Game of Thrones star Sean Bean is discussing the shocking death of Ned Stark ten years later. It's hard to believe, but this April will mark the 10th anniversary of the premier episode of the wildly popular HBO series. From the start, the show hooked fans and kept them all the way through until the final episode, though a lot of hardcore fans believe that the show's quality suffered towards the end. Petitions signed by millions of fans have begged HBO to go back and completely rewrite the final season, which wrapped up in 2019.
In a new interview, Sean Bean reflected on his short time on Game of Thrones. Ned Stark was pretty much the main character of season one, so it was shocking to see him executed towards the end of that first season. When asked about his reaction, Bean says, "It was horror and disbelief - that Joffrey changed his mind [about exiling Ned] - and then resignation and [realizing that he was] seeing his daughter for the last time, Arya. I was trying to think of all four [things]. It wasn't just, 'Oh God, I'm getting my head chopped off.' Those mix of feelings is what made it what it was, I suppose."
The execution of Ned Stark is what fueled the rest of the series, especially for Arya Stark. Preparing for the scene was also hard for Sean Bean. "It took like a whole day or so to film it and you so you have to just keep focused on the fact that you're about to meet your death without messing around," the actor said. "I was very hot at the time, so that probably helped. And everybody else's reactions were fantastic - Cersei and the kids. It was very moving with a lot of pathos in that scene. Then I put my head in the block and I was finished for the day." Game of Thrones fans will never forget Baelor episode as a result.
In addition to taking everything that the Game of Thrones writers had given him, Sean Bean added his own personal touch to the execution scene, according to Director Alan Taylor. "[Bean] asked somebody what an appropriate prayer would be for somebody of his belief. People have tried to guess what he said, but it's something private Sean created based on that," recalled the director. Fans are still wondering what Ned Stark whispered before his death, even 10 years later. Over the years, Bean has only said he was, "just saying a prayer."
When asked about Ned Stark's final moments in 2018, Sean Bean said, "I just thought, 'What would you do if this were really gonna happen?' You probably would pray." He went on to state, "You probably would murmur some words and you'd keep it quiet. You'd keep it to yourself." Regardless of what exactly Stark said in those final moments, it isn't really important. The execution scene is what really kicked Game of Thrones into high gear and set up the carnage in season 2 and later the infamous Red Wedding in season 3. The interview with Sean Bean was originally conducted by Entertainment Weekly.