Is Samwell Tarly the storyteller in the A Song of Ice and Fire series? Ever since his arrival in the heavenly place that is the Citadel library, and the shock of seeing the astrolabe from the opening credits floating high above, that’s been a going off-season theory. Even if Sam isn’t the one telling the story from the safety of the future, or writing it down for posterity, the actor behind the character, John Bradley, is a fine storyteller himself, and a wonderful interview. This week he took those skills to Reddit, where he participated in its ongoing “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) series.
Although some of Bradley’s answers to fan questions are exactly what you would expect, some are more surprising. Sam’s character has spent nearly all of his time during the series up at the Wall, finally traveling south in Season 6. When asked about his favorite costar, Bradley didn’t name Kit Harington, who plays his best bud Jon Snow, or Owen Teale, the hated Ser Alliser, or even the long-term, old school BBC actor Peter Vaughan, who played Maester Aemon. No, his favorite actor he’s worked with was…Stephen Dillane, aka Stannis Baratheon.
I got to do one scene with Stephen Dillane, who isn’t just one of my favorite on the shows, he’s just one of my favorite actors period. That day was a privilege and an education.
To viewers, that might seem odd, but landing Dillane was a bit of a coup for the show when it happened back in Season 2. Dillane is the kind of man known as an “actor’s actor,” someone who is all about the craft, and dedicated to being on stage more than he is to being successful, or famous. Dillane famously admitted after Stannis was killed off last year that he really only did Game of Thrones show to make ends meet, and that television, green screens and CGI are really not his cup of tea. That’s the sort of actor someone like Bradley wouldn’t get to work with very often, and I’m not surprised he took full advantage to learn as much as he could.
As for other surprises, when asked what role he’d love to take on in a movie, Bradley’s drew from the ongoing superhero craze. But he doesn’t want to play a hero.
I’d really love to have a go at playing The Penguin in a Batman movie because I think it’d be so interesting to try and do a psychologically valid Penguin. He lives so much in the comic book world, it would be nice to try and find a way to give him some credibility and justification and make him a presence in the real world.
As for friendships with the cast, when asked if it’s a myth, he said it certainly was not—the cast members of Game of Thrones are all surprisingly close, considering that they don’t always film together, because of the bubble they’re in. And about Kit Harington:
He’s more attractive in real life. If you’ve ever smelled him you’ll know what I mean.
He also had nothing but nice things to say about showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss:
They’re so approachable that you could go to them with any concerns. They’re such sensitive writers that they always write to our strengths, which is a huge feather in their cap because they know their actors’ strengths and will always write to make them look as good as they possibly can.
Maybe that’s why Bradley picks “Battle of the Bastards” as his favorite episode so far. Loyal to the end.