This is one of my favorite quotes, and the conflict between love and honor is one of my favorite themes in the series. I’m feeling philosophical today, so I’m wondering if one will ultimately win out over the other.
There are several people who have chosen love over honor:
- Ned Stark: He sacrificed his honor for love of his daughter, Sansa, by recanting his statement and supporting Joffrey. If you believe R+L=J, he sacrificed his honor for the woman he loved most (at the time), his sister Lyanna by claiming Jon as his bastard.
- Catelyn Stark: Sacrificed her honor as the mother of the KITN for love of her daughters by releasing Jaime Lannister.
- Robb Stark: Sacrificed his honor for the woman he loved most, Jeyne Westerling, by breaking his betrothal and marrying her instead.
- Jon Snow: Sacrificed his honor for the woman (girl) he loved most, his sister Arya, by breaking the NW oath of not interfering in the politics of the realm
- Jaime Lannister: Sacrificed his honor (in part) for love of his father by killing Aerys . Also sacrificed his honor for the woman he loved most, Cersei, by cuckolding the king despite being on the KG.
- Lysa Tully: Sacrificed her honor for the man she loved most, Petyr, by having sex with him before (and probably, after) she married Jon Arryn
- Note: I’m leaving Cersei off of this list, because I don’t want to get into a discussion about whether or not Cersei really loves Jaime.
In contrast, I can’t really think of instances of honor being picked over love, so there have been few negative consequences. (Let me know what I’ve missed)
- Maester Aemon: He stayed at the Wall despite all the stuff happening to Aerys and family. However, I think his story is really one of picking honor over power when Aegon offered it to him
- Jon Snow: You could say he picked honor over love by leaving Ygritte and returning to the NW, but I think his love for Ygritte is FAR outweighed by his love for his family and his NW friends, so I don’t think this is really an issue.
- Ned Stark: Some people believe he sacrificed his love for Ashara Dayne by marrying Catelyn and fulfilling Brandon’s betrothal vow, but his POV doesn’t really indicate any love for her, so I think that’s not a real example.