MBTI: Ned Stark- ISTJ
Spoilers! You’ve been warned!
About the only thoroughly noble character in the entire series, Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark’s goal in life was a simple one- rule Winterfell and live a long, peaceful life. Of course that didn’t happen, as his induction into the capital as Robert’s Hand of the King eventually led to his death.
But the fact also remains that while everyone else chose to slither around like a bunch of snakes to get something they wanted, Ned played the role of the steadfast ISTJ, that doesn’t see how life is worth living unless you have your honor and principles to keep you strong.
Ned’s early line of “The man that passes the sentence should swing the sword” could be an ISTJ motto in a sense, though a bit harsh for the modern times (more or less). Doing things yourself and keeping to yourself seem to be as important as the other in their world and its about what they live by.
You’ll never come across an ISTJ that doesn’t want to tell you how to do this helpful thing around the house or that thing to help you if your car won’t start. Whatever they’re expertise is, they’ll be sure to pass it to you because if you can’t do these things, what do you do with your time?
Ned’s time in the capital showed audiences and himself that dealings with anyone that appeared less than direct was a difficult thing to judge, as is the way of the ISTJ. Not necessarily gullible, ISTJs live their lives by saying what they think when they think it’s appropriate and dealing with matters in the most straightforward manner. Anything else is just confusing to them.
Even the description of Ned in the Wiki of Ice and Fire sounds strikingly close, if not a bit more dramatic, to that of an ISTJ.
‘Eddard is known for his unwavering sense of honor and justice and his family finds him kind, although some consider his reserved personality a sign of coldness and disdain.’
Because an ISTJ is not only prone, but nearly slave to routine due to dominant Si, many would look at their way of life as being boring, but to the ISTJ, comfort is found in the familiar. The only thing Ned wants are the simple things; his family, his home- he doesn’t even want to rule King Landing and the seven kingdoms when he gets the chance, he only wants what’s already his.
Ned took place in Robert’s Rebellion because the Mad King was no good for anybody, while actually taking the crown for himself didn’t seem to be a thought for him. He’s criticized by Cersei for this, though Ned disagrees, claiming that for as many mistakes as he’s made, taking the crown and throne wasn’t one of them. Having total control isn’t a usual ISTJ desire past control of themselves and their own worlds. An ISTJ will usually only lead when there isn’t anyone else, but past that, they prefer clear instruction if they’re to be instructed at all.
And as the earlier quote suggests, Ned’s unwavering sense of justice also puts him at odds with those that don’t entirely share his viewpoint of ‘honor over everything.’ Ned and the ISTJ you know may see themselves at rock steady and reliable and this may be true- but to many, this just means rigid and stubborn. For the first two seasons, we see Jaime Lannister as the man he is- cocky and amoral. When his killing of the king is mentioned, specifically by Ned, it’s spoken of with disapproval even though everyone knew it needed to be done.
So by the third season, Jaime tells his point of view to Brienne, he angrily reveals that even though he did what needed to be done, being seen as anything other than a traitor by Ned was hopeless. It’s easy to see how judged Jaime feels by a guy that prides himself on doing the same things day in and day out.
While for Ned the ISTJ, there isn’t any other way.