'A Game of Thrones' Season Three is little more than a month away now. We thought it was time to get re-acquainted with the people and places of Westeros and Essos, so you'll feel refreshed and up-to-date by the time of the premier. So, every couple days for the next month or so, we're bringing you people and places from the world of Game of Thrones, complete with informative tidbits from both the show and the books.
Hopefully, this well help everyone segue from our long aGoT hiatus, into our HBO issued bliss once more as a Game of Thrones occupies our Sunday evenings again.
Character Profile: Eddard Stark
Titles: Lord of Winterfell, Warden of the North, Former Hand of the King
Siblings: Brandon, Benjen, Lyanna
Spouse: Catelyn Tully
Status: Deceased (Beheaded, Season One)
Portrayed by: Sean Bean
Eddard (Ned) Stark, second son to Lord Rickard Stark of Winterfell. At a young age, Eddard was sent to be tutored at the Vale of Arryn, under the watchful supervision of Lord Jon Arryn, who would later become Hand of the King under the rule of King Robert Baratheon. During his time spent under Jon Arryn's tutelage, Eddard became fast friends with Arryn's other ward, Robert of house Baratheon.
After Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen Kidnapped his sister Lyanna, Eddard's eldest brother rode to the Red Keep at King's Landing, demanding that Rhaegar return his sister and duel him. King Aerys arrested Brandon and called Lord Rickard to the Red Keep to answer for his son's threats, where both Brandon and Rickard were tortured and executed. King Aerys demanded that Jon Arryn hand over Eddard Stark for execution as well, but instead, Arryn raised his flag in rebellion along with many others.
Eddard rallied his father's men, now as the sole inheritor of Winterfell, and Warden of the entire north. With his help, Robert Baratheon rallied several of the other Great Houses and pressed an age-old claim (via his aunt, who was a Targaryan) to the throne of Westeros. Eddard and the forces of House Stark played a pivotal role in helping Robert press his claim in a war that would later become known as the War of the Usurper.
After Robert's war was won, Eddard retreated back to Winterfell and married the fiance of his late brother, Catelyn Tully. Their marriage was considered a happy one, until Robert arrives in Winterfell and demands that Ned become the new Hand of the King, and that their houses unite by wedding Crown Prince Joffrey to Sansa Stark. Ned acquiesces on both requests with after debating it with Catelyn, and leaves for Kings Landing, a place he considers utterly foreign and strange.
During his time spent as Hand of the King, Eddard becomes privy to certain buried and well kept secrets, primarily that the Crown Prince and his siblings were not of Baratheon blood, but rather born of incest between Queen Cersei and her brother, Jaime Lannister. He is imprisoned by Joffrey after Robert's death, and is later executed by the King's Justice, Ser Ilyn Payne at the Sept of Baelor.
Ned was widely regarded as quiet, brooding and cold by many around him. Despite this, he appears to be a devoted family man and loving husband, despite siring a single bastard son, who he treats with relative equivalence. He was well liked as a lord, and known to be a good soldier. He didn't often partake in the pomp and splendor that came with being a high born, avoiding tournaments and jousts, because he believed they trivialized war.
Ned was known to be an honorable soldier, who believed in uncompromising devotion to truth; a quality which led to his untimely and unnatural demise.
♦ Eddard Stark's Sword is made of a valuable metal known as Valyrian Steel, coming from the ancient Empire of Valyria. In the tradition of naming great weapons, Ned's sword's name is "Ice."
♦ Ned and his family worship 'The Old Gods" as opposed to "The Seven" that the Southerners pray to. The Old Gods have shrines called "Weirwood Trees" which are typically white, with a human-like face carved into them. These trees often ooze red sap, giving their faces an appearance like that of a man crying blood.
♦ Warden of the North is a title typically held by the members of House Stark. Traditionally, Wardens of the North had been responsible for repelling Wildling invasions, but also for repelling reavers and pirates on the northern coastlines.