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Game of Thrones: HBO and Sean Bean defend Baelor shocker

Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark

Story by Jack Foley

AS VIEWERS of Game of Thrones continue to get over the shock of the death of one of its main characters (spoilers below) both HBO and Sean Bean have defended the reasoning behind it.

Both US and UK viewers were surprised to see Bean’s character, Ned Stark, beheaded at the end of the penultimate episode on Monday (Sunday in the US), prompting some to angrily complain they would be leaving the show.

But HBO is confident that viewer numbers will be retained and even increased in line with the show’s ever-expanding legion of fans as word spreads of the sheer brilliance and unpredictability of the story.

Reacting in the wake of Baelor‘s response among fans, Sue Naegle, programming president of HBO, told Entertainment Weekly that axing Ned actually made the show creatively more attractive.

“The book series was filled with unexpected twists and turns [and] 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,” she explained.

Responding to some accusations that viewers had been tricked into thinking Bean’s character was a non-disposable hero, she added: “Sean brings a giant following, but Thrones is not just about the promise you’re going to see one of your favourite actors week in and week out. The star is the story.”

If some fans were dismayed, however, the majority continue to be impressed by the audacity of a show that refuses to play by conventional rules. EW’s forums, for instance, are ablaze with praise for the series.

While the episode itself, Baelor, is being submitted for several Emmy categories.

Commenting on the demise of Ned Stark, Sean Bean himself told Entertainment Weeky that it was part of what attracted him to the show in the first place.

“I thought it was a very courageous move for a television company. I know HBO has a track record of bold moves but I thought this is pretty incredible if they can pull this off.

“I love the character, that he’s a principled man who tries to hold things together. This is a journey that he makes where ultimately his loyalty causes his downfall. But I just thought it was a wonderful piece of work.”

Read Entertainment Weekly’s full coverage of Game of Thrones here or check out our verdict on Baelor

Next story: Matt Smith signs up for 14 new Doctor Who episodes

  1. when is the next series going to be seen on uk tv

    doreen    Jun 21    #