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Why did Ned allow Benjen to take the black?

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It seems odd to me that Ned would have allowed Benjen to take the Black in the months after Robert’s Rebellion, considering they lost more than half their family during Robert’s Rebellion (Lord Rickard, Brandon and Lyanna) and was now reduced to himself, Benjen, Catelyn and the infant Robb and Jon. Say around the Greyjoy Rebellion, Ned could have gotten killed, plus a sickness go through Winterfell and the entire bloodline could have been dead like Thanos snapping his fingers. Did Benjen really want to leave his family in such a precarious position?

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I suppose Ned didn't like it. And Benjen knew the Stark line was not that strong by this time. But IMO it's an evidence of Benjen determination to take the Black. Because he was Lyanna confident, he knew things about her leaving Robert, maybe about Rhaegar. And he did nothing to prevent it. Why IMO his secrets are as important as Howland Reed.'s Even if he didn't understand Jon was Lyanna's.

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What could Ned have done to stop Benjen from taking the black? It’s not quite that far away from Winterfell, and moreover, if Ned imprisoned Benjen to stop him, how would that have looked to the North? They still support the Wall, they wouldn’t be happy to see Ned jailing his brother for trying to join. Also, it would have made Ned a complete laughingstock in Westeros. The one lord who imprisons men for trying to join the nights watch? The irony of it...

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It is actually very odd. A younger brother would also be very valuable to marry off to a bannerman. Even having him wait around for a few years and father a few bastard children then head to the Wall would be quite pragmatic (Although not really the honourable Stark way I guess). 

 

Perhaps Benjen is gay, has some secret or did something criminal that necessitated his going to the wall? Perhaps he is somewhat like Arya, not super interested in being a Noble Lord or Lady?

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If Benjen waited until he was of age to take the black, technically Ned couldn't stop him. In a sense he could, as his overlord and older brother, but if that's what Benjen really wanted to do, Ned wouldn't have stood in the way. The Starks always supported the Night's Watch. The wolf pup at Harrenhal was really interested in the black brothers and what they had to say. He probably thought it was like the stories, much like Jon did.

Now, aside from knowing about Rhaegar and Lyanna, let's add in another possibility. Maybe he knew about the prophecy too. Maybe his joining the Watch was to keep an eye on any unusual activity in the far north, and alert Ned if there was any sign of the Others returning. Ned clearly didn't believe there was any such danger but Rhaegar did, and Lyanna might have, so Benjen might have as well.

 

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Posted (edited)

Maybe Ned objected to Benjen going to the NW with the same energy he objected to Jon going to the NW. 

8 hours ago, Chumpai1986 said:

It is actually very odd. A younger brother would also be very valuable to marry off to a bannerman. Even having him wait around for a few years and father a few bastard children then head to the Wall would be quite pragmatic (Although not really the honourable Stark way I guess). 

We also know it's difficult to find lands for the spares. Garlan Tyrell didn't have lands as far as we know until he was given Brightwater Keep and we're told it's even more difficult with a third son.

8 hours ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Now, aside from knowing about Rhaegar and Lyanna, let's add in another possibility. Maybe he knew about the prophecy too. Maybe his joining the Watch was to keep an eye on any unusual activity in the far north, and alert Ned if there was any sign of the Others returning. Ned clearly didn't believe there was any such danger but Rhaegar did, and Lyanna might have, so Benjen might have as well.

This is the direction I tend to take with Benjen. We're told in the text that Benjen believed the cold winds were rising before he went on his last ranging. 

Beyond this, I think the Night's Watch could possibly have been the plan Rickard Stark had for his third son. Maybe he was planning on sending him there when he came of age anyway. I do think that this whole "southron ambition" accusation had more to do with the Others north of the Wall and that Lord Rickard was looking for alliances to fight them rather than his personal ambitions.

Edited by Alexis-something-Rose

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5 minutes ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

We also know it's difficult to find lands for the spares. Garlan Tyrell didn't have lands as far as we know until he was given Brightwater Keep and we're told it's even more difficult with a third son.

Starks should not have that problem. After all Sea Dragon Point, Queenscrown, Tumbledown Tower, Moat Cailin and Wolf's Den seems to be available naturally assuming that Ned could afford to rebuild any of them.

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20 minutes ago, Loose Bolt said:

Starks should not have that problem. After all Sea Dragon Point, Queenscrown, Tumbledown Tower, Moat Cailin and Wolf's Den seems to be available naturally assuming that Ned could afford to rebuild any of them.

And neither should the Tyrells I imagine or Yohn Royce whose third son ended at the NW, his second son in Renly's Rainbow Guard. We know that Ned talked with Benjen about resettling the Gift (where Queenscrown is) and we are told it's arable land. But they never got around to it plus the land belongs to the NW. 

I'm not sure the Starks wanted to give their sons/brothers/cousins/uncles lands because they might have worried they would rise in rebellion against Winterfell. 

The Wolf's Den belongs to the Manderlys and Wyman Manderly gifted to Ser Bartimus after the Battle of the Trident for saving his life.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

Starks should not have that problem. After all Sea Dragon Point, Queenscrown, Tumbledown Tower, Moat Cailin and Wolf's Den seems to be available naturally assuming that Ned could afford to rebuild any of them.

Agree. Also, the North is so big, Ned could easily have found Benjen a few thousand acres (and silver enough to build a modest holdfast) close to Winterfell for his last brother.

Edited by Br16

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1 hour ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

not sure the Starks wanted to give their sons/brothers/cousins/uncles lands because they might have worried they would rise in rebellion against Winterfell. 

Well, the Karstarks got Karlhold. Moreover, perhaps not under normal circumstances, but given the then danger of Stark extinction, and the high infant mortality of a medieval society, Benjen's then status as the spare should have  warranted an exemption.

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23 minutes ago, Widowmaker 811 said:

Because Ned was too cheap to support Benjen.  One less mouth to feed in winter.  

A stark contrast to Tywin footing the bill for even Tyrion's vices.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Br16 said:

Well, the Karstarks got Karlhold. Moreover, perhaps not under normal circumstances, but given the then danger of Stark extinction, and the high infant mortality of a medieval society, Benjen's then status as the spare should have  warranted an exemption.

Sure, and there were Starks who held the Wolf's Den until the Greystarks, cadet branch, allied themselves with the Boltons and rebelled against Winterfell. For a House that spans 8,000 years, they don't seem to have spawned all that many junior branches. If they had to put down one rebellion from their kin, it's possible they had to deal with other ones.

As far as Benjen's status goes, Ned's chapters struck me as odd. 

We have absolutely nothing in his POV about Benjen (and I'm not talking about the quick mention of him to Robert in relation to the Night's Watch needs). We are given nothing in his POV after he finds out that his brother has gone missing beyond the Wall.

Ned thinks about Lyanna, about Rhaegar, Rhaegar's dead children, Robert, Catelyn, he mentions Brandon, thinks of his father, he thinks about Jon Snow, he thinks about his children, he thinks about people that were/are strangers to him but doesn't spare a single thought for the only sibling he had left and who is now missing beyond the Wall and who could be dead.

I think it's sort of messed up. 

So maybe Ned was relieved that Benjen had gone to the Wall because having him at Winterfell (or thinking of him after he had left for the Wall) might have inevitably dredged up some things Ned didn't want dredged up. 

Edited by Alexis-something-Rose

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5 hours ago, Br16 said:

A stark contrast to Tywin footing the bill for even Tyrion's vices.

A stark contrast indeed. But perhaps of Family Duty Honor mr Eddard wanted Benjen to hear him roar because winter is coming.

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9 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

think it's sort of messed up

A case of out of sight out of mind? Mabye he took Benjen for granted or seeing his face reminded him of Lord Rickard and Brandon's tragic demise?

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At first I thought maybe it's tradition for a Stark to take the black. Now it looks more like Benjen had something to do with the rebellion. Maybe he was the one who spread the lie and this is his punishment? It's also possible that it's something he did in his grief after losing almost his entire family. 

On 7/8/2019 at 9:23 AM, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Maybe he knew about the prophecy too. Maybe his joining the Watch was to keep an eye on any unusual activity in the far north, and alert Ned if there was any sign of the Others returning. Ned clearly didn't believe there was any such danger but Rhaegar did, and Lyanna might have, so Benjen might have as well.

Right. Perhaps Ned's "promise" to Lyanna included Jon ending up at the Wall. Maybe he sent Benjen there early so he would be an experienced officer able to look after Jon when he gets there. Or Ned might have always planned to send Jon to the Wall so that he could never claim a right to the throne just in case the secret came out. In GoT, he never protests Jon's desire to go to the Wall. Never talks about it or mentioned it even. 

19 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

Maybe Ned objected to Benjen going to the NW with the same energy he objected to Jon going to the NW. 

:rofl:   Good one. I always found it weird that Ned never even talked to Jon about him going to the Wall. 

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Why did Ned allow Benjen to take the black?

If I had to guess.  Yeah.  Lack of career opportunities.  Noble born do not sow nor fish.  They don't do manual labor.  There aren't many white collar jobs out there for anyone who has only trained to fight.  Benjen could have gone to the citadel but who knows if Stark pride and hubris would have made room for that choice.  Benjen had nowhere else to go.  He might have chosen to go east and signed with sell swords but Starks do not leave the north.  The Starks die when they leave the north.  It is written.  This is Known.  

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Don’t we all have that cool young uncle/aunt that we admire?

 

I think it’s simply for plot reasons: Jon had to learn about the NW in a detailed way before taking the black.

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Posted (edited)

Benjen is created as a Stark who has to be in the Watch, for some reason. There's no where else he can be.

It certainly is a sign that the Starks honour the Night's watch, so Benjen went to the wall.

He is there also to be a brief guide to Jon. For the rest, we will hopefully find out.

Other reasons are the same with why Brandon did not survive: Ned has to be alone and fail, and the Stark children (Jon including) to grow as charactets without their father.

If Benjen was, for example, in Winterfell during the war, things might went different. There is another Stark the kids can address to, and he'd be home. That sounds easy, and for them it shouldn't be easy.

If on the other hand, he was Ned's right hand, like Kevan, who was simply an addition to Tywin, then he would've shared the same fate as Kevan as a collateral victim, since Ned and Tywin were both betrayed and killed in King's Landing. 

Edited by The Sunland Lord

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Posted (edited)

who wants to live under his older brother roof, being bossed around by him and his wife? if the starks were a southen family, they might had a second castle or minor holding for Benjen to inherit, make him a knight or something, but since the starks only asset, as far as i know is winterfell, there were little options other than the NW.

Benjen is Basically Blackfish 2.0, but he chose the NW instead of serving as the captain of the Bloody Gate, if rickard didn't die in kings landing, i could see him marrying benjen off to some southen noble lady "southern ambitions", but since ned became the head of house Stark, and Ned political foresight and prowess is on the same level of HotPie (with all due respect to hotPie which actually is still alive in the series), he didn't saw any other options either and found an honorouble position to his younger brother.

and the way Benjen casually visits Winterfell on the king's feast shows me that ned and benjen relationship is on good terms, so it seems to me that the choice was voluntary and agreed upon by both sides, unlike the blackfish and his brother.

 

or i don't know, George just wanted an uncle obi wan benjenobi for young jon skytargwalker.

Edited by BlueNightzx

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