Ned’s roots lie deep in his personal honor and heritage. His place in “the north,” and extending family roots beyond the Wall, are important to him. He tells Catelyn that she may not be “of the north,” but she “delivered northern children,” thus she is forever tied to him. His loyalty to Robert Baratheon causes him to travel to King’s Landing, where he carefully follows detailed clues about the true lineage of the queen’s children that open his eyes to a broad image of what happened. Ned prefers a quiet, predictable life. He sometimes reminiscences on the past, but it also stirs feelings of pain at his losses. He believes in the letter of the law, and in carrying it out, regardless of his personal feelings. Those who abandon the Night’s Watch must die, though he hates doing it; he tells Bran that one must always execute a man himself, if he orders it – so the loss is never callous. Ned’s word is his bond. He is a good handler of money, not inclined to waste it (he argues that wars are expensive). He tends to act on his feelings at times (threatening Littlefinger, resigning as the Hand when his ethics are violated). His concern for his wife and children runs deep. He is so compassionate, in fact, that he intends to give the queen warning, so she can escape with her life and the lives of her children. It proves a fatal mistake. Ned refuses to talk about what went on in his past, in emotional terms; the king’s repeated attempts to get him to “share” about his former conquests meet with stubborn silence (though, there is more there than Ned is letting on). He works hard to instill personal duty, ethical responsibility, and strong beliefs in his children. Ned flat out believes murdering Dany is wrong – enough to walk out in disgust from a council meeting. Ned doesn’t see what Littlefinger is up to until it is too late. He doesn’t expect the queen to turn on him or use her power against him. He didn’t see the truth about “the murder” or the reasons behind it. His cautious approach to what is going on does save his children up to a point, but his inability to piece together the larger threat quickly condemned them all. Ned is careful, and suspicious, but his compassion overrides his fear.

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While the king whored his way through the wars, Ned remained faithful to his wife. When his sister asked him to hide her child and claim it as his own, out of duty and loyalty, he did so – with little regard for how his wife might respond. He insists upon performing all executions himself, and that his children do not shy away from it, because he wants them to remember the burden of power. Ned is a fair, sincere, honest man, committed to doing what is right. He cannot turn away if the king asks him to serve. He will hear nothing negative about those he loves. He will tolerate no misbehavior. He expects his children to behave, but he is also friendly, likable, and warm toward those he loves. His 9 wing makes him want to avoid conflict, eager to make peace between his wife and Jon, and not disappoint the king in becoming his Hand. He focuses mostly on being the best man he can be, not on reforming others.