Sean Bean will be playing Ned Stark in the Game of Thrones pilot.
I’ve read a ton of comments by people who are upset by the choice because they are unable to separate him from his well-known characters. They fall into two groups:
1) People who don’t think he’s a good choice because they’ve “never liked him” and then go on to name movies where he’s played flawed, annoying characters.
2) People who understand that he’s not that bad of a choice, but fear his role in Lord of the Rings will confuse people because it’s too similar. They are concerned that it will cause the production to fail.
The great thing is that when people in camp #1 are confronted by folks who point out that his characters were unlikeable but he played them well, they have UNIVERSALLY said they realize that this is true, and explain that they were ACTUALLY saying what people espouse in camp #2.
Most of these folks were also in the camp of people who didn’t like the idea of Mark Addy as King Robert. The all universally changed their reservations once someone found a picture of him with a beard!
I’m not saying these folks are stupid, but rather that they’re falling into a very easy mind trap. I thought that an actor whose character died was dead as well. When confronted with the fact he was alive, that only his character had died, I immediately justified it. Well, I said, I’m sure I heard somewhere that he was dead.
I had a friend once who played an IT professional in a theatre production. After the show, during a Q&A session, someone asked him a highly technical question. He explained that he was just an actor, and didn’t know what he was actually saying. The audience member explained that he understood that my friend was just an actor, and then proceeded to ask him the exact same question!
It’s a problem that actors with well-known roles struggle with all they time. Yes, their fans explain, I know you’re just and actor. Still, they continue, how could you cheat that poor old man out of his inheritance? What do you like best about living in Chicago, even though your show shoots in LA, etc.
Love him or hate him, the fact is that Sean Bean is a wonderful actor. You may not like the roles he plays, but he is good. Don’t take my word for it. My wife knows these things. People DO recognize him, and they WILL draw a connection between Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings because of his role in the latter. However, they’d have made a connection any way. GRRM is called “The American Tolkien” on the back of his own books.
Ned Stark is not Borormir, and Sean Bean will not approach the character the same way. If you can’t see past it, try harder. You’ll enjoy it a lot more.
The only thing I don’t like about all of this is that many people are using Sean Bean’s casting as a platform to diminish the coup of Dinklage as Tyrion. I’ve heard people say that they *finally* have a big name, and when someone brings up Dinklage, they’ve brushed him off, saying that people may remember him as the dwarf from Narnia and that’s about it.
This kind of thing is pretty insulting, when people are desperately trying to find pictures of the unknowns and salivating over casting that hasn’t happened yet.
A scant few of the people I’ve seen commenting on this have got it right. Sean Bean AND Peter Dinklage *together* are pointing to a clear sign that this production is on the right track. Tyrion is also a fan favorite and while Sean Bean may be considered the “lead” at the moment, Dinklage will be more than capable of carrying the scenes Bean isn’t in as if series moves forward.
So don’t feel bad at all folks. This is a very good thing.
I would be completely remiss if I didn’t add that before I connected the actor to the role, I had been blown away by Harry Lloyd in his Dr. Who episode. So, in the case of Viserys, they cast much *better* than I actually expected.