When Sean Bean’s Ned Stark was decapitated at the end of Game of Thrones’ first season (spoiler?) it came as a shock to most viewers — but it really shouldn’t have. Sean Bean dies. A lot. All the time, really. It’s his thing. If anything, it’s more shocking when a Sean Bean character actually survives to the end of a story. He’s been shot, stabbed, and dismembered so many times we’ve lost count — but here are a few of his finest.
OK, let’s be fair here. He was the baddie in a James Bond film — he had to die. It’s the rules. The screenwriters really didn’t have a choice. Except that wasn’t enough for Bean. He had to die twice: a fake death early on, and for realsies in the finale. That’s getting greedy.
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Undoubtedly one of Bean’s most famous deaths. When Boromir dies protecting the hobbits it’s a big moment of redemption for the character. It’s also a chance to shoot Bean with so many arrows and have him keep fighting, in one long, protracted death.
3. Game of Thrones
This one was not so long, not so protracted, and for the most part not so expected. Poor Ned Stark was meant to survive, right? He was the main character. Bean was the most famous actor on the show. But Game of Thrones’ defining moment was just one more in a long line of Sean Bean’s demises.
In the dystopian world of Equilibrium, emotion is outlawed. So really, when Sean Bean got all weepy reading some Yeats poems, he just got what was coming for him. Namely death. Just like always.
5. Patriot Games
Another villainous role, another inevitable death — this time on a speedboat. On the plus side, he got to beat up Harrison Ford with an anchor first, which has got to be on someone’s bucket list, right?
6. Black Death
By the time 2010’s Black Death rolled along, Bean had died just about every death out there, so the writers had to up the ante. Namely by having him quartered by horses, which was somehow a first even for him.
7. The Field
That’s not his strangest death though. That honor must go to The Field. Bean wasn’t a soldier, a spy, or a knight. He didn’t face danger or combat every day. He was a farmer. So how on earth did they manage to kill him? Simple: a load of cows ran him off a cliff.