Extreme spoilers. Please turn back if you haven’t read the book.
Episode 9 will be, if not the best episode of the series, then at least the most momentous and emotionally poignant episode in Season One. I’m not sure if I’m ready to see Ned Stark’s head roll down the steps from the Great Sept of Baelor. Reading it for the first time was shocking. On my current AGOT reread, the scene was just saddening. I’m not sure what the live-action HBO footage will make me feel.
For new viewers who haven’t spoiled themselves, this scene will be extraordinarily shocking. It’s extremely rare for a TV show to kill of its main character – and it’s star actor – after only a handful of episodes. Yet if ASOIAF isn’t shocking, I’m not sure what it is. Ned’s Stark death was the moment in the story that cemented the series as something beyond the realm of normal fantasy. It changes the game and it rebuilds the playing field.
I just wanted to write down a few thoughts before I actually see the footage. I hope Sean Bean gets a monumental send off, because he deserves it after all the fantastic work he’s done thus far. I hope Arya is fuming and violent and rushing through the crowd with Needle in hand. I hope Sansa is screaming and weeping and in disbelief, as we saw Sophie Turner when Lady was condemned to death. I hope Joffrey is evil and vicious and insane with arrogance. I hope Cersei and Varys and everyone else is panicked and disconcerted. I hope the whole thing is a spectacle and a drama and not toned down, because it’s the one scene this season that has to have maximum impact.
And I hope for Brandon and Aerys, and for fevered dreams of the Tower of Joy. Reference Lyanna. Promise me, Ned. It’s too important to let slip by.