'Game of Thrones' star slams his 'painful' experience of filming the show
Some of the most controversial moments of Game of Thrones include the horrendous twist that was the Red Wedding, everything Ramsay Bolton ever did, Jon Snow's mutiny and subsequent "death", and Ed Sheeran's pop-up cameo in the latest season (*shudders*).
But one thing that almost trumps it all was enough to make a lot of loyal fans turn off the show for good because of how awful it was – the sacrifice of Shireen. It happened in season five, when the little girl's father, Stannis Baratheon, finally decided to give in to the sexy priestess/witch Melisandre and give the A-okay to have his one and only child burned alive in a pre-war ritual. It was rough to watch.
And now Stephen Dillane, the actor who played Baratheon (who died in the battle anyway), has spoken out about the show and how uncomfortable his experience filming it was.
“I’ve flicked [the show] on [since leaving] to see if I could figure out what was going on, but I couldn’t,” he told The Times. He said that being killed off on the show was a relief, due to his own dissatisfaction with his performance – something many would argue against. His character may have been shitty in the end, but the acting wasn't.
Dillane went on to explain how the filming experience was for him confusing and hard to follow, talking about how he depended on fellow actor Liam Cunningham to guide him through scenes. Cunningham plays Davos Seaworth, Stannis' trusty consigliere.
“Liam Cunningham is so passionate about the show. He invests in it in a way I think is quite moving, but it wasn’t my experience. I was entirely dependent on Liam to tell me what the scenes were about — I didn’t know what I was doing until we’d finished filming and it was too late.
“The damage had been done. I thought no one would believe in me and I was rather disheartened by the end. I felt I’d built the castle on non-existent foundations.”
His "disheartened" feeling by the end of his time working on the show resonates with another interview he did in March this year, when RadioTimes.com asked what he got out of Game of Thrones. The actor replied: "Money". They prompted him by asking if he also got “professional and personal satisfaction” from the role, to which Dillane smiled faintly and said, “Er, no.”
What's more, the actor barely even watches the show because he finds it too "overwhelming".
“It’s pretty brutal I couldn’t watch much of that anyway. It’s hardcore. Too tough for me…. It’s just too painful.
“It’s pretty intense, quite overwhelming, the whole world of it is pretty overwhelming.”
But still, he didn't want to make it sound like he was dissing the show too much, adding that he thinks the show is "fantastic".
“I don’t dismiss it at all. I think it’s fantastic. I think it’s an extraordinary thing. An amazing phenomenon. A really amazing phenomenon.
“Money is the main thing I got out of it. It’s an odd situation. There is a kind of etiquette around these things. I think it’s extraordinary. I am not dismissing it at all.”
While Dillane didn't have the best time working on the show, the way he talked his own performance down does no justice to the incredible portrayal of a complex character he pulled off so well. In any case, the actor is moving on with other projects, his next one being the Churchill biopic Darkest Hour out next year. Hopefully, he liked that role a bit more.