Today we hear from Joe Hoskins, a Game of Thrones fan who takes a look at the hypothetical situation of Eddard (Ned) Stark joining the black brothers at The Wall instead of his ultimate end. Feel free to comment with your own thoughts below!
Call me crazy, but I like to think most readers and viewers were rooting for good old Ned Stark to line things out in King’s Landing and save the day. This would not have been quite as powerful or engaging as how it all turned out, but you know you wanted it to happen. So, in that regard, let’s get all hypothetical and consider what may have happened if Eddard Stark did not meet his demise at the command of Joffrey Lannister.
Imagine for a moment if Cersei, Varys or Littlefinger managed to counter and remedy Joffrey’s little vain and defiant decree at the end of the first book/season one. Ned Stark would then have been ordered to live out his days on the Wall, defending the realm with the Sworn Brothers of the Night’s Watch. This would have eliminated much of the content from the second and third book. Perhaps you would like to know what I mean. Well, then read on, my friend.
Robb may or may not have continued his campaign depending on whether or not Sansa and Arya were released along with Ned. However, if they released Arya, but decided to keep Sansa as Joffrey’s betrothed, Robb probably wouldn’t have surrendered his King in the North crown. The content I was referring to that would be eradicated is that of the matters a little farther north.
Basically, I imagine Ned would have defeated the wildings, the Others and whatever else was foolish enough to cross his path. The trouble at the Fist of the First Men would just have been a little scuffle for the great Eddard Stark. Furthermore, if the Night’s Watch was able to continue their ranging from there, they would have been able to roll up on Mance Rayder and his posse. I’m confident Ned would have shown them the finer points of Valyrian steel whilst he swung Ice with devastating precision. The wildlings would have fallen like the grass before my weedeater.
I know Ice is reserved for another matter, but since we’re being hypothetical, he might as well have it. He would be taking down mammoths and giants like nobody’s business with Ice. The same goes for the Others. Ice may not be Dragonglass, but with Ned behind the hilt, it wouldn’t really matter.
So with the whole invasion of wildings/Others solved, the Old Bear would probably insist Ned take over as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. With no reason left to defend the Wall, Ned could lead the Night’s Watch down to join Robb and all his bannermen. Then they could mount an assault on King’s Landing to unseat the Lannisters. Ned Stark wins!
As you can see, while this might have been wildly entertaining to see Ned flex his heroicness, it would have made the series incredibly shorter and nobody would have wanted that. But still…