Eddard awakes to the sound of Lannister guardsmen drilling with Sandor in the yard below. He takes breakfast with Septa Mordane, Arya, and Sansa. Arya asks to have one more lesson with Syrio before leaving, and Eddard gives his assent. Pycelle comes in after breakfast to report that Robert is dead, and Eddard has him convene the small council in Eddard’s solar. Ser Barristan arrives first, followed by Petyr, who says all arrangements are made, and then Varys. Varys reports that Renly and Loras left for the south early in the morning. Eddard has Ser Barristan read Robert’s will and asks to be confirmed in his role as lord protector. Just then, Tomard arrives with the king’s steward, who asks that the small council attend Joffrey.
Eddard, the council, Tomard, and eight members of Eddard’s guard walk to the throne room. Janos Slynt meets the council at the door and escorts them in. Joffrey sits on the throne with Tommen, Myrcella, and Cersei at the base. Ser Mandon, Ser Meryn, Ser Arys, Ser Boros and Ser Preston are arrayed at the base of the throne in full armor. Sandor also guards the prince. Twenty Lannister guardsmen stand behind the throne and city watchmen are arrayed along both walls. Joffrey asks for the fealty of the council, and Eddard produces the king’s letter. Cersei rips it in half and tells Eddard that if he swears fealty he will be allowed to go back to the North and live in peace. Instead, Eddard denies Joffrey’s claim to the throne and declares Stannis to be the true heir. Cersei orders Ser Barristan to seize him, and Eddard orders the City Watch to take Cersei into custody. Instead, they turn on Eddard’s men, killing all of them, including Tomard, Varly and Cayn. Petyr unsheathes Eddard’s dagger and places it at his throat.
I’m trying something a little different for these last few Eddard chapters. Rather than read first and come back to do this write-up, I’m going to make smaller comments as I read and then comment on larger scale thoughts later. Part of this is because I realize I tend to miss out important details in longer chapters – or rather, I tend to miss out the important, but not critically so, details in longer chapters. The other part of the reason is because I just want to try this new way out.
If so, Cersei was a greater fool than he’d imagined. Damn her, he thought, why is the woman not fled? I have given her chance after chance…
Well Ned, this might be a good time to consider that she knows a thing or two about intrigue that you don’t. Considering how much you do know about intrigue, I’m appalled that the thought hasn’t occurred to you. Still, I guess it speaks well of Ned that he’s still trying to ‘save the kids’ even now, but honestly, I can’t muster much enthusiasm for that line of thought. He should have bailed a long time ago and if he decided to stay to play the heroic martyr in this tale, he should have shipped Arya and Sansa back long ago.
“Let her go, Septa”
No! Don’t let her go! She is a stupid little child with no idea what she’s doing, letting her go is a terrible, terrible idea! Still, I’m not putting this on Ned. This is just plain bad luck. Sansa has made her fair share of mistakes but this will probably be the one that haunts her the longest. I can’t remember if she ever remembers the moment she betrays Ned to Cersei, but she’ll have my sympathies when she does. It’s hard when your fuck-ups hurt the ones you love.
““No,” Ned answered. “He hated rest. The gods give him love and laughter, and the joy of righteous battle.”
The feels. RIP Robert, we won’t really miss you, but in an alternative universe you might have been a pretty decent human being. Maybe.
Ned had counted on Renly’s support.
After you spat in his face? Ned, do you even understand how people work? I want to back you up and say the world was too corrupt for an honourable man like you, but honestly, you keep making so many idiotic mistakes. I can’t think of a single reason why Renly would want anything to do with you after you borderline accused him of treason. Apparently though, Ned can think of several such reasons, so…ok, then. Carry on carrying on Ned.
Cersei strikes faster than Ned and soon he’s taken out of his comfort zone of the Tower of the Hand and moved to the throne room. There is something to be said about leaving your own home, tossing what minute advantage you might have had, just to venture, quite literally, into the lion’s den. I think the biggest problem is that Ned believes that right makes might when as we all know, it’s usually the other way around and I can’t for the life of me understand why Ned, someone who is a soldier through and through, can’t see that. Or perhaps, I’m going at it wrong. Maybe it’s because he’s a soldier through and through that he doesn’t question these things – he’s a soldier who does his duty because those were the ‘orders’ given to him, so to speak. If we go back a bit further, I guess it comes down to Ned not being raised for leadership – which I’ll say again, is a ridiculous idea given that no matter who Ned married, a little knowledge of how to lead a House would never go wrong, especially given that he was next in line should Brandon die. But whatever, that’s long in the past and there’s no point talking about it now I guess.
If she was so determined to force the issue here and now, she left him no choice.
Sigh. I want to give up, I really do. I want to just say, that Ned deserves this for his stupidity in not even considering why Cersei was forcing the issue given that she knew that he knew what he knew. Did he think Littlefinger’s Goldcloaks were enough? I guess that’s a pretty big swing factor, in all fairness to Ned. It was a mistake trusting Littlefinger, but Ned’s hardly the only one guilty of that so we can hardly blame him. I guess, now that I consider that Ned thought he had the Goldcloaks on his side would explain a great deal of his actions in this chapter but it doesn’t make me feel better.
“Mother, what does he mean?” Princess Myrcella asked the queen plaintively. “Isn’t Joff the king now?”
This actually stings a little, to be honest. Joffrey and Cersei deserve every bit of what they have coming but Tommen and Myrcella do not.
“I did warn you not to trust me, you know.”
Hello Darkness, my old friend.