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Monday, June 13, 2011

Game of Thrones 1.9: Is Ned Really Dead?

Well, we got the apparent shock of the series on Game of Thrones 1.9 last night - after following the advice of the eunuch and others to confess to save his daughters' and his own life, Ned Stark gets the axe, literally, anyway, as young King Joffrey declares he cannot be weak and follow the advice of women (which would be his betrothed and his mother).

But is Ned really dead?

Here are some points, all pretty weak, but points nonetheless, against Ned being really beheaded:
  • We didn't see a head roll - at least, not last night.   And in television land, unless you see a head literally chopped or blown off, or to bits, the head (and character it's attached to) could still be alive.   Consider, as just one of many examples, what happened with Tony on 24.
  • There are direwolves in this story.  It's easy to imagine one of them leaping onto the executioner's arm, and diverting his axe at the crucial moment.
  • There was all kinds of time to plot some kind of elaborate faked death, between the moment the eunuch left Ned's cell, and the moment the axe fell.
However, none of these are decisive or overwhelming, and we might well see apparently conclusive evidence that Ned is dead next week.   Which, however and of course, could be overturned any time in the future ...

Meanwhile, Ned is not the only leader near or put to death last night.  The Khal is gravely infected by the wound he received last week, and only the witchy woman can save him with a horse blood spell.  But Daenerys has gone into labor, which requires the witch's ministrations, too - how much can one witch do, in the juggling of deaths and lives?

This is probably the single greatest strength  of Game of Thrones - the unexpectedness of death to major characters, which keeps us ever on our seat for game of thrones changers.

See also A Game of Thrones: My 1996 Review of the First Novel ... Game of Thrones Begins Greatly on HBO ... Game of Thrones 1.2: Prince, Wolf, Bastard, Dwarf ... Games of Thrones 1.3: Genuine Demons ... Game of Thrones 1.4: Broken Things  ... Game of Thrones 1.5: Ned Under Seige ... Game of Thrones 1.6: Molten Ever After ... Games of Thrones 1.7: Swiveling Pieces ... Game of Thrones 1.8: Star Wars of the Realms

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Anonymous said...


anyone that thinks he's not dead is an idiot

Paul Levinson said...

Thanks so much for your cogent, in-depth analysis.

Anonymous said...

He dies in the books, and the producers have been quoted admitting that he's dead.

Anonymous said...

He is murdered at this same point in similar fashion in the book, written by George RR Martin, on which this entire series is based. He is definately unequivocally fundamentally completely rigidly dead.

Cogent enough for you paul?

For such an indepth analyser you seem lacking in the ability to analyse a simple google search..

Paul Levinson said...

Your faith in the truth-telling of producers, and in screen adaptations literally following books, is very touching.

By the way - is there some reason you don't post comments under your name? As it is, there's no way of knowing if you're one, two, or three people. :)

Unknown said...

Sean Bean's Eddard Stark character is probably dead in the Game of Thrones series real time, but this is serial television and there are all sorts of opportunities to use the Ned character in flashbacks, in other character's reveries and in product placement tie-ins: "Sword getting dull? Eddard Stark always used Whey's Whetstone to sharpen his sword!"

Anonymous said...

Ned comes back to life in the books you idiots!

Paul Levinson said...

Ta da! A commentator with some savvy! :)

Anonymous said...

How does he return you must explain?!?! I love the show and tracking down all books.

Paul Levinson said...

I just a theory I have - I have no knowledge or proof about how it will happen.

Anonymous said...

OMG He is one of those face changing characters that swtiched places with one of his people and his loyal servant took the fall for Ned. He is the same guy that helped his little daughter and her friends excape!!! You will see him again in season 3