Game of Thrones fans know that one of the first in the series many shocking plot twists came at the end of season one, when Lord Eddard - Stark family patriarch and pretty much the only stand-up guy in King's Landing - had his head lopped off in a public execution.
Up until then, it seemed as though Ned Stark was to serve as the show's main protagonist, and viewers assumed he would go on to play the role of the grounded (though not always particularly bright) moral compass of the show for years to come.
Usually when a character gets his head chopped off and displayed on a spike, that means it's the last we'll see of them. Even in the land of White Walkers, that's one way to make sure your foe is well and truly dead.
But a popular fan theory, coupled with a surprising new interview with the man who portrayed Ned Stark has left many wondering if the Lord of Winterfell might actually return to GoT (spoilers lie ahead):
The fan theory goes as follows: Ned Stark isn't really Jon Snow's father. Rather, Jon is the son of Ned's sister, Lyanna Stark, and Rhaegar Targaryen. Ned simply took the boy under his wing to protect him from those who would wish to harm to descendants of the Mad King.
The theory would explain an awful lot (Such as why the royal blood-obsessed Melisandre was showing such interest in Jon in the GoT season 4 finale.), and actor Sean Bean all but confirmed that it's true in a recent interview with Vulture.
Asked if he might be returning to the series to play Ned again, Bean replied, "I've definitely got some unfinished business that needs to be resolved there. I'm obviously not Jon Snow's dad. And you need that to be revealed at some point, don't you? So Bran [one of Ned's sons] would be the one having the flashback and he would see Ned praying, right? And revealing those things?"
"You never know what those guys are going to do with that...Hopefully, I'll get a call soon."
While Bean is certainly not the only one who expects showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff to take the plot in that direction, the GoT writers are notoriously unpredictable.
Just recently, they nixed a fan-favorite storyline from the books in which Catelyn Stark returns as Lady Stoneheart - a sort zombie-fied revenge monster.
So hopefully,we'll get to see more of Sean Bean in Westeros, but we have to make certain we're not too vocal about it. GoT writers love nothing more than breaking fans' hearts.
Don't forget to watch Game of Thrones online at TV Fanatic to relive Bean's brief tenure as the hero, and check out our list of the most shocking GoT deaths to see where Ned's ranks: