This blog post has major spoilers for the sixth season finale of Game Of Thrones. If you did not watch it, and don’t want any spoilers, come back once you’ve done that. Gone? Alright, good. Let’s start then!
Never have I felt so much for a fictional dead character as much as I did today. One that has been dead early on in a story, might I add. For those of you who watch Game Of Thrones, or read the “Song Of Ice and Fire” books, would probably know who I would be talking about. That’s Eddard Stark, also known as Ned Stark.
Ned star was always portrayed as an honorable man (Probably the most honorable) in the story. His unwavering sense of honor and justice always made him an extremely likeable character. From the very first moments of the story, when Ned Stark executes a deserter of the night’s watch, and explains to his little son Bran why he had to do it personally, lays down the basis of his personality, and almost immediately makes him a character to be viewed highly of.
“The man who passes the sentence, should swing the sword” Is a very memorable quote by Ned Stark. It was what he said to his son explaining why he had to proceed with the execution personally. Now I remember when I first heard him say this, and it instantly engraved the idea of this character being such an honorable knight, unlike most of the other characters you see in the story.
A few moments later, Jon Snow is introduced. Also known as Ned Stark’s bastard. You see, honorable men, do not have bastards. They’re people with principles, codes, and loyalty. So when Jon was first introduced, it made me think that maybe in the world of Westeros, no one’s really fully honorable. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has secrets. Now even though Ned Stark was loved by all of his family and the people around him, It’s his wife Catelyn that suffers the most when she’s remembered of the harsh truth that her husband left for war once, and came back with a bastard.
“You rode off with Robert Baratheon, you came back a year later with another woman’s son. Now you leave again.” Is what Catelyn said to him in one of the scenes from the first episode.
“I have no choice.”
“That’s what men always say when honor calls. That’s what you tell your families, tell yourselves. You do have a choice, and you made it”
You can’t help but sympathize with Catelyn at this point, because it does feel like Ned made a mistake, a mistake that has been a burden for him ever since. But at least the man took responsibility, and raised Jon Snow just like his other sons, even though Catelyn kind of loathed the poor bastard kid.
We’ve lived with that fact, and Ned Stark eventually died in King’s Landing. There were many theories out there stating that maybe Jon Snow isn’t Ned’s son after all, because it reflects back to an event that happened after Ned rode off with Robert Baratheon’s rebellion. Something that happened in a place called The Tower Of Joy, where Ned Stark found his dead sister in, kidnapped by prince Rheagar Targaryan. After that, Ned came back with Jon. It was hinted at that Jon was Laynna (Ned’s Sister) and Rheagar’s son, but never truly confirmed… Until today.
In a flashback sequence from the point of view of Bran Stark, he sees his father entering the tower of joy, finding Lyanna laying down on a bed, covered in bloody sheets, crying. She then continues to reveal that she had a son, and that son is Jon Snow. She says “If Robert finds out, he’ll kill him. You know he will. You have to protect him. Promise me Ned, Promise me.”
Now looking back to everything back from the very first episode of the first season, you can’t help but appreciate how much of an honorable person Ned Stark. A man who held a burden so very heavy, in order to fulfill a promise to his sister, and protect his nephew. This can be seen in various scenes and moments.
The first being the moment when he spoke to Catelyn, and that he had no choice. Now you fully realize, he really did have no choice. He had no choice because at that very moment, honor called, and the honorable lord answered the call…
Another moment is when Robert Baratheon said that he had to wipe out every single Targeryan out there, and at the moment, Daenerys Targaryen was the only know one alive, little did he know, that Jon Snow was technically a Targaryan, and Robert’s hate for the Targaryans is beyond description, even though what Rheagar did was no true abduction (At least as far as we know) And Ned throughout the entire dialogue, had this sense of defense against what Robert was saying. If Ned Stark hadn’t took the responsibility of claiming Jon as his bastard son, Jon Snow would’ve perished a long time ago, before even the end of the rebellion, and it would’ve caused dispute between the families, since Robert loved Lyanna deeply.
That moment of epiphany in the season six’s finale just made me think about Ned non stop, and I can’t seem to get him out of my head. A character that has been dead for so long, and who had zero presence in the next five seasons, had a such a strong impact based on decisions, expressions, and intentions that were introduced on the very first episode of the story.
I don’t even know why I’m writing this, I honestly might be just missing the character. But I needed to at least express this in some form. Eddard Stark is truly the one and most honorable man of all of Westeros. And for the writers and show makers to make me feel sad and emotional for a character that’s been dead for five seasons like I never did before, is just… Amazing.
Rest in Peace wolf, you’ve done so much, and no one realizes it.