Game of Thrones - Most Memorable Characters Part I: Eddard Stark

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature

Eddard Stark, aka Ned, Games of Thrones, Played by Sean Bean, HBO TV Series
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*** This article may contain plot spoilers ***

The spectre of the Northern courage and honor, Eddard Stark, also known as Ned, is by far the most respected character in the Game of Thrones pantheon (based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire). And, yet, his reputation cannot said to be completely untarnished. For, in spite of his pride and honor, he failed to keep his marital vows and sired a bastard son, Jon Snow, with an unknown woman while fighting in the Robert's Rebellion—a rebellion against House Targaryen triggered by the abduction of Lyanna Stark, Eddards’ sister and Robert’s betrothed, by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Eddard Stark is the Lord of Winterfell, the capital of the North, until King Robert Baratheon, the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms and Eddard’s childhood friend, invites him to become his Hand—the second most powerful position in Westeros.

Eddard Stark loses his cool, unleashes his fury on Petyr Baelish, Game of Thrones, HBO TV Series
A Still from Game of Thrones: Eddard Stark loses his cool

At King’s Landing, the capital city of the realm, Eddard fails to come to terms with the intricacies of politics and gets caught in a web of chicanery. While investigating the mysterious death of the previous Hand, Jon Arryn, Eddard comes across striking evidence pointing towards the illegitimacy of Robert’s children with the Queen Cersei. When Robert gets killed by a boar during a hunting accident, Eddard tries to transfer the crown to Robert’s younger brother, Stannis, instead of his eldest son Joffrey. But, Eddard gets double crossed by the members of King’s Small Council as well as by the officers of the City Watch and Joffey is crowned as the king.

Eddard Stark's Execution on the order of King Joffrey, Game of Thrones, HBO TV Series
A Still from Game of Thrones: Eddard Stark's execution

Eddard is declared a traitor and is forced to make a confession. He yields in order to protect the honor of his family.  But, Joffrey nevertheless gets him executed to the dismay of his mother and the council members who had promised him amnesty if he confessed. Eddard’s execution triggers a war which comes to be known as The War of the Five Kings. Eddard’s gritty yet vulnerable part is played with scalpel-like precision by renowned English actor Sean Bean who also led the principal cast during the first season of the highly acclaimed TV series. Coincidentally, Bean had the privilege of playing a similar part in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings wherein he essayed the part of Boromir—the gallant and honorable son of the Steward of Gondor. 

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