Ned is sitting alone, apart from a huge wolf that lies at his feet. As he hears voices raised in anger from behind him, he and the wolf look at each other in a shared expression of frustration. Ned sighs, and the wolf looks back at the world below. They both seem to be waiting for something.
Viserys: I am NOT cruel, stupid, and weak!
Stannis: You did NOT need that extra comma!
Viserys: WHAT DID YOU SAY?
Stannis: Never mind. No-one else ever cares! I can’t help it if your ignorance knows no bounds, but there are rules, and those rules SHOULD NEVER BE BROKEN! Without rules there can only be anarchy!
Robert: Give it a rest, Stannis!
Viserys: The usurper agrees with me!
Robert: No, I bloody don’t. And I am not a usurper!
Stannis: There are plenty of usurpers here, Viserys. My brother may have been inept, but he wasn’t one of them.
Robert: Inept? INEPT?
Ned shakes his head. This is not a new argument. He is joined by two handsome, smiling men and a young girl. A wolf trots along behind the girl. This wolf is much smaller than the first — not much larger than a dog. The wolves greet each other as siblings.
Renly: I see my dear brothers are at it again.
Loras: This is why we don’t come over here. It’s toxic masculinity at its worst.
Shireen: I always wanted to meet a Targaryen. I think I like the look of Daenerys more than that one. Besides, she has dragons.
Loras: Yes, we all have high hopes for Daenerys.
Renly: (to Stannis, Robert and Viserys) HEY! Which one of you is the worst brother? Now that’s an argument I want to hear!
Stannis: QUIET, USUR-
He sees Shireen and stops. She holds his gaze without fear, without anger and without hate. Stannis flinches and visibly deflates. He scurries away. Shireen looks up at Renly and Loras, smiles gently, and walks away in the opposite direction to her father. The small wolf follows her.
Robert: That poor girl.
Renly: She is doing much better now. Thank you for giving her the wolf, Ned.
Ned: Lady is not mine to give. She is waiting for Sansa, just as Summer here is waiting for Bran. But Lady is a gentle soul, and she knows something about being sacrificed.
Ned looks down, ruefully. Robert looks sheepish.
Robert: Look, Ned, about Lady…
Ned: It’s forgotten.
Renly: Is it? Shireen may have forgiven her parents, but she has not forgotten what they did. It was only her forgiveness that saved them both from Cat. Strangely, Lady Stark wasn’t interested in finding out if I forgave my brother…
Robert: What happened to her was rather worse than what happened to you.
Renly: It’s not a competition, brother.
Robert: Certainly not a close one.
Loras: (laughing) Look, Missandei is correcting Daenerys’s grammar; get Stannis back, he’d love this!
Viserys: (whispering to Ned) Have you ever noticed the Tyrells’ uncanny ability to change the subject when things get awkward?
Ned frowns; he has never noticed this before. He stares at Loras, who gives him a barely perceptible smile in response. Margaery appears with Tywin.
Margaery: Brother! And my first Baratheon husband! What a delightful surprise.
Robert: He was your only Baratheon husband. Those kids were Lannisters, whatever their grandfather called them.
Tywin looks furious.
Robert: Let’s see what your children are up to, shall we? That bloody woman is turning into the Mad Queen. Jaime looks like he can’t decide whether to bend the knee or stab her in the back. Obviously, I hope it’s the latter, but you never can tell with those two. And Tyrion is planning to storm Casterly Rock. Who are you cheering for?
Tywin seethes with barely suppressed rage.
Margaery: Did you hear what Grandmother said? She is in fine form today.
Loras: Oh yes.
They laugh. Viserys looks pointedly at Ned.
Margaery: I wonder if Tyrion and Sansa will re-marry. She seems to remember him fondly. It would be a clever choice.
Loras: It didn’t work out so well last time.
Margaery: But she is older and wiser now.
Viserys: There’s something I don’t understand.
Robert: (under his breath) That’s not surprising.
Viserys: They keep having conversations as if they’ve only just met. My sister and Varys, Tyrion and that Dornish woman… But they’ve been allies for ages. My sister crossed the Narrow Sea on the same ship as Varys. It doesn’t make sense.
Ned: (whispering to Robert) He’s very perceptive today. It’s unsettling.
Margaery: Oh look! Hot Pie!
Robert: Pie? Where?
Ned: Hot Pie. Remember, I told you to keep an eye out for him.
Robert: Oh yes. It’s just hard to keep track of all the common folk.
Ned leans forward to watch his daughter. The others are silent. Ned’s eyes get misty when his daughter’s face lights up.
Ned: (whispers) She’s going home.
He smiles at Summer, then they both gaze longingly at the world below. The others slowly fall back, leaving him to watch his daughter. Only Robert stays.
Robert: She is so much like your sister.
Ned is silent, but he nods slowly.
Robert: She’ll be alright.
Ned: It’s a long way back to Winterfell. And winter is here.
They hear two howls behind them. Ned doesn’t look away from his daughter, but Robert turns to see two enormous direwolves approaching, with Robb and Rickon following close behind. The Starks gather to watch as Arya makes a fire.
Rickon: The pack is coming.
Robert is unsure if he means here or there, but doesn’t want to break the silence. When the wolves circle Arya, the ghostly direwolves look tense. As they turn their back on Arya, the direwolves howl, an eerie noise that still makes Robert shiver.
Robert: Was that Nymeria?
Ned: I don’t know. She was only a pup when I last saw her.
Robb: We will see her again.
Robb and Rickon turn away to leave.
Robb: Are you coming, father?
Ned: I can’t. I can’t leave Arya on her own. When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.
Robb: She won’t be a lone wolf for much longer.
Ned’s sons and their direwolves leave him to his vigil. There is an uneasy silence, which is broken suddenly by Robert’s enthusiastic outbursts.
Robert: YEESSSSS! Girls! Fighting! Violence! Wait, hang on, I can barely see anything! What’s the point in violence if you can’t see it!
Ned: Who are you cheering for?
Robert: It’s Greyjoys versus Greyjoys, I don’t care that much. Oh, wait - Oberyn’s not going to like this. One of his daughters has just been murdered. No, hang on — make that two.
Ned: Which two?
Robert: I never learned their names. Barbara or something. And another one.
Ned: Doran will have a few words to say to them.
Robert: That will be fun. Cat! CAT! CAAAATT!
Catelyn appears, wiping her hands.
Catelyn: What is it?
Robert: Are you still desperate to get your hands on that Greyjoy boy? I don’t think it will be long before he joins us.
Robert: That’s the one.
Catelyn: I’m not sure what is left for me to do to him. I have little use for broken things. I prefer to do the breaking. Especially if takes a long time.
Robert: Most of your guests break quickly, I’d imagine.
Catelyn: Freys always do. Joffrey did. The High Sparrow took longer. The Boltons, however, are taking some time.
She looks at him. There is another uneasy silence, as husband and wife stare at each other. Fortunately, they are interrupted.
Margaery: Lady Stark! I wonder if I might pay a visit to my second husband.
Catelyn: A painful visit?
Margaery: Is there any other kind?
Catelyn: I shall take you in now.
Without looking back at Ned, she walks off with Margaery.
Ned: (to himself) Every time! It is uncanny!
Robert: I really should have married her.