If there's one thing we've learned from five seasons of Game of Thrones, it's that none of the characters, no matter how pivotal to the story they seem, are safe. Not just in terms of death, but also from enduring horrific ordeals. There's perhaps no better example of that suffering than the Stark family.
Once a proud ruling clan, House Stark saw a steep decline in status following the brutal murder of patriarch Eddard Stark, commonly known as Ned. Since his beheading, his children have endured many horrible, grisly acts, yet have remained composed, with a stoic sense of morality. Now, as we head into #GameofThronesSeason7, the remaining Stark siblings — Sansa, Jon, Arya and Bran — are stronger than ever as they gear up for the brutal Great War.
Given the remarkable comebacks of these four characters, it's worth asking the question: If Ned were still alive, which of his Stark offspring would he be most proud of? Well, we have an answer courtesy of the #GameofThrones cast.
Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Kit Harington (#JonSnow), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark) sat down with Entertainment Weekly during their family-themed photoshoot. The actors were each asked which of his children they believe Ned Stark would be most proud of — and here's how they answered.
Turner picked her on-screen little sister Arya, insisting that Ned was always supportive of the younger Stark girl and proud of her independent spirit:
"I think he'd probably be most proud of Arya. Just because he was always very, very supportive of her doing what she wanted and going against the grain and kind of being an independent young girl. I think he'd be most proud of her."
But hold on a sec, because that's not actually her pick. The actress later backtracked, revealing that she really thinks #NedStark is most proud of her character Sansa.
"I mean, listen, Sansa. I'm so biased I think he'd be most proud of Sansa but I didn't say it because I don't want to offend anyone."
Harington played coy at first, stating that Jon's siblings have each endured so much, so Ned would likely be proud of all of them without picking favorites:
“They’ve all survived horrific things. I don't know, I think Ned being Ned, he wouldn’t really want to favor any of the kids.”
However, the actor later caved, saying Ned would be most proud of Arya because of her determination:
"I think he'd be most proud of Arya. I think Arya has shown the most sort of tenacity."
Agreeing with her on-screen sister, Williams chose Sansa as Ned's biggest source of pride. As Williams put it, Sansa has been the one to go through the most important milestones out of every member of the Stark family:
"I think Ned would be most proud of Sansa. I think she's — they've all made changes, but I think she's made the most shocking change."
Isaac Hempstead Wright
Echoing Harington's initial sentiment, Hempstead Wright said Ned sees his children as a whole rather than as individuals, so he'd be equally proud of all of them.
"I don't think Ned Stark would be proud of any one Stark over another. I think the Starks are their own unit and Ned would be proud of all of them."
With Hempstead Wright's reticence to pick a favorite and Williams pointing to Sansa, the general consensus seems to be that Ned would be most proud of everyone's favorite merciless assassin Arya.
While she's definitely a strong character, I have to agree with Harington's statement that the surviving Starks have been to hell and back, so given their remarkable fortitude, it's unlikely good ol' Ned would have favored any of his progeny above the others.
Game of Thrones Season 7 will come sweeping back to HBO on July 16. Who do you think would be Ned's favorite Stark child? Who's your favorite Stark family member? Sound off in the comments below.