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  1. SFDanny added a post in a topic Would Ned Be upset with Lyanna?   

    Ned didn't think she was dead. Ned fought a war and the first thing he does when he is able to do so is to go get his sister. It's not Brandon's response. It is not just that Brandon doesn't say anything about Lyanna. He was at Harrenhal with Lyanna and Ned and Benjen. He knows Lyanna's reaction to Rhaegar. He also likely knows what his sister's views are on Robert. Lyanna tells Ned what she thinks of Robert, why would you think this woman who has the same "wolf's blood" as Brandon would remain silent to either her Father or her elder brother if she will tell Ned? No, the woman who single handedly stops Howland's beating would stick up for herself. My read of the clues Martin leaves us is that Brandon knows Lyanna left willingly.
    To the hypothetical about your sister, I can understand wanting to do violence to someone who hurts a loved one. I can't understand not putting the safety of the loved one first, over revenge. If that is one's agenda, then it really has nothing to do with loving one's sister. It is all about the hurt you feel. Or in this case the hurt Brandon feels to his pride.
  2. SFDanny added a post in a topic R+L=J v.156   

    Cheers, indeed, my friend. I enjoy it.
  3. SFDanny added a post in a topic Would Ned Be upset with Lyanna?   

    I would hope that if such a terrible thing happened to your sister your first thought would be for her safety. Yet, Brandon does not react in that way. He rides into the Red Keep and calls out for Rhaegar to "come out and die." Not a word demanding his sister back. Why? As I have said, I think it is because he knows his sister left willingly and he is angry with his sister as he is with Rhaegar. This is about the same issue we see over and over with Martin - the right of the head of house to arrange marriages, and the anger towards those who would deny or interfere in those rights. Do I really need to list the many examples of this?
    Now, don't get me wrong. I think what Brandon did is stupid, but I don't think even his stupid action means he is responsible for his and his father's deaths. Aerys is the one responsible. He seizes on the opening Brandon gives him to kill a host of people he views as his enemies. He is the one who is to blame for these deaths. Not Brandon. Not Rickard. Not Rhaegar or Lyanna.
  4. SFDanny added a post in a topic Would Ned Be upset with Lyanna?   

    Three points. It is not true that ever single female is forced to marry who she is told. We are given the examples of Aegon V Targaryen and his wife, Prince Duncan and his wife, and Jaehaerys II Targaryen and his sister/wife. All these are precedents Lyanna and Rhaegar would know. In addition we are given such examples as Robb Stark and Jeyne Westerling, and Tyrion Lannister and Tysha. Both matches for love. It is true that most marriages are arranged by the head of house, but it is not true that this is always the case. We also have the cases of the Blackfish and Prince Daeron Targaryen who refuse to marry the person chosen by their head of house. It may be Lyanna wanted to be part of this minority of men and women who got to do what they wanted in choosing a partner. One can criticize her choice, but it is a perfectly understandable thing to want, especially given Robert's character.
    Secondly, it is outrageous to compare Brandon to a lion. A lion bites because is its nature to bite those it sees as food or as a threat. Brandon is a man who is responsible for his choices. If he reacts like the fool Hoster Tully calls him, then Brandon is responsible for those actions. Lastly, it is clear you didn't read my first post, or you would know I put forward the idea that Brandon, Rickard, and Ned all know Lyanna leaves willingly. There is no reason to leave a note for people you already have told you won't willingly marry the man they want you to.
  5. SFDanny added a post in a topic Would Ned Be upset with Lyanna?   

    Brandon is "like"? Brandon has a temper, and therefore Lyanna is responsible for his inability to control it? She has to marry a man she doesn't want to marry because her brother can't control himself and will be angry. Amazing, truly amazing.
  6. SFDanny added a post in a topic Would Ned Be upset with Lyanna?   

    How you reach that conclusion is amazing. Lyanna controls her elder brother's actions how? Did she use long distance mind-control? Short of that I'm not sure how you get that Brandon's actions are controlled by Lyanna. If she doesn't control his actions, then his actions are "due" to Brandon's own choices, not Lyanna's actions.
    You may wish the character made other choices, and that is reasonable, but to somehow blame the actions of one character on the actions of another, just doesn't make sense.
  7. SFDanny added a post in a topic Would Ned Be upset with Lyanna?   

    I think I was clear on what I think were Brandon's reasons in my first post in this thread.
  8. SFDanny added a post in a topic Would Ned Be upset with Lyanna?   

    No, that is not what I think Lyanna thought when she found out her brother was murdered along with her father. I imagine she is shocked, in grief for her father and brother, and, yes, probably blames herself for their deaths. We all take on responsibilities for things we did not do in times like that.
    I think what she may have blamed herself for, and what she is actually responsible for are two different things. Brandon is a grown man who made is own rather rash, and, yes, stupid decision to do what he did. The idea Lyanna's action forced him to do what he did is the problem. It is just wrong to say so. I highly doubt any reasonable person would even think Brandon's reaction to be likely, but whatever it was it was his decision that gave the mad king the pretext to kill him.
  9. SFDanny added a post in a topic Would Ned Be upset with Lyanna?   

    No, Lyanna is responsible for what she does. She just doesn't cause Brandon to ride to the Red Keep and demand Rhaegar "come out and die." Brandon decides to do that on his own. To suggest otherwise makes Brandon into a preprogrammed robot that must react to his sister's "kidnapping," elopement, or rescue - choose your term - in one way. It gives Brandon no choice in what he does, and no responsibility for those choices.
    This is even more evident with Aerys. How is Aerys's action in murdering Rickard, Brandon, and their 200 northmen caused by Rhaegar and Lyanna running away? Aerys does what he does because it suits Aerys to do so, not because Rhaegar and Lyanna make him do so.
    What Rhaegar and Lyanna do is to put a obstacle in the way of Rickard's and Robert's marriage pact, if not stop that pact altogether. There are lots of choices for the Starks, the Baratheons, and Aerys to make following that action, but each choice is the responsibility of those who make them.
    Please note that there are a host of other individuals in these stories who choose not to marry someone their lords and fathers say they must, but no one blames all that follows their refusal on them. Tyrion weds Tysha. Are they responsible for Tywin's order to gang rape Tysha? Robb marries Jeyne. Are they responsible for the Red Wedding? Do you think Lord Frey had no choice but to murder all those people? The Blackfish refuses to marry Bethany Redwyne, so is he responsible for Hoster not talking to him for years? On and on it goes, and Martin gives us plenty of examples, but you want to single out Lyanna for her refusal to marry a man she rightly thinks will be a horrible husband. Tragic figure? Yes, but not responsible for others actions.
  10. SFDanny added a post in a topic R+L=J v.156   

    Of course it is relevant. The power relationship between the two men is the whole reason Ned must have an answer to the questions Robert asks on the barrows and the reason Ned had to tell him before then. If these two are just old friends or even equals as High Lords of the Seven Kingdoms, Ned doesn't have to tell Robert anything. The fact that Ned is his vassal means that at anytime of his choosing Robert can compel Ned to answer questions related to who is the mother of his bastard child. Because this time Ned successfully fends off further questions after giving Robert Wylla's name does not mean that is the end of discussion of this topic. It only means that after Ned confirms Wylla's name to Robert's questions, he delays what is possible. Ned hasn't changed the power relationship between the two.
    But more importantly, this was the same power relationship that existed from day one of Robert's reign. On that day one, Robert's reaction to Tywin's tribute causes a rupture between the two men. It is this new view of Robert that colors everything Ned does with Jon. Robert shows Ned that he is willing to kill innocents, or have them killed in his name, and that is a direct threat, if you believe R+L=J is true, to Jon's safety. It is a direct threat to Ned's promise to his dying sister, if you believe that promise is to hide Jon from Robert's wrath and to raise Jon as his own.
    It is precisely this context of the power relationship between these two men and the history of Robert's "madness" concerning the Targaryens that dictates the decisions Ned must make about what he needs to tell Robert about Jon and Jon's mother. So, of course, Ned must have a cover story. A cover story that works under scrutiny. In this context, it is ludicrous to view Ned's answer on the barrows as a one time use of word play to divert Robert's question. This is a story that has to withstand the investigation of Ned's enemies, and has to at the very least not give those enemies ammunition to turn Robert's good will into suspicion.
    Wylla as Ned's common woman lover, who gives birth to Jon does that, but it does that only if Wylla backs up Ned's story, and Wylla is safe from undue pressure. The Daynes as allies in covering up and protecting Wylla makes this possible. Otherwise it all falls apart.
    It is also important to understand all of this in the context of Ned's claim of Jon as his son. Ned doesn't remain silent about Jon, He claims him for the whole of Westeros to see, and raises him in Winterfell as his son. Ned can refuse to answer questions about Jon's mother to anyone but Robert and Jon Arryn, but by claiming him as his son he invites speculation about who is Jon's mother. Ned understands this, he isn't stupid. He knows Robert will have questions, and he knows he has to answer them. The answer he gives Robert on the barrows, and before that, is the answer he has crafted to protect Jon. That answer is Wylla, and the real Wylla has to be part of the agreed upon story, or Ned risks everything if she says something different. Again, Ned is not that stupid.
    Once again, corbon, there are more ways to say "Wylla was Jon's mother" than the use of just those words. One of those ways is to answer all of Robert's questions, including, "you know the one I mean, your bastard's mother?" with the words, "Her name was Wylla." It is an answer to all Robert's questions as far as Robert understands it, and Ned has to know Robert receives his answer as such. It is a trick and a lie if Ned expects Robert to believe his response is to only one of his questions without Ned making that clear. Ned does not say, "Wylla was the name of the common woman I slept with." He doesn't say, "Wylla was the name of the woman I told you about before." He does not say, "Wylla is the name of my bastard's mother." But when he does say, "Her name was Wylla" this is understood to be the answer to all three questions. It is understood by Robert as such, and it is understood by Ned that Robert understands it as such. And, as I said, if Ned means it to answer only one of the questions Robert asks, then he is indeed tricking and lying to Robert.
    What would be the effect of Ned's answer just being to the last question asked? Robert ends with, "You know the one I mean. Your bastard's mother?" It is obviously, if that was the case, an answer that makes it clear who Ned claims is Jon's mother. If, instead, we try to restrict Ned's answer to the first question, "what was her name, that common girl of yours?" then we have to imagine Ned is confessing to a sexual relationship with a common woman different from the person Ned claims as his bastard's mother. The problem here is that it is obvious by the continued clarifications that Robert believes Ned's common woman, and the woman who is Ned's bastard's mother are one and the same.
    But I don't really think this was your point. The only way to get where you go with this is to interpret Ned's answer as only an answer to the one statement Robert makes of the three. Robert says, "You told me once." You have to take this out of the context of the questions Robert really asks Ned and manufacture a different conversation before that involves Wylla but does not involve either the name of Ned's "common woman" or the mother of Ned's bastard. We have nothing to suggest such a conversation ever took place, and the placement of the Robert's "You told me once" in the middle of looking for the name of Ned's lover and mother of his bastard to strongly suggest otherwise.
    It strongly suggest otherwise because the placement of "You told me once" obviously refers to the name of the woman in the first question, "what was her name, that common girl of yours?" and the follow up from that obviously is a clarification on the part of Robert with "you know the one I mean, your bastard's mother." You are ripping the phrase "You told me once" out of context, and creating something completely unsupported by the text. Now, there is nothing wrong with taking such an idea out for a ride, but to try and say it is more likely than the straightforward read of the text is just wrong.
    corbon, we can continue if you want but it seems to me we are getting nowhere. Am I wrong in that view?
  11. SFDanny added a post in a topic Would Ned Be upset with Lyanna?   

    Note, please, that I said there are two reasons that change Ned's view. Both are necessary, not just the first. When Ned leaves King's Landing after the rupture of his friendship with his new king, Ned has to wonder what he fought a rebellion for if his new king countenances the killing of children, and then he sees the same fear of those children's fate reflected in his sister's eyes as she asks him to promiser her something - most likely that Ned hide and protect her son from Robert's rage. I think those two events are enough to make Ned rethink his reasons for fighting, and his reasons for being angry with Lyanna in the first place. I also think without those shocks, Ned would likely have continued in being angry with Lyanna for not doing as her family wished.
    As I think you know, I don't agree the reason Lyanna's brother and father and 200 northmen are killed is because Lyanna elopes with Rhaegar. First, I think it is a rescue not a elopement. More importantly, the cause of their deaths are directly tied to the actions of Aerys and Brandon. It is their actions that lead to all the deaths you attribute to Lyanna and Rhaegar. Neither one told Brandon to ride to the Red Keep and call for Rhaegar to "come out and die" and neither one counseled Aerys to kill any of the men you speak of. Aerys is responsible for those murders all on his own.
  12. SFDanny added a post in a topic Would Ned Be upset with Lyanna?   

    My take on this is different than most because I think Ned knew all along that Lyanna went willingly with Rhaegar. Lyanna's character is one in which she displays her "wolf's blood" a number of times. I think this is one of those times. She tells Ned about what she thinks of Robert's character - and she is spot on about him - and we are left to wonder why a woman like her would willingly wed a man she had such doubts about. I think she not only tells Ned, but she also likely stands up for herself with her father, and Brandon, along with Ned. I would point out that when Brandon rides to King's Landing he does not demand his sister back. He just wants to kill Rhaegar. It looks like this for the "dishonor" the Crown Prince has done to House Stark by Rhaegar's interference in the marriage pact negotiated between the Starks and House Baratheon.
    So, my take on this is that Ned IS angry with Lyanna when she goes off with Rhaegar and doesn't do her duty as Rickard, Brandon, and - at that point - Ned think she should have. What changes this is when Ned sees Robert accept Tywin's tribute of Elia and her children's bodies. "For a start, I don't kill children" Ned tells Cersei, and we should see this as his defining idea. What real honor is is to protect the innocent, or so Ned tells us. He breaks with Robert over this act, and rides out to not only end the war, but to find Lyanna. He does, and is confronted with the second moment in which transforms his world. His sister asks him, with fear in her eyes, to promise her something. It is when he agrees to do that thing that the fear goes away. I think it very likely that promise, or promises, involve taking Lyanna and Rhaegar's child and raising him as his own to protect the child from Robert's wrath. When he does that, he is no longer angry with Lyanna. 
    My take on the OP's "what if" question is that if Rhaegar had won at the Trident, then Ned would have continued to be angry with Lyanna because the moments that change him would not have happened.
  13. SFDanny added a post in a topic R+L=J v.156   

    Back from stuffing myself for the holiday and can sit down to write a response.
    corbon, I'm not sure what part of the king/vassal relationship you are not getting, but I've tried multiple times to put this context into this discussion. Robert is Ned's king and has been since the coronation following the sack of King's Landing. At the point when the conversation on the barrows takes place, Robert is the only person who can compel Ned to answer. Please note how the chapter starts with, "The summons came in the hour before the dawn ..." (AGoT 91) Only the king or the King's Hand can summon the High Lord of the North. With Jon Arryn dead, and Ned named his replacement, that means Robert is the only one who can compel Ned. He does so when he summons him, and he has the power to do so if he wants to get an answer on any topic he wants Ned to speak about.
    What we see "live on screen" is Ned pleading with Robert to go no further in his questions on the topic of Wylla. Ned uses his supposed "dishonor" of himself and Catelyn, and Robert's love of him, to ask the king to stop. Robert answers in part with, "Well, I'll not press you if you feel so strong about it ..." but the point here is that Robert can press him on this point if he wishes to do so.  Not that Ned can shut him down anytime he wants to. As Ned's king Robert can press him, can compel him, to the point of death if he wants, and Ned's only recourse is to die or forsake his vows and rebel. Now, I'm not saying that is likely in this moment, and I think Ned knows it isn't likely, but that is the power relationship here. It is not a conversation of equals, it is not just a conversation of old friends just talking about old times. That is part of the context you seem to want to leave out.
    If you really think Ned believes he can manipulate Robert to do whatever he wants, the let me remind you of two important points to place this into context. Ned knows of Robert's hatred of all things Targaryen. It is what came between them when Robert accepted Tywin's "tribute" as so much "dragonspawn," and it is certainly evident in its full throated fury later in the same conversation on the barrows when the subject of assassinating Daenerys comes up - "Ned did not feign surprise; Robert's hatred of the Targaryens was a madness in him." (AGoT 93) But if Ned believes he can "shut Robert down" anytime he wants to, he is quite personally disabused of the idea very shortly thereafter when Robert judges Arya instead of allowing Ned to do so, and when Robert condemns Lady to death because he doesn't want to deal with his vile wife and son.
    As to reasons Ned cannot tell Catelyn and Jon, I gave you reasons, but let's boil it down to this. Ned cannot risk having Catelyn or Jon looking into Wylla's history and identity because the more that is known, by friend or foe, risks word getting back to King's Landing of answers that can put Ned's story into doubt. As you point out, neither Catelyn or Jon, can compel Ned to answer anything. It is best for everyone's safety he doesn't and leaves the name of Wylla between Robert and himself.
    As I said before, Robert accepts Ned's story because it fits a narrative he likes, and because he has nothing to make him think Ned is lying. Robert loves Ned being more like him with his lust towards common women. But that is why Robert so readily accepts Ned's tale, not why Ned has to tell him about Wylla being Jon's mom. Ned has to tell Robert something to divert Robert's attention away from the fact he is bringing Jon home with him after finding his dying sister. He cannot risk being compelled to answer in detail about Jon, so he has to have a cover story to tell Robert, or Jon Arryn, if one of the two of them wants more answers, and suspects the truth.
    The pain he inflicts on Catelyn and Jon by refusing to talk about Jon's mother is part of the price Ned pays for his lies he has to live. There is nothing irrational about doing so. The secret of Jon's mother's identity has to be kept for the safety of all, and Ned does so for very logical reasons and fears. That is, if as you and I agree, R+L-J is likely, and Wylla is not really Jon's mother.
    I raised the fisherman's daughter's tale because I've detailed my reasons in the past for thinking it is connected to Wylla's story and not just a new completely unrelated possibility Martin decided to throw out in ADwD. We don't have to go over those reasons again if you don't want to, or you just disagree. Suffice it to say I disagree with your certainty that it's only a local story with no connection to Wylla.
    Ned can try to shut down any questions, but given more information, still more information will be sought. Or do you really think that because Cat no longer hears rumors of Ashara, that means Ashara's name never was discussed in Winterfell again? If so you have greater faith in Ned's powers to change human nature than I do.
    To the last, you assume there is no one in charge of Ned's security, or to Ned's personal needs, and no people who are regularly assign those duties. I think it likely the opposite is true. Who knows if they are all dead before the rebellion ends, but, if not, there are going to be people who doubt the story of Wylla. It's the doubt that eats at heart of the story, and why Ned needs to avoid these question altogether.
    If he names her she is no longer a "completely anonymous nobody " - she is a woman with a name. A woman with a name is far easier to trace than a completely anonymous nobody.
    My point was not what you make it out to be. I have, from the beginning argued Ned's answer has to be put into the context of the entire series of questions and statements, including the clarifying question that ends them "you know the one I mean. Your bastard's mother?" It has been your argument that we can ignore parts of these statements and questions Robert uses to make sure it is clear whose name he is asking for. In fact, you have come up with a theory that Ned's response is to something not at all referred to in Robert's remarks - a wet-nurse from a long ago conversation.
    So, let's clear this up. 
    1- Robert starts this with the question "what was her name, that common girl of yours?" but he doesn't leave it there and Ned doesn't answer him yet.
    2 - Robert follows this up with attempts to come up with the name himself - "Becca?" "Merryl?" and "Aleena?" all of which Robert himself rules out as the name he is looking for. Ned doesn't respond.
    3 - Robert gives Ned a clarifying statement, "you told me once" by which we know there was another earlier conversation in which Ned's common girl was named. Still no response from Ned.
    4 - Robert then makes it very clear that he thinks the common girl Ned had an affair with is the mother of Jon by ending his series of questions with the question "You know the one I mean, your bastard's mother?" For Robert, and for the reader, and most importantly for Ned, it is very clear Robert is asking for the name of Ned's common woman lover, who is Jon's mother, that Ned once told him about.
    5 - Ned then responds with the statement "Her name was Wylla." Once again, Ned's answer has to be viewed in the context of all of Robert's statements and questions. As a whole they make it very, very clear who Robert is asking about.
    To read it otherwise, makes Ned into something he is not. I think I used the word "pettifogger", but you can call it what you will, it is not in Ned's character to play word games to hide this secret from his king. He instead has come up with what I think is a lie, and I think you agree with me on that, to cover just who is Jon's mother. It is simple and straightforward. Ned answers Robert with a lie. He doesn't dodge his questions or trick himself into believing he is answering a question from fifteen years pervious. He doesn't try to ignore some of the questions in order to come up with an answer that refers to someone else than Robert is asking about. He simply lies by supplying Wylla's name to Robert's questions.
    One more thing on context. This is the first place we read Wylla's name. Previous to this we are led to believe Jon's mother is Ashara Dayne. The function of this dialogue for the story is to cast doubt on those rumors Catelyn hears and let the reader know there is another explanation that is supported by Ned's own statement and what Robert seems to know. This is where we get the idea that there is a mystery concerning Jon's mother's identity. We are supposed to read this and wonder if Ned is telling Robert the truth, and if not to ask why he lies to his best friend and king. We are not supposed to manufacture conversations from the past we have no basis to think happened.
    Again, Robert's reach is not what the Targaryen's had in Dorne. Until Jon Arryn travels to Sunspear they are in fact in a state of war with the usurper on the Iron Throne. After that Robert never goes to Dorne and his influence is vastly diminished by the willful inability to bring justice to Elia and her children's killers. So, the Daynes can provide some measure of protection to Wylla from seizure.
    More importantly, to the question of protecting her from a spy, they have the same ability as Ned to restrict those who get to their family. No "heinous isolation programme" is needed. Just the same protection given to family members and those who are with them. I assume there are guards providing family protection, nothing more. The control of the household's security that we would expect, nothing more other than including Wylla in those security measures.
    The real difference is that in Starfall, Wylla lives there and is known as Jon's mother. In Winterfell she can't be and reside with Cat. Once again, to bring Jon home and raise him as an equal among Catelyn's household is one thing. To bring a woman known to be his mother and ex-lover of Catelyn's husband is an altogether new level of insult to Cat. So, no, unless Wylla is not known as Jon's mother, she cannot be brought to Winterfell. Not without reading a much darker, crueler side into Ned's character than we have reason to believe.
    By leaving Wylla in the control of the Daynes, Ned allows himself the story he needs to be able to tell Robert, provides security for Wylla, and makes it possible that he can have a quasi normal home for Jon to be raised in. It is also an explanation that works with the known facts in the story. Wylla does indeed live with the Daynes. We don't know that she ever lived in Winterfell. She is someone the Lord of Starfall is on close terms with - he knows she nursed him and he knows intimate details of her story such as who he thinks is her son. In Winterfell we don't know of anyone outside of Ned who even knows who she is. With Ned, the only person we know he speaks of Wylla about is Robert. Why these facts would support the idea Wylla was in Winterfell is beyond me.
  14. SFDanny added a post in a topic R+L=J v.156   

    No, not off-base. It is something that has been discussed in these pages a lot. Remember that Ned's party arrived on horseback, so he has the use of at least seven horses in accomplishing the task. Probably more if the people at the tower also had some. Remember also that it is likely these towers are also made with wooden support structures and therefore the use of fire in bringing it down is likely. And lastly, remember the "they" that finds Ned holding Lyanna's body. Meaning there is likely at least one more person at the tower than Howland Reed to help Ned pull the tower down.
  15. SFDanny added a post in a topic R+L=J v.156   

    1. He has to have a believable lie he can tell Robert. This particular one, by plan or happenstance, fits right in Robert's wheelhouse. Robert loves the idea that his ever honorable friend had a tumble with a common woman. It makes Ned more like him. But Ned is under no obligation to tell anyone else, including Catelyn and Jon. His oath of fealty is to Robert, and only Robert can compel him to answer. But that really doesn't answer your question.
    Why doesn't he tell Jon and Catelyn anything? He doesn't tell them the truth because, as he tells us, some secrets are too dangerous to share. He doesn't tell them a different story because he can't be telling one story to Robert and another story to others without making Robert perhaps wonder if he is lying to him. But again, that doesn't really tell us why he doesn't tell them the same lie, I believe, he tells Robert.
    The answer is not only in Ned's reticence to lie more than he has to, but also in the possible effect telling Jon and Catelyn could have on his story to Robert. Both Catelyn and Jon have natural reasons to not just let the story alone. Jon is likely to want to see and talk to his mother at some point. Jon is going to want to know about her, her past, why she never communicated with him, and on and on. The answers to all those questions pose problems with Ned's cover story. Catelyn's interests, while coming from a different source and perspective, also seek some of the same answers.
    Think on the question, "how did you and Ned meet?" and the trouble that could cause for Ned's story. I think Ned has an answer for that, and that is what the whole "fisherman's daughter tale" is about, but that story raises other concerns for Catelyn in particular. It places Jon's birth before Robb's. While on the surface this would seem a good thing because it means Ned did not really violate his marriage vows, but it raises an even more important problem with Cat. Ned as brought his eldest son into Catelyn's household to be raised as one of their own, what happens to her children if Ned asks his friend the king to make him legitimate? It places Jon as the heir to Winterfell. Think Ned might want to avoid those problems with Cat? I think he would.
    But even if I'm wrong about the fisherman's daughter story, and it has no role in Ned's cover up, we still have to think on what the answer to the question, "how did you and Ned meet?" effects the cover story. Let's suppose Wylla tells Jon that his father and her met on his campaign. Well his soldiers and his captains were on that campaign with him. Why don't any of them seem to remember her? On and on it goes. The answers to questions raise more question, and those questions are better never asked.
    Which is why I think Ned not only never speaks to anyone other than Robert about Wylla, and why I think he never speaks of the subject of Jon's mother to either Jon or Catelyn.
    No, Ned never tells his men about Wylla. The gossip around Ashara is only natural. They know Ashara was at Harrenhal. Some of them may know, or think they know, that Ned danced with Ashara there. They see Jon for the first time after Ned returns from Starfall - Martin tells us he did not bring his troops into Dorne. So, it is not unusual that they draw the conclusion the Lady Ashara is probably Jon's mother. If they hear of her death following Ned's departure from Starfall, this only reinforces their idea.
    see my answer to number one.
    He is not asking if the woman he is thinking of is Wylla, he knows who he is asking about, but he is only asking for her name, which he says he can't remember. Why Robert is asking for her name can be for a variety of reasons. He really can't remember it. Or perhaps he wants to see if Ned tells him the same name as he did before. 
    Ned wants to avoid the whole subject of Jon with Robert as much as he can. He refuses to take him to King's Landing, and he agrees to allow Jon to be treated as a bastard - to be segregated out from his other children - while Robert is in Winterfell. He uses his supposed dishonorable acts to get the subject changed, and it works.
    He doesn't leave Wylla unprotected. The Daynes have her in their household and under their protection. No one gets to her without their invitation into their household. For Ned's story to work the Daynes either must be in on it or they have the strangest response to the deaths of their son and daughter that I've ever seen. After the war, Robert's reach into Dorne is much diminished from the time of the Targaryens. Dorne doesn't even join "Robert's peace" until Jon Arryn travels to Sunspear. There are no troops in Dorne, or in Starfall in particular, who are not first loyal to the Daynes and the Martells. Robert's biggest threat to Wylla is a visitor in disguise who tries to ask Wylla some questions. A spy from Varys. The Daynes can provide as much or more protection from this than Ned himself can.