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Why did Rickard Karstark just give up?


Angel Eyes
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So in ADWD, we hear from Alys Karstark that when she was six years old, she and her father Rickard came to Winterfell in the hopes of charming Robb Stark. Then we learn that Rickard betrothed her to Daryn Hornwood, whose family's soldiers can't repulse one Ramsay Snow.

Simply put, why did Rickard just give up trying to get Alys to marry Robb and instead aim for a much lower prospect? Did Ned say something to him? Did Catelyn have different ambitions for her eldest son? It seems unlike Rickard given his track record of setting his mind to something (ie killing Lannisters).

Edited by Angel Eyes
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25 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

Then we learn that Rickard betrothed her to Daryn Hornwood, whose family's soldiers can't repulse one Ramsay Snow.

Could be worse. He could have gotten his daughter married into House Stark, which is so pathetic that they couldn’t repulse one Theon Greyjoy.

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Cheap shot at House Stark aside.... :rolleyes:

It's an interesting question, Rickard does seem to be very single minded. My guess is that Ned had to have firmly shut him down... for some reason. 

It would've changed a lot if Robb was engaged at the beginning of the war. It would be interesting to find out if Walder Frey would've accepted alternate terms to let Robb cross of if he'd have left him to face Tywin. 

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33 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

So in ADWD, we hear from Alys Karstark that when she was six years old, she and her father Rickard came to Winterfell in the hopes of charming Robb Stark. Then we learn that Rickard betrothed her to Daryn Hornwood, whose family's soldiers can't repulse one Ramsay Snow.

Simply put, why did Rickard just give up trying to get Alys to marry Robb and instead aim for a much lower prospect? Did Ned say something to him? Did Catelyn have different ambitions for her eldest son? It seems unlike Rickard given his track record of setting his mind to something (ie killing Lannisters).

I think it boils down to it was a difficult match to make by simply broaching the subject, which is why alys needed to charm Robb first. this did not work out as hoped and so a match wasn't made.

what happen in the meantime is unknown. there are probably only so many times Karstark could bring his daughter to winterfell on any pretense, and in the meantime a marriage to hornwoods was made, and that was by no means a bad match. the lands were good enough that bolton and Manderly almost went to war over them. better to take this deal than take the gamble of his daughter charming stark.

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56 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

Then we learn that Rickard betrothed her to Daryn Hornwood, whose family's soldiers can't repulse one Ramsay Snow.

The majority of Hornwood troops were south of the Neck with Robb, and Ramsay had over six hundred Bolton troops to ambush them. Nobody saw Ramsay's attack coming, and they actually captured him quickly enough (even if they thought he was Reek, he still would have been stuck in captivity without Theon's intervention). 

58 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

why did Rickard just give up trying to get Alys to marry Robb and instead aim for a much lower prospect? 

House Hornwood isn't an insignificant house. They've got a long history serving House Stark, just look at Cregan's forces. A Hornwood son co-founded an entire sellsword company, that requires some serious clout and pedigree. 

If anything, I'd say that Karstark and Hornwood are more or less on an even scale. Obviously House Bolton is stronger than either one of them, but it's not like Rickard was going to marry Alys off to Roose's bastard.

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5 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

Simply put, why did Rickard just give up trying to get Alys to marry Robb and instead aim for a much lower prospect? Did Ned say something to him? Did Catelyn have different ambitions for her eldest son? It seems unlike Rickard given his track record of setting his mind to something (ie killing Lannisters).

I mean, it's a hard thing to broach the subject of a marriage. It's a necessary thing, but my opinion is that generally in these cases it's the Lord Paramount that asks the hand of some House's daughter for his son. And there's not many good reasons to show up a lot with your daughter....

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6 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

Cheap shot at House Stark aside.... :rolleyes:

 

I figured I’d make a hyperbolic comment about House Stark, in the same vein as the original commenter made about House Hornwood.

Floki’s right. House Hornwood was overthrown by ambush when they were at their most divided and leaderless.

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Could be that Ned didn't wanted for his firstborn son to marry with a Karstark-girl because Starks and Karstarks already had multiple marriages between their Houses. So if Ned married Robb to Alys, it would have looked like he's favouring Karstarks too much, and disregarding all his other bannermen.

Look at the family trees of Starks and Karstarks - Rickard Stark's great-uncle Artos married with Lysara Karstark and they had two sons - Brandon and Benjen, both of whom married and had children. Though who were their spouses and children, isn't specified on the family tree. And on the family tree of Karstarks - if Alys is approximately same age as Robb, Rickard Karstark is approximately same age as Ned, then Rickard-K's parents - Unknown Karstark and his unknown wife, and also RK's paternal uncle - Arnolf Karstark and his unknown wife, possibly were descendants of Artos Stark and Lysara Karstark.

Could be that their children - Brandon and Benjen (whose wives and children are not on the Stark family tree, though there is written below them - Issue), both had daughters. Those daughters were Rickard Stark's second cousins. And could be that they both had married with the Karstarks. So one of those half-Stark half-Karstark girls was Rickard Karstark's mother, and the other was his aunt - the wife of Arnolf Karstark. That's why one of those girls named her son Rickard (K, Alys' father), and the other one named her son Cregan - because both of those girls were Starks by blood.

In other words - Alys Karstark's paternal grandmother was a Stark-girl. So if the Starks again married one of their own to Karstarks, it would have been frowned upon by their other bannermen. Because why Karstarks again? When will the Starks deem their other bannermen as being worthy of getting married with the Starks? So based on those reasons, Ned made Rickard to back off. Because if he didn't, then he would have insulted with his ambitions/greed all the other Great Northern Houses.

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On 10/7/2021 at 2:57 PM, Angel Eyes said:

So in ADWD, we hear from Alys Karstark that when she was six years old, she and her father Rickard came to Winterfell in the hopes of charming Robb Stark. Then we learn that Rickard betrothed her to Daryn Hornwood, whose family's soldiers can't repulse one Ramsay Snow.

Simply put, why did Rickard just give up trying to get Alys to marry Robb and instead aim for a much lower prospect? Did Ned say something to him? Did Catelyn have different ambitions for her eldest son? It seems unlike Rickard given his track record of setting his mind to something (ie killing Lannisters).

It would be easier to speculate about Rickard's thinking if we had any idea of what Ned and Cat's plans were for Robb. It's kind of a gaping hole that nothing is ever said about plans for marrying Robb prior to his alliance with the Freys. Doran Martell had to be seen lining up suitors for Arianne. Much of the political dynamic in the Vale concerns who will marry Robert and/or Harry the Heir. At the very least we should have heard about other lords attempts to arrange a marriage with Robb. That would have been one of the most important political issues in the North, especially with Robb getting older.

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7 hours ago, Groo said:

It would be easier to speculate about Rickard's thinking if we had any idea of what Ned and Cat's plans were for Robb. It's kind of a gaping hole that nothing is ever said about plans for marrying Robb prior to his alliance with the Freys. Doran Martell had to be seen lining up suitors for Arianne. Much of the political dynamic in the Vale concerns who will marry Robert and/or Harry the Heir. At the very least we should have heard about other lords attempts to arrange a marriage with Robb. That would have been one of the most important political issues in the North, especially with Robb getting older.

you're absolutely right. unfortunately we can only guess.

mine is that Ned and Cat hadn't started planning for their kids' future and Sansa's betrothal was their first step. other northern lords must have been thinking of getting Robb to marry their daughters too  but  Alys is just the one we hear about.  Unlike other lords , Cat and Ned neither sent their children to be fostered nor worked for prosperous marriages' just yet. It must have been deliberate on Ned's part considering his sister's fate after a marriage plan, and having lost his whole family one way or the other it's understandable to think he wanted to keep his family close. Cat however understood the power of political marriages though surely as an southern lady she would have thought that marrying the daughter of a bannerman isn't enough. we should also remember that Robb was only 14 and heir to Winterfell. as a boy 14  wasn't considered that old and there would have been plenty of time for proposals . moreover, as an heir he wasn't in desperate need of lands and castle as we see in case of Willas Tyrell (unmarried unlike his younger brother) , Renly and Edmure Tully.

Edited by EggBlue
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Given that Alys was 6. Robb couldn't have been more than 8.  Way too young for a betrothal, especially for the heir to a great house.  I think Ned and Catelyn were going to take their time on that in any case.  Check out all the options.  Though, given Ned's surprise at Robert's offer of a betrothal of Jorffrey to Sansa at 11, I'm not sure they were thinking much.  As for fosterage, I think GRRM has admitted that that was something of an oversight on his part, since Winterfell would logically have been a popular site for fosterage.  Part of it was not thinking about it, and part was a desire to keep the Stark kids somewhat isolated for their future story.

As for the Hornwoods their lands abut the Manderlys' and the Boltons', and are close to Winterfell.  Sound like a desirable location.  The Boltons were certainly willing to risk war, or at least serious fighting, to get hold of them.

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I get the suspicion that, in an early draft, Alys and Jon were supposed to develop some luv vibes at the Wall, a-la Val and Jon. I say this because this tale of Rickard Karstark wanting to 'charm' Robb was told by Alys to Jon Snow, in Dance. My hunch is that George cut out this subplot but kept some tidbits in the final draft, just enough to point that Alys and Jon acually knew each other from before (and they actually danced together at Winterfell).

 

Edited by Jon Fossoway
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Eddard knew that Lyanna had been unhappy when she was bethroted to Robert, and it seems likely that he knew she had eloped with Rhaegar willingly. He may also have wanted to marry Ashara Dayne, but ended having to marry Catelyn instead.

This past personal experiences may have convinced Ned to allow his children to choose their wives/husbands once they were old enough. If Ned told that to Rickard when he visited Winterfell with Alys, it makes sense for him to give up. He wouldn't want to keep his daughter unmarried hoping that Robb chose her in the future.

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5 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

and it seems likely that he knew she had eloped with Rhaegar willingly

I doubt of the likelihood of that assessment. In fact, I think that to Ned the possibility of his early teenager sister running away willingly is as alien to him as to you it would be that your 13 year old sister ran away willingly with a 24 marriaged man.

Less so I would say because westerosi women do not have free will on the matter.

 

 

5 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

He may also have wanted to marry Ashara Dayn

Even more unlikely given she dedicates her absolutely zero single thoughts.

 

 

5 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

This past personal experiences may have convinced Ned to allow his children to choose their wives/husbands once they were old enough

Ned completely ignored Sansa and Arya when it came to that decisions. You may argue that it was due their ages but that's never a point ever made or thought. It was just him knowing better.

 

 

On 10/7/2021 at 9:57 PM, Angel Eyes said:

Simply put, why did Rickard just give up trying to get Alys to marry Robb and instead aim for a much lower prospect? Did Ned say something to him? Did Catelyn have different ambitions for her eldest son? It seems unlike Rickard given his track record of setting his mind to something

I doubt Ned wanted his children to marry any time soon. He was less than happy to marry his daughter to the son of his very best friend.

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18 minutes ago, frenin said:

I think that to Ned the possibility of his early teenager sister running away willingly is as alien to him as to you it would be that your 13 year old sister ran away willingly with a 24 marriaged man.

I wouldn't want to derail this debate with discussions that should belong to a R+L=J thread, but if you accept that Lyanna went with Rhaegar willingly, and even if you assume that Ned didn't know about it during the war...

...then Ned would have surely learnt the truth after the Tower of Joy. He had the chance to talk with Lyanna, and after her death he could interview all the servants around. And Ned thinks of Rhaegar as an honorable man in his thoughts, which shouldn't be the case if he saw him as a rapist.

18 minutes ago, frenin said:

Even more unlikely given she dedicates her absolutely zero single thoughts.

I wouldn't draw many conclusions from that. Ned is not a sentimental man. He also dedicates zero thoughts to his mother, for instance. Or Benjen. And we only read him thinking about his father, Brandon or Jon Arryn in the context of him remembering the war or his investigations at KL, but not in a loving way.

18 minutes ago, frenin said:

Ned completely ignored Sansa and Arya when it came to that decisions. You may argue that it was due their ages but that's never a point ever made or thought. It was just him knowing better.

But he only accepted a marriage for Sansa when the king offered his heir. And he accepted it reluctantly, when Cat insisted that he couldn't refuse.

Not sure what you mean about Arya. Eddard didn't push her to marry anyone, and even supported her to engage in unladylike activities such as fenciing.

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2 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

I wouldn't want to derail this debate with discussions that should belong to a R+L=J thread, but if you accept that Lyanna went with Rhaegar willingly, and even if you assume that Ned didn't know about it during the war...

...then Ned would have surely learnt the truth after the Tower of Joy. He had the chance to talk with Lyanna, and after her death he could interview all the servants around. And Ned thinks of Rhaegar as an honorable man in his thoughts, which shouldn't be the case if he saw him as a rapist.

There's no need to, since that wasn't the point. The point is that Ned, like is, is a man of his time.

In his time, regardless what Lyanna might have told him, it's significance from him should be just once, just like I'm sure you wouldn't care much if you fourteen yo sibling promised you in their deathbed that they were hella in love with their escapee. 

Btw, he doesn't believe him honorable, just not the type of man to go to brothels. In fact Ned knew the latter about Robert his entire life and for most of it he still thought him pretty honorable.

 

 

2 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

I wouldn't draw many conclusions from that. Ned is not a sentimental man. He also dedicates zero thoughts to his mother, for instance. Or Benjen. And we only read him thinking about his father, Brandon or Jon Arryn in the context of him remembering the war or his investigations at KL, but not in a loving way.

He's pretty much sentimental man with his family, the living one, and with the ever present shadow of Lyanna.

There's simply the option that he gave far less thoughts to matters that weren't around him or were too painful to remember. Then again, Cersei throws Ashara on his face and he doesn't react in any manner regarding someone he may have wanted to marry. Seems pretty sus to me.

 

 

2 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

But he only accepted a marriage for Sansa when the king offered his heir. And he accepted it reluctantly, when Cat insisted that he couldn't refuse.

Not sure what you mean about Arya. Eddard didn't push her to marry anyone, and even supported her to engage in unladylike activities such as fenciing.

And then got her out of it when he didn't feel like it. In fact Ned going against a great marriage that her daughter greatly desired, points that he didn't learn that much from the Lyanna fiasco at all.

Arya told Ned time after time that he didn't want to marry like Sansa, just do her thing. Yet Ned still tried to turn her into a proper lady and marry her off eventually.

The only learnings he seems to have learned from the whole southern ambitions fiasco is not to rush things with his family. He's not Tywin, Doran or Jaeharys but he's not that much forward thinking.

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2 hours ago, frenin said:

I'm sure you wouldn't care much if you fourteen yo sibling promised you in their deathbed that they were hella in love with their escapee.

The actual context is a little bit more complicated, since Lyanna was 16 when she died. At that age, she was already a woman grown and old enough to marry by Westerosi standards.

But in any case my point was only that, regardless of whether he understood Lyanna's reasons for going with Rhaegar or not, Eddard may have thought that the fact that Lyanna had been unwillingly betrothed to Robert played a part on her decision to flee. And for this reason, he may have decided to wait. It's something that I feel it's in character and fits naturally with the setting.

 

2 hours ago, frenin said:

Btw, he doesn't believe him honorable, just not the type of man to go to brothels.

I never get the feeling, in Ned's POV, of him having any negative opinion of Rhaegar. Even when Robert explicitly verbalizes his hatred ("in my dreams I kill him every night. A thousand deaths is still less than he deserves"), Eddard doesn't say or think anything. And later on, he is "uncomfortable" at the thought of Robert still hating Rhaegar, which IMO implies that he doesn't (Suddenly, uncomfortably, he found himself recalling Rhaegar Targaryen. Fifteen years dead, yet Robert hates him as much as ever. It was a disturbing notion...).

2 hours ago, frenin said:

He's pretty much sentimental man with his family, the living one, and with the ever present shadow of Lyanna.

That's correct. But if you assume that not thinking of Ashara is proof that he didn't love her, then you should conclude that Ned didn't love his mother. ;P

2 hours ago, frenin said:

Arya told Ned time after time that he didn't want to marry like Sansa, just do her thing. Yet Ned still tried to turn her into a proper lady and marry her off eventually.

I think Eddard is more 'special' that you give him credit for. He clearly educated Arya with a lot of lenience, allowing her to own swords and befriend commoners, and he even procures her a fencing teacher.

And the fact that none of his kids has been betrothed or fostered away seems unusual by Westerosi standards. All the other great families have sent away (for squiring, fostering or marriage) some of their children.

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