Stark faces the Lannister queen with her incest, adultery, & attempted murder. He honorably tells her to take her family & leave.
She asks, puzzled, why he had not assumed the throne, having as good a title as anybody, being furthermore the battlefield victor… She says death is the alternative to the throne, for any House. Stark disagrees: He likes the private life, loves his wife, wants peace – but with honor.
The queen’s brother learns from their father that he should have killed Stark. That he should not fear conventions. That people will fear his family. That the family will live on while they die & rot in the ground. The father butchers his game. He hunts encamped for battle. – This young bodyguard, assassin, & jouster must now become a general.
The king returns mortally wounded from the hunt; the boar gored him, he killed it; he looks at the child he did not father, not even now daring to know, & confirms his succession; then he names Stark regent.
The king hunted drunk on his Lannister squire’s wine. He deserved everything he got, having painstakingly earned it by many mistakes, never concerned to win what he wanted & keep what he had.
The king’s weakling brother proposes to Stark a coup. Without this, they cannot rule. Stark refuses to defile the king’s death with bloodshed – & calls for the king’s other brother, who is at least a battle commander, to return & assume the throne, being the elder, which would start war with the Lannisters; Stark would have no support.
Then Stark calls in one of the king’s advisors, his wife’s former suitor, & an ambitious deceiver. He hopefully proposes a coup, convinced Stark sees necessity & opportunity: Stark should take power; ignore the king’s family; hold the Lannisters back with the threat of war & the promise of the throne for their children. Of course, this conniver would exact a modest price, but he says he would deliver gold & therewith the city guard… Stark refuses, also thinking this offer dishonor.
In the throne room, Stark confronts the Lannister queen with his new regency, relying on the conniver. He is promptly betrayed, his men assassinated, the conniver’s knife at his throat.
It may now be said that honest men think too many honest who merely so seem; & hopeful men also those who do not so seem. Also, that allies are available only when unnecessary; their reliability is a question, never a foregone conclusion.
Stark would not commit horror; but he walked in murder. He was not destroyed because he earned contempt; but because the sight of him terrified; his betrayers knew his honor meant unconquerable anger.