Rickard had no ambitions toward the throne? Really? Then why did he betroth his daughter to a member of a House with blood ties to the ruling family, a house that has in the past married one of their daughters to the Targaryens, and has taken at least one Targaryen bride? You seriously think he didn't consider the possibility of his descendants getting a shot at the throne? And betrothing Brandon to Catelyn Tully guaranteed the support of the Riverlands for the future Baratheon claimant if the opportunity ever arose. Ned probably would have been betrothed to another powerful family (in Dorne or the Vale, most likely) to solidify the power base. Too bad Rickard didn't get around to that one. Would have told us a lot about his intentions.
I'm not saying he expected to have a grandchild on the throne, but I think he had a long-ranging plan to get Stark blood in the running and steadily gaining power throughout the land. If not king or queen, I think he was going for Hand at least. Remember he didn't just offer Lyanna to the Baratheons, he also fostered Ned with the same man who was fostering Robert. Robert, cousin to the king. If those moves weren't power plays, what were they?
Edited by Lady Blizzardborn, 04 May 2014 - 03:24 PM.