Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Game of Thrones Gossip #9 Benjen Stark

Welcome to my Game of Thrones Gossip, where all of us fanatics get the chance to discuss everything we love about this amazing TV series. I did a few spoiler free posts about the series last year but I found that there were other bloggers out there who were also itching to talk more freely about favourite characters and events without spoiling things for those visiting the blog. So I decided to do a whole series of these discussion posts that let us say everything we want and enjoy every second of it! The topics may talk about a death, an event, a character or be season reviews and so on. Please feel free to comment fully and without restriction!

I have to warn you that it is important that you have seen all six seasons before reading any of these posts because these posts and blogger comments will be oozing and exploding spoilers all over the place. If you haven't watched the series and plan to, be warned that it's a bad idea to be here right now! I take no responsibility if you read on and things are spoiled for you nor do I take responsibility for any mistakes on the pages I link you to.
 

This week, I'm looking at Benjen Stark. We meet him in season one as the younger brother of Ned Stark, who joined the Night's Watch and now holds the honoured position of First Ranger, leader of the rangers who defend the Wall. He is held in high regard for his leadership and bravery and has a close relationship with Jon Snow. It seems logical to conclude that Jon's desire to join the Night's Watch comes from his admiration for Benjen and what he has achieved there. When Jon decides to join it is Benjen who escorts him there, though he discovers that his vision of the Night's Watch is different from reality.

Ned treats Jon well and has him well trained like the Stark sons but is restricted on the affection he can show because of the lie he told his wife about Jon being the result of an affair. To be too close to Jon would hurt his wife but Benjen has no such restriction in his affection and perhaps recognises that Jon could find purpose in the Night's Watch as he did. Benjen seems like the father figure that Jon needed. I very much liked his character in season one and was sad when he vanished.

After giving Jon solid advice, Benjen leads a scouting party out beyond the Wall and he vanishes. His horse comes back alone and his fate remains unknown for a long time. The other members of the ranger party are worse than dead. Their bodies are brought back to Castle Black and one rises as a wight attacking Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, who is saved by Jon. These events lead to Mormont deciding to lead a party from Castle Black to find out what happened to his men. Nothing is discovered about Benjen.

Alliser Thorne uses Jon's hope that Benjen is alive to lure him into the trap that leads to his death. Jon is told by his steward Olly that Benjen has been seen alive but it was just a ruse to get him to where the assassins are waiting to kill him. The resurrected Jon emerges as a new harder and colder man who is unlikely to fall for a similar trick in the future. It is also the end of his role as Lord Commander, freeing him to go and take back Winterfell with Sansa from the mad Ramsay Bolton.

Benjen is seen in Bran's visions, sparring with a young Hodor and witnessing him having the brutal seizure that took his ability to talk. When Bran and Meera escape the cave of the three eyed raven pursued by wights, it is Benjen who arrives on horseback to save their lives. He was attacked on his ranging mission and left to die by the White Walkers but was saved from the fate of a wight by the forest people who saved him by sticking dragonglass into his chest. He escorts them to the Wall but cannot go further as he is no longer truly alive and cannot pass. 

It was great to see the return of Benjen as I just had a feeling that he was still out there because his body was never found. It was sad to know that he could not go south to be with his family again, but knowing that he was a heroic warrior, he would probably have chosen to stay and protect the Wall from wights and White Walkers. I don't think his odds of surviving long are good but he will go out fighting which is probably what he wanted anyway. I did enjoy seeing him again though his story is a touch bittersweet.


8 comments:

  1. You hit the nail on the head with the bittersweet part. I have to be honest and admit I don't remember him much from the beginning, mainly only from his return. It's nice to refresh my memory with this post. There is so much going on in this series I could really benefit from a rewatch at some point. I love watching the flashback GoT used, especially in the last season or so. Nice discussion. I can tell you honestly care about some of the characters when you write which isn't always easy to portray on "paper."

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    1. I need to rewatch so I can get my head round all the supporting cast and who was doing what and when. I was so busy learning the main cast first time round that I think I missed plenty! Gives me a really good excuse to watch it all again before the new series!

      When I write about these characters, I guess I try to get inside their heads a bit and what they might be thinking or doing. I did really like Benjen...I'm glad that showed through! Thanks for the kind words Barb!

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  2. I feel the same way about Benjen, I like him a lot. The book version is a little different in that he hasn't been found yet, and there's been a lot of debate as to whether Coldhands is Benjen (the show seems to indicate he is). I always loved thinking about where he was, did he go far into the north and discover something about the walkers that no one else knows? Can't wait for him to reappear in the books (unless he's Coldhands, in which case he has lol).

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    1. I had to look up Coldhands as he doesn't feature in the series so I didn't know who he was! GRRM has said that Benjen is not Coldhands to his book editors but it could be another Night's Watch man who suffered a similar fate. Maybe the new book will have answers if we ever see it...I've wondered every series what happened to Benjen and hoped he would see Jon again but it's not looking like it unless Jon goes north to battle White Walkers.

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    2. I do think Benjen will show up again in the books, and you reminded me that George said that. I'm kinda glad that Coldhands is NOT Benjen in that sense, since I'd like them to find him alive. Maybe they will!

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    3. I heard an update that The Winds of Winter won't be out by the time the next series airs. Must be frustrating to be waiting the best part of six years for a sequel. It's what puts me off starting the books right now.

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    4. I'm not surprised. That is disappointing though. I'm resigned to the fact that we're going to get one conclusion on the show, and a different conclusion in the books (if they are finished)

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    5. That's my fear as well. I'm worried that the books will never be finished.

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