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Tell Me

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Hoster Tully & Catelyn Tully

You are your mother’s daughter. Lysa has my stubbornness and my insistence on having my way in most things. Edmure has my pride and my temper. But you, Cat, you have your mother’s calmness, her serene way of taking in the chaos of the world and building a nest of tranquility in it, despite that chaos, despite all the uncertainties.

Perhaps that is why you have always been my favorite. You would disapprove, of course, had you known, just like your mother would have disapproved, had she lived. A father (or a mother, for that matter) is not supposed to have favorites. But I do. Oh how I do!

Brandon Stark was a great match from a great House. I wanted that for you. I wanted great things for you, Cat. It was not all for the greater glory of House Tully and Hoster Tully, despite what your uncle may wish to believe.

Brandon made you laugh. My serious, solemn daughter, weighed down by duty and responsibility beyond her years, laughing, smiling, and blushing just like any other shy maiden.

I never asked you what you wanted. You never wanted that horrid, ungrateful Baelish boy, did you? You were better than that, I always knew you were. My daughters should know their own worth. I tried to teach Lysa that, but it was too late by then.

Tell me that he has made you happy, Cat. Brandon’s solemn younger brother, as weighed down by duty and responsibility as you are. Tell me that Ned Stark has made you happy, child.


Ned Stark & Sansa Stark

The bells rang long and loud at Winterfell the day you were born. The first of our children to be born in Winterfell, the first to be born in times of peace. I was with your mother when her birth-pains started, as I had not been when she gave birth to Robb at Riverrun amidst war and bloodshed.  

I wept when your mother handed you to me, this tiny, squalling infant whose head was no bigger than my palm. You mother thought those were tears of joy I was shedding, and she drew us both into her warm and soothing embrace.

But they were tears of fear I shed, in truth. Fear of what I had the power to do to you, fear about all the things I might do to hurt you, this daughter of mine.

“You can’t ever understand, Ned. You’re his son, not his daughter.” Those were my sister’s words as she lay dying, as she tried in vain to make me understand how she could run, how she could turn her back on her father and her brothers, how she could have turned her back on her own life and everything she knew.

Unlike my sister, you did not cry or utter a word of protest when I told you about your betrothal.

I am not my father. I am not forcing you to wed a man (a boy, really, for that is what he still is at the moment) you absolutely loath to wed. You were delighted, in fact, full of words of praise for your intended, full of beautiful dreams and sweet imaginings of your glorious and happy future.

I am not my father. But perhaps I am worse. I took advantage of your sweet, gentle and trusting nature, encouraged it, nurtured it, and in the end, left you defenseless.