Actor reveals what Ned Stark whispered during his 'Game of Thrones' death

It’s the “Game of Thrones” reveal we’ve Bean waiting for.

From the Red Wedding and a certain character’s resurrection, to anything dealing with dragons, the HBO show has made a living off unexpected moments. However, none of these moments would’ve been possible if not for the crazy one that started it all:

When Ned Stark (Sean Bean) lost his head.

The North remembers, dude.

Ned’s death scene is brief. You see the sword coming down and his head starting to leave his body, but then the camera cuts away.

The execution has had a lasting impact on the show, essentially setting in motion everything that’s happened since. But up until now, a question has lingered ...

What were Ned Stark’s final words?

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: (L-R) Actors Natalie Dormer, Keisha Castle-Hughes and Finn Jones attend Game of Thrones: A Panel of Ice and Fire during New York Comic-Con Day 1 at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on October 8, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Stewart/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actor Peter Dinklage, winner of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for 'Game of Thrones', poses in the press room at the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: The cast and crew of 'Game of Thrones', winners of the award for Outstanding Drama Series', pose in the press room at the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 10: A model of one of Daenerys Targaryen's dragons is seen at photo call to launch Game of Thrones Season 5 at the at Sydney Opera House on April 10, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 23: Actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau attends the premiere of HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Season 5 at San Francisco Opera House on March 23, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: Dean Charles-Chapman, Liam Cunningham, Kit Harington, Isaac Kempstead and Thomas Brodie-Sangster collect the Empire Hero Award for 'Game of Thrones' on stage during the Jameson Empire Awards 2015 at the Grosvenor House Hotel on March 29, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 20: Snoop Dogg attends HBO Game of Thrones Presents: Snoop Dogg Catch The Throne Event At SXSW on March 20, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for HBO Game of Thrones)
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If you look closely at Ned in his final seconds, you can see he’s whispering something. For the longest time, fans have been wondering, what was he muttering?

The theories about Ned’s final words are wild. Some suggest he was delivering one of the show’s favorite phrases, “valar morghulis,” meaning all men must die. Others propose that Ned was thinking about Jon Snow’s secret parentage, perhaps saying, “I kept my promise” as he died. And there are those who argue Ned was trying to communicate with Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright), who might have time-traveling capabilities.

There’s even speculation that Ned could’ve warged or somehow switched bodies, thus not dying at all. In fact, theorists who suspect Ned Stark is still alive believe his secret final words could lend credence to that speculation.

Well, in an interview with HuffPost about his new show “The Oath,” Sean Bean set things straight.

Ned was ... “just saying a prayer.”

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Medieval defence walls surrounding the historical city of Dubrovnik, one of the most Southern tourist destinations on Croatia's Adriatic coast, are seen on June 6, 2013. Dubrovnik city walls have become a scenographic set for one of best rated US TV series 'Game Of Thrones'. The series is shot, on three locations worldwide, including Dubrovnik, for second season in a row. Usually a tourist destination, Dubrovnik now became a hot spot for 'Game Of Thrones' fans, coming in groups and attending guided tours of locations that were actually used for the shoot. AFP PHOTO / ELVIS BARUKCIC (Photo credit should read ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Medieval defence walls surrounding the historical city of Dubrovnik, one of the most Southern tourist destinations on Croatia's Adriatic coast, are seen on June 6, 2013. Dubrovnik city walls have become a scenographic set for one of best rated US TV series 'Game Of Thrones'. The series is shot, on three locations worldwide, including Dubrovnik, for second season in a row. Usually a tourist destination, Dubrovnik now became a hot spot for 'Game Of Thrones' fans, coming in groups and attending guided tours of locations that were actually used for the shoot. AFP PHOTO / ELVIS BARUKCIC (Photo credit should read ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Medieval defence walls surrounding the historical city of Dubrovnik, one of the most Southern tourist destinations on Croatia's Adriatic coast, are seen on June 6, 2013. Dubrovnik city walls have become a scenographic set for one of best rated US TV series 'Game Of Thrones'. The series is shot, on three locations worldwide, including Dubrovnik, for second season in a row. Usually a tourist destination, Dubrovnik now became a hot spot for 'Game Of Thrones' fans, coming in groups and attending guided tours of locations that were actually used for the shoot. AFP PHOTO / ELVIS BARUKCIC (Photo credit should read ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Medieval defence walls surrounding the historical city of Dubrovnik, one of the most Southern tourist destinations on Croatia's Adriatic coast, are seen on June 6, 2013. Dubrovnik city walls have become a scenographic set for one of best rated US TV series 'Game Of Thrones'. The series is shot, on three locations worldwide, including Dubrovnik, for second season in a row. Usually a tourist destination, Dubrovnik now became a hot spot for 'Game Of Thrones' fans, coming in groups and attending guided tours of locations that were actually used for the shoot. AFP PHOTO / ELVIS BARUKCIC (Photo credit should read ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Medieval defence walls surrounding the historical city of Dubrovnik, one of the most Southern tourist destinations on Croatia's Adriatic coast, are seen on June 6, 2013. Dubrovnik city walls have become a scenographic set for one of best rated US TV series 'Game Of Thrones'. The series is shot, on three locations worldwide, including Dubrovnik, for second season in a row. Usually a tourist destination, Dubrovnik now became a hot spot for 'Game Of Thrones' fans, coming in groups and attending guided tours of locations that were actually used for the shoot. AFP PHOTO / ELVIS BARUKCIC (Photo credit should read ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images)
CILEUNGSI, INDONESIA - OCTOBER 21: An actress leaves the set after her scene during the production of Ciung Wanara, one of the many Indonesian soap operas based on traditional Indonesian legends on October 21, 2013 in Cileungsi, Indonesia. The stories often involving kings, dragons, evil ministers, witches, gods and heroes, which were traditionally performed as shadow puppet plays and by professional storytellers, have a huge audience who have embraced the complex stories, much as western audiences have taken to the fictional intrigue of Game of Thrones.(Photo by Ed Wray/Getty Images)
Medieval defence walls surrounding the historical city of Dubrovnik, one of the most Southern tourist destinations on Croatia's Adriatic coast, are seen on June 6, 2013. Dubrovnik city walls have become a scenographic set for one of best rated US TV series 'Game Of Thrones'. The series is shot, on three locations worldwide, including Dubrovnik, for second season in a row. Usually a tourist destination, Dubrovnik now became a hot spot for 'Game Of Thrones' fans, coming in groups and attending guided tours of locations that were actually used for the shoot. AFP PHOTO / ELVIS BARUKCIC (Photo credit should read ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Tourists stroll near the ramparts at La Fuente de Mercurio in the Reales Alcazares (royal palace) in Sevilla on October 8, 2014 where part of the for the fifth season of the series Game of Thrones will shortly begin filming. AFP PHOTO / CRISTINA QUICLER (Photo credit should read CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)
General view of the Patio de las Doncellas to be used as one of the sets for the fifth season of the series Game of Thrones at La Fuente de Mercurio in the Reales Alcazares (royal palace) in Sevilla on October 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO / CRISTINA QUICLER (Photo credit should read CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)
SEVILLE, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Actors are seen on the set filming 'Game of Thrones' at Real Alcazar on October 19, 2014 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images)
SEVILLE, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Indira Varma is seen on the set filming 'Game of Thrones' at Real Alcazar on October 19, 2014 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images)
SEVILLE, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is seen on the set filming 'Game of Thrones' at Real Alcazar on October 19, 2014 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images)
A general view of Osuna shows the bullring where extras and technician of HBO TV serie 'Game of Thrones' take part in shootings of the fifth season's episodes on October 22, 2014. Film crews began shooting part of the fifth season of popular US fantasy television 'Game of Thrones' in the southern Spanish city of Seville, delighting local authorities who expect a tourism boost. AFP PHOTO/ CRISTINA QUICLER (Photo credit should read CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)
Extras acting in the series of the Game of Thrones leave the bullring on October 22, 2014 as film crews began shooting part of the fifth season of the popular US fantasy television series in the southern Spanish city of Osuna, delighting local authorities who expect a tourism boost. The tourism information centre in the southern town has extended its hours since filming began on October 16 to deal with the influx and hotels are fully booked until the end of the month when filming ends. AFP PHOTO / CRISTINA QUICLER (Photo credit should read CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)
OSUNA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 24: Extras are seen during filming for Game of Thrones near the bullring on October 24, 2014 in Osuna, Spain. Film crew have begun shooting part of the fifth season of the popular US fantasy television series. (Photo by Sergio Camacho/Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron visits the television set of popular TV fantasy drama Game of Thrones in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Tuesday, April 7, 2015. Britain holds a general election on May 7 in which Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives, senior partners in a coalition government since 2010, will seek enough support to govern alone. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Kirsty Wigglesworth (Photo credit should read KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images)
***EXCLUSIVE*** LOS ANGELES, USA - 2013: Bart 2 in a bear pit alongside Brienne Tarth, played by actress Gwendoline Christie, on the set of hit HBO series Game of Thrones, in Los Angeles, USA. BEAR trainer Doug Seus is a man who thinks nothing of play wrestling a grizzly bear - or posing with his head in its mouth. For the last four decades, Doug and wife Lynne have shared their ranch in the the Heber Valley, Utah, with their four bears: Bart the Bear 1, who died of cancer in 2000, brother and sister team Bart 2 and Honey Bump, and Tank. The bears' ease in human company has helped them carve out an impressive showreel working alongside Hollywood stars including Brad Pitt, Jennifer Anniston and Eddie Murphy, while Bart 2 recently starred in the hit HBO series Game of Thrones. The bears are also ambassadors for Doug and Lynne's charity, Vital Ground, which helps to protect key landscapes used by grizzly bears and other wide-ranging wildlife. PHOTOGRAPH BY UK Office, London. T +44 845 370 2233 W www.barcroftmedia.com USA Office, New York City. T +1 212 796 2458 W www.barcroftusa.com Indian Office, Delhi. T +91 11 4053 2429 W www.barcroftindia.com
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 13: The large Game of Thrones Magheramorne quarry film set which doubles as 'Castle Black' and 'Hardhome' on August 13, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. According to recent audited figures from Northern Ireland Screen, the HBO produced fantasy adventure television series Game of Thrones has contributed an estimated �110m to the Northern Ireland economy. Many local companies have profited from providing services during production creating more than 900 full-time and 5,700 part-time jobs in the process. Due to the popularity of the series various locations highlighted on screen have become tourist attractions around the province. Northern Ireland county legislators have suggested turning the former quarry site at Magheramorne in to a tourist attraction once filming has finished. The 'Hardhome' set at the bottom of the quarry featured in a climatic scene towards the end of season five. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 13: A Game of Thrones film set used as a stand in for Winterfell at Moneyglass on August 13, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. According to recent audited figures from Northern Ireland Screen, the HBO produced fantasy adventure television series Game of Thrones has contributed an estimated �110m to the Northern Ireland economy. Many local companies have profited from providing services during production creating more than 900 full-time and 5,700 part-time jobs in the process. Due to the popularity of the series various locations highlighted on screen have become tourist attractions around the province. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
ZUMAIA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 25: Game of Thrones Set Filming on October 25, 2016 in Zumaia, Spain. (Photo by Iconic/GC Images)
BANBRIDGE, NORTHERN IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 28: A film set is constructed for the Game of Thrones fantasy television series as filming for season six continues on September 28, 2015 in Banbridge, Northern Ireland. The set is believed to represent House Tully of Riverrun, a fictional castle which belongs to the Tully family. The Emmy award winning show is largely filmed in the province and has added over �120 million pounds to the local economy through tourisim and investment in the local film industry according to financial experts. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Prop items, such as dragon eggs, are pictured on September 7, 2015 during the opening of an exhibition dedicated to HBO's television medieval fantasy series 'Game of Thrones' at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris. AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
ZUMAIA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 25: Game of Thrones Set Filming on October 25, 2016 in Zumaia, Spain. (Photo by Iconic/GC Images)
ZUMAIA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 26: Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke film on the set of 'Game of Thrones' on October 26, 2016 in Zumaia, Spain. (Photo by Iconic/GC Images)
ZUMAIA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 27: Actress Emilia Clarke seen on the 'Game of Thrones' set filming on October 27, 2016 in Zumaia, Spain. (Photo by Iconic/GC Images)
ZUMAIA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 27: Actors Kit Harrington and Peter Dinklage seen on the 'Game of Thrones' set filming on October 27, 2016 in Zumaia, Spain. (Photo by Iconic/GC Images)
ZUMAIA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 27: Actress Emilia Clarke seen on the 'Game of Thrones' set filming on October 27, 2016 in Zumaia, Spain. (Photo by Iconic/GC Images)
ZUMAIA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 27: Emilia Clarke is seen at Game of Thrones Set Filming on October 27, 2016 in Zumaia, Spain. (Photo by Iconic/GC Images)
ZUMAIA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 27: Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington are seen at Game of Thrones Set Filming on October 27, 2016 in Zumaia, Spain. (Photo by Iconic/GC Images)
ZUMAIA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 28: (SPAIN OUT) Emilia Clarke is seen at Game of Thrones Set Filming on October 28, 2016 in Zumaia, Spain. (Photo by Iconic/GC Images)
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“It appears that way, doesn’t it?” Bean said, alluding to the fact that, yes, it does appear as though the doomed man is saying a prayer. “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,” he 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 far as all those rumors and theories that Ned’s coming back, don’t count on it. Bean said HBO hasn’t contacted him about any possible return, and he thinks that would be weird anyway. 

“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.”

In other words: Bean there, done that. Though he doesn’t plan to return in Season 8, Bean seems proud of Ned’s impact on the show. He was even appreciative after learning that fans jokingly suggested that a headless character who appeared during Season 6′s “Battle of the Bastards” was a Ned Stark cameo.

“Oh, really?” he said. “I didn’t see. Oh, that’s cool. That’s very clever.”

 

During our interview, Bean continued talking about his new show on the Crackle streaming network, “The Oath,” a drama about corrupt police and gangs, what happened after he was stabbed in real life, and what it was like seeing Nic Cage break and bury a prehistoric bear skull. 

In “The Oath,” your gang, the Ravens, all have raven tattoos, and it reminded me of you getting a tattoo for “Lord of the Rings.” What’s it like looking back on that?

It’s OK. I haven’t seen it for a while. I mean, it’s on my arm [laughs]. I think when you first get a tattoo you look at it every hour, but after 20 years you think, “Well ...” But it’s good. I’m quite proud of it. All the members [of the “Fellowship of the Ring” got one. There were nine of us, and it means No. 9 in the Elvish language, so it was a good memory, yeah.

You’re very famous for dying on screen. You’ve already said you make it through this season on the show. But I was worried for a bit when your character got stabbed.

Oh, yeah! That was good. Yeah, that was pretty easy. That, compared to some of the other stuff I’ve done, it was very straightforward. It’s not so much about making it gory and bloody and everything, it’s just the way it’s shot, really that sometimes makes a great death scene. And how you and the director work together can be effective. The weirdness of it is more scary than the blood.

Was there ever talk of your “Oath” character dying?

I think. I’m not sure. I think there was talk of me dying and then when we started ... I think they liked what I was doing. I think the decision was made to kind of keep me alive in case they want me in Season 2. 

Did you ever see a stat going around saying you were just behind Kenny from “South Park” in terms of ratio of on-screen appearances to deaths?

Am I behind him?

Yeah, you’re just behind him.

Oh, I’ll have to get some jobs. Some dying jobs. Yeah, I’m quite pleased with that. I don’t mind being slightly behind a cartoon character.

I don’t know how much of this is true, but there was a story that you actually once got stabbed, stayed at the bar you were at and ordered another drink. Did that happen?

Oh, yes.

Oh my gosh. What? For real?

Well, yes, it calmed me down a bit [laugh]. Yeah, well, probably the best thing to do is [get a drink]. Yeah, it wasn’t a particularly nice incident, so I don’t want to go into specifics. It wasn’t that bad. I think I’d rather finish my pint.

Another story is that you were in “National Treasure” with Nic Cage, and you saw him break a prehistoric bear skull at his house?

Yeah, that’s right. Well, he broke it.

What actually happened? Because I want to hear everything about this.

We had a few drinks and he took us back to his place in Los Angeles, and I think it’s like his big den, you know? He’s got all his favorite toys and memorabilia in there, so it’s like a big playpen for him, and he had a cave bear skull. We were playing pool and he went to take a shot, and he knocked it over accidentally. He smashed it to smithereens.

Oh, whoa. 

He got quite upset about it, and the next day he said, “I’ve got to go bury it now somewhere to say ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you.’” And I says, “Well, I’ll have it. I can mend it, you know? I can glue the jaw back on and the teeth.” He says, “No, it’s got to go into the ground.” He was really quite serious about it, and I always remember that, but he’s a very quirky guy.

I liked him. I got on very well with him, and I think he’s actually living around where I live in Somerset in England now. He’s got a house there, so I’ll probably bump into him soon.

That’d be great! What if he asked you to be in “National Treasure 3”? Would you want to do it?

I don’t think so. I thought the first one was good. The second one was OK, but I thought it was good as an idea and I think that it’s kind of run its course. I’m not particularly interested in doing No. 3. I wasn’t in two, so I don’t think I’d be in three.

What about going back down to Puerto Rico, where you filmed “The Oath,” for another season?

I think there’s talk of doing that. [We’ve] not given up on Puerto Rico, quite the opposite. [We] want to work there again, so that’s good for the island [and] for the people.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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