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Why Game Of Thrones Star Sean Bean Only Read The First Book In The Series

Although he was in it for only a season, the lingering presence of Ned Stark (Sean Bean) on "Game of Thrones" was undeniable. Long after his head was chopped off at Joffrey's (Jack Gleeson) orders, the Lord of Winterfell's durable mark endured the passing of seasons and lasted in the other characters' memories and fans' hearts. This wouldn't be so had not Sean Bean portrayed the Warden of the North so soulfully and with such dedication. He was not only an honorable man but also a caring father of five children (plus a paternal figure to Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington).

His death came as a shock, especially to those who understandably believed Ned to be the main character and, as the main character, that he was beyond the reach of the Stranger's grasp. In Season 1, Episode 9, "Baelor," fans were faced with the harsh reality that Ned was indeed not going to stick around beyond the first season.

So, what kind of work did Bean do to prepare for the role? Did he make use of George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" books to get a feel for Ned's character?

Sean Bean wanted to bring his own take

In 2019, Sean Bean expressed in his response to Vulture that he resorted to reading the first book to get a feel for who Eddard Stark was. In his answer, the actor also shows that he perfectly grasps the nature of screen adaptations based on book series and how they can differ in order to work as best as they can within their particular entertainment medium.

Bean read the first book while being mindful to keep himself at enough distance in order not to stifle his creative process and the dimensionality that the character should embody on the screen. In his words: "It was just to get a flavor, really. I didn't want to get too attached to how Ned was portrayed and what the story was about, because I knew it was probably going to change. And I wanted to bring some of my ideas to the part." The British actor also stressed the importance of bringing a level of sympathy and vulnerability to Ned, stressing that the Lord of Winterfell was an honest and honorable man but not without faults.

As full of depth and relevant details as George R.R. Martin's books are, Bean knows that "there's only so much you can get from a book." He wanted to avoid getting too attached to ideas that could be lost in the translation from the book's pages to the TV screen. In addition, Bean incorporated other elements, even some biographical ones, to help inspire his portrayal of the noble Ned Stark