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14th Mar 2018

Sean Bean reveals what Ned Stark was saying before his death in Game of Thrones

Of all the deaths in Game of Thrones, it was one of the toughest to take

Conor Heneghan

Of all the deaths in Game of Thrones, it was one of the toughest to take.

It’s not exactly a spoiler alert to say that A LOT of characters have died in Game of Thrones over the years, but most fans will admit that the first one to cause genuine shock was the death of Ned Stark at the end of the first season.

Wrongly accused of treason, which he confesses to in order to save the life of his daughter Sansa, Ned expects to be pardoned by Joffrey, who instead indulges his bloodlust and decides to have him slaughtered in front of a crowd that includes his two daughters.

Ned’s death set the ball rolling on a war that has barely ceased since and as we wait for the show’s eighth and final season to hit our screens, the man who played him, Sean Bean, has revealed what he was whispering to himself before he had his head cut off.

Various theories have suggested that Ned was saying “Valar Morghulis” (“All men must die”) or referencing the truth about Jon Snow (which we’re not going to go into here for fear of spoiling things to the latecomers) but the truth, as it turns out, is much simpler.

In an interview with HuffPost, Bean revealed that Ned was “just saying a prayer”.

“It appears that way (as if he was praying) doesn’t it?” Bean said.

“I couldn’t be too specific, because I don’t know if religion (like that) was around in those days, whatever they were. I just thought, ‘What would you do if this were really gonna happen?’

“You probably would pray. You probably would murmur some words and you’d keep it quiet. You’d keep it to yourself.”

“It’s quite subtle in that many people wouldn’t pick it up,” Bean added.

“It was an interesting thing to do for me at that point. There’s not much you can do really, you’ve got your head on a block. That’s about the only thing you can do is murmur.”

As for rumours that he will be brought back to the show – it wouldn’t be the first resurrection – Bean doesn’t think it would be a runner and hasn’t heard from HBO about a potential return.

“No, they’ve (HBO) never said that,” Bean said.

“And yeah, I’ve heard rumours, but not from very good sources that I might be back. But I think I’ve done my time there, and I created a good character. It’d be rather strange to see him resurrected.”

You can read the interview in full on HuffPost here.