Friday, 10 February 2017

Game of Thrones Gossip #4: Ned Stark

Welcome to my Game of Thrones Gossip, where all of us fanatics get the chance to discuss everything we love about this amazing TV series. I did a few spoiler free posts about the series last year but I found that there were other bloggers out there who were also itching to talk more freely about favourite characters and events without spoiling things for those visiting the blog. So I decided to do a whole series of these discussion posts that let us say everything we want and enjoy every second of it! The topics may talk about a death, an event, a character or be season reviews and so on. Please feel free to comment fully and without restriction!

I have to warn you that it is important that you have seen all six seasons before reading any of these posts because these posts and blogger comments will be oozing and exploding spoilers all over the place. If you haven't watched the series and plan to, be warned that it's a bad idea to be here right now! I take no responsibility if you read on and things are spoiled for you nor do I take responsibility for any mistakes on the pages I link you to.


This week I'm continuing with the season one theme and looking at Ned Stark. If ever there was a man with too much honour and integrity to live in the world of King's Landing, it was poor Ned! I've always been a big fan of Sean Bean as an actor and I loved his portrayal of the family man, keeping his secrets, trying to do the right thing and serve his King. But of course in Westeros, bad things tend to happen to good people!

I think anyone would want Ned Stark as a friend as he was totally loyal to Robert Baratheon before and after he became King, and was happy to do his duty governing the North and staying out of all the politics of King's Landing. However when Jon Arryn is murdered, Robert commands him to leave Winterfell and serve as Hand of the King in King's Landing, the last place in the world he wants to take his family, and it is indeed to be their downfall.

Poor Ned, surrounded by enemies. There are the hostile Lannisters who hate him, the despicable Joffrey who he is being railroaded into marrying his daughter Sansa to, the jealous Littlefinger who covets his wife Catelyn, the court spies...a lovely environment. Could he have said no to doing this and insisted on remaining at Winterfell where he belonged? 

It is obvious that family is his motivation. On discovering that his sister Lyanna had a baby with enemy fighter Rhaegar Targaryen behind the back of her betrothed Robert Baratheon, Ned was willing to risk his own marriage by claiming that Jon Snow was his bastard son, to protect him from Robert's wrath. Catelyn never liked having Jon at Winterfell, believing him to be proof of her husband's betrayal, unaware of the truth. Could Ned have told her? No. Her disgusted reaction to Jon was vital for Ned to keep up the cover story. Had Ned told his wife the truth, she would have treated Jon kindly which might have aroused suspicion in Stark enemies and perhaps in Robert himself. Certainly Cersei would have been suspicious. It was tough on Ned and Catelyn but there seems no other choice to hide the truth. The hints are there in season one about some kind of secret regarding Jon's mother as Ned never wants to discuss her with Robert but is considering telling Jon before they part for the final time. Bran knows the truth through the visions he experienced but when is Jon going to find out the truth? Will this revelation unite the Stark and Targaryen houses? Want to know!!!

Ned's sense of duty means he takes the job as Hand of the King for his old friend and starts to investigate the murder of Jon Arryn, convinced that the Lannisters were involved in it. Jon's squire Hugh was knighted right after his death but Hugh himself dies in combat at the hand of Gregor Clegane before Ned can talk to him. Discovering that Jon was investigating Robert's bastard children leads Ned down the same path and Cersei confirms to Ned that her children are indeed Jaime's as he suspects. Ned offers her the chance to flee but all he has done is seal his own fate by giving her time to plot the downfall of Robert and Ned. Being too kind to his enemy and her children will cost him his life.

We also see his decency when he reacts with horror to Robert's plan to murder Daenerys Targaryen because she is pregnant with Khal Drogo's baby. Ned rightly concludes that if they are left alone, Drogo will not have reason to bring his army across the sea. With Robert's death Ned tries to stop the attempt on her life but it is too late. Although she is saved by Jorah Mormont, the damage is done and Drogo declares war on Robert Baratheon, and of course Ned's letter to Stannis Baratheon about him being the rightful heir starts the war on the mainland. Renly Baratheon decides he also wants the throne and would be a better leader. Robb Stark joins the war when his father is arrested as a traitor. This is what you get Ned, for trying to do the right thing! Just start a great big hairy war! Poor bloke...

His ending was sad but inevitable as you watched the way the season unfolded. Placing his trust in the wrong people was crucial. Trying to do right by his enemies may not hhave been the right thing to do in terms of life expectancy but it was who Ned Stark was. I loved the character and did shed a few tears when he died.

What are your thoughts on the character?  

12 comments:

  1. Ned and Jon remain two of my favorite characters in GoT. You've really summed up Ned's downfall quite nicely. I agree that he couldn't tell his wife the truth about Jon because we all know Cersei would have found out one way or another. But, I wish he would have left a way for Jon to find out who he really is without drawing it out....and out....and out. Ned was a great family man and they really did chose the right actor to portray him. I have always wished Ned had taken Cersei down, but then I guess that would have seriously shortened the series.

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    1. I loved Ned and I didn't want him to die but I knew he was going to, as soon as he started his investigations. Poor Jon will be devastated by the truth but he is a Stark anyway. I want to know what happens now! You want to see Cersei fall yet without an evil Lannister it won't quite be the same! It also helps that Sean Bean is hot...! *giggles*

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    2. Yea, Sean Bean is definitely nice to look at in a very "I mean business manly way." At least Cersei got some punishment in the last season.

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    3. He's been on my list for many years now!

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  2. In the book if I remember right Catelyn tells him he has to accept the Hand of the King because Robert would suspect him otherwise, like why wouldn't he accept such an honor? She feels Robert would be suspicious.

    Ned is that rare breed- a man of honor who tries to live by his ideals. And yeah we see where it gets him. :) But he is admirable. There are some others I think who deserve attention for being honor too- Jeor Mormont, davos, maybe Bronze Yohn Royce. Kings Landing was no place for him. They even mention in the books that the "old gods" of the north have no power down there.

    The other thing is I think Ned should have taken Renly up on his offer. They could have taken Cersei and won, and then later Ned could have dealt with Renly if he needed to- but it might have avoided war. Or it may not.

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    1. I so need to get reading the books! I have a couple of series catchups this month and a few lone paperbacks to get to and then I hope to be reading these bad boys! Yes I agree that Joer Mormont is very like Ned when it comes to honour-defo doing a post on him at some point! I like Royce because he hates Littlefinger and look forward to more about him in the books.

      Ned needed to be ruthless to win and yeah, Renly had the right idea on a plan. But of course, Ned just has to do the right thing, not the winning thing! Gah!

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    2. We don't get a lot of Royce in the books but he strikes me as more of a badass than the guy on the show, who i thought just looked big but kinda buffoonish (could be just me). I'm trying to remember who has a flashback in the books- I think it's Sansa- about Royce visiting Winterfell and how it was a nice visit, even though Royce beat down Ned when they were sparring. :) There was apparently a closeness there.

      Love these posts!!

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    3. It would be nice to get more about this kind of character in the book, even if it isn't much. Maybe he will be the one to get Littlefinger! Now that would be satisfying.

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  3. OH YES!!! I love Ned Stark so much! almost as much as I love Daenerys Targaryen. If there is something almost as good as a girl raising despite all the obstacles in a world ruled by men is a man with honor. I was soooo happy when I learned the true story of John!!! I was like I KNEW IT!!! I KNEW IT!!! Ned wouldn't do that! too bad his wife died thinking he cheated on her :( :(

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    1. You always had a feeling there was some secret connected to Jon's mother with the way Ned wouldn't talk about it to anyone. That big reveal was exciting! I also felt happy knowing that Ned did not cheat...it just seemed right that he didn't!

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    2. See, I'm not that smart I guess LOL! because I always thought he DID cheat and that was the one character flaw they gave him to make it more realistic :)

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    3. In season one I thought he had cheated but I wondered if the mother of Jon was some female we met already like his wife's sister or something! That would've been good reason not to talk about it! I'm glad it wasn't something like that though.

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