Eddard "Ned" Stark

Eddard "Ned" Stark

    Game of Thrones
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living... with his wife and many children in Winterfell, the ancestral castle home of House Stark and the capital of the North. But his life changes drastically when his old friend King Robert Baratheon summons him to King’s Landing to take over as Hand of the King.

Profession... top advisor to the King. The previous Hand of the King (Jon Arryn) died mysteriously, and many in King’s Landing believe it was a case of foul play. King Robert calls on Ned – that’s what his friends call Lord Eddard – because he’s honorable, brave and fair-minded. But those qualities might not suit him well for the political mind games that run rampant in King’s Landing. The honest Ned is not used to scheming or trying to uncover malicious power plays.

Interests… raising strong children. He gives them direwolves – large beasts that they found as pups – to learn responsibility. He breaks convention of the day to arrange for his daughter, Arya, to take fencing lessons to learn to defend herself and because she loves it. And he tries to teach his other daughter, Sansa, to stand up to her husband-to-be, but Sansa is at an age where she has no intention to listen to her father.

Relationship Status... in a loving marriage with Catelyn Stark. The two were betrothed into an arranged marriage, but grew to truly love each other as they raised their children. But it’s not always easy for them. As Ned says, “War was easier than daughters…”

Challenge... keeping his family together after they are thrust into a high-profile life in King’s Landing. His son, Bran, is in a coma back in Winterfell after discovering a Lannister family secret, while his daughter Sansa becomes engaged to the evil Prince Joffrey. And when that Prince becomes a King, will he still want Stark’s advice? Becoming Hand of the King has tossed Ned into a viper’s pit of backstabbing and deadly double-dealing. Whether he will emerge alive and with his family intact remains to be seen.       

Personality... trustworthy, caring, and brave. He was a soldier for many years, and learned about patience, honor, and respect. But in the battle for the Throne, he realizes such noble intentions might not be enough, and he’s wise enough to know when the tide is turning against his family. “Winter is coming,” is a Stark motto, and they’re not (just) talking about the weather. There promises to be many dark, cold days ahead for Ned, his family, and the kingdom as a whole.


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