As pragmatic as Arya is and cynical as Cersei can be about love, they both go straight into denial-mode at the mere suggestion of their fathers loving any other woman besides their mothers.
This romanticizing seems almost out of place for characters like Arya and Cersei who deal in very grounded, if not somewhat tainted (in Cersei’s case), perspectives. Even when presented with stories that are placed years and years in the past, Arya balks at the idea of her father ever having loved another, despite the fact that he and Cat had not been married yet.
[Ned Dayne] looked at her uncomfortably. “My aunt Allyria says Lady Ashara and your father fell in love at Harrenhal—”
“That’s not so. He loved my lady mother.”
“I’m sure he did, my lady, but—”
“She was the only one he loved.” (Arya, A Storm of Swords)
Arya’s reply brooks no argument. To her, that Ned Stark loved another is preposterous and out of the realm of possibility. She denies it upfront, with no room for alternatives. Cersei does as well.
“We found her there, Your Grace,” said Shortear. “It’s the Imp’s whore.” As if that explained why she was here.
My lord father had no use for whores, she thought. After our mother died he never touched a woman. (Cersei, A Feast for Crows)
Cersei is literally confronted with the evidence of her father with another woman besides Joanna Lannister, and she still goes out of her way to make excuses because, to her, Tywin Lannister only loved his wife.
“Every man needs someone he can trust. Tywin had me, and once your mother.”
“He loved her very much.” Cersei refused to think about the dead whore in his bed. “I know they are together now.” (Cersei, A Feast for Crows)
Parallels are not often found between Cersei and Arya, as they are so vastly different characters. However, this particular similarity I found just so interesting - that even though Cersei has been rid of her rose-colored glasses and is thoroughly disenchanted with the notion of marriage and love, and Arya has been only a little girl her entire storyline and is pragmatic besides, both of them still believe that happily ever after can happen by way of their mothers and fathers.
“My father was called Ned too,” she said. “I know. I saw him at the Hand’s tourney. I wanted to go up and speak with him, but I couldn’t think what to say.” Ned shivered beneath his cloak, a sodden length of pale purple. “Were you at the tourney? I saw your sister there. Ser Loras Tyrell gave her a rose.” “She told me.” It all seemed so long ago.
Where Lord Brandon Stark asks Lady Ashara Dayne during the Tourney at Harrenhal; to accompany and dance with his brother Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark. In which Ashara Dayne accepts, for the festivities at Harrenhal.
OK so, by the time Ned got to the Tower of Joy the Mad King and Rhaegar Targaryen were dead. The king’s guard where ordered to protect Lyanna and the unborn Jon. King’s guards only protect the the King and his royal family. The bebe was the heir to the Iron Throne.
Ser Arthur Dayne was a bad-ass kings guard. Ned was like “
You are like the badest-ass kings guard
why where you here and not protecting your king/future king? huh?”
The King’s guards were protecting their king! As Jon once born should have been KING!
Side note: Do you remember in season 1. When someone asked Ned who he considered the rightful heir to the Iron Throne? Do you remember that he hesitated!? Ned knew that Jon had a better claim to the Iron Throne than both Stannis and Reny!
Robb – Robb would
hide his fear behind smiles and jokes. Just before leaving he would probably
kiss your head and promise to come home to you. “Should I die…move on, love
Theon – Theon
wouldn’t let you see his fear either. He would laugh and smile arrogantly,
joking about how “no one can beat the kraken.” “I’ll bring you back a souvenir.”
Ramsay – Ramsay
would never go to battle unless he was certain he would win. He would show his
arrogance and kiss you roughly on the mouth before leaving, “Time to go
hunting, Darling, don’t stay up.”
Jaime – Jaime is a
knight…a warrior…he doesn’t fear going into battle, or even dying. It’s the only
thing he knows how to do…how to be. “Don’t worry, I’m the Kingslayer, they’ll
be too busy talking behind my back to lift a sword.”
Oberyn – Simply, “Today
is not the day I die,” and “I won’t leave
you alone in this world. Never.”
Arthur – Arthur
wouldn’t promise you anything, never one to be overly confident knowing death
comes for everyone. Instead, he would kiss you passionately and promise to do
his best to come back to you.
Jon – Jon would
hold you close the night before and do his best to reassure you. Telling you
over and over that it would all end up as it should. He wouldn’t let you see
him worried because he needs your strength to be strong, “Look out for Ghost.
He’ll be our white flag waving us home.”
Ned – Ned would be
completely honest with you. He would tell you what could happen, the outcomes
on both the win and lose side. “I love you,”
Joffrey – Joffrey
would talk himself up, pretending as if no one could best him. “I’m the King!
The rightful King! No one will dare lift their hand to me! And if they do…my
Hound will take care of them.”
Stannis (my sister
wanted this one lol) – “Watch after my daughter,” with a stiff nod and a small “eyes soften” moment
before turning around awkwardly and leaving the room.
'maybe we should pretend to date' with Arya x Ned Dayne?
“So there’s this dude,” Arya said. “He used to have a thing for my aunt - you know, my dad’s sister, the dead one - before she hooked up with her babydaddy, and he never really got over her, not even after he got married to some other chick and my aunt died.”
Ned looked at her over the top of his book - some dusty old historical drama thing, the nerd, she’d have to borrow it when he was done - and said nothing.
“So, thing is,” she went on, because she was used to Ned just letting her talk, “he’s got this massive creep of a son now, okay? You know that Joffrey dude that brought my sister to the dance last semester? The one my brothers messed up after he slapped Sansa? Yeah, well, he’s the dude’s son.”
“So Robert Baratheon was mad for your aunt Lyanna, and now you’re having trouble with Joffrey "Daddy Issues” Baratheon, presumably because he’s emulating his repulsive father and thinks that getting with you is the way to go?“ Ned guessed, rolling his eyes and turning a page. "Arya, I love you very much, and you know I’d throat-punch the guy for you if I thought I could get away with it, but I’m not sure what I can do to help.”
“He left a note in my locker,” she said, “asking me to go on a date with him. Can’t go on a date with him if I’m dating a hot tamale like yourself, can I?”
“Arya,” Ned said fondly, “that was almost a compliment.”
If she was more honest, Arya would have admitted that it was a compliment, and that it was true - Ned was a babe. Like, astronomically hot. Even Sansa said so, and Arya tended to trust her sister’s judgement on the objective physical hotness of the guys at school. Sansa had a good eye for good looks.
“Come on, asshole,” was what she said instead. “Pretend-date me?”
“Only,” Ned said, “if I can pretend-make out with you on the couch at least once.”
Arya blushed, and she stole Ned’s book to read the blurb. He leaned back in his chair and started to whistle, just the way he did when he was really happy.
That was the only time in all their years that Ned had ever frightened her. “Never ask me about Jon,” he said, cold as ice. “He is my blood, and that is all you need to know. And now I will learn where you heard that name, my lady,” She had pledged to obey; she told him; and from that day on, the whispering had stopped, and Ashara Dayne’s name was never heard in Winterfell again.