When Game of Thrones began airing back in 2011 it was all about honourable lead character Ned Stark, a heroic figure played by Sean Bean who we were all convinced was set to bring order to the Seven Kingdoms.
As you may recall, that didn’t work out so well.
Still, years on from Ned’s untimely end at the blade of his own sword, the character’s influence is still being felt on the series in some unusual ways. Yes, his example is guiding his surviving children (and, er, secret nephew) – but he also lives on in the accent of pretty much every Northern character in the series, with their dialects all patterned on Bean’s own Yorkshire burr.
“We were doing the [pilot] read-through and the producers and the writers said, ‘Why don’t you just keep your own accent?’ And I said, ‘All right! Good for me,’” he said on Build Series.
“But then, everybody else had to do the same accent [as] me from the Stark family. So I established the way we speak.”
“That set the tone for I guess the next seven seasons,” he later told The Huffington Post. “They all had to talk like me.”
Of course, the fact that actors embodying a fictional North had a real Northern accent to base their characters’ voices on probably didn’t hurt either.
“I guess we were trying to make it have a homogeneous feel,” casting director Nina Gold said last year on the subject of Bean’s accent.
“[We] were trying to find something to bring them together … but also, it makes sense because it’s the North!”
Bean also took the opportunity to look back with fondness at his time playing the Stark patriarch, which remains one of his most iconic roles seven years on.
“He was such a fantastic character to play,” he said.
“He was one of the very few good men with principles and morals and values in the whole thing, because everybody’s backstabbing and poisonous people.”
“He was an anchor to a lot of people, and of goodness … I was just glad to play Ned Stark. I’m very proud of it.”
Game of Thrones will return to HBO and Sky Atlantic in 2019