‘Game Of Thrones’ Actor Robert Aramayo On The Pressure Of Playing Eddard Stark

Sean Bean made an indelible mark as Eddard “Ned” Stark on Game of Thrones, and although he was killed off in the first season, his presence as patriarch of the Stark clan has been felt throughout the ensuing Game of Thrones seasons, as the stort follow Ned’s offspring in their travels, trials, and triumphs. While Bean may not be returning to the role he brought to life, a new actor, Robert Aramayo, will be playing Eddard Stark in flashbacks. Aramayo opens up about getting the iconic role and what’s to come for young Eddard Stark.

Game Of Thrones Casts Robert Aramayo As A Young Ned Stark

Robert says that he wasn’t coming to Game of Thrones without having first watched the series. In fact, Aramayo says that he and his own father watched Game of Thrones from the beginning and that he’s still one of the many addicted fans, so it’s a great honor for him to join the cast he’s watched for so long. As it happens, Ned Stark was Robert’s favorite character, and he says he was terribly shocked when Game of Thrones killed off such a vital character.

“Ned was always my favorite character. I was distraught when he left the show. I didn’t think it was possible,” says Aramayo. “I didn’t think they could do that — killing such a well-loved character was such a shock to me.”

Robert says he didn’t know that he would be auditioning for Eddard Stark. The actor put together an audition tape for an open role on Game of Thrones without knowing what character the opening was for, and he says that just being able to audition for Game of Thrones at all was a dream come true. He adds that learning he’d been given the role of a younger Eddard Stark was an overwhelming experience.

Aramayo On Bran Stark, Ned Stark, And The Death Of A Traitor

It’s no secret that Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is a gifted young lad, experiencing visions and who knows what else is to come, but it was a shock to suspect that Ned heard his son’s voice in a vision on the latest episode of Game of Thrones. While Aramayo wouldn’t acknowledge that Ned heard Bran in that moment, he did admit that it seemed Ned heard “something” in that moment. Robert would say that his Game of Thrones character did hear something, though he couldn’t be compelled to disclose exactly what that might mean.

Moving on, Robert agrees that the episode reveals a great deal about Eddard Stark as a man, showing that circumstances in his youth had a long-lasting impact on him as he grew up to become the man seen in the first season of Game of Thrones.

“It does question his honor. It’s heartbreaking to him for Arthur Dayne to leave this world in such a dishonorable way,” says Mr. Aramayo. “I think it’s probably incredibly impacting on Ned’s development as a man in the coming years.”

The question of death and dishonor is a running theme in Ned Stark’s life, beginning in his youth, as seen in the recent flashbacks with Aramayo, and returning again at the end of his own life, as seen through Sean Bean’s portrayal in Season 1 of Game of Thrones. Of course, as Robert points out, Ned Stark can’t know what he doesn’t know, and even at his own bitter end, he believes he’s acted as honorably as could be expected of any Lord.

“He’s not aware of that moment, of course. I really do think that what happens is Ned’s fighting for his life, he’s really on his back foot with Dayne, and he gets disarmed and it’s probably over for him. The next moment is as shocking to Arthur Dayne as it is to Ned. And what are you going to do? This guy is going to die. He’s just been stabbed through the neck. Ned has a choice to make, of whether he sort of eases that process along or not. But in terms of his own fate? I can’t play it at all. There’s no way it can be actively conscious of it. But having said that, I think this teaches him something about dishonor, and it’s probably something he carries with him for the rest of his life.”

The next episode of Game of Thrones airs on Sunday, May 15 on HBO.

[Image by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images]