So I got to a point in my re-read where I decided to back up and re-read all of Eddard's POVs again. His arc is so crucial in these early events, that I really wanted to absorb everything I could.
One of the chapters that jumped out at me was Eddard IV
, when he first reaches King's Landing and is brought to see Catelyn by Littlefinger.
The biggest thing that jumped out at me was this:
"So he listened, and she told it all.....And when she was done, Eddard Stark sat dazed besides the table, the dagger in his hand. Bran's wolf had saved the boys life....What was it that Jon had said when they found the pups in the snow? Your children were meant to have these pups, my lord. And he had killed Sansa's.....If the gods had sent these wolves, what folly had he done?
That last line strikes me as truly important, and a real tragedy. Ned's honor led him to carry out the king's order himself because he felt Lady was "of the North" and deserved better than "a butcher" like Payne, and that may have been the act that took him out of the gods' favor in his mind. Just frustrating. Lady did deserve better than Payne, and certainly so did Eddard Stark.
Later, he reflects on Robert's cruel acts, or acts by omission as ruler:
"He remembered Rhaegar's infant son, the red ruin of his skull, and the way the king had turned away, as he turned away in Darry's audience hall not so long ago. He could still hear Sansa pleading, as Lyanna had pleaded once.
Interesting way to link those two pleadings. While it is pretty much a given that R+L=J, this is just one more link in that chain. Sansa was pleading for Ned to save Lady, her precious pup that was like a part of her, and Ned likened that to Lyanna's cries.
But the most interesting line that I can't quite figure out how it fits into Ned's backstory and the TOJ, is this, when Cat tells Ned that she has told Littlefinger their suspicions about Jon Arryn's death:
"That was not news that Eddard Stark welcomed, but it was true enough that they needed help, and Littlefinger had been almost a brother to Cat once. It would not be the first time that Ned had been forced to make common cause with a man that he despised
I suppose this could be a simple reference to anyone that Ned fought alongside during Robert's Rebellion, or even at the Iron Islands. Particularly, it could reference Jamie, and Ned's strong feelings against him after he found him sitting the Throne.
But speaking of "joining common cause" doesn't really fit there, as essentially the cause was finished the moment he entered the hall, and we aren't told that Ned and Jaime had beef before that, although Jamie was present when the Mad King tortured and killed his father and brother. But so was Barristan and every other member of the Kingsguard and High Council.
Also, the word "despised", hints at much more that simply fighting alongside another lord that he disliked or didn't get along with for whatever reason.
It makes me wonder if the Tower of Joy involved some sort of collaboration, and who it could possibly be referring to that he despised yet joined forces with????
This post was edited on 2/1 at 9:04 am