'Game of Thrones' shocker! Producers explain tonight's horrific twist


Image Credit: HBO

Warning: The following story discusses a major plot point from tonight’s Game of Thrones

It’s a big deal. If you haven’t watched the episode yet, you should do that and come back. This story will still be here, I promise. Sure, the spoiler was in the novel and has been on the Internet forever, but if you’re only watching the TV show, you probably won’t see this coming, and we don’t want to ruin it for you.

It might be unprecedented in the history of television: Killing off the main character in TV series during the show’s first season as part of a creative master plan. Has there ever been a more shocking twist, a more risky play, than in this week’s Game of Thrones?

Eddard Stark met his demise in Episode 9 on Sunday. Sean Bean’s character is not only the closest thing to a central figure and traditional hero in the show’s sprawling cast, he’s also the man on the show’s posters and billboards, the best-known actor in the series and probably one of the biggest reasons newcomers to the Thrones tale first checked out the show.

Yet from the very start, HBO, producers and cast knew they were launching a big budget fantasy epic that loses its hero. The idea of pulling a Psycho has been kicked around before — the producers of Lost wanted to kill off Jack Shephard at the end of their pilot, but ABC convinced them to keep him around. And sure, shows have shaken up their casts during the first season before, notes TV historian Tim Brooks, but it’s because there was an unexpected problem. Based on the George R.R. Martin’s series of books that delights in overturning fantasy cliches, noble Ned was doomed from the outset. Below, producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss  talk about the move, their reactions to the twist and why it was necessary to the story. Later, we’ll post a recap with our take (I’m writing it as fast as I can!) and an interview with Sean Bean:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When reading Game of Thrones, what was your reaction to George killing off Ned?
DAVID BENIOFF: I was in shock. From your training in seeing so many movies and reading books, you know your hero is going to be saved. Is Arya going to pull this off? Does the queen have some trick up her sleeve? Someone has something planned, because they’re not really going to chop off his head — right up until the moment when they chopped off his head. I was shocked, and then admiring of George’s ruthlessness. It’s a tough thing to build up a character and make somebody as memorable and impressive as Ned and then get rid of him. But at the same time it leads to a story that is so much more suspenseful because you truly have no idea what is going to happen and who is going to survive. In stories, you usually have an idea who’s going to make it out. Watching The Town, which was a really excellent movie from last year, you knew who was going to survive and who will die within the first 10 minutes. This was something completely different. And I said, “Wow George, there’s a reason you have such devoted followers because it makes such great reading and panicked reading because you turn the page not knowing who’s going to get what next.”

When pitching the project, what was HBO’s reaction when you told them the main character dies?
D.B. WEISS: It was a selling point for them. They’ve [killed off characters] in some of their most successful series. In The Sopranos, even Tony I wasn’t completely sure was safe, it wasn’t completely outside the realm of possibility [he would be killed off]. It completely ups the ante for any moment when a character is in a dire situation if you know another character didn’t make survive a similar situation.

The scenes with Ned and Arya have been great, and with all that Maisie Williams is bringing to that part, I have a feeling this scene is going to upset viewers far more than it did readers of the book, in which the chapter was surprisingly casual and underwritten.
DB: It was a good choice by George to kind of underwrite it. Not to throw too many pretentious references around, but there’s a short story by Anton Chekhov where the lead character dies in the middle of a sentence — he didn’t even get his own sentence. That always left a real impression on me because it was so offhand that it made you think that this is a brutal life for these Russian sailors on these ships in the 19th century. It was very effective. Here you’re kind of watching from afar and the bluntness of George’s prose made it even more brutal, there was nothing sentimental and saccharin about it. It was just, there he is up there, and [the sword] Ice is coming down on his neck and that’s it. It’s faithful in the way it’s translated to the screen, but it’s still a very different thing because you have real live actors and little Maisie Williams watching and Ramin Djawadi’s beautiful score. There were lots of things that made us nervous this season, but we knew with episodes nine and ten we were ending on a strong note.

Since he is the best-known actor and such a central figure, does losing Sean bring about any concern whether viewers will stick around for season two?
DBW: In addition to his character, you’re setting up other characters that goes forward. The idea is this show gets its hooks into people enough so you’re going to want to know what happens to Tyrion and Arya. So even though we lose key characters, we’re still invested in a lot of characters so you’ll want to know what happens next.

Does Sean leaving the show open up the possibility of hiring another star for characters who are introduced in season two?
DB: There are a bunch of names up for discussion, so it’s quite possible. Certainly there hasn’t been any kind of mandate that we need to cast big names, but there are some well known actors who would be great for certain roles.

– HBO defends ‘Game of Thrones’ shocker
Game of Thrones
recap Episode 9 is now live! Our take on Ned Stark’s stunning death, Drogo’s mysterious illness and Arya’s future being sold to pay a bridge toll

Sean Bean talks Game of Thrones Episode 9

Comments (748 total) Add your comment
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  • John C

    I am floored. I haven’t been floored by a TV show like this in a long, long time.

    • Ellen

      I’ve read the book, so I was really curious as to how just TV viewers of GoT would take it. I’m glad to see that the impact wasn’t lessened.

      • anna

        my with Tom

      • anon

        Comparing it to the Jack/Lost thing is beyond ridiculous. Lost wasn’t a long established successful book series. It was neither here nor there the decision they made; it had no precedent.

      • jonhi

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      • ty

        I haven’t read the books (although this episode makes me want to). I think it was a fantastic episode and it really made me excited to continue watching this show. A lot of shows say that nobody is safe, but in GoT it is true. It makes the show better. I can’t wait for the season finale or for next season. Well Done!!

    • Done with the show

      I didn’t have another reason to watch and it will be hard for me to stick around without Sean Bean.

      I like Peter Dinklange’s character, however. That chick who plays the queen is soo awful – I can’t stand watching her face. She has the same expression all the time and her whispery, flat tone makes my ears bleed.

      • Tom Stark

        Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out!

      • Liz Lemon

        Seriously though…Eddard isn’t the only character who dies. Trust me, MANY more will follow him if the series sticks to the books.

      • JD

        I can’t believe people who think Sean was the ONLY reason to watch. Have you had your eyes open all season? SO much more going down. Jesus, I’m worried about season 3 now, if we get it…the reaction people will have…

      • scott

        No way you’re done with the show. Too much investment in the story and other characters to just stop watching.

        Sean Bean knew what he signed up for. Plus, I’m sure it works out for the producers and networks not to have to keep a big name on the payroll. They set it up to bring in a big name early and then shock value for TV viewers.

        Ned is gone, but that forces Rob and Snow and others to now come into their own.

      • je40

        Have to agree about the queen. I liked Lena Headey in other roles, but here she just always looks like she’s passing a kidney stone.

      • Linlithgow

        Actually, I am done with the show.
        I picked up the first book because of the series, and about halfway through I was a bit tired of some of it, but had invested enough in it to feel a need to read it to the end. I put it down after I read Ned died and read about the series online. That was the end of the books for me.
        Killing off a main character does not necessarily a good book make, and as someone pointed out, there’s a lot more death and maiming… and of other main characters too. After the shock of killing a main dies off, and it’s done again, and again… no. It becomes absurdity. It’s not a story any more, it’s just a slaughterfest, with no purpose to it and for what, a throne that Baratheon even hinted didn’t have that much power anymore because of the power of the lords to raise armies.
        I like reading a gripping, epic story with rich characters that I develop an affinity for. I expect some tragedy in an epic story, but as I alluded to before, about half way through I realised there was a problem … it wasn’t epic. It’s just backstabbing politics, which is no great invention. The story lines he hinted at and never really decided to explore, instead investing time and energy into Ser that and anaemic side shows got annoying. Danaerys and her son, the direwolves being the sign of the Starks, and we’ve been on the cusp of winter for how long? All those deserved more than the short shrift they received. For a second there I thought I was watching ‘Days of Our Lives of Winterfell’.
        As for Ned Stark making himself unnecessary because he has a strong sense of honesty and loyalty… many people might call that good company. If that’s what is supposed to drive the stories, that decent people and pledges are unnecessary, then I count myself lucky that I got away with only buying one book and several hours of my time on a TV show.

      • Bob

        And that’s the reason that Martin isn’t as well known as a lot of people would lead you to believe. Yes, he has had a core following for years, but it’s a very small niche. I agree, killing off one main character after another doesn’t necessarily make for a “bold and different” way of storytelling. It also doesn’t translate to TV viewing, which has always been character driven. We shall see when Season 2 pops up some time next year.

      • Crow’s Eye

        Re: Direwolves

        Except the direwolf/Stark storyline from episode 1 paid off last night. The parent direwolf had been mortally wounded by the stag’s antler, only its cubs left to survive. And now a Baratheon has killed Ned. This event has been foretold since the start of the book & series.

      • harry

        bye Tom

      • Cersei

        Lena Headley is fantastic in her role as Cersei, that is why you dislike her. Her character is one to be disliked, and if you dislike her, then the writers have accomplished what they set out to do. I like to dislike her. I love Lena Headley in this part and I can’t wait to see more of her.

    • Liz Lemon

      If I hadn’t read the books, I would be so pissed right now. lol.

    • kate middleton

      Agreed – SO good. I haven’t read the books and was SHOCKED. Sean Bean was amazing, but my favorite is definitely Peter Dinklage.

    • bfd

      but this isn’t a twist. It was written in the book. You just can’t have a character live because people like him a lot. Especially one with such a huge flaw as Ned Stark. He doesn’t know how to exist in this world and has done everything to make his existance unnecessary.

      • Michelle

        They did that in True Blood with Lafayette.

      • blahdy blah

        Please don’t compare True Blood with Game of thrones (in either medium.

      • Jude

        yes, really nothing like Layafette in TB. People need to stop comparing the two. Ned’s death is so instrumental to the storylines of, well, most of the characters, for years to come. None of the events of the following 3 books would have happened had Ned lived. It’s not a plot convenience, or a twist, or something the author put in to shock people. Think of Ned’s death as what starts the real story, a domino effect.

      • lol

        They had to add a lot of material to True Blood. Because it’s all Sookie POV, the plots of the Southern Vampire Mysteries are actually pretty short and wouldn’t carry more than 3-4 episodes. That means more characters and more storylines for them. Lafayette was a lot of the extra material. He was an extremely minor character in the first book anyways so changing his fate didn’t affect anything really.

      • Eddard 4-EVER!!

        It is a heck of a twist if you haven’t read the books!! I am tired of being discriminated against from people who have or claim to have read the books and all they can say is “It was already written like this so get over it!” Can’t you remember in your black hearts what it was like to read about Lord Eddard Stark being executed? YES IT WAS SHOCKING!! I did order the books and I never would have known about them if it wasn’t for this series. SO STOP LAMBLASTING US TV WATCHERS ABOUT OUR SHOCKED REACTION WHEN YOU ALREADY KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN BOOKIES!!! Thank you and have a great day.

      • Jude

        I agree, and wasn’t trying to lessen or disregard anyone’s shocked reaction. Of course I was just as shocked when reading the book, as I’m sure everyone was. It just surprises me that so many people are convinced that HBO could have easily rewritten or changed that aspect, simply because its what the fans would want. Good television isn’t about just appeasing fans – this series is an emotional roller coaster, and thats what makes it so good, and different from most things out there.

    • Frank Anderson

      It was a thrilling and devastating episode! I think the image on Sean Bean can only HELP the series. He is now the martyr of the whole series. I want to see what happens to his family, and more so to the horrible people that brought him down!

    • Trina

      Why are you so stunned? The character DIES IN THE BOOK. This info has been floating around for years, and was even printed without spoiler warning in many online reviews of the TV version months ago.

    • Sam J


      • Einar

        Yes! The adaption needs more episodes per season, there’s just too much going on. Someone better start an online campaign!

    • MookieWonderRat

      I, like (I assume) all viewers who were unfamiliar with the books, was smacked with a board in the face by the whacking of Stark. But, it made the story that much more powerful, the little king that much more dangerous, Arya’s part that much more imperitive and made me head for Amazon to get the darn books.

      • kevin

        I’m with you. Headed to Barnes and Noble at lunch and bought the 4 book boxed set. I just can’t decide whether to read ahead of next season or to read the books after the TV storyline to fill in the blanks.

    • Lucy

      I agree, I am floored also. They have to band together (KIDS and WIFE) and kill them ALL. Please do not kill the little girl. How I wish the my man had live because with his power and his family they would have been BAD! I am going to order the book and still wait for the second season.

  • Michael

    they have a Dumbledore too so is these like their Harry Potter

    • JoJoDancer

      English please?

      • Bravo

        lol…too frickin funny, JoJo!

    • Bob

      Come on, Sofia Vergara, we know it’s you.

      • the minister


        nailed it.

  • steph

    it’s moments like this that i wish i DIDN’T know what was coming. it was sad, and horrifying, and brilliant. people will be upset and they should be. it was a powerful scene. i only wish this series didn’t have 1 more episode left. it has been an amazing journey.

    • lifeafterlost

      I think theres gonna be a season 2

      • Knight of Flowers

        Oh they renewed the series after the premier of the first episode.

      • Cersei

        I think Steph meant season not series

  • M

    BRILLIANT TELEVISION. HBO has done an outstanding job. I literally can’t even.

    (and that last shot of Arya…so heartbreaking)

    • rowan729


    • ks

      she is up for a sci fi award-best young actress!!!!

    • andreia

      Heartbreaking. Very effective to the scene.

  • Napoleon

    They killed the series – they killed off the best actor… and character….

    • me

      Flop comment

    • Brian

      The book series got more popular, so basically you sound like an idiot.

      • DAL

        What a weak and cowardly comment. The book series got more popular when Ned died, so someone who will stop watching the TV series when Ned dies is an idiot? Look within my friend. What does one have to do with the other?? Who cares if the book got more popular? It’s America. If someone just lost interest–they are allowed. Doesn’t mean you can’t watch. But A does not imply B. It has been– and I am sure will continue to be–a great show, I have been mesmorized. But clearly you are way to invested if you can call someone on a chat board an idiot for their opinion. And BTW-I was in it for Sean Bean and I am out if he is out. Am I an idiot because the book got more popular and I have now chosen to spend my Sundays elsewhere? I wish Robb and the Northern armies all the best.

      • Bobby

        That does make you an idiot for pulling out because Sean Bean is out. The series has more worth-while characters than him.

      • DAL

        We all make our choices. Your choice to watch does not affect me and mine should not affect you. All the more power to everyone who sticks with it and same to those who move on. Another great thing about America for you- Idiots are allowed to call other people idiots instead of just respecting their decisions about a TELEVISION show.

      • Bobby

        Hey you asked the question, I just gave you the answer. Maybe you should watch Narnia if you can’t deal with a good guy getting a raw deal (it only happens every day).

      • Roger

        Loved the show so far, but can’t see it surviving killing off Ned. By far the strongest character and central to the theme thus far…who could possibly pick up the slack? There isn’t even a close second to follow.

      • Tony Stark

        Roger, you are clueless. You just have no f**king idea.

      • fnord

        DAL, go back to watching your plain oatmeal on network TV. Go back to your dull and dreary existence. Go back to your obese ex-wife. You deserve eachother.

      • christfosdaj;

        your an idiot. tv and books are different. all actors in your mind act well. he was by and far the best and most powerful actor on the show. it’s not the same

      • Altair

        @ Bobby 12:13am
        I love it when idiots like you think Game of Thrones is so grown up – trust me boy, it’s not; I place Martin in the same category as Rowling and the woman who wrote the Twilight series – she’s not important enough for me to learn her name. Ned was simply killed off for shock value, and judging by most of your comments, it seems to have worked.
        Why don’t you go away and read some Joyce, or Nabokov; maybe then you’ll understand what good fiction looks like.

      • Ludwig Van

        What a pretentious troll you are.

      • Kimsie

        So you like reading 50 pages of Notre Dame architecture before the story can be convinced to start?

        Seriously, the Great Novel has IMPROVED over time.

      • Breserkface

        Yes, you are.

      • Sammael

        Hey Altair.
        I am amazed how pretentious ignormus always use Nabokov and Joyce.
        See unlike you, I DID read Nabokov. And Joyce. And Mistral, Beckett, Agnon, Cela, Hesse, Du Gard and so many others you and other pretentious semi-literates like you never even heard of.
        And Martin is a great writer. Pretentious fools can’t admit that, because that would mean that fantasy can be *gasp* literature. But he is.

      • Dobie

        @Altair – it takes all kinds, I suppose. I do have to wonder why you are posting about a topic that you apparently disdain. Maybe to make yourself feel superior? I have read Joyce by the way – and I will never do it again. It was absolute drivel masquerading as literature. I am not about to say that Game of Thrones is great literature though – but at least it is entertaining.

      • Bob

        Good books are story driven. Good TV shows are character driven. Martin’s books aren’t as popular as some would lead you to believe. He has a loyal, core following, but let’s be honest, 95%+ of America had no idea who he was until this series started. Sure, he made his novels unconventional by killing off major characters. It works for sweeping epic novels like his, but sometimes doesn’t translate well to a TV series. We like our heroes, our characters. Time will tell.

      • Cersei

        But DAL you are an idiot. You have tuned in to a great show that is a result of a book series where lots of characters die, and you sign on to watch the show because of one actor? And you stop watching because he dies? This is not CSI where the show is built around Horatio Caine, or Law & Order Los Angeles where they kill off Skeet Ulrich and everybody gets pissed. This is a series made out of books, where main characters die. Sean Bean’s character was always slated to die. Get over it, or as you said, get out.

      • Shark

        @Altair: Thank you. you are 100% correct. game of thrones = pretentious and dull witted ( except for the dwarf). But it’s HBO, so the soft-core porn parts are not too bad a filler between half baked pronouncements about “honor” or “family”. Unfortunately, like a train wreck in progress, it’s not over till it’s over.

    • I hate to break it to you

      But the series goes on…and gets better and better.

      • bob

        the actors don’t. At least not what we have seen so far.

      • JD

        @bob You’re complaining about the acting? For real? Sheesh…

      • Pocket

        Seriously? The girl who plays Arya is ~fantastic~

    • Dan

      They follow the books, I don’t see the problem.

    • mondo182

      Tyrion’s dead?

      • Agreed

        With you there. Bean is an amazing actor and Ned was a great character, but Tyrion has by far been the strongest character in my eyes. Both on screen and on the page.

      • Breno

        Yep. And Tyrion is absolutely amazing in Clash of Kings.

    • Brad

      Right, series is over! This is not like reading a book. HBO just killed this series.

      • Crobmck

        I agree. I’m done.

      • Mike


      • Luke

        What do you mean “killed the series?”. This show is based off of the books, they obviously have to faithfully follow the books on such important plot points or they might as well make their own show and stop pretending it’s based off of George Martin’s writing. Frankly, this is a stupid comment.

      • travi

        ned was alive at some point? seems like ancient history.

      • Harpy

        Sad for you that the series gets better from here and you’re going to miss it because you’re crying about a fairly insignificant character in the entire series.

      • Marisue

        I know the writters and they have created a great series! Ned dies in the book, they are staying true to it, good HBO. Cant wait till season two!

      • JD

        You’re all BABIES. So they killed off a character right by the season finale, big deal. Sure he was a major character, and loved, but there’s way more interesting characters and story lines in this series.

      • shark jumper

        His character was always too flat to be viable in this series. It’s been pretty obvious that he will die all along. His death is what will give momentum to the story. Honestly, Ned is quite boring in the context of characters like Tyrion. He had to die so that the kids could develop and grow.

    • Adam

      I couldnt agree more. I was so happy to find a good series finally. As a father i loved the Ned character. I have little interest in this series now as the other characters were just background to Neds Story. Bring on Entourage and Rescue me i guess. Big let down.

      • Sparkle

        Guess strong female characters don’t interest you. One dimensional thinking at its worst.

      • monti

        WOW, I love this show, I too though something was about to happen, they are not going to kill him and boom. I hope other shows take note,

      • Tor

        You could consider Ned a domino. His death will have profound repercussions and changes many of the characters. Some, it makes stronger. Others, less so. It will be fascinating to see the full domino effect.

      • Jade

        The other characters were not background to Ned’s story. The fact that he is dead proves that he was NOT a main character. Pretty amazing I think when a story does such a good job of hooking you with a minor character.

        But if you want to give up before finding out what the real story is, or who the real heroes are, then bye bye!

      • JD

        Ned was NEVER the most interesting character nor the focus of the book. He’s a heroic figure, but he played the game terribly, and he would have died if this was real life. The show goes on, and it gets WAY better.

      • Roguishpaladin

        As a father, I encourage you to be interested in the story of how Robb and Jon come of age bearing their respective responsibilities.

      • Pocket

        Hang in there. I loved Ned too. Heck tossed the book against the wall at that chapter… cried like a baby when he died tonight… but it does get better. There are character you will come to love more than Ned.

      • MambaJamba

        Ned Starks part in the story overall is a minor one. There’s a whole hell of a lot more to the story than Ned Stark and by quitting because the character died, you’re missing out. Peter Dinklage is doing an incredible job as Tyrion and Arya is very well done as well. If you haven’t read the books, the death of Ned Stark only sparks things off. It is by no means “the story”.

      • Jude

        Like everyone else here, I’ll join in – Ned is not the main character. The first book is written largely from the perspective of the Starks, so you only get ONE side of the story. There are three (soon 4) entire other books that are not about Ned. New characters will be introduced, characters you barely know now will have a bigger part to play, you’ll find yourself rooting for people you consider the “baddies”…Ned’s death merely starts things off. If you give up now, you’re really going to miss out.

      • Nunio

        This series talk about many things, one of them is the children and how their beloved father Ned Stark live in them through all the series, and how they grow with it…

    • JoJoDancer

      Agreed. I hate when surprising things happen in my stories. The hero should always win and the bad guys are the only ones who should ever die. Just like real life.

      • christfosdaj;

        ughhh! that hurt. i’m all for following the story but I feel like they should have cast better. he’s so hands down better then everyone else and now hes gone. and they didn’t show a fight, or battle, kinda pissed me off.

      • Meg

        And everyone should have good morals and always make the right decisions and follow all the rules all the time. I can’t handle characters or writers who do things I judge to be wrong or inappropriate. I don’t like having my beliefs challenged and I really hate having to think about things.

      • sofia

        Ystyn Francis / This was a terrific esdiope, coming full circle from last week’s mediocre installment. Firstly, THERE WAS FIGHTING, and lots of it. I also came around to Littlefinger finally, but I’m not exactly sure why. And I found the scene between Robert and Cersei captivating; I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a relationship like there’s ever, and the see-sawing emotions, the fond memories sharply interspersed with their hatred for one another was enthralling. Game of Thrones has arrived.

    • Roderick

      Look at how stupid you are.

    • Liz Lemon

      NO. They didn’t. This death happens in the books off which the series is based. The books get better and better. The death of Eddard makes the series what it is. It HAD to happen.

      • Vince from NYC

        I didn’t read the books (my friend who is a huge fan of them basically demanded I watch the series) I still called that Ned would die. Granted I thought it would be more heroic in the finale but I wasn’t so shocked they killed him off. I was upset he died because I wanted to be wrong. But he was just to damn noble for his own good.

      • Cersei

        Vince, but even though Ned cast his noble ways away, and lied to save his life, Joffrey still had him killed. So in the end he wasn’t too noble for his own good. Joffrey was just way more wicked.
        And I know that the show will get better. It’s a pity some people can be so immature. They want a show where the good guy always wins and stays alive. Life isn’t always so, and this show is very real, depicting olden times.

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    • Pocket

      I just ask that you give it one more episode and decide from there if you continue.

    • Matt

      It’s funny to hear people say that this was a mistake. It’s not as if this was a surprise to anyone who had read the books.

      • JasonInDFW


        But was it a surprise when you first read the book?

    • Einar

      If anything, they “killed” all the viewers who were only in it for the Bean. If they haven’t appreciated all the rest of the show, I don’t have a problem with them giving up on it.

  • Carherine

    This is really a shocker. It’s a good thing they established strong characters so we still have something to look forward to in the series.

  • Goblinoid

    Once Boromir, always Boromir.

    • kate

      I know! My first thought was I can’t believe they killed Boromir!

    • amy boettcher

      Sean Bean will be fine. I am sure he negotiated a sh**tload of $ for this season, especially since he knew it would be his last.

      • whuzzut

        Oh thank goodness. Was quite worried for Sean Bean’s financial well-being.

      • Dawn

        Um… i doubt that considering Bean’s career is now basically just being villain of the week: Don’t Say A Word, National Treasure, The Hitcher etc….

      • DAL

        He is worth every penny. I wept when Boromir died. I wept when Ned died. I will spend my new free hour on Sunday evenings (now that I have given up my GOT habit) looking for somewhere new to see Sean Bean. I have no doubt the Starks will survive without me….

      • JonBean

        I can only imagine how you people will react when Sean Bean dies for real – “No Sean Bean on this planet? Goodbye cruel world!”

      • hooch

        @JonBean : LoL. Thanks for that. DAL, you’ve crossed over from fan to obsessed !

      • Cersei

        God forbid that Sean Bean is put in a role where he is supposed to be hated. Whatever will DAL do? Hope you survive it DAL. If you’re going to just look for shows that Sean Bean is in, you really have a problem.

  • Amanda

    This is the worse thing about reading the books beforehand. I knew what was coming at the end, and it made me so antsy that I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the episode as much as I should have. Good thing its on again in an hour.

    • Dennis

      I know they had to stick to the book (glad they did), and I think the show is very good – but I don’t like movies or shows where the bad guys win. That is too much like real life and I watch TV and movies to escape reality. I read news papers and the internet and get enough tragedy. Amanda, having read all the books, Please tell me that in the end all the bad guys meet their doom.

      • Harry

        Exactly. Reassure us Amanda, anyone!

  • Michelle

    One of the things that’s to be admired about this series is that no character is guaranteed survival.
    When I read that in the book, I thought surely it wasn’t him because he was described as not looking like himself, if I remember correctly. I then looked it up on wikipedia to be sure that he was dead.

  • Kbw

    What a shocker! Kudos to Martin. I did not see that coming!

  • Done with HBO

    Worst move ever. I’m sick to death of HBO choosing shock over creative and suspenseful plots. And as far as “sticking around” to see what will happen next, don’t count on it. Every single one of my friends couldn’t care less. In this “world” of ruthlessness and honor, Ned can’t even be bothered to call out the woman who crippled his son and her inbred son? Yeah right. This is the Sopranos ending all over again. I’m done with HBO and their amateur writers. Bring back Spartacus on Starz so I can watch something that is actually entertaining not frustrating and completely ridiculous. Game of Thrones? More like Game OVER.

    • Amanda

      Well its not like the show could deviate from the books THAT much. Blame George RR Martin for any twists you don’t like, not HBO or the shows writers.

      • Done with HBO

        Agreed, but there have been plenty of books that have been turned into shows where the network said “hey, your book was OK, but we’re HBO, so maybe we should go this direction”. None of the other actors can hold a candle to Sean Bean. The story is full of holes in the plot and this was my last straw. I’m sure there’s some “reason” for it, but it’s shoddy writing on Martin’s part, and even worse decision making from the producers. Ned served the king EVERY step of the way, then tucks tail and gets beheaded? Sorry but that’s just contradictory to every characteristic he has shown all season. Doesn’t add up.

      • Ellen

        They had Sansa, his daughter. It makes sense. Also, the books got a LOT better after Ned died.

      • Ned

        to be honest him tucking his tail was great writing after the speech targaryian gave at the wall he chose his family over honor.If he had accused geoffrey he would have ensured the death of his daughters.

      • Kathy

        Funny HBO has no problem decimating the Charlaine Harris books and characters in True Blood. The season would have been much better had Alan Ball stuck closer to the storylines. Expanding the other characters is fine, but they have no problem giving whole scenes to different characters and keeping characters Ms. Harris has no problem killing alive.

        I’ve been watch GOT all along because everyone seem so enthralled with it. I just don’t get it. I try and try but nothing and no one moves me. I figured Ned was a goner, and I have to shrug and say, “okay.” The brutality in the show makes me even more detached. If it hadn’t been for Peter Dinkage’s performance I would have turned it off long ago. As it is I won’t be tuning back in next year.

      • Kathy

        Okay, my typos are horrendous! The “seasons” would have been better….I been “watching”…..because everyone “seems”….

      • Liz Lemon

        I know right. Eddard’s death sets the groundwork for the entire series basically.

      • Hang in There

        Since I’m a reader of the books I can’t speak to how things look from a newcomer’s perspective, but I can assure you as a reader that the decision to have Ned Stark killed off is not merely for shock value and is not a result of shoddy writing.

        The Song of Ice and Fire series is (at least, to date) about a kingdom at a turning point in its history — “interesting times” per the Chinese saying. This isn’t a “everything trucks along as it’s gone the last 200 years” kind of time — huge groundshaking events are taking place that will shape the history of the kingdom for centuries to come. As Ned Stark is a key figure, his death has major repercussions on all of the events to come. Changing the story to have him still in the picture would be akin to, if Roman history were just a story and thus you could change minor events and characters in it without contradicting historical truth, saying “why couldn’t they just have Caesar exiled rather than stabbed in the back in the Forum?” You could still go into the rest of the Roman “story” — the Triumvirate, Anthony & Cleopatra etc. etc., but everything would be wholly changed because the whole time you’d be thinking, yeah, but Julius f*n Caesar is still lurking in the wings waiting to come back and make things happen. Maybe you could write a great new story of Western Civ from there on out, but it wouldn’t be anything close to the “original” one.

        Readers of the books don’t have the same chance to evaluate the show based only what’s in the show, but we do have the advantage of knowing much of the story to come. Having read all the books released so far, I can vouch for the fact that this is not a ho-hum story that only gains interest occasionally due to shock value from the author’s willingness to throw in a few ruthless twists. This is a tightly plotted, well crafted, historically true feeling story where sometimes insignificant-seeming decisions by major and minor characters have huge repercussions down the road, and it just so happens that it ALSO adds verisimilitude by its refusal to place an umbrella of protection over all its major characters. The first part of the story has focused on Ned, but now Ned is gone. Now there is more story-time to continue to develop the other characters and as a book-reader, I can assure you it’s a wild and great ride. Martin was an award-winning author and editor (as well as a TV writer) long before he came to Game of Thrones and the many, many weeks his books have spent on the NYT best seller lists, as well as his avowals from many critics who say “I don’t usually read fantasy, but these books are amazing,” are not a coincidence or due to some weird conspiracy among basement-dwelling fantasy geeks. If you are reeling from Ned’s death in episode 9, I for one would STRONGLY encourage you to at least stick around through episode 10, the last of the first season. The series is well worth the effort.

      • Cersei

        “Hang in there”, good report. Thanks for the info. I am at a loss as to how sensible thinking adults could be complaining about HBO not changing their story from the book. You are right. It’s like they would be changing history. I like your analogy about Julius Caesar. How can HBO not kill Ned Stark if that was in the book? Those who have read the book would be pissed, and THEY in turn will tune out. I just cannot understand people. I never read the books, but I read some comments on this and other boards, and realise that some people who I like, will be killed. I am prepared to accept it, because I want the story to stick as close to what others who have read the book, say it is. I can’t believe a man who is a father says he will stop watching because as a father he is so disappointed. A big man talking nonsense like that. I’ve gotta stop reading the rest of these comments cause I’m seriously getting sick with disgust.

      • Don’t care

        @ Hang in there: If they’re staying true to the book, then the book sucks just as bad. The stupid war would’ve happened with or w/out Ned, since his son was almost killed and the Lannisters’s incest thing. All that’s left is bits of more of the same Middle Ages isolated stories, war, blood bath, paranoia, soft-core porn, undeveloped characters…I say his death WAS for shock value and you can say what you want but Ned’s character WAS very important to this messed up, unoriginal, sensationalistic series. RIP GOT!!!!

      • Mhara

        My beautiful old black cat Scath was sure he was a dog, and he and our atcaul dog Kaio got along so well. Dog-cats are the best. Kaio and I miss Scath every durn day.

    • Hermione

      Ok, but the writers didn’t write this; they were simply being faithful to the original material. It was a shocking move, and one hat hurt, but that is what makes it so great.

    • me

      What the heck are you mad at HBO for? They are the following the book.

    • John C

      I’m sure you can probably find the quality programming you’re looking for on the CW.

      • Dan


      • Ellen

        Obviously you haven’t seen The CW’s The Vampire Diaries. That show is chock full of deaths and twist that put this one to shame.

      • Danny

        lol vampire diaries

      • JD

        Vamp Diaries is really good…

      • Bob

        Vampire Diaries sucks.

    • Hector

      Wow, this dude didn’t just rage out over and quit the show, but the whole NETWORK! Don’t know if I’ve ever seen that before. I’m impressed. Kudos to the Game of Thrones producers.

    • Frank

      You’re an idiot. Seriously.

    • See ya, then

      We won’t miss you. Buh-bye.

    • Ice&Fire

      I wouldn’t be so quick to say that people will not follow it anymore. This incident was pivotal in making me read all of the 4 books, and pre-order the next one. If you hated this, you might very well stop watching. Shocks like these are par for the whole series.

    • Ice

      @DoneWithHbo So you’re the reason why TV sucks. Good riddance. Go back to watching CSI.

      • bob

        That seems silly to encourage. The more people that watch shows you don’t like, the more likely those shows will remain on the air.

    • Andrea

      He also die in the book

    • troutsky0

      He’s from starz! GET HIM!!!

    • You’ve missed the point.

      You’re “sick of HBO choosing shock over creative and suspenseful plots”? Well guess what, HBO had nothing to do with the decision. It was in the book, and no, the producers could not and should not have somehow made it so that Eddard was left alive. That completely undermines the entire series. The Game of Thrones is not about happy endings, it’s about war. If you don’t like surprises you should go back to watching crappy crime dramas.

      • grapeape

        Your spot on there. Its funny how when a book is made into a movie and the plot isnt followed people get up in arms about it but when the book is followed with a tv series (for once) people freak out about that. Sorry I’d rather watch the Martin series than the Whimsical Adventures of Ned. Seriously people if your told that a tv show or series is based on a series of books and is being followed loyaly as its fan base would like…you really have no reason to complain if things dont go your way instead of the authors. I actually see this a test and it will likely bring in more viewers than it will loose…I have many friends who were skeptical and Ned was the key example they gave of where the series would deviate into something unrecognizable….they were wrong, and im thrilled.

    • Mo

      OK, you may not like the turn the show has taken, and that’s fine, although in the books it works to set up the riveting conflict that is to come, but please please please do not ever uphold Spartacus as an example of something that is “not completely ridiculous”. Because it’s the most completely ridiculous show on TV. It’s good as soft porn, but it’s otherwise awful.

    • Linda

      He did what he did to save his daughters lives. He choose love over his honor, and by doing so it made him even more honorable. I think it was such a powerful and heartbreaking moment. One of the most moving things I’ve ever seen on TV. Bravo HBO and RR Martin!

    • JD

      Umm rage much? What holes are you talking about? Ned served the KIng…um the Lannisters had the King killed. Ned being loyal to a dead King hardly serves him very well. It should have been rather obvious that he was headed for the chopping block. He played the game terribly. He had honor but believed as long as he was doing what’s right he would prevail. Unfortunately, he’s in a realistic and brutal series. I don’t understand how people can just quit over this. Ned wasn’t the most interesting character…rather standard. The death was shocking but hardly a show-killer.

    • Gannicus

      You do understand that the writers of the show can’t really stray that far from the book? It was a book first, and in the book he died. If he didn’t die in the show i’m sure there would be a considerable amount of outrage (moreso then sticking to the plot), and that would surely kill the series. And spoiler alert, Oenomaus dies, Crixus dies, and Spartacus loses the war.

    • Jenna

      Blaming HBO for not wussing out on a book that actually was different enough not to follow the classic formula that makes us feel safe knowing a main character will never die?? I was really annoyed when I read that scene (and even more so at similar scenes later so if you didn’t like this, and want your stories predictable, then maybe you should leave–everyone else, this is a fantastic series!!)

    • Jude

      “Shoddy writing?” “Plot holes?” What the hell are you on about? Have you read the books??? Of course there are details missing….its a 1000 page book being crammed into 10 episodes. If you want more info, read the book and you will find all the missing pieces. Don’t judge GRRM’s writing if you havent read the books…Ned’s death does not happen “for some reason.” His death sets up events that directly affect all of the characters for the next 3 years, things that could never happen if we were to live. 3 entire books that follow would not make sense without his death, so its CRUCIAL to include it. HBO would be doing the entire series a disservice if they changed it. Yes, Ned served the king and was honorable, but this isn’t the kind of fantasy series where the good guys win just because they’re good guys. That’s not real life – Ned made stupid decisions, and he paid the price. If you want happy endings that aren’t realistica, then this isn’t for you. If you want your mind to be blown by the awesomeness that is to come, then stick with this series. Your loss if you don’t.

      • Jude

        sorry, if HE were to live

      • Jack

        “Ned made stupid decisions, and he paid the price.”

        What stupid decisions did he make? His plan to have Littlefinger bribe the city guard was a good one. There was no way for him to know that Littlefinger would betray him. I guess he could have sided with Renly. But Renly wanted the throne for himself and could have easily betrayed Ned also. In fact, basically every character in King’s Landing is a treacherous douche so Ned was doomed no matter what he did.

      • Jack

        And besides Ned isn’t a real person. All of his choices were written by Martin. Martin should of had Ned, the good guy, make smart choices so he would live. (But I still don’t think he made bad choices.)

      • Jude

        Ned made mistake after mistake the second he arrived in King’s Landing. Never mind that Littlefinger’s betrayal was a surprise to him – he should never have thought that getting the gold cloaks on his side would suddenly give him a one-up over Cersei. Even had he not been betrayed, Cersei still would have had him locked up because he was threat to her secret. It was a dumb move to tell her. The people in King’s Landing may be douches, but Ned’s major, fatal mistake was believing that everyone is as honorable as he is. The moment he discovered Cersei’s secret he confronted her about it, thinking that she would “do the right thing.” That is what he expected her to do – a woman who has been lying and scheming behind her husband’s back for 17 years who has no qualms about betraying him. Did Ned think that she would run away with her tail between her legs just because he said “I’m telling?” And the fact that he rejected both Renly and Littlefinger’s offers because Stannis was the “rightful heir?” Who cares who the rightful heir is?? As Renly rightly points out, he and Robert didn’t care about that when they rebelled against King Aerys Targaryen and had his whole family killed. Ned didn’t physically do it himself, but he was part of the war effort that supported it. Ned washed his hands of that and turned a blind eye, told himself that it was ok because he was supporting his BFF Robert, whom he was sworn to serve. Ned has always cared more about retaining his honorable image than actually admitting any wrongdoings, or making tough decisions. He thought he could make up for supporting the Targaryen massacre by telling Robert not to go after Daenerys, because it is “dishonorable to kill a child.” Oh here’s a better idea – why not just let her live so she can reconquer King’s Landing? Again, he had no problem supporting the Targaryen killings (and there several children killed then) when he wasn’t doing it himself, but like Littlefinger points out in ep 8 – the words aren’t “honorable” so they stick in his throat. Ned constantly avoids taking responsibility for things and uses honor as his shield. He became Hand and left his family, taking his daughters to a place he knew wasn’t safe. He also blatantly followed Jon Arryn’s footsteps and let everyone know that he was discovering Cersei’s secret. Not smart on any level.

        And “Martin should of had Ned, the good guy, make smart choices so he would live?” What? Happily ever after?? Martin is one of the first writers with enough guts to create a world where good guys aren’t under an umbrella of protection, where they can do whatever they want and still live. That isn’t how real life works – and no, of course Ned isn’t a real person. Good writers try their best to make their characters as real as possible. If you’re not interested in realism, you won’t like the rest of this series.

      • Jack

        “he should never have thought that getting the gold cloaks on his side would suddenly give him a one-up over Cersei.”

        Maybe, but it still seemed like the best possible plan to me at the time. Ned didn’t have enough soldiers himself so he needed help. The only other option that I saw at the time was siding with Renly. But like I said Renly wanted the throne for himself and didn’t seem any more trustworthy than Littlefinger at the time.

        “It was a dumb move to tell her”

        Robert was in the middle of a hunting trip when Ned told Cersei that he knew her secret. I don’t think that was too dumb a move because he was going to tell Robert as soon as he got back. I mean it’s pretty remarkable that she was able to act so quickly and stage an elaborate assassination of Robert (assuming she even did – the show wasn’t very clear on that). I would like to know how she pulled that off. So I don’t think that Ned was a fool for thinking that there was nothing that she could do. Also, no matter how evil Ned thought Cersei was at the time it’s still surprising that she would be willing to murder her own husband. And Ned thought he was saving her children’s lives. At the time he didn’t know how evil Joffrey was.

        “And the fact that he rejected both Renly and Littlefinger’s offers because Stannis was the “rightful heir? Who cares who the rightful heir is??”

        Joffrey was illegitimate so Stannis was the rightful heir. Ned had no reason to believe that Renly would make a good king so why should he defy law to put him on the throne? I don’t see anything wrong with Ned’s decision there.

      • Jack

        “He also blatantly followed Jon Arryn’s footsteps and let everyone know that he was discovering Cersei’s secret.”

        I don’t know about that. Cersei didn’t know that Ned knew her secret until he told her. Also, the fact that Ned was the only other person besides Jon Arryn to find out that Robert’s children weren’t his speaks well of his intelligence. C’mon you have to admit that he was pretty smart to figure that out.

        “He thought he could make up for supporting the Targaryen massacre by telling Robert not to go after Daenerys, because it is “dishonorable to kill a child.””

        Robert’s plan to assassinate Daenerys backfired. Drogo had no interest in invading but after the failed assassination attempt he became obsessed with it. So maybe Ned was actually right there.

        “he and Robert didn’t care about that when they rebelled against King Aerys Targaryen and had his whole family killed. Ned didn’t physically do it himself, but he was part of the war effort that supported it.”

        I understand that it was Tywin Lannister who had them murdered. I never read the books but I assume that Ned didn’t find out about it until it was too late or simply didn’t have the ability to stop it.

      • Jack

        “What? Happily ever after?? Martin is one of the first writers with enough guts to create a world where good guys aren’t under an umbrella of protection, where they can do whatever they want and still live. That isn’t how real life works”

        I admit that I definitely enjoy seeing the good guys win and the bad guys get their comeuppance. The vast majority of people do as well that’s why most movies, shows, and books have happy endings. I know that a lot of it isn’t very realistic. But one of the reasons that people enjoy fiction is that it helps them escape from reality. If I wanted to be depressed and see good people get screwed over then I would just watch the news.

      • Jude

        Alright, not saying that Ned’s gold cloaks plan was entirely stupid…of course it was a good idea to give himself the extra backup. The problem is that he didnt give much thought to what to do once Robert actually died. Renly and Littlefinger were right there immediately, ready to act, but Ned didn’t take Cersei’s threat seriously, nor did he believe that she would fight back. The problem is that Ned simply wasn’t willing to act. His plan was to scare Cersei off and he expected her to leave with her children, and when he wrote the letter to Stannis informing him that he was the rightful heir, he thought that it would be as easy as that – that Stannis would show up and claim the throne and that no one would have any issue with that because legally, he’s the rightful heir. Ned was incredibly naive in thinking that everyone would just follow the rules. Whether or not Renly would make a good king was irrelevant to Ned, who only seemed to care about following protocol. What was his answer? “I’ll not dishonor Robert’s memory by shedding blood in his halls and dragging frightened children from their beds” – that was not the time for Ned to be thinking of his dead friend’s memory, it was the time to act. Cersei made it clear that she would do anything for her children, so using her children as bargaining chips is exactly what he should have done. But that’s not Ned’s style, and he never thought for a moment that Cersei would turn around and do that to him, when it came to his own children. Again, he thinks that everyone is as honorable as he is, and they are not (which Cersei makes repeatedly clear with her actions). Ned did not want to see Cersei for who she truly was, and that was his mistake.
        But aside from that, Littlefinger’s proposal made the most sense. Proclaiming Joffrey as king and biding his time until he could strike with Stannis (keep in mind that at this point Stannis doesnt know anything about this) was the smartest option, because, if anything, it would have kept Ned alive so that he could protect his two daughters at court. Varys makes a good point when he says that Ned should be thinking of his daughters, and not just thinking of his own life. Ned wasn’t thinking of Arya, Sansa, or anyone in his family when took steps to land himself in jail. He was only thinking of Robert and his honor.Of course, by the time he decided to start thinking about his daughters it was a bit too late. Even if Joff had not ordered him to be killed, he still would have had to go and live on the wall. As a lord of a major, if not THE major area in the north, Ned wasn’t thinking too much about the position he would be leaving Winterfell in. By that point, confessing still would not have returned him home to his family, and there are some major repercussions for his children and wife as a result of that.

        “Robert’s plan to assassinate Daenerys backfired. Drogo had no interest in invading but after the failed assassination attempt he became obsessed with it. So maybe Ned was actually right there.” – How could Ned possibly know that sending an assassin would be the very thing to convince Drogo to invade? That logic makes no sense. Ned just didn’t want Robert to try and kill Daenerys because he thought that what they had done to the Targaryens before had been enough. And not that I wanted Dany to get killed or anything, but leaving one pregnant Targaryen with a thirst for revenge (and a warlord for a husband) alive is pretty stupid. And by the way, the show doesn’t get into this yet but Tywin Lannister wasn’t really calling the shots during the rebellion. It was Robert and Ned who were leading it, and Tywin was in fact King Aerys’ Hand, but later turned against him and decided to join Robert instead. So, yeah, Ned was very much involved in ordering those killings but he washed his hands of it.

      • Jude

        As for your last comment – the very fact that this book series doesnt cater to what the “majority” of people who apparently like happy endings want, is what makes it different, and, in my opinion (and im not alone here) very refreshing. I was shocked and upset that Ned died as well, but mostly really impressed that Martin was willing to deviate from formulaic fantasy that has been around for ages. In this series, when a main character is in danger they are ACTUALLY in life-threatening danger. It’s not so much a “how” will they survive, but more like an “if.” It lends so much more weight to their decisions because you know that they aren’t bulletproof. Lots of depressing things are going to happen in this series, and even more really awesome things, but yeah its definitely not escapism like Harry Potter and LOTR where you know good will triumph over evil (both great series, btw, just really different from this)

    • psyche

      The best thing about GRRM’s series, and the reason I find it surprising that people like you are saying HBO(?) did this for shock value, is that heroes and villains alike are on the chopping block at any and all times. The mad king’s, then Robert’s, and now Ned’s death set the entire power structure of the Kingdom into motion (at a high level the series is based on the War of the Roses – read a summary & note the deaths and switches of loyalty, marriages, etc, if you are looking for realism).

      The chips are all in the air and it’s up to all the players to grab onto whatever power/security they can for as long as they can. And each and every book I am surprised by the wins and losses for each, and how real and immediate I find the danger faced by every character.

    • brickyardjimmy

      Hey. What’s it like working at STARZ dude?

    • Anne Nonymouse

      You do realize if Ned had publicly “called out” Cersei on the execution site, SANSA would have been the one to suffer too, right? And for all he knew to the contrary, Arya as well. Varys’ warning to Ned onscreen was more oblique than in the book , where Ned is flat out told, if you don’t play along you’ll be brought Sansa’s head, but I should think most can figure out in just how dangerous a spot is poor dumb annoying Sansa.

  • Hermione

    BOOM! Those who have not read the books: that is the first of MANY mind-blowing moments in the Game of Thrones world. Brace yourselves, b/c it only gets crazier from here…

    • Danielle

      High ftnsaay or epic ftnsaay, whatever you want to label it, has suffered considerably in the hands of filmmakers because producers seem to think that it needs to be dumbed down and made appropriate for children. They think that adults can’t possibly want to consume this stuff or admit to it.However, think back years to the R-rated Conan the Barbarian. That’s awesome ftnsaay and did well at the box office.Now think about the Scorpion King. It was fun, but was made PG and stupid and totally forgettable.Now think about that Eragon movie no wait, must never think about that.I think the Song of Ice and Fire books were so successful precisely because they were gritty, raw, and sexy. I like a bit of sex in my ftnsaay. When I was a teenager I read the Lord of the Rings, absolutely loved it, but then thought I sure wish there had been more kissing! I think the HBO audience will be a good match for A Game of Thrones. Also, the DVD or bluray sales will be good for those who don’t have HBO.

  • Chad O

    Genius. Just genius. This prompted me to pick up the series and read it. It is amazing how true the series has been to the first book while working within time constraints. I’m reading the fourth book now and the story keeps you on the edge of your seat.

  • Shawna

    She came in to check on me. I am so unbelievably shocked. I was expecting Drogo to die this episode because of his festering wound, but was completely unprepared for Ned’s death. I was crying so hard I woke up my roommate in the next room…

    • Justme

      Wow! Thought my life sucked…

    • brickyardjimmy

      Did your roommate throw a bag of dog poop at your head in contempt and disgust?

  • sean

    Unbeleivable thanks george for killing off the only dude who i invested in, great episode i just hope HBO DOESN’T TAKE A YEAR FOR SEASON 2 TO PREMIERE….R.I.P LORD EDDARD STARK.

    • Tom Strong

      You are a moron.

      • troutsky0

        Sean Bean is trolling the intertubes…

      • Eliana

        Dee,I am so honored. And yes, I can be silly. My greetast accomplishment was figuring out how to put up the picture of Big Bird. I love Sesame Street or at least I used to when my daughter was little.

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