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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  1. Good writeup, but you have the ages of Jaime and Tyrion mixed up – how could Tyrion be older than Jaime if their mother died giving birth to Tyrion?

    • @Mike,

      Yeah, I agree with you. Cersei’s the oldest, followed by her twin brother, Jaime. Tyrion’s the youngest. Tyrion’s gap between his older twin siblings is around eight years based on the chronology provided by the novels.

      • You guys are right — I knew that Tyrion was the heir and I assumed they had different mothers, but he’s the heir because Jaime joined the King’s Guard. Thanks!

  2. After reading this, I’m getting HBO!

  3. Best show on TV, although the ending of episode 9 sucked donkey balls!

  4. I truly do love this show me and my lady both.. I do not like what happened this last episode unless they got something crazy in store for us in the next one… Im 100% there will be more seasons but still… i thought it was too early for that to happen.

    • The show is based off books written 15 years ago. You can’t just not do one of the biggest plot points in the entire book because it’ll upset fans. If the show has utterly failed to make you feel for the other characters such as Arya or Tyrion, Robb or Bran. Than it’s failed overall, the death of one character should hurt, alot. But this had to happen, new characters will rise in his place, I promise you.

  5. I am so digusted by his death. He was easily one of my favorite characters in the series.

  6. @ Tim G

    I know it sucks seeing Ned Stark die but you have to blame the author and not the series. If HBO changed this bit for the show, it would change everything that happens in the books. I am glad that they stuck to the source material and if you don’t like your main characters dying, then you will not like the next episode or even any other seasons of Game of Thrones.

  7. I surprised myself with my level of emotional investment in Game Of Thrones.
    The death of Ned Stark was not just shocking — it was devastating. I wept.
    Ned was my main stock and no other securities offer me a similar return.

    Like an former flame who has hurt you, you get involved again at your own peril.
    I am cashing out of Thrones. I’ll watch the finale with detached curiosity.
    Ned’s death has left a bitter taste spoiling whatever feast that follows.

    • What a lame comment

      • Rob you must be referring to your own comment. If so I agree your comment is very lame. It added nothing to the discussion and was just rude.

  8. I think too many of you have been spoiled by cookie cutter fantasy to really enjoy the level of sophistication and intrigue that Martin has brought to the world of fantasy. if you led yourself to believe that Ned Stark was the main character and this was a tale about him alone, then I am sorry for your misunderstanding and if this is how you view your fantasy, then Game of Thrones will continue to disappoint you.

    Game of Thrones is about all the players and the roads they travel down. Some rise up, some fall down, and those you fall in love with die and those you hate get even more hatred as they get more of the good stuff. This series is about the region as a whole, a story about the rise and fall of a kingdom, not about one specific character.

    If you are that shallow to base your entire watching, and then not watching on the death or misery of one specific character, then you will not enjoy the next episode or even the next season. This is not a cookie cutter fairy tale with bright happy endings, but a story about intrigue, the weight of honor, love, and justice over real world values of power, greed, and vengence. Never in the Game of Thrones will any character become truly what you want them to be and that is the beauty of the series.

    For those that took Ned Stark’s death hard, I will admit that it was tragic, but so is life. When one of your own family dies, do you write off the rest of your family?

    Take Ned’s death like the rest of the Stark family will. As a point to focus your rage, anger, sadness, and then forge that into a weapon to deal with the hard times ahead.

    Because for everyone in the Seven Kingdoms, winter is coming and nobody is spared its cruel winds.

    • That is what I find so intriguing about the series. Ned’s death took my by complete surprise, and I was devastated, but it just made me want to keep on reading to find out what else happened.

    • I admire the series and will continue to watch because I have read the books and was prepared for the Good Guy Dies scene. I think it unfair to say those who will not continue to watch because of Ned’s death are shallow, however. True, fantasy fiction is not necessarily didactic, but it does have a long history of having something to say about human nature and heroism. Don’t blame the fans who can’t stomach Martin’s message. You have to agree it’s less palatable than what many other writers in the genre have to say on these topics. Consider—No Ned any more but more Ros than all the Stark kids put together is hard to take for many fantasy fiction buffs. When weighed like that, I can see why people won’t be back. They fear the disproportionate dwelling on pointless whore scenes when the characters they do give a damn about are barely ever on screen or have disappeared from the story completely. If you haven’t connected with Arya or Dany or Jon, why would you come back for season 2? Ros? Theon? Unlikely.

    • My only worry is what actor can replace Sean Bean? He was IMO, by far, the best of this series……and I dont see anyone stepping up to fill the hole left by his characters death

    • @ Simon Kane – excellent post! You said all I wanted to and more.

  9. I thought Ned’s death was brilliant, albeit tragic and hard to accept. I can’t remember a show in the last 10 years with as bold a twist. I commend HBO (and really the author) for crafting a story with guts and realism. Happy endings don’t always exist. We have enough fairy tales, it’s nice to see something different.

  10. Devastated, which has been used by several posters above, is the perfect word. The death of Ned Stark was so utterly beautiful and perfect and unexpected and completely devastating. I have to agree with Simon Kane above. This series is not for the faint of heart. Instead of feeling outraged at the writer or HBO for this turn of events, I feel exhilarated that a series could be so honest.

    Everything about this episode, though depressing to the core, was fulfilling. This show has a secured me as a lifetime follower.

  11. His character holds it togeter for me. With that ‘glue’ gone the other characters are a lot more pale. Probably won’t continue with it. – Stark

    • I would encourage anybody considering quitting the show to hold out for…I don’t know…the last episode in a week. I’m pretty sure the repercussions for Ned’s death will be great and hopefully satisfying.

    • Leave then. I’m sorry but if the show has failed to invest you in other characters than they’ve failed to reach you at all and you should leave because of your pre-conceived hollywood notions.

      • Completely agree Brandon. Narrow minded views that can’t see past wanting a single protagonist who is immune to any damage.

    • Ned was the hub of a very unwieldy wheel, the center of gravity
      for the show bringing clarity to an often muddled landscape.
      Leaving the show because such a central character
      is killed off is perfectly legitimate particularly
      since there is no compelling substitute.

      • Well, I don’t agree that there’s no compelling substitute. In fact, I would argue that there are several.

        Having said that, my issue with the people who are saying “I’m leaving the show now forever!” is that A) I don’t believe them and B) it sounds like the anger of a person who didn’t get his/her way. This is what a real story looks like. The main character can die. That’s okay. It’s more complex and interesting than the sort of safe stories (which are beyond plentiful) where the good guy never dies. Obviously, anybody can stop watching a TV show for whatever reason they desire, but there are better reasons than — my favorite guy died. In my opinion.

        Also, I think that, despite death, Ned is still the glue that holds his people together.

        • It is easier to get away with a story line like this with a novel.
          With film and series people bond differently with characters
          and they can become their vehicle of navigation through
          a plotline very differently than on the printed page.
          Losing that guide they naturally lose interest.

          Here too Sean Bean was quite the dominating presence
          and his only rival there is Khal who himself may die.
          I do not see others characters as compelling.

          Ned was the center of the show for many and
          not just the center of his family where I do
          expect he will remain the driving force.

          • Honestly, just stop watching then. Like I said, if this show has utterly failed to make you care about more than one character than it’s not going to endear itself to you anymore. This about a living breathing real world. People don’t get a deus ex machina in real life. People die, Ned dies. Ned has been dead for 15 years. Prolonging in the show is not the way to go.

            Ned is the center of the show, and causes other characters to fill that hole when he dies. That’s the whole point.

            • Well excuuuuse me. I do not have to love this show like you do.
              Lecturing me and others here as you have is out of order.

      • But getting mad because the show is following the plot of the books is not.

  12. This was the toughest episode for me – I had friends who actually watched this show and were enjoying it, and I correctly predicted that they’d bail as soon as THIS plot twist from the books took place. I was unfortunately right.

    Still, it’s the way it had to be, because it’s a good adaptation of the books and I would prefer it that way instead of it being butchered.

    The only thing I think HBO erred on – was not finding actors charismatic enough to replace Ned Stark – for instance, I thought Jon Snow was terribly miscast – after the first few episodes, I was worried simply because of that.

    Still, I’m glad the show had already been renewed for a second season and I sincerely hope there will also be a third season, simply because the third book was the best so far.

    • Couldn’t disagree more, I think they lined up a fantastic cast all around Sean Bean. Peter Dinklage is an outstanding Tyrion, and Nicholaj Coster-Waldau has really grown into Jaime after a rocky start. His exchange with Robb at the end of “Baelor” was pitch-perfect Kingslayer. Speaking of Robb, had my doubts at first, but Richard Madden has brought home the bacon lately, facing down the Greatjon like an old pro.

      Maise Williams’ Arya has been a highlight all season, and will be great to see more of her as she copes with her father’s death. For that matter, Sophie Turner as Sansa didn’t show much early, but has come on strong of late.

      And finally, Jon Snow. Not sure why you think he’s miscast. I think Kit Harrington is absolutely nailing the “brooding loner who smolders on the inside” that is Jon Snow. He manages to bring a wealth of pain, bitterness and loneliness in every scene, alongside courage and badassitude.

      The one place I do agree with you is Emilia Clarke as Danaerys Targaryen. Despite having more screen time, she’s definitely in Drogo’s shadow as far as events over the sea, and I don’t know whether she’s got the chops to be commanding and a major player.

  13. Lol, wait til you guys get a load of the Red Wedding :D

    • Yeah, the lack of battles is a real shame, but if the $$ is not there, it’s not there. As it is, HBO sank 4.5M per-episode into this puppy, that’s about what a pilot episode of a NETWORK show costs. It’s a huge gamble for a premium channel like HBO. Since no network would ever air a show like Thrones, this is as good as it gets.

      And the money is on display, in the sets mostly. The Erie, the Throne Room and the Wall are works of art that wouldn’t look bad in a major movie. But battles with horses and hundreds of extras in full gear, well that’s another level entirely. Hopefully with the sets already built-and a major subtraction from the actors’ salaries :p – there will be some cash free for season 2.

  14. Sorry to bring the books into this but ‘if you read them’ you’ll quickly realise they aren’t about any single person or any group of protagonists and antagonists. The story is about a world and those who wish to rule it.
    The beauty of the way they are written is no one, NO ONE is waving a sword around in battles as if they are impervious to harm because they happen to be the hero of the story. Anyone who goes to battle risks dying.
    By the end of the current book all the characters you know (or think you know) will have changed beyond recognition…
    Embrace it!

  15. I just want to see Sean Bean acting in a role like this one. He was great in LoTR and in this, really sucks that he had to go. So are they going to change the posters/main pics for this series? No more Sean Bean in the chair?

  16. WHAT THE @#$% HAPPENED. why would the writers kill the main character of the show. this is the first time a tv show manage to shock me!! … my jaw was on the floor for a good 5 min after the show.

    • “why would the writers kill the main character of the show.”

      “this is the first time a tv show manage to shock me!!”

      I think your second statement answers your first.

  17. Crap, Sean Bean was the reason I started watching this series and was in my opinion the strongest actor in the show. I’m not sure who’ll fill the void left by him.

  18. The death of Ned Stark had me nearly in tears. This loss was devastating. The total disregard for honor by Joffrey had me fuming. I was so utterly disgusted, I can’t begin to explain. My girlfriend was also in tears

  19. Even as the executioner swung his sword, I was wondering how Ned was going to get out of this. Completely shocked by the outcome. Heres to Arya killing Joffrey!

    • To Arya killing Joffrey! That would be a fitting end to that faux-king.

      I was very much taken aback by Ned Starcks death. I think I was in shock for a minute after he was killed.

      • I’m not sure if you know how to read, but this CLEARLY asks us to not talk about the Books so I really hope this is just a conjecture, because this board is for the television show, not the books. There are some people who are not finished with the books, one of them being me, and I literally feel cheated right now. I suggest the moderator remove the spoiler….. If it is in fact a spoiler.

        • I’m 99.999% these guys are just expressing their desires to see Arya kill Joffrey, so don’t worry.

          • Haha I really didn’t mean to get that crazy, but spoilers make me really mad!!!!

        • @christi – it’s just conjecture. I have read the books and that’s not a spoiler, arya isn’t the one that kills joffrey ;)

          • Yeah, I know. I re-read it and was mad, especially after I insulted them for not being able to read. :) I just lost my mind for a second

  20. I hope you guys aren’t too upset with me saying this – but I KNEW YOU WOULD ALL REACT THIS WAY. Well, most of you. ;)

    It was so hard for me to keep my mouth shut for the last two months. I mean, I read your posts and I’m like, “uh huh, they’ll say this is the best show on Earth NOW… but just wait!!!”

    All kidding aside, I understand. These books are not for the faint of heart, and I’m still glad that HBO did not shy away from making the show likewise. But I think they may have shocked people a little too much by acting all innocent about Ned’s impending fate.

    I just hope all you guys will give the second season a chance regardless. It probably would have been helped for you guys all to have read the books first, and to have known already about what was to come, but alas. But now that you guys know this series is a little more edgier than you thought, maybe you’ll be a bit more prepared? Try and see.

    • It was a shock but I was hoping that the dancer and the king’s protecter that joffey pretty much fired would of somehow rescued ned and his daughters along with the help of the mad kings bastard son that ned met at the black smith or the one that made the helmet. Now that would of been a great episode. Also I know you’re keeping to the books and I Haven’y read any of them but I thank it would be great if ned starks cripled son would bring reinvorcements and help robb[or soon to be king robb] at a major battle. great show wish it could be on every week

  21. Well, I tell you what…I absolutely MUST read these books.

    Game of Thrones has, unexpectedly, been an intensely intriguing show for me. It’s funny, because I’ve never considered myself a weenie or anything, but when Ned really DID get his head chopped off…buddy, i was done! I was rooting for him the whole time and when he died, I felt it in my gut…and like others, I have nothing but praise for a network (or author) willing to kill off such a powerful and important character this early. I am slavering for the next episode!

    Tell you what, though: I’m with Lady Stark. Kill’em ALL. EVERY. LAST. ONE. I’m officially signing up for Team Winterfell!

  22. People bailing. Honestly, go back to your cookie cutter predictable fantasies. Seriously, just leave right now. This is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better, and if you are already pulling out. You’ll pull out eventually.

    If you want a truly engrossing story though, stick around. It’s worth it. This show isn’t called The Ned Stark show, infact, some of it’s strongest episodes had very little Ned in them. You’re all too focussed on pre-conceived stupid hollywood notions that the hero always wins. I’m sick of reading your reactions, I’m sick of you all blaming HBO when this series has been written for 15 years. I cannot begin to explain how frustrating it is that you’ve all turned one of the biggest, boldest and strongest plot twists in fantasy history into a bitchfest. Just please, please, leave and begone. I’m sure the ratings will drop.

    This is supposed to hurt, it’s supposed to be hard. If it didn’t then you wouldn’t have been a fan. But you are fans, but the fact you’re ONLY Ned Stark fans, not even fans of the plot makes you more fairweather than anything. I can’t stand this. I’m avoiding all posts on this.

    • Take it easy buddy, you’re taking this way too seriously. I understand where you’re coming from, but can you blame the rest of us fans who haven’t read the books for being disappointed to see such a great character get killed off in the first season. Ned was a mans man, driven by honour, integrity and family, and was portrayed brilliantly by Sean. I don’t think Ned could have been more appropriately cast. Having said that I do also agree that the story still has a lot of powerful characters in it and seemingly a lot of story left to tell, and most fans will im sure still be watching every week (or i guess just next week) to see how this season concludes. This series quickly became my new favorite show, and ill watch it regardless of who gets killed off.

      • That’s the exact reaction you should have mate. And that’s not what I have a problem with, it’s just the people who are saying without Ned there is no point in watching the series.

        I’m passionate about the book and series and truly annoyed and worried that the ratings might fall because people can’t see the other amazing characters and possibilities out there.

  23. Most of guys who say they will quite will be back for the final episode. Trust me! When Ned died in the book, I was so angry with George R R Martin that I threw the bloody book across the room. but crying and moaning and irritating the crap out of my parents, I took up the book and continued reading again. BECAUSE I JUST HAD TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED NEXT!!! :)

  24. Ned Stark dies? Nooooo!!!!

  25. Begin point.
    The story is not about the Starks.
    End point.

    • Actually… it kind of is. It’s just not EXCLUSIVELY about the Starks; and it’s certainly not JUST about Ned.

      But the Starks, as a family? Yeah, I’d say a solid portion of the story is very much about them and how they grow.

    • yeah i was disappointed to not at least see greywind running beside robb, or sitting beside him when he was talking to jaimie lannister :(