Theon and Lady Dustin searching for the crypts of Winterfell
They walked on. Barbrey Dustin’s face seemed to harden with every step. She likes this place no more than I do.
Theon heard himself say,“My lady, why do you hate the Starks?”
She studied him.“For the same reason you love them.”
Theon stumbled. “Love them? I never … I took this castle from them, my lady. I had … had Bran and Rickon put to death, mounted their heads on spikes, I …”
“… rode south with Robb Stark, fought beside him at the Whispering Wood and Riverrun, returned to the Iron Islands as his envoy to treat with your own father. Barrowton sent men with the Young Wolf as well. I gave him as few men as I dared, but I knew that I must needs give him some or risk the wroth of Winterfell. So I had my own eyes and ears in that host. They kept me well informed. I know who you are. I know what you are. Now answer my question. Why do you love the Starks?”
“I … I wanted to be one of them ”
“And never could. We have more in common than you know, my lord.“
Bran saw his father’s face change, saw the other men exchange glances. He loved Jon with all his heart at that moment. Even at seven, Bran understood what his brother had done. The count had come right only because Jon had omitted himself. He had included the girls, included even Rickon, the baby, but not the bastard who bore the surname Snow, the name that custom decreed be given to all those in the north unlucky enough to be born with no name of their own.
“ You think my life is some precious thing to me? That I would trade my honor for a few more years… of what? You grew up with actors. You learned their craft and you learnt it well. But I grew up with soldiers. I learned to die a long time ago. “