HBO defends 'Game of Thrones' shocker


Image Credit: HBO

Spoiler alert from Sunday’s episode…

“The only reason we watched [Game of Thrones] was for Sean Bean,” groused EW reader Steve. “Way to go HBO, time to switch to Showtime.”

That’s a pretty common reaction among some viewers after watching Sunday’s episode of HBO’s fantasy series, especially among those who didn’t read the Thrones novel by George R. R. Martin. With the show’s ninth hour taking the unprecedented step of killing off a drama series’ main character (and its best known actor) in the first season, some fans are threatening to never watch the program again.

“Most of you who think this was some sort of brilliant move or something don’t understand the difference between a book audience and a TV audience,” argued EW reader Tamcamry. “TV audiences need to invest in characters. Most of the other characters I don’t care much about. While the show will probably still appeal to the ‘wow’ crowd, it’s mass appeal just got beheaded.”

HBO executives knew what they were getting into when they took on Thrones, and programming president Sue Naegle says axing Ned Stark made the show creatively more attractive. “I loved it,” Naegle says. “The book series was filled with unexpected twists and turns. I loved this idea we’d bring together the group of characters, then once you started to believe all the tropes of heroes, you pull the rug out from under them. It’s the opposite of feeling manipulated.”

The story and world of Thrones, Naegle says, is bigger than any one character. “Sean brings a giant following,” she says, “but Thrones is not just about the promise you’re going to see one of your favorite actors week in and week out. The star is the story.”

Some readers said that they felt tricked by the show’s marketing, since they thought Bean was the star and therefore untouchable. “Marketing is designed to bring people into something,” Naegle says.

Among fans of the novels, and those who were less focused on Bean’s character, the episode is winning high praise for its, um, execution. The episode titled “Baelor” is also being submitted for several Emmy categories.

“I knew it was coming. Still, it was shocking, horrific, and fantastic,” wrote @ninaberry on Twitter.

Ratings for Sunday’s episode are likely impacted by the NBA Finals and Tony Awards, though it will still be interesting to try and compare the numbers to next week’s season finale and see if outraged viewers make good on their promise and quit watching the show. Fan site predicted newbie TV viewers will return, just like fans of the novel who famously said they threw Martin’s book across the room and then later picked it back up. “Lots of new viewers threatening that they won’t watch anymore,” the site tweeted. “I don’t believe them. They will be back.”

Overall, Thrones ratings have been rising during its first season, with a second season already ordered. Even with climbing viewership, Naegle says the network is sticking with its fairly conservative 10-episode order for next year. “We’d love to do more,” she says. “But it’s a very rigorous shoot. Doing more episodes might make it difficult to deliver the same quality.”

Not all fan reactions gave a clear sense of whether the viewer planned to return, however. Many were like @dirtyvicar on Twitter who simply wrote: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

‘Game of Thrones’ Episode 9 recap: The Killing: Our take on Ned Stark’s death
‘Game of Thrones’ shocker! Producers explain this week’s horrific twist
Sean Bean talks Game of Thrones twist

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  • Westeros

    Ten episodes is going to be tight for the second season, to be honest. It’s a concern, but I’m sure Benioff & Weiss will find a way to make the cuts as painless as possible…

    But if it comes to a third season, I really hope the show gets as much support as it can from HBO. And from viewers — via subscription or Blu-ray/DVD sales — because ultimately it’s revenue from subscription and disc sales that will convince HBO to up the episode order, and the budget with it.

    • Jimmy

      If HBO is only giving them 10 episodes then they should cut Book 2 in half. Ten hours worked for Book 1 because there was actually a lot of unnecessary filler that isn’t important, but books 2 and 3 are large and you would have to cut entire plots to get it into 10 hours.

      • Adam

        I believe I read before this season even started that HBO planned to cut the second book in half. To me it would make more sense for the network to do this, since they can draw out the show for more viewers and get more seasons. Better character development, too.

      • Casey

        I know Martin and the producers discussed dividing up book 3, but I’m not sure on 2.

      • RJ

        Book 2 would be easy to fit into a single season to be honest. Book 3, however, will need at least 2 seasons to cover it.

      • Daev

        I agree that Season 2 should be doable as 10 episodes. I’m hoping, to accomplish this, that they’ll cut a lot of the Theon’s plotline – mainly his whole trip back to the Iron Isles – which I felt seemed to be the least intertwined with the other main characters. And as far as I can tell, only really serves to explain how he ended up usurping Winterfell.

      • d

        thanks daev. maybe you need it to be explicitly explained that spoilers apply to future books/seasons too. im sure everyone will be glad to know far in advance that theon userps winterfell. i know i am.

    • sarah

      yeah, i hope they weed out the flaky folks because heads will roll. it’s a good thing, people! remember the show heroes? ever read wheel of time? both suffered from TOO MANY CHARACTERS. you’ve got to clear them out on occasion, especially with such a big cast.

      i’m really disappointed they won’t be doing more than 10 episodes. it goes by too damn fast, and the books only get longer from here. more and more will be cut out or feel rushed. i think the columnist was on the mark with how drogo’s illness was rushed. the series will continue to suffer from being compressed.

      • longlivethebean

        i heard there is a order for 22 episodes for season 2

      • Greg

        LOL, no. HBO reps have confirmed that season two will be 10-12 episodes long.

      • Lea

        I’d love to see the season a couple of episodes longer too, but this has got to be an expensive show to do, and I keep thinking how expense helped sink Rome before its time. There’s a bunch more books to do.

      • Zach Z

        I laugh every time about the Drogo rushing. This is how it happened in the books, one Dany chapter he was wounded Next Dany chapter with only 2 other characters chapters taking place between them and Drogo is sick and dying. You also got to remember just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean time hasn’t passed, we are seeing the important parts and skipping a lot of the travel minutia…

      • flodros

        Ever heard of A Feast for Crows?

    • RyanK

      Martin himself suggested they might benefit by dividing books two and three into three seasons. I think that would be a good length.

      • RyanK

        Three seasons total, not three seasons each. lol

      • Drew

        Yeah, but there’s no way they will finish all the books that way. It’s already a long shot that this will go the 7-8 seasons needed to finish a book per season. There is no way they can go 10+ seasons. I’d prefer them have a chance to finish and make a few well thought out cuts along the way.

      • jodipo

        Drew, there is only 4 books right now, with the 5th coming out this summer, so I have no idea what series you are thinking of to say 7 or 8 seasons.

        Personally I would like to see book 3 divided into two seasons before book 2. I REALLY like the idea of making those 2 books into 3 seasons though. Giving each book an extra 5 episodes would probably be smarter than 20 episodes for any one book.

      • MasterKat

        Kids grow pretty quickly. The actors playing Rickon, Myrcella, and Tommen can be fairly easily replaced. But if HBO replaces the two who play Arya and Bran it will be awful. Not to mention the actors playing Sansa and Joffery (though they might be able to stay on given their ages). In 3 years those kids will be noticeably more grown up. Martin’s never had to worry about such things before with his chosen medium.

      • JD

        Martin never mentioned book two being more than one season, but he did say they couldn’t possibly do book three in one season. I also agree that the kids again will be kind of weird when compared to the books. Bran is supposed to be nine in book three but Isaac will be like 14 by then. Maisie will be 16-ish…just a difference between the show and book we’ll have to get over.

      • Adam

        @ Jodipo: the series was originally mooted as lasting 7-8 seasons, based on the 1 season a book idea. If they caught up with Martin, they’d simply finish it themselves using Martin’s outline.

        However, they’re now talking about 2 seasons for Book 3 and 3 seasons for the combined Books 4-5 (which take place simultaneously). That means 7 seasons just to catch up to the end of Book 5. Which I don’t think is really realistic. What if Books 6 and 7 are also huge and need to be two seasons each? They’d need 11 seasons to complete the story, which seems very fanciful.

      • Mee

        If HBO is really serious about pacing the series properly, why did they spend almost ten minutes with scenes like Littlefinger’s girl-on-girl auditions for the brothel a few episodes ago?! Really? On the other hand… Tyrion’s “drinking game” in Sunday’s episode was a poignant and brilliant way to advance the storyline.

      • cemetree

        Jodipo- the series is set to have a total of 7 books, the 5th is coming out in july but 2 more will follow later.

      • Arya Stark

        Sure, it gives GRRM more time to procrastinate about finishing the series….

      • J. K. Rowling

        >> They’d need 11 seasons to complete the story, which seems very fanciful.—————–
        Yeah, there’s no way anyone would pay attention to any series of movies or tv, no matter how good, for seven straight years.

      • George Lucas

        >>> Yeah, there’s no way anyone would pay attention to any series of movies or tv, no matter how good, for seven straight years.—————
        I’d have to agree with that completely. It’d never happen.

      • George Lucas

        >>> I’d have to agree with that completely. It’d never happen.
        Indeed. Pay attention, folks, this just can’t work in the Real World!!

      • Gene Roddenberry

        >>>Indeed. Pay attention, folks, this just can’t work in the Real World!!——————–
        This gibes with my own experience as well.

      • AAAreader

        “… 2 books will come out later.”

        …and by later, he means separated by 4 years each. Martin is a terribly slow writer (good, but slow).

      • Kay Kay

        I think doing the two books in three seasons would be the perfect compromise between rushing/cutting out too much and dragging on some of the slower moments (I am sure we can all agree that they are there,lol!).

    • debra

      I was surprised! Camelot also killed off two major characters last week too. Thankfully not Eva Green who for me is like the Sean Bean of Camelot. Not sure how I’m going to feel with him gone next week.

      • Matt Carter

        How can you even compare the two shows? Camelot is a terrible soap opera! Game of thrones is brilliant and unforgiving! the fact that no character is safe makes it infinitely more watchable!

      • Your mom

        I would feel the same way if Eva Green wasn’t on Camelot, I’d ditch it in a second. Game of Thrones however has done a wonderful job in making me interested in the fates of so many characters… in a way the TV Show weened us off Ned Stark anyways the last couple episodes prior to his axing.

      • casting idea

        Eva Green would probably make a really good Melisandre. Any thoughts?

      • CivT

        Yes. We should totally petition HBO to grab Eva Green for Melisandra or Asha.

    • Krauss

      It’s sad that EW gives a legitimate voice and attention to these complete idiots. No understanding of storytelling or art. Go be spoon-fed your regular network porridge, you crybabies!

      • Joe

        Agreed. I haven’t understood why EW creates new articles talking about how a few tools in the Comment sections feel about things. Surely they realize that most of us are along for the ride and aren’t going to cry on a glorified message board when our favorite characters are killed off… in this case by the author himself. Then to imply that HBO felt the need to defend themselves against the cries of Steve, Pat in Talula, and WetDreamz is asinine.

      • Liz Lemon

        I know right! Seriously, these people need to read the books or they’re not going to be prepared for what’s coming next.

      • MasterKat

        If Ned had lived the entire story would have been different and GoT would have lost the other 95% of its audience. Even people who’ve only ever watched the show have said Ned needed to die. Plus, I remember Sean Bean saying in an interview he was wary about doing a TV because that was a multi-year commitment. That was sort of a foreshadowing. He DID warn you.

      • King Jojo

        Tough t*tties, because regular viewers are the ones who make shows like this possible. Maybe you should spend some time outside of your mother’s basement instead of playing D&D underground. If you understood the tv market, you would know that tv viewers are not the same as some tiny sect that has read the book. Without solid ratings this show is doomed. When you try to ignore publc opinion on something that is dependent on the public, it is doomed to fail. It’s a shame most people don’t understand that, but then again most people don’t work in this industry. Too bad this show is doomed to fail. But then again when the character development takes this many epiodes and then you kill the only star, what do you expect? I don’t expect fans of the books to understand, but then again, you aren’t a big enough audience to keep something like this afloat. Remember this comment when the show is gone…

      • George

        Jojo, you are an idiot.

        You’re suggesting that Benioff and Weis actively change the entire trajectory of the books (which I have not read) just to keep the ratings. Surely the point of subscriber networks such as HBO is to allow the creators and writers to keep as much artistic integrity as possible and not to coddle viewers or stick to generic conventions of television. Frankly, changing the fate of Ned Stark would be such an almighty slap in the face to George Martin and his many fans who got this wonderful series to air in the first place.

        On any other American show a character of Ned Stark’s standing, played by an actor as famous and central to the marketing as Sean Bean, would never have died and any sort of perilous situation that character had gotten into would have been void of real dramatic stakes because the viewers is secure in the knowledge that ultimately their favourite character will survive. By killing Ned, the writers have surely introduceded some tension and unpredictability into proceedings and have proven that the needs of the story trump those of characters. Even if GoT is set in some quasimedieval past with magic and zombies, it’s great to know that the emotions and the decision making of it’s characters will be treated with respect and will not be contorted to the whims of an audience.

        You cannot say they didn’t give Ned as rousing send off though. That final scene was masterfully shot and heart-wrenching in every manner possible.

        I’m delighted that Game of Thrones is being so bold and fearless in it’s storytelling. And I’m sure once they have overcome the tragic loss of Eddard Stark, all those complaining of his death will come to realise that they love the show for so much more than one character and will continue to be just as hooked as I am.

        RIP Ned.

      • ‘Lish

        @Krauss – You ~!@#$%^ @$$!!! I’ve had enough reality. I thought fantasy represented something more etereal, something to help distract us from the chaos and tragedy of our everyday lives. I invested time in this stupid show, only to watch its most redeeming character get his head chopped off in the end. I haven’t read the books because I HAVE A LIFE. Whomever it was who said on here that HBO’s neglected to cater to its TV audience, as opposed to a “book” audience, was dead on.. LOTR was real fantasy. The Tolkien of America my @$$!

      • pivoine

        In the end, ‘Lish? Oh dear. This is only the beginning!

      • a hot chick

        man. it is telling (and embarrasing as an american) to see the comments of the idiotic few here who want to deviate from the books. And to use as an excuse the fact that people who read books are gigantic nerds living in their mom’s basements or that there’s not enough time to read books bc they “have a life”. God forbid these people actually use their brain cells! I also think True Blood spoiled some of these people bc since so much of that story was changed, some may feel (quite stupidly) that any book/story is changeable. Not so. The sookie books are pulpy guilty pleasure but never seen to be the same quality level as Martin’s books. He doesn’t just crank these things out once a year, he puts a lot of thought and effort into the storyline. There are some things you just can’t change. When i first read these books many years ago, i was angered that Ned died, too. But i kept reading! And then i bought the 2nd and 3rd and 4th books too. Even though the 4th book kind of peeved me off, I’m still going to be their next month with Dance with Dragons comes out. and why? Bc Martin is one of the few modern fantasy authors that i truly do not know what is going to happen next. And if i could predict what would happen, where would be the fun in that?

      • Abby

        Just as some find it embarrassing that a few want the books changed up to reflect their wishes, as True Blood did.. I find it embarrassing when people dub a FANTASY book as too sacrosanct to possibly mess with LOL like it’s a work of non-fiction that cannot be tampered with. Wow.

      • NedPepper

        Reading books means you live in your Mother’s basement? This is the response of TV viewers for a well written show? Some people make Americans look really stupid.

        You are mad because Sean Bean’s (who is only known to you because of being KILLED OFF EARLY IN A FANTASY BOOK ADAPTATION) Ned Stark being killed? This show, and the series, deals in grey areas. You think the show can’t go on?…there is so much to come that is mind blowing, and you’re going to be really surprised who steps up and tries bring justice for Ned Stark. And if you can’t deal with characters dying, then maybe this isn’t for you. Martin puts his characters through hell, but that’s what makes you care for them. Robert and Ned’s actions continue to effect this series for a long time.

        And you might want to get ready for some new characters with possibly big actors to replace Bean. And I have no problem with making changes from book to television, but keeping Ned alive would change the entire direction of the series. It’s THE catalyst for everything that comes next.

      • @lish

        That’s what fantasy is for you. It can mean quite different things for others. If Game of Thrones has turned out not to be your thing, that’s fine. For me, it’s been terrific and I’m going to have a hard time not reading all the rest of the books before Season Two airs. To each their own.

      • Book Audience

        I roll my eyes at the ignorant comments of those who assume that there are only a few geeks who have read and loved the books. There are more than 7 million copies of the books sold already in the US alone, and that doesn’t count that it’s been translated into over 20 languages and is highly popular worldwide. Personally, I’d think that HBO would be pretty happy if the show winds up with those kind of number for watchers, particularly if many of those who want to watch it are not previously HBO subscribers. Let alone the many watchers who haven’t read the books but who have good taste and can spot a great work when they see one.

    • ThatGuy368

      If you care about this story and havent already read it, I recommend not reading this comment section. Some of the biggest plot events of later books/seasons get spoiled by trolls below. You have been warned.

      • Jeremy

        Thank you for the warning.

    • Hala

      This is not how it works. They usually film a series like that before its even aired. So they usually up or downsize the episodes according to how much they need to tell a good story. Also it is cheaper production wise, they will have a fabulous story to tell and afford all the costumes and sets and visual effects. Better than dragging it on like Fox shows.

    • John

      TV shows successfully deviate from books all the time…Trinity on Dexter is a good example. There’s no real to slavishly follow books–the obligation is to tell a good visual story.

      And killing Ned was a good twist.

    • Dawn

      Actually, I dislike much of the rudiculous changes Benioff etc have made to the actual books. Too much non-essential nudity for crying out loud! I like adult themes with just the right amount but this show should be called A Game Of Boobs. What a turn-off for serious viewers. Too fanboyish. ( If you are going to show women nude all the time, then give the ladies something too, its only fair as we are also a big part if the audience, people. And not that Theon either!)apart from that, vital characters like The Hound etc are being left out and totally made up and uninteresting ones like Ros the slut take up too much screentime….seriously, HBO, NOBODY CARES. Focus on the actual interesting personae within the actual stories ! I am just one of many of us out here not satisfied with this adaptation nor the sloppy, rushed, often cliche feel of the writing. Im watching this series with concern because I want the tale to be as true to the books they are based on, just as most of the fans are….i dont mind adaptation so long as it makes sense. For instance why didnt Sansa leave with Sandor if she wasnt threatened by him like in the books?? Did not make sense, period. And Littlefinger getting all his lines: awful. Inexcusable. Also why change Asha Greyjoy to Yara? We fans arent stupid you know….we can tell Isha apart from Asha! Just idiotic and annoying changes, truly. Stop treating your audience like brain dead fanboys.

  • Kyle

    I am so glad I hadn’t read the book yet. I totally loved this shocking turn of events! Kudos to HBO for sticking to the source material and marketing it so as to not spoil the surprise!

    • sarah

      everyone is always like, “read the books!” and i did, ages ago, and i kind of wish i was in your shoes. it’s such a shock, and to not know it was coming must have been thrilling.

      • Noelbelle

        My jaw hit the floor, and then I was like, “Nah, that couldn’t have really happened. Surely, the executioner got shot or something and that’s why the crows were flying away. They can’t kill Sean Bean…” Wrong. I was in total denial.

    • jen

      I have loved watching this show with my husband because I have read the books and he hasn’t. I get to experience the wow moments with him even though I know what’s about to happen. It’s killing me to keep my mouth shut about stuff and I was so releaved to finally have this episode just so I don’t have to bite my tongue so much. I think he’s going to read the books now becuase he has been totally blown away by this first season.

      • a hot chick

        yeah, i’ve been having a hard time keeping quiet about plot points with my friends, too. But before it came out, I did try to sell it to people by letting them know, anyone can die at any time. it’s not “conventional” fantasy, by any means. noone who has started watching it that i know has complained about me getting them into it. and the guys i know have thanked me for the abundance of nudity (which frankly, i didn’t expect THAT much of… i mean, skinamax anyone?)

    • kate middleton

      Totally with you, Kyle. I was SHOCKED last night. Cannot wait for next week!
      I think I am going to read the books this summer though.

    • Katherine

      Totally agree! I am reading book 1 now but always trying to stay behind the episodes because they are soooo great! Hard part is going to be not reading ahead…

      • Sandy

        I’m in the same boat and was so glad I wasn’t spoiled by the book because I was literally on my feet in anticipation. I loved that Lost would surprise me with crazy plot twists, so looks like I finally found a show to fill that void!

      • Matt Carter

        you won’t be able too!

    • MAN

      And boos to EW for *ruining* the surprise for those who haven’t watched the episode yet. And before slamming me with “why are you reading a spoiler post, idiot!”, the EW front page this morning had “Spoiler! Shocking Game of Thrones Death!” followed by a post “Interview with Sean Bean about last nights episode!”. And the EW front page intro for this article says: “Spoiler alert from Sunday’s episode… “The only reason we watched [Game of Thrones] was for Sean Bean,” groused EW reader Steve”. Way to go, EW, way to go…

      • crispy

        This is pretty simple: Stay off EW until you’ve watched the show if you’re concerned about spoilers. I mean, if I have a game saved on my DVR, I don’t go to ESPN.

      • MAN

        One should be able to go to EW the night after the Tonys, and not expect to see effectively “SPOILER! Ned Stark is dead!” splayed across the front page. It would have been trivial for them to have non-specific front page blurbs like, “GOT actor talks about their character’s death”. They used to understand that concept with stuff like this, and they’ve done it in the past. After all, it’s “Entertainment” Weekly, not “Game of Thrones” Weekly. It shouldn’t be too much to ask of them.

      • D

        i did not log onto until AFTER i watched the episode because i read the warning post yesterday about the shocking twist and i knew it would be spoiled by the article headline that said “interview with actor so-and-so”. i also stopped reading tumblr or twitter since they spoil stories as they aired (i live in the west coast, been screwed by these social sites too many times.)
        as a tv fan, you are responsible to stay off the internet if you don’t wanna be spoil nowadays.
        having said that. awesome twist! i was half covering my eyes, still hoping for some kind of “magic” to happen, but he was doomed pretty early on. Ned is just too noble, and Joffery is a evil brat…

      • crispy

        Yeh, you’re right. I forgot the Tony’s was last night… I see your point about that.

      • Tarc

        It’s pretty simple: don;t visit spoiler sites if you’re behind on viewing shows you’ll be mad about hearing about. You’re nuts if you think any site will pass up on the immediate discussion of something juicy to coddle late viewers. And in the case of GoT, many people already knew because they’ve read the books. GoT is not a show for people that get attached to particular characters… many more die.

      • ree

        I am with you, MAN. I come to EW pretty much every day – you would expect them to be more careful about their article titles in the day of DVR.

    • Silk

      I have read the books and just being able to put faces to characters is priceless as I read further. I knew that “Winter was coming” for Ned Stark and was still in awe of how well it was done.

      • mustafa

        You are an excellent wrietr even if I have thought your writing seems sad sometimes! I am so glad you are honest! The truth will set you free, is true! I love you and I am so blessed to be your Mom!

  • DH

    Yea…it TOTALLY makes sense to stop watching a show after it takes an unprecedented and incredible creative risk to raise the stakes and give the whole narrative a stronger emotional weight. Why would ANY ONE want to keep watching??

    • Fisty

      Well said sir.

      • Fisty

        Or Ma’am

    • andreia

      I watched the episode three times since last night. Just couldn’t believe it on all points mentioned in the article. I will be back and I will read the series. I LOVE YOU, HBO!!!

  • craig

    im done with hbo

    • HBO Fan

      Later Craig, I’m sure CBS has some 70’s sitcom, reheated, waiting for you.

    • Jimmy

      Why? Because they didn’t completely disregard the novel upon which it’s based? If you haven’t read the novels, fine, but realize there’s source material here and major plots that have to happen in order to achieve future events. This isn’t True Blood where the source material is mostly ignored to appease Alan Ball’s preferences.

      • Olive

        To be fair to True Blood- the show is based around an ensemble, but its source material is single perspective first person. If Alan Ball didn’t add anything, Sookie would be in every scene. Her arcs are more or less left intact, it’s the other characters (like Terry) that only appear briefly in the books that he has to work out plots for. GOT is the opposite- source material coming out their ears.

      • SLB

        Not really. True blood seems to have almost completely left the story from the books.

      • thin

        Yeah, there’s a difference between filling in the blanks (which Game of Thrones has done a fantastic job of in places) and telling an entirely different story. There are certainly still pieces of the story in the books in True Blood, but SLB is right; there is a lot less that remains in common with the original stories than there is that is different.

      • a hot chick

        @thin, from what i’ve heard from fans of the Sookie books, deviating from the source material is not a completely bad thing. i’ve heard that the entire true blood world has been fleshed out in a way that is much more satisfying for a tv show than going by the books would have. but that’s just what i’ve heard from others….

    • jIM


    • DL

      Peace, dude.

    • RyanK

      See ya

    • Aris Katsaris

      Good bye. Since you seem to hate quality in tv shows, and you’re lobbying for the decrease of their quality and storytelling integrity, then you’re my frigging enemy.

    • Dave

      Good. We don’t need morons like you watching quality TV. Go back to American Idol.

    • Tarc

      Obviously you favor lame, traditional televison plot and stories that end in rainbows and puppies. Good luck.

  • Andrew

    Wait till they get to the Red Wedding…

    • Jimmy

      I know, right! Ned Stark’s death is the least of the wrenching events that occur in this series. This isn’t Lord of the Rings. People need to get over it.

      • JLC

        Hey! Don’t forget they knocked off Sean Bean in Lord of the Rings, too! That seemed to turn out okay.

      • CML

        I really like Sean Bean and think he is an excellent actor. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself, having read all the books, when I saw he was cast as Ned Stark. Can’t Bean get good parts he doesn’t have to die in??!!! (LoTR, National Treasure, Black Death, brutally violent death in that one, and now Game of Thrones). Somehow I guess Hollywood has decided Bean is best at playing doomed heroes.

      • Fabi

        vsaroca on May 17, 2010 That titlle antenna on the unbox video is for the OTA channels? Does the DVR group the episodes of the same show in folders? Because I see you have more than one The Office icons there

    • fizzy

      Best. Series. Ever.

    • welshgirl

      red wedding? What’s that? is that in book 3? haven’t read that one yet!!!

      • love the book

        prepare to get your heart broken. what most people love about this series is that unlike many other more G/PG rated fantasy stories, NO ONE IS SAFE!!

      • Gusteaux

        Book 3, Welshgirl…best book of the series (A Storm of Swords).

      • Gregor

        the red wedding was the only thing i’ve ever read where i literally dropped the book. an incredibly well-crafted turn of events.

      • John

        Book 3 where Rob and Catelyn dies

      • jodipo

        hehe, good one John. Boy, its good nobody would believe your trolling crap. You are truly, TRULY a useless human being. I mean really, I bet your mother doesn’t even like you

      • @jodipo

        You just confirmed it moron

    • Gusteaux

      My thoughts exactly!!! The Red Wedding scene is MUCH more shocking than Ned’s beheading.

      • Lauren

        I had to reread the Red Wedding over and over because I couldn’t believe what happened, and I totally didn’t see it coming.

      • diana

        The Red Wedding was awesome – i’m curious as to how they’ll tackle a lot of things though…some will be too much even for HBO! Can’t wait for book 5 to come out next month!!!

    • RM


    • ike

      f**king Freys!

      • Gusteaux

        Well, F**king WALDER anyway…the rest of the Frey’s are too stupid to be that devious or vicious…

    • Silk

      Totally on point with that one, am just now finishing up Bk. 3 and there is so much stuff I will say only TRUE fans of the books and the genre will remain after the “Red Wedding”.

    • Annie

      Yeah… the Red Wedding, now that really pissed me off!!!!!
      but it’s stupid for anyone to blame HBO, if you really feel like someone is to be blamed, blame Martin, the author, that’s more justifiable than blaming HBO. People are stupid if they don’t realize that FOR ONCE, the series actually followed the book. Seriously, it’s the first time I’ve seen this (except maybe Pride and Prejudice), and I’m glad for it.

    • Mike

      Yeah really. I wasn’t excpecting this reaction at all at Neds Death, although truefully I did get this exact reaction from the wedding, and thats where I would expect this. The wedding makes Neds death seem almost uneventful.

  • Brad

    in the last game of thrones series they had two battles and didn’t show either one. All at once they have jamie lanister. HBO really went cheap on these eppisodes. The borgia’s detail is so much beter. I like the game of thrones story line a lot better.

    • Ms. Chanandler Bong

      I agree that was random, but I’m glad we don’t have to sit through lengthy battle scenes when’s there’s so much more awesomeness to get to.

      • Fisty

        That’s how I feel. You seen one over the top battle you’ve seen em all.

      • Eliseo

        I don’t think I’d like to run multiple erraactchs in most games. There’s typically enough to keep track of with one, and it would interfere with my immersion. If the game is designed to primarily be one player/one character, I want to really inhabit that character. Then there’s screen time issues; I’d either be taking time from myself, or from the other players.More ineteresting to me would be a game in which *everyone* played two erraactchs, an A setting and a B setting which somehow commented on each other. Your Fringe example could be like this.A twist on multiple erraactchs for a player would be multiple players for a character. There’s a time travel Fiasco playset in which everyone plays a time-travelling scientist at different times in his life. It might be fun to use Shock to play something similar, or maybe a set of clones or avatars.

    • cueball

      But the “battle scenes” in The Borgias sucked. I’d rather have them go all out for one battle scene in the the end, than give me 3 or 4 cheap looking battles.

    • Mance Rayder

      The thing is, this is another instance of actually being very faithful to the books. Rob’s big first battle, where Jaime Lannister is captured, all happens “off-screen” in the book, as well. That portion of events is told from the viewpoint of Catelyn Stark as she waits in the forest for anyone to return with word of her son– the exact same place the TV show picked up on that event.

    • RJC

      That’s actually how the book goes too – those chapters are from Tyrion’s (he gets knocked out early) and Catelyn’s (she isn’t at the actual battle) POVS so we only hear about the battles afterwards. Though I do kind of wish we had seen Grey Wind in action.

      • JonBean

        Not true. With Robb’s battle? Yes, recounted after the fact. Tyrion’s battle, however, is played out in real time. From spotting Ser Gregor leading his own army to using his spiked helm to take out a horse and getting the rider to yield. We see it all.

    • RJC

      There’s an awesome battle in a Clash of Kings though, so that should make people happy.

      • Brett

        Agreed! I am so excited to see if they can fully pull off the Blackwater. It will be a hell of a budget for that.

  • Ana

    And Ayyyyy-eee-ayyyyyyyy-eeee-aaayyyyyy will always loooooove yoooooooOOOoooo Ned. Dang I’ll miss Ned. But I was ready since I had read the books. I’m sure people are pissed he was killed off especially since Sean Bean is so awesome on top of being so fine. But PEOPLE please hang on, ok? It only gets better. Not the people you love being killed off part, but the awesome fantasy epic part certainly does.

    • Jen

      Me, too, Ana. I knew what was going to happen because I read the book, and I still cried my eyes out.

    • Olive

      It gets better, in that it gets much, much worse. Remember weeks ago, when everyone was freaking out about Lady’s death? That was the happy part of the books.

  • dmso

    So people actually think they should have radically altered the storyline just to keep Ned Stark fans happy? That’s just silly. I haven’t read the books, but I thought the “twist” was courageous and brilliant.

  • Thronesfan

    I applaud HBO for this episode. I didn’t not read the books and really enjoyed the character of Ned stark and Sean bean, but this was pure genius. I think many viewers are afraid to leave a certain comfort level and want that structure that eveyrother show has on tv. However, this move by HBO was extremely refreshing. I was abolsutely blown away when it happened and I can honestly say I have never been blown away before in TV, like I was at the end of this episode. I think if people were watching this show simply for the character of Ned stark, they are missing the purpose of the show and what truly defines it, which is a great story and a full range of interesting characters. Well done HBO!

    • Lara

      As another viewer of the show who hasn’t read the books, I completely agree.

    • Mamahub79

      Yep, agreed!!

      • Lauren

        Thank you! I have read the books, but have known people who stopped reading the series because Ned died. It is refreshing to hear this from someone who hasn’t read the books. Ned’s death was necessary, and the story only gets better because of it. I hope there are more viewers like you with the maturity and wisdom to see the bigger picture.

    • bgl

      I thought the same thing. It was brilliant and ballsy. And furthermore it isn’t about the one actor or actress. It’s about a good and interesting story which Game of Thrones has. Some of the reactions to this latest episode are just what good stories can do. Not everybody should like the twists and turns a show takes. That would be boring. I don’t like some of the brutality that is inflicted on animals on Game of Thrones. To be honest I found the scene with the horse sacrifice to be more brutal and raw than Ned’s death. But I know that in this world animals were not given the same level of respect and protection as their human counterparts. And so if I am going to continue to watch the show I will probably have to turn my head a few times when animals are harmed. I don’t like that part, but who says I should like everything in order to continue to watch. HBO and the writers should continue to keep the show interesting and keep viewers on their toes.

  • mark

    This show just got a hundred times better in my opinion, I did not read te books but lets hope the red wedding is when Joffrey gets his.

    • Shadowlands

      Umm spoiler alert! Some people haven’t read the books, so can you please give us fair warning before you ruin future events? Geez!

      • @Shadowlands

        How is that a spoiler? The previous poster even said he hadn’t read the books. Idiot.

      • Christi

        He didn’t spoil anything. Re-read his comment.

      • ducky

        Wasn’t really his fault, either. It got mentioned a few posts back.

    • Desmo

      Yeah the red wedding has very little to do with Joffrey. I love how that seed is already planted though.

    • emerald

      As someone who read and reread the books all I can say is “well done” HBO.I’m always skeptical when a book gets turn into a movie or series, but I have nothing to complain about the way the events in the book were followed. As for people that complain about Ned Stark being killed, wake up and read the books or otherwise enjoy the amazing turn of events.Ned’s death was necessary,after all it’s “THE GAME OF THRONES”and he was not prepared to play the game.He was to honest and true to himself and his believes to survive in this game.

  • chris

    I don’t understand the complaints and the criticism that some people are leveling at HBO. It’s not like this is the first time a major character has been killed on an HBO series. Isn’t risky programming what HBO original shows are supposed to be all about? If you’ve been following GoT, enjoying it so far, and suddenly feel betrayed by HBO for Ned’s death, well… maybe you should stick with Showtime’s softcore porn / softcore history lessons.

    • Fisty

      I think it’s a testament to the how good the show is that so many people are up in arms about it.

    • ks

      I remember Ron Moore fighting with NBC over BSG. I love that they fought to stay true to the story and pushed on.

    • Mance Rayder

      Just as an aside, how much better would history class have been if there had been more softcore porn involved!

    • diana

      HA! If people are complaining and threatening to stop watching the show, there’s not going to be anyone left watching at the end of 5 series, save those of us who’ve read the books!!!!

    • Tarc

      Ha. The problem is the assumption that Ned was a major character. He’s not… never was. GoT will have a massive cast, and most have very small roles.

      • thin

        Well, that’s not entirely true. He is/was a very major character… up to this point. He was a focal point, and in the books he has a substantial number of chapters devoted to him. It’s not an assumption that he was a major character, he *was* a major character. That his part in the story ends early in the series does not mean that he wasn’t a major character in it.

      • Tarc

        I’ll repeat that Ned was never a major character. There is a huge difference between an influential character and a major one. Three books later, Ned was merely a notable setup character.

  • ShellyS

    I haven’t read the books and I’m sad Ned was executed, but I know it’s an adaptation and it’s holding true to the books. If this is what happened in the books, then it had to happen in the series. But now I’m not sure I’ll be able to read the books, knowing this will happen. I’m one of the people who invest in characters as heavily in books as I do in TV shows.

    • Fisty

      There are SOOO many characters to invest in. The reason these books are so much better than the fantasy fluff other authors like Robert Jordan or Tolkien put out is because of the level of characterization you get with everyone.

      You should definitely read these books.

      • ks

        That is the MAIN reason I read the books, it isn’t fluff

      • Nick

        GoT is good, but it is not Wot or LotR, don’t kid yourself.

      • Andrew

        Nick, WoT is garbage. After book 1, you end up reading over 1k pages for no charecter development and very little plot. It felt like Jordan realised his books were selling so he artficially lengthened everything to make more cash.

      • Nix

        Well that’s th first time I’ve heard someone call Tolkien “fluff”. Obviously he also wrote fanciful tales, but Lord of the Rings was a very mature novel on a level of maturity no one knows anymore: sacrifice and giving up and failure. A song of ice and fire is deliciously entertaining but it’s mature only in the misleading sense of the M rating which equates maturity with indulging adolescent desires for sex and violence. Not that I believe that’s all there is to it — its lessons about th futility of goodness is also very important, if not as challenging as Tolkien’s lessons about weakness being more powerful than power. (Every man and quite a few women like the idea of being bad and getting it all, which is pretty much what Game of Thrones is about. All the “good” characters suffer, and the more evil a character is, the more successful he is. I’m looking at you, Petyr Baelish.)

      • bake6798

        LotR is in its own class. I feel like Robert Jordan went too big with WoT and it became like the Frankenstein monster and he couldn’t control it or weave all the threads he pulled together. Don’t get me wrong I love WoT but Martin’s series is a more mature and well crafted series.

      • Jet

        The Jordan books have actually gotten better since Jordan died.

      • aaa

        you just called tolkien “fluff” and even compared him to martin?


    • jen

      invest in Arya, Dany & Jon. They are the main reason i kept reading the books and by far 3 of the best written characters i’ve read in a long time.

      • Erin


      • Grignac

        I’ve read all the books. I’m not investing on anyone!

        But I love Arya, Dany, and Jon’s story thus far.

      • Visserian

        Hey I love Arya, Dany and Jon as much as the next guy but no love for our favorite imp?

      • thin

        Seriously, you can’t mean to say that you’re not invested in Tyrion as well.

      • GeekGazmatron

        Sagely put, if one cleaves to those 3 characters then one cannot be too worried. That they are my 3 favourite (with Tyrion) is pure coincidence.

      • Doncosmic

        Arya, Dany, Jon, and Tyrion are the main characters in the entire series, they are from the start and I would be willing to bet they are until the end.

      • CML

        AMEN X 2

    • Toni

      The books are going to break your heart. Not going to lie to you.

    • diana

      can I recommend you don’t start investing in any more characters or you’re going to be very disappointed!

  • Unhappy Viewer

    I can’t believe they axed (pun intended) Sean Bean! I was not happy. Sod the book, Ned was the main characher! It is like killing Sharpe off 10 minutes into an episode of Sharpe!

    • GOT FTW

      People who have praised and panned this show for it’s graphic violence, sex and language are surprised when a major character is killed off? Really?

      The reason these books have kept my rapt attention for 15 years (I have read each book at least 4 times) is because they are not fairy tales!! The are the most realistic “fantasy” that I have ever come across.

      The only thing that would have made me not watch these shows, is if HBO and Benioff and Weiss had butchered Martin’s superb plots.

    • Jennifer

      Well, it would be more like killing off Sharpe 10 pages before the end of the book, but I get your point. Maybe looking at the main character being the story rather than any particular person would help?

    • Robert

      Ned Stark is *not* the main character.

      In fact, the way the books are written, there is no one, “Main Character.”

      The thing I liked about the books when I started reading them is how ballsy Martin (the author) is about killing off characters. By the time you get to book 4, half the people you liked in book 1 are dead. Half the people you hated in book 1 (Jaime, Tyrion, the Hound) are now your favorite characters.

      I think its a much more realistic and lifelike approach to a story.

      People you like die. Get over it. This isn’t a soap opera where the characters go on and on and on and on and on and on and on….

      • Redriot

        “By the time you get to book 4, half the people you liked in book 1 are dead. Half the people you hated in book 1 (Jaime, Tyrion, the Hound) are now your favorite characters.”

        That is a great quote, I completely agree. No one is pure white or pure black, everyone is grey. Every character has their own set of understandable motives that causes them to do what they do. Just like real life. If this were Tolkien, Arya would have created a distraction while a giant eagle flew out of nowhere and plucked up Ned and returned him safely back to Catelyn’s arms.

      • GOT FTW

        I agree wholeheartedly, the only characters I have hated throughout the series are Cersei and her father Tywin. I never thought in a million years I could like Jaime, and now he is one of my favorites. The sympathy and understanding that Tyrion has shown Jon so far in the series and first book also made him a very likable character. Peter Dinklage has done everything possible to bring Tyrion to life, and that has been a huge plus, his only flaw is that he isn’t ugly enough!

      • RJC

        I definitely agree about Jamie (I loved Tyrion from the get go!). He gets soooo much more interesting in a Storm of Swords. Plus people haven’t even met Stannis, The Onion Knight or Brienne yet, so there are plenty of characters to invest in as we move on.

      • bake6798

        redriot- can’t say ever came to love Jaimie. But Martin does give him a depth so that you understand that he does the things he does because he is a three dimentional character and not just a cardboard cutout bad guy who is bad and does evil things just cause he’s evil and thats what the plot requires.

      • Tarc

        Precisely – why on earth would you assume that Ned was a ‘main character’? He’s not. If you continue watching, be prepared for many of the character that get introduced to either disappear or die. The cast is huge, and most characters just get a bit part.

      • Danny

        I had my wedding dress alrtoatiens at Dream Seams in July. I can’t speak more highly of the service I received. A professional service in a lovely relaxed atmosphere. My dress was finished beautifully and thanks to Dreams Seams fit perfectly. I would not hesitate in recommending their services. Thank you

    • Stephanie

      Ned WASN’T the main character. That’s what you’re missing here. Ned was far from the main character. He was the set-up character. The man without whom we wouldn’t have all of the political events that make the next books intriguing. His actions and his subsequent death set off a HUGE reaction around Westeros and help bring the REAL main characters into their own.

      • Mance Rayder

        “[Ned] was the set-up character.”
        Perfectly stated. Viewers (and future readers of the books) need to understand that much of what happens in “A Game of Thrones” is mainly prologue to everything that comes in the following books of “A Song of Ice and Fire.” GRR Martin could easily have started his story at this exact point, with Ned’s death as the catalyst for the plot, giving a few flashbacks to establish the backstory, and it would have still worked perfectly well. Instead, brilliantly, he chose to go further back in order to lay an even better foundation for all these characters– and to show that, as in the real world, events get so intertwined that it’s impossible to pinpoint the specific spark that sets everything alight. Was it Robert’s death? Jon Arryn’s death? Robert’s rebellion when Lyanna was abducted? Or the moment when Aemon Targaryen refused the throne, leading to “Mad” Aerys’s eventual ascension? I could go on… The point is, don’t mistake this for a black-and-white, linear story of heroes and villains. This is a story of complex people reacting to the chaos of the world around them, doing the best they know how, and then reacting to the consequences– just like all of us do, every day of our imperfect lives.

      • Mamahub79


      • JS

        EXACTLY. Ned was the glue that held the Starks together, and without him, his family has to fend for themselves and come into their own. The floodgates have been opened!

      • Bright

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    • andy

      no, its isnt at all…lame

    • Tonic

      except that Stark/Bean wasn’t the main character.

  • sailor

    Last night had a OMG moment but in a good way. I like that no one is safe. I’m still a fan and will continue to watch if they keep up this brilliant writing.

  • montana

    To bad all you Stark fans. If you think Eddard’s death is so terrible well you haven’t seen nuttin yet… just about all the Starks get the axe, the axe, the axe… right in the neck, the neck, the neck.

    Heh, heh.

    • modehead

      No they don’t, dont’ don’t.

      Stop posting pointless spoilers, you dumbass, ass , ass.

    • Greg

      No they don’t. I mean some more of the Starks die, yes, but more of EVERYONE dies. The Starks are only notable in that they generally deserve it less than the others who get knocked off.

    • Lawlbeans

      HA! HA HA HA!
      You poor fools that haven’t read the books are in for a real shocker ( SP ) When a certain someone goes back to Winterfell over the next few seasons. I threw my book against the wall and stopped reading for a week or two. Will you do the same with your TV/Computer? We shall see…

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