When A Game of Thrones, the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, was originally released in 1996, it put forth to fantasy lovers a concept that the genre had heretofore refused to consider: “What If The Hero Dies?” When Benioff and Weiss then brought the show to the small screen in 2011, book fans were incredibly nervous. The series would not be worth watching if they didn’t hold true to that premise.
What most people probably remember the Monday morning after “Baelor” (Season 1, Episode 9) aired was the shock and indignation of show-watchers who could not believe the show just killed off the honorable and good-hearted Ned Stark. What I remember is the exhale of relief among my fellow book readers. This was going to be good. This was going to be very good. (And if show watchers were upset now, just wait until we reach Season 3.)
Although Sean Bean was only in nine hours of the program, the ghost of Ned Stark has been ever-present. That been more true in recent years, as the drumbeat of R+L=J sounded louder and louder. The return of “Young Ned Stark” in Season 6 seemed to bring everything full circle. Bran and the audience learned many truths about Ned is a short time span, from the truth about his sister to the through about his honor. Perhaps there were times when honor made his “Stupid Ned Stark.” But there was a time, back in the past when Ned Stark was not so honorable as to get himself killed. And there was a promise he made that he took to the grave, never even telling his own wife.
This beautiful fan made video by TheGaroStudios celebrates the life and times of Ned Stark. Although he’s long gone, let us now doff our hats and remember the most honorable man in all of Westeros.