That's the end of the planned announcements. Anyone else? Yes! Sansa creeps forward and would like to speak. She's announced formally as "Lady Sansa of House Stark." I think that's the first time I've heard her called "Lady Sansa." She nervously but formally asks for mercy for her father. This prompts some pontificating along the lines of how treason is a noxious weed that must be torn out, but Joffrey wants to hear her out. She agrees that her father must be punished, but argues that he never wanted to be Hand in the first place. And what about his conspiring with Renly and Stannis? She suggests that they lied to him. She's trying to paint a picture of Ned as an incredibly naive person, which isn't actually all that far off. Joffrey gets to the thing that he actually objects to: "He said I wasn't the king. Why did he say that?" Sansa turns out to be a pretty good advocate, because she points out that Ned had been injured (without mentioning who did that) and had been given the milk of the poppy. So he was all hopped up on poppy-juice, Your Majesty! He didn't know what he was saying! Varys pretends to be touched by her sweet, innocent faith. Pycelle takes a stronger tack: "Treason. Is. Treason." Joffrey asks if she has anything else, and she goes for broke, appealing to the kindness he feels in his heart. He considers, then announces that her sweet words have moved him. Except that Ned has to admit that Joffrey is king, "or there'll be no mercy for him." Sansa promises, "He will."
Okay, obviously Sansa is obnoxiously naive and would probably sell out her entire family to get to have a royal wedding. But I think she did a great job there. She presented a line of argument that would allow Joffrey (and Cersei) to let Ned out of prison without losing face, and if Ned would accept it, he might actually get to go home. Obviously he might not want Joffrey to be king, and obviously he might not think Joffrey ought to be king, but it's hard to argue against the fact that Joffrey is king. He's up there on the throne, issuing pronouncements! All Ned has to do is shrug, admit that he lost, and tell Joffrey he was in a poppy-fueled daze. It doesn't seem like he's going to do that, but Sansa did a great job identifying the line of play that could save him.
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