Game of Thrones: ‘Baelor’ Recap, Season Finale Preview & Sean Bean Interview

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 7:06 am,

Last week, Game of Thrones Episode 8 – “The Pointy End” – had its highest ratings of the season so far with 2.7 million viewers (3.6 million total for the night). That’s 22 percent higher than the premiere, for those who aren’t keeping track.

If the ending to last night’s episode 9 – “Baelor” – is anything to go by, next Sunday’s season finale – “Fire and Blood” – is going to be the climax we’ve all been waiting for. Today, we have a recap for “Baelor,” the preview for the finale, and an interview with series star Sean Bean, the man who plays Ned Stark. As always:








“Baelor” Recap

Early on in “Baelor,” Varys the eunuch visits Ned Stark deep in the darkest dungeon of King’s Landing to tell him that Sansa, his oldest daughter, has pleaded for his life to young King Joffrey. As a result, if Ned rescinds his claim that Joffrey is not the rightful heir to the throne – remember, Joffrey is secretly the incestuous offspring of twins Cersei and Jaime Lannister (as opposed to King Robert) – Joffrey will be merciful and allow Ned to live.

game of thrones ned stark death beheading Game of Thrones: Baelor Recap, Season Finale Preview & Sean Bean Interview

At first, Ned refuses. Nothing is more important to him than his honor and integrity, not even his own life. But then Varys reminds him that other lives hang in the balance, like those of his daughters, Sansa and Arya Stark. See, nothing is more important than Ned’s honor and integrity – save his family.

Meanwhile, Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), the head of the Lannister clan, is preparing for war with Robb Stark, the son of Ned and current leader of the Northern forces. He orders his heir, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), otherwise known as “The Imp,” to join the Tribesman and Bronn on the front-lines of war. Apparently, Tywin hates Tyrion and basically holds him responsible for his mother’s death because she died giving birth to him.

Tyrion believes that this might well be his last night on Earth, so he asks Bronn to find him the best-looking prostitute in the whole camp and the three play what can only be described as a really tame, really sad version of “grownup truth-or-dare.” Eventually, Tyrion tells them a story about his first love, a young girl he immediately fell in love with and married soon after, only to learn that she was a prostitute hired by Jaime to make him happy. Instead, it ruined “love” for him for the rest of his days.

game of thrones baelor robb stark Game of Thrones: Baelor Recap, Season Finale Preview & Sean Bean Interview

The next morning, after delivering a grandiose speech to his troops, Tyrion is knocked out and lies unconscious throughout the entire battle. This was a quick, easy way for the showrunners to skip over a massive battle that would’ve eaten up both A) previous screen-time and B) precious budget. (Hey, it worked for us.) In the end, Tywin’s men killed all 2,000 of the Northerners. Alas, they were merely a distraction, and the other 18,000 Northerners marched toward Jaime Lannister’s men, killing them and capturing Jaime.

Across the ocean to the East, Khal Drogo (played by Jason Momoa) is dying. His wound from last episode has festered and he’ll be lucky if he lasts the night. His beloved, Daenerys Targaryen, is desperate to save him, so she begs the woman whose life she saved last week — a witch, of sorts — to cast some spell to stop his death. Because it involves “blood magic” and the death of a horse, it gets the unwanted, potentially violent attention of one of Drogo’s men, and Ser Jorah Mormont is forced to kill him in armed combat. Unfortunately, Daenerys simultaneously goes into labor and only the witch can save her, so we’re left wondering, regardless of blood magic, whether or not Drogo will live to see season 2.

game of thrones khal drogo jason momoa Game of Thrones: Baelor Recap, Season Finale Preview & Sean Bean Interview

Back at King’s Landing, Ned Stark is brought before the people at Baelor’s Sept where he proclaims that he was wrong to stand up to the Lannisters, that he was a traitor to do so, and that Joffrey is the one, true heir to the throne.

But unlike Ned, Joffrey has no honor to speak of. He’s a petulant boy who lives to hear the roar of the crowd in “honor” of his presence. It doesn’t matter that he gave  his word  that if Ned Stark swore fealty to Joffrey, he’d show mercy on him and allow him to live out his days on “The Wall.” He refuses the request of his mother, Cersei, and refuses the pleas of his future wife, Sansa; they’re women, so obviously they’re weak and wrong (according to Joffrey).

And thus, the young faux-king has poor Ned’s head chopped clean off. You see, also unlike Ned, when King Joffrey orders an execution, he doesn’t do the deed himself, as is honorable. Rather, he has his minions do it for him. It’s the perfect callback to one of the first scenes of the series where Ned executed a Night’s Watch desserter by his own hand. For those who don’t recall, here it is:

“Baelor” was an episode all about sadness, loss, and death. The sadness of Tyrion Lannister, a man who has always been alone when it comes to love; a man who has always been hated by his father and blamed for his mother’s death; a man who has always been second to his older, taller, and more handsome brother, Jaime.

The loss of 2,000 Northern men to Tywin’s army, in sacrifice to the greater cause: The capture of Jaime Lannister and the surprise defeat of his men.

The death of poor Ned Stark, a man who put honor and goodness above everything else in his life, except for his own family. But then, maybe those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. Maybe they’re the same thing.


Season Finale Preview

Check out the preview for next week’s (no doubt) explosive season finale below, entitled “Fire and Blood”:

Check out the brief summary for the finale, too:

A new king rises in the north; a Khaleesi finds new hope. (Written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss; directed by Alan Taylor.)


Game of Thrones Interview: Sean Bean

And lastly, here’s an interview with Sean Bean, courtesy of InsideTV. When asked what he thought of Ned’s arc when he read the script, Bean said:

“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.”

On whether or not knowing Ned’s fate changed his portrayal:

“I knew I had to get quite a lot in before I got my head chopped off. I think you just play what’s on the page — he’s a good man trying to do his best in the middle of this corruption, he’s a fish out of water, he’s used to being up North in Winterfell where people are pretty straight and pragmatic, and he comes down to a place where people are playing games and backstabbing.”

game of thrones ratings high and episode six video preview Game of Thrones: Baelor Recap, Season Finale Preview & Sean Bean Interview

Asked if there was reluctance to play another fantasy character that dies, Bean said:

“Not really. His death was [as] much a surprise to me as anyone. In Lord of the Rings, that death scene worked out quite well and Peter Jackson shot it beautifully, so it was quite heroic, and that also applies to the Ned Stark scene. It’s shocking and sad for his young daughter in the crowd.”

And for fans upset by the beloved character’s death:

“Ah, sorry about that! Tell them to blame George R.R. Martin.”

What did you think of the death of Ned Stark? Was it courageous? Was it crushing? Was it all of the above and so much more? Let us know in the comments.

Also, if you’ve read the books – DO NOT DISCUSS THEM HERE! There are plenty of other places on the Internet for you to do that, we assure you.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays @9pm on HBO. The season 1 finale will air on June 19, 2011.

Source: InsideTV

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

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    • “I can not believe….” my bad.

  1. “In the Game of Thrones, you Win or you Die.” -Cersei Lannister. A little foreshadowing, maybe?

  2. Seriously stop your belly aching.. Try to see past your own low standards of what makes a good story.
    Ned isn’t the main character. Even for you guys he will be a distant memory as you see The Stark children’s stories unfold… Tyrions family troubles. The red wedding…

    But. What will really spin your heads is when the point of view characters change. There are no truly good or bad characters in this story.. It’s simply a point if view. You current perceived antagonist will become you favourite protagonist.. And risk maybe dying… War is a dangerous business after all …

  3. On one level I relish the brilliant writing and acting of a Game of Thrones. However I feel cheated that I am basically, because of reasons of expense, only watching at best a sketch of what this series could and should be.

    Last week’s episode had faint whispers of grand battles but nary a moment of credible screen time to portray them. This would be wholly akin to the Lord of the Rings trilogy eliminate all of the sweeping battle footage on the grounds of cost.

    It is nice that HBO is trying to present some form of these novels but in the end one feels rather cheated at how impoverished their product comes off as.

    • It doesn’t come off as impoverished to me. The point of the show — I can’t speak for the book — is the characters, the plot, the intrigue, and so forth. The battle scenes, to me, are far less important than progressing the plot or learning some small but important character detail. There have been fantastic fight scenes, even if they weren’t in the middle of a battle, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw genuine battle scenes either in the finale or the next season.

    • actually you barely see either battle in the book. Tyrion is knocked out early in his scene and since you’re in his perspective during that chapter you don’t see the entire fight. He does actually manage to make it to the battle and get into one little scrap before he gets knocked out.

      as for robb starks victory over jamie, that scene was from catelyn stark’s perspective in the book and you also barely see any of the battle. Since she’s off in the distance with rodrick and 20 soldiers protecting her (the 20 soldiers weren’t present in the episode though) she could only really hear the battle plus greywinds howls & roars.

    • Actually, if you read the LOTR books, you know that the battles in the movie were never featured in the book. In fact, it was almost like how Game of Thrones handles it: everything leads up to the battle, then the POV shifts to someone else, and the the results of the battle are referenced. There are no actual battles in the LOTR books, and it sounds as if Game of Thrones is more in keeping with the books than the LOTR movies managed to.

  4. ‘Game of Thrones’, is a battle for the throne. Having never read the books, I imagine this series will continue to protray each kingdom with an unbias perspective. Love the Lannisters, or love the Starks, there will be many sad deaths on either side. Ned’s death was shocking, sad and deliberate, because the most noble and kind-hearted character does not always win, and this lesson ‘Baelor’ taught us.

  5. Nerd point: How can Tyrion be older than Jaime and Cersei if he killed their mother in childbirth?

    • I think it was a factual error on the show’s part. I know from the book he’s definitely younger (obviously). But maybe he’s the heir because Jaime’s sworn to the Kingsguard? That’d be my best guess.

      • yes, it is because jamie is sworn to the kingsguard.

  6. I’m truly surprised by the fanboy response here, though I probably shouldn’t be. It’s only natural that an audience whose expectations for the show have been disappointed (and didn’t you think that HBO might have been borrowing trouble when you saw the Sean Bean centric previews? If you didn’t know the Hand could sit on the throne?? What do you think viewer expectations might be, really? I’m guessing beheaded at the end isn’t it!) should be wondering whether or not to soldier on with the story.

    Even in the books, it was a hard won victory Martin won to keep me invested. I barely decided that I liked Tyrion, Jon, and Arya enough to continue reading. And I had to know what happened to Benjen… In any case, the ire directed at an unprepared and emotionally invested audience is perplexing to me. Why such over-reaction? Isn’t it more shallow and less feeling if there wasn’t such a struggle? I submit that the shallower reaction is that of the popcorn-munching tourist who feels nothing but thinks it’s great/ballsy/FOW to have a hero die early on.

    Complain about cookie-cutter expectations all you want, but realize that this is escapist literature, and it takes some amount of determination and emotional investment for readers to escape to such a place. The books won you over. Imagine what it must be like for those who have no access to the added dimensions granted in them.

  7. Can’t believe Ned Stark died. Crazy ending. I literally said “WTF”! However, it makes my hatred for that little punk king even stronger and I can’t wait till’ he is challenged. Down with the King.

  8. In the classic words of Larry Williams [OTAKU ASSEMBLE on Youtube]:

    “They killed my n—a Ned!”


    “F–k the Blonde Man!”


  9. Ned richly deserved being executed- what a complete and utter idiot he was. Yes poor Ned was noble and honorable indeed- a guppy in a pool of sharks.

    Informing Cersei that he knew of her incestuous relationships with her brother and expecting her to flee the capitol was utter idiocy. Ned should have himself decamped northward with his daughters preparing for war as swiftly as possible.

    Instead this witless dolt went meekly to his own slaughter.

    • He knew it was more than possible, even likely, that he was going to die as a result of telling Cersei. But he didn’t want her children to be slaughtered, and he paid the price for that.

    • I agree that he should have headed north sooner if he could have after being wounded and losing most of his men. I think the only reason he told her to leave and take the children was because he know the king would have them all killed if they remained once he was told……On the other hand…Why would anyone want either the mother or that spoiled rotten kid to be spared when they make it so easy to loath them? He died because of his honorable convictions, but you’re right that he should have worried about his own family first and foremost…..

  10. I have to say, I’m glad I decided to give this show a chance. I really like a lot of HBO shows and just needed something to watch until “True Blood” came back on. Now I more of a fan of “Game of Thrones” than “True Blood”. I knew nothing of the books or the show, until I saw the preview of the second episode. I watched the first episode and now I’m hooked. After they killed off Vasery (excuse me if I spelled his name wrong) I was shocked. Then King Robert, extra shocked. After that I knew not to put too much thought into it cause no one is safe, but never in a million years did I expect Them to kill off Ned. My heart dropped and mouth fell to the ground. Even all the way up til they chopped his head off, I just knew someone was going to step in and save him. Although I’m sad to see Ned Stark go, it was one of the boldest, brillant, and breath-taking moves ever. I have to get these books!!!!

  11. “Ah, sorry about that! Tell them to blame George R.R. Martin.”

    I can’t explain how hard that made me laugh.

  12. I’ve always said I’ll watch Season one and then quit. Ned was IMO the best character in the books. Also book two was just a terrible book and I gave up after reading it. I hear book three is better, but if after two books Martin failed to get me interested in anyone else than Book three isn’t going to turn it around.

    Still this is about the show. So lets look at it from a show stand point.

    People can be rude and insulting all they want and call out “Blah blah blah Cookie cutter hollywood blah blah blah”

    but that’s not fair or accurate. People fall in love with characters and sometimes fail to connect with others. Some actors are very good others are not. You can hardly blame people for being upset if the show failed to build their interest in anyone else other than Ned. You can hardly blame the viewers if the actors failed to keep them watching beyond Sean Bean.

    This show IMO has two great actors and a dozen mediocre ones. Sean Bean and the guy playing Tyrion are just fantastic, but the rest of the cast has little on screen presence. They just don’t hold my interest. Jon Snow was at least kind of interesting in the books, but in the show the actor fails to bring him to life properly. Most of the actors are very dull and monotone in their performances. They lack personality and are completely stale. Some of them had a chance to shine and absolutely failed the audience. By getting rid of the one actor who was easily the best on the show they crippled them selves a bit. Especially going in to the second season which will be the second book which many consider to be the weakest of the series. Three is suppose to pick things up, but a bunch of bland actors with out personality holding season 2 together won’t keep to many people around.

    Stop bashing the people who don’t agree with you and accept that maybe things are not always how you see them for everyone else. Just because you think Jamie is the Bees Knees doesn’t mean Joe blow will. Especially when you have your preconception you brought from the book and he is stuck with what’s on screen. I never found Jamie to be all that great in the books, but the show seems to make him even less interesting.

    This has nothing to do with cookie cutter hollywood happy endings. No one here from what I can tell is asking for that. The show has merely failed to build their interest in most of the characters and then killed off the one they enjoyed the most. You can hardly expect people to keep watching a show with so many characters they don’t like just because you think the books are good.

    • I agree with you that Book 2 is not as good as the first book and this might have a big impact on the future of this series because all the plot points build up for an explosive and tragic Book 3 and this show might not live a third season because of Book 2.

      There is too much happening in the second book to be limited to ten episodes and would probably need 20 episodes to reach the spectrum of book 2 without delivering the same punch as the first season. If this show lasts to a third season, that season will probably be the most controversial and talked about show since the end of Dexter Season 4.

      • Simon, it’s really not that hard to not talk about the books. Really. You just…don’t. I know you’re not explicitly referring to anything in particular, but I’m getting annoyed hearing about tragic events and the Red Wedding and bla bla bla. There are other, more suitable places for discussion of the books, and they’re not here.

      • Book 2 might not be QUITE as good as book 1 (many would argue), but book 3 is even better. If you really think Ned is the only character worth caring about (let alone the only actor! I am amazed how many fantastic actors they have found for this series) then you are missing the point, and missing out.

    • I don’t agree with you at all. I hated Ned Stark from the beginning – he’s just a normal father who loves his children. It’s like watching a father from a Disney movie except he has a sword and sometimes cuts peoples head off.

      My favorite character is definitely Joffrey, the way the actor portrays an immature and spoiled prince/king is just amazing. Then we have Catelyn, Jon, Arya and Sansa to keep things interesting. Sadly, I don’t like the actress who portrays Daenerys, with another actress she could be one of the most interesting characters but even with the actress that plays her she’s still interesting.

  13. Game of Thrones has totally betwitched me. Yes it is sad that Ned Stark had to die if only to teach his scheming daughter a vital lesson about trust. I am hoping that in future series the Stark clan manages to find a way to pay Joffrey back – and with grusome interest! I would also like to think that the strength of Ned Stark’s integrity comes back to ‘haunt’ or ‘inspires’ those that are left.

    I will keep watching because its good to have a story line that is fairly true to real life in the sense that for 99.9 per cent of people in this world there is no happy ever after!

  14. I have loved this series since it’s first show. But to lose Ned Stark, King Robert (although he was a piggish man), and hunk Kahl Droggo is too much! You have alot to live up to. I felt sad at the end of episode 9. I’ve sort of figured you’d kill off Kahl Droggo, but his love w/Danerys was what kept me coming back. All women love a good love story. Here’s hoping – but rather doubting – season 2 is as good as season 1.

  15. Where are the wolves? They had their own scene in the first episode and one was killed later but they don’t seem to have any other significant appearances. I would like to see more of them and whether they aid their masters. Hopefully more in season 2. Also what is Bran doing, his story seemed to be moving along nicely but the last few episodes nothing.

    • Well… he seems to predict the future in his dreams haha… I`m looking forward to hear more from Bran as well. It seems like he`ll be a key piece on uncovering the Lannisters if he remembers what happened to him at the tower.

      (No, I haven`t read the books. I haven`t even heard of Game of Thrones before the HBO series…)

  16. I know a lot of people became very attached to Ned, and are having a difficult time connecting with some of the other characters. If you’re ready to quit because Ned died though, please don’t. The drama only gets better, and I found that as the books went on, Jaime, Cersei, Bran, Arya, Tyrion, and Daenerys were all FAR more interesting than Ned Stark. There are also plenty of twists coming up that will shock you in both good ways and bad, but are great either way. In short, stick with it; there’s a lot of great stuff coming up that you will NOT want to miss (particularly if there is a third season).

  17. Ned Stark personifica todo lo decente que tiene el ser humano y que se corrompe por intereses espúreos. Como no amar a un personaje así?. No he leído el libro pero tengo toda la esperanza y la intuición de que un personaje tan entrañable como este no puede desaparecer para siempre. Sería un despropósito. Me lo imagino retornando en su misma ropa pero en color plata, signo de la alta espiritualidad, para hacernos felices a todos.

  18. Game of Thrones is one of the very few television series that I really got into. So much, that when they had Lord Stark executed I inadvertently leaped from my chair cursing at the telly before I even realised what I was doing.

    “Son of a b****, they had HIM killed?!!” was one of the things I said.
    Kind of hilarious in retrospect, but I really was upset at the time.