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Fanfic / Sean Bean Saves Westeros

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Lord "Not-Ned" Bean

Sean Bean Saves Westeros — Book 1: Sean Lends A Hand, Book 2: Sean Wins by a Nose and Book 3: Sean Hits the Wall by High Plains Drifter is a very unusual Crossover Fic combining "real life" Sean Bean, Game of Thrones, and A Song of Ice and Fire.

After the last day of filming Ned Stark's scenes for the HBO series Game of Thrones, Sean Bean receives a present: an armor to "protect" him in his next job. He goes on a drinking binge to say goodbye to the other people he has met at filming, and when he wakes up the next day, he does so in White Harbor the same day Ned Stark is killed. Sean Bean must then act in the role of his life as the real Ned Stark, not only to bring Ned Stark's family back together, but also to bring peace to Westeros before the Others appear and the Long Winter begins.

Sean must use his wits, what he has learned in a lifetime of acting and every bit of knowledge he remembers from the books (passing it off as things the Old Gods have told him). His actions also change many things, preventing problems that happened in the books and TV series from ever taking place — such as marrying Robb off as soon as possible — yet causing other problems due to the changes. He has monologues about how different things are to when he did them in the series, such as when he mentally compares every person in Westeros to their actor or actress equivalents.

To be clear, Sean Bean is "from" the HBO series, but he's now "living" in the novels.

Sean Bean Saves Westeros contains examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • For a given value of "villain", the death of Tyrion Lannister.
    • The comments threads on are showing a lot of sympathy for Sandor Clegane, who was the only member of Joffrey's guards to not beat Sansa Stark.
  • An Arm and a Leg: In the climactic battle of Book 1, Sean loses his hand to Jaime Lannister.
  • And You Were There: After Sean Bean lands in Westeros, he notes how the ASOIAF characters look compared to the HBO series actors. Many are quite close in appearance, others not. Sean refers to the novel characters as not-Ned (himself), not-Charles (Tywin), not-Peter (Tyrion), not-Michelle (Catelyn), etc.
  • Anti-Magic:
    • The presence of Sean appears to have this effect. Since his arrival, Melisandre has been finding it much harder to read anything from her flames.
    • It appears that the magic of the Old Gods is anathema to Melisandre: when she meets Yohn Royce while he is wearing his rune-covered armor, Melisandre's disguise almost unravels.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Cersei's torture at the hands of Roose Bolton and her subsequent beheading are very gruesome, but it should be kept in mind that this is Cersei from the books, whom is much worse than Cersei from the show (though she's no saint, either).
    • If anyone deserves Roose Bolton's favorite methods of torment, it's Joffrey.
    • Littlefinger's death is agonizing and humiliating, but the commentators in the thread agree that he fully deserved every second of it.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Sean fully backs Stannis Baratheon as the rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, and he sees to it that Stannis takes King's Landing. Subverted(?) when Stannis crowns himself, however, and Sean nearly craps himself when he sees the red flames on Stannis's crown. (Sean had hoped he had taken King's Landing soon enough that Stannis wouldn't have converted to the Lord of Light yet)
  • Badass Decay: Observed In-universe by the other characters. Sean does an excellent job imitating Ned Stark, but his fencing skills just aren't up to par, and people who watch him practice note how much slower he is in comparison.
  • Batman Gambit: Ned convinces Stannis to parley with his brother, along a group of nobles, as part of a gambit to trick Renly into betting everything on a duel between champions, and setting Grey Wind (warged by Robb) on Loras (whom Renly picks as his champion), putting an end to the rebellion without further bloodshed (well, save for Loras').
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Subverted with Sansa, who had her face slashed several times under the orders of Joffrey.
    • Also with Loras, who gets his face mauled by Grey Wind. And he'll be lucky if he lives at all.
  • Becoming the Mask: By the time Sansa is rescued, Sean has a hard time not accepting Ned's family as truly his own.
  • Brain Bleach: Sean briefly considers gouging his own eyes out when not!Selyse mentions getting pregnant by Stannis.
  • Break the Cutie: Sansa and Jeyne received a particularly nasty case of this, with the former being horribly tortured and disfigured, and the latter being repeatedly raped.
  • Brits Love Tea: Sean Bean's Englishness is showing. Sean as Ned demands to have some tea very often, and it's noted by other characters as one of the differences from the real Ned.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Living as Lord Stark, in the War of Five Kings, Sean has to order his followers to their deaths and watch many of them die.
  • Chronically Killed Actor: Sean Bean lampshades this more than once! He goes out of his way to keep himself alive as the "resurrected" Lord Eddard Stark.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • The wonderfully cathartic death of Littlefinger. After he tries to kidnap Sansa, Sandor guts him like a pig then pisses down his throat.
    • And then poor Sandor is burned alive on the orders of a disguised Melisandre.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Even with him metaphorically having a cheat sheet from the creator of this universe himself (as well as just being more Genre Savvy in general when compared to the real Ned Stark), Sean Bean is still only an actor from Sheffield with no actual military experience. As a result, when he was confronted by Jaime Lannister (one of the greatest swordsman in Westeros) in a sword fight, he was quickly defeated and got his hand chopped off.
  • Dead Person Impersonation:
    • Obviously, Sean Bean is doing this, replacing Ned Stark.
    • At the beginning of Book 2, Melisandre disguises herself as Selyse Baratheon, and Selyse as herself, to avoid her own death at the hands of a Faceless Man.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Stannis slowly warms up to Not-Ned, thanks to the latter's support.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • The unexpected deaths of Tywin and Tyrion Lannister in the Battle of Green Fork.
    • Sandor's brutal death in Book 2.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: The various theories that Littlefinger had for Not-Ned's true identity (that he is just a rumor created by Robb to spread confusion with the King's army, that he is a look-alike mummer, and finally that he is a Faceless Man who is taking an active role in manipulating Westerosi politics) were all completely rational and logical within the A Song of Ice and Fire universe. What he didn't expect was that Not-Ned came from outside the ASOIF universe, which is neither rational or logical.
  • Face Stealer: Because Sean Bean isn't Ned Stark, merely his actor, enemies and allies alike find him uncanny. When it's apparent Sean knows too much to just be a lookalike-imposter, many suspect him of being a Faceless Man.
  • Facial Horror: The shadow baby attack in Book 2's epilogue leaves Sean without a nose.
  • First-Person Smartass: Sean's inner monologues. He snarks at almost everything happening in Westeros, and often disparages George for the epically screwed-up world he's penned. It's his one of his few coping mechanisms.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When returning from the negotiations, Sandor Clegane swears to piss on Littlefinger's and Varys' dead mouths if they don't shut up. He fulfills that promise later, killing Littlefinger and pissing into his mouth.
    • The title of Book 1 is Sean Lends a Hand. At the end of the book, his hand got chopped off by Jamie Lannister.
    • Book 2's title, Sean Wins By A Nose, foreshadows Sean losing his nose.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Roslin Frey toys with this trope. Her future husband's direwolf takes a liking to her, which wins her affection points with him.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: in chapter 29, Shireen says "[The Queen]'s not my mother, Ser Davos. Mother died on Dragonstone. I just didn't know it."
  • Genre Savvy: Sean has read all (season-one-current) books in A Song of Ice and Fire. That gives him a huge edge in surviving the political machinations of Westeros. In addition, his study of British history and lifetime as an actor come in handy. However, A Dance with Dragons was not released until after season one finished filming, and there's still more books to be published in the series, so we'll see how long this trope holds for Sean.
  • Good Is Not Soft: When compared to canon Ned, Sean's 'Not-Ned' is far more vicious and willing to engage in less then honorable actions such as torture in order to win the war. For instance, when Manderly forces build a scaffold just outside King's Landing to exhibit the imprisoned Jaime, he asks Roose Bolton to lend Lord Manderly a spare banner, just so Cersei knows what will happen to her brother the moment she tries something funny.
  • Hallucinations: Sean suffers them while doped up. Particularly, he sees his ex-wife Georgina gloating over how she's getting his money and the discovery of Ned Stark's body, mistaken for his own. From his meanderings, Roose Bolton gets several names he immediately checks out, such as Qyburn and Shae, and when Sean awakes, he asks who are the Gyorgina and Gyorge he kept screaming imprecations at.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • Sean notes how destructive this trope was to Stark's character, but he manages to find a balance between Eddard's character and a new emphasis on pragmatism.
    • Stannis, crossed over with Lawful Stupid. Sean finds dealing with the new King extremely frustrating.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Even after everything Sean has done, Renly still tries to rattle Stannis with the peach. See Mythology Gag for the result.
  • Karmic Death: Littlefinger's death. He REALLY deserved it, and the Hound delivering on his promise makes it all the sweeter.
  • A Little Something We Call "Rock and Roll": Sean teaches Sansa (slightly modified) Led Zeppelin songs. They become popular at the court, even used for propaganda.
  • Mercy Kill: Sean does this for a mortally wounded Tyrion Lannister.
  • Metaphorically True: A common belief is that "Not-Ned" is in fact a highly skilled lookalike mummer. It's definitely not wrong... but not right in the way they think either.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Renly still does his peach trick. Ned uses this to get one over Renly by having all the lords on Stannis's side in the parley pull out other fruits.
    • A few gruesome episodes are recreated during the trials by combat of the condemned kingsguard.
      • Oberyn's death is recreated when Smalljon Umber taunts Ilyn Payne before killing him with his bare hands.
      • Like Tyrion, Black Walder looses his nose like Tyrion to Mandon Moore.
      • The King's Landing riots are echoed when Meryn Trant wins his trial and is about to walk free.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Thanks to Sean's foreknowledge of the series, instead of a Lannister victory, the Battle of the Green Fork was a total victory for the Northern army, resulting in the death of both Tywin and Tyrion Lannister. As an unintended result, there was now no one left in King's Landing to hold Joffrey's madness in check. By the time that they managed to rescue Sansa, she was a complete wreck that was horribly tortured and disfigured by Joffrey's sadism.
    • Also, depending on the accuracy of Jojen Reed's prophecy about Bran, Sean may have doomed Westeros to being overrun by the Others.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Sandor Clegane protects Sansa from the worst of Joffrey's abuse before the latter's death, and later saves her from being kidnapped by Littlefinger (and killing him in the process). His reward? Being burned to a crisp on Stannis's orders because he couldn't complete an impossibly difficult trial... Turns out his death was faked: Melisandre used her magic to hide him as Justin Massey.
  • Off the Rails: Sean Bean, almost literally Armed with Canon having read all of the books (up to A Feast for Crows), tries his damnedest to divert the course of the War of Five Kings and save Westeros.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • What kicks off the plot. Ned Stark loses his head in King's Landing, and Sean Bean wakes up in White Harbor the exact same day.
    • Beheading is the ultimate fate of Varys.
    • Littlefinger dies by decapitation, albeit with the most delicious Karmic Death attached courtesy of the Hound.
    • Cersei is executed and gets her head chopped off.
    • Joffrey loses his head in public execution.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Robb and Roslin Frey get along pretty well.
  • Plot Armor: Parodied as Sean is literally handed plot armor at the beginning of Book One, only to find out in the climax that it only protects what it covers. He gives it to Robb for a battle.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: The fic takes inspiration from Sean's four failed marriages to portray him as a bit of a sexist prick.
  • The Power of Acting: Really, the only thing keeping Sean alive is this trope, with liberal use of A Wizard Did It. Nobody wants to believe Ned Stark came Back from the Dead, at least at first.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Roose Bolton. In the books he's an unscrupulous, amoral backstabber who turns on Robb when Robb's inexperience and political failures hobble the Stark cause. Here he's Sean's loyal spymaster and attack dog—as are the Freys, who organized the Red Wedding in the books. Sean's inability to trust Roose (seeing him as a one-note traitor) and overreliance on the books as he knew them for information may come to bite him in the rear. Since Sean is kicking the Lannisters clean off of the map, Northern power climbs higher every day, and Roose is being given important, powerful responsibilities like getting Cersei to confess to the twincest and receiving a mail-order bride with a HUGE dowry, Roose has no reason to betray his lord, and knows it.
  • The Reveal: Sean tells Catelyn that Jon is the child of Brandon Stark and Ashara Dayne, but, of course, he cannot be sure of the truth, since he does not know the actual truth.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: One of the nobles that is with Sean during the negotiations over freeing Jaime Lannister says that he could not tell if Sean was a madman or a brilliant mummer, that is, an actor. One of Littlefinger's theories on not!Ned's identity is awfully close to the truth.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Sean finds the Bard's lines are quite effective to people who've never heard them and think they're just coming off the top of his head.
  • "Shut Up" Sex: Sean "Not-Ned" Bean's way of preventing Catelyn from asking too many questions and blow his cover is to keep her distracted by, in his own words, 'keep shagging her brains out'. He is not complaining. Unfortunately, it is not enough to prevent her from realizing he is not Ned.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Roose Bolton, per canon.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Book 1 ends with Roose Bolton reaching for a critically injured Sean with a flaying knife. With Sean naturally expecting it to be a betrayal. The start of Book 2 revealed that Roose was actually saving not-Ned's life.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Roose Bolton, again. Unlike in canon he's fully loyal to the North (thanks to Sean's political maneuvering), but like in canon he's a wholly pragmatic, amoral man.
  • War Is Hell: Sean Bean is an actor. Ned Stark is/was a warrior. Now living as Stark, not just playing him on TV, Sean is horrified by the situations he's now thrust into, but he adapts.
  • Wham Line:
    • From Catelyn at the end of Book 1 Chapter 22, "I am pregnant."
    • From Arya at Book 1 Chapter 20 after the author's rewriting, with her reciting the names of her enemies that she intends to kill.
    "Joffrey, the Hound, Ser Meryn, Ser Ilyn, the Kingslayer, the Queen." Then she hesitated a very long time. Finally added one last name, "Sansa".
    • From Catelyn at the end of Book 2, Chapter 24.
      Alone she wept silent tears for the terrible pain Ned had suffered while he waited. Most of all, she wept secret tears of love for the strong, gentle, brooding, clever, infuriating, watchful, maimed man standing quietly on the other side of her. He had made today's happiness possible. He was making tomorrow's joy and the next day's and the day after that's possible too for the whole family. Alone she wept for the secret long tearing at her heart. She took a trembling hand off the battlement and sought his one out. She clasped it, feeling the warmth, the reassurance, cherishing it as she balanced precariously on a precipice. He looked at her and smiled. Fear engulfed her love, surrounding it with a darkness too terrifying to contemplate. The man whose hand she held was not, and had never been, her Ned's.
    • Book 2, Chapter 33.
      A sole king now truly reigned over a united Westeros.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: During the parley, Ned calls out the nobles siding with Renly when Stannis has proved to be better as a ruler — particularly Lord Estermont (Stannis's grandfather).
  • A Wizard Did It: Sean heavily relies on this to justify his presence in Westeros. Despite being the spitting image of Ned Stark (a benefit of being his actor) and knowing all the details of Westeros as revealed in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels (up to Book 4), Sean must continually appeal to the Old Gods for anybody to take him at his word. Of course, getting your neck shaved too closely is not something people normally come back from.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • One thing that goes against Sean is that he hasn't read Book 5 (it wasn't out yet during filming of season 1), and so, he does not know that Varys was working for the Young Griff's return, instead of Daenerys's.
    • Book 2 reveals another painful problem that might bite him, too. Used as he is to characters he can recognize from the books, he fails to realize that Roose Bolton has recruited Qyburn and Bronn to his side, and is keeping Shae as his personal whore. Something Roose has detected, too.