Over the course of their long and storied careers, most actors will, at one point or another, open up about projects they regret or past performances that don’t make them proud. In most cases, it’s an early role from decades ago or the first foray into a new genre — and it’s almost never a hugely successful television series. But Stephen Dillane (aka Stannis Baratheon) just revealed that he has a lot of regrets about his time on Game of Thrones.
In an interview with The Times, the actor said that he struggled to keep up with the show’s very confusing and intricate plot lines — honestly, same — and he felt that it reflected in his performance as the curmudgeonly candidate for king of the Iron Throne. He added that by the time Stannis met his end after four seasons, he wasn’t necessarily sorry to go.
Throwing praise at his frequent on-screen partner Liam Cunningham, who currently portrays Ser Davos Seaworth on the HBO hit series, Dillane revealed that he often had a hard time following the plot and found himself turning to Cunningham in order to understand what was going on.
What’s more, Stephen Dillane still doesn’t have any clue what’s going on in the hit series.
“I’ve flicked [the show] on [since leaving] to see if I could figure out what was going on, but I couldn’t,” he said. “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.”
While in our opinion Dillane played Stannis near-perfectly, embodying the exasperation of the unpopular character who was frustrated to even be part of the war for the Iron Throne, we can understand why Dillane feels his confusion about the plot got in the way.
Sadly, Dillane’s experience on Game of Thrones almost perfectly mirrors Stannis’s quest to become king. He came in ready but couldn’t quite keep up as the world around him got more convoluted, and by the time Brienne of Tarth finally kills him, he practically welcomes it. Fortunately, Dillane didn’t murder his younger brother or sacrifice his daughter in real life.
Hopefully Stephen Dillane comes around to appreciate how important his role — and his performance at that — is to the hit series. Maybe he and Cunningham should sit down and give the series a proper binge before the final season airs.