As far as “Game of Thrones” lore goes, the mystery of Ned Stark’s whispered final words may not be as important to the story as Jon Snow’s lineage or Daenerys’ fertility, but it has inspired just as much speculation. As followers of the show know (if you need a spoiler alert, what are you doing with your life?), the Stark patriarch is beheaded in the final episode of season one. It’s the first shocking act of violence in a show that takes the phrase “kill your darlings” to extremes, setting in motion the events of the following seven seasons.
As Ned lowers his head in anticipation of the final axe blow, he whispers quietly to himself. Until now, no one knew just what Ned said in his final moments, or whether it contained any deeper meaning. In an interview with Huffington Post, actor Sean Bean revealed Ned was “just saying a prayer.” He expounded:
“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. 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.”
It seems Ned’s final words were more an actor’s creative flourish than an easter egg planted by the writers, but it’s nice to know Ned stayed true to himself up until his very last moment in Westeros.