A Game of Thrones-Chapter 1
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It is the ninth year of summer. Seven-year-old Bran is traveling with his father lord Eddard Stark and twenty men to see his father dispense the king's justice. It is the first time that he was allowed to join. Bran's older brother Robb thinks he must be a wildling, sworn to Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, which makes Bran think of the tales Old Nan has told him about wildlings.
When they arrive it turns out to be a deserter from the Night's Watch. They bring the man forth an old man dressed in black who has lost his ears and a finger to frostbite. Lord Eddard questions the man briefly, and then Theon gives Eddard his Valyrian steel sword Ice. Jon Bran's bastard brother tells him to watch and not look away, and Bran watches as his father strikes off the man's head. The head lands by Theon, who laughs and kicks it away. Jon, calls Theon an ass and compliments Bran on his poise during the execution.
On the way back to Winterfell, Robb and Jon argue about whether the deserter died bravely. They race their horses, and Eddard comes up to speak to Bran. He asks if Bran knows why he executed the man himself. He explains that the First Men, of whom the Starks are descendents, believe that the man who pronounces the verdict should do the execution himself, lest he become too comfortable in ordering deaths. The Starks still hold to that principle.
Jon calls from up ahead, for them to come see what he and Robb have found. They find a corpse of a direwolf, as large as Bran's pony, Theon comments that direwolves have not been seen south of the Wall for two hundred years. Robb is cradling a pup, of which there are five, and he gives one to Bran. When they inspect the mother's corpse, they find a large piece of shattered antler lodged in her throat. The soldiers in the company feel this is a bad omen. Theon offers to kill the pups, but Bran won't let him. Robb says they will keep them. Jon points out that there are five pups, one for each of Eddard's legitimate children, and that they are meant to have the wolves.
Eddard says the children must feed the pups themselves, not pass them off to the servants, and must treat them well lest they become dangerous as they grow older. As they begin to ride away, Jon hears a noise and goes back to discover a sixth cub, an albino with red eyes, that had crawled away from its mother. He claims it for himself.
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Notes and References
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