Game of Thrones has become infamous for shocking and brutal character deaths, but most fans would agree that Ned Stark's demise in the first season's penultimate episode is clearly the series' most pivotal moment. One aspect of his death has become a point of contention for audience members, however, and that is the mystery surrounding the former Lord of Winterfell's final words. That question has now been answered, thanks to actor Sean Bean.
"[Ned was] just saying a prayer," Bean told Huffington Post. "It appears that way, doesn’t it? 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."
Over the last several years, diehard Game of Thrones fans have run wild with theories as to what the mutterings could be, with some suggesting that Ned didn't actually die in the scene at all. Given his son Bran's ability to "warg" his consciousness into the bodies of animals (and Hodors), many speculated that the final words were Ned's escape plan. That clearly was not in the cards, though, as Bean recalled the whispering as simply a way to delve further into his character's psyche.
"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."
Much to the chagrin of Thrones fans who would love to see Bean reprise the role, the actor made sure to clarify that HBO has not contacted him, meaning no such resurrections will be occurring. "No, they’ve never said that," Bean said. "And yeah, I’ve heard rumors, 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."
Game of Thrones will return for its eighth and final season in 2019. Based on George R.R. Martin’s bestselling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, the HBO drama stars Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Kit Harington as Jon Snow.