“His Grace is hunting across the Blackwater,” Ned said, wondering how a man could live his whole life a few days ride from the Red Keep and still have no notion what his king looked like. Ned was clad in a white linen doublet with the direwolf of Stark on the breast; his black wool cloak was fastened at the collar by his silver hand of office. Black and white and grey, all the shades of truth. “I am Lord Eddard Stark, the King’s Hand. Tell me who you are and what you know of these raiders.”
This is so very Ned Stark. So very, very Ned Stark, who takes a very personal approach to ruling. Ned gets to know the people he rules:
Back at Winterfell, they had eaten in the Great Hall almost half the time. Her father used to say that a lord needed to eat with his men, if he hoped to keep them. “Know the men who follow you,” she heard him tell Robb once, “and let them know you. Don’t ask your men to die for a stranger.” At Winterfell, he always had an extra seat set at his own table, and every day a different man would be asked to join him. One night it would be Vayon Poole, and the talk would be coppers and bread stores and servants. The next time it would be Mikken, and her father would listen to him go on about armor and swords and how hot a forge should be and the best way to temper steel. Another day it might be Hullen with his endless horse talk, or Septon Chayle from the library, or Jory, or Ser Rodrik, or even Old Nan with her stories.
It’s so completely foreign to Ned, this distance that the King has, the insularity of being “high above them all” while ruling, the arrogance, the elitism, and tbh I think GRRM is critiquing this across ASOIAF, from Aerys’s rule (Arthur Dayne talking to the smallfolk in the Kingswood and getting down on their level and finding out what they needed) to the problems Daenerys faces ruling Meereen high in the pyramid.
In ASOIAF, there’s a call to bring it back to the people, to make it more personal, to care more about people’s lives, and I love how the Iron Throne plays such an important role in this theme, I love it.
((THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH FOR THE ASKS!! It’s been way too long since I’ve come on as Draco, and since I needed to film some stuff, I decided this was a good time!!! Again, thank you all so much! I love you!! <3))