Monday, March 26, 2012

Game of Thrones: The Father - Ned Stark

Game of Thrones returns this Sunday and I am stoked. Fair warning. This week, I'll be talking all about season one. If you haven't seen it and you still intend to, you'd best be gone. I intend to spoil the crap out of it - starting with today and perhaps the most shocking television moment of last year.

Sean Bean as Eddard Stark on Game of Thrones Season One Sean Bean as Ned Stark Hand of the King
Confession time. I'm a total Lord of the Rings geek. So seeing Sean Bean dressed up in Boromir garb was enough to make me give Game of Thrones a shot. Happily, I wasn't disappointed.

Sean Bean and Maisie Williams as Ned and Arya Stark on Game of Thrones season one Eddard Stark
Unfortunately, I can't claim to be part of the elite group of readers who has known this story for close to sixteen years now. But from the first episode, it was clear that this was a story ripe for television.

Sean Bean as Eddard Stark on Game of Thrones Season One Sean Bean as Ned Stark Hand of the King
Eddard Stark, lord of the North, is a Shakespearean character of the highest order. He's got fatal flaw oozing out of his ears. His rigid attachment to honor not only gets him killed, it puts his entire family into great jeopardy.

Sean Bean as Eddard Stark on Game of Thrones Season One Sean Bean as Ned Stark Hand of the King
Having read the book after seeing the first season in its entirety, I was struck by two things.  One: Sean Bean is not in his late thirties as Ned Stark is meant to be. And two: HBO was sort of genius in only casting a true well-known in the role of Ned. Yes, he's a large character in the book and his death is shocking. But the way the novel shifts between points of view, he's far less THE lead character. Making him the most recognizable face on the show made his beheading that much more shocking.

Sean Bean as Eddard Stark on Game of Thrones Season One Sean Bean as Ned Stark Hand of the King
I was spoiled by a dillweed on IMDb who created a thread titled "Question: Possible Spoilers" and then their question was "Do you think Ned will be decapitated like he was in the book?" POSSIBLE spoilers?! POSSIBLE!? Needless to say, I was irritated.

Sean Bean as Eddard Stark gets his head cut off on Game of Thrones Season One Ned Stark Hand of the King
So I wasn't shocked when Ned lost his Ned Head. I was saddened and it remains one of the best television moments I've ever seen. For all his good intentions, Ned couldn't play The Game of Thrones the way it needs to be played - ruthlessly and with great subtly. Ned wore his honor like armor and it was a dire mistake. I'm sad Boromir won't be on the show anymore, but the crazy fallout from his death certainly will be fun to watch. Six days from now, GoT will be back! And I have about 325 other characters to discuss before then!! Ah!!

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