For those wishing to avoid spoilers on Game of Thrones' first season and ABC's new drama Missing, do not read ahead.
Every actor has his niche. Some are destined to give us comedy, some romance, and there's a particular breed whose typecasting always lands them with their necks broken. For better or for worse, there are some actors out there who always die. If you're a fan of Sean Bean, you're familiar with this phenomenon. The actor, known for his rugged, hard-hitting characters, has met unfortunate ends in so many of the television programs and films in which he stars. Sometimes he goes quietly, sometimes nobly, sometimes bizarrely. But bet on it: he always goes.
Game of Thrones
Eddard Stark, the Hand of King Robert Baratheon and the head of House Stark at Winterfell (this is just a bunch of nonsense to anyone who hasn't seen the show, but fans are practically fluent in the terms and languages of Westeros) was Game of Thrones' primary advocate of justice and honor throughout the first season. So, naturally, he had to die. That's the rule in series devoted to forces of wicked vying for ultimate power: there's no room for the good guys. Off with his head.
ABC's new drama Missing didn't waste any time extinguishing of its supposed male lead. This time around, Bean's character serves as the driving force behind his CIA wife's (Ashley Judd) mission for justice. Every hero needs their tragic history, and Bean gives us that in Missing, via a car explosion.
The Lord of the Rings
In a movie which claims the very idea of the epic battle as its bread and butter, you're bound to see a few epic downfalls. And the more epic the action hero, the more epic the demise. Bean played Boromir in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, in which he was the victim of a vicious (but epicwas ""epic"" mentioned?) Orc attack.
He was a Bond villain, so don't act so shocked that he didn't quite make it to the end. As far as Bond villain deaths go, Bean's GoldenEye was the stuff of some good old Cold War-era schadenfreude: crushed by a Satellite. Traitors to the left, Janus.
This is the movie death that has launched Bean to kingship of the trope. In the film adaptation of the John B. Keane play about a dispute over land ownership in rural Ireland, Bean is trampled to death by a stampede of cows. Beheaded by a malicious king, exploded in a car bomb, destroyed by a race of monster archers, crushed thanks to the actions of a super spy...cows tops the list.
These are just a few noteworthy examples of Bean's onscreen deaths. For a more comprehensive list, check out the video below. And look out for Game of Thrones' second season, premiering on HBO on Sunday, Apr. 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.