I am watching Game of Thrones again. In season 2 episode 1 Stannis sends a message to all lords that Cersie's children are illegitimate. Robb also receives one and suspects that his father knew about it. He then confronts Jaime in his cell and talks about this.

My question is did he or Catelyn ever come to know for sure that this was the real reason his father rebelled against the crown and got killed instead?

I am interested in answers from both book and show perspectives.

  • I always assumed the reason Ned got his head chopped of (in the books as well as the show) because Joff had a fit and wanted to see heads rolling. Everybody who could look further then their own outstretched arm thought it a bad idea: which is why even Cersei, who liked Ned about as much as she liked her husband, wanted to send him to The Wall. She would keep Sansa hostage, and all this bloody business could have been avoided, since Ned openly took back his claim, before Joff went against everybody's wishes. As he denounced his claim of their illegtimacy, I would assume Cait & Rob knew why.
    – BMWurm
    May 9, 2017 at 10:32
  • Are you asking for the two versions to be compared? If not remove the [adaptation-comparison] tag
    – Edlothiad
    May 19, 2017 at 11:32
  • @Edlothiad i did not add that tag. It seems someone edited and added that later. I am not asking to compare adaptation. Will remove it.
    – HBhatia
    May 19, 2017 at 11:36
  • 1
    @BMWurm Your understanding of why Ned had his head chopped off is right-- Joff just liked chopping off heads. But the question is whether Robb and Cat ever really knew why Ned had been arrested in the first place. Yes, he openly renounced his accusations on the steps of Baelor's Sept, so a reasonable person could have inferred what he had done and why. But neither Robb nor Catelyn were there to hear it. May 24, 2017 at 15:33

2 Answers 2


Robb had his doubts, but no proof. While the Northern Lords are discussing their alliance plans moving forward we see this exchange:

“You cannot mean to hold to Joffrey, my lord,” Galbart Glover said. “He put your father to death.”

“That makes him evil,” Robb replied. “I do not know that it makes Renly king. Joffrey is still Robert’s eldest trueborn son, so the throne is rightfully his by all the laws of the realm. Were he to die, and I mean to see that he does, he has a younger brother. Tommen is next in line after Joffrey.”

"Tommen is no less a Lannister," Ser Marq Piper snapped.

"As you say," said Robb, troubled. "Yet if neither one is king, still, how could it be Lord Renly? He's Robert's younger brother. Bran can't be Lord of Winterfell before me, and Renly can't be king before Lord Stannis."

A Game of Thrones, Catelyn IX

When Catelyn is sent as an envoy to treat with Renly (and eventually Stannis because he decided to attack Renly at that time) she is still unaware, but soon finds out from Stannis.

Stannis frowned at her. "You presume too much, Lady Stark. I am the rightful king, and your son no less a traitor than my brother here. His day will come as well."

The naked threat fanned her fury. "You are very free to name others traitor and usurper, my lord, yet how are you any different? You say you alone are the rightful king, yet it seems to me that Robert had two sons. By all the laws of the Seven Kingdoms, Prince Joffrey is his rightful heir, and Tommen after him... and we are all traitors, however good our reasons."

Renly laughed. "You must forgive Lady Catelyn, Stannis. She's come all the way down from Riverrun, a long way ahorse. I fear she never saw your little letter."

"Joffrey is not my brother's seed," Stannis said bluntly. "Nor is Tommen. They are bastards. The girl as well. All three of them abominations born of incest."

Would even Cersei be so mad? Catelyn was speechless.

A Clash of Kings, Catelyn III

  • So they never came to know. Only suspicions.
    – HBhatia
    May 9, 2017 at 14:50
  • 1
    Well, for the characters in-universe there are only two who know for sure... Jaime and Cersei ( I think one of them also told Tyrion). The rest are only going suspicions, albeit strong suspicions. Us being a semi-omnipotent reader know different so it is easy to project our knowledge onto the characters.
    – Skooba
    May 9, 2017 at 16:47
  • No, My question is not about the illegitimacy of Cersie's children. Its about, does Robb know why Ned did what he did. Did Robb come to know that his father did it because he knew or strongly suspected the illegitimacy and not because he somehow became power hungry.
    – HBhatia
    May 10, 2017 at 7:24

No, they never knew but only had strong suspicions in the show.

I researched and did not find anything that says they had proofs which confirms their suspicions.

Although they had strong proofs for illegitimacy of Cersie's children. Following are excerpts from the conversation between Jaime and Catelyn before his release. S02E07

Catelyn: You are a man without honor.

Jaime: Do you know, I've never been with any woman but Cersei. So in my own way, I have more honor than poor old dead Ned.

This confirmed the relation between Jaime and Cersie and must have made their suspicions stronger.

Only thing that could confirm this was the letter that Ned wrote to Stannis after the death of Robert but that letter never reached Stannis. Carrier was captured and killed by Cersie before he left Kings Landing.

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