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Why did Ned never tell Catelyn about Jon's real identity ?

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Ned and Catelyn surely share a relationship of trust and honesty.

If Ned had told Catelyn, there is no doubt she would have kept it to herself, right ? Instead, Ned tarnished his image and created distrust in the couple. In addition Catelyn hates Jon. 

If I had to guess, I bet it was done only because it helps the storyline and it makes Jon's parentage more difficult to discover. If Catelyn did not care about Jon, or took care of him as an nephew, readers would have discovered the true story sooner. The fact that she hates him and suffers from Ned cheating on her makes the whole build-up more plausible. 

What do you all think ? 

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Some secrets are safer kept hidden. Some secrets are too dangerous to share, even with those you love and trust. 

-Eddard VIII, AGOT


Ned thought, If it came to that, the life of some child I did not know, against Robb and Sansa and Arya and Bran and Rickon, what would I do? Even more so, what would Catelyn do, if it were Jon's life, against the children of her body? He did not know. He prayed he never would.

-Eddard XII, AGOT

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Answer 1: He promised not to tell anyone.

Answer 2: Sharing this secret with Catelyn would make her accomplice to treason. If anyone found out and it could be proved that she knew, it would be punishable by death. Why would he want to put her in such a position?

Answer 3: Ned could not trust Catelyn, at least in the beginning of their relationship. The hardly knew each other when they married, and when they reunited again in Winterfell Jon was already there. NEd could not know what kind of woman was Cat back then. And even though both grow to love each other with time, what would be the point of revealing the truth to Cat a decade after?

Answer 4: The only good way of hiding an important secret is not telling anyone. Ned may have decided that Cat was completely trustworthy and tell her. And then Cat could feel that she needed to confide with Septa Mordane. Mordane could have told Septon Chayle, and he surely may have trusted maester Luwin, who in turn... when lives are at stake, it's better not to gamble.

Edited by The hairy bear

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Ned and Catelyn surely share a relationship of trust and honesty.

If Ned had told Catelyn, there is no doubt she would have kept it to herself, right ? Instead, Ned tarnished his image and created distrust in the couple. In addition Catelyn hates Jon. 

If I had to guess, I bet it was done only because it helps the storyline and it makes Jon's parentage more difficult to discover. If Catelyn did not care about Jon, or took care of him as an nephew, readers would have discovered the true story sooner. The fact that she hates him and suffers from Ned cheating on her makes the whole build-up more plausible. 

What do you all think ? 

Depends on whose child Jon is. We don't know if it's Lyanna's child or Ned's. 

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I think, that Sansa is utterly stupid, egotistical and selfcentered person, and that she has inherited this traits from her mother. I think, that both of them are impulsive people, that first act and then think, if they think at all. And they think more about, what other people think about them, than about safety or consequences. For example when Sansa told Lannisters that her father is planning to escape from King's Landing, or when she told others that she and Tyrion didn't consummated their marriage.

So I think, that if Cat knew, that Ned didn't cheated, and she heard other people gossipping about Ned's bastard, then she would have been unable to keep her mouth shut, she would have told them, that it's not true, the boy is not Ned's. Which would have caused people to question, why does he keep the boy in his household, and why does the boy look so much like a Stark, if he isn't Ned's son. So eventually someone would have realised Jon's real parentage. Thus telling Cat the truth, was not an option. Because even if over time, Ned would have started to trust her enough, to share this secret with her, it would have been still too reckless, because of Cat's impulsive personality, and her egoism.

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  1. If the truth was revealed to Robert, Ned and Jon are dead. Putting Catelyn and possibly her children in that danger was something Ned did not want.
  2. It would seem suspicious for a woman to treat the (at least officially) bastard son of her husband well. So keeping Cat in the dark about the truth was the best cover.

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On 5/10/2018 at 10:43 AM, The hairy bear said:

Mordane could have told Septon Chayle, and he surely may have trusted maester Luwin, who in turn... when lives are at stake, it's better not to gamble.

Well put.

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On ‎5‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 4:55 PM, Megorova said:

So I think, that if Cat knew, that Ned didn't cheated, and she heard other people gossipping about Ned's bastard, then she would have been unable to keep her mouth shut, she would have told them, that it's not true, the boy is not Ned's. Which would have caused people to question, why does he keep the boy in his household, and why does the boy look so much like a Stark, if he isn't Ned's son. So eventually someone would have realised Jon's real parentage. Thus telling Cat the truth, was not an option. Because even if over time, Ned would have started to trust her enough, to share this secret with her, it would have been still too reckless, because of Cat's impulsive personality, and her egoism.

Nice. I never considered that angle: that Cat would have an interest in revealing Jon's identity as a way of removing the shame from Ned and, by extension, herself.

I think you're a little harsh on Cat and Sansa overall, but in this case you're probably right: the temptation to reveal the truth would be much harder for Cat to resist than Ned.

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