As Stannis Baratheon, Stephen Dillane delivered a masterclass in a tough, intense warrior fighting an ultimately futile battle to get his armoured gloves on the Iron Throne.
But in reality Dillane admits that he finds the HBO show too “brutal” and “hardcore” for his tastes and does not watch it. And he adds that he only took on the job for the cash.
In an interview with RadioTimes.com, the actor, who is due to be seen in a second series of Sky Atlantic drama The Tunnel next month, was asked what he got out of Game of Thrones. He replied: “Money”.
Asked by RadioTimes.com if he also got “professional and personal satisfaction” from the role he added with a faint smile: “Er, no.”
If that’s not enough, he says that he barely watches the series.
“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.”
Told about people who stopped watching the series after the scene in which his character Stannis authorised the burning alive of his own daughter he said he didn’t “blame” them.
However, perhaps mindful of how his remarks may be received by the show’s producers, he was careful to go on to praise the series.
“It’s 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.”
Asked what aspect of filming the series he most enjoyed he said hanging out with his co-stars including Liam Cunningham, who played Davos Seaworth, and Carice van Houten who played Melisandre or The Red Woman, the sexy priestess who exerts a controlling influence on Stannis.
“I liked the nice people, the craic and hanging out in Belfast with Cunningham and Carice and the guys from Castle Black.
“The first three series was just me and Liam and Carice and then we ended up going to Castle Black which was a lot more fun.”
As for thee question that is on the lips of every fan, he delivered a pretty emphatic answer.
Is Stannis – last seen at the end of series 5 wounded on the battlefield and about to be killed by Brienne Of Tarth – actually dead, we asked?
“As far as I know, yeah.”
Dillane will be seen reprising the part of policeman Karl Roebuck opposite Clemence Poesy in The Tunnel series two next month.
The Tunnel Sabotage airs on 5th April at 9pm on Sky Atlantic and via Sky Box Sets. Game of Thrones starts on 25th April on Sky Atlantic
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.