Crusader Kings II

Game of Thrones diary part four: staying alive in Crusader Kings 2′s Westeros

Rich McCormick at

Elsewhere in love, Tyrion’s marriage with Asha Greyjoy is going so well that he’s decided to become chaste, and Robb and Daenerys have just squeezed out their second child. They name this one Bran, another bit of nominative copycattery. I thought naming the first one Eddard was sweet, but now I’m worried Robb might just be terminally uncreative.

"I’m worried Robb might be terminally uncreative."

Robb’s also an ultra-wuss. He comes to me and asks for an honorary title, giving him some glory but meaning he’ll not have to do much. I decide to pick the burliest honorary title I have, and make him Master of the Hunt, assuming he’ll get some fresh air without cocking anything up.

It takes him two months to cock it up spectacularly, getting himself kidnapped while on duty. I imagine he fell into a big net while backing away from his own shadow. Luckily, Daddy’s here to go and save him. Being a burly Northman, I wave off the hired help and sally forth to go and bash the Robb-nappers up. I bring him – and a boatload of personal prestige – back to the castle at Winterfell, where I’m greeted by Mya and our new baby that she managed to pop out while I was out on rescue duty.

It’s a girl! As demonstrated by the birth of baby Batman, I’ve run out of girl’s names. Instead, I remember back to Robb’s naming conventions and how pleased I was to hear about my namesake grandson. In a move of tremendous egotism, I call my seventh child Nednina.

"Robb is crowing for some land of his own, and baby Batman needs a guardian."

It’s a tumultuous time for my kids. Bran’s reached an age where he can move in with his betrothed, so I send him packing off to the Vale to live with Pia – reminding him before he goes to knock before entering Lannister bedrooms. Sansa’s had what Crusader Kings II describes as her ‘bleedings’, and can therefore be married off for my own benefit; Robb is crowing for some land of his own, and baby Batman needs a guardian. I think there’s something backwards about that last one, but I let it slide and assign her education to the Maester. There are no eligible bachelors around at the moment so Sansa will have to wait, but a turn of events means I can help Robb.

One of my vassals, Daryn of Hornwood, has been caught plotting. I’ve been rash in my reactions to these kinds of plots before, but this one is a legitimate cause for concern: he’s trying to fabricate claims to the entire North, making him Lord and usurping the Stark family. This can’t stand, and I send a group of goons to duff him up and bring him back to me. They succeed in the former but fail in the latter, and Daryn escapes to put together an army.

A fight! It’s only a small one, but it’s a fight, something my men – and me – have been desperate for since I started to wear Ned’s skin. Daryn flits about his corner of the North, sacking small towns and moving on. I set Hornwood itself as my prize, and install my troops around the castle walls, starving Daryn’s pals out.

"A fight! It’s only a small one, but it’s a fight."

It’s not long before the upstart himself appears; he approaches me on the field of battle and I batter him around the head. My army takes him prisoner, I take his town, and before he can say anything seditious to his cellmate I chop off his head with my super-sword, Ice. His baby son comes to me, asking for his rightful land – at least I think that’s what he was asking, he’s two years old and there’s a lot of raspberry blowing – and I deny him outright. Hornwood is now mine. Shortly afterwards, it becomes Robb’s. My firstborn is happy, and at the cost of just one rebel head.

This is a great success for Ned: spotting a plot and stopping it in his tracks shows how he’s grown as a duplicitous, cynical sneak – exactly how I wanted to play him. I’m proud. Proud until I come home to Winterfell, and find Mya putting something strange in my wine glass. Mya likes me 100, and I like her 97: as close to a perfect match as possible. But, as I check the plot menu to confirm my fears, I see that Mya Stone – my new bride and the mother of my youngest baby – wants me dead.

So I married a murderer. Now what?

Can Ned survive his wife? Find out next Sunday in PART FIVE of the Game of Thrones diary.