in that it's the one thing that reminds catelyn of ned

anonymous asked:

Hi, quick question because I haven't read the books in a while. Did Ned encourage Arya's unladylike behaviour at all? I know he obviously let her keep Needle but apart from that I'm sure he wanted to make her a lady (the whole 'your sons will be knights... quote etc) but he and Cat just sort of gave up. I see people say because she remind him of Lyanna he encouraged it but I would've thought if she reminded him of Lyanna, he would discourage it, hoping she doesn't share the same fate

The short answer to your question, Nonnie, is NO. Ned did not “encourage” Arya in unladylike behavior. The Ned Stark who indulges his youngest daughter in every whim and thinks it’s charming if she’s rude to people is entirely a fandom creation. At least as far as the books go. Not having seen the show, I never pretend to speak to portrayals of the characters there. Honestly, this idea of Ned as the super progressive, indulgent father who would want all his children to live freely and marry for love and spend their lives doing whatever their little hearts desire if it weren’t for that horrible bitch he’s married to infuriates me as much on Ned’s behalf as it does on Catelyn’s!

As much as I love the guy, as much as he genuinely loves both his wife and children a great deal more than many other lords in ASOIAF seem to, as much as he absolutely values women as human beings capable of rational thought and worthy of respect in a way that far too few of the men in the series do, Lord Eddard Stark is a pretty traditional guy. He married for duty, became Lord of Winterfell for duty, lives his life with as much honor as he can–as he understands the concept. He expects no less of his children. He does not want them unhappy and would not willingly place them in harm’s way, but he expects Robb to fulfills his responsibilities as heir to Winterfell and one day its lord, to rule with honor and wed a woman who will make a good Lady of Winterfell. He expects Bran and Rickon to grow up and become bannermen of their elder brother, perhaps with their own holdfasts in the North, helping defend House Stark and the North and administer justice in their brother’s name. He expects Sansa AND Arya to make marriages which are advantageous to House Stark. Not because he thinks of his children as pawns, but because this is WHAT PEOPLE DO! This is how a good father secures his children’s future and how a good lord secures the future of his House.

So, OF COURSE, he doesn’t encourage Arya’s wild ways. Now, we don’t get to see any actual hands-on parenting by Ned of his daughters in Winterfell on the page. Catelyn is obviously in charge of them. Not because she’s controlling and he’s lenient–but because that is HER job. Arya sees her mother as the primary disciplinarian in her life simply because her mother, as the more hands-on parent in her daily life, is the one who’s telling her what to do and not to do on a far more regular basis. 

We DO see Ned interacting directly with Arya in King’s Landing, when Catelyn is far away and unavailable for the duty. He’s exhausted, he’s miserable away from his home and his wife, he’s frustrated with his seeming inability to make Robert act like a king or to make headway in the matter of Jon Arryn’s death or the attempt on Bran’s life, and he’s completely bamboozled on how to handle the open warfare between his daughters. And now Septa Mordane comes to him and tells him that after he left the Small Hall in frustration without finishing his dinner after yet another altercation between the two girls, Arya has made a scene and left the Hall without permission. He goes to her room, wondering how in hell to deal with her and finds her with a sword she informs him is his.

During their exchange, (which is from Arya’s POV), she notes more than once how tired her father looks. Upon realizing the sword was made by Mikken, he SIGHS. “My nine-year-old daughter is being armed from my own forge, and I know nothing of it. The Hand of the King is expected to rule the Seven Kingdoms, yet it seems I cannot even rule my own household.”

This is a dude at the end of his rope!

When Arya informs him that she hates Septa Mordane, his answer is given in a voice GRRM refers to as ‘curt and hard’. “That’s enough. The septa is doing no more than is her duty, though gods know you have made it a struggle for the poor woman. Your mother and I have charged her with the impossible task of making you a lady.”

YOUR MOTHER AND I, he says. Not just ‘your mother.’ Like Catelyn, Ned understands that Arya chafes against a lot of what is asked of her. Like Catelyn, he sees learning to do it anyway as necessary to her future.

Arya protests, of course, and gets the well-known speech from her father about having a wildness in her, or the wolf blood as his own father used to call it. And when he tells her she reminds him of his sister, even nine-year-old Arya hears the sadness in his voice. And when he tells her she looks like Lyanna, and she protests that Lyanna was beautiful he says, “She was. Beautiful, willful, and dead before her time.”

In this moment, Ned is remembering his sister with both great love and great fear for as much as he might love the echoes of her which he sees in Arya, he DOES NOT want her to follow Lyanna’s path or share her fate. Immediately after that is when he asks her what she thought to do with that sword. He’s trying desperately to figure out what to do with this daughter who is so unhappy, so determined to do what she wants, and eerily like the sister who followed her own will right into an early grave and triggered a terrible war. 

They go on to have quite a wonderful conversation in which he tries to understand her and make her understand him–talking of the pack and winter and honor, etc. Some things, she understands, and others not so much. He never mentions Lyanna again in the conversation. He tells her Septa Mordane is a good woman and emphasizes her sisterhood with Sansa, telling her that while they may be as different as the sun and the moon, the same blood flows through their hearts and they need each other. And he needs them both.

We’re in Arya’s head here–not Ned’s. But you can almost feel his desperation when he then tells her she has to STOP with the willfulness. “This is not Winterfell. We have enemies here who mean us ill. We cannot fight a war among ourselves. This willfulness of yours, the running off, the angry words, the disobedience … at home, these were only the summer games of a child. Here and now, with winter soon upon us, that is a different matter. It is time to begin growing up.”

Basically, he just told her to knock off all the things that so many in fandom feel he encouraged in her. While he may have been fairly lenient (NOT encouraging) of her shenanigans in Winterfell, they’re now in a dangerous place, and at the ripe old age of nine, he expects her to act more grown up!

Then, he lets her keep her sword and arranges lessons for her. Why does he do that? I think at least in part, it’s because he needs somebody to be happy about SOMETHING. He’s so guilty about Sansa’s wolf that he can barely speak with her, and he knows Arya hates King’s Landing, and he knows even better how much HE hates King’s Landing. Maybe if he gives her this one thing–he can keep his daughter from a full-on rebellion like that of his sister’s.

But even after that, some time later after word arrives that Bran has awakened, Arya asks Ned if he can still be a knight, and he tells her no, but that her brother may still someday be lord of a great holdfast and sit on the king’s castle or raise castles like Brandon the Builder or sail a ship across the Sunset Sea or enter their mother’s faith and become High Septon. Arya promptly asks if she can be king’s councillor and build castles and become High Septon, and Ned, of course, tells her no.

“You,” Ned said, kissing her lightly on the brow, “will marry a king and rule his castle, and your sons will be knights and princes and lords and, yes, perhaps even a High Septon.”

Arya wants none of that, of course, but my point here is that, sword lessons or not, this is the future Ned saw for Arya, the future he WANTED for Arya, not because he was a bad father, but because he loved his daughter. And to this traditional High Lord of Westeros, having his daughter become a Queen or a great Lady was the absolute most he could offer her.

So while he loved his daughter Arya dearly, and had loved his sister dearly as well, and probably did love that he could see a bit of Lyanna living on in Arya, he did not encourage her to be willful and wild any more than he had encouraged it in his sister.

anonymous asked:

I'd also like to point out that that snow thingy happened right after that chapter where jon decided to keep his Snow name. Idk it might be nothing but my shipper heart just found it so beautiful i cried lol!!

Yes it is something Anony.

And I was about to answer a comment from cruyffsbeckenbauer (I love Jonsa and I will go to Jonsa hell for saying this but…Ramsay was also a snow.) To explain more about the snow symbolism. So here you go:

@cruyffsbeckenbauer​ YES, Ramsay WAS also a Snow. He was a Snow before he was legitimazed as Ramsay Bolton by King Tommen Baratheon as a reward for betraying House Stark.

Ramsay Bolton is a minor character and has zero links to Sansa herself in the books (I HATE D&D for what they did to Sansa in the TV series) and Ramsay has zero links to actual snow more than his former surname. 

On the contrary, Jon is not only a Snow, he is the bastard of House Stark, The Wardens of The North. The Starks motto is “Winter is coming”. Jon is always associated with snow (his surname, his white as snow direwolf Ghost), ice (The Wall), winter (Starks motto) and The North (Winterfell, home):

The boy absorbed that all in silence. He had the Stark face if not the name: long, solemn, guarded, a face that gave nothing away. Whoever his mother had been, she had left little of herself in her son. 

A Game of Thrones - Tyrion II

She might have overlooked a dozen bastards for Ned’s sake, so long as they were out of sight. Jon was never out of sight, and as he grew, he looked more like Ned than any of the trueborn sons she bore him.

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn II

“A shade more exhausting than needlework,” Jon observed.
“A shade more fun than needlework,” Arya gave back at him. Jon grinned, reached over, and messed up her hair. Arya flushed. They had always been close. Jon had their father’s face, as she did

A Game of Thrones - Arya I

Sansa could never understand how two sisters, born only two years apart, could be so different. It would have been easier if Arya had been a bastard, like their half brother Jon. She even looked like Jon, with the long face and brown hair of the Starks, and nothing of their lady mother in her face or her coloring. 

A Game of Thrones - Sansa I

“Who’s this one now?“ Craster said before Jon could go. “He has the look of a Stark.”

“My steward and squire, Jon Snow.”

—A Clash of Kings - Jon III

His northern features are the perfect disguise to hide his true parentage. He is acknowledged as a Stark just by looking at his face. He looks like a younger version of Ned.

And to talk about what the Anony said, the association that Sansa made between the lover’s kisses and snowflakes happened right after the chapter where Jon decided to keep his Snow name (Stannis offered him to be legitimazed as Jon Stark and become the Lord of Winterfell). I wrote a really long post about it, you can read it here. So I’m going to repeat some important points that I mentioned on that post:

  • (…) the seventh Sansa’s chapter of A Storm of Swords (the one where Sansa builds a Snow Castle {Winterfell}) comes immediately after the twelfth Jon’s chapter, the chapter where he found his answer to Stannis offer of Winterfell. And what it was that helped John to find his answer? His beloved direwolf, Ghost.
  • (…) instead of Tyrion, Willas or even Robert, who pursue Sansa’s claim over her, there is a man that has been offered Winterfell and choose her over it: By right Winterfell should go to my sister Sansa.“ “Winterfell belongs to my sister Sansa.” Among all the high lords interested in becoming the Lord of Winterfell by marrying Sansa Stark, the bastard Jon Snow refused to despoil his sister Sansa of her rights, even if her claim is the one thing he has wanted as much as he had ever wanted anything. Don’t you find this very romantic? I mean, when Sansa thinks: “No one will ever marry me for love” (Because everyone only wants her claim to Winterfell), at the other part of the world is Jon Snow saying more than once: By right Winterfell should go to my sister Sansa.“ “Winterfell belongs to my sister Sansa.” This for me is one of the most romantic passages of the books. 
  • (…) at the same time, Jon and Sansa had an important realization concerning to their lost and broken home, Winterfell. And what that helped them to reach that realization was the snow. Literally snow in Sansa’s case and Ghost, the direwolf as white as snow, in Jon’s case.

And finally, I just wanted to point out that Jon and Sansa both loved Robb very much and both of them remember the last time they saw him at Winterfell describing him with snowflakes in his hair:

Outside the flakes drifted down as soft and silent as memory. Was this what woke me? Already the snowfall lay thick upon the garden below, blanketing the grass, dusting the shrubs and statues with white and weighing down the branches of the trees. The sight took Sansa back to cold nights long ago, in the long summer of her childhood.

She had last seen snow the day she’d left Winterfell. That was a lighter fall than this, she remembered. Robb had melting flakes in his hair when he hugged me, and the snowball Arya tried to make kept coming apart in her hands. It hurt to remember how happy she had been that morning. Hullen had helped her mount, and she’d ridden out with the snowflakes swirling around her, off to see the great wide world. I thought my song was beginning that day, but it was almost done.

—A Storm of Swords - Sansa VII

“She has more courage than she knows,” said Sam.

“So do you, Sam. Have a swift, safe voyage, and take care of her and Aemon and the child.” The cold trickles on his face reminded Jon of the day he’d bid farewell to Robb at Winterfell, never knowing that it was for the last time. “And pull your hood up. The snowflakes are melting in your hair.”

—A Dance with Dragons - Jon II

Jon flexed the fingers of his sword hand. The Night’s Watch takes no part. He closed his fist and opened it again. What you propose is nothing less than treason. He thought of Robb, with snowflakes melting in his hair. Kill the boy and let the man be born. (…)

—A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII

So, the snowflakes always appear as a symbol of love, happiness and home.

2

Jon

   With a deep sigh he slicks back an unruly strand of hair, trying to ensure he looks as close to perfect as possible. That’s the least she deserves, her shining knight, he thinks, frowning as he looks at himself in the mirror and worries over his appearance yet again. Not her brothers scruffy friend, hair almost as long as hers, with the beginnings of a beard starting to show. Gods, I should have shaved, I should have at least cut my hair. He begins to pace in the small bathroom that he and Robb used to share, back when he lived with the Starks. He’d been home for weeks now, ever since the accident, having decided to take a semester off in order to help Robb and the others while Mrs. Stark stayed with her husband at the hospital between surgeries. Horrible as everything was, the time off couldn’t have come at a better time, what with the his recent troubles off at school and his breakup with Ygritte.

   Enough moping, tonight isn’t about you, it’s about Sansa!

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It should have been you

One of the things I often see Ned blamed for is that he never told Catelyn the truth about Jon, something that is thought to could have made Jon’s life better as it would ease Catelyn’s resentment of him if she learned that Ned did not cheat on her. The Tully words are often used in that context to prove that Cat would have accepted Jon and joined Ned in keeping his secret and protecting him if she’d known. But that is a premise I have always had trouble accepting.

Following Catelyn’s PoV and her patterns of behavior when her children are at risk undercuts that argument; Catelyn’s priority has always been her own children, and while this is perfectly normal, she does demonstrate her willingness to punish children she perceives as a threat to hers in the name of protecting her children, and to disregard or refuse to reflect on the danger her actions and desires might put other people’s children in. The scene in which the quote I chose to title this post was said, while the words of a grieving mother, still shows Catelyn’s instincts and thought process when her children are endangered. While surely sympathetic as parents are sure to put their children ahead of everyone, Catelyn’s privilege means that she often fails to get out of her own perspective to consider how she is implying that she sees other people’s children as being inherently less important than her own and provides Catelyn with an emotional justification for whatever she does, as long as she is doing it for her children’s sake or to protect them.

We see this in how she treats both young Jon and Theon, two vulnerable children that she sees as potential threats to her children, the former more than the latter. This is the main rationale behind Catelyn’s treatment of Jon; while her behavior towards him is definitely influenced by how his presence in Winterfell is a constant reminder of Ned’s infidelity and how it forces her to suffer public shame and damages her political image as Lady of Winterfell, the biggest cause of Cat’s behavior is the danger Jon could pose to her children’s lives and inheritance. Cat lives in fear that Jon or his descendants could try and supplant her own children or their children, or even that he’d harm them to steal their inheritance, and thus treats him all his life as a potential threat that should be curbed. Of course this whole concern would be rendered moot if Jon’s parentage is revealed, but the problem is that the truth comes with its own set of problems - while it eliminates Jon as a potential rival claimant to Winterfell, Jon’s true identity, if anything, exacerbates the danger to Cat’s children.

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anonymous asked:

Did Catelyn's panicked attempt to convince Robb to name that one Vale fellow his heir have any viability or was that just her innate prejudice against bastardy and her hope that Arya was alive combining into an irrational response. To paraphrase Robb, what chance does a Valeman who's never lived in the North have at becoming the King of Winter?

Thanks for the question, Anon.

Well, Catelyn’s discussion about the very real Stark succession problem brings up two legitimate points concerning Jon as a potential heir. The first - and, in my mind, greater - problem was Jon’s Night’s Watch vows. Robb may have thought it a simple matter of numbers - exchange one Jon for a hundred Jons, so to speak, and the depleted Night’s Watch should be duly grateful - but I think the young king failed to consider the repercussions of such an act. The Night’s Watch has existed, in more or less the same form, for nigh-on eight millennia, and for all those years its members have taken the vows of sworn vigilance and immunity to realm politics. Those who stuck fast to their vows - like the Lord Commander who sent not a single man to aid his brother Harren as Aegon approached - are given in good example to younger brothers; those who betrayed them - like Rodrik Flint, who sought a crown beyond the Wall - are remembered poorly. Indeed, even in the era of the independent kingdoms, the Night’s Watch stood as a respected, supernational institution; Nymeria, for one, had all faith that the six kings she sent to the Wall would be safely delivered and kept there (or executed for deserters if they left). But Robb proposed to do away with the ancient rules - reasoning that because he needs Jon dynastically, he can say the word, and Jon becomes a free man again, no strings attached. Imagine the fallout: black brothers muttering about “special rules for the king’s brother” (not exactly a good sentiment for an institution that is already classist); highborn families realizing they can ransom back anyone - or try, at least - for the right price; the politics of the “south” invading the ancient independence of the Night’s Watch. Suddenly the Wall is no longer a safe option for politically dangerous or otherwise inconvenient men, not a place where a man can be expected to stay once he’s left; the sanctity is gone - just once, but enough to question the strength of everyone else’s vows. Robb, as King over the realm where the Night’s Watch was established, had even more reason to respect and preserve the Watch, but instead sought to use his own political needs to circumvent ancient tradition. Would his vassals - Northmen who presumably had themselves sent sons or brothers in generations past to the Wall - be willing to accept a man who was willing to forsake the perpetual vows he had taken in exchange for a crown? It’s a real question, and one that I think Robb dismissed too lightly.

The second problem is Jon’s bastardy, of course. Catelyn was certainly not immune to bastard prejudice, especially as in her case, Ned had taken an extra step she had not been taught to anticipate in her marriage (not simply having a bastard - that was to be expected - but bringing him home and raising him alongside his trueborn siblings, instead of hiding him away in a discreet location and quietly providing for him). Yes, there was some measure of personal feeling in Catelyn bringing up the point of Jon’s bastardy. At the same time, what Robb and Catelyn do not discuss - but I think is a point worth noting - is how the vassal lords would appreciate a legitimized bastard sitting the seat of Winterfell. Bastards may not be uniformly demonized among northmen - elsewise, Larence Snow would never have been a real candidate in the Hornwood Question - but are similarly not uniformly preferred over female-line candidates (again, to look to the Hornwoods, Larence Snow is only one of several possibilities, together with the female-line heirs of the Tallharts, Flints, and Karstarks). Unlike Larence, moreover, Jon did not have an ancient northern lordly (well, masterly) House guaranteed to champion his rights; that’s not in itself a death knell, but it would make a claim already questionable (both for his bastard birth and his Night’s Watch service) that much more difficult to press (though I doubt the Manderlys would have missed the chance to wed Lady Wylla to Jon once he was named heir to the North). Would a Winterfell upbringing and Stark blood (and features) outweigh bastard prejudice, to skip over a legitimate female-line claimant? Maybe, maybe not; it would certainly depend on each House (especially if any of them had female heirs, who might worry about their rights being usurped by bastard siblings).

(And, of course, if Robb legitimized Jon, there would be no way to unlegitimize his line in the future; in a worst case scenario, I’m sure Catelyn saw a Blackfyre-like situation happening, where Robb’s heirs by Jeyne - another queen, like Mariah Martell, from a land fought as an enemy - would be threatened by the ambition of Jon’s Stark-looking heirs. To what extent other northmen thought this a possibility is impossible to say, but interesting to consider.)

Now, as far as the Waynwood/Corbray/Templeton cousin goes, I don’t know if mere Vale heritage would be the real sticking point (I’m reminded of George I of Great Britain, who spoke not a lick of English when he came to the throne and spent a fifth of his reign in his German homeland, but was the nearest Protestant relative of the Stuart Queen Anne - a female-line great-grandson of James I via his daughter’s youngest daughter). Again, depending on how much weight the vassal lords gave to the issues, a legitimately born heir with Stark blood who would preserve succession tradition and Night’s Watch independence might be worth even Vale blood. The real issue would be how Lysa Arryn reacted. Lysa absolutely forbid her knights to aid Robb in his cause; would she allow one of her bannermen’s own children to succeed to Robb’s seat? That might well send a message to the Iron Throne that the Vale had thrown in its lot with the Kingdom of the North and Trident - and the last thing Lysa wanted was royal armies marching toward the Vale to hurt her precious Robert. Even if Robb had wanted it, then, a Vale cousin might have been out of the question.

Ultimately, I think the Stark succession question was a difficult decision without an easy answer any one way. Either choice would have presented unique difficulties, and either might have incurred the wrath of his vassals. I don’t think Catelyn was wrong to bring up the points she did, or that’s he was motivated purely by personal animosity toward Jon; Robb might have had his mind set on Jon, but there were legitimate concerns to naming Jon heir to his half-brother.

(On a somewhat related note, whatever happened to the twin sons of Artos the Implacable? TWOIAF says they both left issue; these children and their descendants - presumably still in the North, potentially still bearing the Stark name - would have made potential heirs for such a sticky situation, especially as they would be the next in line should Robb have skipped the descendants of Jocelyn Stark.)

The Queen Regent (NFriel)

anonymous asked:

What are other ways that Jaime and Ned are foils of each other?

They occupy similar positions in their respective families. Most consequentially, they both have weird closeted Uncle Dad relationships with their sisters’ kids. They’re also middle children. Much as Jaime gets legal precedence as Tywin’s first son, he is Cersei’s little brother.

More abstractly, I think Ned and Jaime are at contrasting ends of the same wavelength when it comes to inhabiting personas. It’s not that either of their reputations are unearned: Ned is more or less a stand-up guy, and Jaime really is a treacherous piece of work who’s willing to undermine the king by breaking every one of his vows. But those reputations are more complex than they appear; at best, they’re right for the wrong reasons. Ned isn’t a good guy because of his publicly rigorous rule-following, but because he is capable of putting other people’s well-being before his own image. Jaime killing Aerys wasn’t a coup, though his affair with Cersei very much is. And they’re both really practical about using those reputations, particularly in the interests of conflict avoidance.

“Aleena? No. You told me once. Was it Merryl? You know the one I mean, your bastard’s mother?“

“Her name was Wylla,” Ned replied with cool courtesy, “and I would sooner not speak of her.”         

“Wylla. Yes.” The king grinned. “She must have been a rare wench if she could make Lord Eddard Stark forget his honor, even for an hour. You never told me what she looked like …”

Ned’s mouth tightened in anger. “Nor will I. Leave it be, Robert, for the love you say you bear me. I dishonored myself and I dishonored Catelyn, in the sight of gods and men.”

“Gods have mercy, you scarcely knew Catelyn.”        

 "I had taken her to wife. She was carrying my child.“


Must you make me say the words? Pia was standing by the flap of the tent with her arms full of clothes. His squires were listening as well, and the singer. Let them hear, Jaime thought. Let the world hear. It makes no matter. He forced himself to smile, “You’ve seen our numbers, Edmure. You’ve seen the ladders, the towers, the trebuchets, the rams. If I speak the command, my coz will bridge your moat and break your gate. Hundreds will die, most of them your own. Your former bannermen will make up the first wave of attackers, so you’ll start your day by killing the fathers and brothers of men who died for you at the Twins. The second wave will be Freys, I have no lack of those. My westermen will follow when your archers are short of arrows and your knights so weary they can hardly lift their blades. When the castle falls, all those inside will be put to the sword. Your herds will be butchered, your godswood will be felled, your keeps and towers will burn. I’ll pull your walls down, and divert the Tumblestone over the ruins. By the time I’m done no man will ever know that a castle once stood here.” Jaime got to his feet. “Your wife may whelp before that. You’ll want your child, I expect. I’ll send him to you when he’s born. With a trebuchet.”

Silence followed his speech. Edmure sat in his bath. Pia clutched the clothing to her breasts. The singer tightened a string on his harp. Little Lew hollowed out a loaf of stale bread to make a trencher, pretending that he had not heard. With a trebuchet, Jaime thought. If his aunt had been there, would she still say Tyrion was Tywin’s son?    

The two characters are retreating to different personas in these passages. Ned performs as Mr. Stuffy No-Sex Honor-Man while Robert of all people keeps pressing; Jaime’s all GRRR I AM THE KINGSLAYER QUAIL BEFORE MEEEEEE. (He’s so proud of that trebuchet flourish.) But they’re both leaning into what other people think of them, using dishonorable methods to honor a promise made to a dead woman, a promise that, if known, would undercut the reputations they use to carry it out.

Those similarities make them a pretty solid nature/nurture comparison. Ned was born in Winterfell, to a family that at least seems to have been somewhat functional, and then given to Jon Arryn in his boyhood. Jaime was born to one psychopathic supervillain, and then drafted by another in his boyhood. Would Jaime have been what he is if he’d had half of what Ned did in that regard? Look at how – in a few short months, as a fully-baked adult, with a lifetime of sunk costs into his many transgressions – he takes to the combination of Brienne’s good example and some professional and psychological autonomy once Tyrion does the world the favor of punching Tywin’s ticket. That’s not entirely down to Brienne being some kind of moral moral muse who ~makes him wanna be a better man or even to Tywin’s iron grip on his children’s world. It’s about Jaime being not only responsive to outside influence, but being disproportionately receptive to good influences after a lifetime of being dominated by bad ones.

And all of that kind of winds around to that pivotal moment in the throne room at the end of the Rebellion.

He was seated on the Iron Throne, high above his knights……I was still mounted. I rode the length of the hall in silence, between the long rows of dragon skulls. It felt as though they were watching me, somehow. I stopped in front of the throne, looking up at him. His golden sword was across his legs, its edge red with a king’s blood. My men were filling the room behind me. Lannister’s men drew back. I never said a word. I looked at him seated there on the throne, and I waited. At last Jaime laughed and got up. He took off his helm, and he said to me, ‘Have no fear, Stark. I was only keeping it warm for our friend Robert. It’s not a very comfortable seat, I’m afraid.’

Ned’s belief that he “forced” Jaime off of the Iron Throne with his Power of Heart™ is rather charming to me. As if Jaime stopped mid-coup and had his men stand down while Ned made his dramatic entrance. Less charming, of course, is what stuck with Jaime:

Bolton’s silence was a hundred times more threatening than Vargo Hoat’s slobbering malevolence. Pale as morning mist, his eyes concealed more than they told. Jaime misliked those eyes. They reminded him of the day at King’s Landing when Ned Stark had found him seated on the Iron Throne.

This is kind of a startling comparison the first read through, but it really pops the second time around. At this point in the narrative, Roose is actively plotting against Ned’s son. Like Jaime, Roose will kill his king. Unlike Jaime, Roose will violate an oath he swore as an adult and of his own free will, and will do so strictly for his own benefit. Jaime’s comparison of Roose to Ned is deeply unsettling.

More than anything else in Jaime’s POV recollections, it’s this comparison that clarifies why Jaime chose the course he did at that moment and didn’t tell anyone why he’d killed Aerys. In terms of keeping his head on his shoulders, it was probably his best possible option. Trying to justify himself would have been submitting to Ned’s judgment. Trying to justify himself without proof, which he did not have at the moment, could easily have backfired. Ned, right then, was in sore need of someone to blame for all of the horrible things he’s experienced and seen. I wouldn’t trust him with the truth either, this stranger with Roose Bolton’s eyes. Jaime, disillusioned and damaged as he was, was at a critical juncture where he could have pulled out of the dysfunctional Lannister spiral. But when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, it bounces back just as hard, in the opposite direction.

tishtriya  asked:

I'm new to your Tumblr, so don't know whether you've answered this before. 😅 If Jon hadn't asked to take the black, what do you think Ned would have in store for him? How would that affect the North's prospects in the War of the five kings?

Well, that’s the thing. Ned doesn’t seem to have had any real plans for Jon. In AGOT Catelyn I and Eddard I – the chapters before the arrival of the royal party and right when they get there – Ned doesn’t mention or even think of Jon Snow once.

And as for Jon himself:

“I want to serve in the Night’s Watch, Uncle.”
He had thought on it long and hard, lying abed at night while his brothers slept around him. Robb would someday inherit Winterfell, would command great armies as the Warden of the North. Bran and Rickon would be Robb’s bannermen and rule holdfasts in his name. His sisters Arya and Sansa would marry the heirs of other great houses and go south as mistress of castles of their own. But what place could a bastard hope to earn?

–AGOT, Jon I

So if Ned had vouchsafed any plans to Jon at any time, this is where Jon would have thought of them. The fact that he doesn’t, that he has no idea what his future could be and can only hope to serve in the Night’s Watch, tells us that Ned never gave Jon any help on this subject.

The only thing that gives us any clue is in the Catelyn II chapter, right before Maester Luwin tells Cat and Ned that Jon wants to take the black:

“He and Robb are close,” Ned said. “I had hoped…”

Hoped what? We don’t know, Ned’s cut off here, and it’s not his POV. (And he almost never thinks of Jon afterwards, with no “if only”s except for wishing to talk to him before he dies.) But as a guess – since Ned says that Jon and Robb are close, his hope may have been that Jon would serve as Robb’s adviser and lieutenant, perhaps similar to the way Brandon Snow served Torrhen Stark.

Which isn’t much of a plan, honestly. Maybe Ned also hoped to include a small grant of land and a betrothal arrangement, the sort of thing a responsible father would do for his bastard. (I mean, if you’re going to raise him with your children, why not follow through with all the rest?) But more likely Ned just hadn’t thought of the future at all, as he persistently thought of his children as children even though Robb was 14 and Sansa 11, the ages when betrothals are often made. (See Brandon and Catelyn, betrothed at 14 and 12, respectively. Heck, Rickard Karstark had offered his daughter Alys when she was six and Robb 7 or 8, though nothing came of it.)

(edit: @professional-widow reminds me that Jon later remembered a possibility for himself that Ned might have once considered:

His lord father had once talked about raising new lords and settling them in the abandoned holdfasts as a shield against wildlings. The plan would have required the Watch to yield back a large part of the Gift, but his uncle Benjen believed the Lord Commander could be won around, so long as the new lordlings paid taxes to Castle Black rather than Winterfell. “It is a dream for spring, though,” Lord Eddard had said. “Even the promise of land will not lure men north with a winter coming on.”

If winter had come and gone more quickly and spring had followed in its turn, I might have been chosen to hold one of these towers in my father’s name.

–ASOS, Jon V

However, there’s no saying that this is something Ned actually planned for Jon’s future, especially considering the “dream for spring” means this would be when Jon was in his 20s, and there’s all the years of winter in the meanwhile when Jon would be doing what and living where, I dunno, Ned. But it’s at least an idea of where this grant of land I spoke of above might be located.)

Still, most likely, Ned was living in denial, not wanting to think that Jon might ever be an adult since that might involve telling him about Lyanna, and Rhaegar, and all the heartbreak that would bring. (A lot has been said about how Ned never prepared his children, especially his daughters, for southern politics – but since southern politics killed his father and brother and sister, it’s not surprising that after the Rebellion Ned hid himself away in the north, never wanting to think about the south or of the future.) At any rate, Jon choosing to join the Night’s Watch solved a lot of problems for Ned.

But you ask what if Jon hadn’t decided to take the black.

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anonymous asked:

which of his siblings do you think bran has the most parallels to?

Something to fully realize about the Starks, they are a pack. Well they do not necessarily need to be together at all times, they work better with the support of each other. While they aren’t together right now (any of them) but their stories move in subtlety similar fashion. They have over arching stories that are very different narratives that are leading towards the same thing.  So in short, they all have parallels to Bran.

Easiest (and most obvious) example of Bran sibling parallels. Their early narratives have similar paths. They both have very idealistic views at the start, with Sansa’s worshipping of knights and songs and her dreams of her perfect Prince and with Bran’s dreams of becoming a knight. They both get those dreams dashed- Bran when he’s thrown from the window and looses the use of his legs (also irony: this is caused by the future commander of the kingsguard.) And Sansa does later when Joffrey “betrays” her and Ned dies. There’s also small parallels of their hostage situations: Sansa in King’s Landing and Bran in Winterfell. The situations are different but they other Starks are not held in one spot and held to the will of others so much as Bran and Sansa.

Bran and Arya though, is a completely different story. Come the original view of their characters, they aren’t very alike. Bran is much quicker to conform to the ideals of Westerosi society while Arya nearly rejects them. But keep going through the novels, Bran starts to having more and more in common with Arya rather than Sansa- he also thinks of her more and sees images of her more. Bran and Arya both exclusively keep the old gods with little to no mentions of the Seven (which almost goes against Bran’s wishes of being a knight, as knights are always anointed in the the light of the Seven.) and they’ve both had run ins with the great Samwell Tarly, they’ve both met Children of the Forest, and it would probably be safe to say they have strongest magical connections of the Starklings: Checking with just their warging, it could never denied that Bran is a hella powerful warg but Arya has got some serious powerful warging powers too. She’s warging into Nymeria from across the world. They also have direct connections to the Gods- Bran being trained through the weirwoods is him viewing life and history the way the Gods do (there are theories that the Three Eyed Crow is training Bran to become a god himself) while a God has spoken to Arya and reminded her who she was and gave her power to keep fighting.

And Jon. Jon is interesting because not so much as having parallels, they have inter-passing storylines. As Jon moves south, Bran moves North- and they do in fact, pass each other at the Queenscrown where Bran saves Jon via Summer. This is what leads Jon to be skeptical of Bran’s death when its told to him. We can’t really forget how Bran has spoken to Jon in dreams- something he didn’t do with his sisters. Jon and Bran’s relationship is a mistake to ignore. But as for parallels, there’s the obvious ones: warging, climbing, going beyond the wall, being unexpectedly thrown into a position of power… but maybe the coolest one would have to be the Crypts of Winterfell. Jon is the one who hears the story of the hidden Stark in the crypts that Bran and Rickon later recreate without knowledge, and there’s a moment in ACOK where Bran screams at Rickon for bringing the Walders down into the crypts because it’s a “Stark place”, which plays right into Jon’s dreams where Jon is screaming that he doesn’t belong in the crypts.

Without POVs from Robb or Rickon, its hard to tell if they really have very many parallels because you’re not seeing how they think. I actually dislike Robb parallels because I see his character more of a foil for the younger Stark’s sibling. But I suppose there would be some. With Ned and Catelyn, I don’t put too much thought in their parallels because you will always be able to find parallels between parent and children if you squint and tilt your heads. Sansa has some good ones with Ned, though.

roones  asked:

Ok so (for context in case you publish this) I haven't read the series yet -- but after that 'barely relevant' LF/Lyanna exposition ... do you think maybe it's in there as a really badly structured allusion to the show possibly going the way of Jon is Rhaegar/Lyanna's son? I don't know how much that is alluded to in the books but I know it's a fan theory that's out there. And seeing as the show is diverting heavily from canon anyway... Thoughts?

I’ve thought about how to answer this for a little. And this might seem like an odd tangent to go off on, but just hear me out.

I am of the opinion that Jon is absolutely Rhaegar and Lyanna’s son, and that their relationship was consensual (ymmv on how manipulative it was, but I believe it’s supposed to be a tragic romance). And I’m assuming the show will “confirm” it if not this season, next. They’re really not being shy about the nods.

How explicit is it in the books? It kind of reminds me of Dumbledore/Grindelwald where on first read you may not see it, but on reread it’s totally there, to the point where you can’t believe you missed it. And like understanding the romantic nature of the Dumbledore/Grindelwald relationship, knowing R+L=J majorly enhances the narrative. 

See that’s the thing about “R+L=J.” It’s not like some big “whodunnit?” puzzle for the readers to solve. It is an element of the narrative: one that is thematically central to Ned’s story, as well as potentially significant for Jon’s role moving forward. The latter is something I can only guess at, but the former…it’s about Ned’s internal vs. external honor. This secret was killing him, but he knew it was the right thing to do despite the fact that it besmirched his honor and caused strife with Catelyn. And then Ned poetically does the exact same thing to save Sansa, which ultimately is what kills him (it’s also worth noting there are major parallels between Lyanna and both Stark girls).

Ned’s AGOT narrative is like, ALL about this, too. His arc was never a simplistic “honor gets you killed,” which are the words that D&D put into the mouth of Stannis last episode. And that’s what’s kind of pissing me off about what’s happening with R+L=J on the show. It’s once again D&D’s simplistic understanding of things.

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Justice & Vengeance in ASoIaF

Sparked by joannalannister’s lovely post here, I was doing some thinking about the supposed messages of ASoIaF. This will probably be a controversial piece fyi. (Note: I’m not attempting to say anything in this piece is considered “right”, merely examining the text and drawing conclusions based on it. The goal of this is to just make people think.)

As an Arya fan, I constantly see comments like this one:

“Arya has completely lost herself in there thirst for vengeance. It’s almost all she thinks about anymore…”

Let’s ignore how painfully inaccurate it is as well as self-contradictory and focus on the point the person is attempting to make.

Revenge = bad. 

This seems like a rather legitimate point even if the author is spewing factually incorrect statements to hate. Revenge is bad, right? “Thirsting for vengeance” is never the way to go, right? 

I myself admittedly have never thought to question that simple notion. Revenge is bad, it’s usually been illustrated as wrong in fiction and media. “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” and all (ignore the problematic and hypocritical nature of the speaker,) we know this all well. 

And yet, I was examining the text for non-Arya examples of the concepts of revenge/justice and how they are intertwined often enough in the series and reached a conclusion:

While GRRM may not be portraying revenge and justice as the “right" path in many respects, he’s also not illustrating the the alternate path of let bygones be bygones. Like many aspects of the series (such as the need to fulfill your oaths,) there seems to be no "right” answer, no perfect path to take or response that will lead to everyone’s happiness. Everything has its costs and drawbacks.

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Does Catelyn Stark really love all her children?

Yeah, so I read my good friend starkfish’s post shaking her head at the idiotic ask about Catelyn Stark in which the questioner referred to Bran as being the only child Catelyn openly loved. (To be fair, even the person responding to this ask, who admits to NOT REALLY LIKING Cat, calls this statement out as false.)

But, love her or hate her, I can’t see how ANYBODY can think this from reading the same books I did. I don’t have time to grab my Kindle and look up specific quotes about Catelyn’s love for all her children right now (of which there are MANY), but I feel compelled to give just a brief example of the evidence on how she not only loves, but intimately knows and appreciates the individuality of each of her babes. 

In the interest of time, I’m skipping Bran, since apparently even this particular questioner acknowledges she loves him. (Sorry, Bran. I love you, too, sweet boy!)

Robb: Throughout the entire war campaign, she is constantly caught between her need to care for him, keep him safe, and give him guidance, and HIS need to be a man, a lord, and a true leader. She ALWAYS forces herself to consider his needs first, guarding her speech, and helping him to reach conclusions for himself rather than just giving him easy answers because THAT’S WHAT HE NEEDS. She constantly sees him as her child, but she makes herself treat him as the adult he must now be, and she takes immense pride in all the tiny ways he comes to remind her of Ned.

Sansa: Um, this ridiculously honorable, duty-bound woman basically commits treason to exchange the Kingslayer for her daughter–not sure what other evidence you require that she loved her daughter. But, I also love her entire speech to Brienne about Sansa–with all its little details pointing to how well Catelyn actually knew her daughter. My favorite part is when she says that Sansa may have her look, but will grow to be a woman far more lovely. She says this without ANY ENVY AT ALL. (You think Cersei wants Myrcella to actually be MORE beautiful than herself?) Catelyn honestly wants all the best things for all of her children. Whether she behaves wisely or foolishly in any given situation, she is motivated by the fact that she thinks more of them than she does of herself, and this line is simply one tiny indicator of how true that is.

Arya: The absolute agony she feels over not knowing where Arya is or even whether she’s alive or dead is palpable in her POV segments, and I’m not certain how anybody could miss that. Again, when she speaks to Brienne of her daughters, she reveals an extremely clear understanding of who her younger daughter is and what makes her tick. Cat haters like to focus on the “Arya must be considered a trial” line as evidence that Catelyn didn’t appreciate her second daughter. As a mother, I’m here to tell you that every child is a trial at some point, some more than others. Acknowledging that never means you love, understand, or value them any less. Children consider their parents to be trials at times, as well. To me, the most telling line in her words about Arya here is “Forbid her anything and it becomes her heart’s desire.” Catelyn UNDERSTOOD Arya. Arya isn’t primarily motivated by a need to be a boy or a love of all things masculine over all things feminine, but she is inherently independent and chafes against being told who she can be and what she can do. It’s an admirable quality in many ways, but one which can be very dangerous to a female in Westeros. (Look what happened when Arya stood up to Joffrey by the Trident–both Lady and Mycah ended up dead and Nymeria banished. The fact that Arya was justified didn’t change that.) Catelyn KNOWS how her world works, and understanding her daughter as well as she does, she knows Arya will struggle in it and desires to do all she can to guide her in that struggle.

Rickon: Catelyn is the one to recognize that her three year old son is a bit wary of the direwolf pups and to accept that as perfectly fine even if her lord husband feels he should get over that quickly because “Winter is coming.” In the Eyrie, when faced the tragic little Robert Arryn, it is Rickon she thinks of–noting that he is only half as old, but twice as fierce. For all that her baby might have had a twinge of fear upon being presented a direwolf pup, she knows perfectly well, even at this very young age, that her youngest son is one fierce little guy. And in spite of that knowledge, when she dreams of her children, she dreams Rickon again a babe at her breast–where she can hold him close and keep him safe as she as been unable to do in this life. And that breaks her into a million pieces.

Nah, you’re right. Catelyn never thinks about or loves any of her children except Bran. Not one bit.

its been pointed out before that arya is one of the few characters to react on page to all her family members deaths. this is especially significant for the starks because they’ve all been separated for so long and theres a lot of uncertainty regarding what has become of each of them. most of the time we don’t get to see their immediate reactions to news of the others alleged fates

A long time ago, she remembered her father saying that when the cold winds blow the lone wolf dies and the pack survives. He had it backwards. Arya, the lone wolf, still lived, but the wolves of the pack had been taken and slain and skinned. (affc)

theres a great deal of focus on family in arya’s storyline. this is because her identity arc and her pack are COMPLETELY dependent on each other. arya’s gradual loss of her identity is a direct response to each relationship that she loses to death or abandonment. 

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We Should Run Away

Pairing: Jon Snow/Sansa Stark

Summary: 

“We were children,” he tells her when she asks for his forgiveness, a long since given thing.
But they are not children any longer and he does not know what to do with this sister in a woman’s body.

or

Jon and Sansa run away to Lys, and they don’t look back.

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He sees her and his heart almost stops. She is more of a ghost even than him, a remnant of another life. Beautiful things do not belong in Jon’s world, not anymore.

He walks towards her like he’s walking in a dream. He is aware of his feet making prints on the falling snow, but he cannot quite believe it’s real. He can’t believe she’s here.

She is older, now, than when he last saw her, but she looks, as she stares back at him, as young as he feels.

I have missed her, he thinks and is almost surprised at the thought. They were never close as children. But seeing her here, alive, his chest aches. He is not prepared for the extra pain.

She smells like snow and rust and grips his cloak with a fragile, steely kind of strength. He can feel the scrape of her fingers against his back, a promise: I’m not letting you go. This is an oath I will not break, he thinks, grips her back just as tightly.

.

She is an unreal creature seated beside him, wrapped in his cloak, pale face shining in the firelight. She has grown beautiful, he thinks, as tall as him and willowy, with blood red hair and a jaw set with determination.

He cannot believe he used to think of her as weak, a frilly, ornamental thing. Time has changed her. Or maybe it is that he never really knew her that well to begin with.

She looks over at him suddenly and he does not quite remember how to smile. It has been awhile since there was anything worth smiling about.

She makes him feel, for however briefly, like a boy again. He has so often now felt himself an old man in a boy’s body, it is a feeling he is unprepared for. She keeps catching him, bewilderingly, off guard.

.

It is only, later, that he allows himself to think of the way that she had fit, miraculously, perfectly into his arms. He does not think he had ever hugged her before. Had not, in all the times he had thought of her over the years, ever imagined it. Yet seeing her, bleached white with cold, eyes when they met his scared and brave and full of the same longing that had lived in Jon’s chest since they left Winterfell, it had seemed like the most right thing.

“We were children,” he tells her when she asks for his forgiveness, a long since given thing.

But they are not children any longer and he does not know what to do with this sister in a woman’s body.

.

“Let’s leave this place,” he says, and again, again, she surprises him with disappointment marring her face. He does not know why he expected her to be happy.

“We have to go back,” she says, “We have to take our home back.”

It has been so long since he’s thought of himself as having a home.

“There is nothing for us here but death,” he says.

He looks at her and he sees five years worth of pain writ upon her skin. They are not so different, he and she. Creatures of an earlier time.

She leans her head into his hand and her face feels delicate and fragile against his palm, cheekbones soft like a bird’s.

“Aren’t you tired of always fighting?”

“Jon,” she says, and it’s as if he had forgotten that was his name. “We have to-”

“Come away with me,” he says. “Please.”

“They deserve to be punished,” she says and he could fall in love with the fire he sees there, in her eyes, harsh against the planes of her face.

“Yes,” he says simply. “But don’t we deserve to be happy?”

She does not answer him, but her shoulders deflate and he knows that he has won.

.

A fortnight later they board a ship for Lys.

.

Sansa is quiet on the journey over.

“Do you wish we had stayed?” he asks her one day. He has shed his winter cloak and he feels strange without its weight on his back. He does not feel lighter for its lack.

“No,” she says, her eyes on the waves.

He cannot tell if it is the truth or not.

.

They do not talk about what has befallen them since they last met. They speak only of their childhood, though it is a delicate dance they play, skirting around each other’s wounds.

They speak of Old Nan and lemon cakes and the old gods. They do not speak of Rickon, rotting in Ramsay Bolton’s dungeon, or Robb, murdered at his own wedding, or Ned or Catelyn or Bran, wherever he may be.

Once, haltingly, Sansa had asked him, “Do you think Arya-” but she cut herself off before she could finish.

Jon does not force her. He has had enough of dark things.

.

“I am sorry,” he says, but he has already seen the long, sloping pale skin of her back where her chemise has fallen, has already witnessed the harsh, ugly scars. He finds himself surprised again. He wonders if she will ever stop surprising him.

Her eyes, more than anything, are sad, when they meet his.

“You would have seen them eventually,” she says. Her voice is flat. They do not talk about their pain, he remembers.

“Sansa,” he says.

“It is in the past,” she says, wraps the blanket tighter around her. It reads like a dismissal.

.

In his dreams, he touches the skin of her back, presses his mouth to the wounds there. She shivers under his touch.

“Jon,” she whispers. Ygritte had never sounded vulnerable like this, he had not known it was something he desired. And yet, all of him aches.

He wakes, hard and straining, in his cabin and he wonders if this, this yearning, is his punishment for leaving. Sister, he reminds himself, though it has been so long since he has thought of himself as anything but an orphan, she is your sister.

.

The sun is warm in Lys, warmer than anything Jon has ever felt. They shed their winter clothes and let the sun touch their pale skin.

“Does it bother you that people can see?” he asks her, almost, but does not touch the largest scar stretched across her shoulder blades. He is not sure if he imagines her leaning back into his touch. Her hair has turned almost golden in the sunlight.

“Yes,” she says. “But I am not ashamed anymore.”

.

“Should we change our names?” she asks him, their first week there. Soon they will need to be hunting for jobs. The scant amount of money between them was hardly enough to book their passage.

“And what should I call you?” he responds, almost drunk from the sun and lack of responsibilities and her. “Gwendoline? Rhaella?”

She flinches and looks away. He has not discovered yet, what is a wound for her. Sometimes it feels as if it is everything. He would protect her, if he could. He would have her smile, again, at him.

“No,” she says, softly.

“Sansa,” he says.

She does not respond.

“Sansa,” he says again, wonders if it would be wrong to press a kiss to her exposed shoulder. It would probably be wrong. He wonders if he could do it anyway.

.

Jon gets a job repairing sandals. He finds that he is not very good at it. Sansa, too, proves to be a disappointment at menial labor, but they make enough to pay the rent on their little house and to put food on their table, so he supposes that it doesn’t really matter how good they are.

One night, he brings home a bushel of lemons. He had been walking through the market and the smell had reminded him of her. They had shipped them from Lys for her, he remembers, when they were children.

“They’re still your favorite, right?” he asks her.

This time, it seems, it is he that has stunned her. He still cannot get over her, long pale limbs, freckled by the sun, her dress airy and translucent enough that he can see the curl of her waist beneath the fabric, the roundness of her breasts.

“Yes,” she says. “Yes, they’re still my favorite.”

It is just mid afternoon, but they set aside their work to make the lemons into cakes. Sansa mixes the dough with a seriousness that Jon privately finds adorable. She is not much of a cook, he has discovered.

“You have something.” He gestures to her face.

“Oh,” she raises her hand to her cheek, something young and vulnerable in the motion.

“No, here,” he licks the back of his thumb and touches the corner of her mouth.

Her eyes are big on her face, pupils blown wide. A strand of red hair falls across her cheek. Jon is thinking about kissing her. Jon is imagining that she would taste like lemons and sugar and Sansa.

“Got it,” he says, steps back.

.

“Have you ever been in love?” she asks him.

At Jon’s suggestion, they have started taking walks every morning. Eyes follow Sansa wherever she goes these days, and how could they not, Jon wonders, even her scars, which criss-cross across her back and arms, seem seductive. Maybe that’s just Jon.

“Yes,” he says.

And then after a moment, “Have you?”

“No,” she says shortly. She is not watching him, and he finds himself wishing, desperately, that she was. “Is that not funny? Three engagements and I’ve never been in love.”

They walk a ways more.

“I thought that I loved Joffrey,” she says.

“You were young,” he offers.

She hums in agreement.

“Did she love you back?” she asks.

It has been too long since Jon has thought of Ygritte.

“Love was hard for her,” he says.

A fishmonger offers them wares. A woman cries out to someone down the street, the sound echoing off the alley walls.

“I’m sorry,” he says.

“Why?” she asks, turning to him. She does not look like a winter creature anymore, dappled with sunlight and golden. He wonders if this is how they saw her in King’s Landing, wonders how they did not bow before her feet.

“You deserve to have been loved,” he says.

.

Sleeping every night beside her is something like torture. The drag of fabric across skin, the soft sounds of her sleep, the exhale of her breathe in the muggy room. He is unused to such soft seduction. He finds it intoxicating.

It is the nightmares, though, that haunt him the most. She tries to hide them from him, Jon knows, her cries muffled by her pillow. Jon does not know if he should comfort her or not. He thinks she might think it is because he thinks her weak.

Still. One night she wakes up screaming and he can’t help himself.

“Sansa,” he calls.

Her limbs are a clawing, frantic thing, her face pale and tear stained and terrified.

“Sansa,” he tries again, pulls her, scrambling and strangely young, into his lap.

Her breathing is erratic, her heartbeat fast and birdlike against his chest. She wraps herself hesitantly around him, thin and fragile. He runs his fingers in what he hopes is a soothing gesture through her hair.

“I’m here,” he says, because he has nothing else. “I’m here.”

.

He does not ask her if she is happy, if it is getting better, if she misses Winterfell, the long, drafty hallways, the way the snow fell over the courtyard. They might feel better to speak of it, Jon knows, but he does not think either of them have ever learned the knack of confiding well in others. It was not a skill that had been prized in their previous life. Yet, each day they begin anew. Each day he feels less and less like Jon Snow. He thinks maybe that’s a good thing.

.

He comes home from the shop one day, to find their little house lit by candlelight, Sansa perfumed and standing before him. The clothing style of Lys is necessarily bare, Jon knows this, but the creation Sansa wears is a gauzy, ephemeral thing that causes Jon’s throat to dry. He is unsure where to rest his eyes.

“Come,” she says, takes his hand in hers. Her hand is small and dry, calloused and peeling from the herbs she uses to wash the laundry. He almost prefers it this way. “Today would be your twentieth name day. We should celebrate.”

He lets her push him gently into a chair, though perhaps he should not. Her hands on his shoulders do not feel like a sister’s should. He definitely should not allow her to climb into his lap, perfumed hair falling over his shoulder, gauzy, damning dress, trussing around her thighs. But he can’t seem to stop himself.

“Sansa,” he murmurs. Her lips drag along his throat. His hands have found the skin of her thighs.

Her hum reverberates against his adam’s apple.

“Sansa,” he says again and it’s too close to a moan.

“What?” she asks.

Sister, he wants to say.

“We shouldn’t.”

She does not taste like Ygritte had, like rust and salt and cold. She tastes like honey, like sunshine, like Sansa.

“I want to,” she says into his mouth, rocks down onto him. And Jon does not know how to deny her.

.

“Do you think maybe we could live out the rest of our days in peace?” she asks, later, after, when they are lying together on Jon’s small bed.

She looks so beautiful now, he thinks. Skin warmed red by the sun, eyes made soft by the candlelight. I do not care, he thinks. Gods help me, but I do not care.

“Yes,” he breathes. “Yes. I think we can.”

couturegirl20  asked:

Hello! I love your baby!Sansa and Jon fics and If you're still open to writing more, could you perhaps do one where it's Sansa's birthday and Jon gives her maybe a lemon cake or he makes a wooden white direwolf behind Catelyn's back?

thanks! :D i hope ya dig this!

more young starks ‘verse

Sansa’s name day was a fortnight away, and Jon wanted to gift her something special. He would have to be careful, of course; perhaps he would even have to go so far as to present it in private. Her lady mother would certainly not be pleased if it were otherwise given in the Great Hall during the feast. Lady Catelyn had little love for him, and even less when he was around his half-siblings. Sansa especially so. Jon understood it, in a way; now more than he did when he’d been a babe. He was a bastard. An affront to Ned Stark’s honor, his very birth a blight on the vow he’d made in the sept a decade gone. Sansa was their first highborn daughter, refined and radiant. Everything a southron lady ought to be she was.

Jon and Sansa were not meant to be friends. Not only were they unalike, their futures would diverge, too. One day she will marry and run a keep or castle of her own, maybe even the Red Keep, and he–well, he would be lucky to apprentice with an ordinary man and live the rest of his days hammering steel or shoeing horses.

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The Cold Is Sweet || Jon Snow

WARNINGS: None.
NOTES: Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, and he has taken the iron throne with his aunt, Daenerys Targaryen.

There was nothing more that he missed like the cold winds of the North. He enjoyed the warmth of Kings Landing, of course, but it was nothing compared to the soothing cold of the North. So when his aunt gave him the order to visit Sansa Stark, he immediately assembled a group of men to accompany him. Lord Commander Samwell Tarly, one of his very good friends since his days at the Wall, followed him, just like he wanted. 

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anonymous asked:

Ned bein' all cute with his babies :D

Well, Anon, as I happened to get to this cute prompt in the midst of an explosion of Ned feels, I’m afraid I got a bit carried away, and you get a fairly long fic. Hope that’s all right.

Most definitely cut for length, and I apologize to anyone who is stuck scrolling past this thing on their phones!!

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