While Sean Bean starring in the first season of Game of Thrones already feels like a million years ago, the actor has recently reminisced on his time in the series–including his shocking death scene. In an interview with EW promoting his new Apple TV+ film Wolfwalkers, Bean looked back on his final moments in Game of Thrones.
The interview shows how much thought Sean Bean put into portraying Ned Stark, even in his final moments. “It was horror and disbelief–that Joffrey changed his mind–and then resignation and [realizing he was] seeing his daughter for the last time, Arya,” Bean explained when asked what he was thinking during the scene. “I was trying to think of all four. 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.”
While the scene may have felt sudden for viewers, the process of filming it took a whole day. “You have to just keep focused on the fact that you’re about to meet your death without messing around,” Bean said. “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.”
Sean Bean has previously reminisced on that scene, when he revealed in 2018 that Ned Stark’s final words were a simple prayer.
The actor also talked about filming the pilot, which has become something of a legend after so many years. Other cast members have said filming the pilot was chaotic, though Sean Bean didn’t have the same misgivings. “I thought [the pilot] was alright, but I was only focused on the scenes I was in,” he explained. “We filmed in Northern Ireland and in Scotland and then the producers made some major changes. I felt the body of it was there, that the spirit of the piece was there, but I think they felt the development of the characters and the story could be improved. So we ended up doing quite a lot of reshoots.”