Ilyn Payne, the King’s Justice best known for chopping off Ned Stark’s head, was a shadowy, threatening presence in the first two seasons of Game of Thrones. He didn’t talk, his tongue having been ripped out years ago by the Mad King, but he was always hanging on the edge of the frame, glowering menacingly. It was a blow when, in 2013, actor Wilko Johnson announced that he had terminal pancreatic cancer. This meant that he couldn’t appear on the show anymore, and Game of Thrones lost a quiet but effective character.
A couple years later, and Johnson is completely cancer free! It’s unknown whether he’ll ever return to Game of Thrones, but he did sit down for an interview with QA Live and told some hilarious stories about his time on the show.
This interview would be worth listening to if for no other reason than to hear that Johnson’s initial point of reference for Game of Thrones was “Xena the Princess Warrior,” but I also loved his insight into how uncomfortable swords were to wear when the cameras weren’t rolling. Johnson seems like a funny guy in general, and if the producers ever have an opportunity to bring him back, I hope they take it.*
Meanwhile, Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm) has shared the title track off his upcoming album, You’re a Man Now, Boy, due out on February 26, 2016.
Anderson (who goes by the stage name of Raleigh Ritchie when doing his music) is a star on the rise. According to Billboard, he snagged the No. 1 spot on the Next Big Sound chart in 2014, and one of his songs—Stronger Than Ever—has wracked up a few million views on YouTube. We wish him music superstardom…after he finishes Game of Thrones.
*Now that Season 5 is over, I think most fans would have rather seen Jaime travel the Riverlands with Ilyn Payne as he does in A Feast for Crows rather than bum around Dorne with Bronn. I’m sad we didn’t get to hear Payne’s “clacking” laugh as described in the books.