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Eddard lives!


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#1 Reestlord

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 09:34 PM

I believe that Eddard not only lives, but will be the returning POV for Dance. I personally don't trust GRRM to ever act predictably. He admitted that one of the POVs for Dance would be one that was "retired." The only candidates for this are Theon, Catelyn, and Eddard. GRRM said that Cat would never have a POV again, and Eddard is dead (or is he?), so it would appear that Theon was the only possible choice. So why didn't he just say Theon? Perhaps because it is not going to be Theon. Hmm...

At first, I thought there was no possible way that Eddard could return. He was publically beheaded in front of a crowd of thousands of spectators and three POVs (Arya, Sansa, and Cersei.) But when I thought about it, the surprise factor of bringing Eddard back from such an undeniable death would be enough to justify his 'resurrection.' But how could he have survived? I ruled out a Thoros-like resurrection (I don't care how powerful the magic is; you can't reattach a head.) After re-reading the chapter, I began to get some idea. The man who confessed treason before the masses was not Eddard.

The chapter describing Eddard's death is not told from his perspective. The last we see of him is in the dungeon, talking to Varys. I had always thought it odd that Varys had not suspected that Joffrey would kill Eddard if Eddard confessed. I think that Varys knew what would happen, and thus switched Eddard with another man. If Eddard was presumed dead, then no one would search for him. If it was revealed that he escaped his cell, he would be searched for. Therefore the pseudo-death was clearly advantageous if Varys wanted to get Eddard away. But this hinges on Varys wanting Eddard safe. Why would he want that? One possible reason is that Varys respects Eddard as the honest, dutiful man he is ("You are an honest and honorable man, Lord Eddard. Ofttimes I forget that. I have met so few of them in my life."). A more likely explanation is that Varys wants to give Eddard to Daenerys to forever ingratiate him to her. If Daenerys holds Eddard, then she holds the North. We know that Varys is in touch with Illyrio, so this is not impossible.

But no doubt you are asking how Eddard could be replaced with another man when his daughters and much of the court would be in attendance. Theoretically, they should recognize him. If you examine the last Arya chapter closely, though, you see that "Eddard" was on a podium far above the level of the crowd as he confessed his crimes. As long as Varys paid for someone with a similar profile (medium build, brown hair, etc.) to replace him, no one would be able to notice the difference. His emaciated and pained state would increase the difficulty to visually identify him.Only three people were within close range of him during the confession: two gold cloaks, who supported him, and Ilyn Payne, who chopped off his head. The gold cloaks likely knew him only be hearsay (a man of medium build, brown hair, etc.), and thus would not know if it was the real Eddard. Ser Ilyn would immediately know it was not him, but I dout he would tell anyone. ;) Finally, Eddard's voice is described as "so thin and weak [Arya] could scarcely make him out." It would be impossible to identify him by voice. Thus, it is quite possible that Eddard Stark is alive.

Two final things I would like to note that further support my thesis. When Joffrey takes Sansa up to look at her father's head she thinks "It did not look like Lord Eddard..." Now, admittably, the face has been dipped in tar and rotted away. She also cannot recognize any features on any of the other heads. But still, I believe that GRRM was saying something in this quote besides the fact that the face was rotted. I believe this was a little hint that this head was not Eddard's. Also, in Clash, when Catelyn is shown "Eddard's" bones, she thinks, "Bones, this is not Ned, this is not the man I loved, the father of my children." Again, this can be explained by the simple fact that Eddard's remains look nothing like what he did in life. However, once again I believe that more is said by this than just the dissimilarity of corpse and man. If this was taken singly, it could simply be a coincidence, but the duality of it seems to indicate that the remains are not Eddard's.

Well, I have said all I had to say. I hope you don't think this idea is too crackpot; I certainly don't. I would like to humbly apologize if this has been discussed. I could not find it anywhere.

Edited by Reestlord, 29 May 2007 - 04:23 PM.


#2 Lilith of Tarth

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 09:45 PM

Although I am a fan of people not being dead (once even wrote an exam on Cordelia not dying in King Lear, didn't do great :P), I think that we would have had some more hints if Ned were going to come back.

Have thought, though, how cool it would be if his soul has become part of the weirwood web and but can comment from there. Didn't he somehow appear to Arya in the God's Wood? I've always had a feeling that the weirwoods know more than they are letting on in general (and weir could be the GRRM for were, werewoods, as in werewolf, as in manwolf). Another admittedly crackpot theory :D

#3 Reestlord

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 10:21 PM

Although I am a fan of people not being dead (once even wrote an exam on Cordelia not dying in King Lear, didn't do great ), I think that we would have had some more hints if Ned were going to come back.


I see where you are coming from, Lilith, but I believe that the very absence of clues speaks volumes. GRRM allows us to accept Eddard's death as fact. Thoughts of Eddard are pushed to the backburner of our minds as characters currently more involved in the plot take center stage. Then, when we least suspect it, BAM! Eddard is back! His resurrection would be as great a surprise as was his death.

Edited by Reestlord, 25 May 2007 - 10:23 PM.


#4 The_BlauerDragon

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 10:35 PM

[EDITED FOR LENGTH]



--Reestlord out.--

:o

Nightflyer? Is that You???

I have only one question. Okay, several actually, but...

If it wasn't Eddard then who did Varys con into giving up their HEAD for his ruse?

Wouldn't Cersei have been close enough to recognize him? What about Joff then?

How much did Payne's silence cost?

If Eddard is alive, then where has he been stashed all this time?

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but... Dany didn't have Dragons when Eddard was beheaded... All she had was a whole bunch of Dothraki Horselords who'd already murdered her brother and are known for being fearful and untrusting of the ocean... It is known. I don't think anyone thought that she had a snowflake's chance in Dorne of mounting a sizeable force at that time. She'd essentially been written off... There may have been a threat of her child maybe one day coming to claim his inheritance, but that was about it... Why risk all of that to gain the north for a queen who was most likely to spend the rest of her days face down in the dirt being ridden like a mount by Khal Drogo?

[EDITED ADDITION] I liked Ned well enough, but... I hope that in this instance, your pot is so thoroughly cracked that it's completely broken...

Edited by the Blauer Dragon, 25 May 2007 - 11:45 PM.


#5 tzanth

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 11:34 PM

lol

So let me get this straight. Varys paid an eddard look alike to go lie to a crowd and subsequently get their head chopped off?!

this is crazy

#6 thriller13

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 11:52 PM

I just can't believe GRRM would do this.

#7 Ecthelion Stark

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 12:15 AM

don't get me wrong, I really wish Eddard were alive.
That said, your theory has several flaws:
- Varys doesn't really have much motive to save Eddard. Eddard being honorable is just not good enough.
- I suppose Varys could have found another prisoner to give his life, maybe by threatening his family or something. But a prisoner so similar to Eddard that even Cersei and Joff wouldn't notice the difference?
- finally, where would Eddard have been all this time?
- i also just think that Eddard's death is THE main event of the AGoT, it symbolizes the slow downfall of the Starks and fits in perfectly with the whole antlers in wolf prophecy. Him being alive just doesn't make sense.

#8 Piper

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 12:34 AM

lol

So let me get this straight. Varys paid an eddard look alike to go lie to a crowd and subsequently get their head chopped off?!

this is crazy


I mean, I don't buy this theory, but I don't think Varys found someone who was willing to get his head chopped off; I don't think Varys was expecting the event to end in an execution.

Varys smiled. "Some say knowledge is power. Some tell us that all power comes from the gods. Others say it derives from law. Yet that day on the steps of Baelor's Sept, our godly High Septon and the lawful Queen Regent and your everso-knowledgeable servant were as powerless as any cobbler or cooper in the crowd. Who truly killed Eddard Stark do you think? Joffrey, who gave the command? Ser Ilyn Payne, who swung the sword? Or . . . another? "

I think Varys was expecting Eddard (or, if you prefer, "Eddard") to be allowed to take the black.

As for the whole theory, I find some aspects of it intriguing, especialy the line about Sansa looking at the head and thinking it doesnt' look like Ned, but I think GRRM has stated how much better LotR would have been if Gandolf has stayed dead (or come back as a flesh eating zombie). Ned's death was GRRM killing off his Gandolf, and I don't think he'll bring him back.

In short, your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

#9 Phoenix

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 01:55 AM

*delurks*

Interesting ideas, but here's a monkey in your wrench:
The Ned is not dead theory doesn't take into account both Rickon and Bran's dream reinforced belief that Ned Stark is dead. Remember that both boys dream (or have visions, book is on loan, so page refs are unavailable) of Ned in the crypts, and Bran even believes it was his chance to bid farewell.
These scenes simply do not jive with a faked death.

*relurks*

#10 bastard guidon

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 02:11 AM

*delurks*

Interesting ideas, but here's a monkey in your wrench:
The Ned is not dead theory doesn't take into account both Rickon and Bran's dream reinforced belief that Ned Stark is dead. Remember that both boys dream (or have visions, book is on loan, so page refs are unavailable) of Ned in the crypts, and Bran even believes it was his chance to bid farewell.
These scenes simply do not jive with a faked death.

*relurks*


You've split the proverbial arrow in the center of the bullseye! GRRM would be very remiss in his duties as an Arch Maester of scifi fantasy if he brought Eddard back. Ned is dead. Dead is Ned. And if I recall from So Spake Martin, he stated Ned is not coming back. A pity RJ didn't follow the same route and kept Moirane Damodred dead and gone. :agree:


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"To hell, Sharp, or to glory..... it depends on one's point of view."

#11 Skyrazer

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 03:08 AM

Im really, REALLY sick of these "perhaps 'xyz' is not actually dead" theories (baby Aegon theory comes to mind). Eddard is as dead as Julius Ceasar, deal with it!

I also liked Ned, but i certainly dont lie to myself by trying to believe he is still alive...

#12 Dayne's Sword

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 03:42 AM

the theory was quite good actually. i liked it. ned dying was when i first really realised Martin is special he is not afraid. and this is going to be a quality intriguing series. freash and new.

the point phoenix made about bran and rickon having the dream of Ned back at winterfel is the most telling he is dead.
for the fake ned. joff (lil shit) and cersei would of recognised.

lovely idea. but dont think its going to happen.

if it was true we wouldnt get to say "ned's dead baby. ned's dead."

for the record i really liked Ned. genius killing him off. pure genius. bastard.

#13 Reestlord

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 06:05 AM

Okay, I've got a LOT of proving to do. One of the question asked frequently is who Varys paid to sacrifice their head for Eddard. Varys did not pay anyone to sacrifice his head for Eddard. Varys paid some lowborn scum to stand on the podium and say what Varys told him to say. Varys assured the man that there was NO possibility of him being killed. When Joff pronounced the death sentence, the man was too shocked or disturbed or disbelieving to say anything before Ilyn lopped off his head.

It would be almost impossible to recognize Ned in his current emaciated, disheveled, pained state. As long as the replacement was in much the same sad state (a condition not hard to come by on the streets of King's Landing), it would be hard to tell the difference between true and fake Ned. However, it still might be possible to recognize him if they were close, but he was described as raised on a podium, and thus fairly far from them.

Someone also asked how Varys paid Ilyn to keep silent. He didn't. Ilyn's lack of speech paid for that.

I will openly admit that I have no idea where Eddard is being kept. On a guess, though, I would say he is with Illyrio. It is known that, at this time Illyrio and Varys were talking about how to help Viserys (he was not dead yet) return to the Iron Throne. Recall that Arya witnessed the two of them talking in Game when she got lost cat hunting. The motive Varys has for wanting a Targaryen back on the throne is unknown. But whatever the motive, giving Eddard to Illyrio would be a strong tactical advantage for the Targ side.

I will openly admit that the Bran-Rickon dream is the single greatest flaw in my theory. However, I would just like to point out that Arya also saw what she deemed incontrovertible evidence that her mother was dead in a dream. How'd that work out? Wasn't it The Reader who said history repeats itself?

As for the whole theory, I find some aspects of it intriguing, especialy the line about Sansa looking at the head and thinking it doesnt' look like Ned, but I think GRRM has stated how much better LotR would have been if Gandolf has stayed dead (or come back as a flesh eating zombie). Ned's death was GRRM killing off his Gandolf, and I don't think he'll bring him back.


This is a good point. However, I have proven the possibility of his resurrection, and I have found two hints that the body is not Eddard's. I do not think this could just be a coincidence. With writers as skilled as GRRM, there are no coincidences, only plot.

Edited by Reestlord, 26 May 2007 - 07:27 AM.


#14 Daeric

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 07:11 AM

Im really, REALLY sick of these "perhaps 'xyz' is not actually dead" theories (baby Aegon theory comes to mind). Eddard is as dead as Julius Ceasar, deal with it!


Theres all these Aegon's theories flying around because no one has ever being able to get GRRM to confirm that like his sister that Aegon was deaded that night. Pretty sure if we asked him about Ned we would get an answer through.

Edited by Rotty, 26 May 2007 - 07:11 AM.


#15 Defender of the Rock

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 07:26 AM

The only stark to come back from the dead will be Benjen. I'm afraid Ned is dead, although it would be cool to have him back...

#16 Reestlord

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 07:30 AM

The only stark to come back from the dead will be Benjen. I'm afraid Ned is dead, although it would be cool to have him back...


In that you are wrong. Catelyn came back from the dead. Bran and Rickon also came back from the dead. It seems to me that coming back from the dead is a pretty Stark thing to do.

#17 mormont

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 07:43 AM

Ned is dead. That's simply a fact. Your 'theory' doesn't even get off the ground, I'm afraid.

First, there's no motivation for Varys to substitute Ned for anyone else. Second, Sansa clearly sees Ned well enough to be sure of who he is. She is not far enough away for the impersonation to work, and neither are several other characters who know him. Third, no, Ned being dishevelled and emaciated does not make it 'impossible to recognise him', nowhere near. Fourth, where did Varys even get someone whose build etc. are close enough to Ned to pass for him? Some random guy off the streets would not do, not without a great deal of very specific coaching. Fifth, if the patsy was not supposed to die, the imposture couldn't have lasted. Sixth, the whole plan is harebrained and risky, not Varys' hallmarks. Seventh, why would Ned go along with this and not tell his family he was alive for nearly two years, when his son has gone to war to avenge him and his wife is nearly mad with grief?

I could go on. This is simply a non-starter. This is ASOIAF, not The Prisoner of Zenda.

#18 Benjen Snow

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 08:03 AM

As great as Ned is I feel like his return would cheapen the series. I have no doubt that if GRRM did it he would make it seem plausible in some way but.....Ned's death drove so many thematic points home that his return would feel like an unraveling of sorts. At the very most Ned's shade knowing his family (remnants of it at least) was safe and stable again in Winterfell could be palatable. But we would likely be better off with a POV Stark somehow feeling or knowing Ned's shade knew and felt content. Or perhaps a Jedi-esque scene in the Winterfell Crypt with the Lords Stark appearing to the current Starks. I am just trying to think of ways Ned could re-enter the series without things seeming too hokey. My vote is for the most subtle manner possible.

#19 Xray the Enforcer

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 08:12 AM

As always, Zak brings the hard truth to bear.

Edited by Xray the Enforcer, 26 May 2007 - 08:15 AM.


#20 Reestlord

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 08:13 AM

Well, mormont, you made some pretty good points, all of which I shall attempt to disprove. You talk about Varys's motivation for helping Ned. I have made guesses as to what it is, but they are just that: guesses. I hypothesized that he was helping the Targs, but he could just as easily be playing his own game. In the end, Varys's motives are an enigma. No one knows but GRRM. Thus, it is impossible to prove or disprove the theory by invoking Varys's theories.

As for Eddard's appearance, allow me to paint you a more vivid picture. His face is wrent with pain and guilt. His eyes are sunken, red and pained. Greasy locks hang over his dirty face. He can not even walk; he is dragged between two gold cloaks. His body is thin, weak and on the verge of collapse. They had to dress him up in a direwolf shirt just so he would be recognized as a Stark. This man bears no resemblance to Lord Eddard, proud, dutiful, honorable man.

Also, consider Eddard's body. Brown hair, medium build... can you think of a more generic body type? Finding someone who looked similar would not be a problem. It would not require a lot of coaching. I can imagine the lesson. "Get dragged in, say what I want you to say, get dragged out." Varys probably left out the part where the poor guy loses his head. And, of course, Varys knew the guy would lose his head. He knows that Joffrey is cruel and vindictive and seldom takes advice. The plan is uncharacteristically risky for Varys, meaning that the stakes must have been high.

Finally, why didn't Ned contact his family? There are several reasons for this. Possibly, he was someone's prisoner. Possibly he tried but never got anywhere (think Arya). Possibly, he was afraid that his presence there would only make things worse. Possibly, he knew that he had to be thought dead for his, or Varys's, or whoever's plan to work. There are many possible reasons.