In part 1, we examined Hoster Tully’s actions before the A Song of Ice and Fire series began. 3 years before the beginning of A Game of Thrones, Hoster Tully became bedridden with a serious illness to the stomach. Despite this infirmity, Hoster was sitting comfortably, having married his two daughters to the Starks and the Arryns. Even more than this, he had the gratitude of the sitting king, Robert Baratheon. But like the wasting disease threatening his life, trouble on the horizon threatened to erode the successes that Hoster had worked so hard to achieve.
Hoster Tully was the least-seen Lord Paramount in A Song of Ice Fire and yet one of the most consequential characters in the series. In A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords, we witness his declining health and death, but this belies a staggering influence that far outstrips his scant textual appearances.
Even in dying, Hoster retained a mind for the game of thrones. George R. R. Martin paints a picture of a Lord with no small amount of cunning, adept at playing the political game in a way that neither Ned Stark nor Robert Baratheon ever could. While not the master manipulator of people like Varys or Littlefinger, Hoster Tully had a keen understanding of feudal politics that served his family well while he was alive. While Doran Martell and Tywin Lannister receive accolades for the political acumen both from in-universe characters and from readers of the series, a careful analysis suggests that Hoster Tully was clever in his own right. In fact, Hoster Tully managed to raise the Tully family to the highest heights of its power it had seen in a single generation.
Family was the first of the Tully words and first in Hoster’s mind. Accordingly, he was blessed with two healthy daughters and one son. The daughters, he married to houses of ancient nobility and unquestioned honor. The son was destined to rule Riverrun. But much as healthy families have strains, so too did Hoster have strains in his own family. He and his only brother, Brynden, were on less-than-cordial terms. But even with this strain, the Tullys were one of the most successful families in Westeros.
It raises the question: Where did it all go wrong? How did Hoster succeed so much in his lifetime, only to have his strategy fail dramatically so shortly after his death?