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I haven't read the books yet, but my question is why wasn't Ned Stark king instead of Robert Baratheon? Was it because the Baratheon house was more powerful than Stark?

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The question is, why would Ned take the throne? Why did Robert? –  TLP Feb 12 at 22:52
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Because.. Robert Baratheon led the rebellion and Ned Stark was just some random (and not very powerful) lord? –  Mooing Duck Feb 13 at 5:19
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Aerys demanded that Jon Arryn hand over Robert and Ned, who were his wards at the time. I wonder why Aerys wanted Robert in the first place, since it was Brandon Stark and his gang that had went to King's Landing and shouted for Rhaegar to come out and die. If Stark and Baratheon had been in open rebellion at that time, Rickard Stark would never have gone to King's Landing to "answer for his son's crimes". –  TLP Feb 13 at 5:50
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Either way, Sean Bean would die –  Shevliaskovic Feb 13 at 14:34
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He made it out of Ronin alive... –  Justin Ethier Feb 13 at 18:56
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5 Answers 5

up vote 38 down vote accepted

Essentially Robert had the better claim

The Family Tree here shows that his paternal grandmother was a Targaryen and thus his claim was solid.

In fact there are no significant marriages between the Starks and the Targaryens, so Ned had no "claim" to the throne. It's also abundantly clear that Ned did not want power for himself and had no interest in politics.

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Additionally, it was Robert who started and led the rebellion. More information here: gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Robert's_Rebellion –  Moogle Feb 12 at 16:47
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"claim" doesn't really mean much when you win a rebellion. –  Kevin Feb 12 at 17:13
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@Kevin - 'claim' is not everything after a rebellion, but its still very important. If your claim isn't solid it opens the door for others to raise objections and create their own rebellions. Just look at the War of the 5 Kings. Each felt they had a better claim. –  JBCP Feb 12 at 19:34
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@Kevin - The thing to keep in mind is that Robert's Rebellion was just that: a rebellion, not a revolution. The intent was to remove the king (and the Targaryen line), but no one was interested in overthrowing the Iron Throne. Sticking as closely as possible to the existing system -for example, by giving the Iron Throne to the person who would have had the strongest claim in that system- was a conciliatory gesture to the royalists, because it showed respect for the that system. This was likely instrumental in keeping the Seven Kingdoms stable, and Ned Stark would have respected that. –  The Spooniest Feb 12 at 21:17
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More accurately, Ned had no interest in or aptitude for southern politics. He was happy and effective as Lord of Winterfell. –  Royal Canadian Bandit Feb 12 at 21:31
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Consider this conversation between Cersei and Ned Stark in Chapter 45 of A Game of Thrones:

Cersei: You should have taken the realm for yourself. It was there for the taking. Jaime told me how you found him on the Iron Throne the day King’s Landing fell, and made him yield it up. That was your moment. All you needed to do was climb those steps, and sit. Such a sad mistake.

Eddard: I have made more mistakes than you can possibly imagine, but that was not one of them.

Ned never wanted the Iron Throne for himself. Especially since, as Dan pointed out, Ned's good friend Robert had the better claim.

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+1 for "Ned never wanted the Iron Throne for himself." I think that's the most important reason. –  Kevin Feb 12 at 17:14
    
After all, what's a throne or two among friends? –  Dacio Feb 12 at 18:32
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Yeah, look at how well it worked out for both of them. –  JBCP Feb 12 at 19:32
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Why is this answer not accepted? –  Mooz Apr 8 at 4:12
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Ned's sister was in love with Robert, and I suppose Aerys killed her. Then Ned's big brother Brandon asked for revenge, and he got also killed. So the Bareathons started war, not for being Targeryan, but for revenge and to end the injustice. Ned supported him because Robert was his best friend, and was fighting for his sister. The throne was not what he was looking for in his life, not even for Winterfell. He became Lord of Winterfell just because his older brother died.

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The war started because Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna (Ned's little sister) –  Shevliaskovic Feb 13 at 14:33
    
Right, and Ned's sister died after the rebellion, not before it... –  Justin Ethier Feb 13 at 14:35
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Robert was in love with Ned's sister. There's no actual evidence for the other way around. –  Mike Scott Feb 13 at 16:23
    
This reads more like a fanfic. –  Richard Feb 13 at 19:18
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Lord Eddard Stark is/was an honorable man. He loved Robert as his brother much as he loved his flesh and blood. He fought side by side with Robert not for a kingdom but for Justice. The kingdom was secondary... Once justice was served, Eddard saw no need or want for the throne. He simply wanted to go back North with the remains of his family and offer them a proper burial among the dead below the castle of winterfell. Also, Eddard would have respected tradition and the fact that Robert had a claim to the throne... Eddard did not.

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How did Robert have a claim to the throne? He won the rebellion and then he got the throne –  Shevliaskovic Jul 1 at 19:23
    
His grandmother was a targarygen... remember.. when Eddard found Robert's bastard son Gengry, Eddard claim he had more claim to the throne than Joffery.. even though he was a bastard... –  Damian Stark Jul 1 at 19:26
    
R+L = J is only a theory - even if a very compelling one - and you should acknowledge that accordingly. That said, what does Jon Snow have to do with Eddard's claiming/not claiming the throne? It's fairly irrelevant to the question in hand. –  The Giant of Lannister Jul 1 at 19:56
    
of course, you might be trying to say "Jon will make a claim for the throne because although he has Eddard's sense of honour and duty, he has a claim to the throne which Eddard did not". To which I would raise the counter-argument: Jon Snow turned down Stannis' offer to remove his bastard status and raise him to Lord of Winterfell, a position he had a strong and obvious claim to. What makes you think he would claim the Iron Throne and not Winterfell? –  The Giant of Lannister Jul 1 at 20:00
    
While I agree with this it is "sort of" a theory. You should have made that more clearer, but I think it is a good answer. Still I thought it was called "Ice and fire", because the Tangeryn's and Starks are fighting. –  iliveunderawesomerock Jul 1 at 21:55
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I think it's also fair to presume that he had the smaller army. Even if he tried, logically he'd be squashed in defying Robert's forces.

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Robert and Ned fought as one. Not as rivals –  Shevliaskovic Feb 13 at 21:42
    
I didn't say otherwise. –  user20178 Feb 14 at 0:34
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