Eddard Stark, also known by his friends and family as Ned, is a major character in the first season. He is played by starring cast member Sean Bean, and debuts in the series premiere. Eddard is the head of House Stark and Lord Paramount of the North. He is a dedicated husband and father, a loyal friend and an honorable lord. Eddard becomes Hand of the King to his lifelong friend, Robert Baratheon, when the previous hand dies in suspicious circumstances. He follows his predecessor's footsteps and uncovers an incestuous relationship between Queen, Cersei Lannister, and her brother, Ser Jaime Lannister. Robert dies after being injured while hunting and Eddard challenges the legitimacy of his successor, Joffrey Baratheon, but is betrayed by his political allies and arrested for treason. He confesses to the crime to protect his family, but is nevertheless executed due to Joffrey's impulsive sadism. The conflict between House Stark and House Lannister sets the stage for the War of the Five Kings.