The final season of Game of Thrones is just around the corner, and it's got everyone revisiting how the HBO behemoth first got started. Before the beloved pilot episode that fans know, there was an unseen version that one of the showrunners, D.B. Weiss, previously called "deeply humilating" to watch. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Sean Bean, who played season one's now-deceased protagonist Ned Stark, reflected on why it was such a failure.
"I think they were trying to portray what could be achieved: the kind of wonder and awe, the vast scale and complexity, all these war-faring tribes, the magic, the beauty, and the treachery," he explained of the original. "It’s impossible to get an idea of the whole season of Game of Thrones into a pilot." Despite this, he maintained it still had "some very good moments" and was even "experimental in some ways."
As for the actual show as we know it, it was previously hinted that Ned Stark took a secret to his grave. Bean explained that he was never given a hint as to what it might have been. "I think that's the king of magic and glory of Game of Thrones," he said.
One of Bean's most memorable moments on the show, of course, came with his character's dramatic death near the end of the first season. “The death, that was wonderful because it was so unexpected," he explained of his final non-flashback scene on the show. "It’s awful what’s happening, and you start giggling and laughing. When the head fell off, there were mistakes. It didn’t quite work out sometimes. It was quite comic. So it breaks the ice a bit.”
The final season of Game of Thrones premieres April 14 on HBO.