The day is hot in the capital of Westeros as Ned Stark, humiliated and shamed is forced to make a public confession of treason and declare that Joffrey is the true air of the Iron Throne. Joffrey, though sadistic and cruel, decides to spare Ned’s life, allowing Ned to be sent away in exile as a member of the Night’s Watch.

Greetings peasants of the North for Observation Deck’s What If! This is a long running series where I change one thing from a famous work and then we all study the results. Past editions include a dead child, corporate espionage, marriage, accidental suicide, wishes to rule the world, another dead child and a locked door.

This week we’ll be looking at the Song of Ice & Fire series and wonder what if Ned Stark had not been killed in the first book/season. Please remember that you can use any source of media as evidence and also, no answer is a stupid answer around here.

For Myself:

First of all, what the hell would have happened to Ned Stark in this situation? Given the timing, he wouldn’t have found himself going over the other side of the wall with the failed Night’s Watch expedition. However he would have been there for the battle with the wild folk so whether or not he would have survived that is up for debate.


Sansa Stark would probably be in a very nasty situation as she would still of been held captive in the Capital while Arya could have had a better time of it as long as nothing happened to her while heading to the Night’s Watch.

Then of course you have to wonder whether or not the War of the five Kings would have happened if Ned hadn’t died. Personally, I think yes but not in the same scale as the book version was. The North may have stayed out of it though communication between the North and South would have been heavily strained. Stannis and his lot however would have still continued the fight and with no North, Tywin and his forces would have been more ready.


Off Topic: Before I proofread this post, I had accidentally typed in Death Watch instead of Night’s Watch. In fairness, Ned going to the Death Watch would have made the books 100% more exciting: