Curtain Call: Donald Sumpter
By Fire And Blood on in Editorial.


Unlike poor Irri’s death, this was one I had prepared myself for… but damned if it still didn’t bring tears to my eyes. It was partly Natalia Tena’s emotive performance as Osha, partly Isaac Hempstead-Wright and Art Parkinson’s heartbreaking looks, seeing this man they knew and loved dying before their eyes.

But mostly it was Donald Sumpter. It was the way he smiled tremulously at the children, wanting to keep their spirits up even though he knew his death was imminent. The way his hand, steady for so long, shook, betraying his agony. And all the emotion in his eyes…

I knew it was coming and it still punched me in the gut.

A lot of it is the eyes. Actors act with their eyes, it’s almost rote to say it, but Sumpter’s Maester Luwin relied on it probably more than any other Game of Thrones icon. His was a still character, a quiet, unobtrusive man whose hands were tucked into his own sleeves more often than not. (Oddly when his hands did move, forced to shrug aside the voluminous sleeves of a maester’s robe, the action was quick and certain.)

A slightly raised eyebrow conveyed more than a quiet word ever could. And when Luwin looked at you, he really looked at you.

It’s not just the character as written; as is the case with many characters in this series—played by so many worthy actors—we got to see so much more depth when played by a worthy man, and Sumpter proved to be a fantastic choice. Luwin was the proverbial glue that held Winterfell together even while it seemed to be crumbling around him, and this is a testament to Sumpter’s skill.

He wasn’t always Luwin. Donald Sumpter made his name in the theatre, as is the case with so many quality British actors, but was perhaps best known for roles in the earlier incarnations of the Dr. Who television series, and through the years has appeared in over one hundred films and television programs.

(Seriously, that is a good-looking man. His worthy chin alone should turn an eye or two.)

For us, though, he will always be Luwin—now gone, killed casually, tragically, at the tail-end of a betrayal. He gave us so much depth, whether it was doggedly teaching Bran the histories of the great houses, or in the soulful, resolute look he gave to Osha as he asked her for sharp mercy. And this great character is gone, yes, but by no means is this the end.

Donald Sumpter is an actor by trade, and his career isn’t ended here. He is currently shooting The Secret of Crickley Hall for television, along with (of all people!) Maisie Williams, and like as not will have more roles in other cool things—all of which I will seek out, simply to see him perform again.

He will be welcomed with open arms to any Game of Thrones convention. (He hasn’t attended any yet that I know of, but I can hope for TitanCon or ThroneCon one of these days.) And if I happen to be there, well, the man’s drinks are on me.

Fire And Blood: Fare you well, quiet maester! You did this great story proud. I hope you know this was one for the ages.


126 Comments

  1. Mrs. H'ghar
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Oh Maester Luwin we hardly knew ye! A woman is honored to be the first to wish Donald Sumpter well in his future endeavors. You portrayed the stalwart maester with dignity, calm, and the sure competence of a seasoned pro, bringing more depth to the character than was necessary, and making his demise all the more tragic. Yes, I shed tears for Maester Luwin, and we will miss you Donald Sumpter! Bravo!

  2. Nimic
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    One of the best of the show, really.

  3. Sarah
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    Sumpter was an amazing Luwin and I really think he will be missed, as he helped Bran to become a better acting Lord in his brothers stead. I liked the moment when Bran gave Cassell his 400 men and Luwin just has his head in his hands slightly despairingly. Brilliant moment for the three of them and now no moor moments like that.
    Donald Sumpter/Maester Luwin brilliant acting, great character portrayal rest in peace and go onto better things (like black mirror you were good in that)

  4. LordStarkington
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    Did a great job with the role, although I’m sure I just had something in my eye or was cutting onions when he died.

  5. Alex Dubrovsky
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    Hands down, the best secondary character on the show, played by one of the best actors in the cast. He will be missed.

  6. Mrs. H'ghar
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    PS…Don’t know if you do voiceovers in the UK, but your voice is so good it would be great to hear you narrate documentaries or even commercials. Rock on proud Maester L.!

  7. Leuf
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Seeing Winterfell burning didn’t really affect me. Maester Luwin was Winterfell, and he was already gone. It would be easy for his performance to be lost amongst the sea of other great performances, but Alfie was the ship and he was the anchor.

  8. Lex
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:05 am | Permalink

    I was consistently impressed, pleased, and moved by Donald Sumpter’s wonderful performance, from start to finish. Over the course of this show, he really became one of my favourites.

    Whether he was counselling Bran, reasoning with Theon, or just giving Robb a proud nod of approval when he called the banners, he brought weight and authenticity to every scene he was in. His last few scenes this year were very touching indeed. Yet another member of the cast to breathe new life into an otherwise minor role in the books. Gonna miss him.

  9. Hexonx
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    I’ve only cried two times so far, Ned & Luwin. And it was mostly due to the reactions of the kids.

  10. MoonCoffee
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    Stark kids’ reactions bring all the tears, from Ned, to Rodrik, and now Luwin. Like FaB, I got teary despite, or maybe due to, knowing it will happen.

  11. Pastor_of_Muppets
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    All I’ll say is that I dearly love all of my grandparents, but if I could get Maester Luwin to be one of them, I totally would. Great performance, and the character has been wonderfully written the entire series (just re-watched the pilot episode, and his line “A different time. A different King.” really stood out to me this time around). His gravitas and excellent line delivery will be sorely missed by this fan.

  12. White_Raven
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    He was one of my favorite actors on the series. Some roles are awesome, but “easy” in a way, because they get all the best lines, like Tyrion and Varys. Luwin was a different role, very quiet, in the background, and Donald Sumpter elevated the material to an incredible level.

  13. thisone
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Sumpter did an excellent job, indeed. I’m sad to see Luwin go.

    May his soul rest in peace by the mercy of the gods.

  14. SergioCQH
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the best secondary actor of the series thus far.

  15. goober
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    job more than well done.props to the maester

  16. Dennis
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    This man made me wish he was my grandfather. Not sure if he is as warm and caring of a person as he portrayed in GoT but I find it hard to believe his real personality isn’t much different..that’s how comfortable and convincingly he played his part. Winterfell has become a cold place indeed without his presence.

    Thank you for 2 tremendous seasons Mr. Sumpter!

  17. Hear Me Roar
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    Amazing performance … thank you.
    My favourite scene probably is the one where he teaches Bran the lore of the kingdoms. The character interactions there are just wonderful.

  18. Brian Baldinger
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    absolutely nailed every scene.

  19. Hexonx
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Was just watching again. I think Hodor even has a little tear. And he whispers “Hodor” when he takes Rickon’s hand when they walk away. Priceless!

  20. Annie
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:14 am | Permalink

    As soon as I saw Donald Sumpter I knew we were in for a treat with Luwin.

    I’d seen him most recently as Kemp in Being Human: a deliciously warped, evil character that he played to perfection. It was lovely to see him as the benign grandfather figure to the young Starks.

    And yup, I cried too.

  21. Kindly man
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    Thank you Donald Sumpter for bringing the character Maester Luwin to life. your performance was brilliant.
    I loved your interaction with Theon

  22. Macha
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:00 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Donald Sumpter, for such a strong, yet quiet, and deeply moving performance. We were truly privileged to have you on the show!

  23. ASOIAF Fan
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    Maester Luwin will be dearly missed.
    Tank you Donald for your amazing performance you won’t be forgotten, i wish you the best for your future endeavors.

  24. Ser Pippo
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    Thank you Donald Sumpter for such a beautifully portrayed Luwin. Your death was one change I kinda hoped D&D would make, just so we could keep watching you. Bravo to you.

  25. WhereTheWildlingsAre
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    Definitely elevated the show, brought the book character to life with such an elegant manner

  26. Ross
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    It was a massive coup for Game of Thrones to secure Donald Sumpter for a secondary (tertiary?) character. He was pitch-perfect in the role and, as one of the very few fundamentally ‘good’ characters, will be missed as things become even darker.

  27. Blackfish
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:53 am | Permalink

    RIP Maester Luwin

    And thank you Donald Sumpter for the woderful job you did but this is not the end of the GoT road, I hope you will reprise your role for the Blu-Ray extras. If HBO is smart, they will hire you to do more Westerios History lessons not just for season 2 DVD but all future season’s extras.

  28. Harry The Heir
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    He played Luwin better than I thought he would, exactly how I saw him in the books, Heck! he Even looks like how I wanted! Every time I think of Luwin it will be of him advising Theon. <3

  29. Rosie
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Easily the best performances in a smaller role and probably my favourite in the whole show. Sumpter, you’re a class act. Watching you play Luwin has been heartbreaking the whole time because you were so wonderful and I knew what was coming. Please keep doing DVD extras!

  30. Drew
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    I cried.

  31. darquemode
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    While I knew he was a good actor before he was cast as Maester Luwin, I had no idea that every time I would watch him in the role I would be so impressed… awestruck a number of times.

    He made a relatively minor role one of the highlights of Season 1 for me. He then continued the impressive performance right up to the end as he requested a quick death from Osha.

    You will be missed!
    Especially since now when we see Bran we will have some annoying green eyed crannogmen and not you to help anchor the story!

  32. Alex Dubrovsky
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Ser Pippo:
    Thank you Donald Sumpter for such a beautifully portrayed Luwin. Your death was one change I kinda hoped D&D would make, just so we could keep watching you. Bravo to you.

    I also hoped for this change. He’s just too good to lose.

  33. Siobhán Mooney
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    An incredibly deep, touching, understated performance. He managed to convey wisdom, sadness, and kindness, often in the same moment. I’m really going to miss his presence on the show. Like some others, I had hoped that perhaps, if the Reeds were not being cast, he might have survived…

    Excuse me, I seem to have something in my eye.

  34. Thiago Waldhelm
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    I’m still in the grief phase. I knew it was coming, but damn…

    fare thee well, Sumpter. you will be surely missed

  35. Zack
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    I sung his praises every chance I got. His death was too sad. I had myself convinced they would work around it to keep this incredible talent with them for as long as possible. No more Luwin scenes…it’s hard to accept. I think this is the first death I’m having difficulty with, despite the great actors that have previously departed our little obsession.

    All I can do is thank him for what he has given us.

  36. Independent George
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Rest in peace, wise bald man.

  37. MetalgoddessAMB
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    He will be missed by all. Thank you Donald. RIP Maester Luwin!

  38. serum
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    donald did an amazing job with luwin and he will be sorely missed, there is one less maester with a valyrian link in the world of westeros now

  39. David The Grey
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    RIP Maester Luwin, and thank you to Donald Sumpter for giving us a great performance. I greatly enjoyed all of his scenes, and his soulfulness moved me many times.

    I should give credit to GoT for opening my eyes to a lot of actors that I’d never heard of before, but who are among the best I’ve ever seen!

  40. Shock Me
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    A Maester of the Citadel bound in service to Castle Winterfell, and loved by all. How we wanted you to break your vow and escape with Bran and Rickon to the Wall. Well done Donald.

  41. Silverjaime
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Donald brought Luwin to life completely, in a deep and sometimes moving protrayal. A brilliant actor whose gravitas will be missed. Last seen as the creepy Kemp in Being Human, Donald has a wide range of skills – I’ll be following his career and wish him luck in the future.

  42. Theon Rules!
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    To Maester Luwin: One of the few difinitively “good” characters on the show. The lands of Westeros are now an even darker place. RIP. What I will remember most about Luwin are his interactions with Theon this season, especially that last scene where he counciled him.

    To Donald Sumpter: What a fantastic actor. It is tough to “own” a character when you are given such little screen time, and that is exactly what he did. If I ever see him in another film/tv show, he’s always going to be Maester Luwin to me.

    Funny coincidence, when that whole scene happened, I uhhh got something in my eye and uhhh….just kidding, I really cried.

  43. Huck
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Measter Luwin was my favourite. He was great.

    Spoiler and speculation, including ADWD:

    Luwin died in front of a weirwood tree. We never really see Luwin’s death, neither in the books nor on TVand so I really wonder whether there isn’t more to it. As we learn in ADWD, Bran can see through weirwood trees and he might also at some point be able to communicate through them (in the scene where he sees his younger father, the leaves of the weirwood rustle). I really think we’ll see Luwin’s death again, through Bran looking through the weirwood. Maybe Luwin tells Osha some secret?

  44. LoF
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Truly one of the best portrayals in the show.

    Fare thee well.

  45. The Rabbit
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Thank you Donald for being the part of it.

    You were great.

  46. Dark Star
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Fare thee well, Maester Luwin. You were loved and will be missed.

  47. Klavonivs
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised Hodor didn’t say goodbye or anything significant during that scene…I mean he just stared, how rude. I wonder what’s Hodor thinking about all the time….french fried potaters???

  48. Mormegil
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    RIP Luwin

    I was walking out of a room the other day just as someone switched the TV channel and I heard Donald Sumpters voice*, thought of Luwin straight away.

    *An episode of Midsommer Murders as it turned out.

  49. Paweł Ausir Dembowski
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    There are going to be a few of these curtain calls after the finale.

  50. haiku_hodor
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Thanks Donald Sumpter
    A Maesterful performance
    Your last raven flown

  51. mimi
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Like most of you, I am stunned/amazed/thrilled at the acting chops in this show. Mr. Sumpter ranks at the top. EVERY single look, move and word was absolutely perfect. Thank you, sir, for an outstanding job………………..and making me cry……………..

  52. sjwenings
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Donald Sumpter was “actually” one of the best actors on the show! A subtle performance, and very much a supporting actor, it might be easy to overlook him, but thats because he just blends perfectly into each scene, in such a natural and believable way.

    Another stellar actor out, then. Luckily theres so many great ones still in.

  53. Kingthlayer
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    another great actor gone…great job Don-Maester!

  54. littlejanet
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    In season 1, Luwin catches Theon ready to assault Osha. Luwin refers to Osha as ‘our guest’. Theon says “I thought she was our prisoner”. Luwin’s response is one of my favorite one-liners of the show, delivered with a great little smirk: “are the two mutually exclusive, in your experience?”

    Farewell, wise bald man.

  55. Claidheamh
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I really like the Reeds as characters in the books, given their connection to Ned, through Howland Reed and the Tower of Joy stuff. But I’d gladly swap them out for Luwin in the show, so great was this performance.

  56. Michelle Yvette Peeples
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Thank you Donald Sumpter for your fantastic portrayal of Maester Luwin. You shall be missed.

  57. Scoobpate
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    His last scene was one of the only times I got teary-eyed in the series. Gods bless you Maester.

  58. John W
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    RIP Maester Luwin.

    Thank you Donald for bringing him to life.

  59. MockingTheFlayedLion
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Loved (?) the way he was killed, so brutal, raw and pointless. You will be missed Luwin. Even Hodor looked really sad in that scene under the weirwood.

  60. msd
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    One of my favourite supporting performers in the series. He brought gravitas but also an extra spark of warmth and humour to the role which really kicked it up a notch. You felt as though he’d been with the family forever, especially in his scenes with Bran. I bet he was great with all the young actors on set too … Farewell, I wish you were still around for Season 3!

  61. tdraicer
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    For me the greatest joy of GoT is the amazing cast, not just in the big roles but right down the line. And Donald Sumpter, through the skill of his performance, elevated a small amount of screen time into one of the best characters on the show. Bravo indeed!

  62. Coltaine777
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Very good job …you will be missed…

  63. Garris
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Well, it’s still a great show but one of the reasons I looked forward to watching it is gone.

  64. Ross
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    One of the greatest examples of his subtle and nuanced performance was in Season 1 when he received the news of Ned’s death via a raven and looked up to see Bran standing there, knowing he would have to break it to him. The look on his face was heartbreaking.

  65. Moonrise Kingdom
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Why do the good ones always go away?????

    OT: Remember this old tee-shirt? Wow, that brings me back. WiC culture sure has changed for better or worse.

    http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/3964/hobos.jpg

    PS I support all your arses.

  66. Varamyr Fourskins
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Donald Sumpter was amazing in the role. No doubt, you will be missed, faithful Maester of Winterfell.

    Huck,

    IMO, Luwin’s death foreshadows Bloodraven’s use of blood magic (hence “Blood”raven). Though Osha was not intentionally sacrificing Luwin in ritualistic fashion, he was killed upon a weirwood tree nonetheless, and his blood would’ve seeped into the roots and nourished Bloodraven. The kicker, Luwin was a Maester of the citadel; a man of science, who was incredibly skeptical about the supernatural and legends of magic. He was even trying to teach Bran that such legends were only myths (whereas Bloodraven teaches him the exact opposite). We find out later on that the maesters are actually trying to kill Dany’s dragons, because they view supernatural forces, such as that, to be a threat against humanity. And, you can imagine, if they knew about Bloodraven, and the threat wargs pose, they’d go after him too. So, the two sides are essentially at war. And there is a LOT of symbolism going on there with his death, IMO.

    As we learn from Bran in ADwD, time is not lineal. Both Bloodraven and Bran have the ability to see the past, present and future all at once, so Bloodraven would’ve known Luwin’s fate before it went down, and he would’ve foreseen the Maester’s hatred for dragons long before they did themselves. Plus, we learn that the ancient First Men, and possibly even the ancient Others, incorporated human sacrifice into their religion, as per Bran’s vision. There have been subtle hints dropped throughout the series that the Northmen aren’t quite the good guys they’re cracked up to be. Joffrey even accused them of cannibalism at one point, which no one took seriously, of course, because he’s Joffrey, and they’re the Starks. But, as we see with the Frey Pies, and Jojen’s (possible) fate as weirwood paste, cannibalism has a long history in the North (and consider, what do Northerners do when they run out of grain during a long winter?). I mean, how do you think the Bolton family tradition got started? Skinning people just for the hell of it? Or was it born of necessity? Hmm…

    Similarly (this is from the Heresy thread on Westeros, but I’ve always loved this theory): the Stark words, “Winter is Coming”, is not a good samaritan warning to the other people of Westeros. It’s a battle cry; a threat, i.e. you mess with us, and Winter is Coming to you. The significance of that is the Northerners descend from a much more savage culture than most people realize. The Wall was built with blood magic, and the religion of the Old Gods isn’t even native to humanity. There’s a reason why the First Men and Andals fought the Children and cut down their weirwoods upon first meeting. They are not a force inclined toward humanity, and actually gain magical powers from their blood.

    Or, at least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it… until GRRM debunks it and I have to move on to something else.

  67. Jen@House Stark
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for Mr. Sumpter for gracing us with his wonder gift of Maester Luwin to GOT. So much better than the book Luwin. I half expected him to tell the boys “I go to be with your father now”. ‘Tis true, I cried like a baby, too. My Stark House falling apart. Wishing all the best for your future endeavors.

  68. The Kingshaver
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Goodbye Luwin and farewell to Donald Sumpter. He has been truly one of the very best actors in a show full of great actors. It must be a tricky thing to pull off a quiet and understated performance as a secondary character, but Sumpter does it so well. It’s practically a master class in how to excel without stealing the scene.

    In the DVD commentary, David and Dan talk about how they loved Sumpter’s performance so much that they kept wanting to add scenes, to give him more screen time. I concur; I kept wanting to watch more scenes.

    He forged his chain well. It will not be broken.

  69. Connie
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    He was so natural in all he did. Whether it was advising the Starks or trying to remind Theon of who he was, you had no doubts or second guesses that he WAS the wise and kindly Maester who served the castle of Winterfell with every thought and gesture.

    He will be missed, and may all the gods both Old and New grant his soul peace.

  70. Huck
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Varamyr Fourskins,

    (Again, spoilers and speculation including ADWD)

    I fully agree with you on the blood magic aspect of the rituals surrounding the Old Gods, and I also think that this will play a larger, important role at some point. And yes, I also think that Luwin’s death at the weirwood tree will play into that. IMO, human sacrifice / blood magic seems to develop into quite a crucial theme, as it seems to be a major part of the belief systems surrounding the Drowned God and, quite obviously, R’hllor and the many-faced god. I really wonder how the Others will play into this…
    (Oh, and I like the irony you read into “Luwin-the-unbeliever’s” blood feeding the weirwood tree and the Old Gods. I hadn’t thought of that!)

  71. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I really loved his take on Luwin. It was true to the books, but infused with a lot of subtle emotion. Maesters are restrained, whether by character or training, so when we finally see Luwin break and wail at the sight of the boys’ burnt bodies, it was heartbreaking even though book readers knew it wasn’t really Bran and Rickon. It isn’t the props or special effects that sell scenes, it’s actors like Donald Sumpter.
    His mention of the Greyjoys’ “failed rebellions” is still one of the funniest moments of the show for me, and he barely said anything. Damned good actor and character.

  72. dubq
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Donald Sumpter is great! Sad to see him go. I knew it was coming, but still.. :(

  73. dizzy_34
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    One of the real gems of this cast, amazing job.

  74. Julie
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Perfect portrayal of a great character. It broke my heart when he died in the book. Will miss him very much next season!

  75. Elsweyr
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I remember the first time the show actually made me tear up a bit, and it was Donald Sumpter’s reaction to getting the raven bearing news of Ned’s death back at the end of Season One; he looked pale and stricken as he read the note, then saw Bran being carried towards him.

    “….Bran.”

    You could see him reach a hand out to the young Lord of Winterfell as the camera panned away. Don’t know why, but the delivery of that one word line there really hit hard.

    I will really, really miss this character on the show. The actor took a relatively minor character and turned him into the steady rock of Winterfell.

  76. KG
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Goodness me, what a handsome fellow!

    Oh uh … fine actor too. (goes back to navy officer pic)

  77. Blourd
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Great portrayal. Even among a already-fantastic supporting cast you managed to stand out.

    Thanks.

  78. Kingthlayer
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Varamyr Fourskins,

    I like your theories. To add to your cannibalism theme – I believe Rickon is on Skagos which is an island Davos knows to be cannibalistic and Sam is warned of on his trip to the citadel. Ultimately I think it an interesting concept that perhaps the hatching of the dragons is what is stirring the WW in the north – perhaps they are natures way of defending itself from them. I am curious as to why the dragons have special magical significance. I suppose it’s because the eggs they were hatched from were petrified and had no life but the life of Drogo and MMD fed them. neat stuff.

  79. Andrew
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    He did an amazing job on the show, and brought a lot to the character. There were some really heartbreaking scenes thanks to him; he will be missed.

  80. Balerion
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    He was fantastic. Nuff said

  81. Connie
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Kingthlayer

    The WW were stirring before Danny even got the eggs presented to her. Remember the very first chapter of Game of Thrones is about a WW attack on the Wildlings and the Watch investigating.

  82. Udi
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    The Maester was a Master.
    Master class acting from Donald Sumpter.
    Yes, I, a grown-up man who has read the books and knew what was coming, shed tears.
    Nuff said

  83. Kingthlayer
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Connie,

    correct but since time seems to be relative to all the creatures in the book, there’s no telling if they could have forseen it. just an idea. probably wrong.

  84. Maester Luwin
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    First time commenting after visiting this website everday for the last couple years. My first intoduction to A Song of Ice and Fire was the first episode of the HBO series Game of Thrones. The scene of Maester Luewin giving advice to Ned and Catlyen during the first episode is what hooked me into this world of Westeros. I have now read the first 3 books and have watched each episode of the HBO series countless times. I’d like to say thank you to Donald Sumpter for his portrayal of Maester Luwin. His acting is what piqued my interset into a full blown obsession into this wonderful fictional world of Westeros. Thank You Donald Sumpter

  85. Draig
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Class act, Mr Sumpter; I salute you. Great actor who brought so much to the show. He will be missed, and I look forward to seeing him in other things. Bye Maester Luwin, I’m gonna miss you;(

  86. Jdp13
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Perfect, perfect performance. He nailed luwin and made him as memorable and loved as he was in the books. Even though I knew it was coming I was dreading it.

  87. andrea
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Luwin, the good ones always die.
    The actors are the best thing about this series. Truly amazing. And great actors such as DS don´t “act with their eyes” they create the emotion, (where emotions are created, I don´t know), and they reflect those emotions through their eyes. It´s magic.
    Perfect Luwin.

  88. Xasprtr
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I agree with an earlier comment that Luwin was Winterfell. I mean he embodied it in a symbolic way that came across as very intentional to me. Everything about him was grey, like stone, and his character was built on quiet but enormous strength. He was the only character who was in Winterfell 100% of the time, unless I am forgetting something, and he was the rock upon which Bran’s acting lordship rested. He said to Theon, “I serve Winterfell.” So it is no accident that he went down with the ship. Although, Winterfell lives still, and I hope I live to see the day that a novel is published that will describe the return of the direwolf banner flying over the battlements.

  89. Two Feathers
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Varamyr Fourskins,
    Firstly, I would just like to echo the previous comments applauding Donald Sumpters portrayal of Luwin. Bravo. Good luck with future projects.
    Secondly, Varamyr Fourskins, keep them theories coming. I do love reading them.
    Lastly, on a non GOT subject, If you like dark fantasy, and as you are reading these hallowed pages I assume you do, go see Snow White and the Huntsman. Great cast,epic battle scenes, brilliant FX. I rate it 4 stars.

  90. GoTAddict
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Maester Luwin you will be missed. i was shocked by his death. game of thrones is so damn unpredictable, i love it! RIP Luwin

  91. Huh
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Regarding “Curtain Calls”. How are you going to handle curtain calls for characters that the new viewers will think is dead, but all the readers know will come back? I don’t want to spoil anything by mentioning names, I’m sure readers know of at least 2 characters that fit this bill.

  92. Winter Is Coming
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Huh:
    Regarding “Curtain Calls”. How are you going to handle curtain calls for characters that the new viewers will think is dead, but all the readers know will come back? I don’t want to spoil anything by mentioning names, I’m sure readers know of at least 2 characters that fit this bill.

    Regardless of what happens in the books, we are waiting until there is confirmation of a character’s death in the show before posting any Curtain Call. (This is the reason that Amrita Acharia’s Curtain Call was actually posted a week after Irri’s “death scene”.) As we know the show does things differently from the books and we don’t want to prematurely kill off any characters. :)

  93. Shinyteapot
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Luwin was so much more real in the show than the book- and that is all down to Donald Sumpter’s considerable skill. When he was first cast, I was watching him as creepy Kemp in Being Human, and found it difficult to imagine that same man as loveable Luwin. Of course I should have known better, a great actor can easily portray all kinds of people.

    Such a lovely character (a great contrast to Pycelle!), Luwin came across as kind, caring and truly wise. His interaction with Bran and Rickon was particularly touching, clearly very good with children, a perfect surrogate grandfather.

    The way he smiled as Rickon ran towards him was one of the most moving moments of the series. I’m truly sad to see Luwin go, both the character and actor brought a lot to the series. But I’m glad his final moments were, if anything, even more moving than in the book.

    Best of luck to Donald Sumpter in his future projects- I shall definitely look out for them.

  94. Angel Andres
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Two Feathers:
    Varamyr Fourskins,
    …If you like dark fantasy, and as you are reading these hallowed pages I assume you do, go see Snow White and the Huntsman. Great cast,epic battle scenes, brilliantFX. I rate it 4 stars.

    I agree, best fantasy movie since Scott’s 1985 movie “Legend”.

  95. Handmaiden of Dany
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    My favorite scene was when Osha was spreading rushes on the floor and Theon walks in and starts all like “blah blah blah I’m so great and blah blah blah let’s have sex” and then Luwin comes in and schools him!

  96. Johan Sporre
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    He’s up there with Conleth Hill as one of those secondary characters that have impressed me most with their calm, understated presence and acting. That usually calm presence gave even more weight to his reaction when the burnt children were presented.

    He’ll be missed.

  97. Robbet
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Donald Sumpter broke all the expectations, his performance as Maester Luwin was outstanding. With the little scenes he had, he left a mark.
    I was ready for his death, I knew it would happen (I hoped it wouldn’t happen…), but it still shocked me and made me get emotional. His last moment as Luwin was a reminder of how great an actor he is.
    Thank you for bringing Maester Luwin to life!

  98. Two Feathers
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Angel Andres: agree, best fantasy movie since Scott’s 1985 movie “Legend

    Ah yes “Legend”. Ahead of its time IMO. Probably the movie that kickstarted my interest in the fantasy genre. I was a total kung fu junkie before that………..:)

  99. Maester Victor
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Where are Maesters buried? Where they served longest? Where they served last? I’m so happy to see this beautiful death scene, as opposed to being “pickled” like Maester Aemon Bon voyage on your great journey, Maester Luwin! Thank you so much for your incredible acting, Donald Sumpter!

  100. House Farwynd
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Maester, I would think just close to where they died.
    You need to be of noble birth for people to carry your dead body for a long ways.

    On other notes:
    How come that the Stark household is constantly getting murdered or taken captive, but never when they are armed?
    Are they that formidable?

  101. Two Feathers
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    House Farwynd: How come that the Stark household is constantly getting murdered or taken captive, but never when they are armed?
    Are they that formidable?

    Yes they are that formidable . But their only weakspot is the left eye………:) Poor Jory.

  102. loco73
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    This was one of the harder losses to stomach. Maester Luwin was such an integral part of Winterfel and a rock of knowledge and support for the Starks. Unlike his douchebag of a boss, Grand Maester Pycell, Luwin was an honest, decent and loving man.

    Sad to see this character depart and in such a senseless manner, but this only makes the show stronger because it speaks to its uncompromising nature. Yes, even people we care and love die, and often unfairly so.

    Donald Sumpter imbued Maester Luwin with soo much humanity and warmth that it well be hard indeed to find his equal. Geeesh, Yoren Ser Rodrik and now Maester Luwin the good ones are dropping like flies…I guess Sansa got the hang of it all when she said “The evil ones always come back…” (or was it rotten ones, can’t remember…)

    Mr. Sumpter thank you for your work and talent, it was much appreciated and the show was the better for it! Good luck and all the best in all your future enterprises! Live long and prosper (I think Maester Luwin would have liked that phrase)!

  103. Bad Dog
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    While the praise in some curtain calls was, in my humble opinion, somewhat exaggerated, Donald Sumpter fully deserves it. I first saw him in Eastern Promises a couple of years back [note for the true geeks: Josef Altin (Pyp) played a supporting role in that movie as well], and he portrayed his character in a very quiet and unobstrusive way, yet still very real, very intense, very believable. It wasn’t grand gestures, it was small, subtle moves that comprised, together with Viggo Mortensen’s performance, an atmosphere that gave the scene a true impact.

    One can certainly say similar about his performance in Game of Thrones. More, Donald Sumpter brought the character from the book to life, which to me is the highest praise I can offer in relation to this adaption.

  104. ...
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    He will be sorely missed. :(

  105. Mylez H
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    It made me cry, the kids’ reactions made me cry more. You will be missed Maester Luwin. <3

  106. tysnow
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Sumpter was performing and bringing Maester Luwin to so masterfully a life with all the nuances, that I wanted him to take the place of the Reeds. It seemed there would be almost no way (can’t say never) that two teenagers could even come close to matching his performance, therefore I wanted the story to change within that aspect. That says a whole lot about the actor and man himself.
    You will be missed on this show, but we still have BR of your performance. Thank you for breathing life into GRRM’s character and setting the bar for so many other’s to rise too.

    PS: Nina, you better really nail the Reeds.

  107. Tar Kidho
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    When a character from a tv show starts to feel like close family, you know the acting was top notch. RIP Maester Luwin, and thank you very much Ser Sumpter.

  108. LionOfLannister
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    Loved Donald Sumpter’s Maester Luwin. Incredible character. His top 5 most epic moments:

    5. The scene with Bran when he’s teaching him the Houses, Sigils and House words. From his chiding of Bran’s childishness to his “and failed rebellions” line to Theon. Awesome.

    4. His last scene with Theon as he pleads wit him to run away and take the black, still trying to save the child Theon once was.

    3. When Robb calls the banners. “All of them, my Lord?” and then the look he gives Robb after was incredible.

    2. The wail of anguish he gives when he sees the burned bodies, thinking it’s Bran and Rickon. Broke my heart and made the scene. Chills.

    1. His final scene under the weirwood tree with the children. Saying it was an honor to help raise them and being strong for the Stark children in his final moments. I lost my grandpa a couple years ago who was a quite similar man to Luwin and this scene made me lose it.

  109. Cheesecake
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    Had to de-lurk to say I will definitely miss him. Even though I knew his character would die, I held out hope the show would deviate and he would get to live. His performance was one of the most subtle and natural I’ve seen.

  110. Biscotti
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    Blackfish:
    RIP Maester Luwin

    And thank you Donald Sumpter for the woderful job you did but this is not the end of the GoT road, I hope you will reprise your role for the Blu-Ray extras.If HBO is smart, they will hire you to do more Westerios History lessons not just for season 2 DVD but all future season’s extras.

    Seconded!! he would be a great actor to use for histories every year on the blu ray.

  111. Isabelle
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    An unforgettable performance by an incredible actor. Donald Sumpter’s riveting in whatever he’s in–highly encourage everyone to see him in “Constant Gardner.”

  112. PatD
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    Having read the books and knowing what was coming, I held it together… until Rickon said, “We’ll make you better.” Oh man, that did me in. Not just because it was such poignant, childish magical thinking, but because I wanted to make it so, too! When Ned died, it was the beginning of the end of Winterfell. When Luwin died, it felt like the final blow.

    Maester Luwin has been one of my favorite characters on the show from the get-go. Mr. Sumpter’s performance was a real gift to the fans. I hope he knows how much his efforts were appreciated.

  113. GrzebykK
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    FaB said it well: Maester Luwin was the glue that held Winterfell together.
    As maester he should be the cold rationalist, but he was warm and so was the wisdom he gave. To Robb, to Bran, even to Theon.
    Mr. Sumpter did great job showing this human side of maester.
    And yes, his farewell with Bran and Rickon was absolutely amazing masterpiece of acting. His face was the face of loving grandpa, full of joy, that they were still alive and despair, that he wouldn’t see them growing.
    Thanks Mr. Sumpter for your great performance.

  114. Pacman
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Vale Donald Sumpter. Whilst I am very impressed by all the actors in the show at the least, Donald Sumpter hit the mark as taken from GRRMs work more than any other so far.

    As far as I’m concerned the likes of Bean, Addy, Headey, Williams et al are doing sterling work and I couldn’t be happier with the production so far. But the faces of those I’ve mentioned will always be those created by my imagination.

    Do you want to know the wonderful truth though? I can’t even remember my interpretation of Maester Luwin. Sumpter will always be Luwin for me.

    Damn, but I wish they could reinstate him as some other character as HBO did with Garret Dilahunt (Jack McCall, Francis Woolcott) in Deadwood.

  115. The Kingslayer
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Donald will be missed :-(

  116. The Reader
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    “A different time, a different king.” Best line in S1E1.

    I just rewatched one of my favorite movies of all time Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and was shocked to see Measter Luwin as King Claudius! His dark hair slightly going grey – he was a younger man and Oh what a king he played!

  117. Ella
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Varamyr Fourskins:
    There have been subtle hints dropped throughout the series that the Northmen aren’t quite the good guys they’re cracked up to be. Joffrey even accused them of cannibalism at one point, which no one took seriously, of course, because he’s Joffrey, and they’re the Starks. But, as we see with the Frey Pies, and Jojen’s (possible) fate as weirwood paste, cannibalism has a long history in the North (and consider, what do Northerners do when they run out of grain during a long winter?).

    Similarly (this is from the Heresy thread on Westeros, but I’ve always loved this theory): the Stark words, “Winter is Coming”, is not a good samaritan warning to the other people of Westeros. It’s a battle cry; a threat, i.e. you mess with us, and Winter is Coming to you. The significance of that is the Northerners descend from a much more savage culture than most people realize.

    I find your theories rather interesting…

    About the first part I transcribed, the possibility of cannibalism in the North would definively put another spin on the legends told by Old Nan (I think) in the first few episodes, when she said that mothers would kill their babies so that they wouldn’t starve. Notice that the “they” in question is rather ambiguous, and could apply to many groups of people, leading to many different interpretations. Also, I am thinking of Craster, and of how he sacrifices his baby boys. I mean, I don’t think that the White Walkers would benefit from having baby Wights, so what gives? Do we even know if/what they need to eat? Pretty gruesome, I know, but Westeros is a thankless world, and there have been insances here on Earth of people who, in extreme conditions, indeed resorted to such measures. If my memory serves, there was a tale of a plane which crashed in the Andes, and the survivors didn’t have any other recourse but to eat the flesh of their fallen comrades.

    As for the second part, I think that your theory would fit with how King Robb transformed the House Stark words into a badass boast in his message to Tywin Lannister: “Tell Lord Tywin that Winter is Coming for him.” It would give them an additionnal dimension in-universe, and make Tywin at least pause and consider the risks involved. Not that he’d submit, of course, but I think that it’s a measure of how serious Robb is in his endeavour.

    What do you think?

  118. Lyn Corbray
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Any chance we’ll get Curtain Calls for any of the other characters killed off last week? Simon Armstrong, Nonso Anozie (spl)?

  119. A Bear_A Bear
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    A classy actor playing a classy part very classily indeed. Sumpter brought a lot of heart and soul to his characterisation of Luwin – I loved his scenes with Bran throughout the series and those he had with Theon in season 2. He will be sorely missed.

  120. geishagirl888
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Dennis,
    he’s my uncle donald and yes he really is as cool as luwin..way to go uncle donald! x

  121. Pacman
    Posted June 9, 2012 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    geishagirl888 – that being the case, please make sure he checks out this website and the affirmation of his craft. I reckon that we all wish we had an uncle like Maester Luwin.

  122. Macha
    Posted June 9, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Ella: Also, I am thinking of Craster, and of how he sacrifices his baby boys. I mean, I don’t think that the White Walkers would benefit from having baby Wights, so what gives? Do we even know if/what they need to eat?

    That’s what I’ve been wondering, but why should we automatically assume his sons die once taken? Maybe they’re being turned into something else entirely. Simply killing them or eating them doesn’t make that much sense IMHO. Now, I don’t know how many WW are out there, but what if this is how their numbers grow? Worth considering, I think. The Heresy threads over at Westeros are a fun read if you’re into this sort of speculation.

    Sorry for going off-topic.

  123. the goat
    Posted June 9, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Bran:
    Tell us what medicine to get from your chambers…

    RICKON:
    WE’LL MAKE YOU BETTER…

    Maester Luwin:
    I feel just fine.

    Bran:
    They burned it down. They burned EVERYTHING.

    Maester Luwin:
    Not everything. Not you.

    So, just in case you were curious, that’s how you make a heart explode

  124. Karsa
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    A fantastic performance from first scene to last. Kudos Mr Sumpter.

  125. Lina
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Without any question, Maester Luwin was my favorite secondary character. Donald Sumpter’s performance is just beyond words. His tenderness with Bran and Rickon, his pride with Robb, his cheekiness with Theon. He took a character that was decent in the books and made him so multifaceted and lovable. His scenes were some of the best, most touching in the show: the scene where he sees Bran after hearing about Ned’s execution (barely a scene, but so powerful!), the part where Robb calls the banners, the bit where he’s going over history with Bran, his scream when he sees the burned bodies, the last scene with Theon, and of course his death scene. Such a moving performance across the boards.

    Thanks, Donald, for leaving such an indelible mark on all of us fans. We’ll miss you!

  126. Seb Chung
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    This guy is my uncle!!


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