Just in case you haven't watched Sunday's (June 12) episode of Game of Thrones on HBO yet, you may want to not read any further because there are huge SPOILERS ahead. Not that they can really be considered spoilers since the episode has officially aired, but still don't read if you haven't watched yet.
Sunday night's episode cause a massive backlash from fans across the world that love the HBO hit series which is still in its first season. Eddard Stark who is played brilliantly by Sean Bean is the main character on the series and on Sunday's episode, Stark was officially killed off.
“The only reason we watched [Game of Thrones] was for Sean Bean,” groused EW reader Steve. “Way to go HBO, time to switch to Showtime.”
This was just one of the many comments from readers of Entertainment Weekly, CNN, and more websites that reported on the killing off of Bean's character.
“Most of you who think this was some sort of brilliant move or something don’t understand the difference between a book audience and a TV audience,” argued EW reader Tamcamry. “TV audiences need to invest in characters. Most of the other characters I don’t care much about. While the show will probably still appeal to the ‘wow’ crowd, it’s mass appeal just got beheaded.”
While this is not really a spoiler for anyone that has read the novels from George R. R. Martin; fans of the television series Game of Thrones obviously feel it should have been changed. Not sure how that is much of a valid argument, but it is one that most are using. HBO on the other hand knew exactly what they were getting into when taking on this project and were prepared for this sort of reaction.
Entertainment Weekly had interviewed producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss about the series and the controversial move that they knew could cause an uproar.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When reading Game of Thrones, what was your reaction to George killing off Ned?
DAVID BENIOFF: I was in shock. From your training in seeing so many movies and reading books, you know your hero is going to be saved. Is Arya going to pull this off? Does the queen have some trick up her sleeve? Someone has something planned, because they're not really going to chop off his head -- right up until the moment when they chopped off his head. I was shocked, and then admiring of George's ruthlessness.
It's a tough thing to build up a character and make somebody as memorable and impressive as Ned and then get rid of him. But at the same time it leads to a story that is so much more suspenseful because you truly have no idea what is going to happen and who is going to survive. In stories, you usually have an idea who's going to make it out. Watching "The Town," which was a really excellent movie from last year, you knew who was going to survive and who will die within the first 10 minutes. This was something completely different. And I said, "Wow George, there's a reason you have such devoted followers because it makes such great reading and panicked reading because you turn the page not knowing who's going to get what next."
When pitching the project, what was HBO's reaction when you told them the main character dies?
D.B. WEISS: It was a selling point for them. They've [killed off characters] in some of their most successful series. In "The Sopranos," even Tony I wasn't completely sure was safe, it wasn't completely outside the realm of possibility [he would be killed off]. It completely ups the ante for any moment when a character is in a dire situation if you know another character didn't make survive a similar situation.
The scenes with Ned and Arya have been great, and with all that Maisie Williams is bringing to that part, I have a feeling this scene is going to upset viewers far more than it did readers of the book, in which the chapter was surprisingly casual and underwritten.
DAVID BENIOFF: It was a good choice by George to kind of underwrite it. Not to throw too many pretentious references around, but there's a short story by Anton Chekhov where the lead character dies in the middle of a sentence -- he didn't even get his own sentence. That always left a real impression on me because it was so offhand that it made you think that this is a brutal life for these Russian sailors on these ships in the 19th century.
It was very effective. Here you're kind of watching from afar and the bluntness of George's prose made it even more brutal, there was nothing sentimental and saccharin about it. It was just, there he is up there, and [the sword] Ice is coming down on his neck and that's it. It's faithful in the way it's translated to the screen, but it's still a very different thing because you have real live actors and little Maisie Williams watching and Ramin Djawadi's beautiful score. There were lots of things that made us nervous this season, but we knew with episodes nine and ten we were ending on a strong note.
Since he is the best-known actor and such a central figure, does losing Sean bring about any concern whether viewers will stick around for season two?
D.B. WEISS: In addition to his character, you're setting up other characters that goes forward. The idea is this show gets its hooks into people enough so you're going to want to know what happens to Tyrion and Arya. So even though we lose key characters, we're still invested in a lot of characters so you'll want to know what happens next.
Does Sean leaving the show open up the possibility of hiring another star for characters who are introduced in season two?
DAVID BENIOFF: There are a bunch of names up for discussion, so it's quite possible. Certainly there hasn't been any kind of mandate that we need to cast big names, but there are some well known actors who would be great for certain roles.
When all is said and done, Game of Thrones is a mere nine episodes into its first season and the character that was featured in every promo, on every poster, and in every promotional picture before its premiere...is now dead. It will be interesting to see if the throngs of fans continue to stand by the series or turn on it as has happened with so many series before.
Game of Thrones airs Sunday night's on HBO at 9:00 PM EST / 8:00 PM Central. Those in the New Orleans area can catch HBO on Cox Cable channel 200.
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