“I know you, Jon. Whether your name is Jon Snow or Aegon Targaryen, it changes nothing in how I feel for you. The man in front of me leads his people with a single minded determination that I adore. A name change does not change that for me.”
His hands captured her elbows and he leaned forward and kissed her forehead. “Leave you to be the one to make all of this seem less immediate.”
She burrowed her face into his neck and her arms moved to his back beneath his cloak.
Their father once said that in winter, they must protect one another, keep each other warm, share their strengths. So they shared their strength, and their crown as well.
Brandon, King of Winter ↳ King Brandon was King Robb’s true heir, and Lord Eddard’s before him. When the crown passed to him, it was he that bade his siblings share its responsibilities with him. Though some of the lords bannermen of House Stark thought this meant that Bran–a cripple since the age of seven–was weak, they soon learned the strength of the decision. A true king of winter, Brandon said, is one who prepares for winter, not just endures it. And the best way to prepare for winter was to make sure that all needs were being met, and thus that each was given the full attention of a member of his house. (It is also said that when there was strife in the North, King Brandon knew about it long before word officially reached Winterfell. He was blessed by the Old Gods, it was said, with magical sight and hearing, and understood the language of brooks and trees.)
Arya, Queen of Justice ↳ Queen Arya took it upon herself to protect the smallfolk. She had seen, she told her brothers and sister, their suffering and lived it during the War of the Five Kings, when Lannister and Stark warred in the riverlands. She had seen what evil men could do when left unchecked and found such evil intolerable in the lands of her blood. When justice was needed, it was Queen Arya who rode out from Winterfell. Though songs are sung of Queen Arya’s justice, it was known that her mercy was far more powerful. Justice, she had been known to say, was nothing without mercy–true mercy, the gift of mercy. Though far more celebrated for lives she took in the name of her house, her justice was not merely the enforcement of the law but the weighing of it. If she heard a man’s final words and thought he did not deserve to die, he did not die by her blade. (Though there were songs sung of Arya’s justice and her mercy, the more celebrated songs are ones of magic. The most creative of these songs are ones that say she wears the skin of a direwolf and heads a pack of thousands. Such songs are songs, however, and should never be misconstrued for fact.)
Jon, King of Peace ↳ King Jon was not a Stark, though when the doom of the world was nigh, the lords of the North crowned him king. He gave his crown to Brandon, Lord Eddard’s trueborn son, when the war ended, and King Brandon shared it with him in return, calling him brother though they shared neither father nor mother. King Jon fought for the living, and fought for peace, and though he was known as the king in the north who led armies in battle, he knew success by how infrequently he was called upon to fight. When Jon was home, the realm knew peace; when he rode forth, it would know peace again soon. (There were whispers that King Jon could not be killed for he had no beating heart inside his body. Any wound he took remained with him until the time of his passing. Such tales, however, could not possibly be true for what man can live without a heart? And while it is known that King Jon rode a dragon into battle at least once in defense of the North, that he had no heartbeat could not possibly be true.)
Sansa, Queen of Prosperity ↳ Queen Sansa learned coin from Lord Baelish, who helped her return to the North following a period of captivity in King’s Landing. If Lord Baelish was one of the more clever masters of coin that the realm had ever seen, under his tutelage, Queen Sansa came to know the power of gold and markets–vital to the recovery of the North following a long war and a longer winter. Queen Sansa knew when sternness was required, but the realm knew her to have a generous hand, and through her guidance the North came to know prosperity again. Artisans flocked to Winterfell, for Queen Sansa dearly loved music, and bakers competed in making the best lemon cakes for her. (Rumors plagued Queen Sansa for most of her days that Lord Baelish’s untimely demise–an illness that tore through him and slew him in his sleep–was wrought from poison she slipped into his glass of Arbor Gold. Rumors of poison have followed Queen Sansa ever since the death of Joffrey Baratheon, and thus cannot be trusted to hold any merit at all.)
Rickon, King of Reaping ↳ King Rickon was the youngest of his siblings, and barely more than a babe when his parents died. He lived his early days among the people, and in fear that Boltons or Greyjoys would find him and slay him in his sleep. Though many believed that he had died at Theon Greyjoy’s hands when the Prince of Salt and Rock took Winterfell, it soon became known that Greyjoy had slain two farmer’s boys and passed them off for the young princes of Winterfell. Though King Rickon was likely too young to remember such an event, he was known to mention it often in his work, for he turned himself to the reaping every autumn when the harvest moon rose, making sure that no farmer felt unable to tend to his fields, and that the North was prepared for the oncoming winter. (As with his brothers and sisters, there are flights of fancy that have entered the realm of myth for King Rickon as well. If Queen Arya headed a pack of a thousand wolves, it is said that King Rickon wore the skin of a great black wolf that would use his size and strength to protect the smallfolk from smaller packs who would set their eyes on livestock. Such tales are merely tales, though, for no man can wear the skin of a wolf.)