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The unnamed Catspaw, also known as the Catspaw Assassin, is a minor antagonist yet pivotal figure in A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones. He is an assassin who was paid by Joffrey Baratheon to kill Bran Stark while he is in a coma in Winterfell, after he ends up crippled when Jaime Lannister pushes him from the top of a tower.
The assassin arranges for a fire to start in the castle, reasoning it will draw people away from Bran's room. This diversion succeeds in persuading Robb Stark to leave the room, but Catelyn Stark remains behind. When the assassin goes into Bran's room to kill him, he finds Catelyn there. They struggle and he injures Catelyn's hand, but is then attacked by Bran's direwolf, Summer, who tears his throat out.
Tyrion Lannister recalls a memory whilst he was at Winterfell, in which he overheard Joffrey Baratheon jesting with the Hound to send a dog to kill a wolf. He guesses that Joffrey hired the catspaw among those that joined the king's party as they made their way north and that he had found the dagger amongst his father's weapons and had simply taken it. However, Tyrion is unable to figure out why Joffrey wanted Bran dead, and attributes it to his innate cruelty.
Jaime later realizes that Joffrey sent the assassin in an attempt to impress his father, after overhearing a drunken Robert Baratheon say it would be kinder to put the crippled Bran Stark out of his misery.