Jon never truly belonged to her, but she knew that already.
Fate had cast its die a long time ago—everyone, including herself, had to live
with the outcome. At least she had her babe; at least she had her home. Sansa
re-evaluates the state of marriage after brushing too close with death, but
she’s not the only one whose views have changed [Rated
M, post-series; deals with events from S7 and leaks from S8].
Sansa went over the letter she had written. It was
succinct, penned in that commanding tone she mastered a long time ago, save for
the last few remarks that wished the recipient happiness and prosperity—that had been with the personal flair of
one Sansa Stark, rather than the Lady of Winterfell. She could tell that
Maester Payton didn’t approve by his frown, but she expected nothing less from
a student of the Citadel; on the other hand, she suspected that Samwell Tarly
would have approved wholeheartedly, had he
been her maester. When it came to expressing her own disapproval, she had
gone easy, superfluous as it was; considering the inheritance that Alys
Karstark possessed, Sansa was sure that the noblewoman would have made a better
match with someone other than the man she claimed to have fallen in love with,
but if there was anyone who knew the strange workings of the heart, it was Sansa.
Republicans had hoped Tuesday’s special election in Georgia’s wealthy and sleepy 6th Congressional District would be just like every other House race here since 1978: the mostly painless elevation of a rock-ribbed and polished conservative.
Those hopes have died.
Now, this suburban swath north of Atlanta resembles the cracked mirror of the GOP’s national identity crisis, with 11 candidates bitterly feuding over what it means to be a Republican in the age of President Trump.
That crowded field is roiled by nerves about Trump and lingering internecine dramas over ideological purity. And with next year’s midterm elections beginning to take shape, the race’s currents could reverberate far beyond the white college-educated professionals along Interstate 285, regardless of which candidate emerges from the scrum Tuesday.
“You’ve got a miniature civil war going on there,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), an ally of House GOP leaders. “We’re all paying attention, since anything can happen in a special.”
The splintered GOP has raised the possibility that the leading Democratic candidate, 30-year-old former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff, could win Tuesday’s election outright with more than 50 percent of the vote, thus claiming an open House seat previously held by Trump’s health and human services secretary, Tom Price.
B: GASP~!!! scored some pretty digits there didn’ja~!
J: now sweetie, I-
B: don’even try an start don’t say a word, you an’I both know nuthin’ was gonna work anyhow. You don’ gotta worry I ain’t mad at ya one bit I couldn’t give less of a fuck ‘bout you runnin’ around charmin’ dopes with your snaggle-tooth grin…
J: one to talk-
B: Naw I’ve decided my jealousy is a diffren’ kinda sort this time ‘round.
J: ya get to just decide that now, huh?
B: now: I’ve been bored somethin’ awful lately and goin’ on a date sounds like such a swingin’ good time, not fair you get all the fun-
J: sorry sweetie, I’m already booked for the evenin’~
B: oh ain’t he funny!!! no honey that ain’t what I’m tryin’ to imply:
do you think benjen knew the truth about jon? or at least suspected it?
I like to think he suspected it, possibly even knew with certainty without Ned telling him. There’s a theory floating around that Benjen joined the Night’s Watch out of guilt because he knew of Lyanna’s plans to run away, so maybe when he saw Jon he just *knew*.
Benjen is particularly warm toward Jon, even joining him at the low table during the King’s feast in Winterfell to talk to him and tease him. That particular interaction doesn’t end well because Jon’s drunk and angry, but Benjen does say this:
“You might, if you knew what it meant,” Benjen said. “If you knew what the oath would cost you, you might be less eager to pay the price, son.”
Jon felt anger rise inside him. “I’m not your son!”
Benjen Stark stood up. “More’s the pity.” He put a hand on Jon’s shoulder. “Come back to me after you’ve fathered a few bastards of your own, and we’ll see how you feel.”
Jon even becomes sullen that Benjen stopped being as friendly with him when they went to the Wall, because Benjen is trying to make a point that he’s just another brother at the Wall and would not get special treatment from him:
Even his uncle had abandoned him in this cold place at the end of the world. Up here, the genial Benjen Stark he had known became a different person. He was First Ranger, and he spent his days and nights with Lord Commander Mormont and Maester Aemon and the other high officers, while Jon was given over to the less than tender charge of Ser Alliser Thorne.
Three days after their arrival, Jon had heard that Benjen Stark was to lead a half-dozen men on a ranging into the haunted forest. That night he sought out his uncle in the great timbered common hall and pleaded to go with him. Benjen refused him curtly. “This is not Winterfell,” he told him as he cut his meat with fork and dagger. “On the Wall, a man gets only what he earns. You’re no ranger, Jon, only a green boy with the smell of summer still on you.”
Stupidly, Jon argued. “I’ll be fifteen on my name day,” he said. “Almost a man grown.”
Benjen Stark frowned. “A boy you are, and a boy you’ll remain until Ser Alliser says you are fit to be a man of the Night’s Watch. If you thought your Stark blood would win you easy favors, you were wrong. We put aside our old families when we swear our vows. Your father will always have a place in my heart, but these are my brothers now.” He gestured with his dagger at the men around them, all the hard cold men in black.
Jon rose at dawn the next day to watch his uncle leave. One of his rangers, a big ugly man, sang a bawdy song as he saddled his garron, his breath steaming in the cold morning air. Ben Stark smiled at that, but he had no smile for his nephew. “How often must I tell you no, Jon? We’ll speak when I return.”
Jon expresses a great amount of anger over his uncle’s treatment of him, which seems to indicate that Jon is very much unused to Benjen refusing him or being anything less than warm toward him. His anger reaches a boiling point pretty quickly too:
“I don’t care,” Jon said. “I don’t care about them and I don’t care about you or Thorne or Benjen Stark or any of it. I hate it here. It’s too … it’s cold.”
When Benjen goes missing, it affects Jon rather greatly throughout AGoT:
Jon remembered the wish he’d wished in his anger, the vision of Benjen Stark dead in the snow, and he looked away quickly. The dwarf had a way of sensing things, and Jon did not want him to see the guilt in his eyes. “He said he’d be back by my name day,” he admitted. His name day had come and gone, unremarked, a fortnight past.
For a moment Jon was too frightened to move. Why would the Lord Commander want to see him? They had heard something about Benjen, he thought wildly, he was dead, the vision had come true. “Is it my uncle?” he blurted. “Is he returned safe?”
The grey walls of Winterfell might still haunt his dreams, but Castle Black was his life now, and his brothers were Sam and Grenn and Halder and Pyp and the other cast-outs who wore the black of the Night’s Watch.
“My uncle spoke truly,” he whispered to Ghost. He wondered if he would ever see Benjen Stark again, to tell him.
“Very well, truly,” the fat boy lied. “I am so happy for you all.” His round face quivered as he forced a smile. “You will be First Ranger someday, just as your uncle was.”
“Is,” Jon corrected. He would not accept that Benjen Stark was dead.
“Benjen Stark is still First Ranger,” Jon Snow told him, toying with his bowl of blueberries. The rest might have given up all hope of his uncle’s safe return, but not him.
In ACoK Jon still thinks of his uncle, and even mentions him to Ygritte:
“Do you know anything of my uncle, Benjen Stark?”
Ygritte ignored him. Stonesnake laughed. “If she spits out her tongue, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
In Jon’s crypt dream in ASoS, he calls to his uncle for help:
He dreamt he was back in Winterfell, limping past the stone kings on their thrones. Their grey granite eyes turned to follow him as he passed, and their grey granite fingers tightened on the hilts of the rusted swords upon their laps. You are no Stark, he could hear them mutter, in heavy granite voices. There is no place for you here. Go away. He walked deeper into the darkness. “Father?” he called. “Bran? Rickon?” No one answered. A chill wind was blowing on his neck. “Uncle?” he called. “Uncle Benjen? Father? Please, Father, help me.” Up above he heard drums. They are feasting in the Great Hall, but I am not welcome there. I am no Stark, and this is not my place. His crutch slipped and he fell to his knees. The crypts were growing darker. A light has gone out somewhere. “Ygritte?” he whispered. “Forgive me. Please.” But it was only a direwolf, grey and ghastly, spotted with blood, his golden eyes shining sadly through the dark …
All of this to establish that a relationship did exist between Jon and Benjen, and overall it seemed a rather warm one. It’s just as well that Benjen would behave warmly toward any Stark bastard, but seeing as Benjen and Lyanna had been close in age, that they likely spent more time together than Benjen would have with his other siblings, and that they were partners in crime at Harrenhal may indicate that he feels close to Jon because of Lyanna.
Could you elaborate on Jon being the son Stannis always wanted? I found it a curious statement :P
Everyone wants Jon to be their son. That may well be the most frequently recurring motif in his storyline. Benjen makes it explicit in Jon’s very first POV chapter…
“If you knew what the oath would cost you, you might be less eager to pay the price, son.”
Jon felt anger rise inside him. “I’m not your son!”
Benjen Stark stood up. “More’s the pity.“
…Jeor Mormont all but makes it explicit later in that first book…
"This is Valyrian steel, my lord,” he said wonderingly. His father had let him handle Ice often enough; he knew the look, the feel.
“It is,” the Old Bear told him. “It was my father’s sword, and his father’s before him. The Mormonts have carried it for five centuries. I wielded it in my day and passed it on to my son when I took the black.”
He is giving me his son’s sword.
…and Donal Noye, Maester Aemon, Qhorin Halfhand, Mance Rayder, and Tormund Giantsbane all have their own versions of this. They’re mentors, of course, probing and challenging and teaching (yes, even Tormund) but beyond that, there’s always a definite fatherly and generational tone to the dynamic; they’re all trying to pass something on to Jon before it’s too late.All the Halfhand’s lessons lead to him trusting Jon to kill him and carry on the mission. Mance clearly sees himself in Jon (and Jon deliberately leans into that) and Jon in a sense takes on his mission of bringing the wildlings south of the Wall. Tormund…well, Tormund likes Jon, and wants him to be happy, so much so that he doesn’t even pretend to be angry about Jon flying back to his fellow crows.
But none of these relationships are quite what Jon needs and is looking for. Again, Jon has to kill Qhorin, and turn on his wildling Dads, etc. Morever, Jon’s always comparing them all to Ned, who failed to pass on something very, very important to Jon before he died. It’s an open wound, and its influence is visible in how Jon feels about every other father figure he encounters.
So: does Stannis count among this number of almost-fathers, the not-quite-Neds? You tell me.
“Qhorin Halfhand commanded me to join the wildlings. He knew they would make me
kill him to prove myself, and told me to do whatever they asked of me. The woman was named
Ygritte. I broke my vows with her, but I swear to you on my father’s name that I never turned my
“I believe you,” the king said.
That startled him. “Why?”
Stannis snorted. “I know Janos Slynt. And I knew Ned Stark as well. Your father was no friend
of mine, but only a fool would doubt his honor or his honesty. You have his look.”
“Why do you think I abandoned Dragonstone and sailed to the Wall,
“I am no lord, sire. You came because we sent for you, I hope. Though I could not say why you
took so long about it.”
Surprisingly, Stannis smiled at that. “You’re bold enough to be a Stark.”
“His Grace is growing fond of you.”
“I can tell. He only threatened to behead me twice.”
He glanced at the letter again. I will save your sister if I can. A surprisingly tender sentiment from Stannis…
Jon glanced back at Stannis. For an instant their eyes met. Then the king nodded and went back inside his tower.
Perhaps I’m beating a dead horse but I’m rereading A Game of Thrones and I’m struck by how the circumstances of Jon leaving to take the black tell a profound story of adult failure, not only on Ned’s part but also on Benjen’s and Maester Luwin’s. It’s not a matter of why Jon took that decision (which has probably been discussed ad
) as much as it’s a matter of how and when that decision was expressed, accepted and acted upon.
This Americans at Work essay focuses on inner-city agriculture programs by photographer Preston Gannaway.
Malik Hopkins, 14, harvests at WOW Flower Farm in Oakland, California, on Tuesday, October 18, 2016. Malik uses his paycheck to take his mother grocery shopping and his sister to eat at Panda Express. (Preston Gannaway / GRAIN)
Azariah Waller, 3, helps her mother remove dead leaves from their community garden plot at City Slicker Farm Park in West Oakland, California, on Saturday, October 29, 2016. Gardening is spiritual, her mother Natacha Jeanty said: “Sometimes you gotta pull it out to make more grow." (Preston Gannaway / GRAIN)
Jon Price (right), the WOW Produce Farm Manager, explains composting to the student workers including (from left) Erin Ahlich, 15, Andranee Lyons, 18, and Izabella Scaparro, 17, in Oakland, California, on Wednesday, October 5, 2016. (Preston Gannaway / GRAIN)
Mekhi Brown, 15, trims the roots off greens at WOW produce farm in West Oakland, California, on Wednesday, October 20, 2016. (Preston Gannaway / GRAIN)
Jakari Hill, a 17-year-old WOW intern, arranges a bouquet at the farm in Oakland, California, on Saturday, October 1, 2016. The bouquets are sold to restaurants and individuals. (Preston Gannaway / GRAIN)
Teenage interns work at the WOW Produce Farm in Oakland, California, on Saturday, October 1, 2016. (Preston Gannaway / GRAIN)
Justin Vandenbroeck, the co-founder of Fleet Farming Oakland, rides his bike to a farmlette in West Oakland, California, on Tuesday, October 18, 2016. (Preston Gannaway / GRAIN)
Interns and volunteers prep dirt for flower beds at WOW Farm in Oakland, California, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016. (Preston Gannaway / GRAIN)
Izabella Scaparro, 17, works at the WOW farm in West Oakland, California, on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. (Preston Gannaway / GRAIN)
Ketwan Raynor, 16, works at the WOW Produce Farm in West Oakland, California, on Wednesday, October 20, 2016. High-school students apply for a three-month internship and gain skills as well as a paycheck. (Preston Gannaway / GRAIN)