FrozenFire3, on 17 June 2012 - 02:25 PM, said:
What Ned did, in my humble opinion, was very honourable. As I said in a previous post, this is the only time Ned chose family over honour. Lying for your whole life to your wife, children, friends isn't particularly honourable but it proved to be one of the most honourable choices/things he ever made/did. He protected this child in memory of his sister and to fulfil a promise made to her.
Ned chose his family over his honor at other times as well. He confessed to a crime he didn't commit in order to keep his daughters safe in Kings Landing, for which he would have forfeited his title and lands and been banished to the Night's Watch but Joffrey decided to behead him as a traitor instead.
Now, as for his "stubborness" in not wanting to tell Jon who his mother/parents were... that is something else entirely. I believe it was wrong of him not to tell him of his true lineage before he went to the wall. This way, he deprived Jon of a choice, a true choice. When he joins the night's watch, from that day on, Jon will be forever obliged to fulfil his oath. He is forever bound by it."Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come."
Of course Jon chose to go to the wall, but would he have chosen differently, had he known the truth?
I'll have to respectfully disagree with this. Ned thinks to himself: "Some secrets are too dangerous to tell even those you love and trust." He didn't tell his own wife that he lied about being unfaithful to her even though the lie dishonored himself and shamed his wife, because he believed the lie more honorable than leaving Jon vulnerable by having his secret out. He knew exactly how Robert felt about Rhaegar and the rest of the Targaryens and he had reason to fear Robert's wrath against him for protecting the last viable claimant to the Targaryen dynasty. He may have calculated that it was safer to keep the secret even from Jon, than to risk letting it slip out to someone who could use it against him. If Jon's existence threatened the safety of Ned's rule of the North and the destiny of his wife and children, Catelyn would have protected her own children by insisting that Ned give up Lyanna's son, even if Ned wouldn't have otherwise. I think there were just too many "what if's" that Ned couldn't answer and he chose the safest course even if it meant tarnishing his own reputation as an honorable man.
We can't possibly know if Jon would have chosen any other course if he'd known he was Lyanna's son instead of Ned's. I suppose he could have been placed as a foster at one of Ned's vassals or a squire to some knight, but the fact that he was Rhaegar's son would make him a target of Robert even though Rhaegar was long dead and the Targaryen dynasty ended. Robert took Rhaegar's actions (stealing Lyanna) personally and never got over it. Ned was loyal to Robert and wasn't going to wage war to take the throne for his sister's son, and as the son of Ned's sister Jon would have basically no claim on Winterfell with Robb, Bran, Rickon, Sansa and Arya ahead of him. His desire to be a ranger like his uncle, and the long history of Starks manning the Night's Watch probably looked like the best choice to a young Northern boy who craved adventure. He wouldn't be the only noble-born man who chose that occupation. Why should Ned dissuade him when there really were no other options and he needed it settled quickly because he was leaving Winterfell to travel to Kings Landing?
Edited by LadyMary, 18 June 2012 - 07:07 AM.