Sean Bean starred in two of the biggest fantasy franchises of all time — as Ned Stark in Game of Thrones and Boromir in Lord of the Rings — so naturally, his (very long) Reddit AMA revolved around these roles. Topics covered include his bastard son Jon Snow (or is he!?), how one does not simply walk into Mordor, and his characters’ chronically low survival rates. He also talked a little bit about his new TNT show, Legends, on which he promises not to die, and a lot about food. Sean Bean loves food! As one Redditor aptly put it, “What I’ve learned from this AMA is that Sean Bean should host a cooking show.”
When asked to share an anecdote from filming National Treasure:
There was one where I went back to Nic Cage’s house, and we’d had a few drinks, we were playing pool and he accidentally knocked over his prehistoric cave bear skull and smashed it. And he was really upset about it, and the next day went and buried it in a field.
On his favorite comfort food (these are three different answers):
I’ve got quite a few, actually.
I like chocolate. Yeah. I do like chocolate.
And I guess it’s that and tomato soup.
And tinned custard. With bananas.
And I guess that’s it really!
I love milk, as well.
And milkshakes. Mmm.
Mashed potatoes. Yeah. Meat & potato pie with gravy. Like a Cornish pasty. With Henderson’s relish, yes. That’s very important to me. It IS!
On how many bottles of Henderson’s Relish are currently in his kitchen:
(It’s this brilliant kind of condiment, relish. You sprinkle it on your chips or your meat pie.)
When asked about the strangest thing to happen to him on set:
I once walked onto the wrong set. I was doing Lady Chatterley’s Lover, this was in the 90’s, and it was like a studio, I had just had my lunch break and I walked back on set into the Enchanted Garden Set, everybody was dressed in the same clothes, I sort of realized I was on the wrong set and wandered off. I was a little bit tired. I just saw all these actors that I didn’t know, and I was like “wait a minute” - because it all looked the same, except it wasn’t my film.
How did Harrison Ford manage to hit him with that boat hook?
It was an accident! And we were just slipping around on this boat, it was in Los Angeles in a studio on a boat on rockers, hydraulics, there were wind and rain machines, it was very slippery and chaotic conditions, and it was just an accident, he just slipped and whacked me in the eye and I had about 35 stitches inside and out. Just out here, and in here. So the next day we carried on filming and they shot me from the other side in profile to finish the scene. They gave me a suit at the end. I suppose that’s compensation.
On how many times a random stranger has asked him to say, “One does not simply … (insert line here)”?
They’ve not, I’ve seen people with t-shirts on, and I’ve said it myself. Wait, I guess they have. A few too many drinks, and one says “one does not simply this” or “one does not simply that.” It’s a line I say in Lord of the Rings, innit? One does not simply walk into Mordor. It’s a great line because you can apply anything to it. It’s immortalized.
Would he rather take Robert Baratheon or Aragorn with him into war?
Robert Baratheon. He’s from Yorkshire. That’s why. Why not Aragorn? If Robert got ahold of you, he’d crush you. You’d be careful not to get caught.
Describing the level of choreography that goes into fight scenes, such as the ones in Lord of The Rings, and whether he has seen any real injuries:
Yeah, that happens on occasions, you know? But fortunately there’s been nothing too drastic, but they’re usually very well-choreographed, very well-thought out. And there are stunt guys, a great bunch of people, very talented bunch, and they know exactly what they’re doing. And I feel very safe with them in their company. But yeah, it’s good fun, that. Someone stabbed someone in SHARPE, and it went through his body. That was on film as well! It was one of the early SHARPES, eagle or rifle, maybe, in Russia in the Crimea, and the sword actually went like that
gestures to midsection
He was alright but it was a pretty shocking moment, because there were no hospitals around there, no ambulances, so if you got injured, it was pretty bad. But I’ve cut my hand open, you just kind of get on with the job, I split my knuckles open and got 5-6 stitches in them, on a set, and I went back and got back into the scene. I mean, that’s not a big deal.
His favorite Boromir scene to film:
We did a good scene with me and Viggo, where we just sat together chatting about our past and where we grew up and where we came from, you know, discussing how much was at stake at that particular point in the film. I always remember that. I enjoyed working with Viggo very much, I enjoyed working with everyone, but Viggo and I got on very well together.
Did he keep and/or steal and/or buy any props from Goldeneye, or does he wish he had?
I got a watch, they gave me a watch at the end, an Omega watch, which needs repairing in case anybody out there … and it’s inscribed on the back “Issued to Sean Bean, 006” and I think it’s 1995. Yeah! And that’s right on the back.
On whether he ever gets mixed up with the other Mr. Bean?
I used to get his fan mail, actually! I think they had the wrong address. I have gotten a couple of letters meant for Mr. Bean aka Rowan Atkinson. These letters would say things like “You’re so funny, you make me laugh, with your big rubbery face” and I would say “you can’t mean me!” Whenever I call people up and they say “who’s calling” and I say “Mr. Bean” and you can hear people giggling on the other end of the phone… he’s got a lot to answer for, that Rowan Atkinson.
What he feels the real ending of Silent Hill was:
I think it was all a dream. I didn’t die? That’s probably why I don’t remember.
On whether he has had any real-life near-death experiences:
I suppose the closest I came is a horses’ hoof landed on my head. And it did actually! When I was filming SHARPE. And I injured my neck, and I was pretty close, yeah. You can see it on film, yeah. It was a series called SHARPE, yeah. SHARPE’S JUSTICE, I think.
And on the fact that he dies in most of his movies (as one Redditor surmised, about 20/100 of his IMDb titles):
That’s only a 25% deathrate then, innit? That’s alright!
On whether he’s going to die at the end of this AMA:
Would he rather apologize to Frodo or actually have “that” conversation with Jon Snow:
I did apologize to Frodo, didn’t I? Or I told somebody to tell him I was sorry. And fuck Jon Snow.
On a role he wished he had had for longer:
I guess Ned Stark!
Talking about if it was weird to see his severed head onscreen in Game of Thrones:
It was a bit strange, yeah, a bit creepy. We just kicked it around like a football!
When asked whether he would rather fight 100 Tyrion-Sized Mountains or 1 Mountain-Sized Tyrion:
The big one. The mountain-sized Tyrion.
On who he would most want to see sit on the Iron Throne:
You mean anybody?
I’d say Nigel Clough. [Former English football player]
When asked to give a cryptic hint about Jon Snow’s parents:
I mean, how am I supposed to know? Does anybody know? I don’t think he’s mine.
On who would win in a fight, Boromir or Ned Stark:
On whether he was shocked to be beheaded:
I mean, I knew it was coming, you know?
But when I read it, you know, it just comes out of the blue and was a nasty shock. Especially after Ned Stark thought he’d got some agreement between Joffrey and the various factions, and for them to renege on that deal was pretty shocking.
The scene was shot in Malta, in this big square in Malta, I think they built it, like a big public square, and it was good, it was weird, you know? Because they made a cast of my head with hair on it, I’ve got some pictures of me holding my head. And it was fun. I don’t know, you kind of just have to imagine what it’s like to have your head chopped off, Ann Boleyn and how she must have felt. But it was the manner in which it was done, it was all the more tragic for that.
And the kicker: Why didn’t he teach Jon Snow anything?:
Because he’s not mine!