As long as you’re thinking about the political maneuvering of 298, what do you think the ratio of “Carrot to Stick” of Robert’s procession North was? He definitely put a friendly face on the whole thing (visiting his best friend during a time of grief, offering a powerful office). On the other, he needed to keep the Starks in pocket after a key ally died, and you’ve frequently mentioned how visiting a vassal was a good way to “kill with kindness”. Was he worried about Ned stirring up trouble?

Mostly carrots, and Robert’s approach to Ned was all carrots. 

However, hitting the Darrys on the way there and the way back was definitely a stick. 

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