WARNING: Game of Thrones spoilers ahead! – I know what you’re thinking: Why do we torture you so? The open wound Eddard Stark left in your heart had finally started to close and mend. Why would we toy with you in your fragile state when we all know he’s gone, truly gone from Westeros forever. We all watched the gleaming edge of his own sword bite into the back of the man’s neck, ser! Why sully his memory and dishonor his house by insinuating that he may yet return to us?
I sympathize with you good ser but please.. hear me. While Eddard Stark, and for that matter, Sean Bean may be out of Game of Thrones’ present storyline for good, the possibility exists that he may yet return to the series in some form or another. In fact, we are of the opinion that HBO would be as mad as King Aerys not to take advantage of one or all of the following. So put aside your grief for a moment and consider this:
No One Does A Cameo Like HBO – If you’ve ever seen Entourage or Curb Your Enthusiasm you may begin to understand the gravitational force HBO has over Hollywood. In almost every 25 minute episode of these shows there are at times multiple Hollywood heavyweights gracing the screen. Stars the likes of Eminem, Ricky Gervias, James Cameron, Matt Damon and Martin Scorsese just to name a few recent appearances off the top of my head. The network is known for it’s classy, dare I say, artistic vision on the silver screen. They know when to step aside and let actors and writers do what they do best- their craft. It’s no wonder HBO has no trouble convincing the likes of Kate Winslet or Al Pacino to work with them so why would Sean Bean refuse? If HBO, the show-makers or Sean Bean are worried about a possible scene feeling forced they need only look at the network’s track record for exciting, timely cameos in their shows across the board.
Flashbacks – I can’t yet make the claim to having read all 5,000+ pages of A Song of Ice and Fire, of which Game of Thrones is derived. But I can tell you that having just finished book three, there are more than enough flashback scenes to warrant their inclusion in any subsequent episodes. They do much to add depth to the surviving characters (Ser Jaime for example) and their exclusion from the show would take away from the texture and depth of Westeros as a whole. Many of these flashbacks (or stories told by characters aloud to one another) involve the description of how Robert Baratheon came to power with Ned Stark’s help, the details of which are critical to the advancement of the story, particularly for those still living who were present (Jaime, Tywin, Catelyn etc). We’re not talking about a shimmering blue Obi-Wan Kenobi style visage telling Jon Snow to ‘use the force’. There are several, classier ways to get the job done. The story needs to be told so why not do it via flashback- as it often occurs in the novels themselves?
Dreams – There are so many dreams, visions and hallucinations in A Song of Ice and Fire, it verges on annoyance. Whether the gods are playing tricks on these characters or they are simply grieving a lost father, they certainly get their fair share of prophetic and sometimes seemingly random dreams throughout the story. Couldn’t Lord Stark, or for that matter, Robert Baratheon appear before a family member in a dream? It surely isn’t unrealistic to think that one of Ned’s young children would dream of his or her father regularly so close to his untimely departure from the realm. Whether we see Eddard again through dream, flashback or drug-induced-vision-quest, there are several precedents within the source material to justify an appearance.
Sean Bean Wants It – Just after the conclusion of Game of Thrones season one Sean Bean told New York Magazine: “Anything can happen. It’s a very complex show. Very multilayered. And even the most absurd thing is believable.” Bean added that he is feeling “a twinge of envy” that filming on the show’s second season will soon begin without him. “They’re about to start up again [and] the saga gets to go on without me,” he said. “I’m doing something else now, but sometimes I go, ‘Aw, s**t, bring me back’.” It would appear the man is not only willing, but anxious to make a return!
The Fans Want It – Game of Thrones is often said to be “fantasy for people who don’t like fantasy” but even the nontraditional, new fans of the series would love to see a tasteful encore from Sean Bean and his beloved character. Just think of the web buzz you’ll generate with this move, HBO! Surely hundreds of articles with titles such as “Sean Bean to Appear in Game of Thrones Season 2” will sweep Facebook, Twitter and entertainment blogs such as this one. Millions more will tune in, and perhaps it may even be the straw that gets a few of them to subscribe to HBO. Think of all the goodwill, love and quite possibly dollars that will come your way! Sean Bean wants it, we want it and heck, take an HBO office poll, I bet you all want it too! There are ample opportunities, often even direct scenes from the novels where the show creators could easily slip a three minute Ned Stark scene into Game of Thrones season 2.
But what do you, the fans really think? Maybe we’re way off base here, assuming you want to see Eddard Stark or Robert Barantheon one last time. Is it even possible? Are we just channeling our grief in an unhealthy manor? Either way, Winter is Coming next year. Sound off in the comments below.