Chapter 58 Summary
Eddard is in a stinking dungeon. There is no light; there is not even a slop bucket. Time begins to lose meaning. Ned damns himself for a fool as he worries over the deaths of his men and the fate of his family. Soon, his aching leg becomes infected, leaving Ned feverish. Suddenly, he vividly remembers the tourney at the Harrenhal, held in the year of the false spring. His older brother Brandon had laughed, Robert had fought joyfully in the melee, and Jaime Lannister had sworn his vows to the Kingsguard. Rhaegar Targaryen won the joust and shocked everyone when he named Lyanna Stark, rather than his wife Elia Martell, the queen of beauty. Ned's thoughts wander but are interrupted when Varys arrives in disguise. Varys informs Ned that Arya escaped and has disappeared. Sansa, meanwhile, remains betrothed to Joffrey. Varys's goal, he claims, is peace in the land. He asks why Ned warned the queen that he knew about Joffrey's parentage, and Ned replies that it was mercy. Varys returns that Ned's incarceration is the consequence of honor and mercy, as is the coming war. Now, he explains, Cersei will soon come to visit Ned. When she does, she will propose a deal that would end Robb's attack, which would in turn free the Lannister armies to defend King's Landing and Joffrey from Stannis Baratheon, a proven battle leader. Varys explains that in return Ned will serve the realm by bringing peace, saving his daughter, Sansa, and thus be allowed to live and join the Night's Watch.