Last week at Comic-Con in San Diego, we caught up with some of the cast of the HBO® Game of Thrones® to reminisce on the intense 6th Season and preview the show’s remaining trajectory. Make sure to catch up on all of Season 6 on DIRECTV today!
What has it been to work on a show where viewership has increased year after year?
It’s been extraordinary. Somebody asked me at the beginning of this if I knew it was going to be huge—nobody knew it was going to be huge.
I think the HBO’s intention with the show was, “Look, forget about awards. Nobody cares about fantasy or anything like that. You’ve got to treat it a little like comedy. It’s great entertainment, but people don’t really take it that seriously.” And then all this happens! So to answer your question, I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t know it was going to be huge.
The scripts were beautiful when I read them. They still are. They’re extraordinary. Some of the best work I’ve ever done and will ever do. I always considered myself a stroll-in player. If somebody liked what I did I’d be there for a month, and then I’d disappear. But this thing has outed me! It’s really weird to be recognized in places I’ve never been.
It’s been announced that an end date is impending. Is there any anxiety, or adversely excitement knowing that the show will definitely wrap up sooner rather than later?
Well one of my favorite bands, The Jam, said “Don’t outstay your welcome.” We’ve got a beginning, a middle and an end for this and once we finish that story, it’s time to get out. There are a lot of shows, and we all know which ones they are, that are making a lot of bread and then they lose impetus. They lose their steam. A lot of their clever people want to do something new. It shouldn’t happen with us. The fans would hate it if we just stretched that out. I know the people who make a lot of money would love it, but I think we’re being honorable about it. We’re going to finish the story and people, hopefully, if we finish it properly, are going to walk away and go, “It was beautiful while it lasted.” Like a beautiful holiday relationship. It’s gone once the two parties get on their planes.
Your character is a survivor. He’s been linked to a couple of kinds that didn’t make it to the end…
He doesn’t pick winners, does he? Ha!
No, but has he found redemption in Jon Snow?
He’s very good at looking at the big picture of what’s good for society, shall we say. He’s amazing nobility and he thought Stannis was good. Everybody thought Stannis was good, and he got corrupted by power—as it does in the real world, it’s a disease. It eats into people and it makes them make horrific decisions because of stupid phrases like “national interest.” A lot of people think you can put your principles to one side because it looks like the right thing, and we all know that’s crap.
Jon is a decent man and he may have to do some terrible things, but what’s coming up I have no idea. Let’s see what happens to his psyche, especially with Sansa and all that. I think there’s going to be some sort of power play between the two of them, because on paper, she’s the rightful queen. He doesn’t even have the Stark name, and yet he’s King of the North.
At the end of Season 6, we see Sansa by John’s side chanting his name. Is there a sense that Sansa is actually the true leader—shouldn’t she be the one leading the kingdom?
I think she was very much expecting a King and a Queen in the North. I think she was definitely quite despondent, and also just so frustrated with the whole journey. Her whole journey has been about her trying to make people listen to her! Like “Come on guys. I am a girl but…” It’s been about her trying to get them to listen to her, so it’s been very very frustrating for her.
Can we expect some of that to play out in the last two seasons?
Honestly I don’t know but I hope so! They keep us in the dark about so much.
You’ve been involved in the show since you were 13—how does it feel knowing there’s a timeline for the finale now?
It’s terrifying honestly! This has been my whole adolescence so it’s a safety net, it’s my passion. This cast is made up of my best, best friends so I’m terrified of when it ends. It’s really going to affect me!
What’s it been like to see viewership grow and grow for the show?
It’s surreal! When I joined the show, there was no real guarantee that I would see another season after Season 3. The fact that I’m still here is amazing for me on a personal level, but to see how much the show has grown, how fans’ love for the show and their excitement has grown with each season—you feel it more and more and more and it’s wonderful! The fans are the reason why we are still going! When people want to say positive things to you and say, “Oh, I love your character. I love the show. I love that storyline. I hate that character but I love to hate that character,” it’s the people’s interest and enthusiasm that makes it all worthwhile. It’s really nice to hear because we’re also so passionate about it. I was a fan before I joined the show, and I really care about it and the people I work with.
As a fan of the show, were you actively trying to audition for it?
Oh yes, totally! I kept asking my agent “Is there anything on Game of Thrones?” So when the role came through I was like “This is it!”
You’re one of the many characters that have passed away gloriously! How was that experience?
You know, it was hard but it was a privilege and an honor to be on the show with such an amazing cast. I feel very lucky and really grateful.
The show has set records with Season 6—you’re going to be able to look back and say that you were part of that legacy!
Absolutely! When you’re doing the work and you’re consumed by it, you don’t really realize the beast that you’re a part of. Then you come to things like this and you go, “Oh, my God.” People care passionate about the show, and it’s been a massive honor to be a part of this team.
In regards to the stunts on the show, did you use a stunt double or did you train and do your own stunts?
We trained for a month and we did 90% of our own stunts. It was an amazing experience!
What are you going to miss the most about your GoT family?
So much. The way you’re treated by the people that run the show. It’s like you become a little sister to them or a friend. I’m going to miss being with my family. I’ll miss Maisie a lot. She’s a very good friend now. I’ll just miss being part of such a wonderful world!
Any tricks of the trade on playing a character that people love to hate?
I think the key for me was knowing that he tried to find joy in everything he did—so he’s happy in his own little world. He has a different dynamic. He’s not just a serious psychopath, which would be quite boring I think! He’s kind of cool.
Are you going to watch the series until it ends?
Oh, yes! I really can’t wait to see what happens. This year I don’t get to see all the scripts so I’m in the dark just like everyone else.
What are you going to miss most about GoT?
I think just being part of the magic—getting the scripts, reading them and feeling that excitement bubbling up again. I’ll definitely miss that!