Neither the Starks nor the Lannisters have a good time in Game of Thrones. The latter dedicates themselves to destroying the former, and they do a pretty good job overall. So good, House Stark might have been destroyed in the first episode, if you have some superstition about magic.
We might be opening a can of worms here on Game of Thrones, since the existence of curses and such is a big topic for fans. The Game of Thrones characters aren’t going around chanting spells in Westeros, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything supernatural going on. I mean, the undead and dragons exist, why not some dark energies too? It’d just make one of the best TV series even better, really.
A particularly grim theory posits that King Robert handed off a curse to a few members of the Game of Thrones cast. When Robert Baratheon arrives in Winterfell during the first season, he’s greeted by the entire Stark clan. However, he only makes physical contact with four of them: Ned, Catelyn, Rickon, and Robb. What do they all have in common by the show’s end?
Yep – they’re part of the staggering large body count across the hit fantasy series. This scene has become fundamental to a theory known as ‘Robert’s curse’, whereby Robert actually cursed those Starks to die, and only the ones he spoke to were saved.
Now, some caveats: we’re not arguing he wilfully did this, Robert loved Ned, and seemed keen to maintain relations between their houses. Curses can, and often do, linger without their holders knowing. He might have been hosting some force that got past on, since unbeknownst to him, his own death was coming soon.
What’s curious here is that the actor who played Robert, Mark Addy, actually improvised how he approached each Stark. So the foreshadowing wasn’t necessarily even wilful, depending on if he got notes on who to touch or not. If we don’t want to apply a broader reading, that’s a mighty conspicuous conspiracy.
There are a few other theories based around curses in Game of Thrones, too. One considers that Ned Stark’s death cursed his sword, Ice, leading to the swords reforged from it harming their owners, particularly Joffrey. I’m more inclined towards that one than this, purely because this was so early in the show’s life. But they both make more sense than I care to admit.
Might be time to watch Game of Thrones again! To be honest, doing that would help kill the wait for House of the Dragon season 2, and the Rings of Power season 2 release date for that matter. Check out our guides on the best drama series and best Apply TV shows for more great small screen entertainment, too.