Catelyn shifted her seat uncomfortably. ‘If we are offered refreshment when we arrive, on no account refuse. Take what is offered, and eat and drink where all can see. If nothing is offered, ask for bread and cheese and a cup of wine.’
'I’m more wet than hungry…’
'Robb, listen to me. Once you have eaten of his bread and salt, you have the guest right, and the laws of hospitality protect you beneath his roof.’
hi butterfly! sorry if this is a stupid question, but is the bread & salt / guestright thing literal? does the host really have to present the guest with bread & salt, like a ceremonial thing, or is it just assumed the guest has guest right once he has eaten his first meal? somehow grrm wasn't quite clear on the issue.
No worries, it’s not a stupid question, but nope, “bread and salt” isn’t literal. Any food will do.
Catelyn shifted her seat uncomfortably. “If we are offered refreshment when we arrive, on no account refuse. Take what is offered, and eat and drink where all can see. If nothing is offered, ask for bread and cheese and a cup of wine.” “I’m more wet than hungry…” “Robb, listen to me. Once you have eaten of his bread and salt, you have the guest right, and the laws of hospitality protect you beneath his roof.” Robb looked more amused than afraid. “I have an army to protect me, Mother, I don’t need to trust in bread and salt. But if it pleases Lord Walder to serve me stewed crow smothered in maggots, I’ll eat it and ask for a second bowl.”
–ASOS, Catelyn VI
“And we’re guests in your father’s hall besides.”
“Not you,” she said. “I watched. You never ate at his board, nor slept by his fire. He never gave you guest-right, so you’re not bound to him.”
–ACOK, Jon III
“If you had been discovered… taken…”
“Your father would have had my head off.” The king gave a shrug. “Though once I had eaten at his board I was protected by guest right. The laws of hospitality are as old as the First Men, and sacred as a heart tree.”
–ASOS, Jon I
Mind you, some form of bread tends to be served at meals (as it is today, in our world), because it’s a staple food and filling. And salt is the most common way to season food, otherwise it’s bland. Plus even plain bread has salt as an ingredient, so the simplest and most stingy of meals should at the very least contain bread and salt. Therefore, “bread” has become a synonym for meals (as in “to break bread with someone”) or food in general, and in ASOIAF “bread and salt” is used as a metaphor for making a living.
So he found himself clad in Groat’s painted wooden armor, astride
Groat’s sow, whilst Groat’s sister instructed him in the finer points of
the mummer’s joust that had been their bread and salt. –ADWD, Tyrion IX
The Snail shrugged. “I may not have been at Ashford Meadow, but jousting is my bread and salt. I follow tourneys from afar as faithfully as the maesters follow stars.” –The Mystery Knight
That said, when one is hosting a guest, and deliberately and demonstratively engaging in the practice of guest right (which FYI means that neither the host nor the guest may harm the other), bread and salt is customarily offered as part of the meal.
“My lord!” Catelyn had almost forgotten. “Some food would be most welcome. We have ridden many leagues in the rain.” Walder Frey’s mouth moved in and out. “Food, heh. A loaf of bread, a bite of cheese, mayhaps a sausage.” “Some wine to wash it down,” Robb said. “And salt.” “Bread and salt. Heh. Of course, of course.” The old man clapped his hands together, and servants came into the hall, bearing flagons of wine and trays of bread, cheese, and butter. Lord Walder took a cup of red himself, and raised it high with a spotted hand. “My guests,” he said. “My honored guests. Be welcome beneath my roof, and at my table.” “We thank you for your hospitality, my lord,” Robb replied. Edmure echoed him, along with the Greatjon, Ser Marq Piper, and the others. They drank his wine and ate his bread and butter. Catelyn tasted the wine and nibbled at some bread, and felt much the better for it. Now we should be safe, she thought.
She saw to the mulling of the wine first, found a suitable wheel of sharp white cheese, and commanded the cook to bake bread enough for twenty, in case the Lords Declarant brought more men than expected. Once they eat our bread and salt
they are our guests and cannot harm us. The Freys had broken all the
laws of hospitality when they’d murdered her lady mother and her brother
at the Twins, but she could not believe that a lord as noble as Yohn
Royce would ever stoop to do the same.
–AFFC, Alayne I
He tore the bread apart and offered half to Davos. “Eat. It’s good.” It was, though any stale crust would have tasted just as fine to
Davos; it meant he was a guest here, for this one night at least. The
lords of the Three Sisters had a black repute, and none more so than
Godric Borrell, Lord of Sweetsister, Shield of Sisterton, Master of
Breakwater Castle, and Keeper of the Night Lamp… but even robber lords
and wreckers were bound by the ancient laws of hospitality. I will see
the dawn, at least, Davos told himself. I have eaten of his bread and salt.
–ADWD, Davos I
But still, when it comes down to the simplest and most basic interpretation of the laws of hospitality, any food or drink will do. (For the most notable example, reread ADWD and see how Bowen Marsh never accepts Jon’s food when visiting his rooms, whether he’s serving breakfast (eggs and sausages) or only wine.) So really, Robb could have asked Walder Frey for popcorn, and the results would have been the same… well, they would have been the same however that wedding went down, that is.
Sorry if this is a silly question but I looked for it and couldnt find an answer. Is kinslaying / guestright actually proven anywhere to have negative physical consequences for those who break it? The only example that comes to mind is the Rat Cook but it's unclear how true that is...
Is kinslaying or betrayal of guest right supposed to have negative physical consequences? All we know is “the kinslayer is accursed in the eyes of gods and men” (and similar phrasings); and that the laws of hospitality are sacred and breaking them is unforgivable (by gods and men), treated as the direst of treasons.
So it seems more like the consequences are supposed to be spiritual, not physical. Those who break guest right are pariahs, treated with disgust. (The Rat Cook’s transformation is a metaphor for this reaction, if there’s any truth to the story.) The Freys are loathed beyond measure now, by all of Westeros,
Bronze Yohn rose in wrath. “Put up your steel, ser! Are you a Corbray or a Frey? We are guests here.”
“So young,” said Wyman Manderly. “Though mayhaps this was a blessing. Had he lived, he would have grown up to be a Frey.”
“Lord Wyman is not the only man who lost kin at your Red Wedding, Frey.
Do you imagine Whoresbane loves you any better? If you did not hold the
Greatjon, he would pull out your entrails and make you eat them, as
Lady Hornwood ate her fingers. Flints, Cerwyns, Tallharts, Slates… they
all had men with the Young Wolf.” “House Ryswell too,” said Roger Ryswell. “Even Dustins out of Barrowton.” Lady Dustin parted her lips in a thin, feral smile. “The north remembers, Frey.”
and when they are inevitably revenged upon, I doubt there will be much of anyone who will truly care, or dare to say it was unwarranted. (Thus their hasty ass-covering, by claiming it was Robb who broke guest right first, by turning into a werewolf and attacking at the wedding. It should be noted nobody believes this and it just makes people even more disgusted by them.)
As for kinslayers, many of those are physically punished, tried and executed for murder. For those who escape the law, well, it depends on their own character (i.e. this does not apply to sociopaths), but many (even those who may feel justified) will suffer emotionally (e.g. Tyrion), and whatever bad happens to them may be considered the judgement of the gods. But even those who kill relatives by accident can be considered accursed – and any with a conscience may torment themselves enough about it to feel as if they are.
Baelor Breakspear was cut down in his prime by his own brother
Maekar at the tourney at Ashford in the year 209 AC. […] His death was a mishap, almost certainly, and it is
written that Prince Maekar always bitterly regretted Baelor’s passing
and marked its anniversary every year.
And even those whose kinslaying is deliberate but legally justifiable, by war or the like, may have the stigma follow them nevertheless. (For example, the great drought of 210-211 AC was called the gods’ judgement on King Aerys I for making his Hand the bastard and kinslayer Bloodraven.)
So, any kinslaying and breaking of guest right, that is not physically punished through applicable civil laws, will be spiritually/emotionally punished by the reactions of society and self. (Or “by the gods”, in whatever way society interprets that punishment.) In this, the cultural mores of Westeros are not unlike any society in history, or even our own today.
AND AGAIN IT WAS HELLA FUN. THIS TIME STARING FUCKIN NOODLE TALK. JACK IS JAC AND CHEESE, ANGEL IS ANGEL HAIR SPAGHET, AND RHYS IS RHYSARONI. AND YA’LL REQUESTED FOR NOODLE PEEN BUT I DIDN’T HAVE STRENGTH So you guys said macaroween HAHAHAHAHA
YOU GUYS GIVE ME LIFE -screeching-
Thank you all who came to the stream! ´w` <3 you all are babs <3 also, TimxJack is becoming my new obsession and i need a HOBBY -looks away from the pairing- -grump grump grump-
For my cousin’s wedding I finally got to wear a suit, but we’d negotiated on the terms, only if I wear a dress for the party.
I felt almost magical when I saw my family’s reaction to the change.
(I don’t know if this means I’m mildly gender fluid or nay, but I like this feeling)