark are angry with Robert—he was the one promoting Joffrey’s engagement to Sansa. They would not mind seeing him embarrassed—although I doubt anything could embarrass Robert.”
Tywin gave the necessary instructions to Petyr Baelish, who said he’d speak to all the women and get them to tell their stories to the tabloids—the broadsheets would most likely carry the story, but on an inner page. He’d get the tabloid editors onside and then talk to the women. There would be enough mud flung on Robert—enough for Cersei to file for divorce and look like a long-suffering, loving woman who had done her best to reform a degenerate rake.
Tyrion had arrived by the time he finished talking to Baelish. He let his son sit in the waiting room awhile, letting him stew in anxiety (he hoped!) before he allowed him to enter his office, his sanctum sanctorum. Tyrion walked in nonchalantly, swinging a cane in his left hand. He sat down on a chair that dwarfed him and regarded Tywin calmly out of his mismatched eyes.
“Well, father,” he said, conversationally, “I was touched to hear you wanted to see me. What about, I wonder?”
“What about?” Tywin asked rhetorically. “Why, about that disgusting exhibition you participated in when you were in the US. Not your lecture tour—I have no objection to your lecturing—but getting caught with your pants down.”
Tyrion sighed, “Well, I hoped the cops in Vegas would be cooperative—but they seemed to take pride in hauling me up. If you saw what other people got up to in Vegas...”
“I am not interested in other people—those other people are not Lannisters. You are a Lannister. You will not besmirch the name of your family with your misdeeds. You will do what you can to bring honour to your family name—you will marry.”
“Marry!” exclaimed Tyrion, staring at his father as if he thought the older man had gone mad. “Whom do you suggest I should marry? Do you have someone in mind?”
“No,” snapped Tywin, “I have no one in mind. You will wed a well-educated, well-behaved girl of good family. She must be a lady—she must be able to act as befits a member of our family. She must not be the sort of woman you delight in disporting with—a showgirl or an exotic dancer or a waitress. I’m sure you can do better than that. I am warning you—you will find yourself a suitable girl for a wife or there will be consequences.”
“Such as?” Tyrion asked, his eyebrow raised enquiringly.
“Your passport will be confiscated—I might even have you confined to Casterly Rock. Your behaviour abroad reflects, not just upon your own family, but also upon your country. After all, you are my son...”
“Father,” said Tyrion wearily, heaving himself up from the chair, “I get the message. I’ll do what I can to locate a woman who wants to marry me. Why don’t you deliver the rest of this speech to Cersei—I’m sure she’d be all ears?” Saying this, he waddled out of the room.
That weekend, Tywin received a frantic call from a hysterical Cersei.
“Where is my son?” she howled, “What have you done to my poor Joffrey?”
Tywin had to move the receiver away from his ears—her voice was so loud he was afraid his eardrums would burst.
“Calm down, Cersei,” he entreated. “I’m sure Joffrey must be at his university halls of residence—have you called there?”
“Yes, I have,” she gasped between sobs. “They say—Clegane says that he went for a doctor’s appointment to Harley Street. Clegane drove him there and left him in the waiting room. When he arrived an hour later, he was told Joffrey had already left for Oxford by train. Clegane rushed back to Oxford—he searched for him everywhere, all his usual haunts—he even asked Sansa Stark about Joffrey—she hadn’t seen him. He filed a missing person’s report...”
Tywin sighed—he’d have to get in touch with the police commissioner at the Met to find out what had happened to his grandson. A nice story this would make for the tabloids. Thank the gods Slynt was no longer there—he got along better with the new man. He had one of his secretaries book a call to the Met and spoke to the police commissioner personally, who promised immediate action.
By the end of the day they had an answer of sorts—Dr. Lecter, the psychiatrist Joffrey was supposed to see, had left for Florence, Italy soon after his appointment with Joffrey. They found Joffrey’s dismembered body in the doctor’s rubbish bin—he had evidently been gagged, bound and had his innards torn out of his body. When they contacted Interpol, they learnt that the good doctor had left Italy for South America, apparently not to surface again. When Tywin asked the Americans to check the doctor’s antecedents, he learnt the man had done time for cannibalism in a maximum-security US asylum.
Of course, Cersei blamed him for everything—Joffrey’s death; Jaime being forced to face an enquiry conducted by the army; her marriage to and divorce from Robert—in short, everything that had gone wrong with her life. As far as one of his favourite children was concerned, he had been a terrible father to her. When she found out that it was Kevan who had selected Lecter as Joffrey’s psychiatrist, they were both in the doghouse. At the end of her hour-long tirade, they both had a sneaking sympathy for Robert Baratheon—no wonder the poor sap was chasing other women, despite being married to Cersei!