House Words Wednesdays: House Kettleblack

Welcome to House Words Wednesdays! Each week, I take a House without known canon or semi-canon words and present what I think could make sense as that House’s motto. You’re free to suggest more as well, if your favored House has not yet been suggested; take a look at this link to see what has already been suggested, and shoot me an ask through Tumblr if you have another House you’d like to see

House Kettleblack is a family of indeterminate, but probably very low, rank, probably from the Crownlands generally and King’s Landing specifically. The A Song of Ice and Fire Campaign Guide states that the Kettleblacks are a “family of hedge knights and sellswords” with “no holdings in the Crownlands”, whose members are “often found in the service of various lords”. This seems as likely a background as any, though the main novels - probably for good reason - keep the Kettleblacks’ origins murky. When Jaime remarks that he has never heard of Ser Osmund Kettleblack despite knowing of “every hedge knight, freerider, and upjumped squire of any skill” who has ever competed in a tourney, Ser Osmund is at best evasive: the eldest Kettleblack brother claims he served in the Disputed Lands and the Stepstones with a company called the Gallant Men, and was knighted on a battlefield by “Ser Robert … Stone”, though “he’s dead now” (the ellipsis is there in text; Osmund is almost certainly George Glass-ing his knighthood). As fits a hedge knight family, though, the Kettleblacks at least boast a sigil: a black kettle on red, within a black orle.

The Kettleblacks are about as roguish a family as you get in ASOIAF, and time and again they’ve proven themselves utterly unscrupulous and utterly untrustworthy. Cersei begins meeting with the three Kettleblack brothers, Osmund, Osfryd, and Osney, during ACOK, hoping to use them to build her own sellsword force in contrast to Tyrion’s; unbeknownst to Cersei, Tyrion has already bought all three as informants against the queen (especially after Osmund is named to the Kingsguard). What neither Lannister sibling knows, however, is that the Kettleblacks are really in the pocket of Petyr Baelish, who has retained the brothers’ father, Oswell, as his servant, hoping to use the Kettleblack brothers as “three hidden daggers” against the Lannister regime. Fortunately for Littlefinger, Cersei is eager to use the brothers Kettleblack during her AFFC regency, to her own downfall. Her plan - first to have Osney Kettleblack bed Margaery and be sent to the Wall, where he might kill Jon Snow, then to have Osney falsely confess to sex with Margaery so that “the little queen” will be arrested - is fatally complicated by Cersei’s directive to Osney to murder Tyrion’s High Septon and her sleeping with the youngest Kettleblack himself; consequently, the scheme backfires in dramatic fashion when, under torture from the High Sparrow, Ser Osney confesses to sleeping with the widowed queen and killing the former Voice of the Seven. All three Kettleblack brothers are imprisoned as of the end of ADWD, though their ultimate fates remain unknown. (“Alayne I” of TWOW offered a tantalizing hint - old Oswell showing up on a lathered horse to meet with Littlefinger - though whether he brought news of his son’s arrests, their trials, or Cersei’s likely triumph in her own trial is unknown.)

Given that their very surname is a joke - the old “pot calling the kettle black”, probably in reference to (at least) Cersei using Osney to charge/frame Margaery for the very thing Cersei herself was doing for years as queen, sleeping with a Kingsguard knight - I would think the Kettleblack words have to be a joke too. Thus, the words I chose for our dear Kettleblacks are So Forged, Always Firm. A good kettle would have to be firm to have any worth, but if there’s one thing the Kettleblack brothers are not, it’s firmly loyal. Jaime’s assessment - that Ser Osmund “fought for anyone who would pay” him - is an accurate summary of all the Kettleblacks; their bodies, minds, and souls are always up for the highest bidder, and no bidder is too sacred to be replaced. Even Littlefinger complains to Sansa that “the lads are far too treacherous”, with Osmund “especially unreliable” since he was named to the Kingsguard. They’re as unreliable kettles as you could scour up, and as Osney’s confession under torture demonstrated, they’re never so firm as not to crack.

Let me know what you think of these words for House Kettleblack. Next week goes to an extinct House, another family whose unfortunate fate was to rule Harrenhal.

the-winged-wolf-bran-stark  asked:

Do you think that... uhhh... what's his face... the Kettleblack in the Vale who works for LF who is the father of the three brothers... think he's going to do anything in Sansa's upcoming storyline (or in general but it will probably be in Sansa's POV)?

(TWOW spoilers)

Oswell, yeah, but I always forget too, so I call him Papa Kettleblack instead. 

Anywho, we heard tell in Sansa’s released TWOW chapter that Papa Kettleblack showed up at the Gates of the Moon on a “lathered horse” he’d ridden from Gulltown. The state of the horse indicates that its rider was in a hurry; given that his sons are stationed in King’s Landing and that we know from AFFC that Littlefinger’s been keeping a close eye on Cersei, I think it’s a fair guess that whatever message Papa Kettleblack brought to the mockingbird, it concerned events in the capital. What events specifically depends on the timeline: is this news of Cersei’s (and the Kettleblacks’) arrest, or is it about her trial? 

Going forward, I think Papa Kettleblack’s role will be determined by what happens to his sons and how he reacts to it. Doubt he’ll play a major role, though. 


“I know the way this game is played.”
“No, you don’t. You have no idea. We’re playing an entirely different game than you think.”

westeros’ finest | a crime/reservoir dogs au | the dogs (b&w indicate the inactive)

milord/milady vs m’lord/m’lady vs my lord/my lady

For writing purposes, I used asearchoficeandfire to look up exactly how GRRM uses these different forms of address (because why take Roose Bolton’s word for anything). 

“Milord” was the least common, used by some King’s Landing prostitutes and Osmund Kettleblack (also of the Crownlands). It was also used by the daughter of the captain of the Myraham, a ship out of Oldtown.

“Milady” is slightly more common that “milord” and lowborn characters from Dorne to the Wall use it. For example, Harwin of Winterfell uses “milady”, as well as Tom Sevenstrings and servants in King’s Landing. 

“M’lord”/”M’lady” is the most common form people of low birth use to address the nobility. Members of the nobility, such as Theon and Sandor, adopt the term when they present/disguise themselves as lowborn. Interestingly, Oswell and Osney Kettleblack use “m’lord” unlike their brother. 

“My lord”/”my lady” is obviously the way the nobility speak, but there were some interesting exceptions. For example, Ser Meryn Trant addresses Cersei as “m’lady”. 

Some members of the “middle class” ie merchants, skilled craftsmen, and very minor nobility use “my lord”/”my lady” (examples: Tobho Mott the armorer, Rennifer Longwaters) while others use “m’lord”/”m’lady) (example: Hallis Mollen) so I think in cases like this, the usage depends on how the reader is supposed to perceive the character, whether the person has been educated or if they wish to be perceived as more important than they are (like Longwaters), etc. 

lesmotsincompris  asked:

Okay, new question: you said in one of your answers that Tyrion believes Sansa was the one who murdered Joffrey. Does he say so? Because I didn't have that impression, but I may be forgetting something (or mixing it with the show, where both believe the other is not the murderer). Also, since we're on the subject: who in the books knows/suspects that Tyrion/Sansa didn't do it? Sorry for the long ask :P

Yeah, Tyrion definitely believes Sansa killed Joffrey.

Sighing, he turned back to the table, and dipped the quill again. Sansa, he wrote upon the parchment. He sat staring at the name, his teeth clenched so hard they hurt.
Assuming Joffrey had not simply choked to death on a bit of food, which even Tyrion found hard to swallow, Sansa must have poisoned him. Joff practically put his cup down in her lap, and he’d given her ample reason. Any doubts Tyrion might have had vanished when his wife did.
One flesh, one heart, one soul. His mouth twisted. She wasted no time proving how much those vows meant to her, did she? Well, what did you expect, dwarf?
And yet… where would Sansa have gotten poison? He could not believe the girl had acted alone in this. Do I really want to find her? Would the judges believe that Tyrion’s child bride had poisoned a king without her husband’s knowledge? I wouldn’t. Cersei would insist that they had done the deed together.
Even so, he gave the parchment to his uncle the next day. Ser Kevan frowned at it. “Lady Sansa is your only witness?”
“I will think of others in time.”

–ASOS, Tyrion IX

Though to Tyrion’s credit (and even though he breaks his marriage vows with Shae), he does take the vows about protecting his wife to heart, and does not accuse Sansa during his trial.

The High Septon began with a prayer, asking the Father Above to guide them to justice. When he was done the father below leaned forward to say, “Tyrion, did you kill King Joffrey?”
He would not waste a heartbeat. “No.”
“Well, that’s a relief,” said Oberyn Martell dryly.
“Did Sansa Stark do it, then?” Lord Tyrell demanded.
I would have, if I’d been her. Yet wherever Sansa was and whatever her part in this might have been, she remained his wife. He had wrapped the cloak of his protection about her shoulders, though he’d had to stand on a fool’s back to do it. “The gods killed Joffrey. He choked on his pigeon pie.”

–ASOS, Tyrion IX

Mind you, he is very bitter about this afterwards.

Tyrion snorted. “Unwary? I’m the wariest man who ever lived, you helped see to that.” He rubbed at his nose. “So tell me, wizard, where is my innocent maiden wife?”

–ASOS, Tyrion XI

“I am married. She was with me at the feast, you may remember her. Lady Sansa.”
“Was she your wife? She… she was very beautiful…”
And false. Sansa, Shae, all my women…

–ADWD, Tyrion IX

Anyway, who knows neither Tyrion or Sansa murdered Joffrey? Well, Sansa does, obviously, because she knows she didn’t do it and because Littlefinger told her who did it. Littlefinger knows, because he arranged the poisoning. Olenna Tyrell knows, because she conspiracized with LF and delivered the poison. Dontos Hollard knew, but Littlefinger murdered him. I’m not sure if Lysa was told, but it doesn’t matter because Littlefinger murdered her too. LF’s employees Lothor Brune and Oswell Kettleblack (who both know Alayne is Sansa) may or may not know the truth of Joff’s poisoning, it’s not said.

It’s unclear which of the other Tyrells were in on the conspiracy. (See this post and its links, also this.) Loras seems to genuinely believe Sansa did it. We don’t know what Margaery’s been told (unlike the show). Garlan… some suspect that while Olenna took the strangler crystal from Sansa’s hairnet, he was the one to actually drop it in Joffrey’s winecup (or Margaery was), but there’s no proof on this (and GRRM hasn’t said).

Jaime believed Sansa did it, and that Tyrion was protecting her. When Tyrion told him that he did it (lying, to hurt him, because of Jaime’s revelation of the truth about Tysha), it’s unclear if Jaime changes his mind. (He actually never thinks about it later, he’s much more focused on Tyrion’s definite murder of Tywin.) Either way it doesn’t matter to him if Sansa killed Joffrey, he feels his vows to Catelyn take precedence, and he never liked Joff anyway.

Brienne believes Sansa didn’t do it, but thinks if it turns out she did, Tyrion must have forced her to. Arya heard that Sansa killed Joffrey with a spell, and thinks that’s ridiculous; she isn’t sure if Tyrion would have done it, as he’s a Lannister. Sandor doesn’t seem to care who killed Joffrey when he hears the news, he’s more focused on the fact of Sansa’s marriage and that she left Tyrion behind when she disappeared; so whether he believes Sansa or Tyrion actually killed Joff is unknown. Davos reports to Stannis that the news says Tyrion did it; neither of them doubt the accusation. Jon oddly never thinks of Joffrey’s murder, he only finds it hard to believe Tyrion would kill Tywin; and when he mentions Sansa her status as an escaped wanted criminal never comes up (again oddly, considering he’s talking to Stannis who should care if anyone does) so we have no idea what he thinks there.

I think that’s it for characters who might possibly doubt the accusations or who know the truth. Hope that helps!

edit: Gosh, I can’t believe I forgot him – but Varys knows Tyrion didn’t kill Joffrey; it’s not certain what he believes about Sansa. He may or may not know many of the details of the Tyrell plot, as both Olenna and Littlefinger are aware of Varys’s little birds and make sure to only make plans where they can’t be overheard by them. (Olenna with Butterbumps shouting over her conversations; Littlefinger having Dontos meet Sansa only in the godswood.) I wouldn’t be surprised if Varys suspected Littlefinger and the Tyrells, but he may not be certain of Sansa’s innocence in the matter. And whatever he suspects, he hasn’t told Tyrion or anyone about it.