You are a Stark. You might not have my name, but you have my blood. Is my mother alive? Does she know about me? Who I am, where I’m going? Does she care? The next time we see each other, we’ll talk about your mother. I promise.
“The blood of the First Men still flows in the veins of the Starks, and we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.”
“I was with her when she died,” Ned reminded the king. “She wanted to come home, to rest beside Brandon and Father.” He could hear her still at times. Promise me, she had cried, in a room that smelled of blood and roses. Promise me, Ned. The fever had taken her strength and her voice had been faint as a whisper, but when he gave her his word, the fear had gone out of his sister’s eyes. Ned remembered the way she had smiled then, how tightly her fingers had clutched his as she gave up her hold on life, the rose petals spilling from her palm, dead and black. After that he remembered nothing.
Eddard I, A Game of Thrones.
Lord Eddard is a man in ten thousand. Most of us are not so strong. What is honor compared to a woman’s love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms… or the memory of a brother’s smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.
You want me to serve the woman who murdered my king, who butchered my men, who crippled my son? I want you to serve the realm! Tell the queen you will confess your vile treason, tell your son to lay down his sword and proclaim Joffrey as the true heir. Cersei knows you as a man of honor. If you give her the peace she needs, and promise to carry her secret to your grave, I believe she will allow you to take the black and live out your days on the Wall with your brother and your bastard son.
Incompetence should not be rewarded with blind loyalty. As long as I have my eyes, I’ll use them. I wasn’t born into a great house. I came from nothing, I was sold as a slave and carved up as an offering. When I was a child, I lived in alleys, gutters, abandoned houses. You wish to know where my true loyalties lie? Not with any king or queen, but with the people.
I have come so many thousands of leagues, and for what? Who have I served? I have lost my daughters, Robb does not want me, and Bran and Rickon must surely think me a cold and unnatural mother. I was not even with Ned when he died … Catelyn had not eaten today. Perhaps that had been unwise. She told herself that there had been no time, but the truth was that food had lost its savor in a world without Ned. When they took his head off, they killed me too.