The former head of House Stark has spilled the beans about his final moments on Game of Thrones.
Even after seven more seasons of pain and bloodshed, the death of Eddard Stark still stings. Played by Sean Bean, Ned Stark was originally positioned as the closest thing the expansive fantasy series had to a main character, making it extra devastating and effective when he met his maker at the end of the first season. For those who don't exactly remember what happened to Ned, he falsely confessed to treason after Robert Baratheon died in a hunting accident calculated by Cersei Lannister, and Cersei's son Joffrey took the Iron Throne. Ned questioned Joffrey's claim to the Throne, then Cersei had him locked up and demanded he own up to treason. Though Ned's daughter Sansa and Cersei both asked Joffrey to reconsider, the little tyrant ordered Ned to death by beheading anyway.
"So long as I am your king, treason shall never go unpunished. Ser Illyn, Bring me his head!"
Just before the blade came down, the Stark patriarch could be seen whispering a few words. With none of his last words being audible and the books providing no insight, viewers have been left to formulate their own guesses as to what the former head of House Stark may have said as he shuffled off this mortal coil, from the obvious possibility of the series' favorite aphorism,
which translates to "all men must die." Others have made more plot-specific suggestions, like idea was that Ned was secretly stating that Jon Snow wasn't his bastard son but the child of his sister, Lyanna, and Rhaegar Targaryen.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, actor Sean Bean finally revealed Ned's last words. They weren't an important message with grand implications for the plot, nor a popular catchphrase. In actuality, Ned said a simple, quiet prayer just before dying.
Bean explains that he wanted to make Ned's death seem as realistic as possible in a series that features dragons and men coming back to life and a frosty villain who can reanimate corpses. He 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."
According to Bean, he didn't set out to give fans something to speculate on, saying he only spoke during the scene because it felt right for the character.
The interview also confirmed that Bean has indeed seen all of the online talk regarding his many onscreen demises, including a rundown from Nerdist that puts the actor's on screen death count just behind the oft-murdered Kenny from South Park. According to the actor, he's pleased people are amused at the unusual niche he's carved out.
On the sort-of-bright side, Ned Stark was far from the last person to face an untimely death throughout Game of Thrones' run. Battle after battle after battle saw dozens of major characters bite the dust, with the final season including some of the most shocking, impactful deaths of the entire series.
Another much-beloved hero was killed in the exact same manner as Ned: a swift sword chop to the neck ordered by a member of House Lannister. That character had but one final word to say before dying:
But Ned had a small list to peak out. With the way things are going on season 8 of Game of Thrones, we just hope Ned's prayer included a wish for everything to turn out fine in Westeros.
Watch the video to find out what Ned Stark whispered during his Game of Thrones death!
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