Missing Ned Stark – Has the Game of Thrones Community Lost its Strongest Pillar?
by Olga A.
I have to admit it: I am a perisher for reading other people’s reviews, especially when it concerns books or TV shows which I like myself. It’s not just indulging my inner critic-voyeur, assessing others’ writing style as well as tastes; it is also extremely curious to find out whether the rest of the world thinks in the same vein as you do.
In his article dating back to 30 April (quite an old one already, how we journalists view time), Chris Bennion of UK-based news source, The Mirror, bemoans the absence of Ned Stark from the present season (yes, we know, he gets killed in the first season, all right). And whilst Chris by no means wishes to rip the storyline into pieces by stinging criticism, he states nevertheless that the intricately-jumbled assortment of sub-plots does lack the solid and central character presence to balance it out. The kind of presence that Ned Stark exactly was. And guess what? Although it could most probably hint at a concealed desire to creep up on G R R Martin and plead with him tearfully to re-write the entire “Song of Ice and Fire” series to bring Ned back from the dead (and then to re-shoot the whole series), I share Arya’s sentiment (also mentioned in Chris’ article) – I do sometimes wish that Ned came back from the dead.
A question for ye all, knights and knaves: Do you think that without Ned the storyline has somewhat lost its zest? – Comment below!
Read Chris Bennion’s article here.
About the Contributing Reporter: Olga A.
Hailing from the swirling mists of London, I am a freelance journalist in my free time, and a huge fan of J R Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” as well as an admirer of the “Game of Thrones,” a worshipper of H P Lovecraft, a follower of R. Howard, a Star Wars aficionado and an Ursula Le Guin enthusiast. My other favourite things include Middle Eastern dance (sometimes somewhat discourteously referred to as “belly” dancing), Yoga, sunsets over the dreaming spires of Oxford and plush owls. Oh, and green tea too.
My personal opinion… Although I loved Ned and the Starks, the show has been carried on the shoulders of Tyrion and especially the great acting of Peter Dinklage. I believe that THIS is one of the main reasons for the shows continued “zest”. That and great writing.
I don’t watch the show, but I can say that the books lost me when Ned died. I continued to read for a while, hoping that another strong main character would pop up to take his place, but once I realized that wasn’t going to happen there was nothing to keep me there. A strong central character is, in my opinion, necessary in a good story unless you’re a real frelling genius of a storyteller. Martin isn’t. His plot devolved into a mess that couldn’t manage to compel me to be interested in the outcome of the story.
I was introduced to Game of Thrones through the TV show. I am loathe to begin new book series partly because I have so much classic reading on my to do list, as well as personal and network projects. I resisted watching until somewhere between season 2 & 3, and then quickly caught up on DVD. As many would agree the show is high quality drama and character weaving – with excellent and inspired actors. The production quality rarely sees higher. I decided not to read the books until the series ends if at all, as I wanted to try the opposite experience of knowing the books so well first before the movies as with LOTR. So, not knowing how the books progress or end, it’s hard for me to judge the killing off of Ned Stark in the actual story. As far as the TV show in concerned, it seems to have worked well so far. I feel Ned Stark’s shadow is cast over the whole show, and therefore I feel he plays possibly an even stronger presence having been killed.
I read the books after I watched season 1, since I didn’t want to wait 10 months to find out more. It’s really been a joy, and I’m thankful every day there is such an awesome and well produced series on TV. It’s been nice to have the actor’s faces in my head as I read, and I full accept the Show world isn’t the Book world. I love both equally, especially since the books as written are completely unfilmable even if you had the budget of The Hobbit trilogy. I honestly think that you’d be safe at this point reading them. Not only are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen large enough to fill the void Ned’s death left, but the mysteries surrounding them, especially concerning Jon’s true parentage brings characters long dead into the forefront, and their shadow presence makes them major characters as well. At the risk of speaking heresy, A Song Of Ice And Fire makes Lord of the Rings (as much as I love it) look like Mother Goose in complexity.
Eddard Stark was my favorite character in the books. It was painful to see him go but for me Danaerys Targaryen and John Snow fill his shoes for me as strong central characters that I can root for.
I very much agree with you Victoria – Danaerys Targargen, Arya Stark are for me – the two grounding characters that I find ground the story. I think it is really incredible that a TV series is coming from a book series that is actually really complex in terms of plot and the amount of characters and jumping about involved. ^^
I couldn’t put book 1 down. Finished the 2nd, put the 3rd down for months, picked it back up and finished the entire series. I’ve never been so let down by something that started out SO good! I hated the path Arya went on, hated the 5th book entirely. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll shut up now, but I could rant on a bit because I really felt my time was wasted!
After reading as far as Martin has written, there is no way to wrap up all his loose ends in one more book. The series on HBO is absolutely outstanding, acting, production and any other category! They stay quite true to the book, when possible. I’ve noted some subtle differences, but nothing that changes the outcomes or themes. Ned Stark’s demise was the first surprise among surprise after surprise in the series. Sort of… whodathunkit? Can’t wait for the next volume to be published, and how Winter Comes. By the time it comes out, I’ll have to re-read the last three books before reading the next one.
Sometimes we don’t like the paths that others take – but that’s life, eh? Even in fiction!