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Game of Thrones - Sean Bean interview

Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark

SEAN Bean talks about taking on the mantle of Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark in Game of Thrones a tale of family, betrayal, lust, greed and power, based on the first of George RR Martin’s bestselling A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Set in the land of Westeros and its expansive Seven Kingdoms, Game of Thrones follows the struggle for power that erupts between several noble families for the right to sit on the realm’s Iron Throne.

Q. How does your character fit into Game of Thrones?
Sean Bean:
My character is called Lord Eddard Stark and he’s Lord of Winterfell, which is this province in the North. There are barriers at the north, south, east and west and he guards the northern territory. It has a massive wall about a thousand feet high which keeps out invaders. It’s a big responsibility, but the King is having trouble in the south of the country. Because Ned Stark is a very honourable and loyal man he reluctantly agrees to go south with his best friend, the King, who he has known since he was a kid, to try to help him out with the mess going on there.

Q. When he gets to the capital, what kind of challenges does Ned face?
Sean Bean:
There is so much corruption and in-fighting that the King thinks Stark might be the one who helps sort it out, while he goes hunting and whoring. He’s like Henry VIII and Ned is looking after all his responsibilities. That’s the kind of guy Stark is. He has a big family, he has a good wife and many children too. A lot of the children have to stay up in the North, but he brings a couple of his girls down and has to constantly watch their backs because they are under threat all the time. Everything seems very nice at first but really it’s all a matter of power and that’s the Game of Thrones.

Q. Who are Ned’s main enemies?
Sean Bean:
His father and brother were killed by the Lannisters, a very powerful family, and their associates, a long time ago. So there is a great deal of antagonism between Stark, Jaime Lannister and Cersei Lannister, who is Jaime’s sister and is married to Ned’s friend, King Robert. There are twists and turns and very complex underlying stories. It has a real edge to it and there are no-holds-barred violent confrontations. It’s very brutal and very sexy, as sex is used as a tool for power by various individuals in the story. So, the combination of all those elements make it quite disturbing, but very watchable. It’s real nail-biting stuff.

Q. How did you feel about working with HBO?
Sean Bean:
The fact that HBO is doing it is great. They do quality work and they let you push the envelope and take risks and chances, and that’s what excited me. You can go as far as you want or as the script sees fit. It’s not like doing a medical or detective show or something. It’s the costumes, it’s all the atmosphere around it that has a sort of magical quality that I found really fascinating.

Q. What initially attracted you to working on Game of Thrones?
Sean Bean:
I think when I saw the size of it, the amount of well-respected actors who were all taking part and the costumes, the design and the sets I knew this was something special. I worked on Lord of the Rings and it had that similar quality of grand style that has a luxurious, luscious, almost decadent feel to it. I knew it was quality stuff and I knew David Benioff (writer/exec producer) from when we did Troy together, and the writing was brilliant. It came off the page so well and it does justice to the book. It looks even better than the book reads.

Who is Lord Eddard Stark?
Lord of the northernmost of the Seven Kingdoms and head of House Stark, Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark is an honourable man in a dishonourable time. Steadfast in his duties, Stark must negotiate a viper’s nest of corruption and back-stabbing when he agrees to be the King’s right-hand man. A family man, Stark personally dispenses justice in the realm, the only blemish on his honour being Jon Snow, the bastard son he fathered while away at war.

Game Of Thrones starts Monday April 18th at 9pm on Sky Atlantic HD”

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