One of the keepers at Castle Black opens up about killing off a fan favourite
If you're not all caught up with Game Of Thrones, then look away now.
Currently busy shooting Season 6 of the show, Irish actor Brian Fortune, who plays Othell Yarwyck, is one of the keepers at Castle Black (one of three manned castles in the hit show).
He reveals how the public have recently started treating him differently following his character's involvement in a seminal moment last season and what we can look forward to in the next, which is due out in April...
Newstalk: Hey Brian, how are you keeping today?
Brian Fortune: I'm very well, thanks for asking.
NT: So, spoilers out of the way first, how does it feel to be one of the men who killed Jon Snow?
BF: Pretty good actually! It's not every day you're shooting a historic scene in probably the biggest TV show ever, and of course the reaction to Jon Snow's death was phenomenal.
NT: I always felt sorry for Jack Gleeson (who played King Joffrey), because he's such a nice guy in real life, but the public perception of him must've been horrible. Have you had many members of the public act differently towards you since Snow's demise?
BF: Not too many, thankfully. Yes, it's awful, some fans or just regular viewers of the show can go to such extremes. It's a TV show, guys, a million miles away from reality (laughs). When the scene was fresh in peoples minds a couple of guys gave me a bit of a hard time verbally and I was called a bastard among other things by some ladies. Pretty tame stuff.
NT: Just this week the first poster for Season 6 arrived, and it's got Jon Snow on it front and center, ending months and months of speculation for the show. How difficult is it for you to keep plot points secret for so long? Do you have one confidant that you tell everything to?
BF: What? Jon Snow is on the Season 6 poster? He's still alive? News to me (laughs)... Well, I have to say, I had never told anyone a plot line until I read the Jon Snow scene. Christ, trying to keep that a secret was a bit like keeping secret that I really did murder somebody! I cracked and told my wife Polly... and that was the worst thing I could have possibly done because I was afraid she might let it slip... It was an absolute nightmare waiting for the episode to be screened.
NT: Have you read ahead in the books to know what happens to your character, Othell Yarwyck?
BF: Like a lot of the Thrones cast I haven't read the books. Do I know what happens to my character? I might.
NT: When you see the show and see the scenes that are shot in Croatia, Morocco, Spain and Malta, do you get a little jealous that all of your scenes are set in against the snowy Wall?
BF: I won't lie, there were times during filming, say 4 am on a bitterly cold November morning, that I didn't wish I were in warmer climes. But it was fleeting. I just had to look around and take in the Castle Black set, it's truly jaw dropping. The camaraderie among the cast, crew and extras is terrific. The Night's Watch extras are an amazing bunch, some of them have been with the show since day one. They travel from all over the country and abroad, sleeping in each others spare rooms, on couches and floors. On and off screen buddies. No, hand on heart, I can honestly say I love every being minute at Castle Black, it's an honour. The Night's Watch story-line is my favourite to, but I would say that, wouldn't I?
NT: What's been your favorite Game Of Thrones scene to film so far?
BF: I really enjoy shooting the Mess Hall meeting scenes. Arguing with Jon Snow about allowing the Wildlings to seek refuge at Castle Black, the election of Jon Snow as the new Lord Commander, the beheading of Janos Slynt, the Jon Snow scene and a couple of great scenes in Season 6 that of course cannot be discussed. I couldn't really pick one scene.
NT: Outside of the show, you've been working steadily in TV and movies since 2005. What initially got you involved in acting, and how are you finding the current actor's working environment in Ireland?
BF: Did you ever have a persistent itch that you wanted to scratch but just couldn't? Well, the venture into acting was me scratching that itch. Acting was something I always wanted to do but between one thing and another I just didn't get around to it. One day about 15 years ago I decided I'd better sign up for some acting classes and give it a go because I didn't want to look back on my life and say “Why didn't you try this, that or the other?" Let's face it, life is short, we should live it to it's fullest and when we leave this earth, have no regrets. There have been some serious TV shows and movies shooting here in Ireland in the last few years: Game of Thrones, Ripper Street, Penny Dreadful, Vikings, so things are pretty good for the industry at the moment.
NT: Aside from Season 6, what have you got coming up next on the horizon?
BF: Next up is a funded comedy short, a bungling gangster comedy caper shooting early next year and two feature films scheduled for Spring and Summer 2016. Of course, I'll have to try and get my mug on Ripper Street and Penny Dreadful next year, I've already been on Vikings but my character dies so that door is firmly shut, I'm afraid. There's rumour of a pilot being shot over Christmas with a couple of Irish actors who are just coming into their own internationally, a couple of soap stars and yours truly... let's see how that goes!
NT: Fantastic, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today, Brian.