On Ned Stark, Ice and Fire
Spoilers after the leap… (First half of the post may have season one show spoilers, after that there is a warning for more book-related spoilers.)
I thought the last two episodes of Game of Thrones were terrific, especially the ninth which featured the very tragic and surprising killing of Ned Stark. I say surprising for those many viewers who had not read the books. Rumor has it, many are threatening to quit watching the show now that the main character has been killed.
I read about the murder of Ned Stark some eleven years ago, and I recall at first my excitement at the notion of Ned going to the Wall – he was needed at the Wall, badly – and then my horror and devastation at this death. That was when I first knew these books were serious, that Martin meant to pull no punches, and that going forward nothing and no one was safe.
In any case, the final episode of the first season was also quite good, though not nearly so intense as the ninth. There be dragons now, of course, which is pretty awesome. And just as Jon Snow leaves for the icy wilderness beyond the Wall, Dany emerges from the fire of her husband’s pyre. In the show, this illustration of fire and ice is really quite potent.
Now to engage in some theorizing that may or may not be spoiler-ish. Read at your peril:
I’m pretty sure that Jon Snow and Dany are the central characters of these stories. I believe that Jon is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. I’m pretty sure that this makes him next in line for the Iron Throne if the Targaryen dynasty was still in power – above Dany. They hinted at this somewhat in the show (and I think in the book) when Sansa asks “What if I have only girls?” and her Septa responds by saying that the throne would then pass to Joffrey’s brother. Dany is the daughter of the mad king Aerys, but Rhaegar’s son would surely be further up in line than her.
Some idle speculation:
Is it possible that Lyanna didn’t love Robert, but was secretly in love with Rhaegar and that she was not kidnapped but rather eloped? Is it possible they were secretly married? Ned Stark rescues her and she dies “in a bed of blood” and then he returns to Winterfell with the infant who he calls Jon Snow and claims as his own. Is this because he knows Robert or the Lannisters would kill the boy if they knew he was a Targaryen?
Somehow, one way or another, the worlds of Jon Snow and Danaerys Targaryen will collide. How will we discover the truth of Jon’s birth now that Eddard is dead? How will this play out in the show, which has spent almost no time on this particular patch of backstory – or at least not enough time as far as I can tell.
Lots to think about.
P.S. Please read Alyssa Rosenberg’s latest post on the show – and the books – because it’s terrific and thoughtful and exactly the kind of smart commentary this work deserves.