6 Ways 'Game Of Thrones' Would Change If Ned Stark Had Lived

Game of Thrones has delivered more than a few shocking deaths to its dedicated fans throughout the years. In fact, at times, it feels as though my own heart has been cut out and placed on a spike. Speaking of spikes (which, by the way, is the most horrifying segue-way ever), amid all of those gruesome kills, none have haunted my dreams quite like the unforgettable GoT Season 1 death of Ned Stark. This Warden of the North became an instant fan favorite, thanks to his noble nature and genuinely kind spirit — two very rare traits to be found in all of Westeros. And that's precisely what made his beheading all the more devastating to witness. But what if it had never happened. What if Ned Stark had never died on Game of Thrones ?

Though I'm fresh out of flux capacitors and my Delorean is in the shop, let's assume that I was able to somehow alter a specific moment in the GoT timeline. Obviously, I would choose to save Ned from losing his head. (I didn't mean for that to rhyme, but it works, so I'm keeping it.) Think of how much that one change would impact the entire rest of the show and its characters moving forward. Westeros would be a very different place to live in. So please, let's indulge in this little fantasy of mine for a moment, and allow me to paint you a picture of what GoT would be like if our beloved Lord of Winterfell was still in the land of the living.

Robb Wouldn't Have Rebelled Against The Crown

In the wake of Ned's death, Robb was declared King of the North, which spurred him to lead a rebellion against the Iron Throne. This led to war… which led to brokering deals with Walder Frey… which led to breaking said deals Walder Frey… which led to the Red Wedding. (And we all know how that ended.) Basically, Ned's death created a huge domino effect that caused terrible happenings to ensue. And while I can't say this for certain, given that this is GoT: Show of Death, but there's a decent chance both Robb and Lady Catelyn would still be alive if Ned hadn't fallen.

Theon Wouldn't Have Seized Winterfell

Theon never would've betrayed the Starks if Robb had been around to stop him. Then Winterfell never would have become weak and susceptible enough to the takeover of the House of Bolton. Also, that means Reek would've never been created, which I think we'd all be grateful for.

Arya Would Never Have Run Away

It was only after witnessing her father's beheading that Arya fled the capitol and began her long quest for revenge. Without his death as an incentive, she may not have gone down such a dark path. I like to think that she would've eventually met Brienne of Tarth and became her apprentice of sorts. We all know Arya would make a badass warrior and there couldn't be a better person to teach her.

Jaime Would Still Have Both Hands

If Robb had never started a rebellion, then Jaime wouldn't have been around to get kidnapped by him, which means his return journey wouldn't have included getting his sword hand cut off by Locke. (Though, given Jaime's cocky nature, it might've happened eventually, but who knows.) However, the downside to this potential change-up is that Jaime would've probably never struck up a friendship with Brienne and become at least somewhat redeemable. Sad face.

Sansa's Love Life Would Be Better… Maybe?

I mean, she probably still would've been tortured by Joffrey, but maybe if Ned was around King's Landing it wouldn't have been quite as bad? I don't know, guys. Small victories, I guess. Her love life may have been doomed regardless.

Jon Snow's Parentage Would Finally Be Cleared Up

Maybe if we prayed enough to both the new and old gods, this conversation would've actually happened and we'd know once and for all who Jon Snow's parents actually were.

Basically, what I'm trying to say here is that Ned's death was the catalyst for so many other major events — none of which had very good outcomes. Conclusion: the world would be a much better place with Ned Stark in it. But then, you probably already knew that.

Images: HBO; northernconqueror/Tumblr; hope-adon/Tumblr; Giphy; asoiafuniversity/Tumblr; moonchild-gifs/Tumblr; rileyerickson/Tumblr