When I Died on Game of Thrones: The Cast Looks Back

In honor of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, IGN is taking a look back at some of the iconic characters who’ve fallen along the way, and the lasting impact they had on the story. These heroes and villains may not have made it to the end of the road, but their lives weren’t in vain – they stand as a fitting reminder that when you play the game of thrones, you win, or you die.

Now that the Season 8 premiere is upon us, IGN has revealed all our interviews with the dearly departed actors whose characters died in memorable, significant, and undoubtedly horrific ways. Check out a sneak peek of every installment of “When I Died on Game of Thrones,” and click through to the full interviews with the links below.

#1 – Mark Addy (Robert Baratheon)

A sneak peek at the interview:

When people approach you to talk about Game of Thrones, what do they usually ask about?

Addy: I think that because it’s become such a huge thing, people are quite shy of chatting for too long. They just kind of want to say hi, and that’s about it. People generally say, “I was disappointed when you died.” Not as disappointed as me! I suppose the point is that Sean [Bean] and I both knew that we were on a limited run, and you make the most of that. This is a one season show for us, but it’s our job to try and establish a world that’s not familiar to many, many people who hadn’t read the books at that time because they really weren’t that well-known before we did the show. So, you’re establishing ground rules and you’re trying to create a world that’s not our own. There are different rules; what are the limitations, what can we do, what can’t we do, and can we make it feel like a real place? That was the nice thing about being in it from the start, establishing those ground rules, really.

Read Mark Addy’s full interview here.

#2 – Miltos Yerolemou (Syrio Forel)

A sneak peek at the interview:

Syrio wasn’t on the show for long, but he’s still so beloved and so discussed by fans. Is that surprising to you?

I have this amazing theory and … well, I say it’s amazing, it’s my theory, so it’s probably not that amazing. [Laughs.] But I really believe that it’s a brilliant piece of narrative storytelling that George does, which is in the books, you hear those mantras that Syrio gave Arya right in the beginning. They’re replayed in her mind over and over again, even in the latest books. So his echo hangs over her and kind of guides her. And I think the ambiguity, or not having a traumatic experience of Arya seeing Syrio’s death – or for anyone concerned, the audience, the reader, whatever – allows the echo of the character to exist, in the same way that Obi-Wan Kenobi exists as a force ghost. It’s like, it’s not extinguished. That’s the only way I can describe it! And I think that’s a really fantastic bit of storytelling that George does.

Read Miltos Yerolemou’s full interview here.

#3 – Gethin Anthony (Renly Baratheon)

A sneak peek at the interview:

How do you think Renly would feel about where Brienne is at this point in the story?

I think he’d be humbled. I think he’d be humbled about that, ’cause she’s just this amazing, wonderful character and I think he had a great moment in her life of like plucking her out of the crowd. But yeah, I think he’d just be humbled by her awesomeness.

Read Gethin Anthony’s full interview here.

#4 – Esme Bianco (Ros)

A sneak peek at the interview:

How would you like Ros to be remembered?

You know, the thing I’ve always loved about her character is that she’s one of the very few smallfolk of the show. She’s like a regular… Westorian? Is that what you call someone from Westeros? She’s a regular, everyday Westorian, and she came from these really humble beginnings and worked very hard to do her best and better herself, but she never had any aspirations of power or royalty. She just wanted to create a good life for herself. So, if I say, if anyone was to remember anything, I hope it would be seeing a woman who’s just trying to empower herself in a way that’s not hurting everyone around her.

Read Esme Bianco’s full interview here.

#5 – Dominic Carter (Janos Slynt)

A sneak peek at the interview:

What do you remember about your death scene?

I think the depth to the character is sort of shown in that moment, as well. When you read the books, my character was very much a sort of lowly person who’s worked his way up to the top. Obviously, by doing despicable things, but he’s obviously someone who wasn’t born into a rich family or anything. So he’s got to where he’s got by hard work, even though it’s not very nice stuff. But I always felt sort of sorry for him anyway, that he was suddenly just dropped into this world where you have to fight or die. That’s just the way it goes.

Read Dominic Carter’s full interview here.

#6 – Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon)

A sneak peek at the interview:

What do you remember about filming your death scene?

It was weird because all the extras were watching me. There were like 200 extras. And I was this child given this responsibility of such a huge scene in the show and it was really nerve-wracking and exciting and all those things combined. I had to tell all my friends I was sick because I couldn’t tell them why I lost my voice.

Read Kerry Ingram’s full interview here.

#7 – Michael McElhatton (Roose Bolton)

A sneak peek at the interview:

What does the show mean to you, personally?

[It’s] hugely important. There isn’t any actor or anybody involved in Game of Thrones who is bigger than the show. Certainly in my lifetime I don’t think I will ever be in a show that has reached so many people and had such a zeitgeist moment. It was amazing to be part of that and to get it. It opened up a huge amount of opportunities for me and put me on the map in lots of ways previous jobs didn’t do. So I’m enormously grateful to it, and enormously grateful to the fact that it’s so good. I think its legacy will last long. TV doesn’t, in general, date very well. But because each episode is like a film, and it’s so well-constructed, it can be revisited again and again and again and again. I think it will have a longevity.

Read Michael McElhatton’s full interview here.

#8 – Brenock O’Connor (Olly)

A sneak peek at the interview:

How would you like Olly to be remembered?

I’d like people to remember Olly as a broken kid in a broken world who did what he had to do to live and avenge the people that he loved. ‘Cause let’s be honest, the character was 11. If you think about it, all that happened within the space of a couple months, his entire storyline happened within a couple months. His parents get killed and eaten in front of him. He gets sent off to a castle surrounded by rapists and murderers and thieves. He quickly becomes the steward to the lord commander. And then [Jon] befriends the people who killed his parents. That’s not a normal story. So yeah. He’s a broken kid who did what he had to do.

Read Brenock O’Connor’s full interview here.

#9 – Eugene Simon (Lancel Lannister)

A sneak peek at the interview:

Do you keep up with any fan theories?

I knew the fan theory about Jon Snow most likely being a Targaryen, that one was kind of common … it was almost like a kind of unspoken truth around the friends I hung out with. The one that I was always rooting for, because I know Miltos, who plays Syrio Forel, was that Syrio Forel has in fact existed ever since Season 1 throughout the entire show as a changeling… [as] Jaqen H’ghar. I’ve always rooted quietly for Syrio Forel being a character that has existed the entire time in Game of Thrones, but has just been changing his appearance constantly.

Read Eugene Simon’s full interview here.

#10 – Julian Glover (Maester Pycelle)

A sneak peek at the interview:

Who do you think had the best death?

Remember, I only had a little part of this. It was a nice little part I had, and [Pycelle] was on quite a lot, but he didn’t actually have to do with a lot of those great big moments. But he was there on the death of Joffrey, which was so completely satisfactory. Except that we all said afterwards, “it wasn’t bad enough.” But it got a round of applause. There were a lot of people there… crowds, entertainers and dancers and all sorts of things at that particular moment. It was so wonderfully satisfactory for him going, and we knew that he was going to go. And it’s really eerie, but none of us knew who did it, because we didn’t know any more than the audience did. And in fact, even Diana [Rigg, who played Lady Olenna Tyrell] didn’t know. It was so subtly shot, but when you look back on it you say, “yes, I see how it happened.” It was so carefully shot that nobody knew who had done it. We all speculated like the audience did.

Read Julian Glover’s full interview here.

#11 – Roger Ashton-Griffiths (Mace Tyrell)

A sneak peek at the interview:

Is there anyone you never got to work with that you wish you had?

There were two parts to the process – one is where you’re in front of the camera in costume doing the job and the other is when you’re in the bar of an evening hanging out with the other actors. And so there are many of them that I didn’t work with on-screen who I did hang out with in the bar. So it’s sort of a complete circle in a way. The most social time of all was the time of Joffrey’s death and [Oberyn’s] death. Nearly everyone was there and so we were all hanging out. And that was tremendous, a lot of fun. So, Conleth, for example, was there. I was working with Conleth – I never saw Conleth again after that.

Read Roger Ashton-Griffiths’ full interview here.

#12 – Tom Hopper (Dickon Tarly)

A sneak peek at the interview:

How far in advance did you know you were going to die?

Pretty far in advance. I remember my agent was talking to me and saying, “you’re in a few episodes and then you’re going to die.” And I was like, “Oh, okay.” I went, “How do I die?” And then she was like, “Well, it’s kind of like a firing squad by a dragon scenario.” I was like, “That sounds pretty cool. I’ll take that.” So yeah, I knew pretty early on … the thing is, with Game of Thrones – I always think it’s how iconic your death is, how memorable your death is, is a real key thing. So if you’re going to die, you want to know how you’re going to die. For me, it was actually a really big selling point of doing the job.

Read Tom Hopper’s full interview here.

#13 – Sibel Kekilli (Shae)

A sneak peek at the interview:

What do you think the legacy of the show will be, after it’s all over?

That’s a good question. I think Dan and David and George are so mean that they will make the fans hate the show. I think they will be like, “I hate this show. I wish I would have never watched this.” [Laughs.]

Read Sibel Kekilli’s full interview here.

#14 – Kristian Nairn (Hodor)

A sneak peek at the interview:

When people approach you to talk about Game of Thrones, what do they want to talk about?

People love to tell me what they were doing when I died. It almost feels like a member of a royal family or something that died. “On the night of Hodor’s death, I was washing the dishes,” or “I’d just come home from holiday.” But yeah, it’s strange, and I still get that every day.

Read Kristian Nairn’s full interview here.

#15 – Aidan Gillen (Littlefinger)

A sneak peek at the interview:

Do you think it was a fitting end, having Sansa pull one over on him after all those years?

Yeah, I always knew it would be something Sansa or Arya related. I’d been asked in Q&A about three years before, who it would be and I said Arya – but I didn’t know. I’ve only got two of those Funko dolls in my house. They’ve been there for years. There’s Littlefinger and there’s Arya Stark behind with her little swords. And that’s been there for four years.

Read Aidan Gillen’s full interview here.

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Laura Prudom is the Grand Maester of all things TV at IGN. You can talk to her on Twitter at @LauinLA.

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