The two men leave, Varys locks a gate behind them. The Wolf and The Lion by Game of Thrones

Below the Red Keep, underneath King’s Landing

One, Two, and Three

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Ned is in his chambers at his desk, Varys is speaking to him, walking around securing all of the windows before sitting down to talk more seriously. The Wolf and The Lion by Game of Thrones

Inside Ned’s “Hand of the King chambers”

One, Two, and Three.

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Arya Stark: No. That's not me. Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things by Game of Thrones

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Petyr Baelish: And tell me, Lord Renly, when will you be having your friend? The Wolf and The Lion by Game of Thrones

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Arya hidden from everyone telling her direwolf to leave. The Kingsroad by Game of Thrones

Though presumed to still be alive, this is the last time we’ve seen Nymeria on screen. Knowing full and well that Nymeria would be ill-willed after biting Prince Joffrey, Arya sends her loyal wolf off into the wilderness.

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Ned removes his badge and places it on the table in front of Robert. The Wolf and The Lion by Game of Thrones

One of the earliest examples of Ned being too good of a guy for his own good. In short, this quarrel is about Daenerys Targaryen. She’s a teenager (like a few of Ned’s kids) and has now wed a Dothraki warlord. The threat is, what if she convinces this warlord to cross the sea and reclaim Westeros for his wife — as technically she is the rightful heir to the throne, and to make things more tense, she’s now pregnant.

Ned is the epitome of an idealist. It is inconceivable for him to think that Robert, his friend, would even consider the assassination of a teenager and unborn child. It is undoubtedly a despicable act, Varys even agrees to this. But the reality of it, as Pycelle put, “she should die now so that tens of thousands might live” — Eddard can’t even fathom the logic behind this, as he only thinks ideally. Ned doesn’t picture Daenerys as the leader of some gruesome army, hell bent on reclaiming her throne, he sees her as a child; innocent, uncorrupted.

His second reasoning here even further demonstrates his idealist mentality. The Dothraki have never crossed the Narrow Sea, rumored to be afraid of it. Ned uses this as another reason as to why this isn’t a threat to their realm. Ideally it makes sense, but contingencies must be established, and as the saying goes, “better safe than sorry.”

This idealistic view that Ned sees in is the catalyst for his downfall. He is as pure as they come, unwilling to sully his honor in order to accomplish something for the greater good. Machiavelli in The Prince claims,

it is necessary for a prince wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong, and to make use of it or not according to necessity.

This philosophy would declare that Ned’s idealistic views are a threat to the realm, which is quite true. Remember, kill her and potentially save tens of thousands.

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Mord throws Tyrion into a “skycell.” The Wolf and The Lion by Game of Thrones

As if the Eyrie couldn’t get anymore intimidating, it’s home to “sky cells” which are three-sided prison cells. The fourth side, where normally, a wall or steel bars would be, is instead an open-air entrance to the depths below. The castle sits upon a mountain, and the fall from the sky cells would undoubtedly end in death. The lovable Mord is the keeper of the sky cells and jailer.

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Jaime stabs Jory with a dagger straight through his eye. The Wolf and The Lion by Game of Thrones

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Robert Baratheon: … Drink.
Eddard Stark: I'm not thirsty.
Robert Baratheon: Drink. Your King commands it. Gods! Too fat for my armor
The Wolf and The Lion by Game of Thrones

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ucDqLA3Os_4#t=90 (1:30)

Eddard and his undying passion for honor and duty. He declines a drink, but instantly accepts when the King “commands it.” And Robert is well aware of Ned’s ideals, which is why he insists Ned drink.

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Lancel Lannister: It's made too small, Your Grace. It won't go.
Robert Baratheon: Your mother was a dumb whore with a fat arse. Did you know that? Look at this idiot! One ball and no brains. He can't even put a man's armor on him properly.
Eddard Stark: You're too fat for your armor.
The Wolf and The Lion by Game of Thrones

A joke with deeper meaning! During the last eight years of his reign, Robert has discovered his love of food, women and wine, as demonstrated throughout this first season. Here, his personal squire, Lancel, can’t properly dress the King in his own armor because he’s grown too large for it. The King begins screaming and belittling Lancel, but leave it to good ol' Ned to calm the situation down.

A key concept to Aristotelian ethics is “eudaimonia”, which basically means “human flourishing.” It is something that men strive for, a perfect balance (the golden mean) in virtues. As it’s established, Ned is the most virtuous character in our story. Here he demonstrates this by balancing honesty and sensitivity. Ned makes his very blunt “fat joke”, which makes him and King Robert laugh hysterically, making the King no longer mad. Ned has balanced competing virtues in this situation and it pays off. It isn’t the first, or last time Ned’s done this.

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