The casting of Sean Bean is growing on me. When I read the series originally, my image of Eddard Stark in my head was one of Patrick Stewart, back in his pre-TNG days, when he still had brown hair. The other discription I heard from friends was “Jeremy Irons-like.” Either way, definitely not Sean Bean.
Then the casting was announced, and I couldn’t help but feel that the choice was one made on a post- Jackson’s LOTR world. Jackson did many things for fantasy, probably most importantly, he gave the genre a certain look in the popular consciousness. Sean Bean totally embodies that look. Casting him was HBO’s statement to fans: we are going with That Look for this production, so get used to it now.
It took a bit of time, but I’m getting used to it.