While Sean Bean’s character Ned Stark was killed off in the first season of Game of Thrones, his presence is still felt within the series. And with four of his "children"—Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Jon Snow—among the few characters left fighting for Westeros, we suspect that his legacy will be felt even more strongly during the upcoming final season.

Bean might not be returning for season 8 (unless those rumors about a zombie version of Ned are true), but in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he reflected on his (limited) time on the show and the series' impact:

“I was very thrilled by the whole idea. I didn’t actually know at that time how enormous and massive this series would become. I was just getting my head around the part, as we all were. None of us really could’ve imagined it would be such a big-scale, tantalizing drama. Yeah, that was the beginning of the story for me. And, of course, I knew I wasn’t going to last very long. I accepted that.”

Although Bean knew from the beginning that his character would die early on, he wasn't told many other plot points from showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss—not even the fact that Jon Snow wasn’t actually Ned’s bastard.

When asked if he knew of Jon’s true parentage, the 59-year-old actor admitted, “No. Like with everything with Game of Thrones, it was kept very dark and secret ... I think that’s the kind of magic and the glory of Game of Thrones—that’s why it’s so stunning and breathtaking when these secrets are revealed.”

All the secrets left will (hopefully) be revealed when the series comes to a close this spring. Game of Thrones returns on April 14, 2019.

[h/t: Entertainment Weekly]