Paying tribute to one of Game of Thrones’ great supporting cast members is no small task; taking on
of them is Herculean. Stepping up to the plate to salute the exemplary work of Julian Glover, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, and Ian Gelder is WotW regular
“The Small Council grows smaller and smaller.”
When Grand Maester Pycelle and Cersei Lannister exchanged those words in “Sons of the Harpy,” one could be forgiven for not considering it a portent of doom. Cersei had just dispatched Mace Tyrell to negotiate with the Iron Bank of Braavos – an ostensibly critical mission that was really a thin pretext to get him out of King’s Landing so that she could move against his children. Kevan Lannister had left the capital two episodes earlier after refusing to do Cersei’s bidding. Only Pycelle remained, and for him, enduring the slights of capricious rulers was nothing new. Cersei’s barb seemed to be little more than an amusing punctuation to the scene, especially since the show was setting her up for a hard fall.
But ultimately, the Lioness rose from the ashes of defeat to claim victory. As a new Queen takes the Iron Throne, the Small Council is gone, consumed by the fires of her vengeful wrath. In turn,
has lost three fine actors whose characters occupied seats at the high table. Now is our time to celebrate them.
is renowned for both its enormous cast and the high rate of turnover among that cast. With the endgame drawing closer and more long-running characters falling with each passing year, one of my favorite things to do has been to keep track of those cast members that I affectionately called “the Originals”. These actors had been a part of the series since Season 1, and had appeared in every season as the same character. By the time Season 6 arrived, that exclusive club was comprised of only 15 people. Thirteen of those fifteen were long-time series regulars – Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Alfie Allen, Aidan Gillen, Iain Glen, Conleth Hill, Jerome Flynn, and John Bradley. Only two never attained series regular status. One was Finn Jones (whose character also met his end in the finale). The other was Julian Glover.
Glover made his debut in “Lord Snow”, the third episode of the series. Including “The Winds of Winter”, he appeared in 31 episodes of
– more than any other non-series regular, and more than quite a few to hold that designation. His long tenure is all the more remarkable considering that Glover was a late addition to the cast roster – the role of Grand Maester Pycelle was originally going to be played by Roy Dotrice, a close friend of George R.R. Martin and the narrator of the
audiobooks. When Dotrice was forced to withdraw for medical reasons, Glover – his “old mate from the Royal Shakespeare company” – stepped in (once he recovered, Dotrice would later join the cast in Season 2, playing Wisdom Hallyne). Yet from the moment Glover took over the role, he owned it. It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the character.
was a worldwide phenomenon capable of attracting renowned actors for even minor roles, Julian Glover was one of the most accomplished and well-known thespians to join the project. For fans of popular genre fiction, his work should be deeply familiar – his famous roles include General Maximillian Veers in
But Glover is most celebrated for his long career in the theatre, reciting the Bard’s timeless words. A classically trained stage actor who honed his craft at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Glover has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company since the early 1950s. He has earned much acclaim for his performances, and received the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award in 1993 for his performance in
A character pretending to be someone or something that he or she isn’t is a famous archetype in Shakespeare’s work, so it’s fitting that Glover brought such a dynamic to his role on
Glover describes how he and the writers devised the idea that Pycelle was actually two people in one. Those conversations inspired the scene in “Fire and Blood”, where Pycelle reveals to the audience that the doddering old man that he presents as his public persona was an act, concealing an active and sharp mind that was still very much in the game. That moment of truth would provide depth for the character, and inform Glover’s performance for the rest of the series.
While Pycelle spent most of his scenes feigning frailty, that spark of intelligence and vigor was always visible if one watched Glover carefully. It became subtly more apparent whenever the Grand Maester felt his position was secure, and there were rare occasions when Pycelle allowed the façade to fall away completely. Glover obviously relished those scenes – the quaver in his voice would vanish, he would stretch up to his full height, and the cold smile would dance across his lips – the face of a shrewd politician who knew how to survive in the poisonous heart of the Red Keep. During those moments, I would inevitably lean forward and take notice, whether Pycelle was taunting Tyrion after his fall from grace post-Blackwater, or speaking with Tywin in a deleted scene from Season 3’s “Walk of Punishment”. The latter scene holds special resonance in light of recent events.
“So many flowers, my Lord. Each wanting to grow the tallest or bloom the brightest. And one by one, sooner or later, they all get plucked. I don’t want to be the tallest or the brightest. I only want to remain in the garden, until my time comes to return to the dirt.”
Once again, a seemingly innocuous line becomes a chilling piece of foreshadowing. When Tywin thanks Pycelle for his “poetic candor” and asks what loyalty he can expect from him when the Lannisters are no longer the strongest house, Pycelle smiles at the absurdity of such a prospect.
“By that time I will be rotting beneath the floor of the Sept of Baelor, if you deem my years of service worthy of that honor.”
Ultimately, Pycelle would not only outlive Tywin, he would meet his end during a power play staged by Tywin’s daughter, in an episode where all the brightest and tallest flowers of House Tyrell were ripped out of the once-fertile soil and tossed into the fire. In the end, Pycelle would not be able realize even this most humble of ambitions of resting beneath the Sept. While most of the victims of Cersei’s triumph perished within that famous structure, the Grand Maester met his end in a dark and dirty laboratory at the hands of Qyburn – a disgraced former member of his order who he despised.
There was a fitting element of tragedy in that moment, for as corrupt and disingenuous as Pycelle ultimately was, his antagonism with Qyburn struck me as an entirely honest aspect of his character. He seemed genuinely affronted that a man who had been stripped of his chain for his bold and repugnant experiments could be allowed to ascend to such a lofty position. But Qyburn had not risen from the Citadel’s blacklist to the right hand of the Queen by allowing such compunctions to stop him. And so as the music swelled, the little birds rushed in, daggers drawn, and ended the long life of a man whose ability to adapt and whose desire to remain in the gardens of power were rendered moot when a purging fire wiped that garden out entirely. For the Shakespearean veteran, it was a death reminiscent of Julius Caesar’s (fittingly, Glover starred in a production of
at London’s Barbican Theatre in 1996. He performed the role of Cassius, one of the traitors who stabs Caesar). For one of the Originals, it was fitting that his long tenure on
ended in an episode that ushered in a new era and laid the old one to rest.
, coming in 2017. And of course, those of us who are lucky will be able to watch him on the stage.
Roger Ashton-Griffiths is a man of many talents. He has had a long and successful acting career which, in addition to numerous television roles, includes appearances in films such as
. He also holds a PhD in Creative & Critical Writing, and is an accomplished professional singer who spent time with the English National Opera. In light of such an impressive resume, it seems strange that he would portray a character perceived by many both inside and outside the show’s universe to be foolish – though perhaps unfairly so.
Before Mace Tyrell ever appeared on screen, viewers were provided with an early picture of the character via Olenna’s withering put-downs of her son, a man she referred to as the “Lord Oaf of Highgarden”. Ashton-Griffiths certainly caters to that conception of the character during his initial appearance in “The Lion and the Rose,” presenting him as a cheerfully oblivious man of privilege who possesses none of the political savvy that his mother and his daughter were blessed with in spades. There was little doubt that the Queen of Thorns was the true power behind House Tyrell, something that became apparent to all when Mace attempted to engage his mother and Tywin as they strolled through the royal gardens.
– not only silenced him, it inspired the fandom. From that moment on, Mace became a reliable source of comedy amidst the darkness, whether he was using his melodious singing voice (putting that opera training to work!) to serenade Tycho Nestoris, or delivering a would-be rousing speech to the Tyrell army in a gloriously plumed helmet.
became a rallying cry, especially during Axechucker’s weekly Twitter recaps, and loyal readers of WotW would affectionately take up the call every time the Lord of Highgarden appeared on screen.
Whether or not his timing was ever correct, Mace was a man who was always ready to be of service, and took obvious pleasure at being involved in the realm’s most important affairs. He was undoubtedly ambitious – his desire to see his daughter become queen led to his support for all three of Margaery’s royal marriages, despite his mother’s warnings about the dangers of entering into such alliances. But unlike many in Westeros, Mace’s ambitions weren’t in any way malicious. Ashton-Griffiths claims that his character’s primary motivation throughout the series was to better his family’s position, and described him as a “genuine, open man” who “cares deeply about his children”.
Looking at the performance, I find it hard to disagree with Ashton-Griffith’s assessment. In a world populated by unrepentant schemers and calculating backstabbers, Mace’s genuine good nature and apparent lack of guile were refreshing to witness. Ashton-Griffiths also asserted that his character was more competent than many gave him credit for, and perhaps he was right in that as well. Time will tell if the Iron Bank will have its due, but at least throughout Season 6, the fearsome entity and the Crown’s massive debt to them were never mentioned. Perhaps Mace managed to temporarily mollify them.
Furthermore, in a series renowned for terrible fathers, Mace could be counted as one of the best – and not merely by default. So it was fitting that Mace’s final scene on the show would frame the character in that context, and that Ashton-Griffiths would deliver one of his most genuinely moving performances in Mace’s final scene. During the trial, I was struck by the silent agony on his face as his only son is being shamed and mutilated before an indifferent crowd. I was even more affected by the involuntary cry that tears from his lips when Lancel presses a knife to Loras’s forehead and begins to carve. Mace’s love for his family shone through in that moment, which made it even more tragic when his ambitions for them turned to ash, along with almost everyone he loved.
While Mace is gone, Roger Ashton-Griffiths remains active and engaged with the
fandom, particularly online. Please check out his Twitter feed if you would like to see an actor responding with obvious enthusiasm and gratitude to fans showering praise upon his performance! It may warm your heart, as it did mine.
, is currently playing in theaters. He will soon appear in
, a film from Armando Iannucci. He’s filming
with Jonathan Pryce and Oona Chaplin, and we can look for that later this year.
has an impeccable ability to introduce characters in a context that perfectly establishes their role and their values. When Ian Gelder made his debut in Season 1’s ”The Pointy End,” he was standing at the most natural place in the world for Kevan Lannister to stand: at the right hand of his elder brother Tywin, discussing tactics and the rising prospects of their family. This series has no shortage of siblings who are quick to turn against one another to attain greater power, but Kevan harbored no such ambitions. He was an honest, relatively straightforward man who recognized the rare capacity for greatness that Tywin possessed, and he seemed content to live in the long shadow cast by his elder brother. As Tywin’s second-in-command, he dutifully served his house, his King, and his family’s legacy as the Lannisters consolidated their hold on the Iron Throne. Even as the tides of fortune turned and the Lannisters began to suffer losses, Gelder’s steady gravitas helped establish Kevan as one of the last members of the old guard resisting the chaotic tide of change.
Throughout Season 1 and Season 2, Kevan was a recognizable presence on Tywin’s war councils. The character didn’t appear in Seasons 3 or 4, but when he resurfaced in Season 5, Gelder’s return was greeted warmly by the fans. He quickly delivered what many consider to be Kevan’s most memorable scene, in which he fiercely rejected a position in Cersei’s puppet regime, and offered up a withering condemnation of her personal and political capabilities. Gelder commanded the screen during that sequence, and his sharp, imperious voice left a lasting impression on both the audience and on Cersei. His words cut her deeply, enough to sever whatever bonds of familial loyalty she may have felt for her father’s brother.
As even-keeled as Kevan generally was, his low opinion of Cersei was less veiled than Tywin’s, and his lack of regard for her – which frequently verged on outright contempt – ultimately contributed to his downfall. Perhaps he blamed Cersei and her affair with Lancel for driving his son into the High Sparrow’s clutches, and that fueled some portion of his antipathy. Regardless, when Kevan assumed his brother’s old position as Hand, he made it his mission to shield Tommen from Cersei’s influence, and left her with little choice but to turn to extreme measures. In the end, father and son would both meet their end in Cersei’s infernal pyre, and Tommen would join them in death shortly thereafter. Considering how devoted Kevan was to Tywin and his vision of the Lannister legacy, it’s ironic that Tywin’s daughter ultimately destroyed him and his branch of the family. A house divided against itself cannot stand, and the last days of House Lannister as a major power certainly appear to be drawing near.
Prior to joining the show, Ian Gelder was primarily known as a theatre actor, having enjoyed a long career on the stage. His notable screen roles include on
. His theater work continues, having just completed a successful run in the Royal Court Theatre’s
Please join me in celebrating these three distinguished gentlemen and their contributions to
over the past several years! They have served the realm faithfully, and I sincerely wish them all the best as they move on to other projects. They will be missed.
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I’ll especially miss Mace the Ace, who gave the best speech the show has ever seen this season.
God the casting in this show is superb. All of them are excellent actors and GoT should consider itself honoured to have them as part of the cast. Wishing them all the best.
And RIP Mace Tyrell’s helmet. We shall never see its like again.
I don’t know where to begin with all these great performances… but Rawist love for Roger as Mace was quite epic see her send-off… I loved him too
Not a complaint, but I think that Julian Glover would have deserved his own Curtain Call given that Pycelle had a larger role than either Mace or Kevan and had been around since Episode 1.3. Nice tribute, though.
I loved Mace singing to Tycho Nestoris. One of my favorite moments of season 5. Also loved him going into battle this season with the feathered helmet and the speech he gave. It’s always hilarious to hear how Roger Ashton Griffins didn’t even watch the series before arriving on set, and expected for someone to fill him in on everything that happened in the first 3 seasons. He played the role with a great deal of subtlety which I liked. I think it would’ve been easy for a lesser actor to go way over the top and make the character silly.
I really did enjoy Gelder’s ‘Kevan’ and Ashton-Griffiths ‘Mace’. All three actors were amazing!
A character pretending to be someone or something that he or she isn’t is a famous archetype in Shakespeare’s work, so it’s fitting that Glover brought such a dynamic to his role on Game of Thrones.
This of course reminds me of another great Shakesperan actor – Derek Jacobi, in his amazing performance of Claudius in I Claudius. His tremer and stammer hid a rather brilliant mind that kept him alive through so many years of plots and machinations.
speaking with Tywin in a deleted scene from Season 3’s “Walk of Punishment”.
Did they ever say why this was deleted? Loved this scene. They also deleted another favorite, Loras grieving for Renly. Wish I knew why
Furthermore, in a series renowned for terrible fathers, Mace could be counted as one of the best – and not merely by default.
Thats interesting, also interesting that he had another side of his character – the buffoon, the the sensitive man who loved his family. Really looking forward to Taboo btw.
Really loved Gelder as Kevan. I was delighted to watch him in every scene. He certainly had more priniciple and honor than most of the people in ‘the game’. Was glad that he thought nothing of giving Cersei a smack down. I worried about him after that; and wasn’t surprised to find him stuck in that inferno with his son.
As usual, excellent casting choices for these three characters. I thank them for bringing their characters to life. Sorry to see them go!
The small council scenes have typically been some of the best of the series. A lot of that is the writing, of course. But a lot of it is that those scenes are always stacked with such excellent veteran actors. The presence of all of these actors will be missed. At this point it almost feels redundant to talk about how much all these actors make what would otherwise be minor and unnoticed roles very memorable. One of my favorite scenes in season 1 was the reveal that Pycelle is not the doddering old man he pretends to be. Kevan’s contempt for Cersei was a bit less flashy than Olenna’s sick burns but I always enjoyed his iciness. That can sting just as bad. And poor old Mace. He rode the lion off the cliff. Just like his mother thought he might.
Julian Glover is one of those actors I’ve seen in countless things and always appreciated in a low-key way but probably couldn’t put a name to until Game of Thrones. He was That Guy and That Guy is always great. He was sidelined a lot of the time in GoT because of plot reasons, a show this big can’t highlight everyone, but he acts even when the camera isn’t focused on him. He isn’t lazy. I appreciate the hell out of him and I will always know him now.
I was very glad to see Ian Gelder brought back in S5 as Kevan. He has such a wonderfully dry wit and snap to his presence. I would’ve loved to see scenes with him and Lancel more. I wish we’d had more of him in general over the years but what we did have was on point.
Ashton-Griffiths is a divergence from the books but a charming one. Not everyone in KL is a diabolical plotter; someone like Mace can smile and he means it, which is needed to balance out the constant cruel deception of GoT. Maybe he was more cunning than he let on, but either way, it was a lovely performance.
Im gonna miss all the color these guys brought to the show
I think Im gonna actually tear up when we get to Natalie Dormer’s Curtain Call
I was disappointed that there wasn’t a scene where Kevan acknowledged that his other two sons died in a war that Cersei effectively initiated. It would have contextualized his disdain for her and drawn an interesting parallel between the two characters. Gelder was a level of actor who could have nailed more substantive material, had they given it to him.
I hadn’t seen that deleted scene with Glover and Dance – thanks for including it! It is hard to see the ‘Originals’ go – and it will continue to be so. Glover was fantastic as Pycelle, and those moments of the real person showing through made us realize how clever Pycelle actually was. He made it longer than many because of his ‘character’. *farts*
Mace Tyrell – the somewhat missing link in the family, always bumbling about to the best of his ability and frustrating those in power admirably. Ashton-Griffiths was wonderful as Mace, and his true sense of fashion, both on the show with his glorious plumes, and the Game of Thrones red carpet events, will be treasured forever.
Kevan Lannister – the one who refused to feign ignorance to Cersei’s games, gods love him for it. I literally cheered when he shut down her condescending attitude and declined to be a part of her machinations. Of course, we knew what that would mean, but by golly it was refreshing. Ian Gelder was always a favourite of mine as Kevan, his relationship with Tywin was something else.
I loved Mace. He seemed like someone who was just a good guy, occupying a position too pivotal and important for someone like him. Since season 4 he was one of the most consistently entertaining comic relief characters. I loved his contribution to the S6 finale. His disgust at Loras’s mutiliafion felt very real and touching. His last, sad look to Margery was heartbreaking. Sign of a good actor that he can be hilarious for three seasons but still deliver a guy punch in his final scene. Congrats Roger, you were excellent.
Glover was also great. I echo Sue’s thoughts, I appreciated how he constantly was acting and reacting in scenes where he was very rarely the focus. Appreciated Glover’s commitment to the character.
I think it is very impressive whenever an actor like Ian Gelder can make an impression with such a small role. Loved his scene in S5E2 where he quit the small council. He was never a very prominent character but he really sold the scenes where his role was important. Appreciated his work
I hate to nitpick on a Curtain Call, but isn’t Hodor an Original as well? Or was he introduced in Season 2?
⛓ Glover: He nailed the role. I loved how, with his last action (slapping the kid with the knife), he finally drops the weakling façade which helped him survive for years in the crab bucket that is King’s Landing.
🌹 Ashton-Griffiths: You had already killed Lancel, Loras, Margaery, the High Sparrow, Kevan, Pycelle and Tommen. Was it really necessary to kill Lord Oaf, D&D?
. I was surprised when I found out he was played by the same guy in Season 1. I thought he had just been an extra. Unfortunately, he went back into being an extra in Season 6. I wish that, instead of being so dependant on Cersei, Jaime had had more dialogue with Kevan, the closest thing we’re going to get to Genna and Daven Lannister.
Wow! This show is such a deep pool of acting greatness! Thanks for your spectacular work, gentlemen.
Note: I didn’t realize til this moment that Julian Glover was in all of those movies that I love. It speaks to how well he becomes the character. Amazing!
I will miss the Small Council so much – some of my favorite scenes throughout the series. Thanks to all these wonderful actors! Everyone has their favorite – loved brother Kevan (Ian Gelder).
One of my favorite scenes this season was Pycelle sloooowly shuffling out of the room as Cersei glared holes through him. Of course, that scene is not so funny now knowing what she did to him, but at the time I laughed out loud.
Great tribute! Thank you to all the actors for playing the roles to perfection. Will really really miss calling out “Not now, Mace”. Its funny how 1 innocuous scene can immortalize a secondary character like Mace Tyrell
Yeah, as Lord of Coffee says, my definition of “the Originals” covered the actors who had appeared in all six seasons of
as the same character. Sentimentally, I would definitely consider Kristian Nairn, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, and Rory McCann to be Originals as well because they’ve been a part of the show since Season 1 (and Bran and Sandor are still alive). However, by the stricter standards I was using for this discussion, they didn’t qualify because they didn’t appear in Season 5.
That doesn’t mean that I love them any less, of course! 🙂 The main reason I added the additional qualifier was to highlight the remarkable length and consistency of Julian Glover’s tenure in the cast. At first glance, Pycelle isn’t the type of character you might think has been there since the beginning and appeared in every single season. But he did, and Glover did an excellent job portraying him every step of the way.
But yeah, I’m happy to count Isaac, Rory, and Kristian as members of that club as well, especially because they only missed one season and there were clear narrative reasons for their absence. Once a Season 1 actor sits out more than one season, it becomes a little dicier, if only because the pool expands a bit. Actors who joined the show in Season 1 and also appeared in Season 6 – but who sat out more than one full season in between those appearances – include Ian Gelder, Eugene Simon, Owen Teale, Natalia Tena, Art Parkinson, and Brian Fortune. Sadly, we lost all of them this year!
An honorable mention to the Originals: Ian Whyte has also appeared in all six seasons. However, he did so as four different characters (a White Walker in Season 1, Gregor Clegane in Season 2, Dongo the Doomed in Seasons 3 and 4, and Wun Wun in Seasons 5 and 6). I do wonder if they’ll find another role for him in Season 7 so he can continue to be a part of the show.
RIP, Small Council. No one escapes the wrath of the Mad Queen.
Thanks to these three gentlemen for bringing their exceptional skills to GOT. They will be missed. RAG was probably my favorite of the three. Loved the kindness and gentle humor in his Mace…and the plumage, of course.
Jared – great write-up once again!
n honorable mention to the Originals: Ian Whyte has also appeared in all six seasons. However, he did so as four different characters (a White Walker in Season 1, Gregor Clegane in Season 2, Dongo the Doomed in Seasons 3 and 4, and Wun Wun in Seasons 5 and 6). I do wonder if they’ll find another role for him in Season 7 so he can continue to be a part of the show.
Huh, I did not know that! Funny – they writers must really like him and he must have quite the acting range!
This show is such a joy to behold… wonderful casting; wonderful acting 🙂
It’s an actual embarrassment of riches. You can actually see the show struggling to give these great actors and characters enough screen time. I would’ve loved to seen more of all three of these men, just to see them sink their teeth into some meatier scenes, just like I would’ve loved more with Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant. But, alas, the show is the show and they were side characters. But it’s a testament to the show’s power that even they have had a lasting impact.
Did RAG play a combination of Mace Tyrell and Harys Swift?
How was show Mace different from book Mace?
Julian Glover gave a lot of life to a difficult role, a very opaque character that we never really get to know or see in action. I wish time had allowed for more scheming by Pycelle. Maybe we will get his backstory someday.
Ian Gelder projected disapproval like nobody else. He only had a few lines, but you knew exactly where Kevin Lannister stood with his niece and nephew, even when he was in the background.
Roger Ashton-Griffiths…I can’t even. I’m still mourning Mace! He really made me believe the ‘Oaf of Highgarden’, a man who played the game but was only ever half aware of the intrigue going on around him, and often had the best of intentions. That is strange, strange thing in Game of Thrones. It was apparent how much Mace loved his children. Those last scenes brought me to tears. Margaery is hurt and afraid in the scenes with the High Sparrow, but still calculating three steps ahead, coldly figuring out what her next power play will be. For her, this is a temporary setback. In those moments, Mace just saw the broken man his only son had become.
Not now, Mace! 🙂 Three uniquely talented actors and each will be missed. I thank Julian, Roger and Ian for their fine contributions to this outstanding cast.
I had the honor of meeting Julian Glover recently at a con. He was very clear in his anger and disappointment that the waterside scene with Tywin wasn’t used. He also gave Eugene Simon a lesson in contract negotiation. Apparently, GoT doesn’t pay royalties. Period! He didn’t hold back and I loved it!
All the best to them and, yes, seeing any of these actors on stage would be a dream!
A great write up Jared as always. A most enjoyable and in-depth read for those characters.
As others have said, the choice of actors for those characters was spot on. Julian Glover was great as Pycelle and one of my favourite characters. He typified the iconic ‘Dirty Old Man’ with the prostitutes in his bed chamber. I rolled up laughing in those scenes 😀
His chat (was it with Ros?) about kings was hilarious. He goes into great detail whilst she washes her twat, gets dressed and then she asks him again the same question!
Another great scene was when Tyrion, Bronn and Shagga burst into his room and again he’s in bed with a whore. Tyrion suggests to Shagga to cut his dick off, but changes his mind and to cut off his beard instead! So funny that scene was….
Roger Ashton-Griffiths was great as Mace. Again a perfect choice for the part. A somewhat comic character who wasn’t taken seriously and certainly not by his mother the Queen of Thornes. His singing in Braavos was good which really pissed off Meryn Trant! Although portrayed as a buffoon, he was a good diplomat and looking after his family’s interests right up to the end. Ahh yes – I too loved his feathered helmet 😀
As for Ian Gelder (Kevan Lannister) , I never really got into his character. Only that he was true to the Lannister cause and refused to take any crap from Cersei in a scene with the Small Council. He obviously loved his son Lancel and not happy when he was brainwashed into joining the Sparrows.
All those actors were brilliant and good to see they have other projects going on and in the future.
New 30-min GOT behind the scenes video is out. Its called 18 hrs at the paint hall. Check it out, think its on hbogo and hbo now.
Three fantastic actors. Though none of them had large parts, I am very sad to see them go.
I first saw Julian Glover in Empire Strikes Back, when I was, like, 10. I hadn’t watched it again for many years after that. Eventually, while looking at IMDB for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, I clicked the link of the guy who voiced Aragog. I saw him credited as “General Maximilian Veers” in Empire Striked Back, and was like, “oh yeah! I kind of remember that guy…” This speaks to Julian’s strength as an actor, as despite the fact that I hadn’t seen the movie in almost a decade, and that he had a fairly small part in it, I STILL remembered him.
Afterwards, I watched through all 6 Star Wars movies, as well as all of the Indiana Jones movies… and yet, I still didn’t recognize Juilan when I watched GOT for the first time. I only realized it was him because I thought Robert’s actor looked familiar and decided to look him up, and incidentally spotted Julian’s name next to Grand master Pycelle.
I wish we could have seen more of Pycelle (particularly, the REAL Pycelle, as we saw in that deleted scene. I really don’t get why they cut that. I’m usually completely on board with all their cuts, but this is the one exception), but hey – he lasted quite long for a supporting character, and Julian nailed it whenever he was onscreen. It’s always sad to say goodbye to one of the original cast. Thank you for your contribution to this amazing show, Julian.
I first saw Roger Ashton-Griffiths in The Brother’s Grimm, where he played a town mayor, then in A Knight’s Tale, as a priest, and then in Terry Pratchett’s The Color of Magic, as a pompous, bumbling wizard. None of them were big parts, and yet I still remembered him.
And when I heard he had been cast as Mace Tyrell, I thought back to Olenna’s description of her son (I hadn’t read the books yet), and knew he was the perfect choice. Sure enough, Roger more than delivered in his role. He had the perfect look for the part (and the singing voice), and played both the bumbling doofus and the loving father to perfection. I love his silent dismayed gasp when Loras gives up the Tyrell name (you can even see it in the background before the camera cuts to him). He was only around for 3 seasons, but he left an unforgettable impact on the show. Thank you very much, Roger.
Ian Gelder was the only one of the 3 I was completely unfamiliar with when I started watching GOT. However, I could not imagine a better Kevan. He was subservient to his brother Tywin, because he had the utmost respect for him – not because he was a pushover (as Cersei believed). With Tywin gone, Kevan took over his duties as best he could, though unlike Tywin, Kevan seemed to genuinely want to teach Tommen to be the best king he could be – not just a puppet he could manipulate. Ian really brought this all out with his performance. His best scene was definitely the Small Council scene in s5e2, where he sees right through Cersei’s bullshit, and walks out as the mic strikes the floor with a deafening clang. I wish we could have seen more of him – I would have liked to have seen some scenes between him and Lancel – but I always enjoyed his iciness and snappy shutdowns. Thank you for your performance, Ian. I will miss Kevan.
Ah, I see that now! Did not read your decription of “Originals” carefully enough. Glad to be corrected, now the post is pretty much damn perfect. Great work man.
Interesting that adding the 3rd shooting unit wasn’t originally planned.
Also, apparently there were some prosthetics on Ser Gregor actors face that weren’t really shown in the finale. They were pretty lackluster so I don’t blame them.
I’m really going to miss all three of these characters/actors, especially Pycelle/Glover. Add my name to the list of viewers for whom the Small Council scenes were always favorites, since the political maneuvering is much juicier and more engaging to me than the ‘epic’ scenes. Now that Cersei has no one left on her team but Qyburn, I no longer look forward with any great enthusiasm to revisiting King’s Landing. So often it’s the ‘minor’ players who make the difference between a good story and a great one!
I really love Julian Glover. I hadn’t watched that deleted scene; too bad it was not included in the show.
But of course, Pycelle was a slimy character, I can’t say I will miss him. Although I will miss Mr. Glover, whom I hope to see again soon in another project of his.
On the contrary, I think I will miss Mace Tyrell. Ok, not the most competent of men, but Mr. Ashton-Griffiths portrayed him in such a sweet way. I can’t say if he was the best father in the show (his foolish ambition would eagerly sacrifice his daughter), but he certainly was one who loved dearly his children. And of course, we joke about it, but I don’t think it would be easy to have Olenna Tyrell as mother.
As for Kevan Lannister, I admit to never caring for him. On the contrary, although I respected his characther’s motivations, I think his refusal to work with this niece and nephew, even if he despised them, in order to rid the kingdom of that pest that was the Faith Militant was pretty much stupid. Still, Mr. Gelder did an excellent work, and for that I thank him.
Dongo is the giant that Jon and Ygritte see in Mance Rayder’s camp in Season 3 (“Valar Dohaeris”). He later attacks the Night’s Watch along with Mag the Mighty and the wildling army in Season 4, and is felled by a ballista bolt fired from atop the Wall.
The character’s name was never mentioned on the show, but it’s confirmed in the script for “The Watchers on the Wall”. We get a brief shot of that script in a video that was released for the Season 4 Blu-Ray.
In reality, the name “Dongo the Doomed” is more likely to be an in-joke for the writers than anything else – no one but the most hardcore fans is ever likely to discover it. But we’re nothing if not hardcore here at WOTW, and I actually think it’s a fitting moniker for a giant. Sad as it is to say, they are a dying people. A little fatalism seems appropriate.
Great work Jared, such a cull of characters means even Mace and Pycelle can’t get their own individual Curtain Calls!
My own fave moment for all these three as mentioned above is when Mace suddenly bursts into song, it was so unexpected and Tycho’ bemused reaction 😀
Amazing Curtain call Jared! Beautifully written, as always!!
They all handled their roles well – the Small Council will be missed.
Vain, proud and chasing after glory and titles.
Sorry if it’s been said but I personnally think we will get a Mace & Olenna deleted scene on the S6 DVD.
Great curtain call Jared thank you. I must admit I was a bit confused initially when I saw all three had been done in one post as I really thought Glover deserved his own, but clearly no need to worry – beautifully written and well considered write-ups for all three actors.
Pycelle was a real player of the game and did well to last as long as he did. I agree that his discord with Qyburn’s prominence was genuinely linked to it being an affront on his profession.
Not that it matters now, but I have always been intrigued by the idea of Roy Dotrice in the role. Did he play it in the original (unaired) pilot or was he already too unwell by then?
Pycelle did not appear in both pilots (which shared the same scenes mostly), so no. But there was a Jon Arryn-Cersei scene that wasn’t refilmed or reused in the final version.
Julian Glover is a legend. In addition to what was mentioned in this article, he does readings of Beowulf (including reading some parts in Old English):
I had a pleasure to see Jonathan Pryce and Ian Gelder in King Lear about 4 years ago in London. Both are excellent actors.
Haha, Ser Gregor looked like 2 Face in Batman.
Time will tell if the Iron Bank will have its due, but at least throughout Season 6, the fearsome entity and the Crown’s massive debt to them were never mentioned. Perhaps Mace managed to temporarily mollify them.
Mace’s comment that the Iron Bank was, in fact, basically a gambling institution that was very good at winning belied his oafish appearance very well! He clearly had a more canny understanding of how the Iron Bank (and, really, all lending institutions) work than it seems that most of the aristocracy had!
LatrineDiggerBrian: How was show Mace different from book Mace?
The book character is the classic vainglorious bully of an oaf who is blind to his own oafishness. However, whenever any “reliable” PoV character thinks about him, he/she notes Mace never had accomplished anything: either one of Mace’s competent underlings had actually done the job OR the job never never had been completed. (Mace, it seems, was the master of the never-ending siege, where entire wars would pass without battle lines shifting.) Seeing
character go up in green flame might have been almost as satisfying as seeing the High Sparrow incinerate.
And this is where I think that they did an ultimately useful flip-flop of the book and TV versions of this character. I actually felt bad for this version of Mace. Despite his mother’s harshness, this was a guy that understood how banks really worked, who appreciated and knew the arts of that time, and who almost certainly was cribbing from the literature/poetry of his people for a war-speech. I.e., he was much more what a leader should be than what people believe that they should be!
Again, that’s a big part writing and direction: but once again, Ashton-Griffiths delivered quite well.
Old Nan’s Pie: Haha, Ser Gregor looked like 2 Face in Batman.
To me, Gregor now looks like a Sontaran at the end of a Doctor Who episode.
Sou: I think his refusal to work with this niece and nephew, even if he despised them, in order to rid the kingdom of that pest that was the Faith Militant was pretty much stupid. Still, Mr. Gelder did an excellent work, and for that I thank him.
One could argue that not working with the faith to rid the Kingdom of Cersei was stupid! The overarching-story is one about enduring damned-if-you-do-or-do-not choices: and although Kevan is not an important character for delivering that story, he still had his: one bad choice of leadership vs. another bad choice of leadership.
I, too, never latched on to Kevan in either medium. However, he was a man left without any “smart” choices, and largely due to the stupidity of his niece. And in both media, he dies for it.
I can’t believe Pycelle is gone. Not the most likable character but Mr. Glover played him masterfully. Actors playing sycophants usually overdo their toadiness but his performance was comparatively subtle. Legendary actor and I’m sad to see him go.
I never will understand how Cersei is considered the lesser of two evils compared with HS. One supported & helped the public (even if you doubt the intention) and the other was a mean selfish oppressive near sadistic tyrant (with NO redeeming qualities imo) who has inflicted pain on sooooo many ppl in Westeros – not least the Starks… Of course the show tried to make HS seem overconfidently vain in the end – but was he even responsible for a single persons death knowingly??
All that after Cersei herself gave him power without him having demaded (yes, of course he mayve wanted it – but thats besides my point – point being Cersei was worse!!)
I think its the disdain the modern minds have for religion in general – the show writers sure tried to weave that into the last episode – with HS being annoyingly (perhaps unrealistically) naive & vain, Davos calling Mel out on blaming her Lord & Sansa talking to LF.
I was just wondering whether there was a Curtain Call for Kit Harington afer S5 finale??
There was. It was very respectful to and complementary the work that Kit had done on the show through five seasons, while cheekily acknowledging that essentially everyone expected him to be back for Season 6. http://watchersonthewall.com/curtain-call-kit-harington/
I think its the disdain the modern minds have for religion in general – the show writers sure tried to weave that into the last episode – with HS being annoyingly (perhaps unrealistically) naive & vain, Davos calling Mel out on blaming her Lord & Sansa talking to LF.
Given the strength of organized religion in this world, I don’t think imost of the world disdain it at all. Rather they accept it without question. I think the writers (and before that, GRRM) had their characters question, as we all do at one time or another. And HS was more than just annoying – he was a fanatic who used religion to get power over others. Given religious history, thats definitely very realistic.
Pycelle is one of the characters that have been with us since season 1. In earlier seasons, I considered him a part of “the holy trinity” along with Varys and Littlefinger, but that was before their stories began to separate. Before GoT, I remembered Julian Glover as Walter Donovan from Indiana Jones: the Last Crusade and I could hardly imagine that this is the same person. Glover really managed to portray Pycelle as both feeble (and perverted) old man and a cunning conspirator. As it concerns his death, I prefer the TV version of it. While Pycelle was one of my least favorite characters in KL (in a good way), I actually felt a bit sorry for him when he died.
“Not now Mace! Lord Tywin and I are speaking” Like many recurring characters, Mace Tyrell is among those I never gave sh*t about in the books but liked his TV counterpart becaus of the actor’s portayal. Mace Tyrell’s character could have been easily cut from TV show and I was sure about that when Olenna’s role was so significantly expanded in season 3. I’m glad I was wrong. Roger Ashton Griffiths managed to bring the character to life in entire new form instead of being Robert no.2. He was the only character in the small councill who was genuinely kind and not some sort of conspirator. My favorite scenes of him: Singing in Braavos, his speech to Tyrell troops and of course his final moments in the sept (those were so powerful…)
Kevan Lannister is one of the few recurring characters who actually had lesser role on TV, compared to his book counterpart. Still for such a minor role, Ian Gelder portrayed him very well. When Kevan didn’t appear in season 3 and 4, I was sure his role was over and I was positively surprised when Gelder returned for season 5. A particulary powerful and well-acted moment was the one, when Kevan refused Cersei’s offer. In season 6, his role was more a background one but still I got sense that Kevan became some kind of authority in KL after Cersei’s imprisonment. I can admit that Kevan’s death was the one that affected me the least in The Winds of Winter but I’m pleased that his character at least spent some time on a screen instead of being killed after one scene (as some suggested before “Oathbreaker”) and that his character didn’t simply vanish after season 2.
ash: HS was more than just annoying – he was a fanatic who used religion to get power over others.
True enough; and religious fundamentalists of any stripe drive me nuts in real life. But I still agree with KingSnowLordCrow that the High Sparrow was not nearly as horrible a human being as Cersei. Yes, he had more of a lust for power than he was willing to admit, but he was also a champion of the smallfolk at a time and in a place when no one cared about their miseries. Yes, he persecuted people for behaviors that in our modern world are accepted as normal, but these intolerances need to be viewed at least to some degree through the cultural lens of the world being pictured in GoT. And yes, he used deprivation of food and water and relentless religious indoctrination to cow his prisoners into submission, but as torture methods go in King’s Landing, his were quite mild in comparison to those used in the Black Cells or by Qyburn in his experimentation on living humans (though that is made much clearer in the books, I grant).
The High Sparrow certainly used his piety and his concern for the poor and voiceless to maneuver himself into a powerful position, but I never doubted that he was sincere in his beliefs. Sincere believers can be tremendously dangerous people, but I always saw him as more similar to a Liberation Theologist in Latin America than a Jihadist or an abortion clinic bomber.
Cersei, by contrast, has become an utterly irredeemable, narcissistic monster with zero empathy for other humans. No amount of mother love or protectiveness of one’s children can possibly excuse her no-holds-barred vindictiveness or her joy in the sufferings of others. “Pride goeth before a fall,” and since she learned absolutely no humility from her well-deserved first punishment, the next one needs to be a fall into a far deeper abyss than even her own moral cesspool.
ash, My point was those rooting for Lannisters against HS.
Looking at some reaction videos how people got joy from Unella’s torture really falls in same category for me – it was Cersei she harassed – any of the smallfolk wouldve done the same & probably rightly so.
For me Cersei is with Ramsay, Joffrey, Tywin & Gregor Clegane (maybe Walder too) the most despicable humans in Westeros we’ve seen.
As for G Clegane – I m fantasizing deaths for him already (tho I know Id be dissappointed)- hopefully roasted / melted alive by Rhaegal (in honour of Rhaegar’s family).
Nice point that Ashton-Griffiths was in Brazil (great movie) with Jonathan Pryce, but you know who else was in that movie? Peter Vaughn, aka Maester Aemon…
Great performances. I also loved the Mace improvised opera in Braavos. I was glad Kevan was brought back. And I’m sad the ‘dead Tully omen’ scene with Pycelle was not part of the episode, it really should have been.
Oh I know, and I agree with you – While I hated HS for what he was doing, he was given this power by Cersei, and decided to use it, for perhaps the common good (not sure about that tho). I think there is a separate corner in hell waiting for Cersei. My comment was that I didn’t think HS was drawn fanatical because the world has disdain for religion. Religion has way too much power to ever fear for its demise and I don’t think GRRM or the writers were trying to make a dig against it. Given the medival type world that Westerous is, it would be obvious to use religion as a power along with the crown, just like it was in so many places in that time period (and to a lesser extent now) Cersei’s schemes, and having him be a part of the religion was a way of showing that.
I think comparing the two is intersting : Both mad for power, both will do anything to get it, but you are right HS has good intentions even if he uses evil ways to hurt people, Cersie could care less about good intentions, she just wants it all no matter who and how many she kills. I don’t know that people are supporting the Lannisters over HS when cheering his death; just that the man was rather hateful. Actually interesting that one of the writers decided to focus HS at the blast because he hated him so much. Not sure what that says…..But yeah, given how people laugh and cheer at Tommen jumping, its unsettling.
Very well said. Cant argue with that at all.
The High Sparrow certainly used his piety and his concern for the poor and voiceless to maneuver himself into a powerful position, but I never doubted that he was sincere in his beliefs.
I doubted him because he seemed to only be interested in punishing the powerful. Or do you think he was parading commoners who sinned naked through the streets as he did with Cersei? No, I don’t believe he would ever do that. He only wanted to humiliate the upper classes in order to increase his popularity with the lower classes, and to feed his ego. And he made sure to choose his victims carefully when he could exploit a weakness: he went after Loras to get to Margaery by using her love for her brother, then when that was done he went after Cersei. He already knew of Cersei’s sins from Lancel but didn’t try to imprison her until after he had Margaery. Why? Because Margaery was the path to Tommen who could give him the power that he craved. And he never went after Jamie because he didn’t need to in order to accomplish his goal of getting to Tommen. The smirk he gave Jamie after Tommen converted said it all really.
I doubted him because he seemed to only be interested in punishing the powerful.Or do you think he was parading commoners who sinned naked through the streets as he did with Cersei?No, I don’t believe he would ever do that.He only wanted to humiliate the upper classes in order to increase his popularity with the lower classes, and to feed his ego.
I’m not sure I take your point here. Are you suggesting that if he were truly sincere, he would punish the poor as well as the rich? That makes no sense to me. His position would be that the poor have already suffered enough.
The Sparrows are undoubtedly inspired by the rise of the mendicant orders in the early 13th century, like the Franciscans and the Poor Clares. They were a reaction to the Church, including monasteries, controlling too much worldly wealth, and were the first Christian religious orders to take vows of poverty. And they did most of their recruiting among aristocratic families, urging their young people to renounce all their possessions. They would minister to the poor, but were in no way about punishing them. The High Sparrow may have been corrupted by his proximity to power, but his policies would not have been too far afield for a particularly zealous Franciscan leader.
C’mon, they had to rush this out since it’s only ten months until the next season starts!
Seriously, I was thinking similar thoughts when reading it. They each deserve their own entry ; )
I’m not sure I take your point here. Are you suggesting that if he were truly sincere, he would punish the poor as well as the rich?
Yes, that is what I’m saying. The High Sparrow went after the wealthy and powerful simply because they were wealthy and powerful. It had nothing at all to do with sins they may have committed. That was nothing more than an excuse he used to weaken them so he could gain more power for himself. He was just a hypocrite using the common people for his own advantage.
And let’s not forget how much he enjoyed this. He had already imprisoned Cersei and publicly humiliated her with the walk of shame, but it still wasn’t enough to satisfy his ego. No, he was going to further humiliate her with a public trial to force her to confess again in front of everyone. Same with Loras really. It wasn’t enough that Loras had publicly admitted to the ‘crime’ of being gay and lying about it, and had renounced his claim to his family birthright. No the High Sparrow also had to physically mutilate him after lying to Margaery that he wouldn’t.
His only real mistake was his own arrogance when he thought he had Cersei defeated after taking control of Tommen. Cersei is unquestionably evil, but would even she have done something like this if she hadn’t been pushed into a corner by the High Sparrow’s hypocritical power grab?
Julian Glover should have his own curtain call.
That being said, it was an honor to have such a talented actor on the show that they didn’t do much with.
Mace Tyrell: I truly enjoyed your song in the Braavos streets.
Kevan Lannister: You stood up to cersei in the throne room excellently.
Mace Tyrell:I truly enjoyed your song in the Braavos streets.
This is seriously one of my favorite moments. In a show that is so damn heavy, I love those little kooky moments. Mace Tyrell may have been out of his element in the political maneuvering of Kings Landing but damn if he wasn’t a refreshing addition to the small council. You could see his heartbreaking as Loras was branded. So good, so intense.
This show is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to cast. Even those with limited appearances/dialogue make the absolute most of their time.
Not sure if it’s been mentioned yet (I’ve not had time to read the entire thread) but I noticed a beautiful little moment in their final scene where, out of focus in the background, as Loras renounces his birthright, Mace covers his face with one hand and Kevan puts a comforting hand on his shoulder. It really impressed me that such tiny details were included in their performance.
To be honest, I’m mourning Mace “the Ace” Tyrell more than anyone else in King’s Landing. He will fill the seven heavens with his glorious singing and magnificent feathery hats for the rest of eternity.
I am in a way surprised to see Julian Glover’s Pycelle go, as he becomes the first of the original “Small Council Three” to be offed. Their introduction remains a delight and one of the reasons I don’t buy the idea that “Lord Snow” is a weak episode of television.
While Ned greets Renly warmly, we see him regard the others – Baelish, Pycelle and Varys – suspiciously, all three of them. He’s cold and unemotional, befitting his wariness of the trappings of the capital and the politics that go with it. After a time it becomes clear he perhaps trusts Pycelle slightly more than the other two, until the end, of course, when it becomes ever more apparent that Varys, surprisingly, is the most trustworthy of the three. The way in which the exchange plays out is also photographed so well, too – we the viewer regard these “new characters” in just as much of a standoffish fashion as Eddard Stark does.
Glover of course was a great Pycelle, particularly the fascinating scene with Roz in “Fire and Blood” and subsequent other moments.
Ashton-Griffiths did well as the buffoonish Mace, though they gave him a nice bit at the end when he visibly choked at his son’s mutilation. Gelder was always a good one to see in the cast, too, filling out the roster ably.
Yes! I saw that too. They both lost sons to the Faith.
Glover was acting his butt off in the Nedd beheading scene. Pycelle was beside himself when Joffrey told Illyn to execute Nedd. It was like he didn’t know what to do with his hands, like he was going to cry. Varys reeled around to beseech Cersai! The only person who seemed unsurprised was Littlefinger.
Julian Glover, looking forward to seeing you at the local ComicCon! Thanking you for your wonderful and perfect portrayal of the Grand Maester.
Often during these curtain calls, it’s difficult to find the right words to adequately express the right sentiments towards all these actors and all the work they did on behalf of us fans!
A special shout out to Julian Glover who has been with the show basically since its inception. It will be weird not seeing him on-screen next year…!
PS Julian Glover aka Grandmaester Pycelle also provided one of the funniest bits this season…listen to him fart when the Mountain comes in, right after he insulted him…LOL…
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